Archive for July, 2010

A Not So Simple Question

How do you find time in life for the things that really matter?

*Bummer. I just realized I deleted the meat of this post. I had two posts with the same title and I guess I deleted the wrong one. Funny enough I scheduled the post so I didn’t check the contents until today. Oh well…

July 30, 2010 at 3:00 AM 6 comments

Receive Alerts When Prices Drop On Items You’ve Purchased Online

If you frequently shop online you should check out PriceProtectr. The site is really easy to use. You simply copy and paste the URL of the item you purchased at one of 162 online stores into their online form. Enter your email address, (they promise not to spam you), and you’ll receive notification if the price drops within a specified number of days. (The length of time depends on store policies.)

I recently purchased a number of items at Macy’s that dropped in price within the ten day protection period. I received an email nine days after my initial purchase, letting me know that the prices had fallen. The notification even included the number at Macy’s to call for price adjustments.

I called Macy’s, asked for the price adjustment, and received a credit on my account within fifteen minutes of receiving the email!

July 29, 2010 at 3:00 AM Leave a comment

A Spending Wave

I’ve been spending money like it’s growing on trees. It all started innocently enough with a few online purchases and ballooned into a laundry list in just fourteen days.

  • Replacement for my stolen GPS: $175
  • Dress for a wedding: $120
  • New summer dress: $50
  • New summer blouse: $11
  • Two new bras: $35
  • A few nights of take-in: $50
  • A new yoga DVD: $8
  • Cleaning Services purchased through Living Social: $88
  • Orange Roughy: $14 (I’ve always wanted to give it a try.)

I’m sure there are a few others that I’m missing, but that’s all I can think of off the top of my head. I seem to go through waves of spending. I’ll go weeks without buying anything and then all of a sudden I buy a bunch of stuff in a matter of days.

I almost never go to the mall, but somehow I’ve managed to travel there three times in the last two weeks. I don’t think that helped matters much. The search for DVDs on Amazon didn’t help either. I went looking for one thing and wound up with three others.

July 27, 2010 at 3:59 AM 1 comment

A Delicious Dinner Courtesy of My Grandmother

I tend to give my family the same Christmas and birthday list year after year. I ask for a bunch of experience related items, rather than stuff that I don’t really need. Over the years I’ve asked for hockey tickets, basketball tickets, movie tickets and gift certificates for everything I can think of including airfare, hotel rooms and restaurants.

In the past my grandmother hated to give me money or gift cards. In fact, she was famous for buying me clothes. She has an eye for fashion, even at her age, and used to find the perfect things for me, but now at eighty-eight she rarely leaves the house and can’t spend days searching for the perfect gift.

Every year I tell her not to buy me anything, but I know at the end of the day I’ll receive a gift. Last year I told her to buy something I could experience, rather than something that would sit on a shelf. Well I don’t know where she found out about RAM, (the Restaurant Association of Maryland), but for Christmas she presented my husband and I with a gift certificate.

Friends and family typically buy us gift cards to restaurants that we frequent and while this is very nice it tends to keep us going to the same places over and over. This was not the case with the RAM certificate, because RAM gift certificates can be used at a variety of participating restaurants.

The certificate provided us with the opportunity to explore our local neighborhoods in a way we otherwise would not have. We spent quite some time reading through the restaurants listed on the marylandrestaurants.com website and finally settled on a restaurant in Chevy Chase.

My husband and I drove towards the city on an old route we used to take back in college. At the restaurant we sat outside, enjoyed the weather and dined on steamed mussels and spaghetti and meatballs. The food was fantastic and the restaurant made us feel extra special. After our meal was over we walked over to Whole Foods and explored the Chevy Chase area.

Being a want-to-be foodie we wandered around Whole Foods in search of meals for the following week. We ate chocolate covered strawberries and just enjoyed being together. It felt so nice to get out of our comfort zone, to explore a familiar place that we hadn’t visited in years.

I can’t tell you what an amazing time I shared with my husband. My grandmother chose the perfect gift: a delicious dinner and a wonderful memory of that moment we shared together.

* I was not compensated in any way for this post.

July 26, 2010 at 3:55 AM 1 comment

Free Tunes: Streaming Internet Radio

Last night my husband introduced me to Pandora Internet Radio and I haven’t stopped listening to music since. This site is a magical little gift. You simply search for a song or artist and the site will create a personalized stream of music for you.

The site is based on a ten year categorization of music otherwise known as the Music Genome Project.

On January 6, 2000 a group of musicians and music-loving technologists came together with the idea of creating the most comprehensive analysis of music ever.

Together we set out to capture the essence of music at the most fundamental level. We ended up assembling literally hundreds of musical attributes or “genes” into a very large Music Genome. Taken together these genes capture the unique and magical musical identity of a song – everything from melody, harmony and rhythm, to instrumentation, orchestration, arrangement, lyrics, and of course the rich world of singing and vocal harmony. It’s not about what a band looks like, or what genre they supposedly belong to, or about who buys their records – it’s about what each individual song sounds like.

Since we started back in 2000, we’ve carefully listened to the songs of tens of thousands of different artists – ranging from popular to obscure – and analyzed the musical qualities of each song one attribute at a time. This work continues each and every day as we endeavor to include all the great new stuff coming out of studios, clubs and garages around the world.

It has been quite an adventure, you could say a little crazy – but now that we’ve created this extraordinary collection of music analysis, we think we can help be your guide as you explore your favorite parts of the music universe.

The site is absolutely amazing. It has introduced me to songs and artists I’ve never heard before. If you’ve never used Pandora before I implore you to give it a try. I bet you’ll be amazed by the site’s ability to find music you’ll love. Let’s face it we all need a little more music in our lives and this site will help you find all the tunes you adore.

* I was not compensated for this post. I just really love this site!

July 25, 2010 at 2:55 AM 7 comments

Too Obsessed With Money

Weekend before last I bought a beautiful new dress for an upcoming wedding. I fell in love with it immediately. I brought it into the dressing room just for kicks, assuming it wouldn’t fit, wouldn’t look right and would end up right back on the rack where I originally found it. Instead, much to my surprise, it fit like a glove.

My mom, who is even more frugal than I am at times, said, “Do you want to wait to buy that? It’s not on sale and the wedding isn’t for a few more months.” I thought about the question and the comments that followed, but I felt compelled to buy that dress. It just looked so good.

I justified the purchase in my mind. I looked amazing. I rarely splurge on clothing. There was only one in my size and I couldn’t risk waiting for it to go on sale. So I forked over full price, (which is something I almost never do), and walked out of the store with a brand-new, beautiful dress.

I came home and placed that gorgeous new item in my closet. I hung it alongside other dresses that were purchased at deeply discounted prices. It sparkles in a shiny way that none of the other dresses do and despite the price I was happy with my purchase, but I couldn’t get over the feeling that I paid too much for it.

When I couldn’t get that itchy idea out of my head I logged onto my computer and scoured the Internet for the same dress at a cheaper price. I didn’t spend a huge amount of time searching, but I definitely spent ten or fifteen minutes looking for a better deal. I was still bothered by the notion of spending too much money, but I turned off my computer and pushed the issue to the back of my mind.

I left it there until my mom called to tell me she found the exact same dress at a different store for $30 less. I immediately called the store to see if they had my size and asked if I could use a 20% off coupon. When the woman answered yes to both questions I asked her to put it on hold for me. I drove to the store the following morning. At the end of the day I spent $50 less than my first purchase.

I planned to visit my parents anyway that afternoon, so the drive wasn’t entirely out of my way, but I can’t help thinking that I’ve become a bit too obsessed with money. While it’s good to be frugal I can’t waste so much time looking for the best bargain. After all, in some cases isn’t time more valuable than money?

July 22, 2010 at 3:59 AM 5 comments

Monday Night Link Love

A few faves…

July 20, 2010 at 1:40 AM 2 comments

Sorry to See the Weekend Come to a End

My husband and I have been home every weekend since the middle of June. After a busy spring schedule, which involved trip after trip between our primary home and our rental property it feels unbelievably pleasant to settle down in one location for the summer.

The trips back and forth can take over six hours each way and with twelve extra hours in the weekend I feel like I’m getting an extra day to enjoy. My husband and I are spending a ton of time together, exploring the farmer’s market, gardening, completing projects and cooking amazing meals.

These last few weeks I’ve renewed my love for food. Searching for in season produce and creating scrumptious meals has become my favorite summer pastime and I find myself spending quite a bit of time thinking about what I want to eat for my next meal.

Before I left home this afternoon, (to spend a soul warming afternoon with my dad, mom and grandmother), I asked my wonderful hubby to take something out for dinner. He completely forgot about it, until I came home and asked the infamous “what’s for dinner” question. He had absolutely no idea and truth be told he wasn’t in the mood to cook something, since he was hot and itchy from working in the yard all afternoon.

I fought the urge to call for pizza, searched the pantries, found a new recipe online and created the most scrumptious macaroni and cheese ever. Luckily we had everything we needed on hand, (thank God for stockpiling my groceries), with the exception of half-and-half, for which I substituted milk.

We cooked dinner together. I mixed the ingredients, he cleaned up the dishes behind me, and forty minutes later we sat down to the perfect meal. Rather than sitting at the table we nestled on the couch, nibbled mac-and-cheese and watched a movie. When the show was over we stood in the doorway and watched the rain.

If only every day could begin and end like this one.

July 19, 2010 at 3:20 AM 2 comments

Unnecessarily Wasting Money

Sometimes the deal seeking girl in me gets so caught up that she doesn’t consider the bigger picture. Sometimes a short-sighted attempt to save money ends up costing me more than it saves me. Sometimes I find my own actions unbelievably frustrating! Last week was a perfect example.

For starters, a sale on lingerie at Macy’s website caught my eye. I bought a new bra last weekend that I absolutely adore. It’s so comfy and soft that I decided to buy a few more. Due to ongoing medical issues it’s very difficult for me to where a normal bra, (I went years without wearing them), so when I found one that was comfortable I knew I needed to buy a couple more.

The prices online were much cheaper than they were in the store. Not only were the bras deeply discounted, but for every two I purchased I saved an additional $10. I paired this deal with a 20% off coupon and bought each bra, (normally priced at $30), for only $11. The only downside, I had to pay $12 for shipping.

Of course as luck would have it the bras I purchased weren’t exactly the same as the super, comfy one I already own. The straps didn’t adjust exactly the same way, the cup size was ever so slightly different and the fabric on a few were actually a little itchy. Needless to say all of the bras need to be returned.

If the bras had worked out I would’ve saved myself a ton of money, but since they don’t fit I’m actually out $12! I know it’s the nature of buying things on the Internet, but I absolutely hate to pay for shipping and shipping fees cost me more than once last week.

My second frustrating moment… I have a difficult time finding clothes that fit, (particularly coats), but a few years back I found an online clothing store that sells specialty clothing that typically fits me. Last week they held a sale on spring merchandise and I purchased a beautiful purple raincoat I’d been keeping my eye on for weeks. I spent over $15 to have the coat shipped to me.

Unfortunately the coat didn’t fit, which meant I wasted not only $15 to have the item shipped to me, but also $8 to ship it back to the store. So between the $12 at Macy’s and the $23 at this online store I was out $35 in wasted shipping expenses.

I suppose this is just a small reminder of why I do NOT like to shop for clothes on the Internet. I hate thinking that I planned to save a bundle and instead spent $35 and now have nothing to show for it! How frustrating!

July 17, 2010 at 1:20 AM 4 comments

$100 Tea Collection Giveaway

The Tea Collection has kindly offered one, lucky One Frugal Girl reader the chance to win a $100 credit to their online store. If you aren’t familiar with the company, (I wasn’t before today), they offer beautiful children’s clothing inspired by the beauty found in cultures around the world. If you’d like to learn more about this company or if you’d like to enter this giveaway please click here.

July 13, 2010 at 11:20 PM Leave a comment

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