Monday, September 20, 2021


I'm probably sounding like a broken record by now, but I just keep getting shocked by how bad things are. I was at the store today and found even more shortages. I wanted to stock up on some shipping supplies, but only found 2 items that I wanted. I then went online and saw that there's limits on the items online. Ugh. The other thing I've noticed is that self checkouts only accept card payments again. Kroger had this a few months ago, but then went back to cash. Walmart self checkouts are all card only.

We are in great shape. I found some cereal again and bought 3 boxes. We have lots of Walmarts around here, so I think I'm gonna hit a few and pick up shipping supplies & cereal. It's holiday season. I can't be without any business supplies. I'm just gonna order whatever other items I need, within the next day or two.

I'm thankful that I never gave up stockpiling. Every couponer will tell you that we suffer from shopping burnout at some stage. I went through that a few months ago, because pandemic shopping just wore me out. I'm still not chasing drugstore deals. I'm at the burnout stage again. I just want to be done shopping and take a break from it all. However, I'm thankful that I went hard since our lockdown ended last year. I knew that if there was a 2nd or 3rd wave, we'd be back to square one. 

I'm thankful that I shop for Christmas gifts year round. Not only does it save me money, but I don't have to worry much about getting whatever's on the Christmas gift lists this year. I made a list of items I already have and couldn't believe how much I've already purchased (that's cause I have to hide all the I only need a few things, but I'm waiting on my gcs to clear so I can purchase it. I've already shipped one box to my family. The box has been stuck in Chicago for almost 2 weeks now. Looks like USPS has backlogs again (this is why I always mail their boxes early). I'm waiting on that box to move, before I ship the other one. 

Does anyone remember how I did some marathon clothing shopping at the beginning of the year? I ended up with over 70 items to date and I still have some gcs left. I received more gcs for Valentines (only because DH forgot about and Mother's Day. So I had a little over $900 to spend. I mean who the heck gets paid (thank you Rakuten) for buying over 70 items? Ka-ching! I have NEVER EVER bought this much stuff during a sale. I didn't understand it, but I knew that the sale was too good to pass up - especially since I didn't have to spend any money on it :) I bought clothes, shoes & accessories (some of which are in my family's Christmas boxes). Heck, even I thought that this was an excessive amount of stuff. I mean, who shops like that? Well, it's all making sense to me now. I now know that was God (once again) directing my steps. With all the shortages, we are not seeing good sales anymore. The June semi-annual sale was very lackluster. We're lucky if we find things that we really need. We don't know how long this is gonna last or how much prices are going to keep increasing. However, I don't have to worry about that. We have enough stuff that we don't have to shop for the next 2-3 years, maybe longer.

Last year's BF was nothing to write home about. I didn't even buy much, even though Kohls is my BF go to store. My gut tells me that this year is gonna be even worse. Doesn't matter to me, because I only need new running shoes.  This is unheard of for me, but all that shopping I did paid off in spades. I'm hoping the athletic shoes will be on sale, because the price was much higher in 2020, than previous years. 

I mentioned before that I needed bras, but was holding out for a good sale. Not anymore. When I checked the Macy's sale over the weekend, they had bras on sale. The price was way higher than I normally pay on sale, so I compared it to other stores. Turns out that Macy's had the lowest price and I still had a $25 gc. Rakuten was also giving 10% cash back, so the price was right for me. However, I noticed that the brand I purchased was OOS in many sizes (this was for several different styles). WTH?! Whoever heard of a bra shortage (not that I would mind going 

It turns out that Mypoints increasing those Kohls gc points, was a blessing in disguise. I redeemed for Macy's gcs instead, because they require the lowest amounts of points.  I don't shop Macy's like I used to anymore, but I was able to pay for quite a few things (mainly household items) with those gcs. 

I can't begin to tell you all of the number of times I end up doing things that don't make sense to me, that end up working out in my favour in the end. I know it's God.  I pray before I go anywhere (even shopping) and most times I get the most unexpected favour & blessings. 

So I'm thankful that we are so blessed. So blessed in so many different ways. So blessed that we in turn, can be a blessing to others. 

Friday, September 17, 2021

Friday already?

This week passed in a blur. I can't believe it's already Friday. It's been a crazy busy week, although I wasn't as productive as I would've liked and I'm dealing with a pita customer who's costing me money.

I went to Walmart on Monday, because we were out of milk. The Meijer milk went sour before the expiration date. This feels like deja vu. I know it's not our fridge, because the Kroger and Walmart milk are still good for at least a week after it's expiration date. Meijer used to be the same, so I was upset because I couldn't eat my cereal. I just took an iron supplement instead. 

We didn't really need anything at Walmart other than spinach and frozen broccoli. I decided to just get some more canned goods, since the supply chain is broken and things aren't looking great in store. I start checking out and had a WTH moment. The gallon milk that I paid $1.25 for last month is now $3!!! I knew that the eggs prices have increased, but I didn't expect the milk to more than double. The artichokes price has also increased by 36c!! So I stood cussing softly at self checkout, because I couldn't believe this craziness.

About a week ago, I read an article where the Kroger CEO said that grocery prices will increase by another 3% before year end. Are you kidding me? Prices are already through the roof. 

