Monday, November 30, 2015

Frugal Successes and Failures: Monday 11/30/15

  • Happy Monday and Last Day of November.  The weekend ended on a high note for me as Greg and I watched the Patriots/Broncos game last night and while the despised Tom Brady was playing and my beloved Peyton Manning was sidelined, I got my birthday wish: the Broncos defeated despicable Tom Brady and I'm going get to gloat about that for weeks to come.  Hahahahahaha!  I feel the fog lifting and my mood is definitely improving.
Happy birthday to me!
  • Speaking of fog, it's a gray and foggy morning here today.  We should have some rain later on this week. Nobody was looking forward to going back to work/school today.  I feel off my game too.  On an another positive note, though, I slept very well last night, another sign that the black veil is lifting, I think.  Update: 9:50 a.m. and the sun just came out. Yes, please! Later on, it got gray and overcast and I thought it was going to rain, but it didn't.

  • On my to-do list today: cleaning the cats' litterbox (my son scoops it out every night but it's time to dump it all, wash it, and put in fresh litter), vacuuming, doing the laundry, putting up some Christmas stuff, I suppose.  Argh. Maybe just the Advent calendar. I have the cheap chocolate ones from Aldi to give to the kids  I could just put up a few things at a time over several days to make it less overwhelming, but that would mean keeping all the boxes in my kitchen for several days as we don't have a garage that I could use as a staging area.  My decorating is probably going to be minimal this year again.  Also I have to get everything ready for St. Nicolas on Sunday morning (and bring my oldest son's St Nicolas stuff to him on Friday night!). That means personalizing those Christmas ornaments that I'm giving the kids by writing their names and the year on them. I need to dig in my stash to see if I have enough of the Michael's wooden Christmas ornaments so I can make ME 2015 ornaments with pictures of the kids in there.  I need to run to the library, oh and put air in my tires, I almost forgot about that.  I need to look up how to fix the handle of Greg's truck's glove compartment since our son broke it, somehow and right now Greg can't get to the registration or insurance papers if he gets stopped by the police!  Oh and I need to work out a menu for the week, Sigh.  Can't we eat out every night?!  Plus I need to rewrite a paragraph in my monthly food expenses recap for November since we spent so much money eating out this weekend.

  • I earned the daily Bing Rewards credits and hope to reach my 1st daily Swagbucks goal today (100 SB), which would qualify me for the 300 SB monthly bonus for reaching my 1st goal 30 days in a row.  The SBTV app isn't working well for me today because it keeps on showing me a Barbie commercial and then the screen gets stuck on it and there is no way to skip it or move forward.  So I'm running Moviecl.ips instead, which has a similar ad but that one has the "X" to cancel out of it.  I tried one survey which was supposed to take 10 minutes, only after I did the prequalifications, it turned out to be a 25 minute survey. I've been burned by those before, investing my time and giving them what they wanted only to be disqualified again so I didn't even try it.  Is it just me or have all the surveys available on the Gold Surveys dashboard been the same for over a week and when you click on them they all say that they've already reached the number of desired participants? Anyhoo, late in the afternoon I finally met my 1st goal and qualified for the 300 SB bonus for meeting my goal 30 days in a row :)
  • I had an email from Apple this morning.  The rep didn't understand my complaint at all ("I understand that your complaint is that the app is running too big for your iPhone 6 and iPad...") but is refunding me the $1.99 so woohoo!

  • Thanks to IHeartPublix's preview of the upcoming Publix weekly ad, I made a list of deals I might want to purchase there next week.  Barber Foods entrées will be $4.00 and I have $1.50 coupons from BzzAgent so I'll probably buy a couple so I can cook them for my whole family (each box only contains 2 breasts) and get their feedback for the campaign that I'm participating in.

  • For breakfast I had a bowl of generic crispy rice cereal and the rest of a container of raspberries that were on the verge of getting moldy.

  • I couldn't find clear instructions on how to open Greg's glove compartment without the latch but I sent him some suggestions based on what I read online. I also ordered a copy of a repair manual for F-150s from Amazon. I figured it might end up coming in handy, if not for that, for something else. I paid for it with some of the gift card balance from when I got the Amazon credit card so it was free to us.  The No Rush shipping bonus was a $5.99 Prime Pantry credit which was of no use to me so I just picked the 2-day shipping option since it was free via Prime anyway. I'll give it to him for St. Nicolas!

  • I entered a bonus code (POIN-TSFO-RJUL-SB20, expires 12/6) on Kellogg's Family Rewards and earned 100 KFR points (thanks, Slickdeals poster!).

  • Starbucks loaded a birthday freebie on my card.  It expires on Wednesday so it's a good thing that I'll be passing a Starbucks on that day!

  • I had to go to the library to return some items that were due today so I batched a couple more errands to make the outing a little more efficient:
    • I stopped by Racetrac to get air in my tires.  The tire gauge didn't seem to be working on the machine, and then I couldn't feed it quarters because something was jammed in the opening.
    • I went inside to redeem a survey reward code for a free hot dog and mentioned the jammed machine to the cashier who told me that air was free, I just needed to ask them to turn on the machine with a remote. So they did.
    • When I went back to try it again, the machine was working but the tire gauge still wasn't and I didn't have one in my car. So I put *some* air in my tires (the maximum PSI should be 44 and according to the Wawa machine last Tuesday, although I don't trust it, I had inflated my tires to 32 PSI so I had some wiggle room) but since I couldn't measure exactly how much air is in my tires, I was uneasy using the machine. I decided that I would spend my $10 gift from Ace Hardware to be a tire gauge.  I didn't bring my coupons with me, though, so I'll go on Wednesday.
    • I drove to Walgreens to pick up my free 8 x 10 reprint from this past weekend and since I was there and they still had some, I got the Scunci item (hair clips) that is "free" after Register Rewards this week.  I didn't need it and I don't count it as a freebie after Register Rewards since I'll be using the RR to buy groceries (eggs or cereal, probably) in the next couple of weeks, but I figured it would be like buying those items that I do need and get a free Scunci item with my purchase, like in a box of Cracker Jacks.  I might gift them to my middle son's GF since she has long hair.
    • Then I drove to the library where I returned my items. There weren't any coupon inserts or interesting magazines in the donation pile, but I found 3 more books to borrow, which is good since there's really not much on Netflix or Amazon Prime Instant that interests me right now.

  • My lunch was the free hot dog from RaceTrac with some sweet cole slaw and Southern potato salad from the Publix Family Combo Meals that we bought this weekend.

  • I put several DVDs on hold via my library system's website.

  • I printed coupons from my computer and my son's as well.

  • I loaded up new offers to my Amex card and Greg's. Sadly, the Walmart offer was only available for his. Dang it!  I guess I'll need to borrow it to do some online shopping tonight!

  • The Dunkin Donuts app hadn't worked in weeks and I tried to log in to their website this morning but that's down as well.  I emailed them and tweeted them to complain... cuz they're holding my money hostage!  They had bad financial news a few weeks ago and I'm wondering if all those problems are a precursor of them declaring bankruptcy and taking my money with them... Grrrr.  Update: I checked again later on this afternoon and the app IS working now. Phew! I can't remember if I already knew that I had a birthday freebie loaded up. Probably not since the app hasn't been working...

  • I harvested a couple of green onions from the garden to use in my Calypso chicken recipe for dinner. I used one of the packages of boneless, skinless chicken thighs that I got at Target last week and 2 boxes of Zatarain's Caribbean rice since my middle son loves that dinner and I invited him to join us. My youngest son ate some of the fried chicken leftovers.

  • Greg and I watched an episode of "River" on Netflix together.

  • The kids and Greg bought lunch today.

  • So.... I saw an alert on Slickdeals that Columbo the Complete Series was on Amazon for just $42 and change (DVD) so I got it. I luuuuurve Columbo. Yes, I know some of the episodes are on Netflix (are they, still?) but I'll watch that show over and over again. And I already have, from when I was a kid.  I used up the rest of my gift cards so it was only $6.14 for 36 DVDs :) and since I charged the balance to my Amazon Rewards Visa card, I'll get 3% back. Damn it, I should have used Discover and gotten 5% back!

  • I also bought a case for my Kindle Fire that will help me prop it on the window sill above the sink when I do the dishes.  It was $14.99, but I got $15 back from Amazon on the price of the Kindle itself on Black Friday so it evens out :)

  • None today.
  • I cooked breakfast for Greg and set the breakfast table for the kids.
  • I made our bed.
  • I worked on my shopping list a little.
  • I cleaned the cat litter box.
  • I ran some errands.
  • I started my Christmas decorating by just putting up my new kitchen night light!

  • I printed some coupons and clipped them.
  • I did the laundry.
  • I registered my new Kindle Fire so I can use it when doing the dishes tonight :)
  • I cooked dinner.

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

My Daily Freebies: Monday 11/30/15

Here is what I got/found for free today!

  • I ordered a truck repair manual for Greg on Amazon and paid for it with some Amazon gift cards that I earned via Swagbucks/Bing Rewards. (Yes, I checked the library and they didn't have a manual for the specific year we need).

  • Starbucks loaded a birthday freebie to my card. Woohoo!

  • Air for my tires at RaceTrac.

  • A hot dog and condiments from RaceTrac, with redemption of a survey reward code.

  • I picked up my free 8 x 10 reprint from Walgreens.

  • A packet of Scunci hair barrettes from Walgreens, free after Register Rewards (well, I'll use the Register Rewards on groceries next week and it'll be as of I had gotten free barrettes with my groceries).

  • 3 books, borrowed from my library system.

  • My vet's office sent me an email to get a free new pet exam through 12/31.  Dang it, the universe is colluding against me and wants us to get a new kitten!

