Friday, August 7, 2015

Frugal Failures and Successes: Friday 8/7/15

  • It's Friday!  It shouldn't matter to me so much since I don't work, but it does mean that Greg will be home for the next couple of days. Woohoo!

  • Not much rain in the forecast, I think, but the skies are overcast this morning so it's drab... ugh. I want some sunshine! Does your mood get affected by the amount of sunshine too? As soon as I typed this, the sun came out, yay!

  • Plans for the day include doing all the things that I didn't do yesterday like ... the dishes (done), figuring out the next week's menu, cleaning my fridges' shelves, folding the laundry (done). Ugh. What they don't include?  Spending money, using gas.

  • My mom sent me an email... I really need to email her and my siblings, not that there's really anything to tell since I don't do much and they can't relate to my frugality efforts. They should as they don't have a lot of money but whenever I mentioned things that I did, they just thought I was weird.  Sigh.

  • I tore myself from Swagbucks to rearrange the guest room the way it was supposed to be after my oldest son and his GF's departure: I had to move everything around to accommodate having actual guests in the room since I only have a single bed up there, had given them my "exercise" TV and Roku, our pedestal fan, etc. I'm left with the extra twin mattress that I don't feel like lugging back downstairs, aaaall the way to the other side of the house, and then upstairs again only to wrestle it back under my daughter's bed so for now it's staying in the guest room, leaning against the wall. It looks horrid but then again no one uses the room so what do I care?  Well, I like to open the door and look in once in a while, admiring my painting job (conveniently ignoring the wood flooring that needs to be refinished), the minimalist look of the room that doesn't match the rest of my house at all, and feel like I have accomplished something, damn it.

  • Tonight is Family Game Night (aka Dungeons & Dragons Night) with Greg and our son.  Well, that's if they decide to play instead of setting up the new PC!
  • My daughter has applied to several part-time jobs, without any success. I was reading a comment on The Non Consumer Advocate a couple of days ago in which the poster explained that she paid her teens for volunteering, made paystubs for them, deposited the money in their checking account, and expected them to pay for their expenses like adults, using their debit cards.  Then at the end of the year, she produced a W-2 and had them fill out mock tax returns.  I really like this idea in theory because both my older sons have been dismal with setting up budgets and understanding how to manage expenses.  In reality, I kind of do something along those lines by paying my daughter for the chores that she does around the house, deducting her portion of the car insurance (I only charge her 1/3 of the actual cost) from it and then depositing the remainder in her savings account every month.  I keep a running total on Google Drive and shared the spreadsheet with her so it's kind of like a paystub.  Only the money gets put in her savings account, not checking, and she doesn't have access to her savings. Since reading that comment I've been pondering whether I should start paying her for volunteering (since she does and I don't give her allowance and she hasn't found a job) and have her pay for gas for the car, her activities, etc.  The thing is, I would need to relinquish control over those things but she would learn something valuable too (well, I hope). I emailed her this morning and proposed to do that and pay her, according to the rules governing student workers, 85% of the Florida minimum wage, which would be $6.82/hr.  She likes the idea. we'll have to see how to implement it once she gets back.

  • Yesterday I read a post by Tom McCubbin, a gardener who has a newspaper column and appears on local TV programs about gardening in Florida, about what to start planting now for our upcoming 9-month-long growing season and two things stick in my mind: 1) He doesn't take into account that the weather is freakishly hotter than it was in years past so planting a lot of things in really hot soil right now might not be a great idea, IMO and 2) hmm, this year I might try to plant pumpkins. I always miss the deadline for planting them and I already have seeds on hand, I think.  Of course this completely ignores the fact that I have been dismal at being able to grow any kind of cucumber, squash, etc.  I have grown exactly one butternut squash to the harvest stage. ONE. In several years of gardening. Ugh. Still, I might try it?  at the same time, I bought pumpkins for $2.99 at Save A Lot last year so maybe I should save myself the heartache. Sorry, just thinking outloud.

