I've used 63 coupons so far this year, and the news is not good.
Total savings: $75.28
Total spent on impulse buys: $106.08 (after savings)
Now, granted, I cannot say for sure I never would have bought any of the impulse items, or if I hadn't bought them I wouldn't have bought something else (say, instead of Teddy Grahams I would have gotten Oreos or something). A lot of the make-up purchases I probably wouldn't have made, though, and they are by far the worst offenders.
And not all of the impulse purchases are bad, I bought a flat of Halos, which are good for you, but also expensive and I had to give a bunch away because I can't eat a ton of them on my own. And arguably I would have eventually bought sausage.
If I change those two it brings impulse spending down to $92.76. Still more than the savings! But without those impulse items, which are also by far the best coupons... I'd have only saved... $39.50.
So really, in all honestly, couponing has saved me $39.50 and made me spend $92.76 on things I might not have purchased. Hmmmmm...
I don't think I'm a very good couponer. I have a goal to use 100 this year, once I hit that I think I'll quit. And I need to get much more selective about the coupons I use.
...the county about my house appraisal. It just really bothers me that it's so low, and I really worry that since they know I know it's low, they'll want to come back for taxes they should have collected. Silly, perhaps, but there you have it. One house with my floorplan in the neighborhood is appraised 60k higher, I assume it recently sold and that was the selling price. So why didn't they base the appraisal of my house on that?! Same floorplan, same neighborhood... seems like a no-brainer. But it's the government.
Part of me really does want to move, I'm used to change and being in one place for this long is... eh. But then I think about how much work that would be, and there's no place I'd really rather live (well, no place nearby, and moving out of state is a whole other set of issues) despite the issues with our house, so... I really just need to finish fixing it up the way I want it, but I don't have the energy and everything goes wrong and it's so frustrating. Bah. I really want new countertops, maybe that will make me feel better?
Probably not, just dumping more money into the house. I really need to watch "The Money Pit" again. Which reminds me, I do need to get some more movies to watch, so I can finish up some crafts in my craft room (no cable in there, just a DVD player).
Before this post gets any weirder, I think I'll end it with one other thing: I just read that they think procrastination may be genetic! So I'm not lazy and messy, I'm "chronically disorganized", and I don't put things off because I'm unmotivated, it's genetic! Yes!
What a weekend. In bullet points:
* Puppy had a fairly massive seizure thing, it was horrible and scary, but she's pretty much back to normal now, we just have to wait and see how things go (she may have a tumor, or it could just be the result of her very advanced age - she is 15, and that's forcing us to think about "when")
* People afraid someone was being drugged/held against their will/dead on a tropical island. No, seriously. Cleared up, that was not the case, but omg drama!
* I am still freakin' sick. Blah.
Clean all the things! Organize all the things! Landscape the yard! Put things away right after you use them! Keep the house clean and the laundry done! No more procrastination!
...starting next week.
I try to be positive most of the time, but some days just hit you wrong and today, instead of going for the upbeat "it can only get better from here!" I have choosen to be grumpy because you know what? It can always get worse. Always.
But I've also decided to make a change in my goal list - originally I had 100 things that about me as a list, and that seems... counterproductive. I'd be better served with 100 things that make me happy, though that is a double-dipping goal, I think I'll go with that. Mostly because I already dwell on the things that piss me off enough, like the fact that "thru" is apparently main-stream spelling these days. Ugh.
And I really need to avoid FB, though I'm counting the latest drama as a win, but we'll see. A girl and I were in a discussion, admittedly one that is pointless and doesn't really go anywhere because no one is going to change their opinion, and I asked a rather pointed question, and suddenly work was overwhelmingly busy and she wouldn't be able to read/answer my question for a few weeks. Fine, but then when I see you reposting memes and pictures and responding to other things on Facebook? Yeah. You just couldn't answer me. It's a hollow "win", though. I'm still cranky, and I still don't have an answer.
It doesn't help that I slept so incredibly poorly last night and I have way too much to do. There was a craft swap I was going to sign up for, but I really shouldn't. I really need to get my ducks in a row and finish some longer outstanding projects here. Even though it would be fun... And it motivates me to actually do something, even if it's not the something I really need to be doing.... *whines* But I wanna!
I do hate journalism and media on the whole, with their need to sensationalize everything even if it means bending or obscuring the truth. I hate the people who write the titles to the stories even more (though they are not nearly as bad as the UpWorthy/Viralnova style titles, which are the absolute worst).
So why oh why do I occasionally read online news articles?
There's no great answer to that, though often the comments prove both more entertaining and more annoying than the articles. Maybe I am a masochist, but I do feel guilty if I have no idea what is going on in the world, so...
And occasionally two articles/comment sections collide and make connections and I end up learning something (not from the comments themselves, I'm not daft enough to believe what I read there, but it makes me do research).
