Showing posts with label shopping. Show all posts
Showing posts with label shopping. Show all posts

10 Tips to Stop Shopping

After reviewing our budget for the last year, one thing is clear - I need to spend less. So that will be my resolution in 2018 to cut out all spending on non-essentials. It will be a challenge to change my addiction to reading emails, feeds and facebook - but it will be worth it when I can add up our spending at the end of next year. That is the carrot on the stick.


But to achieve this goal will require changes, which have begun already. Here  are ten easy painless tips to stop shopping next year:
  1. Unsubscribe from all emails from retailers. Lucky for us, almost all emails contain a tiny little link on the bottom to unsubscribe from their email list. If they don't have a link, I just tag them as JUNK and hopefully it won't clutter my mailbox. Some companies state it may take a week to remove you from the list but it shouldn't happen. I happen to have a lot of emails all dump into one email box so I get multiples of some emails. You need to unsubscribe from each separate email. Its best to do this when you are feeling motivated to quit shopping online, just unsubscribe even if you are afraid of missing a deal, if its good enough you'll find out about it some other way.
  2. If unsubscribing isn't getting all your emails, you can use a free service call https://unroll.me/ and it will review your emails and you can unsubscribe with one link.
  3. Remove feeds from bloggers that promote shopping, spending and deals. I log in to Feedly every day and get hundreds of website update feeds. By unfollowing deal bloggers you will find you don't spend nearly as much time reading about deals and being tempted to spend money.
  4. Discard all mail from retailers - catalogs, postcards, flyers, circulars and deals. Don't even read them, straight into the garbage they go.
  5. Do not go to stores. Part of the no spending effort, also involves no shopping. Don't go just to watch someone else shop, or even to get your steps for the day in the mall. Walk outside to get your exercise. Stay out of stores.
  6. In addition to the money you save by not shopping, you will find it is a big time saver. Take that time and do something useful with it. Instead of reading emails, facebook and feeds, I will go for a 15 minute walk. Or read a book. Or write a blog entry. Try to make your new found time a new better habit.
  7. Delete retail apps on your phone. Retailers have found out we spend more when we are members of reward clubs. To spend less its really simple to just delete apps on your phone that make it easy to spend money. If you can order ahead to get your starbucks and jump the line and pick it up, and you've already paid on your app - you are probably spending too much. I know I did. I've deleted all reward club apps for restaurants, stores, and receipt logging apps.
  8. Delete payment apps on your phone. The easier it is to pay, the more you spend. You need to make it harder to pay and involve your conscience to realize you're spending. Your awareness of shopping and spending will increase if you have to carry cash, or a wallet instead of mearly swiping your phone over the register.
  9. If you think you need to shop and buy something, check around your house in your stockpile for the item. If you already have the item, you probably don't need another one. If its broken, fix it. Or try to find a suitable substitute. Can you borrow the item you think you need?
  10. Make your self wait if you feel you must buy something. At least a day or preferably a week. Justify your purchase, but don't research it trying to find the best price, maybe ask someone else to, or just get it from Amazon which is usually the best price anyway.
Good Luck!

How Much Did You Spend at Amazon This Year?

As the year winds down, I'm putting together a summary of our expenses for 2017. One of the most shocking discoveries is the amount of money we (mostly me) spent shopping. I'm ashamed to admit that we spent almost 20% of our money on "shopping". Most of it on stuff that would be considered non-essential. I bought two new laptops this year, bringing my total computers to nine. Does anyone really need that many computers? I used to justify it by printing coupons a lot, but I don't really need that many computers.


