Sunday, December 10, 2017

Quick Guppy 2 Update and Some Frugal Things...


First a quick thank you to those who reached out via the blog or email.  It really sucks to watch your kids go through heartbreak, doesn't it?

For anyone wondering, Guppy 2 is doing "okay". We have had a constant revolving door of friends visiting/sleeping over.  It has kept G2's spirit up as much as they can be.  Later this afternoon she is heading to a hockey game with her BFF and BFF's aunt to which she is very much looking forward.  (The BFF Aunt is incredibly supportive, bubbly, and generous to a fault.  She loves G2 like family which I will be forever grateful for!)

Next weekend, we have our Lantern Lights Tour and G2 is giving her BFF the ticket originally bought for the ex-boyfriend.  We will probably be doing gingerbread houses and other "festive" things so that should help keep G2 busy all weekend.

Then, the Friday before Christmas we have our big concert in Long Island.  Luckily, G2's BFF was scheduled to go with us from the beginning.  The BFF has been going to see this band with us since the girls were nine years old and this is a special "anniversary" show dedicated to performing one of our favorite albums in its entirety.  No doubt it will be a fun night for all of us!

I guess my point is that I *think* we have enough fun stuff coming up to get G2's Christmas spirit back!  As the days go on, I think it may be getting a little easier for her to move on past D....at least that's Papa and my hope.  More people have reached out to G2 than she expected and she has found her support system is way larger than she thought it would be.  I cannot begin to tell you all how much that warms my heart!


Anyway....


Here are a few things I have done to save a bit of money recently....

1  Returned some empty printer ink cartridges to Staples.  The customer service rep said it would take about a month for an email with my coupon to be generated.  That's okay though.  I can always grab something from Staples in January - I'm a notebook/paper/pen fiend!  A $20 voucher will be heading my way and I got a small bag of junk out of the house!

2,  While it might not seems frugal initially, I am calling this a win.  I did a HUGE stock up over at CVS for Health & Bath supplies.  My out of pocket amount was $78.32 (ouchie!) BUT I saved almost $42 AND got $16 in ECBs for a future purchase.
Included in my haul:
1. 6 boxes of tissues (enough to most likely last a year)
2.  6 bottles of body wash
3. 2 LARGE bottles of shampoo
4  2 bottles of conditioner
5.  Enough feminine products to last at least three to four months
6.  New toothbrush for Papa
7.  24 rolls of toilet paper
I'm partly calling this a "win" since I have been having trouble just keeping my head above water lately and thinking straight!  LOL

3.  Papa and I have been trying to steal time here and there to watch Christmas movies we have DVR'd from the Hallmark Channel, watch Christmas DVDs we already have, or alternate reading aloud one of our favorite Christmas books (Let It Snow - three authors with stories that intertwine).

4.  A new Thai place opened up and I REALLY wanted to just say "Screw it!  Let's go!" to Papa on the night that G2 was with her friends and G1 was at Ramsey's.  Rather than doing that, I stuck to my original plan for cooking dinner at home - Blackened Chicken Salads - which was delicious.  We will save the Thai place for another time.  Possibly after the new year begins.

5.  I was able to earn another $10 in Target gift cards.  As (bad) luck would have it, some of the strands of lights on the tree have shorted - of course AFTER the tree was completely decorated. But, I have a total of $15 in gift cards so Papa and I will run over there tonight and grab some new lights for most likely $0 out of pocket.

6.  I "earned" another $10 in Amazon gift cards as well!  My total "free" Amazon money was $45!  There is $25 left since I bought myself new slippers (which Papa will wrap up and put under the tree for me as one of my gifts LOL).

7.  I scored a free 8x10 wall calendar from Shutterfly.  I have until 12/31 to order it but will probably do it this week sometime.  Papa's office is kind of bare and I thought a wall calendar with pictures from our Vermont trip and our family would brighten it up a bit.  *Hopefully* I will get it by Christmas....if not, I'll find a way to let him know that the calendar is on the way.  =)


And I guess that's it!

I hope everyone has a great Sunday!



Friday, December 8, 2017

Not So Merry & Bright At The Moment.....



My posting will probably be sporadic for a bit right now....

I'm trying to salvage Christmas for Guppy 2.

Remember that wonderful tree trimming I talked about in my DayBook post?  That was Saturday night.  On Tuesday, D broke up with Guppy 2.  They had a brief breakup November 2016 but were essentially together for two years.

While I didn't expect them to stay together forever, D breaking up with her blindsided us all.  This was G2's first "real" boyfriend and her first legitimate breakup as we are fairly sure this is now a done deal.  Added to the mix is the fact that he is being downright cruel - with his words to and about G2 and the fact that he seems to have bounced on to another girl who was waiting in the wings - unbeknownst to anyone else.  It's so hard to watch your kiddo hurting....especially at Christmastime.

Papa thinks G2 will perk up sooner than later.  I truly hope he's right.  But for now, I'm in the weeds trying to help nurse my poor baby's heart.  There have been a lot of late night talks because of crying jags and insomnia.  She took Wednesday off from school but went yesterday and today.  While she is gone, I try to rest a little myself and keep the house running as smoothly as I can.

I'm thankful she has a few good friends who have stepped up to help cheer her up.  And, I'm happy to see she has friends from school who have reached out to offer help too.

We will get her through this.  And she will survive of course.

But...

The timing could NOT have been worse, don't you agree?

Truly I wish 2017 would just end already.

Sorry to be a downer.  I'm hoping to blog next time that all is well in my world again and Guppy 2 is on the mend.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Monday, December 4, 2017

Day Book for December 4th, 2017




Happy Monday morning everyone!


Outside my window...
I can't see much out my front living room window this morning because of the HUGE Christmas tree blocking it!  Haha!  If I try to *peek* around it, I can see that it's pretty frosty out there this morning though.

What I am hearing...
The morning news on the tv in the family room, the creaking of our Christmas animatronics moving, cars going by the house, and, as always, the dog snoring on the couch.

What I am feeling...
Tired today.  And, strangely enough, very stuffed up.  Every December I get like this after we cut down and bring our fresh tree in the house.  Funny thing is I don't have any issue being outside in the woods....And I am choosing to ignore the fact that the same thing happens to my mom because, you know, it's Christmas and I have to have my freshly cut tree - its freaking tradition!  I am NOT allergic to Douglas Fir trees!  I absolutely refuse!  LOL

What I am thinking...
Let's see.....I'm thinking that I am extremely grateful that the Guppies are now in their mid and late teenage years and I no longer have to scramble to find the season's hottest toy/gadget.  While it was fun to do it, it was really stressful as well!
I'm thinking about the lists I need to start creating too - holiday gifts to buy, cookies to bake, decorations still to get up, menu for the week, etc.  I really do tend to love my lists!

What I am reading...
I feel like I really have slacked off in my reading for 2017.  On the app Goodreads, I set a target of reading 40 books this year.  As of this morning's check, I have only read 28!  So, yeah I'm not going to hit my 40 books this year! 
Anyway, right now I am reading Plenty: One Man, One Woman, and a Raucous Year of Eating Locally.  I just started it so I don't have an opinion yet.  Besides the fact that for some reason I tend to gravitate towards these books in the winter months.  Maybe it's because I would LOVE to be able to accomplish something like eating locally, growing my own food, etc.



