Archive for the 'Money Saving' Category

Frugal Friday Tip

Friday, April 25th, 2008

Since earlier this week we took some time and organized our bills, today I thought we’d work on lowering your bills a bit. Yes it IS possible!

First take a look at your finances and all the things you are currently paying for. Are there things you really don’t need? Sometimes we get carried away with those cheap memberships for various things thinking “it’s just a few dollars, why not?”. When I added up all my “just a few dollars” memberships I realized that added up it is NOT just a few dollars. Cancel what you really don’t need or aren’t really using to shave a bit off your monthly budget.

Next, take a look at your credit cards. If you are one of the lucky few who have always paid off your credit cards every month, congrats to you! I use to be one of them until forced into a bad financial spot (I am far too proud to borrow money from family, so my credit card was my life line). Your interest rates may look absolutely terrible right now, but you CAN get those lowered.

Most people don’t know all it takes is a quick call to your credit card companies and asking them to lower your interest rate. About two years ago mine was not a fix but a variable rate and quite a bit over 20%. (Ouch, right?). After one call I got it at a fixed 19%. Just with those few percentages I knocked off $20/mo. A few months ago I called again to have them review the account, and got it lowered another 2%.

So if you are like most Americans and have some nasty looking credit card balances, try getting your rates lowered. You’ll get your balance paid off a whole lot quicker without raising the amount you pay monthly on it.

This tip was pulled from “97 Money Saving Ideas

Frugal Friday: Ditch Your Movie Channels

Friday, April 18th, 2008

Do you subscribe to premium movie channels? If so, you may be able to cut your movie bill in half with this one quick tip.

First off, take a look at how often you actually watch those channels. Is it daily, weekly, or rarely? How often do you watch movies on other channels? How about renting - do you rent movies more than you watch them on TV?

Before we made the switch from HBO to Netflix.com, I realized we were hardly ever watching movies on TV and renting all the time. Our total bill was well over $20 a month for both our movie channel subscriptions and our cost for renting. That didn’t make much sense now did it?

Since we don’t live anywhere close to a Blockbuster and still have to drive 20 miles to the nearest rental store, we decided Netflix was our best option. Currently we use their 1 DVD at a time option, which costs $8.99 a month. Actually, when we first started the cost was higher and they LOWERED the cost not too long ago. Pretty amazing if you ask me - when was the last time you heard of a company lowering costs for all their members?

On average, we get about 5 movies a month right now ONLY because I keep them for a few days. I could probably squeeze in 10 movies in a month if I returned them immediately. Since I don’t have to pay for the gas to return it, this is a heck of a deal to me. Plus of course I don’t have to pay extra for new releases.

Turn around time on the movies is VERY fast. When I drop a movie in the mail to return it, I can expect another one in 2 days. Plus if I wanted to watch something else in the mean time, I could watch movies online as well.

Overall we probably have saved an average of nearly $200/year just by getting rid of all our premium channels and switching to Netflix. Plus I get to watch all the movies I want to watch instead of what they want to show on TV. MUCH better option if you ask me!

Frugal Friday: Discount Fabric

Friday, April 11th, 2008


If you are like me, you tend to spend quite a bit of money on fabric for various projects. Although I hardly ever pay more than $5 a yard for fabric. And really there’s no reason to unless you absolutely need something specific.

Instead of paying full price for fabric, I always watch the discounts on stores like Fabric.com. Right now they’ve got an anniversary special running until April 30th. To celebrate their 9 year anniversary, you can take 15% off your entire order (no minimum required) by using the code Anniversary15. Just click on the banner above to see all the items they’ve got in stock right now (I just love that site).

Remember to make it worth your shipping cost! I always make sure to buy at least 5 or 6 yards at a time when ordering online. ;)

Frugal Friday: Saving Money on Gas

Friday, April 4th, 2008

With the gas prices on the rise, it’s time to brainstorm some ways we can all save money on gas.

1. Car Pool

If you drive to work like millions do, try to car pool to cut down on the amount of gas you would all use separately. Often times finding someone in the same town as you to drive to the city can make a huge difference. Even friends that work close by can ride in together.

