Friday, January 30, 2015

A new Product You'll Flip For -- Plus a Giveaway

FTC disclosure:  Purex brand provided me with a sample of Purex Powershot detergent in exchange for a product review.  However all opinions expressed here are my own.

There is a new product on the market that you'll flip for -- the new Purex Power Shot detergent.  How do I know you'll flip for it?  Because you have to if you want to use it!

This is a unique product where the measuring is done for you.   You flip it upside down, detergent runs into the built in auto dosing technology built right in the bottle, then you open the cap and pour it in the washing machine.  It's that easy.  You use one flip for regular loads and two flips for extra dirty loads.

Purex Power Shot comes in two scents:  Mountain Breeze and Natural Elements Linen and Lilies.

I know for me when I'm using a liquid laundry detergent to clean my clothes, I always end up spilling some.  That doesn't happen with this since it is a no spill detergent bottle.  My first thought with this is how much my mother would have loved it, as she had difficulty seeing the lines on the inside of laundry caps.  I can also imagine it would be great if you are teaching your child to do laundry.  That way they can't get over zealous using detergent since it is an easy measure liquid detergent.

And now for the giveaway:   Purex has generously offered THREE totally free coupons for Purex Power Shot detergent to one reader of this blog.

To enter, you must be 18 or older and live in the USA.  Coupons expire December 2015.  Winner has 48 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen.  Giveaway ends 2/8 at 11:59 Eastern.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Debt Free Christmas, 11 months to go.

This post contains affiliate links.  Thank you for starting your shopping here as I receive a small amount when you purchase through these links at no additional cost to you.

It's less than 11 months until Christmas!   Are you ready?   I don't mean fully ready, but last night my boyfriend and I finished the book  The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey.

In it, he says Christmas is not an emergency and not to dip into your emergency fund for it since you know it's coming.

What have I done so far this year in preparing to get ready for Christmas?   Well, I hit a 90% off sale right after Christmas.  I bought a few items for gifts.  Some things I will sell on eBay come Christmas time, as well as Christmas gift wrap and ribbons and bows.

Now is also the time to go ahead and start entering blog giveaways in hopes of winning some stocking stuffers and gifts throughout the year.  Here is a list of blog giveaway linkups.  If you are a blogger, it's a great resource to list your giveaway.  If you want to enter, it's a great list of places where you can find giveaways to enter.

Also, how much did you spend last year?  Take that number and divide it by 12.  Put back 1/12 of your Christmas money now.  

If you are the creative type, you might want to start planning now about what gifts you can make.  I am a cross stitcher and a nice piece can take a couple months to finish.

Christmas isn't a surprise, and it shouldn't cause debt.  If you start planning now, it won't!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Living Well Spending Less Book Review and a #Giveaway Ends 2/2

FTC disclaimer:  I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honesty review.  Family Christian generously offered a $25 Appreciation Certificate to one of my readers since they sell this book.  I received no other compensation.   This post does contain affiliate links.

I remember the first time I stumbled on Ruth Soukup's blog.  When she began her blog, she was a shopaholic looking to be able to buy the same items she'd been accustomed to buying but at a discount.  I saw the word "luxury" in the blog's tagline and a quick glance around and I backed out.  I was looking for a site where I could find bargains out of necessity -- not out of wanting the best life had to offer on a dime.  My mother had recently gone on dialysis and needed a new bed.  I gave my mother my bed and took an old futon and after it broke I slept on the floor for a while.  I was looking for bargains I needed, not for throw pillows or fashionable boots.  From then on, I always thought "There's that one blog that isn't relevant to me."  Over the years, I never went back to notice the change.  But it happened.

I was given the opportunity to review a copy of  Living Well, Spending Less: 12 Secrets of the Good Life.  Since I started my blog to document my frugal ways, this is a topic that always interests me.  It was not until I was reading this book before I realized this was written by the "luxury" blog woman.  But -- I've visited it since.  When you visit blogs about frugality, you often visit the big ones, I just never connected her current blog with the old one.

She documents how this change came about in the first part of her book.  My mother always told me there are always people worse off than us.  I was recently talking to a friend about my upcoming wedding and how I'm doing it on a shoestring.  I commented how it seemed almost wrong for me to spend too much because of how many people there are in the world who are in need.  I doubt that thought crosses anyone's mind when planning a wedding. 

I thoroughly enjoyed the first part of her book.  Even for a seasoned frugal shopper like me, this part was very much worth my time because I loved reading about her transformation when it came to material possessions.  Would you believe the lady I used to think of as "The Luxury Deal Blogger" now has a place in my mind as "The Lady Who Took Away all Her Kids' Toys".   What happened?   She had a change of heart as to needs, and this book details that.

