Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Shopping Day ~ Wednesday 3/22/17

I don't have cats, I have rats.  I caught Princess on the kitchen table this morning. She had chewed up through the bag of bread that I had left on the table for Greg's breakfast and was enjoying gnawing on some bread slices.  Arrggh.  It is to be noted that the kitten food bowls are full and they've already helped themselves to the big cats' weight control food too. Nothing is safe from those cats!

Today is my Shopping Day.  I don't particularly feel like going shopping, though, but I need to as we are out of a few items. I'm happy that I stopped by Walgreens last night so I don't have to go today, and I just took Publix off my list. I can live without redeeming the deals that I was going to take advantage of.

So my errand list should be: Save A Lot, RaceTrac, Aldi, and possibly the thrift store if I feel like it.

It was foggy and dark this morning when I drove my son to school, and as always, people behave like even bigger morons when the weather conditions are not optimal. I spent most of the trip yelling at people and muttering expletives, not a very zen way to start my day.  My poor son, I probably shouldn't be modeling this behavior but I can't help it. People are idiots.

I had made lunch plans with a friend on Friday and she texted me this morning telling me that she had an appointment she couldn't reschedule tomorrow and asked if we could move our lunch to Friday?! I checked our texting history and we had indeed schedule lunch on Friday so I'm glad I'm not the only one who gets confused sometimes :)

The kittens must have read my blog post last night and disagreed about my deciding that getting the larger mattress on Tuesday instead of ASAP was fine, because in the middle of the night I found myself with 2 kittens nestled between my legs.  I went to use the bathroom and when I came back they had spread, so much so that it was hard for ME to fit into the bed, lol.  So now I'm counting the days until I have more room to sleep.  When the alarm rang, they both came to the head of the bed, blinking and stretching and purring and we got to cuddle for a few minutes before I had to get up.  It's such a lovely way to start the day! Maybe I should bring them with me to drop off my son at school, their purring might help my blood pressure :)

Alright, on to the To Do List. As usual, I probably won't accomplish much since shopping as a singular way of wiping me out of all my energy. Also, I have a lot of receipts to input in my spreadsheets since I haven't been keeping up with it this past week. But hey, it's Law & Order marathon day so I'll have that to keep me company this afternoon!

  • Finalize grocery shopping list DONE
  • Bake banana bread 
  • Put recycling out DONE
  • Declutter the printer stand
  • Do the shredding
  • Hook the hose into the hose reel
  • Refill the self watering bins
  • Give a driving lesson to my son with the stick shift 
  • Take Youngest Son to get a haircut
  • Cut my own bangs DONE
  • Make menu for the weekend
  • Clean bathroom ceiling 
  • Clean hallway ceiling right outside the bathroom
  • Order longer handle for rubber broom
  • Add bleach to furnace line
  • Write and mail postcards to great aunt and mom
  • Make my bed DONE
  • Earn Microsoft Rewards credits DONE
  • Input weight into WHBRHC DONE
  • Set 15 minute timer and try to accomplish as many chores as possible in that time
  • Do the dishes by hand, drain/dry in the dishwasher (AFTER DINNER) 
  • Vacuum Youngest Son's bedroom
  • Make a dermatologist appointment for Youngest Son
  • Back up external drive to its own external drive!
  • Start a list of the electric outlets that I want to get replaced
  • Do my foot exercises 2X
  • Exercise at least 35 minutes on my bike  (weekdays only)  
  • Clean upstairs litter box DONE
  • Put away the clipped articles from Kiplinger's magazine 
  • Inventory the pantry
  • Inventory the freezers
  • Purge the top drawer of the file cabinet
  • Take RaceTrac surveys DONE
  • Take my measurements
  • Scrub patio pavers with bleach (wear old clothes and shoes, gloves and goggles)
  • Finish decluttering exercise room shelves
  • Call my bank to consolidate my IRA accounts
  • Schedule an outing to P.E.A.R. Park and ask them about the trees from my backyard or look at the Audubon site that Pixel shared.
  • Go to airport to cash in my euros?!
  • Mend sliding door window screen
  • Plant and water the tree
  • Water the pineapples
  • Add water to indoor pineapples
  • Track my and Greg's IRAs for the IRS
  • Download all February pictures from phone, Canon camera, and Panasonic camera to external drive
  • Reply to blog comments DONE
  • Get spare sherpa blanket from master bedroom DONE
  • Wash new bedding DONE
  • Fold laundry DONE
  • Put laundry away 
  • Call Educational Foundation Director DONE, she'll call me tomorrow morning
  • Clip coupons
  • Put coupons away
  • Track Greg's paycheck in Tax Worksheet DONE
  • Enter receipts in all spreadsheets DONE

  • Youngest son packed himself a lunch to take to school.

