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Archive for the ‘Saved!’ Category

I haven’t been depositing much into the emergency fund lately, but I’ve got projects in progress which will help to boost the fund within the next few months as payments come in.

  • I am doing a short project distributing signs for the 2010 Census to 32 convenience stores (average 15 minutes each, or one very full day), and I’ll be paid $256.
  • I’m babysitting one evening later this month, for another $40.
  • I’ve continued to do mystery shops and expect to make at least $200 in mystery shopping income for the month of March.
  • This month, I opened a savings account at my bank, and after 3 months they’ll give me $25.
  • We’re planning a garage sale in April, so I’m boxing up everything I can find to sell.  Lots of our dining room stuff is packed up and ready to go, and I’m working my way through the wall of cabinets in the living room and the outgrown kid stuff this month. Also, Mr. Penny is going to clear out the garage-turned-office in the next month, and we’ll have plenty of “guy stuff” – tools and electronics – to sell. Last year, we had two garage sales and made over $500.
  • I’ve done some rebate-coupon-sale combining this month at Rite Aid and will be getting $20 in rebates at the end of the month. I’m also starting to stock up for Christmas. For example, this week, Rite Aid has a deal where if you buy Gillette razor refill cartridges, you get a free shaving gel. There is a coupon in Sunday’s paper for a free razor when you buy the refills, and online I found a printable coupon for $5 off any $25 purchase. Rite Aid is also offering a $10 rebate when you spend $30 on P&G brand products this week. The three products are $29.97 before coupons and discounts, but I got all three for free after coupons and rebates. (I had to add toothpaste to get to the $30.00 rebate level, but it, too, had a coupon and a rebate on it, so I spent just an additional $.50 for that.) They’ll go in the Christmas gift box for my brother.  Gillette routinely has coupon-rebate combos, so by the end of the year he’ll get a full basket of personal care products that I acquired for next to nothing.

Online Money Makers

  • I have done a few online surveys at SurveyHead, but haven’t signed up for any others yet. I hear good things about Pinecone Research, but they weren’t accepting new applications.
  • I discovered ChaCha and kgb.com, websites that does something like online directory assistance and answering questions for people on their cell phones, but I haven’t become a guide/agent yet. I’ll let you know how that works out. Has anyone tried it? Any suggestions for a newbie?
  • Another recent discovery is online tutoring through Idapted, particularly in English for non-native speakers. I am signing up and will let you know how that works, too.
  • I’m up to 4,500 points on MyPoints, more than half way to a $50 gift certificate, most from pay-per-click e-mails. I also use them instead of coupons.com to print coupons for grocery shopping, and I get points in addition to the coupon value. Additionally, I’m expecting 5,000 points for using their NetQuote feature on auto insurance and switching to a considerably cheaper insurance carrier. That will be another post! If you’re interested in signing up for MyPoints, e-mail me at thesavedquarter (at) gmail (dot) com for a referral and we’ll both benefit.
  • I continue to earn through Swagbucks, and with a few referrals (thanks, guys!) and their birthday bonanza, I’ve cashed out $25 in amazon.com gift certificates. I’m holding on to them to use for Christmas shopping. I anticipate that I’ll be able to do most of my Christmas shopping with Swagbucks this year, just by searching the internet!
  • I’m expecting about $4 from Ebates for my Old Navy purchase earlier this month.

I continue to be open to legal and legitimate online sources of income, so please leave me a comment if you know of something I haven’t found yet!

And finally, I wanted to share another money saver that I found this week: the Orowheat Outlet store!   I stumbled across this blog post by Fancy Frugalista, where a link is given to the Orowheat outlet, and we made a trip down to find some great deals – I bought 10 items, all whole wheat and HFCS free (Orowheat bread, Thomas’s bagels and English muffins, and Bob’s Red Mill grains) for just $14.31. That would easily be $40 at the regular grocery store!  I love a great find like that!

What are you doing to make or save a little extra money these days?

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A lucrative day!

Yesterday, I was able to double my savings.Into the fund goes $100 from an unexpected gift, $50 from a “tasting” focus group, and $23 from babysitting, bringing my total up to $394.03.

I made $35 babysitting but spent $12 on groceries – including a fantastic deal on a 10 lb. sack of basmati rice for only $2.00!

Overall, a lucrative day, and I haven’t been paid for the mystery shops I did yesterday and today – another $90 into the pot! I’m working toward my goal and am excited to see the results. 🙂

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I have a few posts in the works, but for today, I’m sharing my savings updates and a quote:

I’m adding $50.00 to the emergency fund from a focus group this afternoon, and $7.03 in unspent change from January, bringing my total savings up to $251.03. Hooray!

