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Archive for November, 2021

Sorry, store policy. WWYD?

December 1st, 2021 at 03:24 am

I had an experience today that made/makes me extremely cranky.

I stopped at a discount grocery store to pick up blueberry scones.  This seems to be the only store in our area that carries them, and I usually pop in once every week or two to buy a package as a treat to have with morning coffee.  They dont always have them, so when I saw that they did have them, I nabbed two containers.  I also wanted to pick up some cornstarch.  I headed down the baking isle and was looking for it when I heard a very curt - "You need to leave your backpack at the checkout counter".  I carry a backpack as a purse because I can distribute the weight across my back and shoulders while leaving my hands free for other things.  My backpack was indeed on my back.

I glanced at the young employee who was staring at me.  I told her that I kept everything, cash, wallet, meds, car keys, etc. in my backpack and had no intention of leaving it at the counter.  She said, that was their policy.  So I handed her the scones and she mistook that to mean I would pull off my backpack and when she reached out for it I said "no thank you, I wont leave my backpack with you"  - her look told me she wasnt budging, so I turned to leave.  As I walked away, she said "Sorry, store policy".

I let it rattle me more than I probably should have.  I could have easily gone 'Karen' on her.  But didnt.   

Reflecting, about this, I am shaking my head.  I had WAY MORE value in my backpack that a rogue employee could have taken - I couldnt  have stolen enough to cover what I had in my pack.   I would be able to steal way easier with a purse, than with a backpack on my back.   What would the store do if I claimed anything of value was missing from my  pack if it was in their possession?  What if my bag had a concealed carry?  To add to the mix, this area has daily reports of theft from vehicles.  Leaving my backpack and its possessions in my car is NOT an option. 

I get that the store is probably dealing with theft - and possibly some comes from folks who may use a backpack.  But did they really think this through?

Ultimately, I saved $7 on the scones and will save my blood sugar the extra carbs and sugar.  But my blood pressure took a direct hit from this one.  WWYD?

Wonderful Thanksgiving!

November 27th, 2021 at 11:36 pm

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  Ours was blessed with family and grandkids.  Two of my daughters each hosted a meal - one at 3pm and one at 6;30pm.  Both meals were fantastic! Needless to say, after playing with grandbabies all day and enjoying two delicious meals, I was tired and full when I got home!!   We spent yesterday at home relaxing and enjoying some quiet time.   We pulled two steaks out of the freezer and the hub bbq'd them for dinner, so yummy!

Today was much the same.  FD is spending the weekend with her older sister, so it is just the hub and me.  (A welcomed break!) We watched the new episodes of Yellowstone, went out to lunch for some yummy taco salads, and now just planning on another relaxing night.   If we have dinner, it will be leftovers or a sandwich.  I plan to work on a puzzle, get in a little housework, and wrap some Christmas presents.

With the hub working 3/3 rotations, paydays dont always align with a monthly budget, which is why I budget a month in advance.  This month, the rotation created enough overage that I was able to pay back the $4500 I borrowed from savings to buy the airline tickets that I got on sale.  woo-hoo!  This means that the money I normally would pay towards travel for the next 10 months can go into savings!  We are def noticing a difference in the grocery budget having the stockpile.  I plan to set aside our extra grocery money to continue to stockpile on sales so that we are always well prepared!!  It is such a nice feeling to know we have a full freezer and pantry...I dont want to go back to weekly grocery planning if we dont have to!




Chili, work and paying it forward

November 18th, 2021 at 06:10 pm

With our weather turning colder, I decided to make a big pot of chili for dinner a couple nights ago.  It turned out great and fed us a couple of meals.  Last night I turned the leftovers into 10 chili bean burritos and tucked them into the freezer.  These are a favorite go-to when I want a quick, easy lunch or dinner.  I used leftover hamburger for the meat, and canned beans/rotel that I got on sale - so the cost was around $10 for 14 servings!  

I pulled a steak out of the freezer and am going to try making beef broccoli for the first time tonight.  The recipe looks easy enough - so we shall see!  I am using a steak because all of my other meat is frozen in family size portions and a single steak will be enough for FD and I both.  If it turns out, the next time roast comes on sale I may get one and cut it into small portions for meals like this.

I have started researching ideas for some of the work I am doing for my son's business.  The first will be an onboarding checklist for new hires.  The business is growing so quickly that there is much opportunity for formalized processes.  They started as a two person business and have now grown to15 employees with the plan to add another 8-10 in the coming months!

All of FD's pay it forward bags are done.   She is super excited to hand them out.  We will be delivering just after Thanksgiving.  The school resource officer is on board with donating a few more items to the bags and going with her/us to help keep her safe.  I am excited to see her realize this goal.  I think this is the start of something bigger for her!!  

Kicker surprise and leftovers

November 13th, 2021 at 08:27 pm

I went online to make an extra estimated tax payment and the Oregon Kicker calculator was available.  To my surprise we are scheduled to get a $2600 tax credit on our taxes this year.  Um, YAY.  So I decreased what I would have paid by $1000 to hopefully still leave a buffer but take advantage of the kicker news!  Since our income drastically decreased this year, and some of the hubs unemployement wont be taxable, I am fairly confident our tax liability will be gentler on us this year.  In any case, I will leave the extra money in the tax account just in case and not consider it extra until taxes are filed.   Finger crossed.  I am no tax expert by any means, but am simply guestimating based on prior years results. 

