Monday, June 26, 2017

My Granddaughter Is Here

We drove 4 hours to the Albany area on Friday to visit my son, DIL, and granddaughter. Her birthday party was on Saturday.  We came home today and my sweet, lovely granddaughter came back with us. I can't believe she is 10.  

However the weekend didn't turn out to be what we expected. My DIL went into the hospital on Thursday in terrible pain. They let her come home on Saturday afternoon to be at her daughter's party which my son and I managed to make wonderful for her. My son did a beautiful cake for her using fondant and an edible picture that my DIL had ordered.

MY DIL will be going back into the hospital for major surgery. The tests so far are not good. That is all I can tell you for now. I am asking for prayers for her because she truly needs them. We are all praying and hoping.

Meanwhile, we will be doing lots of things to keep my granddaughter busy and happy. So I will jump on when I have time. Till then..............

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Frugal Things The Last Few Weeks

These are the things we have done to save us some money the last couple of weeks:

- Small grocery shops for our stockpile. We continue to eat from it. So large shops would be spending just to spend.

- We received $ 14.50 in rebates which I deposited into my savings for my Disney trip.

- Purchased rechargeable batteries instead of buying 5 new telephones. The batteries are charged and have been installed and they are working well.

- I continue to use my dryer balls when I use my dryer. Love them.

- I continue to use my laundry eggs to wash our clothing. Everything is clean and bright. 

- Our electric and gas bill came yesterday and it was low even though we have had the A/C on for about 10 days and had the heat on for part of the month. Our KWH electric usage was the lowest ever, just 398 for the month. Plus we only used 9 CCF's of gas for the same month.

- We have been cooking most of our food on the grill since we turned on the A/C. We don't want to cool the house and then heat it back up by cooking indoors. 

- We have also been making lots of cold salads when we aren't using the grill.

- I won a coupon envelope that had a beer (in NYS you don't have to buy the beer) $5.00 rebate form. I sent it in with my strawberry receipt. The same envelope had a lot of pad coupons which I rarely see in my store.

- We went out to dinner and used a gift card that we have had since last Fall to pay.  

- I mailed in a $4.00 rebate for a bottle of wine that I purchased for a gift.

- We have only had to water our lawn three times so far this year. Hopefully this trend will continue.

- We picked all of our ripe pie cherries from our tree. I froze them to make pies this summer.

- I received a coupon in the mail for a free bottle of Nestea iced tea. 

- We have an electric air pump so we filled up the tires on the car to the recommended psi. Tires seems to lose air when it is really hot. Keeping our tires on the proper psi saves money on gasoline.

- I hard boiled a dozen eggs at once for breakfasts and snacks.

- I baked some cookie brownie's in the toaster oven to brighten someone's day.    

- I have been using a root spray on my gray roots so that I could lengthen the time between coloring and highlights by almost 3 weeks. 

- We played monopoly with some friends which was cheap entertainment. I served some iced tea and  banana bread (from the freezer) for a snack.

I think that is about it for the money saving the last couple of weeks. Every little bit helps bolster our net worth. It is so nice to watch that grow month to month.

So what have you done to save some money recently? Feel free to comment and share yours with all of us. 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Think Before You Act

Hubby and I have noticed the past few months that two of our home telephones are not working as they should. We have five cordless telephones. We keep one in the basement, one in the kitchen on my desk, one in the office, one in a guest bedroom, and one in our master bedroom. That way we can answer the telephone no matter where we are in the house.

These telephones are V-tech and have served us well. We purchased them when we lived in Arizona and they are about 12 years old. They are well worn and we have probably gotten our monies worth from them.

So the other day Hubby says to me I am going to look for another new set of phones. I let him go do his research knowing that he would have me order them.

Meanwhile I took one of the telephones apart and looked at the rechargeable battery number and got the model number of the telephone. I found a pack of 4 rechargeable batteries for $12.99 at Amazon .  Granted we have 5 telephones but only two are giving us trouble right now. If down the road, we need a fifth I will buy one.

Hubby comes out to me and says I found some new telephones that are AT&T for $110. They are not as nice as ours. If we want ones that are as nice as ours, I found them for $ 159.99 at Staples .  I am sure if we waited for a sale at a brick and mortar store that we could get them cheaper but they would still be about $80.-90. for the AT&T or $140. for the one at Staples.

