I am continuing to do the coupon thing and trying to cut our costs, but I don’t ever seem to be able to save more than a third of our bill. I read the blog from the guy who’s living on a dollar a day. I follow the advice of Qupon Qutie and CouponMom. I see them save 90% and more and I still don’t seem to be able to do it. I think my hunny is sabotaging the cart! 🙂 No, it’s the meat and the booze that kills us. Jay only likes certain cuts and I buy my wine at the grocery store, which is the cheapest place, but still it adds up on the overall bill. Anyway, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it! 🙂
Last week was kind of hard. The cat that our neighbors Ed & Elizabeth left behind when they went to New Jersey all of a sudden turned up dead. One of Brad’s kids knocked on my door to tell me. I went out to see him but the guys had already dumped his poor little body over the side hill. I thought maybe he’d been sick. I was starting to get worried about him because he was getting skinny, even though he always seemed to eat well. I was going to buy him some worm medicine next chance I got, but he must’ve been a lot sicker than I thought, because he went really quick. Maybe the heat killed him. I don’t know.
Jay called Ed on the weekend to tell him and let him decide whether he wants to tell Elizabeth or not. He’s not going to and I think that’s probably for the best. They’re still in NJ, hating it, but Ed’s been offered a job in Calgary, so that might be their next destination. He’s got to see about income taxes first though, because it might not be worth their while to go. If you work for a US company in Canada (or vice versa) you have to file taxes in both. Now whether you actually have to pay taxes in both remains to be seen. I told him there’s no provincial sales tax in Alberta, so that might be a help, and from shopping here I notice some things are cheaper, but some things are not, so it probably evens out in the long run.
I miss Seymour 😦 I catch myself looking out the window at the picnic table to see if he’s laying around. The day after he died one of Brad’s cats was laying where he always used to. Brad says his cats miss their buddy. Jay felt bad too, teared up a bit that evening. I still have to throw away his stuff & give the rest of his food away, haven’t been able to bring myself to do it yet. Grammie was at Jay to get me another cat (no thanks! I’m still a long way from a cat person even if Seymour was kinda cool) or a little dog to keep me company. But I don’t think we need the responsibility of a pet, and not all RV parks allow them. Having a puppy is like having a kid anyway, so I don’t think we need to go there. Maybe someday, but not now.
The heatwave has continued, though they say we might get a break later this week. The humidity is just so oppressive. It’s like being trapped in downtown Toronto amongst all the buildings on the hottest day of the year, all the concrete holding the heat, not a breath of wind, sunglasses fogging up from the dampness. Except we’re nowhere near any concrete buildings, we’re out in the wide open. It’s WAY worse in downtown Atlanta where Jay works.
Because it’s been so hot, Jay is going through water like it’s going out of style. So Wednesday evening we went to Kroger to replenish his water supply. We got 2 cases of water, a 20lb bag of ice, 2L of Sprite Zero and 4L of milk. No coupons, it cost $12.19. I noticed on the receipt that the cashier had given Jay the Senior’s discount. I had a great laugh over that, though he didn’t think it was so funny. But when I told him we’d saved $1.40 he kind of warmed up to the idea. I said maybe she was giving the discount to everyone just to be nice, it didn’t mean he looked old, lol.
I got into a bad mood on Thursday, which continued through Friday. Long story short, my husband invested $200 in something I don’t think is a wise investment. We talked about it a lot before he did it, but he went ahead and did it anyway. No matter how much I run the figures and tell him how broke we really are, he just doesn’t seem to get it. He’s used to living a certain way and having a lot more money, but poor investments in recent years have him living pay cheque to pay cheque like everybody else and he just can’t seem to get his head around it. His thing is, “I work hard and I deserve this.” Or, “You deserve this hunny.” It’s so freaking … AMERICAN!! lol Drives me nuts sometimes. I’m working to get him past this, but so far not much progress has been made. Perhaps a dent, but a long way to go yet.
So I was in a bad mood heading into Friday evening and I was also out of wine. I really, really, REALLY wanted to just chill with a glass of wine, so I got my Publix list ready and off we went to score the cheap wine and I hoped a bunch of freebies from stacked coupons. Unfortunately all the best deals were already sold out. I should have asked for rainchecks, but my obsessive couponing nature hasn’t flourished enough I guess, because I forgot to ask for them. Oh well, it’s a learning process.
