Friday, December 19, 2014

Your Blog and Social Account Monetization -- Simplified!

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of IZEA for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

Saving money is all well and good. . .But if you're going to save some money, you've got to make some first, right? I think a big part of frugal living is making the most of all your opportunities both to save and earn. If you have a blog or social media account, why not make it earn its keep?

One of the tools in my arsenal is IZEA. I think I started to hear buzz about it as I studied other lifestyle blogs and the ways in which their authors earned a little cash. I began working with IZEA's subsidiary (which is being closed, and all members transferred over to IZEA) Social Spark about a year ago, writing fun posts like this and participating in their advertising programs. Over the past year, though, they've greatly renovated their offerings and you can now monetize not only your blog (if you have one) but your twitter, facebook, or youtube accounts as well.

It's a very user-friendly process, and once you register, you can start placing bids on earning-opportunities within hours.

Take for instance this post:
1) I logged into my account to check out the latest companies seeking bids. Right now, for example, I've got five opportunities I could bid on if I wanted, ranging from blog posts for V8's new protein shake to StraightTalk Wireless' economical cell phone plans.
2) To place a bid on this sponsored post for IZEA, I simply clicked "place a bid," named a price within their stated range, and included a pitch of a sentence or two about why this post would do well on my blog.
3) Within a day or two I logged back in and found my bid had been approved! I could go ahead and write my content, submitting it to the advertiser for approval through IZEA's platform. (A bonus here is relative anonymity. The advertiser NEVER is hooked up with your personal e-mail address or pyament information.)

Assuming all goes as planned, the advertiser will approve my post and it will show up at Finely Ground soon. (If you're reading this, hey! It worked!) Within another few weeks, my advertising fee will be posted to my account where I can withdraw it through paypal.

A pro-tip for you:

- On the free membership plan with IZEA, you get 3 bids per month.

I've never found this restrictive, but I'm also extremely choosy about what I review or endorse on this blog. If you would like to bid on more opportunities per month (and chances are you'll get quite a lot of opportunities to choose from!) you can upgrade to their paid plan at $1 a month and unlimited bidding.

I'll be honest: IZEA isn't my BIGGEST source of revenue on this blog. . . .But it was the first I delved into, and with its simple interface and implementation I think it's great for beginners--especially with the new social media integration. What could be simpler than linking up your twitter account and getting paid to tweet?

And every little bit counts. At this time of year, especially, couldn't everybody use a little bit extra for gift-giving?

So whether you're a blogger trying to get your feet wet in monetization, or a casual tweeter who wouldn't mind earning some extra dollars on the side, why not sign up with IZEA?

Visit Sponsor's Site

Friday, October 10, 2014

10 Ways to Save Money on Pets

If you're trying to save money, pets can seem like an unnecessary expense. . .But they're so cute and cuddly! Having something warm and furry to snuggle, being woken up at two in the morning by sandpapery kisses, having someone who's always happy to see you even when you're grumpy. . . Surely these things are worth a little expense, right?

I adopted Rogue (pictured) this summer after providing a foster home for him for a year for a local rescue society. (He just wasn't getting adopted in a timely fashion. I don't know why. Look at that face!) Initially, I hadn't planned on adopting a pet at this time because of my college expenses. But in the grand scheme of things, I have to admit his monthly maintenance isn't breaking the bank.

Here are some things to consider when adopting a pet, and further, some tips to help the money-savvy pet owner save some dollars!

