Tuesday, December 15, 2015

How to Cure a Sinus Infection at Home

Every winter, I seem to be plagued with a sinus infection. Around November or early December, I start feeling the tell-tale signs of the ominous doom coming upon me. I hate the sinus infection itself, but I hate going to the doctor possibly even more.

Last year, I had a trip to California right at the same time I got a sinus infection, so, I went in to the doctor. I was prescribed antibiotics but it didn't help. So, I was prescribed another round and again, it didn't help. So, I not only spent a lot of money but the sinus infection wasn't cured either. Now, I am not a medical professional and I will not tell you when and when not to see a doctor but I will tell you that I tend to simply avoid doctors for sinus infections because it seems to be a waste of time and money. If you are prone to sinus infections and know when you have one and have experimented with doctors, you too may know when to go and when not to go. From the layman's view, in my opinion, it is trial and error. It is known that bacteria have been becoming more resistant in recent years and what was once easily cured is not so much anymore.

So, I have my own personal arsenal. I actually have more in my arsenal than the above products but I will just cover these items for today.

Essence C is a generic Emergen-C. This is a high potency vitamin C powder that can be poured into a drink. I take this and I also take zinc and some other supplements.

Flonase is a nasal spray that used to be prescription.  You can get it over the counter now. It shouldn't be used for long periods of time but in certain situations, it can really help keep the nasal inflammation down. Be sure to follow instructions.

Raw honey. This is great in tea or with some squeezed lemon and cinnamon. Raw honey has enzymes in it that regular honey doesn't.

GSE is grapeseed extract. This is a natural antibiotic that I sometimes use.

And then, the wonderful NeilMed sinus rinse. If you've never used this, it can seem odd at first but it works really nicely. I buy the pre-mixed packets of salt and baking soda. You can make these yourself for next to nothing but I find it stings my nose if I don't use the pre-mixed ones. You can find a recipe here: http://www.thehippyhomemaker.com/diy-neti-pot-sinus-rinse-refills/  (I see she uses epsom salts. I may have to try that. I hate paying for the packets.)

Beyond that, I get lots of rest, avoid sugar and drink plenty of fluids! I eat oranges and grapefruit. I also take steamy hot showers and baths to try and work it out of my system. You would think with all that, I'd be up in a couple days but nope, it takes me quite some time. Regardless, I know that the times I have not done these things, I have been much worse off.

Last year, with two rounds of antibiotics from the doctor, it took me a month to get over a sinus infection, the longest time it ever took me. So, I'll have to be pretty bad off to try that again. Until then, I will use these things and take a hot water bottle to bed.

Happy Savings!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Save up to $20.00 with Walgreens Jingle Cash!

Every year around Christmas, Walgreens has Jingle Cash. You can save up to $20.00 with Jingle Cash. See the below chart:
 I bought $50.00 worth of merchandise last week and I will use this $10.00 off coupon this week. I also purchased an item that will be free to me after using this $2.00 rewards coupon.
To make the maximum savings, I browse the Walgreens flyer and find items that I need and am getting low on. This way, I make sure the items I get are on sale in the first place. I find if you do not do this, you may be going through extra work and not really saving anything.

So, step 1: Browse Walgreens flyer and make a list.

If you do not have a Walgreens Rewards card, you will need to sign up for one. I have mixed feelings about rewards cards but I do have one for Walgreens.

Walgreens has losts of rules for using the rewards cards. One big thing to remember is you can't use any rewards and gain rewards on the same transaction. For example, if the flyer says you can gain 2000 rewards points on a purchased item, you won't gain those points if you are using jingle cash or spending any rewards at the same time.

Step 2: Get a rewards card and remember you cannot GAIN and SPEND rewards on the same transaction. Your Walgreens may also have other rules so check with your store for all terms and conditions.

I find that regardless of terms this still can be a great deal.

Step 3: Buy your items.

Step 4: Get your Jingle Cash and NOTE THE EXPIRATION DATES. These will not be honored after they expire.

Step 5: Get the new flyer the next week and buy sale items with your Jingle Cash on the correct dates.

You should also note that Walgreens has coupons on their website that you can clip right to your Walgreens card. Just remember the rewards rules. You can do this system all year long with Walgreens minus the Jingle Cash.

