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Back from vacation with money to spare!

August 17th, 2009 at 02:41 pm

Hooray! We had a fabulous vacation and actually came back with money unspent! So $250 of that money is going into the Emergency Fund.

July was also a 3 paycheck month so I sent a bunch into the EF from that also. Our EF is doing really well and I am hopeful we will achieve our goal of a $10,000 EF by 12/31/09! We just need to average $750/month into it for Sept, Oct, Nov & Dec to make it to that goal. Smile

Wow! Amazing shopping week!

June 6th, 2009 at 05:51 pm

Well, I had 30 coupons for the Bayer meters this past week (which made them free and my state does not charge tax on these items so absolutely FREE!) and used every last one of them plus gave a few away to the cashiers who rang me up so they could also have $10 Walgreen money to spend. Smile

Including the Ecotrin I bought as a $2 moneymaker, I ended up with about $260 in Register Rewards!!! That is just amazing to me. I have never been a Walgreens shopper but I am pretty sure that this week has converted me! *lol* I will be giving away the meters to family members with diabetes as well as donating a load of them around town so nothing goes to waste.

I put a little money into the Emergency Fund this week:

FT JOB: $5.56
PT JOB: $143.30

Total EF: $4,981

May EF Boost

May 29th, 2009 at 07:52 am

PT Job: $435.51
FT Job: $7.17
Refund Ck: $3.25
Total Added to EF: $445.93

EF Balance @ 5/29/09: $4,832

EF Addition

April 26th, 2009 at 12:46 pm

$501.65 from PT job
+ $5.56 from FT job...so...
$4,386 Total EF Balance

I need to buy our DD a bunch of stuff for summer camp. This will be her first year going away to camp for 3 weeks, so she needs quite a few things. Hopefully next summer will be cheaper because she will have some things from this year. I already bought her 2 new swimsuits, a sun hat and some new summer clothes. I have also been stocking up on sunscreen as we must send that with her and she is very pale so she will need lots. I have a feeling this is going to end up costing way more than I expected.

Small EF addition

April 3rd, 2009 at 07:47 am

I mistakenly added an extra $10 to the EF last week, but have decided it can stay there. Plus, I added the interest from ING and my local CU accounts.

New EF balance: $6,870

Payday

March 26th, 2009 at 06:27 pm

My EF is edging closer to my goal of $10,000. I am fairly sure that once it reaches $8,000 I will start to split my PT job money (that now goes 100% to EF) 50/50 between EF and my $11,000 loan. However, my DH now tells me that he thinks his car is "dying" and will need lots of work. Not what I want to hear right as I am so close to a fully-funded EF!!! If you recall this is exactly what happened last year when we got the $5,000 EF fully funded, and it is the same reason I decided to go for a more robust $10,000 EF this time around. *sigh*

Anyway, on with the good news. Since my last EF update I have put 2 PT checks into the EF plus some extra from the FT job, so my new EF balance is $6,851.

Coupons in the mail

March 24th, 2009 at 07:03 pm

Today I received a big, fat booklet full of coupons from Proctor & Gamble. This is a booklet that was offered a little while ago through their website and their monthly newspaper insert - you had to buy $50 worth of P&G items *before coupons*, mail in the receipts with the items circled and they would send this booklet.

After coupons I paid basically nothing but tax for the products I purchased (mostly Duracell batteries that were on sale at CVS for $3/pack and I used $5/2 CVS coupon and $1/1 manufacturer coupon so paid nothing oop for them). It probably took 6 weeks from the time I mailed my forms but now it is here just in time for K-Mart super doubles this week! Hooray!

Another boost to the EF

March 12th, 2009 at 09:12 pm

I put my paycheck from my PT job into the EF, so it is now just over $6,300. Once it reaches $8,000 I think I will split the PT job income 50/50 between EF and the new $11,000 personal loan. I'd like to have that loan paid off in 12 months if all goes well.

ING Interest added

March 2nd, 2009 at 08:41 am

Thanks to compounding interest (even if it is only 1.85% now) my EF is at $5,830 today.

