Uber Virgin No More - How Rideshare Works

 
So last night we tried out Uber. I had a promo code for a free first ride (you can get a free first ride too by using my promo code uberFPLS when you sign up at uber.com) so we wanted to try it out to see how it works. Its really simple, I signed up on the internet and provided my name, address, mobile phone # and a payment method and the promo code so my first ride would be free. I verified my email and phone number. Then on my cell phone I downloaded the free Uber app and signed in.

We decided to go out for chicken wings at BWW in Ybor City, a fairly close ride about ten miles from our home. When we had touched base with our friends I opened the Uber app and a map of my area showed with a marker for pickup area. I entered our exact home address and then down on the bottom part of the app I clicked UberX. There are three types of fares for Uber; UberX is regular 0.95/mile, and UberXL is for larger groups so you'll get a van or SUV to answer your request for a ride and this costs $1.35/mile. There is also UberSelect which is fancy cars like BMWs and this costs + $2/mile (not exactly sure of price). But for most people UberX will work just fine.

When I clicked the UberX I could see on the app that my request was picked up by a car less than a mile away from my home and it would be a Camry. It linked my pickup spot to the car and I could see it move on my map as it got closer. Within 4 minutes the dude was in our driveway. He was really nice and when we started our ride and he clicked his app on his phone to start the ride it showed our destination and gave him verbal and visual directions to Ybor City. We asked the driver a ton of questions being that we had never done a Uber ride before. We had an equally nice experience on the way home with another Uber driver.

It was an easy way to get around, and we'll definitely do it for the airport when we travel. The thing in Tampa is that Uber is not licensed to provide services at the airport so drivers take care to make sure a passenger is in the front seat to appear less like a taxi service; and to ask the passenger to not answer any questions from people who may question them upon disembarking from a vehicle about whether they just utilized Uber for their ride.

So, if you ever need a ride around town, I'd recommend you try Uber. And use my promo code uberFPLS to sign up for your free first time ride only. I am not being compensated for this blog post from Uber, I just like the service and think its a great alternative choice. The only benefit I get for sharing is if you use my promo code uberFPLS, I also get a free ride on Uber just like you do.

When Rays Score 6 Runs, get 50% off Papa Johns

This weekend the Rays had two big games where they scored more than 6 runs, and you may not know they have an ongoing promotion with Papa Johns to get 50% off your order the day after a game when that happens. Just order online or with your Papa Johns app and enter promo code RAYS6 for 50% off. That makes a $14 Large Works pizza just $7.49. This promotion goes on all summer.

My Publix Trip Spent $6, Saved $78.35

 Well our shopping has changed since the end of Winn Dixie $5 off $30 coupons. Occasionally there are other competitors or gas card deals ($10 off $50) or even Publix coupons in the paper, but generally we've been eating more off our stockpile. For our produce, which is expensive at Publix we shop at Save-A-Lot. We can get a 4 lb bag of navel oranges for $2.99, when the same 8 oranges at Publix would be more than double that. So, we go to the store a lot less; one trip to SaveALot and one trip to Publix. I also have to watch the ads for Winn Dixie and Aldi to see if there is any produce deal we need. It costs about $6 a week to get lettuce and stuff for our salads.

This trip was about usual, spending a little more than $5. Our goal now this year is to spend $100 a month to feed the two of us. This trip was all coupon stuff, the craisins were free, and the vitamins and buddig meats were moneymakers. I did another similar shop with vitamin A which is cheaper than Folic, and the same basket of stuff cost me $2.48. The bacon was a good deal ($1 each) because we used the Publix coupon from last weekends paper for $2 off $8 of meat, and also some $2 off pork coupons we picked up at the state fair in the Florida Living Building at the Iowa Corn booth. In the end it cost $6, and we saved $78.35 - a 92% savings.

