Friday, February 25, 2022

Some bits & bobs

Hi everyone!

I hope everyone had a good week. It's a bit busy at Casa Goose.  I'm behind, behind, behind. My insomnia's back (too much on my mind), so I'm not getting nearly enough done due to fatigue. Just a few things that happened around here.

  • I ordered DS a gift from Target, then a week later Meijer had the same item for $10 less. I contacted Target CS about a price adjustment. They told me that Meijer doesn't qualify for price adjustments, but since I've been a loyal Circle member for so long, they will honor Meijer's lower price. So they emailed me a $10.60 gc (I paid for the original gift with a gc). Happy dance! Target has always had excellent customer service. I'm surprised they don't price match with Meijer, because Meijer's one of their biggest competitors around here.
  • I had a few overripe bananas, so I made a double batch of banana oatmeal muffins and froze half.
  • I made a special trip to Aldi for strawberries & more samosas and they were out of samosas! Say it isn't so! I somehow knew that would happen (that's why I wanted to stock up), because Aldi usually has select items for a limited time only. I'm so very thankful for Trader Joe's, because I know that store won't disappoint me. I'll just buy samosas whenever I'm near TJs.
  • I cleaned out my gc folder and found a $25 Walmart gc. I don't know how that happened, because I always make detailed notes on all my gcs (dates, amount used, balance). Do I sound like a geek?...lol. I always hold on to used gcs, in case there's some discrepancy or a return at a later stage. Then I check all balances before throwing any away. Good thing too, cause I would've thrown away $25.
  • I had an appointment at Sams and decided to just do my shopping while I'm there, instead of waiting until next week. I used the $25 Walmart gc and redeemed another $10 one from Microsoft and that paid for part of my grocery haul. Sams didn't have any chicken breasts (noooooooo), so I picked up a package of tenders instead. We still have some chicken breasts in the freezer.  DH's yogurt was $2 off (thru 3/3), so I bought 3 cases instead of the 2 I had planned. 
  • I also bought 2 cooked pizzas at the Sams cafe. I do this every other month. We'll eat some and freeze the rest. It only costs $19 total for 2 x 16" pizzas and it provides many meals. I just add a salad to it. We love the Deluxe, cause it's loaded with meat (pepperoni & italian sausage) & veggies.
  • Meijer has pint blueberries on 2 day sale for 99c, so I bought 5 pints. I'm gonna make a triple batch of blueberry pancakes for the freezer. Who doesn't love to just heat and eat homemade freezer meals?
  • I pulled some Italian sausage, diced onions & peppers from the freezer and threw it into the instant pot. I made some fried potatoes and we'll add leftover broccoli & baked beans to it for dinner. There's also brioche rolls/buns and ciabatta if DS wants extra carbs. No money spent on fast food.
  • I totally splurged on myself this week. I had my eye on a few things and when the store had a flash sale, I decided to just grab those items before they sold out. Good thing too, because it did sell out. I splurged about $180 on myself this month. I pulled the exact same items from my closet. Once the new ones arrive (will have to see if it fits), I will list the old ones for more than double what I just spent on myself. Yep, you read that right. This is what I love about buying our stuff at deep discounts. 
  • I received my Rakuten check for a whopping $17.xx this week. Every $ counts though. Very rare for me to get so little in February, but my November check was sizeable due to early Christmas shopping. 
  • Eddie Bauer sent me another $10 Q (good thru April), so I'll wait for a free shipping day. 
  • I opened my last face wash last week (I still can't believe I used those 3 tubes so fast. Feels like I just bought it the other day) and made a mental note to keep an eye out for a good sale. This week Wags has a great sale on Dove and my face wash is B2G1F. So here's what I did 
Trans 1 (My account)

2 x Dove b/w B1G2nd 50% off $13.18
2 x Dove hand soap $9.98
2 x Dove hand soap B1G2nd  50% off 4.98
3 x Loreal cleanser B2G1F 
Less Dove b/w DQ (7.00)
Less Dove DQ (3.00)
Less Loreal DQ (2.00)
Less Loreal DQ (2.00)
Less WC (20.00)
Tax 2.50
OOP $10.22

Earned $20 WC ($10 Dove - buy 3 get $5 WC, $5 WYS $20 booster. I have no idea where the extra $5 reward comes from, but I'm not complaining). So I basically paid $10.22 for everything, because I earned the exact same amount of rewards that I spent. This was such a blessing, because I really needed the cleanser. So I decided to do the same deal on DH's account too

Trans 2 (DH account)

2 x Dove b/w B1G2nd 50% off $13.18
2 x Dove sanitizer $9.98
2 x Dove sanitizer B1G2nd  50% off 4.98
1 x Garnier cleanser 7.99
1 x Loreal cleanser 6.79
1 x Loreal cleanser B2G1F (mix & match) 0.00
Less Dove DQ (3.00)
Less Loreal DQ (2.00)
Less Loreal DQ (2.00)
Less WC (20.00)
Tax 2.58
OOP $18.50

Earned $20 WC (same as above). 

