Thursday, June 14, 2012

CVS Rolling 6/14/2012

So I just wrote this blog, and it wouldn't publish! For some reason I have to go through Google Chrome now?  I don't understand, but anyways.  Here's my haul for today.  I paid $1.97 and got back $7 in ECBs!  

My New Coupon Clipper!

When I first started couponing, I used to cut by hand, and one at a time!  I would go one by one with each and every insert and cut. Then I figured it's easier to sort them and clip once, 10 at a time.  Then, I wanted something easier.  I wanted a papercutter and eliminate the scissors.  My friend had brought me over a paper cutter and it worked pretty well.  It was plastic and cheap looking, but it got the job done.  Then last week, I hurt my wrist on vacation.  It hadn't healed so last night (Tuesday) I went to the dr.  He told me I have tendonitis and to rest it and wear a brace.  Fun times.  Oh, did I mention it's my right hand, the hand I do EVERYTHING with?  So resting it isn't too easy.  So I get home from the doctor and I'm like 'Okay time to cut this week's and last week's coupons'  As I start, something is wrong with the paper cutter I have. Well that figures.  I wasn't going to use pressure on my right hand (you slide the thing up and down) and wanted to use my left hand, but the blade wasn't hitting the paper. I tried to fix it, but with one good hand that I'm not good as using, it was useless.  I was so frustrated I tried the scissors, but it hurt like anything so that wasn't going to work.  I'd have to have DH help me.

So I called him and asked if he could help out with the coupons more then he normally does.  I normally take the first insert and set out which ones I want to clip and put the rest to the side.  I do that with the first one, then DH sorts the rest.  Now, I'd have to sort and tell him which ones to clip with the coupons.  When I went to pick up my pills from the pharmacy, I went to WAGS and Rite Aid, hoping they would have some kind of paper cutter. Nothing.  So I call DH and ask him if there is a Staples or Office Depot by his building that he can stop on the way home. There was one if he went another way home and I asked him to stop there.  I didn't want to have to rely on him to do the coupons.  I guess b/c it's my thing and I'm very territorial, I want it done MY way.  And I hated that since I'm unable to use my right hand, I felt crippled.  I hate that feeling.  So he bought me this, and it's better then my old one b/c it has the handle that just goes down, easy on my wrist and easily cut through the 10 pages that I had.  Win win! 

Oh, and DH still helped me with the coupons, he's such a swell guy!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Choice of Being a SAHM or a Working Mom

Since DH and I have been talking much more lately about having a LO soon, I keep contemplating in my head about whether to be a SAHM for a Working Mom.  Both options have both their pros and cons, but I can honestly say I'm very torn.  It's not something that can be taken lightly, and I'm a planner by nature. 

I follow a lot of blogs where the mother is a SAHM and makes money blogging. I recently signed up for a blogging class with Blogelina where she helps set you up with a GoDaddy account (note: if I ever wanted to make my own site, I would use GoDaddy.  I have done research on it, and it seems the best for your money) and goes step by step how to start blogging and make money doing so.  I would LOVE to be a SAHM when we do decide to have babies, BUT, then I think 'Why did I go to school and get my master's and have school debt to stay home?'.  I admire each of these women that decide to stay home and show pics of their BEAUTIFUL children.  I would love to do that, then maybe go back to work when they go to school, but then I think I can homeschool then maybe, as that seems to be a big thing on the blogosphere as well. 

I'm thinking a lot about it today because I'm home today.  I'm supposed to be sitting home resting my wrist, but I can't just sit still so I'm on the computer.  I have my wrist in a brace so typing doesn't bother me, it never did to type. But I decided to stay home to let my wrist rest.  If I go to work, I have to drive there and move my wrist, and also moving things at work, opening drawers, etc. The doctor wants me to rest my wrist so I figured I'd stay home to let my wrist rest.  Not to mention I was up until about 5am with bad tummy pains.  I'm not sure if it's from the meds I'm on for my wrist or something I ate, but I knew I had to take my pills again this morning, and I didn't want to be at work and take them and have a bout of the tummy troubles again.  Plus, I got about 45 minutes of sleep ALL night, so not sure getting in the car to drive 45 minutes away was the best of ideas.  BUT, i always feel guilty not going in to work when I call out.  I know this is for my health here, but I'm a saver by nature and hate using sick time...I like accumulating the sick time.  And since I started in December, I don't have as much sick time as I did at my old job. 

So now I'm home and my head is doing nothing but going, going going, thinking, thinking, thinking.

Did you choose to be a SAHM mom or be a working mom?  What was the one thing that pushed you to do either or?  Any advice to give to a worrier/planner/thinker by nature?

My Kitchen's New Addition

Take a look at this gem!  I had been looking for a decent food processor for awhile since I see them all the time on the Food Network.  I never found a great deal on them, and I don't NEED one per se, but this past weekend, I had $10 Kohls cash to use up, so off we went to Kohls.  I also went armed with my 30% off coupon and was looking to buy a new dress, but didn't see anything to my liking.  We walked to the kitchen area and I came across this 12 cup food processor.  It was $199.99, on sale for $99.99. Combined with my 30% off and my $10 Kohls cash, I got this for $67, AND I got another $10 in Kohls cash!

Now, what do I make with it?  Does anyone had any fun, frugal and healthy recipes?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Lunchtime shopping 5-16-2012

Cvs.                                                                      
6 finish quantum tabs 3.50 each =21.00. Used a $3 off cvs coupon and 6 $1/1 finish coupons. Paid 13.26 and got 10 ecbs back.                           Rite aid:
4 pantene shampoos 3.50 each =14.00. Used 2 bogo free coupons, 1 $3/2 coupon and $3 in up rewards. Paid 1.98 oop and got back 4 in up rewards.



Tuesday, April 24, 2012

30 Days to a Cleaner Home - Day 6

Recap, Day 1, Day 2 , Day 3., Day 4. and Day 5

Today's project was to clean out the vehicles.  This proved hard to do this weekend for us since it was cold and rainy. Normally on a nice warm spring weekend, we will clean out all our vehicles (Mustang, Camry and Explorer...nothing fancy, newest one is a 2004!  Every time I say I have 3 vehicles people think I'm rich...if they only saw our cars, they'd know we are not!)  It was very cool this weekend and it rained a lot, so we put this one off until a nice weekend comes by.

The smaller project was to pick up odds and ends around the house, which we were doing anyways, so that's that. 

So here's another shot of 7 more things to take out of our house:


Top left is a Partylite piece I'm going to sell.  Purple doesn't really match anything in here.  Then there's the free nail file kit DH got when buying me the Hair Bean. I have plenty of that stuff, so I'm just throwing it away since it's cheap stuff anyway.  Ah, my fan.  I've had that fan/heater for YEARS.  I really didn't want to part with it.  I kept it next to my bed for days I felt sick.  I believe I'd had that one fan since high school.  I remember bringing it to field hockey camp since we were told there was no A/C in the dorms.  Yikes.  And it has gotten me through many sicknesses. When i feel like I'm about to vomit,the cool air on my face helps tremendously.  It also helps since it's not quiet when the neighbors upstairs are um, well you know where the bed squeeks.  The past year or so, when I turn the fan part on, it almost short ciruits and it gets a loud high pitched squeel.  So DH got me another fan for my birthday.  At first I was upset and kept this fan....but it's time is up to hit the garbage.Then the four sets of sweatpants are DH's that he has outgrown and doesn't wear anymore.  They are getting donated.

30 Days to a Cleaner Home - Day 5

Recap, Day 1, Day 2 , Day 3. and Day 4.

Ah, on to day 5.  Today, was a very good day.  Well, okay we all know I did this all in a one day span in hopes of catching up, but the tasks in this one was very easy for us.  We were to take off all couch cushions and CLEAN, clean, clean. Well, when we got our new couches, they are full recliners so you cannot take off the cushions!  There's no where for crumbs to go, so we made out well on that one.

The smaller project was to take time to enjoy yourself and relax.  DH and I make this happen every night...and no, not THAT way...get your minds out of the gutter.  We make it a point to sit and cuddle every night, which means I lay my head on DH's lap, he reclines back on the couch and he rubs my head.  To me, nothing is better then head rubs...they are my absolute favorite!

