Frugal Living - Challenge 2020 Daily Frugal Challenge

Discussion in 'The Daily Frugal: Living Life Pennywise' started by KmmCo, Jan 2, 2020.

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  1. KmmCo

    KmmCo Well-Known Member Trader Group

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    Got the call I was kind of expecting - stay home til 4/15.... The carpooler and I figured that we were all actually exposed on on the weekend of 3/14 to 3/16 because persons A and B dropped right around the the 20th. Person C on the 22nd and person D on the 23rd. It has just been taking a week for the positive tests to come back... Technically our 14 days after exposure is over - knock on wood. If it makes my boss happy to pay me to stay home till the 15th of April, then I will do that even though I think it is all over for our team. I have a good list of projects to do at home.....

    *I scored a super good airfare for DH to come visit me in AK in July. I was looking a few weeks ago and it was $800+ for non refundable fare. Yesterday I booked him for $409 with the ability to cancel for no penalty if needed.... Unfortunately, I don't know which vacations of mine they will honor yet. I can not book any airfare home for myself yet, but fall airfare should be cheaper anyway.....

    The enchiladas were so-so. I think I should have seasoned the black beans themselves before just pouring the enchilada sauce over the whole mess. DH made the chicken meal and it came out good. He baked it with a combination of Ranch seasoning and Garlic powder and added onion and mushroom to the top. We had mashed potato, gravy, and corn with that.

    I think I will thaw some ham for dinner tonight.... I can use the leftover ham for omelettes or sandwiches this next week.


    Today we are going to drive up and check on our vacant rental and see if there are any repairs that we need to make now that ski season has ended so abruptly.... Building maintanace is on the list of "essential services" so I can do that legally. I will wipe down everything with disinfectant before and after touching it, but the last renter left on 3/15 and noone is coming until after June 1 so I am not super worried. I am debating on doing a pickup order at the store because I saw that there is no fee for that now. Nothing I need is super urgent anyway, but my son is busy with school stuff and I hate to bother him for a grocery run...

    I will probably just throw a couple of PBJ sandwiches in a small cooler for our lunch today. I don't want to mess up the dishes at the ski condo. I think I will probably quickly defrost the little freezer today while we get our project list together for the next month. That is a project that the housekeepers never do right anyway....
     
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  2. KmmCo

    KmmCo Well-Known Member Trader Group

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    The change of scenery revived the soul.... Came home to an extra person at the house - my son's best friend - frequently refered to as my adopted son - is home from the army for good. I had to let him come visit and am just doing the best I can to keep the 6 foot rule going and disinfect everything in sight.

    I bought extra groceries at Walmart today knowing that he was staying for a while..... $45 and a super stuffed fridge later....
     
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  3. Jorainna

    Jorainna Finder of Lost "Blinkies" Staff Member Moderator Trader Group

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    Haven't been on here since my last day at work - Wednesday the 25th. My boss called and said not to return till the 13th if then. My computer here at home is old and lags so bad at times and others it goes really good, but I kind of dread doing anything on it as I don't know what it will do!

    For the time being, I am still getting paid at least through the 10th. I had a good supply of Lysol wipes and spray, but that is starting to dwindle. We are down to two 4-pks of unopened toilet paper. Of course now my fridge picks the time to act like it is going out - only freezing meat and ice near the back sides of the freezer. It will not freeze ice cream or pizzas.

    Since I am not working or driving my son home from work ... a tank of gas is lasting me a long time. Gas here is at $1.42 at my nearby Kroger.

    Have mainly cooked all our meals for myself, my husband and youngest son who is 23 and still lives at home. Only picked up take out twice ... trying to limit our exposure to what is out there ...
     
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  4. KmmCo

    KmmCo Well-Known Member Trader Group

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    Tacos were lunch yesterday and today.... DS had a sad looking avocado in the fridge, so I added a little of that to my tacos today. I made the rest of the avocado into guac and finished that off myself...

