Saturday, September 5, 2015

Frugal Successes and Failures: Saturday 9/5/15

  • So I had mentioned (perhaps here but more likely in a comment on Susan's blog) that I was planning on gardening today and tomorrow and read my detective novel on Monday. Only I got up late (for me, it was 8:45 a.m.) and I felt groggy and not motivated to do much of anything. I had promised my daughter that I would make her Red Velvet Pancakes for a belated birthday breakfast by 10 a.m. and I was seriously dragging my butt to accomplish even that.  I know, such a bad mom! Then Greg got up and he felt "blah" and I thought to myself "Ugh, we're both going to be feeling weird today, we should both just read our books and ignore the chores!"  But then I made the pancakes and they turned out stupendous and then everyone got up and we all had a lovely, completely unplanned family breakfast, which put both Greg and me in a good mood... and the kids as well since they were having pancakes, lol.  So we had a great time. I also warmed up a package of Banquet turkey breakfast sausages and cooked some Butterball turkey bacon strips in the microwave.  I gave my daughter the birthday presents that I had bought several months ago (a Tortora throw and a Sherlock wallet, which I had completely forgotten about, the Emoji flashcards which made her laugh, and a special glove that she wanted to draw on her drawing tablet without the tablet registering her hand).  She was happy with her gifts (I'm also letting her off the hook for the August insurance car payment and she'll get all those Bath & Body Works products that I ordered for her a couple of days ago) and her breakfast. I had told her yesterday that I had decided to forego making a cake too (since I couldn't find the marzipan and I wasn't sure that reviving the old one would work and also since we're all trying to watch our waistlines!) and she was fine with it.  I like that my kids don't expect a big hoopla around their birthdays :)

  • It is now almost 4 p.m. and despite having put on my exercise clothes FOUR hours ago, I still haven't gone on my bike or done much of anything, really.  Haven't cracked that book open either. Must. turn. off. the. laptop!

  • Well it never did rain today, despite a 50% rain forecast... I'm going to have to water the squash plant tomorrow as it already looked a little parched today!

  • I don't know if you noticed but I added 2 things to the blog today:
    • A "Contact Me" page.  When you click on it you'll see an email address that you can use to contact me if you wish.  The idea came to me when Susan stated that she would share more about her husband's condition via email and it occurred to me that there just wasn't any way for a reader to contact me aside from leaving a comment on the blog.  I sometimes email other bloggers when they publish an email address, to let them know of something privately or ask for information so I figured others might like this option too :)
    • If you scroll allllll the way down the right column, past my Labels and Archives, you'll see a new module that I added to thank my best followers... aka those who actually comment on my blog, and whose blog I follow and comment on!  If you would like to be on this list, please let me know how you're following me and what your blog's URL is. I can see that you're following me if you have a Blogger ID and used the "Follow via Email" link, but if you use any other way of following me, I don't think I'm aware of it.  I love discovering new blogs too and many times I discover new blogs by following links in commenters' profiles or in their followers modules.  To be clear, I follow dozens of blogs in Feedly, but a lot of those blogs are huge and don't need my little promotion and their authors certainly don't follow me (that I know of...), so I'm not adding them to that particular module. The order of the blog will change as they are listed by date of their own latest update.

  • I earned my daily Bing Rewards credits and I think I should reach my goal tomorrow, probably.

  • At breakfast, I was trying to take (horrible) selfies of my daughter and me with my phone when it occurred to me that my middle son, who was sitting right across from us, is a photography student and has awesome photographic equipment so I asked him to take care of taking pictures of all of us, which he did and they turned out awesome. Even though I was unshowered, in my PJs and the kitchen wasn't... immaculate, and the drapes were still closed at 10 a.m.!  He's indeed very good (and has good equipment, which helps tremendously) and managed to get candid shots of Greg, our son, myself and my daughter which made us laugh.  We also took selfies of him and me, which I love.  Now I have to wait until he emails them to me, hopefully tonight when he gets home from work. So, really good photos for free = frugal for me!

