Saturday, February 6, 2016

Frugal Successes and Failures: Saturday 2/6/16

  • Super Bowl weekend!  Our plans are to stay home.  Greg came home last night, still under the weather. He is sniffly, coughing, congested, just looking miserable. It's one heck of a cold he's got there and I hope he spends the day in bed to recuperate!  I was glad that I had turned the heat on before we left for the concert last night because it was pretty darn cold outside, in the 40s. Update: wel,l my plan to stay home actually had me leave the house not just once but twice! 

  • So that Zika virus thing is so scaring Florida that our governor has declared a state of health emergency throughout the state.  This morning, news came out that an instance of the virus was found in Osceola county, which borders Walt Disney World and is about an hour away from here. It was contracted in another country, but health officials have also recently said that the virus can be spread via intercourse, saliva and urine (bodily fluids).  I've been thinking about all the bins I have in the garden, collecting water.  We really haven't had a problem with mosquitoes at all these past couple of years, our city/county sprays pretty regularly (of course then you wonder about what you're inhaling and the effect on your own health!), but I think I'll go in the yard this afternoon and empty out the bins.  I'll leave the self-watering bins alone because emptying them would mean destroying them (they're brittle because of the sun so if I touch them, they're going to break), but I'm going to have to empty all containers that have collected rainwater (they don't have covers or filters to prevent larvae, I'm strictly low tech in the garden!).  Update: well, it rained so I'll have to do that another day.

  • New Kitty had a good night and woke me up a little later than usual, but as the hour went by, she started acting "off", crying out a lot even though she had been fed, going to her litter box at lot, sprinting through the house for no reason and going under the couch, hugging the walls, all behaviors not consistent with how she had been behaving since her surgery.  I was puzzled. At some point I noticed she'd been in the litter box at lot (I could hear her in there from where I was sitting but not see her) so I checked it and, since we hadn't cleaned it last night, I completely cleaned it out.  Soon after she was in there again... and then my daughter got up and was on the couch in our entry room and New Kitty got on her, acted like she was in her litter box (trying to "dig" under my daughter with her paws) and then... squatted and peed on her!  As soon as my daughter told me this, I called our regular vet's office and asked whether I could bring her by because I was quite worried.  They asked if we could be there in 15 minutes... I was still in my PJs, yikes!  But we made it (my daughter came along).  The good news: she didn't have a temperature but the vet and techs could tell she was not herself. The vet also noted her somewhat distended tummy, which had worried me too but then again she's always had a larger tummy, which is why we all thought she was pregnant when we first got her.  He think she has a UTI (urinary tract infection) so he gave her an injection of antibiotics/pain killer and I have antibiotic drops to give her twice a day for 10 days. Since it's the weekend the lab is closed,  but he gave me some special litter to put in her litter box to collect a pee sample and keep in the fridge over the weekend. I'll drop it off first thing on Monday morning.  She was also given some special food that has more fiber in it, because he thinks her distended belly might just be gas.  Back home, we set her up in the guest bedroom (good thing I put the Christmas stuff away last week!) so the other cats don't bother her and don't eat her food or pee in her litter box.  We removed the mattresses from the bed so she won't pee on them too. The kids are being very solicitous and are staying with her: my daughter has her laptop and our son has his Kindle Fire and they're keeping her company. Awww...  I was worried when we got home because, as I went to clean out her litter box so I could add the new litter to it, I noticed a small blog of blood on the lip of the litter box. I tried calling the vet right away but they were gone for the day. I don't know what else they could do for her anyway so I'm not going to worry about it. She's on antibiotics and painkillers and hopefully now on the mend. I did read an article that said that if a cat pees outside the litter box and drinks like it's in a desert (and she's been drinking non-stop since we've gotten back from the vet's) then it's likely to be a UTI and we should take it to the vet right away.   The thing is... she's been eating the prescription Urinary S.O. maintenance food so if that doesn't prevent UTIs, I'm not really sure why we're paying so much for them to eat it!  Anyhoo. I'm counting this as a "splurge" rather than a "failure" because the failure would have been to NOT take her to the vet's right?  Poor kitty.  But man, don't get a pet if you don't have disposable income to cover the vet fees and treatment in case of disease or emergency. and don't think that only older pets get sick.  
Don't let this angelic photo fool you, she is sick!
  • I turned on KUSC this afternoon, thinking I'd listen to classical music while I read a library book.  They were playing opera, which Greg and I love, but there were commentators who were very chatty... so instead, I decided to put a Columbo DVD on.  I love Columbo and I treated myself to the whole series at Christmas time (Greg wrapped it and pretended he had bought it for me himself, lol).  A rainy day, crappy Chinese food for lunch, a warm blanket on my legs, and Columbo on the TV... aaaaah, it doesn't get any better than that!