    I braved Costco for the first time yesterday since this fiasco started. I got a big pack of TP (they had tons) and a 5 lb package of ground beef. Strawberries were $3.99/2 lbs and I scored a giant bag of spinach for $1.97. We picked up a few non-food items: a new mat for the front door for $10, a movie, and a magazine. That should be it for shopping this week. Monday was not a bad day to go as there were probably only a dozen people total in the store. I told DH that if we really needed something from a "nonessential" store that we could just road trip to Cheyenne, Wyoming since they are not on a stay at home order there - but so far we are doing okay here with what we truly need ....

    The weather was super nice yesterday and I took another long walk. DH mowed the front lawn since it was actually getting a bit green and shaggy. It is supossed to rain/snow later this week so we need to do the outdoor stuff while we can....

    Planning my trip in June to get to the ferry in WA. After pricing campgrounds in western WY, I decided that a good overnight stop would just be Little America truck stop. They have a free RV parking area seperate from the truckers parking, so hopefully not too noisy. I will bypass Salt Lake City by taking I84 straight into Twin Falls and Boise and camp at an RV park somewhere in that area on night two (so that I can use a shower). I am going to continue on I84 through the Columbia River gorge toward Portland and then north to Seattle on I5. Probably not the most scenic route but it will work.... I have about 3 nights to split between the Portland/Seattle area and will have to just wait and see what touristy stuff is open by the last week of May. I just need to watch my timing through Seattle to avoid rush hours. I reserved a hotel in Bellingham (with points) the night before my ferry trip so that I can do laundry, grocery shop for some deli/sandwich stuff, use the wifi, and just relax for the evening ... The hotel is next door to a Fred Meyer, so that makes life easy.

    *Got my paycheck and it was not too horrible inspite of being minus my Sunday premium. After paying bills and designating the savings transfers for the house stuff, I still had about $73 left over.... Just sitting on that cash for a little while since there is so much uncertainty in the world right now....

    Knock on wood, still no sickness at our house. No news on how the sick ones from work are doing - no news is generally good news in cases like this though....
     
  5. KmmCo

    KmmCo Well-Known Member Trader Group

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    Me - awake at work time even though I don't have to be in today. :eek: Also me realizing that I am not getting anything much done this week because of DH being home too....(a convention was cancelled that he was supposed to be at last weekend, so he is on paid time off too...).:eek: To make matters worse for him - another convention was postponed from July to the weekend after Thanksgiving - really people? - we didn't think through that decision did we??? Making people change holiday plans!

    Vent over - I am going to try to go back to bed as this is not even a callback day for me.

    *Dinner last night was leftovers. DS also made a chocolate pie that came out really good....
     
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  6. jastwins

    jastwins ※Kaboom!・:・:・゜ Trader Group

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    My dog woke me up even earlier at 4am, @KmmCo and I ended up sleeping in the recliner for 2 more hours. Not good for a sore shoulder and the fact the I had to go upstairs to shut off my alarm clock. At least my hearing is still good.
    Dinner is what we have home....lots of food, but the family is not great about eating leftovers. Throw a vegan child into the mix and it makes my afternoons even nuttier. I eat lunch at home since my day at school is short unless I am doing daycare.
    Today, the dump is open until 4 pm (M, W, F only) and I have to go get there before it closes. I am trying to get all I can into one town bag, but with d2 throwing so much crap out of her room, I may not throw out as much as I want. The dump closed down the goody pile and is not accepting cardboard at this time. Can I just tell you how miserable this makes me? Also, I cannot turn in my bottles and cans since all stores have their machines shut down. UGH!!!!!

    I have a box of clothes ready to go to Thred up and I will be happy to get it out of my house. With the girls cleaning out their rooms, more plastic totes have been emptied and I need to reorganize my own closet.
    I paid off a bill online and avoided using stamps. It was for the Christmas presents I sent through Swiss colony and they let me pay it off over 4 months but I paid it off in 3 months.
     
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  7. KmmCo

    KmmCo Well-Known Member Trader Group

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    I made a really nice salad for lunch with spinach, lettuce, celery, diced carrot and a little diced up chicken.
    Ranch dressing, a little shredded cheese, and croutons on top.....

    Dinner tonight: cheesy pasta tuna helper, garlic toast, canned green beans and canned corn. I feel like I am always lacking enough veggies, so I did extra today.

    I took a walk 2 times today around the neighborhood - once in the morning and once right before dinner. It was getting chilly toward evening, so not many people out. I got a couple of loads of laundry done and DH loaded the dishwasher today.

