Saturday, May 2, 2015

Today's Frugal Failures and Successes: Saturday, 5/2/15



HAPPENINGS AROUND HERE TODAY:
  • We had a cool (as in colder, it got into the 50s!) night last night so I opened the windows this morning and took my coffee on the back porch. It was 63 as of 8:51 a.m. with a light breeze so I put on a sweater. A sweater!  In Florida!  In May!

FRUGAL SUCCESSES:
  • I harvested a big handful of beans.  Yay for fresh green beans!  I need to cook all the beans I harvested this week and the kale I rescued from the library gala last night :)

  • I did 2 loads of laundry and hung the usual (undies/socks/polyester clothing/washing cloths/cloth napkins) on racks that I put outside and used the Auto Moisture Sensing setting on the dryer for the cotton clothing.


  • For lunch my son and I had leftover food from last night's library gala.  I made myself a sandwich with a Flatout Artisan bread (free from Publix) and some cubed lunch meats and cheeses from the platter we took home yesterday (free from the gala) and toasted it to melt the cheese.  Yum!  I also made myself a caprese salad with the grape tomatoes rescued from the gala (free!) and some from my fridge ($0.79 at Aldi last week), some Galbani mozzarella ($2.00 for a 16-oz block a few weeks ago), fresh basil from my garden and EVOO and Balsamic vinegar from Aldi.  Dessert was the baggie of orange M&M's that we rescued from the gala last night (free!).

  • Target texted me some new digital coupons.

  • My oldest son was given audio recordings of his recital performance from last week and shared them with me on Dropbox so I didn't have to buy them!  Woohoo, I'll be adding those to my jazz playlist on my phone. My only regret is that I didn't videotape it so I could put the videos on Youtube for my French family, but they'll enjoy the recordings as well.

  • I earned my daily credits on Bing Rewards.  I should do some Swagbucks surveys but I don't really feel like spending the time on that right now.

  • I needed to return a book to the library today because it's due on Monday and it's not renewable but I'll be in Tallahassee on Monday. I had told my son that I'd go this afternoon so he could come along to get a free Sodapalooza refill at the same time.  But then I remembered that I have to pick up my daughter from her dad's tonight so I decided to return the book during the same trip and told my son he'd have to walk to Racetrac if he wanted a refill sooner.  Update: my daughter texted me to say that her dad would drop her off after all.  I still needed to go to the library, though, so my son and I drove and got him a free refill at Racetrac.  I had forgotten to bring my coupons with me (for shame!) so I couldn't get a free coffee but I did gas up the car for the trip to Tallahassee tomorrow and got a receipt with a survey to earn another free coffee. I noticed that the survey is good through June 30th, now so I guess free coffee for a while!


  • Our last stop was the library. I thought they closed at 2 p.m. on Saturday but they were still open (it was 2:55 p.m., I guess they close at 3 p.m. on Saturdays now) so I was able to return my book and pick up Season 2 of Elementary, which had been waiting for me for a couple of days. I will take it with me to Tallahassee so I can watch it on my laptop while my daughter does something else.  

  • Winn Dixie mailed me a $5/$50 coupon for wine and spirits.  I will stack this with the 10% off discount for buying (4) bottles of spirits at the same time (750 ml) and will stock up on whiskey for Greg.  I talked about why I don't account for alcohol purchases with my food & beverages expenses and this is why...  it would completely derail my reporting because some weeks/months I would be WAY over because I bought 4 bottles of whiskey!  The good news is that the flyer indicates that they match all local competitors, which is something that I didn't know. There is a Publix which is too far away from my house for me to shop there, but that is still in Clermont, and that sells liquor and I get their flyer with the free local newspaper in the mail every week. I usually just recycle it but I'll be keeping an eye on it from now on.


  • Staples texted me an offer to get 40% back in Staples Rewards in store only and today only but I don't really need anything and I didn't feel like driving to Clermont after my daughter told me her dad would drop her off.  Oh well, can't take advantage of ALL of the deals, all the time!


  • The folks at the library gala last night gave us 6 small snack baggies to put the M&Ms in so today I put the M&Ms in a bowl and put the baggies with the ones we already have at home so we can reuse them.

  • I forgot to mention, yesterday, that after I planted the nectarine trees, I upcycled the large plastic pots that they came with.  I will be replanting some pineapple tops, since I have a few that are on pots too small of them right now.

