Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Tuesday


Food City is really good about sending texts every now and then for a free item. On Monday they sent a text for us to come  in and get a free can of Bush Baked Organic Beans. Since my daughter and I both have a card there, we were able to pick up two free cans. 


This week I am on Spring Break. Last week there were several students who had the sniffles and I woke up on Saturday with a sore throat, so I made sure to have some hot tea to see if I could nip whatever this was in the bud. 


My honey was crystallized when I went to use it, but now that I have a microwave, I no longer have to boil the jar in hot water on the stove. I just had to microwave it in increments of one minute and it was as good as new after two minutes. 

On Sunday morning I made a big breakfast for everyone. We had sausage, scrambled eggs, tomato slices, toast, cantaloupe and red grapes. 



 Today I took Mom to the dentist and ran a few errands. 

How was your Tuesday?

Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Saving Money on Prescriptions

My doctor told me one time that pharmacies like Walgreen's and CVS usually charge more money for prescriptions than smaller pharmacies. For the most part that is correct, but as with any area it really pays to do your homework and do the research. 

Our insurance company will only pay for a certain number of prescriptions per month and since we use more than the allotted amount I have to pay cash for the other prescriptions we use each month, so I did my homework last year and have definitely saved money in this area. 

The first thing I did was to write down all of our prescriptions so I could have this information all in one place. Then I figured out how much each one cost at CVS, which is the pharmacy we regularly use. 

CVS is my go to pharmacy because they give detailed information with each prescription, they have a convenient drive through service, and they give me a free bottle of water every time I fill a prescription.  However, the down side to that is they charge a lot more money for certain prescriptions. 

During my research I called multiple pharmacies to ask them the cost of each prescription. And I found out some interesting details such as...

Did you know Publix offers some drugs for free such as Montelukast (my daughter and I both take this drug), Amlodipine, Lisinopril, and Metformin all for free? They also offer certain antibiotics for free as well. You can read about their free prescriptions here. CVS charges over $100 to my Insurance company for the Montelukast. 

Fresh and Low, a locally owned grocery store here, also offers some prescriptions for free along with free antibiotics, and free monthly vitamins for children under the age of 18 years old. 

Another way of saving money on prescriptions is to shop around for the $4.00 prescriptions that became popular a few years ago. 

Food City has become my second go to pharmacy for this reason. I have been able to save so much money getting several of my prescriptions at Food City for only $4.00 verses the astronomical prices for the same drugs at CVS. 

I love CVS, but I have to do what is in the best interest for me and my family and our budget. 

My Mom uses Walgreen's pharmacy and she thinks they are the bee's knees. She has a prescription for high blood pressure that she was unable to fill at Walgreen's because they wanted $79 for it and she is on a limited income. 

After a great deal of discussion I finally convinced her to call Food City and check their price of the drug. She called and Food City offers the same drug for $21, so I took Mom about two weeks ago and had her prescription filled. 

You want to know what she told me this week? 

She said that she felt so good, knowing that she was able to take her blood pressure medicine EVERY day because she was able to afford it. I didn't even know she was only taking it every other day because of the cost.  As you can imagine, that made me very sad. 

Mom was reluctant to change pharmacies because she is a loyal customer and didn't want to leave a place she had used for years. And many people probably feel that way, but if you are trying to save money in this area, I would consider calling around and seeing if you are able to save yourself some money. I know we certainly were able to do that. 

I hope you find this information helpful. 

Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~

Monday, March 20, 2017

Childhood Hunger

RockStarFinance.com is such a great website run by J. Money and Nate St. Pierre. A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the terrific Directory of Personal Finance Blogs they created.  

Well now they are doing even something better and more beneficial to our communities. 

They've started a program called the Rockstar Community Fund, and specifically the #GivingCards project.  

The idea behind the program is for people to pool together their money and use it to do good in their communities. Specifically they give away five $20 Visa gift cards every month to people to use to do good in their own communities.

Well I loved the idea and immediately thought about the snack pack program at the middle school, which I've written about here before. This is the school where I sub the most and I have seen the need there first hand.  

I explained on the application that this area is a poor rural community where over half of the students are on government assistance due to low incomes. 

Oftentimes these students leave school on Friday and don't have another hot meal until they return to school on Monday. Some of them have no one to cook a meal for them. 

The snack pack program helps to fill a void in their lives by sending them home with a bag of food so they will have something to eat over the weekend. 

The most requested item for the program is canned pasta and canned soup because this is something easy for a middle school aged student to fix for him or herself. 

One of the problems with the program is that it is severely underfunded. There are over 100 students on the program and even with donations, there is often not enough food to meet the needs of the students. 

Because of that, I decided to apply for one of the $20 Visa cards from the Rockstar Community Fund to buy some food for these student. The application for the snack pack program was approved and I received the $20 Visa card earlier this month. 


 Well you know me. I did my research and found the best deal I could to use this money wisely. I knew that the cheapest place to find canned pasta would be at Walmart. 

Now I know some of you don't care for Walmart, but I was looking to buy as many cans of pasta that I could for this $20.00.


Lucky for us, my daughter even found some coupons for Spaghettios. The coupons were 40¢ off for two cans. So on Saturday, my daughter and I went to Walmart and picked up 26 cans of Spaghettios with meatballs. The pasta was 98¢ per can, but with the coupon would be 71¢, which was cheaper than the 80¢ cans of Chef Boyardee. 

Here is a photo of the bags of Spaghettios. It was dark this morning when I took the picture. 


I'm so thrilled and grateful to the people at Rockstar Finance who created such a beautiful program to help people help in their own communities. I am grateful that they decided to help me help the students in my community with childhood hunger. 

And since we are not supposed to take pictures of students and post them on the Internet, I posted some photos of the school hallway this morning before they arrived. 


I was early enough to catch the custodian cleaning the office inside.  :)


And here is a photo of the classroom I worked in today before the students arrived. 


I want to send a big thank you to Nate St Pierre, J. Money, and the Rockstar Community for donating the money to help alleviate childhood hunger. We could do not this without people like you helping with programs like this.

Thank you!

Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Grocery Shopping Saturday

This week I perused the grocery store sale ads online since I did not pick up a copy of the newspaper. I looked through the sale ads, checked for coupons we had or could print and went shopping on Saturday morning. 

The first place we stopped at was Walmart because I had something to do that required shopping there that I will share in a blog post another time. I did pick up some croissants while I was there for $1.94 on markdown. 
After that we headed over to Food City. I had six coupons for $1.00 off Bush's Hummus Made Easy. Food City had it on markdown for $1.15, so I paid 15¢ for each of them. 

My daughter also found a rebate on them for 55¢, so we will be getting a rebate on them as well. 


We went early as I knew Food City would probably have meat markdowns and they did. 











I picked up three packages of premade hamburgers, three packages of cube steaks, two packages of small steaks (will make Swiss steak with these), and one package of pork chops. The total cost of the nine packages came to $23.91, which worked out to $2.66 a package. 

Our next stop was Sam's Club where I picked up four pounds of cheddar cheese and a block of American cheese. I also picked up a rotisserie chicken for dinner while I was there. 



Next stop was the Bakery Outlet to get bread. This one is located on Bonnie Oaks Drive in Chattanooga, which has better prices than the one located in Cleveland. 


I bought two loaves of Butter Bread for 79¢ each, 1 package of hamburger buns for 69¢, and two packages of hot dog buns for 69¢ each. 


My next stop was Aldi where I picked up four bags of onions, which were on sale for 89¢, and four cartons of eggs, which were on sale for 59¢ a dozen, which was an unadvertised special. 


My last stop of the day was at Publix where they had Oscar Meyer beef hot dogs and Mt. Olive Pickles both at buy one get one free, so I picked up two packages of hot dogs and four jars of pickles - two were dill and the other two were bread and butter. The hot dogs were $2.75 each, which is a great price for beef hot dogs. 




I spent a total of $80.21 today and saved $6.00 in coupons. All of these items will be added to our freezer and pantry to make meals over the course of the next few weeks. 

One of the ways we save money on our grocery bill is to shop the sales and markdowns as I've tried to show you in this post. 

I hope it was helpful.  :)

Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Making Money on the Side: Pet Sitting


Creating side jobs is one way of making extra money, which you can then either save to create an emergency fund or use to pay off debt or apply towards any of your financial goals. 

Pet sitting is one side job that will help you to make extra money. My daughter and I recently were able to make some extra money while pet sitting for someone. 

This job allowed us to be able to stay in Chattanooga, if we wanted to, or we could have brought the dogs to our home, but we decided to stay in Chattanooga. 

Our client was upfront about her dogs being used to a lot of extra loving care, and it is important to have a love of animals if you want to make extra money pet sitting. My daughter and I were made for this role as we both love animals. Our client's dogs received a lot of love and care while we were there. 

Animals are like humans in the fact that they need love and attention, so if you find animals to be irritating  or if you are turned off by their needs then pet sitting may not be the side job for you. 

Our client was nervous about putting her dogs in a kennel as she has experienced this before and had her dogs returned to her hungry and needing attention. Having someone sit in her home with them provided them with plenty of love and attention and even saved her hundreds of dollars. 

Our client noticed right away that her dogs were sitting next to me being loved on while she was showing my daughter the ropes and I know this made her feel immediately relaxed about leaving them in our care. 

