Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Christmas shopping update

I don't think I've done a Christmas shopping update for the year yet. As most of you know, I shop for Christmas gifts year round. This year has been no different. I normally start saving earned gift cards once my Christmas shopping is done for the year (normally by the end of November).

I've decided not to buy as many gifts as before. It seems the older we get, the less we need. So I'm getting one big ticket item for DH & DS each and smaller items. I'd rather take a nice vacation to somewhere exotic, that just fill our lives with more 'stuff'.

We also have a trip to South Africa planned in the near future, because there's several upcoming close friends & family weddings that we need to attend. Not sure about the dates yet, but since I'm a planner, I'm preparing and saving for it now. That includes stocking up gifts for my immediate family.



Aren't these socks pretty? They are Earth Therapeutics and they're super soft. These are 2 pk socks (2 pairs per pack) and I bought 6 sets (12 pairs) when Kohls had it clearanced to $3.60 per set. Of course I had gcs, so I scored these for free. My plan is to use these as stockings (each person will receive a pair (not just one sock). I want to fill these socks with all kinds of free/near free makeup that we get from the drugstores. I know most young women will be happy to get free makeup, especially brands that they don't have in SA.

Then I also picked up lots of men's winter accessories when Kohls had them at extra 90% off. I mean the items were dirt cheap. I got brands like Levi's & Under Armour. Again, I paid with a gc and earned Kohls cash back on my purchase. I love shopping this way, cause Kohls cash is like free money to me. I never really overspend my rewards. I'll pay up to $5 extra, but I try to stay within budget. Not getting sucked into Kohls trying to trick me into spending more. So the males are mainly taken care of.

Then for my nieces, I picked up some goodies at Victoria's secret. VS had sent me a 30% off any item coupon and they had free shipping. So I managed to score 6 items for $36 OOP.

So VS keeps sucking me in, cause they keep sending me extra discount & free shipping qs. So I ordered 3 more gifts for $26.67. So my SILs and sister are now taken care of.

A few weeks ago Loft had an extra 60% off clearance sale and free shipping. I found a beautiful linen blend blouse for my sister for $4.50 (incl tax). Original retail $59.50!  So another gift done for under $5. Score!


My family know that I'm a bargain shopper. They really don't mind that I purchase clearance items for them. They're happy that I'm able to find name brand items at a low price, because name brand clothing is very expensive in SA. As my nephews like to say "aunt Goose has the best taste and buys the best gifts", so I can't disappoint them...lol

Did you know that you can use Amazon credit to purchase gcs for other stores? I've never rolled coins in my life. And since banks no longer have coin counting machines, I've been using Coinstar for gcs. However, the variety of gcs have become very limited. Now I'm not much of an Amazon shopper. When I learned that I could turn amazon gc into other gcs, I immediately went and cashed in my coins for a gc. Then I used the gc to purchase 2 gifts for DH & DS. Ugh, I didn't know that this store only accepts one gc, so I ended up paying $13.39 OOP. Original retail was $200. My price $63.39 after tax.

Unfortunately, I cannot mention any of the gifts that I've purchased yet, because my family read the blog. I love seeing their faces light up, when I give them something cool. So for now, everything is a secret...shhh......lol

All that is left are 2 big ticket gifts for my guys and gcs for DH. Easy peasy. Then toys for my youngest niece. This is gonna be tricky, cause I have to find small, lightweight items that's not gonna take up much space in my luggage.

So that's my gift shopping thus far. Retail price for everything is around $600-800. My total OOP cost for 13 people thus far (excluding the socks gifts) is $80.56. This is all for name brand items.

I'm done with Christmas shopping until November. I just need to get DH some gcs and another item (I already have it earmarked and can redeem for a gc for it) and a big gift for DS (I have something in mind, but not 100% sure if I want to buy that).

I've also earned cash back through Ebates for all the online purchases and should get a $5 Swagbucks bonus (for shopping through their site), so I'm one happy mama.

