Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Warning about ING

A few weeks ago I wrote a little bit about a horrible situation that I was having with ING, but I didn't want to get into details at the time because I wanted to get my money OUT first since I have lost faith in them completely.

I had a joint savings account with my husband, but I always used his log on information since it was his account first. Recently we've been wanting to set up some sub-accounts and that needed my pin number, which I realized we never got. So I called up ING to get my pin number, which should have been a simple process. Instead the entire thing turned into a nightmare.

At first the phone call seemed to be going okay, and they told me that they would be sending a pin in the mail, but that they just needed me to answer some security questions. Fine. I am then asked a series of seven questions, which were similar to the ones that are asked before you access your credit report online. Instead I got four questions about people that I have never heard of, one question about cars I have never owned, a question about my mother, and a poorly worded question about my height on my driver's license. I answered the questions to the best of my ability, stating the choice "Does not apply/None of the above" to the questions that weren't about me. I was then told that I failed the security questions and that the account would be closed.

I completely panicked. The representative told me that this "was not a big deal" and that I should "just go bank elsewhere." I was devastated and confused. I was worried that someone had stolen my identity because of these questions, and I begged the representative to realize that this was a mistake. He refused to budge, saying that I could only answer the questions once, and that they had no way to verify my identity.

I asked to speak to a manager and he transferred me. When the woman picked up, she told me that the account would not be closed, but that my name would be taken off and that I could NEVER bank with ING. Again, I started to panic. She again told me that it was "not a big deal" and that I should just "go bank elsewhere." I was in the midst of a panic attack, shaking and crying, and the woman refused to go off script, telling me that nothing could be done. I was a security risk to ING because I could not answer questions that weren't mine. I asked to speak to her manager, but she said there was no one above her to speak with. She told me that she would file a complaint, but that it didn't matter and this decision was final.

After I got off the phone, I called my husband, absolutely freaking out. He called ING and spoke to a very confused representative who said that my name was deleted from the account, but he didn't know why. He told us that we should call later when we were together.

We called that night when my husband got home from work, but by then the security team had gone home. Again, the representative was apologetic and confused, and told us to call in the morning.

We were going to call, but then after seeing some things about ING online, we decided not to bother. Their actions are reckless and dangerous. I was completely deleted from our account, meaning that, hypothetically, if we were getting a divorce, I no longer have any legal right to that account. According to countless stories online, things this terrible do actually happen.

Oh yeah, and those security questions that I was worried about? Turns out those come from a third party that collects information that they believe will be able to identify individuals. There is no way for the individual to verify or correct this information. So basically, Big Brother is watching us, but he doesn't care enough to even do a good job about it.

We lost trust in ING, so rather than fight it, we decided to just take the money out of the account. Up until this point, I LOVED ING. I referred many people and have always been happy. Now I just wanted to share this experience that I have had. There is a lot of praise for ING online, but there are also many, many complaints and horror stories if you are willing to dig a little deeper.

$4 Credit from Amazon Video on Demand

Go here to receive a $4 promotional code for Amazon Video on Demand. I just used it to see Julie & Julia for free! I've never used the Video on Demand service after a failed attempt to watch 30 Rock on the Mac a long time ago, but the movie played perfectly straight through. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

$300 from Swagbucks in 2009!

I just took a minute to look over my Swagbucks account, and I figured out that I earned $300 in Amazon gift certificates in 2009! People always look at me like I am kind of crazy when it comes to all of the surveys, searching, and all of the little things that I do to make extra money online. When it comes trickling in, I sometimes question whether or not it is worth it, but to see such a big number as $300, I definitely know it is worth the extra few minutes that I put into it everyday.

I have been using the gift certificates over the course of the year, rather than saving them for something big. But when I realize that I could have gotten a 32 GB iPod Touch for FREE, it really blows my mind. Thank you so much to everyone who has signed up as a referral. If you haven't signed up for Swagbucks yet, what are you waiting for?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Swell Season - Strict Joy

Amazon has the deluxe edition of The Swell Season album Strict Joy as one of the lightning deals today for just $6.99! This is an amazing album, and even though I already bought it for full price when it came out, I'm tempted to buy it again for a friend. Hurry though! The deal is only good for two more hours!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

1 Year Subscription to O, The Oprah Magazine - $5

A one year subscription to O, The Oprah Magazine is Amazon's Magazine Steal of the Week. It is $5 for one year, which is 89% off the cover price! I used a $5 gift card from Swagbucks and got it for free.

Monday, November 30, 2009

1 Year Subscription to Entertainment Weekly - $10

Right now you can get a subscription for one year of Entertainment Weekly for just $10. This is 95% off the list price of $182.50. This deal is good until this Saturday.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

People Behaving Badly

We saw a woman acting like a total nut job at Starbucks today. She was screaming at the barista because she wanted him to pour cream in her coffee. He asked her how much she wanted, and she just went crazy. She was screaming (actually screeching) that he is supposed to make her coffee and she rejects the fact that there is cream and sugar on the counter, because the baristas make all the other drinks. It was completely bizarre and everyone in the store was staring and laughing at her, but she didn't seem to notice.

She was dressed in a very tacky nouveau riche outfit, with freshly manicured claws nails, and was carrying a garish purse. All the while, she screamed about how she wanted to be treated equally to everyone who ordered drinks that were made for them, while clearly demanding special treatment since she was ordering coffee.

She reminded a lot of this classy gal. Skip to 1:43. Wow.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Horrible Customer Service at ING Direct

I am having some really terrible issues with ING Direct right now. I don't want to get into details just yet, since I will give them one more chance to fix things tomorrow morning. Right now I am absolutely sick and devastated by the turn of events. You know customer service is really terrible when you are crying to the representative, telling them that that you are in the midst of a panic attack and that they are ruining your life, and they still can't even be human enough to go off the robotic script.

I've always heard that once there is the slightest problem with an account, ING, the previously amazing bank, turns into an absolute monster. I wish I had taken those warnings more seriously.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Real Simple for $5

Until December 1st, a one year subscription to Real Simple is just $5. That is a savings of 91% off of the cover price!

I love this magazine, and I will definitely renew for $5.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Threadless $9 Sale on Black Friday

All shirts on Threadless will be $9 on Black Friday. This will finally be my opportunity to use the gift certificate that I won a few months ago.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Prep

I've been cooking since I've gotten home from school in preparation for tomorrow. We're not hosting, since last year our neighbors decided to be particularly obnoxious on Thanksgiving. So we are bring a bunch of stuff to my husband's family's house.

