Frugal Steps and Stumbles

Frugal Steps:

  1. I went to the library and borrowed the movies The Revenant, X-Men Age of Apocolypse, and The Danish Girl. I also borrowed a couple of books for the kids. The Danish Girl was pretty good,but I had read the book first and I honestly liked the book better.
  2. I hit Jo-Ann Fabrics for post-Valentine’s clearance. I picked up packs of stickers for 44 cents and a Wilton heart-shaped cookie cutter for $1. We can use the stickers for scouts.
  3.  My quarterly Ebates check came in and I deposited $56 in my account. That will get transferred over to savings. If you want to try through my referral link, you will get a bonus $10 cash back.
  4. I downloaded the Penn Station app and got a free 6″ sub.
  5. We have ABCMouse for our two younger children. I had the opportunity to renew for another year for 50% off. When I did it, my Ebates Chrome extension button let me know I could get an additional $2 cash back. Score!

Frugal Stumbles:

  1. We ate out last night after I got back from teaching OB. We are pretty much resigned to doing this the next two Fridays because the mister does not want to cook and I am useless after teaching until 10:30 pm Thursday and driving to another city to teach all day Friday.
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Frugal Steps and Stumbles

Frugal Steps:

  1. I used my Kroger fuel points to get 80 cents off per gallon. I paid $18 to fill my minivan’s tank.
  2. I I got free issues of O magazine and Country Living in the mail.
  3. My mother made two huge fruit trays and dip for the birthday party today.
  4. I watched Victoria on the PBS Roku app, Big Bang Theory on CBS.com, and the Gilmore Girls on Netflix.
  5. I borrowed a book from the library to use at our Girl Scout meeting.

Frugal Stumbles:

  1. My son got McDonald’s twice this week. I stopped and got a ginormous Coke at Wendy’s after having to supervise students on the OB unit the morning after teaching until 10:15 PM. I am old and I can’t burn the candle at both ends like I used to.

Frugal Steps and Stumbles

Frugal Steps:

  1. I watched Rebecca and Victoria on the PBS Roku app.
  2. We have family coming in for our girls’ birthday party next Saturday and I went through Swagbucks’ MyGiftCardsPlus.com to get 6% back when I bought a Domino’s Pizza gift card. I checked Raise.com first, and that pricing was the same.
  3. I used Groupon to buy a 90% off consultation and 60 minute massage for a local chiropractor. My PCP thought it could help my back. I went through Ebates to get 9% cash back and a code to get $5 more off a local deal. I also went through out local Cincysavers to get 50% off admission to a local arcade in anticipation of our son’s birthday in May,  and $20 on a $40 lunch for two at a local vegetarian restaurant.
  4. February is a good time to buy winter coats. Land’s End has coats for up to 60% off. I bought the next size up for our son and older daughter at 60% off, plus got 2% cash back through Ebates. I also bought a rain coat for me at a steep discount.
  5. We had frozen pizza Friday night as planned.
  6. I started assisting to teach nursing students on the OB unit on Friday. I had sold most of my scrubs and my super expensive Z-coil shoes I wore when I worked ICU. One thing I didn’t get rid of were my trusty Dansko clogs. I bought them back in 2006 and they are still going strong. I was on my feet for over 5 hours Friday and they served me well. I am not a fan of nursing shoes with holes in them, like Crocs. These suckers are easily hosed off and protective from sharps and errant body fluids. Ask me about the time a family member wandered in just as I emptied a liter of urine into a container and accidentally kicked it over on my feet….
  7. We are setting up a fish tank for the kids. We are using the mister’s old fish tank that hasn’t been used in 8 years. We are starting out with a single fish and some plants, so it’s not too pricey.

Frugal Stumbles:

  1. I am essentially working 7 days a week until the end of the first week of March. I am too tired to get into much trouble this week!

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Frugal Steps and Stumbles

Frugal Steps:

  1. I picked up three shifts this week.
  2. We did not eat out once.
  3. I had to drive to a different city to do some prep for my upcoming practicum. I brought my own lunch and drinks instead of eating out.
  4. Our daughters’ combined birthday party is coming up next month, and I bought them nightgowns for gifts using some cash back rewards.
  5. Our youngest had her three year well check-up, and there was no copay.
  6. We donated our pack’n play to a local foster agency. It came to us used from my SIL’s friend almost 9 years ago and we used it for all three kids. I love that it’s been used for 12 years and four kids already and is still going strong. Reusing is frugal!

