Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Artificial Trees Take on Some Life

Okay, so I cannot honestly say that this Works For Me for this WFMW, because I've never tried it. However, I heard it as a tip on the radio station that I listen to and found it interesting, so I thought I would pass it along.
Today's tip is for those of us that have artificial Christmas trees.
I heard a lady on the radio a few days ago talking about being at a location where they sell trees and seeing all of these women digging through a pile of small limbs that had been trimmed from the bottoms of the trees. They were trash as far as the retailer was concerned, so these ladies saw an opportunity. The radio personality watched curiously as the women one by one left with a handful of twigs in their hands before finally getting up the nerve to ask one of them what they were doing.
The stick-collector answered that she had an artificial tree and she was getting these (previously) live branches to stick in her tree to make it smell like a real tree.
Pretty cool trick! Of course, be careful, as they will dry out and become a fire hazard, so make sure they are propped on lights or you don't let your tree get too hot with these dying limbs in them. However, it should give the trick of making your tree smell like the real thing. =)
As I said, I haven't tried it, but if you do (or have), please comment and let us know how it works.
Hope you all have a joyous time during this holy season!
Go check out Rocks in My Dryer to see what Works for Other People as well!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

What Do You Have to Offer?

Today's Works for Me Wednesday is a simple idea that you've probably come across before, but it works for me and that's the point of sharing, right? =)

Life can be expensive and we often pay a lot for services that are specialized...because we cannot do those things. There are people far more capable than myself at decorating a house or designing a flowerbed arrangement. However, there are other things that I do that they cannot. I am awesome at organization, I once was a good pianist (and could be again with practice), and I have a bit of an obsession with blogging (not that I'm good at it, but I'm quite consistent I believe). Guess what? How about a trade? I will organize your closet if you will tell me what to plan around my house to make it look nice.

What is the further beauty? It doesn't even have to be a talent. It can be a tool that you own or even the fact that you live somewhere touristy (like we do).

Here is my current example of bartering that is about to occur:

A friend of mine from high school is going to visit Savannah with her mom next month. We could easily direct them to a great hotel and recommend some fine eating establishments. However, that's not what's going to happen. You see, they will be staying with us (save money there), we can show them inexpensive fun, we have insider info on some tours, and we can get "locals" treatment at some particularly desired restaurant favorites in Savannah (no names, but if you are familiar with the city, think TL&S) =). Now we offered this anyway because they are friends and we love them, but how are they "paying" us back? My friend is a VERY GOOD hobbyist/semi-amateur photographer and she will be making portraits of our son in the city for us. Awesome! She is so much better than we are, so it will be like a photo shoot for free! And no exaggerated prices for prints of it! HOORAY!

So today I am recommending to you to barter. Trade yardwork for sewing; baking for cleaning; ironing for someone fixing your leaky faucet; photography for room and board; piano lessons for babysitting. Seriously...whatever you have to offer, DO IT. You may otherwise never know how valuable your services are!

So this doesn't only Work for Me, but it will work for my friends who's visiting as well! Visit Rocks in My Dryer to see what works for others!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Great Magazine for Toddlers!

Two years ago for Patrick's birthday, Chip's sister asked if he would like a particular magazine subscription about animals for a gift. Since he was quite fond of animals, it seemed to be a great gift. We had no idea how much he would love it! Needless to say, it has been renewed! So now I present it to you as What Works for Patrick!

Wild Animal Baby magazine, published by the National Wildlife Federation is a magazine that arrives at our home for Patrick 10 times a year. Although the price of $19.95 seems a little steep for the number of issues initially, I can attest to the fact that it is a GREAT way to spend $20.00!

Every time a new one arrives, Patrick is so very excited. It hosts a number of vivid photos, talks aobut animals' habitats or habits, is great for animal recognition for little ones, and even educates us as parents on some more unusual creatures. In addition to any new issues, he frequetnly revisits previous issues and is curretnly obsessed with Daisy the Deer and Grady the Grizzly issues.
I would highly recommend this as a gift to any child. It's fun, it's educational, and 10 times a year, it is loads of brand new fun. That's what works for us! Now go over to Rocks in My Dryer and see what works for everyone else!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Kids Birthdays?

I am currently working on putting together my son's birthday party (he'll be three next week!). Since he's a huge Thomas fan, we're going with a train theme (although not necessarily a Thomas theme). I've been searching all over the internet for tips/tricks/hints at having a low-cost birthday party for him, but I'm going to open the comment section for suggestions.

What's the best way to save $$ for child's birthday party?
What are some tips that you have used before to save $$?
Lunch or no lunch, that is the question...

Any ideas you can offer would be much appreciated. When all is said and done, I'll post an update on how we fared.
Photo credit: nazreth

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Ooey, Gooey, Chocolatey Goodness

I have never posted recipes, because I am no Julia Child, but I'm having company tonight, and one of my friends requested a particular dessert that is wonderfully good and enough to send you into a diabetic coma (he actually is diabetic and I've requested that he bring insulin just in case!). It has no name that I know of, as it was passed along to me via word of mouth, but I got the ingredients for super cheap and its super yummy, so it's today's Works for Me Wednesday. And I'm naming it after the thoughts I have when I eat it.

don't normally

Ooey, Gooey, Chocolatey Goodness
  • 2 Packages of Family Size Brownie Mix (you know, the 9 x 13 pan size) - Any brand
  • 3 Extra Large Hershey's Symphony Bars (Original with caramel & nuts or just chocolate - your preference)
  • powdered sugar as needed
  • Stuff to make the brownies via package directions (typically eggs, water, oil, etc)
This is really, really simple, so don't think you're missing something when you finish reading...
Preheat oven according to package directions. Spray 9 x 13 casserole dish according to package instructions Mix up two packages of brownies (you can do them together or separately) using box directions (you know, oil, water, egg, etc). Pour one box's worth of mix into the casserole dish and spread evenly. Add three whole Symphony bars across the mix. Top with additional box's worth of mix and spread evenly. Cook longer than box's instructions*. Allow to cool. Sprinkle with powdered sugar as desired. Cut, serve with a tall glass of milk and melt in its yummy goodness.
That's it.
*As for the cook time, I can't be specific because your brand of brownies may be different than mine, but on average instead of the 30 minutes it tells you on the box, it takes about 45-50. Of course you can't test to see if its done because it WILL be gooey in the middle. Just trust your instinct to tell if the brownies on top and bottom look like brownies typically do coming out of the oven.
Now, here's why it's a bonus this can get the items for SERIOUSLY cheap this week!
I had two coupons for $0.50 off Betty Crocker Supreme Brownies Mix. They are on sale at our Kroger for 2/$4 this week. Since Kroger doubles coupons, this knocked them down to 2/$2 or $1.00/box.
BUT THAT'S NOT ALL (in my best infomercial voice). Shortcuts also has a coupon for $0.60/2 that you can load onto your Kroger card, making them $0.70 each!
BUT THAT'S NOT ALL (in my best infomercial voice again). CVS has a few October monthly ExtraBucks deals that are already working. One of those is Buy 2 Hershey's XL candy bars and get 1 ECB. The Symphony bars are on sale there for $0.99 each. I bought 4 of them (the recipe only requires 3, so we'll take one for the team) and the total rang up to $3.96 (plus tax) with 2 ECBs. That's basically$0.49 each!
The powdered sugar, eggs, oil, and water you should have already.
That makes for a total of $3.00 in items I had to purchase yesterday and chocolate bliss for dessert. Yippee! And even if you don't have the brownie mix coupons, that means that they are still only $5.00 out of pocket. It doesn't just Work for seems to work for a lot of my guests as well! Go check out Rocks in My Dryer to see what works for other people too!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Laundry Frustrations

Okay, so today's installment of Works for Me Wednesday doesn't really work for me because my family is not at a stage to implement this yet. However, it does work for a friend of my mom's, so since it works for SOMEONE (and hopefully me someday), I am recommending it to you.