  • I've been thinking about improving my landscaping and making my garden look less... trashy by hiding the bins, bags of garden soil, etc that are laying about right now. And I'd really like my garden to looks something like this:
Picture borrowed from Isn't that an awesome layout?! 
(One of) the problem(s) is that my small gardening shed is already full with other gardening things, and Greg's shed is... Greg's shed. Plus it's too far.  He's been thinking about it too. I resurrected the idea of him building me a small shed. Well, actually, I'd like to buy a nice-looking shed but he wants to be frugal (imagine that!) and build one with the wood that he already has. The problem is: football season starts soon and if it doesn't get built now, it won't get built until next Spring.  That's not soon enough!  I have asked him to "walk the garden" with me tomorrow after I show you the picture above so we can plan how we're going to do this.  I have an idea of where I like the shed to be placed.  Another idea he's had is to make me some kind of  screened covers with wood and screening material to replace the tents that were destroyed by the extreme weather we've had.  The thing is, I don't want to have to lift heavy things to go check on my plants.  He promises I won't have to. We'll see.  Certainly the tents that I had bought barely lasted 1 year so anything else that would keep the bugs and weeds out, let the rain in, and provide shed and also last a few years would be an improvement!
The sun and all the rain completely did this tent in.  Notice how the ferns (I think the peat moss that I used contained fern seeds) have been growing without any problems?  Why can't that be my kohlrabi?!
  • Meanwhile, one of my old bins in the middle of the backyard has tons of tiny tadpoles in it!  I took a picture and then threw them some weeds to munch on.
All those tiny specks are tadpoles!

  • I packed leftovers for Greg's lunch.

  • I mixed 1/2 a gallon of water to 1/2 a gallon of whole milk to stretch it. Hadn't done that in a while!

  • Redbox emailed me a code for a free movie rental.  I read that Ex-Machina is really good so maybe I'll rent that.  But that would require driving so maybe no :)

  • SavingStar credited my account with the $3 for buying 6 Renuzit.  Yes!  So in the end I got paid $0.66 to take them off Walgreens' hands after all coupons and rebates were applied.  What? SavingStar offers coupons you say?  Oh no, I call that a rebate: I had to pay for the products, go home, scan UPCs and my receipt and submit a rebate form by submitted it to SavingStar after the fact. That's a rebate, baby. I don't care what you say. And yes, I will stack manufacturer and store coupons with rebates. Still no word on my 20% off grapes at Target a couple of weeks ago, though.  They never replied to my email either.

  • I washed the bedding from the spare bedroom in cold/cold with cheap laundry detergent with white vinegar as softener, and hung it all out to dry. Correction: I was going to hang it out to dry but at this exact moment my otherwise lovely neighbor decides to mow his land with his professional-grade ride-on mower that kicks sand all over the place.  So I had to set up the racks in the kitchen and let the first comforter dry indoors.

  • For my morning coffee I used my re-glued coffee cup (the one that has been reglued twice now) and it held up fine. Woohoo!

  • I tried an experiment by not doing the dishes for 2.5 days to see if I could just run everything through the dishwasher. Well, no. Duh.  So I ran a very full load (there are only 3 of us at home, I'm starting to think that I have way too many dishes?! but of course, I do!) and will do another load tomorrow morning with the leftovers and tonight's dishes.  At least I'm saving on water/electricity and dish soap!

  • Earned my Bing Rewards and working on Swagbucks, yada, yada, yada. Hey, I did meet my 2nd Daily Goal yesterday after all (270 SB).  My first daily goal today is down to 97 (geez, thanks!) and I hit it at about 1 p.m.  Had another one of those surveys yesterday where I answered "qualifying questions" that were very detailed and went on forever (so basically the whole survey) and was told that I didn't qualify so didn't earn any SB and with this that's it, I'm done with SB surveys unless there's an official survey contest going on because, surprisingly, I do qualify and get SB from surveys during those events. Go figure.  Also, my 2nd Daily Goal is, once again, 270 SB. Geez, I don't think I'll reach that today, what with all the laundry I need to fold and stuff. Oh well.

  • My Non-HGTV-worthy hack didn't last: the multiplug fell off the wall, probably because all the steam produced by the kettle and the coffeemaker isn't conducive to masking tape actually sticking to the wall. Argh.  I found an older multiplug in my stash and compared the two: the older one is ugly and brownish, but also the holes in the back from which you could hang it on the wall have a little ledge (so the nail head can actually grip it) that the new one doesn't.  The problem is... it only works if I hang the plug upside down, thus having to show the cord on top of the ugly plug. Form against function, though, right?  Ugh, it looks so ugly.  It had better save us money now.
If I hang the plug the other way, it won't stay up on the wall.
If I put the plug anywhere else than on the wall, we won't
turn it off, therefore making the whole thing useless.
Also: yes, I should cover that shelf with contact paper or something.
  • I'm glad that I insisted, when contacting Kellogg's Family Rewards yesterday, that I wasn't getting any emails from Kellogg's. I didn't even know that I should have been.  Well, I noticed several months ago people mentioning that they were getting emails with codes and other promotions but nothing was coming my way at all, not even in my spam. I had checked my account and it showed that I was subscribed to emails.  Same story as with CVS, in fact.  So, just like with CVS, I contacted them and asked why I wasn't getting emails. Just like CVS, they told me to check my Spam. Just like with CVS, I replied that I always did and that I never got anything, my account showed that I had NOT unsubscribed from receiving emails but that I still wasn't getting any emails. And just like with CVS, the next rep said "Oh, wait!  There is something on your account preventing you from receiving our emails. Here, let me remove that." Well, duh. Goes to show you that when you contact Customer Service, many times either you get a bot replying to you or the person on the other end just doesn't want to do their job and actually check on your problem. They just send you canned replies in the hope that you'll just go away.  So the lesson is: persist, persist, persist!  I'd better be getting those weekly emails from Kellogg's, now...

  • My lunch was what I've had several times these past couple of weeks: egg "salad" sandwiches (on homemade bread today!), small caprese salad with basil from my garden, cut up mango.  I drank that Mango Tropical energy drink that I got for free from Racetrac (gross and yet I have another coupon for another free can so I'll get a different flavor next time! Also, I don't notice that it's giving me more energy, actually...). We're out of corn dogs so my son made himself a sandwich and had apple slices.

  • It rained at about noon, which watered my garden for me. Yay!  I heard thunder while I was out thinking about garden layout ideas and shed building so I grabbed the comforter and sheets that I had laid out just a few minutes prior to that and brought them back indoors.  Everything was almost dry already so I hung the sheets in the laundry room from a couple of hangers with "pincers" and I drapped the comforter over a couple of kitchen chairs, next to the other comforter that is drapped on my laundry racks.

  • I had 4 hair elastic bands that had gotten tangled with clumps of my fine hair. Gross-looking!  Instead of just throwing them away (I get the big packs of them at Dollar Tree once a year), I got out my nail scissors and cut the hair away. There!  4 "new" elastic bands!

  • I reused a small nursery pot and potting soil that had been spilled on the ground when I drained a larger pot to transplant my zombie celery plant.  I left it indoors on the windowsill, though, so I can keep an eye on it.

  • I don't know what happened but suddenly the pineapple top that I was thinking about throwing away because it looked dead and never really developed any roots... started developing some!

  • Dinner was 2 chicken breasts (about $1.42 for both at Target this week!) that I oven broiled with "10 Things Farm Seasoning" and the Cheesy Zucchini Bites from the recipe that I got via Betty Crocker yesterday. This allowed me to use up that huge zucchini (which, unbeknownst to me, was starting to rot on the underside!), some fresh parsley from my garden and dried oregano from my garden as well, and a cup of the Aldi brand of baking mix that I had bought for Greg's camping trip. We still have a lot of it and I usually don't use baking mix so I guess I'll have to make pancakes this weekend.

  • Bread. Well, splurging isn't the right word. Shall I say "gorging"? How did we like the breadmaker bread?  I liked it just fine. I think I ate 90% of the loaf by myself! Such is the danger of baking bread at home.

  • Ink and paper: before we disconnected my son's old computer, I printed a few extra coupons from it :) I made sure to log in to Swagbucks first, so I would get the 10 SB per redeemed coupon, eventually.

  • I found a broken whiskey glass in the sink. No supergluing this one so I fished out an empty cardboard box from the recycling bin, wrapped the glass in it, and put it in the trashcan :(

  • I brewed myself a cup of tea with another flavor of free tee donated by a friend last year, but I got busy printing coupons and forgot about the tea. It was very strong so I added water, ice cubes and a packet of PureVia sweetener to turn it into iced tea... but that didn't work, it was just gross. So I dumped it down the sink :(

  • My "Miracle Knife" meat cleaver blade is coming unglued from its handle. Oh noes!  This is the same thing that happened earlier this year with the curved knife (my favorite one) from the same set. The set had been given to my by a friend, several years ago and I really love it. I guess I shouldn't have washed those knives in the dishwasher.  I don't think I'll be able to glue it back, to be honest. The fit is too tight for the glue, I'm not really sure how they put them together. I'll have to research a fix online, just in case...

  • I cooked 2 "on the bone" chicken breasts for dinner with an eye on keeping the bones to make chicken stock this weekend.  Well, after dinner Greg went to pick the meat from one of them and just threw the bones in the trash. Arrgh.

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

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