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Reminder

November 5th, 2007 at 12:18 pm

Just wanted to remind everyone that I've moved my blog.

http://eisormoneymadness.blogspot.com/

Check it out! Smile

I've moved!

October 17th, 2007 at 12:32 pm

In order to better control my blog, I've decided to move.

It's been fun here on savingadvice.com.

Here's my new blog if you are interested:

http://eisormoneymadness.blogspot.com

I won $50!!!

October 17th, 2007 at 08:57 am

YAY!

I just received an email from RewardTV saying I won the $50-a-day Sweepstakes! Basically, if you do a TV Trivia game, you get entered into the sweepstakes for that day. I did a TV game on 10/16 and I won!

I have to wait 6-8 weeks to get my check, but I'm so happy!!

Below $3,000!!!

October 17th, 2007 at 07:52 am

DH got paid a few days ago and we've made progress on our debt. We now only owe $2,600!

It feels great to be under 3k!

Web Design

October 12th, 2007 at 08:41 am

Tomorrow will be my first time marketing my web design services. Our church does an annual "Word in Busines" breakfast where someone shares about how they've utilized the principles in God's Word in their business/career. It's also an opportunity for us to pass out our business cards and sign up to be in the directory. So, I'm going to put my name in the directory! YAY!

I may also put together a quick business card as well. But, I'm not sure I'll have time to do that.

I'm super excited!

ING Checking

October 11th, 2007 at 10:21 am

So, the staffing company I work for actually has my direct deposit set up already! I'm in shock. It's taken up to 6 weeks with some other employees. I only had to wait one week!

So, that means I'm earning interest on my money sooner than I thought! That's definitely a plus!

Also, I found out a way to link our Emigrant Direct account and our ING Checking. Once we add me to DH's local checking account, we can make our Emigrant account a joint account. Once it is joint, we can go ahead and add the link ING checking to Emigrant account. Basically, all Emigrant needs is a voided check. You can print this from the ING website.

You can't link through ING's site, because they require a check.

So, yippee! So far this account is working out great!

CVS Update

October 10th, 2007 at 10:38 am

Ok. Things yesterday didn't exactly go according to plan, but I did do well!

I found out today that this weekend, there will be a B1G1 Free Crest ProHealth toothpaste coupon. So, I'm going to wait to do that deal.

Also, there are going to be B1G1 Free Herbal Essence Shampoo coupons.

I also found out about this Beano Rebate. Making the Beano deal a HUGE money maker.

If you want to follow along with my deals at CVS, here is the spreadsheet I've set up:
CVS Spreadsheet

I think it is fairly simple to understand, but let me know if there is something you don't get.

Edit: Everything in BLACK has physically been done. Deals in BLUE have not been done yet. They are just my plans.


CVS Success

October 9th, 2007 at 11:47 am

I haven't posted in a week!

To start with, I've added $6 to my Adobe fund. It was income I earned doing a miscellaneous job for someone.

I recently joined www.hotcouponworld.com and I'm in heaven. It's a GREAT site. I've become addicted to CVS. I got a great deal last week and this week I'm getting even more great deals!


I had two coupons for Covergirl. They were buy one foundation get a powder, bronzer or concealer free. I found Covergirl foundation with a free powder attached to it! So, I got 2 foundations, 2 powders, a bronzer & a blush.

Here is the breakdown:
Covergirl Foundation $5.49
Covergirl Foundation $6.99
Covergirl Bronzer $6.99
Covergirl Blush $6.99
Total $26.46

CVS Coupon ($4/$20) -$4.00
B1G1 Coupon -$6.99
B1G1 Coupon -$6.99

New Total $8.48
Total w/tax $9.07

ECBs* Earned $5.00
*ECB = Extra Care Bucks

I really needed new makeup, so this was a great deal for me!


This week, I'm doing three different transactions/trips. (Note: I have 2 CVS cards.)

