Food Co-op Friday – Take 3

I picked up my third batch from the food co-op a friend invited me to participate in this month.  I paid $50 for the entire month of September and pick up once a week.  Works out to be $12.50 per load.

This is by far the biggest load I’ve received.  And while a lot of it won’t be used by us, none of it will go to waste.  I had four different friends and family members stop by to “shop” my dining room table and they all left with overflowing boxes!  I have a few items left that no one cared for (berry Pepsi anyone? ew lol.  beef base?), and we’d like to find a shelter or somewhere local to donate to.

  • Aunt Jemima Pancake Mix x 8 Boxes (gave away 7 boxes)
  • Captain Crunch All Berries Cereal x 4 Sm. Boxes (kept 2)
  • Pom Pomegranate Blueberry Juice x 2 Bottles (gave away)
  • Pepsi with a Splash of Blueberry Juice x 2 8pks (not keeping)
  • Gatorade Zero Strawberry Kiwi x 16 Bottles (kept)
  • Blueberry Yogurt Nutmilk x 6 Bottles (gave away)
  • Quaker Chewy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bars x 4 Boxes (kept 2)
  • Beef Base x 2 Sm. Containers (not keeping)
  • Nestle Carnation Evaporated Lactose-Free Milk x 5 Sm. Bottles (kept)
  • Quaker Original Instant Oatmeal x 4 Boxes (kept)
  • Quaker Cheddar Rice Crisps x 4 Bags (gave away – kids hated them, boo!)
  • Lipton Peach Iced Tea x 8 Sm. Bottles (gave away)
  • Giant Green Bell Peppers x 10 ! (kept 4)
  • Arnold Whole Wheat Hot Dog Buns x 1pk (gave away)
  • Ball Park Hot Dog Buns x 1pk (trashed, these were smooshed and torn open)
  • Thomas English Muffins Plain x 1pk (gave away)
  • Thomas English Muffins Blueberry x 1pk (gave away)
  • Publix Plain English Muffins x 1pk (gave away)
  • Arnold Whole Wheat Hamburger Buns x 1pk (gave away)
  • Arnold Organic Wheat Bread x 1 loaf (gave away)
  • Arnold Jewish Rye Bread x 1 loaf (gave away)
  • Cheetos Baked x 31 Sm. Bags (kept 20)
  • 1lb Publix Mild Ground Pork Sausage x 4 (kept)

Once again, well worth $12.50, but not particularly items we use or would need so much of.  Someone snagged the English muffins and a loaf of bread I meant to keep, but that was my fault.  Forgot to put them away!  Overall I’m more than happy with it all, and I know our friends and family appreciate the goodies.

Next week is my last load for September.  I haven’t been invited to participate in October, not sure I would if asked.  I seem to be getting a lot of repeat items, especially things I cannot use.  Such as the yogurt nut milks, oatmeal oatmeal oatmeal, and a million boxes of pancake mix lol. My main disappointment is that I was expecting more produce with this co-op (based on friends info.)  The green peppers this week are incredible, and much better than the moldy cabbage from last week, but I’d love more variety.  I think the leader that picks up the orders and sorts them between three takes first picks, so I may just be missing out on some things.  Which is fine!  I still get my moneys worth.

We have a busy weekend ahead of us.  A wedding ($100 cash gift), a birthday party ($19 Lego gift), and Monday we have another electrician coming out to quote a ceiling fan install (budget?!?!).  Fingers crossed the latter works out!  We’ve had 3 out already and each one told us “nope!” – thanks to our 22ft ceiling.  I cannot wait to move and downsize.  I sure do hate these vaulted ceilings.  DH could handle a fan install no problem on a normal ceiling height!  But 22ft is a big fat no from me!

Collections Update

A good/bad update to the collections notifications we received.  DH’s lawyer received the needed lien paperwork from the hospital that we’ve all been requesting for many, many months.  However, the lien paperwork they sent over, doesn’t even match up to the bill or collections amounts.  So now the lawyer is requesting additional information/confirmation on amounts due.  Hopefully that gets settled soon.

