Monday, December 29, 2008

Kitchen Bargains

Happy post-holidays to everyone!

I've been enjoying perusing all the great after-Christmas sales. Since I'm so excited about some of my finds, I wanted to share them.

This deal, I will confess, I found a few days before Christmas. Tim really wanted a grill, and saw this model at Target for $84. On the site, it runs for $188.95! I told him we probably couldn't afford it. THEN, he got hired as a restaurant cook! So I ran out on my lunch hour last week to get it for him. We made ribeyes last night and they were fantastic! (That's mostly due to his culinary skills though, but I will give the grill some credit) Unfortunately, I didn't realize how expensive propane tanks are! $60 later, I felt robbed. Thanks Blue Rhino!

Out at Big Lots, Tim and I found a Rival Seal-A-Meal unit for $32. After stopping at Sam's Club to buy a box of bulk rolls of Food Saver bags (you can use any brand) we were rolling. It works great, and we were happy that it's much cheaper than other units we've seen out and about. ($100 plus)

Tim has also really wanted a KitchenAid stand mixer. Oddly enough my aunt offered to buy us one as a wedding gift, but I told her that gifts weren't necessary. Hopefully she'll stick by my rule. Since we eloped, I did not want family or friends feeling pressured to buy or give us anything. Our parents have given us wedding gifts, and that's okay. But extended family members I hope don't feel like they need to do that.
During a one day sale last Friday, I saw this pro 600 model for $279.99. Right now on the site, it is going for $349. There is a $50 rebate, so that brings down the price to $219.99. That's the cheapest I've ever seen a KitchenAid mixer, that particular model.
It's the six quart all-metal 10-speed stand mixer with a powerful 575-watt motor. I was so psyched about finding this deal, that I spilled to Tim, even though I was hoping it would be a surprise.
The next day his mother told him she also purchased one. Apparently she's going to return it and buy us some pots and pans.

All in all, for these three items we paid $335. That's less than the regular price of just the mixer alone. I estimate that we saved about $300 with these bargain finds. I can definitely live with that. =)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

New Year's Goal?

To save money, my husband Tim has promised to quit smoking. Many Americans have a goal for the new year to stop lighting up, and many fail. While one of my coworkers is giving Chantix a shot, NicoDerm CQ is another popular option. Here's a link to get a free sample and a $7 coupon. Happy holidays and good luck with whatever resolution you may have for 2009!

All This Stuff Was Free

All of these items were FREE at CVS today. This morning I took trips to two different stores.
At the first one, I used a coupon to transfer a prescription and get a $25 gift card. I also had $50 in Extra Care Bucks. I bought about $60 worth of merchandise that was free after ECBs and used the gift card. Paid $0 out of pocket.
Since that CVS was missing a few items, I went to a second location. I stocked up on free Listerine, Right Guard deodorant, Arm & Hammer Essentials cleaner, and Complete contact solution. I attempted to use my new ECBs but the cashier had some issues and couldn't ring up $15 of them. Still, with the gift card, I paid $10.91 out of pocket... for a total of $127.60 worth of merchandise before tax.
I did have two coupons, for BeneFiber and Zantac 150, so I saved $3 on top of that, and used the overage on Hawaiian Punch and Sunkist orange soda for Tim and I.
Total ECBs earned today: $80.
Not too bad for a Sunday morning, eh?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

My Wedding Cost $303.50

I am now Mrs. Moore.

Tim and I had discussed wedding possibilities since we got engaged in September. Neither of us were real jazzed about having a conventional ceremony and reception.

So we went to the Pinellas County Courthouse in Florida, where we both now live, last Thursday. (That's why I've been absent from blogging the past few days) It was all that we could hope for.

Instead of spending close to $30,000 on a wedding, we spent $303.50: $111 for the license and six official notarized copies, $30 to have a Deputy Clerk perform the two-minute ceremony, and $12.50 for a commemorative paper framed portrait with the county logo on it. Awesome.

I swear, this sign really was on the door to the ceremony room.

You could say this is a bit hokey, but I'm glad we got married this way. It was simple and just the two of us.

