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I heart coupons

July 21st, 2006 at 07:02 am

We cleaned the house in a hurry last night and then zipped over to the grocery store. We saved $13 with coupons...I was pretty proud of myself. Smile Shopping was so much easier having SO by my side (as most things are). We only spent $100, and that will last for a while. We bought some neat new Morningstar products to try (with coupons). I am having trouble finding specific toilet paper and specific bagged lettuce, though. Perhaps they just aren't available here.

My aunts will arrive this afternoon. Big Grin I took the afternoon off. I purchased some more

Text is Cutemol hand cream and Link is http://www.skinstore.com/search/search.aspx?catID=0&QUERY=cutemol
Cutemol hand cream (with an online coupon, of course) and have to pick it up from the post office before they arrive. I bought a big container for my mom, so my aunts can bring it with them when they visit my parents next week.

I MUST remember to get a Sunday paper this weekend. Coupons on the brain, I tell ya! SO laughs, but he is awed by how much we are saving.

lots to do, no time for a headache

July 20th, 2006 at 01:47 pm

My head is pounding like the furies today. I'm hoping Excedrin will swoop in and save the day, because I've got to much to do tonight.

My aunts are coming tomorrow and are allergic to cats, so I have to scrub the spare bedroom, wash the comforter, change the sheets, and lock the furballs out of their beloved room. The cats sleep in there all day, so they will be irked this weekend.

Last night I went to Target (saved $9 with my fat stack of coupons!) and intended to go to the grocery store, but it was so busy in the store and on the roads that I just went home. I found it's a lot easier to navigate the crammed aisles, read my list, find the product listed on the coupon, and make it out alive with SO next to me. Tonight I have to go to the grocery store and pick up a few things for the weekend.

I was going to make a birthday dessert for one of my aunts and a chickpea salad for the weekend...don't know how that will happen at this point.

Still not totally sure what we are going to do this weekend. Lots of fluttering thoughts in my head but nothing pinned down.

Maybe if I stop worrying, my headache will go away! Stick Out Tongue

am I supposed to ask for coupons?

July 19th, 2006 at 01:20 pm

About this emailing of companies - am I supposed to come right out and ask for coupons? I've gotten several email replies from companies to my complimentary emails, and all they really say is "thanks." Only one (Amy's Kitchen) has said they'd love to send me coupons. I went down the Organic Coupon list and emailed those companies I knew. I'm just not sure if I'm should be forward and ask for coupons or not. And from what I've read, I shouldn't write more often than every 90 days...so I guess I'll wait a while.

Last night I made an impulse buy at Walgreens when I stopped in for my prescriptions. I bought a new fan for our home, but when I set it up, it was much louder than the display model in the store. It will be going back today. It's difficult to find a truly quiet fan.

I bit of respite from the sun and heat today...thunderstorms. My peppers and tomatoes should be happy.

Hitting Target and the grocery store tonight to stock up on provisions for my weekend guests and use some of my new coupons! Feeding my guests will be a snap - entertaining them will be more of a trick.

It's incredibly slow at work these days and I have so little to do. Dreaming of an office with a door and a job that interests me...

coupon train wish list

July 18th, 2006 at 10:06 am

updated 10/5/06

TOP FIVE WISH LIST:

- Hills Science Diet cat food
- Puffs/Kleenex
- any soda
- any cereal
- organic/natural foods (not meat)

DETAILED WISH LIST:

Beverages
Any soda
Any herbal tea
Canada Dry
Crystal Light
Dasani
Folgers coffee
Ice Mountain water
Kool-Aid
Ocean Spray juice
Perrier
Silk soy milk
Starbucks coffee
V-8

Cereals/Breads
Any cereal
Brownberry bread
Earth Grains bread

Crackers/Snacks
Goldfish
Hershey’s chocolate
Mars chocolate
Nabisco snacks
Nature Valley granola bars
Oreo's
Ritz crackers
Tostitos
Wheat Thins

Dairy/Deli
Any cheese
Cage free/organic/etc eggs
La Creme yogurt
Organic Valley milk
Organic Valley yogurt
Reddi-Wip whipped topping
Yoplait yogurt

Frozen
Amy’s Kitchen
Bird’s Eye
Boca
Cool Whip
Edy’s ice cream
Freschetta pizza
Hungry Man frozen dinners
Jack's pizza
Morningstar Farms
Ore-Ida
Skinny Cow ice cream
Weight Watchers ice cream

Other
Athenos hummus
Barilla pasta
Betty Crocker mixes
Classico pasta sauce
Creamette pasta
Delallo pasta sauce
Duncan Hines mixes
Jif peanut butter
Kraft salad dressings
Parmesan cheese (any)
Pillsbury mixes
Splenda

Paper/Plastic
Glad garbage bags
Glad Press’n Seal
Reynolds Wrap
Ziploc bags

Hair Care
Clairol
Dove
Garnier Fructis
Herbal Essences
L'oreal
Neutrogena
Suave
Thermasilk
Tresseme
Pantene

Personal Care
Almay
Always
Aquafresh
Biore
Clean and Clear
Colgate toothbrushes
Crest
Dove
Glide floss
Jergens lotion
Listerine
Neutrogena
Olay
Oral-B toothbrushes
Physician’s Formula
Playtex
Secret
Sensodyne
St. Ives
Tom’s of Maine

Household
All Free & Clear detergent
Any 35mm film
Bounty
Cascade diswasher tabs
Charmin
Clorox
Cottonelle
Dawn concentrated dish soap
Downy
Duracell
Energizer
Era detergent
Kleenex
Puffs
Quilted Northern
Softsoap

Medicine/OTC
Advil
Centrum
Excedrin
Nature Made vitamins
Pepcid A/C
Rolaids
Tums
Tylenol
Vicativ

Pets
Any scoopable cat litter
Hills Science Diet cat food
Tropical fish food

Amy's Kitchen & coupon train!

July 18th, 2006 at 07:22 am

I wrote an email to Amy's Kitchen, praising them for their wonderful food, and asking about new vegan options. They sent me a packet outlining all of their food items and enclosed were several awesome coupons, including one free product coupon! How exciting!

Yesterday's mail also brought my coupon train welcome packet! So many wonderful coupons, and a fat stack of them, too. Thanks so much, flash. I'm excited to jump on the train, and hoping I do it right!

Drove in to work this morning, the first time this month. I brought my gym shoes and plan to stay and work out tonight. My car is now down to two doors that will lock and unlock with the automatic locks, the A/C dripped all over SO's foot the other day, and a funny sweet smell flows into the car after the A/C has been running for a while. Mom told me I need a new car...yeah, I know.

I'm planning to visit the folks back home for a week in August. I'm not sure how it's going to pan out...if I'll take the train or if SO will drive with me...but I'm looking forward to it. I miss having summers off.

Every morning is still a struggle to get out of bed and go to work. My groggy mind thinks of all the possible ways to get out of going in, but I eventually lug myself out of bed and into the shower. It's tough, working just to pay the bills and have health insurance. I haven't seen any job opportunities I'd want to apply for lately. The grad school in Milwaukee would set me back $33,000, and that's with Minnesota reciprocity. Tack that on to the $13,000 in school loans I've already got, and it doesn't seem worth it at all. Who knows if I would get a job in the field I wanted after all that. There are plenty of people with Masters degrees flipping burgers.

I envy the people who know what they want to do with their lives, and do it!

Brownberry Bread

July 17th, 2006 at 09:21 am

I sent an email to [url=http://brownberry.gwbakeries.com/]Brownberry Bread[/b] last week to praise them for their new double-fiber wheat bread (it's great!). I didn't hear back from them via email, so I assumed they were too busy to write back.

Not so! Over the weekend I received a VERY nice card on thick paper thanking me for my feedback, and inside were two $1 off coupons. Great customer service! I am so pleased! It makes me feel a lot better about always making a point to buy their bread.

It can pay off to write to companies!

great weekend

July 17th, 2006 at 07:35 am

What a wonderful weekend! Apart from the oppressive heat and humidity, it was lovely. My family came to visit, and we hit the art institute, had dinner with some of their friends, chowed down on that delicious St. Paul ice cream, and toured a college campus for my sister (already thinking of grad school!). We also went to

Text is Penzeys Spices and Link is http://www.penzeys.com
Penzeys Spices for the first time. What an amazing store! It's full of beautiful, fragrant spices. I had no idea paprika was supposed to have a scent. I forsee many a holiday gift coming from Penzeys this year.

Yesterday, I slept all afternoon. All I had to do was lie down on the couch and boom, down for the count.

The friend I was cat sitting for stopped by last night with an apology gift for her cat's behavior. Wink She gave me a gorgeous verigated oregano plant. She feels really bad about the incident, but it was my own fault for picking the cat up. The cut is healing really well, thankfully.

My aunts will be visiting this weekend. Entertaining them will be a tad trickier, since I don't know them as well as my parents, but I have a few ideas. I need to come up with backup plans in case it is 100 degrees again.

Overall, I spent about $23 this weekend. My parents insisted on paying for practically everything.

I'm putting $150 into the emergency fund today. It's nice to have the budget leeway to be able to do that again.

emailing companies

July 13th, 2006 at 06:37 am

I sent out a few emails this week praising companies for their food products. I wrote to Kellogg asking if they are planning to expand their Organic Morningstar line to include the Twin Cities. Their form letter response told me to buy them online. Not so much with the helpful.

On the other hand, my GoOrganic! coupons arrived yesteday - yeah! Amy's Kitchen wrote me a very nice email and said they'll send me information and coupons. Stonyfield Farm sent me a nice email as well. I guess that illustrates the difference between conglomerates and small businesses.

My family is visting this weekend, so we cleaned the house like mad last night. Everything is in its place and sparkling clean...my favorite. I haven't planned much for meals, though. Maybe I'll look up recipes today. It's just so hard to want to cook when it's 95 degrees!

My new pepper rotted on the vine. I suspect that there wasn't enough calcium in the soil, so I added bonemeal. It's also super hot on the deck, so maybe the plants aren't too happy with that, either. I don't have anywhere else to put them, though, out of the reach of hungry rabbits. The tomatoes are doing great!

I have taken the bus to work almost every day so far this month, and SO has picked me up from work most nights. It's great! I'm still on the same tank of gas from May. Smile

great deals & coupon delights!

July 9th, 2006 at 05:27 pm

About a week ago, I checked out the Coupon Train forum and read all about it. It sounded really interesting...but I thought to myself, "I don't even use coupons as it is! How can I join a coupon train?" So today, I did my best to pull out the coupons I've saved up and use them.

Today I saved $33.05 using coupons, and got $10 back in rebates!

That's not much compared to some of the coupon greats around here, but they are inspiring me to do better. Perhaps I'll dip my toes in the Midwest Coupon Train the next time it rolls around.

PetSmart is giving $5 rebate gift cards if you buy certain items in-store. Mostly big bags of cat and dog food qualify, but since I had a $5 off Science Diet coupon, I used it and saved! Yippee!

I also used a ton of coupons at Target and came away with a lot of pop (thanks to those Coke Olympic coupons). My stash of soda is nowhere near the quantity of ImaSaver's, but it will do. Wink

Overall, I'm pretty pleased. The only thing I splurged on this weekend was a stack of books (a trip to

Text is Half Price Books and Link is http://www.halfpricebooks.com
Half Price Books set me back $42). I have a penchant for novels about the Tudor family, Elizabeth I in particular, and they had a couple of thick books I couldn't pass up. Also got a cookbook,
Text is Vegetarian Cookbook for Cheese Lovers and Link is http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1581823460/sr=8-1/qid=1152490935/ref=pd_bbs_1/103-2693566-1241407?ie=UTF8
Vegetarian Cookbook for Cheese Lovers. Mmmm, my kind of cookbook.

Several family members are popping in and out over the next couple of weeks. I should really plan menus. I have a lot of cleaning to do, too.

I didn't scare the birthday girls too much yesterday, and they were really excited about our present to them - time with us. I need to remember that time together is often so much more valuable than a book or a trinket.

looking back on the last six months

June 30th, 2006 at 01:02 pm

Six month averages

Savings: $171 per month
- Definitely not as high as it could be!

Normal bills: $788 per month

Medical bills & prescriptions: $118 per month
- Much higher than usual with all this chiropractic/headache care stuff

House/Pet needs: $168 per month
- Not as high as I expected!

Food (including eating out and snacks at work): $260 per month
- Way too high. My grocery bills may put me in the Thrifty Plan of the

Text is USDA chart and Link is http://www.usda.gov/cnpp/FoodPlans/Updates/foodmay06.pdf
USDA chart, but eating out is busting my budget.

Entertainment: $175 per month
- Pretty high, what with all the crafting, photo-taking, and anniversary celebrating.

Gifts: $88 per month
- Not as high as I expected!

Personal products/Clothing/Haircuts/Massages: $158 per month
- Pretty high for not having had a massage for half of those months - it's the spring/summer clothes.

Gasoline/Parking/Car Maintenance: $213 per month
- So high only because I finally fixed the car in March! Without that, only $63 per month.

The worst part about this? The average total spent is more than I take home per month. *sigh*

It's easy to feel like this!



(taken at the Como Zoo in March)

a few photos

June 29th, 2006 at 07:31 am

Our stay at a bed and breakfast was wonderful. It was nice to take a day off in the middle of the week and bask in the sunshine. We rode our bikes all over town and enjoyed the perfect spring weather! This was one of my favorite views of the Mississippi:



All in all, we had a great anniversary, and neither of us wanted to come home.

Ways we saved money:
- Used our $95 in cash back from our credit card to help pay for our room at the bed and breakfast.
- Used two Entertainment Book half-off coupons for lunch and a coffee break. Saved $10.
- Bought four pieces of pottery, three of which came from the "seconds" room, so we got 10% off. I bought an awesome "seconds" cookie jar with a new lid and saved $10. We took an hour-long tour of the pottery factory, and since we had made a purchase, the tour was only $.50 each.

Last weekend we visited the Arboretum - here's a pretty photo:



and, as promised, a photo of the hidden waterfall near the campground we stayed at a few weeks ago (SO took this one):