Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Grocery Basket 11/30

Miss MoneyPenny has really been falling down on the job lately since that guy from Seattle has been occupying her attention.  It is difficult to have a job, a man, and a life all at once and give each one your best attention.  I have no idea how the moms out there do it, plus kids, and with such grace. 

Before I forget, I wanted to let you know about the "troubles" I've been having with Ebates.  We've been going round and round with the emails.  I think that I finally understand what the deal is.  I bought a $90 pair of UGGs during the daily double of 10%, but they did not credit my account.  According to Ebates they are waiting for UGGs to okay it and won't pay until they do.  I asked them to file a claim, which they say they did. 

As far as PetCareRx, I bought $147 of flea stuff at a 10% daily double.  I used a coupon for $10 off and free shipping, which I always do and get the credit in my Ebate account also.  I call this savvy shopping.  They call it "not so fast."  I'm now told that PetCareRx has been honoring both my coupon and the Ebates credit as a "courtesy" but not any more.

This is the deal:  Ebates gets their money from the business and they pass some of it on to us.  That is how they make their money.  The business gets our business and they make money, but they are starting to drag their feet...probably for all kinds of reasons, one being that they are sick of savvy shoppers getting a deal.  Calm down, MoneyPenny.  Anyway, check your Ebates account, making  sure that your deals are being credited.  If they aren't - make a claim.  Of course you keep your emailed confirmations in a little file titled "Ebates."  Thank Miss SmartyPants for that little tip.

Here are the QFC deals that I'm looking at this week:

Satsumas 3.99/5 lbs
Fuji/Galas $1/lb
Kroger Cheese 2.99/lb
Darigold butter 2/$5
Starbucks coffee 6.99/lb
Fresh rockfish fillets 5.99/lb
QFC cottage cheese 1.99/24 oz
Fage Greek yogurt $1/ea

I checked and there are no coupons for any of these items.  There also aren't any great deals on veggies this week.  The guy from Seattle prefers organic, so we will head over to Chimacum Corners for their beautiful, locally grown vegetables.  We are not talking tomatoes or summer squash here, but carrots, greens and potatoes which are what is being grown at this time of year.  Our local growers are doing a bang up job and we want to support them because I'm sure not going to muck around out in the cold digging up spuds and parsnips.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Black Friday

Miss MoneyPenny never participates in that insanity called Black least, not any more.  Miss Maggie May and I got the bright idea back in 1997 that we needed to experience the mother of all shopping days and it began with us almost getting into a fist fight with a bunch of teenagers driving the wrong way and stealing our parking spot, after at least 30 minutes of trying to find ANY kind of spot to park in.  After we finally got cooled off we noticed that almost everyone was behaving badly.  We saw the guy in front of us completely lose it and drive through the landscaping rather than wait any longer in our long line of cars.  We quickly retired to Applebees for an early lunch and got the heck out of there.

Since we are now smart and savvy shoppers, our holiday shopping is pretty much done by Thanksgiving.  We know how much we are going to spend and who is going to get what.  We've been keeping our eyes open and have a plan.  We know that the best deals don't happen in the middle of crazytime.  And since we are really savvy, we plan a day off during the week close to Christmas when the stores are getting desperate and start the real markdowns and there are no crowds.  And we hit them early.  Since we've already taken care of the gift list, this is just for us.  I'm thinking bling or shoes.  We have to keep up the Christmas spirit, after all

And speaking of shopping, you may have noticed that turkeys are expensive this year, along with everything that goes with it.  These food prices might just be our new "normal" so watching the sales and coupon inserts is really important.  If you are doing holiday baking (Miss MoneyPenny doesn't because she eats it) there have been a lot of coupons for baking ingredients in the inserts, although not many sales.  Make a list of what you need and then go to to see which inserts have your coupons.  You have been keeping and organizing your inserts, of course.

Miss MoneyPenny does most of her shopping in the ether, taking advantage of cyber Monday and free shipping.  It is so much more dignified than fighting over parking spots or waiting in long lines, but if that turns you on, go for it.  Personally, I'm planning on going to see the new Muppet movie on that day. 

Here is the recipe for the famous MoneyPenny shrimp thingy.  It gets trotted out for all holidays even though Miss MoneyPenny has picked up a shellfish allergy.  This is really good and I got the recipe from my friend, Theresa, who got it from her mom.  It has to be from the 50s.

1 block cream cheese
1/2 pound fresh salad shrimp
1 bottle red seafood sauce
1 lemon
Box of Wheat Thins

Mix shrimp and seafood sauce.  Add a few squirts of lemon.  Pour over block of cream cheese.  Serve with one of those dainty little knives and the crackers.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Grocery Basket 11/12

Miss MoneyPenny did her grocery shopping on Saturday this week.  It wasn't as crazy in the store as I thought it would be, but I was prepared with my list, just in case.  The only item that I took a chance on was fish for dinner.  We found some really fresh fillet of sole for $5.99 a pound that was very tasty.  The fish lady (the best ever) told us to bake it at 400 with a drizzle of melted butter and salt and pepper.  She suggested three to four minutes, but seven worked better in my old oven.  Very simple but elegant, as my dear mother used to say.

