Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Tek & Logan: Litter Kwitter Day 5

A successful day.  No door scratching and a few uses of the Litter Kwitter next to the toilet.  Two uses just a few hours apart so that's a good sign that it was two different cats.  Great sign!  We're going to get through one more solid day of no issues before we move the kit up to the toilet. 

Giveaway: Frugal & Fabulous - Sound + Sleep Sleep Sound System





Follow this link to the amazing Frugal & Fabulous blog and enter for a chance to win a $99 Sound + Sleep Sleep Sound System.  Ends December 9th @ 7pm.
http://www.frugalandfabulous.org/2011/11/giveaway-review-sound-sleep-sleep-sound.html

Tek & Logan: Tek Likes Coupons Too



Remodeling: The Flying Squirrels are Back

For those of you that know us, you know we've been through quite a lot of animals since we bought our 100 year old bungalow in Oct. 2009.  The first weekend we found termites in the finished wood floor in the dining room.  Luckily we just had to spray, not repair any damage.  Then we had flying squirrels living in the wall of our second story (which we never use since it still has yet to be renovated) for which we ended up catching and releasing over 20 of over the course of a year or so.  Then we had birds in the chimney which was only a problem because Greg had to brick up a hole and didn't want to trap them in since we didn't know how they got in.  Then we were finally able to get the roof redone which led to demoing out the upstairs so there were no more walls (they had some mold so we were quick to take them out after the roof was done) for the squirrels to burrow in and they seemed to stop coming until we got bats.  Yup, bats.  I'll have to post an epic video of Greg trying to catch the first one we found while I forgot I was video taping on zoom.  They apparently LOVED the new open concept upstairs.  We caught and released (harder than it sounds...) about a dozen bats until we FINALLY figured out where they were getting in, plugged it, they got back it, plugged it better and haven't seen them since.  We didn't have many issues with mosquitoes this summer at least but I prefer they live OUTSIDE my house.  So all of these animals have been contained to areas of the house I never go so I haven't been as bothered as you might think. Well aside from a random mouse Logan caught downstairs but we're fairly certain he got in with some of the construction materials since it was a one time thing but I'm not really bothered by mice (just the germs they carry) so it wasn't THAT big of a deal.  We finally got everything out and plugged upstairs.  FYI, it's illegal in Massachusetts to trap bats inside so you have to make sure they are out before you close up the holes.  So we thought we were free and clear until we found a woodpecker living in our back porch.  We're actually okay with this because the back porch only houses the door to the basement now that we've closed off the interior access and is really run down.  We plan on tearing it off the side of the house and putting on a bulkhead or something similar next summer anyway.  Well, it's now official.  The flying squirrels are back.  We started hearing them about a week ago and caught one in the trap last night.  Since we've put so much work into finding all the holes and closing them, Greg is more determined this year than last to figure out how they are getting in.  We want to make sure it's sorted before we reno and put new walls up upstairs.  The trap is set again so we'll see how it goes...

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Couponing: 11/29/11 Rite Aid Deals



My beautiful pile from today's shopping trip to Rite Aid.  I rushed to organize this trip before the November Single Check Rebates closed today to get an additional $7 back detailed below.  Also mentioned are VV coupons which are the video value coupons by Rite Aid that you get by watching videos:

I did two transactions for two reasons but it wasn't necessary:
1) I wanted to make sure all the razor deal items went through correctly and
2) I knew I'd have a good amount of +UP rewards that I wanted to put towards my second transaction.

Transaction #1:
1 Fusion ProGlide Razor - Sale $9.99 - $5 coupon in PG 11/27 insert $4+UP = $.99

1 Gillette Fusion ProGlide Razor Blade Refills 4ct - $17.49
1 Gillette Fusion Shave Gel - $4.79 = Free with purchase of razor blade refills above

1 Venus Embrace Razor - Sale $9.99 - $5 coupon in PG 11/27 insert $4+UP = $.99

1 Gillette Venus Embrace Razor Blade Refills 4ct - $15.49
1 Gillette Fusion Shave Gel - $4.79 = Free with purchase of razor blade refills above

The manufacturer coupon was for $5 off the purchase of the razor AND the refills so I hesitated to use it because of the price of the refills but then I saw they were having a deal where you got free shave gel with the purchase of the refills so that meant if I bought the refills then I was getting a $1 razor because I could use the coupon and free shave gel so it was worth spending some money to get the kit so cheap.  In addition, they had another promotion where you received $5 in +UP rewards for spending $25 on qualifying products for which this order fit in to making it even cheaper!


Total: $52.96

- $10 for 2 manufacturers coupons
- $13 +UP rewards you will receive
= $29.96 for $65.54 worth of shaving items (54% savings!)

Transaction #2
1 St. Joseph Aspirin 120ct - Sale $4.99 - $4+UP - $.99 (there is a $1 coupon available from September but I didn't have it)

2 Nestles Jingles - Sale 2/$5 - $1.25off2 printed coupon - $2+UP = $.88 each
2 Reeses Holiday Miniatures - Sale 2/$5 - $1off2 VV coupon - $1off2 clipped coupon - $2+UP = $.50 each
1 Tums 150ct - Sale $5.49 - $1 VV coupon - $1 printed coupon - $1 SCR = $2.49
1 8 pack Duracell AA Batteries - Sale $5.74 - $1 coupon in PG 11/27 insert - $1+UP - $1 SCR = $2.74
1 Abreva - $17.99 - $2 printed coupon - $2 VV coupon - $2 SCR - $11.99
2 Pantene Styling Products - Sale 2/$7 - $3off2 clipped coupon - $2+UP = $1 each
1 Oral-B CrossAction Power Toothbrush - Sale $5.99 - $3 coupon from PG 11/27 insert - $2.99 SCR = FREE
1 Fixodent Denture Cleaner - Sale $3.99 - $3 coupon from PG 11/27 insert = $.99 (planned for 2 but only one available - got rain check for a second)
1 Theraflu Warming Liquid - Sale $4.99 - $1 VV coupon - $2 printed coupon - $2+UP = FREE
1 Triaminic Children Cold Medicine - Sale $4.99 - $1 VV coupon - $1 printed coupon - $2+UP = $1

Total: $71.17

- $10 VV coupons ($6 above + $4 mentioned below)
- $20.25 manufacturers coupons (18.25 above + $1 below + $1 I can't account for!)
- $15 +UP rewards
- $7 SCR rewards
= $18.92 for $110 worth of items (83% savings - would've been 74% (~$10.50 more) if she hadn't missed charging me for two items)

I had "purchased" 2 Kleenex Tissues for 2/$5 and a double pack 10oz value pack of Opti-Free Replenish contact solution for over $10 BUT she didn't ring any of them in.  Oddly enough she still applied my coupons for $1 VV coupon for the tissues and $3 VV coupon & $2 clipped coupon for the contact solution so I ended up making money on those!  Hey, I did everything right, she even bagged them for me!  I didn't notice until I wrote up this post so I can not be responsible!


Note: These savings are available until 12/3 except for the SCR rewards, they expired today

Tek & Logan: Litter Kwitter Day 4

We were having some door scratching issues late yesterday from Logan and I had read not to clean the toilet with any chemicals during the training process as it would cover their own smell and might deter them.  Well we thought this could work in reverse so we cleaned up the litter that was on the floor outside the closet door that had come from when it was being used a few day prior and then cleaned the floor outside the closet with Fantastic MultiPurpose cleaner.  We still have yet to remove the old litter box (it's easy to forget with the door closed) but I think we'll finally get that done this evening.  Logan hasn't gone near the door since...

Monday, November 28, 2011

Tek & Logan: Litter Kwitter Day 3

Closet door is still closed and we still haven't removed the old litter box.  Tomorrow maybe?  We'll see.  There was no visible activity in the LK this morning so I decided to clean out the "smell" I had added the day before but not the new pee.  Only a few hours later I hear scratching from the bathroom with a present left behind and see Logan sitting next to me so I'm able to confirm that Tek has used the LK.  We also suspect he was a user yesterday but can't confirm.  Tek is the lesser intelligent of the cats so this is a good sign but Logan is a lot more private so I'm hoping he's using it even though we can't be sure.  Would really like to be sure soon so I know he's not holding it in!  I can also say that I do like this new litter, The Worlds Greatest Cat Litter!  I mean it smelled of ammonia right after but a few hours later it was definitely a lot less noticeable, if at all!  Love knowing it's flushable as well.  And since you're wondering, still no poop... Fingers crossed!

