Frugal Living - Challenge 2021 Daily Frugal challenge


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*Sold one item on facebook market for $15 this morning. I got 7 more things listed today, but no bites yet on them.

I ended up doing the slider burgers last night from one hamburger patty. Today I used 2 patties and made taco meat for lunch. I have one more patty that I can use for dinner, or else I can just throw it in the freezer for later.

My "big project" today was to go wash my van at the car wash. I didn't do a super good job, but I got the majority of dirt sprayed off so that my clothes won't get dirty getting into the vehicle. I know it won't stay nice for long anyway with all the muddy water puddle around right now. I also cleaned the stepstool that was in the van at the same time.

I am going to get out for a little walk this afternoon. I might run into the store for some sliced cheese if I get really enthused. I am just hanging at the apartment otherwise and trying to rest/relax before going back to work tomorrow.


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We've been doing more shopping than usual the past couple weeks. Had some good coupons to team with the mega sale and trying to find some of the items in stock was not easy, however, we finally managed to find the major items we wanted to on the sale. I wasn't too worried about the extra trips to the store, because the next cycle will be two weeks of 5x coupons -- which don't amount to much since Covid hit. Apparently customers can use manufacturer coupons with them in some parts of the country, but I don't think we can here -- too many beeps to try.

That will be a good excuse to use what we have on hand rather than buying a bunch of stuff at less than stellar prices.

I really doubt the discount grocery will have much either, since he's been having his big sales to clear the shelves. However, that probably means he's getting another shipment of stock in, so who knows? The last couple weeks most of his new merchandise has been frozen foods in BIG packages that don't fit our freezer, Pepsi products and a BIG shipment of Little Debbie snacks -- none of which we needed.

Over the past couple weeks we've been able to stock up on Lipton green tea and green tea with mint for 49 cents a box after mega sale and coupon and got a few boxes of Tazo for $1.49. For once I finally had the treasured tear pad coupons that I rarely see and they also gave us a digital coupon good on two part way through the sale. I wanted to send some of the Lipton coupons to an HCW friend, but the short expirations got away from me and when I sat down to mail the other day I realized they probably wouldn't get there in time. :(

Also got to try the Barber Chicken everyone here at HCW used to want coupons for. On the rare occasion when I had a coupon during the years you could get them, our stores never stocked them. They were $2.49 on mega sale and I didn't think that was a bad price for two chicken breasts even though I didn't have a coupon. Basically, I needed filler items, because the tea coupons were limit 2 per transaction and you had to buy five on the mega sale.

We were able to get rolls of turkey breakfast sausage for $1.19 on mega sale without coupon, as well -- and they were actually in stock for a change. That was a BIG shock. One of those is going into soup for tonight's dinner.

It took most of the sale, but we were finally able to find two 8-packs of Yoplait in stock today to use our $1.50/2 insert coupon. With the mega sale, those came down to $2.24 each.

Today we got coupons for All Laundry Detergent and Snuggle in the inserts and those are mega sale items, as well -- 99 cents after sale and coupon.

In addition to that, we found markdown whole grain mini naan bread packs today, so snapped those up. They also had a mixed bag of zucchini and cucumbers and a couple bags with about six kiwi each. They were $1.00 each.


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After saying I was not working OT this week, I got talked into eiight hours today. It is supposed to be "easy". I am sitting in a room babysitting some guys installing some new equipment. Basically i am supposed to see that they are working on what they are supposed to and not getting into stuff they are not supposed to be touching. Boss said bring a book to read. Everyone else who had done this the last couple of weeks said it is boring.... The installers will be too busy to even talk with.....


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My OT got cut to 4 hours, but I was glad to get home earlier. I still have 4 hours last week and the 4 hours this week going on my May 1 paycheck. I am getting tired of working so much and am reluctant to sign up for OT next week even though it is available.

I am going to go to bed earlier than normal because I got a lady stopping by early tomorrow to buy a lamp. A few items are going out the door.... I am tired anyway tonight. I think I had a bit of a stressful week for some reason and just need a little extra rest.

I made some burger sliders again for dinner. I still got a few buns leftover that I will figure out something to do with. No plans for meals yet for tomorrow. I think I might do some spaghetti and salad for dinner but I might change my mind by then.

The sink is full of dirty dishes and I am not even doing them until morning. No motivation at all tonight. I have one load of laundry to do tomorrow too. Since I will be up early in the morning anyway, I guess I will get it all done then....


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We've needed to do some shopping out of town for a while, but we've been trying to time things properly to save gas -- which DH was able to get using the 70 cent per gallon discount we earned last month.

I'm exhausted tonight, because all together we made 10 stops -- a bit more exercise than we've been getting for the past year during Covid.

Our first stop was a small independent grocery that has a great spring plant nursery.

I called early last week and the plants I wanted hadn't yet arrived. The clerk told me that they would probably be in within a week or two, so we waited until later in this week. That was a mistake, because they seemed to be nearly wiped out by the time we got there today. He who hesitates is lost, I guess, but didn't want to drive all the way there to find the plants still hadn't come in.

