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BB&B adventures

January 10th, 2007 at 03:51 am

(an extension of something I posted in the forums)

I went to Bed Bath and Beyond and was poring over the clearance rack, and I started looking deep into the very back of the shelves. There was a set of nice sheets originally marked at $180, but I guess because the crummy zipper on the plastic box had broken, they had marked it down to $45. They also have (had?) a sale where you can take an extra 30% off clearance-tag items, bringing the price to $31.50, and then I had a "20% off any one item" coupon from a promotion I got in the mail. The total came out to something like $25 plus tax.

I was there the day before as well and I picked up a window treatment bar with ornaments on the ends, originally marked at $45, for $3! It appears that the plating came faulty from the factory, but the drapes almost totally cover the bar anyway so it really doesn't matter, the exposed part just looks like it has some kind of funky fake antiquing.

I have a bunch of these coupons because people in my apartment building get them in their mailboxes and then discard them in the pile of supermarket flyers, etc. If I get there before someone cleans up the pile I can salvage extra coupons. This is fortunate because I just moved into a new (cheaper!) apartment.

December Goals

November 30th, 2006 at 08:32 pm

In order to save faster for a down payment on a house/condo, I am moving in with a friend who has a room available that is $250 per month cheaper than my current living situation. My commute to work will be four times longer than it is now, but it's only one mile each way to begin with. The additional gas for the commute will be compensated for by the fact that I will be living around the corner from the kinds of stores I currently ride several miles to.

Also, since I will be one minute away from the supermarket and a produce market, I will be cooking more at home, so I will be eating more healthy. I will be living right near the neighborhood where I hang out with my friends, and so I will enjoy more leisure time with them, which is also a health boost.

I'm also looking into getting certified to drive the ramp van taxis which can be used to give rides to wheelchair users in addition to everyone else. Not only would my income increase (clientele sent in my direction,) but my per-shift expenses would decrease (less to rent the cab and less gas for a V6 instead of a V8.)

Short List

November 16th, 2006 at 11:44 pm

This one is only 10 items long because I really need to go to bed.

1) When I get scared on my motorcycle, to distract myself I sing the song Chris Farley sang in "Tommy Boy" over and over again: "Fat man in a little suit! Fat man in a little suit!"

2) I won a spelling bee in the 6th grade.

3) I won $24 in a karaoke contest singing "Puttin' On The Ritz."

4) According to a certificate my uncle got me from the "International Star Registry", there is a magnitude 12 star (veeeeeeery dim) in Centaurus "officially" named after me.

5) One of my goals is to have a picture taken of me puzzling over a map in front of an Albuquerque city limits sign, so I can add a caption of the Bugs Bunny line, "I think I made a wrong turn at Albuquerque!"

6) My favorite job was working at the public library in high school.

7) I bought my first car for $90, and the next morning it got towed and I had to pay $100 to get it back.

8) The most famous person who has ever ridden in my cab is former SF Mayor Willie Brown. I drove over a curb right at the end of the trip.

9) I have been to the Johnstown Flood Museum in Johnstown, PA.

10) Another goal is to have my picture taken while straddling the San Andreas fault. I have not yet researched where (if at all) this can be done without trespassing or injuring myself.

unexpected income

November 15th, 2006 at 04:52 pm

Every month the cab company recognizes a dozen or so drivers who haven't had any accidents recently with "Safe Driver" awards. Last time I got one of these (3 years ago) I got a certificate and a cheap jacket with the company logo stitched on it. This time they were significantly more generous - a tshirt, a $65 gift certificate at a particular restaurant in town, and a $85 Best Buy gift card! I haven't decided if I will try to sell the gift card or just give it as a Christmas gift to my sister (who always goes to Best Buy with her best friend every year on Black Friday.)

safeway trip

November 14th, 2006 at 10:18 pm

One of the biggest holes in my spending habits is food. I am out and about all over the city every day, and I have tended to buy food on the go. On the occasions when I do get my act together and make a shopping trip, I generally don't buy too much because I can only fit so much on my motorcycle (I must look pretty funny zipping past with a backpack on my front, a messenger bag on my back, and a canvas bag on my shoulder!)

Lately I have had occasional access to a car because my new roommate has one which she lets me borrow, so today I did a big trip to the supermarket. I admit that I was sucked into this spur-of-the-moment trip by a promotion - I got a coupon in the mail for 10% off any $50 or greater purchase total at the Safeway around the corner from me. Get this - it was only good between 4pm and 8pm TODAY! That's right, just four hours! It was to generate interest in the remodel they just completed.

Well, being a good internet-savvy student of savings, of course I checked over the weekly flyer on their website to do some planning before I left. I only bought stuff that had a club card discount. When I got home I felt pretty good when I calculated that I had 39lbs of food for $42! The sack of potatoes and the sack of apples brought my average price-per-pound way down, though it was balanced by the jar of Kraft parmesan cheese I splurged on (pricey processed food.) On a per-bar basis Ivory soap was $.29 each ($3.50/doz.) which is well below my trigger price so I stocked up on that.

I felt pretty good that I had gotten so much stuff for barely over $50. This will easily keep me going for more than a week, so I think I will make it a new goal to eat healthy on $160 a month, and only drink home-brewed coffee.

