Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Daily Frugal Successes and Failures: Wednesday 9/16/15



HAPPENINGS AROUND HERE TODAY:
  • Today was Shopping Day, which is usually a happy day for me as I get to leave the house (I'm not a prisoner, I just really, really like to stay home!) and go grocery shopping, which is one of my favorite things to do.  However, I woke up feeling like I was coming down with something (body chills, body sweats, coughing).  I was tempted to just stay home but part of me suspected it was caused by allergies, not the flu, so I took a Tylenol, had a bowl of cereal, packed my coffee in a travel mug and left anyway.  I perked up while shopping although I did everything slower than usual.  As a consequence, I was gone for 5 hours.  By the time everything had been documented and put away, it was 2:30 p.m. before I sat down to have my lunch!

  • The Racetrac area supervisor contacted me via email, as I had requested and apologized for the gas spillage incident on Sunday and asked me what it would take to make it right.  I told him that thankfully there hadn't been any loss (save the gas that spilled, the fear, and the aggravation at having to go home reeking of gasoline, shower and change in a hurry so I wouldn't be late at the airport) so as long as he got those triggers inspected and the clerks trained in what to do when there is an emergency like this, I was good.

FRUGAL SUCCESSES:
  • Greg worked from home today, saving us about $20 in gas and tolls and allowing me to let my daughter drive my SUV to school while I took his truck on my shopping expedition. His truck gets better mileage than my SUV so that works out well.

  • My daughter and my son brought a packed lunch to school.

  • I won the last Collector's Bill with Swagbucks this morning so since I completed the whole collection. I got a 20 SB bonus. Later on, I also got 10 SB for a coupon redemption (finally those are trickling in...).


  • I earned the daily Bing Rewards credits for the day.

  • We didn't have to take the truck to the garage for the engine light problem after all.  One of the instructions that I had found in the owner's manual on Monday stated to let the car go through 3 cycles of driving, then letting it cool off for several hours, and then driving it again because in most cases when the light was triggered by something such as driving in deep water, the light would come off after the 3-cycle thing as the exhaust system dries off.  It was raining a lot on Saturday when I noticed that the light had come back on so I suggested to Greg that we wait it out. It worked!  The light wasn't on yesterday and it didn't come back on today either.  Yay!

  • I had a long list of stores to visit today (16!) but I ended up skipping The Dollar Tree and also the South Lake Animal League thrift store.  Now you see why I was gone so long... I went to 14 stores!

  • I'm glad I had the foresight to plan a crockpot dinner for tonight.  But since I wasn't feeling great this morning, I just grabbed a bottle of barbecue sauce instead of making the balsamic brown sugar glaze for the pork loin.  At the last minute I also decided to add cut up potatoes and the rest of a bag of baby carrots to the crockpot.  It cooked all day on low and it ended up being very delicious and saved us from ordering in because I really didn't feel like cooking tonight!

  • My first stop was at Save A Lot. Somehow, I thought the last weekly ad that I had received was good for another week (theirs is good for 2 weeks at a time) so I had planned on getting 8 lbs of potatoes for $1.99. But that sale ended yesterday. Poop. I left the potatoes but since the apples were on sale for $1.99 for 3 lbs. I got some of those. I was going to get the Gala apples for a change, but when I compared the bags, I could get 11 Red Delicious apples or 8 Gala apples for the same price so I took the Red Delicious.  I was hoping that there would be some cuts of beef on clearance since Snap by Groupon has rebates on beef right now, but there were none :(  I got several gallons of vinegar and a couple of containers of salt to make more of Susan's Natural Weed Killer for my patio.  Oh, I got more of the cheap Kraft barbecue sauce too since I had more coupons for it.  We might just have barbecue crockpot pork roast every Wednesday from now on, LOL.

  • My next stop was at Walgreens in Clermont. I don't usually shop at that location but I was concerned that my location (and my last stop on my shopping list) would be out of the Special K cereal bars.  The Clermont one had only 2 boxes of it and I also got some Nutella. I had a store coupon that would have allowed me to earn 5 times the amount of Balance Rewards but the cashier pointed out that it expired yesterday. However, I had loaded up another offer (maybe the same?) in my digital wallet and that came through and gave me 2,000 Balance Rewards points. That's almost halfway through to another $5 in Rewards!  Later on, I kicked myself for forgetting to get the Acidophilus bottles that I meant to buy today (I'd like Greg to try taking this every day to see if he can avoid the stomach problems he's been having instead of buying the kefir to take to fix the problem after the fact).  All the stores are having BOGO sales on vitamins this week but since I never buy that stuff, I had no sense of the pricing at any of the stores.  If I had looked at the prices at the first Walgreens, I would have realized that the CVS sale was much better (store version for $5.89 a bottle of 120 pills!) and not spent too much at the 2nd Walgreens later on.  I can be such an airhead!

