Thursday, July 20, 2017

A Busy Day

Today I am doing odds and ends. Things like cleaning all the mud off my shoes that I got taking my granddaughter to camp. I scrubbed them and then gave them a good coat of polish.

Hubby and I both had check ups with our primary today. All is well. I love my doctor though. The first thing he says to us when he comes in the room is, "Hi Kids!  How are you doing?" It made our day.

Right now we are staying put because there are severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings. Lots of trees and power down south of us. So far we have just gotten some rain and rumblings of thunder. They are now saying there is a tornado on the ground south of us on the news. I hope people took shelter in their basements or interior bathrooms.

Since I have challenged myself to make all baked goods from scratch, I made homemade cranberry orange muffins a few minutes ago. The recipe made 18. Since I only have one muffin tin, I used 6 silicone muffin cups on a flat pan. It worked well. They smell so good. They will be used for snacks and for breakfasts. I had cranberries in my freezer that I froze last November. I think I have enough to last until this November. In August, I will be concentrating on freezing blueberries for pancakes and muffins for the coming year.

Hubby and I will have hot dogs for dinner tonight. We don't have them very often because I don't really like them. But we are trying to use up everything in our freezers, so I pulled them out today. If the weather clears, we will grill them outside.

I just threw a load of towels in the HE washer and will dry them in the dryer using the wool balls. 

Other than those things, I am just going to relax the rest of the afternoon. I was so busy for 3 and 1/2 weeks that it feels good to just do nothing.

I hope you are all having a great day!     

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Never Say Never

I hadn't planned on shopping again this week but I was not passing up this cheap deal. On the way to an appointment yesterday, I stopped at a brand new Dollar General that just opened. They had Dial Body Wash for $2.00 each. I used 2 - $3.00 off 2 printable coupons and paid $.50 each for them plus tax.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Monday's Happenings and Hubby's Surprise

Before I tell you all that I did on Monday, I want to tell you how Hubby surprised me when I came home from Albany.

Our shower in our master bathroom was not sealed properly(by my standards) when we purchased this house. They used cheap caulk. We knew at one point or another we would have to redo it. So while I was away, Hubby stripped the shower of all caulk and replaced it with a good quality microban caulk. Then when that was dry, he steam cleaned every tile in the shower along with the floor. 

Our shower looks better than the day we moved in our home over 7 years ago. To keep it that way, we are using Method Daily Shower Spray whenever we take showers. Also Hubby figures that he will steam clean it twice a year. The steam cleaner we own is not a particularly easy one to use and it was slow to heat and had to be refilled constantly. It took Hubby 3 days to steam the shower. So I am keeping my eye on the prices on this one: Steam Cleaner . It will make it much easier for Hubby when I purchase it.

Yesterday, I unpacked my last suitcase and threw all of my laundry in the washing machine. I dried it in the HE using the dryer balls. It was then hung or folded and put away. So all clothing is now clean.

I made us sunny side up eggs and bacon for breakfast. After the dishes were done, I ran the dishwasher on the energy saving cycle.

Then I got showered and dressed for the day. After making my grocery list, I went to Top's to get a few things that were on sale and that we needed.

Whole roasting chickens were on sale at the cheapest price that I have seen since we moved here. They were $ .68 a lb. so I bought two. We needed hot dog rolls($.79) and the 18 ct. large eggs were $ .99. Three lbs. of onions and 5 lbs. of potatoes were $ 1.99 each. I was totally out of them. The orange juice was $ 1.00. I only needed a little to make homemade cranberry orange muffins. 

Hubby loves peanut butter and raspberry jam on crackers. We were out of the jam so I got 2 jars of Smuckers at $2.99 each. Hubby also had no creamer left so I paid full price for two Baileys Irish Cream at $3.79 each. He also had finished the apple jacks cereal so I purchased the Top's brand for $1.99. And lastly the Washington State cherries were on sale for $ 1.99 a lb. which is a great price here so I bought a bag. I also purchased 4-12 packs of Diet Coke for Hubby on a B2G2F sale. My total grocery bill for the week was $57.20. I will not be shopping again until next week and only if we need something.

