Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Program Review: Pampers Gifts to Grow Rewards


I think I heard about this about a year ago and decided to give it a try. The program was supposed to stop in March of this year, but because of it's popularity, Pampers extended it to March of 2009. I've been pleased thus far as a member. To date, I have redeemed points for 2 family night Blockbuster gift cards, a $10 Starbucks gift card, and a $10 Lego.com gift card.


-Pretty good reward selection
-Codes available on lots of Pamper's products
-Fast delivery of redeemed reward
-Good customer service (I had a problem with a code and received a prompt response along with a new code)


-Shipping/handling charge on everything but gift cards and coupons (I think this is ridiculous)
-Points take some time to accrue


I give this program a 7 out of 10

If you are already a member of Pampers Gifts to Grow, here is a universal code for 1 point:

If you are not a member and would like to sign up, click here to go to the Pamper's site. And don't forget to enter the above code after you've signed up!

The Next Generation of Dumpster Divers


Believe it or not, dumpster diving ain't (yes, I'm Southern :P) what it used to be. I don't know how I happened across a dumpster diving message board one day, but I decided to check out their "Finds" forum. Holy moly, was I surprised.

See, these people weren't DD at trash dumpsters you see on the roadside. They DD at store dumpsters. The stuff they find is unbelievable sometimes. I can't believe how wasteful our society is. The fact that America has so many in need, and to see perfectly good 'stuff' thrown out all for the sake of a buck, really saddens me.

However, I see the DD'ers as redeemers of sorts. LOL Rescuers in plain (and probably a little dirty from diving) clothing if you will. I'm not an expert on the subject...yet. Yes, I am planning to try out store DD very soon with a partner in crime that shall remain unidentified. I will definitely report our experience(s).

I'll leave you with a link to a site with lots of info and tips on getting started. Remember to check your local laws concerning DD. I will not be held responsible for your bail money. You dive at your own risk. ;o)

Mary, The Dumpster Lady

Monday, September 29, 2008

Goodwill Online!

Goodwill just keeps surprising me. I knew about their auction site which I was planning on posting about this week. Now this morning I find out they have an online store. I haven't checked it out thoroughly, but I'm sure you could find some good deals...if not now, eventually. They have a flat shipping rate of $7.99 which is good if you order a lot. Not so good if you just want to order one little thing. Pros and cons as with anything but worth checking into. :o) You never know what you might find at a bangarific price. So without further ado, I give you Goodwill Auctions and G Too. G Too sounds gangsta, don't you think? hehe

Friday, September 26, 2008

Walgreen's $5 off $20 Coupon


It is valid today and tomorrow. Be sure to check out their clearance section since the fine details doesn't mention it is excluded...love it when that happens! I have gotten a few Christmas gifts for the kids already this year from the Wallygreens clearance. Let me know what you find.

Click here to print coupon.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Friday Freebies!

Please be responsible when requesting freebies. Only request what you can and will use. Remember, these samples along with shipping, cost the company money. Let us make sure we don't take advantage of their generosity. :)

Sundance Organic Tea Sample

Bertolli Premium Sauce Sample

Kashi Cookie Sample

Cesar Canine Cuisine Sample

Walmart Samples

"Renting is just throwing your money away!"

Sigh...I can't tell you how many times I have heard that since the spring of this year. With DH's new job and rising gas costs, we decided to try and move closer to the church to save on fuel costs.

I got to work. I constantly checked the classifieds of our local paper, craigslist, and asked friends to keep an eye out. We were advised to look into buying since the market was definitely a buyer's market. We did try, but were unable to do so.

You see, DH and I were not taught how to be wise with money while growing up. We made lots of mistakes that cost us. We learned our lesson thank goodness. We learned it the hard way, but we are wiser nevertheless. Isn't it funny how it takes much longer to correct the mess than to make it?

Our choices were simple: 1.) buy a house or 2.) rent a house.

