Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Frugal Successes and Failures: Tuesday 9/22/15

  •  I can't do any gardening this morning since I don't have the soil needed to plant the rest of my seeds for the season yet, but I guess I could start installing the edging.  Only it's supposed to be 90 F today and we're already at 92% humidity, which is going to make it feel, much, much hotter, so I think I'll skip the edging today and do my ironing instead. Update: Uh, I didn't do the ironing. I'll do it on Thursday. Or Friday.

  • I'm sending a collective hugs to those readers who are going through a rough patch. It won't help much but I'm thinking about you guys and hoping things improve for you.

  • I felt tired tonight so I didn't do the dishes. I know I'll regret it in the morning, it's been so nice not to have to worry about it.  But I'm really tired. I think I ate too much bread. Carbs really seem to have that effect on me.

  • Greg worked from home today but not to save us money: he's still not feeling well and supposed to be driving 10 hours to his parents' house to help them with their move in 48 hours.  So he needs to try to rest as much as he can.  Still, that is saving us about $20 in tolls and gas.  I was thinking about going grocery shopping this morning instead of tomorrow but my list isn't completely ready yet and I'd have to make sure to be back by a certain time because I have to take my daughter to her annual physical this afternoon (last time... next year she'll be 18 and able to go on her own. Sob.)

  • Update: however, he would like some orange juice so I will be going to Save A Lot and Publix this morning and getting what I need from those stores.

  • The kids took packed lunches to school today.

  • My daughter drove herself to school, saving me time and money (one fewer round trip).

  • I washed another cereal bag and hung it to dry. I will reuse it when I freeze meat.

  • I reused a plastic bag that my middle son had brought back from Target to reline my youngest son's trashcan.

  • I earned my daily Bing Rewards credits.

  • I received a 100 SB bonus from coupon redemptions. Finally!

  • CVS sent me a coupon for 20% off groceries... this would be perfect for me only it doesn't include any items that are on sale or dairy products and the only groceries that I usually buy at CVS are milk or groceries that are on sale. Well, I printed the coupon anyway, you never know.

  • I put a quick shopping list together and took Greg's truck to run errands:
    • Went to Racetrac and redeemed a survey reward code for a free hot dog and condiments.

    • Drove to Save A Lot to take advantage of what I thought was the last day to get grapes for $0.99/lb. However, they had the weekly ad that starts tomorrow and grapes will be $0.99/lb for the next 2 weeks as well. Yay!  I found plantains on clearance. I like them so I got a bag of 9 for just $1.00.  The cole slaw mix was marked down to 50 cents so I got a bag of that as well.  There wasn't any beef marked down, which was kind of a relief since I'm out of room in my freezers!  I had 2 more coupons for $0.55/1 bottle of Kraft BBQ sauce and they still had it on special for $0.79 a bottle so I got 2 more cheap bottles.I grabbed 3 boxes of macaroni & cheese at $0.33/box. Only I already had some in my pantry. Oh well.  I got (2) 11 oz mandarin cans for $0.59 each and found 2 packages of Hawaiian rolls marked down to $1.15 each. I got those for my son's snack this afternoon and put the other in the fridge for later this week.  Lastly, I grabbed a loaf of bread because I didn't feel like baking any this afternoon (I eat too much of it when I do!). I also got the 1/2 gallon OJ for Greg. I really wanted 2 sturdy cardboard boxes because I use those to hold the milk and other items that tend to fall out of my trunk when I go shopping), but they didn't have any boxes today. Poop.

    • My next stop was at Publix.  Greg had requested a 12-pack of Diet Dr. Pepper cans to take on his trip to his parents.  It's expensive but cheaper than buying 12 cans along the way.  Thankfully, there was a $1.50 store coupon in one of the brochures that I picked up.  Yay!  I also got the 5 boxes of Special K cereal at $2.50 a box. I redeemed the (5) $1.00/1 manufacturer coupons that I got from the KFR Rewards catalog yesterday in exchange for most of my points so they were $1.50 each ($7.50) and I will submit my receipt to Kellogg's to get a $10 Publix gift card.  On top of that, there were Publix store coupons good for $2.00 off fresh fruit when you buy 2 boxes of Special K.  The fruit had to be $3.00+, though.  I used 2 store coupons and got 5.23 lbs of bananas priced at $0.69/lb for just $1.61 after coupon (so just $0.31/lb, which is better than Aldi right now) and (2) 6-oz containers of Driscoll's raspberries for just $0.50 each (priced at $2.50 each = $5.00 and I redeemed (2) $1.00/1 Driscoll's coupons and the $2.00 Publix store coupon).  I had to look wayyyy in the back of the shelf to find a jar of Lindsay's Naturals Spanish Manzanilla olives and today the cashier redeemed the coupon for $4.99 without batting an eye (the olives are priced at $3.59 this week because they're on sale so I got $1.40 overage, woohoo!).  The Near East couscous was on BOGO @ $2.29. I didn't have any coupons for it but it still was a better deal than Aldi.  I always buy the plain kind because the box is 10 oz as opposed to the flavored kind (same price, but the box is just over 5 oz!).  I also found a display with a "Try Me Free" offer for Progresso Chili & Stew so I got a pack of that and had it rung up separately so I could have a receipt to mail for the rebate (I think I also need a receipt for the Special K Publix gift card offer).  So this was a very productive trip :)  I saved over $17 just in coupons at Publix and when you add the sales discounts, I saved $29.10. My OOP was $18.34, I got $0.25 back from Checkout 51 for the bananas, and I will get $13.50 back from the 2 rebates!  I also found a rebate for Starbucks items. I'll keep it in case there is a sale on Starbucks coffee soon.

