Thursday, February 28, 2008

Saving on Airfare

Last weekend Michael and I decided to book the airfare for our honeymoon. Michael had looked on the usual sites like to figure out what the best deal was. However, he also took the time to figure out which carriers service both our home airport and the one in our vacation destination. Then, just to be sure we had the best deal, he looked at the websites of those airlines. Guess what? He found a lower deal than Kayak told him was available!

I was really glad that he took the time to figure this out. However, I will always try to stretch beyond the lowest deal and see what kind of extras I can get on top of that, like Upromise credit or an extra cashback bonus through Discover Card's ShopDiscover program. They aren't partners with American, so no deal there. But then, I flipped open my Entertainment Book and found American Airlines in the index! They had a coupon code for an additional 5% off any airfare worldwide that is $150 or more for up to 6 passengers.

Yippee! The coupon code worked, and we saved an additional $25.80. The Entertainment Book is awesome! (Incidentally, you can get it at a great discount this time of year.)

And actually I got another deal by using my Discover Card. They are offering 5% cashback (on top of the usual incentive) in their Get More program this quarter for travel purchases up to $800. Fantastic!

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

My Frugal $ense Pick for February

February is nearly over, but I thought I'd share my favorite tip on's Frugal $ense contest because it's a really good one that I already use. Bonnie Pineiro of Weymouth suggests making your own school snacks for kids by buying in bulk and packaging your own individual-sized snacks. When I was a kid, my parents did the same thing for our school lunches.

I don't have any children, but I do this for my own lunch that I take to work. In fact, this week I've had applesauce as part of my lunch. I bought a 24-ounce jar of it on sale for 79 cents. I've poured it into half-cup size reusable containers and put one in my lunch bag each day. Like in Bonnie's examples, it was far cheaper than buying the pre-packaged individual-sized containers of applesauce. And it takes very little time and effort to do the packaging myself.

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Monday, February 25, 2008

99 Cent Latte Day

For those of you who were particularly interested in the Cutting Down on Coffee and More Coffee Savings discussion that we had last month, I thought I'd mention something that I saw on Coupon Mom's blog today: 99 cent coffees at Dunkin' Donuts on Tuesday! The deal is only good from 1 PM until 10 PM on February 26th. You can get a small latte, cappuccino, or espresso for just 99 cents!

So, if you are looking for a cheap treat, this sounds good!

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Sunday, February 24, 2008

Dominion Powerwash

Power washing? Yes, I know this seems to be an unusual post for Save 4 Fun. However, I just got an email from a friend today that he has started a power washing business in Northern Virginia. I always try to help promote friends' small businesses in one way or another, but I have to admit that I don't know much about power washing. However, I know Jamie to be a great guy, so I can only imagine that his business will do an awesome job with outdoor cleaning if you need the service.

How does Dominion Powerwash tie into my blog? They have coupons on their website! So, if you or someone you know need power washing services, check them out and spread the word.

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Saturday, February 23, 2008

Freezing More Food

Back in November, I wrote about Filling the Freezer. Reading Erin Huffstetler's article entitled I Can Freeze That? on, I've learned that there are even more foods that I can freeze. I'm going to have to try her tip on freezing fresh herbs. I always hate when I have to buy a big bunch of herbs when I only need a little bit in a recipe. Inevitably, I end up throwing away the rest. Sometimes I might skip the herb (but that usually really takes away from the dish) or see if I have it in the dried version (but that's not the same and it's also not always possible, as in the case of cilantro). However, the frozen version of the fresh herbs might help solve this problem.

One thing that freezes well that Erin didn't mention in her article is an onion. Sometimes I only need part of an onion for a recipe. While the remaining portion can be kept in the refrigerator for a while, I don't usually get around to using it before it has gone bad. I've found out that you can freeze onions. So, I'll chop or slice the remaining part and then put it in a freezer bag or container. The next time I need to cook with an onion, I just get it out of the freezer. It's already chopped or sliced, which makes things faster for meal preparation.