  • I didn't bother wrapping the throw or the wallet. Since they had come in a large plastic envelope, I left them in there. My daughter didn't mind.  I did use cheap wrapping paper from the Target Dollar Bin that I had bought several years ago to wrap the emoji card set and the glove and I was able to collect the paper afterwards to reuse it in the future :)

  • Greg and our son went to various hardware stores in town to get the oil, funnel and gas needed for the generator. Before he left I signed him up for the O'Reilly's reward program since we thought he might get some of the items there.  We'll get $5 back for every $150 spent there from now on.  I looked for coupons for various auto part stores around town, but there wasn't anything that he would have been able to use.

  • Our son was able to get free corrugated cardboard boxes from Ace Hardware. He needs them for another Dungeons & Dragons "set" that he is building for our weekly family game (we'll play tomorrow night since tonight there is college football on TV).  

  • Since he found those, he doesn't need the much larger box that came with our generator, which means that I can use it in my garden, woohoo!

  • I checked my plants and several of my pepper plants have buds (green pepper, jalapeƱos and serrano), I found a tiny strawberry growing, and I now have 3 Ichiban eggplants at various stages of growth.  The 2 Roma tomatoes on one of the guest tomato plants are getting a little plumper and the plant has more flowers.  And my acorn squash is still going strong, although the plant looks like it's been attacked by some bug... I need to spray the Nutria on it, but everytime I think of it the sky darkens and rain threatens :(

  • I decided to keep the Bacon Cheeseburger Chowder leftovers for dinner tonight, so for lunch I made a turkey wrap sandwich with one of those almost free spinach Flatout wraps (I'm the only one who apparently doesn't think they're gross) and some sliced turkey.  I had a side order of carrot sticks and used my new apple slicer to cut a small Red Delicious apple for dessert. I added a few grapes from the bottom of the bag (the kids never seem to eat those).  A large glass of cold raspberry tea brewed yesterday tasted very refreshing with all of that!

  • Greg turned on the generator so we could make sure it worked (it does) and see how loud it was.  All the comments we read praised how "quiet" it was so I don't want to know how loud the other generators were... mama mia!  Thankfully the new windows we had installed earlier this year help dampen the noise level a little but the neighbors will hate us. That is, if they don't have their own generators!  We weren't able to have it run on propane, which I think confirms that there is a problem with the propane bottle that we were using for the barbecue. We decided to get a new bottle soon so we can test the generator with it.  Comments did say that the generator ran the least loudly while on propane. Honestly, it's a relief to know that if we lose power at any time, we'll still be able to connect some of our appliances.  Spoiled much?  Well, this is one of the reasons why I like to save and "scrimp" on other things, so we can get items that are expensive but important to us. In the best of world, we won't actually have to use it, you know?

  • At about 6 p.m., an  hour after I had stopped exercising, I was still feeling hot and wondering why I was taking so long to cool off... and then I remembered that we had turned off the AC several hours ago when we were trying to figure out how loud the generator was... and completely forgot to turn it back on!  It was 79F in our living room, no wonder!  So we saved a little bit of money there, without even trying :)

  • Earning Swagbucks today was a little harder. I'm waiting until the Swag-Up rebate is available to order my $25 Amazon gift card and without that "2,500 SB" visual goal, my interest fades. Yes, I'm unable to train my brain to understand that a 5,000 SB goal is a multiple of 2,500! I barely made it to my first goal at 5:45 p.m. when, most days last months, I had met my first goal by 10 a.m.!

  • Dinner was the leftover Bacon Cheeseburger Chowder and the last 2 biscuits too. I left the biscuits to our son and Greg since I only biked for 37 minutes...  The chowder was just as good reheated and I didn't have to cook tonight, bonus!