  • Greg downloaded a free e-book from Amazon for his Kindle.

Did you get any freebies today?

This Week's Dinner Plans: 11/30 to 12/6/15

Each week I peek in my fridge, freezer, and garden, to see what needs to be used up and I take a couple of minutes to think of ways to use up those ingredients in the next few days...

This week I'm just listing what I'm planning on cooking and what I need to buy or make in advance, if applicable.  I'm cooking an awful lot of chicken this week :)

MONDAY: Chicken Calypso and Caribbean Rice

TUESDAY:  Roasted Chicken and Sweet Potato Casserole

  • Need to buy:  pizza

THURSDAY: Bacon Ranch Chicken & Pasta Skillet
  • Need to make in advance:  Defrost pork loin roast for tomorrow
  • Need to buy: buttermilk ranch dressing

FRIDAY: BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches and Roasted Potatoes
  • Need to make in advance:  **in crockpot**; parboil potatoes and then roast them in cast iron pan
  • Need to buy: hamburger buns

SATURDAY:  Cheeseburgers and Pasta Salad
  • Need to make in advance:  cook pasta and cool it off. Make dressing.

SUNDAY:  Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes with Rolls
  • Need to make in advance: make meatloaf
What's cooking in your kitchen this week?

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Frugal Successes and Failures: Sunday 11/29/15

  • I was up from 3 to 5 a.m. last night because I couldn't sleep.  Ugh.  I was a little cold too so I was hoping it meant the weather was going to be cooler, but when I look at the weather predictions for the next 10 days. we won't be in the 70s until next weekend. So it sounds like we'll still be running the AC between now and then.

  • I need to reply to my sister in law from Paris who emailed me earlier this week. All mired in my own depressive mood, I didn't have the energy to reply or the will to assimilate and commiserate about her very real stressful experience in Paris right now (and for a long time to come.)  I feel very selfish and guilty but I did so out of self-preservation, not because I'm uncaring. My problem is that I care too much.  The holiday season is a huge downer for me because of various reasons and every time I tell myself that this holiday season I will conquer the melancholy and not succumb to depression, something happens to make me choke on those thoughts: my very active, so very health-conscious stepmother's passing (and the week and a half I spent taking care of her as she came back to her home to die from pancreatic cancer), a huge family tragedy the very same year around Thanksgiving time that was so horrible I don't think I'll ever bear being able to write about it, the Paris terrorist attacks, so close to several loved ones, and then my own issues here in the states with various relatives that will also go unexplained but are real and very painful.  The more people you know, the less you can escape pain, stress, and despair and this is probably why I'm becoming more and more of a hermit. I have had to protect myself by refusing to have relationship with people I find toxic. But there is a very real cost to pay as well. On the other hand, I need to really work at maintaining links to my siblings and their spouses because if I estrange myself from my blood relatives, I might as well give up.  So I need to reply to my sweet sister in law and manage an answer that isn't centered around me and how I feel right now. She has enough on her emotional plate without having to empathize with my neuroses.

  • Today was a very lazy day as Greg babied me to celebrate my upcoming birthday. He waited on me all day, made me a cake, did the dishes (twice), and bought me lunch AND dinner.  OK, so maybe I'd like to celebrate my birthday every weekend :)

  • The stray (feral?) kitten that came to visit our cats over a week ago was back today and my son was the one who spotted him. However, he ran away again. We spotted him behind our neighbor's shed and we tried to attract him to come back, but he ran away from us and disappeared.

  • Since I was up in the middle of the night, I started working on my Bing Rewards and Swagbucks (might as well be productive, but I drew the line at doing the dishes at 3 a.m.!): I earned a $5 Amazon gift card with Bing Rewards.  Yay!

  • My Swagbucks first goal for today is 70 SB.  Once again I got rejected for every single survey on my dashboard. It's frustrating.  I did run Ngage and Juno Group offers on the laptop and SBTV on the phone so I'm up to 40 SB this morning already. 

  • For the last few days I had seen the offer pictured below on my Swagbucks home screen but when I clicked on it, it just took me to the Holiday Shopping Page and didn't give anymore details.  So I emailed Customer Service today and asked them to explain to me how to redeem this offer, nothing that I had already purchased more than $25 over Thanksgiving.  They emailed me back this afternoon, apologizing for the confusion and crediting me with 500 SB.  So I made my goals today although I still don't understand what that banner was all about?!  I'm glad I emailed them, though!

  • I also printed coupons while I was up in the middle of the night. I didn't want the printer noise to wake up everyone so I just hit print without having turned on the printer and they were all lined up in the print queue for when I officially got up.  There weren't many to print: good, less time spent having to clip and sort them.

  • I looked at the Walgreens and CVS ads for the week and it looks like I'll be skipping both: neither has any great deal on groceries. I might go to Walgreens for a gallon of milk ($3.19, 20 cents cheaper than at Aldi) but I think we still have 3 gallons in the fridge and we won't drink that, thankfully before Wednesday.  It kind of annoying that there is nothing for me to spend my ECBs on at CVS but they're good until 12/24 so I have plenty of time.

  • Dunkin' Donuts sent me a coupon for a free beverage for my birthday. I have a couple of months to use it so there's no rush.

  • I was able to use a code for free shipping (today only) on (FREESHIP) to order a small gift for my oldest son for Christmas.

  • Amazon has a promotional code to get any TV show season for 30% off today (TVSEASON30) and Game of Thrones Season 5 qualifies... but Greg would prefer we buy it on Blu Ray come March or April, when it is released... poop.  I really want to see it!

  • I spent the afternoon re-watching some episodes of Grace & Frankie on Netflix and The Sopranos on Amazon Prime while playing a free mahjong game that I downloaded to my phone.

  • I also used the Lumosity app to train my brain a little. Not surprisingly, my attention and memory skills are pretty poor. But hey! My problem solving skills are pretty awesome, I think! It would be interesting to know how all of this stacks up against other players, but I'm too cheap to pay $6-7 per month for that.  They had a Black Friday sale when it went down to $4 a month, which is still too expensive for me.  I already KNOW that I have poor memory and attention skills.

  • At lunchtime Greg volunteered my daughter and son to go get Hardee's  for all of us since that's what I was feeling like having and then for dinner we went to pick up fried chicken and sushi from Publix since I didn't feel like going to a restaurant.  This birthday thing might not be so bad after all although it sure wasn't good for our budget!

  • Amazon cancelled one of my orders because it's "out of stock" when it showed "in stock" when I placed my order.  Arrgh.

  • I downloaded a bonus bundle of Hidden Objects games on my phone from the iTunes store for $1.99.  Since it had 6 games and good reviews, I thought that was a good deal. However, once downloaded, the games couldn't get resized and are very tiny so I can't play them at all on the iPhone!  A total waste of $1.99 and it won't let me leave a review for the bundle, claiming that I didn't buy it (?!) so I left the same review for each game individually.  I emailed Apple Customer Service to ask for a refund.

  • Today is my official birthday celebration day, apparently, so I'm not planning on doing anything.
  • Well, I printed some coupons.
  • I emailed my sister in law.
  • I replaced roach traps in the laundry room, under the kitchen sink, and in my daughter's bedroom,
  • That's pretty much all I accomplished today.

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

My Daily Freebies: Sunday 11/29/15

Here is what I got/found for free.  Several of those came in the mail yesterday but I forgot to post about them...

  • Ace Hardware sent me a $10 gift card for my birthday.

  • A coupon for a free full-size Signature Collection item from Bath & Body Works.

  • I received the $50 CVS gift card I had ordered from our Mastercard Rewards program.

  • Kohl's sent me a $10 promotional gift coupon for my birthday.

  • I was able to get refunded $2.00 for the $1.50 bottle of Minute Maid lemonade that I bought on Friday night when I presented this coupon at Publix customer service, thus turning it into a $0.50 money maker :)

And then we used another one of those coupons to get a free 2L bottle of Diet Coke tonight as we picked up another Deli Family Combo Meal for dinner. (It was my un-birthday celebration today so I didn't have to cook!)

  • I earned a $5 Amazon gift card from Bing Rewards.

  • Dunkin' Donuts sent me a coupon for a free any size beverage for my birthday.

Did you get any freebies today?

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Frugal Successes and Failures: Saturday 11/28/15

  • A bright and sunny day here today.  I heard about the terrible storm that's hitting the midwest, though, and I hope that everyone is OK.

  • Greg and our son came back today. This helps my mood a little,

  • I earned the daily Bing Rewards credits. I'm only 1 short of getting another $5 Amazon gift card.

  • Speaking of Amazon gift cards, KJP so wisely advised me to order $60 Amazon gift cards with my American Express cards so I can get the $15 statement credit.  So smart!  Why didn't I think of that?! Thanks, KJP.

  • The 1st daily goal for Swagbucks is 77 SB today.  I tried to qualify for many, many, MANY surveys this morning but was disqualified for all of them. Poop.  So I'm doing it the "hard" way again.  At 12:45 p.m., I'm only up to 53 SB, so I'm watching "River" on Netflix while babysitting my laptop. Update: I made my goal in the afternoon and then I stopped.

  • My daughter put gas in the family car on Thursday at RaceTrac and charged it to my Discover card so she turned in the receipt to me. I took the survey on the receipt and earned another survey reward code for a free roller grill item.

  • I mended holes in two of my T-shirts and finished my son's jeans. I advised him to wear them around the house, not to school, as I'm not confident that my mending job will hold very well!