@#%$*%$ WAGS!!! I could immediately see that my $7 DQ didn't deduct. I could've asked for the manager to add points to my account, but I was logged into my own account on my phone and have no idea what DH's password is. So I contacted CS when I got home and they added $7 points to his account.

The downside to the Dove deal is that not all stores carry the hand soap. Last night I especially checked that this location has inventory, so I could go shop today. Got to the store and there's NO hand soap. Then I noticed that the sanitizer is part of the sale (same price as hand soap), so I added that instead. I could've just purchased the b/w and added Crest to get to 3 items, but the total would be too low for me to redeem rewards and get the booster. (I know, Wags is too complicated to understand). 

This store only had 2 Loreal cleansers, so I added Garnier. I really wanted Aveeno (I use that brand when I'm out of Loreal), but the Aveeno was $8.99 for ONE cleanser. No way! I've used Garnier years ago, so I just added that instead. 

I also noticed that DS is down to 5 bottles of Old Spice b/w. That might sound like a lot to some, but this gives me more than enough time to look for a rock bottom sale to stock up on. I like to keep track of our needs, so we don't have to spend too much money on it. Look at how pricey that Aveeno is. I got 3 cleansers and a whole pile of Dove for just $1 more than the one Aveeno tube. I'll take the savings any day.

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

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

My creative February grocery budget

Hi everyone

It's been a minute since I've posted anything. Not much happening at Casa Goose. I had another back injury (slipped and fell on the ice) that had me out of commission for a few weeks. So guess who's behind again. 

I did manage to get out and grocery shop last week. I just did all my errands in one go. I figured if it's all out of the way, then I can just stay home to rest & heal. Here's what I did:


Produce market  : $61.04


Sams : $48.56 (picked up a bunch of stuff )

Less $40 Ibotta gcs (40.00)

OOP : $8.56


Meijer  (buy 5 save $5 sale. price is after discount)

10 x Kraft cheese $18.90

Less bottle refund (11.40) cashed in some pop cans

Less Kraft DQ (0.50)

OOP $7.00

Earned $1.25 Ibotta


Kroger

5 x half gallon milk on sale for 0.87 each = $4.35

2 x 5 lb potatoes on sale for $1.47  = 2.94

1 x O Mayer smokies 2.79

1 x Snuggle softener 2.99

Less Free OM mailer Q (2.79)

Less Snuggle Q (1.50)

Less KC (7.25)

Tax : 0.18

OOP $1.71


Walmart 

OOP : $31.18

I didn't need much, but decided to add  a few more canned goods. I found the big mushroom cans again and bought 4. When I packed it away, I noticed that the can is bigger than the old ones. So I compared the weight and they're both 8 oz, but the new can is taller (not slimmer though). Scratching my head at Walmart wasting extra aluminum for the same amount of product. 


Then I noticed that I have CVS & RA rewards expiring this week. So off to the stores I went again.

Aldi : $26.63

I only went to Aldi for their $2.99 bag oranges, I swear...lol. I saw in the ad 2 weeks ago that some locations might have samosas. Be still my heart. I'm so there. I didn't expect to find any, but was pleasantly surprised to see they were fully stocked. I would seriously have bought it all if stores didn't enforce limits. I only bought 4 boxes though, because I'm considerate of others :) I actually convinced another shopper to buy some too. She asked me about it when I got mine and I, of course, gave it rave reviews. Aldi should've given me a discount for that sales pitch...lol So that's how my Aldi total ended up so high. No regrets. I will gladly break the budget for samosas. I grew up on this stuff, so it's nice to have a little taste of home. They do cost 70c more than Trader Joe's samosas, but Aldi is much closer to home. I'm gonna have to hit up a few more Aldi's to stock up. Even though I get creative with my grocery shopping, food is one thing that I will absolutely not skimp on. If I have to pay more for a taste of home or better quality food, then I will gladly do so. I don't mind cutting corners on others things, but food is in a league of it's own. I'm not embarrassed to say that DS & I already finished one box :)  It's very strange to me that they have a dipping sauce, because I've never had samosas with sauce. That would ruin the flavor. We used to eat tamarind as a candy when I was a child.