We were able to get a very few herb plants and some greens. Their prices are so good there that I always like to make a trip once a year. The small four-packs of greens had myriads more than one plant in each section, so to get an early start it was worthwhile. We'll also plant seed, but were still getting snow last week, so haven't gotten motivated. They only had four small herb plants left so had lowered the price. We got two packs of green, leaf fennel and a pot with a celeriac plant (which I've never grown) for 99 cents each. I also got a larger pot of green and one of purple ruffles basil for $1.49 or $1.59 each -- to hold us over until some can sprout from seed.

We stopped at a rest area off the freeway. DH is still a journalist -- even though he is supposedly retired. He wanted to get photos of the huge fire they can't get under control and that rest area was about the only place to do it from the freeway. He posted some of them to social media when we got home.

I wanted to make a lot of stops and had a very short window to do it in -- especially after it took at least a half hour to shoot photos -- but we did learn that that particular rest area now has a really nice, paved hiking trail through the lava rocks which we had no idea existed, so it was a worthwhile stop.

After that, the stores we hit were quick runs in and out to grab some bargains before hitting the next stop.

The first store we got a deal on markdown naan bread. We found a couple nice salads on markdown and a few fruits. Unfortunately, the blueberries from the ad that we went in for had never arrived at the store. Apparently, the frost of the past weeks hit the berry crops pretty hard and there is now a shortage of all berries, not just blueberries.

Next stop on the route was a thrift store where we found the small digital alarm clock I'm hoping to use for travel. We've got some plans in the works, but due to Covid are trying harder than ever to find places we can cook at least some of our meals. A couple of the places we've found don't appear to have alarm clocks and I like a lighted one I can see in the night. We found one for $1.99. DH tested it and it seems to work perfectly. Also found a very small whisk broom and pan that looked like it would be handy to take care of crumbs from our cooking for 99 cents.

That store gives a 10 percent senior discount, so we got out of there for less than $3 after tax.

We stopped at Natural Grocers next since we don't have one here. An HCW friend gifted us some great coupons we can use on salmon patties there, so we always try to stop in for some when we're in town. Got two nice salmon and veggie patties for $1.49 total after coupon and a free bag to put it and our other purchases in since it was Earth Day and we are loyalty members.

Next stop was Big Lots where we found some good deals on a clearance rack right as we entered the store. Biggest finds there were two quarts of Pacific Organic Beef Broth marked down to 25 cents each. We also got a box of Triscuits that are supposed to work on an SB offer, but we'll see. I've never seen one good at that store before, but it is listed as a permissible store. Had to send in a ticket on the ground chicken I got the other day, but did eventually get it.

The next stop was a discount store -- actually two discount stores that recently merged into one and moved into a building when a large craft store closed its doors.

We got three brand new men's Kirkland shirts for $3.49 each. Tried to talk DH into more, but he didn't want them because they only had two styles. He is really hard on shirts and we can't even get them used for that price. Virtually all the department stores here have closed and when we tried to find some at Penny's a few years ago they wanted $65 each for them! I REALLY don't want to have to mail order for them, because last time we tried the description and photos claimed they had pockets and they came without them. What a hassle!

We also picked up granola bars for 70 cents a box and three cans of sustainable sardines for $1 each as well as a delicious brand of local nine-grain bread that they carry for $1.69. Can't really buy more without freezer space, because it doesn't have a lot of preservatives and molds too quickly.

They had some Bob's Red Mill Oatmeal cups for 50 cents each -- not a steal of a deal, but I figured the cups would work better than the instant pouches in a motel room with nothing more than a microwave and mini-fridge.

They honestly didn't have that many groceries that thrilled me today. Their prices seemed higher than in the past. I used to be envious of that store, because it partnered with our discount grocery and split loads of groceries. I'd sometimes buy things here and then find the exact items cheaper there, but not anymore. Seems like our store is beating them on grocery prices and selection these days.

They had a bunch of racks of clearance clothing for really good prices which they've been sending me emails about as they lowered prices. I thought I'd found a nice heavy winter coat for myself for $7.99, but they kind of pulled a bait-and-switch at the register and claimed it wasn't on clearance and was actually $24.99, so I told them I didn't want it. It still wasn't a bad price, but they didn't have a mirror and I didn't quite trust DH's judgment when he claimed it looked good.

It was really too heavy for the winters we've been having for the past 10 or 15 years, but I keep dreading the days when the bad winters we had the first 10 or 12 years I lived here return. My heavy wool coats were pretty well shot by the end of that long siege, but I haven't needed heavy coats for many years now. Next time those extreme temperatures roll around, we'll probably just opt to stay home anyway, rather than drive around in blizzards like we were forced to those years.

Our next stop was Kohl's. I knew it was open later than other stores, but I was trying to make a loop rather than waste gas.

We don't have a Kohl's here and with Covid haven't shopped there in a very long time. Guess they wanted me back and sent $5 in Kohl's cash the other day -- along with a promo code for 15 percent off. Since I knew the dressing rooms were closed, I honestly didn't want to spend much there, even though we had gift cards to cover any purchases. The thought of either eating the cost or having to drive all the way back there for any returns was a big deterrent from purchasing much. I figured if we could find something around $10, it would be cheap enough I didn't have to worry if it didn't fit. I learned at the register that they are offering a six-month return policy now, so I guess it wasn't quite as bad as I feared.

I agree with @jastwins on her assessment of the changes in the ladies department at Kohl's in recent months. I wasn't impressed with what they had in my size. Nothing close to anything that was my style and the only top I kind of liked was about $36 -- far more than I wanted to pay for a glorified t-shirt.

They had a couple long evening gowns left over from the holidays -- not that I have anywhere to wear a gown these days. I couldn't even understand one of them. The main part of the "dress" was made from a luxurious shiny tapestry fabric and ended somewhere below the knee. Then there was what looked like a sheer "slip" hanging down to make it floor length. The "slip" did have a fancy border on it, so it was apparently meant to be that way. Guess I'm getting to be an old lady, but to me it just looked like a disastrous "wardrobe malfunction," rather than the elegant gown it was meant to be.

Looked at some soft-sided coolers, but knew I could probably find what I needed at at thrift store for MUCH less. The one they had was bigger than I wanted anyway. They also had some pillow covers on clearance which were less than exciting. We finally worked our way around to the men's department where I found a pair of Dockers slacks in DH's size on clearance for $9.20. Still had a tough time talking DH into buying anything new. :rolleyes:

With the offers we paid $3.87 total with tax for a $62 pair of slacks. DH was stunned and still pulled his wallet, even though I'd explained repeatedly that a purchase of about $10 would cost very little and nothing OOP with our gift cards. I was standing there holding the card when he pulled out his wallet.

From there we traveled to another thrift store -- the one I figured would have the best prices. It was frustrating to barely get through the doors and hear an announcement over the intercom that the store was closing in 10 minutes. It used to have much longer hours than that, but apparently due to Covid they have cut way back.

When the announcement came I had just found a soft-sided cooler the size I wanted, but couldn't find a price tag. I tossed the cooler in the cart figuring we'd straighten it out at the register. Then rushed to the small kitchen appliances to find EXACTLY the small skillet I was looking for marked $3. Years ago, Westbend made a very practical Crockpot/Skillet combo. The bottom was a skillet which was topped by a metal, oven-safe rectangular pot and the lid was a rectangular casserole dish.

I got one for hosting a Tupperware party before I was married and then got another as a wedding present. The base of the one lost the temperature gauge, but the other was still good. I just didn't want to ruin mine hauling it around for travel.

All we needed was the small skillet on the bottom to prepare something like scrambled eggs while traveling. I didn't need the pot on the top, because I've already got two of them -- in two different sizes. Can't imagine how thrilled I was to find the skillet -- with cord attached -- without having to buy another pot along with it. And when we tested it, the skillet fit perfectly inside the cooler -- which is exactly what I had in mind.

Just as we pulled the cart to the register, I finally located the price tag on the cooler. It was all crumpled up on the side, but the clerk agreed that was the price. We were really surprised to find it was only $1, so for $4 total we now have a small electric skillet and carrier. I bought a very small bottle of olive oil at the discount store a short while back -- with travel in mind -- and it will be the perfect size for the carrier. Now I'll just have to find a small spatula or spoon -- I think I've got one in the kitchen -- as well as, adding some plastic cutlery, napkins and a couple microwave-safe bowls. I've got a big stack of Corelle Ware ones in the cupboard. I'll just have to figure out which ones match our dishes the least. (We broke the ones that went with our set years ago and could never find matching ones, so I've picked up plain white as well as some with a stripe that doesn't match our dishes, second-hand through the years.)

By then DH was getting hungry and the last stop I wanted to make was a garden center several miles away on the way out of town. Even though I was afraid the garden center would be closed by the time we finished eating, it didn't make any sense to drive over there, drive back to the restaurant where we had a B1G1 coupon and then drive BACK past the nursery again on our way home. We were right in the vicinity of the restaurant.

We had a nice meal, but mine was too large and I had to bring part of it home. I thought perhaps it would make a nice lunch for DH tomorrow, but even though I'm still stuffed from dinner, DH got hungry, asked if I wanted it and finished it off a few minutes ago.

Our last stop was the garden center and thankfully, they've already switched to their expanded summer hours so we got the chance to shop. Unfortunately, they didn't have the small four-packs of Asian greens I've gotten there in the past. It is a little too early in the season and they may or may not get them in a week or two. It is too long a drive for a few plants, so unless something huge arises, we won't be returning for them -- especially since transportation costs have driven up prices and they are now charging $3.29 for a small four pack -about twice what we paid at the earlier garden center. The basil plants we'd bought earlier were $4.99 there. OUCH! However, that and the blueberries were about the only disappointments of our drive -- and when we pulled back into town, DH needed to run into our store and it had the blueberries so we were able to get them here!

I'd say we had a very productive and still very frugal day.
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Okay, I got up early and the lady didn't show up for the lamp. I relisted it as available. Third time is a charm right? I did sell my patio chair to someone else and am waiting for another person to come by for another item in about 45 minutes.

