Monday, August 10, 2015

Frugal Failures and Successes: Monday 8/10/15



HAPPENINGS AROUND HERE TODAY:
  • Monday, Monday.... we had an interesting night: went to bed at 11 p.m. and were woken up by a phone call from my middle son at 1:30 a.m. I immediately panicked because what mother wouldn't if one of her kids who rarely communicates called her at 1:30 a.m.?!  I coudn't find my glasses, couldn't figure out how to answer the phone without them, was thinking that he got into an accident, etc... well no. Thankfully. He'd been visiting friends nearby to watch a meteor shower and didn't realize it had gotten so late and was too tired to drive (safely) back to his dad's house an hour away so could he crash at our house? Well, of course.  So the call woke Greg up (who had to go to work this morning, of course).  I went downstairs to wait for my son and find out the details and make sure he was OK and then decided to just sleep on the couch so I wouldn't wake Greg up again getting into bed.  I didn't sleep well and apparently Greg didn't either because he was cranky this morning. Well, he was cranky yesterday too so I guess PMS doesn't affect just women. Just sayin'. Later on, my son asked me to tell Greg that he apologized for not having made plans earlier than 1:30 a.m. so all is well :)

  • Took the cats to the vet's this morning for their annual check-up and rabies shots.  It's a tradition that my youngest son comes with us, he's done that ever since we got the kitties. He helps me corral them to put them in the carriers and keeps them calm in the car.  

  • Later on in the afternoon we ran some errands: haircut for the boy, getting the SavingStar freebie from Publix and a stop at the library. Since it wasn't a No Drive Day, I figured we would get those out of the way today!

 FRUGAL SUCCESSES:
  • I packed leftovers for Greg to take to work.  He's only going in 2 days this week and will be working from home 3 days. Yay!

  • I set out some bread dough to rise outside first thing this morning so it was ready to bake when I got home from the vet's. Since I forgot to NOT mix the dough in advance in order to try the recipe in the breadmaker, I just baked it in the oven.  As per my analysis, the cost difference is minimal (excluding having to cool down the kitchen afterwards!).

  • Looking through the fridge I realized that I have 2 unopened gallons of milk so I crossed milk off my shopping list for the week.

  • I earned today's Bing Rewards credits while waiting for my son last night so I'll be concentrating on Swagbucks today... well this afternoon since I'll be gone a chunk of the morning. First Daily Goal is 99 SB. Oh, and last night I got a 26 SB award for a search!  I hadn't high such a high award in a long time, although I've been hitting 15 SB every time for several days.

  • Greg had set the AC for 74 last night so I turned it back to 76 once he went to work :)


  • The cats have put on too much weight (rich diet due to their prescription food, not enough exercise...) so the vet wanted to put them on a new diet (Hill's Metabolic + Urinary) that still addresses their urinary tract issues but also helps to lose weight.  The plan is that they eat this new food for a month and then I bring them back to be weighed in and also to have their urine tested in a month. (my brain is hearing: ca-shing!).  The new food was going to be even more expensive than the already expensive food that they're on (Royal Canin Urinary S.O.). However, as I was checking out, I was asking the clerk for all the prices for different bag sizes and commenting that it was more expensive than our current food so she told me that our current food has a reduced-calorie (Urinary S.O Moderate Calorie) version and that is about the same price as what we are paying now.  So she went to ask the doctor if it was OK to switch the cats to that food instead and he said yes.  Even more awesome is the fact that she told me that I could bring back my old unused food, even if the bag is open and that I can get a credit for it since that food is 100% guaranteed!  Awesome because I think I have about 3/4 of a bag left so that should be about $40 in credit, I think.  Woohoo!  Since we have to gradually increase the ratio of new food vs. old food over the next week, I told my son that I was taking over the feeding of the cats for that period of time.

  • I pulled the weeds from in between the pavers and on the berm by hand. I was going to use Susan's natural weed killer recipe but once I got started by hand so I just decided to continue doing the whole thing by hand.  Thankfully the patio was in the shade and the weeds came off easily. I still need to mix some of her weed killer so I can have some on hand for the next time I need it (weeds grow fast in these parts!).


  • I did one super large load of laundry on cold/cold with cheap detergent and vinegar as softener. Since it wasn't supposed to rain, I hang the undies/socks/cloth napkins/cleaning cloths and gardening clothes outside to dry on my racks and my bras and Greg's exercise clothes on hangers in our laundry room. The rest of the load (bath towels and cotton clothing) was put in the dryer on the Auto Moisure Sensing setting as we are not fans of stiff towels and clothing (our water is very hard, the vinegar doesn't help much and I don't want to have to buy commercial softener although I might have to try it).


  • Our patio pavers that were nice and white when we bought them last year have turned gray and black due to the mildew that is growing on them (all that rain!). I was thinking about scrubbing them with bleach but I'm wondering if a pressure washer might help clean them. I texted Greg to ask if he knew if our favorite neighbor has one that we could borrow but he's not sure. I'll try to catch the neighbor next time I see him...

  • I found the instructions on transferring a license of Office 2010 from an old PC to a new one.  Since Greg has already disconnected our son's old PC, we need to reconnect it and uninstall the license and then try to install it on the new one and call them to have them authorize the install since apparently uninstalling it doesn't tell Microsoft that a license is no longer being used.  I hope we won't have any problems uninstalling it since that computer won't let us have admin access to it anymore for some reason but I suppose I could just tell Microsoft that the computer is bricked... which it is!

  • I had washed several plastic zipper bags of every size yesterday and hung them out to dry so I put them away today so I could reuse them and also washed 2 more.

