Monday, June 14, 2021

Eating from the freezer

I really enjoyed not having to worry about meals last week. By doing freezer cooking, we had lots of options. So here's what I did.

Monday : Falafel in pita pockets

Tuesday : I cooked refried beans in instant pot & took fajita chicken from freezer and made nachos. I also made guacamole & we still had pico de gallo.

Wednesday : BWW chicken tenders (freezer), potato salad, carrot/pineapple salad, baked beans salad

Thursday : Chicken patties (freezer). Made chicken burgers with some of that fresh produce I bought and added the leftover salad from night before

Friday : Carry out

Saturday : Carry out. Pre-covid we used to dine out on Saturdays & Sundays. Now we just get our food to go on Saturdays

Sunday : Dinner out


I have no problem making salads or whatever sides, because it's so quick & easy. I love not having to cook a full meal every day. I used to do lots of freezer cooking (to free up time for me to work) before covid hit. Then I slacked, but I'm back in the saddle.





Yesterday I was back in the kitchen again. I decided to replace the pancakes with muffins, because it's so easy to grab & go.  I made a dozen jumbo blueberry/lemon muffins. I love blueberries & I always crush my blueberries when baking, so we can have it in every bite. I love the jumbo ones, because I have this strange love (I'm not callling it an obsession...lol) for eating the bottom half. I can't even explain it. I cut the muffin in half, then leave the tops for the guys to eat. I don't know why I'm so crazy about the bottoms. I spread some butter on it and nuke it. So yummy. I bought these muffin pans years ago to make a traditional South African cookie, but the pans were too big. No problemo. Let's just make extra large muffins. 




I also made 2 spinach & artichoke quiche (added bacon for extra flavor) and 2 veggie pizzas. It's not the prettiest pizza, but it tastes so good. I made some broccoli, carrots & peas to go with the quiche. There's salad to go with pizza. I've been craving pizza for a while now and Sams cafe no longer sells whole pizzas. Costco only has cheese and pepperoni pizza, which I'm not a fan of. I like making my own pizza, because I can add whatever toppings we like. 

We still have frozen breakfast burritos and sausage. There's always eggs and cereal too. Bought another raisin bread, so we're good on the  breakfast front.

There's ravioli and meat sauce in the freezer (not together, so we can also have ravioli with pesto if we don't want meat sauce). We also still have fajita chicken, BWW tenders and chicken patties in case we get tired of all the vegetarian meals. 

For dessert tonight we're having fruit smoothies. I've been craving chocolate cake (my favorite), so I might make some chocolate cupcakes in the near future.

As you can see, we eat pretty well. For years I've heard people state that coupons are just for junk food. This is so NOT true. I'm a big couponer and I can assure you that junk is rarely a part of our diet. We eat very little processed food  and I mainly cook & always bake from scratch (I grew eating scratch made food). I do buy my pie crusts, because it's only $1.50 for 2 perfectly rolled shell. I can make pie crusts, but this is a time & money saver. I do make my own pizza crust though. 

The pandemic has forced us to buy more canned veggies, due to lockdown. However, we eat fresh whenever it's available and buy organic or non GMO meat. I think our budget is really low ($300 per month for a family of 3. This includes food, HBA & cleaning materials. That's $100 per person per month or $3.33 per person per day

) considering the way we eat. It's all about putting in the time & energy to search for & shop the best deals.

I'd really like a roast beef soon. We haven't had any in a long time. Every time I want Italian Sausage, I only find brats whenever I'm at the store. DH made a vegan dish with fennel not too long ago and all I could think of was Italian Sausage (no I didn't eat the vegan dish. This girls needs her meat & dairy, but the fennel smell was so good). I'm gonna buy a few packages when I eventually find it.

Bon Appetit everyone!

Friday, June 11, 2021

There's method to my madness

I know that there are many who think that all I do is shop, shop, shop. Even my DH sometimes thinks I'm nuts, because he doesn't quite understand my way of thinking. I'm a planner. No, I'm not one of those 'the sky is falling' people, but I like to be prepared for things. I don't like last minute business & the stress of running around for things. I'm a smooth sailing kinda girl.

Several events of the last year has made me shift my shopping thinking. We have a very good food/hba/cleaning stockpile, so I've purchased less groceries the past few months. However, everyone seems to focus on groceries & not really think about other things. We've seen prices skyrocket in all areas (not just groceries). This is mainly due to the pandemic. Then the catastrophe in the Suez Canal happened. Then the southern gas pipeline hack happened. Now there's drought out west. All of these have and will continue to contribute to price increases, because supply is low while demand is high. 

