Friday, April 24, 2015

Daily Frugal Failures and Successes: Friday 4/24/15



HAPPENINGS AROUND HERE TODAY:
  • Happy Friday!  I feel like this week has flown by... swoosh! And I'm freaking out a little at the thought that the kids and I will be flying to France in about a month and a half. I feel that I have so many things to do before then and I really should be getting my butt in gear. May is going to be busy.

  • The window installation process is finally 100% done as the city inspector came this morning and "passed" us.  I took all the stickers down and inventoried everything to keep all the paperwork together.  I'm so happy!  Not only did we get that done, but I came out with the name of a general contractor with whom I now have experience (the wonderful crew chief of our Window Installation Team has his own construction business and is a general contractor) and also a recommendation for a local roofer from our city inspector.  I asked him, this morning, if it was true that our city now required all flat roofs to be modified to have a pitch in order to issue a re-roofing permit. This is what our past roofer had told me when we got our roof replaced in 2009 or 2010 and we do have a portion of our roof that is flat.  He told me he had never heard of it and inquired about the name of the company we had used. When I told him, he told me to never hire this company again and recommended the company that he uses personally (he lives in town as well).  It's always good to have names of companies and people in your contacts so when you do need someone, you don't just pick a name/company at random. We're solitary people so we really don't know anyone who could recommend local tradespeople.  I did have a bad taste in my mouth from our former roofer because the owner stopped answering my calls after a few weeks (I had some questions about the roof) so I feel good that my gut feeling was confirmed.  We haven't had problems with the work they did (so far) but you never know.  On a end note to this paragraph, I highly recommend Home Depot if you ever need windows replaced.  The whole experience was excellent. Not really sure how they compare with other companies as far as cost, but even the city inspector said that whenever Home Depot is involved in window installations, he never find any problems on inspection.

  • I pulled weeds from the vegetable gardens "aisles" and the berm between the backyard and our patio.  I finally put down the landscaping fabric and mulched the berm too.  My herbs pots are back in their regular spot.



FRUGAL SUCCESSES:
  • Greg worked from home today again, saving us about $20 in gas and tolls.

  • My daughter drove herself to school and packed herself a lunch, saving us money (one fewer round-trip and no cafeteria expense) and time.


  • Our son packed his lunch as well.


  • No need to water the garden today as it poured yesterday on several occasions.  


  • I harvested another handful of green beans this morning. I think I'll make a stir-fry for lunch with those, the collard greens that I harvested 2 days ago and the cabbage leaves that I harvested 3 days ago... I'll also cook one of those OLD Boca burgers that have been in my freezer for years. It'll probably taste like cardboard but I can't bring myself to throw them away (compost them?  They're all vegetarian after all...)


  • For breakfast I enjoyed the hazelnut coffee that I got for free from Racetrac yesterday morning.  I had tried to resist the hazelnut-flavored creamer cups but it just tastes too bitter for me if I just add milk so I did use 2 of the creamer cups total.  I did put them in the recycle bin, although I have a suspicion they might not be recyclable. I should check their website.  I also had a bowl of cereal in which I sliced some of the strawberries that I bought almost 2 weeks ago and that are starting to get mushy.  I have some more for tomorrow morning and then they will be all done! Soaking them in diluted vinegar really worked.  I would have had to throw them away several days ago, otherwise.

  • I had an idea to place Greg's desk in a new position in our living room last night, which won't require us to buy him a new, smaller desk and will make him happy.  We will also, in the same swoop, replace the twin-size bed in our spare bedroom with one of the two futons we have in the living room (instead of buying a full-size bed like I had wanted to), and find a new place for the nice reclining chair and foot rest that we inherited from Greg's parents. I think the living room won't look as crowded. We won't have as much sitting space but we never have visitors and the kids tend to prefer watching shows on their Kindles/laptop from their bedrooms or the gaming room. The only cost we'll have will be a couple of bookshelves that should be able to fit in the corner where Greg's desk used to be.  If we place our modem and router on those, it should also improve our kids' wifi connection as there would be less interference.  I wanted to do all that this weekend but Greg suggested we just shift the furniture from the living room without moving the futon to the other room yet to try out the set-up to see if we like it for sure.  He's going to be on a business trip next week so that would mean we would make the permanent change in a couple of weeks if we end up liking it.  I'm actually excited about it because, even though I don't like change, I enjoy re-arranging furniture around for a new "look".

  • In the meantime, since my middle son will be spending the night here next Thursday, I wrestled our spare twin mattress out of the tiny closet I had stuffed it into while I was painting the room and put it back on the bed. I'm still not done cleaning up the paint splatters on the old oak floor, but I've done lots of progress. I screwed the outlet and light switches back in place, as well as the ventilation metallic thingies.  The room looks very spartan for now but at least it's functional for when my son comes to spend the night.