Our job included feeding the dogs, making sure their water bowls were filled and cleaned, walking them multiple times per day, picking up dog poop, giving treats as needed, and picking up after them. These dogs were well disciplined and had a good routine, which we stuck to and as a result were rewarded with good behavior. 

Our client had traveled to New York, so we sent photos of the dogs to her every other day, which she loved. We also cleaned up her house before we left for the week.  We also dropped her off and picked her up from the airport saving her the cost of an Uber driver for that service. 

In the end we made $200 for pet sitting for the week, which worked out to $25 per day and we had a staycation ourselves as we stayed in Chattanooga for the week and enjoyed free WiFi all day long (we are on a limited data plan at home) and were able to enjoy several different things in the city. 

If you love animals and would like to make some extra money on the side pet sitting might just be for you. The main requirements are a love of animals, being reliable and caring for them in a safe and loving environment. 

Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~

Friday, March 17, 2017

Frugal Friday

Today is Friday.  :) 

I worked four days this week.

Every breakfast, lunch and dinner (except Wednesday's dinner) was either packed from home or eaten at home this week.  

Here is what was on our dinner menu this week:

Sunday
Chicken Sandwiches
Lettuce, Tomato, Pickles
Fresh Pineapple

Monday
Grilled Chicken
Rice & Cheese
Steamed Broccoli

Tuesday
Salmon Patties
Baked Potatoes with Sour Cream
Corn

Wednesday
Pizza Hut - Pepperoni Pizza (Free after Mystery Shop - a nice treat!)

Thursday
Hamburgers
Lettuce, Tomato, Onions, Pickles
Tator Tots
Red Grapes

Friday
Hamburger Patty
15 Bean Cajun Soup Beans
Fried Potatoes (Using 2 left over from Tuesday)
Corn

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I had Thursday off and was able to get several things done. I took my Mom to run errands and pick up groceries. I went by the county clerk's office and renewed my auto license plates ($24.00) and renewed my driver's license ($32.00) in the same office. I also took garbage off that day (free as a county resident). It was nice to be able to check several things off my to do list. 

Were you able to eat all of your meals from home this week?

Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Fee Free 411

My cell phone service is through Verizon wireless because that is about the only coverage we can get in the rural area where we live. 

Every now and then I find my self in a situation where I need to find the phone number of a business, but am not near a computer and since I do not have a smart phone, I cannot look the number up on my phone.  

The first thing I do however, is to call the local chamber of commerce. If the business I am trying to call is a member, they will give me the phone number to call them. Otherwise, Verizon will charge me $1.00 if I use directory assistance. 

Recently I found out that there is a free 411 directory assistance that won't charge you any money to use their service. The number to call is 1-800-373-3411. 

I tried the number and you do have to listen to an advertisement that lasted about 30 seconds, but if it saves me $1.00 in the process I am more than willing to use the service. 

I added a new contact to my phone and listed the number under Information, so I will be sure to have it when I need it. 

I hope this helps some of my readers to save a little bit of money.  :) 

Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Personal Finance Blog Directory

RockStarFinance.com has come up with a directory of 814 personal finance blogs. 

You can categorize them into several different categories including the state where you live, your age group, profession, country, stage of life. 

I've played around with it some and found a few new to me blogs that I know I will enjoy reading. 

They add to the directory every week, so if you have a blog be sure to send your information so it can be added. 

If you're interested here is a link: 

Directory of Personal Finance Blogs

Hope you enjoy!

Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Mid-Week Check In

School was called off for Wednesday due to the threat of severe weather. I was able to work Monday & Tuesday and will also work Thursday & Friday. 

Dinner on Tuesday was homemade veggie burgers using this recipe.  I served them with diced onions, red peppers & tomatoes, corn, beets, and steamed broccoli. 


I found some marked down pork sausage at Food City this week for $1.10. 


Found some ground chuck marked down to $2.40. It was in the shape of four patties, but I crumbled them up and made some cheesy hamburger potatoes using this recipe


I found this package of bananas marked down to $1.01.


We had banana pancakes on the menu after that and I made extras for breakfasts this week. 


Found these apples marked at 3 for $1.00, so I picked up nine. 


Found these delicious heirloom oranges for $2.99 and there were nine in the package, so about 35¢ each.  


Bailey & I went shopping over the weekend at Forever 21 where they had 65% off their clearance section and found her this dress for under $3.00. 


And finally, here is a photo of our camellia bush. The winter was very mild here, so it is already loaded with blooms. 


I wanted to congratulate Carol over at CT on a Budget for buying a house this week. She has accomplished so many things over the years and her detailed blog posts about how she saves money and meets her goals is an inspiration to many people. I wish her many happy years in her new home. 

I hope you all are having a great week!

Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~