Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Daily Frugal Failures and Successes: Tuesday 4/7/15

  • I cannot trust the weather app... it never did rain yesterday!  I guess I should just keep on watering the garden without looking up the weather.

  • A couple of hours later... the sky got dark, I checked the weather app... no rain was predicted as of last night (so I watered the garden and it took me an hour). As off 10:45 a.m., 80% chance of rain predicted for this afternoon.  Gah!  Of course, they had predicted rain for this past weekend so Greg didn't paint the house and I didn't water the garden but it never did rain.  This is maddening.  I suppose the veggies and flowers will be happy with extra water as opposed to not enough, though.

  • Antenna TV changed their evening line-up and it's messing up my TV viewing!  "Newhart", which I love, has moved from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. Argh... so instead of watching free OTA TV, I'm watching "Malcolm in The Middle" on Netflix. Since we do pay for Netflix, at least we're getting our money's worth!

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

  • My daughter drove herself to work, saving me a round-trip (i.e. gas and time). She also packed herself a lunch.

  • Our son packed himself a lunch for lunch as well.

  • I have $15 to spend at Kohl's tomorrow ($10 Kohl's Cash and $5 Yes2YouReward) and it's time to start agonizing over what to buy. I swear, I expend way too much energy trying to figure out how to maximize that "free money".  Greg's losing weight but doesn't want to get new clothes yet because he's "not done losing". I need a few new items for my vacation this summer but I'm also trying to lose weight so I'm in the same boat.  I do need new underwear but the prices at Kohl's are crazy and I feel that spending my bonus money on that would actually be a waste.  I just bought a bunch of clothes for my daughter so she doesn't need anything. My son has a lot of clothes himself.  Arrgh. Add to this that I won't have the time time browse and check out the clearance section because I have a lot of errands to run on limited time tomorrow... I might just have to see if I still get free shipping and shop on their website.

  • I had an epiphany regarding what I could order from Ace Hardware to take advantage of the $10/$40 offer if we do store pick-up... after consulting with Greg, we agreed that I would order 2 new wheeled 32-gallon trash cans (for our yard waste) since several of ours are busted. I also ordered some landscape fabric that I need for our berm so I can finish mulching it.  We did save the $10.  I was going to place the order via the DiscoverDeals website to possibly earn 10% back but their site wasn't working so I went through SavingStar to earn 5% back.  Additionally, I will earn about 480 Ace Reward Points and 1% back on my Discover Card. I didn't get the better quality trash cans because the track pick-up truck will bust them anyway. We learned our lesson with the Rubbermaid trash cans that we bought last...

Note the outrageous claim that we saved $285.55 by choosing store pick-up. What B.S,!
Update: they emailed me in the afternoon to cancel the order of the trashcans because my store did NOT have them in stock after all.  They were going to charge me full price for the landscape fabric so I called the store to cancel. The store manager was awesome and told me that the Rubbermaid trashcans were actually on sale for $11.99 at her store (cheaper than on the website and cheaper than the ones I had ordered) and that the landscape fabric was also on sale for $4.99 (a $10 savings anyway). Since there were only 2 left, she's putting one on hold for me and I'll get the better trashcans tomorrow. She would also have honored the $10 off $40 promo if my total had been $40 but it's lower than $40 now.  I guess I won't get the 5% rebate from SavingStar though.

  • I reused water collected in the bins (leaky hose connection) as Greg and our son washed my car this weekend to water my vegetable garden and flowering plants (in ground and potted) using some of my upcycled cat litter jugs in the process.

  • I made sure the one of the leaky hose connections was in the large bin and the other one located at the foot of my plum tree as I watered my blueberries, lemon and orange tree with the hose.  I'll use the collected water to water the garden tomorrow AND my plum tree was watered without any extra effort on my part.

  • My dill is going to seed, already. I pinched back the blossoms to slow down the process. I need to harvest some of it and seed it to dry.

  • My spinach is starting to go to seed as well, I'll be harvesting it on Friday to use in my cooking.

  • I switched my dinner plans a tad since Laura's comment about not having cheddar cheese for her taco salad reminded me that I was planning on making taco salad for dinner tonight and I also am out of cheddar cheese.  Instead I made the Amish Chicken Stew planned for Thursday. I defrosted the 2nd package of $0.54 chicken drumsticks and a 4-cup container of homemade chicken broth (I'll be halving the recipe). I roasted the drumsticks in advance and picked the meat instead of using rotisserie chicken (who's ever heard of Amish using rotisserie chicken?!).  I saved the bones to make stock at a later date.

  • I made 24 chocolate cupcakes using Alison's recipe and 1 cup of the sour milk from my fridge. I substituted natural applesauce for the oil (paid $0.67 for a 2-cup jar several weeks ago at Publix, after coupons).  I also used the Wilton silicone cupcake liners, although I realized that between today and the last time I used them, one of the kids must have thrown away one of them since it's missing. Thankfully I still have a stock of paper liners that I was able to use.

