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Friday, July 31, 2009

Study Hard...


A few days ago, I posted some sites to help with homework and study skills...I promised some more so here they are:

For History:

www.historybuff.com
www.u-s-history.com

...and Language Arts/Writing Skills:

www.rhymezone.com
www.cooper.com/alan/homonym_list.html
www.umich.edu/~umfandsf/symbolismproject/symbolism.html

and Research Paper Help:

www.libraryspot.com/features/paperfeature.htm


And for the mad scientists out there:

www.cellsalive.com
www.howstuffworks.com
www.geology.com
www.fi.edu/tfi/units/life/anatomy
www.chemtutor.com/react.htm (kids - don't try these at home! :)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Time is flying - catch this deal now!!!



Catch amazing ($49 OW) ticket deals on American Airlines and Southwest if you purchase by midnight tonight!!

Go to: http://travel.aol.com/discounttravel

Get your getaway today!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Dining deal!




OK...short and sweet! You may remember me mentioning this restaurant coupon site - pick your restaurant and pay a REALLY low price (few dollars) and get a $25 off coupon to print out. Here is one of their best deals ever!!! (it's only a pic...no link so go check it out - hey you're only a click away; you're already on the computer!) It's at www.restaurant.com

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Web Safety


More on back to school, but with a topic that can benefit us all in the long run!
If you are in online chatrooms, on FaceBook or MySpace, etc...check these sites for safety on the Internet!

www.wiredteens.org
www.safekids.com
www.getnetwise.org
www.wiredkids.org

No mater what your age, the advice provided on these sites is valuable...Be careful out there!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Study Sites


Ah...almost the start of a new school year...my kids are older now, so this really doesn't have the same charm that it used to, but here are some online resources to help your kids with homework regardless of their ages (and, yes, they are free!).

Quotations: www.quotationspage.com
Elements of Style: www.barleby.com/141/
Foreign Language: www.languagegames.com
General Math: www.math.com OR www.coolmath.com OR www.algebra.com
US History: www.ushistory.org
General History: www.historyplace.com
World History: www.thehistorynet.com
Encyclopedias: http://encarta.msn.cm OR www.encyclopedia.com
Homework Help: http://homeworkhelp.about.com
Dictionaries: www.dictionary.com
Thesaurus: www.thesaurus.com
Test Prep: www.collegeboard.com


I have more...will provide them closer to the start of school!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Weight loss deal


I admit it...I need to lose some weight...I work at a desk all day and while I do get to the gym, it is not as often as I should! I've tried Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig in the past; both great programs but NOT inexpensive!

I have decided that given my lack of time for food prep and lifestyle, to give Slim-fast a shot! It isn't too pricey and if you like chocolate it's almost a treat! Secondly, if you go to www.slimfast.com they have an online log, recipes, weight charts, etc...all for free. It's a great set of tools and I don't pay any fees to use them. (OK, well I am excited!)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Check this out! (yep it's a pun!)


I don't use checks nearly as often as I used to but there are always some occasions that require them. And, when that happens, I would prefer not to pay $20+ for checks from my bank!

Go to www.ChecksUnlimited.com for great deals...if you use these codes it's even better!

27QG gets you free shipping

and 8839 gets you free custom lettering!

And you can get similar deals on both personal and business check orders.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Begging for ideas! (aka the Monthly Grovel)!!!


Alas...I did not forget you today, but I am at a loss for words! (I know...hard to believe, isn't it?)...I am inviting you to add comments, experiences and ideas to this entry! You are reading this for a reason...you must have suggestions I am missing...so here is my "monthly grovel"...thanks in advance!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Cool deals!


Just testing...did you think I'd forgotten an entry? Almost to the weekend, so getting lazy...sorry!

Speaking of lazy...summer is quickly coming to an end (school starts early August in Phoenix) so use the time wisely and find an inexpensive day trip or two to enjoy. My son just went tubing on the Salt River with his buddies...only $15 for 4 hours on the river...pretty cool (and yes, pun was intended)...Give us your fun day-trip solutions!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Key ideas!


I haven't addressed tech ideas at all over the course of my first few months of blogging. Given that my husband's laptop keyboard was eaten (in part!) by our bassett hound, Baxter, this seems like a handy article:


http://www.pcworld.com/article/166655/fix_a_laptops_sticky_broken_keys.html?tk=nl_sbx_t_cbstories


PC World offers loads of articles with DIY ideas and freebies for your inner techie!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Bargain Hunters



So yes the following web address looks daunting, but believe me this is one worth checking out! Walletpop.com (you have to remember that by now since I mention that site frequently!) profiled four bargain hunters and how they do what they do so well!
Look for some new ideas from this one!

http://www.walletpop.com/economizer/article/profiles-of-four-bargain-hunters-how/566013?icid=main|main|dl3|link3|http%3A%2F%2F

And the hunt begins!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Promo Codes (FYI this is Post #100!!)



