Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Frugal Failures and Successes: Tuesday 3/1/16


  • Happy March 1st.  Where is 2016 going?!

  • There are days when I feel like Superwoman, or at least I wake up full of purpose (if not energy!) and I make things happen.  Today is not one of those days. Despite sleeping relatively well last night, I feel tired, allergies are playing havoc with my eyes (I really need to take a pill) because I feel like I have grit in them or that my eyelids are swollen but I asked Greg to check and he says my eyes look normal, and I feel a little overwhelmed with all the busy stuff that I have to do. Cry me a river, right?  Other women, some of whom read this blog, are battling cancer and live alone (Bless) and yet still manage to work and do housework and be positive, others (Alison) work several jobs and have a small child to parent to boot.  So I feel like a big whiner which doesn't help, actually.  Arrgh, I hate it when I feel this way, but it is the way it is.  I'm not going to portray myself as being something else than I am.  Anyhoo, I have to go shopping today because we're out of several things.  The frugal part of me is being squashed by the "let's just get this over this!" part of me and I'm thinking I might just go to Aldi and get everything there. I'll go over budget because I don't think I can get everything for under $50 (although I don't need meat, cereal, or milk so maybe I can?!) when in reality I should be trying to pay as little as possible out of pocket because we went over budget last week (and that's another thing, I need to recap February!) but I think that's exactly what I'm going to do. It'll save me a ton of time both in the planning (I haven't clipped the coupons I printed Sunday, much less filed them), shopping  (just 1 store!) and in the recapping (since I won't be using any coupons).  

  • Last night my daughter came to the living room to show me a picture of one of the drawings she had finished.  Why she didn't just bring the drawing, I don't know!  Anyhoo, as I was exclaiming over it, she showed me a lot of the artwork she had been working on these past few months. I hadn't even realized that she had done all of this. She's shy with her artwork so she doesn't bring it down and I respect her privacy so I rarely go up to her room and I don't snoop around. I was, again, blown away that one of my kids could be so artistic and talented!  Of course every mom is going to say this, but I sincerely feel this way. I'm a very lucky mom.  She entered an art contest at her college by emailing them a picture of a dragon that she had modeled out of clay (I think) and they were asking her questions about it yesterday so we're hoping she'll place, although since she took the picture she altered the dragon a bit so she wouldn't be able to show it at all now.  Anyhoo, the drawing that she came to show me is the one pictured below.  It's a rendition of the fa├žade of the Cathedral of Sens that we visited last summer.   I think she painted it with watercolor but you know what? I completely forgot to ask her.
I can hardly draw a stick figure so I might be easily impressed but I think this really took talent.
  • Getting frustrated with the taxes yesterday afternoon and dreading the tax-related tasks yet to be accomplished totally wiped me out.  When my emotions run high, they leave me completely exhausted physically. Does that happen to anyone else?  I couldn't keep my eyes open last night.  Greg and I were supposed to deal with E*Trade to redirect our 2015 Roth IRA contributions to our regular IRAs but I begged off because my brain wouldn't have retained any of the info. We'll try doing that tonight.  Then New Kitty went wild (she tends to do that at about 10:30 p.m., she starts running around the house like she's on fire, it sounds like a troop of buffalos is stampeding through the house because we have hardwood floors), knocked over one of the solid scratching posts/cat platforms thingies that in turn fell on her food bowl, which exploded into a bunch of tiny ceramic shards.  Arrgh.  I need to get her a metal food bowl. Anyhoo, I was surprised to see Greg chase her because he's not the disciplinarian when it comes to the cats, usually, I get to be the bad guy.  Well, for the rest of the night she stayed in the entry room with the other 2 cats and didn't make a peep at all, which mean she didn't wake me up, yay!

  • My oldest son is playing with Josh Groban at his Clearwater, FL concert tonight; he gets to improvise his part tonight so I hope all goes well!

  • Speaking of concerts... Flight of the Conchords is going to be touring the USA this year.  Squeal!! I love them!  And they're coming to St Augustine in July!    I don't know if I'll be here  and who else could come with me because of my daughter's CA camp thing (we won't know if she was accepted until some time in April) and my sons' schedule is unpredictable with their gigs.  Arrgh. I want to gooooooooooooooooooo!  Looking at the TicketMaster website, I realized that Amex members can participate in the presale that starts tomorrow at 10 a.m. and the tickets look like they're pretty reasonable so I think I'll go ahead and try to purchase 2 tickets tomorrow morning and ensnare one of the kids to come with me.

