Tuesday, August 21, 2018

South African Frikkadel (meatball) recipe

I'm still here. I've been so busy going to tractor pulls this summer, so please excuse my absence.  I'm always exhausted from too much sun, the day after. I'm also still working on spreadsheets. Ugh, it looks like I'm gonna have to buy new accounting software and I really don't want to spend that $200+ on it. However, it's much needed so I'm just gonna have to suck it up and buy the software.

As requested by Linda, here's the South African frikkadel (meatball) recipe. Now, this is not the exact recipe I grew up eating. The old school recipe omits the Paprika, thyme and mint. Instead we added some grated green pepper and tomato.  I also replace my ground beef (mince) with ground turkey.

Of course this recipe has been tweaked over the years by people adding different herbs and spices. So you can mix this up any way you want.

Frikkadel is typically served with mashed potatoes and sweet corn and maybe a tomato/onion relish (just fry some diced tomato, onions, green pepper, salt, pepper, a dash of sugar for the tartness, until tomato is cooked down).

Bon Appetit


Tuesday, August 14, 2018

My workout gear bargains

While running errands last week, I stopped at TJ Maxx to see if I could find any clearance t-shirts for DS. I'm currently trying to stockpile summer stuff (for next summer) by shopping the clearance sales. Well I didn't find anything for DS, but scored these Under Armour items for myself.

Holy smokes Batman! Did TJM have great UA clearance in all departments. I've actually been on the lookout for workout bras, so I was very happy to find these babies. They were $8, originally $24.99 each.

Boy am I glad I can still fit into kids sizes. The t-shirt and shorts are both teen size XL (age 16). The shirt was $4.50 (orig $24.99) and shorts $3 (orig $19.99)

My oop was $24.91 (incl tax). Original retail value $94.96 (excl tax). So almost 75% saving.

I was really happy with my score, because I love this brand. My store had lots of other clearance items. The yellow stickers are Final clearance prices. They normally run this sale over 4th July, but moved it back this year. Probably because most people don't care to shop over the holiday.

Over the weekend, I also noticed a $25 coupon from Chico's in my email. I only noticed this email on the last day it was valid. I scored a pair of jeans and sweater for $11.58 oop.

$4.98 items
$5.95 shipping
$0.65 tax

I've only shopped at this store once, because their prices are so high. However, this is the 2nd year that I've received this q. Last year they offered free shipping though, so I scored a free pair of jeans.

Now y'all might think that I'm crazy to just spend money oop on things I might not need. Well there's method to my madness. I can wear these items (I practically live in jeans during cold weather season) and when I'm done, I can sell it for $30-40 total (people will pay for the brand) So I'll be making a profit on something that I get to enjoy too. Saves me from spending extra cash to buy new jeans when I need it.

So that's my shopping for this month to date. $36.49 oop for $292.96 worth of products

Do you also now see why I don't believe in paying full price? That's because stores mark their products way up (as my dad used to say - you're paying for the designer's name). Well, I like my designer stuff, but not designer prices. Sometimes I do think that I'm a bit cheap to not want to pay more for an item, but then I think of how hard I have to work for that money and that makes me feel better about being cheap :)

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Stockpiling item of the week & some freezer cooking

Please bear with me regarding monthly numbers. I'm experiencing computer problems - again! I did get a 'new' computer last month. It's refurbished, because I needed one with Windows 7. The new computers all have Windows 10, which is slower than 7.

So the 'new' computer has been giving me problems and when I tried to install spreadsheet software, it wouldn't work. The download would freeze halfway through. We finally figured it out today. That the problem is with the computer, not the software. So I have to install it on DS's computer tomorrow. Sigh.

I'm always on the lookout for food to stockpile. This week Meijer has Italian Sausage & Brats on sale for $3. Not the greatest price, but I figured it would make some nice meals.  For some reason we haven't bought any Italian Sausage in years. Don't ask me I also bought 6 lbs sweet onions that were cleaned, sliced/diced (the diced were frozen). Freezing produce serves a double purpose for me. The produce doesn't get wasted and it's ready to use when I have to cook.

I bought 3 x Italian, 2 x Beer Brats & 2 x Ground Italian.

The ground will be used for lasagna or meat sauce.

