Archive for December, 2007

Avoiding scams can save even more money

Saturday, December 15th, 2007

Often I write about deals, but today I want to discuss an even better way to save money, which is avoiding scams. Today we received an email from ECost that our $39.99 membership was being renewed. This was very funny because we never ordered a membership in the first place. After getting tough with the customer rep, she agreed to refund our credit card.

The lessons learned here are: 1) Google any new online company before dealing with them to find out any potential pitfalls 2) Check your credit card bills to see if you have been given any dishonest billing 3) I recommend using only credit cards and not debit cards for any online billing. My research on this shows that the credit card companies will back you up on canceling any dubious charges while it is very difficult to get the bank to handle this kind of unethical debit.

Using commonsense

Saturday, December 15th, 2007

I had a friend who used to work for one of the major advertising companies. She told me they found out that housewives would pour a whole box of baking soda down the drain to make it smell fresh. Although they knew this didn’t necessarily make a huge difference, they promoted it on the back of the box as it was a great way to sell more baking soda.

I have found I need only about 1/3 of the recommended laundry detergent to get a perfect wash. (I used to use their suggested amount and my clothes always felt like they still had soap in them despite using an extra rinse cycle.)

Lately I have been stretching out some boxed cake mixes by using only half the amount and adding a couple of eggs. Besides the money savings, the cakes have proportionately less sugar and more protein. And, my husband tells me they are the most delicious cakes he has ever tasted!

A Great Idea from one of the Readers

Thursday, December 13th, 2007

I loved Devorah’s comment on December 13!  I am going to try her suggestions out and see how much I can save!

If you need a new dress for the holidays

Thursday, December 13th, 2007

Here is a video for beautiful dresses that are under $100:

I particularly like the blue one from Express. Sweet!

Christmas Shopping

Tuesday, December 11th, 2007

I devoted last night to doing all of my holiday shopping.  I was surprised that the stores were not very crowded yet.  I don’t know if it is because more people are shopping online, or more people are shopping less due to the economy, or it is just the usual procrastination that causes all the people to wait until the last day and then swarm the aisles.  (I must admit that one year I waited until  December 23 and the penalty was that all that was left was picked-over merchandise that no one else wanted.  That was the year that everyone got gift cards!)

I guess this relates to money in that if you shop now you can find the best deals for your money.  And, even if you don’t save any cash, how much is a big smile from your loved one worth?

A Christmas anecdote

Monday, December 10th, 2007

About ten years ago, I bought my first live tree. It was in a pot, and it was not that large but it was “cute.” I was able to afford some nice decorations for it due to it not needing very many to create a nice effect. After the holidays, I took down the lights and bulbs, and left the tree. It looked nice in the house. At the time I planned to plant it, but I never got around to it. So, next Christmas, I still had my tree all ready to decorate for the next season. I ended up keeping the tree for several years. I was surprised that it lived in the same pot for so many years. All my friends admired it and I think that the tree thrived in the admiration.

Chistmas Tree

Sunday, December 9th, 2007

Buy a live tree and decorate it for the holidays. Then, plant it in your yard or give it to a friend to plant. If you rent your home, ask your landlord if he will let you plant it. This saves money in two ways. Besides recycling the tree, the trees add shade which cuts down on the air conditioning bills in the summer.

More about windows

Saturday, December 8th, 2007

Here is an old-fashioned way to save money.  Use black and white printed newspapers instead of paper towels while you are using the secret recipe window cleaner (see last blog) The windows  have sparkles they are so clean,  and you can pat yourselves on the back for being environmentally friendly.

Sparkling windows for pennies!

Friday, December 7th, 2007

Have you ever noticed how the grocery bill can almost be doubled by simple items such as toilet paper, window cleaner, and paper towels. Well, toilet paper happens to be a “luxury” (per law it is taxed, so it must be in that category?) that we will always buy. We do save a bit by buying lots of it when it is on sale. One can even hide the unopened packages under the bed if the closet is full. Buying when it is 30% reduced on sale can mount up to huge savings if you buy a huge supply.

I never enjoy buying window cleaner. The cheap stuff just doesn’t work well and the expensive stuff (Windex, etc.) costs a lot and it has a lot of chemicals in it. At normal temperatures, two tablespoons of rubbing alcohol mixed into 16 ounces of of warm water definitely will make them clean and shiny. When the weather turns cold, a secret formula can be used. When combined, two tablespoons of rubbing alcohol, a teaspoon of cornstarch and 16 ounces of warm water make a super “winter window cleaner”. And this really hasn’t cost more than a few pennies.

Saving money with Google

Thursday, December 6th, 2007

We save a lot of money by using a cat water fountain. Our cat used to refuse to drink either the tap or bottled water, and then end up with a bladder infection. (This translates to about $150 for the vet/medicine plus the trauma for the cat.) We have now had the water fountain for several years. He drinks his water daily now and there have been no unnecessary trips to the vet.

The other day we thought that the water fountain had died as the motor was not working. My husband “Googled” and came up with the repair solution. He had it fixed in about ten minutes and the fountain is working great again.

How do you save money?