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Archive for February, 2008

Interesting Contest – Shopping Confessions

February 29th, 2008

Shopping Confessions

Here is a very interesting contest. Looking to win $500 or $1,000? All you need to do is “confess” about your shopping. Maybe you bought something that you shouldn’t have? Or you told your spouse that what you bought cost a lot less than it did? Well, here is your chance to come clean.

If you want the chance to win $500, you can enter with a text submission. If you want the chance to win $1,000 you will need to create a video submission.

No matter how much we all try to save money, and spend wisely, there are always times where we buy something that we want, even though we know we probably shouldn’t have. Why not try to get some money out of it?

Making the Most of your Points

February 28th, 2008

Another way to “earn” extra money and be able to get things for free is by getting and using points. There are lots of ways to get “points”. When you fly, you can sign up for and get frequent flyer miles. When you stay at a hotel, you can often get points. Even when you go shopping you can earn points. The question is, what on earth should you do with them?

Well, it depends on what the points are, and what they can do for you.

Let’s take a look at airline frequent flyer miles. Most airlines offer them, and if you fly on one airline a lot, you can earn free flights. I usually fly Continental Airlines, so I save those miles so that I can get free flights. But since I do pick flights based on price, and not because of the airline, once in a while I will end up flying another airline. I always make sure I sign up for their frequent flyer miles as well. But I know that I’ll never get enough miles for a free flight. I don’t want the miles to go to waste though, when there are other things I can do. This can happen with airline miles, hotel points, shopping points, or more. If you know you’ll never be able to use them at their respective airlines/hotels/stores, why should they just sit there and go to waste?

They shouldn’t have to just sit there, unused, when there are many other things you might want to buy, but not want to spend the money on. The good news is there are sites like where you can use these points for other things. While I am sure that there are other similar programs out there, I personally use them, so I’ll show you how they work. Other companies are most likely similar.

What happens is you log into their website, and enter in all your information for the programs that they have. They currently have 30+ different airline, hotel, and shopping programs that they are affiliated with.

Some include American Airlines, Delta SkyMiles, Priority Club Rewards, Trip Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards, Starbucks Rewards, and more. Once you have entered your information in, you will see what you can get for your points. They offer many gift certificates, such as Amazon, Macy’s, Gap, Sears, Best Buy, Lowe’s, Blockbuster, Target, and many more. You can also swap your miles or points for points/miles in other programs. So let’s say you are trying to get a free Delta flight, but recently got a bunch of American Airline Miles. You can use this program to change them into more Delta miles to help you get closer to your goal.

It’s a great way to use miles/points when otherwise they might have gone unused, and might have even eventually expired. This way, you can put it towards something you will actually like, and use instead of just sitting there.

Mozy – Free and Inexpensive Off Site Backups

February 27th, 2008

On Monday I brought up the importance of backing up your important data. Well here is a specific way you can back your data up off site, and proof that it doesn’t have to cost much to do so!

Mozy is a company that lets you have offsite backups, and has really great prices.  They have two offers when backing up your data. If you don’t have that much to back up, you don’t have to pay anything! They will give you 2GB free. So you can use those 2GB to back up your most important data.

If you have more data than that to back up, (which if you take a lot of digital pictures or videos, you probably will!) you still don’t have to spend a fortune. They offer unlimited backup for $4.95 a month. If you pay for the entire year at once, or 2 years at once, you’ll get even bigger discounts.

Paying only $4.95 a month to know that all your data is safe no matter what happens is a really nice thing. Especially since you have unlimited room…so you can keep adding all of your data, pictures, videos, and more, and know they are safe.

New Dell Laptop – Great Deal

February 26th, 2008


Get $300 off any Dell Inspiron 15.4″ HD widescreen laptop priced at $999 with coupon code: JCWHRN1$1?0VLT.

Last week when I purchased a new Dell Laptop – the Inspiron 1525, I thought I got a great deal. I thought it was a really great deal until yesterday, when I saw a coupon that you can use now to get the same laptop that I did, but for $50 less! So here is the laptop I got, but with the extra $50 off. I really think it’s a great deal…and even did when it was $50 more last week!

On this page, choose the Dell Inspiron 1525. What I like about this laptop is that it has a 15.4″ monitor, so it’s not the biggest out there, but not the smallest either. It’s perfect for me to use on a daily basis…but I can also bring it with me when I go out, and it’s not too big.