Has anyone noticed that clothing stores don't have the great sales they've had in the past? What about all those great clearance sections in store. I've noticed that Burlington no longer has clearance racks. Marshalls/TJM have limited clearance. Kohls, Macy's etc have oodles of clearance, but the prices are still shocking. Well Kohls USED TO have tons of clearance. When I stopped there last weekend, I was shocked. Their clearance sections were half the size it was before. I've also seen many empty areas in the store. I've never seen anything like this before. 

We all need clothes and shoes, whether you're a minimilast or whether your're a fashionista who loves a full closet. It's especially essential when you have kids. They grow fast, they don't take good care of their clothes, they need select items for sports or special events. You get the idea. 

The majority of apparel & footwear are imported. Covid has been wreaking havoc in India, who manufactures lots of clothing for the US & other nations. That's just one country, but most of the world is still crippled by the pandemic. The backlog in the Suez canal has cost Billions per day. So retailers are stuck with limited inventory and can charge the consumer whatever they want. 

While we have full closets, I've decided to continue stockpiling for ourselves. I've always stockpiled clothes, because I hate paying full price for anything. I don't even want to pay half price. I still have oodles of gcs to my favorite stores. I received more for Valentines & Mother's Day. My guys know that I prefer gcs, because I'm going to find what I want at ridiculously low prices. So that's what I've been doing. Buying things that we need in future at 80-90% off. I've decided to just take out cash for things for DS. 

I'm not gonna lie. This takes a bit of work. I check all my favorite stores every morning. It doesn't take much time, because I know what I'm looking for. I do the same for DS and select items for DH. Now, I really don't need a single thing (okay, I still need sports bras). I can go without shopping for a year or two and still have plenty to wear. However, I have this sense of urgency to stockpile. I trust my gut instincts, because I know that's God nudging me in the right direction. So I'll continue buying for both myself & DS. I don't know where I'm gonna wear all my fancy schmancy clothes to yet...lol

Why am I shopping like this? I know that it saves us Thousands of $$$ every year. About 2-3 months ago, the zipper on DS's winter coat broke. It's not something that could be fixed, especially not when you're on your way out. We just grabbed a new $200 coat (same as the one that broke) that I got for $22 early last year and went on our merry old way. 

I needed to replace my athletic shoes. I pulled  a new pair from my stockpile (purchased BF 2019). Paid for it with gcs and stacked the coupons/rewards. Last year, Kohls didn't have the shoes as part of their BF sale, so I'm glad I always buy extra. I still have one new pair in my stockpile. 

DS needed new quarter socks. Pulled some from the stockpile. 

I pulled some new summer outfits that I bought with gcs at beginning of the year. Now that we're fully vaccinated, we can go out again. There was one year that I didn't stock winter clothes for DS (I can't even remember why I didn't do it) and I cringed when I had to pay full price for new pants, shirts, hoodies. NEVER again!

But, I don't just stop there. What happens if your coffee pot broke first thing in the morning? I only drink one cup of coffee per day, but I NEED my coffee fix. I've had rotten luck with constantly breaking the glass carafe. I have a coffee machine with built in grinder and I love that thing. So I've made sure to buy a spare carafe when Kohls sent me a 40% off coupon before. I also have an el cheapo coffee pot that was around $2-3 during a BF sale one year. Just in case the coffee machine breaks.

When our governor prohibited us from buying gardening supplies last year, I didn't get upset. I just pulled out the leftover seeds from the previous year and planted produce again. Easy peasy. 

When our state opened after lockdown last year, I went out and bought a spare blow dryer. I have thick curly hair. I hate the hair straightener, so I still blow dry my hair the 'old fashioned' way. One winter I was in the middle of blow drying my hair, when the dryer croaked. I almost cried, cause I was stuck with a mess. I bought the dryer, because everything was so scarce then. Now we have all the price increases. Sure, it's $2 here, $5 there, but all those little bits add up. That's money we could be saving instead. 

My favorite part is that when disaster hits, I have peace of mind. I don't have to panic, because all our needs are more than met. My guys don't know or realise how much time & work I put into this. To them, everything is just there when they need it. I wouldn't have it any other way. To me it's not work. I look at it as investing in our future (providing while saving).


So here's how much I spent the past month or two. 

First, I finally found DS a wool coat. I've been searching for one for more than 2 years, because I love my wool coat so much. I got a $398 Cole Haan coat for ......... $33.74 plus tax. I couldn't believe it! That's more than 90% off. This is not the exact coat that I got for DS, but it's similar. I now love his coat even more than I love my old one ...lol I like that it's almost knee length, so it keeps a larger portion of your body warm. 

OOP : 418.18

Potential earnings : $250.00

Total cost to us : $168.18 (that's around $5.10 per item)

I paid $418.18 in cash for our purchases (I didn't have gcs for these stores). 