Frugal Stumbles:

  1. Nothing! It was a good week.

 

Frugal Steps and Stumbles

Frugal Steps:

  1. I used an Amazon gift card to buy two Epi-pen pouches for myself and our youngest, so we don’t have to try and fit a giant box in our bags where ever we go. It also fits an asthma inhaler and Benadryl.
  2. I earned enough Swagbucks to get two more $25 gift cards! This time I chose $25 from Ebay and $25 from Amazon. I have to buy the texts for the classes I am teaching and hope that card from Amazon will help with that cost. (Get a bonus $5 if you sign up through my referral link).
  3. I made yogurt in my Instant Pot. It only took 8 1/2 hours to make perfect yogurt.
  4. I made Sahlab at home (a hot Egyptian vanilla milk sprinkled with cinnamon) and now have a new favorite hot drink. It has a lot of calories, though, so it will be a once a month treat. If you don’t do dairy, coconut milk will probably work great.
  5. A local artist painted a beautiful portrait of my Uncle Angelo, who is  98 and has been a priest for over 65 years. He’s a little “famous” locally and when the Pope was in the country, our senator invited Uncle Ang to the state dinner with the Pope in Washington (he declined due to his health).  I tried to buy two canvas prints for my mother and myself, but she refused to let me pay, instead giving me the prints for free, out of respect for our uncle. I decided to pay it forward and donate what I would have paid to charity instead,as that is what my uncle would do. If I ever want to get a portrait done, I know who I am asking. 
  6. I had a CVS gift card I had bought on Raise.com at an 11% discount, several CVS coupon codes, and $18 in Extra Care Bucks. I got a prescription, a couple Vitamin D bottles, and a ton of beauty supplies for only $10 out of pocket after the gift card. I got $10 in ECBs back.
  7. I volunteered to send in a box of Chex cereal for the kindergarten class and their 100 Day celebration. We already had the cereal in the stockpile.
  8. I am seeing a show today with my friend and her daughters using a subscription I already have. We are riding down together and will split the cost of parking.
  9. One of the professors I am working with during my teaching practicum offered me an old textbook she had so I didn’t have to buy one. So kind!

Frugal Stumbles:

  1. We had to run some errands after I picked the kids up from the sitter yesterday. We decided to get Chick-Fil-A (within our budget) but opted for just a huge order of nuggets, a sandwich for the mister, and shared large fries to keep the cost lower.
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Frugal Steps and Stumbles

Frugal Steps:

  1. My boss gave me a little award and I was able to use the points from it for some digital rewards. I chose a $10 Vudu gift card and am waiting for something good to come along and watch.
  2. My mother gave us an Amazon gift card for Christmas, and we used a little of it to rent Storks using a coupon code to make it $0.99. The kids liked it, adults hated it.
  3. We ate Christmas leftovers for several days. We still have mashed potatoes that I am going to freeze to use for future potato rolls.
  4. I earned $21 in Ibotta bonuses.
  5. I filled out the survey on my Kroger receipt to get an extra 50 fuel points. We will get 70 cents off per gallon on a fill-up in January.
  6. I am only 60 Swagbucks away from getting another $25 gift card! I literally just earned one last week. I’m thinking of an Ebay gift card this time.
  7. We paid cash for my grad school tuition!
  8. We went to my mom’s Tuesday and she sent us home with deli ham, raspberries, cantaloupe, baked beans, cinnamon rolls, and mac ‘n cheese.
  9. We watched Captain America: Civil War, which became available on Netflix this week, and Sister Act and Sister Act 2 on Hulu. (That Hulu membership is paid for with gift cards earned through Swagbucks. Four $25 gift cards per year covers it.) Unlike Storks, they were well received by all of us.

