Monday, September 7, 2015

Frugal Successes and Failures: Monday 9/7/15



HAPPENINGS AROUND HERE TODAY:
  • Happy Labor Day!  And laboring I will... I've resolved to do my weekly shopping this morning so as to kill two birds with one stone: get the kefir that Greg wants and is out of at a cheaper price by going to Aldi (15 minutes away) and taking advantage of Greg's truck to gas it up for the week ahead (in Clermont where gas is cheaper than here), getting better mileage than if I drove my SUV, and being able to relax on Wednesday by not having to drop off and pick up my daughter from high school (she'll be able to use my car since I won't have errands to run).  OK so those birds have been stoned to death now, that sounded like more than one stone.

  • At 2 p.m. on the dot, our son got everything set up for our Dungeons & Dragons game. He's been working really hard on it since he is our dungeon master so I didn't want to disappoint him, but I was kind of tired and I still had to read the book that is due at the library tomorrow (I've only read 4 or 6 chapters so far, I was too tired to read very long last night) so I was hoping that our game wouldn't last more than 1 or 2 hours... well, we started playing and Greg's character was having the worst luck (Greg kept on rolling very low numbers, which means his character was missing all his attacks and getting weaker and weaker and then our "enemies" would attack and wound him pretty badly).  At some point we got into an argument because he wanted to split some loot equally between our characters, but I felt that my character did the bulk of the work (and in the game, as in real life, I hoard supplies, food, gold coins and want to get experience points so my character can become more powerful) while his was just laying there wounded (again), without any supplies to make him any better, so I challenged him to a duel and my character ended up killing his character and then taking all his stuff (my character is a rogue, after all, which is a thief).  Wouldn't you believe that Greg got all huffy about this IRL?! hahahaha.  I was laughing so hard because he was saying "You're my wife!  It's a collaborative game!" while all the while I was pointing out that it was a game and that in the game I wasn't his wife and that I was staying in character by killing the weakling and stealing his stuff!  Well he pouted the rest of the game (our son assigned him a new character but he has to start from the beginning again and has different abilities now) and I had great fun. GREAT. FUN.  You see, several years ago, he and I played Civilizations on the computer together and Mr.Greg was very impatient and didn't want to wait for me to learn how to build my own civilization, etc. so after an hour, he had his characters come and raid my village and kill everyone.  Well, I don't forget and I don't forgive.  Today was payback.  The end :)
Some of the new "tiles" that my son built himself with pieces of cardboard boxes
and foam salvaged from the recycling bin and Ace Hardware, and paint that he
already had on hand.  He's been using my glue gun like a pro!
  • After that, I begged off the game because I wanted to be able to use my recumbent bike before dinner.  I tried to read my book while I was biking but I just couldn't do it. The weird thing is that I was completely able to read blog posts and emails on my phone while biking and indeed, it kept me engrossed enough that the 45 minutes that I spent biking (vigorously, I might add!) went by like a breeze :)

FRUGAL SUCCESSES:
  • I reused water collected in the bathtub last night to flush the toilet.

  • I woke up to a lovely email from Mira at Sugru's Customer Service department (remember, I contacted them a couple of weeks ago to ask how I could revive the Sugru that I had bought for Greg 3 years ago because I hadn't realized that the stuff had a limited shelf life?) who is awesome and sending me a brand new pack of it!  Plus they've improved the shelf life of the product since I've bought it AND she told me I can triple it if I store it in the fridge.  Yay!  Thanks, Mira! (and, Tara, it's a British company!). If you don't know what Sugru is, check this out.  I can't wait to use it on everything that we break.  I did use a tiny piece of the old stuff to try to fix my car radio button that kept falling off its peg and it did was "sticky" enough to work for that (I stuffed a tiny piece of it in the cavity on the button and stuck it on the peg (hard!) and it hasn't fallen off yet, in 2 weeks.  I'm thinking maybe Playdoh would have worked too, though.  I didn't want to use Superglue on that job.

  • I earned enough Bing Credits to get a $5 Amazon gift card, which I promptly squirreled away in my Amazon account. Yay!

  • I had breakfast before I left on my shopping trip and brought a drink and snack along so I wouldn't be tempted to buy a lot of things above and beyond what I had on my list.

