Saturday, January 26, 2013

How to: Vegas on the Cheap


Viva Las Vegas!  We all know that Vegas can be really expensive between the fancy hotels, expensive restaurants, drinks and of course, gambling.  I love going to Vegas.  However, to be able to actually afford to go and enjoy myself, I spend some time planning to get the best deals possible.  Then I have more money for roulette and Keno! Here are some ways to save a little cash.

1. Try to get yourself a free flight:  If you are a frequent flier with miles, jerk, then don't bother listening to me.  For everyone else, start earning rewards points through buying groupons, shopping at online, shopping on itunes, dining out and doing surveys.  I just flew to Vegas for free with points I had earned through and  See my post on online surveys below for more details.


  • Why I love Southwest Airlines and you should too:  I personally like Southwest Airlines because it seems to have the most earning opportunities.  Plus, they often have good deals   Also, they do not charge fees (in most cases) for carry-on and checked bags.  Kind of awesome.  Sign up with your junk and then when you are planning a trip, remember to check your email for Southwest deals.   Until then, rack up as many rewards points as you can through, and the other ways to earn rewards by shopping online through and registering credit cards for dining points through  I have never paid more than $325 for round trip flight  to Vegas and that was over a weekend.

2. Choose Your Hotel Wisely:  Choosing a hotel can be tricky.  Staying in amazing and expensive hotel sounds like so much fun, but think about are in Vegas, how much time are you going to spend in the room?  Stay at a cheap place and then visit the fancy hotels. Here's some tips for choosing your hotel:
  • Stay on the strip (or as close as possible):  You can pretty much walk everywhere and won't have to pay for taxis or shuttles.
  • Sign up for emails from Hotels:  Go to hotel websites and sign up for their email lists so that they send you all their deals.  Whether it is cheap rooms or free dinners or shows along with booking a room.  
  • Hotels to check out:  These are my go to hotels for Vegas, they are decent hotels.
    • Excalibur is right on the strip and connects to Luxor, New York New York, MGM and Tropicana, sort of.  I stay in the old tower rooms because they are cheaper and still decent.  Excalibur often has really great deals for staying on the strip and being in Vegas, plus everything you could ever want is all in the hotel.  A decent Casino, plenty of food places (Baja Fresh, Dick's Last Resort, McDonalds, Auntie Anne's, etc), shops, sports book with keno, bars, a DQ and games downstairs.  
    • Hooters is technically not on the strip, but it's about a half a block away from the strip and right next to Tropicana and MGM.  Hooters often has really cheap room deals, especially during the week.  Plus, it has $9.99 prime rib dinner and inexpensive tables in the casino. 
 3.  Don't buy drinks in the hotels/casinos:  Unless you want to splurge on the random cutesy drink (I Suggest 190 Octanes at the Fat Tuesday bars, extra shot of grain alcohol for $1!), NEVER purchase drinks in the hotels and casinos.  Take advantage of the free drinks you get while gambling.  When you are not gambling, buy your drinks at the touristy stores along the strip.  2 beers for $3 or 4 beers for $5 were some of the deals we saw while walking around.  Also, waters are less than a dollar at these stores, compared to $4.50 in the hotels.

4. Casinos to fit a smaller budget:  While I always love going to the grand casinos, I stop at those mostly for sightseeing not gambling or eating.  there for sightseeing and MAYBE play a game if I'm feeling lucky, but these are are the Casinos that have lower minimum tables for poker, black jack and roulette.
  • Bill's:  They have $3 tables during the day for roulette and $5 tables for black jack and poker.  I think then the minimum for roulette goes up to $5 at night.  Bill's is purely for a good deal on gambling.  You don't stop here for the sights.
  • Hooters:  This casino is also a place to stop purely for the gambling and not to view the pretty sights of Vegas.  Cheap table minimums.  It is a small casino so be prepared for it to get crowded.
  • Excalibur:  This casino has lower minimums as well, but seems to turn into all $10 minimums at night.  At least on the weekends.