I made these mashed potatoes. The recipe called for cream cheese, which I have never heard of before, but I decided to go for it. They kind of freaked me out at first because they really smelled like cream cheese, but they turned out pretty good.

Then I made these pumpkin rolls. I wish I took pictures during the process, because dealing with that much dough was pretty ridiculous. Mine don't look as pretty as the ones in the picture, but they are delicious, especially with amazing Irish butter.

Right now I am still cooking sweet potatoes. I'm not really following a recipe for those - just mashing them, covering them with marshmallows, and baking them.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Debating Black Friday

Every year I usually go shopping on Black Friday, but I'm not sure if I am going to go out this year. I've never gone super early or waited all night for the door busters, but I usually go later in the day when everyone is exhausted and leaving the mall, but there were still usually pretty good deals to be had. I've got my eye on some stuff, but honestly, I find it hard to justify spending the money. I'm pretty much done with Christmas shopping, so it's not that I can say that the stuff would be for gifts. I need to remember that a great deal isn't really a great deal if it is something that I didn't even need.

Monday, November 23, 2009

More Free Music from Amazon!

Amazon is offering $3 in free MP3s! Go here and enter the code MP34FREE to add the credit to your account.

I used the credit, along with a gift card that I earned from Swagbucks to buy the new Lady GaGa album, The Fame Monster. Don't judge. ;)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Lazy Sunday

We stayed in today and it was was lovely. We bought short ribs when we went grocery shopping yesterday, and we cooked them in the crock pot all day. I browned the short ribs and then put them in the crock pot with onions, Guinness, water, and two beef bouillon cubes. I cooked it on low for about seven hours and made mashed potatoes on the side. YUM!

I also made some banana bread for breakfast this week. YUM!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Lovely Things!

I got my Nikki McClure calendar from Buy Olympia today. Love! We've been getting these calendars for the past few years, and they are so beautiful.

Friday, November 20, 2009

For the Love of Coupons

Today I was supervising a lunch period at school, when a teacher got on the microphone and made the following announcement:

Teacher: So maybe some of you would be interested in this... I just received a big stack of coupons to a clothing store. I've never heard of it, but maybe you have... *Pause*

The kids seem generally uninterested.

Teacher: It's called, uh, *studying the coupon* Aeropostale.

With this, kids jumped to their feet and swarmed towards the teacher. I watched a girl dive into the crowd and emerge a moment later with the coupon held towards the sky. Kids were jumping over chairs and there was screaming involved.

I pretty much died laughing as I watched the scene.

But at least they enjoy a good deal.

PS - I just looked it up and apparently the coupon is available online anyway. It is 30% this weekend.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Alice Order Received

I received my order from Alice today and I am really impressed. I used the gift card that I earned from Swagbucks to sign up, and I ordered a big bottle of organic dish soap. It was packaged really thoughtfully inside a bag with the cap taped on as well. I didn't realize that they required a minimum of 6 items per purchase, but they were kind enough to let me just order the one item anyway. Plus, shipping is free and the prices are pretty good. I think I definitely will be ordering from Alice again in the future.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Spending FAIL

Once I start shopping, sometimes I get a little out of control. I get all my packages delivered to my mom's house, since I don't want to miss the deliveries in my apartment. I had so many packages that I could barely carry them upstairs.

Well, I guess I went a little bit overboard with my order from Adagio tea, because when I received my package I had absolutely NO IDEA what was in it. There were deals and I had a gift card, and I ended up getting this strange sampler of sesame, white cucumber, sweet potato pie, and artichoke green.

I hate how I get once I start spending. I start thinking about potential gifts that I get for people and it just spins from there. I MUST stop shopping!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

If only all my receipts looked like these...

I ordered some gifts from Amazon, and thanks to $30 in promotional credit and a bunch in Swagbucks gift cards, this is what I got:

Item(s) Subtotal: $104.98
Shipping & Handling: $5.48
Super Saver Discount: -$5.48
Promotion Applied: -$10.00 (This promotion came from ordering the New Super Mario Bros game for the Wii.
Promotion Applied: -$20.00 (I took advantage of this video game deal on Amazon.)
Total Before Tax: $74.98
Sales tax: $6.64
Gift Certificate/Card Amount: $62.52
Total for this Shipment: $19.10

Then I ordered some more gifts from Banana Republic and got this lovely total:

Subtotal: $64.00
Promotions: -$19.20
Rewards: -$40.00
Tax: $.43
Total: $5.23

I love when shopping works out like this!

Monday, November 16, 2009

First Order from

I just placed my first order with with the $5 gift card that I received from Swagbucks. The website has good prices on all kinds of household products and shipping is always free. There are items that I could get for cheaper at CVS, but having the items delivered to my house is definitely a perk.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Cashing in Change

Coinstar is offering an extra $10 gift card when you cash in change for at least a $40 gift card. Our change jar was looking really full, so we decided to bring it to the Coinstar machine to get an Amazon gift card. So that adds another $47 to our Amazon account, with an extra $10 that should be coming in 6-8 weeks. The promotion runs through December 6th.

Plus I will have about $25 in Amazon gift cards that will post on Swagbucks tomorrow. This will definitely help keep our Christmas budget under control.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Bye Bye, Paycheck!

I was paying my credit card bills today, and I realized that I've definitely been a little bit out of control lately, but that is partially due to having to buy new work pants and also feeling inspired to buy my husband Christmas presents. Shopping is difficult for me because once I start, I find it very hard to go back to being frugal again.

The work pants situation is super frustrating though. It looks like I will be returning about $80 worth of stuff to Banana Republic, so at least my spending won't be too bad. I've always loved their Jackson fit pants because they fit my booty, but lately the Jackson fits have been awful! I ordered a few pairs on the website when I had my pants emergency, and when I got them I was horrified to find that they put pockets on the hips. The pants fit, but the pockets bunch funny and I am not a fan. So I will be returning a pair and dealing with the other pair and its weird pockets. Why oh why, did you put POCKETS on the hips of your CURVY dress pants, Banana Republic?!

It's situations like this that confirm my tendencies to stockpile. If only I bought more pairs of the fabulous Jackson fits from last year, then I wouldn't be forced to wear pants with weird, bunchy pockets.

Now, you might just be wondering why I don't just switch brands, but any curvy girl will tell you that to find pants that fit the booty and the waist is an absolute miracle. I just don't have the shopping fortitude to find new pants.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


I'm really glad on days like this that I have a stockpile of free Excedrin from CVS. Work today was stupid. It started with someone stealing my parking spot while I was in the middle of parallel parking. UGH. Then during homeroom the lightbulb in my projector overheated and popped, causing smoke to come out. AWESOME. I called the tech guy over to fix it, but apparently they have no light bulbs, and instead had to switch out projectors. So he switched projectors while my freshmen were writing an in class essay. Next week we are having these crazy observations, so everyone is nuts and freaking out. Plus at some point during the day I accidentally convinced myself that it was Friday, so I'm so bummed that I have to go back there tomorrow.

I just can't wait for Thanksgiving. Four day weekend, end of the trimester, and no more crazy observations. SIGH.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Free Song from a CMA Nominated Artist

Amazon is giving away a free MP3 of a CMA nominated artist. Click here for the code and the list of available songs. I used it to buy Love Story by Taylor Swift, since I always use the song when I teach about allusions to my 9th graders.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Christmas Shopping

I'm off tomorrow and I think that I need to take inventory of all the Christmas gifts that I have purchased over the course of the year and figure it all out. I have a habit of purchasing things over the course of the year and then forgetting about them and end up buying more. Oops.

I also need to fight the urge to go overboard. I don't need to give a gift to every person I have ever known. I also need to figure out if I will be making anything for anyone.

I can't believe that this year is so close to being over. Crazy!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Cooking Light for $5!

Right now Amazon has a one year subscription to Cooking Light for just $5! I used my Amazon credit from Swagbucks to get it for free!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Triple Coupons at Waldbaum's

This week there are triple coupons at Waldbaum's. My shopping trip was epic. One that will be remembered for eternity, both for the deals that were scored and the adversary that I faced along the way.

Waldbaum's finally allows internet coupons and has been advertising it in the circular for weeks. I planned many a sweet deal using internet coupons and I haven't had any trouble with them, until today.

The cashier looked at them and told me that they didn't accept them. I countered that it has been advertised in the circular for weeks now that they do. He tried arguing some nonsense that these were not "circular coupons." The people behind me were invading my personal space and I was getting frustrated. He then asked if he wanted me to ask a manager about the coupons. He called over and said, "Brian, can you explain to her that she is wrong about the store accepting these coupons." Brian told him that the policy changed and to scan them, and my cashier continued muttering strange things throughout the transaction. Amidst all of this I was trying to keep the people behind me from completely invading my personal space, (Major grocery store pet peeve! Do not push me while my transaction is being rung up!) and the guy even tried to push a cart past me while I was in the aisle. My husband told the guy to chill and finally the transaction from hell was done.

Interestingly enough, despite the fact that my cashier was studying every coupon that I handed up, all of the ones under 99 cents tripled, despite the fact that some said DO NOT DOUBLE OR TRIPLE across the top. I'm not really sure what he was scrutinizing so thoroughly.

Before coupons or sales, the total was $154.52. After the club card was scanned, it came to $94.86 and after coupons it was $60.91! I saved $93.61!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Cheap and Awesome Music!

I have been using a lot of my Amazon gift cards that I've earned from Swagbucks to download new music. This morning I got the Greatest Hits album by the Ramones for just $2.99! I also got the new Swell Season album, Strict Joy, for $8.99. Fabulous free music = LOVE!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Sewing FAIL

So I recently had two pairs of work pants become unwearable, but initially I wasn't concerned because I had a new pair of Banana Republic pants that I bought of sale last year waiting in my closet. I took them out and tried them on last week and I was confused when they didn't zip. I checked them and it turns out that the zipper was broken and missing that little metal thing that keeps the zipper together. I bought them a long time ago and the receipt is long gone, but I'm so annoyed that I just grabbed them without making sure that they were okay. They were on sale for $60, but now that is $60 that I just threw away.

Anyway, last week I decided to try to make them wearable so I took some time stitching the zipper together. It worked and they zipped; it even seemed pretty sturdy. I wore them earlier in the week (with a long shirt because I was paranoid) and they were fine. I guess I just tempted fate too much, because when I tried to zip them up at work today, my excellent craftsmanship failed me and my zipper was busted. The zipper of my pants was busted 5 minutes before I had to teach a class. I frantically pulled safety pins out of my purse. First I tried to pin inside my pants and be discrete, but that wasn't working so I just pinned across. I pulled my shirt down as far as I could (thankfully I wore a long shirt again because I was still paranoid) and hoped for the best.

Yeah, so I taught a class (pretty darn well given the circumstances) with safety pins holding my pants closed.

Lessons learned: Don't just pull stuff off the sales rack without examining it and making sure that it is okay. Also, don't have so much confidence in shoddy sewing skills.

I know that I could probably have a tailor fix them, but anytime I've brought clothes in with a messed up zipper, I never got it fixed because the repair cost more than the item was worth. Plus, I don't know if I could ever love these pants again when I remember the horror of realizing that the zipper was broken at work.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

"Raise your hopeful voice, you have a choice..."

My students remind me why I chose this job, and despite the fact that I frequently experience angst, worry, and confusion, I know that I am in the right place.

This year I am doing NaNoWriMo, and so are about 40 students from my school. Today a girl burst into my classroom between classes, looking excited. She told me that while her class was checking their vocabulary homework, she was inspired by a word and wanted to change the direction of her story. She wanted to know if that was okay. I was in awe of the fact that a word could set such a spark in her imagination. I told her such, and she bounded away, smiling.

All day I've had kids excitedly shouting their word counts at me and being so excited that they have written so much.

This is the job that I wanted. This is what I need to remember when things get difficult.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Update on my previous post!

Yesterday I wrote about one of my co-workers setting up shop in the break room. I just wanted to clarify a few points. She is selling as a side business, and the stuff is not homemade. It's just random dollar store kind of junk.

Her store expanded today and she brought in new stuff. I wanted to snap a picture, but unfortunately she was sitting right next to her shop.

And no, I definitely did not buy anything.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Selling to Co-workers - Where do you draw the line?

When I was a kid and I had to sell candy for my school, I would always ask my parents if they could just bring it to work to sell to their co-workers. Neither of them were allowed to sell stuff; since all of the coworkers had kids they quickly realized that it would become way too expensive if everyone brought in their candy, magazines, wrapping paper, girl scout cookies, or whatever else their kids were being forced to sell. Instead, I had to stand in front of stores, asking people if they would like to buy a chocolate bar. It was humiliating, but I did feel a twinge of pride when I would finally get to the bottom of that never ending box.

Lately the break room at work has become overrun with people selling stuff. There is a box of candy on every table with an envelope and a note. The candy never really bothered me too much, since it was for schools and it meant not having to go downstairs to get a chocolate fix.