As I said before, buying was out. DH's credit was around 12 points below the approval score. So that left us with renting. I was very disappointed. I really got my hopes up that we would be able to buy, but if you can't do it, you just can't do it.

During this time when I would be talking to someone, they would say "Oh renting is just throwing your money away." I beg to differ.

First, I don't think paying for a place to live can be catergorized as throwing money down the drain. We're talking about providing a roof over your children's heads here people. LOL I know when you own a house, the value will increase (in most cases) over time. But if you think about it, there are many things we purchase/pay for in our lives that don't accrue value. For example, your vehicle. It loses value as soon as you drive it off the lot. However, we don't say financing a vehicle is throwing your money away do we? Of course not. Transportation is a necessity especially in towns that don't provide public transportation services.

Second, you have to remember that more goes into buying a house than just a monthly payment. If you don't have a certain percentange down payment, they add mortgage insurance to that monthly total and usually add in the property tax as well. Next, you have to think about homeowner's insurance. Another addition to your monthly mortgage payment. Last, if something breaks, it is your sole financial responsibility to fix it. If you're struggling to make ends meet or trying to get out of debt, renting may be the wiser choice.

Third and lastly, it just plain sucks to hear something like that. I know those who said it to me were not intending any ill will. But it sort of brings up feelings of guilt and shame. You feel guilty because you got yourself in the present situation and although you are doing your best to rectify those mistakes, it is still your fault. Shame comes into play because you feel sort of embarrassed that you can't get a loan for a basic, low cost home. The house were looking at was priced at $149,000 and had been on the market for almost a year. We were hoping to be able to purchase it for $140,000 at the most. And we couldn't do it...at that time anyway.

Things do work out though. We are back in the subdivision we used to live in that is right next to the church. And what is even cooler is that the house we are renting is has always been our favorite house in the neighborhood. Our landlords are very nice and have offered to sell it to us after a year. As my friend Beth says, there is season for everything.

Basically, I have said all that to say this...please don't tell someone that they are throwing their money away because they are renting instead of buying. If it is said to a person in my situation, it sort of hurts. There are also people who prefer to rent instead of own and that is their perogative. Paying for a place to live is not wasting money as long as you are being wise about what you are renting. After all, a person living alone really doesn't need a 3 bedroom house. But I shall digress...

The Big Change

This year has been full of changes for us. The main change, which then rippled down and caused other changes, was my husband becoming associate pastor at our church. In taking this job, he will now make between $10-15,000 this year compared to last. Oy vey!

We had to make an adjustment somewhere. If we stayed at our current monthly bill status, we would would be in trouble very soon. We decided he needed to sell his truck. It was no longer a necessity since he wasn't doing construction anymore. That would free up $500 plus the insurance per month. We took the money from the truck sale and applied it to a loan at our bank which reduced the monthly payments.

So, we have been a one vehicle family since February. Our Jeep Liberty is paid off so we don't have a car payment to worry about. Having a single vehicle hasn't been nearly as bad as I would have thought before we actually did it. There have been times of inconvenience, but we've managed to work through them.

P.S. Our church's website is http://www.gracestatesboro.com/. If you want to laugh, click on Podcasts (located near the middle of the page), the click on GCC Videos on the right. The first two are humorous videos made for sermon intros and the 3rd is a video my husband put together after his mission trip to Romania this summer. It is very moving. (He actually did all the videos...I figured I better give him credit so he doesn't punish me. hehe)

Monday, September 22, 2008

The New Look

I hope it is appealing. It is not what I had in mind originally, but I am pleased with this for now. Check out the link on the very bottom of the page. This chick makes really awesome blogger templates which is where I got this one. :) I still have the sidebars to do, but will work on that as I get a chance. I'm still trying to get unpacked and organized from moving a few weeks ago along with other life demands. Moving can be a pain but I really feel at home in our new place and neighborhood. It just feels right if that makes sense. Stay tuned...