Friday, February 27, 2009

Friday Find - We Wilsons - Resuable bag tutorial

This week's Friday Find is an amazing craft from Laura at we wilsons. The reusable snack bags are not ony adorable, personal, and good for the earth they're frugal too. Quite frankly the best of all worlds.

Make up a few of these and the next time you reach for a plastic bag grab one of your snack bags instead. You'll be saving more plastic from entering landfills and saving yourself money as well. Plus they are just so darn cute.

I hope to make my own set soon, they would work perfectly for my lunches, and if I can find some "manly" prints I'll make some up for Matt as well. I'm sure he'd love to take them camping. You could even make them with a zipper as one commenter suggested.

Stop by we wilsons via this link for a step by step tutorial and a pdf to download. You'll be making your own snack bags by snack time.

But Laura doesn't spend all day making and talking about reusable snack bags she has tons of great stuff at we wilsons - stuff you'll want to see. While you're there make sure to look at her:

- Airplane bag I HAVE to make one of these
- A giraffe stuffed animal Anyone who's read one of my comments knows how I feel about the humble giraffe

You can also find Laura's great work at her shop - wilsons

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Unit Pricing: Bigger isn’t always better

I’ve talked about unit pricing a couple of times at OnOurWayOnline but last week Matt and I had a great real life experience I wanted to share.

I was at Meijer buying some rice for an upcoming craft project when faced with a choice. Buy one - 36 oz bag of rice for $2.09 or two – 16oz bags for $ .98 each. My first reaction was to grab the big bag and be done with it but something made me stop.

Once I ran the numbers it was painfully obvious the two smaller bags were cheaper.

32 oz - $2.09
(2) 16 oz @ $.98 = $1.98

$.11 cents cheaper to be exact.

I’m getting the same amount of rice but paying eleven cents more to have a single bag. It’s ridiculous, but we as consumers fall for it all the time and Meijer knows this. Why else would they charge more for a larger bag?

Now you might be saying, Megan, you’re crazy it’s only eleven cents what’s the big deal? But it is a bid deal. If you don’t want that eleven cents feel free to send it my way along with any extra money your spending on a bigger box of cereal, oranges, coffee, anything. Maybe it will be more than eleven cents next time. At any amount it is going to add up over time and you’ll never even know it.

Now stop giving your money away and make sure to unit shop the next time you’re at the store.

Have you noticed any odd pricing parodies where you shop? What other goods is this common for?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Free Waffle Maker from Swagbucks!

This is our new waffle maker, isn’t it nice? At this point you’re probably wondering why I’m taking and admiring photos of a waffle maker huh?

The answer will become clear when I tell you that I spent nothing, nada, zero and zilch of my own money on buying this waffle maker. Now you’re looking at that picture a little different huh? Of course at this point you’re asking yourself how right? Swagbucks my friends, Swagbucks. I can not say enough good things about this site! Seriously if you haven’t signed up yet you should… right now. Even if you don’t use my referral link (although you should) please go sign up for this program.

All I did to get my waffle maker was search the net and they paid me in amazon gift cards. I plan to batch bake up some waffles to freeze so not only did Swagbucks get me a FREE waffle maker it’s helping me save even more on food.

You can go HERE to read my full post about Swagbucks or the short version below.

Step One: Sign up for Swagbucks
- What’s Swagbucks you ask?? Swagbucks is an internet search engine that pays you for searching the internet through their site.

Step Two: Use their site every time you search the internet
You can even download a browser tool bar and search directly from that. Their search engine is powered by Google and Ask.

Step Three: Cash in your Swagbucks for a free $5 Amazon gift card (it takes 45)

It’s that simple
So why aren’t you on Swagbucks yet?

Or if you’re already a member what have you traded in your bucks for lately?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Cat Chair Blanket Craft

About five years ago I received a huge bag of blue yarn from a friend (you can’t pass up free yarn no matter how much you dislike the color). I’m still trying to use up all the yarn but I swear there will be none left by the end of 2009.

I used a few yards of it last week by crocheting two quick and simple double stitch blankets for our new chairs. The cats love to sleep on the backs of the new chairs, but I was not loving all the hair they left behind. I figured making a simple blanket to lay over the top would solve the problem. So far both cats seem to be liking them, in fact I suspect they lay on them and laugh at the dog, chanting things like "she loves us more". He's tried to jump up and get a good nap in on one as well but so far he hasn't mastered balancing when the chairs rock. It's rather funny for us to watch while much more terrifying for him I suppose.

I’m also liking how little the solution affected our pocketbook. Buying two additional throw blankets just for the cats to nap on would have cost much more than I wanted to spend. This option was free, the best kind of solution.

Monday, February 23, 2009

FREE sub from Quiznos!