My friend Jeanne in South Carolina offered me this item and, as I am alway begging for inputs from readers, here it is!

"I found something pretty cool on the internet and thought about your blog.

Check out this site - http://www.promotionalcodes.com/index.aspx

I haven't used it yet, but I did bookmark it. If the codes are really valid, it could save you some money while shopping online.

Use it on a slow blog day if you want" (and thank you, I did!)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sushi anyone?


Aha! And you thought I would miss a day...nope! Far too close to my 100th blog to let that happen. Here's a really cool inexpensive night out for those in the Phoenix area (and there are likely similar places somewhere near the rest of you!).

Friday night, five of us went to Haru Sushi - very cool! It features a revolving sushi bar...very authentic Japanese-style. Plates are color-coded and your bill is determined based on the number of plates by color on your table when you are done eating. Highest cost on a plate was $3...most range from $1.00 to $2.00...ran about $15/person and we were full! Lots of fun and good food...not the best sushi I've ever had, but for the price it was right.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Swamped...and you?


Alas I am swamped trying to catch up with my real job (no really!) and working around my home...any timesaving ideas or hints or sites you can offer that (a) will clean my home for me, (b) send me on a free vacation or (c) relieve the stress that comes with raising teenagers...then, hey, I'm all ears! Otherwise...real posting to follow tomorrow, but simply couldn't break the streak before my #100 post! Have a wonderful weekend all!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Hotel Perks


Yesterday I told you about great flight deals...today, check out these hotel freebies. Stay at these hotels and see what freebie perks are available!

Embassy Suites: cooked-to-order breakfast (even lattes!)plus a 2-hour reception each evening with snacks and complimentary alchoholic beverages

W Hotels: free rides (10AM-8PM generally) in an Acura MDX complete with water bottles, moist towels and magazines (first come, first served though as typically 2 cars/location)

Loews Hotels: exercise equipment in your room by request, kids and pets get toys they can keep when they leave, a loan of workout clothes, free loans of cellphones (well, you pay for the calls!) and laptops, free shoe-shining, free bottled water and even free luggage repairs!

Candlewood Suites: free laundry facilities and they will grocery shop for you!

(Now if I could just get all of those services at home for free!)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Fly for Less!


So if you haven't booked your vacation yet or thought one was out-of-reach, check out this site:

http://travel.aol.com/travel-deals/flight-deals/U.S-and-Canada


Airfares are dropping...take advantage of some really amazing deals (especially if you can be flexible on your dates!)

Happy Trails!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

An electric idea!


OK, admittedly this entry is short, but lots to accomplish and minimal time to blog this morning! I've heard over and over again and read many times that you can save electricity (and therefore money) by unplugging appliances and equipment when they are not in use (at least overnight!). I, for one, have been too lazy (or tired!) to do this and no doubt would go crazy trying to figure out why they don't turn on in the morning! But...it's a thought!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Cut the paper and save the cash!


So I mentioned awhile back about how to get free magazine subscriptions using extra frequent flyer miles. Well, if you aren't getting your subscriptions for free and you are looking to save a little more money here's another idea!

Cancel your subscriptions! Radical idea, I know...but with everything available (including most of the publications for free viewing) online, why pay to have more paper shoved in your mailbox and gathering dust on your endtable? Just a thought...!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Leave the car behind!


And so begins another hectic week...! But if you don't already "go green" in your daily commute or running errands, consider the extra benefits to the following options:

* Ride a bike - it may take a bit longer, but you get the added "plus" of exercise!

* Carpool - what a great way to catch up with friends or colleagues while cutting your stress and gas budget!

* Use public transportation - You can read, enjoy some tunes or get ahead on some work before you hit the office!

* Finally, batch your errands - don't do a few here and there; wait and do them on one day or via the most efficient route to save time and gas!

So...save $, avoid wear and tear on your vehicle, help the environment, cut your stress, get exercise...all sounds good to me! Give it a try!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Pass it on...Please???


So I know you are all wondering how to celebrate my upcoming 100th blog post (which incidently will be on July 20th; but then who's counting?!) Well, since we've discussed avoiding spending money on cards (go with e-cards), minimizing gift-giving (and even I know this isn't a gift-worthy occasion! Drat!)and so on...could you perhaps pass along the blog address to your friends who you think would enjoy it? More followers provides incentive for hitting the next 100 posts! (And, yes, I know this was a lazy way out of a long post on a Sunday!) Thanks for reading!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Shop only as needed! (no, really!)


