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Archive for September, 2021

$$Money Saving Deals$$

September 28th, 2021 at 06:11 pm

I went to CVS today and took advantage of the following deals:

 

Buy 2 name brand toothpastes for $7.98 

I used a CVS store card coupon for $7.98 off 2 of these toothpastes 

These were free, except for tax which was .48 cents 

 

Buy one name brand deodorant on sale for $2 

I paid $2.12 (.12 cents tax) 

Received a $2 CVS Extra Buck back to use on a future purchase 

 

I received a CVS app coupon to purchase any hair, cosmetic, or nail product up to a $5 value for free. I chose a bottle of name brand shampoo that was $4.29. This was completely free. 

 

I purchased: 

3, eight packs of name brand toilet paper (mega rolls, 24 total) 

1 pack of name brand tissues (48 count) 

After applying coupons and CVS extra bucks earned on previous purchases, I paid $5.15 out of pocket (.86 cents of that was tax) 

My receipt said this was a 91% Savings Value 

I also received a $10 CVS extra buck to use on a future purchase. 

 

Total out of pocket for all of these products (and tax) was only $7.75. And I received a total of $12 CVS Extra Bucks back to use for future purchases. 

 

Disclaimer: I do not work for CVS! 😊 

$$Dental Work$$

September 25th, 2021 at 02:08 pm

Last week I needed to go into the dentist and discovered that I had a cracked tooth. After 2 visits and some significant pain I am happy to say that I am finally feeling much better, with just some minor soreness. This not only physically hurt, but it hurt my wallet too. Even with decent dental insurance I’m still estimated to owe around $1200. A large portion of this is the cost of the crown I will need. It also includes another small procedure on another tooth and an upcoming cleaning.  

 

Fortunately, I have a healthy emergency fund to pay for this expense, so while I will put it on my credit card to earn cash back points, I can pay it off in full when the bill is due.  

 

I’m looking forward to having my family over tomorrow on Sunday for football watching and lunch. My cousin is bringing pizza and wings, and I’ll be serving homemade apple pie for dessert. We always have such a good time on our football Sundays. It’s a low-cost way to have a great time with family. 

 

The weather here on the east coast has turned cooler and I am loving it. It felt so good to open the windows and turn off the AC for a bit. Fall is my favorite season! 

Mid Month Update and Some Changes

September 15th, 2021 at 09:23 pm

After reviewing my assets and expenses, I made a few financial changes: 

 

I reduced my monthly recurring retirement account distribution amount from $1500 to $1200. This will go into effect in October. After a thorough review of my investments by my sister who is a CPA and CFA, and independently by my friend and tax preparer, who is also a CPA, both made similar recommendationsMy basic bills are covered monthly by this reduced amount. I also consistently earn between $200 and $250 a month through Swagbucks and My Points. This amount will be used for any other expenses I may have each month. I feel confident I can continue to live modestly, but happily on this amount. 

 

I reduced my monthly Verizon bundle expense by dropping my land line phone that I wasn’t using. I also increased my internet speed. This reduced my monthly bill from $174.51 to $160.43, a savings of $14.08 per month. 

 

I contacted my cell phone provider (Verizon) to see if there were any discounts for my current account. I could save $5 per month if I signed up for auto pay, but for various reasons I prefer not to. I am considering switching providers, but I’m just not sure yet. I am very happy with my service, and since I dropped my land line phone it is important that my cell phone and service works well. I have heard both pros and cons about other providers. So, for now I am staying with my current provider and plan, even though it is more expensive than others. I may change my mind as I continue to investigate other choices. 

 

My grocery spending at mid-month is $42.50. The grocery give away from my senior center has had a real impact on my ability to significantly reduce my grocery spending this monthI spoke with the Director of the senior center, and she said this program is solidly supported and will continue well into the foreseeable future.  

 

I will continue to shop for deals, use senior discounts, use coupons and always search for ways to reduce my expenses.

 

Next up will be reviewing my car insurance and condo insurance plans.  

 

On the spending side, I purchased a backup wireless mouse and a phone charger. My electronics are now all new or newish, so I’m in good shape there.  

Groceries From the Senior Center

September 5th, 2021 at 06:11 pm

I mentioned in a previous post that my neighborhood senior center sent members an email notifying us they will be having a monthly food giveaway. The only requirements are that you live in the qualifying neighborhood zip codes and are a senior (age 60 and up) I organized what I will be donating, keeping, and sharing. Here is what I received: 

 

Donate Items 

1 large (64 oz) bottle of Apple Juice  

2 small snack packs of Welch’s fruit snacks 

1 box of Farina hot wheat cereal 

2 boxes of mac and cheese 

1 can of cheese ravioli 

1 box of devil's food cake mix 

1 large box of instant mashed potatoes 

1 can of red kidney beans 

jar of grape jelly 

1 can of condensed cream of mushroom soup 

jar (15 oz.) of Alfredo sauce 

 

Keep Items 

package of salted caramel cookies (from the bakery) 

1 individual pack of cheese crackers 

2 Quaker granola bars 

1 small snack size of Ritz cheese crackers 

2 packs of Ramen Chicken Soup 

2 cans of chunk light tuna 

box of graham crackers 

half of a bakery marble cake (gave this to my neighbor) 

1 can of white chicken 

1 package of Market Street Chunk Chicken Breast 

1 small can of Carnation evaporated milk 

2 cans of vegetarian beans 

1 box of Quinoa blend 

1 can of pears 

1 can of tomato sauce 

1 can of condensed tomato soup 

1 can of sliced peaches 

1 can of condensed vegetable soup 

1 can of diced tomatoes 

1 can of chili with beans 

1 box of honey nut cheerios 

1 box of rigatoni 

1 box of thin Barilla spaghetti 

2 lbs. of ground beef 

2 lbs. of American cheese (I will be sharing this with my brother) 

1 jar of peanut butter 

1 loaf of rye bread 

6 Kaiser rolls (gave these to bff) 

2.5 lbs. of frozen peas (gave half of these to bff) 

1 small chocolate parfait 

 

Personal Care Items (all keep) 

2 Palmolive bath bars 

2 rolls of TP 

1 tube of hand cream 

1 tube of lip balm 

1 large nail file 

1 pencil eye liner (gave this to bff) 

1 bottle of laundry soap (64 oz.) 

I large bottle of 2 in 1 shampoo and conditioner 

 

75% of this was from my local grocery store chain; it was their store brand or still had their labels on it. Everything was very fresh, and nothing was expired. Some meals I have planned to make are pea soup, chili, grilled cheese and tomato soup, PB&J sandwichtuna and chicken salad. I already used some of the ground beef to make some meat sauce for spaghetti. I had stopped buying ground meat because it is just too expensive now. 

 

It makes me very happy and grateful that the grocery stores in my area are donating food to the community instead of just dumping it in the dumpster. This will really help me to reduce my grocery spending. I will mostly just need to buy some fresh produce, eggs, and chicken on my next grocery trip. 

August Spending/Savings

September 1st, 2021 at 07:53 pm

Income Total$1829.00

     * $1500 Recurring monthly retirement account distribution  

     * $225 Swagbucks and My Points earnings (cash out to PayPal

     * $104.00 Credit Card Cash Back Rewards

      

Total Spending: $1411.13

Total Savings$417.87 (difference between monthly income and monthly spending) 
 
Fixed Expenses: 
Verizon bundle (internet, cable, home phone): $174.51

Cell phone: $60.03
HVAC and water heater contract: $29.95 
Condo Fee (includes water) $190.00 

Health Care: (includes health, dental, vision, prescription plans) $476.37 
 
Variables: 
Utilities: $114.71
Gasoline: $0
Groceries: $153.35
Health: $70.00 (co-pays, scripts refillsvitamins and personal health care items) 
Take Out and Dining Out: $20.72

Shopping and Other Spending $52.49 (birthday gift for my brother)

Eye Exam: $69.00

 

* Condo is paid in full 
* Car is paid in full (2017 Camry) 
* No other debt  

 

I had challenged myself to stay below $160 for groceries this month and came in just under at $153.35.