Sunday, April 19, 2015

Today's Frugal Failures and Successes: Sunday 4/19/15

  • The birds' chirping woke me up at 7:30 a.m. (over the pedestal fan's white noise!) so I figured I would start printing my usual Sunday morning coupons early and get it over with... but the Redplum site tells me Java isn't installed on my PC (it is) and the Target site keeps on telling me to reinstall the Catalina printer, which I did several times. I also uninstalled the older versions, rebooted my computer, etc, etc.... and I keep getting the same message. Arrgh, this is so frustrating.  I'll wait a couple of days to see if those problems resolve themselves because, in my experience, oftentimes it is some kind of problem with the coupon site itself, not my laptop and then suddenly everything prints again. I'm not even going to email them this time since I always end up getting the canned answer about it being a problem on my end, not theirs and that aggravates me even more.

  • Today was the day we had to move the rest of our furniture (and all the crap that I have accumulated!) away from the windows since the installers are coming tomorrow morning.  The big thing was possibly having to take Greg's computer apart. It's a large corner desk that blocks 2 windows.  But I suggested rearranging the furniture in the middle of the room for the next 3 days so we could just move the desk in one piece away from the windows and he agreed. We also took down all the blinds and I figured out where to put my large recumbent exercise bike so it's not in the way.  Not having a garage is sorta annoying but we made it work.  The house, while in total disarray, feels much cleaner, somehow, because a lot of stuff has moved into closets and been piled up in other corners.  We do have too much stuff, but I'm waiting until all the kids are out of the house before getting rid of a lot of those things because until then, you never know what we might need. I hate to have to re-buy something that I used to have but donated it.
My exercise bike usually takes up most of the space here...  now it feels like we have a ballroom
 although it's a pretty small space to begin with!

  • I'll admit that all the problems with the printing of coupons put me in a grumpy mood, but then I remembered that I had an hazelnut-flavored coffee in the fridge waiting for me (I got it for free from Racetrac yesterday). I had already brewed some homemade cinnamon-flavored coffee (actually the coffee I used is too strong and masks the cinnamon) so I turned off the coffee machine and I will use that coffee tomorrow morning.

  • I earned the maximum amount of daily Bing Reward points today.  I'm 72% to my way to that $5 Amazon gift card :)

  • For lunch I grilled a pack of Bar-S hot dogs that I had gotten for free from Walmart.  Our grill is out of propane (I need to remember to go get a refill at some point before hurricane season!) so I just grilled them in my cast iron pan on the stove.

  • Greg announced that he wanted to go to the grocery store to get ice cream so we all went together. I had him stop by Racetrac so I could redeem another survey reward code for a free large hazelnut coffee and he took advantage of that to top off his tank so I got another receipt with a new survey to take.

  • Our next stop was Walgreens so I could get the 9.9 oz bag of crispy M&Ms that was free after Balance Rewards ($2.99 and I got $3.00 back in Balance Rewards).  I also grabbed the Hershey chocolate bar that was the SavingStar freebie of the weekend. Then, at the register, the cashier asked me if I wanted to get a small pack of crispy M&Ms for free and when I said "sure!", wondering how I would do that, he produced a coupon from last week's newspaper insert.  I have the same at home but totally forgot about it (and I didn't bring my coupons with me anyway).  How sweet!  I told him I would fill out the survey and pay him a compliment and he was beaming (it was a young guy).  So all 3 items that I got at Walgreens ended up being free to me! And actually I made $0.10 since the free M&Ms coupon rang up for $2.09 when the bag was actually $1.99. Woohoo!

  • Last, we went to Publix. I found a penny in the parking lot!  However, see the splurges & failures sections for the rest of the story.

  • Back home, with not much rain in sight, I reused rainwater that I had stored in upcycled cat litter jugs to water my bean/squash patch and the potato slips that I planted a few days ago.  

  • My tomato plants (the ones that I started from seed in January) have started producing tomatoes, both Roma and Supersweet 100 (grape tomatoes).

  • The first baby beans have appeared!  I just read in a Mother Nature magazine that you can harvest them when they're very thin (like French beans) so the plants keep on producing more beans. If I wait until the beans are large (like I did in the past), the plants won't produce as much or for as long, so I will try that.

  • I harvested mint from the garden to use in the North African Beef Stew that I made for dinner. It was so easy to make and totally scrumptious.  2 thumbs up for yet another Martha Stewart recipe. What is going on?  Usually her recipes don't turn out for me!

  • I filled out a Eat Smart survey and earned a coupon for a free Eat Smart product. (thanks, Slickdeals!)

