Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Errands Day ~ Wednesday 1/18/17

Today's my Shopping Day, and even though I plan on visiting fewer stores than usual, I feel under the gun as it's close to 9 a.m. and I haven't eaten breakfast yet... argh, I've got to get going!

It was cool this morning for the drive to the high school. We left at 6:50 a.m. I thought Youngest Son had picked 7 a.m. as our departure time but he assured me he had said 6:50. OK, no matter, I was already showered and dressed anyway. I picked a new Vivaldi CD for this week (lute and mandolin concertos) and we drove to school listening to soothing music as the sun was rising. The drop off went very well, the line was actually shorter than the previous days but very long as I left. So I'm glad we went at 6:50 and not 7.

I only had a couple of minutes with Greg as he was ready to go. I relayed a funny anecdote, we talked about the kittens' behavior last night (we both slept well) and a smooch and then he was off. He's having lunch with a newly transferred to Orlando employee of his today so no need for me to pack him anything.

Since I'm shopping and then taking Youngest Son for his Learner's Permit written exam, I don't expect that I'll do much on my To Do List but I'm posting it as a way to motivate myself to do something else than just collapse on the couch when I get home. Which, in all honesty, is probably what is going to happen :)

  • Go grocery shopping  DONE
  • Get engraved tags for the cats DONE
  • Take recycling bin down to the curb DONE
  • Watch "Sherlock" (but probably while I fold the laundry tomorrow)
  • Read details of Diabetic Exchange program 
  • Do my foot exercises DONE
  • Exercise 
  • Finish putting away Christmas decorations
  • Wipe out a USB stick for library
  • Greg and I need to assign the IRA contributions to specific funds  
  • Vacuum fridge coils
  • Declutter under window seat in Exercise Room
  • Compare music libraries between the 2 laptops and finish moving what's missing to my new laptop
  • Figure out what software I still need to move/reinstall on new laptop
  • Trying syncing my phone on new laptop
  • Clean litter box upstairs 
  • Add Osmocote plant food to rose and hibiscus bushes
  • Put away the clipped articles from Kiplinger's magazine 
  • Ask Daughter to help me clip Tabby Kitty's back claws and Explorer's claws  
  • Fold the laundry
  • Put the laundry away
  • Vacuum living room
  • Sweep and fake mop the kitchen DONE
  • Take Driscoll's surveys DONE
  • Take RaceTrac surveys DONE
  • Make lemon poppyseed muffins or/and lemon squares with the "grapefruits"!
  • Pick the oranges
  • Zest the oranges and freeze
  • Cook black beans in pressure cooker for Saturday 
  • Bake something with an ingredient from the side-by-side freezer (this week)
  • Move fonts from old laptop and reinstall on new laptop
  • Take my measurements
  • Sign up for Personal Capital?

  • Youngest Son packed a lunch to take to school.

  • Greg is having a business lunch today so no expense for us. Well, he'll need to charge it to our of our personal credit cards since that restaurant doesn't take Amex, but that way we'll get 2% back in Rewards and he'll get refunded on his next paycheck.

  • I aired out the house for a couple of hours before I went shopping. With my daughter still asleep, I'll close the windows before leaving.

  • I continue to use up the stretched milk in my breakfast cereal, to which I also added a brown banana this morning.

  • I entered my weight into Walgreens' Balance Rewards for Healthy Choices and earned 20 BR points.

  • I was able to request a free full-size sample of Dove for Men spray deodorant via! I hope I get it, it must be the 4th or 5th time that I request one through that site and every time I've gotten it :)

  • I got dinner started in the crockpot. Southwestern Chicken Stew is a super easy recipe that was given to me by a friend back when we took the kids camping every month: a couple of chicken breasts cut up in chunks, 2 cans of black beans, 1 can of corn, 1 jar of salsa. I'm cooking mine on low for 10 hours so it'll be ready for dinner. Later on today I plan on baking Buttermilk Cornbread to go with it.  I had bought the chicken breasts for $0.88/lb at Save A Lot last week and the cans of black beans were free from Walmart with a Swagbucks gift card. The corn is no salt added and from Save A  Lot and the salsa is from Aldi. I only used half a jar and the bottom of another jar that was in my fridge, since their jars are so large.

  • I kept the chicken bones in the fridge as I plan on making chicken stock in the crockpot tomorrow.

  • I'm earning SB with automatic videos that I'll keep playing while I'm out shopping :) My first goal is high again today: 103 SB!

  • I perused the new weekly ads for Aldi and Save A Lot and adjusted my shopping list.

