Friday, September 18, 2015

Frugal Successes and Failures: Friday 9/18/15

  • Another gray, overcast morning here. I'm going to stop complaining about them since yesterday the weather ended up being perfect for gardening!  I should get back in the garden this morning and continue my mulching project. I still have a few sides to finish (including the border of the berm closest to my patio), need to install the plastic edging that Greg got for me a couple of weeks ago, need to plant seeds and transplant seedlings, and I'm sure other things too that I have forgotten about.

  • I made a to-do list of chores that I would like to accomplish before Monday.  The hardest is always to get started in the morning!

  • Taking advantage of the cloud cover, I went into the garden and spent another 2.5 hours pulling more weeds and laying down the rest of the cardboard boxes and the mulch.  I ran out of boxes!  I only need 2 or 3 more to complete my projects so that was kind of annoying (Save A Lot had a lot of boxes for the taking on Wednesday but I didn't take any because I already had a porch full of them.  Darn it!).  However, I've been trying to find an excuse to drive out so I can also pick up the SavingStar freebie before they're all claimed so I might muster up some energy to do that!  Once it's all mulched, I'll still need to install the edging.

  • I also reorganized my garden somewhat, pulling 4 self-watering bins that were apart from the others to be closer to their cousins and using duct tape to mark the side where the drain hole is on each bin (technically it should be on the same side as the watering pipe, but I got distracted as I was putting a couple of them together and put the hole on the opposite side. It's annoying me to always have to wonder on which side the hole is as I refill the bins, so a bit of duct tape indicating the location of the hole will help my frustration level :)

  • The sun came out right at the end of my stint in the garden and the temperature shot up by several degrees so I stopped at about 11:45 p.m. and fixed my lunch, which I ate on the patio, listening to the cicadas and watching some wasps and bees flying around and the lizards playing Parkour.

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

  • My daughter and our son packed their lunches for school - and remembered to bring them!

  • I defrosted half a loaf of chocolate chip pumpkin bread that I had baked earlier this week, for everyone's snack.

  • I reused all the cardboard boxes that I had left (including all the cereal boxes that I had kept and I fished out the cereal bar boxes out of the recycling bin!) in my garden and laid mulch on them.

  • I loved that one of my vinca plants had reseeded itself right outside its pot, but that wasn't working with my plans for mulching the edge of the patio so I gently pulled on all the seedlings, kept them in an upcycled meat tray with some water while I was gardening, and replanted them in planters that I had just weeded afterwards.  Hopefully they will all grow into beautiful (free) vincas!

  • My lunch was leftover rice and sauce from the Portabella Mushroom Stroganoff from a few days ago. It was incredibly bland. I also had the left over salad from last night, and a bowl of grapes and strawberries, with a tall glass of Cherry Berry Iced Herbal Tea.

  • Home Depot sent me a Garden Club coupon for $5 off $50 off $100.  It's not as good as the Lowe's coupons I got recently but I printed it anyway, because "you never know". Right?  If I don't use it, I'm only out the paper and ink. I could have sent it to my phone but I probably wouldn't have remembered that I had a digital coupon.  I'm not so good with those, too forgetful.

  • I drove to Save A Lot to take advantage of some awesome sales on meat (see "Splurges") and grabbed a bunch of free cardboard boxes that should allow me to finish my mulching project tomorrow.

  • I also stopped by Publix to get the SavingStar freebie. I also got another jar of Lindsay's Naturals olives for free after coupon and two 8-oz packages of fresh mozzarella for $1.99 each after sale and blinkie $1.00/1 coupons.  A small failure that wasn't my fault though: I was hoping that the cashier would once again deduct the full value of the olive coupon (i.e. $4.99), thus giving me a $1.00 overage to be applied to the mozzarella, but today's cashier adjusted the value of the coupon down to $3.99 to match the price of the jar.  Poop.

  • My last stop was Racetrac, where I successfully pumped gas without any mishaps into Greg's truck, got another receipt with a survey to complete for a free hot dog, and redeemed a past survey code for a free hot dog with condiments.  The hot dog went into the fridge.  If my youngest son sees it, he'll probably claim it for 2nd dinner , lol.