  • Single tasks accomplished today:
    • Reaching out to someone: sent an encouragement text to my oldest son, did online chat with Staples Customer Service to figure out where my order was being shipped
    • Household chore: made the bed
    • Investing: Greg and I talked about attending an E*trade seminar
    • Tax-related: I decided that I probably should finish the complicated calculations that I have to figure out by hand before we do anything with the IRA contributions because those calculations might impact our AGI which would, in turn impact our contribution status.
    • General finances: input all receipts in my spreadsheets
    • Saving money:  bought meat and milk on clearance, submitted rebates
    • Gardening: 
    • Health: well I think I might have picked up a bug while shopping because I started feeling "pre-sick" right before dinner.  I need to buy hand sanitizer for my purse and get in the habits of cleaning my hands after I leave each store, I think.
    • Cooking: made cinnamon raisin bread
    • Indulging myself: didn't do the dishes, lol.  Correction: I did them at 10:30 p.m. Woohoo me :)

  • I packed leftovers for Greg's lunch.

  • The kids packed their lunches.

  • Bing Rewards: done! It's a new month so I need to make sure I do my searches every day so I maintain my Gold level by completing 150 searches a month at least.

  • Swagbucks: goal of 90 SB (groan) AND JunoGroup videos aren't available today so I might need to venture into survey territory (groan).

  • I uploaded ONE new Ibotta offer last night (for hamburger buns) and I was very surprised and a little disappointed that there weren't any new ones this morning.  But it's actually good because it means I don't have to feel guilty about not going to Walmart or Target to try to redeem some of them :)

  • I clipped and sorted the coupons I had printed this weekend.

  • I set the breadmaker to make cinnamon raisin bread for snacks. Might as well use productivity-inducing appliances when I can!

  • I wasn't sure where Staples was sending my trapper keeper order (my house or their store where I would need to pick it up?!) so I chatted with Customer Service who confirmed it's being shipped here. However, the order said it would arrive today and as of this morning the order hadn't started being shipped so I'm doubtful... it didn't look like it was in stock at my local store, which is why I'm doubtful. Still, if they mail it here it means that I have one fewer stop to make this morning. (planning on 5 right now: RaceTrac, vet's, Save A Lot, Aldi, thriftstore, which is more than I intended but far fewer stops that I usually make!)

  • A Slickdealer posted that some Discover members were finding the $10 off $30 in-store offer for Kohl's in their Discover Deals so I checked my account and I had it too.  When you select that offer, you get a bar code that you can scan into your Kohl's app and it credits $10 in Kohl's cash to your account. Then you can go shopping in store and pay however you want. I did it in January but I hadn't gotten the offer last month. Greg had it in his Discover account too (we have different accounts but I'm an authorized user on his account and vice versa) so I scanned the coupon from his account into my app as well. So between that and the $5 promotional gift that I got in the mail yesterday, I have $25 in free money to spend at Kohl's!

  • I cut my own bangs.

  • I flushed the toilet with water collected in the shower and collected some more, although not much as I remembered to turn off the water when I was soaping up. 

  • I found a penny that Greg had left on our dresser so it went into my 2016 Spare Change jar.

  • I brought my coffee and a snack along on my shopping trip so I wouldn't be tempted to buy food just to snack on.

  • Realized that I needed to add 2 more stops to my shopping trip today: GROAN!  Home Depot to get a refund on that bulb I bought last week that didn't fit and Staples to drop off the 2 used ink cartridges.  Update: I ended up making 10 stops...
  • ... which means that I batched my errands and save money on gas this way.  Here is what I did:
    • Stopped by RaceTrac near my house and redeemed a survey reward code for a free bag of chips for my son.

    • Went to Save A Lot to get vinegar to make weed killer... wooza, I ran into the mother of meat clearance sale!  So the lady who said she wasn't going to buy milk or meat this week, bought a bunch of it. But it was all on clearance!  Also I took a chance on the bananas, thinking they were cheaper than at Aldi (they were!). However I should have gotten the eggs at Aldi because they ended up being 10 cents more a dozen at Save A Lot. I bought 1 small yellow onion that cost me $0.16 and submitted for the $0.25 MobiSave rebate so a $0.09 money maker, woohoo!   Total OOP was $52.31 but that included $9.96 for vinegar.  I paid with my Amazon Visa card to get 2% back in Rewards.

    • Stopped by the vet's to pick up the large bag of prescription cat food: $62.99 which will earn me 1% back in Rewards with my Amex.

