Thursday, June 18, 2009

eBay Headache

I sold the BodyBugg on eBay! This wouldn’t normally make me so relieved, but eBay got a little upset with me for using terminology that I apparently shouldn’t have used to try to sell it. They pulled my first listing which had four bids and about five watchers.

I was furious. In hindsight, I see the point of what they were saying, but there are two things I didn’t particularly get.

1. The words couldn’t be used (“As seen on The Biggest Loser”) because according to eBay, the show doesn’t endorse this item. The only way I was looking at it was that they show did endorse the item because they feature it. So they don’t endorse this exact item…what’s the difference? Not to mention that contrary to what eBay customer service seemed to think, I wouldn’t have gleaned this from the seller rules because it’s open for interpretation.

2. This was the second Body Bugg I’d sold (total impulse buy, obviously. The fiancĂ© and I had big plans, then just never followed through. We’re losing weight without the Bugg anyway). Nothing had been said the first time around and trust me, I was not the only one using this description in my listing.

The rep from eBay of course talked me down from my ledge in that sweet email tone that makes me feel like I’m two years old. I’m not sure that they actually got how rude it was to pull a listing without notifying me and asking me to change it. I suppose that’s policy. I suppose if I had time to memorize the guidelines I may have known that. So call me an irresponsible seller, but at least it sold, I took their survey, and now I can go on with my life.

Sad part is, while I was mad I was sure I was never going to sell anything on eBay ever again. But I’ve already got the itch to list something else…darn addicting online auction!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

More Coupon Organizing

A few weeks back I did a blog about how I repurposed an old DVD case to hold my coupons. While I really liked this idea and was proud of my resourcefulness, there was a slight problem. Even though I tried to plan which coupons I was going to use, often I’d find something on sale and realize that I had a coupon for that item, but I’d left it at home.

A co-worker had the same problem but had fixed it by buying a small organizer that fit nicely in her purse. I’d looked at a few of these organizers at WalMart and Target, and the ones I found were four or five dollars. I know that’s not a horrible amount to pay, but it still seemed pretty expensive to me.

Last night, Jon and I took a trip to the Dollar Tree and as luck would have it, sitting there on a random shelf was a cute little coupon organizer for a dollar!
I’m not yet sure if I like their organizing system, but I’ll try it and if I don’t like it after awhile, I can always re-label. Already I feel better about having something to keep in my purse should I find a good deal to throw a good coupon on.

Unfortunately, we still don’t have a printer that works so I’m unable to print coupons. For now I’ll use what I get in the mail from various sources and what comes in the paper, plus the odd coupon that prints without the coupon program download.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Moving, Thrifting, Making Money

The past few weeks have been absolutely crazy. Between vacation and moving and still not having home internet, I haven’t been able to do much online. Our frugal living factor has gone up immensely, however, since now we’re budgeting for a new puppy. I don’t mind cutting costs though since he’s absolutely awesome to have around.

While my fiancĂ© looks for a job (already had one interview), we’re finding creative ways not only to cut costs but also to bring in some extra income. I gave plasma for the first time last Saturday and am going to try again today. Unfortunately, the second times I tried to give, my iron was too low. This has always been a problem for me. I guess I’ll just have to keep trying. I did start taking a multi-vitamin which will hopefully work.

We sold some books, CDs, and DVDs to Hastings for store credit. While cash is good, so is having a chance to do something fun, and we both enjoy going for iced hot chocolates, internet use, and reading. What we couldn’t sell there went to a local CD and bookstore, and what didn’t sell there is either going on BookMooch or being used for some crafty project I’ll come up with.

We’ve sold some things that didn’t fit into our apartment, have given plasma, and I’ve been writing some articles on Associated Content. Things we don’t need go on Craigslist. What doesn’t sell there goes on eBay. We’re having a rummage sale in a couple weeks with proceeds going to Relay for Life, and from there, anything we don’t need gets donated to the Salvation Army or Freecycle.

Once I have my internet at home, I do have some pictures to share of some ultra thrifty finds from the last few weeks and pics of the new apartment.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Trip Grocery Challenge

As previously noted, money for this trip is extremely tight, even moreso than I’d originally thought. I think we’re still in the clear though between gas and a hotel room, though I might have to bow out of some social interaction with friends due to lack of funds.

Tonight we’re making our trip to the grocery store and I’m going to try to spend less than ten dollars tonight, which means I won’t actually have to pay anything because that will finish up the credit on our Dillons card. Last night we made a trip so that we’d have breakfast and lunch for today, but some of that can carry over easily, including the impulse Twizzlers we bought because they were only a buck for a package and I am a Twizzler fiend.

