Tuesday, November 29, 2011

So Over Working

I'm So. Over. Working.



I don't like it.

Sigh.  Too bad our society still uses that pesky thing called money.

This isn't how it was supposed to go, you know.   After graduating with my double degrees from the university of my dreams, it was all going to be awesome.  A job I loved, a paycheck I loved, an area I loved- no worries.

Instead, what happened?  It was hard to find work.  I was stuck in a job I despised, but that loved me- with opportunity to advance.  We moved to a place with no employment, unless you happened to be Bubba's third cousin twice removed.  No jobs for outsiders, you know.  The economy collapsed.  Jobs shriveled up.  It became a "take what you can get, because it's the only game in town" world.

So I eked out money with my crappy retail job, while Tim was paid bare minimum in a place we hated with people that hated us.

Then we got to move again.  Back to an area I loved.  Surely back near a large city there would be jobs! I was back in the area I grew up in.  My turf.  Try to stop me now.  Sure, there were setbacks, but I was home.  The economy would start picking up any time now.


So here I am again.  I'm lucky I have a job, I really am.  The first few months I was worried.  The only jobs I could find were second-shift mill jobs or fast food jobs.  I'm not a snob- ok maybe I am.  I don't want to work at McDonalds.  I don't want to work a second-shift mill job.  My parents and my grandparents busted their butts doing things like that so I don't have to.  That's the true American Dream.  Work hard at a job that is better than your parents had, so your kids can have better than you.  I'm not disparaging anyone.  I'm just being honest.  No one dreams as a small child, "I want to work for barely minimum wage."

Anyway.  So this job opened up.  It seemed like a miracle.  It was part time, but pays a good bit above minimum wage. It seemed pretty low-stress and while it wasn't my dream job, it was a job.

It sucks.  Not only do I not have enough to do, none of what I do is important. I get some compliments, which is nice, but I don't think they half pay attention to things I try to improve.  In fact, I mostly only hear from people because something wasn't done instantly.  Lord forbid I forget something, when it's something that you should really be doing yourself in the first place.

So, I coupon like crazy and do my online surveys (which I am doing simultaneously as I blog) to supplement my income so that we can pay off debt quicker and begin saving to become rich. Ha.  Rich.

Regardless, I'm so "over" working.   What would you do if you hit the lottery and hit it big?  Let's say 30 million bucks in your pocket, after taxes.   I've got a plan and I'll post it in a day or two.

Now I just need to get out there and start buying tickets.


Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving- the condensed version

Hooray, Hooray! Thanksgiving is over.

I know it's bad to feel that way, but there is always plenty of stress to go around and despite the entire day being much less annoying than I had anticipated, there still were a few hiccups.

We headed out to my mom's for lunch- which started 30 minutes late because my Maw-Maw will be late for her own funeral.  To her credit, she did manage to get there before my brother though.  I was "adopted" by my Mom's-Husband's-Son's- 2 year old daughter Hayden. After 20 minutes of peeking at me and staring at me from around my mom, I finally just said "What!"  This is apparently how you make a 2-year old your bestie.  After that I had to push her on the swing outside for a good 15 minutes, which apparently just does not happen.  Only my mom is ever allowed to push her on the swing.  Following that, I had to carry her around the house, except the brief period of time when I convinced her to go play with her Dad's girlfriend's daughter (who's name escapes me).   She is a funny kid- she was climbing up me trying to get a hat (which Tim had tossed on her head and she threw back at him).  I knocked it off the back of the couch by accident, exclaiming "Oh Crap." Immediately she hollers "OH CRAP!"   It simultaneously cracked me up and made me feel bad that I had probably introduced a new word in to her vocabulary.

We left my mom's early.  I took a plate of food to my Dad, who I knew hadn't eaten yet (even though it was 3:30) and we sat around just enjoying each other's company until it was time to head to his side of the family's event. It went off pretty well, mainly because the younger cousins all stayed in the backroom and weren't underfoot.  Since my Aunt Teena has a small baby, she won't allow my Maw-Maw to smoke when the baby is there, so we only had to deal with two cigarettes as well (prior to the baby arriving).