Amazon $ spent #items
2006 $913.92 29
2007 $1,480.41 46
2008 $2,920.07 53
2009 $658.17 44
2010 $1,506.67 40
2011 $1,166.29 42
2012 $2,512.45 49
2013 $1,336.77 55
2014 $2,178.44 67
2015 $1,750.34 65
2016 $923.15 42
2017 $3,201.32 87






Anyway, the largest culprit is Amazon. I started shopping at Amazon in 1998, and started using Prime in 2006. Over the years, it was  about 40 items a year and our average spent there was about $1750. Which I think it a lot. Well, this year the number of items doubled and the amount spent almost doubled. That doesn't even include the shopping I did at Columbia.com and Underarmour.com, or all the other websites we bought sporting goods, clothing, electronics and household supplies. But that's a story for later.


Here is how you can check how much you spent at Amazon this year:
  • Log in to your Amazon account.


  • Select YOUR ACCOUNT to view details
  • Select Order History Downloads

  • Enter the dates you want to download, then click Request Report.


  • Click download, wait for report to generate
  • Click Open on the download into Excel or other spreadsheet software.
  • When you have your report, scroll over to column AD and click the top header to highlight the total item column, and it will show you key information at the bottom of your screen.
  • At the bottom you can see your average per item, the count of items and the sum of the dollars spent on items.
The first step to make improvements in the future, is to measure the past. It's interesting to view the items and notice how many are non-essential. If you're like me, it's most of them. I already have that type of item or a good substitute. The problem is the retailers have great marketing strategies and have infiltrated our lives with the desire to shop. Creating awareness of your shopping habits is a first step in tackling your shopping addiction. I'll share my strategy to quit shopping next year in another blog post shortly.


Happy New Year!


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.


State
Days

Items Included

Maximum Cost
1st Year

2013
Dates

Information Links *
Alabama3hurricane preparedness
generators - $1,000
supplies - $60
2012February 22-24http://www.revenue.alabama.gov/
Alabama3clothing - $100
computers - $750
school supplies - $50
books - $30
2006August 2-4http://www.revenue.alabama.gov/
Arkansas2clothing - $100
school supplies
2011August 3-4http://www.dfa.arkansas.gov/
Connecticut
7
clothing and footwear - $300
2001
August 18-24http://www.ct.gov/
Florida3school supplies - $15
clothing - $75
computer - $750
2010+August 2-4http://dor.myflorida.com/dor/
Georgia2school supplies - $20
clothing - $100
computer - $1,000
2012+August 9-10https://etax.dor.ga.gov/
Georgia3energy and water efficient products - $1,5002012+October 4-6https://etax.dor.ga.gov/
Iowa
2
clothing - $100
2000
August 2-3http://www.iowaccess.org/tax/
Louisiana
2
all TPP - $2,500
2007
August 2-3http://www.revenue.louisiana.gov/
Louisiana
2
hurricane preparedness items - $1,500
2008
May 25-26http://www.revenue.louisiana.gov/
Louisiana
3
firearms, ammunition and hunting supplies
2009
September 6-8http://www.revenue.louisiana.gov/
Maryland3energy star products2011February 16-18http://www.comp.state.md.us/
Maryland7clothing & footwear-$1002010August 11-17http://www.marylandtaxes.com/
Mississippi
2
clothing & footwear - $100
2009
July 26-27http://www.dor.ms.gov/
Missouri7energy star products - $1,500 2009April 19-25http://dor.mo.gov/
Missouri3clothing - $100
computers - $3,500
school supplies - $50
2004August 2-4http://dor.mo.gov/
New Mexico3clothing - $100
computers - $1,000
computer equip. - $500
school supplies - $30
2005August 2-4http://www.tax.newmexico.gov
North Carolina
3
clothing - $100
school supplies - $100
instructional material - $300
computers - $3,500
other comp. - $250
sports equip - $50
2001
August 2-4http://www.dornc.com/
North Carolina
3
energy star products2009November 1-3http://www.dornc.com/
Oklahoma
3
clothing - $100
2007
August 2-4http://www.tax.ok.gov/
South Carolina
3
clothing
school supplies
computers
other
2000
August 2-4http://www.sctax.org/
Tennessee
3
clothing - $100
school supplies - $100
computers - $1,500
2006
August 2-4http://tn.gov/revenue/
Texas
3
energy star products
air conditioners - $6,000; other - $2,000
2008
May 25-27http://www.window.state.tx.us/
Texas
3
clothing, backpacks and school supplies- $100
1999
August 9-11http://www.window.state.tx.us/
Virginia7hurricane preparedness items - $60
generators - $1,000
2008May 25-31http://www.tax.virginia.gov/
Virginia3clothing - $100
school supplies - $20
2006August 2-4http://www.tax.virginia.gov/
Virginia4energy star products - $2,5002006October 11-14http://www.tax.virginia.gov/

