April 21, 2014

Groupon, Groupon, Groupon

I bought 4 Groupons today.  I really am good about not being tempted to buy through groupon or livingsocial just because there's a good deal.  I haven't bought a groupon in a really, really long time.  But once I started today, I just couldn't stop!

I already told you about how I saved over $67 on our June camping trip. That was the first groupon of the day.

Then, I saw a groupon for an eco-friendly oil change for only $19.99.  I've bought these before whenever they are available and we really like the place that offers them.  My van is due for an oil change soon, so it was perfect timing.

The last 2 groupons I bought were for subscriptions to a zoo magazine.  They have them for different age groups and were only $10 each.  I think Little R's is for 9 months, and Big R's will be for 6 months.  Big R is really into reading.  The other day she had a shark book that she read to me and then we discussed it for the next 2 or 3 days.  She was so excited about all the facts she learned from it. I know she'll love these.  Plus, the girls think it's exciting to get things in the mail.

And as always, I went through ebates first and earned 8% cash back on all my purchases plus used my Disney Rewards visa to pay for them so I earn rewards. It's not much but the Rewards seem to add up fast.

Saved Over $67 on Our Camping Trip in June

In this previous post, I talked about planning for the cost of two trips we want to take this year.  The first trip is to take the girls camping for a weekend.  I had planned on going to the same campground that we did last year and my budget for the trip was $250 for everything including food. Here's the breakdown of camping expenses I had planned for:

  • $45 per night for a primitive site - includes hiking, swimming, fishing, game room, playground, hay ride and other planned activities based on weekend theme
  • $5 for 1/2 hour paddle boat rental x 2
  • $2.50 per person miniature golf (half price on Sunday)
  • Sunday morning pancake and sausage breakfast (not sure the price)
  • Last year they also had short pony rides for $1

Today, I saw a Groupon for 2 nights of camping at Clays Park for only $45!  The $45 includes use of the water park, kayaks, unlimited miniature golf, sand volleyball courts, indoor pool, fishing lake, and nature trails for hiking or biking.

So of course I bought the groupon right away.  We have to use it before the end of June.  As soon as Mr. R gets his schedule for June, I am going to book the first weekend he has off.

Since almost everything is included and we are getting a night free, we will be saving a lot of $.  At least $67, based on the costs above.  Plus, I used ebates to get 8% cash back and I put it on my Disney Rewards visa so I'll earn a whopping $.45 in rewards!  

I'm re-adjusting our camping budget to only spend $200 for the whole weekend.  $45 for the cost of the campsite and the rest of the money will go towards food, fire wood, and any extra expenses like ice cream from the camp store.

April 20, 2014

I sold

A while back I questioned if I should sell or not.  The S&P 500 has been going up and up and I couldn't decide what to do.  I want to thank everyone that responded that I should just hold onto the stock.  But after thinking about it for a few weeks and the stock increasing in value again and again, I sold.

I use Sharebuilder for my investing.  This is money that would have been put into my personal savings account but instead I had been using to play around with purchasing stocks with.  Almost every stock has lost value since I purchased it over the last 5 years.  I've actually quit adding money to the account because I wanted to focus on increasing the money in my savings account instead.

I will say that Sharebuilder is extremely easy to use and the stock was sold as soon I hit the button to sell.  Original purchase price total was $1,164.72 for 8.197 shares.  I sold for these shares for $1,539.20.  Sharebuilder charged a $6.95 fee for this transaction.  My net proceeds are $1,532.25.  So I made $367.53.  I plan to set $55 aside for taxes on this money.  The other $312 will be most likely moved to my personal savings.

My goal for the month of May is to do a lot of research and decide which stocks to re-invest the original $1,164.72.  Before I just picked stocks without researching and with out any basis on how I was picking.  Now I want to take my time and really learn as much as I can through this process.  But I'm giving myself a deadline to have the money re-invested or it will never get done.

Happy Easter: Weekend Spending Recap

Happy Easter Everyone!

We've been having a great weekend with the kids.  This will be a colorful post, using lots of pastels for Easter.

Friday - Took the girls to Chuck E. Cheese and out to lunch at Friendly's. Saved $14 with coupons I received through email and paid for this outing with an extra check that I will be receiving on Friday.