  • I decided to take my large cup of water with me on my shopping trip today but I didn't drink much at all because I already had to pee so much from my morning coffee!  I did wear my cat-themed ballet shoes. I put half-sole cushioned inserts in them so they'd be more comfortable for my poor foot.   I felt so stylish!  But by the time I went to Aldi (my next to last stop), the back of it was rubbing on my heels and I was getting blisters (I always do when I wear new shoes) so I was glad to have predicted this would happen and brought my socks and Rykä sneakers! 
Shameless plug for my daughter's Etsy Store: Wandering Cat Designs

  •  Here is how my trip went:
    • Save A Lot: I had planned on going 1 fryer on sale at $0.79/lb and some papaya on sale for $0.79/lb as well. I got 2 fryers (one that I froze, one that I'm keeping in the fridge for next week), 2  papayas, 2 large cooked ham steaks on 50% clearance @ $1.50/lb, and a package of bologna for Youngest Son.  I froze the ham steaks.  My OOP was $17.31 and I charged it to Amazon Visa for 1% back in Rewards (they don't take Amex).

    • Walmart: I always cringe at the prices there compared to Aldi, but today I was determined to get items that I would have bought at Aldi and not just stock-up items.  I did 2 transactions:
      • Transaction #1 was non-food items:
        • 1 bottle of Act fluoride rinse for Youngest Son, as he asked me late last night to buy him some. It was $3.56 and I used a $1.00 printable coupon.
        • 1 32-oz bottle of Liquid Plumbr for my kitchen plumbing monthly maintenance. It was priced at $3.88 and I used a $0.75 printable coupon.
        • My OOP was $6.22 and I charged it to Amex. I'm hoping that Walmart qualifies as a "grocery store" so I can get 3% back in Rewards. If not, it'll be 1%.
        • I submitted my receipt for a $0.50 Checkout 51 rebate for the Liquid Plumbr.

      • Transaction #2 was for food items:
        • 10 cans of beans to replenish my stock, all at $0.72/can: (2) chickpeas, (4) Great Northern beans, (4) no salt added black beans.
        • 4 8-oz cans of no salt added tomato sauce @ $0.33 a can
        • 4 jars of Herdez salsa verde @ $1.98 each and I redeemed (4) $0.55/1 printable coupons
        • 1 lb bag of lentils @ $1.54
        • 1 lb bag of split peas @ $1.44
        • 1 lb of parsnips @ $2.48
        • 1 package of Borden string cheese @ $2.97 and I redeemed a $0.50 printable coupon
        • 1 bag of Tyson Honey crusted chicken tenders @ $4.97 and I submitted my receipt for a $1.00 rebate from Ibotta (so MONEYMAKER)
        • 1 package of white American cheese slices @ $2.88
        • 1 pint of grape tomatoes @ $2.58
        • 2.78 lbs of bananas @ $0.56/lb = $1.56 and I submitted my receipt for a $0.10 back from MobiSave (so MONEYMAKER)
        • My OOP was $34.16 and I paid for it with Swagbucks gift cards so it was entirely FREE to me (but I'll get $1.10 back from the rebates)
        • I submitted both my receipts to the Walmart Savings Catcher website to see if I can get anything back.

      • I also went to the pet tag kiosk and bought 6 engraved pet tags for our cats at $5.00 each. The only valid choice for me was the pink heart for every cat (even the boys!) since it was smaller than their other tags that were mostly for dogs.  I had to do the transaction 6 times so it took a while but now each cat will have a tag with its name and my cell phone number engraved, in case they escape.   It's a huge saving compared to having it done at Petco. I can't remember the cost there but I think it was over $10 per tag!

      • While I was waiting for the last tag to be engraved, Walmart conducted a test of their fire alarm so the siren sounded. This old lady on an electric cart behind me freaked out and exclaimed repeatedly "What's happening?! I didn't bring my gun!!!" and then went to the closest cashier and demanded an explanation.  Good grief, woman, you can't even walk, do you think you'd be Rambo with your gun>?!  Stop freaking out about the fire alarm. I'm glad she wasn't armed, she might have just shot me trying to get it out of her handbag!  Don't get me wrong, I support the 2nd amendment and we have guns in the house (although you won't get me to shoot one, I'm way too impulsive and I hate people so that doesn't mix well), but newsflash: the morons are among us and they're armed.  Let that sink in.  I left right as the alarm was sounding again (still part of the fire drill). 
      • Otherwise, my trip to Walmart was surprisingly pleasant:  I got a nice cart that wasn't wobbly, it wasn't too crowded (even though it's snowbird season!), I found what I wanted, the attendant overseeing the self checkout counters alerted me that I was about to leave 2 of my empty reusable bags behind (oops!) and I didn't feel too robbed of my gift cards (!) and I was glad to have gotten my pet tags, finally.  As I was leaving to put my cart back in the cart corral, a young mom asked me if she could have it and I was glad to let her have it as I told her "it's a very good one too, for once!". She laughed.

