Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Happy with STAIGHT TALK and saving $$$

Earlier this month I posted about how I wanted to save on my cell phone bill.  After four weeks of trying out the cheaper, "seems to good to be true cell phone company", I am happily a new customer of Straight Talk.   I wanted to really check them out before switching from my old cell phone provider.  I also wanted to be certain before recommending them to my friend and fellow bloggers. 

I have traveled more than 6 hours away through rural areas, where At&t service was completely out and my Straight Talk was available...even the web and data!!  I finally imported my number and I had to deal with the customer service.  As per online reviews, their customer service had low scores, but I personally got an actual human with 2 minutes of calling on every occasion!!  That's big to me AND the human on the other end was polite, informative, and very helpful.  I did have to wait 3 days to get a new sim card in the mail.  That was totally my fault for activating the phone with a new number and then deciding to keep my old number.  They told me that it could take 5-7 business days to arrive, but they expedited with Fed Ex at no add't charge AND credited me for the 3 days that my phone was out. 

I recommend checking them out if you are out of contract with your current cell phone provider...Again, I have unlimited talk and long distance, unlimited text, and unlimited data and web for $45 a added taxes or fees either!    And if you don't need lots of web/data....for $30/mo you get 1000 min, 1000text, and 30 MB of data...not bad!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Organizing Seasonal Wardrobes

It is kid's consignment sale time and I have finished two of the three spring sales in my area!  Just getting rid of the outgrown clothes and clearing out the toys that are no longer played with feels great, but to actually make enough money to buy all new clothes for the next season feels just AWESOME!!!

This week I have been working on changing out the kid's wardrobe to get ready for spring...As I remove the winter clothes (keeping a few outfits out for these crazy snow days in March!) I put the ones that they will not be able to wear again next year into a tub marked  "Fall Sale"  and store them downstairs.  (if you lay them flat in the tub, you might get by without ironing!)

If they are big enough that I think they can wear them next fall again, I store them in another tub marked "fall kids clothes" and store them in their attics.  As I change out the wardrobes next fall, I can always add to the sale tub if the clothes end up too small. 

When I get out their spring clothes (of course I always have clothes saved from buying clearance ahead of time and yard sale finds)  I match them into outfits and hang them together in the closet.  I hang church dresses on one side of the closet and regular sundresses and outfits on the other.  I usually match up "play clothes" which are usually comfy stretchy shorts and tee shirts and fold them in a drawer.  I never have to worry if the kids will pick a matching outfit, I can ask them to go pick an outfit and they feel great getting to choose all by themselves...we are all happy this way :)   

hang matching outfits together

dresses all together too

play clothes folded in sets together

summer shoes ready in over the door organizer


I just love A Goddess of Frugality  She posted about how we can get a $10 mastercard for FREE gas sponsored by Kelloggs !!!

Get a $10 gas card for sending in 10 UPC cereal labels...and you can do it up to 5 times per family!!  Visit the link below to fill out the rebate form!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Make your morning JOE a bit stronger!

When I make coffee, I use a flat bottom measuring cup.  After you've put the right amount of coffe in the filter, take the bottom of the scoop and pack the coffee down.  It'll take longer for the water to drain through it, making your morning JOE a bit stronger!!! 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Dividing it up

I love to buy a package of food and divide it up into little snack size Ziploc for my makes me feel like one little bag of goldfish go a long way!!!

Sometimes when I get to the end of a cereal box, crackers, nuts, or chips....I'll just take time and do some dividing.  I use the little Ziploc snack bags to create little chex mix style snacks for the kids.  I have a little plastic bin that I keep them in.  It's a handy "go-to" when it's time to pack lunches too!

Much cheaper to do the dividing yourself and save BIG $ over purchasing pre-packaged snack size goodies :)

Be sure to comment with your blog so I can follow back!!  Have a blessed Thursday:)

 Tell Us Something Good

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Cover those grey's for FREE !!

Use mascara to run over the grey stand, or even touch-up roots with mascara that matches your hair color.  This works especially well for darker hair colors!!  Give it a try!!!  

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

FAMILY FUN magazine for only $3.99 !!!

I love THE FRUGAL GIRLS !!!   They just posted how to get a FAMILY FUN magazine subscription  for only $3.99  At checkout just enter the discount code:  FRUGALGIRLS

Saturday, March 12, 2011

I just earned a $5 Amazon card!!!

Family Friendly Frugality  posted how we can earn a $5 AMAZON gift card just for writing 5 reviews at Viewpoints  review site.  It was super easy!!!

