Post Holiday

The holidays were a wonderful mixture of work, relaxation, gratefulness, family time, frugality and indulgence.  It was GREAT and I am both thankful it has wound down and also that the next time is only 363 days away.  Can’t wait!

This year, my cousin had a Christmas Eve cocktails and appetizer reception at her home so that we could all be together to celebrate.  The usual family and friends that would ordinarily get together at my house on Christmas Day were otherwise engaged with travel, personal projects and so on this year.

I used coupons and sale shopping to buy some of the presents and food for the holidays.  Target Cartwheel, coupons.com, JC Penney coupons, an Ollie’s Army coupon and Aldi grand reopening coupon rounded out the discounts.

Mirror Image made out on Christmas big time…as usual. This girl…she likes STUFF. Her haul included VR goggles, clothes, money, Lindor Truffels (when did that become a Christmas wish?  She was begging for those for weeks), jewelry and more.

Christmas lunch was fabulous, too.  The good folks at Aldi one again provided a luxurious feast – broiled lobster tails, roasted duck, salad, roasted brussel sprouts, standing rib roast, dinner rolls.  Thank goodness I can get this stuff from Aldi or this kind of menu would not be affordable.

Here is a giggle – one of my presents was a Fit Board from my cousin.  This is timely considering the menu that I mentioned above.  I need it and am looking forward to using at the start of the new year in relation to my weight management goals!

More importantly than the STUFF though, is the LOVE.  I am so blessed.  Overall good health, a family that loves me and let’s me cook for them and all the other blessings that would take too long to write.

Next step post holidays, my trip to Seattle to see my sister get married (we leave tomorrow); sign up for some life enrichment classes at the local community college; The Great Water Challenge of January 2017.

Life is actually NEVER boring…

Happy New Year!

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Good Doggy, Expensive Doggy

16 week old Golden Retriever puppy scratching fleas with leg in motion on a white background "Missy"

My doggy hasn’t been doing so well.  And we are both paying for it.

Last year, I decided to opt out of the Banfield Care Plan (The veterinary practice that is set up in PetSmart stores) because I found it expensive and inefficient.

What I loved about it was that from a scheduling perspective, I was always on top of teeth cleaning, regular exams and shots.  What I didn’t like was that I could never make the numbers match in my favor.  I was paying around $30 per month (young healthy dog plan) and even with the built-in discounts, I was still paying too much for teeth cleanings and the like.  So, I decided to just put a little aside each month to account for the teeth cleanings (around $200+), along with the exam costs (around $40) and save a little cash.

And then along came a case of the cooties.  Ewww.

The poor pooch was diagnosed with a yeast infection that stretched from her ears to her bottom.  Between the exam, tests and prescriptions, her tab came to about $500.  Ouch.

The good news is that she seems to be getting better. A lot less itching, that is for sure.

So here are some takeaways from the pet adventure that never should have been:

  • When the dog is scratching incessantly, do not wait any longer than you have to, to arrange a vet visit.  We may have been able to keep this at a more manageable allergic reaction rather than the yeast infection from hell if I had recognized her issues earlier
  • Some prescriptions for dogs can be filled by pharmacies that cater to humans.  The anti-fungal medication the Vet prescribed would have cost $143 at Banfield.  It cost $88 at Sam’s Club.
  • I am my pet’s advocate.  I have to learn to listen to what she cannot say.
  • YouTube has a video on everything!  I had never heard of this yeast infection condition before known as malassezia.  Yet, lo and behold, I looked it up and there were many peeping-Tom videos of owners helping their dogs, inexpensively, through the recuperation.  Their secret to success?  Selsun Blue. I grabbed a coupon off coupons.com and bought a bottle from Target.  After she finishes her medication at the end of the week, I am taking her to a Dog wash and treating her to a bath.
  • Dog washes are only $10 at PetValue!  Not chasing the dog around the backyard to bathe?  Priceless!!!

Here is to wishing all of our pets a happy and healthy holiday season!

Mirror

 

 

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For This I Am Thankful

what-are-you-thankful-for

Thursday, I will be catching some early morning Black Friday sales at Rite Aid (FREE ear buds, people!), enjoying the annual Thanksgiving service at my church and getting down to the business of eating, a little later in the day.

So, I thought I would share my gratitude today, instead.

  • My health and health and insurance…for this I am thankful
  • My family and my place in it…for this I am thankful
  • My own Mirror Image…for Her I am thankful
  • My job and manager…for those I am thankful
  • My passport…for this I am thankful
  • Travel rewards and points…for this I am thankful
  • The opportunities to give and serve others…for these I am thankful
  • Honorable Police…for them I am thankful
  • Dedicated garbage collectors…for them I am thankful
  • Patience…for this I am thankful
  • Forgiveness…for this I am thankful
  • The election is over…for this I am thankful

Have a marvelous Thanksgiving and a Happy Black Friday!

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New Car Insurance — Finally

insurance

Last week (3 months late), I finally acted and switched my auto insurance from my current provider to Progressive.  I have had Progressive before and have no issues with being a member but ultimately, my choice was based on premiums.

Three months ago, my auto insurance renewed at $149.50 per month!  This was including a discount that came with a home policy as well.  That renewal was a $30 increase from the previous six months.  This increase was put in place even though 3 full years had elapsed since I had received a speeding ticket (boo!) and had dropped off my record. So when my company showed no interest in working with me, I looked at my options.

I checked with Esurance and Progressive, both with similar coverage and rates at $100 or less each month.  Even with losing the bundle discount from not keeping my home and auto policies with one provider, ultimately going with Progressive saves me about $60 per month. That is about $720 per year.

What I have noticed about insurance companies is that after a certain time, they increase rates exorbitantly. So, my charge is to drive safely, earn no violations and keep aware of better offers in the future.  For now, I am extremely pleased that I took care of this (belatedly, no doubt) and am getting my fall finances in order.

Next project, complete my tax returns!

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Eating Green This Summer

Funny Vegetables

I won’t try to fool anyone.  I love myself some cookies.  And donuts.  And pie.  And fajitas and fried chicken.  Love, love, love.

But in the summer time, I get giddy for garden vegetables.  The fresh from the garden taste of tomatoes and cantaloupe is a joy to behold and I am all in.  This year, I planted several tomato plants, eggplant and green pepper.

In addition to doing this out of a desire to have another dimension to my life.  I also look forward to the monetary savings of growing my own food.  Truly, I experienced physical pain earlier this Spring when I had to hand over $2.49 per 2-pack at Aldi for green peppers.

Except for a handful of cherry tomatoes, nothing major has come from my garden, yet.  In fact, the beetles are eating my eggplant and a rabbit has laid claim to the green pepper plant.  But, I am not discouraged!  That is because so many others are doing quite well on their gardens and guess who gets to benefit?  Me!!!!

So far, I have saved by not having to buy zucchini or squash or celery because other gardens surplus has provided for me.  In fact, my mom went so far as to not only give me a load of squash and cucumbers, she took some of the squash, turned it into an amazingly delicious casserole, let herself into my house and left us dinner for the evening.  THANK YOU, MOM!

I am looking forward to when my little patch of gardening earth starts throwing up the goods.  I will eat those veggies and share them, too.

Saving money by gardening is delicious!

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