Archive for the ‘saving money’ Category

  • More on saving money

    Date: 2010.07.23 | Category: saving money | Response: 1

    In yesterday’s post I forgot to mention a few other sites I like-

    www.restaurant.com

    www.groupon.com

    http://deals.mamapedia.com

    All three of these companies offer local deals, so you’ll have to see if they’re available in your area.  I’ve purchased several $25 gift certificates through restaurant.com for $2 each- not a bad deal!  I’ve also used their site to purchase gift certificates for others- an easy way to send a meal to someone after they’ve had a baby!  Groupon and mamapedia both offer a deal of the day- right now I could purchase $86 worth of gymnastics classes through mamapedia for $28 if I were interested.  If you know you’ll be traveling you could easily sign up ahead of time for the area you’ll be visiting- you might discover a yummy restaurant or score 1/2 off of an attraction that you were planning to visit anyway!  Another deal a day site that my husband is a big fan of is www.woot.com– he’s purchased several items at significant savings through their site.  Like groupon and mamapedia, they send an email with a deal of the day- if you’re interested you buy it, if not just wait for the next deal.

    After yesterday’s post I had a few friends suggest savings sites that they use- two that caught my eye are-

    http://myfrugaladventures.com/

    http://thefrugalgirls.com/

    I have one other idea for today that friends of mine have put into practice.  This isn’t an online deal, but I think it’s so great that it’s worth mentioning.  For the kids birthdays they’ve asked the grandparents not to give toys, but rather to gift them an experience.  Sometimes the grandparents pay for swim lessons or soccer registration.  They could treat the child to a day at an amusement park or a children’s museum.  They could take a granddaughter to an event at the American Girl store or to a salon for a new haircut and pedicure.  You get the idea… if there is something that your children would love, but if it’s just not in the budget why not ask the grandparents to provide it?  We all have too many toys laying around the house anyway!

    melody

  • Saving money online

    Date: 2010.07.21 | Category: saving money | Response: 0

    I’ve been snooping around the internet lately- discovering new blogs, clicking on links to see where they take me.  One of the subjects I discovered is this whole world of online savings.  Did you know there are entire blogs devoted to saving money?  There are blogs that give you budgeting tips and hints, blogs that tell you all the latest deals at your local grocery store, blogs that give you links to coupons and coupon codes, blogs that tell you where to find a great deal on almost anything!  I had no idea.  All this time I’ve been bumbling along saving money on my own and there was an entire community of savers out there just waiting to welcome me.

    I’ve mentioned before that I am trying to simplify my life.  During this process I’ve discovered that I can generate income by saving money as well as by earning it.  In fact, when I save $40 it’s even better than earning $40 because we don’t have to pay taxes on it (again)!  If I save $40 or $50 with an hour’s worth of research, or coupon clipping, or what have you that’s a nice hourly wage!

    I’ve started following a few financial savvy blogs- some that are local and some that aren’t.   Money Saving Mom and her family purchased their first home recently- using 100% cash!  Jennifer of Balancing Beauty and Bedlam haunts the local thrift stores and puts together designer outfits for under $15.  Colorado Springs Bargains lists local stores and restaurants and the deals they’re offering.  Tasha of Thriftliving comes up with all kinds of out of the box ideas to creatively save money.  You get the idea.  By simply checking in on a handful of blogs each week I am learning all kinds of ways to decrease our spending and increase our income.  Tasha recently posted a clever birthday gift idea.  Money Saving Mom introduced me to ebates and cashbaq.  Several of these blogs publish coupons that if I had a working printer I could simply print off of their sites!

    A few of my favorite money saving blogs are

    http://thriftliving.wordpress.com/

    http://moneysavingmom.com/

    http://beautyandbedlam.com/

    http://springsbargains.com/

    Upon discovering them, I signed up with both ebates and cashbaq.  Both sites offer a percentage back to you when you click through their site while doing your online shopping.  This week I bought 2 books online.  I found the best price, then went to ebates and discovered that if I clicked through to the store I was going to use anyway I’d get 4% cash back.  Easy!  I sometimes buy our diapers through diapers.com- I discovered that I can get 1-4% back for those purchases.  Every year I do quite a bit of Christmas shopping online, so I’m hoping this will reduce the money we spend come the holidays.  (If you use my link to ebates or to cashbaq I get a referral bonus too!)

    http://www.ebates.com/rf.do?referrerid=5FlDfNheQcTjZFvTYKaaFw%3D%3D

    http://www.cashbaq.com/?refer=517113

    I’ve also started using swagbucks as my search engine.  I downloaded a simple toolbar and now instead of using google (sorry Heidi) I search with swagbucks.  I win points that I can redeem for gift certificates and cash just by doing a search.

    http://www.swagbucks.com/refer/melschoter

    Now, none of these resources will make me rich on their own, but together I’m hoping to start seeing some significant savings.  If I can save several hundred dollars a month I can rehire the cleaning lady- now that’s a goal worth shooting for!