The biggest headache of the day came when my Maw-Maw gave Tim her dachshund because "No one takes care of it".  She's supposed to belong to one of my younger cousins, but the dog is covered in fleas, my Maw-Maw can't take care of her, the cousin doesn't want her, etc. etc.  As we were walking out of the door with the dog, WWIII started as my aunt Teena got annoyed, the cousins were screaming "They are taking your dog! They are taking Rosie!" and the cousin in question had to be called for 15 minutes before she finally slunk in the living room with a half-hearted "Yeah. I want her."  It was ridiculous, because my grandmother had used Tim's good-hearted nature (he felt bad for the dog, we didn't want her) to try to make it in to this "Well then you better take care of her or she will really be given away" life-lesson.  Oh I was MAD.

At least Thanksgiving is over! I won't see my Maw-Maw or that side of the family other than my dad again until next year since their Christmas Party is always on Christmas Eve and Tim has a church service.


Saturday, November 26, 2011


I am so tired.  I need to do a Thanksgiving post, a black friday post, a second Thanksgiving post,  a car post, a dog post-

but definitely not tonight!

I hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving!


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

So THAT'S what family is for...

First, a little background.

My brother is nearly 8 years younger than I am, aging in at 19 years old.  He went to a one year Auto Diesel School (highly ranked) to work on vehicles, but he went with paint and body work instead of something helpful like engines. Since it was a one year program, he is now out of school and living with my dad.

Thanks to this crappy economy and the fact that North Carolina is having some serious economic struggles, my dad was laid off work and went the full 99 weeks without being able to find employment.  He was eventually able to find a very crappy job paying very crappy wages, but it's enough, just barely, to squeak by on.

Fast forward to now.  My little brother's car (which he traded in his reliable truck for) is broken down, he doesn't have the money to fix it (despite being employed) and no one can/will co-sign a loan for him.  He asks me and I agree, though I told him to wait until after I got back from Indianapolis.  I figured that would give him at least another week or two to save money out of his paycheck, minimizing his loan amount.  We had quite the conversation about interest rates, interest compounding, saving money, etc.  You know me and money.

He hasn't mentioned the loan again and believe me when I say I am not going to beg to help him.  Ya know?

Anyway, I find out last night that he has not saved an additional dime towards getting his car fixed and it's been over a month since he asked me for help.    Not my business, you are saying? He's an adult, you are saying?  No.  The moment he asks for my help financially, even just securing a loan, it becomes my business.
Regardless, what irks me the most is he isn't helping my Dad out with bills at all.  Not a dime.  Oh, he's sure causing the power bill to go up.  He's sure hauling his girlfriend around and eating up the food my Dad has in the house.  Why in the world should he contribute to the bills?  He's not saving to get his car fixed.  He is literally blowing every paycheck as soon as he gets his hands on it.

I coupon so hard because I provide certain necessities to my family.  I take my dad toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, toilet paper, shampoo- the toiletries necessary.  My brother, of course, gets to glom on and use these items. He doesn't even have to spend money on toiletries.  Yet he can't find it in his miserly little heart to help out on the bills?  He can't pay even a paltry $50 a month to help out his own father?  Yes, he knows exactly the financial dire straights my dad is in.  In fact, I've turned down Christmas and Birthday gifts from my dad for the past 2 years because I knew he would give even when he couldn't afford to.  Greedy guts snatches his up, of course.

I was so mad I could have eaten metal shavings and spit nails when I found out exactly what was going on financially over there.  It would be one thing if the boy was desperately saving every penny he could get his hands on to get his car fixed.  Instead, he's out living the life, going to movies, out to restaurants, burning up the roads between where he is living and his girlfriend's house (in my old car, I might add).  Meanwhile, my dad sits at home and sometimes makes it to work only on a prayer and thanks to the fumes in the gas tank.

I guess this is what family is for- to mooch off of, to treat them like slaves and to only take, take, take, without giving anything back.  My brother was going to move to Florida and move in with a friend of his and his family, pay them $350 in rent per month and yet he can't give a single red cent to his own flesh and blood who is struggling, partially because of the financial burden he's helping to create by causing the bills to go up.

Looks like we're going to have to sit down for a little "Come to Jesus" talk. If you aren't familiar with that term, don't think for an instant it means a sweet, polite discussion.


Monday, November 21, 2011


As the holiday season approaches, we reach the sticky subject of Regifting.

Is it right, is it wrong? Let's see.

NEVER EVER EVER regift something that has been used or opened. I'm sorry, that's tacky. Would you give someone a cookie with a big bite taken out of it? No. Or if you would, please don't ever give me a gift lol.

Don't regift crappy gifts. Wait, I know, that's generally WHY we regift, but if YOU don't want that sweater with the sequined puppies on it, obviously no one else will either. Donate it to a charity or take it back to the store if you can't bring yourself to keep it.

If you DO regift, try to do it for a separate group of friends. If your usual group consists of you, Friend A and Friend B, don't take A's gift and give it to B. Chances are, A is gonna see it and recognize it- or else, you'll have to lie about it and that's never good.

What if someone gives me a coffee maker? I don't like coffee, I don't drink it and I never make it. As long as I don't open the box, this is a gift that could easily go to someone else- perhaps someone that DOES drink coffee. Of course, I could also just return it to the store (if I have a reasonable idea where it comes from).

So, in short, I'm ok with regifting, if done properly. Make sure it's a clean, unused item that actually fits the person or is something you genuinely think they'll enjoy. If you really hate the item, take it back to the store or give it to charity. There is always the yard sale option.


Friday, November 18, 2011


I got a letter in the mail from Purina today, sending my "prizes" from when I spent every day at 11am competing against other people for one of 1,000 coupons on their dog and cat website. 

What did I get?

FREE  3.5lb bag of Purina One Cat Food 
FREE  4lb bag of Purina One Dog Food

FREE  (1) Purina Beneful Dog Food Prepared Meals
FREE  (2) trays of Fancy Feast Appetizers for Cats
FREE  (2) cans of Friskies Tasty Treasures Canned Cat Food
FREE  6lb bag of Purina Cat chow
FREE (2) cans of Purina ONE Wholesome Entrees Dog Food
FREE 3.15lb bag of Friskies Cat Food
FREE 1 package of Purina Busy HeartyHide chew treat
FREE 14lb jug of Tidy Cats
FREE (2) cans of Alpo Dog Food
FREE  (2) cans of Friskies Tasty Treasures Canned Cat Food
FREE  (1) can of Purina ONE cat food
FREE  (1) 10 oz. package of Purina T-bonz dog snack
FREE  6lb bag of Purina Cat chow
FREE  7lb bag of Purina Beneful dog food
FREE  1 3.5 oz. package of Busy brand Chew Treat
FREE 3.15lb bag of Friskies Cat Food

OH yes, I made out like a bandit.  All I had to do was remember each day at 11:00am to refresh the Purina Cares page, type in my info and hit submit.  That's literally all I did. Now I'm going to reap the benefits in the form of a lot of free pet food and treats. It took me less than 5 minutes each day.

Now who doesn't have the time to coupon?



Thursday, November 17, 2011

Using it all- Apples!

I'm a baking fiend lately. Mainly because my boss gave me yet another bag of apples and I don't want them to go bad. Above is pictured an apple pie I made- it cost very little to make, even though I splurged and purchased a crust instead of doing a homemade one this time. Making your own apple pie is SO MUCH CHEAPER than buying one- I promise I don't have $8-$10 worth of ingredients in this!

I'm also making some apple butter. This can be refrigerated for up to 6 weeks, then frozen for longer storage. It can also be canned. This makes a fantastic gift and I'll be sharing the recipe soon- it's super easy to make and tastes great!

