Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Frugal Successes and Failures: Tuesday 2/2/16

  • I'm afraid today's post won't be a smorgasbord of anything frugal because the theme of the day is going to be: I've got to clean my house!  So as soon as I'm done prepping this post, I'm putting down the laptop, slowly backing away from it, and going to clean my darn house!

  • So I lied. Surprise, surprise, right?  It's now noon and I just can't postpone it any longer. I'm jumping in the shower and starting my cleaning frenzy.   Update: I did it!  The whole upstairs is now clean. Of course the downstairs needs a lot more work. I'm taking a break (3 p.m.) and I'll get started...

  • 3:25 p..m.: going to do the dishes!

  • I'm really happy as I did a lot of cleaning. I had wanted to get it all done today so I could have a  couple of days to concentrate on the financial matters and a day to concentrate on the garden, but my lower back started hurting so I stopped. I will dust and vaccuum tomorrow. I'm going to try and fold the laundry while I'm watching my son's concert live via streaming tonight.

  • The kids packed their lunches to take to school.

  • My son is planning on attending the free algebra tutoring session this afternoon.  He didn't attend yesterday, told me he was going to practice on Khan Academy online but then I had to remind him to do that after dinner. He's usually very assiduous but I can see that he really isn't into that math class at all.  I'm not against Common Core at all, but I saw an article about it yesterday where one of the commenters, a teacher, said that she noticed that Common Core had all but killed the love of learning in her high performing students.  I think my son had lost his love of learning before Common Core was implemented but he's definitely lost any enthusiasm for school and that started in middle school.  I partly blame puberty because he became a different person as soon as that hit, but even though he's not blaming anything in particular (no bullying, no specific teacher or situation), he's going through the motions but not enjoying the work, I know one of the reasons: he's in all advanced classes yet he is surrounded by kids who have behavioral issues in class, don't respect the teachers, don't respect their peers.  My daughter reports the same in high school so I don't expect this will improve any time soon :(  Update: the tutor didn't show up so that got cancelled today.

  • There was half a cup of coffee left over from yesterday so I nuked it and drank it.

  • Bing Rewards: blah, blah, blah, earned the maximum amount of credits for today. Missed every single question on the quiz about the Superbowl because I didn't know and didn't want to bother even typing the searches, lol!

  • Swagbucks: another day, another survey that takes my info and then refuses to credit me.  This one did nothing to put me in a good mood about the upcoming presidential election because, in true slimy politician-ish manner, it got information about my social and political views, including my intentions about the election, and then told me "oops, the survey is full!". It was for 100 SB so I was pretty annoyed. I emailed Customer Service.  My 1st goal for today is 115 SB.  At 9:30 am. (eeek, I need to get to the cleaning part of my day!), I'm at 68 SB (I just earned the Collector's Bill for 14 SB).

  • I almost forgot to share this with you: if you have a Discover Card, log in to your account and see if you have the in-store offer for $10 off $30 at Kohl's (not everyone has it).  If you do, make sure to follow the instructions in this Slickdeals post and you will get $10 in Kohl's cash on your Kohl's app wallet (download the app if you don't have it!),  it worked for me!

  • I checked the offers available in our American Express account but there is absolutely nothing that we would ever use. A couple of them expire today so I'm hoping there'll be new ones tomorrow. I'll have to check back.

  • I downloaded the Auntie Anne's app this morning and signed up for their Perks program. There's no need to upload money to the app, which I like, it's just a customer reward card to have scanned at the register with each purchase.  They don't do physical cards anymore, so you have to have a smartphone.  Commenters in the app store were complaining that you have to have the GPS on all the time and there isn't a way to disable it, but I just say "no" to the Location Services request each time I open the app and it doesn't seem to give me any problems.  I emailed them with a copy of my receipt from yesterday, asking if I could get credited for it (you get a free pretzel after your first purchase, apparently) so I'm hoping they'll say yes.  Here is a list of perks that they emailed me when I signed up:
  • Greg remembered to text me instead of calling this morning :)  He's had a fever and is on Florida time so he didn't get much sleep... he usually has a 9 a.m. EST conference call with a team mate in Romania which means he had to be a conference call at 6:00 a.m. PST this morning.  Poor guy!  I panicked for a moment, thinking that he had placed the call from his cell phone ($1 a minute at least, might be more for Romania, 1 hour call!) but when I checked with him he said he called through his laptop.  Yay!  Then we realized that he could probably call me through his laptop too... duh.    So I turned Skype back on my laptop, in case he calls.  

