Thursday, January 22, 2015

The best laid plans

Hi everyone

I had all these plans at the beginning of the year. I wanted to start decluttering/spring cleaning, hit the stores for after Christmas clearance, work on taxes and more. Well, both DS and I ended up being sick for 2 weeks. Needless to say, I missed out on many sales. I was disappointed because I was hoping to score lots of good stuff for Operation Christmas Child. After the 2 weeks, I was frantically trying to catch up on housework and work itself. And what do you know, I'm sick again - sigh!

I did manage to get 31 items for $6.62 at WAGS when they had 70% off Christmas. The coloring books were 17c each. The round balls actually contain a Disney puzzle each. I'm happy I managed to jump start my OCC collection, since I didn't collect as much last year.

I will write my next post at the end of the month (with my updated savings figures), since there's nothing to report on the shopping front.

Friday, January 2, 2015

2015 Goals

I'd like to wish everyone a Happy & Prosperous New year.

As some of you know, I try not to spend any of my own money on clothing for ourselves. How do I do this? By using gift cards, waiting for sales, shopping clearance and selling our old/too small clothes/shoes on Ebay. Well, this year I'm going to switch things up a bit.

As mentioned in my previous post, I did quite a bit of Kohls shopping over Black Friday weekend. So one of my goals this year, is to accumulate as much Kohls gift cards as I can. I'm hoping to earn at least $50 gift cards per month through Swagbucks and possibly $5 Amazon. I would like to get $75, but earning opportunities can vary from month to month. I'll still be using some GCs to purchase clothes, but I want to save the bulk to do BF shopping. I think I did pretty well last year, but my OOP was just way too high (can you tell I don't like spending my own I want to do 2 months Kohls, one month Old Navy (love how I can shop at any of their stores with this GC).

The good news is, that we have a pretty good summer stockpile, so there's not much that we need. I only need to get some tshirts, shirts, athletic socks and a pair of sandals for DS. I also need to keep an eye out for BOGOF No nonsense socks at the drugstores for myself. I still have some in my stockpile, but I need more of the longer ones.

As always, I'm still saving all my singles and change too. Since my bank no longer has a coin counting machine & I'm not gonna waste time to roll coins, I've switched to plan B. I use the coinstar machine to get gift cards. This definitely helped with Christmas shopping and I was able to buy some winter clothes for DS (silly me didn't stockpile any winter stuff and I cringed at the high prices I had to pay).  The crazy part is, that no matter how many GCs I redeemed, the coin jars would just not run out. It kind of reminds me of the story  where the widow cooked for Elijah with her last bit of flour, but the flour would not run out (no matter how much she cooked).

I've also started the 52 week savings plan. I'd like to use this money for travel. Since we'd like to travel abroad, I've switched it up a bit to suit our needs. I've tripled the amount needed per week (since there's 3 of us), and also added the dollar amount of my age. This will help our savings grow faster. I've also added whatever extra amounts I can. I'm determined to be more in savings, than spending mode this year. I'm having DS do the regular $52 week saving plan this year too.

Without further ado, here's what I'm starting the year off with:

$250 Macy's GCs
$22.27 GAP GC + $25 off $50 GAP cash. I earned this when GAP had 51% off last month. So my first Swagbucks GC to redeem, will be a GAP one, so I don't have to spend any cash OOP.
$3.43 Amazon GC
I also have around $20 on an American Eagle GC. I had all my GCs out for xmas shopping & now I can't find the silly thing.
My December swagbucks GC was for Bath & Body works. I was able to shop the semi annual sale with it & now have enough stuff to last the rest of the year. I do still need some Aromatherapy wash though. 

I really need to get back into the drugstore game again. I haven't been to CVS since July (gasp). I'm not really interested in WAGS though. Too many rewards programmes & way too many rules. My main stores will be CVS and RA.

I haven't been couponing much the last year either. Since neither Kroger or Meijer double coupons anymore, I've been shopping at Sams. The savings are far better (even without coupons) and I've managed to stay within our weekly budget. I just cherry pick at Meijer & go to Kroger once in a blue moon.

One other thing I'd like to do, is to cut out Friday take out night. Fridays will now be Mexican night. I can cook most mexican dishes from scratch. The best part is that I can freezer cook the taco meat and just grab a bag from the freezer every Thursday night, to defrost. Not only will it save us money, but it is healthier too. I'm seriously sick of junk food. And I'm trying to lose a bit of weight too. So we'll try to do once a month take out - maybe a pizza from Sams. Their pizzas are huge and it costs just under $10. They also have a variety of flavours, so we don't have to get boring old pepperoni every time. 

Is anyone else using swagbucks or other rewards programmes to pay for shopping or Christmas this year?
Singles savings = $49
Quarters savings = $75 (I'm hoping to add at least $25 per month again)
Week 4 of 52 Week savings = $274.54

Monday, December 29, 2014

I'm back!!!

Hi everyone

I don't know if anyone is still interested in reading this blog. If there is interest, then I'll get back to blogging again in the new year. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas holiday.