  • While I was clipping coupons, I realized that there was a Publix store coupon for $2 off a Coke product when you buy a Family Meal that I could have used last night.  Greg and I went to Publix this afternoon (see: "Splurges") so I stopped by Customer Service and got a refund.  Publix had the best customer service, seriously.

  • I uploaded new Ibotta offers.

  • Greg is insisting on baking me a cake for my birthday but regular cake mix won't do so we went to Publix to get the missing ingredients. Way too expensive, if you ask me.=, but I couldn't dissuade him.

  • No failures today.

  • I fed the cats.
  • I filed the paperwork that needed to be filed.
  • I installed a towel rack.
  • I did some more shredding.
  • I clipped some coupons.
  • I did some mending.
  • I went to do some shopping with Greg.
Did you have any frugal successes or failures today? Please do tell!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Frugal Successes and Failures: Friday 11/27/15

  • The weather is sunny but too hot to have the windows open all day again. However, I did open a window in our bedroom to air it out.

  • I keep telling myself that Depression lies but it's not helping.  This is going to be a constant through the holidays.  I wish it were January, already. 

  • The library sent me a notice that one of the books I borrowed on the spur of the moment last Monday is already due this Monday. Crap, I hadn't realized it was a 7-day book.  So I might spend my afternoon reading again.  The problem is that crime stories aren't exactly a mood lifter, KWIM?  Update: despite the short description in the inside of the book, I was sure I hadn't read it.  But after reading the 1st paragraph, I had a nagging suspicion and Shelfari confirmed that I read this book almost 3 months ago. It's depressing how bad my memory is.  Well, at least the pressure of reading it before Monday is gone, now. On to the other books in my pile.


  • I earned the daily Bing Rewards credits.  My 1st Swagbucks daily goal is 92 SB.  I took one survey for 46 SB that required me to type in answers, not just click on boxes, and at the end it told me I was disqualified.  Grr. I emailed Customer Service but got an email saying that due to the holidays, it would be 3 days before I heard back from them.  So much for reaching 92 SB today. I don't feel like working on SB all day and yet giving up on the 300 SB bonus just 3 days out is kind of pissing me off. But also I don't really care? At 11 a.m. I have only earned 22 SB.  Update: and then, at 1:30 p.m. just as I was about to throw in the towel so I could read a book in peace, I realized that I had reached my 1st goal because they had credited me with the 46 SB. So I guess someone is working today after all. Thanks, Swagbucks :)

  • I should try to place 3 more small orders via Swagbucks (Target, probably) today to take advantage of the triple holiday bonus, free shopping and to get (3) 100 SB Swag Up rebates when my orders are credited. but I can't seem to have any enthusiasm for shopping. I wouldn't even know what to order.  I don't think we need anything and I'm pretty much done with my Christmas shopping. I think.

  • Well, I spoke too soon: the upstairs bathroom's toilet flushing mechanism broke so I went on via Swagbucks and ordered a new one.  It cost me about $7 with tax. I should earn 2 SB per $ spent so 12 SB (woohoo?), 65 Ace Rewards points, and qualify for a 3rd 100 SB Swag Up rebate.  It'll take a few days to ship from their warehouse (not sure why the universal flushing handle thingie isn't in stock at the store!) and I'll pick it up at the store so I didn't have to pay for shipping.  In the meantime, I put a note on the toilet tank instructing everyone to lift the tank lid (hopefully no one will break it!), fish out the chain and pull on it. We'll see how often people decide to just "let it mellow" until I can fix it...

  • I checked the Walmart Savings Catcher and the $0.68 was credited to my account. I'll wait to have a more sizeable amount and have them direct it to a gift card then.

The details were that the Special K was cheaper at Target and the Sargento cheese was cheaper at Publix.  I had seen the Sargento cheaper at Publix after the fact so I'm glad the Savings Catcher noticed that too!  I can't remember who suggested to me (Crystal or KJP, I think) that I buy the items at Walmart anyway since I have the gift cards there and then use the Savings Catcher to get the difference back.  The only thing is that I think the Savings Catcher only uses the prices advertised in the weekly ads so if an item is always cheaper at Publix but not advertised in their weekly ad, I don't think the Savings Catcher would actually catch that. Am I right? Still, I appreciate that they do that.

  • I read another one of my library books this afternoon, "Little Black Lies" by Sandra Bolton (who also writes as S.J. Bolton). It was ok.

  • My daughter and I watched a few episodes of  "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" on Netflix together with our dinner.  I don't think she liked it very much, though. 

  • I didn't feel like cooking dinner so my daughter and I went to Publix and picked up a Family Dinner Meal from the deli (chicken wings, sweet slaw, potato salad, rolls) for my middle son and myself and a sub for her.