2. Take Turns for School

How many trips a day do you make taking the kids to school and picking them up? You’d be surprised how fast those miles add up even if you only live a short distance from the school. We don’t even live a mile away, and we drive about 30-40 miles a week (sometimes more, depending on the day and who needs picked up at what time). Even in a car that gets at least 20 MPG, that’s still $5-6 spent a week on gas. That’s nearly $200 a school year! Now imagine if your car doesn’t get good mileage, or if you live farther from the school. It could easily be two or three times as much.

You can cut the cost in half by car pooling your kids. Have a near by friend pick them up one week, and you the next.

3. Stay In For Lunch

No matter if you stay at home or work full time, we tend to spend gas going out to eat. If you can walk to the nearest restaurant, do that instead. Or else try staying in more often. Not only will you be saving money on gas, but money on food as well.

4. Double Up Work Hours

If possible, have a chat with your boss to see if you can double up on your hours and work less days. Many people work 10 hour days only 4 days a week, saving them an entire day of driving.

5. Work From Home or Closer To Home

Again have a chat with your boss to see if it’s possible to do your job from home a few days a week. You might also want to sit down and do the math to see just how much it costs you to work. What do you REALLY earn a month after paying for gas, daycare, and lunch? It’s possible that working could be COSTING you money if your commute is too far.

These are just a few tips to save you money on your gas. If you have tips to share, please leave us some comments!

Frugal Friday: Clip Coupons

Friday, March 28th, 2008



This is one of those money saving tips that usually we don’t have to mention. Of course you can save money by clipping coupons!

The real trick here is not just cutting out coupons to get x amount off a name brand product, but paying LESS than you would for the product regardless of the brand. Generic brands usually are just as good as the name brand. In some cases, it IS the name brand in a different package. So always do a price comparison in the store. Is the product you are about to buy LESS than the generic brand with the coupon? If so, you are good to go. If not, PASS!

Also, you can get quite a few coupons online to print (See the banner above for Coupons.com). I know we don’t have any other option here since we don’t get the Sunday paper. Just not something we read, and isn’t worth to buy just for the coupons (although sometimes I go to a local gas station on Sunday because they give free papers out with $20 or more of gas - free paper IS worth grabbing just for the coupons!).

Another place to check for coupons is the store and company sites. Sign up by email to receive their current coupons, and you might be surprised. Especially look at the products you buy on a regular basis. Some coupons offered are good for “any size” and can be quite a bit. Several months ago there was a $5 off coupon from Tylenol that we used for the travel size at Target. We ended up with a free travel size pack of Tylenol, and an extra $4 off our total bill. Good yes?

Give the ideas above a shot and see how much money you can save!

Frugal Friday: Greeting Cards

Friday, March 21st, 2008

Are you the type of person who makes sure to send greeting cards to all your family and friends for every holiday? If so, today’s Frugal Friday tip may be perfect for you.

The point of a greeting card is to show you care, and that you are thinking about that person. Plus a greeting card can brighten a person’s day, and make them feel loved.

However, the cost of greeting cards can really add up over time. Depending on the type of cards you send, you could easily be spending a few hundred dollars over the year buying and sending cards. If you figure even $1.50 cards sent to 10 people for 5 holidays, that’s $75 a year without including postage!

It may not seem like too much, but what if your list is bigger or you send for more than just 5 holidays? Don’t forget birthdays, Mother’s day, and those other days special to just a few people. The cost can really add up over time.

To save the most money, you may want to look at alternatives for sending cards. Companies like AmericanGreetings.com allow you to send unlimited cards for one flat fee. It’s not just limited to eCards either (which can help cut down on your postage costs). You can also print unlimited cards as well.

On this particular site, there are three different options for membership - ecards, create & print, or both. Prices at the time of this post were $13.99, $19.99, and $29.99 respectively. That’s unlimited cards for the entire YEAR. When you figure you could easily be spending twice this much, it looks like a pretty good deal huh?

If you are interested in checking them out, sign up for a 30 day free trial by clicking the banner below. With Easter right around the corner, why not?

Should Kids Get Paid for Chores?

Wednesday, February 20th, 2008

Before I dive in, let me first state this is my personal opinion only. I don’t claim to be a specialist in anything, but I AM a parent. Based on how I was raised, and how my children are, I can give you an honest opinion on the subject. Do be sure to seek out opinions of others as well.