My mom's friend was constantly frustrated with her three children. The three of them, ages approximately 9-13, were always haphazardly discarding their clothes in the laundry basket (at least they were using the basket). She found that doing laundry for 5 people when half of the items were either completely or partially inside out what causing her heartache and a lot of time. She was always forced to turn them the right way before folding them and was sick of it.

Enter the solution. She informed them that not only would they begin folding their own clothes, but she would no longer change the orientation of these clothes before washing or drying them. Therefore, if a pair of pants went into the pile with one leg inside out and the other right-side-in, it would be washed, dried, and returned to them in the same state. This means more wrinkles (which she would not iron), less evenly washed clothes, and more headache for the kids who were to fold them.

She says that it worked like a charm. No more pockets hanging out. No more mom worrying about getting bubble gum out of the pockets (they had to deal with it themselves), no more endless folding.

It worked for her! To find out what worked for some others, head over to Works for Me Wednesday over at Rocks in My Dryer. You're bound to find some awesome tips from across the web. Come on...I'm heading over there now!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Cheap Living for Broke College Students - Part 3

Today we’re wrapping up our Cheap Living for Broke College Students series after talking about transportation and appearances as well as about entertainment. Okay, lets move on to some of the actual school-related costs.

Books are a big deal. Seriously. If you’ve only ever bought books for your reading enjoyment, you’re going to be in for a huge shock when you have to pay for a textbook. Seriously…they aren’t cheap.

The cheapest way to get your textbooks is an awesome site called Textbook Revolt. It is a textbook swapping site for college students across the country. List what you want to give away, list what you want to receive and your only cost is that of the shipping (use Media Mail for the best rate). It’s a growing site, so not everyone can use it yet, but it is certainly worth checking into! Of course, this only really works if you have some to trade, so how do you get them as cheaply as possibly otherwise?

Try Amazon, eBay, or for textbooks. Seriously cheaper prices.

For both of the above methods, make sure you are looking at the correct revision that is called for in your class syllabus.

To get the most back for your books, look at selling them to a friend or even a complete stranger (which I’ve explained how to do before). You’ll get more for it than the bookstore offers and they will get it for cheaper than buying from store. Plus no shipping charges. Win-win, right? If this fails, you can sell it yourself via eBay or

Am I going to tell you how to study cheap? No…I’m telling you that studying can make college cheaper. How, you ask? Well, I will tell you…

Studying will eat up time that you might be tempted to spend money. And with certain classes, studying can eat up a LOT of time. Also, the more you study = less time in college = less tuition. =) And if you get really good at it, you might can apply for scholarships offered throughout the school through the financial aid department or through your department/college. Lastly, getting good grades can often lower your auto insurance rates. Check with your provider to see if getting good grades can help you out in this way. And when you get out of college, some car dealers offer lower financing to college grads with good grades. All around, studying can certainly be a huge money-saver.

Other costs
Many schools now offer free Wi-Fi across campus, so take advantage of free internet access. Even before free Wi-Fi, we had free access to a number of public computer labs across campus…several open 24 hours a day for all of your surfing needs (I didn’t even own a computer during college due to this…and remember, I have been in college during this very decade, so it is doable).

Sign up for a free checking/savings account that has free internet banking attached. Keep track of your spending daily in order to see where your money is going and how to better control your spending.

Phone service can be acquired cheap (VOIP) or free (Skype) in order to keep track of your buddies that are attending other schools as well as home.

If you school offers a university clinic, like many schools do, you can often get your healthcare for free and/or prescriptions filled for a fraction of the cost of a standard pharmacy. Be sure to check them out.

Childcare may come easy as well. My school had free childcare for the employees and students via the early childhood development department. Yep, you can have free daycare while you are in class while future teachers get to practice on your darling. It’s not as scary as it sounds.

So, although you are currently a broke college student, you don’t have to be as broke as some of your friends. These money-saving techniques can be altered to fit most anyone’s college experience. Keep your nose to the grindstone and your cash in your pocket and when you are raking in the “big money” after graduation, you will know how to wisely save it when you invest in that first mortgage!

Photo credit: cpt.spock & tuxthepenguin84

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Cheap Living for Broke College Students - Part 2

Welcome travelers arriving from the Money Hacks Carnival #29: Food Heaven over at Living Almost Large. Thanks for stopping by and feel free to peruse about. If you like what you see, you can subscribe via reader or email over in the top portion of the right margin. You are encouraged to comment on anything you find here.

As a continuation of my Cheap Living for Broke College Students series, today I will discuss entertainment on the cheap. Click here to see how to save money on transportation and appearances and tune in tomorrow for tips for saving money on school itself.

Students just want to have fun, right? Well, you can still have fun without putting yourself in a huge red hole and college towns have more opportunities for cheap fun than other cities. Many places such as theaters, bowling alleys, golf courses, state parks, and restaurants have student discount rates, so always have your student ID on hand for such situation.

You can always attend pep rallies or some sporting events for free (baseball was a nice free place to catch some rays and hang out for us…not to mention check out baseball players). Even if you have to pay for the event, the student price should be much cheaper than the standard fan cost.

Take advantages of the various artistic programs that your school offers. You can often check out plays, art showings, or symphonies put on by the school for cheap or free because the participants are not (yet) professionals! You also have opportunities to see professional concerts and such for cheap or free due to the fact that you’re at a university and they often perform at such venues.

And although you might be able to get a student discount at your local cinema, check out student body organizations for things such as free movie nights. We had those and they were always showing some popular movie that was somewhere between theater release and video release (kinda’ in that pay-per-view stage). Free fun. Bring your own popcorn and sodas.

Speaking of entertainment, the word “party” is often synonymous with college. However, there are some ways to keep this cheap as well. For instance, save it for special occasions and celebrate with more than food or booze, such as music you already own, a Wii party, and socialization. If you want to go out for drinks, find a “ladies’ night” or something similar with discounts during certain hours…and then stop drinking once that time frame is over.

College is also an inexpensive way to check out up-and-coming superstar bands or just loving-being-a-college-band groups on the cheap. Many a band have gotten their start as college locals and students were able to enjoy the same talent on the cheap in the early days.

Or…now hang with me here…avoid smoking and drinking altogether. Many people are on-board for avoiding smoking due to health hazards…but it’s terribly expensive as well. However, drinking also can be quite costly as well as detrimental to your health and safety. Be smart and have a good time without drinking. Go to the party, hang out with your friends and then be the designated driver. Everyone gets home safe, you have a good time with friends, and you increase your chances of being invited so you can drive them! =)

There are plenty of ways to feed hobbies (or start new ones!) while in school. Many schools offer free access to student facility game rooms, gyms, and aquatic centers. And if you love athletics (or just being around your friends and having fun), look into intramural sports. I played football in college. Yep, me. I was on a coed team of flag-football-playing engineers. We were (not) awesome, but we had a wonderful time.

