HAPPENINGS AROUND HERE TODAY:
- Happy February! I thought today would be overcast but it's 9:40 a.m. and the sun has started to come out from behind the clouds and it should be a gorgeous day here, in the low 70s. I opened the sliding door so the cats could take advantage of the nice weather too. New Kitty is pouting, though, because she wants me to pet her and I'm busy.... well... doing this! so she settled herself next to me on a cushion and isn't giving me the time of day. She never does that (she usually sleeps on Greg's lounger or our son's computer chair) so I'm oddly... honored?
- So I'm single for a few days while my honey is on a business trip in Canada. I hate it when Greg is away, honestly. I want my guy home with me every night, darn it! The international plan we added to his phone ($30, AT&T is such a scam) means that every call will be billed at $1 per minute so we will be texting instead. We mostly just text anyway but I don't like not really having the option to hear his voice (because, again, $1 a minute. Good thing I saved some of his previous voicemails so I can get my fix that way!). Also he has a paltry 120 MB to use for data the whole time he's gone so hopefully he'll remember not to text any photos to anyone and we'll remember not to text him photos as well (the hardest part, I often text him photos of what's going on at home).
- He had to leave for the airport at 5 a.m., which meant a 4:15 a.m. wake up alarm. Ugh. I cooked him breakfast and stayed up with him to see him off, but I crashed back on the couch once he was gone. Woke up at 7:30 to make sure my daughter was up and that Greg had made it to the airport, and then I stayed up to make sure that my son got up on time. I'm glad I did because he didn't, and I had to get him up.
- I stayed up later than I had hoped to last night, first because Greg and I watched the whole episode of American Ninja (so fun!) and also because I was just 4 SB away from reaching my 2nd goal when Swagbucks went down. I mean, nothing was working, and because I had defaulted my search to SB, I couldn't even use my toolbar to access other sites. Good thing that Chrome just creates a new tab that default to Google so I had to use Google search to keep me occupied while I waited for SB to come back online. It took a long time but finally they were up and I did a few things to earn the remaining 4 SB (turned "Watch" videos).
- Packed some peanut butter crackers in Greg's laptop bag in case the snack bar at the airport wasn't open yet or he didn't have time to grab lunch in Denver (he has a very tight connection). Update: I see his flight is supposed to land 29 minutes early so hopefully he will have time to grab lunch!
- Mixed 1/2 a gallon of water with 1/2 gallon of whole milk to stretch it.
- Bing Rewards: completed my daily tasks which count towards renewing my Gold level (which allows me to spend only 475 credits for those $5 Amazon gift cards, instead of 525).
- Swagbucks gave me a 1st goal of 110 SB but my very first search on my PC (I had used my phone to so searches while Greg was having breakfast) landed me the new 39 SB Collector's Bill and then I qualified for a 60 SB survey so I reached my 1st daily goal pretty fast, even though JunoGroup wasn't in my line-up this morning. I'm already past 1,100 SB and I haven't even gotten the bonuses from January yet, so I think I'll be able to order my 1st gift card in a few days. Update: wow, I feel the SB love today as I scored that 39 SB Collector's bill a 2nd time this morning. Woohoo!
- I found 16 cents on the counter that Greg had left there so I'm adding those to my 2016 Change Jar!
- Kohl's sent me the $10 Yes2You Kohl's Cash certificate for having downloaded their app.
- I did 2 "super" loads of laundry on cold/cold and I used the drying racks for the exercise clothing/undies/socks/cleaning cloths/cloth napkins. I used the dryer on the Auto Moisture Sensing setting for our towels and cotton clothing.
- I was thinking that I have to go to the library today to return a book that is due and that I have read, so I might as well just go shopping today and not make yet another trip on Wednesday. So I'm working on finalizing my shopping list and I might head out this afternoon. If I can get my coupons sorted before then. Aaargh, I didn't clean out my coupon organizer either!
