Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Trip Grocery Challenge

As previously noted, money for this trip is extremely tight, even moreso than I’d originally thought. I think we’re still in the clear though between gas and a hotel room, though I might have to bow out of some social interaction with friends due to lack of funds.

Tonight we’re making our trip to the grocery store and I’m going to try to spend less than ten dollars tonight, which means I won’t actually have to pay anything because that will finish up the credit on our Dillons card. Last night we made a trip so that we’d have breakfast and lunch for today, but some of that can carry over easily, including the impulse Twizzlers we bought because they were only a buck for a package and I am a Twizzler fiend.

We also scored two things of hummus for a dollar each. We both like hummus and couldn’t say no to the deal. So far, we have a few things to take with us already:


I’d like to also pick up:
Bread – 78 cents
Lunchmeat - $1.35
Cheese - $1.66
Pop – 2.19 (12 pack)
Bananas – 1.00 (about a pound a half)
Oranges - 1.00 (for two)
Quaker Quakes - $1.00
Breakfast Cereal Bars - $2.00

So it actually comes to about $10.98. I don’t actually need the Quakes, but their so good! Oh well…if I take them from the list I’ll be under my total, though that doesn’t include tax. For now, I’m going with this list because I think I might be able to find cheaper versions of the cereal bars, cheese and lunchmeat.

For anyone who might be shaking your head and wondering why I’m even taking this trip if I don’t have the money, the truth is that at this point, I need to see my family and I’m willing to do it on a tight budget. Luckily I won’t have to spend a lot of money there, so the travel will be worth it, and I’ll have gotten paid by the time we come back, so the trip back is not a worry at this point. Besides, it’s kind of fun seeing how frugal we can be when it comes to travelling.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Frugal Shortcuts for Our Trip

Our trip to Michigan is coming up in just a few short days and of course, like always, money isn’t overabundant. Fortunately, I have enough to get us to Michigan with a little bit leftover. With the in-state traveling we’ll be doing and the fact that we’ll most likely want to have a little bit of spending cash, I’m racking my brain to find ways to save money.

Food: I’m borrowing a cooler from a co-worker and I still have about $10 in credit on my Dillons card to buy things. Sandwich stuff will be key, followed by some fruit, some easy snacks, and some diet soda for the much needed on the road caffeine rush. We’re also packing water, but I’m going to try something different. Instead of buying ice and bottled water, I’m taking a couple plastic bottles, filling them part way then freezing them. That way we have “ice packs” to keep food cool and when it melts, we’ll have water to drink.

Hotel: I’m a little unsure of this right now. Cheap will be the key word since I don’t have any hotel points or anything like that. My mom had offered us a discount through her work, but we decided not to reserve. For me, it’s easier to stop wherever than to have a certain destination to stop that may hold us back from getting a little further. I’ve actually batted around the idea of sleeping at a rest stop (not something I’d ever do by myself) but I think we’ll opt for the cheap hotel option instead. There’s bound to be somewhere for less than $50 on a Thursday night.

Gas: Even though I don’t have a hybrid car, I do get fairly good gas mileage at about 30 miles per gallon on the highway. Mapquest’s gas cost estimator puts me at under $70 for gas just one way. Before we head out, I’ll make sure to check the air in our tires for better gas mileage. Unfortunately, we have some stuff in the trunk that we’re not removing until the actual move, so that will lower it a bit. However, I’m hoping to find a few cheaper fill up stations along the way.

We’re lucky to be able to stay with family and as far as spending cash goes, while it will be nice to have, it won’t be necessary. In fact, the only thing we’re really planning on spending money on is garage sales. My mom is an avid garage sale fan and it will make her day to be able to spend one morning hitting sales in the area. Since we’re looking to furnish our new place, we’ll be on the lookout for good deals too. That’s half the reason I’m driving…car space to take stuff back in.

It’ll be interesting to see just how much we spend all together over the week. Nothing like an added challenge to make a vacation exciting.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Wedding Planning

It's official. My boyfriend is now my fiance and we're getting married in less than a year, May 1, 2010 to be exact.

I know most women want the elegant, perfect wedding day of their dreams. I've also seen a few of these women break out in hives due to the stress of planning...and that's before the final bill comes in sometime after the honeymoon.