The first half of the book talks about just general living well -- time management, goal setting, and how less stuff can make our lives better.  The second part of the book is one of the best guides to saving money I have ever read.  I am a coupon queen -- have been for over 20 years.  But I learned something important one day when I needed some groceries and didn't have my coupons with me --  I still got some amazing bargains without any coupons.  I still save about $1500 a year, but that is with minimal time involved, not like it used to be where I would sort coupons for hours and had an elaborate filing system.  Once I was asked to teach a coupon class, and I agreed with the caveat that I would teach coupons along side with finding good bargains to save money at the grocery store.  I was turned down -- they wanted only coupons to be covered.  This book mentions coupons, but gives great ideas on saving money.  It's a very well balanced frugal book, and I can't recommend it enough.

She also mentions savings.  Not savings when you spend (which is something I still say -- in fact I just said I saved $1500 last year -- but what is missing is how much I had to spend to save that!)  She mentions savings as in for the future.  I was told when I was in Kindergarten how expensive college is, and I immediately asked my mother if I could open a saving account.   I would deposit all my birthday and Christmas money and before I knew it, I had over $1,000 saved for college -- and I hadn't even hit middle school.  I highly agree with her advice on saving for the future in this book.  You never know what will happen -- just this month I had a $1,500 repair bill because my water pipes froze then burst!  I'm thankful I didn't have to put that on a credit card.

Another thing I loved about this book is how she discusses giving.  I love to give to others.  That's one reason I do use coupons, so I can give food or other items to people in need.  Sometimes books on frugality leave out giving to others.  This one does not.

I highly recommend this book no matter if you're just now starting to pinch those pennies, or if you have a reputation of being frugal.  

FTC disclaimer:  I received a free copy of this book for review from the publisher.  Family Christian generously offered to sponsor a giveaway since they sell this book.  All opinions are my own and I only recommend products I believe have value. 

Family Christian sells  Living Well, Spending Less: 12 Secrets of the Good Life  if you are interested in purchasing it.

For the Giveaway:

One reader will win a $25 Family Christian Appreciation Certificate.  You may choose this book OR the item(s) of your choice.  It works as a coupon code and cannot be combined with other coupons.  Open to the USA only, 18 and older.  One entrant per household.  Giveaway ends 2/2 at 11:59 pm Eastern Time.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Peaceful Housewife Gift Certificate Giveaway Ends Jan 26 2015

FTC disclaimer:  I won a giveaway for some Peaceful Housewife laundry detergent.  I loved it and asked if she wanted me to hold a giveaway.  No other compensation was received for this post.

Recently I won a giveaway sponsored by Peaceful Housewife.  I know I love trying new products, and I wasn't exactly sure what or who Peaceful Housewife was -- but I entered and I won.  I decided to order some laundry detergent.  I am allergic to many laundry detergents.  I itched constantly when I was in college until I figured out my mother always used powdered detergent and I had been buying liquid.  Then I had to go with the lightest scents I could find.  I'm getting married in May, and the detergent that doesn't bother me is not good for my boyfriend.  I could just picture me someday having to do laundry and having to keep track of socks and keeping laundry not just separated by color but by person.

I was so thankful when I realized that the Peaceful Housewife laundry detergent was the answer to my problem!  Not only that, but I actually can have scented detergent now.  (I started out with French Vanilla.  Next time I order, I might try peppermint!)  There are a variety of scents.  Plus, it's easy to use -- just a tablespoon in the washer, and you're good to go on most loads.  I did put my detergent in a pretty jar as the bag it was shipped in was a little hard to navigate as I'm clumsy, but the end result was turning my laundry detergent into a beautiful decoration in my laundry room!

The cleaning supplies sold by The Peaceful Housewife Store are all natural and eco-friendly.  I like they are also hypo allergenic.   She also sells other products such as furniture polish, lotion bars, soaps, scrubs, and more.

And right now, to celebrate the new store, there is a 30% off coupon!  Just enter coupon code HOORAY at checkout.   This code expires January 25, 2015


Jenny from Peaceful Housewife has graciously offered one of my readers a $15 gift certificate.  You will be responsible for shipping charges.

The winner has 48 hours to respond to the winning email or another winner will be chosen.

And now for the giveaway:

Monday, January 12, 2015

Using an iPhone App to Succeed at your New Year's Resolutions

FTC disclaimer:  This is a sponsored post from U.S. Cellular.  All opinions are my own.

U.S. Cellular offers a FREE PRINTABLE Parent Child agreement to help you discuss safety of the Internet, cell phone usage, limits, and courtesy with your teen or tween.  You don't even need to be a U.S. Cellular customer to access this, although I have been for 10 years and highly recommend them. 