    I spent a little time looking at some financial stuff online (rent money for the condo came and I wanted to make sure all my bill pays went thru too). I do hope that the vacation business is back up and running by June. I have enough available money to pay condo expenses and HOA for 5 or 6 months, but hope this stay-at-home stuff does not go on that long.

    I am trying to organize my food I am packing for my move. Some of it will go to the roomette with me for the ferry ride, some is for camping, and some is for when I get there so that I don't have to worry about shopping the first week. The meals on the ferry look to be around $10 -$15 each at the cafeteria, so I want to just do my own food for the 4 days and save that $120 or more. I did raid the bag of potato chips this week. It expired in May and since my trip is delayed I didn't want to leave it in the pile. I threw some crackers and some microwave popcorn in the bag for the ferry instead, just so I have something salty if I want it. The two boxes of girl scout cookies that I hid from the family will be my sweet stuff!

    I am hoping gas stays around $2 a gallon for my trip. My revised trip will take about 75 gallons which I can easily pay out of my paycheck that week. I have $$ stashed for camping fees too, but will try to do as many free spots as I can - may have to hit an RV park every couple of days for a nice shower though. I had saved $1000 originally for the drive thru Canada, so now I can put that extra $$ toward paying off the ferry bill. I am gonna have to just watch what I spend this next month - should be easy with no eating out and the house stocked with food now. I am a month ahead on the water bill because I thought I would be on the road when it was due, so I don't have to pay that in April and may even have some credit left to apply to May bill.

    *I looked at some rental apt listings where I am moving to soon and saw that the prices are creeping down just a pinch. I am wondering how many people had to move out after not having rent for April 1. It seemed a lot was available too, though spring is when a lot of people move anyway. There was a lot of furniture on craigslist too - maybe just because of cleaning house - or maybe because people need money that badly. One of the youtube channels I watch pointed out that almost 10 million people have filed for unemployment benefits (including himself as he works in tourism industry). I think it takes a few weeks for that to process in most states.... The economy just is not looking good right now.
     
  8. KmmCo

    KmmCo Well-Known Member Trader Group

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    *I made biscuits today from scratch for a biscuits & sausage gravy brunch. I didn't have shortening, so I looked up a recipe using butter and they came out really good. There is a little leftover for tomorrow morning. I only used half the sausage in the gravy, so the extra is in the fridge for an omelette or breakfast burrito later.

    *Yesterday Lunch: Taco salad. (used up the last bit of taco meat that was in the fridge) Dinner: Frozen Pizza.

    The only thing I did today out of the house was go get medical records from my doctor who is planning to retire....That way I have a folder to take with me to AK in case I need care up there.

    I also drove DS to Walmart to grab some paint for a school project - super quick in and out for one item. He used self checkout and then washed his hands very well afterward. I didn't need anything, so I waited outside for him.

    Not sure what dinner will be tonight. I didn't thaw any meat. Maybe salad with boiled eggs or a cheese sandwich and soup? Not sure....

    *Good news - DH checked on car insurance and they are giving us $31 discount each for April and May. Every little bit helps. If you are driving less then it pays to check and see if your insurance will discount a little off!

    We are just hanging at the house and bracing for the snowstorm that is supposed to hit tomorrow night into Sunday morning. It was 72 degrees a couple of days ago!
     
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  9. KmmCo

    KmmCo Well-Known Member Trader Group

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    *DH had some steaks thawing, so he cooked dinner last night. His side was risotto. I made a nice spinach salad too....

    *We did some scrounge in the fridge for lunch. I pulled chicken breasts out for dinner and will bake them. I will go thru the fridge and get rid of whatever veggies need used up....

    Nothing new here, just a pretty lazy Sat. I loaded a few items into my van that were sitting in the hallway. I took a nice long walk with my son before the weather gets bad tonight. I opened up the back patio door and the front door and aired out the house a bit too.....
     
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  10. Gardencook

    Gardencook Well-Known Member Trader Group

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    The weather was bad by the time we got up. We're not supposed to get much of the snow predicted for you and the plains, but LOTS and LOTS of wind and rain. The wind has been howling all day. :(
     
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  11. KmmCo

    KmmCo Well-Known Member Trader Group

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    It is a snowy easter Sunday. I made a bit of baked ham for lunch with potatoes and gravy. Used up the leftover veggies from last night....

