Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Frugal Successes and Failures: Wednesday 3/16/15




HAPPENINGS AROUND HERE TODAY:
  • It's another hot March day in Central Florida today, Our high is predicted to be 88F. Greg said it was 92F when he left for work yesterday morning at 7:30 a.m.!  Our AC has been running a lot so our electric bill is going to be high.  Also, both he and I are running the fans at night because we're both having hot flashes despite the AC running. Ah, middle age isn't for the faint,  

  • My daughter is taking a big trig test tonight so she was up late studying. She plans on finishing her French 2 online class this week as she only has 6 assignments to complete and she has to complete 5 per week anyway. FLVS had sent me an email to give instructions on how to get her signed up for French 3, would she want to continue. It's not a class that's offered across the board so you have to go through a little more hoops to get the students registered. Unfortunately, even though she would love to continue, she is planning on registering for our state college's "early admission" program this Fall. I don't really understand all the intricacies since she takes care of all of this on her own, but it's part of the Dual Enrollment program and lets you take ALL college classes.  Consequently, she is actually forbidden from taking part into any high school-level classes, including FLVS classes, even though she is a high school student. Crazy, no?  I would hope that she would speak French with me but she never does and if I initiate it, it turns into a big deal so I'm thinking she's going to lose everything that she's learned so far!  I need to send her to France to spend time with my family on her own. Not sure when that would happen though, she is so busy all the time.

  • My son is going to the library this afternoon to continue working on his Teen Video Challenge project. We need to upload it to YouTube tomorrow or Friday at the latest so he's under the gun and the filming isn't even finished yet!  He told me yesterday that he's using MovieMaker to edit the video at the library... he didn't know that I have MovieMaker on my laptop. So this morning I'm going to try to install it on his PC (he has Windows 10, so wish me luck!) so he can bring the file back on a flash drive tonight, if he's not done working on it.

  • I watched the recycling collection guy empty my bins today and there was no trash left on the street. Hooray!  Once again, though, I have to wonder whether they actually recycle anything. The company we used (I think we may have changed collection companies but I'm not even sure) used to have different trucks for recycling or trash collecting, but now the truck looks the same and it looks like a trash truck to me. I'm thinking maybe I'm "recycling" for nothing and we're getting hit for trash AND recycling collecting when in fact it could be just collected on the same day since it all seems to be like it's going to the same place (i.e.e the landfill)?!  I should investigate...

  • Single tasks accomplished today:
    • Reaching out to someone: texted my daughter about her taxes
    • Household chore: emptied the composting bin
    • Investing: 
    • Tax-related: sent email to my daughter to remind her that we need to file her taxes and I want to go over how to balance a checkbook with her (again)
    • General finances: paid bills online
    • Saving money:  
    • Gardening: watered my seeds
    • Health: 
    • Cooking:  chili in the crockpot
    • Indulging myself: took a bath and read some of my book

FRUGAL SUCCESSES:
  • I packed leftovers from last night's dinner for Greg's lunch today.

  • The kids packed their lunches to take to school.

  • For breakfast,  I nuked one of the Pillsbury biscuits that I had baked for dinner a couple of nights ago and had it with some strawberry fruit spread on it.  The kids won't eat the biscuits when they're dry, but nuking them for 10 seconds usually does the trick.

  • I consulting the new Aldi and Save A Lot weekly ads online and made note of the deals that I might want to get when I go shopping next week.  I wanted to start going on Wednesdays again so I might do that next week.  Aldi has butter on sale for $1.99 through Easter.  Save A Lot has the 10-lb frozen bags of chicken leg quarters for 29 cents a pound... but I really couldn't get any as my freezer is filled to the rim. Damn it!  


  • Our electric bill came in and thankfully it was about $112.  It will be much higher this month as we've had to crank up the AC.  I'm able to view a few graphs online, which are interesting... our bill was definitely higher last month because we had turned the heat on, of course.  I'd like to think our electrical usage was also lower this month because of the new LED bulbs that I had installed but it's hard to quantify with such swings in usage coming from whether we turn on the heat or the AC. Also, since we went from CFLs to LEDs, I believe the usage decrease would be minimal.  We'll see if our bill is lower in the summer months, when we typically run the AC all day and night anyway. Our September bill is always the highest.

The "Previous 12 months" bars mean the same month, but 12 months prior.  We flip-flopped between February and March this year!

  • The sun was shining bright mid-morning so I closed the curtains back on the east side of the house to keep the kitchen a little cooler (the thermostat for that part of the house is there).


  • Dinner tonight will be "Corn and Two Bean Chili" cooked in the crockpot. This is a recipe from the "CrockPot Dump Meals" cookbook (p 52).  The recipe calls for a can of pinto beans. I only have dried pinto beans that I didn't cook so I'll be using a can of red kidney beans instead. Honestly, to me, a bean is a bean is a bean.  I'll also use a can of low sodium organic black beans, no salt added corn kernels and diced tomatoes and cumin, minced onion, and chili powder.  I have a few corn chips left that will go on top, along with some sour cream, and I'll serve a tortilla on the side.  Greg will want meat so I might cook some ground chicken that he can add to his if he wants.  Update: I changed my mind and added a lb of cooked smoked ham to the chili. I'll have to use the ground chicken for something else.  Tacos, maybe.


  • I collected water from my bath to flush the toilet and also refilled the bucket so I can flush it another time later on.


  • I scheduled a few bill payments online. I have free online banking and it also saves me money on stamps... plus the payments are done automatically so I don't have to worry about it.

  • I brewed myself a cup of black tea by reusing the tea bag from Greg's breakfast. Speaking of tea, my Publix has almost gotten rid of all their Lipton tea!  All they have left is the iced tea and the green tab bags. Everything else is from other brands. This sucks because they used to have awesome sales on Lipton and the Lipton black tea is our favorite.


  • Lunch was the last of the leftovers from dinner, the last Pillsbury biscuit (because no one else will ear it) and 4 clementines.


  • I gave my daughter 2 survey reward codes for free bakery items at RaceTrac so she can get herself free snacks when she goes to Clermont for her college class.  


  • TotallyTarget cued me on a new printable Ortega coupon that's good for $1.00 off any 2 Ortego products. Darn it, I'm completely stocked up on Ortega flour tortillas from Dollar Tree (I have 6 packs already).  Should I go buy 8 more since I can also print 2 of the coupons from my son's PC?!  No Nathalie, everything in moderation!  But it would be just 50 cents for a 12-ct package!


WE SPLURGED ON:
  • Not a splurge yet but I found out that "The Americans. Season 4" starts broadcasting on FX tonight so I'm hoping that we'll be able to buy streaming new episodes via Amazon soon.  I do plan on buying them.  On this note, I found out last night that the $1 Digital credits that Amazon hands out if you pick the "No Rush Shipping" option on your Prime orders do NOT work for Kindle purchases. I wanted Greg to use ours for his e-books. It looks like we're restricted to using them for MP3s, Amazon Videos and Games/Software.  So it looks like I'd be using mine for buying episodes of "The Americans" if/when it comes online soon.  If you want to check what credits you have available on Amazon, use this link and then click on "Check Your Balance".  Even though the heading states "check your account for musical credits", it gives you the balance of all the credits that you have for digital purchases. NOTE: in the example below, this does NOT mean that I have $5 available for MP3s AND $5 for videos AND $5 for software.  It means that my $5 could be applied to MP3s OR videos OR software.  So don't get too excited when you look at your own credits, lol.


  • I took a bath in the morning (how decadent!) with a library book, before doing some chores. Hey, I'm the boss and I can do whatever I want. Yippee!


  • With no rain in the forecast, I had to water my seeds today.


  • I was hot when I came back inside from watering the plants, so I turned the pedestal on in the living room, even though the AC was on.



HOWEVER, WE FAILED IN THE FOLLOWING WAYS, BUT LEARNED SOME LESSONS:
  • I had to compost a mandarin because it was all black on the inside. Yuck!


  • Despite watching being able to watch our Game of Thrones Blu Ray disks on our thrifted player for the past 2 nights, tonight we had many problems playing the 3rd disc of the season so we ended up switching to the Xbox One.  I looked up my blog posts from Christmas Break, remembering that we had had those same problems when we were trying to watch our Lord of the Rings Blu Rays but I guess I was never able to fix the problem. I did run a cleaning disc through and DVDs are playing fine, but Blu Rays just won't load tonight.  So frustrating... so I'm investigating Blu Ray players on Amazon.  Ugh.


TASKS ACCOMPLISHED TODAY:
  • Cooked breakfast for Greg
  • Set the breakfast table for the kids
  • Packed Greg's lunch
  • Took the recycling down to the curb for collection
  • Ran the dehumidifier in the bathroom
  • Boiled eggs for Greg's snacks
  • Worked on my shopping list for next week
  • Installed Movie Maker on my son's PC
  • Paid some bills online
  • Watered my garden
  • Brought the recycling bins back up the driveway
  • Logged in to FLVS to see if my son had been assigned to a H.O.P.E. class yet. Nope.

Did you have any frugal successes or failures today? Please do tell!

2 comments:

  1. I think you may have to start a "no-spend" week or month to eat down your freezer. When you can't buy 50 cent tortillas or 29 cent chicken legs because there is no room in your freezer, that usually means that your freezer needs to go on a diet. It will be a challenge.

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    Replies
    1. You're absolutely right, lol. I was just reading another blog where the author is going to do a No Spend month in April. However, I can't do that because Greg is requiring various items for his diet such as yogurt, etc. so I have to keep on shopping weekly. And then when I'm out and I see good deals, I just grab them. But there are definitely things that I need to cull from the freezer. Blackberries are on sale this week at Aldi but I have a huge bag left from their sale last year in my freezer so I'm going to try resisting buying more :)

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