Uh oh- I still have apples left! Did you know apples can be frozen? So don't worry if you buy a bag and know you won't make enough recipes to use the bag! Freezing apples now is a great way to take advantage of their current low low prices!

Look for the apple butter and apple pie recipes soon.

I keep the peels to the apples in the freezer and I bring them out as treats for the rabbits, a few pieces at a time. They really appreciate the little something special.  Even our dogs will eat small pieces of apple.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

River Walk

With the weather being so nice the past few days and with River being "street legal" now (she's got all her puppy shots and her Rabies vaccine), we decided to take her and Dixie on a walk.

When we first introduced the leash to River, she dug her heels in and refused to move.  No matter how much coaxing you did or how long you waited, she was prepared to out wait you.

I turned to Mr. Outside Lead for help.  When we were outside taking care of the other animals or playing with the other dogs, River was put on the outside lead.  It's no fun when you're sitting on the deck refusing to move and no one else is paying attention to you, so it didn't take long for her to realize she could move, even with a very negligible weight hanging from her neck.  This led to the second thing she learned that day:  Running full tilt is not always a good idea, since that tiny weight can also cause you to do a complete backwards flip when you hit the end of it.  Once we realized she hadn't broken her neck, Tim and I laughed and laughed over that one.

We've worked her a little on her leash, but this was the first time she's been out in public and I have to say she did really well.  I sent Tim and Dixie on ahead and every time River tried to pull me, we stopped dead.  It didn't take her very long at all to realize she had to stay within a certain range to keep moving forward.   After she managed more than three feet without pulling me, I gave in and did a light jog with her, so we could catch up to the others.  She loved it and performed really well, staying right by my side while we ran.  Of course, she continued to misbehave off and on for the rest of the walk, but I'm confident that she'll grasp the loose-leash walking in no time.

Unfortunately, Dixie can only handle two laps of the track with her stubby little legs before she's done.  She made it perfectly clear we were headed back to the car.  It actually worked out fairly well though, since I didn't want to overdo the training with River.

It was nice to be walking the dogs around in November.  I guess we had better enjoy it now, before the freezing cold gets here.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Psychology of Shopping

When you're out shopping, you need to be aware of how stores prey on you.  There is an entire psychology to shopping and advertising.

Push Early and Often

Wanna know why every store out there already has Christmas items on the shelves? Do ya? Because they are trying to get in your head. Christmas is pushed out at you early and often so that you freak out about it, you start buying early, you forget what you've already got and buy more.... or you trick yourself in to overspending. Why would they want you to wait for the holiday offers, if you go on and buy it early at full price?

Up the Prices Before a Sale

This happens all the time and is something you'll see more often at mass merchandisers. Get a new _______ for only $9.99!!!!!!!!!!!!!! On sale from $12.99!!!! Problem is, that item was $9.99 to begin with.  The price was bumped up for a few weeks and now it's bumping back down to the original price, but people snatch them up, thinking what a great deal it is! Not cool, but it happens.  Anyone that buys the item at $12.99 is just an added bonus.

One Item on Sale

This one makes me the maddest. Get a new super awesome vacuum only at Lowes for $89!! Normally priced $140! In the mad rush to get to Lowes (or whatever store it is) people lose their minds- only to get there and discover there was only ONE item in stock.  However, wouldn't you like to check out our other merchandise, now that you are here? It's a very hateful way to do business, but they are only required to have 1 of the sale items in stock to put it in their advertising. This comes out A LOT on Black Friday. In fact, at Sears one year if you had a magnifying glass and could have read the tiny little print in the midst of all the ads, you'd have seen that they advertised items not even all the stores carried! But hey, while you're here, might as well take advantage of our other deals... right?

Empty Shelves

Empty Shelves are a great way to force people to buy things they aren't sure about. After all, if there are only a few items left, it must be a great gift and a great deal! And if you wait to buy it, it might SELL OUT COMPLETELY and you've missed out! OH NO, better take two, just in case. This is something stores know and they often contrive to have empty shelves, or just a few items of something in stock at a time- especially if they aren't sure how it's going to sell.

