Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The Most Important Fund In Your Life

If you only have one fund in your life, it should be an emergency fund. This is the most important savings you will ever have.

When we were starting out as a newly married couple, we decided we needed to save an emergency fund. However, we didn't know how much we should save. We started out putting $10. a week into it. With the small salary Hubby had and the fact that he was going to college nights, we weren't sure that we could swing that. After all it was $40. a month which was half our rent. But we budgeted for it because we decided it was a necessity. What if our car broke? What if we had an emergency high medical or dental bill? What if his college tuition took a huge increase? What if his books were more expensive than what we had budgeted? Most importantly, what if he lost his job?  You know the things that happen to everyone. At first I was not working, so $ 40. a month was a lot of money for us to save. But we stuck with it and made it work. 

When I found a job about 4 months later, we made a decision to never spend a penny of my salary. We also discussed how much we should actually save in the emergency fund. We decided it should be $10,000. because with both of us working that would cover about 1 year's salary. So we took half of my salary and put it towards the emergency fund every week until we reached that $10,000 while still taking $ 40. a month from Hubby's salary towards it. The other half of my salary we saved toward a down payment on our first home. At the end of the month after all bills,emergency and home savings were paid, anything left went towards that emergency fund. 

It took us a long time to save up to that $10,000. but we did it. And we were so glad we did. Shortly after we bought our home and I had quit working, Hubby was hit by a car while walking from the parking lot into his place of employment. Hubby had just switched jobs a few weeks before that. He was laid up in the hospital for 6 weeks. Fortunately our health insurance had kicked in. However he was paid at full pay for only a week and a half and then at half pay for a couple of weeks and then no pay while he was hospitalized. If we had not had that emergency fund I don't know what we would have done to pay our mortgage, electric, gas and telephone bills, food, gasoline, insurances, etc.

We probably could have asked his parents or my mom for a loan. However, that is not something Hubby would ever want to do. Our parents had earned their money by working hard and should never have to pay for an adult child. That was a rule that we kept our entire lives. We never asked our parents for money. They never even had a clue about our money. It just wasn't something that was talked about.

So we made it through that crisis and then continued to pay into that fund when Hubby went back to work until we had $10,000. again. As Hubby's salary increased we always added to that fund. We would quit adding to it as soon as the fund equaled one year's salary. We felt that was what we would need if he lost his job for any length of time until he found a new one.

Over the years it has worked well for us. When the furnace broke or a washing machine, dryer, refrigerator, or stove bit the dust, we didn't have to panic, we knew we had the money to repair or replace them. If the car needed a major repair, we had the money. If a crisis hit, we didn't have to worry. Then we always faithfully replaced any money we spent.

We have been retired for so many years now and we still keep an emergency fund. It now pays for those emergencies that come up the same as it always has. But it has grown so large that we now not only pay what I call "crisis" bills from it but we pay cash for our new cars when we need one from it. Once we pay for a car, we save into it from our monthly retirement money to replace the car money back into the fund. After all cars only last so many years and then they need to be replaced especially when you live in a snow belt where cars rust like we do. 

Let me give you an example of what happened yesterday. I had a teeth cleaning appointment that had been rescheduled from when I was sick. I also knew that they had scheduled me time with the dentist because I broke a crown on my back tooth the Saturday before I took sick. 

So I had the cleaning and a full set of X rays that set me back $346. Then it was time to see the dentist about that broken tooth. The dentist had patched it twice for me since last September. I knew going there that it was just wasting money to do that again. So I was pretty sure the crown needed replacing. However I was not prepared for the 30 minute discussion that the dentist and I had. Since my last appointment, the crown on the other side of my mouth has developed a hairline crack. These crowns are 30 years old. Both of these crowns support my permanent bridge. Because they support the bridge, the bridge has to be removed, have the old glue cleaned out, and then be glued just to hold it in temporarily because it will have to come back out again after my new crowns are done and then be reinstalled with the bridges' rests being supported by those crowns.

