Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Free Swag bucks & CVS giveaway!

Today is a great day for all my readers that haven’t signed up for Swagbucks yet.

OnOurWay Online has been given the chance to offer extra Swagbucks for any new sign up from today until Friday, April 3rd at midnight!

Have no idea what I’m talking about? Read my original post on Swagbucks HERE.

It’s a great program that I’ve used to purchase a new waffle maker and a whole DVD organizing system (post to come). I use Swagbucks every time I search the internet and am very happy with the results. I’ve purchased many Amazon gift cards but you can also trade in for Starbucks, Barnes & Noble, and Target cards as well. There is also a plethora of musical swag, books and now even a kids section. (which I might have to swag a few things from)

Today is your lucky day because every new sign up who uses the ONOURWAY code gets an extra 2 Swagbucks on top of the 3 just for signing up. That’s 5 FREE Swagbucks! You can’t pass up that opportunity.

All you have to do is...
- Make sure you’re a new registrant to Swagbucks and make sure to use my code ONOURWAY to earn your extra 5 points. You can sign up HERE.
You will earn 3 points for the sign up and 2 points for using my exclusive code - ONOURWAY. (The code is case sensitive)
After signing up with the special code you’ll only have 40 swag bucks to go before you can cash in for your first Amazon gift card. You'll be shopping in no time.

Remember: the code is only active until Friday, April 3rd so make sure to take advantage of it while you can.

Now to the GIVEAWAY
And to add a little extra incentive and celebrate this great swag sign up we decided to host a CVS giveaway. You can win 3 CVS reusable totes and a $5 gift card to the store of your choice (CVS, Walgreens, or Rite Aid).

There are 4 different ways to enter and you can do one or all of them to receive extra entries.

- Sign up for Swagbucks and leave me a comment letting me know you’ve received the extra bucks.
- Leave me a comment with why you love Swagbucks or what you’ve used your bucks to purchase.
- Follow me on Twitter and tweet about this giveaway – make sure to leave me a comment with your twitter name to receive your entry.
- Sign up for my RSS or email subscription feeds and leave me a comment letting me know you have.

This giveaway and the extra Swagbucks both expire on Friday, April 3rd at midnight so stop reading and get swagging!
Sweepstakes Advantage - 4000+ Free Online Sweepstakes

Monday, March 30, 2009

Good Things on the Net today

There are so many good things to be had on the internet tonight I wanted to share some with you.

The Cottonelle $.50 coupon has been reset. Remember you can double this coupon at Kroger on the 4 pack to receive FREE toilet paper. (remember you can print it twice)

FREE reusable grocery bag from Earthbound for the first 10,000 to take the pledge every week. If you aren't in the first 10,000 this week try again next monday.

Sing up for the Mongolian BD's email newsletter and receive a free stir fry meal.

Give me back that fillet of fish ring tone download - ok this one is just cute :)

Mind Over Matter printable blocks with printable PDF document from Flickr.

It's snowing but I'm thinking spring thoughts

I really wanted to plant a small garden in our back yard this year so the other day while at Menards I picked up the supplies I needed. I forgot the seed starting soil but was able to steal a little from my mom.

Here are all of our seed supplies. In the end I spent less than ten dollars, I ended up paying more for the watering and seed dish because I can reuse it every year rather than many of them which have to be thrown away. We ended up planting Green beans, green peppers, Cucumbers, a few small and large gourds (for crafts), and one thing of cat nip for a decorating idea. Hey the seeds were cheap and if you can't have a little fun and provide for the cats with gardening what's the point right? We also plan to plant some tomato plants but we'll buy them later already sprouted.

And here are our little seeds all planted and waiting to germinate. Since we live in the city and don’t get a ton of light I’ve been moving them around during the day to maximize their light intake.

I can’t wait to see these seeds sprout and get them planted (as soon as it stops snowing).

Also while I was at Menards I saw they are carrying Terracycle garden supplies. I’m so excited I finally find a retailer that sells their products, last year I couldn’t find it anywhere.

Are you planting a garden this year? Have you already planted your seedlings?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

CVS 3/29

Had a good day at CVS. I didn't make any money but I walked out with a lot for free and was able to roll over $3.98 of an expiring ecb.

