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Tag Archive: Frugal Failures

How a Split-Second Mistake Cost Me $500

Two weeks ago, I was scheduled for a 6:30 a.m. flight to Pennsylvania to speak at the CHAP conference. I set two alarms — one for 4 a.m. and one for 4:15 a.m. — and then went to bed.

When I woke up the next morning, I immediately realized something wasn’t right because it was light outside.

Then, I looked at the clock and saw that it was 6:30 a.m. Neither of my alarms had gone off and I was supposed to be on a flight right then!

I jumped out of bed and started to dash to get my things together when it hit me that it was pointless to try to get to the airport as soon as possible as the flight certainly wasn’t going to wait on me. 🙂

Jesse graciously got up and made some phone calls to get me on another flight while I showered, got dressed, and finished packing. I just prayed that I’d be able to get on another flight, because I was scheduled to speak the following morning at 8:30 a.m.

I was so relieved when he came in and told me he’d been able to get my tickets transferred to a later flight… to the tune of $500!!! That was our only and cheapest option. So we had to take it.

Yes, my irresponsibility in not turning on the alarms (I’d set the time on the alarms, but hadn’t flipped the switch to actually turn them on!) cost us $500. What was done was done. I couldn’t go back and fix the mistake, so I just had to cough up the money and pay dearly.

It was worth it — as I was so blessed by my time in Pennsylvania. But from here on out, I’m setting three alarms when I have an early morning flight. And I’ll probably triple check them, too!

Nothing like having to learn a lesson the very hard way. In fact, I think this is one of our most expensive frugal failures so far — much more expensive than even our $145 suitcase mistake.

Have you had any frugal failures recently? Hopefully it wasn’t as costly as mine was!

Would you have gone back for $2.74? (The promised Scrubbing Bubbles saga!)

As I mentioned earlier today, I tried to buy Scrubbing Bubbles Toilet Cleaner Kit at Walmart yesterday. I had all three children with me and we’d already made two stops, naptime was upon us, and my patience was beginning to wear thin.

“Just a few more things,” I promised the children (and myself!) as I drove the cart down the aisles as briskly as I could.

We headed for the cleaners and discovered that my Renuzit coupon had just expired. “Oh well, at least it wasn’t something we were needing.” I consoled myself.

I eagerly pushed the cart over to the Scrubbing Bubbles Toilet Cleaner Kits and scanned the prices. Yay! One more $3.97 kit on the shelf!

I stretched my short 5-foot-3-inch frame up as far as it would go and was just barely able to reach that lone last box at the back of the shelf. I tossed it into the cart and we were off again.

As we neared the checkout lane, I began my usual cashier “profiling” to see who looked the friendliest and most efficient. I was price-matching, using quite a few coupons, and had three children who were anxious to get home, so the last thing I needed was trouble at the checkout lane.

Gratefully, the express lane was open and a smiling face greeted me. She swiftly rang everything through, there wasn’t nary a hitch, and I was about ready to pay when the total surprised me.

Something was off by at least a few dollars. I double-checked that all the coupons had come off–and they had. So I chalked it up to a miscalculation on my part.

But after paying, I knew it couldn’t be right. Almost everything I bought should have been free–except for the $6.97 bottle of “Magical Juice” and the five $0.99 cantaloupes.

I pulled the receipt out and scanned it again. Sure enough, the Scrubbing Bubbles Toilet Cleaning Kit had rung up at $6.47 instead of $3.97 as it was marked.

At this point, I wasn’t sure what to do. I looked back at the cashier and there was a line of people she was ringing up. No, it wouldn’t be polite to go try to rectify things with her and make everyone else wait. I really needed to get home, but I just couldn’t stomach paying $2.50 tax for a Scrubbing Bubbles Toilet Starter Kit.

So, I made my way to customer service wondering if I was now losing my mind to be asking for a refund of $2.50 when it was past naptime. I was relieved to see only one person in front of us at the customer service desk. When I got up to the customer service desk, I was also relieved to see that the clerk there was smiling. (Grouchy customer service reps are definitely no fun to deal with!)

I told her what had happened, we looked through the ad to verify the price, and then I realized my mistake: Only the One Step Scrubbing Bubbles Toilet Cleaning Kits were on sale. I had purchased a 2-in-1 Scrubbing Bubbles Toilet Cleaning Kit.

It was in the wrong place on the shelf and I’d used a coupon that wasn’t even good for the item I had purchased! Big oops on my part and I felt like a dork–especially since I’m usually so careful to only buy exactly what is in the ad and triple-check the shelf item against the ad.