  • I went to Racetrac in Clermont to gas up Greg's truck and guess what?  Nothing happened. As in, I didn't overfill the tank and no gas was spilled today.  I didn't use the trigger hold and will never use one of those again.  I got a receipt so I can take another survey to get another free roller grill item, and I redeemed one of my previous survey code rewards for a free hot dog today.  My son (the growing locust!) just asked me if he could have it "as a snack" (we had dinner an hour ago!).  LOL.  Oh, gas was $2.04.  Not bad. I saw it at $1.99/gallon at Murphy USA later on but I would have needed to go into Walmart and find a cashier to refill my Walmart gift card so I could pay with that at Murphy USA and get the discount.  Never mind, too much work... I'll pay $2.04 a gallon and get a free hot dog ;)

  • Staples is right next door so I stopped by to get yet another ream of multipurpose paper that will be just 1 cent after the store coupon and the Easy Rebate.

  • I have a Starbucks gift card that I got for free (of course!) for trying out some retirement tool with one of our investment firms a few months ago.  I never go to Starbucks (I'll drink the bottles of Starbucks iced coffee but I don't care for their coffee in general) but my BFF loves them so I figured that having the card, I would treat her to her favorite drink whenever we got together. But it's been hard to get together in the first place with her schedule so I still have most of the money left on the card. I had registered it with Starbucks and downloaded the app though.  Late last night, I received an email from Starbucks with a coupon code for a free breakfast sandwich, good only today or tomorrow at "participating locations".  Free food... you know I'm there!  So I stopped by my local Starbucks this morning, expecting really long lines.  The line at the drive-through was very long but not that bad inside. I was the only one clutching a printed email and no one ahead of me was ordering breakfast sandwiches.  They weren't on the menu either so I started to think that maybe my location wasn't one of the "participating" ones.  But when I got to the counter, everything worked fine (they did need to scan my card even though the total was $0) and I got to order the Double-Smoked Bacon, Cheddar and Egg sandwich.  It would have been over $5 without the coupon, way overpriced, really, but truly, it was delicious and very meaty. I don't even want to know how many calories were in that sucker.  The bread was actually a delicious flaky croissant and even though it would be tempting to compare it to a much cheaper Croissanwich from Burger King, there was no comparison.  Still, I would never pay that much for a breakfast sandwich!  But I enjoyed this one :)  I don't think I would have lasted until 2:30 p.m. without it.

  • At Target, I was annoyed to realize that they had Gold'n Plump chicken tenders with $4.00 off clearance stickers on them... and for once, I didn't have any Gold'n Plump coupons!  I can't believe that people would pay $5.99 for less than 1 lb of chicken tenders (13.5 oz).  Even at $1.99, the price per pound was more than what I would pay for chicken breasts so I reluctantly left them on the shelf.

I was rewarded by finding, right after that, a 5-lb bag of King Arthur Whole Wheat flour on clearance for just $0.84!  


I got the Grape Nuts that I wanted and looked through all the boxes to find the two that promised a printed coupon on the inside of the box. Yay!


The strawberries weren't on sale and looked a little passed their prime. I got the 4 boxes that looked the best (they're still a better value per oz than the raspberries) and decided to get some chicken breast from the Deli to make it to $15 and be able to use a $3.00/$15 digital coupon. which made the deli meat free (after price adjustment... the sale price on the display was supposed to have ended yesterday but since the sticker was still in place, the attendant repriced the meat for me).  When I got home, I soaked the strawberries in vinegar water for 5 minutes and drained them for a while before re-packaging them and storing them in the fridge. 

 I noticed that the Eggland's Best egg dozens were on sale for $2.50 (the best price I saw at any of the stores today) but they were out of them so on my way out I stopped by Customer Service and got a rain check for 4 dozens.  I'm hoping some coupons will come along soon.  


