It seems these days all everyone in this country and really, all over the world, is talking about is the economy. October saw the US unemployment rate sore to 6.5 percent. Every day, more and more jobs are being outsourced to other countries in an effort to save money. Maybe I need a little education here, but, how can a country support itself if its citizens cannot support themselves? The holidays are right around the corner. Maybe I’m getting ahead of myself. Are you feeling it? Abundance is everywhere, if you’re willing to look for it, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be a little smarter about our finances. I am interested in hearing about everyone’s money-saving tips, or if it’s even an issue for you. They can involve how you’re adjusting your holiday shopping, ways to recycle/reuse items you already have, or just general everyday strategies. I’m sure there are some great, “outside the box” ideas out there, and since we’re all friends 😉 , let’s share!
In the spirit of my Potluck post, I’ll pose the same challenge. Leave a comment with your strategies for keeping more of the cold hard stuff in your pocket (that’s what she said), and you’ll be entered to win a prize. Once I have confirmed my last recipient has gotten her prize, I will post what you are playing for this time (yes, I was late in sending it out, but I assure you, that won’t happen again!).
Also, I would like to modify the rules a little to be fair. Each comment you leave will be worth one entry. You may leave more than one comment, but you will only be entered again if you leave another tip. Also, if you have a blog and link to/mention this blog and post, that will get you another 5 entries. If you link my Etsy Shop, yet still another 5 entries. The prize will again be something handmade, like I said, I will get more specific once I have confirmed my last recipient has received hers. Contest will close at 8pm EST on Friday, November 21, 2008.
So, without further ado, I will get started. First, let me say that when I talk about & share the things I make, I’m not trying to make anyone feel inadequate, nor I am looking for accolades (don’t get me wrong, I *love* hearing your feedback, it’s just not why I do it). I simply love what I do, and I like to share. I feel blessed for that. I feel dually blessed that, although I wouldn’t say I am at the point of making a living at it, there are wonderful people out there that are willing to appreciate and support my passion. For this reason, I do appreciate the fact that I am able to make a lot of holiday and other gifts and (arguably) save money at the same time. I’m not sure if you can call this a tip, but it’s one thing I do…
Ok,here we go. I despise credit cards. That’s not to say there isn’t a hefty balance on mine right now, but I will do everything I can NOT to use it. I also know enough about myself that if there’s cash in my pocket, that spells trouble, so very rarely do I carry cash. I try to pay for everything with my debit/bank card. This keeps my spending in check, because basically, if the money is not in my checking account, I won’t spend it. We use direct deposit, and take advantage of the fact that they will split the deposit into separate accounts. This might sound backwards, but since I use the debit card for everything, it allows me to make sure I’m not spending the money that should be going toward monthly bills. Once or twice a month, when I’m paying bills, I transfer the money that I need from the savings to the checking, and it’s all taken care of. Ah, the beauty of online banking! I also pay everything I can online to save paper/stamps/time.
Speaking of credit cards, there are some great point- earning programs out there. I know a friend of a friend who bought a car on her credit card, (which she paid off the following month) because she knew it would earn her enough points to take her European vacation! So smart! That’s like, free money. I love free money. Like I said, I’m not a fan of credit cards, but I there are two other programs that I use: Upromise and MyPoints. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard of Upromise and how it works. If you haven’t, basically it allows you to register your credit cards, bank cards, grocery cards, etc. and certain restaurants, stores, and manufacturers in turn give you a small percentage of what you spend on their products/services, which can then be converted into a 529 plan for anyone’s college tuition. I have to admit, I pretty much let this run on auto pilot & don’t actively seek out as much savings as I could. There are a lot of online shopping resources that I could/should be using that would contribute a lot more than my grocery purchases, but hey, it’s still free money.
MyPoints works in a similar way, but you don’t have to wait quite as long for the rewards. You basically sign up for their emails, and get sent various opportunities to earn points by visiting websites and taking surveys, if you want. It’s totally free, but it does take longer to earn enough points for rewards this way. If you want to earn points faster, you can shop through their website at various online merchants to earn a greater percentage of points. You’re also entitled to special member discounts, etc. I figure, if it’s something I need to buy anyway, why not earn the points? I’ve done a lot of Christmas shopping this way in the past, as well as for myself at Amazon.com, drugstore.com, and Overstock.com. And I’m always looking for who’s willing to throw in free shipping, especially now that the holidays are approaching. Anyway, so far with the MyPoints program, I have earned enough to purchase myself a $100.00 MP3 player from Circuit City, and various gift cards for restaurants and retailers like Old Navy, Regal Cinemas, and Bath & Body Works…. all for free. Do I sound like an infomercial?
On the homefront, since we can’t afford new windows, this year we bought the plastic coating that fuses onto the windows with a hair dryer to keep the drafts out– not sure how/if it will affect our energy bill, but it’s worth a try. I’m also finally, after over a year, getting around to hanging curtains around the house, which will hopefully help as well. We also are in the process of insulating our attic and outside doors.
I would share more, but I feel like I’ve already written a novel- so let’s hear from you! I will try to update later this weekend with more info on the prizes- Good luck, and have a great weekend!
Filed under: sharing | Tagged: contest, economy, giveaways, money, prizes, sharing, tips | 20 Comments »