  • Later on, my son shared a picture with me.... the 3 cats have NEVER been on the new cat tree all at once, that we know of! We're finally getting our money's worth!  Will they, one day, jump through the ring of fire?!  
Please excuse the mess!

  • I feel that I should had a "Rants" section to this daily post because sometimes I want to rant about something that has nothing to do with being frugal!  Today, I want to rant about stupid iTunes.  I sync my phone like maybe every 6 months.  For some reason last year I decided to update iTunes on my PC. Huge mistake! Whereas the version that I used to have was pretty use friendly, the version that I have now (and it's not even the latest!), which is 12 point something, has been designed by a monkey. Seriously, it's taken my over 20 minutes to figure out how to update my playlist and how to sync it to my phone. It was so darn easy before and now it's so freaking un-intuitive that every 6 months I have to relearn it all over again, to great annoyance.  I'm never updating anything again!

  • Bing Rewards: same as usual and now I'm up to 85% of my goal (a $5 Amazon gift card)

  • Swagbucks: 1st goal of 95 SB. I was able to do a very short survey for 50 SB.  I reached my 1st goal but it was pretty late in the afternoon.

  • I turned the heat off at about 11:30 a.m. since it wasn't that cold outside... but then I turned it back on at about 5:30 p.m. because it felt chilly and I have a sick cat and a sick husband!

  • I found $0.61 under the mattresses in the guest bedroom!

  • The mini fruit pies that I bought at Publix (see "Splurges") were on BOGO. I got a Dutch apple pie and a cherry pie. It would have been cheaper to get 2 apple pies since the cherry pie was more expensive, but I love cherry pie :)

  • I found a dispenser of Gourmet Garden coupons at Publix ($0.55/1) and they don't expire until December 2017!  So I took a couple.  I use the ginger paste since I'm horrible at grating my own ginger.

  • I will keep the container of hot & sour soup from the Chinese restaurant to reuse next time I make chicken stock.

  • Downloaded a free French grammar e-book to my Kindle and emailed my daughter about it too.

  • For dinner I baked a Blue Plate Meatloaf and cooked some rice.  The meatloaf recipe calls for spinach and I felt sure that I had a bit of frozen spinach left to finish but I couldn't find it in my freezer so I must have used it in another recipe. Crap!  However, I did have that big bag of collard greens that I had picked up on clearance at Save A Lot on Monday for just $1.00 so I steamed about 1/2 of it in my microwave for 5 minutes and added it to the meatloaf. I'm sure it'll be fine. I also used some of the colored peppers that I had cut up and frozen instead of green peppers, and the corn bread stuffing came from that large bag that I got on clearance from Aldi, priced at $0.25. The ground beef was from a 5-lb chub that I had gotten for free at Walmart (I used 1 lb).

  • However, Greg didn't want to eat anything else than soup (and eggrolls and cherry pie!) and I was still full with all the Chinese food that I had eaten so I skipped dinner.  The kids had some but we have lots of leftovers... I might freeze them because I'm cooking the turkey tomorrow!  (I won't let Greg near it since he's coughing all over the place).

  • I filmed my son's concert last night.  Tonight I extracted the audio from the videos and loaded them into iTunes.  Then I fought with freaking iTunes synced my phone so I can have those new tunes to listen to when I'm in the car :)

  • I won another candy bar at the Snickers IWG!  Woohoo! It's my 3rd one...

  • Emergency visit to the vet's for New Kitty, injection, antibiotics, and urinalysis (to be performed on Monday): $175.  Just realized that doesn't include the food the told me to give her, so I guess I'll pay for that on Monday.