  • I found an old Powerade cap under the futon we had to move out of the way earlier today so I entered the code in MyCokeRewards and earned 3 points!  I'm up to 49 points and I just need 1 more to get a coupon for a free 20 oz Minute Maid lemonade for my daughter.

  • Ice cream for Greg and our son.

  • Sooooo... after all my posturing about not wanting to get a new phone and not needing a new phone... I got a new phone.  Greg came in the living room last night announcing that we needed to get our son a new phone because his (a new Alcatel Smartphone that was originally sold as an AT&T GoPhone) was acting up. We've had several problems with that phone since buying it this past January (I got it at Walgreens for about $50).  I got on the phone today and tried to figure out what the problem was... the problem seems to be that since it's an Android and we enabled Gmail and Google calendar on it, Google also installed a bunch of apps that my son will never use and they prove impossible to remove or disable and take so much memory that his phone can't even function as a smartphone.  But in the meantime, we're paying for a smartphone line!  My daughter just bought herself a refurbished iPhone 4 (or 4S, I can't remember which) on eBay for $125 so I figured I would keep my phone but get my son one of those... however, Greg was really pushing for me to get a newer phone and when I checked the seller's feedback, there were a lot of complaints about the phones' condition and operation (he/she sells a lot of phones).  I checked the AT&T website but they wanted wayyyyy too much money for no contract phones (going back to a 2-year agreement would jack up my service by $25 a month or $600 over the next 2 years, that's crazy!).  I remembered that The Frugal Girl said that she had bought her used smartphones from Amazon, so I checked what they offered. By then I had convinced myself that indeed, I "needed" an iPhone 5S since the camera is much better, I could get the apps that I want that won't work on my old phone, etc. So I found a seller that offered a "like new" Iphone 5S for $277.  I emailed him/her a few questions and he was very responsive so after talking it over with Greg, I bought it. I also bought a "like new" Otterbox case from Amazon Warehouse Deals.  I charged the whole thing to Greg's Discover so I could use the $19.62 in Discover Rewards that he had, so the case only cost me $1.85 after tax.  I also elected the No Rush shipping option for the case, which entitled us to another $1 digital credit.  So... I really hope the phone doesn't end up being a dud!  I think I'll have to pay $40 as an activation fee and possibly another $40 to switch my current iPhone 4 to my son's line.  So none of this is cheap, unfortunately but at least our monthly phone bill won't increase.  I told Greg that it should count as my Mother's Day present.  I got my iPhone 4 (albeit new) 5 years ago next month so I hope the "new" phone will last just as long. Now I need to figure out how to transfer all my stuff from my old phone to my new one and wipe it out for my son to use.  I posted lots of questions on the Apple iPhone forum. People are going to think I'm an idiot but I'd rather know how to do this properly from the get-go instead of screwing up something. I don't have iCloud enabled for anything and I keep all my contacts in the phone itself instead of syncing them because I don't want all my Google contacts in there and vice versa so I'm going to have to do a lot more work than the "regular" person to make sure that I don't lose anything inadvertently. Update: someone posted the link to an article that very clearly explains everything I need to do so I feel much better about this whole thing already!

  •  As I was typing the previous paragraph, I suddenly remembered that I should order a couple of extra charging cables too since the old ones won't work with the 5S. I need one for the living room, (comes with the phone), one for the bedroom (I charge my phone while I sleep) and one for my car (for long trips, which I never take anymore but you never know). I found a 3-pack of knock-off brand of cables for just $12.99 on Amazon with great reviews so I placed my order, and used the last $0.69 in Discover Rewards on my own Discover card to lower the price to $12.30 (an original cable is $8.79 per cable on Amazon). Once again I chose the No Rush shipping option and qualified for another $1 digital credit.  We're going to need to rent a movie on Amazon soon in order to use up those credits! I'll give the extra cable to Greg so he can have a charging cable in our bedroom as well, or maybe keep it at work.

  • Dang it! Shopping on a different day than Wednesday for the past couple of weeks has totally messed me up.  While typing my weekly dinner menu post this morning, I realized that I didn't buy several items that I needed for dinners later on in the week... and I'm already done shopping for the week!  Yikes.  I was going to rework my menus today but since I'll have workers in the house tomorrow and I'll be confined to the kitchen anyway (pretty much the only room where windows won't be installed!), I'll just rework them tomorrow and post the menu tomorrow.

  • We could have gotten Edy's ice cream on BOGO for $5.99 at Publix but it was a lot of ice cream and my freezer are absolutely FULL :(  So they got 2 pints of Ben & Jerry's ice cream at full price (since they could each eat a pint right away) and that cost us... $10.26!  Gulp. So now I'm definitely over budget for the week.  But my men are worth it!
Did you have any frugal successes or failures today? Please do tell!

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