I didn’t do too badly though. We got 4 packages of Oscar Mayer premium beef wieners, 2 packages of Sargento sliced deli cheese (swiss & sharp cheddar), one big assed porterhouse steak that was about 2 inches thick and we planned to share (he’d get the fillet part, me the New York strip), a family pack of country style pork ribs, 2 big jars of Vlasic pickles, a pound of butter, 2 1.5L bottles of my wine, 2 packages of the big Dixie brand paperplates, a head of cauliflower, 3 cans of organic tomato sauce, a package of sliced portabella mushrooms, one green pepper, a little over half a pound fresh green beans, one big zucchini, 4 ears of corn, and a big eggplant (almost 2lbs!). I had $1 off coupons for the brand of tomato sauce and they were only 89 cents each, so I actually MADE 11 cents per can or 33 cents extra off the total bill. My very first money maker savings! I was proud, lol. In the end the total cost was $61.86, with savings of $34.41. I was kind of happy with that, though I wish they had of had the really good deals still in stock, cuz that would have been awesome.
After Publix (the one I don’t really like but it’s closer to where we live) we nipped across the street and hun bought 4 packs of cigarettes at CVS for $17.19, saving $1.24. He still wants to quit smoking, but he sweats too much during the day now so the patch won’t stay on. I’ve been trying to bring him round to trying the nicorette inhaler or gum (I have coupons! lol) but so far he’s not biting on that one. But I won’t give up. I hope Virginia is more smoke-free than Georgia, it might help.
Friday night Jesus came around to install 3 new lights in our camper. One over the kitchen sink (yes, I’ve been doing dishes practically in the dark for months now!), one on the ceiling by the fridge, and one over the bed (I could’ve done without this last one, it’s really freaking bright in the mornings when Jay gets up!) He’s coming back sometime this week to install our new awning and last night he got on the roof and cleaned out the a/c unit, which had NEVER been cleaned. First thing he said was, “Jesus Christ!” He couldn’t believe all the crap up in there. A/C is working a lot better now it seems.
So Saturday morning we had to go to the bank to get Jesus some cash. Another $200 for the lights and that’s practically without labour, because Jesus owed Jay some work. Fixing things in campers is expensive stuff! The bank is in the same strip mall as the Publix that we really like, so we went there to see if they had the freebies in stock. They didn’t 😦
We had planned on having Grammie and the old man, Ron, over for dinner on Sunday night. Jay was supposed to do the country style ribs for me and him Saturday night, then steaks for our little dinner party on Sunday. So while we were at Publix we picked up another porterhouse steak, a t-bone steak, 2 bottles of Lawry’s Schezuan BBQ marinade for the ribs, 2 more 1.5L bottles of wine (I am WELL stocked now!), and because I’d been in a bad mood and bitchy Jay picked up a bouquet of fresh flowers (roses, daisies, & all kinds of pretty coloured flowers) for me, even though I was better by then. The marinade was the best deal, on sale for $2.95 per bottle and I had 50 cent off coupons that the store multiplied to a buck, making them only $1.95 per bottle. Total cost $43.15 with $10.76 in savings. Not the best shopping trip.
After Publix we went to Crowne RV and Jay picked up some kind of hose or something that we needed. He wanted to go look at the campers (the one we really like is still there) and get them to run his credit again and see if the deal has sweetened at all, but I put my foot down and said no, now is not the best time for us to buy, we need to wait until next spring. End of!
We decided to stop at the LongHorn Steakhouse nearby and have lunch, taking advantage of my free appetizer coupon that was about to expire. The appy’s weren’t the greatest selection, so we just got a basket of onion rings with dipping sauces (still $6.95 if we had to pay for them). Jay got some sort of crab & shrimp bake in a cheesy cream sauce and a sweet potato. I got the grilled chicken with stuffed portabella mushroom and a side of fried veggies. Mine was absolutely freaking amazing! So yummy! His seafood was really good, but they stuffed the baked sweet potato with a ton of sugared cinnamon, which wasn’t cool, so I shared my grilled vegetables with him. We each had one drink, whiskey for him, wine for me. Total cost $33.61, which seemed pretty good to me. Longhorn is kind of on the expensive side. And we ended up so full from lunch that we didn’t feel hungry for dinner later, so we skipped dinner and saved the ribs for Monday night instead.