Monday we received another collections notice for $1,022 from Angelfish.  We’ve never heard of Angelfish.  There’s no mention of a doctor or hospital.  We have no clue what this is for, but the dates correspond with DH’s accident and subsequent surgeries.  The lawyer said he didn’t receive any information from that company either.  So…?!!??!  No clue what to do about that.  DH will have to call today and figure it out.

Received another bill in the mail for $31.92 for a drug test DH took back in 2018.  Not sure why it takes a year to send a bill.  America’s healthcare system is such a mess.  His surgeon requires patients to take drug tests before surgery, so that was that.  Anyway, the invoice says to pay online with credit card, yet offers no web address or contact information, lol.  After googling, I found the website, but when I select “make payment – patient”, I get a run time error, and the page won’t load.  That’s promising…

Not only is healthcare far from affordable, but the entire billing process is a disaster.  From one office to the next, it takes forever to receive a bill, if you get one at all.  And if you don’t, POOF, you get a collections notice for something you were never notified about.  And don’t even get me started on requesting an itemized bill….yikes.

I’m trying very hard to stay on top of every little bill that trickles into our household these days.  But I’m not blindly paying some random collections company without proof of debt and an itemized bill either.  I don’t feel like that’s too much to ask.

Speaking of bills taking forever, I received one for my youngest son, only $68 for lab work, but it was for blood tests that were done in November 2017!!!  The invoice is dated this month!  Ridiculous.


Food Co-op Friday – Take 2

I picked up my second batch from the food co-op a friend invited me to participate in this month.  I paid $50 for the entire month of September and pick up once a week.  Works out to be $12.50 per load.

  • Lemon Basil Salad Dressing x 9 Bottles (kept 1, gave away rest)
  • Bistro Salad Bowls x 2 (gave away)
  • Pom 48 fl oz Pomegranate Juice x 4 Bottles (kept, but expire in 3 days)
  • Propel 16.9oz Drinks x 24pk (kept)
  • Diet Green Tea x 1 Gallon (gave away)
  • Bag of cubed Irish cheddar cheese (over a pound, expired 2 months ago?)
  • Dairy Free Yogurt Drinks x 4 Bottles (gave away)
  • 34oz Captain Crunch Cereal x 1 Bag (kept)
  • A bunch of croissants (kept 6, gave away rest)
  • Pasta Roni Parm. Cheese x 4 Boxes (gave away)
  • Coffee Mate Liquid Creamers x 8 Sm. Bottles (gave away)
  • Quaker Caramel Rice Crisps x 4 Bags (kept)
  • Quaker Kids Organic Whole Grain Bars x 4 Boxes (kept)
  • 2 jars of beef bullion stuff (gave away)
  • Quaker Steel Oats Brown Sugar & Cinnamon x 4 Boxes (kept)
  • Cabbage x 5 (fed to the deer lol)

I think last weeks batch was a lot better, but this was still well worth $12.50.  And what I don’t use I can easily give to friends and family.  The cabbage was bagged oddly and had a bit of mold on it.  I’m picky about produce, so we opted to put those out at the wood line for the deer to enjoy in our backyard.

I was only invited to participate for the month of September.  I’m not sure if it’s something I’d continue doing.  While it’s worth the $50, there’s a lot we don’t use, and a few items that are way out of date too.  At least in this batch.  The yogurt drinks are the biggest let down.  My youngest would LOVE those, but alas they are made with almond milk instead of dairy, and he has a severe nut allergy.

Updated my debt numbers on the sidebar the other day.  So close to be consumer debt free!!  Minus the mortgage on the rental house.  Still holding out hope we can sell it soon.   Our homeowners claim still hasn’t been closed.  The adjustor is still MIA, and we’ve also left messages for his supervisor with no response.  They owe us payment for the electric bill and food while in the hotel.  I submitted the bill and receipts for all of it, per the fine print of our policy.  I guess they didn’t like that, lol.

Sent to Collections

Saturday we received two collections notices for DH’s medical bills from his accident.  This really ticked me off!  First of all, we’ve been in contact with the hospital since day one.  So has our lawyer.  The lawyer has the trust with the money for the bills.  We cannot access it until all the liens are settled.

