My rhododendrons are in partial bloom for the second time this year, the last being in April. I am not sure what that is about as this has not happened before. Perhaps it was due to the summer drought then lots and lots of rain. Not a great picture, but I wanted to document this for future reference that I actually had flowers blooming in the yard in November - amazing!
Buddy survived Halloween with a large amount of barking, but as many dogs would agree, little kids ringing the doorbell all night can drive anyone bananas. He barked at our first two little princesses and then I tried to take him for a walk to get him away from the house. He is fine seeing trick-or-treaters in costume on the street but if they cross onto our property that is another story. We ended up with 29 this year but it really started raining hard at 8:30pm so we shut things down at that time. Once again, I ended up with too much candy. Next year I will definitely try and buy less and if we run out we shut off the lights. Total spent on candy was $35.
I don't usually buy pumpkins as we have an electric pumpkin we use to decorate with but I happened to be at the grocery store at the right time and place on November 1st. The produce manager of an Island family-owned grocery chain (Quality Foods in case any locals read this) was just telling the cashiers to give away the rest of the pumpkins for free. In Canada we have our Thanksgiving in early October therefore there is not much call for pumpkins after October 31st. These had been priced at $2.99. I picked out one medium pumpkin and ended up cutting a third of it for my Mom as she enjoys baked pumpkin. I really dislike most cooked vegetables much preferring the raw version. I really don't like much squash at all except the occasional fried zucchini so I decided to roast up the seeds with olive oil and sea salt and boil the rest to mash up for muffins. Today I shall bake up one batch with two more containers to go into the freezer for future muffins. Hubby has already eaten most of the seeds. Who doesn't like freebies!
The October food budget was $550 and I ended up at $530.38 with $7.98 in coupons used. A little under for the first time in several months. As per Sluggy's suggestion I reviewed my annual food budget which for this year is $6700 which was $650 for January when my Stepdaughter was still living with us and $550 a month the rest of the year. That includes all over the counter medications, cleaning supplies and toiletries. I also include makeup/personal grooming products in that budget. Buddy's food is not included however as he has a separate category in our budget. So far as at the end of October $5733.21 has been spent. It seems like each month it is getting hard to stay on budget as costs keep going up. Most recently produce has seen the biggest increases due to our low Canadian dollar. I simply have to continue to change our diet to eat what is on sale and in season or I will have to go over the budget. I have $966.79 left for November and December. I have decided that $466.79 will be the November budget and $500 for December. Hopefully I will be able to achieve this as also have saved up points from two stores to use on a combination of groceries and gifts. The freezer is mostly full and right now I am only buying loss leaders/things at rock bottom prices. I did do a stock up at Costco on some over the counter meds on November 1 so hopefully will be good on most of those items until end of year.
As for freebies/extra money for 2015 Christmas gifts and groceries these are my totals:
$126.00 Amazon.ca gift certificates from using Swagbucks
$25.00 Itunes.ca gift certificate from using Swagbucks
$40.00 in PC plus points$95.00 in Shoppers Drug Mart Points
$25.00 Walmart Gift card from customer service issue(late order last year)
$19.19 from rebates
$21.51 from Checkout 51 grocery rebate for using online app
$77.46 from blog income (removed advertising afterwards as no longer want ads)
$429.16 - Woohoo!
A pretty nice total don't you think? It's like free money! As for the point programs just to clarify I refuse to buy things just to get points. I only end up with points when I buy something I was already going to and the low price justifies the purchase. It makes no sense to pay higher prices to end up with more points but I see so many people doing just that.
I have started to buy Christmas gifts but don't really have that many to buy as we do a combination of gift cards/cash for the kids(*technically all 4 are adults now) rather than useless items they won't use. The cash portion of Christmas is sitting at $1100 which will cover gifts and some travel expenses for our mid-December holiday trip to Alberta to visit family.
Are you prepared mentally/financially for Christmas?