Sunday, August 30, 2015

Frugal Failures and Successes: Sunday 8/30/15




HAPPENINGS AROUND HERE TODAY:
  • Erika might have dissipated but it rained a lot last night and today's weather was overcast and very, very humid, hence HOT.  I spotted the first lovebugs of the Fall in the Winn Dixie parking lot.

  • We spent a few hours playing our weekly Family Dungeons & Dragons game last night with our son.  He took my feedback to heart and was much more descriptive, which helped my enthusiasm and interest level :)  I was exhausted by all the day's activities, though, and slept like a baby.  Still, I got up at 7:15 this morning because I love being the only one up on Sunday mornings :)


FRUGAL SUCCESSES:
  • I printed a few coupons from my usual sources (coupons.com via Swagbucks, Smartsource (was finally able to print from there!), Target) and also uploaded digital coupons to my Publix and Walgreens digital wallets.

  • I didn't take a shower since I took a bath late yesterday afternoon.

  • Winn Dixie sent me an email to promote their 3-day sale and I started agonizing about whether I should go today or skip the sale altogether and have a No Drive Day.  TrayceeBee and Tara weighed in in the comments, thanks ladies!  I did end up going and maximized my trip in the following ways:
    • I looked at the regular sales flyer as well and realized there were quite a few good prices on meat and other items. I made a list of what I wanted to buy and looked for coupons too.
    • I stopped by Racetrac, got a free hot dog with a survey reward code, and also a free sandwich because I splurged and bought myself a Diet Coke. The cashier didn't give me a receipt at first so I asked for it because 1) I always want a receipt (for my own accounting purposes) and 2) I'm going to take the survey on the receipt to earn another free hot dog :)  I let the cashier pack my items in a plastic bag, something I would usually refuse, because I passed the plastic bag down to my daughter for her to use as a liner for her trashcan.
    • I stopped by Save A Lot and got more grapes @ $0.99/lb.  The sale ends on Tuesday and my kids looooove grapes so the ones I bought last Wednesday were already gone.  I also had printed 2 more Kraft barbecue sauce coupons from my son's computer so I got 2 more bottles for $0.24 each after coupon.  There weren't any empty boxes at the checkout area so I found my favorite cashier who was stocking shelves and asked if 
    • I stopped by Walgreens and bought 2 cans of olives with a coupon. Those were the only items that I wanted to buy at Walgreens this week and they were the last 2 on the shelf as well! I earned 10 Balance Reward points with this purchase.
    • At Winn Dixie, I stocked up on meat and fish: 2 lbs of tilapia (on BOGO sale), almost 7 lbs of pork loin (on sale at $2.00/lb), almost 9 lbs of bone-in chicken breasts (on sale @ $1.45/lb), and 10 lbs of chicken leg quarters (on sale @ $0.49/lb). I also found leeks on sale for $1.50/lb. I could probably have waited a few weeks and found them at Publix for $0.99/lb but I love my carrot coriander soup that uses leeks so I "splurged". I also got a couple more things with coupons.  I earned $0.05 in Fuel Perks (although I won't use them as the Shell station is way more expensive than Racetrac to start with!).
So I'll up my weekly grocery budget to its official $100 for this week.  Hopefully I won't go over it!

  • Back home, I took the time to "butcher" and repackage the chicken and pork (all but 1 of the zipper bags that I used to repackage those had already been used and washed at least once).  I ended up with 4 bags of 2 large chicken breasts each , 4 bags of (1) pork roast each , 2 bags of (4) pork chops each, 1 bag of (4) large drumsticks, 1 bag of (5) large drumsticks, 1 bag of (4) large chicken thighs, 1 bag of (5) large chicken thighs) = so 14 meals at least for $31.40 or about $2.42 per meal that will feed 4 people, probably with some leftovers.  Also, I will have lots of chicken bones to make chicken stock. Bonus!

  • I cut up and rinsed the leeks, put the "peelings" in the veggie bag that I keep in the freezer for when I made stock, and placed the 2 ends in a recycled take-out container filled with water to try to regrow some leeks (my previous experiment didn't end well as the heat and the squirrels destroyed my zombie leeks!).