Now I'm busy saving my Kohls gcs for Black Friday shopping.

Has anyone else started doing Christmas shopping yet?


Friday, July 26, 2019

Grrr Walgreens & other drugstore deals

Hi Everyone

I hit all 3 drugstores this week. My first stop was to see what CRTs (cash register tapes - coupons from red machines) I can score and to use one from last week, that was expiring. I had zero EBs, so I had to start from scratch.



1 x Almay foundation 15.99
2 x Kotex 8.00
2 x Colgate t/p 7.18
1 x Crest t/p 3.99
Less Almay CRT (6.00)
Less Kotex DQ (4.00)
Less Colgate Q (4.00)
Less Crest DQ (1.00)
Tax 2.04
OOP $21.01

Earned $12 EBs ($4 Almay, $4 Colgate, $2 Kotex, $2 Crest)

I could've purchased cheaper foundation (spend $12 earn $4 EB), but they didn't have any colors that I needed. I could also have split my transactions to lower my OOP, but that would've been too much work and I now have a larger EB amount to roll.

Then on Wednesday I decided to hit all 3 drugstores, starting with WAGS. I had a nice spend $40 earn $12 BR DQ. So I worked out a scenario, using only DQs (I have several high value ones), so that my transaction will turn into a MM. Of course, this didn't work out. First, my store never restocked any Crest t/p. The Burts Bees are non-existent too. No problem, I purchased 2 higher priced ones, to still meet my $40 OOP. Cashier scans everything and WTH, none of my qs deducted. Not a single bloody q. She called over a manager who fiddled with the register, still nothing. NADA, ZIP! Grrrrrr! Now I know, from prior experience, that the store can't fix your BR points or Qs. So I asked them to cancel the transaction, cause there's no way I was gonna spend $44 OOP (you can't pay with points to earn bonus rewards and I have over $50 worth of points to use). That was my total before qs. I have $24 DQs that were supposed to deduct. I know that if I paid cash and contacted CS, they would refund me BR points (that comes with restrictions). Nuh uh, I wasn't doing that.

So off to my happy place I went - CVS :)

Scanned my card and earned a $3 Beauty Rewards EB. Yay! This made me feel better.

2 x Softsoap b/w $7.98
Less 2 Softsoap qs (1.50)
Less EBs (6.00)
Tax 0.48
OOP $0.96

Earned $4.50 EBs. So I now have a total of $13.50 EBs to roll into future purchases




Next stop RA. I first have to do last week's transactions, so things make sense

I purchased $100 Kohls gcs and earned $16 BC. The gcs went into my BF jar. Y'all know how I love to shop Kohls BF sale :) I also received another $6/30 CAT. Whoo-hoo. I'll take any free $$$

Next day

PF bronzer $15.69
PF bronzer B1G2 50% off 7.49
2 x Dial b/w 8.00
Less 6/30 from last week (6.00)
Less PF q (4.00)
Less BOGO Dial q (4.00)
Tax 1.51
OOP $18.69 Paid for with BC

Earned $12 BC (PF)

I should've earned another $2 Savingstar credit for Dial, but nothing credited. This is the part I hate about store linked cards, because Savingstar doesn't credit half the time. It's just not worth my time, contacting them about that missing $2. So moving on.

I've been out of face makeup for a while now and have been waiting on a good sale. So getting brozer for free is definitely my kinda deal :)



This week

2 x Colgate t/p $7.00
2 x Stayfree B1G50% 2nd 6.43
Less Colgate in-ad q (3.00) My store doesn't allow more than one in-ad q if the limit is 1 per customer
Less Stayfree q (2.00)
Tax 0.81
OOP $5.24 Paid with BC

Earned $3 BC (Stayfree)

I used an IP Stayfree q instead of DQ, because I earn 25 Swagbucks per redeemed q. All those points add up to earn some nice gcs for Christmas shopping.