So, I did manage to find some things in my journey to donate/throw out/sell, etc so I figure this post is better then any to post the picture of my first of 7 things:


Okay so from top left we have a sweater that DH got for Christmas from my mom or his mom.  He had it sitting next to his side table waiting to return it.  However, upon cleaning, we cannot find the receipt and I know going to JCPenney to return it for a store credit, we will ge $5 max, so we are just donating it along with all our clothes.  The thing next to it is a cheap candle and holder for it.  It's pretty old and in bad shape, so we are throwing it out.  The basket we were gonna get rid of too.  It was in DH's bathroom and we had no spot for it in there.  And I love baskets.  I didn't really want to part with it, so I took it and re-purposed it after the picture was taken.  It now holds all our remotes on the side of the couch!  The calendar was what I got DH for our first anniversary.  You can't really see it, but it's a calendar of firsts for us.  Each month, I found a picture of one of our firsts that correlated with that month.  So for February, that's the first month on the calendar since that's when we started dating, is our first ever picture together.  Other months include our first kiss on camera, our first vacation, our first graduation, our first shower, etc.  It was a really nice thing, but the calendar is now outdated. I can always use the pictures and make a collage of firsts so we can hang that, as opposed to an outdated calendar.  The little thing next to the calendar is a memory card. All that's on there are pics of us parasailing which is saved on all our computers, so no need to keep it.  The pants I got and don't fit and they cost me about $5 from Kohls, so instead of returning it, I'm donating them.  And the belt went with a shirt I got, but it doesn't look right on me with the belt, so I'm throwing it away, it's pretty chintsy.

30 Days to a Cleaner Home - Day 4

One of these days, I will get around to fiddling around with this blogger and figure out how to post the days easier then this. But for a recap, Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3.

So Day 4, the mini project was the bathrooms.  I have 'my bathroom' (where I do my business, but DH showers in, it's the master bath) and 'DH's bathroom' (where he does his business in and I shower - main bathroom with full shower/tub).  I refuse to clean his because that's where all our guests go to use the bathroom. Mainly it's DH and my best friend (both males, and it skeeves me to clean that toilet).  So he cleans his bathroom, and I clean mine (his is bigger hahahaha!).  I didn't get a chance to take pictures, but we spent more then the required 15 minutes in the bathrooms, they needed it!

The major project was cleaning out under the bed and furniture. We lucked out with our new couches as you can't go underneath it, there's a wall of sorts so nothing can get under it.  However, our bed was a different story.  It's a king sized bed, so the mattress is heavy.  Their are two box springs which made it easy to move those.  And of course, Lucky was having  blast hiding behind the mattress and box springs!  I didn't get many before pictures, but I got a picture of DH cleaning the baseboard (a big project in the upcoming days) as well as vaccuuming and a final picture:




Very nice! 

30 Days to a Cleaner Home -Day 3

Moving right along to day 3.  If you missed the previous posts, see Day 1 and Day 2

Day 3 had us do a quick 15 minute quick clean of the bedroom.  Our bedroom needed more, so we did take more then 15 minutes. When I start something, I have to finish it.  Here's the before picture:



YUCK!  Look has diskept this room is (is that a word?). Clothes strewn on the unmade bed, stuff laying all over the dresser, things just laying on the side tables, etc.  YUCK! 

And now, here's the after pictures:


Much cleaner!  I thought I had another picture of the clean room, but I guess not.  So I felt a huge weight off my shoulders with tidying up the bedroom.

Now, off to the major project of the day. DH thought the major project WAS the bedroom, but it wasn't :)  The major project of the day was easy for us, it was cleaning out the freezer.  We had just done this not too long ago and started organizing them.  I have a spreadsheet on both freezers and anytime something goes in or out, it gets added or deleted.  It's an awesome tool for doing meal plans every week.  I've started doing it two weeks ago, and it's great!  No more 'I didn't take meat out, so let's eat out'  And it saves us a ton of money too!  My best friend comes grocery shopping with me and he's great with organizing the freezers. It's like Tetris.  They are both stuffed to the brims, here take a look:


This is my dining room chest freezer.  This is perhaps the best investment we made.  I was getting so many awesome deals on meats and frozen foods and I couldn't fit it into our kitchen freezer, so we purchased this. And it's filled to the brim! And very organized. 


And here is a our kitchen fridge freezer.  Very organized and up to date!  Love it!

Tomorrow is Day 4's assignments, stay tuned!



Monday, April 23, 2012

30 Days to a Cleaner Home - Day 2

If you haven't seen my day one results, check here. 

As I stated in Day 1, DH needs to be told how to clean, what to clean, etc.  And he kept getting in my way of doing a quick 15 minute pick up.  There were a few DVDs in the entertainment center, so I said 'Put those away in order, and dust the entertainment center.'  I go about tidying up, then ALL our DVD's are out on the floor and he's going through them ALL.  'honey, this is just a quick get the stuff off the floor and where they belong, not take everything apart task'  He's like 'Oh.'  So now I'm just like, 'Dust, then get in the kitchen and put the dishes away'  For some reason, that man LOVES the dishwasher and loves taking control of the cleaning of the kitchen.  And I won't stop him!  So I sent him in the kitchen to get started on the dishes and wiping the counters down, and he also did the wiping of the cabinets.  Good boy :)

We recently did a scrub of our refrigerator, so it just need a tidying up and organizing.  So here's the before shot.


And here's the after shot.

Still looks a little cluttered from the picture, but it's really not.  All the creamers are in the same spots, the Vitamin Water is coded by DHs and mine (mine are the 0 calorie ones).  Fruit is put away into the right drawer, etc. Big improvement!

I know I haven't posted the 7 things, but since this has been a more tidy up first before delving deep into the perils of my cabinets and drawers, I haven't had much to give away. But in all the cleaning, we did manage to have about 2 garbage bags of stuff to throw away.  And I plan on doing a major overhaul of my closet and getting rid of and donating a lot of clothes. 

30 Days to a Cleaner Home - Day 1

I decided to take Money Saving Mom's challenge of 4 Weeks to a More Organized Home

Now, since I march to the beat of my own drummer, I decided to take this challenge at the same time that work ramped up (read: OT) and when I decided I needed to start making lists of things to do to get organized at home first, etc. So the past two weeks, I started preparing mentally for this challenge, so yes, I'm a few weeks behind. However, I knew this past weekend, DH and I would be able to sit and really do a lot to catch up. We are not fully caught up, but here goes nothing! Please follow along and if you feel the urge to join in, DO SO!

So on day one, I took my to-do list of over 30 things (yes, over 30) and picked out 5 to do that day. That was pretty much getting on track. So on Saturday, DH and I set the timer for 15 minutes and cleaned the living room and the dining room in our home. I did learn something about DH's cleaning methods. He has NO idea what to do. He looks around aimlessly like 'Um' So I kind of have to tell him 'Do this, or clean that'. It does get annoying because I know what needs to be done and just doing a quick glance around the living room, I thought of about 12 things that needed to get done...DH found 0. Ugh. It was a chore giving him chores to do. This dominoes into every room in the house. That's one thing I need to learn to cope with. It did get annoying when he's like 'What do I do now?" He loves to dust and when I get the Swiffer dusters, he is a kid in a candy store. Here's a pic of him dusting the entertainment center.


And here's the end result, including Lucky (the supervisor) giving her okay that the room is now clean.



I know the big project was to clean out my purse, but I had just done that last week before going to Atlantic City. I downgraded to a small demi purse from a huge purse. And I have a tote bag that I leave in the car with my makeup and other stuff. I'm glad I got this started!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Getting My Feet Wet: Showboat Nightly Tournament 04/14/2012


So after my poker free Lent, I decided to get back into the game...slowly. Prior to giving up poker for Lent, I was not doing so well. You know it's bad when I buy my husband into a poker tournament and rail him (I watch from the other side of the rails). My husband normally does not play tournaments, he is more of a cash guy. But he cashed in a tournament at Borgata in the Fall on our vacation, then went on to cash in a tournament at Showboat. So when the Saturday Series came to Borgata a week or so after, I figured I would buy him in and ride his coat tail on it. Giving up poker for Lent was a decision I made to clear my head of poker since I was running bad. I don't know if I was just unlucky or playing scared, or even both, so getting away from the game I felt was best for me to rethink my game plan and move forward once Lent was over.

The buy in for the nightly Showboat tournament is only $65, as opposed to paying over $350 for a Borgata Spring Open event. Those are the ones I normally play, but the bankroll wasn't supporting that. Normally I can play cash and win a buy in or two after a few weeks, but not lately, so the smaller buy in tournaments are what I need to get my feet wet again. DH and I bought in, and a friend of mine came down as well. We were all seated at different tables. The play was quite normal...nothing too nuts at least at my table. I have been reading 'Decide to Play Great Poker' by my poker idol Annie Duke and tried to remember some of the things I've been learning. I'm on page 125 of her book and I have taken 15 pages of notes so far. Hopefully after I fully read it, I can go back, re-read my notes, type them up and take some stuff out that I don't need b/c I already know.