Alas...I am finding out I am not the only penny-pinching, cheap, budget guru (ah...make that goddess!) out there! That is a good thing as we never run out of suggestions for you! Another site that provides budget hints every Tuesday is "Zen Habits" - check it out at http://zenhabits.net

In their 07/08 "Cheapskate Guide," they gave some other good hints that we haven't covered before. These three are only some of those listed in the "guide," but they are geared toward shopping, so thought I'd pick these to post:

* Adopt a minimalist wardrobe - go with plain, solid colors and items that go with more than one or two others. Mix and match is the way to play it and keep your wardrobe costs down.

* Beware of online impulse buying...it is way too easy to click and spend these days! Buy only if you really need the item and if it is the least expensive way of purchasing it. Also remember, the price listed doesn't include your tax or delivery charges!

* Don't go "window-shopping!" Only go to the mall or department store, etc. when you know what you need. Go and get only that item and then leave...shopping as entertainment can be costly!

Beware shopaholicism (is that a word?)!!!!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Making Your Own Coffee...That's a Budget Wake-Up Call!


A lot of what I post here is based on personal experience and my own ideas. When I find them elsewhere, as with today's blog, I want to give credit where credit is due (oh, that's a good line on a budget blog!).

Yesterday I ran across a blog called "Dumb Little Man Tips For Life" which can be found at:

www.dumblittleman.com

It provides money-saving tips, as well as ways to increase your productivity and maintain (?) your sanity! Here a a few ideas from that blog for saving money - bear with me if I've covered any of them before, but I think most are new suggestions:

* Make your own coffee...a big savings, especially for us Starbucks addicts!

* Be aware of your bank balance and avoid overdraft fees...boy, can I relate to this one...a few close calls lately on that!

*Disconnect your land line if you can survive with only your cellphone(s). This represents a substantial savings per month.

* Use a water filter at home to bottle water to take to work, school or play - much cheaper in the long run!

* Keep up with maintenance on your vehicles...check air in tires, change oil and use the fuel grade recommended in the owner's manual.

* Go to matinees if you must go see a movie at the theater! (ok - it's a no brainer, but still...) And save on the high cost of snacks by sneaking a few along in purse or pocket.

* Plan vacation ahead of time...you can save a lot by booking in advance!

So...these are all over the place in terms of topics, but hope they are helpful!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Back to School Blues?


Yes, I know it is a little early to cover back-to-school shopping (although in Phoenix our kids go back at the beginning of August)! There is, however, a method to this madness. Before you go crazy at the last minute running out to buy clothes, shoes, dorm necessities, toiletries, and the inevitable cartload of classroom supplies, take a deep breath now and save some time and cash (and your sanity)!

Here are some suggestions:

* Take a couple of hours (well, with a girl, perhaps a couple of days!) and sort through closets and drawers to determine what clothes are still wearable for the coming year. If they still fit well (not too snug or short) AND (this is the biggie)your kid will still wear them this year without fear of becoming a social outcast, put them back in their place. If NOT, sort hand-me-downs for the next kid in line from donations. Take donations in now and get your tax receipts so you don't forget!

* Don't replace dress shoes if they still fit and can be cleaned up...they don't get as much wear and tear as tennis shoes and casual shoes. Those need to be replaced (and preferable broken in a few weeks before school starts). And, if like my kids, yours have a knack for putting new items in the closet with tags on and then forgetting about them all year...well, take them back to the appropriate stores and tell them they were a gift and you would like to return them (they were...a gift from you to your kids!)...take cash or store credit...either helps out the cause!

* Sort through the home office, kitchen junk drawer, kids' desks, etc. to see what supplies are really needed. Often I find a stash of paper, folders, printer ink, tape, pens, pencils, (...and the list goes on), hidden away that we never ended up using last year! Mark those off the shopping list before you go to buy supplies.

* Be sure to watch from now through Labor Day for the usual onslaught of coupons for supplies and sales for clothing. Compare prices before you go out and be in agreement with your kids in advance about what the budget is for school shopping and what will/will not be purchased ($200 shoes NOT, cool yet quirky t-shirt you wouldn't pick, POSSIBLY).

* The process is likely to be more enjoyable for all involved if you take one child shopping for clothes at a time if at all possible. It gives you quality time and prevents them from ganging up on you or getting tired of waiting while the other one is trying clothes on!

* If you are not sure what specific items are needed for your kid's classroom or for a dorm room, check the school websites or call in. Don't make assumptions that will cost extra money for no reason.

