Thursday, June 30, 2016

A Day of Splurges ~ Thursday 6/30/16

I fell asleep on the couch at some point last night with the TV on, without filing away the recipes that I had planned on filing.  I dragged myself to bed at 1:30 a.m. and then slept until 7 a.m.  I really wanted to sleep in, but I got to thinking that I probably should do my grocery shopping before going out to lunch with my friend instead of after so I got up.

No, I still haven't done the dishes but I still have tonight and tomorrow morning :)  Update: Uh no... Greg and Son are coming home tonight after all so I have to do them before midnight.

Monster To-Do List:
  • Transplant ferns into bare patch in front lawn to make shady planter
  • Caption old pictures that have already been scanned
  • Scan more old pictures
  • Scrub patio pavers with bleach to remove mildew - this might have to wait until the months when it's not quite so hot!
  • Get new potted flowers for the patio - Done
  • Enter some Coke codes into MCR (next week)
  • Finish painting squirrel sign and assemble it
  • Create spreadsheet to track IRA contributions using ALL our old tax returns
  • Fertilize the raspberries
  • Add more mulch to berm
  • Download all May and June photos to my external drive
  • Replace roach traps
  • Inventory supplies for master bedroom painting project
  • Research extension cords for generator
  • Call gyneco to make annual appointment
  • Find the cats' rabies licenses
  • Exercise! 
  • Sweep the main stairs
  • Mop kitchen 
  • Dust
  • Look into getting new connecting hose for the propane tankWeber Customer Service will be sending me a new one for FREE. Woohoo!
  • Study dSLR camera manual
  • Read reply from insurer about son's prescription
  • Prep master bedroom with painter's tape
  • See if I still have mildew-resistant white paint for bathroom ceiling
  • Declutter linen closet
  • Clean kitchen cabinets
  • Investigate new paint shade for cabinets
  • Process dried basil in coffee grinder
  • Take items to the dump
  • Inventory seeds for Fall plantings
  • Recalculate Greg's W-4 with new paycheck info and bonus
  • Look at what's in the large bin on front porch and declutter
  • Clean out the printer stand, including school paperwork folders
  • Declutter the top of the fridge
  • File the remaining loose recipes that I organized already in appropriate recipe binders
  • Purge filing cabinet
  • Make a lightbox to take better pictures
  • Send email to my French BFF
  • Add new genealogical information to Rootsmagic
  • Do the dishes - Done
To be done when Greg and our son get back:
  • Get Greg to replace the ceiling tile in the entry room
  • Declutter coat closet/son's closet (shared closet)

  • I made sure that I had all my coupons for today's shopping trip.

  • I grabbed a slice of stale banana bread on my way out the door so I wouldn't be starving while visiting my first two stores.

  • Errands/Grocery Shopping. I will detail my shopping trip further in a separate post.
    • Publix: 
      • I purchased several items there because the prices were just a little higher than Aldi but I could get them for free with my Publix gift card: cherries, grapes, corn, bananas. 
      • I got some cash from their ATM. There is a $2.50 ATM fee but my credit union refunds us up to $15 a month in ATM fees.  I rarely use cash so this should last me a while.
      • I really wanted to buy the Armour meatballs that were on BOGO but I had to put them back because I was already buying corn dogs for my son and I knew that my freezer space was extremely limited. I'm glad I did!
      • I thought that I had a $1 digital coupon for Ben & Jerry's ice cream so I bought a mini container of it on sale for $1.  However, no coupon came off. Oh well.  Looking at my digital wallet at home (I should have looked it up in store!), I realized that it was $1 off 2 pints.
      • I grabbed 2 more $1.00/1 blinkies for Minute Rice because Checkout 51 seems to keep on having a $1.00 rebate for it and the full price of the box of Medley Rice is $2.29.
      • My OOP was $16.35 but I paid with my Publix gift card that I won in the NCAA 2017 IWG so it was all FREE to me and I claimed $1.00 from Ibotta, $0.18 from SavingStar and $1.00 from Checkout 51 so I made $2.18 :)

    • Save A Lot: 
      • I was disappointed not to find Gold Potatoes as they had advertised. They did have one bag but they were rotten. Also, $2.50, their "sale price" seems to be their regular price, so I'll get them next week if they get a new shipment.
      • I saw that they had the Butterball smoked turkey sausages back in stock at $1.99 so I bought 2 since I had (2) $0.55/1 printable coupons from Swagbucks that were about to expire.  We like those, they make for a quick and versatile dinner.
      • I bought 3 gallons of vinegar to make more of Susan's Super Duper Monster Weed Killer (shoot, I forgot to buy salt!).
      • I resisted buying Sno-Balls on 50% clearance at $0.35 a pack of 2.  I looooove those so I need some major kudos. (however, then I splurged at Aldi so I should have just bought the sarn Sno-Balls)
      • Since my OOP was over $10, I redeemed one of the coupons that I received last week for a free dozen of eggs.
      • However, I thought my OOP was high so when I got to my car, I recalculated everything: the register charged me again for the dozen of eggs prior to deducting the amount so I ended up paying for the eggs anyway!  So I went back inside and spoke to the cashier. The manager told her that from now on, she shouldn't scan the eggs. I pointed out that most people gave the coupons after everything had been scanned, so that she wouldn't know not to scan the eggs. Anyhoo, the manager went to refund me. The dozen of eggs cost $1.29.  She did a manual adjustment and entered $1.39.  I didn't say anything because it's not my place to teach those people math and I was steamed up about having to go back in the first place.  Then she handed me $1.40.  So I made $0.11.
Plus 3 gallons of vinegar that I had already put away
    • RaceTrac:
      • I gassed up my SUV @ $2.14/gallon. I didn't need much gas so I paid $8.74 with my Amex (2% back in Rewards) and obtained a new receipt for a freebie. I also earned 4 loyalty points on my app.
      • I had intended to purchase 2 breakfast sandwiches with a BOGO coupon from the Sodapalooza promotions, but while looking for it I found a survey reward code that I hadn't redeemed yet so I got a free blueberry muffin instead, and I ate it in the car for my breakfast/snack.
      • I got 2 Sodapalooza refills (free, at this point!) with my cups. That station doesn't offer CF Diet Coke, I'm going to ask them to get it on my survey.
Sorry, blurry photos!
    • Staples: 
      • Well, I meant to go to drop off a toner cartridge and an ink cartridge and buy the ream of paper for 1 cent after coupon and rebate. But I'm glad I double checked the coupon before going because the coupon had expired on 6/25. So I skipped it.

    • Lowe's:
      • The 1-pint small vincas were on sale for $1.15 each. However, the hanging baskets that contained 5 large vincas each were on sale at $10 for 2 baskets.  So I purchased 2 beautiful baskets.
      • The cone flowers weren't as gorgeous as Live & Learn's but, at $3.33 each, they provide flowers for my garden that I hope will come back every year?  I need to look up whether they do come back or not. At the very least, I hope to collect seeds from them.  Anyhoo, I bought 3 of them.
      • My OOP was $21.39 and I paid with one of the Visa gift cards that my daughter had won and that I had bought from her so the money was deducted from my bank account months ago :)
      • The cashier was a middle-age lady with gorgeous dark brown hair and a very striking bright purple streak. It looked very good on her and I complimented her. I also asked which salon she had used so she told me the one and the name of her stylist. I will pass it on to my daughter for when she gets back :)
Cone flowers. This was the only kind/color they had available

    • CVS:
      • I had wanted to order and print $1.00/1 coupons from Kellogg's Family Rewards this morning but their site was down for maintenance. Grrr. So I had to use the $1.00/2 coupons that they had emailed me instead. I stocked up on 4 boxes of Special K, on sale @ $2.50 each. I was also able to use a $1.00/3 store coupon that  had uploaded to my card. I will earn KFR points automatically via my ExtraCare card.
      • I got a gallon of milk since the men will be back soon
      • And I bought 2 dozens of eggs. They were on sale for $1.49 each.
      • I redeemed $10 in ExtraCare Bucks that I had earned by doing a CVS Consumer Advisory Panel survey, so my OOP was $2.77 and I charged it to the CVS gift card I had earned with our American Express Rewards program so it was all FREE to me :)

    • Aldi:
      • Someone not familiar with Aldi had abandoned a cart in the parking lot and it still had its quarter in it so I made money before even entering the store. Sweet!
      • I was disappointed (but not as much as Greg!) to find that they didn't have any of the $1.99 Millville protein bars that I usually buy for him.  I asked the cashier about it and he said the warehouse must be out but that he hadn't seen any notice stating that they were not carrying them anymore. So next time they have them, I think I'll stock up quite a bit.
      • I didn't have much to buy there but I stocked up on more fruit (peaches, cantaloupe, strawberries, blueberries, pears).
      • I also splurged on a few items: French bread (I considered baking my own but didn't want to fire up the oven), brie, some other kind of cheese, white chocolate.
      • And then I bought some of the usual snacks for my son (Swiss rolls, peanut butter crackers) and necessities (bread, cheese slices, buns, chocolate chips).
      • My OOP was $30.66 and I charged it to Amex (3% back in Rewards).