Personally I believe that yes, children should get paid for some chores one way or another. I believe we are setting them up for the real world, where their hard work is paid for with a job. I also believe by making them do certain chores, we are also creating independent adults who will take care of their own house.

I think when you reward them for good deeds it keeps things in balance. Most don’t hesitate to punish bad behavior, but we often forget to reward when they behave. Paying them for good behavior (doing their chores) IS a reward.

Some may chose to set up an allowance system, where they get money at the end of the week only if all their list of chores are done. Since mine are younger (5 and 7), I pay them per job. Picking up their room gets a quarter. Putting away clothes is a dime per trip. Cleaning up something without asking is a dime or quarter based on the size of the job. Since they are little, I can get away with paying less per job than I would older kids.

Not only is giving them money for chores a reward, but we’re learning about money too. We get the chore jars out once in awhile and count how much money we have. When I need to replenish my quarter and dime supply, we “cash in” with dollars which are used to buy a toy or something they really want. Right now we are saving money for Webkinz.

What’s your opinion on this subject, and how do you handle chores in your home?

Free Valentines Cards

Monday, February 11th, 2008


Need a few last minute Valentine’s day cards for friends and family? You can find ecards or print out some unique cards for free at AmericanGreetings.com. Now is a perfect time to try out their 30 day free trial, since sending out all your Valentine’s day cards won’t cost a thing!

What’s so great about this particular site? Well for one, you don’t have to worry about getting spyware on your computer from a free site. Plus this site gives you a lot of options for personalizing cards, and even printing them too! (You know, for those friends and family who don’t have computers, and probably don’t care about ecards).

The full membership isn’t expensive at all, and probably a LOT less than what you’d spend on buying cards all year round. There’s a few different options too based on what you’d be using the service for.

Be sure to at least check them out and see what kind of cards they have available. Valentine’s day is this week, so you don’t have a whole lot of time!

$5 Gift Certificate for Free Ebooks

Thursday, January 31st, 2008

As promised the survey is now available! For your time and feedback we are giving you a free $5 gift certificate to be used with any ebook at Idea Queen. Since ebooks are $5 or less, this means you get one or two ebooks completely free.

All questions must be answered in order to get your gift certificate. Be sure to take your time and give us some honest feedback. Remember YOU are deciding what will change and what will stay the same on the site!

For details on the survey and gift certificate, please click here.

Buying Electronics - Offline or Online?

Tuesday, January 29th, 2008

Usually when someone asks me if I’d rather shop online or offline, I’m pretty quick to say “online”. I can look around at several stores at the same time, price compare, and find EXACTLY what I want in a whole lot less time than I can offline.  Shipping is usually not an issue to me, since most of the time you can find the best price online saving you more than it cost to ship. Plus of course with gas prices as horrible as they are, you save that cost yourself too.

This time though, I find myself rushing down to my most hated of all stores - Walmart.  Yes before I even think about buying online, I’m looking there first. Why you ask? Well, we have no TV. My kids ignored our one and only rule in the house of keeping water on the table and away from the electronics. Ironically enough, one got in trouble just a few weeks ago for this same thing when a knocked over water glass almost fried our brand new GameCube. Luckily it was safe, but the TV the other night was not so lucky.

I really shouldn’t be so anxious to get a new TV. If I waited, I could save so much money. But I’m ashamed to say we are a TV family that enjoys watching certain shows in the evening together. Last night was not such a problem because it was such a busy day and we didn’t get home until bedtime, but tonight might be a different story. Plus of course we use the GameCube as reward for my oldest, which he can’t play without a TV of course.

Now the really bad thing here is everything is switching to HDTV, making the prices of TVs three times as much as they use to be. Honestly I could care less. I spent some time chatting with the local electronic store owner, and was told since I’m on DISH it won’t matter much. Alright, so give me an “old fashion” TV because I don’t care. Unfortunately that’s easier said that done, since no one seems to sell the “regular” TVs anymore. *SIGH*.

So even though the weather is looking like it’s going to turn ugly today, I have to run to the next town and hopefully find a TV that’s not going to max out my credit card. At this point I’m really wishing we had another somewhere so I could take my time and order online. But alas, this isn’t the case.

Wish me luck - I’m going to need it!