Disney Epcot Food & Wine Festival

For all you peeps out there who participated in the Disney Give A Day, Get A Day volunteer promotion, and you've been saving your free passes for a special occasion, now is the time. Celebrating its 15th year, the 2010 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival will be held from October 1- November 14th.  Your Epcot admission is all that's needed to participate in this popular venue. Find the answers to all your questions HERE.
As with all Disney events, themed entertainment is part of the festivities. Visitors to the Food and Wine Festival can "Eat to the Beat!"
The following line-up of performers is scheduled for the 2010 "Eat to the Beat" Concert Series:
10/01 - 10/03 - Taylor Dayne
10/04 - 10/05 - Kool & The Gang
10/06 - 10/08 - Sugar Ray
10/09 - 10/10 - Taylor Hicks
10/11-  10/12 - Air Supply
10/13 - 10/15 - Sister Hazel
10/16 - 10/17 - Howard Jones
10/18 - 10/19 - Expose
10/20 - 10/21 - 38 Special

10/22 - 10/24 - Night Ranger
10/25 - 10/27 - Billy Ocean
10/28 - 10/31 - Starship starring Mickey Thomas
11/01 - 11/03 - Boyz II Men
11/04 - 11/05 - Roger Hodgson
11/06 - 11/07 - Jon Secada
11/08 - 11/09 - Hanson
11/10 - 11/11 - Rick Springfield
11/12 - 11/14 - Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
Performances are at 5:15, 6:30 and 7:45 at the America Gardens Theater.

Eat for Less Than $3 A Day

At the end of the month, since its the only payday of the month - I like to take a look back at things and assess. Additionally, since its the end of the 3rd quarter of the year, its also a good time to estimate expenses for the quarter or year, and what to expect coming up.
Today, I figured out that we spend an average of $2.81 a day each on food, me and DH (and the dog - her food and treats and toys are included in that too). We have spent $869 this year on household supplies, and groceries at the store. When you add our eating out at restaurants it brings the average per day to less than $3 each. Can you believe it? I thinks its pretty great. If I figured this month alone, it would be even lower, about $1.82 each. Here's how we do it
  1. Use coupons - I get 5 newspapers every Sunday and 3 other people at work bring me their coupons on Monday's. So with 8 coupons I can match up the sales with the coupon to save over 90% on all my grocery store purchases. I used to shop at Walmart and Target for household supplies but not in the last year. Publix can always beat those prices with BOGO sales, advantage buys and stacking manufacturer coupons with Publix store coupons.
  2. Stockpile - when there is a sale of products we use regularly, I use all my coupons and get at least 8 of the item. This usually lasts until another similar deal comes along (most sales rotate every quarter). I stockpile pasta, sauces, mixes, croutons, salad dressing, coffee, creamer, cereal, soda, condiments, paper supplies and dog food. If chicken goes on sale for less than $1.99 a lb, I'll stock up.
  3. Cook at home - a great way to minimize food expenses is to prepare your meals at home - breakfast, lunch and dinner! Using the products we stockpile, we can make plenty of food, enough for leftovers which brings me to the next tip.
  4. Eat leftovers - we usually have leftovers at least 2 nights a week which help minimize cooking time and expenses.
  5. Shop at produce stands or start a garden - we usually stop at a produce stand when we're out motorcycling in the countryside to get fresh, inexpensive vegetables for our salads and cooking. We do have a garden with our Earth boxes, but we've found that it costs more than it produces - so its really just for a hobby. But so far our boxes have nice large tomato plants, green peppers, green onions, cucumbers, celery, and yellow squash. The harvest will be about 2 months from now.
  6. Brew your own coffee - We both love our coffee every morning and it helps to brew our own. Coffee is something that is often available for a great deal when you watch for a BOGO sale. This is definitely something I'm always watching for to stockpile, you can never have enough in your stash. It would kill me to pay a high regular price for it. We also use flavored coffee and creamers so it tastes just like Starbucks. We occasionally get a Starbucks in the airport or when we travel, but we always use a free gift card for that.
  7. Bring your lunch to work - Bringing your lunch to work can save you $2000 a year. We make 10 salads every weekend and its easy and fast to pack a lunch with salad, yogurt and soda to eat at the office.
  8. Bring your snacks to work - Another way to cut expense is to bring your own snacks to work, avoiding the vending machines. Fresh fruit, granola bars, trail mix, cheese sticks and baked goods make great healthy snacks. Of course most of these can be purchased for a few pennies with coupons.
  9. Limit eating out at restaurants - we only eat out on Friday and Saturday nights at our favorite pub. Any other time is with a free gift card we get from AMEX reward points, or for a secret shop where the meal is reimbursed. When we go out for our usual weekend chicken wings we also pay with our own allowance, in cash. It's not considered a "house" expense.
  10. Eat & drink less - we don't starve ourselves, but we eat and drink only moderately. We can make a pizza last 2 meals, and we limit ourselve to one soda per day. Most of the restrictions we place on ourselves are to help maintain our healthy, active lifestyle - but it helps to stretch out your food supplies. We don't waste food and we are not gluttons. Its usually better to take a normal serving, and if we're still hungry then have seconds. We usually only eat when we're hungry, not necessarily when the clock says its a meal time. I don't eat anything after dinner, no night time snacks.
To be frugal and minimize expenses is a lifestyle, not a recipe to be followed for one week. Anyone can cut back expenses with very little effort. It just takes willpower to keep it up for a couple weeks to make it a habit.
Try it.