2 Paas Easter Egg kits
1 bag of sweet tarts
1 reusable tote
~ Was mailed a coupon for a FREE tote as this quarters free gift

Total : $6.47
After coupons: $5.48
ECB used: $4.99
OOP: $.49

ECB's Earned: $3.98 (1.99 for Paas kits (2))

Friday, March 27, 2009

Friday Find - Kat Knits

Isn’t this Grumpasaurus cute? I need to make one for Matt. He could take it to work and sit it right on his desk (kidding dear...maybe).

If you want to make one for someone special in your family visit Kat at Kat-Knits. It's a blog dedicated to her knitting and other crafting adventures. Plus if you visit right now she has a Grumpasaurus parade going on right now, featuring all the different creations from Kat's readers.

But Kat's blog doesn't just highlight the Grumpasaurus, she has some great projects and tutorials for you to view. Make sure to check on her other great (and FREE) tutorial post.

Easter Peeps The cutest things I've ever seen
Jelly Donuts
Arm Warmers

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Perks of Being a Wallflower

Just finished The Perks of Being a wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. The book is written as a series of letters from a high school freshman, this style makes it a quick and easy read. Each letter offers a quick glimpse into the life of the main character Charlie. Over the course of Charlie’s freshman year he writes about the trials of his life, making friends, first dates, kisses, and getting his drivers license. Poor Charlie is a troubled teen making you turn the page in anticipation of his next new experience.

The book had a medium amount of sexual content and touched on many sensitive topics. More than I was prepared for or even normally enjoy reading, yet when it was said and done I found myself enjoying the overall storyline and even shedding a tear for Charlie in the end.

The Perks of being a Wallflower received four and a half out of five stars on its Amazon.com page and my copy has been sent off to a wishing member on paper back swap.

“We accept the love we think we deserve”

Have you read anything by Chbosky? What did you think?

Books Read in 2009: 9
Books Remaining: 41

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Who’s to blame for our financial crisis?

Are you sick and tired of talking about the economy, bailouts, and stimulus packages? I am too but this is one more post on it. Today I have to rant and make a confession all in one post. I understand that this is a touch subject and I may even lose some readers but I’ve held my voice for too long.

Sunday night Matt and I watched Dateline’s special on the current crisis. It actually made me sick to watch the people blame one another for the big mess. Everyone thinks they’re a victim and it was someone else’s job to regulate their actions. And yes this includes the mortgage brokers blaming underwriters and loan recipients blaming the brokers. It’s all disgusting in my opinion. If you missed the show you can learn more at the Dateline site Here.

I’d like to review the three examples they used for people who had been “scammed” by the lending industry. (Warning these number are from my memory and not exact)

The first, a woman who says she was making $1600 a month and was allowed to get a mortgage for a $200,000+ home. The monthly payment was $2,000; more than she made in a month! She said she planned to have a sister move in to help with the cost, but that wasn’t the part that floored me. I didn’t get really angry until she said it was the mortgage brokers’ job to tell her what she could afford. What!?! Why is it the brokers’ job to tell her a $2000 mortgage payment is more than a $1600 income? Whose job is it to make her budget?

The second example was a woman who had a negative income in 2006, had filed bankruptcy more than once and yet purchased multiple properties. Her loan payments were over $10,000 a month, but she says it was no big deal because she was running a successful daycare. Now don’t get me wrong NO one should have given her those loans, but she admits at one point to lying on her income and is surprised by the negative numbers in her tax figures. How do you not know what you filed on your taxes one year?

Example three was a lady who refinanced her home to send her daughter to an Ivy league school. She says she didn’t realize she was signing for an adjustable rate mortgage. She says she just trusted her loan broker to make it a fixed interest rate because it’s America and she was trusting. Whose job is it to sign and read all the loan documents? Now I know this is kind of a difficult thing, not all of us are as diligent as JD from Get Rich Slowly although, I wish I was. Matt and I did not read our whole loan document but you can bet your buttons I triple checked the interest rate and terms of our loan before signing – including what our monthly payment would be. It was our loan and payment to make not our loan broker.

Now here comes the confession part. This isn’t something we share often but I want to throw it out there…when we purchased four years ago we had a stated income loan – better known as a liar loan. Actually it gets even worse than that since our loan would be classified a Ninja loan (No income – No job). (The story gets a little more complicated but that’s for another day – this post is long enough) So why in the heck would someone give us a loan? I have honestly no idea but I’m glad they did. Four years later Matt and I are still enjoying our home. Let me take you through our story quickly. Before we decided to start looking at homes we calculated what we could afford in house payments, utilities, and other living expenses. When we were approved for the loan we pre-qualified for a huge (to us) number. By having a budget and knowing what we could pay each month we knew payments at our top price would be too much money. So we looked at houses about $40,000 less than we pre-qualified for (almost half the number we were approved for) because we had run the numbers and knew what payments for different priced homes would be – including taxes and insurance. (Never underestimate these costs).

