Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Frugal Failures and Successes: Tuesday 8/25/15



HAPPENINGS AROUND HERE TODAY:
  • Another hot day predicted today and a new tropical storm (Erika) has formed in the Atlantic, and the forecast seem to put us right in its path, although it's still a week or so away.  I'm hoping it'll veer to the North before it reaches us! September is historically the busiest month as far as storms and hurricanes are concerned so it looks like it's going to be a long month. It also marks the 10th anniversary since we were hit with 4 hurricanes in a month, something that I'm not eager to repeat.  I really should be getting hurricane supplies this week. Gotta add some stuff to my list!  We never did get the generator. I just texted Greg asking what his plans were with that...

  • My daughter had her first in-person college class today! She got a free water bottle as a welcome gift.


FRUGAL SUCCESSES:
  • I packed leftovers for Greg to take to work. The kids packed their lunches for school.

  • I needed refried beans to make the Beef and Bean Taco Casserole for dinner tonight but I didn't have any canned beans. I looked up a recipe to make them myself and found one to make them in the crockpot. Yay!  I had only 1.5 cups of pinto beans so I halved the recipe.  It was my first try making refried beans.  I was thinking that I would make them in the pressure cooker (that I still haven't used) but I'm happy to have found the crockpot recipe because I'm still afraid that I will blow up the house with the pressure cooker. Do you cook with a pressure cooker?

  • I earned my Bing Rewards credits for today and worked on getting enough Swagbucks to make my 1st Daily Goal. There's a special Swag-Up to be earned this week by completing surveys but it's not as easy to get it as last time since the surveys where you are disqualified don't count. Since I'm almost always disqualified, I don't have much hope. I did complete a couple of surveys this morning, two for which I earned 50 SB each and the other that disqualified me right at the end, when they had already gotten what they wanted. I'm really sick of this. I emailed Customer Service and we'll see if they will be able to help. It was for 50 SB as well. They did credit me the 50 SB later on in the day. In the meantime, I finally got 60 SB for coupons that I had printed through their website and redeemed. Woohoo!  It'd been a while since I had gotten any SB from coupons although I mostly use SB coupons when I shop.  Do you print coupons via Swagbucks? You get 10 SB per coupon that you redeem. (referral link!)


  • I won 50 Bing Rewards credits for answering a text message right away as part of a big Bing Rewards promo. Woohoo!


  • Once again it poured last night so I didn't have to worry about watering the garden today. I could get used to this!

  • I spent an hour in the garden from 9 to 10 a.m., planting the last of the pineapples and also transplanting one of the zombie ones from the windowsill into a pot outside (I'll wait until the roots are stronger before planting it in ground. I also pulled weeds, sprayed wasp nests (they continue to appear every day and once again there was one under the lip of one of my tomato self-watering bins.  Gotta be careful with that.
I need to pick up some free cardboard boxes (hopefully) when I go grocery shopping tomorrow and then free mulch (hopefully)
from the dump on Thursday morning and then I will lay down the cardboard and mulch the pineapple area.I'm also
going to get some more plastic edging and install it all the way around the vegetable garden so I or Greg can then edge the weeeds and make for a cleaner look :)

  • Speaking of cardboard boxes, I just remembered that my daughter put 2 large ones (from her organizer and her shoe rack) in the recycling bin to be picked up tomorrow so I got them out and will use them in my garden!


  • I was going to spray the weeds going in the cracks of the driveway with homemade weed killer, but I realized that I still had half a bottle of Ace Hardware weed and grass killer that I had gotten for free last summer. So I used that. I'm almost out so I put down to make weed killer on my to-do list as I really need to spray the little weeds growing between the pavers of my patio.  I think I'll do that later on this week.

  • While I was spraying the weeds, I found the button to my car radio that my daughter and I thought had been lost yesterday. What a relief!  It comes off very easily and I've been meaning to fix it for... a few months with some Sugru that I had given Greg for Christmas several years ago and that he never used. If only I could remember where he put it...

  • Update: I found the Sugru but it had expired (see "Failures") and I couldn't roll it like playdough. I decided to stick a piece of it in that middle roundish hole where the radio's metal "peg" would go in and then stuck it on the radio... and it seems to have worked!  I wouldn't pull on it (and there's not need to pull on the button anyway, it's strictly a push or turn button that is my ON/OFF and volume control button in my SUV) but it seems to be much less loose than it was before. Phew!


  • I was going to throw away the empty bag of peat moss when I realized that I could just put it on the new, open one, upside down, like a cap, so the rainwater doesn't get into it. Yay!