But the lady generously offered to refund my money, which I agreed would be the wisest move. I told her that I had used a $4/1 coupon, though, so she’d need to deduct that from the total.

She said, “Oh, well then I have to go get the coupon from the cashier you checked out with in order to deduct it.”

Now I really felt awful.

Not only had I bought the wrong item and used the wrong coupon, but my mistake was going to mean this customer service lady was going to have to go traipse back through the store to where I’d checked out and dig up the coupon I’d used.

She didn’t seem bothered at all and was off in a jiffy. I just stood there feeling terrible about the whole thing.

In no time at all, she was back and had refunded my money–all two dollars and 74 cents of it. All I could do was express immense gratitude for her help and walk out to the car shaking my head.

What was I thinking? I didn’t even need a Scrubbing Bubbles Toilet Cleaning Kit in the first place. Maybe I should just stick with using baking soda from now on!

So now I’m curious: would you have gone to customer service if you had made a mistake that had cost you $2.74? Why or why not? I’d love to hear!

My free Valspar paint arrived (& warning, the lid is not child proof!)

Valspar has been giving away everyday on their site. I’ve tried repeatedly to sign up, but never made it in time until a few weeks ago.

The box with the samples arrived in the mail yesterday and I was so excited! It was a very generous box for a freebie and I had lots of ideas for how we’d use it. For one, I’d promised the girls we’d make with it.

Well, apparently I up and lost my mind because I forgot that paint and curious 23-month-olds do not mix. Instead of putting the paint in a very high, out-of-the-way location like I usually would, I left it in the box and got distracted on another project.

A little while later, I heard a crash and then Kaitlynn hollered out, “Mom, Silas spilled the paint!”

I panicked, as I could only imagine what that could mean.

I ran to investigate, and yep, it was bad. 75% of the beautiful blue Valspar paint was now splattered in a large puddle on our tiled bathroom floor.

Quickly grabbing rags, I began scrubbing and scrubbing and scrubbing. Gratefully, after lots of elbow grease, it all came up — and we now have a very clean bathroom floor, to boot. 🙂

The good news? Somehow Silas had the presence of mind to cart the paint into the tiled bathroom before opening and spilling it. I’m pretty certain that if he’d spilled it on the carpet, we would have never gotten it all up. And replacing the carpet thanks to a freebie likely would have been one of my worst frugal failures in history.

There’s still enough paint to pull off the , but it is now far, far out of the reach of Silas! And I don’t think I’m even going to consider picking up the that’s available right now!

Apparently, not all food processors are created equal

I think this frugal failure is about at the level of our suitcase disaster. Maybe not quite, but it’s really close! (Only this time, at least we can get our money back!) Whatever the case, I got a good laugh over it once I realized my stupidity. 🙂

After last Freezer Cooking Day and all your rave reviews of how a food processor has changed your life, I started considering whether maybe this was a tool I should invest in.

I spend a lot of time grating cheese and the processor could shave off at least 30 minutes of time each Freezer Cooking Day. I figured I’d recoup the investment pretty quickly just in that time savings alone. Plus, I could use it for chopping veggies and onions. And, based upon what you all said, I could also use it for a myriad of other tasks.

After some thought, I decided to take the plunge. I looked online, compared prices, looked at reviews and finally decided to go with the Cuisinart pictured above.

I was looking forward to the time and effort it was going to save me and I was especially happy that it was going to arrive before my next Freezer Cooking Day.

The box showed up on Tuesday and I tore into it excitedly and pulled it out. My mother’s helper comes on Tuesdays and she was standing nearby while I was telling her how I’d decided to buy one to replace our rusted little cheese grater. She looked over the box and then asked, “Um, how does it grate cheese.”

Um, good question. I don’t know. But it’s a food processor. Don’t all food processors grate cheese?

Well, apparently not all food processors grate cheese and the one I purchased certainly doesn’t. It grinds and chops, but doesn’t have a grating attachment.


Needless to say, I felt like a complete doofus for buying something which doesn’t even do what I was specifically buying it for. And I felt even dumber that I didn’t even check the description to make sure the food processor actually grated cheese. That was, after all, kind of the whole idea behind buying it!

I’m planning to return the food processor–unless someone can tell me how I can grate cheese with it (it didn’t appear there was any sort of extra attachment you could buy, but let me know if there is!).

And since I’m obviously not very capable of ordering the right kind of food processor on my own, could you help me out? What brand and model do you recommend? Anything else I need to know before I royally screw up another purchase?!