Here is the breakdown:

2014: Review of How We Lived On $34,000

Our household expenses for the year

Another year has passed us by and it is admittedly getting tougher to live frugally. I especially felt like spending money this Christmas season, and felt jealous of others my age (in their 50's) who have houses worth 3x ours, and fancy vacations, and some even retiring. Granted there are plenty of people out there who are also falling into poverty through no fault of their own from medical issues to just bad luck in their careers. We are thankful to be able able to stay the course and hope the stock market continues its steady climb.

We do not make a lot of money, but we both work. But we have managed to save over half of our income and invest in some dividend stocks, peer to peer lending with Lending Club, and ETFs through Wealthfront. As a result our money made more money than we did this year. We have no debt and our retirement portfolio increased by over twenty percent again this year. And it is because we save more than we spend. We also spend less than we make. Both frugal actions are necessary to plan a successful future.  But it is hard, even though the behavior is ingrained throughout life. There are always new temptations and desires so my defense is to always wait on spending decisions. I have to think it through, alot. I once read that you should take a day to think about every $100 you spend. So, it you want to buy a $500 dollar laptop, you need to think about it for 5 days before you spend to determine if you can really justify the purchase. Thats my trick anyway.

So, this year we spent about $34,000 maintaining our lifestyle and household. We track everything on Mint.com and categorize the expenses. Last year we spent $32K. One big expense ($2,125) this year was our dog. She is over 14 now and has developed a permanent case of vertigo due to chronic ear infections and being under anesthetic surgery this year. Our largest expense category this year is allowance and personal care ($4200). We each get $250 a month in allowance to spend or save as we please. If we both do something together it is considered a household expense, but if only one person wants the expenditure it is allowance. I usually buy computer stuff or victoria secret or clothing, my husband buys experiences like auto racing, or massages. Our next largest category is travel ($3661) and it was lower this year than previous years. The third largest expense category was Clothing, Electronics and Miscellaneous ($3611). This was a surprise to me since it didn't seem like we spend much on clothes but I guess we did. This is an area for opportunity to cut back since probably most of it was discretionary and unnecessary.

We did have a couple categories where we managed to cut expenses, one was cable and also phone. We played the mars movie moments sweepstakes and won hundreds of dollars toward our cable bill this summer. We essentially had free cable and internet for four months. We also changed my husbands smartphone to ringplus where he only pays $11 a month for phone, text and data. I pay $50 a month for the unlimited Sprint plan. We still coupon for our groceries and with the changes in Publix coupon policies it has affected our ability to stockpile.

We expect to see our grocery bill go higher in 2015 but still plan to do what we can with coupons. I still will get six newspapers on Sunday for coupons, but I think printing coupons is probably cheaper and there are many of the same insert coupons that available to print. I also want to investigate a way to decrease the insurance costs of our 17 year old truck. We have max coverage and we only drive it 1500 miles a year making it expensive per mile analysis. We need to separate the vehicles and get a separate policy with just minimum on the truck. There are other areas we could cut back but at this point we don't see the need.

#Pillsbury Peanut Butter Blosssoms Cookies

 
Nothing says the ‘holidays are here’ quite like warm baked cookies! This year, throw a special minty treat into your cookie jar with seasonal Pillsbury Ready to Bake™ Peppermint Chocolate Chip Cookies. With a perfect mix of peppermint and chocolate these Pillsbury Ready to Bake™ Cookies are sure to be a holiday hit! In store for a limited time only, available at Publix.

Need to plan for a bake sale, cookie exchange or holiday party? Pillsbury’s Quick Peanut Butter Blossoms recipe makes it quick and easy to bake up this holiday classic.
Be on the lookout for exclusive savings on Pillsbury refrigerated cookies starting December 4, available at Publix!


Printable coupons available at www.ReadyPlanSave.com
 
Disclosure: The information and prize pack have been provided by General Mills through Platefull Co-Op.

#ChexPartyMix Holiday Snack #Recipe @PlatefullCoOp


No holiday party would be complete without a delicious party mix to munch on while sharing laughs and fun. Fortunately, Chex makes it easy with over 100 Chex Party Mix recipes, including 50 gluten free recipes, with ingredients available at Publix. Visit http://chexpartymix.com/recipes to see all the recipes.