    • Dollar Tree:
      • I wasn't planning on going there actually. I meant to go to Bath & Body Works, a few doors down, but my SUV found its way to a parking space in front of Dollar Tree, somehow!  I must have been on auto pilot:)
      • So I decided to check on a few items. They didn't have any of the canned cherry pie filling (but they had the apple kind) or the mint herbal tea (haven't seen it in a while), but they did have my favorite jars of minced garlic so I bought two and 4 bricks of 2% UHT milk that doesn't expire until May 2017 (for emergency/hurricane supplies).  My OOP was $6.00 and I charged it to American Express (1% in Rewards)

    • Bath & Body Works:
      • I walked in the store hoping to find 5 candles that I liked in the $10 sale section.  They didn't have the scents that I had hoped to find, but I did find 5 candles that I was willing to try: Seaside Gardenia. Black Sands, Provence Garden,Sparkling Waves, and Lilac Blossoms.  They were $10 each and I redeemed a $20 off $50 coupon that they had emailed me so each candle cost me $6 plus tax. Wohoo. A total indulgence but it's not all that often that I do splurge on things like these and both Greg and I enjoy the candles.
      • I had to insist a couple of times that I wanted them to use my CVS reusable bag and not bag them in their useless paper bags.  Grr.
      • The cashier gave me a free box of matches and also a coupon for a free full-size Signature product with a $10 purchase that will be valid starting on Monday.
      • She asked me for my email address even though she knew I was already getting the emails. They always annoy me, insisting that I give it to them as well as my phone number and I always refuse. Today she explained that when you "update" your email address like this, you really "upgrade" it because various people get various coupons and the more you "upgrade" your email address, the better the coupons are.  I gave it to her but I think it's bullshit.  Does anyone who reads this work for B&BW?  I think I might email corporate and ask whether that is true.

    • RaceTrac: I stopped at the station closest to my house so I could top off my Sodapalooza cup with Diet Mountain Dew since I had almost drank everything.

  • I drove home and still had 2 hours to put everything away and relax a little before it was time to meet my friend for lunch, just down the street from my house.  It was nice to not have to rush and not to have shopping after lunch!

  • I refilled two of the hummingbird feeders with homemade hummingbird nectar.

  • I submitted my Publix receipt to Checkout 51, SavingStar, and Ibotta.  Ibotta and Checkout 51 credited my accounts immediately. SavingStar will take a couple of days.

  • I could have walked or biked to the restaurant from my house, but I didn't think they had a bike rack (I didn't see one) and my feet have been hurting with that plantar fasciitis problem, so I drove the Focus the half-mile or so to the restaurant, which barely used any gas and made it much easier to fit in a small parking space :)

  • My friend and I used to take turns to buy lunch every month but we missed a couple of months and couldn't remember whose turn it was so we decided to just ask for separate checks.  I drank water, we got complimentary chips and salsa, and I ordered 2 appetizers: stuffed jalapeƱos and cheese quesadilla.  My lunch cost me $12.50, including tip, and we chatted for a couple of hours.  She works for herself as a real estate agent and keeps talking about using me as an administrative assistant on a need basis, although she hasn't asked me to do anything specifically so far. I told her I'd be interested, but she was talking about certain situations going on right now that sound like way too much stress for me so I told her I'd be happy to stuff envelopes or do tasks like that, but not deal with brokers and bankers and clients who desperately want to sell their homes :)  We'll see if anything ever comes out of it. In a weird turn of events, she realized that she was wearing a royal blue top and white pants and I was wearing a solid red t-shirt so, next to one another, we looked very patriotic on the eve of July 4th (or thereabouts) :)

  • Greg texted me that he and our son got to Chattanooga, TN, where they planned on camping tonight, but it was very hot and they wanted to avoid the heavy traffic that is predicted tomorrow for the holiday weekend, and just wanted to be home, so they're driving straight through and will be home at about 1:30 a.m.tonight. WOOHOO! And also: crap, now I HAVE to do the dishes tonight!  LOL.  I'm really excited they're coming back.

  • He and our son had just passed their first RaceTrac station in two weeks so they got their free soda refills. Woohoo! I hope they got gas too so we have another receipt with which we will earn a freebie.

  • I printed a $1.50 Gold'n Plump coupon that they had emailed me. You used to be able to print two copies of the coupon (each of them with their own bar code) but now you can only print 1 coupon. You have got to wonder about the motivation behind restricting the coupon that they send to you as a consumer who is subscribing to their newsletter.  Coupons are meant to encourage sales.  The more coupons I can print, the more Gold'n Plump chicken I buy!  So, one coupon means I'll buy only 1 package.

  • I received a reply from Weber's customer service.  I had asked for help in diagnosing the trouble with my Weber grill and whether I needed to replace the connection hose to the propane tank (a new connection hose is priced at $24.99 at Amazon or, or if it might be the regulator since none of the tricks that people had mentioned online seemed to make my grill work when it is connected to the 20 lb propane tank. Mike from Customer Service said it definitely sounded like a problem with the hose, but that if I registered my grill and sent him my Customer Number, he would send me a new hose under the warranty program (Weber grills are guaranteed for life, I just discovered).  So I did that and sent him my number. Woohoo!  I hope this fixes the problem.  Come to think of it, we had the same grill before, inherited from my FIL and had had problems with it not igniting but we hadn't tried the same bottles. So I ordered a new one from Amazon back in 2012 (the one we're using now) and now I'm wondering if maybe it hadn't been the same problem... although I think the hose came with my FIL's grill so I guess it wouldn't have worked with this one...

  • I printed a $1.00 off Cheerios coupon that Betty Crocker emailed me.

  • I earned my daily Bing Rewards credits and reached 100% of my goal so I was able to order a $5 Amazon gift card.

  • I also earned a few Swagbucks.

  • I reused some rain water to water the flowers that I bought today.

  • UPS keeps on wowing me. They've added a new feature to their already free UPS My Choice program.

  • I found a sheet of Hardee's coupons in today's paper (my 1-cent, 1-year subscription to the Orlando Sentinel includes Thursday and Sunday delivery).

  • We had a HUGE thunderstorm starting at about 7:40 p.m. that sent Male Cat scrambling under the futon.  Lightning, thunder, tons of rain.  I guess I didn't need to water my new flowers!  Also... hopefully the storm won't destroy them!  Free veggie garden watering, though, woohoo! That storm lasted over an hour. The gutters in the back weren't enough to keep the water diverted... it just went over the gutters!  I'll bet I could have filled up at least 10 or 20 rain barrels with all the water that fell on our roof. Easily.

  • Dinner was ridiculous: French bread with brie, dill pickles, and some white chocolate as dessert.  Also, I ate about a pound of cherries this afternoon.  They were delicious. I might need to go buy more this weekend.  $1.99/lb is a very good price for Publix.

  • Gas: I had to drive the SUV for my errands in order to have enough room for the flowers that I had buying and all the groceries. I also drove to the restaurant for lunch.

  • Food: chocolate, cheeses and bread at Aldi. A mini tub of ice cream at Publix. Lunch with my friend.

  • Electricity: since Greg will be home tonight, I turned the AC back down to 74F in the living room so the master bedroom will be cool enough for him tonight.  There is the end of my AC experiment!

  • I should have checked my digital coupons while I was in the store. I would have realized that the mini tub of ice cream wasn't going to be free.

  • I was so ticked off that once again the Kellogg's Family Rewards site was "down for regular maintenance" without any prior warning that I emailed Customer Service to complain and suggested that since they required us to register for a KFR account, then certainly they could have the courtesy of warning us in advance of any regular maintenance downtimes!  They emailed me back with an apology and a link to print a $1.25 coupon. However, the link was invalid so I had to email them again. Grrr.

  • AT&T launched their "BOGO Movie Tickets on Tuesdays" promotion for their post-paid plan members and I'm eligible... however, our local movie theater is NOT eligible.  I'd have to drive to Leesburg, which is a 30 minute drive, or drive to Disney (45 min to 1 hour drive) or Ocoee (30 minutes away, in a mall that used to be nice but that I would never visit at night these days) or even farther away. So I guess no Tuesday movies for us. I don't like going to the movies anyway but I was wanting to see "Finding Dory", darn it! I guess I'll wait until it's on Netflix.

  • I should have waited to go to Lowe's tomorrow since Discover starts offering a special 5% bonus rewards at Home Improvements Stores (and also Amazon!) tomorrow.

  • I had more food waste: a navel orange that had fossilized on my kitchen table (yuck!) and the rest of a container of Hot & Sour Soup from the last time we got Chinese for dinner. It had been hiding at the back of my fridge. I did save the container though, as it is great to freeze chicken stock or soup.

  • Ah DANG IT.  I completely forgot to buy cat litter at Aldi even though it was on my list. But I separate groceries from non-groceries and I didn't scroll far down enough on my phone. And I really need it too... Guess where I'll be going tomorrow?  Arrgh.

  • For a friend to be willing to spend a couple of hours having lunch with me and always thinking of me when she thinks she's going to be able to afford an assistant at some point.
  • For Greg to still have a job: my friend's husband got laid off again (twice in a couple of years now and he works in IT!).
  • For Greg and our son coming home a whole day early!
  • For Even Better Than Excellent customer service from Weber

  • Fed the cats
  • Went grocery shopping
  • Spoke with Greg on the phone
  • Put everything away
  • Refilled the hummingbird feeders
  • Submitted receipts for various rebates
  • Went to a late lunch with a friend
  • Spoke with Greg on the phone
  • Entered all my receipts into appropriate spreadsheets
  • Watered the flowers I bought today
  • Spoke with Greg on the phone
  • Scanned a newspaper article and emailed it to my daughter
  • Caught up on blogs
  • Did one load of dishes


Southeastern Lubber Grasshopper on the screen of our front porch. That thing was huge. My guide says 2.5 inches but it was definitely larger than that. I put it on Instagram to tease my daughter who hates those things.

The roses had all opened this morning. They're probably all shredded to pieces by the storm tonight :(
Did you splurge on anything today?


  1. Another very busy day! I'm glad you got to have lunch with your friend. How nice of her to keep you in mind for when she is able to afford an assistant!

    That grasshopper is very colorful! I've never seen a grasshopper like that! And look at your roses! They are lovely.

    I'm glad to hear that Greg and your son will be home a day early, even if it means you have to do the dishes! Hope they have a safe drive home.

    Have a lovely day tomorrow.

    1. It is nice of her to keep talking about it, although I'll tell you that I'm in no hurry for her to actually give me work to do, hahaha. There's just something about working for friends, I think, especially when it's their business. She used to be my boss at the elementary school, the year that I worked there, but she wasn't the one signing my paycheck and we were united in our disdain for the administration. In this situation, she would pay me AND would be the administration, so... lol. Maybe I'm just being lazy.

      Greg and our son came home safe and sound early this morning, it was SO good to see them again! I need them to be gone more often so I can truly appreciate how good it is to see them again :) Just kidding.

      Have a lovely day as well.

  2. OMG, that grasshopper looks fascinating. Like some weird alien creature!

    Funny you should ask about splurging - I took my former boss out to lunch. When I started working downtown, I thought I'd be eating out quite a bit, being so close to all those fun, downtown restaurants. Well, my frugal nature hasn't let that happen. Last month, my former boss took me out to lunch, this month it was my turn. Every once in a while, it's nice to splurge and catch up with talking to other people. :-) Usually I bring leftovers to work and heat them in the microwave.

    1. How funny that we both do the same thing with our former bosses! Good for you for being frugal, though and continuing to bring your own lunch. It must be very tempting to go out all the time when you're a foodie and you're surrounding by all those cool restaurants. I think I might find it hard to remain frugal if I were in your shoes!

  3. Great idea to go out early in the day to do the grocery shopping. And I had to chuckle when you told us that the Publix shop was not only FREE, but also you made money on it. You are so good at getting free stuff, like the free dozen of eggs and your whole CVS shop.

    Isn't lunch out with a friend a great use of your time?? I love it. I find it is refreshing. I wouldn't do it all the time, but once in a while is a great treat.

    Your cone flowers are lovely perennials that you will find will self seed and eventually you will have even more. I have some in my front and back garden beds and are quite drought tolerant.

    Yay!! The boys are home.

    1. I'm so NOT a real gardener that I always have to look up what annual and perennial means. I did study Latin for 8 years so you'd think I remember that perennial means "several years" but I always think that "annual" means that they come back every year. This might explain why I don't have many flowers in my garden, eh? ha ha ha.

      I need to somehow shape that messy area where the ferns are under the bird feeder into a large flower bed. There was a large oak tree there before so there are still a lot of roots rotting in the ground. It'll take years for them to disappear. I want to transplant some of the ferns in the front of the house where we have a large bare spot, and then make a nice and colorful flower bed where right now there is only invasive plants growing (the ferns are invasive too, come to find out). So I should get to it and plant the cone flowers there. It's just so hot! Maybe for now I'll just plant them in larger pots. They seem to be doing better now that I've deep watered them for 2 days in a row so I'm not sure that they're all that drought tolerant.

      I like going out to lunch with each friend once a month. That way we have plenty of things to discuss and I feel that it was a good use of my time AND money, lol.

  4. Look at me catching up! lol About the BBW, that is actually true. :)

    1. Oooh, you ARE catching up, Joy! Well, thanks for telling me that it was true, it sounded like a made-up story to me. However, I just unsubscribed from their emails earlier this week because every day they had a new promo and I have so many candles at this point that I really need to use them up because buying anything else. So I'll be starting anew whenever my stash is gone!


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