Friday, January 29, 2021

January grocery budget update


It's not the end of the month yet, but we are done grocery shopping for the month. 

I knew that Sams was gonna make for an expensive week - it normally is. I would've stayed on budget, but I didn't count on finding Sams brand t/p. This is our preferred brand. Great price & great quality. $19 for 45 2ply rolls. We didn't need t/p, but I haven't seen Sam's t/p in months. 

I also ended up getting a few items that Sams didn't have in stock in December. The 2pk Vicks is the lowest price (I've been comparing prices at multiple stores). I can't live without my Vicks. So when I saw that Sams has it back in stock, I decided to just get a pack. I'm upset that Sams didn't have any Muenster cheese though :(  I also stocked up on meat and did freezer cooking. So here's our number for January


Sams : $131.54

Produce market : $32.62

Meijer : $33.51

Walmart : $81.51

Aldi : $33.24

Kroger : 19.10

CVS : $13.17

Rite Aid : $18.49

Total OOP for January : $363.18


Earned $4 Ibotta and $1 Kroger Cash Back


My Sams total is AFTER using $40 gcs. I really don't feel bad about Sams, because there were many things that I couldn't find before. 


The drugstores threw me off completely. Not happy about RA, but that's over and done with. 


Meijer has a Buy 5 save $5 instantly sale this week & I was down to my last bottle of Kraft Salad dressing. The dressing is 89c after sale discount, so I bought a few. I also wanted to try the Old El Paso sauce (on sale for 99c). Boy, I'm already in love with the Salsa Verde. It has a nice kick to it, but not really hot (we love the heat). I haven't tried the queso yet. Then I saw that OEP jalapenos were also part of the sale for $1.49 and picked up 3 jars. Then 24pk soda. When I got to checkout, I realised that I forgot to check my Meijer coupon booklet before going shopping. Guess who has a $1 Soda and 50% off bananas q they didn't get to use. I also bought 2 wax paper that I keep forgetting to buy, but really need. I cashed in 2 trash bags of pop cans, so my Meijer total came to $15.51. I can't complain, because I got 18 items for $15.51. 


Now silly me only took 2 of the 3 bags of pop cans, because I was only planning on getting the dressing and OEP sauce. I didn't know if the bottle slip would give change at self checkout. Oh well. It was not a bad trip and I still have pop cans for the next time I go shopping. 


The good news is that we really don't need much next month. We still have enough meat in the freezer, but I want to get some tenders if Sams has it again. We love that BBW tenders so much, that the package (3lbs) I cooked this month is almost gone. It filled a large cookie sheet. Next time I'll just get double the amount (costs around $20), because it's so easy to freeze once cooked. I love that we can eat it so many different ways - wrap, with salad, with veggies or as a sandwich (we like it on ciabatta). 


A trip to the produce market is also on the list. Besides that, we only need diary. I have to admit that I'm enjoying just 'shopping' from my pantry when it's time to cook. Today I made veggie pizza and just pulled everything from the pantry and baked. Easy peasy. Also no junk food were needed, which is an even bigger win. 


Also, I've already purchased the items I need for next week's dinners, so I'll just go get eggs, cheese & milk at Walmart next week and do the produce run while I'm out. 


Next month will hopefully be a low spend grocery month. I'm not too upset about January's number, because we used to spend $480-500 per month on groceries. I'm just gonna chalk this up as a win, because it's down by at least $116.82. 

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Drugstore shopping Week 01/17/21

 I had $26 BC that I knew was expiring soon, so I made a shopping list for a quick trip to RA. This was supposed to be a Get in, get out, go home kinda trip, but alas, it turned into a cluster....


