Saturday, June 27, 2009
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
I do have a tip on getting free flights before I leave. Once I fly back home from this trip, I will have earned a free round-trip flight from Southwest Airlines. All I did was sign up for their rapid rewards program (which is free) and made sure to use my RR number for every flight I booked. That's it. Easy as pie. Another way to get free flights is to have a credit card that earns you points toward free flights. I've gotten $100 off a flight that way. (But, make sure you are paying your balance every month, it's not worth it if you have to pay interest charges!) Most every airline has a free rewards program, so sign up for which ever one you use. I'll save $250 by using my free round-trip airfare from Southwest.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Even though it costs me time, it's so worth it! I don't have to have a job to get the things that I want. I just need to find someone willing to trade me for something I already have for something I want. I know of a couple that got a boat from a guy who just wanted the trim done in his house. They took two days, put in trim in his house and walked away with a boat. Then there's that guy who started with a paperclip and got a house.......I'll have to interview him someday for his bartering tips. :)
Monday, June 22, 2009
My Story: I often think the same thing when I hear free, but there are many treasures that can be found. One example is I got a window sun shade for my car by glancing at the free bin outside my local thrift store. It doesn't roll up anymore because the metal at the top is slightly bent, but it works for what it was meant for. That's all I care about! It saved me $10.
Another example is that I got a free training toilet and a life jacket from someone who just wanted them out of her house. Her kids were done with them. They are both in excellent condition!
Resource: One nationwide organization that is a great free exchange is The Freecycle Network (http://www.freecycle.org/). There are chapters all over the nation and there's one simple rule, everything exchanged between members must be free. No trading or bartering is allowed. You simply post things you want or are giving away. I once posted that I needed containers for gardening and I had three people respond and I got way more pots than I ever needed. I then passed the extras on to someone else. The only downside is that you have to be fairly quick about responding. Craigslist also has a free section, but you have to be even quicker on that one. Let me know if anyone knows of any others.
Friday, June 19, 2009
I've always enjoyed gardening and I find it therapeutic after a hard day to eat what I have cared for. However, there is also money saving possibilities in it as well. I have used all organic potting soil, seeds, and fertilizer. Though I am not seeking a USDA organic certification, I would probably qualify. We all know organic produce can cost up to twice as much as non-organic. The $0.25-0.50 worth of seeds, $0.50 worth of fertilizer, and $1 worth of water gives me on average $20 worth of produce per pot. Some are higher and some are less with many different factors. This year I did invest about $50 in getting it set up, but I will definitely get my money back with how well the plants are doing! :) Even my husband admitted this year that the garden was worth it. Usually, I have to drag him to weed, water, or anything else to do with the garden.
For those of you who have never gardened before, start out small with one or two different items. Figure out what works in the areas that you have and know that there are a ton of different ways to garden. A good start is getting a basic book from the library or ask someone you know what has worked for them. Even neighbors can have different soil/micro climates, so don't be discouraged if your garden doesn't look like your neighbors. Just keep trying.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Last month I got a certificate for $9 and bought nifty paperclips for my scrapbooking. They added up to $9 exactly, so I didn't have to pay them anything. Not even sales tax. :) It made me happy.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
There are other online photo print stores that do promotionals similar to this. I used one for http://www.winkflash.com/ and I'm sure you can find more! Sometimes you have to pay shippihng, but it's still cheaper than paying $0.15-0.20 for each print.
Monday, June 15, 2009
My Story: When I first got married, I never really worried about my credit score. I had worked for a mortgage bank for several years and knew it was important, but did not think it would effect me anytime soon. As we started to apply for things like car and student loans we quickly figured out how important it can be. Luckily, our scores have both been really good. We always got good rates and really started to see how our score saved us.
I'm going to lay out a scenario for you now. It comes from Suze Orman's The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous, & Broke. "On a four-year, $20,000 car loan, we're talking about paying an extra $103 a month if your FICO score is in the 500-589 range rather than the top range of 720+. That's $1,236 a year, which comes to $4,944 over the four years of the loan."
$4,944 is a lot of money in an average 5-year car loan, but check out this site that gives a scenario for a mortgage loan. You could save $150,000 over the life of your home loan! http://www.bankrate.com/bosre/news/Financial_Literacy/June07_credit_score_savings_chart_a1.asp?s=1&caret=36d
To help with your score, make sure your credit reports are error-free. Go to www.annualcreditreport.com to see your credit report (not your score). To request your score, you'll need to contact the three different credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, & TrasUnion). There is a fee for your score, but not your report. Even if you don't want to pay to see your score, AT LEAST make sure there's nothing on your report that does not belong there or is incorrect.
