Friday, August 28, 2015

Frugal Failures and Successes: Friday 8/28/15

  • T.S. Erika's path had moved a little further South and West as of this morning, meaning that it would now come straight over us, but the good news is that they think it will remain a tropical storm instead of developing into a hurricane and also they're hoping that it might dissipate  in the next 24 hours so I'm monitoring the NOAA website.

  • Still, I charged my two camping lanterns' batteries, just in case... and I will pick up more bottled water this weekend (here's hoping our city's water test comes back today so we can start using the tap water again!), along with batteries for our battery-operated fans, small propane tanks for our barbecue (we found out the large one just isn't working on this barbecue anymore for **some** reason but the small ones are working just fine?! The large tank worked fine until this last refill so I'm thinking something is wrong with the refill.  Remember, that was the tank that started leaking propane out of the blue and I freaked out because I thought it would explode but the Ace Hardware store manager told me it was normal although it had never happened before...).

  • Our school district will decide this afternoon whether there will be school early next week or not, as they may need to use some schools as emergency shelters.

  • One of our fire alarms' batteries decided that it'd had enough at 6:00 a.m. today and the alarm starting beeping intermittently. However, I couldn't tell which one it was and since no one was getting up aside from me I figured they were all asleep and I couldn't run a full test, so I just let it beep (ugh) every 2 minutes or so until everyone was up.  Getting older also means that while you can hear the sounds, it's harder to determine from where they come...

  • I checked the reviews on 2 generators that I had seen at Home Depot and Lowe's yesterday and I think the (more expensive and slightly less powerful) one at Home Depot might be the way to go. However, when I checked their website last night, it looked like the only one that was in stock in the morning was no longer available?! All the other stores in Central Florida seem to have only one and the closest HD store apart from the one in Clermont is at least 30 minutes away.  Greg stopped by that store on his way home tonight and they indeed had one, but we decided not to get it after all because he wants a different kind.  He did get 2 extra bottles of propane and a bunch of batteries.  We agreed that he would find one online this weekend, possibly on Amazon, and we'll chance this storm without a generator. I hope it doesn't come back to bite us.

  • If Susan from Retirement Fun(ds) is reading, I hope that your hubby recuperates soon from his surgery and that you're not stressing too much , XOXO!

  • I packed leftovers for Greg's lunch today.

  • My daughter and son both packed a lunch as well.

  • I requested a couple of samples of Zing stevia sweetener, from here and here. (thanks, Slickdeals!)

  • I collected the net bag from the oranges that I bought at Aldi. I will use it to make another pot scrubber next week. I just had to throw away the one that I made last fall!  Good thing I had been saving my net bags :)  I'll also use the one from the bag of onions, probably.

  • Swagbucks' Customer Service credited me with the 45 SB for joining the Yahoo! Sports Fantasy Football League. I must say their Customer Service is awesome.

  • I earned my daily Bing Rewards credits and worked on earning as many Swagbucks as I could. I'm gonna sound like a broken record but I'm really over their surveys. I was disqualified from so many of them this morning, it wasn't even funny. I don't think I'll earn that Survey Soiree Swag Up this time. I need at least 5 completed surveys by Sunday and I've only been able to complete 3.  Well, 4, but the 4th one was a Customer Service Adjustment so I'm guessing it won't count towards the 5.  I might be wrong.  The problem is, it takes so much time...  Are you participating in the Survey Soiree event this week?  I know TraceyBee is trying to and not having much luck either.  They must have something against 40-something stay at home moms, I think!

  • I emailed my middle son last night to warn him that there isn't a dresser in his old room (he's moving in tomorrow morning) but then I decided to just put the old nightstand that I was using as a TV stand in our bedroom there. It has 2 large drawers and there wasn't a nightstand in the room anyway. I got that nightstand for $4.99 at a thrift store several years ago so I've really gotten my money's worth!  I also put the hanging cloth shoe rack that I had gotten by mistake at Aldi a few weeks ago in the closet that he will be using. He can stick clothes in there too, actually (undies, undershirts...). I'm glad I finally found a use for it.  I had bought him a collapsible hamper at the Dollar Tree for his new apartment so I just put it in the room too. I drafted the lease last night (yes, we are charging him rent as well as a security deposit) and I need to work on a walk-through list too. He's bringing a mini-fridge since he wants to handle his own food shopping and I have never have any room in the fridge anyway.  We'll put it in our large entry room since I don't want it on the 2nd floor.

