Thursday, September 28, 2006
(Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)
"And God said 'This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come; I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.' So God said to Noah, 'This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth.' "
Genesis 9:12-17 NIV
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Monday, September 25, 2006
I love reading (for fun, not required reading)! Here's what I'm reading currently:
1) The Complete Tightwad Gazette: Delightful. I love it. You all were right, it was worth the $13. And I'm only on page 229 of 927. I really like books that last me a long time, and this will do that!
2) Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express. I really enjoy Christie and collect her mysteries. But every time I read two pages in this book, I fall asleep. It's not because it's boring, it's because I'm reading close to bed time. Needless to say, at this rate this book will last me a while, too! ;)
3) The Old Testament and my professor's notes from my OT class in college. I went to a fabulous Christian college (www.sbuniv.edu), and had a really, really good OT teacher. I had never found the OT interesting before that class, but he really made it come alive. I thought this was a good time to go slowly and really dig in to the OT.
4) The Wind in the Willows. I am reading this bit by bit through emails from www.dailylit.com. Someone on Works for Me Wednesday posted about it, and it's a great idea. You get a short bit of the book of your choice emailed to you each work day. I hate reading the classics, so I'm going to try to tackle them this way.
This set of Farberware is almost always on sale for $9.99 at Amazon. Right now there is also a $5 rebate, making the end price $4.99. I still have my free trial of Prime (which is free shipping on any purchase), making the deal that much sweeter. Yay for cheap and decent quality cookware!
Friday, September 22, 2006
Most of the items here were free or under .25. Even the blue bag was free! I've been saving them to use when I travel this winter on internship interviews and when I (hopefully) go to Mexico next June. Getting free stuff in the mail is one of the things that makes me feel rich! :)
Some sites that have or list samples:
Thursday, September 21, 2006
Gift giving is one of my favorite things. I love the shopping and careful planning that goes into each gift. I like to give gifts that are nice and that people will enjoy for a fraction of the retail price. To be able to give good gifts, there is one rule: Always be shopping. I know this is counterintuitive for those who are trying to cut back. But I didn't say always be spending, I said always be shopping. This means to visit websites and stores frequently while keeping an eye out for gift ideas and good deals. I have several posts to do on the subject of gift giving, but today's post is about gifts for my graduate school friends. This year they are ALL getting the same thing. I ran into a bit of a problem last year when some people gave me gifts and I didn't expect them to, and also one friend who gave me several gifts at different times, requiring me to feel as though I needed to buy more for her. I wound up spending ~$30 unplanned because of this. I vowed to be very prepared this year, so no matter what happens, everyone gets the same thing. Also, I am prepared with extras if need be. First, I purchased eight Christmas stockings for $1.35 each (originally $18.00! Who pays $18 for a stocking??). Next, I stocked up on several scarves at Gap (online) and Old Navy for $2 to $4 a piece. Then, I purchased the notepad and pen combos for $1 clearance at Walgreens. Finally, during all the school supply sales I stocked up on incredibly cheap filler paper (.15), notebooks (.09 for regular spiral and .75 for Five Star), folders (.02 to .05), markers (.68), colored pencils (.25 to .39), pens (.10 to .39 per pack), crayons (.15), etc. Since we're all students, I am going to give them each some supplies from my stock. For my friends that are not in school with me, I have more freedom to buy what I want since I don't need to do it in bulk. I'm not going to post about that, though, since some of them know about this blog. ;)
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
I like to bake and cook. A lot. Unfortunately, the oven has gone out in the T home. The stove top and the broiler still work, but not the oven. While this will be fixed soon, I still am having baking withdrawals where Little Debbie just won't cut it. One hot day I was going to bake some cookies on the dashboard in my car, but it didn't get hot enough. I already had the batter mixed and ready to go, so in a moment of desparation I googled "microwave cookies". I found that if you cook them in the microwave on wax paper for about 2 minutes, they would turn out fine. The chocolate cookie mix I tried worked perfectly. The homemade oatmeal (above) were another thing entirely. Initially I made the cookies too big, and I had to cook them a long time which led to not being as chewy as I like. Then, there was the problem with the one in the very middle getting a little burnt. I worked around these difficulties, and found that with a small round cookie (about a full, round teaspoon), one minute and thirty seconds did the trick. They aren't quite as good as oven cookies, but in desparation they work perfectly. So if you're short on time or an oven, give it a try! Works for me!
