Thursday, April 2, 2015

Daily Frugal Failures and Successes: Thursday 4/2/15



HAPPENINGS AROUND HERE TODAY:
  • I checked my bathroom this morning and the paint looks fine with just 1 coat.  I'll just do touch-ups today.

  • Spring Break is making me lazy(ier?)... by the time I woke up (a little later than usual, thanks, birds, for not chirping too loudly this morning!), drank my coffee and caught up on the news online, it was 10:30 a.m.  Oh no!  I'm supposed to be productive this week!  I jumped in the shower. did a few tasks... and then decided to have lunch on the back porch.  Since I'm encamped with my laptop, a book, drinks and my lunch, I'm thinking I'm probably not going to be too productive this afternoon. Oh well. It's Spring Break for me too and I'm enjoying Spring outdoors.

FRUGAL SUCCESSES:
  • I woke up to a lot more Swagbucks in my account then I had last night: my Orbitz hotel reservation points hit overnight!  I could order a $5 Amazon gift card but since it's a new month, I can get a $25 gift card for fewer points so I'm shooting for this... 1700 more SB to go.

  • For breakfast, I had a bowl of "toasted oats" from Publix. This is their brand of Cheerios.  I bought the book many months ago because I was told by the kids that they loved that cereal but, of course, they never ate it.  I sliced some fresh strawberries in it and it was just fine and dandy.

  • I reused the water collected in the shower to flush the toilet.

  • I cut up one of the $1.00 pineapples that I bought yesterday and dehydrated it. I collected the peelings and put them in the crockpot insert that I had bought at the thrift store a couple of weeks ago because I wanted to try to make tepache, a fermented pineapple drink.  I knew I shouldn't have thrown away the whey collected from the plain yogurt last week... I need whey for this recipe!  I might get more yogurt from Publix this afternoon as I need to run a few errands today.

  • Target texted new digital coupons. They used to text me on Saturdays so they must have changed the schedule.  I might be able to use the produce coupon...

  • I watered my in-ground and potted plants with the rainwater I had saved in my upcycled cat litter jugs.  I needed to top off the self-watering bins and made sure to place the hose connection in the largest bin that I have since there is a leak the connection... by the time I was done, the bin was full!  I refilled all the cat litter jugs and placed the bin's lid back on so evaporation doesn't waste the water left in the bin (about 1/3 of the bin). Yes, I could replace the hoses but they'd end up in the landfill... and I'm not wasting any water since I collect it in the bin.


  • I had 2 self-watering bins that were growing nothing but weeds so I pulled the weeds and added more potting soil to the bins and transplanted the 11 strawberry plants that I had gotten for free at Lowe's last week.  I had forgotten to take them to Lowe's to exchange them for a flat with 12 plants,oh well. A couple of plants have already grown runners so I buried those so they produce more plants.  I mulched the strawberries with oak leaves that Greg had raked for me. I used plant labels that I had made out of a cat litter jug to mark the planting date.


  • The kohlrabi isn't showing much progress. I added mulch to the bin to see if that might help their growth. Still hoping I can taste kohlrabi some day!


  • I forgot to mention that my first rose bloomed a couple of days ago and today I also had my first Cosmos and another rose bush had a bud about to open on it.  The jasmine is also regrowing and smelling delicious but you have to be close to it since it's still tiny.

  • I had leftover Spicy Carrot soup on the porch for lunch, along with a turkey and bacon sandwich. The bacon was starting to get a little rancid so I nuked some for dinner last night and lunch today. I'll have some more tonight.  Dessert was some of the $0.50/lb grapes that I got yesterday at Save A Lot.  I saved the bacon grease in a jar that I keep in the fridge. I haven't figure out what to do with it just yet (I keep on forgetting to use it to cook greens) but at least it's not going down my pipes!


  • I ordered an 8x10 print from Walgreens for free (with store pick-up) with code FREE2FRAME.  Since it's already ready, I will go to Publix to get more $1.00/lb butter too.