2 x Tide detergent $9.88

2 x Tide pods 9.88

2 x Secret deodorant 10.98

2 x Nivea men scrub 11.68 (10% silver discount)

2 x Nivea shave gel 8.98 (10% silver discount)

Less Tide DQ (2.00)

Less Tide pods DQ (2.00)

Less Secret DQ (5.99) I love how it deducted the full $5.99

Less BC (26.00)

Tax 3.08

OOP $18.49

Earned $34 BC + $6.10 Ibotta (Nivea)

The first time around the cashier scanned everything, I handed her 2 Tide paper Qs , which she scanned. Except, the register deducted the BC before Qs and then my $15 WYS $50 Q wouldn't apply.  I've noticed at different RA stores that the same thing happens. It seems like the new cashiers aren't getting proper training.

Manager comes over & explains to her what needs to be done. So she rerings everything and that's when my total came to $18.49. Now I do the math when I make my shopping list, so I knew that this was higher than it's supposed to be. When I got home and studied my receipt, I noticed that she never scanned my 2 paper Qs the 2nd time around. Grrrr. No way was I gonna make a special trip to the store for $4. My time is far more valuable than that. 



CVS - always my happy place


1 x Loreal age perfect moisturiser $19.49

2 x Loreal Revitalift moisturiser 19.99

Less Loreal AP DQ (6.00)

Less Loreal Revitalift DQ (6.00)

Less 5/30 Skincare DQ (5.00)

Less $10 Bonus card (10.00)

Less $3 EB (3.00)

Tax 1.17

OOP $10.65


Earned a new $10 Bonus Card and will get another $3 Beauty Bucks.

I knew that the total was gonna be high, but I'm happy with it. CVS must've read my blog (lol) because they finally sent me a Revitalift DQ and I wasn't going to let it go to waste. I always clip my DQs late in the week, so that I can double dip with 2 weeks' worth of Qs. I'm very happy with my $5.xx Revitalift, cause there's no way I'm paying $20 for it. 


Total drugstore OOP : $29.14

Rewards used : $39.00

Rewards earned : $47.00

Cash back earned : $6.10 (Ibotta)

Coupons used : $21.00

Retail value : $107.38


I haven't been to WAGS in a month, but nothing has been tickling my fancy there. 

Friday, January 22, 2021

Cooking with turmeric

I keep reading posts about people taking supplements for certain spices (I'm not against it nor is there anything wrong with it, so I hope I'm not offending anyone).  I grew up in South Africa and we eat lots of different kinds of foods. The most common type of cooking we do, is Cape Malay cooking. No, I'm not muslim, but our food have a strong middle eastern, south east asian influence and this is traditional food for Colored (people of mixed race are called Colored [not the same as black] and is actually a separate race) Capetonians. We cook with lots of fresh herbs & spices, so I thought I'd share my favorite turmeric recipe in case anyone is interested in replacing their supplements with a meal or side dish or use it as an alternative for when you run out of supplements.


Yellow rice

1 Cup rice (white, whole grain or basmati)

2.5 cups water

Raisins (alternative)

1/4 Tsp ground or stick cinnamon (alternative)

Add everything to pot or rice cooker and cook as you normally would cook you rice.


This is a rice dish that can be eaten with different types of meat & seafood. We eat rice with most meals. Another favorite we like to eat it with, is Bobotie (which also contains turmeric). 

I don't measure, because I've been cooking since I was about 12 and just eyeball it. I figure these measurements will help those who aren't familiar with this dish. You can adjust measurements to suit your needs/taste.

This is how we traditionally cook & eat it. People have started making different variations of this rice dish, by adding garlic & peppers or curry powder to it. I stick to the raisin one, because we also have a rice dish called Savory Rice that we add garlic, peppers & mixed veggies to (no turmeric, because a different seasoning is used. Spice for Rice. Yes we actually have a spice especially for rice..lol) However, you can add turmeric to the Savory Rice dish too.

Also, if you like Indian food, try cooking Indian curry or biryani. They both contain turmeric. Turmeric not only adds flavor, but it also adds the yellow color to a dish.

