Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Today's Frugal Failures and Successes: Wednesday 7/29/15

  • I know I'm definitely in a funk when I can't muster any enthusiasm for Grocery Shopping Day, which, for me, is usually on Wednesdays. I'm currently (8:45 a.m.) debating whether I should take advantage of the fact that I have to drive into Clermont for my eye doctor appointment anyway to do my shopping as usual (albeit later in the day) OR just come home and start painting my entry room. The thing is, I would save gas (and therefore money) by going today and I would also be able to get those $1.89/lb chicken breasts at Aldi. But I'm not ready: I haven't really looked at what I'll need for meals next week andI haven't gotten my coupons out (I still have a bunch to sort and file).  I need to kick myself in the pants and get out of this funk, that's what I need to do! Update: I filed my coupons and got my s*** together.  My shopping trip is going to be fairly small and I'm not expecting or even trying to get ANY freebies today.  I told you I was in a funk! On the other hand, I don't need to buy much because I'm really stocked (I need to do a pantry/freezer challenge!) and I don't know what food Greg will bring back from his trip.

  • I spent hours reading through a new-to-me frugality-oriented blog last night called A Frugal Spinster and I added it to my Feedly too.  She blogs from the Pacific Northwest and I like her posts about thrift stores. I bookmarked a couple of her recipes too.

  • What I really should be doing is read my 7-day-only thriller that's due on Monday!  The blogs will still be here on Monday but I have to return that book, I can't renew it. I love reading so not having cracked a book open in several weeks is another sign that I'm in a funk.  Ugh, ugh, ugh.

  • My middle son received a jury summons (his first).  The problem is that it's for the whole week of August 24, his first week back at school in Daytona Beach. However he never changed his address on his driver's license (hence why we got the summons here at my house) when he moved in with his dad, so technically he cannot say that he doesn't live in Lake County anymore. Plus, he's moving into an apartment in Orange County on September 1. If he changes his address to his dad's address now (and pays for the address change), he's going to need to do that again on 9/1 (and pay again).  I'm going to let him handle this and I hope he takes it seriously.

  • One of the movie trailers being advertised on my phone while I'm "watching" SBTV to earn Swagbucks is this one: TheSecretLifeofPets.  The movie comes out next Summer and I think my youngest son and I will definitely go see it.  The cat in the fridge is... hysterical and reminds me of our female cat :)

  • Walmart finally received my laser cat toy and I have to go pick it up. Thankfully I can pick it up next Wednesday so I don't have to make an extra trip to Clermont just for that :)

  • As I have done the rest of this week, I participated in the Survey Soiree event on Swagbucks, got qualified for 1 survey and disqualified 4 times.  I also earned my daily Bing Rewards credits (up to 69% of my goal) and working on earning as many Swagbucks as painlessly as I can today. Sadly, my earnings will be lesser in the next few days as I need to focus on painting that darn entry room.

  • For breakfast I had a medley of cereals (bottom of the bag of Fit&Active "Special K red berries" cereal plus some Aldi Millville "Rice Chex" squares) with some freshly sliced strawberries. I realized that I never soaked the strawberries in diluted vinegar when I bought them on Friday.  I ought to do that. I might also try to make strawberry freezer jam.

  • I ventured into my garden and harvested a bunch of jalapeƱos and serrano chile peppers as well as 3 Ichiban eggplants. These are the only plants producing anything at this time of year in my garden.

  • I'm skipping all the blog posts and ads about school supply sales because I have boxes of school supplies at home, accumulated from years of having 6 kids at home and shopping the sales/getting freebies. Also, I recycle supplies from year to year. I get things out of the trash when I think they're still good (even though my kids might not agree) although I have to admit that the 2 kids who are still home are my most frugal kids so they really don't throw away much.  We reuse backpacks from year to year, as well as lunch boxes, pencils, binders, notebooks that have barely been used, pens, rules, staplers, etc, etc. etc.  I'll probably have to buy *some* supplies but I have to hold off as most teachers can't be bothered to post their supply lists online BEFORE school starts. Oh no, we have to wait until "Meet the Teacher" event or even until after school has started. This pisses me off to no end because the sales are at the end of July (school starts on 8/24 for us) and honestly, most teachers just request the same supply list every year so why make parents wait until the sales are over and the stores over-crowded? I think that Stacey Tracey (sorry!) at Keep Swimming, Mama Fish thinks along the same line. What about the rest of my readership? How to you handle school supplies?

  • I went to my eye doctor appointment and the good news is that my vision hadn't changed since last year so I didn't need new glasses. Yay!  The other good news is that they're finally taking credit cards (they used to only accept checks or cash) so I was able to pay my visit co-pay directly with my Health FSA Visa card, which deducts the cost from the $400 we set aside in that account (tax free) at the beginning of the year.  I'll have to scan the receipt and submit it to the FSA company once they request it, but that'll be easy enough.