As I write this, we are almost two weeks into the new year.  I've heard much about resolutions.  I'm not one to make them, although this year I made goals for this year.  They were mainly financial, organizational,  and weight loss related.  (I have a wedding dress I need to fit into by May.)  Of course those can cover nearly everything in life.  I've been sitting down and breaking these larger goals into smaller ones so I can accomplish some each week.  How is it going?   Not bad. One thing my fiance and I want to do is read a book together each month.  We're right on track for January's book.  I haven't started writing my ebook yet, but I'm right on track with that as well.  As for fitting into my wedding dress goal?  That one needs worked on some, and organization?  I'm having the house remodeled, and it's hard to be very organized during that, so I'm currently working harder on some other goals and leaving that one to be tackled when time is better.

One thing I am thankful for is how smart phones have made life easier.  From being able to connect with family and friends, texting photos, and for some of my friends, just taking their U.S. Cellular iPhone 5s to the park so they can be with their children while answering e-mails for their home business.  U.S. Cellular's 4G LTE service makes this possible as it is ten times faster than 3G.

Today, I'm going to discuss apps that can help all of us reach our new year's resolutions.  (Or as I call them goals because I see goals as something that can be revised and I don't give up on them.)

photo courtesy of

Let's first discuss my goals and how I can use my U.S. Cellular iPhone 5s to help me accomplish those goals.

According to a 2014 U.S. Cellular survey, 43% had a new year's resolution to save money.  One app that is useful is the Mint Bills (formerly Check) app.  This free app allows you to link bills, bank accounts, and credit cards so you know exactly how much money you have.  The app also will set up reminders so you don't about paying a bill, and also you can set up automatic payments.  How are my goals going thus far of saving money?   Not well at all thanks to a cold spell where the water pipes froze then burst.  There will be a large bill to replace the water pipes, but unplanned emergencies happen, and it's now just a matter of continuing to decrease spending and increase savings.

I work at home,  and that means I have to be very wise with time management or I could spend the whole day playing games on my cell phone.  (I still play them, but I only play them during breaks from working.)  One app that is helpful to keeping the day on schedule is called .  You can create lists of things that need done and their order of importance.  You can set alarms (is it time for my break yet where I can line up candy?)  It is even possible to synch your phone's schedule with your laptop.  So how is this goal going for me?  I'm pleased with my progress so far this year.  I think breaking my larger goals into daily do-able parts is helping a lot.  (As well as setting alarms so I can spend time with my games AND get my work done as well.)

I think the most common New Year's Resolution is losing weight.  I have used my U.S. Cellular iPhone 5s in the past for weight loss.  Everything from geocaching for exercise to tracking calories. Another great app that is also free is Runtastic Six Pack.  You can create a virtual personal trainer to work out with you right on your phone.  I know compared to some personal trainers I have worked with, I'd much rather have a virtual one.  Ha ha!  Your virtual personal trainer will even show you the proper way to do new exercises.

Also, the Up by Jawbone Fitness band synchs to your U.S. Cellular iPhone or Samsung Galaxy. It can help you track what you eat, exercise, sleep patterns, as well as daily activities.  It even has an idle alert that will tell you when you've been sitting too long.  How handy is that?  How are my goals going in this area?  Well, let's just say trying to live a week with no water isn't exactly a perfect time to lose weight since I can't wash any produce and am trying to only eat things that don't dirty dishes.  Once my water starts working again, though, I'll be right back on it.

Another resolution many people make is spending more time with friends and family.  An app that is helpful for that is the GroupMe app.   This allows you to make categories of people so you can text them all at once.  I can see this being very handy for me this year with one of my categories being "bridesmaids".  How easy would this make life being able to share videos, events, photos, and texts with a whole group at once?

I am so glad to see the year 2014 over.  I'm looking forward to this new year, and I think it's going to be one of my best ones ever.  By not giving up on goals and keeping going when I don't always accomplish what I wish I would have is certainly one way to do that.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Book review: Madness, Miracles, Millions by Joseph Semprevivo and Larry Semprevivo

This review contains affiliate links.

As someone who grew up in a home where my parents owned not one but two small businesses, I have always enjoyed books where people discuss where the journey of business owners.  So when I had a chance to review  Madness, Miracles, Millions I expected it to be a good book.  It is short
, at 140 pages, and it captured my interest so much I only put it down once -- and then picked it up again the next day.

This books starts out with a tragedy.  In fact, much of the lives of the Semprevivo family is one bad thing after another.  This is a story about how hard work can turn your circumstances around -- and how what you worked for can be reduced to ashes quickly -- and how hard work will turn your circumstances around again.

When Larry Semprevivo gets his arm hurt in a printing press, things look hopeless.  In addition, many of their family and friends have nothing to do with them anymore.   I was in a similar situation in my life last year, but I loved how the book put it -- it gets rid of everyone in your life who isn't someone you can depend on -- basically helps clean house of your relationships.  That one paragraph of the book was, to me, worth reading the entire book!

You can watch the book trailer here: