Thursday, September 17, 2015

Daily Frugal Successes and Failures: Thursday 9/17/15

  • I've definitely noticed that the days are getting shorter... starting yesterday morning, it's been drastically darker in the mornings when I get up.  The local high schoolers are waiting for the bus in the dark now.  I looked up when Daily Savings Time starts (ends?  I don't understand this whole business of changing the clocks!) and it's not until November 1 in the US and Canada. (October 25 for the UK, you can look up your own country here.) 

  • We have a lot of rain in the forecast today and according to Yahoo! Weather, it should start raining at about 11 a.m.  I don't doubt it because it is gray and gloomy at 8:30 a.m.  Ugh.  I guess no gardening for me today unless I get my butt out  Hmmm, I'm still in my PJs so that might not happen.

  • You know how they say that women from a same household will often simultaneously get on the same schedule when it comes to their period?  I don't know if I believe that one because my daughter and I aren't, but she's young and I'm older so that could make a difference.  Anyhoo, I wasn't feeling good yesterday and was feeling down too and when I finally got around to reading blog comments and blog posts later on at night, almost all of my regular commenters were either not feeling well or feeling down.  Could it be the shortening of the days?  I know I get depressed and cranky when it's not sunny.  Just imagine what a ray of sunshine I would be if I lived much more to the North!  I'm sending a collective hug to those of you who aren't 100% themselves these days and hope you'll get better soon.  If the depression is severe, I advise you to read The Bloggess.  She copes with depression and regularly posts insightful and encouraging posts about it. Plus, she's really funny although her humor style might be an acquired taste. Her 2nd book comes out soon (next week,  I think?) and I'm mad that my library system still doesn't have it in their catalog even though I requested it months ago.

  • I received my exercise clothes from Kohl's this afternoon... now I have NO excuses not to exercise every day, LOL!

  • Did I mention that my daughter is doing the dishes every night this week? Since she quit her job, she still has to earn money for her share of the car insurance each month (actually I only make her pay 1/3 of what having her on the insurance costs us) so this is how she is earning the money.  It's really nice to wake up to a counter free of dirty dishes :)

  • Greg took a packed lunch to work and the kids took a packed lunch to school.

  • My daughter drove herself to school, saving me a round-trip (aka time and money!).

  • I was frustrated with my new laptop battery yesterday because first it got stuck at 27% and charging. Rebooted the laptop, then got stuck at 30% and charging, and then at 31% and charging.  I rebooted again and then it was at 45% and charging for the rest of the night. Each time it was stuck, it would last for several hours.  (My previous battery charged fine, it just wouldn't hold a charge anymore). Arrgh.  I was ready to contact Amazon and ask for a refund when I remembered that I had found a trick, several years ago, in Yahoo! Answers of all places, that had worked with my previous laptop so I checked my bookmarks and lo and behold, it does pay never to clean them up and to reimport them every time I change computers because it was still there... I tried it this morning and it seems to have done the trick as my battery showed 100% charged right away. I've been on battery power for almost 2 hours without any problems and the battery indicates that I still have about 1 hour and 40 minutes left on it.  So obviously it was charging yesterday but the indicator wouldn't change.  I've posted about the trick here, in case you want to bookmark it for future use!
Update #1: So after using the laptop on battery power for 2.5 hours, I closed the laptop (without turning it off) and headed outdoors to do some gardening.  3 hours later I came back inside and my laptop wouldn't turn on.  The battery had completely drained even though the laptop had been closed. I checked the settings and it's supposed to go on sleep mode after 5 minutes and I can't believe that sleep mode for 3 hours would have used as much power as full operation for 1 hour.  Anyhoo, I rebooted the laptop after connecting it to the charger and the battery started charging at 1%... and got stuck there again.  I did my trick but this time the battery is still showing "1% available, plugged in, charging" and that number hasn't changed at all in the past 15 minutes.  Something's definitely wrong with the battery, I think.

Update #2: So after writing this paragraph, I went back to Amazon and looked at the reviews again and there was ONE recent review that said the battery didn't charge.  So I wrote my own review and gave it 1 star and then asked Amazon for a refund.  They emailed me a link to print a mailing label.  All of that took time and when I wrote my review the battery had been at "1%, plugged in, charging" for 45 minutes.  I left my laptop on and went to take a quick shower.  20 minutes later I come back and suddenly my battery is at 8% available, plugged in, charging.  What the what?  So is it charging or not and why is it taking so long?!  Arrgh.  I need to just spend the money to get a real HP battery.  
Update #3: It's now several hours later and my battery has been stuck at "13% available for 3 hours at least".  Yep, it's going back. 

  • I reused cardboard boxes (including cereal boxes) that I had collected to act as a weed barrier in my garden.
I'm not done yet...
  • I'm happy to report that Susan's Natural Weed Killer worked very well on the patio weeds last week. Today, I couldn't even see the ones that I had drenched in the stuff.  I had bought the supplies yesterday to mix some more, but after weeding and ferrying mulch around the yard, I needed to stretch my back so I got on all fours on my patio to pull the rest of the weeds from between the pavers. Since it had rained yesterday, it was pretty easy pulling them out and my back felt much better afterwards!  Weeding AND physical therapy all in one :)

  • My lunch (I forgot to take a picture, sorry, I was so exhausted!), was the leftovers of the crockpot barbecue pork roast and veggies (more veggies than roast) and half a baking potato that I had cooked several days earlier.  I finished the cantaloupe cubes and I had 2 large glasses of the Cherry Berry Iced Tea that I had brewed a couple of days ago.  I treated myself to eating outside on the patio. Of course, it started drizzling as soon as I sat down so I just opened the umbrella.  The temperature was in the low 80s and since it was overcast, it wasn't hot, not even too humid.  The nicest temperature we'd have in a while and I wanted to enjoy it as much I as could... and boy, I'm so sore... I don't know if I'll be able to get up again!  The worst part is that I squirted liquid Bar Keeper's Soap all over the floor of the shower because I went outside so now I have got to go scrub it off!  Of course, I have to take a shower too after all this yard work so maybe I should just attach scrubbers to my feet so I can do two things at once :)

  • CVS sent me a 30% off my purchase coupon (excluding sales items) good through Sunday.  I don't think I'm going back and if I am, it's to get things that are on sale... but I uploaded the coupon to my card, "just in case".  You never know!