Update!  Let there be poop!  Discovered it after I posted, I'm PRETTY sure it was Logan so that's a good sign.  He was scratching at the old litter box door and looking uncomfortable and after I found it he seemed much more comfortable and could care less about the old closet.  Good sign!  I should note that he didn't get it in the ring, it was on the outer part of the fake toilet seat but I read it was important not to yell at them if they miss because it'll discourage them from using it so I praised like crazy and cleaned it up.  YAY!  If we get through tomorrow smoothly I think we'll move it up to the actual toilet. 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Tek & Logan: Litter Kwitter Day 2

Woke up this morning to the closet door open and the litter box used.  Not only do I have no idea how Tek got the door open as it was jammed closed but needless to say there was no sign of usage in the Litter Kwitter.  I had read some reviews from people who had taken some of the "smell" from the original litter boxes and put them in the LK so they would know this was the new litter box so we decided to try that out.  I also brought them both over to the LK to show them and put treats next to it to try to get them to associate the LK with something good.  That seemed to work because at some point that day (and possibly twice) someone peed in it!  They also got it right in the center too which is promising!  The door to the closet is still shut and we're still too lazy to take out the box so that's also a good sign.  The only thing is that we can't confirm who used it, Tek or Logan, and I worry Logan is the kind of cat that if he doesn't figure it out, he'll hold it in.  Hope he gives in soon if this wasn't him, would hate to have a sick kitty because of it!  Definitely something to look out for when trying this as that can be very bad for them!  And since you're wondering, no poop yet...

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Tek & Logan: Litter Kwitter Day 1

I mentioned that we were going to be toilet training our cats and a few people asked me to let them know how it worked out so I'm going to keep track on my blog for those that want to follow along.

We decided we wanted to train our cats to use the toilet awhile ago so we could get our front closet back from the litter box but put it off because there is always something more important to do.  Finally we decided to put the time into researching which product we would like to use.  The two on the market that are well known are the Litter Kwitter and the CitiKitty systems.  The concept behind both is to use rings/trays that cover the toilet and make it look like a litter box and then slowly remove or change out the rings making the hole in the center larger until there is none left and the cat is used to using the open toilet.  I checked out both websites and the reviews on numerous blogs and selling websites. What I learned is that both seem to do the job but there are benefits to one over the other depending on the cats and the humans.  The CitiKitty is half the price at $30 and has 5 ring steps while Litter Kwitter has 3.  They do sell 2 additional rings separately to make the process more gradual for $15 if you need them.  They recommend it for multiple cats but we decided to wait to see if we'd need them before ordering them.  CitiKitty is made of recyclable plastic but reviews said that it flexes under the weight of heavier cats.  They didn't think it would break but it was noticeable.  Litter Kwitter is made up of the same plastic in hard hats and definitely feel sturdy enough for 18lb Tek.  CitiKitty also sits under your existing toilet seat whereas Litter Kwitter has it's own make shift seat that sits directly on the bowl.  We preferred the latter because we only have one toilet in the house and it seemed easier to remove and use the toilet and put back.  Reviews for both systems say the process is definitely easier with multiple bathrooms but we were out of luck on that one!  Lastly, CitiKitty uses a tray with punch out wholes so some reviews showed concern about not being able to go back a step if necessary but they seemed to have solved this problem by including an extra tray.  I'm not sure that would have deterred me but the sturdiness and functionality for a single bathroom was reason enough for us to spend the extra money on the Litter Kwitter.  Again, this is based on our heavy cat and single bathroom so CitiKitty might be a great option for someone else.  Once you pick, make sure you shop around and get the best deal!



We ordered it from Buy.com (shout out to seller Mambate for great service!) on Monday, it shipped out Tuesday and arrived on Friday.  We shopped around online for the best price and found it there for $45 shipped.  Saving $15 off retail made it easier to justify getting the more expensive kit!  We opened it today and put the LK seat and red (first stage) ring next to the toilet and filled it with The Worlds Best Cat Litter which was the recommended flushable litter by the woman at Petsmart.  It was also $1 off because it was Black Friday weekend, yay for savings!  We closed the door to the closet (there's no knob yet but it's really snug when it's closed hard) but didn't take the litter box out yet because it's a huge double size one and needed to be cleaned and we didn't feeling like it.  By the time we went to bed Saturday night no one had decided to pee in their new toilet shaped litter box.

Couponing: Doubling, Stacking and Rebates

So I've been doing research like crazy to "learn" how to coupon properly. Checking coupon policies for Shaws, Stop & Shop, Rite Aid, CVS and Target, learning about doubling (Shaws and S&S will double any coupons under $1) and understanding stacking (you can use one Rite Aid coupon plus one manufacturers coupon on a single product, same with Target coupons). I already knew about CVS ExtraCare Bucks that print out on your receipt after you've made a qualifying purchase but I signed up for and learned about the Rite Aid version. They have a wellness+ card and offer +Up rewards but it's the same concept as the CVS ECB. In addition, Rite Aid has something called Video Values. You watch an add that's about 15 seconds to a minute and a half and at the end you're able to print a coupon for that product/brand. These are the Rite Aid coupons you can stack with manufacturers coupons. Lastly, they have a program called Single Check Rebates. If you buy a certain product within a certain date you're qualified to receive a check back for a specified amount. Works just like a typical rebate that you'd be familiar with but instead of having to mail in a UPC, etc you just type in four details off of your receipts and at the end of the month you can get a check back for any qualifying rebates. Very similar to Staples Easy Rebates if you've ever received those. I think you might have to request a check whereas Staples sends you rebates by product but I haven't used it yet so I'm not positive. I also have an email in to them asking if you will still get the check rebate amount in the full amount if you apply a coupon making the purchase price less than the rebate value. When I hear back I will update. I have found some great websites for finding deals but my two favorites are couponmom.com and iamthatlady.com. Both post deals they have found on other blogs as well as their own so you might follow through to other blogs that you like.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Couponing: First Try!