My loafers came home in a plastic bag from Albany. The reason being that one day that I took my granddaughter to camp it had poured rain overnight and I had to walk up the hill from the parking area. I sunk in the mud. So I spent about an hour cleaning them and polishing them. They are my favorite shoes. 

Lunch was assorted cheeses on crackers. We had so much food leftover from the spread the kids put out for our anniversary that we are still enjoying it. Hubby never had to cook the entire week that I was away. 

Then it was time to write some bills. My son and DIL purchased my airplane tickets and 7 day hopper pass for Disney in January. So I sent them a check for $ 804. for those and a check for their anniversary which is this Thursday. I am hoping they will use it for a nice dinner out.  

Hubby was saying that he thought he would need his Green Mountain Decaf K cups soon. So I checked and they will be shipped on subscribe and save in mid August. I counted what he has left and he has plenty until then.

About 1PM, I loaded the crockpot. I put in two very large chicken breasts, an envelope of Lipton onion soup mix, and 2 cans of cream of chicken soup. I cooked it on high for 4 hours and it was just perfectly cooked but very moist and tender. I grabbed an envelope of Idahoan mashed potatoes and made those and cooked up some green beans as sides. It was so delicious that Hubby kept raving about it. We only ate a 1/2 of a breast each so there is plenty for dinner tomorrow night. I love getting two meals out of one cooking session.

After dinner dishes were done, Hubby and I relaxed with our after dinner coffee outside in our front yard sitting area. The baby boy next door came over to visit with his Mom and Dad.  He was walking unassisted in his flip flops through our grass. He just turned 9 months old a week ago and has been walking for 3 weeks. I have never in all of my years seen a baby so young walk. He is just adorable and has a beautiful smile. 
 
I went to bed early and could not sleep so I am posting this. Hopefully now I can get to sleep.

Monday, July 17, 2017

June Expense Report

This is every penny that we spent in June 2017. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask in comments.

Groceries                   $  467.81
Restaurant-Takeout        201.14 
Household Goods           189.27
Gasoline                        101.30
Medical                          540.10
Beer                                11.87
Netflix                               9.99 
Alarm Monitoring              30.90
Gas & Electric                 135.33
CableTV,Int. Tel.              138.20
Gifts                               124.94 
Entertainment                 146.00
Personal Care                    78.07
Yard Maintenance             390.00
Water & Sewer                   47.37

Total Expenses             $ 2612.29

Groceries were high this month because we had lots of company eat this us and stay with us.

Restaurant and Take Out was a meal for us and some outings while my granddaughter was here.

Household Goods was 2 toner cartridges for our printer which are cheaper when you buy them in 2's. We also purchased batteries for the cellphones and other items, car mirrors and a massager, etc.

Gasoline was high because of our trip to Albany for my granddaughter's birthday and some day outings with her while she was here.

Medical was health insurance, prescriptions and some co-pays for doctor appointments.

The gas and electric bill was very low considering we used both heat and A/C during that period.

Entertainment was for outings with my granddaughter such as the zoo and aquarium.

Personal care was my haircut and some body wash, floss and toothpaste.

Yard Maintenance is a monthly cost during the summer.

Water and sewer was low and is billed quarterly.

Considering all the extra people we fed and took care of, we were happy with these expenses.  

But the best part is that we were able to save and invest $7500. this month due to higher quarterly income. So we have now saved and $ 34,000. in 6 months for the year. We are very happy with this total.

I hope to have the July expense report out on time now that I am home. 

Although I am very tired from helping out in Albany last week, it feels good to be back blogging.    

Saturday, July 15, 2017

This is the First Opportunity that I have had to Post

Sorry that I haven't had a chance to write. It has been a very busy week starting last Saturday with our 50th anniversary celebration which was a huge surprise. My children had the best day planned for Hubby and I.

It started at 9 in the morning when everyone was at our home. We left for Canalside in Buffalo where we went for a ride on a Pirate Sailboat which the grandchildren and all of us enjoyed immensely.  Being out on the water on such a beautiful sunny day for a couple of hours was just perfect. 

Then we went back to our home where my children put out quite a buffet of cheeses, crackers, chips, dips, veggie platters, meats, fruits, etc. They had also brought a variety of alcoholic refreshments. Since they had rented a stretch limo service for the day we didn't have to worry about having a drink. No one had to drive.