I got my laundry done, dishes caught up, and paid one bill. I also did a spring painting to hang up. I pulled a winter one down and packed it away in a storage box to take home. The only errand I had was to go to the bank for laundry quarters as I like to keep ahead on them.....

I did stop at Goodwill on the way home and bought some paint tubes in a bag for $2.69 . There were two full ones and 2 that were about 3/4 full. These cost about $3 each at Micheals, so I got a pretty good deal for that. I looked at the cookbooks and just didn't find any that I wanted today.

Lunch ended up being a bean and cheese burrito with a little salsa on it. Still not sure about dinner.... Spaghetti is probably still under consideration though I might just end up doing a cold sandwich or something.


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We went to Big Lots to pick up our free spice jars today.

We also found three bags of potato chips on clearance and picked up some small cans of Dole Sliced Pineapple for $1 each. Realized when we went to make Hawaiian Chicken Burgers the other night that we only had chunks, tidbits and crushed, but those sounded messy on a burger bun.

As long as we were out we went to three thrift stores.

Found a couple nice bowls at the first one. They are Tupperware and microwavable. They look a bit like measuring cups with an open handle and a plastic lid with a vent to use in the microwave or they can be sealed for the fridge. Thought they looked better than the Corelle Ware for our travel bag, since they will stack inside each other to take up less space and they are plastic so we won't have to worry about breaking them. Meanwhile, the lids will supply refrigerator containers for restaurant leftovers if we need them.

Tried to find some cheap cutlery to go in the bag, but discovered that most of the stores were wiped out of decent forks. However, we did find one bag that had four soup spoons and a teaspoon that go with the set of cutlery I inherited from my mother. I've always loved her set so claimed it when my sister was ready to send it to a thrift store after her death.

I think I recall Mom getting them from a bank years ago when banks used to give away gifts, but I was such a young child at the time I could be mistaken. Now I've got a few more spoons to go with the set. Guess it was good timing to start putting together this travel bag when I did.

That store sells all its cutlery in bags with close to eight knives or spoons each -- again hardly any forks. I didn't need that many and didn't want to pay accordingly.

The bag had two tablespoons that didn't match, so we'll put those in the travel bag.

The stores did have nice butter knives, but hardly any forks, so I'll keep an eye out if we go in again. The one store charges 25 cents and the other 29 cents for cutlery, so it won't be a big investment and I won't be stuck buying a bunch of extra pieces when we don't need them.

Still trying to figure out if I can find a good option for mugs to go in the bag. I'd like something that stacks inside each other, but the open handled Corelle Ware cups are hard to drink out of and regular mugs take up space and could chip or break. Since many motel offices are closed and housekeeping doesn't come around any longer, I doubt a Styrofoam cup will last long being microwaved over and over again to heat water for DH's coffee.
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Pasta for dinner. I am using up a half box of ziti noodles. I made my own sauce with a small can of crushed tomato and a can of diced tomato that had garlic/basil seasoning. I added onion, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. It is pretty tasty. The slider buns are getting repurposed into garlic toast just to get rid of them....

Vegetarian is the theme today because I didn't thaw any meat. I need to figure out what to get out tonight to have for tomorrow.

I am going try to get outside for a bit again this evening. It stays light until about 1030 pm now and with weather around the 50's it is pleasant to be out..


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My outside adventure included rummaging thru a couple of curbside piles. I found a floor lamp and some fake flowers to make a nice spring arrangement with. I gotta stop by Michael's or Walmart to get some of that green floral foam though. I have the container to put the flowers in and some ribbon to add.

I know, I know - I am supposed to be getting rid of stuff..... I did sell a 3rd item this evening. I got rid of my office chair for the same amount that I bought it for. I am down to a folding chair and my camping chair, along with the barstools I dumpster dived the other day.... I am keeping the futon for last, because I know it will sell quickly. The bed will get listed at the end of May so that I only have to sleep on the futon for a few weeks at most.

I have $83 back of the original $400 in cash that I brought with me to buy stuff with. I am guessing that I will get to at least $250 before leaving town.


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Today, Crankie brought mail from our other house and I was happy to see that our second dental insurance sent us a reimbursement check for D2's surgery & anesthesia for the removal of her 4 wisdom teeth. They reimbursed me about 70% of the total I paid OOP and I was expecting about 50 %.
The check for $216 will cover what I owe on two hotel rooms for D2's college graduation. gave me a good rate on both rooms for 2 nights and I am paying for my parents and sister and me and Crankie. I put a deposit on both rooms and only owe half. I can cancel for a full refund up until 2 days before graduation that is the third week of May.
Today I purchased ferry tickets for both ferries used to get off my island. Residents get a discounted rate, but yes, we have to pay to get on and off my island. I used some settlement checks I was saving up for this purchase. From my last check I paid for ferry fares for me and Crankie to travel to New London, CT for d2's graduation in Worcester, MA. I need to move d2's college dorm stuff back home and one car will not be enough for all her stuff and all of us.
Our only other expense is dinner out for all of us.

