Monday, February 22, 2016

Frugal Successes and Failures: Monday 2/22/16

Oops I did it again... instead of publishing my post at 10:30 p.m., I set it to be published at 10:30 a.m. and then kept it open... until I finally had to close Blogger in the afternoon, which caused the post to be published immediately but with a 10:30 a.m. stamp... so an incomplete version of the post was posted way too soon. Sorry!  I pulled it but you might have still gotten it via email or see if in your Feedly.

  • I didn't sleep well last night. Every time I spend a long time reading a book, my back is killing me during the following night. Last night wasn't any exception and I didn't want to bother Greg by going up to sleep in our bed so I stayed on the couch, but I tossed and turned all night, it seemed. In the meantime, he didn't sleep well either and then my daughter told me she didn't sleep well too! 

  • So as I said in my Day Book post, I decided to forego a freebie at Walmart and to not go shopping today. I have plenty that I should be accomplishing at home, seeing as Monday is usually my most productive day.  Also, I need to streamline how much time I spend not only doing the shopping but also posting about it.  It's taking way too much of my time and exhausts me!  But I love the accountability so I need to find a happy middle ground.

  • We're going to have mostly gorgeous weather this week with temps cooling off a bit later on this week, which is always nice.  Woohoo! Last year I was outside a lot and I really need to try to get back to that. I think I'll try to sit on my patio this afternoon, if I have time.  I've weaned myself off watching mindless TV in the afternoons so being on the laptop outside or in the living room doesn't make much of a difference, as long as I'm in the shade so I can see my screen :)

  • While I was wide awake at 3:30 a.m., I logged out and re-logged in to my MobiSave account to trigger the new weekly offers and "starred" those. I'll try to use as many as I can, although I don't need anymore onions!

  • I packed a lunch for Greg to take to work. We didn't have any leftovers, a frugal victory in itself since we ate them, so I made him a turkey and cheese sandwich, packed some pumpkin seed tortilla chips, 2 hard boiled eggs and a cup of yogurt.  As he does every weekday morning, he took his breakfast tea in a travel mug so he can sip on it during his hour-long commute.  Work provides free tea (and coffee and cereal...) so he's always very frugal and takes advantage of that (although I think he skips the cereal these days, as he's watching his food intake).  It's the little things that you sometimes don't think about that add up, you know?  Both good (free tea!) and bad (extra calories!).

  • We probably saved ourselves a trip to the county landfill, which would be an hour roundtrip: we need to get rid of our old and broken over-the-range microwave. Greg suggested we drive there on Saturday after our lunch, although neither of us felt like it. I told him we should try setting it down by the curb on trash pick-up day because our across-the-street neighbors always set up stuff like that (mattresses...) and it always gets picked up, somehow.  Well, yesterday I noticed that the same neighbors have set a washing machine by their curb!  So Greg will take our microwave down our driveway tonight since trash pick-up is tomorrow and we'll keep our fingers crossed.

  • I did 2 "super" loads of laundry on cold/cold, using Purex that I had gotten for just a couple of bucks a bottle at CVS. It was a little more expensive than buying the generic laundry detergent (although I got ECBs from the deal) but I really love Purex. The clothes smell very good whereas they really don't smell like anything with the generic. I generally don't care but when I get that whiff of "clean" laundry, it makes me feel nice and more accomplished as a homemaker, lol.

  • I hung a lot of clothes outside, including my own cotton T-shirts. I thought I was going to have to get my extra laundry rack that I had bought to give to one of the kids at some point, but I was able to make everything fit on the 3 racks that I had set up.  The bath towels and most cotton clothing will be dried in the dryer on the Auto Moisture Sensing setting, as usual.

  • SB: my 1st goal is 90 SB.  Running SBTV, Ngage and Juno Groups and hoping I can avoid the frustration of trying to qualify for surveys.  I did make it to the 21 Day Master Level so I'll get a 200 SB bonus and that might just be enough for the month.
  • I almost didn't open the Kellogg's e-newsletter because the title referenced saving $3 on milk at BJ's and I don't shop there but I'm glad I remembered that those newsletters usually contain printable coupons.  I wish they would follow their own "pledge to the environment" and provided a link to print ALL the newsletter coupons at once, it would save us paper!  As it is, I have to print 1 coupon per page, which is a huge waste. I might email them and point out the hypocrisy. Anyhoo, there was also a bonus code for 29 extra KFR points and one of the coupons was for maple bacon Poptarts which sounds gross and strangely appealing at the same time... I'd try them if I could get them for free but I'm not paying for something that's probably not great because I'm sure that even The Locust would eat them!

  • Discover emailed me that I earned $12.73 in Discover Rewards thanks to my online order from Ace Hardware, which was the darn LED bulbs.  The rewards should be available on my next statement, but I'm thinking they'll pull them since the order was subsequently refunded.  We'll see.  I probably should check the status of the Ace Rewards rebate that I was told I could keep...

