Sunday, February 14, 2016

Frugal Failures and Successes: Sunday 2/14/16

  • Happy official Valentine's Day :)  I'm back to the regular posting format today. I did enjoy the paragraph form instead of the bullet points yesterday, but I find this format easier to organize my thoughts and actions, and since the main goal of this blog is to talk about frugality, I'm going back to talking mainly about frugal successes and failures.

  • Apparently the Northeast is once again experiencing polar-like weather. Stay warm and safe! It's a little cool in our living room this morning, only about 63 degrees at 11:30 a.m. but the day should warm up nicely.

  • My only plan for today was to do those darn dishes and I did half of them already.  The other half will be put into the dishwasher for a 2nd load this afternoon.  Greg and I are enjoyed a quiet late morning/early afternoon in our living room, each on our own devices (he is reading on his Kindle with a kitty cat nestled on his lap, he is the cat whisperer, he says!), listening to classical music on KUSC. We had opera on earlier and now it's some lovely baroque guitar playing (Bach). So relaxing and lovely.  I'm so glad I found this radio station on IHeartRadio. I have it on pretty much all the time now and I have greatly reduced the amount of TV that I "watch" because of that.  Because as much as I love crime TV shows, if you give me the choice between Law & Order and music by Bach or Verdi, I'm going to pick the classical music.  I was thinking about putting on a romantic movie though but if I do turn on the TV, it'll probably be to rewatch episodes of "As Time Goes By" with Judi Dench and Geoffrey Palmer because I own it on DVD and the story of the two teenage lovebirds who reconnect in their 60s is just so sweet... and so funny too.  I just love them.

  • Today should be a No Drive Day. I hope that it is!  There is a chance that Greg will get inspired to start working on the baffles today and he's already warned me that if he does, chances are that he'll have to "run" to Ace Hardware to get more supplies. So I told him that if he decides to "run" to Ace, he'd better actually "run" and not drive, lol.  Hopefully he'll wait until tomorrow since I'll be going grocery shopping and my daughter will be driving to her college class anyway (yes, she thinks the college is still having classes despite it being a federal holiday. I think she's wrong...)

  • Since Greg and I celebrated our Valentine's Day with a romantic walk and lunch yesterday, we're really not doing anything today.  I did put out the small chocolate trinkets for the kids this morning and found very old Valentines that I had kept from when they were little, as well as pretty old packs of Valentine SweetTarts.  Man, I think I bought those like 5 or 6 years ago, lol.  So my daughter and son each got their chocolates from the Dollar Tree, a small Valentine and a pack of V-Day SweetTarts.  

  • For this post's header, I totally "borrowed" the Google Doodle of the day because it is sooo appropriate for Greg and myself: he drinks mostly tea while I drink mostly coffee and I'm the one who gave him something for Valentine's Day...
  • I felt guilty that I didn't get Greg anything so I got one beer bottle (from Aldi) out of the secret beer stash and gave him a Valentine and a box of SweetTarts as well :)

  • I bought this heart-shaped mini cakes pan a few years ago but every year I completely forget to make them on or around Valentine's Day. This morning I decided to make heart-shaped brownies.  I used a box of brownie mix that I had gotten almost for free from Publix after BOGO sale and coupons (or maybe they were free back when I had a Publix gift card, I can't remember).  However, despite greasing the cake pan in advance, the brownies really stuck to the pan so I was left with having to give them brownie crumbs :(  I was very disappointed!

  • I was planning on making Nutella-stuffed beignets today but I never did make the bread dough and now I don't feel motivated.  I might just make them crepes this afternoon and they can put Nutella on those.  Or just let them eat the brownies.  Update: yeah, we just ate the brownies!

  • I earned all my Bing Rewards credits despite Bing only working on and off for me this morning. It was a little frustrating.

  • My 1st Swagbucks goal was only 80 SB but I tried several surveys and was disqualified each time.  Two of those times, I had provided a lot of data already so I was pretty p****d off that I had been kicked out.  I didn't want to bother emailing them with the first one, but when it happened again, I did email them. That one is for 55 SB (the first one was for more but I didn't take a screenshot).  Despite all of that, I reached my goal at about 11:30 a.m.  I'm close to 2,000 SB so only a few more days and I should be able to earn another $25 gift card this coming week!

