Monday, April 20, 2015

Today's Frugal Failures and Successes: Monday 4/20/15



HAPPENINGS AROUND HERE TODAY:
  • Happy Monday!  I tossed and turned all night and felt like I barely got any sleep. I think it was the anxiety over having people all over my house for the next 3 days. Isn't that awful?! I wish Greg would work from home for the next 3 days but he needs peace and quiet to do his work voodoo so he's going in to the office. As for me I'm consigned to the kitchen. Maybe I'll bake something!

  • I'm craving (Wild) Blueberry & Croissant French Toast Casserole at noon and it's all Hannah's (Eat, Drink and Save Money) fault. Aldi sells croissants.  They're not the best but they're acceptable, Publix sells delicious croissants.  There are blueberry farms around my house and they're open for business right now. Arrgh. Bu-bye, diet!

  • The window installers installed 7 windows today (one of their installers didn't show up so they weren't as productive as they had hoped).  They'll be back tomorrow before 8 a.m.  They did install the window in our spare bedroom first so I was able to release the cats from their carriers into that room for the rest of the day.  The new windows look very very nice, it's like living in a newer home (until I see the tiny closets and the old bathrooms and kitchen and I'm brought down to reality!).


FRUGAL SUCCESSES:
  • My daughter drove herself to school, saving me time and money (1 fewer roundtrip).  She also packed some leftovers for her lunch since her dad took her to Olive Garden for dinner last night.

  • I packed leftovers for Greg to take to work.

  • SavingStar deposited $1.19 in my account for this weekend's freebie.

  • I'm supposed to make Reubens and mashed potatoes for dinner tonight (we'll see how this plan works out...) so I defrosted the corned beef that I had bought several weeks before St Patrick's day. At the time I am been dismayed to find out that what I *thought* was a good deal on the corned beef was about double what other bloggers paid in the rest of the country (i.e. probably up North) but I never did see better prices on it afterwards and even after St. Patrick's Day, when stores should have been getting rid of their supposed overstock, I didn't come across any clearances.  Anyhoo. Looking at the recipe, I realized that I would need chicken stock/broth and I was completely out of the homemade stock so I decided to make a big pot of it.   I've been composting my veggie scraps so I ended up looking up The Frugal Girl's instructions to see how she does it.  The browning part is too much work and I honestly don't care about how my broth/stock will look as I'm freezing it and it goes into stews and soups anyway.  So I took all the chicken bones that I had been saving in the freezer as well as the turkey neck from last Thanksgiving's turkey, covered them with water, and plopped 2 big handfuls of frozen diced onion as well as 4 big bay leaves and some home-harvested thyme in the pot. I don't add salt because my recipes usually already have salt in them and I try to be more conscious of how much sodium we're consuming. I harvested some cabbage from my garden and defrosted the rest of the rye bread that I had gotten on clearance.  I looked up a recipe for Russian dressing and I'll be making some of that later on today.

  • I prepped 1/2 a recipe of rye bread dough (from "Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day", for a whole recipe just replace 1 cup of unbleached flour with 1 cup of rye flour and add 1.5 tbsp of caraway seeds).  It's my first time making rye bread and, stupid me, I thought the rye flour would smell like rye bread. What a letdown.  Obviously (although not to me!) the caraway seeds are what give the rye bread its distinctive smell and flavor (I guess).  I had never used caraway seeds either... I bought those (Badia brand, so cheap!) and Arrowmills organic rye flour 2-3 years ago when I was in the middle of a "let's eat organic!" kick. (I've gone back to non-organic foods for the most part since then because organic down here is very very expensive. Articles usually state that organic food is 35 to 45% more expensive than non-organic but try 200 to 300%, people! It's just not worth the cost, IMO.  I do buy organic apple juice for the kids and I made them wash their fruit carefully but I saw my dietician, healthnut of a mother die of pancreatic cancer (as in I was the one there taking care of her 24/7 for the last 2 weeks of her life and arguing with French Hospice to up her dosage of morphine) and I can tell you that in the end, it doesn't seem to matter whether what you eat is organic or not, when it's your time to go, you go.). Obviously other people will have other opinions and that's fine. Mine is based on my own experience and I'm not here to convince anyone NOT to buy organic foods if they want to (and can afford them!):)

  • I reused water left in a couple of cups after last night's dinner to water my indoor rose cuttings and basil plant.

