Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Frugal Successes and Failures: Tuesday 3/15/16




HAPPENINGS AROUND HERE TODAY:

  • I'm not going to lie: at this time (8 a.m.), I'm thinking that I'm not going to that Beginning Photography Workshop. It's at 10 a.m. and I don't think I'll have my stuff together by then.  We'll see. Update: yeah, I didn't go.

  • Also today I have to go grocery shopping. Ugh.  In the past I loved going to several stores but right now I'd settle with just going to Aldi.  However I do have those gift cards to CVS and Walmart and Publix also has a couple of deals I want to take advantage of this week, so it'll be another long grocery trip, I'm afraid. I also want to replenish my seed stock for the fall so I'll stop by Dollar Tree to see what I can snag.

  • Single tasks accomplished today:
    • Reaching out to someone: corresponded with one of my brothers via email
    • Household chore:  put groceries away
    • Investing: 
    • Tax-related: mailed our amended 2014 return
    • General finances:  submitted rebates and accounted for them
    • Saving money:  used coupons when grocery shopping
    • Gardening: bought more seeds!
    • Health: 
    • Cooking: cooked dinner in crockpot
    • Indulging myself: bought a mini lemon pie

FRUGAL SUCCESSES:
  • I packed leftovers for Greg to take to work.

  • The kids packed lunches to take to school.

  • My daughter is going to skip the gym today.  A side benefit of that is that we'll spend less on gas :)

  • I unlocked 2 more Ibotta offers.

  • So I ran my errands today.  I brought along some peanut butter crackers and a cup of water and I batched my errands so I could save on gas as much as possible.   I always plan the order of my shopping so I minimize the gas expense.  I'll detail the grocery shopping tomorrow, but here are the broad strokes:
    • Stopped at the first RaceTrac station, noticed that gas had gone up 20 cents a gallon since last week and is now $1.99/gallon. Greg gasses up at that station.  I redeemed a survey reward code for a free bag of TasteWorks chips for my son.

    • At Save A Lot, they were out of the cantaloupes and the baby bella mushrooms, but they did have the 10-lb bags of potatoes and the bags of Domino's sugar.  I also found a bunch of meat on clearance: the Jennie-O breakfast sausage rolls were marked down to $1.50 each and I had $1.00/1 coupons, yay!  My OOP was $14.74, charged to my Amazon Visa for 1% back in Rewards, but I got 30 cents back when I realized that I had been overcharged for the sugar.  On my way out, I helped an older gentleman find his way to his voting precinct (today is Primary Day in Florida, as you may have heard...)



    • Stopped at the 2nd RaceTrac station where gas is usually cheaper but it was also at $1.99/gallon.  I didn't need any but I went inside to redeem a 2nd survey reward code for another free bag of TasteWorks chips for my son.

    • Next stop was CVS.  I did 2 transactions:
      • 1st transaction was for Irish Spring bar soap. I just stocked up on bar soap last week but this was a good deal since I paid $2.99 after coupon and got $2.00 back in ExtraCare bucks that I'll use for grocery shopping in the next few weeks.  I also got another tube of Colgate Daily Repair toothpaste, another good deal since I paid $2.39 after coupon and for $2.50 back in ECBs that I will also use towards groceries next week. My OOP was $5.90 after tax, which I paid with my Amazon Visa (2% back in Rewards).

      • 2nd transaction was 1 gallon of whole milk, a couple of candy bars (free after coupon or rebate), and a can of Progresso soup. My OOP was $4.93 but I paid with the balance of the gift card that I had earned via our Mastercard Rewards program. Once that was depleted, I charged the rest to the gift card that I earned via our American Express Rewards program so it was all free to me. Woohoo!

    • From there I went to Walmart.  I bought some corned beef on sale for $1.98/lb, got them to price match the cantaloupe from Save A Lot so I got it for $0.99, bought some bread and goodies on clearance, and a couple of other things.  I was excited to find cheap thyme, finally, on a display of hispanic spices near the frozen foods. However it was supposed to be $0.94 and I realized, when I got home, that they had charged me $1.12, Grrr.  So my OOP was $16.27 and I used my Swagbucks gift card to get everything for free, which is my favorite price.