Any ideas you'd like to share? Post them here!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

It's in the bag!


OK...a short grocery shopping AND environmental tip all rolled into one for today.
You all have seen, even if you don't use them, the cloth eco-friendly grocery bags being promoted at every store in town! But did you also know that you can save money at some stores by using these bags instead of their plastic or paper options? Fry's stores will take 5 cents off for every cloth bag you use (but remind the cashier - they occasionally forget!) when making a grocery purchase. Good for environment, good for your budget, easier to carry...what more could you ask?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

More tips (another pun!?) for dining out!


Here are a few more ways to save money and get the most value out of your dining experience:

* Compare lunch vs. dinner menus...meals are often quite a bit cheaper on the lunch menu...go for a late lunch instead of early dinner!

* Don't order bottled water...ask for a slice of lemon in the filtered or tap water instead.

* Consider splitting an entree or skip the meat and go for a less expensive pasta or salad option.

* Check out happy hours...a local favorite here is "My Wine Cellar" - during happy hour, all beverages and appetizers are $2 off. And often the appetizer is enough for a light dinner!

Other ideas? Let us know!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Dog Days of Summer?



So...with seven dogs (yeah, dumb I know, but they are loveable!)this is a topic close to my heart (and wallet!!!).

Some pet deal thoughts:

* If you are looking for a pet, check with a shelter or rescue group first. The pets need a good home and cost a LOT less and fees generally include spaying/neutering.

* Buy food in bulk at warehouse stores like Costco or Sam's Club or watch for deals/coupons particularly at Walmart and Target. While Science Diet and other well-known brands are considered better for cats and dogs, check with your vet and see if a cheaper brand or generic is ok for your particular pet. If they don't have allergies or significant diet problems, you may be able to go with the cheaper brand.

* Toys? Of course we spoil our pets, but trust me...buy the toys at the Dollar Store, Walgreen's or BigLots...somewhere they won't cost nearly as much and you won't be heartbroken when Fido loses the toy or destroys it one day later! And, if all else fails, rely on the old standbys: a Frisbee or a tennis ball!

* Pass on the pet beds and go with an old soft blanket (one of your own old ones or pick up one cheap at Goodwill.

* Check out local shelters or PetCo for discount vaccinations.

* For great deals on pet medications/prescriptions, visit:
www.1800PetMeds.com
I've used it and you can save quite a bit!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Fashion Makeover a la Goodwill!




Check this out! Just another testimony to the deals you can find at thrift shops!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Mini-Vacations without the Fees!



For years, we camped and the best destinations for that pastime are the National Parks! Well, it's gotten even better this year with two "fee-free" weekends - coming up in July and August! There will be no fees charged at over 100 parks that normally charge entrance fees (camping, reservation and concession fees are still charged so be aware of that when making your plans)!

The free weekends are: July 18-19 and August 15-16.

For more details and/or to find a participating national park near you or your destination site, check out:

www.nps.gov/findapark/feefreeparks.htm

Here's to happy campers! (and how appropriate to post on July 4th!)

Friday, July 3, 2009

Cleaning up


Here are a few different ideas for household cleaning without paying for the brand name cleaners and supplies!

* Add equal parts bleach and Pine-Sol (about 1/8 cup of each) in a spray bottle and then fill the rest of the bottle with water. Use to clean bathrooms, kitchens and floors. It cleans, deodorizes and saves $$!

* Baking soda is the ultimate in saving and cleaning. You can use it to clean sinks, eliminate odors in the refrigerator and garbage disposal and clean ceramic stovetops with it. You can also use it to clean tubs and showers. Buy a big box and see how much you save!

* Save grocery store plastic bags to use as bathroom trash can liners.

Post your other ideas and share!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

FREEBIES!!!


If you are not adverse to giving out your name and e-mail address, you can get lots of free product samples. Check out these sites:

www.JustFreeStuff.com

www.TheFreeSite.com

www.TotallyFreeStuff.com

You may get a bit of spam, but you need to weigh the value of what you can get against that...

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Redecorating without refinancing




Our hometown paper suggested a list of ideas - each under $20 - to redecorate without going broke!

Here are a few:

* Use twin flat sheets (cheap from Target or Walmart!)as inexpensive curtain panels or shower curtains.

* New handtowels can brighten up a bathroom.

* Paint a table, a chair or accent a wall to add some color to a room.

* Use a spool of black or brightly colored elastic and wrap around an unframed mirror in a criss-cross patern...tuck photos and memorabilia behind the bands to create a unique wall-hanging.

* Replace lampshades!

* Rearrange furniture (and declutter)

Feel free to add your own comments and suggestions!