  • The comedy of errors with my Black Friday online shopping continues... I checked my Amex account to see why I wouldn't have gotten notification of the $15 statement credit for ordering something $60+ from Amazon and realized that Amazon had split my order in two: one for $59.99 (of course!) and one for $1.93, since they were coming from Amazon + 1 additional vendor.  Arrgh.  So I cancelled the $59.99 order, and placed it again but this time also ordered a book with it and used the HOLIDAY30 promotional code to get a 30% discount on the book.  I chose the no rush shipping option again so I will get $1 digital credit and hopefully the $15 American Express statement credit, which will make the book completely free and also knock off some $ off the price of the main item. Both are Christmas gifts for my youngest son. Update: well, I give up.  Amazon split my order in two again, thus again preventing me from getting the $15 Amex statement credit since neither of the items is actually $60 (seriously, the most expensive item that I'm buying is $59.99!). So I cancelled that item AGAIN and will be ordering it from Target where I can get free shipping as well and 5% off with my REDcard as well as have it qualifies for the 100 SB rebate and get 3 SB per $ spent as well (so about 180 SB).  Update #2: arrgh, they're out of stock at! Update #3: I ordered it from  Free shipping, but no special rewards beyond the regular 1% with my American Express,  180 SB from Swagbucks and the 100 Swag up rebate, hopefully. I didn't want to use my Walmart gift cards since I'm keeping those for groceries.  I'm seriously annoyed.  I tried cancelling another Amazon order that I had placed yesterday with my Discover card that had been for an item over $60 (after I had placed the order that I ended up having to cancel) so I could reorder it with my Amex, but that one is already being readied for shipping by the seller so it's too late.  Black Friday has been a frugal disaster for me.

  • I received a promotional code for a free 8 x 8 photo book from Shutterfly a couple of weeks back so I tried putting one together about our French trip for my daughter. But I don't like the interface (Smilebox was much easier!) and I gave up after about an hour.  I have until 12/13 to claim it.

  • I also have a promotional coupon from Discover for $25 off $25 at TinyPrints and I still couldn't find anything that I would want either for myself or my daughter (because, let's be honest, a girl is the most likely candidate to send actual cards to someone...).

  • I folded some laundry.
  • I shredded the pile that had accumulated on the shredder and I threw it away along with all the paper scraps that I had been keeping since that pile never seemed to go down even though I was using some of it in the composter. 
  • I fed the cats and filtered some water for them.
  • I did the dishes.
  • I swept the whole downstairs.
  • I fake mopped the kitchen.
  • I replenished my youngest son's school lunch account.
  • I took down the Thanksgiving/Fall decorations. I'm waiting to do the laundry on Monday (dishtowels and such) to put everything away.
  • I ordered a new flushing assembly for the toilet upstairs.
  • I cancelled an Amazon order and placed it again to make sure I got the $15 statement credit I expected. Then I had to cancel that order again. Then I had to place it with Walmart. I'm sick of Christmas and it's not even December yet.
  • I tried making a photo book in Shutterfly but got frustrated and stopped.
  • I read a book.

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

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Frugal Successes and Failures: Thursday 11/26/15

  • Well, this (see masthead) isn't exactly what is happening around here today but I am left to take care of the pets and I should be cleaning the house and I'm battling a serious episode of depression so I feel just like this woman. Happy Thanksgiving to me, not.  The thing is, I'm relieved not to have the pressure to cook Thanksgiving dinner and not to have any visitors. But it sucks not to have Greg here. It really, truly does. And talking to him on the phone makes it worse :( 

  • Awww, my BFF just texted me to wish me a Happy Thanksgiving. She's so sweet :)

  • My middle son went to work mid-morning and will be stopping by his paternal grandparents for a very late Thanksgiving leftovers dinner with them after his shift so he won't be back until late, probably. I'm not sure if my daughter is coming back tonight or tomorrow. She wasn't sure either last time I spoke with her.

  • I read a lot of my older posts last night and this morning so I was vacillating between doing something productive (like the dishes, that I haven't done in 3 days now, but since I'm mostly alone, there isn't all that much to wash) or reading my book and watching my Law & Order: Criminal Intent DVD from the library.  You know what?  I'm just going to read and watch the show. And I'm going to tell myself not to feel guilty about it. So there.

  • I was up at 7 a.m. this morning and turned on the WUCF Jazz Station on my Roku right away so at least there's some music playing that doesn't depress me.  I continued reading older blog posts from my own blog.  I had typed "frugal" in the box at the top left corner of the screen when on my blog, thinking it would lead me to other frugal blogs on Blogger, but I guess it pulled up my own blog posts that mentioned the word "frugal" (which is all of them) but in total random order, which I enjoyed actually.  I was reminded of several things that I had forgotten about (and since I didn't jot them down, I've already forgotten about them again, arrrgh!) and I enjoyed looking at the pictures I had taken too.

  • The sun is shining and it's only 71 in my living room, which means that the weather outside is probably gorgeous.  I might just go sit outside to read my book after all.  But I'm so comfy on the couch... and jazz is playing.  I could play jazz on Pandora on my phone though.