D1 was finally given a graduation date and it is the second week of May. IT was such a relief to me that the twins did not graduate on the same day. However, while a limited amount of guests can attend d2's graduation, no guests can attend d1's graduation ceremony. D1 and I will drive up to her school and she will participate in the ceremony, take pictures and leave. We may go visit my sister to celebrate since she is an hour away and try to find a restaurant to have a meal. My sister used to pick up D1 from college and have her over on college breaks or weekends, so I would love to treat them.
Also on the agenda is picking up d3 from college during the second week of May. We decided to put her dorm stuff in a storage unit and it would just make my life easier. I do not know how much time I have to pick her up and take her home or to d1's graduation (timing of this is tricky), so this is weighing on my mind. I hope she figures out her finals schedule and lets me know
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My computer mouse died so i had to get another one. While I was in Best Buy I got a new phone charger cord as well since my old one is not working all the time. l also spent $13 at Micheals on misc stuff. Today is getting expensive already!

I am making another burrito for lunch. I found a little bit of taco meat that I am using up along with the cheese and beans. After lunch, i might just get lazy and take a nap in the sun.


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We purchased more bulk mulch yesterday and hauled it in our old pickup truck. It is much cheaper than buying bags. More work to put out but it's not too bad if we pace ourselves. Also got the pavers delivered today from Home Depot. We are going to do a patio under our sunroom later this summer and got the pavers for $.25 each during the spring sale--regular price was either $.56 or $.58 each. $79 to deliver but for two pallets of pavers it was worth it. We had the drive place them in front of garage door so we are still able to park in the driveway AND access the garage. And we are making the patio ourselves so even more savings. Splurged on Chinese food for dinner. It's a local Mom and Pop place and getting take out from there makes me feel like I am stimulating the local economy and getting good food that I didn't have to cook. Win win!


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Haven't been trekking across town the past couple weeks, because the sales weren't appealing enough to justify the gas and I'm trying to use up what we have in the freezer -- not drag more home. Apparently, the store noticed, so sent some really good email coupons this morning to pull me back in. We also had reward coupons from last month that were going to expire in a few days, so we didn't have much choice but to head over.

The two packs of boneless, skinless, seasoned chicken breasts and the two orange chicken frozen meals we got for almost free as well as the cheap whole wheat pasta we got were already mentioned on the free thread, so I won't go into that here.

We also picked up a couple dozen eggs for 99 cents each.

Even though it hurt, we bought four pounds of Darigold butter for $1.99 each. I saw on the Internet the chain was selling butter on the Coast for 99 cents each this week, but what can you do? We never see it for that price around here.

Didn't really have room for frozen vegetables, but it was hard to pass them up at 75 cents a bag after coupon, so we got the two necessary to get the savings -- a bag of chopped broccoli and one of mixed vegetables. We'll have to use those for meals this week due to storage needs.

We were also able to pick up four boxes of the Cracked Pepper and Olive Oil Triscuits I enjoyed so much a few weeks ago for $1.79 each. Turned out the organic ones were included, which I hadn't expected. They were actually the only ones that flavor I could find. Originally bought the non-organic ones at our regular store, but noticed on the mega sale they only had the large boxes of that flavor -- which rarely go on sale.

Could have gotten a really good deal on bonus rewards points had we purchased a bunch of paper products, but we really didn't need them and I'd only loaded those coupons in case we needed filler items to get us to $40. By the time we got the high value coupons used, our total only came to a little more than $20 and I couldn't see spending $20 more on paper products just to get some additional bonus points.


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Went to a few stores today for some odds and ends, but didn't need much so it wasn't a huge shop day.

The Goodwill ran a regional one-day Facebook coupon good for 50 percent off used merchandise and 25 percent off new merchandise so I figured it was a good day to pick up what we needed to fill out the very small travel/cook bag we're putting together for trips where we'll make nothing more than breakfasts/sandwiches/soup.

We weren't really finding the plates we wanted at thrift stores or Dollar Tree, so I settled for three square Corelle luncheon plates that are a little bulkier than I wanted, but they were only one dollar total for the three after the half off coupon -- and most important, they weren't too large to fit in the bag, nor too small to be worthless.

Couldn't find the mugs I wanted at any thrift store, but I have noticed the one store is charging $1.50 per mismatched mug now -- and it is usually the "cheap store." I found two today that didn't match, but did stack better than most to take up a tiny bit less room in the bag. They were 50 cents each after the discount so I figured we wouldn't do better. It isn't like we are setting a formal table and I knew disposable cups weren't going to work for DH's coffee.

The last time we visited my mother, he took a big mug out of our "kitchen box" even though the kitchen in our room had perfectly good ones in the cupboard. He liked ours because they were bigger. One of the mugs we got today is larger than the other, so I know who is going to end up grabbing that one. :D

The bags of cutlery were also half off so I settled for a bag with a set with two each -- wooden handled picnic forks and teaspoons along with a matching knife and a mismatched butter knife -- $1.00 total for the bag.