In order to get the proper fit, molds have to be made of the crowns and bridge. They will then be sent out to the lab who originally made my bridge so that they can make the crowns to fit the bridge securely and perfectly. All of this work involves three appointments. One today, one on Thursday, and then one on February 16th. The lab needs two weeks to make the crowns. 

What could go wrong?  When the dentist removes the bridge today, it could break. I have a root canal in a tooth within that bridge. That could pull out or break. If the bridge breaks, I am looking at another $12,800. worth of work that I just paid for three years ago when I got the bridge. He thinks he can get it off with minimal damage or maybe none. I will know this afternoon. 

Anyhow, I asked him yesterday the cost of all of this- two crowns and the extra work because they support the bridge. He said it would be about $ 4000. which is payable as the work is done. So all of it would have to be paid by February 16th. I plan on paying it all today via my credit card to get the reward points. Between that, the $ 346. I paid yesterday, Hubby's cleaning last week and other things we have put on the card, we are almost up to getting $100. cash back again. When the bill comes every month we pay it in full. I just got my credit card bill yesterday so it will be a month before the bill comes and I can continue to earn interest on that $4,000. for another month. Plus I will get the rewards. That is how Hubby and I use credit cards.   

I scheduled the appointments and came home to tell Hubby. He said to me that is what our emergency fund is for and he was glad that I scheduled the appointments so quickly. He knows me and he knows I hate going to the dentist. So the sooner it is all over, the happier I will be.

Did we panic? No. Why not? Because we have our emergency fund. We will replace that money asap.

If you don't have an emergency fund for an expense like this, you would have to put it on a credit card and then pay interest while you pay it off. Then the next emergency comes and you put that on the card. That is how people get into so much credit card debt with no payoff in site. Pretty soon you are charging things that are not emergencies like dinners out, new clothing, etc. Yikes.

Is it easy to save for an emergency fund? For some yes, for others no. It wasn't easy for Hubby and I to save that first $10,000. on such a low income. But we did it because we knew it would pay off in the long run. It is the best thing we ever did. Because of it, we have never paid interest on a credit card. We have been able to get interest instead of paying interest. We have never had to worry when something like this dental repair happens. We are stress free.

So if you don't have an emergency fund start building it now. It will be the smartest thing you can do with your money. It will save you a fortune in your lifetime. If you take money out of it for a "crisis", pay it back asap. 

So while I am off to the dentist for my appointment today, Hubby will be cooking an almost 19 lb. turkey that I thawed. 
 

Monday, January 30, 2017

Why Hubby Doesn't Shop

Hello everyone. Thanks so much for all of the good wishes. I am on the mend and feeling like I have some energy again. Hubby waited on me hand and foot while I got the rest that the doctor ordered. My menu pretty much went out the window. Hubby only cooks certain things. He made chicken piccata for two nights which was so delicious. He made wild rice to go with it. Then he made spaghetti and meatballs. I eat my spaghetti with parmesan and butter.

He also ran some errands for me to the bank, to Rite Aid for my prescriptions, and to B.J.'s. The picture is what he purchased at B.J.'s. I gave him a list of three items that I was out of to pick up. Can you guess what the three items were? I needed cold pressed coconut oil because that is what I saute with. I also asked him to get some avocado oil to drizzle on salads and to make mayonaise, and a liquid hand soap refill. He did well getting those items. However the rest is why I don't let him loose at the warehouse club or market. He bought a pound of deli ham, white cheddar corn puffs, microwave popcorn, mini quiche appetizers, and Chex mix. UGH! 

We rarely buy deli meat because of what is in it. But this made sandwiches for him while I was sick so I will give him grace on that. All of the treats were unnecessary. I can make quiche, popcorn in our popper, and get him a little bag of Chex mix not this humongous bag. Besides it is loaded with salt which he shouldn't have. I think I will return it.

