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Archive for February, 2014

27 Day Food & Beverage Budget - Final

February 13th, 2014 at 03:00 pm

Days 1-26 I spent $105.13 on groceries and $23.82 on eating out. During my brother's visit he treated me once and I treated him once. And ... sigh ... I did stop one evening on my way home & buy a sandwich for dinner (tsk, tsk).

DH is coming home tonight so I did my big "stock back up" grocery shopping trip. I had $46.05 remaining in my budget of $175 but only spent $34.89. I have $11.16 left over. I had planned to buy some seafood but did not. I wasn't happy with what the store had (some of the fish looked fine but was very expensive). I'll buy fish the next time I go to Costco. I still have several cans of sardines in the pantry, so we aren't without seafood.

I did manage to get a $4 wine; that was the last thing to go in the cart. Had to make sure I wasn't over budget before buying that little luxury.

I stopped off and picked up 2 free pastries on my way to the grocery store. The restaurant where brother treated me to breakfast had a survey link on the receipt that I could complete to get a code for the free pastries. Now DH & I will have a Valentine's Day morning breakfast treat.

A couple things I learned during the past 27 days:
- My main grocery store does NOT offer case price discounts (because I was more focused on food prices than usual, I thought to call them and ask).
- Re-sprouting green onions in a glass of water did NOT work very well for me. The little half-developed green shoots that were already there when I bought them did grow, but nothing new came out. I don't know if it is because the green onions had been refrigerated, or because my house is cool since it's winter. I may try again in the summer when it's warmer and if I get some never-refrigerated green onions from the farmer's market. Although this was not a success at least I TRIED something new to stretch my food dollars, spurred on by focusing more on food prices than usual.

Valentine's Day Gifts - New York's 529 College Savings Program

February 3rd, 2014 at 09:40 am

Today I'm mailing off Valentine's Day gifts to my niece & nephew. They are getting $1 cards, a second-hand book in very good condition to share, and small contributions to their New York 529 College Savings plans. Every year I send a small token gift for them to open, but the main gift is the college fund contributions. I do the same for Christmas and for their birthdays.

My sister used to have Coverdell accounts for them, but last year switched to NY's 529 plan. I think it was a great decision because the investment options are all with Vanguard (I'm a fan). Also, now instead of sending a check to my sister that she has to deposit and then mail money in to the investment company, I can now make contributions directly to the 529s. I print out a coupon and mail it in with a check to UGift. I can also print out a little gift certificate that I mail to my niece & nephew. I never had any concerns sending to the money to my sister, but for anyone who wants to know that the money will go to the intended recipients for college it's a nice assurance. Also, it makes things easier on my sister who is busy with her job & children.

That is the only spending I'll be doing for Valentine's Day.

My husband usually buys a nice box of chocolate for me after they go on clearance after Valentine's Day.