Tuesday, December 28, 2021

My near free rewards shopping

I hope that everyone had a lovely Christmas. I know it sounds weird, but I'm actually glad the holiday's over. I just haven't been feeling the holidays the last 2 years. 

Today I want to share with you about how I capitalize on all those Birthday & holiday rewards that stores send me. It helps to have a birthday this late in the year, because stores run all kinds of deals from October (some start in September). So here's what I got with my rewards


3 jeans

4 shorts

3 tops

1 Bracelet

Rewards : $85 ($10 BD, $75 just because they miss me...lol)

OOP : $10.58

Rakuten : 0.06


2 jeans

1 top 

Rewards : $45 ($15 BD, $30 semi annual reward) Paid balance with gc

OOP : $0

Rakuten : $1.72


1 shorts

1 top 

Rewards : $25

OOP $3.16

Rakuten : Mmm, I don't see any Rakuten reward. 

Eddie Bauer 

2 t-shirts (one arrived after pic was taken - a pink t-shirt)

Rewards : $20

OOP : $0

Rakuten : $0.20

I still can't believe I got paid for that Eddie Bauer t-shirts, but I'm not complaining


1 Pair athletic shoes

Rewards : $25 ($15 KC, $5 BF, $5 BD) paid balance with Mypoints gc

OOP : $0

Rakuten : This is that mysterious one where I don't know which credited on Rakuten or Swagbucks

Earned $15 KC


6 Panties

Rewards : $5

OOP : $0 Paid $3.xx balance with gc

Rakuten : $0.14

Bath & Body works

Rewards : 2 x Free items up to $15 each (got 2 body wash. One was already in shower when pic was taken)

OOP : $0.00

Rakuten : In store purchase, so no reward earned

Total OOP : $13.74

Total Rakuten earned : $2.12

Total KC earned : $15.00

Total retail value : $1093.49

Total items : 27

I didn't realise it while shopping (I did multiple transactions at Loft & WHBM), but when I took the pic I noticed that everything actually matches. I can mix & match various pieces (I'm good at that) to create new outfits. 

Evevything I purchased are clearance items. That's my preferred way to shop. Soma had 5/$15 sale panties and then an extra 40% off during BF. So I stacked the savings. Why not?

I know I earned more Loft cash back on Rakuten, but I can't see any details before my last check was issued (November). 

I also received a free dozen donuts from Krispy Kreme and Red Robin burger & fries for my birthday.

I know you're all thinking "Ms Goose, you just bought a truckload of undies from FOTL not too long ago."  Well, Soma is the sexy, lacy stuff. I'm a very girly girl and I like a little sexy now & again  ;)

With the exception of Madewell, I shop at all the above stores (I haven't shopped DSW & Loft in a long time, but I've had my accounts for years). I just wait for free shipping days everywhere (I get free shipping all the time at select stores, because of my account status. Translation, I'm a regular shopper...lol), before cashing out.  I know that most people are against store emails and/or accounts, because they want to save money. I do the complete opposite, because I GET FREE money. Who doesn't like FREE brand new items? This girl can splurge without breaking the bank. Remember that there's ALWAYS method to my madness :)

I received many other rewards, but I don't want coupons and I didn't want to spend an unnecessary money. The idea is to NOT spend my own money. I had to spend money at Loft & Madewell, because the Q wouldn't apply if the total was less than the Q value. 

Just when I thought I was done with Loft, they sent me another $25 Q. Same with Eddie Bauer. Who am I to say no...lol If someone handed me $35 cash that I absolutely had to spend, I wouldn't say no. If Loft keeps this up, I'll end up with half a new closet from them. 

I also haven't redeemed some of my food rewards (Panera, DD, Starbucks etc), because I didn't want to make a special trip for just one item. The coffee places always have long lines and I didn't want to go waste time for a cup of coffee or donut.

Here's a list of places you can earn rewards for, without shopping there at all:


$25. You have to spend at least $26. Sign up as an Insider and you get birthday reward + free shipping

Lane Bryant 

They send $10 Qs out from time to time (I don't shop there, but I've read about it many times)

Krispy Kreme 

Just sign up for their rewards. They used to give a coffee and donut, but I received a dozen donuts the past 2 years.

Red Robin 

Join their loyalty program for free burger & fries. If you eat there regularly, you can also participate in their free burger rewards. Earn 10th free burger, for every 9 burgers you purchase. This tracks, so you don't have to buy 9 burgers in one go. 


Join their rewards program and earn a free sweet treat for your birthday. 

If anyone knows of any other places that offer Birthday freebies, please let us know so we can all take advantage of the offers.

Friday, December 17, 2021

Sweet Treats Recipe 3 - Peppermint Crisp Fridge Tart

WARNING : This dish is rich/sweet from the caramel. Some recipes call for castor/confectioner's sugar to be added, but please don't do it. Any South African worth it's salt will tell you that we DON'T use any sugars in this dish. The caramel alone is rich/sweet enough.

This is something that's traditional for me and is one of my favorite desserts. Since South Africa's in the southern hemisphere, Christmas falls during summer. So we eat lots of cold foods for Christmas. Nobody bakes for the holidays. It's fridge tarts (Icebox cakes as Americans call it)  and trifle. Peppermint crisp is actually a mint chocolate that's found in SA, so the tart is named after the chocolate. 

I've adapted the recipe to include American ingredients since we can't find everything here. Please adjust the amounts, based on the size of the fridge tart you'd like to make. I usually make mine in a 13" rectangular dish.

Peppermint Crisp Fridge Tart

1 Box Graham crackers (I use a little more than one box, so I always keep 2 on hand)

1 Can caramel (I buy La Lechera)

500 ml Fresh whipping cream (I think it's a pint. forgive me for sounding ignorant, but I only know the metric system)

Any mint chocolate. I've used mint Aero (British will be familiar with this chocolate. If you have a Meijer, look for Aero in the British section in the international aisle. Sometimes I use Andes mint chocolate. Throw the chocolate into blender (or chop it fine with a knife) and pulse until it's broken down into smaller pieces (you can crush it fine or leave a few larger pieces. It's entirely up to you).

Whip cream until soft peaks form. Fold in caramel and 3/4 chocolate into cream & mix everything together. Layer the graham cracker on the bottom of your dish.Top with caramel mix, then rinse and repeat. Alternatively (my own invention but it works...lol) add banana slices. So you'll have cookies, caramel mix, banana, cookies, etc. Build it like you would lasagna. Top with leftover chocolate. Then refrigerate overnight and enjoy!

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Sweet Treat Recipe 2 - Cardamom bread

The sky is falling!!! That's how I'm feeling lately. I'm so darn far behind. Everyone & their mother wants a piece of me. I talked to so many people yesterday, I hardly got anything done. I'm still waiting on gcs I ordered at the beginning of the month to be delivered. I need to get those gifts out. Some need to be mailed again and I don't even know if the recipients will get it in time for Christmas. I can't even remember where I hid all DS's gifts (I have to switch it up every year, because he usually finds my hiding spots...lol). DS is now being home schooled again due to Covid infections in his class. Customers all want their orders in time for Christmas. My stress levels are through the roof. Is anyone else feeling this stressed this year? 

I don't even have a baking game plan yet. I only know I want to make mint chocolate dipped cookies. I don't know what else. I have a long list of treats, but need to decide which ones to bake. This is so unusual for me, because I'm a planner and like having all my ducks in a row. This is my main reason for getting holiday stuff done early, so I don't have to worry about it during the busiest (work) time of the year. 

Today's recipe is Hawaii Planner's cardamom bread

I'm not sure if this is the same thing as Stollen, which I am somewhat familiar with. I've posted both links, so you can have the list of fruit that goes in the bread. 

Thank you HP. I'm excited to try this recipe. I might make it for New Year's Eve.

Happy baking everyone!

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Sweet treat recipe 1 - Rum Brownies

I did mention before that I would post sweet treats recipes from other bloggers. I'm playing catch up, so forgive me that this is so late.

I'm not familiar with American rum brands, so if anyone could recommend a good brand, I will appreciate it. Thank you.

The Rum brownie is from Anne in the kitchen Thank you for sharing this recipe with us Anne. 


This is identical to the recipe I use every year, but you can also us a brownie mix if you prefer.

The minute they come out of the microwave (or oven if using a mix) I sprinkle about 1/4 cup of dark rum over the top of the brownies then let them sit until they are completely cool. 

I do not use a recipe for the icing because I have been making buttercream for about as long as I remember, and only make enough to ice the brownies. I do reduce the cream and replace it with about a tablespoon of dark rum. Then I put it in an icing bag and pipe the icing over the brownies. I use the star tip, but any tip you wanted to use would work. When it is finished it looks like rows of smushed stars. I generally dust them lightly with cocoa powder then they are ready to cut and enjoy.

I'll post another recipe tomorrow. Please feel free to share any or all of your favorite sweet treat recipe(s) or links to it in the comments. Thank you.

I'm behind....again

I'm so far behind it's not even funny. We got our booster shots on Sunday. I got mild fatigue and a sore arm, but that was it. We even went out later in the day. On Monday I decided to run a bunch of errands so I could focus on listing and Christmas stuff this week. On my way home the side effects hit me like a freight train, especially fatigue. I could hardly keep my eyes open and the body aches started. I was about 4 miles from home and couldn't figure out how far I still needed to go to get to the cross street that would take me home. Scary, but I thankfully made it home in one piece. Then I still had to unload the car, sanitize and pack everything away. When DS got home, I just heated his dinner. Then I showered and went to bed at 5pm. I'm so thankful that I cooked our meals for the week on Sunday morning. I somehow suspected I might get side effects again, because I was in bed for 3 days after I got the 2nd shot months ago. 

Yesterday I was up, cleaned, packed mail, listed, then went back to bed again. I've been doing lots of sleeping and hardly have an appetite. I skipped dinner for 2 nights and lost 2 pounds. There's some good that came out of this...lol. I always lose a pound if I skip just one meal. The weird thing is that I've had bouts of nausea too. It's strange, because I very rarely get nausea. The only time I did was when I was pregnant and when I got food poisoning. I don't throw up easily either. I hardly got morning sickness when I was pregnant, so I know that something is wrong. There's zero chance of me being pregnant and if it was food poisoning, I would've tossed my cookies by now. Besides, I'm hardly eating, so there's less risk of food poisoning. I doubt I have covid, because I don't have any other symptoms, besides fatigue and sore body. I'm, thankfully, feeling half human today again. I have a mile long list of things to do. 

I talked to my brother on Monday and he told me to take a day off to recover. I asked him if he's crazy, because everything comes to a standstill if I take a day off. I do everything myself here. So things pile up if I don't take care of it. He told me that I was gonna get burned out. Me : too late. I'm already burned out again. I seriously need another vacation. I thought that the last vacation would do it, but that wasn't enough. I just want to go on a month long vacation. I want to have beach fun all day long, then dinner, drinks & dancing at night. I don't want to worry about anything or anyone. I just want some good R&R. Sadly, that's not gonna happen in the near future. 

I did stop at Sams on Monday and stocked up on a few more things. I'm seriously done shopping for the year. We might only need dairy and some produce for the rest of this year. That makes me feel good, because I don't have to spend any more money. 

I only need to spend my rewards at all 3 drugstores. WAGS is easy, but I don't know what I need at CVS or RA. I need to check the ads and make a list.

For those who are interested in the Godiva Domes at WAGS - your stores might be sold out of it by now. I've been to a few different WAGS around here and none of them had any stock. I did find some when I got my shot at WAGS on Sunday. I tried the bags and they didn't produce a RR. I wasn't even upset about it, because I just wanted to spend my rewards. I still have a few RRs I want to redeem, so I can take a WAGS break too. I'm outshopped. 

I'm just gonna post November & December numbers at the beginning of the year. Our grocery budget's finally looking better. We've sold quite a few personal things. We have a full stockpile. Yep, things are looking better. Onwards to a new year & new goals. I have big goals. The past 2 years have thrown us huge curve balls, but I've decided to not let anything rattle me anymore. I've just got to buckle down and stick to my plan. 

Well, here we go again. The school just called & said one of DS's classmates tested positive for Covid. I might have to pick him up. So there goes my day.

Have a great day everyone! Stay safe, warm & healthy.

Friday, December 10, 2021

Inexpensive Wags Christmas gifts


Hi everyone!

I apologise for the lack of posts. I'm just very busy lately and again not sleeping enough. My internal clock now wakes me at 5 am every day. Today I woke up at 3 am and only started to doze off just before the alarm went off. Ugh! So I'm hoping for an early night. 

I just wanted to share a quick deal in case anyone else would like to take advantage of it too. I had zero plans to go drugstore shopping, but this deal is too good to pass up. 

3 x Godiva domes $10.50

2 x Crest t/p 6.00

Less Godiva IVC (3.00)

Less Crest DQ (3.00)

Less WC (10.00)

Tax  0.36

OOP $0.86

Earn $4 (Godiva) and $3 (Crest) RRs. 

Submitted my receipts to PG (Crest) so I can earn another coffee gc. 

I did this deal twice (on both accounts). I always add a box of chocolates to my gc gifts.I mean who doesn't love chocolate?  I was pleasantly surprised that the $3 Crest DQ deducted on DH's account, because I also had a $2/1 Q clipped. Usually WAGS applies the lowest amount first. Shocker! I tell ya, something is in the WAGS water...lol Their deals have been working too well lately. 

The Godiva deal offers different increment RRs, depending on how many you buy. The $4 RR is the highest amount you can earn back (I think you earn $2.50 RR if you buy 2). The deal ends on 12/24 or 12/25 (I can't remember the exact date, but I know it's a monthly deal). So if you just want the candy, you'll pay $7.50 OOP and earn $4 back. Not a bad deal for 3 boxes of chocolate. The IVC is for $2/2, but will automatically apply to all items. It doesn't matter that you're purchasing an uneven amount of items. 

There are 2 different kinds of domes. Be sure to buy the 2/$7 ones, otherwise you'll be paying $5 each if you grab the wrong one. The Godiva bags are also part of the sale, but I don't know if they print RRs.

If you can't find enough domes in the candy aisle, check end caps and special displays. My store only had 5 domes on the shelf. So I picked up 3 domes and 3 bags. Then as I walked to the register, I saw more domes on a special display. I replaced the bags with more domes. 

Next week I plan on rolling my Godiva RR into Crest (will only have to pay sales tax) & my Crest RR into more Godiva. I have to search for more hazelnut ones. I love all things hazelnut flavoured. Forget pumpkin spice! This girl loves her hazelnut instead. This is a new Godiva flavor, so I'm excited for it. Yes, I'm getting extra so I can enjoy some too...lol. I need 9 as gifts, so I'll buy 3 extra for myself. It's the holidays...lol I'm not even gonna worry about the amount of calories & sugars in these suckers. 

I'll try to post November numbers this weekend. We're spending a lot less on groceries lately, because we're so well stocked. I just stocked up on meat at Sams and made a produce market run. Produce market has been a little pricey the last few months, so I'm picking up some sale produce at the grocery store instead.  The rest is just dairy and some filler produce every week. I can get by for under $20 per week (excluding Sams). I'm loving it!

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Friday, November 26, 2021

Black Friday shopping

There's method to my madness. Always remember my mantra when you read about my weird shopping trips.

I had a plan for Kohls. I wanted to check what athletic shoe deals they had, because I refused to pay the higher prices last year (silly me. hard lesson learned) which resulted in no spare shoes for us. So I went to bed a little early and was up before midnight last Saturday, so I could start shopping the minute the sale started at 1 am. I filled my cart with items I thought might be on sale and then waited. My planning paid off. While I didn't get the prices I wanted, I got athletic shoes (the ones I found on clearance last year, were cancelled immediately after placing order). We wear a select brand and style. I've been buying the same style for years, because I have high arches and this is the most comfortable shoe for me. Not even my expensive running shoes are this comfortable. Kohls used to have this style on BF sale every year, until the pandemic hit. 

I bought 7 pairs of shoes for myself and DH. No, that's not a typo. 3 Pairs for DH. The men's shoes still had our favorite style available. I don't care that his shoes are all the same color. It's comfortable, the price was right, so into the stockpile it goes. If he decides at a later stage he doesn't want it, then I can sell it for uber $$$ because the style is now rare. Either way, it's a win-win situation.

Not the same ease with my purchase though. I bought different styles and brands. I bought this many, because I wanted to see what fits comfortably. Whatever I don't like or want, I will sell for a profit. 

I also bought a few more bras. Not really needed, but the price is too good to pass up. I'm sure most of you have heard of the new Covid strain by now. This is going to make supply chain issues even worse. Not due to shipping, but due to manufacturing. Well, that news hit after I made my purchases, so I'm glad I bought more. Got DS some sweatpants and a spare pair of gloves. 

So just how much did Kohls suck out of me this year? I was only supposed to buy shoes after all. 

I cashed out for some gcs. I stacked those with some rewards and coupons. I did multiple transactions, because Kohls now only allow 2 gcs per transaction....grrrr. It used to be 4. So on Sunday I went to RA and bought $100 Kohls gcs that earned me $16 BC (bonus cash). Bought a Macy's gc that also earned me another $16 BC. So an extra $32 in my pocket. 

Total OOP (incl gc purchase) $344.63

KC earned : $150.00 (I did a separate transaction for household items that's not included in my OOP cost. I'll use the $30 KC though)

I'll also get another $20 Y2Y/KC reward on the 1st, so that's $170 total earned

Rakuten : $2.17

Okay Rakuten is a bit of a cluster. For the 1st transaction, my computer froze as I was checking out. So I got that fixed, but had to switch browsers, then couldn't remember my Rakuten password...lol (I know my password, but it kept telling me it's wrong.ugh). So I need to submit a ticket for that transaction. 