There are numerous organizations to join in order to volunteer your time or work for a cause you believe in. Not only does this provide a cheap means to spend time doing something you love, it will likely look good on your resume as volunteer work and bonus points if you can apply it to your desired professional field.

And although it is not free, you could also consider signing up for classes for your interests, such as theater, orchestra, art, golf, tennis, Tae Kwando or a variety of interesting classes like pottery, gardening, or even flower-arranging (yes, I’m serious). Although these are not free, most degrees require a certain number of electives, so you might as well enjoy these classes while you are working toward that degree.

And as far as class credits, why not spend some money for class credit and a chance of a lifetime and study abroad for a summer. It’s not exactly cheap, but it may be your only opportunity to go backpacking in Europe (regardless of your plans for yourself after graduation) or learn about Greek history in Greece--and regardless of the cost, you will not be able to do it for cheaper when you are out of school (plus you have to plan around a schedule that you’ll come to know as WORK).

So that's enough for today. Soak it all in and come back tomorrow to wrap this series up!

Photo credit: tuxthepenguin84 & Carolina Hornig

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Cheap Living for Broke College Students - Part 1

If you are visiting via the 142nd Festival of Frugality over at Frugal Babe, I invite you to make yourself comfortable around here and let me know what you think. If you like what you see, you can always subscribe via reader or email in the top right margain. Enjoy your stay!

“Broke College Student,” although cliché, is not all that inaccurate for most people who attend college. Finding themselves for the first time at a place where they are not (fully at least) supported by their parents, students have a huge opportunity to set the pace for the rest of their lives in so many aspects, including their financial decisions. Although some people take college as an opportunity to be free to do as they please and make the big mistakes, it can be the prime time to learn how to live smartly. Here are some ways (aside from the obvious cost of tuition) to save money as a struggling college student, depending not-so-much on mom and dad to bail you out of financial woes.

The best way to save money and fight that dreaded Freshman Fifteen (or Sophomore or whatever) is to walk or bicycle to class. If you live on campus of a school that isn’t too scattered throughout a city, this is an excellent way to save money on car maintenance and gasoline. It has a lot of health incentives as well as gives you a nice breather after a stressful class that you don’t get while fighting traffic jams.

The next best option is public/university transportation. The school I attended had a transit system composed of 30-passenger mini-buses free for use for students. They made a series of stops throughout campus as well as at some of the off-campus apartment complexes that were concentrated with students. Although you aren’t being quite as green as walking or biking here, you are saving as much money for your personal transportation.

All of the above options have two additional benefits. Using these solely, you do not have to pay the university a fee for a parking permit. Although ours weren’t terribly expensive, $40 a year is a lot for money starving students. =) And to accompany those savings, you also don’t get parking tickets on campus by having to park in an zone you aren’t allowed to park in just so you can get to class on time. This was a huge deal where I went to school, as there were approximately 8000 parking spaces that were zoned for 20,000 undergrads. You don’t have to be a math major to see that as a formula for income for the school. In fact, my senior year when I had to drive to campus (due to where I lived and my chaotic schedule) and would opt to park off campus because if I had to park illegally, the city tickets were cheaper than the university ones!

Lastly, if you have to drive, split the cost with a friend or roommate. If you have similar schedules that take you to and from campus relatively at the same time you can split the gas cost, take up one less parking permit, and you have an accountability partner to get you to class and on time. =) And I’m not encouraging you to share a parking permit, which should only be associated to one car, but I’m just saying that the parking police can’t possibly take time to compare all of the permits with their plates (okay, so this only works if you have hang tags instead of stickers but USE IT PEOPLE)….

There are some students that would beg to differ in this area. There are some schools where the social norm is set higher in this area than others. However, let me tell you to throw out any expectations and be realistic. You do not have to wear designer attire to class. You will not (okay, should not, sometime you will) get bonus points for being “pretty” for class and chances are you might be uncomfortable. Get a good pair of comfy sneakers, buy a baseball cap for those bad hair days, throw on comfy pants (however, be decent and don’t wear your pjs to class, please) and get out the door. You might even decide that you’d rather sleep in than put on make-up and save money on cosmetics as well.

If you feel the need to own one of those costly sweatshirts or polos sold at your college bookstore, check out this post at Northern Cheapskate for some awesome ideas on how to save on those items!

Even for comfy attire, there are savings to be had. How many colleges have you even seen that aren’t constantly giving out free t-shirts…especially as fall semester/quarter is kicking off? Avoid signing up for a dozen credit cards to get them, but look for good offers. Many organizations give away t-shirts. You can always get one for donating blood (and save a life or two!) and many campuses have blood drives several times a year. I have been out of college for over 7 years now (ugh…don’t remind me how old that makes me) and I can tell you that 95% of the t-shirts that I currently own came at no cost to me from my school via one of the above methods. And they are STILL my comfy clothes.

Okay, so this started out as one post, but since I’ve been known to be a bit wordy detailed, it has turned into a three part series. By the way...all of the photos in this series are from one school in particular. Anyone want to guess where I graduated from?

Please join me again on Sunday to talk about entertainment and again on Monday to wrap it up when considering the actual cost of schoolwork.

Photo credit: tuxthepenguin84 and VickyvS

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Crock Pot Love

First of all, let me say how happy I am that Shannon from Rocks in My Dryer is back from her blogging hiatus, and therefore we have the return of Works for Me Wednesday! Hooray!

Now...on to my current life hack...
Right now life is hectic. Chip and I both work until almost (if not after) 5:00 every day. By the time we pick up Patrick from school, it is at least 5:45 when we get home, so that is a terrible time to start cooking a nice dinner most nights. Sure it works for some quickies like tacos and such, but for the most part, there are not a lot of meals to prepare, cook, and serve that we can finish before 8:00.
Suddenly I had an epiphany...we own a crock pot. Of course I was limited in the recipes that I had, and although I love my super duper easy pork chop recipe (chops in crock, cover with Italian dressing, add chopped onions, cook, add green peppers 45 minutes from end), we certainly can't have them every night.
What did I find? This super blog called A Year of CrockPotting. Stephanie has made a new year's resolution to use her crock pot everyday of 2008. It's awesome. There are a lot of things you can make in a crock pot that I was unaware of (like meatloaf!). So this last week we have tried the following recipes: Peppercorn Steak, our beloved pork chops that I mentioned above, Bacon and Cheese Chicken (which I messed up by my own error! GRRR) and tonight is Chicken Cordon Bleu. Yummm.
The site has details of the preparation, ingredients, pictures of prep and finished product, and a review of each recipe via her family. She is a health nut, so you can guarantee if the recipe isn't to her personal standard, she will give you an alternative to make it more healthy. She carries a lot of ethnic choices as well, such as Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, TexMex, Mexican, and others and even some vegetarian you can find something to spice up the evening and fit any taste!
Seriously...go check her out. I am loving this site!
So at our house, the prep work is done in the morning...none of which has taken more than 15 minutes yet, the last person out the door for us turns the crock pot on low, and we arrive home to a meal that just needs a side or so added. It's wonderful and with our current schedules, leaving a healthy meal followed by time to do stuff as a family before bedtime. So right now, it really works for me! Thanks, Stephanie!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Keeping the Kids Hydrated

Today's tip from me for Works for Me Wednesday is a tool that we use here around summer since it gets SO hot in southeast Georgia.
We bought some (generic) Pedialyte popsicles several months ago when Patrick had a stomach virus and we were concerned that he would get dehydrated. Of course we did not go through the entire box in the three days that he was sick, so we had some leftovers.
Enter brilliant idea: Patrick is a hot, sweaty boy. He plays hard and often I wonder if he is keeping cool. He's really good about drinking water when he's hot, but I still worry...that's what moms do, right? Well, we decided to give it a go with those "Pedialyte" popsicles and he LOVES them! They are cool, fruity and refreshing and best yet...full of electrolytes and no sugar, so we don't have to worry about sugaring him up. They work great!
Yes, regular popsicles are great for cooling off, but if you're concerned about dehydration, these are a great snack!
That's what Works for Me. Go check out what works for others over at Rocks in My Dryer!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Save Money by Spending?

