Total excitement melt down.

It’s been mentioned here before, but due to my inability to actually read I ordered an HD receiver not an HD/DVR receiver when I signed us up for DirecTV on accident.  I need to say this again though, you do not know how damn much you miss having a DVR until it’s gonna run you $200 to get a new one.

You see for reasons that are still cloudy to me, I have to pay a fee up front for equipment and a lease fee monthly.  I’m sure that there is an explanation for this if I bothered to ask but so far I’ve forgotten to do so during each of my phone calls to DirecTV.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not sorry I told Time Warner to eat a giant bowl of dog doo, but I am very sad that AT&T U-Verse told us they couldn’t set us up.  In fact, I may call them again and tell them what happened with their contractor because I’ve talked to an installer who works for AT&T it’s self and he told me that without a doubt that installer was being lazy, he could have installed us.

But that’s not what this was supposed to be about, it’s about the new season on SyFy starts next week.  Warehouse 13 on Tuesday, then I roll into Friday with Eureka and I’m thinking of checking out Haven after, it looks interesting.  The rub is, I have a conflict on Tuesday between Warehouse 13 and Deadliest Catch.  Before it wasn’t an issue with a DVR but now that we don’t have one I have to revert and use something called a “VCR”.  I guess it uses a tape technology to record shows.  Problem is, I need Jason to actually set the one working VCR up in the bedroom so it can record.  Currently it’s in Kyle’s room.

We actually have three VCR’s in our place only works though.  The one in the master bedroom was broken when Jason tripped and shoved it from on top of the TV to the floor, the one in the living room died when Kyle shoved something into it, what we don’t know.  What we do know is that it’s blinking at us and nothing we do stops it.  And that the DVD player no longer works in it either.  I’m not sure why it’s still in the living room other than maybe we need a blinking light to make our entertainment center look all scary and stuff.

So, we need to buy a VHS tape and I need to keep reminding Jason that my life will end in tears and a panic attack if I’m forced to choose between The Time Bandit and Eddie Mac.

I swear, I’m not paid for this

After liking my E.L.F enough to blog about it, I picked up a few more buys at Target and decided to give the Translucent Matifying Powder a try.  I’ve never, ever been pleased with any other product like that because it ends up making my face look like a clown who forgot her white make up but tried her best with regular powder.

I’m hooked.  Terribly hooked.  When I got home from work I looked just like when I’d left home that morning, no shine and no cake.  I’m going to have to go all in and say, if you’re looking for a decent make up line and a decent price, try E.L.F. out.  It’s not MAC by any means, but it’s a damn lot better than Cover Girl.  The eye lid primer?  No oily crease until 8 pm.  That is more than 12 hours from when I applied it.

And in other news, I’m really thinking of starting a small garden this summer.  I’m starting to realize that I can save year round if I can grow things that I can either store or put up in some way.  Now, I’m not a canner, though I could become one if this first year goes alright, so canning foods would be out.  I’m did some quick research and found out that I can make pasta sauce easily and freeze it.
I use a lot of pasta sauce here because it’s cheap, all Jason has to do is cook noodles and it’s Kyle friendly.  I had a pretty hard time thinking of anything else I could grow and store.  Then I found The Potato Grow Bag and it’s friend The Herb Grow Bag and an idea was born.  If I can figure out where I can store potato’s I can grow them and store them for a good long while and we use a lot of potatoes here and I’ve always wanted to grow herbs.  If I get two bags I can also grow onions or green peppers.

The genius of these is Grow Bags is I can grow things on my back patio which faces south.  Because we live in an apartment I’d always figured any type of gardening would be something that just wasn’t feasible for me.   Of course, it was convenient too because I don’t actually like to garden.  But it looks like something Kyle and I can do together and it would supplement our  grocery budget.  Who knows, next year I may decide I like it well enough to grow peas and beans and start canning them.

Couponing, do I really need a paper cut this week?

I’ve been grocery shopping at Aldi for a while now.  The choice to start shopping there was done grudgingly, I hated the idea of only getting generic foods, and didn’t want to have the stigma of only shopping at the “cheap” store.  I also figured their food wouldn’t be nearly as good as the name brand items.

I was wrong, the only thing I wasn’t happy with at Aldi was their coffee, I like their pasta sauce much better than Pregu and their selection is actually pretty good even though it’s limited.  The only real downside is that they don’t carry a wide array of cleaning supplies and I’m a cleaning supply junkie.  I adore going to a store and browsing mops, cleansers and sponges the way most women enjoy shoe shopping.  My solution to this was to start being more aggressive in my couponing.

I signed up for The Grocery Game to get the flyer for Walgreen’s each week.  I can read the flyer and figure out what I have a coupon for but using the Grocery Game’s flyer I could see what was at the best price and find items not in the weekly ad.  The last time I went I saved $35, my best buy?  Make up that was on sale BOG50% with a coupon for BOGO.  SCORE!

But as much as I can see the savings on my regular grocery shopping at Aldi, I began to worry about missing out on savings for a regular store with my coupons.  To fix that I have begun a spreadsheet on Google Documents and started to add the purchases, along with their price.

I went with Google Documents because I can quickly get that information on my BlackBerry or any computer I’m near.  My goal is to be able to compare the sale with coupon price of an item with the price I’d pay at Aldi, if enough are on sale cheaper at my local grocery store I’ll go get them there, if not I’ll stick with my Aldi list.

I’ve also found this is a great way to generally track my expenses and to figure out a bi-weekly grocery list quickly.  Really, I’m doing a few things at once to keep track of my family’s grocery budget and once my regular purchases are in the spreadsheet it won’t take as long to update because they’ll already be in there.

It’s been a lot of fun, weird I know, to spend less each trip while bringing home more and I love to figure out how much I saved.  It’s been a bit of a shocker to figure out that, on average, I’ve been saving $50 each trip vs. the regular store.  For a family of 3, well 2 and 1/2, I spend $240 on groceries.  That doesn’t include my Walgreen’s trip or diapers/wipes though.  Add those in and we’re at about $360 each month.  I know people who spend $240 on one trip.

The really, really nice thing about this has been weeks where we need to cut back for whatever reason.  Last month I only went shopping once because I had been able to get a pretty good stockpile of foods we could use.  Sure, I had to get a little creative with what I was cooking, but I was still able to make healthier foods at home without needing pre-packaged foods.

So, keeping track of what I’m spending on groceries is a new budge control tool I’m using.