We've decided to do the opposite. I want the most stress free wedding possible. Some of my friends at work have offered to help with planning and they're both fans of being frugal. When I told them cheap and fun was going to be my theme, they actually got excited about the process. We've also set an insane cost goal for the whole thing: $300. Having said that, on that stress free note, I'm not going to freak out if we go over. But having a goal will help us keep things as cheap as possible.

Call me cheap, call it a redneck wedding, whatever. It's one day and I want to enjoy it without crying over my bank account.

So far, the cost has been $15 (engagement ring...yes, it's a Wal-Mart original). Marriage license will be about $75, though according to Kansas law, we can marry ourselves so that should save on some officiating. With $210 left, the possibilities are endless.

#74 - Ask for a Raise ACCOMPLISHED

I haven't even been 30 for a month and already I've accomplished something on my list.

#74 - Ask for a raise

Notice that it this was just to ask for a raise, not to actually get it, because asking was the part I could accomplish. The rest is out of my hands.

I've actually never asked for a raise, so it was pretty nerve wracking. I've always accepted what I was given and stayed satisfied with any raise I was given as part of the group raise. I might have even been content to never have asked for one if it weren't for the economy and the fact that I finally feel valuable enough in what I do to have grounds to stand on for asking for one.

Now that the hard part is over, I figure the worst they can say is "no." I also feel that after that, all other future questions, comments, and requests will be alot easier.

The 30s List

I finished my list a few weeks ago, but hadn't gotten around to posting it. I haven't been posting much in general due to the fact that life is freakin' crazy right now. Not in a bad way, per se, though there have been a few rough moments. Today, my future brother-in-law reminded me that he wanted to read my list. Since I've actually already accomplished one of the things, I thought I'd better go ahead and post so I have more blogging material in the follow-ups.

In no particular order, here are the 100 things I want to do in my 30s:

1. See Tori Amos in concert again
2. Reach weight goal #1
3. Walk a 10K
4. Walk a half marathon
5. Walk a marathon
6. Walk the Relay for Life
7. Send a book in for publication
8. Apply to The Amazing Race
9. Weight goal #2
10. Run a 2-Mile event
11. Run a 5K
12. Run a 10K
13. Run a half marathon
14. Run a marathon
15. Do a triathalon
16. Go snorkeling
17. Take bellydancing lessons
18. Go to Las Vegas
19. Get married
20. Go to an amusement park...and ride the roller coasters
21. Knit or crochet a hat
22. Knit or crochet a top
23. Knit or crochet a purse
24. Crochet a set of washrags
25. Open up an etsy store
26. Spend a weekend at a Bed-n-Breakfast
27. Master Dance Dance Revolution
28. Make three layer cookies
29. Adopt a puppy
30. Go dancing at a club
31. Read the Anita Blake series (no matter how bad people say it is)
32. Visit New York
33. Ride in a limousine
34. Highlight my hair
35. Plant and grow something without killing it.
36. Spend the day at a waterpark
37. Go parasailing
38. Visit Europe
39. Take a cruise
40. Learn to bike
41. Visit the Grand Canyon
42. Meet someone famous
43. See a musical
44. Spend a week at a nudist resort
45. Take a spinning class
46. Buy something at an auction
47. Throw a dinner party
48. Throw a “Repo!” party (with costumes and everything)
49. Start or join a crafting group.
50. Bake homemade bread from scratch
51. Learn sign language
52. Grow an herb garden
53. Hike the Konza Prairie
54. Get a deep tissue massage
55. Color every page in a coloring book
56. Visit the Chicago Museum of Art
57. Eat at an expensive restaurant
58. Splurge on a purse
59. Have a day at the spa
60. Walk in the Breast cancer walk
61. Make my own laundry detergent
62. Walk 1000 miles (not all at once)
63. Get past level 20 on SpongeBob Collapse
64. Kiss the Blarny Stone
65. Attend a music festival
66. Enter a karaoke contest
67. Do my own online radio show
68. Get 1000 Twitter followers
69. Go horseback riding
70. Visit Seattle
71. Take a "fitness" getaway
72. Run a D&D Campaign
73. Ride a jetski
74. Ask for a raise
75. Spend the night somewhere haunted
76. Take a yoga class7
7. Take an art class
78. Make a set of friendship bracelets
79. Learn to make jewelry
80. Try decoupage
81. Take a trip by train
82. Make a homemade headband
83. Go antiquing
84. Try geocaching
85. Spend a week on a houseboat
86. Play on an organized sports team
87. Send a postcard to Postsecret
88. Take an unplanned flight somewhere for a weekend
89. Make "hoodie" chairs
90. Get a pedicure
91. Get another tattoo
92. Get my ears permanently pierced
93. Climb a rock wall
94. Take a wine tour in California
95. Visit Washington Dc
96. Go to a sci-fi or webcomic convention
97. Buy something off a late night infomercial
98. Go to a Detroit Red Wings game
99. Visit Yellowstone National Park
100. Make it to 40.