The #RAYS are Playoff Bound, Also Get 10 Strikeouts Free Pizza!

Wow, lots of greatness from the Tampa Bay #RAYS! First off they won the game tonight against Baltimore Orioles, And they got 10 Strikeouts which means more FREE PIZZA pizza from Papa Johns (print off your certificate at www.kanesstrikeoutcontest.com or bring your ticket stub to a KANES store near you), and they clinched a playoff berth! How exciting!
 
And just in time, the Rays are making 20,000 free tickets available to Wednesday night's regular-season home finale against the Orioles at Tropicana Field.
"You heard from a couple of our players about the crowd last night," said Rays team president Matt Silverman. "You can sense from that and other comments throughout the year that our players really thrive on the energy in the ballpark when it's full of our fans. We have a very good record in this ballpark on Saturday night concerts and other games where we're able to pack the place in." Game time is 7:10 p.m. ET. Tickets will be distributed at all gates beginning at 4:45 p.m on Wed 9/29. First Come First Serve, more details HERE

Publix Run

Things here in Frugalapolis have been kind of slow; I've been busy nursing my DH back to health after a motorcycle collision last Sunday where an unlicensed, uninsured driver ran a stop sign and collided with him. He broke his shoulder, and his feet and knees have lots of bruising, pain and soft tissue damage. The helmet did its job. So it is still a long journey back to pre-accident health. He's just barely able to walk now.
 
Anyway, I did manage to get him into the Publix store to be my shopping helper yesterday. The new Publix P&G coupons and the new P&G insert from 9-26 combine for a lot of moneymakers. I choose to use the overage for gift cards, so this is the week to stock up. Here's my plan for later today.
 
27-Sep 40   136.18 16.86 121.20 tax 2.34 66 -98.28%
Product qty price subtl -B1G1 -Q   total Q# Q details
glade oil refills 2ct BOGO 2 5.49 10.98 5.49 6.49 0.38 -0.62 3 BOGO MQ 9-26pg + 0.50/1 PQ
bounty 6 1.97 11.82   14.82 0.83 -2.17 7 free wyb 3 items+$3/5 P&G items PQ
swiffer starter kit 1 2.69 2.69   2.00 0.19 0.88 2 $1/1 MQ+$1/1 PQ
swiffer sweeper refill 1 4.99 4.99   5.99 0.35 -0.65 2 free refill wyb starter kit 9-26PG+$1/1PQ
Downy ball   1.39 0.00     0.00 0.00   $1/1 MQ+$1/1 PQ
swiffer dust shine spray 6 3.79 22.74 11.37 11.37 0.80 0.80 12 BOGO 9-26PG+$1/1PQ
Frebreeze candle RC 7 2.50 17.50   21.00 1.23 -2.28 14 $2/1 MQ 8-29pg+$1/1 PQ
Febreeze set check 7 3.29 23.03   30.03   -7.00 14 free set check wyb candle 9-26P&G+$1/1 PQ
Smart Balance milk 1/2 2 2.50 5.00   4.00   1.00 2 $2/1 MQ print
Sundown vit D 2 2.99 5.98   8.00   -2.02 3 $1/1MQ+$6/2 PQ
nyquil dayquil 5 1.29 6.45   12.50 0.45 -5.60 6 $1.50/1 MQ 8-29 PG+$3/5 PQ P&G items
$/$$ coupon   0.00 0.00   5.00   -5.00 1 $5/$25 competitor x10/7
Gift Card 1 25.00 25.00       25.00    