    I am thawing hamburger for dinner. Hamburger Helper or Sloppy Joes maybe.

    Watched some travel videos today and did a couple of loads of laundry. I think I will go load up the dishwasher again before I make more dirty dishes for dinner. That is it for Easter Sunday in social isolation and snow mode...:(
     
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  12. KmmCo

    KmmCo Well-Known Member Trader Group

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    I have a few small errands to run today. I need eggs and milk.

    I am also going to stop by the bank drive thru to deposit some cash. I was saving it for Canadian $$ exchange, but now that my trip is going to be all US I really don't need it all. I can just hit up an ATM if I need more cash on the way....

    I also want to gas up the SUV as we did not refill it after coming back from the mountain last week. My van might need a little gas too and I at least need to drive it around the block to get fluids circulating a bit....

    The sun is struggling to come out this morning. If it gets sunny then the snow will melt fast....

    *I ended up making a small meatloaf last night for dinner. I made some more instant mashed potatoes and used up the gravy from lunch. Canned green beans for the side...

    Today, I am going to soak some dried pintos. I will put them in the crock pot overnight and will have beans to use for a while. I am probably going to do some Mexican food again this week - I still have both corn and flour tortillas in the fridge. I need to add sour cream to the grocery list. We used up what we had.
     
  13. KmmCo

    KmmCo Well-Known Member Trader Group

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    Spent $33 at the store - but some of it was to take on my trip. I found some hamburger in the tubes for $1 a pound. I got my limit 3 and made sloppy joes for lunch. I also found a couple of 24 oz chicken breast fillet packages for $3.50 and snagged them for the freezer. The rest of the stuff was just little odds and ends...
    I am finding it hard to shop while trying to stay 6 ft away from people - seems like if I want to look at something there is somebody trying to get in the same spot - so it feels like it takes twice as long to shop. The store is pretty well stocked though with a few little things that are still missing.

    Tonight I will make a batch of chili using some hamburger and chili beans. It will make enough to give some leftovers for later this week.

    I am going back to work tomorrow for just the one day (it is my normal Friday). I will find out how much they are going to let us work the rest of the month, but I suspect not much as there really is nothing to do anyway.... It is good to be getting paid my normal salary, but I feel kind of wierd about collecting money and not working....
     
  14. jastwins

    jastwins ※Kaboom!・:・:・゜ Trader Group

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    @KmmCo, I am glad we think the same way. I do go into work everyday and am getting paid my fully regular salary. However, there are 2 people in the same position as me and other teacher's aides that have not shown up at all. Granted, there should be more communication about when and where to show up, but still, it is just me and one other person helping out with daycare. I am now the only other person helping the lunch ladies pack up the meals to be delivered. My coworker is still not back and I hope her health is good. When I texted her, she said she was fine. The people that do not come in check into the meeting with the superintendent when they are scheduled, but that is a about it. I feel guilty about not putting in all my hours and getting paid, but it obviously does not bother other people. There are only about 10 people in each day and thankfully we are all healthy. Let's hope it stays that way.

    On another note, we are taking our taxes to another accountant and have told the new guy that we will not be filing our taxes with them. Several things led us to make this change. The CPA we used really did not spend enough time with us and never asked any questions. He passed our taxes on to someone else and that person asked us one question. We picked up our taxes Saturday and when we got to the door, we were told to wait and a hand popped out the door with our return. We went to the truck to look at them and were dismayed to find out we owe big time, yet again. When I called the person to question several things, she was not helpful and told us to go home and look at it. As we were in the truck, I saw a retired colleague of mine from the school, knock on the door and go into the office. These people were recommended to us and I thought it would be a good fit, but obviously not. When I explained our reasons for not filing, he admitted he was busy with other clients, who wanted information for the SBA loan due to covid 19 messing up their business. Nice to know you are not important and at the bottom of the totem pole. Another huge sign ( I really do believe in signs) was the note on the door the day we arrived. The business owner had passed away 2 weeks before and the business was being sold to one of her colleagues, aka our guy. If it were not for a scheduled appointment I made in January, I would have turned around and gone back home.
     
