Month: November 2014

Why I Chose the Prepaid Cell Phone Carrier I did

Hello fellow frugal friends,

A few months ago I made a post about ditching your cell phone contract, but I myself had not gotten to that point.  I wanted to be there, I really did, but it just hadn’t worked out that way yet.  I couldn’t decide which prepaid plan to switch to, if it was worth cancelling my current contract early, and so on.   Well, the day finally came where I got my hands on a Verizon phone for such a great price, that it prompted me to do the switch.

WHY DID I CHOSE VERIZON?

That’s the biggest question I think you will want answered, and I wish I could say it was because they had the best price.  We all know the entire purpose in my life is to get the best price, but this time, I did it for other reasons.

A.  I had an ALMOST new phone in great condition that I got for the perfect cost I was looking to spend.

B.  I’ve only had two carriers since I got a cell phone- Verizon or Sprint.  They each had their good and bad qualities.  Verizon has better service, and while I don’t talk much on the phone, it is super annoying not to be able to have a conversation with someone when I want to.  And no, we do not have (or want) a house phone.

C.  For $60 a month, I get 2 GB data and unlimited everything else.  I have had unlimited data for so long I am kind of afraid I will go over and not have data at the end of the month.  This would be devastating… HOW WILL I FACEBOOK WHILE I AM AT WORK?  If this happens a lot, I will probably switch back to Sprint.

D.  The process was so simple and the employee was so helpful.  This is my eyes, is a huge plus.

E.  While I cut my contract early (I owe Sprint $120), it is as if I am paying one full month at Sprint.  For 2 phones it was $160.  So… it is worth cutting the cord IF, and only IF, you have the means to pay the bill outright and not put it on a card that will accrue interest.

If you haven’t read my post about all the options you have when it comes to pre-paid phones here is the link:

https://mrsemcsdealoftheday.wordpress.com/2014/09/20/cancel-your-cell-phone-plan/

I am excited about saving $100 a month.  Each carrier has it’s own perks so find the one that suits your needs! 🙂  I hope this helps you cut the cord.

E.

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My Thanksgiving Bill….

Hello my frugal friends,

Now, more than ever, is the time of the year where you should be trying to save as much money as possible.  If you haven’t already bought Christmas presents, then don’t waste your money spending hundreds of dollars on a good thanksgiving dinner.  I have put off buying Thanksgiving food this year because I didn’t feel like any one store had decent prices, let alone amazing deals.  I won’t lie, I am a little disappointed in stores this year.  Not only is this a day for family, friends, and thankful eating- BUT THE HAWKS ARE ON!  Deals should be through the roof and out the door, but they aren’t.

Last year, I found out the week of Thanksgiving Albertson’s was doing a deal where if you spent $XX in gift cards you got money back to shop, so when I found out they were doing that deal again, I thought I would check them out.  This year, you can buy Visa, Mastercard, or AMEX gift cards in $100 increments and get a coupon for $20 off your next $50 food purchase.  You do have to pay a fee, which  makes it so you really only get $10 off, but that is still 20% of your food bill, so I was not going to complain, and I bought Visa cards so I can use them like I would my debit card.

I bought $200 in gift cards, and received two coupons for $20 off $50 in groceries… which meant that I had to do two orders.  I wanted to get as close to $50 on each as possible (didn’t quite work on one…)  Here is what I got for this price:

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Above:

2-turkeys (14-15 lbs)*

2- 10 lb potatoes*

2- 4pk butter

1-Cool Whip*

1- Ranch packet*

1- Pie crust*

1-Ricotta cheese

1- Hunts tomato sauce

1-onion*

1- Sour Cream*

1- Chicken Broth*

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3- 20 pack of Coke products

2- Wavy Lays*

1- Shredded Parmesan cheese*

1- baking soda

1-olives

1-chicken broth

1- Nestle morsels*

1- 18 ct eggs*

1-Bottle of vino ; )   (Who can cook without it?)*

2- Boxes of Cheese Nips

2- Wheat Thins*

1- Oreos

1- Stuffing bread*

6-apples

1- Head of Romaine*

1- Celery bunch*

misc cans, sugars, pickles…

So… both pictures totaled up to be $81.60 after all said and done.  In those pictures is missing one of two turkeys, and two of three cases of soda… so don’t forget to think about that when you look at what I got for the price. Anything with an (*) is going to be used for Thanksgiving meal… I didn’t star the soda, because it won’t all get used then, but that is what I bought it for.

Here are some deals I got from there:

-Honeysuckle turkeys are BOGO free after you spend $35 on groceries that don’t include the turkey and are priced at $1.19/lb.. so I ended up with 29 pounds of turkey for $18.80.

-They had left a sign up (more like ten) that said if I purchased 2-20 packs of Coke products, I would receive 2 boxes of Cheese Nips for free-so I didn’t actually pay anything for those.  We don’t really eat cheese nips, but I wanted to get soda for our guests, so this was the best deal.  It was $10 for two cases of soda, and two boxes of crackers!

-BOGO free on Lays chips (hence two bags instead of one)

-Many of the name brand stuff ended up being cheaper than house brands if you used the coupons in the paper)

-10 lbs potatoes for .99 (limit one per transaction)

I hope this helps you with any last minute shopping that you need to do! Happy Thanksgiving friends… 🙂  Can’t wait to start on Christmas stuff!

E.

What do YOU do with Leftover Turkey from Thanksgiving? I Made Enchilada’s..

