Saturday, April 11, 2015

Today's Frugal Failures and Successes: Saturday 5/11/15



HAPPENINGS AROUND HERE TODAY:
  • Restless night again last night, arrgh.  It's hot and humid and not helping me sleep well. Still, I lollygagged in bed until 9 a.m., which is unusually late for me.  I must have slept more than I realized.

  • My oldest son is featured in a promotional video put together by the UCF Arts Department to advertise a new Festival at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Arts this week, featuring UCF Performing Arts students.  I was so thrilled to see and hear him in the video. He sounds so grown up, turning 21 net week. Mothers, hug your kids and make sure you create tons of memories with (and for) them when they're still at home because they grow up so fast. I know it's a cliché but it's so very true.  And once they live the nest, nothing is ever the same. Anyway, he's growing into a lovely (and talented!) adult and I'm proud and excited for him. I forwarded the video to our family in France and my best friend and everyone loved it.  I won't go to the Festival but I will be attending his recital a couple of weeks from now.

FRUGAL SUCCESSES:
  • It wasn't rainy this morning so Greg did some more painting on the outside of the house. He started painting it over a year ago. It's slow progress because we have a large house and it's old so he scrapes a lot of paint, replaces rotten wood as he goes... and also because, much like me, he hates painting so he does it but reluctantly. He's saving us money in the process, though, so we both like that. Plus, despite his dislike of painting, he gets a lot of satisfaction doing things himself.

  • I, on the other hand, decided to enjoy the nice weather while it was still there and I brought my coffee and laptop outside on the back patio.  I have a sinkful of dishes to do (I gave my daughter the night off yesterday) but I'll do them once I have to go back indoors. We have plenty of clean dishes too.

  • My daughter borrowed my car to go volunteer at a local ranch. She'll likely spend the whole day there and they'll feed her lunch. She did bring her own snacks.

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

  • I researched options for fixing our toilet tank cover that I broke. Suggestions were porcelain adhesive (but apparently it's only a temporary solution until a replacement cover is found), replacing the cover with a new one found at a salvage yard (I don't know and couldn't find any salvage yards near us), or getting a replacement from Lowe's or Home Depot. They do sell them, but not in stores, only online, and they seem to only sell specific models. Our toilet is old so I'm not even sure if I could find a replacement.  Old online bulletin board posts from 2003 suggested Home Depot sold generic plastic toilet tank tops but I couldn't find any on their website. I did find one on Amazon for just $16.30 with Prime shipping but Greg wants to try fxing our old one first because he says a plastic cover will probably result in a louder toilet and the toilet is against a shared wall with our son's bedroom. We are planning on going to Lowe's later on today (he's coming along so we can use his American Express and get the $10/$50 statement credit since that offer expires on 4/17). I also need to get more edging for the berm, a toilet roll holder thingie, some mini paint roller covers and I'm sure a couple of other things that I have forgotten about.  I put the plastic universal toilet cover on my Amazon wishlist and if the repair doesn't work, I'll order it with my Swagbucks gift cards and Discover Rewards.

  • I heard back from my dad via email (I had tried calling him yesterday to make sure he was OK) and he's still making plans for our visit this summer, suggesting the kids bring their bathing suits so he can take them sailing (he has a boat and lives near a large lake in the Alps) and they can also try windsurfing since he has a couple of boards. I think those are the same boards my brothers and I used when we were teens!  It'll be nice and frugal entertainment for us since he owns all the material and has a membership to a sailing club on the lake, giving us access to their private beach.  It'll also be new experiences for the kids, which is always nice.  Mind you, we live in LAKE county here in Florida and we have plenty of lakes so if they discover a passion for water sports, it won't be that hard for them to continue over here... provided that we get the equipment, of course. 

  • I reused water left in my cup from last night's dinner to water my indoor basil plant.

  • I earned another 26 Bing Rewards today, very easily. I'm up to 137 credits, or 29% of my way towards a $5 Amazon gift card.

  • I found an old penny on our back porch!  It probably fell off Greg's pocket as he was tying his boots yesterday, but I was still thrilled to "find" free money, lol.

  • There is a 60% chance of rain in our forecast for tonight at 6 p.m. but I don't trust the weather app anymore... I watered the fruit trees with the hose (placing one of leaky connections at the base of the plum tree so the water isn't wasted and the plum tree gets its share of water and the other in a large bin to collect the water for later use. I also made sure that the water leaking at the faucet fell into another bin. Our system isn't perfect but I'm avoiding water waste that way by catching the leaks and reusing the water).

  • We're low on chocolate cupcakes for snacks so I defrosted half a loaf of chocolate chip banana bread that I had baked. The kids and I will snack on that this afternoon. I might make more cupcakes once I go back indoors since we still have some spoiled milk (I ought to smell it first to make sure it's not too far gone, now, though). I'll have to find another flavor, though, since we're out of baking cocoa.