For some reason we went out to Ingle’s later on Saturday afternoon. My hun needed ice & milk, and he was craving something sweet. I relented and let him get two packages of individually wrapped Reese’s PB cups (8 per pack) … just so I could get some more Ben & Jerry’s ice cream! For some reason I’ve been heavy into the ice cream cravings recently, maybe because it’s been so freaking hot. It’s a trend I need to put a stop to, I know, but … maybe tomorrow! 🙂 I got some more of the Americone Dream kind that I really liked and Chocolate cheesecake brownie, which is fabulous! The pints were still on sale and I still had coupons too, so that was pretty good. We also got another 2L of Sprite Zero and because Jay can’t seem to leave a store without buying meat (even though I keep saying the freezer is damn full! there’s no room!) we picked up some boneless skinless chicken breasts and a big assed pork tenderloin that had been cut into about a dozen chops. This reminds me, they’re still in the fridge and I need to separate them out and freeze them. Another $26.27 spent, with $13 in savings.
Sunday morning Jay got up early and did the laundry at the laundromat in the park. He went to the store and got me a coffee and two papers with the flyers and coupons. We really didn’t need to go shopping, other than for a few things I forgot we needed (like onions) and a couple of things special for our dinner party (like baking potatoes). But I wanted to go to CVS and get some of the good deals before they all sold out like they had at Publix. From everything that I read, you apparently have to learn how to just take advantage of the deals as they come up and ONLY do that shopping, don’t make a list based on what you want or think you need, but stock up on the best deals every week. Well obviously we’re not there yet, lol, but I do see promise for the future.
This was by far the best CVS shopping trip ever! I only bought things I could earn Extra Bucks on my next purchase, and I only bought things I had coupons for that were already on sale. I got 2 boxes of Ziploc storage bags (one freezer sized, one sandwich), 2 spray bottles of Windex antibacterial multi-purpose cleaner, a large bottle of extra strength tums, one John Frieda mousse and a John Frieda conditioner. Hun also got another 4 packs of cigarettes. Total cost $29.64. If you’ll remember, the cigarettes alone cost $17.19, so that means my stuff only cost $12.45. Plus I earned $9 in extra bucks on my next purchase, which if I play my cards right on my next visit kinda means I got all my stuff for $3.45! How freaking cool is that?! And some pretty serious brand names too! On the receipt total cost was $29.64 with savings of $24.08. I’m telling ya, I got pretty excited about this.
My plan for our usual Sunday morning visit to Kroger was to take advantage of stacking electronic coupons (which I load onto our Kroger card on the internet) with manufacturer coupons & get some great stuff for little to nothing or even free. A lot of my electronic coupons were expiring this week, so it was kind of a now or never thing to try and take advantage of some deals. Plus like I said we also needed some things for dinner guests Sunday night.
We bought a 4L jug of Minute Maid pure Orange Juice (the old man drinks vodka & orange), a 4L jug of Lipton iced green tea (Grammie drinks this BUT I had also won it on the Kroger website so it was free!), 2L of Sprite Zero, a Gillette Venus Empress razor (with two refills) for me, two regular Secret deodorants, two Secret Sheer Mineral deodorants (yeah, I won’t need deodorant for awhile!) 2 bags of Kroger brand shredded cheese (Mexican & Cheddar), 2 large cans of Busch Baked Beans (for hun, blech!), 2 packages of whole portabella mushrooms, a package of boneless skinless chicken breasts, a large tub of SmartBalance sour cream, 2 big assed baking potatoes (like over a lb each!), one big assed sweet potato, and 2lbs of vidalia sweet onions. Total cost $37.27, with savings of $26.94. Again, I was pretty happy with this, those razors and deodorants are pretty expensive items at full price. I could have taken advantage of more deals and stacked more coupons, but hun was getting restless and rushing me to get home in time for the race, so I just said screw it! The other stuff I planned to get was all for him anyway, lol.
We stopped at the auto parts store across the street and picked up a new brake light for Jay’s truck. It’s been out all week, so it’s good to get that fixed. And then we went to Ingle’s because they had just started a great sale on ribeye steaks (hun’s favourite) and Kroger didn’t have any romaine lettuce. I need to remember to start picking up romaine at Publix though, because I think it’s a lot cheaper there.