Once you choose that, you want to click on the basic 1525, which starts at $499. 00 You would think that one of the higher priced ones would be a better deal since it starts with more upgrades, but it turns out that this gets you the best price.

Going through all of the options, here are the ones I added. You can obviously choose different ones, as long as your total comes to at least $999.

I added:

  • Midnight Blue – System Color for $25.00. (What can I say, I wanted my laptop to be a little more colorful.)
  • Intel Core 2 Duo T5450 for $100.00.
  • Genuine Windows Vista Home Premium for $30.00.
  • Anti-Glare WideScreen for $0 extra (I don’t like the glossy personally, but that’s just me.)
  • 3GB of RAM for $250.00 (My favorite upgrade of all! This should be a FAST machine!)
  • 120GB Hard Drive for $25.00.
  • CD/DVD Writer for $30.00.
  • Integrated 2.0M Pixel Webcam for $25.00.
  • 56 Whr Lithium Ion Battery (6 cell) for $15.00.

Everything else is what is standard, and the laptop already comes with. This brings your total to $999.00. Once you put the item in your cart, use code: JCWHRN1$1?0VLT to get $300 off any Dell Inspiron 15.4″ HD widescreen laptop priced at $999 or more, and your laptop will now be $699.00. The coupon I used last week gave me 25% off of $999.00, so my total was $749.00, which I was happy with…but $699.00 is even better! Shipping is free, you just have to pay taxes.

If you’re looking to get a new laptop but don’t want to spend too much money…yet you still want a really powerful and fast machine, this looks like it should be it!  I’ll let you know what I think of it once I’ve had it for more than a few hours!

Backing up Important Information – Some Free and Inexpensive Ways

February 25th, 2008


We all know we should back up certain information on our hard drives…but how often do you actually do it? I can tell you that I’m not as good as I should be, and I almost lost a lot of important information because of it! Coincidentally, I ordered a new Dell laptop a week ago today. (It was actually a great deal, I’ll tell you about it tomorrow)

Well, Wednesday morning, I go to turn on my computer…and I get a nice blue screen of death! An hour later I had it up and running…and the first thing I did was back up absolutely everything I needed. I haven’t turned the laptop off since. Yes, I’m scared it won’t turn back on. Also, since I know my new laptop is supposed to come in some time today, I figure this way I can make sure I get everything moved onto the new one before I lose my information.

This seems to be a great time to talk about backing up your important files, and different low cost or even free alternatives to do so.

If there are only a few very important files that you need to back up, you might just want to use a flash drive. You can get them for under $20, or even for free most of the time after rebate.  While they don’t hold that much information, they are nice and small and can easily hold your most important files.

The next step up would be to use CD’s or DVD’s. Both are pretty inexpensive. CD’s are just a few cents each when you buy them in bulk, and can each hold about 700MB of information. DVD’s can hold a lot more, but of course cost a little bit more per blank DVD. Either way, they are pretty cheap, and are a great way to back up files.

Next would be to get an external hard drive. You can easily back up your entire computer plus a whole lot more with an external hard drive. These days, you can get a 500GB external hard drive for about $100 when it’s on sale, so you don’t have to spend too much to get more than enough space to store all of your files.

If you want to have the safety of keeping your backups off site – so that if something were to happen to your home, your data would still be safe, there are also many free/inexpensive options. There are many websites you can go to that you can upload your data where it will be safely stored for free, or for a small monthly payment.

No matter which way you choose, you shouldn’t have to spend much (or any) money, and you can save yourself a lot of grief and heartache if your hard drive ever crashes. Forgetting about the rest of my files, I can’t tell you how upset I would have been if I lost all my vacation pictures!

Contests to Enter

February 22nd, 2008

Here are a few more contests you can enter. Good Luck!!

BzzAgent – Get Free Amazon Gift Certificates

February 21st, 2008

Frogpond Badge

I’ve mentioned BzzAgent before. They’re a great company where you get a chance to test products, and buzz about them – good or bad. In the past I’ve buzzed about my Sonicare Toothbrush and Sanitizer (which I absolutely LOVE and would never get another toothbrush), Listerine Whitening Strips, Perfumes, and a lot more.