But lately, people have just begun selling random stuff in the break room, for their own profit. The tables are littered with Avon catalogs, and last week one of my co-workers actually set up a little store on one of our lunch tables. Space in the break room is scarce, and now it has become a junk sale with $6 magnetic and copper bracelets, $2 tacky decorations, cheap picture frames, and other random crap.

Why does she get this retail space? I don't know if she asked permission (I doubt it), but does this mean that the break room will get even more cluttered with people hocking their wares.

Honestly, the whole thing really annoyed me. It just seems so incredibly tacky to try to profit off her co-workers with her crappy products.

What do you think? Would this bother you?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Oh Sephora...

Just when I said that I was getting better at curbing my spending, I find myself filling my shopping cart at Sephora. Granted it's mostly gifts, but I'm still not sure if I am going to place an order. Tomorrow is the last day of the Friends & Family Sale (use code FF2009 for 20% off) and I just saw that Ebates is offering 8% cash back. I'm going to wait until tomorrow to see if I still want to place the order.

They definitely have some cute gifts for Christmas though.

Cute Philosophy set! $15 (from $28) before the extra 20% off.

Pretty cute for $10! I love Dr. Pepper and I miss my Bonne Bell Dr. Pepper lip gloss, but I have allergies now so I wouldn't even be able to use this. :(

This is a cute set for $19.50.

Oh Sephora... I just can never stay away from you!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

October Recap!

This month I was able to add $1600 to our savings account! This puts us just $1200 away from having a fully funded emergency fund! After seeing our savings account balance so low last year after paying off the car and having to find a new apartment, I am thrilled that we are so close to this goal.

Our living situation has really inspired me to save. Our neighbors are obnoxious, and when they act up it makes our normally good sized apartment seem like a tiny, suffocating prison. Because of this, I've really controlled my urges to shop. I would have been able to put even more into savings, except two pairs of my work pants both became unwearable and unfixable within a few days of each other, so I had to replace them.

After the emergency fund is finished, I am going to split my efforts towards several directions. Because the rent comes out of my husband's paycheck, I am the primary saver. I think I will split the $1500 (the money saving goal) towards our house fund, a car fund (I do not want to be stuck with horrific car payments ever again), my Roth IRA, and my husband's student loans. We'll still have to figure out how this all will work out, but I am excited to finally be making progress.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Credit Card Confusion

I just opened up and examined my credit card statement and I was confused about a particular charge for $10.86. I couldn't remember spending that amount at this store. So I did some digging in my email and I found the confirmation for this purchase, but it should have been for about $14.50.

Should I be concerned about this? Why would they charge me for less than they confirmed? It wasn't for clothes, so it wouldn't be for a tax issue. The charge was on 10/11, so if they were going to charge me for the rest, would they have done it already?

Weird. Even though we aren't talking about big numbers, it's still making me feel like I should cut down on using my credit cards and pay in cash more often.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Wasting Money and Wasting Time

Remember that peach jam that I made in August? Well, I opened a jar of it this morning and it smelled like feet and death. I was so devastated! I spend $14 on peaches and spent HOURS peeling the peaches and burning my fingers a lot as I transfered them from boiling water to ice water. I threw the jar out and shed a little tear about the 4 other jars that are still in the closet.

I opened up another jar and thankfully it was fine! There is something about wasting food that just makes me so upset.

When I worked in food service I would become so angry when I would have to throw away whole cheesecakes that were perfectly fine because the store didn't have a policy on donating food. Last year I dropped a huge tub of organic yogurt on the floor and the container exploded. I was absolutely furious at my clumsiness.

The loss of my peach jam would have taken it a step further, since not only did I waste food, but I also wasted money and a lot of my time.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Finally: A deal on PG Tips!

A few months ago, I mentioned how much I loved PG Tips tea, and how sad I was that I ran out of it. Well Amazon finally put it on sale again! Granted, it isn't as good as the deal I mentioned last time, but I was able to get 4 boxes of 160 for $27.18, which I paid for in gift cards that I earned from Swagbucks. With this discount, it brings it to 4.2 cents a bag! Make sure you use the code "PGTPS444" and sign up for the "Subscribe and Save" discount - which you can cancel immediately after ordering.

You could also get 6 boxes of 40 for around $12, which would bring it to around 5 cents a bag.

This really is fabulous tea! I just hope that Amazon will bring the price down to the insane $3.68 for 640 tea bags that I got last year!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Cheap and Awesome Music!

Thanks to Amazon's awesome deals and my stockpile of gift cards that I've earned from Swagbucks, I've been able to gets lots of new music lately. Last week I got The Cost by The Frames for $5 and today I got Mr. A-Z by Jason Mraz for $2.99! They keep discounting really amazing stuff! :)

September Recap!

I've finally gotten back on track for saving, and it is completely related to the fact that our neighbors are driving us crazy. All I want is to buy a house and not live in a little box anymore with stompy annoying people above us who blast bad music late into the night. I wasn't able to save $1500 this month, but it was only because I had to pay over $750 for car insurance. I did bank $750 from my second paycheck of the month though.

We are about $3000 away from having a fully funded emergency fund. Once that is done, then I'll probably split my efforts between saving for a house and paying down my husband's student loans, since his paychecks are tied up with our rent and his loans.

Earn More Challenge Results!

I participated in The Good Life on a Budget's Earn More Challenge for September. I'll admit that after my last post, I essentially petered out. Work is stressing me and I'm just too completely exhausted to do much of anything. I posted on September 14th that I had made an extra $88.38 so far. Since then, I added an extra $10 from an ING referral and $3 from Pinecone, making my total for September, $101.38.

However, though I petered out, my husband did quite the opposite. He has been purging our apartment of tons of video games and DVDs. In September he added an additional, $316.18!

That's means all together we added $417.56 during the month of September! We used the extra money to pay for our car inspection and new front brakes, and then plan on saving the rest.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I'll Just Take One, Thanks...

We saw this at the grocery store when I scanned a bottle of syrup to check the price, and we just had to take a picture. Obviously it is just a computer error, but it made me think about pricing in general.

I remember once I was buying Burt's Bees Lip Balm (I'm addicted!) at Bath and Body Works and I was rushing and not paying attention because I had a plane to catch later that evening for a long trip. I grabbed one for $2.50 and as the cashier was ringing me up, she said, "Do you want another one? They are two for $5.00 so you might as well!" Not thinking at all, I grabbed it. As I was walking out, I realized that this was not a deal, but just simple math.

