Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Another Shopping Day Goes By ~ Wednesday 6/28/17

If you were hoping that one day you would not have to read about my cats, how tired I feel, or how I don't feel like going shopping, well today is not the day!

Explorer has several methods that he uses to wake me up: crying, jumping on the nightstand to molest the mini-blinds, putting his cold wet nose on mine, nipping my arm.  Last night, he used all of them.  Consequently, I'm tired, even though I fell asleep on the couch before 9:30 p.m. and went to bed at about 11 p.m.  I didn't get up when my alarm rang and then I cuddled with Princess because she's a cutie in the mornings and then with Explorer because he's a stinker and he was trying to be a cutie too. OK, he's a cutie too. An annoying one at times, but loving.

So I'm still in my PJs and trying to decide when to go shopping. I don't want to go, as usual, but I must. A couple of different things for me today: I'm skipping CVS, I'll be gassing up the SUV at Wawa, and I have to swing by the pharmacy to get my son's prescription refill.

I asked Greg to take the recycling bin down to the curb before he left because I wasn't sure I'd be dressed by the time they came to collect it.

It's all wet outside, it rained so much, again, yesterday!  It's probably going to rain again this afternoon so I directed Youngest Son to ask his sister for a ride to the library if I wasn't home yet and it was raining.

I followed Live & Learn's advice and didn't get on the scale this morning.  I guess I'll wait a few days and see what happens. I do like that the daily weigh-ins allow me to reflect on what might be going right or wrong. Right now I'm thinking that even though a lot (most) of the coffee that I drink is decaf, I might want to make sure I just drink plain water (bleh) because I'm feeling tired a lot, so I'm wondering if perhaps that's having a negative effect on me.

  • Plan my food intake for the day   DONE
  • Exercise
  • Go shopping DONE
  • Pick up prescription refill DONE
  • Gas up and pick up free coffee at Wawa DONE
  • Input receipts into spreadsheets DONE
  • Submit receipts for rebates DONE
  • Take recycling bin down to the curb ASKED GREG TO DO IT
  • Record today's food intake into MFP DONE
  • Do the dishes 
  • Post trip pictures on French blog
  • Write and mail postcards to my mom and great aunt
  • Back up all pictures to my external drive
  • Figure out where I was in the process of backing up my external drive!
  • Pull weeds  IN PROGRESS
  • Make hummingbird nectar
  • Find two books to donate to The Little Library when I go to the eye doctor
  • Check to see if I need to purchase more Prevident toothpaste DONE
  • Balance the checkbook
  • Put the laundry away IN PROGRESS
  • Cut up Greg's old sheet for rags
  • Iron Greg's business clothes for his trip next week
  • Vacuum the downstairs
  • Sweep and mop kitchen
  • Clean upstairs litterbox 
  • Mend some items from the mending basket
  • Draft an email reply re: daughter's FL Prepaid/Scholarship ongoing saga ON HOLD, waiting to receive the "card" that's coming her way
  • Take Youngest Son driving
  • Vacuum fridge's coils
  • Go through mortgage pay-off statement and make timeline

  • I reheated the last of the decaf coffee left in the pot from yesterday for my first mug and brewed a pot of regular coffee with a free K-cup from the Holiday Inn.

  • I packed leftovers for Greg to take to work.

  • I started playing the automatic nCrave videos in Swagbucks, as I didn't feel like clicking on the other ones. I hope they last the whole day as my 1st goal is 102 SB.

  • I hate the new Google News page. Surprise?  I really don't like change, but especially when it's for the worst. They tout that it's "more readable" but it's not. All this white space is hurting my eyes, who don't know where to focus to read what I want to read. Again, more scrolling, less choice (modules on the right that I can't get rid off, I don't want their stupid tags or "checked facts"). Between yesterday and today I've sent them at least 5 feedback messages about my discontent as I keep on discovering more and more things that irk me. They should take a page from Feedly and let the users truly personalize their viewing experience.