Weekend Update...

Friday night Papa and I went to the movies.  He really wanted to see "The Man Who Invented Christmas" - a fictional recollection of how Charles Dickens wrote the book A Christmas Carol.  I thought the movie had flaws but was mostly cute.  And Christopher Plummer was AH-MAZING as Scrooge.  Papa agreed about Christopher Plummer but downright hated the movie.  I felt so bad since he was so looking forward to it but at least we had a night out.


On Saturday morning, Papa, G1 and Ramsey, G2, and I went to my favorite Christmas tree farm to cut down our tree.  Papa always grumbles about going to this particular farm as they are a bit pricey but I LOVE it there!  And it's been our tradition to go to this farm ever since we were married so I am not changing now!  Haha! 
Anyway, it was a perfect weather day and there were so many perfect trees to choose from this year!  We let G2 make the final decision and it's one we won't forget anytime soon!  We love big bushy trees - as in the wider the better!  G2 found one that we originally nicknamed "Cartman" because of how squat and fat it seemed before we cut it down.  Now that it is up in the house G2 renamed it "Bertha" because she says it reminds her of a fat crooked old lady!  LOL  (No offense to any readers out there named Bertha)
I really want to take a picture of it to show you all but the pictures aren't coming out right and definitely not doing this tree justice.  Even with our swivel tree stand, we can't get the thing to stand up completely straight due to it's crooked upper half.  And we have decided to call this year's tree topper our "shooting star" as it literally leans WAAAY towards one side!
But, this tree makes me smile and we all love it!

Saturday night, G2 invited D over to help decorate the tree.  I wish I had the forethought to have made cookies but they did have some eggnog and we played Christmas music while we decorated it.  It was a really nice evening.

Sunday was mostly a chill out day here at home.  Papa did some outside decorating and I caught up on some of the laundry.  Plus I made a big chicken dinner with homemade stuffing since I had leftover stuffing bread in the freezer since buying it on sale at Thanksgiving.




And, with that, I guess I'm off to start the day!


Friday, December 1, 2017

Recent Freebies!



Happy December 1st!

'Tis the season for freebies!

Here is a list of my latest!

1.  Fall Home D├ęcor - My parents like to decorate for each season/holiday and after a little while (two to three years) they get "bored" with what they have.  The day after Thanksgiving my parents asked me if I wanted some of their decorations they just didn't want anymore.  I didn't look completely through the three boxes - they are tucked away in the basement for next year already!  But my mom has great taste so I am sure I will love what she gave me!

2.  Printer Ink Cartridges - Again, from my parents.  They went to Staples for their "door buster" sale and decided to buy ink cartridges for themselves AND my family!  We have needed color ink for awhile now so it was greatly appreciated!

3.  Amazon gift cards - Through various programs/rewards/points, I was able to cash in $35 dollars worth of gift cards for Amazon!  I really do kick myself around this time of the year because, if I had enough motivations through the ENTIRE year, I could really save some decent money.  But, I am happy to have this waiting for me in my account right now!

4.  Target gift card - I was able to score a $5 gift card for Target through the Coke rewards program. While it's only $5 at the moment, I am hoping to find some other reward/points to raise this amount.  If not, $5 is still $5, right?

5.  Small backpack - The hospital gives something out to its employees every year around this time.  Last year Papa got a nifty lunch bag (which he still uses).  This year they received a small (think commuter sized) black backpack. It has the hospital logo on it but I don't really care. I think it's pretty awesome!  And it has a padded pocket for a laptop which will make it easier for me to bring my computer to the library or wherever I feel like writing.


Have you gotten any good freebies recently?

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Spending Journal Update....



Truthfully, I should have known myself a LOT better...

I really love doing the spending journal and it helps keep me on track!

BUT...

If Thanksgiving was ANY indication of how the holiday season is going to be going, I will be way too busy to keep anything current and will get super frustrated.

I AM going to resurrect the weekly posts starting January 1st however.  I do think it's too valuable a tool to let fall by the wayside......

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Weigh In Wednesday



I wasn't looking forward to weighing in this week.  I really did enjoy myself a bit too much for way too long from Thanksgiving through Sunday!  Haha!

Anyway, I wasn't *too* upset when I got on the scale to find out that I was...

167.8

So, a gain of half a pound.

If you saw the way I ate, you would realize what a success this actually was!

I'm back "on track" this week and trying to up my steps the best I can.  My plantar fasciitis has been coming and going still so I'm back to doing the weird stretches with a towel to try to get some relief.  I'm missing my old days of 30k steps for sure though!  Right now I am averaging anywhere between 14 and 23K/day.

In other news, it appears that Weight Watchers will be changing their plan/point system yet again in the beginning of December.  From what I gather, I will find out the "new plan" on my first December weigh in day.  What I do know is that eggs and boneless skinless chicken breasts will be part of the 0 points foods.  I guess I will have to wait and see what the rest of the changes are next week.

How did you do last week if you are trying to lose weight?

Were you like me and lived a little/gained a little?

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Truly A Manic Monday....



I have an emotional hangover this morning from yesterday's crazy up and down events. 

Here's a bit of a recap of the highs and lows in the order they happened....

High
I decided to pick G1 up from Ramsey's yesterday morning as opposed to fighting Thanksgiving travel home traffic on Sunday night.  My choice was spot on!  (I-84 was a MESS Sunday night from what I have heard!)  My ride to and from Ramsey's was record time with NO traffic even in the usual spots!  I was dreading the drive because, after doing this for a year, it gets a little old.  I cannot wait for G1 to get her license!  She is really close to being able to schedule her driver's test.  An added bonus was, when I picked her up, Ramsey told me he has a date for his learner's permit test too so he's well on his way to getting his license since he has been practicing with his grandfather for years sans permit. 

Low
I picked G2 up at dismissal and she came out of school...alone.  I always bring D home so he doesn't have to ride the bus.  She got in and burst into a puddle of tears before I could even get the car into drive.  No, she and D didn't break up....G2 had a KILLER migraine but didn't want to miss History class because it was "important" she was there.  For G2's migraines, it's crucial that we try to get ahead of the pain right at the beginning.  Yesterday she had the migraine for over two hours before dismissal.   It ended up being the absolute WORST migraine she has had to date.  For her, either vomiting or sleep (sometimes a mixture of both) is the best way for her to get through the pain.  She vomited six times to no avail and the pain was so bad she couldn't sleep it off.  My heart broke as she begged me to bring her to the hospital so they "could put her under" (anesthesia) so she could sleep.  Eventually she was able to fall asleep and woke up a few hours later a bit better.  I kept her home today because she couldn't do any of the homework she was assigned yesterday.  I am scheduling her workup with our neurologist later this morning.  It's time she gets put on some preventative medications.