The sausage have been bagged with sliced onion. I've kept one bag out for Friday night and the rest have been frozen. I can throw this with some sliced peppers (I need to get more from the produce market) and a can of Rotel (optional) into the Instant Pot for 15 minutes for an easy meal. This will go onto a hot dog bun and served with baked potatoes and salad. Easy peasy.

I like to prepare freezer meals whenever I'm done shopping, with the approach of busy work season. That way I can just dump the contents into Instant Pot, steam vegetables on the side and not have to worry much about fixing dinner at night. This is also great for when you're sick or too busy (keeps us from just picking up fast food constantly)

I also picked up some ground turkey and organic chicken breasts at Sams. I made fajita chicken with 4lbs of the chicken (one package). I added some Mexican rice, black beans, cheese, red onion, lettuce to make the Mexican chicken bowl above. I also made fresh Pico de gallo that I added inside the cheese quesadillas. That was dinner last night. Unfortunately, we were out of sour cream

I'll keep some leftover chicken out for lunch and the rest will be frozen into 1lb portions for easy mexican meals.

I used half of the turkey to make Frikkadel (a South African meat patty) and salads for Monday's dinner. Half were frozen too. So that gives us 3 different meals, but there's enough for at least 7-8  meals. I need to buy some pasta sauce and cook the meat sauce to freeze.

We finally finished this bottle of Cascade on 8/6. Just 2 days shy of using it for 8 months! That's $2.50 for 8 months or $0.01 per day (I just used 30 day months). That's a new record for us, since we run the dishwasher daily. No dishwasher tabs for me. I still have a huge amount of Cascade liquid in my stockpile, so I'm happy about that.

Hoping to be back with July numbers next.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

A few things I've done the past few weeks

July was a crazy busy month, so I didn't have much time to shop or blog. Here's a few things that I did the last few weeks.

Redeemed $125 worth gift cards ($100 Kohls, $25 Target)

Used the Kohls gc that purchase a big ticket Christmas item and 2 long sleeve shirts for DS. My total came to over $100, but in true Kohls fashion, some of the items were cancelled. My new total came to $90.51, but I still received $20 Kohls cash. No problem. I used the Kohls cash to buy items to make money towards my $15K goal.

I swear I have the worst luck with online orders. Something always goes wrong. Oy vey. I ordered some sweaters (I didn't own any sweaters) for myself when Gap had 40% off + extra 10% off. So I used the balance of my GAP gcs and $5.14 on my CC. Well, one sweater that was shipped separately, never arrived. When I checked the tracking, I saw that only a shipping label was created. The item never left their warehouse. So they issued me a credit. $5.14 to my CC and a check for $2.28.

They said they couldn't issue a $2.28 gc, because the amount was under $5. So they spent money on paper, printer ink, envelope and a stamp, to send me a check for under $5. Yep, that makes perfect sense

I also splurged on a new dress at Marshalls. After attending numerous important meetings, I realised that I hardly had any dress clothes. Of the few items I have, most were outdated. So when I saw this dress at Marshalls, I fell in love. It cost me $39.99 + tax. Retail price is $89.

So for July, I spent less than $50 on clothes.

I also got DS a new game that he wanted at Target. I told him a few months ago that he could get the game when I have enough gcs to pay for it. So I paid a whopping $63.59 for a game. These video game manufacturers sure know how to rip us off.

I've also been stockpiling blueberries since they are on sale at Meijer $1.25/pint. I've been washing and freezing most, because I pay over $10 for a 4 or 6 lb frozen blueberry bag at Sams during winter. I can buy frozen blueberries at Dollar Tree, but the Meijer ones are locally grown and so delicious.

On Monday I decided to turn on the oven to bake (I rarely use the oven during summer). A friend gave me about a 30lb bag of fresh wheat from their fields. I mentioned that I wanted to try a whole wheat bread recipe, so when they harvested, she asked if I wanted some. I have some really generous friends.

So I baked these 2 loaves and it was so good. The recipe is from a grocery store in SA. I was trying to duplicate the whole wheat bread that they sell. I replaced one cup of flour with a cup of crushed wheat and it made a huge difference. The loaves were small though, so I'll make 6-8 loaves, next time I bake bread again. I will also add some honey and olive oil, so that it's not too dry.

Bread recipe

I also made a chicken pot pie for dinner, 2½ dozen carrot/pineapple muffins and 1 dozen blueberry muffins (with those fresh blueberries).