- I thought I'd rewatch the 1st season of Fargo while Greg was away since I've forgotten most everything and I loved it so much (it's completely separate from Season 2 so I don't have to rewatch it but I want to!) and since we had originally borrowed it from the library, I went to put it back on hold... but now I'm #11 in line. Arrgh. I'm tempted to just buy it (I would watch it again several times over) but I have so many other things that I can/need to watch, I'm just going to bide my time :)
- Since I was up past midnight, I uploaded the offers that I was interested in on MobiSave. They were the same as yesterday's (supposed to have changed at midnight last night) so I hope they won't deny me when I go to redeem them. I'm excited about the $0.75 off Post cereal and the $0.30 off bananas and apples :)
- I have software that backs up my laptop automatically to my external drive provided that I'm logged in to the appropriate external drive. Somehow when I changed laptops, it designated different "drives" on the external drive so since I had started backing up all my photos when I was on my old laptop, I continue logging in to the old "drive" to back up and retrieve photos, which means that if I forget to log back in to my actual back-up drive, my laptop doesn't get backed up automatically, which might come back to bite me since it's getting a little old. So, long story longer, today I made sure to log in to the current back-up drive so the software can do its magic and back up the laptop. It's frugal because it will save me much aggravation if my laptop craps out suddenly because I'll still be able to access my documents. I just wish everything could just be saved on the same "drive" but the amount of data is so large, it would be a nightmare to move it all on one drive. Technology is NOT easy.
- My daughter finished another box of Special K this morning so I recycled the box and rinsed out the inner bag so I can save it to reuse as a freezer bag.
- I uploaded some of the new SavingStar offers to my app. There are some good ones! I should be able to cash out this month, I wanted to wait until I had $50 and I'm at $49.96 :) The money will go straight into my checking account since it's to refund me for money that I had already spent.
- Murphy USA has new printable freebies available this month. I won't be able to partake, most likely (my station is tiny so it doesn't have the roller grill or the fountain drinks) but I printed them just in case since there is a larger one near UCF or even within 10 miles of my middle son's apartment.
- I loaded $10 to my son's school lunch account and realized, too late, that the charge was made automatically to my Discover card. I'm only earning 0.25% Rewards on that card at the moment so I changed the account so next time it will charge my Amazon Visa card so I can earn 1% back (2% if they decide it's a restaurant!).
- I scanned my AceHardware.com receipt from my LED bulbs purchase (yes, still not done with this!) and emailed it to their "Care Center" as instructed by Customer Service to try to get them to credit me for the #^#&% (pardon my French!) Ace Rewards that I should have been credited. Update: I'm not a religious person at all but: Hallelujah! Joel from the Care Center emailed me shortly after telling me that he had credited my account with the points. Woohoo! I told him he made my day :)
- A poster on SlickDeals reported getting a My Panera Rewards offer for a free bagel every day this month. I checked my account and didn't get the offer. Poop, I love bagels! Did you get it?
- My daughter didn't get it either but she realized that she had a free "Pick Two" that I had gifted her and that was about to expire which was very serendipitous because her schedule ended up changing and she will be out later than she had planned but I told her she either had to wait until she got home to eat dinner or she'd have to fund dinner herself (long story but her schedule changed because she let herself get guilted into participating in an FAA competition that she had no intention to participate in later on this month so now she has to attend practices, etc. I don't think she should have let them sway her because she already has so much on her plate and we had discussed that she wasn't going to take on any more FFA responsibilities.) Anyhoo, it all worked out in the end.
- I had lunch at home: I cooked some rice in the microwave, mixed some of the leftover sauce from the Thai Green Chili from last week, and then picked some of the meat from of the leftover rotisserie chicken. I also had a fruit cup. I didn't take a picture because I was in a hurry to get out of the door!
- So I did go grocery shopping today after all. Here is a preview of what I'll be detailing on Wednesday:
- I went to the library first to return my book and see if they had any coupon inserts in the donation pile. They didn't. Someone had left samples of shampoo and other beauty products in there, but I already have a lot of shampoo samples that I ought to use so I left them for someone else.