High
As long time readers know, I have not been a fan of our school system for G1.  There were only a handful - not even, more like three - teachers who were kind to G1 and saw her potential.  One of which was her Creative Writing teacher from last year.  Mrs. Y was a bright spot to G1's Senior year and really (in my opinion) reminded G1 she WAS talented and COULD think out of the box with great results.
Yesterday Mrs. Y came into Dollar Tree while G1 was working.  She was surprised to see G1 since G1 was supposed to be on her gap year.  As G1 checked Mrs. Y out, she explained the entire situation about Ramsey's messed up leg and putting it off for a year.  G1 has a really decent outlook on the whole thing now and left it very cheerfully with something along the lines of  "It's okay. It gives us a chance to earn more money before we go". 
Mrs. Y paid for her items and then handed G1 folded up money and said "Merry Christmas".  G1 tried to refuse but Mrs. Y wouldn't take it back. 
When G1 unfolded it, she found it was A ONE HUNDRED DOLLAR BILL!  We are all amazed by the generosity of this woman!  She is a teacher with two kids the same ages as mine.  G1 immediately gave it to me when she got home so I could put it with the "gap year money" that she doesn't touch.  G1 plans on getting Mrs.Y a small box of chocolates and a thank you note that her sister can hand deliver at school.

Low
Papa came home PISSED last night.  I mean absolutely FUMING!  His boss ran preliminary numbers by him regarding the new position and the salary isn't even in the ball park.  Papa was told a bunch of things including HR not wanting to go up too much since he was already an employee there.  And that he could get into the new position and then "prove himself".  Papa has already shown them his expertise and saved them MILLIONS of dollars without even having his hands in everything yet!  Papa really laid it on the line and told his boss that he was kicking himself for not pursuing a job here in our hometown that had a starting salary of 30K more than he makes now PLUS a 20% yearly bonus.  His boss asked what company and Papa told him.  The boss got flustered and said he didn't want Papa to leave the hospital.  Papa said he hadn't wanted to leave either and then left to go to a different meeting.
The boss sent Papa an email last night ,backpedaling  He said that the salary hasn't been completely decided yet and that a lot of factors were being reviewed.  We will see how this all plays out but Papa is tired and running out of patience.  He has set a LOT of new procedures/applications in place to help save the hospital money.  He has been asked to help people who make way more than he does fix situations that they have gotten themselves into through poor management/planning/or just plain laziness.  He has more than proven himself and his worth.



Let's hope today is kinder and definitely less manic! LOL

Have a great Tuesday everyone!


Sunday, November 26, 2017

Thanksgiving.....



I *think* I am finally fully awake from the Thanksgiving food coma I was in!  (Haha!)

Thanksgiving was actually really nice and (dare I say?) calm?  And, my family can attest the fact that one thing I usually am NOT on Thanksgiving is calm!  =)

Almost everything went smoothly with Papa's family - besides one very snarky remark made by my 24 year old niece at G2 regarding her not going to W's funeral.  Seriously?  G2, Papa, and I all chose to ignore it but IF niece said one more word, I was going Mama Bear on her.  It wasn't any of her business as to why G2 didn't go to the wake/funeral.  And, if Papa (W's BROTHER) was okay with it, well who cares what anyone else thought.

But, everything else down there was nice.  They chose to set up lunch as a buffet - which worked extremely well with so many people attending.  My mother in law looked wonderful too!  And, she even made her bread and rolls after just getting out of the hospital on Tuesday morning!

We left Papa's family at the time we were shooting for and I felt we had plenty of time to get ready for round two - the dinner we were hosting for my mom and dad....

Until, we pulled in the driveway and Papa realized he forgot his jacket at his aunt's house....40 minutes away!  Instead of having a freak out, I thought about our options and remembered that G2's bff has a spare key to our house!  Literally less than five minutes later, we were inside cooking and the "crisis" was solved.  (We still have to get back down to retrieve the jacket!)

Our dinner was nice and low key - thanks to the help of the microwave and all our prepping on Wednesday.  Our menu consisted of:

Alton Brown's brined turkey
Old Fashioned stuffing
Alton's corn "pudding"  (corn based stuffing)
Mashed potatoes
Chipotle mashed sweet potatoes
Dumplings with butter and onions
Homemade cranberry relish
Green beans with garlic
Corn
Stuffed mushrooms with bacon
Crescent rolls

Chocolate Pudding Pie with homemade whipped cream
Pumpkin pie with above whipped cream or Cool Whip
Apple pie with vanilla ice cream
(Papa made both pies)

We talked a LOT about our upcoming trip to Disney with my parents in April over dinner, which kept the conversation lively and AWAY from politics as my father as opposing views of everyone else in my family.

But, I really missed G1 terribly.  We talked twice on Thanksgiving but it wasn't the same.  Whether she will admit it or not, I think she felt the same way too - judging by the way she was talking.  She had a very nice time with Ramsey and his family but I am pretty sure she missed some of our traditions - like our end of the night drive to see the Christmas lights in the next town over.  And our annual Christmas movie kick off  by watching "Miracle on 34th Street" - I made Papa wait until she gets home so we can all watch it together.

I tried to keep up with reading blogs at least and it seems like everyone had a wonderful holiday too!

I think we all need some cheer this year, don't you?

Saturday, November 25, 2017

November Grocery Budget - Weeks 3 & 4


Things got so crazy here with getting ready for the holiday that I am combining the grocery "damage" for weeks 3 and 4....
Last check in,  I spent $171.52....Leaving me with $372.17 in my $600 budget this month.
Let's see what happened.....
*There were so many receipts I didn't bother putting them in chronological order!*


Stop and Shop:  $12.34
1 lb of store brand deli American cheese
1 (half gallon) store brand whole milk
1 box of 4 reduced sale corn muffins
2 chocolate covered donuts (for G2)


Aldi's:  $47.11
Canola oil
Large container of vegetable shortening
3lb bag of yellow onions
1 can of pumpkin puree
1 can evaporated milk
2 cans vegetable broth
1 bunch celery
4 packages of mushrooms
1 wedge Parmesan
2 bags of brown sugar
2 bags of carrots
1 bag of cranberries
2 packages of instant chocolate pudding
1 box organic golden raisins
1 honey bear
1 bag of navel oranges
1 bag of shredded Colby
1 lb of butter
1 box of cream cheese
2 dozen eggs (just noticed I only got charged for one!)
2 graham cracker pie crusts

Stop and Shop:  $45.72
1 loaf of bread
2 loaves of stuffing bread
1 loaf of French bread
3 donuts (for G2)
4 frozen dinners (different Asian varieties)
2 box of Green Giant corn in sauce
3 (12 packs) of Pepsi products
1 bag of cornmeal
1 canister of panko breadcrumbs
1 package of pork chops
1 package of fresh rosemary
1 package of fresh thyme
1 large bag of green beans