This past year has been crazy busy. I've been more focused on work & it definitely paid off. As much as I've missed blogging, I really needed to spend more time working. I'm still going to work as much as I can, but will try to post at least once a week.

I've still been getting my 'free' clothes with gift cards, rewards etc. We have quiet a big part of our summer wardrobes done, and just need a few basic things. I was not happy when I discovered that I didnt stockpile anything for DS for winter :( 

I've also overspent this holiday season (bad). Thankfully, I didn't go into debt for anything. My credit card bill is paid in full & I've once again utilised some gift cards. But I can seriously say that I'm outshopped. I've splurged so much, that I'm even beginning to second guess all my purchases. Kohls definitely got the bulk of my business. Let me explain.

I'm not a Black Friday shopper, but Kohls is my go to store, because they offer $15 Kohls cash for every $50 spent. Ebates also offers high value Kohls cash back. And with the new Yes rewards, the sale is even better. Not to mention all the discount codes you can stack. During BF week, I purchase whatever appliances we need (I always wait until November). Then I use the Kohls cash to stock up on clothes for DS and myself. This year I purchased a new Dyson vacuum and an iron that I desperately needed. However, I got a little too happy with Kohls shopping this year. Once my orders started arriving, I realised that I purchased 5 pairs of shoes for myself. What on earth was I thinking? I don't need that much shoes. 3 Pairs were riding boots, so that will last me a few years. I ended up spending way too much OOP too, because I couldn't stop shopping. Yikes. So it's definitely time for me to get back into the savings saddle again.We really don't need anything right now, so I'm hoping to go on a bit of a shopping fast - not sure how long that will

The past few days have been spent crunching numbers and working on a savings plan. I will post my 2015 goals later this week. I'm actually excited about saving, instead of spending.

Friday, December 6, 2013

I'm still here!

Just wanted to let everyone know that I'm okay & that I'm still here. I'm just swamped with work. I've also been an emotional mess - still struggling with my dad's death. The holiday season is especially hard for me. Yesterday was his birthday & then I also learned about Nelson Mandela's death. So it was a doubly sad day.

Theresa, I appreciate your comments and concern :) I have been shopping like crazy, but the best part is that our clothing budget is still in the black. Happy Dance!!

I'll be sure to give detailed updates, after the holidays.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Friday/Saturday Meijer scenario

Meijer has an mperks for get $5 WYS $50 or $10 WYS $75 (reward is after all coupons are decucted - bummer, but we can make it work). I'm desperately in need of some Sterilite totes, so here's a scenario I've worked out. Prices below are before coupons

6 x Quaker oatmeal (Buy 6 get $6 off) = $5.94 (less 3 x $1/2 Qs)
4 x Prego sauce (Buy 4 get $2 off instantly) = $3.96 (less 2 x 40c/2 Qs)
2 x Suave Professional products = $4.98 (Less 2 x $1.50/1 Qs)
4 x Tresemme Products (PSA $2.84) = $11.36 (less 4 x $2.50/1 Qs)
4 x Reach Floss = $3.96 (less 4 x $1/1 Qs)

PG Items

4 x Head & Shoulders = $15.96 (less 4 x $2/1 Qs)
1 x Tide = $5.99 (less $2/1 Q)
2 x Herbal Essence items = $9.00 (less $3/2 Q)

4 x Sterilite tote @ $6.99

Total after Qs = $55.45

Get back = $5 for spending $50, $10 PG MIR, $5 Mperks for buying $20 Hair care, $1 Reach CAT, $3 Tresemme CAT, $1 Suave CAT.

Total cost after everything = $30.45. That's like paying for my storage totes + $2.49 for everything else.

There's also an Mperk for $9 WYB $40 produce. You can replace my storage totes with these.

Or you can add items that will produce CATs (to help lower your OOP cost).

Cottonelle dispenser = $4.99 - $1 peelie. Get $2 CAT (one per transaction)

I'm gonna work on my PG scenario, because I really don't need that much shampoo. The Tresemme & Suave will already give me $16.34 towards my $20 Haircare total. So I might add 1 H&S Shampoo & other PG items that we need (like dish liquid or Cascade)

You can change the above scenario to suit your needs. Try to add the first few items (before PG ones) and then work the rest to get your total to $50 (after coupons). This should give you a nice shopping trip for very little OOP.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Stockpiling toilet paper

As mentioned in my previous post, Meijer has a great CAT deal on Cottonelle t/p this week. I decided to stockpile some, since our t/p stock has been dwindling (and by that I mean we still have 98 rolls left). I know, I know, that's still quite a bit. However, we are brand loyal when it comes to certain things & t/p is one of them. I haven't found a good sale on our favourite brands & definitely don't wanna run out of any. I also don't like to pay more than 25c/double roll. I know that many bloggers will post a price on regular rolls. That definitely doesn't work for me. Now I'm not good at calculating sq feet, but I know what I'm looking for & how much I'm willing to pay.  So here's what I purchased this week

