Friday, March 30, 2012

Clearing the Junk Might Save You Money At the Gas Pump

Photograph by runron
Most of us know, at least theoretically, that less weight in the vehicle means it will take less gas to fuel our drive. Most of us probably also figure that we don't have more than a few pounds of extra stuff in our cars. I read a Dollar Stretcher article in their free Dollar Stretcher Tips e-newsletter this morning, however, where one such person was really carrying around an extra one hundred and twenty (120) pounds worth of stuff in her trunk! This included expired safety items (which aren't that safe when expired), a collapsible kennel for a dog who passed away years ago and "spare" clothing she could no longer fit into.

Now, some things are worth keeping (jumper cables, safety kit with current items etc.) but it might be worth taking a few minutes to go through your vehicle today and see if you can lighten your load, which could translate to saving money on gas too. As a bonus, using less gas is also better for our planet (as many thrifty strategies are). Wishing you happy and frugal travels!

Free Tomato Plant Starter Kit from Light Life

Photograph by jeltovski
If you read my inspiriational/photography blog you know I love gardening and if you follow this blog you know I love a good deal. Well what could be better than a good deal on gardening? 

"How to get your FREE* Tomato Plant Starter Kit:
1. BUY two Lightlife® products.
2. COMPLETE this mail-in order form.
3.* MAIL the order form, along with two Lightlife UPC symbols, and the original cash
register receipt dated March 5, 2012 to May 31, 2012"

Sources: My dear friend Lisa's Facebook post and

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Featured Deal Diva & Refund Cents Recommendation

Screenshot from on 3/29/12
Went to Refund Cents to check the current rewards for writing and to my delight found that I'm the currently featured Deal Diva of the day for my JC Penney clothing deal. I've probably been subscribing to and writing for Refund Cents for more than ten years. They point me to a lot of great deals. If I had to guess I'd say their advice has probably saved me thousands of dollars over the years.

Just today I was able to purchase about $50 of merchandise for tax only thanks to advice from the site. They tipped me off to the fact that the $5 off 2 Revlon products Target coupon could net me free beauty tools (I'm now stocked up on nail files, clippers and buffers) and that Rite Aid had Carefree panty liners on sale for $1 each and there is a current $1 off one of any Carefree coupon. Thanks to some fantastic coupon buddies who give me their unused coupons (Thank you Pam and Al!!!) I was able to do the Revlon deal eight times (in one transaction) and the Rite Aid deal sixteen times (in four transactions) and I've now got about a twelve month supply plus extra to share with charity. I had enough coupons to do each deal more times but I like to leave plenty of stock on the shelves for other shoppers.

I currently have an online only subscription ($12 a year) but when I renew I'll likely go back to the print magazine (costs about twice as much more but includes free online subscription). Getting the print magazine reminds me to write for them, which gives me free issues (extending my subscription) and in the long run saves me more money than the online only version. Of course, it would be more frugal of me to just put a regular writing for Refund Cents reminder in my calendar and stick with the online only subscription. I've got until May to decide.

Disclosure: Because of my personal positive experiences with Refund Cents I am an affiliate with them and if you purchase from Refund Cents using the links above or this link I may receive a small financial incentive.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Quick and Easy $1.98 Manicure

While waiting for an appointment earlier this week I learned that the person would be a while so I decided to do my quick and easy manicure. There happened to be an Ulta in the shopping center so I popped in to see what I could find. I had coupons but the best deal for products that would work as base coat, top coat and color coats was this set of Wet n Wild products for 99 cents each. Surprisingly I hadn't used Wet n Wild nail polish in the past (at least that I can remember). At home I tend to use Avon's nail polish (I used to be an Avon Representative and fell in love with their polishes) but I'm always up for trying something new and frugal.

My hands were clean so all I did was sit down, hold a hand in the air and paint on the base coat (clear bottle), let it dry a minute and repeat with two thin coats of color (hot pink bottle) and then after they were dry I finished with a top coat (clear bottle - I figured it could serve as both even though the bottle didn't specifically say whether it was a top coat or base coat). As part of my top coat layer I first swiped the clear liquid horizontally across the tips of my fingernails as I've found this helps forestall chipping.

It's now four days into the manicure and it still looks as great as it did on day one. You can kind of see my thumb nail in the cherry blossom photo above. I'm pretty happy with my $1.99 manicure. I like how shiny the finish is but I might be tempted to try their long wear version in the future.

