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Archive for November, 2011

Saving on Vitamins (aka my Groupon Addiction)

November 29th, 2011 at 01:11 pm

I have some vitamin deficencies that may or may not be related to my Thyroid surgery from two years ago. It is very important that I take Vitamin D and Vitamin B12 every day.

I am running low on the vitamins and had it in my head to buy some in my next grocery trip (at either Walmart or Walgreens - whoever had a deal). However, yesterday, I found a Groupon $15 for $30 at Vitacost.com. I had a $10 GRoupon credit, so I bought the Groupon for $5.00 out of pocket.

Then went onto Vitacost & got 3 bottles of Vitamin D 2000 IU (120 capsules each) for $17.58 total and 2 bottles of B12 2000 mcg 100 Sublinqual tablets for $14.06. I also got a free sample of Omega 3 Soft Chews.

'Cost' per unit of Vit D = $0.048/pill. 'Cost' per unit of B12 = $0.0703/pill.

There was free shipping and my total was $31.64. Minus the $30 Groupon, I paid $1.64. TOTAL out of pocket was $6.64. Great deal!!

I also received a $10 Vitacost credit for signing up, but they wouldn't let me use both at once. And shipping is no longer free today (without the groupon). So I am holding onto it. I would love to get some discounted contact lens solution, but I will see if I can find some coupon codes or have a need to get my bill up to the $25 minimum for free shipping at a later date. The $10 off doesn't expire until the end of January.

Lots of Bonuses & Deals (LONG - sorry!)

November 28th, 2011 at 02:34 pm

I have been working to earn credit card bonuses, rewards points & points through rewards sites. Any funds earned will go straight to my fund for my sister's upcoming wedding. If any of the rewards (MyPOints) come in gift card form, I will get cards that I can use for necessary items such as groceries and gas and those funds (from the budget) would go to the wedding fund (And debt payoff once that wedding goal is met).

So to help me with this goal, I opened a Bank of America Amex.
-Earned a $50 statement credit for $100 in spending (used for cell phone bill & normal gas spending. [Net $50]
-Earned a $25 credit for spending $26 at a local wine store for Small Business Saturday. Wine will be for Christmas gifts. [$1.00 out of pocket for 2 bottles!]
-Earned a $25 credit for a Target Purchase. I am not heading to Target (at the mall) at this time of year, but I was able to purchase a (needed) mascara online for $5.73 (including shipping) [19.27 Net]
- ALl usage is budgeted & will be paid off within the next 2 weeks

I opened a Citi Dividends card. $200 in rewards for $500 usage.
- I put the remainder of my car insurance on this (and will pay it off from savings) $480
- $29.07 gas (normal budgeted spending)
- *there is another offer I signed up for where if you spend $200 after signing up a Mastercard, by 12/31/11, you can get a $20 Mastercard gift card, but I am not making this a priority to meet

I opened a Citi Preferred card for $100 for $500 spent.
-$206.23 normal spending on card (budgeted & will be paid for in 2 weeks)
-Still need $293.77 but this will be completed by planned spending
-Also signed this one up for the Mastercard deal. I just need to meet that $200 goal by 12/31 (Which I will do since I need to get another $293.77
- At the end, I will get $100 rewards AND a $20 Mastercard gift card

I have been working my MyPoints. Reading every email sent for 5 points per viewing. I also utilized some of their deals.
- Started with 896 balance on 11/25
- Did a survey for 10 points
- Completed 76 searches using the MyPoints toolbar in Nov (earned 90 points)
- Signed up for OpenSky.com through MyPoints (earned 50 points PLUS a $15 credit on the acct for signing up)
- Used $15 credit & free shipping to purchase a soup/salad container for work lunches. $7.00 out of pocket (paid out of entertainment spending). Earned 3,500 in MyPoints for first purchase. (3700 mypoints approx = $25 gift card)
- Opened an ING Sharebuilder acct (Something I wanted to do anyway) By using the MyPoints link, I earned 200 points for opening the acct & will earn 2,000 points with the first transfer. I will be doign that tonight.
- I purchased a magazine subscription for my dad for CHristmas (Planned purchase). I bought 2 years because if the purchase was over $15, I would earn 1,000 My points.
- After all of these earnings hit, I will have 7,746 in points - approx $50 in gift cards!!

