Monday, February 28, 2011

Freezing the costs

I've had vacuum/sealing machines for years. And generally, it's worked great ... it's nice to package food up for the freezer ... though the vacuum part tends to go kaput before the sealing part.
But the bags are getting very pricey .. up to $8 for a small roll of plastic that seems to be getting smaller each time.

So, I just bought a box of gallon-size freezer bags for less than $3 -- that should take care of the food-freezing duties for a while.

I'm not getting rid of the sealer though ... it more than earns its keep by resealing packages.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

More free food

Free fries this Friday over at Chick-fil-A. Show up between 2 and 4 p.m., tell them you want to try the Heinz Dip & Squeeze (now why does that sound like a dance move?) and you get a free order of medium waffle fries.

Sounds good ... just don't tell my doctor ...

The link:

Thursday, February 24, 2011

That crazy plant lady

Have I ever mentioned that I'm a sucker for orphaned plants?

(Actually, I'd happily be a sucker for orphaned animals, but that presents other problems.)

Put me in a garden center, and I start looking at the bargain bin: all those half-dead plants that the help didn't get around to watering, sold at a discount. I'm willing to try a little water and sunlight to bring them back.

I do have some success: the half-price marigolds for my garden; the cyclamen I bought for a buck at the supermarket; the plant left behind by a laid-off coworker ..

Anyway, this is my roundabout way of saying it happened again; a potted rose, left over from a Valentine's Day promotion. It's in rough shape, but for 99 cents, it's worth a try. It got a good soaking, and is currently awaiting some window space. We'll see what happens.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Let's get this garden started

Couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that stores were beginning to put out the garden seeds, but I was holding out for the less-expensive packages. (That means a 20-cent pack to me.)

Checked the garden center at the mega-mart while shopping this weekend, and KaChing! There they were!

So, for less than $3, I have a nice stock of seeds: beans, lettuce, salad greens and herbs.

Unfortunately ... it's still February.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Antique hunting

Want to feel like a dinosaur? Go shopping for something that's not cutting edge any more ... oh, like VCR tapes.

We'd been checking various stores without much luck. And when asked, one clerk replied. "A lot of people ask for those. Maybe you should try Goodwill."

I suppose that makes sense: Goodwill certainly has the largest collection of VCRs around.

(BTW, we did find them at WallyWorld ....)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Free breakfast

For those of you who want to feel virtuous and frugal: Sunday's Red Plum insert has a coupon for a free bowl of oatmeal at McDonald's.

Now why does that sound strange? ;)

And while we're on the subject, IHOP will have its annual National Pancake Day Celebration on March 1. Stop in and have a free short stack of pancakes.

(They do ask for a donation to a local charity ... and please tip your server.)

The link:

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


A coworker of mine once quipped: "I can afford health insurance. I just can't afford to use it."

I have a better understanding of that now. We had some medical things going on last month .. some maintenance, some not. (Everything's OK, BTW). Well, the bills have started rolling in, and of course, there are the co-pays, and the deductible, and whatever else the insurance company doesn't want to pay. At the moment, it's going to cost us $3,500, and likely more

Gulp indeed! We'll juggle things a bit to cover the bills and be thankful that we can. Though I really fear that someday I'll have to say, "No, can't take those tests ... I can't afford them."

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Hey, it's back

Apparently, I was blind the other day: MyPoints is listing the SmartSource coupons again ...

Excuse me while I print ....

Monday, February 14, 2011

Odds and ends

Just a few things from the casa de chaos:

Coupon crazy: Unless I've gone completely blind, MyPoints no longer seems to be offering SmartSource coupons anymore. Too bad. The points weren't as good for using them, but it was something. So, I'll be toddling off to the regular SmartSource site to print things out.

Ditching the dish: We're preparing to clear off the DVR in preparation for canceling our satellite TV service. That way, if they won't give us a deal, we'll be ready to send the equipment back. (Actually, that's probably another argument for ditching ... we have a slew of shows we haven't even watched yet.)

Kitty news: Elder cat is slipping, according to her latest tests, and her vet has added a couple of supplements to her medicine lineup. The order came the other day, and I had to look twice to make sure it wasn't horse medication. The pills are huge! I couldn't swallow them; no way a 4 lb cat could. One of them is supposed to be fish flavored, and chewable. Ha, Ha! At least that one I can smash and slip into her food, or into a capsule. But does anyone have any ideas on how I can get the contents of a very large softgel into her?

(She's sitting on my lap watching me type this ... let's hope she hasn't learned to read ...)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

I think the gremlins got them

The latest mystery here at the casa de chaos is: Where the heck did all the AA batteries go?

I know I bought a couple of packs at the dollar store last month ... but during the ice storm, I went to check on our supplies, and realized that we had, oh, 2 fresh ones left. (I do keep the ones we pull out of the remotes ... they're still good for low-level duty, like running clocks.)

Fortunately, our power stayed on, so I didn't really need them. But I decided there is one way to stop the battery drain: (yep, pun intended) Bought a pack of 48 at Costco for a little less than buying the same amount at the dollar store.

See, this works ... I bought a 48 pack of AAA batteries just after we went through a run on those. Haven't needed them since, LOL!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Signs of spring

Well, besides MLB pitchers and catchers reporting for spring training next week ...

Noticed that stores are starting to put the garden seeds out! Hooray! However, it looks like they're putting out the more expensive packages right now.

Think I'll keep checking ....

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Ditching the dish?

For the past year, we here at the casa de chaos have been batting around the idea of dumping our satellite TV service ... specifically every time there's been a price hike.

We watch very few shows that we can't pick up online ... and we do have a converter box to pick up the local channels (and gee, there seem to be a lot of local channels now.)

The deciding factor may have arrived: After a couple of e-mails touting that we're now going to get some new movie channels --- for free -- I opened our new bill.

Yep, you guessed it. The price has gone up about 8 bucks a month ... (and that's the low-tier plan). Seems to me that I can head over to Redbox, or get a subscription to Netflix, and and come out way ahead.

Stay tuned ....

Friday, February 4, 2011

No choice but to be frugal

We've been encased in ice here for most of the week ... and it looks like we'll have to keep digging out the old-fashioned (and frugal) way. 'Cause as much as I'd like to buy some ice-melter (or good old rock salt), there's none to be had!

Then again, maybe I need to rethink this ... and go raid the pantry ...

From the Minneapolis Star Tribune ...
It turns out that Bergen County, across the Hudson River from Manhattan, has started using pickle juice -- which costs about a third as much as salt -- to melt snow on its streets.

St. Paul does use some food juice -- from sugar beets -- when temperatures hover around 0 or below. "It prevents the snow and ice from bonding with the pavement," said Shannon Tyree, public information officer for the Public Works Department. "It's sort of a brownish-tan color. It's ugly."

Thursday, February 3, 2011

It's always good to check

I stopped at one of the area's ethnic groceries to pick up some cilantro. And while I was there, I remembered that I needed oregano, too.

I come home, happy that I got what I needed at a good price ... until DH pointed out that I already had purchased oregano ... a rather large bottle of it, in fact.


So, how many dishes can I sneak oregano into?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

January freebies

A very quiet month ...

2 spicy chicken biscuits
1 liter Sierra Mist
1 Dawn (FAC)
SlimFast peanut butter bar
John Freida shampoo/conditioner
1 bagel
1 can Fancy Feast