  • Our payment to Amex was credited so I checked our account online and $23.36 in Amex Rewards were added to our account, woohoo!  I'll redeem them for a CVS gift card once we hit $50, probably in the next couple of months. We had a lot of expenses in January between the 2 cars needing tires and the vet fees so I'm hoping that our expenses will go back to regular levels now, rewards be darned!

  • My son finished a box of cereal this morning so I clipped the Boxtop label to donate to a school in the Fall, set the bag aside to wash it later on today and recycled the box.

  • I wanted to bake some kind of sweet bread for snack so I picked the raisin cinnamon recipe from my breadmaker manual. I could have sworn I had made it already but the recipe doesn't ring a bell (I don't remember ever having to mix an egg with water before pouring it in the chamber) so I hope it turns out OK.  I used vegetable shortening instead of butter, it should be OK.  Then I remembered that neither of the kids will be home until about 6:30 p.m. so we didn't need the bread today.  Sigh. I guess I'll have to volunteer to eat it before it goes stale overnight, right?

  • Greg has been wanting to learn to preserve the squirrel hides from the squirrels he hunted (because he still thinks that we'll retire somewhere in the mountains and he'll become a fur trapper or the zombies will attack or something).  He told me last week that he had found a method to do it with battery acid and I was very much against that.  So he found another method to do it with alum powder.  He can be very stubborn so I was delighted that he researched another method after I had expressed much concern.  He had found a 2-lb bag of alum powder on Amazon and I had warned him to send me the link so I could use my Amazon-fu to get it cheaper than he would but this morning he sent me a link for a 4-b bag because it was cheaper per lb. Yay frugal Greg!  Also?  I used his Discover Rewards to get it for $2.22 and I selected the "No Rush Shipping" option so we'll get another $1 digital credit for a future e-book that he will download.  

  • Oh my!  Greg texted me that his boss just awarded him a "spot" award for being awesome. It's... pretty significant, although it's company shares so who knows how much it'll end up being next year, when they vest, if the economy keeps up with the downslide... but, I'm gonna slap myself out of this negativity here, and do a little happy dance :)  I'm so proud of my hubby, he is pretty darn awesome if I do say so myself!

  • I checked the Mount Dora Renninger's website to see if they had finally advertised that WWII battle reenactment and military vehicle rally that's taking place this weekend and found some cool info. "This isn’t your average vehicle show; these war machines will be moving and shooting." Our son will love that, I think!  According to the email that I had gotten from the coordinator, the battle reenactment will take place at 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and I think the back of the flyer said there wasn't an entrance fee, but I can't find the flyer to make sure so bring some cash if you plan on attending.

  • I baked 21 "Cranberry, Lemon & Milk Chocolate Chip Ricotta Muffins" to use up the last cup of ricotta cheese that I had left after my ill-advised crockpot lasagna last week.  The recipe that I had found was for "Cherry Vanilla  Ricotta Muffins" but there is more lemon zest and lemon juice than vanilla in the muffins, I substituted dried cranberries for dried cherries since that's what I had on hand, and I also added a few milk chocolate chips in there for kicks.  We'll see how they turn out.  I used the Wilson silicone muffin cups that I had bought with a 50% off coupon over a year ago. Back then, I had washed them by hand very carefully after the first use and one had completely torn in half. So I had emailed Wilson  with a picture of it and asked whether they offered any warranty and they had mailed me a brand new kit!  Now I'm missing 2 cups for some reason so I only have 21 in total but it saves me from having to buy the paper cups (although I still have a stash of those).  I did forget to spray oil in the first batch before I put the batter in so I hope they won't stick too much. I also experimented with adding a little bit of sugar to the top of half of them before I baked them to give them a little crunchy top, we'll see how that turns out.  If the recipe is good, I'll post it.

  • I love, love, love finally having 2 racks in my ancient wall oven!  I was able to bake both sets of muffins at once :)  The top one came out after about 25 minutes but the bottom one still looked a little pale so I turned off the oven but left it in there for another 5 minutes on the top rack to give it time to brown.

  • Despite all that, its past noon now and I'm still in my PJs and I still haven't done the dishes and actually have added quite a few dirty dishes to the pile since this morning so I feel like I've done nothing. The open windows are wonderful but my eyes are feeling very weird because of allergies so I think I'm going to have to take a Zyrtec or something.
A beautiful and warm day
  • I brewed myself a cup of black tea by reusing the tea bag from Greg's breakfast. I might not get a 3rd cup out of it this time because we brewed our respective tea cups for about 30 minutes each time (we forgot to take the tea bag out, both times!) so I think a 3rd cup would be very weak.

  • My lunch was a turkey and mayo sandwich since we don't have any leftovers (well, I'm lying, there's very old cabbage soup leftovers that I made but never ate and I probably should open the container and see if it's still good... smells fine, ok I'll try it), a cup of cabbage soup, and a brown banana.

  • I finished the delicious navel oranges from Aldi last night so I saved the mesh bag and added it to my stash this morning so I can make pot scrubbers.  I have so many saved up that I could probably sell those at the flea market this weekend, lol.  I do love reusing things that would ordinarily end up in the trash.

  • I'm feeling very tired all of a sudden so I think I'm going to go sit on the couch and veg for a while before I do the dishes.

  • Free entertainment for the cats today: a very wet frog fell on my arm as I was closing the sliding door's screen and startled me. It fell inside the house so the cats played with it for a while. I can't find it or its remains so either New Kitty ate it (she was an outdoor cat for a while) or it's hiding somewhere and hopefully won't crawl into our son's computer.  We had a lizard do that and fry the motherboard in Greg's computer one year, that wasn't cool.

  • Another free form of entertainment: I've been feeling guilty when I don't pick up the myriad of hair bands that I see in parking lots when I go shopping. Seriously, I spot at least 5 or 6 every shopping day! I know that The Non Consumer Advocate does pick them up but I have a stash from the Dollar Tree AND I've cut most of my hair off recently so I'm not wearing ponytails much these days so I just leave them there. However: I have found out that New Kitty is very fond of playing soccer with them so I might start picking them up anyway and using them as free cat toys after washing them.She's always sending them flying under the furniture so I might as well have a lot of them on hand because... you know... I don't sweep all that often and even less often under the furniture (shhh, that will be our little secret!).

  • Something smells very good and I can't decide whether it's the muffins or the cinnamon raisin bread that's still baking. OK, I'll try one of the muffins... that spells trouble because once I get into the baked goods, I might not regain any energy to do the rest of the chores I'd said I'd do today!  Update: ah yes, those muffins are delicious. Well, the one still slightly warm muffin that I ate. But I'm gonna have another one, just to make sure, you know.

  • Our high school announced that they're starting an "FSA Rewards Program".  FSA is the Florida Standardized Test that replaced the FCAT last year.  I'm not seeing a link for 11th grade so I'm not sure if they stop taking it in 10th grade or what, but my daughter will still have End of Course exams this year so she should be able to earn something. I emailed her the announcement. She's probably going to reply that she doesn't like barbecue...

  • So I finally got some motivation to go do the dishes. I had so many of them though, that I couldn't fit them all in to the dishwasher. Also I'm trying not to put so much stuff in there because a good quarter of the last load had to be re-washed since it wasn't completely clean. Arrgh.  I washed a bunch of pots and pans by hand but there are more that will have to wait until tonight or tomorrow. Seeing as I'm planning on going shopping tomorrow, I should endeavor to do the dishes after dinner tonight. We'll see if I remember, lol.  I watched an episode of Bernie Mac via Netflix on my Kindle Fire (I borrowed my son's plug in speakers) so that made the time go by a little faster.

  • I inventoried the fridge and I'm working on putting a menu together for this week.  Update: Done and it was pretty easy too because I'm not feeling too motivated to cook anything "complicated" this week :) My daughter will be happy to see "raclette" on the menu for Friday night.

  • I finally remembered to bring down the loofa-type sponge that I have been using with my soap slivers when I shower. It's open at both ends so the soap keeps on slipping out, which annoys me!  I used embroidery thread from a project that I started a couple of years ago and probably will never finish and sewed one end of it. I'm leaving the other end open so I can keep on putting more soap in there. If it keeps on slipping off while I use it, I'll have to sew most of that opening closed too. But for now that should work and I'm excited that I'll be able to use up those soap slivers pretty easily.

  • I noticed that several of my unlocked Ibotta rebates will expire at 3 a.m. tonight so I'll need to reload new rebates tomorrow before I go shopping.

  • I just won my 5th (and final since we're only allowed to win 5 times) free candy bar in the Snickers Superbowl 50 Instant Win Game, woo!

  • And, serendipitously, I received 2 coupons for 2 of my previous wins in the mail today! Free chocolate, come to mama!

  • My French BFF also sent me a nice postcard from her alpine vacation with her family... reminds me of the time the kids and I spent in the Alps last summer.  If you do follow the link to my blog post from last summer to see pictures of the Alps, they're towards the end of the very long post :)  My daughter and I really want to go back, although we wouldn't be visiting my dad this time (still not on speaking terms and I don't think we'll ever see each other again to tell you the truth, oh well.)

  • And I also got the latest sheet of Burger King coupons.  It's always good to have coupons to the local fast food places, just in case... if anything, I can pass them on to the kids ;)

  • I split the ground beef that I had bought at Aldi last week into 5 portions of 1 lb and use 4 cereal bags to freeze 4 of the portions.