5. Don't Forget to Eat!  Vegas has some great restaurants, many owned by famous chefs like Bobby Flay and Gordon Ramsey.  I like to treat myself to one nice dinner while in Vegas, but the rest of the time, I am looking for the best deal possible.  Here are the deals I have come across over the past few years:
  • $9.99 Prime Rib Dinner at Hooters:  It is suprisingly pretty good and comes with potatoes and veggies.  Can't beat it!  And it's available 24 hours a day.  That's Vegas for ya.
  • $5 for a Beer and Hot Dog at Excalibur bars:  It is not a Chicago dog, but I suppose it will do.  If you have an MLife Players card it is even cheaper.
  •  Fat Burger, bogo drinks w/ food:  The people standing outside will give you bogo free drinks for Fat Burger so you'll sit outside.  Their burgers are really good, so while you are walking the strip, stop here for food and drinks.
  • Steak Special at Hard Rock Cafe: says  there is a Gambler's Special for $7.77 at Mr. Lucky's 24/7 restaurant.  It comes with steak, three grilled shrimp and choice of side. The site says you have to ask for it as it's not on the menu.   
  • Get a discount or at least rewards for your nice dinner:  If you go to a nice restaurant in Vegas, book through so you can get some dining points.  You can get discounted dinners through  I have never used the site, but have read lots of reviews where people found good deals.  
6. Shop at the stores in your hotel:  If you are like me and always want to bring back souvenirs and do a little shopping in Vegas, check out the shops in your hotel first.  Often times, if you have your room key you will get a certain percentage off of your purchase price or there will we be coupons in your hotel room for the shops.

7. Sign up for the players cards in each casino: Get a players card in any casino where you plan to stay and gamble for a while.  If you're going to lose all your money, you might as well get some comps for it!  Every casino is different, so just check it out online ahead of time to plan accordingly.

8. Do not pay for the Shuttle from the Airport:  Unless you are traveling alone.  If you have more than one person, get in a cab, it will only cost about $15-20.  Otherwise you pay per person for the shuttle and it stops at multiple hotels, so it may take some time, especially when going back to the airport.  

9.  If you decide to stay off the strip:  If you stay off the strip, make sure the hotel offers free shuttles to the hotels/casinos on the strip because we all know you are going to want to spend your time there.

10. Do not take the Offer from the Seemingly nice cab driver to get you into a great club for freeIt will most likely land you in a gross, run down club with all guys.  It is a trick and the cab driver gets paid to bring people to clubs that are far off the strip.  Then you are stuck there and they usually are not that great.  I have heard the horror stories, so be warned..

11.  Gambling:  Well, what can I tell you?  I love to gamble and know that I will just play and play no matter what, so I have to set aside a max amount that I can "afford" to spend and only take one debit card with me.  I also play the "cheap" tables.

Vegas, baby, Vegas!  Take me with you, please.  

Monday, January 14, 2013

Where to Sign Up for Birthday Deals

As my Birthday has come and passed, I have been receiving all kinds of great offers and freebies.  It would be wrong of me not to share.  The following are the places I got deals from.  You just go to their website and sign up for email alerts.  Remember to use a junk email because they will send you emails throughout the year and then when your birthday month comes up or even around the holidays, check the emails for any exciting deals!
1) Corner Bakery:  They usually send you a coupon for a free dessert during your birthday month.  No one wants to pass up free dessert!

2) Express:  You get a gift card in the mail to use on any non-clearance merchandise anytime during your birthday month.  This year I got a $40 gift card, which was kind of awesome.

3) American Eagle Outfitters:  Yes, it still exists.  You get 15% off your purchase anytime during the month of your birthday.

4) Poag Mahone's:  If you live in Chicago, this is a great place to sign up.  They send you a $15 off coupon for food items the month of your birthday.  They have really good food and drinks specials, so it's a great b-day treat.

5) Champps:  They send you emails with all their deals throughout the year and then on your birthday they send you a coupon for a free dessert.   

