Hey everybody, I’m getting back in the web design world a bit. I make simple, easy-to-use web sites that can be maintained with a minimal learning curve. My style is clean, simple, and modern (see this site). I am all about helping artists promote their work, creating an online presence for your…
Here’s one way to save money: get my husband to make you a free website instead of paying someone else to do it! He’s starting a web design business and would like to build his portfolio. It might be a couple weeks before he can start on a new project, because there are already a few in the works. Contact him soon before this deal runs out!
Since I moved to Arizona six months ago, I’ve been on a reuse and recycle kick. Don’t ask me why I didn’t get on board with that ages ago. One of the best things to reuse are glass jars - baby food jars, pasta sauce jars, salsa jars, you name it! This practice saves me money because I buy less tupperware and ziplock bags. There are tons of other reasons to switch to glass, though, so read on!
I’ve been using olive oil lately as my facial moisturizer - SO much cheaper than the Mary Kay variety I used to use, all natural, and it works just as well. I ordered some coconut oil (because it smells better) and plan to mix that with some shea butter to use as moisturizer and body lotion. Check out this link for 9 more items you probably have in your kitchen that you can use for facials. Who needs a spa day when you can pamper yourself in the comfort of your own home? Or better yet, why don’t you round up your girl friends and have a pampering party?
So…I’ve been a slacker when it comes to blogging lately… and I’ve also been a slacker when it comes to saving money. It’s easy to get lax about sticking to the budget during the holidays, but NO MORE! As of Jan 1 of 2011, we’re getting legalistic about this stuff! When we ran out of “out to eat” money this month, we stopped eating out. It’s hard for me to say “no” especially when it comes to hanging out with friends. When someone says “Hey do you want to go to Paradise Bakery and grab a cup of coffee and a cookie?” It’s lame and embarrassing to say “You know, I really shouldn’t because I can’t afford it.” It’s much easier to go, charge it to the credit card, and let tomorrow’s financial woes take care of themselves… BUT I’m not going to do that any more. No way, no how. Debt is slavery and I already have enough student debt to keep me enslaved for a lifetime. Why add more willingly when I can just learn to say no?
I have started to notice that Americans eat ALL THE TIME … and social gatherings often center around food. It’s like we can’t get together without having something to eat. Don’t get me wrong - I LOVE food. But eating out is really expensive, and I honestly can’t maintain that kind of lifestyle. So if staying in budget means being a loser for a while, that’s what I’m going to be. If you care to join me, I’ll be at the park eating a peanut butter sandwich ;)
So here’s the deal, I’m WAY behind on my giveaway experiment. My goal was to enter 4 per day, but I didn’t anticipate how much time it would take to find them, enter them, post about them, and track them. There’s no way I’m going to catch up for all the days I’ve missed, but I’m going to give you an update on the stats so far:
I’ve entered about 40+ giveaways.
I’ve won 3 giveaways (charm bracelet, needlework, and Kroger savings game)
I haven’t won 31 giveaways
I’m still waiting to hear back on 2 giveaways (audiobooks from Day 9, Amazon kindle from Day 4)
In other words, my success rate so far is about 9%. I was only expecting about 5%, so I’m pleasantly surprised with that!
What I’ve learned:
Entering giveaways is more time-consuming than I imagined
Winning free stuff only saves you money if you only enter for items you would have purchased anyway.
It’s tacky to re-sell an item won in a giveaway, so if you end up winning an item you didn’t really want in the first place, there isn’t much you can do with it, apart from re-gifting it. (My husband enjoyed the free Coke Zero I won, I will be enjoying the Fuze, the Lookin Good Needlwork will be hung in my guest bathroom, and I still have no idea what I’m going to do with the charm bracelet - maybe give it to my grandma).
My Verdict: I’m going to finish out The Giveaway Experiment by entering as many as I can before the end of the month. Then I’m taking a break from giveaways. I don’t have time to keep up a quota. After October, I’ll only enter giveaways that are fun, have a low entry count and are for items that I either need or really really want.
Do you enter giveaways? Have you ever won anything really cool?
Who doesn’t want a $50 Visa Gift card?! Holiday season is coming up and I’m sure a little extra money in your pocket would help…right?! Well I have one and I figured I will give it away if you do the following things:
I played Kroger’s Kick Off to Savings again (I’ve played once a day for 4 days. I won a Free Fuze a couple days ago). Today I won a FREE 20 oz Coke Zero! Woohoo! Each participant is limited to 2 prizes total so I’ve reached my max. There are more instant prizes to be won for all you folks, so have at it!
This is really more of a sweepstakes than a giveaway, but it’s a chance to win free stuff so I say it counts. Kroger’s Kick off to Savings Tons of instant win prizes. Enter everyday. I played for the first time today and I won a FREE Fuze 18 oz. drink that I can pick up next time I shop at Fry’s. Yay! I’m a winner!