  • I collected water in the shower while it was warming up and used it to flush the toilet.

  • Speaking of which, I used the baking soda tip to try to get rid of the tartar (I think) deposits at the bottom of one of our toilets and it didn't work, even with scrubbing.  Maybe I'll try CLR.

  • I love it how 1 action turns into a lot of very productive (and frugal!) results:
    1. I decluttered our back room and front porch by flattening out all the cardboard boxes that I had been stashing.
    2. That reminded me that cereal boxes are cardboard too so I got a couple of empty ones out of the recycling bin.
    3. I unpacked the cubby organizer that I had ordered for Greg's desk area and that had come in so I could also use the box.
    4. I had to get rid of the soil from the broken self-watering bin that I had stored in the wheelbarrow so I grabbed an unused bin that was just collecting rain in the backyard, retro-fitted the old bin's lid and lengths of pipe, drilled an overflow hole in the side, and put the soil in that bin... voilĂ , instant self-watering bin and no waste!
    5. I laid all of the cardboard around the pineapples that I had planted in the ground as a weed barrier.
    6. Since the wheelbarrow was now empty, I was able to load it up with mulch :)
    7. I used the rest of the mulch that Greg had bought in the Spring and laid it on top of the cardboard. I'll need some more so he will go buy me some tomorrow from the wholesale place ($50 for a truckload... I wish I could have gotten free mulch from the dump but oh well, I really want to get this project over with since the weeds are getting worse, not better!
    8. I put the shelves together for Greg since they were out of their box (he was going to do it this weekend).
Result? My back room and front porch look nicer, my gardening project cost me nothing so far, I reused and recycled items that would have been wasted otherwise, and Greg's desk area is going to be looking much better organized now!  I feel very productive :)

  • In the box for the shelf, there was a card from Better Home and Gardens entitling me to a free 1-year subscription (the shelves were "BH&G" branded).  I didn't want to get another magazine that I wouldn't read (I can read it online for free via my library's Zinio subscription and I also get their back issues from the donation pile!) so I read the fine print and I can get a check for $6 instead.  Woohoo!

  • I kept the polythene packing materials that came in thin sheets, instead of throwing them away, because I thought my son might be interested in using it for his wargaming dioramas.  I was right, as he asked me if he could have them as soon as he saw them!
  • I also went finally went through the bin of things that I had brought down from my daughter's room last week.  A lot of it got redistributed throughout the house!  My son inherited a portable speaker that works great and we're donating another one.  I'm donating 2 pairs of earings and a book about Taylor Swift as well as some Tshirts.  Stained T-shirts were cut into rags.

  • My lunch was, once again, leftovers.  I had the rest of the Green Chile Pork Stew from last night, as well as a left over pork chop from a few nights ago.  Dessert was a bunch of strawberries and I indulged in drinking one of my daughter's cans of Arizona Tea.

  • I printed coupons via Swagbucks and Target from my son's computer. I tried installing Java and using IE to print the Smartsource coupons but the darn website doesn't detect the Java that it helped me install.  I gave up because I was getting aggravated. I always mark a little "SB" in pencil in one of the corners of the SB coupons, that way I can pick them at a glance to redeem them first since I earn 10 SB per redeemed coupon.

  • I received my $20 check from Checkout 51.  Free money!

  • I didn't have to feed my daughter any dinner since she can eat at her job for free!