Imposing Limits

Have you seen a not-so-great deal and then seen something like "limit 5 per customer"?  I often see these and think "Who would want one at that price, much less 5?"   Like the Empty Shelves tactic, this creates an urgency in a consumer's mind.  If they have to limit how many you can get at that price, it must be a great deal! Better buy the limit!

Hot New Toy List!!

Anyone remember Tickle Me Elmo? Folks buying them for thousands of dollars on Ebay, riots at stores, losing any sanity they still had at Christmas time... What about Furbys? Beanie Babies? Holiday Barbies?

It's the Hot New Toy List! Here are the Top 10 toys you must buy this Christmas to be a good parent, to make sure your child can keep up with the Jones' child. Rush right out there and buy it, no matter what! If you aren't sure what to get your kid, this will tell you. Can't afford it now? By all means, put it on a credit card, because this just won't be Christmas without all 10 toys under the tree.

It's all a ploy. You get people geared up and ready to fight for something they perceive their child wants and needs, when I'm sure 90% of the kids don't even want these items. Who decides this list anyway? Toy companies, Credit Card companies, Merchandisers? I know as a kid, most of the items on the Top Ten List I had never even seen or heard of it.

So be smart when you shop! Buy what you want, when you want it and don't let the holiday ploys trick you in to spending too much on junk you didn't want to begin with!


Monday, November 14, 2011

Seasonal Affective Disorder

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is episodes of depression that occur at a certain time of the year, usually during winter.  It can also be known as the winter blues, winter depression or seasonal depression.

I suffer from SAD.  It was never bad enough that I really noticed it until we moved to the mountains and were in a place full of horrible people who seemed to suck the joy and happiness out of everyone around them.  We have been away from them for a year and a half now and it's still painful to talk about.

This post isn't about them though.

I finally figured out (after two years of fairly severe depression and a brief stint of near-alcoholism, that will come into another post) that what was happening to me was seasonal depression.  It helped to have a name for the problem, but it didn't make things any easier.

Whenever I started feeling really low, Tim and I would try to take a little day-trip somewhere.  We'd spend a whole day exploring parts of nearby towns, shopping and having a nice lunch or dinner out at little hole-in-the-wall places.  It would help a bit, the planning of the event and then the event itself would buy me three or even four days of feeling almost normal, then it was back in the dumps.

Last year, we moved to where we currently live.  My SAD wasn't nearly as severe.  I attribute that to being happier in general- we're around kinder people, closer to my family and we have friends nearby.  However- I wasn't without depression.  I posted before that I am an extreme worry-wart and that seems to make my problem worse.  This year I'm already worrying about January and February, the months that seem to affect me the worst.

However, this isn't just a depressing post.  I've been researching Light Therapy for several months and I am about to take the plunge and buy a device.

While full sunlight is preferred for seasonal affective disorder (SAD), light boxes may be effective for the treatment of the condition. Light boxes for seasonal affective disorder are designed to filter out most UV light, which can cause eye and skin damage. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved the use of light boxes to treat SAD due to unclear results in clinical trials, but light therapy is still seen as the main form of treatment for SAD. (Thanks Wikipedia). 
It's hard to know exactly which box to buy.  The most affordable are very small, however I think a perfect time to use a device would be while on the computer- blogging or checking emails.  It would be nice to have a portable system to take on trips, which argues against a larger box.

When I do purchase one, I'll be sure to post the details here, as well as a review of my results.   I'm hopeful that I'll have found a cure for my winter blues!


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Crockpot: Garlic Lime Chicken

4 chicken breasts
Lime juice ( I use "Real Lime"- the equivalent of 2 limes, approximately 1/4 cup)
2 cloves of garlic, minced (I used pre-minced garlic)
1 1/2 cups of chicken broth (I make my own with a boullion cube)
1 cup uncooked instant rice
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tbsp dried thyme (optional)

Place your chicken breasts in your crock pot, then use the juice from your limes to drizzle over the chicken. 