    I’d love to hear how you’re family is saving money and what resources you’ve discovered to help you do it.  Are there other blogs that I haven’t yet discovered that you love?  Let me know!

    melody

  • Simplicity

    Date: 2010.06.23 | Category: faith, saving money | Response: 2

    Simplicity is a word that’s being thrown around alot lately.  I seem to see it everywhere I look- on the covers of magazines and books, in the headlines, on the blogs.  I’ve traditionally been a “stuff” person.  I figure if some is good then more must be better, right?  But lately I’ve been thinking that maybe LESS really can be MORE.

    Three years ago Chris and I were richly blessed with the proceeds from the sale of our California house.  We used that money to buy a home that is much larger than anything we’d ever even dreamed of owning.  Our logic was that we have the money, we plan to have a house full of kids, we want to have rooms available for guests, and we want to be able to open up our home to our friends and family for gatherings and the like.  And we’ve done all of that with it.  We’ve housed family (including 4 people and a dog for 2 months!), missionaries, and friends.  We’re filling up those bedrooms one kid at a time.  We’ve hosted Christmas and Thanksgiving for 15+.  In the past 6 months we have had houseguests for a total of 4.5 months!

    On the other hand it’s just so much.  I can’t keep up with the housekeeping.  Chris can’t keep up with the yard.  We seem to be accumulating possessions by the truckload because “we have the space to store it”.  Sometimes I find myself reminiscing about the old days when we only had 1150 square feet to maintain.  It was so much more manageable.  And yet we crammed 20 in for bible study regularly.  We hosted big holiday meals.  We had overnight guests.  Neither of us grew up in a home with an extra bedroom or extra space.  We were cozy and we liked it that way.

    And it’s not just housing, it’s technology and possessions and activities and life.  It all seems so much more complicated than it has to be.

    I recently read Living with Less so your Family has More by one of my favorite authors, Jill Savage.  Her premise is that when we choose to live with less- less commitment, less possessions, less debt, less rat race we free up more time and energy and joy.  We have time to sit and connect with our spouse.  We have time to play with the kids.  We have time to do the things we love.  We have energy to do what is important to us because we’re not wasting it on other things.  This book really resonated deep within me.  I’m tired.  I feel pulled by a million good things and don’t know how to accomplish everything I want to do.  I want to invest in relationships rather than things.  To invest in the best rather than the good.

    I’m currently reading Radical by David Platt.  This book takes a hard look at Christianity in America today and challenges us to put aside the American dream for the sake of the gospel.  I was pretty skeptical when I opened this book.  I wasn’t sure that there is anything wrong with the American dream.  I wasn’t sure that there is anything wrong with today’s church model.  But I’ve changed my mind.  The problem with the American dream is that it values reliance on self when we are actually dependent on God.  The problem with today’s church is that it is focused inwardly when it should be focused outwardly.  Why is one preacher preaching to a room full of people who already know the gospel when there are so many in our world who have never heard it?  Why is it that missionaries are the exception rather than the norm when we have all received the Great Commission- “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and Son and Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28:19)?  How many people have I personally reached with the gospel?  How many disciples have I made?  How is it that I can justify living in a 2800 square foot house with a closet full of clothes and a pantry full of food when there are so many living in extreme poverty?  How can I rest knowing that I sponsor one child through Compassion when there are thousands upon thousands more children in such great need?  How can I ignore the urgent physical needs of those in war torn countries?  In remote villages?  In populations devastated by disease and death?

    It’s one thing to simplify my life, my spending, and my calendar so that I’m more rested and feel more in control of my life.  It’s another thing entirely to simplify my life for the sake of spreading the gospel.  To spend less on me so that I can give more to those who truly need it.  To do without, not so that I can invest in retirement or my children’s college education but so that a child can eat today.  Or a village can have clean drinking water.  Or medicine.  Or shelter.  Or the hope of the gospel.  Yikes.

    This all is going to require some serious prayer.  Serious serious prayer.  I value your feedback.  Have you read Radical?  Has your heart been tugged for those who need Christ so desperately?  Has the church lost it’s way?  Are we really being obedient to Christ?

    melody

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