  • My 50-cent Lowe's clearance salvia plant is doing great and had been looking very pretty on my back patio table.  I didn't even bother repotting it. I reused the top of a take-out sushi tray from Publix as a watering tray.

  • I took the survey on my Racetrac receipt and earned a reward code for a free any size coffee.


  • I signed up for the Advanced Auto Parts Speed Perks loyalty program because, why not?  You only earn perks when you spend at least $30 in one transaction, but that's not unusual when you buy car parts. We don't buy those very often but we sometimes need a new battery or accessory so we might as well earn some rewards.

  • I took the survey on the Ruby Tuesday receipt and earned a code for "Buy 1, Get 50% off".  I'm supposed to meet my oldest son for lunch within the next couple of weeks so this is just in case we end up eating at a Ruby Tuesday.

  • Gotta love the internet. I coudn't figure out why the Reminders app wasn't working on my new phone and I found the answer (and was able to make it work) thanks to a post on a forum on some techie website.  Whatever did we do before we had the internet?!

  • Dinner was that garlic chicken and pasta dish that I had planned on cooking. I cooked the kale that I rescued from the deli meat and cheese platters at the gala last night, with some bacon fat that I had been keeping in the fridge. Yum.  The chicken dish called for chicken broth so I used homemade chicken stock. It was very good and we have some pasta left over for tomorrow's lunch.

WE SPLURGED ON:
  • Well, I tried to splurge by buying myself a pair of shorts on Kohl's website with the mystery code that they emailed me but the website just didn't want to work for me this morning so I gave up. Update: It's just as well because I was able to log back in the afternoon and the code ends up being just 20% off (I was hoping for 40% off) so I decided not to get the shorts. I do have a 30% off code too but knowing that I could have gotten them for 40% off sours the whole thing for me.

  • So in exchange, I did splurge by transferring some money to my daughter's account so she could buy watercolor pencils at Michael's today. She will be using the 60% off Joann's coupon that I sent her yesterday :)  Update: Michael's refused to take the coupon but told her they had a 50% off coupon. I told her to keep the receipt so I can stop by on Wednesday and question why they don't accept that coupon... last time they told us they didn't accept competitor coupons off the whole purchase kind, but they took those off 1 item. Now they're telling her they accept all coupons BUT the 60% off coupon. I think someone is trying to take advantage of a teen...

HOWEVER, WE FAILED IN THE FOLLOWING WAYS, BUT LEARNED SOME LESSONS:
  • Aie, aie, aie.  I looked at our cell phone bill today and I made an ass of myself by making assumptions. I usually am very careful with those things so I don't understand how I missed that but: when Greg went to Canada for his business trip in March, I signed him up for an AT&T passport plan since his iPhone is a personal phone (his company said he didn't need a company phone anymore, although they're more than happy to make him take and make business calls on his personal phone, grrr.).  Based on my experience with traveling to France with an iPhone back in 2013, I assumed that the plan was still the same, i.e. that it included 30 minutes of talk.  Well, no. What it did include, aside from a paltry 300MB of data and unlimited texting (and he only used 16  MB of it, I think!), was a special rate of $1.00 per minute.  So he called me several times from the road because we thought it was included in the plan.  I had a big hiccup today when I realized that our bill included $58 on top of the cost of the plan itself ($30).  This was dumb of me but it's really horrible of AT&T and it makes me nervous for our trip to France.  The plan is to NOT use the phone to make calls at all while I'm there (just use texting and wifi when we're at my relatives).  I also need to figure out how to make sure my son not only can't make calls from his iPhone but also doesn't get charged for roaming. (my daughter is on her dad's plan with T-Mobile).  Arrgh.  While I was doing that, I noticed that we (i.e. Greg since he was traveling this week) have already consumed 1/3 of our data for our billing period although it's been only a week.  We only have a 300MB plan and the 1G plan is only $5 more a month so I upgraded us to the 1G plan since I'll be traveling for 2 days and who knows what else could be happening this month.  Ugh.  I love being able to connect, send picture texts, use my rebate apps, etc  but I really really HATE this cell phone bill. We have 4 lines on it (the home phone is on there because I refuse to get rid of it for my own sanity) and we spend about $160-$180 a month.  That is INSANE considering that usually our data usage is well below 300MB a month!
Did you have any frugal successes or failures today? Please do tell!

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