So even though we have been hit by many outcomes we’ve been able to make it through without missing a payment. Now I’ll fully admit some was luck but a lot of it was because we knew our budget and resisted the urge to buy big. We’ve gone through an entire year in the past with either one of us unemployed but we were able to make our house payments on one income because we purchased what we could afford.

But let’s get back to our three examples. Maybe this makes me a horrible person but I don’t feel bad for either three of these woman. (And as a side note it’s funny how they were all woman – wonder if Dateline noticed that). Yes banks shouldn’t have been giving these loans out by any means but it seems to me, none of these woman took an active roll in their own financial lives. What does it say about us as Americas when we don’t take responsibility for our own finances? We have to remember that no one cares about your money more than you.

I’ll tell you who I feel bad for the people who purchased within their limits, knew their budgets and had something unexpected happen. It really is a staggering fact the number of people (including us) who are one disaster away from ruin. A job loss, hospital visit or car repair can cause people to fall behind on mortgage or credit card payments. These are the borrows I grieve for. They did everything they could to make wise choices yet are faced with difficult decisions and mounting bills. Lets stop passing the blame plate around and focus on how we can help these people.

Now I want to hear from you – what do you think?
Who is the victim? Who’s to blame? Who is responsible for making sure you can afford a monthly payment? Should banks be required by the government to independently check income figures for borrowers? I have a feeling our answers to these questions will all differ.

Monday, March 23, 2009

New Feature - Recycled Crafts

Today is a big day at OnOurWay because today I’m launching a new feature.

It seems that each day on the web I find another great project made from recycled materials. I also find people looking for how they can recycle items around their homes. This new web page brings both together in one location.
Stop by our new Recycled Crafts page to find great ways you can reuse and upcycle the trash in your home.

Recycled Crafts
highlights great reused projects from blogs and websites all over the web. The page is categorized by items to be recycled such as paper, plastic bags, toilet paper rolls, and kitchen items. Hopefully this layout will make it easier for you to navigate. You can also use the find command in most browsers to search for a certain category. I would like to one day put them into a searchable database but I’m still learning.

This list encompasses the projects I’ve found to be amazing and useful for others. I’ve tried to find the best of the best but of course I know I’ve missed some. If you have a great recycled craft project or known of a blog that does email me and let me know. I also have another fifty or so projects waiting to be added so expect this page to update frequently. I hope you keep checking back for the latest and greatest in recycled projects. And please let me know what you think of our new page I'd love to hear your comments.

Forget other people – make your trash a new treasure

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Spring Projects

Saturday was a busy day for the Harrison household. Even though it barely made it to 50 here we decided it was time to start all those spring projects.
I listed a few items on craigslist and was able to make a donation to our Creation Station(A place specializing in selling recycled craft supplies).

In bigger news we checked off four projects from our house to do list. Matt hung our floor trim in both the living and dining rooms and I painted four windows.
Just painting a few coats of white paint has brightened up the room an amazing amount.

I was also able to get a coat of primer on our bedroom window and door. I imagine it will take a few coats to hide all the blue.

But of course there is always more to do. Rather than head to CVS today we’re staying home to do some touch up painting on the trim and windows, put the house back together (since it’s always gets messy after projects) and get our seeds planted so we can have a garden this summer. Hopefully I'll have a good update later and I'll make sure to take pictures this time.

We’re already two days into spring – have you done any spring cleaning on projects around the house yet?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

More Great Reading

Just getting started on what to do with your finances?

I (well JD from Get Rich slowly)found two great articles to help you out...

10 Financial commandments for your 20's


10 Financial Commandments for your 30's

I was happy to see I'm pretty much on track for my 20's but need to pick up the pace before we hit 30.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

How to Make an American Quilt - Whitney Otto

I wasn’t overly impressed with this book It is just the stories of these woman’s lives and how they came to join the quilting group. There is no climax or plot outline unless you count the actual chapters on quilting. I have a feeling this might be one of the odd situations when the movie is better than a book.

