Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Stealing The Legal Way! Make $205.85 in An Hour: How $238.61 Worth of Items Cost $32.76

As I mentioned in my last blog, many stores are having great clearance sales right now because they are getting rid of excess inventory before they count their inventory for taxes. "Tis the season! 

All the items seen here on my Amish bench I picked up today for a total of $32.76 and that includes tax! Some of this will be used right away, some will be stored for later use. 

Here is a rundown of what I purchased and next to it, the regular price:


3 packs of a 2 pack of culinary dish towels for .75 each/ regularly $4.88
2 packs of kitchen set (oven mitt, pot holders, kitchen towels). $1.00 each/regularly $4.97
Pioneer Woman 2 pack dish drying mat. $1.00/regularly $9.96
3 piece BBQ tool set $1.00/regularly $4.96
2 2 pair packs men's work gloves $1.00 each/regularly $5.94
2 pair women's gloves $1.00 each/regularly $9.97
1 pack Fish Crisp Coating Mix $1.00/regularly $4.96
Hair Polisher Heat Protector $1.00/regularly $7.27
2 Pure Silk Shaving Cream .50/ regularly $1.98
6 CocoLopez Cream of Coconut Cans $1.00 each/regularly $2.49
3 60 inch black grill cover $1.00 each/regularly $14.96
Men's Hanes Camo Pants $1.00/regularly $9.97
4 Placemats $1.00 each/regularly $2.00

Goodwill (brand new, never used)

3 Real Tree Men's Shirts .49 each/regularly $9.99
Tru-Fit Fleece Jacket $1.99/regularly $24.99
Men's Tru-Fit Button Down Shirt .49/ regularly $6.99

Totals $32.76 vs $238.61

 These items will all be used one way or another. I try not to buy anything I don't think I will use. I just *know* someone will read this and say "Why did you buy three, count them, three BBQ covers??" So, I will answer before anyone gets the chance! Last summer, I bought a BBQ cover. I bought it for full price and it's a nice one. However, after only one year of being on the deck, it's faded and I can see that, in the wind etc., it will be no time and it will need to be replaced. I figure that these three will last me a number of years just like the outdoor flags I got for free. I got about 6 free flags one time and, year after year, I have a fresh nice new flag outside my house. Fortunately, I do have space to store them. 

Here are some more examples of the items I picked up today. 

 It took me about an hour (if that) to look over the clearance aisles and choose these items for purchase. One thing I like to do after buying clearance is to consider in hours how much time it would have taken me to work and make the same amount of money saved. This only counts if you will actually use the items and would have purchased them (or something similar) anyway. 
 The total saved is $205.85. At my rate of pay, it would have taken a number of hours to make this up! These kind of sales are more likely to happen this time of year. See what you can find! See what you can save.
Happy Savings! 

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Clearance Sales: How I Saved $92.75 in 10 Minutes

Many stores are clearancing items before they count their inventory. This is a great time of year to find some great bargains! I have been finding (and not reporting here) things weekly. I thought I would share this because it was such a phenomenal deal!

First, we have decks that need waterproofing every couple of years. I have been using some free waterproofer I got previously on rebate but that is starting to run out. Thompson's is a great brand. This 5 gallon sealer was $85.00 marked down to $21.00! That is a savings of $64.00.

I also got this ice melt, which was $8.97, on sale for $1.00. I bought three bags for a savings of $23.91.
With tax, the total savings comes to $92.75!! All that for walking down the clearance aisle and buying when there is a deal! If I were getting paid by the hour, that would be $556.50 per hour! Great to get while the getting is good!

Happy Savings!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Thrift Store Deals! Patio Door Curtain Find!

 Thrift stores are great places to find some great deals. I was so excited to find these curtains! I had just been thinking about getting some curtains. The problem for me was that I have three patio doors that needed matching curtains and the chances of finding that was very slim at a thrift store. I had just started looking and almost forgot to look the second week, when I felt a little internal nudge to go look.

I was so excited to find three sets right away and in colors that look great in my living room and dining room! Each set was $5.99. I also needed three matching rods and I got the rods for $9.99 each at Wal-Mart. So, I was able to decorate with these three sets for under $50.00. I think someone upstairs was looking out for me this day.

There are lots of great deals at thrift stores and thrift sales. My house rarely has anything brand new. Buying the rods new was a bit of a step out for me but I knew I wasn't going to get the look I needed unless I bought the rods new. A single similar curtain at Wal-mart is about $11.00, so the 6 would have cost about $66.00 plus the rods for $30.00 for a total of $96.00 new for a difference of $46.00 in savings.

Happy Savings!

Monday, January 16, 2017

How a Five Day Cruise to the Bahamas for 2 Cost $1018 including Flights, Hotels and Everything Else

 My husband and I just took an amazing trip to the Bahamas on a five day cruise for our 30th wedding anniversary. We've never been on a cruise before so it was very special. In total, the cruise cost us $1018.59. I will break these costs down, so you can see what we paid for what. I also figured that only a couple of slight differences could have cost us about $2300. I used the $2300 figure for comparison purposes.
 First of all, cruise prices pretend to be very cheap. This is actually a masquerade for what really happens. For once, because it was our 30th wedding anniversary, I was willing to cut loose a bit and spend some money for some fun in the sun. Last year, when we went on a vacation where we had to sit through a timeshare presentation, they gave us a "free 4 day cruise" with the package. They didn't have the free cruise available for the dates I wanted and they would not allow me to look myself (I had to use an agent of the company to "guide me"since it was the "free" cruise) so, in all actuality, when I compared to prices online I could have booked myself, I saved $62.00 on the trip because of the "free" part. So, it's a good thing I was ready to actually fork over some cash. The cruise itself cost $208.20 per person, but once they add on the taxes and port fees, it came to a total of $599.10 for the two of us. If I had booked myself, it would have come to $660.50.