Big Y:  $119.65
2 packages of Cabot shredded cheddar cheeses
2 canisters of crescent rolls
1lb of deli American cheese
1 box of Hot Pockets
2 packages of hash brown patties
2 packages of pierogis
2 half gallons of ice cream (one vanilla and one cookie dough)
1 canister of rainbow sprinkles
1 (12 pack) Snapple
3 cans of creamed corn
1 (48oz) laundry detergent
1 (2lb) bag of popping corn
1 taco dinner kit
1 package of Oreos
2 bags of Doritos
5 (32 oz) Gatorades
4 (12 packs) Pepsi products
1 tube of toothpaste
3 lbs of sweet potatoes
15bs of russet potatoes
1 (almost 16 lbs) Butterball turkey


Big Y:  $16.16
1 package of Naan
1 large package of tortillas
1 premade vegetable korma with rice dinner for two
1 jar Newmans pineapple salsa


Big Y:  $22.01
4 packages of Pillsbury pie crusts (homemade crust emergency on the night before Thanksgiving!)
2 bags of Tostitos lime chips
1 roll of parchment paper
2lbs of sweet potatoes


Big Y:  $25.44
1 large bag of pizza rolls
2 containers of Cool Whip
2 large cartons of vegetable stock
1 package low fat graham crackers
2 bags of Lays
1 can of vegetable stock
2 cans of chicken broth
1 bag of pizza dough


Dollar Tree:  $7.82
2 rolls of tin foil
1 (26oz) canister of salt
1 box of Brillo
1 set of salt & pepper shakers
1 jar of ground ginger
1 (4 pack) of gum
1 (2 pack) of sponges


Big Y:  $40.73
1 frozen dinner (Kid Cuisine - G2 requested for "old times" sake LOL)
2 PF Changs frozen dinner mixes
1 bottle of cinnamon sticks
1 can of chipotle peppers in adobo
1 jar of Heinz gravy (I add drippings to it but that's as close to homemade gravy as I get for Thanksgiving!)
1 jar of crystalized ginger
1 Burts Bee lip balm


Total spent weeks 3 & 4:  $336.98
Left in November budget:  $35.19

Eeking very close to my $600 budget!  But, I am pretty confident we will be able to stay at or under my goal!  There are still plenty of leftovers and a freezer full of proteins.


How are you doing with your November grocery budget?

Did Thanksgiving totally derail your plans?

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Weigh in Wednesday and Other Miscellany



Stopping in for a real quick post before I start cranking up the Thanksgiving prepping!  Papa is home today and we are going to try to get at least 80% of our meal prepped/made for tomorrow so all that needs to be done on Thanksgiving is the turkey, dumplings, and rewarming side dishes.

So,

Weigh In Wednesday...

I'm super happy with the scale this week!  When I stepped on (twice to double check!) is said...

167.3!

I'm too lazy to go back and check my last WIW post, but I do know that I have lost over 17 pounds since April - 11 of which came off the month I have been on Weight Watchers.

While it has been kind of slow going, I am hoping that it stays off this time!




After being in the hospital for almost exactly two months, my mother in law was released yesterday!  She still has an extra "drain" in her side (which my sister in law and a visiting nurse will take care of until it is removed in a few weeks) but she is home!  Just in time for Thanksgiving - which, fortunately, she doesn't host....Papa's great aunt (my mil's sister) does.  
This *should* be the end of the fiasco with her health issues.  She will have the ostomy for the rest of her life and she is perfectly fine with that.  Now the goal is to keep her healthy and out of the hospital!

I have a stack of receipts to input for my grocery budget post but I think I am going to just combine it all for one large post some point next week.  I know I have been a horrible blogger lately!  Sorry!

The world has changed since we got that microwave!  (haha!)  Seriously, while I absolutely HATE losing any countertop right now, it has been so helpful!  I'm hoping that possibly my electricity bill will go down a little too - all that reheating food in the oven took a LOT of energy!  The size microwave we got will fit perfectly under some cabinets once Papa is able to get some brackets and build a shelf for me so I'll have the best of both worlds (microwave AND my countertop!) eventually.

G1 has been liking her job at Dollar Tree.  She likes the people she works with (a plus) and has been very good about saving a large portion of her check each payday....something I never did at her age.  I think her anxiety has diminished a little bit as well since she has begun earning some of her "own" money. 

G2 is excelling in a very difficult lit class at school.  Besides being an advanced class, the teacher is notorious for "picking" favorites in each class.....And, fortunately for us, G2 is a favorite!  English has always been her best subject which helps her feel confident enough to contribute during class discussion.  (G2 is the kid who normally does NOT like to speak in class!)  On an interesting side note, this particular teacher was not a fan of G1!  While the teacher never had G1 as a student, she knew G1 through her high school boyfriend (whom the teacher did have and was one of the notorious favorites) and made high school hallway life difficult for G1 when she and her boyfriend broke up (policing her clothing, checking for hall passes, etc). The teacher must not have known G1's last name back then because we are the ONLY people in this town with this particular last name.  Even G2 laughs and says "Thank God she doesn't know whose sister I am!" 

Thanksgiving is going to be as crazy as usual... Up early to get things going here.  Then off to visit Papa's family.  Finally, back here to my house to host just my mom and dad this year.  Lots of running around as the drive to Papa's family is 40 minutes each way.  We won't have G1 with us this year, as I have mentioned in past posts.  It's going to be weird (and a little sad) I'm sure.  After my family leaves, we always take a drive to the next town over to see their free display of holiday lights in a beautiful park.  This year, we have decided to bring G2's boyfriend with us and take the convertible so we can put the top down once we get to the park and really get a nice view of the lights.

So much for a short post, eh?  LOL

I hope everyone who celebrates has a wonderful holiday!






Sunday, November 19, 2017

Spending Journal November 12th through November 18th, 2017

Going into the third week of tracking discretionary funds, I am at least getting a snapshot of where the money seems to be going.
Looking ahead, I am aiming for a week of three zero spend days - eyeing Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday as the best days to achieve this.
Papa gets paid on Thursday.  Besides the usual monthly bills going out that day (and not being tracked here at the moment), we will finally be getting that microwave I talked about at the end of the summer.  My hope is that gets done this week since we want it before Thanksgiving to help with the chaos of trying to get everything to the table warm.

Let's see what happened...

November 12th:  $12.34
I woke up sick and crabby - not a great way to start the week!
I went to make G2 a "Breakfast Delight" for breakfast and found only TWO slices of American Cheese left from the pound I literally just bought on Friday! I guess this is what happens when you have a bunch of teenagers around on Friday night making grilled cheeses - LOL.  Off I went to Stop and Shop to replenish that, our milk, and grab some discounted corn muffins because I didn't feel hot and wanted my carbs.  Total damage:  $12.34

November 13th:  $10.02
I drove G1 and Ramsey over to Plan B for their one year dating "anniversary" dinner.  Of course, it was right at dinner time and I got hungry.  Luckily (or not so), there was a Whole Foods in the same complex as the restaurant so I grabbed some Indian food from the hot bar and ate in the car.  Living the life, right?  LOL

November 14th:  $14.48
Well, so much for Monday AND Tuesday being no spend days.
Today I had to go back to get more baby food for Rum the ferret because her appetite has been through the roof!  I only bought two cans today since I didn't want to get tempted by any additional shopping!  I'll get more when I do my actual grocery trip on Thursday.  Two cans of baby food - $1.98.
Then I forgot that I sent one of Papa's suits to the cleaners!  Picking it up today made another $12.50 dent in my bank account.