The wedding day is supposed to celebrate the love of two people. I think we did just that.

Afterwards, we ate lunch at the beach and spent the night at a resort. (That was another $150 for both of those bringing the total to just over $300)

The next day we both moved into a rented condo that I was originally going to live in alone.

That was our honeymoon. =)

I did not realize how popular this option really is. At least three of my coworkers wed at the courthouse. Another one wants to do that with her boyfriend. (One guy said he and his now-wife were working as aerial photographers. They met at the courthouse in their flight suits, got married, went through a McDonald's drive thru, and then went back to work)

It was a little strange having a wedding without friends or family present, but since I'm a rather private person about this sort of thing, it was more comfortable for me. (Writing, not so much since it feels more anonymous somehow)

If you are engaged or comtemplating marriage, it's a route I highly recommend. No stressful planning, high costs, or complications.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Paydirt at CVS

I am extremely happy right now.

Last night I took Tim to CVS to spend some of our Extra Care Bucks. We stocked up on soda, disposable dishware (because of the move this weekend), and a few other items. The cashier was very friendly. We chatted about bargain web sites and I explained how excited I am to get to CVS for all the great deals.

Then, he made my day.

He said "We're having a really great sale the week of December 21st. I think I have the circular around here somewhere."

The cashier pulled out THE circular. And he gave it to me.

"You can have this one," he said.

Tim and I took our purchases outside and I just sat in the car in disbelief. I had the CIRCULAR for a sale weeks from now at CVS. And the deals ARE good.

So I want to share them with you. There are lots of free items after ECB deals! Happy shopping!

These deals are good Sunday, Dec. 21 and Monday, Dec. 22 only.

Listerine Antiseptic 16.9 oz - $2.99 - Free after $2.99 in ECBs (limit 5)

Sally Hansen Lacquer Shine nail color - $5.99 - Free after $5.99 in ECBs (limit 2)

L'Oreal HIP Metallic eye shadow duos - $6.99 - Free after $6.99 in ECBs (limit 2)

ThermaCare neck to arm heatwrap - $2.49 - Free after $2.49 in ECBs (limit 3)

Right Guard Professional Strength solid 1.8 oz or aerosol deodorant 6 oz - $6.00 - Free after $6.00 in ECBs (limit 5)

Zipfizz energy mix 3 ct - $5.99 - Free after $5.99 in ECBs (limit 1)

Excedrin Express Gels 20 ct - $3.99 - Free after $3.99 in ECBs (limit 1)

Alteril Sleep Aid 30 ct - $9.99 - Free after $9.99 in ECBs (limit 1)

Halls Naturals 25 ct - $2.59 - Free after $2.59 in ECBs (limit 1)

EAS AdvantEdge bar 2.11 oz - $1.69 - Free after $1.69 in ECBs (limit 1)

Zantac 150 8 ct - $4.99 - Free after $4.99 in ECBs (limit 1)

EAS AdvantEdge shake 4 pk. - $7.49 - Free after $7.49 in ECBs (limit 1)

Benefiber drink mix 16 ct. - $7.29 - Free after $7.29 in ECBs (limit 1)

Iceland Health Joint Relief 60 ct - $29.99 - Free after $29.99 in ECBs (limit 1)

Slimquik 2 pk. - $4.99 - Free after $4.99 in ECBs (limit 1)

Sleepinal 32 ct - $8.49 - Free after $8.49 in ECBs (limit 5)

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Liquor On The Cheap

We now have 14 bottles of something called Kohala Bay Dark Rum, imported from Jamaica in our pantry. This afternoon I asked Tim if he could try and get me some empty boxes from Gateway Liquor. I've done that before. Liquor stores usually have a stash of nice, sturdy boxes for desperate movers like myself.

About an hour later, he sent me a text that said, "They're out of boxes, but will save some for us. We're also getting a housewarming discount."


Tim is a pretty big talker, and seems to attract anyone and everyone into conversation. When he went to the store, he spent some time chatting with the owner and telling him about the move. So the guy offered him an entire case of 750 mL bottles for $76. And he threw in an extra two bottles for free. We have no idea how much this stuff goes for, but cheap bottles seem to be about $12 each. So that much alcohol retails for about $168 -- about a 55% discount.

