Friday, May 3, 2013
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Well, my writers block is still in full blown solid brick wall. It seemed like it took me forever to just come up with something to write today, but I did it. After reading some articles from other frugal blogs and working to get ready for a business convention I realized that I have a perfect subject. Do you want to travel for almost free? Do you want to be involved in an organization and attend conventions for free?
Here I what I have done in the last year. I belong to the Illinois Federation of Business Women's Club. I have been a state officer for 4 years. Yes I do plenty of work, but the organization pays for me to attend conventions and meetings. This year I am running a half marathon in Chicago. I am doing it to raise money for the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation. If you raise enough money, the charity pays for my entry fee to the race and hotel room. If I raise even more money, they will pay for transportation to the race.
Yep, you still have to do some work to keep an organization going and raise money for charity. But don't we all do that anyway. Isn't there someone helping at church to help feed the poor? Don't you participate in fundraisers to pay for some school project? Well, why not volunteer for an organization that is working for something you believe in and travel around the state and make new friends? Why not raise money to help people with a disease, train with a bunch of fun people, get healthy, and travel all at the same time? I just don't see a down side to any of this.
Everyone is complaining about not having time to do everything you want to do. Well combine some things. Help others while getting in shape and travel. Lobby for equal rights while networking and building new friendships and travel.
There are plenty of organizations that have programs to raise money and you get to travel and participate in different activities. Most not-for-profit organizations pay for officers to represent them at events and conventions. Doing a web search will give you plenty of options to find organizations that are in line with your values that will fulfill your desire to help others and accomplish a personal goal.
How do you combine activities to accomplish your goals? Leave a comment below.
Here are the links to the organizations that I mentioned in this article.
Illinois Federation of Business Women's Club
Crohns and Colitis Foundation Team Challenge
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
In the last few months I have been using less and less coupons. I know, in Margaret's world that is a major sin. But I found the items that I like the most are less expensive without the coupons. I do use them and maximize my savings, but I find that I am buying less and less.
I don't know if the manufacturers are getting wise about those extreme couponer's or what. But I don't need 3 boxes of hamburger helper or 3 items of something else. I found that just buying the store brand is cheaper than using the coupon. I buy less and spend less.
I do stock up on some things, but for the most part the expiration date comes and goes before I can us up all the food. Most of the time I end up throwing money down the drain. Then the argument is, why not donate it. Well, because one, I don't go through my stockpile every month. Two, the little I do have to donate is so small that I feel embarrassed dropping off a small bag. And three, I usually talk myself into keeping the food because I think that I will use it not long after the expiration date. Sometimes I do and sometimes I don't use it and I end up throwing it away.
In order to keep my budget down, I have decided to only buy what I need. In the fall I will stock pile some food in case I am snowed in and can't get out to buy food. But now that better weather has arrived, I am buying less food and using up what I have. When I do buy food I buy when Shop N Save has their $10.00 off thursday and Schnucks has triple coupon days. This way I can get more food for less money.
Like most things in life, you have to balance things out. Don't just use coupons to use coupons. Use them wisely. Stock up when you know you will eat the food or work with friends and neighbors to clean out the pantry once a month and take the extra food to a local charity. You just have to work out the numbers to see how you can get the best deal.
I am excited about putting in a garden this year. If the weather will cooperate, I will get something done in the next couple of weeks.
Do you use coupons or just buy what you can without the extra work? Add your comments below.
Friday, March 8, 2013
It is going to be nice this weekend. Well most of it anyway. Sunshine and warm weather. It is making me think about actually putting in a vegetable garden this year. In the past few years I have used containers. A couple of weeks ago I was shopping at Sam's and found raised boxes for gardening. I may just have to use those.
Using the raised boxes will give me some extra room for beans, peas, and squash. I don't have to worry about tilling up the ground. Since it is raised, it will be better on my back. I have a lot of trees in my yard, so I am trying to figure out where I can put my garden.