  • Youngest Son told me he was going to the library early today because they're having a pizza party and, as he said "free lunch!".  LOL, he's so my son :)

  • I planned my food intake for the day. Today, the difficulty is in planning the times at which I'll eat since I have to go shopping.

  • I checked the new Aldi and Save A Lot ads. Arrgh, Aldi had changed their site too.  I want to see next week's ad in the format in which I would read it in real life, not just a list of the deals they've "found".  My brain doesn't register those! Anyhoo, not much that got me excited. I'll buy more strawberries from Aldi (yay!) and I'll get a cantaloupe only if I can't get papaya at Save A Lot. I prefer papaya. The corn is a better price at Save A Lot (5 for $1) but I think we might be sick of corn.

  • The bank emailed me that the big check I had sent to the mortgage company was cashed in, so I checked to make sure the mortgage company had credited it, and it had!  Woohoo!
  • While I was at it, I requested the pay-off statement. It's actually lower than I expected (for some reason I thought they'd tack on another couple thousands of dollars in "fees" but they didn't) and our escrow has about $2,600 in it so we should get that money back within 20 days of paying off the mortgage. I do want to pay it off sooner than later because we have both the property taxes and the homeowner's insurance due in the fall, and I'd rather have enough time to tell them to mail ME the bills instead of sending them to the mortgage company.  So I think I'll go ahead and use the funds from our "New Car Savings" account to pay off the mortgage by 8/1.  I need to read through the pay-off statement and make a list of things to do.  The good news is that they'll accept a personal check, I don't have to scramble to get a cashier's check. 

  • I made breakfast.  I forgot to add minced garlic since I don't have any onion and it makes a big difference as it's a tad bland. Today I used zucchini, portabella mushroom, and collard greens in my omelet. I'm having the last of the papaya too.

  • I researched the difference between a CPA, Financial Advisor and Registered Certified Financial Planner and decided that the last one is probably the type of person we need. I checked the Vanguard email about tomorrow night's online seminar again and one of the presenters is indeed a CFP® so I went ahead and signed up for it. Hopefully we can just use Vanguard's Personal Advisor Services to consolidate our investments and avoid the Stupid tax.

  • The ransomware problem is spreading and getting worse. I decided to run Windows Update on my laptop, just in case, since the article mentions that Windows issued new security updates. My laptop said that I was updated as of 8 a.m. this morning but when I clicked on "Check for updates", a new one started downloading.  It's very slow going so I guess I'm not going shopping anytime soon... however, I just read up on that particular update and it's not even related to this security update. Arrgh.  Well, actually it only took about 15 minutes and I'll reboot the computer later on as I need it to keep running those automatic nCrave videos while I'm out shopping.

  • So I left for my errands at just after 10 a.m. and was back at about 12:30 p.m.  Here is what I did:
    • Save A Lot: 
      • I was very disappointed that they didn't have any papaya...
      • They also didn't have the cheaper whole wheat tortillas
      • I bought one large onion at $0.99/lb (so $0.76). I could have bought 3 lbs for $1.89 at Aldi but the onions have gone bad for me this summer before I could finish them so now I'm only buying them one at a time.
      • I also got a dozen large eggs for $0.79 (they were $0.99 at Aldi)
      • The Heinz BBQ sauce was on sale at $0.89/bottle so I got a couple. I wasn't sure if it was a good deal or not, not the Aldi BBQ sauce was $0.99 so I guess I did OK.
      • I found 2 packages of boneless, skinless chicken thighs on 50% off clearance ($1.04/lb)
      • I also found a package of dinner rolls on 50% clearance ($0.60) and two packages of English muffins on 50% clearance ($0.64 each)
      • My OOP was $9.94 and I charged it to Amazon Visa for 1% back in Rewards.  I should have used one of the Visa gift cards that I had bought from Youngest Son, though.  I need to use those up!