My last transaction yesterday morning shows my purchase pending on Swagbucks. Huh? I didn't check out through Swagbucks. However, Swagbucks is paying out more than Rakuten, so I'm not complaining. 

So I spent $344.63

Earned : $170 Kohls + $32 RA = $203

The KC will be used to purchase items to resell. I'll also sell the shoes I don't want (I'm still waiting on many items to be delivered). According to my calculations, I'll be making a nice profit (I do it every year) on my BF shopping (including the household items I purchased). So to me it's basically free shopping. I just put in a bit of work and voila, we have everything we wanted. 

I wasn't planning on going to RA, but I really wanted the Planters nuts and Russell stover candy. So while we were out & about today, I told DH to stop at RA so I could grab those and the freebies (oops just noticed that one Palmolive is turned back to front).  

2 x R. Stover $9.98

2 x Planters nuts 11.98

2 x Scunci 6.00 F

4 x Palmolive 4.00 F

2 x Nestle crunch 1.00 F

2 x Russell Stover singles 1.00

Less BC (32.00) earned from gcs

Tax 0.60

OOP $2.56

Earned $24 BC

This wasn't my regular RA and I still told DH that I don't know if I'm gonna find what I'm looking for, because I know that my store always sells out of the freebies on Thanksgiving day (I wasn't in the mood to go shopping yesterday). I was pleasantly surprised to see everything in stock. I could've added other items to get to $50 and earn and extra $15 BC, but I didn't want to spend extra cash OOP. I also don't want to be stuck with a bunch of BC, because Covid is really bad in our state again. So the fewer shopping trips I need to take, the better. 

So that's my BF shopping folks. I didn't spend any other money. I'm thankful that shopping's now completely done. I can now start saving $20 a week again, to help pay for holiday gcs next year or whatever gcs get discounted throughout the year. I can also get back to saving my earned gcs again. I'm pooped. I need a shopping break...until the next sale...lol (hey that's only after Christmas...lol).

Have a great weekend everyone!

Monday, November 22, 2021

Busy week

This week is a busy week for me, so I'd like to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.  

I went to bed early last night & overslept this morning. Oy vey. Well, not exactly overslept per se. I get up an hour before I need to, but I have my routine down pat, so it throws me off when I do oversleep (which is a rare occurrence). I was doing BF shopping in the middle of the night (Saturday) and only slept for about 6 hours afterwards, so I was exhausted. 

Jackie (In the land of the living skies). I know you mentioned needing bras before. I don't know if it's worth having things shipped from the US, but I know that Kohls ship to Canada. They currently have different bra brands on sale for $14.99 less 15% discount. So $12.74 each after discount. You also earn $15 Kohls cash for every $50 spent. I'm not sure if this is worth it to you, but thought I'd mention it just in case.

I'm not cooking anything until Thanksgiving day. We have lots of leftovers to eat, so that's what's for lunch & dinner until Wednesday. 

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Hope it's a wonderful day for all. Stay safe, warm & healthy. I'll be back to blogging next week.

Friday, November 19, 2021

Friday chit chat

Another week down. It's crazy how fast this year is going by. Nothing much happening here. I've just been trying to get things processed and listed for sale. 

  • Went to Sams for pumpkin pie on Tuesday and there were NO pumpkin pies. I felt like crying. Seems like everyone else had the same idea as me to buy their pies early too. I especially went to the store to get pies. I came home with everything but the kitchen sink...lol, but no pies. Okay, I didn't buy much, but I mainly went for pie & yogurt. I always buy my pies early, because I hate shopping Thanksgiving week. The stores are packed and I don't have the patience for long lines. 
  • Decided to go to Sams before the lunch time crowd hit on Thursday and got my 2 pies (there were only 9-10 pies available. Unusual for Sams).Phew! One for the guys and one for me...lol. I'm kidding, but I do love pumpkin pie. Crazy thing is that I won't just eat plain old pumpkin. Same with green beans, but I love green bean casserole. It's the French's onions that does it for me. 
  • I forgot to buy cool whip and decided not to get any. None of us care if we have cool whip for the pie or not, so I'm not gonna bother. Less sugars and calories for us too.
  • I'm back to making my own flavored coffee again (I mainly do this in winter). I just add my spice of choice (cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, pumpkin pie) and voila! flavored coffee minus the sugars and artificial junk.
  • Stopped at Ollies to use the 15% Q that expires this weekend and bought Evoo that I needed and some books. 
  • Eddie Bauer had free shipping yesterday, so I bought a Free t-shirt with my $10 Q they sent. The kicker is that I also earned 10c Rakuten cash for my free t-shirt...lol. MM, yay!!..lol I should probably do a post about all the freebies I scored the past month. I still have some rewards to redeem then I'll do the post. 
  • I have a BBW mailer q for free product that I need to redeem. Today I received another Q for a free item. You can now redeem the free Q online too, so I'm hoping they'll do a free shipping day sometime, otherwise I have to make a special trip to the mall.
  • Picked up a rotisserie chicken and sandwich croissants at Sams on Tuesday, so we made sandwiches with the leftover chicken & croissants (added lettuce, tomato, cucumber to the sandwich) and added leftover veggies for dinner tonight. No junk food carry out and no extra money spent. 
  • Submitted all my WAGS Crest receipts to PG and earned another $5 Starbucks gc. 
  • I also stopped at CVS to roll $13 EBs, cause yikes my EBs were expiring again. CVS always reminds me of how fast a month goes by. The deals weren't good this week, but I managed a low oop.

2 x Garnier shampoo $7.00
2 x Loreal shampoo 8.00
2 x Softsoap b/w 7.98
Less Garnier q (3.00)
Less Garnier DQ (1.00)
Less Loreal q (3.00)
Less $2/2 Softsoap DQ (2.00)
Less Softsoap DQ (1.00)
Less EBs (12.98)
Tax 1.20
OOP $1.20

Earned $9 EBs ($4 Softsoap, $3 Loreal, $2 Garnier) and should get another $3 Beauty EB.

I'm not sure if I'm gonna do drugstore BF deals this year. Both CVS & RA only have 4 freebies (WAGS hasn't had BF deals in years), although RA has a $15/50 BC deal. I might get some gcs at RA, then use the BC for BF. 

I only want to pick up Diet Coke at Meijer next week (24pks are on sale for $6.99 and I have $1 Q) and roll my WAGS RRs. We don't need anything else. 

Have a wonderful weekend everyone! Stay safe & warm.

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Rolling RRs at WAGS

I decided to shop & post WAGS deals early in case anyone else wants to take advantage of this week's deals. 

Trans 1 (DH account)

2 x Dove deodorant $12.00

4 x Colgate Optic ($3.99 ea) 15.96

2 x Crest t/p 6.00

Less Dove DQ (2.00)

Less Colgate DQ (5.00)

Less Colgate DQ (2.00)

Less Crest DQ (3.00)

Less RR (store Q)(5.00)

Less RRs (Manufacturers Q (9.00)

Tax 1.74

OOP $9.70

Earned $3 RR (Crest), $14.28 WC ($8 Colgate, $6 WYS $25, 28c everyday points), $3 Ibotta (Dove), $2 Fetch (Dove)

Total earned $22.28

The Dove is supposed to print a $5 RR too. I'm guessing that the RR I used was a Dove RR from 2 weeks ago, that's why a new one didn't print. I actually expected this. I just wanted to use that RR before it expires in 2 days. 

It's happened before that Store RRs roll into new RRs. They usually have different event codes (I know this sounds like greek to some of you..lol), so you'll still earn a new RR. I guess WAGS changed the rules again. 

Crest is also free after rewards this week. 

There are 2 different Colgate deals. One is buy 2 @ $2.99, get $2 WC. The one I did was buy 2 @ $3.99 get $4 WC. I figured it's better to do the bigger size, because it comes to the same price after rewards (25c each). Bigger is better...lol

There are 2 different Colgate DQs. $5/3 (or $5/2) and $2/1. Buy 4 items and both DQs will attach. 

When paying with RRs, please remember. You can only use ONE Store RR per transaction, but multiple Manufacturer RRs in one transaction. You can also combine a Store & Manufacturer RR. 

Trans 2

3 x Loreal cleanser B2G1F $13.58

4 x Colgate Optic 15.96

3 x Crest t/p 9.00

Less Loreal DQ (2.00)

Less Colgate DQ (5.00)

Less Colgate DQ (2.00)

Less Crest DQ (5.00)

Less RR (store Q) (5.00)

Less WC points (20.00)

Tax 2.01

OOP $1.55

Earned $8.13 WC (Colgate), $3 RR (Crest)

I desperately needed face wash. I'm on my last bottle (I found a bottle of Aveeno in my stockpile, but Loreal is my preferred brand). I'm so happy to have my favorites again. I had to mix & match, because it's all they had on the shelf. I don't mind since they're both Revitalift. 

I used my $3/2 Crest DQ last week, so I bought 3 t/p so I could use the $5/3 DQ. I don't mind paying $1 for the 3 tubes, because I needed to get my total high enough to redeem $20 WC. 