Well this hospital is run by idiots.  The lawyer and parapro have repeatedly requested the bills and lien paperwork to be sent, emailed, or faxed to them to settle the account.  It’s been eight months of chasing this paperwork.  Even we haven’t even been able to get an itemized bill!

Now all of a sudden we’re sent to collections for “unpaid and ignored” invoices.  FALSE!!! We’ve been trying to get the damn invoices.  This hospital system, who bought out nearly all the local hospitals and doctors offices, is the worst I have ever dealt with.   When DH received his settlement, the hospital placed a lien on it for the bills.  As expected, this is normal, but now they won’t submit the paperwork, so they can get paid, and release the lien.

This is leaving ten grand in an account just sitting there, for less than $5,000 in medical bills.  The lawyer withholds double just in case any surprises pop up.  We are due a refund from this trust, but can’t get that until the liens are settled.  I don’t understand what is so difficult about providing proof of services so you can get paid?!  Why did they already send us to collections?  One of the notices is only $202 too.  We’ve never any bills for $202.  I have an entire stack and not one is for either of these notices.  We also haven’t received any phone calls, although we sure have made plenty of calls trying to get this handled.

Stupidity frustrates me.  We called the hospital to try to make a payment before and they told us we can’t, it has to be done through the lawyer, since the lien has been placed.  WTF.  So now DH’s credit will take a hit because these dumb ass’s can’t get their act together and do their jobs.  Sigh.

Food Co-op Friday – WOW!

A friend of mine called me earlier this week and asked if I wanted to participate in the food co-op she picks up each week.  Apparently someone dropped out for the month of September, and her and the other lady need a third to split the cost.  It’s $150 for the month and you pick up every Thursday, not sure once a month.  I figured why not?  I have no idea what you get, she’s never really discussed it with me before.  But for $50, I decided to try it out.

And WOW!!!  She came by yesterday to drop everything off, and when she opened her van I assumed that was everyones order.  It took up a good third of her mini van.  To my surprise it was just my part, she had already divided every thing up.

I had so much stuff, that I called my mom over to grab some things I knew we wouldn’t use.  I wish I would have taken a picture of my dining room table with the entire delivery, but I was in such shock I didn’t even think about it.  Above are the items I kept.

  • Aunt Jemima Pancake Mix – 5 Boxes (kept 3)
  • Chewy Dips Peanut Butter Granola Bars – 5 Boxes (kept 3)
  • HUGE Containers of Quaker Oats – 5 (kept 3)
  • Deli Sliced Hot Jalapeno Peppers – 3 Jars (giving away)
  • Pepsi with Lime – 2 Boxes of 8 Cans Each (kept)
  • Butter Lettuce – 3 Bags (kept 2)
  • Huge head of Cabbage – 2 (kept 1)
  • Wild Cherry Fanta 2 Liters – 2 (giving away)
  • Lemon Lime Gatorade – 30 Bottles (kept)
  • Huge 6lb Frozen Apple Cobbler – 1 (kept)
  • Toasted Coconut Chips – 6 Bags (kept 5)
  • Quaker Caramel Rice Crisps – 6 Bags (kept 5)
  • Frozen Hot Fresh Ground Pork Sausage 1lb – 4 (kept 3)
  • Large Bottles of Black Brew Coffee Stuff – 2 (gave away)
  • Nut Milk Yogurt Drinks, Large Bottles – 6 (gave away)

I have to say, I could have easily spent $50+ on all of that at the store!!  And my $50 gets me this plus another three weeks!!  The kids love the gatorade, coconut chips, and rice crisps – perfect for school.  The Quaker Oats are great for baking.  The apple cobbler will be used for Thanksgiving.  Even though there are some items we don’t like and gave away, and items we’re not sure what to do with (HOT sausage), I am so happy with what I received.

I was really bummed that the yogurt drink bottles were made with almond milk.  My youngest LOVES yogurt, smoothies, etc.  Unfortunately he has a severe nut allergy, so we had no use for them.  The rest of us wouldn’t drink them either.  If it had been regular dairy, it would have been the best deal of the batch for us.

My friend says it varies every week.  I was expecting maybe 1/3 or 1/2 the amount of stuff, or perhaps expired, or nearing expiry dates.  But that isn’t that case.  Almost every thing has an expired/best by date of 2020 or 2021 except the Fanta (Oct 2019).