6) Alloy:  This clothing store sends you a coupon for $20 off your purchase of $50.  A good deal only if you planned to shop there anyway.

7)  Southwest Airlines:  They send you a promo code for $50 off your next vacation including flight and hotel.  Could be nice, as long as the timing is right..

8) DSW: They sent me $5 off my next order on the week of my b-day.  Plus you randomly get $10 off cards throughout the year.

9)Panera:  Panera loads a "special treat" onto your rewards card that you get through the store and you have 60 days from your birthday to redeem it.  I have no idea what my special treat is as I have not redeemed it yet.

10) Dairy Queen:   If you sign up for the Blizzard fan club, throughout the year you will get bogo free offers and an extra one on your birthday.


11) Starbucks:  I heard that you get a free coffee on your birthday, but I forgot to test that out yesterday.  In theory, you get a free coffee or some sort of food discount if you have signed up for rewards and have a gift card that you use to earn those rewards.

Yeah for freebies and discounts! 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

SURVEY UPDATE: Earning Money, Rewards and Gift Cards Doing Surveys

Back in April I wrote a post about doing surveys to get money, gift cards and other rewards.  I have now been doing surveys at home for about six or seven months and have a much clearer idea of what is worth spending time on.  Now, you don't make a bunch of money doing surveys, but I have earned thousands of Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards points, over $100 in gift cards, Hilton Honors Points and made some money doing surveys.  A little extra help with the cost of a flight, hotel stay or a free dinner here and there is really nice and worth the time doing surveys while you watch tv or are bored on your lunch break. 
OK, fine.  This isn't going to happen.  (photo:

Here's the details on Survey Sites.  Remember to create a separate email address for these type of things because you will get a lot of emails.

1.  Daily Survey Panel:  This site offers multiple surveys per day and if you qualify for and complete the survey, you will earn points.  You then choose to either turn those points in for money deposited into your Paypal account or for gift certificates to places like Starbucks, Applebee's,, Walmart or Game Stop.  The best deal is to use the points for gift cards.

The good and the bad: The good part about this site is that you will likely qualify for multiple surveys a day and quickly earn points.  Your points show up on your account in a few hours or at most a couple days (other sites can take weeks).  The down side is that you will answer the same preliminary questions over and over again each day.  That doesn't bother me, but it may bother you like it seemed to annoy the boyfriend after only two surveys.  I don't mind it, I am just always prepared to take a couple different quick surveys before qualifying and earning points.  I have earned the most gift cards on this site.  I have cashed in for multiple Starbucks, Walmart and Applebee's gift cards.  So I say that Daily Survey Panel has the most annoying surveys but with the biggest rewards.

2.  Clear Voice Surveys: This site offers a couple surveys a week.  You won't qualify for all of them but the preliminary questions are usually shorter than on Daily Survey Panel.  If you qualify and complete the survey, you earn 50 cents to a couple dollars and then can cash those out.  I highly recommend cashing your points out for gift cards.  The Dining Dough does not seem to be that good of a deal.   So far I have earned three gift cards to use at 

The good and the bad: While you earn money faster for less surveys than Daily Survey Panel, there are less surveys to qualify for.  Also, be warned that you cannot redeem in most cases until you earn $10 and your points expire within one year, so you have to make sure you are keeping up with it.  You are also entered into a sweepstakes every time you do a survey.  I have not won a sweepstakes yet and I do surveys multiple times a week, so I doubt that will ever happen.  This is a good site to get some extra money to use on Amazon, which is great for me. 

Love Amazon gift cards (photo:
3.  American Consumer Opinion: This site offers less surveys but you will qualify for most of the surveys they personally email you. This is not my favorite site as it is slow to earn you anything.

The good and the bad: There aren't as many surveys to do, but you will most likely qualify for a higher percentage of the surveys you start.  It is a little slower to earning points, but they are usually fun surveys and you make a couple hundred points for the longer ones.  Be sure to remember that you cannot redeem your points until you have reached 1,000 and that equals $10.  I just redeemed my points for $14.50 in my Paypal account.  Nothing crazy, but the little extra cash adds up for buying myself little treats online.