Sweetbay Coupon Seminars in FL

Thanks to KimBob from SD, here is information on upcoming events from Sweetbay (Publix Competitor in FL).
Sweetbay Supermarket is proud to bring back the original Coupon Queen for an eight-store tour from September 29 through October 8 to conduct free seminars showing shoppers "how to spot value at the grocery store."  Nationally recognized Susan Samtur, the Coupon Queen, will conduct a practical seminar on simple ways to spot value, stick to your shopping list and stay within your family budget.
Sweetbay will feature The Coupon Queen at eight stores throughout Florida, all seminars taking place promptly at 10 a.m. The schedule is as follows:

9/29   Clearwater
1861 N. Highland Avenue
10/5    Ft. Myers
5690 Bayshore Road
9/30   New Port Richey
7431 State Road 54
10/6   Sarasota
4230 Bee Ridge Road
10/1   Clermont
1714 U.S. Hwy. 27         
10/7  Bradenton
5802 14th Street W.
10/4   Naples
7550 Mission Hills Drive
10/8  Northdale, Tampa
15692 N. Dale Mabry Hwy.
 
To attend a seminar, those interested must register by calling (813) 251-4242 x224 or by e-mailing SweetbayCouponQueen@gmail.com - please note which Sweetbay location and number of people attending. All attendees will receive $5 off their grocery bill, a coupon organizer, coupon book and a copy of Refundle Bundle, the magazine by The Coupon Queen, while supplies last.

#Rays Get 10 Strikeouts Against Yankees - Again!

The Tampa Bay #Rays are awesome!
They just got 10 strikeouts against the stupid Yankees! The only way the Yankees win is when they get Derek Cheater to fake an injury to get our head coach thrown out of the game. Drama, Drama, Drama. How can you stand it?
Anyway yeah for more free Papa Johns Pizza. We just had one tonight for dinner and still have 17 free coupons to use up in the next 5 weeks. I think we can do it. We give them out as tips to our favorite bartenders and our handyman fixing up the bedroom.   
On Thursday, you can print your certificate at www.kanesstrikeoutcontest.com. But hurry, you only have one day to print it, but you have 3 days to redeem it at a Kanes store near you. The certificates now are valid until 10/25/2010.
I'm a genius knowing they would get 10K on Wednesday, and held onto my certificate to turn in a couple at once. Just go to your nearest http://www.kanes.com/ within 3 days of the game for a Free 10" cheese pizza at Papa Johns.

#Rays 10 Strikeouts Kanes Free Papa Johns Pizza

Well, they didn't win Tuesday, but the #Tampa Bay #Rays did get 10 strikeouts! The Rays are awesome! Yeah more free Papa Johns Pizza. Today, you can print your certificate at www.kanesstrikeoutcontest.com. But hurry, you only have one day to print it, but you have 3 days to redeem it at a Kanes store near you. The certificates now are valid until 10/25/2010.
 
I'm hoping they'll get 10 strikeouts again Wednesday, so hold onto your certificate and turn in a couple at once at your nearest http://www.kanes.com/ within 3 days of the game for a Free 10" cheese pizza at Papa Johns.
 
