Sunday, October 28, 2007

Vons is doubling coupons again (limited time)

Vons had really good sales this week but, they don't double coupons anymore. They bring it back a few times a year but, people complained that the lines were long because of people using coupons.

Well, now they do not have lines because no one shops at my local Vons unless it is to buy items on sale at REALLY good prices. Why? Their prices are HIGH.

Anyway, on my way to a more reasonably priced grocer, I saw the signs hanging that double coupons are back. WOO HOO.

So, I stopped in and for $30, had 7 bags of groceries. I had some things such as chips ($1.66 each), Bertoli frozen meals for 2 (so good and easy to make--$5.99), and assorted other items. Well, besides the chips, I had coupons for everything. Frozen veggies for $3.00 (2 boxes), four frozen pizzas for $3, Bertoli for $2.99. . . I'm pretty proud of the damages. I think I saved over 63% by using coupons.

I do not make any menus nor do I cook huge meals on weekends. I simply buy what we like. We are well fed and the cabinets are full. I do not make elaborate lists. I am antsy if I am in a store for longer than 30 minutes (including the checkout lane). By 2pm on a Sunday, I want my shopping complete for the week, unloaded and put away neatly. Now, if someone can give me some easy way to get a good movie on Showtime each Sunday at 2, that would make my day!

On the stroll

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Bringing Lunch to Work is Good for the Budget

I was going overboard with eating out. Have a co-worker that LOVES eating out. I found that I was spending in excess of $10 per day (and I am a single mom) and throwing the food out because it was not what I wanted to eat.

About a month ago, I quit. Cold turkey, bought some cute little containers, researched bentos, bought a thermos. I was prepared. A month later, I've lost weight, am calmer and have disposable income. Guess which I like best?

I'm using the saved funds to rebuild my emergency fund. Well, and Christmas is just around the corner.

Trust me, even if you open a can of soup, you can save a bit of money plus, you get to eat something you like rather than taking a chance.

On the stroll

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Easy to save when you are looking for something

I have wanted a silver or black tv stand for almost 2 years. I was determined to find one this weekend. I think I drove over 150 miles looking for a stand under $150 with at least 2 shelves and taller than 24 inches. I think I would have more luck finding a leprechaun holding a four leaf clover.

So far I have hit liquidators, Costco, Target, furniture stores, Sears, Best Buy, Circuit City and nothing. Most places now sell the stand with the tv. Oh wait--I also went to Ikea and have checked Craigslist! Why is tht so hard to find?

Besides gas, I have not spent a dime. Necessities only (food and gas). Good for my bank account. Bad for the retail world.

Want to save some money? Look for something that you have wanted for a long time. Works every time for me. Want a blue suit? Go to the mall. You won't find a blue suit and you will become more determined and end up leaving with nothing. If I am just looking, I will spend $500 easy.

Still have no idea what to do about the tv stand,

On the stroll

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Grocery Savings

Our local Albertsons had a great deal. I normally pass these by but, actually thought about it and wanted to go in on it with a friend. The deal was that you buy 10 items for $25 and the store gave $15 off. You ended up paying $10 for 10 items. Sounds good so far, right?

Well, I read the disclaimers a number of times. Essentially the only caution was that all items must be purchased in a single transaction. Sounds good so far. I quickly found 10 items that I wanted (a wide variety of items were included; frozen, chilled and canned). My friend did the same so, we decided to pay separately. At the checkout, I thought I was overcharged but, when I looked at the receipt, they took off the $15 once. There were no limits on the promotion. I went back and the store manager gave me the addtional $15 off. So, for 10 bags of food, I paid $27 (I did buy a few items not included in the promotion).

The bad thing is that the store does not double coupons. I had about 7 coupons for the 20 items I purchased through the promotion. So, I saved a ton and got several items for $0.50 (soup, break and bake cookies, snacks).

My friend went back yesterday (with coupons this time) and paid $6 for 10 items! He's learning.

I scanned the flyers last night and did not see any deals like that for the near future. I will keep my eyes out for baking goods because I try to buy spices, flours and other holiday baking goods just before Thanksgiving.

I am going to the mall at lunch today. I hope I can resist big spending.

On the stroll

Text Messages

I'm 36, I never thought I would communicate with friends via text messages. Once in a while is fine but, some people like to send 10 or more per day. Essentially, I have been forced to add a text plan to my cell. Of course, I have a very old plan with lots of minutes, rollover and free nights and weekends.

Originally I said that I would only add a text plan if the texts costs more than the plan. At the time, they were 5 cents each. I checked again last week and they were $0.15 each. So, ten would be $1.50. To add a plan, $4.99 per month. The plan includes 200 messages. Additional messages are discounted as well.

I have at least 3 friends that send texts so, I should be covered.

If only I could add nationwide coverage so that travel does not lead to EXORBITANT roaming charges. Of course, they will not offer that. To upgrade to national coverage would double (or more) my current plan. The good thing is that I am covered in CA, NV, AZ and somewhere else. It could be much worse.

I keep reminding myself that I am saving money by not having a landline. Any tips to saving on cell plans?

On the stroll

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Busy Busy Busy

I've been crazy. I'm at a seminar for the rest of the week. It took me 2 hours to get there this morning and 90 minutes to get home. It's 27 miles away! Then, the only parking is at the hotel for $15 per day. I'm being reimbursed but what the HECK! This is why I am considering leaving California.

I've been so good. No unncessary spending, no extravagant lunches. Only necessary items. I am under budget for the month.

This weekend, I spent less than $60 and I even bought meat. I hardly buy meat because I am only home on the weekend to cook it. Plus, I stash leftovers in the freezer for quick weeknight meals.

Sleep deprivation leads to impulse purchases. I am going to bed.

On the stroll.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Blew the budget - possibly

Today, I spent over $100 at Talbots. Completely unplanned. And somehow, I feel good aobut it!

I had a date. I wanted to look good but, be comfortable. I found Khaki's tht fit almost perfectly, a blue jacket (cotton) that fit beautifully and a purple top that works under suits or with jeans. Because I can wear it to work or for fun, I think it was a good deal.

I started the day with a garage sale with a friend. We only did the sale for about 90 minutes but, we both sold more than we anticipated. I think we made around $150 between us. We stopped because it was too hot, traffic dwindled and we were starving. I spent most of my earnings eating but, I cleaned my trunk, garage and provided items to someone that needed them at a fair price.

During the yard sale, we met a couple that had recently adopted their 7th child. I don't know how many were biological and how many adopted but we were so impressed by this couple. Adoption has been a goal of mine for a very long time. So nice to be reminded of it.

While I went over budget today (or ignored the darn thing), I also made some money with the yard sale. Because I have virtually eliminated the daily lunch ($10+ at a restaurant), I do not spend as much so, we're going to call it even.

On the stroll

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Well past my bedtime

Last week, I had an insatiable desire to shop. This week, no desire at all. I feel that I have what I need. What a difference a week makes. I think it is the blog. Others can see what I am up to and keep me in line.

I just went over my budget for the remainder of the month and I will be about 400 under budget this month!

Here are a couple of tips:

If you buy books, sign up for a frequent buyer card (if it is free). I have a Border Rewards card and just bought a book that I wanted to read and it is not at a local library . . . after the discounts, it cost me $4.73! Originally $19.99!

I had a long conversation with a co-worker about store credit cards. She was against it because she knows she can't control her spending and an extra discount makes her spend more than intended. For me, it works -- well, it would if I would pay the darn thing off each month. However, being able to purchase 3 tops to wear under suits for $17 makes up for the interest charge (becuase of the 3 suits I purchased the month before). None cost more than $79 so, they were good deals. I know I am rationalizing but, if you pay them off each month, you can get better deals in some stores by having a store card.

This month, I am trying to do like Single Ma and put all discretionary expenses on a credit card (which will be paid off in full each month). This month is the trial. I am brown bagging it or skipping lunch. $10 per day is too much for food that I do not want to eat (more on that later). So, already my spending has dropped drastically.

Anyway, I am terribly sleep deprived,

On the stroll

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Balance Transfers

Today, there were a few blog posts about Balance Transfers. Then, I received word that my new card has a balance transfer. I had forgotten that I wanted to transfer the balance to that card. That is a good thing for my budget. I will save about $40 per month in interest charges!

Yes, I have been a bad girl. At one time I had over $25,000 in debt. When my baby boy was born, I decided to get my stuff together and pay it off rather than add to the debt. Can I just say that I loved Barneys and Needless Markup and expensive cosmetics? Designer suits every day and getting cash from one card to pay another. Yes, I was dangerous.

Now, my total debt, excluding educational loans is less than $10K. That includes a car! I can pay that off in a year. I will add at least $200 per month into my high yield savings account and once I build my $1000 nest egg, pay those bills down.

I probably keep repeating myself but, I want to remind myself of my goals or I will just blow it off and increase the consumer debt.

My frugal tip of the day is freecycle. Freecycle is wonderful. The very item you need is probably being stored in someone's garage, gathering dust. And guess what? They will probably give it to you. I've given away school uniforms, books and movies.

On the stroll

Monday, October 1, 2007

October 1

two weeks ago, I started a savings account at ING direct. Ask for a referral, I heard that they were offering $50 to start an account with a $250 deposit. Yes, I would get a referral of $10 but, you would get $50 immediately. I only got $25.

Anyway, I earned my $25 with that account and added $100 yesterday. Based on my fine coupon clipping skills, I save $60 yesterday. I think I spent $93. My freezer is full and I stockpiled items for the future.

My goal is to follow Dave R. and rebuild my nest egg of $1000. I also got a new credit card and will transfer my credit card debt to that. No interest until January 2009! So, I want to transfer about $150 per month of minimum payments to this card for that period to pay them off!

One day I will figure out how to add a tracking feature but, let's just call this month the gimme. I will post what I'm doing to save and pay off debt until then.

I have picked up a couple of freelance gigs and posted some items on ebay. Those funds will pay off consumer debt.

On the stroll