Tag Archives: frugality

Frugal Friday: A coupon a day

1 Jul

So, I used to have this little feature called Frugal Friday. I would post every Friday about the deals I found along with some tips but then it kinda slowed down. With all the traveling and packing I’ve been doing, I’ve been a little behind on posting. But not because I’ve stopped saving money,  I’ve actually been saving money in a big way. Mostly because I’m going through every coupon I have available to me and using them before I leave. No way I am letting my Groupons, Living Social and other deals go to waste!

*Bath & Body Works.

When I was in Commerce, GA last weekend, our hotel was located right next to the Tanger Outlet shops. I drove through there and didn’t see any stores that stood out to me and then I saw Bath and Body Works. I don’t need to accumulate stuff since I’m trying to get rid of items for the move but I saw their semi annual sale going on with 75% off and I knew I had to clean house.

I stocked up on lotions, body wash, hand soap, sanitizer and body spray. I was surprised to see they had Coco Cabana which used to be the scent I wore in college! Oh memories of summer time, ladies night free drinks and pizza at 2am!

Nine items for $21? Don’t mind if I do! I would be a fool to pass on a deal like this.

*Pedicure @ Nails of America

I bought a Groupon awhile ago for a pedicure but forgot that it was up in Mooresville, about 25 minutes north of Charlotte. I tend to stay in my neighborhood and in the Uptown area so going somewhere that far meant it was going to be a day trip for me. I stopped at a friends place in the area, got my pedicure and ran some errands. Always read the fine print with Groupons since this one had to be used with an appointment.

I always get pink or red on my toes and wanted to mix it up. I went with “Orange You Glad It’s Summer” by OPI

*Chick Fil A

I snagged a Free Chicken Mini coupon awhile back at Bark for Cancer. I completely forgot about it until I found it while cleaning the other week.

I got a soda along with that and brought my computer since they have free wifi. Never would I have thought Chick Fil A would offer wifi but they do and it’s quick. What makes it even better is that the employees will come up to your table and get refills on your drink for you. This may be better than Starbucks since there was only one other table in the place! Keep an eye out for businesses that have signs offering free wifi, this was better to go to for the the quiet and lack of people there factors.

*Café Monte

French stuff intimidates me—Chanel, Bastille Day, their food, wine, accents and the list goes on. 
Ask me what french food is and I will be either reply fries or croissants since it all seems too fancy schmancy for me.  As I vowed not to buy any more Grupons, I saw this one for Café Monte and toyed with the idea of getting it for a few hours. I decided to suck I up and buy it. I’ve heard about this place from many people in the past five years and wanted to see if it lived up to the hype.

My friend went on Monday morning right when they opened and there was only one other table in the restaurant. I absolutely loved the pale yellow walls but it wasn’t what I was expecting. I was expecting black and white walls in cramped quarters so seeing it’s spacious inside adorned with mirrors, images of France and natural light.

Even though there was only one other table in there, the service was lagging. Our server would come over and barely check back on us. This is not ideal when it’s morning and I’m having coffee since anyone who knows me knows I don’t do just one cup of coffee. To save some sough (and calories) we split the Eggs Benedict. They even brought out the half portions for us already split.

Quite tasty. They had other breakfast items such as the standard eggs, sausage, toast along with Belgian waffles, crepes and quiche. I wouldn’t go back because most of the breakfast items were $10 or more and that’s just too high for my wallet at this time. If I am going to drop some money on a meal, I would rather spend it on lunch or dinner. Add the whole service kind of sucking thing and yeah, I would rather go somewhere else. But then again, I think it comes down to

*Dunkin Donuts

America runs on Dunkin and so do I! I always go through my junk mail since they send out pages of coupons in the mail. The only downside to it is that they are only specific in the region you’re in so you can’t use them if you’re traveling.

What deals have you found this week? Do you have outlet malls in your area and if so, do you shop at them?

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So, now what?