Then I told him that I was sure ours will be good as new with new rechargeable batteries and that we can have them in 2 days from Amazon for $12.99. He says you are probably right. Since the phones are showing low batteries and cutting us off in the middle of a conversation, it is the batteries that are no longer charging well. He says to me that the telephone packages have really gone up. He says he thinks we paid $89.99 for our set.

So I ordered the new batteries for $12.99 and they will be here tomorrow. The moral of this story is to look at all of your options. Why buy a new phone set when you can fix the problem with new batteries? If we had gone ahead and ordered the phones, we would have spent $147. more than we needed to. So the phones are a little worn, who cares? We certainly don't.  

When something is is need of repair, look at all of your options. Don't just run and replace the item with something new. Most likely there is a better and cheaper way. If not, then at least you did your due diligence by doing all of the research.  

Taking the time to do the research is one of the ways that we have accumulated such a high net worth over our married years. We don't make snap decisions and waste our money. It really pays off in the long run. 

Monday, June 19, 2017

Sunday's Grocery Haul

Thinking that the grocery store would be quiet yesterday, I went to do this week's shopping trip. What a mistake that was. It was packed. But I managed to get it done so that I can concentrate on other things this week.

Some of the items that I purchased at Top's are shown above. I spent $ 53.75 this week getting some of the things that I need stocked for a lot of company within the next two weeks.

The best deals I got are pictured above. They had a wonderful deal on Breyer's ice cream so I stocked my freezer for the summer by buying 5 cartons. They were on sale here for $2.74 each which is a great price. I had a few Top's Monopoly coupons for $1.00 off that I traded for with a friend which made it an even better deal at $ 1.74 each. This will be handy for my granddaughter's visit and when West comes on Sundays.

I purchased 12 Snicker candy bars on B3G3F and after coupons, they cost $ .22 each. I put them in my stockpile for Halloween trick or treat. I always start working the good deals this time of year for candy for that purpose. 

The new Barilla product for 60 second pasta was on our shelves. I decided to try them to see if this was something I should put in my stockpile. I had 4 coupons that made them $.50 each. I actually used one last night and I have to say they are not very good. They also were a funny color after sitting for a few minutes. I will use these up but not buy them again. 

The loaf of Italian bakery bread was Free with a Top's monopoly coupon. I never did go get the click to card free sandwich bread on Saturday. I needed Italian bread for dinner last night so this will suffice for sandwiches or French toast this week.

I purchased 2 bags of Chi Chi's tortilla chips because Hubby loves them with salsa for lunch or a snack. They were $ .90 per bag after doubled coupons.

The last really good deal I got was my rain check for 5 boxes of Very Berry Cheerios. They were $ 2.00 each with the rain check and I had 5 -$ 1.00 off coupons plus they honored 4 Dollar Doubler coupons which cost me $ 1.00 total for all 5 boxes. They also honored the 200 gas points deal that was running the week they were out of stock. We love this cereal for a quick breakfast. 

The rest of my shop for company was tonic for gin and tonics, beer, milk, creamers, potatoes, carrots, lettuce and I stockpiled a deal on Kleenex which we were getting low on. 

I have no intention of setting foot in a grocery store for at least a week. 

I hope all of the Fathers' in your families had a great day yesterday. Both of my son's contacted their Dad which made him very happy.  I surprised Hubby by making him veal parmesan with real veal cutlets for dinner. I served a side of that Barilla pasta with homemade spaghetti sauce, made a tossed salad, and we had Italian bread with butter. The veal was so tender that we could cut it with a fork. I will be buying it again at the meat market we found a couple of weeks ago. I only bought two things there - the veal and a lb. of ground beef. Both were outstanding so next time I will try something else and stock on the veal and ground beef.

Hubby surprised me by bringing in some beautiful rose pink geraniums for our table from our yard. We had some wind yesterday which caused their stems to break so he cut them. 

So I think Hubby had a good day between the boys chatting with him, his nice dinner, and watching some golf.  

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Are You Caught Up In This Trap?

As I was checking my e-mail on Thursday, I spotted one from Top's Market. Now mind you, I had already done my shopping for the week. But I figured why not open the e-mail and see what they have to say.

Well it told me that they had just issued a click to card store coupon and that I could get a loaf of sandwich bread for free. The offer was good from Thursday through today. It also told me they had issued the above Super Coupons. Without really looking at them, I printed them out.

If I happen to pass by the store today because of running another errand, I will get my free bread since I can just pick that up and I don't have to spend any money. However I will not drive to the market just for that especially when I can make a healthier loaf of bread in my bread maker for about $.45.