  • I was able to grab a free large cardboard box at Save A Lot, that I added to my stash for my gardening project. My front porch is looking pretty bad again, what with all those boxes piled up, so I need to work on it this weekend, humidity or not!  I did buy a 5-lb bag of Klondike Gold potatoes that wasn't on my list, but a couple of the recipes that I clipped recently called for that kind of potatoes and at $2.99 a bag, I thought it was a good deal.  The grapes were still at $0.99/lb so I got a little over 4.5 lbs of those and I grabbed a cucumber at $0.50.  Lastly, I am determined to try Susan's natural weed killer for my patio so I bought a gallon of vinegar to make it.  My total OOP at Save A Lot was $10.56 but $2.49 of it was for the vinegar and I won't account for it under groceries since it's not meant to be used for cooking this time around.


  • I gassed up Greg's truck at the Racetrac station in Clermont ($2.14/gallon) and collected a receipt with a survey that expires on 10/31 this time... and the freebie is (still) a free roller grill item so I'll be eating free hot dogs for the foreseeable future :).  I also redeemed 2 of those survey rewards codes at 2 different Racetrac stations in exchange for 2 free hot dogs and their condiments. I had one for lunch and put the other in the fridge for my lunch tomorrow and my youngest son had the other.


  • I decided to stop by Walgreens in Clermont instead of my usual one, since it was on the "right" side of the road and it's also brand new. Isn't it nice to walk into a brand new store?  It almost feels like you're shopping in another country or state, hahaha.  Anyhoo, they were, to my surprise, fully stocked with dozens of eggs priced at $2.49 (the best price in town this week) although I had to go through several of them to find two without any cracked eggs.  At the register, a store coupon printed which will earn me 5 times the everyday points if I spend $10 or more in-store or on their website between 9/13 and 9/15. I'll have to time next week's purchases right. Hopefully there will be $10 worth of stuff that I need and that is on sale!

  • I went to Staples to score the free (well, 1 cent after coupon and rebate) ream of printing paper.  While there,  I also turned in an ink cartridge (I'll get a $2 reward for this next month).  I was looking through their brochure to see if there were any deals on ink (I had just used my last cartridge of yellow ink to refill my printer last week) and saw that I could get a free pack of HP Social Media Snapshots photo paper if I spent $50+ on HP ink.  Since I didn't need black ink, I got 2 combo packs of the color ink cartridges (priced at $32.99 on the shelf) and I had them price match their own website that showed them priced at $30.99.  Each combo pack also included a 10-ct pack of 5 x 7 photo paper. Score! Might as well get freebie when you're buying overpriced ink for your ink-guzzling HP wireless color printer!

  • I stopped by Lowe's to get 5 cans of wasp spray. We have so many of them now but everyday we discover new nests (the latest for me: under a leaf of my banana plant and also under one of the squash plant leaves last week!) so we're definitely using it.  They were on sale for $1.00 each (well 5 for $5) and I used up 2 gift cards that had tiny balances on them ($0.75 and $1.06) so I got almost 2 cans for free.  I had earned the gift cards via our Mastercard Rewards program and also from CoinStar when I had turned in coins and picked a Lowe's e-gift card so I wouldn't pay the 8% commission fee.

  • I also saw a book there that I really wanted but instead of getting it there, I used my Amazon app on my phone to price it... and it's half price on Amazon AND as you all know I have Amazon gift cards from Swagbucks and Bing Rewards so I'll be ordering the book later on tonight  and getting a used copy of it too :)

  • At Target, the raspberries had gone back up to $1.99 but the strawberries were $2.99 and we still had almost 2 quarts of them in the fridge so I just got 2 packages of raspberries. This was the cheapest price OOP but not the best value since there are only 6 oz of raspberries as opposed to 16 oz of strawberries, in each package. Oh well.  I really wanted to keep my overall grocery trip as low as possible.  I also grabbed a box of Grape Nuts for Greg. I looked through all the boxes on the shelf to make sure I got the one with the $0.75 coupon printed on the inside :)  I had uploaded a 10% off all Post cereals Cartwheel offer last night so this was an even better deal than usual.   I decided to treat myself to some iced Starbucks coffee since I could get them for just $0.19 a bottle.  Apparently I could have gotten one for free at CVS but I had misunderstood the message and thought the deal had ENDED on 9/6 (instead, it started then). Oh well.  After all coupons and discounts, my OOP total at Target was only $3.80!

  • At CVS, the kiosk went down right as I was printing my store coupons so I'm not even sure if I got all of them and the last one that did print was missing half the coupon.  The cashier was a young guy with an arm in a cast (he got a triple fracture from playing soccer, ouch!) and wasn't sure what the problem was so he called a manager who came over, sighed, and declared that he couldn't do anything about it because those kiosks are antiquated and never work. They have to call corporate for them to fix them. They do seem to be down at lot at that particular location.  Anyhoo, I was mildly annoyed because I'm probably missing out on great coupons. Oh well. (she says, between clenched teeth).  I decided to get only one gallon of milk despite the fact that there was a $1.00 ExtraCare Bucks reward on each gallon (up to 2 gallons) since I don't have room to freeze it anyway.  I couldn't redeem my raincheck on the Lipton Sparkling Tea because they weren't back in stock... so I decided to use one of my $2.00 ECB from last week on (2) cereal boxes that were on sale and for which I had coupons.  I really wanted to buy 2 boxes of Cocoa Puffs since they were priced cheaper ($1.88) than the Reese's Puffs ($2.00) and I had $0.75 coupons for the Cocoa Puffs but most of my coupons had expired on Saturday.  Oh, bother. Still, my OOP for CVS was only $3.42 and I paid for it with the CVS gift card that we earned via our American Express Rewards program so it actually was completely free to us. Yay!


  • My next stop was at Murphy USA to redeem one of the September e-offers coupons. I chose a Snickers bar and I gave it to my son as a snack.



  • Next on my list, and the main reason why I went shopping today, was Aldi.  Now, I had 11 stops to make today.  Ten out of the 11 stores were open today, on Labor Day.  Guess which one was the ONLY one to be closed?  Guess which one is the main store where I shop?  Guess which one has the cheapest price on the kefir that Greg had wanted?  If you answered Aldi, you win some kind of a prize.  Congratulations!  Ugh. I was so annoyed with myself for not having checked that they were closed.  I wasn't the only one as another car started circling the parking lot as I was leaving. I shouldn't be annoyed. After all it's Labor Day and we're supposed to enjoy the holiday without laboring so it's only fair that they gave all of their workers the day off. But we're spoiled consumers, in the USA, who expect all stores to be open all the time.  I'm definitely guilty of this!



  • So I went to Dollar Tree to get the 2 food items that I had planned on getting there (mandarin orange can and Swiss Rolls cookies) and considered trying to buy items from my Aldi list there, but realized that I could come back to Aldi tomorrow since Greg will be working from home then (I don't want to but I have to... aside from the kefir, I do need several other items from there and buying them anywhere else today would have cost me much more) so I only got what was on my list and some picture frames that I needed.  Total spent at Dollar Tree $7.35 but $5.35 of it was for the picture frames.



  • My last stop was at Winn Dixie. I only wanted the Challenge butter that was on BOGO at $4.69.  I was planning on doing 2 transactions since I had uploaded a $1.00 digital coupon and I also had (2) $0.75/1 printable coupons. Only they were completely out of that butter so I got 2 separate rain checks for it.

  • Back home, I put everything away and had lunch: a free hot dog from Racetrac, half a baking potato (I put the other half in the fridge for tomorrow) with some light sour cream and chives, and the last of the canteloupe from last night.  All of this with a nice refreshing glass of raspberry zinger iced tea.  **waving at Susan**.

  • I invited my middle son to eat dinner with us.  He refused at first and then asked what we were having (chicken burgers and corn on the cob) so I guess that sounded better than a lonely PB&J sandwich and he accepted the offer.  My daughter will have dinner at her dad's before coming home so this isn't costing us more money anyway :)


  • I input my biking (9 miles today!) into Balance Rewards for Healthy Choices which gave me enough points to carry me over the 5,000-point threshold, which means that next time I shop at Walgreens, I can use a $5 Reward off my purchase.  Woohoo!



WE SPLURGED ON:
  • Gas and tolls for my daughter to go spend the day at her dad's. She drove my SUV.  

