Friday, January 29, 2010
*80% off a $25 gift card (that's 2 bucks!) at Restaurant.com when you enter the code BONUS.
*Philosophy has 15% off all fragrance products online (enter code FRAGRANCE at checkout). This ends today so hurry if you need some smell goods!
*Take an extra 40% off clearance items at Express!
*If you haven't gotten it already, the 2010 Entertainment Books are 35% off! This is a great deal for all of the coupons to restaurants, events, and more!
*30% off in-store purchases this weekend (Friday and Saturday) at Old Navy!
*And one more - although it's not a specific Friday Deal, I am a huge fan of buying my coffee at Cost Plus World Market. Not only is it pretty cheap ($6/pound), you get a coffee punch card - buy 6 bags, get one FREE! On Wednesdays, they do double punches! I purchased 3 bags and already have a free one when I want it!
Thursday, January 28, 2010
*First off, I kept all of my necessary spending in check. I came in under budget by $10 at the grocery store and under budget by $35 for gas. I think I was more deliberate about my spending this month even in categories that I excluded from No-Spend January. My more budget-minded mentality must have rubbed off on all of my spending. Woo hoo!
*Besides being under budget in essentials, I had another happy surprise - I lost 4 pounds! Maybe cooking more at home/packing my lunch, taking long walks to keep me occupied and not going to bars every weekend helped my health!
*Did No-Spend January add to my savings account? Well duh! I didn't spend money for a month! But how much did I save? I averaged my spending for 12 months on clothes, coffee, entertainment and other non-essentials. I saved...
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Monday, January 25, 2010
In an act of full disclosure I am a very messy person. My shelves overflow, sometimes its difficult to see my bedroom floor, and umm we usually can't eat at the dinner table because so much stuff is piled on top. I thought that by the time I was 27, my organizational gene would just somehow kick in and my house would be spotless.
Alas I have realized this is definitely not the case. However, just because being organized doesn't come naturally it doesn't mean that it's an excuse. It's definitely something I need to work on. I promise, the how it saves money part is coming, but as we get there, I figure I might as well share some of my learnings on organizing as we go.
Once I came to this realization, I decided to become more organized. But what I quickly realized, was that this organizing not coming naturally thing, was also a result of a lack of function in my home. I have deep, tall shelving and cabinets. While this is great for say my Kitchen Aid mixer, not so great for all the small things like screws, extra shampoos, small tools, the dogs leashes, etc. etc.
My husband and I are now cleaning, purging and organizing one small section of the house each weekend. Otherwise it's just too overwhelming. And this allows us to really get things functional. This weekend was the shelves in the mudroom (picture is of new organized shelves). This is where all of our tools, some cleaning supplies, fishing supplies, flashlights and a host of other items are stored. We went through the following process:
- Separate into major categories (tools, household items, etc.
- Purge as you go
- Move those items that really should be elsewhere (like the can of paint to the shed)
- Sort your major categories into small categories (dog items, screws and nails, frequently used tools, etc.)
- Put this smaller categories into each rubbermaid and label. Put back on shelf
Okay now is where we get to the saving money part. We found we were rebuying multiple things because we just couldn't find them. We had three half used cans of paint thinner, no fewer than four things of caulking, two jars of putty and several of the same tools. Had we just been better organized, we would have easily been able to find these things and not rebuy.The key really is keeping like minded things together. I could have easily dumped everything in two boxes. Sure I would have saved a lot more space, but I still wouldn't have been able to easily located what I needed. I'm sure as we go through this process with our shed, under our sinks and our kitchen cabinets we'll have similar results. But it's good to know that in the future we can save ourselves from overbuying.
Friday, January 22, 2010
*Do you like Cream of Wheat? Maybe you would for FREE.
*30% off one item at Borders - they have coupons so often I'm starting to feel like a broken record.
*2 FREE samples when you order something online at Aveda (plus FREE shipping for orders over $80).
*DSW has a deal - $5 off 1 pair of shoes and $15 off two pairs. Online only and make sure to use code SAVENOW.
*My favorite deal of the week, courtesy of Fantabulously Frugal, FREE facials at Origins retail stores! You have to book an appointment in advance and it's through Sunday.
Have a fantastic weekend!