His extra purchases came to $37.58. Mine would have been $33.05. He also renewed our membership which was $50.00+ 8.75% tax. I will return the Chex mix the next time I go there. Because he is Hubby whom I love, I will get him a small bag of Chex mix if he wants it the next time I go shopping.

Does your Hubby go shopping for you and come back with lots of junk? 

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Hubby Here

We just came home from the hospital. American Dreamer has not been feeling well for a couple of weeks so she called the Doctor this morning. After telling him her symptoms, he told her to get to the E.R. asap. He immediately sent orders over for the testing he wanted done. 

I told her when we arrived home to go lay down while I cooked dinner. But first, American Dreamer insisted I let you know why she hadn't posted today.

She is under Doctor's orders for the next few days and says she will talk to you all on Monday. She needs rest for now. We hope you understand.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

You Know What They Say About The Best Laid Plans, etc.

Well things didn't happen the way I thought yesterday. Fortunately my post for yesterday had been written in advance. 

We had a wonderful birthday celebration for my grandson on Sunday. I went to bed early on Sunday night and woke up with an upset stomach. I was up all night with it. By morning I was very sick and exhausted. For the first time in my life I cancelled a dentist appointment last minute and rescheduled for next week. 

Fortunately my broken tooth doesn't hurt. Hubby went for his cleaning though which cost $230.00 with checkup. I went to bed at 8:00AM and slept until 4PM. I woke up starving. So I got up and had a cup of chicken broth. I went back to bed and slept until 7AM this morning. I am feeling so much better today but I am not going to push it. So most of what I will do today will be sitting down.

Hence, here is my menu plan for the week:

Sunday:  Late lunch-dinner was Wegmans pizza, tossed salad and brownie cake with vanilla ice cream.

Monday:  Hubby- Leftover Pizza; Me - Chicken broth

Tuesday: Baked Haddock and green beans. If I can keep food down today, I will eat this. Otherwise it will be chicken broth for me again.

Wednesday: Tacos with Ground Turkey and lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, black olives, sour cream, salsa and taco sauce.

Thursday:  Spaghetti with sauce for Hubby and spaghetti with butter and parmesan cheese for grandson and I and tossed salads. 

Friday: Blueberry Pancakes and Breakfast Sausage

Saturday: Cheeseburgers and Homemade French Fries

Sunday: Chicken Pot Pie, peaches

As you may have noticed, my menu this week is kid friendly. My grandson has the day off from school on Friday so he is coming to visit for dinner on Thursday evening and staying with us until late afternoon on Sunday.

Today, I will make a list of things to do with him while he is here. The only thing he has asked to do is go to White Rabbit for yogurt. I told him to bring his Pokeman Monopoly that he got for Christmas. We are all enjoying playing that with him. It brings back memories of my childhood days playing Monopoly which I loved and still do. 

It has gotten really cold here again. We woke up to some snow on the ground. We have a snowstorm arriving later today so we could end up with a lot of snow. I am glad that Hubby and I do not have to go anywhere for a few days. 

After I get my list done, I will help Hubby. He has been going through a huge folder of warranties and other info for all of our large and small appliances. He is weeding out the ones that we no longer own or are expired and scanning the rest into our household inventory on the computer. Then he copies them onto a flash drive which we keep in our fireproof safe. It's a big project since he hasn't done them in a few years. 

I have been compiling most of the info for our 2016 taxes but I haven't gotten all of the statements that I need yet. If I had I could work on those. But I think it will be February until we have everything. 

I also have some receipts to scan into Personal Capital to keep our January expenses accurate so I will try to get those done.

The rest of the day I will take it easy watching You Tube. I will catch up on the recent videos from Road To The Farm, Big Family Homestead, Fundamental Home, Living on a Dime, etc. I am so enjoying these channels watching them on our big screen television in our bedroom. I rarely watch TV anymore so I don't have to watch lengthy commercials which I hate. The  commercials on You Tube, I can skip after 4 seconds. I keep working on Hubby to give up Cable TV. With all of our options including Netflix and Amazon Prime, I see no need for it. But alas Hubby loves his sports and is not about to give them up.

I hope you all have a great day.

Monday, January 23, 2017

A Baking Day

Saturday was a baking day for me. My grandson's birthday celebration was yesterday. He was 7 last Thursday. The years have flown by. He was born a month after we moved to an apartment while we waited for our home to be built here. It seems like we just left Arizona.

Since my grandson loves my homemade banana bread, that is what I baked for breakfast. It was so moist and yummy. I served it with scrambled eggs and sausage. I have noticed that I could buy a loaf of banana bread in the market for $6.99. The size of the loaf is less than 2/3's the size of mine and probably a lot less yummy. I calculated that mine cost me using 3 bananas that I paid $ .27 for and all of the other ingredients under a $1.00. That is a good savings by doing it myself.

I had planned on having a Minion cake made at the bakery for his birthday celebration. But not when the price quoted to me was $49.99. So I made him  brownies with chocolate chip cookie dough on top.  There were only 5 of us to eat it so a 9x9 pan worked perfectly. I had a #7 candle. He loved it. He is not much of a cake eater but loves brownies and chocolate chips. The brownies with chocolate chip cookies cost me under $3.00 to make. I will keep $46.99 in my pocket any time by doing it myself. I looked for Pokeman or Minion figures at Dollar Tree but alas they had none. So we just went simple.

We got him his Wegman's prepared pizzas for our late lunch celebration and then had the brownies and ice cream. He loved all of his gifts including his brand new Fire HD Tablet that I paid $59.99 for and used a $10.00 gift card to help defray the cost.

That is when my savings went out the window! I broke what I think is a crown while eating the brownie. Since nothing hurt and I have a dental cleaning appointment on Monday, I am posting this while I am at the dentist. I will let you know how I make out but I am suspecting that the cleaning will get put off and a temporary crown will be made if the dentist has time. UGH!        
   

Friday, January 20, 2017

Just a Short Post Today

Today I am going to speak from my heart. At noon today our new President, Donald J. Trump, will be sworn into office. I pray that the Lord helps him to do the right thing for all of us Americans during his term of office. I hope and pray that he will be able to get this country back on the path of paying back the national debt. I pray that he will incentivize the private sector to create jobs and that he will fix the tax system in this country. There are many more things I hope he will do but I won't bore you.

We have not had a great economy for the past 8+ years. There are so many millions of people who are hurting and barely making ends meet. Millions of people have lost their jobs and have quit looking for work. The government has told us for the past few years that things are great. Being an accountant, I don't believe it. Our economy is in horrible shape and needs all the help this new President can give it.

I also pray that the Lord will bring all Americans together because we all want the same things. We want our country to be safe, secure, and strong. I  love my neighbor whether they are white, black,  hispanic or any other race. I love my neighbor whether they are Republicans, Democrats, Conservatives, Libertarians, Independents or the Green Party. I am praying that all Americans will love their neighbors too and that every person will come together for the sake of our country.

I have seen Presidents Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, G.H.W. Bush, Clinton, G.W. Bush and Obama sworn into office.  Today, I will see the 20th Presidential Inauguration in my lifetime if I counted it right. 

I am beyond excited! Every President has been different and I have been excited every time watching them get sworn in. But this President really makes me feel so much better than most of the others that have come before him with the exception of Ronald Reagan. It is because he is not your typical career politician. I have gotten kind of tired of the same old, same old. Politicians who promise the world and then do nothing but spend, spend, and spend our children's and grandchildren's future. I am praying and hoping that our new President Trump  does his best to get our country back on track. 

That said, Hubby and I will be watching the inauguration today. We will watch all of the news coverage from 9AM on and we are ready with a bottle of chilled champagne to toast the President at 12:01PM and wish him the best. Don't judge! It will be afternoon and I have waited for this for a very long time.  

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and I will be back posting on Monday.     