  • It's obvious, but it merits repeating. Consider your lifestyle and budget. Animals come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and lifespans--and have a variety of needs! Fish? Cheap and unlikely to stick around longer than a couple years. Dogs, on the other hand, can be very expensive to maintain and require a lot of attention. I feel like cats are middle-of-the-roaders. They may live for twenty years, but they're pretty good at entertaining themselves. For weekends out of town, you may not even need a pet sitter. And for much of their lives, if they're healthy indoor cats, your primary expenses will only be cat litter and food.
  • Consider fostering if you're not ready for the lifetime commitment that comes with pet ownership. Almost every town has a humane society--if you search for local animal shelters on the internet you may find a handful of other independent or more specialized ones as well. When fostering an animal, you provide love and home for it until it is adopted. The organization is responsible for vet expenses, and will often provide food and other equipment, too, if you need. 
  • Even if your housing or financial situation doesn't allow for pets, you can still cash in on some furry love by volunteering at a local shelter. SOMEbody has to clean the kennels and play with their inmates. :)
  • Adopting adult animals is usually a lot cheaper than adopting kittens or puppies. Frequently, they are already spayed or neutered;, Their personalities are already formed, too, so it's easier to judge how they'll fit into your family.
Once you've taken the plunge....

  • Many pet supplies can be found at thrift stores -- fish bowls, hamster wheels, water bowls. Maybe even pet beds, although I would probably launder one before bringing it too far into my home.
  • Make your own pet toys. Sad but true: Fluffy will probably think a wadded up piece of printer paper is WAY more exciting than the deluxe wind-up catnip-filled scurrying mouse toy you got him. Your old slipper may delight Fido more than the entire pet section of Walmart.
  • Coupon! It seems like pet food is always on sale somewhere. If you coupon for nothing else, you could still save a bundle by doing it for pet food. Walmart has a printable coupon link towards the bottom of their webpage which I recently discovered, and it seems to provide a lot of the same coupons that newspaper inserts do. Additionally, if you watch for new products by your favorite brands, there are often high-value coupons associated with them--some even tucked into the products themselves for your next purchase.
  • Free Samples. Signing up for free sample mailing lists can be the start of a lifetime of spam, it is true. However, I subscribe to Sweet Free Stuff and they seem to e-mail fairly responsibly. I get two a day from them. And they almost always contain free pet food samples of one kind or another. I will note that cats are often said to have finicky stomachs and switching their food a lot can distress them. Personally, I have only had cats with seemingly iron stomachs. :) But even if you're worried about yours, you can use free samples to merely "stretch" your regular food a little farther by stirring them in to the usual.  Plus, you might discover a great new product that your pet loves!
  • Another thing, free samples usually come with high value coupons. Double win!
  • Finally, keep your pet healthy! Helping your pet maintain a healthy weight, and paying attention their hydration and nutrition will help them--and you!--out over the long haul. It's also a good idea to think realistically, up-front, about how you will approach end of life care. Sad but true: our furry friends won't live forever. If you think about this in advance, it may help later when, emotionally, you may want to treat and treat and treat your pet's medical problems past what is merciful both to their comfort and your finances.

How do you save money on pet expenses?

Monday, September 8, 2014

How to Save Money on College Expenses

Here are some tips for going back to school without going broke!

  • Don't use your college bookstore if you can help it. In my experience, they all price-gouge like crazy. Whenever possible, I buy my textbooks through Amazon, usually at half the cost. Sometimes less, if there are loose-leaf versions available!
  • Consider e-texts. Something I've noticed since going back to school, is that with many classes migrating to online homework systems at the publisher's website, you may not even need to buy the textbook. If you purchase the online access code for the homework, you'll usually be able to access an online version of the textbook right there online. Even for classes that don't make use of the internet, many textbooks are available on Kindle now for a fraction of the cost.
  • Speaking of Kindle, what about just renting your textbook? Often, you can rent hard copies of textbooks even in your campus bookstore, but I've been wary of this because of the possibility of being price-gouged for any damage or wear that occurs to the book. If you rent an e-book, they're risk free! (Don't have an e-reader? You can download one to read e-books from your desktop or laptop computer. Bingo!)
  • Make money off your used textbooks. Personally, I don't do e-books -- I just need something with actual paper pages that I can flip back and forth. During my first college experience in 2007-08, I sold my used books on . .It was kind of labor intensive, and I had to pay to ship them to people, and if my asking price was too high I got stuck with them. . .Well, Amazon has been my solution to THIS problem, too. (I'm sorry if you're an Amazon hater, but it really has been crucial to my frugal college-going endeavors.) Check out their Trade-In Program! If you type in the ISBN for virtually any textbook you have, on the right-hand side of its Amazon listing you will see a trade-in quote right below the regular price/purchase buttons. If you elect to trade your books in for the quoted price, you will be able to print out a pre-paid shipping label, and Amazon will give you a virtual gift-card for the quoted trade-in amount after they have received your books and verified their condition. If you continue to purchase textbooks through Amazon -- hey, that's money towards next semester's books! Or maybe some Christmas shopping?
Okay, I'm done tooting the Amazon horn for now, but remember -- even if your tuition bill is the one giving you nightmares, textbooks are still a big deal, too! This semester, I spent about $700 on textbooks -- but if I had bought them through my campus bookstore it would have been more like $1200. That's not just pocket change!

