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Friday, November 28

Huge Gift Card Deal at Winn-Dixie Ends Tonight

Winn-Dixie has a Black Friday special on the purchase of gift cards that can also be combined with a free appliance program and credit card multiplier.  Here's how I saved:

  • Every $50 you buy in retailer gift cards (I bought Amazon, Lowe's, and Regal Cinemas) earns you a $.25/gallon discount at Shell (worth $5 if you buy 20 gallons).  That's a 10% rebate on your gift card purchase.
  • For every $10 you spend at Winn-Dixie, you earn 1 point towards a free small appliance (blender, toaster oven, coffee maker, crock-pot, etc.).  Spend $600 on gift cards to earn the 60 points needed for a free appliance.
  • Use a credit card with a grocery store multiplier.  My Hilton Honors American Express gives me 5 points per dollar spent at the grocery store.

I bought $1,200 worth of gift cards, mostly to Lowe's since I am still remodeling the house.  For that, I earned $120 in free gas ($.25/gallon * 24 increments of $50 * 20 gallons), a free coffee maker and blender, and 6,000 Hilton Honors points.  Sweet deal!  The only caveat is that I have to redeem my gas credits by December 31.

Monday, November 24

Just Being Frugal (Deals, Deals, Deals!)

All's quiet on the Frugal Miser front.  I wrapped up back-to-back meeting jobs last week and have worked a spattering of mystery shopping jobs, but this week is really slow.  I've been taking advantage of shopping deals with all the extra time I've had.

I bought a Living Social for Dealflicks, which offers select showtimes at Carmike (Muvico) at a discount.  We paid $12 for two tickets and two popcorns and saw Nightcrawlers.  Then they offered popcorn and the opening night ticket to Dumb and Dumber 2 for $2.  I also bought two tickets to see Journey next March for $20 each, which is a steal since there aren't any other fees like when you buy tickets on Live Nation.  My partner is half Filipino so seeing Journey is a treat since the lead singer is from the Philippines.

I've been stocking up on restaurant gift cards since the holiday deals are fairly aggressive this year.  I used a credit card that gives me 3% back to buy gift cards at Olive Garden.  They come with a $10 bonus card for every $50 gift card you buy, plus Shell Fuel Rewards is offering a $.20/gallon discount for every $100 you spend at Olive Garden this quarter.  I'm also planning to buy a $100 gift card at BJ's to receive four Pilsner glasses.  I did that last year and the glasses are really nice.

Finally, I've been couponing the last couple of weeks to receive a number of free deals.  CVS and Walgreens have both offered free stuff, including toothpaste, laundry detergent, candy, gum, pain medicine and more.  Then I picked up two bonused Publix mystery shops and combined my shopping with coupons for heavily discounted food including pasta, canned vegetables and 100% juice drinks.

We are leaving for Miami on the 12th.  I am shopping a high-end hotel that night and we leave for our cruise the following day.  Those 7 days at sea will give me the chance to think about and plan for my 2015 goals.

Thursday, November 6

My Frugal Miser - October Expenses: $4,113

October was an expensive month, but almost half of my spending was on home improvements, not recurring charges.  I paid a plumber to remove a major blockage in the sewage, bought a new toilet, ceiling fan, shelving for my bedroom closet, a miter saw, and several sheets of drywall and buckets of mud.

I added 1,621 miles to the odometer.  In addition to the increase in mystery shopping last month, I worked meetings in Boca Raton and Orlando.

The only category where I regret my spending was Food ($419).  We spent around $160 stocking up on groceries, but the balance was for restaurants.  I always eat out when we go out of town for work.

October Expenses:  $4,113

$907 Auto ($20 for gas, $380 for depreciation, $100 for AAA, $25 to change address on ID, $382 for 6 months insurance)
$0 Bank Fees
$67 Clothing
$0 Computer
$166 Entertainment (movies, gambling, alcohol)
$419 Food
$136 Gifts Given
$1,898 Household/Housing/Home Repair
$0 Home Insurance
$245 Health and Dental Insurance
$0 Investment Expenses
$0 Medical/Dental
$29 Miscellaneous
$64 Personal Care
$0 Subscriptions
$0 Taxes
$177 Utilities
$4 Vacation and Recreation

Tuesday, November 4

My Frugal Miser - October Income: $8,724

My income in October was solid.  I collected rent from every property, including extra rent from my trouble tenant at Townhouse #3 and an extra two weeks rent at Townhouse #1, which was recently rented.  The new tenant receives a 100% Section 8 voucher.  Some landlords don't like the program, but I like the certainty of the monthly rent check and the increased likelihood the tenant will stay put for the long haul.

I did a fair amount of mystery shopping, but my out of pocket expenses were high and won't be reimbursed until November, making my October figure artificially low.

October Income $8,724

$59 Mystery Shopping
$8,594 Rental Income
$71 Other Sources

  • I don't include transactions in my retirement accounts.  This includes rental income, dividends and capital gains and losses.
  • I include merchandising and hospitality work in the mystery shopping category since the companies that I shop for provide this extra side work.