Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Frugal Failures and Successes: Wednesday 9/2/15

  • Last night my BFF texted me about wanting to get back in shape so we decided to both get (back, in my case) on so we can friend each other and support one another in whatever efforts we make. Then I finished that danish that my daughter brought me back from Panera and planned my shopping trip for today.  Hot dogs for lunch as much as I can since it's free... but not very healthy. Oh well!

  • Today was a busy day and I'm exhausted. I just made the executive decision to not post my Grocery Shopping post until tomorrow because I'm too tired to work on it tonight.  As a preview, let just say that I know, without even adding it up right now, that I spent over $100 this week. But I stocked up on meat, big time!

  • I slept 4.5 hours last night (so about 2.5 hours short of what my body actually needs, doh!) and my shopping trip was extremely long (road construction that made getting to the stores challenging and s-l-o-w, lots of stops to make, meeting an acquaintance and talking far too long in the Target parking lot...) and then I had to take my son to a doctor's appointment and he wanted to do some shopping afterwards so we went to Michael's and Ace Hardware... and I ended up ordering dinner from Domino's because there was no way I had the energy to cook at that point.  Ugh. I'll be glad to go to bed tonight!

  • Also last night, I remembered that I could print yet more coupons from my son's computer.  So I did. It's ridiculous!  I printed, however, a bunch of pet coupons for the animal league shelter.

  • Greg worked from home, saving us about $20 in tolls and gas.

  • The kids packed their lunches to take to school.

  • I remembered to have breakfast (oatmeal) before going shopping and also remembered to bring water along and a snack.

  • Road construction is going on between my house and the stores so getting there this morning was arduous and took me 20 minutes longer than usual. Since my daughter had my car, I took Greg's truck, which gets better mileage anyway.  I gassed it up for him too.  I stopped at 2 Racetrac stations and redeemed 2 codes for 2 hot dogs. My plan was to freeze them when I got home and make myself a salad, but my trip took wayyyy longer than I had planned so when I got home I was famished and only had a few minutes to eat before it was time to take my son to the doctor's so I had one of the hot dogs.

  • Save A Lot had the grapes on sale for $0.99/lb again and the cucumbers were also cheaper than at Aldi so I got them there (I will make zesty pickles tomorrow).  I had printed 4 more Kraft barbecue sauce coupons since they had reset and the $0.79 a bottle special was still going on so I bought 4 more bottles. We're stocked with barbecue sauce for the whole winter, lol.  I got sliced turkey too since I only had ham in the freezer and my daughter prefers turkey. I was surprised to find it more expensive than ham ($2.99 for the turkey vs. $2.49 for the ham!) but I had $0.75/1 coupons so it was still OK.  I was able to grab a few cardboard boxes too, for my gardening project.

  • I forgot to go to Staples to get the 1 cent ream of paper but since I have 2 cases of it in stock, I didn't stress over it ;) Plus. it saved me the tax on it anyway.

  • At Target, the raspberries were a little cheaper than I expected, and the fresh corn was cheaper than at Aldi and I had a 5% Cartwheel offer on it too.  The Gold'n Plump ground chicken was on sale for $1.00 off a package and I had (4) $1.50/1 coupons so I stocked up on that too. My freezer is so full!

  • I resisted buying cake mix and frosting that were on clearance (I already have some) but I didn't resist buying myself a scented candle (also on clearance, see "Splurges").

  • I saw a birthday card that would be awesome for Greg's birthday but I didn't want to pay $3.99 for it so I'll make him one with the same sentiment.

  • At CVS I was able to redeem my rainchecks for the eggs ($1.99/dozen) and the Propel water ($1.25). The Propel water had a $1.25 ECB that was supposed to print but the cashier printed a $2.00 ECB for me instead. Sweet!

  • They were out of the Lipton Sparkling teas ($1.00 each with a $2 ECB if you buy 2) so I got a raincheck for those.

  • My daughter had told her younger brother that she wanted black nail polish as a birthday present and CVS had sent me a $2.00 store coupon off any beauty purchase, so I got the nail polish and he refunded me the $1.06 that the coupon didn't cover.

  • The cashier (not my usual awesome cashier) refused to take my DairyPure coupons for the milk, claiming she had already checked with the manager and they "didn't carry that brand".  I pointed out that the bottles of T.G. Lee milk were printed with the wording "DairyPure" in big letters on the label and explained that it was a national coupon for this appellation that was used by several milk suppliers (and in Florida, it's T.G. Lee) so she scanned them for me.  Their receipt prints with the following wording "1 Gal Dairy Pur Wh M 1G" so obviously the coupon IS applicable!