November 15th:  $0
My three no spend days this week is out the door.  Tomorrow I have some known big purchases. And, at some point (either Friday or Saturday), we will be buying the new microwave.  I am typing this entry at 8am and I think I am going to *try* for today to be a no spend day.  If I can manage it, it will be at least one day this week.  Looking back, I know that my totals have been smaller than in the past two weeks - under $20 each day.  That should account for something....BUT tomorrow's total will most likely blow that all out of the water....
I eeked out a no spend day!  =)  Biggest challenge was the one load of laundry that *had* to be done with absolutely no detergent left to do it!  No problem....I filled the "empty" container with a little water, gave it a shake, and had enough detergent to do the load.

November 16th:  $317.37
Today's payday for Papa.  And, besides paying our normal bills, the next few days are probably going to be a doozy!
Early this morning, I did a shopping trip over at Big Y.  It was great because no one else was really in the store at 7:10am!  But, not so great for the only cashier open as her line was supposed to be express! When I asked her if it was okay that I went in her lane, she laughed and said "No. But what else are you going to do?"  After chatting with her, I found out that she was going to be the only cashier until 10am!  I think that's kind of crazy, don't you?  Am I the only person that does a significant shopping trip early in the morning?  Anyway, that trip set me back $122.61 and included a few more baby food jars for Rum.
I also need to fill up my gas tank (again!) for $32.76....I still cannot believe all the gas I am blowing through.  ((sigh))
Papa is in desperate need of suits.  He wears one everyday and only has three to rotate. (Sometimes he will wear a blazer and khakis on Fridays if he doesn't have meetings.)  After some careful research, he found a seller on Ebay with a 99% approval rating and over 1000 reviews.  He purchased a top of the line Brooks Brothers suit that retails for $1900 for only $162 including shipping!  Yes, this is a "used" suit but Papa chooses only "classic" pieces so there isn't any worry about the suit falling out of style/fashion.  The suit was marked as in "excellent" condition and should only need to be dry cleaned and possibly some very minor tailoring (raising the hem on the pants).  We will find out on Monday when it arrives.

November 17th:  $201.68
You would think, after yesterday, I would be done spending money.  But, sadly, that's not the case.
We finally purchased that microwave I keep talking about.  After (more) research on Papa's end, we found one on Amazon for $121.24 with great reviews and a 15% discount for purchasing our first "big appliance" from Amazon.  Microwaves are considered a big appliance?  Who knew?  Anyway, since we have Prime, the package will arrive this Sunday for no extra charge.  And ,well in time for Thanksgiving.
Also, I ran back to Big Y because not all of this week's sales were out when I went yesterday morning.  Just another reason to NOT shop first thing in the morning on the first day of a sale cycle.  This set me back another $69.44....$29.44 in groceries and $40 cash back in preparation for tomorrow's trip to the farmer's market.
Today I also ran back over to Dollar Tree for a bunch of miscellaneous things we needed - tin foil, salt, Brillo to name a few.  That set me back $7.82.
And, finally, after dropping off G1 at Ramsey's for the weekend, I stopped at the Ulta store to grab more makeup wipes for G2.  I thought I was being smart since I received an email that I had $6 in "points" to spend there.  I grabbed a package of Burt's Bees brand ($5.99) and headed to the cashier.  I planned on only having to pay tax, thinking the $6 would cover it....Well, apparently, since I didn't actually BUY six dollars or more in products, they would only let me use half the points I accumulated ($3).  My cashier was very nice and called the manager over...I was completely shocked over how plain nasty the manager was about it - it's not like there was anyone else even in the store!- and I just paid the $3.18 and got out of there.

November 18th:  $57.84
We went to the farmer's market to mostly grab our dairy for Thanksgiving.  I spent exactly the $40 I took out on the 17th in dairy products - including a splurge of real eggnog for Papa.  We took a quick look around and decided to just grab two bunches of awesome looking fresh sage for $5.
We went to visit my mother in law at the hospital after the farmer's market.  As we were ready to leave, a couple (who moved to Florida) surprised her with a visit as they were in the area for the holiday.  They wanted to catch up with Papa as well since their children and Papa grew up together.  We ended up being there for an extra 90 minutes and,  by the time we left, I was STARVING! I stopped at Big Y and grabbed some premade vegetable korma, naan, and a few other items.  I can't find the receipt but remember the amount because it came to $16.16.
Once home in the afternoon, G2 asked to go to the mall to grab a pair of new leggings.  I can't say I was thrilled about the idea but she really does need new clothes.  I gave her a budget and said this was it until Christmas.  She stayed under budget thanks to using the last of her Victoria Secret gift card (she loves their yoga pants and leggings).  I spent $20.83 there after the gift card was used.  Then I spent another $15.85 at Forever 21.

Total Spent This Week:  $605.39!!!

That's a pretty sobering number!

I am thinking that November was probably NOT the best time to start a spending journal in some ways as it is the most *spendy* time of year....
But....
Maybe it will help me stay in check a bit more this holiday season.
I guess we will see since I plan on continuing it for awhile....

Have a great Sunday all!

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Spending Journal - November 5th through November 11th, 2017


Whew!  Last week was quite the eye opening experience with the spending journal!  I am really hoping to keep my numbers down MUCH lower this week or at least be REALLY aware of what/where/why I am spending what I do!

Even though I won't be posting this until the 12th, I do plan on updating it daily in real time.

My goal this week is to have at LEAST two "No Spend" days.

Let's see if I accomplished it.....


November 5th:  $4.19
Thanks again to recent poorish planning (and a daughter that grabbed the last can to take with her to Ramsey's over the weekend), we were completely out of hairspray.  Luckily a quick trip to CVS, ECBs in hand, and a good deal, I was able to purchase two cans of our preferred brand of hairspray at $1.06 out the door.  Not happy to have to spend money today but happy with that price!
Also, as I was starting to wrap the ribs for tonight's dinner, I ran out of tin foil.  A very quick trip to Dollar Tree for the foil (plus two other items) - $3.13.

November 6th: $0
First no spend day of the week!  Yay!  It didn't come easy though.  I wanted to make Asian Meatballs for dinner but had no breadcrumbs left in the pantry.  Instead of running to the store, I just toasted/dried up some bread, stuck it in the food processor, and no trip to the store was needed!  Truth be told, we actually liked the meatballs BETTER this way (although no one but me knew the change I had made! LOL).

November 7th: $30.53
Going into today I knew there was no way I would have another no spend day.  Guppy 1 needed black jeans and a green collared shirt as her "uniform" for her job.  So off I went to search for one of each as cheaply as I could find since I offered to purchase them for her.  I found a green collared shirt at Target for $10.62 but left the black jeans behind since they were too expensive in my book ($27.99).  I took a quick trip to the mall (literally the other side of the street from Target) and found a pair of black jeans at Old Navy for $15.95.  I'm pretty happy to have gotten her full "uniform" for under thirty bucks!
On the way home from shopping, I stopped at Stop and Shop to grab a few more jars of baby food (chicken and turkey) for Rum the ferret - four jars for $3.96.  Considering the vet told us we would be lucky to get a few more good months out of her back in June, we are more than happy that she is still plugging along and as "healthy" as she is!  Supplementing her regular "ferret" food with a bit of baby food has helped her keep a bit of weight on so it's well worth the couple of bucks I spend on it per week.

November 8th:  $0
My grocery list is beginning to grow but I made it through my second no spend day! I would love to go for a third no spend day this week, but, looking over the errands we need have yet to run, I don't think that's in the cards.

November 9th:  $56.76
Going into today, I knew I would be spending some money.
First stop was McDonald's for the Guppies' late lunches:  $13.05
Next was Dollar Tree to try to grab some cheap "munchies" since Ramsey is coming here for the weekend through Monday.  While there, I also bought deodorant and Epsom salts.  $12.19
A trip to the gas station was also necessary (too much driving lately!) which set me back $31.52.

November 10th:  $254.49
To paraphrase the old saying...Another day, some more dollars!  LOL
This is almost a continuation of yesterday since I ran out of steam to finish errands....I have a decent cold coming on thanks to G2 catching one from D who caught one from his mom who caught....You get the picture.  By mid afternoon yesterday I was too tired and cranky to do much of anything besides cobble dinner together....BUT we did eat dinner at home so I'll take that as a victory, albeit a small one.
I went to Stop & Shop this morning and the Guppies are in heaven because of all the junk food but also some stock up stuff too.  That set me back $125.91.
Then, I ran over to Big Y to grab more baby food for Rum, a couple of bundles of wood until we order our cord next week, and cherry pick a few deals.  I spent $56.08.
And, another trip to Dollar Tree for odds and ends (plus two theater boxes of candy for Papa when we go to the movies tonight).  I spent an even $10 because something was wrong with Dollar Tree's computer system and tax wasn't being added to anyone's orders today!
Finally, Papa and I had a "date night".  I promised him we would go see the remake of  "Murder on the Orient Express" when it came out.  That was $19.50 and well worth it. (The movie was okay but having time out alone with Papa was even better.)  Plus, Papa had to fill his car up again - $43.00

November 11th:  $0
Because of all the money we spent yesterday (and the fact that Papa had one more pint of yogurt left and 3/4 bottle of milk from last week), we opted against going to the Farmer's Market.  We will most likely do a bigger trip next Saturday since it's the last market before Thanksgiving.
Besides driving to the hospital to visit Papa's mom, we didn't do much of anything.  It was a lazy day for ALL of us - the Guppies and Ramsey included. (Ramsey reinjured his leg right before he came over yesterday and is back on crutches.)
Papa took down the trampoline.  I cooked a roast chicken dinner - larger than our usual Saturday fare.  And, I spent some time watching TV and some YouTube videos about setting up 2018 planners.
Exciting day right?
Well at least I got a THIRD no spend day in so YAY!  LOL


Total Spent This Week: $345.97

Another pricey week in the discretionary spending department! 
*Most* of it was justified but there is always room to trim!

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Novemer Groceries: Week 2



So I definitely made a dent in my $600 budget this week!
If you remember, last week I spent a mere $56.31, leaving me with $543.69 for the month (including Thanksgiving).
LOTS of junk food was included this week so the Guppies were very happy about that!  LOL

Let's take a look at my damage:


Stop and Shop:  $125.91
1 package store brand extra large English muffins
1 package of hot dog rolls
1 container of sundried tomato hummus
1 package of shredded Mexican cheese
1 wheel of Laughing Cow cheese
1/3 lb of Boars Head Smokehouse Ham
1 lb store brand American cheese
1/3 lb of Boar's Head Honey Maple Chicken
1 package King's Hawaiian rolls
1 package of Portugese rolls
1 package Joseph's mini pitas
1 package of Hot Pockets Philly Cheesesteak
1 box Hot Pockets pepperoni pizzas
2 cases Diet Cherry Coke
2 cases Diet Coke
1 bottle of Tamari
b1 vat of Hellman's mayo (haha!  G1 loves her mayo so I bought a big jar)
2 cans of Campbells tomato soup
1 box of garlic and herb Good Thins crackers
1 family size box of Wheat Thins
1 package of store brand white rice
1 bottle Heinz ketchup
1 bag Sweet Chili Doritos
1 bag regular Doritos
2 bags Stacy's pita chips
1 bag Hershey's chocolate covered pretzels
1 package of napkins
1 package of Hummel Brother's beef hot dogs
2 bags (5 lb each) Yukon Gold potatoes
1 bunch extra large celery
1 (16oz) package of sliced mushrooms
2 bags (3lbs each) yellow onions
1 package broccoli
1 package baby spinach
1 pint of cranberry orange salsa (limited edition store brand)
1/2 lb of bananas
1 salad from salad bar (it was lunch time and I was hungry)

Big Y:  $35.61
1 carton (18 count) eggs
10 individual Friendly's sundae cups
1 (4lb) store brand flour
1 (4lbs) store brand sugar
2 jars Francesco Rinaldi spaghetti sauce
1 loaf Vermont Country white bread
1 package Nestle chocolate chunks
1 package Nestle chocolate chips
1 package Canadian bacon
1 container of store made seafood salad

Dollar Tree:  $10*
*Glitch with their computer system so no sales taxes added for purchases today
1 roll (40 ft) aluminum foil
1 small container of Dawn
2 packages of paper plates
2 packages of paper towels
1 theatre sized box of Milk Duds
1 theatre sized box of Whoppers
2 bags of Takis snack mixes


Farmer's Market:  $0
We decided against going this week as we were still okay with dairy.


Total Spent This Week:  $171.52
Left in November budget:  $372.17


Budget wise, we are still doing okay.  I don't plan on going back to any grocery stores before this coming Thursday at the earliest.  (Besides *maybe* picking up some laundry detergent since I am so low.)  The upcoming week is going to be spent "eating down the pantry" in preparation for hosting Thanksgiving.  I need to make some room in my fridge, freezer, and a little more pantry space to stockpile more deal for the upcoming holiday season and for Thanksgiving prep!

How are you doing with your grocery budget?

Any good deals coming your way?


Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Weigh In Wednesday



So I wasn't expecting much in the way of weight loss this week because of last week's crazy amount.  And, sadly, I was correct.

Last week's weight was

171.1

This week was

170.2

So, a loss of .9 lbs.

I would be lying if I said I wasn't just a little disappointed...

I really wanted to "break into" the 160's.....

But there is always next week right?

I know I haven't been logging how many steps/miles I have walked lately but I got a happy little surprise on Fitbit...

A new "badge" for walking the length of The Great Barrier Reef!  So, I have walked over 1600 miles since I got my Fitbit in April!!!

I'm going to focus on that this week since my weight loss was minimal.

If any of you are dieting/getting healthier/losing weight, how did this week go for you?

Sunday, November 5, 2017

November's Grocery Budget and First Week of Shopping



Whelp, October's groceries were a horrid bust!  Like not even going to look back and finish tallying kind of a thing.