I guess it just wasn’t my style. If you want to know more about the actual book rather than just my ranting you can read actual reviews at the book’s Amazon page. It received three and a half stars out of five available and overall mixed reviews. It looks to be one of those love it or hate it

Books Read in 2009: 8
Book Remaining: 42

I have to start reading more if I'm ever to make my goal, but even if I don't I've already read more books this year in march than all of 2008. I love reading so it's great to prioritize enjoying something I like to do for a change.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Rice Neck Warmers

I was in a sewing mood and decided to make up a few of these rice neck warmers. They are so easy to make, sew on three sides, turn inside out, pour in rice, and hand stitch together.

The two smaller squares were made from scraps. Even though it’s getting warmer I made them for Matt to use in the mornings while waiting for the bus. He can stick them in his winter gloves and keep his fingers nice and toasty.

I have a plan in my head on how to make one to use on your back but I’m still working out the actual creation of it. I figure rather than spend our money on one time use patches I'd save the landfill space and make a reusable one.

Lots of Goodies

There are lots of goodies out there today and I wanted to make sure and share them with you.

Stop by flickr to learn how you can make an IPod Case from a Juice Box. I don't have an IPod but I think this would work for my camera. I'll have to try it out.

Dollar store crafts has a post on creating coin purse from a pop bottle

Keeper of the Home has a great guest post comparing prices for homemade cleaners

The New York Times has an article about what a $100 can buy you in Detroit, read the $100 House for sale

JD at Get Rich Slowly has a great article about Defeating temptation: 10 Questions to ask yourself before you buy

Wise Bread is writing about Why using cash only rocks

And Frugal Dad has a post about Complacency A Silent Killer Of Financial Turnarounds

There is some great stuff out there today. Is there anything you've read today that I might have missed? Feel free to leave it in the comments section.
I love reading other bloggers thoughts and ideas because it gets me motivated and keeps me on course.

Monday, March 16, 2009

CFL Bulbs: Good or Bad

There has been a lot of talk about CFL’s lately. Some people are totally for them while others feel they are worse than the traditional incandescent because they contain mercury.

It is true compact fluorescent bulbs do contain mercury, but it is a very small amount. The mercury is contained within the glass bulb and none of it is released when the bulb is on or off.

The important part is making sure you dispose of them properly. The disposal process is when issues arise if they are going to. You can find more information about CFL bulbs, clean up guides, and proper disposal location at the Energy Star website.

There are tons of facts about CFL bulbs on the Energy Star website. For example did you know CFL bulbs use 75% less energy and last up to ten times longer than a standard bulb? Or that they save $30+ over the course of the bulbs life, produce 75% less heat and are now made to fit just about any fixture in your home.

In my opinion CFL bulbs offer many benefits which make the extra disposal steps worth it. Just make sure if you do make the switch you also take the time to learn about proper disposal methods and find a drop off location near you.

Matt and I decided to make the switch last year and replace our regular bulbs as they burned out; at this point our whole home has been converted except the basement.

What do you think about CFL bulbs and what are you using at home?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

CVS 3/15

Great CVS run today

1 Dry Idea Deodorant $2.99
~ $2 off
1 Irish Spring body wash $4.99
~ $.50 Irish Spring
1 Colgate Toothpaste $2.99
~ .75 off any Colgate
1 CVS Vitamin D $2.99
2 Disposable Razors (.99) $1.98
~ $2 off Razors marked down to $1.98
2 Reusable bags (.99) $1.98
1 Orbit Gum (filler) 1.29
1 Carmello (filler) .89

$4/$20 CVS purchase (from email)

Total Before Coupons: $21.09
Coupons Used: $9.25
ECB used: $9.98 (.99, 4, 4.99)
Put on Gift Card: .97 (.08 tax)
ECB's Earned: $12.98 (2.99 Colgate, 4.99 Irish Spring, 2.99 Vitamin D, 2 Dry Idea)

So in total I made $2.03 for taking $21.90 worth of merchandise out of CVS today. Not bad

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Stressful week

I haven't posted since Tuesday and don't have anything ready today since I haven't made it shopping this week. I'm not gone or lost but I do have over 30 emails to read, 200+ items in my Google reader, and lots of things I want to post about. You'll have to give me some time to catch up.

I've also been thinking of starting a new feature at OnOurWay similar to Living Simply Saturdays at keeper of the home. Last Saturday was the last Living Simple carnival - a feature I hate to see disappear.
But I need to know, if I was to host something similar would you guys be interested in reading about it and would you post your own simple strategies in a Mr.linky? Let me know what you think in the comment section or @onourway in Twitter.