4.  EREWARDS: For this site, you have to be invited to join.  I highly recommend joining if you are invited.  On this site, you get a couple surveys a week sent to you and you get partial credit whether you qualify or not.  This site does not pay out in cash, but you use your "money" to get rewards.  The rewards can be gift cards, discounts or flight/hotel points.  This is my favorite survey site.  I have thousands of Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards points and Hilton Honors points from here.  I have also used my points to order food from Omaha Steaks when there was a sale online.

The good and the bad:  The surveys have generally been shorter than most of the Daily Survey Panel surveys, which is nice.  There is no option to cash out on this site, however, if you fly or stay at hotels, then this can really be worth it.  You can rack up points pretty quick.  Just be aware of each program and how often you can cash in for rewards points.  It is 30 days for Southwest and long for Hilton.  There are plenty of other airlines, car rental services and hotels participating in this program.  I love! 

5.  e-miles: I have just recently discovered this site.  Sign up for e-miles to earn rewards points to programs like Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards.  You earn points for doing really quick 3 question surveys, buying deals on Groupon and buying products online through Nordstrom.  Just sign up and get started.  I have cashed in 1,500 Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards points so far.

The good and the bad:  This is a quick and easy way to earn rewards points.  Most people buy Groupons already, so just be sure you are signed up on e-miles and buy your Groupons through the link on the e-miles site.  The only downside is that you have to wait until you get to 500 points to cash in your rewards.  There are other ways to earn points as well, by donating to charities, buying other products or services through the site or signing up for other programs.  I just use my junk email address for any of the offers. Definitely check out e-miles.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Homemade is Cheaper and Healthier (Recipes below)

A good visual of "healthy money" (Photo:

We all know that it is less expensive to not only eat all your meals at home, but to make all of those meals.  Now, don't get me wrong, I love splurging a bit and going out for dinner once in a while as much as the next person.  However, making the majority of your meals saves an enormous amount of money and I never realized how much until recently.  I bring my lunch to work every day, we have a coffee machine in our kitchen and I make dinner almost every night.  It has really made a huge difference financially.  Another amazing benefit is that it's so much healthier!  Just think about all the butter and oil most restaurants use to make their food.  Gross.  I despise working out, and just by cooking at home instead of ordering in or eating out has helped me lose weight.  So today's post is all about eating in and making your own meals, specifically lunch.

First, the money facts.:  I don't know many places where you can get lunch for under $5 and most are closer to $10.  So let's average this out and call it $7.  If you eat lunch out 5 days a week, that's $35 per week.  Make that a whole year and you are spending $1,680 per year on lunches and that's not including the weekends.  (I'm starting to feel like Suze Orman).  A homemade lunch costs about $3 and that's with a snack.  I've got main dish recipes below.  So if you bring your lunch 4 days a week and treat yourself by eating out just once, you will save over $700/year on just lunches.  I could use 700 extra bucks.  And that bonus of being healthier, makes it even better.  Making most of your dinners at home too can lead to even more savings.  Going out for dinner adds all of the following expenses:

  1. Gas/bus/cab fare to get to and from, 
  2. The increased price on food to cover costs for the restaurant, 
  3. The increased price on drinks, which can sometimes be triple or more of cost, in order to cover the costs of the establishment, and 
  4. Tip for the server.
Instead, you can spend less than $12 and make a good quality steak dinner for two at home and pop open a bottle of wine for far less as well.  Of course going out is nice to do once in a while, but making more meals at home will save you a lot of money.

Next, the health facts:  It's common knowledge that most restaurants use butter and oil in most of their cooking.  What we don't know is exactly how much is used.  At home, you can control exactly what goes into your meals.  If I'm following a recipe, I often adjust it to make it a little healthier by either replacing an item with something healthier or use less of the "bad stuff."  For example, I use brown rice instead of steamed or fried rice, whole wheat pasta and whole wheat bread instead of white flour items, or I cut down on the butter, oil, salt or sugar in a recipe.  I am not a nutritionist or expert of any kind (I just compare the numbers) but it looks to me like butter has about the same amount of calories and fat as olive oil.  So the key is to use less.  It's hard to tell that to the cook/chef at a restaurant you go to.