Target 

3 x Downy $35.97 Paid with a gc

Earned $10 gc

Ugh, I wanted Tide & Downy, but noticed that the deal only works on $19.99+ Tide. Sneaky Target. I'm low on fabric softener and Sams/Costco only have to floral scent which I don't like.



Rite Aid

1 Blow dry brush $10.59

1 x Revlon mascara 10.49

1 x Revlon mascara B1G2nd 75% off 2.62

Less Revlon DQ (4.00)

Tax 1.42

Less BC (19.00)

OOP $2.12

I read that RA will be changing their reward program. The details are still fuzzy, but it looks like they're going the WAGS way with redeeming only certain increments. At least that's what I think. I have to go check it again. I wanted to get more gcs with bonus points, but decided to just cash out my rewards. I don't want to mess with another complicated rewards programme. Wags gives me more than enough gray hair with theirs.

I was really happy to find my favorite mascara on sale. I've been wanting to get more, but was waiting on a good WAGS sale. Yes, I'm old school. I still use a blow dry brush, because I hate the flat iron. 



CVS

2 x Garnier shampoo 7.00

3 x Pantene shampoo/conditioner 12.00

1 x Pantene conditioner 5.29

2 x Tresemme 9.00

2 x Colgate t/p 7.98

Less Ganier Q (4.00)

Less Pantene DQ (5.00)

Less Tresemme DQ (3.00)

Less Tresemme DQ (3.00)

Less Colgate DQ (2.00)

Less 4/25 Shampoo DQ (4.00)

Less EB (10.00)

Tax 2.22

OOP $12.19 Paid with a Swagbucks gc

Earned 17 EB ($10 Pantene, $2 Tresemme, $5 Colgate). Should get another $3 Beauty EB

I didn't know I had 2 Tresemme DQs, but there's lots of glitches at CVS this week.

Oy, CVS. I knew that my total seemed rather high. I mean, I write out a detailed list before going shopping. I did have a Loreal makeup deal on the list, but my store didn't carry that Loreal line. Even so, I just knew I was paying too much. CVS was my last stop for the day, so when I got home I checked my receipt. Bloody hell, they charged me for 4 Pantene instead of 3. That 4th one cost $5.29!!! No way. Got back into my car and back to CVS I went (thankfully the store is on my doorstep). As I got out of my car, the CVS bag broke. Now I'm really aggravated, because I was picking up beauty products in the parking lot. Got into the store and the 2nd bag broke (I took everything back to show what I purchased). Grrrr. I just dumped everything into a shopping basket.

So long story short. I explained what happened and the manager starts ringing up a credit. Total credit $1.47!!! WTH?! You're charging me $5.49 for an item I never purchased and want to refund me $1.47?!! Are you crazy?! I didn't say that out loud, but I sure thought it.  Manager said it's because I used coupons. I didn't use any Qs on that item, but the 4/25 and EB affected the price. So manager asked if I would just prefer the extra Pantene instead of the refund. I agreed, cause I'm better off this way. I would never pay that much for a shampoo, but it was better than the $1.47. 

So my total OOP for groceries this month : $138.24

Happy Dance!! I've proven to myself that I can get by on a lower budget. I just have to be creative. Besides, we have a full stockpile, so there's no need to go crazy at the stores. Only one week left of this month and I still have $61.76 left to play with. We don't need much. Just a few produce items and bread rolls for DS.  I'm thinking of setting a $300 budget for next month. I'd like to spend less than that, but I'm giving myself wiggle room again.

I'm thinking of skipping the produce market for the next few months. They have gotten way too expensive. I'm just gonna keep cherry picking produce deals at the grocery stores. 

So that's my month to date. I cashed in pop cans, redeemed rewards and gcs to help keep my OOP low. I'm very happy with the results. 

Hope everyone stays safe & warm. 

Saturday, February 5, 2022

January month end check in

How crazy is it that January flew by so fast?! Every new month seem to go by faster than the last.  Here are my numbers for January.


Groceries/HBA/Cleaning

Produce market : $51.36

Aldi : 32.50

Dollar Tree : $3.00 (newspaper)

Kroger : $59.55

Meijer : $39.72

Sams : $487.82

Walmart : $74.12

Walgreens : $28.40

Total OOP : $776.47


Earnings 

$42.27 Ibotta + $27.25 KCB

Total earnings : $69.52


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


My high Sams total was intentional. I did not want to make multiple trips to the store, so I decided to just stock up for February when I shopped during the last week of January. 

