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Archive for September, 2009

Weekend deal hunting

September 14th, 2009 at 11:51 am

I had to get rid of some catalina coupons that was expiring on Sunday. I bought 2 bags of Nuts cluster that are free after RR. Used $1/1 coupons, so this was $2 money maker. I also bought 2 newspapers, 2 gums, and a bag of chocolate. Out of pocket was less than $2.

Rite Aid
Great week for stocking up baby wash and baby lotion. I bought ten bottles of baby wash/lotion/powder that I will use them for my co-worker's baby shower. The total price of baby goods was $30, and I used $15 worth of coupons and getting $15 in rebate. Thus, free. I had $25 Rite Aid gift card I got from previous promotion, and paid out of pocket portion with the GC. No cash impact which is nice.

They have cheap grapes again this week!! I love them! Also, Yoplait yogurts are 50 cents each if you buy 10 or more. I found $1 off on 8 cups coupon in Pillsbury website. That make them 40 cents each. Sweet!

Some thoughts about healthcare

September 10th, 2009 at 04:28 pm

I heard the President's speech about the healthcare reform last night. I'm from a country with government health care. So, I will share my experience what it's like.

First of all, it is NOT free. Everybody pays in, just like SSN tax we pay. And, just like SSN, employers pay 50% and employees' share is 50%. I don't remember how much I was paying, but it depends on how much people make. People pay more if they make mroe, and people pay less if they make less.

There is one government agency, and it administers all health issues. And here's what people get.

- When kids are in school: A group of doctors and nurses come to school once a year. It is called physical check up day and everyone participates. Each student have "health record book" and it has record of results from annual check up day from K - 12. Nurses measure students' height, weight, check their basic health condition, anything critical for children's health. This check up includes dental and vision. If the student show any kind of warning signal, a doctor will write up a letter and it will be sent to parents so that the parents will make an appointment with their doctor. This annual health check up is done no charge to students.

- After people get jobs: Grown up version of annual physical check up is provided by companies. Again, a group of nurses and doctors come to our office once a year and give us physical check up, including measuring blood pressure, taking x-ray, etc. People over 30 years old are sent to stomach cancer screening (because Japan has high stomach cancer rate), and people over 35 years old are sent to what they call "Human doc" for very thorough physical. This is part of employees' benefit, thus, no charge.

- For housewives and self-employed: Local government (such as cities and towns) have medical office where similar service are offered to people who cannot take advantage of employees' benefits like above. These local medical offices also provide parenthood classes for pregnant women and their husbands, and issue "Mother and child" book so that we can keep health record of both mother and the baby.

- When you get sick, you can go to any doctor you want. There's no such thing that you need to choose your doctor. If you get sick when you're traveling and found a doctor by shopping mall, you can walk in and receive a treatment by showing your insurance card. The cost is the same no matter where you go. Different doctor may prescribe different medicine, but the difference of amount is nothing to fuss about. When I went to see a doctor when I got sick, the most I paid was like $10 or so.

- My cost of hospitalization when I had C-section was about $3,000. (well, it was like 18 years ago... but still...) It was a private hospital. I had my own room, three gourmet meals provided every day, my own shower, and I was there for 10 days. (Normally, people stay in hospital about 4 to 5 days for normal delivery.)

I won't say their system is perfect. There are problems including rising cost due to fast pace of graying society. However, I've never heard anyone filing bankruptcy due to medical bill. And, people live for a long time over there.

Sold folding chairs

September 9th, 2009 at 03:42 pm

As I mentioned in my previous post, my co-worker said she wanted folding chairs for camping.

I bought four of them at $3 each yesterday at CVS. I asked her this morning "Do you want to buy folding chair? They're $3 each."

She couldn't believe how cheap they were and was pretty happy about my offer. The regular price of these chair was $25. She was so happy that she saved so much money, and I told her to go out to dinner with the saving Smile

Well, I'm happy too that I didn't have to store them in our garage, and got $12 back.

More shopping

September 8th, 2009 at 09:17 pm

I shopped A LOT today, taking advantage of 90% off sale.