Use more or less depending on your tastes, but lime can be a little strong when you use the drippings for the rice later on, so I urge you to err on the side of caution the first time you make this!

Add the minced garlic, then pour your chicken broth in.

Add the black pepper and dried thyme.

Cover and cook on low heat 8-10 hours, or high heat for 4-5 hours.

I skim out some of the broth the chicken has been cooking in, trying to leave any fat hunks or grossness in the pot. If I'm lacking what I need to cook the rice, I make it up in a little extra chicken broth (I seriously just break off a small piece of bullion and add more water), then cook my rice separately.  When it's done, serve the chicken over the rice!


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Worry Wart

I'm such an incredible worrier. I don't know when I became this way or maybe I've just repressed memories of being such a worry-wart from my childhood.  Wait- yep, there comes a few memories.  I've apparently always been this way.  Whew, at least it's not because I'm getting old.  Yet.

One of my many goals in life is to learn to let things go when I can't control them- or worse, when they haven't even happened yet.

I worry I'm the only person in the world that does this.  Oops, no wait.  I'm not going to worry about that.   Anyway, I am possibly the only person in the world that lies awake at night and invents scenarios to worry over, based on events that haven't even happened yet.   "Well, if she says this, then I'll say that, but then if she gets mad, then that means this won't happen and if that doesn't happen then they are not going to be able to..."

Take a deep breath and let it all go.

If it hasn't even happened yet, it might not happen that way at all (which I've noticed is often the case).  Even if it has, my worrying over someone else's reaction is not serving a purpose.

I think a lot of this stems from my desire to be prepared.  If I worry, I work out scenarios and have a bit of control over the situation, even if it seems out of control.  Instead, I spend sleepless nights tossing and turning over things that never happen.  I spend energy I could devote elsewhere to running scenes through my head trying to map out a course of action I will probably never need.

I need to learn just to let it all go. I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.  Although inside of me, a little part is screaming "But what if you get there and need a rope?"


Friday, November 11, 2011

Today's the day!

It's here! It's here!

The start of college basketball is here!

Today, my beloved Tar Heels place Michigan State on an aircraft carrier!

Around here, we are huge Tar Heel fans.  My Dad, little brother and his rival-team loving girlfriend are actually coming over to watch the game.  The girlfriend has been put on notice that one negative comment about my team will be cause to remove her from the house.

Carolina basketball games are truly the highlight of the winter for me.  It's cold, it's miserable, I have seasonal depression, there are few rabbit shows- but there is always college basketball!  No worries about lock-outs or contract negotiations.  No one dragging their feet because they wanted to be drafted by this time, not that team- just pure love of the game.

I am thrilled that my boys in light blue are ranked #1 in the preseason.  I look forward to seeing if they are ranked #1 in the postseason.


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Cheaper Insurance?

We went to the bank the other day, an errand I'm torn about.  On the one hand, I hate having to stand in line and then wait at the counter while the tellers take forever to process just a few checks.  Then again, going to the bank means it was payday and payday means money!

Anyway, I was in my local credit union when I noticed a new flyer- they are now offering insurance! More specifically, renters insurance, auto insurance and health insurance!

Tim and I have been complaining about the rising costs of my health insurance in particular.  Because so few jobs provide benefits now (and mine certainly doesn't), we are paying out the nose for my health insurance... I don't even have vision or dental.

I'm excited to set up a meeting with a representative and see if we can't rework all of our current insurance into new policies with lower rates.   

It is overwhelming to try to figure out what kind of insurance you need- how much of a deductible to get, etc.  It's all a big gamble at the end of the day.  You're betting you'll need car, renters or auto insurance and they are betting you won't.

If we are able to save some money, my goal is to roll that forward on to another bill- like an extra payment on the car or Tim's student loans.  After all, we're already paying it now anyway, might as well at least use it to cut down on interest paid out!


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Couponing: What is Stockpiling?

What is stockpiling?

