Monday, August 31, 2015

Frugal Failures and Successes: Monday 8/31/15

  • Last day of August... now if only the temperatures would drop, we could actually have a Fall!  Fall here tends to start when the lovebugs make their twice-a-year appearance and I spotted some in the Winn Dixie parking lot yesterday so I guess we're almost there.  You wouldn't know it from the temperatures though!  It's so humid it's unbearable.  I'm so glad we have air conditioning!  I went in my garden this morning and my iPhone wouldn't register my keystrokes (because it was so humid) and my camera lens kept on getting all fogged up...and my glasses too, which was very annoying :)

  • The Swagbucks Team Challenge starts at noon today so there's not much use for me to try earning Swagbucks before then... but I'm so used to running multiple screens on my laptop all day long (and my phone as well) that I'm at a loss!  So since I don't have to click on something every 30 seconds this morning (Ngage!),  I took the time to email my mom, tour my garden, and I'm even planning on exercising on my recumbent bike while I clip the coupons that have accumulated and also some recipes from the huge pile of free magazines from the library's donation pile (collected over the past few months) to see what I can cook this week.  Did you join the Team Challenge?  Which team are you on?!  It'd be funny if we were on the same one :) I'm on team "GT Offers".

  • The CEO of Netflix wrote a blog post yesterday justifying their ending their Epix contract saying that they would rather have "brand new, original" content such as the 6 projects that Adam freaking Sandler (can't stand him) is developing for them, as well as a sequel to Pee Wee Herman?!  I had to pinch myself and check to make sure it wasn't April Fool's Day.  Anyhoo, I'm already rarely watching Netflix anymore (and Greg never watches it unless I do and our son doesn't watch anything unless it's YouTube on his PC... although he has a Kindle and the Netflix app with our login so I ought to check if he's watched anything recently. Don't mind me, I'm thinking out loud!), so I'm really thinking about cancelling and saving $8.54 a month. My daughter does watch it while she exercises though so maybe I shouldn't. I just remembered that.  Our Amazon Prime membership will end in January and we're definitely not renewing that. Decisions, decisions... maybe I can ask her to pay for half since she has a job and is the only one using it right now?  Would that be petty?  LOL.

  • Mid-day I received an email from the Florida Virtual School where my daughter takes her French class. It's free virtual public school for Florida students... it allows them to take any classes that they would want to take but that are not taught at their school (like French!) and still earn their credits for graduation.  A lot of homeschoolers use that option too.  Anyhoo, it seems that their system recorded an out-of-state change of address for my daughter so they were telling me that since she no longer was a FL resident, we'd have to start paying for the class. Whaaaaaat?! I logged in to her profile and nothing had changed so I called them and they verified a couple of things and said to disregard the email.  They about gave me a heart attack! Anyhow, does your state offer free virtual school?  Ours is K-12. My daughter had thought about going completely virtual this year but then she changed her mind.

  • I did complete my Bing Rewards tasks for today and I'm at about 69% of my goal ($5 Amazon gift card).

  • The Swagbucks Customer Service did credit me the 100 SB that I didn't get (once again) for completing a survey yesterday, but they did so after the Survey Soiree event had ended, I think, and it would have been my 5th completed survey so I should have been able to qualify for a Swag-Up Reward if they count the C.S. survey credits.  I should email them about that.

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

  • My daughter drove herself to school, saving me time and money (one fewer roundtrip).

  • I packed leftovers for Greg to take to work and the kids also packed their lunches. I would have thought that my son would go back to his usual "I'm buying lunch on Mondays" routine, but he had packed it, so good for him!

  • I finished the box of Aldi rice squares for my breakfast and I'm almost done with that box of yucky Publix rice flakes (I mix them up with fresh strawberries so they're actually edible).  My daughter finished a box of Special K as well.  I kept the boxes and added them (along with a 3rd that was in my recycling bin) so my stash of cardboard to lay down in the garden.

  • Then I thought about the bags that hold the cereal that we usually throw away... and about all the plastic zipper bags that I tend to throw away if they've held meat (I'm on the fence about that one but I usually err on the side of caution, although it's probably silly since I wash dishes that had raw meat on them so why not bags?!).  Anyhoo, I decided to wash them and reuse them for freezing meat next time I have some. I'll use some of the many rubber bands that I rescued from my daughter's bedroom last week to seal the bags.  We'll see how that works.

  • I collected the "crumbs" at the bottom of the bag of rice squares and I will use them to top a yogurt later on today.