I’ll be sure to take pictures of the entire load next week to share in full.  Maybe it’ll be a continued theme here: Food Co-Op Friday posts. 😉 Three more Thursdays for the month of September, so my $50 breaks down to $12.50 per load.  This was definitely worth $12.50 to us!  I’m hoping for more produce next time, but we’ll see!


Help – I Need Good Blogs

I feel like all of my favorite blogs – lifestyle and personal finance – have disappeared or just turned into crap.  I miss reading good blogs.  I still have a few I enjoy, which I’ll link at the end, but overall, my bookmarks have dwindled significantly.

Leighpf deleted after she reached her success, loved her writing.  Misty (Missy?) disappeared after moving, enjoyed following her stressful and relatable journey.  BloggingAwayDebt (BAD) is just a mess of SEO garbage with a hopeless Hope.  Although I would return as a reader if Ashley reappears.  MakingSenseofCents is just beyond not relatable (nor believable lol) these days.

I’ve found Rhitter’s blog through BAD comments, but can’t seem to comment on her blog at all.  Even when logged into my google account and trying from different browsers.

Any other blogs you’d recommend?  Blue collar families, debt journeys, things like that.  Relatable to the normal person.  Not a 20-something making six figures, who’s parents paid for Harvard, and are living it up in the city lol.  I just can’t.  (No jealousy, that’s awesome for them, it’s just not interesting for me personally.)

I also had a lot saved on Delicious bookmarks before that site went kaput and I lost them all.  😦  For now my daily reads are:

One Family One Income

Struggling to be Debt Free

Budget Bytes (recipes)

A Dime at a Time

Sad my link list has gone from 20+ to 3 blogs and a frugal recipe site.  Help me find some new ones! 🙂  Thanks!

Store Displays = BIG Savings!

We’ve been trying to find a cabinet company that can fix or replace our kitchen cabinets that were damaged by the moving company.  Just like every job we try to hire out, it’s been difficult.  No call backs, the person isn’t in, we’ll get back to you with a quote (but don’t), etc.  I jokingly said to DH “forget it!  Let’s just get a double oven!” – half jokingly.  I’ve always wanted a double oven, as I cook and bake a lot, but I’m also aware of how outrageously expensive they are!  A quick trip to Lowes and Home Depot put us in the $1800-$4000 range.  No. Thank. You.

Imagine my surprise when a delivery truck showed up last week and delivered a double oven!  I was about to lose it on DH, until he showed me the receipt.  $100!!  It was a store display, brand spanking new, zero flaws, retail $1899!  $100!  Of course we’d still have to pay for install, I expected thousands for that, and was prepared to return the oven.

$397.  This was to cut our cabinets and install the double oven.  So for $497 I have a brand new double oven!  But it gets better!  Sitting in my garage is a brand new stainless steel wall oven that DH bought me about eight months ago.  It was a liquidation deal for $100, but we didn’t install it, because I’ll be honest, I did not like the handle on it.  The way our kitchen is set up, the handle protruded too far for the tight space.   (There’s another counter right in front of the oven, which isn’t pictured.  Weird set up.)

Well we listed that oven for $750.  We sold it for $700 this morning.  We made a profit!!  It’s funny how little things work out from time to time.  My new ovens work great.  I made dinner in the top and dessert in the bottom to test it all out this weekend.

I still have our black wall oven that works fine to list for sale, $150-$200 should do it, so even more of a profit.  We need to get a dummy cabinet panel for the bottom space, but I think the two drawer fronts (that were under the original oven) will work and we can DIY that.  This was an unexpected kitchen upgrade, but in the end it was a money maker!

In my dreams I’d replace that awful granite countertop (it’s broken and chipped all over the place), and backsplash (just dislike it), but honestly?  I love my kitchen.  I know most people prefer white cabinet and that oak is “dated”, but I don’t mind the wood at all.  And with our goal to relocate in 2 years, there’s no point in a kitchen remodel anyway.  🙂

This certainly falls under the WANT category and not a NEED, but we made a few extra bucks, all my appliances now match, and hosting holidays will be a lot easier with two ovens lol.