My Weight Loss July Update

Well, its been a month since I posted about our weight loss since our cruise in May. If you remember, both DH and I had gained some weight and were determined to lose it. It's not necessarily a goal to lose weight fast, but by slightly modifying our diet and and increasing our exercise we did manage to lose five pounds in June.

July has been a little tougher because of the wonderful free sweet and salty snack deal at Busch Gardens this past month. We've been walking there several times a week and of course we have to get the free snack. Popcorn is the healthiest snack they offer, and then the frozen fruit bar could be considered healthy too. But, we've splurged a couple times for the dippin dots cookies and cream ice cream treat, and the snickers ice cream bar. So, there's that. Plus the fact that Ryan Newman won the NASCAR race at Indianapolis this past week and his sponsor gave away a free Bloomin Onion at Outback on Monday. I know all these excuses are lame, but that's the way life is. So, we only lost 3 more pounds.

The good thing is we've been eating healthy recipes and lots of fresh produce. Our daily healthy snack is some fruit. DH learned this cool way to cut melons on the cruise ship. The chefs just cut off the top and the bottom of the each round melon and then it sits nice on your cutting board so you can just slice off the rind, without wasting any fruity flesh. Then he just grinds up the rinds in the food processor with our other compost items and pours the whole mess into the garden composter outside.

So we've lost eight pounds in 8 weeks, for an average 1 pound a week. I would like to lose about eight or ten more pounds so I'll continue to eat healthy foods, drink plenty of water and exercise daily. These 3 diet tips are all you need to know.

My Publix Trip - Gas Card Deal 7/27

I didn't have much luck getting coupons for coffee so I wasn't really sure how I could get my order up to $50 for the gas card deal. I lucked out and they had the Fuze ice tea and then I used a raincheck for some Quattro razors. Which I just realized now the cashier missed one of my $3/1 Target coupons for the razors. Anyway, I spent $39 and got a $50 gas card and all my groceries for essentially free. This shop does not compare to how great we used to have it, but I still managed to get gas for 20% off.

Crispy Chickpeas Great Recipe Idea

This great recipe is quick and easy, plus these crispy chickpeas taste just like popcorn. Last night our dinner idea was to cook pan fried shrimp, and these delicious crispy fried chickpeas, or garbanzo beans. I just poured some oil (about 1/4 inch deep) in a skillet and turned the heat up to 6 on the dial. Then I opened a 15oz can of garbanzo beans and patted dry on paper towels to remove excess juice. When the oil was hot I gently put all the beans into the oil and covered it quickly, it will spatter. Then just shake the pan from side to side to roll them around and evenly cook. Cook for 5 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oil with slotted spoon and drain on a plate lined with paper towel. Pat the excess oil off chickpeas and then sprinkle with some seasoning - I used smoked paprika and garlic powder, plus a dash of sea salt. This food recipe is healthy and delicious, plus ads variety to your meal with the crunchy textures. If you're on a low carb diet, it is a good way to get your protein.

List of States with Tax Free School Shopping Days

School is starting just around the corner, and its time for the annual tax free shopping weekend all over the nation. Some states even include Hurricane preparation items too! Here is a chart from Fed Tax Administrators that lists all the states participating. This year in Florida you can get the discount on laptops and computers too.


Items Included

Maximum Cost
1st Year


Information Links *
Alabama3hurricane preparedness
generators - $1,000
supplies - $60
2012February 22-24
Alabama3clothing - $100
computers - $750
school supplies - $50
books - $30
2006August 2-4
Arkansas2clothing - $100
school supplies
2011August 3-4
clothing and footwear - $300
August 18-24
Florida3school supplies - $15
clothing - $75
computer - $750
2010+August 2-4
Georgia2school supplies - $20
clothing - $100
computer - $1,000
2012+August 9-10
Georgia3energy and water efficient products - $1,5002012+October 4-6
clothing - $100
August 2-3
all TPP - $2,500
August 2-3
hurricane preparedness items - $1,500
May 25-26
firearms, ammunition and hunting supplies
September 6-8
Maryland3energy star products2011February 16-18
Maryland7clothing & footwear-$1002010August 11-17
clothing & footwear - $100
July 26-27
Missouri7energy star products - $1,500 2009April 19-25
Missouri3clothing - $100
computers - $3,500
school supplies - $50
2004August 2-4
New Mexico3clothing - $100
computers - $1,000
computer equip. - $500
school supplies - $30
2005August 2-4
North Carolina
clothing - $100
school supplies - $100
instructional material - $300
computers - $3,500
other comp. - $250
sports equip - $50
August 2-4
North Carolina
energy star products2009November 1-3
clothing - $100
August 2-4
South Carolina
school supplies
August 2-4
clothing - $100
school supplies - $100
computers - $1,500
August 2-4
energy star products
air conditioners - $6,000; other - $2,000
May 25-27
clothing, backpacks and school supplies- $100
August 9-11
Virginia7hurricane preparedness items - $60
generators - $1,000
2008May 25-31
Virginia3clothing - $100
school supplies - $20
2006August 2-4
Virginia4energy star products - $2,5002006October 11-14

My Publix Trip - Paid $1.79, Saved 97%

I don't really need much as we are fully stocked and with the healthy diet we don't eat much processed food. We spent a half day in the kitchen on Sundays and make salads, fruit snacks and meals for the week.

I split up this shop into two transactions so I could use an extra $5 off $30 WD coupon. Basically, the Snausages dog treats overage and the WD coupon paid for the Mountain Dew, with some vitamins thrown in to pay the tax. Many new couponers just don't seem to grasp the concept of having to buy stuff you don't use just to gain overage, but it is essential to having low grocery bills. In addition to overage, you need to buy items to bring up your totals to the threshold needed to use a $ off $$ coupon on top of your order. I did my worksheet before my shop and can't modify it at home so it doesn't show the Prevacid which is on sale for $9.79 (w/ $6 MQ print + $3 TQ print), this is what I used to get to my threshold of $30 instead of a gallon of water.

So on both orders I spent $1.79 and saved about 97%.

On Sunday you can expect to get a $ off $2 seafood coupon for Publix, but no other inserts will be in the paper.

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Free Summer Treats at Busch Gardens #Tampa

Since we live close to Busch Gardens, we go there after work for a walk a few times a week. From the parking lot, through the park and back to the car is over 2 miles. We usually don't even bother to go on any rides, but occasionally we'll stop and see a show if its new. I like to enjoy all the pretty flowers and landscaping, and it's interesting to people watch since most of the patrons are foreigners from South America now. It's winter there and this is their winter break, so huge groups of young teens who don't speak English follow around their guides with flags. It's actually annoying if you get stuck behind a group of fifty to a hundred people like that, so it's one of our challenges to stay ahead of them.

One of the frugal things we do this month, is to get our free daily sweet or salty snack. As season pass holders we're entitled to show our pass at any snack stand and get a free ice cream bar, popcorn, caramel corn, frozen fruit bar or dippin dots ice cream. Usually, we never spend any money at Busch Gardens, we only go for our exercise or to socialize with friends (most have a pass too!) Anyway, its been tough on the diet to get these snacks and stay on track with our diets. It means only a very light dinner and we also throw away the popcorn at half a bag. I know you're thinking, just get half a bag to be frugal. But that doesn't work because then you get a 1/2 bag of old maids and burnt kernels. You have to be able to shake and settle the bag so the good stuff (light and puffy) goes to the top and the heavy unpopped old maids go to the bottom.

Did you get your postcard telling you about the free snacks?
Anyway, this week the afternoon rains have been relentless. Luckily, I've managed to have a weather window to ride my bike home safely and dry, but those storm clouds roll in shortly after. Yesterday when we finished our Publix shop we were going to go for a walk but the rain rolled in, so we just went to the quick drop off area of Busch Gardens and went to the snack stand at the front of the park. We didn't even walk, just went and got our free ice cream. I like to think its being frugal, but some may think of it as being cheap. But as you know frugal is saving money with planning, being cheap is saving money at the expense of others. I guess you could argue that our savings were at the cost of Busch Gardens, but it's their deal - they threw it out there for those who are aware to take advantage of. We asked the employee at the booth how many free snacks they gave out daily and he said not many. He said only 15% of the people have redeemed the offer. That actually seems like a lot to me, since the only notification of this offer was a postcard mailed in June. It's not posted anywhere in the park or on the website, so if you threw away your junk mail you missed out on free stuff all summer.

By the way, don't miss out on next months freebie - Free soda beverage or 20oz Dasani water every day in August.

Pamper Your Pet with Love and Nudges Healthy Dog Treats #NudgesMoments

As a regular reader of Frugalapolis, you know we have a wonderful dog who keeps us happy with her unrelenting love and thoughtfulness. We love to give her love and attention too, and plenty of healthy dog treats as rewards for behaving well and for training. Yes, even old dogs can learn new tricks.