  • Another small action that resulted in actually doing some projects that had been on my to-do list for a while:
    1. I decided to (finally!) change the water filter on our fridge (oh, the boil water alert was lifted this afternoon, after all!).
    2. I had to pry the plastic cover off the front of the fridge's bottom first.
    3. When I did that I realized that the area under the fridge was freaking disgusting!
    4. I took the vacuum cleaner and tried to suck up all the crud and dust that had accumulated down there.  The design is very poor and I couldn't get it all without putting the refrigerator on its side, something that I definitely will NOT be doing!  
    5. I pulled the fridge away from the wall, thinking the coils were in the back (keeping the coils clean helps save energy). Only they weren't. We've had that fridge for 14 years so you'd think I would know that... that shows you how many times I have actually cleaned behind there (3 times!). 
    6. The floor, though, was gross so I scrubbed and mopped and dried.  And then I pushed the fridge was in place.
    7. Then I realized that that impossible-to-get-to gross area under the fridge is where the coils are.  Sigh.
    8. I found my coil brush (oh yeah, I don't like to clean but I do have one of those!) and tried cleaning the coils with it but I couldn't really reach them.
    9. Then I did change the water filter.
    10. Then I decided to clean that plastic cover because it was very gross.
    11. Then I realized that it was past the time when I was supposed to be cooking dinner!
  • So I put everything back in place and hustled to get food on the table. I switched tonight's and tomorrow's plans so we had cheeseburgers and sweet potato fries.

  • It started raining at about 5 p.m. and will probably rain throughout the weekend so no need to water anything... we have a tropical storm coming!  Everyone's concerned about flooding because we've had so much rain lately anyway.   I'm glad that we have a flood insurance policy, even though we are not in a flood zone. It's painful to pay that $400+ a year (it's not tacked on to the mortgage or HOI), but I'd better spend it and know that if we have any kind of water damage we're pretty much covered.  I read about too many people who didn't have it and lost everything in various hurricanes.

  • The rain won't help the sinkhole situation either.

  • I reached my daily Swagbucks goal 21 days in a row!  Woohoo!  I should get a 200 SB bonus at some point next month :)

    • I plan on making a special cake for my daughter's birthday and I need marzipan for it.  I knew that we had some somewhere... and I found it! But it's so old, it's fossilized!  I was thinking that I would have to throw it away, but I googled it and someone asked the exact same question as I had, even to the brand of the marzipan!  Sounds like I might be able to soften it by microwaving it. I'll have to try it.

    • I completed a Racetrac survey and earned a reward code for a free roller grill item.

    • Gas: my daughter drove my car to and back from school and then to her job.

    • Propane and batteries as part of our hurricane/tropical storm season preparations.

    • My daughter learned that her college Algebra teacher wants the students to log in the college's computer lab and do math homework online, in person, for at least 90 minutes a week. However, my daughter's class there starts an hour after the computer lab closes.  She was planning on going to the computer lab for 45 minutes right before her class starts  (2 days a week) but now it seems that she'll have to make a special trip on Saturday mornings to accomplish that. She works nearby on Saturday nights but the lab also closes several hours before her shift starts.  Special trip on the weekend means extra gas expense for me plus extra non-availability of my car.  Grrr.  But since she's taking the college class for free, I guess I can't complain. too much.

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


    1. Nathalie - still no luck here with the Swagbucks surveys. I will probably try again this weekend, while we are watching tv or I have some extra downtime. I don't think I will be dedicating any specific time to this anymore since I am not getting great results. =( I will be trying to hit my daily points though after seeing you do it and get the extra 200 points for it! Thanks for the motivation!!
      I hope the tropical storm isn't too bad for you! When you said it was coming directly over you, all I could think about was that sinkhole!!! Hoping it doesn't get much worse/bigger.
      Thanks for the shout out about the Food Waste format. I can't take total credit for it. I saw something kinda similar on another blog that helped spark the new format.....Hmmmm....Can't remember which blog though! LOL

    2. One action turns into lots of very productive and frugal results. Sometimes that works, but most of the time I just get distracted and end up not seemingly getting anything done. I mean, I know I get things done, but just not in the productive and successful plan that I began the day with. Sometimes it is frustrating; and sometimes, like you, a lot of little projects that were on your list, do miraculously come together. And yes, that is a great feeling.

      1. I know EXACTLY what you mean about being distracted, lol. This is exactly what is happening to me right now, lol. Hmm, sweating outside in the sun, trying to weed the garden or staying indoors and reading all the lovely comments from my readers while sipping on cold raspberry tea? What to do, what to do...


    Anything you'd like to add? Share away!