Stop by Money Saving Mom to learn how you can get a FREE sub from Quiznos!

Everyone can print a coupon and they're giving away a million free subs. I've already printed a coupon for Matt and myself. Someone's getting subs this week.

Stockpiling: friend or foe

I want to kick off a new blog feature for Mondays: Myth Monday. A time to analyze all those saving money, energy, and time myths we run into every day.

This week’s myth: Stockpiling

It seems like everyone has an opinion on whether stockpiling is a saver's friend or foe. Those who oppose stockpiling say it’s a waste of time, space, and money. I think it depends on how you do it. I once saw a show where an entire bathroom was dedicated to containing stockpiling items and could no longer be used for a bathroom. This is where stockpiling becomes a bad thing I agree.

Yet, when you stockpile in moderation it can save time and money. Here’s a real life example straight from our stockpile. This last week I’ve been sick, it started out as a sore throat and has developed into a stuffy nose requiring lots of Kleenex.

In the past when this happened we’d make a special trip to the store to buy Kleenex. Wasting not only the gas and time but also purchasing the product not on sale (gasp). So in reality it seems that NOT stockpiling can be a waste of time and money. This week when I’m sick and need more tissue I’ll walk upstairs and grab a box. Since we bought them on super discount (almost free) and I’m not driving to buy them we’re saving time, money, and gas. Stockpiling really does pay off.

Has your stockpile saved you time or money recently? Do you have a great blog post on how you maximize your stockpiling skills? Feel free to share in the comments section, I’d love to hear.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Another great book sale!

Went to another book sale today and found some great finds.
Including two on my "must read" list - The Separate Peace and How to Retire early and live well with less than a million dollars.

I also picked up three old children books (far right) that I plan to do a little decorating with. I love the look of old used books.

In total we purchased 76 books and paid $6 for an average of 8 cents per book plus all the craft books which I didn't include in my calculations. We love books and buying in bulk allows us to maximize our dollar to its fullest.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

March 2009 All You Magazine coupons

Want to know what coupons are in the newest All You magazine before you head to the store to buy one… look no further I’ve got them all right here.

$1 off Gerber Infant or Toddler Tooth & Gum Cleanser
$1 off Baked Lays or Flat Earth Snack
$1 off Any soft soap liquid hand soap pump
$1 off one bottle of Snuggle crème liquid fabric softener or sheets
$1 off one All Laundry detergent
$1.50 off Dove Cream oil Body lotion or hand crème
$1.50 off Colgate tooth paste
$1 off Softsoap body wash
$ .75 off any Fast Fixin’ Breakfast
$. 75 off any Fast Fixin’ Bag (20 oz or larger)
$ .65 off on any 2 Domino Sugar products (2 lbs +)
$1 off Stouffers easy Express family meal
$1 off Gorton’s Shrimp item
$1 off King’s Hawaiian 12 pk Rolls
$ .75 SeaPak item
$ .55 New York Texas Toast Croutons
$1 off Arnold Bread
$1 off Thomas Muffins
$1 off StarKist Creations pouch
$1 off on 2 Juicy Juice
$2 off any size Biz product
$4 off Glade Sense & Spray Starter Kit
$1 off Caltrate Product (except 30)
$1 off on Centrum (except 30)
$3 off Barbie Thumbelina DVD
$ .50 on your next All You
FREE Contour or Breeze2 Meter from Bayer

That’s $30.95 in coupons plus the free Contour from Bayer

Free Magazine subscriptions

Stop by Coupon Cravings to learn how you can get a free subscription to Business Week and many other useful publications.

I don't pay for any of my magazine subscriptions even though I receive quite a few each month.

Friday, February 20, 2009

CVS 2/15

I finally made it to CVS tonight the first time in about three weeks. The deals were just so great I couldn’t pass them up and I had $6 in Ecbs expiring soon.

2 Suave Body Washes (@1.99) $3.98
- (2) $1 off Suave body washes
1 Suave Conditioner $2
- FREE bottle of Suave per earlier promotion (they gave me the full $3 value)
1 Venus Embrace razor $7.99
- $4 off Embrace
1 Colgate total $2.99 ( I couldn't find my coupon to make it a money maker so I only picked up one since it was free and all)

Total Before coupons: $16.96
Total After Coupons: $7.96
ECB Used: $6
OOP Cost: $1.96 + $.66 tax
ECBs Earned: $8.99 ( A small profit)

Of course they were all out of the face bars and my Mylanta was marked at $6 I had a coupon for $3 off so it still would have been free but we really didn't need it so I left it behind.

All in all a good first trip back to CVS.

Eats, Shoots & Leaves

I finally finished Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss. I say finally because I started the book back in November, put it in a craft tote and lost it for a few months. I found it again last week and finished it On Wednesday night.