  • SavingStar credited my account with the 30 cents for buying bananas at Target yesterday. Phew!

  • I reused water collected in the shower to flush the toilet a couple of times today.

  • I printed a few coupons via Swagbucks and thought that they had changed their interface because starting today, when I minimize my window so I can multi task, the coupon interface just lets me see 1 coupon at a time instead of 12 or 16, so I was very annoyed and in the process of sending them an email of protest... and then I maximized my screen and it was back to normal.  So if I don't want to waste too much time looking for coupons to print, I can't be multitasking. That's annoying too but better than not having the choice!  The truth is, I don't really feel like messing with coupons today. I have a shitload of them to put away from last week.

  • Speaking of coupons, my friend and I were discussing coupons at lunch on Friday, and she confessed that she always gets discouraged and overwhelmed when she sees her coupon inserts and ends up throwing them away.  Arrgh!  So I asked her to keep them for me.  This morning I texted her a Happy Valentine and also a reminder to please put the coupon inserts aside for me :)  I hope that she does.

  • My menu calls for turkey tacos for dinner tonight.  Since Greg has been complaining that I won't let him eat the turkey leftovers from last Sunday, I defrosted a package of taco-seasoned ground turkey.  Later on, I realized that I still had the beef that I had defrosted for dinner last night but never cooked.  I'll make the tacos tonight and the stir-fry tomorrow.  I also told Greg that he could go to town on the turkey leftovers at lunch time and he was thrilled.

  • The weather is so lovely that I opened the sliding door so the cats can enjoy the garden from behind the screen door.  I wanted to open the windows in the living room as well but Greg has those allergies going on so instead I lit one of my Bath & Body Works candles and I'm pretending that the sweet smell is coming from the garden.  Anyhoo, look at what was flowering this morning!

  • Last night I scheduled several more credit card payments online.  I was curious to see what "points" I had available on Amazon and was very surprised to see so much available in Discover Rewards.  I guess that I never redeemed our Discover Rewards last month because suddenly we have 2 months' worth of Rewards available to use on Amazon. Great!  But I wonder why they weren't available when I placed the order for the Game of Thrones Blu-Ray preorder last week!  I was playing with the idea of cancelling the order and placing it again so I could get the set for free, but I'm sure there'll be something else that we'll be needing from Amazon so for now I'm keeping things the way they are.

  • I ran a very full dishwasher load.  In putting the clean dishes away, I was able to save a long length of aluminum foil that I had washed and left to air dry, as well as a gallon-size Ziploc-type bag that I had rinsed and left to dry as well.

  • I uploaded new digital offers to my SavingStar account and my CVS ExtraCare account via the CVS app.

  • So for lunch I fixed Greg and myself turkey leftover sandwiches, which I served with some Pumpkin Seed Tortilla Chips that I had gotten on clearance from Aldi several months ago.  Greg drank his Valentine's Day beer.  The kids fixed their own lunches.

  • I wanted to go take a bubble bath but I was loathe to leave the lovely music playing in the living room, so I downloaded the free IHeartRadio app to my phone and listened to KUSC while taking my bath.

  • I spent a lovely afternoon reading "Phantom Prey" by John Sandford, one of my very favorite authors. It was one of those library books that I've had for several months now! So it will be nice to return it to the library when I run my errands tomorrow.

  • Greg mowed our lawn, a very frugal activity since we don't have to hire a landscaping crew thanks to him.  He also washed his truck, which isn't very frugal but allowed us not to drive anywhere to get it washed.

  • At dinnertime, I didn't feel like cooking so since I had made brownies and cooked him breakfast and made him lunch, I didn't feel guilty one bit to tell him that he was in charge of dinner. I figured that he would go get us something to eat (having forgotten, myself, about No Drive Day!) but he had seen that I had defrosted the taco meat so he fixed us tacos.  He didn't realize that rice was also on the menu so he didn't make any.  That's OK, I really appreciated that he cooked for us, set the table and even did the dishes afterwards!  I emptied the dishwasher first because I knew that if he "put things away", I'd be hunting them for days to come and get annoyed, lol.

  • SavingStar gave me a heads-up that there'll be a freebie to grab starting tomorrow. More free salt, yay?

  • So today was a NO DRIVE DAY for us, yippee! Our 4th this year, which doesn't seem like a lot but I'm surprised that we've gotten even that many in already.  My goal for 2016 is just 7 No Drive Days so we're past the halfway point already :) I'd like to thank my lovely husband and daughter for so faithfully respecting my wish that neither of us drive today!

  • I requested a payout from SavingStar.  Because I'm very leery of anything getting linked to my bank account or even Paypal at this point, and since I didn't want any Starbucks or AMC gift cards, I just requested a transfer to Upromise.  This will take up to 45 days and then I'll request a check from Upromise, which will take another 45 days.  So sometimes in May, I might have my money. Sheesh!  I forgot to take a screenshot, but if I remember properly (there's no area of my account that shows this after the fact!), I requested $54.26 to be paid out.

  • Some hot water as I took a lovely mid-afternoon bubble bath with a library book and my now-beloved KUSC playing on my phone :) I used Bath & Body Works bubble bath that Santa Greg gave me for Christmas a couple of years back.

  • I was very lazy these past 2 days and neglected to pack up the leftover Moroccan lentil soup from Friday night so I threw the leftovers away this morning. It's really a shame because it actually was very good (I had my doubts as I was cooking it) and I think it's probably one of those dishes that's even better the next day :(

  • When my son saw his "$1,000,000 bill" chocolate bar later on this morning, he laughed and exclaimed "yay!  I don't have to go to college anymore!". Yeah, if only $1 million went that far anymore... I was reading last night that if you want to live on $50,000 a year only from your investment's profits and that you get a return of 6%, you need to have something like $803,000 put away.  And 6%... well that sounds awesome to me right now because our portfolios' performances in the negative numbers right now!  Crap, I have yet to schedule that preliminary meeting with the financial firm...  My betterment efforts have stalled on all fronts!

  • I threw away the last dredges of sour cream from an Aldi container because it had gone bad.

  • We needed to change the 9V battery in one of our smoke alarms this morning but when I went looking for a new 9V battery, I found a new pack of 3 of them had to be recycled because the contacts on the "new" batteries had gotten all corroded... I don't remember buying those batteries at all and they're from a brand that I don't know.  Dollar Tree?  I don't think they sell 9V batteries in packs of 3... anyhoo, they say "made in China" on the package, which didn't surprise me. I sure hope we only spent $1 on the package since none of them could be used :(

  • Fed the cats
  • Gave New Kitty her medicine
  • Made heart-shaped brownies
  • Gave Valentine's Day trinkets to Greg, my daughter and our son
  • Emailed and texted my older sons and my oldest son's GF for Valentine's Day (I don't have my middle son's GF's email address)
  • Emailed my siblings to wish them a Happy Valentine's Day
  • Texted my friend to wish her a happy Valentine's Day and remind her to save her coupon inserts for me!
  • Printed some coupons
  • Cooked breakfast for Greg
  • Did a load of dishes
  • Fixed lunch for Greg and myself
  • Uploaded digital coupons and offers
  • Took a bubble bath and read a library book

  • Hmm, nothing specific, I think.

HEALTH ACCOMPLISHMENTS TODAY:  I'm skipping this section today.
Did you have any frugal successes or failures today? Please do tell!


  1. Happy Valentine's Day :-) Bing wouldn't work for me yesterday morning, but did in the afternoon so I was able to get all my points. That's a pretty flower.

  2. Congratulations on the no drive day. I think four is pretty good considering its on February.

    The brownies look awesome, can I have one? Ha ha.

    Sounds like you had a really nice and relaxing day, good for you.

    Greg is more frugal than Ben, he took his car to be cleaned for him last weekend. So lazy!

    Have a nice day today, I guess you are probably shopping now, I hope you get lots of bargains xx

  3. I haven't been on my blog or anyone else's in so long and this was a lazy weekend because of the extra day and I decided that I didn't want to do anything because of my birthday so now I am a little behind on everything. We are currently under the snow AGAIN!! They already called a 2 hour delay for tomorrow. Both good and bad because husband and I have to be at work at 10 am and little one doesn't have to be at school until 11 am. UGH!! Not looking forward to tomorrow and little preparation. Going to head to the kitchen and see if I can make some cinnamon rolls for breakfast now.

    1. Happy birthday, Alison! Be safe on the roads tomorrow, ugh. Yum, cinnamon rolls sound delicious!


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