    • My last stop was at the library.  I needed to return a book and I also dropped off 2 magazines in the donation pile.  There were no magazines that I was interested in taking, but I did find a coupon insert for the taking. Yay!
  • While I was at Publix I also got some cash from their ATM machine. I could have waited to get it at Aldi tomorrow since the ATM charged me a $2.50 fee, but USAA refunds us up to $15 a month in ATM fees so I'm not worried about it.

  • My lunch was the free hot dog from Racetrac topped with my homemade zesty pickles, the rest of the pumpkin soup from last night (it was tastier after a night in the fridge!) and 2 oranges.  I need to hurry up and finish them because one of them had started developing a bad spot. I also brewed myself a cup of Lipton Black Tea by reusing the tea bag Greg used for his breakfast this morning.

  • I zested the oranges and froze the zest.

  • I had to take my daughter to her annual physical this afternoon.  We didn't have an office co-pay thanks to our insurance and I also got her a flu shot, which should also be covered by our insurance.

  • On the way home, we gassed up my SUV at Racetrac in Clermont since gas is cheaper there than near my house. We paid $1.99/gallon and I got a new receipt with a survey to take for a free hot dog!

  • .I submitted my Publix receipt to Kellogg's Family Rewards for the $10 Publix gift card rebate.

  • I clipped the codes from the boxes of Special K to submit them at a later time (if I don't get points from the rebate receipt upload. I'm not sure if I will.)

  • I took the survey on today's Racetrac receipt and received a reward code for a free roller grill item.

  • Greg had a whole sleeve of saltines right before dinner and I didn't feel like cooking so I just warmed up the 20 oz Progresso pouch of Southwest Chili that I got from Publix (free after rebate) for him and me, and a can of ravioli for our son. My daughter brought a packed dinner with her to her college class since she needed to do a math lab afterwards.

  • Since I used 2 Driscoll's coupons today, I took another Driscoll's survey tonight and earned 2 more $1.00/1 printable coupons, in case berries are on sale at Target tomorrow.

  • I reached my 2nd Swagbucks Daily Goal today, woohoo!  I'd like to be able to earn a 3rd $25 gift card this month and I need a little less than 600 SB.

  • I moved my Rebates & Gift Cards tracking spreadsheet from my hard drive to Google Drive so I can now access it when I'm on the go. Sometimes I see rebates and I'm not sure if I've already redeemed them or not so now it'll be easy to check on that right on the spot.  A lot of people complain that rebates are too much work and that they never get the money back.  Since I've started keeping track of the rebates that I have sent for back in June 2008, I have sent rebates totalling $1,931.73 and received $1,883.58 back so far.  I have several pending rebates that I haven't received yet, hence the discrepancy.  I do show a couple of rebates that I don't seem to have received, but I think it was inputting omissions and I feel certain that I probably did receive those checks.


  • Gas to go to run errands (since I needed to get OJ for Greg), doctor visit, and for my daughter to go to her college class.

  • $20 on a Florida lottery ticket good for 20 drawings.  Yep.  Some people say the lottery is atax on stupid but I say "You don't win if you don't play" and "If I can afford it, why the heck not?". I don't spend money on manicures, haircuts, massages, expensive clothes, a shoe addiction, jewelry, tobacco, drugs, expensive hobbies. I almost never go on vacation. So darn it, I'm gonna buy a $20 Florida lottery ticket every so often.  So there.

  • Water. With no rain in sight and high temperatures, I had to water my plantings. Instead of reusing collected rainwater, I used the hose. Bad Nathalie. But it was hot and I didn't want to be out there longer than I had to.

  • The weirdest thing happened tonight: I heard a bang that I couldn't place and a few minutes later I realized that our patio umbrella had fallen over, taking with it our patio table.  There is no wind at all!  While it's a small table, it is also extremely heavy (concrete and iron) so I have no idea how that could have happened.  The umbrella pole was bent. I was able to straighten it out but now there is a break in it on one side, so I don't think it will last long. I bought it within the past year. I'll have to research whether I can get it replaced but I bought it online so I don't have much hope.

