Monday, September 13, 2021

My life in South Africa during apartheid

DISCLAIMER : This post is in no way intended to offend or attack anyone. It's not meant to be about politics, race or religion. I have to use certain words or phrases to get my point across. Please understand that what might be offensive in USA is not always offensive in South Africa & vice versa. This post is merely an account of my own experience. 

APARTHEID

Means segregation. It's merely an Afrikaans/Dutch word that means segregation. 

As I've mentioned in a previous post, my race in South Africa is Coloured. This is not the same as Black. Black & Coloured are 2 different races in South Africa. Coloureds are people of mixed race. I don't have one white & one black parent. I come from a long line of coloured people, so my family looks pretty mixed. Some light skinned, some dark. Some with sleek hair, some with curly hair, some with kinky/coarse hair. Some have brown eyes, some have green or blue eyes. 

I have to admit that I don't know exactly when segregation started. Legally, it started in 1948. However, we've lived segregated lives for far longer than that. I know his because my parents were born in the 30s & 40s and they were already living segregated lives. 

There was a pecking order where race was concerned. At the top, you had the whites. Then coloreds & Indians, Asians. Blacks were at the bottom of the totem pole. Black people had things far worse than us coloureds. I don't know why we were a little more favoured by whites. Could be because we were part white. Could be another reason. I really don't know the answer. Blacks had to go about town with travel documents, whereas we didn't have to. They also got worse jobs than we did. 

My parents both grew up in a beautiful area (at the foot of the mountain) in the southern suburbs of Cape Town. This area is still very upscale today. A few months ago my uncle (mom's brother and only surviving sibling) went to visit their childhood home and sent me pics. The house was within walking distance of my old office. I knew that my parents lived in that town (our office was in the same town) as my mom had mentioned it before. I just didn't know it was so close to work. I wish she had given me the address when I lived in SA, so I could've visited the house. I lived in the neighboring town, so I was close by.

In the late 50s or early 60s (I'm thinking it was early 60s, because my mother was already a high schooler), my parents were kicked out of their homes (government forced them out) to turn the town into a white area. Coloured people were forced to move to the Cape Flats , a poorer part of Cape Town. So yes, I was born in the ghetto. You'll see a pic of Manenberg in the link. That's where I was born and we lived until I was 4 years old. We lived in the downstairs section in one of those kinds of apartment blocks. My parents then moved us to a brand new city to give us a better life. Once I started school (I was the 4th of 5 children), my mother went back to work so my parents could pay the new mortgage off early - which they did. My dad was a department manager, so he made a bit more money. You'll also notice the train station. That's the train I used to ride to college and my first job. During apartheid, we were never allowed to use First Class. It was reserved for whites. Do you see the similarities between our lives and those of African Americans (think Rosa Parks)

People of colour also didn't get to go to college. Instead they had to take low level jobs, to help make ends meet. Now this is something I hated, because my father was super smart. He graduated from high school at age 16, but was forced to go work in a clothing factory where he & my mother met. His father died young and my grandmother had to support 7 children on her own. Like Kim, she was a seamstress. She sewed all kinds of wedding & prom gowns and even clothing for people. So my father went to work to help support my family. He worked a factory job until he was forced to retire (this was in the late 90s). The one thing that always stood out to me, was that my parents never complained about their situation. Instead they instilled a strong work ethic in us. They didn't tell us what to do. They showed us through their actions instead. Despite having to use public transportation, my father was always at work early. I guess I get that from him, because I was always the first one at the office. At my last job (before I moved here), my boss allowed me to take longer lunches or go home early, because I was always at work at least an hour before business hours. I hate getting to work exactly on time. I like to get my coffee, check mail, check my inbox to see what needs to be done for the day. 

As a child, I remember seeing those 'For Whites Only - Slegs Vir Blankes (Afrikaans)' signs at even public restrooms. There was no way that anyone of colour could use those reserved restrooms. Same with select public swimming baths (pools) and beaches and many other places. I don't recall shopping. I know we used to go to Town (downtown Cape Town) where all the 'fancy' clothing stores were. I don't remember mixing with whites, but I know they shopped there too. Going to town was a real treat when I was a child. 

Now segregation means, you don't mix with any other race. We all lived in our own separate towns/cities. Same with our schools.  Coloureds and whites had our education in both English & Afrikaans. It was compulsory to learn both languages. Blacks had their native tongue (there are 9 different black languages, depending on the region where you reside) and English. So I grew up bilingual. Afrikaans is my first language and I also speak British English. I was raised with very strict British ways. My dad's family's very prim & proper and so am I. I do speak a third language, but it's another European language. Sad to say, I don't speak a black (not African, because other African countries have their own native languages that are different to South Africa's) language. My youngest brother can speak Xhosa. This is what's spoken in the Western Cape (province/state where my family reside)

Afrikaans is a Dutch dialect. At school, we were always taught that it's a borrowed language. All we did was change the Dutch spelling and pronunciation a little (don't know why the Dutchmen changed their own language...lol) added a hint of German and called it Afrikaans (Africa is called AfriKa in Dutch, hence the name). I don't know why Afrikaans is my first language, because my father hated the language. My father was a very sweet, kind man who never spoke ill of anyone or anything. However, he called Afrikaans 'the language of our oppressors' and always spoke to us in English. He flat out refused to speak Afrikaans and he was very strict about our English grammar. He drilled proper grammar into us. My sister often did direct translations from Afrikaans to English and my father always corrected her. I always cringed by her use of the English language, because I'm anal about spelling & grammar too. Daddy's lessons definitely paid off with me...lol I'm guessing the Afrikaans choice came from my mother, because her family uses both languages. 

I have to admit that segregation didn't really bother me that much, because we pretty much kept to all things coloured. Besides, we lived a happy life. I come from a large, close knit family. We always had get togethers and family beach vacations, etc.  I can truly say that we had many happy times, despite having so many restrictions on our lives.  I mainly experienced whites when I started college (we were still living under the apartheid regime when I started college).  Our college was for everyone, but whites.  They attended the nicer colleges/universities. We had white lecturers though. There was a white student in my class (the only one at our college). She only studied there, because her father was a lecturer, so she received free education. College employees' children got free education. My older cousin worked at the same college, so his kids got free education there too.

1994 was a year that changed our lives. That was the year segregation ended. It was a year that my parents (because they were so much older) and ourselves could go vote for the first time in their lives. I think I probably cried. We stood in long lines to go cast our votes. Yes, I voted for Nelson Mandela too. We all wanted change. We wanted equal rights for everyone. We wanted to enjoy the same privileges that white folks did. 

But first, let me take you back to when I was about 9 or 10 years old. That was when we lived through boycotts & riots. Those were riots in the fight for freedom. I remember people burning tires in the streets. Food delivery truck drivers being attacked and trucks ransacked and burned. Schools would all close early and we'd run all the way home (schools were near our house). It was a scary time. I hate violence. I hated the riots. I also hated it, because we lost a classmate to the riots. School closed early and he got caught up in a mob (high schoolers) who were rioting, on his way home.  The police were out in full force. Said classmate hid behind a car and got shot by the police. I'll never forget how shocked we all were when we heard the news the next morning. Things were just crazy. 

One of my older brothers was a senior (matric) in high school at the time. I remember the military escorting them to an off site location (away from the riots), to write their final exams. 

When I was in high school (we start high school at age 12), the riots continued. My 2 BFFs thought this was fun. They tried to convince me to join the protests with them, only so they could get out of school for the rest of the day. I told them that there was no way I was gonna risk my life like that. Things normally started with protestors toyi toying, but I know that things could turn violent at any moment. No way was I gonna do something stupid like that. Besides, if the boycotts didn't kill me, my parents would. My parents were fine upstanding pillars in the community and there was no way I could embarrass our family like that. 

I remember friends and neighbors getting picked up by the police in the middle of the night. They were heavily involved in the boycotts. I remember parents hiding their children or sending them to go live with family members to escape the police. It was scary. Thankfully the protests ended before I finished high school and South Africa became a democracy while I was still in college. 

Despite having lived through apartheid life, for the most part, was good. The new government has run the country into the ground. Sadly, I see SA turning into another Zimbabwe. It's sad, because we have such a naturally beautiful country. It's like no other in the world. South Africa was once the America of Africa. It was the wealthiest nation on the continent at one stage. It was also the world's biggest producer of gold (DH & I actually visited a mine in Johannesburg and tried to pick up a gold bar. It's very heavy) and guess where all your lovely diamonds come from. I'm sure many have heard of De Beers. All other Africans wanted to live in South Africa. Then apartheid ended, the government flung open the borders and the country went to hell in a hand basket. 

The current state is just a reversal of apartheid roles. Blacks are now in control and whites are at the bottom of the totem pole. Coloureds are still in the middle. Crime is so bad, it makes me afraid to go visit. I'm street wise, but I'm afraid to go risk our lives. I really miss my family & friends, but I know that you could get killed over a dollar. This is not an exaggeration. Blacks are now killing white farmers left & right in order to claim land. They are robbing coloureds blind. Breaking into homes, carjackings etc. Coloureds and white are being held at gunpoint and robbed blind. My nephew was carjacked at a gas station about 2 years ago. They beat him badly. Thankfully, he managed to escape and run several miles home. Don't bother calling the police. They won't show up. This is not a racist thing, because I was raised to treat everyone with respect, no matter who or what they are. This is what's really happening in South Africa. I fear for my family. I'll sleep better if my siblings can move to a safer country. 

SHOCKER ALERT

Despite living through segregation and riots, I have to admit that I had a great life in South Africa. I actually lived a far more upscale life in SA than I do here. I come from a well respected family (not going into detail). We have some social status, so everyone knew our family and treated (they still do, despite me living on another continent) us with the utmost respect. I was also a very popular child (not going into detail again). Everyone knew and loved me (they still do...lol). 

I worked for major companies in SA. Most of my exes are successful wealthy men. Mainly entrepreneurs & sometimes high level executives. I traveled in a different social circle, so I ended up meeting like minded people. I also dated a professional athlete. No I'm not a gold digger, nor did I ever pursue these men. They pursued me. If I was a gold digger, I'd be living a life of luxury, sipping cocktails at noon, sunbathing on my deck overlooking the Atlantic ocean...lol. True story. I've dated a few filthy rich guys. A man's wealth or status  never mattered to me. I made my own money (I made good money in SA. Now you all know why I like nice things :)  It's because I'm used to that way of life. Growing up, my family wasn't poor. We were simple middle class folks. All our needs were more than met. I remember some of my cousins being jealous of me, because I always had nicer things than they did. I was always fiercely independent, especially financially. I'm not impressed by wealth or status. I've had status all my life. It means nothing to me. I'm far more impressed by a person's character. Are they loyal, trustworthy, kind, caring? Do they have integrity? Those are the things that mean far more to me. It's the kind of things money can't buy.

FYI - I didn't just blow my money on a fancy life & nice things. Once I stared working, I took care of my parents and 2 siblings (don't ask about my siblings. long story) financially. I supported my parents until the day they died. I would do it all over again, if I had to. I wouldn't be where I am or the kind of person I am today, without their love, support & hard work. 

I like to keep a low profile. I was raised to be humble. If you met me, you would never know that I come from respect or about any of our achievements. None of those things matter to me. In fact, I've never told anyone that I dated about it. I only mentioned it to DH years after we were married. Why, because it's not a big deal to me. It doesn't define who I am as a person. I want people to accept me for who I am, not for what I've achieved or for who my family is. 

Now, I'm extremely private. I never share things like this with anyone. I told you this for a reason. 

I was excited to move to America. We revered America and everything it stands for. Boy was I in for a shock (please bear with me). I have never ever experienced racism in a segregated South Africa, like I do in America. Holy cow was I ever shocked. I've lived here almost 20 years and it started right at the beginning. I've only experienced true racism ONCE in all of my years living in South Africa. This is why I was so shocked by my experiences here. 

DH is white and we live in a predominantly white area (back then it was very white and I stood out like a sore thumb). None of our neighbors really bothered with me (they still don't. They'll socialise with DH but not with me). One or 2 came over to look at the new 'science experiment'..lol and one was extremely condescending. Why oh why do people just assume that Africans are poor, dumb, uneducated?  They don't bother with me, because in their eyes I am beneath them. They act like everything about America is so great (not an attack on Americans. I'm just explaining things, because we are as westernized as Americans. In many instances, we are more advanced than Americans) and we should be oohing and aahing over every little thing. Now I know that tv gives foreigners a totally different view of what Africa is really like, so in a sense I understand. Don't be so quick to judge a book by it's cover. They never ever gave me a chance. I only have one neighbor who's now a good friend of mine. He never judged me. He just accepted me the way I am. That's the kind of people I like, because that's how I treat people. 

I've had experiences in store too. This mainly happened since the orange fool became president. Every little racist decided to crawl out from under their rocks then. I actually had my purse searched at Rite Aid. Yoohoo Sluggy. Did you hear that? I remember being in the middle of the aisle, hauling my coupons out of my purse. I normally prepare everything before I get to checkout, so I don't hold up the line. One of the employees (white girl) saw me and asked to check my purse. I tried to explain, but no go. I just let her go ahead. I'm not the type to cause a scene. I was so mad. I'm not even sure if I contacted CS about this. 

I've had so many other incidents, it's not funny. I've had white people stare at me at restaurants over the years, especially when we go to small town restaurants. DH said I shouldn't let them ruin my experience and just ignore them. It's their problem if they're ignorant. Easy for him to say. He's not the one who's been judged all his life, because of the colour of his skin. Something none of us are responsible for. 

I seriously cannot stand the judgement and rudeness. I come from a loving, kind, caring, compassionate family. We just don't treat people this way. So it hurts when people treat me this way. Many times I  just come home and have a good cry (I don't even tell DH about my experiences anymore). Then I pick myself up, dust myself off & move on. 

Now I know that not all Americans are like this. I've met many wonderful people. It just sucks that people don't bother to get to know you and give you a chance. Often they miss out on a great person, because they think that they are better than certain groups. I'm not the only one who has experienced this. I have several South African friends who live here, who have said the same thing. My cousin in NY (her husband is hispanic) has said the same thing. I have dark skin, so I'm considered AA. My cousin though looks hispanic, but gets treated just as poorly.

I love this country. I am an American (I'm a citizen now). My favorite thing about this country is how patriotic Americans are (there are many other things that make me proud to be an American). I love how everyone comes together when there's a disaster. Just think of 9/11. Nobody cares what race, religion, gender or any other nonsense any of the victims were. The country came together to show love and support for their fellow man. Why can't people live like this all the time?

I've come to the conclusion that there will always be a few bad seeds. I bet you could go anywhere in the world & find some bad seeds in every country. I try to just be a better person and continue to treat others far better than they treat me. Besides, we overcome evil or ugliness with love. 

This is why I love our little blogging community. Nobody cares who or what the other person is. We all have a mutual love for frugality and nothing else matters. We just accept & support each other no matter what. So thank you all, for being such awesome people!

There's so much more I can say about apartheid, but this post has gotten too long and I've opened up way too much. I never share my personal life with people like this. 

Again, I'm not attacking any race or Americans. I hope that I haven't offended anyone. I am a Christian first & foremost. We are all God's children, so I treat everyone with kindness & respect. It's who I am. 

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Never Forget - 9/11/2001

This is a day I'll never ever forget. It wasn't just a sad day for America, but for the entire world. 

South Africa is 6 hours ahead of USA and it was 2:30-2:35 pm in our country. I remember sitting at my desk reading emails & there was one from a dear friend of mine saying that a plane just flew into the Twin Towers. I thought it was a joke, because I used to get lots of joke emails from my friends & colleagues. A few minutes later, someone else in the office mentioned the same thing. So one of my colleagues went to CNN's website & saw that it's true. I remember standing at her desk in complete shock with my mouth hanging open, watching it all unfold in real time. The entire office gathered around to watch. I couldn't believe it! I just couldn't believe it!! How can such evil prevail in this world? Why would anyone want to kill innocent people like this? We all revered America & Americans, so I couldn't understand what was happening. I just started praying. Praying for all those innocent people who lost their lives. Praying for all the families who didn't know earlier that day that they'd never see their loved ones again. Praying that all the emergency personnel would stay safe. Praying that there would be survivors & that they'd be healed. We were all so shocked, that we didn't get any more work done that afternoon. 

Then it dawned on me that I needed to email DH (we weren't married yet. we hadn't even met in person yet). Turns out he had already emailed me and told me how he was crying at what was happening. How he put his American flag on display. 

My family was frantic. My younger cousin had moved to New York a month earlier to work as an au pair. The family didn't know how near or far to the Twin Towers she was. 

On my way home that night it hit me. I would've landed in Atlanta at the exact moment the Twin Towers were hit. DH & I had planned a trip for me to visit him for a few weeks. Got my itinerary, went to the consulate to get my visitors visa and got rejected. What?! I was upset. Why would they reject my visa. I had a professional job. I was just going to visit. I had no plans to overstay my visa and live there illegally. This was insane. However, God knew what he was doing. My flight would've landed in Atlanta at exactly 8:30 am. Since flights were then grounded, there would've been no way for me to get to Michigan, unless DH drove all the way to Georgia (2 day drive) to come get me. That wouldn't have worked, because everyone were devastated by the attack. It made me thankful that my visa was rejected. This was not the time for me to visit. See why I always trust God? 

The next morning, I went online to read the updates.  My heart was still broken. I was still worried about my cousin. Thankfully she was okay. 

May the souls of all the dearly departed on 9/11/2001 rest in peace & rise in glory. 

Friday, September 10, 2021

September budget's already broken

Hi everyone

It's been a crazy week getting back to my regular work schedule. Once Labor Day ends, I'm always rearing to go, where work is concerned. I like getting up early and checking things off my list. I feel like I'm accomplishing things when I stick to my normal routine. However, I've been under the weather for almost a week. I don't know what is wrong & even considered getting a Covid test, which DH thought wasn't necessary. I'm feeling much better, but not quite 100%. I got a full night's sleep last night, for the first time in weeks. 

I've been shopping like crazy, stocking up on essentials. Well, not really crazy for me. I'm just adding things to the stockpile, that I know will fly off the shelves should things get worse due to pandemic. I spent almost $200 at Sams this month already and didn't even get everything on my list. I did stock up on meat though, so that took a huge chunk of change (almost $70). I got more facial tissues, so we now have 36 boxes. Don't think I'm crazy. One year when I had almost 40 boxes (got deeply discounted Kleenex brand tissues) DH would joke that we need more Kleenex, every time I went shopping. Then he got pneumonia & DS got the flu. Guess who were using all those Kleenex I stockpiled. 

I finally found some regular Dawn. The Dawn Platinum works great, but I still prefer the original blue Dawn scent. There's no way I was gonna pay $1+ for those tiny bottles. When I made my shopping list, I checked everything online to see if it's in stock. So I searched for Dawn & up popped the original scent at Sams. I was so happy! But first I needed to google 'how many ounces are in a gallon'...lol. I grew up with the metric system. I only know that there's about 6 liters in a gallon (I learned that from the toilet...lol. I think I saw it printed 6 liters per flush on a toilet lid...lol) I can do the math with ounces and inches, but I can't determine how much something really is. Once I've done the math, I calculated the unit cost to compare the price to the Platinum. The regular Dawn was still cheaper and I'm one happy mama. 

The rest of my order were just regular food items. I'm back to buying bread at Sams again. As much as I like the Aldi bread, I discovered something better for my health at Sams. I'm anemic and hate taking supplements, so I try to eat lots of iron rich food (that's why I like the Walmart bran flakes). We needed bread one time and I didn't feel like making a special trip to Aldi, when I'm already at Sams. So I found this Milton wheat bread that has 15% iron per slice (yes, I read labels). I also like that it's heavier bread like the ones in South Africa or Canada. DH has always said that Canada's bread is comparable to South Africa's. The bread costs about 30c more than Aldi's, but I'd pay even more, just to get that extra nutrition.

You know things are bad when I'm seeing higher prices at the produce market. I didn't buy much at the market this month (not even a box), but spent almost $50. I was in shock, because my cart was only 3/4 full, compared to overflowing like it normally does. Now, it could be due to the end of summer, where they're not overflowing with a huge variety of produce, but I doubt it. 

If you're a baker or like to bake, please stock up on flour. I'm seeing flour shortages again. Walmart had zero bread flour. Meijer had limited flour shelf space. This was a huge shock to me. I know Meijer like the back of my hand. I could shop there in my sleep, I know the store so well. The one thing I like about meijer, is that they usually have a large variety of brands for every single item. No other grocery store is this well stocked. Imagine my surprise to only see a small flour section at Meijer. They only had Gold Medal & King Arthur bread flour for $4.29. WTH? When did bread flour become so expensive? I know I paid far less for it before. The Gold Medal was $4.79, so I bought 2 bags of King Arthur (which I love anyway). The KA flour rang up at 50c less per bag, so I was very happy. Heck, I'm just happy to have bread flour. I was rearranging my baking shelf the other day and discovered a 5lb bag of bread flour that I bought last year. I now have 15 lbs, but will buy more whenever I can find it.

Funny thing is that I rarely bake bread. I prefer to make bread rolls, because it reminds me so much of my childhood. Colored people (not to be confused with black. In SA colored people are  people of mixed race. Asians, Italians, Portuguese were also considered colored. Anyone who weren't black or white, were colored. I know that Colored is an offensive term in USA, but it's my race and in SA it's not the same thing as black, nor is it really considered offensive. I'm proud of my heritage. There's lots of history to write about, but I'm not sure if anyone's interested). Anyhoo, coloreds had this tradition of taking bread rolls to work & school every Monday. I don't know how it started. The bakery near our house always had long lines from early Sunday afternoon, so people could get their rolls (we don't call it buns). During winter, my mom always baked rolls for our work/school lunches. I've always loved eating them fresh from the oven, with butter still melting on it. So good! When my rolls are cool, I nuke them just so I can have the butter melt on it. I know, I'm a bit of a strange bird :) So I bake rolls, because it reminds me so much of my mom & family traditions. 


I spent way too much money at Ollies. Can you believe I only have 2 of the 6 bags of raisins left that I bought at Ollies several months ago. I couldn't believe it, but then I remembered that I baked a lot of muffins this summer. The raisins replace our sugars in muffins and we eat raisins as snacks too. I don't normally bake during summer, but couldn't help myself and the guys aren't complaining. So off to Ollies I went to get more raisins, while it's still in stock. I didn't mind paying full price, because it's still way cheaper than the warehouse clubs. 

I found a Hikers trail mix at Wags not too long ago that I love. I love it, because its low in sugars. I have a hard time finding trail mixes without chocolate or yogurt chips or extra sugary dried fruit. So I decided to make my own, because I know that Ollies had lots of different nuts the last time I shopped. I rarely buy nuts, so I didn't really know anything about pricing. I figured that by making my own trail mix, I can mix it up any way I want. The original recipe is almonds, cashews, peanuts, sunflower seeds, raisins, pepitas (I had to google pepitas. Why on earth didn't they just call it pumpkin seeds. ugh). I might add some walnuts too. The good thing is that the nuts will do double duty, because I can make trail mix and use it in baking. Win-win. Better than paying $2 per trail mix bag at Wags.

I added the raspberry jam (I speak British English, so please bear with me when I use different words. American jelly), because I've been craving apricot jam (nope, not pregnancy cravings. I'm way too old for babies). I haven't had jam in a few years, so figured I'd get some again. They didn't have apricot, so it was either raspberry or strawberry. The price was right at $2.79. 

So my grocery budget for this month is at about $350 already. No regrets. I just feel a sense of relief that we are well stocked, especially on paper products. Sams had lots of p/t, but it was limit 1 per member. I don't use much p/t in the house, but DH uses it for business. They had a decent supply of t/p and everyone had a pack in their carts. Not me though, but it reminded me of when the pandemic first started. 

I'm now looking at detergent deals, because I use it for both business & personal. I've been stocking up on shipping supplies too. I always do that in September, so that I don't run out of things during the crazy holiday season. I'm already stressed. 

For those who sell online, have you noticed that your thrift stores don't have the large variety of items or as much inventory as they used to? I've seen it at many different thrift stores in my area. Yard sales aren't as plentiful either and half the time people want ridiculously high amounts for their stuff. I'm wondering if it's just around here or across the board.  

Have a wonderful weekend everyone. 

Thursday, September 2, 2021

August month end check in

It seems like each new month goes by faster than the one before. Here's my numbers for last month.


Groceries/HBA/Cleaning

Produce market : $42.01

CVS : $2.83

Dollar Tree : $8.00

Kroger : $25.67

Meijer : 20.94

Sams :$168.91

Walmart : $116.38

Local store : $31.84 (cheese)

Total OOP : $416.58


Earnings 

I didn't do any Ibotta or KCB deals in August

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


I don't think we did too badly on the grocery front, especially since Walmart & Sams were mainly stockpile items. I actually forgot that I increased the grocery budget, that's why there's no hard feelings...lol. My strategy going forward, is to compare Costco & Sams monthly savings booklets sale items and buy the ones we need/use regularly at the store with the lowest price. Thus far, Sams is winning the price game. I only need coffee at Costco and have a big Sams trip planned.

I saw a sign at Aldi yesterday about inventory problems due to supply chain issues. So I'm going hard to fill in the few gaps this month. I really don't care about blowing the budget this month. I'm getting all my baking supplies (I mainly need flour, butter & caramel) this month. I am NOT waiting for holiday baking sales. I have too much on my plate to still worry about shopping or chasing deals. 


MONEY EARNED (SIDE HUSTLE)


GCs Earned $50 ($25 Mypoints, $25 Swagbucks)

Personal items (things we've had listed for the past 2 years) : $171.76

2021 Closet cleanout : $17.33

Big goal : $12.48

Drugstore items : $10.66

Total earnings : $262.23


I listed zero personal items this month. We've been gone so much this month, there wasn't any time to declutter or list. My goal for September is to declutter for 30-45 minutes every day. 


YTD Earnings :

GCs (point earning sites) : $450

Ibotta : $413.69

Personal items : $684.18

2021 Closet cleanout : $247.88

Big goal : $641.03

Drugstore items : $157.69

Total Earnings (excl Ibotta) : $2180.78


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

OOP  (August) $28.56


I almost made it to a no spend month, until National Underwear Day. Who knew that such a thing even exists. Fruit of the Loom had BOGOF underwear + 25% off + free shipping + Rakuten. So I bought 6 x 9pks, because I'm a cotton girl. I absolutely hate microfiber, polyester and nylon. I don't want that cheap junk. Just give me good old cotton.  

Well, my package arrived half open & one package was missing. So I contacted CS with pics and their service was awesome! They responded immediately and sent me a replacement package right away. 


OOP $28.56

YTD OOP (clothing/shoes/accessories, Christmas gifts) : $1343.96


YTD side hustle income (personal, closet cleanout, drugstore) : $1089.75

YTD clothing/christmas gifts expenses : $1343.96

YTD Balance ($254.21)


Whoo!I'm happy to see us climbing out of the negative hole!


It's nose to the grindstone from now until the end of January. I'm already stressed about it, because I'm so far behind. I've been awake since 4am again and finally took a nap this afternoon. I'm usually stressed during 4th quarter, but the Delta unknowns makes it so much worse. I'm just praying that we can have a nice profitable holiday season. 


Have a great weekend everyone! I'm off to pack bags for another event. 

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

My gut instincts are always right

Does anyone know what happened to August? Last month went by faster than July. It was a very busy month for us. It felt like we were living out of travel bags half the time. We got home from vacation, unpacked and did laundry, then packed bags again for the next event. Rinse & repeat. That's how my month went. 

On Saturday we had just got home and started laundry, when we had to go out again. We'd hardly left home when I got a message from my youngest brother than he might have Covid. My heart sank. He was really sick and isolating at home, so I was stressed & praying like it's nobody's business. Thankfully, his results came back negative yesterday, but there's still other tests they need to do for other health issues he has. More worry & prayers.

I also haven't slept well for the past 2 weeks. I'd be up for hours in the middle of the night, then sleep late on some days. Sometimes I'd just be awake from 4 or 5 am.  I'm an early bird, so if I wake up at 7am it feels like half the day is gone already. I'm thinking it's too much stress. I don't feel stressed though. I've even used my aromatherapy products, but nothing helps. I just hate feeling worn out half the time (I rarely take naps), because there's a lot that needs to be done. Funny thing is that I'm far more productive when I'm tired, because I know that if I don't stay busy, I'll fall asleep on my feet.

Remember me stating that I was gonna order some t/p at Sams in my last post. Well, when I went to place my order it was OOS online, but available for pickup. Same thing the next day. My gut kept telling me to keep checking, because I know that when an in demand item is available in store only, you have to get there early because it sells out fast. I did not want to make a special trip to Sams, just to find out it's OOS again. They eventually got it in stock online & I decided to just get 2 packs. Now, we really don't need 2 packs. We still have 1.5 pks (these are 45 roll packs) stockpiled. However, I just had this feeling that if we're already struggling to get t/p now, who knows how long the next shortage will last. So I decided to play it safe and just get 2. I'd rather have way too much than run out. Besides, I wanted some Dunkin Donuts decaf (I've mix decaf with regular) and you can only buy it online. The shipping cost for just the DD is $5 though! Ugh. When I checked shipping cost for 2 t/p and DD, it came to $4.96. Weird. So I just went ahead and ordered those 3 items. 

Here's the kicker! This morning I read that Sams (and now Costco too) was limiting t/p & p/t to 1 per member! Picture me with a smug look & not caring about t/p limits....lol. Yep, I did it again :) I'm fully stocked up while everyone's scrambling for paper products again. I ALWAYS trust my gut, because I know that God's way of leading me in the right direction. So when you see me doing some crazy shopping, just remember THERE'S METHOD TO MY MADNESS. 

Last week a local grocery store had Kraft cheese on sale for $1.99. I haven't seen that price in ages, so I decided to stock up. The new SALE price around here, is $2.50-3 (depending on store).I never just buy large quantities (especially since the pandemic started). I'm always mindful of others that need to shop too, even though stores are fully stocked. The ad didn't state any limits, so I decided to throw caution to the wind and bought 8 cheese (shreds and blocks) on 2 separate trips (16 total). I was gonna go back for more, but then noticed that Meijer has the same deal this week. I needed other things at Meijer too, so I bought 10 more cheese. I'm thinking that the sale price is due to back to school next week. Michigan schools start after Labor Day. 

No, there isn't a cheese shortage or anything. I'm a planner. I always think long term. Cheese can be frozen, so that's what I've done with most of it. We eat lots of cheese and with this stock up, I've already saved us $13-26 (depending on new sale price 50c-$1 per package). I did cash in some pop cans ($15.xx) that helped pay for my shopping trip

My advice to everyone is to please go stock up on all the essentials. Get your paper products, disinfecting and/or cleaning products. I'm not trying to instill fear in anyone. I'm not doing my shopping based on fear. I just want everyone to be prepared in case there's shortages again. Remember that if one ingredient is missing, it can cause a shortage of certain items. Just think of  how long Lysol products were OOS since the pandemic started. 

I'm praying for all those in disaster affected areas - hurricanes, drought, fire. Please stay safe & healthy everyone. I'll post August numbers tomorrow. 

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Sticker shock at the grocery store

This might be a tad long, so grab some coffee & enjoy the post :)

My gosh! I haven't shopped in 2 weeks and upon hitting Walmart again, I find that the prices of almost everything have increased. It seems like prices of everything are increasing overnight. How is a girl supposed to save money when our income doesn't increase as fast as the rising food costs? 

I have a few standard items that I usually stockpile at Walmart. My 'price book' is in my head & I can immediately tell when something has increased in price (I have a photographic memory). We only needed fresh milk and eggs after returning from vacation, but I figured I'd just add some stockpile items since I'm already at the store. I just wasn't prepared to see how much everything costs lately. The only thing that was the same price, were artichokes. I was very happy to see they had decent stock, so I bought 4 cans. The downside is that they were out of store brand peas again. Ugh, I just can't win.

So here's a list of price increases I noticed on my receipt. All store brand items (I'm usually a brand name girl, but most of the Walmart store brand items taste good, so I'm opting for the lower store brand price) :

Canned pineapple

Was $0.92

Now $1.18

Increase of $0.26


Canned chickpeas

Was $0.50

Now $0.62

Increase of $0.12


Canned mushrooms (big can) 

Was $1.14

Now $1.24

Increase of $0.10


Canned mixed veg

Was $0.50

Now $0.58

Increase of $0.08


2 lb Bag Fresh baby carrots

Was $1.92

Now $2.10

Increase of $0.18


3 lb Yellow onions

Was $1.68

Now $2.47

Increase of $0.79


3lb Red onions

Was $1.74

Now $2.98

Increase of $1.24


Bran Flakes (this price increased a while ago)

Was $1.92

Now $2.20

Increase of $0.28


Do they think that we won't notice these 'little' price increases? This is just a few things that I bought. Think of every other item that has increased. These little bits all add up to big amounts every week. 

The carrots actually cost more at the produce market. This is why I buy carrots at Walmart. The onions cost less at the market, but its always covered in black stuff (not sure if it's mold) and goes bad fast. I was definitely NOT prepared for the huge onion price increase. I might have to start planting my own onions. This is nuts!!


I first stopped at the produce market first (I do this so that I can fill in the gaps of whatever items they don't have, at Walmart). We ate down the fridge & freezer for 2 weeks leading up to vacation and really needed fresh produce. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the open bag of Sam's salad was still perfectly fresh. I line my fridge drawers with paper towel (I read years ago of preserving produce by wrapping it in paper towel, but that's too much work for me. Besides, how am I gonna see what's inside the p/t. So I've been lining the drawers with p/t for years & this helps keep everything fresh for longer)

Me thinking : I really don't need to buy a box ($2 clearance box).

Also me upon entering store : Lots of boxes! Yay!!!!....lol

I really really wanted a box of peaches (these boxes are huge), but most of the top peaches in every box were squashed. I was not prepared to deal with that mess, so I bought a box of apples for juicing. I'm also gonna make apple pie & apple cookies or muffins. It all depends on my mood. 


I wasn't gonna go to Sams, but I have this sense of urgency to just finish my stockpiling before S*&^%t hits the fan again. 

Not again!! Bloody sticker shock!! The Jennie O ground turkey now costs $3 more per package....grrrr. The Members Mark tissues also cost $2 more. I did buy the tissues, because it's still slightly less than Dollar Tree. Besides, it comes in a 12 pack, so one stop shopping for me. They had lots of tissues stock, but I'm no shelf clearer. I might get another pack on my next trip. I didn't buy everything I wanted, because I'm waiting on the new monthly coupon book. Hopefully the items I need will be on sale. 

I don't know if this is the start of t/p shortage again, but Sams only had a few packs of Charmin in store. I want the MM t/p (our preferred brand), because that's 45 rolls per pack and is much better than Charmin. The funny thing is that you can order it online & the limit is 10!! Say what?! I'm not trying to supply the whole town with t/p, so I'll just buy one pack and pay the $2 shipping. I still have a gc that will cover the cost.

I don't think I did too badly at Sams. I spent around $150 and stocked up on meat and a few other things. I bought 4 cases of Chobani drinking yogurt for DS, because it has a $2 Instant Value Q that's good until the end of the month. This is the lowest price anywhere.

Once I got home, I marinated the chicken tenders in BWW sauce and cooked a big pot of fajita chicken. Both are for freezing. We used the last fajitas from the freezer this week. 


Then it was off to CVS to redeem my $19 EBs that are expiring this week. I really should stop waiting until the last minute, but this week was fun. I used all DQs and EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM DOUBLE DIPPED. Whoo hoo! Also, if you can find the large Doritos bags, they are clearanced to $1.09 (it's unmarked, so be sure to do a price check at the scanner)

2 x Irish Spring b/w $8.00

2 x Crest t/p 6.98

2 x Clairol hair color 16.98

2 x Almay makeup remover 13.18

1 x Revlon kiss balm 6.59

Less Irish Spring DQ (1.00)

Less $3/2 Irish Spring DQ (3.00)

Less $3/2 Irish Spring DQ (3.00)  No, you're not seeing double

Less $2/8 body wash DQ (2.00)

Less Crest DQ (1.00)

Less $3/2 Crest DQ (3.00)

Less $6/2 Clairol DQ (6.00)

Less $5/2 Clairol DQ (5.00)

Less $3/2 Almay makeup remover DQ (3.00)

Less Almay cosmetics DQ (3.00)

Less Revlon DQ (3.00)

Less EBs (18.10)

Tax 2.20

OOP $2.83

Earned $18 EBs ($3 Crest, $5 Clairol, $8 WYB $20 Almay/Revlon, $2 Irish Spring) and should get another $3 Beauty EB. So a small MM trip for me. Yay for 99% Savings!! (doesn't include beauty eb)

Retail value $59.31

Total Qs used : $24.00

Total rewards used : $18.10


I saw that Kroger had a digital Q for 18ct eggs for 97c. I discovered this on the last day of the sale price (phew), so I ran to Kroger and bought the limit of 5. You can't even find a dozen eggs for under $1. I think a dozen was $1.20 at Walmart. Milk prices have also doubled. 



I also stopped at Dollar Tree for some Barilla Pesto. I'm not a huge fan of the Genovese pesto, but at this price I'm not complaining. The grocery store jar is 6.2 oz, compared to this 5.6 oz jar, but it costs $2.99-3.19. It's hit & miss at the DT for this item, but there's a DT on every corner around here. I'll just check different stores whenever I'm out. 

As a rule, I only buy name brand food at DT. I'm picky about what goes into my body and don't want any food that's Made in China. DH bought frozen fruit at DT before & I discovered it's MIC (I always read labels). Same with food storage containers. I don't want anything that's toxic. They did have Rubbermaid containers, so I picked up 4. I love my Pyrex, but I can't always cart glassware with me when I'm out. 

Does anyone ever go to the DT for just one item & come home with way more things than you intended? This happens to me most of the time. I always check the entire store to see what's new. You just never know what gems you might find. I do love their books, but haven't been able to find anything good in a year. I'm an avid reader, so paying $1 per book works for me. 

Well I'm off to go try and earn a few $$$

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

I'm back!

Hi everyone

I apologise for not responding to comments sooner. We just returned from a vacation to the east coast. For security reasons (businesses at home), we never mention beforehand when we'll be away. I only tell my closest sibling in case I don't respond to them immediately, in case of emergency.

That vacation was way overdue and we enjoyed every minute of it. In fact, I'm ready to go on vacation again...lol. One week was not nearly enough. 

Some frugal things we did while away : 

* Packed snacks from the pantry. We ended up bringing snacks home, because we had too much. That's a good thing, right? 

* Used very little of the Starbucks & Dunkin Donuts gcs. 

* Took our single plate electric stove to cook breakfasts in our room. I paid $2 for that stove around 10-11 years ago & it is one of the best things I ever purchased. Also packed breakfast food and coffee. We took our big french press. This way we could have all the coffee we wanted.

* Only spent half of our food/restaurant budget. We ate out for lunch & dinner. I'm shocked, because we splurge on meals when on vacation. Frugality goes out the window when it comes to dining on vacay.

* Did zero shopping on vacation. I didn't even buy any souvenirs (something I love to do), because I just didn't get a chance.

I finally stepped foot inside a Safeway and got sticker shock at the east coast prices. Safeway is beautiful and reminds me a bit of Kroger. Now I know that everything costs more on both coasts, because my cousin from NY always raved about our low prices whenever she visited. $2.99 for Bush Baked Beans, compared to $1.99 we pay. Yikes. I saw many other price differences, but can't remember it all.

I did notice that some stores double coupons up to 99c or $1 (no doubling around here for years now). I can't remember which store it was, could've been Weis. We did pass Safeway, Weis, Food Lion & Giant.

We finally ate some Five Guys burgers in Pittsburgh. I've never tried it before, even though we have them around here. I was impressed with how good their burgers are (I'm a food snob. true story). I didn't care for their greasy fries, but they make a darn good burger. I also love that you can add any toppings for free. 

We couldn't get a hotel room at the PA/Ohio border (all fully booked), so DH decided to just drive the rest of the way home. We got home in the middle of the night and after 5 hours sleep, DS & I were up again. Boy was I dragging. I ended up doing laundry the entire day and went to bed early. 

On vacation, I dreamed that we came home to all kinds of ripe garden produce. That dream did not disappoint. I'm loving fresh tomatoes with my eggs every morning. Picked my first cucumber (I've never planted cucumbers before. I have 3 plants and they took over my entire patch) and what a monster it was. 13" long and thick. I'm gonna have to start pickling cucumbers. Chillies, that I forgot I planted...lol. I thought it was my green pepper plants that were slow to produce. Peppers & squash.

I'm so far behind with everything. Work, home, shopping. I need to weed the back and clean the front yard. I weeded the veggie patch before vacation and there's now a ton more. Ugh, I can't keep up with the weeds. I had to go grocery shopping. Actually, we mainly need produce and milk. I'll try to write a post tomorrow, because I got sticker shock at Walmart again. This is nuts!

I'll respond to comments tomorrow. My body still feels like it's on vacation and I'm not getting enough sleep. I have to try to go to bed a little earlier every night. Maybe that will help. 

My life in South Africa during apartheid

DISCLAIMER : This post is in no way intended to offend or attack anyone. It's not meant to be about politics, race or religion. I have ...