DS

Wool coat

Corduroy jacket

6 pk socks

1 Pair shoes

2 pks undies

3 Jeans

2 Sweatpants

12 T-shirts

2 Polo shirts

2 Casual shirts


ME

4 T-shirts

1 Shorts

1 Sweatpants


Most of the items will go into the stockpile. I found DS's favorite underwear on sale and had to stock up again. There is no way I'm gonna pay $42-$50 per package. $18 per package was the pre-pandemic sale price, so I'm happy to get it at that price again. It's also hard to just get the pure cotton ones, so I get those whenever I can. We don't like microfiber or polyester. All of the items we bought are name brand items. 

As for the potential earnings. I included 14 items in this purchase to resell (I have to offset some of our expenses somehow). We might get more than $250, but for now I'm just sticking to that amount. I also listed 2 items that we replaced, from DS's closet. Those 2 items alone will add  around $40-50 to our pockets. I never return items to store. I pay so little for things that when something doesn't fit, I just resell it for profit. Easy peasy. 

I needed some nicer t-shirts for going out. I'm using 2 now and added the other 2 to my spare closet. 

I still need to find good winter sweatpants for DS. The ones I bought wasn't thick enough, but he can still use it. He's in good shape now. I don't need to buy anything else, since I did a good stock up. 

I'm still tracking our purchases and will continue to update you with money earned from selling our old clothes/shoes etc. By the end of the year, you'll be able to see how much/little it cost us to wear name brand clothing. 

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

June grocery shopping & cooking

I decided to get a head start on this week's grocery shopping so I could do meal prep over the weekend, so I headed to the stores by the end of last week. It's been a long time since I did breakfast freezer cooking, so I decided to fix that. I don't like cooking in the morning. I just want my coffee and food to heat & eat. 



My first stop was the produce market, since we were low or out of many things. I absolutely love fresh produce. It's what we mainly eat with some type of protein. The produce store did not disappoint at all. As I entered the store, I saw strawberries & blueberries. My 2 favorite things to buy. Blueberries were $1.50/pint, so I bought 4, because this is my absolute favorite berry. The grocery stores are charging more than that for a 6 oz container. I saw pint blueberries for $2.99 at Aldi. 

For those who are not aware, the market fills big boxes of 'what they consider' not perfect produce and sell it for $2/box. I was surprised to see so many available boxes, because the store was fairly busy. Look at how good these apples look. Thus far I've only found 2 badly bruised apples in one box, that went to the squirrels out back. The pears are still hard, so there's plenty time to eat them. I'm guessing they were making room for new inventory. 

The lemons were marked down to $1/bag. There's 6 lemons per bag. I'm gonna make some lemonade with it. DH & DS will eat some of the apples, but I'm not a fan of red apples. So I made some applesauce and apple/carrot juice (I had a bag of 'expired' carrots in the fridge, so I juiced it). We love the fresh apple juice. This is why I bought 2 boxes. You can't find fresh squeezed apple juice for $4 anywhere. I've made 4 litres thus far and still have a more than one full box of apples left. The best part - no added sugars. Hooray!

Look at the size of this cucumber. This thing measured 20 oz long and it's thick. Not to mention it tastes delicious! These were 50c each. They had a ton of small cucumber in that area, but I decided to dig through the pile and found a few large ones. I understand why they were 2/$1 (baby ones), but I always look for the largest size produce when I pay per item, instead of by weight. Well, I left the market $67 later. I'm not even worried about that number. My cart was overflowing and I know I would've paid at least 3 times as much at the grocery store. 

I stopped at Walmart for some odds and ends for breakfast and my BWW sauce (paid with a gc). Then to Aldi for bread. Would you believe that I buy 3-4 different kinds of bread at Aldi, every other week? We all eat wheat bread. DH like ciabatta, DS likes Chocolate Brioche & I like raisin bread. So I buy one of each. I'd say we're a little spoiled...lol Paying $6-9 every other week is a steal. How much is a loaf of bread at the regular grocery store these days? Last I checked it was over $4 each.

When I got home I cooked a package of breakfast sausage with onions for the freezer, the hashbrowns (I buy the O'brien ones), some of which were added to burritos. Crumbled and cooked another package of sausage. Then I chopped up some veggies and made 14 breakfast burritos for the freezer. The burritos are loaded with veggies & protein. Now we can just grab one from the freezer to heat & eat. We still have muffins that I've made the past 2 weeks & cereal. So there's enough breakfast foods to last the next 2-3 weeks. All we have to do is make eggs when we want some. I also haven't made pancakes in almost a year, so I'm gonna freeze some blueberries and make lemon blueberry pancakes to freeze. I really need another freezer. I could cook our meals for a month or 2 and not have to worry about slaving over a stove every day.