  • I uploaded the SavingStar Healthy Offer of the week to my app, although it is 20% off loose apples. I never buy loose apples!

  • (I'm still not cleaning my house!) I realized that there are a lot of new-to-me coupons that loaded or reloaded on Coupons.com so I printed a bunch of them via Swagbucks (so I can earn the 10 SB per redeemed coupon).

  • I forgot to mention yesterday that I started receiving the daily crockpot recipe from Betty Crocker. I'm printing them and will put them in my Crockpot Recipe binder.  Yep, that's the plan.

  • I cleaned up New Kitty's chin as well as I could with a wet paper towel. Nothing really came off, just a little bit of dirt.  Then I applied the witch hazel. It's hard to tell whether it got onto her skin or her on her hair!  Then (because I like to do things backwards, sometimes!), I looked up "cat acne" online as KJP had suggested and found an article on About.com that recommends the following treatment: "(...) most veterinarians will recommend daily cleaning with an antibiotic soap, followed by a topical ointment, either antibiotic, or anti-fungal. Oral antibiotics may also be prescribed, as well as a scrub with hydrogen peroxide."  So I have triple antibiotic cream and I'm thinking I'll put that on her too to see if it helps.  The article seemed to point towards plastic bowls being a culprit but her water bowl is metal and her food bowl is ceramic.  I supposed she experienced stress when she was raising her kittens in the wild so "stress" might be the reason.  She's not stressed now, that's for sure! Well, she might be after I try putting that cream on her.
Photo from Yahoo Photo Search.
This is exactly what her chin looks like!
  • I'm still on Windows 7.  I love Windows 7 although mine is configured to look like Windows Vista or XP, I don't even remember anymore.  I didn't want Windows 8 (of course, back when I was on Vista, I didn't want Windows 7!).  Now that they're pushing everyone to Windows 10, my natural tendency to rebel when someone wants to force me to do something and my disdain for change has been to say "No way!" and I turned off all updates on my laptop.  Still, I'm going to have to upgrade because I'll probably start having compatibility problems at some point.  The Windows 10 upgrade is free until July 29, 2016, according to Consumerist.  I'm thinking that I might still hold out until my computer dies and I'm forced to go to Windows 10 then. I did see an article recently about a plug-in that you can buy for less than $10 and that supposedly makes Windows 10 look like Windows 7. I completely forgot to bookmark that article, though. Have you upgraded Windows?  

  • My lunch was an egg "salad" sandwich and the rest of the butternut squash soup that I had made last week. It was so delicious, I wish I had more!  To make the sandwich, I used one of the wheat rolls bought on 50% off clearance at Walmart yesterday ($0.22 a roll) on which I put some Fit & Active reduced fat mayo and I sliced the last 2 hard-boiled eggs I had cooked for Greg earlier last week.  Yum!  I finished my meal with a 1/4 of a cantaloupe (bought for $0.99 at Aldi last Tuesday) because it's going soft.