Lesson Learned: Don't go shopping when I am incapable of 1st grade math.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

InStyle Magazine for just $5!

Amazon has been having tons of great magazine deals, and here is another one. Right now you can get a one year subscription to InStyle magazine for just $5! This is a 90% discount on the regular price!

I already get a ton of magazine subscriptions, but I think I'm going that have to get this one for the great price! This is the Magazine Steal of the Week, so the price is only good for the next week!

Remember to use gift cards from Swagbucks to get it for free! :)

10 Boxes of Kashi Cereal for $5.04!

Thanks to the recent Vocalpoint mailers that I received with awesome Kashi coupons and a fabulous deal at Target, I was able to get 10 boxes of cereal for just $5.04!

Transaction #1:

5 boxes of cereal - $14.40

Coupons - Free box of cereal ($2.88), (2) $2 off, and (2) $1.50 off.

Total: $4.52 and I received a $5 gift card!

Transaction #2:

5 boxes of cereal - $14.40

Coupons - Free box of cereal ($2.88), and (4) $1.50 off.

Total: $5.52

Paid for with the $5 gift card and $.52 cents. Plus, I received another $5 gift card! :)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

More Free Amazon Music

I just downloaded the Anti Sampler from Amazon for free. It has a new song from The Swell Season, and I love them so much. They are the minds behind the beautiful movie Once. I've really been loving all of the free Amazon music lately, and I find downloading from them to be a lot easier than ordering from iTunes since I have so much in Amazon credit just sitting there.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Earn More Challenge Update

I'm participating in the Earn More Challenge for September, which is now being hosted by The Good Life on a Budget.

1. This week I made another $10 through an ING referral.
2. I've been listing a lot on Ebay, which is great for my wallet, but it is also great to get rid of clutter. This week I made $24.25.
3. I also made $.37 on Project Wonderful.
4. I earned $3 from a Pinecone survey, and $11 from Survey Spot.

So this week I added an extra $37.62, making my total for September $88.38 so far. I don't have a particular goal in mind, but I would like to keep listing things on Ebay to get rid of some of my junk.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Last Day - 5 Swagbucks for New Members!

I'm very excited to be able to offer a bonus to my readers when you sign up for Swagbucks. When you sign up enter the code "swagandthecity" and you will start with 5 Swagbucks! This code expires on September 11th and is good for new members only. Make sure you enter the code exactly as shown (but without the quotation marks), because it is case sensitive.

Free Amazon MP3s!

Amazon always has free MP3s available for download, but there are a few really good ones right now: Black Winged Bird by Nina Persson and Blanchard by Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions. You can see all of the free MP3s that Amazon is offering here!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Threadless $9 Sale Today

I'm so excited that I won a $25 Threadless gift card from Common Sense with Money, just in time for their $9 sale today. This is a great sale, since usually when they have their $5 sale it is only on select items, but this is on everything in the store!

Now I just have to decide what to get!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009 Gift Certificates - 90% off!

Tomorrow, in honor of 09/09/09, you can get 90% off gift certificates with the code "NINETY." This means you will be able to get a $25 gift certificate (normally $10) for just $1. If you go through Ebates, then you can also get 15% back on your purchase.

I've gotten a lot of gift certificates from and it has been a great way to try new restaurants in my neighborhood. Just make sure you read all of the terms first.

The sale begins at 12:01 am Pacific Time on 9/09 and will last for 99 hours. Enjoy!

Even More Cheap Magazines from Amazon!

A one year subscription to Vegetarian Times only costs $7 after the $5 promotion from Amazon.

A one year subscription to Pregnancy only costs $5 after the discount! A two year subscription to Pregnancy is only $8!

A one year subscription to Country Living only costs $5 after discount!

Use your Amazon gift cards from Swagbucks to make them even cheaper! And remember that readers of Saving Cents in the City can use the code "swagandthecity" to start off with 5 Swagbucks.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Earn More Challenge Update

This month I am participating in Money Funk's Earn More Challenge. So far, it's been a good motivator to finally list stuff on Ebay, as well as exploring other money making possibilities.

So far in September:

1. I've made $30 through posting ING referral links at Bargaineering. (Let me know if you want one too!)
2. I've made $19.80 selling stuff on Ebay.
3. I've made $.96 on Project Wonderful.

So as of September 7th, I made an extra $50.76. Not bad, but I'd definitely like to step it up. I've got more Ebay listings up and I definitely have more planned.

Ready for Fall

Despite the fact that I'm a little bummed about going back to work tomorrow, I'm happy that Autumn is almost here. The other day my neighbors gave me this little pumpkin, and it has been sitting on my windowsill as a happy reminder that my favorite season is coming!

The bags of apples are back in the grocery store, and I can't wait to go apple picking in a few weeks!

I decided to use them to make apple bread. I can't wait to make pumpkin bread too, but considering that it is still going to be around 80 degrees this week, I should probably hold off for a bit.

Soon the weather will really cool down and I can wear hoodies and sweaters again. I can't wait!

$10 Stop & Shop Gift Card Giveaway Winner

Congratulations commenter #17 - Maureen!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

CVS 9/6 - 9/13

(3) John Frieda Root Awakening - $15
(3) Aussie - $8.97
Schick Slim Triple - $6.99
Dove bar - $.67

Coupons Used:
Free Dove Bar
$1 off John Frieda
$1 off John Frieda CRT
$3 off Schick
$5/$25 CVS
1, 3, 3, 5, and 6.99 ECBs

Total OOP: $4.33 ($2.36 was tax)

Earned: 4, 6, and 5 ECBs

I also received two free item coupons on my receipt: 2oz Viologie and CVS brand lotion

Friday, September 4, 2009

More Cheap Magazines from Amazon!

I've found some more great deals on magazines.

You can get a 1 year subscription to the Food Network Magazine for just $10 after the $5 discount that Amazon is offering.

You can also get a subscription to Good Housekeeping for TWO YEARS for just $10 as well.

A TWO YEAR subscription to Redbook will only cost $5.00!

Remember to use your Amazon gift cards from Swagbucks to get free magazine! Use the code "swagandthecity" to start out with 5 Swagbucks! :)

Free Aveda Product on your Birthday!

If you join Aveda's Birthday Program today you will get a free, full-size product on your birthday!

I actually just went into Aveda last week to redeem a free sample coupon and they were fabulous. There was absolutely no pressure to buy anything!

Free Song at Amazon!

In honor of surpassing over a million followers on Amazon's MP3's Twitter feed, they are giving away a free song up to $1.29! Go here to get your free song! I used the credit plus Swagbucks gift cards to finally get The Woods by Sleater-Kinney.

