Thursday, April 9, 2015

Daily Frugal Failures and Successes: Thursday 4/9/15



HAPPENINGS AROUND HERE TODAY:
  • You know it's going to be hot and humid today when the AC kicks on before 7 a.m.  Dang it.

  • Since it was still cool in the shade on the back patio, I relocated my laptop, coffee and bowl of Cheerios so I could enjoy the birds' songs before the heat became too intense.  I turned off the AC so the cats could enjoy the noises from the backyard as well with the opened (but screened) patio door.  I am NOT motivated to be productive today!  The temp (as of 10:24 a.m.) on my back patio is quite nice, flowers are blooming and smell delicious, and the birds are singing extra loud today.  Is reading from the "We Had Everything But Money" library book on the patio being productive? What the heck, I'm counting it!

  • I didn't sleep that great last night and I think that it might be because I didn't use my recumbent bike yesterday. The 2 nights when I slept like a baby, I had exercised. Not killed myself, mind you, but the 45 minutes or so of pedaling must have helped.  I'm going to exercise today again to test my theory. If that's true, it might be the impetus I need to make sure I do it every day, which would be a win-win!

  • I'm starting a "We splurged on" category in my daily post about frugal failures and successes.  There are times when we spend money instead of making the choice not to spend it, but they're not necessarily a failure... like when I gave money to my sister or when the kids get my approval to buy lunch from school instead of packing a lunch. Splurging can have such a negative connotation, though,.. but it doesn't mean we're spending tons of money.

  • I don't think I've already said this (and if I did, sorry for repeating myself!) but I'm kicking myself for not realizing that my "new" glasses (the ones I got last summer) needed to be tightened sooner.  This completely fixed the blurry problem that I was having at the mid-distance level!  I guess the glasses were ever so slightly sliding down my nose (indeed a fraction of an inch seems to be causing the problem) without my even realizing it and producing a blurry screen or image when I did wear them and was trying to be on the laptop or looking at an object at arm's length in the store. They didn't feel exceptionally loose so I didn't think that was the problem. Doh!

  • My red canna plant (bought at the South Lake Animal League thrift store last Fall for $4, I think) is blooming and it's gorgeous!  

  • I also have several roses, the mandevilla is blooming and although it's very meager, I'm proud of my lonely cosmos and zinnia because I grew them from seed :) Incidentally, the germinating rate from those packets of seeds that I had bought at the Dollar Tree (last year?) was dismal.


  • Should have mentioned yesterday that if you're looking for cheap flip-flops for yourself or the kids, Dollar Tree has a big display of them currently (well, at least at my Central Florida Dollar Tree).  I was behind a lady yesterday that bought something like 20 pairs of them. I'm wondering if she's going to resell them... who needs 20 pairs of cheap flip flops?!

  • My sister couldn't get the Western Union money order that I sent her today because there is yet another strike going on in France that is somehow affecting Western Union as well over there.  Grrr, geez, it's not like she needs the money or anything, right? Hopefully the strike will be over tomorrow and she can get it then. If not, that's pushing it back to Monday. She was able to make an appointment with a lawyer specializing in labor issues for next week and she's going to a doctor tomorrow to get a prescription to help with the stress and sleep issues all this mess is causing. I'm so worried about her:(  I bought her a book on Amazon, earlier this week, that addresses the court process and recommended tactiques if she has to go to Labor Court (if she gets laid off or fired from her job due to these allegations.)

  • In other sisterly news, my mom reports that my sister was able to gather 17 (SEVENTEEN!) affidavits from colleagues, in her favor. That's huge, especially when people are afraid that management will come after them next! We're crossing our fingers. And toes.

FRUGAL SUCCESSES:
  • I packed leftovers for Greg's lunch. Our son packed a lunch to take to school. 

  • I requested a free sample of Friskies 7 cat food that I will donate to the South Lake Animal League thrift store (for their animal shelter) when it arrives.  Thanks, CouponPro, for the tip!

  • I harvested dill, rosemary and more marjoram to dry.  The dill was going to seed so it was time (already?!).  I also harvested cilantro (also starting to go to seed) and I will freeze it in water cubes again.  I need to harvest basil as well but I prefer to eat it fresh so I might need to make some tomato salad soon.  On this note, Lifehacker posted about the best way to freezer herbs today. I really don't want to add oil to my already rich diet, so I freeze my basil and cilantro in water. As far as dehydrating my herbs, I just let them dry on the windowsill (they say the best way is to microwave them).  How about you?


  • My daughter used half a quart of whole milk for her breakfast this morning so before my son got up, I added half a quart of water to it to make it last longer :)

  • I discovered a couple of mold spots on some strawberries that I bought yesterday. Thankfully I was able to cut them off and use the strawberries but that reminded me that I needed to rinse the 2 quarts in diluted vinegar.  The online tip I found said to mix 1 part of vinegar to 10 parts of water.  I'm letting the strawberries soak in this for a while before putting them back in the fridge.


  • I joined Bing Rewards (referral link) a couple of days ago and I'm working on earning points towards some gift cards on that as well as Swagbucks.  I do the maximum allowed of daily searches on my PC (15 credits max daily) and I just downloaded their app too (it works for iOS 6, yes!!!) and did the maximum searches from my phone as well (10 credits max daily). It's a very FAST search engine so it takes me just a few minutes to accumulate the daily maximum for those 2 things.  I'm already up to 85 credits in just 2 days and I need 525 credits to get a $5 Amazon gift card.  