If you wanted to save even more money you could probably skip the clear coats and just pick a super light color of polish. Then you'd have a 99 cent manicure. Just be aware that if you don't use a base coat your nails may yellow.

Happy spring, my frugal friends!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Great Deals at Whole Foods' Giving Table

I bought this beautiful long stemmed rose for $1 at the Whole Foods giving table earlier this week. According to the staff member who assisted me, the store donated the flowers and the whole dollar went to charity. Whole Foods is having various items at their giving table every day through March 31, 2012. The staff member who assisted me said all their stores nationwide are doing these daily giving tables in March. Today they had large bottles of Martinelli sparking cider for $2, bags of walnuts for $1 and Lake Champlain chocolates for 50 cents each at my local Whole Foods. One day earlier this month they had $1 giant cookies (normally sold for $1.99 each in their bakery) and $2 nougat wedges (normally sold for $7+). It's worth taking a peek at the giving table when you're at Whole Foods this month. You could save a bundle and help others at the same time!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Celebrity Michelle Williams' Fresh Peach Makeup Look the Frugal Way

I adore this fresh spring "peach accents" look on Michelle Williams. It's really tempting to go out and buy what's in articles like this (especially when my coloring is similar to that of the celebrity) but it's far more frugal to first raid my own makeup stash and see if I have something similar first. The article indicates that the two items featured cost $100.00 total. I really didn't want to spend $100.00 but I did want to replicate Michelle Williams' look in the photo.

It turns out that I already had almost perfect matches for both the blush and lipstick pictured, only I had a gloss in stead of a regular lipstick. That means I was able to duplicate Michelle Williams' look with no additional out of pocket cost by shopping in my own makeup stash (making it essentially free for me), saving $100.00.

If I hadn't already had good matches I would have taken the clipped article with me to a local shop and matched up some inexpensive items (I literally hold the color part of the package next to the makeup in the picture. If the store has an area with natural light from windows, I try to do my comparing in that area.

I wasn't planning on a blog post for this so didn't jot down the name of the magazine but I'm guessing it was the current issue of Shape, a women's fitness magazine. The flash distorts the colors a little bit but you can still tell it's a good match. The color matches are more obvious in natural light without the flash. Hope you enjoyed this post on obtaining celebrity makeup looks on the cheap!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

USAA Educational Foundation Offers Free Publications

The USAA Educational Foundation offers a wide variety of free educational information on their website and paper versions of the publications can be ordered free of charge through the website or by calling 1-800-531-6196. A few of the many available topics include, parenting skills, financial management, identity theft, travel security, divorce, marriage, elder care, military benefits, choosing insurance and even buying and selling homes and cars. While these publications are especially helpful for military families, the sound financial concepts apply to most Americans.

 The publications are numbered from 505 to 598 and they separate their many available publications into five broad categories: vehicle, family, financial, house and insurance. You can order topics individually or in "packets".

The "Basic Money Management" packet includes publications on the following topics: 504 - Get MoneyWise; 534 - Get CreditWise; 521 - Get InvestmentWise; 536 - Building And Maintaining Good Credit and 516 - Retirement Planning In Your 20's And 30's. The "Disaster Preparedness" packet includes publications: 524 - Preparing For Disaster; 522 - Recovering From Disaster and 506 - Managing Your Personal Records. Currently, there are 12 different "packets" available and almost 100 different topics.

I sometimes use these publications as handouts and learning tools when coaching and/or teaching classes and find them to be excellent resources. Not only are these publications useful for individuals and families, but also for charities that provide educational services. You can order up to 100 copies through either of the methods mentioned above but if larger quantities are needed be sure to call 1-800 531-6196.


Note: Originally published at

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Free Subscription to "In Touch" Magazine

Here's a fabulous freebie for you, dear reader. I've been a subscriber to In Touch Ministries' free In Touch magazine for years and the Christian living articles have blessed me greatly. Every month has a different theme with a variety of articles on that theme as well as a short daily devotional for each day of the month (combining weekends into one devotional for both days). While donations are welcomed, the magazine is offered completely free of charge and is available in English and Spanish. The current issue is also available on the In Touch Ministries website. To get your free subscription click here or call 1-800-IN-TOUCH.

Note: I have no material connection with In Touch Ministries or In Touch magazine except as a subscriber and donor.