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

  • Our water bill was the same amount as last month ($57.41)... it seems that our consumption was 4,000 gallons again. I don't think this includes the 2 bubble baths that I took, they'll probably hit next month's bill.

  • I reused water from boiling the eggs a couple of days ago to water my zombie celery plant.

  • I entered my 3 hours of gardening into Walgreens's Balance Rewards for Healthy Choices and earned 210 Balance Rewards points, as well as 20 BR points for logging in my weight.

  • Our electricity bill is $319.23 but I usually budget $400 for the month of September.  It really should have been much lower but since my daughter has come to live with us full-time, I keep the AC at 73 on her side of the house because her bedroom gets very hot. I need to remember to turn it up when she goes to school and turn it back down before she comes home.  Putting reminders in my phone right now...

  • I earned 25 KFR points by entering bonus code KFRLOVESPOPTARTS in my Kellogg's Family Rewards account (thanks, Slickdeals).  Unfortunately, I have been forgetting to order $1.00 coupons with my points so I added a weekly reminder so I can do it when I plan my grocery shopping.

  • I redeemed $100 in American Express Rewards for a $100 CVS gift card that will allow me to lower our grocery expenses in the next few months.

  • Dinner was JalapeƱo Cheeseburger Hamburger Helper, which, actually, my family really likes!  I had gotten the box (along with 4 or 5 others) at Save A Lot a few months ago in order to be able to get some ground beef for free and I'm trying to slowly use them up.  I made a side salad to go with it.  There was a reason why I had said I would make salad almost every night this week... I didn't and I had to compost about half a head of lettuce, picking all the leaves that had starting to go bad on the 3.5 heads that I still had :(

  • This afternoon my daughter asked me "how I would like a new toaster oven".  She was angling for us to get a new one because she thinks ours is "old".  Well yes, it's 16 years-old.  And it still works great.  So it might not look great anymore and she needs to be careful not to bump anything into the toaster setting, but I'm not replacing it.

  • Greg wasn't expecting to watch the Denver Broncos-Kansas City Chiefs game tonight since usually the Thursday night games are on ESPN.  But I reminded him that last year the first 4 Thursday night games had been shown on CBS as a special promotion so we checked and evidently they're doing again since the game is on right now.  I'm glad I remembered that.  And Greg is glad too!

  • Gas for my daughter to attend her college class :)  

  • My daughter made us "healthy" Strawberry Chocolate Chip Muffins. She tried a trick that she had seen online to separate the egg white from the yolk and it worked.  It was fun to watch.

  • I think I got a bum laptop battery. I'm returning it to Amazon and will need to spend more money to get a real HP battery.

  • I fixed my laptop battery problem. Only, not.
  • I spent 3 hours weeding, laying down cardboard and mulching my veggie garden.  No, I'm not even done yet.
  • I sent a quick email of encouragement to my mom, who is having a surgical procedure done tomorrow that she is not looking forward to.  
  • I scrubbed the shower, shook off the bathroom mats and swept the floor with a microcloth broom.
  • I scheduled our water bill payment online.
  • I scrubbed both toilet bowls.

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


  1. Funny that you mentioned the feeling depressed....I am feeling kind of "out of sorts" today too. At first I was thinking that it was possibly MS related (since some of my symptoms have reared their ugly heads recently) but maybe it's just the shortening of the days...OR maybe it's both. (Hope not! LOL)
    $100 GC to CVS? That's awesome! Can't wait to see all the goodies you get with it since you are amazing at finding deals there.

  2. Hi, Thank you for letting me know when the clocks go back. Its getting really dark over here too.

    Wow, three hours weeding impressive, isn't that exercise in itself.


  3. Wow! Can you bottle up some of that energy and get it to me? You are like a house on fire.
    I checked out the link to the Blogess. I also suffer from severe clinical depression.....for most of my life. I am being treated, mostly successfully. Antidepressants work as mood stabilizers. They are not "happy pills" Lol. So I still suffer occasionally from bouts of depression. They are generally short-lived and mostly, I do get through them quickly. They are not full blown episodes like the ones I suffered in years past, thankfully. It is a chemical imbalance, so I don't have any "triggers". That is why I said I have given up trying to figure out why my moods crash. They just do, and I live with it.

    Nice to have your dishes done up every day. Well worth the "price", I'd say.

    1. I think the energy comes from a combination of the guilt of not having done anything in the garden for the past few weeks (I'm kind of an "all or nothing" gal) and the weather finally being cool enough and not humid. I just can't deal with being outside when the air feels heavy because of all the humidity. Over the past 3 days, it's been so nice... although if it were 10 degrees cooler it truly would be nice :)

      I'm sorry you're dealing with depression too. I do get through periods when I feel depressed, but I don't like going to doctors so I just wait it out. Obviously it's not clinical depression or anything serious, but sometimes I wonder how I would cope if I didn't have Greg or the kids to distract me. I do know that if I read or watch too many thrillers in a short amount of time or obsess over some news, then I'm in a bad place for a while.

      I hope you feel better soon. Have you done any crafting these past few days?


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