Thursday, January 21, 2010
First off, Haiti happened. Regardless of the pact I made with myself and with you lovely readers, I honestly could not sit and not give. I sent $50 to Mercy Corps. If you haven't yet, I encourage you to do the same. It's definitely not too late, and later donations are even more important. Most people forget about these natural disasters weeks later, but it will take years to recover. The people of Haiti could still use your help! Make sure you are donating to a reputable charity - I suggest Mercy Corps or the American Red Cross, but there are lots of smaller, grassroots organizations that do good work. Here are ratings for agencies working in Haiti from Charity Watch.
Secondly, my lovely friend Lindsay got engaged and we needed to celebrate with champagne and delicious food! $20 to hear stories of love and share happiness with friends? Sounds like a bargain to me. Read about Cicchetti, the fabulous place where this party happened, in my friend Shelby's blog.
So $70 spent, but all for good things. Can I keep it together for the rest of the month? Stay tuned to find out!
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Sundried tomatoes/Panko: Added them with a little mozzarella cheese, and some Italian seasoning to stuff chicken breast. Then breading the breast with the Panko bread crumbs and baking.
Cashews: Adding them to some canned chicken I have on hand (yay! for a bonus ingredient) along with some dried cranberries and mayo for chicken salad sandwiches.
Next week I'll post ingredients for the next challenge!
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Monday, January 18, 2010
Friday, January 15, 2010
*FREE Fresco Taco at Taco Bell. After seeing the commercials week after week of the so-called "Drive Thru Diet", I'm definitely equal parts intrigued and disgusted. But try one for yourself with this coupon.
*FREE Taster's Choice instant coffee 6 pack.
*FREE adult lift ticket when you purchase 10 gallons of fuel from participating Shell gas stations. Check here to see what ski resorts are participating and for more details. Good through April 16th or earlier if there's no snow.
*$1 oatmeal at Jamba Juice every Wednesday during January! Yum!
*50% off clearance items at DSW! It's online only and use code 50CLEAR. Now until January 18th.
*25% off everything in stores or online at Ann Taylor LOFT. If you're shopping online, use code SAVE25 at checkout. Oh, and free shipping for orders over $125.
*Reward yourself for going to the gym (if that was a New Year's Resolution) and get some new clothes at Lucy - take an additional 30% off sale merchandise. Cute tanks for $10! And I'm loving these pants for $30!
*J. Crew is also having excellent sales on their clearance - take an extra 20% plus free shipping for orders over $150 (basically, a shirt). If you're buying online, make sure to use code EXTRA20. I think this camisole is so pretty. Would I pay $50 for it? No. $40? Well, not in No-Spend January, but I can dream...
*If you're in the market for furniture, Cost Plus World Market is having their biggest sale of the season - up to 50% on select items. There's a cool 3-in-1 sofa, chaise, and bed for $299 (normally $400)!
*And courtesy of Fantabulously Frugal, Restaurant.com is selling $25 gift cards to select restaurants for $2! Use the code INDULGE now through January 19th. There are some stipulations, so just check before you buy.
Have a great weekend! Cheers!
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Also on Sunday, I went to a mall to exchange some Christmas gifts (cue "Psycho" music) and it was TOUGH. Sales, promotions, new items that screamed "Take me home!" I caught myself a few times asking my husband to get me that really cute sweater (kidding, but not really). He didn't, and we both made it through without buying anything.
But isn't this sweater sooo cute?
This past week has made me come to two conclusions: one, pretty much every activity I do with my friends revolves around money. Going out for dinner, to a movie, even for coffee. It usually isn't expensive, but I had a hard time figuring out what to do for free. When you think about it, when was the last time you did something with your friends that costed absolutely nothing?
And then I got to thinking that I need a hobby. One of our readers David suggested this as a way to save money in one of his comments. And I totally agree. I feel that too many people (myself included) would count shopping as a hobby, and that could be a detriment to your bank account. Not that some hobbies don't get expensive (have you been inside a scrapbook store recently?), but I feel like I need a hobby that is time-consuming and not necessarily dollar-consuming.
I think that No-Spend January is really forcing me to take a good look at my spending habits, and while I like what I see for the most part, there is always room for improvement. Now, on to search for a hobby! Any suggestions?
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Just out of interest, I tried the transportation calculator to determine how much money I'm saving by taking the bus. And it's a lot. $1288 per year. So it's definitely a win-win for me.
However, the interesting part I found was that if I didn't have to pay for parking, I would actually lose money by taking the bus. It would cost me $823 more to ride the bus to and from work than if I were to drive.
So the morale of the story is, check out the commute calculators, here is a link to the Seattle Metro calculator.