    • Aldi: I mostly got what was on my list.
      • I had budgeted $10 for produce that I would decide on buying based on prices in the store and I picked up gold potatoes @ $2.79, Brussels sprouts @ $1.69 and 2 bags of spinach on sale @ $0.89 each.
      • I got 6 cups of yogurt ($0.39 each), light sour cream ($1.19)
      • 2 loaves of bread ($0.85 each) and an 8-ct bag of hamburger rolls ($0.85)
      • 1 can of tomato soup @ $0.49 only because there was a $0.10 MobiSave offer on soup so I might as well add to my stock
      • 1 bag of oyster crackers (the price went back up to $0.99)
      • 2 jugs of cat litter @ $3.99 each plus tax
      • My OOP was $23.75 and I charged it to Amex for 3% back in Rewards.
      • I submitted my receipt for $0.25 off the potatoes via Checkout 51 and $0.10 off the soup via MobiSave.

    • My last stop was RaceTrac, where I redeemed a survey reward code for a free blueberry muffin for Youngest Son's after-school snack.

  • My daughter helped me carry the groceries in when I came home and the kittens inspected all the bags of course. Next time I ought to wet the bags so when they start spreading the empty ones on the ground and play their "kitchen surfing" games, they can be mopping the tiles at the same time :)

  • I opened the windows again since it still wasn't very hot.

  • I put everything away and reorganized my pantry a little bit in doing so.  

  • One of the two hyacinths that I bought last week bloomed!  It smells delicious! I wish I had bought more :)

  • I submitted my receipts to the various rebate apps and to the Walmart Savings Catcher.  I was credited within minutes :) 

  • For lunch I had a large spinach salad with grape tomatoes and Light Raspberry Walnut dressing, to finish last week's bag of spinach, an egg salad sandwich and the rest of the cantaloupe that I had cut yesterday.

  • I texted my friend to inquire as to the inspection of her house (she had an offer on it) and asked her if she wanted Youngest Son's hiking boots that he had outgrown for that homeless boy she's unofficially fostering. They're too large for him still but she said she'd love to have them for him as he'll reach that size eventually. So I'll pass them on to her. I was going to donate them to the thrift store anyway. I think Greg paid more than $100 for the pair, a couple of years back.

  • We also set a date for our monthly lunch next month!

  • I took my son to his Learner's Permit exam. Good thing we were a little early as the office had moved, thankfully not too far! He passed with flying colors and is now a permitted driver :)  I asked if I could pay the fee with a credit card but there was a credit card surcharge, so I wrote a check (having remembered to bring my checkbook along) to avoid the fee, which was higher than the 1% in Rewards I would have earned with a credit card :)  My son wanted to start the car afterwards so I let him. I didn't feel that driving home at that point was wise, as Clermont is busier than our little town and he's never been behind the wheel. So we'll try at a later date, around the block at first. Maybe tonight if he comes back from the library before it gets dark (he had me drop him off there so he can participate in his Teen program).

  • While he was taking the test, I started to read the February issue of Kiplinger's (I have a free subscription). But he only took 15 minutes to complete the test so I didn't go far!

  • Thanks to a tip from a Slickdeals user, I downloaded the TooJay's app and registered for their Rewards program, thus earning a free dessert and then I entered promo code "pastrami" in the promotions area of the app and earned a free pastrami sandwich!  I emailed the details to Greg so he can do the same and we can each have freebies for a close to free date at some point. I love TooJay's  but last time we tried to go there (in the Dr. Phillips area of Orlando), the line was out the door so we left.  Pixel, if you read this before the 19th, you might want to do this too. The promo code for the free pastrami sandwich expires on the 19th but the coupon won't expire until March 19. Here are the details, Florida residents!

  • I was able to request a coupon for a free Powerbar Clean Whey protein bar.

  • On our way home I stopped by Save  A Lot (again!) because I hadn't realized that we were out of canned corn and I need it for my Spicy Black Bean Soup later on this week.  I got the No Salt Added kind, 4 cans at $0.49 each. I charged the OOP to Amazon Visa for 1% back in Rewards.

  • Back home the temp in the house had risen to 76/77F so I closed the windows and turned the AC back on.