- Publix: I was hoping that the strawberries that were on sale for $3 were Driscoll's but they weren't so I left them. I still have the raincheck for the free rotisserie chicken if I buy 3 P&G products (since when I got it last week the sale was still going on) so I went to look for those Bounty Basic paper towels since a $1 coupon appeared yesterday. There was only 1 pack (I asked an attendant to check if they had more in the back but they didn't) and they're really crappy when I looked at them so I may just not use the rebate. I did pick up 1 packages of Smithfield Cubed Ham (8 oz each), on BOGO for $3.29 and I had (2) $0.75/1 store coupons and (2) $0.75/1 printable manufacturer coupons so I paid $0.29 for both packages. I had enough coupons to get another deal but there were only 2 packs of diced ham left and I didn't want to clear the shelf (plus I prefer the cubed ham). Now I regret not having grabbed them anyway because I don't plan on going back before the sale's end. So my OOP was $0.29 and I paid cash. The cashier asked me if I wanted my penny in change and I emphatically said "yes!" so he laughed and said "I guess every penny counts, right?" and I said "Take care of the pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves". That sounded kind of deep at the time so that might just become my byline, lol. That's me, the deep, imperfectly frugal housewife. Ha.
- Then I found a penny in the parking lot! Free money for my 2016 Spare Change Jar!
- Save A Lot: they were out of the potatoes that I had on my list so I grabbed 2 family packs of chicken thighs at $0.69/lb instead of just one. I also got grapes for $1.99/lb, 1 large bag of collard greens on clearance at $1.00, a 16-oz container of Daisy sour cream on clearance for $1.00 (I don't need it but $1.00 was a good deal and I'll be freezing it in smaller containers), and a 3-lb bag of red delicious apples for $2.49. I counted the apples in several bags and got the bag with the most apples. My OOP was $15.13 and thanks to the notes I had made on my shopping list, I remembered to pay with my Amazon Visa card because I will get 2% back in Rewards (they don't take Amex, grrr.) I grabbed a free copy of the local paper on my way out. It's last Wednesday's edition but it had Hardee's coupons in it and we may eat there on Friday night if we don't go to Wendy's.
- RaceTrac: I just got a bag of Nacho Cheese TasteWorks chips for free with a survey reward code and spoke to the store manager to explain the situation with my daughter on Saturday and thank the whole staff. He gave me a receipt and wrote the name of the employee and asked me to call their Customer Service hotline so the employee gets recognition from upper management so I will do that and in the meantime, I have another receipt with which to get a freebie :)
- CVS: I had a raincheck for 4 boxes of Lucky Charms @$2.00 each and originally I had (4) $0.50/1 coupons but 2 of them expired yesterday. However, there were only 3 boxes of the proper size on the shelf so I grabbed them. I also got a box of Krave cereal on sale for $1.99 with a $0.40/1 coupon, 2 dozens large eggs on sale @ $2.49 each and 2 large bags of sweet Chex Mix on sale @ $0.99 each. I redeemed all the ECBs that I had ($13) and my OOP ended up being $0.55, which I charged my CVS gift card so it was all free to me anyway.
- I did a 2nd transaction for non-grocery items: I got the tube of Colgate Max Fresh toothpaste for free after sale, $2.50 store coupon and $0.50 manufacturer coupon, and a 6-pack of regular Bounty paper towels on sale for $4.99 but I had a $1.00 coupon. My OOP for that purchase was $4.55 after tax and I paid with my Amazon Visa card since I get 2% back in rewards at drug stores.
|Between that and the 4 "Huge" rolls that I bought last week, I think we have|
paper towels for the whole year, easily.
- At Walmart, I purchased a family pack of boneless skinless chicken breasts @ $1.99/lb, a box of Grape Nuts (will get $0.75 back from MobiSave and $0.75 back from Ibotta), a box of Zing sweetener (will get $0.75 back from Ibotta), some bananas (got $0.30 back from Mobisave), a loaf of wheat bread, a link of Oscar Mayer Select turkey sausage (I had a $1.00 coupon), a box of Swiss rolls and 2 packages of sub rolls from the clearance bakery rack. My OOP was $22.13 and I used my Swagbucks gift cards to get everything for free. Woohoo :)
- On my way out I stopped by Auntie Anne's and purchased an order of Cinnamon Pretzel Nuggets, presented my Discover Deals coupon and got a Cinnamon Sugar Pretzel for free and paid the $4.04 balance with my Discover card (0.25% Rewards only). Yeah, it's not cheap, even with the coupon! But oh so yummy! I spilled the nugget container in my trunk so when I got home I had to get the shopvac to suck up all the sugar so I don't get ants in my SUV again! I ate a few of the nuggets as a mid-afternoon snack but kept at least half of them for my daughter. The pretzel went to my son for his after-school snack. I used to make my own pretzels and I should try to make them again. And oh! There's an Auntie Anne's app with rewards. Noooo.....!
