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Saved a Little Today

February 11th, 2015 at 06:32 pm

F needed googly eyes to finish her valentines for school... Michaels coupon 40% off, so total spent on valentines is $1.94 for googly eyes. She made them out of construction paper she already has. We got the idea from this website: http://www.theidearoom.net/2015/01/valentines-day-crafts.html

Michaels is right near Petsmart, and I had a coupon for $3 off good through the end of February, so I popped in to buy cat litter. Besides the $3 coupon, the cat litter (their own brand) was $2 off with my petperks card. So the $14 box of cat litter (I buy the 40 lb. box) was $9. And the receipt had another $3 coupon (good until 3/17) if I filled out a survey online. So I did that while F did her math homework. We'll use if for dogfood.

Now the valentines are done, and the kitchen is clean for the night, and F has done her reading and logged it.

Today was a very low anxiety day for F and I'm hoping that things are getting better. She and I relax A LOT now! I think it's good for both of us.

Also talked to our friends who used to live on the Central Coast and now live here (I lived in SLO in college). I told them we're going to visit my parents and then go up the coast and they said they'll be there at the same time (we're there for a week, but they're there almost all summer!). She said "You should stay with us! We're renting a house!" I think that would be awesome! Let's see what D says... (he's more of an introvert, and I LOVE being around people). It could also save money (sharing costs), and we all know I love that!

Mini Getaway, No Overnight, No Hotel

January 25th, 2015 at 04:01 pm

Yesterday we spent a lot of money on a cross country skiing day trip to Enchanted Forest in Red River, but it was planned. Here is a list of all the way we saved but still got a really great weekend break:

- F and I own our own gear (my skis and boots are about 20 years old but are still great!) so no rental fees for us. Only D rented, total price: $16
- the ski area is the biggest x-c ski area in our state (33 km of trails), but it's still a cool little family-owned business. For trail passes for three of us it was $45. That's a lot less than downhill! (We don't downhill, by the way).
- We did not stay overnight, so no hotel. And our neighbor popped in to let our dog out since it was a long day (no petsitter).
- We packed a lunch, so we didn't pay for lunch (and we didn't need to take out any ski time to go eat).
- Used half a tank of gas to get there and back which is pretty good, and gas prices are low right now. $8 in gas.
- We went with another family, and had so much fun!
- We all stopped for dinner at our favorite place in Española on the way home. The last time we ate out was three weeks ago since we knew we were going out after the ski trip.

And, here's a big one: everyone was so satisfied with the trip (and exhausted) that we just stayed home today and didn't feel the need to go out today. F mentioned ice cream, but then I got two apples at the store, so we're having an apple/blueberry crumble instead.

I did the meal planning, and spent $80 for the week's groceries (and that includes ingredients for a salad for the potluck lunch the Parent Association is making for teachers/staff on Tuesday.

Meal Plan and an Unplanned Purchase

January 4th, 2015 at 03:32 pm

I did really well on groceries this week. I had to check the receipts to make sure, but we were under $100 which is good for us.

This week's meal plan:
S - pasta with courgettes (and some goat cheese)
M - v. sweet salmon and green beans
T - mexican eggs with garlic bread
W - crockpot meal from the freezer with salad
T - chicken tikka in crockpot with rice
F - baked potato and broccoli
S - quesadillas and guacamole

Unfortunately I accidentally bought a bag of cat food we didn't need. I thought we were out, and didn't realize that we had a bag waiting. Oh well, it will get used eventually and it was on sale. Also had a deal from American Express (spend $25 at Petsmart, get $5 back). I looked, but there aren't any other deals I need right now.

Now I'll tell you about the unplanned purchase I made today. I've been thinking about it for a while because I'm so cold all the time and I spend a lot of time in unheated job trailers or on jobsites. I bought an on-sale down jacket from Lands End (I also used a coupon code for an extra 15% off). Actually, the office bought it for me because it's my new site visit jacket. Now hopefully I won't shiver noticeably at outdoor meetings. It probably won't come in time, but I have to meet at a job site on Tuesday that is basically a big dirt hole up in the mountains (brrrrrrrr).

Bought Investments in Energy Savings

December 29th, 2014 at 03:47 pm

Today I bought;
- a toaster oven (it is a very good brand, and it's convection and is easy to clean; was in the scratch and dent section) which uses a third of the watts of our oven; I decided to go with one that does 6 slices of toast because that's the most we'd make for garlic bread - that way we'll barely need to use the oven!
- a bunch of LED light bulbs to replace the 35 watt halogens in our track lighting. Instead of 35 watts, each one is 4 watts.