Keep some beer in your fridge for this weekend when they have home games on Fri, Sat & Sun. This is the beginning of the end of our free pizzas, with only 10 more home games to occur this year.

No Free Pizza Yet

Well, the #Rays won against the #Yankees last night with a late game, 11th inning homerun. But they didn't get 10 Strikeouts, so no free Papa Johns pizza for us #Tampa folks. Yet. There are still two more home games this week to give us a chance for more pizza.
 
We've been living off the stuff the last two months. We usually get the plain 10" cheese pizza for free, plus the upgrade "The Works" for $5. Last time we got thin crust with the works and it was the best pizza I've had yet from Papa Johns. 

Tangled Up In Blue

I picked that title because Dear likes that song by Bob Dylan, who happens to be touring to Tampa area soon. Plus I've got blue on my mind and its tangling up. There are so many detail and decisions cluttering my thoughts. You know we're in the midst of a mini remodel - just the bedroom. At first we were just going to get a new bed after staying in a nice hotel in Bristol and sleeping like a queen on a fluffy, plush pillow top mattress - I was sold. So we came home and listed the waterbed on CL and it sold pretty quickly. Maybe we should have asked more than $150 for it, but I feel like we got our moneys worth out of it. The waterbed mattress was from 1996 and it cost about $500 back then, so $150 is good in my book.
 
Anyway, the bed is gone and the room is empty so why not fix it up first before getting another bed? So the last couple nights we've been running errands getting supplies and shopping. We decided we'll probably get our mattress at Sears because its on sale and we get free delivery. After dealing with that waterbed, we're not real excited about moving in a mattress and boxspring. I guess its just a sign we're getting old, when we'd rather pay someone to do a crappy job, than save the money and do it ourselves.
 
But we're still doing some crappy jobs ourselves. Like doing demolition of the old tile windowsills so our handyman can come install new marble ones. Like ripping out the old carpet in the bedroom and tack strips to prepare for our new flooring. I think I mentioned we were planning on blue carpet. But as we thought about it a little, we've changed our minds and decided to go with blue tile. The tile will be cooler, easier to see dirt and keep clean, better for my allergies and cheaper. About half the cost. Plus it speeds up the process by not waiting to schedule a carpet measure and wait 10 days for delivery and install. So we found some nice azul color tile at Floor & Decor and got a couple hundred tiles to do the bedroom.
 
This weekend we'll get everything ready, demo the sills, rip up the rug, paint the walls a light blue (rain drop is the color) and our handyman can wrap it all up next week.

Time To Remodel Again

Once again as the summer winds down, its time in our house to consider another remodel project. If you remember, last fall we gutted our two bathrooms and kitchen, replumbed the water pipes and built entirely new bathrooms and new kitchen. Our next project is the bedroom and the dressing room. We're kind of non traditional folks and decided to use our rooms in the house as we see fit which isn't always what other people do.
 
We made our master bedroom into a dressing room since it had a larger closet and bathroom connected. When we first moved into the house we had different work schedules with one of us getting up earlier to get showered and changed for work. It was more convenient and considerate to do this in a different room than the one the sleeping person was in. Also, I happen to have asthma and try to keep the bedroom allergen free by minimizing surfaces to collect dust, clothing or materials that shed skin cells and attract dust mites. So our bedroom is pretty bare, all it has is a bed and a dresser for the TV.
 
Anyway, we sold our vintage waterbed (thru craigslist) the other night which was drama in itself, you can read about it here. So now the bedroom is empty. Since its empty we decided to replace the carpet and update the window sills with marble, rather than the mid century tile. We may also replace the ceiling fan and we'll definitely paint it a color (yeah another white room bites the dust!), and get new blinds or window coverings.
 
The first step is to schedule a measure for the carpet. Home Depot has a deal now for $37 install. plus I signed up for the HD movers club and they emailed me a 10% off coupon the same day. I also redeemed a bunch of AMEX points for HD gift cards that should arrive in a few days. So after the measure it will be another 7-10 days to get the carpet installed. By then the windowsills and painting would done.
 
Next its bed shopping for us and paint selection.