Today was my first time being a "couponer"! After watching an Extreme Couponing marathon for the first time last week I was intrigued... and a little obsessed. Free stuff? My favorite! Cheap, definitely still good! I started out doing things the way I do best, collecting supplies and not using them. I printed hundreds of coupons and put two grocery circulars in a plastic bin. I ordered some 8 pocket pages and found and old three ring binder. Subscribed to the Sunday paper and All You Magazine. I was ready! Then I got sick and so they sat for a few days.

Today I took a sick day, for the first time in awhile, because I sound like I have multiple frogs in my throat. Apparently it's been longer than I thought because when I went to my "medicine cabinet" just about everything in it was expired. So now was my chance to put what I learned about couponing into practice!



1) My first stop was CouponMom.com to find out where Airborne was on sale. I absolutely LOVE this website. It's a fantastic free asset and great for all levels, especially beginners!

2) After determining that Walmart had it the cheapest for $5.87 (on sale $.61 off the regular price) I realized I really didn't want to drive all the way to Walmart just to save $1.62. It was 10 minutes further away and it's harder to get in and out quickly in pajamas (hey, I'm sick!). But I had to remind myself that the art of couponing was getting the best deal and not wining so I didn't stop there! We are lucky enough to live in possibly the best location ever and right around the corner is a Rite Aid, CVS and Walgreens all next to each other. Literally! There is a McDonalds and BK in between and that's it - someone REALLY didn't plan that well but we love it!

3) I used SwagGrabber.com's list to see which of the three would price match. The website ruled out Walgreens but said CVS and Rite Aid price match by store and to ask. I gave CVS a call and I got the lady that I'm familiar with and don't like (she's the only CVS clerk I know in 4 towns that doesn't take expired CVS coupons) who shot my question down point blank. Next time I will try the other CVS that is down the street where they seem to be nicer before ruling out CVS for price matching entirely. This time I forgot about the other CVS and called the Rite Aid. The woman on the phone said she didn't think they did but then I think she felt bad for me (I really do sound awful) and asked the manager who didn't sound happy about it but said he would as long as I didn't have too many.

4) I went to the Airborne website and found a $1.50 off each coupon in the bottom left of the main page. I printed two to stock up but didn't try for a third so you might be able to print more. The coupons said one per transaction so I had to do two separate transactions.

Although the manager wasn't pleasant about it he did process the price match (twice) and I was happy and proud! In the end I saved $6.24 (42%)!

Rite Aid Price: $7.49 each
Walmart Price Match: $5.87 each
Corp. Airborne Coupon: $1.50 off 1
OOP each transaction: $4.64 after tax
Total Savings: $3.12 each (42%!)

If it wasn't worth the money, although I think it is, it was worth the experience. I got a lot of confidence to continue trying to save money! Can't wait for my first paper and magazine to arrive so I can start clipping coupons and for my pocket pages so I can get organized!

Curious List

So... I decided to become the next person in the world to start a blog. I have no idea what I'm doing and I think that's the most fun part. I'm not particularly good at any one thing but god knows I love to try everything!

I'm an accountant working on my MBA.  I have two furry four legged children, Logan & Tek and a fantastic boyfriend of over 6 years, Greg. I've been told I have OCD with a love for organization and am a bit of a compulsive shopper, even if my budget doesn't allow for it.

All in all, I'm a curious character. If I don't know an answer, I'll research it.

If I learn about some new technique to do something better, I want to try it.
If a product organizes or is supposed to work better than the last, I want it. 
What I'm hoping to do in this blog is follow my own curiosity and perhaps what I find out and learn will help someone else through this blog! I hope you enjoy it!

Here are a few things I hope to touch upon in my blog:

Bucket List
Chores
Cooking & Baking
Couponing
Diet & Exercise
Giveaways
Grad School

Product Reviews
Randomness
Remodeling
Scrapbooking
Shopping Deals
Tek & Logan
Travel
TV and Movies
Websites, Apps & Blogs
Weird Words and Spellings
Working from Home