Some other things to keep in mind. . .

  • Fill out the scholarship applications. Even if you don't think you're eligible for anything. Even if you don't feel like you have the time. Trust me, nobody feels like they have time to write scholarship essays. Know what that means? Most people don't. So if you do it, you automatically have an edge. -- And, hey, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. My college has a generic application that you fill out to apply to all of their university-wide scholarships. . . .I did that this semester, not expecting much -- but my efforts were rewarded with $1500 extra for this school year! And you know what? It only took me about twenty minutes. Twenty minutes for $1500 -- compare that to my $9.00/hr day job.
  • If you CAN pay your tuition in full, go for it! You'll save the interest payments on student loans, obviously. And even if your university offers a semester-long payment plan to stretch out the agony, those usually come with fees as well, so why not bite the bullet up front? If you're just a few hundred dollars short in cash on hand, would it make sense to put that amount on a credit card so you have a one-month reprieve to come up with the amount?
  • Exercise caution with your credit, though. Did you know if you regularly use more than about 20% of your available, it can take a toll on your credit score? It may be tempting to temporarily max out your cards, especially if you can justify it with cash back or points and know you can pay it off right away. . .But if your cards are often approaching their spending limits, you might want to think twice.

Last but not least,

  • Don't get so overwhelmed by the massive bills coming your way that you forget your regular budgeting! 
I made this last mistake. I've been back in school for a year now, and while I HAD been using Mint for my personal budgeting, I let it fall by the wayside. Partly because it was having trouble communicating with the bank I switched to when I moved up here, and partly because having $3000 go out the window in one lump sum every semester really messes up your monthly budgeting.

But I just got my Mint account back up to speed. Even if I don't feel like I can effectively "budget" when I'm showing a monthly deficit of thousands of dollars whenever tuition is due, it is at least INVALUABLE for tracking my spending and staying vigilant.

Yes, this frugal blogger has had a year of sloppy spending. Don't let it happen to you!

(If you're new to Mint, I wrote about it once before HERE. I'm thinking about writing another post on it, just because it's so awesome!)

Have you struggled with college student expenses? Share your stories here!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Liebster Award

Jocelyn at A Lil ol' Georgia Peach nominated me for a Liebster Award. :) How cool is that? Thanks so much!

Here are the rules: 

1. Post eleven facts about yourself
2. Answer the eleven questions provided by the person who nominated you, and then create an eleven-question set for the next group of nominees
3. Choose eleven people to nominate and link them in the post
4. Let your nominees know they've been tagged- and no tag-backs!
5. Nominate blogs under 200 followers (the goal is to promote small blogs )

I've got to say, figuring out which blogs to nominate has been a blast. I'm going to post them FIRST just in case you get bored reading my blather and don't want to scroll all the way to the bottom for them. These bloggers are a diverse crew who aren't to be missed!

Okay, for my eleven facts.....