  • I emptied the countertop composting bin (a steel canister with a clear lid that I had found at my local thrift store last year for $5-$6, I think) into the large composting bin outside (bought at Aldi this spring for about $50, it replaced my Rubbermaid bin that I had been using).  I cleaned it and relined it with scraps of paper from when I clip the coupons that I print. I have a huge bag of those that never seems to go down since I keep on printing coupons!

  • I did 2 "super" loads of laundry on cold/cold, using vinegar for the softener.  I will try hanging the undies/exercise clothes/socks/cleaning cloths and cloth napkins indoors since it's so humid outside and it's supposed to rain a lot today anyway. The cotton clothing and bath towels will go in the dryer on the Auto Moisture Sensing setting (I showed my youngest son how to use that setting yesterday since he does his own laundry and I'll need to show my middle son as well).

  • I used a piece of scrap paper (leftover from coupon clipping, again!) to write an inventory of my fridge to work on a menu for this week. 

  • I used another piece of scrap paper to make a list of to-do for today. Honestly, if I don't do that early in the morning, I won't be as productive.  I have alarms on my phone, reminder emails from my Google calendar, and I tend to ignore all of those.  I like having a written list that I can cross off, call me weird if you'd like.  Or a troglodyte.  The older I get, the more I'm reverting to "lo-tech" methods.

  • I had a chicken breast that I had defrosted last week but not used so I got another one out of the freezer and threw them both in my crockpot.  I used 2 partially used bottles of barbecue sauce that were in my fridge and also put a little bit of water and shook them to get all of the barbecue sauce out.  I'm cooking those on low all day long and I'll shred them tonight and serve them on the leftover hamburger buns that we have, along with a salad.

  • My middle son came down and said he was going to Publix to pick up some groceries for himself. I tried to convince him to go to Aldi instead but he wanted to go to the closest (and most expensive!) store. Grr.  I considered asking him to pick up the kefir for me but thought better of it since he was in a rush and I wanted to look for a coupon.  I did give him a couple of coupons for things he was planning on buying (I have tons of men's body wash and deodorant that he could have for free but he insists on his "own" brands!) and also told him to input my home phone number at the register so he could get any digital coupons that I might have clipped.  Then I rushed to my Publix digital account and uploaded as many digital coupons as I could for items that I wouldn't usually buy just in case HE did, lol. He's a very stubborn child who always wants to do things his way even if they're not the most beneficial ones so it's going to be a frustrating 4 months, watching him waste his money.  Arrgh.  But he did take the coupons and wrote down the home phone number (nobody knows it because we never use it!) so maybe there's hope?! Update: when he came home, he said that he realized in the driveway that he had bought a lot of frozen food and that his mini fridge that he had bought only had a tiny freezer compartment and that I never have any room in my freezer so he drove back to Publix and returned all the frozen food.  Then, while we were speaking, he admitted that he forgot to use the $2 coupon I had given him for his body wash.  I told him that if he went back to Publix with his receipt and the coupon, Customer Service would give him the $2 back. He was surprised and happy to hear that.  Later on I was looking through all his purchases and he not only purchased items for which I had coupons (Barilla pasta, Ragu Alfredo sauce...) but he also completely missed the items right next to them that were on BOGO promotion this week (Ronzoni pasta, Prego Alfredo sauce).  ARRRGH. I tried telling him to take everything back and buy what was on BOGO but he had just realized that he wasn't off today like he thought he was and that he was supposed to be at his job at Universal Studios in about an hour so he left very fast and didn't even leave me his receipt so I could do that for him.  Arrgh, arrgh, arrgh. It's so frustrating to be the very frugal mother of a stubborn, unorganized child who is not frugal at all...

  • On the other end, I told you we were charging him rent, right?  $200 a month and I also had him give me a $200 "security deposit" because I just repainted that room and the desk that is inside, we replaced the windows as well. This is the child who left me a room with gum stuck under the bed, a mess, and drawings on the walls when he moved out after graduation and who is famously messy.  So I wanted to be strict.  Don't tell him but if all goes well (no damage and he respects our rules), I'll give him the money back at the end of his stay. But, shhhh.  He paid me the $400 this morning.  This is also the child who refused to mow the lawn once a week, which was the only "rent" I wanted to charge him after graduation, so he moved in with his dad.  Where he didn't have to pay rent and everything was given to him but where the rules are wayyyy stricter than here. He didn't bat an eye when I told him he'd have to pay $200 a month to live here, LOL.