|The pretzel nugget cup was actually very full, but I had some before I took the|
- At Aldi, I had to get toilet paper and cat litter on top of some groceries. I stocked up on cheeses since we were out and even grabbed some ricotta cheese since it's a seasonal item and I have a couple of pouches of crockpot sauce mix that are for crockpot lasagna. So I'll have to put that on the menu for next week. I also grabbed a head of hydroponic Boston lettuce on sale for $1.49 (the iceberg was $1.29 and I like Boston lettuce so much better!), 2 avocadoes @ $0.39 each, a cucumber at $0.29. Their strawberries were more expensive than at Publix! So I left them there. No berries for me this week as I didn't make it to SuperTarget. My OOP there, including the TP and cat litter was $33.56. No credit cards are accepted so I had to use my debit card and I won't be getting any rewards. This reminds me that we used to earn rewards with the debit card once upon a time but I guess that must have stopped several years ago. I also got some cash back, which allowed me to skip going to an ATM.
- At Dollar Tree, I needed toothbrushes. I looked at a pack of 2 and then looked at a pack of 4. I didn't see any major differences so I grabbed the pack of 4. Lo and behold, they had lots of jars of minced garlic! I was so excited that I took a picture to show you guys! Buying a large jar at Walmart or somewhere else might be cheaper per ounce but I don't have the room in my fridge for a large jar. I contained myself and only grabbed 2 jars since I have 2 or 3 jars of the whole cloves that I'll need to chop with my new mini chopper at some point. I also grabbed a brick of 2% UHT milk (I like having that as an emergency back.up. I didn't buy fresh milk this week since we have a full gallon of whole milk still and I just made a full gallon of ~2% milk this morning by mixing 1/2 a gallon of water and 1/2 a gallon of whole milk. When I was in line at Aldi, I had checked my email really quickly and seen that KJP had emailed me a possible solution for treating my cat's weird skin rash: she suggested witch hazel. I just happened to pass in the aisle of Dollar Tree where they had witch hazel so I bought a bottle of it (I'll let you know how that works, KJP!). I also looked for dishwasher rinse aid because I had seen a comment on another blog that suggested they might have it and sure enough, they did. So I got a bottle of that to try it. I also got a box of French-themed Valentine chocolates for my daughter for V-day and a chocolate bar with a wrapper that resembles a million dollar bill for my youngest son, for V-day as well. Susan could probably make those with her eyes closed and they probably even look way better than that, but I know my limitations and I have no patience for crafts! My OOP was $8.28 and I paid with my Amex to get 1% back in Rewards.
- My last stop was the other RaceTrac station where I redeemed a 2nd survey reward code for another bag of Nacho Cheese TasteWorks chips. My son likes them.
- Back home, he helped me unload the car and I documented my trip and put everything away. My fridge is bulging! I'll spend time tomorrow repackaging all the chicken meat in washed cereal bags and freezing it.
- Greg made it to Vancouver alright. The first thing he did when he got to his hotel? Text me a picture of the welcome back gift that was in his room from the hotel staff. Well, I'm happy for him but I told him NOT to text any pictures since he has very little data available on that international plan! Later on, he tried to call me so I had to refuse the call because again... $1 a minute! So we texted. I think he misses us. He's going to meet his boss for dinner and then he'll hit the sack because he's exhausted. Of course, him being on a business trip means that he gets to expense everything this week so we're not spending any money on him for food. I wish he would attempt to expense that damn AT&T international plan too. ($30!).
- My dinner plans changed again. Since it was only my son and my and he likes eating in front of his computer when his dad isn't here, I just warmed up the rice left over from lunch and cooked the Oscar Mayer turkey sausage in the toaster oven until it was hot. Then I made him a plate, made me a plate with some of that Thai Green Chili sauce on top again and we each went to do what we wanted to do, lol. We're solitary animals, he and I.
- I submitted my receipts to MobiSave, Ibotta, SavingStar (well actually that one will be submitted automatically via my CVS ExtraCare card) and Checkout 51. I already got almost all the rebates credited! SavingStar will take longer.