    • I had finally remembered to load up all the stuff that I wanted to donate in my trunk so I stopped by the South Lake Animal League thrift store and dropped off everything. We can't itemize so I don't bother getting receipts anymore.  I went inside to find a metal food bowl for New Kitty and they had several... I got one that was $2.00.  I really wanted to get the plastic one for $0.75 but the article I had read on cat acne said that it was suspected that plastic food bowl might be a factor, so I splurged.  I also got a plastic cutting board for $1.50 to replace that wooden one that's falling apart.

    • Drove to Home Depot and returned the bulb that I had bought for the underside of the microwave last week (it didn't fit in the socket) and obtained a $4.25 refund on my Amex.

    • Stopped by the RaceTrac station in Clermont to redeem another survey reward code for a free bag of chips for my son.  Noticed that gas had gone up by 10 cents a gallon since last week (Spring Break?) and is now $1.79/gallon.  I didn't need any, though.

    • Went to Staples to turn in 2 ink cartridges.  They were offering 15% back in Rewards if I bought at least $60 of HP ink or toner.  I was going to buy 2 3-pack combo packages of color ink for my wireless printer because they were $32.99 each, but I checked Amazon before checking out and Amazon had the same for $28.99.  I would have asked them to match it but then I would have been spending less than $60, which didn't help me get more in Rewards.I don't really need the ink right now anyway so I put it back on the shelf.  I had checked my email while I was waiting at the vet's and seen that Staples had sent me a coupon/offer to get a ream of paper for just 1 penny after coupon and rebate, so I thought I might as well get it since I keep on hearing about Staples possibly going out of business (certainly they are closing several stores and I'm waiting to hear whether ours in one of them).  So my OOP was $6.21 and I charged it to my Amazon Visa, which will earn me 2% back in Amazon Rewards.  I will also get $4.00 back for the ink cartridges that I turned in and $5.79 back as a Visa prepaid card for the paper rebate.

    • Finally, I made it to Aldi. A lady who was leaving gave me her cart and didn't want my quarter so I put $0.25 in my 2016 Spare Change jar when I came home. 

    • It was way more crowded than I would have liked (isn't it time for the snowbirds to go back up North yet?!) and I forgot to buy a block of cheese so my daughter might stop by tomorrow. Because... guess what?!  Woohoo!

    • I don't know if the sale was just for my store, but they had the macintosh apples for just $0.99 a 3-lb bag (wasn't in the ad) so I grabbed 3 bags and submitted for the $0.25 MobiSave rebate.  They also had strawberries for $1.39/lb and the Halo mandarins for $2.39 for a 3-lb bag. I submitted for the MobiSave $0.25 rebate on clementines by mistake because I always get mandarins/clementines mixed up and they gave it to me, woohoo! My OOP at Aldi was $74.70 but that included 2 jugs of cat litter, a lunchbox for my daughter (I should have gotten her one at a thrift store, darn it!), and a large bottle of dishwasher detergent. The good news is that I charged everything to my American Express (yay!) so I will earn 3% back in Amex Rewards.

    • On my way home, I decided to stop by Publix. I only expected to buy Activia yogurt, but as I went through the brochure, I decided to get Mueller pasta (on BOGO for $1.69) since I had several $1.00/2 printable coupons and also the 6-cup glass Snapware containers for which I had a raincheck.  They were in stock and my raincheck was to get them on BOGO for $6.99. Plus I had (2) $1.00/1 printable coupons for them.  Finally, I got the Activia Fruit Fusion 4-ct yogurt on BOGO for $2.39 (on sale AND on BOGO) because I had $1.00/1 coupons for each pack.  So my OOP ended up being $9.02 and I charged it to Amex to get 3% back in Rewards.  However, $4.99 of it was the Snapware!

    • My last stop was the library. I saw the manager and asked her how my son was performing as a volunteer and she was super enthusiastic and said that he was great and a hard worker. Yay!  She also confirmed that they wanted to put on the Dungeons & Dragons group that he wants to organize, but that they're waiting for the new Teen Librarian to be confirmed and hired.  They didn't have any coupon inserts in the donation pile, but I did find a sheet of Hardee's coupons near the newspapers so I snagged them.

  • My daughter brought me back a Coke product cap from school. She found it on the ground.

  • Instead of throwing it away, I set my old wooden cutting board aside and I will ask him if he wants it for his hobby (he builds sets for his military miniatures). If not, I guess I'll put it in the recycling. Update: he didn't want it.

  • My lunch was a hodge podge of leftovers so I could clear some space in my fridge: the rest of the grain salad (I realized today that it was so crunchy because the grains were barely cooked!), the leftover salad from a couple of nights ago with the rest of the dressing that I had made for the Chinese Cabbage Salad before Christmas, a leftover steamed potato and smoked ham bits from last Friday's dinner, a cracker (leftover from this morning), 1/2 a mandarin (my daughter had started eating it but didn't finish it!).