Then I looked at the Super Coupons that I had printed. The first one is for red seedless grapes for $ .99 a lb. The second one is for a 30 oz. jar of Hellmann's mayonnaise for $1.99. The third one is for a medium cheese or pepperoni pizza for $4.00. YIKES!

I just wasted my paper and ink. Note to myself: Read the coupons before you print them.

I can get red grapes at Aldi's most of the time for $.99 a lb without a coupon. The mayonnaise at $1.99 is a good deal for my area. It is usually on sale for $ 2.69 - $2.99. I can make a larger pizza that is healthier for less than $4.00.

However to use any of these coupons, I must spend $ 20. Now that makes the mayonnaise a terrible deal. They want me to spend $20. so I can buy a jar of mayonnaise for $ 1.99.

There are coupons like this every week. They are to entice you to come back to the store later in the week and spend more money.

Whenever we buy anything I try to look at how much I will be spending not how much I am saving. I have been guilty sometimes of falling into the trap of spending money because there are so many great deals out there. But most of the time, I don't.

In order to use a coupon like these, it has to be something I really need that week or something that we love that fits into my stockpile planning. Then I would have to be spending the $20. on items that we need that are on my grocery list. At the moment there is nothing on my grocery list. So needless to say I will not be getting mayo for $ 1.99. 

It's not only grocery stores that put coupons like these out but department stores like Kohl's, BonTon, Macy's etc. They lure you into their stores by giving you a $10./ 25. or $10./50. coupon. 

I am never saying don't use these types of coupons but be cautious. Only use them when you NEED to buy some clothing or other items. I use coupons like these all of time but only if I need something at that store that I would buy without a coupon. Don't take the coupon to the store, window shop, and then buy $50. worth of merchandise because you want to save $10. You just spent $ 40. on something you didn't know that you needed.

I keep a list in a little notebook that I carry in my purse of our needs. Then I look for the store with the best prices on those items. I wait for a coupon to come out in the newspaper or online. When there is a good sale and a coupon, that is when I buy.

Change your mindset to one of how much you spend, not how much you are saving. Less money will slip through your fingers and you will find your net worth getting healthier.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Why It Has Been So Crazy Around Here

First, in order for you to understand, I have to tell you a little about me. I will be 70 this year and I am not moving as fast as I was even 2 years ago. Part of the reason has been that I have been sleep deprived for a few years due to a stomach issue that all the doctors kept misdiagnosing. They put me on every protonics and treament known to man and nothing helped. I had every test they make. All were negative. I gave up and decided that I would just have to live with it.  After four years of pain, the stomach problem just one day a few months ago went away. Why? Who knows. All I know for sure is the pain is gone and I am feeling like my old self again. I am so grateful for that!

So then it was time to work on the sleep problem. I was to the point where I was only sleeping 4 hours a night. That turned into falling asleep from exhaustion about 8pm and waking up at midnight and staying up all night. Repeating itself day after day.  I was always living life like I was in a fog. So I had to find a way to turn that around. I made myself stay up until 11pm every night and never took a nap during the day. I wouldn't even lay down for fear that I would fall asleep. Finally I started sleeping 11pm until 6 or 7am. That made me feel so much better than I had in years. I am starting to feel like 50 not 70 again.

With this renewed energy came lots of projects. We have hosted many people at our home in the past couple of months. We took our mini vacation. We have also done some sightseeing in our area which I used to always enjoy.  

Then I decided to reorganize the basement which I am almost done with. That was a lot of work. We got rid of anything that we knew we would never use or just didn't want. Every container got labeled with the contents.

I reorganized my pantry due to shelves buckling. Hubby and I have picked our steel shelving out and have added it to our to do list. When we get the shelving, we will have to transfer everything. 

We also reorganized and cleaned the garage really well from the filth and salt of the winter.

Next I went through every nook and cranny in our home and donated or threw out anything that we haven't used. I organized what was left so that both Hubby and I can now find things. Having Hubby know how to find things and put them back in their place has taken a huge burden from me.  

In the middle of all of this, I was on jury duty for three weeks. When it was over, I was even more exhausted. I had to recover from that. 

The past number of weeks I have felt well enough to go over our entire portfolio with Hubby and do some buying and selling to put us in a position that we are more comfortable with. We sold some property in another state and that was time consuming dealing with a buyer and lawyers there. Once that was taken care of, we leased some other property for four years which produces income for us. 

We also took some cash that we had been holding in a money market account and purchased more index funds. Then we looked over every fund and investment we own and decided to sell some and invest in others. All of the researching for this was very time consuming!