The WAGS gods are still smiling down on me. Another smooth shopping trip. I'm just gonna play it cool and not try to jinx myself...lol

So FREE Dove, Crest and 25c Colgate after rewards this week. All you need to do is clip those digital coupons before going shopping. 

If you are new to WAGS and have no rewards to use, try the following.

Trans 1

2 x Dove $12.00

Less Dove DQ (2.00)

OOP $10.00 + tax

Earn $5 RR + $3 Ibotta + $2 Fetch

Trans 2

4 x Colgate $8.96 (after Qs)

Less $5 RR from trans 1

OOP $3.96 + tax

Earn $8 WC

Trans 3

2 x Crest t/p $3.00 (after Qs)

Less $3 WC 

Pay tax only

Earn $3 RR

You'll pay $13.96 OOP, but still have $5 WC + $3 RR to use for future shopping. Not to mention those Ibotta & Fetch rewards. 

Happy shopping everyone!

Friday, November 12, 2021

An unproductive week

I don't know what it is with my back, but I've been having quite a few problems with it lately. I've never had back problems before, so this is strange. On Saturday morning I was busy at the kitchen sink, bent over slightly to turn on the garbage disposal & felt the shockwave across my lower back. I couldn't move for a few minutes and didn't know what it was. I finally managed to get to my phone to call DH to come in from the shop. He said it's muscle spasms. What the heck? He's had it before, but not me. I ended up spending the weekend in bed, I could hardly move. I still move slower than usual, but finally started feeling better. By yesterday, I woke up feeling great. Then by the evening, my thigh was in pain. So back to feeling crap again. I had this grand plan to just stay home all week & list, but that didn't happen. Best laid plans....

Monday I decided to run all my errands, so that it's out of the way. 

  • Went to the produce market and came home with a box of apples. Mind you, I nearly dropped that huge box of apples, picking it up from the shelf. I never learn...lol. I made some applesauce and we've been eating fresh apples every day too. I'm gonna have to bake some more apple muffins.
  • Picked up the Ibotta Thanksgiving freebies at Walmart and ended up having enough points to redeem for a $25 Walmart gc. I will use the gc to get our pumpkin pies and yogurt at Sams. I've never made corn muffins, so wish me luck.
  • Picked up more Christmas cards at DT and mailed them. 
  • Loft sent me another $25 Q. Boy, they must really miss me, because they've given me $60 total in the course of one month. It was only good for this week & I, once again, decided to wait & see if they'll do a free shipping day. For Veteran's Day they had extra 50% + 11% off all clearance & free shipping. Count me in!! I bought 3 shorts and a jeans. Spent $6.76 OOP. I didn't want to spend any cash, but it turns out that you can't use the reward if your total is under $25. At first I added a pair of socks to get over $25. Then I changed my mind because I really don't need any more socks. I still have enough socks to last me 2-3 years.  I opted for another shorts instead of wasting cash on socks. 
  • I still had a WHBM birthday gift, which I used to buy a pair of jeans. I actually bought 2 pairs and paid for the rest with a gc. I now only have $2 left on those gcs I got for my birthday & Christmas last year. I think I had about $820 gc total (birthday, Christmas, Valentines or Mother's day). That lasted so long and I bought a ton of stuff. I filled half a closet (about a 2 meter wide closet) with all my purchases (clothes, shoes, purses, jewelry). I have a friend who told me that she once spent $1K on clothes at just one store. I couldn't believe it! She was a couponer too. We used to coupon together. Here it takes me a year to spend less than that & I'm more of a fashionista than she is.

Kroger saw me a few times this week. They had the 97c/18 ct eggs again, so I went and bought the limit. I had a few things on my list, but they didn't have any stock when I went the first time

Trans 1

5 x 18ct Eggs $4.85
Less KC (1.00)
OOP $3.85

Earned 20c Ibotta (10c receipt, 10c eggs)

Trans 2

4 x Thomas english muffins BOGOF $6.58
2 x Oscar Mayer Smokies 4.00
Less Free OM mailer Q (2.00)
OOP $8.58

Earned $5.10 Ibotta ($5 Thomas, 10c receipt) + $1.50 KC (Thomas)

Trans 3

3 x 12pk soda $12.00
Bottle deposit 3.60
Less KC (1.50)
OOP $14.10

Total OOP at Kroger : $26.53
Total earned : $6.80

Yep, it was a good week at Kroger. We were completely out of soda and I've been waiting for a good sale. I didn't care which store had the sale. I just wanted some cheap soda.

The week was even better, cause guess what.... WAGS actually worked slick as snot. The WAGS stars must have aligned...lol I wasn't planning a WAGS trip, but figured I'd make a pit stop since I was already out. 

Trans 1 (DH account)

2 x Tresemme $10.00
2 x Colgate t/p 7.98
1 x Bic razor 5.99
Less Tresemme DQ (5.00)
Less Colgate DQ (2.00)
Less Bic DQ (5.00)
Less WC points (10.00)
Tax 1.44
OOP $3.41

Earned $5 RR (Tresemme), $4 WC (Colgate)

Trans 2 (my account)

2 x Tresemme $10.00
2 x Crest t/p 8.00
1 x Bic razor 5.99
Less Tresemme DQ (5.00)
Less Crest DQ (3.00)
Less Bic DQ (5.00)
Less WC points (10.00)
Tax 1.44
OOP $2.43

Earned $5 RR (Tresemme), $5 RR  (Crest) $3 WC (WYS $12)

Submitted Crest receipt to PG.

My transaction turned out even better than expected (a small MM). I forgot that I had a $3 Spend DQ. I wanted to do a little happy dance. I don't know what was in the WAGS water, but I'm not complaining. 

I didn't do the Crest deal on DH's account, because I deleted the $3/2 Q last week. I had both the $3/2 and $5/3 clipped last week and I knew that it would apply the lowest Q first. So I deleted that Q (you can't unclip their Qs) so that the register would accept the $5/3 Q instead. So I just bought Colgate instead and still got a decent deal. 

Now I'm stuck with $24 RRs that needs to be used in the next 2 weeks. I also have so many other rewards, I need to make a list to keep track of everything. Stores just keep sending me Qs wanting me to come shop. I'm just waiting on free shipping days, otherwise I'll ignore their Qs. Easy peasy. It's not like I want to spend my own money. 

I did no CVS shopping this week. I haven't even looked at the ad. 

Have a great weekend everyone!

Friday, November 5, 2021

This week's this & that

Not much happening here this week, since I was out of commission the first half of the week. Thankfully, I'm back in the saddle again. 

  • I made a Sams run and spent $200. Ugh! $100 of that amount was for meat and a bottle of detergent, $28 for yogurt. Prices are crazy. So much for my $250 budget this month. I'm still gonna try to stick to my budget since we don't need much and I still have the gc to spend at Walmart. I just need to pick up pumpkin pies & bottled water at Sams before Thanksgiving and hit the produce market. 
  • Redeemed a $5 Starbucks gc (they didn't have DD) from PG. I still had old points to use, but PG now limits the amount of rewards you can redeem per month. 
  • Partly cleaned out the garden. It's still a work in progress. I wanted to do it sooner, but the garden wouldn't stop producing. Temps will be slightly higher next week, so I'll finish it then. It's been rather cold this week. I don't know why I'm surprised by the cold, because it's November after all. We turned on both gas fireplaces to keep us warm. 
  • Mailed my Christmas cards. They all went abroad, so I had to get them out early. I've been buying individual Hallmark cards at DT. It's so nice to send people personalized Christmas cards and it only costs 50c each. A small price to pay to make my family & close friends feel special. I need to pick up a few more and get them mailed. 

Earlier this week, I opened my last spare deodorant and decided to keep an eye out for a new deal. It just so happens that WAGS has my deodorant on sale this week. 

Trans 1

2 x Dove deodorant $12.00

3 x Crest t/p 9.00

Less Dove DQ (2.00)

Tax 1.26

OOP $20.26

Earned $5 RR (Dove) $3.21 WC (WYS $12)

What the heck?! It doesn't matter how long I stay away from WAGS, something must always go wrong. I immediately noticed that my $5/3 Crest DQ didn't deduct. When I make my shopping lists, I always add the numbers so that I know exactly how much my OOP will be. 

I just told the cashier I'll contact CS when I get home, cause a line was already forming behind me and they had 2 registers open. Then I'd have to wait on a manager to add points to my account. But then I checked my receipt and noticed that I did not get a RR for the Crest either. Ugh, are you kidding me WAGS? I didn't know if I was supposed to get points or RR, because their new ad no longer displays the details. So back to the shelf I went to take a pic before heading home. Contacted CS and they added $9 WC to my account. 

So here's the new breakdown.

Earned $5 RR (Dove), $3.21 WC (WYS $12), $9 WC (Crest), $2 Fetch (Dove).

Total earned $19.21. So it basically cost me sales tax after all my rewards. I opted to pay cash instead of using rewards, so I could earn the $3 bonus. 

