Thursday, November 21, 2013

Regifting- Revisited

The following post originally appeared on Keep Me Sane on  November 21st, 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.


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Black Friday Shopping

The Black Friday Ads are out.  I'm very disappointed to see that a ton of the stores are starting their sales during or even before Thanksgiving dinner.I could go on a long, long rant about how disrespectful I find it to start your sales during a time when people are supposed to be able to be with their families, but I'll stick to my point.

If you are thinking about going Black Friday shopping, there are a few things to keep in mind.

1.) Compare prices.   Usually BF prices are pretty comparable, so why go to three stores for three different items when you can get all three at the same place for a few dollars difference?  Consider the cost of your time and gas when deciding if it's worth that $1.00 savings.

2.) Have a game plan.  Know where you are going and what you are getting.  Having everything written down helps you keep your cool when you get in to the shoving and pushing crowd- you won't criss cross the store or miss out on that waffle maker you forgot you were buying your aunt.

3.) Divide and Conquer.  If you have other family members going out, see if they are willing to divide and conquer.  Ask them to pick up X and Y for you at Store A, while you grab Z for them while you are shopping at Store B.  Make sure you trust the person to pick up your items and pay you promptly for what you get for them.

4.) Don't sacrifice family for stuff.  Like I said- the sales are starting earlier and earlier.  All these deals will be available online and at various retailers. usually does a great job matching deals, you will just have to fight online to get them.  Regardless, remember- it's Thanksgiving.  Your family changes daily, someone here this year may not be around next year, as sad as it is to think about.  Don't sacrifice your time with loved ones to rush out and fight for cheap junk.


Sunday, November 10, 2013

Lost Food

Have you ever been digging through the freezer and found a lump of freezer burned meat that must be extremely old?  What about getting home with a new pack of chicken, only to find half of the last pack still in the freezer?

What about cleaning out the pantry and finding expired food hidden behind good food- items you know you would have used, had they not been hidden under other things.

So frustrating- and expensive.

My goal is to do to the freezer and pantry what I have already done to my Spice cabinets.  I plan to do a top to bottom inventory- what is in there, how much of it is there and where it is (top shelf, bottom shelf, etc).  When I put something in, I make a tally mark beside the name, when I use it, I erase or cross off the item.  It's a time consuming process to start with and of course, it has to be maintained every meal, but it is nice to know at a glance if I need more chicken, or where that can of beans is.

The hardest part of this plan is to get Tim on board with it.  The Spice cabinets are pretty much solely my domain, but the fridge and pantry is communal property!

With this system, I'm hoping to minimize those lumps of unidentifiable freezer burned meat and tossing out tons of expired food.  Ok, so it's not tons, but it is still throwing out money, not to mention the sheer waste of good food and the increased amount of garbage in the landfills.

Wish me luck on my new adventure!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Fall Food Hoarding

I am not sure what it is, but Fall always speaks to me in the most basic way- ie. I start hoarding away food for the winter.

I know, we have lovely little grocery stores and huge mega-stores that carry anything you want all year round, but still- come Fall, every year, my instincts kick in.  I mentioned the other day about harassing my Dad to fill my freezer with deer meat- I was totally serious.

My couponing always kicks in to top gear in the Fall and that is what I've been doing lately.  Popcorn and pizza may not be the healthiest meal, but hey- food is food and thanks to some deals, we have quite a few frozen pizzas and several boxes of microwave popcorn, along with various other odds and ends.

I have been a bit lazy recently with my couponing.  So much has been going on, it just hasn't been top priority, but with the colder temperatures recently, it has picked back up!

My saddest realization is the lack of canned and frozen fresh foods from this year.  Unfortunately, prices never really got to where I wanted to see them for me to *buy* and freeze corn.  Meanwhile, a ton of rain early in the season stunted the gardens in this area.   No fresh salsa for me, and definitely no canned salsa this year.  Sigh.

Oh well, there is always frozen pizza and popcorn :).


Monday, November 4, 2013

Hunting Season!

Black Powder season has come in for our area, and my Dad is like a kid on Christmas Morning.

I also love deer season.  While I don't often find myself in the woods, I have a deal with my Dad- I will pay for processing if he's willing to use one of his tags on a deer for me.

I got a call this morning that he had a doe down!  With a bit of debating, we decided to have the meat processed as hamburger, minus the backstrap which is too delicious to waste in mixing up.  We are going to split the meat from this doe, that way we both have delicious, healthy, clean meat for a reasonable price.

I teased my Dad that he needs to get back out there and get us another- I'd love to have the second cut in to steaks and sausage!

Hunting is such a great way to provide cheap, healthy meat for your family.   I'm thinking that later on this week I may join my Dad in the woods.  Even if you don't bring home dinner, it is absolutely amazing to watch these animals out in the fields.  I wish I could take my camera, but I don't want to risk spooking them!


Friday, November 1, 2013

Thankful for Deals! (12 Months of Christmas Post)

Are you ready for Thanksgiving? "Ha, yeah right" you are saying.  "There were no 12 Months of Thanksgiving posts!"

This is one of my favorite sales times of year.  I often stockpile certain items that go on sale- like Cream of Chicken Soup.  It tides us over the rest of the year for certain items and that equates to saving money.

This has nothing to do with anything Christmasy, I'm aware.  Hang in there with me.

This is a time where a lot of food item coupons come out and there are a lot of sales.  How can you use that? 

If you're planning on baking gifts, now is the time to get your baking items!  Take advantage of those pie crust deals, the sales on chocolate chips, etc.  If you need it, you can usually find it on sale, sometimes as loss leaders to get you in the store! 

You can often find great items to go in snack or favorite-food gift-baskets on sale around this time too.  If you're buying food items, just make sure they won't go bad before the next year- I like my gift baskets to be good at least through February.

It's also a great time to pick up canned goods for donation to local food pantries.  If your Christmas is a little more about giving back than getting stuff, consider how much you can stretch your donation by buying on sale and using coupons.


Catch up on all the 12 Months of Christmas posts here.