Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Daily Frugal Failures and Successes: Wednesday 4/29/15



HAPPENINGS AROUND HERE TODAY:
  • It feels weird that once again Wednesday rolls around and I'm not doing my actual grocery shopping this morning!

  • The city (well, their contractor) decided to trim the big oak trees across from our driveway today.  Yay (less risk of them falling on our cars and on the power/cable lines) but this is the day when my head decided to throb too.  Arrgh. I took a Tylenol and am hoping it won't take too long and won't be too noisy. Our new windows should help the noise level (well, that and the dishwasher that's running right now!). I haven't called the City Works director about that tree above Greg's shed. Yet.

FRUGAL SUCCESSES:
  • My daughter packed a lunch for school. She also drove herself to school, saving me money (one fewer round-trip) and time.

  • My son also packed a lunch for school.

  • Instead of brewing coffee, I had the free XL coffee that I picked up from Dunkin' Donuts yesterday. I still had one hazelnut creamer from Racetrac so I used that in the first cup and the leftover packet of Equal from Racetrac as well.  For my next cups, I used the PureVia samples that PinchMe sent me.

  • I earned the maximum of Bing Rewards credits for the day. Yesterday and today they were running a special promotion where you could earn 30 credits for PC searches instead of just 15.  Today I also had a few more opportunities to earn 1 to 3 bonus credits as well. I'm up to 696 lifetime rewards, I need 750 in order to only pay 475 for $5 gift cards instead of 525.

  • We have some rain in the forecast for early afternoon. I think I'll water the beans/squash with the rainwater collected yesterday, just in case.  I harvested more green beans.

  • I downloaded the Winn Dixie app to my phone, earning myself a digital coupon for a free dozen eggs (thanks, Slickdeals!).  I also uploaded digital coupons to my account, something that I hadn't been able to do on their website for a couple of years (but since I almost never shop there and usually have printables with a larger value, I didn't bother calling them to figure out what the problem was).

  • I got 100 KFR points with bonus code KFRTHANKYOUBONUS  and 25 KFR points with bonus code LEGG-OMYE-GGOB-ONUS

  • I rinsed the strawberries that I bought yesterday into diluted vinegar so they last longer.  I did find a moldy strawberry that I composted.

  • After I finished rinsing the strawberries, I collected the water and added it to one of the bin that had rainwater in it so the vinegar would be even MORE diluted and no hurt my plants when I used the water on them.


  • Greg has asked me to pick him up a couple of avocadoes last week because he wanted to try to make a new snack. Well he never did and then he left on his trip and the avocadoes are very ripe.  I decided to make guacamole with them since we're having fish tacos tonight.  I used Alton Brown's recipe.  Instead of onion, I used sliced green onions from my garden (they'd been in the fridge for a few days) and I defrosted a cube of cilantro from my garden that I had frozen in water (I drained the water off).  It doesn't look like much since the flesh of the avocadoes is brownish and very soft, but it'll be delicious!


  • I put the produce plastic bag that contained the Roma tomatoes that I used back into my coupon organizer.  I have reused the same bag several times already.

  • I recycled 2 gravy glass jars that we had used this week.  I have many of those jars in "storage" already so I didn't feel bad about recycling them. I upcycled the large glass jar that contained sauerkraut and a large plastic jar that contained light mayo as large jars can be very useful.

  • The cantaloupe that I had bought from Aldi last week had already started to spoil. I need to remember that as it gets hotter and more humid, produce goes bad faster!  I cut off and composted half the cantaloupe and cut the rest into cubes for lunch and dinner.

  • A few days ago I defrosted a patty of homemade pie crust because I wanted to try and make Buttermilk Pie with some of the spoiled milk... but I never did.  Today, I resolved to try.  I decided to use the recipe that I copied from the Depression-era book that I read last week. However, I was distracted by the tree cutters outside of my window so I totally messed up the recipe... I didn't separate the eggs so I didn't have egg whites to make the meringue top, and then I didn't feel like using a double-boiler and stand at the stove for 25 minutes while stirring the mixture so I just put everything in a pan on medium heat and stirred it once in a while. Halfway through cooking it, I decided to add vanilla and then, thinking that I'll probably have to eat the pie on my own anyway, I added a whole bunch of Amaretto too!  I've had the bottle for 25 years, lol.   I thought it would use up the spoiled milk but can you believe that I still have probably 4 cups of it?!? That jug is cursed!  Anyhoo, the custard was still too liquidy so I turned up the heat to 7 for a few minutes and it jellified alright!  I caught it just before it burned.  I poured everything into the pie dish without realizing that I should have pre-baked the crust. Arrgh!  I baked the whole thing at 350 for 25 minutes instead of just 10 (good thing there isn't a meringue top after all!), and then I let it sit in the hot oven for another 10 minutes. The result is.. a little off. The milk really makes it taste a little bitter (the alcohol doesn't seem to have helped). I'm thinking that maybe I'll slice some strawberries on top to see if that makes it better!
Yes, I'm not the kind of baker who makes beautiful pies :)  

