Camping, Candy and Couponing

Pimp My Kennel

 In anticipation of our camping trip I got back Abby’s old kennel from a friend who had borrowed it so that Smokey would have her own little place to hang out while away.  Most of the stuff in it had belonged to Monsoon.  I attached the hammock with paper clips so that it would be low enough for her to climb into.  On the bottom is a polar fleece blankie and a polar fleece lined sleep sack.   I’ve also grabbed a blanket to throw over the cage at night for extra warmth.  This little desert dweller is just not used to the cold.

Both Abby and Smokey couldn’t keep away from the kennel this morning.  Everytime I walked out into the livingroom the two of them were in close proximity of it.  Smokey was in it exploring when she thought it would be a good idea to stand up on her hind legs while clinging to the door with her front paws.  The weight of her little body pushed the door open with her still holding on and she flew forward before falling flat on her tummy.  She seem to be in a state of surprise.  Wish I had gotten it on camera.  It was very funny.

The animals seem to sense that something is going on.  Abby especially can sense it.  I’m not sure how it is they pick this up but they do.  Smokey ran around with an air of excitement, too.  I swear sometimes they are part human.

According to hubby, there is snow on the ground where we are going.  He works in construction and had been talking to a trucker that had just come from there.  I’m not sure if there will be much on the ground when we get there but I wouldn’t mind at all if there were.

My MIL is not coming with us now because our nephew’s (her grandson) wife is having a baby shower this Saturday.  As this is their 4th child MIL had planned on still coming with us.  I think she was feeling some pressure from the rest of the family so she felt she needed to attend.  I felt very bad for her.  She called last night and I could just hear the disappointment in her voice.  My goodness, she is in her mid-70s now, has 5 children, 12 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren.  Is it really necessary for her to attend one more shower at this point?  Hubby was going to talk to her again today to see if he could persuade her to still come.

Adventures in Couponing

So last night after looking over the weekly circulars to see what was on sale I headed on over to Walgreens with my coupons to get some Halloween candy.  I thought I was getting quite the bargain by combining sale prices with a few coupons I had.  Fail.  Once I got home I still had the CVS circular sitting on the counter and saw that I would’ve gotten the same amount of candy for almost half of what I paid at Walgreens.  Live and learn.  This is really my first time messing with this stuff so I won’t beat myself up too badly. 

 After this I headed over to the grocery store to pick up some things we needed for camping.  I had a list of things I needed and I also was working within a budget.  What was really neat was that I was actually able to get some brand name items for cheaper than the store brand items that I usually buy.  That is a treat.  We’ve gotten used to the store brands, which is fine.  It’s sort of like getting used to drinking skim milk because its better for you than whole milk. 

All in all I was pretty happy with the result of this.  Between Halloween candy and groceries for the weekend I saved $13.  While not a huge chunk of change that’s still $13 more than I would have had if I hadn’t have planned ahead.    It really took a minimal amount of time to go through the circulars.  Most stores even have them online now.  Cutting coupons has been something I’ve done for years so I keep them in an envelope in my purse.  It also helps that I live in close proximity to three separate grocery chains and two drug store chains that also carry groceries,  so I’m not defeating the purpose by driving all over town.  I’m looking forward to the next trip.  My goal is to save more than $13 next time.  We’ll see what the Sunday paper brings.

 

Post Race and A Penny Saved

Saturday was the morning of the 5k race.  It was a lot warmer this year than it was last year.  Athletica picked me up and we headed over to South Mountain park early that morning.  I didn’t officially sign up so I just grabbed my bib from last year so I’d at least look like I belonged.  The only difference was the color in the numbers.  Last year was black and this year was red.  A man dressed as Wyatt Earp shot a gun and we were off into the early morning dawn.  I definitely was not in the best of shape for the run and tired quickly.  Where I didn’t officially sign up for it I didn’t feel this extreme need to keep up the pace.

After 50 yards or so from the start line, a little boy around 6 or 7 who was running along side his Mom started saying things that at first started to crack me up.  “This was not my best start,” he announced.  Then, “I think I am wearing the wrong shoes.”  Followed by, “My feet are hurting.”  At that point I decided to speed up ahead.  While funny at first, with running I find I really need to concentrate on breathing and finding a groove to keep going.  His words were only making me remember how not in shape I felt to run this race, and that, dang, my feet were starting to hurt, too!  I didn’t see the little boy again but I’m guessing they made it to the finish line some time later. 

There is a massive hill in this race which for some reason I don’t quite remember it being quite so steep.  My shins have been complaining ever since.  I asked Athletica later if it was the same course as last year and she said, yes, it was.  It’s funny how the mind tends to forget these things.  I made it to the end in about 37 minutes which isn’t my worst (that would be Tucson back in June) but it wasn’t my best either.  One thing about races is that they can become addictive.  The next one is in December so I will be training for that one for sure.  Following that is one in early February up in Sedona. 

Saturday evening hubby took me to dinner which was very nice.  We had sushi.  We realized, too, that it had been some time since we had been out to a restaurant.  I suppose that is not a bad thing since we’ve been eating more meals at home and not out.  Later on that night I met Athletica for a Drive In movie.  We saw Paranormal Activity 3 which was horrible.  When those in cars around you start yelling expletives at that giant screen its a sure sign you pulled into the wrong lot.  I still don’t quite get the plot.  Athletica and I were discussing this in the car on the way home and we could not make heads or tails of it.  It was just that bad.

Yesterday I picked up a carbon monoxide detector for the camper.  Our old one broke and where we will be camping soon in cold weather, the windows will be shut.  It came with a fire alarm as well.  Even though we have one already I suppose one can never be too careful.  I made the reservation today for the trip *doing the happy dance* and can’t wait.    

Later on in the afternoon I was cleaning out the Girl Cave in anticipation of a couple of friends who will be coming to visit in a couple of weeks and just happen to turn the tv on to TLC.  Extreme Couponing was on.  I had never seen this before but had heard of it.  It caught my attention so I sat down for a few minutes to see what it was about.  Families had built shelving units in their garages and basements to store all their purchases.  One couple had 45 bags of potato chips but I’m really uncertain why one would need so many in the first place.  Is it more the thrill of the deal?  It showed ladies going to the grocery store and filling multiple carriages with all sorts of groceries.  It was an all day event.  They would plan this for weeks and have everything outlined in a spreadsheet beforehand.  Their total would be something like $1000+ and with all the coupons they would use, the bill would drop down to a minor $25 purchase.  I do use coupons to save money but what I’ve been wondering since watching this is, is this real?  I mean is this kind of ‘enhanced’ for television?  Out of curiosity I went through the Sunday paper and took out all the circulars, including both grocery stores and retailers like CVS, Walgreens and Target.   While I’m not 100% sure on how much these people on the reality show are really saving, I wonder if there really is some kind of strategy to this.

While it’s just the two of us at home (and 2 perpetually hungry fur kids) I started thinking about the types of things we use and wondered if I were to put some more thought and attention into this that I might be able to save us money in the long run.  I don’t need a case of peas or stuff like that.  We tend to eat a lot of fresh veggies and fruit so that ones a no brainer.  However, there are things like tissue and toothpaste, not to mention laundry detergent, that we go through quite often.  I saw at CVS that if you purchased certain ‘buy one get one free’ items you get these Reward Bucks that can be used as cash on your next purchase.  So I thought to myself, what if I took advantage of that, made one purchase to pay for the things I needed and then turned around right after that and used the Reward Bucks on a few other things all in the same trip?  Out of convenience I shop at the same store every Saturday regardless of whats on sale.  Could I really save us some money if I put a little time and effort into it?  I’m willing to give it a shot.    Of course I won’t be spending money on the prepackaged stuff but this would be on a much much smaller scale than what they show on tv.  We won’t be building extra shelving or holding up any lines while we purchase 18 million rolls of toilet paper.  I’ll be really curious to see how this works.  Or if it works.  I will post my results.  The circulars come out usually on Sunday mornings but are posted on Thursday evenings on Couponmom.com.  We shall see.