  • My lunch was leftovers from last night, fresh bread, and some strawberries. I drank water.  My son made himself a turkey sandwich (with store-bought bread, what gives?!) and had strawberries as well.


  • I entered a bonus code into my Kellogg's Family Rewards account (see below) and earned 25 KFR points.


  • I was going to print some pictures of our French trip for my mom and my great aunt and mail them over to France since my mom's printer had bit the dust, but she told me yesterday on the phone that she was able to jerry rig it so it would print so she's already done that and she will be visiting my great aunt next week.  So it paid for me to procrastinate on that, lol!


  • I used rainwater to water my pineapple, basil, and celery "zombie" plants :)

  • I also used rainwater to top off the self-watering bins where I still had veggies growing and water a couple of guest plants. 

  • Then I decided to pull the dead potato plants that I had grown in a bin without hilling, under a tent. They yielded a few tiny potatoes but better than nothing!


  • I also pulled the huge sweet potato vines that threatened my garden by escaping the same tent... oh my, the vines pretty much filled up my whole composting bin, bringing much needed "greens" to the mix!  I also harvested a bowl-ful of small sweet potatoes!  I guess that if I grow those again, I'll have to leave them be for much longer.

  • While pulling weeds from a couple of the veggie bins, I realized that one of my eggplant plants had been bent and that a whole eggplant had been growing out of sight.  Surprise!


  • While my son was away at the local park, I snuck onto his new PC, installed the Coupons.com printer and my wireless printer's drivers, and printed some coupons via Swagbucks, he he.  


  • I took my son to get a haircut at Great Clips and we used our prepaid card to get the haircut for $9.99 (down from $14). We only had to leave a $2 tip.  He got an amazing haircut, wow! 

  • I had checked him in online and the site showed there was a 20 minute line so we stopped by the library first. I got a book and a DVD that had been waiting for me, returned a book that I didn't want to read after all and checked the donation pile: I only got 1 Publix store coupon brochure and a Boxtop that I'll donate to my son's middle school.  I also found out that the librarian who had been in charge of the weekly teen program left to take a position at a school in Ocala :( A new librarian starts soon and apparently he's a reservist because he's in military training right now.  But the librarian today couldn't tell me whether he would be in charge of teen programming or now. I hope so!  In other library news, I never did get a call for an interview so I suspect the position was posted but they already knew who they were going to hire.  This is a different position than the one the new guy is filling. I never even saw that one posted, although it probably was while I was in France.

  • Since we had checked in online for Great Clips, my son was first in line when we got there. I gave him the prepaid card and the cash for the tip and walked to Publix to get the SavingStar freebie. I looked for blinkie coupons in the aisles and "Try Me Free" tags but there was not much to be found and none of it was of any interest to me :(


  • On the way home we stopped by the Habitat for Humanity ReStore thrift store.  I still haven't found an apple slicer, but I did find 2 small white cups to use for the Insta-cakes.  The ones that I have are a little too deep so the bottom doesn't cook very well. They were only $0.49 each :)  I also saw a couch for $39 that I was interested in getting to replace the old torn one in our entry room (that mostly the cats use!) but my son was a little skeeved out to get a couch from a thrift store. Such a snob!  

  • Swagbucks Customer Service credited me with the missing 100 SB from the 2 surveys that I took this weekend :)

  • SavingStar also acknowledged the email I sent them about missing the money equivalent to 20% off the grapes that I had bought at Target a few weeks ago and will be crediting my account within a couple of days.

  • I checked the rules for signing up for Bing Rewards and you have to be 13 so I emailed my Bing Rewards referral link to my youngest son so he can start earning his own Bing Rewards credits and earn Amazon gift cards! He was excited to hear about the program. If you are interested in Bing Rewards but haven't signed up yet, please use my referral link (earlier in this paragraph). Thanks!!

  • I ordered all 3 Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition manuals for my son on Amazon... and paid NOTHING for them as I had $55 in Amazon gift cards (from Swagbucks and Bing Rewards) and a $37.xx in Discover Rewards due to last week's purchase of our son's computer via our Discover card on Amazon!  The best part?  I'm still owed a $25 gift card from Swagbucks!


  • I was going to make mashed potatoes for dinner but I forgot the potatoes I have are red potatoes. I'm sure you can mash them too but I decided to steam them instead. I also made Honey Glazed Carrots in the crockpot, and pan-fried a couple of chicken breasts, sliced thinly.  I served all of that with fresh homemade bread :)

WE SPLURGED ON:
  • Taking our cats to their regular vet instead of one of the cheaper clinics. They saved our male cat's life several years ago and gave us a HUGE discount on the whole thing so I feel indebted. Also we need to get their prescription food from them anyway. The debt has long been repaid, believe me, but I tend to be loyal.  I need to bring them back in a month (so another splurge) and get tests done (splurge again) and then hopefully everything will come back OK.  Pets aren't cheap.  Don't get a pet if you can't afford their medical care!

  • So I saw an offer whereby eligible 4-year college students can get the NFL Ticket for just $100.  Greg would loooove to have the NFL Ticket and my oldest son, who has no interest in football, is eligible. I emailed him, asking if he would be willing to sign up for an account if we paid for it and give us the sign-in.  We'll see what he says.  It would be a splurge, sure, but I'm thinking it'd be Greg's birthday present too...

HOWEVER, WE FAILED IN THE FOLLOWING WAYS, BUT LEARNED SOME LESSONS:
  • My son's new PC doesn't have Java installed and I guess I shouldn't install it since it's a security threat nowadays and I don't even think that MS's Edge browser supports it... this meant that I couldn't print extra copies of the awesome Nutella $1.50 off coupon from Smartsource :(  Well, I guess that is more money in my pocket!

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

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