Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Ten Good Freebies!

What deals have you been getting lately?? Saturday, I went out on a date with my hubby (using a BOGOF coupon for Zaxbys) and we stopped at Office Depot because I had a coupon for $15 off a $75 purchase. I admit that this by itself isn't so great, but I combined a few deals. I had received an email from them explaining that they would give me a $5 gift certificate if I updated my email; I did so and printed off the certificate. They were also running a couple of specials: buy $59 of HP ink and get a free DVD AND 100% back in rewards on all Folgers coffee, which happens to be my fave. So, I purchased almost exactly $59 in ink for my printer, picked up a tub of Folgers and added a couple of Cadbury eggs to get my total to $75. I used the $15 off coupon, the $5 certificate, got a Julie and Julia DVD for free and will also get back $13 in rewards for the Folgers and $6 in rewards for the ink (they always give you 10% back on HP ink). That's about $35 out of pocket for $85 worth of product (counting the free DVD). Long story short? Never pay full price. I will need coffee and printer ink in the near future...now I don't have to worry about running out!

Here's a list of current (at least they were when I wrote the post) freebies for you. Enjoy!

Free sample of Olay 2 in 1 facial cloths: http://teenvogueitlist.com/olaysample

Free sample of a the new Tide Pods: https://www.tide.com/en-US/tidepods/get-a-sample.jspx

Free sample of Simple face wash for watching a short video:

Free sample of Miracle Whip: http://www.startsampling.com/sm/openmouth102227/captureAddress.iphtml?item=102227&source=ba-mysample&p=

Free sample of Crystal Light Energy drink:

Free sample of gud body lotion from Bert's Bees:

Free sample of Simply Right baby formula:

Free Metamucil sample: http://instoresnow.walmart.com/In-Stores-Now-free-samples.aspx

Free Gevalia coffee sample (this is available at Walmart now):

Free personalized card from cardstore.com:

Monday, February 27, 2012

Hong Kong bound...and a free gallon of milk!

Yes, the rumors are true: Mike has accepted a teaching position at the International Christian School in Hong Kong for the upcoming school year. We are at once extremely excited and still somewhat stunned as he went from being jobless next year (his choice) to having three job offers in a week. (Note to teachers--if you can't find a job here, apply overseas.) The difference between this and traditional mission work is that they actually pay you a salary as opposed to our having to raise support. Given the general equality of the various teaching positions, we actually ended up making our final decision on what might seem at first glance to be somewhat minor "perks:" a cross country team for the boys, a furnished apartment that is actually on the 7th floor of the school building (see above), and health insurance that covered our college-aged daughter. Salary wise, we were quite happy. It is less than the average pay for public school teachers with Mike's experience, but about on par with Christian schools here in the states, IF you take into account the 25-50% higher cost of living that HK supposedly has. I don't buy this completely after talking to some of the families who have moved there. I think it's a lot like the US...there are many different lifestyles...and if I can be frugal here, I can be frugal there.

Add to this a great health and dental plan (better than here, actually), flights back and forth to HK for the whole family every two years, a housing stipend (after the first year with a furnished apt.), free private school tuition for the boys and various other perks and we're thinking that this frugal mama will do just fine even if there aren't any coupons or yard sales. If we can sell our home here, which we are going to try to do, then we will be completely debt free. (I soooo want to call in to Dave Ramsey and do the 'WE'RE DEBT FREE' yell...)

The school, ICS, is taught completely in English and Mike will be teaching AP US History and Economics. ICS has a wonderful reputation in HK and the average SAT score is far higher than that of schools here in the states. As of this moment, I don't have a job, but if I do not qualify for any positions at the school, I will most likely volunteer there, at least part time. And no, I don't want to attempt to pass the nursing exam in Hong Kong!

 What will be different? One of my friends here said that when she thinks of Asia, she thinks of people living in dresser drawers. I had to smile. I'm actually really looking forward to downsizing dramatically.  We do have a balcony; I've already packed tomatoe and basil seeds:). This is what our very IKEA-ish kitchen and bath look like:

So, what isn't there to love? Well, there are always goodbyes and that is never easy; especially leaving a daughter in college. We are planning on her flying over to visit during Christmas break, and we will spend about 6 weeks in the states each summer, so in reality we'll see her almost as much as we do now, given that she is going to college 7 hours away.

We do LOVE our home here, but 6 bedrooms is a little large, and when our boys graduate, we will want something smaller anyway. We are updating our kitchen and then will put it on the market. If it sells, great. If not, then we will try to rent it. One big perk of remodeling the kitchen now is that I have already cleaned out and packed up all my cabinets, leaving out only the bare essentials, and I have a huge yard sale pile! So, while Mike will be paid, we do plan to sell off some items in order to have an emergency fund and to fly Abby back and forth. We'll keep you posted on loot you can buy:)

Here's to our new home town:

Meanwhile, back in High Point, I'm still on the lookout for all the deals I can get, especially now! So here's a great one for you:

Who can't use a coupon for a free gallon of milk?? (I used mine today at Wal-Mart!) This site is giving away 10,000 coupons a day until March 3rd, so try another day if it doesn't work the first time. Just go to this link and follow the instuctions...you do have to buy 3 breakfast items to get the free gallon. That should be easy enough:

If that's not enough incentive, try cheaper breakfast items:  add a $4 off 4 boxes of Kelloggs cereal, $1.25 off any I Can't Believe It's Not Butter or $1 off Activia yogurt at http://www.coupons.com/  If your zip doesn't work, try 99218.

Happy Frugal Shopping! Oh, and I have teamed up with a blogging group to bring you even better deals and hopefully add to our income in HK. More on that in another post, but be sure to subscribe to my site so you don't miss any posts.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Making an affordable (no knit) wool Stocking Cap

While we are looking at daffodils and crocus here in NC, I am well aware that my friends and family up north are hunkered in for a few more weeks of winter, so this post will still be applicable for them. Several weeks before Christmas, I posted a plea on my facebook status asking if someone could knit an all-wool stocking cap for me--those long pointy kind with a tassle on the end. My daughter wanted one for Christmas, and the only one I could find online was a replica on Amazon from the movie "A Christmas Story;" they were asking $24.99. Way too much for this frugal mama.

After I posted my query, one of Maine friends chided me, "Tricia," she wrote, "you are a Springfield girl, you can do this!!" Wanting to defend my fragile ego, I responded that, while my mother had taught me knitting basics more than once, I had forgotten them and there was no way I could relearn in two weeks. That was lame, and I knew it. I decided to employ a little Yankee ingenuity.

I went on a trip to Carolina Thrift, a huge second hand store here in High Point. I found two all wool sweaters in patterns I liked, one lamb's wool and one angora. I looked specifically for sweaters with a nice, tight bottom edge that were extra long. I also went on a Monday, when all clothing is half off. I scored my two sweaters for less than 5 bucks total.

I came home and cut out the hat pattern that I wanted, using my own head as a measure, and then I looked for yarn in my craft scrap box that matched the colors on the sweaters. I looked up "how to make a yarn pom-pom" on you tube (one of those things I could do when I was 8 but had since forgotten--it went the way of knitting in the recesses of my brain). Armed with my precut "hats" and pom-pom cardboard, I spent a couple of hours on our 10 hour car trip to Michigan making my daughter's Christmas present. Using a darning needle, I simply sewed around the edges with really thick cotton thread and made sure to use the bottom of the sweater for the band of the hat. Then I made the tassles and sewed then on. Voila! Two all wool stocking caps for less than $5 and about 3 hours time.

You are right, Heidi, I am a Springfield girl...and I did it: