Friday, March 20, 2015

Frugal Failures and Successes: Friday, 3/20/15



HAPPENINGS AROUND HERE TODAY:
  • I totally stole the Google Doodle of the Day: HAPPY SPRING!!!  I hope you all get to start your gardens now that winter is over.  Even if it's just to propagate some basil cuttings in a jar of water on your windowsill, or plant a tomato plant you got on clearance at Home Depot or Lowe's, or grow some sprouts, or what not.  Seeing things grow after a long winter is always invigorating, no?

  • I spent some hours re-reading my first gardening blog last night. It's a private blog, more of a diary I was keeping just for me and Greg, so I can't share it but I was laughing at my (even more) pathetic first efforts, back in 2010!  Sadly Blogger had a hiccup and decided to stop displaying my pictures in the middle of 2013 so I had to give up on that blog. It's sad because it's such a great record of past efforts and crops.  It was also fun to reminisce about how shaded the backyard was back when we still had the giant oak tree in the middle of it.  Ahh, I like being able to garden and to have grass (well, weeds, really) now, but I really miss that grand old tree. It was awesome and sitting on the back porch was so nice because you were always in the shade or dappled light. We had to have it taken out because the trunk showed signs of rot and we didn't want it to fall on our house during a storm :(  I love our trees, I just don't love how much money we've had (and will continue to have) to spend to keep them trimmed and/or to have them removed if they become dangerous.  Getting ONE large oak trimmed costs just about $1,000 in these parts so you can't be poor if you want to have trees on your property.

  • I put a small glass bottle into the donation pile to take to the thrift store.


FRUGAL SUCCESSES:
  • I packed a lunch with leftovers for Greg to take to work. Our son packed his lunch to go to school.

  • I reused water collected in the shower yesterday to flush the toilet a couple of times.

  • SavingStar credited my account with the Lucky Charms rebate that I claimed on Wednesday. Yay!


  • Snap by Groupon (referral link) still hasn't credited my account for the Dole pineapple juice bought the same day. This is odd as they have really been on the ball recently... I'd been getting the credits in just a few minutes!  Hopefully I'll get it today. Then I'll be less than a dollar away from being able to cash in my account. Woohoo!  I think I'll buy myself a tortilla press on Amazon with the money.

  • Speaking of Snap by Groupon, I updated my app and suddenly got new offers so if you haven't updated your app, you might want to try doing that. I never update my apps (until they force me too but since I have iOS 6.xx on my ancient iPhone 4 and I can't upgrade the iOS anymore, when that happens I can no longer use the app in question, grrr) because I don't like change and if something works fine for me, why change it?  I'm almost always disappointed in the new versions, especially when they actually take some functionality away. Anyhoo, Snap is promoting their new "bonus bundles" where you get a certain amount back if you purchase both items in the same shopping trip. I emailed them back and pointed out that this seems to preclude people who don't need both items or can't/don't eat both items from getting the rebate and basically using their app, which would seem to me to be a bad thing.  I suggested they offer a rebate on each item with a bonus if the person purchases both items in the same shopping trip... that way more people get to use Snap (which, I think, is something they should be trying to do, no?).  We'll see what happens in the future.
Graphic by Snap

  • For breakfast, I enjoyed a piece of toast with some of my homemade marmalade, made with oranges from our own orange tree!

  • I was supposed to make Spinach Enchiladas for dinner and I needed to make Ricotta cheese for them.  I looked up the instructions (simple enough but still too much work for me) and since I needed to use up some plain yogurt and some recipes are fine with substituting Greek yogurt for ricotta cheese, I set out to make my own Greek yogurt.  I used 3/4 of a 16 oz container of Aldi's Fit & Active plain yogurt, that I dumped into a colander lined with cheesecloth. Don't have cheesecloth?  I found mine at Dollar General for $1.50 several months ago.  The article I linked to says to throw away the whey but don't.  You can use it for a lot of things. I can't think of a single thing right now, but google it and you'll see. (and what do you know? about an hour after I typed this paragraph, Lifehacker posted an article about using Greek yogurt instead of ricotta cheese in recipes!)