Remember though, that riding the bus has benefits to the environment and is a much more relaxing experience. Also remember if people who ride public transit, hopefully we'll have a more extensive system and ultimately more cost effective pricing.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
I do find the concept very intriguing. Although your house payments clearly go up, in the end you pay a lot less interest.
I think instead of trying to refinance at this time, there are some other options the article suggests that we're looking into.
- Bi-weekly payments: Essentially you end up paying 13 months instead of 12 for each year. However, there is often a fee associated with this, so depending on terms it may not be the best option.
- Send an additional payment equal to next month's principal. This way you can accelerate paying down the principal.
The article lays out good pros and cons for each approach. Has anyone tried any of these methods or have other suggestions?
Monday, January 11, 2010
As a reminder every Monday I will post items I'm going to use in the following week's menu plan. I'm looking to our wonderful readers for recipe suggestions. Preferably the recipes will be easy to prepare and not require expensive ingredients. On Friday I will post the recipes I will be trying in the upcoming week.
This week my challenge items are (some might look familiar from last time's challenge):
- Sun dried tomatoes
- Panko bread crumbs
Please leave your suggestions in the comments box or on own Facebook page!
Friday, January 8, 2010
*33% off one item at Borders through January 11th and 75% off clearance items! Not good for my no-spend January...
*Interested in getting a new skin care routine for the new year? Save 25%-30% on skin care kits at Philosophy and get a free gift!
*20% off your purchase at Gap.com through Sunday. This is only applied to regularly priced items. Enter code GAPNEW20. Through Sunday. PS - if you need a Gap fleece, they're on sale!
*Up to 50% off at Bath and Body Works!
*Who doesn't need some fresh tunes to jumpstart their routine? Go here to get a free download of 12 songs, courtesy of Biggest Loser and Subway!
*Buy one, get one FREE at Peet's Coffee and Tea!
Okay, happy Friday! Have a great weekend!
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
So how is my first week going? I'm not technically even a week in, and I'm $45 in the hole. Let me explain though: my husband and I got the best (but totally unexpected) Christmas gift of Rose Bowl tickets to watch our beloved Ducks take on THE Ohio State University Buckeyes (thanks Mom and Danny!!), so the first two days of January, I was on vacation and all that comes with it. I spent $8 on a margarita before the game, $4 on sad beer after the game (Ducks lost, in case you were wondering), $7 for a trolley ride, and $26 for lunch on Saturday. Not exactly going as I had anticipated...
But I'm regrouping and keeping the lid on non-essential spending. I'm now religiously bringing my coffee to work. I got a cute new travel mug for Christmas (thanks Liz!) and that helps. I'm also packing my lunch every night before I go to bed. Usually, I'm just too lazy and say I'll do it in the morning...well, that never happens and then I spend $8 on sushi or pho.
I can tell you that already this has drastically changed the way I approach planning things. I wanted to get together with some girlfriends this weekend to see a movie and then it occurred to me that I can't. spend. money. I'd love to hear some suggestions on what Frugal Femme and I could do for free that's indoors - any ideas?
Although it's challenging, I know the payoff will be that I'll add at least an extra $300 to my savings account this month. Besides that, I think this little experiment will give me a chance to evaluate what really is an "essential" (no, Target purses do not count - unless, of course, your bag falls apart and you have to get a new one). :)
Keeping my eyes on the prize. Until next week...
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
- America spends $147 billion dollars annually on obesity-related illnesses compared to $90 billion on cancer.
- Obese employees earn $7,000 less every year than healthy employees - healthy people are up to 3 times more productive, less likely to get tired, spend less on health care and insurance, and they are less likely to miss work because of illnesses
- Obese people spend considerably more on life insurance ($500-$1,000 a year)
- Americans spend $4.4 billion dollars on gastric bypass surgeries (220,000 people a year get bypass surgery at a cost of approximately $20,000 per surgery)
- If you are at an ideal weight, you'll save approximately 1 MILLION DOLLARS over the course of 40 years.
These numbers were staggering, and some of them were, quite frankly, frightening to me. It does seem like staying healthy is expensive - healthy food, gym memberships, running shoes, fitness clothes... but compared to higher health care costs, lost wages, and more potential costs associated with obesity, it seems like an easy financial choice, not to mention a much healthier one.
Monday, January 4, 2010
I don't know exactly when I'll get to the cool one-mil figure in my account, but I think if I have a plan, I'll get there eventually! Thanks, J. Money!