Friday, February 27, 2009

Weekly Wrap Up

This is actually several weeks of things we have done lately. I haven't had time to post lately. We've been trying to rethink things. How can we do things differently?

Now, we did all our normal things, combining trips, washing baggies, hanging all our laundry, making my own broth, coupon shopping, menu planning, brown bagging it, and stretching those leftovers over til the next lunch and beyond, but these are in addition to these things.

First off, I tried to change our DSL ISP. There are comparable plans around $15 a month. (We are paying $30.95). However, because of our location (basically in the middle of nowhere, there are no other choices!)Maybe you'll have better luck with this!

I was thinking of alternatives to purchasing our Pamela's cookies at the store. Making them myself is not an option, because I have reactions to the one's I make. I don't know what is different, but it's not an option. Anyway, I've been buying packs of cookies at Whole Foods and Krogers (when they have them, that's another problem). They are $3.99 for a pack of 9 cookies. Outrageous I know, but it's literally the only treat Shayla and I can indulge in.

We go through 1 box a day. That's $1456.35 per year! I checked the website and found that I can order them through Amazon for $1116.90 per year! That's a $339.45 difference or $27.90 more that I can put toward my mortgage!

*When I went to place my order through Amazon, there was a Subscribe and Save option that allowed a 15% discount on that and future purchases. AWESOME! Now I am paying $2.60/box. That's a difference of $507.35 per year (from the $3.99 I was paying)!!!! Yippee!!!! And they are delivered to my door.

As a better bonus, last year I applied for an Amazon credit card because of some promotion that allowed me to get several of my daughter's Christmas gifts for nothing. By using this card to make my cookie purchases, I earn Amazon points for free stuff. I figure in 3 months, I will earn $25 off my cookies, which is an even sweeter deal!

Does anyone know of a site where you can earn points from buying through Amazon? I was saddened to see that Amazon is not on My Points.

I've been spending my computer time lately searching Amazon for some of the other non-parishable foods I buy for our allergies. It cost more to buy our baking powder, tapioca flour, potato starch, and vitamins, so at this time I won't do this, but I'll keep checking.

Another purchase I made, btw, it may not seem frugal to you, but it works for me. I use All-One vitamins. I checked the price on Amazon and I know what they cost at Whole Foods and other local health food stores. Amazon was still cheaper than the paying retail. It was approximately $72 for a 66 day supply. Ouch! And it did not qualify for free shipping. Since I was running low, I almost ordered, but I delayed it. The next morning I checked my inbox and All-One was running a President's Day sale. It ended up that I ordered a case (6 cans of 66 day supply) for $278 and free shipping! That's enough for more than a year and a $154 + shipping savings from Amazon's price!

I filed our 2008 taxes. We got a decent return on federal and state, but owe school district. We definately itemize. All of our foods and supplements associated with our diagnosed food allergies are tax deductible. We itemize all of our medical expenses. It takes alot of work to keep up with it, but every little bit helps!

I filled out several mail in rebates. One for pepsi products was for $15 worth of pepsi coupons. I did this last year and it was definately worth it!

I also filled out a rebate for windex antibacterial spray. I picked up the stuff at Meijers for $1.67. Now, normally, I would make my own cleaner, but I needed a new spray bottle.
Since they cost a dollar at the dollar store anyhow, it's worth 67 cents of cleaner for my time. Anyway, I found this rebate which makes it free!

I went to Meijers last week and they gave me several coupons, similar to the CVS CRT's. One was $7.50 off a $60 purchase, $1 off $4 in dairy, $1 off $5 frozen foods. I scanned the ads, used manufacturer coupons and stacked these with them. All in all, I reached the $60 mark and after coupons, spent $23 oop! Sorry I didn't get a photo.

I avoided CVS for several weeks. The sales just weren't there for me. We have too much of a stockpile to spend money. I did go this week and got a $5/30 CRT for next week! I also got $10 ecb for an online survey I completed. I walked out with 2 tubes of toothpaste, 1 embrace razor, and 2 herbal essences hairsprays for $3.63 oop. That brings my total for the year (so far) to $24 oop. Savings of $225. And I still have $25.98 ecb's to roll.

We have slowly been remodeling our bathroom. We wanted to replace our cheap, hollow inside doors with a nicer solid pine door. I found them on sale at Menards for $94.99 each. We went to Lowes, with the Menards ad in hand (secretly hoping that they would be higher, because they price match and guarantee or you get an additional 10% off). They were the same price. We didn't get the doors that day because we didn't have the truck. When I got home, there was a $10/50 lowes coupon in my inbox. Woo-hoo! Waiting one day, saved $20!

Another woo-hoo purchase was from Rite-aid this week. Morgan takes zyrtec for her allergies. So I am always on the lookout for zyrtec to be on sale. Rite-aid had it advertised for $18.99/30 ct. Not thrilling, but if you buy 2 bottles, you get $8 single check rebate. I found a $4 off mc and headed to my store. Guess what, as usual, they were out of stock! I was bummed, but then later in the week, Rite aid released a $5 off $20 purchase coupon. So I stacked it with the mc. I went to another store and was able to make my purchase. I came home and submitted the receipt online for the $8 SCR. Guess what, it was also eligible for a $10 rebate. Woo-hoo and double Woo-hoo!!!! It's only costing me $10.98 for 60 days supply of zyrtec!

Now I know that some of you won't agree that we are being frugal, because we are buying, but we are in a different place of our frugal journey than many of you. Last year we became free of debt with the exception of our mortgage. So we can afford a few luxuries now. We refinanced last spring before this whole economic mess turned so ugly. We were able to lock in a fixed rate of 5%. It cut our payments in half and we now have an escrow account set up. We are even applying extra to the principal payment.

My husband is totally on board with living frugally. He came up with the idea of turning off the hot water heater when it's not in use. He said he did it when he was a bachelor and it saved him approximately $20/month. So, we leave it off most all the time. It only takes about 15 minutes for hot water. Has anyone else tried this? Did you find that it made a difference?

I've also been unplugging the heat tapes that keep our water pipes from freezing on days when the temperatures are warm enough. Seems like a no-brainer, right?

I've also spent computer time lately, cashing out on some of the survey companies and little endeavors I do. In this economy, many businesses are going out of business without warning. I don't want to have a lot of time wasted, so when I get the minimum to cash out, I do it!

Several weeks ago we tapped several maple trees on our property. It's very easy to do. Google it! Anyway, after collecting the sap in empty gallon water jugs, we boil it down in a pan on the woodstove. We had hoped to make some maple syrup because the real stuff is $17.99 a bottle at whole foods and some maple sugar, but I found out that if you boil it so it's no longer a liquid, but not enough to be sugar, it's like the consistency of taffy candy. Anyway, the first batch we ate like candy, but there is already another batch cooking up. Free, organic candy, how frugal is that?

What have you done to keep afloat economically? For more ideas, visit Jennifer's Weekly Wrap up.

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

Wow, you have had a great few weeks! We are refinancing right now at 5%, I am excited! Way to go on the Zyrtec. I was going to say so much, but now I don't remember. Oh, great job on figuring the math on the cookies and making it so much cheaper.