Happy Savings!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Buy Thanksgiving Items Now; Bring Out Christmas Items Bought Last Year

Now is the time of year to buy Thanksgiving items! As you see here, you can often get up to 90% off Thanksgiving items if you buy them after Thanksgiving rather than before! Usually for the first few days afterwards, they are 50% - 75% off but, keep your eyes out through the month of December and you can get items for up to 90% off their original prices!

A Table Runner for $2.59 rather than $12.99.

Place-mats for .59 each rather than $2.99 each,

Now is also the time of year to bring out the Christmas items you bought last year for up to 90% off. Now is not the time of year to buy Christmas items. I would suggest going without what you want this year if you did not buy them on clearance last year. This is an exercise in self-discipline. If you buy what you want now because you forgot or didn't do it on clearance last year, you will likely overspend and not have the desire to buy more when it is on clearance. If you wait and make do this year, you will have given yourself the incentive you need to remember to buy clearance. 

Christmas cards for .39 rather than $3.99.

A tablecloth for .99 rather than $9.99. 

Ornaments for .79 rather than $7.99.

 When you are tempted to buy what you want at a convenient time, rather than waiting for sales, remember that buying like this is going to save you money for other things. Try to give yourself a thought of what you are going to do with those savings to better your life. Are you going to pay bills you would otherwise have to worry about? Are you going to pay down debt? Are you going to save your pennies so you can invest? You can buy smart and still enjoy almost everything you otherwise would. If you really wanted a certain color scheme this year, tell yourself you will in time. There are some sacrifices to be made to live frugally, but in time, you should be able to turn things around for yourself and be able to have what you want. In the meantime, you are being smart and having goals that will take you places.

Happy Savings!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Why I Don't Shop Black Friday Sales

                       $$Black Friday$$                       
I don't go out on Black Friday. I usually stay home and catch up on housecleaning and put up my Christmas decorations. The main reason for this is that I don't like big crowds and having to fight my way for deals. You can get some good deals on Black Friday. If I were looking for a certain big ticket item, I might look for a Black Friday deal, but probably not. 

As far as smaller deals, I find I can get smaller deals all year round if I just keep my eyes out for them. I don't have to get up early in the morning and fight for these deals, I can just quietly get them and put them up for Christmas.

As for the bigger deals, I am more likely to look on Craigslist for something used unless it is an electronic item. Electronics can be harder to get used. But often, Black Friday big ticket items have a limited number of items they are selling so, if I got up, camped out and fought other people for these items, the item might not even be available by the time I got to the counter. 

Some people enjoy Black Friday sales with family and love the competition. They look at it as a game and go with sisters etc and then have lunch together. For some people it is just fun and although they are hoping for some deals the focus is more on fun and time together. I think these are some good, fun reasons if you like that sort of thing and don't mind the crowds.

For me, often you'll just find me quietly enjoying the day, putting up my tree, cleaning and getting caught up (because I always need to catch up! Ha!)

For the rest of you, enjoy the sales and Happy Savings! 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

How My Husband Quit His Job and Retired at Age 48

After writing the blog on how I created my own online business, I thought I should tell the story of how my husband quit his job and retired at age 48. My husband just recently left his job. This took a lot of planning and thinking ahead.

My husband and I always had the dream of working for ourselves rather than for "the man". This was something we worked toward from the beginning (we married at ages 18 and 19. Too young, I know!) We were very poor at the beginning and barely had enough money to put food on the table. I received WIC for both our children, which is a government program for Women, Infants and Children and we got a little food from that every month. I'm sure we could have qualified for food stamps but we wanted to make it on our own as much as possible and we never wanted to be charity cases.

We were attending a church at that time where the pastor was involved in rental properties. We learned about rental properties from him and bought our first house at ages 19 and 20. This was a repossessed house our pastor had found. It was perfect for us and I loved that little house. This was the beginning of being on the right financial track as we were gaining equity and not paying a landlord. We actually got into this house with no money down. The bank was selling to another bank and I think they wanted their books to look as good as possible. So, we were blessed to get this deal. We lived in this house for five years. We bought another house and used this little one as a rental. We lived very frugally and rarely spent money on frivolous things. We saved up a lot of money and had a nice nest egg. However, in time we made some bad financial decisions as sometimes people do. Sometimes, in spite of best efforts, there can be setbacks.

We had to reassess. We looked at people who were very successful and realized that they too had made bad investments sometimes but the people who were still successful were the ones who brushed off and moved forward. We realized we had to do the same thing.