Also, don't forget that new members of Swagbucks can use the code "swagandthecity" to receive 5 bucks when you sign up!

Enjoy! :)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

August Recap

I'm happy that August is over because hopefully my crazy spending will be over now as well. Summer is always a difficult time for me; since I'm not working, I end up going shopping.

Unfortunately I wasn't able to save $1500, which is our monthly goal. Instead I was only able to transfer $1000 to savings. I've been looking at my recent spending, and it's getting a little scary. I'm going to have to set some concrete limits to stay in control.

However, I am excited that I finally opened a Roth IRA account and I was able to fully fund it for the year. Next year will be more difficult, but I am planning on setting up automatic withdrawals and reworking (or actually writing) the budget. I'm so happy that I finally have a retirement account, since I keep seeing bloggers who have had their accounts since they were 18! I'm so behind!

I feel hopeful for September that I will be able to save $1500 again. I've joined Money Funk's Earn More Challenge and I've been trying to come up with ways to earn more cash. I'll be writing more about what I plan to do tomorrow.

$10 Stop & Shop Gift Card Giveaway

I was recently contacted by My Blog Spark and General Mills with the wonderful opportunity to give away a $10 gift card to Stop & Shop to one of my readers. I also received a $10 gift card and I can't wait to go shopping!

The Back-to-School Saving Event is taking place at Stop & Shop stores September 4-10!

Here is how it works:

General Mills and Stop & Shop are teaming up to give families a great way to stock up and save, as they gear up for back to school. Here’s why shoppers should shop at Stop & Shop’s big Back to School Event.

Great sale pricing on the participating General Mills brands:
Cheerios, Lucky Charms, Reeses Puffs, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Cookie Crisp Sprinkles, Cookie Crisp, Fruit Snacks, Old El Paso Dinner Kits, Pillsbury Strudel, Pillsbury Scrambles, Green Giant Boxed Vegetables, Yoplait Yo-Plus Multi-Pack, Fiber One Yogurt Multi-Pack, Pillsbury Refrigerated Cookies, Pillsbury Crescent Rolls, Pillsbury Sweet Rolls and Yoplait Delights

Additional savings for you or your school, depending on which Stop & Shop location you shop
If your Stop & Shop store sells gas
Buy four (4) participating General Mills items and you’ll automatically earn 100 points on your Stop & Shop card

For every 100 points earned, you'll save 10¢ per gallon of gas (Please note: Total discount cannot exceed price per gallon)

Just swipe your Stop & Shop Card at the pump to redeem your Gas Rewards

If your Stop & Shop store doesn’t sell gas:

For those Stop & Shop locations without gas stations, don’t worry – you’re not left out of the savings – if you buy five (5) participating General Mills products, you will receive 20 Bonus Box Tops for your school

So now, on to the giveaway!

I will be giving away a $10 Stop & Shop Gift Card provided by General Mills and My Blog Spark.

Here's how you can enter to win:
  • Leave a comment telling me how you save money on groceries.
For additional entries:

  • Subscribe to my feed and leave a comment, or let me know that you already subscribe.
  • Tweet about this giveaway on twitter and leave a comment with a link to the tweet.
  • Blog about this giveaway and leave a comment with the link to the post.
I'll choose the winner on September 6th using Thanks for reading and good luck!!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Swagbucks Code for New Members!

Search & Win

I've said it a million times, but I absolutely LOVE Swagbucks. When I joined last December I wasn't sure that it would ever amount to anything, but since then I have earned $175 in gift cards for just a few minutes of searching everyday. They have a fabulous referral system so that you earn up to 100 Swagbucks for each of your referrals, which definitely helps to let your Swagbucks accumulate quickly.

Swagbucks just came out with a cool new toolbar that can help you to earn even more bucks, by issuing a daily Swagcode for all of September.

I'm very excited to be able to offer a bonus to my readers when you sign up for Swagbucks. When you sign up enter the code "swagandthecity" and you will start with 5 Swagbucks! This code expires on September 11th and is good for new members only. Make sure you enter the code exactly as shown (but without the quotation marks), because it is case sensitive.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Another Cheap Magazine (Possibly Free!)

I've got another cheap (maybe free) magazine for you. Right now a one year subscription of House Beautiful is $5 after the $5 off promotion. However, for some reason (I have no idea why) an additional $5 off promotion was applied to my account, making the total $0!

I assume that I recently purchased something that must have triggered the additional discount, but I don't know what it was. Give it a shot with your account too! :)

Magazine Deals on Amazon

Right now you can get a one year subscription to Seventeen Magazine for $2.97 or a two year subscription to Seventeen Magazine for $5.00! A $5.00 discount will be taken off your total during checkout.

You could also get a two year subscription to Marie Claire for $5.00 with the same promotion.

If you use your Amazon gift cards from Swagbucks then you are looking at some free magazines, which in my opinion, are definitely the best kind.

Monday, August 31, 2009

CVS 8/30 - 9/5 - 2nd Trip

This trip to CVS was way less stressful!

Renu Drops - $7.99
Contour Meter - $14.99
Bounce Dryer Bar - $3.99
Fragrance Collection Candle - $3.49

Coupons Used:
$14.99 off Contour
$1 off Renu
$2 off Renu CRT
$2.50 off Bounce
$3.49 off Frangrance Collection
1 and 5 ECBs

OOP: $1.14 ($.15 cash and $.99 that was trapped on a Mastercard gift card that was expiring today)

Earned 3, 1, and 5 ECBs

$1.86 money maker!

I had difficulty with the meter yesterday and the manager said that it couldn't be used because the meter cost less than $30. It was annoying because when I picked it up there was an old man who commented that he wished he could afford that meter (my husband totally didn't believe that this happened, but it really did!), and I wanted to give it to him. This meter will be donated to a women's shelter along with the Bounce and another GIANT bag of CVS freebies.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

CVS 8/30 - 9/5

(2) Fig Newtons - $2
(2) Lorna Doone - $2
(1) Oreo - $1
(4) Dawn - $3.88
Renu - $7.99
Glade Soy Candle - $6.99

Coupons Used:
(3) $.20 off Dawn
$2 off Renu
$2 CRT Renu
$3 off Glade
$5/$25 CVS
10 ECB

Total OOP: $2.02

ECBs Earned: 3, 1, and 6.99

The trip was kind of annoying and the manager gave me a hard time when I tried to use the coupon on the Contour meter. However, the cashier already scanned the $5/$25 coupon and then took off the meter, so my total actually wasn't even $25.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Burt's Bees Natural Acne Solution - Giveaway!

