Tuesday, January 29, 2008

New-To-Me Vintage Pretties

Vintage blue wool swing coat with bracelet sleeves, $15. Because I totally needed another coat.

A close-up of the seaming and cute purple buttons...

Vintage purse, $2.

Catalogs Be Gone!

I just found this website called Catalog Choice where you register and can decline all of the junky catalogs that clog your mailbox. Not the good ones that sell you shoes, of course. ;) I've just signed up so I can't give a testimonial on its behalf, but this looks like a great idea.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Vitamin Deal: Great for the Hypochondriac

At Puritan's Pride, they are offering 8-cent shipping until January 27th. They are also offering a "buy two, get three free" deal on all products. The product has to be the same item and same size, however. This would be a great deal on things you take a lot of, like multivitamins and Vitamin C. Go through ebates and get 7% back.

On a side note, I was recently listening to a neuropsychologist give a lecture. He said that if a person takes a bunch of multivitamins and supplements, it's safe to say that they have some health-related anxiety. As a person that takes 5, soon to be 6 varying supplements each day, I can say that this is probably true. I am really healthy, though. :P

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Optimism: Thy Name is Tessa

"If an optimist had his left arm chewed off by an alligator, he might say, in a pleasant and hopeful voice, "Well, this isn't too bad. I don't have my left arm anymore, but at least nobody will ever ask me whether I am right-handed or left-handed," but most of us would say something more along the lines of "Aaaaah! My arm! My arm!"
- Horseradish: Bitter Truths You Can't Avoid by Lemony Snicket, pg. 92

You Need to Buy This Book

Back in March of last year, Shannon over at Rocks in My Dryer reviewed The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name by Sally Lloyd-Jones. Her review is much more eloquent than mine and I encourage you to read it. Anyhoo, after reading her review I put it on my Amazon wishlist and waited (you know, the frugal thing). With a recent gift card, I went ahead and purchased it.

Wow. If you have children, grandchildren, or even know any children, you need to buy this book. It is the very best Bible storybook that I have ever read. I had several such books as a child, and they I found them to be either A) boring or B) scary. This book is neither. It does not make the Bible into simplistic "do this and be good so God is happy" terms, either. It somehow finds a way to tell Bible stories in a kid-friendly manner while explaining why a relationship with Jesus is necessary. At the end of every Old Testament story, there is a tie-in to Jesus. For example, at the end of the story of when Abraham was going to sacrifice Isaac is the following :

"Many years later, another Son would climb another hill, carrying wood on his back. Like Isaac, he would trust his Father and do what his Father asked. He wouldn't struggle or run away. Who was he? God's Son, his only Son- the Son he loved. The Lamb of God (p. 69)."

This book is beautifully written and would be a wonderful tool in teaching children about Jesus. I must admit that I've cried my way through some of the tie-in pieces. I wish this book had been around when I was a child!

Monday, January 21, 2008

A Walgreens Story

All right, I realize that I talk about Walgreens waaaaaaaaaaaaaay too much on here. I will try to hold it down from now on. But the setting is relevant for this story.

Today I went to Aldi for part of my monthly grocery shopping. I dropped $60, which is good considering how long those groceries will last. But I still get bitter spending that much money on something that is enjoyed temporarily. I know, a person has to eat. I digress.

I headed to Walgreens for my weekly deal raiding/making myself feel better after blowing $60 on something that is not shoes. I picked up 2 bags of Dove chocolates for $1/bag after coupons and a free tube of Aquafresh toothpaste after coupon (there's a $2 printable coupon on the Aquafresh website and the Advanced toothpaste is on sale for $2). There is a lot of irony in purchasing chocolate and toothpaste together, I know. And I really don't need any more toothpaste since I currently have five tubes in my stash.

So I'm wandering the aisles of my happy place when I see her. This woman is pushing a cart and she has a coupon binder! Now, I have never seen anyone out and about with a coupon binder in the year and a half that I've been couponing. Should I say something to her? Is there some sort of couponing secret word that I should say? I decide to control the crazy and say nothing.