1. "So where are you from?" A common conversation starter but it sends me into a kind of existential crisis. I stare blankly and say, "Um. . .Nowhere?" which catches people off guard so I stumble forth with something like, "Well, my family moved around a lot so I guess I'm not really from anywhere.". But if I WERE to answer it, it would sound like, "Well, my parents' roots are in Minnesota, but I was born in Ohio. I haven't seen the state since my first birthday, though, but I lived the longest in Wisconsin? I graduated high school in Washington. . .The place I loved the most, though, and would wish I were from is Colorado. . ."
2. My favorite color is green. But I wear more blues and purples.
3. Better Homes and Gardens magazine is my guilty pleasure. I got hooked a couple years back on a free year's subscription offer, and have been feeding my addiction with cheap renewal deals ever since.
4. I've been a barista since 2009....
5. And yes, I can do latte art on my good days. :)
6. That may be the coolest thing about me, actually.
7. I'm horribly trend apathetic. And waiting for skinny jeans to go out of style because I really don't want to buy any.
8. Though I've moved 13 times and lived in 9 different states, the furthest south I've ever been is Pigeon Forge, Tennessee (Disney World doesn't really count as part of the south, right?) But next week I'm going to remedy that by vacationing in southern Mississippi. :)
9. A region of the United States I'd really like to visit someday is the Southwest.
10. I hate squash. The smell, the texture, the taste.....Nauseating.
11. I am totally in love with Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Rhubarb hand soap. (Yes, that's an affiliate link. Shameless.) It is beyond amazing. They need to make more rhubarb scented products because I would totally buy them all.

And here are Jocelyn's questions....
1. What's the first childhood memory that comes to mind right now? Because it's summer and it's hot, I'm remembering running through lawn sprinklers as a kid in Wisconsin.
2. How many countries have you been to? Which is your favorite? Just this one. Sigh. I was saving up my tips as a "travel fund" for an England trip, but ended up having to put it towards textbooks instead....
3. If you could be any age for the rest of your life, what would it be? Well, right now I'm 25, and I'm feeling like it's pretty much the best age I've been yet. :)
4. What's your favorite season? Autumn. For blazing leaves and crisp, cool winds and woodsmoke on the breeze.
5. Sweet or savory? Savory, hands down.
6. When you have free time, what do you do? I love to read! Especially fat English or Russian novels. But my free time has been so limited and those require such commitment that lately, more realistically, my free time has been spent on Pinterest. Sad. I need to get a life. Oh, when I have free time I also catch up on things like vacuuming my carpet and scrubbing my shower. Truefax!
7. What is your ideal mode of expression? Writing. It is both therapeutic and clarifying. And I'm so much better at it than talking.
8. What's your favorite thing to cook/bake? Hmmmmm. I'm going to be weird here and say baked spinach. Because I have this really tasty recipe for it.
9. Who is your favorite author? This is an impossible question....I used to have stronger feelings where I could eke out an answer....Hmm. Possibly Charles Dickens. Or Tolstoy. With a side of Willa Cather?
10. If you've got some extra cash what do you buy first: clothes, jewelry, crafting supplies, or dessert? None of the above? Most of my "extra cash" purchases seem to fall into the categories of books, plane tickets, and health/beauty products. Occasionally clothes, but only if I'm looking to fill a specific gap in my wardrobe--I don't clothes shop for "fun"....Oh, and cat toys. I buy cat toys.
11. What's your favorite flower? Lilacs have to top the list. But lily of the valley, orchids, tulips, ranunculus, irises, and sometimes peonies are also contenders. Does Russian Sage count? I love Russian Sage. :) What can I say, I LOVE flowers.

Finally, 11 questions for my nominees:

1. Is your blog more professional or personal? If personal, how do you keep motivated? If professional, what are your favorite tools, resources, and tips?
2. Describe a particularly vivid place or scene that means/meant a great deal to you.
3. What tunes have you been jamming to lately?
4. Where is one specific place you would like to travel to and why? (Not a country or town, but a specific site or attraction.)
5. Name a book near the top of your to-read pile.
6. What is one thing that you're really proud of yourself for?
7. If dreams came true, what would your life look like ten years from now?
8. What are your favorite beauty products?
9. What is a personality trait you admire and wish you had more of? 
10. What are five things you excel at?
11. If you could be anywhere doing anything today, where/what would that be?

