goals

I’ll Buy That for a Dollar!

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Next June will mark my 22nd wedding anniversary. Hubby and I are planning a really cool vacation and I plan to fully enjoy myself without cumbersome worries of how are we going to eat when we get back from this lovely little trip. I have begun to save large chunks which mean there is little room left for play money. I thereby had to put myself on a cash diet. I can only use my credit card or debit card for emergencies. This past week I have truly learned the value of a dollar. I have also learned that there are something’s that I will not buy, not even for a dollar!

As I previously stated in one of my early post, I have begun to coupon. I am now a step below extreme couponing and hovering around extreme value shopping. I have become, what I consider, to be very clever. I am recycling everything from pieces of left over roast, which are transformed into taco night, or in this weather, a hearty stew. The stews are great to also use up the leftover peas and carrots in the fridge. I am even stocking up the pantry and deep freezer. Let me tell you how.

As I was leaving the house to start my bargain shopping, I noticed the planters on the front porch needed fall plants. Normally, by this time, I would have added some Mums, but I wanted to stretch what I have until it is time to put in the Icicle Pansies. I head over to my friendly neighborhood Lowes. Instead of shopping in the front, I head to the rear of the garden center to THAT rack. Yes, the rack of shelves with sad, lonely, and deserted plants. I have found the ones on the ends are the healthiest and easy to revive. I picked up two hanging Tahitian Bridal Veils for $1 each. They need to be repotted so next I head to Roses. Instead of purchasing the name brand bags of potting soil for five bucks, I opt for the local no name bags for $1. Hey, it’s dirt. I am going to add some plant food when I repot them anyway. Now it’s time to get really busy.

I am headed to the buy one get one sale at Food Lion. I have already added the sale coupons to my MVP card buy downloading the digital coupons to my frequent shopper cards. The hard copy of manufacturer coupons in hand, I have a $1 off of two boxes of Cheerios, which just happen to be on sale for buy one get one. Armed with my sale ad in hand, I pick up bags of chicken breast, shrimp, Doritos, and a large 39 oz container of coffee. I save $1 on the coffee, which I purchased for $7.99. I am on a roll. I purchased high end ice cream at buy one get one along with high end butter crackers. Zesta Whole Wheat Crackers at buy one get one box is great deal; grabbed two of those.

I load up the mama mobile and make my way to Kroger. They are having a ten for $10 sale. Here, you have to be very careful. Last week, the same store brand vegetables I got for $.88 per bag are now in the 10 for ten sale; this is not good friends. I did pick and choose which items were a good deal for a buck, but Lipton Rice mixes are a dollar anyway, so this is not really a good buy. Staples purchased, I now have my local independent grocer’s ad, or the local IGA. These stores are great for pantry items. There is a five for $5 sale going on so I stock up on two pounds bags of rice, hot sauce, ketchup can goods and dry beans. I also grab a ten pound bag of chicken leg quarters for $6. I do have a freezer safe bags in the trunk for my cold items. These wonderful bags keep food cold for 3 hours.

My last stop is to the local Bakery outlet. Tuesday and Friday’s at the John Derst bakery outlet has bread on sale for $.79. Wheat bread, cinnamon raisin bread, Kaiser Hamburger buns and hot dog rolls are all for $.79; with no buying limits. I have found that you can freeze bread for up to 3 months and when you defrost, it is good as new.

    My pantry is stocked. My fridge and freezer is full and my bank account is not empty. I have a full tank of gas, my hair is done, and I have a few bucks left in my working account for just in cases. I did all of this today, including my hair, for a mere $160.00. It’s okay, you can say, “ooohhhh!” I know I did.

    I must close out now because my new issue of All You arrived in the mail. The cover says there are $94.55 worth of coupons inside. I have work to do.



Can you hear me now?

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          If you want to understand what is going on across the country or take the pulse of the nation, take a look at the commercials. Commercials can give you a perfect snapshot of what is happening in the workplace and where our youth are headed.  Recently, I was unable to sleep and noticed this Vonage commercial. I found very little, if any humor in this advertisement.

            If you look closely at the commercial, there are several people waiting in line.  This is money that shop owner is not making and his customers are not being served.  Sadly, this occurrence is not just happening in this advertisement, but in stores everywhere.  Here is the rub. It may appear cute in the ad, but in reality, this employee is costing you money.

This same, self-serving employee is working in stores and businesses across the country.  This employee is probably working next to you.  Oh, you complain about them being slackers, but really, are you doing anything about it? In our current economy, we cannot afford to be complacent.  Companies are sending jobs overseas because we as American workers feel entitled and often take our home lives to work. Our cell phones are becoming an extension of our hands and we are becoming less and less efficient and more proficient at goofing off.

The gentleman in line who pretends to choke the waitress is symbolic of how many of us feel when we patronize Mom and Pop shops.  We want to give them the business, because we know, that if America is going to become upright again, it is going to take the small business owner to make it happen.  However, bad service is not rewarded with return customers. We live in an instant age.  If I cannot get it here, I can get it across the street.  I am not going to wait for your employee to get off the phone to provide me service.  I am going to walk out of this door, take my business elsewhere, and never come back. Again, it is instant.  I am going to post it to my Facebook page and then I am going to Tweet it.  In less than an hour, nearly 500 people are going to know that your business provided me lousy service.  Hey, can you hear me now?

If your employees, co-workers, and subordinates are not there to serve the customers, but to pull a paycheck, help them find employment elsewhere. Someone else could really use that job.  If these  employees are not engaged and feel as if they are no longer a part of helping your company grow, then obviously where they are working is not the right fit. It is not the right fit your customers and not the right fit for your bottom line.

Bad service costs you money.  Bad employees cost companies millions of dollars. Loss of revenue means doors are closing.  Closed doors means there are no jobs for our kids, our retirees and eventually us. I have no qualms whatsoever calling an employee out. If your job is to provide me, the customer, service, then call your mother, brother, baby daddy on your own time and your own dime.

Do all of us a favor. Put down your cell phone.  You don’t look important. If anything you look ignorant.  If what you have to say is really that important, excuse yourself to make the call.  Don’t hold up the line, don’t hold up my time, and stop holding your employer hostage with your bad habits.

That’s what friends are for……

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    I have been running hard and eating poorly these past three weeks. New quarter, new classes, new students and a new schedule added up to a recipe for disaster. My body rebelled and told me to stop the nonsense and when I refused to listen, it shut down. We are not talking about a head cold, I am talking a full blown system purging.
I was laid out. Flat on my back is where I ended up after a night of personal conversations from several perspectives with the King of the Lavatory.

    I couldn’t be sick. Tomorrow was my scrapbooking day with my friend, Saturday I was hitting the Oktoberfest with another friend and the flea market, plus I had to get the Quilt Show, and the Fair to get a turkey leg. I can’t do any of these things sick! The fever I had said otherwise and I called it quits.

    My friend called my cell at 10 am on Friday. When I did not respond she called me at 11:15 and this time left a voice message. At noon she sent a text and at 12:30 she called my house. I had not responded which, she stated, was not like me. And yes, we have a land line. No, I am not a dinosaur. On with the story about friends…stay focused please. At 1:30 she was at my front door with a bag of peppermint tea for my upset tummy and although my son had placed a chair on the opposite side of the bed of sickness, she opted not to use it. Instead, she brought me a hot cup of bitter ass peppermint tea, fluffed up the pillows on hubby’s side of the bed and climbed in beside me.

    She climbed on beside “Oh, my gosh, I have a fever” breath. She climbed on beside I smell like I’m sick, fever soaked sweaty tee shirt. She climbed on beside my matted afro and crusted nose that had started to drip from being so hot all night from fever, that now resembled a 5 year old with hayfever. She did so with a smile and simultaneously grabbed the remote and began to ask me why I was laid out like I was on a crucifix.

    I started to laugh. She then commented on my smelling like I had been riding a horse and my desperate need of a shower and washing my face. She stayed for 2.5 hours and when she left I felt better. Not cured, but better and ready to get well.

    Ironically, my friend that I was supposed to meet on Saturday, called while she was there as well, and she too called my house because I had not answered my cell; she too figured something must have been wrong. Something was wrong; I had made some poor choices on rest, exercise and food. I did not, however, make poor choices in my friends. They know me well enough to know when I am up and sharp enough to know to call my house when I am down. They also know my home number.

    Don’t be confused, any friend can be at your side when you are the life of the party. It takes a special friend to climb on your sickbed and hold your feverish hand. Friends are there to make you feel better when you are down, help you celebrate your accomplishments and cry when you need it. Remember, a friend is someone to also thank for putting up with you…..

    

But She is My Friend…………………….