  • I packed leftover Chinese food for Greg to take to work since he only ate half his dinner last night (smart man, I should have done the same!).

  • I aired out the house when I came back from the school drop-off. It gets hot in the afternoons now so I'm trying to keep the windows open in the morning as much as I can, despite the pollen count being quite high.  Our allergies don't seem to be as bad as they were last year. It will be 85F/29.4C today but will cool off again tomorrow for a couple of days (in the mid 70s) and then we're on for temps in the 80s for the remaining 8 days of the forecast. Arrgh, summer already wants to come in and play!

  • I checked out the new ads for Aldi and Save A Lot.  The Aldi ad looks different from the one I peeked at last week and I'm not seeing the cans of herring fillet in this one. Oh no!  I hope they do have them!  Save A Lot is supposed to have chicken breasts on the bone for just $0.69/lb so I hope to stock up on those.  

  • I looked at my shopping list which had grown to a projected $73 in food spending and trimmed it back to a more reasonable $53.56.  I do have to buy pantry staples such as oil and sugar so I am over the $50 limit anyway.

  • Tabby Kitty is slowly warming up to me again, it must have been the papaya I shared yesterday. This morning, he's already come to me twice for cuddles and is now curled up on pillows next to me, enjoying his first nap of the day.  He's usually not one for cuddles so I hope he's not sick or something.

  • I took two Racetrac surveys and earned reward codes for 2 more freebies.  The strawberry cake is already mostly gone and I probably won't have the energy to bake today so I'll get a bakery item for Youngest Son's after-school snack with one of the codes.

  • And another post alerted me to the availability of a "Try Me Free" rebate offer for the new Arm & Hammer Slide Cat Litter.  The link takes you to the site to submit the rebate, make sure to read the terms and conditions as there will be specific things you need to mail in, including the "special promotional sticker" from the box so don't get a box without the sticker! Also, I'm not sure if you can redeem both offers. It states 1 per address but each offer has a separate offer number, so you might be able to redeem both.
  • I left to go run my errands just past 9 a.m. and came back at noon.  I wouldn't have been so long had I not stopped at not one but three thrift stores!  My trip ended up being a mix of good deals and bad deals but overall I'm pretty happy with what I got.  To wit:
    • Save A Lot:  they did have the chicken breasts, woohoo!  I only bought 3 packages, though, because I didn't want to run the risk of not having enough room in my freezer (I forgot to check how much room I had before I left, doh!).  So I got:
      • 1 bottle of apple juice at $1.29
      • 2 lbs Halo clementines, on sale @ $2.99 and I redeemed a $0.50 coupon that I had found in one of the inserts from the library so $2.49
      • 3 lbs navel oranges, on sale @ $1.49
      • 11.36 lbs chicken breasts on the bone @ $0.69/lb = $7.84
      • My OOP was $13.10 and I charged it to Amazon Visa for 1% back in Rewards

    • RaceTrac:  I don't know why gas is still $2.199/gallon down here when I saw it at $2.119 in several locations in several counties this past week, grrr.
      • I gassed up my SUV, paid with Discover for 5% back in Bonus Rewards, earned loyalty points in my app, and obtained a new receipt that I will turn into a freebie after taking the survey.
      • I redeemed a survey reward code for a free brownie for my son's after-school snack.
      • I realized that I had a coupon for a free breakfast sandwich if I bought a bottle of Minute Maid juice, so I bought a bottle of apple juice as a treat for my daughter and got an egg, sausage and cheese muffin sandwich for Youngest Son's breakfast tomorrow for free.  I earned loyalty points in my app and paid for the $1.78 OOP with my Discover card, which I hoped will qualify for the bonus 5% in Rewards.  I should have paid more... I'm looking at my receipt and the cashier deducted $2 for the brownie instead of $1.89.  Woohoo!