Unexpected paycheck

March 1st, 2009 at 04:50 pm

I received a paycheck in the mail yesterday afternoon from the 1 day/week job that I no longer work at. Apparently my very last day was not accounted for on my previous paycheck from them and I never noticed. I was happy to have this extra money to deposit in the bank. I split it between EF and my personal loan that will be paid off with my FT paycheck on the 13th.

New EF balance: $5,822
Personal Loan: $230.10

Received tax refunds from fed & state

February 27th, 2009 at 01:28 pm

Okay, I decided to use the Federal refund to pad my "freedom account" (a Mary Hunt, Debt-proof Living idea where all money for intermittant but expected expenses is kept). We've got loads of different categories to save for in there such as my DD's summer camp, car repairs/oil changes, gifts, etc. So that big chunk makes me feel much more in control of those expenses and ready for when they come due.

The state refund was about 1/3 of the federal and I split it like so:
10% fun money - 5% for me and 5% for hubby
10% charity - split between 6 different places we give to
40% EF
40% debt - this brings this debt down to just under $284 and should be paid off with my next paycheck!!! WooHoo! Big Grin

It is exciting to see such nice progress and feel a little bit more secure in our future finances.

Money to EF

February 20th, 2009 at 07:54 am

I just got my last paycheck from the old 1 day/week job, and I put the dollar place and change from FT job so new EF Balance: $5,467. Smile

End of Year Bonus added to EF

December 29th, 2008 at 10:43 am

New EF balance with Bonus from work and one rebate check: $3,096

Added to EF

December 21st, 2008 at 11:16 am

Added paycheck #2 plus part of paycheck #1 and a few small rebates I received in the mail this week to the EF:

Total EF Balance: $2,839.53

Re-building the EF

December 10th, 2008 at 07:18 pm

Although I have been trying really hard to avoid the financial news these last few weeks, my DH takes it upon himself to remind me that 1.5 MILLION jobs were lost over the last 3 months! Yuck. My patients keep reminding me with all their economic talk as well, so I am glad to be putting my whole paycheck from job #2 toward the EF. Last time I grew my EF I decided that $5,000 was a good EF. These days I am leaning toward building it a bit larger since I have been forced to think about possible job loss. We'll see how I feel once the EF is back to $5,000.

Job #2 Paycheck plus ones place and change from Job #1 paycheck added to EF (rounded up): $251.00

EF TOTAL @ 12/10/08: $2,497.53
Halfway to the $5,000 mark again! Hooray!

CVS plan for midnight tonight!

November 26th, 2008 at 02:43 pm

CVS is having a TON of free after ECB items for their Black Friday sale. However, they are starting their Black Friday sale on Thursday and running the specials for 3 days (Thursday, Friday, Saturday). With coupons, these items end up making you money - for example, I buy an item that costs $5 and at the end of my receipt I get $5 back, but I had a coupon for $1 off so I only paid $4 and still got $5 back. Do this with a bunch of these "free after ECB" items and you've just made quite a little bit of money! Yippee!

Here is my plan:
Starting with $50.98 in ECB's:

Transaction #1
$ 7.99 Schick razor Get $ 6
$ 2.99 Aussie Get $ 2.99
$11.98 Soleil razor x2 Get $11.98
$ 5.98 Colgate x2 Get $ 5.98
$ 5.99 Garnier Get $ 5.99
$ 5.69 J&J lotion Get $ 5.69
$13.98 L'oreal gloss x2 Get $13.98
Total:$54.60
$10/50 CVS coupon
$4 schick
$1 aussie
$6 soleil x2
$3 colgate x2
$1 garnier
$1 J&J
$2 L'oreal x2
$2/10 cosmetics (or L'oreal skincare) CVS coupon
Total: $24.60
Pay with $23.99 ECB's + $0.74 cash, Earn $52.61 ECBs

Transaction #2 (Friday/Saturday)
$ 2.99 Aussie Get $ 2.99
$ 7.99 CG Smoothers Liquid Get $ 7.99
$ 5.99 CG Smoothers pressed powder Get $ 5.99
$ 4.47 Gatorade G2, 20oz x3 Get $ 4.47
$12.99 Sambucol Get $10.00
$ 6.49 Coricidin Get $ 2.00
$ 9.18 Revlon nail polish x2
Total: $50.10
$10/50 CVS coupon
$1 aussie
$2 Covergirl x2
$2 coricidin
$4 Revlon x2
POSSIBLY $2/10 cosmetics CVS coupon (if not used in Trans#1)
Total: $31.10
Pay with $29.98 ECB's + $0.85 cash, Earn $33.44 ECBs
(I will have approx $82 ECB when both transactions are complete).