Transaction 1
Palmolive $1.49
Colgate Advanced $2.99
Colgate Max Fresh $2.99
Colgate Max Fresh $2.99
Clean & Clear $4.99
Clean & Clear $4.99
Clean & Clear $5.49
Playtex $4.99
Total $30.92

CVS Coupon -$4.00
Colgate Coupon -$0.75
Colgate Coupon -$0.75
Colgate Coupon -$1.00
Clean & Clear Coupon -$2.00
Clean & Clear Coupon -$2.00
Clean & Clear Coupon -$2.00
Playtex Coupon -$2.50
Palmolive Coupon -$0.25

New Total $15.67
Total w/tax $16.77
ECBs Earned $15.00

ECB Breakdown
Colgate $6.00
Clean & Clear $5.00
Playtex $3.00
Palmolive $1.00

Transaction 2:
Crest ProHealth $3.29
Crest ProHealth $3.29
Playtex $4.99
Colgate Advanced $2.99
Colgate Advanced $2.99
Colgate Advanced $2.99
Speed Stick $1.99
Total $22.53

CVS Coupon -$4.00
Colgate Coupon -$1.00
Colgate Coupon -$1.00
Colgate Coupon -$1.00
Playtex Coupon -$2.50

New Total $13.03
Total w/tax $13.94
ECBs Used $5.00
Total $8.94
ECBs Earned $17.08

ECB Breakdown
Colgate $6.00
Playtex $3.00
Speed Stick $1.00
Crest ProHealth $6.58
Quarterly $0.50

Transaction 3:
Crest ProHealth $3.29
Crest ProHealth $3.29
Palmolive $1.49
Palmolive $1.49
Speed Stick $1.99
Pledge Duster $2.99
Pledge Duster $2.99
Legg's Knee Highs $3.00
Total $20.53

CVS Coupon -$4.00
Palmolive Coupon -$0.40
Palmolive Coupon -$0.40
Pledge Duster -$3.00
Pledge Duster -$3.00
Legg's Sale -$0.75

New Total $8.98
Total w/tax $9.61
ECBs Used $5.00
Total $4.61
ECBs Earned $9.58

ECB Breakdown
Palmolive $2.00
Speed Stick $1.00
Crest ProHealth $6.58

So, my overall count for the two weeks ends up like this:
Total Spent $38.29
Total ECBs Earned $46.66

That's a $8.37 profit!

I'm really enjoying the challenge of finding the best deals. It's a lot of fun!

Paid off another credit card!

October 2nd, 2007 at 10:23 am

We paid off another credit card today!

It feels great!

Now that we've paid off all the wedding expenses except one. It feels real good to put our debt payment plan in action.

The last wedding expense we have is $270 that we still owe my dad. I should have that money this week. So, that'll be good! (NOTE: I have not included this in our debt total.)

Previous Debt Total: $3,758.95
Debt Payments: $519.96
New Debt Total: $3,238.99

A Great Weekend!

October 1st, 2007 at 08:43 am

This weekend was really good!

Friday
DH and I went to dinner and a movie. It had been almost a month since we went out on a date. We went to our favorite restaurant and used a BOGO free entree coupon. Then, we went to the movies. The movies are so expensive! But, it had been over 4 months since we saw a movie in the theaters. It was worth it. I'm going to purchase movie tickets through Entertainment.com to save money on the next time we go.

Saturday
We got up early to work on our apartment. We headed to Walmart to go shopping. We got a lot of needed personal items & groceries.

I have 4 sisters and we all live close to each other. Two of my sisters are moving away this week. My oldest sister decided to hire a photographer to take family photos. So, we did that right after lunch. It was lots of fun.

Then, DH went to the GA Tech vs. Clemson game. A friend of ours owns the security company that the news crews use. So, DH got to do security. He ended up getting to go out on the field after the game and into the locker room. A good friend of ours plays on the team as well. While he was there, I went shopping!!

I received a $75 gift card to my favorite clothing store, New York & Company for my birthday. To make a really long story short, I got $280 worth of clothes for $40 out of my pocket! I used the $50 off coupon in the Entertainment book. (I updated my savings column on the left.) I got a lot of great stuff for student teaching. I also spent another $30 at JcPenny on clothes that was on clearance & I had a coupon.

Sunday
Our bible study group had a going away party for my two sisters. Then, we had lunch with the family to spend some time together before my sisters leave.

DH got paid over the weekend, so we'll be making some CC payments. I'll update our numbers on the left when we do!

