Tuesday, August 30, 2011

School Related Wins

I've made a few frugal wins related to school so far. The main expense has been text books, and I've found that the last place you want to buy those is at the school bookstore.

I've seen some pretty great deals on used books through Amazon and Barnes & Noble online. I'm picking up a used copy of the text book for one of my classes on Amazon for 78 cents! Granted I can't take advantage of Free Super Saver Shipping when it's a used book, but with shipping at just $3.99 who cares? I'll be purchasing that baby just as soon as my Amazon Gift Card code comes through from Swagbucks - anyone know how long that usually takes?

I also snagged two books for another class from a friend who just took the class. Rather than selling them back to the bookstore for pittance, I figured he'd be happy to sell them to me. Luckily I already have the book for my third class since it's just an extension of the class I took last Spring. I will definitely not be selling that hefty paper weight back to the bookstore when I'm done with it. After checking out prices on Amazon and eBay I see I can get a lot more for it if I sell it myself.

I snagged 3 Top Flight notebooks for 50 cents apiece at Safeway last week. They're 70 pages each and should be enough for each class. The 3 subjects-in-one notebook sitting next to the smaller ones was $3.99 and only 180 pages. By taking a few seconds to compare prices I scored an extra 50 pages for $2.49 less!

I still have to write a huge check in October, but the little things can really add up too, so I'm doing my best to take a bite out of them, and to keep the spare pennies rolling in by using Fusion Cash, Swagbucks*, Bing Rewards, Inbox Dollars, Cash Crate, taking advantage of bank incentives, and selling things on eBay and Craigslist.

*I'm going to write up a review of Swagbucks soon - I can't believe how easy it was to cash out my first $5 Amazon card!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Throw me a bone!

I think I must have gone cah-razy, because I've decided to take school FULL TIME starting this fall. That's on top of my full time job, and of course being a full time wife and full time budgeting, saving, penny tracking obsessive compulsive. More on my plans to keep afloat later...

In the meantime, I've had to plug some pretty big tuition bills into my tracking ledger in October, January and April. My monthly savings goal has now been sadly changed to zero (shudder) other than maxing out my Roth IRA. Luckily there are two of us in the Pig Penny household, so it's not as if we won't be saving anything, and luckily I've been saving some bigger than usual chunks of change over the past few months.

Sadly, there are still some negative numbers showing up in the coming months. Thanks to aggressive savings I won't be actually overdrawn, but I am loathe to cut into my savings - especially since I won't be growing my savings account each month anymore.

So, I am trying to scrounge up a spare $2 thousand. Certainly easier said than done. I do have a little extra cash floating around that wasn't specifically earmarked for my savings account over the past few months. I have a $25 offer from Chase to open a savings account and keep a minimum of $300 in it. I also just opened a savings account for $1500 with Chase and earned $125 bonus for doing so, which you can do too! So, after meeting the minimums on the savings and checking accounts with my spare cash, I have about $650 left over.

I also have a $50 gift card from USBank courtesy of their START Saving offer, and $25 should transfer from my PayPal this week for some eBay sales I made.

That leaves me $1275 short of my goal. Deep breaths...

I am a little short over at Fusion Cash this month. I need a little bit extra in order to cash out at the end of the month, so if you'd like to earn me a referral reward click HERE to sign up for Fusion Cash. Verifying your e-mail will earn me $1 and completing an offer will earn me $2. I still haven't had a single one of my referrals actually cash out, which is kind of sad. Kind of nice because they earned me cash without actually gaining anything themselves, but kind of sad because Fusion Cash really does work. I have cashed out over $225 and hope to hit $250 this month.

If I manage to cash out every month for the rest of the year (which takes $25 minimum) I'll be $100 closer to my not-eating-my-savings goal. Again, feel free to throw me a bone by signing up :)

Other than that I'll be rolling counts, taking a look at what else I can Craigslist and eBay, and trying to earn Amazon gift cards over at Swagbucks to help cover my Christmas shopping. Yes, I've succumbed to Swagbucks. Earning Amazon cards through Bing's reward program proved addicting!

So feel free to throw me a referral bone to help me towards my goal, and hopefully I'll be able to pay for school without going broke!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Practically Free Jeans!

My grandmother in laws new puppy has been systematically ruining my clothing with every visit. On our first visit she chewed up my very favorite scarf. The one I got compliments on every time I wore it. The one someone brought me back from Korea as a gift.

Bad dog.

On our most recent visit I was wearing a pair of jeans that I knew I'd have to replace in the next few months. There was a worn spot that was becoming more and more of a hole, but wasn't quite there yet. One visit to grandma's and the worn spot was officially a hole. Puppy's sharp little claws and constant jumps were just too much for my poor worn jeans to bear.

Very bad dog.

The last thing I wanted to do right now was spend $200 on a new pair of jeans. Yes, I know there are jeans that aren't $200. I just haven't ever been able to find any that I would want to wear! So I headed over to eBay to peruse the Paige pages.

I found a pair of jeans with a Buy It Now price of $37.10 with free shipping. They were listed as new, but washed once. Do I care that they were washed? No! Honestly, I wouldn't have really cared if they were technically worn. The pictures showed jeans in perfect condition, and other listings like it were a lot higher.

I knew I'd have to have them hemmed. Nordstrom does this for free on jeans purchased at their store. Otherwise, they charge $14. All in all, I would have had a pair of good-as-new Paige jeans for $52.43 after tax. Pretty darn good deal, if I do say so myself!

When my jeans arrived they looked perfect. When I tried them on, I realized they were not. The zipper was broken. The pull was completely missing and the teeth were all funkified.

I really didn't want to return these jeans. Even with the cost to repair the zipper they were still a great price. I decided to take them in for hemming and repair and ask for a refund on the zipper price. It cost $16 to replace. I asked the eBay seller to refund the price plus tax to my account. I was a little nervous that she was going to demand proof of the broken zipper which I had neglected to photograph before taking into Nordstrom, but I figured I had my receipt showing I'd paid for a new zipper if it came to that.

Not only did this not end up being a problem, the seller was so apologetic for the inconvenience that she insisted on refunding me the entire price of the jeans. I spent $32.85 for hemming and the zipper, and that was that.

And that is the story of my practically free jeans! Now if I could lose just 5 pounds, I'd be the happiest frugalista on earth.
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