They don't carry my regular Dove scent, but at this price I'm not complaining. I went to a different WAGS today to do the deal on DH's account. 

Trans 2

2 x Dove deodorant $12.00

3 x Crest t/p 9.00

Less Dove DQ (2.00)

Less Crest DQ (5.00)

Tax 1.26

OOP $15.26

Earned $5 RR (Dove), $4 RR (Crest) $5.21 WC (WYS $20) + $2 Fetch

Total earned $16.21, so a small MM

Success!! I decided to get a different Crest that I know the DQ attached to online and it worked slick as snot. The Spend deal amount is based on your pre-coupon total. We always get different amounts on our accounts. I don't know why. 

Also submitted my receipts to PG (Crest). That's 300 points. You only need 750 points for a $5 gc, so I'll buy all the free t/p that I can cause it gives me free coffee money...lol

So, I spent $35.52 OOP, but earned it all back in rewards. 

I will be posting Christmas treats recipes soon, so if you have one to share, please post recipe or link in the comments. 

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

October monthly check in

Ever had one of those days where you're just ready to tackle the day, then something happens to interrupt your plans? That was me yesterday. Early in the morning I picked up something heavy (it wasn't even that heavy) and threw out my back. Then silly me decided to still have my workout afterwards. I knew it wasn't a good idea, but I was determined to burn my calories. Bad idea! I was in excruciating pain all day. By late afternoon I took an Extra Strength Tylenol. That didn't help one bit. Then early evening I took a stress relief aromatherapy bath, hoping that it would relax my back muscles. That didn't help either. I was in bed by 8pm, watching Holiday Baking Championship. Next thing I know, I had fallen asleep and it was 9pm. So I figured I can still watch the rest of the show. Fell back asleep again and woke before 10. I think I only saw about 5-10 minutes of that 2 hour show. I did not sleep well. I woke up every time I rolled over. I didn't even go vote today, because I can't handle the pain. I feel like I've been hit by a truck. The only time I feel half decent, is when I'm sitting at my desk. So my plan is to list and sleep today. I'm just throwing Italian sausage, onions & peppers into the instant pot and making baked potatoes. We can add the leftover veggies of last night. I usually eat a salad for lunch, so the veggies will work for tonight. 

On to October's numbers


CVS : $5.39

Dollar Tree : $4.00

Indian store (spices) : $29.43

Local grocery store : 17.00

Meijer : $9.03

Ollies : $38.58

Rite Aid : $5.43

Sams : $411.31

Total OOP : $520.17


$25.88 Ibotta 

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

I did not go to the produce market this month. I shopped there so late last month, that we didn't need a trip this month. I just filled in the odds at Walmart. I'm not mad at Sams. I did quite a bit of stocking up there last month, meat, juice, coffee, etc. 


GCs Earned $25 (Mypoints)

Personal items (things we've had listed for the past 2 years) : $72.87

2021 Closet cleanout : $81.22

Big goal : $0

Drugstore items : $12.76

Total earnings : $191.85

Again, nothing listed. I'm just in work mode. I know that things are crazy in November. Everyone's in shopping mode, so I just have to keep my nose to the grindstone. 

YTD Earnings :

GCs (point earning sites) : $585

Ibotta : $442.82

Personal items : $832.02

2021 Closet cleanout : $343.70

Big goal : $641.03

Drugstore items : $185.12

Total Earnings (excl Ibotta) : $2586.87

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

OOP : $52.95  DS socks

Christmas gifts : $44.03 DS Kohls

Total OOP $96.98

Yay! Christmas shopping done & dusted. I just need to go get the gcs. The best part is that I don't have to worry about any holiday expenses. Holiday gifts are all paid for and gcs are budgeted for. Such a relief to not have to think about holiday expenses. I'm not even sure if I'm gonna do BF shopping this year. There's nothing we really need. 

The Christmas number is for DS's gifts I picked up at Kohls. I returned the other one and am just waiting on the company to issue my credit. 

The Christmas box to my family finally left the country, after sitting at the Chicago hub for almost 2 months. Crazy!! Now I can mail the other box. It might not arrive in time for Christmas, but they at least get to have another taste of Christmas after the holidays. Who doesn't like celebrating Christmas more than once? :) I really want to add a small gift for our old neighbor, but there's only so much I can fit into a flat rate box. I'm gonna have to repack that box, so I can squeeze in a gift for her. 

YTD OOP (clothing/shoes/accessories, Christmas gifts) : $1942.85

YTD side hustle income (personal, closet cleanout, drugstore) : $1360.84

YTD Balance ($582.01)

As mentioned before, I received a gift which I applied to groceries. That's why there's no Walmart numbers. I still have a small amount left, but we don't need much. I'm budgeting $250 for Sams & the produce market. I need to get meat & yogurt at Sams. I'm hoping to come in under $250, but who knows with the continuously rising food costs. 

I've also applied a new strategy for my stockpile. I've been adding a big All detergent jug from Sams every month. After doing the math, I realised it costs about the same price as all those little bottles when they're on sale at the drugstores. The downside is that the Q is normally a limit of one. So instead of taking multiple trips to the drugstore, I just buy a big bottle at Sams. Huge time saver for me. I also replace those big items like detergent, paper products, etc when I open a new pack or bottle. This ensures that we never run low or out of those things. I don't have to go crazy with shopping, I just replace it whenever I go to Sams. 

Our October numbers weren't the best, but I'm hoping that November will be way lower since we're fully stocked. 

Friday, October 29, 2021

Friday again!

Thank you to everyone who shared their Christmas traditions & experiences. I really enjoyed reading every single one. That was definitely one of my favorite posts. We've had so much doom & gloom the past 2 years, that it was refreshing to talk about something fun. So, in order to keep the Christmas spirit going, I've been thinking about us doing a holiday treat recipe exchange. It doesn't matter if it's cookies, cakes, desserts, your own family recipe or someone else's. What do you all think of just posting or linking your favorite recipe in the comments, then I'll add it to a post every other day, so everyone gets to see it. Wouldn't it be fun to learn some new holiday recipes or get some new ideas? 

I already have Anne's rum brownies recipe. Hawaii Planner, I'd love your cardamom bread recipe please.

Not much happening in my neck of the woods this week.

  • I did very little grocery shopping, since we don't need much. I mainly bought a few produce items. I also bought more Kraft cheese at Meijer. It's on sale for $1.79 this week. You can't beat that price.
  • I received another unexpected gift, so I'm applying it to groceries. 
  • I've bought all our Thanksgiving food, with the exception of pumpkin pie. I buy 2 pies at Sams every year. I tried making pumpkin pie after MIL passed (she used to make our pies), but it flopped. I think I didn't bake it long enough, so the filling was loose. I gave up and bought our pies instead. Besides, it's only $5.98 for a large pie. That's far less than me buying ingredients and using my own electricity. Not to mention time.  None of us care for turkey, so we eat a non-traditional dinner and include a few traditional items. 
  • I did zero drugstore shopping this week. The only good thing was toothpaste & I wasn't gonna waste time to just pick up toothpaste. 
  • Loft sent me a $10 Birthday reward. Then they sent me a $25 Q that said "Ms Goose, we miss you. Come shop again please. Here's $25 to spend". The $25 was good this week only. From experience, I knew that they always have a free shipping day after I receive my birthday Q. So I waited & waited and the Free shipping day finally rolled around. It was extra 40% off clearance. There was also an extra 10% off, but you can only use 2 promo codes per order. So I split my purchases, used a reward and 40% off each time. I bought 3 blouses & a shorts for $2.04 ($1.90 + 14c). Then I earned 3c from Rakuten...lol. Hey, every penny counts :) Besides, you can't beat this price. This is how I normally shop for myself. 
I'm busy and I'm not sleeping enough. Too many nights of waking up at 3 or 4 am and not being able to fall asleep again. Looks like everyone's doing holiday shopping early, because business has picked up again. I'm thankful, but I'm also stressed. I can do the work, but I hate those people who wait until the last minute to purchase things, then expect me to get it to them on time. It's always my child/spouse/myself need this for birthday, halloween, christmas, school play, easter (pick any event) by such a date. This is at least 3-4 days before they need the item. They don't want to pay for Priority mail, but expect me to deliver on time. Yep, I now supposedly work for USPS too. I always go the extra mile for my customers, but I don't like the pressure this time of year (and it's not even November yet).  This is why I do all my holiday shopping (groceries & gifts) early. It's just one less thing for me to worry about. 

I was never this stressed at the office though. I could work 14-16 hour days, without breaking a sweat or being stressed. I wear many hats here though and am always pulled in different directions. I just have to learn to say No to some people & things. 

I'm thankful that things have picked up though. I read an article about a month ago about how we're already in a recession again. The last recession was very hard on my business. It took me years to try and recover from it. I'm hoping that things have picked up for all of you who sell online too. 

I've also been dealing with some personal things, so that's been weighing on me too. This is why I'm so interested in doing some fun holiday things. I need a break from all the negative things. 

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend! I can't believe it's time to do monthly numbers again. 

