Weekend Plans

Happy Friday! Our week started out hot, humid, and sticky, but turned to what I consider summer weather perfection midweek – sunny, clear, and under 80 degrees. (I especially love the fact that we don’t need to use the AC on those days!)

Our weekend plans include a lot of driving. Late this afternoon, we’ll be driving to my parents’ house, about 2.5 miles south of us. We’ll spend the night there, then drive to an extended family member’s house on Long Island, another two hours south. We’ll spend the day there with my parents, grandfather, aunt and uncle, and my father’s cousin, celebrating my grandfather’s successful completion of treatment for colon cancer this winter/spring. He’s 91, widowed, and still lives on his own. He deserves a little celebration! Sunday, we’ll head home from my parents house, and do some house and yard chores before the new week starts.

What about you? How was your week, and what are you up to this weekend?

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Great News From SavingStar!

As you may have noticed, I’m a huge fan of SavingStar. Since I’ve been using it, I’ve received $76.06 in cash back, mainly for purchases at my grocery store (Price Chopper). However, I’ve also earned cash back on purchases at CVS and Rite Aid. (There’s a full list of participating stores on their website.)

savingstar

Until now, I haven’t been able to use it at my favorite store, Target. But – it’s official – SavingStar can now be used at Target, Walmart, Walgreens, Dollar General, Family Dollar, WinCo, and Meijer, via their new (free) iPhone/Android app. Yippee!!

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Planning Early for the Holidays?

happy holidays

I can’t say that I’m organized enough to have even thought about my family’s 2014 holiday card, but here’s a deal I’d be taking advantage of, if I was. Save 25% on Tiny Prints holiday cards and party invitations with code JULYHOL14, now through 7/29. Happy Holidays! :)

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A Small Piece of Good News

My husband is paid biweekly, and last Friday was a payday. I’m a bit obsessive and check our bank account each day, sometimes twice. Friday I was surprised to see that his payroll deposit was about $35 larger than usual. Since we started a new health insurance plan year on July 1st, I figured it had something to do with that. (This was the first full pay period paycheck in July.) His employer had told him that insurance plan costs had gone up slightly for family plans, but they decided to cover the cost themselves. (Another piece of good news!)

Sure enough, when I compared this pay stub with the last one, the difference was in the health insurance amount. So this means he’ll be netting an additional $70 each month!

What about you? Have you received any good news lately?

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Propane Update

When I last wrote about propane, I had just received a bill for the $99 fee to lock-in our rate for all of next season. The offered rate was $3.59 per gallon, a full $0.94 per gallon more than we paid last season. With a 500 gallon tank, that could conceivably cost almost $500 more per tank filling. (We never completely drain our tank, so it won’t, but it’s still a huge difference.)

Last week, I called our propane company to ask if this was the best rate they could offer us. Pretty quickly, I was offered a rate of $3.05 gallon. Then I called the local home heating fuel co-op, and learned that their rates vary throughout the season, but would probably cost us between $2.30 and $2.70 per gallon.

The difference between $3.05 and $2.70 per gallon was enough to convince us to make the switch. Doing so would entail paying a $40 service call fee, plus $0.35 per gallon pumped out of the tank at the time of removal. Our tank is currently 65% full – we barely use any propane during the warmer months – so it would cost us $113 to have it pumped out. (Side note: The thought of paying to have propane we’ve already paid for and won’t be using pumped out of tank, kills me!) It seemed worth it, though, so I called our current company to let them know that I won’t be paying the $99 fee to lock-in our rate, since we’ll be switching to the co-op in the fall, after we’ve used up some of the propane that’s currently in our tank. Lo and behold, they offered me a lock-in rate of $2.77! I couldn’t believe it, but I guess the thought of losing the several thousand dollars of business we give them each year was a good enough motivation to lower our rate – again.

Given the cost and hassle of changing companies and tanks, plus the variable nature of the co-op’s pricing, we decided to stick with our current company. Don’t you just love the power of threatening to take your business elsewhere?? I had a similar experience when I called our trash company to let them know that we were switching to another company.

Have you negotiated better rates for anything by threatening to take you business elsewhere? And, out of curiosity, if you heat with propane and have locked in your rate for next year, what is it?