I also am working to utilize Swagbucks more. I am a new member, but have about 123 in points between searches, toolbards, daily polls and more searches. I will be keeping this up!

In other news, all my CHristmas shopping is done - except 1 gift for my boyfriend and the Christmas tree itself. So woot!

The BF's bday is this week and we are going out in town tomorrow night with friends for his bday. I will be driving about 45 mins each way for the group (Designated Driver) and using up gas (Budgeted for) plus paying for parking $20 and part of his meal (approx $40 out altogether). Wednesday, we are going out with his sister & different friends (hoping to keep the bill around $30). Thursday is dinner with his family - he chose Olive Garden. Which is great, since I have that free $50 gift card. I can cover both our meals PLUS some of the family's.

As for the Lunch Challenge, I packed all of my food for today. Breakfast, lunch & snacks. Lunch is actually pasta salad leftover from the boyfriend's THanksgiving. He even packed it up for me! LOL

Additionally - I should add that I UNFRUGALLY lost my cell phone in October. I frugally borrowed my friends old one for 2 months until my contract is up for renewal 12/28. And on Friday, there was a groupon for $25 (I had a $10 credit, so it was $15 out of pocket). For that Groupon, PLUS $35 activation, I can get a Droid X or X2 once my contract is up in December. Compared to what my friend just paid for upping her contract & getting a Droid, I am definitely making out on the deal!

Today's 5 Things: are actually more than 5
-Complete Sharebuilder trade
-update budget for 11/30
-MyPoints & Swagbucks sites
-WD40 Front Door
-Make dinner at home, lunch for Tues/Wed
-CLean kitchen, wipe counters & vacuum floor
-Pickup Living Room
-Gather library movies to return
-Finish laundry & put away
-Clean bedroom
-Unclog bathtub drain
-Unclog upstairs bath sink drain
-Wipe bathroom counters, tub & toilet, vacuum floor
-Play on the internet
-Pack night clothes for BF's bday, work clothes for Wednesday
-Portion medicines to keep at work & at boyfriends (Have to take thyroid meds & vitamins &Missing them REALLY screws me up)

Reasons to read and keep receipts!

November 14th, 2011 at 01:58 pm

I have noticed lately that there are a LOT of reasons to read/keep a receipt.

-The most obvious is returns. Makes returning an item easy and quick.

-Keeping them helps with tracking spending

-They are good to keep for warrenties (Bigger items)

-Reading them thouroghly ensures that the prices were correct and that any coupons/discounts are applied properly

-Many companies these days do surveys for chances to win, coupons, or free items. And this is something I seem to see more & more of. For example:
- I got 10% off my next purchase at Old Navy for going online and filling out the survey
- I got a code for a free sandwich from Burger King for a survey on the breakfast I bought him
- I was able to enter to win a year's worth of free haircuts from Haircuttery
- I entered a weekly drawing for an Acme gift card
- Entered a sweepstakes for $3,000 for Walgreens for completing a survey.

I realize that the sweepstakes are not that likely, but the coupons & freebies make it worth it. AND you never know, maybe I WILL win that Acme gift card Smile

Busy Evening

November 12th, 2011 at 02:48 am

Had a rough day at work and with someone in particular, but the day turned itself around. I had a margarita after work with my friend (her treat) and then came home to clean.

Deep cleaned the upstairs bathroom and my bedroom. Did two loads of laundry. Prepped for tomorrow & made pasta salad and cut up cheese for tomorrow.

I have a quick grocery list to get to in the morning, then its home to make jello shots, buffalo chicken dip, clean the kitchen & downstairs bath, then deep clean, dust & vaccum the living room.