So, this weekend was great and I'm looking forward to a great week!

I've been published!

September 28th, 2007 at 06:35 am

My first tip has been published on Daytipper.com!!

It's the "Good gifts for couples" tip under 9/27.

My other tip will be published on Sunday!

Plus, a tip I submitted earlier this week has been accepted. So, I look forward to receiving an email letting me know it is going to be published!

So, in 7-10 days, I'll have $6 to add to my Adobe fund!

Adobe Fund Update

September 26th, 2007 at 07:42 am

I am decreasing my Adobe Fund to $500! I just realized that I need the Adobe CS3 Web Premium instead of the Design Premium. Design comes with Indesign and Web comes with Fireworks & Contribute. I already have Indesign and having Fireworks & Contribute for $100 less would be a nice bonus!

So, that's $100 less I need to save up for my software.

Some Updates

September 26th, 2007 at 07:12 am

Sadly, the curtains had to go back to Walmart. Our comforter apparently is NOT burgundy. It is more of a burnt orange/red color. So, burgundy curtains are definitely out. I'm going to have to find gold.

Good news though! I'm adding $90 to my Adobe fund! It's the money I got for my birthday!

Adobe Fund
Previous Total: $10
New Total: $100

I'm getting closer!!

Daytipper Publishing

September 25th, 2007 at 08:01 am

I just received notice that my 2 accepted Daytipper.com Tips are going to be published. One on 9/27 and the other 9/30. This is so much sooner than I expected! Yeah. That'll be $6 more for my Adobe fund. I'll add it when it arrives.

This definitely is encouraging to submit more tips. I think I might have to keep submitting.

Score!!

September 25th, 2007 at 07:31 am

I'm so happy!

Some background...
DH and I have been working on decorating our apartment. But, things can get very expensive. My sister gave us some cheap curtains that they were getting rid of, because we NEEDED something. There is a light post right outside our bedroom window. But, they are pretty ugly and boring. So, I've been watching all the sale flyers, checking ebay & craigslist and also the clearance everywhere I go.

Well, this morning, I stopped into Walmart for a CD mailer envelope. And, I passed by the clearance aisle. And, there they were...$7 curtains! It's a 5 piece set including 2 panels, a valance and 2 tassel tiebacks. I'm really hoping they look good with our bedding.

I want to go back to look at the clearance more. They had some canvas artwork on clearance for $15. I'm thinking I might pick something up for our bedroom.

Yesterday, I was reading up on Walmart's price match policy. So, I think I might try that out as well and do all our grocery shopping there. I'm currently NOT the biggest fan of walmart. But, it is growing on me. It really isn't too bad if you go at non-busy times.

Printable Coupons

September 24th, 2007 at 01:28 pm

A lot of the printable coupons I've printed aren't that great of a deal. But, I scored this weekend!

I had printed a ton of the Target $.50 tuna coupons. I had 1 tuna coupon from the paper. We got one 7oz pack free and then bought a bunch of $.62 cans for $.12! We are getting more this weekend.

I had two $2 Bertolli meals and went ahead and bought two of these from Target.

I had a $1 off Nature Valley Granola Bars Target coupon x 2 and $1 off purchase of two boxes manufacturer's coupon. Plus they were on sale 2/$4. So, we got 2 boxes for $.50.

I used the Target $1 off Oscar Myer Turkey at Target.

I also had a printable mustard coupon, for $.50 off. So, I went ahead and used it before it expired.

I had a printable coupon for $.50 off 2lb of bananas, which left them at $.27/lb.

I also got $.50 off something else, but can't remember at this time what it was.

I never knew how much could be saved with printable coupons! I'm definitely going to keep printing!!

Adding Money to the Fund

September 21st, 2007 at 07:50 am

I'm adding $10 to my Adobe fund! I finally have actual cash to put into the fund. I helped one of my co-workers with some Excel stuff for his company and he wanted to pay me for helping him. I've decided it's going right towards my software!

I have another $90 coming when DH finally gets his paycheck. He ended up borrowing my birthday money b/c he wasn't getting paid until the 30th for the whole month. But, we found out he actually did get paid on the 15th. They just didn't have the correct address (which he submitted with his employee paperwork). So, the check should arrive real soon. So, I'll get the $90 back to put towards my fund.

