Home Depot Haggling

Home Depot Movers
I've been wanting to get a shade canopy for when we go to NASCAR races and tailgate, but I could never find a cheap one on Craigslist. To me the thing is just not worth $100. Well, with the weekend 4th of July parade coming up Saturday, I decided it was time to indulge in a canopy to watch the parade in the shade. So we trudged down to Home Depot with my new wallet (since mine was stolen on Sunday) full of gift cards, store credit and a couple $10 off $50 competitor coupons. The coupons clearly state they can not be combined, but I planned to ask anyway, since we were going to spend $100.
So we ask around, and finally a smart dude who works there directed us to the back shelves of the garden center to find the canopy. So we're looking and looking and finally spotted this grungy, ripped open, worn out box on the second shelf with a canopy. The box was in such bad shape, I told DH that we should open it up and make sure the canopy wasn't damaged. The way that box looked, it had been tossed around back there for a long time. Anyway, the canopy looked good - the feet were new and not scuffed, the canvas was still in its factory sealed plastic bag and the wheeled carrying bag was too. So, I tell DH my plan to ask for a discount based on the fact that it was the last one and the box was damaged. He said fine, I'm staying out of it.
We're at the counter with a young man and I asked if I could use both coupons because my item was more than the value the coupons required. He read the back and said no. I politely asked him to get a manager to get approval. When Mary the Manager came over, I explained how I would like to ask for a discount for the item due to the damaged box. I proposed that she allow me to use both coupons toward the item, and she thought about it 2 seconds and said "That's Fine". She instructed the cashier on how to enter it as a "customer satisfaction" code and they took $20 off my total. That was it, simple and quick.
After my haggling, coupons, gift cards and store credit, the canopy was $39 - right in my price range.
You too can get a coupon for Home Depot by signing up, just click the banner above or the link.

The Winner...

of the Wanchai Ferry Dinner VIP coupon and Tea Set Giveaway is Lindsay at Laughing Lindsay.  Thanks everyone for entering!

Getting Rid of My Stockpile

Over the past year I've accumulated quite a bit of product (food and household supplies) that was either free or a moneymaker. I actually still have stuff I bought last year not realizing how long it would last. So I was at happy hour with a friend who was telling me how she goes to Target and spends $300 every month buying stuff for her house like paper towels, laundry detergent, shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant, cleaning products, and food. I told her I had most of that stuff in my stockpile and was planning on having a garage sale to sell most of it. She said she wants the whole bunch of it.
So I made a list of over 100 items valued at over $350, priced an average of $1 each and I'm going to sell her 6 boxes of product for $100. Its totally a win-win deal because she needs the stuff, and I don't. I'm going to take the cash and get Publix gift cards for my shopping in July.
This month I spent about $70 in cash, and used $95 in gift cards for about $165 in spending. To me that seems a little high, since there are only two of us. We did stock up on chicken and Mt Dew, but I would like to be at about $100 for the month. I think having gift cards is like having free money so I spend it more freely, but really I should change my mindset here.
Anyway, I'm super excited to sell my stockpile. Even though I've moved out 6 boxes of stuff, it hardly made a dent in the spare room. Still lots of gatorade, powerade and SOBE to move through. 
I am wondering if I sold the stuff too cheap. Like the Olay Regenerist pump facial cleanser for a $2? All detergent 50 oz for $1.50? 
What do you think are fair prices to sell your stockpile items?  
Don't forget to enter the Wanchai Dinner and Tea set Giveaway which closes tomorrow. Your chances are REALLY good to win!

Publix Sneak Peek 7/1-7/7

Finally they are having the Bic lighters BOGO this year, I'm almost out from buying them last year. Lots of good BBQ stuff on sale and Split Chicken Breasts are $1.69/lb. To see the complete listing, with some matchups check out True Couponing.
Remember there are still lots of good money makers from the Green Advantage Flyer that are still good until July 2 - Schick Hydro Edge 3 razors, Gas-x, and Sundown vitamins.