Well, they also have what is called the “Frogpond”, where you can take a look at some really cool websites, and post your thoughts about them.

BzzAgent is having a GREAT promotion right now. If you go through their link to take a look at a website called GoneGoing, and post 3 articles, you can earn $30.00 in Amazon Gift Certificates.

GoneGoing is a travel website where people post about different places they’ve been. You can search these articles to figure out where you want to travel, or you can post your own.

Through March 31st, if you create an account with them using this link, you will be able to get $10.00 for each article that you write (up to 3) about a recent trip that has at least 200 words, and 4 pictures. Isn’t that a great and easy way to earn a little extra money? You can buy almost anything on Amazon, so you will easily be able to spend it!

It’s also fun to talk about a vacation you’ve taken, so it hardly feels like work…at least to me! I have already signed up, and will be posting my 3 articles today. Enjoy!!

If you want to earn up to $30.00 in Amazon Gift Certificates, click here to sign up.

Indoor Herb Garden

February 20th, 2008


When cooking, you probably do as we do. You have a bunch of dried spices that you use. It’s a lot easier than always making sure you have fresh, plus it’s a whole lot cheaper!!

Sometimes dried herbs won’t do though. For example, when I’m making bruschetta, I need to have fresh basil. Using the basil from my spice rack just doesn’t cut it. The problem is that it can be very expensive to buy fresh herbs and spices. Also, many times you have to buy a large quantity, even if you only want to use a little bit.

This is where an indoor herb garden comes in. You can easily plant a bunch of different herbs in front of one windowsill. This way you don’t have to worry about weather, since it’s indoors. You can have fresh herbs in the middle of the winter…without having to pay a dime!

You will also always have fresh herbs. You won’t have to run to the store just to get one or two spices for a dish you’re making.  You won’t have to spend money to get these nice fresh herbs when they are off season.

Also, food tastes better when you use fresh herbs!  You’ll also end up saving a lot of money by doing this.

Herbs are very easy to grow, so you won’t have a problem even if you don’t have a green thumb. I have grown quite a few herbs outside – such a basil and chives, and they grew like weeds. It was great all summer to have the fresh spices to use when I was cooking. Of course now that it’s the middle of winter, I miss it. I am thinking about starting an indoor herb garden myself!

Staples Wooden Bookcases

February 19th, 2008

Staples Wooden Bookcases

Staples has their brand of wooden bookcases for 40% off. Shipping is free on all orders through February 23rd.   We bought a few of the 5-Shelf 72″ in oak a few years ago, and really like them.  They are filled with books, and are still standing strong, and look great.

Here are the sizes and colors available:

  • 2-Shelf, 30″ in white/oak/cherry – $17.99, regularly $29.99.
  • 3-Shelf, 48″ in white/oak/cherry – $23.99, regularly $39.99.
  • 5-Shelf, 72″ in white/oak/cherry – $29.99, regularly $49.99.

Legoland California

February 18th, 2008


When you go on vacation, all of the little things can add up. Not only do you have to pay for a place to sleep, food to eat, and transportation, but you usually have to pay for the things you do each day.

Sometimes these things can get expensive! This is especially the case if you go on a vacation that includes theme parks. You can always look for ways to make theme park tickets cheaper. Sometimes there are coupons or other deals that will give you a great discount.

Since we’re planning a trip to Southern California, we recently did this, and found a great deal. If you’re going to Legoland (near San Diego, California), here is a way to really lower the cost. A one day ticket costs $47 for children under 13, and $59.00 for everyone else. That’s pretty expensive for one day, especially if you have a big family!

If you look online, you can usually find discounts of up to $8.00 off. Well, here is a really great way to get a huge discount.

LEGO has a LEGO® BrickMaster™ One Year Subscription that you can order online. It costs $40.00, and includes:

  • 6 Lego Toy Sets (You get one mailed to you every other month).
  • 6 Lego Magazines that include sneak previews, contests, building ideas, and more (You get one mailed to you every other month).
  • 1 FREE ticket to Legoland California!

This free ticket to Legoland California can be used by anyone – kids or adults. So for $80, we got 2 tickets to Legoland California, plus a total of 12 free LEGO Toy sets. I would have been happy with just the 2 tickets for $80 (we saved $38!) but we also get all of the free LEGOS as well.

We have already received the first package including the tickets, first magazine, and first LEGO set.

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