    • Next stop was Aldi.  Good grief it was crowded and, apart from one lady who had a little girl, I was the youngest one there. I guess Primary Tuesday brought out all the snowbirds from their hiding place.  I want to be nice, but I'm ready for them to go home to wherever they came from.  No one was smiling, everyone was cranky and leaving their carts in the middle of the aisles and why is it that those men can't stay home or in the car while their wives do the grocery shopping?!  They're constantly in the way. Arrgh.  I'll tell you one thing: there is no way that Greg will ever come grocery shopping with me when he's older. I don't see it happening.  Anyhoo. I found bags of Valentine's Day-themed marshmallows on clearance at $0.25 a bag so I grabbed 8 of them.  I need to NOT eat them out of the bag (but they look so fluffyyyyyyyyyyy!) because I mean to make rice krispie treats for the kids.  My cashier was rushing to turn off her sign as soon as she was done checking me out, which resulted in a couple of errors that I didn't discover until I was home. Thankfully they were in my favor: she only charged me for 2 dozens of egg instead of 3, and she only charged me for 1 jug of cat litter instead of 2.  So that's $5.57 in my favor, yay!  My OOP was $47.89 but that included the one jug of cat litter. I charged it to Amex and will earn 3% back in Rewards.  So happy I can finally pay with Amex at Aldi! This will help since I'm probably not going to earn a lot of Swagbucks gift cards the rest of this year.

    • I went to Dollar Tree in search of manilla envelopes to mail my amended tax return and also seeds to plant in the fall.  I found both (actually, I bought 20 packets of seeds, mostly beans) and also bought 3 more packages of tortillas with a coupon and a 2-lb bag of pinto beans. My OOP was $10.14, charged to Amex (1% in Rewards).
2 packets of green peppers, 2 of jalapeƱos 5 of Kentucky Wonder pole beans, 3 of Blue Lake pole beans, 4 of Top Crop bush beans and 4 of Contender bush beans
    • Next stop was Publix.  I bought Special K on BOGO for my daughter, Mueller's pasta on BOGO (can resist stocking up on 0.40 a box pasta!), a jar of marinated artichoke hearts (I wanted to buy more but that was the last jar they had. I meant to get a raincheck but I got flustered by being treated like crap by Customer Service so I forgot, more on that in a minute). and I treated myself to a box of Dunkin' Donuts hazelnut creamer cups.  My OOP was $6.62 and I paid with Amex (3% back in Rewards). However, when I got to my car and scrutinized my receipt, I realized that the cashier had only scanned three of the four $1.00 coupons that I had handed her.  There were 4 $1.00 coupons on the receipt but the 4th was a digital coupon that I had received for the Dunkin Donuts creamer.  So I headed back inside and went to ask the cashier whether I should talk to her about it or go to Customer Service. She said "C.S." so I stood in line there.  The rep was a young lady, not very pleasant, I'm afraid to say.  She questioned my story, pointed out the 4 $1.00 off coupons on the receipt and interrupted my explanations to go talk to the cashier directly. She didn't tell me to go with her so I just stayed at the C.S. desk. A while later, I noticed the bagger for that cashier yelling a question at me from across the store so instead of yelling back, I made my way to the cashier.  She had gotten the coupons out of her drawer so I pointed out the 4 $1 off coupons.  Again, the C.S. attendant pointed out, curtly, that 4 such coupons had been deducted from my receipt and again I pointed out that one of them had been a digital coupon (indicated on the receipt with a DC).  Since she wasn't looking like she believed me, I started taking each coupon one by one and matching it to a line on the receipt. Then finally she realized that I was right and just said "Alright!" (the cashier was much nicer and apologized) and marched me back to the C.S. desk, gave me $1.00 back and then said "sorry about that" but there wasn't a smile or any warmth to her voice. The more I think about it, the more pissed I am.  I agree that they need to double check those things and that's not what I'm pissed about. I'm pissed at her attitude because in short, she treated me like a scammer!  I know for a fact, from doing mystery shops at Publix, that this is not the way she should have handled it. One of the reasons why I stopped doing the mystery shops, was that one scenario had me go to C.S. and lie about a specific item that I was supposed to have purchased there and they were supposed to just "exchange" it (even though I didn't have the item with me OR a receipt) or offer me a refund.  I don't like lying, even with the company's approval, so I quit doing those.  So now, to be treated this way when it was their mistake, is really bothering me. Probably not enough to complain to Corporate about it (because I shop there often, if not a lot anymore, and I'd rather not ruffle the feathers of the people I deal with often) but enough to mention it here :) So anyhoo, my corrected OOP was $5.62.
What I got for free at Publix
    • My next stop was the Post Office, where I used one of the manilla envelopes that I had bought at Dollar Tree to mail my 2014 amended tax return.  On my way out, I found a quarter in the parking lot, woohoo!  I put it in my 2016 spare change jar.

