Friday, May 29, 2009

Comparison shopping

Last week our accounting software went on the fritz. We have gotten this software free after rebate every year since we started our first company in 2004. This year I saw it free after rebate, but we decided we didn't need it because the software lasts two years. I thought we bought ours last year, but apparently it was . . . (wait for it!) 2 years ago. So when wouldn't load, and customer support was of no value, we realized we had to splurge and by a new 2009 edition. We found a great deal online at Staples and bought the software. THIS week, I saw the same product, same price, same free add-on payroll software, but with a free $20 gift card too at Office Depot.

Boring details, but it's to illustrate the way I think. I know both stores do price matching, so I called Staples customer service to see what they could do. They pleasantly offered to send me a free $20 courtesy coupon via email as a way to match Office Depot's price - works for me! A five minute phone call, and I made $20. Not bad. It pays to read the Sunday paper. BTW, Office Depot also has a free calculator, free t-shirt printing kit, and free digital scrapbooking software this week. That's what I love to see!! In 2007, I got about $2100 worth of stuff for free via rebates, coupons, etc - I've been slacking lately (only about $650 in 2008), but I'm trying to get back on track. For example, I haven't paid for toothpaste or toothbrushes since Julian and I got married almost 10 years ago - we always get them when they are free after rebate. Same with body wash, his shampoo (I'm too picky about mine), cleaning supplies, even most of my makeup. It's almost a game for me to figure out how to get stuff for free. And it's a great way to build your home storage on a budget. I get stuff even if I don't need it yet because I have a big basement. Then when I need things, I just go downstairs to my personal "store" and I know that I got it on sale or even free. This might sound boring to you, but that is MY kind of FUN!!

The Chaotic Day

Well, if you were expecting me to report how smoothly my life flows, you'll be in for an entertaining surprise - especially today! I'm recuperating from yesterday, which was one of the more chaotic days I've had in a while. It started with #1 (age 8) being a little late for school because he would NOT get out of bed. Julian took #1 to school, then headed to SLC to meet with some retailers for work. After he was gone, I went in my room/bathroom for about 5 minutes to get dressed so we could head out to get groceries for my mother-in-law, who can't get out due to failing health. Soon #3 comes in (age 3) with black ink all over his hands proudly saying something about drawing a picture on the wall, cheerfully saying "follow me" and reaching for my hand with a big, proud smile on his face. I fearfully followed him to the kitchen/dining room, where he had drawn, with black permanent marker, a long line along all of my oak cupboards and drawers, as well as along the entire length of my dining room wall. Ugh!! Some scrubbing got about half the ink off the cupboards, but it will NOT budge off the wall. I can't say that I appreciated the artwork with a smile and a hug for him - he got the dickens - with love, but he clearly understands that drawing on the walls is not an option - and the permanent markers are out of the pen drawer and have found a new home 6 feet up.

After errands to 2 banks, shopping for groceries, a separate stop at the pharmacy, then to Nana's to drop off her food and medications, then stopping to pick up #1 and the carpool with an already "full of kids" car, we went home for a late lunch. I asked the kids to wash up while I fixed some food. About 5 minutes later (5 seems to be the magic number), #2 (age 5) came out of the bathroom with a wet shirt - I didn't think much of it, just that he had splashed himself while washing his hands. We had a fairly calm lunch, except that #4 (age 19 months) had only had a 10 minute nap in the car between stops, so she was tired and cranky. Julian came home about an hour later and went into the bathroom - and came out reporting "our bathroom is flooded!"

#2 had used his hand to push against the rushing faucet, and had sprayed the entire bathroom with LOTS of water - covered the counter, floors, filled the top drawer with about an inch of water, and the cabinet under the sink with about 1/2 inch. Ugh! Having the water stand so long made the bottoms of the drawers and cupboards start warping, and everything had to be emptied and wiped out.

Then we went as a family to #1's baseball game, (which according to my calendar started at 6:30, but on everyone else's calendar started at 7:30! Ugh!) So Julian and the boys stayed at the ball park to play and wait for the game to start, and I took #4 home to make Nana the fruit shake I had forgotten to bring her, while #4 slept in her car seat because the drive finally made her fall asleep - bummer because late naps keep her up late at night. Then I stopped by a baby shower for one of my old Laurels, then back to the ball park to pick up Ju and the boys (who had started walking home because I was 10 minutes late).

We got home, got the kids ready for bed, but they got in bed an hour late. Then Julian left to spend the night at his mom's, since she is having trouble being alone at night. Whew!!

I felt like the entire day I was either rushing or cleaning something up which made me late and rushing even more. But here is the bright side: 1) I get to prime and paint my dining room a color other than the "bachelor white" that my husband loves - any suggestions?, 2) the top drawer in my bathroom is sorted, cleaned and organized, 3) Julian got some great quality time playing with the boys at the playground during that extra hour before the game, and 4) other days will seem mild in comparison. Just trying to look on the bright side!


Well, all my friends are blogging, and some have asked me to start a blog to share how I save money on stuff. I've also been feeling very reflective lately about things I've been learning about parenting and other things that are happening in our family. So I thought this would be a great place to log those things - who knows, maybe someday my children will enjoy reading these posts. So this blog is really dedicated to them, so they can get a glimpse of what their mom thought about as they were growing up.

The funny thing is, I thought this would be a place where I could offer new ideas and suggestions about life - after all, I have a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and grew up with a mom who taught me a lot about frugality and preparedness skills. But the more I learn, the more I realize I don't know. And my life is far from perfect, and I am NOT really an expert in anything. That's why I named the blog what I did - because my advice is "worth every dime" that you paid for it (i.e., NOTHING!). So please, take what I say with a grain of salt, and trust what YOU know and feel - please don't take my word for it. But I'm hoping that my ideas will spark ideas of your own, and that you can maybe take some of the things that you read here and make them work in your own way for your own life. And I'm excited to have a venue in which to think aloud! Wish me some happy blogging!!