Frugal Stumbles:

  1. We composted some bad bananas and were really annoyed that a cantaloupe went bad only 2 days after buying it.
  2. My friend’s two teens stayed with us the past 3 days while they babysat and I worked, and we decided to go out to a local donut place last night. It ended up being closed for the holiday, and we instead went to get BBQ for the family, then Tim Horton’s for donuts and coffee.  Let’s just say my future grandchildren are doomed, because this is all due to my tendency to spoil.
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Frugal Steps and Stumbles

Frugal Steps:

  1. I got another $7 in cash back from Ibotta today plus I earned $21 in bonuses! This bring me to $97 cash back. Once I hit $100, I am transferring it to my Roth savings account.
  2. We were going to order pizza last night but I threw some spaghetti sauce and meat in the slow cooker and we had a spaghetti dinner instead. Don’t congratulate me too much- we ate out a lot this week.
  3. I had to renew my CPR for Healthcare Provider certification.It was the renewal course, so I only spent $50 instead of $60.
  4. I had to apply for my Indiana nursing license. This meant paying a $50 fee, $36 to have my Ohio license credentials sent over, and $26 for fingerprints. I drove an hour to Indiana and back one day to spend 5 minutes getting my prints done, but it paid off when my license was given within 48 hours. My boss is now seeing if my work will reimburse me- so I just might see that money back.
  5. I had to have a two-step TB test for my grad school practicum. I had to pay out of pocket to get the two tests done at $36 a pop, but I got my friend Anne and my mother (both nurses) to read my tests for free.
  6. I earned another $25 Swagbucks gift card to Domino’s Pizza,and used that for dinner this week.

Frugal Stumbles:

  1. This is an expensive time of year for us, and I’m not just talking about presents. We have guests, so our gas and food costs are higher. We are definitely over $400 in food this month.
  2. We had pizza, take-out from a local bistro, and McDonald’s this week. Not our finest hour. I am looking forward to some good food from my own kitchen tomorrow.
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Frugal Steps and Stumbles

Frugal Steps:

  1. I worked almost a full three days this week. I had to decrease the hours I worked to take a sick kiddo to the doctor several times.
  2. I took advantage of Jo-Ann Fabrics 60% off Christmas sale to get a few cheap red ornaments and red  ribbons to decorate the outside of our house and to pick up some stickers for a Girl Scout activity.
  3. Everyone was feeling crummy still this past week, so I only cooked a pork roast one evening, and the rest of the nights we had cereal.
  4. I got almost $7 in Ibotta (referral link) rebates shopping today, plus $1.40 from Checkout 51 and $1 from Saving Star.

Frugal Stumbles:

  1. Thanks to the never ending Plague, my son has a bacterial infection in his toe, which necessitated two doctor’s appointments, antibiotics, bandages, and lots of hydrogen peroxide to soak. We might have one more extra doctor visit for the next week, to be determined. I think this is 5 extra sick visits for my kids since the beginning of November.

 

Frugal Steps and Stumbles

FRUGAL STEPS AND STUMBLES (2)

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Frugal Steps:

  1. I worked two and a half days this week. The half day I had to go into work and get a laptop upgrade, my first new work computer in over 6 years.
  2. I couponed like crazy at CVS today. Original cost was about $100. I saved 61% out of pocket, paying $39 and got $15 in Extra Care Bucks back. This week they sent me a survey to take for $5 in Extra Care Bucks plus a random bonus $3. Did you see that you can get a $0.75 rebate on one 20 oz Diet Coke from Ibotta plus 100 Shopkick points? 2016-12-03-14-31-44
  3. I just got my $25 Hulu gift card from Swagbucks last week, but I am already nearing the halfway point for my next $25 gift card! I’m not sure yet if I want to get another 3 months Hulu for free right away or if I want to do Target, Walmart, or Paypal cash. If you haven’t tried Swagbucks, this is a great time of year to try. You should be able to earn a $5 or even $25 gift card by Christmas.
  4. My husband’s hockey team is having a Christmas party, and I baked them snickerdoodles from scratch. There was extra cinnamon/sugar left, so I put it in a container to save for making cinnamon toast this week.
  5. I had enough kicks to get $4 in Target gift cards through the Shopkick app. I have accrued $10 in gift cards so far.
  6. I am a lifelong insomniac and I sleep better with a constant background noise. Usually I torment my husband all winter long by running the fan, but I decided to take advantage of a sale for this Lectro White Noise Machine on Amazon, and combined it with my Discover cash back bonus to get it for about 50% off. I have already trialed it out and I love it! I can’t stand white noise apps on the iPad because it’s not continuous enough for me. I need constant noise all night long that does not start, stop, or loop.
  7. The kids watched some Christmas movies on Netflix.
  8. In a classic move, I forgot to thaw out meat to make meat sauce for spaghetti. No worries- I whipped out my Instant Pot and had fully cooked sauce within minutes! That’s one night without takeout saved. Seriously, this is our biggest weakness.
  9. If you shop at Kroger, I hope you are logging on to its 25 Merry Days every day to see what new freebies they have. Sometimes it’s a free item and sometimes it’s a high value coupon. Today I picked up free Kraft BBQ sauce, free Twix Santas, and Skippy peanut butter that was only $0.89 thanks to a $2 off 1 coupon.
  10. I redeemed $7.25 in rebates from Ibotta, $1.25 from Checkout 51, and $1 from Savings Star. I was able to get the $1 rebate for Chex on both Ibotta and Savings Star. I bought two boxes for $4 on sale, used $1.50 in coupons to pay $2.50, and will get $2 in rebates. Each box will be only $0.25!
  11. I downloaded a free Kindle First book. Amazon Prime members get to choose one free new book from a selection of 4-6 every month. Once in a blue moon, they will let you choose two! I use my Prime membership for more than free shipping, and this is one of the positive benefits. If you’re looking for a gift to give, a year’s membership in Prime is $99 and includes two-day shipping, Kindle First, thousands of free music stations and albums from Amazon Music, and free movies and TV shows to stream through Amazon Video.

 

Frugal Stumbles:

  1. I had to attend a funeral in the city an hour south of me Thursday night. The mister couldn’t lose any more vacation time, so I threw the kids in the car after school, took them to my mothers, and hired my friend’s teens to watch them for a few hours. Mom had an appointment, or she would have done it. I picked up pizza for everyone (using a coupon). It was necessary, but a little extra than we expected.

 

Frugal Steps and Stumbles

FRUGAL STEPS AND STUMBLES (2)

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Frugal Steps:

  1. I don’t go Black Friday shopping in stores, but if we plan during the year to buy a big-ticket item, we usually wait until Black Friday/Cyber Monday to get the best price. This year we bought an Xbox and a retro Singer sewing machine. It was in our budget and we had been planning these purchases for over a year.
  2. My back is in bad shape again, and I have been sleeping sitting up in the recliner. Thankfully my massage therapist is back in action,and I see her tonight. I did use Ebates to get 10% cash back on a Groupon for three massages at a place nearby for just $80 out of pocket. I’m going to try and get a weekly massage this month to get it back under control.
  3. I got 25 free Christmas photo cards through Amazon printing for free! I am a Prime member and chose 8-10 day shipping, making shipping free too. Between a Shutterfly 25 free cards deal and the Staples Groupon (50 cards for $14, with in-store pickup), I spent $21 for 100 cards. I still have to buy stamps, but it should be within my $60 budget. The Amazon deal is over, but you can get 40% off a custom calendar through Amazon Prints today.
  4. I picked up our stocking stuffers at Walmart for just a few dollars. We don’t go crazy with stockings.
  5. I took down the Thanksgiving decor and put up the wreath my mother-in-law gave us a few years ago, plus the reusable Christmas signs in our garage. Our tree will go up this week, and it was a fake tree that my husband’s coworker bought in the mid-80s and they were going to throw out. It’s still in mint condition!

Frugal Stumbles:

  1. I had to cancel two shifts last week because of the endless Plague.
  2. Thanks again to the Plague, we had extra medical/food expenses, including an extra doctor visit, an urgent care visit, antibiotics, Pedialyte, throat lozenges, popsicles, antibiotic ointment, and lots of canned soup.
  3. I cannot tell a lie- I succumbed to the Instant Pot 7-in-1. It’s $69 on Amazon today. I take it for a test drive tonight when I make spaghetti with meat sauce.