I am starting with a nice stash of ECB's that I have been building for the past few weeks, but anyone can do well with this sale by buying one item, then turning around and using that item's ECB to pay for the next item.

I am extremely excited to shop tonight/tomorrow. I only hope they have everything I need to make my deals work. *grin*

Great CVSing 11/16/08

November 16th, 2008 at 02:38 pm



It was a very good CVS day today. I had an awesome, friendly cashier, Felicia, who was very happy that I got such good deals and did not hate me for using a billion coupons! *LOL*

I started with $18 ECBs and ended up spending $7.92 oop total for all that you see above!!!
I got:
(4) Coke 12-packs
(2) Coke 2 liters
(3) Buddy bars
(4) Glade glass scents
(8) Glade jar candles
(1) Clear Care twin pack
(1) Crest Pro Health
(1) L'oreal Pro Calcium
(1) Zantac-3
(6) packs of batteries totalling: (20)AA, (8)AAA, and (8)AA Rechargables

It makes me very happy to get so much for so little. I also came out with $43.50 in ECBs to spend on the awesome Black Friday deals that CVS plans on having this year. Looks like lots of free stuff in my future! Hooray!

Save $$$ on Prescriptions-easy!

August 23rd, 2008 at 06:18 pm

I have been so bummed about going to the expensive HSA with the $5k deductible. I still am, but I have found a little relief.

I checked my professional association and found that they offer a Rx Discount card for no additional fee as long as you are a member in good standing (in other words, paid your dues for the year). I also stumbled upon the fact that BJ's Wholesale Club also offers a Rx Discount card for its' members. Go here to read more if you are a member of BJ's club: http://www.pharmafutures.net/bjs/rxdiscountcard.html

Both websites offer a Rx look-up service which tells me how much I should expect to save on the prescriptions our family needs. I just typed in the name of the medication, the number of pills per month and it spit back a real cost with the card.

Now for the really good news. It looks like the BJ's discount card will save us $25/month on my daughter's medication. It's not a fortune, but every bit helps as you all know.

So, moral of the story, check with your professional organizations and other affiliations you may have to see if they offer any "extra perks" with membership. It could really pay off! Smile

$5 Payless Shoes coupon...

August 22nd, 2008 at 08:58 pm

in the 9/1/08 People magazine on newsstands now (Ellen & Portia's wedding on the cover).

On page 24 - $5 off any purchase of $5 or more.

Valid 8/22-9/29/08

Cannot be combined with any other coupon or employee discount. Valid at all US Payless ShoeSource locations. Not valid at locations within ShopKo stores. Not valid at payless.com

Perfect timing for back-to-school shoes! Smile

Would you go without Health insurance?

August 15th, 2008 at 09:43 pm

I was talking to my sister the other night, and she could not believe how much I was going to be paying for the new HSA ($600/month premiums but the DDS pays $100/month, so $500/month out of my pocket)...especially after I explained that with an HSA I pay all expenses out of pocket up to the first $5,000.

My husband, daughter and I are very healthy so we are basically paying for nothing. Seriously. I doubt very much we will come close to spending anywhere near $5,000 in the next year. My DD goes to the doc twice a year for check-ups, and my DH and I go maybe once or twice max. My DD does take prescription medicine, so I called the pharmacy and that will cost approx $40/month without a conventional prescription plan. If all of those trends hold we will probably spend under $2,000 over the next 12 months.

So, my sister says, why don't you just drop insurance altogether and save the $500/month in a savings account in case you get sick! If something catastrophic happens (G-d forbid) you can always get charity care. As a person who loves to save money it was like hearing the siren song calling me to throw myself on the rocky coast. For about a minute and a half I really considered it. And, if it were just my husband and I we would probably do just that, but with a child it seems too irresponsible.

What do you all think? Would you or have you gone without health insurance?

80% off at Restaurant.com thru 8/10/08

August 9th, 2008 at 09:44 am

In honor of 08/08/08, Restaurant.com is running this special.

$25 gift certificates for $2...Sale expires Aug 10 at 11:59pm -
Enter Discount Code: FIRST At Checkout and Hit "APPLY"

Hope this is helpful to someone. Unfortunately, there are no restaurants near me that use this site. Frown

Look at all I got for $4.70!!!

July 11th, 2008 at 12:57 pm



A very successful CVS run today. I really planned everything out so that I could spend the very least amount possible out of pocket (oop). That perfect plan didn't quite work out, as it would have had me paying about $2 oop, but I still did extremely well.

Here is what I got:
(10) Dawn dish liquid
(2) CVS pantiliners
(1) Playtex tampons
(4) Sure deodorants
(2) Always pads
(2) Pert Plus shampoos
(1) Trident Xtra Care gum
I think I made out like a bandit this week. What do you guys think? Smile

Frustrating shopping at Target

July 6th, 2008 at 07:40 pm

Wow. My first time using a Target coupon. It made me never want to shop there again. I had a Target store coupon from a couple weeks ago that was $5 off 3 items from specific manufacturers, J&J, BandAid, Playtex, etc.

First trip to the register, I have 2 Johnson's detangling products and 2 Johnson's buddies products so that I can also use 2 printable coupons I found online. No go. "The bottles have to say the word baby on them" according to the cashier. Okay, no problem. I put those back and grab some that say baby on them.

Second trip to the register, I have 4 buddy soaps (to use the 2 printables), 2 baby shampoo and 1 baby powder (to use the $5/3). Cashier (different one) gives me the most evil look like I am trying to STEAL from them, looks in the bag where she has already put the items she rang for about 5 minutes then looks back at the coupons, then in the bag, etc. Sees the 2 shampoos and tells me the other products don't qualify. I show her the baby powder. She puts the $5/3 coupon through. People behind me are now giving me the same evil look as the cashier. Tells me I can't use the other 2 buddies coupons because the total will be zero and they can't have a zero transaction...if that even makes sense. I understand her to mean that the 4 buddies bars are only 94 cents each and they total less than the coupons. I ask if she can adjust the coupon down - no. I ask her if I can buy another bar so that the total is more than the coupons. Yes.

I pay for all the other stuff and walk away, look at the register tape and realize they overcharged me for the baby powder. I sent my husband over to CS to get my 35 cents back.

Third trip to the register, I go back to the original cashier who is at least nice to me. Buy 5 buddy bars using the 2 printables, and it takes her forever to figure out that the register is WRONG and that the products do indeed match the coupon. I pay and get the heck out of there.

Is it always this frustrating shopping with coupons at Target? Are the coupons always denied? That is what it seems like to me since each and every coupon was denied by the register and had to manually be accepted by the cashier. Frown

Anyway, after all of that I did make out pretty well:
(5) Buddies bar soaps - $0.94/ea
(2) Johnson baby shampoos - $2.79/ea
(1) Johnson baby powder - $2.09
(1) 5pk Kandoo refills - $8.99
Total - $21.36

Redeemed:
(1) $5 off of 3
(2) $2 off of 2

PAID: $12.61

Unexpected CVS trip tonight

June 20th, 2008 at 07:43 pm

I had to go out and buy a birthday gift for a party my daughter is going to tomorrow - of course she tells me this tonight.

Anyway, she has been driving my husband and I bonkers sniffling for the last couple weeks. Tonight in the car on the way to the toy store I hit the end of my sniffle patience. So we stopped by CVS to pick up some allergy medicine for her, and I figured I'd attempt to locate the elusive CrossAction toothbrushes my husband so dearly loves and which are FREE after ECB this month.