2 May

Some of you have asked what my next steps are going to be now that I am without job. In all honestly, I have no clue. All I know is that I’m taking a much needed break from life. However, while doing so, I’m going to focusing on three things:

1) Reclaiming my health-I’ve gained 15 lbs this past year due to depression and stress. Needless to say, I’m not too happy about that when I’ve worked so hard to lose weight in the first place. I’m going to start going to the gym more consistently because, hi, what other excuse do I have not to go? I’m going to check out some classes at the YMCA to take since they are included in my membership fee and up the ante with my strength training. I may also really up the ante and start swimming again since it won’t put a lot of pressure on my knee. They have a pretty sweet sauna and jacuzzi that I can use afterwards so when I go to the gym, it’s probably going to turn into a two to three hour event. Fine with me, I want to get my moneys worth and get back on the right track!

2) Unwind-This is piggybacking off of #1. I need to lower my stress level, I just have to. My most recent job put a lot of stress on me but so did my job before that, that I was in for four years. I like to think of myself as a laid back person but truth is, I’ve never been so high strung in my life as I’ve been in the past year. My blood pressure is borderline high and I’ve never had issues with blood pressure in the past (blaming weight gain and stress on that). Add the fact, that on a normal day I would down two to three cups of coffee from Starbucks (and I’m not talking tall cups, go grande or go home!) so I’m pretty sure that wasn’t good for my central nervous system. Also, depression is not a good look for me. The past five months have been rough. It got to the point where I didn’t want to talk to my friends or get out of bed in the mornings (weekends included) And all because of a stupid job. The money was great and I had a history with the bank but what’s the point in making all of this money if I can’t even look forward to enjoying it?

3) Travel-I’m going to Florida next week to see the parental units and my sister. I don’t have a set plan of how long I will be gone, which is nice for a chance. I have to be back in Charlotte for a wedding the weekend of the 21st so I feel like I have a lot of time to spend there with them, see high school friends and duh-work on the tan. Once I get back to Charlotte, I will be here for a week then go to Indianapolis to see my other sisters and nieces for Memorial Day weekend. From there I will be driving to Chicago to check out the scene there. NYC and Colorado may be making a special appearance in there as well! My lease is up June 30 so I have to be out of there by then and would like to be out of Charlotte by then as well. I am going to try to sell most of my stuff on Craigslist or Ebay and if that doesn’t work, give the bigger things to charity and if I still have a lot of clothes and random things laying around, put those in storage.

So, yeah, that’s it for now. Today was a perfectly relaxing yet productive start to my “me-time”

The first stop of the day was the Value Village to get some new digs for cheap! I found some pretty good deals. The tags of the day were any item that had a pink tag was 50% off and any one with yellow was 75% off. That being said, I had my eye on the prize since I am now without job and have to really be frugal. I kept my eye on the pink and yellow prize and kept singing to myself “Pink and yellow, pink and yellow” to the tune of “Black and Yellow” which worked out in my favor since the first thing I found was a Pittsburgh Steelers T-shirt. No pink or yellow tag but I didn’t mind shelling out $1.50 for the shirt since I know Neyal will love it.

Fila shirt –$1.50

NY& Company Skirt- $1.25

Nike T-Shirt-$.38

Eddie Bauer Cardigan-$.63

Pink T-Shirt-$.75

Plaid Shirt-$1.50

Denim Jacket-$3.50 (don’t think I almost put this away because it was so expensive compared to everything else)

Lincoln burrowing under all my finds-priceless

Total spent– $11.90

What would I do without Value Village? I’ll tell you-be in credit card from too much shopping. The only downside to the place is the questionable people there (I seem to be the most normal person there and that’s not saying a lot) and the fact that I need major hand sanitizer action going on afterwards

I went to Ross afterwards since I didn’t find a dress at VV. I was just looking for a simple sun dress or strapless dress to wear when I’m in FL and found this cute dress for $10. I wasn’t too happy about having to pay $10 for something new but it was on clearance so that smoothed the burn over a bit.