The recipe I made was the Mexican Hot Chocolate Chex Party Mix with cinnamon, chocolate, marshmallow and coconut, takes only 15 minutes to make and is sure to be a hit. Just measure the cereal, then melt the butter, chocolate chips in a separate bowl, add the sweetened condensed milk. Pour the chocolate sauce on the Chex mix while stirring and heating in the microwave. It is a crispy, sweet delicious snack.
 
Be on the lookout for in-store savings and digital coupons on the www.ReadyPlanSave.com website, and share the following sales info with your fellow Publix shoppers!

In-Store Savings
  • Chex Cereal $3.79 on BOGO from 11/20 – 11/26*, no coupon required for savings, available at Publix. *Dates might vary in certain markets.
Printable Coupons
  • Visit www.ReadyPlanSave.com to clip and print your coupons. Available while supplies last.
  • Save $1 when you buy 2 Chex cereals
 #ChexPartyMix and #paid
@PlatefullCoOp

Disclosure: The information and prize pack have been provided by General Mills through Platefull Co-Op.

Holiday Brownies with #BettyCrockerBakeCenter #Publix

frugalapolis.com
Holiday Baking with Betty!

Baking season is here and the Betty Crocker Bake Center has everything you need to create delicious goodies for your family and friends. Find exclusive savings on essential baking mixes and ingredients from brands such as Betty Crocker, Hershey’s and Ziploc® brand containers, available at Publix. Looking for new baking recipes to delight your guests this season? The Bake Center display will feature four exclusive baking recipes as well as coupons; find the Bake Center at your local Publix.

Save on all your favorite baking products, including:
 
Publix In-Store Savings
  • FREE Ziploc® brand container with the purchase of any three (3) Betty Crocker™ Baking Mixes, Hershey’s® Kisses/Baking Chips, or Betty Crocker™ Decorating Items. Look for coupon in the Betty Crocker in-store display at your local Publix. Coupon available while supplies last.
  • Betty Crocker Supermoist Cake any flavor on BOGO, available 11/13 – 11/19*
  • Betty Crocker Frosting any flavor 2/$3, available 11/13 – 11/19*
  • *Dates might vary in certain markets.
Printable Coupons
  • Visit www.ReadyPlanSave.com to clip and print your coupons. Available while supplies last.
  • Save 75¢ when you buy TWO Betty Crocker® Ready to Spread Frosting, Supreme Brownie Mix, Dessert Bar Mix, SuperMoist® Cake Mix. 
Let the holiday baking fun begin!

Here are the two coupons to get a great deal, and a scenario.

Buy (4) Betty Crocker Cake Mix (BOGO $1.99) + (2) Frosting ($1.50ea) + 2 Ziploc containers (free with coupons) = $6.98 - (.75/2) - $1/2 = $3.73 (thats 46 cents each item)

It's another great week of sale items for your baking needs. Last week we stocked up on cookie mixes, and this week it will be cake and brownie mixes. These brownies below are super easy to make and the cream cheese frosting is the perfect holiday touch to show of the green and red sprinkles.

#frugalapolis
 #BettyCrockerBakeCenter and #paid 
 @PlatefullCoOp
 Disclosure: The information and prize pack have been provided by General Mills through Platefull Co-Op.

#CrunchyGoodness Meets Creamy #PlatefullCoop #Publix


How does some free Cascadian Farm granola and free Liberyogurt sound? Both are possible this week!

Fall is a great time of the year to switch to a hearty breakfast for those cool mornings. Of course you eat breakfast, don't you? It's my favorite meal of the day because all the choices are yummy!  Your family will love when you serve granola topped with fruit and yogurt. Cascadian Farm Granola and Liber yogurt are a perfect, easy combination that is convenient to prepare before school or work. My favorite combination is the Fruit and Nut Granola topped with Blackberry Liber yogurt.

If you have a hectic morning and need to bring your breakfast with you, there are these handy two part containers with a lid where you can pre portion the cereal and yogurt to transport to your destination. Then you can munch on your mid morning snack after you get settled from your commute. This #CrunchyGoodness in your morning can't be beat!