You're Wasting Your Money

If you go to the grocery store with out a list, you're wasting your money. This is what I discovered in the last month, after a very frugal year. We had several holiday parties to attend and some holiday meals to bring food to. If we were able to plan for the event we used our overage. We made a list and were able to get a spiral sliced ham with overage. On another trip we were able to get a cocktail shrimp ring with our overage.
 
But earlier in the month, when we were on vacation at the condo it was a total bust. We spent $48 (I know shocker!) on a bag of food and some beer. I almost died spending that much and with only a few coupons. It was while I was away from a printer or my coupon stash at home, and the moneymaker deals were scarce. It was so discouraging and depressing. I didn't even want to use up my gift cards to pay that much. I'm used to getting three or four shops on a $10 gift card, so to use over 4 on a trip was unheard of.
 
One thing that has proven to be my best tip of the year, is to remember that if buying something makes money, you have to get it - even if you have no use for it. I buy lots of phazyme, vitamins, CWS and donate or sell at garage sales. You also need to plan to get free things (alka seltzer, theraflu) just to bring up your total so you can use a $5 off $25 coupon, and use the $5 savings for the things you need and want, that aren't on sale.
 
But the most important thing is to have a plan for your shop.

The Coupon Game

Today in my blog feeds there was an especially interesting article. Seth Godin posted about the Four Stages of The Game:
 
  • You don't even realize there's a game. (And any contest, market, project or engagement is at some level a game).
  • You start getting involved and it feels like a matter of life or death. Every slight cuts deeply, every win feels permanent. "This is the most important meeting of my life..."
  • You realize that it's a game and you play it with strategy. There's enough remove for you to realize that winning is important but that continuing to play is more important than that. And playing well is most important.
  • You get bored with the game, because you've seen it before. Sometimes people at this stage quit, other times they sabotage their work merely to make the game feel the way it used to.
  • And then a new, different game begins.

  •  
    This reality struck me that my couponing is a game. I like games, I think most people do. The problem is that they can be big time wasters. So, I don't have an Xbox or 360 or whatever those game toys are called. I don't download games or even play games on my computers. I spend so much time on computers being productive, I don't want to waste my time on chat, facebook or games - if I did I would be on the computer at least fifteen hours a day. As it is, I spend at least ten hours a day using the computer. Way too many.
     
    So, my couponing is a game. I call it my new hobby, giving up photoshop and scrap booking since that wasn't productive. But with couponing I can make money and save money on things I would have normally spent money on. So I coupon. And its a game. And its challenging. Every successful shop is a so great feeling. And even after couponing for years, every rejection still hurts bad.
     
    This week has not been a great coupon game week for me - a lot of drama in my opinion. It started with the gas card deal at Publix last Thursday, when the assistant manager Bob wanted to deny me the use of a $5 off $30 PQ and the $10 off $50 gas card wyb $25 coupon, when I only just $30 on my cart. His interpretation was that it intended for shoppers to spend $80 to use both coupons. Which I explained to him I had because I had the $30 groceries plus the $50 gas card, which equals $80. I offered to call corporate to clarify, but then he said ok, you can do it this time.
     
    Then at another store the assistant manager said they couldn't take the Rachel Ray PQ because it was a copy. I explained that the coupon is only available online on Publix website and must be printed. The coupon is poor quality and is difficult to read, but it is a legit Publix coupon. I got the, "we'll do it this time" story again, only after offering to show the site to her on my smartphone.
     