  • I checked the library calendar again and today the Coloring for Adults event scheduled for April WAS on the calendar so I was able to register my daughter and myself online.  Woohoo, free event (supplies will be provided) with my darling, artistic daughter AND we'll go out to dinner, probably at Panera's since we both like it and it's nearby.  Can't wait ;)

  • Greg forwarded a couple of email offers he got:
    • One is for his company's annual Family Day celebration. They always hold it at Universal Studios in Orlando but we thought they might not have it this year. Well, they're still having it.  Groan... Greg and I don't really like Universal all that much but I drag him there every year so the kids can go and we can get free food (his company sponsors a catered lunch at one of the restaurants). Last year we took 2 cars and let our son and daughter stay until late at night and they had a great time together (they get along very well) and my middle son, who works there seasonally, had met up with them too.  But we had gotten charged twice for parking, at almost $20 a pop (so $40) so lunch wasn't really free, after all, right?  So I'm thinking that this year we'll let the kids go on their own since they give us the tickets in advance anyway.
    • The other email was from the regional E*Trade branch manager who is offering in-person or on the phone consultations about retirement investing for E*Trade's Retirement Day Celebration. You can be entered in a Sweepstake to win $500 if you schedule a session. I think we should go just for the advice and to be able to ask questions, although I'm not convinced that we wouldn't be charged a commission or fee for said advice.  I guess we'll discuss that tonight.

  • I submitted the MobiSave and Staples rebates.

  • I picked one of the free offerings from Amazon's KindleFirst program for March.

  • I printed the new e-offers from MurphyUSA.  I can't redeem the sandwich or fountain drink refill at my own station, but I might be able to if I travel to another part of Central Florida.

  • While I was at Publix, I unlocked a couple of new Ibotta offers.

  • Discover finally decided to reveal their 5% Bonus Rewards calendar for the year... we should have been able to sign up for the April-June offer as of today, though, but there isn't a sign-up button so I emailed them to ask when that will be enabled.  I wish they would just automatically sign us up for it (a suggestion that I sent them a couple of months back).

  • Auntie Anne's sent me another BOGO offer via their Perks app. Hmm, pretzels... yum!

  • I was able to take a 74 SB survey and more than met my 1st goal. Phew!

  • I cooked rice in the microwave to go with the pork roast. It was a huge roast so we have lots of leftovers.

  • A metal dish for the kitty :)

  • Lots of discounted meat!

  • I probably should have looked for a similar lunch bag for my daughter at a thrift store.

  • Cooked Greg's breakfast and packed his lunch
  • Set breakfast table for the kids
  • Worked on grocery shopping list
  • Clipped coupons
  • Washed the crockpot insert
  • Trimmed the pork roast and set it to cook in crockpot
  • Made cinnamon raisin bread
  • Collected the trash throughout  the house and took it down to the curb for collection, along with the trash can full of yard waste from my weeding session last week
  • Made our bed
  • Went grocery shopping and errand running
  • Put away all the groceries and documented my trip
  • Submitted rebates
  • Input receipts in my spreadsheets
  • Logged into my remote drive so my laptop automatically backs up documents that I created or downloaded this past month.
  • Cooked dinner
  • Did the dishes
  • Packed dinner leftovers

  • I can't think of anything specific

  • Liquids:
    • 2 cups coffee
    • 2 cups water
    • 1 cup instant decaf coffee
  • Food:
    • Breakfast:
      • bowl of granola, 1 banana, ~2% milk
    • Mid Morning Snack:
      • peanut butter crackers
    • Lunch:
      • grain salad, 1 small steamed potato, salad with dressing, 1/2 mandarin
    • Mid Afternoon Snack:
      • slice cinnamon raisin bread
    • Dinner:
      • BBQ shredded pork, rice, navel orange
    • Evening Snack:
      • slice cinnamon raisin bread
Did you have any frugal successes or failures today? Please do tell!


  1. My take-away from this post is that you had such a productive day. You took care of a lot of business.....errands, shopping, inputting of receipts and rebates, and even baking. You ARE a Superwoman.

    Love, love the drawing that your daughter did. I enjoy crafting; but I can't draw to save my life, so I really admire people who can. She is exceptionally talented.

    1. Oh thank you Susan. I'll make sure to pass this on to her, it'll make her day :)

  2. That drawing is amazing! I thought it was a photograph at first. She is definitely super talented.

    1. Thanks Jess, I will share your comment with her :) I agree, I also thought it was a photo when she showed it to me because I grew up in the city where that cathedral is and it does look just like that!


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