  • Kohl's sent me my $5.00 Yes2You Reward.  I also have $10 in Kohl's cash to use up next week so I'll need to find something good to buy.
  • Discover Card has been my go-to credit card for years.  I use our Mastercard for larger purchases, the Target Redcard Visa at Target and Discover everywhere else.  We got an American Express card earlier this year, though. At first I was nervous that we wouldn't be able to use it anywhere but really, aside from Save A Lot (that doesn't accept it) and Aldi (cash or debit cards only), I have been able to use it everywhere.  Since reaching the required amount of charges to qualify for the $200 Statement Credit, though, I have gone back to using Discover. Why? because I can redeem the rewards in a number of ways, including on Amazon. These days I only redeem them on Amazon.  However, I realized yesterday that American Express will give me 3% back on supermarket expenses.  I looked on the Discover website to see what the rebate was and all I could see was the 5% bonus reward calendar.  For April-June, it's only for restaurants and movies. We rarely eat out nowadays and we never go to the movies.  I emailed their Customer Service to get the breakdown of what rebate I get on my regular purchases and this was their answer:

So I'm getting 1% back when I use Discover for anything right now.  However, here is what I would get back for using American Express as well as how much we have spent in each category as of yesterday, with that card:


I can get 3% back at supermarkets and 2 % back at gas stations, a much better deal than with Discover.  

So I will endeavor to remember to use American Express at gas stations and grocery stores and Discover everywhere else so as to maximize my rewards and I also texted Greg to request he uses Amex for his gas purchases. I believe that his Discover Rewards are still at the 0.25% level!

  • I drove to Publix to pick up one more lb of butter @ $1 after coupon and also buy a new lottery ticket.  I know some people think it's a "tax on stupid" but I only spend $20 every 10 weeks (2 drawings per week), we have no debt beyond our mortgage and live way under our means and I don't spend money on haircare, make-up, manicures or even clothing.

  • I finally remembered to buy another cooler bag while I was there. I already have one and I love it. I also have a cheaper one that is the plastic kind and has snap closures but it doesn't hold as much. Once it starts getting really hot, I'll be needing both bags since I spend several hours doing the grocery shopping. It was only $2.49 anyway.

  • I also swung by Walgreens to pick up my free 8x10 photo. Darn it, I should have remembered to edit it with Photoscape prior to uploading it because it didn't turn out very well, printed in that format. I will pick up a frame at Dollar Tree next week.

  • I went to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore thrift store to see if they had a toilet tank top to replace the one I broke last night. They didn't, but I spotted a bistro table and chairs set for $75.  The table has a concrete-poured top so it's pretty heavy, which is what I need so the umbrella doesn't make it topple over.  I went home to price similar sets online.  I saw similar tables priced at $179.99 for the table only so I went back and bought it. The clerk asked me if I was 55 or older because seniors got 20% off.  I don't lie so I told her no, but I have a feeling that she would have just given me the discount if I had said yes.  Being honest doesn't pay!  I think it looks very well on my patio!


  • CVS emailed me a $6/$30 coupon good only this weekend... unless they end up having wonderful deals on Sunday, I won't use it since I rarely spend $30 in one trip nowadays.  Ooooh, I just noticed that if I look at My Weekly Ad from the link in the email, I can also see the preview for Sunday's ad.  Alright, Cocoa Pebbles will be on sale for $1.99 and there is a $1.25/box rebate on Snap by Groupon without any limits! 

  • I used to have an Ibotta account but when they started pushing Facebook, I deleted my account (a couple of years ago).  I decided to check it out again but the latest version of the app only works on iOS 7 or later. My old phone won't let me upgrade to iOS7 but the app store let me re-download the older version of the app... however when I opened it I got a warning that this version will no longer be supported later on this month!  I emailed Customer Service to ask them if it's true because if it is, then I might as well delete my account right now :(

  • I earned 25 KFR points by entering bonus code FREEPTSCOMINGATU in my Kellogg's Family Rewards account.

  • I sold another book on Half.com, this time for $5.  Woohoo!

HOWEVER, WE FAILED IN THE FOLLOWING WAYS, BUT LEARNED SOME LESSONS:
  • Brighthouse sent us a notice that our internet rates are increasing by $2 a month starting 5/1 AGAIN.  They already raised them by $2 and also started charging $4 for the modem less than a year ago. Since they're the only cable internet provider in our area, we don't have a choice :(

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

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