I hope to have time to get a haircut in the morning, but if not, its all good. The new hair color makes it look like a new style anyway Smile

Hoping to have a great time tomorrow at the party. Sunday will be budgeting and bill paying, then dinner with friends.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!!

To Do List, Finanacials, Goodies, Updates

November 11th, 2011 at 02:57 pm

I have to confess, I have been financially irresponsible lately. I have to get back on track. So part of that is being on this site more & being accountable to myself Smile

So in random form, here are some thoughts/lists.

-I am having a game night tomorrow night. Total out of pocket approx $50 as I am stocking up my liquor cabinet and making lots of food. Utilizing my freezer/pantry for the food as much as possible. Games already owned and a good time will be had by all Smile

- Sunday, for the friends dinner that I have, I am in charge of the sides. I will be supplying a salad, so out of pocket approx $8 (including bringing over some dressings)

-I just received a free gift from Clinque for a purchase I made. I have been having terrible breakouts, so I am going back to buying Clinique face wash. Worth it if my skin calms down Smile The free gift included a makeup bag (Very cute), a mini makeup bag, a 1oz cleanser (perfect for travel & can be refilled), .5 oz moisterizer with SPF20, regular size lipstick (In a color I like), regular size eye liner (on my to-buy list anyway), a travel mascara (in the color I wear), a full size eye shadow kit in colors I can wear, and 4 perfume samples (again perfect for travel). Over $50 value & I just restocked most of the needs I had for makeup Smile

- I received a call that Olive Garden is sending me a gift card (Amount unknown) for the trouble with a pre-authorization of $99 going onto my account. The charge never went through, but it was inconvenient.

- I am reinstituting my Lunch Challenge for myself, although I did terrible this week. My goal is NO out of pocket spending for food/drink at work for the rest of the month

-I plan on finishing Christmas shopping in the next two weeks. All in cash!

-I scored some deals from Acme. They have a little Holiday Book by their ads in the store. In it are coupons for things like $1.00 off 1 Acme brand (Everyday Essentials) pasta and 1 EE pasta sauce. I was able to snag both for $1.89 after coupon. I will be going back today for another set. Its never bad to have pasta stuff in the house! I also got 3 cans of Acme fruit for $2.00 total (After $1 off coupon). They have also had a lot of register rebates lately & I will be using them as I have about $3-4 left of those.

-I have a few returns to make - a non-working alarm clock to Target & a pair of shorts to Walmart

-The roommate situation is working out great. She actually contributes to things like paper towels & tp and CLEANS. None of the previous roommates did any of that Smile

-I got a $15 parking ticket for not feeding the meter enough when I got stuck inside the pharmacy earlier this week. I will have to pay it

-Dyed my hair at home instead of paying for color in a store. I have gotten SO many compliments, I am definitely going to keep this up. $4.99 for the box after coupon.

-Used a Deals Voucher for $10 to Fulton Paper. I make jello shots on a regular basis for parties, ect and use a particular type of plastic cup. I was able to use the voucher for 4 sleeves of the cups, 2 gift bags and 4 boxes to be used for gifts of fudge. I still have another $10 voucher to be used by next year. OOP for the 2 vouchers was $10 (and bought months ago)

-Itemized all of my stockpile in the bathroom cabinet. I have a ton of freebie samples of bath gel, shampoo, conditioner, face wash, body washes and lotions. I am trying to use up most of them as well as some of the travel sized stuff I have recently scored for free. I do plan on leaving enough to carry me through a few weekends of travel though!

-I itemized any freebies/rewards that have to be used. Did the same with coupons Smile

-Plan on looking into cheaper cat food. The cats have crystals and one is overweight, so I have them both on Hill's Prescription Weight Diet. But its expensive. Will be looking into non-prescription alternatives.

- I just got a 20% off ANYTHING at Kohl's. Might hit up their clearance for some gifts. (Will use Christmas cash - no additional unplanned spending)

- I need to be in a financial lockdown. So the budget is getting tightened. I want to pay down debt, control spending and just get back to my financial goals. I am a little ashamed I have gotten out of hand. But I can say for sure that I am turning a corner Smile

VERY full day!

November 4th, 2011 at 11:03 pm

I came back from Atlantic City this morning. Spent a bit more than planned, but I had a great time! It was really good weather, my friends and I were fairly frugal and we had a BLAST.

However, when we came back around 2pm today, I felt the need to get the house and my life organized. I have accomplished a LOT!

-Went to Dollar Deals store for a candle lighter, french fries & toothpaste. Also picked up a game for a Christmas gift ($5), 6 pack AAA batteries, 4 pack AA batteries and 2 window plastic kits for winter ($2 total)
-cleared emails
-clicked through mypoints
-Worked through Cashcrate
-Researched reviews on djs for sister for her wedding
-Called Olive Garden regarding inaccurate pre-auth on debit card for $99 - advised dropped off. (Will still be writing the main office as I had to transfer funds from savings to cover that pre-auth until it dropped off)
-Did a load of laundry
-Kept heat at 65 and wore sweater & burned a candle for warmth (and atmosphere)
-Balanced budget/Spending
-Made lunch at home
-Put away Halloween decorations
-Cleaned out car
-Clean kitchen, vacuum floor
-Watered plants
-Loaded dishwasher
-Made Pantry/Freezer list
-Made Party Menu for next Saturday- Buffalo Dip & bread, veggies & dip, pretzels, cheese & crackers, jello shots, pasta salad, deviled eggs
-Made Meal Plan for next week - can be switched around: sloppy joe, breaded chicken patties & pasta, turkey meatlaof muffins, Tuna sandwich, tilapia, chicken breast and potatoes, veggies and rice for sides.
-Made Grocery list
-Made dinner at home
-Organized front hall closet
-Organized baskets on sofa table shelf
-Organized entertainment center
-Organized baskets in living room
-Organized bookshelf in living room
-Organized china cabinet storage
-Vacuummed couches

Tomorrow, I have absolutely no obligations other than meeting a friend for kickboxing at 9am. I have lots of ambitions for tomorrow. The roommate is out of town & with my party coming up next week, I really want to get the place ship-shape Smile

Tomorrow's To-Do:
Kickboxing class
Grocery Shop - Acme, Walmart & Farmers Market (all within 15 mins of the house)
Organize basement
Purge old HOA files that are no longer relevent - recycle all
Take pictures for Craisglist sales
Make Fudge for Sunday's dessert
Clean, dust & vac living room
Dust Living room fan
Clean upstairs bathroom
Clean bedroom
Change sheets
Put away laundry
Do research on frugal Save the Dates for sister's wedding
Make breakfast, lunch & dinner at home

Goals, goodies & Weekend Trip to Atlantic City!

November 3rd, 2011 at 02:09 am

I set some goals for November:

1. Keep under Grocery budget of $190
2. Host Party with $15 above grocery budget (easily doable!)
3. Pack breakfast & lunches for all but 2 times this month. (Already used up one today for a work lunch)
4. Keep to my Atlantic City budget of $68 - will be tight
5. Sell items on Craigslist for cash to both debt repayment & discounted kickboxing classes Smile

Luckily, Sunday was a no spender. Mondays was grocery spending $10.54 and $29.33.

A friend gave me a free 1 year subscription to Kraft Food & Family magazine (free with her purchase)

Today was a little spendy - $15.49 for lunch out. Tonight was kickboxing (paid for through Groupon)

Tomorrow, I work a 1/2 day & then am heading down to Atlantic City with friends. 1 girl is driving & the other girl got us a free hotel room at Showboat. We are packing food and alcohol to enjoy some pre-entertainment beverages in the room. I already packed water & soda from my pantry & plan on grabbing some pretzels. I will probably spend about $10 at the liquor store.

We are not big gamblers, so maybe a dollar in the slots - but our big goals are to let loose a little, have some drinks, and possibly ride a bull Smile