Sunday, April 26, 2015

Today's Frugal Failures and Successes: Sunday 4/26/15



HAPPENINGS AROUND HERE TODAY:
  • Grumble... I had a bad night (again! probably pre-menopausal, middle-age sleep disruptions stink really big time!), woke up at 6 a.m. because one of the cats decided to "redecorate the litterbox" (this is what I call it when they decide to scratch the inside walls of the covered litterbox after they poop) and now (9:00 a.m.) the weather looks gloomy. Good morning to you too!

  • It poured on the main highway as I was coming home from shopping, but there was no trace of water in our backyard bins despite Greg telling me that it rained "some" at our house too. I think the demarcation line was right over our house since it rained in the front of the house :(

  • Holy shit!  I was in the living room with Greg this afternoon at about 3:30 p.m. when he exclaimed "A big branch!  The biggest one yet!"... I looked back, wondering what he was talking about... and a HUGE branch had broken off the tree overlooking his shed and fallen right in front of it... I didn't hear anything so obviously the new windows are blocking the sound very well.  That's the good news.  The other good news is that I was standing in the spot where the branch fell just 48 hours earlier because that's where I re-painted the desk.  Also, Greg was there a lot yesterday afternoon as he was working on painting the outside of the wall, staging his paint supplies, etc. on his "workbench" which consisted of plank laid across 2 plastic saw horses.  I had given him the saw horses for a Christmas present several years ago.  One of them is completely shattered.  We had to move the branch away from the door of the shed so he could get the chainsaw, but even with the 2 of us we had a hard time budging it.  We would have been killed for sure if we had been standing there...  The tree isn't ours, it's actually on a 10-ft city easement but our city told our neighbors that they had reverted the easement to the bordering landowners years ago (news to us, we were never told anything, our survey from when we purchased the house shows the 10-ft easement and I'm positive that the elderly neighbor who lives in the back of us doesn't think it belongs to her either.  Regardless, the city hasn't done any maintenance on the easement since before we moved in (13 years ago). Thankfully, the easement on our side is mostly cleared off, because we paid to have several trees that were threatening to fall removed since we had 6 little kids running around in the yard quite a lot at the time and we didn't have the time or energy to fight with City Hall.  But our neighbor's and their next-door neighbor's share of the easement are totally overgrown with large trees that will present a danger to the houses around them at some point.  I don't think any of them would reach our house but certainly our shed.  I might call City Hall and see if I can talk to the Director of Public Works (not sure if it's still the same one we talked to many years ago) about getting that tree removed, though. The woodpecker has been on it and several other branches were actually worrying me.  We totally didn't have the one that did fall on our radar, though!


FRUGAL SUCCESSES:
  • I enjoyed the free flavored coffee that I got from Racetrac yesterday.

  • I was able to print coupons without any problems this morning! Woohoo!  All of the sites worked. So glad I found the fix for Chrome. I printed coupons from Coupons.com (via Swagbucks, don't forget you get 10 SB per redeemed coupon although it takes a long time to get the credit), Target, Smartsource, Redplum, Coupons.com again but via the CVS website (for CVS-branded coupons), and uploaded digital coupons to my Publix (there is a $1.00 off 3lbs of Macintosh apples coupon!) and Walgreens digital wallets.  I always mark a little "SB" in pencil at the top right corner of the coupons I print via Swagbucks so when I try to decide which manufacturer coupon to use between two of the same value (sometimes the same coupons will be able to be printed from say the Target site and also Coupons.com), I know which one will earn me this little extra bit. It takes no time at all to do that.  Also, as I load digital coupons to my digital wallets, I capture a screen shot of each coupon before clipping it and copy and paste it to a Powerpoint document. (since I have OneNote installed on my laptop, I'm able to do Windows Key+S to select area to copy and clip). Then I print the Powerpoint document and I have little printouts of the digital coupons.  This really helps me because I'm visual and not seeing what coupons I have (or having to look them up on an app) really irritates me.  I have more than 100 clipped coupons in my Publix wallet so it's easy to lose track of them.  I usually use clipped coupons but I do upload the digital ones too because sometimes there is a hiccup in the system (more likely the cashier makes a mistake and inputs a coupon as a competitor or store coupon) and the register ends up deducting the digital coupon on top of my having redeemed a paper coupon.  I file those with my regular coupons but since the printouts are much smaller, I know not to hand them to the cashier. I keep them in hand and so it's then easy to make sure that they get deducted by checking the screen against my printouts before I pay the cashier. I make it sound like I'm holding up the line by doing this, but I rarely use the digital coupons, actually (since I mostly buy BOGO items at Publix and only Kraft releases multiple digital coupons for the same items but Kraft products are mostly overpriced anyway, even on BOGO compared to just buying similar items at Aldi) so I really don't. I'm a very conscientious couponer and I arrange my coupons to actually make it easier for the cashier and speed up the line.

  • I took the Racetrac survey on the receipt that I got for gassing up Greg's truck on Thursday and earned a reward code for a free any size coffee.