I'd rather dust myself off and move forward!  LOL

For the next two months, my budgeted amount is going to be much higher than what I have been attempting lately.  We host both Thanksgiving and Christmas Day for my family AND bring goodies to Papa's family when we visit for both holidays.  (If you recall, we do the holidays with both our families, running all day to visit Papa's family and then coming home to host mine.)

This month, I set my budget at a very generous $600 - partially due to Thanksgiving and partially to start stocking up on deals.

Let's check out how the first few days of November went....


Big Y:  $27.69
1 "Superbird" Roasted Chicken
1 (32 oz) milk - ran out before Farmer's Market time
1 box Eggo waffles
1 container chicken broth
2 lbs onions
1 bunch organic rainbow chard
1 bag cranberries
1 container peeled, cut up butternut squash


Hickory Hills Orchard:  $5.12
5 very large Winesap apples


Farmer's Market:  $23.50
1 quart whole milk
1 pint raspberry yogurt
1 pint cherry yogurt
1 bunch red beets
1 bunch daikon
3 acorn squash


Total Spent This Week:  $56.31
Left in November Budget:  $543.69



Saturday, November 4, 2017

Keeping It Real With a Spending Journal....





Since it's the beginning of a new month, I decided it would be a good idea to try a new way to stay accountable in regards to discretionary spending....

An online spending journal.

I've seen it done on other websites and blogs.  And I am pretty fascinated to watch how other people spend money.....Is that weird?  LOL

This is going to be a work in progress for sure.  We will see if I even like doing it (or you guys like reading about it!).

Two things to note:

1.  I won't be going into detail about what I purchased at the grocery store in this journal since I already have another dedicated post for groceries.

2.  When it comes time to keep track of Christmas gifts, I will probably just write something brief (unless I get a great deal!).  I think it's up to each of us on how/what to spend on the holidays and my spending may (or may not) be comparable to others.

Okay, let's check it out.....


November 1st: $67.68
Poor planning left me without any leftovers for Papa's lunch!  I put $23 in his wallet to have in general and to grab something from the food carts outside the hospital.  (Why $23?  That's what I had left in my wallet! LOL)
I ran to the grocery store for:
Dog food $16.99
and
Groceries $27.69
*Bonus frugal win:  I remembered the three DVDs I borrowed from the library that were due back last evening.  I got them there an hour before the library closed.

November 2nd: $37.03
I had to run over to CVS to pick up prescriptions for the Guppies and while there I grabbed a pack of new toothbrushes since G2's was getting completely gnarly.  Bonus $2 in ECB to hold onto for the future.

November 3rd:  $71.12
I was running on less that half a tank of gas with a long drive today to bring G1 to
Ramsey's house so I filled up the tank for $26.00.
While G1 was practicing her driving, I had her pull in to my favorite orchard in town so I could buy my absolute favorite variety of apples (Winesap).  I got 5 very large apples for $5.12....pricey yes but well worth it!
In the evening, when G2 and D were going out, I handed her $40 and told her to make it last for the next two weeks.  We will see how that goes.  LOL

November 4th:  $65.50
Papa needed to fill up his gas tank for $42.
We went to the farmer's market where we spent a total of $23.50


Total spent:  $241.33
Whoa!  That is a pretty large and eye opening number!  I'm very hopeful that this exercise will be extremely insightful and help me curb our spending.

Have a great Saturday night all! 



Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Weigh In Wednesday




My emotions affect my eating.  They always have....although when I was a teenager/young adult, I would have no appetite when I was upset/stressed.  Somewhere along the line I found myself at the opposite end of the spectrum.  And, that's where I have been lately.  I have been carb and sugar loading like nobody's business!

Anyway, it got me thinking towards when I was successful at losing weight....

Twice I was able to lose weight on Weight Watchers.  While I found the meetings super cheesy, I did have fun because I did it with friends both times.  Currently I don't have any friends in need of losing weight that could spare time to attend meetings AND those cheesy meetings have gotten pretty pricey.  (Papa always said I was paying to have someone weigh me. LOL)

So....

I researched Weight Watchers online option and the corresponding app.  The app looked promising with a community board (similar to Fitbit's and Facebook) AND the WW app would sync with my Fitbit.  I was able to buy a 3 month subscription for less than $50 - MUCH cheaper than I was paying even seven years ago to attend actual WW meetings.  This seems to be an ideal option for me thus far.

Weigh ins around here are on Tuesdays now but I'm still going to report on Wednesdays since Weigh In Wednesdays is so catchy!  LOL

Last week's weight was NOT pretty!  I had ballooned back up to:

178.8

Yesterday, after my first week on WW, I weighed in at:

171.1!

I was shocked! 

I know most of that is water weight and I definitely do NOT want to lose that much each week!  But, it was a nice little boost to my psyche to see that number, I'll be honest!

I do have a *mini* goal I am aiming for....

There is a concert coming up on December 22nd on Long Island.  It's at our favorite small venue and one of our favorite pop punk bands are playing.  For a bunch of reasons, this show is going to be packed and absolutely insane....
And, as juvenile as this sounds...
Crowd surfing is on my "bucket list" of things to do before I die!
But, I don't want to crush anyone doing it!  LOL
Yes, people (even women) who are bigger than me crowd surf at these shows.
However, I am way too self conscious to do that!
My goal is to be in the mid 150's by December 22nd!
If I'm not there, I won't crowd surf.

I know I sound like I have lost my mind here but hey, I didn't touch a single solitary piece of candy so anything that works right?  LOL

Happy Wednesday!


Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Happy Halloween and a Couple of Updates




Happy Halloween!

Am I the only one who can't believe it's Halloween already?  Time is flying by super crazy fast this year!

Not much happening around my parts tonight....

G1 is at Ramsey's house.  They are taking the neighbor's children trick or treating and decided to dress up too.  They are going as people from the movie "The Purge".  Ramsey has a mask that is downright frightening - hopefully he doesn't scare too many kids tonight!  LOL  G1 has always LOVED Halloween so I'm happy she found an excuse to dress up and walk around tonight....even if it is just chaperoning kids.  =)

G2 flip flopped on what she was doing so many times, I got whiplash!  Haha!  First she and D were going to do a "couples costume" and thought they would be Curious George (her) and The Man with the Yellow Hat (D).  But, then decided not to grab a costume at all.  As of this morning, she wants to have D and her BFF over to watch movies and give out candy - even though we don't get many trick or treaters.  We will see if she changes her mind when I pick her up from school!




My mother in law is still in the hospital, unfortunately.  She's stable but they are having some difficulty with the whole healing process and there have been a few small complications that have made her hospital stay longer.  The silver lining is that it's good  Papa can see her everyday when he is at work.  He usually will take his lunch break with her.  I think it helps boost her spirits a bit and it's nice they get to spend more time together than normal....though we all wish she were home and back to her old self again.

Both cars are up and running again....for now.  I don't want to jinx it!  LOL  Although when Papa had the tires done, they found that his wheels are slightly bent.  They asked if Papa had hit any bad potholes or anything, which he hasn't since, you know, he loves that thing!  Since the wheels are super bent, we figure we must have purchased the car this way when we bought it last year.  He is researching costs right now and may ask our nephew for his opinion/advice since he is a mechanic.