I went to two CVS and bought some great summer stuff. I bought several inflatable pool toys. Regular price of one toy was $54!! I bought 2 of them.

My plan is using them for my DD's silent auction item. She's in charge of student body and asks me to give her something for fundraising dinner every year and it has to be close to $100 in value. (or she needs to solicit local business to donate their merchandise.)

I also bought some other summer toys for emergency gift (means unexpected event I need to come up with a gift) for kids. They are $2 to $3 each after 90% off.

At second CVS, I found some folding chairs and bought four of them at less than $3 each. I will sell them to my co-worker at cost. What happened was that I was telling my co-worker this morning about scoring some folding chairs yesterday. She said she was looking for folding chairs and went to Wal-Mart, and found them at $20 each. She didn't buy them because it was more than she wanted to pay. She can have four nice folding chairs for $12.

I bought some other stuff, like lunch tote 32 cents, BBQ brush 30 cents, portable fan $3, cooler $3, etc.

I used $4 off/$20 purchase coupon, and it worked out nicely. I spent grand total of little over $40!! That's splurge for me, but that means I got more than $400 worth of products. Some of them will be Christmas gifts for my friends. (Such as cute lunch tote that I bought 5 and paid 32 cents each.) They're so cute!!

CVS had 90% off sale!

September 7th, 2009 at 04:10 pm

I heard some CVS marked summer items down to 90% off.

I stopped by one when I took DD to lunch. They only had 75% off tags. I walked out the store not buying anything.

Then, I went to another CVS. BINGO!! They had 90% off sales going on. Shelves were pretty much empty, but I scored a couple of 9 ft umbrellas ($7 each) and three folding chairs ($2 each).

I will keep checking other CVS in town. I heard some stores don't bother running 90% off sale, but it's worth to check it out.

Deals this week

September 3rd, 2009 at 01:06 pm

This week has been a great week at Walgreens and Target.

I got several free Carefree, Thera Flu, and Colgate toothbrushes. Thera Flu is my favorite cold medicine and I know I will use some this winter. I love it when I can get cold med for free.

I'm also getting cheap Special K products at Target. They're sale for little over $2 and I get $5 gift card when I buy 4 of them. On top of that, there are coupons in coupons.com. I've been paying less than $1 for 4 products (combination of cereal, crackers, and cereal bars).

Thoughts about frugality

September 1st, 2009 at 10:00 pm

BA's post about celebrating frugality made me think about being frugal.

I guess I'm frugal..... at least compared to some people.

I save 20% of my salary to 401K, invest $200 to Sharebuilder, do not carry CC balance, clip coupons, send out rebates, and always looking for deals.

On the other hand, I carry LV purse (which I debated for five years to buy it, saved money and paid cash for it) and have other name brand stuff.

Oh, and I take vacations in places like Hawaii.

Why I save 20% of my salary to 401K? Well, I think the answer now is "Because I can". I've been working for the same company for 10 years, and got a couple of promotions. I always try to contribute 20% of my salary since I started working in the U.S. However, it wasn't that easy when I was making around 40K or so. I still managed to save about 15% every year. Over the years, it got easier because my salary increased. It's so nice that I have some spending money even after saving 20% to 401K. Oh, and another reason is that I am not counting on SS Smile I know the system will be there somehow, but who knows how much I can get out of SS in 20 years. I'd rather be prepared.

Why I clip coupons and hunt deals? I guess the answer is "Because I like it". DH and I make decent salary and our household income is little over 100K. I know it's not a lot (especially in CA), but we can live pretty comfortable without being so tight about money. But, I just cannot waste our hard earned money. We do not have rich relatives and everything we have is bought with the money we earned. So, when I know I can buy a box of cereal for 10 cents, why do I want to pay $4 for it? I'd rather save the difference and buy DH his favorite steak. He works hard, and he deserves it.

Well, I guess my life style does not make sense to some people lol I have bunch of coupons in my LV purse, and pay 10 cents for cereals but pay $10 for a piece of meat. But I have my own reasons why I spend our money that way.

I guess I can call myself frugal : )