A funny story. The first time I made curry (this was the time before the internet and we didn't keep recipe books. Recipes were just passed down from one generation to the next), I asked my neighbor which spices I needed to use. She gave me a list and I went home to cook the curry before my parents got home from work. Well my food just didn't seem to get that yellow color, so I kept adding curry powder. I never tasted the food though. So when it was time to eat, the curry was so strong that nobody could eat. Needless to say, my mother was NOT happy with me, because she had to make a meal from scratch again. Oh boy. I know better now. Add turmeric for color...lol

I just realised I gave you all a recipe & history lesson all in one...lol The racial term used above is in no way meant as a derogatory term (it's not considered derogatory in South Africa). I'm just trying to explain about my heritage.

Friday, January 15, 2021

How I stockpile clothing for $0 OOP

For years I've filled our closets with clothes, shoes & accessories for $0 OOP. We don't even have a clothing budget, because we don't need it. I'm not gonna lie, it does take some work but it pays off in the end. I'm a fashionista. For those who haven't read my old blog, I grew up with parents who worked in the clothing industry. Also, if you go to Cape Town, you'll notice that most people are very well dressed. It's just the way we are. No shame in my game. The only difference between me and others who love clothes, is that I absolutely refuse to pay the ridiculous marked up prices for it. I know better (only because my dad taught me the ins and outs of the fashion industry). I love many name brand items and have my own personal style.  So how do I do this?

Firstly, I use a few point earning sites like Swagbucks, Mypoints, Instagc etc (this does not include grocery earning sites. Those rewards are strictly for groceries). When I have enough points, I redeem for a clothing gc. Then I wait for it, wait for it, wait for it. A darn good sale. I'm not talking 50/60% off. I'm talking 80%+. Heck if you give me 90% off, I'm ultra happy. But wait, there's more. I combine the deep clearance sales with store coupons. Kohls is my favorite store for stacking coupons, because they'll allow you to stack up to 4 different coupons, as long as you reach the various thresholds for it. 

The other way is that I sell all our old or unused clothes, shoes, accessories. I go through our closets on a regular basis (for the most part) and pull whatever we no longer use or care for. I then use that money to pay at the stores I don't have gcs for. Since I buy our clothes (I'm just gonna call everything clothes, but it includes shoes & accessories too) at really deep discounts, I ALWAYS make a profit on our old/used stuff. So still Zero money out of our budget. We just turn the old into new. Easy peasy. In most cases the profit earned covers all our clothing and most Christmas shopping for the year. I'm signed up for many stores, because how else am I gonna know when the good deals are happening...lol

The last way is I use any Birthday and other occasion money to purchase reduced or bonus gcs. Then use the gcs to splurge. My guys know that I prefer cash. I get really upset when they pay full price for things (the horror) or don't purchase reduced or bonus gcs. I don't know if this is good or bad, but I know DH doesn't mind, because it takes the stress out of finding me the perfect gift.  

My Birthday is just before Thanksgiving. Yay me, cause it's just in time for BF deals. Last year I scored almost $700 worth of FREE clothes & food with Birthday rewards. These weren't huge rewards I received. If you know me, then you'll know that I can squeeze a $100 item out of a $5-10 reward. I just make sure to wait for free shipping days. 

Of course I received cash for my Birthday :) So I used that cash to buy Bonus gcs at one of my favorite stores (I'm not gonna mention store because several items are gifts for my family & they read this blog). DH also got me a gc from the same store for Christmas. The gc came with a $20 bonus WYB $100 gc. I didn't know the man was gonna be extra generous last year. Between Christmas & my Birthday, I ended up with $600 gcs + $120 Bonus gcs. Whoo hoo $120 free money. That's like giving me a free $1200!

Then I shopped the Sale which started off poorly, but then turned into the best sale ever!! I've haven't seen such low prices in years. 

So I got 37 items

Used $321.82 gcs + $120 bonus gc. That's $441.82 (incl tax). 

Earned $7.64 from Rakuten. 

Retail value $3025.50

Now some of you might think that I've lost my damn mind or that it's excessive. I beg to differ. I don't have to buy myself anything for the rest of the year again. I always tell people that there's method to my madness. I can assure you that my gut instincts always pay off. 