We also scored two things of hummus for a dollar each. We both like hummus and couldn’t say no to the deal. So far, we have a few things to take with us already:


I’d like to also pick up:
Bread – 78 cents
Lunchmeat - $1.35
Cheese - $1.66
Pop – 2.19 (12 pack)
Bananas – 1.00 (about a pound a half)
Oranges - 1.00 (for two)
Quaker Quakes - $1.00
Breakfast Cereal Bars - $2.00

So it actually comes to about $10.98. I don’t actually need the Quakes, but their so good! Oh well…if I take them from the list I’ll be under my total, though that doesn’t include tax. For now, I’m going with this list because I think I might be able to find cheaper versions of the cereal bars, cheese and lunchmeat.

For anyone who might be shaking your head and wondering why I’m even taking this trip if I don’t have the money, the truth is that at this point, I need to see my family and I’m willing to do it on a tight budget. Luckily I won’t have to spend a lot of money there, so the travel will be worth it, and I’ll have gotten paid by the time we come back, so the trip back is not a worry at this point. Besides, it’s kind of fun seeing how frugal we can be when it comes to travelling.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Frugal Shortcuts for Our Trip

Our trip to Michigan is coming up in just a few short days and of course, like always, money isn’t overabundant. Fortunately, I have enough to get us to Michigan with a little bit leftover. With the in-state traveling we’ll be doing and the fact that we’ll most likely want to have a little bit of spending cash, I’m racking my brain to find ways to save money.

Food: I’m borrowing a cooler from a co-worker and I still have about $10 in credit on my Dillons card to buy things. Sandwich stuff will be key, followed by some fruit, some easy snacks, and some diet soda for the much needed on the road caffeine rush. We’re also packing water, but I’m going to try something different. Instead of buying ice and bottled water, I’m taking a couple plastic bottles, filling them part way then freezing them. That way we have “ice packs” to keep food cool and when it melts, we’ll have water to drink.

Hotel: I’m a little unsure of this right now. Cheap will be the key word since I don’t have any hotel points or anything like that. My mom had offered us a discount through her work, but we decided not to reserve. For me, it’s easier to stop wherever than to have a certain destination to stop that may hold us back from getting a little further. I’ve actually batted around the idea of sleeping at a rest stop (not something I’d ever do by myself) but I think we’ll opt for the cheap hotel option instead. There’s bound to be somewhere for less than $50 on a Thursday night.

Gas: Even though I don’t have a hybrid car, I do get fairly good gas mileage at about 30 miles per gallon on the highway. Mapquest’s gas cost estimator puts me at under $70 for gas just one way. Before we head out, I’ll make sure to check the air in our tires for better gas mileage. Unfortunately, we have some stuff in the trunk that we’re not removing until the actual move, so that will lower it a bit. However, I’m hoping to find a few cheaper fill up stations along the way.

We’re lucky to be able to stay with family and as far as spending cash goes, while it will be nice to have, it won’t be necessary. In fact, the only thing we’re really planning on spending money on is garage sales. My mom is an avid garage sale fan and it will make her day to be able to spend one morning hitting sales in the area. Since we’re looking to furnish our new place, we’ll be on the lookout for good deals too. That’s half the reason I’m driving…car space to take stuff back in.

It’ll be interesting to see just how much we spend all together over the week. Nothing like an added challenge to make a vacation exciting.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Wedding Planning

It's official. My boyfriend is now my fiance and we're getting married in less than a year, May 1, 2010 to be exact.

I know most women want the elegant, perfect wedding day of their dreams. I've also seen a few of these women break out in hives due to the stress of planning...and that's before the final bill comes in sometime after the honeymoon.

We've decided to do the opposite. I want the most stress free wedding possible. Some of my friends at work have offered to help with planning and they're both fans of being frugal. When I told them cheap and fun was going to be my theme, they actually got excited about the process. We've also set an insane cost goal for the whole thing: $300. Having said that, on that stress free note, I'm not going to freak out if we go over. But having a goal will help us keep things as cheap as possible.

Call me cheap, call it a redneck wedding, whatever. It's one day and I want to enjoy it without crying over my bank account.

So far, the cost has been $15 (engagement ring...yes, it's a Wal-Mart original). Marriage license will be about $75, though according to Kansas law, we can marry ourselves so that should save on some officiating. With $210 left, the possibilities are endless.

#74 - Ask for a Raise ACCOMPLISHED

I haven't even been 30 for a month and already I've accomplished something on my list.

#74 - Ask for a raise

Notice that it this was just to ask for a raise, not to actually get it, because asking was the part I could accomplish. The rest is out of my hands.

I've actually never asked for a raise, so it was pretty nerve wracking. I've always accepted what I was given and stayed satisfied with any raise I was given as part of the group raise. I might have even been content to never have asked for one if it weren't for the economy and the fact that I finally feel valuable enough in what I do to have grounds to stand on for asking for one.

Now that the hard part is over, I figure the worst they can say is "no." I also feel that after that, all other future questions, comments, and requests will be alot easier.