That's about it for me. I still need to crunch numbers, but I currently have a cold.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

My $33 cupcake party for 30 people

As I've mentioned before, I had a surprise party last week. I heard about someone leaving and thought it might be a nice idea to throw a small surprise farewell. Nothing elaborate with lots of food & drink. I just settled for cupcakes, fresh fruit (since this person loves fruit) and drinks. I could've gone the whole nine yards, but there wasn't enough notice. 

My first stop was at Dollar Tree for some supplies (plates, serving trays, balloon, card)

OOP $10.07

Then I went to Meijer for fruit. I also bought 3 packs of juice boxes for the kids. I cashed in pop cans to the tune of $7.70 and used a $3 Mperks reward only paid $23 OOP. I actually bought way too much fruit. We only needed half, so the rest was eaten and also frozen.

Then at Sams I picked up 60 cupcakes. They sell 30ct cupcakes for $14.99. There were only ones with Happy Birthday decorations, so these were the best I could find. I actually like the ice cream decorations. Paid with a Walmart gc, so zero OOP

Then I grabbed 2 x $15 Red Robin gcs (the ones I bought at Sams before) and placed it inside the 50c Hallmark card that I bought at Dollar Tree. So that was the person's gc.

I also had lots of 2 Litre Canada Dry Lemonade (that we got for free or near free through Ibotta before) for the adults. 

So total OOP was $33.07 and everyone had enough to eat. I was so worried that it might not be enough food, but it was definitely enough.

I actually enjoyed planning this simple party, because I spent so little and everyone had a good time. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Some shopping deals

I'm still here. Between a funeral, some personal business, a spur of the moment surprise party, summer & work, I've been really busy. I will try my best to write 2-3 blog posts per week. No promises though, because from now until the end of January, I'll be very busy with work.

Here are just a few deals I did today.

This week Meijer has select GM cereals on sale for $2.50 and wyb 4, you save $4 instantly. There's also a CAT deal wyb 4, you earn $3 OYNO. So here's what I got

4 x Cheerios $10.00
Less instant discount (4.00)
Less 2 x $1/2 qs (2.00)
OOP $4.00
Received $3 CAT and $1 Savingstar. So 4 free boxes of cereal.

I will print more qs from DH & DS's computers and do the deal a few more times. Since the Savingstar offer has already been redeemed, the cereal will cost 25c each.

Walgreens (WAGS)

2 x Poise Liners $11.98
2 x Benadryl itch relief sticks $5.23 (B1G50% off 2nd)
Less L2C Poise (3.0)
Less Poise Monthly booklet q (2.00)
Less 2 Benadryl qs (2.00)
Less $10 Reward used (10.00)
Sales tax 1.03
OOP $1.24

Received $4 Ibotta poise and a free photobook CAT (wyb 2 Benadryl)

Earned $3 reward (wyb 2 Benadryl)

So, I only bought these items, because I read that the Poise is a big MM. I still don't understand how it's a MM (unless there's another Man q available). I have to go find that post again, to check the details. Since I only paid $1.24 OOP and earned $4 cash back, I guess it's a MM deal for me :)

I started off with $50 in Balance rewards and I still have $50 available after today's trip. I'm not even gonna mess with the points, because it's too much of a mess to work through. I still don't understand it. I do have less points than before, but I still end up with the same Dollar amount. Huh?! (scratching

I also placed an online Target order. Ibotta currently has a $5 bonus reward when you place one mobile order. The Target men's beauty box is currently $5 with free shipping (includes samples and 1 full size Old Spice item). So I paid $5.30 with a gc, earned a whopping 5c cash back (it's still money in my pocket) and should get $5 bonus through Ibotta. So total cost will be 25c for the box, but that was covered by a gc, so free to me. Yay!

I also stopped at Dollar Tree for bread, but they only had some horrible white dinner rolls and english muffins. I don't eat white bread and none of us care for English muffins. I did pick up a few other items, but left everything behind because the checkout line was so long with only one register open. Meanwhile, they had staff stocking shelves all over the store. I'll make another trip on Thursday (cashier told me they get bread on Tuesday and Thursday).

I was also hoping to score some Sunday newspapers at DT, but none of them had any q inserts, so that was a bust.

I will wait until the Poise deal resets on Ibotta, then hit WAGS and Meijer again. I'm mainly interested in those free photobooks. They will make nice Christmas gifts and I don't have to pay that heavy shipping costs that Shutterfly charges.

