Saturday, January 30, 2010

Small frugalities

A couple of small things we're doing here at the casa de chaos:

  • I have finally run out of grocery list pads. (The ones that have a magnet glued to the back so you can stick on the fridge.) I didn't need to buy another pad ... we have scrap paper coming out of our ears, LOL! But how to stick it on the fridge?

I spied one of those big "chip clips" ... in this case a freebie from our former bank. I also happened to have magnets. So, I glued a big magnet to the clip and cut paper to fit. Voila!

  • We've finally come to the conclusion that using our ailing dishwasher is a waste of money and electricity. So, until we can replace it, it serves as a dandy drying rack for the dishes we wash by hand, LOL!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Taxing my patience

I've been on the hunt for a tax software deal. (Yep, it's that time of year, or soon will be.)

Thought I had one a couple of weeks ago. Another blogger noted that a big-box office supply store (which shall remain nameless) was offering $10 off the price of my favorite software. The blogger suggested price-matching with either Amazon or Wallyworld, then sending in for the available $10 rebate. A bit complicated, but it got the $45 price down to $20.

Good in theory, but not in practice.

At the first store, the clerk began giving me some attitude. ("You're already getting $10 off.") Then she agreed to match, but informed me that someone had to go in the back and get a copy (all they had were dummy boxes in front) .... after a 10 minute wait, I said never mind.

At the second store, a very polite assistant manager told me that actually they could either price match or give me the the $10 off, but not both. So I decided to wait for something else.

On Monday, I saw a deal link on Amazon ... turns out they'd knocked the software price down to $25. That and the $10 rebate brings the price down to roughly $15.


Monday, January 25, 2010

Mulberry mystery

Back in October, I shared my sad tale of jelly-making ineptitude .... how I tried to make mulberry jelly and got syrup instead. And that, I decided to be smart and just make syrup.

Well, I'm here to tell you that I failed. I got (wait for it ...) mulberry juice.

So I did try the gelatin trick (heck, it worked the last time). I brought the (now very sweet) juice back up to a boil, stirred in a package of raspberry gelatin, let the jars cool and put them in the refrigerator ... where I promptly forgot about them for 3 months.

I pulled one out the other night and opened it. Darned if I didn't have JELLY!

It's a very soft jelly ... maybe more of a loose jam. But it's solid enough to spread on toast. And by gosh, it's rather tasty.

I don't know ... maybe I should stop here. God only knows what I'll get the next time I try.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Quick, cook it!

Bought a 3-pound package of ground beef on sale a few days ago. I slipped it in the refrigerator's meat drawer to hold until I got it divided into 3 packages .. which of course, I would do in the next day or two.

Oops .... DH came upon it and realized that this meat was headed for trouble. So, to keep from losing it, he did some emergency bulk cooking: pasta sauce, chili and a casserole. (Fortunately, he had the time to do this.)

Whew! The meat was saved ... and as an added bonus, we don't have to worry about dinner for a few days!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A plot twist

For the past couple of years, we've had a nice deal with the movie theater (conveniently located) in my neighborhood. The chain had a "club" that offered movies for $5. The catch, of course, was that the price wasn't available for the first 2 weeks of the run. But hey, still a good deal for movies that we wanted to see sooner than later.

Unfortunately, I think the deal's days are numbered: I just read that the theater chain is being sold to another chain. Unfortunately, the buyer has some of the highest movie prices in the area ... and the most restrictive matinee prices.

Ah well. Guess we'll just wait for movies to arrive at the 2nd-run theater. Or wait a bit longer and pay $1 at the Redbox kiosk ...

Monday, January 18, 2010

A charity pantry

I'm going to try something a bit different this year ... I've decided to set up a small "charity pantry." When I find good deals on items, I'm going to buy an extra or two and set them aside (as in far away from my regular pantry.) That way, I'll be sure to have something available for a food drive, or other charity drive.
Got the idea a couple of weeks ago when one of the supermarkets had canned vegetables on sale at 3/$1. I bought an extra half-dozen cans and put them aside.
Looks like they'll come in handy today: In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the museums in my city have a special admission price -- one canned food item per person.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Recall notice

In case you haven't seen this on the news:

(Associated Press) NEW YORK — Johnson & Johnson issued a massive recall Friday of over-the-counter drugs including Tylenol, Motrin and St. Joseph’s aspirin because of a moldy smell that has made people sick.
The recall includes some batches of regular and extra-strength Tylenol, children’s Tylenol, eight-hour Tylenol, Tylenol arthritis, Tylenol PM, children’s Motrin, Motrin IB, Benadryl, Rolaids, Simply Sleep, and St. Joseph’s aspirin.

If you have any of these brand-name items (this doesn't appear to affect generics), please check them against the list on The site is very clear and easy to use.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A clean start

So while I'm playing true confessions here, I'll admit to another failing: I hate filing things.

I have the best intentions. I have folders set up for all the bills, etc., that we pay over the course of the year. And I do file things for a while.

But somewhere along the line, I get busy, so I put the papers on top of the filing cabinet. And I put more papers up there. By the end of the year, I have more papers atop the cabinet than inside.

(Now lest you think the casa de chaos is drowning in paper ... DH is very organized about filing. His cabinet is very organized ... in alphabetical order, no less.)

But the first of the year always brings salvation. I'm cleaning out the files, throwing out the junk and packing the important stuff away. Why, I hope to see the top of that filing cabinet any day now!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Christmas is finally over

Well, at least it's out of my living room.

It's mid-January, and I have a confession to make: I like putting Christmas decorations up, but hate taking them down. But over the weekend, I got busy and packed the decorations in their proper boxes, and the tree is put away. (While we're at it, someone please explain to me why an artificial tree sheds as badly as a real one ...)

Now mind you, I didn't say that I actually packed the decorations away. They're currently in the basement, waiting to go into their big boxes. I think last year it was March before everything was put away. I hope to do better this year.

Oh, well, yeah. The lights are still up outside. Given the risk of frostbite or broken bones ... I think they can wait a while.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

No cash for my clunkers

Here at the casa de chaos, we've been eagerly awaiting the arrival of the "Cash for Appliances" rebate from the government. The dishwasher is on its last legs. The refrigerator (circa 1983) isn't far behind. So even a small rebate would be helpful.

Well, my state announced the program ... and it only will pay rebates for furnaces and air conditioning systems. No appliances. Nada. Nope.


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Who's got the coupon

Last weekend, the bargain bloggers were talking about the good deals that go along with the $2.50 coupon for my favorite dishwasher detergent. But when I looked at the coupons in my early Sunday paper (the one that comes out on Saturday), all I had was a $2.50 coupon for the large size. Bleah!

Well, I got a regular Sunday paper, and lo and behold, there was a coupon for $2.50 off any size!

Targeted marketing? A glitch? Who knows -- I'm just happy to get some detergent at a bargain price!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

December freebies

A little better than last month ....

Shipping labels
Coffeemate (FAC)
Yoplait yogurt
Millstone coffee
1 20oz Coke
2 Dawn (FAC)
2 pks Ivory soap (FAC)
2 Kirkland diapers
1 PopTart
1 Seventh Generation dryer sheet

Friday, January 1, 2010


Best wishes to all my friends for a healthy, happy, and frugal New Year! Let's all hope for better times ahead!