Some of the items will be used as gifts. I love getting high end gifts for a song (saving my $$$). Even better, because I paid for it with gcs.

The rest of the items go into my spare closet. When it's safe to travel again, I can just pull new clothes from my closet for vacation. In 2019 we decided on a vacation at the last minute and I had to dash for new sandals & swimsuit. Thankfully I found a decent sale on the sandals, but the swimsuit was pricey. Never again. I'd rather buy the items at deep discounts and pull them when I need it. I'm all set for any & every occassion.

The other thing is that most things are scarce due to the pandemic. Burlington (a favorite of mine) has NO clearance racks (it's been like this for months). This is unheard of. Kohls cancelled many BF orders, because they didn't have the inventory to fulfill those orders. I'm one of those people who had several items cancelled. As in they cancelled over 10 items of mine. Thankfully they had us keep the KC and Y2Y rewards earned on the cancelled items. When I went to redeem those rewards, I was shocked by the high clearance prices. I always have BF rewards and know that the clearance prices are normally really good. Not this time. Due to low supply & high demand, stores can charge whatever prices they want to. 

This is why I shop the way I do. I scored tons of items at rock bottom price. I spent $0 OOP for over $3k worth of goods. I don't have to worry about stores overcharging us when we need something. The best part is that I can sell any of my items for double or triple what I paid (or I should say the sale price since I paid with a gc) when I'm done wearing it. 

Now I will sell our old clothes and have extra money to put into savings (I've already exceeded the number of items I need to list for the month). Yes, it takes work, but I'm happy to do it. I know that I've saved our family thousands of $$$ over the years, by shopping this way.

I'm also thankful that I purchased us each 2 new clearanced coats at the beginning of last year. DS's coats were $20/22 each (paid with gc) and mine was $12 each. Coats are currently hard to find and if you do find it, you're going to pay some ridiculous marked up price for it. I never ever pay triple digits for winter coats. 

I was looking for sheets for when Kohls sends their mystery discount again. I only buy cotton and we need new ones (it's been years since I bought sheets). When I checked for the brand that I normally buy, they only had Twin & Full sizes. Only about 2-3 to choose from. This is unheard of. The mutant strain is making things even worse. Every single day I hear of friends & family in South Africa dying of it. So I know that the rest of the world is going to suffer through that too. Which means retailers will have to do with limited inventory for at least another year or more. Not us. If we need anything, we'll just go pull something new from our spare closet. 

So that's how I clothe ourselves for FREE. I still have $278.18 gcs left. I don't need a single thing. I might splurge if I see something good, but I'm not looking to buy anything else. Gcs don't expire, so I'll save it for something good.

I also have $100 Kohls gcs that I've earned since BF, but I'm gonna use those on a few household items we need. 

Silly Eddie Bauer keeps sending me $10 rewards. Now I can score free items that way, but they expect me to pay $7.99 shipping for a free item. No thanks!! It's a hard pass for me. 

Columbia (I haven't shopped there in years) also send me a $10 reward. However, you can't purchase a $9.99 item with it. The item has to be $10 or more (as if stores mark their prices with round numbers. ugh). So I once again declined. I'm not looking to spend any of my own money on things that's not a need.

Monday, January 11, 2021

First CVS trip of 2021


Oh boy! I almost lost $15 EBs. On Saturday morning I discovered that my $15 EBs were expiring that same day. My plan was to go shopping this week (until I discovered expiration date), but I couldn't just throw away my money like that. I had already added my $3 Beauty EB to my card on the 1st to ensure I don't lose it before it expires.


1 x Loreal moisturiser $19.49

1 x Loreal toner 10.99

2 x Loreal Elvive shampoo 8.00

1 x All detergent 2.99

Loreal skincare Q (2.00)

Loreal Age perfect DQ (6.00)

Loreal skincare DQ (2.00)

5/30 Skincare DQ (5.00)

Loreal shampoo Q (3.00)

Loreal CRT (3.00)

All Q (1.00)

Less EBs (18.00)

Tax 1.05

OOP $2.52


Earned $10 Cash card + $3 Beauty

The skincare items were part of the spend $30 get $10 cash card deal. The rest were just fillers to use up EBs. I was happy to get more moisturizer, because I'm running low. 


Retail value $47.75

Total Qs used $22.00

Rewards used $18.00

Rewards earned $13.00


Friday, January 8, 2021

Week 1 Grocery update

I broke the budget....well sorta, kinda. I don't think I did too badly, because I only spent about $12 total for the past 2 weeks. The last time I did a big shop, was the week before Christmas. 

I was doing so well with coming in under $75 for the week.... and then I went to Aldi. Well, my game plan isn't just to only spend $75 every week. I want to average $75 per week. Some weeks have great sales & some weeks you only need 2 or 3 items. For years I've just checked my year end total then divide it by 52 weeks to see how much I averaged per week. 

I stopped at 4 stores this week (no drugstores, since I didn't need anything).

Walmart $45.65

Kroger $19.10

Meijer $12.00

Aldi $15.59

Total OOP this week $92.34

Earned $3 Ibotta & $1 Kroger Cash


$12 at Meijer was for 4 newspapers. Is it just me or are the first Sunday of the year's coupons kinda blah lately? I used to buy 10-20 papers for many years, because we got at least 6 inserts and most stores had great sales to combine with those coupons. I miss those days. 


Kroger was an impulse Mega Event sale and it came back to bite me in the behind. I wanted the Veggie chips (straws)  since it was supposed to be $0.99 each and there was a 50c DQ. Well I only found one bag (and it's a good thing too) which ended up costing me $2.49...grrrr. I know I got the right one, because it looks just like the pics I saw online. There were no price tags on the shelf, so I didn't know this beforehand. It also didn't deduct $1 ME discount from 1 toothbrush (I got 2 identical toothbrushes). Plus Kroger prices are displayed in a weird way when you scan items. It shows the original price, then whatever discount with your card. Only when you're ready to pay does it deduct ME discount. Confusing much. 

$5 was a splurge for DH. I can only find his favorite popcorn at a few stores, so when I do see it, I buy it. 


We only needed bread & onions at Aldi, but then I saw blueberries on sale and got 2. I'm a berry girl. I love all kinds of berries, but blueberries tops the list for me. Then as I was waiting in line at checkout, I saw a huge display of the veggie chips I like (not the veggie straws type {I only buy that because DS likes it}, these are the ones that lists just veggies, seasoning & maybe oil only as ingredients). Aldi hasn't had this chips in about 3-4 months, so I ran and got 2. They're $2.79 each, but I really don't care about price at this stage. I'm thinking of just going back and stocking up on this chips before they run out again. 


Next week is gonna be pricey too, because I need to go to Sams. We still have meat in the freezer, but I'm just gonna pick up more chicken and do freezer cooking. There are several items that were OOS the last time I was at Sams, so I'm planning to pick it up next week. The good news is that I still $40 Walmart gcs to use, so that will help with the budget. Sams wouldn't allow me to use the gcs last month, because I had purchased alcohol. I can understand that they don't want you to use gcs on alcohol (which actually doesn't make sense to me, because a gc is as good as cash), but my total was over $200 and I only had one case of beer in the entire order. I also need to go to the produce market, so I'll just do that next week too. Then I can cherry pick the rest of the month. 

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Some frugal things we've done since pandemic started

 We do practice frugality on a regular basis, but the pandemic really made us take a 2nd look at how else we can save on things.


* I've started cutting disinfecting wipes in half

We already had a decent wipes stockpile and I'm one of those blessed to have found the multipack wipes twice at Sams (I see Sams now only sell singe tubs and the limit is 1), but I saw that a single wipe is big and not always needed. So I started tearing & cutting wipes in half. I carry a small tub in my purse, because not all stores have cart wipes. 