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Meat: A Question That Hubby And I Have Been Pondering

We have always purchased our meat in the grocery store at rock bottom sale prices. So if ground beef is on sale at $ 1.99 a lb., we would buy 10-20 lbs. and freeze it. If we happened on a mark down on organic we would grab whatever they had. Lately I have been buying ground turkey to replace ground beef which I have done sporadically over the years. We do have about 2 lbs. left of ground beef in our freezer.

I don't know if you have noticed but we have over the past couple of years. The ground beef that we buy in our area is awful unless we buy 93-97% lean. For most of all of the years we have been married, we always bought ground chuck and it was wonderful. It had good flavor and good taste. For a few years now, the ground meat has not been marked ground chuck. It says ground beef. So what is that? It's anyone's guess. 

The butchers don't even grind it more than once. Half the time I get it in large chunks and regrind it myself with my Kitchen Aid meat grinder attachment on my mixer.

I have a lot of allergies and digestive issues since we returned from Arizona. I had some before we went there but they seem to be worse since we came back to New York.  We have done some research on those and have found that some of them might be relieved by buying grass fed, no antibiotic, no hormone, no animal part fed meat. It seems that some of my allergies could be being caused by what the animals I eat are being fed. I am not a doctor but Hubby seems to think that it would be worth the cost of buying this grass fed meat because of these problems. So we are thinking about taking the plunge this fall.

My son has always purchased his meat this way. He has bought a 1/2 cow every year until he found that they had lots of meat left at the end of that year. So this year he ordered 1/4 cow. He orders it from the same place every summer and then picks it up in the Fall. This year he paid $ 4.65 a lb. no matter whether it was ground beef or T Bone steaks.  We are seriously considering placing an order along with him come summer. Perhaps we could even get a better price if we ordered the 1/2 cow and then just split it. Of course I realize that prices fluctuate every year, so it could be more expensive come Fall but so will the meat in the market then. I believe this is the most cost effective way to get the beef that we want.

Since we eat less beef than other things like  chicken, turkey, and fish, that 1/4 cow might last us two years which is fine. It keeps very well in the deep freeze for that long. My son has done it and so have I.

You all know that we have been eating from our stockpile to save on groceries. We just buy what we really need each week. Now we will definitely be eating from our freezers so that we will have the room next Fall. My son's 1/4 cow took up 1/2 of his freezer space and since we have the same size freezer that is how much space I will need. 

So meat will definitely cost us more this year. However we think it is worth it for our health. While we are eating down the freezer, I will be saving the money to buy that 1/4 cow from our grocery budget. 

I have also found the cheapest source at a market in another town in case we run out of beef before we order the 1/4 cow. 

Now I need to research pork (which we eat very little of and may give it up or not), chicken, and fish. I know very little about those meats.

Do any of you buy grass fed beef? If so what kind of chickens and fish do you buy? I am very interested.  
 

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Grocery Haul This Week

My son took Hubby to the Buffalo Sabres ice hockey game on Monday. It was an afternoon game so I had some time to myself which is a rarity. I chose to do my grocery shopping and then relaxed with some video watching.

I went to Top's and this is what I purchased:

1 jug of Vinegar - $3.49

2 Bags of Frozen Cooked Shrimp - $6.99 ea.= $ 13.98

10 Cans of Top's Vegetables - $.50 ea.= $5.00

3 cans of Muir Glen Organic Tomatoes - $2.00 ea. - $.50 Q Dbled = $ 1.00 ea.= $3.00

3 Kelloggs Special K Pastry Crisps - 3/$5.00 - $.75/1Q Dbled = $ .17 ea. = $ .51 

1 Good Table Plate To Freezer Meal- Marsala - $2.00 - $1./1Q = $1.00 and I will get $1.00 back from Saving Star =Free

1 Go Veggie Mozzarella Slices - $3.99 - $1./1 Q =
$2.99 and I submitted for a $1.00 rebate from Ibotta = $1.99

Lastly, I purchased 4- 12 packs of double rolls of Marcal toilet paper that were being discontinued. They were on clearance for $3.99 ea. and I used a $1./1Q on ea. so I paid $ 2.99 ea. or $11.96. I now have over a years worth of toilet paper so I won't be shopping for this until December of this year or January of 2018.