  • After I did the dishes, I realized that I had ran out of countertop cleaning spray... no problem as I had mixed some lemon basil cleaner a couple of weeks ago and I was looking forward to trying it.  The expectation was that of a delicious lemon basil smell... and instead it just reeked of vinegar.  Well,OK, but that's not at all what I expected!  My favorite is actually called ParsleyPlus from Earth Friendly products and Walmart has it for a little over $2 a bottle ($2.47, I think).  A couple of years ago I was able to earn $2.00/1 coupons for it via and I haven't really used that site in a while so I'm going to head over there now to see if the coupon is still available and if I can earn some rewards by doing some tasks...  Update: well, look at here... there is a $1.00 coupon available for only 50 points and I still have 853 points in my account!  I'm going to make sure I don't have any other cleaner in my stash somewhere and if not, I'll get some ParsleyPlus next time I'm at Walmart. I can always use the lemon basil vinegar as softener in my laundry :)

If you live in the USA and shop at Walgreens, you really should sign up for it (you just use your Balance Rewards log in info) since you can get free stuff from Walgreens. I mean, come on, right?  Look at how you can earn points (on top of buying those items that Walgreens identifies as earning you Balance Rewards every week):

  • A blogger gave a heads up that Groupon was having a 30% off sale this weekend so I checked it out, just in case, and found an online traffic school deal discounted to just $8. My middle son got a speeding ticket recently and has the option to take a traffic school class in order to avoid getting points on his license so I sent him the link.  I talked to him after work and he was happy to be able to save some money on that (since he already had to pay his ticket!).

  • Gas, oil and a funnel for the generator.

  • A plane ticket (another one!) for Greg to go to his parents in a few weeks. They sold their house and he's going to help them pack for the move and also to get the car that they're giving us.   I'm relieved that I don't have to tag along, quite honestly. It's a long trip and we'd have to do it back-to-back over a weekend because of the kids being in school. As it is, he'll take a few days off so he can stay 4-5 days.

  • When Greg got gas at Racetrac for the generator, the pump failed to produce a receipt. He sent our son to pick it up at the register, but apparently the line had "at least 25 people in it!" and he didn't want to wait so he decided to leave without a receipt. Which means that I can't take the survey on it and earn another free hot dog.  Was I mad?  Heck yes.  Well, annoyed.

  • He also mistakenly got synthetic oil instead of regular oil so he had to go back and get an exchange. Only this time he got 10W30 marine oil, It was the same price as the synthetic oil or $7.99 a quart.  I checked their website and there is O'Reilly-branded regular 10W30 oil priced at $3.99 a quart!  But he didn't want to go back again.  So we wasted $8.00 and I realized that I know more about motor oil than my husband does.  Also, when I used to buy car oil for my ex-husband to change the oil in our cars, years ago (as in 15+ years ago!), a quart of Citgo oil was $1.89.  Weird how you remember such things...

  • Once again my dear husband booked his own plane ticket on Travelocity without going through any kind of reward portal first. I also found out that he never signed up for a Travelocity account, so we're missing out on any Travelocity perks that might have accumulated.  He refuses to sign up for frequent flyer programs because he "doesn't travel much". (hmm, I think 4 trips this year so far, at the very least!).  And last but not least, when he booked the last flight, he mistakenly charged it to his corporate American Express card instead of to our personal one, which means that we won't earn rewards for that trip at all.  I might just have to divorce him.   I warned him he was going to be prominently featured in my FAILURES section today and he laughed. He laughed!  Ugh.

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


  1. Hoya Nathalie, I'm really glad your daughter liked all her presents and that breakfast went well. Its so nice to have breakfast together isn't it!

    I just had a look at your about me page, perfect, I think it explains you and what your about brilliantly. Also its good to have an email address to be able to tell you the more personal stuff. Thank you so much for adding me to your blogs you follow list I am really chuffed.

    How awesome that your son can take great family photo's of you, you could get him to do some photos and use them for Christmas presents for family.

    I have to say my dear friend I laughed too at Greg's failures yesterday, in fact I laughed quite loudly and Ben asked me what I was laughing at, when I told him, he didn't get it which made me laugh even more! I was trying to tell him that I bet your face was picture when you learned about his antics. I guess I should have got him to read your about me page then he might have understood.

    Well done on the exercise. I have written down what I have eaten today but not had time to put it on MFP yet. I will do that tonight.