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Last Week’s Frugal Highs

Happy Monday! I hope you had a good weekend. Mine was great, except for my daughter getting up at 6:15 Saturday morning. :)

Here are last week’s frugal highs:

  1. Received a $90.01 payment for items purchased from my Amazon store.
  2. Used a $0.83 per gallon credit when filling the car.
  3. Made sandwiches out of leftovers from my parents’ house for lunch three days.
  4. Scored six free portfolio folders from Target, and  two free Sharpie markers (after rebate) from Staples. (I love the back to school deal season!)
  5. Dropped off a few items at the local children’s consignment sale, and picked up a $31.57 payment for items sold there.
  6. Used a gift card from my in-laws to pay for a dinner out with my husband.
  7. Finished watching the second season of Six Feet Under on DVD, borrowed from the library.

How was your weekend? What are some of your frugal highs from last week?

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SavingStar Friday Freebie!

Happy Friday! This week’s SavingStar Friday Freebie is very kid-friendly. Just log into your SavingStar account and activate this offer before you go shopping at a participating store. It’s for one FREE Keebler of Cheez-It Snack Cup (2.2 oz – 3 oz). This offer is good through Sunday, 7/20.

keebler

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Weekend Plans

Happy Friday! I hope you had a great week.  The summer polar vortex has arrived here in the Northeast, and we’ve enjoyed several gorgeous summer days, with cool, crisp nights. (Read: No need to use the air conditioner!) Having experienced both, I’m a much bigger fan of the summer polar vortex than I am of the winter one!

I’m looking forward to a pretty relaxing weekend at home. Saturday, I’m taking my daughter to a small BBQ/party at a friend’s house, while my husband tackles some rather unpleasant home chores. He’ll be replacing the filter in our water softener, and taking apart the dishwasher to clean it out. (Lately, our clean dishes have come out of the dishwasher kind of stinky, despite me having deodorized it with vinegar pretty recently.)

Saturday evening, my husband and I are going out to dinner. We’ll finally be using the gift card his parents gave us last Christmas. We’ve heard great things about this restaurant, but haven’t been there ourselves, yet, so we’re excited to try it.

Sunday, I’ll get a few hours to myself for house chores, while my husband and daughter go to a town pool. I’ve had a difficult time getting much more than the basics of house-cleaning done while I’ve been home with my daughter this summer. She’s an only child, so we spend a lot of time doing things at the library, local parks, and with friends. And while she’d pretty good about entertaining herself, I never get more than 30-40 minutes of uninterrupted time to complete tasks or projects. Thus, I look forward to rolling up my sleeves and getting some serious cleaning done on Sunday. (Dust bunnies: here I come!)

What about you? How was your week? What are you planning for this weekend?

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Quick Share: Save on Comfort Food

Looking for a good midnight snack, or quick lunch for picky eaters? Log into your SavingStar account and activate these great offers:

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Ten Things About Me

Given the sensitive embarrassing nature of this blog’s primary topic – my rather substantial debt – I prefer to remain anonymous. But there are lots of things I can share about myself that have nothing to do with my financial indiscretions. For example:

  1. I had braces three times. Needless to say, I wasn’t great about wearing my retainers after the first two times.
  2. I’ve run two marathons. This is laughable, given my current state of fitness, but it’s true.
  3. I was always the youngest person in my school classes. My birthday is in January, and somehow my parents convinced my first school to let me start a year early.
  4. I’m deathly afraid of snakes. Terrified, quaking in my boots, scream like a little girl if I see one.
  5. I do not enjoy cooking, but I really like baking. Before my daughter was born, I spent hours making and decorating cookies for every major holiday. Now I make drop cookies about five times a year.
  6. I was born in Washington, D.C., and have lived in the Northeast my entire life – with the exception of about 20 months when I lived in the Bay Area. I moved there for a job, then moved back east soon after September 11th, when I realized I didn’t want to be across the country from my family.
  7. I’ve never been camping, and will never go. See #4. (I also enjoy indoor plumbing too much.)
  8. I married a really wonderful guy. We were friends for four years, then became roommates, and then started dating about six weeks later. (Thanks goodness it worked out; I bet breaking up with your roommate is awkward!)
  9. I can’t start my day without coffee. I drink two large mugs before I leave the house every day. Hot, never iced, and with a little skim milk.
  10. I could spend $1,000 in any number of stores, but if I could only win a shopping spree to one, it would have to be Sur La Table. (Williams-Sonoma is a close second.) Yes, I realize that this is a little odd, given #5.

What about you? What fund things can you share about yourself? And where would you most want to have a $1,000 shopping spree?

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