  • My lunch (at 3 p.m.!) was the free hot dog from Racetrac, the leftover rice and veggies from Greg's dinner last night, the left over orange that my daughter had peeled for her fruit salad, and the Diet Coke that I had bought.  My son had made himself a sandwich and also ate the free sandwich that I got at Racetrac for buying the Diet Coke.  Teenage boys are locusts in disguise!

  • My daughter was worried that her bathroom sink was draining very slowly so I asked Greg to look at it (I was busy "butchering" the chicken!) and he was able to pull the stopper out and cleared some gunk that was stuck in there. No need to call a plumber, yay!

  • I ordered a generator (see: splurges).  I went through the Discover Deals portal and paid with my Discover card, which should give us 5% back on our order (or about $45) in Discover Rewards that I will be able to use on Amazon for future freebies, he he he. Hopefully the generator will come in before the next major storm ("Fred" is in the Atlantic right now!).

  • I ordered a battery for the generator (also see: splurges) from a site that Greg researched.  They didn't charge us tax OR shipping (woohoo!). I looked for a promotional code on RetailMeNot but couldn't find anything.  I charged it to our American Express (which offers the best reward percentage, generally).  Upon completing my order, the confirmation page was displayed. I read the small print and there was an offer to get $20 back on our order if we liked them on Facebook or Google+ and wrote a review on a site called TrustPilot. I'm not on Facebook but I do have a Google+ that is completely private (only used to communicate with my brothers) and that I actually don't use anymore because both my brothers and I actually hated how it worked.  So I took screenshots of the review and of the "now following" screen from my G+ account and emailed them to their customer service department and I hope that they'll credit me the $20!


  • I entered the code from my Diet Coke bottle cap in MyCokeRewards and earned 3 MCR points.


  • I took two surveys on my Racetrac receipts from 2 separate gas stations and earned two reward codes for a free roller grill item each.


  • Home Depot sent me a $5 off $50 coupon for subscribing to their emails.  The thing is... I was already subscribed?! I'll take the coupon, though.  It doesn't expire until 9/20.

  • Inspired by TrayceeBee from Just Keep Swimming, Mama Fish!, I took the surveys at the bottom of my Walgreens and Winn Dixie receipts, and joined (for the umptieth time) the Save A Lot Smart Shopper Club.  All of those enter you in a different sweepstake to earn various amounts of gift cards. I never win at those things but you don't win if you don't play, right?

  • I skipped dinner since I had eaten lunch at 3 p.m.  My family had the planned Ten Things Farm Chicken Drumsticks and the Porcini-Filled Tortellini.  We ended up with leftovers for Greg's lunch since I didn't eat. Yay!  We also had 3 extra drumsticks so I pulled the meat from those so I can make myself a chicken wrap tomorrow for lunch.  My daughter reminded me that I wanted everyone to keep me their bones by asking me what she should do with hers.  Smart girl!  I froze everyone's drumstick bones to make chicken stock later on this month.

  • Sometimes the easiest solution is the smartest... the plastic drawer cabinet that I use for my spices is on wheels and fits perfectly under my little kitchen island so it's out of the way.  I noticed tonight that one of the wheels had come off and when I inspected it, it appeared that the casing that the wheel nests into had broken. I tried fixing it with duct tape (didn't work), the old Sugru (didn't work, too old), superglue (didn't work and got it all over my fingertips so now my iPhone doesn't recognize my fingerprints anymore, arrgh) and was really frustrated so I finally got out the glue gun.  Only that didn't work either. ARRGH.  Greg asked me if it was finally time to buy a new one. Nooooooooo!  I was stumped for about a minute until I realized that the solution was obvious: remove all the wheels!  Now it just sits on the floor, which, actually, is fine. Dirt won't collect under it anymore and I rarely (if ever) wheeled it around my kitchen anyway.  Woohoo, "fixed" it for free!
Not a crafter... and I ended up with glue all over.  All my spices!
I keep them organized by making labels that I laminate and glue
on the top of each jar with my hot glue gun. It's worked very well
for me!

WE SPLURGED ON:

  • A 20-oz bottle of Diet Coke at Racetrac.  $1.79 but I got a free sandwich ($3.69 value) with it by using a store coupon.  My son ate the sandwich as his "2nd lunch" (teenagers!).