Also, I've been completing a bunch of surveys. I probably have about $20 worth completed. But, I won't add the money to my fund until I actually have it.

Lastly, I've been working for my dad's company and he'll pay me when I've accumulated enough hours.

Previous Adobe Total: $0
New Adobe Total: $10

Things are going well

September 19th, 2007 at 01:33 pm

It's been a few days since I posted last. Things are going well.

DH and I spent some money this past weekend, but we kept it to necessities. Like new driver's licenses! But, seriously, we didn't go out to eat at all this weekend. For us, that is an accomplishment. Friday night we made some absolutely AMAZING nachos. Yummy, yummy, yummy!! Much better than we could have bought anywhere! The best part, we really only spent about $5 on a whole pan. It ended up being enough for two meals!

We did go to Aldi for some groceries. We stocked up on some stuff, but still only spent $34.

I've been completing surveys online for the past week or so and that is going really good. By the end of the year, it should give me a good amount of money towards my Adobe software.

Plus, my sister just asked me to help her one day in October with her business. It isn't guaranteed unless she gets people to sign up. But, she will pay me if she ends up needing my help!

Also, I've been doing some miscellaneous business stuff for my dad's company. So, when he pays me, that will go towards my Adobe software budget as well.

So, plans are in place to get that adding up.

I've also decided that once I buy my software, I'm going to put the money I earn from these type of activities into a clothing fund. I'll be starting teacher next fall and I'd LOVE to get new clothes. But, it really isn't a need. I have a good amount of dress clothes. At least enough. But, I'd love to have a few more items. I feel guilty pulling the money out of our paychecks because it is just not necessary. So, I'm hoping this plan works out. Smile

Business Idea

September 13th, 2007 at 04:02 pm

I've been wanting to start my own web design company for a while now. I've taught myself a lot about web design and I feel I know enough to make simple websites for people who may not be able to currently afford one.

I've already decided that I just really can't take on this workload before I graduate. But, I still want to start planning for it now.

Although I could do without any additional software, it would make my life easier to have Adobe CS3. Or, at the very least, Photoshop & Dreamweaver (and maybe Flash).

Unfortunately, this software costs money, lots of it! Thankfully, I am a student and can purchase it at a discount. So, I'm looking at about $600 that I need to save up in order to get the software.

I've decided that I'm going to figure out a way to save up this money before I graduate in May 2008. The only rule is I will not spend any money from my weekly paycheck.

I've already signed up to do surveys. So, I've decided that any money I receive in the form of a giftcard, I'll go ahead and exchange it for cash out of my paycheck. Then, I'll use the giftcard for something that I would have normally used cash for.

I also am going to try to sell some items on ebay and craigslist. This includes quite a few wedding items, which I should be able to make a little more for. I am also going to include the sale of my wedding dress in my savings.

So I think with selling a few things and doing quite a few surveys, I could save up enough money to buy my software.

Anyone have any other ideas to earn more money?

One down, Two more to go!

September 12th, 2007 at 06:41 am

Ever since I got my credit cards, I've used them for everything. Food, Gas, Shopping, etc. But, I paid them off every month. Even when I charged a $1,000+ car repair one month, I found a way to make sure I paid it off in full.

My DH was doing the same for a while. Then, he lost his job and was unemployed for 2 months. We were only dating at the time, so our finances weren't combined yet. He ended up charging a lot of his expenses and racked up a little bit of debt. When he took his new job, he took a pretty significant pay cut. I ended up paying for all the wedding expenses and my DH tried his best to pay down his cards. Now that the wedding is done and paid for and my DH has a new job (with much higher pay), we've been working on paying down the credit cards. So, I'm happy to say that we paid off one more this week! YAY!

So, now we only have two left. One has a very small balance >$300 and the other has a higher balance (for us) but isn't earning interest (at least until next April).

Last week, we worked out a plan for our finances. We are going to continue to use my income for all of our expenses except part of the rent & utilities. Then, DH gets paid twice a month. We are going to use one full paycheck towards debt and the other one towards rent, utilities and his gas money. We plan to start implementing this once he receives his first paycheck from his new job. Which should be on the 30th.