QFC has a pretty good sale this week.  They are still running their Buy 10/Save $5 promotion if you need green beans for that famous Thanksgiving casserole.  That stuff sure looks like something that the cat threw up, but it tastes pretty good....and salty.  Here is what I was looking at:

Asparagus - 1.98/lb
Haas avocados - $1 ea ( In my humble opinion, you can't beat Costco for avocados.  They are twice the size and always ripen up nicely.)
Broccoli/Cauliflower - $1/lb
Tillamook medium cheese 2/lb - 4.99
Organic Fujis - 1.49/lb
Clementines - 3.99 for 3/lbs  (Miss CuteyPie told me that these were very good and she was right on.)
Spinach/leaf lettuce - $1 ea

I thought that this was a pretty good mix of sale items if you are trying to eat what is on sale and follow a thoughtful diet.  I did not use one coupon and still saved 38 percent on my grocery basket when I checked out.  It is very hard to find coupons for fresh food, but if you buy what is seasonal and on sale, you can save quite a lot.

You may have noticed that the guy from Seattle has been messing with my photo.  It is a work in progress and subject to change.  You know...these digital cameras can be dangerous, if you know what I mean.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Full Beaver Moon

Miss MoneyPenny has been so distracted lately.  Get it together MoneyPenny.  It has come to my attention that we are headed for winter...again!!  Where did summer go?  I wasn't done with it yet.  Anyway, where I'm going with this is that it makes sense financially to be prepared for winter and all that it can bring.  Before Miss MoneyPenny started taking care of her house by herself, she thought getting ready for winter was putting away the shorts and taking a vacation from shaving her legs.

Now, you know that Miss MoneyPenny believes in maintenance, not repair, in all things, so here are a few things that I've been doing.

For the CR-V I had my tires checked and rotated.  Then I had my favorite mechanic change the oil and flush and replace the old coolant (anti-freeze).  In August, my grandson put on a good coat of wax.

For the house I put a new filter in the furnace and made sure that the vents were all working properly.  My son, the plumber, made sure that I disconnected my outside hoses.  I plan to buy those gizmos that you put over the faucets so that they don't freeze up.  Even with a plumber in the family, broken pipes are not fun.  I have experienced this.  And don't forget the new battery in the smoke alarm and best of all...the flannel sheets and fuzzy slippers.

Outside is a work in progress but I did get all of my ceramic pots rolled over to the side of the house so that they don't freeze and crack.  My vegetable garden is black slime and is waiting for me to put it to bed for the winter.  I pull all the dead stuff and throw it in the compost.  Then I cover the garden with manure and compost and cardboard weighted down with bricks which equals zero weeds in the spring.  I had a chat with my lawn guy about mulching the flower beds when everything is through blooming, which will be soon.

I think I'm almost ready for Old Man Winter.  Plan for the worst, but hope for the best.  Maybe it will be balmy this winter and we get an early spring and a long, warm summer.  Sounds good, doesn't it?

The Full Beaver Moon?  That is tomorrow, the 10th.  I have no idea why it is called that or who thinks up the names of the full moon, but I always check to see what it is.  I have a vision of beavers frolicking in the moonlight singing Van Morrison's old song "Moondance."

Monday, November 7, 2011

Food Banking

Now, you know how Miss MoneyPenny has been beating you over the head about her favorite community program.  It has really been brought home to me by all the people coming into the library for help making their appointment with the energy assistance program.  I've never seen so many people needing help.  Would you rather eat or be cold?  That is what it is coming down to for so many people in our community.

There are a number of different ways that we can help our neighbors.  I prefer to give to the food bank.  You can give food or money, or both.  Mr. Know-it-all takes a big bag of quality dog food up to the animal shelter every month.  For birthdays and Christmas we donate to the food bank or animal shelter in each other's  name.  Miss MoneyPenny prefers to buy her own gifts anyway.  That way she always gets a good present.

I donate food all year, thinking that people aren't just hungry during the holidays.  Who thought that up anyway?  It really is pretty simple to work it into your routine.  This week I bought six cans of Starkist at 69 cents a can.  It did not break my budget.  You don't have to buy a whole bag of food at one time, just what you can afford.  This week was very unexciting sale wise, so I just bought a few basics and the tuna and it still only came to $17.

I realize that the food bank and the animal shelter aren't very exciting topics, but times are tough.  Since we are now such savvy shoppers and are always looking for the deal, we have a little extra for those in need.  If we don't have an emergency fund, an occasional expense fund and we have credit card debt and we lose our job, we could be depending on the kindness of others.  I know that was a run-on sentence but you get the idea.  We are a community and we care.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Daily Double

OK, kids.  If you are a card carrying ebater, and you should be, today is the day that Miss MoneyPenny waits for.  PetCareRx is 10% today.  This is how I work this deal:

Buy a year's worth of flea meds = $100
Use $10 coupon, get free shipping over $35 (SS/10/9)
Sub total = $90
Amount into ebates account = $9
Use American Express card = .90

What this means is that I'm getting those meds for $20 off and they are usually on sale at PetCareRx.  Check it out if you are a tree hugging flea carrying animal lover.