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It used to be my favourite grocery store...

November 25th, 2006 at 10:13 pm

.. before the renovation!

They renovated. They took out most of the produce area and replaced it with a deli counter that sells lots of hot foods.

The veggies are now scarce. And the ones that are there are very expensive and most of them are shrink wrapped (why on earth does broccoli and cauliflower need to be shrinked wrapped anyways?)

I went to this place tonight - probably for the last time. Good deals on meat, but what point is a store where you can't find reasonably priced produce? That and a lot of the prices seemed to have gone up. Amazing how the cost of a renovation gets passed along.

The worst part of this? I'm not done with my grocery shopping. I have to go out again tomrrow for groceries.

Shopping and Driving

November 20th, 2006 at 07:37 pm

I drove and shopped and drove and shopped today.

I lost my CVS virginity. LOL. Hadn't shopped there before. I stayed away from the Extra Care bucks deals (didn't need the items they were on) and combined coupons and 2 for 1 sales. So I'm happy. The store had a nice energy and the cashier was very helpful and friendly.

I've decided that Bath & Bodyworks is evil because it helps me lose my self control. Good news is I took advantage of a special there and got a small gift for each of my coworkers (the antibacterial scented soap) for an excellent price. The majority of my spending there was for stuff for me from their True Blue Spa line, and I did use a coupon to offset some of it *yeah yeah* I justfy really good don't I? I spent about $25 on me so I could have been way worse. One day I'd love to go in there and go nuts on that line...

No other real shopping highlights. A funny moment when I bought some intuition refills. The regular price was $9.99 on sale for $7.99 - they were in the check out aisle (I'm such a good well trained consumer noticing them). I grab them because I have a $2 off coupon making them $5.99. Of coruswe they ring up at $9.99.

The cashier says no problem, after I show him the tag (well it was right there no need a price check on aisle 21) and he says "oh I'll just do the coupon twice if that's okay". I said sure but won't you be off. Where upon he told me they get too many coupons to count them (huh?). I was sad there was no scanning code of practise. I really need to look into that to see if there is one in the US and how to know if the store participates and what to do when stuff rings in wrong.

A investigation for another day I think, LOL.

The border was easy but I didn't end up going into duty free - I was in the wrong lane and traffic was bad.

How reading blogs helps me.

November 15th, 2006 at 10:15 am

This morning I was musing about the blogs I read and what I get from the blogs I read. I get something from blogs that I have never got from articles on finance.

Articles on finance go on (and on) about the theoretical perfect way to do things. They are full of rules and methodologies. But to me it all comes across as academic. The theory works for me but I can't, just cause I read the article put it into place.

Blogs are full of people's real life experiences about what they are doing. About how they work with all the rules and methods in a real life setting. They talk about how things actually work on a practical level, and more importantly, how they cope when life happens. It is so easy to get on the bandwagon, but in reading people's blogs you learn how to get back on it.

So thank you all. You are all helping me in my path towards implementing the things I know I need to be implementing.

BOGO Sales that aren't.

November 9th, 2006 at 07:13 pm

I hate when they call them BOGO (buy one get one) sales when they aren't.

I got this online ad in my email box.


I got all excited thinking .. Great 50% off. Nope its 25% off. Not a bad sale but nothing to write home about either.

Interesting articles how BOGO sales are less beneficial to customer than regular sales.

Politics and Work (not election related)

November 7th, 2006 at 02:11 pm

I've been blogging lately about my stresses at work. Change in management and new management philosophies have made work very difficult, and at times, too political. I'm in a job where the political mood of senior managmenet affects some of my day to day work. Because of that I can't totally hide from what is happening. Too bad. It would be nice to be able to just do my stuff and let it settle around me.

The last couple of weeks have seen a lot of changes at work. One of the things keeping me focussed, and not walking out the door, is the knowledge that my emergency fund is not where I want it to be to survive a period of unemployement.

I'm not likely to be fired, and my job is secure for the immediate future. Who can say what will happen 3 or 5 years down the road - no one is guaranteed lifetime employment these days.

The lesson in all of this. Having a better funded emergency fund would reduce my stress level. So, I better get really serious about that.

Succesful but not a great day

November 6th, 2006 at 04:20 pm

I'm down these days (can anyone tell? LOL). Though my boss had it worse than me today. He told me he almost walked out - rather than that he went to HR to talk to them about problems. My bosses boss is making all kinds of changes - most of which are to say how we have done stuff for years is wrong or not good enough. Very demoralizing for all of us.

On a happy front I was successful in my spending goals - bought only gas today. Didn't eat much during the day - way too much stress at work. Ate the main course part of my lunch a few minutes ago for supper. But having the food there, and having lots to eat and being able to snack on fruit was excellent for me - both health wise and monetarily.

Inheritance - More thoughts

November 3rd, 2006 at 06:05 am

I want to thank everyone who gave me their two cents worth about the money I'm going to be getting.

You are all the best! When I get the money, I am going to move it to my ING account. With Christmas coming and a work schedule that is nuts, it will be at least January before I have a chance to think about it again.

I'm sure with how my life goes that once I have it parked some place that my logical side will emerge and I'll do what the majority has suggested and give myself time to decide what I want to do with it.

But dang it, my "wannahaveit" side is jonesing for that fancy sewing machine. Don't worry though, that side of me has been wanting that machine for a year. It is good at waiting - and frankly I don't have the time to properly research the purchase either.

My favourite Saving Technique.

November 2nd, 2006 at 09:47 pm

I want something. I don't need it, i want it. It might be really really cool. It might be nifty. It might be pretty. Likely it is all of those things. It is bright and shiny and sexy.

So I walk out without buying it. I don't tell myself I can't buy it. Nope that would be being nasty to me. I just tell myself I'll buy it tomorrow. I don't feel deprived because I'm going to buy it tomorrow.

Usually when tomorrow comes I really can't care less about it. It isn't important enough to go back for. And when it is, it was worth buying.

This works very well for me. I make many fewer impulse purchases.

whiny wednesday

November 1st, 2006 at 06:00 pm

It follows my terrible Tuesday at work.

Actually got some time with my bosses so was able to get some direction for the project I'm working on. This is much needed as my project is actually due before the other one they are working on. Still I'm thinking this might not be a bad way to help manage my stress.

Planned spending today - breakfast. Unplanned, though not really unexpected - one coffee bought as much to give me a caffeine boost as to warm me up. I think the powers that be that run the heating system at work aren't. I was freezing today.

Have leftovers from dinner to make lunch tomorrow. So will have lunch for tomorrow. I'm weaning myself from Lean Cuisine so I have control over what I eat and so I'm eating healthier. And likely saving some money though on the priority list that is lower than health and control.

Free Shopping

October 28th, 2006 at 07:46 am

If only LOL - though I did do this last night for the last eight boxes of Kraft Dinner for which I had the coupon.

Actually it was almost obnoxious of me. I went to a store that pricematched because the grocery store that had the sale was out of them. They were 99 cents at this other store. I pricmatched to get them for 50cents each then i used the coupons to get them for FREE!!!

The cashier looked at me and said "but you are getting these for free".

My reply was "yes, pretty cool, eh".

While she did the rest of the transaction professionally she did not speak another word to me.

Okay so I should have bought something else so I had to pay SOMETHING. But dang it, I had no plans to buy anything else. And I am working on curtailing unplanned spending. So I didn't.

The price of Splenda.

October 27th, 2006 at 07:33 pm

One of the horrible things about cross border shopping is trying to figure out where you get the best deal on what.

I think Splenda is way overpriced, but want to switch to it for health and not budget reasons.

Now to figure it out.

I priced splenda at about 6.99 for 100 packages *eeks* at one overpriced drug store here in Canada. After I regained conciousness.... I shook myself and thought chemicals are good - let me buy the cheap stuff. But this week it goes on sale for $4.99 at that same overpriced drug store and they'll give me 10X their loyalty points and I have a number of $2.00 off coupons expiring on Oct 31st that I can use for it.

So 100 for $2.99 - is that close to the price it sells for in the US? I saw at drugstore.com that they sell 200 for $7.99 - but I don't know if there prices are good benchmark prices or not.

A good shopping trip.

October 22nd, 2006 at 11:13 am

Went out last night to get some wire/plastic thingys (the technical term, LOL) to put in my cupboard so I could put more dishes in less space.

Checked a dollar store - nothing. Checked Zellers (the Canadian version of Target/Kmart) Nothing there but people who had mastered the art of stategically placing themselves so that they, their cart and their family blocked anyone else's progress around the store.

Got a cup of tea and a doughnut - gotta love Timmies. I figured after getting so irritated caffiene and sugar were required. As predicted once those were in my system I was a lot happier with life.

Went to Home Outfitters (Canadian version of Bed Bath and Beyond or Linen and things). Lots of 25% off sales and a spend $50 get a $20 gift card to use in the store. Well I had a $75 dollar gift card that was good in the store from last Christmas.

I bought:

*set of flannel sheets
*Nordica Bedskirt (marked down to 25% off of the orginal price)
*2 of the plastic/wire thingys for the cupboard
*set of christmas mugs (xmas present for Killer Kringle or other xmas event we are at)
*set of 2 travel mugs (again for the Killer Kringle or other small xmas gift we might need.

I'm pretty happy. Everything was 25% off except the wire things, and I only had to spend $3 (with taxes it all came to $78).

And I now have a $20 gift card. Not too happy that there is red tape on it. Use between Oct 30th and Nov 12, and need a minimum $50 purchase. But, that's 40% off if i spend $50 and no reason I can't plan some xmas shopping for this store during that period. Usually can get some good deals there if I'm careful to shop sales etc. I want to have my shopping done early this year so that will hopefully help move me along in the right direction!

Lunch at Whole Foods

October 20th, 2006 at 01:33 pm

I went with a co-worker to the "buffet" at Whole Foods. This proved once again, that I have no abiilty to control the size of my portions. Usually at a buffet the only punishment from this is shown on the butt, hips, thighs and stomach. However at Whole Foods, because you pay by the ounce I also paid for this in the pocket book.

Lunch however was very tasty. I'd love to get the recipe for the spicy thai black rice salad.

I picked up Nature Clean floor cleaner from there to replace the Pinesol with, so at least I can safely clean. However I will start hunting for coupons too - though I don't expect the same success finding them as is possible with the mass marketed cleaners from Lever and P&G.

Bad coupon - RANT

October 19th, 2006 at 07:34 pm

Okay so i really should say bad coupon user. No, that won't work either. Disorganized coupon user. Now coupons haven't been high on my list of priorities lately.

But I know someone sent me this coupon. I know that the sale on it is for less than the face value of the coupon. And I know right now I can't find the blasted coupon


I hate this sorta thing.

And they make them sooooooooo small and easy to miss place.

On the agenda is a major clean up of my Canadian Coupons and my US coupons.

It is another blog entry but I'm clipping the coupons for the US too for when I'm there but I'm not really using them. I think the solution is a price book for the US and Canada - will have to be paper so I can carry it and not too big.. *sigh*.


Hear endth this blog entry.

When Stockpiling isn't frugal...

October 18th, 2006 at 06:19 pm

.. is when you discover you have a sensitivity to the product. I have a nice (but not embarrassing) stash of PineSol bought on sale and with coupons. The last 2 or 3 times I've used it I've found it has triggered a headache.

Being frugal is using up a product that is slightly sub par. Being silly is using a product that gives you a migraine.

I'm going to get rid of it and swtich to something more natural/organic. Hopefully someone I know likes the stuff and I can give it away rather than toss it.

Very frustrated (@#$# @ website)

October 10th, 2006 at 07:32 am

I wanted to try a website while I was visting here in the US. It is one that helps you match coupons with codes. I checked - my boyfriend is in a zip code they cover.

So I went to enter my visa information so I could partake in the trial offer. Of course, its not set up to to work if your visa billing address is outside canada.

I then write as follows to the help box of the site:

I tried to sign up for the trial offer. 'm in the US visiting my boyfriend but I'm Canadian and your form doesn't allow me to enter in my address in Canada which is my billing address. Too bad. I was hoping to do some great shopping here.

Their response

We are working hard to bring our service to your area. For now, our _____ would be an excellent choice for you.
I recommend that you shop at Safeway in combination with the Tips in our ______

*Sigh* Their service is available where I want it, I just can't pay for it with my visa becuase my billing address isn't where they allow it to be. And safeway? They aren't any where I live at all.

Oh well, I'll go play with flyers Smile

Thank you for the Fried Rice Idea

October 9th, 2006 at 11:00 am

A week or so ago (or a few days, I'm not exactly remembering when) someone posted about the wonders of fried rice as an easy inexpensive meal! I owe you a big thanks.

Today I made up some rice as the leftover rice in the fridge was a few days old, marinated some tofu that we had previously frozen in teriyaki sauce and liquid smoke so it tasted like ham (it actually did), some chopped up frozen veggies and some onion and mushrooms and about 20 minutes later a wonderful, cheap and healthy meal - and a vegan one to boot!

That's what I love about these blogs, the fact that we can peek into what other people are doing and grab some good ideas that work for us.

I'm going back go reading the blogs, hoping someone comes up with some wonderful idea I can use for supper Smile

Canned vs Dry Beans

September 27th, 2006 at 07:09 pm

I made up a bag (1 pound) of dry black eyed peas the other day - soaked overnight in water (the quick soak method I find can lead to not soft enough beans), then the next day cooked for about an hour. They turned out perfectly. Soft but not mushy.

Did some research. You can freeze cooked beans and a drained can equals approximately 1.5 cups of cooked beans.

So for 97 cents I have the equivalent of 4 cans of beans. I have no idea if I looked if i could find a pound of black eyed peas (dried) for less than that - probably.

I find it very hard to find cans of beans for 25 cents or less each. At times I've spent $1 per can though around 70cents is more common.

The mail brings nice things sometimes

September 10th, 2006 at 10:20 am

Yeah I know most of the time its just crap. This time it was a charity request for a donation. Opened it and the loveliest collection of return address stickers. Waste not want not right? Thanks charity! I don't do my giving via mail requests but I won't waste these either.

Oh and I just "reclaimed" $6.74 cents in uncancelled postage! A few minutes in a bowl of water to free them from the old envelopes and when I go to use them a swipe of the ole glue stick and they'll work good as new Smile

Cooking from Scratch (a no spend day)

September 9th, 2006 at 04:18 pm

I have had a nice quiet day today. Read a bit (Catherine Coulter - a nice read, definitely not literature but very enjoyable) and some home cooking.

Made up a huge batch of Chili that fits the requirements of the WW core plan. Had one serving and have 6 more to go into the freezer for future meals. Mostly all fresh ingrediants but did use some canned tomatoes and tomato paste (I'm practical).

Right now I'm cooking a chicken in the slow cooker. A whole chicken rubbed with olive oil, salt pepper and thyme, sitting on a bed of garlic. I used two full heads of garlic, unpeeled some of the cloves and left peel on some of them. All the cloves are whole. Supposedly in the cooking the garlic taste infuses the chicken but remains mellow and isn't overpowering.

Half the cloves are stuffed in the chicken and half are under the chicken. Its a version of the 40 garlic clove chicken recipe. Oh yeah there is a few tablespoons of white wine to provide moisture too - got to love a recipe with so few ingredients and none too unusual.

I don't do very well making this sound hoity do I? I bet with a french name this would sound so much fancier than I'm making it sound here.

money saving tip when eating out

September 8th, 2006 at 05:31 pm

Save money, save calories and keep your portion sizes reasonable.

When doing fast food order the children's meal rather than a "normal adult" combo.

I think each time I do this at Wendy's or McDonalds (not that I eat at each that much I save about $1.50 to $2.00 and it is enough food. I'm not stuffed but I'm no longer hungry. I could eat more but I don't need to.

Supper tonight was the kids cheeseburger meal at Wendys. The toy gets put aside til I find some kids that will like it. Sometimes though you can swap out cookies or get a cheaper price. I find some McDs are happy to do this and others only let you swap out toy or cookie

Of course you save more if you cook, but its nice in theory at least in my life theory doesn't work those nights I'm driving home late and am starved.

Sucked in the CSI Vortex (aka a no spend day)

September 4th, 2006 at 07:52 pm

After showering with my gorgeous meezer, all fluffy from this post shower hair drying treatment (aka the blowdryer) I sat on the couch and got sucked into a day long CSI Miami marathon. I had seen about 1/2 of them before - proof I don't watch much TV - anyone who watches a lot of TV would have seen them all before.

The good news is I didn't spend any money. The bad news is that I didn't do much of anything.

I'm relaxed and almost ready to start a new work week. A short week is always a bonus Smile

But it was such a good deal... (Savings tip)

September 2nd, 2006 at 06:08 pm

Savings tip of the day - if you are buying it because its a good deal, you shouldn't be buying it. It is simple. The way to really save is to not spend money on things you don't need.

Yeah, I buy stuff in this category too. But less so when I remind myself that I save even more if I don't buy it.

