Monday, December 21, 2009

Pet Peeve of the Day

This pet peeve of mine has just been driving me nuts even more lately because I have been using cash to pay for all my Christmas gifts. I can't stand it when cashiers hand me back my change and my receipt all in one big handful without counting it back. It's even worse when they don't tell me how much change they think they are giving me and then immediately move on to the next customer. I know they are in a hurry and probably being timed by management, but I'm still standing there trying to count my change to make sure they gave me the right amount. Then I'm putting it in my wallet. Then, if I'm at a place like the grocery store or Target, I'm gathering up my bags while dodging the next customer's merchandise coming down the conveyor belt. In a way I understand those Visa commercials that show the happy symphony of customers sliding their credit cards through the machines and then someone paying cash holding up the line. But in the grand scheme of things I made more money for the store by paying them in cash than if I had used a debit or credit card because they didn't have to pay merchant fees. They also didn't have to wait for payment from a bank or worry about a check bouncing. So why do I feel like I'm treated with less respect because I paid with cash?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Was the shopping trip a bust?

I went to Michael's with a 40% off coupon to get an American Girl book for Rebecca with the money my grandmother sent. Rebecca had almost $6 left in her envelope and that was just enough to pay for the book with the coupon. Michael's coupons aren't valid for books. It's in the fine print but I missed it. So no book for Rebecca. I went to Target to get bathrobes for each of the girls for Christmas. They only had extra small so I decided to wait until next week and try another Target store. Or maybe the website. So no bathrobes for the girls. At this point I'm empty handed and have spent about an hour out, including dealing with traffic. Then I decided to check out the shoe section at Target since I still had about $10 left for myself form the money my grandmother sent. I found a really cute pair of shoes that was on 50% off clearance for only $9.98. Of course I bought them. Now the question...can I consider a shopping trip that was intended to be for Christmas gifts for the girls a bust if all I came home with was a pair of shoes for myself?? I think not.

Friday, December 18, 2009

New discoveries I made this week

I know...I'm usually behind the times with most things. But I learned this week that Target brand milk and yogurt comes from cows that are not treated with rBST. What is that, you ask? It's a growth hormone that is often given to cows. I don't care why farmers use it. I don't care that the FDA has declared milk with it to be safe. I don't want it in my milk. I would prefer to buy raw milk for my family but that's outside the range of my budget right now.

I also learned that Target brand yogurt does not have high fructose corn syrup in it. I had been buying Kroger and Dannon brands because everything else seemed to have HFCS in it. I'm glad to have another reasonably priced option. Also, Target brand has plastic lids that will snap back on when my child says halfway through the carton "I'm full."

The last thing I learned today is that Citibank will create a Virtual Account Number for me to use online. That way I don't have to give out my real account number and worry about it being stolen. How cool is that? The virtual number they gave me today expires next month; I think that it's actually only good for one use but I'll have to double check that. Now I need to see if my credit union can do that, too, so I can use it with my debit card.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Another $2 billion for clunkers?

I understand the idea behind the program is to get people to get rid of their gas-guzzling vehicles and start driving more fuel efficient ones so that we aren't using as much gasoline and therefore dependent as much on oil, foreign and domestic. I get it. It's a nice idea. But do I really want my tax dollars paying for people to buy new cars? I don't EVER buy new cars. They would depreciate dramatically as soon as I drive them off the lot. Also, I don't have enough money saved up to buy a brand new car -- I can only afford used. And since I'm not willing to take out a loan to purchase a depreciating asset then this cash for clunkers program will not benefit me at all. But the more I think about it, the less I mind it benefitting others with my tax money. That's because it actually is a good idea...but I'm sad that those perfectly good vehicles (even though the gov't calls them clunkers) will be destroyed instead of available on the used car market. But the bigger problem that I have with this program is the question of "where is the extra money coming from"? What budget cut is being made to account for the EXTRA $2 billion that congress allocated for it? Or do they think they can just print money whenever they want?

Monday, July 27, 2009

Albertson's Deals

If you are in the DFW area and have the Albertson's ad that came in the newspaper last week (or in my case was thrown on the yard on Wednesday morning because I don't subscribe to the paper) check out the in-store coupons. They expire tomorrow (Tuesday). I got Dannon All-Natural yogurt for 29 cents a carton, Aquafresh toothpaste for 89 cents, and White Rain conditioner for 69 cents a bottle. They also have eggs on sale for 88 cents a dozen. I usually get free eggs from a friend who has chickens but when I'm running low I will buy them on sale. There are lots more coupons in the ad so check it out!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Financial crisis?

We hear so much on the news about the current "economic crisis" but I wonder how much it's actually affecting our day to day lives. I hear reports of people having their credit limits reduced and suddenly finding themselves over the limit on their credit cards and paying fees for that. I don't actually use credit cards except for gasoline and utilities (for the convenience factor) and I'm very careful about paying it off in full each month. But I do check online regularly to see if my limit has been changed at all. So far it hasn't. I have more credit available to me than I know what to do with. And since I never carry a balance I'm not really a money-maker for the bank that issues my credit card. So I wouldn't be surprised to see my limit lowered. But I'm wondering if this is actually happening to people or if it's just news reports blown out of proportion. What are you seeing in your life? Are you being hurt by the current economic conditions?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Jon & Kate Plus 8

Yes, I have been watching the saga of the Gosselin family for 4 seasons now. Last night I watched the opening episode of season 5. I haven't read any of the articles in the magazines at the grocery checkout line -- just the headlines. So I don't know if Jon really cheated. I don't know if Kate really made an agreement with him to allow him to cheat. I don't know if she had an affair with her body guard. What I do know is that I enjoyed their show because they were a normal family but with more children than normal. They fought, they loved, they played, they worked. They just lived their lives and did the best they could to raise their 8 children. Basically, they were like my family only with a few less children (and of course our kids came along one at a time). Now they seem like a celebrity family with a huge house, fancy toys, expensive vacations, and a staff of employees including bodyguards and nannies. They don't come across as a normal family working together anymore. Given what I've seen on the show and what I saw in last night's episode, here's my unsolicited advice for the Gosselin family...

Kate -- Quit the book tour. Quit the speaking engagements. Stay home with your children. Play with them. Read books with them. Just enjoy them.

Jon -- Get a job. Get a job outside the home. Cultivate friendships with other dads.

I would never want my family's life put on television so I would stop the show immediately. I understand, however, that they make a lot of money doing this, and that's probably asking too much of them. But what is it doing to the kids?

I have started watching a new show on TLC called "Table for Twelve" that I enjoy so much more than Jon & Kate. The Hayes family also has several sets of multiples -- 2 sets of twins and a set of sexteplets. But they come across as a very normal family, a family I can relate to. Mom stays home with the kids while dad works as a police officer. Their home is chaotic at times and so is mine. They laugh at the chaos and I *try* to to do same. What's different about these 2 families -- the Hayes and the Gosselins? I think maybe the Hayes come across like the Gossleins USED TO. So to Jon & Kate -- go back to your roots. Go back to what brought you together in the first place. Take down the facade and be real, like you used to.