The grocery ads are so dismal. Sales are slims pickings and everything now cost way more. I find myself doing the bulk of my shopping at Sams and then just filling in the gaps at the other stores. Kroger has been really good sales wise, but darn if their cash back isn't a pain in the patoot. I, once again, didn't receive my latest KC and figured I had to contact CS again. It finally credited after 5 days. Oy vey!

I'm giving myself $200 grocery money for February. That might be too much, but the drugstores can throw me off, so I'm giving myself a generous amount. I also have $40 Walmart gcs, so we're in great shape, especially since Sams is done. I only need some select produce items and yogurt from Sams. Add in my KC and I have a total of $247.25 to spend this month. I can do this...lol

I haven't done any February shopping yet. I've made my shopping lists, but they are short ones. I'm trying to just cherry pick this month. I really don't want to go to the produce market since they have become pricey, but they have the best price on loose beets and leeks. I also want to see if I can get some $2 fruit boxes. 


MONEY EARNED (SIDE HUSTLE)


GCs Earned $25 (Mypoints)

Personal items (things we've had listed for the past 2 years) : $122.44

2022 Closet cleanout : $80.56

Big goal : $0

4K Challenge: $15.57

Total earnings : $243.57


Earnings are pretty decent for January. People are usually recovering from holiday shopping, so January is normally a ho-hum kinda sales month. 

I listed 24 items from my closet this month. Go me! 

I pulled & listed way more than that from DS's closet. He has so many things that no longer fit, so I needed to replace a few things. So much for no shopping, but such is life. I need to check on winter clearance to see what I can purchase now for next winter. 

Thank you to the reader who recommened Soma. I found a bunch of sleep shirts on sale, so I stocked up. Paid with my WHBM gc. I was rather disappointed when it arrived, because the fabric was similar to the new el cheapo fabric Walmart currently has. I know that this isn't normal Soma quality, because I've shopped with them for years. Then one of DS's items I purchased, had similar quality too. Recycled polyester. No frigging way.

I have a theory. I know that my theory is 99.9% correct. The world is still in a pandemic. Most of our manufacturing is outsourced. So when China and other eastern countries shut down due to covid, we couldn't get anything produced from there. So retailers had to find alternative sources to get their products manufactured. It's not like shopping can come to a standstill. So they've moved manufacturing to whatever other countries they could (more cheap labor though).  This is why you'll notice that most items are either too small or too big. They're not used to working with American measurements (I don't know why the US doesn't switch to the metric system. It's so much easier). 

Now remember that fabric also needs to be manufactured. If they don't have the raw materials, then you can't produce fabric. If you don't have fabric, you can't produce new clothes. I've noticed that several retailers now try to pay you for your old clothes. Those old items are then recycled to produce 'new' clothes that we are now paying exorbitant prices for. If you look at the tags on your new clothing, many will say 'recycled polyester'. Once again, I'm glad that I stocked up before this madness. I don't like cheap fabric. I want good quality. I don't want to pay an arm and a leg for cheap recycled junk. Don't get me wrong. I'm glad things aren't going to the landfill and are getting recycled. The part I hate is that we are being ripped off with crazy high prices for inferior quality products.

Eddie Bauer sent me another $10 gc and free shipping. So another item added to my collection. 


YTD Earnings :

GCs (point earning sites) : $25

Ibotta : $42.27

Personal items : $122.44

2021 Closet cleanout : $80.56

Big goal : $0

4K Drugstore challenge : $15.57

Total Earnings (excl Ibotta) : $258.84


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

OOP : $84.76 (DS only)

Christmas gifts : $3.18

Gift cards  purchased : $150.00

Gift card savings/bonuses :  $26.00

Total OOP $237.94


Total Christmas gc cash saved : $270.00 (this will be used to buy holiday gc gifts and Target gcs) 


YTD OOP (clothing/shoes/accessories, Christmas gifts) : $237.94

YTD Christmas OOP : 3.18 (I'm making a note of this to track how much I'm spending on Christmas)

YTD side hustle income (personal, closet cleanout, drugstore) : $218.57

YTD GC bonus/savings earned  : $26.00

YTD Clothing/Christmas  Balance : ($19.37)


Technically speaking, we're not really in the red. I've decided to add those purchased gcs amounts to our clothing expenses. I have a plan for it. More on that at another time. I purchased the gcs, because it added an extra $26 to my pocket. No complaints here. 

That was our expensive January. Crazy that I spent so much more money in January than I did in December. 

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...