Sunday, October 31, 2010

WOW! You $aved How Much? review

This post contains affiliate links.

The author of Wow! You Saved How Much? asked if I would like to review her book.  My first reaction to the book was how thin it was.  It's only 52 pages, but then again that makes it easy to read, and I've seen some "how to coupon" books contain a lot of fluff or all kinds of extra details that can confuse the "newbie".  You certainly won't find any of that here.  It's a very well written, straight forward book that anyone can understand.

You might think coupons are a waste of time or boring or not worth it or a number of other excuses, but as you've read on my blog and as Renita Perrone teaches in Wow! You Saved How Much? you'll see those excuses are just that -- excuses.

I will say, though, that anyone can see some nice savings with coupons.  While this book does explain what I call "hard-core" couponing, you will learn the basics and if you use what you learn in this book it will pay for itself in the first trip to the grocery store.

Bottom line, this is a simple, easy to understand book about couponing.  I'd highly recommend it to anyone just starting out with coupons.

What I liked:   The concise, easy to follow way this book was put together.  I also liked the ideas of how to trade coupons, where to find them, and other information it took me a while to figure out when I was first learning to coupon.

What I didn't like:  She didn't mention coupons that spit out at the register when you buy certain items.  These can be a gold mine.  However, I understand this is for new coupon users, and that can be a bit confusing at times.   I did see on Amazon this is called "Volume 1" so possibly she is planning another book.

Also, this book was published in 2009, so information will be dated in this volume.

As mentioned, I received a book to review.  Receiving this book free did not influence my opinon whatsoever.  My opinions are my own.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

It's got to stop! (Or it's got to start!)

I was sitting with my latest issue of RefundCents last night.  I've been a subscriber for a number of years, was on the cover in 1993 for buying 55 packages of bologna, and my mother was on the cover a few years ago because I took her photo with the $1700 of games and toys I bought for $65.

I was reading through the latest issue of RefundCents and was a bit envious of the deals the ladies got.  Over $200 of diapers for $50?  I have a new "nephew" and that would have made a fantastic Christmas gift.  Over $200 of Crayola products?  A school near me has 75% of the students living in poverty and that would have been a welcome donation.  My church does a back to school bash where they gave out over 200 backpacks filled with school supplies, gave 65 haircuts, and had a clothing giveaway.  There is no shortage of places that could have used the Crayola.

Why am I not getting these deals?  Because I've gotten lazy with coupons!  Take this week at Walgreens, for instance.  Contact was on sale for $6 with $6 back in register rewards.  Toothpaste was $3.50 with $3.50 back in register rewards.  Time was, I would have gotten several of each of these even though it would have meant multiple trips to the store.  How many did I get?  One. 

Rite Aid has a new program called UP rewards.  I've not taken the time to figure out how it works.

I don't take the time to stop at Walgreens multiple times a week or figure out how a new rewards program works, and I complain I am not getting the deals I once did.

I'm finishing this blog post to scour over the Walgreens and CVS ads to see what deals I can get this week.  I hope to start making my weeks much better than they have been being!  Even a few months ago I would post that I got $40 or $50 of stuff and paid $2 or less!  I'm hoping to have some more of those posts very soon!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Book Trading

I love to read.  I mean, I LOVE to read.   Most years I'll read something like 100 books.  Of course, this can be expensive, because if I purchased them all new, at only $10 each, that would be $1,000.

I've been a member of for almost five years now.  I love it.  You list books you no longer want and are willing to mail to others.  When one is requested, you mail it (at your expense.  This is the only cost of the site until you want to purchase postage on the site or buy delivery confirmation.)  When the person who requested the book receives it, they mark it received and you get one "credit" to be able to spend on another book that's on the site.

An example of savings that can be had is my Wednesday night group at church is doing what is called a "Kingdom Challenge".  If we REALLY can't afford books, they will buy them for us, but I asked if I could be responsible for getting my own since I knew I had one book already and I have an Amazon certificate I won last year. (I won a $200 certificate, and figured since I had about $50 left, I'd rather use that than shell out $41 for books.)  First thing I did before Amazon , though, was check at Paperbackswap.  They had two of the books I needed.  Then I decided to put the third on my wish list. 

The wishlist is a great feature.  Basically you "stand in line" for a book you want.  I have been 1 of 1 for dozens of books for a long time.  Usually these are hard to find books, such as some of the books on balloon scuplture I have wishlisted.  I mean, it's not uncommon for a book about religion or a fiction book to be posted, but not as many people would even want books on animal balloons, and those who do would usually keep them for reference.  That said, I *have* received harder to find books (including balloon scupture ones) from Paperbackswap.

Additionally, contrary to its name Paperbackswap is not just for paperbacks.  I've gotten spiral bound cookbooks, hardcovers, and even booklets.

Sure, occasionally a book gets lost in the mail or someone mails a book that doesn't meet guidelines (no writing, no water damage, etc.)  but you can mark it damaged. 

I've had great success and totally love this site!

As for the books I needed for church?  The one I put on a wishlist has already come up and has been mailed, so I was able to get all three from Paperbackswap  (actually all four since the one I already had came from there some time back.)  My total cost?  Mailing out four books.  (Or at $2.38 media mail rate, a cost of $9.52.)  That's sure better than the $41 to buy the books new (even at a discout) through my church.  And really, I'm not sure I could have afforded the extra $40 right now, so Paperbackswap saved the day!  (Although I was planning on getting the books with the gift certificate I won, but since I had credits and the books were available, I was able to not have to use the gift certificate at all!)

'Tis the Season to start hunting LOTS of bargains

Next week is November.  That means that Christmas is around the corner, and with Christms comes tons of great deals.

This week I ordered a new coffee pot.  (Details on that soon!)  I also ordered about $30 of beauty stuff for about $8.  Well, two of the three orders got cancelled.  I'm hoping the first order goes through.  There were three different valid coupon codes, so it wasn't like I was using the same coupon code repeatedly.

It's the season for finding coupon codes on the Internet, combining deals and finding the best prices available for the things you need (or want).

One year I did all of my Christmas shopping for about 8 people for $50.  I don't know I'll ever be able to top that, but each year I try to spend as little as possible but give great gifts.  One year family even told me that we bought too much stuff for them!  (Spent about $10-20 per person)

I'm also wanting to decorate for Christmas a little more than in past years, so that means I need some more decorations.  Need to find deals on them, too! 

Remember Christmas is less than 2 months away!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Oh the irony. . .

Fall Allergies.  'Nuff said.  Instead of making the trip to Walgreens today for more Cold/flu/sinus medicnes as I had blogged about planning to do yesterday, I rolled out of bed and went to church.

I remember in college, the praise and worship team from my university was to lead singing at a regional conference.  Rumor has it the one boy rolled out of bed, and walked on stage in what he slept in, never having brushed his teeth, his hair, or the lint off his clothes.

That's pretty much what I felt like tonight.  Everyone should be glad Ididn't show up in jammies.  I did decide it was casual Wednesday and wear my dad's "Trust me I'm a doctor" t-shirt.   (He's been gone four years now.  Unbelievable.)  I pulled my hair back in a ponytail, and took a water bottle, and a bag of Halls Refresh.  (Free after Register Rewards at Walgreens a few weeks back.)  One of my observant friends asked if I wasn't feeling well. 

The worship leader snickered when he saw "Trust me I'm a Doctor" on my long sleeved t-shirt.  This from a boy who wears a t-shirt that has a bride and groom on it, with a ball and chain on the groom's leg and underneath it the words "Game Over".

I'm craving potatoes.  I always want processed potatoes when I'm not feeling well.  I thought about going through the McDonald's drive through after church, but I didn't.  Now I regret it.  Although I don't need the calories, fries would be great.  If we had a McDonald's in my hometown, I'd go out and get some, but the closest McDonalds is 10 miles away, and I'm not going to drive 20 miles for fries.  I'll just take some free allergy medicine and go to bed and dream of the Fry Guys. . .

Walgreens, will there be more mail in rebates?

I noticed in this week's Walgreen's ad there were three items that instead of getting your money back in register rewards, they were mail-in rebates.  Same concept, right?  Free.  Your money back. 

Actually yes and no.  First off, you have to mail in the form to get your money back.   And you either have to make photocopies of the recipt OR buy them on seperate orders.  How many will not do this?  It's been over 48 hours and I still haven't done mine.  But I don't want to miss out on $6.  I'm afraid this might be a trend coming in Walgreens savings, but I guess only time will tell.  Even so, it's still free, just a little more work.

My Walgreens trips have been good lately, but nothing to blog about.  My favorite cashier is always impressed with my savings.  This week, though I only had $2 in Register Rewards to start my savings, and no coupons.

For $13.70 I got a bottle of "Chestal" (cough syrup), a tube of sensitive toothpaste (that's expensive and hard to find free, and I use that once a day), and a box of Contact cold medicine.  I received $9.50 in Register Rewards, and a $5 mail in refund.  So, not bad at all.  I'm wanting to go back and repeat this order tomorrow minus the cough syrup as it's limited to one per household.  (Hmmm, a way to keep us from getting lots of items?  I hope this isn't a trend.)

Back in the early days of the Internet, I can't remember the deal I did but I can remember I had tons of free medicines for cold, flu, and allergies.  In fact, so much I never used them all. I saw one bottle of cough syrup recently from a now defunct online drugstore and it had an expiration date of last century on it!  So my goal is before cold and flu season hits to get enough cold medicine as well as cough syrup to last this season.  (I noticed on an allergy medicine tonight it had a 2003 exp. date so I think I really need to go through all the meds here at the house!)

I will admit it is nice to be able to just go into the pantry when I'm not feeling well and find something to take and not have to think about going out somewhere to buy something to help make me feel better.  Even nicer when it's free.

So, I'll be stopping at Walgreen's tomorrow and hopefully repeat my  Contact, and toothpaste buying.  Of course I can't use any register rewards I earned already without splitting it into different orders, but that's okay.  I like the thought of basically getting it free.  (Even if I do have to mail in the form, the proof of purchase from the box, and the cash register tape.)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Friends, Facebook and Phones

Tonight I was on Facebook and a childhood friend posted she lost her phone and asked if someone would call it so it would ring and she could find it.  I told her I was online, and in less than two minutes I was talking to Cindy.

I hadn't talked to her in 25 years.  We both agreed that it was meant to be that her phone got lost.  (When I called the sock pile she was folding started ringing!)  :)  Cindy moved to my town in 5th grade, and left in 8th.  That seems like a short time, but to kids, that seems like a huge amount of time.  She lived down the street from me, and we had some great memories together.  One summer day my family went to my grandparent's second place.  Cindy and I played in the creek, Dad grilled out.  Dad also left the car radio on all day, and ran down the battery.  Mom and Dad ended up walking a mile to the nearest neighbors to call and get someone to come and jump the battery in our car as this was before cell phones and before my grandparents moved into that property, so there was no phone.  In the meantime Cindy and I were cowered in the backseat of the car with a dead battery.  My grandmother kept teasing us that she saw bears (which she may have, but we were scared enough without having to be told there were bears around.)  The memories 10 year olds have.

We also talked about how we grew up in a small town and we'd walk to the Five and Ten.  It was not a big deal to walk somewhere.  Times sure have changed.  Everyone knew everyone, and if we did something wrong, someone was sure to tell our parents.  We couldn't get away with ANYTHING.  Think a 1980s Mayberry.  We still were able to go to houses of people we didn't know at Trick or Treat because we knew our parents would know those people.  Even during the days of the cyanide laced Tylenol, that was the outside world, not our town.

She said that even once she moved from here it was totally different because here when you went to church everyone knew everyone and we all know that grandmotherly lady at church would never steal a baby.  Now you can't be too careful. 

We had a great time laughing.  (She even told me which boy in our class was the first one she ever kissed with snuff in his mouth.) 

I love Facebook and getting to reconnect with old friends.  I told her tonight someday she's going to be the coolest grandmother because she'll be teaching her grandkids to breakdance and watch old 80s movies with them. 

I think her phone got lost for a reason.  Fourty minutes of laughs.  A short time to catch up on 25 years, but it was fun, and I'm thankful for a phone that landed in a pile of folded socks. 

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Snopes. It's a good thing.

I'm a bit of a geek, but for about 10 years now I've loved .    Let me repeat myself.  For about 10 years now, I've loved .

It's amazing to me how many people either

  • ignore snopes
  • assume that no one will send them an urban legend
  • doesn't know it exists
  • doesn't care
Not me.

If you get something in your e-mail that sounds too amazing, horrible, far fetched, or sick to be true, your first stop should be  Some of that stuff IS true. 

YES, these are true:

These are NOT:

It seems to me the majority of things that I see are either odd factoids (note there is nothing about this October's calendar that is special.  We'll have 5 Fridays, Saturday, and Sundays in 11 years, not 800!).  I also see a lot of things passing as prayer requests that aren't true, policital items, and missing children.  (There are enough TRUE prayer requests and missing children out there that should you want to forward something, just make sure it's true.  I sometimes wonder what God thinks when there's tons of prayers for a situation that doesn't really exist because people didn't check out he facts before cut and pasting a status on Facebook.  If there's a report of someone seeing a missing child when there's not really one missing, that ties up time at the police department.)  There's enough bad situations in the world without people passing around false ones!  Also, if you are a Christian, I've always been taught Christians should be honest, ethical, and truthful.  Our actions shouldn't change just because we got an e-mail saying that there was a hole to hell drilled in Siberia.  This is false.  I understand wanting to convert others, but let's not do it with lies.  Let's not allow our morals to slip in honesty just because we heard some amazing or horrible story on the Internet. 

Please check out Snopes before you pass on something that you didn't personally write.  It's worth looking around on the site to see what kind of stuff people can create!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

How do sexual inuendos equate breast cancer awareness?

Let me begin by saying I have nothing against breast cancer awareness.  In fact, I believe it's a good thing.  However, I was dismayed last year when women started posting their bra color on facebook.  The idea was to keep the men from knowing what was going on.  Okay, first off,  men get breast cancer as well.  And second, how many of you who posted your bra color would be oppossed to -- say announcing your bra color at church in the Sunday morning bulletin?  A friend of mine who's a pastor's wife commented last year that we had lost respect for our 'brothers' (meaning brothers in Christ) when we post the color of our intimates on Facebook.  I had friends post they weren't wearing any bra, etc.  I was amazed at the people who did and didn't post. (I did not.)  It's one thing to giggle about our underthings in a room full of women, but I don't feel comfortable telling the world what color my bra is.  (Although one of my friends who is a pastor posted that his bra color was orange.  I had to laugh.)

This year it's sexual inuendos that are all over Facebook to suppossedly raise breast cancer awareness.  The "game" to to say "I like it" and then say where you keep your purse.  I saw a friend's status earlier asking the question of this blog post.  I'm not sure myself.  Someone commented on her status a pervert came up with the idea, but he enjoyed it.

Maybe it's me.  Maybe I feel like I should have a little more decorum online.  Maybe it's the fact I think we shouldn't say anything online we wouldn't say in front of others in person.  Maybe it's the fact I realize I have friends on facebook who are male.  (I think everyone has both male and female friends).  Maybe it's the fact I dislike posts that are a bit intimate or I feel shouldn't be things that should be posted on facebook.  (That said, I do love lamebook because some people are a train wreck.)  Maybe it's the fact I grew up in church and went to Christian schools and we were always taught to avoid all appearance of evil, and I don't think sexual inuendos, no matter how good the cause are something I feel comfortable in which posting on my status.

My mother is on facebook and she thought all the "I like it" posts were saying where people liked to have sex.  My mother.  Female.  Knew this was nothing about breast cancer awareness. 

I do support breast cancer awareness, and to that fact I will say, "I do support breast cancer awareness, but not sexual inuendos, so I keep my purse on the floor."

Friday, October 8, 2010

My Dad, gone for 4 years

This week marks the 4th anniversary of my dad's death.  It's unreal to believe he's been gone for that long.   It seems like everyone who ever met him had a story about something he did.  When he was in the nursing home he once trapped an aide in the closet.  He caught the car on fire fixing it.  He was the best raffle ticket seller for the fire department because everyone knew if they didn't buy a ticket, Dad would embarass them over the P.A. system at the carnival grounds, so the best thing to do would be to buy a raffle ticket early on to keep him "quiet".  :)  (Of course, if you were buying only one and he thought you could afford more, he'd annouce you were cheap and buying only one!)

He was president of the resident's council at Heartland.  And before he went in the nursing home, he loved to cook for the men's prayer breakfasts at his church.  (I have a feeling that thanks to him, there might have been more breakfast than prayer going on!  I think he went hours before everyone else to start cooking for them!)  :)

Dad was a volunteer fireman for parts of five decades. 

Here are some photos of him:

Dad was about 16 when this photo was taken.

I was about five, and this is when Dad owned the monument business.  This is in front of the shop where he carved tombstones.

Dad showed an early interest in firefighing!  He was barely old enough to walk but was "toddling" about on the firetruck!

Dad always loved Christmas!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Eistein Yawning

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my digital camera.  It was under $100, takes great photos, has a lot of different settings on it, can take video, etc.  It also isn't the battery hog like some digitals I've had in the past are.  The only thing I dislike is the refresh rate.  It is SO slow.  Unfortunately that means I've lost some good photos in the year and a half I've had it.

I love my guinea pigs.  A guinea pig yawn is precious.  But it's also quick.  Usually I can't get a photo of a yawn, including with an old camera.

So, I was thrilled when Einstein happened to yawn just as I snapped this photo.