I also shopped Kohls on Sunday and bought a big ticket Christmas gift and 2 shirts for DS. I had a few more items, but in typical Kohls fashion they were somehow OOS. Paid for everything with gcs (around $90. I need to check the updated total now that some stuff were cancelled) and earned $20 Kohls cash. So Kohls is also on my shopping list this week. I still have $25 Y2Y reward to use before the end of the month.

That's my shopping thus far. I haven't even checked the ads for the other drugstores yet.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

June numbers - very late

I know this is wayyyyy late. I've been in holiday mode since the end of June. I've been lazing by the pool, shopping, dining out and just plain doing nothing. It's rare for me to just take time off like this, so I enjoyed it to the fullest. I had absolutely zero interest in writing a blog post, but that's all behind me So onto the numbers we go.

It's been a really slow earning month on all point earning sites.Lots of things not working, so the numbers are low. I do,however, remain thankful for the extra cash in my pocket :)

Gift cards earned

Mypoints $0
Swagbucks : $25
IGC : $50 (Kohls, Target) 
Ibotta : $50 Walmart
Savingstar : $0 - not enough funds to cash out yet
Checkout51 - I requested a $20.75 check that will be added to $15K fund
Total gcs earned in January : $180 (excluding CK51) 

So onto the gc balances:

Previous balance $146.57
Added : $25 (Mypoints)
Spent : $106.21 Kohls + $50 Christmas gift transfer
New balance : $15.36

Previous balance $70
Added : $30 (Swagbucks, Bing) 
Spent : $0 
New balance : $100

Previous balance : $66.44
Added : $100 Ibotta & CC
Spent : $11.26 (Lance crackers)
Total : $155.18

Previous balance : $40.27
Added : $0 
Spent : $0
Total : $40.27


Previous balance : $59.31
Earned $0
Spent : 0
New balance : $59.31

DSW - $25.00 + $5 reward

WHBM - $50.00


Previous balance : $15.00
Spent $15.00
Balance : $0 (pending credit which I still haven't received)

Starbucks : $35 

Total Gift Cards : $385.12

Total earned from online sales (after fees) : $195.33
Plus previous balance $465.57
Less expenses (27.11) $23.15 was for my BBW purchase
New Balance : $633.79

So we have a total of $1018.91 in cash and gcs for holiday shopping and whatever clothing items we need for the rest of the year. 

So, the Kohls number is a little off. I only shopped at Kohls once this month. However, I told my friend I was gonna order a gc through my CC as a Christmas gift. I wasn't sure about redeeming for a small amount, because I would've preferred a larger gc. So my friend told me to just get a gc to use for our household and then take the cash amount out of household (eg groceries) and save it towards a bigger gc. Brilliant idea. Then I thought, why not get a Kohls gc, buy some items to resell and use that money to buy a bigger gc. Even better idea. So off to Kohls I went with $50 gc and bought items to sell (which should bring me about $125). I also earned $10 Kohls cash which I used to buy 3 more items to sell, which should bring even more money. I'm counting on $150 total in my pocket. See how that $50 gc is growing :) BUTTTTTT The day after my Kohls trip I tried to redeem my CC points for a $50 Kohls gc. Except, they didn't have any Kohls gcs available :( So I ordered a Walmart gc instead, cause Walmart is on my shopping list too). 

So long story short. I traded a $50 Kohls for a $50 Walmart card. So these numbers are reflected on my gc amounts above.

$15K savings goal

Starting balance : $844.21
Plus 52 wk plan : $282.16
Plus sales : $181.53
Plus CK51 check : 20.75
Less purchases : $0
New Balance : $1328.65

$1 Savings
Previous balance : $76
Added : $15
Total : $91

$5 Savings 
Previous balance : $155
Added : $25
Total : $180

I sure hope that the point earning sites will pick up soon, because I still need to earn a lot of gcs for BF shopping and it's already the middle of July. Our cash situation is a lot better, so I don't know why I'm so worried. Probably because I feel less guilt when I pay with a gc versus cash. 

So that's our holiday savings/shopping numbers to date. How have you done with saving/shopping for Christmas?

I did quite a bit of drugstore shopping last week, so need to work on that post. I hit all 3 stores last week and stocked up on P&G items.