  • I entered all my receipts into my spreadsheets so as to accurately track how our money is spent and where.

  • I was able to complete a Swagbucks survey, earning 75 SB and passing my 2nd Daily Goal!  Woohoo!

  • Instead of baking cornbread for tonight's dinner, I decided to bake that last can of buttermilk biscuits that I had bought for Christmas.

  • And then I promptly forgot they were in the oven and I took my son to drive around the block before it got dark... thankfully the biscuits are just... brown and my son didn't kill us :)

  • My daughter went for a walk and found a Coke bottle cap that she brought home for me! Yay!

  • I entered a bonus code worth 100 KFR points (LOVEWINTERGETPTS) on Kellogg's Family Rewards.

  • I took 2 RaceTrac surveys and earned 2 more freebies.

  • I took 2 Driscoll's surveys and received 2 more $0.75/1 coupons plus I'm only 4 surveys away from reaching the Gold level when I will start receiving $1.00/1 coupons for the surveys that I take :)  I put a reminder on my calendar to print the coupons in 29 days so I extend their usability window (the link expires in 30 days).

  • I printed and filled out the paperwork to register my son for the "Behind the Wheel" driving course, which should be free to us, via his high school. It will provide him with 10 hours of driving practice and 20 hours of driving "observation" (as the 2 other students in the car with him and the instructor get their own practice time).

  • There is major road construction near Greg's work so we guess his employer arranged to have freebies from Florida 511 delivered to everyone's desk. He received, on top of flyers with information about the road construction itself, a pen (which he kept), a reusable bag and a large bag clip, that he gave me :)

  • I found a dime under a piece of furniture as I was sweeping!  I'm adding it to my 2017 Spare Change Jar.

  • Gas:
    • to drive Youngest Son to school
    • and tolls for Greg's commute and then business lunch
    • to go run my errands
    • to take Youngest Son to get his permit

  • Engraved tags for our cats

  • Permit fee for Youngest Son

  • Argh, my plan to run automatic SB videos while I'm gone shopping went awry when the automatic videos option disappeared right before I left!

  • I wanted to buy just 1 small onion at Walmart to be able to redeem the 25 cent rebate on SavingStar, but they only had huge onions :(

  • Save A Lot: $19.27 (groceries) 
  • Walmart: $6.22 (non-food items) and I got $0.50 back
  • Walmart: $30 (pet tags)
  • Aldi: $23.75 (groceries, cat litter) and I got $0.35 back
  • DMV: $54.25 (Learner's Permit exam)
  • Sunpass (tolls): $25.00

Money Spent on Groceries this week (total): $109.30 so I'm $9.30 over my budget but I stocked up on meats, alcohol and pantry items. The items in pink were gifted to my BFF.  If we hadn't bought the whiskey, I would have spent $40.85.
  • Baking: $0
  • Beverages: $68.45 (6 bottles of whiskey to stock up some more)
  • Breads: $3.54 (2 packages Sandwich Thins, 2 loaves white bread, 1 package hamburger buns)
  • Cereals: $2.50 (3 boxes Rice Krispies)
  • Dairy: $3.53 (1 gallon milk, 6 cups yogurt, 1 container light sour cream, 1 package string cheese, 1 package American cheese slices)
  • Pantry/Dry Goods: $1.74 (2 bags frozen ravioli, 1 can tomato soup, 1 bag oyster crackers, 4 cans tomato sauce, 4 jars salsa verde)
  • Produce & Juice: $12.02 (4 cans NSA corn, 5 lbs Gold potatoes, 16 oz spinach, 1 lb Brussel sprouts, 2 cans chickpeas, 4 cans Great Northern beans, 4 cans NSA black beans, 1 lb lentils, 1 lb split peas, 1 lb parsnips, 1 pint grape tomatoes, 2.78 lbs bananas, 5.25 lbs papaya)
  • Proteins: $14.65 (2 large bags meatballs, 1 bag Tyson chicken tenders, 3.05 lbs ham steaks, 10.27 lbs whole fryers, 1 lb bologna)
  • Snacks: $2.87 (2 bags bagel chips, 1 box saltines, 1 box Swiss rolls)

  • Successfully requested a full-size free sample of Dove for Men spray deodorant from Walmart
  • My groceries at Walmart were free to me thanks to Swagbucks gift cards
  • A blueberry muffin from RaceTrac with a survey reward code
  • A small plate or dessert coupon for signing up with TooJays Rewards app
  • A pastrami sandwich coupon for using a promo code in the TooJays Rewards app
  • Greg has a free (company paid) lunch at work
  • My daughter found a Coke product bottle cap
  • A reusable bag and a bag clip that Greg received at work