Our local store put roasts on sale 50% off.  I picked up 5 at about $10 per roast, and put 4 in the freezer.  I made a Mississipi roast a few days ago, which made 4 hearty meals.  This morning I shredded the rest of the meat and made eight roast/bean burritoes for the freezer - quick, easy lunches.  I have a little left over juice, which I will use a few drops for a flavor treat for dog's and cat's food.  Probably very unhealthy, but they enjoy the occasional treat.

Ibotta added a number of free after purchase rebates recently, so I purchased them to donate to the family thanksgiving dinner.  Stuffing mix, gravy packet, cream of mushroom soup, fried onion topping, and a few others I cant remember right now.  I typically use the app to save on things I would normally buy to save a little.  This last shopping trip was $71 and I got just under $15 back.   Ive been using the app since April and have gotten $56 back.  Every little bit helps.

FD was talking at school about her pay it forward gifts for the homeless and the school resource officer asked if he could contribute a couple of items to the bags - how very sweet.  He is a retired police officer and offered to go with her to deliver the bags to make sure she stays safe.    I just love our community.  I am not sure we'll be venturing into dangerous territory, but when the time comes, if his offer still stands, we will probably take him up on it and buy him lunch as a thank you. 

Today is cloudy cold day, I am enjoying some Christmas music on Pandora and just enjoying a stay home and putz day!!

If six is good, 10 is better!

November 10th, 2021 at 04:23 am

I recently posted about the Alaska airlines gift card offer at Costco - $449 for each $500 gift card.  I had originally bought 6, but the limit was 10 per membership.  I decided to buy the additional 4 gift cards to get the full benefit of this discount.  Since the hub flies roundtrip  to Anchorage every 6 weeks, it made good sense to save on as many gift cards as possible.  I pulled the money out of savings to pay for the cards.  10% return is way more than I am getting in interest.  Ill just pay our monthly travel budget back to the savings account and will have this paid back by 2022 year end.  I paid for all the gift cards with my Amazon CC- which will result in an additional $50 in Amazon dollars.  I will use this $50 to buy handwarmers and other goodies for our homeless gifts for Christmas.  (Win-win).

Also, I received $30 in Kohls cash for the blankets  for the homeless that I bought.  Tomorrow, my 30% discount kicks in for Kohls, so I will use the Kohls cash and 30% off to buy something(s) on the Christmas list.   Another win-win.

I have been attending a foster class for several weeks, and each week receive a $25 gift card for attending.  Our last class is tomorrow and the gift card total will be $350.  The store they are originally to is a higher end grocery store.  But thankfully, they sale gift cards to Amazon.  I will trade the cards in for $350 in Amazon gift cards and use them for essentials in the coming months.  (Another win-win)

And finally, I am going to start working part time from home for my son's business.  They could use additional administrative help - and this will provide us a small additional income.  Any money earned will go towards vacation for us.  I dont forsee this being  more than $1000 a month, but that will augment our vacation fund nicely.  And, I will be able to help my son's team with expertise in fields I am well versed in.  (My final win-win)

Needless to say, I am feeling pretty good about these small wins!!


Stockpiling and Christmas

November 5th, 2021 at 11:50 pm

My son and DIL are at a conference this week, so they asked if I could come house, kid and pet sit while they are away.  Being retired means a big fat YES.  Even better, with the hubs mileage plan, me and FD were able to fly here for $11!!  I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with my Cali babies!!  Mom and dad come home tomorrow, and we fly home on Sunday.  It's been such a rewarding week.  I LOVE having the freedom to do stuff like this!

While the hub was home this last rotation, we bought an upright freezer on sale and stocked it full of meats and quick meals.  Now I will watch for sales and keep it stocked while taking advantage of good prices.  With all the turmoil going on in the world, we felt it was a good idea to do a little stockpiling just in case.  I have to say, it feels great to know we are prepared.  I also saw a sale on canned goods and stocked up on canned veggies.  I already had a stockpile of beans.  I still have several 5lb food storage buckets and plan to use those to store flour and sugar. 

The first few months of retirement was a period of adjusting to our new budget.  We were hit with a fair share of unexpected expenses (well repair, tires for our trailer, etc) but thankfully, things have settled down and we are back to living on our budget and having money left over for savings.  

Earlier this week, Costco had a flash sale on Alaska Airline gift cards.  $500 for $449.  I bought 6 of them, which will last use most of 2022!!  I generally budget $500 per month for the hubs travel expenses, so I will have savings paid back in 6 months for the gift cards.  

I took advantage of Kohl's Black Friday sale today and bought 10, good quality, warm fuzzy blankets at $8.50 each.  FD and I will add hand warmers and other goodies and hand out to homeless later this month.  I am budgeting $150 total for these or about $15 each.

I hope all is well with everyone.  I am looking forward to catching up on the blogs!