  • I was finally able to save my 2 Ball jars that had been full of rock-hard grapefuit marmalade by filling them up to the top with water, microwaving the whole thing for 1 minute, dumping the water, refilling them with more water, and remicrowaving them for another minute.  This prevented the water from being too hot while still allowed the sugar to remelt enough so I could spoon the contents out of the jars and into the trash (glad I remembered not to dump it down the sink, it would have totally clogged the pipes and in a bad way!).  Phew. The now empty jars are soaking so I can get the last of the candy out of them (I'll probably just run them through the dishwasher with my other dishes).  

  • I reused the water collected by the dehumidifier (I've been running it in the bathroom in the mornings after everyone's showers), as well as the rest of the water that I had boiled in the microwave to clean out my Ball jars to water some of my herbs, 

  • I distractedly re-watched an episode of  the first season of "The Americans" (via our free Amazon Prime subscription) while I was using my recumbent bike (free exercise, no gym membership needed) and clipping recipes from the magazines that I had picked for free from the donation pile at the library.  Woohoo!

  • Meanwhile, I washed my shower curtain and liner with all the washing cloths and cloth napkins that had been accumulating in the laundry room, as well as Greg's exercise clothes.  I used cheap detergent and vinegar, and used "warm/cold" instead of "cold/cold". We have hard water so I really should be scrubbing the liner with a brush to get it back to a truly clean state, but good enough for today!  After my exercise, I hang everything outside to dry on the racks and patio furniture.

  • I had leftovers for lunch on the back porch with the laundry as my companion.


  • ... and I spent the entire afternoon reading "Her" by Harriet Lane. It was chilling. Loved it!

  • I found a cat litter jug in my recycling bin so I upcycled it in order to store rainwater in it next time we have a rainstorm (Sunday or Monday).


  • I made crêpes (again!) for my son's after-school snack. I had told him I'd bake something but then the book happened and that's all I had the time to make before he came home. Good thing he loooooves them :)

  • I received a $12.99 check for the Delsym rebate that I had mailed in a couple of months ago.

  • I took the survey on the Subway receipt from tonight (see the failure section!) and earned a reward code for a free cookie.


  • I didn't want food from Subway so I had leftovers for dinner.

HOWEVER, WE FAILED IN THE FOLLOWING WAYS, BUT LEARNED SOME LESSONS:
  • We had some food waste this week :(  I've been off my game this week, when I look back. Sure, I blog a lot but that's pretty much all I've done this week (either writing on my own blog, commenting on other blogs, or just reading blogs and articles for fun). Aaack!  I haven't really cooked any of the dinners that I had planned on cooking this week so I didn't get to use up the items that I was planning on using up.  I probably need to rework next week's menu so I do use them up before they go bad.  Being flexible is always a plus when you're trying to be frugal!


  • For breakfast, I opened a jar of the grapefruit marmalade that I had made with grapefruit from my neighbor's tree... I was going to blog about the whole process but this has turned out to be a complete failure so I won't be blogging about it after all...  the marmalade turned into burnt hard candy. It's rock hard, I can't even spoon it out.  I trying nuking the jar for 30 seconds, the sugar starts bubbling and smoking although nothing really softens up enough to be spread and plus it tastes like crap.  So now, I've wasted 2 jars, not only of marmalade, but also the actual jars since I don't think I'll be able to get the contents out.  Arrrgh.  I followed the Ball's recipe to the letter so I have no idea of how this turned out so bad. What a disappointment. Lana commented that I should try to add hot water to the jars to soften up the contents so I wouldn't have to throw the jars away.  I decided to take her advice and boiled water in the microwave. I then filled the jars to the top and let them sit for 30 minutes. It didn't work. However, I was able to finally get them clean (I posted about it in the frugal successes section).

  • I didn't feel like cooking dinner after all.  Greg and our son decided to get dinner from Subway because they didn't feel like making sandwiches at home.  We decided to drop our son off at Great Clips, next door, while we got the sandwiches, and I also ducked into Publix to get the Hunt's tomato sauce that was free via SavingStar.  I wasn't really hungry so I decided not to get anything at Subway. So we did spend $12 on eating out, but consolidated errands, the haircut ended up being free, and I also got the SavingStar freebie.


Did you have any frugal successes or failures today? Please do tell!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Anything you'd like to add? Share away!