There are a few other things happening with our family right now as well, some bad, scary, and good.

The bad: On Thursday evening we tried to take the car in for an oil change only to find out there were some extensive problems requiring a mechanic. You know it's not good when someone uses the word hemorrhaging and road side assistance more than once. I sat at work all day Friday waiting to hear the cost which wasn't as bad as we expected. Even with these repairs we've put in less than $1000 into this car over the last six years we've had it, including all oil changes and other required maintenance. Must less than what we'd pay in interest on a loan. We don't have the car back yet but hopefully it will happen this afternoon.

The scary:
After some recent events in our neighborhood Matt and I have decided it's time for us to move. We love our house and if it was just going to be the two of us we'd probably stay but if we ever want to start a family I'd like to do it in a safer area. Right now is the time to buy so we've been researching homes and been to look at a few properties. I'm not sure when or if we'll move but it's nice to be looking. When we bought our current home we had a time limit to move within, this time around we can take our time and be pickier.

The good:
Even though I've been extremely stressed and busy I have had time to read two books and get a few crafts done. Look for those post this week.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Quick and easy dish cloths

Quickly made up these dish cloths this weekend. It was actually a baby wash cloth pattern but I increased it in size to use in the kitchen. I really like the stitch because it almost feels like little scrubbers, plus they're just cute. And easy to do which everyone knows is the most important part for me, I can whip one up in about 30 minutes.

The pattern comes from Crochetville.org at this link.

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Beautiful and Damned - Book Reivew

I know everyone says this and over time it has become “one of those books: but I LOVE the Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. His The Beautiful and Damned – not so much. The book isn’t bad just not as good as I would have liked.

The story chronicles two self centered spoiled rich characters as they fall in love, decide working is for the birds, and spend themselves to the poor house, but have no worries there is a semi-happy ending for the two.

Books Read in 2009: 7
Book Remaining: 43

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Giving up Scrap booking

I’m taking a big leap and declaring that I’m giving up scrap booking!

That’s right I will no longer be scrap booking. Not only will this save me money and time but also stress. As I was going through my craft supplies I realized I had at least three tubs of scrapbook stuff and various items laying all over our spare room. I haven’t scrap booked in over almost two years. In fact when I really sat and thought about it, I don’t even enjoy scrap booking.

I’d get the photos developed and they would sit somewhere for a year or so. One day I’d pull out all my supplies and make a huge mess which would take me a week to fully clean up. And truth be told I didn’t do it because I was excited to scrapbook I’d do it because I felt like I had to. Everyone always seems to be doing these adorable books and loving every minute of it. The peer pressure can make you feel like you’re not doing something right if your not making amazing scrapbooks each weekend. Quite honestly mine weren't even that great. So that’s it, I’m giving it up. As of today I will no longer be pressured into thinking I HAVE to scrapbook.
For now on we’ll keep all our pictures in photo albums. They’re cheaper to buy and can be quickly updated. I might buy some small booklets to put our event tickets in and such but that’s it.

I went through all my stuff and sold a huge box of supplies on Craigslist.com in February. We put the money towards our Dream goal. It feels so great to be simplifying our life by reducing our stuff and making money for it.

And you know what, it is really liberating to no longer feel like I have to do stuff.
Is there something you do because you feel like you have to? Give it up – seriously just try it even if only for a trial period. Or if you’re not quite to that point yet what would you give up if you could?

Stop by Keeper of the Home to read more Simple Living Saturdays

Friday, March 6, 2009

Friday Find - Kirsten*Can

Isn't this play kitchen amazing? You probably think it cost a ton right? Wrong - You can whip one of these up in an afternoon for about $23 and fabric.

For the full directions visit the great blog Kirsten*Can and her play kitchen post.

While you're there make sure to look up her Little books tutorial, I have to make my own set asap plus you'll also want to read her Pillowcase tutorial and Stamp Carving post.
To finish it off Kirsten's beautiful Silhouettes, she made as gifts will have you making yourself a set in no time.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

9 Tips to Saving Money at the Movies

So many people talk about saving money by not going out. Some suggestions I love include things like taking a staycation, picnics, and family movie nights. I love these ideas and we plan to use some soon. But what about those times you just want to go out and see a movie?

