Neighbor’s tree peony
Today is Memorial Day in the US, and it has been a weekend of extreme relaxation and general laziness! I have been reading kids’ fiction while lounging on my front porch. Finished The Lightning Thief and onto The City of Ember. Both are very good and free via my library’s e-book loan option.
In the “Oh Yes I Did” money saving category I had two price adjustments this week. One was the result of an expired sale price the store had neglected to remove from the shelving and the other was a price that was incorrect in their computer. Each was around 1.50… enough of a discrepancy to make me seek out a refund.
It’s far too early for us to have food from our garden (other than rhubarb and chives!) but I loaded up on sale zucchini, peaches, pears and figs… all from .99 – 1.49/lb.
The long weekend of lounging left me unmotivated to shop, so we have had a lot of meals using items from the freezer. Grilled chicken became quesadillas; Trader Joes veggie masala patties paired with a piece of naan, hummus, and spinach for a “Mediterranean plate.” Tonight we are cooking out using meat from the freezer.
I hung my wash out… and am showing DD how to do it so she can help this summer.
A parent of a child in my daughter’s grade is taking up a group collection for end of the year teacher gifts. I made a contribution using our “education expenses” budget category. This is really helpful because in middle school it is a challenge to thank all of the teachers and specialists. Last year the collection raised enough to also give a gift to the aides, which is wonderful. At our last home budget meeting we started increasing funding in the “education expenses” category so we will be ready for back to school in a few months.
Goals for the coming week… putting away winter boots and mittens. Clip coupons and check CVS ad. Freeze rhubarb. Get to Office Depot for sale on paper.
School is not out just yet, so how can it be time to go back to school already?! I checked the school supply list for next year and our supplies will be over $100.00 if we buy from a school supply company that furnishes everything in one box, and that does not include the cost of supplies for “specials” like Art, French, Music.
I started preparing for back to school 2016 last year, when I noticed book covers were required in 6th grade and they were on deep clearance in September. Score. I have a box in the closet for future school years so I know I can find the items I buy in advance.
If you want to play along with saving on school supplies, I will post items as I find them.
Next week (5/29/16 – 6/4/16) Office Depot/Office Max is offering a ream of copy paper for .01 cent. You may purchase up to 3. We need 1 ream of paper for our school supply list. The catch is that you do need to submit a rebate, and if you are the kind of person that never gets around to filling in forms, this would not be a good deal for you. I know I will get the rebate filled out, so I am looking forward to checking another item off our list! I received next week’s sales flyer via email. If you don’t see it on the website yet, check back on Sunday.
Memorial Day weekend nears… in the US, this holiday commemorates those who have died serving our country while in the armed forces. It is also the “unofficial” start of summer, with schools finishing up and warm weather beginning.
Memorial Day is also a great time to take advantage of grocery savings! Last year we hosted a family reunion which required us to buy large amounts of soda and beer. The prices we found at Memorial Day were the best we saw that summer. If you have a family event this summer, or a block party, this a great week to check your grocery fliers for prices.
I went through the refrigerator yesterday and checked the dates on cookout essentials, like BBQ sauce, ketchup and other condiments. I know there will be sales on these items, as well as hot dogs, beans, and chips.
My grocery ads come out tomorrow, so I am eager to see what items will be worth picking up. The next opportunity for low prices will be the 4th of July.
Often on holiday weekends we have found there are special promotions on Ebates for retailers like Target, Lands End, and WalMart. Great time to catch a good deal if a new swimsuit, wedding gift, or Father’s Day gift is on your horizon. My daughter is lobbying for a hammock!
If you see special promotions and prices this Memorial Day, please share! Do you have any holiday shopping strategies?
Ah, 12 days until school is out! All things ‘summer’ are on our horizon, like vacation reading programs at the library, free concerts in the park, and no 7:00 AM school bus! On the flip side, I do not get paid in summer, so this is a good time to get the money-saving muscles back into form.
- DD won her teacher free subs for a YEAR, free catered lunch for her advisor class, and a free sub coupon for herself because she entered her favorite teacher in a teacher appreciation contest!
- Ebates check!
- Dried towels and sheets in the back yard
- Had a strong meal plan… bought ground chuck for 2.99 a pound and had both tacos and taco salad from the pound of meat
- Downloaded free e-books from the library. No gas, no clutter.. just have to read quickly!
- Spent the weekend taking lots of bike rides. The crabapple blossoms are so beautiful and fragrant!
- Made rhubarb crisp using our abundant rhubarb
- Made oatmeal cookies and added some chocolate covered sunflower seeds I received as a gift months ago. It was a good match!
- Closed out our week with a quick budget meeting. Unspent money at the end of the week is being saved for a renovation project and for vacation in 2017… England, hopefully!
How was your week?
Beauty bike riding
To me, nothing says summer like the arrival of summer reading programs for kids! I will be sad when DD is too old to participate, and that day is coming way too soon!
Barnes and Noble has launched their summer reading program, which culminates in a free book that your elementary school-age child can select from their list. As always, they have a great selection of free books for kids to choose from. I would have to choose Mercy Watson, Mr. Limoncello, or the new American Girl book about Lea Clark.
Have you participated in the Barnes and Noble program in the past?
“Necessity never made a good bargain” – who else, but Ben Franklin
Mr. Saver is the guru of all things Amazon.com, and recently he had quite a rewarding, pat-on-the-back experience that made us both glad he is such a diligent planner.