Originally they had hired a photographer to come in the afternoon and do a family portrait of us. However they cancelled the photographer when my DIL got sick. Everyone wanted her to be in the portrait so that is postponed until later this year when she has recovered and we can all gather at our home again.

So we just enjoyed each other's company until it was time to dress for dinner at our favorite restaurant,
Russell's . We enjoyed everything from drinks, appetizers, entrees, to desserts. Hubby and I had delicious filet mignons and lobster tails. This is a five star restaurant where the food is top-notch, the waiters and service people are in tuxedos and they give superb service. No detail is left undone. If you go to the restroom, they fold your napkin for you. My children knew how much we love going there and made sure we enjoyed it on our 50th.

After dinner the limo driver took us on a wonderful sightseeing tour of Buffalo and then to Niagara Falls.
Hubby and I spent part of our honeymoon there. When we got home, we finished the evening off doing sparklers outside on one of our patios. Some of the neighbors stopped by having seen the limo and wished us a Happy Anniversary. It was a wonderful day that Hubby and I will always cherish. Spending time with family is just the best! And my sons and DIL's planning and paying for our celebration was just wonderful. We thank them with all our heart.
 
The next morning I rode with my son and granddaughter back to their home near Albany. I have been here ever since taking my granddaughter to camp in the Helderberg Mountains every day all week, cooking meals, doing dishes, grocery shopping, and taking care of my DIL while she recovers. We are planning a yummy take out dinner tonight which will be my last night here. My son will drive me to Syracuse in the morning where my other son will pick me up and drive me the rest of the way home near Buffalo. I so miss Hubby and can't wait to get back to him.

I hope to be back posting regularly on Monday or Tuesday. I have missed it. I might even post some pictures from last Saturday for you to see but only for a couple of hours since my family likes their privacy. Hopefully I can post the July expense report this week too. Until then.....

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Thanks To All of You and a Celebration

My daughter in law finally got to the operating room at 6:15PM last night(Friday). Her surgery and the recovery room took a little over 4 hours.

We got great news and I know that all of your prayers helped. Her oncology team were very concerned that she had ovarian cancer. All of her tests showed numbers in the thousands instead of the 0-20 that they should have shown.

Her initial biopsy tonight shows no cancer. She had what they believe is a pre-cancerous tumor which they have removed. Further testing will take 2 weeks but they are very optimistic and so are we.

I have been so stressed for two weeks worrying about her and trying not to let my granddaughter see any worry.

My daughter in law is ecstatic over the news. They are keeping her overnight and perhaps until Sunday because of the surgery. She kicked my son out of her room about 11PM and told him to head here. Her sister is by her side. 

He never would have left right now but he knows she is great and the news is good. 

Today is our 50th Wedding Anniversary!  And he and his brother have planned a celebration for us here. So we will be partying with them, my other DIL, and my two grandchildren. We feel bad that my DIL can't be here but her health comes first. I will see her  tomorrow(Sunday) when I go back to their home with my son and granddaughter for a week or so.

My son is on his way so I had better get a couple of hours of sleep. I have set an alarm to wake me up around 3AM to let him in the house.

Just wanted to say thank you to all of you who prayed for my daughter in law. I am very appreciative.   

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Random Thoughts

I am sitting here enjoying a cup of coffee and so many random thoughts are racing through my head.

I am praying and thinking about my DIL who will be operated on tomorrow and who can't join us on Saturday. Please Lord let everything turn out well for her. 

I am wondering if the baby bunny will come out so that my granddaughter can watch him this morning. She has really enjoyed doing that.

I am pondering making homemade apple cinnamon waffles with 100% pure maple syrup for breakfast. My granddaughter loves them.
 

I plan on cutting up a 2 lb. container of fresh strawberries so that we have fresh fruit for the rest of the week and weekend. 

I have to sit down and make a grocery list of things that Hubby will want while I am helping my family next week. Then I have to find some time to actually grocery shop.

I have to pick up the house, vacuum and dust, clean and sanitize the kitchen and bathrooms really well. Everyone will be here for a celebration on Saturday. I also have to make sure the guest room is all set for company.

I was told this past weekend not to lift a finger to get snacks, alcohol, or anything else in for the celebration because it is all being taken care of. However I am going to make sure that we have paper plates and plastic cups for snacks and beverages so that I don't have to wash any dishes later on. So they are going on my grocery list.