    The latest drama involved the crest white strips $7 coupon and the trial pack. My unfavorite manager Bob denied the use of this coupon. I should have been on alert when the shelf was stocked with a dozen of the item. It was clear he would not give even after threats of contacting corporate or assurances that the coupon could be scanned.  So we abandoned our order and left. We did not want to escalate the situation in our close store and it was clear no one there could make the right choice. 
     
    So this morning I called corporate to inquire as to the status of that coupon and the use on the trial pack. Corporate assured me it is valid to use on the trial pack. They look at it as P&G's problem if the use is not what they intended. But Publix stores are supposed to accept it for the trial pack because they will get reimbursed. So the District Manager is going to get involved and hopefully we can get this store #685 trained on proper coupon review and acceptance.

    How To Always Get A Target Coupon & Moneymaker Deal

    There are a lot of great deals at Publix this week that utilize Target coupons (TQ). If your favorite Publix accepts Target as a competitor and doesn't enforce the "one coupon per transaction" wording on the TQ then you can get some Marie Callenders bakes entrees and its a $2.51 Moneymaker!
     
    There is also the deal on using the $10 off a Turkey wyb 12 Kraft Items MQ printable where you can get some Philadelphia Cream cheese, or Nabisco Crackers, or Maxwell House coffee, or Oscar Mayer Bacon - along with a $5 off $30 coupon to end up with a final cost of about $4 (for a turkey and 12 items).
     
    But to work these deals you need to have printed the Target coupons a while ago since some are no longer available at online at Target.
     
    My tip is to not ever print Target coupons until you know you need them. To do this just go to the Fatwallet Target Coupon Thread. There are several users who will print them and upload the pdf to Mediafire for everyone to access. Just search the thread for your keyword (i.e., philadelphia) and all the posts with that word will be filtered out for your review. Select the link that has your coupon. Many coupons are reissued throughout the year so make sure it has the right expiration date which is noted in the name in the link. It will bring you to Mediafire which is an offsite download website. It is safe, I use it all the time. You do not need to sign up or join to use it. Click the big download button and when the popup shows, click SAVE and put it in your coupon folder on your computer. Then you can print it as many times as you want. There are 2 coupons per page.
     
    Now you will never miss a deal that requires TQ's! Yeah

    Trial Size Trouble

    Last night we went to Publix in a neighboring community. I like going there because it doesn't seem to get totally cleared out of moneymakers and BOGO deals. I think because it's a more affluent area, less people use coupons there. But after our shop last night, I think the couponers stay away because the staff are nervous about coupons and resistant to take coupons when they realize the customer is making money on the deal. I've been scouting the clearance rack for trial size meds, in the past scoring some moneymaker deals on Zantac and Bayer with coupons that didn't exclude trial size. Just this past weekend there was a $1/1 MQ in the 11-13 RP insert for Advil Congestion Relief that stated "ANY" size. I knew there were a bunch of trial Advils CR on the clearance table at this one store, so that's why we made the trip there. Sure enough, I got 13 and planned to use 13 coupons. Along with some Idahoan potatoes, Phazyme, Sundown Vitamins there was enough overage to get some beer for our weekend trip to the NASCAR race. Except the beer was gone, so we had to ask customer service to substitute two 12 pks for a case that was on sale. They said sure, just come check out in Lane 11 when you're ready.
     