  • I had emailed Discover when I couldn't use their DiscoverDeals page to earn 10% back on Acehardware.com.  They first emailed me back with a canned answer that didn't address my issue so I replied that they hadn't addressed my problem (a current occurrence with customer service on any site, lately) and this time they replied with instructions on how to change some settings in Chrome... and this time it worked.  So hopefully next time I want to order something on Ace's website, I can use the Discover Deals portal and earn that extra cashback.

  • While I was there, I checked the "in-store" deals and found a 50% off any regular-priced item at Michael's offer that doesn't expire until 4/18.  I texted my crafty daughter to ask her to send me a list of things she might want from Michael's so I can stop by next Wednesday.
  • Should have mentioned that I resisted buying very frugal, 50% marked-down, chicken livers at Save A Lot yesterday. I've heard that they are delicious if you know how to cook them but I have an aversion to offal meat (my mom used to feed us various offal meats when I was younger) so even though I was tempted by the $1.05 price tag on a pretty large container, I saved my money. I should mention it to the kids next time they complain about something... they really have it easy :)

  • The outdoor pillows that I bought (pretty frugally, I think) at Aldi yesterday for $3.99 are very comfortable! I'm using one of them on my thrifted patio chair right now and it's providing awesome lumbar support. I'm having such a good time on my patio, I really wish my mom was here with me, she'd love it (well, not the heat because she can't stand the heat but she's love sitting here and chatting while drinking coffee, looking at the garden and listening to the birds). I can't wait to see her this summer.

  • My daughter bought herself a lemonade and kept me the bottle cap since it had a MyCokeRewards code on it :) So I earned 3 MCR points and I'm 7 points away from being able to get her a coupon for a free 20 oz Minute Maid lemonade.  She scratches my back, I scratch hers.

  • Can I count spending the whole afternoon in the heat on the back patio as frugal exercise? I've been sweating up a ton more than I do when I actually exercise :)

  • Swagbucks awarded me some SB for doing a search but I had to run into the house before I even realized that I had been awarded a code that I needed to type in to get the 7SB... and by the time I came back to my laptop, the code had expired.  Arrgh!  I emailed their customer service to ask if they could reinstate it... after all, I did do the search that earned me the award.  They replied pretty fast and awarded me the 7 SB.  They honestly have the best customer service!

  • Half.com emailed me that they're crediting me with $9.95.  I need to sit down and figured out how much I've made from selling the books I've sold, after shipping supplies, postage and driving to the post office.

  • I logged in the last 3 recumbent bike sessions on Walgreens Balance Rewards for Healthy Choices and earned several hundred BR points (I didn't check to see how many though, but I'm close to getting another $5 off my next purchase).

  • I finally received a package from PinchMe, but it was "just" a Gevalia sample. Still, I'm excited because I love freebies and I love Gevalia coffee!

  • CVS sent me a sheet of dental product coupons. I used to never get emails and mailings from CVS until I emailed them several months ago to ask why I never got anything and they replied that they sent those "at random". Well, maybe but ever since, I've been getting emails and special offers and coupons in the regular mail as well.  Sometimes the squeaky wheel does get the grease.

  • My son's lunchbag's strap ripped... again.  I've already fixed it twice.  I gave him one of his older brother's old lunchbag as a replacement and I will endeavor to fix this one again (he likes it and it's larger) tomorrow. 

  • I harvested the head of Romaine lettuce that had been growing for a while... it was more like the Tower of Romaine!  It was well over 2 feet tall but the leaves were nice and crisp. I used some in the taco salad tonight and kept the rest of make a nice green salad for lunch tomorrow.

  • So dinner was taco salad. I used a package of Gold'n Plump ground chicken (free from Target, back in February), some homemade taco seasoning, half a bag of tortilla chips ($1.19 for the whole bag at Aldi) and some broken chips from another bag, a small packet of Wholly Guacamole that I had frozen (about $0.30 for the packet after coupons at Winn Dixie, a couple of years ago), lettuce from the garden, half a wedge of Sargento cheddar cheese, shredded ($0.69 at Publix for the wedge, after coupons, yesterday), the rest of a jar of salsa and a little bit of light sour cream for Greg and myself ($1.29 for 16 oz at Aldi, we used about 2 tbsp total).  So the whole thing cost about $1.50 at the most, for 4 of us. There weren't any leftovers.  I served strawberries for dessert but the kids didn't want any.

TODAY, WE SPLURGED ON:
  • My daughter decided to buy lunch today, with my approval.


HOWEVER, WE FAILED IN THE FOLLOWING WAYS, BUT LEARNED SOME LESSONS:
  • I just checked my Discover card account and Acehardware.com charged me for the full order that I placed on 4/7 despite the fact that they cancelled 2/3 of my order and I called the store manager to cancel the 3rd third.  I emailed them asking when I can expect to see a full refund of the order since I didn't pick up any of the merchandise from that order (the items that I did end up buying, I bought directly from the store, not the website). I was under the impression that they didn't charge your credit card until you actually picked up the merchandise... big mistake, I guess.  UPDATE:  Boy, is my face red... AceHardware.com Customer Service replied that it was a "pending charge" that would fall off the account once the order wasn't picked up in the proper delays. I checked again and they're right.  Phew and oops. So I guess it wasn't a failure after all... I'm too lazy to move it though.

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

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