    • Aldi:
      • It was super busy today, I don't know what happened!
      • I spent $17.22 on non food items (cat litter, kitchen trash bags) and $46.57 on food items.  
      • I'm going to try and post a Grocery Shopping post with more details for those of you who, like me, love to read about other people's grocery trips more in details!  I haven't done that in a few months.
      • I paid for the $63.79 OOP with my Amex for 3% back in Rewards.
      • I forgot the brick of Neufchatel cheese that I meant to return at home though :(

    • Wawa:
      • I braved the very VERY annoying music and commercials at the pump (need to remember to bring some type of headphones?) and gassed up my SUV for $2.079 per gallon.
      • I obtained a receipt with which I will take a survey in a few days in order to earn a coupons for free 24 oz coffee that I will redeem next week.
      • I went inside to redeem my current coupon. Today they did have cardboard sleeves but no small sample cups :(  I grabbed 4 cups of half and half and 4 packets of sweetener too.  I'll drink the coffee tomorrow and use the half and half in a recipe at some point.

    • Pharmacy:
      • I picked up the Rx refill that I had ordered yesterday and paid for the $75 co-pay with my Health Federal Savings Account Visa card (pre-tax dollars).
    • Publix:
      • I got some cash at the ATM and paid a $2.75 ATM fee but USAA will refund it to me next month.
      • I checked my lottery ticket but hadn't won anything... it had expired so I wasted another $20 in buying a advance ticket for the next 20 drawings . Yes, it is wasted money but you don't win if you don't play so... I play a little :)
      • Then I agonized for a few minutes whether to buy a tube of Garden Gourmet ginger paste or not. I love that stuff because when I buy fresh ginger, I can never get it the right consistency for my recipes and then it goes bad.  But Publix charges you an arm and a leg for them: $4.29!  I did have a $0.55/1 coupon from a tear pad that I had grabbed a few months ago so it helped a little.
      • I also bought 2 Butterball turkey sausage links, on sale at $2.00 each. Save A Lot now charges $2.29 for them.  I used (2) $0.75/1 printable coupons.
      • My next two items were 100% free to me because I used digital coupons that I had uploaded to my digital coupon wallet: a loaf of Arnold Buttermilk bread ($4.29) and a cup of La Liberté yogurt ($1.79)
      • The La Liberté coupon ended up being for $1.99 so I made $0.20 :)
      • Plus SavingStar has a $0.30 rebate on it. I submitted my receipt and we'll see if they accept it since I used a coupon.  Also, I submitted the UPCs for the 2 sausage links since there's a "1 or many" offer. It expires next week, though, and I have no plans to buy more Butterball items at Publix. It doesn't cost me anything to load up the info from my receipt, though.
      • So my OOP was $6.04 and I charged it to Amex for 3% back in Rewards.

    • Walgreens:
      • I bought a bag of Black Forest organic candy on sale for $2.00 and received a $2.00 Register Reward.  I had to pay for the $0.14 in tax, though.
      • I also bought a box of Mike & Ice sour candy on sale for $0.99 and received a $0.99 Register Reward. I also had to pay the tax on it.
      • When the cashier rang me up, at first, I used my Amazon Visa card to get 2% back in Rewards.  But the Register Rewards didn't print!
      • The store manager came over and took a long time to get things to work properly. He had to refund my purchase and then ring them up each in their own transaction for the RR to print. He said that it happens sometimes, two RR that are supposed to print will actually cancel each other out.  That had never happened to me before...  but when  he did that, I blanked out and charged the new transactions to my Amex instead of my Amazon Visa!  Ugh. So I'll only get 1% back in Rewards.

    • RaceTrac:
      • I got Sodapalooza refills for Youngest Son and myself
      • I wanted to redeem a Sodapalooza coupon for a free 1 oz Jack Links Steak meat stick but they only had the 2 oz.  The cashier told me that "the truck is coming tomorrow" but they never seem to know if they actually ordered a specific item. It's like "the truck" delivers stuff and they have no idea of what will be on it until it gets here. I've had the same speech at Walgreens and CVS in the past, and from store managers to boot!  It's a mystery as to who orders what in those stores...