“When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.” – Helen Keller

I’ve been focused for so long on the closed door – the cut in income, the loss of health insurance, the change in circumstances that have been a strain on our marriage and my feelings of security – that I haven’t been able to look forward. There are so many options and opportunities, open doors in front of me, and I’m availing myself of them with gratitude.

One option: a clean desk. Public humiliation was a good motivator.

I’ve been making many phone calls and will be back in the coming days with several Dialing for Dollars posts, Saved vs. Store Bought reviews, and a giveaway! See you tomorrow!

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I cashed out of one of the survey sites I’ve been using, Surveyhead, which will add $26.50 to my savings! You receive $5 just for joining; I did 10 surveys, and they take a few weeks to clear, so this is money earned in December that I’m cashing out today. It should hit my Paypal account soon.

Also, I’ve done three mystery shops this week and anticipate receiving $32.76 from them in the coming weeks, including reimbursements. I’ve spent $7.76 out of pocket, so I’ll have made $25, plus a free lunch, brake inspection, and Valentine’s day cards.

I’m also waiting on $17.00 in mailed in rebates.

So although I’m not adding much on a day to day basis to the savings, I am doing the work that will go into building the savings up, and the total is steadily climbing. I’m on my way out to crush cans for the recycling center this afternoon, and I’m almost ready to take in January’s saved quarters (and dimes, nickels, and pennies) to add to the pot. Small amounts add up!

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I needed a few grocery basics to finish out the month of pantry eating – fresh fruits and veggies, milk, eggs, and bread – so I stopped by The Grocery Outlet, my favorite mark-down grocery store. They are located in California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Nevada, and Arizona and have incredibly cheap prices on name brand products close to their expiration date or with outdated packaging.

The outlet is hit or miss, and if you like something, get it quick because it may not be there next week! I’ve been happy to find many organic products, items that are sold at Whole Foods for more than double the cost, including local, organic cheese, whole grain breads from a local bakery, organic canned and frozen goods, and even organic and natural bath and beauty products. Although my budget doesn’t allow for as many organics as I’d like, shopping here lets me incorporate more into our diets, often for less than conventional at the supermarket.

Today’s great deal: grassfed ground beef, antibiotic and hormone-free, raised in California, for $2.29/lb. That’s cheaper than conventional in our area, and half of Costco’s price! We use about 2 lb. per month, and ground beef generally is good for about 6 months in the freezer, so I bought  12 lb. I normally would spend $4.33 per pound at Costco, so I saved $24.48 by buying it for the freezer. That $24.48 is going into the savings account!

Another great find was Naked juice for $.99 each. There is a rebate going where if you buy 10, you get $10 back, making them free.

What kind of discount grocery stores are in your area? Are you finding any great deals on natural and organic products?

This post is linked to Thrifty Thursdays at Tales from Boggeritaville, and Frugal Fridays at Life as Mom.

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OVER $300!! I am astounded.

I have spent only $7.31 on unplanned expenses and have avoided shopping altogether except for a planned grocery trip for dairy/produce, so my budgeted expenses for the month are lower than expected so far. I’ve also had 4 No Spend days. My goal of 7 No Spend days a month may be too few!

I’m spending the day in Financial Literacy Training for the IDA and will report back with any new savings revelations

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I Love IDA!

IDA, or Individual Development Account, is going to be my new savings vehicle, and a truly wonderful one at that. What is an IDA?

Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) are matched savings accounts that enable low-income American families to save, build assets, and enter the financial mainstream. IDAs reward the monthly savings of working-poor families who are trying to buy their first home, pay for post-secondary education, or start a small business.

For every $1 I save, I can earn $2 in matched funds. I can save up to $2000 of my own funds and earn up to $4,000 in matched funds, giving me $6,000 to use toward college. Is that awesome or what?

I’ve wanted to go back to college to finish my Bachelor’s degree, but with two small kids and quite little income, it didn’t seem to be within reach. In comes IDA, to the rescue! Between that and the Pell Grant, I should be able to cover my tuition and books for the two years of schooling that I have left without needing to take out student loans. If I take classes when Peanut is in kindergarten, I’ll only need to find childcare for Sweet Pea, who will be old enough to attend the university’s childcare program.

I’ll be saving $2,000 of my $6,000 goal in my IDA, through Opportunity Fund in San Jose, and starting in the fall toward a BS in Business Management.  I’m in the application process and will be taking a financial management course as part of the program; I’ll be sure to post what I learn.

I discovered IDA on the blog Consciously Frugal, and I can’t tell you how grateful I am to have found it.

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