Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Some good deals and extra income

I decided to use my $10 JC Penney coupon towards some new jeans, which I have been needing for work attire. I got some nice black jeans. They were regularly $36, on sale for $19, so I got them for $9!  Dd had an Aeropostale $10 coupon, so she got some fragrance she's been wanting for $2.50.

I know this isn't exactly "frugal" but I love reading magazines, it's a nice way for me to relax.  I only get them if I can get them free or a big discount. has Family Circle for $3.20 per year, for up to 4 yrs! I got 3 yrs for less than $10!  Figured that was worth a little splurge, especially since I'll be working a little more to earn extra income - I'll need some relax time.

The little accounting side job I made about $600 on is turning into something more long term.  I'll be doing their bookkeeping and misc. accounting needs on a remote basis.  This is for a company that the company I work for sold off this branch.  I know the system and they only need part time help and don't want to have to train and spend the extra money right now.  So, I think it will be at least $300-400 per month extra to me, which is much welcome. Helps keep us off the "edge" of my budget and will allow for a little savings each month. Wooohooo!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Saving where I can

I try to take advantage of any coupons I can to save money.  One nice little "perk" I get in the mail every few months is a $10 coupon from JC Penney. This is good on any purchase $10 or more.  I seem to get 4-5 of these a year in the mail (on my birthday I got a $15 coupon).  In the past I've tried to use them towards something as close to $10 as possible, so I am out of pocket very little (usually just tax).  Things like socks, underwear or a shirt.  My plan for this year is to use them to purchase towels and washcloths, to replace those in my linen closet that are getting old and worn.  With my $15 birthday coupon I got in January, I was able to get a towel and 2 washcloths, that were on sale half price.  I just got another $10 in the mail yesterday, so am hoping they will be on sale again during the 2 week period the coupon is good for.  I'm hoping by the end of the year, I will have about $50 worth of new towels/washcloths for free :-)

Another way I earn about $60-$75 a year is through Swagbucks. I do searches daily and earn swagbucks.  When I have enough "bucks" I trade them in for $5 Amazon gift cards.  With this money I usually try to purchase my pets flea treatments.  I have found they are much cheaper through Amazon than the online pet supply stores. For the cat I can get a Frontline or Advantage flea treatment "kit" for very cheap. I just have to measure out the doses with a little eye dropper, but it's really easy.  With our big dog, the doses are already as big as you can get, so I have to purchase in the normal individual type doses, usually 4-6 months in a box.

When I get MyCokeRewards codes I trade them in towards free magazine subscriptions.  I love getting magazines, but I hate paying for them.  I don't get as many codes as I used to since I don't buy Dasani water anymore (Walmart now has their own brand for $2.97 per case) but we do occasionally buy Coke and Minute Maid lemonade in cans.

I also use MyPoints and get another $80 or so a year in giftcards.  Mostly I get my points by opening the daily emails, but I also try to use MyPoints whenever I am making an online purchase. For example, I purchased one of my son's textbooks through Barnes & Noble and got 12 points per dollar spent. This gave me about 864 points - equivalent to about half the points needed for a $10 giftcard.  I usually either get a Walmart or Starbucks giftcard.  The Walmart giftcards are nice to reduce my grocery bill, but the Starbucks are so nice to have a little treat once in a while :-)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Doctor visits and extra money

It's been busy with some doctor appointments for Ds.  He got an ingrown toenail. We tried the "home remedy", which didn't much help so went in to the doctor.  They didn't have anyone on staff that day who could cut the nail back, so the PA ended up giving him some antibiotics and the "home remedy" we had already been doing.  He tried that for 9 days and then I called the podiatrist office that was recommended by the PA and they had a wait until May 7th! (but would put us on the call list because they always have cancellations, said the lady).  So then I called back the pediatricians office to see if someone would be in who could remove part of the nail and they had someone on Wednesday.  So, it's on the mend now, with more antibiotics.  At least the antibiotics were only $4 each at Walmart.  The antibiotic ointment from the first visit ended up being $12.60, but still not too bad.

I've already been online with our insurance company to see that our deductible share of the first office visit will be $87.  I don't even want to know how much the 2nd visit will be! I used to work at this pediatricians office in the billing dept and I recall this type of procedure is expensive.  We have a large deductible to meet, but at least there is a negotiated rate with our insurance to bring the cost down some.

I've been working a little side accounting job and just got a check for $600, so can use that towards the doctor bills to come, without having to dip into our regular budget/income.  I thought this little side job would be complete after I billed for this $600, but they want me to continue to help out a bit for awhile, so I'm thinking it will probably be at least another $200-300 per month for the next few months.

Dh sold some more things off the old piece of equipment so offered to give me $500 of it towards a new dresser for our bedroom.  We purchased the bed about a year and a half ago and knew we would just have to buy the other pieces as we got the money available.  I'm going to use $270 our of my $600 extra income to add to it, as with tax the dresser will come to $870.  Pricey piece of furniture, but I want it to match the bed. We've never had anything match before and this is heirloom type of furniture that will last many many years. The current dresser we have is something I got as a teenager! And it's made of particle board! The handles have broke off most of the drawers and dh has been just stacking all his clothes on top.  Not very nice to look at.  Ds and I will go down to pick up the new dresser tonight :-)

Our income tax return of $972 was direct deposited today, so that will be used to pay our 6 months of auto insurance premiums.  I am always so glad when I am able to pay the full 6 months up front. It saves $20 a month off of the monthly payments option and frees up almost $200 a month out of my regular budget, which gives me some breathing room for those unexpected expenses that always come up each month.