  • Gas to run all those errands!

  • Wood to make a shelf: my daughter asked to borrow my glue gun and when I inquired as what she had done with it. she showed me this shelf that she made for her bathroom.  Apparently she stopped by Michael's before work yesterday and bought herself wood to make the shelf. Ingenious, but we do have free wood in the shed!  Anyhoo. I was tickled pink that she made it herself so I told her I'd refund her for the supplies (about $5).  Hopefully next time she will think to ask Greg or myself if we have something that she could use for free, or go to thrift stores to see what is available.

  • A generator.  Greg spent time researching the generators that interested him and presented me with 2 choices from the Home Depot website.  I agreed with his top choice, which is $100 cheaper than the one we would have bought on Friday and is more versatile (works with gas and propane).  Cost: $897 + tax but priceless if a storm comes and we lose power for more than 2 hours! Yes, I am a delicate flower :) We also need to order the battery separately, and get a special funnel and motor oil. We picked the curbside delivery for an additional $55 instead of picking it up at the store for free because it's 200 lbs!  



  • A battery for the generator. It wasn't strictly necessary as you can start it with a pull cord, but Greg knows that I hate pull cords (I don't have much upper body strength!) so he thought it'd be a good idea to get the battery so I could just push a button to start the generator. Ok by me! It was an additional $79 so definitely a splurge,  but, as I said earlier, I hope to get $20 back.

HOWEVER, WE FAILED IN THE FOLLOWING WAYS, BUT LEARNED SOME LESSONS:
  • The scale that I bought at Aldi last week (marked down to $6.99) is really a piece of crap.  Both my daughter and I tried it and it records our weight with a 5 to 7 lb difference each time we step on it!  I don't think Aldi will refund it since I can't go back until Wednesday.  There isn't a phone number listed for the store either so I emailed their corporate customer service with a copy of my receipt and a picture of the scale. Based on previous interaction with them, I'm skeptical that they'll agree to refund me.



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

4 comments:

  1. Nathalie, you really really really maximized that trip yesterday to get the pork! I'm impressed with how well you did overall and even more impressed (shocked) at how LOW the prices in Florida go! Our Stop and Shop and Big Y stores NEVER have prices that low for chicken breasts or quarters. I can't even remember the last time I saw a 99 cents per pound sale. Nice stocking up!
    I'm not so sure I would call the generator a "splurge" - especially since you live where hurricanes are prevalent! It sounds maybe not quite a necessity but an extremely smart move, nonetheless! I'm thinking that it will more than pay for itself after you need to use it a few times and don't lose all your fridge/freezer goods each time the power goes out.

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  2. Love what you did with the spice cabinet brilliant! Glad you did so well when you went shopping, there really was some serious bargains there. Racetrak sounds fab is it a petrol station? X

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    1. Racetrac is indeed a gas station (sorry, petrol station!) here in parts of the South. They usually have some of the lowest prices on gas and this great program where you take a survey about your purchase (with your receipt) online and they issue you a code that gives you a freebie when you turn in your receipt with the code written on it. Since my husband commutes 1 hour to work and I top off my tank every week just to get the receipt, I get a lot of freebies from them. Right now it's roller grill items (hot dogs, corn dogs, taquitos, and a bunch of other types of sausages that I'm not interested in) but often it's a cookie or a muffin, or a large coffee. Earlier this year it was a free breakfast sandwich, which my youngest son loved :) They also have an email newsletter and if you subscribe to it they email you a coupon for another freebie once a month. Since there is a station within a mile of my house and another one (which charges less for the gas) near where all the shops are, that's definitely the gas stations that we use all the time.

      Do any of your stores give you freebies for filling out surveys?

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  3. You did wonderfully on your meat purchases. When I find a sale like that, on whole chickens or pork loins, it only take a little while to butcher and package into meal portions. I am at the point right now, where I don't need to buy any meat for a while. I would like to use up what I have now to make more room for the bargains that will come in the fall before Thanksgiving and Christmas, and to make room for the veggies from the garden. I pre-bought meat for my company this summer, but have not used it all up.

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