  • My middle son called me as I was cleaning.  I didn't answer the phone right away as I was upstairs and I didn't have the phone with me. When I called him back and explained that I had been doing some household cleaning, his answer was "A likely story..."  LOL.  He needed me to submit some corrections to this year's FAFSA so he could be considered for a work/study job in the photography lab at his college this semester.  I had to break it to him that I had just read not 2 days ago that work/study programs are a form of financial aid based on need and that due to our level of income (or his dad's), it was more than likely that he would not qualify.  Still, I logged in and noticed that there were changes to be made to his address, the fact that he now was interested in the work/study program, that he WAS registered with selective service and a couple of others. I was surprised to see that there were so many things that were wrong and when I got to the parent's info, it wasn't my information, it was his dad's and stepmom's.... both he and I had forgotten that last year's FAFSA had been filled out by them, not me.  He remembered sitting down with me to do the FAFSA but that was when he was still a high school senior, for his 1st year.  Whereas last year his dad called me and offered to take care of it since they were doing it for our oldest son anyway.  So once again a huge contrast between my style of parenting and theirs: our son remembers sitting down WITH me to do the FAFSA the first year, whereas last year he wasn't involved at all since they did it FOR HIM.   Well, it's been their philosophy the whole time (and it drives me nuts) so no wonder the kids are clueless when they haven't been given a chance to do things on their own.  Also, result?  That FAFSA had errors, such as the fact that they said he wasn't registered for selective service (he was, we registered him, he and I, when we did the FAFSA the 1st year!), which apparently has the effect of NOT making you eligible for any financial aid.  So I told my son to contact them because they needed to verify the rest of the application (their income, etc.).  Later on, I emailed him some links with information explaining how the work/study program work, with my assessment that he either won't qualify OR make so little (because they pay you the difference between the cost of your education and the amount of money that they think your parents should give you, which is based on their income) that he still will have to work at Olive Garden.

  • I added 4 Febreeze fabric & air spray bottles to the donation box to take to the thrift store. I got them almost for free years ago and they've just been sitting there. I was tired of looking at them so off they go.  I also put some samples of incontinence underwear that I had gotten, in the box (I had thought I was requesting feminine pads!).  I'm sure someone can use them.

  • I found 2 pennies in our bedroom so they went into my 2016 Change Jar.

  • Auntie Anne's Consumer Support replied that they were crediting my Perks account for yesterday's purchase, which triggered a reward for a free pretzel.  Woohoo!

  • Swagbucks Customer Service replied that they were crediting my account for the whole amount of the survey (100 SB).  Double woohoo!

  • I watched another episode of "Battle Creek" on Netflix, courtesy of my Kindle Fire and my son's portable speaker (which, by the way, I had rescued from my daughter's trash last year. She didn't want it anymore, along with another one. I had my son pick his favorite and we donated the other one to the thrift store).  I did that while I was washing the dishes. I ran a very full load in the dishwasher and finished the rest by hand.

  • I added 6 recycled glass jars to my stash :)  I also washed the Chinese soup take-out container along with the rice/meat take-out container from Saturday night, along with the small plastic container that had contained salsa from our Mexican take-out meal over the Holiday Break.  I will be reusing all of those.

  • I reused water collected after boiling eggs last week to water my indoor plants.

  • Kellogg's Family Rewards credited my account with a 1,000 point bonus for having bought another 10 products.

  • For dinner I made the mashed carrots and parsnips.  I didn't use the green onions in it but I added some of the whipping cream that I had in the fridge, along with some butter. I tasted it and it was delicious but it only made 2 servings! So I split that between the kids, served it with the last two pieces of smoked turkey sausage from last night.  I also cut up a Cuban hoagie roll that I had gotten on clearance at Walmart yesterday (12 cents a roll, cut in 4 pieces) and gave them each a big piece.  They had snacked on grapes right before dinner so they didn't want any dessert.  As for me, I finished the rice and Thai Green Chili sauce and picked the last of the chicken meat from the rotisserie chicken from last week.  The kids and I ate together at the kitchen table and my daughter and I reminisced about our trip to France again. I'm so glad she keeps such good memories of it! Speaking of my daughter, she changed her mind about that FFA competition that she got roped in yesterday. She really didn't want to do it but her "friends" begged and begged so she said "yes".  But this morning she realized that she didn't have the time to spare, didn't want to do it, and that wouldn't give her any type of advantage whatsoever as she won't be continuing with FFA next year so she backed out. I'm proud of her!  You can't please everybody all the time and you have got to learn to say "no" when you don't have the time or when something makes you uncomfortable.

  • I saved the carrot and parsnip peelings and froze them to add to bones when I make broth next.

  • I froze the last of the bones from the rotisserie chicken.