  • Fed the kittens
  • Prepped breakfast for Greg
  • Took the recycling down to the curb
  • Drove Youngest Son to school
  • Aired out the house
  • Finalized my shopping list
  • Started dinner in the crockpot
  • Worked on my rewards programs
  • Ran my errands
  • Put everything away
  • Updated Walmart app
  • Submitted receipts to SavingsCatcher
  • Claimed free sample
  • Submitted rebates
  • Took my son to his Permit exam
  • Read a few articles in Kiplinger's February issue
  • Downloaded app
  • Dropped off son at library
  • Entered receipts into my spreadsheets
  • Took survey
  • Set dinner table
  • Unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher and started it
  • Swept and fake mopped the kitchen
  • Swept the Cat Room, the breezeway and the Exercise Room

  • I slept better than the report from my Fitness Tracker would indicate. I'm not sure why all these "light sleep" periods show up?! I must move around more than I'm aware.
  • I drank 2 cups of water before drinking coffee :)
  • Breakfast was a cup of rice krispies with a banana and 1/2 cup of ~2% milk. I drank coffee.
  • Lunch was an egg salad sandwich, a large spinach and tomato salad and cantaloupe. I drank water.
  • I did my foot exercises.
  • Afternoon snack was a string cheese stick and 10 pretzel sticks
  • Dinner was Southwest Chicken Stew and 2 biscuits
  • Exercise was... all the steps that I took (11,927).  My tummy is hurting tonight so I think I'll skip the biking.
  • For an easy school drop-off this morning
  • For a pleasant Walmart shopping experience, for the most part
  • That my son passed his Learner's test and didn't crash my car as he drove around the block!
  • That my daughter, although she makes fun of me for picking up Coke bottle caps, always picks them up too when she's on her own and she spots them!


  • The neighborhood rooster was out and about again this morning :)
  • Driving home from school, I witnessed a couple of sandhill cranes and then a whole flock of ibises flying over my SUV :)
  • My daughter took this picture not far from our house while she was walking tonight.

How was your Wednesday? Got any good deals at the store lately?


  1. Congrats to your son on getting his permit! I tried to get the free deo, but after I watched the video and clicked it just kept taking me to a blank page :-(

    1. Thanks! The first couple of times that I got that same sample, I was early enough that I could pick the type of deodorant but last night there was only 1 "choice". So if you got a blank page, I guess it means that they were all out :( Several big blogs reported on that freebie so I think the samples went fast after that.

  2. Congratulations to your son on getting his driving permit! Oh, forgetting the biscuits in the oven is something I would do! Glad they didn't get burnt!

    You did very well with your grocery shopping! Being $9 over budget for the week is not bad at all!

    Hope you have a good day tomorrow and your tummy feels better.

    1. Thank you! You know what the most maddening thing is about the biscuits? I had just thought "I need to remember not to go anywhere until they're baked" and I had put an alarm on my phone. But I was so excited that he was home before dark so I could be the first one to see him behind the wheel (lol) that I promptly forgot all about it. Good thing we just went around our small block and not further!

      My tummy felt better after I took a gas pill from the Dollar Tree. I cooked a lot of beans this week so I guess that was the culprit. I need to get another one of those bottles of gas pills on my shopping list, they're very effective for something that only costs $1!

  3. FYI, hyacinths are toxic to cats. The bulbs are the biggest problem, but the leaves can make them sick also. Since kittens are so unpredictable, you may want to protect them from them.

    1. OH NO! I didn't think to check. Arrgh. Thanks for the warning! They're on the mantelpiece and the kittens haven't tried to get up there yet, which doesn't mean that they won't... The house is pretty much their territory so I don't have anywhere else to put them. I'm hoping that the kittens will be more sedate after they're fixed next week, but I might need to remember to lock the hyacinths in the upstairs bathroom when I go on long shopping trips or walks... My other cats never bothered the plants so I haven't had to worry about it so far!

  4. Well, I'm just now catching up with your blog, so I'm too late for the TooJay's deal - but thanks anyway! That's very sweet of you to think of me! We had lines out the door, too, when TooJays first opened here, but now we usually can get right in. Funny thing - the first time ever we visited a TooJays was at the one near Dr Phillips Drive in Orlando (that was a few years before the one in Lakeland opened).

    1. You should still be able to get the free small plate or dessert when you download the app and register for it, I believe :) I love their onion, ham and brie sandwich. Oh I have got to stop thinking about it right now!


Anything you'd like to add? Share away!