The book was funny, but it is just too much to take in. Unless you love punctuation already you'll probably only walk away from this book feeling slightly less smart. I could have read the back cover, laughed at the story and finished feeling slightly amused. Instead I'm now self conscious about all my commas and the fact I only know the form of its and it's = it is. The other 200 uses are a complete mud puddle to me.

I did learn/realize a few things about my writing style though. I totally over use the - and ... marks. Yet, guest what? I like them and plan to keep over using them so you should get used to it now.

At least I didn't pay for the book since I requested it from and have since sent it to someone else, re-earning my credit. (On a side note I've saved almost $100 by using paperbackswap since I signed up)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

10 ways to save on having a baby

Just wanted to pass along these great suggestions on 10 ways to save on having a baby over at Homemaker Barbi.

Very realistic unlike some list out there.

Anyone else have another way you saved on baby related cost? I'd love to hear them.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Star Dishcloths

I was a little productive this weekend and also found a few projects I've worked on recently.

I originally whipped up these dish cloths for a member of the family which is why I used blue, but in the end they turned out a little too girly to go to the intended recipient. I'll probably use them myself or give them to a different family member. They are cute though and would make a great gift with a small price tag.

I'm not sure if this is the exact Star dishcloth pattern that I used but it is pretty close.

Monday, February 16, 2009

My Confession

Remember how I said people can justify anything including myself? Well here is my confession. Matt and I have made a few big purchases lately and spent a lot of money, but we did it frugally. :) If spending can ever be frugal. (see my rationalizations)
So what did we buy...

Well lets see, it all started last month when we bought not one but TWO lazy boy chairs. In our defense both chairs were more than 50% off meaning we purchased both for the cost of what one would have. And we didn't buy until we absolutely had to. The seat of our old chair had completely broken so we resorted to shoving pillows in the hole to try and even it out. When someone came over to visit we made sure they didn't end up in that chair. I don't think anyone can say we didn't use it until it's last dying day.

Our other purchase which we really didn't need was a 60" TV. But hear me out on this one, our current TV was over twelve years old and we realized last year that we'd have to buy a new one soon. When Circuit City closed we purchased it on one of their last days for less than the old one cost twelve years ago. Plus it was a price we were ok with - actually we had planned to spend more so we ended up with a deal, just a deal sooner than we had planned on.

There I've confessed and I feel a little better about it. Now on to another topic to make you forget about my financial irresponsibility.

As many of you probably know Obama is scheduled to sign the stimulus package tomorrow. The feelings about the package seem to vary widely. Some seem to believe it's amazing and others think it will only increase the recession.

So my question is... how do you feel about the stimulus package? Do you think it will help our economy or cause more damage? And what do you plan to do with the few extra dollars in your check each week?

Ours will go towards our 12K year end goal which probably isn't helping to stimulate the economy much but it is stimulating our savings account.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

5 Things the Marshmallow Test Can Teach you About Money

I hope everyone had a wonderful Valentines day with someone special. Matt and I don't normally celebrate Valentines Day since both of our birthdays are so close. We spent a nice and quiet day at home basically not speaking to each other... only because at this point my voice is almost completely gone. I'm hoping another day will help me even more and I can get back to my interviews next week.

Until then I wanted to leave you with a blog posting from Millionaire Mommy Next Door about 5 things the Marshmallow test can teach you about money management. I think everyone should take the few minutes needed to read this article. I found it so interesting I'm still thinking about it months later, especially in light of some recent events and conversations with co-workers. Let's just say people can justify anything, myself included.

There are five practical tips provided on how you can manage your money.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Blog Button

Have you grabbed my button yet?
Look to the left to grab the code and add it to your site


I don't know about you but I love the new blog design and the adorable pig. I'm also so excited to have a blog button (I've been working on one for a while). I've spent the last few days working on a few other blog features I hope to have up and running this weekend.

So far this week I haven't done any shopping or any de-cluttering, although I did make a fairly large purchase (more details to come). It's hiring season for my company which means those of us in HR are working long days and meeting lots of people. And of course it wouldn't be a good time to get sick, in fact it might be the worse time all year to for me to get sick. So yes, that means I have been sick all this week and am officially starting to lose my voice. I only have about 20 interviews to go until the next round, maybe I'll start using flash cards to ask questions.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Online stuff reduction

In an effort to reduce my commitments I’ve limited the number of websites I update for certain events. For example when I used to read a book I would update, , OnOurWay, a personal spread sheet, and I’m getting rid of and , thus reducing my commitments by 50%. Now when I finish a book I’m going to update OnOurWay and my personal record.