Here's the kicker though. The comments section of the article were full of everyone blaming the government for this. I'm not saying that the government didn't play a role in this, but I wish that people would look at the bigger picture. We are STILL in the middle of a pandemic. Actually, the whole world is still in the middle of a pandemic. We rely heavily on imports - think of all that chinese crap we constantly buy. Imports also include parts that are used for items made in USA. So with the world struggling to recuperate, production is down due to lack of employees. Heck, we even see employee shortages right here. Even if the parts or products are manufactured, we still need to get them loaded into containers, then load containers onto vessels, then need a captain and crew to transport those goods. Same goes for land transportation. If there's a lack of crew or truck drivers, there's no way things can get to the stores. 

There's been huge fires out west. There's also been drought out west. So ranchers are forced to downsize their herds, because there's not enough water and feed for all their cattle. This leads to increased meat prices. Same goes for produce. With drought, farmers can't grow crops. Without crops, we don't have food to eat. So why are people blaming it all on the government again? Didn't I write a post about this before? It's okay if people don't listen to me or think that I'm nuts. DH thinks the same thing. I'm not even offended by it, because I realised just how spoiled my family is. I do everything. I plan & prepare for everything. They're not even aware of all the stress I deal with when it comes to food etc. If they need something, they just go to the pantry and voila, it's there. It's like the magic grocery fairy fills our pantry with goods. They have no idea of how I study things and do all the running around so that our needs are more than met. 

I know that we've always been behind the UK curve, since the pandemic started. I've been following the pandemic since news of it broke it China. My gut told me to pay attention and I'm so glad I did. It ensured that we were well prepared for lockdowns. In the same way, I've learned of food shortages in the UK, due to lack of employees. So what did I do, I stocked up. I'm not stocking up for fear of us running out of things. We have a very good stockpile. I'm stocking up, because the prices of everything keep increasing. I know that we will financially benefit from this too, by buying things now. After all, it looks like prices are increasing on a monthly basis. 

Walmart was once again out of bread flour. Their site showed it as being in stock. I especially checked online before I went shopping. I just keep adding AP flour, because I can still bake with that too. 

I also stopped at Sams and filled in the rest of the gaps. I feel a lot better knowing that we have everything we need & more. Sams is now even limiting bottled water to 3 per membership. I always keep a case of water in the basement, but I've decided to just keep 3 cases. Hello, Texas! Y'all taught us that bottled water is a necessary evil. 

I also bought a big bag of French's onions at Sams. I do this every year, because it costs just under $8, compared to paying $4 + for a small container at the grocery store. My Sams no longer has store made cakes. They always had a large section of sheet cakes & cupcakes. Nothing. You now have to go pre-order your cake at the bakery counter. Their cafe also no longer sells whole pizzas. I'm bummed, because I love Sams pizza. I might have to get some at Costco next time. 

I also stopped at CVS today, because my EBs are expiring tomorrow. Yikes. How is it a month since my last trip already? I had no game plan. I didn't feel like making a long list and clipping coupons. I just don't have the energy to chase deals. I just wanted to roll my EBs into new ones, so I decided on moisturiser that I need anyway.

2 x Loreal moisturiser $38.98

2 x Garnier shampoo 7.00

Less Loreal q (2.00)

Less Loreal DQ (2.00)

Less Loreal moisturiser DQ (6.00)

Less Loreal moisturiser DQ (6.00)

Less Garnier DQ (1.00)

Less EBs (21.01)

Tax 1.86

OOP $9.83

Earned $15 EB (wys $40 select items) and should get another $6 Beauty EB. 

My plan was to just purchase the moisturiser. I got to checkout and realised that I needed to spend $40 to earn $15, otherwise I would just earn $10. I thought of adding a Loreal cleanser (which I really need), but didn't want to spend $8 on it when it costs less at WAGS. So I grabbed an ad, saw the Garnier with a $3 Q advertised and figured it was a DQ. Wrong! It looks like it was a paper Q, because I always clip all my DQs. Boy was I upset at spending so much OOP. Then I reminded myself that I got my 2 moisturisers that I need & 2 shampoo for $9, so I felt a little

My moisturiser DQs are for the Age Perfect ones only, that's why I couldn't just buy a higher priced moisturiser to help reach my $40 total. 

I'm now going to attack that huge pile of ironing, my favorite (sarcasm) chore. 

Have a great weekend everyone!

Monday, September 13, 2021

My life in South Africa during apartheid

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Never Forget - 9/11/2001

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, September 10, 2021

September budget's already broken

Hi everyone

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a wonderful weekend everyone. 

Thursday, September 2, 2021

August month end check in

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


Produce market : $42.01

CVS : $2.83

Dollar Tree : $8.00

Kroger : $25.67

Meijer : 20.94

Sams :$168.91

Walmart : $116.38

Local store : $31.84 (cheese)

Total OOP : $416.58


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

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

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

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


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

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

2021 Closet cleanout : $17.33

Big goal : $12.48

Drugstore items : $10.66

Total earnings : $262.23

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

YTD Earnings :

GCs (point earning sites) : $450

Ibotta : $413.69

Personal items : $684.18

2021 Closet cleanout : $247.88

Big goal : $641.03

Drugstore items : $157.69

Total Earnings (excl Ibotta) : $2180.78

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

OOP  (August) $28.56

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

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

OOP $28.56

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

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

YTD clothing/christmas gifts expenses : $1343.96

YTD Balance ($254.21)

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

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

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

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

My gut instincts are always right

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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...