Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Week One of the One Month Pantry Challenge

Last week I announced my husband and I were going to do a one month pantry eating challenge as a way to both save money and help clean out the pantry.  Here's how the first week went.

Day 1:  Burgers from McDonalds ($5) Okay, so it looks like we failed before we even started, and in a way we did, but we hadn't planned on having burgers that night.

Monday, April 25, 2016

4 Ways I Paid Off My Student Loan EARLY

I graduated from college in 1998.  I had over $16,000 of student loans.  That probably seems like change to today's graduates, but it seemed a lot to me at the time, especially because I became ill soon after graduating and couldn't hold down a full time job.  I started selling on eBay (this was in the early days and people rolled their eyes even more then than they do now.)

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Five Ways You Can Save Money on Hotel Rooms!

FTC disclaimer:  This post may contain affiliate links.

FiveWays you Can Save Money on Hotel rooms!

I love taking road trips, but I try to be frugal about it.  The two most pricey things in road trips are the cost of hotel stays and eating out.  Today I'm going to talk about ways to cut down on the cost of hotel rooms.

1.  Find one or two chains you LOVE and be loyal to them.  For me, I have decided that while I have two chains I love, it's easier to reach rewards with one chain.  While it was tempting to go with the International Hotel Group as they have more of a variety of hotels (including Candlewood Suites which boasts a kitchenette in their rooms, cutting down on food costs for your trip), I opted to be loyal to the Hilton brand of hotels.  (This includes the Hampton Inn.)  Do everything you can to earn reward points for the hotel of your choice.  Sign up for their credit card so you can earn points on every purchase you make, even on groceries.  (Just be sure and pay it off at the end of each month so you aren't carrying a balance.)  Sign up for e-mails.  There have been a number of times I have been able to get extra Hilton points for just filling out a survey or updating my profile information.  While 1,000 points may not be a free night, it certainly helps.

Monday, April 18, 2016

One Month Pantry Eating Challenge

I'm working on a series that will be posted in full this year.  As part of that series, I want to show how much money can be saved by using what is in the pantry.  I don't know about you, but my husband and I tend to buy things and forget them, and then they are so old we don't feel comfortable about eating them.  Combine this with the fact one of our favorite stores is an Amish close out store where they often sell past-dated foods.  I am careful what I buy there, but usually I think, "I'll use this soon," and sometimes I don't, which means I only wasted money instead of saving it.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Purex Plus Clorox 2 Review and Giveaway

FTC disclaimer:  I received a free product for review purposes from the company.  All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.

I recently received a free bottle of Purex with Clorox 2 in the mail.  I was excited to use it because stains are a huge problem on my clothes.  I tend to be a "spilly" when I eat.  Yesterday, for instance, I was eating a frozen meal of eggplant parmesan and somehow when trying to cut an eggplant into bite sized pieces another eggplant flew out of the container and on to my shirt.  Yeah, I'm that friend.

So I decided I was going to really put the Purex with Clorox 2 to the test.  It had been a while since we had washed our potholders and oven mitts, and I can't think of anything more stained in the house than those.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Book Review: The Catholic Catalogue

I went through RCIA two years ago.  When I had an opportunity to receive The Catholic Catalogue by Melissa Musick and Anna Keating from the publisher in exchange for a review, I was excited about this new book.

At over 400 pages, this book looks intimidating, but it is anything but.  Like many reference books, this is not meant to be read straight through (although you COULD do that if you wanted).  This is a book to help guide you on the things that make you Catholic, and often that is creating family traditions.

Think to the month of December and the traditions that are there.  Christmas cards.  Often a family has a certain ritual for the Christmas tree.  TV shows that are on every year.  All these things weave together to create a cozy feeling.  But why should Christmas be the only holiday we have traditions?  And do you do things like celebrate St. Lucia's Day in December?  It takes little preparation but is something that can be enjoyed by everyone, because after all, who doesn't love a pastry for breakfast, especially when it's served in bed?

Just like many of us have things we do each year for the Christmas holiday, there are plenty of ways the Catholic faith can be celebrated with traditions the entire year through.  This book gives ideas as well as explanations as to why things are done the way they are.  Broken up into three sections, this book presents 82 short chapters about living a Catholic life.

There will be things you know in this book, but will give you a fresh perspective and ideas on them. There will be things that you have never heard of and will want to incorporate into your life.  This is an excellent book for gift giving at a wedding or confirmation.  I think all RCIA students should be given this because it's how the Catholic Faith is lived out, not just what is believed.  Both are very important.

Thank you to Image books for providing a free copy for review.  All opinions are my own.

Monday, April 11, 2016

5 Ways to Win a Voting Contest

Voting contests are something that people who love to enter contests and sweepstakes either love or hate.  I have won a few nice prizes with voting contests, but I rarely do them anymore because it seems that too many people don't follow the rules.   I have been in a couple voting contests where people were cheating and the sponsor said it wasn't in the rules that they couldn't cheat, so they allowed it and awarded the prize to them.  I had another sponsor tell me that if I didn't like someone else cheating, to cheat myself.   I refused.  I value honesty more than I do a prize!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

The Ultimate Guide to The Best Deals at Sheetz

I love Sheetz.  I've been shopping there for decades, and I want to share a few tips on how to stretch your dollar at Sheetz.  It's quite possible to get some great deals, especially on the Made To Order food.  I am such a "Sheetz Freak" that my credit card actually got shut down one time because the issuer thought it had been stolen because I had made so many stops at Sheetz in a 24 hour period. But why wouldn't I?  It's quality food, low prices and I don't have to cook!

If you don't have their My Sheetz Card, get one next time you go.  It's free!  This is key to the most savings possible.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Cut Your Grocery Bill WITHOUT Cutting Coupons

FTC disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links.

Everyone knows someone who is a coupon queen.  (I used to be one.)  But what about those of us who don't want to take time to clip coupons and still get a good deal at the store?  Is it even possible? Yes!  Absolutely!   Here are my tricks for couponless savings.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Distracted Driver Awareness Month

FTC disclaimer:  This is a sponsored post.  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. 

Right before my husband and I met online, his car got totaled.  Because it wasn't worth much, but he had just made the last payment on it, he wasn't able to keep driving it.  Instead, he immediately had to take out another car loan. Buying a used car also includes having to get everything fixed that the previous owners didn't do that caused them to sell the car.

What does distracted driving have to do with him having to spent over $3,000 for a used car?  He was driving through town, and was at a stoplight.  He looked in his rear view mirror and he saw someone speeding towards him with her fact looking down at a cell phone.  She readily admitted she was texting.

I can't tell you how often we think back and wish her text could have waited.  Instead of having a car that was paid off and an asset, we have had so many car expenses.  In retrospect, it would have been better for him to have bought a better car as many times as his has been in the shop.  Yet, I know we are lucky that the only cost to us because of a distracted driver was financial.