Friday, August 14, 2015

Frugal Failures and Successes: Friday 8/14/15



HAPPENINGS AROUND HERE TODAY:
  • Greg asked me what I was going to do today and I was at a loss... I have projects to work on, for sure, but nothing that I feel very motivated to do, you know? I'm sure I'll think of something, though.

  • Well, there you go: I spent a couple of hours crafting a timesheet and pay stub spreadsheet for my daughter on Google Drive and then typing up instructions/explanations. As I mentioned before, I'm going to start paying her for the volunteer hours that she is going to be working, until she gets a job somewhere. If you're new to the blog, she's almost 17, a full-time high school honors students also dual enrolling at our local Community College this Fall, an FFA officer, member of NHS, a volunteer at a local horse ranch for people with disabilities, etc. However, she hasn't been lucky enough to find an employer willing to give her a part-time job, and I don't believe in giving allowance, so when I saw this idea in a comment to a post from The Non Consumer Advocate, I decided to try it. She comes home on Sunday night and has already asked if she could do the dishes all week long (I pay her for chores as well, so she can earn her share of the car insurance) since she won't be needed at the horse ranch next week. She's been working on a budget since I told her she would need to be paying for her clothes, extra snacks and drinks (aside from what I usually provide), outings, art supplies, gas for her car once she has one to drive (I will pay for gas to go to school/community college but she will need to pay for all the other gas she uses), tolls, things like that. She also is required to put money in savings as well and is forbidden from taking money FROM savings. (that's reserved for college). I will withhold 10% for "income tax" purposes and we will fill out a mock tax return next winter so she can learn to do that.  Her older brothers aren't all that good at budgeting from what I can tell so I decided to do something different with her. She's very receptive to the idea, which is great. I also hope that it won't cost me an arm and a leg (!) and that she will eventually get a "real" job.  

  • UPDATE: tonight my daughter called to say that she has an interview tomorrow at the restaurant where my middle son's girlfriend works!  I'm keeping my fingers crossed for her!

  • I finally remembered to have my son brush our cats. They needed it very badly. I'm going to endeavor to have him do it once a week, the cat hair situation is a little out of control.

  • I meant to put my coupons away this afternoon and do other Very Important Chores (like vacuuming) but I got sucked into a frugality blogging vortex and before I knew it, it was time for Greg to come home so I had to get busy with dinner.  Oh well, there's always the weekend!

FRUGAL SUCCESSES:
  • I packed leftovers for Greg's lunch.

  • I baked a loaf of Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day boule bread. Well, I used that dough in a bread load mold so I can cut small slices. It doesn't seem to help as I will probably eat the whole loaf anyway, but I like baking it in the mold.


  • I usually enjoy reading Lauren Ritchie's columns in the Lake Sentinel. I read it online because... who pays for reading the news nowadays? Not me.  Well, the Lake Sentinel (my county's edition of the Orlando Sentinel) has put her column behind the paywall now, which stinks because she writes about local issues that concerns all citizens of the county so I see that as a PSA that should be accessible to everyone for free. I was grumbling about the paywall. when it occurred to me that her column is actually still accessible for free: via my library!  So when I go there every week, I will now make sure to read her column in the local paper over there. That will take all but 5 minutes and I will stay abreast of the local issues, for free. 

  • I printed Publix store coupons from the Best Meals at Home e-newsletter.

  • AT&T is "simplifying" their data plans... our regular plan is a 350 MB/month plan that I upgraded to a 1G plan for the summer since we were traveling and using more data but that I intended on downgrading back to 350 MB (for $5 less per month) this month. It looks like they did away with the 350 MB plan and now you'd have to get a 2G plan.  We rarely even use the 350 MB to start with so I'm really annoyed.  I emailed Greg the details and told him that once we're done with his AT&T contract (in May or June next year), I want to investigate switching over to TMobile or another provider. It seems to me that my ex gets a lot more from Tmobile than what I'm getting from AT&T. 

  • I used rainwater to water my indoor seedlings and zombie plants... which are all doing very well, thanks for asking :)

  • I also reused rainwater to water my outdoor plants. The weather forecast calls for afternoon storms but despite very ominous black clouds yesterday, it never rained much. So I didn't want to chance it today. My rhubarb looked awful! I'm glad I spent the time to water them since it never did rain today after all.
  • For lunch, I had the last of the Spicy Shrimp Fettuccine from a few nights ago and with rest of my quesadilla from dinner last night, along with some fresh bread and brie, and a mango. My son ate the egg, ham and cheese croissant that I had defrosted for him yesterday, as well as some grapes.  Later on he ate about half the loaf of fresh bread with slices of smoked Gouda cheese. Yum.


  • I input my latest receipts into YouNeedABudget so I can accurately track my expenses by categories.

  • I checked out my library system "Coming Soon" book list and put a few of them on hold.


  • Dinner plans this week were moved around but I have been following my meal plan albeit not on the same nights as what my plan outlined. So tonight we ended up having the Smoked Sausage & Cabbage. I am now down to only 1 head of organic cabbage in my fridge, yeah!  (I do need to make Chinese Cabbage Salad with it next week for my lunches.).  I didn't want to make the steamed potatoes since the cabbage and sausage seemed to be enough, but then I realized what I was cooking: cabbage AND onions and Greg's stomach can, well, stomach either. Poor guy.

  • I highly recommend that cabbage recipe I made for dinner. Not only was it very easy to make, but it truly was delicious!  We have a lot of it left and no ground chicken in my freezer (I was being optimistic when I planned my menu!) so tomorrow night will be Leftovers Night.

WE SPLURGED ON:
  • Hmm, nothing today.  However, my daughter and I were chatting over email about her new food "wishes" since she's going back to trying to eat healthier so I might have to spend more than the $50 a week that I aim to spend since she would like some (healthy) items that aren't on my usual shopping list. She's being very reasonable though and also, as per our agreement about paying her for volunteer hours, I can always ask her to buy something with her own money if I don't agree to buy that item every week.  I tasked her with going to Aldi today and take pictures of the items and price tags in question and email them to me and I'll see if I can fit everything in to my weekly shopping. Also, this will be eye opening for her as she sees the difference between Aldi prices (and product selection) and Publix prices since she's been shopping at Publix while at her dad's.  Aldi is a great shopping place for anyone, but especially with teens and young adults who don't have a lot of money and no experience (or time for) coupons and loyalty card deals. She carries a key tag from my Walgreens Balance Rewards program so she can get the lower prices at Walgreens with that. 


HOWEVER, WE FAILED IN THE FOLLOWING WAYS, BUT LEARNED SOME LESSONS:
  • I had to throw away one of my newer plastic bins that I was going to transform into a self-watering bin because the harsh Florida sun made it very brittle.  

  • And then, while I was digging out the Roselle to transplant it, I negligently let my shovel fall behind me and it hit another one of my self-watering bin that cracked.  Arrgh.


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

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