    So we finish our shop and go to Lane 11 nearest the customer service. Here's my list:
    14-Nov 44   114.04 22.69 90.79 tax 0.56 45 -99.51%
    Product qty price subtl B1G1 -Q   total Q# Q details
    beer 24pk 1 17.99 17.99       17.99    
    banana 2 0.35 0.70       0.70    
    HJ pancake mix pouch 1 0.99 0.99   1.00   -0.01 2 $1/2 MQ 11-6SS + $1/1 TQ
    HJ pancake mix box 1 1.79 1.79   2.79   -1.00 2 free mix wyb syrup + $1/1 TQ
    HJ pancake syrup 1 2.79 2.79   2.00   0.79 1 $1/1 TQ
    Idahoan Potatoes BOGO 8 1.33 10.64 5.32 8.00   -2.68 8 $1/1 MQ print
    Smart Balance Milk 1/2 gal 4 2.50 10.00   6.00   4.00 4 $1.50/1 MQ print zip 48047
    Emerald Nuts BOGO 6 5.79 34.74 17.37 6.00   11.37 6 $1/1 MQ 11-13 RP
    Advil cong relief trial size 13 0.42 5.46   13.00   -7.54 13 $1/1 MQ 11-13 RP
    Vit D 4 2.99 11.96   18.00   -6.04 4 $3/2 MQ email + $6/2 PQ
    phazyme 2 3.49 6.98   9.00   -2.02 2 $5/2 TQ + $2/1 MQ print
    Publix Gift Card 1 10.00 10.00   10.00   0.00 1 Get $10 GC wyb $50  x11/15
    $/$$ coupon   0.00 0.00   5.00   -5.00 1 $5/$30 PQ Take Budget by horns
    $/$$ coupon   0.00 0.00   10.00   -10.00 1 $10/$50 Sweetbay
     
    At this point we've been in the store about forty minutes - looking for Emerald Nuts, waiting for raincheck stock checks, waiting for them to find a case of beer in the back, etc. Finally, we check out and I hand over my coupons. The cashier starts sorting them and spreading them all over the counter. I think they do this so the cameras over their shoulder can capture the whole transaction. Actually, afterward I felt like we were being scrutinized way earlier when we were in our store. They were looking at the stuff in my cart as they were trying to find me some Emerald Nuts. Anyway, I digress. She couldn't find anything wrong with my coupons so she started scanning the MQ's first and the Advil coupon would not scan. She tried to hand it back and said we can't take them if they don't scan. I said they can verify its correct use on the right product and then do an override and enter it as a generic vendor coupon. The Advil coupon has the new long barcode and no short one, so I couldn't suggest covering up the long one to make it scan (like on the CWS). Anyway, she tried to tell me is was invalid for the trial size. I explained that if it were not allowed the coupon would state excludes trial size, which it did not. So I ask her to get a manager to approve the coupon. The asst customer service manager came over and looked at the trial size and the coupon and said they couldn't take it if it didn't scan.
     
    At this point DH and I are getting a little frustrated. I said I'm calling corporate right now (I have the number in my phone (Publix Consumer Relations 800-242-1227) and started dialing. Then the customer service manager says, I'll get the Store Manager. DH said thanks. Unfortunately it was after six p.m. and there was no answer at Publix. The Asst Store Manager came over and said the coupon wasn't meant for trial size and the computer wouldn't accept the scan. Then she points out "Limit One Coupon Per Purchase" printed on the coupon. At this point, I realized we were dealing with a bunch of untrained staff. I had to demonstrate using my products and coupons the difference  between one per purchase, and one per transaction. We had to explain that the whole cart was a transaction, but each item was a purchase. DH says to the ASM, "You know in my job just because the computer can't do something, doesn't mean I can't do it. Sometimes you have to approve actions and handle them manually if the computer won't perform as you expect. If the coupon doesn't scan and you have verified its the correct product, any size then you should take it. I'm not taking NO for an answer. You're not making this shopping trip very pleasurable."
     
    We both dislike having to stand our ground with coupons, and if it were our "home" store we would have skipped the purchase without a fuss. But this store gave me a hard time about the CWS last week too. They act like the money is coming out of their own pockets. They also know that most people are afraid of conflict and will back down and say it's okay that you just denied my coupons. The staff are friendly enough, but its not genuine. I feel looked down upon because I use coupons there and its not a good feeling. I'm sure they don't care if I ever shop there, since most of their customers are wealthy and spend a lot more than one dollar like me.
     