I get in line to pay my $2 (put it on my gift card, of course) when she gets in line behind me. I can't control myself any longer. "I have a coupon binder, too." I say. Luckily I appear like a nonthreatening twelve-year-old in real life, not like some sort of weird stalker. "Really?" she asks. "Does it work for you?" Does the coupon binder *work* for me? Ha! I am flabbergasted by this question. "Oh, yes," I reply. The conversation ends and I smile and leave the store.

I think all of the couponing/frugal people out there need to come up with some sort of gang symbol to flash at each other. Otherwise, I will continue to have nutso conversations like this. :P

Ebates: Shameless Plug Ahead!

I've referred to Ebates numerous times throughout the history of this blog. Here's how you use it:
1) You decide to make a purchase at an online store.
2) You go to Ebates to check if that store is in their program. MANY stores are. If it is, you click on the Ebates link for that store.
3) That link takes you to the store you want to buy from, and you will earn a percentage of your purchase back (usually 1-6%).
4) Wait until you have accumulated $5.01 or more from these purchases. Every three months or so, Ebates will send you a check if you have that amount in your account.

I have been an Ebates member for a few years and have earned $49.88 back in that time by purchasing pet food, books, printer ink, minutes for my phone, and so on. It's easy and it's free. They normally give you a $5 sign up bonus, but from now until February 14th if someone refers you and you make a purchase in that time period, you both earn $10. If you'd like to sign up under me, here's my link.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Walgreens Numbers

Just in case you need more proof that you should be doing the Walgreens rebates, I've taken the liberty of adding up my rebate amounts. From July 2006 through October 2007, I received $290.58 in rebates from Walgreens, much of which was totally free items. $24.63 of that money was completely FREE because I always get my rebates put on a WG gift card and they give you the 10% bonus for doing that.

These numbers do not count all the crazy deals that I get there by combining sales and coupons. If I had to guess, I'd say that in that same time period I've saved an additional $300 by getting stuff for free or nearly free through matching up sales and coupons. Why pay for toiletries when you can get them for free?

Seriously. Do it.

Walgreens February Freebies

There aren't *any* items free after rebate for January, but it looks like next month will make up for it.

The unofficial free after rebate list for February:

Garnier Fructis shampoo, conditioner, leave in conditioner or masque
Clear Care Travel Pack or Convenience Pack
Gillette Venus Embrace Razor System
5-Hour Energy Drink 2-pack
Soft Soap Spa Radiant Body Wash 18oz
Speed Stick 24/7 Anti-Perspirant/Deodorant
Maybelline Volume XL Seduction Lip Plumper

If you aren't doing these rebates, WHY NOT????? It's easy. Do it!

Monday, January 14, 2008


Every once in a while I like to log into my student loan accounts to look at the grim reality of how much money I owe and will soon begin paying back. It occurred to me today that both of my student loan companies use more security questions than both of my banks combined. What exactly are they protecting??? I highly doubt that anyone is going to hack into my accounts to steal my student loan balance. :P

Friday, January 11, 2008

Clearance, Clearance Everywhere

*Run to your local Old Navy! Starting today (I don't know when it ends!), they are having an additional 50% off of clearance prices. I only bought a tank top for myself but got a bunch of clothes for my niece and nephews for a couple of dollars a piece.

*J.C. Penney also had a bunch of kids clothes for a few dollars a piece. I bought a couple pieces for my gift tub. There are sales throughout the store, but the women's clothes will become cheaper than they are now.

*Express is offering an additional 20% off clearance. I bought a sleeveless leopard print wrap shirt and a cute necklace for under $15 total. The shirt is a bit too big, though, so I will have to alter it or exchange.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

That Word

I was just reading this post over at Rocks in My Dryer about spelling bees. In the comments, people were discussing the word that they lost spelling bees to and how it is forever burned in their mind. I had to laugh.

I have one, too.

When I was in fifth grade, I won the school-wide spelling bee and went on to compete in the next level, which was a competition in a town that I can no longer remember. I was one of the youngest there and wound up competing against 7th and 8th graders, which I thought was really something. When I was something like tenth from the end, I got a word that I couldn't spell.

It was a word that I had never *heard* of and one that I will never have the opportunity to use in conversation.

