Saturday, September 12, 2015

Frugal Failures and Successes: Saturday 9/12/15

  • It's a gloomy Saturday today. I should be working in the garden. Yes, I should. Update: I did!  I didn't make any progress on my garden project though, as I was in maintenance mode, not "finish the project" mode.

  • However, I just realized that "Blue Bloods" is on Amazon Prime Instant and I like that series (saw a few episodes on late night TV recently) so I decided to just watch that.  So lazy!  BUT: I did do the dishes first thing this morning!  Update: after watching several episodes of Blue Bloods in a row, I'm starting to find it very...cloying.  I have it on for background noise but I stopped paying much attention to it. 

  • OK, not so lazy: in between episodes I did some cleaning (swept, cleaned out coffee table).

  • My daughter finished a cereal box today so I saved the box itself for my gardening project and the bag to freeze meat.

  • I checked the Yelp reviews on the 2 dealerships where I had spotted other cars that I might be interested in and the ratings were dismal so I decided to not even bother with them.

  • My daughter and I drove to the 3rd dealership, about 30 minutes away via toll roads. We had talked about what we wanted to accomplish and how we should be willing to walk away if the car was not what we expected.  Well the car had been sold yesterday. This dealership offers no haggling pricing and there wasn't any pressure from the salesman, just an offer to check what else they might have available that might fit our criteria, but there wasn't anything, so we left.

  • We stopped by 3 dealerships closer to our house and at every one of them salesmen tried to waste my time by telling us they had car "slightly above" my price range.  Slightly above as in double what my price range was and the cars didn't have manual transmissions either and I had to press them to get that information before they wasted my time walking me all over their parking lots.  So each time we left without even looking at the cars and a resolve that we will never be shopping at those dealerships :)  The good thing is that my daughter got front row experience with dealing with used car salesmen!

  • My lunch was the 2nd hot dog I got for free from Racetrac yesterday, as always topped with my homemade zesty pickles, the rest of the fried rice from 2 nights ago, and a banana.

  • My laptop's battery is almost completely dead so I ordered a replacement on Amazon.  I used some of my Discover Rewards to get it for free with free shipping via Amazon Prime and then picked the "No Rush Shipping" option to get a $1.00 digital credit good toward ebooks, music, movie/TV shows rentals...

  • Mid afternoon, I spent about an hour watering the plants in the garden: squash, potted plants, refilling the self-watering bins. Despite the latest drought, I still had a lot of rainwater in my collecting bins so I used that to water everything, using an upcycled cat litter jug that I kept on refilling.  I noticed a lot of weeds in the pots and the bins so I pulled all (well, most) of those out. Weeds are like terrorists: they like to hide in the general population, thinking that they won't be eradicated because they're surrounded by innocents.  Well, I'm not a patient woman but when it comes to weeds hiding among my little vinca seedlings, you will find me on all fours on my back porch, picking the weeds one by one.  I pulled weeds from the berm too.  Susan asked me recently if putting landscape fabric and re-mulching the berm had kept the weeds away and my answer is: somewhat. The suckers keep on reseeding themselves IN the mulch and also will grow THROUGH the landscape fabric, but there are much fewer than before.

  • I started pulling weeds from between the patio pavers, but I remembered that I had bought vinegar to make Susan's Natural Weed Killer so I made a batch.  Unfortunately, I re-read the paragraph that she had written and that I had saved (from her blog): ""I also pulled out some weeds from our gravel driveway. I need to buy some more table salt and vinegar to use as weed control there and in the cracks between our patio stones. Recipe is 1 gallon vinegar to 1 cup salt to one tbsp of dish soap. I only use this on areas where I don't want anything to grow. It will kill soil and any vegetation it touches, so in my garden and lawns, I dig out or pull weeds."  From
I loved the idea of nothing being able to grow in between the pavers so I just poured the weed killer over the first few weeds... and my gallon didn't go far!  I'll give it a few days to see how it worked and if it did. I will get several more gallons of vinegar and containers of salt at Save A Lot and Aldi next Wednesday.

  • So, of course, on the one day that I finally decide to water my plants and kill weeds, it does rain!  It didn't last long, only a few minutes, though.

  • Hey,  made it past 2,500 SB, which means that I can technically order another $25 Amazon gift card. 

  • Thanks to the SB I earned with my Kohl' purchase last month, I also reached my 2nd Daily Goal today.  This hasn't happened much this month!

  • I took a Racetrac survey and earned another survey reward code for a free roller grill item :)

  • I paid several bills online.

  • I badgered my middle son into finally sending me the photos he had taken during my daughter's birthday breakfast last weekend because I had found a code to get a free 8 x 10 photo print from Walgreens Photo.  I chose a picture of my daughter being pensive, which she is quite often :) I will use a $1.00 picture frame from Dollar Tree to frame it.

  • Gas and tolls to go to the car dealership, then gas for my daughter to drive to work.

  • My youngest son and I decided to treat ourselves to a take-out diner from Domino's.  I used their online coupon our food items and redeemed the coupon code I had gotten for a free Coke Zero bottle.

  • OK, this is a splurge, failure and success all rolled into one:  the Domino's app tracker alerted me that our order was ready right when it was absolutely pouring outside.  Ugh. My son and I drove Greg's truck to the store.  When we got there, the attendant couldn't find our order.  We waited and waited and finally he told me "it's not ready yet". Whaatt?  The app said it was 10 minutes earlier so it'd better be ready!  Did I mention that I'm not a patient person?  I'm sure that I also mentioned that I don't like incompetence.  So I ask the guy how long it's going to be until it's ready.  Another attendant then mentions that the box of the pasta bread bowl is ready "right there" (albeit minus the food) and the manager, who's been working on the line, suddenly pipes up "Bread bowl? what bread bowl? I didn't hear anything about a bread bowl!"  So apparently he's the one who screwed up. Now, last time I picked up my food, he couldn't find our order and now this.  So I felt the heat rising. He said he was sorry and that he'd work on it right away. So again, I asked how long I would have to wait. He said "7 and a half minutes" and he could see that I wasn't happy about it and he said "or if you don't want to wait, I'll give you the sandwich for free". Well, at that point I didn't care about any freebies, all I could think of is that it was pouring outside, and now I was going to have to drive somewhere else to get at least part of my order (because I didn't want to give Domino's my money at that point) so I said "forget it, I don't want any of it", and left.  Not my finest hour.  The failure is that I guess I could have gotten my sandwich for free and that I used even more gas by driving somewhere else.  One of the successes is that Domino's is bad for us anyway so now I can confidently say that we won't order from there anymore(ha!).  The other success is that we decided to go to Publix and pick up their fried chicken family combo, which is priced at $11.99 and contains a heck of a lot more food than what we would have gotten at Domino's.  PLUS I remembered that there was a store coupon for $2 off a 2L bottle of Coke if we bought the Family Combo Meal AND the brochure with the coupon was in stock in the store (because I hadn't brought my coupon organizer).  So we ended up getting 8 pieces of fried chicken, 2 containers of potato salad, 4 Hawaiian rolls, and a bottle of Coke for $12.96. The Coke was $1.99 so it was completely free with the coupon... and I got 2L instead of a measly 20 oz.  Plus I can still redeem the cap code on My Coke Rewards.  See how I turned several failures into a "victory"?  Ha, some victory!

  • My daughter was supposed to get a free dinner at work, but she was too busy to eat so we agreed she would get dinner from Burger King on her way home and I told her to charge it to our shared credit card.

  • I needed a loaf of bread (well, I had said I would bake one but I kind of forgot about that!) so I meant to stop by Save A Lot on the way home, but my daughter and I were chatting and I totally missed it. So we went to Publix where I paid $1.50 for a loaf of bread ($0.85 at Aldi!).

  • The engine light came back on in Greg's truck. Arrgh.  I texted him to let him know and suggested he makes an appointment with the garage next week for them to check it out (again).

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


  1. I think it was an INVALUABLE lesson for your daughter by bringing her to visit used car dealerships!!! My mom did this for me when my first car got totaled (Not my fault -it was parked when someone fell asleep at the wheel and slammed into it!). She brought us to one dealership known for particularly shady deals and bugging the salesmen cubicles to listen to customers. My mom said something completely obscure when the salesman left us to "discuss" a particular possible car. And, wouldn't you know it? The salesman must have read my mom's mind and brought up that obscure reference! She also taught me how to be willing to walk out of a dealership even when you (ME) love a car in order to get a better price. LOL Great job Nathalie! It's a skill she can carry with her the rest of her life.

    1. That was very smart of your mom! It must have really been devastating when your car was totalled like that. Good thing you weren't in it! When I was a teen, we were poor and my mom saved and scrimped a lot to buy me a moped when I was 16 (all my other friends got their when they were 14 so it was a looooong wait and a total surprise, actually). Anyhoo, one evening my BF and I went to a concert across from the Police Station and we locked our mopeds to the gates of the station. Mine was the last one in the row. When we came out, mine had been stolen. It still haunts me 30+ years later. When I come out of a store and I don't see my car right away, my heart jumps in my throat! So I have specific areas where I always park at my regular stores to avoid stressing so much since I'm very forgetful too.

    2. Something similar happened to my eldest, we bought him a really expensive bike, he went to the local swimming pool with his friends, his bike was in the middle of his friends bikes and was the only one stolen. Typically the cctv wasn't working that day. Sorry you couldn't find anything for your daughter, better to walk away than to get something that's not right.

      Dominoes made a big mistake mucking up your order ha ha xx

    3. I find CCTVs creepy but how infuriating to also realize that it wasn't working right when it would have been useful. Ugh.
      Yeah, I don't think I'll be going back to that Domino's any time soon. It'll be much better for my wallet anyway!

  2. That was a very good victory....more food, less money, free Coke. There were probably leftovers for someone's lunch today. And you made a statement about the "service" you received at Domino's. Word of mouth is by far the best marketing, or in some cases a great deterrent for a company. Good for you.

    So many unanswered questions today. How did your son fare yesterday without lunch? Did Greg have a place to sleep yesterday? Why does your daughter have to pay NHS fees? Do you have to wait until Monday to find out about the "missing package"? Inquiring minds need to know.

    1. Dang it, a reader who pays attention! Good questions, Susan, I'm sorry I didn't answer them! To be honest a couple of them slipped my mind...

      1) My son did remember his lunch number after all so he was able to eat lunch at school. I think his survival instinct kicked in!
      2) Yes, Greg ended up getting a text with the address of the rented house just as he was getting on the road in Texas and they did have a bed for him. By all accounts he had a great weekend with his friends! He's coming home tonight so I'll get more details then. We're not big on phone conversations. I haven't peaked at the pending charges to see how much he spent or even checked on how much cash he took out of our account though. After all, I spent a lot more when I went to France this summer and in all the years that we've been together he's never gone out of town to spend time with friends. The man claims he doesn't have any friends so this trip took me completely by surprise.
      3) I don't know about the reasoning behind the NHS fees, I'll have to ask my daughter. Maybe it's for them to get a T-shirt to wear when they volunteer as NHS members? I just texted to ask her but she hasn't replied yet.
      4) There was no package in the mail yesterday either (but other mail) so I'm still wondering what happened. I really should be checking my email to make sure it wasn't something that I had purchased... I had forgotten about that so thanks for the reminder :)

    2. OK so she doesn't know either. I told her she should find out. It's NOT for the T-shirt because she would have had to pay $10 more if she hadn't been able to reuse last year's T-Shirt. I told her that such clubs and organizations should have transparent finances so she should find out from the advisor where the money is going.


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