Early in the game, probably when the blinds were 100-200, I got 8c9c on the button. It was announced as the dealer dealt that the blinds were up the next hand. I hadn't really gotten involved in many hands to that point, so I wanted to limp in cheap if I could so I can see a flop. A few limpers, I limp, small blind (SB) limps, big blind (BB) checks. Flop is 9d9h3s. BULLSEYE! The action goes check, check, bet 300, fold fold to me. At this point, according to Annie's book, I should just call. I have a HUGE hand, there are no straight or flush draws out there, it's a very safe board for my hand. But silly me is too darn giddy that I have a hand after coming back from a break from cards, and I raise to 1200. Fold fold fold...darn! At least I got a few bucks from the limpers, and the guy that bet.

A few hands/rounds later (I don't remember, and I'm kicking myself for not bringing a little notepad to keep track of this...this is what I plan on doing, keeping very good notes of my hands so I can go back to my coach/mentor and run the hands by him), I get Kings in position...yay! One guy that gets involved in a lot of hands raised (he always raised) so I popped him. I knew he had nothing as he was always trying to steal the blinds and limpers. He called. Flop was 10 or J high. He bets, I raise. He thinks and thinks. And thinks. The way he was looking, I knew I had him beat. If he raised, I'm shoving (going all-in) I'm thinking to myself. He thinks and thinks, finally folds showing a pair. I contemplated showing my cards, but I remember one of the first things I was told when learning to play was NEVER show your cards. This is from a guy that I played with at a local place, and run into him almost all the time in AC now. He said you have to be consistent, so if you show once, you show all the time. But he said never show, be consistent that way. Keep them guessing. Were you bluffing b/c you were bored and wanted to play a random hand, or did you have it? They can read your facial expressions, so if you show you had a big hand, they will make a mental note of it for next time. Never give anyone the upper hand on you. So I mucked and raked in my chips.

Soon after, I got pocket kings again. There were 1 or 2 limpers in front of me, I raised and guy across the table from me called, everyone else folded. Flop came out 9 10 Q. I bet out immediately. I had checked out quickly when he called how much he had behind him (how many chips he had left after he called, so I knew how much I might have to risk post flop). He had not much left after the call, so I knew I wanted all his chips in the middle. So I bet out more then he had and he instantly called with 10 J. He had a pair with an open ended straight draw (An 8 or K would give him a straight). A 4d came on the turn, and all I'm hoping for is to fade an 8 or a king. A 6 or 7 came, and I took him out, and took all his chips. That was a great feeling.

Over a few rounds, I got my starting stack of 20k to about 35k and was feeling good. I'm in the BB and I look down at AhQh. It was really pretty. There were about 4 or 5 limpers in front of me so I raised to about 4k or 5k (blinds were either 600/1200 or 800/1600.) One guy called. Everytime he was in a hand, he'd bet or call with authority, like he had a great hand. A few times, he did have nuts...other times he had a pair but acted like it was nuts. So he calls, everyone else folds. Flop is A K A. BOO YA I think. So I bet out 10k I believe, he shoves for an additional 5k or so and I insta call. I flip over my hand, and he flips his over...A K he has! UGH! How bad luck is that???? Both of us were not going anywhere, pre or post flop. I played it well I believe, we both did, but that was just bad luck on my part I guess. I went down to about 15k and was not happy at all. I took a walk to see how DH was doing then came back. I ended up getting A Q off a little while later, won the pot and was back up to about starting stack of 20k.

Blinds were going up and I knew I needed to pick my spots carefully. It seemed that nobody at my table had a monster stack either, it was weird. I guess those with chips got moved to other tables. One hand I kick myself with is I was late in position and got Ace Ten offsuit. A few limpers, the guy in the 10 seat looked like he wanted to raise, but just flat called. I opted to fold. I thought about calling, but I didn't get the warm and fuzzies about seat 10. Even if I hit an Ace, I would put him on a bigger hand. Wouldn't you know, the flop comes out A A 10. and tons of action on the flop and river. A pair of jacks on the river took the pot. Oh well.

So I'm about at starting stack and look down in late position at kings. I raise to 5k, guy with Ace King earlier shoves for 4k more, I call. I don't remember off hand what he has, something like 9 10 or something, and hits a straight on the turn. Yikes. Oh well. So now I'm dwindled down to about 9500 left. blinds are going up again to 1500-3000. I get down to about 6k and shove with Ad Kd and decided to shove. I get called with nothing from the big blind and he hits a pair, nothing for me. So I'm out. I did last longest from my DH and my friend, so that's a win in my book.

I need to overcome this 'play tight' as I fear losing in most spots. I won't play random cards like I used to. I'm playing scared and I don't know why anymore. I guess too many bad beats will do it to you!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Candle Sale!


I normally don't post things to promote one of my side hustles, but there is a HUGE sale going on, and I wanted everyone to know about it. If it wasn't worthwhile, I wouldn't mention it, but even I'M excited and can't wait to go home to buy some wax and accessories!

Partylite is doing their anniversary sale, since Partylite started in April, every year they do an anniversary sale. So on my site, http://www.partylite.biz/sites/bethrusso you can see the items that are 75% off! Right on the main page, you will see the purple banner with 75% off. We are also doing the Tealight and Votive sale again. 3 dozen tealights for $25 and 3 dozen votives for $35. The votives come in 1/2 dozen so you can split up a dozen into two different scents.

I also typically donate the money I earn from my site to charities. Nowadays, I've been donating items and money to SPAC (Sayreville Pet Adoption Center). It's a no kill shelter with some wonderful volunteers, and that's where we took our Lucky when she was a stray to see if someone lost her, nobody claimed her so we adopted her, spayed and all her shots. That place holds a special place in our hearts and they recently were in danger of closing their doors, but with the help of donations, they are able to stay open.

Slacking a Bit!

Okay, I know I was supposed to be doing Money Saving Mom's 4 Weeks to a More Organized House but I've been slacking! Don't you HATE when that happens?

Monday, I was gung ho. I made my 'to do list' for the week and added Days 1-6 (since I'm behind). I had every intention of doing a ton after work Monday as I had tons of energy. I called my mom in the afternoon asking if she had some leftovers (which would solve the 'what to do for dinner' debate, since the meal plan was ON my to do list). She said she did and to come over as my aunt and uncle who couldn't come to Easter Sunday breakfast would be over. So I went there after work fully intending to grab my food and leave, but then my sister was coming over, so what turned out to be a 5 minute stop at my mom's turned in to a 4 hour stop. By time I got home, showered and got my stuff ready for work Tuesday, it was after 10pm..YIKES! And I was beat. Oh well. At least I got to spend some quality time with the family!

Yesterday was a blah day once I got home. I had some energy left when I was driving home, but then I started feeling BLAH! I got really tired by time I got home, decided against exercising (Was going to do the Bender Ball, but my ball is really deflated and I need to see if my friend can blow it up more since I lost the thingy to do it with) and watched some DVR stuff. Then I got even MORE tired and started craving FatBurger. I eat pretty healthy, somewhat, but last night I wanted a FatBurger. None arond me. And I was cranky. PMS maybe? My husband was like 'I'll pick up Subway' I'm like 'NO, I want FATBURGER!' So he knew this would not end well for him. So we got Five Guys. He got me a double burger (or at least that's what they gave him). I normally eat half a burger, but this one, I devoured the whole thing...plus fries! Needless to say, NOTHING got done, other then me getting gas in my car (one item off my list out of the 29!).

Hopefully today I can save some energy. I have to work out to The Biggest Loser Wii game, so wish me luck!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Lent is Over, Time for a New Beginning!


Ah, Spring has sprung! Lent is now over so my sabbatical from poker is officially OVER! And I can say I lasted! I was able to take myself away from the game of a few weeks and sit back and evalauate my play and my bankroll and I started reading a new book on poker from my poker idol Annie Duke (9 months pregnant and made the final table at the WSOP!). I also spoke to a friend who will be my mentor/coach, so when I start playing again, I will be very much prepared!

Over the past few weekends, DH and I did nothing but mope around the house. So many times, our weekends are jam packed with parties and things to do, that for a few weekends, we did NOTHING but stay in our pjs and watch TV and play video games, and did some laundry. However, that is in the past now. This past weekend, we went to AC, checked out the new casino, went to a show (Kevin James, he is AMAZING!) and met up with some friends. Then yesterday was Easter, so that was full of meeting with family and friends as well.