We had sparklers on July 4th and we just laid the ends down on our pavers in our seating area out front. We did not want to put them in the garbage that night for fear of starting a fire. We were so busy yesterday that I forgot to clean them up so that is on the agenda for today.

All of the laundry needs to be done so that I can pack mostly clean clothes in my granddaughter's luggage for the trip, clean clothes to take away with me for a week, and I want to leave clean clothes for Hubby.

I need to make sure that our clothing for the celebration is clean and ironed. That includes my granddaughter's outfit. 

My granddaughter and I have a morning at the salon tomorrow to get our hair done for Saturday. Then I am going to surprise her and take her to lunch. Today, I have to find some bows for her hair.

I think I will serve leftover pizza or fried chicken for dinner tonight. That will be easy after a busy day.

I am late posting the June expense report but it is just going to have to wait.

So many things racing through my head and I am sure more will. It's just been really busy around here with so many things to accomplish including so many day trips of enjoyment for our granddaughter.

When I get back from Eastern New York, I will be exhausted and happy to just sit and write this blog. Until then..................

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

How I Buy My K-cups

We have a Keurig K- cup machine. It is one of the  luxuries that we enjoy. We only make one cup of coffee a day for each of us. Sometimes I have 2 or a cup of tea but that is rare. Most of my liquid refreshment is tap water.

This works for us because Hubby drinks decaf and I drink regular. I watch for good deals online for bulk purchases. Most of the time we order our K-cups from Amazon or buy them at BJ's warehouse club. However BJ's usually does not have the best price unless they are getting rid of a particular brand on clearance. When that happens, I will buy a lot. Amazon has the lowest price on Hubby's decaf. 

But on June 30th I ordered 3 boxes of the above pictured coffee from Walmart. I rarely order from Walmart. However I had a cup of this coffee at a friend's home. I loved it. She told me that she buys it all of the time from Walmart online. So I ordered 3 of the 48 count boxes. Shipping was free and they said it would arrive today via Fed Ex which it did.

I paid $ 14.98 for each box for a total of $ 44.94 or about $32. a K-cup. However I ordered them on June 30th while Ebates was paying 15% cash back for an order at Walmart. So I am getting $ 4.49 cash back which brought my total down to $ 40.45 or $ .28 a K-cup. This was definitely a great buy price for me.

For those of you who buy K-cups, I would love to know how you save money on this purchase. Please feel free to leave a comment and share with all of us.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Happy Fourth of July

Image result for free flag pic

I hope you all have a fun and safe Fourth of July celebration. We are looking forward to spending today with our granddaughter and my son and West.

My son, his wife, and West just returned last night from a 3 week vacation to China, Hong Kong and Japan where they went sightseeing and visited all three Disney Parks. We missed them but they are coming to spend part of today with us so we are looking forward to hearing all about their trip.

We have been extremely busy taking our granddaughter to places like the zoo and aquarium,  to the yogurt place, and Five Guys. The rest of the time it seems is taken up with washing and braiding her waist length hair, cooking meals, doing dishes, grocery shopping, laundry, playing Monopoly and Uno, etc.

To update you, My DIL is having surgery on this coming Friday. Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers. I will be going to the Eastern part of the state on Sunday with my granddaughter to take care of her next week and my DIL while my son works. He just started a new job so it is tough to take time off. Hubby will keep the home fires burning here. I do not know when I will be returning but when I do I will be back blogging. I miss all of you.

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!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

May 2017 Expense Report

This is every penny we spent this month for expenses. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask in comments.

Groceries                        $ 334.56

Restaurants&Takeout            44.47

Household Maint.                229.41

Gasoline                              52.01

Medical                            1117.16

Clothing                              20.94

Liquor&Beer                      144.94

Netflix                                  9.99

Alarm Monitoring                 30.90

Gas&Electric                      171.75
 

Cable TV, Int, Telep.           138.20

Vacation                           423.17

AAA -                                 77.00

Gifts                                103.40

Total                            $ 2897.90

Most of the grocery bill was shopping for the stockpile and company. Restaurant and Takeout was for a dinner out and 2 takeouts.

