Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Frugal Hits and Misses: April Report

Welcome to Zanyland.

That's been our life this month, while we struggle to keep work done (and income coming in), clean up the house and get it ready for sale. Add to that a fun bout of flu, a teaching gig, and it's been just joyous around here. Somehow, someway, we've kept going -- in part because I have patient clients. (Here's a shoutout to them -- you all are absolutely great.) The Brick didn't drive as much, because of Spring Break -- but he did get a paycheck.
      We're spending a bunch of money on renovating the bathroom -- I just don't know how much yet. But we did save money elsewhere.

*An inflatable swimming pool for $5? Yep...from Hollar.  This website catalog features all sorts of discount and clearance merchandise -- and shipping is free when you order at least $25 worth.
     I got one for us (for hot summer days), one for our Michigan niece and nephew, and one for our piano students -- all for less than I would normally pay for a single pool. Wow.

*Grocery deals: 88 cent chicken breast, 1.49/lb catfish nuggets   60 cents/lb ham (The Brick specially mentioned that this ham was tastier and less fatty than the last one. Ironic.) Dog food for 25-50 cents a can. Some nice veggies for less than 50 cents each (cukes, for example)...or less than $1/lb (green beans).
      Also: 75 pounds of flour for $20!

*Free items from Safeway and King Soopers. Love Safeway's Monopoly game -- the little slips are irritating, but I've had several instant winners. (Goofy stuff, though -- salt, foil, etc.)
     You know about the Friday downloads, don't you? Every Friday, King Soopers (or Kroger, for some of you) has a coupon for a free item. Although it's not as regular, Safeway often does this, too. Last week, Safeway excelled itself -- three items were featured!

*Sold a few books on Amazon. Every bit helps. Donated at least a dozen bags of books elsewhere.

*Two tanks of gas: 25 cents savings a gallon on both vehicles. Wish we could do this all the time.

*Planted peas and greens in one garden bed. The leftover seeds went to the girlies for their gardens. I'll put in more greens in the front bed this week...and add a bunch of daisies and petunias I got at Home Depot...with a $5 coupon.

*Had my hair cut -- for $6.99!  (Also got a $3 off coupon for next time.)

*Gave back -- I did some appraising for the Task Force of Douglas County, free of charge. I also advised two women who were interested in becoming appraisers. (I gave one a pile of books to start her library.) We gave our usual tithe, and helped fund one of our friends' sons, to go to a special needs camp. (He'll be on staff.)

*Bought a hitch for the truck -- the Brick looked and LOOKED for the best deal on this. Got a good price, too.

*Part of a tasting group for a local restaurant chain -- came out of the meeting stuffed, with a $50 giftcard in my hand.

*Turned the heat off most of the month. Sure, it got a bit chilly at times, but that is what socks, hot tea and space heaters are for. We did have to turn it back on for this past weekend's snowstorm...but it's turned back down again.

*Stayed home a lot.  We didn't feel much like wandering around, anyways. We did our jobs, singing and playing for Worship Team, and helped out on the house. Other than our work, that was basically it.  The plus side: what groceries I got were planned for, and nearly all on sale.  We also cleared away more wood and burnable stuff, thanks to using the woodstove.

*Saw Hacksaw Ridge for free -- thank you, AARP.  An incredible movie...but I squeezed the Brick's hand way too hard, and sobbed through most of it. Then:

*BOGO burgers afterwards, at Red Robin with our friends. (We got a free burger in an earlier visit, too. Red Robin 'Royalty' Rewards gives you a free one for your birthday, and after you've purchased ten. Well worth joining up for this.)
     Actually, we didn't eat out that much this month. Didn't feel like it.

*King Soopers had a special: transfer a prescription and get $75 in free groceries. The Brick had one coming due, so he did -- got three months worth of pills for $10 (he had a coupon, too), and got $75, to boot!

*Got The Avengers -- half off.  More than 50 episodes with Mrs. Peel and Mr. Steed, on 16 discs, for less than $25, and free shipping. (Daughter #2 is watching one now -- she's not feeling well. I suspect we 'shared' our flu with her and Son #1, poor guys.) Thank you, friend Thommy and Amazon Prime!

Honor Blackman's great...but she's just not Emma Peel

*Watched more shows for free, thanks to the Internet, and borrowing from the library.  We binged on Iron Fist, a Netflix show, and Endeavor, the predecessor of Inspector Morse. A few episodes of Designated Survivor and the new 24 are waiting...unfortunately, we've caught up on others like The Walking Dead. Darn.

*Saved on bathroom renovation items wherever we could.  The vanity we ordered from Home Depot was on sale -- and we got an additional $300 off, after it arrived scratched, with the box bashed in. (Long story here -- we really had to work to get the discount.)
     Son #1 is using reasonably-priced subway tile, with more expensive glass tile as an accent. We chose 'wood' tile (really ceramic) at $2/foot for the floor. Once he's finished, I'll do the necessary painting.
     Then it's on to Bathroom #2.

Misses were mostly niggling this month, if you don't count bathroom renovation and truck expenses.

*While tidying up, I found a $20 check that was too old to deposit.  (Our local credit union will post a $30 fee if we even try, for anything older than 60 days.)

*Two coupons for free products expired before I could get out to use them. Serves me right for being a packrat, and refusing to cash them out earlier.

*The chickens are laying less. We're down to 1 1/2 dozen sold to customers each week. Even that's hard to get sometimes. Once the current bags of feed are gone, we'll have a processing day.

*We also lost out on a $30 rebate for the vanity, by accepting the discount. Errgh...

*The hitch for the truck was a good deal, but it was still about $800. You don't want to skimp in this area, if you're pulling your future home.

*Costs for bathroom work continue...but that's necessary, too.

Thrifty Mom in Boise, one of my favorite frugal bloggers, suggested ten goals for April. Here's what I listed -- and how it went.

1.  Clear away brush, old weeds from backyard flowerbed.   Sort of -- more to go.
2.  Plant another bed with greens and peas. (I've already done one.)   Snow kept this from happening.
3.  Paint a room.  Nope. I hope to do it this week, though.
4.  Finish and file taxes.   (Filed for an extension, instead.)
5.  Clear off breakfast bar and another table -- trash, file or donate.   DONE
6.  Make a cake.  DONE (pound cake, for us and our neighbors who lost their mom)
7.  Clear out office, so I can work in it.   Nope. 
8.  Donate 5-10 bags of STUFF.   DONE -- more than once.
9.  Get rid of clothes that don't fit anymore.   Some of this done -- more to go.
10.  Sell at least one item on Craigslist.  Nope -- though I did sell a few items on Amazon.

Here's March's hits and misses -- plus links to other months. 
    Come on, Spring!

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