Now that none of my spring cleaning has gotten done, I came across Money Saving Mom's 4 Weeks to a More Organized Home and I want to try it. I'm a few days behind, but she is on Day 6. What she does is every morning she posts that day's assignments and in the evening she posts her progress. I think that's a GREAT challenge for me so I will be trying to do this as well.

So, hopefully Spring is Springing here at my blog and I hope to be posting more blogs in the future!

Love to you all!

Friday, March 23, 2012

My Update

I know I kind of fell off the face of the Earth, so I just wanted to update you all on what's going on.

I'm TRYING to get into the mindset of blogging at least once a day, whether it's a personal update, a money update, a poker update or a how I saved money update.

So, after my last blog, I went and got the chicken pox vaccine! It was a hefty price ($120) since my insurance didn't cover it as I'm over 18 and that vaccine is only covered up to 18. Oh well. So I got it a few weeks ago and kept it in the freezer waiting for the perfect time to get the shot. I went last Friday and took my best friend with me for support...and to hold my hand :) I squeezed his hand so hard, but I didn't feel a thing!!!!! So it wasn't as bad as I thought...so far. I got back in a few weeks for my second dose, then I'm all done!

I've been working hard lately and working Overtime and earning some comp time for days off. I like that better, getting comp time as opposed to OT (more taxes!), so that's good. So far, I really like my job so I'm trying to enjoy it as much as I can before I get to that point where I can't stand my job hahahaha.

I think I'm going to try Frances' HULU plus trial, if I can. I think I will make it a 'project' to see how many of the shows we 'have to watch' are streamed through Hulu. I know one isn't (The Amazing Race) but they stream that on CBS.com as well. I'm always looking for ways to save money, and in a few months, the awesome deal I got from my cable company is up and if this Hulu works, I may just cancel cable (I think I just heard my DH collapse after I typed that lol). So I will aim to update you everyday on how the Hulu Plus trial/project works out.

We haven't done much on weekends, but veg out. I try to set goals for cleaning and spring cleaning, but the couch and TV are just killer for me! I'll sit on the couch and the TV just goes on and puts on some good shows, and before I know it, I wasted the whole day doing NOTHING. I guess it's good I do it now b/c once we start having kids, I won't be able to do that anymore..yikes!

I also gave up poker (gasp) for Lent! I'm not a huge religious person, but I like following the Lent rule because it makes me see that the small things in life aren't worth the sweat. I try to give up things that I know are bad for me. One year, I gave up soda and for the longest time, I never craved or wanted it. Every blue moon I may have a diet soda, but other then that, it's not an everyday vice anymore. I decided to give up poker b/c it's a huge part of my life and in giving it up, I am able to put my focus on other things in my life (family, friends, DH, myself, etc.). I know I have another two weeks, and let me tell you, we haven't even been to AC in about 6 weeks now. We can still go and not play (we can play blackjack, slots, etc) but we have no urge. I'm starting to get the urge now. The new casino is opening up down there, and the day before Easter we are going to see a show down there...so I'm tempted at 12:01 on Easter morning (if we are still there) to hop on a poker table! I've also reached out to a friend of ours who is a pro player and asked if he would be my mentor/coach, and he accepted...so I'm totally psyched to start playing again!

I'm also trying to overcome this stupid fear of flying. I found a few flights I'd like to take, and in April, there is a fear of flying class in NY...it's quite a hike for me, but I'm trying to find one here in Jersey. i'd LOVE to overcome this fear so that way I can possibly hopefully for my husband's birthday in August go to VEGAS for his 35th! So we'll see!!!!! Any advice (other then taking pills...I have them, but want to do it with my own mind!)?

Monday, March 5, 2012

To Vaccinate or Not?

So, my newest worry as of late is Chicken Pox (weird, yes, I know). I never got it as a child, and I got tested a few years back to see if I'm immune, my dr. says I am not. I went to go get the vaccine a few years back, but chickened out at the clinic. Too many young kids there screaming, the place looked really shady (as did the doctors) and when I told the people why I was there, they looked at my like I had 2 heads. I think that's weird b/c the CDC recommends adults to get the vaccine if they never got it and are not immune.

So now, I'm ready to have a baby. But I'm afraid of one day catching chickenpox, primarily while pregnant (many birth defects, I'd be sick as a dog, etc). Even if not pregnant, it's not something fun to deal with as an adult.

So I'm on my kick again to get vaccinated. My dr. gave me a script, after questioning why I wanted it, then the front desk lady came in saying to sue my mother (i'm not kidding) for not getting me the vaccine when I was young. I've done a ton of research on this. They started with the vaccine in 1995, and not to date myself, but I was 15 at the time, so I wasn't getting a vaccine, esp so early on when they rolled it out. It was never a big deal in my family (chicken pox).

So back on my kick, I went and got the script refilled (couldn't get it at my pharmacy OR Rite Aid, but my best friend has a pharmacy across from his shop and were able to get it). It was $120, and I have a second dose waiting for me to pick up as I need 2 doses. So I have to go back to my doctor (who I don't like and am looking to switch doctors as well) and have him inject me with it. It's a live vaccine, so the chicken pox will be injected into me. Not fun. I think I'll be okay with the needle part (I have given blood and was the guinea pig for medical students to practice on my arm pretending to take blood) so that's good. But I'm terrified of the 'side effects'. I know they say a very low percentage will get a breakthough chickenpox (less then 50 blisters, low or no fever, etc). The pharmacist I got it from said he got his on a friday, and on Saturday, he was run done, very tired, fever, and had about 10 or so blisters on him. By Sunday he was fine.

I don't know....should I even do it? I mean it's so rare to see someone with chickenpox nowadays since the vaccine and people having it as a child. I haven't heard anyone having it in many years...but still. I do worry that later in life I may be exposed to it, and the older I get, the worse it will get. I will get it done on a Friday, so that way if anything happens, hopefully it will happen on a weekend and not have to miss work, or only a day or two if I do get the blister things (they say I am contagious with them, so to not go to work or school). I already told my boss that if I call out for chickenpox, I'm not lying. I'm just a worrywart I guess. I should just go friday and get it done right? But then again...do I go to my doctor who I'm not too keen on, or switch doctors?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

This just IRRITATES me!

I came across Jill Cataldo's blog today and it irritated the you know what out of me!

Again, we have people committing coupon fraud and nobody is doing anything about it....and they sit and BRAG about it! The woman POSTED exactly how she committed fraud. It was brought to the attention of P & G so who knows what will happen. If I worked for P & G I'd ASK to be on the project to research all of this! Why should P & G pay for these stores helping people commit fraud? At first, I gave the woman the benefit of the doubt and thought maybe she was doing an expose on it (Hmmmmmm, maybe I should do that!!!!!!) and show how the stores LET people commit fraud...but oh no, she was TEACHING people EXACTLY how to do it! THIS right here is why the prices in the stores go up. Has anyone noticed that in the past year or so that the prices on stuff has gone up? Do you think it's a coincidence that it happened around the same time Extreme Couponing got popular? NO, it's not coincidence, it's WHY the prices are raising.

At my old job at the Army, I had a big big big boss who I did not like, care for or respect in the least (yea, I know that's bad to say, but really, if you worked for him, you'd know why). But he did teach me one thing that I will always remember. I came in as an intern, and he taught me that if there is an issue, don't just come to the table with the issue. Come prepared with at least two solutions to the problem. That way it shows you put some effort into it. So now, anytime I have an issue at work, before going to a co-worker or boss, I think of at least two solutions. Here are mine:
1. Stores should have in place some kind of checks and balances, whether it's mandatory coupon training or someone hired just for coupons. Heck, I wouldn't mind working at my local Shop Rite and being the 'coupon girl'. Anytime there is an issue when the coupon doesn't scan, instead of a manager just blatently over-riding it without checking the coupon or the bag to see if they did in fact buy the product (let's get real, the kids in there have friends/parents from school that they would help out anytime and say 'oh yea, they bought them') they would call the coupon person over to do the over-ride. Or something of that nature. The coupon person can teach coupon classes on how to read them, check the date quick, scan the coupon for fraud, etc. Yes, it's an added expense of the store to hire 1-4 of these coupon experts, but it may cost less then having to pay for fraudulent use.

2. The coupon manufacture's need to audit EVERY single coupon. Again, another expense, but it will give people a job and it will keep stores honest. Nobody wants to pay for fraud. The manufacturer's don't want to, neither does the store. There needs to be some sort of fine or something placed on stores that mis-use this. Okay, I can see maybe one or two sliding by, fine, nobody is perfect. But with this particular chain of stores, it looks like MANY are going through each day fraudulently.