Alot of these are pretty easy, some are a littel crazier. I figure if I can do 10 things per year, I'll accomplish everything on the list.

Follow ups may be on different blogs depending on which category they fall into, so if you want to keep up, make sure to follow or subscribe to my other blogs.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Today's Gift from Dillons

A cool and interesting thing happened at Dillons today. A week or so ago, I clipped a coupon from the paper insert for $20 in free groceries if you transferred your prescriptions to their pharmacy. I'd been wanting to transfer anyway, but this was the perfect time to do it since things are tight and we're trying to make sure we have money to go to Michigan. The credit was put on my Dillons card and so I figured I was good. I did up a grocery list and a meal plan and was pretty excited because a week's worth of groceries wasn't going to cost me more than ten dollars, and that was high ending everything.

I went shopping today, figuring everything would be good, but when I got to the checkout, the credit didn't come off. I kind of freaked, and I realized I was testy about it, but I was really frustrated and kind of embarrassed because there were people behind me. I explained to them I was supposed to have the credit and that I'd been relying on that and would have to void the order if it didn't work.

Apparently, Dillons will do everything possible to avoid voiding a transaction. The floor manager called the store manager and told her what was going on and was told just to store coupon $20, that they'd been having some issues with that particular promotion. After my coupons, my actual total was only $ about a sigh of relief.

However, after the cashier scanned my coupon, the credit from my card kicked in and the system took off the $5.11. The floor manager looked at my receipt and laughed and said that I still had a credit of fourteen dollars. I told her that wasn't right, I didn't feel right taking the extra credit and asked if we could go to the service desk so I could make it right (yes, I am that honest). So she went with me up there and we showed the store manager what happened. I told her I wanted to work it out and pay what I owed since it wasn't fair for me to get extra for the promotion.

The manager looked at the receipt and asked the floor manager if the cashier's till would be off, which it wasn't. The manager said "Okay, Merry Christmas. Keep the credit." I just kind of looked at her and said "Are you sure?" She said, "Yeah, we'll do the paperwork and take are of it."

So Dillons paid me to shop with them today. I made sure to apologize to the girls for being testy and told them I just panicked because I didn't want to be that bitchy lady the store does what they need to to get rid of. Tonight I had to go get orange juice and sure enough, the credit came off and I got my orange juice free too. As long as we're okay on groceries through the next week, we'll use that credit to buy snacks for our trip. Our goal is to avoid fast food restaurants on the drive to Michigan to save money and attempt to be healthier on vacation.

Not a bad shopping day at all...I would definitely chalk this up to an ultra success.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Repurposing: DVD Holder to a Coupon Binder

One of the main things I read about in blogs is “repurposing” and Ilove this concept. It’s creative and it helps me to focus more on theusefulness of things to be repurposed rather than how they look. Don’tget me wrong…I’d like to have visually appealing things. Butcreativity can wait in the name of functionality.

I recently found a repurpose for a DVD case we picked up at a thrift store for seventy five cents. Originally, I was going to use it to savespace with our DVD collection. But then I realized I like having my DVDs in their cases better than I would like them in a holder.

After reading some blogs about coupon binders, I decided to be lazy andsimply repurpose my DVD holder into a coupon holder. Strangely enough,it works really well if you don’t mind folding some bigger coupons.

Eventually I’d like to decorate it…give it some flair or some color.It’s a toss-up between a mod podge of magazine pics or a cloth covermade with fabric from an old pair of jeans the boyfriend can’t wearanymore. Once I get a chance to do it, I’ll probably have to flip acoin.