Thursday, August 07, 2008

I know, I know

I know I promised pictures and other positive goodies, but life gets busy. Not in a bad way (unless you count experiments not working--but that's not new). Just busy.

On the down side, I did accidentally erase almost 100 hours of DVR'ed TV (including 40 episodes of Backyardigans for Sophie). Oops! Tim had agreed to let me delete the 40 Futurama episodes to make space. And I accidentally deleted everything. No huge loss, I guess--we just need to re-accumulate. And it was a bit freeing to delete all these movies I'd taped but not watched. So, we'll call it a wash.

On the up side, I had a super grocery shopping day. We got an Acme near us a few months ago (same company as Albertson's, I believe). First, it has forced Giant Eagle to raise their perks and lower their prices (which skyrocketed when Tops, the only other game in town, closed about a year and a half ago). Second, their meat and produce is so much better than Giant Eagle. Third, even though they don't double coupons like GE, their sales are better.

Case in point: today I had a very full cart of groceries. Price before sales and coupons: 107.46. Price after sales and coupons: 51.23. That's including a bunch of usually-expensive stuff, like milk, meat, and fresh produce! I was on a little bargain buzz--I love deals!

With the money issues (and really, who's not feeling pinched?), I try to limit groceries to $50 a week. Now, baby stuff and pet stuff runs maybe another $20 a week on top of that. And that's an average--some weeks I don't shop at all, and some weeks I stock up (like when they had a crazy deal on diapers two weeks ago--I bought 300 diapers).

I've also gotten into "the drugstore game." There are multiple sites online that tell you how to do it, but basically, you match sales, rebates, coupons, and perks, and you get items for free. I haven't spent real money in CVS in months, and I have more toothpaste, face wash, and razors than I use in a year! For CVS especially, you see what's on sale, what you have coupons for, and what produces Extra Care Bucks (or ECB-money you use at the next visit). With one initial investment, I've been "rolling" extra care bucks for months. For instance, next week my plan is:
-buy 2 children's advil (2 x 5.79 = 11.58). These have 5.79 in ECB for each
-buy 1 glade scented oil car refill (I think around $4)
-use $3/$15 purchase coupon they sent me in the mail
-use 2 $1 advil coupons
-use coupon for free glad refill I was sent

So, spend 15.58 (total) -3 (CVS coupon) - 6 (other coupons) = 6.58.
use 6 in ECB, 58 cents plus tax out of pocket
Get 11.58 in new ECB.

So I basically make $5. And that's without even knowing what is on sale next week (the advil is a monthly deal). Making $5 plus free stuff? Awesome!

I use the suggestions on the money saving sites a lot, but I also find a lot of deals on my own. It's sort of an obsessive hobby now to get the best deal. Sometimes I screw up and buy something that's the wrong size (so not the deal) or find out I could've save $3 more at another store. But overall, these are little mistakes, and I chalk them up to learning experiences.

So yeah, bargain hunting is good. We did a similar thing at BBB (Bed Bath and Beyond) this past weekend. Tim and I killed some time there on our "date" last Saturday. We noticed they had a bunch of artwork on sale, so we came back the next day, coupons in hand, to buy a bunch.

I don't know if I've posted the color we painted our bedroom yet. It's called "Just Jazz", but it's more like Smurf blue (or BLUE!! as we call is). There's more of an aqua undertone to it than what shows on the pictures. It's darker than we expected, but it is growing on us.

And since we foolishly bought 5 gallons of it, we also painted the downstairs bathroom with it. And still have 3 gallons left.

So, here's the bedroom:
(that's the reflection of the closet door mirrors on the wall)

And here's what we bought. I apologize that they are all on an angle--I had to use the flash, and if I took the pictures straight on, all you saw was the flash reflection:(these two are about 8x10 wood paintings, marked from $10 to $2.50. Not sure where they are going yet)

(this one is my favorite: the 9 beach panels are raised, so it looks three dimensional. And it's big--like 24 x 24 or so. I don't love the frame, but I may whitewash it. We're going to put it in the master bath--which we haven't painted yet--over the garden tub. Marked from $60 to $24)


(these three coral pieces are each about 12x12. We're going to put the ones in frames around the wooden painted one in some sort of pattern. Marked from $25 each to $5 each).

(this one says "rejuvenate" We're going to put it in the downstairs bathroom. Marked down from $30 to $12.)

(this is a little matted floral print. It'll probably go in the downstairs bathroom too after I find a frame. Marked down from $9 to $2.50)

(this big beach canvas painting is 24x36. It blends too much into the wall color without a frame, but I am going to buy some chunky white molding and make a frame around it. We think it'll go over the bed. Marked down from $30 to $12).

We bought a few things for the kitchen too. All told, regular price would've been $262 plus tax for everything. We got it for $85 plus tax. Not a bad deal!

We've got some stuff from Aruba too I'm going to put up. We've got a map of the Caribbean, and I'm going to make photo collages from some of my non-personal beach pictures (landscapes, etc). I took enough--might as well use them!

I think we'll paint the master bathroom some sort of sandy-tone color to accent everything. That may wait a while though.

So, finally we'll have pictures up.

How about some more random pictures?

The section of the national park we walked.

Sophie, Tim, and Macgyver on the trail.

The sky from our backyard last night (it'd be so nice to have a deck--maybe next year...)

Tim and Sophie last night.

Me helping Sophie waddle (and avoid the grass, which she hates).

I'm sure we'll take tons of pictures at the camp this weekend. I'll post them when I get the chance!

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