    • Last stop was the library, where I returned a book and dropped off one magazine in the donation pile plus the 2 Men's Health magazines that Greg had flipped through. I figured someone else might want to read them so they went back in the donation pile as well. He wasn't impressed, by the way, so I won't be getting those again.  I found a couple of small coupon inserts that had been pulled from magazines so I grabbed those and I checked out 2 books as well, because I can't help myself. I love checking out library books!  The attendant was the new librarian assistant who will be in charge of the teen program. She's young so presumably she will be able to get the teens to relate to her. Well, I hope. I introduced myself since I knew that she had met my son (who was going there later on to film his entry into the Teen Video Challenge) but she was busy so I didn't get to ask her about her background.

  • After I put everything away and documented my trip, I had lunch at home.  I had the rest of the chicken meatloaf and rice from last week and the mini lemon pie that I bought on clearance at Walmart ($0.25).

  • I submitted my receipts to Ibotta, Checkout 51 and MobiSave.  My CVS receipt will automatically be submitted to SavingStar for the Cadbury rebate.  I also submitted my Walmart receipt to the SavingsCatcher (most of what I bought was generic so I don't expect to get anything back but you never know...) and my Publix receipt to Kellogg's Family Rewards.

  • MobiSave refunded me the $0.85 that I had claimed ($0.30 bar soap, $0.25 bread, $0.30 lettuce).

  • Checkout 51 refunded me the $0.25 that I had claimed (onions).

  • Ibotta refunded me the $0.75 that I claimed.

  • Kellogg's Family Rewards confirmed that they credited my account with 200 points for buying the 2 boxes of Special K (value size).



  • Speaking of KFR, a poster on SlickDeals alerted us to a new 100-pt code: PTS4UMOMSWHOSAVE (expires on 3/20)


  • I cooked dinner in the crockpot and used a recipe from the Crockpot Dump Meals recipe book that I got for free last week: Ranch Chicken and Stuffing. The recipe called for Ranch Seasoning but luckily for me, the author shared her recipe to make your own in her other cookbook that I also got for free last week (Quick & Easy Dump Dinners) so I mixed a bottle of that. It only took 4 hours to cook on high so I was able to start it this afternoon.  The stuffing was a little too mushy but the chicken was cooked perfectly.  I only used 2 breasts and we have some leftovers for Greg's lunch tomorrow.

  • As I brought our empty trashcans up the driveway, I found a brand new RaceTrac receipt laying in the street in front of our driveway! How odd.  It didn't belong to us... but I took the survey on it and earned another free bag of TasteWorks chips!

  • My son tried to rally his school friends to help him with the Teen Video Challenge (that is due this week, yikes!) so he went to the library to meet them after school. Since the library's camera is broken, I lent him my Canon digital camera.  None of his friends showed up but the new librarian assistant helped him with his project. He still has work to do on it, though.

  • I was late to the party but I was still able to request 3 samples from PinchMe.  I only wanted the Allegra sample but it wouldn't let me place the order until I selected the Oil of Olay creams as well, which is a waste since I don't use those products.

  • Petco sent me a coupon for a free bag of cat treats to celebrate the birthday of our male cat.  I realized that I never told them that we have a 3rd cat so I went on their website to register our 3rd cat as well :)

  • Bing Rewards: I completed today's tasks and I'm at 11% of my new goal (yet another $5 Amazon gift card!).

WE SPLURGED ON:
  • a mini lemon pie for myself ($0.25)


  • a box of Dunkin' Donuts hazelnut creamers ($1.00)



HOWEVER, WE FAILED IN THE FOLLOWING WAYS, BUT LEARNED SOME LESSONS:

  • I should have paid more attention at the various registers today as there were many mistakes. Some in my favor, others that weren't. I was able to get most of those corrected by going back, but I didn't realize that I had been overcharged for the thyme at Walmart until I got home.



TASKS ACCOMPLISHED TODAY:
  • Cooked breakfast for Greg
  • Packed his lunch
  • Set breakfast table for the kids
  • Collected the trash throughout the house and took it down the curb for collection
  • Ran errands and did grocery shopping
  • Put everything away
  • Submitted rebates
  • Recorded receipts in my spreadsheets
  • Cooked dinner in the crockpot
  • Watched a couple of episodes of Game of Thrones with Greg
Did you have any frugal successes or failures today? Please do tell!

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