I just got a fabulous package from BzzAgent with quite a few samples of the new Burt's Bees Natural Acne Solutions Targeted Spot Treatment. I would love to share some of these samples with my readers!

I will use to select two winners who will each win a sample. Just leave a comment on the post to enter. The giveaway will end on August 31st and is open to residents in the US only.

Good luck! :)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

3rd Attempt at Making Jam!

The other day I made peach jam and it is definitely my best one yet. The first time I tried to make strawberry jam with pectin and it was a syrupy floaty fruit failure. I used liquid pectin instead of powder, but I followed the directions for powdered pectin so it didn't set. The second time I made strawberry jam with no pectin and it was great, but it barely made any jam since it had to cook for so long.

Last weekend my husband and I planned to go peach picking, but it was too hot so we decided not to go. Instead on Monday I went to the grocery store for $.88/lb peaches but they were out. I was determined to make jam though, so I bought the $1.98/lb peaches. Thus far jam making has been delicious, but not very cost effective. I spent 14 dollars on peaches, but oh was it worth it.

This time I decided to use Pomonas Universal Pectin and I'm so glad that I did. This pectin does not require the massive amounts of sugar, so the jam tasted very fresh and not overly sweet. It is SO GOOD! Plus it didn't take too long to cook, and it made a TON of jam.

There are 3 more little jars and one giant jar as well!

I've been eating the jam on toast for breakfast everyday, and it is so good. Then today I decided to bake a loaf of whole wheat bread (even though it was 8 million degrees today.)

$5 in Amazon MP3 Credits

Right now on Amazon there is a promotion where if you order the Big Kahuna Reef [Game Download] you will get $5 added to you Amazon MP3 account. I just did it but I didn't download the game because I have a Mac, but I got an email right away that credited the $5. Nice!

I think I will use a few more dollars from Swagbucks and get the new Regina Spektor album, Far.

(This post was typed with one hand since I cut myself pretty badly while slicing lettuce. My husband is making me keep my left hand over my head. Ouch and sigh.)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Life Tuner Chat Carnival - Finance Lessons Learned the Hard Way

Check out the first Life Tuner Chat Carnival!

If you enjoyed those articles, then tune in on Wednesday at 10 pm Eastern for the live chat where some fabulous PF bloggers will talk about their own money lessons that they've learned the hard way and debate the processes by which people learn about finance.

219th edition of the Carnival of Personal Finance

Be sure to check out the 219th Carnival of Personal Finance over at Your Money Relationship!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Lessons I Could Learn from My Younger Self - Value My Purchases

I thought about writing this post a few weeks ago, but it was all theoretical at that point. A few days ago, I really learned this lesson.

Back in January, I wrote a post about how I got a fabulous deal on a new purse. I stalked the website until it went on sale, and when I was able to combine coupons on top on it, I finally pounced. I really loved that purse, until a few days ago when I stupidly put a bottle of water in it while I was at the outlet mall with my mom. Even though I checked the cap a thousand times, somehow the bottle broke open and almost the whole bottle of water poured out into my purse. Thankfully my wallet and my cell phone were okay, but the purse was completely ruined.

I had just purchased a new purse at the Coach outlet, so I went to the car to switch them out right then and there. It reminded me a lot about going shopping when I was a kid. I remember going to the mall with my mom when I was young to buy new shoes, and every time we left the store with my old shoes in the box and my new shoes on my feet. I have to admit, this never happens now. I have shoes I have never worn, along with outfits I've never worn and bags I've never carried. Why? Why do I make these purchases and then never even use these items?

It took my ruined purse to bring this to my attention. When I went home, I used that water proofing spray for purses and shoes and actually used it to protect the items that I spend so much money on. I organized my bags that were strewn around my apartment. I took my shoes out of their boxes. I also went through the items that I don't use anymore and got them ready to donate to charity.

Somehow along the way, I've developed a hoarding mentality. I buy for events that aren't even planned yet. I concoct scenarios that are unlikely to occur, and I buy. I stockpile and ignore.

Imagine how silly it would seem to a kid to go shopping and not even use what was purchased? Do you know any kids that wouldn't want to immediately play with their new toys? If I'm not experiencing joy and that desire from my purchases, I'm obviously doing something wrong.

CVS 8/23 - 8/29

We love Aveeno, and I was able to get it as part of an AMAZING deal at CVS this week.

1 Skin Brightening Daily Scrub - $7
3 Daily Moisturizing Lotions - $18 ($6 each)

Coupons Used:
$5/$25 CVS
(4) $2 off Aveeno coupons (found here)
2 and 10 ECBs

Total OOP: $1.78 (The subtotal was zero, so this is all tax!)

Earned: 10 ECBs

I like the fact that I could easily get to $25 without going over! :)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Shopping Overload

I have been in a non-stop shopping mode lately and it is getting a bit out of control. It happens every year around this time, since school begins in a few weeks. Basically I get this uncontrollable urge to shop for the entire school year - as if I will be so busy that I will not be able to buy anything again until next summer.

This morning I woke up early and went to Staples because it was Teacher Appreciation Day. I'm not one to be able to pass up free stuff and it was only available to the first 100 teachers. Last year they gave out tiny flash drives. It was cool, but I never even used it. This year it was a bag of school supplies, so it will probably be more practical. Of course while I was there I spent almost $50 on ink and other random things that I needed.

While I was out I decided to go into Ann Taylor because there is a $20 off coupon that is good for today only. Unfortunately it is only good on full price merchandise. I ended up getting a grey camisole for $8 from $28. There wasn't much in the store cheaper than that, except some lotions.

Then I went into Bath and Body Works because I wanted to use this free lip product coupon. Here I could have very easily gotten away with only spending a dollar, but then I saw a previously discontinued product that I had been searching for. They brought back the 8 oz Antibacterial hand sanitizer, which I really need for my classroom. They were 7 for $20 so I got those and my free lip product and went out on my way.

This all might not seem so bad, but I don't even want to talk about the damage that I did at the Outlet mall with my mom last week...

But...I'm done now. I have to be done.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Contemplating a Subscription to All You Magazine

I always get frustrated when I try to do my crazy drugstore deals because I don't have the coupons that are necessary. A lot of the time they come from All You. It typically has higher value coupons and even some for free items. Now I usually like to get my magazine subscriptions for free, but I'm contemplating buying a subscription to All You for the coupons.