I originally planned to use plastic cutlery and paper plates, but the plasticware breaks so easily when traveling. We've got to bag up our own trash at one motel when we leave due to "Covid," so I didn't want too much garbage. We've got a very small bottle of dish soap from stays at hotels with kitchens and it is easy to just keep refilling it. Washing up the few dishes we'll use is much easier than broken plasticware and excess garbage. I even picked up an extra kitchen towel at Dollar Tree the other day figuring it could act as a pot holder, dish towel and padding to keep things from shifting around too much.

I rarely throw out the extra napkins we get when eating out and have been sticking them in an empty Kleenex box for several months now to keep them organized. Pulled out a stack of those the other night and stuck them in the bag, so we'll have mismatched napkins to go with it all anyway. At least those were free. ;)

I had hoped to find the tiny little shakers with salt and pepper in them they used to sell in grocery stores years ago -- but I'm reaching the conclusion they don't make them any longer. The thrift store had a bag with a BUNCH of shakers -- even though I only wanted the two tiny square ones. We've got plenty of spices here at home to fill them ourselves. I may even come up with something I want to put in the two small, but slightly larger round ones that came in the bag. Who knows?

In addition to those two sets there was a full-size shaker set -- quite a nice one at that -- as well as a shaker like they use for Parmesan cheese or red pepper in Pizza Parlors/Italian restaurants. The entire bag with all seven shakers cost $1.50 after discount.

After discount and sales tax we spent less than $5 at that store.

Didn't find anything we needed at the next thrift store, so left without spending any money.

The next store was the discount store owned by the grandfather of the guy who owns the discount grocery. They had some knives with plastic sheaths there quite a while back. Even though I suspected they no longer had any, I thought it was worth a look. I really like the small paring knives that dollar stores used to sell four to a pack, but I noticed the other day they've changed the knife design to one I cut my hands to pieces with. Beside that, knives are sharp when you are digging into a dark pocket for them!

I didn't find the knives they had in the past, but they did have some new stock of paring knives with sheaths that looked like they were decent quality and were only priced at 99 cents. We picked up one of those. I checked when we got home and I can buy one just like it on Amazon for $12 so the discount store came through with some nice savings again. The knife even gets some decent reviews from people who think $12 is a "good" price.

Then the other night I was thinking how nice it would be to have some restaurant packets of soy sauce to use with Asian greens if we get them on the road and are staying in a place with a kitchen. Since we don't get Chinese takeout, that is something we never get our hands on. However, when I checked out the limited amount of food that store sells these days, I found zipper sandwich bags with about 20 or 30 Kikkoman Low-Sodium Soy Sauce packets in them marked 29 cents! It didn't take long for one of those to go in our cart.

The other night I did notice we were about out of zipper sandwich bags and they had one lone box at the store for 99 cents so I grabbed that, as well, making our grand total at that store just over $2.

Our final stop was another thrift store where they give a 10 percent senior discount every Wednesday. Didn't come up with much there either -- except frustration due to ebay dealers blocking us at every turn -- they are QUITE aggressive in our neck of the woods. However, at the front of the store they did have brand new larger Farberware knives in sheaths. We needed a larger knife in case we happen to pick up a loaf of artisan bread that isn't sliced or something similar. The actual blade was decorated to look like a football -- something I'm sure @XUfan would love for her sports parties. ;)

I've checked on larger sheathed knives at department stores in the past (that aren't decorated for sports season) and knew they sell for at least $10, so snapped up one marked $2.99 -- $2.69 after discount. Checked at home and can get one just like it on ebay for $8.99 so I was correct on the price.

Aside from that we only found a brand new pusher for an old food mill which I own. That came to a little more than $1 after discount, making our total OOP at that store less than $4.

All together we spent about $10 today, but were able to check quite a few items from our list. Wish every shopping trip could be so successful.


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I am just hanging at the apartment waiting for the dishwasher to finish. The apartment lease emphasized not running the dishwasher unless you are home to watch over it.... No OT today for me! i did work an extra hour last night though. I really don't need the $ that bad but I didn't want to leave coworkers in a bind while it was still busy!

One of the guys at work said the sandhill cranes were migrating and that there were a bunch down at the shoreline the other day. I might go look today, but I bet they are gone by now.

I need to go to the store today for eggs. I want to do some baking this weekend and I am totally out of eggs. I will probably grab a box of cereal too. (I got a gallon of milk last weekend because it was on sale for almost as cheap as I have been paying for a half gallon.) Cereal makes a quick and easy breakfast before going to work and I used up all that I had this week.

I have some pasta left, but because I had it for 3 days at work I am not to keen on eating it again today. I guess I will have it for tomorrow for lunch. I have leftover pizza for lunch and will cook something fresh for dinner tonight. Breakfast today was just a couple of slices of toast with jelly. I very quickly straightened out my freezer this morning and did not get too inspired to cook with anything in there, so I might just do something like a BLT sandwich for dinner. I need to use up the loaf of bread soon anyway.

I flagged a couple of free online painting classes for May but I will see if I actually end up doing them. The weather is improving and getting outdoors is becoming a priority for me. I am going to clean out my van this weekend and get it set back up for camping. My vacation is coming up in 3 weeks and I want to be ready to go on Thursday afternoon.

