Monday, November 30, 2009

Rite Aid Rebates

There are three items that are in full rebate this week at Rite Aid. They are:





1)Crest toothpaste / varied types Read the fine print in the ad. cost 2.49 / 1.50 rebate and 1.00 coupon in a recent Sunday flyer





2)Gillette Fusion razors cost 9.00 /with 5.00 rebate and 4.00 coupon in Sundays flyer





3)AMO Multi Purpose Solution full rebate (7.99)








To sign up for rebate program from RA you can go to the Rite Aid online site www.riteaid.com . This home page will direct you to the sign up process. You can also sign up to watch videos on this site. Watching 20 videos earns you a $5.00 off $20.00 coupon. It takes approximately 10 minutes to watch the videos. An added bonus is each video gives you a coupon for that product. You can do the videos as many times as you like.

If you have to buy items that would total 20.00, this coupon is helpful. The above items end up being free, but should count in the 20.00 amount. The above items total 15.48. Add a filler or two and you will pay -.49 for your trip.


Above items: 15.49 end up being free

Fillers (add ons): 4.51

Video coupon: -5.00

You make: .49

Now that's a good deal. RA pays you to shop there.

Thanksgiving

I hope your Thanksgiving was blessed. It's such a good time to eat and relax with friends and family. We invited a friend to spend the day with our family. It was a good time. We played cards after dinner, making up our own rules. Lots of laughs with that one.



My mom has been ill and in the hospital. I have been traveling 120 miles (both ways) often. When things in this area calm down, I will continue to be prompt in my posts.



God bless you all.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

May Your Thanksgiving Day Be Blessed

I went grocery shopping yesterday for Thanksgiving dinner. The night before my family (DH and DS) sat down together to decide what we wanted for the meal. I was surprised by their choices and the traditional dishes they did not choose. Every year I made Watergate salad for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner. I also made certain yams slathered with marshmallows were on the table. And the classic green bean casserole. No one, besides myself, opted for these dishes to be on the table. No one wanted the traditional veggie platter or snacks of chips and dip. So I altered tradition with little fuss. Thanksgiving is about family, after all.





I was surprised by their choices and went off to forage for food at the local grocery store the next morning. DS will pick up asparagus and walnuts at another store.





Turkey was on sale for 39 cents a pound yesterday. I bought one 2 weeks ago for the same price so I didn't need to cart this home. Cranberry sauce in the can, uncooked shrimp, horseradish, and canned shrimp were all on sale. I make a cheese ball with the canned shrimp and I make cocktail sauce with the horseradish. The menu will include:








DINNER


Turkey and stuffing (I've been saving bread in the freezer)


Mashed potatoes (bought at a farm) with gravy


Asparagus


Corn ( frozen during summer)


Cranberry Sauce


SNACKS





Cold shrimp with cocktail sauce


2 kinds of cheese balls with crackers


Carrot and celery sticks ( I have to have something I like)

Walnuts in the shell (taste so much better than the shelled ones)







DESSERTS





Apple pie


Pumpkin pie


Chocolates





Then, of course, in the evening we have cold turkey sandwiches.


Left over turkey will be used for soup (really delicious), sandwiches and croquettes and hot sandwiches.





Even though we have pared down this year, I feel so blessed. For a number of reasons. Our family is healthy. Everyone has a job. The grandchildren are so dang cute. And our daughters, who live in the south, are carrying out the traditional dishes my DH and DS have decided they have no interest in. Did I mention healthy? What more could a mother ask for?





A Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving to all.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

RITE AID FREEBIE THIS WEEK

This week the only item I saw in the Rite Aid circular that was a full rebate was the 4 oz Crest toothpaste with Scope.





To sign up for the rebate program go to the http://www.riteaid.com/ site, sign up and click on Rebate Program. At the end of the month click to send off the form and a check is mailed to your address within 4-6 weeks.





This month, so far, I have $17.00 on my check. Last month I received $30.45 in rebates. All of the products I purchased ended up with a cost of $0.00.



I roll this money over so my purchases at Rite Aid never cost me any out of pocket money (OOP). I don't spend more than I get in return to make this happen.

Let me say since we are retired we don't need as many items from a drug store that families with growing children do. Rite Aid has many items on the rebate form ($777 in rebates this month), including diapers. Even if all of your purchases aren't fully covered, there's money to be saved on your drug store needs.

Christmas Decorations

I've been spending some time thinking of frugal decorations for Christmas I can share with you. A few come to mind. They are quick and easy and no special talent is needed to pull them together. I have to say, upon reflection, that the decorations we made as a family are my favorites. What has survived the years will be disburse to our children this year. Their children can see what mommy or daddy did when they were small.



Hopefully there is at least one container lying around the house that has your Christmas color of choice on it. Look for something red or green or mauve or whatever color you like to represent the holiday. Fill it half way with water and place some pine boughs in it. The kids can create a few ornaments to place in the arrangement. Instant red and green decoration.



A clear glass container with candy canes or cinnamon dots (in the cake decorating isle) in it is also an instant success. Don't be hesitant to place covered containers in the bathroom for a little surprise.



A collection of pine boughs tied at one end with rubber bands makes an instant swag for an entrance door. A big bow with streaming ends tied around the top hides the rubber bands the boughs are tied with. Rubber bands are suggested because the boughs will shrink as moisture evaporates from them.



A string of colored lights around the front windows (inside) is instant enticement for children. The show of excitement the colors bring to sweet little hearts will warm any adult heart.



Cut out pictures or scenes from cards and paste them on an ornament cut from construction paper. Punch a hole in the top of the 'ornament' and string small ribbon through the holes, tying a bow at the top. Something like this makes the tree feel like it belongs to everyone.



I'd like to hear ideas from you. A creative Christmas is a blessing to every one.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Advertizing Ploy

Have you ever watched a commercial that states '9 out of 10' (doctors, dentists) recommend our product?

Let me explain what this really means. A representative from a company visits a medical office. He/she brings lunch and provides information about the product. Then they ask how many samples the office thinks they would give to their patients. If they accept the samples and sign for them , the ad turns this information into '9 of of 10' recommend the product.

I expect the small print on the signature paper the medical provider signs explains this, in some way. I don't know if any providers have ever noticed. Well I suppose one out of 10 has noticed this.

Using this information to sell a product can prompt a decision by the consumer to purchase the product. After all , 'if a doctore uses it it must be good' - is the thought process. This is no accident.

Armed with this type information helps us to be more informed. I nformed consumers are smart consumers.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

H1N1

For information on H1N1 go to www.flu.gov. The site has a bounty of helpful information.

Helpful Frugal Tips From GG

There's many types of education. There's the one we are most familiar with, the formal degree education. Then there's self help books and tapes. There's the older generation who has wisdom and knowledge. You can't pay for the education that you receive from them.



Our GG (great gramma) was born in 1898. She saw the great depression, man on the moon, airplanes, the telephone and many other things we take for granite. When my oldest child was born no one knew microwaves could be used in the kitchen and computers were non existent.



GG taught me many things. Some of them fun, some not so much fun. All of them were frugal.



I learned how to can foods and pick veggies from the farmer's field. She taught me that veggies and fruits indeed could be frozen at home and that vinegar was close to a cure all for ridding the home of germs.



If you think you may be interested in canning foods, I would suggest you research the appropriate way to do it. The kitchen must be spotless before you begin. The jars and lids have to be sterile and the food has to be processed according to directions. A good place to begin is the BALL canning jar site or your local cooperative extention. Canning is not difficult. It is, however time consuming. The food is delicious and to some well worth the effort. If local food is bought at a farm stand the price is lower than a store.



Making jam is also time consuming, but a simple process. All that is done is preparing the jars, cooking the prepared fruit (removing stems etc) and sealing the containers.



Freezing foods is a bit less time consuming. The food needs to be par boiled (short cooking time usually 2-3 minutes) then placed in a cold water bath. Moisture is patted off and the food goes in freezer containers of your choice.



Vinegar is used for washing windows, disinfecting hard surfaces, heartburn, fabric softener in the rinse cycle and a mouthwash. There is no residual smell on anything vinegar is used for. I use vinegar without diluting it. Any type of vinegar can be used, but the white vinegar is the least expensive.



I miss our GG. She knew what she was doing and loved us all. She never passed down crucial information to anyone she did not love.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Free at Rite Aid This Week

There was one item on the Rite Aid rebate list that comes out to be free. The cross action toothbrush is free after the rebate. I used a $1 on one coupon. This means I made $1.00. The Christmas cards are buy one get two free, but they were the same quality as the $ store ones. I passed on these. The Halloween candy is 75% off so I stocked up on Snickers and peanut butter cups. I'd like to say I don't need these items, but it's not true. I love my chocolate.

What is your favorite chocolate? I'm drooling already!

Being a Mom is Lovely

Today is a rest day for me. By that I mean the only things I have done are things at home. Things done at my pace.

Young mothers / women have so much on their plates these days. Kids, work, spouses, shopping, etc. There's time to sleep after midnight.

I remember those days and loved every minute of them. I can remember thinking at 10 years old that I wanted to be a mom. I decided then I would have 2 girls. I did indeed have 2 girls. Then I had a son and another girl. All four of them have brought DH and I so much happiness. Now some of them are having children. I can now spoil a child. No need for gram ma or Pop Pop to discipline. Just fun when we're with them.

My advice? Love your children. Do not shower them with gifts or material items. Give them your time and heart. Don't take it personal when they talk back but correct them when they do.

The most difficult thing? To discipline when they are sad. Moms hold tears back when they have to do this. But as my daughter says it's either 'they cry now or you cry later'.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Save Money / Dump the Foil and Plastic Wrap

I know it's Sunday so this will be a short entry. For a while I have been upset that I have been using foil and plastic wrap. By a while, I mean years. I've read over this time that each could have an adverse health effect. I am also uncomfortable using plastic storage containers. Even though the answers were in front of me, I felt my hands were tied. I thought there was no foil for my grandparents. What did they do? Glass was the answer. I had forgotten about glass because plastic is all around us.



I went to K Mart and purchased a set of glass storage bowls of varied sizes. (on sale) The lids are plastic, but they don't touch the food. I began to save glass containers that food came in. My barley is stored in an Arizona tea bottle. It looks rather nice.



I hunted down ceramic cooking containers at garage sales from the 60's that have ceramic covers. These can't be used in the microwave, but do a great job in the oven under 400 degrees. At times I'll cover a roast or other big meal with an old cookie sheet I no longer use for cookies. The only time I use foil for cooking is to tent a chicken or turkey. Perhaps one of you have an idea for solving this problem.



Also, I do use plastic wrap to store food in the freezer. It's a little bit better than plastic bags because very little air can penetrate a tight wrap.



I didn't make these changes to be frugal. I did it to take a proactive approach to keeping my family healthy. Being frugal is an afterthought. But, I'm glad frugal is a part of it.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

I was reading a message board this morning about a woman whose dream is to be a stay at home mom. This brought my daydreaming to a show I watch about families needing 'Nanny' to help them discipline their children. Most of the moms are stay at home. From there I revisited the past, I worked weekends (7P-7A), but brought our children up as a stay at home mom the other five days. Dad was on weekend duty.



Our goals were simple. Children need stability and guidance. We wanted our children to be productive adults with a strong emotional foundation.



Back to the 'Nanny' show. This show makes me wonder what the concept of a SAHM is today. The moms don't appear to be stronger than the children. Discipline is unheard of because no one wants to be mean. True discipline is not mean. It is strength coupled with a strong love. In other words it is about the children, not the parent. Discipline takes time and focused energy. It takes fortitude. Standing up for what you want should take longer than it takes the child to act out on what he/ she wants. No emotion or anger should be in discipline. (Although this happens simply because we are human) Family codes and ethics are the strength behind the discipline.



SAHMs are also there in support of the economic provider. She needs be an economic provider by taking good care of the family's resources. (We're back to Proverbs 30) Talking on the phone or any other form of SAH entertainment should be done after the SAH tasks are done.



A SAHM needs an advisor. Someone who braved the field before her. When SAHM feels others don't value her she only needs to step back to look at her intangible assets. A clean home, which goes a long way in preventing colds and allergies. The meals prepared from fresh ingredients in lieu of packaged foods, for good health. The clean and repaired clothes her family has, the clothes that represent them to the community. And the most sought after goal? She has been instrumental in preparing her children for adulthood by giving them direction and strength.



She is the advisor to her children. It is she who is there to correct any negative concepts. Once in a while life goes smoothly for her, but for the most part life is putting out fires and teaching.



Bedtime is well after 10PM. By my calculations her job has a 17 hour work day.



SAHM is not meant to make mom's life easy. I think this is the concept today. Perhaps young people have an idea that it represents status. SAH is none of these things. It is loving your family so much that you want to be there to guide them in every aspect of their growth. It is cultivating a relationship with Christ so answers are found through His assistance when you don't have any. You can poo poo this if you like. I only know I did turn to Him for answers and was never turned away. I gained a wisdom that truly is not mine. It is putting others first. It is the best vocation I ever had!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Free this Week, But is it Worth It

Rite Aid has the Oral B Cross Action toothbrush on sale 11-1 to 11-7 for $5.00. Sunday's paper (11-1) has a $3.00 coupon. Rite Aid has a $2.00 refund. Final cost is FREE. The Rite Aid Single Check rebate booklet can be found at the entrance of the store, in the flyer rack. This month there are 777.00 in rebates.

I qualified for the Oral B rebate and another. AA Batteries were on sale 16/$9.99, as well as D batteries 8/ 9.99. A Rite Aid rebate for $5.00 off a $20.00 purchase means 3 packs have to be bought as 9.99 x 2 = 19.98. I went for this deal because we live in the country and need batteries during outages. If I didn't, I'm not sure how long it would take me to use 16 D's (2 packs of 8) and 16 AA's. It wouldn't be such a dilemma if there was no expiration date.

Since the Rite Aid rebates are new to me, I need to stand back and continue learning.. Saving money is not saving if I don't normally use a product. I have made a decision to go for anything that I can get free. I can always donate these items. Then use partial rebates/ coupons for items I always use.

The free items are well worth it. The products I use are worth it to me too.

I'll keep ya'll posted. Let me know what you think.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Another Great Blog

Check out www.northerncheapskate.com. A great blog and good coupons and contests. Currently a movie ticket contest.

I have posted this a number of times. It doesn't seem to be posting.

New Blog Site

A great blog is www.northerncheapsake.com. There's a contest to win 4 movie tickets and a box of GM cereal.

The Christmas Crunch and Christ

I have always believed that Christmas is the celebration of Jesus's birthday. As a tangible testament to this we always baked a birthday cookie for Him. The cookie was shared after we sang happy birthday.



There have been a number of articles written in the past years explaining how to remove stress from the Christmas season. I wrote one myself for a local newspaper I contributed to each week. But, even I, did not address the need to have a frugal budget. I had one, I just didn't think about the cost. Fast forward to 2009. I am very aware of the cost of Christmas.



I found a blogspot that had a terrific idea to decorate the front of the house for no cost. The blogger cut branches off of her pine trees and placed them in the empty urns that held summer blooms. A ribbon was attached and the results were elegant and free. This caught my attention. I continued on to read other submissions on Christmas. I was stunned to see her Christmas budget for the family and extended family was $1330. I was happy to see she saved cash to meet her goal. Since all things are relative and the blogger has reduced her budget and is paying cash, I say you go girl!



My budget is a bit less. I have designated $250 to spend on our four children, their spouses, three grandchildren, my husband, the mail lady, hair stylist, and newspaper man. I donate time to pack Christmas boxes and will donate any free items I have accumulated over the past few months.



The adult children will get one gift each and a basket of home made goodies (cookies, bread, body scrubs, room sprays, etc) per family. My husband is getting warm things to keep the chill out. The grandchildren each will get a book, a toy or two and an outfit. The others will get food from the kitchen. This may go over well because I own a small cookie company (uGly Cookies) and they, hopefully, will consider this gift a prize.



Dinner will be scrumptious. We typically have a turkey, yams, green bean casserole, etc. The normal fare. I will bake the desserts and we will enjoy each other's company over a game and a movie or two.



And Christ? He will be in everything I do - including the cookies!



What do you do for Christmas? What's your budget? Do you have any free or close to free decorating ideas? Please consider sharing them with us.
ALERT: www.northerncheapskate.com has a drawing for 4 movie tickets and a box of free GM cereal. This information was posted today. Also can find coupons for General Mills cereal on this blog.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I DON"T Buy ... So I Can Buy / Proverbs 30:13-28

I don't buy paper towel (3.49), paper napkins (2.69), designer room sprays and cleaning products. I do buy them when I can get them free or close to free.



PAPER TOWELS: I got a pack of 25 cheap washcloths at a discount store. I paid 1.99 for the pack. (the next week they were on clearance for 4.99) I put 6 aside to do 'dirty' jobs such as floors and the bathroom fixtures. The rest I use a clean one every day to wash dishes. To clean them I soak them in bleach and water then wash them with the other white clothes. This way they are bleached 2x. Savings: 4 rolls a month @3.39 each =13.56+1.08 tax (14.64/ month) Yearly savings is 175.68



PAPER NAPKINS: I've never been fond of these. It seemed the environment could do without the waste. I bought 12 cloth napkins recently at a garage sale for 10 cents apiece and my kids buy them for me (on sale) as gifts. Savings: 1 pack a month @ 2.69 + .22 tax = 2.91 total/ month. Yearly savings is 34.92. Even if I get these free I don't use them, I donate them.



ROOM SPRAYS: I make my own with a large jug of cheap cheap vodka and lavender grown in my garden. These range in price so I'll use an average of 3.69. Each bottle lasts about two weeks. The vodka I use costs 11.89 and a batch lasts two years. Savings: 7.38/month + .59 tax =7.97/ total/month. Yearly savings is 95.64-5.95 for the vodka = 89.69



CLEANING PRODUCTS: I use bleach, baking soda, olive oil, lemon juice, and vinegar to clean and disinfect. I have these in the house for cooking so I don't feel I need to add these to the cost of cleaning. If you need an estimate I'd say 4.00 -5.00 a year. Keep in mind small amounts are used for each cleaning. Olive oil with a bit of essence added cleans and shines wood furniture. The one thing is the furniture needs to be buffed. Good exercise. I've never used anything else so I can't compare prices. But, you can do the math. Products (yearly) to clean the windows and mirrors / 2.29 x 3 = 6.89 + .55 = 7.44. Disinfectants for bathroom and kitchen / 4.69 a month is 56.28 + 4.50 tax = 60.78. Floor cleaners, swiffers are popular. 5.50 / box (and higher) x 12 per year = 66.00 + 5.28 = 71.28

Total savings for a year = (if I've done the math right) 439.79 +



Now to the point. I'm not telling anyone to do these things. A woman / man* can find what they can live without. Then the money saved can be used to enjoy something or save for a goal.



There you have it. It comes down to money is a tool. (see blog 11/2/09) We do have a choice of the things we have in life. Paper towels or saving for an IPOD? Paying down debt is a great choice. Choices are a good thing.



Read Proverbs 30: 13-28. You'll be glad you did. I bet you'll see a part of yourself and grow in confidence.


* I believe we are not generic. I don't use the term person because I think we should be proud of the distinctions of the sexes.

The Chicken Stretch

On the same day I bought the hamburg I bought 2 whole chickens for .79 a pound. We are roasting one today with stuffing. The other went into the freezer. I saved the ends of bread in the freezer for the stuffing. My son (he's a chef, gosh am I lucky) prepped the chicken and made the stuffing. The RECIPE is below. He soaked the chicken for about 10 minutes to remove any debris. He says 'you never know'. Prep time was 10 minutes or so. This included spices on the chicken and making the stuffing. Leftovers will be used to make chicken salad, chicken Ala king and then soup. The chicken cost $4.78. $1.19 per meal. I'll add a veggie to tonight's dinner and mashed potatoes. The veggies were . 33 a can and the potatoes were $8.00 for 20 pounds. A glass of milk ($1.99/ gallon) and the meal is nutritionally complete. Prepping can be done the night or morning before, but do not add spices to the stuffing until just before the chicken is stuffed.

RECIPE:
1 roasting chicken (5lbs)
1/4 celery
1/4 onions
1/2 loaf of bread, broken into large chunks
1 t parsley
1/2 t basil
1/2 t each of any other green herb (can be omitted)
salt and pepper to taste.
1/2 C butter, cut in small cubes




Soak a whole chicken (5lbs or so) for ten minutes. Remove from water and pat dry. Place it in a roasting pan. Gather approximately a half a loaf of bread and break into large chunks, in a bowl. Add 1/4 cup chopped celery and chopped onions. Add 1 t. dried parsley, 1/2 t basil and 1/2 t of any of your favorite green herb. Salt and pepper to taste. Add butter chunks and mix. Make a tent with foil to cover the chicken and bake in a 375 degree oven. Bake for 20 minutes / pound.

Enjoy.

FRUGALSUZ Blog

For all you newbies to the frugal lifestyle, I have a great blog you can go to to find coupons and sales (US only) www.frugalsuz.blogspot.com. Suz creates a list of deals at Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid and online coupons. Using this blog saves time and money. Using the info on this site has saved me over $30.00 at Rite Aid last week. I spent $30 and am getting $30 in rebates back. I bought some things that we don't use, if they were free, to donate to a community cupboard.

Monday, November 2, 2009

I found a great site that gives recipes for homemade beauty supplies. Easy recipes for soaps and lip balms. Cleaning supplies too. This site will help those who want to decrease their carbon footprint on the environment. Go to www.littlehouseinthesuburbs.com. Fabulous stuff!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Four Meals Out of 2 Pounds of Burger / For Three People

I bought 2 lbs of hamburg. It was not on sale, but my family was complaining there was no hamburg in the house. So to keep the piece I broke down and bought some. Here's what I did with it in just over 10 minutes. I put it all in a bowl and added 1 egg, salt, pepper, milk, oats (small amount) and bread crumbs. After mixing these ingredients I made 3 hamburg patties, wrapped them and put them in the freezer. To the remaining mixture I added spices (of your choosing) I divided this mixture into 2 sections and made 10 meatballs with half of it. I made tomato sauce for today's dinner. The remaining mixture I added ketchup and mustard and formed a meatloaf. As Paula Deen says, "A meatloaf is nothin' more than a large hamburg.". It made sense to me so I started doing as she suggested and putting mustard and ketchup into my meatloaf. The forth meal, for us, is meatball subs/sandwiches.

Now that's Fast Food!

Money is A Tool, Part 2

You wouldn't think that purchasing food could be described as discretionary spending. But if we look at what we purchase, we can usually find discretionary spending. An example of this could be purchasing 4 different fresh fruits during one shopping trip. One of the fruits goes bad because too large of a quantity was purchased. It has to be pitched down the disposal. Or the obvious is chocolate. I am guilty of buying chocolate in large quantities. Now I purchase less, on sale, but purchase enough to last to the next sale. (This also gives me time to collect coupons for a product.) All stores have sale cycles. This is the amount of time a store chooses between putting the same items on sale. Some stores have 8 week cycles, other go as far as 12 weeks. You'd have to follow the ads to find out what the precise cycle is for that store.

Money belongs to each of us. We work(ed) for it, in one way or another. By purchasing un-needed items, we are making a choice to give the money to someone else. I decided a while back that this was not the way I wanted to spend retirement.

This blog will provide ideas and ways to save money. And spend money. Any ideas or comments are welcome.