Okay everyone, share the bloggy love! :)

Friday, July 11, 2014

Here's a new site with the BEST movie recommendations.

This post brought to you by Funkyflick Company. The content and opinions expressed below are that of Finely Ground.

With the advent of Netflix, Hulu, and other endless online repositories, spending a night in and watching a movie has turned into the classic frugal entertainment. How do you find new movies to watch, though?

Usually, I find myself scrolling through Netflix until my eyes glaze over, dizzied by the selection and still not finding quite what I'm in the mood for.

Enter Funkyflick. Funkyflick is the new kid on the block in movie recommendations, and I am extremely impressed with the spot-on accuracy of the recommendations it was generating for my queries. How it works is it takes whatever movie or topic you give it, and goes and reads the Wikipedia page on that topic to synthesize a list of movies that should be related. You know what's on Wikipedia? Everything. So all of your obscure interests can now be used to generate a concise list of movie suggestions!

For instance, I searched for Frederic Chopin and received well-known movie suggestions like Immortal Beloved, Amadeus, and The Pianist -- but also equally intriguing titles I'd never heard of like Copying Beethoven and The Piano.

Tongue-in-cheek, I searched for movie suggestions based on the query "Narwhal." (What? Narwhals are cool!) Funkyflick doesn't disappoint. It suggested the obvious: Free Willy, and Moby Dick -- but also a handful of quirky little things like The Island at the Top of the World, a forgotten Disney film, which, you know? I think I would actually watch.

When you click on a move title that interests you, Funyflick pops up not only a synopsis and a -- get this -- trailer, but a handy list of places you can find the movie for instant viewing. (Amazon and Apple iTunes are what I saw most represented.)

Are you a Fault In Our Stars fan? They've got recommendations for that, too. :)

All in all, Funkyflick seems like a really powerful tool for discovering new movies you'll actually really like. And the best part? Their lists of suggestions are so concise! In an era of endless scroll I find this oddly liberating.

So hey! Check it out!
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Sunday, April 14, 2013

A Lesson in Frugal Eating

A large, echoing void. A vacant chasm. A strangely luminous abyss. . . .This is my refrigerator today. Can you relate?

It seems like I encounter this image about once a week, usually at 7:30PM right in the middle of four or five exhausting workdays.

Now, normally this results in a dreary errand out for frozen pizza and microwaveable soup. But today I was already in my pajamas. And my feet hurt, I'm tellin' ya!

So I decided I was going to come up with some sort of breakfast and lunch for tomorrow out of the available resources or die trying.

What do we have to work with?

  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • a tub of Country Crock spread
  • a colander of thawing strawberries
  • 5 eggs
  • some almond milk
  • a Brita water pitcher
  • a heckuva lot of lemon juice
  • and 2 random jars of half-used spaghetti sauce.
Never mind what's in the door; it's just a bunch of condiments and a couple sticks of butter.

Normally, I don't make it past the depressing refrigerator inventory. I give up, give in, cry uncle, and buy pizza.

This time, I gave the freezer a more searching look.  The most prominent features are a couple bags of pecans, a cup or two of Quaker oats, a frozen banana, too much ice cream, and some wheat berries that I can't find a use for.

Hmmm. You can't bring an ice cream sundae to work for lunch, folks. 

But behind it all, I found one leftover cod filet, some slightly freezer burnt broccoli, and exactly 3/4 of a cup of uncooked wild rice.

*A Fanfare of Trumpets*

Lunch! By George, I think we've got it!

Breakfast was even easier to figure out. A fried egg, and some oatmeal spruced up with strawberries. Boom!

So out of the seeming nothingness of my leftover groceries, I have found meals. Not only meals, but healthy meals.

Healthier meals than if I had gone to the grocery store in a fit of laziness and desperation and bought pizza and microwaveable soup, in fact.