Household maintenance was for items to make a couple of repairs, flowers for the yard, and storage bins for the basement.

Gasoline was high because it included gas for our mini vacation.

Medical was high because we paid our monthly premium, got 5 prescriptions, payed a medical bill, and paid $738. to the dentist. The $ 738. was for cleanings, fluoride treatments, and exams for both of us, X-rays for Hubby and some teeth bonding for me. 

Clothing was for a pair of shorts for me. 

Liquor and beer was to replenish our wine, liquor and beer supply for the summer. We have already entertained some company and we have a lot more coming in the next month.  

We continue to use Netflix to watch movies. The alarm monitoring is for Guardian to protect us and our home.

Gas and Electric was high but it was cold this spring and the heat didn't get turned off until almost June. Cable TV, the internet, and telephone are a necessity in this house. Most of it is our entertainment.

Vacation was the mini vacation that I posted about. This included the cost of the Bed and Breakfast, some meals, and a couple of items we purchased for us. The gasoline for the trip I included in gasoline above.

AAA was for our yearly membership in case our car breaks down. Gifts were for my granddaughter whose birthday is next week.

This was a high month for expenses but with all we have been doing around here, we needed that little vacation. Plus our monthly expenses are always high when we visit the dentist since we have no insurance.

Our income was higher this month than most months for a number of different reasons( including rebates)  so we were able to invest $ 6500. which brings our yearly savings for 2017 to $26,500. Not too shabby for a 5 month total.  I am hoping to invest a hefty amount next month by slashing costs for June. For those that are new here, we continue to save as much as we can in retirement so that we never run out of money. That is our biggest goal but we also want to help pay our granddaughter's private school junior high and high school tuition. There is also a possibility that our grandson will be going to a private school for those same years. So we are making it a priority to help with this huge cost.

I will be back later this week with a post about why we have been so busy the past few weeks and what we have been up to. See you then......

Monday, June 12, 2017

My Only Grocery Haul This Week

We stocked up quite a bit last week because we had Dollar Doublers at Top's. So this week was just a quick shop.

The Diet Coke for Hubby was .63 after store coupon. The shower gel was $1.00 after coupon. The ketchup was $.50 after a $1.50 from Checkout 51. The goldfish were $.99 with store coupon. The Poptarts were free with a store coupon that I won from their Monopoly game.The Rice- A Roni was $.38 after coupon. The ravioli were on B1G1F and after coupon were $ 1.99 for both. 

The M&M's were on B3G3F so I paid $ .57 for all 6 after coupons. The butter was $ 2.49 with a store coupon. The 2 taco seasonings (free after coupons) were a moneymaker after Checkout 51 rebate of $ .55.

The hot dogs were on sale for $ .88 each. And lastly the Hillshire Farms cold cuts were on B2G2F so I paid $ 10.98 for all 4. 

This was not a normal shop for me. I mainly picked up the good deals that will keep for a long time in my stockpile and things that I can use while we have company this summer.

The shower gel, ketchup, rice-a-roni, taco seasonings, and butter will all add to my pantry and freezer stockpile.

The goldfish, ravioli(used for a quick lunch), M&M's (treat for the grandchildren), hot dogs, and cold cuts will be used for company this summer. My grandchildren love hot dogs and the cold cuts will be handy for quick lunches when we have company the beginning of next month. 

Don't judge. I know a lot of this isn't healthy but we eat healthy 99% of the time so I am choosing easy things for lunches and snacks when we are really busy. 

I should post pictures when I get a chance of my stockpile as I am building it if anyone is interested. 

So did are you getting any good deals at the market this week?

I will be back soon with my May Expense Report. I know it is late but if you only knew all that is on our plate right now, you would understand why.
 

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Free Printables That I Love

The internet is such a wonderful place. It allows me to blog, to google anything that I want to learn, to watch You Tube videos and to see the best deals at my favorite stores each week. But some of the best things that I have acquired from the internet are printables that I use over and over again. I am going to share them with you hoping that you can use some of them too.

By far the best printable that I have ever used is a recent one.  I love this! The young woman who created this is the author of one of my favorite blogs: WNY Deals and To Dos . She created these printable spreadsheets to help us keep track of prices, coupons and cash back offers. I use these to make my grocery lists and it helps me to know exactly what I am doing at the store and to know which cash back sites to submit my receipts to. I have tried so many ways on my lists to keep track of all of these things for years. But this is by far the best ever and works beautifully. So here is the link to this printable: Free Printable Shopping Lists .