Today's What Works for Me here at Mrs. Nespy's Frugal World is something that I have just started doing. It is something I am suggesting with some reservation because although it can easily work, it would be easy to get carried away with and lose sight of saving money. So with a bit of hesitancy, I'm going to make a recommendation that you can use at your own discretion.

Just recently I have been looking into purchasing coupons via eBay. It is something that I do cautiously because it is very easy for me to get carried away with shopping on eBay. However, I have a plan that I am beginning to implement and I want to offer the thoughts to you. I recently purchased some Bed, Bath, & Beyond coupons (20% one item) on eBay. Why, you ask. Well, BB&B coupons do not expire. I mean, they have expiration dates, but all stores take their own expired coupons, so for all practical purposes, they have no expiration date. You can use one per item in your purchase (with some limited exclusions listed on the coupons). We are in the midst of buying a lot of stuff for the house

Now you can argue with me that these coupons come in the mail free of charge. You're right. And the first 10 that I used were mailed to me and sat collecting on our counter for a few months. However, I've used all of those now, and I'm out. So, I started perusing eBay. I had a set amount in my head that I was willing to pay (which included shipping)--for me it was $3.50 for 10. That would translate into $7.00 for 20. Does that sound like a lot to pay for a free coupon? Maybe--but they do not expire, so as I use them, I will save much more than the money I'm investing in them. Since I have no other means to get my hands on 10 of these, it seemed reasonable. In fact, with the first 10 I had, we saved over $100! Sounds like a winner to me!

Remember that I noted that my top bid including shipping. So for the 10 I received, I paid $2.65 for the coupons and $0.85 shipping.

Now, let me take this one step further and tell you what I just did as an experiment as an expansion of this idea.

There are various places on the web where you can see the upcoming deals for CVS (I use iheartcvs and slickdeals). I looked into the future on these sites and found one upcoming CVS deal that would be great for me. It's the purchase of $20.00 worth of a specified variety of OTC medications with the return of 10 ECBs. Now, since there are -$2.00 coupons out there for one of those which we actually use a good deal of, I bought them. For around $1.50 I bought 20 coupons that will work for this deal. Although I don't need quite this many, I could not find coupons for less than that of what I needed. And I think I'm going to do a giveaway for the remainder of them. Anyway, by my estimates, those products are about $4.00 each. If I purchase 5 of them to reach the $20 requirement, use (5) -$2.00 coupons and save $10.00 and then get a return of 5 ECBs, I have essentially gotten free headache medication for my family (I frequently get runs in my gene pool). My only cost was the $1.50 I spent on coupons; not bad for 5 bottles of make-me-feel-better medicine.

I will give you an update of how this works next week when I try it. I didn't want to get too carried away on my first attempt.

So, take to heart that I am not advocating spending lots of money on coupons so that you can buy stuff you normally would not buy or spending more on coupons that you are going to save. Neither of those are frugal! Please use this tip at your own risk. However, when you are wise about coupon purchasing, I think you can really find something that works for you.

Please visit Rocks In My Dryer to see what works for everyone else!

*Please note, that selling coupons themselves is against most manufacturer coupons policies. However, if you look on eBay, they are actually selling their time to clip, collect, and ship the coupons. Know that I am using the term "selling coupons" loosely.

*There are also places online to swap them or you can start a local coupon swap. However, since neither of these is currently working for me, I am using what I can to save money.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Teaching Children About Money - Part 4 - Spending

So children spending money, right? Sounds like an easy thing to teach. The easy part is the spending, as everyone seems to be born with an natural ability to do this (or quickly pick it up from mom or dad). The hard part is purchasing responsibly with their money.

This can start even before they have a concept of money. Teach them to make choices. For instance, when we are reading to Patrick at night, he makes choices quite frequently. We tell him that he can only take one toy to bed or that we can only read three books (if he is going to be late) or that we can only sing 2 songs. This forces him to make a decision based on what he likes best. He can't have it all, but he can choose his favorites. The same applies to shopping. If we decide that he's going to get something when we go shopping and he picks out two things that he wants, he has to decide which one he will actually go home with. It's not complicated. It teaches him that he cannot have everything and eventually it will help him make wise shopping decisions.

Use this same principle when taking them to spend their own money. It's funny how children are much more particular about how they spend their money than when they spend yours. We are not much different from them in this aspect, as we can see with this country's debt problem!

As they get older and are making more money, whether through allowance, chores, a job, or all of the above, set up an agreement with them on what you will provide vs. what they will use their own money for. For instance, you will buy them one pair of sneakers and boots or sandals for a school year. If they want any other shoes, they can purchase them with their money. That includes the ones you buy them getting worn from poor maintenance/rough play or just because they want the latest and greatest fad. They can purchase gifts from their own money for Christmas or Mom's/Dad's day. You can set up the "Special Jar" for this if you want. Encourage them to make gifts instead of buy and you will get much more heart-felt gifts and they will learn the value of their money. If they do insist on using your money, apply the credit lesson principle learned in Part 1 of this series and charge them interest. If they want a new video game, they can spend their spending money on that...not is going in the bank each month, remember?

So, although we don't have to worry about teaching our children how to spend money, we do need to teach them how to spend it wisely.

To read Part 1 - Credit, click here
To read Part 2 - Giving, click here
To read Part 3 - Saving, click here

Photo credit: {© gisela}

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy Independence Day

Please take today to celebrate with your friends and family.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America
When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

John Hancock

New Hampshire:Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

Massachusetts:John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island:Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Connecticut:Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York:William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey:Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Pennsylvania:Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Delaware:Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Maryland:Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

Virginia:George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina:William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina:Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Georgia:Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

Source cited: The Declaration of Independence
Photo credit: johngiovanni1

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Teaching Children About Money - Part 3 - Saving

Welcome visitors via the Festival of Frugality: Bare Necessities Edition over at Squawkfox or Money Hacks Carnival #19 — Personal Finance Destinations at the Money Hacers Network. I hope you enjoy your stay while you are here. Feel free to look around and if you like what you see, you are welcome to sign up for my feed via reader or email in the right margin. If you don't, that's fine too. I hope you enjoy your stay!

So, it has been a while since I wrote on how to teach children good financial habits, but I thought I should pick up where I last left off and (hopefully) wrap up the series soon.

Today we will discuss saving. This is an easy one in my book and one that many of you across Blogland are already doing, as I have already read.

Start by setting up separate containers for the areas you want to focus on. They can be anything...a mason jar, a cleaned peanut butter jar, an old icing/frosting container...whatever you want. Let the kid decorate it with some guidance. Give each one a theme. For older children, have them decorate with the theme of what the money will be used for--for instance a present for "giving," a safe or lock for "saving," and dollar signs for "spending." With older children as well you can mark the percentage on the container to help with some math education. For smaller children, color code the jars--like green for saving, red for spending, and purple for giving...something that they can relate to if they cannot read. Use different "red" objects and glue on the outside of the spending jar just to make it interesting to create and to look at. Make the system work for you, but make it fun for them. Give them something to really be excited about.