I also wanted to add that we are kind of doing Dave Ramsey's plan. We have $1000 in the bank for an emergency fund. Now, we are paying off our debt. Then, we'll put that money into savings to increase our emergency fund.

Getting Better

September 11th, 2007 at 09:12 am

I forgot! Over the weekend we purchased our Entertainment Book. We got it for $20, which is $5 less than the online price for our city.

Also, I called Ingles yesterday and the manager actually answered the phone! I asked what I needed to do to complain about some bad produce we purchased. He said he'll replace the avocados and also reimburse us! So, next week when we go in, we'll get $8 back and 4 avocados! YAY for great customer service!!

Today, I got a card from my parents. It had a check for enough money to cover dinner on Saturday night. So, now I don't feel so bad about the amount we spent!

So, I looked at my credit card rewards and I'm up to a little over $300. My DH had $130 worth, but we used that towards a car repair he had done. I'm really trying not to use the rewards on something we need. I really want to use them for something fun. I'm thinking we'll keep saving them up. I'm thinking we might use them for a Bose sound system, a flat panel TV (small one), a fancy digital camera, or towards our Cruise in December. The cruise would be practical, but would allow us to do more while we are on the boat. We'll see.

Need to Get Back on Track

September 10th, 2007 at 09:22 am

Wow! This weekend was tough. Things didn't exactly go according to plan on Saturday, so we ended up spending more than we expected.

Friday was ok. The concert wasn't what I expected it to be like. Kenny Chesney moved his Atlanta concert to Hifi Buys Amphitheater this year and it's an outdoor venue. Consequently, the GA no smoking law does not apply. So, there was a huge cloud of smoke over the whole venue all night. Everyone around us got completely drunk. One guy completely trampled over (yes, actually walked on) my little sister and my dad had to chase him down. But, the music was good. I liked Sugarland more than Kenny though.

Saturday, DH and I got up really early to get a move on grocery shopping and what not. We ended up buying a few items that weren't on our list. We spend $20 unexpected dollars at Target. But, we used a giftcard for that purchase, so it wasn't too big of a deal. We went to Walmart to buy some healthcare stuff that we needed. Only to find out yesterday the same stuff was on sale at Rite-Aid this week. We could have saved another $5. Oh well. We went to Macy's to use up a giftcard and a coupon I had. We only spent ~$9.08 of our own money. I really wanted to not go over the giftcard, but I'm happy about our purchases. Lastly, we went to Ingles and bought groceries. We really didn't splurge, so I'm happy about that!

We purchased avocados to make guacamole for a meeting we went to on Sunday. But, they were all brown on the inside. Frown I called them today and the manager said that they'll reimburse me AND give me new avocados! So, YAY for good customer service! I'll go on Saturday to get this!

Next, we headed to the GA Tech football game. We know one of the players really well, so we get free tickets when we go. But, my DH spent way more than I wanted to. We went way over budget. We did discuss it and agreed we won't be going to the games for a while. Although we get free tickets, the cost still adds up with parking, food, drinks, etc. So, we are just cutting it out for now.

Then, we went to dinner with my friends for my birthday. We didn't plan this until half way through last week, so it was an unplanned expense as well. We really wanted to enjoy ourselves since it was my 21st birthday. We did use a coupon, but we did spend a good amount as well. Frown

So, this week we are going to keep it really cheap. We were going do a garage sale with my sisters this weekend, but we are pulling out. We just have time to properly prepare for it. We will sell all our large items though. So, we should be making money instead of spending it this weekend! YAY!

So, that's the weekend update.

2008 Entertainment Book

September 6th, 2007 at 09:30 am

My mother used to buy these books every year when my sisters sold them for marching band. She'd use them probably enough to make her money back, but wasn't too faithful at using it.

I've been debating for a while now if it'd really be worth it.

I did some research and I found out that Entertainment.com has printable coupons that you get free with your registered entertainment card. I did the trial and got 3 coupons which we'll probably use this weekend for my birthday.

After a little more research, I found the following sites, which have the same printable coupons:

3 Free coupons per year per registered email address
http://www.saversguide.com/custom/hotels/default/jsp/content/pages/login.epi

4 Free coupons per month
http://www.saversguide.com/custom/demoprint/default/jsp/content/pages/splash.epi

It didn't even appear you had to register for the second link!