  • I took the old student desk out of the spare bedroom. I had gotten it at the Habitat for Humanity thrift store over 10 years ago for about $10.  It was painted Hunter Green by a previous owner and that actually fit the "color scheme" in my older boys' bedroom (now our spare bedroom) back then.  I set it up in the shed in front of Greg's shed and I repainted it so it blends better with the new paint in the bedroom.  I used a pint of colored interior paint (Celtic Sage) that I had scored for free at Ace Hardware a couple of years ago.  It take a couple of coats. It's not a great paint job and I didn't even bother taking the knobs off before painting the drawers, but most of the drawers are barely functional anyway. We need the desk more so that there is a surface for any guests to set up a laptop.
The old color

The re-painted desk, The photo is all washed out (damn
phone!) but it's sage.
  • I need to call our electrical company since we pay extra every month for wire protection. Having an old house, electrical repairs can be expensive. We pay extra every month, which gives us a yearly "allowance" that we can spend on certain electrical repairs that get done by a local electric repair company contracted with Duke Energy at no extra cost to us. Of course, the past few years I have been remiss in actually scheduling some small repairs to be done but now I have several outlets that need to be replaced (the plugs will fall off them easily) and ancient switches to be changed out for newer ones that aren't nearly as loud when you turn the lights on and off.  Those should be covered by that program.  We also need to get our outside lights fixed. The wiring in the house was done by the homeowners throughout the years as they expanded the house at various times, and when our electric panel was upgraded a couple of years ago, we suddenly lost power to the outside lights and the electricians couldn't figure out where those wires were... we used to have to move 4 different switches into specific positions inside the house in order to have certain outside lights come on so it's always been a PITA.  I think we're just going to ask them rewire them completely so we can operate 1 light with 1 switch.  That won't be covered but it would be very helpful to have outdoor lights.

  • Greg and I made ourselves sandwiches for lunch.  I didn't make that stir-fry after all.  Maybe for dinner.

  • I was able to scrape off some paint splatters off the floor in the spare bedroom with just my fingernails.  This is frugal as it didn't damage the floors and I didn't use it any of those magic sponges. I never get my nails done anyway so any damage will grow out soon enough.

  • For snack I ate the last piece of banana bread that I had defrosted last week. It had hardened instead of gotten mildewed so I just needed to wash it down with some water :)

  • I defrosted a fresh half loaf of banana bread for the kids' snack this afternoon.

  • When my middle son moved out last year, one of the items he wanted to throw away was the tower fan that had been in his room. He said it was broken.  I had put it aside with the goal of making sure it needed to be thrown away. Today I looked it it, realized that part of the problem was caused by some loose screws.  It works OK on certain speeds so I tightened everything and put it back in the room. It's better than nothing when it gets hot!

  • The kids wanted to drive to Racetrac to get a refill on their drinks but I had warned them that since Racetrac is within walking distance of our house, they should not expect to "waste gas" by driving there for refills. My daughter decided to stay home but my son decided to walk there by himself.

  • I received a coupon for a free candy bar from the Mars Instant Win Game I played last month!  It's been a fine week for free chocolate :)

  • I finally had to throw my gardening flip-flops away. but I have my son's old pair that was waiting for me as a no-cost replacement!
It was really time to throw them away!
  • I refilled several empty cat litter and milk jugs with rainwater collected in the bins outside. I will use them to water some plants tomorrow.

  • Greg took the old wooden shutters that we are not putting back up to his shed, in case we can reuse the wood for anything. He also reinstalled the ones that we did want to keep (in the bedrooms).

  • I cut my own bangs. I cut them too short, but they'll grow back. Shrug. Funny how things that would have been the end of the world in high school really don't matter when you're in your 40s!

  • I earned the maximum of daily rewards on Bing Rewards for today. I think I forgot to do the PC searches yesterday!  Anyhoo, I have 505 rewards and I need 525 to earn my first $5 Amazon gift card so I should be able to earn it tomorrow. Woohoo!

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

  • I overdid it today and my lower back really hurts. I didn't feel like standing at the cooktop for too long so dinner was pork sirloin chops (cut from the roast that I defrosted 2 days ago. I cut another 4 chops out of it and refroze those), breaded and pan-fried and some pasta. Nothing special. 

  • After dinner, Greg and I sat on our back patio for an hour or so. The weather was perfect, it was cool, no humidity, no bugs!  The birds and the cicadas were singing and we even watched a male cardinal coming to eat at the bird feeder at dusk.  Sadly, no hummingbirds!

  • My son was looking for a snack so I suggested he had a popsicle. I found a collection of those in the freezer a couple of weeks ago so I put them all in one big ziploc bag.  Then I was hungry so I decided to make a big batch of popcorn. I melted some butter and coconut oil, added some cocoa powder and sweetened coconut too.  It was ok but not very sweet (I forgot to add some sugar).

WE SPLURGED ON:
  • Nothing that I can think of.

HOWEVER, WE FAILED IN THE FOLLOWING WAYS, BUT LEARNED SOME LESSONS:
  • No failures today!

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

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