When you child earns/receives money, do what you can to divide it up for them into equal amounts in order that they can "budget" their money based on percentages that your family has determined--for instance 10% giving/30% spending/60% savings or however you want to divvy it up. I will use this 10/30/60 model for my examples because I think that is a pretty good way to do it, however, feel free to use whatever percentages with which you are comfortable. Say they have "earned" $1 for doing a chore that you asked them to do. Pay them in dimes. I know, this is a hassle for you, but it will pay off in the end. Teach them that one of those dimes goes into the 10% Giving jar, three go into the spending jar, and 6 go into the savings jar.

Now make sure that either once a week or once a month, depending on how often you tithe/give, you take out everything in the "giving" jar and contribute as you have set it aside. Make this important to the child. Make them see you do it...or even help you with it if at all possible. I covered giving more in a previous post in this series and you can read more about it here.

Also once a month, move all of the money from the "savings" jar into an actual savings account for the child. That way, it can accrue interest. Each month when you are ready to deposit the money, go online to the account and show the child how the previous month's deposit has grown due to interest. If you have already taught you child about credit using my method, they will already understand interest...except this time, it is working in their favor! Let them see the account again once you have made the deposit so they can watch their money grow. Even print up the chart or graphs that some banks offer from their sites so they can have a visual (if they are geared that way) --or make your own charts in Excel.

Lastly, once a month, also cash out the spending jar. Turn those coins into cash just to save room in the jar and reduce its weight. You can decide once a month to go on a "shopping" trip to let them spend their money or let them access it whenever they go shopping with you...whatever you prefer.

One more note--if need be, create a new jar if you have a special event coming a vacation. Have them take some of their "spending" money and put it into the special event jar to spend on that occasion. Make sure that they understand that they will have less spending money immediately, but will have some especially set aside for those special occasions that are upcoming. Do not compromise and let them take some of their giving or savings money for this. You can set the best example by teaching them to buy less now and be frivolous with that money later than to dip into money that is set aside for giving or spending, neither of which should be compromised.

Whew...did you know that there was so much to cover? Just put it in the piggy bank, right? That might work, but it will not teach them realistic, applicable money management.

Photo credit: -murilo-

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

No More Funky Towels!

WORKS FOR ME WEDNESDAYS really works for me! However, that is not my entry for this week. I just want you all to know that I'm doing my happy dance because I tried out a tip I found on here last week and it worked! Since this solved a real problem that our family encountered, I definitely think it is worth mentioning again.
Last week, I learned a tip from The Diaper Diaries on how to take the funky smell out of towels. We had this problem for a long time and nothing was working. The towels just had a musty smell that became much more obvious when wet and it never seemed to go away. I tried bleach, air drying, different detergents and everything I could think of (except fabric softener--don't ever use fabric softener on your towels). However, I learned at The Diaper Diaries to put vinegar in our laundry. So over the weekend, I got a reminder of just how many towels we own (really, I had no idea) and washed ALL of them--even the ones that I was not certain would smell once they got wet. It increased my laundry this weekend by 4 loads--and that's using a high capacity washer! Why do 2 adults and a toddler need that many towels?! Anyway, so I bleached and vinegared (that's a new word...I'm submitting it to the dictionary people) my white towels and used vinegar and detergent with my colored towels. Guess what? They all came out fresh! They don't even smell like vinegar!

And to put it to a true test, I put out two towels for hubby and me to use that I knew once carried that dreaded funk. They have been used several times this week and no smell has returned! Hooray!

The Diaper Diaries suggested using a cup of vinegar. Frankly, I have no idea how much I added because I didn't measure it. I don't think it was nearly a cup though, but it still worked. I am so excited.

And to boot, I straightened up my linen storage areas in the two baths as a result!

Thanks What Works for Me and The Diaper Diaries! Go visit Rocks in My Dryer and find a few things that work for you too!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Savannah Family Fun - Part 2 - Some Spending

See the intro for this series here.

Since we started with the big ticket items, we will continue now will the moderately priced fare. Although none of these are big expenses, they certainly can add up to be if you aren’t careful.

Ghost Tours:
As America’s Most Haunted City (according to the American Institute of Parapsychology), there is no shortage of ghost tours to be had at night. There are walking tours, trolley tours, a tour that you take while riding in a hearse (I’m not kidding) and pub crawls that are only for those over 21. These are the cheaper of the tours (although mostly likely, not drastically less in quality):

*Ghost Talk Ghost Walk: Priding themselves as the original ghost tour, this one is highly recommended by travel sites. Adults-$10; Children (12 & under)-$5
*Candlelight Walking Tour: Adults-$10; Seniors (55+) -$8; Children (6-12)-$5; Under 6-Free; prices with coupon at website
*Pub Crawl: Adults-$10; Seniors (55+)-$8; under 21-$500.00 and a visit from Children’s Services (I swear that is what their website says); prices with coupon at website
*Hauntings Tour: Adults-$13.00; Seniors & Student-$11.00; children under 5-Free

Other Tours:
*Oglethorpe Tours: A trolley tour for half the price of the others. I finally tried this one out and this will be the one I recommend from now on. More history and less fluff/romanticism, no stops, so entire 90 minutes is actual tour and not stopping. On/off all day included in price of ticket--and they personally come get you with a trolley with enough room for pickups, so no waiting on a trolley with available space (super important when it is raining). Tickets-$10.00
* Juliette Gordon Low's Birthplace: Tour the birthplace and childhood home of the founder of the Girl Scouts. Adult-$8; Child-$7; Child (5 & under)-Free; I would think there would also be a discount for Girl Scouts, but I can’t find that info anywhere.
* Andrew Low House: House of the founder of the Girl Scouts after she married William Mackay "Willy" Low and an architectural treasure, as I have been told. Adult-$8; Child (6-12)-$4.50; Child (5 & under)-Free; Girl Scouts-$4.50; students-$4.50
*Mighty 8th Air Force Museum: We still really want to check this out, as I see it daily on my way to and from work! Adult-$10.00; Seniors-$9.00; Child (6-12)-$6.00; Child (5 & under)-Free
*Davenport House Museum: Adult-$8.00; Child (6-18)-$5.00; Child (5 & under)-Free
*Ships of the Sea Museum: Adult-$7.00; Child (8-12)-$5.00; Child (7 & under)-Free
* Telfair Museum/Jepson Center/ Owens-Thomas house: For each attraction: Adult-$10.00; Child (5-12)-$4.00; Child (4 & under)-Free; College Students-$5.00; Seniors-$8.00; AAA-$8.00; Combo Ticket--$10 individual or $30 family

Yes, everyone wants to know where to eat. Frankly, it is hard to pick just one, as there are so many wonderful places to choose from—many of which I have yet to sample. I will give you the lowdown on places that are known for being wonderful as well of personal recommendations I have been given. I will comment on the fare that I have personally have been.

*The Lady & Sons: Gasp! Here it is…the holy grail of those coming to Savannah and have ever seen the Food Network. Paula Deen’s very own. I have not eaten there (did I hear an even bigger gasp at that comment?). Please visit the site and get the rules for how to get in, as you don’t just walk up and go in to eat—unless it is February and 30 degrees outside (yeah…it doesn’t get much colder than that here). I have been to the adjoining store and bought a cookbook from my mom. I did see Jamie (one of the sons) in there. Yes…they are there from time to time, but they are NOT in the kitchen cooking.
*Mrs. Wilkes’ Dining Room: From what I’ve heard, every bit as good as The Lady & Sons and not nearly as hard to get into, although there is a line. Round table eating with strangers at its finest. The menu is different daily. They DO NOT take credit cards.
*Garibaldi’s: I have never been there, but a good friend loves it.
*Toucan Café: Highly recommend by a friend who eats out a lot. Caribbean food and atmosphere.
*Uncle Bubba’s Oyster House: Brother of Paula Deen. My aunt loved it in case you have the same tastes as my aunt.
*Huey’s: A taste of New Orleans on the east coast.
*Il Pasticcio: It receives rave reviews and was called one of the country’s top ten Italian restaurants by USA Today.
*Johnny Harris: I’ve seen it, I’ve heard it is good, but we’ve just never gotten around to eating there!
*Tubby’s Tank House: On River Street and super yummy seafood. They have a balcony overlooking the street and live music most all of the time. We ate there for lunch while it was shady and not swelteringly hot to the tunes of a middle age acoustic guy. It was very relaxing, the prices are decent, the portions are huge and the food is wonderful and fresh. Their menu states that What you eat today was caught yesterday. (not a direct quote).
*Boar’s Head: A big hang out that supposedly has a lot of good food.
*Churchill’s: Doesn’t every pub have good food?
*Cobblestone Conch House: Really…there are just too many good eats on River Street!
*Kevin Barry’s Pub: Not so much a family environment, but supposed to be really good.
*Wild Wing Café: One of my hubby’s favorites. When we used to visit Charleston (where he’s from), he always insisted we eat at Wild Wings because we had the chance. Now we have one locally and he loves it! You can choose from any temperature of wings as well as other standard fare. Chip’s favorites are Habenero Hots and Chernobyl (if that’s any indication as to the heat). Live music is always fun and right in the middle of City Market.
*Firefly Café: I’ve heard good things…
*Moon River Brewing Company: I’ve heard good things about the food, but a friend of mine was not impressed. If nothing else, visit because it is haunted and was featured on Sci-Fi’s Ghost Hunters for a Halloween Special (they caught some interesting video footage there). They are, in fact, a brewery, so the suds are fresh. *Bonus: UPromise earnings of 4%
*Soho South Café: It’s supposed to be good. I cannot comment personally.
*Vic’s on the River: We went there after being told it was good for the family. We second-guessed that when we went in with friends (total of three kids) and saw a live piano bar, beautiful hardwood floors, linen tablecloths, and tuxed waiters. However, we were pleasantly surprised when they were incredibly great with the kids, had a very reasonably priced menu, and great food. Now Chip did go back later to order what he had the first time and was not impressed the second, but I was impressed enough on the first trip, I would definitely recommend with the thought that his second visit was only a fluke.
*Lulu’s Chocolate Bar: I have not been, but it’s my own fault. I have heard that this place is heavenly as an after-dinner stop. I have GOT to go sometime.

Other Activities to Do:
*Savannah Sandgnats Baseball: A single-A division of the NY Mets, this is some cheap family fun. All of the fun of minor league baseball in a historic stadium that is slowly being renovated. Strange mascot, you say? I thought so too until I encountered sand gnats while at the beach. They aren’t those swarming little black ones that hop around in the sand at the beaches I used to know. They are swarming and BITING creatures that I believe now to be the spawn of satan. Great mascot. Tickets are $10 for box seats, $8 for reserved, $7 general admission, $5 for ages 4-12, 3 and under are free, $5 seniors and $5 military discount.
*Golf—There is a lot here. Check various courses and fees.
*Skidaway Camping—Campground surrounded by trails and nature. Prices vary depending on type of accommodations reserved.
*Candy—On River Street there are two candy companies. They are both delicious. They will both lure you in with the offer of samples of pralines and treats. Although it would be easy to get carried away in there (both financially and calorically), the prices per item are great and the treats are delicious and super fresh. Fudge is to die for!

I hope you enjoyed and can take a few of these and put them into your schedule of things to do while you are next visiting Savannah.

Come back tomorrow to fill you itinerary up with inexpensive fun for you and the whole family. I’ll sum it all up on Tuesday (the 24th).

Friday, June 20, 2008

Savannah Family Fun - Part 1 - Fat Wallet

See the intro for this series here.

Savannah offers so many wonderful things, it is hard to leave and feel that you have done everything that you wanted to while here. I know that practically everyone I talk to who visits notes that they just did not have the time to do it all.

I have to agree that after living here an entire year now, I hardly feel like we have scratched the surface of those things that we want to do. With all of the variety, it makes the decision of what to do a difficult one. My intent in writing this series is to offer a range of family friendly activities for a range of budgets. Feel free to mix and match as you feel the need, as the lists are compiled based on (my opinion of) the cost of each activity. Hopefully this series of posts will help you out for your next trip here to the Hostess City of the South.

We begin with the big ticket items. These are suggestions for those of you who are rolling in money and just looking for somewhere to spend it or for those special occasions—you know, that one nice dinner out without the kids or that one big-spender item that you do on vacation.

Ghost Tours:
As America’s Most Haunted City (according to the American Institute of Parapsychology), there is no shortage of ghost tours to be had at night. There are walking tours, trolley tours, a tour that you take while riding in a hearse (I’m not kidding) and pub crawls that are only for those over 21. These are the more costly of those tours:

*Ghosts and Gravestones Tour: Adult-$22.50; Child (4-12)-$9.00; Child (3 and under) Free (prices good from this link only)
*Tara Haunted Walking Tour: Adult-$20.00; Child (3-10)-$10.00; Child (2 and under) Free; Active Military (with ID)-Free
*Tara Haunted Pub Crawl: Adult-$20.00; Under 21 not allowed; Active Military (with ID)-Free

Other Tours:
*Old Town Trolley Historical Tour: Prices range from $9.00 (child) to $25.00 depending on your tour. See site for pricing. I’ve been on this one twice and enjoyed it both times. You learn something new every trip! On par with Old Savannah Tours in my opinion.
*Old Town’s Paula Deen Tour: begins June 21, 2008 includes buffet at Uncle Bubba’s (her brother’s) Oyster House; and a voucher for preferred seating, when available, at The Lady and Sons; $49.00
*Old Savannah Historical Tour: Adult-$20.00; Child-$9.00 (12 and under); Voted Savannah’s Best tour for multiple years running; I’ve been on this tour twice and loved it both times. On equal footing with Old Town in my opinion.
*Pirate's House Dinner Ghost Tour: Includes a ghost tour and dinner at the Pirate’s House. Adult-$44.00; Child (12 and under)-$29.00 Tickets must be purchased 24 hours in advance due to limited availability.
*Savannah Experience Tour: A much more in-depth look at the historical district; Adult-$25.00; Child (12 and under)-$14.00
*Original Paula Deen Tour: Must visit this site or call to grab tickets fast. Includes lunch at Uncle Bubba’s (her brother) Oyster House and a bag of goodies. Adult $56.00; Child (12 and under)-$34.00
*Legends and Lunch Cruise: Cruise the Savannah River for 2 hours while learning history and biology. Lunch aboard ship is catered by The Lady and Sons. Adults-$36.00; Child (12 and under)-$28.00
*Savannah River Boat Tours: A variety of selections to choose from. Prices vary dependent on cruise. Dinner cruises, sightseeing cruises, and entertainment cruises available.
*Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil Book Tour: Adult: $39.95 (through link); Child (birth-11)-$29.95 (must provide your own car seat, as this is in a van). Includes pick up and drop off from any Savannah hotel. 3 hour tour (sorry, but I have to note that I now have the Gilligan’s Island theme in my head. Ha ha—so do you now).
*Foody Tour: Visit 7 location of fine cuisine in the city (yes…it includes The Lady and Sons) to sample the goods. Features Southern Goodness, Lowcountry Cuisine, and plenty of seafood. Goody bag included. Adult-$51.95 (through link); Child (6-12)-$39.95; Child under 6 (in lap)-Free
*African American History Tour: Adults-$20.95; Child (9 and under)-Free with paid adult. Did you know that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his “I have a dream…” speech from the pulpit in a Savannah church before going to Washington?
*Personalized Walking Tours: Range from 2 hours to all day. Prices vary from $35.95 each up to around $90.00
*Architectural Tours: $20.00 per person; reservations required.
*Savannah Movie Tour: Do you have any idea how many movies have been made in Savannah? Me neither…but it is a LOT. It’s stunning beauty and distinct architecture as well as it’s historical feel make it a favorite for movie producers. Find out all of the details on this tour. Adult-$24.95 (internet rate); Child (6-12)-$14.95; Child under 6 is free in a lap.

Yes, everyone wants to know where to eat. Frankly, it is hard to pick just one, as there are so many wonderful places to choose from—many of which I have yet to sample. I will give you the lowdown on places that are known for being wonderful as well as personal recommendations I have been given. I will comment on the fare that I have personally tasted.

*700 Drayton: Part of the Mansion on Forsythe inn.
*Elizabeth on 37th: A friend of mine highly recommends as he gets to eat there free for drug rep dinners!
*The Pirates’ House: I still have yet to eat at this fascinatingly historical locale. In the fall they have a murder mystery dinner theater, so I’m waiting for that to roll back around!
*17Hundred90: This was my Mother’s Day dinner this year and the food was great. The atmosphere is awesome in the lowest-most level of a haunted inn (everything in Savannah is haunted—you know that, right?). You can’t help but feel a bit creepy in this eerily romantic atmosphere. The desserts were so-so, but everything else was wonderful. Also a bar for the nightlife.
*The Chart House: Father’s Day dinner was here. Wonderful view of the river. Steak was fabulous. The offer a huge range of seafood. Hubby didn’t love his sea bass, but it was something new and he noted that it had nothing to do with the preparation. Fabulous dessert that takes 30 minutes preparation—well worth the effort! Located in old cotton warehouse, it has an ambiance that is cozy, formal, and romantic amidst the stone walls and exposed beam ceilings.
*The Olde Pink House: I’ve heard rave reviews on this one that features low-country cuisine (that food that is popular here in coastal Georgia and Carolinas). Also haunted. Also with a bar for nightlife.
*Sapphire Grill: Another one with rave reviews and a hopping atmosphere.
*Belford’s: I heard this place was great too; haven’t tasted for myself.
*Jazz’d: We’ve talked about going to this awesome restaurant and jazz club, but have no found the occasion to spend the money yet (check the name of my site). And I’m weary of taking hubby there. As a jazz trumpeter, he would either love it or sulk all night because he’s just as good as the musicians featured. Is it worth the gamble?
*Avida: I have heard nothing about this one, but it is featured is various restaurant guides.
*Alligator Soul: Once again, I know nothing about this, but it is popular with the critics.
*Casbah: I haven’t been due to lack of interest in the fare, but talk about atmosphere!

Other Activities to Do:
*Parasailing, Jet Skis, Kayaking, Air Chairs and Dolphin Tours: All on Tybee Island. See site for pricing of various activities.
*Savannah Theatre: There’s always something going on!

So there is the skinny for the fat wallet (okay, that was bad—I admit it). Although these items are pricey, some of them are so very worth the cost for a special occasion. And I’ll admit quickly that there is no better way to tour the city and learn a huge collection of historical information than one of the historical trolley tours.

Saturday will be my usual Round Up, but come back Sunday for the mid-range priced activities and food. Monday will be for us Fru-GALS. I’ll sum it all up on Tuesday (the 24th).

Photo credit: CasaDeQueso and us

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Money Hacks Carnival #17 - Music of the '80s

Ahhh...the '80s. It was a time of the death of disco and the emergence of hair bands and bubblegum pop music. It was marked by wild long hair as well as the birth of the yuppie. It was a time of (eventual) financial abundance. Many people began truly indulging--in material wealth, themselves, substances, and even make up ( and women).

It is a time that will live in entertainment as very distinct. One identifying mark of the '80s is the music. That's where we will spend today's Money Hacks the music of the '80s, which, interestingly enough, talked an awful lot about money.

I wanted to note that there are some people that have more than one entry this week. Last week's carnival was posted a few days early and these people had some great posts that did not get included due to this error.

Before we really dive in, I just to make sure that we're all still focusing on the carnival here, I want to post my Editor's Picks:

*Retirehappy presents Naming Beneficiaries on Retirement Plans posted at My Retirement Blog. Okay, so we don't want to have to think about it, but this is information we all need to be on top of!

*Mike Leonard presents Passive income? Look at your passive expenses first posted at Until Debt Do Us Part. Great recommendation--look at your spending rather before trying to find out how to make more.

*J. Savings presents I'm back, and ready to spill the beans baby! posted at Budgets are Sexy. Great post. I love seeing testimonials on how resorts and vacation packages work. They can be very smart money-wise, but it helps to see the traps that others encountered! Congratulations, by the way!

*Silicon Valley Blogger presents Save and Invest Enough For Your Retirement: Are You On Track? posted at The Digerati Life. Although it seems like a long way off for me, I know that I have to stay focused on my retirement in order to survive when it comes!

*Brian Chin presents Why Gas Price Increases Aren't Really Affecting Your Finances posted at beechin financial consultant. Great perspective!

*Lisa Spinelli presents New Website Outs Companies With Poor Corporate Responsibility Records Greener Pastures: Personal Finance posted at Greener Pastures. I loved this post! It is wonderful that all of this information is gathered in one place, and I was so excited that Lisa pointed me to it! Thanks!

Now...on with the fun:

CAREER: 9 to 5 by Dolly Parton (1980)

It was a movie and a song. It was a great example of '80s media--silly and without real purpose.

Workin' 9 to 5
What a way to make a livin'
Barely gettin' by
Its all takin'
And no givin'
They just use your mind
And they never give you credit
Its enough to drive you
Crazy if you let it

*Dorian Wales presents The Personal Financier: Actively Manage Your Career to Stay On Top of Your Game posted at The Personal Financier.

*FFB presents By What Cover Is Your Book Judged? posted at Free From Broke.

*Ellesse presents Free Career, Business & Trade Magazines for Your Career & Economic Goals posted at Goal Setting College.

DEBT/CREDIT: Material Girl by Madonna (1985)

Seriously, this song pretty much described the attitude that many people had at the time... and some people are still suffering from the fallout.

Living in a material world
And I am a material girl
You know that we are living in a material world
And I am a material girl

*Shana presents Are You Ready to Budget? A Quiz posted at Smart Easy Money.

