Recently, I’ve been getting into a blog called Cheaplander that gives tips on ways to save money, living within your means, making informed purchases, and other ways to deal with this depressed Eeekonomy. Since I’ve lived in MI, I’ve been the most broke that I’ve been since being married to my husband. We started out thinking that I’d be a full-time student here, and took out a student loan large enough to cover the expenses that we anticipated for 6 months that his income could not cover. We knew that the cost of living in MI was much lower than CA, and we tried to pay for our move and expenses to get our home set up as frugally as possible.

Then the student loans hit. We knew that they would eventually, but they all came at once. Suddenly we had a $1700 monthly burden to include in our monthly expenses. Taylor’s first-year FO pay was only occasionally high enough to cover his loans. I got a job in March, and we’ve been trying to break even financially and cutting out unnecessary expenses.

First, we cut our cable. We did a package deal through Comcast (phone, internet, cable) for $99…but it actually ended up being $127 per month. We never used the home phone, and we realized that most of the shows we watch are on the main networks. So we trimmed our services to high-speed internet only for $56 per month. A few months later, they had a promotion running where we could add basic cable for $3/month…totaling $59 per month for cable and internet. I figure that the cost was worth is just so Rosie could get engrossed in Disney Channel and I needed mommy-alone time.

Another thing we cut was our clothing budget. I had a slew of lovely places in CA that I could find terrific clothing deals, especially at thrift stores. I love getting new clothes, but I had a closet full and tried to get by with what I had. For the first 7 months of my job, I got by on only one black pair of slacks. I’d wear them 2-4 times per week, and they were getting faded and threadbare. I treated myself to a new work outfit a few weeks ago, and I felt like a new person! My confidence at work really went up…just having another option to wear. Then two weeks ago I found another pair of pants I liked on sale, normally $54 for $20. I paired it up with a 40% off coupon, and walked out of the store for $13. Yesterday, I went to sale and got two dresses and a fancy white blouse. I got all the items off the clearance rack, got another 25% off for “friends and family day” plus used a $10 off text message coupon (that I signed up for while waiting in line) Three new items for $34 (normally $124). Then we went across the street to the kids clothing consignment shop and got Rosie 3 gently-used shirts, a sweater with matching scarf , and a book for $13.

My food spending still needs improvement. I eat out way too much, especially on my lunch breaks and while traveling. I need to curb my non-healthy eating so I can continue to fit into my new dress featured below.

If anyone wants to find out more of my bargain shopping tips and tricks, let me know. I’d love to go out shopping with you.

Thursday Green…

Since bright green is my favorite color, I decided to start a weekly blog post (much like blogger friend’s Wednesday Giggles, Friday Fluff, Morning Wood and Street-Urchin blogging, etc…) Mine will be Thursday Green (’cause you know what they saw about people that wear green on a Thursday???) It will either be about something green in color, or a post about my rockstar money-saving bargain-skillz. Today my new swimsuit came in the mail. I buy a new swimsuit every year in the spring…I’ve always loved to swim, and last years suit is SO stretched out, snagged and ugly from all my water aerobics. It fits like a halter suit with criss-cross straps in back. Perfect for athletic swimming. It’s also nice to have a suit that is plus size, but isn’t a swim dress. This suit is an update from the one I got last year…it fits nicely under shorts when going to the beach. I bought it from It was $40…could be worse.

I also bought a new digital camera today…8 MP, 3x optical zoom, all the bells and whistles…normally $299, for $79 (new with 1 year warranty included). I just hope it makes it in time for my Boston trip next Thursday.

Farewell to my stylin’ Friend

Yesterday, the beauty item of my affection passed away on my bathroom counter. This flat iron is the most wonderful one I’ve ever owned, the Ping Magic Ionic Digital Iron. I bought it from Ulta last year for an amazing price…normally $180, on clearance for $35!!! Add in the 20% off coupon I brought with me, and it was only $28. I’ve been amazed with how beautiful my hair has become as a result of Ping…it’s like my Johnny Lingo for my Mahanna hair. A little TLC has tamed the wild, coarse and curly soul out of my long, brunette locks, and made it so beautiful that everyone on the island (i.e. America) comments on it. It makes me feel like a Ten-cow wife.

I’ve emailed the company to see if I can do a free exchange for a replacement iron. The cheapest I’ve found it was $80 on eBay, and the retail for it elsewhere online has been $120 pretty consistently. So as I make my funeral arrangements for Ping, does anyone have any suggestions for stellar flat irons less than $80? I’ve toyed with the idea of a Chi, Coriolis, Wigo, and one of those really great ones that they sell at county fairs and mall kiosks. It must meet this criteria:

– Must have a width of less than 1.25 inches
– Must be a shape that allows straightening, flipping, and curling
– Must heat to at least 300 degrees
– Preferably full ceramic with tourmaline
– Preferably sold in a store that I can use a coupon

How geeked out am I?

I just registered my own domain name…. ! If you try to access it through the Blogspot address, it’ll still work. But this addy is a lot easier for people to remember. I figured as an international blogging rockstar, I should fork out the $10 to show up on Google.

Birthday gifts and laundry money

My parents gave me $50 for my birthday. I decided to go to Dick’s to finally buy a pair of Keen’s that I’ve been eyeing for a week or two. Here’s another example of my shopping prowess:

1 pair Black Keen Ashland Shoes ($90)
1 green Life is Good Baseball Cap ($20)
1 Nalgene Bottle ($10)

How much did I pay??? $50.74. Again, you see I am a rockstar…

However, today was the first time we had to do laundry since we moved into our apartment. Our apartment includes a very inadequate W/D combo…but the dryer does not work and it only holds about 4 items of clothing. We went to the laundromat with $8 in quarters, thinking that would be enough for 3 loads. I was blown away that the cheapest wash load was $3, and the cheapest dry load was $2.50. We had to get whites done for Taylor’s high-speed tonight, so we just did one load. Two hours later, I was dreaming of the days in the not-so-distant past where I could just throw in a load anytime. I’ve gotta come up with a better washing solution.

Why am I the dicount shopping ROCKSTAR?

I am not modest about the fact that I love to bargain shop. I keep caches of coupons, piles of punchcards, and am on more email distribution lists for coupons than I care to count. To give you an idea of how much I save, here is a list of of items I purchased today at a popular national discount store. The retail of the following items was approximately $160.

1 Serta Perfect Sleeper Pillow
2 bottles of spices

3 boxes of Fiber One Bars

1 Lady Speed Stick

1 bottle of shea butter body wash

1 bottle of Matrix Sleek Look Conditioning Treatment

1 bottle of Flat iron hair serum

2 bottles of hand sanitizer

1 pack of “Hello, My Name is…” name tags

2 tubes of Neosporin

1 pack of Hanes Girl Boyshorts
3 packs of hangers

1 pack of chocolate-covered Mint Oreos

1 pair of Panasonic Gumy Headphones

3 boxes of Yogos

2 different kinds of 100-calorie snack packs

3 packs of scrapbooking glue-dots

1 bottle of Scrubbing Bubbles

How much did I pay??? $43.17. Yep, I know…I’m a rockstar.