We recently purchased some Nudges dog treats at Walmart (with a $1/1 Nudges coupon of course) and the dog loves them! They work great to help us mange her excitement for walks, and help get the results we seek. You can check out my entire shopping Trip through my Google+ Photo Album HereNudges, which are made in USA dog treats, are premium chicken jerky cuts made with real chicken and are wholesome dog treats for your pets. They have no artificial flavors or fillers and best of all they smell good and they are the best dog treats.

She will walk up to the desk and smell the package and then looking longing at one of us. Dogs are so good at non-verbal signals, its hilarious. When I opened the package and smelled them I was a big fan, they seem just like people food! One of my favorite things about the Nudges is that they are large easy to tear pieces so we can put just one piece in our pocket for a short walk and then tear off the appropriate bite-sized pieces for the dog. 

Ilom always careful with our dogs' diet, health and safety especially as she ages. Because of this, I’m always a little leery about trying a new treat. With all the recent scares involving dog treats made in other countries, I was happy to see that Nudges are safe high quality dog treats made in the USA!

We like to bring our dog with us to outdoor events and get together with friends who also have pets. This helps our dog get some dog companionship she probably missed since our other dog died a few years ago. She grew up with a playmate and is now the lone dog in the doghouse, which I'm sure she likes sometimes - but then again she gets lonely too. She loved playing with Zoey at a recent 4th of July parade.

Another thing important for an older dog is they like gentle petting and softer voices when you are showing your love. I like to use these times to check out the health of my older dog by feeling for new fatty lumps, checking her ears for cleanliness, looking for any new cuts or insect bites and doing a general inspection of her health. I like to see if her coat is shiny and clean, her breath is not smelly, and her paws have trimmed nails. Excessive itching and scratching means its time for her flea goo treatment and possibly an allergy shot. Any time medication is dispensed is a great time to follow up with a Nudge, those wholesome dog treats she loves. 
If you’re interested in checking out the Nudges dog treats, you can learn more on their Facebook page or the Nudges website. They also have their “Share the Love” promotion going on where you can share your dog’s nudge moments by uploading a photo in their giveaway for weekly prizes or a Samsung Galaxy S4 (and $2500 gift card to apply toward phone services)! Upload one of those adorable pictures you have with you and your dog (you must have at least one) or take a new one!

For all the tweeters out there, you can follow them on twitter @NudgesDogTreats. There will be a twitter party on July 17th 2-3pm EST regarding Nudges wholesome dog treats, creating Nudges moments with your pet, and what makes a great day from your pets perspective. Here is the link to the Hosts Twitter party RSVP page.

If your looking for ideas on fun ways to spend your summer be sure to check out this new magazine featured below. There are a lot of great ideas inside.
For more pet safety tips for the summer months, check out the Live SoFab Digital Magazine. There’s more information about Nudges dog treats there as well.

What's your pets favorite thing to do for a Nudge? Tell us all about it in the comments!

Rays Get 10 Strikeouts - Free Papa Johns Pizza w Ticket Stub

The Rays did it again, ten strikeouts yesterday in Tampa. If you were one of the 28,000 fans there you can take your ticket stub to a nearby Kane's Furniture store within 7 days of the game, to exchange it for a coupon for a free 10" cheese pizza at Papa Johns. The Rays and Kanes will not be giving out vouchers this 2013 season in place of game tickets, so the only way to get this deal is with a game ticket.

In case you really want Papa Johns pizza you can always use code: SUM50 to get 50% off your regular priced pizza order.
I'm sorry to see the change in this promotion since we got dozens of free pizzas last year. Oh well, I'm on a diet anyway that doesn't really include bread.
All good things eventually come to an end.

Spent $2 on My Publix Trip - Saved 95%

I just did a little trip today to get some veggies. I got some Wheat thins and Morningstar patties too. Not too much interesting in this ad for me. I have lots of rainchecks for razors and dog treats that I've decided to save for the week of July 25th when rumors say we'll get another gas card deal.
We will also get the $2 off $2 Deli coupon at Publix in the Sunday paper, so I'll probably scoop up a bunch of cheese and meat next week. Small trips though. So I spent $2.09 today.
7/10/13 17   40.77 8.68 30.00 tax 2.09 18 -94.87%
Product qty price subtl B1G1 -Q 0.00 total Q# Q details
Wheat Thins BOGO 2 4.49 8.98 4.49 2.00   2.49 2 $1//2 PQ peelie + $1/2 MQ 6-9ss
Pillsbury refrig rolls 4 1.00 4.00   4.00   0.00 4 $1/2 MQ 5-19ss + $1/2 PQ ad 7/25
green pepper 1 1.28 1.28       1.28    
cucumber 1 0.65 0.65       0.65    
onions 1 0.65 0.65       0.65    
zuchinni 1 2.47 2.47       2.47    
Morningstar patties BOGO 2 4.19 8.38 4.19 3.00   1.19 3 $1/1 6-30rp + $1/2 PQ celebrate bk
Sundown Vitamin B6 4 3.59 14.36   16.00   -1.64 8 (4)$3/1 GAB PQ + (4)$1/1 MQ print 
Winn Dixie $5 off $30 1 0.00 0.00   5.00   -5.00 1 $5 off $30 In the City x12/30/13

