Saturday, February 13, 2016

Frugal Failures and Successes: Saturday 2/13/16

Happy Saturday!  Despite the fact that I'm starting to type this post at 5 p.m. when I usually start early in the morning and add to it as I go by my day, it doesn't mean that it's been a productive day. It really hasn't.  But it's been a lovely day :)  Today I'm going to ditch my usual format and just write about our day, OK?

It didn't start that great as New Kitty tried to wake me up by jumping on me early in the morning and I had to shoo her away because I was really tired, and then she decided that she was hungry at 8:30 a.m. and proceeded to serenade us with her meowing.  I yelled at her a couple of times to shut up and then shoo'ed her away a little more energetically as she kept on trying to jump on me so she finally shut up but it was too late: she had awakened my bladder and also Greg who came down groggily about 15 minutes later, complaining that I had yelled at our cute kitty and that we needed to feed her because she was "hungwy".  Darn (cute) cat. Darn cute husband who loves the darn cute cat!

So he fed the cats and I cooked him breakfast as a compromise :)

They're still ignoring the log so Greg wants to take it back
I checked the weather predictions because I read about the polar vortex extending all the way into Georgia next week but our weather report is gorgeous for the next 10 days: temps in the mid to high 70s every day and sunny most days. Yay! 

My daughter had gotten up early to go volunteer with her NHS chapter at a local 5K race.  Last night she had decided that she would treat herself to breakfast at Burger King since she had to be at the trail at 6:45 a.m. so I had given her a coupon for a BOGO breakfast sandwich.  

When she came back, it put me in the mood to go somewhere with someone but she needed to study the rest of the weekend and our son was still in bed.  Greg looked pained, as he never wants to be dragged to festivals or museums or farmers' markets.  Then I mentioned that tomorrow should be a No Drive Day for us since my daughter has to stay home and study so if we had any errands to run, we should go today.  He again mentioned going out to eat for Valentine's Day but neither of us likes the V-Day crowds.  So I suggested that we could go take a walk on the South Lake Trail alongside Lake Minneola in Clermont, and stop at that new-to-us restaurant that's right on the lake that we discovered the last time we walked by it: Lilly's on the Lake.  He thought about it and decided that it was a great idea since the weather was gorgeous and he was hungry so off we went, without the kids.  

First, while he was showering, I scheduled a couple of credit card bill payments online.  I noticed that we had earned a little bit of Amazon Rewards with my Visa card, but also that we can earn 2% back at office supply stores, which I hadn't realized. So I updated my Powerpoint credit card rewards chart and the cheat-sheets for the next time that I print them. I just used a extra-thin Sharpie to amend the one that I have in my wallet (it's laminated) for now.
I also checked my Staples Rewards account because they were supposed to have emailed me my new rewards on 2/11 but I had never gotten any email from them. I was delighted to find $15 dollars in Rewards waiting for me!  $15, wow.  I had read a blog post somewhere where the blogger had gotten a $10 off $10 voucher from Staples in the mail so maybe that's what mine was too because it was a $5 Rewards and a $10 Rewards.  The only thing I bought in January was a toner cartridge and I had turned in an ink cartridge as well.

In honor of Valentine's Day weekend, I put on a red T-shirt and a hot pink short-sleeved cardigan and added a heart pendant to my silver chain where I always wear the circle of life pendant with Greg and my kids' names engraved on it.  It's actually a pendant that Greg had given me for Valentine's Day a few years back and I had completely forgotten about it because it's not really my style (not that I have one!) but it actually looks very nice with my circle of life pendant so I think I will just keep it like that :)

We parked at the new trailhead park and walked very leisurely alongside the trail, the 1.5 or so mile to the restaurant, while holding hands and chatting about everything. It was so nice!  The sun was shining, the lake was beautiful.  Birds were trying to catch fish in the grass along the shore, people were using sailboats and pontoon boats, there was a slight breeze, other people were biking or walking and everyone was saying "good morning!" to everyone else.  It was like everyone was in a great mood today, even me!

We got to the restaurant and from the number of cars parked I thought we'd be out of luck finding a table.  There were a couple of parties in front of us who got seated right away.  I wanted to sit outside on the wrap-around porch facing the lake because it's so much nicer and it was very loud inside with TV screens showing sporting events, music playing and a few toddlers not enjoying their meals.  We were lucky to get a table outside and although the service was very slow and it got a little chilly at times since we were in the shade, we didn't mind it as it gave us time to relax and chat and enjoy our food and drinks (Greg had beer but I only had sweet tea because I knew that if I drank alcohol it would be challenging walking back to the car in a straight line!).  