Some time ago, our carbon monoxide detector reached its “end of life” and started to make a unique chime every 60 seconds. After replacing the unit, he thought that some of our other fire/CO detectors could also be hitting that milestone (if you are a new homeowner, a distinctive chime may mean “end of life” – check the back of the device. They last 5-10 years). He shopped Amazon for the latest and greatest and placed some units on his “wish list.” He checks the wishlist frequently and noticed one day that the price had dropped quite a lot. He pounced, knowing we could pay for this from our home maintenance fund.
Just this weekend one of the devices in the basement started making a unique chime (and isn’t it fun to try to figure out which one it is?) He had recently changed batteries, so end of life was the reason for the chime. He pulled out his new unit, bought leisurely and at a low price, and proceeded to earn that pat-on-the-back.
If you anticipate a purchase in the months to come (back to school? Christmas?), why not start watching for low prices now?
For Mr. Saver’s other Amazon tips, including a full analysis of saving with Subscribe and Save, go here!
Finding Beauty at Home
You might recall my angst a week ago when I realized we had been to the grocery store EIGHT times, and had heaps of emergency purchases due to all of us being sick. This week felt much improved.
This week I:
- hit the grocery store on double coupon day, which was worthwhile because we were pretty much out of everything.
- found chicken on sale and took advantage of that (2.99/lb boneless/skinless). The package will be enough for two meals and it was just under $3.00
- will use heaps of Saltines from when family was sick to make homemade chicken tenders
- went to the store with a meal plan in mind – spent 60.00 for the week
- used up some crystallized honey in millet muffins. I have had the ingredients for a while but needed to get down to business and make them. I am glad to have the container of honey gone as it was difficult to work with.
- made twice-baked potatoes while the oven was already heated from the muffins; used my abundant garden chives
- free entertainment was reading my back issues of Victoria magazine and watching a free movie on Amazon “The Holiday” – thank you to DH for watching this ultimate “chick flick!”
- reviewed our seed purchases for the garden – seemed a little light on food and heavy on herbs. Picked up some Swiss chard seeds for 25% off.
- spent Saturday after grocery shopping at home and napped!
Budget surprise this week:
- More clarinet reeds. Eighteen days left of school, but Murphy’s Law…. We do keep a budget line funded for school expenses.
How was your week?
“Nowadays, people are so jeezled up. If they took some chamomile tea and spent more time rocking on the porch in the evening listening to the liquid song of the hermit thrush, they might enjoy life more.” – Tasha Tudor
I came across the quote from Tasha Tudor when researching corgi dogs (dangerous thinking I know)! Corgis appear in most of her books and artwork. The quote was the perfect sentiment at the perfect time for me. It’s been a S-L-O-W week at home, with people still recovering from illnesses, leaving me the only one still awake at 8:30 p.m. I’ve been reading my old issues of Victoria magazine, taking time to enjoy all of the beautiful photos and gracious living articles.
My little garden frog.
I needed to slow down, too.
I haven’t really found a good balance between home and work since switching jobs, and having my family resting so much made me realize what I high gear I am operating in.
I want to take a bigger step back into my “core business” of family-food-home and one step back from the demands of work. Thoughts, working moms?
According to Tasha, chamomile tea is required!
Pretty Blossoms Before Rainy Day
I started my day off with a great feeling of saving money and accomplishing a neglected item on my to-do list. We recently made a switch to Dental insurance because braces are coming down the road (check your plan because you may have to be insured for 1 year before you are eligible for a benefit for braces.) The new insurance required me to switch to a new dentist — something I was reluctant to do.
We loved our dentist and referred many friends to her over the years, but the new dental plan would pay 100% of preventative care for one of their providers. Today I tried the new dentist, who had a gorgeous office, gentle techs, and HGTV in the treatment rooms. Sold! I walked out with nary a bill or statement . . . just a lingering feeling that I too, need an “island home” as touted on HGVT 😉 Our prior dentist was costing me about $150-200 per cleaning.
My daughter is not happy about having to leave her beloved dentist, but it does come down to FREE (after paying the insurance that is)! I was able to soften the blow with a special card from the new dentist that she can take to her orthodontist and he will give her a big Oral-B kit which includes an electric toothbrush and other dental swag for tweens. It pays to have dental friends!
Are you takin’ care of business this week too?
It’s been quite the week. We went to the grocery store EIGHT times! The reason for the craziness has been illness. It went something like: Kid gets a cold, Parent 1 then gets a cold; kid develops horrendous GI virus a few days later (middle of the night, of course) while Parent 1 now has painful cough. Parent 2 then gets horrendous GI virus, but worse than Kid!
It’s been a week of buying Pedialyte, Kleenex — anywhere, any price — and overpriced bottles of 7-Up at the check out because of fatigue. It was too far to walk the whole store!
It’s rare for me to do laundry outside time-of-use-rates, but all bets are off this week.
One small victory, and I mean very small… I made rhubarb muffins from last year’s rhubarb. I also won a really neat picnic bag and two pounds of Starbucks “limited edition” coffee during teacher appreciation week.
My other accomplishment this week was decluttering some of the English home magazines I tend to not want to let go of. My mom is going to England soon so maybe a fresh supply will come my way. It was a good feeling to take care of a pile while I was keeping sick people company on the couch.
I hope we are through our rough patch and next week will be easier. I plan to come up with some mild, light dinners for the coming week to ease everyone back into eating, and our Flylady zone is the Kitchen for next week. With a little luck, we can get our grocery shopping back to normal!