  •  For lunch, I made 2 sandwiches with a couple of "Everything" Flatout Artisan Breads (free after BOGO sale and BOGO coupons, at Publix yesterday), some Vita smoked salmon (free after manufacturer coupon at Publix last week), some Neufchatel cheese ($0.69 a brick at Aldi a few weeks ago) and fresh dill from my garden.  I also ate some of the cantaloupe. It felt like a very gourmet and almost free lunch too!



  • I washed and upcycled the 2 plastic trays that the JustBARE chicken drumsticks that I cooked a couple of days ago came in so I can reuse them as plant watering trays in the future.

  • I filled out the (5) rebate form that I have to mail in. That took a little while, since I also track them in an Excel spreadsheet to make sure that I don't send duplicates and that I receive the money!

  • My daughter needed to take some money out of one of her accounts so I advised her to go to Racetrac since their Fifth Third Bank ATM machine don't charge any withdrawal fees.  She gave me the money to hold in the joint savings account that we have together. I didn't give her the means to access it so she can't touch it until she's 18.

  • I drove my son to the library for his teen program since it was very hot and I also wanted to stop by Family Dollar.  I showed them the documentation from the Florida State of Revenue proving that seeds are not taxable and I got my $0.14 back.  After that, I stopped by Racetrac and got free Sodapalooza refills for both kids. 

  • I took a survey on my Dunkin' Donuts receipt and got a code for a free donut with my next purchase of a medium drink or larger.

  • I took the survey on my Racetrac receipt and got a code for a free any size coffee.

  • I took a Driscoll's survey on the 2nd container of raspberries that I bought last Sunday and earned 2 more $1.00/1 printable coupons.

  • Dinner was tilapia tacos and since I dropped the rice mix (see failures) that I was planning on serving, I warmed up a can of sweet peas in the microwave with the 1/2 cup of rice that I hadn't spilled on the floor.  Dinner actually ended up being good and there are some leftovers for my lunch tomorrow.

WE SPLURGED ON:
  • A hotel in Tallahassee.  I got confirmation that accommodations will NOT be provided in Tallahassee for the National History Day state competition so I needed to find us a hotel.  We were going to stay only 1 night but competition is one day and the award ceremony is the next day, and it seemed to me that we would want to be there for the ceremony in case my daughter wins her category, so I convinced her to stay 2 nights.  She was reluctant to miss 2 days of school because it's a very busy period for her (why do they have competitions during the months when most students have lots of testing, AP exams, etc?!) but I think she would regret not being there to receive her prize if she were to win.  I checked my options on Orbitz* via Swagbucks and I wanted a hotel close to the competition site.  I decided to book us in a hotel that is more expensive than I would like at $110/night instead of the cheaper hotels at about $55-$65 a night because the reviews are so much better and I have experience with that particular chain. Also, it's a conference center so I know that we will have high speed internet in the room, which we will need for my daughter to do her school work while we're there.  The other bummer (aside from the price) is that is does NOT include breakfast but we will bring breakfast foods from home.  I had $4.81 in Orbucks rewards that I used to lower my rate to $108/night (ooooooh! lol!) and I also earned $7.32 in Orbucks to use when I book my next reservation with Orbitz.  Furthermore, by going through Swagbucks, I will earn 2 SB per $1, which means about 440 SB.
  •  (*referral link. If you use it to register on Orbitz, you will receive a $25 promo code towards your first hotel stay, and I will get one too!) 

HOWEVER, WE FAILED IN THE FOLLOWING WAYS, BUT LEARNED SOME LESSONS:
  • I was very late cooking dinner because I had been busy trying to coordinate our trip to Tallahassee this coming week.  So I rushed and in the process dropped a package of Seeds of Change cooked rice mix that I had planned on serving with the fish tacos all over the floor.  Arrgh. I had to throw all of it away. The lesson is: don't rush. Even if you're late. Because disaster can, and probably will, ensue.

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

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