This time, it's about food. On an article about Muslims, the comment section got off into food, with one commentator staunchly defending halal food and how much healthier Americans would be if they adhered to the restrictions. I have a brother-in-law who is Greek Orthodox and his wife has a ton of food allergies, and I know the fasting can be tough and if I had to stick to those sort of restrictions I'd almost certainly be a little svelter. So I figured, sure, whatever, we do eat a lot of crap. The commentator specifically mentioned the rate of diabetes, and how that could ask but be eliminated, though other commentators disagreed, citing people they knew who ate halal and were still diabetic.
(Yes, side note, a lot of people do not differentiate between the two types of diabetes, I was giving them the benefit of the doubt and only considering the Type 2.)
This all pretty much rolled over my brain and would have stayed tucked in an obscure corner of my brain, had it not been for another article - one of those heartwarming feel-good stories - about refugees from Syria and them landing on an Italian island and the Italian people being good about meeting their needs, including halal food.
Now, while dark, unsweetened chocolate is not bad for you, it's a stretch (yes, even for me) to call it a health food.
So I looked up the rules for halal food, and found that most junk food doesn't actually violate the rules. No MCDonald's hamburgers, sure, but cupcakes and cookies and potato chips and pixie stix are just fine.
So how on earth would that help prevent obesity/diabetes?
But bacon and booze and no-nos under halal, so it's not remotely an option for me, since clearly I need the booze to read the news comment section without my brain exploding, and bacon... it's bacon. 'Nuff said!
I have a love/hate relationship with coupons. In theory I love them, in reality, we don't get along. I am not organized enough to use them properly and I refuse to run around to ten different stores to get the best price. Mostly, I buy whatever is on sale at whatever grocery store I am at and call it good. This also works because I don't actually plan meals in advance - unless you consider deciding at the grocery store on the way home "in advance", which it is technically, but...
This haphazard system works well for me, so why, you might ask, am I trying to use coupons? Simple. It's my stupid 100 goals of 100 things each thing. One was to use 100 coupons. Which is also problematic as I do not get a paper, and don't want to install "special printing software" (aka tracking software) on my computer. So getting coupons is tricky. Don't worry, I'm not stealing them out of neighbor's papers or anything, I'm not that committed to the goal. And Target is helping me by giving me coupons each visit, so yay!
Anyway, I did get this Sunday's coupon insert, and decided to test-run a few out. They break down into three categories. Things I use but didn't need at the moment, things I typically use a different brand of, and things I really didn't need to buy.
First, things I buy but didn't actually need at the moment:
Batteries - $1.00 off $7.99
Shave gel - $1.00 off $5.59 (it was a buy 2 coupon)
Fiber One bars - $0.50 off $5.88 (another buy 2)
Halo clementines - $0.50 & $1.00 off $7.99 (manufacturer and Target coupons)
Second, things I typically buy different brands of:
Liquid soap - $1.00 off $2.49 and $0.35 off $1.47 (generic may have been a hair cheaper)
Deodorant - $2.00 off $2.99 (I don't really care, brand-wise)
Excedrin migraine - $2.00 off $3.64 (makes it about genetic price)
Razor - $4.00 off $7.99 (definitely worth it since it came with 2 extra cartridges)
Yogurt - $1.00 off $4.67 (for 5, other brands are cheaper)
Thirdly, what makes it all not worth it, those things I didn't need:
Snack mixes - $1.00 off $6.10 (for 2)
Sara Lee snack cakes - $1.00 off $2.69
Honey Grahams - $0.75 off $4.98 (also for 2)
Overall, a "savings" of $16.60, though I spent $11.02 more than I might have. Not that we won't eat the snacks, or that I haven't bought them before (except the Sara Lee, which I haven't bought before), but... Would I have bought them that trip? I certainly wouldn't have bought 2 of them! Still, good to have snacks at work, it is cheaper than the vending machine! We'll see how this goes...
Yes, I love a challenge, always have. Hence my ridiculous goal lists and whatnot. But a lot of ideas/challenges barely make it out if the starting gate before fizzling out. And normally, then, no one ever heard about it. But today you will, because... well, I haven't written about anything in awhile and I can't think of anything else that isn't... actually, I can't really think of anything else at the moment. And if there's one thing I've learned, it's to do what you feel inspired to at the moment. Otherwise you just lose interest partway through and... hey, look, a bunny!
So today at lunch I was over at the library, randomly browsing shelves. I pick up a lot of movies that way, some good, some terrible, some just baffling (I'm looking at you, The Fairy). And of course I randomly grab craft books. So there I was, staring at the cookbooks and pondering the "open a cookbook to a random page and make whatever the recipe is" challenge while holding a book on cocktails (gotta admit, it would be an easier one than, say, ending up making a Turducken) and I thought "I really should close my eyes, pick a cookbook, THEN randomly pick a page." Talk about upping the randomness! I could be mixing a drink or making a kebab, you never know. Then I thought, but I know roughly where, on the shelf, the cocktail books are... maybe I should start at the end of the row, close my eyes, walk a distance, and THEN pick a book. That totally sounds reasonable!
And then I thought...
I should do that for every row in the library! Random books! Expand my horizons!
Luckily, the end rows at my library are biographies and history, my two least favorite things. Otherwise, I might still be laboring (albeit briefly) under the illusion that this is a good thing.
