Monday, January 31, 2022

Kroger Ibotta 5 x dipping


What do you call 5 x dipping? Quint dipping?...lol. I really don't know. Kroger currently has a mega event sale & Ibotta had 3 bonus offers (totalling $11) to triple dip. So I combined the mega event, KC & Ibotta triple dip to score some MM groceries. The totals are after Mega Event discounts. Not all items are part of the mega event sale. All items marked with a M, are mega event items. 

Also, CS contacted me about that last fiasco and said they've added $20 to my account. However, the credit wouldn't display on my account. So I went to Kroger praying that the credit would work this time.


5 x 18ct eggs $4.85 

5 x Wholly guacamole 12.50 KC

3 x Pint Strawberries 5.00

2 x Kraft bbq sauce 0.98

1 x Oikos yogurt 1.25

2 x Thomas mini croissant BOGOF 3.99

1 x Breakstone sour cream 0.99

1 x Superpretzel 2.79

1 x Snickers 0.88 M

1 x Core p/b bar 1.49 M

1 x Core blueberry bar 1.49 M

2 x Stayfree pads 4.98 M

1 x Playtex tampons 2.99 M

1 x Kraft cheese 2.49 M

2 x Goodbelly probiotic 3.98 M KC

Less Core DQ (1.00)

Less Stayfree DQ (3.00)

Less Playtex DQ (2.00)

Less Superpretzel IPQ (1.00)

Less CS credit (20.00)

OOP $23.65


Earned $27.18 Ibotta & should get $7 KC. Total earnings + $34.18


This transaction wasn't all smooth sailing. At first I almost had a panic attack, seeing my total was $64.xx. Then I hit the pay button and it asked if I wanted to apply the $20 credit. Yes, please. Then the total went down to $24.65 (after all discounts & DQ were applied). Then I scanned the Superpretzel Q. I could tell the cashier was new. I only had one IPQ and when she came over the approve my Q, she kept adding $1 to the total. Ugh! I was very nice and patient and explained that she was adding to my total. She eventually credited it, but still left one and said she needed to ask her manager if she can accept the IPQ. No problemo. She was sweet and I was patient. Got that Q approved and happily paid my $23.65.

The Core bars were a MM, so that overage covered some of the other items' costs.

I needed 9 Ibotta items. The breakstone is one of those. At self checkout, the register kept telling me to set the Breakstone aside, after I scanned it (I tried a few times). No, I don't want to do that. I need this for Ibotta...lol I eventually called the cashier and she explained that the register couldn't read the item and asked what the price was. So she manually entered the $0.99 price. Now I didn't know if Ibotta would just read that 'Grocery' item as part of my bonus offers, so I grabbed the Snickers to make sure I have enough items. Overall, I'm very happy with this MM trip. I was just going to buy eggs & strawberries, but I'm glad I checked Ibotta. 

I have over $40 on Ibotta. I'm going to cash out for 2 x $20 Walmart gcs, instead of $25 and then waiting until I have enough credits for another $25. That will give me an extra $40 towards February groceries.  

Next week, Kroger has the half gallon milk for 87c. I still have one half gallon left from the last sale. I'll use my KC to pay for the milk.  I'm really loving all Kroger's good deals. Meijer needs to take a few pages out of Kroger's book. 

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Strawberries & blueberries & yogurt, oh my!

 


Earlier this month I did a small mega event shop at Kroger. I just bought 5 mega event items and 2 KCB items. When I got home, I noticed that I never received any mega event discount. Then 2 days later, no KCB (this normally credits after 48 hours). I hate how Kroger doesn't display any discounts until you hit the PAY button. Meijer displays all applicable discounts as you scan the items, so you can immediately see when something doesn't credit. I tried to do Live Chat and chat didn't work. Tried for 3 days. Then eventually filled in an online form explaining what happened. I don't know what's going on at Kroger, because their site said that they have a large volume of queries, so CS is slower. A week later, I received an email from CS saying that they'll add $10 credit to my account. They only owed me $6.50, so I was happy with the $10. 

I never bothered to check my account until today when I noticed that the 4pk Dannon yogurt is $1.47  with DQ (limit 5) and the DQ expires today. So I decided to head to Kroger to use the $10 credit for yogurt and strawberries. I checked my Cash Back account, because you have to manually add the amount to your card. Mmm, my account says ZERO. So I thought it will probably just prompt me to use the credit at checkout, because that's what the email said. So here's what I got

5 x 4ct Dannon yogurt $7.35

2 x Strawberry pints  3.34

5lb Potatoes (not pictured) 2.49

1 x OM smokies 2.79

2 x Mission tortilla chips 3.76

1 x Red Baron pizza 3.99

Less Free OM mailer Q (2.49)

OOP $20.53

Earned $4.49 Ibotta (pizza)


WTH Kroger?!!!! Where's my $10 credit? Nothing appeared at checkout either. I was so upset. This whole trip should've cost me $10.53 OOP and then I would earn the Ibotta credit. Easy peasy. Right? Wrong!! So I had to contact Kroger again and am now awaiting a response. I'm more upset about me having to waste so much time going back and forth with them. I really don't care if they only credit me the original $6.50. Just do your job right. Geez!

I never buy frozen pizza, but decided to buy it since it was a small MM. DS won't mind eating it anyway. 