Hello fellow frugal friends,

One of my favorite cooking holidays is just TWO weeks away.  I feel so unprepared this year because while I really want to make Thanksgiving dinner this year (because I didn’t get to last year) it’s my older sister’s birthday, my dad is in town, my mother will have to work the Black Friday madness (need new appliances?  She works at the Lacey Sears), and my mother in law may have to make some last minute decisions on her plans.  With all that in mind, I JUST WANT TO COOK THANKSGIVING DINNER AT MY HOUSE and make so much food.

One unfortunate thing about Thanksgiving in my mind is that so much food goes to waste unless you re-purpose it.  It is the same concept as anything else in your house… Why toss it if you can waste less, and re use it for another something.  I like to start thinking ahead of time what I can make with the leftovers, primarily the turkey, because I refuse to buy a small turkey.  At whatever crazy price they sell them for at this time of the year, I normally buy a 20 pound one and use the left overs accordingly.  Now you will always part with some of the food because you share with whoever came to your dinner, so that cuts down, which is nice.  This year, if I do end up getting to make my own dinner, I will be using the leftovers for: turkey noodle soup, lasagna, and enchilada’s in that order-based on the quantity of leftovers.  I was really scared I wouldn’t get to make a dinner this year, so I made a test turkey for practice… and mainly so I could make left over items with it 🙂

Here is my recipe for turkey enchilada’s 🙂

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First things first… make your turkey!  If you aren’t going fancy from the butcher, I think Norbest has the best turkeys that come frozen.  I have tried many brands, but have never had a dry Norbest turkey.  Season to your liking.  This is just seasoned with a stick of butter, salt, and cracked pepper.

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Next, get all your stuff together.  In the above picture, I have my turkey shredded into thick pieces, cotija cheese, diced onions, olives, cheese, and enchilada sauce.  I know I like to make things from scratch but people really seem to like the enchilada sauce I buy from the store.. One day I may venture into making my own, but for now I use the yellow can of El Pato.

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I learned from a friend the best way to get your enchilada’s super tasty for dinner time is to take each tortilla and fry it up for a bit in a pan with hot oil.  You don’t let it get crunchy…. just a good hot, oily tortilla.  I just keep a piece out and use my fingers to dip.  Inside the tortilla is a thin to medium thickness layer of El Pato and then turkey and cheese.  Top it off with more enchilada sauce.. Some people like it super saucy, some don’t.  I feel like I make mine pretty saucy.

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Ugh, don’t judge me for using non reusable pans, PLEASE!   They were getting taken to a place in which I would not receive my glass Pyrex back.  You will top the tortillas now with shredded cheese, Cotija cheese, olives, and onions (or as you wish!).  Bake at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes.

Of course, everybody makes their recipe a little different, but that is what I do.  It is hard to say exactly how much of any one item you will need because it depends on how many you want to make, how much cheese or sauce you like, and so forth.  If I make two cake pans worth, I go through about a large bag of cheese (almost), 1 pound of Cotija (can be found where specialty cheeses are or in cheese aisle), a can of olives, and a medium onion.  Sauce is about two large cans.

I can’t wait for Thanksgiving… It’s such a great time.   🙂  Next week I will be posting how to make an entire Thanksgiving at the cheapest price.  Last year, I managed an entire meal for SIX for around $35- including dessert.

Enjoy,

E.

Veteran’s Day is Here… What can YOUR vet get?

Hello fellow frugal friends,

Veteran’s Day is tomorrow and I would like you to all think about what this day really means.  Someone gave so we could play (and of course other things).  In order to repay those who gave years of their life to the United States, many restaurants give a little something on Veteran’s Day.  Here are a few places I know of that your vet can get a free item:

Red Robin:  Free Tavern burger.  Tomorrow is also Tavern Tuesday, but you can only use one of the two promo’s (wouldn’t it be great if you could use both?).  I am not sure if the free Vet’s burger can be applied to To Go’s or not.

Applebee’s:  Vet’s receive a free meal from a select menu.  Now, I know that that Applebee’s by my house can sometimes have a two hour wait on this particular day, so you will want to weigh your options here.  Is it worth the wait?  This is for dine-in only.

Starbucks: These kind folks would like to give you a tall brewed coffee for your great service.

BJ’s:  Military personnel can receive a free meal valued up to $9.95.  You may want to call and confirm your location is participating.

Krispy Kreme:  A sweet breakfast sound good?  KK would love to offer you a doughnut at a coffee on the house.  No other purchase necessary.

Menchie’s:  6 oz a tasty FRO-YO coming your way!

Red Lobster:  A free appetizer is in store for you!  Actually, you can use this now through the 13th.

Outback:  Would ya like a free bloomin’ onion?  Go here if you do!

Denny’s: Free Grand Slam for military folks here.  The build your own type!

Now, as a precaution, I would always recommend calling ahead to make sure whatever location you want to go to is participating in this fine event.  Also, you will need to be able to show proof of military employment. If you are in your uniform, that usually constitutes proof, but be prepared with your ID.  Please keep in mind spouses, while we all appreciate what you do on the home front, many (if not all) of these places only give the free items to active duty, retired, ect. and not to family members.

As a server, I would just like to ask that you keep in mind that your servers will be extra busy on this day, and would greatly appreciate you acknowledging you received free food by tipping accordingly.  Obviously, I can’t make you tip, but just remember that he/she is basically working for free (some states only pay their wait staff $2.35 or something crazy like that) unless you take care of them like they are taking of you!

My fingers are frozen because I am too cheap to turn my heater on and my nails are still partially wet so I can’t put a sweatshirt on… this is my way of apologizing for any misspellings 🙂  Please make sure to thank a veteran today, tomorrow, and always.

Until next time,

E.