When I got back home, Lincoln and I went for an hour long walk. I can’t tell you the last time we went out for that long and it was a perfect day to do so! The past three months my knee has been killing me, so much that the single act of walking more than a few blocks would leave me in pain. But the past few days, not so much. Could stress from work really have been making my knee pain worse? I guess we will see but I just thought it’s a bit odd it starts to feel better as soon as work went adios. Anyways, Lincoln and I headed over to  park in my neighborhood that I’ve been wanting to check out. The park is only 1/2 mile away but I always made excuses not to go. Excuses like I was exhausted by the time I got home from work to go or that I was too busy on the weekend running errands that I didn’t have time (or energy) to run during the week. I hate that I made so many excuses in the past not to go so it felt extra good to go today. Turns out the park has trails and tables throughout it with different paths to walk on. Lincoln was sniffing away, enjoying the new terrain and when he would stop, I would do calf raises or squats. I figure if we have to keep stopping every other minute, I may as well keep the burn going.

After lunch, Lincoln and I continued to enjoy the day. I have a side yard that’s fenced in and gets optimal sun light so it was tanning and relaxing time for me! All was right-the sun was out, Pandora was playing, iced water in hand and dog by my side. It was hot enough that I could feel it on my skin but not so much that I was sweating my balls off.  Lincoln had to go in a little after we went out there since it was too hot for him but I continued to stay and enjoy the sun.

All in all, a successful first day of “God-knows-where-my-life-is-going?”

How much sleep did you get last night? There was some little announcement late last night from the President. In the past, I would have dismissed it and said “Oh, I’ll just catch it on YouTube in the morning” but it was nice to stay up without having to worry about work in the morning and take part in history. I think I got about seven hours of sleep so I was a happy gal.

Do you visit your local parks or national parks?

Blame it

1 May

Hello all! Happy May Smile Where has this weekend gone? I can’t believe it’s Sunday night already and I blame that on one thing:

No, not the alcohol

 

or rain 

Blame it on Marathons!

And not the running kind

It seemed like each time I turned on the tv this weekend there was a marathon of some sorts on. First there was a House marathon on Saturday night, which killed my evening right there. And today there has been non stop Real Housewives. I love that I can catch up but hate how it just sucks me in. Especially when I’ve seen Theresa from RH of New Jersey flip over a table and call Danielle a whore at least 30 times now. I’ve officially decided I want to create a RH of NJ drinking game and each time Caroline says “We’re family” or “protect the family” you have to take a drink. I would be drunk within the first 10 minutes of the show!

Even though, I was plagued with a case of the marathons, I still got quite a bit done.

On Saturday I woke up at 3am and couldn’t get back to bed. Not that that was annoying at all. As soon as the sun rose, I got to cracking on my errands. While driving around, I saw at Wiki Wiki Car Wash for a free $15 car wash in celebration of their grand opening. There was a huge line but I had absolutely nowhere to be so I drove in and waited my turn.

Yeah, apparently everyone and their mom is about the free car wash. Could you blame them?

But then I saw we were actually going through the car wash and it wasn’t a manual car wash.

Eeks! I remember as a little kid, I would love going through the car wash and it was exciting. Now? It just freaks me out and I think I am going to stall or crash into someone. I blame this on Enterprise Rent A Car. Enterprise was my first real job out of college and to keep it simple—the job sucked. I was making $10 an hour, wore a suit to work….in Phoenix….in the summertime….while running from one car dealership to another to go get cars. At that time I didn’t run so yeah, it was a horrible job. Oh and I didn’t mention that the main part of the job was selling the optional insurance that is complete bs? I am not one to be pushy especially with a product that I don’t believe in so I often had to go to sales calls with our regional manager so I could “learn” from him. That never happened because I knew it was BS. One day I had to run a white F-150 through the car wash and I crashed it while going through since the wheels weren’t on track. I believe this traumatized me and still haunts me to this day.

Even though I was completely hungover, I still made it to the gym on Saturday afternoon. I started with doing 25 minutes on the elliptical than did upper body strength training. I would love to tell you what I did but I cannot remember for the life of me since I wasn’t too hot. And I think I was the stinky person at the gym….I blame it on the night before since I was sweating out all the liquor.

Even though beer was coming out of my pores, I had a great workout!

Dinner was put together last minute on Saturday night. I had white shrimp defrosting in the fridge but didn’t have a plan as to what to do with them. I didn’t want to fry them and wasn’t in the mood for pasta so I marinated in Paula Deen’s Peach BBQ sauce for 30 minutes then cooked the shrimp on the stovetop

While that was sitting,  I got to start on the side items first up was baked okra. I love that okra is back in season since it’s such an easy veggie to prepare! You don’t even have to fry it , which unfortunately was the sole way I used to eat it. I blame that on working at Cracker Barrel. I worked there for four years in my high school and college days. I started off a hostess than working my way up to server and made awesome money there. I just hated the ugly brown apron we had to don, that did not help me with tips. I like to slice mine up, toss in extra virgin olive oil, garlic and pepper and bake at375 degrees for 20 minutes. However, no extra virgin olive oil tossing this time (um, how dirty does that sound??) Because I finally put down the $10 to buy a Misto!

I spritzed the okra with extra virgin olive oil from the Misto then let bake.

Hmmmm, not as oily as previously made but still tasty. They didn’t turn out as crisp as they normally do which was a bit of a let down.

When visiting the hippies on Friday, I saw they had turnips. I’ve never cooked with turnips and am forever on a quest to try new veggies. I asked them what I could do with turnips and they suggested that I add them to mashed potatoes. I’ve been jonesing for sweet potatoes lately so I killed two birds with one stone with by making mashed sweet potatoes with turnips mixed in. I boiled one sweet potato and one turnip until soft then mashed and added half and half, grated  parmesan, salt and pepper.

This turned out smooth and creamy and was a perfect way to try a new veggie! I  really didn’t notice too much of a stand out taste of the turnip but from what I’ve heard it’s a mix between a carrot and potato so it jived well with the sweet potato.

This meal was a little more labor intensive that what I had hoped for on a Saturday night but a successful dinner all in all!

This morning, I went to Panera to work on some internship stuff and get my free bagel waiting for me via MyPanera rewards.

I was sitting enjoyed my jalapeno cheddar bagel when all of a sudden, a terrible headache hit me. And you know what I blame this on? Unruly children whose parents don’t discipline them.

Beautiful noise my ass.

I know a lot of you reading this have children and my tolerance of children has gone up in the past few years but these kids were horrible!!! The kicker was that the terrors looked like little angels. Little angels who like to shriek at a pitch that Lincoln would’ve heard and little angels who like to throw pieces of bagels at each other. I already switched locations from the area over the wall where  the guy wearing a velour suit kept rubbing his right pec while reading the paper. I couldn’t stop staring at and he probably thought I was getting turned on (not so much) So I didn’t want to move yet again but tried to power through the rest of my work and get out of there. And you know what? As soon as I walked out of Panera, my headache went away. Go figure!

Words cannot express what an awesome workout I had today! I got to the gym right as it opened and found a Precor AMT to hop on. Does anyone else feel extremely awkward while moving backwards on those and using the handles? I tried to do both simultaneously and it just didn’t work for me. I did a resistance ranging from 8 to 12 and killed it! So much that I was sweating in places I never knew I could sweat. As much as I tried to cool down, I felt like I kept having to wipe myself off. Gross, I know, but I’m a sweater when I workout. If sweat is a result of a great workout, that’s A-OK in my book! I did lower body strength training afterwards including

*squats (15 reps, 2 sets 20 lb kettlebell)

*hip adduction  (12 reps, 4 sets 95 lbs)

*hip abduction (12 reps. 4 sets 110 lbs)

*leg extension (13 reps, 3 sets 80 lbs)

*hamstring extension (13 reps, 3 sets 65 lbs)

Awwwww yeah. Like I said, sweating is not an issue if it results in an awesome workout!

When I got home, I went straight to the kitchen. I didn’t even greet Lincoln properly and I blame this on the workout since I was voracious. I put together a quick wrap with hummus, veggies and ham with a side of blue tortilla chips

The ham was a completely random addition to the wrap but I had a couple of pieces sitting in the fridge that I wanted to get rid of. I hate throwing something out if I don’t need to and Lincoln helped me get rid of some

When I went to Panera this morning, I noticed they didn’t have any Tabasco sauce out with the rest of their condiments so I couldn’t snag any for my house. I went through my stash of condiments and couldn’t find any hot sauce for the tortilla chips

Then I went through some of my purses because there had to be a hot sauce hidden in one of my purses, right?