    The ASM listened patiently to DH and then said "Natasha will put in an override for you this time". Fine, we whined enough and got our way. But they left us feeling like we were wronged. I hate it when they say "we'll take it this time" - it really means don't come back and try this again. It's correct coupon use, but they don't like it. So of course, they're going to try to discourage coupon use on moneymaker deals. The store manager can do that, it's his prerogative. I'll just have to try to fly low under the radar when we go there, get smaller orders and avoid having to get "numbers" by getting fillers if my coupon count is higher than my items.
     
    How do you handle trial size hassles?

    Crest White Strips Moneymaker

     $ 5.99 Trial Size 2ct Crest White Strips 3D
    -$10.00 MQ 10-30 P&G (exp 11/30/11)
    =$4.01 moneymaker
     
    You're going to have to follow the Publix truck to find this one, I suspect that it will disappear from shelves very quickly. If you happen to find a Publix that actually stocks the trial size Crest White Strips (only 1 of 4 stores I frequent has a spot on the shelf), look around behind the other big boxes since couponers are known to hide the moneymaker stuff (like vitamins) in the wrong place so they can come back later and get it. Since there is a limit of 4 like coupons (10-30 PG) you can only get four at a time. Also the coupon will beep because of the long bar code. Just ask the cashier to cover it up with their thumb and it will scan fine. There are no size exclusions on the coupon, so it is a valid match.
     
    You've got the whole month to find this deal.

    How To Buy New Tires For Your Car

    As I spun my wheels at the intersection the other day, I realized that yes, it is time for new tires on the car. The Michelin HydroEdge tires we have on the Camry are great looking tires and performed well in all kinds of weather. But, it's time to get some new ones as they are weather checked and brittle. They just don't grip the road like they used to, and a couple times lately during quick stops they have slid forward.
     
    We've been putting off the process because it is tough to spend hundreds of dollars for something like stupid tires. Actually, for me it is tough to spend hundreds of dollars on anything. I generally give myself one day of research for every $100 spent, so this one took about a week to get to the point of making a decision. And we have finally decided and found a vendor to purchase from and install them. But it took some effort.
     
    First we looked through the car file and determined that last time we bought tires for the car, over 45,000 miles ago we spent $105 each and had them installed at Costco. The final price after shipping, disposal fees, balancing, valve stems, installation and taxes was $550. But then we had to spend another $60 at the dealer to get a tire alignment, since Costco doesn''t do that service. So about $600 became our target since we had done our research last time and found Costco the cheapest. But it was not the most convenient. The Costco was way on the other side of the bay and when I visited another service center for my job I dropped the car off, and rode my bike a mile to the office. Then at lunch I rode my bike back and brought the car back to the office. We also never took advantage of the free top-off or refill of nitrogen since the shop was across the bay from our house. So we wanted to try to investigate more convenient options. These days we both have bikes or motorcycles we use for transportation so being without a car for a day is not a problem - we can leave it at the shop all day.
     
    We also decided we wanted the exact same tire as we got last time. They have this cool swirly pattern that drives away the water on the road, plus it looks sporty. They are expensive tires at over $100 each, but in our opinion they are top quality and worth it. At this point, we started letting our fingers do the walking - at Google. I googled "michelin hydroedge coupons" to see what discounts we could find. Michelinman.com was the first site and lucky for us, there is a new $70 Michelin rebate on the purchase of 4 tires, and our tire model qualifies for the rebate. The one catch was it had to be done at certain dealers. The most convenient rebate qualified dealer was Olin Mott so we requested a quote. They emailed a quote the same day and their total install cost out the door was quoted at $674 which included an alignment, and the $70 rebate. The actual cost of each tire was $138, which was higher than anywhere else. We checked tirerack.com and the hydroedge is $104 each and they will ship the set for $60 to a local installer, but none of them qualify for the rebate. Sears had the tire for $122 each and the install out the door was $623, but was not eligible for the $70 rebate.
     