I also had a $1.00 off next shopping order Catalina so my OOP with tax was $41.89 and I will get back $2.00 in rebates. 

Hubby used up my jug of vinegar cleaning our Keurig K cup coffee maker. It was making noise. He was sure it was the pump. So he ran a full water tank of vinegar through the machine twice and then ran water through twice. It is very quiet now and working well. So the vinegar got added to the list. I thought I had another jug in the basement or I would have picked it up at B.J.'s when I was there because it is cheaper. 

I was so happy to see the shrimp on sale. It is only the 100 count little ones but I use them in a couple of skillet dishes(Shrimp dia Fravolo to name one) I make so they will work. We only use 1/3 of a bag for a meal so these 2 bags will last us 6 meals.

The Top's veggies were cheap. So I took stock of what I had in the basement before I left and decided that I could use some corn to throw in soups and some spinach which I love canned. I got a total of 10 cans which are not all pictured. 

The tomatoes were a good price and Hubby and I are trying to buy organic when we can. They were on sale, were needed, and I had coupons so I got three.

The pastry crisps were one great deal. I have to have these or granola bars in the house in case Hubby has a very low blood sugar. They taste good and raise blood sugar quickly. 

The Good Table product was a no brainer at free. We have tried other good table products and like them.

I will use the mozzarella slices in calzones or for hot meatball sandwiches. All in all it was a great trip.

The rest of the afternoon I watched videos on You Tube.  l love Big Homestead Family, Living on a Dime, and The Fundamental Home among others. I can't tell you the last time I watched TV. Do you watch any good channels that you could share with us?

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Our Menu Plan for the Week

We are mainly eating from our stockpile and trying to keep our meals easy and simple. So here is our menu plan for the week:

Monday:  Red Beans and Rice with Green Beans on the side

Tuesday:  Baked Haddock, Tossed Salad

Wednesday: Roasted Chicken and Vegetables (carrots, onions, celery, and potatoes)

Thursday:  Breakfast for Dinner - omelets and fruit salad 

Friday:  Tacos or Burritos with ground turkey, shredded cheese, diced tomatoes, lettuce, diced onion, sliced black olives topped with choice of sour cream, taco sauce or salsa

Saturday:  Cheeseburgers and French Fries

Sunday: Pizzas from Wegman's,Tossed Salad and Birthday Cake 

My grandson's birthday is on Thursday and he will be 7. He is celebrating with his little friends that day. So we will celebrate here on next Sunday. Over two weeks ago, I asked my grandson, "If you could have anything you wanted for your birthday dinner at our house, what would you want?" Without hesitation he said Wegman's pizza. I said, "the frozen one?" He said, "No, the ones they cook there." So my son and I will be going down to get that pizza and bring it home. It is a hike so we may have to heat it a little in the oven when we get home but that is easy.

Any leftovers this week will be eaten for lunch. There will not be many except the red beans and rice because I am trying hard to keep portions of what I cook down for now. 

Do you have anything special on your menu this week?  

Monday, January 16, 2017

Freebies

Do you sign up for freebies or do you think they are not worth it? I love them. Not only do they give us free things that we can use but they keep my jar stocked in my guest bathroom that guests can help themselves to. 

Over the weekend my Pinch Me box arrived. Not only did it arrive with some nice samples but a free coupon, other coupons and a free 8x8 photo book to sign up for. That will be handy as a gift. BTW, those Slimfast snacks were delicious. Hubby and I shared them as a treat while we were watching football on Sunday. Sign up for free samples from them HERE.
There are new samples coming to sign up for on January 24th.
 
Another freebie that arrived this weekend was this free coupon for a Gillette razor.

Over the years we have gotten tons of freebies. Some of the really good ones that I remember was our universal remote which we are still using over nine years later and a whole bunch of Fisher Price toys through House Party that my granddaughter and her little friends enjoyed immensely. 