Tim always surprises me with just how nice people are to him when he simply talks to them.

The moral of the story?

Giving someone a few minutes of your time and attention can be very worthwhile.

Friday, December 5, 2008

A Thrifty Gift Idea

This year, I decided to take things easy when it comes to shopping for Christmas gifts for my parents. My folks are divorced, and my mother has remarried. They are all in their 50s and 60s, and do not need another knick knack, sweater, or kitchen gadget. I'm the same way, and I'm only 26! We've mostly been exchanging checks or gift cards.

So I ordered Entertainment books for both my mom and step dad, and dad. They all love to eat out. I've owned my own for about four years now, and they ALWAYS pay for themselves many times over. Most of the coupons are for 50% off or buy one get one free, whether it's for a dinner entree or a park admission.

I have the St. Petersburg/Clearwater edition and it has fast food to formal restaurants, retail stores, movie theaters, local attractions such as Sea World, even coupons for dry cleaning and oil changes. The book is never far away from me. The laundry and dry cleaning discounts can help you save hundreds of dollars a year if you have nicer attire that can't go in the washing machine, or just don't feel like doing laundry.

If you go out to eat once a week, you can save $6-$15 off your bill each time. That's a savings of $312 to $780 alone... all for an initial purchase of a $20-$30 discount book. You can also go to and book discounted rental cars, or print out MORE restaurant coupons.

Entertainment books are great gift ideas, and right now they're having a $10 off and free shipping promotion. I've put a link to the site below if anyone is interested in ordering a book for themselves or for a stocking stuffer! Why not help someone save some of their hard earned dollars this holiday season?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Operation Phone Home

As we are in the thick of the holiday season, I encourage you all to think of others -- particularly troops overseas. Active military members are stationed everywhere from Afghanistan, Iraq, Germany, and Korea.

For three years I lived in El Paso, Texas... home of Fort Bliss. During my time there I got to know many Army men and women -- many who had been deployed to Iraq or were training to go there. One friend, Chris, specifically asked me to send him magazines, DVDs and baked goods. He would write emails to family and friends back stateside about his challenges and life in the Middle East. The guy seemed pretty lonely at times, missing everyone.

During their off time, Chris said he would read, watch movies, and attempt to use the unreliable internet service. It was hot, dusty, and foreign.

I found an organization that sends pre-paid phone cards to soldiers, that they can use to call loved ones. If you're looking for a way to support our troops this holiday season, consider Operation Phone Home. With a $15, a soldier can talk on the phone for 45 minutes. That's a small amount to give to someone who gives so much to you. Please consider making a $15, $20, $40, $60, or $100 donation to USO. Thanks and Happy Holidays! If you'd like to do so, click on the link below.


(FYI, this is a real organization and is backed by the Better Business Bureau. And don't forget, donations are tax deductible!)

Not Quite Recovered

This morning I woke up early, so I decided to write down some of my Thanksgiving weekend thoughts.

My fiance Tim finally met my Dad. I think he likes Tim more than me. Dad showed Tim his rifle collection, insisted he ride up front with him on the way to dinner, and told him more about his Navy days than he's ever told the rest of the family. (Apparently Dad once kicked a shark in the nose in the Bahamas)

While other Americans were in Vietnam, my father was deep sea fishing in the Keys and in the Caribbean. Not a bad route to go.

My grandfather had a little "side business" during retirement. Living near a number of golf courses, he would collect discarded balls. He'd then clean them, put them in egg cartons by the dozen, and resell them. I remember seeing that handmade sign out by the road of their house as a child. When he became too inactive, Dad took over the tradition.

He taught our old black lab "Blackie" to retrieve golf balls to help with the venture. What I didn't know is that Dad has gotten himself out of a few situations with golf course owners and managers. Or that he wears camouflage hunting gear to go out "balling" and he'll go to great lengths not to get caught.

According to him, he's known as the Ball Hocker.