I was really happy with that yogurt price. It's way cheaper than Sams. We eat yogurt daily. I decided to try the Chobani no sugar yogurt. I picked up a case at Sams last month. Big mistake. We eat low sugars, so I figured this yogurt would be a nice change from my regular plain greek yogurt. I use the plain yogurt for smoothies and usually have Dannon cups for the days I don't want to make a smoothie. The minute I started eating the Chobani, I got this overwhelming fake sugar taste. Yuck! So I checked the label and it said Stevia. Well, that explains it. The funny thing is that DS drinks the Chobani yogurt and I'll have it from time to time. We don't even get  sugar or sweet taste from it. So back to my regular Dannon I go.

Well, it wasn't such a great idea to go shopping, because I feel rough again. I should know better. I can't go out in the cold when I'm sick, because I always end up feeling worse. I took half a flu pill last night and went to bed early. Slept like a baby and felt pretty decent after I had coffee. Went out and an hour after I got home, started feeling crap again. So I'll take a whole flu pill tonight, cause I need to go out tomorrow again. I don't like being sick, but I really don't mind having a cold or flu right now. It's way better than having Covid. 

Kroger has 18ct eggs for 97c next week. I'm so there. I always look forward to this deal, because I've been buying eggs at Sams, the other store prices are too high. I pay $4.xx for 2 x 18ct cartons at Sams.

Monday, January 24, 2022

What's for dinner?



It's cold and snowy & I've got the sniffles. I hope I'm not coming down with something, cause I feel run down today.  I'm just gonna pretend it's my allergies and have an early night. All I want is comfort food this week, so here's what' I've made. I'm kinda glad I have the food all cooked, so I don't have to worry about that if I'm sick (which I hope I'm not)

Homemade chicken pot pie. I made a big one for dinner and also a dozen individual ones that are easy for DS to take for lunches.

Spinach pesto chicken (another favorite of mine. Posted by Hawaii Planner a few years ago)

Slow cooker spaghetti & meatballs. I make my own ground turkey meatballs and kick the sauce up a coupla notches with veggies. I haven't made this dish yet. I like to cook it on the day that we eat it. The leftover meatballs will be frozen to make meatball subs at a later stage. I need to get some garlic bread at Sams.

Lots of veggies and salad on the side for each dinner. 

Carrot pineapple muffins I've used this recipe for years and it's foolproof. Turns out great every single time, even though I've tweaked it a teensy bit.  My muffins are much better than last week's. I should just stick with what I know, but that would be boring...lol. As you can see, they rose and are really moist. I sometimes add walnuts and it's like eating carrot cake without frosting. So good! We still have breakfast burritos in the freezer, so I didn't make any more. 

I stopped at Aldi for pie crusts, bananas and brioche rolls (After all these years in the US, I still can't call a roll a bun. To me a bun refers to something like hot cross buns) while out yesterday and left the store $20 later. I saw blueberries on sale. This is my favorite berry, so I'll always buy it when I find it at a good price. I also noticed that their 4lb bags of oranges are $2 less than Meijer's. I'm gonna have to go back for more berries & oranges at the end of the week. That will be our fresh fruit for next week. I'm happy to see the good produce prices at Aldi, because I haven't been feeling the produce market lately. Their prices are just too high. I've found some cheaper produce at Sams. Got a 3lb bag of lemons for $3.xx. Their organic salad and cucumbers are also the best price. Same with bananas. So I'm buying whatever produce I can find at either Sams, Meijer & Aldi. 

I need to pick up a few things at Sams this week & decided to just do a big shopping trip, instead of making another trip next week that will apply to next month's budget. I don't mind going over budget this month, because I will be under budget (fingers crossed) next month. I work on a monthly average anyway. We're low on several things and  I need to stock up on more chicken. I've also been craving a pot roast, so I have to see what it costs at Sams. I usually turn my leftover pot roast into other meals, so nothing will go to waste. 

I've also wanted to make lemon blueberry muffins (I guess it will have to wait until next week). Or maybe I'll make pancakes. Or maybe I'll just make the blueberry muffins and some gingerbread pancakes. DS will like that. 

Yes, I buy pie crusts. I can make my own crusts, but it costs less to just buy the perfectly rolled crusts. I bought 3 boxes (2 rolls per box) for $4.55. The ingredients for homemade crusts are inexpensive, but I factor in my time. I can work and earn more than the $4.55 in the time I would've spent making my own crusts. Sometimes, it's just better to grab a store bought item. Besides, the pie filling is made from scratch, so it can be called homemade...lol.

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

Thursday, January 20, 2022

January drugstore shopping


Warning rant ahead. Today was just one of those days where everything went wrong. I somehow knew that the Wags smooth sailing was too good to be true. Today proved just that.