At Ingle’s we got 2 of the ribeyes, a 20lb bag of ice, head of romaine, loaf of garlic bread and an apple pie to complete our Sunday night dinner plans. $30.13 and we only saved $9.30, mostly on the meat. Kinda sucky end to what had been a pretty good shopping day.
When we got home I did some cleaning and dinner prep, while Jay did his paperwork on the computer and watched the race. The old man arrived around 5pm. Grammie had a family reunion so she had to bow out, which was okay. It was hotter than the hubs of hell outside and if there had been four of us we would have probably had to eat out at the picnic table, which would not have been very comfortable. Dinner was steaks (Ron got the big assed porterhouse that we had initially bought to share between me and Jay, I had a t-bone and Jay had a ribeye) baked potatoes (baked sweet potato for me), sauteed mushrooms & onions, garlic bread, and caesar salad with apple pie and ice cream for dessert. Can you say stuffed?! And I didn’t even eat all my steak & potato, any salad or dessert. We practically had to roll the old man home. He got a little misty eyed when we were talking about going to Virginia and says we need to go down and have dinner with him again before we leave.
Grammie gets REALLY teary when we talk about going. Yesterday I went over to give her the jug of iced tea and the rest of the leftover pie (it gave Jay wicked heartburn and I wanted the temptation away from me) and I ended up staying for an hour. We gossiped a bit about Brad & Kristy. On Thursday, after almost 2 weeks of working with Jay and getting no sleep and because Kristy was getting ready to move her mom into their camper and after having had to sleep in his truck in order to get any rest at all, Brad decided with his first pay he was leaving her. He got Jay to cancel the direct deposit of his pay into their joint account and got a cheque cut instead. Then he rented a motel room down the road for a week. Jesus drove him over there. Kristy’s initial reaction was to get angry and tell him to get out and stay out. So we were really surprised Friday morning when Jay went out to go to work and there was Brad waiting for a ride. Apparently, during the night Kristy had a change of heart and showed up at his motel room early Friday morning begging him to come back home.
They were away most of the weekend, so we think they took advantage of the motel room and left the kids on their own. They leave the kids alone quite a bit. We think. We don’t actually see them, because they lock themselves in and stay in their camper, but the dog will be out and then he’ll be in and then they’ll come home and it’ll just be the two of them and they knock on the door and someone lets them in, so it’s got to be the kids. The boys are probably 12 and 10 years old and they have medical problems. One of them is prone to seizures. We don’t think they should be leaving them alone, they’re too young, but we think they do.
When I was visiting Grammie she brought out her map book and took out the Virgina map for me. She and her late husband used to be long-haul truck drivers, so she’s been all over the country and always has lots of travel advice and maps. I keep telling her we’ll be right back here in a few months and we have each others numbers so we can keep in touch in the meantime, but she’s going to miss us something terrible. She can’t hardly talk about it. I’m going to miss her and the old man too. It took awhile to make friends out of the best of our crazy neighbors, but now that I have, it’s really not so bad living in this dumpy park.
Last night Jay finally cooked the ribs that had been marinating since Saturday. Brad came over while he was outside bbqing and then Forrest Gump from next door. Jay ended up buying a propane tank from him for only $5. I don’t think it’s likely his to sell, because that camper and everything belongs to his parents, but Jay didn’t seem to care. He seems to think we’re going to need lots of propane on hand in Virginia because summer will be hotter and fall/winter will be colder, so he wants to get another big tank before we leave. I guess because the old man can get them filled for about half what you’d normally pay.
Jay’s ribs turned out really good! We had them with salad, and the leftover garlic bread and shrooms & onions. So that’s that! All the bad carbs are now out of the house and I can get back on track. Jay’s still got Reese’s and things, but he’s lost so much weight that he can cheat all he wants. Sadly, it’s a bit different for me.
Tonight I’m roasting a whole chicken and making mashed cauliflower faux potatoes. This is a short week so I’ve got to try and use my time wisely, get lots done, because Jay will be off on Friday and Monday for 4th of July weekend. We’re not doing anything special this year, just using the time to get the camper & truck ready to roll to Virginia. The job is supposed to start on the 12th. I hope we find a nice campground with good neighbors. I had hoped we’d get up there to scope things out first, but that’s not going to happen now unfortunately. I’m excited to go though. It’s another adventure and who knows what might happen along the way!