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Let's talk Christmas!

I'm curious to know how everyone else celebrate Christmas, especially the gifting part. My Christmas here is so vastly different from what I've had in South Africa.

Christmas has always been my absolute favorite holiday. Why? Because it's a time of giving and I'm a big giver. I love to spoil others and put smiles on their faces. It brings me great joy to see how happy someone is with something that I gifted them. I don't care about receiving gifts. I'm far more interested in giving to others. That's what makes me happy. I put a lot of thought and planning into gifts (not just Christmas ones). I like to give gifts that I know the recipient would like or something that they really wanted. I don't have to break the bank to do so. Most of you know about my shopping skills by now. 

Christmas in SA

I come from a large family. My mom had 9 siblings and each sibling had at least 4-5 kids. We spent most of our time with my mom's family. I always used to joke about how much her siblings love each other's company. Then again, my siblings feel the same way. Our family's extremely close. We do most things together. Aunts, uncles, cousins, you name it. We had many traditions that got passed down from one generation to another. We also created many of our own traditions. Our extended family spent ALL holidays together. Doesn't matter if we liked each other at the time or not. We all knew the importance of quality family time.

Christmas in our household was pretty much the same every year. We'd start cooking at least 2 days before Christmas. We had all kinds of meat like roast beef, corned beef, cow tongue (I eat it, but I'm not crazy about it. It's not strange to me, because I grew up eating it), fried chicken and oodles of different salads. Dessert was always trifle and fridge tart (icebox cake). We're in the southern hemisphere, so Christmas is during summer. We'd have long tresle or picnic tables in the backyard to accommodate everyone. 

On Christmas Eve my parents would go to midnight mass. I'd be up until late finishing all the deserts and we'd have Christmas music blaring on the radio. You just didn't do the festive season without Christmas carols. Christmas morning we'd get up bright & early, shower and get dressed in our new Christmas clothes and head to the early church service (our parish had 2 services). We knew that if we went to the first service, we'd be home earlier to open gifts...lol. Then everyone would come to my parents house (straight from church) to open gifts (once we had kids, they opened their own gifts at home then come open their other gifts at my parents' house). 

As kids, we only got one gift. It was always a big ticket gift and everyone was happy. We didn't have Christmas stockings. We never knew about it, until I moved here. Once we had kids, I always bought each child 2 gifts. That's just me. I go all out for Christmas, especially for my family. I bought gifts for some of my colleagues who were close friends and for my BFFs. I always got the best gifts for my parents. We are big sports fans and I'd jump through hoops to get my dad original sports jerseys. I once had a customer in the UK who worked at a football (soccer) club. We became friends and I got her to buy my dad an original Man Utd football jersey and had her ship it to me, then I shipped it to him. I spared no expense, because a gift from the heart (one given with love) is always appreciated. Besides, it made my dad happy. You can't put a price on happiness.

I also support different Christmas charities. No child should be without Christmas gifts. That's how I feel. When I do Secret Santa, I make sure to buy kids name brands or high end items that they might not have gotten otherwise. I always choose the teens, because everyone else is just interested in shopping for the little ones. Teens are often forgotten and they're usually the ones who have to try to fit in with their peers. So I make sure to buy them really nice things (I'm the shopping queen after all..lol), because we all know how teens like to compete and some people can be cruel to those who aren't as well off as they are. So I try to help those teens 'fit' in, in my own small way. I also buy many extras that's not on their wish list, just because. It's Christmas after all.  My own child gets so much, so why not do the same for those in need? Make them feel loved and special too. This is one way of showing God's love to others. 

Lunch was at noon (that was our set time for Sunday lunches too. We do lunch instead of dinner in SA). After lunch we'd all go to one of my mom's siblings' home for the rest of Christmas day. It was either our house or an aunt/uncle's house (we'd rotate every year). The whole family would get together. The men would bring the liquor and we'd all hang out until the wee hours of the morning (2-3 am). Now you know why we cook so much food. Everyone needs to be fed while we hang out.  I remember my one uncle always showing up at family events with a tote bag. I eventually learned that he was carrying his booze in the bag...lol Bottles of hard liquor. My family was always game for a party. They still are :)

My aunt's birthday is on Boxing day (day after Christmas for those who don't understand). So we'd all get up early (hangover and all) and head to my uncle/aunt's house for another day or celebrations. This is how my family rolled all festive season long. Everyone would go on vacation together, because everyone was off work for at least 4 weeks (summer break). Businesses closed. Some professional businesses had skeleton staff. At my last job I always chose to work during the holidays. There were so many public (federal) holidays during the break, that I was off more days than I had to be at the office. Also, the day before any holidays, we'd only work half day. I took my leave at other times of the year. We also had many beach days, because we lived right by the ocean. You can get in your car and be at the nearest beach in 10 minutes. We had 2 oceans, so there were lots of beaches to choose from. Fancy restaurants always lined the beach roads, so you could go have your fun in the sun, then hit a restaurant for food and sundowners (early evening drinks). 

My Christmas here is the complete opposite. DH is an only child and we only see his very small family at funerals. So we celebrate all holidays on our own. I can't blame him for his family, but boy do I get mad at him about us having to open Christmas gifts after dinner. Who does that anyway? Sacrilege! It used to be that we had to wait until MIL came over for dinner to open gifts. I still don't understand that part, because she always brought tons of gifts for us and we had gifts for her, so why couldn't we just open our own gifts in the morning & do her gifts when she gets here? Then MIL passed away and we still have to open gifts after dinner. Ugh!! So DS just gets to do his stocking in the morning. I told DH that we're the last people on earth to open gifts, because even the people in Hawaii have already opened theirs. Come on! Christmas day is almost over by then! Where's the fun & excitement for DS? After opening gifts, we take a drive to go look at Christmas displays and then have an early night. We're just a load of fun (snark)...lol

I didn't know about Christmas stockings. I've never had one. I still don't have one. DS went without a stocking the first Christmas. I think it was MIL who asked me about DS's stocking, so I went to the Disney store and bought him a Mickey Mouse stocking. He still uses that stocking. I have to say that the quality is excellent, because it still looks great. I wash that stocking after use every year and it still looks almost new. 

DS has never really cared for the stocking contents. Probably because I don't really know what goes in a stocking. So I've started adding just one big gift to the stocking for him. He loves this. I also saw how overwhelmed he was by the amount of gifts on our first Christmas here. DH's 2 aunts and 3 of his cousins all gave DS gifts. Then MIL came with a truckload (DS is the only grandchild) and add in our gifts. So I started switching things up for him. I saved most of our gifts (yep, 'm guilty of  buying him a lot too) and every night from Christmas until New Year, I'd place a new gift under the tree for him. And yes, I do allow him to open it the minute he gets up...lol. He loves it! It's like having Christmas for a whole week. I sure wouldn't mind celebrating Christmas for a week :)  No, it has nothing to do with Kwanzaa. In fact, I've never heard of Kwanzaa until I moved here. I still don't know what it is. I think it's a West African thing. I'm South African and none of the southern African countries know of Kwanzaa (as far as I know).

I don't even think DH owns a stocking. I've never seen one. We just give each other some gift cards and a few small things to put under the tree every year. I still cook and bake as if I'm feeding an army for Christmas. I can't unlearn it. We eat leftovers until we get tired of it, then freeze the rest. I do make our traditional desserts. I must have trifle and of course we must have Christmas crackers. DH doesn't really care for the crackers, but it's traditional for us. We wear our crepe hats from the crackers too. I'ts just fun.

I would've loved to have started our own traditions, but that sadly didn't happen. I'm big on holidays. I want it to be a fun, memorable event. I'd be fixing big Christmas breakfasts, make cocktails, play some games etc. It's a holiday after all. We ought to enjoy it. If it was up to me, I'd say let's book tickets to go have a month of fun in the sun with my family. I know that DS would love it, but DH wouldn't want to go. Heck, I'd be packing my our bags a whole month in advance...lol. 

This is why I always send my family gifts too (okay, I just like to spoil them...lol). I know that they're always excited and happy to receive gifts, especially the kids. They don't care if I bought their gifts at 90% off, because they know it's going to be a nice item(s). My oldest brother and his kids are just as much fashionistas as I am, so they like it when I send them new clothes. They'd be shocked to see me dressed down (sweats, jeans, tees) here, because I used to look like a million bucks just to go buy a loaf of bread at the store back home. Everything on me had to look perfect. They know I always send them cool things. I like to buy brands that they don't have there or cost a fortune there,  like Victorias Secret, Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren, WHBM etc. I remember one year I sent my nephews each a few Ralph Lauren t-shirts. They didn't know the brand at the time, but a year or 2 later, it debuted in SA. Guess who were the coolest dudes in their area...lol? Not to mention it was a lot more expensive than it is here. 

Every year I send my uncle (my mom's only sibling who's still alive) and aunt a bouquet of flowers and chocolates for Christmas. They love it. I don't think anyone else gives them gifts (besides their kids), so I make sure that they know we still love them, despite being thousands of miles away. My cousin in NY never sends the family anything. They're just cheap that way and the family hates it. My mom's family is very generous. We're always there to help each other. 