  • I earned the daily Bing Rewards credits.  I'm up to 398 credits, which means I'm 83% of the way to earning a $5 Amazon gift card.

  • Thankfully my 1st Swagbucks goal was only 68 SB today. I was disqualified for every single survey I tried to take.  So I babied my laptop until I reached the goal by the usual means (at about 11 a.m.) and then decided not to let Swagbucks stress me today and turned it off. Well, I'm playing SBTV on my phone but today it decided to let the app turn the sound back on my phone at random times (I play the videos with the sound off), which is pissing me off so I might turn that off too.

  • I forgot to mention yesterday that when my middle son and I got to Save A Lot, I spotted an empty carton of Coke products that someone had left, full of trash, on top of the free newspaper box.  So I tore down the code and stuffed it in my purse. Yes, my son thinks I'm weird but what's new?!  This morning I put the code with the bottle caps that I'm saving for the next double point event (I'm learning from TrayceeBee and Alison!).

  • SavingStar credited my account with the $1.00 Progresso rebate from last week (bought at Publix). I guess better late than never. I ought to check all my apps to see if I can redeem all those rebates for cash yet...

  • CouponPro noted, this morning, that the Kindle Fire that I just bought on 11/11 for $49.99 is down to $34.99 today!  So I emailed Amazon Customer Service and asked if I could get a refund on the difference, seeing that I bought it unregistered and haven't even unpacked it yet.  I'm not too optimistic, but it doesn't cost anything to ask.  I guess I could return this one and buy a new one?  I'm hoping they don't make me go through that charade.  Update: they didn't!  they issued me a "goodwill credit" on my gift card.  Awesome!  I'm so glad I didn't rush to open the package and register it before my birthday :)

  • Boston Market sent me a coupon for a freebie for my birthday. Alas, there isn't one close to me and I'm not planning on being near one anytime soon. I had signed up for their VIP club when I was in Tallahassee with my daughter this past spring so we could get a coupon to use while we were there. Still, I printed the coupon, although I had to print from a screenshot because printing the email itself meant to have to print 2 pages as the formatting was screwed up and the coupon was split between 2 pages.
  • I harvested some vegetables from my garden: a bowl of green beans, 2 red serrano peppers (one that looks all shriveled), 2 jalapeños, 1 Ichiban eggplant, 1 radish and also 1 leek (planted a year ago but finally large enough to harvest).

  • Back inside, I wasn't feeling like processing my harvest either so I just cut off the radish greens and put them in water in the asparagus pot because I kind of want to try to make a stir-fry with them tonight, Maybe. If I feel like it.  I also put the leek in the water.  Kind of a sad bouquet, though, the radish tops wilt pretty fast.

  • So much for eating outside... the sun was really heating up and the wind is strong so I went back inside because I didn't feel like fighting with the umbrella that will just not stay put if it's windy.  I made sure the AC was off and I opened the windows, though, does it count?

  • I fixed myself a Thanksgiving lunch of sorts: 2 slices of cold pizza from last night, some clementines, a glass of sweet green tea (Peak Gold). I feel very sad, which is making me feel exhausted too.  Yeah, going outside didn't help.

  • I did about an hour of reading and decided to break into the Hershey's Pots of Gold box of chocolates that I had bought as a Christmas present for... well, probably for me!  I love snacking while I read a good book and I'm reading "The Crossing" by Michael Connelly. However, those chocolates are really too sweet for me. Maybe I'll just chew some gum instead!

  • I opened my Ibotta app to see if there was any communication about my Walmart receipt (there wasn't anything new since Tuesday) and saw that there were new offers for several of the stores where I shop for groceries so I uploaded the ones that I might want to use. The $0.75 off Tetley Iced Tea Blend rebate is back again but this time I don't have anymore $0.75 coupons to pair it with so I can get a box for free at Publix (I'm not sure when the sale on these ends too). Also, I disabled the "teamwork" function. I don't know... I was on a "team" with Jenny Martin from Southern Savers but she doesn't seem to be contributing anything to my "team" even as her earnings keep on growing ($47K!) and I didn't see why she should get a % of my earnings on an ongoing basis. I'm just cranky, I guess. I might revert myself when I come out of this depression.

  • Then I went on our American Express account to see if there were any new promotional offers due to Black Friday and loaded one for 10% off Shutterfly since I'm planning on ordering a couple of things later on once the Swagbucks Triple Holiday Bonus becomes effective (5 p.m. and counting down!).

  • I still haven't heard back from Ibotta about my Walmart receipt that seems to be in limbo after they denied me the dinner rolls rebate. I have another $2.50 in additional rebates that should have been credited to my account. I emailed them twice and also sent a problem report from my app, just in case. Overkill? Maybe but I have yet to hear back from them at all. It's very frustrating. I wouldn't have bought those items without the rebates!  So I'm not a happy camper right now. Yes, I know it's a holiday but there is no reason why my receipt couldn't have been processed on Tuesday afternoon when I inquired about it right after they denied the rolls rebate... Update: I got an email late this afternoon letting me know that they had processed the additional rebates. No news of my appeal on the dinner rolls, though.