My free entertainment this morning: Watching the street sweeper clean the parking lot. Most of the residents got there cars moved to the street, but there are still a half dozen that are kinda getting sandblasted in the process..... I guess this is a necessity here because there is so much fine gravel on the lot after the winter.


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I decided to splurge tomorrow. I scheduled a whale watch cruise for tomorrow afternoon ($90) out of Seward. good thing i worked that OT last pay period! It will be cold on the water, but a lot of fun. Gray whales are what we will be looking for as they migrate in from Hawaii..... I am guestimating about $30 worth of gas too for the trip down and back. These cruises are a little pricey, but I want to take advantage of being here to do these things that I can't do back in Colorado.

Lunch today ended up being a bean and cheese burrito instead of the pasta. I realized that I needed to use those refried beans up too. I got some chicken thighs out thawing for dinner (and sack lunch material). I will just warm up the pasta for dinner tomorrow night. I will need to take a sack lunch sandwich with me tomorrow. The cruise is from Noon to 4pm and does not include a meal.

I slept in today and barely woke up in time for a lady to come buy a little shelf I was selling. I am doing a good job of getting rid of stuff. Yesterday I got rid of the extra barstool that I had. So far I have $114 that can go toward summer camping fees. That might just cover most of my time in Washington State if I stick to the forest service campgrounds.

Yesterday was rainy most of the afternoon and evening, so I just stayed in and watched TV. I did go ahead and run my work uniforms in the laundry since I was just hanging out anyway. I did get to the store around the corner for my eggs, cereal, and a needed stick of deodorant. I just get the suave stuff and it was $1 at Fred Meyer, so not worth driving over to Walmart. Eggs were $3 for 18 count and cereal was Kroger brand (honey bunches of oats) for $2.50 . I would not have gotten anything much cheaper at Walmart.


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Most of today was spent trying to take care of a BUNCH of loose ends before the month ended.

Trying to get codes fed in for the Monopoly game was VERY time consuming, because Microsoft absconded with our computers for updates last week -- and made a HUGE mess. That required a day with Microsoft technical support which ended up doing absolutely nothing to fix the problems on my computer.

Then CenturyLink fouled up the Internet for nearly 20 hours rendering our computers absolutely worthless. It wasn't until DH waded through all the CenturyLink voice mail messes and tests, the computer finally told him it was "routine maintenance" and the Internet wouldn't be functioning normally till the next day. Nothing like NO warning.

CenturyLink no more than got back up when Microsoft started up its massive cumulative updates again and I couldn't enter codes for another full day or two! Trying to get anything done on our computers is like slogging through quicksand! I was still feeding in codes today before we headed to the same store and got more tickets for today's purchases. Then we had to rush home to enter them before going to other stores for fear they'd run out of cash prizes if we waited too long.

I've still got a bunch of codes I've got to enter to get our instant wins, but the first one I entered malfunctioned, so I'll have to call customer support on that next week!

DH has been fussing with "wizards" all week long trying to get his USB ports working again after Microsoft disconnected them with last week's updates. He finally took it into Walmart today to see if he needed new speakers. Turns out he's going to have to pay a technician to reconnect the USB ports, so he STILL won't have the speakers running by this weekend's conference call. :mad:

Meanwhile the charger on the phone we use for SB quit working, so he bought a new one while he was at Walmart.

After all that we went to our regular grocery store to pick up a few more items using coupons that were about to expire and managed to get ourselves up to the next fuel level. Got some special offers on gift cards earlier this month, and all together we built up a $1.00 per gallon fuel reward as well as an 80 cent one which we plan to use on an anniversary trip we'll be making next month.
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Okay, so I found out the gray whales come from Baja Mexico and the Humpbacks are the ones from Hawaii. Anyway, we sort of saw both.... The gray whales didn't really show themselves and we just saw a few blow their spout. The humpbacks were a little less shy and we got a couple of good views as they arched out of the water. The boat ride was fun anyway. This boat was a lot smaller than the one they take on the glacier tours. The captain got closer to shore with the smaller boat. I got some good pictures of Stellar sea lions and some nice shoreline scenery.

I took a sack lunch and was surprised that they handed out a basket of lunch as soon as we boarded. It was a chicken and lettuce wrap, potato chips, and a granola bar. I ate the wrap and the chips and threw the granola bar in my bag to bring home. They also gave out a chocolate chip cookie at the end of the trip. My sack lunch is back in the fridge at home and I will eat it for a meal at work this week.....

I have just enough time to run a load of my regular clothes in the washer/dryer.

* My gasoline was lower than normal of course and I scooted into the Costco pump right before they closed. $62 to fill it up.... Ouch!!!

*I spent $7 on a souvenir and a couple of postcards too. I am sending the postcards to my son just to torture him. A little frivolous spending, but I did work a bunch of OT the last couple of weeks.

I made a root beer float when I got home, just because I opened the root beer 2 liter tonight. I will make dinner in a bit after I get the laundry switched to the dryer. It is just a matter of reheating the pasta and sauce. I might do a baked pasta with some cheese just for something different. I have a little pepperoni so I could chop that and add it in.