  • Lunch. It was a dreary day, rainy and gray, our kitty was sick and the kids were nursing her, Greg was coughing and snorting in his chair and it was 1 p.m.... so I offered to go get lunch for everybody since I wanted to go get Greg some OJ. Our son came with me.  We got hot and sour soup for Greg at the Chinese restaurant (I'll get another container for chicken stock when he's done eating it, yay!). I had them add a couple of egg rolls to the order too since last time he had wished I had bought him some even though he had told me he didn't want any (men!), and I ordered my usual General Tso's combo platter.  The food is crappy but I'm strangely addicted to that particular combo!  The kids wanted subs from Publix and I also got potato salad, OJ for Greg and a couple of mini fruit pies since they were on BOGO and I didn't feel like baking.  I spent about $35 total.  The Publix cashier asked "You're not using any coupons today?!", lol.  And I wasn't indeed, because everything I bought was Publix-branded and there weren't any coupons for any of it.

  • A video game (Attila) that was on sale on Steam. Greg bought it for himself and our son. ($11.24)

  • I had warned Greg to pick up some dinner from the airport last night as I didn't have any leftovers and I wasn't cooking dinner for us due to the concert we attended (he won't eat cabbage soup), so he picked up food there.  He is refusing to expense it, however, because he claims that his business trip ended when he landed in Orlando.  I strongly disagree!  Airlines no longer provide meals on their flights and he had to spend a day traveling between 2 countries because his job required him to go on a business trip.  That meal should definitely be expensed!  But he won't do it, just as he won't try expensing the international phone plan or the phone calls that he made and that will be billed separately, and the tolls to and from the airport. Listen, I used to be an executive secretary: preparing expenses reports for the executives that I supported was one of my main responsibilities so I know what I'm talking about!  This is driving me crazy. It's like giving money to his company to thank them for sending him to Canada for a week.  Arrrgh.

  • I completely forgot my plan to never bake just one thing in the oven at a time... I should have defrosted two pounds of beef and made 2 meatloaves (one to freeze) but that didn't happen :(

  • Arrgh, I should have picked up some cat litter while I was at Publix because our other cats' litter box stinks and I just realized that we're pretty much out of litter.  Now I'll have to go out again tomorrow, so there goes out No Drive Weekend, pretty much :(

  • Fed the cats
  • Cleaned the litter boxes
  • Rushed New Kitty to the vet's
  • Cleaned her litter box again
  • Went to pick up lunch for everyone
  • Read blogs online
  • Cooked dinner
  • Added the music from my son's concert to my phone

  • Recorded Greg's latest paystub's details in my spreadsheet
  • Printed Greg's W2 form (gotta get started on those taxes!  Sigh...)
  • Recorded other expenses in my spreadsheets
  • Looked up the income limits for being able to participate in a Roth IRA for 2015. I need to calculate our AGI to see if we can keep the money that we contributed already into our Roth IRAs or if Greg needs to move it back into our traditional IRAs

  • Liquids:
    • 2 cups coffee
    • 2 cups instant decaf coffee
    • 1 cup water
  • Food:
    • Breakfast:
      • granola with 1 banana and ~2% milk
    • Mid Morning Snack:
      • nothing
    • Lunch:
      • General Tso's combo platter
    • Mid Afternoon Snack:
      • small slice cherry pie
    • Dinner:
      • nothing
    • Evening Snack:
      • large slice of cherry pie
  • Weight:
    • Forgot to weigh myself before breakfast. Oh well.
  • Exercise:
    • Didn't exercise today.
Did you have any frugal successes or failures today? Please do tell!


  1. Ha ha that made me laugh Ben and I are always having a discussion about what he should put in as expenses and not, my view is if he would normally have it at home but is not due to a work trip then it should be expenses. His view is well I'm not going to take advantage so I won't expense it. Argh!
    My daughter is doing French as an extra curricular activity at the moment so I must check her kindle to see if she can get the free grammar book - thanks for the tip.

    Zima virus is all over the news here too.

    Poor Kitty (and Greg) I hope they get better soon xx

  2. Poor sick kitty. She is becoming very high maintenance. Better have a talk with her.

    Wow! You are really collecting a lot of found change recently. I have been finding a lot in my son's room, as we have been doing all the reno work in there, but I haven't taken any of it because I know it is his, and because he has also set up a jar for loose change and entitled it "Found Money for the Tiny House".

    1. She is, isn't she?! She's lucky she's so darned cute.

      I love that your son has a "Found Money for the Tiny House" change jar! If my son still lived here I would have given it back to him but since the lease I had him sign said that he was to clean the room before he left, I'm taking it to mean that anything he didn't take with him is now mine. How he ended up losing change UNDER the mattress, I will never know (we have a plank instead of a box spring so the change was on top of the plank).


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