Deducibility. D-E-D-U-C-I-B-I-L-I-T-Y. Deducibility. I spelled it "deduceability" and was eliminated from the competition.

Being the sensitive sore loser that I am, I cried. Not in front of all the people, but once I was safely in my mom's car I was practically inconsolable. She promptly took me to Wal-Mart and bought me a ring to cheer me up. Hee! (Thanks, Mommy!)

I did eventually get over losing the competition. But I will never forget that stupid word.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

A Conversation With the Gas Company

The local gas company was recently bought out by another company. I had not received a bill yet, and payment is supposed to be due on the 10th, so I called today to check my balance.

*ring, ring*
Woman: Hello, X Gas Company.
Me: Hi, this is Tessa X. I haven't received a statement yet and was wondering my account balance?
Woman: Really? What was your name?
Me: Tessa X. (spells last name)
Woman: Okay, hold on a minute. (shuffling and tapping sounds) Your account shows a balance of $91.xx.
Me: !!!!!!!!!!
Woman: Oh, we're almost a month behind in billing. I just sent out statements on Saturday. You should get yours soon.
Me: Isn't it still due on the 10th?
Woman: Oh. Yeah. But we won't expect for you to get your bill and pay it the next day.
Me: Oh, um, well that's good. Thanks!
Woman: You're welcome.

Okay, doesn't this seem odd to you that not only do they NOT bill me for 6+ weeks, but they also aren't concerned about WHEN they'll actually get my payment??? :P

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Christmas Roundup- Cost Breakdown

Last year, I spent $185 on gifts for about 22 people. This year, I spent $235 on gifts for about 28 people, a $50 increase. However, the average cost per person is almost exactly the same ($8.40 versus $8.39) so I suppose that's a good thing! ;) I am budgeting $250 for next year's gifts. Overall, I am pretty pleased with what I was able to purchase. I always wish that I had more time/energy/resources to find the "perfect" thing for each person, but that is an unrealistic expectation.

This was definitely a year of letting go of unrealistic expectations that I put upon myself. It was my first year to be working full time at Christmas, so that was a new hurdle. I stuck to my guns and only gave a few gifts away, most of which were handmade. I had intended to do more baking as gifts but decided that I didn't need the extra stress so I let that go, too. I also only sent out a handful of Christmas cards (Hallmark purchased at a thrift store!) to close friends and family.

As usual, I have already started shopping for next year's gifts. I have my niece and nephews done already. :P

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Ways in Which I Am Not Frugal

I blather on this blog about the ways that I save money, but there are also a lot of ways that I am *not* frugal. I don't feel badly about these, either, as I figure that if I ever need to cut out more expenses I will be able to do so. Hee! Let's hope these things don't get me shunned from the frugal community.

1) I have expensive phone/DSL service and love it.
2) When I am at home, I keep the temperature between 70 and 75 degrees and I am *still* cold. I also sleep with an electric blanket at night.
3) I will drop hundreds of dollars to go on trips or to conferences that I think look interesting, provided that I have the money to do so.
4) My cat eats expensive food and does not use the cheapest litter.
5) I drink organic milk only.
6) I am currently undergoing an expensive "medical spa" procedure (NOT plastic surgery of any sort, thankyouverymuch).
7) I get my hair cut every five weeks ($25 a pop) and there is no way on God's green Earth that I would EVER consider letting any friend/boyfriend/husband/child/grandchild/dog cut it for me. No. Way. I did cut it once myself to great success, but the last time I attempted it...disaster. And this is part of the reason why my hair is short today.

So, now you know the ugly truth. In what ways are YOU not frugal??

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year!

I always feel somewhat relieved at the end of a year, even if it's been a good one. I love having a fresh start! This past year has been a good one, but I look forward to all that will happen in 2008.

I am so blessed to have the family and friends that I do. I am also blessed to be able to do a job that I love. And I am happy that in October of 2008 I will finally, Finally, FINALLY be Dr. Tessa!

Most of all, I am thankful for a God who loves me in spite of my whining, in spite of my stupidity, and in spite of my imperfections.

"That my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever." Psalms 30:12