I finally found some thick bunches of cilantro at the market (their products vary from week to week and I haven't been able to find any the last time I shopped), so I made pico de gallo to go with that Mission Tortilla chips I bought a few weeks ago. Most of the peppers are diced and frozen. I wanted to make stuffed peppers, but didn't want to turn on the oven in this heat. I made a double batch of falafel instead.

I bought lots of zucchini. I know that I wanted zucchini, but can't remember what I wanted to use it for (in my old coupon group we called it CRS - can't remember s#*&) No, it's not for baking. Zucchini bread is just too bland for me. I wanted to cook a meal with it. I might have to google recipes to see if a lightbulb goes off.

Today I'll make some beetroot salad. I must have my beets. I'll eat them with just about anything. My father always used to ask me whether I'm eating the actual meal or beetroot as my meal, because I'd fill my plate with it...lol

I also went to Meijer to get some 79c Kraft salad dressing. I had to hit 2 stores, because the shelves were completely bare at the first store. The 2nd store only had a few bottles, but I managed to get 5 for the sale price (I needed 5 to get the discount). I also got my Chick Fil A sauce, because Walmart was out of it. 

I tell ya, the budget is already broken for this month - or at least it will be. I made a Costco trip yesterday. I also stopped at Ollies afterwards. Come out of Ollies to see my car keys laying on my seat. Of course the car was locked. I had to wait 2 hours in the heat for DH to come get me. Long story. I'm so glad I made the falafel, because I didn't have to worry about dinner then. We just filled pita pockets with falafel & salad fixings. I didn't make the sauce yet, so we just used some CFA sauce on it. No money spent on take out. 

I need to go to the drugstores. I don't even have a plan yet, other than WAGS. As for groceries, we're good for a coupla weeks. I might just need bananas & onions next week. 

Friday, June 4, 2021

May month end check in

I don't know about anyone else, but it seems like this year is flying by. I can't believe it's June already.

Here are our numbers for May.


Groceries/HBA/Cleaning

Sams : $120.06

Produce market : $51.97

Aldi : $13.02

Costco : 16.98

CVS : $16.70

Dollar Tree : $5.12 

Kroger : $53.42

Target : $14.54

Walmart : $15.76

Walgreens : $36.58

Total OOP : $344.15


Earnings 

Ibotta : $27.80

Kroger Cash Back : $9.00

Mypoints : $13.50

Total earnings : $50.03

Total cost after earnings : $294.12

My earned drugstore rewards are not included in this amount. I count them when I spend it. 


Our grocery spending would've been way less for the month. However, I decided to do another Sams shop before our membership expired at the end of the month. Now I can hold off on renewing that membership for a while. It might be hard, because I usually buy meat & yogurt at Sams. My OOP for Sams before the last trip was $11. That 2nd trip added over $100 to our budget last month.

I did get a Costco membership for business though. When I signed up, I googled promo codes. So I added promo code and it only deducted a penny from my membership order. I just though 'oh well, at least I tried' and moved on from it. About 2 weeks later (day after I picked up my membership card in store) a $15 Costco gc arrived in the mail. Happy dance!

I bought 2 Spinbrushes at Walmart and earned $12 in points and another $1.50 for completing a Swago board. 

I've shopped Kroger a lot last month. The ME sale was really good. They had 18ct eggs for 99c with DQ, Mega Stack Pringles for 99c, Oscar Mayer hot dogs (we love the smokies) $1, so I stocked up.

Dollar Tree has the big bags of Snyders Pretzels again, so I bought 3. I actually went to DT for a birthday card, then end up buying extras. Does that happen to anyone else? 

We've been doing really well with shopping less, while eating down the pantry and freezer. I still have a balance on that gc we received, so that should help cover some of June's grocery spending. 

I've noticed that my BWW Carribean Jerk sauce has been hard to find. Walmart seems to only have a bottle or 2  in that flavor (I've been to 2 different stores), but several Asian Zing & Mango Habanero (which we don't like). I've been stocking up on the Carribean Jerk whenever I find it, because it's our favorite flavor. I sure hope that it doesn't get discontinued.


MONEY EARNED (SIDE HUSTLE)


GCs Earned $75.00 ($50 Mypoints, $25 IGC)

Personal items (things we've had listed for the past 2 years) : $165.06

2021 Closet cleanout : $65.05 (one of the items was DS's)

Big goal : $120.76

Drugstore items : $16.59

Rakuten check (I keep forgetting to deposit check. I mean it only takes a few clicks) : $14.71

Total earnings : $457.17


I've listed another 6 items from my closet and 4 from DS's. Now I'm up to 48 of my own items listed. 12 More to go. The sales are slow though. I've only sold 9 items (plus one for DS) thus far. I'm happy with the extra money though.


YTD Earnings :

GCs (point earning sites) : $295

Ibotta : $95 (redeemed) + $236.50 = $331.50

Personal items : $306.49

2021 Closet cleanout : $137.63

Big goal : $583.94

Drugstore items : $70.09

Total Earnings (excl Ibotta) : $1407.86


YTD EXPENSES (Clothing/shoes/accessories, Christmas gifts)

OOP  (May) $284.77! 

This was totally planned. I switched things up and am currently working on a post explaining it. 

YTD OOP : $806.60 


This number is mainly DS and some gifts. My gosh! I think I only picked up one item for myself. A pair of sweatpants for $5 and of course my sunglasses. 


YTD side hustle income (personal, closet cleanout, drugstore) : $514.21

YTD clothing/christmas gifts expenses : $806.60

YTD Balance ($292.39)


Oy vey. I'm not mad at the number after switching strategies. I just want to get out of the red. 


I have to tighten my belt for June, because I've already spent a considerable amount at the produce market yesterday. I did our monthly stock up and left with an overflowing cart. Uh oh!...lol I'm excited to eat so much fresh food though, cause we were running low or out of our favorites.

Happy weekend everyone!

Saturday, May 29, 2021

A week of shopping disasters

I don't know what's going on this week, but it was filled with all kinds of shopping problems which resulted in me spending too much OOP.

First stop, Target. Their 12pk sodas on sale for $3/12 this week and there's also a 25% off Cartwheel q for both Pepsi & Coke products. 


Trans 1

3 x Canada Dry $12.00

Less 25% (3.00)

Bottle deposit 3.60

Less GC payment (10.66)

OOP $1.94


Trans 2

3 x Canada Dry $12.00

Less 25% (3.00)

Bottle deposit 3.60

OOP $12.60


Sooooo, I have $10.xx Circle rewards that I wanted to use to pay for the 2nd transaction. I rarely shop at Target in store and assumed that the Circle amount would be applied once you enter your phone number at checkout (like the coupons do). Nope, it asked me for my Wallet details. What the heck. I don't even know my password or anything, nor do I have the app on my phone. So I just paid the $12.60 OOP. Its not a problem, because I can still use the Circle rewards on a future purchase. 

The good news is that I finally learned how Circle offers actually work. You can use a Circle Q up to 4 times in one transaction. Eg, if you purchase 6 tostitos, the q will only apply to 4 tostitos per transaction. However, you can do up to 6 transactions per day and the same q will apply to every single transaction. So you can do 6 tostitos transactions per day(limit 4 per transaction) and the q will apply to all 6 transactions. Does that make sense? 

This is why I did 2 separate transactions.

So $14.54 for 6 x 12 pks soda isn't too bad, since $7.20 of that is bottle deposit.




CVS

2 x Maybelline baby lips $9.58

1 Covergirl mascara 6.99

1 Covergirl lipstick 7.29

1 Covergirl foundation 8.69

1 Skintimate razor 10.99

1 Schick hydro razor 11.79

1 Coppertone sunscreen 11.49

1 Coppertone sunscreen 12.99

Less Covergirl eye DQ (3.00)

Less Covergirl face DQ (3.00)

Less Coppertone DQ (2.00)

Less Schick hydro razor DQ (4.00)

Less Skintimate DQ (4.00)

Less $6/20 Covergirl DQ (6.00)

Less $5/20 Shave DQ (5.00)

Less $5 Schick hydro refill DQ (5.00) don't know why this applied, but I'm not complaining :)

Less $4 Covergirl CRT (4.00)

Less EBs (31.00)

Tax 3.89

OOP $16.70

Earned $34 EB ($10 Coppertone, $10 Razors, $5 Maybelline, $6 Covergirl, $3 Beauty)


I had a bloody sense of humor failure when I saw that total. I immediately knew it was wrong, but without seeing the receipt, I had no idea what didn't apply. I had $6 Beauty on my account that didn't print at the red machine. At checkout, I asked cashier to apply it to my order but nothing deducted. 

Once I got home and studied my receipt and online account, I noticed that the $6 Beauty has 'poof' vanished into thin air. I don't know if it was expired or what happened, but remember seeing it on my account before going shopping. Weird. $2 Covergirl lip DQ didn't deduct. When I checked it online, I saw that it excluded the lipstick. Ugh, totally my mistake. I had also printed a $2 Coppertone Q before going shopping and forgot to take it to the store with me. So that's already $10 I could've saved. 

This wasn't my regular store and I couldn't find the NYX anywhere, so I replaced it with the Maybelline that ended up costing me $3.xx more than the NYX would have. So $13 down the drain. I tried contacting CS numerous times about the $6, but kept getting error messages. So I'm just sucking up this loss.

On a positive note, we do need the sunscreen so I'm happy with that. 


WAGS (my account)

1 x Revlon mascara $9.46

3 x Oral b t/b 9.00

Less Revlon DQ (5.00)

Less Oral b DQ (5.00)

Tax 1.14

OOP $9.60

Earned $5 RR (Oral b) + $3 WC (Booster DQ) + $6.97 Revlon +0.60 bonus (Ibotta)

Total earned $15.57 so a nice MM




WAGS (DH account)

3 x Oral b t/b $9.00

Tax 0.54

OOP $9.54

Earned $5 RR + $5 WC (CS)


Trans 2

4 x Olay b/w $24.00

Less DQ (8.00)

Tax 1.44

OOP : $17.44

Earned $5 RR + $5 WC


Firstly, my $5 Oral DQ didn't deduct. Ugh!! Then no receipt printed. WTH?! Cashier told me that it would show on my online account. I told her that I'm set up for paper receipts (not digital) and have never NOT had a receipt print. So she checks my account and it shows Paper Qs. No shit sherlock!  I just told you that. On my 2nd transaction, the receipt printed slick as snot. So I have no idea what cashier did with first transaction. But...... it gets worse. 

When I got home, I contacted CS. Rep said she couldn't see Oral b transaction on my account. So I check my account and whaddya know, that transaction just doesn't exist. So she asks me to give her the RFN number on my receipt. I had already explained that I didn't get any receipt for that transaction, but I was very polite and explained it all again. She was very nice and said she'll add $5 to my account and apologised for the inconvenience. 

Never a dull moment at WAGS.


Kroger

5 x Oceans spray blends juice $12.50

Less KC (6.00)

OOP $6.50

Earned $3 Ibotta, $3 KC

Silly me should REALLY learn to read before going shopping. I thought that the juice limit was 5, until I scanned my receipt to Ibotta. I'm not too upset about it, because it's still a great price for juice.


Total OOP for the week : $74.32

Total earned : $75.57

The final numbers look great, but I would've preferred to spend less OOP. 


I'm actually done with grocery shopping for the month. As far as I know, we don't need a single thing. That might change, once I figure out next week's meal plan. I only know that we'll have one Mexican night, because I made a big pot of fajita chicken today.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Saturday, May 15, 2021

March & April Numbers

I apologize that this is so late. Life just seems so busy these days. I can now thankfully say that our entire household is fully vaccinated. Boy did that vaccine kick my butt. I was the only one who suffered from side effects (started about 5 hours after I got my 2nd shot) and it was rough. We got our shots last Saturday. I tossed and turned all Saturday night, I was so sore. I just could not find a comfortable position to sleep in. I slept the entire Mother's Day and all through Sunday night. By Monday I was slowly beginning to feel less pain. Got up, cleaned, did some laundry, cooked dinner & went back to bed by lunch time. By Tuesday I was back to my old self again. Phew!


On to the numbers, that are so late I don't even know if anyone's still interested in it.

Sams : $35.79

Produce market : $107.98

Aldi : 24.62

Kroger : $168.45

Meijer : $39.64

Walmart : $130.42

Ollies :  14.56

Walgreens : $104.21

Rite aid : $0.19

CVS : 31.99

Total OOP : $657.85


Earnings 

Ibotta : $208.70

Fetch : $25

Kroger Cash Back : $31.00

Total earnings : $264.70

Total cost after earnings : $393.15


Whoo hoo!! I'm so thankful to finally have our grocery budget under control. My $300 monthly budget is now attainable. Huge sigh of relief. I'm a 'failure is not an option' kinda person, so those high numbers from before got me down.

Boy am I glad I stocked up on raisins at Ollies before. When I went back to purchase more Tostitos, there were no raisins to be found. I knew that this would happen, that's why I bought 6 bags when I saw it in stock.

Sams OOP is low, because I used earned gcs (mainly Ibotta) to pay for it. 

We received an unexpected gift last month, so we decided to apply it to groceries instead, hence the low grocery amounts (April was almost free shopping). I still have a balance and am trying to stretch it through June. I haven't bought too much groceries the past 2 months, because we still have a big stockpile. Only Kroger is high, because I did lots of Mega Event shopping that also earned cash back. 

The produce market is always high, since we eat lots of fresh produce. I usually go once a month and leave the store with a full cart.

And then there's the drugstores who always end up making me broke (but they're so much fun...lol). Well, at least Wags does. I had to start from scratch at CVS, so I'm not concerned about that number. 

I didn't include all my RRs, WC and EBs in the money earned above, because I count it when I redeem them. 


MONEY EARNED (SIDE HUSTLE)


Earned $145 gcs  ($10 IGC, $25 Swagbucks, $100 Mypoints, $10 PG)

Personal items (things we've had listed for the past 2 years) : $78.59

2021 Closet cleanout : $23.67

Big goal : $253.56

Drugstore items : $5.38

Total earnings : $506.20


YTD Earnings :

GCs (point earning sites) : $220

Ibotta : $95 (redeemed) + $208.70 = $303.70

Personal items : $141.43

2021 Closet cleanout : $72.58

Big goal : $463.18

Drugstore items : $53.50

Total Earnings (excl Ibotta) : $950.69


EXPENSES

$292.26!!!!! None of which was planned.

My sunglasses broke in March. I cannot drive without sunglasses. I was NOT happy about it, but I knew that I had to replace it. The only good thing is that it broke at a time when that brand was B1G50% off 2nd at one store. So I bought two pairs to the tune of $143.08!! Now I have a spare pair for the next time this one breaks (which will hopefully not be any time in the near future).

The rest of the expenses was all DS. He needed new sandals and I decided to just get him a pair of quality sandals. So Keens it was. I also purchased a Christmas gift for him. I'm actually behind with Christmas shopping this year, but I don't feel too bad with everything being topsy turvy these days. I do need to keep an eye out for good gift deals though, cause this year is flying by.

I also purchased some spring stuff for DS at Kohls and used gcs to pay for it. I did earn $30 KC which I then used to buy things to sell and apply to our big goal. I still have $10 Y2Y that I need to redeem soon.

Why am I so unhappy with this number? Because our OOP cost is way more than our personal sales for this year. I can't believe we're in the red this year. Time to kick things into high gear.

I only listed 7 more items from my closet the past 2 months. That brings my total to 42. Only 18 more to go to reach my goal of 60 items for the year. 


I maxed my IRA for the year, so that's one goal I can at least check off my list.


Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Saturday, May 1, 2021

Busy drugstore shopping week.

I apologise for being MIA. Things have been kinda crazy here. Besides being busy, we had another Covid scare. DS has been in close contact with someone who tested positive and has had to quarantine. Of course my first instinct was to panic. A few days later, I got sick. Not Covid, but it sure  made me panic again, because things are bad here in Michigan again. I'm thinking it's my allergies (not a cold as I originally thought), because the pollen count was high then. Took flu/allergy pills and slept hard for 3 days and I'm feeling better again. While I was sick, I received a message that one of my brothers has been hospitalized. One of the downsides to my family being so far away, is the time difference. They're 6 hours ahead of us, so I always end up receiving bad news first thing in the morning. It never rains, it pours. I'm more than ready for something good to happen to me for a change. 

Anyhoo. Wags had some great deals this week, so I decided to venture out. Sorry, I didn't feel like hauling out all WAGS purchases for pics. After some marathon shopping, running errands and sanitizing every item, I was pooped. I didn't do all WAGS shopping in one day though, but I hit up different stores because they didn't always have all the items I wanted.




Trans 1 (DH account)

4 x Gillette deodorant $22.00

2 x Colgate t/p 7.98

3 Newspapers 9.00

Less Gillette DQ (8.00)

Less Colgate DQ (3.00)

Less WC (10.00)

Tax 1.80

OOP $19.78

Earned $5 RR (Gillette), $5 WC (Colgate), $6.10 Ibotta (Gillette)

DH only had $10 WC on his account, so the high OOP was planned. I purchased newspapers at WAGs, because my DTs have been out of papers the last few months. I didn't like paying that high price, but the Qs were good this week.


Trans 2 (My account)

6 x Softsoap b/w $20.00

2 x Colgate t/p 7.98

Less Softsoap Q (0.75)

Less Softsoap DQ (3.00)

Less Softsoap DQ (0.75)

Less Colgate DQ (3.00)

Less WC (20.00)

Tax 1.68

OOP $2.16

Earned $10 WC (Softsoap) $5 RR (Colgate)


Trans 3 (my account)

4 x Gillette deodorant $22.00

2 x Colgate t/p 7.98

2 x Clif bar (clearance) 1.78

Less Gillette DQ (8.00)

Less Colgate DQ (1.50)

Less WC (20.00)

Tax 1.80

OOP $4.06

Earned $5 RR (Gillette), $5 WC (Colgate) $0.50 Ibotta Cliff

I needed a $1 filler so I could use $20 reward and found the clearanced Cliff bars. I bought the bars, because there was an Ibotta rebate on it. Not a lot of money, but better than nothing. 

Darn Ibotta. I was waiting on the Gillette deal to reset, but they ended up pulling the offer early. There were lots of unhappy people in my WAGS group, but there's nothing we can do about it. 


Trans 4 (DH)

6 x Softsoap b/w $20.00

Less DQ (3.00)

Less DQ (0.75)

Less Man Q (0.75)

Less 2 RRs from previous transactions (10.00)

Less WC (5.00)

Tax 1.20

OOP $1.70

Earned $10 WC 


Trans 5 (DH)

2 x  Olay b/w $12.00

1 x Oral b t/b 4.00

Less Olay DQ (4.00)

Less Oral b DQ (2.00)

Less WC (10.00)

Tax 0.96

OOP $0.96

Earned $5 RR


Trans 6 (My account)

2 x  Olay b/w $12.00

1 x Oral b t/b 4.00

Less Olay DQ (4.00)

Less Oral b DQ (2.00)

Less WC (10.00)

Tax 0.96

OOP $0.96

Earned $5 WC

I was supposed to get a RR, but it didn't print. We know that CAT machine was working, because it printed a booster Q. So manager added $5 WC to my account. I'm very happy with that, because RRs are only good for 2 weeks, whereas WC is good for a year (I think it's a year). 

I started out with $43 WC ($33 Me, $10 DH)

I now have a balance of $9 WC (me) and $5 RR, so $14. This means I spent down $29 rewards


Total OOP : $29.62 ($9 is for newspapers)

Total cash earned : $6.60 Ibotta

Total Qs used : $44.50

Total rewards used : $75.00

Total rewards earned : $55

Retail value : $198.26

So my total cost for after cash back is $23.02

I also earned a $5 DD gc from PG. 




I finally made it to CVS. I must've taken about 2 months off CVS shopping. I didn't have any EBs (so again, the high OOP was expected), but I still had a $10 CVS cash card.

3 x Pantene shampoo $15.00

2 x Pantene  14.00

1 x Crest t/p 2.99

2 x Colgate m/w 8.98

2 x Colgate t/p 9.98

2 x Colgate t/b 8.98

2 x Schick disp razors 11.98

1 x Schick razor 8.99

1 x Covergirl liner 6.99

1 x Covergirl liner 8.29

Less Pantene q (3.00)

Less Pantene q (4.00)

Less 2 Colgate t/p qs (2.00)

Less 1 Colgate m/w IPQ (1.00)

Less 2 Colgate t/b qs (2.00)

Less Schick disp q (4.00)

Less Schick q (4.00)

Less Covergirl q (3.00)

Less Schick DQ (4.00)

Less Covergirl DQ (3.00)

Less Colgate DQ (1.00)

Less 6/30 Shave DQ (6.00)

Less 4/18 Hair care DQ (4.00)

Less 3/15 Covergirl DQ (3.00)

Less 3/15 Oral care DQ (3.00)

Less $3 Covergirl CRT (3.00)

Tax 4.81

Less Cash card (10.00)

Less GC (10.00)

OOP $31.99


I must admit that my I got nervous when I saw that my pre-coupon total was $101.xx  Yikes!

Earned $31 EB ($10 PG, $6 Covergirl, $5 Colgate t/p, $5 Colgate m/w, $5 Colgate t/b) and should get another $3 (or maybe $6, but I can't remember how much beauty was tracking before I went shopping) Beauty Bucks

I printed the $10 GC from IGC. 

I had 2 x 3/15 Oral care DQs, so I'm surprised the 2nd one didn't deduct. However, the register applied the 6/30 Shave DQ instead of 4/20. I'm guessing it counted the original price (not sale price) and I'm not complaining :)  All in all, not too bad a trip. Now I have enough EBs to roll into future deals. Yes, I planned on the high OOP, because it's easier to have a large amount of EBs for future deals, than doing lots of small transactions. Things get complicated with those small ones. Besides, I sometimes mix & match deals to use DQs/CRTs like a $4/20 hair care (you can mix deals/brands), so it's best to have enough EBs to cover the cost.


Total OOP : $31.99

Total Qs used : $50.00

Total rewards used : $10.00

Total rewards earned : $31

Retail value : $125.13


I actually enjoyed shopping at CVS again. I totally love all the Q stacking you can do there. 


Drugstore totals for the week :

Total OOP : $61.61 Yikes! It's all fun & games until you add up all your purchases...lol

Total cash earned : $6.60 Ibotta

Total Qs used : $94.50

Total rewards used : $85.00

Total rewards earned : $86

Retail value : $323.39

Well the Ibotta and DD gc brings my OOP total down to $50.01. I haven't scanned any receipts to Fetch yet, so I don't know if there's anything good to earn. 


I'll post March & April numbers soon. Have a great weekend everyone!

Eating from the freezer

I really enjoyed not having to worry about meals last week. By doing freezer cooking, we had lots of options. So here's what I did. Mond...