  • I put the laundry away.
  • I cleaned the upstairs bathroom (toilet bowl, sink, swept, replace bath mat with clean one).
  • I swept the master bedroom.
  • I collected the trash throughout the house and took it down the driveway for collection, along with the 2 large trashcans full of weeds.
  • I vacuumed my youngest son's room.
  • I pulled weeds from the walkway in front of the house and the front planters.
  • I ran errands and got freebies!
  • I watered all the plantings.
  • I caught up with entering my receipts from this week and last week into YouNeedABudget.
  • I entered Greg's Walgreens receipt from his TX trip into Balance Rewards since he hadn't given them out phone number in order to earn BR points but nothing in his purchase qualified for BR points.  That's OK, I'm glad I was able to make sure that we didn't miss out on anything!
  • I mailed the Progresso rebate.
  • I earmarked possible Christmas gifts in a catalog that I received today.
  • Moved Rebates/Gift Cards spreadsheet to Google Drive.

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


  1. What a successful shopping day, for a day that was just about running errands. You have shown me, and others, that by doing the small stuff (like mailing in rebates), you cash in on BIG savings. You got back almost $2,000 in 7 years, just for doing that one thing. Combine that with all the other "small stuff" you do, and you have "earned" several thousands of dollars. Is it possible, I wonder, to track what money you make in the course of a year? How much do you make picking up change, receiving free items, turning points into gift certificates, etc. Maybe you could keep a running total....money I made this week from these different sources. Better yet, maybe I could do that. Let's face it. I don't do a fraction of the stuff you do. But I could do a running total of my savings each week from shopping, since most of my receipts break down that info for me. (sales and coupons)

    Of course, we know we save money by growing our own vegetables, MYO products, insourcing our daily chores like lawn services, cooking from scratch, maid services, etc., but that is nearly impossible to calculate. But you Nathalie, you actually earn cash money with all that you do. Ha. Just thinking out loud.

    1. I do keep track of a lot of things... I'll put a post together some time soon with the details, it'll be fun :) Thanks for the idea!

      You're right, the little things do add up. But I think what's more important than how much you save, is how much you spend. I use to save a lot, but I also spent a lot. That wasn't being frugal at all. As my ex-husband used to say to make fun of me "I would have saved more but I ran out!". This past year and a half of blogging about my frugal efforts has really helped me see the light and reduce how much I spend and pay more attention to making sure nothing (well, not much, we're not perfect!) is wasted. I feel much more contented and confident that we'll be able to make it on a reduced income when Greg retires or if something were to happen to him or his job. I've learned a lot from other bloggers and a lot about myself in the process!

      I'm able to receive a lot of rewards from our credit cards because I spend a lot on credit cards. I try to charge everything for that purpose, but also we are lucky that Greg makes a really good living so we do have income to spend on... a generator or new windows for the house, etc. So don't let the amount of Rewards that I get and use to get freebies dazzle you: I had to spend money... to make money :) But it's important for me to try to take advantage of every possibility (reward program, discount, rebate, coupon) that is available. I just hate paying full price for something if I know that I can get it cheaper!

      You have incredible yields from your garden so I have no doubt that it is saving you a lot of money. I'm definitely not at the break even point yet, even though I have been bad at tracking what I harvested and an approximate value. As for your crafts, I guess it might be like my gardening... there is a cost but it's also entertainment and enjoyment and you can't really put a price on that, can you?

  2. Hi Nathalie, Good luck on the Florida lottery I hope you win! You seem to get a lot of deals on your Kellogg boxes the only deals we really get on our are one child free with an adult paying full price to one of the UK theme parks. But you can get half price tickets if you buy in advance. So its not much of a deal really. We don't really go to the UK theme parks anyway because they are so expensive and once you have been to Disney and Universal they can't really compare.

    How strange what happened to your table and umbrella surely it should still be within its Warranty. I hope you get a nice new one. Something similar happened to one of our friends but it was windy and the table was glass and the umbrella went straight through the glass table. She did get her money back.

    Have a lovely day.

    1. Yes, I think we're very lucky to have as many opportunities to save money as we do in the USA. I noticed when I was in France that coupons were far and few between. We get offers for discounts on theme park admissions here too, they're everywhere. But even if they are for parks as "exotic" (for you!) as WDW, Legoland, Universal, Sea World, Busch Gardens, and others, it's still too expensive! I got excited yesterday seeing something printed behind the milk gallon wrapping, thinking it was a coupon for milk... but it was a coupon for a theme park. I'm so sick of theme parks, LOL. I just want a lousy dollar off my gallon of milk! Plus I don't have any children 9 and under (10 and up is considered "Adult" for theme parks, what a rip off!) so I can't use those coupons giving us free kids' meals or kids' admission anyway.

      I'll have to check if the store where I bought the umbrella had any warranty. I'm not sure that it does... I don't even know if I still have my receipt.


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