  • So it's a good thing that I started thinking about the whole Ibotta kerfuffle because that reminded me that I hadn't heard back from the Walmart Savings Catcher... If you'll remember, I had tried submitting my receipt via their app but it wouldn't read the QR code so I had input the transaction number by hand but then realized that I had made a mistake in reading a number (I read a "6" where it was a smudged "5") so I had resubmitted it with the correct transaction number. So today I logged in to my account but on the laptop this time and ... no receipt was showing for 11/24 at all!  Grrr. Thankfully I was still within the 7 days and I still had the receipt so I was able to resubmit it. I'm putting a reminder on my calendar for Monday to check in with Ibotta and the Savings Catcher again.  Update: I got an email confirming they were processing my Walmart receipt.

Update: I got an email a couple hours later telling me that they're crediting me with $0.68 for that receipt but when I log into my Savings Catcher account, it still says that they're processing the receipt and don't show the $0.68...  I'll log in again tomorrow.

  • I had been waiting for a couple of weeks to do some online shopping tonight since Swagbucks was promising Triple Holiday Bonus SB and also I could qualify for (5) 100 SB Swag-Ups with 5 orders thanks to the latest Team Challenge.  I was hoping to combine those offers with my various credit card offers as well.  I don't think it was worth the wait, in the end, though.
    • I placed an order on for just about $8. Target apparently didn't update the Target credit card numbers on file when they switched us to Mastercard last month so they placed my order with the old Target credit card number (didn't ask me to verify it or anything) and then about an hour later notified me that they were having trouble putting the order through. No shit. Their website wasn't working to update the credit card info so I had to place another order and this time input the credit card as new. I hope it goes through, I haven't gotten a confirmation. If all goes well, I should get oooh, a big deal of 21 SB since even with the triple bonus, it was only 3SB per $ spent. Also, I should get a 100 SB Swag up when my 21 SB are awarded. Update: Swagbucks already confirmed that I will get 22 SB with that purchase. That was quick.
    • I placed an order on Shutterfly.  It was frustrating because the picture that I wanted to use was too much of a close-up and couldn't be resized. So I had to use a crappier picture.  I ordered a Christmas ornament for my middle son, saved $21.50 with one of the $20 codes that I had in my account and, even though it told me that I couldn't stack it with the BIGSAVINGS 30% off code they were advertising, it still took $1.50 off.  So with shipping my total was about $9.00.  Merchandise total was perhaps $2.50.  So at  6 SB per dollar spent, I'll get 12 SB (ooh!) and another 100 SB Swag up when they are awarded.
    • I placed an order on Amazon but it won't qualify for any SB.  It better qualify for a 100 SB Swag up but probably not, I need to read the rules.  I paid for it with my American Express. Since it was over $60, it should have triggered a $15 statement credit on Amex but I still haven't received their email and usually the Amex emails are instantaneous so I'm thinking there's a problem. I chose the No Rush Shipping option for one of the items so I should get a $1 digital credit.
    • I meant to use Greg's Amex for the next Amazon order but he's not here and I don't have his card number, poop.  I thought it was saved in our Amazon account but it's not.  So I used my Discover card to get the additional 5% Bonus Rewards.  I'm hoping I'll get the 100 Swag Up but you know what? Now that I think about it I won't get anything for the Amazon orders since the Swag Ups are awarded when the bonus SB are awarded.. Since my Amazon orders didn't match the categories for which they are awarding the bonus SB, I'm screwed with the Swag Ups too.  Arrgh. Anyhoo that order was for $89 so I should get $4.45 back in Discover Rewards.
    • I placed a third order on Amazon, this time for about $40, and charged it to my Discover Card.  I should get $2 back in Discover Rewards. I chose the No Rush Shipping for both items so I should get $2 in digital credits.

  • Nothing today.

  • I was looking through the Swagbucks site this morning and noticed a Swagbucks alert on their shopping page but when I tried to redeem the code, it said it had expired even though it was 8 a.m. and the code wasn't supposed to expire until 3 p.m.  so I emailed them. They're probably off today, though.

  • I missed out on getting a free lemonade Powerade from MyCokeRewards because I didn't check Feedly until 1 p.m. Poop :(

  • I screwed up my orders on Amazon (i.e. won't get the 300 SB Swag Ups I thought I would get). I'll try placing 3 small orders on tomorrow instead.

  • I cleaned the cats' litterbox.
  • I fed the cats.
  • I organized the dirty dishes on the kitchen counter so it'll be easier to load up the dishwasher when I decide to do it.
  • I took a shower. Don't laugh. Depression sucks.
  • I emailed Amazon.
  • I harvested some veggies from my garden.
  • I read a book.
  • I uploaded new offers to Ibotta and Amex.

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