  • Then I went home!  Youngest Son had walked to the library since it wasn't raining. I unloaded everything by myself because my daughter was cleaning her room and it doesn't happen all that often so I didn't want to interrupt her, lol.

  • I consolidated 3 loaves of bread into one and saved 2 bags to use when cleaning the upstairs litterbox.

  • After I put everything away, I made my lunch: a turkey and spinach wrap, a Romaine and cucumber salad with light balsamic vinaigrette, 12 large cherries, and the strawberry shake that I should have had for morning snack.  My daughter had leftovers from last night's dinner. 

  • I submitted my Publix receipt to Ibotta ($0.25 for any item) and SavingStar ($0.30 La Liberté yogurt) and Ibotta credited my account right away.

  • I ate my lunch while watching the Law & Order marathon on ION TV.  It'll be playing right until the time Greg gets home :)

  • The $25 Walmart gift card that I ordered from Swagbucks came in today, woohoo!  Now, to make myself go to Walmart...

  • I tracked all my receipts into my spreadsheets, which helps tremendously in knowing where our money is going and identify areas on which we could improve.

  • Youngest Son walked back from the library. He had a great time playing board games with his friends and eating free pizza ;)

  • I sliced the loaf of whole wheat bread that I made in the breadmaker yesterday  and reused the parchment paper and Ziploc bag that I had used for the previous loaf.  Greg's bag of ice for his non-existent fish harvest is ticking me off because it's taking so much space in the freezer that I can't freeze my slices of bread. I think I'm going to tell him "No, don't freak out but... there is no longer a bag of ice in the freezer...". I need to get him reusable ice packs, I suppose.

  • The nCrave videos allowed me to reach my 2nd Daily Goal in Swagbucks without having to do much at all, woohoo!

  • Books, books, books!  Today I received my copy of "The Simple Path to Wealth" from Amazon (I bought it new but used my Microsoft Rewards gift cards to get it for only $0.28), and my used copy of the 2003 edition of Betty Crocker's Diabetic Cookbook. I had borrowed it from the library and when I flipped through it, most recipes sounded delicious and super easy to make with ingredients that I stock up anyway, so I look forward to start using those recipes to get the whole family a little healthier along with me.

  • I received a pack of sample pads from U Fitness by Kotex so I gave them to my daughter.

  • I printed a coupon for BOGO shakes at Steak'n Shake in case Greg and our son would like one.

  • Arrgh, it's almost dinnertime and I really don't feel like cooking, much less fish. It's so easy but it's so smelly.  But... I did. Yay me!

  • I had forgotten to earn the Microsoft Rewards for today but I just remedied that!

  • The kittens are so big now :)
Look, I grew kittens!
  • Greg is having a business lunch tomorrow. Free food!

  • We watched a couple more episodes of "Peep Show" on Amazon Prime Instant Video after dinner.

  • After that, I plan on reading the rest of my library book, probably while taking a bubble bath.
  • Free lunch for Youngest Son at the library
  • A 24 oz cup of French Vanilla coffee, 4 cups half and half and 4 packets sweetener from Wawa, with survey reward coupon
  • A loaf of Arnold buttermilk bread, with digital manufacturer coupon, at Publix
  • A cup of La Liberté yogurt, with digital manufacturer coupon, at Publix
  • Six Sodapalooza refills between myself, Youngest Son, and Greg
  • I received the $25 Walmart gift card that I had ordered from Swagbucks
  • I requested a free sample of Dove shampoo and conditioner
  • I received free samples of U Fitness by Kotex


  1. You had a busy day! Gas there seems to be so much cheaper than it is here! You are right about those kittens - they have indeed grown! So cute!

    1. And Florida is expensive for gas compared to Georgia or even the Carolinas... we saw gas for less than $2 a gallon in a lot of places on our trip!

  2. I don't think you're ready to do this because it's a very hard thing to do, but eventually we started shutting our cats up in the basement at night because we were getting no sleep. If it had been just one of them snuggling in, that would have been okay. But when there was a group fighting, it was more than we could handle. And one of the cats always chewed on the blinds to get our attention. We would try to ignore him, but he knew that we always reacted to that.