WAGS

Trans 1 (DH account)

2 x Softsoap hand soap $3.98

2 x Softsoap hand soap B1G50% off 2nd $1.98

2 x Crest t/p 6.00

1 x Revlon kiss balm 5.49

Less Softsoap DQ (0.75)

Less Crest DQ (2.00)

Less Revlon DQ (3.00)

Less WC (Wags Cash reward points) (10.00)

Tax 1.05

OOP $2.75

Earned $4 RR (Crest) and $4 WC (Softsoap)

Softsoap knows damn well that their small hand soap bottles are 7.5 oz, yet they give us a Q for 8 oz or larger. Sneaky, sneaky. I had the Qs with me just in case the bigger bottles were the same price as the small ones (good thing too. see next transaction)

I added the Revlon as a filler, so I could use $10 WC. If my total was below $10, I would only have been able to redeem a $5 reward (It's Wags, It's complicated...lol). I had a grand plan to buy the Softsoap b/w too, but this store was completely wiped out. The b/w is 50c each after rewards, so I completely understand the empty shelves. I actually didn't expect to still find hand soap. 

WAGS - Store 2

Trans 2 (DH account)

2 x Softsoap b/w $7.98

Less Softsoap DQ (1.00)

Less Softsoap Q (1.00)

Less WC (5.00)

Tax 0.48

OOP $1.48

Earned $5 WC 


Trans 3 (my account)

1 x Softsoap hand soap $2.99

1 x Softsoap hand soap BOGO 1.49

1 x Softsoap hand soap 1.99

1 x Softsoap hand soap BOGO 0.99

2 x Colgate t/p 7.98

2 x Softsoap b/w 7.98

2 x Crest t/p 6.00

Less Softsoap hand soap DQ (0.75)

Less 2 Softsoap hand soap Qs (1.00)

Less Softsoap b/w DQ (1.00)

Less Colgate DQ (1.00)

Less Crest DQ (2.00)

Less 2 RRs (8.00)

Less WC (10.00)

Tax 1.53

OOP $7.20

Earned $26 WC ($5 WYS $15, $5 Softsoap b/w, $4 Softsoap hand soap, $8 Colgate - see below, $4 Crest - see below)

This was the mother of all clusters, where things kept going wrong too. This store had lots of b/w, but only 2 of the $1.99 hand soap, so I had to rework my order. So I first did the transaction on my account. My total came to over $23. WTH?! I knew this was wrong. I write out a detailed list with numbers and I knew that I shouldn't pay more than $13 (incl tax), before WC. So I looked at the screen and noticed that my DQs didn't deduct. Very strange. Cashier didn't know why either. I did notice that the register kept asking for my phone number (even though I entered it at the beginning) as she was scanning my items. So I showed her the DQs on my phone and asked if she could cancel that transaction and start over. Sure, so she cancelled and had me enter my phone number (which I did), but the screen kept returning to the home page (this happened about 3 times in a row). So we moved to a different register. Same thing after entering my phone number. I was just about to tell her to first scan one item then have me enter my phone number, when the manager told her to do that. That fixed the problem. So I did the b/w transaction first to make sure that one works. Slick as snot. Then I did my transaction. The DQs deducted, but the total was still high. I told her that I'd just pay the OOP and contact CS, because a line had already formed behind me. Besides, I needed to look at the receipt to figure out what went wrong. I thanked her and apologised for the hassle. I know that sounds weird, but I often apologise to cashiers when things go wrong - especially with DQs or their system. I tell them that I know it's not their fault. Sometimes I joke with them to put them at ease. This cashier seemed fairly new (I saw that she started in 2021 - could've been at the end of the year for all I know) and she was super sweet. I also know that WAGS don't give their staff proper training. I know that things can go wrong at any time and that I have the ability to put the cashiers at ease, when it does. So I'm always nice to them, because I don't want to be that PITA customer who upsets their day. If the cashiers apologise to me when they make a mistake, I tell them it's no problem at all. I can go vent or be frustrated with the hassles when I get home.

I get to my car and realised I didn't get the $4 Crest RR. Ugh, I'm not going back to the store to wait for that long line to disappear. When I studied my receipt, I noticed that the Colgate DQ was $1, not my $4 one I had on my account. The cashier also didn't scan my Softsoap b/w Q. No worries about the Softsoap Q. This whole transaction was a mess, so I understand if she missed a Q. I contacted CS when I got home and they added $8 points for the Colgate & Crest. 

So I basically used $18 rewards + $7.20 cash = $25.20 and earned $26. A small MM. I still need to submit my receipts to various sites. 

Before I got to the 2nd Wags, I stopped at Aldi for a few things. First I couldn't get a cart to work. I'd haul out the cart, but the wheels would lock when I move forward. So I put that cart into the 2nd row and tried the next one. Shut up, there's a quarter already in that cart. Kaching. All I thought was 'Sluggy & Kim would be proud of me'...lol. So I tried that cart, but it had the same effect. Same with the 3rd one. So I grabbed that extra quarter and went shopping without a cart. I'm guessing the wheels are messed up, because it's so cold today. Got my items and at checkout I see a sign for card payment or exact cash payments. Nooooooooo. I had a $100 bill in my hand. I needed to break some $100 bills and Aldi's not helping. 

Then I went to CVS and bought a $50 Kohls gc that earned me $10 EB. So I used my CC to pay and the register said 'Payment cancelled'. Now what?! So the cashier had me try again and it worked. Phew!

So by the time I hit the last Wags, I was like 'stick a bloody fork in me, I'm done'. 

I also stopped at RA earlier this week, as I had $15 BC that was expiring.

1 x Compeed Corn $9.99

1 x Compeed Blister 9.99

1 x Colgate t/p 3.50

Less 2 Compeed Qs (8.00)

Less Colgate in-ad Q (3.00)

Less Colgate Q (0.50)

Tax 1.41

OOP : $13.39 Paid for with BC

Earned $3 BC (Compeed Corn) and $8 Ibotta ($4 for each Compeed).