It's just what you would think- stockpiling is "hoarding" items, especially when they are on sale! If you've ever shopped at a Club Store, you've probably stockpiled, whether you intended to or not (5 gallons of Mayo, anyone?)  I'm laughingly using the term "hoarding", but think about it more like a squirrel in winter.  You are putting away food and health/beauty care items in case of lean times.  The only difference is you're doing it via great sales and deals, not picking it up off the ground and putting it in a tree.

The theory behind stockpiling is that you should never pay full price for certain items again.  Have you ever seen a really great deal, bought one or two items, and then found yourself saying later "Man, I wish I'd bought more of that!"  Stockpiling is just buying a little more of that really great deal, so it will last you until the next time there is a really great deal on it!

What should you stockpile?

Only stockpile items that are non-perishable, or you KNOW you will use before they expire. You aren't saving money if you save 50 cents a pound on fruit and have to throw it ALL AWAY. I even stockpile certain items as christmas gifts!  Some people stockpile by freezing bread and milk.  I don't want my bread soggy (though I know some people claim ways to do it without the bread going gross) and we don't drink enough milk that freezing it holds an appeal for me.  You are in control of what and how much you stockpile!

Why should you stockpile?

Stockpiling is fantastic in certain cases. For instance, Tampax Pearl was running a promotion where you could buy a box of tampons and get a FREE movie ticket, valued up to $12. If that isn't enough reason to stock up, there were $2.00 and $1.00 coupons in each P&G coupon insert in the newspaper. So for the same price as storebrand, you got a box of tampons AND a movie ticket. Plus, since they don't go bad, there is no reason not to stockpile (unless you simply don't have a place to put the item!) It's a great way to save money!

Are you prepared if you or a spouse loses their job?  Through having a stockpile, even if it's just for toiletries, that's one less thing to have to worry about.  You can reroute money you would spend on a grocery bill in to making payments on your house or car, or to keep the lights on while you search for new employment.

When should you stockpile?

Stockpile at any time!  Keep an eye on your grocery store deals and when you can get something free or nearly free, buy it! I buy Cream of Chicken Soup in bulk around Thanksgiving, when the sales are hitting hard.  We use so much of it in cooking, it really adds up if you have to spend $1 a can.  When Walgreens put it on sale for 50 cents a can a few months ago, I definitely stockpiled it- that's a huge savings!  

There is no purpose to stockpiling if you are paying regular, or mostly regular price for the items.

Ways to stockpile:
-can! Yep, you can stockpile garden (or grocery) produce by canning it.
-dehydrate! If you have a food dehydrator, you can make all kinds of dried snacks, from fruit and veggies to meat or yogurt.
-freeze! Use high quality freezer bags or a food saver to stockpile anything that needs to be frozen.
-shop the deals!  This is the most important way I stockpile.  I shop the deals.  For instance, I was able to purchase 4 Colgate toothpastes and 2 of my favorite brands of deodorant this week at Rite Aid.  I ultimately paid the same price for all of these items as I would have paid for just 1 of the deodorants.  I could have added in free lotion to the deal, but you know what? I have plenty of lotion.  Pick what you need and want, and always keep an eye on your stockpile.  Do you need 45 lotions? Unless you really go through that lotion, then no.  Will 4 toothpastes come in handy? Absolutely.  We use it, we go through it fairly quickly and it will keep us from paying full price until more "free toothpaste" deals come up.

Stockpiling can be a helpful tool to save money, but be careful. You do NOT want items piled up along the walls in every room in your house. Don't stockpile something you will never use, just because it's cheap!  Start out slow, with one or two items. I recommend body wash or other health care items.  You don't worry about an expiration date and it's a good way to get your feet wet.  Plus, there are always tons of sales on body wash!


Sunday, November 6, 2011

Coupon Guilt

I spent today clipping coupons and mapping out scenarios at Rite Aid and CVS- and making up a grocery list for Walmart.   Since we spent a week in Indianapolis, we were literally out of everything perishable (we avoided grocery shopping leading up to the trip so nothing went to waste). 

