Book sale!

Book sale!
Jonni's last inventory on sale!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


With the surplus of gifts that always accompanies the holidays, I have begun my regifting stack in the closet. I have written about regifting for years, and covered the do's and don'ts many times. But another blogger captured many of these tips in a great graphic. So instead of writing about regifting, I thought I would share their graphic (with their permission, of course). To see their blog please visit Gumtree.
My favorite is Rule #5. I have received several gifts that had a piece of old wrapping paper (wedding paper, actually) stuck to the side that the regifter missed, or an overlooked gift note tucked in the side of the box.

 If you have no problem with regifting, enjoy these tips :)

Friday, November 22, 2013

Black Friday Myths

It's that time of year again. Pushing shoving, no sleep, etc. And is it worth it? Many say a resounding 'yes.' They found a few deals and got alot of shopping taken care of in that one day. Others, however, wonder if it's more hype that hip.

Let's look at the myths:
Myth #1. There's plenty for anyone who makes it through the door.
Stores only offer a certain amount of stock at that awesome advertised price.
The retailers would go out of business if they sold all of their stock at those low-ball Black Friday prices. They can't sell something for less than they paid for it and stay in business. so each sale price comes with a limited number that are available at that price. Sometimes there is only ONE piece of inventory that is available at that price.

Myth #2. This is the best deal you will see all year.
Watch out for other days - some are better and some are worse. Cyber Monday may have some good deals but they may be out of stock by then. And the deals may not be as good as Black Friday or they may be better. Do some research for sales prices and dates.  For example, Back to School sales and Winter sales in January and February may be even better than Black Friday prices.  Now there are even shopping days BEFORE or ON Thanksgiving with prices that will beat Black Friday prices.

Myth #3. The deals are in the ads.
Many of the deals stores are offering are listed online and not in the print ads, and some are only found in the store. And the online stores (such as Amazon, Overstock, etc) who don't have a brick and mortar building are offering awesome deals too.

Myth #4. Coupons are needed
Not always! Read the fine print to make sure you have what you need to get a good price. Some stores require a coupon, some don't. And some limit the number of total sale items you can have at checkout, etc. Know the rules.

Myth #5. I have to make it to 2-3 stores that day.
Each store promotes one or two awesome deals and it may take you hours to get through the lines. Then there may be another item at another store and so you trek over there. There is another option: Walmart is going to be matching other competitors' pricing, so bring any ad from any manufacturer. Here are their details on that:     Walmart Turns Up Holiday Heat, Matches Competitors’ Best Black Friday Deals One Week Early

Whatever choice you make for finding your best deals, I wish you happy savings and a Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


Gift cards are increasingly becoming a popular gift. They no longer carry the stigma of "oh, you couldn't take the time to buy me a gift?" that they used to have :) A research organization ( has been polling shoppers (20,000 of them!) over a 5 year period, and they found the top 20 cards that are well received. Some of the top 10 will surprise you, as they did me. Especially #3, which oddly has been rising in popularity every year. Who knew!?

And even though it is late in the shopping calendar, I am sure that many of you are still trying to buy gifts and would appreciate some last minute ideas that are usually a success. Perhaps you can give one of these top 20 gift cards and it will be well appreciated.

listed in order of popularity:
  1. Wal-Mart
  2. Target
  3. McDonald’s
  5. Home Depot
  6. Lowe’s
  7. Costco
  8. Subway
  9. Visa
  10. eBay
  11. JC Penny
  12. Starbucks
  13. Kohl’s
  14. Darden Restaurants
  15. Walgreens
  16. CVS
  17. Best Buy
  18. Shell
  19. Macy’s
  20. Wendy's
Happy Shopping, and I hope you and your family have a very Merry Christmas!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Places to check for extra refunds

After the fire, we did our usual applications for insurance refunds, and pushed a little in areas that needed to be adjusted. But there are less common places to get some cash back. We had service plans and warranties on all of our appliances and electronics that we were destroyed. I contacted each of them and cancelled the remainder of those warranties and got a bit of money back.

Every little bit adds up!

Friday, August 31, 2012

The gas we put in our cars is actually more important than most of us realize. Being frugalites, we tend to go for the lowest priced gas. But this may be costing you much more in the long run.

Many manufacturers have additives and even fillers in their fuel to make it less pure and less costly. These ingredients gunk up your engine and can cause expensive damage. It is for this reason that I researched and choose to buy a certain brand of gasoline even though it costs a bit more than the bargain gas.

For the past few weeks  I have been running low on gasoline in the downtown area. There is only one gas station near where I have been located, so I have been filling up there. It is, however, one of the gasoline manufacturers known for its additives. After two weeks of their gasoline running my car, the engine began to ping. I learned my lesson!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

DIAPERS: The Endless and Divisive Debate

One of the hottest debates in the frugal mommie world is the cloth versus diaper debate. I dedicated an entire chapter in Miserly Moms to this topic, and explained in excessive detail how I calculated my comparisons. Nevertheless, I still get ugly mail about my conclusion: We found disposables (generic brand) to be cheaper. Many critics have decided I must be an unreliable source of any information since I came to "that" conclusion.
     As I explained in the chapter, the cost of electricity and water play a great role in the final results, and the cost of the disposable diaper also can sway things. The SF Bay Area was expensive so electricity and water were costly. We had found a generic brand of diapers that was 30% less expensive than the leading namebrand diapers, and they didn't leak!
     Another frugal friend developed a calculator to find out for yourself what will be cheaper. All you need to know is the cost per kwh and water rate in your area (it's on your utility bill), the cost per diaper of what you use, the cost per load of your detergent, if you have an old washing machine or new energy efficient model, and when you plan to potty train.
     I entered all of my information that I had used in Miserly Moms chapter on diapers and guess what.........he agreed that disposables (for my area) were cheaper!

Give it a try yourself:

Friday, May 25, 2012

Saving While Moving

Tis the season to move! More rentals take place in the summer than any other time of year. And right now, many college students are moving out of their school living arrangement.

Before you rent a moving vehicle to move locally, like across town, do some calculations. Many moving rental places charge a mileage fee on top of the vehicle fee. Some of us don't think much of this fee, but it can really add up. Many of us rent the smallest(aka cheapest) moving vehicle and plan on making 2-3 trips across town, thinking we have saved ourselves the extra $20-30 for the rental fee. But this day may cost you more than you planned.

When estimating your cost, calculate in the mileage fee they are charging, as well as the gas mileage of the vehicle. The mileage fees can be $1.00 per mile or more. Then there is the gas mileage. These vehicles can get as low as 6-8 MPG. So paying more for the daily rental fee of a larger vehicle and only going across town once may be cheaper than renting a smaller vehicle and making several trips.

Just food for thought :)