When I got home from shopping, I did WAGs live chat. Of course they couldn't help me (insert eyeroll), but they told me that the manager can override the DQs (another eyeroll, cause the manager should've known this). I'm not even sure if I want to go back to WAGs to attempt this. I'm not in the mood to be annoyed if things don't work out again.

Someone else posted that the same thing happened to them on Sunday. She paid cash for her transaction and earned her cash back in points. Then she went shopping again yesterday and the DQs worked. Go figure! It's not like I need the items at WAGs. So I'll probably just stay home, keep my sanity and use that time to work instead.

Hope everyone had a good shopping week!


Monday, July 15, 2019

Last week's drugstore shopping WAGS Rite Aid

You already know that my WAGS trip was not without incident...lol.



Last week I received a $9/30 DQ, so my plan was to do the B3G1F Tide & B2G1F Crest/Burts Bees deals and use all my DQs for it. Of course my store didn't have enough Crest and the Burts Bees was non-existent. So I went home and had to come up with a plan B.

Thursday I ran lots of errands and made a return trip to WAGS. Still not enough Crest, but I had more than one scenario planned (I think I should do this for all future WAGS trips). So here's what I got

8 x Pantene shampoo B1g50% off 2nd $28.72
1 x Forto coffee shot $2.99
Less 9/30 (9.00)
Less 2 x Pantene qs (10.00)
Tax 1.23
Less BR points (10.00)
OOP $3.94 Paid for with a gc.

I returned 3 t/b during my first trip, cause I never received my RR for it. Turns out those exact t/b never worked for a number of people, even though it worked during the previous week's sale. Silly WAGS. Since I paid with points, I received my credit in the form of a gc. I told the cashier I actually prefer the gc since it doesn't expire & there's no crazy rules tied to it. I received a $12.69 credit

So here's where things went south.

I earned $8 points ($4 wyb 4 Pantene)

As  you can see above, my Pantene total came to $28.72. I only needed around $21xx to earn a $5 beauty reward, except no beauty reward credited. Checked my receipt and it says I earned $8.77 towards beauty. WTH?! I don't even know how WAGS math works on this one. Do you only earn after all coupons. Even so, the numbers don't add up! At CVS you earn beauty rewards BEFORE all qs. Ugh, I was so mad.

I also earned $3.24 Ibotta rebate for the Forto & any item. We don't even drink the Forto, but it was free and got me to $30.

Spent down a total of $13.94 points
Earned back $8 points + $3.24 Ibotta
Total cost for everything $2.70



Then I stopped at RA for the 'free' Crest deal. I had zero points, cause I haven't been to RA in months. I actually lost $10 in points that I had. My own fault :( I sure wish they'd send email reminders so you know to shop.

1 x Crest t/p $3.00
1 x Oral b t/b 3.00
Less Crest DQ (1.00)
Less Oral B DQ (1.0)
Tax 0.36
OOP $4.36

Earned $4 BR. I also received a $6/30 CAT. I was planning on doing the Tide deal with it, but we were away for 2 days and I was too tired to go shopping when we got home on Saturday night. So I'll figure out a scenario for this week.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Produce market trip and what I made

After my successful first attempt at making lemonade, I decided to hit the produce market so I could make some ginger lemonade. My plan was to just get pick up some lemons and blueberries, but I should know better. The selection at the market is just too good to be ignored.

$50 and a whole cart full later, DS & I left the store. Now this store often has clearance items. The clearance is usually still in good condition (sometimes a few blemishes, but they mainly pull whatever they feel isn't in perfect condition or when they have overstock). This I time I managed to score a big box of tomatoes for $2! There were a few rotten tomatoes, but the rest were still all good. So I decided to make some smoortije (not sure what you'd call it in English - relish maybe. I doubt there's even an English word for it, cause this is a truly South African dish. I grew up bilingual, but my first language is Afrikaans, which is a Dutch dialect with a hint of German and smoortjie is the only word both English & Afrikaans speaking South Africans use for this dish. Yep, it's not an African language). This dish is something that takes me back to my childhood. It's normally eaten with sausage, but you can really just add it to any meat.



Smoortjie recipe

Onions
Tomatoes
Peppers
Salt/Pepper
A little sugar

Just saute the onions until lightly browned. Then add tomatoes, pepper & seasoning and cook until tomatoes are soft. That's the basic recipe. Alternatively, you can add parley or cilantro. You can also add the sausage to this mix or you can place your sausage (like Italian or brats on a bun and add smoortjie on top). So good! I made a huge batch that I divided into 5 portions and froze.

The peppers I got on clearance a few weeks ago. They had about 6 peppers per bag for $1 a bag. So I grabbed a few bags. Washed, sliced and froze it all for future use. I like to prep all produce this way, so nothing gets wasted.





I also managed to make almost 3 bottles of lemonade. After washing and drying the lemons, I first zest them all and save the zest for baking. It was way too hot to bake last week, so I washed and threw a pint of blueberries in the freezer. Then later that evening, I crushed the blueberries, added some lemon zest and made lemon blueberry pancakes. Oh my stars! This was so good.

I always crush the blueberries, so that it gets spread evenly throughout the batter. Blueberries is my favorite berry, so I like getting it in every single bite. And yes, I bought 6 pints at the market...lol



The mangoes were 10 for $5.50. They were huge mangoes. So I got a box of 10 and made some mango salsa. I used some leftover chicken to make quesadillas (just chicken and munster cheese), then added some salsa and a salad. This was lunch, but it's actually big enough to be a dinner.



I don't like using the oven during summer, but yesterday I decided to make lasagna for dinner. So I figured I'd make some lemon blueberry muffins (I just got some zest from the freezer), since the oven was already on. I should've made 2 dozen muffins, cause we already ate half the muffins last night. Well, when the food gets eaten fast, you know it's good...lol


We still have lots of other produce left, so no trip to the market for another week or 2. I need to make some pickled beets (beetroot salad as we call it) later today.


Monday, July 8, 2019

Ibotta Meijer fun. We all scream for Ice Cream!





This week Meijer has Klondike Ice Cream on sale for $3 each. The good news is that there's also a $1 Ibotta rebate for each different flavor. I also had a Weekend Warrior Ibotta bonus. Buy 8 items, earn $2 bonus. Since I was already planning on getting Klondike, I decide to just add a few more items to take advantage of this deal.

Our Mperks accounts each had a $1/1 Klondike q, so I split my transactions. There was also a $5 off anything q on DH's account, since I haven't used the account in a while. This happens from time to time. Last time I got $13 off anything reward. I'll take free grocery money any day :)

So I purchased one Klondike and salad on DH's account. Used the $5 Mperks, so my Ice Cream was free. Then earned $1.20 Ibotta ($1 Klondike 20c any item)

Then my 2nd transaction I got

4 x Klondike (different types/flavors)  $12.00
1 x Prego cook in sauce 1.75
1 x Cottonelle wipes 2.40
1 x Creamette pasta 1.99
Less Klondike MP (1.00)
OOP $17.14

Earned $8.99 Ibotta ($4 Klondike, $0.50 Prego, $0.50 Cottonelle, $1.99 pasta, $2 bonus)

Also earned $3 Mperks for spending $15 on ice cream (I purchased a package about 2 weeks ago)

Total OOP $17.14
Total earned $13.19
Total cost after rewards $3.95

I also earned another $3 MP for spending $150, but this has been tracking for a few weeks, so I'm not including it.

Be sure to scan your receipt to Fetch rewards (my referral code is J4FAR). When I scanned my previous receipts I earned a 750 point reward for just the one package. I didn't even know about the reward, so it was a welcoming surprise.

Wags made me broke over the course of 2 weeks!

Friendly warning. Long post, so grab a drink.  I apologise that this post is so late. I've been under tremendous strain the past 2 month...