Lost Wallet

Today we went to Five Guys to have a burger and fries. We rode our motorcycles so it seems I always have a ton of things to keep track of; glasses, keys for DH saddlebags, keys for my bike, wallet, gloves, and phone. I'm not very good at keeping track of this stuff and occasionally I misplace stuff or drop it. I've always managed to gather it up and keep going. But today, I set down my wallet at the condiment station - loaded up ketchup, napkins and black pepper and wandered to find a table. 
We ate our meal and left, only to realize shortly after that I didn't have my wallet. We returned to the shop and asked if anyone had turned it in, to no avail. Some one stole my wallet and didn't turn it in. There were only a handful of people there and I know who was at the counter right after me, but by then it was too late. We checked the restrooms, checked the garbage can and realized it was a lesson learned.
I probably had about fifty bucks cash, along with my drivers license, Visa card, Debit Card, AMEX card and my Busch Gardens season pass. I canceled the credit cards and ordered a replacement drivers license for $25, and my BG season pass will cost $5. It's a hassle but not the end of the world since it didn't have all my gift cards, other credit cards, CWP, security license and BP gas cards that are in my purse.
I wish more people in the world were honest though. I was reading a couple blogs that discussed this topic, The Simple Dollar and Free Money Finance this week. After being the victim of misplacing my wallet and having some one take it when they could have returned it, I am disappointed. 
If you ever find money, here is a good principle to follow for handling all found money.
If you find money with identification attached to it, please try to return it. If there is ID with the money, or any identifying feature that could be described by the person who lost it (like a unique design, a money clip, or keychain) please make some effort to return it to its rightful owner. It doesn't matter where you find it – if you have some information that makes identification directly possible, try to return it yourself.
If there is no identification and you're in a store, or business location, inform customer service or the manager but retain the item. Just go to the manager and let them know you found some money and would like to return it to its rightful owner. Offer to leave contact information there, or offer to check back in a day to see if anyone has inquired and then ask for the contact information of the person who lost the money. Don't turn over the money to the person at the counter because that money is not likely to be returned. Wait and see if anyone contacts you and can identify the exact amount lost. If someone does, then return it to them. If no one inquires in a reasonable amount of time, like a week, check back at the location and if no news, then just keep the money.
If there is no identification and you're in a public place, like a street or a park, keep the money. There is no simple or effective way to return the money in this situation because there is no effective "lost and found" for someone to seek the item. But, if someone returns while you're still there and is searching for the money, ask them what they're looking for and if they tell you, then give them the money that was found.
Take a few minutes to empty out your wallet and just copy it on your printer, it can save you the headache of replacing stuff later. I didn't know the account numbers on my debit card, and now I don't have copies of my motorcycle registration, or my insurance information either. I also realize that if some one did want to return my wallet, my cell phone number was not located on anything in there either.

Get Your Free Pizza

Last night the Rays lost after their former pitcher threw a "no hitter", but the Rays did manage to get 10 Strikeouts so that means free pizza. If you're in Tampa, you have today only to click www.kanestrikeout.com and print your certificate for a free pizza coupon. More details are HERE.
Also don't forget to enter the Wanchai Dinner & Tea set Giveaway, which closes June 30.

Yummy Dinner Giveaway

The other night we had just gotten back from a nice motorcycle ride from the out of town Publix and then we had to shock the pool, and before you know it - I was hungry for dinner. Since we just stocked up on ice cream, I wanted to use up something from the freezer, so I grabbed the bag of Wanchai Ferry Beef & Broccoli meal. I flopped it on the counter and was reading the back to figure out how long to microwave it. Since we just finished our kitchen remodel, I love the turning plate to cook microwave meals. Anyway, I was disappointed to determine that this meal required cooking on the stove top. I was trying to figure out how to make it in the microwave but once I opened the bag I realized the rice packet could indeed be microwaved, but the sauce packet was frozen and needed to be simmered with the frozen vegetables and few pieces of beef. The serving size is not very big on this product, so you better either add more rice or have it as a side dish.
We ended up cooking it in a saucepan on the grill while we did some of our backyard chores. We also added some filet mignon leftovers to make it meatier. The product itself is a little sparse in meat, but the flavor is great. It doesn't have MSG or lots of fat, but man it tasted wonderful. The vegetables were colorful with tender broccoli bites, sweet red pepper strips and crunchy water chestnuts. It tasted like a restaurant meal!
This was a great quick and lite meal and I would definitely consider getting it if Publix had it on BOGO and there were coupons to stack with the sale. It is kind of pricey, and there are lots of great frozen meals out there that you can get for one buck if you stack a good sale with a good coupon. So while you're waiting for a sale to come along at your favorite store, here's a coupon for $1.50 off one HERE.
If you want to see what other wonderful flavors or meal tips they have you can visit the Wanchai Ferry website HERE. Be sure to try the two additional new flavors - Kung Pao Chicken and Szechuan Style Chicken, which will soon join five other delicious meals including Orange Chicken, Shrimp Lo Mein, Spicy Garlic Chicken and Sweet & Sour Chicken.
As a bonus for my readers, One (1) lucky reader will receive a Wanchai Ferry prize pack that includes a VIP coupon for a Wanchai Ferry Frozen Entree and two tea sets (2 mugs, 2 tea strainers, and 2 tins of green tea).
Please leave a comment about what Asian flavor you would like included in this product line; include a valid email address or you may contact me directly with your contact information if you win. This giveaway will end at midnight on June 30. Winner will be picked from Random.org. 
Open to US and Canadian residents only. 
Good Luck.
I must disclose that the product, prize pack, information, and giveaway have all been provided by Wanchai Ferry through MyBlogSpark. All opinions are my own.