Saturday - Took the girls to a chocolate store to see the Easter Bunny.  I splurged and used some of my own personal spending money to buy everyone a couple of their favorite chocolates to eat.  I picked out 3 sea salt milk chocolate caramels (amazing), Mr. R got 2 chocolate covered cherries, a chocolate pretzel and 2 pastel mints were Big R's choice and Little R chose a chocolate pretzel and a solid chocolate present.  Total spent: $7.50

Then we went to a local consignment shop to look for a pair of tennis shoes for Little R.  Hers are falling apart.  Mr. R has been watching for a pair at the thrift stores but hasn't found any in her size.  The consignment shop didn't have any either, but I did have $10.50 due to me for some clothes that have sold recently.

I took the $10.50 and went to kmart.  I also had a $25 gift certificate for kmart that I haven't used left over from my birthday.  Kmart had a whole bunch of clothing marked down to $1.99.  I bought myself 4 tops, Mr. R picked out a sweater, I bought the girls a large ball for $1.94 and Little R got a pair of shoes on sale for $12.99.  Total spent: $26.00 but since I used the gift certificate and consignment money, no money was spent out of our bank account.

Also made a quick stop at the dollar store for freezer bags and sandwich bags, spent $3 of the consignment money I received.

Next we went to Acme.  Some good deals were Pepsi 12 packs, 4 for $12. Spray Butter - $1.99 (bought 3), Scotties Tissues $.77 (bought 5), Pasta $.79 (bought 5).  Everything else I purchased was also on sale except the milk but we were completely out so I had to buy some.  Every once in a while, Acme will pass out kid dollars.  The coupons are worth $1 each.  They gave us 2 as we were standing in line yesterday.  Both girls got to pick out a candy bar at $.89 each.  The coupons take a dollar off the bill.  So we actually ended up saving an extra $.22 because of them and the cashier gave them back to me to use again next time we are shopping. Total Spent: $57.86, $11 out of personal spending (beer), $14 misc. money, and $33 grocery budget.  Leaving $33 left in the food budget until Friday.

Today - Mr. R took the girls to church while I stayed home.  I'm writing this, making a grocery list and debating if I should put food in the crock pot for tonight or do some baking now to reheat for dinner.

This afternoon, we are planning on taking the girls to the zoo.  It's going to be a beautiful day here in Ohio.  I have the $71 set aside to purchase a zoo membership and will probably take another $20 out of our misc. spending to purchase a discounted rides ticket.  The zoo has a carousel, train ride and petting zoo that has crackers available for purchase to feed the animals. They usually offer a $20 ticket, that can be used for 22 rides or crackers of the above.  

Well, that's about all for our weekend.  Have a great Easter Everyone!!!!!

April 18, 2014

Friendly's coupon and extra check

If you sign up on Friendly's website to be a BFF then you'll get a coupon for 25% off your next visit.

I found out I'll be getting an extra check next Friday for some extra projects I worked on.  Since Mr. R and I happen to both be off Friday, Saturday and Sunday this weekend, I wanted to take the girls to do something special.

We took them to Chuck E. Cheese right when they opened this morning.  Our Chuck E. Cheese recently remodeled, getting rid of the tunnels and adding some games.  I was really impressed.  A lot of the games are really fun and more engaging then just pressing a button to hopefully get some tickets.  A favorite of all of ours was the laser maze where you go into a dark room and have to try to make it through without touching any of the lasers.

I had a coupon for 100 tokens for $20, making each game only 20 cents.  We spent close to two hours there.  $20 for 4 people for two hours is cheaper than going to see a movie.

Then we took the girls to Friendly's for lunch and I used my 25% off coupon. We eat out so rarely, it was a special treat for the girls and Mr. R and I.   The girls shared 1 children's meal as they never eat very much when we are at restaurants anyways.  But we let them each pick out their own sundae.

Total spent today was $56.  I told Mr. R that I was willing to spend $50 of my extra check on a special outing with the girls so he paid the extra $6.  The rest of the money when I get paid next week will go towards savings goals or medical bills.  I just received one for Big R that was over $100 and one for Mr. R that was over $200 but the insurance hasn't paid it yet so I'm not sure what our portion will be.

April 17, 2014

Meal Plan update and food waste

These were the meals I had planned for this week and what we've eaten so far. We've done really well using up what we have this week and had 2 nights of leftovers so far.  There's left over sweet and sour beef and veggies in the refrigerator from dinner tonight.

