Saving for a Change: Tip #18


Got a birthday coming up, did you know that you can celebrate it and get free goodies from many restaurants and retailers? Birthdays are a special time and many places want to share in the celebration, so they offer free or discounted items and services. Before your birthday, sign up on-line for the “birthday club/program” with participating Birthday Balloonretailers and close to your birthday you’ll get an e-mail notification with instructions on how to redeem your free stuff. However, there are many restaurants that you can dine in on your birthday and you simply let them know you’re celebrating your birthday and they’ll give you a free or discounted item. Granted you don’t get a free limo service and shopping spree to Neiman Marcus being part of their birthday club/program, but there are lots of great stuff you can get.

I heard about the birthday clubs from a friend and then signed up. One year, on my birthday, I  got desserts at Cold Stone Creamery and Baskin Robbins (I know that’s a lot of ice-cream, but its my weakness), after having a fully loaded burrito, chips and salsa at Moe’s Southwest Grill and spent the afternoon visiting the Aquarium all for free. That’s just to name a few of the places that I signed up with. Recently, I found a cool website, Mrfreestuff.com,  that has over a hundred places for you to sign up; however all the places listed probably aren’t  in your area, but there are plenty of places to choose from that might be.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to you with lots of well wishes and free treats too!

Casually speaking and all the best,
Mercedes

Saving for a Change: Tip #17


It’s been said that good health starts with your mouth. Dentists recommend that we brush regularly and floss often, and every six months get a cleaning. A visit for a cleaning doesn’t have to cost  a lot of money and insurance is not required. For the past few years our family has had our dental cleanings through the Dental Hygiene Clinic at a nearby university.Initially, there was a little apprehension because of being unfamiliar with the clinic, but the clinic was highly recommended by a friend and after the first visit we felt at ease. Students studying Dental Hygienists perform dental services on patients as part of their grade, while their work is monitored and reviewed by their instructors. The services offered at the clinic may vary from school to school but the common services are: evaluations, cleanings, x-rays, teeth whitening, scaling and polishing, as well as preventive services and all at reasonable rates. At the end of the visit we are given little goodie bags with travel size toothpaste, mouthwash, a toothbrush and helpful dental information; leaving the clinic with a brighter smile and some change in our pocket.

Casually speaking and all the best,
Mercedes

 

Saving for a Change: Tip #16


National coffee day is today and coffee drinkers are thrilled that many restaurants are offering free cups of coffee.  I’m not a coffee drinker but I love Starbucks coffee, for my garden. Starbucks provides gardeners with a great resource for their garden and it’s free.  They call it Grounds for the Garden. You simply contact a local Starbucks and ask if they have any coffee grounds, most times they’ll hold a bag for you. Some locations have a bin where they store bags of old coffee grounds and patrons can simply pick-up the grounds from the bin, no questions asked.
*Three benefits of “recycling” the Starbucks coffee grounds:

  1. Helps to keep used coffee grounds out of the landfills
  2. Reduces Starbucks environmental footprint
  3. Makes your plants even happier

For years many gardeners have added rich, dark aromatic coffee grounds into their flower beds and the plants show their appreciation by offering healthier plants with bursts of color and strong root systems.  The coffee grounds can be added directly to the soil,  by mixing the coffee grounds with top soil/potting soil for new plantings or to the base of the plant for existing plants. If you prefer, you could add the coffee grounds to your compost mixture for later use. This tip works for container gardens too. The coffee grounds are a nutritional additive that help even the new gardener get beautiful results.

Casually speaking and all the best,
Mercedes

*Information retrieved from the sticker on the bag of coffee grounds from Starbucks.