  • I went to Walmart to take advantage of a Swagbucks offer: buy 2 or more packs of  Hefty Trash Bags at Walmart and get 400 SB and a $10 Walmart gift card when you submit photos of your purchases and receipt to their offer email address.  I found the 20-ct packs of Hefty Renew kitchen drawstring bags (made with 65% recycled plastic) for $4.27 each and I had (2) $1.50/1 printable manufacturer coupons so I spent $5.54 plus tax and will get $10 back!  

  • I also found the Purex Crystals ScentSplash for $3.47 for which I submitted a mail-in rebate so I will get a full refund. The other stores didn't carry that specific item.  

  • When I got home, I submitted my Walmart receipt to the SavingsCatcher site, just in case :)

  • I was going to get the Lysol items necessary for the $5 rebate that I had, but I realized that I had been looking at the wrong item (regular cleaning spray instead of antibacterial spray) and the antibacterial spray was already over $4 so the items wouldn't have been free... so I put them back. Originally, I had thought that the rebate was just for a canister of Lysol cleaning wipes so I completely messed up on that one!  I'm just glad that I caught my mistakes before spending any money on items that I wouldn't ordinarily buy :)

  • I looked for candle wicks at Walmart but they didn't carry candle-making supplies. I found them later at Michael's and used a 40% off coupon.

  • I had signed up for another Murphy USA e-offers account last night just so I could print that freebie coupon that had mistakenly marked as having already been printed and they also sent me another coupon for a free 20 oz bottle of Diet Coke, so I redeemed that one today.

  • At Aldi, someone had left a quarter in the cart that I picked, woohoo!  Also I was able to get the scale that I had bought fully refunded. I used it as a credit against my groceries today. Taking a page from Tara's Christmas preparations book, I bought one item that will go in my daughter's stocking :)

  • My most frugal buy at Aldi was by far the kefir that Greg wants for his stomach woes... I paid $2.59 for 16 oz of it (I checked the size again this morning!) at Publix and Aldi had the same brand at $2.49 for 32 oz!  So less money for double the amount of product AND theirs is the lowfat version too!  That saved me $5.08!  I love Aldi :)

  • I stopped by Dollar Tree to get some mandarin oranges for my daughter. I couldn't decide between a large can and the smaller cups (more product in the can for the same price, but the small cans can be kept in the pantry and my fridge space is at a premium!) so I bought both and will ask her what she prefer. I also grabbed an extra jar of minced garlic because I thought I was about to run out (but I already had a back-up jar in the pantry, it turns out) and I found the beef bouillon granulĂ©s that I had been looking for!  Woohoo. It's rare that I can leave the Dollar Tree with a bill as small as $4.00!

  • I looked high and low for marzipan and couldn't find any anywhere, even at Michael's, so I will have to make the cake without it. She probably won't even notice...  The almond paste, though, was $2.20 cheaper at Target than at Publix.  Same brand, same size. Wow. That's a huge difference!

  • I stopped by the South Lake Animal League thrift store and dropped off the rest of my youngest son's toy donation as well as some clothes that my middle son had given me to donate (I'm glad I went through the bag first because his thought was nice but he had thrown in dirty clothes that I'll be washing and ripping into rags since they're not fit for resale).  I didn't need anything so I didn't go in.

  • When I went through my middle son's donations, I pulled an exercise shirt that will fit Greg so I put it in my laundry basket. Free clothing!

  • I went back to Publix because I remembered that I had a raincheck for State Fair corn dogs with coupons that expire soon.  I also redeemed the 2 yogurt freebies that came through yesterday (digital coupons) and more of the Del Monte Fruit & Veggie Fusion fruit cups.  It's cut up fruit in juice that includes sweet potato juice and it's actually pretty good.  I had more of the $1.00/1 coupons so I figured that $0.25 a cup wasn't a bad price for an afternoon snack or for the kids to pack some fruit to take to school (as long as I get rid of the wrapper that spells out that there are veggies in there, lol).

  • My last stop of the morning was the library. I returned the Sewing for Dummies book that I never read (I'll have to borrow it again later on).  There weren't any freebies in the donation pile today, but I got a free copy of a local paper since the sales rep leaves a bunch of them for the patrons to take home.