Lower fat/calories and budget friendly recipes that I use:

(Warning:  I cook and am not a baker.  Therefore, I don't use real measurements.  You'll be able to figure it out, I hope.) 

  • Grape Chicken Salad:  
    • What you need:  Chicken breast, salt, pepper, low fat mayo, non fat plain yogurt, red grapes, green apple, walnuts or pecans, whole wheat bread (craisins or celery are optional)  
    • First, boil about 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts and then dice them up into bite size chunks after they cool in the fridge.  Sprinkle with salt and just a little pepper.  Then add approx a half cup of Hellman's low fat mayonnaise (Hellman's just tastes better) and a half cup of non-fat plain yogurt.  Then add any mix of the following:  halved seedless red grapes, chopped up green apple, crushed walnuts or pecans, craisins, chopped celery.  Mix all that fun business up and voila! Be sure to use toasted whole wheat bread if you are going to make a sandwich.  
    • You will get a few sandwiches out of this and it comes to approximately $1.75 per sandwich.  
  • Pasta Salad:  
    • What you need:  whole wheat pasta, olive oil, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar, cherry tomatoes, red or orange bell pepper, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder,parmesan or feta cheeese and any mix of basil oregano and parsley (celery or meat is optional).  
    • First, cook  a half pound of whole wheat pasta in salted water until it is al dente.  Drain the pasta, but reserve some of the pasta water, you will use this for the sauce and it is better for you than oil or butter.  Now, add just a little of the reserved pasta water, a little drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, a table spoon of balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar and splash of lemon juice to the pasta.  Mix that up and then throw it in the fridge to cool off.  Now, cut some cherry tomatoes in half. Then, chop up half of a red or orange bell pepper.  When the pasta is cooled off, add the tomatoes and peppers.  Next, mix in a dash of garlic powder and onion powder (real diced onions if that's your thing).  Then add a sprinkle of some herbs, like basil, parsley or oregano.  Some people like to add celery for a crunch, not my style but feel free.  I like to let it sit overnight to let the flavors meld together.  The next day, I add either parmesan or crumbled feta cheese and it's all set to go.  Other items you can add:  Olives or a meat like ham or pepperoni, which make it a bit less healthy.  I usually add some parmesan right before eating, but that sort of takes away from the healthiness of it.  
    • You will get a few servings out of a half pound of pasta and assuming you have seasonings already in your pantry, the cost per serving comes to approximately $1.00, closer to $1.50 if you use feta cheese.   
  • Chicken and turkey bacon wrap
    • What you need: Whole Wheat tortillas, turkey bacon, chicken breast, non-fat ranch, caesar or blue cheese dressing, salt, pepper, lettuce and tomato.  
    • First, cook your chicken that is seasoned with salt and pepper either by boiling in a pan with water or cooking with a little olive oil.  Let the chicken cool, then chop into cubes.  While that's going on, cook your lean turkey bacon in a pan with no oil or on a tray in the microwave and then let cool.  Once the bacon is cool, dice it up.  Get your tortillas out and put diced lettuce, tomato, turkey bacon and the chicken in the center.  If you are going to eat the wrap now, add the  fat free dressing of your choosing.  If you are taking it for lunch later, put the dressing on the side and dip it in the dressing when you're ready to eat.  Now, roll that sucker up, cut in half on a diagonal and wrap it in foil and it's read to go.  Easy peasy.  
    • The cost per wrap is about $2.00 per wrap because the whole wheat wraps can get a little pricey sometimes. 