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After the week I have had, I am thoroughly convinced that people are losing their minds! First I receive a text out of the blue from a friend who just has to see me, and invites me for drinks on Saturday night. Secondly, I receive an email from another friend who is itching to scrapbook but want to have lunch first and them get started about 3 pm after her hubby comes back to be able to sit with the dog. Last, but not least, I literally run into an old friend in Wal-Mart, who avoids me. Me? What did I do to you? She treated me as if she caught me sleeping with her husband.

Let me back up for a minute and start with friend one and the call out of nowhere. Initially, a month ago, she calls and tells me she is having a get together for the ladies at the church and she wants me to come over. She did not invite me as a guest, but as an extra pair of hands. I guess this was supposed to be our bonding time. She actually expected me to show up and work my butt off serving her guest. I refused.

Fast forward two months, her over complicated life is about to swallow her up and she knows the perfect friend to call. This of course would be me. How the bleep do you figure that I have nothing better to do with time other than make you feel better about yourself and your sorry life choices? She was buying lunch, I wanted hot wings, so I went. I made her feel better and she was proud to say she calls me friend.

The second friend, which, we haven’t know each other that long, we really aren’t that close, and really haven’t had a chance to truly bond. Our first night out with her and her hubby, they brought the 10 year old. Understandaly, you didn’t have a sitter. Second time we met, she left the windows down on the car and I thought, well maybe she doesn’t like air conditioning. There was a dog in the back seat. I was informed that the dog had some issues and did not like to be left home alone.

Two weeks later, we are planning to get together to scrapbook. She said she has to bring her dog.

I. Don’t. Have. A . Dog.

She said he would be fine if I had shade in my back yard. What makes you think I want dog crap in my yard? I can see making a concession for your 10 year old, even considering I don’t have one, but for your dog? You have lost your damn mind!

Last but not least, to my former friend in the store, I am sorry if I have done something to offend you. I am even sorrier if you have done something to offend me that I have yet to learn. I am sorry that we have come to this point in our relationship. Which leads me to this thought, why do I call these people friend?

I am starting a running list of my new dirty words and friend comes in at number two. I am uncertain if we have entered such and electronic world where knowing the intimacies of your life via your Tweets and Facebook posts, makes us close. It does not. It makes you a person who is losing touch with reality. Where were you in your book of “Hello, God, it’s me Magaret…” that no one answered you back?

If your friends do not have small children, then it is not okay to bring your child to dinner. If your friend does not have a dog, then why would you want to bring yours to my house? If I don’t call you to vent and unload my problems, then why do you think it is okay to do this to me? Why, because you call me friend? Out of curiosity, what do you think I call you?

If you are avoiding me in the store, then the problem lies within you. I have not wronged you and you will not afford me the opportunity to make it right. Dictionary.com defines friend as “a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard.” If you hold these people you call friend in high regard, then treat them as such and not as a person who owes you something, your personal counselor, or someone you need to hate in order to feel alive.

On the other shoe, if she gets drunk every time you go out, and you have to be their babysitter, you can also scratch them off your list as a friend. If you constantly have to bail them out, literally and figuratively, then maybe you should not call them friend. Today I am making a list, and noting the qualities I like in those who support me and I them and why I choose to call them my friend. I am glad you are on my list.

Coupon Crazy!

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I am addicted. I am not shame and I will shout from the rafters that I am hooked. I watched an episode of Extreme Couponing and once I saw how much money they were saving, I said, “I can do that!” I started clipping and I also started saving money. I am far from extreme, but I am, unequivocally a coupon clipper.

Ironically, I can remember a time when whipping out a coupon was considered low class and made the bearer appear to be a cheapskate. People who clipped coupons were rumored to live in a house full of cats, made quilts and homemade jams. In essence, they were regarded as a step above being a hippie. Not anymore, welcome to the new breed of savvy shoppers and coupon clippers. Let me help you get started. It is easier than you think.

First we must determine what kind of shopper you are. If you are not organized enough to have to deal with a little purse of coupons, or have hours to spend price comparing in the grocery store, then we can start here. The easiest way to save is with your frequent shopper cards and make them work for you versus just having them dangling on your key chain. Kroger and Bi-Lo offers you Fuel Perks. The money you spend in the store earns you a few cents off your gas purchase at each visit. You can also download coupons to your rewards card and when you check out, they automatically take the savings off your final purchase! BiLo even offers you double coupons so you can save twice the money. I know right! No clipping, no coupons and you don’t have to seem like a crazy cat lady who makes quilts and jam.