  • I reused 8 bags from cereal boxes and 8 rubber bands to repackage the chicken breasts and freeze them. However, I then realized that I only had room for 6 bags of chicken in the freezer so I changed my dinner plans and roasted the last 4 breasts.  This isn't good news for the almost 10 lbs of pork loin that are in my fridge, waiting to be cut up and frozen!  I'll have to try and cram it in the upright freezer where I usually keep the vegetables and fruit.  I put the pumpkin puree that I had defrosted in the fridge. I'll probably end up making more pumpkin bread tomorrow. Or maybe pumpkin pancakes for breakfast?

  • Dinner was Ten Things Farm Chicken Breasts and Spaghetti.  I used 2 breasts for dinner (4 of us) and kept the other two for lunches tomorrow. I saved the bones in the freezer to make chicken stock later on.

  • I logged my gardening activity into Balance Rewards for Healthy Choices and earned 20 points.  That's it?!  I checked my records and I guess I'm even worse at math than I thought because I only earned 20 points for it yesterday too, not the 100+ points that I thought I had earned.

  • I looked at the Walgreens and CVS ad previews for next week and made a note of what I might want to buy. My local CVS will once again be offered $1 ECB on each gallon of milk (limit 2) and they will also have eggs for $1.59 a dozen!  That's $0.99 cheaper than Walgreens' sale price of $2.49 next week so I'll definitely pick these up and if not, get a raincheck.   Woohoo!

  • Protein! I had been looking for an excuse to run to Publix to get the SavingStar freebie of the weekend and I also needed more boxes to finish my gardening project; so I checked the Winn Dixie and Save A Lot online ads in case they were having good weekend sales, and Save A Lot sure did:
So I drove to Save A Lot and spent $50.07 for:
    • 9.38 lbs of boneless pork loin @ $1.69/lb (I will cut up into chops and 1.5 lb roasts and freeze them)
    • 17.56 lbs of bone-in chicken breasts @ $0.97/lb (they're already frozen so I'm partly defrosting them to repackage them in 2-breast packages. I was actually excited that they were the bone-in kind so I can reuse the bones to make chicken stock!
    • 20 oz of raw jumbo shrimp (frozen) for $8.99.  This will be for our Christmas buffet.
    • 15 lbs of Russet potatoes for $3.49
    • 1 dozen eggs @ $2.79 (I was calculating, in the car, that I needed 1 more dozen since I'm making omelets for dinner tonight and I need enough for hard-boiled eggs and Greg's breakfasts through Wednesday).
    • and a tin of Altoid mints @ $1.79 for Greg.  I was hoping they would have generic mints like Aldi does, for $0.99, but they didn't and Greg had requested mints when he saw that I was going shopping again.
However, it sounds like we'll be having either chicken or pork for Thanksgiving because I don't know when I'll ever have room in my freezer for turkey!

  • I can't find the 2 large bags of mashed potato scoops that I had frozen.  I looked through both my freezers... I must be missing something and it's driving me nuts!  I was supposed to bake potato rolls today so now I'll need to come up with another plan. Maybe corn bread since that's really easy to put together.

  • My middle son started playing with a chip clip and before I could tell him to put it down (he tends to break things when he touches them!), he had broken it.  Seriously. It took 2 seconds.  It's not a big deal but I'm still annoyed because it's something I have to replace for no good reason.

  • My son found a very moldy orange in the fruit bowl so I had to compost it since none of it was salvageable.  I washed all the other oranges.

  • I replied to my mom's email and gave her news of what's been going on here.
  • I weeded, laid down cardboard, and mulched for another 2.5 hours.
  • I ran some errands and got some freebies.
  • I swept the kitchen and fake mopped it.
  • I swept the entry room.
  • I swept the front porch.
  • I folded the laundry.
  • I re-packaged the chicken breasts into 2-breast packages and froze them.
  • I gave the vacuum cleaner a "hair cut" since the brush was all tangled in hair.  I was able to completely clean it up.  I didn't notice that it sucked up dirt any better though.  Grrr.
  • I vacuumed the living room and exercise room.
  • I looked for an acceptable used car online. No luck.

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


  1. Natalie, I absolutely love you tasks accomplished, it really motivates me but also makes me feel like a serious lazy cos. You seem to get so much done!

    There was some good deals at Publix this week. Yay!

    Your garden is really coming along and looking good. Xx

    1. Thanks, Tara. That "Tasks" section is really working for me... not only am I realizing that I'm not as lazy as I thought, but it's actually pushing me to do things that maybe I would have let slide... like vacuuming last night. I did it while dinner was cooking. So it's working as a motivator just like the Food Waste Friday posts started working as soon as I started posting them!

      You're not lazy, you have a job outside the home... I don't. I have plenty of time to do those things.

  2. Your garden is looking amazing. I just love how everything is so organized with the mulched areas around the whole area. It really helps to delineate the growing areas. That was a great idea you had. And you have spent so-o-o many hours outside this week. I am hoping some of that energy spills over onto me.

    Great sales on meat. I was lucky enough to find pork loins on sale for $1.44 a pound, but your prices on chicken are fantastic. I look for any price under $2 a pound for chicken. I am so jealous of your finds.

    Yes, you should have got the $4.99 coupon deducted from your purchase. The store is going to be reimbursed that $4.99 from the manufacturer, and that should have been YOU. Can you get it next week, if you saved the receipt?

    1. A $1.44/lb! That's fantastic! I think $1.69/lb is the best I've ever gotten it but I'd have to research to be sure. How many pounds did you buy? When I went to the store yesterday they had just ran out of the chicken in the freezer case and this really pushy older lady with a Hungarian accent was haranguing the stock boy telling him that she had driven from very far away just to get this deal. He kept on telling her that he needed to weigh some. So I decided to just park my cart in front of the freezer case and wait. Then I realized that I didn't have my phone with me and I started to worry that I had lost it between the car and the freezer. The longer I waited, the longer I was fretting about my phone but I didn't want to miss out on the chicken breasts either because it was such a great deal! The cheapest I had paid until now was $1.49/lb, I think. So finally, he came back with a cart full of chicken and I grabbed my 4 packs. Another lady was wondering if she was being greedy by taking 4 packs too and I told her "At this price? If I had more room in my freezer, I'd take it all!" So she laughed and took her 4 packs. The older grumpy lady came back and I guess then it dawned on her that it was frozen chicken and not fresh and she decided not to buy it at all. Thankfully, I waited for it because my phone was waiting for me in Greg's truck when I got pack to the parking lot :)

      As far as the coupon is concerned, I'm with you. It's really bothers me that the store will get $4.99 back from the manufacturer but they only refunded me $3.99. However, I have benefitted from errors in my favors at this Publix too (notably when the cashier I like decides to enter a coupon manually because he's having trouble scanning it because if I have a corresponding digital coupon then the digital coupon will go through as well) so no, I won't go back about it next week. I still have 2 more coupons for free jars so we'll see what happens the next 2 trips :)

  3. I so want those potatoes!! I just paid more than that for 10 lbs and I was super bummed. I haven't seen bone in chicken prices like that in probably 10 years here. I get excited to chicken that low. I bought a ton when it was on sale like that and boiled it. I pulled the chicken and put it in freezer bags. We used it for chicken tacos, enchiladas, fried rice, pizza and everything. We have been out for ages because it is nearly cheaper to buy boneless chicken breasts at $1.99 per pound. Hope you find room in your freezer!! I have an extra freezer in the basement which I totally love! It keeps things way more frozen the one in the fridge and gives me a lot more room to fit things. I hope that you have lots of creativity and are able to find the potatoes in the freezer!!! Do you have that recipe posted somewhere? I might have to try it because it sounds yummy!!

    1. I really hope we get to use them all up before they go bad, too! My favorite potatoes are the Yukon Gold (or Kentucky Gold) so I really wish there would be a great sale on those, but they're typically priced higher. I really need to put more potatoes on our menu for the next few weeks: mashed potatoes, shepherd's pie, roasted potatoes, hash browns...

      The potato rolls recipe comes from another blog and there's a link for it on my Recipes page if you look at the top of the blog :) It's under "Breads" on the page. They're really delicious.

      I have the upright freezer on the side of the fridge, where I keep all the frozen veggies and frozen fruit, and then I have a chest freezer where I keep all the meat/seafood, breads, etc. That one is completely full, which makes it a pain in the you-know-what when I need something from it that's not right at the top. I have no idea of where the mashed potatoes went; I have a nagging feeling that I put them with the veggies, thinking "it's a veggie anyway!" but I couldn't see them when I looked. I'll look again tomorrow when I'm better rested.


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