Trans 1

3 x 12ct t/p  $20.97
1 x wipes dispenser (comes with 42ct wipes) $4.99
2 x Colgate 360 t/b $4.78
Less $15 mperks rewards (from a previous deal)  (15.00)
Less $3 peelie (found on 12pks) WYB 12pk + dispenser (3.00)
Less 2 x 50c/1 t/p Qs (1.00)
Less 2 x $1/1 Colgate Qs
OOP = $10.68
Got back $12 rewards ($10 WYS $30 + $2 dispenser)

Trans 2 & 3 (did the same transaction twice)

1 x 36ct t/p   $18.99
1 x 12ct t/p $6.99
1 x Dispenser $4.99
Less $3 peelie (3.00)
OOP = $27.53 got $12 CAT
On Sunday, I received a CAT for buy $50 Meijer GCs, get $7 off instantly. So I immediately bought the GC, paid $43 for it and used the gift card for the rest of my t/p transaction.

I also received 2 x $5 mperks rewards (for buying $20 worth of paper products. DH & I each have an account)

Received a total of $36 CATs. So my cost would look as follows:

OOP cost $65.74
Less CATs (36.00)
Less mperks rewards earned (10.00)
Less $7 GC CAT (7.00)

Total Cost after rewards & discounts = $12.74 for 102 rolls t/p, 3 dispensers with wipes & 2 t/brushes.

I'm a bit mad at myself, because I took a pick of my haul before packing it away. I thought that I had already downloaded the pics & earlier today I was deleted a bunch of pictures from my phone - including the t/p one :(

I figured if we can use a roll for 4 days, then we have enough to last the next 2 years. This doesn't mean I won't stockpile again, during that time. If a rock bottom deal comes along, I'll get more because good sales are as scarce as chicken teeth these days.

When I first heard about doubling ending at Meijer, I was really upset. I've mainly been cherry picking at Meijer (which used to be my go-to store).  They do still run good CAT or Mperks deals. So I will cash in on those, whenever I can find a good deal.

Also a heads up for JCP shoppers. Look for deep clearance discounts in mens & womens dept (I didn't go to the kids dept, since DS no longer wears kids sizes). I was at the mall for something yesterday & had to walk through JCP to get to my destination. On the way back to my store, I saw these signs for $1.97 for women's swimwear, $1.97 for bermuda shorts & jeans and also $2.99 for men's shorts. First off, I can kick myself, because I have JCP GCs at home. Secondly, I didn't know there was a $10 off $25 Q (that's good through 10/2). Clearance prices may vary from store to store, but it's worth checking if you're near a JCP.

Above are 3 pairs I got for DS. You'll notice that I mainly stick to neutral coloured or denim bottoms. This way it's easy to mix & match with different tees, polos & shirts. I can make up a whole new outfit by just adding a tee or shirt to it. Win-win.

PS: Today my local JCP had signs for extra 25% off clearance items. That's right, you can deduct an extra 25% off the clearance price & combine it with the 10/25 coupon.

Monday, September 23, 2013

I'm still here

I apologise for the lack of posting. I have just been in a slump the past few weeks. In my mind, I'm writing lots of blog posts. I just can't get myself to sit down & actually write them. On top of that, this is the 2nd time that I've been sick, since DS started school.

Since it's almost the end of the month, I will post 2 months' worth of figures next week. This is also better, because all my Macy's shopping was done in August & September.

I am stockpiling toilet paper this week & will write a post about that tomorrow or Wednesday.

Heads up for Meijer shoppers if you want to stockpile t/p. There's a nice Cottonelle CAT deal running this week. Spend $30 on Cottonelle, Colgate, Softsoap, Viva, get $10 OYNO (store CAT, so it won't roll).

Mperks also has a $5 reward for WYS $20 on paper products.  So here's a scenario I cooked up:

1 x 36 ct Cottonelle t/p $18.99
1 x 12ct Cottonelle t/p 6.99
1 x Cottonelle dispenser 4.99
Less $3 peelie (3.00) found on purple 12ct pks WYB 12ct t/p + dispenser
OOP = $27.97 get $12 CATS ($10 WYB $30, $2 dispenser)

Also get $5 reward for buying $20 worth of paper products

Total cost after CATS & rewards = $10.97. That's a cost of 23c/per roll + free dispenser. The dispenser includes 42ct wipes.

There are no current t/p Qs available, but this is a good deal with the peelie. The $10 CAT won't roll, but the $2 CAT does.

Another scenario I did last night (my store didn't have the 32ct packs) and I used the 50c/1 t/p coupons that expired yesterday.

3 x 12ct Cottonelle         $20.97
1 x Cottonelle dispenser 4.99
2 x Colgate 360 t/b  6.58
Less $3 peelie ($3.00)
Less 2 x Colgate Qs (2.00)
OOP  = $27.54 get $12 CATS + $5 reward

Total cost after CAT & rewards = $10.54 or 29c/roll + free dispenser wipes