Monday, June 29, 2009

A funny thing happened on the way to the salvage store

Took a little road trip last week, and hit some salvage/ bulk food stores along the way. I'd had great success shopping at one before, and I was interested to see if I could repeat the deals.
Well .. a funny thing happened. As I shopped, it hit me: I'm doing better at home combining sales and coupons. A few examples:
  • Salad dressing, 99 cents. Well, no, I'd just paid 58 cents for the same brand.
  • BBQ sauce, 99 cents? Er, 19 cents at home.
  • Pasta, $1? Ah, just got the same brand for 33 cents.

Now, I admit to having an unfair advantage: I live in a city with several supermarkets and double coupons. These salvage stores were in rural areas or smaller cities. (In fact, we stopped at one supermarket to get some ice. They doubled coupons, but only on Tuesdays.) So if I lived in the area, a salvage store might well be the best deal.

And I did find some good deals: Canned tomatoes, 3/$1; bulk rice at 47 cents a pound; jelly for $1; 70 spf sunscreen for $3.55; bath soap, 5/$1; sponges, 12/$1; 1lb of coffee for $1 (Haven't made it yet, so we'll see how good a deal that was, LOL.)

So ... was it worth it? In many ways, yes. I certainly would like to visit the bulk food store again (perhaps when it isn't so crowded ;) On the other hand, it's nice to know that I don't have to travel to a specialty store to get the best deals for my family.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Self-serve blues

Let's call this a tale of aggravation and (hopefully) resolution.

During today's trip at a certain big box store, (and no, it's not THAT one.) I decided to use the self-checkout. Apparently I picked a scanner that hates coupons. I'd scan one ... nothing. Or it would beep, and the screen would switch to "associate approval needed." So I'd wave down the cashier ... which happened at least four times.

Then .. I tried to do a deal that would give me a $3 coupon for my next shopping trip. I finish the transaction .. and the little coupon spitter stays silent.

Enough ... I go to customer service .. and there's no one there. Turns out she was trying to help another customer, and was probably going to be a while.

When I got home, I called corporate, and talked to a very nice CSR who immediately called the store and put me through to the manager. The manager, who was also very nice, apologized for the system problems, and assured me that when I came back, I should look her up and she'd make sure I'd get my coupon.

So, kudos to them for responsive service .. and hopefully all will be resolved soon. But if I even think about using a self-serve terminal again, someone come slap me!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Garden report

It's Mulberry Madness here at the casa de chaos. The total so far from our tree is about 2.5 gallons. This is supposed to be an off year for fruit production ... actually, this means I pick berries every other day.

I've used some of the crop so far: Mulberry muffins, mulberry bread, and some cooked with a fresh peach to create an ice-cream topping.

Otherwise, my Early Girl tomatoes are setting fruit, as are a couple of bell pepper plants. The bean plants are growing tall, but no flowers as yet.

It's been an unusual June so far -- we've had buckets of rain. Good in that I haven't had to water much. Bad in that a garden can get too much rain.

We have, however, been able to collect a good amount of rainwater, which is being stored in containers for when we do hit that dry spell. But I do have to find more containers!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Chicks in the city

That clucking sound coming from your neighbor's yard .. it might be a chicken farm.

An Associated Press story reports ..
As the recession drags on, city dwellers and suburbanites alike are transforming their back yards into stamp-sized poultry farms. Victory gardens, proponents say, are not enough. Chickens are the next step.

Growing interest in backyard chickens has fans rallying for change in dozens of cities, although the urban chicken movement leaves some people squawking.

Gee .. and I live in an area that doesn't allow outdoor clotheslines. Though the resident coyotes and foxes would make me think twice.

I certainly applaud anyone who's trying for self-sufficiency. But I also fear that people may get tired of caring for their chickens, or begin to find them inconvenient. Will the next story be: Animal shelters overrun with urban chickens?

