Monday, February 8, 2016

Frugal Successes and Failures: Monday 2/8/16

  • Happy Monday!  I love Monday morning because it's always so full of promise: a new week begins, I'm usually pretty productive on Mondays and everybody's back at work or at school so I get my much needed time alone, eh eh.  Now if only the snowbirds would see it fit to go back to their northern abodes, all would be well.  Because even though most of them are nice, they drive very slowly.  They park very slowly.  They leave their carts in the aisles when they go check on something and they're generally always in my way :)  Yes, I'll be a senior citizen too in a few short years and I'm sure there are plenty of people driving behind me, complaining about the way I drive. And the young guy who I almost hit as I was backing out of my parking space at Walmart because I looked both ways but forgot to look behind me was probably cursing middle age women in very large SUVs!

  • So... yes, Monday morning found me at Walmart.  It found me in a lot of places, come to find out, because I was on my way to the vet's to drop off New Kitty's urine sample for analysis when I realized that I was halfway to the shops anyway, I had my coupon organizer with me (yay!) although I hadn't added 90% of the coupons that I had clipped last week, I had my shopping list on Google Drive pretty much already done and I needed cat litter, stat.  Oh and also my son's school scheduled an award ceremony on Wednesday morning so I would have had to go shopping at some other time anyway.  So off I went.   I hadn't eaten breakfast or finished my coffee and since I didn't expect to be gone longer than 20-30 minutes, I hadn't even brought a snack or drink along, much less showered or given New Kitty her morning dose of antibiotics.  Oh well.  I'm glad it's done and now I can deal with other things!

  • Uh oh, I think I'm getting sick.  I have this tinge of feeling that starts in your nose when you know you're about to start a fever... well, that's the way it starts with me anyway.  I have to drink lots of OJ and take acetaminophen or ibuprofen to ward it off because I have to go to a college visit with my daughter later on this week, about 90 minutes away from here and it lasts all day!

  • I packed leftovers for Greg's lunch: rice and turkey, 2 hard-boiled eggs and a cup of yogurt.

  • My daughter packed a lunch to take to school. I had to remind her to take it with her, though, as she was able to leave it on the kitchen table!

  • There was about 1/2 cup of coffee leftover in the pot from yesterday morning so I drank that, mixed with fresh coffee. 

  • I completed my Bing activities for the day and I'm at 97% of my goal!  Woohoo, $5 Amazon gift card coming up soon!

  • Swagbucks: 1st goal of 105 SB and since I ended up being gone all morning, I'm only at 19 SB at 12:40 p.m. Gulp!  I'll need to try and qualify for some surveys if I want to reach my goal!  I did reach the 7-Day Star bonus stage though, woohoo.  Update: but GRRR, once again I answered a very detailed survey only to be told at the end that I was disqualified. I mean I had to type up the name of every shop I visited in the past 7 days, how much I spent, when, and what I bought or whether I left without buying anything. And then it asked my age and flashed that I was disqualified. B.S.!  So I emailed Customer Service. It was a 60 SB survey! It's quite late in the day, though so even if they go give me the SB, it probably won't be today. So I'll try more surveys.  Update #2: I was able to complete a survey about our binoculars for 60 SB. Relieved... I did meet my 1st goal for today.

  • IMPORTANT IF YOU USE MOBISAVE:  I opened the app to see what new offers were on this week and all my offers were the same as last week.  I had placed an offer in my cart yesterday and it was no longer in my cart, so I figured those were the new offers. Well poop, because the only generic offers were those on produce items that I didn't need.  Then I remembered reading in the user comments when I downloaded the app, that a couple of people had recommended logging out of the app and logging back in to force the new offers to come up. So I tried that and guessed what?! It totally worked!  Suddenly I had offers for OJ, eggs, Post cereal, bananas and cat litter... all things that I needed to get this week!  Woohoo!  So make sure you do that every week (log out and log back in).

  • I had to wait until my daughter left for school to go to the vet's since her car was blocking mine in the driveway.  As I mentioned above, I decided, out of the blue, to go grocery shopping this morning (I had played with the idea to go shopping today when I was planning my week yesterday afternoon but as I never finished putting away all my coupons, I felt unprepared so I had finally decided to wait until tomorrow afternoon).  Come to find out, I didn't really need the new coupons so all was well :)  I'll post the details on Wednesday, as usual, but here are the broad strikes:

    • Dropped off the cat urine sample at the vet's: they'll call me with the results on Wednesday.  They didn't mention charging me for that special high fiber food that the tech had given me, I just realized.

    • RaceTrac: put has in my SUV since gas is 15 cents a gallon cheaper at that station than at the one closer to my house, so I have a new receipt with which to take a survey and earn a freebie. I also redeemed a survey reward code for a free bag of TasteWorks Macho Cheese chips for my son. I paid for the gas with my Discover card, which earns me a 5% Rewards right now.

    • Target: I was very disappointed with the lack of Cartwheel offers on produce!  The strawberries that were on sale for $2.99 weren't Driscoll's so I left them but I did get a couple of packages of Driscoll's raspberries for $2.99 (minus my $1/1 coupons so they were $1.99 each).  They still didn't have the My Goodness soup that I could have gotten for free with Ibotta, that was disappointing.  Despite the fact that I had typed, in ALL CAPS, on my shopping list that I wasn't to buy anything that should be frozen since my freezers are so full... well, I just couldn't resist the deals!  They had some 1-lb package of Gold'n Plump ground chicken priced at $3.99 but with a $1.00 red store coupon on them and I had manufacturer coupons so I bought 2 (one cost $1.49 after coupon and the other cost $1.99 after coupon).  No worries, I found room in the freezer after all because where there's a will, there's a way!  They had the asparagus on sale for $1.99/lb which I suspected was better than Aldi's price (and I was right) so I got 1 lb of that.  I'm excited that there are TWO large rubber bands holding them together because I needed new rubber bands, lol.  I also bought bananas there at $0.59/lb and a bottle of Simply Balanced organic apple juice for $2.24 because I had a $0.75/1 Target store coupon so that made it a better deal than at Aldi.  My OOP ended up being $13.01 and I paid with a Swagbucks gift card so it was free to me.  Yay!  I did have a bad surprise because I thought I still had about $15 left on my 1st gift card, but apparently I only had about $6.  I guess I must have looked at the wrong number on my receipt the last time I shopped there.  Good thing that I did have the 2nd gift card saved on my phone too and since I had the printout with me, I wrote the new balance on the printout (and made sure I was writing the correct amount this time!).  I will get $0.25 back from MobiSave for the bananas. (money maker!)

    • CVS:  I had to ask my favorite cashier if they had any copies of the weekly ad since there were none on the display and the store manager that was standing there went to get a stack of them. Yay!  Well, for once the "My Weekly Ad" had been accurate as there was no sale on milk or eggs.  I had filed the $3 coupon from the Beauty Club (received as a belated birthday gift) in my organizer, thankfully and I had preloaded the $5 in ECB for having downloaded the app to my ExtraCare card so I had $8 to spend!  As usual there were some good sales on cereal so despite the fact that I have so many boxes of it already, I bought: 1 box of Post Great Grains on sale for $1.99 (I had a $0.75 coupon), 2 boxes of Lucky Charms on sale for $2.00 each. I didn't have any coupons for those (can you believe it?! I think they're in the stash that I had left at home) but they came with a $1 ECB offer for a purchase of 2, and I also got 3 cans of Campbell's Healthy Request Chunky soup and a can of Campbell's Chili.  They were on sale at 4 for $6.00 and I had a $1.00/4 store coupon and a $1.00/3 Healthy Request manufacturer coupon.  However, I just realized that the cashier forgot to scan one of the cans of soup so the $1.00/4 store coupon didn't get deducted... but since I didn't get charged $1.50 for the can, I guess I'm ahead anyway.  So my OOP was $0.74 and I got a $1 back in ECB.  I paid for the $0.74 with my CVS gift card that I had earned with our Mastercard Rewards program so the whole thing was free to me anyway. My receipt said that I had saved 97% today (well, 100% with my gift card!). I will get $0.75 back from MobiSave for the Post Great Grains cereal (money maker!)

    • I was getting hungry by this time (I didn't eat breakfast!) and thirsty and I was thinking about going to Dunkin' Donuts to redeem my free drink any size coupon and my free donut with a medium+ drink survey code for breakfast but it was only a little bit past 9 a.m. and Dunkin' Donuts is crazy busy until past 10 a.m. so I decided that I'd get a free pretzel from Auntie Anne's instead.

    • So I drove to Walmart since Auntie Anne's in in their lobby area.  Only they didn't open until 10 a.m.!  Arrgh.   So I decided to keep my free pretzel reward (earned with their app) for my next trip since it doesn't expire until May anyway.

    • At Walmart, I got: a box of Grape Nuts @ $2.92 (there's a $0.75 Walmart-only Ibotta offer on Post cereal), a box of Zing sweetener for $2.68 (used a $1.50 coupon and there's a $0.75 Ibotta offer), a bag of Great Value chocolate chips (I needed and it was $1.98 so just $0.20 more than Aldi's), and a box of peanut butter chocolate waffers since there were out of Swiss rolls (for my son) at $1.48.  At the bakery's clearance rack, I found a 6-pack of those wheat sub rolls that the kids had liked last week, discounted once again for $1.34, and a then a box of 6-triangular shaped donuts discounted to $1.39. I figured I'd have one for breakfast and the kids could have a couple for snack.  I tried the self-check out this morning since my only coupon wasn't a printable coupon but from a mailer and I didn't have any problems checking out, woohoo!  My OOP was $10.29 but all of it was free to me since I paid with a Swagbucks gift card.  I only have $1.13 left on my card now  so next week's shopping trip will probably be more than $50 :(    I will get $1.50 back from Ibotta (money maker!)

    • I was still thirsty so I stopped by Murphy USA to redeem a printable store coupon for a free can of Quick Strike energy drink. I only drink those when I get them for free. They don't give me any energy at all!  I picked the unflavored sugar free version since I was about to stuff my face with a sugar-full donut anyway ;)  So that was my breakfast.  Not very healthy but very frugal :)

    • At Aldi, I was conflicted to find the eggs priced at $0.99!  Conflicted because my fridge is so full and I still have about 3 dozens eggs but, come on, $0.99 for a dozen?!  They were inching up last week and the previous one!  So I bought a couple more dozens, what the heck, I'll make them fit in the fridge!  I had hoped to score red grapes for $0.99/lb but they were totally out, poop. I did get a large pineapple for $1.29, 3 lbs of Red Delicious apples for $2.69 (as usual I counted the apples in several bags and picked the one with the most apples, 10!), 5 more pounds of red potatoes for $1.49, some yogurt for Greg and my daughter, peanut butter crackers and saltines (we needed the saltines but come to find out I already had 2 packages of PB crackers in the pantry!), a bottle of honey since Greg is almost out of the NC mountain honey, string cheese,  oven roasted turkey breast and a bag of black eyed peas because they were marked as being "seasonal" and I thought that $1.19 was a pretty good price.  I ended up already having some in my pantry but dried beans don't go bad so it's fine.  I also got 3 jugs of cat litter this time.  Oh, and a container of OJ. My OOP was $40.69 but that included $12.81 worth of cat litter. I elected to get some cash back since I was paying with my debit card anyway so no ATM fee needed to be refunded by USAA.  I will get $0.50 back from MobiSave and $0.25 back from Checkout 51.

    • I think I need some thyme, but I decided to skip the Dollar Tree and check all my spice drawers before I bought a new bottle.

    • Since my true out of pocket total was less than $50 at that point, I figured that I would stop by Save A Lot and buy grapes there since they were on sale for $1.99/lb.  Not the greatest price (compared to Aldi!) but my son loves grapes and I love seeing him eat fruit :)  So while I was there, I decided to get another 5-lb bag of Klondike Gold potatoes for $1.99 since I used half a bag to make the mashed potatoes yesterday and those potatoes make the absolute best mashed potatoes!  So I skipped the 15-lb bag of Russet on sale for $3.49 (they had them in stock this time) since I have over 10 lb of red and Klondike Gold potatoes now.  Potatoes DO go bad in Florida.  I was looking to get another can of Pillsbury Grands! biscuits on sale for $0.79 (I had a $0.40/1 coupon with me but my $1.00/2 coupons were at home!) but, as it turns out they were out of them, so good thing I didn't stress too much about having left those $1.00 coupons at home! However, they had hams on 50% clearance.  I KNOW!  I don't have room in my freezers, dang it!  Arrgh.  Oh well, I got one anyway, know why? Because my next stop was going to be Publix where I was planning on getting 16 oz (= 1 lb) of ham slices for just $0.69 after BOGO and coupons and I only had coupons for 1 deal. But I could get an 8-lb ham for $0.65/lb AND also have a bone which which to make great soup!  I also bought a $25 Save A Lot gift card to give to my middle son at some point since he shops for groceries there too.  So my OOP there was $35.93 including the gift card and I paid with my Amazon Visa which will give me 1% in rewards. While I was there, I ran into my favorite store manager.  We've know each other for years and are on friendly terms, always talk about our kids. He's on nights now most of the time so I never see him anymore. I also used tor run into him at Goodwill and Walmart all the time.  Anyhoo, it was nice to see someone that I knew and to catch up for a little bit.  He remarked on my T-shirt since I was wearing Greg's Broncos T-shirt. Oh yes, I AM proud that they won the Superbowl! 

    • So I decided to skip Publix altogether.  I went to Walgreens because I had seen the marquee of the Walgreens near Target advertising milk on sale for $2.79 and I was hoping my Walgreens would be having the same sale (sometimes the sales are particular to specific stores).  Sure enough, the milk was on sale for $2.79 in their weekly ad, yay!  I only got 1 gallon since I have about 1/2 a gallon left and I plan on mixing this new one with water in a little bit, transforming it into two gallons (oh, the magic of frugality!).  Did you know that whole milk has 3.25% fat?  So if I dilute it with 50% water, that gives me milk a little over 1.6% fat.  So why would I want to buy 2 gallons of 1% milk, right?  It dilutes the nutrients as well, but we're eating very well, I think, and the kids are getting plenty of nutrients so we're good.  The Ibotta offer for milk was good at Walgreens, woohoo!  Perusing their ad, I noticed that the Black Forest gummy candy was on sale for $0.99 a bag and I had $1.00/1 printable manufacturer coupons!  So I got 2 bags. My favorite cashier was there and she also chuckled at my T-shirt, especially when I told her that I had bought it for Greg since he's actually NOT a Broncos fan but a Patriots fan (he does wear that Broncos Tshirt quite a bit, though!). However, when she scanned the coupons, the register wouldn't accept the 2nd $1.00/1 coupon since the candy was only $0.99.  I told her that I thought they used to adjust the coupon down to $0.99 (which always pisses me off because they get refunded $1.00 for it!) but she did something that no other cashier has ever done before: she actually adjusted the price of the candy to $1.00 so the $1.00 coupon was accepted.  In the end, it makes no difference to me, I still lose 1 cent per package, but you know what? I got free candy for my son so that's all I care about, lol.  My OOP was $2.93 and I paid with my American Express card, which will net me 2% in Rewards.  I earned 20 Balance Rewards points.  I will get $0.50 back from Ibotta.

    • Then I decided to stop by the Habitat for Humanity ReStore thrift store to see about a waffle iron for my middle son.  Once again, they didn't have any and the microwave stand that I had found last week that might have worked for his printer was gone. He never replied to me anyway so I wasn't going to buy it.  They did have a couple of very nice refrigerators, one of them a GE... Prestige?  I forget the exact name and I didn't take a picture but it was priced at $350.  I also saw dishwashers so I'm thinking that next time one of our large appliances crap out, I'm going to check the ReStore. That's where I found our G.E. over the range microwave for just $25.  I didn't buy anything today.

    • My last stop was the RaceTrac closest to my house. There I redeemed another survey reward code for another free bag of Macho Cheese chips for my son and I also bought a new lottery ticket good for the next 20 drawings.  That is the one type of "entertainment" that I pay for, for myself.  I don't play video games, get my nails done or buy clothes and shoes or make-up, so I don't feel bad about spending $2 on the lottery every week :)

  • Back home, I documented my trip and put most everything away.  I keep the items for which I have rebates out a little longer until I process the rebates because I have to scan the bar codes.

  • My lunch was some left over rice and meatloaf and some cantaloupe that is past its prime.

  • My son had set an empty cereal box aside for me so I clipped the Boxtops and recycled the box, and I will rinse the inner bag and dry it so I can reuse it to freeze food items in it.

  • I did a "super" load of laundry on cold/cold.  I hung the undies/socks/exercise clothes/cloth napkins and cleaning cloths outside to dry but it's really windy and I don't have any clothespins.  I added them to my Dollar Tree shopping list for next week.  I dried the cotton clothing and bath towels in the dryer on the Auto Moisture Sensing setting.

  • I turned off the heat and aired out the house since it was cool but nice outside.  This might exacerbate Greg's allergies though so it's always a dilemma for me: he's been coughing in the house so I want to get the cooties out, but the pollens will make him even more congested.  Arrgh.  The cats are loving the open windows so airing the house it is!  Shhh, don't tell Greg.  Update: I turned the heat back on at 6 p.m.

  • I submitted all my receipts for the various rebates and submitted my Walmart receipt to the SavingsCatcher.

  • Hmm, Walgreens will be having a 5X everyday points when you spend $10 or more in store or on their website between 2/14 and 2/27.  I got a Catalina coupon to be scanned for that promotion when I checked out today. It says it can be used up to 3 times, but I'm guessing you have to buy at least $10 each time.  Maybe I can stock up on some personal care items that have good rebates from Ibotta/MobiSave/SavingStar.  I'll have to see what's available at that time (and what I need!). I have 3220 Balance Rewards points right now and I need 5,000 to get $5 off my bill.

  • This morning, I read an article on Yahoo! Finance that said that we don't need to attach that new 1095 Health Care form to our taxes, we just have to swear that we have health care coverage.  So we keep the form that Greg's employer is supposed to send us by 3/31 in case we're ever audited, I guess.  The good news is that as soon as our investment firms all release their statements, I should be able to complete the tax return instead of having to wait for that form.  Mini rant of the day: why do webmaster continue to refuse to put "print" icons on the articles on their websites?  I don't care that it's the 21st century and we're supposed to be paperless.  I like to print recipes, articles such as these, and other things so I can refer to them later on.  It really pisses me off that they have all those social network "sharing" icons but no option to print the article. And then, of course, they use "frames" or whatever so if you just print the page from your browser, a 1-page article turns into a 10-page printout!  Arrgh, So I hightlight everything, copy and paste it into a Word document, format it so it fits on 1 page and then print it. But it's such a PITA to have to do that over and over again.

  • Redbox emailed me a code for a free DVD rental (CHAMPION) tonight only but you have to reserve the movie via their website or their app, it won't work at the kiosk. I'm done driving for today so I won't be using it. Plus there's nothing I want to see anyway.

  • I received the $50 rebate check from my county for having had our cat spayed.  That helps a little bit because that bill was way larger than I had assumed it would be!  I deposited it in our checking account instantly by using our credit union's app.

  • I "found" 3 pennies that Greg had left laying on the counter. So I grabbed them and I'm adding them to my 2016 Change Jar :)

  • For dinner I cooked a box of ziti, then added 1/2 a jar of Bertolli pasta sauce that I had in the fridge and some dark meat from last night's turkey, cut in small pieces.  Then I topped it all with grated cheddar cheese and broiled it.  It was excellent and very easy to make :)

  • All the apps credited me with the rebates that I claimed today!

  • My son bought lunch from school today (we allow the kids to buy lunch once a week. although this week I'll allow him to buy it on Wednesday too as a treat for getting an award on Wednesday morning).

  • As I was leaving to go to the vet's I noticed a large red puddle on the spot where Greg parks his truck.  Arrgh! I called him as he was still en route for work and warned him. He surmised it was transmission fluid so I urged him to turn around so we could take the truck in to the garage ASAP but he said it would be OK.  The man doesn't really know his way around vehicles too well so I think it's a huge mistake and that he's probably causing more damage to the engine!  He works an hour away so even if he made it to work, it doesn't mean that he'll make it back home tonight. Also: our regular garage doesn't work on transmissions (at least not that I know of) so we're going to have to find another one... an HONEST one.  It's a good thing I went shopping today because I have a feeling we'll have to deal with that tomorrow.  Update: he forgot to look under his truck before he left tonight, to see if it had leaked more. I hope he makes it home alright... and I'm talking about the truck!  LOL.  Update #2: he got home OK, looked at the puddle from this morning, put cat litter on it and swept it off and then laid down old cereal boxes over it so he can see in the morning how much more it has leaked. At this point he's planning on calling our garage tomorrow to make an appointment on Wednesday morning because he needs an oil change anyway.  He'll work from home on Wednesday if they can take care of his truck then.

  • This is going to get me kicked out of the frugal league, but I have to confess to a huge no-no: last night I threw away the turkey carcass.  Argh, don't hit me!  People, I didn't think I had room in my freezers AND I already have a very full bag of chicken bones in there.  I know, I know. I found room for the 2 lbs of ground beef and the 8 lbs of ham that I'm going to cram in there.  Oh well.

  • I also had to throw away a chunk of not-so-fresh mozzarella cheese that had gotten bad.

  • Cooked breakfast for Greg
  • Set the breakfast table for the kids
  • Dropped off the sample of cat urine at the vet's
  • Went grocery shopping
  • Documented everything and put it away
  • Did a load of laundry and hang it outside to dry
  • Gave New Kitty her antibiotics
  • Aired out the house
  • Submitted receipts for rebates
  • Replied to blog comments
  • Corresponded with my oldest son via email
  • Cooked dinner

  • Nothing specific today.

  • Liquids:
    • 1 cup coffee
    • 1 can energy drink
  • Food:
    • Breakfast:
      • 1 donut and a can of Quick Strike energy drink
    • Mid Morning Snack:
      • nothing
    • Lunch:
      • rice and meatloaf; cantaloupe
    • Mid Afternoon Snack:
      • 1 donut
    • Dinner:
      • turkey and pasta, a few raspberries
    • Evening Snack:
      • xx
  • Weight:
    • Didn't weigh myself
  • Exercise:
    • Didn't exercise
Did you have any frugal successes or failures today? Please do tell!


  1. You hadn't showered, eaten breakfast or even finished your coffee. Well at least you were dressed. I have heard so many stories that began, "I was still in my pajamas, but I was only going for a few minutes and I wasn't even going to step out of the car...." Not me. Ha, ha. But people I know.

    So you got your shopping done early this week. And you got lots of Freebies again. I bow to the Queen. I think I will put a freeze on my spending for as long as I can this month. My husband used up the rest of last month's Shopper's Drug Mart gift card on two bags of milk this morning. I do have SDM points that I can redeem for free product. I will see how the rest of the month goes.

    You THREW OUT a turkey carcass???? And you admitted it?? This is a biggie. It will come back to haunt you on Food Waste Friday. *laugh*

    1. Ah, so the truth comes out... because I think you ARE talking about yourself, lol. I've been tempted to go out in my PJs a couple of times (back when I was dropping off my high schoolers at school in the mornings) but I always figured that with my luck my SUV would break down and I'd be stuck on the side of the road in my PJs!

      Good luck with the shopping freeze! I always say that I'm going to do that and then I don't.

      The turkey carcass was pretty clean when I threw it away, I scrapped the meat off with my nails! But yes, I should have broken it in smaller pieces and forced it in the freezer.


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