During the previous years we had owned 5 rental properties. Because of circumstances, we sold them all. This was fortunate, however, because we sold most of them around 2005. There was a housing crash in 2008 and many, many people lots great sums of equity in their houses. If we were going to sell, we sold at the right time.

Still, we were back to the beginning financially and had to start over. This was hard. My husband got cancer. It was a hard fight emotionally, financially and physically. We both worked and I did what I always do with my income; I squirreled it away. Since I stayed at home when the kids were young, we were used to living on one income, no matter how tight. And it was tight.

With the money I squirreled away and money my husband saved up, we eventually began making more investments. In the book Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki, he talks about passive income. Passive income is income you make from investments. It is money that you don't have to work for and don't get paid by the hour. This might be rental income, dividends or some other type of income that you get from using your mind rather than using your physical labor. This was our goal.

It took a number of years yet again to save money and make investments that would give us this passive income. My husband had a really good job and it was a very difficult decision to make for him to leave. However, we felt we were at the place where he could leave and we could still grow the business.

Another plus to this business plan, besides being able to retire from a day job, is the fact that it is a family business and you have something to pass on to your children. If you have a day job, you have nothing to pass on. You are not building equity. You can't pass an education on but you can pass a business on.

So, in building passive income there can be lots of ups and downs. It is not for the faint of heart. But it can give you great options and an exciting life. It can give you freedom.

It starts with saving pennies. This is why I am passionate about writing about savings. You can start with a small family getting WIC and end up with a retirement party at age 48. The first thing to do is begin to educate yourself. Begin paying down any debt. Save your pennies. There is the idea in our culture that if you are poor there is no way to climb up. It can be done but it takes diligence.

Right now, we are poised to grow. We have passive income and our needs are met. The sky is the limit! It depends on how hard we want to work.

So, Dream Big and Happy Savings!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

How I Built an Online Business and Quit My Job (And How You Can Too!)

I work for myself. I love it because my time is flexible and I only answer to myself. If I'm sick, I take some time off. If I want to take a vacation, there is nobody to ask! Many people have asked me how I do this since I left my job about 2 years ago. Many people would love to do this but have no idea how.

The first thing I would like to say is that working from home doesn't mean sloughing off. Working at home means literally, working at home. First, you need to be a self-starter. You need self-discipline. You need to be able to work without anyone to be accountable to except yourself. Many people say they would like to work for themselves, but then don't really do what it takes to make that happen. They feel it's just too hard. So, step one is deciding if this is what you really want or if it just sounds nice.

I started out on this journey and goal about 10 years ago. As I said previously, I left my job two years ago. This means that I worked at trying to figure out how to build my business, what products to sell, how to get inventory etc, for 8 years before I jumped ship. I even gave up and went to school for a while thinking this was not going to happen, but eventually, it did! It took perseverance and a willingness to work when I wasn't at my job.

Being a frugal person (I assume since you are reading this blog you are one!) is the first step to running your own business. The reason this is the first step is because as a frugal person, you know how to buy products for less than what other people normally pay. The secret to having your own business is to buy low and sell at a higher price. This is called your margin. The wider a margin you can have between the products you buy and sell, the more money you make. I try to have at least a $10.00 margin on my items in order to make it worth my time to list them.

Finding your product is important. It took me a long time to find the right mix of products to sell. After eight years of trial and error, I was on my way. I found some products that I could find regularly to buy and sell. These products had a decent margin. I found a platform to sell on. There are a lot of different online places to sell. Some of the most popular are:


I sell on both Ebay and Amazon and sometimes on Craigslist.

Learning your way around some of these sites can take a lot of time. I would suggest while you are looking for your products to sell, you list some things on your site of choice to familiarize yourself with the site, payment methods, communications etc. You tube can have some good tutorials for some sites too. 

Another thing that took me a long time was actually making the leap. The reason for this was the time I spent at work was actually holding me back from seeing what could be done and spending that time on my business. My Mom sells on Etsy (handmade seaglass jewlery. See her website at http://www.seaglassin.com/. She also has an etsy site at seaglassin.etsy.com). She is retired. Watching her, I began to see what a person could do with more time and online selling. So, finally, I took the leap! I spend maybe on average 25 hours a week working on my online business. Last year, I made more money at my online business than I did at my highest paying job (I usually worked part-time). As I said before, this means working those hours and not diddling them away (like on frugality blogs haha!) but is also means much more freedom and no office politics! (Hear those angels singing?? :))

Another prerequisite to running your own business is you need to be able to manage money well. (Goes hand in hand with frugality!) The reason for this is you will have bills and you will need to pay them. If you spend all your money and can't pay the bills your business accumulates, your business will fail. Last year, more than 2/3 of the money that came into my business was business expenses and then there are taxes too.  