    Now that we had some information, it was time to get on the phone and make a deal. DH called up Olin Mott and asked if they price matched or took competitor coupons. They said they would consider making a deal. DH said he would like to get 4 tires installed if they matched the Sears price and we still got the rebate. It didn't take long for the guy to go sharpen his pencil and come back with an out the door price of $582, plus we get the alignment included and the $70 rebate. They took off almost $100 from their price! So, the bottom line is we'll get our tires cheaper this time than when we bought them last time.
     
    So we're getting new tires this week since we have a trip across the state planned in November. The shop is less than a mile away so we can drop off the car and walk home. The next day I can stop by after work on my bicycle and pick up the car. How darn convenient.
     
    Even though we're spending a lot of money on tires, I feel like we've done a good job of doing our research and getting the best deal. It takes time, patience and persistance to be frugal and save money. So next time you're making a big purchase do yourself a favor and take your time, check out your options and don't be afraid to pick up the phone and ask for a discount. You just might get it.

    Does The Tooth Fairy Visit Adults?

    Last year, I mentioned about how my tooth hurt when I ate hard food like granola. The tooth was probably cracked but the dentist couldn't see anything. Being the frugal person I am, my motto is "it's not a problem, til it's a problem". So I did nothing, except maybe nurture that side of my mouth to avoid pain from biting on that cracked tooth. This worked for a while, but then last week it finally happened - a chunk of my tooth came out while I was eating cereal. In case you've never experienced your tooth falling out - its like eating rocks. You feel a funny tingle and then crunch. Then you wiggle your tongue over there and confirm it really happened. I pull out the little piece and rolled it around in my fingers, pondering how much the tooth fairy would give me for part of a tooth. Probably not much. Not enough to cover the bill anyway.
     
    So, now we have a problem. And it must be dealt with. I've let the dental plan expire, but since I did let it expire they want us back. So they sent a 25% off coupon to get us to renew. Good thing I waited. Not. Now I have to wait a couple days for it to become effective. Meanwhile I have a partial tooth in the back of my mouth. Luckily my dentist could fit me in first thing Monday. Today it was. So I took the whole day off work to enjoy my new tooth. Except it started off with going to the dentist.
     
    I generally have pretty good teeth, but I still don't really care to go to the dentist. Part of the experience that bugs me the most is the noise. And the big needle of Novocain. I brought my own Ipod to help cover up the drilling noises, but there's not much you can do to avoid the cloud of dust and debris flying out of your mouth from drilling. I gagged at the smell of the burning tooth dust and metal. What an absolutely terrible combination of noises and odors. At least there was no blood in the mix. I think. So what seemed like a really long time they finished the drilling and moved on to the impressions and packing the core to ready it for the temporary crown. I tried not to watch but did happen to see the guy lifting a small black slimy string thing that looked like a worm, and drop it into my mouth. Then with his tool he starts pressing it into the mold where my new tooth stump is. I almost passed out it was so gross. He added some other stuff with a caulk gun and starts pumping in cement and then eventually tugged the worm back out, but it was yucky.
     
    All in all it went smooth. I didn't drool that much, and my gums are tender, but not bleeding from all the hacking they did. The worst is over, except for having to pay. As I said before I signed up for dentalplans.com and it cost $134 for 13 months of coverage for both DH & I. The plan dropped the cost of the core and crown from $1321 down to $753. Almost half price just because I signed up for a dental plan. Definitely a frugal idea.

     

    Juice In The City

    Everyone loves a great deal, right?  And most people are totally overwhelmed with the amount of deals out there to be had, most of which are irrelevant to their day-to-day lives.  Enter Juice in the City.  They are a community of (mostly) moms who know their way around their respective cities and know about all those little hidden gems.  They provide a great deal each day (50% off or more) geared toward families in the local community by recommending a locally-owned, locally-run business.  There are typically a few sub-divided markets in each major city, so there is no worry about finding a good "deal" that isn't really a good deal after all because, while it is in your metro area, it is an hour away from your house. 
     