  • 2 bottles of Starbucks Iced Coffee.  They were priced at $0.19 each after Cartwheel discount and coupon, but I didn't need them.  I just wanted them!


HOWEVER, WE FAILED IN THE FOLLOWING WAYS, BUT LEARNED SOME LESSONS:
  • Hmm, can't think of anything, aside from driving all the way to Clermont to shop at Aldi's when it was closed, but since I accomplished all my other errands at the same time, it wasn't so much of a failure, I suppose...

  • Never mind, we did have a failure although it wasn't our fault: the corn on the cob looked delicious and tasted... horrible.  Fermented.  We didn't eat it and I'll be composting it in the morning.  It was $0.99 at Target last Wednesday, I might go back tomorrow, since I'll be going to Aldi, and get our money back.

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

4 comments:

  1. Wow! Look at all those free items. Did you pay for anything? You made off like a thief......like a thief in Dungeons and Dragons. I laughed so hard at your description of the game, and I could almost feel the sense of revenge in getting even. So funny. But I also have to comment on your son's handiwork. He really puts a lot of work and effort into the game. My oldest son used to play the game with his friends, so I never really understood how to play. He seemed so passionate about it and talked to me about different strategies and such; but I don't ever remember the guys building props. That is so fantastic, and you are a good mom for playing with him.

    Too bad you have to go back to Aldi's tomorrow, but at least you have finished all your other errands for the week.

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    1. "You made off like a thief......like a thief in Dungeons and Dragons." Hahahaha! Good point, Susan!

      Yes, I did pay for thing. Don't I wish everything was free... I'll be posting my shopping trip tomorrow, and combined with the Aldi trip, I did go over $50 :(

      Your son played too? I never knew much about the game, only that usually really geeky people play it and those multi-faceted dice were just weird. When I married Greg, he still had the dice from when he was a Dungeon Master when he was a teen, but we never played it. Then when my middle son was about 12-13, I bought him and my oldest son the board game, thinking they'd be into it (my oldest used to love dragons so I figured maybe there would be an interest) but they never took to it. Then last year Greg, our son and I started watching a TV show called "Community" and there are a couple of very funny episodes where the characters play D&D so that completely got my son and me interested in the game and since Greg used to be a DM and he and our son play videogames a lot, he was interested in playing with us. Our son decided to be the DM and he's learning a lot on his own. Right now he needs to learn to put his foot down and not give in to me so easily when I question his rulings as a DM, hahaha.

      It's a complicated game, that's for sure. I'm not really good at strategy, usually. I don't know how long my brain is going to be able to keep up with everything that I need to remember! I have zero interest in video games (they make me sea sick) so I'm glad we can bond through D&D right now. 13, as you know, is a sensitive age and I want to make sure I keep a connection with him, even if that means I have to spend 2 hours a week pretending that I'm a thief :)

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    2. Love love love this post, love a winner and sorry Greg but bad losers are hilarious. I go out of my way when we are playing a game to take Ben out of the game first, I bribe the kids to gang up with me its so funny!

      So glad to hear our customer service departments are doing their jobs even if I will have to click on your link to see what Sugru is.

      Oh so disappointed to hear the corn was nasty, I was thinking inwoul have stayed for dinner too as it looked so delicious.

      I love iced coffee, I haven't had one for ages as they are really expensive here. Now I fancy one oops.

      Well done on the exercise, I haven't been eating particularly well but I have been walking lots. I have ventured on my bike yet. Xx

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    3. You bribe your kids to gang up on Ben? Hysterical! I did bribe my son with that free Snickers bar to get more experience points for my character than what he was "offering", Greg couldn't believe it. Well, after all, I was a rogue... hahaha. He's still a little sore about the whole thing, wouldn't you know it. I'm glad he'll be gone on his college buddies trip this weekend so we won't be playing and he has time to calm down :)

      You should make your own iced coffee at home! It's way cheaper. In my case, I got those for $0.36 for both so I figured that for that price (and they're "only" 110 calories each) I could treat myself. They're still in my fridge, though so I have been good as resisting the temptation to drink them right away!

      Good job on all the walking! Maybe you can watch your portions if you're not able to "eat particularly well"? Portion control is very important (well, here it is since Americans tend to eat very large portions).

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