Friday, March 11, 2011
Have no fears, I do not plan on abandoning this blog, however, the posts will likely still be less frequent, as been the case for the past year or so.
Frugal Green Girl
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Most commonly, I think students use their student IDs for movie theater tickets, which can give you at least a couple of bucks off of your ticket. These discount tickets can similarly also be found for other types of shows like concerts and plays. Universities and colleges tend to also provide discounts on computers and other essential technology from stores like Apple and Dell, which you can shop online for in addition to a school store. Microsoft Office, for instance, also provides a line of their software specifically for the student budget that can get you through college with the just basics. If you travel a lot, this is another great place to look for student discounts - Amtrak (Train) and Greyhound Bus lines provide student discount programs, and STA Travel and Student Universe provide excellent databases on airfare at a student price. Major cell phone service providers may also provide you a student discount, including AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile. I'd recommend googling these for more information, but I want you to know they do exist, and cell phone bills are insanely high, so be sure to check it out if its applicable for you!
The list can go on, so just be sure to look anywhere you go or stores that you frequent to see if they provide discounts for students. My favorite student discount I have found is through Amazon.com. They provide a free 1-year membership of Amazon Prime, which is a great way to get free 2-day shipping on most of the items Amazon.com sells. If you would like to learn more about how to sign up for a free student account, click here. I probably buy 75% of my non-grocery items from Amazon, simply because they have great deals for people on a budget, and fast free shipping only makes things even better! The point here is, NEVER stop looking for student discounts, because there are a lot of sympathetic businesses out there to help you during a financially difficult time in your life!
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
- I took and passed my doctoral comprehensive exams in September - yay!
- I successfully proposed my dissertation topic and began doing analysis - yay!
- I applied for a predoctoral psychology internship (October/November), which are highly competitive, and have been interviewing at various sites in the region for the past month.
Well, Groupon has definitely caught on fire the past couple of months, which I wrote about last year, and now similar sites have popped up. Livingsocial.com is one that I stumbled upon today after a friend posted in his status on Facebook. Today's deal: $10 for a $20 Amazon.com giftcard! Great deal for me, since I frequent Amazon for their prices and my current free Prime membership provides free 2 day shipping. LivingSocial also provides an incentive by providing you with a link after you purchase the deal - if you get 3 friends to also purchase the deal, yours is free! Checking other types of sites like these are helpful incase your area might not be covered by Groupon or other sites yet. From what I can tell LivingSocial seems to have a longer list of cities available for deals.
In addition, I and fellow readers of this blog have noticed that local programs have begun to do things in their smaller cities. In my city, for example, the "giveback" program runs via local participating businesses which contribute a certain percentage of your purchase to a selected charity - for me, its the local humane society - and also gives you $10 back to use after you have accumulated a certain amount of purchases with the card. And recently they have added a monthly enewsletter where a "groupon-like" deal is presented. A couple of months ago I got a 30 minute massage from a local therapist for $15 on our giveback deal, a treat I rarely get to have for myself!
Be sure to check out your local area to see if any type of programs like this exist - they are a win-win situation!
Expect to see more posts in the upcoming weeks - I'm hoping to get back on track as one of my New Year's Resolutions!
Sunday, June 27, 2010
On this post I would love to mention a website I recently discovered, thanks to CNN.com, called Groupon. Groupon is a website that offers amazing deals in numerous U.S. cities and other countries. I'm not just talking about $5 off a meal, no, I am talking about SERIOUS deals. Here's how it works: each day a new "deal" is posted for each particular city/ location. You can choose to purchase that deal with a credit card, however, enough people must also purchase that deal in order to "activate" it. Don't worry, if you buy the deal and it doesn't make, your card will not be charged. What they want you to do is to help others also buy that deal, and if you do, you receive $10! (Refer by me at: http://www.groupon.com/r/uu4275448)
Why would a business do this? While they are offering insanely good deals, they are looking to drive in a new customer base, and get more people to come to them by putting up this deal, assuming enough people buy it. Businesses range from restaurants to shopping, to parks and attractions - you just never know what you will see! You can also subscribe to daily emails for a specific location so that you don't need to check the website everyday.
"But wait a minute, my city isn't on here. This probably won't be of use to me." I hear ya. Another great way to use Groupon is for planning vacations. For example, on my last trip to Las Vegas, which is a featured city on Groupon, we did a Red Rock Canyon Tour provided by Scoot City tours. It was one of our more expensive activities at $119 per person. Groupon previously offered a deal with Scoot City Tours for the same tour for two people for half the price! $110 for two people! I couldn't believe it! Be sure to check the fine print of the deal, since most of the deals have an expiration date of at least a couple of months away. There are a ton of cities on Groupon, so I would encourage you to watch for the deals, especially if you are planning a vacation in the future!
Monday, May 3, 2010
My father-in-law visited recently, and brought us to a Kansas City Royals game, where they were having a promotional giveaway of a bobblehead doll of their star pitcher, Zach Greinke. While I enjoy going to baseball games very much, most of the time, I don't really care for the giveaways unless it is clothing or a baseball cap...something I can wear. When we got back to our house, I said to my father-in-law, "What am I going to do with this? Do you want two?". And then he suggested to put it on Ebay, which for some reason had never crossed my mind before. Before I knew it, I had it posted and earning bids, and made a $30 profit off of a free item, which was almost enough to pay for my ticket from the game! With game giveaways especially, since there are a limited number made (usually 20,000) it makes them more desirable to the public, in particular collectors and fans.
I also decided to post my Nintendo DSi, something that I never use anymore. The problem with Ebay, is that for the most part, you want to keep it to a smaller item, since you will have to ship it. However, commission costs are low. Whereas half.com will take a percentage of the commission, Ebay charges a base fee, usually of 50 cents, and charges based on the extra stuff you want to put in your ad. Electronics items cost a bit more, but still incredibly cheap for an auction in my opinion. Plus, I think the site is very user friendly, and has a help area to those who are new, which I found myself using multiple times.
Ebay can be a great alternative to things like a rummage sale, which I also have plans for coming up. With a national audience, you can certainly get more money for your item than you would at a rummage sale, where for the most part, since they are the only buyer, will talk you down from your set price. More on rummage sales for a later entry.
Upon your time spring cleaning, assess some items in the house and their frequency of use. While I like my Nintendo DSi, I just flat out don't use it. I'd rather put the money towards something I can actually use, or, you could be smart and put it into savings (which is not what I do). Anyways, check out Ebay as a seller and see how easy it is to make some extra money decluttering your home. Another man's trash is another man's treasure, right?
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Monday, March 8, 2010
Whatever place you go to, you can always find free stuff to do. I have been using tripadvisor.com to look for different fun things to do in Las Vegas. TripAdvisor provides an extensive list of things to do (in addition to hotels and flights and everything else associated with a trip somewhere) and also provides users the opportunity to publicly review these establishments. They are ranked and also given written reviews by customers. You can also simply google things like "free things to do in Las Vegas". Many travel sites have these lists for certain cities.
While I could say, "hey lets just do all the top things we can find that we would like to do", thats not efficient at all. Las Vegas is not a cheap city by any means, and I'm sure many of you know that if you have been there. If you're going to a show like the ever popular Cirque Du Soleil, it can cost anywhere from 100 to 200 dollars PER seat. There are certainly ways to cut corners, like going directly to the box office to see if they are undersold that day, and you may get them for cheaper. But certainly don't expect 30 dollars cheap.
In addition, I would really recommend booking online at travel booking sites like orbitz.com or hotwire.com. Personally, I have found that overall, orbitz.com has the cheapest prices for the same packages on other websites. The beauty of these sites is that they allow you to book your hotel and flight together, which usually saves hundreds sometimes thousands of dollars. For example, my flight (for one person), would have cost around $350 dollars round trip. Now, times that by two, and the hotel we will be staying at (a fabulous 5 star hotel on the strip) normally runs without the flight booked together at $230 per night. I instead got this trip for about 500 a person, which saved me about 800-900 dollars.
In addition, use the reviews of attractions, like on Orbitz or TripAdvisor, for example, to find where you can get cheaper prices. Often times, reviewers will say something along the lines of "Great show. Go to the big coke bottle next to the MGM Grand where you can get tickets for $37, rather than paying the full $54." Travelers are always full of good advice to give you, so take advantage! In addition, you may find when you investigate online there are cheaper tickets available simply for buying online, or there are certain dates that are cheaper. In Las Vegas, many popular attractions give 20 to 25% discounts for ordering online. Many websites for other attractions offer printable coupons to save you money.
So before you take a trip, investigate what you can online to find the best deal, you never know what you might find!
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
I now have 35 little seedling pouches that have sprouted and are growing fast!
I could also see this as a fun thing for children to get to see - how a plant starts out and watching them grow. I know I found it fun to see how they are doing each day. Especially during these winter months, its nice to have some signs of spring in the house - it reminds you it will be here soon.
The kit that I bought says on the front that "start your own seeds and save!" - the idea that growing the seeds yourself would be much cheaper than buying the plants after they have had a lot more time to mature. So far, I would have to agree with this idea, and I will likely be transferring these little guys into bigger pots soon. While I bought the greenhouse, I also bought pots for the plants made out of peat, so you can just plant them right into the ground - no removal or mess.
Think about growing something you may use when you cook a lot - like herbs or vegetables! You can start saving some money while promoting healthy eating (locally grown - in your own backyard!). I also find comfort in growing organic seeds, since there is so much genetic modification in seeds nowadays unfortunately. Anyways, now is the time to grow some seeds, as the planting times for different plants is coming up in a few months. Put on your green thumb!
Sunday, February 7, 2010
I usually make note to do this once or twice a year, simply because I keep more clothes than I actually wear. I think a lot of times we get caught up on the amount of money we spent on a particular item. If we spent more on it, even though we don't wear it, we feel obligated to keep it until its value has worn off. Barry Schwartz in his book "The Paradox of Choice" calls this "psychological worth" or value. I believe the general rule of thumb when rummaging through your closet is that if you haven't worn it in the past two years, you probably won't be wearing it again. Don't be afraid to put it in that recycling bag, remember thats its going to someone who will actually use it.
Going through my closet I came out with a trash bag full of clothes. Luckily, the day that I cleaned out my closet, I went to get my mail to find this in my mailbox.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
My husband and I usually cannot eat the whole bird, however, leftover meat from a whole chicken works great in soups like regular old-fashioned chicken noodle, or I like making chicken tortilla soup. After having chicken for supper, the next day I like to make a big batch of soup for my lunches at work throughout the week.
Besides giving you an idea of how to get two meals out of one, I also wanted to point out more of a commentary on the cooking of a humanely-raised chicken in comparison to what I had bought prior. When I go grocery shopping, I usually buy the smallest bird I can find, simply because like I said before, we have more than enough leftovers. Its a waste of food and money to buy anything bigger.
After cooking for an hour and half, and then another 15 minutes uncovered, I was confused to see no layer of chicken grease in the pan after taking it out of the oven. On the Tyson birds I used to buy, I usually would end up with a soup can full chicken grease in the pan. After taking the chicken out of the oven, I then take it out of the baking pan into a piece of stoneware for the table. However, today I found I couldn't even lift the bird out of the pan without it falling apart. The meat was so tender it was falling right off the bone. Plus, I also thought it tasted better than the other type of chicken I buy. I don't know what all of these signs mean, but I like less grease, meat so tender it falls of the bone, and the fact it tastes great.
Let me know about your experiences if you have similarities and differences. Happy cooking!
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
- The first and foremost thing that I always seem to gain from these movies is that capitalism is bad. I hope I am not the first person to tell you this either. The film talks in depth about how the seeds that farmers use can be patented, and large corporations now demand to be paid when farmers use these genetically modified seeds, even when they didn't buy them, they just spread through natural pollination.
- The second thing I took from this movie is that it is not so much about processed food, but how we treat our food. I have never seen how corporate farming is now, but as an animal-rights activist, I failed to see the connection prior of how these animals are treated inhumanely. While I am by no means a vegetarian, I believe all animals have the right to a healthy and happy life. Not to be stuffed in a dark and hot environment, or to be deprived of something that farm animals should be naturally eating, like grass. I really don't want to eat animals that are treated like that.
- The overall message of the film is that the corporations work by YOUR standards. In the film it is said as you as a customer vote every time with the foods you buy as to how they are made and grown. What surprised me the most in this film is that Wal-Mart was not painted as a "villain". In fact, representatives on there were visiting a local farm and asking about their products for one reason - its what their customers are interested in. The fact is Wal-Mart will sell you anything as long as it continues to make money. If you want to buy chickens that come from a humanely raised environment, ask for it, and the company will consider it to keep your business. My local Wal-Mart carries humanely raised chicken, for not much more than the regular Tyson chicken. And after seeing this film I will not buy anything else.
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
With the beginning of the new year, many of us make resolutions in hopes of completing them within the new year. I have decided a resolution for myself would be to read 50 books for fun this year. However, like many of you, I am pessimistic about completing this goal, even though I first thought I would make my goal 100 books. Rule number one about goal setting is to make the goal achievable and realistic. You want to challenge yourself, but also make the goal attainable. If it isn't, its easy to get disheartened or feel bad about yourself if you can't complete the goal. Anyways, another way to keep yourself on track for your resolutions is to remind yourself. While google calendar can be programmed to remind you of your tasks, another venue is the site www.futureme.org. Here, you can write an email to yourself that will be emailed to you at a specified date of your choice.
Try to be creative! This doesn't have to be a list of tasks, this can be an actual narrative letter you will write to your future self. Imagine what the conversation would be like. I did this with myself a couple of years ago, and I was surprised at my sense of humor, but also how well I knew myself (in terms of my bad habits, especially). Once you get that email, check the status of your goals, and congratulate yourself where congratulations are due. As human beings we are quick to point to our faults (i.e. goals we may not have completed) before our strengths (goals we have completed). If goals need to be reassessed, than do so, because clearly something wasn't working. Good luck with your resolutions for this year, and happy new year!
Monday, December 7, 2009
Today is the first day in a long time I have managed to not drink any soda - I drank just water all day. My strategy has been to think about how I will feel later, usually disgusting, and that helps me. I was excited to tell my husband, and he then suggested we possibly try quitting together. I was shocked by this, but I have come to realize after quitting McDonald's that when you live with someone else you tend to embrace a similar lifestyle - voluntarily or involuntarily. I noticed John commented on my earlier post on quitting soda that he is having trouble quitting coffee or caffeine. I have managed to quit caffeine myself, to the dismay of my fellow colleagues, and really it should be a process that should be weaned down gradually. Caffeine is a drug (more specifically, a stimulant), and like any drug, you shouldn't just be quitting cold turkey, otherwise you will experience withdrawal symptoms. I've had friends who have experienced some bad headaches for withdrawing from caffeine, so my advice is to be sure to do it gradually, until a point where you can go without it.
I also think though drinks like coffee can be a "morning routine" type of thing. Sometimes its also helpful to find a substitution like non-caffeinated coffee or tea. I know a strategy suggested to me, but I haven't tried it yet for quitting soda, is to drink carbonated water. Speaking as someone in the field of psychology, it will probably benefit your mind to have that substitution as well. Good luck John!
Onwards and upwards, I have been finding myself spending less and less on groceries every week! I used to spend $120 a week on groceries for two people, prior to having a meal schedule and shopping list, and this past week I spent less that $60. I'm finding it to be a fun competition with myself, since I have been spending less and less it seems each week for the past couple of months. The shopping list is the KEY to saving money. Stick to your list, avoid all the temptations in your supermarket, and you cannot go wrong.
In addition, finding good staples in a weekly menu can save a lot of money. For example, every other week, I cook a roast chicken. It may sound complex, but really all I do is take it out of the packaging, rinse it off, put it my baking pan, and sprinkle some pepper and salt over it. It goes in the oven for an hour and half, and its ready to eat. Afterwords, since my husband and I usually can't eat a whole chicken, I then take the remaining meat off to use in a soup to prepare the following day. I also make a large batch of soup, and put them in Gladware or Rubbermaid serving containers, and then I have my lunches prepared for the week. Talk about getting your money's worth!
Sunday, November 15, 2009
For the full press release, click on the title of this post above. Just another way to save for the holidays. Also, be sure to check out your grocers in the area, as I have heard ALDI is running a similar deal for $30 and Super Target has also put out a deluxe Thanksgiving meal for $45 and $60, depending on what you want included. Look at your retailer's weekly flyers!
BENTONVILLE, Ark. (Nov. 4, 2009) – Dedicated to helping American families save money on both holiday traditions and gift items, Walmart (NYSE: WMT) announced today significant price reductions* on Thanksgiving dinner favorites, TVs and other popular electronics. In addition to seeking savings on gifts under the Christmas tree, recent research shows more than 50 percent of consumers plan to shop price discounts in the coming weeks on non-gift purchases for themselves or family.**
Starting Saturday, Walmart stores will begin their first one-week electronics savings event with special buys and Rollbacks, including a new $298 HP notebook computer. In addition, as shoppers evaluate the impact of tight budgets on holiday meal planning, beginning today Walmart will feature select 12-pound turkeys for less than $5, helping families serve a complete Thanksgiving meal for eight this year as low as $20.*
“We’re proving that we’re committed to helping moms afford the holidays in these tough economic times,” said Jack Sinclair, executive vice president, groceries, Walmart. “That’s why we’re offering incredible pricing on the turkey and all the fixings.”
A turkey dinner for eight as low as $20
According to a survey by the American Farm Bureau Federation, last year’s average cost of a turkey was roughly $1.19 per pound. Beginning today, select Grade A turkeys are available for 40 cents per pound at Walmart.* These gobblers are part of Walmart’s $20 Thanksgiving menu guaranteeing family favorites will be on the dinner table this holiday season. Walmart’s $20 Thanksgiving feast includes:
- One 12-pound Grade A turkey*
- Three 11 to 15.5-ounce cans Green Giant vegetables
- Two 14-ounce cans Ocean Spray cranberry sauce
- Three 6-ounce boxes of Stove Top stuffing
- One 5-pound bag of red potatoes
- One 12-count package of Sara Lee dinner rolls
- One 22-ounce pumpkin roll cake
Here's to the start of the holiday season!
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
I've been finding that when I drink soda, thinking about its actual taste, its quite disgusting. Its just a very sugary taste, as appropriate being most of the soda is composed of such. I teach an undergraduate class three days a week, to which I usually drink my one Sprite during, and this week a student asked me "how can you drink non-caffeinated soda?" While I cite health reasons, I did ponder the question. What is the point of drinking soda if there is no caffeine in it? What is the purpose? I believe sugar is an equal addiction, and this "friend" in my entire life has never been a friend at all. When I was in 7th grade, I was hospitalized after consuming around 7-8 cans of soda a day, for dehydration. I trying to realize that soda does me no favors, and its time to let it go, just like any other drug. This is also the thought that has kept me away from drugs my whole life - what is the benefit of it?
But water? I hear so many people say how much the taste of water is so bland and boring. While I can understand, it is water's purity that makes me feel better during the day. Another thing I commonly put together with supper is a pitcher of Crystal Light, which is essentially water with some low-calorie flavoring added to it. In addition, thinking about the money we spend on soda, it can be quite draining. After adding a filter to my refrigerator, I find the taste of the water to be great, and I just fill up my reusable bottle every morning with water and ice. Water is much cheaper on the wallet than soda. In addition thinking about the resources consumed to make soda, and its containers, water is much better for the earth.
The other thing I come to find, is when you take up healthy habits, or give up bad habits, those around you will also take notice. For example, in 2001, when "Super Size Me", the documentary regarding fast food came out, I pledged to never eat McDonald's again. To which, I have still kept this promise to myself. However, over the course of the years, since I didn't go to eat there, that meant my husband would go by himself. It became less and less of an occurance for him, until it got to a point where he didn't find the food appetizing anymore. You CAN influence other people, particularly the ones you care about most. I'm hoping what I have said here may influence you as well, to start a new healthy habit for the havoc of the holidays is here.