Saturday, October 31, 2009
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
1. clean a raw potato
2. wrap it in Saran Wrap
3. put in in microwave on high power for 4-6 minutes
4. let it sit for 2 min.
If you want to do more than one, place desired amount in a microwave safe bowl. (I use a 2 qt. size.) Put 1" of water in the bottom. Cover with Saran Wrap. Cook for 8-10 min. depending on how many you are trying to cook.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
I wanted to tell you about my new BFF - a digital voice recorder. I carry this thing with me everywhere and tell it everything.
This has spawned because of headaches that DD2 has that we are tracking. She has multiple headaches everyday that we need to know the time they happen, the severity, what she ate, what she had been doing, how long they last, and how they finally resolved.
It was too difficult to find a pen and paper every time she had one, let alone, keep all those random papers together, or find the pad you were writing on. So, I got this idea to carry a digital voice recorder in my pocket.
It has turned out to be invaluable. If I am driving, and DD2 has a headache, I just reach into my pocket, turn it on and record all the info I need.
It has also been nice to capture other things too. I have started to use it as a type of a journal since I don't have a lot of time to write right now. I record feelings and frustrations, ideas for blog topics, phone conversations with the insurance company, capture the kids saying funny things - in the moment, I even use it to record the small blessings that I see from the Lord. I love doing this, because otherwise all these things would be lost in my brain, even if I try so hard to remember them.
I recently suggested this to a friend who's mom is dying of cancer. This friend is spending 8 hours in the car one way to help take care of her mom. I had thought of getting her a journal to serve as an outlet, but knew she had no time to sit and write.
I thought that this would be perfect, she could drive and talk everything out. She loved the idea so much that she didn't want to wait for me to ship one to her, she went out and bought one that day. She is a go getter :)
One suggestion though, spend a little extra money and get one that you can transfer the data to your computer. I went with the cheapest model possible ($30) and it doesn't do that. Trust me, on this one it is worth it. Now don't go crazy buying the most expensive model, but the extra $20 would be worth it. You can also find them cheaper on ebay.com.
I know that there are a bazillion women out there who are feeling the same way I am. I guess putting it out there into cyber space helps me feel connected to them some how.
With all the mistakes I made today, I did do something smart. I put my 2 year old to bed in the clothes she had been wearing all day. I did not have the energy to dig through the mountain of laundry to find her pajamas. If I had, I knew it would be a struggle to get them on. Why do that just to take them off again in the morning?
Nope, instead I brushed her teeth, read her books, rocked her, and kissed her goodnight. Then I left with a smile on my face because I let something insignificant go - and I good with that.
Monday, October 12, 2009
Right now I am running the above sale until this Saturday 17 Oct 2009. Free shipping is automatically on everything, no code required. However, to receive the 10% off you need to use the code "FABULESS10".
So if you want to buy a binder for yourself, or as a gift for your frugal friend, now is the time. To make it easier to get to the store front, here is the direct link www.shop.TheCouponBinder.com.
First of all, do a search for what you want. We will use the dryer for an example. I searched Craigslist for "gas dryer". Found a TON of Kenmore dryers and some other options. I would find a dryer that looked interesting to you, then go to the next steps. (Hint, if there is a lot of a particular brand for sale, be weary of that brand, or really low ball on your offer because there are so many competing on the market.)
Then find the original price of the item by going to http://www.sears.com/ . If it is a non-appliance item go to a few websites that sell that item to see it's full retail.
Next, find out it's quality and consumer ratings. Do this by going to http://www.consumerreports.org/ to see their ratings, reliability, and consumer feedback. (This costs $25 per year but is well worth it. You can even share the cost with some friends.) You don't want to buy used things that are rated poorly so it is important to check this out. You can also see consumer ratings for a lot of things at www.Amazon.com.
Back to the dryer story....I figured out that I didn't want a Kenmore, plus the dryer that had just broken was a Kenmore. Not doing that again. So I decided that I wanted a Whirlpool, middle level dryer. So now I know what I want. (Hint: don't get sold on the fancy bells and whistles. Most of the time you don't use them anyway and they just cost more $$.)
Next, narrow your search on Craigslist. I go back to Craigslist and type in "Whirlpool Gas Dryer".
This next step is IMPORTANT. I start looking at the postings that are about two weeks old. This give the owner time to realize that their dryer may not be worth what they are asking. This makes them much more open to negotiations.
Next, email them, asking if the dryer is still available. If it is yes, give them a low ball, but reasonable offer, in my case I offered $150 for a dryer listed at $300. Start your negotiating price at or a little above 50% of the asking price (If their price is reasonable).
Usually you will want to start lower than you are willing to pay so that you can meet somewhere in the middle. In this particular case I couldn't afford much, and I knew it was going to come across as low balling. So I explained that all I could offer was $150, I could pay cash, and could pick it up the following day. My DH also had to drive for 1 hour to get it, so that helped in the negotiating as well.
This particular man was very gracious and took my offer, and even said he wished he could give it to me for free, but he needed something from it. (Remember I said that people will help you out if they can?)
So that is how I got a Whirlpool Dryer, 18 months old, used for 5 months, worth $550 new, for $150. I also got a 2 year old Convection oven worth $1500 for $45o this same way.
Sunday, October 4, 2009
I have to admit, this is a harder one for me because I am so independent. Picking up things from the side of the road is easier for me than asking. BUT I am also on this journey and decided I needed to try it out.
This is how it has worked out so far... Remember how I said that my computer died at the same time we had other major crises and expenses? Well, buying a new computer just seemed too much, even with sales and coupons. But I absolutely need one for my business. So I decided to try asking if someone had an old one they didn't need anymore.
Eileen was the first person I asked. She was the one that taught me this tool, so I figured she was a safe place to start. The following is how I fumbled through it.
Me: Okay Eileen I am going to follow your advice about asking before I buy something new, so I need to ask you a question.
Eileen: Okay, what is it?
Me: Our laptop died and so I was wondering if you have one that you may not be using that we could have. I know it is a long shot, but you said to ask first, so I am.
Eileen: Actually, my DH just got a new laptop. Let me ask him.
Come to find out he didn't need his old laptop and wasn't sure what he was going to do with it. So guess what I am writing on right now. That is right, his old laptop. That right there saved us over $400.
Now if you are going to try this, you can phrase it something like this, "Dear Friends and Family, I am following this frugal blog where she suggests asking for an item before you buy it. So I thought I would give it a try. We are looking for ___________. If any of you have an extra kicking around or an old one that you aren't using, would you be willing to let us have it/borrow it?"
I agree with Eileen, if they can, people will usually try to help you. It also goes the other way too. If someone needs your help, try to help them. Before you toss out an item you no longer need, send out an email to see if anyone wants it. You can even post free things on Craigslist.org. In tough times like these it is good to help each other out.