I have also taken all the blogs I read and added them to my google reader for easier checking. I was really hesitant to start using the google reader to keep me updated on my blogs but it has saved me so much time, I’ll never go back. I implore you to ask yourself “how much time do you spend each day updating certain sites?” I know I was spending way too much time of my day doing just that. Of course you want to get your name out there as much as possible, but at some point we just have to say enough.

Here are the sites I’m now using for my various updates.

Web searches:
Books: OnOurWay & personal spreadsheet
Blogs: Google reader

Take the 2009 reduction challenge and get rid of just one website you frequently update but don’t enjoy doing so. Can you do it? If so which site will/would it be?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

15 Companies that might not survive 2009

Wow, have you seen this article yet?

15 Companies that might not survive 2009

It's all speculation obviously, but there are quite a few companies listed that wouldn't have popped into my mind for money troubles.

I guess I should just be thankful my company isn't listed, so many people haven't been as lucky.

Monday, February 9, 2009

A Wrinkle in Time

I finished A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle last week but didn’t have time to complete a review. The book was ok, I’d give it three stars. I’ve seen A Wrinkle in Time listed on all those must read lists, but had heard it was horrible from others so I read it with an open mind.

And I must say it wasn’t horrible, but not great either. I think it would be a great read for the age group it’s intended for (9-12) but I wouldn’t include it on a must read list for adults.

For an actual plot summary you should visit Planet Book Club or to to request your own copy. I relisted this book after receiving it from a member and it has already been re-requested, so there is obviously still quite a large interest in Madeleine L'Engle’s writings.

Books read in 2009: 4
Books remaining: 46

Sunday, February 8, 2009

I'm not shopping today...

but you still can.

Check out the following blogs to get updates on the great deals found around town today. I'll be at the thrift store doing a little retail therapy rather than the grocery store.

CVS Deals at The "Cent"sible Sawyer

Coupon matches at Walmart

Walgreens deals at The "Cent"sible Sawyer

Aldi Deals

Deals at Kroger

and as soon as the Meijer deals are posted I'll make sure to update this post and if you're looking for another store Frugal in Virginia does great coupon match up throughout the week.

Friday, February 6, 2009

100 reasons to get rid of it

Do you like Martha? In case you haven't noticed I like me some Martha. She graces my inbox every day with her wonderful tips and project ideas.

My most recent favorite is the 100 reasons to get rid of it article.

I wanted to share this article just in case you're looking for a reason to get rid of that not so amazing wedding gift or the ratty tshirt from college. One of these 100 reasons is sure to sway you.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Extra Income Update - January

At the beginning of the year I set a few financial goals for Matt and I.

I plan to update on our progress each month. I won't bore you with the normal budget updates as those numbers will pretty much stay the same from month to month. I do however want to keep track of how much money we are able to put into each of our savings accounts.

If you'll recall from this post we want to put about $21,500 into savings this year. A hefty number, but one I think we can hit. In order to make this mark we need to come up with an extra $5,500 throughout the year on top of our regular wages.

Here's how we earned some extra money in January.

$100 - Late Christmas gift
$111 - Various sales
$125 - Side computer job from Matt
$ 5 - Sold one scarf on Etsy

Without doing much work we were able to bring in an extra $341 for the month of January. It doesn't seem like a ton but it works out to 6% of our $5,500 goal. Plus selling things on allowed us to work on our other goal of stuff reduction.

Best yet, as of February 2nd I've already made another $40 from selling items online!

Monday, February 2, 2009

VocalPoint samples

Are you a member of Vocalpoint yet? If not you should be because they send out free stuff all the time. I receive something at least once a month.

Just the other day I received these coupons for StarKist tuna fish. I received five coupons for their products and a recipe booklet on the different ways to use tuna fish. Who knew you could do more with tuna than just sandwiches. (I have mentioned I’m not a cook before right?)

Last month members received a FREE Kashi breakfast bar sample and this nifty little hook thing from StarKist.

Vocalpoint is a great online resource. Trust me it’s worth the stop to sign up and join in on the free samples and coupons.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

More Free Stuff @ Menards

I wasn't going to pick up any of the FREE after rebate items from Menards this week, but I had to purchase some canning jars and they were the only place in town that had them. I figure if you're already spending the $10 needed to qualify for Free after rebate items you probably should just pick some up.

Here's what I was able to grab

2 Handy lights $6
2 Rayovac 4 pack batteries $4
5 Jar air freshners $5
2 Super hooks $6
1 Kitchen cleaner $2.50
2 Automotive wipes $6
2 Nano glue $6

That's $35.50 of free stuff. And not just stuff to clutter up the house (that would be in direct conflict of our 30% reduction goal). Most of these things will be used by us or as stocking stuffers next year for Christmas.