    Our cats adjusted well to going to the basement at night. They looked forward to it because we started feeding them then. They have food, a water fountain, litter boxes, a cat tree by a window, and a couch with heating pads to sleep on. A pretty good set up. While we still hear them meowing sometimes in the morning, it's easier to ignore that than a paw in the face and it usually doesn't last long.

    So that's my advice. However, I too am one who won't move if a cat is sleeping on me, so I know that it's a hard step to take. But worth it!

    1. Good advice and I laughed when I read about not wanting to move because a cat is sleeping on you, because, as you know, I'm the same :) Our little kitties need their comfort!

      However, to implement your advice, I'd have to start digging a basement and there's a reason why we don't have basements in Florida :) The rest of our house isn't conducive to locking them in... anywhere. We just don't have a room, save for our small bathrooms but we use them at night anyway and they're right next to the bedrooms, where I could lock them up for the night right now. I could, once my daughter moves out, just lock them up in her bedroom since it's on the other side of the house and upstairs, but I'm just hoping that they'll mature and change their behavior... at some point. Tabby Kitty is already less of a pest and Princess has stopped biting my toes, so I'm hoping that Explorer will start chilling out soon :)

      Also... pretty sweet set-up that your cats have down in the basement! Couch with heating pads? a water FOUNTAIN? Don't let my cats hear about all this... (although I just bought them a new-to-them couch today, the fountain can't be much further along...)

  3. The kittens are huge! It's funny -- we still call our three youngest cats the kittens even now that they are seven years old. I guess they are just always our babies. No matter that consistent food, water and vet visits means that they are actually our BIGGEST cats, so it's funny that we when we are referring to our kittens we're really talking about feline giants. :)

    1. I can't tell you how relieved I am that you guys still call yours "The Kittens" even though they're far from being kittens now! I've been saying every few weeks that I ought to start calling them something else, but I think they'll just remain "The Kittens" for the rest of their lives now. I wonder if it's a built-in "protection" against adopting any more kittens. I'd then have to have "the New Kittens" and "the Old Kittens" and that would get confusing...

  4. Congratulations on sending that last big check! I hope to actually someday payoff our mortgage too.

    1. Thank you! I wish for you that you're able to pay it off sooner than later as well :)

  5. On Friday I pulled a Nathalie by going to four different stores for my groceries. It doesn't compare to your seven stops, but I did get some good deals. My two freebies don't compare to your list of eight, but it gives me a goal to strive for. *laugh* Grocery shopping is an all day affair. How is it that you can still strike off all those items from your big To-Do list.

    You are getting very adventurous in your cooking, substituting ingredients that your have already, for items you don't. That omelet sounds delish with the garlic, mushroom and collard greens.

    1. I saw! I meant to comment about how exhausted you must have been. And I'm so pleased for you that you got such great deals on your cereals! Grocery Shopping does take a long time but again if you save money by going to different stores, it's a good trade-off, I think. I'm trying to psych myself to go to Walmart tomorrow since I have about $200 in gift cards that I earned with Swagbucks, but honestly... I really hate shopping there so I keep on putting it off. I probably won't go tomorrow either.

  6. Congratulations on being able to pay off the mortgage by August 1st. I know at one point earlier this year, you were hoping to do that much further into the future. So congratulations on being able to move up that date!

    1. Thank you so much! We could have paid it off a couple of years earlier but it would have completely depleted our Emergency Fund and other savings and I'm far too much of a worrier to ever do this so we ended up paying a little more in interest. Back when we were dreaming about being debt-free, many years ago, we had hoped to be out of debt by the time our son graduated from high school... and then the 2008 crisis hit! So I'm ecstatic that despite all of that, we WERE indeed able to get out of debt completely AND 2 years ahead of our wildest dreams!

      Of course, as soon as I mailed that last check everything started breaking down... isn't that always the case? So it's a good thing that I never did deplete that emergency fund!


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