I love working for myself and find it has great advantages. If you want it badly enough you can make it happen with some time, patience and diligence!

Here is an article I found with some ideas:

My husband also recently left his day job. Besides my online business, we also have a mini-storage business and some rental property. Reading some books on these subjects can be helpful. A couple books are Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki and The Millionaire Next Door  by Thomas J. Stanley.

Happy Building!

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Eating on a Dime: One Meal to Save you Money

Today I made this yummy split pea soup! I used half of the split peas in this bag so the split peas themselves cost $1.10. 

Yesterday, I used up some ham that I had packaged up that I wrote about in another blog. http://simplyfrugalynne.blogspot.com/2015/03/saving-money-on-hamlunch-meat-make.html

I used the meat for sandwiches for 6 people yesterday and then I used the rest of the bone in part to boil into this soup. It was $1.58 lb and this part with the bone was probably two pounds when I pulled it out of the freezer so once the meat was cut off for sandwiches, let's say one pound, is a total of $1.58 for the ham. 

                                     I used old bacon fat to add that I had saved and frozen.

I added celery flakes, garlic, salt and pepper. 

After yesterday's sandwiches, these were leftover so I warmed them up to go with the soup for .45.
 I served them with homemade pickled okra and cheese. The cheese I had gotten on sale $4.98 for 2 lbs and we used it to sprinkle on the soup. We ate about half of the soup tonight and have half leftover for tomorrow's meal! So, altogether, this meal for tonight cost about $2.54 total and it served 4 people which comes up to .64 a serving! Making an inexpensive meal like this every week, if you are used to paying $10.00 per meal can save you almost $30.00 in one month!

Happy Savings!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

How a Four Day/Three Night Trip Cost Less Than $300.00 Including Gas and Meals!

My husband and I just had a four day/three night trip for less than $300.00 total, including the cost of the gas to get there! This is something I do on a regular basis and anyone can do it with a little planning.

First, I prepare a travel folder. This does take some time. I usually spend about 4 hours on preparing a travel folder every trip we go on. This was was a little easier because we decided to not do a whole lot but to just take it easy.

First, I did a search on http://www.trivago.com/ for a hotel. I decided to look for one that had an indoor swimming pool, hot tub and breakfast all for a great price. I didn't choose the city first but looked at a few cities and did some price checking. I found one hotel that the price looked right but it didn't look nice at all. So, I kept looking until I found a real nice Econolodge on Trivago. Here is the breakdown of the prices Wed night $47.99/Thurs night $47.99/Fri night $55.99/Taxes $23.56 for a total of $175.53 on the hotel. This hotel also had a mini-refrigerator and microwave in the room which I count as a great bonus so all meals don't have to be eaten out.
For lunch the first day, we ate before we left the house. Then later on, had an ice cream snack on the road. This time of year I have a birthday so I use birthday coupons from restaurants to save money. You have to sign up for these deals. I usually use a separate email account for these so I don't get so much spam. One of these was a buy one get one free blizzard from Dairy Queen.
I also had a gift card that my daughter gave me and so these blizzards cost me $0.00. If I get gift cards, I tend to save them for vacations.

I had a restaurant.com coupon for supper that night at a nice supper club. I have mixed reviews for restaurant.com. The only reason I bought coupons from them is that I got an awesome deal a few years ago where I could get $25.00 coupons for $2.00 each and they never expire and they can also be exchanged so I bought $40.00 worth! We have had many very nice meals with these at places that were not just nice as far as food, but atmosphere and experience. However, this one was a dud. We went to the supper club and when we walked in, there was a sign that said they were no longer taking restaurant.com coupons but the place looked nice and was quite busy and reasonably priced so we decided to stay. No one greeted us or seated us, so eventually we seated ourselves. Two couples came in after we did and they were brought drinks. No one, however, came up to our table. After sitting there for about 10 or 15 minutes, we decided to leave. No one even noticed! At this point, it was getting late and my system was not wanting food as much so we got something off the dollar menu at Burger King. This cost $6.67. This was quite disappointing but we knew we had a couple more days to eat well.