  • Pulled pork sandwiches, baked vegetables and baked potato fries
  • Home Made Pizzas
  • Sweet and Sour Vegetables and Beef in the crock pot served over brown rice
  • Sausage Gravy and Biscuits, eggs
  • Baked Chicken
  • Nachos
  • Bean Burritos
  • Ham, Cheese and hash brown Breakfast Casserole

 I already have the taco beans in the refrigerator thawing for bean burritos and nachos tomorrow.  The plan is:
Friday - burritos or nachos
Saturday - Baked Chicken
Sunday - Home made pizzas
Monday - Leftovers
Tuesday - Ham, Cheese, hash brown breakfast casserole

Out of all that produce I bought last week, I only had to throw about about half a head of iceberg lettuce that got brown.  Food Waste: $.50

April 15, 2014

Finally a bill that is under budget

Geez, it seems like things keep adding up lately.  I was so excited when I saw the bill for May's Daycare/preschool for Little R.  Only $420!

I normally budget $685 per month.  So $135 of the extra money will be set aside to go towards Summer Day Care and $130 will go towards my 2014 Savings Goal!

Good Deals, Somewhat Frugal Shopping Fun

I took today off to volunteer at Little R's School.  I had to bring snack and was running short on time so I stopped at a bakery that is right by my house to get donut holes but they were sold out.  This bakery is a bit pricey but very very good.  So my next decision was donuts or cookies.  The iced cookies are $1.50 each.  But, they had 7 iced cookies on a tray for 50 cents each.  I asked why they were marked down and was told they were baked on Sunday.  I purchased one to try it and it tasted great, wasn't hard or anything so I bought the other six cookies. Worked out perfect since there are exactly 6 children in Little R's class.
Total Spent - $5.00 for 7 cookies and a large coffee

Then I had a little over an hour to kill until I had to be back at the school to help out with art and an Easter egg hunt.  So I got caught up on phone calls I needed to make and ran down to Flower Factory to see what type of pool party stuff I could find.  The girls want to have a pool party for their big birthday party this year. I've been buying things on clearance for a few months now whenever I find a great deal and setting it aside for the party.
At Flower Factory, I talked myself out of buying an inflatable pool volleyball set that was $12.99.  Proud of myself for putting that one back.  I figure kids don't need too much to entertain themselves in the pool anyways.  But I did find some other great buys.

  • 50% Off Plastic Easter Eggs - The large egg packs only cost $.48 each and the smaller egg pack was $.75 (I usually borrow some from my mom and then return them to her.  She uses them over each year. But I figured a few extra wouldn't hurt this year and I can donate them to my mom's party for next year anyways.)
  • Water Balloons for the girls birthday party $1.40
  • Pair of white sandals for Little R $7.99 (this has been on my list of things to be on the look out for)
  • Disposable Razors $1.19
  • 2 large 3-d birthday cards $1.45 each
  • Disney Body Lotion, Shampoo and Body Wash - Either will go in Easter Basket or be set aside as a birthday gift for Big R - $1.35 each
  • Total Spent $20.62
After Helping out at Little R's school I had some more time to waste until my doctors appointment.  It turns out my acne prescription that I was having trouble getting filled was sent to Walgreens instead of Acme so I stopped in at Walgreens to pick it up and check out their clearance.  I found some great stuff there!
  • 2 packs of cookies on clearance for $.25 each (don't expire until July)
  • 2 Angry Birds Games, regularly $19.99, on clearance $4.87 each (1 is for Big R's birthday, the other will either be for my nephew's birthday or a friend's son.)
  • 3 tubes of cinnamon toothpaste $.90 each
  • 2 notebooks at $.59 each and the owl notebook $.89 (Big R's birthday)
  • 2 boxes spider man band aids - $1.05 each
  • Not Shown - 3 t-shirts for me $2.50 each (I've been looking for some simple t-shirts with a cute design on them to wear with jeans.)
  • Not Shown - 3 dozen eggs for $.99 each.
Total Spent $45.09

I got a lot only $65.  Most of it is things we will use around the house, 4 gifts out of the way, some food and snacks, and some clothing items that I've had on my "want/need" list for a while now.  Not bad!

April 14, 2014

Annoying Expensive Day Continued

Forgot, our tenant's want a new refrigerator.  They mentioned buying one themselves which they shouldn't have to do.  I guess the seal isn't keeping it shut. I'm going to check out ways to fix this first.  Then research refrigerators.  If we can't fix it, I will offer to purchase one.  But since it is for a rental unit, it won't be a fancy one.  I'll also give them the option of purchasing their own if they want a fancy expensive refrigerator and they can just take it with them whenever they move.