The next one is from a young woman who stops by this blog once in a while. It's the Passionate Penny Pincher  . I use her updated Aldi, Target and Walmart Comparison Price Lists.

I have used her prior lists and was happy to see her update the list earlier this year. It keeps my eye on which prices are the best so that I don't overspend. 

The next one I have found very handy to keep track of what is in my chest freezer at all times. It's the 
Freezer Inventory List . If you don't know what is in your freezer, it makes it hard to plan meals and use up the items before they get freezer burned. 

And lastly this is my favorite daily to do list:

To Do List 

I find all of these very helpful in my daily life which makes every day less stressful. I hope that you find one or all of these helpful in your life too. 

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Frugal Things

Here are the frugal things we have done the past two weeks:

- We had 2 stones come loose on the front of the house. Rather than spend a fortune to have a contractor come and repair them, Hubby did it himself with gorilla glue. Worked great!

- My grandson and granddaughter love Pringles so I get some once in a while as a treat. I found the cans for $ .79 each on sale at Save A Lot last week and purchased a case of each. As you can see my grandson has already been into them.

- Hubby and I went flower shopping and Hubby planted them himself. Usually the landscape crew does them but that is expensive.

- We had company for dinner and Hubby grilled NY strip steaks from a whole loin that I purchased at rock bottom prices last Fall. We had our leftover steak sliced up and cooked it in butter and minced garlic for breakfast the next day. It was so good with our scrambled eggs. I sent our company home with their steak leftovers and they were planning on doing the same.

- Our company brought us a beautiful flower bouquet that we will enjoy for a week or two.

- Thanks to Mother Nature we have not had to water our lawn once this year so far which is a huge saving on our water bill.

- I continue to use my dryer balls in my dryer. They are saving me about 20 minutes of dryer time per load.

- I am using my laundry eggs to wash our clothes. They are always clean and I no longer have to purchase laundry detergent.

- I am rebuilding my stockpile for this winter at rock bottom prices.

- We have dropped our monthly electric usage into the 400's for KWH, down from the 600's just a few months ago by watching our usage very carefully. 

- We have tons of cherries on our cherry tree this year. I will be picking them when they ripen to make pies.

- I purchased 16 on sale storage tubs for $ 5.97 each and I have been reorganizing our basement storage with them.

- I mailed the rebate forms and POP for 3 liquor rebates totaling $ 23.00.

- I have been getting multiples of freebie items for our stockpile. Today I purchased 4 pasta, 1 Suddenly Salad, 2 Very Berry Cheerios, and 2 Yoplait Dippers all for free. I also got 5 lbs. of Smithfield All Natural Bacon for $ 7.98.

- I received 2 - $ 1.00 Mt. Olive coupons in the mail just for asking. 

- I now have $ .60 off a gallon of gasoline so I will be filling up the car in the next couple of days. 

- My granddaughter is learning about money from the book I sent her. She has been sending me links to buy used books that she wants so that it will save me money. These are on her birthday wish list. I just love that she is learning to be money conscious at 9 years old.

Have you done anything frugal recently? Please share in comments. I love reading your money saving triumps.  

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Hubby Was Busy

Even though we have a landscape service that takes care of our yard monthly, Hubby is now planting our own flowers again. We ordered perennial flowers for the entire one side of the house last year that were recommended by the landscape company and they all died this past winter. They bought them and they planted them. They are warrantied but the landscape company has not replaced them yet. We are hoping when they come this month that they will. 

But in the meantime, Hubby was busy yesterday getting annuals for our large and small pots on the patio. We decided not to plant vegetables in them this year. Ignore the empty pot behind the orange ones. That is getting pitched. 

We always did our outside landscaping and flowers and Hubby wishes that he still could. He does a much better job than hired help does. But alas, he just can't do much anymore on the outside except ride the John Deere to cut the lawn. So planting these few pots yesterday made Hubby feel good yesterday and that brought a smile to my face.

Be back perhaps tomorrow or Monday with frugal things. Time permitting.