You can currently get the magazine for $15 at Amazon. I know it says more $19.95, but the rest comes off during check out. I still have some Swagbucks gift card credit, but I'm not sure if I should get the magazine.

Does anyone subscribe? Do you think it is worth it for the coupons?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Because I am nuts...

I just ordered two giant containers of lollipops on Amazon.

If you use the promotional code "YEARTH44", it will cost around $17 for two. At least I can always use the excuse that I am a teacher and that kids like candy when I do silly things like this. But hey, I used my gift cards from Swagbucks anyway, so at least I didn't pay.

218th Carnival of Personal Finance!

Stop over at Budgets are Sexy and check out the 218th Carnival of Personal Finance. I'm very excited to be featured as an editor's pick!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

My Third Ebates Check!

I just checked my account on Ebates and my third check is being sent out. This time it is for $18.09 and I earned it from four online orders. Last time I got $12.48, but my first time I got $91.70 because I went a little crazy with the online shopping. Oops.

I'm finally remembering to always go through Ebates or MyPoints for my purchases, and I've really been reaping the benefits. I just got a $25 gift card to Banana Republic from MyPoints.

If you are interested in using Ebates, I would be thrilled if you would use my link. You and I would both get a $5 bonus.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Lessons I Could Learn from My Younger Self - Value Work

When I turned sixteen, I started looking for a part time job for the summer. I had very specific ideas of where I wanted to work: Barnes and Noble, The Gap, Express, The Wall, or basically anyplace that could be considered cool. I put in a lot of applications, but I didn't get much of a response because I was so young and I had never worked before and had no experience. Well, if nothing came around then I had decided that I would just hang out all summer.

My mother was not fond of that idea.

She came home from grocery shopping one day, and as I helped her unpack she told me that I had an interview at the grocery store.

I was horrified. 1. I was not interested in working in a grocery store. 2. My mother filled out an application, talked to the manager, and got me an interview. I immediately threw a fit, but my mom made me go to the store anyway.

Oddly enough, this wasn't even an interview. When I got there they asked for my papers, which I didn't even bring with me, because I was already hired. So I had to go home and get them and bring them back to the store.

I remember watching the manager fill out the papers and saw her write an illegible amount under the hourly wage. I had to leave that store and go to a different place for orientation immediately. In the car, my dad and I tried to made out how much I would be getting paid. "I'm pretty sure that says $8.75!" I remember saying excitedly, but my dad scoffed at me, saying no way would they pay a sixteen year with no experience that much money. When I got to orientation, the number was sadly fixed to $5.75.

I had never attached an amount of money to my time before, but once I started working it was all I could do. The number $5.75 was etched permanently in my brain. The job was okay once I started. I saw a lot of people that I knew, but they didn't laugh at me as I had feared. Instead they actually thought it was cool that I had a job, since they weren't as lucky that summer. I have some pretty good memories from working at the store, and actually I remember being amazed that people could save so much money from coupons. One lady came in with a loaded cart that cost over $200 and she got it down to $20 with coupons. I've always tried to repeat that, but have never had success on my own.

But there were a lot of downsides to the job as well. I would be stuck standing for hours and hours on end. People were frequently quite rude to me. And on one horrible occasion, I actually got drenched with blood when a man threw a giant sloppy steak on the belt and it basically exploded. I worked hard that summer, and I worked a lot.

This is where the $5.75 comes into play. For a while after I got the job, I couldn't buy anythingbecause I realized how long I had to work to get that money. A soda and candy bar was no longer just a snack, but 20 minute of work. A CD was three hours! Going out with friends could cost me six hours! Nothing seemed worth it anymore.

Instead I put half of the money in my savings account, and I put half in the safe at home and I continued working and saving. Then one day I was at the mall with my mother when I saw it - the most beautiful Betsey Johnson dress. I was going to a party soon and I needed a dress anyway, so I decided to go into the store and try it on. It was perfect, but it was also around $200 - way more than I had ever spent on an article of clothing. "Well," my mother said, "let's go."

"No," I replied. "I'm going to buy it." Even though it was surely 8 million hours of work, it seemed worth it. Finally, something seemed worth it. She made me go home anyway so that I could think about it, but a few days later I still wanted it, so we went back to the mall. I went to the register with money that I had earned and I spent it on a dress. Walking out of the store, I was so proud that I was able to get something so wonderful.

To be fair, I can't say that it was the wisest decision I ever made. I wore it once. It still hangs in my closet 11 years later, a relic of the 90s that will most likely never be worn again. But I can't say at all that I regret the purchase. I smile whenever I see it, and view it as the first object that I really earned.

Like I mentioned yesterday, I just don't make these connections anymore. I've had a lot of jobs since then, and I never experienced the hourly mentality again - instead just looking at my paychecks as a whole. I no longer get paid an hourly wage, so I rarely attach my work to my spending. I would really love to be able to get into this mindset again, because decisions do actually become much easier when you attach time to it.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

My Coke Rewards - 25 Points

Just a heads up! If you do My Coke Rewards there is currently a link on the front page (it will come up in the flash after a few seconds) to sign up for the TGI Friday's Loyalty Club. If you sign up, you will get an email with a code for 25 points. Enjoy!

I used to be able to cash in My Coke Rewards points for AMC Gold Certificates, but they haven't had them in for a long time. I've gotten a few magazine subscriptions lately though.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

An Ode to Tea

I am seriously in love with PG Tips tea, and I have a dilemma. I first purchased this tea from Amazon when they were having a ridiculous sale - and I purchased A LOT of it. I bought 4 boxes of 160 tea bags in September 2008 and I am halfway through my last box.

Here's the problem though: this tea is pretty pricey. The four boxes of tea that I purchased are about $45 on Amazon right now. However, Amazon occasionally has crazy sales that would bring the price much much lower.

I probably have enough tea for another month or so, and I am debating what I should do. It seems like the last crazy tea deal happened in March. Should I take my chances and hope for another deal, or should I just order the crazy expensive amazing tea?

I was curious to see how much I paid when I ordered it, so I looked it up in my account from Amazon. (Side note: It is kind of freaky/amazing that you can easily access any order you ever placed. Mine goes back to 1999! I think somewhere it will even tell you how many orders you have placed, but I pretty much blocked that number from my memory.) So anyway, remember this is $45 worth of tea, and I paid:

$3.68! Marked down from close to $40! For the best tea in the world!

At it's current price of $45, each tea bag will cost me 7 cents. I guess if another sale doesn't roll along that isn't bad. But just to make me feel sad, I originally bought this tea for .00575 cents a bag!