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.
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.
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…..
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!