I am weird about energy usage, and also I don't want to change those bulbs again! I shouldn't have to ever again!

Also today: began drafting my New Year's resolutions. One is to have an eye exam (it's been a few years), and I started calling around places to find out prices. One wasn't open, so I'll call them back tomorrow. They take the 15% vision discount that comes with my insurance (vision isn't covered for adults). So far the prices seem really high ($140-150 without the discount). Our Lenscrafters just lost their eye doctor, but I don't know if they'd be cheaper anyway. The one that wasn't open is stuck into the side of a Walmart; I'm not a big fan of Walmart, but I don't think they're affiliated.

If you've recently had an eye exam, what did you pay? It's probably covered in the UK, right? (I'm scared to even talk to D about it; every time something like that comes up he wants to move back immediately!).

Thinking about a Purchase...

December 28th, 2014 at 12:30 pm

We have $40 in small appliances/household furnishings, and I'm thinking of making a purchase...

Right now when we make a quesadilla or cheese on toast or make a burrito for lunch (these are all single items, not six burritos or something) I have to heat up the entire oven which is something like 2000 to 3000 watts per hour.

This probably happens once a day.

I am thinking of getting a small 600-1000 watt toaster oven for those small jobs.

What do you think?

Spent Some, Saved Some

October 5th, 2014 at 08:01 pm

- dinner out on Saturday night because we went to see the UNM men's soccer team play ($30, but eating out once a week is in our regular budget)
- went to Old Navy and spent $86 on winter clothes for F (and got a couple of things for myself, and I know that I wasn't going to buy any clothes this year, but since I have two shirts that are worn out, these are replacement items - total for me was $26). My mom is probably sending me some money for my birthday later this month, so both my clothes and F's should be covered.
- grocery shopping: a usual budget item of course
- bought gas for the week (I get it every Sunday now since my gas gauge is broken; I do track mileage, but this way no matter what I have gas)

- sold a hat on craigslist ($20 saved - will be put toward mortgage principal)
- F played in a tournament today, which was supposed to have an entrance fee, but it was waived because our league played internally and coaches ref'd the games rather than hiring refs ($35 saved)
- rescheduled my dentist appt. so that the visit is covered by insurance; the previous appt. was about two days under a full year, and insurance only covers once a year (saved about $100)
- Old Navy was having a sale, so we actually saved $50. We got a ton of stuff and believe me, she needed it! She's grown so much! (for her: 3 pants, 2 shirts, 1 pajama pants for $40)

- how F played in her soccer game yesterday and tournament today - she loves it so much, and it's so fun to watch her!

Shutterfly Order for Christmas

September 17th, 2014 at 03:13 pm

I am totally ahead of this Christmas thing! We decided a few weeks ago that we'd get photo calendars for my mom, D's mom and D's dad and a new mousepad for my dad. I saw the 40% off Calendar sale on Shutterfly. Plus there was a code for free shipping for orders over $39.

Our order came to $38.37! Grrr... I should have just put a 4x6 photo in my cart, but I called customer service and they gave me free shipping anyway because I was so close. That was nice! So total order with tax for four gifts: $42.90.

We have about $300 in our gift "bucket" so we're right on target. I've made a list of gifts for F, and she and D want a Playstation with the latest Fifa soccer game. I don't want anything, but D never listens to me about that, so I need to think of something that he can buy me that doesn't cost much, that I would like and that would make him feel like he's gotten me a present.

Big Grocery Spending - but there's a reason

June 20th, 2014 at 07:57 am

The grocery spending this week was about $80 more than normal - yikes! But there's a reason... we have a British coach from F's soccer camp staying with us. He's 22, and he eats a lot!

But... we get a check for $80 from the camp at some point as a "thank you" - really it's to cover extra food costs. Characteristically, I am not worrying that they'll forget to send it to us.

F is so sad that the coach is leaving this evening. I'm sad, too. We'll miss him!

Just got a notice that the coaches (Brazilian this time) from next week's camp need somewhere to stay. I'd do it, but D thinks it's a bit much to do it two weeks in a row. Next year...

A Little Rant about Spending Differences

April 30th, 2014 at 01:22 pm

My husband is not a big spender, but he's not all OCD about spending like I am. I think it's possible that he's normal, and I'm a little too frugal. I don't know.