Next my son was in a car accident and that really upset me. I was happy when he bought a Ford Transit Van with 6 bucket seats to replace it. It's huge and will hopefully protect my son, DIL, and grandson when they are in it. 

Hubby and I are getting ready to do some painting of the front door and some porch painting. We have picked out the color and gotten the paint. We are waiting for a free dry day to do it. Meanwhile, Hubby pressure washed the entire outside of our home. It wasn't easy for him but he is stubborn and he did it.

Yesterday, the landscapers came and not only did the monthly weeding, trimming, etc., but they planted 5 new bushes that we had ordered and 6 new flowering perennial plants. That took most of our morning watching them and agreeing to placement of all of these things.

Our cherry tree is producing fruit that is almost ripe. It is loaded with cherries this year. So we will have to climb a ladder to pick them when they are ready. I see lots of pies in our future. 

My granddaughter is coming very soon to stay with us. We are so looking forward to her stay and we have loads of things that she wants to do planned. They include a hair salon day for Grandma and Granddaughter which will be loads of fun. She is old enough now to bake with me too. She loves all kinds of animals so I can't wait for her to see the baby bunnies that have taken up residence under our shed. They are so tiny and come out to eat and play a few times a day.

Then our entire immediate family will be here for a celebration.  It is going to be wonderful. I will tell you all about that after it happens. 

So we have been extremely busy and the blog posts had to take a back seat for a while. I am an organized person but as I age I need to concentrate on one thing at a time. And when I dive into any project I have to focus 100% of my time on it.

Even meals during those times become very simple. I don't have the time to make fancy food so rather than purchase food out, I just go simple. I will make things like hamburgers on the grill and we will load them up with cheese, lettuce, and tomatoes. That is our meal! Or Hubby will make a taco salad or Chef's salad like he did last night. We love different salads and will eat lots of them once the local produce is in season here.

We already have two invitations to parties this summer which are always fun. Plus my grandson wants to come and stay for a week in August. So you can see that our summer is going to be very, very busy.

Besides all of this I am making the arrangements with my son for my trip with them to Disney World in January. They have booked their timeshare at the resort at Boardwalk. I am so excited because of the restaurants and shopping that are right there. Plus we can easily get to Hollywood Studios and Epcot without driving. I should also update you on how my savings from rebates has helped me accumulate Disney gift cards to use for these things. I now have  accumulated $ 500. in gift cards. I will continue to save the rebates and buy the cards until we go.

Does all of this make your head spin? Well, it does mine. So hopefully you understand when I am absent. When I can fit it in to my schedule, I will blog. Blogging is a passion of mine among other things. So when I disappear for a few days at a time, it is because I am really busy or really tired. That will occur next when my grandchildren, sons, and DIL's are here to stay which will be soon. But know that I will be back blogging as soon as I can.

I hope all of you have a fun and productive weekend.
Enjoy your families because that is what life is all about. We will have a quiet one just enjoying the beautiful weather here at home.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

I Am A Practical Person

Any of you who have read my blogs for years know that I am a very practical person. If I can save a few pennies or a few big dollars here and there I will.

As I showed you in this prior post Gift Wrapping ,
I hate to spend money on wrapping presents. Especially presents for my children(when they were little) and my grandchildren now.

I would much rather spend the money on the actual gifts instead of the paper or cards. So I either make the cards or get them at Dollar Tree for $ .50 to $1.00 each.

One thing I noticed and still do is that kids only want to get into the gift so they don't care about the wrapping. They tear that paper off as fast as they can whether the wrapping was free or cost $ 5.00. 

So this week I have been wrapping my granddaughter's birthday presents. Many of her gifts get shipped to her so I don't put bows on. I have her Mom put them on at their end so they don't get crushed.

This year we bought her a few things( she loves books) from her list and honored her request for an Amazon gift card. She is getting older so she is into gaming. She also loves DVD's that she can watch over and over again. So she has fun now shopping online with the gift cards she receives.

So here is a picture of all of her wrapped gifts before I packed them up. Besides the comics that I have used for years to wrap them, I had a deflated mylar balloon that I got for my birthday last year. So I used that to wrap one her books. It's cute and colorful. I wish I got more balloons but usually it is just one a year. I also had a piece of birthday paper leftover that was just the right size for one package. Believe me when I say that it is all about getting gifts that they will love and not about the wrapping paper.
And if there is a birthday party, I really don't care what other adult guests might think about my wrapping. I am not trying to keep up with the Joneses!