  • At home, I barely had time to take photos of my finds, put everything away, and eat a quick lunch before it was time to leave again for my youngest son's doctor appointment.  My lunch was one of the free hot dogs from Racetrac with homemade zesty pickles, one of the free yogurt cups from Publix, and the free 20 oz bottle of Diet Coke :)
Those LibertĂ© yogurts are very unhealthy!  260 calories and
several grams of saturated fat... yikes. It tasted good, though.
  • My son and I drove back to Clermont for his appointment. He was getting the 3rd and final dose of the Gardasil HPV vaccine so there was no charge. I asked the doctor to reissue the prescription that he had given me in February for the new acne cream (I never filled it up since I had found an unused tube of the previous prescription and had lost the new prescription!) so he called it in to the pharmacy for me. This prescription is still in the first tier so our co-payment should only be $10. I've been thinking about taking my son to a dermatologist, though.

  • We got gas for my SUV since my daughter will be doing a lot of driving over the next few days (so I got my 2nd Racetrac receipt of the day. Yay for more freebies!).

  • Then we went to Michael's because my son wanted to get some supplies for the Dungeons & Dragons project he is working on. It was 4:30 p.m. and when  I looked for a coupon for him to use on my phone, I realized that there was a 30% off your whole purchase coupon that would become valid at 5 p.m.  Coincidentally, it took him about 30 minutes to find what he needed so we were able to use the coupon!  He didn't spend much and it will come out of the money he's earning by doing some chores.   I also found 2 mugs on clearance that I got for my 2 older sons' GF's Christmas stockings.

  • I was too tired to fight the traffic to go to the gaming store he wanted to visit and Walmart to get the paint that he wanted, so we looked up the figurines that he wanted online on my phone from the Michael's parking lot, saw them for a dollar cheaper on Amazon with free Prime shipping and ordered them.  Then we went to Ace Hardware for the paint since it was closer to our house anyway. 

  • My daughter is still being very good so she refused anything from Domino's and said she would make herself a salad at home :) 

  • Greg and my middle son had wings so I collected their bones and froze them to make stock with them later on. It might be a little spicy!

  • I submitted a $0.25 rebate to Checkout 51 and they credited my account very rapidly.

  • SavingStar credited my account for the Hershey bar freebie from last week, as well as the $0.50 rebate on the Zatarain rice mix bought this past weekend.

  • I noticed that my Swagbucks account had a lot more Swagbucks that I expected tonight so I checked my ledger and realized that they had credited me with all the bonuses I had earned in August for hitting my daily goal: 869 SB in all!  Wow!  I did hit my 2nd Daily Goal a few times and the bonus is always higher for that.  

  • This pushed me over the 2,200 SB needed to order my first $25 Amazon gift card of the month but I'll hold off ordering until the 150 Swag-up bonus rebate for the Team Challenge becomes available next week.

  • The company (Absolute Generators) from which I had ordered the battery for our new generator confirmed my submission and issued us a refund for $20, as they had promised. Woohoo!

  • I entered the code from my Diet Coke bottle cap in My Coke Rewards and earned 3 MCR points.

  • I filled out a Racetrac survey with receipt #1 from today and earned another survey reward code for a free roller grill item. I'll take the other survey tomorrow since they were both for the same gas station.

  • I submitted the Hefty trash bags Swagbucks rebate (400 SB and a $10 Walmart gift card).

  • I submitted the Purex Crystals Scentsplash Fabric Booster Try For Free Offer.

  • I earned 400 KFR points thanks to the Kellogg's cereals I bought today.

  • Another scented candle!  I saw a candle from my 2nd most favorite brand on the clearance shelf at Target and even though it was still close to $10, I decided to treat myself :)

  • While at Ace, I realized that I was exhausted so I decided that we would get dinner from Domino's. I called everyone to get their order and placed it through the app. I was able to use coupons so 4 dinners were under $30 after tax.  I should have planned on having cooked something in the crockpot since I knew that I would be gone most of the day. I didn't think of it when I planned my dinners.

  • I boiled water to make hard boiled eggs for Greg and completely forgot to set a timer... 30 minutes later, Greg asked me why I was boiling water.  Arrgh!