So, now I have access to all the printable coupons I could need. So, that is no longer a selling point for the Entertainment book.

I did notice that the online coupons don't really have any of the national chain stores that the actual book has. To me, these would be the most valuable. I know the Atlanta book has the following coupons that I would find very useful:

Kroger - $5 off $75 purchase (one for each month)
Target - free 4x6 photos
New York & Company - $25 off $75 OR $50 off $150

In my research I also heard about the new Maxcard. It seems like a pretty interesting idea. It is also $14.99 more than the Entertainment book. I didn't see any coupons there that would make it worth the extra cost. I couldn't find out if it included Kroger discounts or Target. I did notice it had a 10% discount for Kauffman Tires, which is where I get all my car maintenance done. But, I already get a discount there because we are valued customers.

So, I think I've decided to go ahead and get the 2008 Entertainment book. I really think, in the end I'm going to save more than I end up spending. Plus, I'm going to see if some of the high school students I know are selling them this year. That way, I'll be helping them out as well.

So, do you buy the Entertainment book? Do you find it worth the money? Are there any tips or tricks to getting the most out of it?

A Good Week So Far

September 5th, 2007 at 01:51 pm

DH started his new job on Tuesday! One perk of his new job is that he no longer has a 20 mile commute. But, he found out Tuesday that he'll be making that same 20 mile commute for at least another week while he is training. Thankfully he'll be getting mileage with this job!! ~$20 a day! So, yay for that!

We've been doing really well at packing our lunches and not eating out. Aside from our mini-vacation last weekend, we've only eaten out once in the past 3 weeks. For us, that is a huge accomplishment!!

Last night we finally set up our ING checking account with the $25 referral link from my co-worker. My DH is a bank teller and his old bank offered their 3% interest bearing account to all the employees. But, we had to downgrade to free checking since he no longer works there. So, the ING account will make up for that loss and still have a higher interest rate. It's going to take at least a week or two to get things all situated with how we are going to make things work. But, I'm sure it'll be fine.

I still need to get my name changed with SSA and the DMV. It's becoming pretty difficult with work, school, banks, etc. going by two different names. It's about time I get everything finalized and official. I think I'm going to go to the SSA tomorrow and then on Saturday morning, I'll head to the DMV.

Tonight I'm stopping by Walgreens to pick up some business envelopes. They are running a sale 2/$.99. That is a great deal! And, we really really need some. When I was living at home, my parents always had envelopes available. I have about 4 things I need to mail out and no envelopes!

Speaking of mail, I'm sending in my Walgreens & Kellogg rebates tomorrow. I ended up purchasing my Kellogg products from CVS and paid less than $2 an item for them. I also had a $4 off coupon for CVS. So, I'll end up spending only $5 for 10 Kellogg products! As for Walgreens, I spent a gift card I had, so I actually won't be spending any of my own money when it is all said and done.

So, this week has been going really good. This weekend should go well also. Friday night my dad is treating his girls (all 6 of us) to the Kenny Chesney concert. Then, Saturday is my birthday! I think we are going to the GA Tech football game and maybe using up some BOGO bowling or putt putt coupons. Sunday I have an all day church meeting. So, this weekend should be pretty good on the wallet!

Rite-Aid Store Coupons

September 4th, 2007 at 07:49 am

I tried a Google search and didn't come up with much.

This week's Rite-Aid ad has some Manufacturer's coupons in it. I know normally you can use only one manufacturer's coupon per item. But, the Rite-Aid coupons say they are only valid at Rite-Aid. Does anyone know if I can use both the Rite-Aid coupon and one from the Sunday paper?

I found one place online saying you could, but it hadn't been tested yet.

Daytipper

August 30th, 2007 at 06:23 am

Ok, I heard about this site from an online friend of mine. She had two tips accepted, so I thought I'd give it a try. I ended up submitting 8 tips one day last week.

So, I have received responses on all my tips. 6 were rejected, but 2 were accepted!