    Some examples of deals include restaurants, massages, family activities, local shops and services.  Juice in the City has exploded all over the country because of it's organic, word-of-mouth business model.  Don't you love to get a great recommendation from a close friend before you try out a new business?  That is exactly what Juice in the City provides.  Each business featured on the site has been personally tried by the person sourcing the deal, and they give honest feedback as to what to expect when you visit that business.  If you haven't checked it out yet, you really should!

    As an aside, Juice in the City is always looking for people to promote their favorite businesses, as well as business to promote.  If you would like to earn a part-time income from home and recommend your favorite local businesses to others, check out the Juice in the City website and click on "We're Hiring!".
     
    Or, if you own a business that you would like to have featured on the site, please check the lists below to see if your metro area is on either one.  If so, please contact Rachel and she can point you in the right direction.

    Here are the cities where Juice in the City is already active:
    Atlanta
    Austin
    Charlotte
    Dallas
    Denver
    Houston
    LA
    New York
    Phoenix
    San Antonio
    San Diego
    San Francisco
    Seattle

    And here are the markets coming soon:
    Baltimore
    Boston
    Chicago
    Cincinnati
    Detroit
    Grand Rapids
    Indianapolis
    Miami
    Minneapolis
    Nashville
    Philadelphia
    Portland
    Raleigh-Durham
    Sacramento
    Salt Lake City
    St Louis
    Washington DC

    Rachel is a stay-at-home mom to 3 little cuties in the Minneapolis suburbs.  She has recently discovered Juice in the City and couldn't be more excited!  She loves the part-time hours that work around her busy schedule (and the extra spending money doesn't hurt) and can't wait to utilize all the great deals when the Minneapolis market launches in just a few short weeks!

    Coupon Karma

    The other day at the grocery store it was jammin'. College classes start at the nearby University, and our store is one that the majority of students shop at since its just kiddy corner from campus. It's actually amusing to watch students shop, as they wander up and down the aisles picking up lots of convenience foods and snacks, munchies and soda. The girls all shop together, perhaps they're room mates and they share their food unequivocally. The carts are heaped full and I'm sure the store loves it. As it was, we were not getting much, just some cereal to use up a rain check and we happened to pick up a couple items that were splurges for us (Sabra Hummus and fresh buns). We got hooked on the hummus when it was BOGO with a coupon and it was cheap. Now it was not, but I did have a $1/1 coupon to help defray the four dollar cost.
     
    Anyway, we were ready to check out and scanned the cashiers looking for one of our favorite, competent ones who can handle all the coupon scenarios. It was so crowded there we didn't want to hold up a line any longer than necessary by going to a cashier who looked at every coupon for 5 seconds too long. Anyway, we found our favorite and went to her line even though there was a young student there with a heaped cart. While we waited we looked over her purchases and it appeared that she was buying everything to make a spaghetti meal. I mean everything, including the cookie sheets to make the bread, pans to cook the noodles and heat up the sauce, plus all the seasonings, cheeses, sauces and noodles. She must have just moved into her dorm (her college tshirt said Resident Assistant) and was setting up her kitchen. There was even a container of the hummus like the one I had in my cart too. I was thinking her cart was going to cost a fortune, and she had only one coupon in her hand. I quickly found an extra hummus coupon, and also a $5/30 store coupon and passed them to DH to give to the girl. She was so appreciative and thankful. The one coupon she had for Parmesan cheese she said she had found on the floor. DH was smitten as the cute young thing batted her eyelashes at him. Her order ended up costing $96, and she saved $6 (from our coupons).
     
    I like doing that, being the coupon fairy. Its karma with coupons, it all comes back.