Monday, August 31, 2009

CVS 8/30 - 9/5 - 2nd Trip

This trip to CVS was way less stressful!

Renu Drops - $7.99
Contour Meter - $14.99
Bounce Dryer Bar - $3.99
Fragrance Collection Candle - $3.49

Coupons Used:
$14.99 off Contour
$1 off Renu
$2 off Renu CRT
$2.50 off Bounce
$3.49 off Frangrance Collection
1 and 5 ECBs

OOP: $1.14 ($.15 cash and $.99 that was trapped on a Mastercard gift card that was expiring today)

Earned 3, 1, and 5 ECBs

$1.86 money maker!

I had difficulty with the meter yesterday and the manager said that it couldn't be used because the meter cost less than $30. It was annoying because when I picked it up there was an old man who commented that he wished he could afford that meter (my husband totally didn't believe that this happened, but it really did!), and I wanted to give it to him. This meter will be donated to a women's shelter along with the Bounce and another GIANT bag of CVS freebies.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

CVS 8/30 - 9/5

(2) Fig Newtons - $2
(2) Lorna Doone - $2
(1) Oreo - $1
(4) Dawn - $3.88
Renu - $7.99
Glade Soy Candle - $6.99

Coupons Used:
(3) $.20 off Dawn
$2 off Renu
$2 CRT Renu
$3 off Glade
$5/$25 CVS
10 ECB

Total OOP: $2.02

ECBs Earned: 3, 1, and 6.99

The trip was kind of annoying and the manager gave me a hard time when I tried to use the coupon on the Contour meter. However, the cashier already scanned the $5/$25 coupon and then took off the meter, so my total actually wasn't even $25.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Burt's Bees Natural Acne Solution - Giveaway!

I just got a fabulous package from BzzAgent with quite a few samples of the new Burt's Bees Natural Acne Solutions Targeted Spot Treatment. I would love to share some of these samples with my readers!

I will use to select two winners who will each win a sample. Just leave a comment on the post to enter. The giveaway will end on August 31st and is open to residents in the US only.

Good luck! :)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

3rd Attempt at Making Jam!

The other day I made peach jam and it is definitely my best one yet. The first time I tried to make strawberry jam with pectin and it was a syrupy floaty fruit failure. I used liquid pectin instead of powder, but I followed the directions for powdered pectin so it didn't set. The second time I made strawberry jam with no pectin and it was great, but it barely made any jam since it had to cook for so long.

Last weekend my husband and I planned to go peach picking, but it was too hot so we decided not to go. Instead on Monday I went to the grocery store for $.88/lb peaches but they were out. I was determined to make jam though, so I bought the $1.98/lb peaches. Thus far jam making has been delicious, but not very cost effective. I spent 14 dollars on peaches, but oh was it worth it.

This time I decided to use Pomonas Universal Pectin and I'm so glad that I did. This pectin does not require the massive amounts of sugar, so the jam tasted very fresh and not overly sweet. It is SO GOOD! Plus it didn't take too long to cook, and it made a TON of jam.

There are 3 more little jars and one giant jar as well!

I've been eating the jam on toast for breakfast everyday, and it is so good. Then today I decided to bake a loaf of whole wheat bread (even though it was 8 million degrees today.)

$5 in Amazon MP3 Credits

Right now on Amazon there is a promotion where if you order the Big Kahuna Reef [Game Download] you will get $5 added to you Amazon MP3 account. I just did it but I didn't download the game because I have a Mac, but I got an email right away that credited the $5. Nice!

I think I will use a few more dollars from Swagbucks and get the new Regina Spektor album, Far.

(This post was typed with one hand since I cut myself pretty badly while slicing lettuce. My husband is making me keep my left hand over my head. Ouch and sigh.)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Life Tuner Chat Carnival - Finance Lessons Learned the Hard Way

Check out the first Life Tuner Chat Carnival!

If you enjoyed those articles, then tune in on Wednesday at 10 pm Eastern for the live chat where some fabulous PF bloggers will talk about their own money lessons that they've learned the hard way and debate the processes by which people learn about finance.

219th edition of the Carnival of Personal Finance

Be sure to check out the 219th Carnival of Personal Finance over at Your Money Relationship!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Lessons I Could Learn from My Younger Self - Value My Purchases

I thought about writing this post a few weeks ago, but it was all theoretical at that point. A few days ago, I really learned this lesson.

Back in January, I wrote a post about how I got a fabulous deal on a new purse. I stalked the website until it went on sale, and when I was able to combine coupons on top on it, I finally pounced. I really loved that purse, until a few days ago when I stupidly put a bottle of water in it while I was at the outlet mall with my mom. Even though I checked the cap a thousand times, somehow the bottle broke open and almost the whole bottle of water poured out into my purse. Thankfully my wallet and my cell phone were okay, but the purse was completely ruined.

I had just purchased a new purse at the Coach outlet, so I went to the car to switch them out right then and there. It reminded me a lot about going shopping when I was a kid. I remember going to the mall with my mom when I was young to buy new shoes, and every time we left the store with my old shoes in the box and my new shoes on my feet. I have to admit, this never happens now. I have shoes I have never worn, along with outfits I've never worn and bags I've never carried. Why? Why do I make these purchases and then never even use these items?

It took my ruined purse to bring this to my attention. When I went home, I used that water proofing spray for purses and shoes and actually used it to protect the items that I spend so much money on. I organized my bags that were strewn around my apartment. I took my shoes out of their boxes. I also went through the items that I don't use anymore and got them ready to donate to charity.

Somehow along the way, I've developed a hoarding mentality. I buy for events that aren't even planned yet. I concoct scenarios that are unlikely to occur, and I buy. I stockpile and ignore.

Imagine how silly it would seem to a kid to go shopping and not even use what was purchased? Do you know any kids that wouldn't want to immediately play with their new toys? If I'm not experiencing joy and that desire from my purchases, I'm obviously doing something wrong.

CVS 8/23 - 8/29

We love Aveeno, and I was able to get it as part of an AMAZING deal at CVS this week.

1 Skin Brightening Daily Scrub - $7
3 Daily Moisturizing Lotions - $18 ($6 each)

Coupons Used:
$5/$25 CVS
(4) $2 off Aveeno coupons (found here)
2 and 10 ECBs

Total OOP: $1.78 (The subtotal was zero, so this is all tax!)

Earned: 10 ECBs

I like the fact that I could easily get to $25 without going over! :)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Shopping Overload

I have been in a non-stop shopping mode lately and it is getting a bit out of control. It happens every year around this time, since school begins in a few weeks. Basically I get this uncontrollable urge to shop for the entire school year - as if I will be so busy that I will not be able to buy anything again until next summer.

This morning I woke up early and went to Staples because it was Teacher Appreciation Day. I'm not one to be able to pass up free stuff and it was only available to the first 100 teachers. Last year they gave out tiny flash drives. It was cool, but I never even used it. This year it was a bag of school supplies, so it will probably be more practical. Of course while I was there I spent almost $50 on ink and other random things that I needed.

While I was out I decided to go into Ann Taylor because there is a $20 off coupon that is good for today only. Unfortunately it is only good on full price merchandise. I ended up getting a grey camisole for $8 from $28. There wasn't much in the store cheaper than that, except some lotions.

Then I went into Bath and Body Works because I wanted to use this free lip product coupon. Here I could have very easily gotten away with only spending a dollar, but then I saw a previously discontinued product that I had been searching for. They brought back the 8 oz Antibacterial hand sanitizer, which I really need for my classroom. They were 7 for $20 so I got those and my free lip product and went out on my way.

This all might not seem so bad, but I don't even want to talk about the damage that I did at the Outlet mall with my mom last week...

But...I'm done now. I have to be done.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Contemplating a Subscription to All You Magazine

I always get frustrated when I try to do my crazy drugstore deals because I don't have the coupons that are necessary. A lot of the time they come from All You. It typically has higher value coupons and even some for free items. Now I usually like to get my magazine subscriptions for free, but I'm contemplating buying a subscription to All You for the coupons.

You can currently get the magazine for $15 at Amazon. I know it says more $19.95, but the rest comes off during check out. I still have some Swagbucks gift card credit, but I'm not sure if I should get the magazine.

Does anyone subscribe? Do you think it is worth it for the coupons?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Because I am nuts...

I just ordered two giant containers of lollipops on Amazon.

If you use the promotional code "YEARTH44", it will cost around $17 for two. At least I can always use the excuse that I am a teacher and that kids like candy when I do silly things like this. But hey, I used my gift cards from Swagbucks anyway, so at least I didn't pay.

218th Carnival of Personal Finance!

Stop over at Budgets are Sexy and check out the 218th Carnival of Personal Finance. I'm very excited to be featured as an editor's pick!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

My Third Ebates Check!

I just checked my account on Ebates and my third check is being sent out. This time it is for $18.09 and I earned it from four online orders. Last time I got $12.48, but my first time I got $91.70 because I went a little crazy with the online shopping. Oops.

I'm finally remembering to always go through Ebates or MyPoints for my purchases, and I've really been reaping the benefits. I just got a $25 gift card to Banana Republic from MyPoints.

If you are interested in using Ebates, I would be thrilled if you would use my link. You and I would both get a $5 bonus.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Lessons I Could Learn from My Younger Self - Value Work

When I turned sixteen, I started looking for a part time job for the summer. I had very specific ideas of where I wanted to work: Barnes and Noble, The Gap, Express, The Wall, or basically anyplace that could be considered cool. I put in a lot of applications, but I didn't get much of a response because I was so young and I had never worked before and had no experience. Well, if nothing came around then I had decided that I would just hang out all summer.

My mother was not fond of that idea.

She came home from grocery shopping one day, and as I helped her unpack she told me that I had an interview at the grocery store.

I was horrified. 1. I was not interested in working in a grocery store. 2. My mother filled out an application, talked to the manager, and got me an interview. I immediately threw a fit, but my mom made me go to the store anyway.

Oddly enough, this wasn't even an interview. When I got there they asked for my papers, which I didn't even bring with me, because I was already hired. So I had to go home and get them and bring them back to the store.

I remember watching the manager fill out the papers and saw her write an illegible amount under the hourly wage. I had to leave that store and go to a different place for orientation immediately. In the car, my dad and I tried to made out how much I would be getting paid. "I'm pretty sure that says $8.75!" I remember saying excitedly, but my dad scoffed at me, saying no way would they pay a sixteen year with no experience that much money. When I got to orientation, the number was sadly fixed to $5.75.

I had never attached an amount of money to my time before, but once I started working it was all I could do. The number $5.75 was etched permanently in my brain. The job was okay once I started. I saw a lot of people that I knew, but they didn't laugh at me as I had feared. Instead they actually thought it was cool that I had a job, since they weren't as lucky that summer. I have some pretty good memories from working at the store, and actually I remember being amazed that people could save so much money from coupons. One lady came in with a loaded cart that cost over $200 and she got it down to $20 with coupons. I've always tried to repeat that, but have never had success on my own.

But there were a lot of downsides to the job as well. I would be stuck standing for hours and hours on end. People were frequently quite rude to me. And on one horrible occasion, I actually got drenched with blood when a man threw a giant sloppy steak on the belt and it basically exploded. I worked hard that summer, and I worked a lot.

This is where the $5.75 comes into play. For a while after I got the job, I couldn't buy anythingbecause I realized how long I had to work to get that money. A soda and candy bar was no longer just a snack, but 20 minute of work. A CD was three hours! Going out with friends could cost me six hours! Nothing seemed worth it anymore.

Instead I put half of the money in my savings account, and I put half in the safe at home and I continued working and saving. Then one day I was at the mall with my mother when I saw it - the most beautiful Betsey Johnson dress. I was going to a party soon and I needed a dress anyway, so I decided to go into the store and try it on. It was perfect, but it was also around $200 - way more than I had ever spent on an article of clothing. "Well," my mother said, "let's go."

"No," I replied. "I'm going to buy it." Even though it was surely 8 million hours of work, it seemed worth it. Finally, something seemed worth it. She made me go home anyway so that I could think about it, but a few days later I still wanted it, so we went back to the mall. I went to the register with money that I had earned and I spent it on a dress. Walking out of the store, I was so proud that I was able to get something so wonderful.

To be fair, I can't say that it was the wisest decision I ever made. I wore it once. It still hangs in my closet 11 years later, a relic of the 90s that will most likely never be worn again. But I can't say at all that I regret the purchase. I smile whenever I see it, and view it as the first object that I really earned.

Like I mentioned yesterday, I just don't make these connections anymore. I've had a lot of jobs since then, and I never experienced the hourly mentality again - instead just looking at my paychecks as a whole. I no longer get paid an hourly wage, so I rarely attach my work to my spending. I would really love to be able to get into this mindset again, because decisions do actually become much easier when you attach time to it.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

My Coke Rewards - 25 Points

Just a heads up! If you do My Coke Rewards there is currently a link on the front page (it will come up in the flash after a few seconds) to sign up for the TGI Friday's Loyalty Club. If you sign up, you will get an email with a code for 25 points. Enjoy!

I used to be able to cash in My Coke Rewards points for AMC Gold Certificates, but they haven't had them in for a long time. I've gotten a few magazine subscriptions lately though.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

An Ode to Tea

I am seriously in love with PG Tips tea, and I have a dilemma. I first purchased this tea from Amazon when they were having a ridiculous sale - and I purchased A LOT of it. I bought 4 boxes of 160 tea bags in September 2008 and I am halfway through my last box.

Here's the problem though: this tea is pretty pricey. The four boxes of tea that I purchased are about $45 on Amazon right now. However, Amazon occasionally has crazy sales that would bring the price much much lower.

I probably have enough tea for another month or so, and I am debating what I should do. It seems like the last crazy tea deal happened in March. Should I take my chances and hope for another deal, or should I just order the crazy expensive amazing tea?

I was curious to see how much I paid when I ordered it, so I looked it up in my account from Amazon. (Side note: It is kind of freaky/amazing that you can easily access any order you ever placed. Mine goes back to 1999! I think somewhere it will even tell you how many orders you have placed, but I pretty much blocked that number from my memory.) So anyway, remember this is $45 worth of tea, and I paid:

$3.68! Marked down from close to $40! For the best tea in the world!

At it's current price of $45, each tea bag will cost me 7 cents. I guess if another sale doesn't roll along that isn't bad. But just to make me feel sad, I originally bought this tea for .00575 cents a bag!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Bare Escentuals Matte Foundation Samples!

If you go to this site you can order a sample of the new Bare Escentuals Matte Foundation for just $1.00 shipping plus tax. You can order six samples total - one in each shade. What's great about this mineral makeup is that you can easily mix colors together for the perfect shade or even mix with other Bare Escentuals products for customized eyeshadows, concealers, or blushes. Each sample also comes with a mini-buki brush.

I seriously love Bare Escentuals and I am really looking forward to trying the new Matte foundation! I'll be doing a post in the next few days about organizing my makeup and beauty products, so you will be able to see just how much I love it. :)

CVS 8/2 - 8/8 - Part 2

This was a pretty fabulous trip. Got lots of stuff for basically free and my cashier was totally into it and cheering me on! :)

CVS lip balm - $.25
2 book covers - $1.98
2 packs of pencils - $1.98
2 notebooks - $1.98
2 Soft Soap Nutri Serums - $9.98
2 Twix bars - $1.78

Coupons used:

Free lip balm
2 free Twix coupons (I love the Mars Chocolate Relief Act coupons!)
(2) $2 off Soft Soap
2.99, 4, and 5 ECBs

OOP: $1.49 ($1.48 was tax!) and I used the MasterCard gift card that I had previously earned.

Earned: 8, 1.98, 1.98 and 1.98 ECBs

Sunday, August 2, 2009

I could definitely get used to this!

My Amazon gift cards that I've earned from Swagbucks have been piling up so I decided to buy Dollhouse.

Seeing this at checkout makes me so happy!

CVS 8/2 - 8/8

Even though it was pouring rain, I braved the weather and went to CVS.

(2) Stayfree Pads - $10.00
Venus Embrace - $8.99
Soft Soap Nutri Serums - $4.99
Scissors - $2.99
Gillette Satin Care - $3.19

Coupons Used:

$1.00 off Soft Soap (CRT)
$2.00 of Soft Soap
$3.19 off Satin Care when you buy Venus Embrace
$5.00 BOGO Stayfree
.99, 2, 5 & 5 ECBs

Total OOP: $8.42 (Paid with a Mastercard gift card earned from a previous promotion!)

Earned: 3, 5, 2.99, and 4 ECBs

Saturday, August 1, 2009

July Recap - The Fail Edition

We had been doing so well saving money, so I guess I can't be too hard on myself for July. I only managed to save $500, instead of the planned $1500. However, my husband is still calculating stuff and should be able to add to that.

We did talk about the lack of savings A LOT and basically I realized that I go through cycles of super spending and super saving. Since I am off for the summer and really bored most of the time, I am spending more money. I know that it will even out once school starts again and I barely have time to breathe, let alone shop.

We've also spent a lot more on food and drinks than we usually do. We've gone out more to eat and have spent more money on groceries and wine/alcohol.

Even though I know that it really isn't terrible, it still is really bumming me out to not see the $1500 jump in savings this month.

Blogoversary Giveaway Winner!

I had a total of 113 entries for my first giveaway! I used to determine the winner:

Congratulations to VanderbiltWife!

Thank you everyone for entering my giveaway! I hope to be doing another one soon! :)