  • I watched my oldest son's performance via LiveStream for free. I love watching him in the flesh but it's an hour away and between the gas and tolls to get there plus the parking fee, it's not a frugal experience so I'm grateful that UCF School of Music is streaming those workshops for free :)

  • Nothing today!

  • The downstairs shower is dripping much faster than it used to, I can't tighten the faucets any more than they already are! Greg hates having a bucket in the shower but since he's not here, I put a bucket in there today. Might as well collect the water to help flush the toilet since we're paying for it. 

  • I found 2 rotten apples in our fruit bowl.  They were too far gone for me to try to save any of it so I composted them.

  • Set the breakfast table for the kids
  • Put the cat food away
  • Downloaded the app and signed up for Auntie Anne's Perks program
  • Corresponded with Greg via texts and turned Skype back on
  • Put witch hazel on New Kitty's skin rash or whatever it is
  • Ran dehumidifier in downstairs bathroom
  • Printed some coupons
  • Made our bed
  • Cleaned windows in our bedroom
  • Dusted the master bedroom (all surfaces, pictures, baseboards)
  • Washed the blades of the pedestal fan in master bedroom
  • Shook the rug outside
  • Swept and vacuumed master bedroom, including under furniture
  • Washed windows on landing
  • Dusted landing
  • Swept floor of landing
  • Vacuumed landing rug
  • Sprayed bleach in shower and on shower mat
  • Scrubbed bathtub
  • Cleaned bathroom window and window sill
  • Scrubbed toilet
  • Cleaned toilet brush holder
  • Took recycling down to recycling bin
  • Collected trash throughout the house and took trash bin down to the curb for collection
  • Swept upstairs bathroom
  • Swept main stairs
  • Talked to my middle son on the phone about work/study program and FAFSA
  • Collected empty trash bin from the curb
  • Took the laundry off the drying racks and put the racks away
  • Did the dishes
  • Shook the sink carpet outside
  • Cleaned the kitchen table
  • Swept the kitchen
  • Swept the laundry room
  • Cooked dinner
  • Swept the front porch and threw some things away
  • Swept the entry room
  • Swet the breezeway
  • Swept the "exercise room" and the downstairs hallways
  • Swept around the carpets in the living room
  • Did some more dishes
  • I had to stop sweeping because my lower back was hurting. I'll finish vacuuming and dusting tomorrow.
  • Folded the laundry
  • Watched my oldest son's Jazz Workshop performance online :)
  • Clipped the coupons I printed this morning
  • Took a customer satisfaction survey

  • Greg forwarded to me an email from one of our investing firms that was disclosing a dividend that we received (only about $27) and was talking about enrolling in a DRIP (Dividend Reinvestment Program). The email was vague and didn't say that we were or were not already enrolled in that so I need to investigate if we are, and if we're not, what the advantages/disadvantages of doing that.  Also... he forwarded it to me because that account is linked to his job so he gets all the emails and statements at his work email address. He's never forwarded any of those emails to me before!  When I noticed that the only email address on the account was his work email last week (and we cannot add a 2nd email address), I asked him to make sure to forward everything to me as we are now paperless with that account so all statements and tax paperwork will go to him.  I'm glad he remembered to do that!

  • Liquids:
    • 2.5 cups coffee
    • 2 cups water
  • Food:
    • Breakfast:
      • 1/3 cup granola with a banana and 1/3 cup ~2% milk
    • Mid Morning Snack:
      • grapes
    • Lunch:
      • small bowl of butternut squash soup, 2 hard boiled eggs with light mayo on a wheat sub roll, 1/4 cantaloupe
    • Mid Afternoon Snack:
      • 2 small slices of Marzipan Stollen cake
    • Dinner:
      • rice with Thai Green Chili sauce and leftover rotisserie chicken meat, grapes
    • Evening Snack:
      • nothing
  • Weight:
    • Aargh, forgot to weigh myself when I got up!
  • Exercise:
    • Did a lot cleaning, that'll have to count as my exercise for the day!
Did you have any frugal successes or failures today? Please do tell!