Bracelets. Ends 10/11. Winner announced 10/13. (Didn’t win)
Rust Belt Threads $30 Giftcard. Ends 10/10. Winner announced 10/11. (Didn’t win)
I missed Day Five and Day Seven is going to be coming at you a bit late. What can I say? I’ve been busy dealing with the aftermath of a crazy hail storm. Good thing I did this post early so I’m still technically on track.
Update: So far I’ve entered 16+ giveaways (including the ones from today). Only one winner has been announced (Cosmetic Giveaway Day Two #3). I didn’t win it :(
Oh well, I’m only hoping for about a 5% success rate so I have a long way to go! Many winners will be announced tomorrow, so I’ll let you know how that goes. Thanks for following this little experiment of mine.
So I officially won my first giveaway: “Lookin Good” needlework by Our Little Place. It’s one of the giveaways I entered on Day 2 of my Giveaway experiment.
The talented crafter who made it contacted me, and she’s going to frame it and send it to me. I can’t believe there are people out there who want to make things and pay to ship them to complete strangers but it’s AWESOME!!!
I know I’m on a winner’s high right now and it won’t last forever, but for right now it’s official: I’m addicted to giveaways.
(Okay technically it’s Day 2, because I got a head-start yesterday but I’m counting that as bonus.)
Here are the four giveaways I’m entering today:
Giveaway Extravaganza at Money Saving Mom These all end October 3rd and winners are posted on Monday Oct. 4th. This chick is giving away $3000 worth of prizes. There will be thousands of entries but it’s worth a shot! (Didn’t win)
There is a method to my madness. I’m searching for a wide variety of items. I’m also trying to find relatively small or obscure giveaways so that my chances of winning are greater. If you have a giveaway that you would like to share please please please submit it. Thanks!
Nothing New Challenge - For an entire month, my family will buy nothing new. This includes clothes, toiletries (I’ll make my own from products I have on hand), paper products, furniture, etc… It does not include food. Obviously.
Dollar a Day Challenge - For an entire month, I will spend no more than $1/day per person for food. We are a 3 person family, so our food budget for the month will be approximately $90.
Coupon/Sale Challenge - For an entire month, I will only buy things that are on sale or that I have a coupon for. Sale items must be at least 50% off and the coupon’s value must be at least 50% off the purchase price.
Free Product Requests - I will request free products from 50 companies, by e-mailing them and telling them I will feature their product on my blog. I may not get anything from it, but it never hurts to ask!
Work From Home Income - I will pursue work from home opportunities such as tutoring, teaching private voice and piano lessons, selling artwork, taking online surveys, completing HITs for Amazon Mechanical Turk, etc… I don’t want to spend more than 2 hrs. per day doing this kind of work, and I’ll do it all while my baby is asleep.
Home-made and DIY it up - Replace most store-bought products with home-made or DIY versions.
Sign-up for Newsletters, Samples and Giveaways - Free stuff abounds on the internet. All you have to do is find it, and ask for it.
Swap skills with friends - I have skills and weaknesses. I have friends who are skilled in my weak areas and weak in areas where I have strengths. The thought occurred to me the other day that we shouldn’t pay strangers to do stuff for us that our friends could do for free. I’ll help you out if you help me out. That’s the way they did it back in the day.
Learn new skills - My husband should never have to pay for a haircut. I know that I can learn how to do that from the internet.
Sell stuff I don’t use/need - I’ve got a few items lying around the house that I really don’t ever use. Off the top of my head these include: a Nokia N810, a flat screen computer monitor, several size 12 Express pants and suiting jackets, prom/bridesmaid dresses, and books I never plan to read again. If I’m lucky, all of this stuff combined will bring in $100 - but every little bit counts!
What do you think? Is there one you think I should try first? Have any other ideas?
I used to be a part-time teacher, a part-time sales associate, a part-time box office manager, a part-time actress, a part-time costume designer, a part-time music intern, and now I’m a full-time mom.
Being a stay-at-home mom is really fun and fulfilling and all that jazz, but every once in a while I feel like a mooch - like I’m not contributing enough to the family income. My husband works a full-time job, I take care of the baby, and we struggle to make ends meet.
Enter savings. If I can manage to cut our budget down by as much or more as I would make in a part-time job, then I can be a full-time mommy and bring home some of the (meatless) bacon…or make more meals out of the same amount of (meatless) bacon… or… the analogy only goes so far. You get the point.
That’s why I’ve decided that saving money is my new part-time job. I’m going to supplement my savings with miscellaneous income from little jobs that I can do at home (Amazon Mechanical Turk, drawing, reselling garage sale items, etc…)
I need some prep time to organize my thoughts, focus, and narrow down my priorities. That’s what I’ll be doing in the month of October. My goal is $400/month starting in November - just in time for the holiday season. (eeek!) That’s about $100/week or $13-$14/day in income and/or savings. I’ll be honest: I’m nervous. Right now that sounds like a lot, but I’ve got some ideas. More on that in my next post :)