  • I added a couple of Target Cartwheel offers to My Cartwheel since I was taking my son shopping for clothes at Target (Mossimo Men's Tshirts, 15% off).

  • We were already out of the door when I realized that I hadn't eaten breakfast.  I ran back into the house and grabbed a banana to eat in the car so I wouldn't be tempted to buy any fast food.  Later on, I was tempted to throw the banana peel away so it wouldn't stink up the car while we were shopping, but I decided to keep it, after all, so I could compost it back home. My beans have really loved the compost in their soil!

  • Drove to Target with my son and found what he needed without having to go to Kohl's.  In the end, only having to go to one store stomped any desire to go to Kohl's to see if I could get better deals with the 30% off discount.   I couldn't find any shorts for me so I was tempted to drive to Walmart because I also wanted to get a pair of black ballet flats and I've gotten them there for $5 to $7.99 in the past and also found the women's cargo shorts that I prefer to buy, but the thought of being at Walmart with the rest of the world on a Sunday at lunchtime actually killed any impetus to go.  I might go on Wednesday morning when I'm by myself. I found a bra at Target but I'm not sure it'll work out.  I'm supposed to mail my receipt for a Purex rebate but I think I'll hold off on that to make sure that I don't need to return the bra. I did buy new undies for me, which qualified for a 10% Cartwheel discount.

  • While at Target, I shopped for a few grocery and cleaning items I was planning on buying on Wednesday.  I looked at the Purina cat litter to see if there were any deals since I missed the free deal last week, and lo and behold they're priced at $9.99 with a $10 Target gift card offer if you buy two. I still had the $10.00/2 manufacturer coupons and the $1.00/1 Target store coupons too!  So I got 2 boxes (since my Target only lets you use 1 Target coupon per person, as per the wording on the coupon).  I should have gone back after we checked out and gotten 2 more but I didn't think of it until I was already down the road. Oh well.

  • The food clearance shelf had Duncan Hines Milk Chocolate Brownie Mix on it. Upon looking at the sticker, though, it showed the clearance price being $3.00 a box with the full price being $6.00.  Whaaaaat? There were quite a few boxes and they were all labeled as such.  I stopped an employee walking by and asked him if he could check the pricing for me.  It ended up ringing for $1.26 but I didn't buy any because I didn't have any coupons for it anyway (I thought I did). I don't think they'll be selling a lot of those if they don't change the stickers, though!  It goes to show you, though, that just because something has a clearance sticker on it, it doesn't mean it's a great value.  Publix's clearance prices, in particular, are usually laughable.  It's rare that I see anything on clearance for more than 15% off!

  • I also checked the Gold'n Plump chicken section since I had (2) $1.50/1 coupons that expired today.  None looked like they had Target reduction stickers on them and it looked like they were out of the ground chicken (typically the cheapest item aside from drumsticks but I already have plenty of drumsticks in the freezer).  However, I bent down to look way at the back of the shelf and there were packages left out of sight. And when I pulled them out, they had $1.00/1 Target reduction coupons on them!

  • I checked my receipt before leaving the store and they had overcharged me for the Gold'n Plump ground chicken: $3.99 for the full price instead of $3.59 indicated on the shelf. I ran back into the store to take a picture of the shelf price and brought my receipt and the picture to Guest Services to get a $0.80 refund. So after all coupons, I paid $1.09 for each 16-oz package of ground chicken, which isn't bad.


  • On the way home we stopped by Racetrac to get free refills on the kids' Sodapalooza cups (we had brought my daughter's cup along so we could get her a drink too) and so that I could redeem the survey reward code for a free large flavored coffee that I earned this morning. At the register, the cashier told me that frozen drinks (what my son had filled his cup with) were NOT included in the Sodapalooza offer. Of course, I had already tripled checked that they were (or we wouldn't have bought a cup for him as he doesn't drink sodas, usually) so I brought up the Racetrac Insider email on my phone that spelled out that they were.  The cashier said he would email corporate since they didn't program the registers with a button letting them count the numbers of free frozen drinks.  Somehow, though, the kids have been getting free frozen drinks at that same gas station since Wednesday... I'll forward the email to the kids so they can bring it up on their phones, should they have the same problem in the future.

  • Even though my son and I were out at lunchtime, we didn't buy lunch. We ate sandwiches when we got home.

  • I had him go through all his clothes and put the ones that no longer fit aside. He brought me a huge pile!  I'll be stuffing some in the bags Schoola sent me and mailing them back.  First all, they're paying for the shipping and even though I won't be using them anymore to buy any clothing (I had too many problems), if it can raise money for our middle school, the better.  I'll donate the rest to the South Lake Animal League Thrift Store.

  • After lunch I harvested a bunch of green beans!  Dinner tonight is chicken meatloaf and mashed potatoes so I will steam the green beans that I have harvested so far too. It all goes well together :)


  • A couple of hours later, I was out cutting off dead stalks off the squash plants when I realized that either more beans had grown or I had totally missed a whole bunch that were ready to be harvested!  I love harvesting beans, it's like going on an Easter egg hunt. However, the beans don't love me... the plants have started giving me a rash on the inside of my arms, every time I brush against the leaves!

