Sunday, August 1, 2021

July month end check in

July is probably the month that went by the fastest this year. I can't believe it's August again. This has been a crazy, stressful month. The entire week felt like Blue Monday last week. Everything that could go wrong, went wrong. On top of that, I lost so many friends & family in South Africa to Covid last month. With the time difference, I get bad news first thing in the morning, so I'm back to dreading looking at my phone when I first get up. This morning I received a message from my brother that a friend from our baseball/softball club (my siblings & I played different sports year round when we were young) passed away. My family & friends are still in lockdown. Thankfully, my family have gotten their first vaccine shots. I'm more than ready for this pandemic to be over. I'm over losing so many people and I'd like for our lives to get back to normal. 

Last month was also very expensive. I knew that I'd break the grocery budget, but I didn't expect to break it by so much. I didn't plan on clothes shopping though, but more on that below. 


Produce market : $125.84

Aldi : $30.89

CVS : $7.82

Kroger : $46.70

Meijer : $6.07

Sams :$225.44

Trader Joe's : 23.02

Walmart : $163.33

Walgreens : $134.11

Total OOP : $763.00


Ibotta : $20.43

Kroger Cash Back : $5.00

Total earnings : $25.43

Total cost after earnings : $737.57

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

You can see how WAGS and the produce market are making me broke. I've been to Sams & the produce market 3 times last month. I did smaller purchases at Sams that's why the total's not too high (also stockpiled a few things at Sams). We've been eating so much produce, that we kept running out of fruit. It was cheaper for me to go to the market, than buy what we need at the grocery store

I was really happy to finally get into Trader Joe's. I've missed that place. I haven't been there since before the pandemic started. Every time we stopped by (the store isn't close, so we'd stop by whenever we were in the area), there was a long line outside. 

I finally got to enjoy some samosas again. I love this stuff and TJs is the only place where I can find it. I bought 3 boxes and we finished it in no time. These are mini samosas. The ones we have in South Africa are 2-3 times the size. 

The last time we were in SA (almost 10 years ago. Yikes!), I was so hungry, that I ordered 6-8 samosas at the deli counter (you can get all kinds of prepared foods like samosas, sausage rolls, meat pies, fish & chips, inside the grocery store) and started eating it right away. As a rule, I never ever eat food that I haven't paid for yet. Nor do I just eat in public like that. I'm all about cleaning my hands first, before touching any food and sitting down to eat. We weren't done grocery shopping yet and I was starving. So I just had the cashier scan the bag with leftovers when we checked out. Can you tell I love samosas?

WAGS is making me broke y'all. I managed to redeem the last of my RRs last week (turns out I had $35 RRs) and now only have WC. WC doesn't expire for one year, so I'm taking a WAGS break. We don't need a single thing. I do need face wash & moisturizer, but I can get that at CVS. 

We've been eating out of the freezer the past week & will do so again next week. This not only helps clean out the freezer, but it gives my wallet a break too. My stockpiling post will explain more about the high grocery budget. I started writing that post about 2 weeks ago & just need to edit and/or add a few things. 


GCs Earned $60 ($50 Mypoints, $10 Microstoft)

Personal items (things we've had listed for the past 2 years) : $88.92

2021 Closet cleanout : $21.33

Big goal : $35.36

Drugstore items : $53.48

Total earnings : $259.09

I only listed 2 of DS's items last month. I didn't even get around to checking my closet. 

Point earning sites are slow as molasses this year. I normally have $800-1000 earned by this time of the year. I'm not wasting my time trying to earn much more. There's far more important things in life. Besides, I've made headway with Christmas gifts. I'm not going all out this year. I'm just shopping for DH & DS, my mail carrier and 3 other people who have been a godsend during the pandemic. I already have an idea of what they want and already started my shopping. I need to ship a box to my family, but I already have the box packed. I just need to mail it. 

YTD Earnings :

GCs (point earning sites) : $400

Ibotta : $413.69

Personal items : $512.42

2021 Closet cleanout : $230.55

Big goal : $628.55

Drugstore items : $147.03

Total Earnings (excl Ibotta) : $1918.55

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

OOP  (July) $269.44

Now onto the ugly. I really wanted to cry when I read about Under Armour's semi annual sale. Not only were the sports bras I ordered cheaper, they also had extra discounts on it. After discounts, the bras came to $12 and running shorts $6. So I did the only logical thing. I ordered more bras. I work out every day and these bras wear out from constant wash & wear. 

I mainly shopped for DS, because he's the one who constantly needs new things. Okay, I bought a few things for


1 Sweatpants

4 Shorts

5 T-shirts


4 Sports bras

3 Running shorts

They also had a promotion for spend $100 get $20 reward card. Well, I didn't get my 2nd reward card, so CS sent me a $20 gc. I was about to redeem the gc, when I noticed that it says "does not expire". It turns out they sent me a regular gc. Yay! So I saved that baby for a rainy day. I did 2 transactions and they cancelled 2 items, but still rewarded me the $20 gcs. One of the items didn't fit DS, so I sold it for $20. So the 17 items are what's left after all cancellations and the sale.

OOP $187.50

Rakuten earnings : $18.45

Sold item : $20.00

Total cost after earnings : $149.05 (incl tax) for 17 items and I still have a $20 gc.