National Coupon Month

September is National Coupon Month. As Americans embrace frugality, both coupon distribution and use have increased significantly over the past year, further demonstrating this strong desire to spend wisely and save. Seeking coupons, savings and deals remains commonplace as National Coupon Month is recognized throughout September for the 13th consecutive year.
 
Coupon Facts
  1. Coupon redemption in the first half of 2010 increased by 7.9%, outpacing results in the first half of 2009. Consumers saved nearly $2 billion with coupons during this time frame.1
  2. Coupon distribution in the first half of 2010 increased by 11.4%. Marketers offered 18 billion more consumer packaged goods coupons during this time period.1
  3. 93% of shoppers said they will remain cautious and keep spending at their current level, even if the economy improves.2
  4. 92% of shoppers have changed their grocery shopping behavior in the last two years.2 
  5. 97% of consumers want to know the cost of the item before buying.3
  6. CPG marketers continue to allocate the largest share of coupons — 85% — in the free-standing insert (FSI).1
  7. In 2010, the Internet continues to grow at a much faster pace than all other distribution media, up 79% from a year ago, but it represents 1.2% of all coupon distribution.1
  8. 91% of shoppers would walk away from the "perfect sweater" if it wasn´t on sale. 73% would come back later during a sale with a store coupon; and 19% would go to the sale racks instead.4  
  9. CPG distribution increased by 11% in 2009 (311 billion coupons distributed) — the largest single-year distribution quantity recorded.5
  10. Consumers redeemed nearly 3.2 billion coupons — a 23% increase (second largest increase in coupon redemption ever recorded) in 2009.5
  11. Consumers saved nearly $3.5 billion with coupons in 2009, an increase of $800 million or nearly 30% more than the prior year.5
  12. 51% of consumers indicate they will consider each purchase more carefully over the next five years. (Nearly as many say that they will become more price-conscious when buying clothing/food and that keeping a balanced budget will remain in the forefront).6
  13. 65% of shoppers use cents-off coupons received in the mail or from newspapers/magazines.7
  14. In 2009, 88% of consumers said they used coupons when planning shopping lists; an increase of 10% from 2007.5
  15. 73% (3 out of 4) of shoppers stock up on an item when they find a bargain.7
  16. 42% of shoppers are more likely to buy private label in 2010.8
  17. 77% of consumers use CPG coupons on a regular basis.9
  18. One year ago, 66% of consumers (a record number) were focused on needs over wants; 60% in Jan. 2010 — an indicator that consumer spending — at least on impulses or non-necessities — is likely to remain tight during Q1 of 2010.6
  19. The projected redemption value of U.S. online coupons delivered via the Internet, e-mail and mobile in 2010 is $12.7 billion10
1NCH Marketing Services, Inc., Mid-Year 2010 Coupon Facts Report
2The 2010 American Pantry Study: The New Rules of the Shopping Game by Deloitte and Harrison Group
3
National Grocers Assoc. 2010 Consumer Panel Survey
4 Redplum.com Savings Style Survey, July 2010
5NCH: U.S. CPG 2009 Coupon Marketplace Facts

6BIGresearch's Consumer Intentions & Actions Survey, Jan. 2010
7National Grocers Assoc. 2010 Consumer Panel Survey
8Supermarket Guru® 2010 Top Food Trends
9NCH Coupon Facts Report, 2010
10Borell Associates, "What's On Sale? Coupon and Sales Circulars Move Online"
 
source

Happy Labor Day

Hope you have the day off, after toiling away all these months. We're enjoying a nice long weekend.

Survivor

If you're sticking around Tampa Bay this weekend, here's a fun free event. Busch Gardens is hosting a concert on Sunday Sept 5 in Gwazi field at 4pm. The old eighties band Survivor will be playing for FREE (included with park admission).

And The Winner Is...

The winner of the latest giveaway of the General Mills Boxtops and MyBlogSpark gift pack and Target gift card is Dianne (dpoff1961@). The winner has been notified by email and has 24 hours to respond or a new winner will be picked.
 
Thanks to everyone who entered!