*Olen presents Pay Off Your Mortgage - Fast! posted at Get Out Of Debt.

*FMF presents The Ins and Outs of Reward Credit Cards posted at Free Money Finance.

*Mr Credit Card presents Cash Back Credit Card Video Guide posted at Ask Mr Credit Card.

*Ray presents The Best Credit Cards For College Students posted at Money Blue Book: Personal Finance Blog.

*Ryan Taylor presents Stop Bill Collector Harassment posted at Millionaire Money Habits.

*Mike presents Is it worth it to sign up for a Student Advantage card? posted at Living the Cheap Life.

*Joe Manausa presents Loan Limits - Contact Your Senator Today! posted at Tallahassee Real Estate Blog.

*Jose De Jesus MD presents Check Your Credit Score posted at Physician Entrepreneur.

*Erica Douglass presents When Should You Buy Real Estate — And When Is It Better to Rent? posted at - Erica Douglass challenges you to change your life!.

ECONOMY: Livin' On A Prayer by Bon Jovi (1986)

You can't talk about '80s music without reviewing a hair band...and Bon Jovi was one of the most talented and most successful of the bunch. They have proven their success by altering their music enough to stay popular even until today.

She says we've got to hold on to what we've got
cause it doesn't make a difference if we make it or not
We've got each other and that's a lot
For love - well give it a shot
Whooah, were half way there
Whooah, livin' on a prayer
Take my hand and well make it - I swear
Whooah, livin' on a prayer

*hank presents Chrysler, Jeep, and Dodge Aren't Saving You Any Money On Their New $2.99 Incentive My Investing Blog posted at My Investing Blog.

INCOME: Money for Nothing by Dire Straits (1985)

Gotta' love a song about a working man begrudgingly observing the celebrity lifestyle. And this was a mind-altering video at the time.

We gotta install microwave ovens
Custom kitchen deliveries
We gotta move these refrigerators
We gotta move these colour TVs

*Webmaster_1 presents Avoiding Make Money From Home Scams posted at The Entrepreneurs Online Magazine.

*Dave presents Can You Make Money Using the Internet? posted at Cheapo Groovo.

*The Shark Investor presents The Five Essential Elements Of Automated Income Generators posted at The Shark Investor.

*Patrick Schwerdtfeger presents 7 Steps to High-Conversion Sales Copy posted at Tactical Execution.

TAX: She Works Hard for Her Money by Donna Summer (1983)

She works hard for the money
So hard for it honey
She works hard for the money
So you better treat her right
She works hard for the money
So hard for it honey
She works hard for the money
So you better treat her right

*RC presents How to Put Next Year’s Tax Refund to Work for You Right Now Think Your Way to Wealth posted at Think Your Way to Wealth.

SAVING: Working for the Weekend by Loverboy (1981)

So this song was not about saving money, so I am stretching here. Still a cool song that screams "80s!"

Everybody's working for the weekend
Everybody wants a little romance
Everybody's goin' off the deep end
Everybody needs a second chance,
oh...You want a piece of my heart
You better start from start
You wanna be in the show
Come on baby let's go

*Joe Caterisano presents how to save money using grocery coupons posted at Penny Pinching.

*Garret presents 7 Ways To Save Money On Your Fuel Bill posted at Personal Finance Basics.

*Body For Life Results presents 5 Money Saving Tips To Help You Survive The Credit Crunch posted at Tame Your Debt.

*Katie Gregg presents Powering Down posted at Frugal Fabulous.

*Rhiana Jones presents Book Review: Make-A-Mix posted at A Frugal Life - Just the two of us.

*Northern Cheapskate presents Northern Cheapskate: Tips for a Tight Traveling Budget posted at Northern Cheapskate.

*Card Blogger presents The Best Gas Rebate Credit Cards posted at Credit Card Blog.

*Aryn presents Save Money with Travel Rewards posted at Sound Money Matters.

*dmh presents Unwritten Rules of Bringing Your Own Wine posted at Daily Money Hack.

*Bryce presents Haircuts posted at Save and Conquer.

*Jamy presents The art of creative home budgeting. posted at Wealth=Wise(Investments+Strategies).

*Faron Benoit presents 15 Cheap Romantic Date Ideas posted at Financial Learn.

*Broke Grad Student presents 6 Ways A Boyfriend/Girlfriend Saves You Money posted at Broke Grad Student.

*Madison presents Free Blockbuster Movies posted at My Dollar Plan.

*Christopher Johnson presents Legacy Fund - Perpetuity posted at

*TooSmart presents Dress for Less: The sub $5 shirt. posted at Too Smart to Live Like This.

*Brian Chin presents 4 Ways to Find Cheap Airfare on Flights posted at beechin financial consultant.

*Amy @ The Q Family presents Catch a Reading Bug this Summer posted at The Q Family Adventure.

INVESTING: I Wanna' Be Rich by Calloway (1989)

This one just gets stuck in your head.

I want money lots and lots of money
I want the pie in the sky
I want money lots and lots of money
So don't be asking me why
I wanna be rich oh ;
I wanna be rich
I wanna be rich oh;
I wanna be rich
For a little love peace and happiness

*KCLau presents Picking the right Structured Fund posted at KCLau's Money Tips.

*Aussie presents Australian Stock Market Investing posted at Australian Stock Market Investing.

*jim presents TradeKing Review posted at Blueprint for Financial Prosperity.

*MoneyKing presents Real Estate Profits And Losses: Your Tenant’s Kids. Scenario 38. posted at The Money Kings - RULE your money at home, at work, and at play!.

*KCLau presents Ride on the Oil Palm Industry Boom posted at KCLau's Money Tips.

*Raag Vamdatt presents Want to retire early? Here's what you need :: :: Financial Planning demystified posted at

*thewild1 presents To Buy or Sell? posted at The Wild Investor.

OTHER: For the Love of Money by The O'Jays

Okay, I cheated. This song is not from the 1980s, but how can you talk about money songs and not cover the song that is now most popular as the theme song for The Apprentice? Donald Trump has practically adopted it as his own.

Money money money money, money (x6)
Some people got to have it
Some people really need it
Listen to me y'all, do things, do things, do bad things with it
You wanna do things, do things, do things, good things with it
Talk about cash money, money
Talk about cash money- dollar bills, y'all

*Ted presents Best Place to Sell Textbooks posted at CampusGrotto College Advice.

*John Crickett presents Is Now The Time To Buy A House? posted at Find Financial Freedom.

*The Financial Blogger presents Financial Super Powers Series: Telepathy and Mind Control posted at The Financial Blogger.

*Heather Allen presents Giving Can Breed Dependency. posted at The DebtFree Playbook Blog.

*Financial Goal presents 12 New Essentials We Think We Need posted at Goal of Financial Freedom.

*Chief Family Officer presents Review: posted at Chief Family Officer.

*Ryan Suenaga presents The Readers Ask: Where’s Best for Chicken Money? posted at Uncommon Cents.

*Heather Johnson presents Four Fabulous Ways to Be Happier posted at Miguel Trujillo.

*chica with issues presents Looking for a discount pays off, but so does waiting posted at One Snarky Chica with Issues.

*GBlogger presents Success Stories: From Newly Divorced With A Negative Net Worth to $150,000 — In Two Years posted at CAN I GET RICH ON A SALARY.

Thanks for visiting! I hope you enjoyed reminiscing as much as I did. Submit your posts for next week's carnival, which will be held at My Investing Blog. Have a great week!