Every day, the breakfast at the hotel was decent. And every day it was free!

For lunch the second day, we decided to eat at Golden Corral. Lunch at Golden Corral is a fair amount less than dinner so we went for lunch for this reason. We love Golden Corral and there is not one where we live so if we find one where we vacation we always go. Golden Corral has a club sign up and you can get a Buy one Get one free for your birthday, but I didn't know this until after my birthday. I did get a free beverage coupon for signing up. We walked to the restaurant but I forgot the coupon so I didn't even get to use it! But, we almost always get water at restaurants and so we just did the usual. We usually squeeze lemon into our water. When we were there, my husband noticed that they have little to-go boxes that you can fill on your way out (after meal purchase) for $1.99 each. We got two of them to put into the refrigerator for lunch the next day so the total for this meal plus to go boxes was $22.22. We were still full at supper since we ate about 2:00 so we popped some popcorn around supper time and went for a hot tub and swim.

These to go boxes fit an amazing amount of food in them so for lunch the next day we had a plate full of food and we still had some left to take home. Here is our lunch in the hotel room heated by the microwave.
We went to an amazing historical place and that cost $5.00 each for a total of $10.00.
For supper that night, we went to Red Lobster. My sister had given us a $25.00 gift certificate (thanks, Sis!) and I had a $4.00 off two entrees coupon. Red Lobster has this really great 4 course meal with Soup/Salad/Entree/Dessert plus all you can eat biscuits for $16.99. My husband and I both ordered this so with the gift certificate and coupon it cost us $6.48 plus tips!

(Sorry, I took a bite before I took the photo!)

We spent the rest of the evening relaxing.

The hotel had a pool table and exercise room so after breakfast the fourth morning, we played a game of pool and used the weight room. We also used the hot tub and swam before packing to leave.

On the way home, we stopped at Old Country Buffet as I had a Buy One Get One Free Coupon for the buffet for my birthday. Lunch is always less and so the buffet cost $8.96 total.

Gas for the trip was about $62.00. This would have been less had I driven my Prius (which gets about 50 MPG) but my husband wanted to take his truck because there was a tractor implement he wanted to buy where we were vacationing and his truck gets 19 MPG.

So, all told, this trip cost less than $300.00, was a great time, with great food and very relaxing. Plus, we have plenty of leftovers for tomorrow!

Happy Savings!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

How to Save Money on Heating Costs

Put your house in a scarf!

Heating costs can eat up a lot of money in the colder months, especially in colder climates. There are a number of ways to save money.

1. Turning down the heat is an obvious step but an even better one is turning down the heat and buying a programmable thermostat that turns the heat down for you when you are sleeping and/or away. This way, you can turn up the heat shortly before you get up or get home so you never really feel the temperature change, but you can save a lot by doing this even though you will need to make a small initial investment of a programmable thermostat. You can buy programmable thermostats for around $40-$70 and save between 10% and 20% on your heating costs. When you figure out how much you spend on heating per month, and shave 10%-20% off, that is cash in your pocket!

2. Using humidifiers is not only good for your health but makes the room feel warmer so you can have the temperature at a lower setting.

3. Turn your ceiling fan blades to blow up in the winter, so the air is not blowing on you but blowing the hot air down to you.

4. A lot of heat escapes out of windows. Clear plastic sheeting can be purchased to apply to the windows to form a air barrier to keep warm air in. A very cheap way that I have seen some do this (although it is not beautiful but practical) is to simply take bubble wrap and a spray bottle and squirt water on the window and affix the bubble wrap. Another way to save money if you don't want to spend the money on clear plastic is to cover your window with blankets put up with tacks.

5. Don't use exhaust fans in the winter.

6. There are filters made for dryers so you can blow the dryer air into your house rather than outside. I personally have never found one that keeps the dust down but there may be one out there.

7. You can make your doors draft free with weatherstripping.

8. Open your oven door after baking.

If all of these suggestions are done, it will make a difference on the monthly bill! Pennies turn into dollars and dollars turn into great savings!

Happy Savings!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Stock Up on Groceries Now! Make $30.00- $60.00 /Hour!