Then again, perhaps there's a new career here for someone ... chicken sitter!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

More chicken coupons

Check your Sunday paper (inside the paper, not the insert) for another $1 off on fresh Tyson chicken products.

Now, I have to actually find a store that sells them, LOL!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Whose bright idea was this?

Apparently I've missed some sort of revolution in the light bulb world. (besides CFLs, that is.)
A box of incandescent bulbs was on my shopping list. But I discovered that instead of 40 watt, 60 watt and the like, the bulbs were now 34 watt, and 57 watts!
When did this happen? And does a 57-watt bulb put out the same amount of light as a 60-watt bulb? Or am I going to have to use a 67-watt bulb? (which seems to negate the whole idea of energy saving)

Monday, June 8, 2009

May freebies

Kind of a light month:

Caress body wash
4 toothbrushes (FAC)
1 Wrigleys gum
2 KFC grilled chicken
Playtex tampons
Nineva body wash
Dove deodorant
3 Aveeno shampoo/conditioners
1 bottle Sweet Baby Ray's BB sauce (FAC)
2 bottles Weber Grill Creation seasoning (FAC)
Dove shampoo/conditioner
Sun Crystals sweetener

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Sunday deals

A couple of things:

  • Go here to print out a money-back guarantee form for Seattle's Best Coffee. (good on purchases through the end of the year, but not at one of their cafes) Their coffee happens to be on sale in my area this week.
  • Go here to request a $1.50 coupon for a new Tide Stain Release wash booster. It's supposed to arrive late next month. (However, I'd be willing to bet that samples will become available about that time, too.)

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Reclamation project

I've had to delve into shoe repair. I have a pair of inexpensive canvas sandals that were in reasonably good shape, except the right sandal's heel had broken down -- from the inside.

The plastic base had turned to bits. (Apparently I can't kick box in these, LOL

To be honest, I would have just purchased a new pair. But the store doesn't carry them anymore. And I couldn't find a suitable replacement. So...
I pulled up the insole and cleaned out all the plastic bits. Then I cut a couple of pieces of foam and glued them into the heel. When that dried, I glued the insole to the foam. Voila!
In retrospect, I should have used a thicker foam, since it squishes down under weight. But so far, it's holding up.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Use it up: Food edition

What's been going on at the casa de chaos:
  • I've been on a potato kick to use up the 10 pounds I'd purchased on sale. It was either cook 'em or plant em, LOL! I had read that you could peel potatoes and store them in cold water for a short time. It works!

  • We're working on the last of the frozen mulberries. The new crop is ripening, so gotta make room in the freezer.

  • I'm also working on the pantry. I used a slightly-out-of date cake mix to make cupcakes. (they baked very nicely.) Wasn't sure how to top them until I remembered a couple of half-used tubes of decorator frosting. So, I mixed blue with white (and a bit of milk to ease it along). The result: something along the lines of a blue highlighter.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Garden report

  • The beans are sprouting, helped along by a couple of soaking rains and some warm weather. There are a couple of stragglers, so I may need to replant in a couple of spots.

  • The tomatoes are settling in, and two of the peppers have little- bitty fruits.

  • I've harvested lettuce -- more like "micro-greens." It makes a nice addition to the salads. The cilantro is ready to be picked; the basil is coming along slowly.

  • The mulberries are ripening. This is supposed to be an "off" year, when the crop isn't as heavy. There will likely be more than enough for a pie or two.

    We're having some drainage problems around the house, so I can't use my usual method for collecting rain water. This means I shall have to be more vigilant about reusing cooking water, capturing rinse water and the like ...

Monday, June 1, 2009

Need milk? CVS deal

The Central Indiana ad offers 1 ECB if you buy a gallon of Dean's milk at $1.99.
Check your Wednesday paper (inside the paper, not an insert) for a 55 cent/1 or $1/2 coupon.

OOP: .44 cents to 49 cents after coupon and ECB.