Add some baked chips and/or veggies to the side and that puts you at about $3 or less for each meal.  Now, go out there and do some grocery shopping so you can save yourself money for more important things, like clothes, wine or White Sox tickets.  :)   

**Here's a whole blog full of healthy meals for a budget.  I haven't had a chance to try any of the recipes, but it looks worth checking out:

Friday, April 20, 2012

Make Money and Earn Rewards From Your Couch. Count Me In.

That's right.  You can actually make yourself some money or earn rewards like gift certificates and points towards flights or hotels by sitting on your couch and staring at your computer.  How, you ask?  By taking online surveys.  Now,  don't go and quit your job because you think you can do surveys and be able to pay your rent.  That's just silly.  However, you can make a few extra bucks or get some fun stuff with very little effort.

First, I will warn you that if you haven't already taken  my advice and created an email address just for this kind of thing, please do so now.  Once you sign up for a couple survey sites, you will start getting multiple emails.  If you set up a separate email just for discount offers and surveys like this, you will be a lot less annoyed.  Promise.

Next, you need to sign up.  Here are the sites I have been using and have actually been paid or earned rewards.

1.  Daily Survey Panel:  This site offers multiple surveys per day and if you qualify for and complete the survey, you will earn points.  You then choose to either turn those points in for money deposited into your Paypal account or for gift certificates to places like Applebee's, or Game Stop.

The good and the bad: The good part about this site is that you will likely qualify for multiple surveys a day and quickly earn points.  Your points show up on your account in a few hours or at most a couple days (other sites can take weeks).  The down side is that you will answer the same preliminary questions over and over again each day.  That doesn't bother me, but it may bother you like it seemed to annoy the boyfriend after only two surveys.  I don't think he's used the site since.  I don't mind it because I can earn what I refer to as "Applebee's Points" while watching T.V.  It's great! In two weeks of spending about 20-30 minutes a day, I had $20 towards either Pay Pal or a gift card.  Nothing crazy, but I like a little extra money for barely any work.  I can't wait for those Applebee's nachos...

2.  Clear Voice Surveys: This site offers on average of a survey or two a week and if you qualify and complete the survey, you will earn a couple dollars in most cases.  That "money" can either be redeemed towards gift cards or Dining Dough (a program for eating out, duh).

The good and the bad: While you earn money faster for less surveys than Daily Survey Panel, there are less surveys to qualify for.  Also, be warned that you cannot redeem in most cases until you earn $10 and your points expire within one year, so you have to make sure you are keeping up with it.  You are also entered into a sweepstakes every time you do a survey.  I have not won anything yet, but I suppose you never know.  I'm not holding my breath.  

3.  American Consumer Opinion: I have not qualified for a survey yet on this site, and they only send about one survey every couple weeks.  So I am not able to tell you whether this site is any good, but I can tell you that it does get pretty good ratings on other websites that research and rate survey sites.  This is another one where you earn points.  I have done screener surveys and earned points, but have not qualified for any actual surveys yet.  I have a whopping 15 points.  Some of the surveys give you points and others give you prizes.  If anyone tests this out and actually qualifies for a survey, let me know how it goes.  I'm interested to see if this site is worth anyone's time.   

4.  EREWARDS: For this site, you have to be invited to join.  If you are invited, I would say to join because it can't hurt.  On this site, you get a couple surveys a week sent to you and you get partial credit whether you qualify or not.  This site does not pay out in cash, but you use your "money" to get rewards.  The rewards can be gift cards, discounts or flight/hotel points.

The good and the bad:  The surveys have generally been shorter than most of the Daily Survey Panel surveys, which is nice.  However, you can't redeem the rewards as quickly because there are fewer options at the under $20 level.  Also, there is no option to cash out.  I'm at $16.70 in rewards after a couple weeks and am saving up to get Southwest Airlines rewards.  So for how few surveys I have done, I have a pretty good amount in rewards, I just can't redeem them for anything yet. 
Now this is just not going to happen. (photo:

My conclusion in all of this is that if you're interested in doing something easy while sitting at home watching tv, sign up and try out a couple surveys.  A little extra money, airline points or gift cards can't hurt.  Just remember, you're not going to supplement your income or get rich doing online surveys.  Fine by me 'cause I'm going to Applebee's for free.  Happy Surveying!    