10 Tips on How to Bag Your Groceries Correctly

As one who has a handy self bagging expert shopping with me every time we shop, I thought I'd share. DH puts pride into his grocery bagging technique, and it is upsetting to see some fellow shoppers putting crushable and squishable items in the bottom of a bag. Or for the horror - once a shopper put his warm rotisserie chicken in the same bag as the Ben & Jerry ice cream. DH has bagged thousands of bags of groceries in the past few years and he's perfected his technique.
Anyway, this is how to correctly bag your groceries.

1. Bring your own reusable bags, especially the good heavy ones with double stitched handles. It's easy to remember to bring your bags if that is where you store your coupon clutch. For most small trips you will need at least 3 bags.
2. Put the frozen foods in boxes standing up on the side of the bag. Put ice cream in a plastic bag and then place on the bottom of the bag. This double wrap keeps it colder longer. Unless of course you live in one of the many places that ban plastic bags, like San Francisco, Oregon, Spain, France and soon Los Angeles. Place lighter items like frozen vegetables and food in bags or pouches on the top.
3. If you have a stockpile freezer or refrigerator, it helps to put all those items that will be stockpiled into the same bag so you can just bring it there and unload straight into the cooler.
4. Think about where the dry foods you buy will be stored in your house. If products are for the stockpile room or for the bathroom, or the laundry room put all those items in the same bag. Put your kitchen and pantry dry foods into a different bag so they can be unloaded directly into the kitchen cupboards.
5. Place all refrigerated items in the same bag with the heaviest packed first - like milk. Put produce in bag last with heavier items like melons on the bottom.
6. Grab a plastic bag for smaller items like vitamins and health care items so they don't get scattered among everything else in your dry goods bag.
7. If you have large light items, like bags of chips or boxes of cereal you could opt for using a paper bag provided by the store (to use later as your trash bag) or just use a separate bag. Keep in mind where you're going to store this stuff whether its in the kitchen or pantry stockpile area.
8. Always put raw meats in a clear plastic cover bag that is provided in meat departments to avoid contaminating your other foods or your grocery bags. 
9. Always shop so you get refrigerated and frozen items last. Especially milk which loses 1 day of shelf life for every 1 degree temperature rise.
10. Some items don't really need bags, like 12 packs of soda, large bags of pet food or gallon containers. These are easier to just pick up by the handle. If you have multiples of these heavy items, just place one on the checkout belt and tell the cashier you have more in your cart.

My Three Favorite Gadgets

So you know, frugal readers that just because we like to save money on most things, doesn't mean we deny ourselves of some of lifes simple pleasures and conveniences. Sometimes these pleasures and conveniences cost money, but of course we can try to frugally obtain these items.

I am a gadget hound. I love to get the newest things and I use them. Some I don't really need, but some I convince myself I really, really need. I'm dreaming of getting another computer (which admittedly I don't need) But I was at a conference where everyone had Apple Macbooks, and if those aren't the coolest, fastest, slimest machines made on earth. But they cost an arm and a leg. I'm scheming how to get one on a discount by waiting for tax free school sale (this three-day tax holiday is in effect from 12:01 a.m. on Friday, August 2, 2013, through 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, August 4, 2013) see FL DOR publication here. This year the tax break includes up to $750 for laptops and computers.

Anyway, heres my list of my three favorite gadgets:
1. Ipod Shuffle - I got this little music machine about seven years ago for entering sweepstakes where you sign up for a bunch of stuff to get points. So it was free, but I had to set up a spam email account and then cancel some some I signed up for with a prepaid debit card I had. It was kind of a hassle, but this is my favorite gadget so far. I use it everyday when I ride my bike to work, and then again when I go for a walk. I have it loaded with songs that have 120-140 bpm for optimum workout pleasure.

2. Android Samsung S4 phone - I've had smartphones for several years now and they have helped me save tons of money with my Grocery Tracker app, and avoid getting caught in rainstorms with my Weatherbug app. I also can track my finances on Mint app, and Dropbox is the most effective way to store documents when you use multiple devices such as Ipads, laptops, desktops, phones and my wifi camera. And since the demise of Google Reader, I have started using Feedly to capture my daily web feeds.