We had such a great time.  We talked about the cats (!) and the kids, people we knew, our families, plans for the summer, etc.  The food was very good too.  We did splurge quite a bit since it was our Valentine's Day celebration and I've been so good with saving money on groceries these past weeks.  So we decided to split an appetizer of Ahi Tuna, and then Greg got fish tacos with cheese grits and I had a seafood basket with a ton of coconut shrimp (with mango cura├žao salsa which was delicious), battered Mahi Mahi and fries.  It was a lot of food and I had a hard time finishing it. I shared some with Greg and brought the cold fries back home for our son.  I charged the meal to my Amazon Visa card and we will get 2% back in Rewards for that. Greg again remarked that he didn't have the Amazon Visa card and that when he bought lunch a couple of days ago, he had decided to pay cash since his cheat-sheet says to use Amazon Visa but he doesn't have one (he could have used Amex instead and earned us 1% back instead of nothing with cash, but I digress...) so now he wants a copy of that card too. Fine, I will add him as an authorized user :)  Also, I noticed when we got home that the waitress didn't charge us for my sweet tea, yay.  I left an 18% tip.  Greg didn't think the service deserved more than 10% but I didn't want to be so hard on her and the 18% tip was printed as a suggestion on the receipt while I would have had to do math for the 15% tip, lol.  So, Happy Valentine's Day, waitress, although Greg didn't think you deserved it because we hardly saw you and we had to bus our table ourselves and then ask you to take away the dirty napkin that we used to bus the table because you never even noticed it even though we hadn't even ordered yet.  I really was in a great mood because usually this would have really bothered me but today I left you a larger tip than you deserved.

Ahi tuna appetizer

Oh yum!

I'm glad I brought the fries home (I had a string bag with me so I didn't have to carry the box in my hands while we walked back!) because our son, The Locust, was happy to eat them cold!
During the meal, I felt guilty that we had left the kids at home so I texted my daughter that she should take her brother and go pick up lunch somewhere and charge it to my Discover card.

After our lovely meal we walked back to our truck, hand in hand. Awwww.  Greg and I rarely go anywhere together so any opportunity to walk hand in hand with him is precious to me :)

We were going to go home but he asked me if we needed to go anywhere else and mentioned that since I had declared tomorrow a No Drive Day, we might want to go to Lowe's or Home Depot to get some sheet metal since he wanted to build those baffles that would hopefully prevent anymore water leaks inside the house when we have intense rainstorms.  I mentioned that I wanted to go to Target to buy bananas since they were cheaper than at Publix, I could use the 20% off SavingStar offer, and it would all be free anyway since I have a Swagbucks gift card.

So I called our son to let him know we'd be running some errands and ask if they had gone out to lunch. He said yes, but they had decided just to go to RaceTrac to pick up hot dogs since they both like them.  LOL, my frugal kids!  Only when I talked to my daughter about it later on, they mostly went there because her phone was dead so she hadn't gotten my text about charging lunch to my Discover card and she didn't have a lot of money but was craving a hot dog so she treated her brother to a hot dog and chips from RaceTrac as well!  Later on I gave her money to refund her for that and also pay for her Burger King breakfast and for her to refund her BFF's dad for Thursday night's movie ticket.

So Greg and I drove to Lowe's.  I had thought to buy a thyme plant there since I will have about $2 on a gift card... or so I thought. My gift card was actually for Home Depot!  It's right across the street but since we found what Greg needed at Lowe's, we didn't bother going to Home Depot. I'll stop by on my own when I do the grocery shopping.  He priced the sheet metal but was balking at the $40-$55 price for smallish sheets so he bought a metallic roofing sheet instead for $26, which is way larger.  He will have to hammer it to try to flatten the raised parts, but he said it should work.  Yay for frugal hubby!  We charged it to American Express so we will get 1% back in Rewards.

After that we drove to SuperTarget, just up the hill.  I got bananas, Driscoll's raspberries (on sale) and since I had brought my coupon organizer along I had (2) $1.00 off coupons for those with me, along with my (2) $1.50 off coupons for Nutella.  The 25.6 oz jars were on sale and there was a 20% off Cartwheel offer so I uploaded that and bought 2 of the large jars which is equal to 4 smaller jars. I still want to try to make donuts for the kids tomorrow although I haven't made the bread dough yet. (gotta remember to do that!).

We also got Greg a new pair of C9 exercise shorts in his size.  They were $9.99 and there wasn't a Cartwheel offer for them. He offered to wait until I found another pair at the thrift store but he really needed a new pair now since he's lost a lot of weight and the old shorts are too big so I just got it. I paid for it with that gift card that I had bought at Christmas time for 10% off so the money was already spent anyway.

As we left Target, I offered for us to go to Steak'n Shake since it was right across the street and it was "Happier Hour" when the milkshakes are on BOGO.  Greg has a weakness for milkshakes.  He declined but I predicted that later on he would be in his chair, regretting not having gotten a milkshake, and of course I was right :)  I offered to go get him one from McDonald's (at full price, no less) but he had some yogurt and said he was trying to trick his brain into thinking it was a milkshake, lol.

Then we went home and Greg took a nap in his chair while one of our favorite operas (Il Trovatore by Giuseppe Verdi) was playing on KUSC and I caught up on email, etc.  My daughter was studying in her room and our son did his laundry, played on the computer, and went to the local park to get some swinging done :)  I opened the windows for a while since it was so nice outside.

I updated my Ibotta app because wouldn't you know it that they changed the layout AGAIN. They're really trying to drive me nuts. I swear they must have gone through 3 or 4 changes since I started using it in November.  I think I like this one, though. Maybe.  I did upload a couple of new offers.

In doing so, I realized that I had a $0.25 offer for bananas, so I claimed it.

I also uploaded my receipt to SavingStar for the 20% off bananas rebate.  I should get 30 cents back from that. However, as my receipt was being sent, a message flashed that one of more offers had been removed since it wasn't applicable but the only offer I was submitting was for the bananas so I hope I get it!  I sent their Customer Service an email via the app, just to make sure.

Greg woke up with a headache (darn pollen!) so he went to make himself some hot tea and offered to fix me a cup of coffee.  Yes, please, how lovely!  I wish I had some of Tara's free baked goodies to go with it though!

Earlier today I had received our new electric bill via email and it had looked a little high to me although it was still within the budget that I usually allot for this time of year.  So I logged into our account and used their usage analysis tool which revealed that yes, my bill was about $100 higher than last year at the same period!  But you see, I had been re-reading my February 2015 blog posts this past week and I did mention that we hadn't turned on the heat at all, even though it dipped into the 30s at night.  Of course, right after that our son had gotten pretty sick and had had to miss school for a week and I was reading this while Greg was sick himself so this year we turned the heat on, although only to 67F, not all the time and we were still cold.  So I'm annoyed.  Also since last year, we have installed new windows which should have made our home more energy efficient, and I installed those LED bulbs, although that was so recently that I don't think it made a difference.  $100 more! I didn't really bake a lot this past month... I'm kind of stomped.

My Swagbucks goal for today was a very reasonable 85 SB.  I started doing a survey for 100 SB this morning and in the middle of it it quit and told me that I had already participated in it. What?  I hadn't. But you know, I didn't feel like contacting Customer Service, I'm sick about their surveys wonking out on me so I let it slide.  I played Ngage and Juno Group videos on my laptop until we left for lunch, and SBTV on my phone.  When I got back from lunch, I was lucky enough to be awarded 32 SB for a search, and then I "played" 10 round of Swagasaurus Run to earn another 10 SB. So I met my goal mid-afternoon.

Bing Rewards: I earned all my Rewards as well.

Dinner time is upon us and I really haven't done anything today.  I was hoping that Greg would say he wasn't hungry but he is. How can he be?!  We just finished lunch!  I'm supposed to make Beef & Vegetable Stir-Fry. I did defrost the meat but I really don't feel like cooking... and my kitchen is a mess because I never did do last night's dishes.

So... long story short, we decided to get dinner from Subway.  I did keep the cost down, though, by splitting a foot-long sandwich with Greg (which at $6 was cheaper than buying two 6 inch sandwiches), my daughter had a 6" sandwich as well, and our son had a foot-long but chose one that was "only" 5.25.  We didn't buy chips or drinks.  I did get a free cookie with a coupon they had texted me this week.  I gave the cookie with our son since he volunteered to come with me to get the food.  I charged the $15.78 total to our Amazon Visa card, which will earn us 2% in Rewards.  I should have brought my coupon organizer because I could have picked up a free bag of chips from RaceTrac with a survey reward code :(

However, I took the survey on the receipt to earn another free cookie.

I recorded all my receipts into my various spreadsheets and added Greg as an authorized user on my Amazon Visa card.

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

1 comment:

  1. What a really lovely day you had. When I look at the sun and the lake I am very jealous of where you live Nathalie, in a nice way!
    It truly is beautiful. The Lunch looked delicious.
    How annoying about your electric bill can you ring them to query it? How long is that fir? Our electric bills are constantly going up In the UK but that is because they are always increasing the charges.
    I was thinking how well you have taught your kids to be so frugal and then I laughed about the phone dying that is just the sort of thing that would happen here.
    Have a lovely 'no drive day' today xxx


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