Friday, June 12, 2009
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
If you have kids, next time you plan an evening out see if your friend or neighbor will swap with you. Or, if they don't have kids see if they'll swap something else with you (dinner, cleaning, fixing something, etc.). You'd be surprised how many people out their are willing to barter for things.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
I have been borrowing my sister-in-laws bike for almost 3 years now and have always had problems with the gears slipping. I have been putting up with it, but now I have to pull a trailer for my girl and I live up hill. Not fun. So, I have been fiddling with the idea of buying a nice bike off of Craigslist and have found a few that looked good. Before I did anything I visited my local bike shop and talked with someone a little more knowledgeable about bikes to talk options. Turns out my bike only needed a $20 part. (The ride home was filled with amazing shifting.) The bikes on Craigslist were in the $200 range. I just saved $180! :)
I'm still stuck with a old, kind of beat up bike (sorry Emily), but I consider it repayment for her letting me use it all this time (thanks Emily). Even if I had bought a bike 3 years ago, it still would have cost me more than $20.
Monday, June 8, 2009
We all know that prices differ from store to store and from area to area, so you can always save money by comparing prices and shopping around. It might just pay to stop by just one more store to get a better price. (For skeptics, please read below...)
I hate to do this, but I have found a way to kind of get around this time sucking tip. I find a store that is really good at informing me about a type of product and decide there what I want to purchase. Then I can go home, look up prices online or call other stores, and find out who has the better price. Also, a lot of stores match or beat prices. My husband and I bought some front-loading washer and dryer set a couple of years and used this method. We ended up saving $500 by having the store beat a competitors price. It's so worth it!
Problems: It can be time consuming and gas guzzling to do this since you will have to take at least two trips out to the store. However, think about how much money you could possibly save. For the 2 hours of work I did for the washer and dryer, we saved $500. Which at the time was an entire weeks worth of pay. Even if you only did this for big purchases, it would pay off.
Friday, June 5, 2009
Thursday, June 4, 2009
If you haven't bought second-hand before, I would encourage you to give it a try. It's not all that disgusting as some people think. Most things clean up well if you have the right tool (ex. some good bleach works on a lot of things) and others you can find from people who have the same cleanliness standard as you. Plus, it saves you money, especially if you know how to barter and deal.
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Now to put a price on that. It was about 25 cents worth of yogurt, 2 cents worth of sugar, and I got the rasberries for free. 8 popsicles for 27 cents! If you were to go to the store and buy good fruit popsicles (I'm not talking about the flavored/colored water popsicles) they would cost you $5 for a box of 6. Even if you added the price for buying fruit to the batch I made, the total cost would only be around $2 or $3. Depending on how much you, or your kids, eat popsicles you could end up saving quite a bit and they taste better! Plus, you don't have to run to the store everytime you run out and your kid is whinning for more.
I'm eating one right now, and it's yummy.
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Thanks for the comment, Elizabeth!
Ok, so now you're thinking in your head all the reasons why it's nice to have a membership. Well, I probably agree with some of them.
-If you have more than 2 kids (max capacity in a double stroller) it's nice to be able to drop them off at daycare and have an hour to yourself.
-In the winter when it's cold and rainy, I don't want to take my daughter out in it. And honestly I don't want to be out their either.
-Sometimes it's not safe or possible to walk out on to the street where you live. There are condos just down the way from me that don't have a sidewalk in front of their complex and it's on a major highway with no stoplight nearby.
There are probably more, but just ask yourself this: does your drive to the gym save you time or money? That 15 minute drive each way could have been spent jogging in your neighborhood, doing yard work, mowing your lawn, playing frisbee with your kids, riding your bike to work, walking to the grocery store, or doing an exercise video at home.
Monday, June 1, 2009
Price of one-way, peak, 2 zone fare = $2.50
Monthly Pass = $72
(Work #1) Parking in Seattle = $8/day or $168/month
(Work #2) Parking in Seattle = $12/day or $252/month
Gas = $4/day or $84/month (30 mpg, $3/gallon, 20 miles one-way)
My first job in Seattle paid for 1/2 of my monthly bus pass, so I ended up paying $36/month for a pass. If I had driven it would have cost me $252/month. That's a savings of $216/month or $2,592/year!
My second job in Seattle paid for even more of my pass and it was a flex pass, so I could use it on whatever or whenever. I had to pay $20/month for that. If I had driven it would have cost me $336/month. That's a savings of $316/month or $3,792/year!
If that's not a motivator to at least look at the bus route, I don't know what is! These calculations don't even count wear and tear on a car or extra gas due to traffic.
Problems: The only down-side is having to rely on the bus schedule and routes. When I was commuting into Seattle it wasn't really a problem because there are lots of routes into the city; I had options. For those who don't work or live in a bigger city, there might not be close routes or, in my husbands case, it could drastically increase your commute time (his 15 minute commute turns into a 60 minute commute). However, my commute time was shortened when I rode the bus, and I got lots of reading/sleeping/homework done!
For Western Washington residents: Just google one of the following to get to their website: Community Transit (Snohomish County)
King County Metro Transit (http://metro.kingcounty.gov/)
Sound Transit (Regional Co-Op for Central Puget Sound area)