I also got some Act Fluoride Rinse for my son since he's almost out of the Listerine Naturals with Fluoride Rinse. I took a while to compare all the brands and sizes and try to see which had Cartwheel offers and which had coupons and in the end, the 1 L bottle of Act cost me $4.09 (down from $5.99), which isn't a great price, but not a bad one either.
Did you know that themed cat litter is a thing now?  No?  Me neither...




  • My trek next took me to CVS where my favorite cashier was back.  She's such a delight!  The kiosk worked fine this week and all my coupons printed (alas, very few are for things that I would actually buy).  Also, the Lipton Sparkling Tea was back in stock so I was able to redeem my raincheck and also get the $2.00 ECB.  I did 2 transactions since I was getting 8 Renuzit cones and I only want to use my gift card for the groceries.  The coupons that I had for the Renuzit were marked "redeemable at Walmart" and my favorite cashier told me that as of October 1st, CVS will stop accepting any manufacturer coupons that mention any other retailer on them.  So "redeemable at xxx" or "available at xxx" on a coupon (or even just a store's name), will mean that CVS won't accept the coupon, even if it's a national manufacturer coupon.  Party poopers!  She also said that they will no longer accept expired CVS coupons and ECBs.  Well, it's news to me that they did accept those in the first place and I'm kicking myself for not knowing this because I can't tell you how many times I threw away CVS store coupons because they had expired the day before I could use them.  Arrgggh.  Well, soon I won't have to worry about that anymore!

  • Before I could go to Aldi, I had to stop by Murphy USA to redeem my last freebie of the month (can of energy drink) and the $10 in Kohl's Cash that I had earned when buying my exercise clothes on their website last week. I thought it was weird that for once I didn't have a corresponding discount coupon to show to the cashier (so my $10 would go a little longer) and I asked the cashier if she knew if people had gotten Kohl's coupons for this sales period.  She wasn't very helpful but she said that I should have gotten mine "a long time ago". Well, guess what was in my mailbox when I came home?  Those coupons that expired TODAY.  They should have been in my mailbox 2 weeks ago.  I think there's something going on with my mail carrier. Too many weird things have been happening (still no clue if a package was really missing from my mailbox last week, I checked the Amazon book order that I'm expecting but since it's from a 3rd-party vendor, they mailed it without a tracking number and the package should be here by 9/30 so I have to wait until 10/1 to contact them if I don't get it.)  Anyhoo, I looked in the kitchen section to see if there was anything that I needed or wanted there but there wasn't. I was tempted to get one of the Big Throws that were on sale for just $19.99 today but I would have had to pay $9.99 and I already have a throw (although it's not a BIG one).  So I made a beeline for the scented candles section and found the Sonoma candles on 50% off sale. I picked one titled "Fall In Love" that was $9.99 after sale and the register didn't charge me tax so it truly was a freebie, for once.  Woohoo!  I hope it smells good when it burns.

  • My trip at Aldi was unremarkable. I didn't find any quarters in the cart today :( I got a few things that weren't on my list because I decided to restock my pantry (black beans, corn, canned diced tomatoes, tartar sauce).  They usually have a lot of cat litter jugs but there were only 3 of them on the shelf today and that sparked anxiety that they might be phasing it out and there would go my cat litter savings (it's so much cheaper than anywhere else!) so I grabbed all three.  I bought celery that I will dice and freeze tomorrow... and I hope that I'll have another zombie celery plant growing really soon!

  • Next, I went to Winn Dixie to redeem my rain checks for Challenge butter. Only I decided to redeem only 1 rain check today and redeem the other next week. I was tired and just wanted to get out of the store.  They had meat marked down but nothing that was truly a great deal so I left it. They did have 1-lb packages of oven roasted turkey on sale for which I had coupons and they ended up being cheaper than at Aldi so I got one.  I put the butter in the freezer when I got home (and clipped the coupons on the inside of the boxes!), and I will repackage the turkey into smaller packages and freeze them tomorrow.

  • Before hitting Publix, I stopped by my local Burger King to ask the manager in person to clarify the emails she had sent me.  She was very nice and ended up comping me a whole meal (I thought I would get a free whopper if I bought the drink and the fries so that was a great surprise!) while acknowledging that she had no idea when the system would be fixed and start printing survey codes.  She told me that if I got another receipt without a code, I should stop by and talk to her again. We rarely eat at Burger King (because we rarely eat out these days anyway), but I will keep our email exchange in case this happens again before Corporate fixes the issue.