So my questions are:

  • How do you celebrate Christmas? 
  • Do you have family traditions? 
  • Do you & your spouse exchange gifts?
  • Do you have a Christmas stocking?
  • What do you fill your spouse and children's stockings with? 

I'd like to learn how others here celebrate Christmas - even those in other countries too. 

Friday, October 22, 2021

CVS Tripping

I've decided to get back to serious drugstore shopping again. My goal at the beginning of the year, was to save like it's nobody's business. Of course that plan got derailed due to pandemic & shortages. Sigh. However, I've decided that it's time to kick things back into high gear again. I'm shaking off the pandemic fatigue and getting back to what I do best - shopping & hustling. 

My plan isn't to just save. I want to make more money. I've decided to go back to my old drugstore couponing/shopping ways. Just because we don't need anything, doesn't mean I have to wait until my rewards expire to go shopping. No, I'm going back to shopping every week and selling as much of it as I can. I used to do this many years ago - before that stupid TLC came & ruined things with Extreme couponing. I hate that show!! I hate it, because it's complete BS. That's not how regular couponers shop. Most couponers are just trying to help their families save money - not clear the shelves and buy 100 bottles of Gatorade. That just doesn't happen in the real world.

Anyhoo, I used to buy lots of newspapers back then and hit the drugstores multiple times a week. I resold most of my purchases and our own personal needs were more than met. I know of a couponer who makes $4k profit per year, on her drugstore purchases. That's nothing to sneeze at for just doing something you're already doing. I'd like to make more than that, but I know that it will take way more work. Besides, CVS & RA have limits, so that won't work. There's always Target to add to the mix though. An extra $4k+, would be nice to add to savings. I'm not waiting until the beginning of the year to kick things things off. I'm starting right away. 

I had a 4/20 CRT that was expiring, so I decided to head to CVS. Oy vey, what a disaster. I really need to get my act together. Here's what I got:

2 x Loreal Elvive $8.00

2 x Dove shampoo 8.00

2 x Colgate t/p 7.98

2 x Playtex tampons B1G50% off 9.43

1 x Cotton balls 2.56

Less Loreal Q (3.00)

Less Loreal DQ (1.00)

Less Colgate DQ (2.00)

Less Colgate DQ (0.50)

Less Playtex DQ (3.00)

Less Beauty 360 cotton balls DQ (1.00)

Less EBs (18.00)

Tax : 1.69

OOP $5.39

Earned $10 EB ($5 Colgate, $2 Dove, $3 Loreal). Not sure if I earned enough for another Beauty EB. 

I knew that my total was too high. I especially added the cotton balls, so I could get my total high enough to use my $3 Beauty EB. I didn't want to use only part of the EB and forfeit the rest of it.

It turns out that my $3 Dove DQ didn't deduct. I know I had a Dove Q, because I added it before I went shopping. That thing disappeared into cyberspace. It's just poof, gone!

I also had a $4/2 Colgate DQ. I was beginning to wonder if I'm at WAGS, because CVS doesn't just deduct the smaller amounts first. I'm guessing the $4/2 didn't apply to the Colgate maxfresh (it's all they had of the participating Colgate sale items). 

I also messed up on the Playtex. It's spend $12 get $3 EB. Me : oh yeah, 2 boxes at $6.29 each is over $12. Right! The 2nd box is 50% off. Tell me how an accountant can't do basic math...lol Oh boy!

All in all, not a bad shopping trip, but I could've done much better. If I was a newbie, this would've been a great trip. However, I should know better. I received another $4/20 CRT.

Wags doesn't have an ad preview available yet, so I can't figure out what's good for next week. I'll wait until Sunday to see what new CVS DQs I receive, before making next week's shopping list. I still have $90 to spend at WAGS, so I might as well use it to make extra cash.

I'm not sure about going to RA. I don't have any rewards and their deals haven't been all that great this year. At least not to me. After shopping at CVS & WAGS, the RA deals kinda feels lackluster to me. 

Well, that's my new game plan. Wish me luck.

Tonight was taco night again. DS would eat tacos every day if it was up to him. This morning I cooked my own refried beans, before hitting the road for errands. I pulled some cooked fajita chicken from the freezer, added some toppings and dinner was yummy. This is why I love cooking a large batch of fajita chicken. I shred everything and fill quart size bags to freeze. They're so easy to grab when we want any kind of mexican dish. 

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Odds & ends

 It's been another crazy week. 

  • I only bought some produce at Meijer this week. Blueberries (my favorite berry) are on sale for 3/$5, so I bought 6 pints, oranges, bananas, apples and carrots. I was happy to see that Meijer still had apples for 59c/lb.
  • Well, the budget looked good until I went to Sams. All I needed was bread & yogurt (for both DS & myself. He prefers drinking yogurt and I like the plain greek). Sams was completely out of greek yogurt the last few times I've been there.  That was supposed to be a $25 trip. Next thing I know, I'm leaving the store with a pumpkin pie (as if I need sweets, cause I've gained 2 lbs again) and also picked up another box of Pringles for DS. I don't know what this Pringles shortage is at Sams. They never have enough stock. Since they had a few boxes this time, I decided to just get an extra one. Rather too much than too little.
  • Bought DH's last Christmas gift on my list at 50% off and paid with a gc.
  • Target had B2G1F book sale last week, so I ordered 6 books as my Christmas gift from DH. Only cost him $33. I always tell him I'm a cheap date, cause I always buy my gifts on sale/clearance. Turns out that one of my girlfriends took a page out of my book and now does the same for herself. She fills a box for herself with clearance items she wants and then just lets her DH wrap it for her at Christmas. I don't know if I'm a good or bad influence...lol Well, the good news is that we at least get exactly what we want so...lol
  • This same friend told me how she stocked up on lightbulbs when her local store had them BOGOF. I never thought about stockpiling lightbulbs, but that's not a bad idea. I'm gonna buy some extras soon.
  • I bought a new instant pot. Not just any instant pot. I got the Ninja Foodi 14 in 1 pot. I've needed a new pot for months, because my inner pot's coating has worn off and the lid no longer seals well, so steam always escapes whenever I use the pot. My old pot is a Power XL pressure cooker, which I love, but it's not cheap to buy their replacement inner pot.
A few months ago, I took a mypoints survey about a new Ninja instant pot that cooks, steams and air fries. This thing looked awesome and I decided to wait and see if it actually comes to market. Well, it finally did. I was excited until I saw the price - $350!!!! There's no way I'm paying that much for a pot. Kohls only had the 9 in 1, which wasn't good enough for me (I have high standards...lol). I wanted the deluxe model. On Sunday I received a 40% off Kohls mystery discount and they finally had the 14 in 1 pot. Say no more! They also had $10/50 home purchase. So I bought my pot at a discount and earned $50 KC and will get another $15 KC/Y2Y on November 1st. I also received 1% Rakuten (ugh, Kohls used to be 6% minimum) 

Pot sale price $329.99
Less 10/50 (10.00)
Less 40% off (128.00)
Total $191.99
Tax $11.52
OOP $203.51

Earned $50 KC (I also bought DS's Christmas gifts - see below) + $15 KC + $1.92 Rakuten
Total earned : $66.92

I used the KC to buy things to resell so I can make my money back for the pot. I might not earn back the entire amount, but I'm gonna try my best to offset most of the cost. Well, I went to Kohls yesterday and according to my calculations, I should be able to recoup the cost with my new purchases.

I'm excited to try this new pot. Even DS is excited. This thing is humongous though. Before I ordered it, I asked my friend about the pot size (I only know the metric system). It turns out that my old pot is 8 quarts too, but this thing is way bigger. It's so big, it looks like I'm cooking for my large family again (not that I would mind that, but there's just 3 of us). The size is great for freezer cooking though. I'm most excited about the dehydrating feature. I've wanted a dehydrator before, but DH convinced me otherwise. I wasn't crazy about our air fryer before (it didn't cook my chicken completely) and got rid of it shortly afterwards. I'm hoping the air fry feature works better on this pot. Now I can do all kinds of things with just one pot. I want to try making my own yogurt too. Fingers crossed. I might have to try the baking feature too. But first I need to read the manual...lol. I haven't even gotten around to that yet.
  • While I was shopping at Kohls, I decided to check out the price of a gift for DS I had purchased at regular price from another retailer before. Well, well, well. Not only could I apply my 40% off, but I still had $29.10 gc and ended up getting 2 pairs, instead of the one I paid full price for. So I'm returning the original one to the retailer for a full refund. 
2 x Gifts $114.98
Less 40% (45.99)
New cost $68.99
Sales tax $4.14
Less gc (29.10)
OOP $44.03

The one that I'm returning cost $52.99 (incl tax). So I got 2 for the price of one and saved an extra $8.96. 

  • We went to the Indian store to stock up on spices. I got all this for $29.43. I even got a 5% discount (don't know why) too. This might look like a lot of spices to some, but I grew up cooking with lots of fresh herbs & spices. I actually only cooked with pure Indian spices. My aunt had an Indian friend who owned  spice store. On her annual holiday trips, my aunt would stop at her friend's place in Durban and stock up on spices for the family. 

I love going to ethnic stores, because you get much purer herbs & spices and the prices are fantastic. I recently paid over $8 for Tones paprika at Sams. I should have waited, but I didn't know when DH would take me to the market (he knows exactly where the store is, since he discovered it). I also wasn't sure if they would have lots of inventory, because of supply chain issues. They were fully stocked though. 
  • I haven't done any other shopping, since we don't need anything. I need to make a Trader Joe's run, because I've been craving samosas again. I love that stuff! I also want some Ezekiel raisin bread and TJ's has the lowest price. 
  • I treated DS to some donuts at Dunkin Donuts. My card balance is up to $80 again and we rarely get coffee on the go. After seeing Sluggy's DD pic, I decided to just get us some donuts. I initially wanted some Krispy Kreme (I have KK gcs too) since they have BOGOF dozen donuts on Saturdays, but the lines went all the way around the building. I still have a lot on my Starbucks gc too, so I'm just gonna treat him to frappucino's too, which we both love. 
That's about it for me. I'm done shopping for the week. I don't even need anything at Sams, so I'll wait until I need meat again before making a trip. 

Friday, October 15, 2021

Ibotta double dip bonus & more

It's been months since I did any Ibotta deals. I needed to get milk & mayo at Walmart and figured I'd check Ibotta, since I don't have to worry about stockpiling anymore. I had a $10 WYB 15 and $5 WYB 15 midweek bonus. That would mean an extra $1 bonus cash per item. Made my list with extra items (in case store was OOS on some) and headed to the store. 

1 x Muellers pasta $1.52

1 x Ortega mini taco shells 2.48

1 x Sargento creamery cheese 2.70

1 x Sargento shreds 3.12

1 x Breakstone doubles 1.06

1 x Butterfinger 0.88

1 x Snickers 1.48

1 x Kraft mayo 3.48

1 x Kraft dressing 1.78

1 x Mushroom soup 0.57

1 x Gallon milk 3.07

1 x Just crack egg 2.98 Free after offer

1 x Kraft parmesan cheese 2.98

OOP $28.10 Paid with a gc

Earned $8.63 Ibotta

Ugh, the wifi never works well at Walmart and I couldn't find enough items to complete my bonus offer. Of course I couldn't check for alternatives, because I couldn't get a connection. So I stopped at RA on my way home, to add 2 more items (no easy task, cause I didn't want to spend much OOP)

1 x Stayfree pads 4.29

1 x Baby ruth 0.88

Tax 0.26

OOP $5.43

Earned $2.25 Ibotta ($2 Stayfree, $0.25 Baby Ruth) + $15 bonus

Total cost : $33.53

Total OOP : $5.43

Total earned : $25.88

Several items were MMs after bonus rewards, that helped offset the cost of the other higher priced items. Without the gc, my total cost for the items would be $7.65 after earning rewards. Not too bad, since the milk and mayo that I needed, almost costs as much. However, I only spend $5.43 OOP and I redeemed my earning for a $25 Walmart gc. I still had an old $7 balance on Ibotta from months ago. I might roll that new gc into new Ibotta deals or just use it to buy groceries. There's not much that we need so I'll hold onto it for now. 

In other news. I made Sams rich this month. I stocked up on meat. Boy was I shocked by the meat prices. It's almost as if we are living in a bad dream. I've had a hard time finding Pringles snack packs and plain greek yogurt at Sams. There were only 2 Pringles boxes available on my last trip to Sams, so I grabbed one. When I talked to my girlfriends about it afterwards, it dawned on me that I should've just bought both boxes. I left the other box in case someone else needs it too. Sometimes I'm just too nice for my own good :)

The juice aisle has been empty for some time. My friend said the Kroger juice aisles look the same (I haven't been to Kroger in a while). So I checked Costco for DS's juice, but unlike Sams, it doesn't tell you if your local stores have inventory or not. I planned on going to Costco this week, but then I figured that if Sams & Kroger don't have juice, chances are that Costco won't have either. So I decided to order the juice online (weird that Sams has it available online). Shipping for one case was $6 & $8 for 2 cases. So I decided to check the shipping cost if I added my decaf Dunkin. So I added one container and the shipping changed to $7...lol What on earth?! Crazy Sam's math. Then I added another DD and shipping was $8 for 2 juice & 2 coffee (scratching my head) I really should type blog posts on my laptop, so I can add emojis. I just went ahead and ordered the 4 items. Shipping was the same price as me just ordering the juice. This was a small price to pay for convenience and my items are arriving tomorrow. 

I also stopped at Ollie's last week. I wanted to get more nuts and cranberries. Just before I left, I received a notification for 15% off at Ollies. Whoo-hoo! Say no more. I now have more than enough nuts/raisins/cranberries for baking and trail mix. I also picked up 3 books, so I was very happy. I've been waiting for a long time for them to add books from my favorite authors. Then yesterday, Ollie's sent another 15% off q that's good through next month. Oy, that place will make me broke.

I also found my mint chocolate chips and caramel for holiday baking, so I'm all set. I'm ready to try new recipes. I've already made gingerbread muffins and the guys declared it a winner. I'm beginning to think that they'll rave about all the treats just so that I can bake for them every week. 

I'm reading the news every day and the supply chain issue complaints are now getting out of hand. I agree, the government totally dropped the ball on this one. The prices of everything have skyrocketed, it's crazy. However, we've had fair warning about shortages when the pandemic started a year ago. 

I'm seeing people talk about having to go shopping almost every day just to find the items they need. Now this is nuts to me. Even if you aren't a couponer or stockpiler, you should've learned from panic buying last year. That should've taught people to be a little more prepared in case we got any 2nd, 3rd of 4th waves. I'm not saying they should've gone crazy with stockpiling. Just add little bits of things you use regularly, every time you go shopping. That's what most of us have been doing.

I've seen new moms complaining about the cost of diapers and how they're in short supply. Huh? Diapers have always been expensive. Here's my story. I was a single parent. DH's father has (to this day) not contributed a single penny towards his well being. Not only was I a single parent with no child support, I also financially supported our family of 6 (including myself & DS). Back then, we didn't have any coupons or reward programs in South Africa. However, I stocked up on all kinds of things before DS was born. After he was born, I used to stock up on diapers every time the grocery store had a sale. My colleagues used to joke about it, but it helped save me money in the long run and DS's needs were more than met. I did all this on my own, with no financial assistance from anyone. 

When one of my close friends here told me she's pregnant, I stocked up on diapers for her. Her husband didn't always work, so I decided to help her out. Back then Rite Aid had a $1 Q inside their 2pk store brand diapers. I would go to RA all week long (sometimes hit up multiple RA stores in one day) to roll those qs & stock up on diapers. I also used rewards to buy her Pampers & Huggies (whichever was on sale). Before she gave birth, I dropped of 2 large black trash bags full of RA diapers and lots of bigger Huggies/Pampers packs at her house. We actually met through couponing and became great friends. She too, had been stocking up on diapers & other baby things before she gave birth. We were always a good shopping team. We'd help each other out on all kinds of deals & steals. 

When I was a child, my parents didn't have fancy jobs that made a lot of money (no thanks for apartheid). However, my mother always stockpiled. I guess I learned it from her. She'd pay all the bills first (she hated debt), then save little bits every week towards the long summer vacation in December/January. Our seasons are opposite to the US and most businesses close over the holiday season. Everyone's on summer vacation for 4-6 weeks. She would buy little bits of non-perishables every time there was a good sale. My mother also bought meat stamps from the local butcher every week and in November, she would go buy a whole or half sheep and/or beef, because we had lots of parties & bbqs over the holidays. We saw our large family almost every day of the holidays, so you had to have food available. Despite just being simple middle class, my parents always provided and make sure that we had more than enough.

So it blows my mind when people complain about not being prepared and then blaming everyone and their mother for it. Even the Bible teaches us to prepare for lean times.  I do understand that there's those who struggle to make ends meet. Trust me, my family has been in that boat before, but somehow my parents always made it work. 

Maybe I'm being too hard on people. Maybe, it's because I'm a planner and like to have all my ducks in a row. 

Now I want people to understand that I'm not here just judging everyone, because we're in a position to plan & stock up for the future. I do a heck of a lot of giving. I just don't talk about it. As mentioned before, I'm extremely private. But when I see a need, I'm always there to help. I would give someone the shirt off my back if I have to. That's just who I am. 

I just wish that we could all get through this mess and get back to a normal life. I want everyone to be healthy, have jobs, have food on their tables and roofs over their heads. If our basic needs are met & we have family who love us and who we love, then we are far more blessed than we can begin to imagine. 

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

My blog has moved

Hi everyone I have decided to move my blog. I tried to sign up for ads several years ago, only to to discover that the ex already owned an a...