I get to the register and the Colgate rings up at $5.xx. Ugh!! Cashier looked at ad, checked the toothpaste and couldn't figure out what was wrong. So I asked her if I could grab a different t/p and she said 'sure'. Got back with the new t/p and the manager was there cancelling my first transaction. I told the manager that they should check the shelf tags, because the wrong items are marked with the sale price. So we tried again and everything worked great! So I thanked the cashier and apologised for the mix up. Her whole face just lit up in surprise, then a smile as she thanked me. I guess people aren't nice to them very often. 

Now the manager and other cashier at this store don't like me. This isn't my local store, but I stop there when I'm out that way. Last summer I walked into the store (no other customers in store) and see a woman standing there spraying Root Touch Up on her hair. I couldn't believe my eyes. The HBA section has low shelves and is open for all the world to see. The cashier in front is oblivious and security is nowhere to be found. Then I see her put that same bottle back and reach out for something else to apply to herself. I did my shopping and got to the register, only to see that she's an employee. The store or shift manager happened to be there at the time, so I told this girl that I saw her using products in store and stick it back on the shelf. I told her that's not fair to customers who has to pay full price for half used items. Besides if the roles were reversed, they would call it theft and call the cops on a customer. The manager didn't even reprimand her or do anything. I was livid, but I didn't contact CS. I see this girl still works there, but she just gives me a dirty look when I shop there. Come on. Is it so hard to be a person of integrity. Wrong is wrong!

I also purchased $100 Kohls gcs that earned me $16 BC. I was initally going to use the money from my weekly gc savings, but decided to apply it to my clothing expense budget (which is $0 BTW...lol). I have a plan for these. 

So to recap

Total OOP at drugstores (excluding gcs) $11.43

Total Qs used :$19.25

Total rewards used : $46.39

Total rewards earned : $42.00 + $26 earned from gcs = $68.00

Total Ibotta earned : $8.00

Total retail value : $94.98 (hard to believe these few items retail for almost $100. That's drugstore pricing for ya. 

Plus the gcs also added an extra $26 in rewards to my pocket. You can't beat free money. 

I did shop at Wags last week, but I'm too pooped to take pics and write details of it. I'll do it next time.  I'm about ready to just have a drink and call it a day. 

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Thankful for my stockpile

 Aah, here we go again. That method to my madness business. Pre pandemic, I had a decent stockpile. Once restrictions were lifted here (our state was one of the first to lock down when pandemic started), I decided to go hard about stocking up on just about everything we need. Then came shortages & inflation and I continued to add to the stockpile. I was in survival mode last year. I didn't care about grocery coupons. I just wanted to make sure we have everything we need. That hard work is paying off in spades now. 

We have a good amount of canned goods (I usually prefer fresh produce, but during these uncertain times it's best to be stocked on non-perishables). I haven't been able to find canned mushrooms at Walmart for a few weeks now. When I stopped by earlier this week, I saw a few of the small 4 oz cans. Now I do have a bunch of the 8 oz cans in my stockpile, but we eat lots of mushrooms. Well s(*^&t (please excuse my french), but when I saw the shelf price, I had a sense of humor failure. The 4 oz cans now cost $1.18!!!! I used to pay $1.13 for the 8 oz cans in 2020. Boy oh boy, did I thank my lucky stars for stocking up on those big cans when they were available. So now select food items are costing twice as much. When will this madness end? I did buy 3 of the small cans, even though I hated paying that much. I figured I might as well buy it now, before the price increases yet again. I've also noticed that the other Walmart brand canned veggies now cost 12c more. It used to be 50c each, but now cost 62c. 

Even Meijer had empty shelves this week. I was shocked. I couldn't find fresh carrots and a few other things. There were signs that mentioned supply chain issues. I also noticed that the big Softsoap hand soap refills now cost $6!!! What on earth? I actually just opened a bottle that I bought a year before the pandemic started. I remember that I paid $1.06 total for 3 big bottles and thinking to myself  'why am I buying more soap, when we still have a sealed bottle in the stockpile?'. Thankful for my instincts, cause those bottles came in very handy. Well Wags has the small bottles on sale this week if anyone needs to stock up. I'll do a Wags run tomorrow and post the details. 

My advice is to stock up on things you use regularly, if and when you find a good sale on it. Even if there's no sale, just stock up, because prices keep increasing. Sales are also non-existent these days, but we can still make it work. I'm not saying that anyone should panic or go clear shelves. Just add 2-3 of whatever items you use regularly to help with your stockpile. I don't think we've seen the end of all these price increases yet. 

Don't just stop at groceries. If there's anything that you need to keep in stock, be sure to search for the best price at your local stores and stock up. I'm actually gonna go get more light bulbs at Home Depot. 

I'm just thankful that we are in good shape. I'm still adding to my stockpile - just replacing food items we've used. 

Puff Pastry Chicken Roll Recipe

I got this recipe from an old friend several years ago. I don't even know what the real name of it is, other than that she called it a chicken roll and I never printed the recipe. Now the filling amounts may vary. I don't usually stick to exactly what a recipe calls for. I like to tweak things to suit my own tastes/needs. So yeah, I eyeball the ingredients most of the time. The ingredients list is exact, but I'd say the amounts might vary, depending on how big you want your roll. I like to load this thing up with the filling.