- I also submitted my Walmart receipt to the Walmart SavingsCatcher.
- The box of Krave cereal that I bought at CVS has a code printed on it so I'll get to double dip on the Kellogg's Family Rewards points again. Yay!
- Amazon released the offering for the Kindle First program for February and I picked this e-book for free.
WE SPLURGED ON:
- The kids bought lunch from school today.
- Goodies from Auntie Anne's for our snack today.
HOWEVER, WE FAILED IN THE FOLLOWING WAYS, BUT LEARNED SOME LESSONS:
- I logged in to our Health FSA account to check on my son's dental claim that had been denied (again, denying us to get refunded from money we PAID into the account, for whatever reason) . I had called them on 1/13 and they had said they would resubmit the receipt. Today the claim still showed as denied. So I called them again (you can't talk to someone right away, you have to go through a ridiculous phone tree for 5 minutes first) and this time the rep looked at the account and said she couldn't talk to me because I wasn't authorized so Greg needed to add me as an authorized person on the account. THEY ISSUED ME A VISA DEBIT CARD on that account and I'm the one who receives all the documents in MY email account, but I'm not authorized to ask for information about OUR account? Stupid, pointless HIPPAA (that's the stupid "privacy law" that was enacted several years ago, never mind that when you go to a doctor's office, the receptionist usually has everybody's information laying right there on the countertop in front of her and we can all see everything!). Also, as I remarked to her, the rep on 1/13 didn't have any problems talking to me! I appreciated that she seemed to be doing her job properly, but what a PITA. So I hung up, added myself as an authorized person on the account via their website (because hello? I'm the one who takes care of ALL paperwork. Greg wouldn't have a clue as to even how to log into "his" account, ooooh my blood is boiling, I'll tell you something else about that in my next paragraph) and I'll just call back tomorrow because right now I wouldn't be pleasant. They emailed me a Customer Satisfaction Survey right after that... 500 characters or less. I took all 500 characters to tell them how frustrated I was with them. Again, this isn't some money that we're claiming from some government agency! This is money that WE put aside in that account to pay medical/dental/vision expenses! Ugh, ugh, ugh.
- So not a frugal failure but I have to get this off my chest: I was checking my Discover card charges online to make sure that my AceHardware.com had been charged properly and clicked on the little "+" sign next to the transaction for the night lights. The name of the customer was Greg's name. WTF? 1) The AceHardware.com account is in my name only, 2) the Ace Rewards card is in my name only and 3) I paid for the order with MY Discover card, which was obtained without notification of his income back when I was still in the workforce. He's not even an authorized user on my account! So how the freaking macho misogynistic bullshit is HIS name remotely linked to this transaction?!? I'm not the most ardent feminist out there but this really pisses me off. So that's another reason why I didn't call back the Health FSA administrator today because my blood was already pumping because of that!
- I didn't log my food into MyFitnessPal, I didn't drink enough, and I didn't exercise :(
- Cooked breakfast for Greg and saw him off.
- Set up the breakfast table for the kids.
- Woke up my son!
- Fed the cats
- Did the laundry
- Worked on my shopping list
- Uploaded new offers to apps and printed some coupons
- Sorted some of the coupons and went grocery shopping
- Submitted receipts for several rebates
- Cooked dinner
PROGRESS TOWARDS MY 2016 GOALS TODAY:
- Found some more loose change :)
- Tried scheduling an extra $35 to be applied monthly to our mortgage principal but the website won't let me do it until after 2/6. Put a note on my calendar to try it again after that date.
HEALTH ACCOMPLISHMENTS TODAY:
- 2 cups coffee
- 2 cups water
- 1/4 cup granola with 1 banana, 1/3 cup whole milk
- Mid Morning Snack:
- rice with Thai Green Chili sauce, chicken meat, fruit cup
- Mid Afternoon Snack:
- pretzel nuggets
- rice with Thai Green Chili sauce, 1/4 link of smoked turkey sausage, Nature Valley Nut Crisp bar
- Evening Snack:
- 218.6 lbs but that was after breakfast and coffee because I forgot to do it earlier.
- Didn't exercise.