We need to hold people accountable as well. The people that brag and post ONLINE about it need to be taught a lesson. This one woman posted her receipts, and told what coupons she mis-used, on purpose. Some auditors just need to look at her receipts and what she said she used, double check and fine her for the money she 'stole' from the store/manufacturer. In this day in age, everything is online and all you need to do is a little research to catch the coupon criminals!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Just Another Reason I Love Suze Orman!


I just LOVE Suze Orman! Anyone that knows me, knows that she is my idol, and I watch her all the time, and even managed to score tickets to see and meet her a few months back. I even have a pic of her and I as my twitter photo!

I've been watching America's Money Class on OWN and been taking notes. I'm a little behind and only finished episode 2 last night and I just love the song 'She's gonna teach you how to be RICH!' So while watching the second episode last night, she was talking about families and children etc. And she had a FABULOUS idea about college savings for children. A couple in their early 30s asked about saving for college for their children. They both paid off their student loan debt after taking out loans, they have their EF, they are funding their retirement and have no debt other then a car loan. So, Suze said to just sock some money aside each month or however they want, but NOT to tell their children. Suze said that when the kids go off to college, let them take out student loans (subsidized and unsub) and if they really took college seriously and had a good head on their shoulders that as a graduation present, pay off those loans for them with the money you saved! WOW, what a GREAT idea! And if they weren't serious, took forever to graduate, slacked off, etc they don't get the money, and there's more money for YOU to have in retirement or what not.

DH and I don't have kids yet but we do plan on having them in the future. I'm a planner by nature so I'm planning this stuff BEFORE I'm even pregnant! I went to college, got a Bachelor's and Master's Degree. DH did not attend college, he went right into the workforce. His parents instilled that if he wanted to live at home rent free, he needed a job. So he got a part time job at Shop Rite, one at a local sub shop and one for UPS. He did party with his friends that were in college in those years, and worked his way through the part time stuff at UPS and put in to become a full time driver when the opportunity arose. Once he became a full time driver, he left his other part time work and has been a driver since (over 10 years). His pay was and is higher then mine and he has no college education. We both believe that schooling is important, but it's not the only option. So when we have kids, we decided we will not force them to go to college if it's not their thing...but if they want to go we will support them 110% and do what Suze says and not tell them we have some money saved for them.

Add this to the list of reasons why I LOVE SUZE!

Organizing Challenge!



I'm in!!!!!! Not sure if I'm going to do the spare room, my closet, or even my kitchen! Originally I was thinking one of the first two, but my kitchen can sure use some organization!

Wanna join in?

Update on the House

My mother comments on a Facebook post of mine where I posted a photo from Muscle Mustangs and Fast Fords showing a 2013 Cobra Jet (Mustangs are my favorite cars). My mom says 'call me' and with the issues with my dog, I call her immediately. She said my dad's aunt called the night before to talk about the house.

So apparently, she wants 320k for the house. Now, I wasn't in on the phone call, so I don't know all the facts, and since my aunt called late, I don't think my mom got a chance to really speak with her about it. Now, as I stated in the first post, this house is really run down. It's very old, the outside is old looking as well. Nothing was ever done inside to 'keep up' and modernize it. All the original appliances, etc are still there. 320k is VERY high for that house. It's a 2 bed, 1 bath ranch. My condo is a 2 bed, 2 bath condo, and it just got appraised around 200k, and that's with everything brand new and everything in tip top shape. So I don't know if she's totally out for money, or just doesn't know the market since she is in her 70s, or if maybe way back when they had it appraised back in the 90s maybe that's what it appraised for? I don't really now.

So, my mom suggested getting an appraisal, as did my best friend. He's the one that's going to be doing a lot of the work in the house if we get it, so he knows that end of it, but I'm more the negotiator and getting things done on paper person. So I emailed the guy that did our appraisal a few weeks back and he emailed me back this morning with the price, etc. My friend said after or even now, to get the software that you build your own house, so we can get his contractor contacts out to price us on what it will cost to build up the house (2nd level since my friend and husband can pretty much do the downstairs work). That way, we can go back with an offer with the paperwork in hand. We were looking to buy it for 100k TOPS. I know a similar house sold for about 120k down the street, but since we're family, you would think they would give us a deal or something. But 100k is pretty much our top offer at this point. It's what I think we can afford, and still afford our condo now that's underwater. Then down the pike, we can either sell or rent out the condo. I don't want to walk away since our credit is so good, I don't want to tarnish it, but that's a ways down the pike.

I don't know what to think of this all. My mind is a blur. She's family, and my father has done so much to help them with this house. Upkeep the outside, fixing things inside, chasing someone that tried to rob the house (another family issue, they were looking for 'hidden' money, that wasn't there), etc. And now, a price of that caliber when a nicer house (not by much, but a little bigger) sold for 120k? I just don't get it. I'm not sure how to take it, like is it a slap in the face b/c they just want money or they just don't realize that that house will NEVER sell for that amount? They pay the taxes on it, they pay the utilities, etc so it's money wasted each month that goes by. I don't know. The appraisal will cost $385, so that's not just a couple of bucks. My best friend said if I really want the house to do it that way it's on paper, then start the negotiating. I'm just unsure what to think at this point.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Ladies Event a No Go for Pokerchick


I was so looking forward to the LIPS (Ladies International Poker Series) Tour event going on at Golden Nugget this past weekend. I opted out of the Borgata Ladies event last weekend so I would be able to watch the Giants game. I love the ladies events. So since another one was the next weekend, I figured I'd play one and play the Nugget one. It seemed to be hit or miss, they weren't really advertising it much, but LIPS usually gets a lot of players. I booked a room and my best friend closed his shop so he can come watch. The night before, I wanted to double check the time. Two things said 11am, two other things said noon. I was already frazzled b/c I had a ton to do after work Friday, and ended up at my mom's and the vets b/c my dog (parent's dog) is up there in age and his health has been declining. My mom said he hurt his paw and wouldn't walk on it and to come over since my dad wasn't home. My poor pup was gimping around, but he was determined! He paw was going backwards, it was the oddest thing. He kept trying to walk to no avail. When my dad came home, we made an emergency vet visit. So the whole family loaded up the car to the vet. We all though the worst. He is old and all that, so we all thought he was going to be put down. The vet is awesome and explained a ton of things. He is okay for now, could have been a stroke or a soft tissue issue, but for now, he is okay and on meds and is walking a bit better on that paw, but just limping on it, like you would a sprain. So Friday night was very emotional for me.

So, I figured we'd get there for like 11am, that way I'm prepared. We got there around 1030ish, walked around, then headed to the poker room. Oh, the signs all over the casino said 11am as well. There were about 4 other women there, playing cash waiting for noon, as that's the time they decided to start. They told me to register, so I did, then hung around. They had osme bagels and pastries out, so I helped myself. I played some slots, etc. Around 1130, there was only 7 people registered for this two day ladies event. Around 1145 I made the decision not to play and started the trek to get my money back. I figured since I already bought in, I'd have to fight for it, but all I did was go to the cage, told the woman and I got my money back, it was pretty simple. I guess they knew people might back out. I did get some slack from the ladies that I backed out. Yes, it will be fun, yes I want to support the ladies events, but for $350 with 7 others registered? I don't think so. My bankroll won't support a $350 sit and go. I'd rather go play at Borgata for that money, and play for a decent prize pool. All in all, I think they got 11 players.

We went to Borgata, got some food then was texting Ac_pokerchick and she said to come play the 2pm at Showboat. We teetered, then figured, why not. We have all day to kill. So we went there. We thought it was $100 bu in, so I was shocked when I gave the woman $100, and she gave me $35 back! Sweet! The tournament was fun. I had a good table, no cards though. Had I gotten something other then 6 3 off, 7 2 off, 5 2 off, I would have played more. I'm not kidding either...for one whole round, not one face card. I did manage to win three hands during the tourmanemt, which is 2 more then the last tourney I played!

In late position, I looked down at queen 7 off (this is earlier in the tourney). I limp in, and I'm seeing a flop with the SB and BB. Flop is Q Q rag. Check Check Check. Turn is a jack giving a straight draw and a flush draw. Check Check, I bet, fold fold. Oh well. Next hand that I won I was again in late position and someone raised to $1200. ($150/$300 were the blinds). I look down at ace king and call. Flop is King rag rag with two diamonds. raiser bets out 2500, I bump it to 7500. He tanks, then folds. Then, later in the tournament, i'm getting short stacked and people are coming to our table from other tables with massive amounts of gray $5k chips. Great. I'm just looking for a big card or an ace, or pocket pair so I can shove. I get the button and I look down at pocket kings. I shove, everyone folds. Figures.