  • I also harvested 11 new jalapeƱos!  The plant is still growing babies but no more flowers have appeared so I think it might have reached its peak. Thankfully, one of the 2 or 3 that I planted from seed in January started flowering this week!

  • I watched more episodes of "Elementary" from the DVDs I got from the library. That show annoys me because I can't understand Johnny Lee Miller's or Aidan Quinn's mutterings so I have to turn the captions on and I can't do anything else while it's on or I lose track of the plots.  Second, I don't think Johnny Lee Miller is a good actor, the Watson character is stupid and the scripts aren't any good. Why do I watch it? Several online commenters have rated it higher than "Sherlock" so I want to know why. Maybe it's a show that becomes better as it goes. So I'll watch a few more episodes to see if I change my mind. After all, both "The Wire" and "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" didn't grab me at first but I grew to love them shortly after.

  • I took the survey on the Subway receipt from Wednesday night and earned a code for a free cookie.
  • I tried to take the survey on my Burger King receipt from Thursday night but the receipt doesn't have a store number or survey code (as in it printed "Survey Code" but the field was left blank) so I emailed Corporate to let them know.

  • I had one of the package of raspberries from Target for snack and took the survey from the package. I earned (2) more $1.00/1 printable coupons.


WE SPLURGED ON:
  • Clothes for my son. We could have gone to Goodwill but he's at the age when he minds a lot more so we bought new clothing but at Target.  I spent about $136 after tax and discounts for 1 pair of jeans, 2 pair of cargo pants (on sale for $2 off each), 4 T-shirts (2 of them qualified for a 15% Cartwheel discount), 1 pair of PJ pants and 1 pack of undies.   He wears men sizes now so everything is about twice the price than it used to be a year ago!


HOWEVER, WE FAILED IN THE FOLLOWING WAYS, BUT LEARNED SOME LESSONS:
  • I hate it when stores have 2 entrance and put sale items at one entrance but not at the other and not in that particular product's department either.  I had Driscoll's coupons for $1.00/1 but didn't see any Driscoll's strawberries in the produce section so I decided to buy (2) 6-oz containers of raspberries $2.49 each (minus 5% Cartwheel so $2.36 each which made each container $1.36 after the coupons). However, when I ran back into the store to check on the ground chicken price, I used the other entrance and there was a display of Driscoll's strawberries and the 2-lb containers were on sale for $4.29!  So I could have gotten 2 lbs of strawberries for $3.07 after Cartwheel and coupons, which would have been a much better use of those $1.00 off coupons and would have lasted me much longer than 12 oz of raspberries.  Grrr.

  • Looking over my Target receipt one more time at home, I realized that despite scanning my digital coupon for the Seventh Generation dish soap on my phone, the register didn't deduct it.  Grrr. I wouldn't have bought it for the $1.99 that I ended up paying for it so I will return on Wednesday (the last day of the coupon still being valid) with my phone and my receipt so I can get the $1.00 back... Even though I did look at my receipt before leaving the store, I missed this mistake.  Target's retarded way of accounting for coupons on their receipts encourages that kind of oversight, IMO.  Their accounting system must really be dysfunctional, judging by their inane receipts. Also, this means that not only did they overcharge me for the ground chicken, but their own coupon wasn't deducted and also now I'm wondering if I didn't get the wrong raspberries. I didn't take a picture of the sign but I *think* the organic Driscoll's raspberries were marked down at $1.99 and I grabbed 2 packages under the sign. But looking at my receipt, I was charged $2.49 (before discounts and coupon) for each pack of raspberries and those aren't organic raspberries either... and let's not forget the $6.00 brownie mix boxes!  Target is a mess.  I think I WILL take the survey on the receipt today.

  • I never did cook the green collard and cabbage leaves that I had harvested and left in some water on the countertop and I had to compost them :(

  • Dinner was Chicken Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes and Steamed Green Beans. The meatloaf was made with one of the packages of ground chicken I bought today (about $1.00), homemade bread crumbs, sliced mushrooms ($0.79/package from Aldi last week but I only used 5 mushrooms), frozen diced onions, green peppers, and celery (bought fresh on sale from Aldi and frozen - I meant to use the green pepper I harvested earlier this week but I forgot to!), some spoiled milk, and 2 eggs.  I also used spoiled milk in the homemade mashed potatoes ($1.99 for 8 lbs at Save A Lot last week) but the butter and gravy masked the taste.  Green beans were from the garden. Gravy was a little bit of left over beef gravy from earlier this week and a new jar of turkey gravy (bought on sale before Thanksgiving).

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

1 comment:

  1. Those pictures of the broken tree limb were scary! So glad you and your husband weren't out there when it happened! If it's dropping limbs and there hasn't been any huge wind issues, maybe the tree is diseased. I think you are on the right track about calling the city to see what's what. That's way too big a hazard to ignore!!

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