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Archive for April, 2012

Spending This Past Week

April 28th, 2012 at 07:38 am

Time for a lazy weekend at home!!

Survived the deadlines. Next week should be markedly more relaxed.

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I haven't given up sharing expenses (I *always* track them). It's just it has been a little spendy. It is much easier to post zero, zero, zero. Easier than to figure out what we have been spending.

I don't remember what we ate all week. We got some corn on the cob and pistachios on sale though. YUM! I remember eating those...

April 28:

$50 Donation to Grandma's favorite charity (in lieu of flowers)
??? School Fundraiser today - will drop $20-$40 on food. GOOD FOOD, and we talked my folks into coming up. My dad will be in heaven. We get great home-made food from around the world. Dh made $50 this past week on Craigslist sales, and so we will just use that money. It is not coming out of budget.

April 27:
$57 Target (Groceries - needed cat food and granola bars, and not sure what else dh bought).

April 26:
-0-

April 25:
$2 soda
$5 flowers for Admin (Admin Appreciation Day)
$10 lunch out (we treated Admin, others would not let me pay my fair share.) Every time I eat out with everyone we just quibble over who paid *too much* and then leave a giant tip. I guess I am blessed to not have much experience in the other direction. I put in $15 and someone tried to make me take $10 back. I said, "I'll take $5 back, but I am not going to only pay $5 for lunch!" It's the same way with our friends.

April 24:
$4 snacks

April 23:
$34 Gas for gas sipper
$4 lunch

April 22:
$9 Gas (just enough to get home)
$11 BK Lunch (kids and I)
$2.50 donuts (kids and I)
$5 Dinner
**Kids and I had a beach day**
Tired after a long drive/weekend, we used up a Subway gift card someone had given me. Spent $5 on a $15 dinner. IF not for the gift card, I think we would have just eaten at home.

Last Week Spending

April 28th, 2012 at 07:18 am

Since I last posted - just a boring/usual week of gas and groceries.

Saturday we went to a birthday party for lunch, and the in-laws ordered in Thai food for dinner. Hence, a small grocery run this week - but we ate VERY well.

April 21:
$35 Gas

April 20:
-0-

April 19:
$60 Groceries

April 18:
$32 gourmet lunch for two
Dinner: leftovers

April 17:
-0-
Dinner: Crockpot Golombki (stuffed cabbage)

April 16:
-0-
Dinner: leftovers

April 15:
Groceries: $9.62
Dinner: Sweet & Spicy Salmon, garlic butter rice

Awesome Weekend

April 23rd, 2012 at 07:33 am

**I did get my $250 Amazon redeemed. Woohoo!

I should have just bought my Quicken with these rewards, but I was not 100% sure they would come through this month. The points were there Saturday and I redeemed them last night.

I will pay off the credit card next paycheck, and close it shortly thereafter.

**We are still working on spending on Chase. Up to $2300 of $3000. I figure we will be done around 5/31.

**Mid-May I will try the Citi double dip. Or I may wait until we get dh's MRI bill. He has an MRI scheduled in May, but we often don't get billed for many months. I figure that bill will help immensely on our next reward. If the Citi double dip does not work, AmEx Gold is next on the list.

**I still need to apply for my $150 reward. No other offers have popped up in the mean time, so I will probably apply this week.

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**Reminds me, we had a couple of free options for lodging in Denver, but this weekend we confirmed the nicer option (studio suite with MIL's vacation points). Phew!! More driving for us. We could have stayed free with Grandma, but she has been a little confused, and I Wasn't 100% sure if she would get it set up correctly. I was worrying about showing up with no place to stay. She tells me the bed is terrible (they have rooms for guests at her retirement home), but I didn't really give a flip if it was free. BUT since this is free too, I think it will work out better.

Our airfare and car rental will probably be covered with rewards, so this is working out much better than expected.

