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Archive for August, 2006

Some Goals for September

August 30th, 2006 at 05:08 pm

While I live in Canada I travel to the US at least once a month as my boyfriend lives in PA. While I'm great with coupons on my home turf I'm trying to become a better consumer when I'm in the states and maximize my savings. These are a couple of my goals for september for some of the "odd things" I want to do to enhance my savings.

- to follow up on at least on of the razor offers I've completed. I keep filling out pages that say they are going to send me a free razor. Intuition, Venus. Schick. I'll be amazed if one every turns up in my mail.

- to complete at least one rebate offer, preferably one in the US and one in Canada for a product I use. Maybe razors even!

-to make a large ALDI shopping list for when i'm next in the states for basics, - cream cheese, milk, pam, sweeetner, etc and to buy said items there. Items where I don't care about brand names.

-To join the Rite Aid savings program for monthly rebates and stuff (there is one on my route home that I found last time that is easy to get to.

Exciting eh?

Bad Mail Day - now in debt (visa bill came)

August 29th, 2006 at 07:29 pm

My visa bill came today. Ouchies. I pay for the subscription a friend and I have to dinner theatre - its a good deal but at $40 each for 5 shows each it adds up - and that's the half price mid week deal
She'll pay me back on an "as we go basis" But ouchies. That was a chunk of change.

Then came the rest of the expenses from my vacation. All are from the States where it is hard for me to use my debit card due to the different systems and where to get cash out each bank along the way is charging a pretty penny. Not that visa doesn't. Just easier to do it tht way. But not easier when the bill comes.

Note to self: Carry more cash when travelling to the US.

The bill isn't due until the end of September but I want to get this paid off. It is the only debt I have. Balance was paid off last month. I don't want to get back into the land of owing.

Mealy Bugs 1 Yummy 0

August 28th, 2006 at 10:38 pm

After a 3 year battle I tossed out most of my plants this past Sunday. I've been battling mealybugs. Dabbing them with alcohol did nothing. Soap did nothing. Other sprays did nothing, dada zilch. Malathion - which should kill man, beast and any living thing was merely a mealybug treat.

I wasn't very frugal. I tossed most of them out containers and all. To be totally correct I selected the ones to be tossed and my boyfriend did the dirty deed and dumped them down the garbage chute.

While I had a small financial investment in the plants most of it was a time and energy investment.

I kept about 8 plants - two spider plants that seem immune to everything, and some ivy's. I'm going to spray them all in the next few days and then give them a month. Any bugs and I'll have to get rid of all the remaining plants.

A few containers I did keep (some of the smaller ones for my plants at work). I'll need to sterilize them. I don't have a dishwasher and most are plastic. Maybe a nice bleach bath with a couple of cups of bleach and a prewash in insecticide. I have just as large a collection of plants at the office as I have at home. Errr. As I had at home and no way I want those infected.

My thoughts about prosper.com

August 28th, 2006 at 07:32 pm

Heard about this on the radio today. I work hard for my money. I work hard to save my money. I am pretty sure investing via the web to people I don't know doesn't fit with my risk tolerance.

Finance 101 says as the risk goes up the rate of turn must increase. My "sleep comfortably at night" meter has gone wild and predicts much insomnia if I go this route. I rate myself with a high risk tolerance. But no thanks!

For the record I'm not interested in borrowing money this way either. I've finally become debt free. I'm hoping to stay that way. And if i do get into debt it will be for a specific reason and I'll do so with an established lender with a good reputation and decent service.

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.

Pondering - Walmart Free Samples

August 27th, 2006 at 11:42 am

I love the walmart free samples. They must cost walmart and or the manufacturer some good money. You'd think they'd enclose a coupon so they could track how many people, through the free sample actually decide to purchase the product. Most of the samples don't seem to include a product coupon

I'd think this would be a marketing 101 sort of thing to do. How else do you know if sending out samples is useful in creating new sales.

Or do they figure all of us who get the samples are people who want free stuff and are likely too cheap to buy their product?

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?

Wow Actually accomplished stuff today

August 24th, 2006 at 08:11 pm

Today was one hell of a day at work. Tomorrow should be just as fun. *Sigh* It might even be more fun as I now have computer issues thanks to needing files that are too large for the programs I use to handle. Being an underwriter is no glamorous - yeah right!.

Oh well, the highlights of today:

-limited spending to breakfast $2.62
-a coworker brought me a coffee so I didn't have to pay for that
- another coworker picked up some nayonaise (vegan mayonaisse) for me at Whole Foods saving me a trip there
-got two antiprocrastition tasks done - no not all of them, but two of them are off of the list
-filed my 10 items
-threw out well over 20 items
-got my american coupons organized (Woo hoo) and can send them on to pastures where they may be used and appreciated
-found a bag of clutter in the kitchen from a car clean out. Got rid of it - tossed, filed, going to goodwill etc
-got a bag of stuff ready for goodwill
-dishes done, counters and stove wiped down.
-lunch is ready for tomorrow. Not sure if i'll make breakfast or buy it out. I'm going to try to make it to save the $2.62

I'm finally unwinding too. A stressful day works me up and makes it hard for me to sleep

Decluttering pays :)

August 23rd, 2006 at 08:24 pm

The paper challenge is moving along. Got rid of way more than 20 pieces of paper again today and filed my obligatory 10 things.

In the mess I found two more cheques to cash in the pile, and a gift card for a book store. Decluttering pays :








Coupon Organization (what's working for me and what's not)

August 23rd, 2006 at 07:52 am

I was asked how I organize coupons.

While I have a method, its not working very well for me right now, hence feeling out of control and having too many coupons.