* Stretching laundry pods

I hate pods, because they are such a rip off. You pay the same price for a 14-16 ct pods pack as you do for a 40 oz bottle of liquid. The difference is in the quantity. You only get 14-16 washes out of the pods, compared to 2-3 times more from the liquid.


I have several pods packs in my stockpile that was free or near free when I did Spend $X.xx on drugstore deals. The first time I used a pod in the wash, my sinuses were overwhelmed. I couldn't stand the strong smell. So DS and I started cutting open the pods and pouring the contents into an empty detergent bottle. We then diluted the liquid with water to help with the strong scent. Then we saved all the empty pod packs to use too, since they're not completely empty and dissolve in water. I just add 2-3 'empty' pods to a load of wash & voila - no detergent wasted. I noticed that one pack of pods didn't even fill a quarter detergent bottle.


* I started cooking 2 dinner per week only. We rotated those meals until they're done, so less food waste. On Fridays I'll make pizza or mexican or we'll get carry out. 


* I was gonna donate my old coats since the zippers were damaged, but decided to just wear mine when we're outside the house. DS also still wears his old coats, so the new coats are still tucked away.


* I was gonna donate our flat sheets too, but read about how you can turn them into pillowcases. So that's a project for when I have spare time. I got a new sewing machine at half price in October/November, so I'm gonna put it to good use. 


* We have an abudance of shampoo, so I looked for alternative uses online. I used to clean our bathrooms with shampoo years ago & it works great on shower doors. I'm going back to doing that. I'll still use my bleach mix twice a week, to ensure that all germs are killed.  I've also filled our foaming hand soap dispenser with shampoo. If shampoo's gentle enough for your head, then it must be gentle enough for your hands too :)


Has anyone else made more frugal changes since the pandemic started?  

Saturday, January 2, 2021

My 2021 Goals

Happy New Year everyone. I pray that 2021 will be a much better year for everyone.


My year ended & started with death. We had 4 close friends & extended family deaths in under 3 weeks. Then first thing yesterday, my BFF of 35 years texted me to say she has Covid. Her whole family now has Covid. Her mom died of it on December 30th. I was so shocked by her mom's death, I was numb the entire day. We've been a big part of each other's families and have been through so much together. I'm praying & checking up on them daily. 


I'm calling 2021 The Year to Save

Many of my goals fell flat last year, but I'm looking forward to starting this year on the right foot.


* Reduce our grocery budget


Our weekly grocery budget was $120 (this includes food, HBA & cleaning products). After building up a nice stockpile, I realised that we no longer needed to spend as much on groceries. I'm lowering the budget to $75 p/w. I know this is doable. During Christmas week I only spent $5.95 at Aldi for onions, spinach and bread. The week after, I spent about the same amount on bread, onions & bananas. So I know that we can definitely do the $75. If we can spend less, even better. After all, the less we spend the more we can save. This will save us $2340 for the year


* Earn at least $1000 in gift cards


Earnings didn't do too well last year. Due to the pandemic, point earning sites had less sponsors which resulted in lower earnings. In a good year, I can earn at least $1200 minimum, so hoping that I can earn some decent rewards this year.


All Mypoints gcs will be for Kohls (well it's one of the least expensive gcs on their site. I don't know why their gcs don't all cost the same amount of points like Swagbucks. They are the same company after all)


$500 Kohls gcs will go towards BF sale. I might not need as much, since I hardly bought much during last year's BF sale. 


The rest of my gcs will be redeemed for Walmart & Target. The Walmart ones will be used for Sams grocery shopping. I will use the gc then take the same amount out of the grocery budget and save it for Christmas. 


All Ibotta gcs will be used for Sams grocery shopping, so I will just order Walmart ones.  I can use the Walmart gc at both stores.  

 

Save all Rakuten checks towards Christmas shopping. 


* $0 Clothes & shoes budget


This is something I've done for years. I've always used earned gcs and income from selling our old clothes, to pay for new clothes/shoes/accessories.


We have absolutely no need for new things, other than undies for DH (he wears a certain pricey brand only) and a few new tshirts. I didn't buy any new tees for him last year, so he's due for some new ones.


The only thing I need is new sports bras. I don't need anything else (maybe some athletic shoes since I didn't get any at the Kohls BF sale). I will write more about our clothing stockpile in another post.


My goal is to pull at least 5 items from my closet & 2 from DS's to sell every single month. We have way too much, so why not turn it into cash? I don't have any plans for the money yet (we have gcs to use if a need arises), so it will probably just go towards savings. 

 

* Continue saving change and small bills


I didn't save much last year, since I used my CC most of the time. When stores started accepting cash again, I was using lots of my coins and small bills to help with the coin shortage. I've also used much of my smaller bills for Marketplace purchases.  So I've just rolled last years savings into this year. There really wasn't much 


$20 - $5 bills

$38 - $1 bills

A considerable amount of coins though, but not enough for me to want to cash in at Coinstar. I'm gonna have to wear gloves when i do decide to cash out. 


* Save $10 per week for Secret Santa


2 Years ago, I joined my friend with doing the Secret Santa adoption. Her friend runs this program with churches in their county. Last year I decided to adopt an extra child, because I knew that there was a bigger need due to the pandemic. My friend then told me that many kids (escpecially older ones) don't get adopted. So I've decided to look for deep clearance items year round that they can use for fillers for those kids who don't get adopted. Those who read my previous blog, know that I can score new name brand clothing for next to nothing. My focus is gonna be on bigger kids. I also want to try and score inexpensive coats for them, because it gets really cold here. I already have 2 makeup gift sets that I picked up at RA a few weeks ago. The cost was $1.74 each after rewards, but I used points to pay for it so it was free. 

 


* Try to curb food waste


I've done quite a bit of freezer cooking during December. Not only are we eating less junk (saving money), but it helps us use up ingredients that would otherwise just go to waste. So far we're doing pretty well. We've done a great job of eating down the freezer.


* Continue couponing hard

I actually did pretty well with this last year. I hit all 3 drugstores and saved a bundle. I sold quite a few of those items that helped us recoup some of the OOP. 


I really need to focus on tracking how much I've saved with coupons and also my drugstore OOP. Sometimes I spend so little that it's not worth writing down, but I'm determined to see just how much it's helping us this year. 

 

* Try to do better with growing produce


Y'all know the tale of how us Michiganders couldn't purchase any seeds or gardening supplies during lockdown. Well, this resulted in late harvests and poor crops. I still have some leftover seeds, so I'm gonna plant real early this year. We love eating our own produce. 


* Work more


Ugh, this is a toughie, because I actually need a vacation.While everyone was decluttering and cleaning house during lockdown, I was working hard. Not complaining, because it was really nice to earn so well during that time. It was kinda weird seeing some empty storage shelves in my office, but that just meant more money in my pocket. However, working more equals earning more. And since I'm in saving mode, that means if I earn more, I can save more. I do still need that vacation though, but I'm gonna try to put in a certain amount of hours per day. 


* Max my IRA by April


This depends on stimulus checks. Right now unemployment rates are still high. Even though I had a decent 4th quarter, it wasn't nearly as good as other years. So if people get bigger stimulus checks or we can get that vaccine administered faster & open up the country again, then I can earn more. I might not be able to max it by April, but I sure am gonna try my best. 


* Take a vacation. 


This depends on the pandemic. If it's safe to go on vacation sometime this year, I'd like to do that. I told DH that if I can just get to lay on the beach all day long and do nothing,  I'll be the happiest woman on earth. I need a break. 2020 was crazy busy for me. I was so overwhelmed and stressed most of the time,  that I wasn't sleeping well. I'd go to bed late and be up by 5 am (without an alarm clock) . I decided to take Boxing Day off. I slept late and just spent a lazy day at home. That's exactly what I needed, because I felt much better the next day. I didn't even bother to buy any after Christmas clearance, because we needed nothing. 


That's about it for me.  



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...