  • Greg joined me on the back patio for lunch, it was no nice and cozy (if a little hot)!  I made him a sandwich and I made myself some tuna salad with a pouch of Thai-style tuna that I had gotten for free at Walmart. I ate it on Wasa bread crackers since we were almost out of bread. I also ate the last small baked potato from last night with some of the spinach dip I made earlier this week (still finishing it!) and some grapes.  As we were eating we discussed options for storing my bags of gardening soil and other odds and ends that are now just laying around in the backyard and not looking very pretty. I was thinking about getting one of the deck chest that are supposedly on sale at Aldi this week but Greg insisted that we can build me something... since I don't want it to impede my view of our backyard, we agreed that a good location would be on the south side of the house.  It's as close to the garden as any other location and totally out of my way when I'm on the patio.  I'm actually excited about trying to make our backyard a little less trashy.  Now I need to decide how large I want this structure to be.

  • I baked a loaf of bread. It was delicious for a snack with some Peanut Butter & Co. Dark Chocolate Dreams spread on it.

  • I was able to take a couple of Swagbucks surveys today, so I'm now have over 1500 SB.  My $25 Amazon gift card is in sight!

  • Greg and I went to run errands. Since we took his truck, we filled it up at the Racetrac station in Clermont, where gas is cheaper by 7 cents a gallon compared to the closest station.  I took the survey from the receipt and earned a reward code for a free any size coffee.


  • We went to Lowe's and picked up what we needed for $55.43, which triggered a $10 statement credit on Greg's American Express, allowing us to get the petunias and one of the cans of wasp killers that we bought for free!
  • On the way home, we stopped by Winn Dixie to get the SavingStar freebie of the weekend, as well as 4 more free boxes of Horizon organic graham crackers.  I realized that I still have 2 more unused BOGO coupons for those too... I didn't want to get too many at once, but I should have since the shelf was stocked and now I don't think I need to go back to Clermont before the sale ends on Tuesday.

  • As we were leaving Clermont, I asked Greg if we could stop by Save A Lot so I could see if the grapes were still sold for $0.50/lb.  They weren't but they were at $0.99/lb so I bought some more, along with cocoa baking powder so I could bake more chocolate cupcakes tomorrow and also 2 jars of peanut butter that had been reduced to $0.99. The bad news is that I've already made a bit dent in my grocery shopping budget for next week, buying things that were not going to be on my list (except for the baking cocoa). Oh well, this is why being super frugal these past 2 months helps since I'm still way below in my overall grocery budget.

  • My daughter bought herself a drink and gave me another Coke product bottle cap that earned me another 3 MCR points on MyCokeRewards.

  • Dinner was hamburgers. I served the bag of Alexia Smart Classics fries that I got for free at Publix after store coupon this week, and I made a salad with homegrown Romaine lettuce, and some grape tomatoes and cucumber slices.  I made a new batch of Maille Country Dijon mustard vinaigrette as well.

  • I mixed 1/2 a gallon of water with 1/2 a gallon of whole milk to stretch it.


WE SPLURGED ON:
  • It never did rain but there are storms in the area so a lot of our "over the air" TV channels are all pixilated tonight. This is frustrating because we always look forward to watching "Miranda", a great British comedy, on the Daytona State College Public Broadcasting channel on Saturday nights. Tonight we cannot get that channel at all.  I checked out the line-up for Acorn TV on our Roku (British TV shows) and they do have the first 3 seasons of Miranda.  I had used my 30-day trial back in 2013 but a monthly membership is only $4.99 so Greg and I decided to splurge and sign up for a month in order to get our "Miranda" fix. However, we were thwarted because their website is giving me an error message and not letting me pay for a membership. 

HOWEVER, WE FAILED IN THE FOLLOWING WAYS, BUT LEARNED SOME LESSONS:
  • I rechecked my Discover account since the statement was issued and Acehardware.com, despite their protestations, did charge $11.85 to my account for the roll of landscaping fabric that I had ordered but then cancelled and bought directly from the store for just $4.99.  I forwarded a screenshot of my bill to their Customer Service and asked them to refund it. If they won't, I'll dispute the charge with Discover.  This has not been a great experience with AceHardware.com although it's been fine with the store itself (despite the manager apparently not cancelling my order like she said she would?).  They emailed me back that they have to escalate this to their management for "investigation". Grrr.

  • While we were shopping Greg declared he was starving and wanted to know what I was cooking for dinner. Since tonight was supposed to be a meatless night, I knew he wouldn't be happy so I asked what he felt like.  He wanted hamburgers so while we were at Winn Dixie I bought ground beef and hamburger buns. Unfortunately, the buns were $1.29 ($0.40 more than at Aldi) and the ground beef was $4.69/lb so I ended up buying a 3-lb roll so the price per lb would be lower ($3.83/lb). But the real failure is that after that we ended up stopped by Save A Lot and both the buns and meat were cheaper there than at Winn Dixie. Arrgh.
Did you have any frugal successes or failures today? Please do tell!

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