I was going to give myself one veto and the ability to skip things I found objectionable or completely useless (childcare/pregnancy books), but still. Still a silly silly idea.
Because even though I randomly grab movies off the shelves, I 1) read what they're about and probably put back twice as many as I check out and 2) movies aren't nearly the investment that books are, time-wise (plus, I tend to be doing other things when I'm watching a movie, so even a bad movie is not a complete waste of time).
And I had to remind myself of the time I decided to be "well-read" and attack the classics I'd never read before, and how miserable it made me to be reading something I didn't really want to be. And that's when I decided to say "suck it" to all the reading lists out there that claim these are the books you *must* read. I'd rather be happy than someone else's idea of well-rounded.
And so thus ended the challenge before it was begun, and I think it's for the best. I will still challenge myself to try new things, but in a more controlled and discerning manner.
Well, I say mostly because I'm SURE I will change some things as the year goes on. Pages that don't work, or get destroyed, or messed up... I can already think of a few I will probably make a little better, but they're in there now and will work for tracking purposes.
I already almost had one goal completely yanked out from under me, but very thankfully I found a work-around, which will work better than the original. Unless that fails, too.
And I'm staying flexible on one goal - I will EITHER get to level 100 on Farm Heroes Sage OR complete 100 more levels of Candy Crush Saga. Neither is looking good right now. But I've been sick.
(Oh, I don't have the flu NOW, but probably did before and now it's a sinus infection. Yay!)
So, here it is, goal book 2014:
(oh my goodness, I've been doing so much Craftster Blogging I almost forgot my HTML! Eeep!)
I have three goals competely done, pictures of those to follow at some point. For now, it's medication time (which means, yay, ice cream, since the antibiotic just might upset my stomach!) and bed time. Yes, it's 9pm on a Friday. Shut up, I've been sick. :/
Oh, also got to see an ambulance fishtail in front of me on the road driving home. Whhhheeeeee, ice! The Mustang made it, though it had an average speed of about 20 mph and it took twice as long as usual to get home!
Still working on my 101 things in 1001 days list, and I've got 60 listed. Now I'm poaching off other people's lists because I'm out of ideas. Sadly, most people's lists fall into one of two categories: "I already do that on a regular basis/have accomplished that" and "but we need to be realistic, here".
The first group invariably has things like "bake a cake" and "donate blood" and "get married". I'm not saying these aren't good goals! They are! ...but not for me, and I'm looking to steal ideas. So those won't work, and this is probably the vast majority of the goals I see out there. I think in part because the vast majority of people who blog these lists are young.
The second group has goals that probably aren't reasonably attainable for me, usually revolving around travel. The likelihood of me visiting several foreign countries over the next three years is... not high. So those are out.
There are fairly few person-specific goals out there, though you see them now and again (one person wanted to take the LSAT, for example). I'd like most of my goals to fit into this category, which would mean very little to others looking for inspiration (for example, we got a new shed, but haven't taken the old one down... how many other people out there have two sheds?).
Lastly, a lot of financial goals. I tried to jump on this bandwagon, with the "31 days to fix your finances" thingee. I got stuck on step two, where you had to list 10 goals. Now, mind you, I have goals coming out the wazoo, but none that seem relevant to this task. I kind of came up with 8, but they weren't very solid. Mostly, when asked where I want to be in 20 years... I see myself here, albeit with a new car and a paid-off house. And a slightly improved house. And more retirement.
But then they started asking you to really quantify things, and my brain went all jelly. Sure, if I just keep making house payments, the house well be paid off. And I rather plan on just sliding from one car payment to another. But then it goes all pear-shaped. What home improvements? How much more retirement? And I just stop wanting to think about it. I've never budgeted, I'm not good at it. I don't think that will change. I'm smart about not spending money, I don't get into debt and I save, but I'm complete rubbish at planning. So... I guess those goals aren't for me, but I may adopt the "donate $10 for every goal not accomplished to charity" one just for motivation. Not that I won't donate to charity anyway, so it probably won't be much motivation, but, hey, it fills a slot.
Lastly, still sick, which is making me more stressed and cranky than normal, which sucks. I'm stressed because my house is a pit because I'm too tired to clean. I'm stressed that I'm not doing any crafting because I don't have the energy. I'm stressed about other things because I legitimately should be concerned but there's nothing I can do. I don't like stress. Step one of that exercise was to list your five core values, the things you want most in life. My list? Happiness, serenity, comfort, fun, fulfillment. Nothing high-adrenaline, I'm not a stress-junkie in the slightest. Hmmmm, maybe I should have included health on there...
In better news, I've actually completed three items on my 100/100 list! Yes, they were easy ones, but hey, a finish is a finish. I'm going to upload pics of the pages as soon as I sort out picture hosting (I was using my LJ account, but I let my paid journal lapse, and at some point Flickr merged with Yahoo and I don't know how to get into my old account... so I suppose it'll be Photobucket).
Enough rambling, things to do, people to see, stresses to internalize!