Sometimes, though, the difference in our spending habits makes me feel a little bit frustrated.

Today I got home from teaching at the gym (I thought for certain I'd get this month's payment today, but I didn't, so I was pre-frustrated; this payment goes toward our mortgage). I was starving because I'd just taught weightlifting; there was pretty much nothing in the house to eat, but I cobbled together a salad (when you lift weights, you really feel like more than salad, but I put a little turkey on it).

Then I sat down to do the monthly financials. Today, my husband charged lunch out (which he does once a week; I never eat lunch out unless it's a family lunch, but that's my choice). And he'd charged $90 for two shirts. (I think I've mentioned I haven't bought any clothes this year after determining I have enough clothes). He said it was from the birthday money his dad sent from the UK, but I have no record of the birthday money being deposited, so he might have put it into his business account.

Then I ate a little bit of ice cream from the freezer, because I told F that I'd take her for a treat after school, and I don't want to spend money on a treat for me, too.

I know you're all going to say I have to do something for myself once in a while, and I do, I promise! Like two weeks ago I took F down to Albuquerque and we had lunch, played mini-golf and got slushes from Sonic. I'm not feeling sorry for myself; it's not that. It's more that I'm wishing that everyone was as into sacrificing as I was. And I seriously can't ask for that, so what happens is, I do less for myself to offset everyone else's spending.

OK, rant over.

I think that we did well this month despite some of those extra expenses. I know grocery spending was low. And D made some side money (I really shouldn't complain about him buying stuff once in a while since he often makes extra).

American Express Offers

April 28th, 2014 at 07:39 pm

I took advantage of the American Express "spend $5 on itunes and get a $5 statement credit." It's hard to believe; that means free music, right? I spent $5.20 on four songs to use for my spinning class. Need to check to make sure I get the credit.

There is also an offer for $5 statement credit when you spend $25 at Petsmart. I need to get down there tomorrow to buy cat and dogfood I'd be buying anyway.

And thinking about dogfood and catfood... I am really conflicted. We don't have a ton of money to spend, but I am realizing that Iams, which I thought was good, is basically just like supermarket brands. Every website says to go with the grain-free, protein based foods, but they're super expensive. Iams is about $28 for 25 lbs. v. $52 for a 30 lb. bag of Blue Buffalo.

I might use our coupon to try something new...

What do you use?

Still No New Clothing

April 24th, 2014 at 06:58 pm

I haven't bought any new clothes since December, after determining that I don't need anything. It hasn't been too hard, but I really want this shirt:
Which is ridiculous, because as I mentioned, I don't need it.

And furthermore, I am going to need to pay the Big Medical Bill soon, and I am funneling any extra money into the medical "envelope."

I shouldn't be feeling deprived. Seriously, I am not deprived in any way. And I just bought a foam roller, so it's not like I never buy anything for myself.

It gets me thinking again about how much we really need, and how we decide we want something. I really like the "waiting period" method of buying something, where you wait a certain amount of time before you make a purchase.

(I am not buying the shirt, by the way; I have enough shirts).

Recap of No Spend Days

April 20th, 2014 at 06:53 am

We had some spending last week, but nothing that wasn't budgeted for...

No Spend Days
These don’t include regular bills (utilities, etc) only discretionary spending.

Sunday - household soap $3.78, gas $30.53, drugstore.com $39.42 (saved $2.22 plus $5 off plus free shipping), check for $32.75 for F’s hot lunches through the rest of the year at school

Monday - NSD

Tuesday - bought bday present for F ($40), bought her soccer socks ($15 for two pairs)

Wednesday - NSD

Thursday - F’s horse riding canceled; stopped for ice cream and rolaids (yes, they go together!)

Friday - big outing: $20 lunch, $18 mini golf and arcade, $2 slushes, $5.62 clothes for F

Saturday - NSD
groceries (as usual) - but they were lower than budgeted

The Old Navy stop turned out to be really great! I had a $35 reward coupon, and they were also having a big sale. We ended up filling out F's summer clothes (so now she's all set) for $5.62. Bought 3 long-sleeved t-shirts, one pair of capris, two short sleeved t-shirts, a skort and a pair of shorts. She already has about 3 pairs of capris and about 5 short sleeved t-shirts, also a few cotton dresses that fit. The hard thing is she's getting taller but is still very thin, so if something is an ok length, it's too big, and if it fits, it's too short. I will end up taking the skort and shorts in at the waist (a good reason to know how to sew!)