They make you give them your credit card number up front and make you pay "gratuities" up front too. Our gratuities cost (which are a surprise at the end of the cruise) came to $113.42. This is because we ordered absolutely no pop or alcohol, which has an automatic 15% gratuity every time you order in addition to the high cost of the drinks. Any iced tea, lemonade or morning beverages, coffee etc is free with the package. I figured a flat $200.00 for the $2300 figure for someone who maybe had a few cans of pop and a couple drinks.

The food was utterly fantastic and I ate more than I have ever eaten in one week in my entire life! All you can eat buffets for any meal and many other offerings. You could also eat specialty meals for an extra fee, which we did not do. A person could easily spend a LOT of money if they were not careful. No cash is used on the boat and you just use your "sign and sail" card they give you and with no cash actually changing hands, and no tally in front of your eyes, it would be real easy to get carried away! I added another $47.39 on for food eaten in specialty shops to come to the possible $2300 figure.
Every day excursions were offered. We didn't take any. There was plenty to do with no excursions taken. I put down the cheapest excursion offered for the possible $2300 trip at $39.95 X 2 for two to go to the beach. But we still got to go to two other beaches for free. You could spend a ton on excursions and other things. You could rent a little house on the beach for the day for $499.99 if you wanted. There was so much entertainment for free, you could not do it all. So, we did all the free stuff. Concerts and comedians and karaoke, movies, fun stuff for kids. All free.

Because we were celebrating our anniversary, we were given one free photo from the cruise ship. This would have cost $11.95.

The gas to and from the airport was, for us, $7.42 because my husband drives a Honda Insight and it gets 70 MPG. I figured in $16.21 for a car that got 32 MPG for the $2300 trip.

We got a free day of airport parking because we had been doing a program with them. We had a card we had been carrying with us there every time for years and finally had enough stamps for a free day! The parking cost us $80.53 vs $92.53 regular price.

I saved a lot on the flights. I got them for free. We have a credit card that I get airlines miles for using and paying off every month. The tickets would have cost $770.38.

I used priceline for a hotel that we stayed at both before and after the trip for one night. The nights were each $67.24. If I had used the hotel website instead of priceline, they would have cost $93.00 a night. I made sure there was a free shuttle to and from the airport to the hotel and a shuttle to and from the hotel to the port, which was $10.00 per way, per person. As it turned out, the shuttle was full and we were going to have to wait to get there so my husband called an Uber driver who was there in 3 minutes. She cost us $16.50, saving us $3.50. We took the shuttle back and when I told the hotel desk person we needed to pay for the trip back, they said don't worry about it. I said "Okay!!" Apparently they only take money for two way trips, saving us another $20.00. This hotel also had a free breakfast in the hotel.
We were also given a $50.00 gift card for use at the spa, but when I saw the prices, I opted for the usual massage...the one where my husband gives me one and I give him one. So, we still each got a massage and saved a lot of money. !

We did need to eat in the airport and one meal at a restaurant after we left the ship. We walked to the restaurant, saving us a taxi. It was a 15 minute walk and we needed the exercise anyway. These meals cost about $56.00 total. I charged the same for these meals as for the $2300 trip but someone could have easily chosen a taxi and cost more.

I bought a T shirt and a magnet, which were $11.00 total. I put $30.00 into the $2300 figure.

Of course, anyone could have spent any amount on this cruise. I chose $2300 because it was a reasonable number that anyone could have spent and it wasn't using outrageous numbers. The difference between the two, nearly exact same trips is $1282! I don't think it took me any more time to take the $1018 trip than it would have to take the $2300 trip and I don't think I would have had any more fun!! No matter which trip I took, I was still going to have to do all the work of booking the flights and cruises etc. Someone may prefer not to worry about money on a trip like this, especially for a 30th wedding anniversary. For me, I would rather spend the extra tiny bit of effort, and know I saved a chuck load of change to the tune of $1282!! Most people might not remember those few extra sodas or drinks they had or that extra T-shirt or dinner but I'll remember that I saved $1282!!. That's enough for a full other cruise. I'll need to think about booking that. :)

In the meantime, here is a breakdown for the typical average cruise:

Happy Savings! ~

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Tuition Free Accredited College Degree?

This is something I just saw online today for the first time. I don't know anything about it except that it says that it is tuition free and accredited. There are a few programs available. It's worth checking out! It's called University of the People. Here is the website:

Here is an article by the New York Times showing that they have received accreditation. It is worth researching to see how employers are viewing the degree and if it is worth your time to go. This might be a great opportunity for some who could not otherwise go to college. 

Happy Savings! 

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Save Your Christmas Ham-bone to Make Bean Soup!

Many of you will be having ham for Christmas. There will no doubt be leftover ham for sandwiches and the like but a very easy and inexpensive bean soup meal can be made using the ham-bone. 

 This is a photo of 16 bean soup mix. There are different bean soups that can be made with a ham-bone like split-pea soup or lentil soup or just plain old Boston Baked Beans. Beans are very inexpensive and go a long way for a good hearty meal. First, I soaked the above beans in water for an hour or so before adding them to the pot with the ham-bone to cook down for a few hours. (This can also be made in a crock pot if you have to work and/or are out of the house.)
 Here is a recipe for 16 bean soup: After cooking down and adding a few other ingredients like onion, celery and garlic, voila! Lovely 16 bean soup. It tastes even better the next day.
This tastes great with some homemade bread or corn muffins on the side and should last for a couple  meals for a family of four. Happy Savings!