#PlatefullCoop #Paid #Frugalapolis

Choosing delicious breakfast and snack options doesn’t have to be difficult! Just combine your favorite flavors of Liberté yogurt and Cascadian Farm granola, available at Publix. For example you can mix Liberte Coconut Yogurt with Cascadian Farm Dark Chocolate Coconut Protein Granola, for a sweet and tropical combination. Or you can try Liberte French Vanilla with Cascadian Farm Apple Crisp Granola, for a combination that tastes like fall! 

Now onto the savings! You can save on Liberté Yogurt and Cascadian Farm Organic Granola with an in ad Publix coupon, and a "Try Me Free" peelie found on select boxes of cereal.

In-Store Savings
There is a Publix Coupon on the last page of the ad 10/23 - 10/29, which is required for free yogurt savings.

  • Get 2 free cups of Liberte yogurt when you buy any one (1) Cascadian Farm cereal, Cascadian Farm Granola or Protein Granola.
  •  

Peelie Coupons
There are peelie manufacturer coupons on some of the boxes of the cereal for $1.00 off one box. Also look for the "Try Me Free" rebate peelie where you can submit your receipt and the peelie to the manufacturer for the $3.99 refund.

Printable Coupons
If you can't find the peelies, you can always visit www.ReadyPlanSave.com to clip and print your coupons. Available while supplies last.
  • Save $0.40 when you buy one Liberte yogurt (it's on sale for $1.00)
  • Save $0.75 when you buy any one Cascadian Farm product 
So, here's the best Scenario:
Buy 1 box of Cascadian Farm Granola ($3.99)
Buy 2 cups of Liberte yogurt $1.00 each ($2.00)
Use 1 Publix store coupon for 2 free yogurt wyb 1 cereal  (-$2.00)
Use 1 Manufacturer peelie for granola (-$1.00)
Use 2 Manufacturer printable coupons for yogurt (-$0.80)
Get 1 Manufacturer peelie for granola "Try Me Free" rebate of $3.99 (limit one per HH)
So, pay $2.19 for granola and yogurt, submit for $3.99 rebate and it's a moneymaker!


#CrunchyGoodness, #PlatefullCoOp and #paid

Disclosure: The information and prize pack have been provided by General Mills through Platefull Co-Op. 

My Publix Trip - Gas Card Deal, Saved $130


So, I think I like the new coupon policy. I actually found some eye drops and vita melts on the shelf at #Publix today. I actually thought this weeks sale had a lot of stuff I needed to get and managed to get my order up without too many fillers, so I could get a gas card. But then after throwing in ground pork and buns to make Manwiches this weekend, my order got even  bigger so I got TWO gas cards. The cashier didn't say anything, but I'm not sure if that's allowed to do multiple gas cards per order. But we're in the grace period another week so its cool. Another cool thing, was I didn't need numbers which hardly ever happens, especially since I stacked store and manufacturer coupons on almost all my deals.

In the end, I spent $101, and my receipt tells me I saved $130. We walked out of there with two $50 gas cards and our pile of groceries was essentially free after the coupons. In the old days, I would have expected to make a profit off the gas card deal but now I'm fine with paying for the gas card and getting my food for free. Life is really going to change with couponing after all my WD $5 off $30 expire at the end of the year. Besides the cutback in Redplum coupons in Tampa, and then no WD, and the tighter coupon policies, I'm sure my grocery budget will need to be adjusted.

But couponing will always be worth it.


Here is the spreadsheet EXCEL file if you would like to use it for your coupon shops too.

Publix New Coupon Policy Size Clarification

The new Publix coupon policy is confusing everyone, especially the stores. To clarify the new policy which starts on 10/18/14, if a coupon does not have a size requirement it may not be acceptable. Well, here is your justification that "any" is considered a size. Its a letter from corporate that states coupons that state "any size" are acceptable. Save it to your smartphone, you're going to need it.