Annoying Expensive Day

I had a dentist appointment.  Had a really tiny cavity.  Didn't even need to be numbed for them to fix it.  5 minutes of dental work =  $87 after insurance

My mom sent me home with leftovers from the Easter party yesterday: stuffed peppers and grilled hot dogs, plus we still have leftovers from Saturday - pulled pork, baked potatoes, baked veggies.  And I bought tons of produce on Saturday to make salads with and stir-fry from fresh veggies. So I told Mr. R tonight was leftover night since we had so much to use up.  But what did he do for dinner while I was at the dentist? Taco Bell.  Really?! I don't care that he spent the money to eat out as it would have come out of his personal spending money. But we have soooo much food to eat at home and I really don't want to throw anything out.  I'm going to start chopping up veggies and freezing them since I won't be able to make the stir-fry tomorrow.  Tomorrow will be another left over night.

And the most annoying: I have been trying to get my acne medication refilled for a week and a half.  I was out of refills so the pharmacy faxed my doctors office 3 times in the last week and a half.  I've made 4 phone calls to the doctors and 3 trips to the pharmacy.  The doctors office told me today, they sent it over on Friday.  At the pharmacy today, the pharmacist said they never received it. All they received was a phone call from my doctor's office questioning the prescription request because they said I didn't have a prescription for this acne medication.  I've been using it since September and that doctor prescribed it to me. So I don't know what their talking about.  So the pharmacist calls my doctors office but gets put on hold.  I have to go back to work so I told her I was stop back later for it.  She told me "no problem, I'll make sure to get it for you."

My husband just tried to pick it up and the pharmacy has no clue what he's talking about and are saying the doctor never called it in again. If the pharmacist couldn't get the prescription or if the doctor for some reason doesn't want to re-prescribe it, wouldn't it be nice if someone would bother to call me?  I am so furious.  And my skin is broken out like a teenager because I have been out of this medication for a week and a half.  What if it was something I really needed medically to survive.  I hate, hate, hate when people don't do their jobs and I have to babysit them to get them to do what they are supposed to.  I called the pharmacy and let them know I was not a happy camper and tomorrow my doctor's office will be hearing it.

Tomorrow I took the day off to volunteer at Little R's School and then I have the dreaded annual exam at my other doctor's office.  So if the pharmacy doesn't have my prescription by the morning, I will be going to the doctor's office and staying there until they either call it in or give me a reason why they haven't bothered to do so yet.

April 13, 2014

Last Minute Fruit Tray

My mom throws a really awesome Easter party for all the grand kids every year complete with a huge Easter egg hunt.  I totally forgot that the party is today and that I had volunteered to bring a fruit tray.  Luckily I bought way more fruit than I usually do yesterday when I was at Aldi.

This is 1 lb. strawberries, 2 oranges, 3 McIntosh Apples and about a pound of grapes.   Hopefully its enough because that's all I could fit on the tray.

We still have oranges, apples, bananas, grapes and grapefruit for fresh fruit this week.  I must have subconsciously remembered that I was supposed to make a fruit tray today because I never buy that much fruit at one time.

April 12, 2014

I'm a slacker

I just can not seem to get myself motivated into menu planning and making a grocery list.  I tried last night and only got two days worth of meals written down. I had a couple hours to myself this morning since my mom took the girls to visit their great-grandpa.  So I went to Aldi.  $150 later... We have tons of food and I stocked up on lots of miscellaneous items.  Paper towels, batteries, toilet paper...

Some things I bought we already had plenty of.  My goal this week is to figure out how to use up everything and not throw anything away.

Have you noticed that sometimes Aldi has awesome produce and sometimes it looks really bad?  Today was an awesome produce day.  I brought home tons of fruits and veggies so we have plenty of healthy fresh choices this week.

There was also a lot of marked down items today too.  Which is part of why I spent so much money.  I have a hard time passing up a deal.

After the fact, these are the meals I can pull together with what I have on hand.

Today - Pulled pork sandwiches, baked vegetables and baked potato fries
Sunday - Home Made Pizzas
Monday -  Leftovers of above and baked potatoes (I cooked up the whole bag of potatoes today since I had the oven heated).
Tuesday - Sweet and Sour Vegetables and Beef in the crock pot served over brown rice

More Meals for Later in the week:

  • Sausage Gravy and Biscuits, eggs
  • Baked Chicken
  • Nachos
  • Bean Burritos
  • Ham, Cheese and hash brown Breakfast Casserole
And I'm sure a couple of these meals will make for plenty of leftovers.