Moral of the Story

When you're looking in your fridge, groaning, "Awww, there's nothing to eat!!" . . .

Square your shoulders, look again, think outside of the box, and don't go out and buy "instant," over-processed, easy food.

Because you probably don't have to.

And hey, by using up your odds and ends instead of making an extra trip out, you've probably saved an extra $10 on your monthly grocery budget!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Saturday Things....

The Poog, circa 2005.
If I was a good blogger, I would come to you today with mason jar crafts and wreaths made out of baby ducklings.

Um. All I have for you is a picture of a cat looking at a piano. Here ya go.

. . .

I am very tempted to launch into a lengthy excuse/rant/whine, but it would involve heavy objects, backaches, fatigue, chaos, and be of no interest to anyone.

So before I go to work in half an hour (Yes! SO excited!) (Not.) here's just a few whatnots from my latelys.

  • On the moving front, I've cancelled my newspaper subscription. One item off the mile-long to-do list, anyway. Do not despise small beginnings, people.
  • Also been cleaning out the freezer. So far, this has resulted in an increased consumption of broccoli, and the making of this really awesome peach raspberry cobbler. 
  • I have a TON of frozen strawberries. Still trying to figure out how to use them all up--Here's some strawberryful recipe inspiration!
  • Loving these two blogs at the moment.....Fennel and Fern (pretty pictures!) and Wilder Quarterly (always green, often fascinating.)
  • I listened to Josh Ritter obsessively when I was in college. Rediscovered my Animal Years CD..... I loved this song. It still rather speaks to me. (I can't resist the allusion to Huckleberry Finn in the last stanza. It gets my inner geek every time.)
  • I went to the library for a book of Theodore Roosevelt's writing the other day--I had seen a quote from his speech/essay "Strenuous Living" and wanted to read its context--and, predictably, came out with not one book, but five. 
  • As if I have time to read. Ha.
  • Someday, I will probably write a post about how SparkPeople's food tracker revolutionized my eating habits and magnesium turned my life around. Yay for vitamins and minerals!
  • But not today.
  • In case you were wondering about that compelling Theodore Roosevelt quote: “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.” Yeah! Go get 'em, tiger.
  • The end.

So, what's your favorite recipe to use up frozen strawberries?

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Preparing to Move: The First Steps

Re-locating. Chances are you've done this a few times. . .

Cardboard. Tape. Chaos.

What a pain. 

To the left, there, you see my to-do list. The middle two columns are all related to my upcoming move. Um. . .yeah. It's officially taking over my life.

It's still two months out, but it's not too early to get started.

Here are some tips . . .

I've learned from experience that you can focus on some things way ahead of time to simplify the process later on.

  1. Empty the pantry. Food is a bother to transport even if you're just moving a couple blocks. Try to eat as much of what's in your freezer, fridge, and cupboards as you can, and quit stocking up on extras!
  2. Declutter. You know that stack of magazines? Junk mail? Random stuff in your closet? Under the bathroom sink? If it's not important enough to justify the work of packing, hauling, and unpacking. . .Pitch it.
  3. Downsize. There's no time like the present! Break out your inner minimalist. Think about articles of furniture that you could sell on craigslist to off-set the cost of the move. . .Clothes you could donate to thrift stores. . .Books you could donate to your local used bookstore. . .
  4. Start collecting boxes and packing materials. If you subscribe to a newspaper, don't throw any of it away or cancel it until you have enough to wrap all your fragile items. If you get a package in the mail, save the box and bubble wrap!
  5. Pack what you can when you can. Chances are, there are things you can start packing ahead of time that you won't miss. Out of season clothes. . .The contents of bookshelves and closets. . .
  6. Make a list and tape it somewhere in-your-face. Your mind is probably swimming. (Sinking?) So much to do. Get it all on paper and add to it as things occur to you so you don't forget anything!
  7. Re-read your lease and inspection paperwork. If you rent, make sure you know how much advance notice of your intent to vacate your landlord requires. See who's responsible for shampooing the carpet.  And if your landlord went over the condition and cleanliness of your apartment with you when you moved in, find that paperwork again to help you leave things in the same or better condition.
  8. Those crazy drip-pans on your stove covered in burnt-on gunk? Buy new ones and install them the day you leave. Seriously. They never look decent again once stained.
  9. Make a list of all the places you'll need to change your address, and all the bills and utilities you'll need to cancel. I find this is easiest to do if you simply make a list of all your incoming mail for a month as it arrives. 
  10. Eat ice cream. Hey. You can't take it with you.