How - if at all can you do it on the cheap?

You can’t if you go to a night show and pay regular movie prices. A family of four can’t walk out of that situation for less than $30. It is possible to save at the movies though. Here’s a few tricks Matt and I use when we want to see a movie on the cheap.

1 – Find a cheap theater

If you live in a larger city you most undoubtedly have an older/smaller theater near you. These theaters may not have a huge selection but their prices are cheaper. We have four theaters in acceptable driving ranges. Two are multiplexes that charge more than $8 a ticket. The theater we use is much older with only six screens and charges $4.25 a ticket. The place is clean, the screens are big but there’s no stadium seating. For $4.25 I’ll live.

2 – See a matinee

Ok so lets say you live in a small town and there is only one theater. Then see a matinee. Even the expensive theaters in our area offer a cheaper rate. Normally 50% off the night price. Times that by two and you’ve saved $8 or $16 with four tickets. See a movie before five and eat dinner afterward if you want to make it a date night.

3 – Take advantage of discount days
Before Matt and I found our cheap theater we only saw movies on Tuesdays. Why? Because on Tuesdays all movies are $4 at one of our theaters. Before I started working the night shift on Tuesdays it was like our own date night. Plus a sitter is cheaper and easier to find on a non weekend night.

4 – Buy Popcorn in bulk
So I know everyone says to save money skip the popcorn, but come on if you see a bad movie the popcorn might be the best part of the show. Movie popcorn is delicious you can’t pass it up. So rather than feel guilty about your purchase do it smartly. Most theaters in our area offer a reusable bucket for a nominal fee. You can then use this bucket any time with free refills. Now you have to run the numbers for yourself but for us it’s a good deal. We have to see three movies in a six month period for the bucket purchase to be profitable.

5 – Drink Water
Whether you’re trying to lose weight or save money you’ve probably been told to give up the pop. It’s hard to do but it is worth it. Pop is expensive and loaded with not such great stuff. Take your own water to the theater. While most theaters won’t let you bring in a 20 oz Pepsi ours has no problem with you bringing in a pre-filled water bottle.

6 – Sign up for the rewards card
Trust me on this one, sign up for the rewards card and emails for your theater. With our rewards card we receive great coupons and a selection of movies we can see for each week for only $3 a ticket.

7 – Take advantage of Freebies
Grocery stores use loss leaders to get you in the store with hopes you’ll purchase more, well theaters do the same thing. Many places offer free movies geared towards children and families hoping you’ll come in and spent lots on popcorn and overpriced candy. Two theaters offer these freebies in our area. One has Mom Movie Mondays and another offers free children matinees every Saturday and Sunday. Many times the children’s movie is older and has already been released but hey it’s a free movie – most kids just love the experience of being at the theater.

8- See movies before they come out for free
Back when I was in college I saw a ton of free movies before they even hit theaters. The college would show previews to a limited number of students. Now I’m no longer a student but premiers do still come to the area. If you’re lucky enough to live in a larger town try the following site to find out what’s playing near you.
Film Metro.com

9 – Win Free tickets from Sweeps
Last summer I won over five free movie tickets from playing instant win sweeps. There hasn’t been one lately but I have a feeling once the summer block busters get started there will be all kinds of chances to win free tickets. I’ll announce them here through out the summer so make sure to keep checking back.

By using these techniques we have be able to save big at the theater.
How do you save when going out to the show? I'd love to hear your suggestions so we can all save more.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Wicked - Book Review

I finished up Wicked on my birthday last Friday. Let’s just say I was quite surprised. Matt and I saw Wicked the play in Chicago back in September 2007. It has been about a year and half so I don’t recall every thing about the play but I can say they are very different. Sure the locations and the characters are the same, but other than that nothing but very loose associations.

The play is fun and upbeat while the book is rather dark and very PG-13 if not R. You finish the play feeling positive and a little sympathetic with the witch; not so with the book. In most cases I read a book and love it only to have the movie be an utter disappointment; this time it was the exact opposite. The play is so much better. Had I read the book first I probably wouldn’t have seen the play at all and I would have missed out on something great. All my favorite parts of the play are missing or completely different.

Although; when looking at the book and not considering the play in the equation it was an ok read. I probably won’t read it again but I’m not going to paperbackswap it either.

Have you read Wicked, what did you think?

Books Read in 2009: 6
Book Remaining: 44

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

More Sweater Yarn

My craft this week was taking a picture of my craft to do next week.