Well, I looked through all the toothbrushes and there were none - again - so I went up to the counter to pay and decided to ask about the rain check they had given me previously. The raincheck had the sale price listed but no mention of the ECB so I wanted to get it straightened out since I have looked in 4 different CVS stores and no one seems to have any. The clerk was so friendly and helpful! She says, "I know someone just bought those so I think we may have just gotten them in. Let me go look for you". She brought back 2 packages for me just the type I wanted (by the way, a little dental hygiene advice here, always buy SOFT bristles). Plus, she fixed my rain check so that it says I can get them for FREE next time. WooHoo!

I was so excited that when my daughter asked for a disposable camera that was on sale for $5 I totally caved and bought it for her. *LOL* I am also trying to cultivate the creative side of her normally very analytical mind, so I figured it could be a good thing for her.

Here are my purchases today:
2 2-pk Vitalizer TB
1 CVS brand allergy syrup
1 27 exposure camera
2 bottles of Coke (my husband's addiction)

I redeemed $12.99 ECB, and the Coke is BOGOF this week. Total oop $16.03, and received $13.98 in ECB...so net cost of $2.05. Not too shabby for a newbie CVSer.

I am really enjoying my new hobby! Smile

Successful CVS trip

June 17th, 2008 at 07:06 pm

I made my second trip with my brand-spankin' new CVS card today.

I spent $18.43 and received $19.97 back in CVS Extra Care Bucks (ECB)! WooHoo! Big Grin

Needless to say I am a little bit excited about having come out ahead on this trip. It's not too often you go into a store and come out with merchandise and more "credit" than you went in with...well, legally anyway!!! *LOL*

Here is what I got today:
(2) Listerine Smart Rinse
(1) 2-pk Oral-B Cross Action toothbrushes
(2) Oral-B Power toothbrushes
(2) bottles of Coke
and I made a $1 donation to ALS Therapy Alliance.

I had (2) coupons for $1 off the Smart Rinse, the Coke was on sale BOGOF, I had a coupon for BOGOF on the power toothbrushes, and I used $3.98 in ECB I earned last week. Hip-Hip-Hooray!!!

Catching up with the month of June

June 10th, 2008 at 08:48 pm

Boy, where does the time go?! It is already more than a week into the month and I have not reconciled my ING interest yet. I am usually right on top of that because I put that earned interest toward the Goal CC and that makes me happy. Smile

I earned $16.12 in interest for the month of May which will be going to pay down that evil CC you see to the left. WooHoo! Big Grin

New Balance on Goal CC: $7,560.40

CVS, here I come

June 8th, 2008 at 11:39 am

I worked alot this past week, so I have been neglecting my poor blog. I have been trying to keep up with reading all of your wonderful blogs though.

Someone on DebtProofLiving.com mentioned a blog called "Money Saving Mom" which I started reading last night and could not get enough of. I have been curious about all of the different people who have mentioned saving TONS of money at CVS. We have 2 in our town and 1 in the next town over but I do not usually shop there since they are not on my regular route to/from work.

Anyway, MSM's blog got me all excited and I just had to go to CVS today and see what deals I could start off with. I stopped by a store in my town first and picked up:

(2) Kotex pads - on sale 2/$5 plus I had a manuf coupon $2/1 - making them $1.50/each (AWESOME!)

(2) Sea Breeze astringent - $5 BOGO Free plus I had a manuf coupon for $0.55/1 - making them approximately $2.23/each (A STEAL!)

Total Spent: $7.44 out of pocket (oop)

The very first thing I made a bee-line for as soon as I walked in the store was the 2pk of OralB CrossAction toothbrushes that were advertised for $6.99 plus get $6.99 back in Extra Care Bucks (making them FREE after the ECB). My husband loves these and they are super expensive. The first store had none in stock, so I headed over the store in the next town over. They did not have them either. I asked the cashier and he gave me a Rain Check, however, I asked if I would be able to get the ECB's and he said "Yes"...but I really doubt that unless I can pick them up before the deal ends at the end of this month. We shall see about that. While I was there I picked up another "Free-bate" type deal:

(2) 40ct bandages - $1.99 x 2 + $3.98 plus tax so $4.12 oop and my ECB for $3.98 printed right there on the end of my receipt.