How do you prepare to move?

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Google Reader and so forth

Hey guys,

Just a little administrative note. If you use google reader, you've probably heard that it's going to be deep-sixed! As a creature of habit, I find this extremely irritating. . .But I've switched to Bloglovin, and am slowly adapting. :) It's not too bad, really, and it's easy to import your entire google reader subscription list over with just a few clicks.

 If you'd like, you can follow this blog on Bloglovin by clicking this button.....

Follow on Bloglovin

Also, would you hate me if I change commenting on this blog to not allow anonymous comments? Seriously considering it. Comment spam is getting harder and harder to keep up with......In fact, one spam comment just arrived at my e-mail inbox during the two minutes it's taken me to write this.

Anyway, sorry for the lack of updates! Right now, I'm just trying not to be chewed up and spat out by my retail job, and trying to get my act together to move. . .Listing my piano on craigslist. . .Doing some spring cleaning. . .

Friday, March 8, 2013

Cheap Thrills 01

Don't let this picture fool you.
This post has nothing to do with yarn.

Okay, for the sake of updating my blog with something, anything. . .here's a post of some cheap or free things I've appreciated lately.

As you might remember, my primary source of income went kaput (no more latte slinging over here :(....) and I'm saving up for a cross-state move.

So if I'm going to have any fun over here, it better be cheap!

Cheap Thrills!

  • The OED's Word of the Day. You can sign up to have it e-mailed to you. Today's was "achoo" -- If I were rich and extravagant, I would pay the $295 annual fee to have total online access to the dictionary. But I'm not, so I just revel in the linguistic luxury of a free word-a-day.
  • Volunteering at a local cat shelter. I started in January. . .I always kind of wanted to, but the death of my family's elderly cat in December spurred me into it. I've never rented with a lease that allowed pets, so I've been cat-less for too long! Volunteering at the shelter is truly the highlight of my week. (Not sure what this says about me...Crazy Old Cat Lady?)
  • Rediscovering my french press and drinking decaf coffee at any hour of the day or night. Working at a coffee shop four days a week, I didn't make coffee at home very often. Now that we're closed, though, it's a totally different story. I really only drink a cup at a time--not a whole pot!--so french pressing eliminates waste.
  • Italy. I've been on this random Italy kick lately. It's pretty. Let's go. (Hey! Daydreams are free!)
  • Little Dorrit. This book is like biting into a big, juicy peach. It seems much more tightly written than what I usually would expect from Dickens, and much less farcical. (I just finished Nicholas Nickleby, though, so the contrast between his earlier and later works is especially apparent!)
  • Jane Austen Unbound on Facebook. Okay, okay, okay, stop throwing things at me. I know I railed against the evil time waster-iness of computer games. Actually, I've gotten sucked into a few of them since that post. (Thanks Mom.) But it's Jane Austen, so it doesn't count. Right? Right? Okay, I'm not fooling anybody. Obviously this is a case of do-as-i-say-not-as-i-do.
  • Soaking in the tub. With epsom salt! Ugh. Lately I've been one big living, breathing Ache. Walking around on concrete for eight hours at a time, lugging around 40lb boxes of whatever will do that to a person. But I picked up this huge bag of Dr. Teal's epsom salts at Walmart, and it seems to help. This isn't a particular advertisement for Dr. Teal's or anything, it just happened to be the cheapest and/or only brand I saw.

What have been your latest frugal delights?