Saving for a Change: Tip #15


English: The Community Closet Thrift Store

English: The Community Closet Thrift Store             (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Since the change in the economy, many people have sought out ways to stretch their dollars and shopping at thrift stores has become more popular than ever. Second hand or gently used products don’t have the same meaning as they did years ago; the store options have increased and the selection of products are more desirable. It’s not just clothes and knickknacks at thrift stores these days, there is a variety of items, from books, paintings, fishing gear, accessories for the home to full dining sets. A little bit of something for everyone, if you look carefully.

August 17th is National Thrift Shop Dayon this day it’s expected that stores will have deeper discounts than they normally do. Some stores may offer 50% off or buy one get one free items. Just like with any other sale, be ready for lots of bargain hunters who will also be on the lookout for a good deal. If you know how to shop, your dollars can go a long way in a thrift store. Although the staff at the stores maintain that the products are all clean, like toys, clothing and shoes for instance, it would be wise to sanitize the products you purchase at home before its first use.

Many stores are run by charities like Goodwill and Salvation Army as well as many smaller independent thrift stores, and they all have lots of great finds. Check your local listings and stop by a nearby store; hidden treasures are waiting just for you.

Casually speaking and all the best,
Mercedes

Saving for a change: Mellody Hobson Money Tips


ABC’s Nightline aired a segment called, New American Dream: Rent not Own,  Mellody Hobson reported on a growing trend where many people are exercising the option to rent instead of own. Cars, homes, you name it, there are many things that can be rented. Watch the following video to find out money savings tips that might be of interest to you.

Video by

Casually speaking and all the best,
Mercedes

Saving for a change: Tip #14


When you support local growers at your nearby farmer’s market or fruit stands you can save a lot of money and give back to your community. One of the benefits of buying fruits and vegetables from local growers and farmer’s markets is the food is usually fresh, because a lot of the produce doesn’t take a long time to travel before it’s sold to the public. Sometimes there are pleasant surprises when you go shopping because you might come across exotic and delicious produce, ones that your supermarket might carry. Another benefit is the cost, because there’s not much overhead cost to local growers and farmer’s market owners, the consumers reap the benefits of paying a lower price for their produce. I did a simple experiment by purchasing the same type of produce from the farmer’s market and from the supermarket and refrigerated them both; I found that the produce from the farmer’s market remained fresher longer than the one from the supermarket. That was another cost savings because the food bill could be stretched farther before replenishing. There are many health benefits to eating a balanced meal rich in fruits and vegetables, so while you save a little more in your pockets, your body benefits as well.

If you haven’t visited a fruit stand or farmer’s market before or if it’s been a while, why not take a trip and discover what’s available to you…I’m sure your wallet will thank you for it.

Casually speaking and all the best,
Mercedes

Saving for a change: Tip#13


Cleaning the kitchen or bathroom can be a labor intensive chore, but I’ve come across a product that helps to make the job easier. A few months ago my cousin raved about a product that she used to clean her oven, it was quick and easy, she told me. The product is, LAs Totally Awesome all-purpose cleaner. It’s amazing and I found it cuts my cleaning time in half. I bought my first bottle with the intention of tackling a dirty greasy stove top. After spraying the cleaner a couple of times on the stove I was surprised at how easily the grease came off. No scrubbing or scrapping required, just spray and wipe and in less time than I’d ever (I really mean, ever) cleaned the stove before. From the stove I moved on to cleaning the sink, microwave, oven then I moved on to the bathroom. By the time I finished I had nearly emptied all the cleaner in the bottle.

One of the great things about this product is it doesn’t have a strong lingering scent. You can see what you’ve cleaned, but the smell won’t hit you when you enter the room. The other great thing is that the product is inexpensive– I bought a 20 oz bottle for $1.00 and a 64 oz refill bottle was about $3.00. I’ve purchased the product at the Dollar Tree and Family Dollar stores and I’ve seen it sold on Amazon, but I’m sure it can be found in many other stores as well.

 

(Note: The opinions posted on this blog are my own and I have not been compensated by LAs Totally Awesome in any way to feature their product.)

Casually Speaking and all the best,
Mercedes