Tuesday, December 28, 2021

My near free rewards shopping

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

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


Loft 

3 jeans

4 shorts

3 tops

1 Bracelet

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

OOP : $10.58

Rakuten : 0.06


WHBM 

2 jeans

1 top 

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

OOP : $0

Rakuten : $1.72


Madewell

1 shorts

1 top 

Rewards : $25

OOP $3.16

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


Eddie Bauer 

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

Rewards : $20

OOP : $0

Rakuten : $0.20

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


Kohls

1 Pair athletic shoes

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

OOP : $0

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

Earned $15 KC


Soma

6 Panties

Rewards : $5

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

Rakuten : $0.14


Bath & Body works

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

OOP : $0.00

Rakuten : In store purchase, so no reward earned


Total OOP : $13.74

Total Rakuten earned : $2.12

Total KC earned : $15.00

Total retail value : $1093.49

Total items : 27


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Madewell 

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

Lane Bryant 

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

Krispy Kreme 

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

Red Robin 

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

Panera 

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

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

Friday, December 17, 2021

Sweet Treats Recipe 3 - Peppermint Crisp Fridge Tart

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

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

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

Peppermint Crisp Fridge Tart

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

1 Can caramel (I buy La Lechera)

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

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

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

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Sweet Treat Recipe 2 - Cardamom bread

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

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


Today's recipe is Hawaii Planner's cardamom bread

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

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

Happy baking everyone!


Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Sweet treat recipe 1 - Rum Brownies

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

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


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

tasteofhome.com/recipes/microwave-brownies/ 

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

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

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


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

I'm behind....again

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, December 10, 2021

Inexpensive Wags Christmas gifts

 


Hi everyone!

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

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


3 x Godiva domes $10.50

2 x Crest t/p 6.00

Less Godiva IVC (3.00)

Less Crest DQ (3.00)

Less WC (10.00)

Tax  0.36

OOP $0.86

Earn $4 (Godiva) and $3 (Crest) RRs. 

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Meal Plan Monday

I'm so not in the mood to figure out meals for the week, so I've made an easy menu. Besides, who feels like cooking during summer.  ...