We stopped first at CVS and unfortunately some of the prices at my store were higher than I had anticipated, turning a moneymaker into a very good deal, but not really worth it to me based on what I have in my stockpile at home.  I did pick up 2 Softsoap hand soaps ($2/2 coupon in the 10/30 paper and they are on sale for 99 cents each).  I also got some nail clippers for 19 cents after the CVS coupon that printed out for me at the magic kiosk, plus the manufacturer's coupon I stacked with it.  Since I'm a member of the "Beauty Club" at CVS as well, my purchase goes towards that $50 needed to print out a $5 ECB.  It takes me quite a while to build up to this since I coupon so aggressively, but every little bit helps!

We headed to Rite Aid next.  I had some complicated scenarios worked out, but in the end I decided to stick to just the basics.  I bought 4 Colgate toothpastes ($3.50 each, but I had $2.00 in coupons) for a little less than $13.00.  Then I used the four $3.50 UP+ rewards to purchase two Secret Clinical Deodorants at $7.99 each.  We spent $3.00 or so out of pocket and got $4 back in UP+ rewards that I will roll forward at a later date. So basically, I got 4 free toothpastes and two deodorants for what one deodorant would normally cost me after I use up all of my UP+ rewards.  Not bad!

Then we headed to Walmart and therein lies the problem.  Up to this point, we had done very well!  However, we needed a new bath mat.  I opted to get a better one than the el cheapos, so it ended up costing us around $16.  Then I let Tim buy a Halloween decoration at $4 and we bought River two Halloween toys which ran us $1.50.  That's over $20 on junk already (though the puppy is going through toys like crazy and we did need the bath mat).

We started hitting the grocery section and unfortunately we needed everything! Chicken, beef, hot dogs, cheese, bread, milk- all of it! I did use $6 in coupons, but most of what we purchased just didn't have coupons available.  It's so hard to save on meat and produce with our limited stores.  Long story a little shorter, we spent $93 at Walmart! OUCH!

We haven't spent that much in forever and no matter the other deals we got today, I feel guilty that I wasn't able to do better!   Nevermind that we hadn't shopped in nearly three weeks and nevermind that Tim sprung a few last minute requests (like cereal) on me, it sucks to know I couldn't do better!

Siiigh.  I guess I should be happy I get what I can get for free/cheap and just realize that every trip out isn't going to be a home-run, especially when it comes to groceries.

Oh well, I'm going to go have a pity party.  At least now that we've been to Walmart, I can serve snacks!


Saturday, November 5, 2011

Christmas must be tomorrow-

Surely Christmas must be in the next few weeks.  There is no way it's two months away, with a holiday (Thanksgiving, for those of you that are unsure) still to come.

Christmas booklets touting the new "hot toyz" that no child has ever heard of are everywhere.  I saw multiple Christmas commercials on tv yesterday and most of the stores around me officially have their store decorations up.

Wow.  Not all of the Halloween clearance items have been sold, yet Christmas decorations and gift items are already on the shelves.

It kills me.  We aren't even a full week in to November.  Oh I guess we have to ignore Thanksgiving, the holiday where we give thanks, because we don't get candy or gifts.

Sigh- yes, I'm grumpy, but geez. I've been watching Christmas encroach upon Thanksgiving all my life.  In recent years, I've been watching it try to take over Halloween too.  Soon we're going to start decorating for Christmas the day after the 4th of July.



Friday, November 4, 2011

Getting back in the swing of things

It's so hard to get back in the swing of things when you've been gone.  We spent a week in Indianapolis (or on the road to get there or to get back) and I feel like I am majorly trying to play catch-up.  I had over 300 emails, most of which I actually had to read or at least scan.

We still need to go grocery shopping, but all we really want to do is snuggle up on the couch with the kitties and watch tv.  Oh- and sleep.  I want to sleep lots and lots. 

At least we still have the weekend before I have to go back to work on Monday.