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Frugal Flopping

I'm feeling troubled this week because I feel like I've spent too much money. I'm excited to report that the last payment has been made to completely pay off our Lowe's Project Card where we carried our interest free, counter top and cabinet purchase for the last six months. All year we've cut back on travel, clothes shopping, Amazon purchases and other supplies because we had a monster payment of $1500 each month to pay for the kitchen remodel we did in February and March.
So after paying off the kitchen this week, I wanted to get our automated savings level up again to "before remodel" levels. But somewhere between logging into the bank, I stopped at www.leejeans.com and bought some capris, visited www.sierratradingcompany.com and got 4 shirts and a pair of pants, also purchased a toner cartridge from Amazon, and a new camera battery, along with shopping at my local bicycle shop University Bicycle Center to use my $25 off $60 coupon and get a new bike tire, bike shorts and some repair supplies like tubes and patch kits.
I was totally sucked in by the email deals on the first two (free shipping and 1/2 price clothes), but I did need the toner for my printer, and its not very often the bike shop has deals. So I justified it. But I still feel like I fell off the frugal wagon. I've spent more in one week than I have all year on basically non-essential stuff. I was happier denying myself stuff and feeling proud of my restraint, and frugalness to get by with what I had.
So that's it. No more spending for a while. At least til July anyway.

How to Freeze Blueberries

If you haven't gotten your $1.50 off Berrys coupon at Publix, you better print some now because it expires Wednesday, June 23. As luck would have it, Publix has blueberries on sale for $1.50 so they are free. I picked up several pints this weekend and made some wonderful blueberry pancakes and blueberry cobbler. But I still have berries so I'll be freezing some. Here's how
  • Step 1: What You'll Need to Freeze Blueberries

    • Fresh blueberries
    • Strainer or Colander
    • Rimmed cookie sheet or jelly roll pan
    • Airtight containers or resealable freezer bags

  • Step 2: How to Freeze Blueberries

    1. Place the blueberries in the colander, and pick them over, discarding any leaves or stray stems. Make sure the blueberries remain intact. Squashed blueberries can help creates clumps.
    2. Rinse the blueberries in the colander.
    3. Let the blueberries dry.
    4. Spread the berries in a single layer on the cookie sheet.
    5. Place the cookie sheet in the freezer, and allow the blueberries to freeze over night.
    6. Remove the cookie sheet from the freezer, and quickly transfer the blueberries to resealable bags or airtight containers for long term storage.

  • Step 3: How to Use Frozen Blueberries

    1. If you're making a blueberry pie or blueberry cobbler, you can use the berries directly from their frozen state.
    2. If you're using blueberries in baked goods where the make up a small portion of the batter, you should also be fine with frozen berries.
    3. If you're making blueberry pancakes, how you use the frozen blueberries depends on whether you're using small wild blueberries or larger blueberries.
      1. If you're using the smaller wild blueberries, rinse them under warm water, pat dry, and use the same way you would use fresh.
      2. If using larger blueberries, rinse them, pat dry, and thaw in the microwave for 2 minutes at 30% power, then add to the pancake batter.