**I just checked the weather because we went to the beach yesterday. It was supposed to be a record 80 degrees (it was 90 on Saturday!!), but it was foggy and cold. We tried to wait it out a bit but gave up around 1:00 when it felt like it was just getting colder and foggier. I just checked and it was a whopping 59 yesterday. Rolleyes Well, we tried. I was just stoked we'd be at the beach on such a nice day. But I felt better to see that the sun never came out. At least we didn't just miss it with our impatience. Wink

Anyway, we had fun anyway and we found a jellyfish on the beach. How cool is that??? {I had no idea jelly fish were around - that is good to know. Yikes!!}

**We had a very vacation-y weekend with our folks. Went down for a birthday party, spent the day in the in-laws' pool (aaaahhhhhh) and hit the beach Sunday.

This & That

April 21st, 2012 at 07:06 am

**Got a $80 refund from old mortgage holder, and so added it to the May mortgage payment. A nice mortgage chip!

**Weather is crazy - we ended up turning on the A/C yesterday. HOT!! The thing is it has been freezing cold and we probably ran the heat far more than a normal April. So to turn around and turn on the A/C in April = Rolleyes

To be fair, only turned it on a few minutes so the upstairs was bearable for bed, but is a few minutes more than should be used in April. I don't know if this means we can take the blankets off the bed and turn down the hot water. Probably too soon... Feels like summer though.

**I'll have to get to the spending later, but there hasn't been anything but gas and groceries and some gifts. Details later...

**First weekend off in ages. I will definitely enjoy! Aaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh...

No Spend

April 18th, 2012 at 06:52 am

Yesterday was no-spend.

I saw a charge at the grocery store and wondered what on earth dh bought. Then I remembered he sold some games on amazon. The charge was postage. I am skipping it since it was money spent to make money.

Interestingly, the focus groups and online sales (primary source of other income) have been SO DRY lately. But DRY while the credit card rewards abound. So I guess I am okay with that!

Anyway, dh finally sold that stroller for $30 (he was tenacious in listing it several times - the spring brought a buyer). I would have given up ages ago and just given it away, myself. {It wasn't even our stroller - it was MIL's - she gives us her stuff to sell and keep the money}. HE also sold a few games on amazon. Since I just transferred so much money to savings, I told him to keep the $30. (HE might use to invest in game systems to sell). When the amazon money hits the bank I might add it to the mortgage. Would be the first mortgage chip of the year, I believe. We haven't gotten chips like this in a while...

FINALLY got reservations at the cooking school for $10 gourmet lunch. I was trying to get reservations to meet a friend, but dh was very jealous. SO, I am meeting him today. Will be $20 spent. Next week I will try again for future reservations with friend. Decided to push off to next month since dh is my backup plan if she can't make it. (&I don't want to be stuck paying $20 again next week). The times are limited, is the only thing. I am exhausted trying to work around everyone's schedule. It usually works okay - friends that I do meet for lunch fairly often. Narrow down the times to a couple of hours in one week though, and then it becomes impossible. The thing is I would go more often if I could make it a $10 lunch versus $20. Lunch dates with dh are nice, but twice as expensive as lunch dates with girlfriends. Plus, girl time is nice!

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Daily Spending:

April 18:
$32 gourmet lunch for two
Dinner: leftovers

April 17:
-0-
Dinner: Crockpot Golombki (stuffed cabbage)

April 16:
-0-
Dinner: leftovers

April 15:
Groceries: $9.62
Dinner: Sweet & Spicy Salmon, garlic butter rice

Citi + NSD

April 16th, 2012 at 05:43 pm

I believe today was a NSD for the entire household.

Guess what? Dh got another Citi offer! Surprise surprise. Rolleyes {It's like offer #100 this year}. IT's same as last one - nothing new. ??? But since it is a $500 reward, I have it next on the peripheral. It will be our first double dip. We just got sidetracked by the Chase Sapphire - still got some spending to do on that one. But the offer I got today expires in 2 months. So if nothing better comes along, might try it in late May.

A New Week

April 15th, 2012 at 01:16 pm

I got my salmon!