This time of year is right after harvest in many part of the US, which means that a lot of groceries go on sale as processors move their products out. I got some great deals today. Many of you also know that I do ad match at Wal-Mart  http://corporate.walmart.com/policies I also hit the bakery reduction cart every week. I didn't have time to take photos of every single item I got a deal on this week so I wanted to write up a list. When I find deals like this I stock up so I hardly ever have to buy anything at full price! Here are some of the deals I got today:
The rolls you see above, normally $2.28 for .68. ($2.28/.68)
Lemon cake, $4.92/$1.48 
Tuna Fillets $9.97/$6.95
Haddock $8.74/$5.94
 Trout $9.98/$5.94
Split Pea Soup/Bean and Bacon Soup $1.25/$1.00
Gallon Apple Cider $4.99/$2.99
 Cake Mix $1.28/.68
Spaghetti Noodles $1.29/.68
Tortilla Chips $2.98/$1.68
Mushrooms .68/.58
Chicken Broth $1.19/.58
Tomato/Children Noodle Soups .78/.38
Green Beans .78/.38
Chili Beans .78/.48
1/2 Gal Orange Juice $1.78/.98
8 oz Kraft Shredded Cheese $2.29/.99
Kemps Gal. Chocolate Milk $5.28/$2.99
2 lbs Shredded Cheese $7.98/$4.98

I stocked up! I get deals like this every single week! On average, I save probably $30.00 a week (this week, I'm sure it was more!) It takes me about 30 minutes to an hour total to scan the ads and get them ready plus doing the price checks at the store and checkout time. This is $30.00 a week for 30 minutes to one hour of my time! 
Although ad match is done at Wal-Mart, most grocery stores have some great sales this time of year on many different items so check out your local grocery stores. 

Happy Savings!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Hotel Savings!

Normally when we travel, I have used Priceline to book our hotel. After having a couple of negative experiences with them, I decided to shop travel differently. Priceline has a feature called "Name Your Own Price". This feature is good if you don't care what amenities your hotel may have. You can choose how many stars your hotel has but in my experience, you don't always get what you ask for. The deal on Priceline's "Name Your Own Price" is that once you get the hotel, you are locked in and there is no backing out. And when they say "no backing out", they mean it.

I did a "Name Your Own Price" with Priceline and asked for at least a 2 star hotel. The price I got was very good, however, the hotel itself was definitely not a 2 star. Not only that but the hotel was cheaper on another site where I didn't have to take the hotel blindly. I complained to Priceline. They matched the other site's price but when I told them about the reviews on this hotel and said it was not a 2 star, they refused to budge. So, I was stuck. I told them I usually use Priceline but that after this, I was trying other avenues and they didn't care. So.....this time I tried another avenue,

I found a really neat site called trivago.

When you are getting ready to travel, you can type in the city and what amenities you want. Then, trivago searches all the hotel websites for best prices. 

We are getting ready to take our fall vacation soon. I searched a few cities on trivago and found a really nice hotel with a pool, whirlpool, breakfast, and exercise room for only $51.00 per night. I was able to see all the photos before choosing the hotel and knowing they have breakfast can be a great money saver. They had a picture of the breakfast bar so I know it is more than a granola and an apple with coffee. :) 

I have gotten hotels for about $42.00 a night on Priceline, which is a great deal but you are not guaranteed breakfast which can definitely cost more than $9.00 per day depending on which route you take. You are not guaranteed a pool which I really wanted as well and know I got with trivago. 

So far, I like trivago because you can see all the hotel prices side by side and I don't have to call and haggle if I found out the price was lower elsewhere. So, I booked our hotel for $51.00 a night through expedia and I know I got what I wanted.

Happy Savings! 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Freebies in the Mail

You can get freebies in the mail, just for signing up! Here are a couple of freebie sites I have used and have had no problems. You have to be careful with some sites. I made an email account for these sites as they tend to sent out a lot of spam.



Happy Savings!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Eat for 2 at McDonald's for $4.61!!

I met my husband in town for lunch the other day. There is no need to break the bank for a lunch date. I ordered 2 McDoubles, which are larger burgers than a plain cheeseburger (but are about .50 less than the double cheeseburger) for a total of $2.98. We split some fries for $1.39 and then got 2 waters for a total of $4.61.

When we were younger, we would not have done this. We simply would not have been able to afford it! For an even less expensive lunch date, a brown bag PBJ lunch in the car is even less! However, most people order meals for each person which can run about $5.00 or $6.00 each. No need to do that! The truth is, I think my husband would like to do that and when I'm not around, he usually spends more. When I am with him, I usually have a coupon of some kind (no matter where we go to eat) and he tolerates my frugality because he knows it's for the greater good. He will say (with resignation) "What can I get?" or sometimes, he just has me order because I know what he likes and what will fit in with my cheapskate ways. In the long run, he is usually appreciative.

Happy savings!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

What are Your Financial Goals?

It is my belief that people who learn to grow the money they have usually think differently than the rest of the populace. First of all, you don't have to be rich to grow your money. Anyone can do it. So, the first rule of growing money is to know that you can grow your money with whatever you are starting with. Many people have a defeatist attitude to start with: "I'll never have anything". "Why bother?" "I was born poor and I'll die poor." With this type of thinking, they are right. They will die poor.

Rule #1 I can grow my money.

The next step in growing your money is to decide why you want to grow your money. Is it because you want to be able to buy a lot of things? People in this category need to be careful that they do not fall into a catch 22. To some people, having a lot of things is important. For this type of person, the challenge is to discipline yourself long enough to save. And this type of person will also probably need to "reward" themselves along the way sometimes in order to not feel discouraged.

Rule #2 Figure out why you want to grow your money.

For some people, they want time to do what they want. Having the time to do what you want can be a great measurement of success. If you don't have to sell all your time for a paycheck, you can have the time to do what you want more often.

Some people want to be popular and have lots of friends and this means having money to do things with people and sometimes to impress them. So, each type of person needs to figure out what their goal for saving money is and then fill in this blank:

When I grow my money I can.......

This will help you stick to your goals. This will also help to motivate you to work hard.

Rule #3 Figure out how you are going to grow your money.

This will vary widely for different people depending where you are and what your goals are. For some, this might mean paying down credit card debt and stopping from getting any late fees on phone bills etc. For this type of person, self discipline is usually where it starts. Stop buying that Dr. Pepper at the convenience store. Stop buying on impulse. Take on a second job if need be no matter how small and use that to pay down debt and pay your bills on time.

For those who already have those parts under control, it is about saving what you have. That also takes discipline. Many people can pay their bills from month to month and have no overdraft fees etc, but they have no money saved. They spend what extra they have on going out to eat with friends or taking vacations which are needed and well and good, but you could have friends over for a movie and popcorn instead and explain to them what you are doing. (Maybe they will join you!) You will need money for retirement and other emergencies. 6 months of living expenses is what is usually recommended for emergency purposes.

Once you get your 6 months of emergency expenses, it's time to live it up, right? Wrong! Now is the time to save for investing. Once you have saved enough money for some investments it is time to figure out how to invest that money. There are a number of ways people choose to do this. You could open that business you've always wanted to but never had the money to do it. You could invest in the stock market. You could buy some rental properties and gain some cash flow and equity all paid for by other people while you do what you want to do with your time!

Different people will have different goals for their lives but I think one thing remains true for most people....most people don't like having to punch a clock for someone else who makes more money than you for your work and gives you a part of it for your time. So, what are your goals? What works for you? How can you make the most of what you have and grow what you have and ultimately feel happier with your state and choices in life? Making these decisions will help set you on a good path and help you stay motivated to save.

Happy Savings!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

StarKist Tuna Settlement. Get $25.00 or $50.00 in Coupons!

StarKist Tuna is settling with customers who bought their tuna from February 19, 2009 through October 31, 2014. Apparently they were under filling the cans and a class action lawsuit was brought against them. If you purchased this brand of tuna anytime in that time you don't need a receipt to make a claim. Just fill out this form here: 


If they get many claims the cash settlement for each person will be smaller so it's hard to say how much each person might get.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Key to Success: Living Below Your Means

Many people are simply having a terrible time making ends meet month to month. People have boatloads of bills and some people have late payments on top of them. House payments, car loans, electricity payments, food, gas, student loans, on and on and on it goes.

People are drowning in debt. The average student loan debt for 2014 graduates is $28,000. http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2014/11/13/average-student-loan-debt-hits-30-000

According to one source, the average American credit card debt is $7,200.00. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/americas-skyrocketing-credit-card-debt/

People are drowning financially and no one seems to want to talk about it. It's the secret struggle of many.

What is the answer to this? The answer to this is, more than anything, living below your means. I can already hear the cacophony of protests. "There is no WAY I can live below my means! I can't even live within my means much less below it!"

The truth is, most everybody can live below their means. This doesn't happen by itself, however. A strategy needs to be created. The first thing to do is the last thing some people want to do. That is. sit down and look at all the bills and create a budget. This might be terribly scary, to find out exactly where you are financially. The second thing to do is create a list of three goals.

Once you list all of your bills, take the smallest credit card owed on and think about how much you could put on it extra every month. In order to do this, you will have to cut out something else. Stop buying Starbucks and make your coffee at home. Stop buying those convenience foods and spend a little extra time on the weekends making meals and lunches. There is almost no one who can't cut back something. Learn to use what you have instead of making new purchases. Once you find something to cut back on, take that little extra and place it on the smallest credit card you owe money on. If that's $10.00 or $20.00 a month, that's fine.

If you owe $300.00 on that credit card and you usually pay about $20.00 a month, now you are going to pay $40.00 a month. You will pay this card off twice as fast. After you pay it off, you will then have $40.00 a month to put onto the next card. This is a snowball effect. Once the ball gets rolling, the feeling of being in control of your future should encourage you enough to keep going! The peace you feel will be worth it!

Don't get discouraged! This is a long slow process, but in the long run, you will be so glad you did it!

Look up Debt Free on Youtube and find videos to watch to encourage yourself along the way. You are not alone! Many people have been where you are and have worked hard to change that.

Happy Savings!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

New Flooring Cost $545.00 plus $688 Labor. No Payments Ever!

We moved into this house 6 years ago. I wanted new flooring right away but I didn't buy any because we had other goals at the time. The flooring looked then about how it does in these pictures. The flooring is original to the house. As you can see, it's quite dated and in spots, very ugly. One of the things about our culture and the way people think is that living with flooring like this while you save can be simply unthinkable. So, people go out, buy new flooring right away on credit cards and then make monthly payments with interest.

 To my way of thinking, this is completely backwards. Why would anyone pay interest to someone else when they can save up and pay cash? Like I said, I have frugal genes and so this is just how I think. We had a number of goals that came before flooring. One of my goals was to buy a newer car. So, I spent a number of years saving money to buy my car with cash. Again, it doesn't make sense to me to pay interest if you don't have to. My old car was looking worse and worse and then when my husband got a newer car he had a junky old Geo he was driving, I decided to drive that to save more money on gas and parked my Subaru. I slowly saved $8000.00 and bought a Prius with cash. Yes, people looked at me sadly and with pity while I drove the rust old Geo. But I looked at them sadly and with pity, knowing most of them had car payments.
 The same is true with any of these types of purchases. My husband and I have been busy building a business over the last number of years and having money for the business has always been top priority for me (my husband is a little looser with the cash).
 So, for 6 years, I lived with what I had. Finally, I decided it was time. I found some linoleum that I liked at .99 a square foot on sale. This cost $545.00. I had a guy come out and he laid it for me for $688.00. Some of that was supplies he bought to lay it and some was labor. I made sure he bought glue and I payed him to glue it down because I don't like free floating linoleum (that was an extra $200.00).

I am so pleased with the outcome!

The pleasure of having the new flooring comes with no guilt over making monthly payments and interest. It is here free and clear.

No stress, no worries that the money is going to be already spent if there is an emergency because we have other money saved up for that.

Later, I want to do the rest of the house with wood laminate flooring. The living room and bedrooms are ugly with old carpets. It will be an overwhelming project, not because I won't save the money, but each room will have to have all the furniture removed. I am hoping we can do it ourselves and won't have to pay labor costs.

So I am thrilled with this new flooring. It is so worth it to save up and not have to worry or stress over the money aspect of things. If I didn't have the cash to pay for it, I would simply have lived with the old flooring. Simple as that.

Happy Savings!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Reminder! Time to Buy Propane!

If you haven't yet gotten a summer-fill or a pre-pay for your propane, now is the time to do it. Locally, the last date is Aug 31st to buy. We just bought our summer fill and paid only .89/Gallon! That is an amazingly low price!

Summer-fill is when you get your tank filled during the summer for gas you will use during the winter. Pre-pay is when you pay for gas you project you will use during the winter at a discounted rate (rather than waiting until mid-winter to buy at high winter prices) but it is not put into your tank until winter-time, when you are low.

This year, we didn't do any pre-buying because we think with our new hot water heater, we won't need more than a summer fill. Hope we are right! I would hate to pay at winter prices! However, a pre-buy has a 300 gallon minimum here and we don't think we will need it.

Happy Saving!