  • For dinner I cooked hamburgers with the last portion of ground beef and honey roasted red potatoes.  It was OK. I felt the beef didn't taste as good as the beef I usually get from Save A Lot though.

  • We watched an episode of Fargo, Season 2 after dinner. Our son was interested in watching it too so we left him. There are several parts that we thought would make him uncomfortable but he played it cool, so I guess he's maturing, lol.

  • The kids bought their lunches from school today, as we allow to do that once a week.

  • I'm still collecting the water from the dripping showerhead in the downstairs shower and reusing it to flush the toilet. The downside of all this (aside from the fact that we have a water leak that we need to get fixed!) is that it creates more unneeded moisture in the bathroom so I'm running the dehumidifier more often and for longer periods of time. So we pay for the water that's leaking and also for the electricity to run the machine.  I do reuse the water collected to water the plants or flush the toilet as well but it IS a cost that would be avoided if the darn shower was fixed. It's a whole other story, though.  A big mess.

  • So I had told Greg that if he didn't use all the alum powder, I'd be able to use it because I was thinking it's one of the ingredients in my homemade baking powder, but I got it confused with the cream of tartar... darn it!  I do have alum powder in my spice cabinet and now I can't remember what I use it for, lol!

  • Argh, I finally went upstairs to shower at about 1:30 p.m. and realized that the toilet had been running ever since I had flushed it at about 9 a.m.!  We just replaced the flushing arm and chain/flap thingie within the past 2 months because the previous chain kept on getting stuck under the flap, which causes the toilet to run non-stop and it's happened again with the new one.  I guess it could have been worse: if I had showered first thing this morning, nobody would have gone back upstairs until after dinner, probably.  But still... all this morning literally down the drain!

  • Cooked Greg's breakfast
  • Packed his lunch
  • Set the breakfast table for the kids
  • Drafted a to-do list
  • Aired out the house
  • Did the laundry
  • Printed some coupons
  • Hung more than half the laundry outside.
  • Baked a loaf of raisin cinnamon bread in the breadmaker
  • Watched our male cat and New Kitty play together. I'm keeping an eye on them because the Ball-less Wonder as I call him has started to "play" a little rough with her and yesterday I caught him jumping on her out of nowhere and really biting the back of her neck. So he's banned from the living room (that's her refuge and I still caught him there twice this morning so he's in big trouble) and I'm watching him...
  • Did a load of dishes and washed some more by hand
  • Inventoried the fridge
  • Made a dinner menu for the week
  • Worked on my grocery shopping list
  • Folded the laundry
  • Cooked dinner
  • Clipped coupons and sorted them

  • Lamenting that I really need to make an appointment with a financial planner and or CPA because Greg's award, coupled with my daughter turning 18 this year, means that we're once again gonna get hammered with federal taxes next year so we really need some professional help to figure out how we can minimize our tax base in 2015.

  • Liquids:
    • 2 cups coffee
  • Food:
    • Breakfast:
      • bowl of Bear Naked granola with ~2 milk and a banana
    • Mid Morning Snack:
      • nothing
    • Lunch:
      • turkey sandwich with light mayo, cup of cabbage soup, banana, 2 muffins
    • Mid Afternoon Snack:
      • 3 slices raisin cinnamon bread
    • Dinner:
      • Cheeseburger, honey roasted red potatoes, muffin
    • Evening Snack:
      • Muffin
  • Weight & Exercise:
    • I should just take the weight and Exercise section off the blog since I'm really not dealing with those right now, but keeping them on is a little nag that at some point I'm going to have to deal with them!
Did you have any frugal successes or failures today? Please do tell!


  1. I just looked at Mobi Save and couldn't get any good offers. I opened and there was still nothing there. I pressed some buttons and all those things appeared!!! Totally turning in my rebate...thanks :)

    1. No problem. I'm glad a commenter on app store had mentioned having to log out and log back in to get the new offers or I'd just have been very frustrated and stopped using it!

  2. Domestic Monday. Is that going to be a thing from now on? Cleaning, cooking, baking and mending. You did it all today. Is that supposed to make me feel bad? Well, it is working. I have been good about the food part....not so well with the cleaning and mending part. In your spare time, why don't you fix that darn plumbing?

  3. Susan, you make me laugh :) (I was trying to reply to your comment but Blogger isn't letting me use the "Reply" button all of a sudden. Want to join me in making it a weekly Monday feature? Monday mornings are supposed to be my most productive mornings so I wouldn't mind.

    About the plumbing. Yeah. We should call a plumber but that's going to open another can of worms because that bathroom has many issues and fixing that is going to lead to have to fix other things and that's going to be VERY expensive and extensive so for now, we're dealing with the leak this way.


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