  • I did 2 extra large loads of laundry on cold/cold, using vinegar as softener and cheap laundry detergent. I didn't want to hang my undies outside with the window installers being all over the place, so I hung them (along with socks. exercise and polyester clothing, and cleaning cloths/cloth napkins) on the racks that I left in the laundry room. I used the dryer on the Auto Moisture Sensing setting for the cotton clothing and bath towels.


  • For my morning coffee I used the free large hazelnut-flavored coffee that I got from Racetrac yesterday afternoon. Then I remembered that I had brewed coffee yesterday morning but left un-drunk so I drank that one too.  I'll be running on coffee today since I barely slept last night!

  • I had leftover North African Beef Stew from last night's dinner for lunch. I also used the last of the Romaine lettuce that I had harvested over a week ago to make a salad with some grape tomatoes and croutons. I topped it with some homemade salad dressing.

  • I looked through my freezer and realized that I could make meatballs subs for one of the nights when I had planned to cook something else but neglected to actually buy that "something else" and the other night didn't need to be planned since the kids and I have to drive to UCF to attend my oldest son's Junior recital in the evening. We'll grab something from McDonald's (big splurge, but we haven't eaten out all month so far) and Greg will have leftovers or use a can of soup and a sandwich.

  • I made a list of the deals that I might be interested in at Publix from 4/23 through 4/29, thanks to IHeartPublix's preview of the ad with coupon match-ups.

  • I baked a lot of regular bread and a loaf of rye bread.

  • I earned 100 KFR points by entering bonus code SOMANYFREEPOINTS in my Kelloggs' Family Rewards account.

  • I earned my maximum daily allotment of Bing Rewards, bringing my account up to 414 credit (78% of my goal).

  • It rained a little and then stopped. I went to check on my garden and realized that the tomatoes' self -watering bins were almost empty, already!  I guess 4 large tomato plants per bin means I have to fill them out once a week.  The other bins weren't nearly as empty!  After I spent 30 minutes doing that, it started pouring and it's been pouring for pretty much 2 hours :)

  • I harvested a small cauliflower head for dinner, a green pepper, 2 large green onions that were flowering (I'm drying the flower to collect the seeds), 7 large green jalapeƱos and a small red one.

  • I made corned beef for dinner for reuben sandwiches. I made my own Russian dressing, used the cabbage from the garden and used the homemade  rye bread.  I also made mashed potatoes with the rest of the sprouted potatoes. I really really liked dinner. Greg thought it was "OK" (after all that work!) and the kids were split between "good" and "OK."

  • I filled out my Pinchme feedback on the samples of Gevalia and PureVia that I received last week and unlocked another sample "reward"... so I reordered another sample of PureVia. It takes a long time to get here but it's my favorite sweetener and the sample comes with a $1/1 coupon too :) (The link to Pinchme is a referral link)


WE SPLURGED ON:
  • Windows! I'm not sure when the credit card will get charged for the balance (probably later on this week once the installation is completed) and it will be a woozy. But not a failure. Well, I hope it won't be!

  • My son bought lunch from school today (we let him buy lunch once a week).

  • I offered to get my daughter a Sodapalooza cup from Racetrac if she's interested because she's been buying individual drinks anyway.  We will be gone for a whole month during the promotion period but if she gets at least 7-8 refills, it'll be cheaper than buying the individual drinks. Now that I see that it includes frozen drinks, I might get one for my son too.


HOWEVER, WE FAILED IN THE FOLLOWING WAYS, BUT LEARNED SOME LESSONS:
  • This isn't MY fail but I think it's a fail that will prevent me from getting freebies: The SavingStar freebie program is changing and I don't think it's for the best... for me.  I rarely redeem SavingStar offers unless it's for cereal or the freebies because I just don't buy the products they're promoting anymore.  So if you need to be a power user every month to get the freebies before everyone else and now there's a limit on how many freebies they're handing out, I'll probably never get them since I (for the most part) only shop on Wednesdays.  The timing would have to be right and it looks like it'll be a race just like with Snap to get the rebate before it's "all gone," Meh.

  • As I was starting to cook dinner, I realized that I didn't have enough light mayo to make the Russian dressing.  Argh. I had put some in my cart at Publix a couple of weeks ago but had decided that it was too expensive so I would get some at Aldi instead. Only... I forgot!  So I ran first to Family Dollar (down the street) but they only had the large jars of regular mayo for $4. Sigh. So I drove to Publix and picked up a 12 oz bottle of Kraft Olive Oil Mayo. I had a digital coupon for it so it cost me $1.49 but more than that in gas, probably.


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

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