I know not very creative, but I did get all these great sweaters for 50% making them about $1.80 a piece. I love the orange and green colors in the back and all the sweaters should make some great yarn.

I might even use one for some at home dyeing with directions from Laughing Purple Goldfish. She also has a great set of instructions on how to make a center pull ball of yarn something I hope I can figure out with this yarn.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Are Ads all around us?

I read somewhere the other day that we are bombarded with up to 3000 ads everyday! Since there has been so much talk lately about the mass consumerism of America I found it to be an interesting statistic and decided to do some simple research of my own.

I had five magazines come in the mail last week; Cosmo, Good housekeeping, Family Fun, Cookie, and Redbook – all their March publications. I went through each magazine and categorized each page as either content, Ad, or product placement.

Here is how I judged each page.
Content: Any story, letter to the editor, picture associated with text, and reader submissions.
Ad: Any Ad, or extra ad picture, medical text, or classifieds
Product Placement: Any page where a certain product or products are the only highlighted item.
And trust me I was very fair to each magazine when I counted.
Here’s how they stacked up

Good Housekeeping:
Content Pages: 103
Ad Pages: 71
Product Pages: 17
% Content: 54%
% Ads: 37%
% Product: 9%

Content Pages: 87
Ad Pages: 81
Product Pages: 19
% Content: 46.5%
% Ads: 43%
% Product: 10%

Family Fun:
Content Pages: 70
Ad Pages: 55
Product Pages: 6
% Content: 53%
% Ads: 42%
% Product: 4.5%

Content Pages: 53
Ad Pages: 54
Product Pages: 32
% Content: 38%
% Ads: 39%
% Product: 23%

Content Pages: 100
Ad Pages: 102
Product Pages: 105
% Content: 43%
% Ads: 44%
% Product: 13%

The highs and lows:
Most Content Pages: Good Housekeeping – 54%
Most Ad Pages: Cosmo – 44%
Most Product pages: Cookie – 23%

Least Content Pages: Cookie – 38%
Least Ad Pages: Good Housekeeping – 37%
Least Product Pages: Family Fun – 4.5%

The Averages:
Content Pages: 47%
Ad Pages: 41%
Product Pages: 12%
Ad and Product pages: 53%

So just from these numbers this “myth” might be true. On average over 40% of magazine content we see is an advertisement of some sort. That number rises to over 50% when we include product place pages (which I honestly believe product pages are just another form of ad).

Kind of makes you look at magazines in a new light, especially if you pay for your subscriptions. You’re basically paying for tree killing commercials. It’s especially eye opening for those of us trying to limit our consumerism and get back to the basics.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

February Financial Update

February wasn’t a great money month for us but we were able to put away an additional $210 in our dream fund. It doesn't seem like a ton but it comes to almost 4% of our total $5,500 extra we need for 2009. In total we've been able to come up with an extra $752 for our dream fund that's almost 14% of what we need!

$175 was from extra work Matt was able to pick up
$ 35 from sales on Craigslist

I love selling things on Craigslist. Not only am I able to get rid of my clutter I’m making money to do so. I listed a bunch of other things to sell today and hope to have some bidders soon.

In February I was able to get rid of about 50 hangers, 5 bags of clothes, a ton of scrapbooking stuff (more to come on this), and I sent off almost 10 books through paperbackswap.com.

I really don’t feel like this was enough I plan to get rid of much more during the month of March. The first day of spring is March 20th and I want to be in full spring cleaning mode by then.

I don’t know about you but I am ready for spring.

CVS 3/1

I made it to CVS this week and was able to pick up everything I needed. It's such a rush - and I'm such a dork, I know.

Carnation Instant Breakfast $4.99
~I didn't have the coupon but it was still free
Fusion Gamer Razor $7.99
~$4 Fusion Razor
Slimquick shots $4.99
ACT mouth wash $0.99
Reusable bag (not pictured) $1.99

$4/$20 CVS coupon from email

Total Before Coupons: $20.95
Total after Coupons: $12.95
ECB's Used: $8.99 (4, 2, 2.99)
OOP Cost: $3.96 (paid with gift card)

ECB's Received: $14.97 (.99 for ACT, 4.99 slimquick, 4 Razor, 4.99 Carnation)

$25.65 in merchandise for a $2.02 profit - I love when I get paid to take things out of the store.

Year to date Savings: $89.61