  • I had (4) $4.99/1 coupons for the Lindsay Naturals olives to redeem at Publix but I'm always leery with high value coupons that the cashier or manager will decide not to honor them so I decided to redeem only one.  The cashier was being trained and the trainer did look at the coupon for a while and made sure that I got the right thing. My Publix had 2 different varieties of olives priced differently so I got the cheapest one, thinking that I would get overage on the coupon since it's not worded "up to $4.99" but "$4.99 off...". The jar I got was priced at $3.99 and the trainer told my cashier to deduct $4.99 so I did have $1.00 in overage that was applied to the cans of Progresso soup that I was purchasing. Yay!  I'll redeem another coupon next week.  Once I got home, I realized that I had forgotten to buy the Armour meatballs that were on BOGO.  I was telling myself that I might go tomorrow but I just realized (at 8:41 p.m. and the store closes at 9 p.m.) that the sale ends tonight. Oh well, no meatballs for us.  There'll be another sale.  I also found a "Free after Rebate" sticker on bottles of OxyClean laundry detergent.  I had already redeemed a rebate like that a few months ago and since I keep my records in Excel on my laptop, I couldn't check if it was the same rebate while I was in the store.  Grrr. So I took the sticker home with me and vowed to move my Rebate tracking spreadsheet to Google Drive so I can access it when I'm on the go from now on.  I'll do that tomorrow. In the meantime,  I checked my records and it is the same rebate as the one I have already redeemed  and since there is a limit of one rebate per household, I can't use it.  I'll pass it on to my BFF next time I see her.

  • My last stop was at Walgreens #2.  I had to go there to pick up the free 8 x 10 enlargement that I had ordered last week.  I got 2 more jars of Nutella, and another box of Special K Red Berries cereal bars. I had hoped that they would have 2 of them so I could use a $1.00/2 coupon but they checked the back and they were out. So I asked for a rain check for 2 boxes and I'll get those next week.  I redeemed 5,000 Balance Rewards points (=$5 in Rewards) to cover all the groceries that I was buying, The last item that I bought was a bottle of Natrol Probiotic Acidophilus for Greg. It wasn't on sale and I didn't have a coupon and since I redeemed Balance Rewards, I couldn't earn any on this purchase either. Arrgh.

  • By the time I came out of Walgreens it had started pouring so I didn't bother stopping by my local Racetrac to get another free hot dog. I just went home, where Greg helped me unload the truck.

  • My lunch was the free meal from Burger King. It was kind of cold by the time I got to eat it but I was famished so it tasted delicious (and I find that free is very often delicious, LOL!).

  • As I spent the rest of the afternoon inputting my receipts in my spreadsheets, documenting my shopping trip, and dealing with my computer (I had to reboot it on several occasions), I didn't accomplish much else!  I received the battery replacement for my laptop from Amazon but after several hours of charging, it's still only on 45% charge so I'm thinking something is wrong with it. I'll wait until tomorrow and decide whether I should contact Amazon and get a refund.

  • Swagbucks sent me the $25 Amazon gift card that I ordered last week. Free money!

  • Greg finished mowing the back yard and mowed the front yard too, and part of the time it was pouring!  Thanks, honey.

  • I redeemed a $0.25 rebate with Checkout 51.

  • Dinner was the crockpot barbecue pork roast and vegetables. It was delicious but I should have made some kind of rolls to go with it as there was a lot of sauce and afterwards everyone was still hungry!  Greg ended up eating the portion that I had set aside for his lunch tomorrow AND a PBJ, my daughter also had seconds, and our son ate the free hot dog that I had gotten from Racetrac an hour later, lol.


WE SPLURGED ON:
  • 2 bottles of Starbucks Iced Coffee. Not necessary but at $0.18 a bottle, a very reasonable splurge.

HOWEVER, WE FAILED IN THE FOLLOWING WAYS, BUT LEARNED SOME LESSONS:
  • I should have planned the whole Acidophilus purchase better. I could have had double the amounts of pills for just a couple of dollars more, I think.

  • Grrr, I just submitted the Staples Easy Rebate on the ream of paper and despite the wording on all the documentation stating that the ream would cost me $0.01 after coupon and Easy Rebate", the rebate went through for $3.80 instead of $4.79 so the ream will cost me $1.00 instead of $0.01.  I emailed their Customer Service, asking them to adjust the rebate to $4.79.

TASKS ACCOMPLISHED TODAY:
  • Shopping, shopping, and more shopping. I didn't do anything else.


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

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