Saving at the grocery store isn’t your only option. Crafters have long been saving at Michael’s, Joann’s and Hobby Lobby. The great thing about craft stores, if you have a coupon from another store, they will honor the discount. We can take it one further. If you are a teacher, you can also get teacher discounts at Joann’s and save an addition 15%. These programs are also available at Staples and Office Max. No matter what you are into, if you look, there is a coupon, a Groupon, and Living Social break. If you have a smart phone, you can download coupon apps and have discounts and bargains at your fingertips.

Now, I can understand if all of this couponing is far too much of a commitment, then here is the perfect solution, just price compare. Use that smartphone to help you make some smart decisions. There are several bar code scanners that will scan the price, and give you the best deals in a 50 mile radius, including online.

There are all types of coupons to help you save money when you want to dine in or dine out. Find out if your favorite location has a frequent shopper program or a loyalty program. I am one who believes in getting my money’s worth and each day I am out looking for ways to save money, cut lost and reduce my back end, literally and figuratively. You can find the savings approach that works best for you or you can search on Twitter and search under coupons. You can get real time updates on savings.

I have looked into Coupon Suzy and a few other sites, but those are more regional. The economy isn’t going to turn around on its own and in the meantime and in between time, I am working on some Christmas quilts for my great nieces and some jam from some pears my friend send over from her tree. Happy savings!

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love, the New Dirty, Four Letter Word……

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September 17, 2011

The other day, I was in the grocery store and I saw a Mother beating the crap out of her kid because he kept asking her to buy him items that were evidently out of her budget. It did not take me long to
quickly access that this was the case, because she reiterated, by yelling at the six year old stating, “I told yo azz in da car, don’t be in here begging for Sh*t, cause I can’t afford it!” Okay, that was understood, but the child did not understand it, and here is the part that I did not understand. She saw me watching her, and turned, bold as day and told me, “Ain’t nobody gonna Love my child the way I do, and I have to teach them now that life is hard.” If this isL, then I would hate to see how you deal with someone you don’t like, let alone hate. This is where we come to our discussion for this week and the dirty word that I am quickly starting to despise myself, Love.

Love is the one word in the Bible, for all you naysayers that want to argue that we should Love our fellow man, which is defined.

7 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

 8 Love never fails

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

-1 Corinthians 13

Evidently our Mom of the Year has never read this passage, and neither have a lot of other people for that matter. As a Mother, it is our job to care for, protect and see to the needs of our children. It is our job to make sure they understand what “good” Love is so they can distinguish the parameters of bad Love. However, in the name of Love, there are countless atrocities against children by mothers who want to keep a man in the home, because she Loves him. There are atrocities committed against children by fathers who didn’t want to go outside of the home for sexual fulfillment, because they Love their families. There are groups of men who Love young boys so much that they will snatch them off the street or buy one from a struggling poor family, so they can Love them to death. There are families who so Love their children they will sell them to the first truck coming, so they can have a better life and not starve. Yes, all of this, in the name of love.

    Children are not the only victims of the dirty word, so are our teens and young adults, who are convinced they are in Love. They date older guys who Love and buy them things. This Love convinces them that we are one, and you do not need a condom. Love has just given you an STD, or AIDs and therefore has just sentenced you to death. Just remember, your partner did say that they Love you.

    At any hospital on a full moon, or a payday Friday night, Love sends at least 50 women in each city to the emergency room. Their spouse, man, mate, shack up buddy, has used Love taped to a stick, to beat the crap out of them. Somehow or other he even convinced her that in doing so, Love would help her to understand his growing need to use his fist on her face. However this time, Love completely took over, went too far, and took her life force. Love is now putting him in jail for manslaughter.

Love, always protects and always hopes. This is the mantra that is chanted by millions of housewives across the world. This is the hope of spouses who know and understand that those whispered phone calls in the middle of the night, are not to your partners mother to discuss her arthritis. Love, somehow walked over to your spouse, whispered in their ear, and convinced them that they still had it. What it is, and why it should be shared, is beyond me, but the person with whom they are sharing it, Loves them. As the argument continues, while your partner is sitting there with a tub of ice cream, feeling dejected, you boldly state, “They Love me, for me.”

No, they Love your representative. The real you is a liar, a cheat and has dishonored your vows. The real you smiles in your partner’s face, while the representative is out sticking his face in someone else’s partner. Love talked you into believing your own press, your own hype and has told you that this new representative is the “real you” and that it Loves this new direction. The new direction is going to be one of loneliness. The 80’s are over, you are no longer twenty, and the only thing you can capably do all night is sleep. I hope Love was kind enough to tell you that! Love is just a dirty word used on a small scale to make others feel big.