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  15. KmmCo

    KmmCo Well-Known Member Trader Group

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    Because there were only a few of us at work yesterday, I actually got to do a little real work. The day went by pretty fast. I sat with carpooler at lunch watching the news and talking. We did not really run fast for the parking lot after work like a normal Friday.... I think everyone is feeling the isolation and wants to be more social when we get a chance....

    We also found out someone at the workplace died last week (possibly not Covid related as he had cancer and heart problems both. The last time I saw him a couple of months ago, he did not look good at all...)

    A total of 14 coworkers at our facility (out of approximately 700 total) had covid so far and all are still in quarantine/ or stay at home status. Everyone else seems healthy so far. We are still on limited duty as there is just not enough work for us. My next work day is in two weeks on 4/29 and I am on callback status on 4/28 so I have the next 12 days off for sure. I had cancelled vacation next week anyway, but will still get it off with Safety Leave base pay so that is kind of nice. I got a feeling that this will continue thru May. Hoping that when I get to Alaska that they have more work and I don't sit around in my apartment quite as much. By June I would think that a little more would be up and running in this country. At least one could hope....

    *I had a bowl of chili for my sack lunch yesterday with the last of some tortilla chips crushed up for a topping. DS and I shared a frozen pizza for dinner last night after I got home.

    *Today, I am baking the last of the potatoes from a bag I bought a couple of weeks ago. I will set out stuff for us to do a baked potato bar - chili, cheese, onion, sour cream, etc. and maybe a little salad on the side. This is a bit of a clean out the fridge effort before I cook any more food....

    *Dinner tonight is pork chops. I might do a little diced potato fried up in oil - from the leftover baked potatoes - as one side. Veggie will have to be canned green beans or corn as that is pretty much all that is left in the house other than cold salad stuff. (I still have spinach, but I eat it as salad because I am not a fan of cooked spinach unless it in something like a pasta dish.)

    *I have a cake mix out that I will make either tonight or tomorrow - that will be our desserts for a few days.

    DH got a groupon deal for Sams club, so maybe we will get out tomorrow and go there instead of doing Costco soon. I need to see if I can get more meat and definitely need to do some other veggies - either fresh or frozen. Costco and Sam's are both pretty close together on the same main street, so neither one is out of the way even if we do go to both.... I am still a lot under budget for groceries, but I can't believe how fast the food is disappearing around here with nobody eating out.

    Projects for today: laundry - two loads to wash and dry, dishes - one started and another needed after lunch. Youtube video bloggers that I follow already watched today. I need to find something else to fill my afternoon - maybe some office cleaning again as I feel like I still got stuff that I can get tossed out in there....

    We got a big snow overnight last night and it is still coming down, so I am staying inside on purpose today! That more so than the social isolation keeps me in...... No walks around the block today for sure....
     
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  16. Gardencook

    Gardencook Well-Known Member Trader Group

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    We got the snow shortly before @KmmCo got it yesterday. It snowed all afternoon and we had quite a few inches piled up by early evening.

    It has been warm and sunny today so most of it has melted off, but DH left the car windows open a crack since it has been too warm in the car lately. The snow came through the windows and we both had ice on the electronic window and door controls when we got in the car today. UGH! We haven't needed the scrapers for a while now, so DH had to do some digging to get the big pile of snow off the windows before we could leave the driveway. My door was frozen shut and I had quite a tug-o-war getting it open.

    Did a little shopping today -- the first for me since the COVID-19 crisis began. DH has been doing all the shopping after I got sick at the beginning of it and was prone to coughing jags for weeks on end. We REALLY needed to get some things I knew he wouldn't have a clue how to purchase.

    He was right. Shopping is almost an surreal experience now -- especially when the bandana on your face makes you feel like you're about ready to pull off a bank heist. DH has been commenting that he didn't realize how many times he puts his fingers near his mouth until he started wearing a mask. My biggest discovery today was that I didn't realize how often I rely on a smile to convey my emotions instead of using words. Clerks would speak to me, I would smile and then realize they probably thought I was ignoring them, because they couldn't see a smile through a bandana mask! :p

    We hit our small grocery first and came up with quite a few markdowns -- just not the items we went in for. Big Lots sent a 20 percent off coupon that was going to expire Sunday and we went to a store we rarely shop to pick up items we couldn't find at either of the other stores. We were hoping to find some bulk items there since it has a nice bulk section, but panic buying has left many, many bulk bins empty.