We have had many toothpaste samples that we have used when we travel so that we don't have to pack large tubes. We do the same with shampoo,deodorant, conditioner, bath wash and lotion samples. They also supplement what we buy.

You don't have to hunt down freebies unless you enjoy that kind of thing but when you see one, sign up. They will save you a bit of money over time.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Warehouse Shop

I hadn't planned on going to B.J.'s until I got a notice that my membership was expiring soon. Since B.J.'s is near my bank and we needed cash, I did a B.J's shop on the way home. I have not made up my mind yet as to whether I am going to renew my membership or not.

Here is what I purchased:

25 lbs. of Carolina Rice - $11.49

Glad Quart Size Freezer Bags -$8.99

1 Gallon of Milk - $ 1.79

1 Pepperoncini - $4.99

2 jars of Olives - $8.99

1 Sea Salt Refill - $ 3.99

1 - 4lb. bag of Angus Meatballs - $ 14.49

3 Oscar Mayer Center Cut Bacon - $ 13.59

2.5lbs. of 93% Lean Ground Turkey - $ 6.99

3 lbs. of Onions - $ 1.59

1- 32 oz. Organic 100% Pure Maple Syrup - $ 10.99

16 Seeded Sandwich Rolls - $ 4.29

Total was $ 92.97 minus 2 B.J.'s coupons that totaled $5.00= $ 87.97 OOP.  I submitted to Ibotta for a $ .25 rebate on the onions and a $ .25 rebate on the milk. 

I always buy 25 lb. bags of rice. I just emptied my last one into my canister about 3 weeks ago so this was needed. I got home to find that the corner of the bag was open just a little bit. I don't think I lost much but I zip tied it as soon as I got home. The freezer bags were 192 for $ 8.99 - $ 2.00 off B.J.'s  coupon so only $ .04 a bag which is a great price for this area. The milk was really cheap. The pepperoncini we use in salads. They, the olives, and the sea salt refill were less than half the price of my market. 

The Angus meatballs are fully cooked and are Hubby's guilty pleasure. He loves them for quick meatball sandwiches on these seeded sandwich rolls that I purchased. Some of those will be put in the freezer. The price for the meatballs is reasonable for 4 lbs. The bacon was $10.59 after B.J.'s coupon which was a pretty good deal for center cut.

When I bought the ground turkey rolls at Top's the other day, Pubbler alerted me to the fact that her warehouse club was cheaper for ground turkey. So I checked and this Perdue ground turkey was only $ 2.80 a lb. for 93% lean. The sale price on the breakfast turkey the other day was $3.00 a lb. and Top's also had the Jennie-O ground turkey on sale for $2.88 a lb. So B.J.'s is cheaper and it is their regular price not sale price. Thanks Pubbler.

The onions were also a great price and not 1/2 rotten as most of my stores seem to sell them.

When I saw the price on the organic maple syrup, I took a double take. I pay about $ 5.00 - $8.00 more for the same amount elsewhere and it is not organic. I had a jug at home but I was not passing this up. 

B.J.'s sells discounted gift cards and 100 ct. packages of Forever stamps. Forever stamps are going up in price from $.47 to $ .49 each on January 22nd. Even though I had about 100 left here in the house, I purchased 100 more for $ 46.75.  One of the gift cards that I never found a deal on at Christmas time was Subway. So I picked up a $ 20.00 one for $ 19.49.

You all know that I have been saving my rebates, bottle cash, etc. for Disney gift cards for my trip in January 2018. I had a little more than $50.00 saved again, so I picked up this $50.00 gift card for $ 47.99. I now have $ 250.00 in gift cards for my spending money and I will continue to save all year.

All in all I think it was a successful trip! The reason I am considering not renewing my membership is that I have so many cheap options for groceries these days like Aldi's, Save- a Lot, Super Walmart and Wegman's which carries some bulk items, Dollar Tree and three market chains. I am going to have to look at all of my receipts for B.J's this past year and then check the prices elsewhere. Then I will decide. Have any of you given up your warehouse club memberships?