  • The squash is almost definitely acorn squash!  Yum!  But also, I'm not sure if any of the squashes will survive. One of them already fell to the ground and it's all soft. I think mildew has gotten on the plant, on account of all the rain. 

  • I did some research and apparently I shouldn't feel bad as 70% of all cucurbits crops in Florida develop powdery mildew.  Neem oil is NOT recommended because it could hurt the bees and other predators that are actually needed as pollinators.  Weirdly, cow's milk might also work although they don't mention whether pasteurized milk works or just raw milk... well, I do have milk in my fridge so maybe I'll spray that instead. Update: well I couldn't find ANY of the products listed in my research either at Ace Hardware, Lowe's, Home Depot, or even Amazon!  I did find Bayer Advanced Natria Disease Control that gets great reviews on Amazon, is organic (although I couldn't find any info whether it contained Neem oil or not) and for which I found a $3 rebate (as well as printable coupons but none of my local stores seem to be carrying this particular product) online. So I ordered it on Amazon, got it for free thanks to my Bing Reward/Swagbucks gift cards, and decided to chance picking the "no rush delivery" option again so I could get the $1 digital credit.  I'm hoping they will still ship it in 2 days like they did with the HDMI cable :) So I made the not-so-clever choice to go with the "chemical" stuff before trying the cow's milk but the Natria didn't technically cost me anything and I can still try the cow's milk if the Natria doesn't work, right?  Right.


  • I brewed a whole kettle's worth of Mango Passionfruit herbal tea.  I've been bad about drinking water and I need to get rid of all the herbal tea in my kitchen drawers. I bought it 2-3 years ago so it's time to use it up ;)


Hmm, hmm, refreshing!  I did use a couple of packing of PureVia sweetener so it would go
down easier though.  
  • My lunch consisted of leftovers again.  It's going to be hard going back to counting calories but also trying to make sure we don't waste food!  Mac'n cheese from 2 nights ago, the last corn muffin from last week, and the leftover salad from last night. I ate it in its containers so I wouldn't dirty any more dishes than need was.

  • I loaded up this week's Healthy Offer from SavingStar (20% off bananas) even though I don't think I'll use it because I don't think it'll be better than buying my bananas for $0.39/lb at Aldi :)

  • A bunch of bloggers (including Southern Savers) are reporting that if you have a Target REDcard, you can get a free Icee at the Target CafĂ© through 8/29 by just showing your REDcard.  I don't see any confirmation of this on the Target or Redcard websites so I'm not sure if it's valid at any Target stores or just certain regions,  but I guess I'll try it tomorrow morning. Did you receive a flyer about this when you last shopped at Target?  Apparently some did...

  • Walgreens sent me a "personalized offer" without many details but it seems that if I buy something (no price limit/minimum apparently) from them today or tomorrow, I'll get 2,000 Balance Reward points.  I read the fine print and the trick I need to remember is that I can't use any Register Rewards on that purchase. I did have $2.50 in Register Rewards to use tomorrow and I was only planning on getting one thing this week so I need to look at their brochure again to see what else I might want to buy in exchange for getting 2,000 Register Rewards (which is equivalent to $2 off a future purchase).

  • I printed several Kellogg's coupons from the Kellogg's Family Rewards site.  We eat a lot of cereal over here :)

  • Speaking of Kellogg's Family Rewards, I'm finally getting their emails (I had contacted them a couple of weeks ago because everyone on blogs was always talking about receiving emails from Kellogg's and I never did!).  I like that they mail me a digest of how many points I earned recently, it'll be a nice reminder to check my account to make sure that the purchases I made with my CVS ExtraCare card do get credited to my KFR account now that they don't print the KFR codes on the boxes anymore.

  • It looks like that sinkhole has finally stabilized but from what I can piece together, we're still under boil water order as a precaution for another 24 hours.  Of course this is pieced from several newspaper articles, still no new information from City Hall or anyone else.  I was talking to my next door neighbor today and he had no idea that we were under a boil water order at all and we don't think that our neighbor across the street knows either and he SHOULD know because he has a health condition that is pretty serious.  My neighbor is friends with him so he will tell him.  Grrr.  Anyhoo, I had asked my daughter to stop by Save A Lot after her college class and get me a case of spring water bottles, but I just thought better of it and asked her to go to Publix instead and get several gallon bottles of the Publix brand. We can refill the smaller bottles, it'll be cheaper AND better for the environment AND also I can start stocking up for hurricane season.  Her being an authorized user on my Discover card is already paying off!

  • For dinner I made Beef & Bean Taco Casserole. I made my own "refried" beans (delicious but wayyy too salty!), used 1 lb of ground beef, homemade taco seasoning, a jar of Pace salsa (bought on BOGO sale with coupons, of course!), 2 tomatoes, some olives and about 6 oz of cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese, as well as crushed tortilla chips that had been in my pantry for a while. I served extra tortilla chips on the side. They were kind of stale but the casserole was delicious!  

  • When it came time to shred the cheese, my food processor needed to be washed and I didn't feel like washing it just then, so I remembered that I had my trusty Black & Decker "Handy Slice & Shred" that I had picked up at a garage sale for just a buck several years ago so I used that. It's more of a pain to use but much easier to wash than my food processor so I might just use that in the future.


  • So my daughter needs a scientific calculator for her college algebra class. Not a graphing calculator so, phew!  At first I asked my ex if he had one. He does but he wants my daughter to drive 30 minutes (one-way) to get it so I turned it down. I checked Amazon and I could get one for free with a Swagbucks gift card but they'll deliver on Friday (unless I want to pay $4 more!) and she needs it Thursday night.  So I will go to Staples tomorrow and pick one up there. I found the Texas Instrument TI-30X IIS calculator for $14.99 on their website and there is a $4.00 rebate. I also have a 15% off coupon.


WE SPLURGED ON:
  • Gas for my daughter to drive to her high school and college classes today :)


  • Greg's been buying sodas from the vending machine at work, apparently :(
Unless they're free, LOL.


HOWEVER, WE FAILED IN THE FOLLOWING WAYS, BUT LEARNED SOME LESSONS:
  • A wasp tried to sting me while I was transplanting one of the pineapples and I dropped the pineapple and its pot, which, unfortunately happened to be the only clay pot that I had used for those pineapples. Arrgh. Of course, it shattered!  The pieces are pretty big so I'm going to try to superglue it, though.  I can never have too many pots!

  • I finally located the Sugru but I guess we never noticed that it had a "sell by" date on it.  Oh not!  Ours expired in 2012! I tried rolling it between my fingers but the rubbery feeling was gone and it was just brittle but soft silicone.  What a waste, I have 12 mini packs of it!  I'm going to email them, asking if there's a fix for expired Sugru.


  • I noticed tonight that there is no air coming out of the main AC vent in the living room despite the AC unit running non-stop. The under-the house air duct got dislodged again and we're cooling off the backyard!  It's too late at night for Greg to go under the house and he's working tomorrow and if we turn off the AC altogether it's going to get way too hot in here.  Arrgh.  Since I've noticed it the temp has just gone up by 1 degree in the living room, to 77.


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

6 comments:

  1. I hear you with the Swagbucks! As another part of my "September Reboot" challenge, I have been trying to be more vigilant about earning those reward cards! It would take some pressure of Christmas that's for sure! Anyway, I also noticed the Survery Soiree was happening again so I tried to focus on taking surveys rather than just searching on the net. So far in the past two days I haven't qualified for ANY! And, like you, they disqualify me AFTER they get a ton of information from me....So frustrating!!!
    For what it's worth, I am terrified of pressure cookers too! LOL

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  2. Ha!! That is how my lunch looks....eaten from the storage container and often not even heated up. You usually make the same lunch look so pretty and magazine worthy on your little red serving tray. And I have read a blog post since this one where you didn't even post a picture because lunch wasn't photo worthy. I had to laugh. Now you probably realize why I don't post food photos very often. If I see food, I eat it. But then, I saw the photo of the Beef and Bean Taco casserole, I was sure I needed to make this for my family.

    Also, I need to know what goes into "Nathalie's Mix" when you are making your potting soil? I mix peat moss and composted manure (from the bags) into garden soil and call it good. Do you do anything differently? Just want to know.

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    Replies
    1. I use peat moss, gardening soil (or potting soil, I guess it really should be potting soil!), and perlite. I usually don't have enough compost to add it to the bins. I was using (supposed "organic") Miracle Gro gardening soil that already had some kind of fertilizer in it so I didn't bother about adding compost. Maybe I should. You have lovely vegetables... what ratio of each ingredient do you use? Or do you just eyeball it? I'm trying to remember my ratio... I'll have to find my notes!

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  3. I just eyeball it. I load up the wheelbarrow with garden soil, add a half bag of manure and a couple of shovelfuls of peat moss until it is the "texture" I want. There are no measurements. I used to add a bit of perlite to my hanging baskets, but haven't lately.

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  4. Oh and I also sprinkle on some "Shake n Feed" by Miracle Grow, so I don't have to constantly fertilize through the season.

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    Replies
    1. Oh, so if I already use Miracle Gro gardening or potting soil, I should be OK, I'm thinking... Compost would be better though. I need to increase our compost production... beg the neighbors for their veggie and fruit peelies? lol.

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