    Sorry to hear your not in the mood for gardening perhaps you could read your book? But whatever you do have a great day xx

    1. Ben didn't get it?! That's hysterical, HAHAHA! So now I'm laughing at your comment and Greg is looking at me like "what's going on?" and I can't really tell him because he doesn't read my blog (although he does know that he's prominently featured in the "Failures" section!) and I'm not so sure that I do want him to get curious enough to read it, he he.

      I just replied to your email about linking up in MFP... not sure if you'll get the reply... I sent you a friend request through my MFP (the email address for the blog isn't the one I use for MFP...). If you accept the friend request, I think I should be able to see you and you see me? My user name is NCCNATH, you can also find me that way...

      My son goes give us photos as Christmas gift. He took a really nice one of himself and my daughter last year and had it printed on a metal "canvas", in black and white and I love it. Since it's metal, it can stand by itself on my mantle without a frame or having to hang it from a hook, and it doesn't seem to get as dusty as glass frames do. Also... I can drop it when I dust (hahahahaha, like I dust a lot!) and it won't break. I always tell my kids to not spend any money but to use their talents (photography, music, painting...) to give me things that they've created. My daughter made me Nutcracker Paintings that I had seen in a catalog last year, it looked so nice at Christmastime :)

      Do your kids give their siblings and you & Ben Christmas presents? How do they handle the shopping if they do? Or do they make you stuff?

  2. Yay that your daughter' belated birthday breakfast went so well! It's funny the traditions you start for the kids that stick! When we first bought our house 11 years ago, I started a tradition of wrapping the birthday girl's dining room chair in crepe paper, glitter, and balloons before they got up in the morning. Sure enough, here I am still doing it! LOL Thankfully, it only costs me a few bucks to do it.
    I agree with House Full of Searles - you should use the pic for Christmas cards/gifts!
    Men are so funny aren't they? Papa wouldn't bat an eye if I told him that I was going to "out his failures" on my blog! LOL

    1. Oh that's a neat tradition that, as you say, doesn't cost you much and that your daughters will remember (and probably implement with their own kids). I used to make bigger "hooplas" for holidays (never much for birthdays) when the kids were little and they keep very good memories of them. Now I just don't have the energy... but if I don't do something that I used to do, they do complain about it some, hahaha. Right now my daughter really wishes that I would still decorate for Halloween. Ugh... I really don't want to (I'm the only one who does it and then who has to take everything down and honestly, all those people knocking on my door just annoys me because nowadays most kids are so RUDE (and their parents are worse) so why should I spend money to give them candy? Bah humbug. But I used to do the whole bit with homemade graveyard in the front lawn, scary music playing on the front porch, etc... Life is much easier now, hahaha.

      Also, if by funny you mean "infuriating", then I agree :) Greg says he doesn't care but he's always pointing out to me the frugal things that he does do and insists that I list them so maybe I should tell him that you all laughed and commiserated with me about his failures from Saturday and he might change his ways?

  3. I bet he will think twice from here on in. We all noticed how HIS failures stuck out so

    Love the beautiful breakfast you made for your daughter's birthday. I never did things like that. They always had a party with friends on the closest weekend to their birthday; but on their actual birthday, we only celebrated with cake and presents after dinner. A special breakfast or a few birthday decorations would have been a nice touch.

    I hear you about the seasonal decorations. I have done less and less over the years, but I still make some kind of effort because I still enjoy the holidays. If I had grand kids closer to me, I would probably go all out.

    1. We had 6 kids at home so we rarely had birthday parties that included friends. We would just bake a cake (a couple of years Greg baked very elaborate cakes for our sons' birthdays, we still don't know what got into him back then!) and open presents. I might have made them their favorite dish for dinner but honestly, I don't even remember so if I did it, it must have been sporadic? Sometimes we took the kids out to the restaurant for their birthday. Table for 8, please. Ouch, that wasn't frugal at all!

      I'm sure that your kids enjoyed having fun with their friends around their birthdays. They probably got tons of presents, which is very important to children, isn't it? hahaha.


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