I just picked a few products that I owned and had a personal experience to tell about and then went to work.  I love writing reviews and I love shopping at AMAZON, so it's perfect! 


Friday, March 11, 2011

Saving on my cell

I have been with Cingular/At&t mobile for years...I am out of contract and have prided myself on NOT re-entering a contract just to get a new phone.  I buy my phones "unlocked" on eBay or from a seller in China directly and have always loved what I got.  NOW, I want a BETTER phone service at a BETTER price!! 

I want to be able to text and get online without it costing me a fortune.  I started researching services and the rates for data packages is outrageous!!!  BUT...I found a prepaid, no contract, no credit, no strings attached cell phone package called Straight Talk.  They charge $45 per month and you get UNLIMITED talk, UNLIMITED text, and UNLIMITED web!!! I was worried about their service area...I wouldn't want to compromise, or have dropped calls, but I found out that they use the EXACT same At&t towers!   I am currently trying it out as we speak.  I am writing this post while waiting for my son to get out of school...I love it.  They also offer a $30 a month plan that has 1000 minutes, 1000 text, and 30MB of data. 

I did purchase a Nokia e71 with the package.   I can import my old number when I'm sure that I want to disconnect with At&T.  And ya wanna know the kicker???  I figured out how to get this prepaid sim card to work in my Unlocked phone...which means that you can keep your phone!!  (I may buy an unlocked iphone and switch over) I am really excited to research this phone service, I have 30 days to return the phone.  I think that phone companies charge way too much and hope this will help us all save some cash!!

Just Married with Coupons


Get 100 4x6 prints with FREE shipping for $5 !!!  Just Enter Code:  STPATPRNT  at Snapfish

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Kids Consignment Sale Part 1
I have less than two weeks to prepare my items for the largest kids consignment sale around...I am a total procrastinator!  Just thought I'd outline and show how I prepare...

I choose a designated area in my house to call my "sale room". (preferably kid free, too) It becomes cluttered with clothing, toys, books, ironing board, and hangers galore. 

The MAIN supplies that are needed are a notebook, packing tape, Ziploc bags in various sized, rubber bands, red marker, hangers, and a tagging gun or safety pins.  You also need card stock paper to print the tags.

Hangers are also the end of each sale you can grab a box full!!!

Each season when I change the wardrobes, I pack away items that my kids have outgrown.  I lay them flat inside of a plastic tote with lid.  That way when the sale comes around, I just dig out the totes and start selling!   I have a "sale" notebook that I start out by writing:  Size, Item description, and Price
As I get out an article of clothing, I either match it up to make a set or sell it as an individual piece.  I write it down in my notebook, make sure it is ironed, buttoned, and hung securely on a hanger. It has to face left on the hanger, like a "question mark".   I lay them in a pile in the order that I write them down...then my tags are in order to ease the tagging!

Some sales have an online pricing system that allows you  input your info and watch what sells and for what price.  It is a nice, but the sale I'm participating in this season, has an online bar code system that gives you the option of adding your item description or printing out blank price tags with only your consignor number and price bar coded.  This is so much easier for me because I can print out several pages of each price range I have and write in the item description.  I spend less time inputting info and don't have to match tags to each item.    

Sometimes I put my 7 year old to work, cutting these all apart!
I use Ziploc for all kinds of sale items, then I tape them closed and attach a tag

All ready to sell!

Kids toy sell great in baggies like this...this is the junk toys
 that you love to get rid of !!!

Remember how I mentioned "kid free" earlier??
 This is why..." Mommy I love these!"
I use paper sack to haul my stuff to the sale.  Anything disposable
that you can leave there saves time.  No waiting to get your tubs back!
Another tidbit:  Do NOT be the first appointment to drop off  OR the first for pick-up of unsold merchandise!!!   The reason:  At these huge sales, the items that arrive first always end up on the bottom of the pile, or in a box underneath, never to be seen!!   And pick-up is easier when many of the consignor's have already picked their items up...less waiting and your stuff is easier for the workers to find!  Trust me on these two things, I have done these sales for years and was always excited to get the first appointments available for both dropping and picking, I learned the hard way! 

There is so much more to tell, but for now...I am off to bed!  Happy Selling!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Making money to clothe my kids!

I love yard sales!!  We live in an area with lots of subdivisions and that means lots of homes having yard sales.  My sister and I usually head out by 6am on Saturday morning to start hitting them.   MOST of my kids clothes and toys are from yard sales. I find the most wonderful things for so cheap at sales.  Sometimes like-new clothes are 25 cents each...I know that sounds crazy, but my kids dress good.  I would never let them wear something with stains, holes, or anything that looks dated. 

When my kids outgrow the clothes,  I put them in the "kids consignment sales" and actually make a profit.  The extra money, I usually spend right back on them again or save some for more yard sales!  How can you go wrong?  Buy kids clothes cheap, let them wear them all season, then resell for more than you gave!!! 

Sometimes I feel that it's almost cheating the system, but then I remember that the people at the yard sales sell their stuff to "get it gone" and make some cash, so I'm helping them out.  I am keeping my kids clothed AND participating in the kid's sales that I love.  I also get to donate unsold items to local missions.  I honestly cannot imagine having to go out and buy my kids all new clothes!  I am so spoiled and I can afford to spoil my kids this way too!

Just Married with Coupons

I'm ready for the storm

To be prepared BEFORE a storm hits, I keep an emergency kit in the basement.  It contains, flashlights, batteries, first aid kit, a couple blankets, bottled water, and non-parishable foods.

There are a few things that I do when I hear that a severe storm is approaching.  Sometimes I feel ridiculous, but I know that "if" my house was damaged and I lost my belongings, there are a few items that I would try to save!!

  * FIRST, I herd my kids downstairs and get them situated.  I turn on the TV to watch weather updates.

* I grab the laptop (not b/c I care if I lose it, but b/c our family videos, pictures, finances, other importand documents are on it and if the electric goes out, we can stay updated on weather.  I do keep a back-up of family photos and important documents on CD in a fire-proof safe downstairs. Photos of each room in the house is nice to have in safe keeping, for insurance needs too.

* If time allows, (here's where my goofy part sets in) I will make sure I have my wedding ring, my Mom's ring, my camera, purse, my cell phone, and make sure my dog is tucked away safely with her blanket and bone (usually in my walk-in closet)...she refuses to come down the stairs to the basement, so I guess she would be a goner, BUT then the time I get all the stuff done...I may be a goner too!!!  LOL!!

Get some Lil' Cuties

Get a 3lb bag of Lil' Cuties at Wal Mart for $1.65 !!!   They are on sale for $2, but there is a coupon inside to save another $0.35 !!  YUMMY!!!

Energy star rebate through Ameren

We have allergies so bad and after repeated nudging from our doctor...we finally invested in an air purifier.  At Costco we bought a Therapure purifier with permanent filter. It uses UV light to eliminate bacteria, germs, and even viruses.  It has a Hepa permanent filter, and is Energy Star rated.  It was $99, but they offered a $50    Energy Star rebate through Ameren   Be sure to check out what other home appliances are included.

  Not sure if this is a coincidence, but there are no kids coughing in my home this morning!!!  Every night and especially every morning, we have been waking up to coughing and hacking...who knows, but I'm happy :)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Kids Consignment Sales

I have participated in kids consignment sales for several years now and totally depend on them for income.  I always use the money made at the sale to buy clothes and needed seasonal items at the sale for the kiddos.  I feel like it's a "full circle" kinda thing...I package up toys, puzzles, games, and clothes that they are grown out of, sell them, then buy them new stuff...I make sure to always have left over profits that usually go toward some sort of goal I have set.  This year, the sales will go toward my son's sports acitivities!!  I live in Missouri and have great luck with these two sales.

I put my stuff in the sale that is held first, the leftovers are retagged and put into the second or even a third sale.  The few unsold items that I get back will be taken to my favorite local consignment retail shop to be sold or donated.  It is a wonderful way to make extra money, get to shop, and clear unwanted items from our homes!  Below is also a link that finds the nearest consignment near you...

I will detail out my technique of pricing, tagging, and organizing for the sale as it happens, happy selling :)

Smart and Trendy Moms

FREE health care items

I talked to my health insurance company today to find out what changes had been made to my plan since the health care reform had passed. While I have been opposed to  some of the changes,  I found out some great news to pass on!  These are some of the preventative services that are now paid at 100% and does NOT require a copay or deductible payment:

Our kids can get a FREE eye exam!

ALL immunizations are now covered at 100%  (previously mine only paid $200/year for preventative)

Cholesterol, blood pressure, and diabetes screening

Obesity screening and counseling

Help to quit smoking/drinking

Behavioral/Autism screenings for children

Fluoride treatments for kids teeth

You can check out the details and the list in depth HERE !!!