3. Ipad - I bought this refurbished last year and it has performed flawlessly so for $299 this Ipad2 has been worth it. I usually use it at home in place of the laptop, or when I want to read or watch a movie in the backyard. Amazon prime offers thousands of movies and TV shows for free and this device is great for that. I probably don't really need this gadget, but it is fun to have.

What's your favorite gadget?

My Publix Trip - Spent $0.87, Saved $49

I went to the store thinking it was the last day of last weeks sale, putting Al Fresco sausage and Fresh Express lettuce in my cart - just to have to pull them out of my order at the register as I noticed the prices. Just a frugal reminder, always watch your register as everything rings up.
The new ad this week doesn't have anything we need, except we did get Tostitos since I had a coupon. I did find some Snausages for my raincheck and that made it worth it. Later this week I might get a couple Ben & Jerrys ice cream but I used all my frozen food coupons already and I don't really want to pay $1 each for ice cream. So I might skip it. Anyway, I spent $0.87 and saved $49.
4-Jul 24   64.81 19.94 44.00 tax 0.87 26 -98.66%
Product qty price subtl B1G1 -Q 0.00 total Q# Q details
Snausages dog treat  (raincheck  BOGO) 10 2.99 29.90 14.95 16.00   -1.05 15 $1/1 or 1/2 MQ + $1/1 PQ paws
green pepper 1 1.19 1.19       1.19    
cucumber 1 0.65 0.65       0.65    
banana 2 0.68 1.36       1.36    
mushrooms 1 1.99 1.99       1.99    
Tostitos BOGO 2 4.99 9.98 4.99 2.00   2.99 1 $2/1 PQ donation sheet
Sundown Vitamin D or B6 6 3.29 19.74   21.00   -1.26 9 (6)$2/1 GAB PQ + (3)$3/2 MQ
Winn Dixie $5 off $30 1 0.00 0.00   5.00   -5.00 1 $5 off $30 In the City x12/30/13
I may get some rainchecks this week for razors ($3 off Schick) since they will be out of stock I'm sure. These help bring up the totals for next week when the new regional PQ comes out, $5 off $40 this Sunday!
I also got a $3 off 3 Kraft items, Sweetbay coupon in the local Spanish paper. It's a single page ad, so keep an eye out for it possibly in the Sunday paper.

Happy 4th of July

I hope you're all having a wonderful and safe holiday today! We got the day off work and enjoyed the local neighorhood parad with some friends, and then went to a free cookout hosted by Bulluck Law Group. It was my lucky day and I won the final grand prize at the raffle contest - a BBQ dinner for 8 from Luptons! Yummy
Enjoy some fireworks tonight too!

The Missing Blog

A week ago I went to a blog conference and it was a great opportunity to meet other bloggers and learn how to grow my blog. I don't earn much from this blog, just enough to cover expenses - but I know it has potential. I need to focus on a goal and strive to meet it. One of the things that everyone at the conference encouraged me to do, is to transfer my blog to Wordpress. But without it generating income, I can't justify the expense of self hosting and then there's all the tech support and design needed to make it look really professional.
But, I'm determined to grow. I decided to sign up for a free blogging class online offered by Blogelina. Along with the class is a free year of hosting offered by Godaddy. So, I took the plunge and decided to move my other personal blog to Wordpress and hosted by Godaddy. That was last Sunday. I haven't seen my blog since. It's in lala land somewhere transferring. Despite several calls to Godaddy tech support, it's on its way, but still missing.
Granted, I don't really know what I'm doing but it sure seems to me these companies could make it a little easier. How am I supposed to know that you have to change the A Host IP address so it points to the new server? This option is buried in about 4 sub menus of  the domain control center. Which I didn't even know existed until yesterday. I also learned that I transferred from a host with 4 servers to a host plan on 1 server. So now, I need to figure out how to change my settings so there are more host name servers. Luckily these days, there is a ton of help online in forums and those friendly YouTube videos. I'm determined to teach myself how to do this. Then I might transfer this blog, but then again maybe I won't. Blogger has done me good, and now that I learned how to set up Google Analytics and Google Adsense, and use better keywords - it might make more sense to just stay put.
You might ask, why don't you just pay $79 and hire someone to move your blog to Wordpress? Is that the frugal thing to do? Maybe. But I'm capable of learning myself, and who knows, maybe I would learn enough to be able to offer those services myself someday, or at least do a video series on YouTube.
So the frugal side of me wants to learn all this. Others tell me it will be best in the long run. But the feeling of being overwhelmed is not exactly comforting. Wish me luck.