Thursday, December 30, 2010

My Delimma...

I have a Mapletown Play Set, very vintage, aka the 80's LOL.  I have had an offer on it for $50 plus shipping.  Everything is in Excellent Used Condition and still in the original box.  Do I keep it for Ava, my now 9 month old, and gift it to her one day?  Or should I sell?  What do you think?



Please, leave me your comments.  I am torn with this one!


Not a Giftable, but Every One Needs It!

Scott's Toilet Paper is on sale at Target for $3.64 right now.  Combine with the target printable and internet printable and you can get this 4 count pack for only $.64!  WOW!  Stock up now!



Please...Excuse My Mess!


Blah!  I feel like I have been saying this every time someone steps into my newly renovated home.  And NOW I am saying it every time I look at my own blog!  I am working diligently to get my home...and my blog home...cleaned up and organized!  It's a new year (almost) and I'm excited about the change that is approaching us.  

What are your goals for 2011?  I have a million.  I don't really like to make resolutions...my "resolutions" never seem to stick.  But since I am all about accountability and putting it out here for my readers to see, I am going to list my goals for 2011.

  • I am going to have a Zero Dollar Christmas.  This includes taking surveys for money, Amazon gift cards, and points that I can cash out for giftables.  It also includes my Visa Rewards points.  Do you use SWAGBUCKS?  For searching the web, you earn points towards Amazon gift cards or PayPal cash.
  • I am going to be smarter with my money in general.  Less eating out, less unnecessary spending (like when I want to buy my kids yet another useless toy!)  And hopefully my family will follow suit.
  • I am going to coupon my heart out!  I love couponing but have gotten a little lazy with it.  I'm going to be back on track in 2011!
  • I am going to get fit, lose weight and look great ;)  This is always one of my goals, but my past two pregnancies really put it on standby.  No more pregnancies and no more excuses.
So what are your goals?  How are you going to make changes in your life this year?  I wish you the best!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Check out The MINISOCIAL and Get $10 for FREE

Click Here to Join!

This offer ends January 7, 2011 so don't wait!

Check out The MINISOCIAL site and get a free $10 credit until January 7, 2011!  Remember use code MERRY10 at checkout!
 Only $6.49!

They have adorable items for babies and kids alike, even mothers!

Find something for around 5ish dollars and get a completely free gift or stocking stuffer for next year.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Huge Toy Blow Out at Totsy! Stock up for gift giving!

Adorable items at Totsy.com
$3.45




$2.30



Items as low at $1.36!  Most are brand name items like Groovy Girls and a lot of boutiquish items!  These would make awesome gifts for the kids in your life next year! Use code HOLIDAY10 for an additional 10% now through December 31, 2010!  Wow, imagine the savings!

Have you Rue La La'd?

I finally found something I could get for FREE using my $20 credit.  I knew it had to be something for under $10 so the shipping would also be included!  If you have browsed Rue La La, you'd know this is not always an easy feat.  The have great products but a lot are higher end name brand items that don't go below $30.

I browsed the BUILT boutique and found an adorable game case for $9!  Here it is: 


Here are the item details:

  • Game case for Nintendo DSi and DS™ Lite systems featuring a nolita stripe design
  • Built-in back pocket for accessories and slots for game cards
  • Rigid EVA back for extra screen protection
  • Stain resistant
  • Case measures 4.75in wide x 6.9in high x 1in deep
  • 70% neoprene, 30% polyester
  • Care instructions: Machine wash, hang dry
It says it fits the DSi perfectly, but  it will also be great for a digital camera!  I plan on gifting one of these to my 12 year old daughter this coming Christmas at this will be the absolute perfect case for it!  (And it matches!)  And if not, I can gift it to my neice who carries her DSi everywhere she goes!  Perferrably with a gift card that I will get from using my debit card points with!  Either way, I've got a nice add on gift for...ZERO Dollars!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Freebies for Your Gratitude!