  • My oven is too small to accommodate all the cupcake pans at once... I only have 1 oven rack and since it's a very old oven, I haven't been able to locate another one of the proper size. So I had to bake the cupcakes in 2 loads. The second load was only for 6 cupcakes so I also put the chicken drumsticks in there... I use Laura's method (from A Quiet Country Life), which is to put the chicken in a baking dish and flop a baking sheet over it for the first 30 minutes.  So I don't think the cupcakes will be affected, and I will take them out after 30 minutes, and remove the baking sheet from the chicken to finish cooking it at that point.

  • My gardening flip-flops are nearing the end of their life (one of the soles is worn very thin and has a hole in it now). I was going to order some on clearance via Kohls.com using my bonus money BUT I checked in the laundry room where I keep shoes from my older kids that they outgrew long ago but that we might still use and I found a brand-new pair of black flip-flops that I had bought one of the boys to wear when we went to the beach. It fits me perfectly, woohoo! I'll still wear the other ones until they actually fall apart (since I'm wearing them in the garden anyway), but it's nice to know I don't have to spend real or even free money to replace them.

  • I took another Driscoll survey on the last pack of strawberries that I purchased last Wednesday and earned 2 more $0.75/1 coupon that I will print in early May. I just need to take 5 more surveys to reach the Gold Level where I will earn $1.00/1 coupon through the end of the calendar year.

  • A post from IHeartPublix about free or cheap McCormick gravy packets at Publix reminded me to check whether I still had some or not... I did. I also had several packets of other kinds of gravies as well as several jars of gravy (and we usually use the jarred gravy anyway, I keep the powder kind as a back-up).  However, the darn pantry moths love to nest in the little crevasses at the bottom of the envelopes. I keep them in a plastic shoe box that doesn't have a lid.  I looked for an airtight container that I could use but since I didn't have a spare one that would work, I figured I would look for one at the thrift store tomorrow. But then I remembered that I had a lot of spare glass jars that I had upcycled so I just dumped all the gravy packets in jars, cut out the labels and stuck them on the jars with masking tape (we're not Pinterest folks!) and put them with the jarred gravies so I'm reminded to use them up. The pantry moths hadn't dug their way into the envelopes yet (phew!). I guess I'll skip the Publix sale on the McCormick since I should use up what I already have anyway...

  • I also noticed that I have several packets of powdered sauces and marinades (some of them that I bought several years ago!) so I will endeavor to use them in my May menus that I will start devising soon.

  • I used up an old package of pizza dough mix and the rest of the shredded mozzarella to make a pizza for my lunch since the oven was still hot from baking the cupcakes and chicken.  I didn't have pizza sauce but I found a jar of bruschetta sauce that I don't even remember buying so I used some of that. The result wasn't great since the dough mix was so old. It tasted slightly rancid and never mixed well with the water so it was pretty crumbly. I still ate it though. Well, half of it (I actually threw away the other half, that's how bad it was).

  • I also found a package of spinach dip mix so I mixed it up with the greek yogurt that I had made with Aldi plain yogurt a couple of weeks ago and some light mayonnaise. I'll have it as snack over the next couple of days on fresh homemade bread and it's finally out of my pantry... and I don't have to throw away the Greek yogurt either (I was supposed to have used it up at dinner last night but as predicted I didn't make "Island Burgers", I just grilled the ground turkey with some spices in my cast iron pan and served the patties on homemade pretzel rolls).

  • Greg had leftovers for lunch.

  • Greg mowed our front lawn.  Years ago we had a lawn service (in a rental home and it was part of the rental agreement) but he actually loves mowing the lawn (which is a head scratcher, for me!).

  • I signed up for Bing Rewards via Swagbucks, earned 100SB in the process and I'm already up to 47 Bing points towards a $5 Amazon gift card (525 points)

  • It occurred to me last night that I can't remember mailing the payment to the pediatrician... arrgh.  It might have been in the stack of bank statements that I mailed back to sender (tired of nagging my sons about changing their mailing address) but I can't swear it it and I can't find the envelope anywhere. I put a reminder on my Google Calendar to check my FSA account next week to see if the charge was put through. If not, I'll have to stop by the office and pay it in person, I guess.  Grrr, being absent-minded is really taking its toll on me.  Middle-age really stinks. But not worrying about it might result in a bad mark on our credit report if I really did misplace the payment, so why take the chance?

  • The Frugal Girl asked yesterday what things her readers splurge on and I replied "video games"  and "our vehicles".  I should have included "pet food".  Our male cat is on prescription food and the female cat is on it as well, by default, since there is no practical way to separate the 2.  I just had to reorder a bag of it and each time it costs me more than $60 after tax. It lasts for about 2 months.  The cats, comparatively, eat better than we do and I'm not even a pet person.

  • I had to throw away 2 envelopes of powdered sauces/marinades because the pantry moths had gotten into them.

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

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