Right. Mission accomplished!

My frugality and refusal to buy condiments like normal people? Well, I guess I could blame my Polish heritage on.

For dinner, I mixed it up by making tofu but doing it Italian style! I’ve cooked tofu with Mexican and Asian influenced spices before but never Italian. How could I leave out my heritage in my tofu loving??

I coated the tofu in a mixture of thyme, pepper, salt, garlic and red pepper flakes then let cook in oil with zucchini, red onion and red peppers

I had sea shell pasta cooking on the side which I then covered in parmesan cheese, red pepper flakes and extra virgin olive oil from my Misto

Then topped with the tofu and veggies

The tofu and veggies had so much flavor this didn’t need any sauce. If you’re looking to mix up your dinner one night, try this out!

As for the rest of the nights, I’m chilling with my peeps

Literally.

What’s your favorite way to prepare shrimp or tofu?

Are you a hot mess like me when you work out?

Real Housewives: love it or hate it?

Frugal Friday

21 Jan

So unlike the past few weeks, this Frugal Friday has no theme. Just some of the cheap finds, deals and things I’ve run into this week!

1) Coke Rewards

I’ve been collecting Coke Rewards from Coke products for the past few years. With them, you can go online and get a variety of things like DVDs, magazine subscriptions, gift cards, etc. I’ve gotten at least five or six magazine subscriptions through this, one for my sister for Christmas and got  a Chili’s gift card for my parents with my points. I try not to drink as much caffeine as I used to but my friends and family give me theirs (like I am 12 years old again)

2) Shroomies

Instead of buying a bin of pre-sliced mushrooms for $3, I like to buy out of the mushroom basket in the produce section. Especially if I have a specific recipe in mind. As much as I love the shrooms, some times it’s difficult incorporating them into meals before they go bad.

3) I checked my mail this week  and found two interesting things:

Dunkin Donuts coupons out the ying yang!

Totally set for the rest of the month! And don’t worry, it didn’t come with one coupon missing, I cut it before I could even get a picture.

Then when looking through what I thought was junk mail, I saw this cheap offer

I like food. And I like wine. And what do you know, I like magazines so six issues for only $6? I may have to take part in this. I figure $1 for some form of entertainment isn’t bad at all plus I could stumble upon some new-to-me recipes!

4) Adios prepared breakfast sandwiches! During the work week, my breakfast usually consists of oats with fruit, greek yogurt with fruit or granola or an occasional sandwich from establishments near work.

This past week I have been bringing in egg whites with Trader Joe’s Whole Wheat english muffins to make an easy and quick meal to start my day off right!

5) Going to the library

I got  an email from my local library branch letting me know that I had some cd’s and books that I requested ready for pick up. So I booked it over there (pun intended) and saw these jewels.

Don’t laugh, I have a slight obsession with the 70’s. I have been in a Bee Gee/Barry Manilow loving mood lately and I think I ever sang an emotion filled rendition of “Mandy” to one of my co-workers yesterday. I am happy about the cd’s but I am most happy about the Brandon Flowers solo cd “Flamingo”. Although, it’s more of a bittersweet happy. Flowers is the lead singer of the Killers (AKA one of my top three favorite bands) and him putting out a solo cd doesn’t sit well in my stomach because in the past when this has happened with bands, has left the band splitting up so I definitely hope this isn’t the case.

Plus he’s a babe.

(source)

I’m a little ashamed to admit, but I picked up Skinny Italian at the library as well

And even more ashamed that I am diggin it so far! But what do you expect from someone who loves all things RH (except Atlanta and Orange County)

Many” Juicy Bites from Joe”, don’t worry none are dirty or anything. Besides, I’m a sucker for a guido so I am happy to see his face.

Throughout the books there are “Teresa’s Tips”, not sure if these are actually her tips or not but some of them are amusing.

Some of the RH make an appearance through the book. No Danielle though–I was secretly hoping for a table shaking and flipping picture though.

LOVE IT!

Since it’s a “skinny” cookbook, they offer the nutritional value of everything in the back of the book.