Sunday, September 17, 2006
Thursday, September 14, 2006
"He said to his disciples, 'Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?' They were terrified and asked each other 'Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!'"
Mark 4:40-41 NIV
I have a deep fondness for Walgreens. I make a trip to one nearly every week. Their weekly ad deals/coupons + manufacturer coupons usually equally dirt cheap prices, so I stock up on what I need. I got tons of packs of pens and pencils for .10 or .39 during their school supply sales. As I posted earlier, I also love their rebates! Walgreens also has clearance in each store, although it can be difficult to find. Every store I visit does it in a different way. There are typically aisle endcaps at the back of the store with clearance, and it is also in the aisles themselves. One store I frequent has a couple of bins near the front. Today there was leftover school supplies for .25, .50, and $1.00. The Rolodex and Dymo label maker tape were .50 each! I actually needed the tape for my wonderful label maker, so that was a great thing to find. I'm not sure what I'll do with the Rolodex since I currently use a recipe box system (look for it in a future WFMW!). Maybe I'll keep it for when I'm FINALLY done with grad school and have an office. :)
Monday, September 11, 2006
I have crazy eye prescriptions. I am really nearsighted and also have astigmatism. This means that eyeglasses and contacts generally cost me even more than normal. This year I was determined to cut costs. I ordered my glasses through 39dollarglasses.com. For those with normal vision, you get frames + lenses for only $39!!!!! I got my lenses compressed (for vanity's sake) which required a special kind of cutting on the left lens. Both of these were added costs. My original total cost was $127.95 for frames and lenses. This is a great price for me, but I also used a $10 off coupon making it $117.95. As always, I went through ebates.com, earning $5 back. 39dollarglasses.com also awards you a percentage of your total cost, called SmartFit reward points. These are dollars that can go toward your next purchase. I earned $5.12 off my next purchase. The customer service is great, and so are the glasses and the overall cost. I was very pleased!
Next up was the purchase of the contact lenses. This was more important than the glasses, since I wear contacts nearly all the time. Also, I wear a weird brand that isn't available everywhere. Prior to ordering, I checked independent contact dealers' online prices and Wal-Mart's prices at walmart.com. Wal-Mart was the cheapest, and that made things easier since I also had my eye exam there. Online, there was a form for a rebate on my lenses. I printed it out and attached the box tops as indicated and received a $15 rebate on my lenses. There are all kinds of lense rebate forms out there, so be sure to check it out. My total cost for a year's supply of lenses was $123.49-$15.00 rebate= $108.49 total. Once again, this is an amazing price for my lenses, and I have never paid such a low price!!!!!!
I have had my digital camera for nearly two years. I mostly use it for eBay and blog pictures, but I also take the occasional picture of my family. The main reason that I don't use it more often is that I never purchased a memory card, and the camera itself doesn't hold many photos at a time. I have been waiting and waiting for a deal on a memory card to be cheap enough to tempt me. You see, I don't like spending much money on electronics. I have some areas where I love to spend money, and others where I prefer to spend none. This is one of the "none" areas. I have been keeping an eye out, though. I saw an ad for my beloved Staples where they have a 1GB memory card for $20 after rebate and instant savings. Since I have ink coupons, I can do even better than that. I can use three ink coupons per purchase online, and since I am a member of Staples Rewards (it's free to sign up!), shipping is free. The ad in the paper said there was $20 instant savings and $20 easy rebate, but online it was $25 instant savings and $15 easy rebate. So we shall see; I may even get a better deal than I think! My final cost after rebate will go like this: $59.98 regular price- $25 instant savings- $15 easy rebate- $9 ink coupons+ state and local tax= $12.08 total. I think that is a great price for a memory card!!!!! And I used ebates.com, so I will get 3% back on $27.08. Yay!
Friday, September 08, 2006
I was commuting to college that morning. I had a 9:45 history class to make it to. I always listen to the radio while I'm in the car, and I'm a chronic channel hopper whenever the music stops and ads or news come on. My regular radio station was playing advertisements, so I switched the station. They were talking about how two planes had just hit the twin towers in New York City. The radio station had someone on the phone who had an an apartment a few blocks away from the towers and could see what was happening. I will never forget the panic and fear in his voice as he described what he was seeing. The towers hadn't completely collapsed at that point, but they started to while he watched. And he continued to describe what he saw. I couldn't believe it. Who would do this? Why would they do this? I had always wanted to live in NYC, and I felt like "my" city was under attack. One of my best friends had gone to NYC the summer before this happened, and she had given me a picture of the city skyline that she had taken from an airplane. It sits to my left as I type this. In the sky still stands those tall towers.