  1. It's not just the older kids. There's little ones that hate going to school because of other children making everyone miserable. A lot of kids these days are being raised with the poor me, I can do anything I want, it will always be someone else's fault. Parents let them rule the house, teach them they can do anything they want with no consequences, and get pissed off if their perfect angel dares to get in trouble (at the teachers or anyone else, never their own child because it still isn't their fault). I could go off on a major rant about that, but I'll shut up now.

    Anyways, the husband and I started watching Battle Creek last night. I figured anyone that likes Frasier has to have some pretty good taste :-) so we started it last night. Couple of episodes in and we're enjoying it.

    1. Yes, I'll bet you experience your share of unruly, obnoxious, little twerps! It is unbelievable to me what is going on in the schools. And teachers, as you said, really can't do anything since nowadays you will lose your job, reputation and even freedom if you try to instill any kind of discipline. I tell you, I'd be in jail after the first day if I had to be a teacher. If anyone reading this IS a teacher (aside from Jess), you have my sympathy. I truly do not know how you do it. My ex and I always told the kids that if something happened at school, we would believe the teacher first and we would always back up the teachers. Of course we'd have to deal with some idiotic teachers too, I have to say. Anyhoo, moving on...

      I'm glad you like Battle Creek! I seriously told Greg that we're not cancelling Netflix after all because of that show. I don't want to miss the next seasons and since it's a Netflix Original Show, I don't think it'll be available anywhere else! I really like the interaction of Ross (Russ?) and Milt and Dean Winters is awesome. I like the other actors too. And you like Frasier too, yay! Frasier and Niles crack me up. I can't tell you how many times I have watched that show, it never gets old!

  2. So first off, I missed the jazz concert since it happened last night and I did not get your post until this afternoon. Even so, I looked to see if it was still up. It wasn't.

    Secondly, YOU CLEANED??? If I had known that, I might have taken it as a challenge. Or maybe not. I don't know. I frittered away my day. I didn't feel like plastering or much of anything. I looked at a lot of blogs, trying to find inspiration, but to no avail.I made a couple of cards and mailed out my valentines. Next time you feel like cleaning your house, let me in on it.

    Look at that list of today's accomplishments. You should frame it. I would.

    1. I was disappointed that they didn't keep the concert up either, I would have like my French family to see it. Oh well!

      I did, I did, I CLEANED! I can't really give you a heads-up because if I plan it too long in advance, I won't do it. It was hard enough to get started at noon or whenever I finally got started but then I didn't seem to be able to stop! I shouldn't have stopped because today I didn't do one lick of cleaning (well, I just swept a few crumbs in the kitchen) despite saying that I was going to vacuum. I suppose I could do it now but who vacuums when it's dark?! Not me.

      So here is your advance notice: tomorrow morning I'm going to vacuum my living room and then clean the downstairs bathroom. I also need to dust all the surfaces on the 1st floor. Nothing fancy, I'm just going to wet a rag and wipe off the dust. If I feel particularly brave, I'll wash the INSIDE of the windows. I never washed them after they were installed almost a year ago (!) and there seems to be a film of something that's not really dirt... I think it must be a thin layer of adhesive if they had a plastic film on them that the installers took out before installing them and some dirt got stuck in it. The upstairs windows had that too and they were very easy to clean so it shouldn't take too long to do the downstairs. I have got to do that before 3 p.m. because there was a concert at the local library that I was planning on attending after that. Oh and I'll have dishes to do too because I'm not doing them tonight. Crap, I'm gonna have to wake up at 5 a.m.!

      What inspiration were you looking for? Christmas presents?

  3. Just any kind of inspiration to get me off my butt and do SOMETHING. I have an appointment this morning for a flu shot. When I get back I will try to dust and vacuum my downstairs. I will think of you hard at work and that should be the motivation I need. *laugh*

    1. And I was JUST thinking "I don't feel like doing any cleaning today but I told Susan that I would and I don't want to admit I didn't do it!" so as soon as my son leaves for school, I'm doing it, darn it. Plus Greg comes back tomorrow and he's under the impression that the house will be clean when he gets back.

      So it's a good thing that we're challenging/inspiring each other, right? Right. Good luck with the flu shot!


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