If I had known I was going to get the bandages, I could have purchased those at the first store and then used the $3.98 toward my $7.44 purchase to save myself the money today. Like I said, this is my very first attempt at shopping at CVS with their rewards program so I'm not gonna beat myself up about it.

As it is I spent $11.56 out of pocket and earned back $3.98, so a net out put of $7.58 for 6 products. I really think that is pretty good considering I had no ECB's to start with. I can't wait to find some really great deals on shampoo & conditioner. My daughter goes through gallons of conditioner each month with her super curly hair!

35.6 miles per gallon

March 12th, 2008 at 06:50 am

Happy day here - a new record for fuel economy in my 2008 Honda Fit automatic.

I have not increased the air pressure in my tires yet, so they are still at the manufacturer's spec (should be 32psi, but I have not checked). There was no highway driving involved, but I do drive rurally on my commute so I can go 5-10 miles without stopping in one section which helps my fuel consumption. Again, I have really taken my slower driving seriously on this tank of gas, so I would say 90% was me driving 5-10mph under the posted speed limit trying to keep my RPMs as close to 1500 as possible, but allowing up to 2k RPM. My husband did drive a few short trips on this tank that were anything but hypermiling (says it drives him crazy to go even 5mph under the limit) so I may be able to do even better in the future which is extremely exciting. Smile

If I can keep this up and gasoline prices do not continue to rise so fast, I am hoping to be able to sweep about $10 from my gas category to the 0% CC at the end of the month.

In other news, I tried to pre-pay my one CC, and they ended up sending me a check for the credit amount. I wish my CCs would send me money every month instead of the other way around! *LOL* I've got a grace period so I guess I'll let it sit and earn interest until the end of the month and then send it back to them.

Hyper-miling

February 24th, 2008 at 06:19 pm

Gasoline prices just keep going up and up! I know NJ has some of the lowest prices in the nation and that is why it is so scary to me that I just paid $2.89/gallon...what must some of you be paying?! The future is not too bright as far as crude oil price futures go, so I have been trying to find ways to get better MPG with my car.

I found this website - http://www.cleanmpg.com a few weeks ago and it has truly inspired me. I have a 2008 Honda Fit with automatic transmission so some of the tips they suggest do not pertain (a lot of the advice is for manual transmission vehicles), but I have been driving much more slowly - 5 to 10mph under the limit depending on if there are other drivers behind me instead of my usual 5-10mph over the limit. It has only added 5-10 minutes to my usual drive to and from work so no problem there as I still get there 15-20 minutes before the start of the day. I have also been coasting to stops (something I have always done but now I am coasting for longer distances), and putting my car in neutral at long red lights. I am not even sure putting the car in neutral helps my MPG that much but it is something I saw mentioned that is doable with my auto tranny so I am trying that for now.

I plan on increasing my tire pressure this week. Honda recommends 32psi, and the maximum sidewall on my tires says 51psi, so I plan on going up to 40psi. I have been keeping track of my fuel economy through www.fueleconomy.gov/mpg/MPG.do which allows you to track all your fuel purchases and calculates your MPG for each tank of gas. With just the few alterations I have made in my driving in the last 3 weeks I have increased my mileage from 30mpg to 32mpg and even got 35mpg on the highway last week. I am hoping to get 34-35mpg on a regular basis once I increase the tire pressure.

I have taken this on almost as a new hobby and try to challenge myself to do better each day. I am actually enjoying driving slower and paying close attention to the RPM gauge which is surprising since I tend to have a real lead foot! Smile

Tax Refund Arrived - EF is Fully Funded!!!

February 16th, 2008 at 10:34 am

WooHoo! I checked my ING checking and the IRS deposited our federal refund yesterday as promised. Big Grin

I now have $5,000 in our EF!!!!!!

There is some leftover from the refund which I have put aside in a separate ING savings. I'll wait until we get our state refund and then decide where to allocate the rest of the money. I am just thrilled to have a fully funded EF for right now. Smile


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