We are bleeding money over here!
I decided to go ahead and buy my parents a computer for Christmas this year and it’s turned into a bit of a hassle. I ordered an ASUS from NewEgg at the beginning of the month. It arrived a week later but I waited a week to unpack it so I could configure it, and then learned the damn thing wouldn’t even turn on! It was like the power button wasn’t actually connecting with anything inside the case. I would have opened it to investigate but that would void the warranty so instead I sent it back to NewEgg for a refund.
We ended up buying a Dell from Staples last Sunday instead. It was about $27 more since we had to pay tax, but has 2.5x the memory and the hard drive is twice the size, so it ended up being a great deal once the associate forced the system to give us the price advertised in the sales ad. Initially, he seriously asked me if I was ok paying $50 more than the price in the ad since the computer was giving him trouble. I told him absolutely not and that he should get a manager to give us the correct price, which he did. We had to have it shipped to our house since none of the computers in the ad were actually available in store. Hmmm… and you wonder why these office stores are having a rough time financially. Anyway, at least the new computer works. I installed Firefox and a bazillion Windows updates on it. Now I just need to install TeamViewer and test that it works with our PC so we can help them remotely when issues arise.
This week we spent money buying gift cards with bonuses to be used during the coming year. We bought:
Two $10 Savers gift certificates and received a free $5 certificate that is good through January 10th.
One $25 Buona Beef gift card and received a free $5 certificate that is good through the end of February.
One $100 Lou Malnati’s gift card and received a free $25 gift certificate that is good through the end of June.
Two $25 Culver’s gift cards and received two free value basket coupons that are good through February 22nd.
So in all we spent $195 but got approximately $53 worth of freebies which equates to a 27% discount at places we would have spent money at throughout the year anyway. I call that a win-win! The challenge for some might be to use those certificates before they expire (something each establishment is counting on), but I just added reminders to an app on my phone so we don’t forget.
We also hit up Omaha Steaks to use up the gift cards I had accumulated. We got $100 of food for $52 out of pocket. Included in our assortment are some steaks and pork chops I’ve never tried before, so I’m looking forward to that. If you would have asked me what I thought of Omaha Steaks a few years ago I would have told you they sound overpriced and I’d never buy anything of theirs, but after years of getting gift cards for Christmas for their products, I think overall they’re a pretty good value. If you think about what you’d spend on a nice steak dinner at a restaurant, they are actually more affordable. We really enjoy their burgers, hot dogs, and Italian sausages too. The only thing I’ve tried that I would caution against are their chicken cordon blue bites. They are just terrible! I actually ended up throwing away half of them. My mom gets some from Market Day that are eons better.
During all our running around today, Joe noticed my car was leaking fluid, so we brought it to the local dealership for a diagnosis. They told us the thermostat needs to be replaced and they wanted nearly $700 to do it. Joe told them no thanks, ordered the part from AutoZone, and will replace it himself which will save us over $500 even after paying the dealership $66 to look at the car. I guess it’s a good thing that a) I’m only working two days next week and b) my commute is so short (2.5 miles each way) I can safely drive the car before it’s fixed since it’s not leaking enough coolant to cause the engine to overheat.
I’ll be glad when my birthday comes and goes in early January since then we’ll be done with the spending for awhile!