Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Saving money and other things

The past week I’ve been immersed in various money saving/making things. Last Tuesday I attended a couponing seminar held by Amber from Coupon Connections NW. Wow, it was so interesting! Lots of good tips and ideas. After I left the seminar I was able to go to Albertsons and buy 30lbs of flour for $6. That didn’t even require a coupon. I will never be a super-couponer, but I realized I could do soooo much better just by reading ads and buying smartly. We already do pretty good (in fact, I’d say quite good!) with our food budget, but there is always always room for improvement.

One of the things I heard about at the seminar was Amazon Mom. Its a program from just for parents and caregivers. Signup is free and no obligation (i.e. no credit card required). You get 15% off all baby items like diapers, wipes, clothes, etc. You also get Amazon Prime for 3 months, which is their free 2-day shipping program. Every time you spend $25 in a single purchase of baby items, you get an extra month of Prime. If you don’t spend $25 in baby items in a single order, your Prime will expire after 3 months. Again, no credit card required and thus no worries about something renewing when you didn’t expect it! I signed up on October 1, nicely taking me through the Christmas season and thus saving me quite a bit in shipping! I’ve never ordered diapers online because I felt like I was getting a fairly good deal in the store. Well, Amazon has GREAT prices! Especially if you sign up for Subscribe & Save, which gives you an additional 15% off and ships items to you automatically after a specified period (you can choose weekly, monthly, or longer deliveries. You can start and stop the automatically deliveries at any time.). I got brand name diapers for .10 cents a diaper, and brand name wipes for .01 cents a wipe! That’s awesome and shoot, can you beat having it delivered for free to your door with 2 day shipping? I highly recommend it!

Another thing I’ve started using this week is Swagbucks. Amber talked about this at the seminar. Its a program that gives you points for web searching. After you earn x amount of points, you can use those points for various things. The best deal is the $5 Amazon gift card (takes 450 points). You can earn points other ways by doing surveys or whatever, but since you already use search engines anyway, using their search engine and being awarded points automatically is the easiest way to accumulate. I’ve been using it for a week and I have over 600 points. They have a toolbar you can download that lets you easily search and earn points.

One more mention, since I have these things on my mind, I’m a member of Opinion Outpost and take surveys through them. Occasionally I do product testing. Its very easy to do, takes just a bit of your time, and you can earn money. Not a lot, but some. I’ve been doing it for about 1.5 years and just today hit the $250 in earnings. I’m saving it up for… something. Haven’t decided yet! After signing up, its important to fill out your profile because this is what generates your surveys. They have to know what you like and have in order to send you the right surveys!

Anyway, enough of that. I just have found all these things very interesting and hopefully they’ll help us save money in the future.

Now, the other things.

I have a bad virus and feel quite poorly. Yesterday it hit me FAST (woke up with a tiny sore throat, raging just a few hours later). I though for sure it was strep and so went to the walk in clinic for a test. Turned out not to be strep, but some viral infection that has been going around. Its pretty miserable. I was so disappointed it was not strep. Sounds funny, but I just wanted antibiotics so I could feel better and not be infectious quickly. I have to admit that I totally lost it on the way home. I just cried and cried. A real good pity party for myself. Then I cried when I was at home and kept crying most the night. I can’t explain why exactly, I just couldn’t stop. I was so tired, and felt so bad, and felt like, “Oh great, another part of my body that is broken/feels bad”. Jason wasn’t home either, so I was trying to feed and wrangle the kids and I just felt like I could not do one more minute of this. I just sat on the couch with the baby and cried.

Some people have wondered if perhaps I’m depressed because I’m crying so much lately, but I don’t feel depressed. I just feel overwhelmed and frustrated. I have to think that those feelings will pass in time. Most days I feel like we get by ok. I just focus on today and what I’m doing that minute and try not to over think. But when something goes wrong or frustrates me, I’m very susceptible to losing it immediately.

The kids are doing ok. Lessons have been going well (though we haven’t managed any since Monday this week) and Gwen is improving with her concentration and effort. Henry is an amenable child and and goes with the flow most days. He’s so awake and aware these days. Next week all the kids (even Elsa… my Mom is going to take her during the day while I school the kids) start swimming lessons again and this will help burn off the energy that overflows in excess this time of year and in our too small house/yard.

Jason was told that he’ll be getting a promotion at work! It hasn’t come through yet, but should in the next week or so. He’s really pleased, as am I! He’s worked hard for Costco and his boss has been great about recognizing this. Now only if his commute didn’t take almost 1 + hours each way…

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