Just thinking about all that fresh food I can eat later this year. I think I will grab a Farmers Almanac while out and about today so I can start planning what I need to get and when. Maybe stop at Lowe's or Farm and Home to see what they have on sale.
What are you planning to plan this year? Do you have a plan for your garden? Share your thoughts in the comments. How do you plant your veggies (containers, raised garden, or the old fashion till the ground kind)?
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
When I need to figure something out I normally go do Google and start searching for all information regarding the subject. These days it is trying to find the best deal for my hard earned money. Earlier this month I posted that I was going to be riding the bus again. I am glad that I did my research.
I got excited and wanted to know how much money I was going to save by riding the bus. After crunching number, I will only save less than $50.00 per month and adding an extra hour a day to my commute. I have decided that I can write a blog article, do research, and sell t-shirts in that extra hour a day and make an extra $50.00 or more a week. So the bus is out.
Now I am searching for a good deal on a dryer. While I was at Lowe's I looked at prices and brand names. I found a dryer that I liked, but it was an off brand. I will be checking Consumer Reports to find out what they have to say. I know, you are saying what is she doing. Look in the local shopper and find a used one. Yes, I will do that as well. Sometime you can find a better deal buying a new item than used. For big items like this, definitely do your research. It takes time, but it will save you a lot of money.
One of the best research tools, other than Google and Consumer Reports, is ask your friends, family, co-workers what they have and if they like it. The best purchases I have made is because I asked the question. I ask what do you like about it and what do you not like. Don't buy a product because everyone else is buying it. Make sure it will do what you need it to do. Use Facebook or your favorite social media to find out what others think about a product. You may be surprised at what you find out.
After your research is done, make sure you crunch those numbers to make sure it is the best deal. Like I did with the bus ticket. I thought that I would be saving so much money only to realize I wasn't going to be saving anything.
Do your research before you buy!
Friday, February 22, 2013
A couple of weeks ago I was tasked to find the best way sell items online to raise money for charity. They were looking for something like Ebay, but for free if possible. So I opened Google and searched and this is what I found.
The Top Ten Reviews for online auctions. This site lists 13 sites that are similar and including Ebay. Of course Ebay is still number one on the list and has the best review. The company that holds the second spot is Webstore. Webstore is free but you do have to put up with a lot of advertisements on the site. That is how Webstore makes money. But the good news is that you get to keep all the money you make for the item you sell. It is growing in popularity, it has a hire reliability rating than Ebay and did I say it was free.
Wisebread has an article about selling on Facebook. I have listed a few things on a local Facebook Shopper type group, but never sold anything. But it seems that I am the exception to the rule. Check out the article for more tips.
Here in the Midwest it is way to cold and now snow on the ground to have a yard sale. Wisebread posted 11 Unusual Ways to Sell Your Stuff. One way I thought was interesting was through Smartphone Applications. The new thing is to have a Raid My Closet party. You have a party, everyone brings things that you no longer want and sell it to other guests.
Until Yard Sale season is back, try going to one of the other sites and see what you can find or sell or both.
Thursday, February 21, 2013
Since gas prices are again on the rise without any indication on why or when they will level off, I have decided to start riding the bus again. As before, it will save me a lot of money, but it will also add time to my commute to and from work. But this time I am better prepared.
The bus ride will give me time to answer emails and do some other tasks (like take a nap). I will finally have a reason to have some of the techno gadgets. One thing I though was strange is that the buses have wifi, but the metro does not. I will have a very tight schedule with work, school, and getting exercise and half marathon training. But, I feel comfortable with what I have put together.
When the weather is much warmer than today, I can get the bike out and ride between the metro station and my office. That will give me some extra training for a Triathlon.
Update on the spending freeze this month, not so good. I think I ate out more this month than I have in a while. I need to do a better job on looking ahead at my schedule so that I make sure that I have the food I need to get me through the day. With taking the bus and doing better with food, I hope that next month will be better.
Take care with all the snow and ice falling in the mid west.