We may have an interesting decision to make regarding Papa's employment.  A well known company has been pursuing Papa for awhile (since before his brother died in August).  There is a position open here in our town that they really want to interview him for....and starting salary is anywhere from 17k to 27k more than he currently is making!  It's a tough decision because Papa is still in the process of creating a new position at the hospital but, we have no idea yet regarding salary since it has to be approved/processed through HR AND now there are some extra snafus that may make the process take longer than expected. 
So, to interview or not interview?  That is the question! LOL
We have talked briefly and he has decided he will most likely go for an interview.  Then we can decide what to do from there.  Papa is worried that this new position he is creating at the hospital may take way too long to implement (thanks to previously unforeseen snafus) or the salary range won't be enough....He will feel better at least looking into the other position.
Ultimately, it's his decision in my eyes.  I want him to be happy (and personally I think he will feel more fulfilled at the hospital) but I know that he has been really worried about finances too. 

I think that's it for now.  I have to start straightening this house up for tonight!

Oh, and I'm bringing Weigh In Wednesday back tomorrow!

Have a great day and Trick or Treat!


Sunday, October 29, 2017

A Few Frugal Things....




Almost another entire month has passed.....

And this one has been crazy too!  LOL

Too much money has flown out of my house this month (again).

So, as to not be completely overwhelmed and depressed about it, I am going to try to come up with a few frugal things that have happened as of late.


1.  Using coupons given to me by my sister in law, I was able to get three muffins from Dunkin Donuts for free!  (G1 was extremely happy to be the recipient of two!)

2.  To help stretch the bunny's food a bit farther, I have been making sure to save the carrot shavings and ends as a treat!  Before I was being lazy and just compost it with the rest of the scraps.

3.  We have been eating quite a bit of leftovers for lunches so no real food waste!  Also, I froze two of the four very large fruit bars I bought for G1 over the weekend since she wasn't going to finish them before they went stale.  No food waste and she'll be a happy girl when I pull them out of the freezer next month!

4.  My parents' roof sprung another leak last weekend.  With the impending storm predicted for today, they were hoping to get it taken care of ASAP.  We have leftover roofing shingles and gave some to them, plus a bit of Papa's time to get on the roof to do the repair since my father absolutely should not be on the roof.  As a "thank you", they went to Costco and grabbed a few of my usual purchases - thinking I could use them.  Can I count this as frugal? Don't know but I'm going to do it anyway.

5.  Papa and I stayed at the hospital longer than predicted yesterday afternoon, visiting my mother in law.  When we left, I was "hangry" and wanted to just stop in the city for something quick to eat for dinner.  But, I hitched up my big girl pants and we drove home, where I cooked a quick dinner with the items in my kitchen/pantry.

6.  Using some leftover CVS ECB's, I was able to get some razors and a twin pack of shaving gel, absolutely FREE!

7.  We continue to use the library faithfully.  And, I grabbed three movies for us to watch on this rainy Sunday....A Monster Calls, Beauty & the Beast (Emma Watson version), and Fantastical Beasts.  All three are available through our cable package for a fee.  So, by renting them at the library, I saved at least $15.

8.  I have been trying to keep the heat off, but, there have been a few days where the house didn't get over 57 degrees.  I would have sucked it up and left it off, but, I need to keep Rum the ferret comfortable.  (I know, I'm nuts but seriously I don't want her to deal with the cold as well as the cancer.)  So, I have "warmed up" the house for a few minutes on those mornings to give it a little help.  Yesterday, we finally pulled the wall A/C units out which should help keep us insulated a little more.  (And, yes, there were some warmer days thrown in recently where we needed the A/C still.  Welcome to New England weather!  LOL)

9.  I am still using my free Fitbit! Walking is free exercise and having the Fitbit keeps me motivated!

10.  G2 decided last minute that she wanted to get a pumpkin.  Yesterday we headed to our favorite farm to see what, if anything, was left.  They had a LOT of great pumpkins left (it's a HUGE farm) and we had a nice morning there.  We were given a break at the check out counter as well by the cashier (they are the ones who determine what size category the pumpkins fall into).  We paid $14 for a very large jack-o-lantern pumpkin and two good sized sugar pumpkins - waaaay less than recent years!

11.  I have been trying to whittle down our very extensive "collection" of plastic bags by re-purposing them as doggie disposal bags.  AND I have been remembering to bring my cloth shopping bags to the store now.


That's all I can think of at the moment.

Time for me to get a little cleaning out of the way so the movie marathon can commence!

Have a nice Sunday everyone!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

October = Car Expenditures!



YIKES!

This month has been the month of car expenses!

Let's break it down, shall we?

My Car:  approximately $24

1.  Oil light flashed off and on, meaning I am low on oil.  Not sure how since I still have 30% life until my next oil change and there aren't any telltale spots in the driveway!  Anyway, I was able to find a "deal" at our local AutoZone.  I bought 3 quarts of oil (hopefully to have a couple of extra on hand) for $3.98/quart.  The price was pretty decent for my area and I would have bought a few more but there was a limit of three.  So, a little over $12 bucks, including tax.

2.  Monday morning I went out to my car and saw one of the back tires was as flat as a pancake!  A call to AAA and I had someone putting on the "donut" spare within a couple of hours.  The gentleman they sent was really sweet and I tipped him $5 - for which he was extremely appreciative!  Apparently I ran over a VERY large nail/screw!  Lovely, right?  So, I drove over to Townfair Tire to see if it could be repaired. Townfair Tire is supposed to have  a policy to fix flats for free if the tires were originally purchased from them.  The guy inspected the tire, said he could fix it, and told me to go ahead and wait.  Thirty minutes later, I was told it was done and charged $5.78 for what was supposed to be a FREE fix.  When I questioned it, I was told the fix was free but the "rebalancing" was not.  ((insert eyeroll))  I have been less than impressed with this Townfair in particular and will not be returning.


Papa's Car: approximately $637!

1.  First we had the extra oil change due to driving to Pennsylvania for his uncle's funeral.  Papa's car takes "special" oil and a "special" price tag came with it!  $90!  (In comparison, the oil change for my Honda is a little more than 1/3 of that!)

2.  Second, more oil had to be purchased for Papa's car since it tends to burn through oil and he had done additional driving this month.  I don't recall the exact amount he spent but he found a deal....5 quarts of "special" oil for about $37.

3.  Papa was out at his car over the weekend, just double checking there wasn't an oil leak.  (His make/model/year car is notorious for burning oil I guess.)  No leak BUT his two front tires were worn down to the fiberglass!  Holy Crap-ola!  Papa's car is 4 wheel drive and, when one or even two tires go, they all have to be replaced!  He made an appointment with a place for this Thursday to have this taken care of.  Total damage as quoted on line (which Papa has a complete copy of the order form!) is $510!  I guess the silver lining is that he will have good tires for the coming winter/snow.


So, an unexpected outlay of about $661 in car maintenance!

Good thing we are able to scramble and cover this all in cash!