That's like paying $8.77 per item. Anyone who wears UA can confirm that this is a bargain, especially since you can't use any coupons or promo codes on this brand at department stores. 

Then I had some success at Kohls. I received a 30% off Mystery code and they finally have sweatpants in stock. Heck yeah, I had to get DS his sweats before the price increases during winter. I was surprised to see that they had lots of good clearance online. I also had to get DS new sandals, because he's not loving that pricey Keens I bought him. Oy vey. I bought 2 pairs at Kohls, so he could see which ones are more comfortable. We'll either keep the other pair or sell them. I added a few Christmas gifts to this order and purchased a business item (which I'm not including in the price). 

Well, it turns out that Kohls now only accepts 2 gcs online per order. As if things aren't bad enough already...grrrr. Not only are we paying higher prices for everything. They're now making it harder for us to save a bit by paying with gcs. I don't know why they have limits to begin with, because gcs are as good as cash. So I ended up paying way more OOP than I expected, because the mystery code is one time use. Which means I couldn't split my order.  I was not a happy camper. So I spent another $81.94 OOP. 

To add insult to injury, Mypoints now charges way more points for Kohls gcs than they did before. I think it now costs 200-400 more points. Ha, I wasn't falling for that. I looked for the lowest priced gcs & ordered Macy's ones instead. I do shop Macy's sometimes, so the gcs won't go to waste. 

Now, we are all set for the next 2 winters (well DS might need new sweatpants again next year) and next summer.  I do need new bras, but I'm holding out for a good sale. 

YTD OOP (clothing/shoes/accessories, Christmas gifts) : $1315.40

YTD side hustle income (personal, closet cleanout, drugstore) : $925.36

YTD clothing/christmas gifts expenses : $1315.40

YTD Balance ($390.04)

Yes, we are still in the hole. If I added my Big Goal numbers to that (like I used to in the past), we'd not only have a positive number, but we'd have money left over. However, I have that money earmarked for something else. 

Gift cards/rewards balances:

Macy's : $25.00 (I used one gc for household items)

Kohls : $10.00 (KC)

Target : $20.00

Walmart : $25.00

Under Armour : $20.00

Krispy Kreme : $30.00 (this is from 2 years ago)

Dunkin Donuts : $80.00

Starbucks : $43.58

CVS : $18.10

WAGS : $90.00

Total gcs/rewards : $361.68

Not a whole lot to work with, but y'all know that $360 is like $3600 to me. I know how to stretch all those $$$. The Dunkin Donuts gcs are compliments of PG. Scanning those receipts sure paid off.

Well, that's been my July. A month I'm glad is over and done with. Onwards to a few low spending months. I'm in the zone this month!


  1. So sorry that you have lost so many loved ones from this pandemic.

    God bless.

  2. I am right there with you wanting this stupid pandemic to be over. I just wish everyone would do what is necessary to help end it.
    I am planning on having a low, almost no spend first three weeks of the month, except for fresh produce milk and bread.
    We are supposed to take a trip to the beach the last week (who knows though based on the Covid situation) and all bets are off for spending that week.

    1. I wholeheartedly agree Anne! The sooner we all do the right thing, the sooner we can all get through this mess. I hope you get to have lots of fun at the beach & budgeting be damned. Splurging while on vacation is a must!

  3. Sorry to hear about the friends and family you have lost. We've been lucky in regard to Covid so far, only loosing one family member to it.

    1. Thank you Sluggy. Hope you all stay safe & healthy.

  4. Sorry to hear about the losses you have endured. On top of Covid,the violence in South Africa is alarming. I pray all your family are safe from that.
    I am a Canadian and have to say even though I can't take advantage of any of the deals you blog about, I read because your money saving abilities are amazing. I am in awe of your shopping/saving skills.

    1. Thank you for your kind words Theresa.

      Yes, sadly things are much worse in SA since I lived there 20 years ago. One of my family members was a victim of crime/violence a few short years ago. I'm constantly praying for my family's safekeeping.

  5. Very sorry for your losses, it's so hard.

  6. I'm so sorry to hear about your family members & friends, that's terrible. If everyone would take precautions for themselves & those around them, we would be so much closer to the finish. It's really frustrating that some people are focused on short term, vs just getting this over with, and dragging it out for all of us.

    We also LOVE the TJ's samosas, and just stocked up. We haven't been in since the pandemic started (due to lines), but things have finally settled down, so I've been a few times in the last month. My son takes a package at a time (in a thermos) for lunch at soccer camp. He adores them. :-)

    1. Thank you HP. I completely agree. I just wish that everyone would do the right thing, so that we can reach herd immunity soon.

      Thank you for the thermos idea! I don't blame your son. Samosas are delicious! I can eat a package on my own I tried making samosas before, but it's a lot of work. Now if I can find a good ready made roti (I make my own but it's not the best), my world would be right side up.

  7. My condolences on your friends/loved ones. I am so tired of hearing of tragedies for those around us.

    Like you I am saving points/rewards for Christmas. I have over $300 in cc cash rewards and over $100 in Amazon points for another. I'll start shopping in October.

  8. Thank you Kay.

    That's awesome that you have so much saved for Christmas. I'm not going crazy with Christmas this year. We have everything we need, so it will just be a few wants. The only big expense will be a gift for DS, but I have some rewards earmarked for that.


Wags made me broke over the course of 2 weeks!

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