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Not buying too much this week, since we used a bunch of coupons that were about to expire on Friday to get us to the next fuel level. We're eating the refrigerated/frozen entrees we got then for dinner each night to clear space in the fridge.

Today was a 10 percent discount day at our regular store, but I've been fighting a headache (ear infection) for days now. Probably not quite a week, but it seems like forever. It isn't a terrible one, just gets worse when I try to actually DO anything, which is every frustrating. These are the times when I really miss living in a humid climate, because the infection would clear in a day or two over there.

There weren't that many coupon items we needed at the store, so I whittled the list down, brought up pictures of items we'd purchased before on the computer and sent DH with a short list. He did pretty well and found everything on the list. Even got all that done before Microsoft shut my computer down for another of the numerous updates it does each day even though the technicians say that shouldn't be happening but can't find anything wrong with my computer.

We got store brand copies of Fritos for $1.34 after discount. I forgot to pick them up last month and DH loves corn chips.

We got a couple bags of gourmet baby/fingerling potatoes for $1.63 each -- normally $2.99.

We were out of Feta cheese and had a coupon for a single tub of crumbles, as well.

A box of instant brown rice was a decent price after coupon and discount and we bought another organic goat cheese and beet pizza. That was a bit of a splurge since it wasn't on sale, but we did have a coupon and the discount and I really enjoy that particular pizza.

Otherwise, I haven't been too exciting for days.

DH has been the one with a lot on his docket. He had the computer in to the technicians yesterday and his USB ports are gone. The fact that they worked fine before a big Microsoft update and didn't work afterward makes us highly suspicious.

The technicians advised him to just use a Bluetooth speaker, but he's spent two days trying to get the nice one we won at the discount grocery a few months ago working. Basically, you need a USB port to hook it into to get going and the fact that he no longer has one is why he is trying to get it to work. It is a Catch-22.

He asked me to leave my computer on this afternoon when I went back to bed with my headache so that he could charge the battery in the speaker, but still can't get it running. When that didn't work he took it to the technicians who said he should just buy a new one, but could try plugging it in overnight. He'll have the same problems with the next one if we buy it, because that's what usually happens. I am NOT impressed with the computer technicians in this town, but Microsoft is no help either.

Then he wasted about three hours this morning at the Department of Motor Vehicles trying to get an annual parks pass. The office claims to be "flooded" with customers due to COVID and apparently that is why it will no longer deal with ANY customers on Wednesday. Then if you are elderly and don't have a computer or cell phone to get text messages or download an app, you can't even get an appointment to get in! He had to text them at 7:45 this morning to get an appointment, since they wouldn't schedule one yesterday when they told him he couldn't get in. His appointment was for 10 a.m., but when he got there they didn't think they could get him in until 11:30 and he finally made it home after getting in close to 1 p.m.

Everyone must wait out on the sidewalk their appointments and then be ready hours after their appointed times or they loose their spot "in line." People waiting are pretty disgusted by it all. The program is a TOTAL disaster, but DH FINALLY got our parks pass. Our stores and restaurants are open, we haven't had real reported incidents of a bunch of clerks or wait staff being infected, but our government offices can't be "exposed" to people who are socially distanced and wearing masks -- even when conducting official business.

He did have time while he was "waiting" to run to one of our bedroom communities on the other end of town for an SB item that could only be purchased at Walmart. Now we have to hope it credits.


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My side of town is usually pretty quiet but today the fighter jets from JBER are flying over.... Good thing I am not trying to sleep in today!

*Anyway, i am doing leftovers for lunch. I have some chicken and broccoli left. I think I will just throw in some bread for a carb and call it good.

* For dinner, I am thawing some brats and some smoked cheddar sausage. I got out a combination of 8 and will get a package of hot dog buns at the store today. That is pretty much what I will eat for this weekend and into the work week. I do have a plan to go get one carryout meal so that I can use my monthly $10 credit.

*I also got a $10 credit on a card for utilities so I used it on my electric bill. Seems like the CC companies are really getting desperate for people to spend. I have been pretty frugal all winter long myself. Starting to loosen the wallet a little though as I pick up OT and the weather improves.

*Speaking of OT, I only did two hours this pay period. I am trying to take my 3 day weekends now until memorial day hits. After that we are scheduled for 5 10's for summer and don't have a choice on OT really.

I have no real plans this weekend except getting housework done and getting my van prepped for my camping trip in a couple of weeks. I did sign up for a free onliine painting class this afternoon. The other thing is that the "Downtown Market" moved to the mall near my apartment this year. I will probably wander over when it opens this weekend. I hear that they sell a lot of touristy stuff like hats and t-shirts for cheap.

I am also going to bake some dessert this weekend for work. I will probably do cookies or brownies. I am going to try and save a few of my packaged snacks for later in June when I am a little busier.

*One splurge this last week = a fancy starbucks for $5.50. On the rare occasion, I don't feel bad about that. Can't do it all the time though for sure.