Sunday, March 22, 2015

Frugal Failures and Successes: Sunday, 3/22/15



HAPPENINGS AROUND HERE TODAY:
  • Happy Sunday! My favorite time of the day on Sundays is being up before anyone else, and printing coupons/perusing online sales circulars while I'm drinking my coffee and the birds are chirping! How about you?

  • I subscribe to a blog that lists thousands of college scholarships and today I came across one that's for high school students (and also college students) who want to study law and have a law enforcement or military family affiliation.  One of my daughter's friends, who incidentally has the highest GPA in their high school, wants to study law at Harvard and is the daughter of a policeman so I asked my daughter to forward the information to her. She wasn't aware of the scholarship so she was happy. I hope she gets it! Her mom's battling cancer for the 2nd time around so that family needs it.

  • I think there's a disconnect in nature between milkweed flowering time and butterflies' emergence from winter... I bought 2 milkweed plants a few weeks ago and while they were flowering beautifully, there was nary a butterfly to be seen. I was disappointed, having envisioned clouds of thankful butterflies taking a drink from their blooms. Now that the plants have been beleaguered by aphids and look very bedraggled, there is always a butterfly on them!  What gives, nature?! This reminds me: I need to plant the seeds that I collected.  I did scatter some of them at the bottom of my bird feeder since that's where I dump my old potting soil. I'm hoping some of them will bloom.
Why yes, the milkweeds are completely covered in aphids! I figured that in
the meantime they're not covering my veggies so I leave them alone.


FRUGAL SUCCESSES:
  • I printed a few coupons from Coupons.com via Swagbucks (including all the pet coupons that I will donate to my local animal shelter's thrift store), Smartsource, Redplum, Target (they finally fixed the printing issues and they have coupons on Market Pantry and Simply Balanced food items this week), and uploaded digital coupons to my Publix and Walgreens digital wallets.

  • I also printed some $0.75/1 coupons from the Driscoll's Consumer Panel. They had emailed them to me back in late January and the link was about to expire.

  • I just occurred to me that I didn't mention a frugal victory for our family from yesterday: my daughter called me at dinnertime and asked whether I would exchange her $300 Amazon gift card for cash that she would deposit into her savings account because she didn't want to "blow it  and just buy crap".  So, so proud of her!  I didn't however, exchange the card for her as I strive to only get things from Amazon with my Swagbucks gift card (i.e. free) and her dad was willing to do the exchange for her anyway.  So she saved money and so did I (because that gift card would have been burning a hole in my pocket otherwise).

  • I couldn't wait to go on my back porch (since it was still in the shade) with my laptop and my cup of coffee, but as soon as I got ready to do that, my neighbor started mowing his backyard. I love him to death but he uses a professional-grade ride-on mower (he used to have his own landscaping business), which is very powerful and kicks off dirt all over the place.  Since I had to fight until he was finished, I decided to cut up and freeze the green beans, celery, and green peppers that I had bought recently.  Good thing too because the celery was starting to get limp.  The cut-off bits all went into upcycled (recycled?) freezer bags because I will use them with chicken bones next time I make chicken stock.



  • When I was done with that, the neighbor was done with his yard (it's small), but I got distracted by the weeds so I spent some time weeding and cutting off dead flower stems.  It's free exercise (the sun was already beating down so I was sweating too!) and since I was at ground level to weed around my bean patch, I noticed that I have  small guest tomato plant growing in the patch too.  I had laid down my homemade compost before planting the beans so now it's so much fun to see what is growing out of it, besides the beans: I now have a small tomato plants AND lots of squash plants or some kind. I think probably butternut squash or pumpkin.  I hope they will all grow and give me fruit but probably not. It's the first year that I actually had good compost to spread so I'll be blogging about how I accomplished that.


  • I harvested 2 small Supersweet 100 tomatoes from a plant that I needed to cut down.


  • I made a new batch of the Maille Dijon Vinaigrette dressing. Only, I use Aldi's Whole Grain mustard instead. It's delish!  

  • For lunch (which I ate on the back patio again while my pale husband and child were hunkered inside the house like vampires!), I had leftover pork tenderloin from last night and I made a salad with spinach, a Roma tomato, cucumber, fried Wontons (the same ones I've been saving from the Chinese take-out, they're actually delicious in salads if not really healthy!) and the homemade dressing. Yum. Greg and our son had sandwiches again... how boring it must be to be them :)

  • It got a little windy and my umbrella stand won't hold the umbrella tightly so it kept on spinning around and leaving me in the hot sun.  Right. What to do?!  I went to get an old rag and stuffed it in the opening around the "stem" so it wouldn't be able to spin quite as easily. It kind of did the trick. Greg has been asking me whether we should get a new umbrella stand but why? As long as this keeps working, I can keep on using it ;) I do like my new umbrella, though, especially since it was free to us (I used Lowe's gift cards from our Mastercard Reward program and the rest of a Coinstar gift card, ordered it via SavingStar or Swagbucks, I can't remember) and also got free shipping).


  • I relocated the 2 bins that there in my backyard to right under the roof line as it's supposed to rain tomorrow and I want to catch as much rainwater as I can (well, the chances of rain went down from 80% to 60% overnight so I'm really hoping it does rain because it would be nice for the garden).

  • Greg gassed up his truck at Racetrac while he was out getting his hair cut, so I took the survey on the receipt and earned another reward code for a free bakery item.


  • When it was time to pack up for his trip, he reused a quart-size freezer bag for his toiletries. He's not a fussy guy!

  • For dinner I made Hearty Spinach Meatball Soup with homemade chicken broth and green peppers that I had grown in the garden last year and frozen. I also used 73% ground beef instead of extra-lean but I drained the grease into one of the empty pinto cans to throw it away.  Oh yeah, and I used pinto beans instead of cannellini because that's what I used the first time around and it was delicious, and I found out pinto beans are a little cheaper than cannellini. I also baked the last small can of crescent rolls from my fridge.  It's nice to be able to declutter it a little.

  • My son asked me to put a book on hold at the library for him.

  • Later on, Greg asked me to see if our library system had any of 4 ebooks he had put on his Amazon wishlist so he could have something to read on his trip.  None of them were available, so I suggested he check the Kindle Lending Library for other books in the same category.

HOWEVER, WE FAILED IN THE FOLLOWING WAYS, BUT LEARNED SOME LESSONS:
  • I dribbled salad dressing down my T-shirt... and I don't think I'll be able to save it. It's an old T-shirt and I have tons of them, but still... I'm annoyed at myself.  I'll save it for a rag, though.

  • We could have had a NO DRIVE DAY but Greg decided to go get his haircut today.  The same haircut I have been asking him to get for several weeks. He could stop any day on his way home from work or he could have gotten his hair cut at the same time as our son on Friday night. But noooooo.... so there goes our No Drive Day. Grrr. On the bright side, he will be using the prepaid card so it won't cost us anything this month (aside from the $2 tip he will leave) plus only $9.99 will be deducted from the car instead of the full $14.
Did you have any frugal successes or failures today? Please do tell!

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