  • I dropped off all my donations at the South Lake Animal League thrift store.  After that I went inside to see if any of the items on my wishlist were available. They weren't, but I did find a skillet in good enough shape (better shape than the one I currently use!). It's an "Ecolution", which is supposedly healthier than Teflon. It was priced at $5.

  • I also bought a metal spatula for $0.75 (to use in my cast iron skillet), and a small strainer for just $0.50.

  • Lastly, I bought an electric kettle for $5.00. I'd been eyeing new ones for several months because my mom and dad each have one and they're really handy when you want a cup or two of tea or instant coffee.  No, I did not need another kitchen gadget.  (Read the rest of the story under "Failures").

  • I did leave this nifty metallic egg slicer on the shelf even though it was only 50 cents. The one I have may have a broken "string" but it still slices just fine.

  • I stopped by Racetrac in Clermont and filled up my tank. I only needed 1/4 tank and gas was $2.39/gallon so my total was just a little over $10.  I took the survey on the receipt to earn a reward code for a free extra large chocolate chip cookie :)

  • Sometimes buying the largest size of something (therefore paying less per oz or unit) does NOT make sense.  I needed potting soil because I want to start my lettuce, tomato and pepper seeds indoors.  Home Depot had a 64 quart bag for $13.97 ($0.22 per quart). However, the last couple of times I bought a huge bag and left it outside in a bin, the ants colonized it and I couldn't use it as a result.  So this time I bought 4 small bags of 4 quarts each on clearance at Walgreens for $1.19 each.  That makes each quart $0.29, which even more much expensive than the larger bag and ensures that I will use it all up before the ants can get to it because I can easily store this in my house (not so the huge bag from Home Depot). Also: I didn't throw my bag putting them in the trunk of my car, lol. Also, I earned 40 Balance Rewards points with this purchase :)

  • I bought a 6-outlet surge protector thingie at Aldi. It was marked down to $1.99, which I thought was a good price.  I'm thinking that I will set it up near the coffeemaker so I can plug the electric kettle and the coffee maker in it and turn off the power at the strip so it sucks a little less power during the day.

  • At CVS, I resisted buying milk, even though it was on sale, I had coupons, and there was a $1 ECB offer on it (limit 2).  The thing is, I have 1.5 gallons in my fridge already, and no room in my freezer. It was hard to give up on those ECBs but there will be more sales and my coupons are good until the end of September.

  • I need a new nail brush. I looked at the Dollar Tree and only saw this kit for $1... but the nail brush is really small and I don't need all the other stuff. So I left it on the shelf.

  • At Walgreens, I saw these, but they're $3.99 each and too soft. So I left them on the shelf as well.

  • So I will continue to look for a decent nail brush for $1 or less.  I can't remember where I bought the last one... maybe Walmart. I'll need to look for one there when I go pick up my cat toy, whenever that order comes in.

  • Swagbucks finally sent me the code for the $25 Amazon gift card that I earned and ordered last week.  Since 9/29/14, I have earned $285 from Swagbucks!

  • My "homemade" car air freshener had all dried out so I refilled it: took out the dried out Glade cartridge and reused the velcro to attach a new Glade square to the old Febreeze Car cartridge holder. The set of 2 refills was bought for $1.00 after clearance and coupon at Publix several months ago, so each of my refill costs me just $0.50 and they last a couple of months in my car :)

  • I ran the dishwasher with a full load (dishes from the previous 2 nights).

  • Not sure if this is a frugal victory or defeat: my oldest son and his GF decided to go out to dinner.  Frugal victory because I didn't have to feed them but frugal failure because I had bought extra lean ground beef to make a WW Morrocan meatballs recipe for dinner tonight and I would have never paid that much for ground beef if it hadn't been for their WW needs. Sure, I can freeze it and use it for us in the future so not a total failure. OK, I'm counting it as a frugal success :)

  • So for my dinner I had leftover chicken from last night and I also made a stir-fry with a large mushroom (Aldi, a couple of weeks ago), some shaved Brussel Sprouts (Target, a couple of weeks ago), asparagus (Aldi, today) and spinach (Aldi, last week).  I  cooked it with a little of Orange Ginger Wok Sauce (Aldi, several months ago).  It was very good!  I finished my meal with the last mango that I had bought at Save A Lot last week.  Here are some pictures for Susan :)

  • I reminded Greg to buy a couple of jars of "good" honey while he's in the NC mountains. I'd get cheaper honey at Aldi but he likes his NC honey.

  • I bought a 100-ft hose at Home Depot. I totally didn't research the ratings on that particular hose but I do know that it was less than half price than all the other 100-ft hoses they had.  The 2 hoses that we have connected so I can reach the back of the yard and water the trees have cracked pretty badly.  They already leaked at the connection but with the new cracks, they're pretty much useless. My cost was a little over $20 after tax, which I think is a fair price.  It's a splurge because I saw a similar hose at Goodwill for just $5.99 but I wasn't sure that it was 100-ft (the length wasn't indicated) and didn't know that it wasn't cracked. The new one has a lifetime warranty on it, although admittedly I haven't read the particulars of the warranty.

  • I wasn't thinking straight when I left for my errands today and didn't think to bring a drink or snack along. It was very hot and humid and I was shopping at lunchtime... so I bought myself a drink and bought too many snacks :(

  • Right after I bought the used electric kettle for $5, I went to Goodwill where I saw a better and cleaner one for just $2.99. Argh. The SLAL shop doesn't do returns :(

  • I bought a gift for my BFF's birthday at Goodwill. It was priced at $1.99, which ended up being $2.13 with tax.  They always ask if you want to round your purchase up to the next dollar and I said no and handed the clerk $20.13.  She gave me back $17 in change and I thought nothing of it. I was just looking at my receipt back at home and realized that she gave me the change back on the "rounded amount", which means that I paid almost a whole dollar over the price (which I already wrongly thought was 50% off). I'm really pissed about that because I think that was very deceptive of her. I know for a fact that she heard me when I said that I did not want to round up my purchase. Call me cheap but I don't care that it's "for charity".  I didn't agree to pay more than the sticker price and yet I was charged more. That is theft, in my book.  Grrr.

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


  1. First of all, thank you for the photos. Dinner looks scrumptious. I love stir fires, not just because you can add this and that and use up what is available, but because I love the taste of all the vegetables flavoured together. That orange ginger sauce sounds delectable.

    Secondly, I really like your thrift store buys. The electric kettle (which you called a frugal fail) is still a great buy. We use ours several times a day. I really like your purchases of the surge protector and the 100 foot construction grade hose. Those are some great prices and not a splurge by any stretch of the imagination. You really need that new hose.

    I would really embarrass my family I think over that Goodwill buy. I would phone them to explain the "error" that was made, and explain to them that the next time I was in, I will present the receipt to get back the missing dollar. If it was deliberate, they should know they won't get away with it. If it was an honest mistake, they should find out and own up to it. But that is me. It is more about the principal than the small amount of money.

    1. I thought about going back with the receipt next week but I'l just chalk it up to "Lessons Learned: always make sure you're getting back the correct change and not just what the receipt says you should get back" because in this case, the receipt shows that I accepted to round up so technically the change she gave me back was correct and her till won't be "over" when she balances it at the end of the day. If I were really in a crappy mood I would go back, but I figure I'll spare myself the stress and let it go... this time :)

  2. Yep, you remember hearing me complain about the back to school supplies stuff! LOL I agree that they should just tell us early or at the very least around this time of the summer (We go back end of August!).
    As for your new non stick pan, I believe I have one like it - I bought it at Marshalls in the spring. Mine is ceramic and I think it's the same brand. (heavy on the word "think"!) I love it but will warn you that it takes some getting used to in regards to temperature. Mine heats up very quickly so it took a little playing around/keeping a close eye on it. Now though, I will never go back to the teflon stuff! Let me know if you find the same issues.
    As for your funk, it's funny because I was thinking the same thing here! Maybe it's the time of year? (More likely for me, I haven't been able to soak up any true sun due to the heat and being cooped up in the house!) Hang in there! It will pass! <3

    1. Yes, you're right, it *does* heat up very fast as I discovered last night when I put some oil into the pan for my stir-fry and was surprised to see how fast it started "sputtering" (not the right word, but I can't think of it) when I wasn't even finished slicing everything!

      I think my own funk partly has to do with the fact that it's so hot outside that I'm rarely out. Just spending 10 minutes in my garden checking on my plants and harvesting my few veggies did wonders for my funk. I can't wait until the humidity goes away so I can sit at my patio table for hours at a time again. I would be miserable in the Pacific NW where it rains all the time. The other reason was that I miss my guys... but they're coming back tomorrow so I already felt much better today. I always thought I'd be perfectly happy on a deserted island by myself but I have discovered over the past couple of years that it is not true at all. I do need someone who comes home at night, hahaha. Thanks for the encouragement, though, and some to you! I hope you feel better soon.

    2. Dang it, and I just realized that I called you Stacey... going to edit this as soon as I finish this sentence. Sorry, Tracey!


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