Let’s use our dirty word on a larger scale. Let’s use it toward patriotism. Love has told many a believer that in order to get to heaven, you must love your God and your country. This Love of God and country makes you want to kill others who do not think as you think, Love as you Love, or worship as you do. Love took down the World Trade Center. Love created the Tea Party. Love created a movement of “yes, we can!” The Tea Party, Congress, and Love banded together and proved to us all that “No, you can’t.” Love of money, created balloon mortgages, Ponzi schemes, and a Wall Street that ate a country alive. Love of a large profit margin moved our businesses out of our country and created unemployment. Love has made the most powerful country in the world, powerless, and a suburb of China.

I do not like this word Love. Love is a liar. Love is misused, abused, and put on a street corner to sell itself. Love shows up to your house and whispers sweet nothings in your ear with one hand in your pants and the other in your wallet. Love uses manipulation to make you believe that it is there for you, and will forsake you for all others, while it caresses your cheek with its left hand, and smacks the butt cheek of its Lover with the right. Love calls you at night and talks to you for 30 minutes making you feel appreciated, then hangs up and calls another Bitch and tells her the same thing. Love lies in bed beside you at night massaging your ego, and next week is at a flea bag hotel with some internet person who is well hung. Love is a dirty four letter word that is overused.

Stop it. Think about what you are saying, and why you are saying it, because what you are saying and doing does not match. Love has made you into a hypocrite. Yeah, yeah, Love you too!


I Feel Cheated

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I was excited and ready to read my favorite author’s new book. Normally, I don’t really say anything negative about a book or a particular writer, but I feel cheated. I paid $20.00 for Julie Garwood’s latest book, “An Ideal Man” and was sorely disappointed. Of course, there was man meet woman, man rescues woman, burgeoning chemistry, they fight it, hot steamy sex scene, man rescues her again, they get married, have more sex, the end. All of the basic, formulaic elements to each of her stories are present in this one. I feel cheated because it is the same characters that were in the last four stories, the only difference is the location and the crime.

Ms. Garwood, I feel like you phoned this one in. I am a fan and have read everything you have ever written and I feel cheated. I want you to do better. I want you to stretch your writing ability and reinvent yourself and please your readers again. This stuff is fine for people who are just discovering your magnificent talent, but for those of us who have been with you since “The Lion’s Lady” want more. Well, at least I do.

Allow me to elaborate.

The main character in The Ideal Man, Max Daniels is an FBI agent, who falls in love with a gifted surgeon that he was protecting. There is a hitman that was hired to kill the surgeon. They go on the run and hide in South Carolina. There is also a crazed man after them who also wants pretty surgeon girl dead.

The main character Nick Buchanan in Heartbreaker was an FBI agent assigned to protect his best friend’s sister. Nick falls in love with Laurant who is being stalked by a crazy hitman that was sworn to kill her.

In Mercy, we meet Nick’s brother Theo, which works for the Justice Department and falls in love with a gifted pretty surgeon who is being stalked by the same hitman that was after Laurant.

We meet Theo’s pretty surgeon wife, and her brother John Paul.

John Paul, hates the FBI and law enforcement, but runs across a pretty damsel in distress and kills the hitman that has been drug through these three books. However, this damsel in distress is an analyst for the FBI. Another character drug through the three books is character named Noah Clayborne, FBI agent. Noah, falls for Nick & Theo’s computer genius sister. Jordan is stalked by a hitman and FBI agent Noah has to save her in Shadow Dance.

Their other sister Sydney has a friend who is in trouble and needs to be protected from a hitman, or mob guy or some dude who is trying to kill her ass too. Along comes the handsome FBI agent Sam Kinkaid in Sizzle.

Stop the madness.

If you really want to stretch yourself, why not write about the one African American sub character in Ideal Man, Simon Daniels?

He is a football player, who has an FBI agent brother, but at least we get a new angle. Something fresh, but of course, his father is an attorney, with FBI friends.

Ms. Garwood, if you are reading this, I love you and will always love you, but damn it woman, I need you to dig deeperI Get out of the FBI’s pants, walk away from law enforcement in the next book, and give us a man, who wants to be loved and is rich and famous, and have him be swept off his feet by a poor church mouse waitress.

Hell, have him pretend to be poor to get closer and win her over. Make it a happy ending and he buys her a diner, but please, for the love of Pete, Nick, Theo & Noah, give us something fresh.


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