Class action payout

October 30th, 2006 at 09:33 pm

I've been lurking a while since my last post but I had to add this one - I came home to find a $5.50 check from a class action payout! I don't even remember responding to the solicitation, this must have been several years ago.

Walgreen's GC arrived today

September 9th, 2006 at 04:04 pm

I just got an infusion of savings motivation in the form of a Walgreen's gift card from rebate stuff I sent in at the end of July. I think it was a $5 back on $10 of SC Johnson products or something like that, plus the 10% bonus for getting it on a gift card. I'll have to remember to pick up this months rebate catalog to see if there's anything on my list.

Also, I saved a bunch on contact lenses compared to what the eye doctor's office was charging by buying them online. There was a $40 rebate on the particular brand of lens the doctor recommended for me, plus I ended up getting a 3% rebate from using a click-thru site.

September Planning

August 31st, 2006 at 07:19 pm

Listed below are the things I'll be keeping in mind for the month of September, with respect to my finances.

1) I'm going to be more meticulous in accounting for utilities with my roommates. In the past I've made handshake commitments to cover their utilities (gas/electric, DSL, and old-time phone is in my name) in return for other items that they take care of. For example, one guy has got me on his gym membership plan, another is generous with beer and certain groceries, and yet another takes care of the garbage, water, and sewer bills. However, I'm quite sure that this arrangement is inequitable, and I think can save a lot in this arena.

2) Zero Starbucks visits. I don't have anything against Starbucks, but I have a coffee machine and a thermos, so there is no reason I shouldn't save that money.

3) Keep the iPod in the taxi at all times: My passengers tip extra when they hear all the wacky music on my iPod. Especially if I play the theme from "Dukes of Hazzard" while catching air over Nob Hill.

It Can't Hurt To Ask...

August 27th, 2006 at 02:19 pm

I just got off the phone with my motorcycle insurance company, and the result is that another $5 will go into my Savings Jar because I had the guts to ask a customer service person to waive a late fee!

I was actually all set to make the payment online, but the page with the payment form seemed to think that my balance was $0, so I called the 800 number to talk to a live person. I explained what I wanted to do. When she asked "So you want to go ahead and pay this $5 now?," this little light bulb went on. I thought, "No, I really don't want to pay this at all!" so I told her, "Well actually, it would be cooler if you could just waive the late fee!". I chuckled a bit so that it didn't sound like a big demand. She was totally fine with it and did it right away!


August 21st, 2006 at 07:39 pm

I had two Safeway register coupons for $1.50 off four boxes of GM cereals, which I acquired a month ago, the last time they were selling Honey Nut Cheerios at 2-for-$4. They have the same deal this week so I cashed one of the coupons in. I think FoodsCo. has bulk boxes which end up costing the same per unit, I wrote some notes down during my last visit which I need to check.

$6.66 (oooh spooky) will go into the savings jar today because I made two conscious saving decisions today, one to avoid my tall coffee and bear claw at Starbucks (3.40) and one to avoid the McD's drive thru (3.26). The Cheerios savings don't get included because that is just a matter of getting the best deal on something I would buy anyway. Total = $7.71.

I spent $105 getting fitted for new contacts. I could have spent less, but I've used this place before. After dealing with the docs and assistants I have zero worries about getting the perfect fit, which I never feel at the discount places.

savings jar

August 20th, 2006 at 11:38 pm

This is my first post. I've been lurking for about a month reading blog and forum entries, and I've been taking lots of frugality steps lately. I know it's really worth the effort because I managed to save up enough for this laptop computer. Keeping track of every cent I spent made me realize how much room I had for improvement. I started scouring the store ads and collecting coupons, including the club-card coupons from the checkout line. It's gotten to the point where I park at the first meter I find with time remaining on it, rather than spending money to feed the meter at a spot right in front of the store! Smile

Unfortunately, after the victory of acquiring the laptop, I slipped back into bad habits over the past two weeks after some friends visited from back east and I had to entertain them while we were out on the town. Dinner here, drinks there, etc. I decided that in order to get back into good patterns, I needed to start my own blog here so that I could get the positive reinforcement of sharing my successes with everyone (well, everyone who cares to read this Smile Reading about everyone's successes was what inspired me to get with the program in the first place, so thank you very much to all of you!

Today was good, the only purchase I made was the Sunday paper so I could do the crosswords and clip the coupons. I decided to walk instead of riding my motorcycle, for a savings of $.10 on gas (even at 40-50MPG, every bit counts.) I was surprised to find that with my Cala card the Sunday Chronicle is only $.99 plus tax ($1.07) rather than the $1.50 I was expecting, so there's another $.43 to put in savings. Finally, I collected all the beer bottles from around the house (I live with 5 other single guys aged 25 to 30 so there are a LOT of beer bottles.) I can't redeem them until the recycling center opens tomorrow but they ought to be good for $.52, so I'm adding that to my total for the day, which if you're keeping track is at $1.05.

I felt that I needed to take an extra step to make up for my slacking lately so I put a jar on the desk in front of my computer, now it contains that $1.05.