Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Free Coupons, Free Items...Just for the Asking!

I'm guessing you wouldn't mind getting coupons for discounts on, or even free items...
would you?
    Try this list of companies who provide them -- for just a quick e-mail!


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Holiday June!

Maybe it's the sizzling temps and hot winds we've had to endure lately, but I find myself reading Christmas stories. Thinking about snow and cold weather is one way to cool off!

In the same vein, I've started to think --
What are we going to give for Christmas this year?

Better now than later, here are three excellent links that give a lot of ideas:

The Get Rich Slowly Holiday Gift Spectacular. (But don't miss their "Ask the Readers" ideas for frugal Christmas presents and traditions, either.)
Plonkee has some good ideas for frugal purchased gifts. (Broke Grad has some helpful thoughts on the subject, too!)

Those balls of interesting yarns have been in the corner for a year -- I want to knit some of the people in my life some swanky, warm house socks. I also want to cross-stitch names on the family's Christmas stockings. (Marker on 3 x 5 cards, pinned to the sock, has worked far too well for too long.)  I was even thinking about mixing dough for some of our favorite cookies now, and stashing it in the freezer -- we may use it up before Christmas, but maybe not!

One thought: Daughter #1 is a whiz at covering blank books and notebooks with unusual fabrics and wallpaper...I wish she'd do a whole set for me this season. (I may just give her the blank books, as a little hint.  :)

It might be a good time for you to start considering this subject, the least, it will keep you thinking cool.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Frugal Tips from the Great Depression

My grandma lived through this period as a young housewife with several kids to support. By the time I came along, some thirty or forty years later, she was still doing some of the things that had kept her going through that period, including:

*Don't throw any scrap of fabric away. If you can't repair the clothing, cut out the less-worn areas, and make quilts. (Or braid or crochet rugs.)

*Grow a big garden. Now can and freeze everything possible from it. (I never saw Grandma dry veggies or fruit, though it's helpful to know -- and do.) 

*Pick it yourself. (I remember Grandma picking blueberries into her apron, looking like a German peasant. I was picking berries, too -- straight into my mouth!) Make friends with the farmer, and glean fruit, potatoes and such when the regular work is done. Or go to a pick-your-own place.

*Sell some of your extra for cash money. Grandma would get up early and take garden produce, as well as eggs from her flourishing henyard, and go to her stand at a farmer's market in Grand Rapids. People vied for her stuff, including bouquets of Queen Anne's Lace and chicory that she harvested from the ditches and fields around her place.

Grandma died in 1972 -- I miss her. But I still use many of her precepts today.

Here's another grandmother's tips, learned well from hard times.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Saving for College

Getting ready for college this fall...or starting to save for college? Here's more than a hundred tips that will help you save money, time and energy.

Money was tight growing up, and some things really helped me make it, all the way through grad school. These may help you, too.

*Alternate sources of protein -- if you can't afford steak, try tofu. We often ate smelt, a tiny fish that you munch, bones and all. Octopus was surprisingly cheap, too. (Try an Oriental grocery for even better prices.) Beans and rice are the standard; they're cheap, tasty and pack a real wallop.

*Work your way into housing. Become an R.A. for your dorm, or do custodial or cafeteria work to pay for your room. Find a family who needs help, and offer your services. I had a lovely top-floor room, plus access to bath and kitchen, in an old house in exchange for cleaning, taking care of the youngest child occasionally, and walking the dog.

*Keep your eyes open for freebies. Is that a chair parked by the edge of the dumpster? Take it home, scrub it up, and you've got a comfortable place to study -- for free. Garbage pickup days are the best -- or when students from the university are moving out. (Boulder, home of the University of Colorado, is famous for goodies on days like this.) If you can't use it, sell it.

More tips coming --  

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Save Even More at the Dollar Store! joining their readership, like Dollar General's e-mail newsletter. Check up with them on Facebook, too, for extra savings.

Big Lots has a similar program, except you get your own little customer card, and a chance to rack up points toward rewards discounts!  FAQs are here.

Every little bit helps...

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Travel In Style

Taking a cruise may be cheaper than ever, thanks to our tight financial times. Cruise ships still need to fill their cabins -- and they're willing to cut prices, if that's what it takes. Right now, especially if you can leave within the next few weeks, you can do the Caribbean for less than $300 roundtrip!

I've been pricing Alaska cruises for September...just thinking, mind you... and they're clocking in at $599 or more -- a 50-75% discount. Wow.

The two best sites, so far -- Vacations to Go and Last Minute Cruises. Vacations has a "90-day ticker" that gives you best prices all over the world, including the Caribbean, Alaska, Mexico and Europe. Their regular search is excellent, too, and they'll give discounts for seniors and military experience.

Last Minute Cruises excels in that -- trips that are a few days, weeks or even months ahead. A June 20 Carnival cruise to Alaska -- 7 nights for $449! (The link has a bunch of other specials, too...take a look.) 

Take some care when choosing your plane ticket (late Tuesday night and very early Wed morning are the best times to look -- try Kayak), and you've got a luxurious trip for less than a cheap hotel and meals. Now that's a bargain!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

More Songs to Download...Free!

Free workout music, thanks to Subway and The Biggest Loser! Park yourself here...the download only takes a minute, and you've got twelve new songs, everything from "Telephone" to a Lady Gaga selection.