Remember how I was telling you that if you write companies and express your fondness (or dislike) of a product or their company in general, they will send you free coupons?  WELL, I wrote three last week and so far I have received the following:
  | Company  |   Product  |  Rave or Rant       |  Freebies Received

1| Huggies   |  Diapers         |  Rant about Tabs  |  FREE pack of diapers (up to $13)
2| Pampers  |  Diapers         | Rant about Rash   |  Two $10 off coupons, 3 $1 off any
3| Kotex      | U Pantiliners  |  Rave                    | Three $1 off coupons

When writing in you should be honest.  I was honest about the rants and the rave.  I will probably gift packs of diapers for Christmas gifts for next year.  The expiration date is March 11, 2011 so I will have to buy them in advance! 

So, get writing!  Your honesty does pay off :)  Who doesn't love freebies????

I'm off to write more great companies!

Oh, and by the way...I also received my Babies R Us mailer today...they have a Buy any 3 and get a $15 BRU giftcard.  The items included are:
  • Huggies value boxes of diapers (100 ct. or more)
  • Huggies 600 ct. Shea Butter wipes
  • 24-pk Scott toilet paper (which we always use)
  • 12-pk Viva paper towels
So, I am going to see what the prices of Scott and the 600 ct. wipes are at BRU and see if I can work with that to get a completely free deal.  Wish me luck :)


Sunday, December 26, 2010

Merry After Christmas! Time to Start YOUR Plan!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!  We had an awesome Christmas, though not a Zero Dollar one, at least not this year! 

I woke up this morning to nothing but WHITE.  SNOW!  I like the snow, but I don't like it at the same time.  I love the snow flurries that never stick, I hate the snow that traps us in the house and makes it messy to get four kiddos in and out of the car.

On days like today (i.e. The Day After Christmas With All the Great Sales) I really wish the snow had went west of us :)  I'm now stuck in my home doing NO SHOPPING!  In my area, Gymboree has this massive clearance and marks their items down to $.99 and $1.99 and this is when I stock up for my little ones! 

Okay, so back to the actual point of my post...Do you have your plan in place for YOUR Zero Dollar Christmas yet?  It never hurts to get started early.  In fact, come this time next year you will be so more relaxed because majority of your gifts got taken care of wayyyyyy before Christmas time!

So what is your starting point?  Mine is taking these duplicate items my children received for Christmas back to Wal-Mart and getting the credit put onto a gift card.  In fact, I may ask them to do several gift cards for the items so I can actually gift those next year.  I always give my oldest nephews gift cards to Wal-Mart.  I could easily take care of that right now!

I am also still working on getting the iPad for my husband.  All I need is TWO more referrals!  Have you checked out YouriPad4Free.com yet?  If not you should!  Who on your list would love to get an iPad?


Leave a comment or shoot me an email.  I love to hear from my readers and support for a Zero Dollar Christmas doesn't hurt either!  Remember, when you are getting ready to fall off the wagon how great it will feel to have come ZERO dollars out of pocket on your entire Christmas!  Also, go sign up for Freecycle now :)


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A thrifty Share!



Ever heard of EverSave.com? I love it.  It's another site that has deals like, buy $50 worth of credit for $20.  If you have to shop at a particular store or are looking for something specific, these deals are totally worth it.  Now, this is not for my Zero Dollar Christmas, but we do have to redo the kids room (see my post about my house!)  I wanted to buy wall decals for my daughters room.  Seems like she changes her tastes on a month to month basis so permanent is not the way to go!  I got $40 worth of credit to Lot26Studio.com for $15!  Pretty awesome, huh?

Sign up for EVERSAVE ... and check out Lot26Studio

Monday, December 20, 2010

Wow...an Ultimate "Freebie"...and this one's for YOU!

Ever heard of pilot testers?  What that means is a company will send you their product for you to test out before they actually put it on the market for sale.  In return for the free product, you have to report back to them on how you like it and any issues you might have with it.  Google is coming out with a notebook.  It looks pretty awesome in my opinion! 

Sign up to apply to be a pilot tester HERE


Learn more about the Google Chrome HERE

I applied.  If I get one to try out I would be estatic...I wanted to share this with my readers as well.  What could it hurt?  Hopefully at least one of us will be accepted into the program :)  And I'm afraid if I am accepted...my internet addiction with thrive even more :)

'Til Next Time...

Do You Coupon? How about CVS?


I have, but I haven't been, but I plan to start again. :)

 Couponing is a great way to cut your grocery bill, get things for less (duh) and sometimes get freebies! There are lots of great sites that explain these concepts further.

If you are planning on making health/beauty need baskets for someone this Christmas, check out CVS and WalGreen deals. Both of these stores "reward" you for buying certain products every week. If you are also buying the Sunday paper (or getting the coupons out of that for free) you can really get some great freebies on things you would use anyway or things that would make a great "Pamper" basket for the men or women of your list.

Check out my how to page for CVS newbies!  I will be adding more later, like WalGreens.  All in time friends :)  all in time (and who has enough of that anymore?!)

Oh, and a good "to-do" for this week?  Pick up your local Sunday paper and start saving those coupons!  I also have a system for this that I will be adding ... later. 

So work on this, find an old binder or something to stash your coupons in, grab the Sunday paper this week and comment back and let me know how you did ;)

'Til Next Time...

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Are you Swagging?

Remember, this is an easy way to earn free Amazon gift cards among others!  All you have to do is search as you normally would search.  Keep earning points and cash them in for Amazon gift cards or PayPal funds.  I have found that the Amazon gift cards are a better deal, because you get $5 for less points than the same $5 in PayPal funds.  Plus, if you spend over $25 or are a Prime member, you get free shipping! 

Sign up for Swagbucks HERE and start earning for your ZERO Dollar Christmas today (it's never too early!)
Search & Win

Just a Heads Up...

Okay, I am going to be beyond busy this upcoming week.  For those who don't know, last September we had a tree fall and crush our roof.  It's been difficult to say the least. 


Our backyard.  And this is only HALF of the tree....

My son's room, which the ceiling was completely collapsed.  Thank GOD he was being hard-headed and NOT cleaning his room like I had asked him to!



We had to live out of a hotel (with 4 children, 2 under 2, mind you) for a WEEK.  Now we have been living in a rental house.  I HATE it.  It's way to small for our family, but that's not the part that really gets to me...It has city water which means chlorinated...which means my Psoriasis is worse than it has ever been!  I am in agony...my skin literally burns when I shower and is sooooo painful.


Well, we are moving back into our HOME this week!  I couldn't be more estatic.  But in order to move back in I have to work like mad to get the house in order...and painted!  I carry my children along with me so it's more of a chore than it sounds like.  Luckily I have a lot of help from my mom.  She loves to paint, something I am not so gifted at.  :)

If you are following My Zero Dollar Christmas and ready to get started for your own ZDC...Why don't you start by writing fan mail to your favorite companies?  I have gotten loads of free coupons by doing this.  I have also written to complain about quality of things and they have also sent freebie coupons.  My complaints are legit though.  I have gotten freebies from Huggies, Pampers, Luv's...think Babyshower gifts :)  OR if you use disposable diapers this could save you some money. 

I have also gotten freebies from Kotex, Playtex, Hunts (ketchup), Yoplait and so many more for raving about a specific product.  Another good one to write is Red Vines Licorice.  They will send you pounds of free licorice.  This would make a great add on to a Movie Night In themed gift basket!  Just find a freebie movie, popcorn, add candy and licorice and you've got a great, thoughtful, inexpensive gift basket!

Til Later...Jackie

Thursday, December 16, 2010

My First Step to my ZERO Dollar Christmas...

Well, obviously I will need a list!  EVERY good plan starts off with a list :)

Of course, I will also do this in Microsoft Excel format so I can keep it somewhat private.  No one ever checks my documents on my computer.  ;0)

It looks like this:

My Zero Dollar Christmas "Shopping" List

Gift Recipient |  Gift    | Amount | Where Bought        | Funds Used

Recipient 1    | iPad    | $FREE | youripad4free.com  | Referrals

Recipient 2   | Kindle  | $140    | Amazon.com          | Swagbuck Amazon Gift Cards


Of course the above chart is simply a very rough draft.  I plan to link to my Excel worksheet and you can use it to.  It will be formatted and a lot more functional than the above.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Let Me Clarify....

Okay, last night when I wrote my post about my ZERO Christmas 2011, I was in a bit of a hurry.  I still plan on spending absolutely ZERO on Christmas next year.  What I didn't mention is that we are going to have an AWESOME Christmas.  I still plan on getting all of our normal high end electronics.  I still plan on getting the cutesy stuff I normally get.  :) 

I know, I know...you are asking HOW???  No, I'm not going to go beg electronics off of people or ask for donations.  Nothing like that!  We aren't well off, but we aren't dirt poor either.  I'd never accept charity when I don't really need it.  There are sites that actually give you free electronics.  They are legit, at least the ones that I deal with.  There are some that aren't, but I'd never post a bogus site.  It's not worth my time and not worth my readers! 

I have gotten an iPod Touch for free.  I have gotten a PS3 system for free.  All I had to do was sign up for two trial offers (at the time I did Stamps.com for the PS3 and a credit monitoring company for the Touch)  I also had to refer people to the site and have them sign up for their free trials.  ONLY if they signed up for a trial did they count as a referral.  It wasn't easy peezy.  That's for sure!  But for free electronics that would cost me well over $300 each, I'm definitely not afraid of a little referral work!

Here is a link to my online document (completely virus free, by the way) about how to earn these big ticket items for a set amount of referrals and a free trial offer.  Start now, you can earn them all!

My Online Document on How to Earn Free Electronics

Okay....it didn't work like I wanted to.  If you want the document shoot me an email and I will send it right over.  I will get this issue fixed by the end of today :)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

New Challenge Starting January 1, 2011

So who's with me? 
NEXT CHRISTMAS I plan to have ZERO out of pocket expenses!  That's right...ZERO.  I mean ZERO including wrapping paper. 

How do I plan to do this? 
Well, with a lot of planning ahead, that's how!

First, I'm saving every single last one of my swagbucks for AMAZON Gift Cards only to be used for Christmas 2011.

Second, I'm making a master Christmas list wayyyyyyy ahead of schedule.  In fact I may work on that tonight and post a link later this week.

Third, I am going to continue to recruit referrals to my FREE electronic sites.  (More on this later as it deserves a completely different post dedicated entirely to the subject)

Fourth, FREECYCLE and the FREE category on Craigslist.  You'd be surprised what you can get for FREE!

Well, wish me luck.  I'm sure some of you are 80% skeptical of my plans and the other 20% simply thinks it's impossible.  BUT I will do it...and if you want to challenge yourself, post a comment and join me!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Free Yogurt from YoPlus!

Thank you to my thrifty friends on DiaperSwappers.com (if you haven't already, check out the awesome Thrifty Families forum!)  for this great deal!

www.yoplus.com and sign up to receive the Betty Crocker newsletter.  You must be a new subscriber.  Hurry before the deal is gone!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Why is it that snow makes me lazy?

I started wondering this with our last snow storm (we are currently on number three for the year so far and already expecting two more in the next WEEK).  Well, I think I've figured it out.  We are completely snowed in.  There is no coming or going.  So I KNOW no one will be visiting or dropping by for a while.  I guess that's why I have been so extremely lazy and unwilling to clean. 

Our house is a disaster.  If I hadn't left my digi camera on my desk at work, I would take a picture of the crazy mess - inside and out....

Oh well, back to my blogging.  If you are in search of a method that works for cleaning up and clearing out, check out FlyLady.net.  It really is a good system.  Now if I could get off my bum and stop being so lazy during this winter weather to start cleaning....:)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

An Oldie But Goodie - 50 Free PhotoCards from SeeHere.com

Just thought I would repost this.  You can get 50 free PhotoCards from SeeHere.com (FugiFilm).  Just use code NEWBABY at checkout.  You can mix and match so be creative until your heart's desire!  I can't wait for the baby to get here in March.  I have already started plotting on her birth announcements!  And I'll probably throw in some Birthday invites for Gavin as well :)

News about the House

Okay so I got really fed up with all the delays about our loan modification.  I'm tired of waiting on the "analyst" to get back to me.  I finally got someone who understood it's been way too long waiting on a dang decision.  We now have three months worth of trial payments.  They actually went up about $50, but I'm thankful we are getting somewhere with this loan modification!  We now have to seriously cut out all unnecessary expenses and the hubby may have to find a skill he can do on the side.  I am going to start trying to recruit more clients to do websites for.  I have been slack on promoting myself lately because we have been so busy with the kids lately and all their extracirricular activities...

So our first trial payment is due on March 3.  I'm excited, but also nervous.  I have to mail in the payment which means I should do it at least a week and half before the due date.  I HATE having to mail things because it usually slips up on me...well, I guess I will just have to put on my big girl panties and remember to remember.  HeeHee...

That's really all about that.  Now I am back on a super tight budget with no wiggle room at all.  I hope you all will keep me in your prayers.  It's not always easy being thrifty, but I know it's better right now for our family's finances!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

You should be swaggin! Proof is in the Pudding, folks!

I am getting this pack n' play for the new baby! It is essential because of course, Gavin (who will be one in March) is still occupying the crib.

Graco Pack n' Play

Swagbucks is making it possible for me to get this with only $10 out of pocket! Man, do I love Swagbucks!!!!!!!!!!!!!


 

How?  I earn Amazon giftcards by searching on Swagbucks
Right now I have accumulated $55 worth of Amazon gift cards.  So I can either wait to get $10 more to completely cover my purchase or go ahead and spend $10 out of pocket.  Since the baby is due in a month, I think I'm going to shell out the $10!  If you haven't signed up for Swagbucks, you should do it now!


Free Things for Your Gratitude?

Seriously!  Write companies of products you frequently use, or want to try.  Complain if it is legitimate.  Praise is welcome too!  Companies love to hear you rave about their product, especially if they can use it as a testimonial.  Most will even send you coupons for free products or discounts on their products.  I have gotten freebies from companies like DIAL (soap), HINES (ketchup), DANNON (yogurt), CAPRI SUN, and many more.  Sure it takes a little time, but to me it's more than worth it. 

Here is a thread from AFullCup.com.  Check it out, ti's got a lot of useful links from companies who do send out coupons when you contact them.  (I did not write this thread, so I do not assume responsibility for it!)

On another note, check out sites like DiaperSwappers.com, ClothDiaperNation.com, and AFullCup.com for thrifty advice.  This is where I have gotten most of my tips and hints along the way.  Such great advice from great women has really helped ease the transition of overspending to barely spending anything!

Teach Your Children About Money NOW!

As a child I pretty much worked for nothing and had everything handed to me.  Granted my parents didn't overinduldge me with expensive video games and gadgets, but still I can't remember ever having a chore that I was responsible for.  My husband on the other hand was overinduldged and it still affects his work ethic to this day.  He got anything and everything he wanted without being held accountable for ANY of it.  He went through FOUR cars as a teenager and if he messed up and totaled one, another was quickly purchased for him.

I DO NOT want my kids raised in this manner.  I don't mind buying them things on occassion but lately it's been expected everytime we hit a store.  I got so tired of it I implemented chores and a "PayDay".  IF they do their chores, they get a dollar per day they do them.  I know it's not a ton, but they have the potential to earn $7 a week.  Since we are so broke right now, that is a lot, especially when you multiply it by two children.  IF I have to do their chores for the night...well, they owe me a dollar per night I have to do their work.  So far, so good and it gives me a little break from all the daily responsibilities around here. 

I am hoping that from this they will realize that in order to have things they want, they do have to put in work behind it.  I hate to think of them not being able to cope in the "real world".  I hate that my husband is so unrealistic about our finances that he still tries to overinduldge them with things they don't need.

If you would like to do this as well, check out this site.  It allows you to make your own FREE chore chart for your child.  Mine really enjoy checking off their task each night and figuring out what their "PayDay" will equal up to at the end of the week!


Making Use of Unused Baby Food

Our family gets WIC (Women, Infant, & Children) which is a supplemental food program for families with children who are "low-income".  It's a great program and provides our family with formula, milk, cheese, cereal, beans, tuna, baby cereal, juice, and jarred baby food.  We have tons of the jarred baby food left over as my son did not want to eat these.  They are taking up quite a bit of room in the cabinets and quite frankly, getting on my nerves as we are already crunched for space!

I hadn't figured out what I could do with all this baby food until a few days ago.  After buying the YoBaby yogurt, I realized I could be saving money and just making my own!  Well, partially making my own.  I bought a big container of plain, organic yogurt and started adding the fruits to it instead of buying it already mixed.  My 11 month old loves it!  I also found it's a good way to sneak in those veggie baby food varieties that he is not so crazy about and he doesn't even bat an eye!

Just wanted to share.  I'm sure I'm not the only one who finds it hard to find uses for these leftover items.  Also check out these recipes for things you can do with that leftover Rice or Oatmeal cereal.  If all else fails, feel free to donate to your local food pantry.  We get so much milk I usually give half of it to the grandmother of one of my son's teammates since they don't have a lot.

 

Great Deals at Avon Outlet

I sell Avon. It's been a real blessing in my life. It gives me on average about $400 in additional income a month after it's all said and done - sometimes more! I wanted to pass these great deals onto you fellow frugalistas.

Check out my online store at www.youravon.com/jacquelineleonard and click on OUTLET. There are tons of great deals. My personal fave is clearanced out right now - Pro to Go lipstick in Limited Edition colors for ONLY $2.99! This is normally a $10 lipstick and of course it's full sized! They have other great deals like body washes for $1.29. Use promo code KISSES for free shipping on any $5 order.



Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Swaggin' Has Gotten Me Far!

Okay, I know most of you fellow frugalistas probably have already heard the buzz about Swagbucks.  IF by chance you haven't it's definitely something worth checking out. 

Here's the jist:

It is a search engine.  Search for things you'd be searching for anyway and earn swagbucks.  Once you earn enough Swagbucks you can cash out for useful things like gift certificates to Amazon.com or even cold, hard cash from PayPal.  It doesn't take a lot.  Just search and win.  You can also refer your friends, family, followers, whoever and earn dollar for dollar what they earn!

Sound too good to be true?  Well, it's not.  This is not a get rich scheme.  It's a simple program that rewards you with things you can use.  I have already cashed out my Swagbucks for $175 worth of Amazon Gift Certificates.  I'm still earning and planning on buying baby gear for our March baby! 

I don't know about you, but it really does help out when your budget doesn't allow for things like a new baby's playard.  Check it out...I mean, really...What do you have to lose?

Search & Win

About My Family

We have been struggling for months on end. It seems like as soon as we moved into our home, my husband was laid off and we fell behind on every bill we have. I hate living like this. I know our family is not the only family who is in debt and struggling everyday to pay the bills and provide for their family. It's rough. I'm here to share my journey and I'm hoping to bring our family through debt free.

My husband became employed the first of this year. We are both working from my family owned & operated business and even the business is having a terrible time due to this economy so still, we are struggling. There are days there is no work and my husband is off. There are days when I am out due to the terrible winter weather here in Virginia. I'm not optimistic on the upcoming month as far as having money to cover all of our bills.

Currently we are in loss mitigation with our mortgage company. This means we are working with them to avoid foreclosure and get a lower payment on the loan until we can afford something more. This has been ongoing since October and has really put a lot of stress on me. I really feel as though I am carrying the burden alone. My husband reminds me of a teenager who has no sense of financial responsibility and having to nag him about every penny he spends really makes me resentful. I absolutely hate feeling like the nagging wife.

We are expecting our third child together in late March. He has a ten year old daughter from a previous "relationship". So basically, I feel as though I have somehow failed my children. I keep on trucking though. I want to be able to provide for them financially and teach them how to make wise decisions for their own financial future.

This is my diary. A daily dose of my journey. I am determined to make it through this rough patch victorious. I am delighted that you want to join me!