Spendless Sunday and Precooking

August 27th, 2006 at 07:28 pm

Woo Hoo! A no spend day.

Made a Hot Bean Pot dish - had one serving of it and there are 5 more. One if the fridge for this week and the others in the freezer for the next few weeks. I'm going to try to do this every week so I have a store of dishes.

Right now I rely on Lean Cuisine for my lunches. I know they aren't the cheapest even though I do buy them on sale. However still cheaper than eating out. If I make a dish each week that makes 6 servings it won't be long until I have a nice variety of dishes in the freezer and won't need many lean cuisines in the freezer.

It is the right time of year to make a great big batch of stuffed peppers or tomatoes. I might make that next week's project - making some of them vegan so the boyfriend can enjoy some too.

One cheap purchase (and a few others too)

August 26th, 2006 at 05:59 pm

Shopping at bulk barn was fun. We bought dried lima beans for a bean pot, 5 pieces of chocolate for a treat, faux bacon bits, and basil. The total was $1.88. Big spender time! Proof that bulk store shopping can be economical even when you buy a treat!

I did splurge today though. Bought a new phone and a headset to replace the phone I have at home that gets crappy reception and that never seems to work quite right. Also got a small fishing lure box for chainmail supplies.

*blush* Yes, I've started a new hobby

annoying plastic containers - gone

August 25th, 2006 at 06:41 pm

Went to the new supercentre near me. Big store. Brand new and shiny. Staff, staff and oh did I mention it was well staffed? No line ups at all. Lots of people floating around to help you.

Prices - okay. Size of store - wear your runners, never go in there in heels - never ever.. way too much walking. Crappy selection of coupons. I was hoping for better. My hopes were dashed with this trip.

Bought a new set of plastic "tupperwear" to replace the set I "won" in our Killer Kringle at Xmas. That stackable/takes no room/lids are all the same size set is now in the garbage. The lids didn't stay on. I have salad dressing from the cole slaw I had today EVERYWHERE. I didn't goodwill it cause I don't hate the people who buy at goodwill enough to inflict this crappy set on them.

The new set was $10, has 30 containers in it and I have other containers in this set - uses only three sizes of lids and the quality has always been good. At 35 cents a container its not an outrageous investment. So I pitched pretty much everything that didn't work with this set. Life is too short to deal with lunch containers that aren't properly functional either.

Part of me feels horribly wasteful. Tossing stuff out goes against the principals of being careful with one's money. But gees, will I be actually using containers to bring lunch to work if the containers leak?

Easy Savings Update

August 9th, 2006 at 05:39 pm

Looked at my current pay stub and one from a few months ago. I can be putting a significant amount aside and still be bringing home what I brought home a month ago.

I'm going to put some of it in my ING savings (for the $20 challenge) and the rest in my retirement savings account.

I ran into the girl from my investment advisors office in the lobby of the building (not a stretch seeing his office is in the lobby of the building where I work) and she's going to draw up the papers for me to add to my retirement savings tomorrow! Thank goodness I ran into her. This way I can't put it off. I like putting things off - I figure I must enjoy it or I'd stop doing it right?

Easy Savings (written to remind me to do this)

August 8th, 2006 at 08:01 pm

In july my promotion came through finally and with it a raise.

I am writing this here so I remember to do this. Check current pay stub at work. Note amount. Check pre raise pay stub at work. Note amount.

Calculate difference in those amounts, and make sure to put that into savings every pay. This is easy savings. Didn't have this money before so might as well save it now I have it. Live on what I had, use the rest to make my future better.

Put 1/2 of this into retirement accounts. Put other 1/2 into general savings.

Why am I frugal

August 5th, 2006 at 06:06 am

I've been doing lots of things more frugally lately for the following reasons

1. To Save up for retirement
2. To Save for big purchases and so I can enjoy them without debt
3. To establish a solid emergency fund.
4. To control my money. I want to decide where I spend it - not just happen to spend it. I want to get maximum bang for the buck.

Thanks to having spent time paying off debt I now enjoy good cash flow. I want to ensure that for my future while having fun today. I don't think being frugal is about denying myself so much as controlling what i spend and ensuring I spend it in ways that get me where I want to be. Balancing the short term "I wants" with the longer term "I want/need".

And I'm enjoying it. I'm lucky that for me it isn't about being deprived of things. I choose not to do certain things so in the future I can do other things.

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