    • I sighed as I turned into Goodwill because the parking lot was extremely full so I figured the store would be packed.  However, the store wasn't busy so maybe they were conducting some kind of workshop?  They've remodeled and reorganized since I was last there and it's much better now!  However, they are also implementing a new policy as of 4/1 that if an item doesn't have a price, it'll have to go back to Pricing and won't be back in circulation until the next day. I guess people were scamming?  However, there were a couple of instances when I found something without a price so I will be annoyed if I can't buy something because a price is missing.  Anyhoo, I ended up having to get a cart because I found several items to purchase:
      • A pair of shorts with the "cargo" pockets that I like: $2.69
      • A yogurt maker for $5.99. I'd been wanting one for a while.  The top is cracked though, and was patched with scotch tape.  I hope it still works OK.  I'll need to find the manual online.
      • a queen-size duvet cover.  I use a king-size duvet cover on my queen-size duvet because I got the cover on clearance at Kohl's several years ago for something like $4.99, I think.  But the duvet always ends up getting all bunched up in one corner and then I'm left with the empty corner and it's annoying. So I spent $7.99 today for the correct size. Woohoo.
      • a (hopefully) full-size bottom sheet. I only use bottom sheets, never the top sheets.  At $3.99, I felt it was overpriced, but I just wanted to have at least one sheet for when my new mattress comes in next week.
      • a ceramic casserole dish to replace my 1.5 qt Corningware dish that broke a few weeks back.  It's not Corningware but that's fine.  I tried the lid on when I got home and it fits fine. Woohoo, again!  It was $3.99, much better than paying $24.85 for a new one on Amazon :)
      • a light fixture to replace the one that got broken in my daughter's bedroom. I was hesitating on that one because I hadn't measured the one that broke but it looked like the right size and was priced at $4.99.  I took the risk because in the past I've left something there only to return the next day and it was gone... however, this was a bust as it didn't fit. I tried swapping it with another fixture from another room but it still didn't fit.  Arrgh.  I put it away in a cabinet although I guess I don't have a use for it so I might end up re-donating it.  Goodwill doesn't do refunds, only exchanges so I don't think I'll bother as there wasn't another similar fixture.
      • My OOP was $31.72 and I presented my Goodwill Rewards card and earned 30 points.  It'll take me a while to earn a discount there, I think, but I can't remember the terms right now.  I paid with my Amex to get 1% back in Rewards and declined rounding up to the next dollar because I felt that I was already being overcharged, compared to other thrift stores, especially for the yogurt maker with the broken top.

    • Aldi:  Arrgh, the senior citizens and husbands were out in force today!  The store wasn't all that busy but most people were just standing around, either next to their cart or standing side by side and taking the whole aisle. It was frustrating for someone who just wanted to get what she needed and get out!  I mostly got what was on my shopping list but also added a few things.  My OOP ended up being $68.01 total, including toilet paper, cat litter, and a bird feeding station (yes, another one!) but I only spent $41.30 on food there.  I paid with Amex for 3% back in Rewards.  The butter was on sale for $2.69, which isn't a great sale, so I only bought 1 lb, in case it gets lower in the next few weeks. 

    • South Lake Animal League Thrift Store:  
      • I wasn't sure that I would feel up to going to another thrift store but decided to go there anyway and I'm sure glad that I did, because I spotted 2 very long tubes standing by a shelf and the signs on them said "9' x 36' photo shoot paper back drop, $25". One was white and the other black.  So I texted Middle Son right away to ask if he wanted them and he was really excited and replied "YES!!!". It's perfect timing that I'll be going to the UCF area tomorrow, just a mile away from his dad's house, so I'll be able to drop them off for him.  They would have never fit in his car, they barely fit in my SUV!
      • Bundled in the same corner were 2 hanging pot or bird feeder holders, made of heavy metal, for just $2.00 each!  Arrgh, I had just spent $10 at Aldi for the bird feeding station!  But I knew I would regret not getting them so I bought them as well. You can never have too many bird feeders and I can also just hang flower pots anyway. 
      • So my OOP was $57.78 and I charged it to Amex for 1% back in Rewards.

    • Flushed with my thrift store success, I decided to stop by the Habitat for Humanity ReStore as well. I didn't buy anything there, but I saw some bed frames (although I'm not sure they have a full size frame right now) and beds, and some dishwasher, one of them that looked like it would work perfectly for us. The dishwashers didn't have prices on them and there was a line at the register so I didn't wait to ask for the price. I'll just go back another day.

  • I put everything away and washed the duvet cover (after spraying a few black marks with stain remover and it all came out just fine!), the sheet and the shorts in cold/cold.  I hung them outside to dry on the patio furniture.

  • No rebates for me today :( I had uploaded new ones from MobiSave and Ibotta this morning, but  I rarely shop because of rebates.

  • I asked my daughter if she was going to finish her Chinese food from last night and she said no, so I combined hers and mine (it wasn't much) and also had the last tuna patty from Sunday night, for my lunch.  I also had 1/2 a papaya and a piece of strawberry cake.  Yes, the kittens had some papaya too :) It was a papayapalooza!

  • The top of my thighs is really hurting and I couldn't figure out why... and then I remembered that I biked to the library yesterday. It was windy when I biked home and we live on a small hill... and I might have gotten better at walking but I'm still a wimp at biking, I guess!  Ouch.

  • I tracked all my expenses from the previous week into my various spreadsheets. We charge most of our expenses and I track them as I would debit card purchases. So when the bills come in, the money has already been set aside for them.

  • I scheduled several credit card payments online.  I always compare every charge to my records on my spreadsheets, line by line, before scheduling a payment, and I always schedule the payment to be made on the due date (I'd rather keep the money in my checking account as long as possible!). And it goes without saying that I always pay our credit cards off, every month.

  • I called the number that the Director of the Educational Foundation administering my daughter's scholarship had asked me to call so we could discuss which paperwork I had to fill out.  However, she had given me the wrong number! At least the person who got my message was nice enough to text me to let me know.  So then I sent the director an email. Yeah so, after she said it was weird because it was her number, I checked again and I had transposed 2 digits. Doh.  She'll call me back tomorrow.  I just want this thing to be taken care of!

  • I balanced my checkbook and made sure our cash flow will be OK, despite recent expenses.

  • I earned the daily Microsoft Rewards credits and also entered my weight into Walgreens' Balance Rewards for Healthy Choices.

  • I also printed Greg's latest paystub and made sure to report all the numbers in my 2017 Tax Worksheet.

  • For dinner, I cooked some thin spaghetti and pan fried some tilapia fillets.

  • My daughter decided to bake cupcakes after dinner. She used a cake mix that I had gotten on clearance for $0.65. They are delicious, of course :)

  • I played a few automatic SB videos while I was folding the laundry and reached my 1st daily goal.

  • I found the manual for the yogurt maker online.  It seems like a lot more work than I expected to have to do!

  • I entered the code from the Minute Maid apple juice bottle that I bought this morning into MyCokeRewards. The last day for entering codes was today. I had a total of 190 points, which didn't get me anything as far as what I might have wanted, so I redeemed 189 points for 63 entries into a sweepstake to win a $1,000 Walmart gift card.

  • I cut my bangs. It's hard to do because I have to take off my glasses and then I can't see anything, but I think it turned out fine. I'm not picky :)

  • Have  I mentioned that the top of my thighs really hurt?  It got worse and worse as the day wore on.  I'm fine walking but going down stairs or any incline is so painful. Sitting down (and getting up) is excruciating!  And we have several levels in our house so I'm forever going up and down stairs and moaning while I'm doing it.  I cannot believe that our little hill brought on such pain, especially since it's not the first time that I've biked it!

  • Save  A Lot: $13.10 (groceries)
  • RaceTrac: $45.15 (gas)
  • RaceTrac: $1.78 (snacks)
  • Goodwill: $31.72 (housewares and clothing)
  • Aldi: $68.01 (groceries, TP, cat litter, bird feeding station)
  • SLAL Thrift Store: (bird feeder stands, photographic backgrounds)

Grocery shopping today was mostly about restocking the pantry a little... and the freezer.  I spent a total of $59.00 on food:
  • Baking: $1.85 (4 lbs sugar)
  • Beverages: none
  • Breads: $1.70 (2 loaves white bread)
  • Cereals: none
  • Dairy: $10.31 (1 gallon whole milk, 1 package string cheese, 4 yogurt cups, 1 lb butter, 1 lb margarine)
  • Pantry/Dry Goods: $9.04 (1 bag tortilla chips, 1 bottle vegetable oil, 2 boxes couscous, 1 box saltines, 2 bottles ketchup, 1 bag potato chips)
  • Produce/Juice: $14.74 (1 bottle apple juice, 2 lbs clementines, 3 lbs navel oranges, 4.24 lbs bananas, 6 lbs Pink Lady apples, 4 ears sweet corn, 1 bag spinach)
  • Proteins: $17.58 (11.36 lbs bone-in chicken breasts, 5 cans herring fillets in spicy mango sauce, 2 cans tuna)
  • Snacks: $3.78 (1 cherry liquor cake, 1 bag pretzel sticks)

This was my last shopping trip for March. I'll publish a report on my March grocery trips at the end of the month.

  • 1-year subscription to Outdoor Life magazine (via Valuemags)
  • Free after rebate cat litter forms
  • Brownie (RaceTrac, with survey reward code)
  • Breakfast sandwich (RaceTrac, with app offer)

  • Made my bed
  • Fed the kittens
  • Packed Greg's lunch
  • Prepped his breakfast
  • Checked out the new grocery ads
  • Caught up on the news
  • Drove my son to school
  • Aired out the house
  • Chased a kitten off the kitchen table (twice!)
  • Took recycling down to the curb
  • Worked on my shopping list
  • Replied to blog comments
  • Cuddled with a kitten
  • Made myself an itinerary for this morning
  • Ran my errands
  • Texted with Middle Son
  • Put everything away
  • Did a load of laundry
  • Checked for available rebates
  • Entered receipts into my checkbook
  • Scheduled credit card payments
  • Called the Educational Foundation Director and left a message
  • Sent her an email
  • Balance my checkbook
  • Worked on Rewards programs
  • Scheduled utilities payment online
  • Folded the laundry
  • Cooked dinner
  • Redeemed MCR points
  • Watched Seinfeld with Greg
  • Continued watching Law & Order with Youngest Son :)
  • Cut my bangs

  • For people who donate their unwanted, in good condition, goods to thrift stores for the rest of us to reuse!
  • For whoever decided to run Law & Order marathons on Wednesdays on O.T.A. TV :)
  • For Youngest Son always offering to help me
  • For Youngest Son realizing that Princess had a triangular dice in her mouth before she choked on it (I had dropped it and didn't even know it).
How was your day today?


  1. That was an excellent price on the chicken breasts! Well done on the shopping. Your kittens are too funny with eating the bread and the papaya! Dancer likes his greens - spinach leaves, lettuce, the leaves from broccoli stems, etc. :)

    1. Thanks! I wish I could have bought more chicken breasts but I was right to limit myself to 3 packages, I would have had a hard time finding space for more.

      Now, do you feed Dancer those things or does he steal them from you?

  2. Busy day here again- I have to drive to Daytona Beach and them make a few stops in another city on the way home. Oh well, tomorrow I want to grocery shop. Thanks for the heads up on the chicken at Save A Lot. I'm not fond of that store but I will go there occasionally. They have the best price on buttermilk! I love it and sometimes use it for making cakes or cupcakes. I just looked at the Publix ad and not much I am interested in- lots of wine in the flyer. I like wine but I buy mine at Winn Dixie and get the gas points. That program is changing to Plenti so I'm not sure about it any longer. Yesterday I filled up for $1 a gallon with my credits. I love your gratitude list- that is such a good idea. I'm a list maker but sometimes I have 3 or 4 going at the same time. I usually think what birthdays I have for the month- none in April except a niece turning 50 in Illinois-and write down any 'engagements' I might have LOL. My sis and I are trying to get together with our brother once a month- he moved here (30 miles away) from Iowa several years ago but we hardly ever see him except for major holidays. I've been doing well with the diet but not the walking. How about you?

    1. I got the email about Plenti and had trouble linking my WD Rewards card to my Plenti account but I emailed them and I think they fixed it. I only ever shop at Winn Dixie when I buy Greg's whiskey at their liquor store, but if I can redeem my Plenti points at the register, I might have to add it to my store line-up on Wednesdays. I earn Plenti points with our AT&T account and when we go to Chili's.

      Great deal paying only $1 a gallon for gas! You can still earn points for gas but I think it'll be only for Mobil and Exxon stations now, not Shell.

      The gratitude section was inspired by Bless, one of my readers who is also a blogger at My Two Cents. She always lists 5 things that she's grateful for. At the beginning, it was hard for me because I'm not a naturally positive person, but it's getting easier.

  3. Thanks for the link to the Slide cat litter. I've been thinking about trying it because I do get aggravated about the wet litter sticking to the sides.

    1. You're welcome! I'll try it since it's free after the rebate (well, minus the tax) but I think I'll stick (ha!) with the Aldi litter. The litter sticks to the bottom of our boxes, not the sides, although there was a turd stuck to the side this morning so I had to deal with that.

  4. Great finds at the thrift store! I have been driving by a surplus store on my way to work for the last 2 years and decided to stop in today on my lunch break. Boy am I glad I did! Everything is new. For $8, I got Little Daisy 2 shirts, a set of flannel twin sheets, and a twin mattress pad. All were Target brands! I'm super excited and will be going back tomorrow because this place is HUGE! The prices were better than second hand prices!

    We also took advantage of the free Outdoor Life subscription a few months ago and my husband is very thankful!

    1. Wow, that is awesome Daisy! And I paid $4 for a used sheet at Goodwill :( Our Goodwill used to get the brand new stuff from Target that they resold but they don't anymore and I'm not sure why...

  5. You are the queen of finding great bargains!

    Thanks for the heads up on the's been a few weeks since I backed mine up to the computer. Grrr about hackers! I just got my first iPhone ever for Christmas (always had Android phones before that), because iPhones seem, well, "safer." Grrrr again!

    1. Since then, Apple has come out to say they have investigated and their systems weren't hacked, but it's always a good idea to back up your phone regularly (says the person who only does it once a year or so!).


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