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Frugal Things We Have Done The Past Few Weeks

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

- Bagged all of our garbage from our wastebaskets for our weekly pickup in the outside wrappers from bulk toilet paper packages. This enabled us to only use one tall kitchen garbage bag a week from our kitchen.

- Received $11.00 in rebates in the mail. This money went into my Disney spending money fund to buy Disney gift cards.

- Took bottles back twice and got a total of $3.30. This also goes into my Disney fund.

- Ordered a Free Gillette razor.

- Received Hubby's jury duty check which we deposited into our high interest savings account. Filed the info away for 2016 taxes.

- Made a semi homemade pizza every week these past few weeks using store purchased dough for $ 2.69, one small can of tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, pepperoni, diced onion, sliced black olives and lots of mozzarella cheese. The whole pizza cost me under $ 4.50 which is much cheaper than buying the frozen one that we like and a lot less than $20.00 for one ordered out. Besides any pizza that we have ordered out in the past two years has been awful. My pizza feeds us two meals plus a lunch. $ 1.50 per meal for good pizza is a bargain for us. Aj makes a great pizza dough which I am dying to try. She is moving so when she has time to dig it out I will be most grateful. I thought I had it but I don't.

- When we make bacon/sausage and eggs for breakfast which is weekly, I always cook the entire package of meat. Then I package the leftover meat into portions and freeze it for the next few times we need it. Just putting it in the microwave for a few seconds reheats it. This saves me from using so much natural gas.

- We buy big containers of oatmeal for breakfasts most of the time. Just 1/2 cup of oats, some raisins and brown sugar and boiling water makes a delicious breakfast. 

- Took my books back to the library and got 2 more.

- Washed 6 loads of laundry in the HE's using cold water. Hung them in the basement to dry.

- Received my free Coke Rewards coupon for a 12 pack. I am waiting for a B1G1 free sale to use it. I got 10 free 12 packs last year doing that.

- I was going to order a minion cake from my friend's bakery for my grandson's birthday which we are celebrating here soon. When I was told the price, I just about choked. So I thought about it and decided that he will love his birthday gifts so much that he won't care what kind of cake he has. So I will make him a cake and save many dollars. My cake will cost about $3.00 including the sprinkles and age 7 candle.

- Got $6.25 in rebates from Ibotta

- Got $3.50 in rebates from Checkout 51

- Got $ 7.50 in rebates from Saving Star

- Received some free samples at Rite Aid on Senior Citizen discount day.

- Made sure to grocery shop at Top's on senior citizen discount day to get my 6% off.

- I have been using my laptop as often as possible instead of the big PC saving me on electricity.

- Friends of ours stopped in one afternoon for tea. I made a pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting to serve with it. This is what was left after they went home.

- Our outside grill got blown over in the windstorm the night before last. Hubby and I went out in the freezing weather to put it upright and to see the damage. A door had come off and the the grills all came out when it crashed but Hubby was able to put it back together. The only permanent damage was a ding in it. Fortunately we had taken the propane gas tank out and stored that in the shed. I am still amazed that it went over. It had huge, very heavy patio blocks in it to keep it from going over. 

- We continue to save on electric and natural gas as much as we know how. Hubby has turned the heat up to 71 - 72 to keep him from freezing so I expect the January bill will be huge. I am grateful that we have heat. 

- We have been making smoothies a lot for breakfast using fruits that we froze the last two summers. I am trying to use some of them up. 

- Received $ 7.51 in rewards from one credit card

- Received my $100. cashback applied to current credit card bill which helped defray Christmas expenses.

- Filled the car up with gasoline using my $ .60 off per gallon Top's points.

- We have been meal planning and pretty much eating from the freezer to keep the grocery bill down.

Did any of you doing anything frugal these past two weeks? Please share with us in comments.