I had to go to class then, and I didn't hear about the other planes until later that day. In class we spent a few minutes talking about what had happened. Everyone was stunned. Some of the guys were talking about joining the army, and I remember being afraid of the thought of war.
I went straight home after class and got online. I had AOL at the time, and it was incredibly slow since the whole country was online. I kept getting kicked offline. I instant messaged a friend, but we both said a whole lot of nothing. There was really nothing to say.
There was a panic about gasoline, so I went to a local gas station to fill up my tank. There were cars lined up for the pumps and I waited my turn. As I left I passed my mother, who was coming to the gas station.
After the first night, I quit watching news coverage. I felt like it was too damaging. I did watch and read stories of the survivors, those who fell, and the families left behind. I wanted to remember them. I hope I never forget.
Friday, September 01, 2006
There are several little things I do to save or make a little bit of money. However small it may be, it is still more than I had before. And as a poor graduate student, I can use all the help I can get! These are some of the things that help me (and that I enjoy doing!):
1) I recycle my ink cartridges at Staples. Staples now only accepts Dell, Lexmark, and HP cartriges. But for each cartridge you will receive a $3 store coupon good for any purchase $3 or more. I prefer to shop more online at Staples rather than in store. I am a Staples Rewards member, and so shipping is free (it is also free to sign up!), and you can use three coupons per purchase. With careful planning and the use of three coupons, I often have $9 orders that cost me .03 or .05. Also, have your friends and family save their ink cartridges for you! The stash in the photo above is mostly courtesy of my Grandma J., Grandpa R., and my sister-in-law K.
2) Use rebates programs for each online purchase. I mostly use Ebates.com and Luckymagrewards.com. You have to have a subscription to Lucky magazine to use Luckymagrewards.com, but anyone can use Ebates. You simply go to the rebates website of your choice and click on the link of the store you want to shop at. You will then earn a certain percentage back on each purchase. I love this since I make money on purchases that I was going to make anyway! Do know that not every store/website is listed on these rebates programs, but most major stores are. At the end of a certain time period, you are sent a check if you meet their requirements ($5.01 on Ebates and $15 for Luckymagrewards). If you don't meet the requirements, the money will continue to accumulate until you do.
3) Use a coupon code or coupon for almost every purchase. If I am shopping online, I always search for a coupon code. They are often for a percentage off, or if you're lucky, for free or reduced shipping. This is handy because I HATE paying shipping charges and I feel better if I save even a little bit. In real life, I also try to use coupons on nearly every purchase. There are always some needs that you won't have coupons for, but if you are patient and willing to try different brands, there are tons of coupons available. I purchase the newspaper every Sunday and clip and file nearly all the coupons. I also send off for coupons on products' websites. With clothing, I nearly always wait for a sale + coupon.
4) Mypoints.com. This is also a shopping portal like Ebates and Luckymagrewards, but you earn points instead of a percentage back. However, I do not use it as a rebates program since I like the others better. What I do is sign up for My Points emails. All you have to do is scroll to the bottom of each email and click the button and you get 5 points. I wait until I accumulate a certain amount of points and then I redeem them for gift cards! I've gotten several so far.
5) Use a credit card that earns a percentage back or points. If you are a person that cannot handle credit cards, DISREGARD this tip. It is not worth it to get yourself into financial trouble. What I do is subtract my CC purchases from my checking account as if I had written a check or used my debit card. That way the balance is not a horrible surprise; the money is already there to pay your balance! Plus, it keeps you from spending more money than you have just because you have a high credit limit. I use my CC on nearly all my purchases so that I can accumulate points. Once again, I prefer to get gift cards with my CC rewards points.
Monica over at The Homespun Heart (http://thehomespunheart.blogspot.com/) has a great post on rebates. I am picky about what companies I do rebates with. I like Walgreens and participate in their rebates monthly. I also recently did a rebate for my contact lenses and was pleased with the results. Don't forget which rebates you send in, and stay on top of them!!!!!
I will post more money saving tips in the future!