  • I hadn't done the dishes this weekend so I ran a very full load. I forgot to mention that I found 2 packets of Finish dish detergent behind my fridge when I cleaned back there on Friday. Score!  I put them aside as "emergency" packets in case I ever run out.

  • I took 2 Driscoll's surveys from berries that I had bought back in July and earned 4 more $1.00/1 printable coupons for this week's shopping trip :)  I think the raspberries are on sale at Target for $1.99 this week and I also need 2 more quarts of strawberries for a special cake that I'll be making for my daughter's birthday.

  • I clipped coupons and recipes while I was biking on my recumbent bike and watching an episode of Law & Order SVU on Netflix.

  • My lunch was a bunch of leftovers and food saves: a wrap made with one of the Flatout Spinach wraps that I bought last week for $0.19 for 2 packages (my daughter doesn't like them!), the meat pulled from 3 small drumsticks from last night's dinner, a little bit of cheddar cheese, and some sliced olives from a can I opened last week. A small Caprese salad with 2 tomatoes that were going soft, the rest of the mozzarella that I bought 2 weeks ago and that was starting to turn, some basil harvested from my garden, and a cup of yogurt topped with the rice squares "crumbs" salvaged earlier today.

  • I joined the Swagbucks Team Challenge at a little bit after noon and an hour later I had already reached the 200 TEAM points to get the 150 SB Swag-up rebate, woohoo!

  • Greg's stomach has been hurting so we decided that I'd get him some kefir (the probiotics have helped him in the past). I found a $1.00/2 printable coupon on and looked over what else I had wanted to buy at Publix this week. 

  • When my daughter came back from school, I took my SUV to run some errands, all within a 4 miles radius:
    • I first stopped at Racetrac and redeemed a survey code for a free hot dog and condiments (my lunch tomorrow).
    • then I went to Publix and got the Kefir ($2.59 for just 24 oz!  It used to be about $2.79 for 32 oz just a year and a half ago!) and other items.  I didn't find the marzipan that I needed. They had almond paste that I almost got but it was a little more than $7 a tube and when I looked up the difference between that and marzipan on my phone, comments said it wasn't the same thing at all so I left it there. I might try to find it at Target or Michael's on Wednesday.  I got unflavored gelatin because I need it for the cake. For years I've had envelopes of the stuff that sat untouched in my pantry and now I can't find them. I'm afraid I got rid of them last time I had pantry moths?!
    • My next stop was Walgreens to get the Arizona Tea that my daughter likes and that is on sale this week (I forgot to pick it up yesterday) for $0.50 a large can. Yes, I should just brew her some green tea and put it in a to go cup. I need to look up copycat recipes for it.
    • My last stop was the library where I picked up a free magazine from the donation pile (more recipes, ack!) and a book that was waiting for me.  I met the new head librarian, a  male, who confirmed that he would continue (and "improve") the teen program that the previous librarian has run.  Yay!  He wants to poll the teens to see what they would like to do so I told him my son likes Dungeons and Dragons and is interested in video production and IT classes.  The librarian's background is actually IT apparently so he was happy to hear that.  I hope something great comes out of it!

  • My youngest son stayed after school today since cross country practice starts this week.  Of course, this is free to us, yay!

  • I earned 5 KFR points by entering bonus code KIDS-LOVE-COLORING  in my Kellogg's Family Rewards account and then another 100 KFR points by entering code SAVI-NGSR-EWAR-DS4U. Also, heads-up, they'll be having a special bonus during Labor Day:

  • I entered my exercise into Walgreens' Balance Rewards for Healthy Choices and earned 100 BR points, which takes me to 4130 points. When I reach 5000 points, I can redeem them for $5 off my purchase!


  • Gas: I needed to run to Publix to get some kefir for Greg who think he's developed some kind of an ulcer, so I did my Publix shopping for the week while I was there and I won't need to go there on Wednesday.  I also stopped by the library to pick up a book that was waiting for me.

  • I had some food waste, which I will explain on Friday during Food Waste Friday.  Poop.
Did you have any frugal successes or failures today? Please do tell!


  1. I am confident that in the 4 months your middle son lives at home, some of your frugality will "rub off" on him. It may not be evident however until he moves out, and he finds himself needing to adopt some of your methods.

    Lunch looks terrific the wrap.

    What do you earn with all those Kellogg's family bonus points??

    1. You can redeem them for merchandise but I always choose to redeem them for $1.00/1 Kelloggs cereal coupons. I then pair those with a sale and a store coupon *(if I'm lucky) or Extracare bucks offers from CVS and then I get cereal that my kids love but that is otherwise expensive, very cheaply or free :)


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