That was it for my winning hands. I finally get king queen in late position, and shove as the short stacked, got called with ace jack. ace Ace 3 is the flop. Nothing on turn and river, and I'm out. Hubby Mike is still playing. He ended up cashing. They chopped 9 ways. what a debacle that was. Some wanted to chop, but the chipleader (a girl) didn't....she had all the chips. Then said if they chop, she should get most of it since she's chip leader. Hubby Mike is telling her that with 9 left, chip leader at this point means nothing as she can lose that in two hands. She didn't want to chop. Then she donkeys off some chips putting another player all in then of course she's like '9 way chop works for me'. Idiot. Hubby Mike was then chip leader. Ac_pokerchick said no chop, so I said no chop to him, but he wanted to. He was the only one really didn't want to, and figured karma would come bite him if he said no chop. I think the people running the tournament need to step up at the Boat for situations like this. It held up the whole game. People kept talking about it while hands are being played. I'd be pretty peeved if I'm trying to play a hand and that idiot is going on and on about how she's chipleader and should get more money, etc. Player busts out, you ask around if you want to chop, if one person says no, continue on. another player busts, go around and ask again, if one person says no continue. There should be no discussion...a simple yes/no should suffice. Hubby Mike cashed anyways, so it's all good. Then we hit B again for more food, then to the hotel where we crashed for the night.

With my bad luck and Hubby Mike's good luck, I'm thinking of buying him in to Feb 11th tourney at B. I will sit out. Yes, I said it...I will sit out..let the hurricanes and blizzards begin!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Borgata Winter Open Event #33 $100+20+$100 Bounty

DH and I decided to play this event on the advice from Kim (Ac_pokerchick) that it would be a fun event. So we went to eat first, came back and registered. And we got on the same table. I mean yeah I don't like that, but at least I get to be with my hubby (sappy moment, yes I know). All in all, I won one hand at lucky table 13. And it was against DH. And it was the first hand. I hate playing the first hand. But it was heads up and I flopped nut flush draw, so I bet, DH folded. I was so card dead, it was unbelievable. I hardly got to play a hand! Once the antes came into play and the blinds went up, I was getting short stacked big time. Any ace or two big cards or any pair, I'm shoving all in. I get pocket sixes and I'm thinking "I'm going all in" Comes to me, and I folded...my hands just picked them up and threw them into the muck pile! WHAT just happened???? Oh well. Nothing I could do at that point.

A few hands later, I get jack queen. I say "all in" and put 3 $1000 chips over the line, then grab the rest of my small chips (about $500) and put them next to the other ones. Guy next to me is like 'that's a string bet' 'What, I said all in!' Dealer didn't hear it, he didn't hear it, then DH is like 'I heard her say it, and another guy on the far end of the table heard me say it too. So I was all in. I got 3 callers. Pretty much not what you're looking for in a tournement when you're all in. You want it heads up, but 3 callers isn't good b/c in a tournament, the goal is to take people out, so you're closer to the money so people are very likely to check it down so it's 3 versus 1 rather then 1 on 1. Flop comes 9d 3s 10d. I flopped an open ended, and I felt pretty good. Guy next to me bets out, next guy shoves all in, other guy folds. Gulp. Still not a good scenario for me. We all show our cards, guy next to me has a set of 10s (3 tens) and the other guy had a flush draw. Turn is the 9h, giving the guy next to me a full house. River comes Kc giving me a straight, but the other guy had a full house. Really dealer??? Really? Salt in the wound much?

So I found Kim and we chatted a bit, then she played a sit and go and I watched. DH played for awhile and I would get the update texts about his quadrupling up with pocket 2s, taking someone out with pocket aces. At one point, he was chipleader in the tourney. I finally went over to watch him when the sit and go was done. Since I wasn't watching earlier and he was doing good, I didn't want to hex him. But he was already in the money so I went over there. He busted out in 10th place and I couldn't have been more proud, especially since he never plays tournaments!

New Name?

I've been toying with the idea of changing the blog's name and maybe taking it up a notch and getting out there more. I don't have many followers, but I'd like to get more. I was thinking along the lines of Couponing My Way to the WSOP Main Event. That is every poker players dream, to play in the Big One. It's a $10k buy in, so that's a HUGE hurdle to overcome. And it's in Vegas...another hurdle to overcome...getting on a plane. But maybe it's a better name to incorporate the two loves in my life, couponing and poker? Maybe I can start to really track my coupon savings again and tally it all up and see how long it takes to save $10k? Or add airfare, hotels, food, expenses etc to it and see how long that takes me? I think that may be fun, try to add it all up to maybe $12k or $15k and have the little goal meter on the side of the page? What do you all think?

Money Saving Challenge - Weekend of 1/21/2012


Since DH was on vacation last week, I decided to take a day off on Friday and make it a 3 day AC weekend with him. I had all intentions of playing some poker tournaments at Borgata for the Borgata Winter Poker Open, but only played a cheap one Friday night. DH played too, just to spend some more time with me, and figured it'd be fun. It was a cheap buy in, and it was at night so it wasn't a big tournament or anything....but guess who cashed? Yes, DH did...and he doesn't even play tournaments!!!!! hahahaha. I was so proud of him! Other then that, I didn't play any other tournaments, so it was great to be able to kick back and spend ALL weekend with DH.

Eating can get pricey in AC and since I wasn't down there too much late in 2011, my comps weren't there for free food. But, I did manage to gather up some gift cards, so we ate for free all weekend using gift cards that were collecting dust in my drawer. We even did a nice dinner on Saturday at a pricey restaurant for our anniversary. We each got a drink (I had wine, he had a sangria), we split an appetizer, and we each got an entree. The bill was just about $100, not including tip, but we had tons of gift cards to use so we used them. So that was one less thing to worry about, paying for pricey meals.

We normally buy stuff down there at the Borgata store, but this time decided not to, so again, that saved us some money as well. We DID have to use some comps that we did have on toothpaste though. DH packed both our stuff since he was home, and he forgot the toothpaste...AGAIN. The last time we went away he forgot it. It was hard to pay $3 for toothpaste, when I have mountains of it at home, but it was free with comps anyway. And next time, I will pack :)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

BAD Customer Service!!!!!


Yup, that was me about 20 minutes ago at the Stop and Shop by my work in Elizabeth. I've been there twice, this being my second time and up until the end, everyone there was pretty nice to me and assisted with a smile. Well, the tables have surely turned for me!

So I got 6 6packs of Pepsi (3 for $10 deal) and 2 fritos (2 for 6). I used 3 $2/2 coupons for the soda. I also got 2 Pupperonis, they were 3.29 and also BOGO and I had a $1.50/2 coupon. I also had a $2 CAT to use. So I got to the self checkout and the CAT machine was green, good to go. So I ring all my stuff up and it comes to $20 and change. I'm due a $7 CAT for buying $20 of Pepsi products and a $1 CAT for buying 2 Pupperonis. Sure enough....red lights on the CAT machine start to blink as they are supposed to come out...said paper out. Figures. So I bag my stuff and go to customer service. Two people ahead of me, oh well. So I get to the front and tell the lady my story. She goes to load the machine, and at this time a few customers had rung up after me, so I'm thinking even if she gets it work NOW, my CATs won't come out. She's there for about 5 minutes, and it won't work. So she goes back to the customer service area, and the door is locked, she can't get back in. The other guy is busy with a customer so she waits for him to let her in. So she pages a manager. Manager calls back, she starts to tell him the issue, and he cuts her off. She's like 'No, Sylvia's on lunch' Then she hangs up, speaks Spanish to the guy, then comes to me and says 'I'm sorry, but I can't help you. The manager I spoke to is too busy in the back and the other manager is out to lunch.' So I ask, "well, now what do I do? you owe me $8.' She's like 'you can wait here for another half hour or so until the other manager comes back or you can come back later.' I'm like , 'WHAT? I'm not coming back here later. It's your issue, not mine, by time I get out of work and get it, it's prime time rush hour, so that's not gonna fly' So she keeps saying there's nothing she can do, blah blah blah. So I'm like 'Can you just refund me my money on this order and I'll ring it at another register?" She's like 'Oh yes, we can do that, that's a good idea' Ugh. So we do. One by one, she's entering the items in....then gets to the bottom and she's like 'Oh' I'm like 'What?" She's like, you used coupons on this order.' 'yea, so?' "well, if I refund you your money, and you re ring it, you cannot use the coupons again?" Ugh "What? They are right there (as I point 5 feet to the register I used), they are right on top, it's not like it's the next day. So now, you tell me either I'm out 8 bucks or around 10 in coupons that I used.' She's like 'I don't know what to tell you' So I said 'Well, you paged the other manager and he called you back. Can you call him again and tell him that I would like to speak with him?" She's like 'Okay'. She she pages him, he calls back...now b/c she said that I want to speak with him, NOW he wants to know what the issue is...so she starts again, then he cuts her off. Then she said he's on his way up. Oh man am I ready to rip him a new one!!!!!! All this time, about half hour AFTER i checked out I'm sitting there all ticked off. So he comes up, sees me, then walks AROUND me and avoids all eye contact with me. The lady tells him the issue w/ the machine, and he's like 'Just give her the money out of your register' and walks away. REALLY? REALLY? Maybe if that guy knew the issue the FIRST time, he could have said that half hour prior!!!!! REALLY guy...really!!!?? I even said that to the girl....but he was 'too busy' but when a customer wants to speak with him, he comes? Oh you better believe I'm drafting up a nasty gram!!!!!!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

You Win Some, You Lose Some (Money Saving Challenge)

Oh I was doing SOOOOOO good!!!!! WAS!!! All last week, I made dinner so we didn't spend money on take out or going out to eat...and it gets costly doing so. We normally spend about $40 for the two of us, including tip when we go out, and we always use a coupon like a BOGO and all...and we don't eat much, normally no appetizer or dessert. So I wanted to cut back. We would normally go out to eat with a friend every Friday and Saturday, and sometimes take out once a week. And it gets to be expensive, so I said no more! Not to mention UNHEALTHY! So all last week I cooked....yes it was time consuming, but I'd rather spend the time to cook then spend my money.

So we did good. Friday we made pizza bagels. Freshetta was on sale for $4 and change, and DH loves them. But they are unhealthy. So I got wheat bagels, and I have plenty of sauce and cheese at home so in the oven went our pizza bagels....and they were quite yummy!!!!! Saturday, we normally go out for breakfast to the diner or Dunkin Donuts, again, expensive and unhealthy. We had our home appraiser guy come out for our refinance, then after, we made a healthy breakfast together. We saw on Biggest Loser one of the contestants make ground turkey and threw in some peppers and onions and black beans. DH won't eat black beans, so we put eggs in instead for the protein. We made wraps out of them and it was sooooo yummy!!!! Saturday night we went to a friends for a bday party and we got him some restaurant.com gift certificates.

Sunday we stayed in to watch the Giants game. We did go out and run a few errands. We got the curtains we needed for our room and DH exchanged a shirt and got a new one. We paid $5. We used a coupon and gift certificates, but to use the coupon we had to use the kohl's charge so we put $5 on there. We also got some adult beverages and snacks for the Giants game.

Then yesterday came and all that went down the tube!! My tooth had been bothering me for a week, so I called the dentist and they had me come in...lovely. Supposed to be a lazy day at home, and here we are off to the dentist. Dr. couldn't find anything wrong but gave me some meds, just in case, as he is going to Africa for two weeks for a missioniary trip. He is very worried. Oh well. Then we went to Best Buy for the 2 and a Half Men DVDs...there was one on sale for $14.99, normally over $40. There was 3 seasons on sale for that price, so we got 3 of them, then 2 cheap blue ray movies that we have been wanting to see. Then we went to get some food as we hadn't eaten breakfast. I had a Fit Slam at Denny's, it was so yummy! It was egg whites with spinach and grape tomatoes, 2 slices of turkey bacon, an English muffin and a cup of fruit...it was so good, I finished it all!!!! Then while we were at Denny's, DH's dad called and they were going out to dinner later and his uncle was coming up, so of course we accepted the invite. We ended up paying $76 for dinner. When we go out, we normally don't drink so ours was a ton cheaper then the parents since they drank, but they do so much for us and cook for us every week that I wasn't about to say that ours was about $40 tops including tip...it's just not worth it. If it were friends, I wouldn't mind...but so many times his parents come over, we order out and they pay, so I wasn't about to nickel and dime them...ya know? but still...that was a lot of money to shell out for dinner. So back on the wagon this week...until Thursday, when we go to AC for the weekend. But I have a ton of gift cards that I plan on using, plus our comps, so we'll see how that goes!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Money Saving Challenge 1/11/12

I didn't do too much as far as money saving, but I did take a ride on my lunch to Stop and Shop. I picked up 4 Stayfree Feminine products (1.64 each, then used a BOGO Coupon), 4 Chex Mix (2.00 and used 2 $1/2 Qs) and 4 Pom Juice (2.50 and used $1/1 Qs). All in all, it was $15 and change, and I got a $2 Cat back.

I didn't get my nails done yesterday since my girl was not working, so I did my shopping list for Shop Rite. There are some awesome deals I'm going for tonight, and I hope they are stocked and ready for me!!!!! I'm taking advantage of the Purina deal again (did last week on my card). This week I will be stocking up on the Alpo to donate to the pet shelter. last week I got the Friskies to donate.

I made dinner, chicken with a soy and honey mustard marinade. Didn't come out as good as I thought, but DH liked it, and I bought a chicken thigh and veggies for lunch today.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Money Saving Challenge 1-10-12


I haven't really been doing too much lately other then going to work and coming home so I haven't had too much interesting stuff to write about. We did make the decision to refinance our house using HARP (Home Affordability Refinance Program) which helps those that are underwater in their mortgage to take advantage of the low interest rates. We are currently at 6.25, and are going to 3.75 or 4.00. If we choose the 3k closing costs, our rate will be 3.75 and if we chose to do 1k closing, our rate will be 4%, so we are toying with that. Our home appraiser guy is coming this weekend to appraise the home, so we cleaned up all our Christmas stuff and started really cleaning to make it nice for him to see.

Last night, I went with my friend to Staples since he needed to get trading card inserts (I got him to be a semi extreme couponer!) and while we were there, I recycled 10 ink cartridges, good for $2 a piece ($20). I also brought in my receipt from Saturday when I bought Turbo Tax at $59.99. Now of course it's $49.99 so I asked for the adjustment. So I got $10.07 credited back to my card...and I got $20 coming in the mail for recycling ink cartridges!! CHA CHING!

We also walked over to Kohls b/c I needed to return curtains. We were planning on getting smaller curtains for our bedroom but the ones we ordered were not pretty at all, so we returned them and got long ones. But the sheer curtains that would be on the window side were the short ones, so I needed to return them and get the long ones. So I did that, and got $15.98 credited back to my account. I spaced and forgot my Kohls coupon, so I just went to browse the curtains for the sheer long one I needed. It was on BOGO sale, but they were 19.99 each! Last time I got the long ones they were $9.99! So I'm going to wait for them to go on a better sale (and bring my coupon!) then buy them. DH is in no rush to put the new curtains up, so I have time.

I have been cooking dinner at home the past few days, and I love it b/c I get leftovers for lunch the next day! Monday I found a Buffalo Chicken recipe (been CRAVING that for days now, and I keep eating them!) so I made a batch of that. A big batch. So me, DH and my BFF had that for dinner Monday, then I bought some for lunch yesterday,AND we had more leftovers for dinner last night! I also heated up some food we had from Saturday night when we ordered out so that did not go to waste at all. Tonight I'm thinking of either pasta or cereal night. I love cereal night. DH and I get to spend more time together rather then me running around cooking and cleaning. So it's a nice night to have together.

Other then that, I'm still slacking on 2012 goals, but I hope in the coming weeks to go over it with DH. We are doing a mini vacation next weekend (free weekend room at a casino thanks to my nastygram to them, as well as free Starbucks coffee!) so maybe I will bring some stuff with us to sit, away from home and go over our budget and expenses.

Cutting Back?


No, those are not my nails, this is similar to what I have (minus the pretty flower things). I have been getting my nails done for years now and I do the same thing each time I go. I did have a guy that I was friendly with do them, but two times I had an appointment after work and he was always 45 minutes late to start me, so I searched elsewhere. A new nail place opened by my house, so I went there to try it out, and I've been going ever since. I also got my mom to start going there, so now we are regulars there. I only took them off about 3 years ago or so (I can't remember) when BlackBerrys started coming out. Of course, my husband HAD to get a BlackBerry, and the deal he got was when he bought one, he got one for free. So I started going to Verizon and playing with them, and had a hard time typing with my nails...so I decided I'd 'take one for the team' and chop them off. I hated doing it. But after a few months and speaking to a girlfriend of mine that got used to it, I put them back on.

So now that we are trying to cut back, I'm thinking of taking them off again. NOW, they are MY nails b/c I've had the acrylic or whatever on for so long. When I go for a fill, all she does is put the gunky stuff on it or whatever, but my real nail is underneath. The other day,I cracked a nail (haven't done that in years) so I pulled the fake stuff off then cut my nail down b/c it was too long for me and too weak. And it just looked weird to have it that long and none of the fancy stuff off. We are trying to save save save, so I'm torn. I like the black nail polish the girls are rocking lately, but every time I put on nail polish (myself or by a pro) the polish always chips after a day. When I do my fills, it can cost 25 or 60 dollars depending on what she does. A normal fill is 25, but when she does the pink and white (usually every other visit) it's 60. I take the money that I have saved up from our misc money (extra money that we don't use that we had in our envelopes each week). And if I pay in cash, every 5th or 6th visit is free. SO, I'm torn and don't know what to do...maybe I should cut them off, and put that money that I would have spent on them into the bank? But I LOVE my nails...so does DH when I rub my nails through his head when he has a headache or a bad day.....

Decisions, decisions!!!!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Save, Save, Save!!!!!!

So, I got some goodish news on Friday from my mom. For a few years now, my husband and I have been contemplating buying my dad's aunt's house. It's diagonal across the street from my parent's house and it's in pretty poor shape. My aunt and uncle lived there forever, I believe they actually built it many many many moons ago. When I was a kid, I was always there in the summers swimming in my uncle's pool. It was a very old cement/concrete inground pool, and it was always cold. As soon as you got in, your lips turned purple, but it was a sweet treat for us in the hot summers. My friends and I were there everyday. My mom says in the summer I lived in my bathing suits, I even slept in them! My uncle was older (it was my dad's uncle) and he loved having us kids around. He loved his pool...it was his bread and butter. The kicker? He never learned how to swim. But he took such great care of that pool and loved having the neighborhood kids over. Around noon time, the mailman Bernie would come in the pool during his lunch break and do laps. Everyone in the neighborhood had an open invite to the pool. My uncle would make us all lunch and bring us snacks and drinks for when we were done swimming...then of course after we ate, back in the pool we went! He had a dog, Trixie. She was a tiny dog, but boy did she bark. She was our babysitter for when my uncle would go into the house to get us our snacks and food. all the home movies we have of us at the pool all you hear is Trixie barking. I don't remember my aunt coming out much, but to my uncle, that pool was his life.

As I got older and didn't have time in the summers to go there everyday (school, work, boys, etc) my uncle kind of let the pool go to the wayside a bit. He was too old to really take care of it, so he rarely opened that pool in the summers. When the whole west nile thing started, some neighbors across the way on the other street complained to the township b/c he had stagnant water on the top of the pool cover, so after a battle, my uncle lost and had to pretty much fill in the pool or open it back up.
Since he was too old to open it, he decided it was best to fill it with sand and close it forever. He was so depressed...that pool was his life. That summer, my uncle passed away. I believe it was my dad that found him on the steps leading to where the pool used to be. I guess he died of a heart attack, but we all know he knew it was his time, and he wanted to be near his lifeline, his pool.

My aunt was still alive so she was in the house by herself. It was a hard time for the whole family. She had an aid come in for awhile, but she herself was getting up there in years and she passed a few years after my uncle. So the house was empty for awhile. My dad would keep up with the yard work and make sure everything inside was functional. Then my grandmother in Florida passed away. That was a tough time...so my dad's cousins (his aunt and uncle's daughter) said that my grandfather can stay in the house, since nobody was in it anyways. My grandfather stayed there for a few years until it was his time to go into a nursing home for constant care. That was over 2 and a half years ago, and the house has been empty since.

Now that it's been empty for so long, I really want to buy the house. It's a family house, so any ghosts inside of it are my family and they are friendly ghosts...yes I believe in ghosts. My parents have them at their house, but it's all family. My great grandfather built that house and it's been in my family since. Every since my grandfather went into the nursing home, my husband and I would casually discuss the house, and even bring it up to my parents, since they talk to their cousins more then me. The house is in bad shape, it's very outdated and anyone that would want to rent it or buy would need to do some major renovation. On 4th of July, my BFF (our mechanic, handyman, my second husband, etc) and I were chatting about the house. My dad came into the conversation and my BFF Jerry said he'd like to see the house since if we did buy it, he'd do all the work. So my dad got us the key and we walked over. It has some great potential and my husband and Jerry can do a lot of work on the first level, like blowing out walls, redoing the living room, etc. My friend is a godsend and blessing to my husband and I. With so many issues in our condo, we would have paid a TON of money OOP to do repairs. But he does it for free, and all he asks is to be fed. So it works out, I get to get my stuff fixed and can keep up with my cooking skills :)

So fast forward to recently. I lost my job, so I put this to the back burner since we were just down to one income, and taking on a second mortgage was not feasible. So I stopped begging my dad and mom to talk to them. Then I got a job a few weeks ago and it's pretty stable. We all went out to eat with my parents and my in laws and brought it up. My dad had to call his cousins the next day to discuss the house. I think my dad pays the bills for the house then gets a check once a month from his cousin. So my dad said he called her, but she wanted nothing to do with the house. She is getting up there in age and has failing health, and her husband's health has been failing for years now. so my dad didn't say anything. Then my mom ran into the cousin at the store and they got to talking, and my mom, who doesn't beat around the bush came out and asked about the house. The cousin said she didn't want to deal with it or have anything to do with it. It's been empty for so long and they still pay taxes and all on it. My mom said she knows someone that wants to buy it (me) and my cousin was shocked. My mom explained that I loved that house, and the pool and I would love to buy it. The cousin said there's a lot of work and my mom said that our friend and husband is willing to do a lot of it and wants to build a full second story and of course, put the pool back in. She also said the second lot in the back comes with it and suggested we put a garage there, to which my mom said, oh she already knows she is putting a garage there. So it showed my aunt or whatever she is to me that I have really been thinking hard over the years about the pool...but the one thing I AM definately doing is putting that pool back in....almost like a middle finger to the neighbors that complained. For some reason, they never liked my uncle. I guess because all the kids came there and we all played and had a great time in the pool, he didn't like it. He hated kids that man. He never even answered his door on Halloween, but we all saw him in his living room ignoring the doorbell.

So now, this may become a reality for us. I'm crossing my fingers. My aunt wants to sell, her husband wants to rent....but in order to rent a ton of work would need to get done and the person to do that would be my dad. My dad doesn't have the time to do that, nor does he want to. Since his heart attack over the summer, he's really been watching himself and doesn't want to take on a project like this. So I told my dad to get on the horn with the uncle and persuade him to let us buy it.

Then comes the pricing. Jerry says if they will sell it to us for 100k or less, it's a good deal...but if they want more, then to walk away b/c it's not a good deal to buy it for more then that, then have to put so much more to fix it up. I'm hoping that we can get it for that price, or less and we can start on the repairs on the first floor. That will take awhile, which I'm cool with. I need the market to go back up so we can offload our condo. Worst comes to worst, we can fix up the house, then rent out the condo and move into the house while the contractors build the second level. And that way, I'm not paying a full 2 mortgages. Oh, and we're in the midst of refinancing our condo now, so all that extra money we are saving each month is going into savings for the house.

I have been worrying all weekend...can we afford another mortgage, plus taxes, plus repair costs? My friend won't charge us labor, but whatever itmes we need (sheetrock, etc) will need to come OOP. We started saving for a downpayment last year or so, so we have about 20k, so we would wipe that out if we got the house for 100k, that leaves us with nothing to fix the house...which wouldn't be so bad until we can save and a do a little at a time...and meanwhile putting equity into the condo. I did look up renovation loans, so we can take out a line of credit against the new house once we are ready to build up, and that's based on what the value would be AFTER the remodel. It's a lot of work, and I imagine if we take it slow and do it right, it will take years to fix....but it would be our dream house. And it's right by my parents which is good and it's the neighborhood I grew up in....and who knows...maybe one day I will be like my uncle and have all the neighborhood kids over to swim in my pool......

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Welcome New Followers!!!!!!!!

I saw today that my guest post at 4 Hats and Frugal was published today and I know I will get a few people over here and just wanted to say HELLO to all my new followers!

This year, I expect GREAT things to happen, so be sure to stay tuned to see how I'm saving money with the Money Saving Challenge and also how my poker is going. I really want to hunker down and hold myself accountable since I was successful in doing so in the past, and I will admit, I got a little lazy and went off track. But now, it's time to hunker down and start saving for a little one, a house and a vacation (on a PLANE!) Yes, big things are happening for me in 2012...stay tuned and see how I can help you save money, and maybe enhance your poker career!

Please feel free to drop me a line on here anytime if you have questions or comments...I love feedback!