Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Frugal Hits and Misses: May Report

May has been a strange month. 
     On one hand, we've been trying to make progress on the house. 
     On the other, we still have to work, if we don't want to dip into the 401Ks. (Technically the Brick could -- but we promised ourselves to keep hands-off as long as possible.) 
     There are a zillion small expenses in connection with the guest bathroom. Son #1 keeps traipsing to Home Depot for this and that. I know he's trying to keep costs down. (He found the floor tile below, after all.) But $20 here, $30 there adds up fast. 
      I bite my lip, and hand over the credit card. At least we get some cashback on purchases. And this money will all flow back into the coffers when the house is sold. 


Floor tile for the guest bathroom -- a penny each!  Son #1 was brilliant on this...and managed to use all penny tiles without having to break into the boxes (of the same tile) that I bought at $36 each. What a guy.  (I returned the expensive tiles, by the way -- $76 extra toward the bathroom costs.)

Piano lessons continued. So did some appraising here and there. Plus bus driving, on the Brick's part. Work is work. It pays the bills.

Threw outdated and not-that-important coupons away.  (Felt wonderful.) Cleaned out several junk drawers, while I was it, and washed a boatload of extra potholders for the garage sale.

Didn't go out to eat -- except for a few Little Caesar's pizzas and a couple of stops at Red Robin. (The latter were paid with my $50 gift card from last month.) Daughter #2 insisted on paying the tip for the RR visits. (The sweetheart.)

The Mama gave us a $10 Burger King gift card for Easter. Better than chocolate eggs any day!

Both the Brick and yours truly earned a $25 gift card from Amazon, thanks to Swagbucks: $50 total. This program is soooo easy to join, and I only use it for the searches and purchases I would have made, anyways. Generally we earn enough points for 2 or 3 gift cards a year. Which adds up-- and pays for a lot of presents and extras.  Go here to find out more.

$3.50/lb steak -- and Oscar Mayer hot dogs (the good kind)  a buck a pound, plus $3.33/lb cubed steak for shishkebobs for Mother's Day. Found a ham at 77 cents/lb, and deli ham & turkey marked down to half-price. (The Brick loves deli meat for sandwiches, and it's thin-sliced enough for me to spread it out to multiple uses. A little goes a long way.)
     Redeemed a big batch of free coupons from both King Soopers and Safeway.

The buy of the year from Sam's Club:  a four-pack of Pillsbury crescent roll dough for 51 cents. Total.  A  close contender: 20 oz. of Hormel bacon bits -- the equivalent of five pounds of bacon, but ready-cooked -- for $4.00.  (The other brand was more than double-- on sale.)

Lots of sale veggies and fruit from Sprouts, with careful thought when I did buy. Credit from the Brick's prescription hack has been paying for much of our groceries this month.

Ice cream on sale. Half-priced Magnum ice cream bars...yes, these are expensive. But the Brick loves them -- and I added to the savings by using coupons. Also: 99-cent Lucerne ice cream sandwiches.

A doctor visit for the Brick -- surprisingly, when he paid cash, it was only $75.

Saw the movie "Chuck" for free, along with friends. Thanks to the Nextdoor neighborhood ap.

Watched a bunch of shows for free again, including the movies Logan, John Wick: Chapter Two and Passengers, and the tv series Supergirl. (The latter was better than I thought it would be.)  Our normal favorites, including Walking Dead, 24 and Designated Survivor, are all on hiatus right now. Darn.

Rebound four quilts, using vintage fabrics -- did some restoration, as well.

Picked greens in the backyard: radishes, baby lettuce and radicchio from the garden bed, but also lambs' quarters (technically a weed). They've given our meals a nutritious boost. I've picked a few handfuls every time I visit the chickies, too. (Not that they're grateful.)

I finally sent off a group of appraisals that was due some time ago -- but not for pay. I believe in this particular cause, and because we've had the house expenses, I haven't been able to do much for them. So I did them as a donation, instead. What they don't have to pay me can go right back to keeping the doors open, at a museum I believe in.

Three bouquets: $1.99 x 2 plus $2.50.  Got three 99-cent large tubes of marzipan, too, for a future batch of banket. (Thanks, Sprouts.)

Careful about giving gifts to graduates -- kept it to $10 per person.  Went to two open houses for cake and snacks; dropped off a present to a third.

I only bought one book all month (on Amazon).  That may not sound very noble to you -- but for a confirmed book fanatic, it's tough. (At least I got it on discount.) I bought a few DVDs, as well, for a piano student. (Thank you, Swagbucks gift card!) Plus three videos, a buck each, from the library's used book room.
     On the other hand, we've donated more than a dozen bags of books...and even sold a few books via Amazon.

No stops at the thrift shop. Not much shopping period, except for Home Depot and such. (Including for Christmas presents -- we just don't have the room in the trailer, anyways. But I may be sorry, come December.)
    That was the nice part about working on the house and other things; there just wasn't time to wander around town.


The chickens are still sluffing off. We delivered a final two dozen eggs, and told our last customer we wouldn't be selling anymore. We don't get enough to cover our own needs --
     They have less than two weeks to start thinking about being fricassee.

Missed using a few coupons (again). At least they weren't freebie ones this time. (Just found an expired coupon for a free loaf of bread. Oh well.)

Paid to register the truck. (Could have been worse. At least we live in the unincorporated area of the county -- if we were residents of Castle Rock, the tax would have been considerably more.)

Ongoing payments for bathroom renovations. You don't want to know.

It's fun to read how others scrimp and save.  And do it graciously.  They give me ideas -- hopefully, they help you, too. You'll also find my current series thought-provoking, at the least: Cutting Expenses - When You Think You Can't.

June brings two teaching gigs, plus a  judging/appraisal week. But for the Brick, the school year is done. No more bus driving. Which means no extra income to cover renovation costs. On the other hand, that gives him more time to work on the house. My personal goal: to have the house on the market in early July -- absolutely no later than August.. We'll see if it happens.

For April's report, plus links to earlier months of Frugal Hits & Misses, go here. 


Tracie @ Somewhat Awry said...

I love these updates! Question: How did you watch the movies for free? You may have answered this before and I just missed it.

Cindy Brick said...

Hi Tracie -- thank you for the kind words! We actually use several websites, and the Brick's current favorites change -- partly because they don't work consistently, and partly because sometimes spam tries to attach to them. (And then to our computer.) Good firewalls are important here. Which frankly, you should have anyways.

We have a power cord that attaches to the tv from the computer; the Brick uses a bluetooth keyboard with a touchpad on it that he uses to control the movies...and switch to the next episode on the tv series. (He got his for Christmas from Daughter #2 -- it's made by Logitech. Other companies, including Microsoft, make them too.) That way, we get tv quality...but for free, instead of having to pay for cable. (We use it for Broncos and college ball games, too.)

If you want the specific sites we use right now, e-mail me at cindyjbrick@gmail.com, and I'll pass along the links.

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