I don't get paid until they are published, which could be months. But, it still means I have $6 coming my way! Smile

Reward Programs

August 29th, 2007 at 09:44 am

Ok. I love rewards. I think they are great. I've already redeemed ~$320 worth of rewards from my credit cards. My DH got ~$65 from his Costco American Express and another ~$35 from his Costco Executive membership last year. He just also redeemed ~$135 worth of credit card rewards.

Here are the credit cards we have that give rewards:
Citibank mtvU Student
Citibank Drivers Edge Student
Citibank Drivers Edge
Costco American Express
Macy's Store Card

Those are the only cards we actually are using right now. The rest are on ice, literally.

We also have a Marriott Rewards card and apply our Hertz rentals to this program as well.

I love shopping through the ThankYou Network Merchant program. I ordered a good amount of wedding purchases through here and got a lot of extra points.

So, this week my DH and I were working on using some of our Target giftcards to purchase some needed items that we did not receive off our registry. I was kind of bummed that we'd be spending all this money and there was no way to get any rewards from it! Well, I found a way!

The Marriott Rewards Mall! The rewards aren't as good as getting ThankYou Network points, but it is better than nothing! The Marriott Mall is running a special for select stores (Target being one of them) where you get double the rewards if you order by 8/31. So, we were able to get ~2,500 Marriott points with our giftcard purchases. That is 1/3 of a room. So, after our trip this weekend, we will have earned one free night.

I'm super excited that I found a way to get all these points!

My first try!

August 27th, 2007 at 07:25 am

Ok, over the weekend was my first try at couponing and buying the sales. I think we did pretty good.

Basically, we spent $81.08 and saved $34.43 ($23.93 card savings, $10.50 coupon savings). That is 30%. Not too bad for our first try. Our purchase did include 4 frozen pizzas ($16 worth) that were barely on sale and I didn't have a coupon for. DH insisted on having them.

I think our best deal was Johnsonville Premium Pork Sausage. Our grocery store had it marked 1/2 off at $1.50 and I had a $1 off coupon. So, we only paid $.50. Plus, the packaging had another $1 off coupon, which we'll use when it goes on sale again.

Today, I'm heading to Walgreens. I've been wanting to get some candles & plugins for our apartment, but have been putting it off because the cost can add up real quick. Well, Walgreens is having a pretty good deal on a bunch of different brands/styles, and of course I have coupons. So, I'm going to stock up on a few things. Best of all, I have a giftcard, so it'll be no cost to me!

I don't know much about how Walgreen's rebates work. I have a couple questions:

1. Is there any way I can submit more than one rebate? If so, do I need to do separate purchases?
2. Do I send the rebate in at the end of the month?
3. What is this I've read about the giftcard 10% option? Anyone have any details?
4. Lastly, anyone have any tips or tricks regarding Walgreen's rebates?

Thanks!

Budget Wedding

August 24th, 2007 at 10:58 am

Can it really be done?

YES! My DH and I spent ~$5,000 on our wedding. We had a full meal reception and 120 guests.

We don't have too many photos just yet, but here are a few:






Our ceremony & reception were held at a banquet hall that I worked at for 3 years. We received a good discount that helped with the food/facility costs. I cannot reveal our cost, but we did come out under $2500 for the food & facility.

Our ceremony was at 9:30am and our reception was immediately following. Our menu was as follows:
Biscuits
Gravy
Grits
Eggs
Sausage
Muffins
Fruit
Hashbrowns
Apple Juice
Orange Juice
Milk
Coffee
Tea
Water
Cake

Here is a breakdown of our costs:
Bride's Attire
Wedding Dress: $109.60
Alterations: $35.00
Pressing: unknown, gift
Shoes: $4.24
Jewelry: $9.68
Undergarments: $47.68
Rehearsal Dinner Dress: $38.15
Hair Comb: $17.00

Groom's Attire
Suit: $159.00
Alterations: $10.00
Cleaning: $8.00
Shoes: ~$50
Tie: $11.40

Music
Ceremony: $9.99
Reception: $46.70

Stationary
Save the Dates: $10.60
Invitations: $235.85
Postage: $90.58
Thank Yous: $19.95
Postage: ~$20 (still in progress)

Decorations
DIY Silk Flowers*: ~$145
DIY Fresh Flowers**: $88.98
Lollipop Bouquets: $14.24
Candles: $1.98
Flower Girl Basket: $2.64