I may actually have to buy this book, I am really enjoying it so far plus I already have a quite a number of recipes dog earred already!

6) Text messages

Because I had today off, I had plans on sleeping in but I woke up around 730A to a text message. Who would be texting  me this early when friends know I have today off?

 The answer?

Chick Fil A!

I had plans on going uptown to hit up a Panera that just opened so I could get my free Wi-Fi on so I stopped at Chick Fil A along the way and apparently, I wasn’t the only one who received the text message.

7) My Panera rewards

The reason I was going uptown on my day off was to hit up Panera. I will stop by Panera but I don’t have cravings for it unless I have a coupon that is. Plus, I can sit there, clear my head, catch up on blogs, bills, etc. with no distractions from Lincoln or anything else so it’s relaxing for me. I checked My Panera rewards the other night and looks like I had a free espresso drink waiting for me.

I went with the caramel latte

And if you didn’t think I would chow down on my free Spicy Chicken Biscuit at Panera, you would be wrong.

Plus they have Tabasco packets!  I just ran out so a perfect opportunity for me to stock up!

The place is very pleasing on the eyes however the acoustics are out of whack. I’ve had to move three times now just to find a spot where I don’t have to listen to either the staff members gossiping or the way too loud classical music.

So, that’s what I got for today-hope your Friday is off to a great start!

Do you take advantage of free Wi-Fi when out?

Do you check books out from your library or buy them?

Happy savings!

Retail Therapy is the Best Kind of Therapy

16 Aug

Good news-I got my registration renewed

Bad news-I didn’t get my NC license so it looks like I am still a Florida driver…..although I haven’t really lived there in over seven years.

I didn’t even get to take the test. Stupid me didn’t have a current insurance card and the most recent one I could find expired on 4.10. I tried to tell the lady I pay my insurance each month and that I could find a lot better things to do with the $80 something that goes towards that but she really wasn’t in the mood for insurance schtick and wasn’t amused by my humor (which in my book, you don’t think I’m funny, you kinda suck). I can understand though as I imagine there are many scammers that roll into the DMV each day.

Some reflections on waiting in line at the DMV:

*There are a lot of people out there who don’t know what personal hygiene is

*I think I was the only woman who didn’t have a knock off designer purse. I get my cute, big bags that are not name brand nor claim to be  at TJ Maxx thank you very much

*I am all about the love but is it really necessary to make out with your significant other in the DMV line?

* I keep confusing DMV and DMX—Get at me dog!!

* My workout session yesterday proved effective since my lower back was killing me while standing there and I can’t feel my thighs (thanks plie squats!)

I really had nothing planned for the rest of the morning. I had to stop at the Salvation Army thrift store to drop off a big donation and wandered in there for a little to see if I could snag any goodies

Mudd brown Mary Jane’s -$2.99

Books-$.99 each

Two tops-$1.50 and $3, not going out tops by any means but cute for work.

Polka dot bulletin board- $2.99

I stopped at Marshalls as well and got some other cute buys

Nike Dry-fit workout top- $10

Pink Halter top $3–HOLLA!

Graphic Top- $7

Mini Umbrella -$3

I stopped at The Common Market for lunch. I always forget that they have a newer location near my place and have been meaning to check it out. It’s an eclectic neighborhood convenience store but they also sell beer and wine (which you can enjoy there), deli sandwiches and a patio where they have live music, a dj, wine tastings and more! Check out their menu, they have some interesting wraps and sandwiches.

I went with the  Mid Eastern Wrap (Hummus and tabouleh with red onion, bell peppers, red cabbage and sprouts) on a spinach herb tortilla. I was going to just take it home but figured I was there so I might as well enjoy the patio. It was so peaceful out there and thankfully, not unbearably humid.

 

Such a beautiful wrap. This really filled me up and was delicious but the hummus or  tabouleh didn’t have alot of flavor so that was my only grip with it. Besides that, it was absolutely delicious and fresh!

Where my dog at?  He’s right here dog.

I am going to follow this boys lead and nap it up!!

PS-I am so happy to see that so many people agree on the ridiculousness of the no cupcake situation last night!! It makes me feel less crazy 🙂