Coupons for trading are kept in envelopes (business sized) in a plasic "shoe box". The envelopes are in categories that work for me; sweets and baking stuff (think dessert), protien, dairy, cheese (i separate out cheese), soy (for veggie/vegan stuff), bathroom stuff, cleaners, pasta/rice/bread(the starches).

The envelopes don't work very well because they are paper. They tear and rip and are hard to handle. I haven't figured out something of about the same size to replace them. Wondering about file folders cut down to size but haven't got that far, and not sure if this is the right way to go.

Coupons I might use are kept in a smaller check register that fits into my way to big purse. I use the same categories here. This container too needs a good clean out. I've been away so much this summer that coupons are just piling up all over the place.

My problem is I keep too many coupons for trading and for trains I am on. I need to curtail that. Less is more. My current step is to weed out my collection and get rid of expired and soon to be expiring. While doing that I'm limiting duplciates to a maximum of 12.

Someone commmented on my blog about how they organize coupons in a photo album I think it is. I am going to ask more information about that. Maybe my method could use a change. I'm not sure. I think the weeding out and pruning still needs to be done though.

Oh and add to this my US coupon stash. Though I'm planning on getting that to someone who can use them (I haven't forgotten, life has just got me), other than the few that I might be able to use.

Shouldn't have tried to bake tuesday

August 22nd, 2006 at 08:12 pm

First for the good stuff today.

-Limited spending out to one cup of coffee.
-Worked on my paper challenge (more than 20 pieces of paper tossed and 10 filed
-Came to a decision to keep no more than about 12 identical coupons. My coupon collection is overflowing and giving me fits. I can't find coupons I'm looking for, so weeding it down is the only sensible way to go. Coupons are part of my paper problem. This needs to be solved going forward.
-Am set up for another no unplanned spending day tomorrow with the proviso that if i buy a coffee it is not cheating - some days I just need a second cup.

The not so good stuff

- too ditzy to bake today. The cold must be affecting some of my brain cells. Made something that would have been bran muffins had I followed the recipe. Too bad I didn't do that.
-Had a short temper today and let things get to me. Low blood sugar didn't help - I was really hungry by supper time - likely too hungry.

Oh reading this, the good definitely outweighted the bad.

Monday Blues

August 21st, 2006 at 07:44 pm

I am coming down with a cold.. actually it has been coming for a few days and has moved solidly into my sinus cavities. Blech.

I am proud of me for doing a number of things today:

- putting away the laundry
- decluttering 5 tops - 4 for garbage and 1 to go to the boyfriend (stains etc.. the garbage ones are garbage)
-putting the celery seed I bought into a spice jar rather than leaving it in a baggy (I've tossed many a random bag of bulk spices in the past as life is too short to deal with old mystery spices)
- setting up the coffee maker for the morning as well as thawing a breakfast pita
-getting my lunch ready for tomorrow so I have it for work
-filing about 10 items
-tossing out about 30 random pieces of paper

My goal for this week is to, every day throw out at least 20 pieces of paper and file at least 10 pieces of paper.

For some reason the more clutter i get rid of the less I need. I love how this works. It is counter intuitive that is for sure.

I'm hoping to limit my "food out" spending tomorrow to the cost of an additional cup of coffee or a coke if for some reason I want one. I can't do a no spend day as I need sweetener.

Added one more to my collection

August 20th, 2006 at 07:43 pm

Got me one more of those dangly store cards that get me money off at a grocery store. This one for Quality Foods. There is one I pass just off of the NY Thruway.

Got me some decent savings, so I didn't feel too badly about adding it to my collection of key chain danglies. Used my boyfriend's addy and included a phone number fairly similar to his. Frankly I just want the savings. I can live without the profiling.

Have to pull the actual card out of my wallet, too many store cards in it make it too heavy.

51st state?

August 20th, 2006 at 06:46 pm

The store had such a nice display of Kleenex boxes. And a nice coupon. Buy 3 get 1 free or something similar. Good for a while.

*grab a couple*

Look at them later and see they are good only in the US. That's fine I'm there frequently and if I don't use them not hard to find someone who might like them. The question has to be asked of Kleenex though - did you fail geography? Why have pads of these coupons sent to stores in Canada?

I feel a letter to Kleenex coming, asking them if they can send me an equivalent coupon that I can actually use in the country I found it in.

Border Complaint

August 20th, 2006 at 06:40 pm

$2.50 US to cross at the peace bridge or $3.50 Canadian

At today's exchange rate $2.50US is equal to about $2.81 Canadian.

Needless to say I always make sure to have US funds when I cross. At some point I want to figure out who sets the pricing and complain. It should cost the same regardless of the currency you use.

That likely makes too much sense. *sigh*

Getting across the border in both directions was fine. These days I'm not usually bothered by homeland security or Canada Customs. Buying 7 gallons of arizona iced tea just makes you weird, it doesn't make you libel for duty or overly noteworthy.

Contacting Pays Off

August 18th, 2006 at 10:09 pm

I had bought some lipstick a while back only to find in it a coupon that expired in Feb 2005.. which makes the product a wee bit old. I contacted Revlon and they said they'd replace it and send me a gift certificate.

Two weeks after contacting them I have 2 - $1 coupons (aka the gift certificates) off any product they make NED, and a brand new lipstick!

A good mail day. That and a pile of walmart samples. I haven't checked out the samples yet.. Its 1am.. I think I'll wait until I've had a good sleep.

Arizona Iced Tea - where to buy?

August 17th, 2006 at 06:58 pm

I bought gallon jugs of the Arizona Diet Iced tea at Aldi for $2.57 each a few weeks ago. I have no idea if that's a good price or not and no time to go out comparison shopping.

I guess I'll just trust Aldi. I'm trying to bring about a quart of this to work every day so I don't go out and buy coffee or worse, pop.