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Monday, February 11, 2008

Reducing the Expense of Facial Cleansing Cloths

I like to use disposible facial cleansing cloths at night to wash my face. I know that using a regular wash cloth and cleanser would be less expensive and better for the environment. But for some reason, the disposible cloths have always worked better for me -- my face and my routine. To stretch out how long a package of the cloths will last (and therefore, reduce the overall cost and waste), I cut them all in half when I open a new box. The half size is plenty to wash my face. And then, I get 60 nights' use out of a package instead of just 30.

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Sunday, February 10, 2008

Saving on Save the Date

I'm back from a few weeks of intense wedding planning. There's still a lot to do on that project, but I think (for now anyway) it shouldn't be as time consuming. The majority of big stuff is either decided upon or we at least have the appointments set with some vendors of the remaining big ticket items.

Since it's still fresh on my mind, I thought I'd mention one money-saving tip I've implemented during wedding planning: I made my own save-the-date cards.

First of all, I didn't think save-the-date cards were going to be necessary. In fact, I thought it was going to be one place where I could cut a corner on the budget. I figured we (including our family) could just tell people during the course of a regular conversation or email message when our wedding would be and mention that we'd hope they would save the date. However, while the place we've picked to get married is significant to both of us, neither we nor any of our friends or family live there. So, essentially we are planning a destination wedding...even though it isn't in a far off land. Because of that, however, I really felt the need to get information out to guests as early as possible so that they could not only save the date, but see if there's room in their budget to make the trip (for those who won't be able to get there and back in a day), start to plan their trip, make hotel reservations, etc. That led me to doing another thing I never imagined -- creating a wedding website!

I needed to publicize the website information to the guests. So, that's where the save-the-date cards came into play. There are a lot cute save-the-date options out there. However, eventually (i.e. after the wedding), even the nicest card or most creative magnet is unwanted trash. So, I got a friend who has some graphic design background to make a postcard for me. She was even able to personalize it with a picture of us.

Postcards are easy to make because you can put 4 of them on one letter size sheet of paper. I took the file to Kinko's and had them print them on the glossy card stock. Then, with two strokes of the paper cutter per sheet, I had all of the postcards made.

So, let's see how I did in comparison to using an online designer for a similar style card:

Online Vendor
Product: color card, personalized with our message and photo - envelopes included.
Quanity: They only sell them in packets of 75 or 100. (I needed 80.)
Shipping: No charge for shipping for orders over $75.
Price for 100: $88.00 + tax = $92.40
Postage for 80 (at 41 cents per stamp): $32.80
Total: $125.20.

My Cards
Product: color postcard, personalized with our message and photo - no envelopes needed.
Quanity: 4 come on a sheet. (I needed 80, but I got 84 just in case I had any errors while addressing them. I could also go back to get additional ones printed without a problem if I needed them.)
Price for 84 (including tax): $ about 20 minutes of my time to cut the sheets into postcards.
Postage for 80 (at 26 cents per stamp): $20.80
Total: $54.75

Savings: $70.45!

This is a good example of how I'm saving, but I'm not cutting on all corners of the wedding budget. Even though we don't want to spend a huge bundle, we do want a nice celebration. (It's the whole "save for fun" idea.) I could have just not done the cards, but it was an efficient and easy way to get out the information to everyone and let them know who exactly will be invited. I could have also opted for black and white, matte postcards instead of color, glossy ones. However, I liked the look and decided to upgrade since I knew even the upgraded version was a big savings over other options. Above all, what I wanted fit into the budget, so I went for it!

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Sunday, February 3, 2008

I'll Be Back Soon!

Wedding planning has been consuming the vast majority of my time lately. It's been nearly a week, and I haven't posted anything on Save 4 Fun. I promise to be back soon -- hopefully, in the next couple of days!

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