    We got a lot of meat markdowns between two of the stores, so are pretty well set on groceries for a while again. Picked up three packs of 93 percent lean ground turkey, three packs of turkey taco meat and nice small pack of stew beef which was hard to resist.

    We got some really good markdown prices on crackers which we were grateful for since we were completely out. We got five boxes of whole grain saltines (not our favorite brand, but the price was right), three boxes of reduced-fat Ritz and a large box of whole grain Ritz, as well.

    We also found some markdown organic sour cream, yogurt, brownies and Nathan's Hot Dogs. Unfortunately, the store where we get the nice whole wheat hot dog buns was out, so you still get what you can get when you can get it.

    We picked up quite a bit of fresh produce again and also some luncheon meat -- another thing we were out of.

    At least Big Lots had a lot of toilet paper and water in stock -- even though we didn't buy any. There is one full aisle less in our store devoted to food, however. They've got a lot smaller selection following the panic.

    They had some nice large bottles of ammonia before the panic hit and I planned to buy one. Kicking myself now that the shelves are cleared of the stuff. It is about the only cleaner that will cut through the grease on our range hood filter. We've got a lot of window cleaner, so may have to go with that if I can't find a partial bottle of ammonia lost in the back of my cleaning cupboard. Ammonia is a lot cheaper than window cleaner, even though there is a lot of ammonia in Windex.

    Went to the last store for yeast, but the bulk bins were bare. We were grateful to see a case of SAF instant yeast near where the yeast should have been so they were obviously tired to being asked. SAF isn't sold at our regular stores but is a LOT cheaper than Red Star and Fleishman's. That store is also a LOT cheaper on aluminum-free baking powder.

    Since I'd just purchased plain ground turkey at the previous store and the last store sells some produce items like bean sprouts which our regular store doesn't sell, I picked up ingredients to make egg rolls out of one of the packages of ground turkey. I always talk myself out of making egg rolls because I've got to make a special trip for things like beans sprouts, so I figured we might as well kill two birds with one stone.

    Customers in the last store were driving me CRAZY. That is the store enforcing social distancing the sternest, but how can you "social distance" when everyone leaves their cart in the middle of the aisle blocking it, while they desert their carts running off after anything and everything?

    We came home, cooked up the taco meat and put it in smaller packages so we've now got that in the freezer ready for quick meals. We've got sauteed veggies cooling on the stove that will go into a turkey meatloaf for tomorrow night's dinner.

    Think the egg rolls will wait until tomorrow, because I'm out of shape after not leaving the house in weeks and I'm bushed!
     
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  17. KmmCo

    KmmCo Well-Known Member Trader Group

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    @Gardencook - Yes, I agree that shopping is now a surreal experience. I am mentally bracing for a trip out of the house this afternoon.... I think I need more caffiene and sugar to handle that!

    I felt like yesterday was productive as I did all my normal Thursday chores at home. I will do the shopping today. The weather is supposed to get nice Sat and Sunday so maybe I can get outside and enjoy it. Hopefully the snow will melt fast now that the sun is out again....
     
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  18. jastwins

    jastwins ※Kaboom!・:・:・゜ Trader Group

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    I agree with you @Gardencook that shopping is no longer what it used to be. My co-workers thought I was nuts to go to 4 stores yesterday, but I had to get veggies and was in search of the elusive container of wipes that I did not find anywhere. I found good deals on vegan options for D3 and she was thrilled. It helped that I went earlier in the day and not in the evening since the stores were not wiped out on some shelves. My first stop was Big Lots and I should have bought more items there since the next three stores I went to did not have exactly what I wanted. You cannot get the exact flavor or brand of what you want and have to settle or not purchase it. Big lots would not let you use your own bags and I did not get that at first but figured it out at the register.
    Our new tax accountant was able to help us and had better tips for us. Something we do every year is rent out dock space at our other house. The new accountant set up a partnership and it is now a write-off. No other accountant ever told us to do this. This new accountant's advice came a cost of $1100 but the refund we are getting back this year will wipe out our debt from last year when we owed on the federal return. It is a relief that we are not owing as much as we did on last year's taxes. If we did not seek out a business accountant, recommended by my husband's friend who is self-employed, we just would have paid the government even more money.

    We are still not going back to school until May 15 and in my opinion, it is not likely that we will go back this year at all. I hope I am wrong, but it seems that is what some people at work are saying. Time will tell.
     
    Sherri1480, Gardencook and jcdamomma like this.
  19. Gardencook

    Gardencook Well-Known Member Trader Group

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    I suppose it might be different in your area since you are required to supply your own bags, but all of our stores quit allowing reusable bags as soon as the COVID-19 crisis hit @jastwins.

    I've always had qualms about putting produce in the same bag you've previously used for meat -- especially when so few of them are washable. I'm not a fan of the laws some cities/states are putting into effect. I hope they rethink those laws following all this, but that's probably too much to hope for.

    Well, first the good news. Yesterday we got a refund check in the mail from our insurance company for $241.

    Of course, there are always enough shadows to swallow up the rays of sunshine that manage to peek through. This week has NOT been frugal!

    Where do I begin?

    Don't know whether to blame DH or the cheap Chinese junk they are selling us these days, but I thought I had plenty of small appliances stockpiled for emergencies. However, DH has now gone through one or two toasters and three coffee makers in the past couple months! When I discovered he needed another coffee maker today I just about hit the ceiling.

    Thankfully, when I looked online I saw that our Walmart store had one -- and only one -- brand that was the right size in stock at our local store.

    The Microsoft Cumulative Updates for February and March were DISASTERS and we've been on the phone with Microsoft for literally HOURS the past several weeks while technicians only made things worse. Then they wrote and informed me they had closed my case!

    Of course, they downloaded another update after that that froze up my computer entirely and we had no choice but to turn to a local technician to untangle the mess.

    It has taken him quite awhile to get the diagnostics done, because he said there were 15 computers ahead of mine -- ALL with problems caused by recent Microsoft updates. He said they're swamped with work, because everyone is working from home and having Microsoft problems. :mad:

    Today we got the news that we are probably "only" going to have to pay $80 for him to clean up the mess Microsoft created. I honestly feared another computer had bit the dust, but that is still $80 in damage Microsoft won't admit it caused.

    Then, we have slow Internet in this part of the country -- which is common knowledge. However, our other options require us to purchase pay t.v. and even the phone company is trying to force us down that route.

    Somewhere along the way, the phone company decided we had to move our modem to the basement, because that is where the wiring enters the house and it takes longer to get upstairs to the dining room where the modem was originally installed. Up until now, we've been able to do pretty much everything we needed to on the Internet, so we've survived.

    Enter COVID-19. With everyone home from work or working from home, the Internet is now overloaded and it isn't working well. DH's computer keeps disconnecting from the Internet and the sound quality is really poor on his conference calls. We can't get Roku in our bedroom at all any longer. It is now a dead zone, when it wasn't before COVID-19 and the slow internet could be compounding the update problems. I am NOT a computer technician, but it seems like you've got to be one to survive any longer!

    Late, the night before last I stumbled on an article about a Net Mesh system that got really high ratings on CNET and is supposed to solve the dead zone problem and strengthen signals throughout your house. The basic system was only $129 at Walmart -- which is the only store that sells the scaled down version -- but of course, as happens with virtually ANYTHING we want at Walmart, all the other stores in the region had them in stock. It was only OUR store that didn't have any, and we're under a stay-at-home order.

    We tried to decide whether driving a half hour to a neighboring city for a pick-up order would violate the rules -- or whether the thing would be too complicated to install or would even work. You've got to set it up with a phone app and DH isn't really up to speed on the new phone yet. He hasn't had time!

    We read reports they were stopping out-of-towners in neighboring cities at the beginning of all this. We concluded it was essential travel and we'd stay in the car and just drive to the neighboring city's Walmart and back.