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Weekly Bet Ya Didn't Know: Home Remedies That Work!

So I've been slacking on the "weekly" part.  Well, I'm back on track.  I was sick for the past two weeks and my mom pulled out her book of home remedies.  My first thought is "Oh, goodness.  What is she going to make me drink now?"  But, surprisingly, some of them actually work.  So this week, I look at what home remedies fix common problems.  These tricks also save you money!  After all, the name of the blog is Flirting with Frugality.  Here's a few that really do work.

This Strange Concoction Helps Laryngitis.  My mom swears by this and I had always thought she was crazy.  Well, I was wrong.  This odd mix really does the trick.  I have to give props to "Food Your Miracle Medicine" by Jean Carper.  (Fantastic book with other ideas).  Pineapple juice, ginger, nutmeg, rosemary, spearmint and you can add a little licorice as a sweetener.  I didn't add the licorice, that's too weird for me. Try it the next time you have a sore throat and are losing your voice. 

What Should Really be in "Goo Gone."  Skin So Soft by Avon is like a miracle liquid.  Goo Gone has nothing on this stuff.  Use it to get gum, stickers and other gooey business off of anything.  I've also seen my mom use it to clean the inside of her car and polish furniture.  I swear! Just be sure to do a stain check first if you are using it for the first time.  You'll save money buying just one bottle of Skin So Soft for all these different purposes.  You can order this magic potion from anyone that sells Avon or on the website

Here's How to Get Oil and Transmission Fluid out of Your Driveway or Garage Floor.   There are certain products you can buy at the store for this, but why waste your money when you can use things you already have at home.  My car was leaking transmission fluid all over the garage.  Not good.  So I tried a few different things and this is what worked best:  Pour down some Cat Litter and stomp around on it to soak up the access, then scrub with Dawn dish soap.   Voila!  I've heard you can also use saw dust or sand in place of cat litter, but I didn't try those myself.  What didn't work: Baking Soda, Green Works Cleaner and Palmolive.

There's plenty more.  We'll save those for another day...I'm off to Vegas!


Monday, November 14, 2011

Extreme Couponing Update...I'm tired

It's been one week since my trial run of couponing.  I have spent a total of 4.5 hours clipping coupons, looking up store prices and organizing.  It's exhausting.  Here is what I've noticed so far:

This is so Freakin' Time Consuming:  This process takes so much work and so much time that I wonder how the people on the the show "Extreme Couponing" do it.  They must not have full time jobs.

Sometimes There are Better Deals Than Using a Coupon:  So you spend all this time getting the coupons together and then you realize that a generic brand at Walmart or Target is cheaper than a name brand with a coupon..lame.  So it can feel like you do all this work for no reason.

Buying Large Quantities is the Best Deal.  Most of the time, you get the best deal when you buy large amounts.  For example, if something is 10  for $10 at the store and then you have a coupon on top of that, you're going to pay next to nothing.  But I am one person and in a small home.  I don't have the need or space for large amounts of anything.  Fail.

On the Bright Side....  OK, so it may not be possible for me to ever be the extreme of couponers, but I'm still saving myself a lot of money.  Yesterday, I used $7.75 worth of coupons at Walmart and spent $63 (I should mention that pets are really expensive).  At Target, I saved $3.27 and spent $8.58.

Dominick's is My New Best Friend:  My biggest savings of all came from Dominick's, where I saved $15.12 and spent $12.39.  Saving more than I spent was quite exciting.  Dominick's has a program online so you can put the coupons on your Fresh Values card, and they also have special deals that are only online for you.  I got a free carton of eggs for no apparent reason.  They also honor other store prices and you can load those deals onto your card, too.  I printed out my shopping list from their site, didn't have to carry any coupons with me and saved a bunch of money.  Yay!    

One week down and 7 weeks to go.  Maybe I'll get better at it by then.  Happy shopping!