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


  1. Another successful shopping day.
    And speaking of Christmas, I follow the Holiday Grand Plan from An Organized Christmas
    I am already supposed to be in Week One which means cleaning and Organizing the Front Porch....(maybe tomorrow), but I already am falling behind. I will have to step it up. We are also supposed to begin our lists (that should appeal to you Nathalie) My address list for Christmas cards is already up to date because I updated it earlier in the year (YAY. a head start), but I will need to check my Gift Trunk to make a list of what I have gathered over the last few months to see what needs to be crafted and bought in the next few months. And that will mean pouring over different websites to find new ideas for things I can make this year.

    1. Oh wow, you ARE very organized! I didn't know about that website, thanks for sharing it :)

      My preparations, since the kids have grown into teenagers, are very much pared down. The most stressful thing for me is to figure out what to give everyone since I like having a lot of presents under the tree but they're all at the age when what they want most is cash or expensive gadgets. I aim to spend no more than $200 per child (not including stockings). I doubled this amount a couple of years ago because until then it was $100. I don't really buy them much else the rest of the year so I like to splurge more at Christmas. I might send Christmas gifts to my siblings this year since they were so generous with us this summer, I'm not sure. Most of the stuff I would buy here, they can find there... and it's hard to buy for them since they're adults and they already have everything they need. I do get gift cards for my nephews on Amazon and email them to their mom (my sister), that's easy!

      I put up the tree on December 2, every year. Every year since the kids were born, I have given them a Christmas ornament that represents the past year in their life (a major hobby or interest, for instance). We celebrate St Nicolas on December 6 (a tradition from the East of France, where I was born and raised) so I give them their ornament then, along with a small present and a mandarin. So when they decorate the tree, they each put up their personal ornaments. We used to do it all together but now that 4 of our kids are 18+, it's done piece-meal. I have stopped decorating the whole house and mostly put up a few things on my mantle in the living room, as well as in the kitchen. I have a Christmas village that I don't even think I bothered putting up last year, although I love it.

      Traditionally I baked a lot before Christmas but last year I barely baked at all. I might not bake much this year again since we're all trying to be healthier and we can't resist cookies! I do get together with my BFF in early December at her house and we spend the day baking Christmas cookies and chatting. We each pick 3 or 4 recipes. Then we share our baking so we end up with 6 to 8 different kinds of cookies or sweets. Yum! I love that tradition :)

      I don't like visitors and aside from the kids all our family members live in other states or overseas so I don't need to stress too much over that. However my 2 older boys have girlfriends now so I kind of need to clean up a bit for them, don't I? The painted signs alluding to my hate of housework are ubiquitous throughout the house, though, so it sets their expectations :)

      As far as a menu is concerned, I always do a big buffet for "Christmas Eve.", which, for us, as almost always been on a different day than 12/24 since all our kids but our youngest have 2 families. This past year, I didn't even get to have all 4 of my kids together on the same day at Christmas time at all, everyone was so busy with part-time jobs and other obligations (my oldest now also has his GF's family to tend to!). I ask everyone what they would like to eat and I make it or buy it already made. Usually we end up with shrimp, caviar toast, smoked salmon, pizza rolls, mac & cheese, sushi, a ham, sweet potato casserole, a cheese platter, a fruit platter, and lots of desserts (cream puffs, peanut butter pie, pumpkin pie, Christmas cookies...). The leftovers last us for several days so all in all it pays for itself! On Christmas morning I make a pancake or waffle breakfast, or cinnamon rolls.


    2. I think that's pretty much it for me. I don't craft. I only send Christmas cards to my BFF and my family in France. As I get older, I realize that Christmas ends up being a huge stressor for me (I never feel like I'm doing "enough") so my reaction is to do less and less, LOL. I had warned the kids that once my youngest turned 13 I would stop celebrating Christmas altogether (a joke, but they never know with me so they fully expected NOT to have Christmas here this year!) so if I do anything they'll be grateful for it. It's all about setting expectations, isn't it? lol.

    3. I don't even have grand kids that live near me, so I really don't know why I keep decorating the house the way I do, except that I do enjoy the season and we do have people drop in on us. Our good friends from Charleston Lake will have Christmas Eve dinner with us and we will gift each other with homemade items. I will bake for them and give each of them something I have made by hand. She will give me some of her home preserves and pickles. We love that.
      For the past two or three years, I have sent out homemade Christmas cards. I make the six Advent calendars for the grandchildren, and I make up stockings for my kids and their significant others, and for my parents and their partners. The stocking stuffers are mostly small items but hand-crafted. I try to change it up every year, but it's hard. When September arrives, it signals getting ready for Christmas.


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