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Home > Archive: August, 2007

Archive for August, 2007


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?


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:
Apple Juice
Orange Juice

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

Ceremony: $9.99
Reception: $46.70

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

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

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

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

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.

Sunday Coupons

August 23rd, 2007 at 08:06 am

Ok. I've decided to start couponing and I'm ready to get started!

I stopped by my mom's house yesterday and picked up all the coupons she had. This morning I started clipping all the ones that haven't expired.

I read online about shipping expired coupons overseas to military families. I think this is a great idea. Anyone ever do this? If so, anything I should know?

My mom gets the coupons mailed to her for free. So, I looked into the mailer she gets and found more information about it. Apparently the Atlanta paper puts together a REACH Jacket which has local coupons on it. Then, inside they put some Sunday paper ads and the Sunday coupons. They mail it out on Mondays & Tuesdays for free. I'm not sure how to get on the mailing list though. I've emailed customer service and hope to receive a response. It'd be great if I could get the coupons free too! Then, I'll have two packs of coupons every week for free.

I'm super excited and how that all works out with the Atlanta paper and I can get added to the list!

I'm back!

August 22nd, 2007 at 10:31 am

Wow. It's been over a year since I've blogged here.

I definitely learned a lot my first time around at savingsadvice.com and it feels great to be back.

I re-read a few of my previous posts and I wanted to provide an update.

I did purchase a car. It's a 1996 Toyota Camry and I've had it for a year now. I bought it with 90,212 miles and it had a clean Carfax report. Unfortunately, the dealership lied to me directly regarding quite a few things and I spent two months in and out of the dealership every few days. I probably hit about 30-45 visits during those two months. But, everything got fixed and it passed emissions (which wasn't tested before I bought it!!). It's been running great since. I've put 23,000 miles on the car in one year, which is actually much less than I expected.

I also read about purchasing Stone Mountain annual passes. We did use them pretty frequently, but not enough to justify buying them again this year.

I am still attending the college that is 47 miles away. This summer and fall, my classes have been online, so I haven't been making the drive too often. So, that has saved a lot of money.

I just got married a couple weeks ago, so I've pretty much spent the entire last year planning our wedding. I'm happy to say that we were able to have a wonderful wedding for less than $5k and we did not have to go into debt.

Now that I'm married and no longer living at home, I feel the need to get back on the money saving band waggon. My DH and I have a lot of financial goals & obligations. We want to do things right from the very beginning.

My DH works for a bank that will be selling or closing in the near future. He took a significant pay cut to get into the banking profession. Last week, he accepted an offer with another bank and will be making what he was before the pay cut. He'll start 9/5.

I am still working with the medical malpratice wholesaler. I actually received a raise a couple months ago.

So, right now we are working on saving money wherever we can.

We do not have cable, internet or a land-line phone.

I'm going to watch our cell minutes over the next couple months and see if we can decrease our family plan.

I am starting to collect coupons and watch the sales flyers.

We don't use our AC unless we absolutely must.

Right now our bank accounts are still separate, but we are going to try a joint account approach. We are waiting until my DH gets things set up with his new bank before we start moving our accounts around.

Right now we have an EmigrantDirect account for our savings. We plan on opening an ING Electric Orange Checking account. Then, we'll keep a local account at my DH's bank. Ideally, those will be the only accounts we will have open come the end of September.

I know this post is long, but I wanted to give everyone a basic understanding of where we are.

I plan to keep this updated on a pretty regular basis. I really want to put a lot of effort into saving money.