*includes 2 large arrangements, 2 medium arrangements, 15 centerpiece rings, and arch
**includes 4 bouquets, 9 boutonniere, 5 corsages and a cake topper

Cake
Wedding & Groom's: $320, gift
Groom's Cake Topper: $2.99

Miscellaneous
Wedding Website: $7.20 and lots of TIME
Magnet Favors: $34.96
Cookie Favors: unknown, gift
Rings: $722.79
Gifts: $521.20
Guestbook: $16.95

Other
Bridesmaid Dresses^: $38.15 each
Bridesmaid Shoes^^: $5.30 a pair
Bridesmaid Jewelry^^: $2.89 a set
Bridesmaid Flip Flops^^: $.80 a pair
Groosmen Gift Ties^^: $12.68 each
Groosmen Ties^^: $11.40 each
Flower Girl Dress^: $37.10
Flower Girl Jewelry^^: $2.89 for set

^Not including in budget b/c paid for individually
^^including in gift category

The only category that was WAY over budget was the Gift category. But, this included gifts to the shower hostesses, bridal party, parents and our photographers (who all did it for free).

We did not hire a DJ, Florist, Photographer, Videographer, Stylist or Transportation. Hair/makeup, music and flowers were DIY. We had friends do the photography. We did not do any videotaping of our ceremony or reception. We had a rental car for our honeymoon (included in breakdown below) that we used as our getaway car.

I did not include the rehearsal dinner in the budget because that was not a cost we covered. My MIL covered the cost and budgeted $1000 for 55 guests. Due to a last minute location change, I think she ended up going slightly over.

For details and pictures of all the things listed above, please check out this site.

That site will also explain how I was able to get a lot of things as inexpensively as I did. The site has not yet been updated, so there are some things not on there.

If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment.

Spending & Saving

August 24th, 2007 at 09:47 am

So, I found out yesterday that I have to shell out $48.50 for a background check! They changed the policy this semester regarding our observing & student teaching. The previous policy required a $5 background check be preformed for Student Teaching experiences. Now, a $48.50 background check must be completed before doing any type of observing or teaching in a school. Although I student teach next semester, I am taking an observation class this semester.

So, the $5 fee I was expecting to pay in January, just increased $43.50 and must be paid NOW!

Lastly, my DH called Allstate to change our renter's insurance from one apartment to another (same complex). It tripled!! We downsized, and our insurance tripled! Thankfully, I called Statefarm today (who my insurance is with) and we'll be saving $16.92 a month! YAY! Also, my DH realized, he'd save about $50 every 6 months by transferring his auto insurance over as well. So, come October, we'll have all our insurance with State Farm (except my ring).

That brings me to my next subject, jewelry insurance. Currently, my engagement ring is insured on a separate policy with Jeweler's Mutual. The policy is pretty cheap, or at least I think. Our renter's insurance only covers $1,000 worth of jewelry. My ring is worth $2,500 and my DH's wedding band is $600. So, I figured the renter's insurance can cover the band and we'll keep the separate policy for my engagement ring. To increase the coverage on our renter's insurance, it would cost $2-3 a month more, and that'd still be more than our separate policy. So, no savings to be had there. (Unless I'm missing something).

I also saved more money yesterday. I am a Business Education major and my program is always changing to keep up with the technology. This semester they changed the software we are to use for my class. Unfortunately, I do not have the new software. So, I had to re-budget for traveling to my school just to do my homework. That would cost me ~$8 a trip. That costs adds up real quick. Thankfully, I found out yesterday, we can borrow the software from the school as long as we sign an agreement saying we'll uninstall it after the class is over! This is the first semester they have done this, so I'm super excited! I paid them a $10 deposit, that I'll get back when I return the software. So, "YAY!" for more savings!

Lastly, my DH just got a new job because his current employer is selling/closing. Well, he was offered a pretty nice bonus if he stayed until they closed or were sold. We decided that it wouldn't be best for him to stay, and he should accept the new position. Well, it looks like his company may be sold next week. If this happens, he'll still get his bonus! So, we are praying that it does get sold, because that money will definitely be great to put in the bank.


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