1 Box puff pastry sheets (there's usually 2 sheets per box/package use both)

3 Cooked & shredded chicken breasts (again this depends on size. use less if you don't want that much chicken) or shredded rotisserie chicken

1-2 cooked butternut squash (depending on size. I'd say 2 smaller ones. If you find a the very big ones, use one)

Half package fresh spinach

Feta cheese

1 egg (beaten)


Fold open the puff pastry sheets, sprinkle with a little flour and roll into a bit of a bigger sheet. I like to mix my chicken and butternut together, so that no chicken pieces fall out once you slice the roll. Spread butternut, chicken, spinach and feta cheese down the middle section (sheet is divided into thirds) of the sheet. Layer it like you would do with lasagna. Fold one outside part over the middle. Brush some beaten egg on the edge of the other outer 1/3rd to seal and then fold this part over the middle section. Place roll (folded side down) on baking sheet. Brush top with the rest of the egg. Cut some air vents into the top of your pastry and bake at 400% until top is golden brown. Be sure to check that the bottom is completely cooked too. I once had a perfectly golden brown top, while the bottom was still half raw.

This recipe makes 2 large rolls. You can then cut each roll into whatever serving size you prefer. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

The week's meal planning

Hi everyone

I thought I'd switch things up a bit and post some of my meal planning. I usually cook our meals for the week on a Sunday, but since yesterday was a holiday, I decided to cook everything then. I really enjoy cooking and baking, but don't like to slave over a stove every single day, so once a week cooking works for me. Plus it frees up time for me to work the rest of the week.

I used to cook a meal for every weekday, but then noticed that we end up with lots of leftovers. So I've been cooking 2 meals per week (from scratch. that's the only way I cook). We rotate the meals for the first 4 days, then I fix something easy for Friday night dinner. We used to dine out every weekend (Saturday & Sunday), but since the pandemic started, we have been getting food to go from our favorite restaurants on weekends. We do still occasionally dine in at select restaurants, but it's very rare. Before anyone judges us for eating out so much, please remember that DH & I are both self employed and work from home. So weekends is our time to get out and enjoy some good food & drinks. 

Here's what I've cooked for the week


Chicken roll. This is just puff pastry filled with cooked chicken, butternut squash, fresh spinach and feta. It's one of my favorite things to eat, because I love puff pastry. 



French onion chicken. You can't see the chicken, because I like to cut the breasts down into strips or cubes. It cooks faster that way. I also added extra broth and oodles of onions. It's like a french onion soup with chicken. So good. It might not be the prettiest thing, but it sure tastes good. 

Veggie sides : Carrots, peas, brussel sprouts, broccoli, mashed potatoes

We'll rotate these 2 meals until Thursday

Friday we'll have Italian sausage smothered with onions & peppers, baked potatoes and either baked beans or a side salad. 



Breakfasts : Muffins and breakfast burritos. I tried a new banana & almond muffin recipe and it fell flat. You can see my muffins didn't rise at all and it's also very dense. This is a jumbo muffin baking pan. My muffins are normally overflowing in these pants. So I'll just go back to my old banana muffin recipe. 

Last week I made a big pot of chicken soup and meatloaf with mashed potatoes and veggies. I froze the leftover meatloaf and soup. I also made BWW tenders. I picked up some ciabatta rolls and spring mix salad at Sams and made chicken sandwiches for dinner. Ciabatta, BWW chicken, spring mix, cucumber, tomato & CFA sauce. I know, I know. BWW & CFA together...lol, but it works. DS insisted on a burger and fries instead, so that's what he got. My sandwich tasted far better though. Besides, no fast food place is gonna give you non GMO chicken and organic salad. You're gonna pay through the nose for it if you're lucky enough to find it at a fast food place. 

So that's our meals for the week. I always eat leftover dinner for lunch too. I tend to cook too much food, so there's always plenty left over. So, here's proof that I do more than just shopping...lol. 

Have a great day everyone!

Saturday, January 15, 2022

November & December monthly check in

Super late, but I finally got our November/December and year end numbers up. The numbers are for the last 2 months of the year, then the YTD (year to date 2021) numbers to show you how much we spent on groceries, clothing (shoes, accessories) and Christmas gifts.

Groceries/HBA/Cleaning

CVS : $1.20

Kroger : $42.03

Meijer : $5.69

Ollies : $5.09

Rite Aid : $7.93

Sams : $512.10

Wags : $71.61

Walmart : 88.63

Produce market : $93.15

Total OOP : $827.43


Earnings 

$31.80 Ibotta 

Redeemed for $45 Walmart gcs on Ibotta which were then used to purchase more groceries. 


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


YTD grocery expenses (OOP) : $5610.70 

YTD  earnings  (Ibotta) : $482.95


So we averaged $467.59 p/m on groceries. I knew that the number would be high, but this is slightly less than we averaged ($500 p/m) about 3 years ago. I actually expected the amount to be higher, so I'm pleased with that total because we have a full stockpile. 

The reason why I don't deduct Ibotta and other earnings (Fetch, Kroger cash etc) from my total, is because I count it when I redeem the rewards. My expenses (OOP) is always after all coupons and rewards are deducted. If I deducted the earnings from my OOP cost, then I would be counting it twice. 


YTD Drugstore OOP : $544.88 (included in grocery total above)

YTD Drugstore earnings : $254.16

YTD Total Drugstore costs (after earnings): $290.72


Just to give you an idea of how my drugstore shopping paid off. I'm so very pleased with the numbers, because we are brand loyal when it comes to HBA. We have everything we need and much more. Paying $290 OOP for everything we have, is a steal. 

Yesterday I went to WAGS. There was a young woman checking out ahead of me. She bought a grocery bag (not full) of makeup (including face wash/cleanser. I remember this part, because it's the same cleanser I use...lol). The total came to $157.xx!!!!!! I could see the screen from my social distancing spot...lol. Holy mother of pearl! Who the heck pays that much for a grocery bag of stuff?! Definitely not me. Heck I paid less than double for a full year's worth of stuff for our family of 3. 

Now I'm not here to judge. I know that couponing is not for everyone. But had she purchased the same items at a grocery store (Meijer, Target, Walmart), she would've paid at least 1/3rd less for it. The drugstores have huge markups on everything!! I totally understand why some people shop like that and just pay for it without blinking. It's all about convenience. They can get in and out in no time. DH used to do that all the time, until the lightbulb finally went off for him. He's learned to just ask me if we have something, before just running to WAGS (his favorite) to buy it. Need a new electric razor, hair dryer, body wash, hand soap? I've got it all. Yes, I even stock up on electric appliances. Call me crazy, but my guys have seen how handy it comes in, especially during these uncertain times. We lack nothing, because mama (me) provides it all. 


MONEY EARNED (SIDE HUSTLE)


GCs Earned $145 ($60 Mypoints, $45 Swagbucks, $25 IGC, $5 Microsoft, $10 PG)

Rakuten : $49.63

Personal items (things we've had listed for the past 2 years) : $350.33

2021 Closet cleanout : $81.68

Big goal : $60.08

Drugstore items : $69.04

Total earnings : $755.76


Again, nothing listed. I had too much on my plate to still think of listing personal items. 


YTD Earnings :

GCs (point earning sites) : $730.00

Ibotta : $442.82

Personal items : $1182.35

2021 Closet cleanout : $425.38

Big goal : $701.11

Drugstore items : $254.16

Rakuten : 126.13

Total Earnings (excl Ibotta) : $3419.13


NOV/DEC EXPENSES (Clothing/shoes/accessories, Christmas gifts)

OOP : 535.76  (DS underwear & shorts) + Kohls BF shopping + rewards shopping

Less : $52.95  (DS Christmas gift I returned) 

Total OOP $482.81


I finally received my credit for DS's gift I returned. I also received my Big Fat Rakuten check. Check is a little more than usual for this time of year, since I started Christmas shopping early. My next check will be much smaller. 


YTD OOP (clothing/shoes/accessories, Christmas gifts) : $2425.66

YTD side hustle income (personal, closet cleanout, drugstore, rakuten) : $1988.02

YTD Balance ($537.64)


This is the first time (since I started reselling our old clothes about 12 years ago) that we are in the red. Last year was a very expensive year, due to shortages. If I add the Big goal earnings to that, we'd be in the black, but I don't want to do that. Besides, I know that I'll make back our Kohls Black Friday money, so I'm not too concerned about that. This year, the goal is to stay in the black. I'd also be happy to to make up for last year's shortfall, this year. 

Crazy as this might sound, I'm actually happy with our numbers. I know how much prices (of just about everything) increased last year. I shopped hard, stocked up on everything and barely used coupons on groceries. I was just in survival mode. So there you have it folks. Our numbers - The good, the bad and the ugly.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Friday, January 7, 2022

First week of January

Hello everyone

I can't believe the first week of 2022 is gone already. This has been a busy week for me. I always try to catch up on just about everything during the first week of January and tend to wear myself out. SIL always calls me an overachiever. I'm just trying to get those things I've neglected during 4th quarter, done. 

I still need to post the last 2 months' numbers. I have all the receipts ready, but am just not in the mood to crunch numbers. I need to get my act together, cause I need to work on taxes too (Sales tax is due next month, so we file our taxes early). The funny thing is that I used to do this for a living (number crunching and company taxes). I guess it's cause it's more fun when you get paid to do it...lol (Yes, I actually love accounting). Anyhoo, I'm gonna get that done tomorrow, then work on taxes. 

Some happenings this week. 

  • I went to Sams, produce market & Walmart for grocery shopping. I needed to stock up on meat again, cause I haven't done a big Sams shop in almost a month. Same with the produce market. I'm happy to say that I still have $160 of our $400 budget left for the month. Easy peasy (well unless the drugstores decide to mess things up again), cause we don't need much.  I only need to pick up bread and bananas next week. Sams was out of all wheat bread when I was there - yikes! I haven't eaten white bread in about 30 years (not including rolls/buns). 
  • Boy was I shocked at the price increases at Sams! It looks like they increased lots of prices while everyone was on Christmas break. I don't keep a price book, but I can easily tell when the prices are different (I have a photographic memory). All meat (lunch meat too) & cheese & other dairy prices have skyrocketed. Thankfully, we didn't need much at Sams this time around, but spending $150 for a few items was shocking.
  • I used 5 lbs of the chicken breast to make fajita chicken. We used some to make tacos for dinner tonight and froze the rest. I had some old taco shells we needed to use up. I also cooked a pot of beans to go with it and added a big salad on the side. 
  • I also made some pulled chicken that we can use for salad and wraps next week. I haven't made pulled chicken in years. I had some BBQ sauce I needed to use, so nothing went to waste.
  • I finally go the last of my Christmas gifts delivered. DH didn't attend school due to covid exposure that Christmas week, so I didn't send in Christmas gifts. (I'm friends with many of his old teachers, so I send them all gifts every year).  However, I couldn't find all the gcs I purchased for them. I had some in my gc folder, but couldn't remember what I did with the Meijer ones. Finally found it in my birthday cards drawer (I keep a stack of cards, so that it's easy to just write one when someone has a birthday). Then I discovered that I didn't have enough Christmas cards for everyone. Oh no. But I then remembered that the ASPCA sent me some free cards, envelopes and address labels last month, so I used some of those cards. I wrote a personal note in each card, added the WAGS chocolates and gcs and everyone's happy. 
  • I did almost no after Christmas shopping. We just don't need anything. We're still using Christmas wrapping supplies (wrap, tape, tags, bows, gift bags etc) that I purchased at 90% off over a decade ago. I only picked up a book for DH and some replacement lights. 
  • A big thank you to everyone for their sleepwear recommendations. I checked Walmart again to see if they had better fabric. Their brand is the same as my current pjs I bought on clearance for $3 a few years ago (2-3 years), but the fabric content is different (that explains why the new ones look & feel so cheap). My current ones are 60% cotton, while the new ones are 100% recycled polyester. No thank you!! I'm seriously leaning towards Soma, but I just cannot bring myself to pay $45 for a sleep shirt. My parents worked in the industry, so my mom, sister and I used to get lots of fancy pjs and undies at cost price. My dad's company manufactured sleepwear for all the high end retailers in South Africa.I still have a terry robe (the first one he bought me almost 30 years ago). It's finally started to get small holes, so I stopped wearing it. But it shows just how good the quality was back then, because things were made to last. 
  • I stocked up on more undies for DS after Christmas. He's not liking the Izod ones I bought him at Burlington (after struggling to find underwear at many stores) last year. I don't blame him. It's not 100% cotton, so it started to stretch. His favorite brand cost $43-45 per pack (only 3 undies per pack). There's only one store that I've been able to find this style and brand at  55% off. It's also the only place that had the 100% cotton ones, so I wasted no time. I got 5 packs and called it a day. He opened some of his favorite brand ones in the stockpile, so the new ones will all go back into the stockpile for a rainy day. 
  • I also bought him some casual shorts at 70% off during those after Christmas sales. I needed to spend $60 to get free shipping, so I added a few extra items to resell. That will at least help recoup some of our OOP. 
  • I bought him another 2 pairs of casual shorts at Kohls. I had $30 KC/Y2Y rewards to use by Jan 1st. I saw how hard it was to spend my BF KC, because their clearance items are still super pricey (at least to me). So I decided to just spend the KC on DS and pay shipping OOP. Paying that $8.95 shipping was totally worth it, compared to me having to waste an hour in store plus gas, just to try to find something to spend it on. The online order took me about 5 minutes. 
  • I still have some bonus gcs that I need to spend on myself this weekend, as they are expiring. I don't even know what I want to buy. My closet's full.
  • I only stopped at WAGS this week, because I had a $5 RR that was expiring. They have a good deal on Dial this week, so I decided to stock up on bar soap. I figured that the $2 per pack (8 ct pack) (without Q) is a great price. Here's what I did:
Trans 1 (my account)

2 x Dial b/w $8.00
Less DQ (1.50)
Less RR (5.00)
Less WC (1.00)
Tax 0.48
OOP $0.98

Earned $4 RR

Trans 2 (DH account)

2 x Dial bar soap $8.00
Less Dial DQ (1.50)
Less WC (5.00)
Tax 0.48
OOP $1.98

Earned $4 RR

Trans 3 (DH account)

2 x Dial bar soap $8.00
Less WC (5.00)
Tax 0.48
OOP $3.48

Earned $4 RR

Total OOP $6.44

This is a better price than when Target has the gc deal plus I have oodles of WC to lower my OOP.  I'm a happy camper.

I need to take a look at next week's RA ad, because I have BC I need use. 

I'm now going to work on cleaning my office. I have a lot of listing to do next week, so I need an organized space. Then I'm going to try and have an early night. I'm running on empty. I've been awake since my 4.30 am bathroom break. 

I also need to catch up on reading everyone's blogs sometime this weekend.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone! Stay safe, warm & healthy.

Saturday, January 1, 2022

My 2022 Goals

Happy New Year everyone. I hope you all enjoyed the holiday break. I'm a day ahead this week. I keep thinking that today is Sunday. It sure feels like a Sunday to me. 


Well, last year's goals went out the window. So much for it being my year to save. We ended up spending way more than expected due to shortages & inflation. 


I love the beginning of the year. It's a brand new chance to start afresh. So this year's going to be my year to save. My goals are pretty similar to last year.  


Grocery budget


  • I set a goal of $300 p/m for last year. I'm setting a goal for $400 p/m (this includes groceries, cleaning products & HBA) this year. While I can probably get by on $300-350 p/m, I'm giving myself some wiggle room. We are in great shape where groceries/HBA/cleaning products are concerned. We still have a full stockpile and last month proved that I can just go to Sams and the produce market, then spend $20-30 p/w on groceries. I will try to fill in the gaps of stockpile items we've used, so that our stockpile never dwindles.
 

Try to curb food waste


  • We've been doing very well in this category. I'm cooking less, which forces us to eat leftovers until it's gone. It also helps to have freezer meals (I love freezer cooking because it saves me so much time)  so that we're not tempted to just get carry out when we're busy, sick or just not in the mood to cook. Our bodies are thanking us for eating less junk. 


Continue couponing hard

  • That should actually say 'get back to couponing hard'. The only places I've used coupons at last year, were drugstores. With all the shortages, I was just focused on completing our stockpile. 



Earn at least $1000 in gift cards


  • While I didn't reach my goal, I didn't do too badly. There were times that I was so overwhelmed last year, that I didn't bother to reach my daily goals. So this year I'm gonna attempt to reach all those daily goals and earn more gcs. I'm gonna have to play around with different strategies to see which one works best to stretch those gc $$$. I have a few ideas. I will use some gcs to cover most of my Christmas shopping again.


Save all Rakuten checks towards Christmas shopping. 


$0 Clothes & shoes budget


  • Trust me when I say WE DON'T NEED ANYTHING.   I stocked up on so much last year, that we have everything we need & more. There's spares of everything. If DS needs anything, it will be paid for with an earned gc or money earned from selling our old clothes.

  • The only thing I need is new sleep shirts. I don't like 2 piece sleep sets. I've found that Walmart had the best quality sleep shirts, but the ones they stocked last year were of a very poor quality. Yuck, I don't like cheap fabric. I'd rather pay more for better quality. So I'm still searching for sleepwear. This will be paid for with either gcs or from our sold items. 

 

Sell 100 clothing/accessory items


  • I know that some of you probably fell off your chairs after seeing that number. My goal was to pull 60 pieces from my closet last year to resell. Well, I ended up adding over 100 items to my closet again. That kinda defeats the purpose. I blame the gcs and freebies stores keep sending me. I cleaned out (well not really) one store during the semi-annual sale (It's a good thing the sale isn't as good this year...lol) last year. Also stores keep sending me free money, so what's a girl to do?

  • I know it's gonna be tough to come up with 100 items, because I don't get rid of my WHBM items. I buy quality, timeless pieces, so that I can wear it for years. About 70% of my wardrobe is WHBM, so I guess I'm gonna have to get rid of the other 30%. I spent part of the day going through our closets. I did manage to pull & list some things from both mine & DS's closets. In fact, I pulled far more items from DS's closet, because he's outgrown many things. 

 Continue saving change and small bills


I didn't save much last year. Actually, I did save quit a bit, but I always pull those bills from my containers when yard sale season hits. I like to have small bills ready when paying for purchases at yard sales.  

  • The coins are easy though. I always come home with a bunch of coins and only cashed out half of it last year. I do have a plan for the coins too.


 Save $30 per week for discounted gift cards


  • I love buying discounted or bonus gift cards. Why pay full price when you can keep or add extra cash to your pocket. Yes, I even buy discounted gcs as gifts too. The recipient doesn't know it's discounted though, but I'm winning. I've already added $150 to that fund since there were 5 Fridays in December (I start saving for the next Christmas the minute I finish Christmas shopping for the current year). Many store have discounted gcs throughout the year, so I'll be keeping an eye out for those. 


Work on my 4K drugstore earning plan


  • This is my plan to clear at least $4k by reselling drugstore purchases. I'm going to add Dollar General & Target to the mix, because there's not enough weekly drugstore deals to reach this goal. I've already sold a few things the past 2 months, but it's going to be easier to just start anew  from today. I like everything in it's tidy little boxes, so starting with a November number will drive me nuts. I'm just gonna stick to the calendar year. I'm actually excited about this, because I did it years ago. I think I used to clear about $2k per year. Back then there were no coupon or deal limits at the stores. 


Work more


  • This is always ongoing. It's been a struggle trying to find balance between work & family the past 2 years. I do everything myself, so it's hard making time to just focus on work. I need to get back in my zone. I'm setting dedicated work hours. I've already set work financial and listing goals, so I just need to get my butt in gear and execute the work.


Max my IRA by April


  • Whoo-hoo! One goal I completed last year, so I'm aiming for it again. Can definitely be achieved again, if I stick to the 'work more' plan

 

Save 70% of my net income after taxes


  • Since this is the 'year to save', I'm going BIG!! We are FI, so it's basically just our daily living expenses with a few extras we have to pay for. This might seem like a crazy goal to many (I have a $ amount in mind), but I've deliberately set such a big goal. I figure that even if I don't reach that goal, I would at least have tried my best to reach it, thus still giving me a huge chunk to add to savings. Go big or go home!!

  • I know that this is going to be hard work, because it's become harder to source inventory since the dawn of the pandemic. That just means that I have to be more creative. I've always been the type who's up for a good challenge. 


That's about it for me. I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.   

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...