It was $8.99 per pound (good price) and I got 1.11 pounds for $9.89. So it ended up being 100% free (with $10-off coupon).

I also bought eggs and bananas (breakfast staples for moi).

& I was checking the online coupons and found a coupon for 88-cents per frozen pizza - Celeste brand. These are *really* good. I will keep them at work. Anyway, so I got five pizzas for $4.40.

April 15:
Groceries: $9.62
Dinner: Sweet & Spicy Salmon, garlic butter rice

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We try to slowly increase our culinary capabilities by just adding new skills - slowly over time. This week I am working on sweet potatoes. We seem to eat them all the time (out, etc.), but I have never bought one or baked or cooked a sweet potato.

SO, "frugal foodie/rob" had an interesting recipe recently, and I asked dh to pick up some sweet potatoes. He picked up a whole bag. I dug around online and found a very simple recipe for baked potato wedges (took me a while to weed through the "pile on tons of sugar recipes" - which are good,but now what I am interested in for our regular diet!). I also found a recipe for sweet potato hash. Says "good with salmon" but I didn't want to cook all day. Wink But maybe will make some time this week.

I also looked for a new rice side dish and found garlic butter rice. I will link/share these recipes once I try them.

The kids and I are going to enjoy the gorgeous weather today, and then I will be cooking this afternoon.

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This next week is going to be a BIG crunch week at work. Got tons of other deadlines (post tax day) coming up and dh has plans in San Jose next weekend. Unfortunately they have plans early Saturday and late Sunday, so it is an *all weekend* thing. I can't go unless I make huge progress at work this week. If I can swing it, the kids and I will go to the beach on Sunday. That makes me *very* motivated!

That said, if I am stuck with a quiet weekend at home, that won't be so bad either. I will survive. (I shouldn't have to work that much next weekend!)

Rest of Spending for Week

April 15th, 2012 at 01:02 pm

Wrapping up the spending for the week:

Dh made dinner last night, but the kids and I had a hankering for pizza. So we ordered pizza in - and had a little of both. Yum! We picked up the Colombo garlic bread at the store - take and bake - it is divine.

Friday night we got our Denver travel arrangements set. I was initially planning to buy tickets at about $450. They went up a little bit with procrastination and went up significantly the past 2-3 days while we sorted out logistics. Ugh! Final price $570. Figured I'd just buy them before they get worse. {Interestingly, about what we paid last time - per Quicken}. Now I know not to dilly dally when I see $225 per ticket... Though I can't help the complication of the logistics. In fact, *now* MIL says she is busy the first 2 days, "But can't your folks just take them?" Um no? That is why we asked YOU? I won't sweat it because dh's sister, cousin, Grandma or aunt can help cover. I never would ask my parents to watch the kids for a few days, unless I was desperate. They are just not up to it. But they may be able to help in some regard - I just don't want the kids dumped on them for 24-48 hours. Of course they would love to see them for a bit. Anyway, will see! {In comparison, MIL usually sends us off on trips specifically so she can watch the kids - because we don't need enough babysitting for her liking - Wink }.

April 14:
Round Table Pizza $15 ($5-off coupon)
Garlic Bread & Soda $5 (grocery store)
Dinner: Pizza & Garlic Meatballs and Mashed Potatoes

April 13:
$570 Airfare Denver (x2)
$10 B-Day gift for child
$67 Fuel for minivan
$117 Groceries
Dinner: Baked Spaghetti

April 12:
$4 snacks
Dinner: Stuffed Baked Potatoes


April 11:
$18 Gas for gas sipper (for reward)
Dinner: Leftovers

April 10:
-0-
Dinner: Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes

April 9:
$4 lunch (favorite sandwich on special - lasts 2 days)
$8 Post-Easter sale (candy, egg decorating supplies)
$29 Dinner (had a $10-off coupon, from mail)
$33 Target (groceries, Easter stock up, champagne)
Dinner: Out