    I got online to order it and literally while I was looking at the page, the one remaining system they had in that store was sold right out from under us! And by a short while later there were none at any stores in the region -- except the store two hours away by the hotbed of COVID-19 for the state -- not a place we care to travel right now.

    I checked the Internet and we could buy a system with an additional "satellite" from QVC for about $80 more, but then we'd have to wait on shipping. Amazon had the same system for $20 more.

    I checked our one remaining office supply store and it had the more expensive system in stock for the same price as Amazon, but of course, if it didn't work returns aren't nearly as easy as Walmart. Then when DH tried to call and ask about it, the salesman tried to talk him into a net extender, which was cheaper, but we couldn't for the life of us figure out how it was going to work in our hallway with the weird antennas that were going to hang out. :confused: And the store has shorter hours during the crisis, so he couldn't get it then anyway.

    Then Microsoft nearly destroyed DH's computer with yet ANOTHER update both last night and this morning. In the process it corrupted his Google Chrome browser, but not-so-coincidentally left the Microsoft Edge Browser intact. (He had to uninstall and reinstall Google Chrome to get it working again after we couldn't do anything with the computer for a couple hours this morning!)

    We decided we'd better make SOME move on strengthening our Internet connection.

    I quickly discovered that there are apparently no $129 net mesh systems left at Walmart anywhere in the nation! Apparently we aren't the only ones having problems, because the system is no longer shown on the site. They do have the $229 system shown and we could have paid with gift cards, but again there is the delivery problem. We've got the problem now. Can we wait a week or two?

    Amazon has actually lowered the price on the system, so that it is about the same price as QVC after delivery. We had gift cards to pay that, but when I went to order I learned Amazon has NO IDEA when they can deliver. Since it isn't considered a "priority" item, they were going to put us at the bottom of the list and would ship it whenever they got around to it after items they considered a "priority."

    Thankfully, our office supply store still had the more expensive one in stock and a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. We bit the bullet and paid a much higher price for an item that may or may not work and will be a pain -- if not impossible -- to return if it doesn't. :(
     
  20. KmmCo

    KmmCo Well-Known Member Trader Group

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    My internet is not good either and even my cell phone keeps going to emergency calls only status as the network is overloaded....

    *We got some chicken tenderloin at Sam's. I froze some, but keep one package out for today. I did something different and made a pasta salad (suddenly salad). I did the chicken with some Island Grill marinade and put it over some rice. It was the closest I could get to L&L Hawaian BBQ restaurant. :) I added a few red grapes to my plate to balance out the many carbs. There is a lot of pasta salad left, so we can have some of that tomorrow too....

    Last night I just snacked on "junk" and didn't really have dinner. I am not sure what the guys grabbed out of the fridge.

    Since Sams was out of boneless pork, I skipped that and mostly got a lot of veggies. Costco had a line up outside, so I did not even try to go there. DH went back to Sams at opening this morning and got some pork to put in the freezer. I think he picked up some ground beef too. Pantry is in better shape than it was a few weeks ago since I have been gradually restocking stuff that we used up. I don't think I need to go to the store any more this month!

    *Dinner will probably be burritos with ground beef and some of the pinto beans I cooked the other day. There is still one extra container of beans that can go into the freezer for later. The shredded lettuce looked bad at Sams, so I grabbed the iceburg salad with the carrots and purple cabbage. If anyone wants tacos, they can use that lettuce. I have about half a package of taco shells left and some corn tortillas in the fridge that could be used for tostadas. Plenty of flour tortillas in the fridge - that is something that is always in there along with cheese and salsa.

    *Last month was about $350 under budget thanks to less gas, eating out, and misc spend. This month should come in even better. Stay at home has done good for my budget.

    *I got my stimulus check and will save it until the ferry bill needs paid. I am looking and the no penalty refund period was extended to May 11. If the Canadian border opens by then I will do the drive I originally planned and cancel the ferry ticket - saving a lot of money that way....:rolleyes:

    Afternoon projects - vaccum pack the meat. Go for walk now that the weather is nicer. Run the dishwasher yet again.:eek: Check for new youtube videos. (I spent the morning productively rearranging the dish cupboard in the kitchen. Also just to get out of the house, I rode in the car to the bank so DH could get a little cash out the ATM since he got paid today.) That is about the excitement around here.....
     
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