Thursday, August 20, 2015

Frugal Failures and Successes: Thursday 8/20/15

  • I was a little frazzled yesterday after our longer than usual and later in the day than usual shopping trip so I forgot to welcome Tara from Daily Delight in the UK!  Tara blogs from the UK and, like the rest of us, is trying to be more frugal in several areas of her life so she can spend money on what truly matters to her.  Please join me in encouraging her in her endeavors and share any tips that you found useful in your own efforts. Welcome, Tara!

  • My son had his Meet the Teachers event this morning. I stood by and let him introduce himself, although I did jump in to ask relevant questions if he forgot to. In 8th grade, it's about time that he takes control of his own life.  We met his BFF over there who then walked back home with us so he could spend the day with my son.  They played Dungeons and Dragons and video games.

  • My daughter has decided to just my recumbent bike instead of biking through the neighborhood on a bike borrowed from her dad's.  We will have him pick up the bike next time he's on this side of town. This is declutter my front porch (we don't have a garage), will prevent the bike from getting all rusted, and I won't have to worry about my daughter getting attacked or run over, lol. Yes, I am a worrywart when it comes to my kids.  I have the recumbent bike at home anyway and she can watch TV or even study while she gets her daily exercise in the comfort of our home :) I should go back to using it too but right now chores call and also I want to earn more Swagbucks, darn it.

  • Last night I requested a free sample of U by Kotex products from Target Samples thanks to a heads-up from Coupon Pro.

  • I packed leftovers for Greg to take to work today.

  • I worked on getting my Bing Reward credits and Swagbucks for the day. I'm at 90% of my Bing Rewards goal with 431 credits, which meas that I should be able to order a $5 Amazon gift card on Saturday. Yay!

  • On the Swagbucks front I haven't tried doing any surveys at all this week. I've met my first Daily Goal every day but haven't reached my 2nd Daily Goal (usually over 300 SB!) for the past several days. I could do it if I babysat my laptop all day long, but there are indeed chores that need to be done around here! Still, I'm almost at the halfway mark with 1,157 SB as of 8:30 p.m. tonight (I need 2,500 SB to get another $25 gift card) so I almost certain that I will be able to get another Amazon gift card this month (which would make 4 for August!).

  • For breakfast, I mixed half a serving of Special K Red Berries and half a serving of Publix Crispy Rice flakes. I had bought the generic rice flakes many moons ago, hoping that my daughter might like them as much as Special K but she didn't and never ate them.   So I'll be eating them down :)

  • Our water bill came in and we used 1,000 gallons less than the previous month. Woohoo! They bill us in 1,000 gallon increments. I had never thought of it before but it really ticks me off because that's a huge increment, isn't it?  How is your water billed? Here is the breakdown of our bill this month:

And here are the consumption numbers for the past 3 months. The dates are misleading because our reader is read around the 3rd of the month so the "August" bill is really how much we used in July and so on and so forth.  So in July we actually used 4,000 gallons.  The kids and I were gone until July 9th and then my daughter went to her dad's for the rest of the month so that explains the lower consumption (we seem to vary wildly but we were at 5,000 gallons for 3 months in a row in the Spring so I'm going to use that as a baseline). The "July 2015" number is actually how much water was used in June.  The kids and I were gone starting on June 11 so that explains that much lower consumption since Greg was home alone.  He had to water my garden some and I'm pretty sure he didn't collect water from the shower to flush the toilet, lol.  Our May consumption was higher, probably because May was pretty dry for us and I was watering my garden. Also everyone but me takes long showers. They drive me crazy!  Anyhoo, I usually budget $100 a month for this bill (which combines water/sewer and trash/recycling pick up), based on a worst-case scenario (i.e. how much my bills used to be when 8 of us lived at home!).  Every month I report the overage to the following month (so it's a built-in cushion to ensure that we don't run out of money in our checking account since I'm paranoid about that) and at the end of the year I'll apply this "credit" to either a plane ticket if I decide to go back to France next year or to savings.  I paid this bill online (like all my bills these days) so here is to saving a stamp and an envelope!

  •  I baked a loaf of bread with the rest of the dough that I had made this past weekend.  My fridge is totally full so if I bake bread the rest of this week, I'll be using the breadmaker so I don't have to store dough in the fridge.  I'm going to try to remember using the ingredients from the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day in the bread maker without mixing the dough in advance and see how that turns out!

  • I had 4 apples that had gotten kind of wrinkly so I used them to make unsweetened applesauce in the crockpot since I use applesauce in lieu of oil when I bake. I had never tried to make applesauce before but it turned out great and was so easy and quick to make. I did compost the peels and cores because I tried to make apple jelly with those of 2 separate occasions and failed miserably so I'm not trying anymore!

  • My son and I walked to his middle school (and back!) for the Meet the Teachers event instead of driving there.

  • Nobody ever finished the last piece of banana chocolate chip bread that I had defrosted last week and it had gotten a little hard. I nuked it for about 30 seconds and enjoyed it with a cup of instant decaff coffee as a late morning snack :)

  • Right now you can earn 100 KFR points by linking your CVS Extracare card to your Kellogg's Family Rewards account.  The real bonus is in not having to upload your CVS receipts to the site anymore :) I also earned 25 bonus points for entering bonus code ITSSOEASY2LUVKFR.

  • I qualified to receive a sample of Lucky Charms cereal (my son's favorite!) as a subscriber of the Boxtops4Education e-newsletter. Bring on the free food!

  • For lunch I had the 2nd free hot dog that I got at Racetrac yesterday (topped with my homemade zesty pickles), along with the can of Murphy Cherry Limeade that I had gotten for free from Murphy USA.  I made a side salad with 2 Roma tomatoes that were starting to go South, half an avocado that I had found in my fridge, and some mozzarella cheese. I sprinkled some balsamic vinegar over all that. It was yummy.

  • I had asked my daughter to return a book for me at the library while she was out and she also picked up a book and a DVD set that were waiting for me. My goal is to read the book by Monday so I can return it then.

  • Somehow most of the items that I ordered online this past week came in today so I ended up with 4 cardboard boxes. I put most of them away so I could reuse them to take donations to the thrift store or to pack and ship Christmas presents, however I decided to keep my (wildly unreasonable) birthday candles from Bath & Body Works in their own box until my birthday.  The box, regular plain cardboard on the outside, was a delightful, colorful surprise on the inside... and they also sent me some coupons.
Love the printed white and blue pattern on the inside of the cardboard box!

  • I ordered 10 free prints from Walgreens. I chose 10 pictures from our French trip :)  Now I'll need to pick up more picture frames at the Dollar Tree!

  • A lot of coupons reset so I printed a few, including a lot of pet coupons that I will donate to the South Lake Animal League Thrift Store.

  • I took the survey on my Racetrac receipt from yesterday and earned a survey reward code for another free roller grill item.

  • My daughter put together her shoe rack and the entry to her room looks so much neater now!  She was left with 2 extra bolts, a small wrench and an Allen wrench (they came with the rack) so I saved those in our tool box.

  • My son's BFF's mom came to pick him up so we didn't have to drive 30 minutes RT to take him home :)

  • For dinner I made the Salisbury Meatloaf and Potatoes.  It was pretty easy to make and a huge hit with my family!  Since I cooked the rest of the red potatoes that I had bought at Aldi a few weeks ago, I have enough mashed potatoes leftovers for 2 more meals, but we ate all the "meatloaf". I used 1 lb of 73% ground beef (bought in 5-lb chubs at Aldi and frozen in 1-lb sections), breadcrumbs that I had made from hot dog buns that were getting moldy (I had cut the moldy parts off first, of course!), homegrown thyme, the 1/2 bag of baby carrots and carrot sticks that I had stuck in the freeze right before we left for our French trip, and some diced celery and onion that I had bought on sale at Aldi at various times and then diced and frozen. I served the meal with thin slices of the bread that I had baked earlier.  Yum, yum, yum. I will definitely make this recipe again!  Sorry, I forgot to take pictures though, as we all dug in as soon as the food was on the table!

  • Our School District's blog had a post today about the YMCA providing free after-school enrichment classes at several middle schools throughout our county, including my son's middle school, for the next 5 years. They will also provide snacks.  There is no mention of needing to qualify according to the parents' income so I'm assuming if this for everybody.  However, there is also no mention of exactly what activities they will be providing, just a note that anyone interested should contact the principal of each school.  I checked our middle school's website to make sure that Feedly hadn't missed a post from that school and no, there is nothing about that on there. Grrr.  School starts in 2 business days and the "Parent Info" section of the site is non-operational. Way to go, webmaster.  This is exactly why, when I worked at the first elementary public school that my son attended, I requested to be the person updating the school's website. As a matter of fact I just checked their website and I giggled because the whole section that I had created about my actual function at the school is still there, as I typed it, with the pictures that I had posted. They just changed the name of the staffer.  It's been 4 years since I worked there!  Anyhoo, I emailed the principal tonight, asking her what is going on with that YMCA program. I'd like my son to be more involved with after-school activities since the library's teen program doesn't look like it's resuming.

  • I gave Greg the protein bars that I bought for him at Aldi yesterday so he shouldn't be buying any from the vending machine!

  • Gas: my daughter had to drive to the high school to pick up her official schedule and I asked her to swing by the library too.

  • I put $10 in each child's school lunch account for the coming month. As in the past, my son will be permitted to buy lunch from school once a week (he will be packing his lunch the rest of the time). My daughter will be a on a reduced schedule at school since she will be attending college classes and also taking classes online so I don't think it will be a problem for her to just eat lunch at home if she forgets her packed lunch. However, I put $10 in her account, "just in case". I replenish their accounts $10 at a time, manually, because I'd rather my money be sitting in my account than in the school's.  We can set up thresholds for when we want the system to send us an email letting us know that a lunch account has fallen below a certain limit and it only takes 24 hours for the funds to be deposited in the account anyway.

  • No failures today :)

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

1 comment:

  1. Hi Nathalie, Thank you so much for the welcome. I consider myself very lucky to have found you! Its amazing how you manage to meet such lovely people from blogging. I'm glad you have had another successful day. We are off to MIL's for lunch. Have a great day xx


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