April 8:
-0-
Dinner: Leftovers

Complicated Day + Grocery Spending

April 14th, 2012 at 06:11 am

I pretty much ran the van tank to "empty" and figured I wouldn't drive it again until next week. But Dh had a lot of driving to do yesterday, so I figured I would just fill it up and drive it to work. So I get to the gas station ($3.84/gallon!) and the gas station is totally taped off. Rolleyes

I just drove to work (a few miles) and figure I'd look up another station, or hope it was open later. (I seem to recall this happening before). So, at work I looked up the nearest gas station (I have a coupon) and apparently there are none others in this city. It took me forever to find a list of locations, as is. Later the subject came up with co-worker and she told me there was one by her home (either not on the list, or I missed it), BUT that they get 50 cents off per gallon. What the heck??? We only get 25-cents off per gallon when we shop at our grocery store. Anyway, the math doesn't make sense to shop 20-ish miles away, BUT I will keep an eye out on other grocery stores closer to home. Maybe there is one close to home that offers better gas rewards.

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BM had a birthday party to attend, happened to be right down the street from my office. Dh also called me to inform me the gas station was open when he went grocery shopping. SO, he dropped BM off at the party, after he ran all his errands, and stopped by my office to switch vehicles. He drove home and filled up the van with gas.

I picked up BM after the party, and he got to help me at work for a couple of hours. So, saved lots of gas $$ today. I was considering getting 1-2 gallons at the Chevron by my office ($4.13/gallon) and just filling up next week. But I am glad the gas station closure was *very* temporary.

Anyway, I am glad life isn't usually so complicated! Just felt like a lot of jugging today.

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Spending is below... Dh did a grocery run. LookingForward was asking about what we buy, as far as groceries. I personally find it hard to relay our shopping habits to others, maybe because that is dh's duty (I am not much involved). But, I do know from talking to other people around here that we keep our grocery bills very low. That said, it seems everyone shops for very different things. So I just know what works for us - I don't have any feeling that what works for us would work for anyone else. Unless they wanted to adapt an identical diet and live in the same neighborhood. Wink But our primary strategy is just to shop around the sales (not much into the coupon thing). Whatever is on sale, we are cooking that week...

**Dh got a deal on ice cream drumsticks. On sale $3/each, and he had a $1-off coupon.

**Picked up some bread, but I usually primarily buy that at the bread store (which is dirt cheap)

**WE usually buy generic cereal at Target, but it was on sale for $2/box, so dh stocked up. All generic.

**Other sales: Apple juice, apple sauce, canned chilis, cat food, chicken broth, pickles, instant mashed potatoes, yogurt, ground beef, sausage, potatoes, onions, squash, canned soup, and string cheese.

**Full price purchases: Pasta, cream, cottage cheese, milk, celery, lettuce, cabbage, sweet potatoes, and mozarella cheese.

Sunday I will run to the store for salmon, eggs and bananas. (Dh doesn't eat eggs or bananas, and I Forgot to add them to the list - will run out of both this weekend).

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This is not a completely fair representation of our eating. I am kind of laughing at the one-sidedness of this shopping trip.

So I pulled out last week's receipt, for full disclosure:

chili sauce, beef gravy, brownie mix, Hot Pockets, muffin mix, ramen, peppers, horse radish, wheat thins, beans, eggs, spinach, peanuts, barley, tomatoes, *foil*, sour cream, yogurt, OJ, Beef Stew meat, hamburger, bananas, lettuce, apples, several varieties of onions, onion dip, bacon, cream cheese.

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April 13:
$10 B-Day gift for child
$65? Fuel for minivan
$117 Groceries
Dinner: Baked Spaghetti

April 12:
$4 snacks
Dinner: Stuffed Baked Potatoes


April 11:
$18 Gas for gas sipper (for reward)
Dinner: Leftovers

April 10:
-0-
Dinner: Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes

April 9:
$4 lunch (favorite sandwich on special - lasts 2 days)
$8 Post-Easter sale (candy, egg decorating supplies)
$29 Dinner (had a $10-off coupon, from mail)
$33 Target (groceries, Easter stock up, champagne)
Dinner: Out

April 8:
-0-
Dinner: Leftovers

Free Salmon

April 12th, 2012 at 06:51 pm

It's funny, because I was thinking it had been a while since we got a $10-off coupon at our grocery store, and the last time I bought fresh salmon I used said coupon.

So, dh was just telling me he was shopping tomorrow. I looked up the ads online, and it was "Spend $75, get $10 off your next purchase."

Woohoo! Salmon it is, and it will be FREE!

I had already decided earlier in the week that I Was going to make a nice salmon dinner on Sunday. So, weird that it just happened to be a coupon weekend.

I am not 100% sure how often they run these promotions since we seem to miss them at times. We really need to plan all our shopping around the weekends - these deals are always Fri, Sat, Sun. I'd hate to think we would ever miss a $10-off deal (we regularly spend $100, every week or so - meaning if they did these every single week they would be easy to take advantage of).

Saved $3.50 per month - check

April 12th, 2012 at 06:57 am

As predicted, just spent a few dollars filling up dh's gas tank before drive to pick up kids. Yesterday. Credit card reward earned!

Dh/Internet company has still not figured out the whole login thing, BUT I clicked the wrong link on a whim (Was in the e-mail) and was able to log in. Dh pointed out I clicked on the "business customer" link. Well, maybe that is the problem! All I know if I can see bills, pay them, and that they take AmEx. Score! We will start saving $3.50/month with statement credit and 3% reward from AmEx.

Today I told the kids I would run by Walgreens and check the super-clearance Easter stuff (they were enticed by some of the decoration kits I saw but didn't get). I told them they were probably gone, but might be 80% off at this point, so I will look. I will probably grab a snack for the long work week, if I stop there. Dh says he needs to do a grocery run the next couple of days. He has been on a Friday schedule lately because there have been so many "Spend $100, get $10 off" promotions. Which sometimes we miss the ads. So it's just a good habit to shop Fridays and be pleasantly surprised. I don't think they are running the special this week, but would be nice because I wanted to pick up some fresh salmon Sunday. That is the splurge of the week that I am looking forward to. {I think last time I bought salmon, it was almost free with the $10 coupon}.

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April 11:
$15? Gas for gas sipper (for reward)
Dinner: Leftovers

April 10:
-0-
Dinner: Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes

April 9:
$4 lunch (favorite sandwich on special - lasts 2 days)
$8 Post-Easter sale (candy, egg decorating supplies)
$29 Dinner (had a $10-off coupon, from mail)
$33 Target (groceries, Easter stock up, champagne)
Dinner: Out

April 8:
-0-
Dinner: Leftovers

No Spend Day

April 11th, 2012 at 06:51 am

No spending yesterday - see below.

I was missing my $8 Walgreens charge and finally found it on the Citi card (it posted today). Funny thing is I don't remember using it. Anyway, so we are $4 short of our $2000 spending goal. Rolleyes Dh said he would just fill up his car today - I think it only needs a few gallons. So that should do it! {Dh is driving 100-ish miles, round trip, to pick up the kids today - so will gas up first - just to get the Citi card retired}.

It's just every penny over $4 could be working towards *another* reward!

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On the Chase Sapphire, spending to $3000 limit as follows:

$400 professional dues (I didn't include below because employer will reimburse - not out of pocket for me).
$500 airfare?**
$800 Health Insurance for May
$1300 gas/groceries (rest of April + May)

We have 3 months, but I'd like to get reward as soon as possible. By end of May? I will pre-pay June health insurance if the airfare thing falls through.

Another potential charge is increased life insurance, if it goes through. My long-term insurance is due this month, but I don't think I can charge it. I will call to make sure. That could be another $500.

**On the airfare, the prices went up a bit and we were back to "trip planning hell." I personally just have no patience for things that are overly complicated! I finally found decent dates/airfare in early June. We finally found a date MIL could watch the kids. I would have bought the air tickets yesterday, but we couldn't get ahold of my Grandma (which in turn had us all worried). Hopefully we can sort that out today. She's kind of crochety so I worry after all this she will tell us not to come, or something like that. I'd like to buy the airfare today...

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Speaking of overly complicated? *Still* trying to get our internet bill set up online.

As is, dh was on the phone with them all day yesterday. HE still can not log in (I have never had so much trouble getting an online account for *any* service or bill). But he proudly told me he got us set up for online billing. We made this extra effort to finally get this set up, since they will charge $2/less per month, "indefinitely." (Until they change their mind? Big Grin )

All I can say is: Rolleyes Wait, so our bills are going to an imaginary online account that I can not access? Way to go dh! {He seems to have much more optimism that we will ever get this sorted out. I am just aggravated!}.

If we do get this set up, and if we can pay with AmEx, we will also be saving about $1.50/month, with our rewards. So, this is a potential $3.50/month savings. Will be well worth it in the long run.


**Is it ironic that our internet company seems in the *dark ages* with this online account thing???**

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April 10:
-0-
Dinner: Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes

April 9:
$4 lunch (favorite sandwich on special - lasts 2 days)
$8 Post-Easter sale (candy, egg decorating supplies)
$29 Dinner (had a $10-off coupon, from mail)
$33 Target (groceries, Easter stock up, champagne)
Dinner: Out

April 8:
-0-
Dinner: Leftovers

Spendy Day

April 10th, 2012 at 06:16 am

Easter Day was "spendy" in a sense, though we didn't spend any money. Dh took his cousin and the kids to San Jose. They would have been fine in the gas sipper, but cousin has some medical problems and I suggested the van for his comfort. I've been trying to just fill it up every 15 days, but it will definitely be sooner now. Plus, dh will have to go back to pick up the kids later in the week (at least will meet half way for that exchange).

I am sure they feasted well on Sunday though. & MIL feeding the kids a few days saves me a fortune! Big Grin So maybe it evens out...

I skipped Easter. Had a bit of a tummy bug last week (Wasn't up to all the food), and just wasn't in much of an Easter mood the week before April 15th! Though I ended up mostly sleeping and not doing much, but I suppose I can say I am well rested for the final tax push.

Maybe because of the April date, but I am not much into Easter. BUT, I just happened to be boiling eggs for the week and asked the kids if they wanted to color eggs. I don't remember the last time (if ever) we did that. I found some of those plastic shrinky dink egg wraps (laying around from years past) and the kids had a *blast* with those, so I decided to hit Walgreens yesterday a.m. to grab some future egg decorating supplies. I also stocked up for some candy to keep at work. Not that I eat it every day, but it's nice to have some sugar when needed.

Dh and I had a nice dinner date. After which we went by Target to stock up on soda for work. While there, dh grabbed some groceries, and I grabbed some more candy and egg stuff. All Easter stuff I got yesterday was 50% off. {Around here, if I wait any longer, there is nothing good left - I was surprised I found as much as I did at Target since the day was almost over}. Oh, and I grabbed a bottle of champagne, to toast the nearing end of tax season.

I don't know what dh's plans are for today, but I am not planning to spend a penny. Tonight we have a nice date of champagne and "Game of Thrones." Dh got the first two episodes from his dad.

As far as this week, doing a *big* push at work. As always, I don't have that many tax clients and not overly feeling the 4/15 pinch, but it is my last week to earn OT for the year and I want to take advantage and beef up my OT as much as possible. {In addition, I have several 4/30 and May deadlines - what is stressing me out a little more at the moment. But the more I get done this week, the less likely I will have to work any more weekends after the 15th. Woohoo!} Of course, all that working means I don't really see spending any more money this week.

April 9:
$4 lunch (favorite sandwich on special - lasts 2 days)
$8 Post-Easter sale (candy, egg decorating supplies)
$29 Dinner (had a $10-off coupon, from mail)
$33 Target (groceries, Easter stock up, champagne)
Dinner: Out

April 8:
-0-
Dinner: Leftovers