Monday, June 30, 2008

Countdown to our Trip this Saturday!

I can't believe it! So much planning and money has went into this long awaited trip to my husband's home country, Romania. My biggest concern at this point is my son, and how he will handle the flights, airports and time changes.

From Romania, I hope to take pictures and post them here in my blog. It may or may not be Thrifty and Creative related, but I will try to make it valid and if all else least interesting. :-) I do want to share pictures of what I am seeing while I am there and this is a great place to post them.

You can see what saving money and making money can get you. We saved and saved and saved for this trip so we could relax and enjoy ourselves while there. I am sure it will prove to pay off. After the trip, it will be business as usual and Thrifty as usual. :-)

So let the countdown begin:
5 Days til Departure!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Found a great new unsuspecting online store that sells Apple iPods!

I randomly found a great new online store that I didn't know existed. Goodwill Too. I have always been a fan of (as you see in my favorite sites list); however, didn't know they had this site as well. They are both Goodwill (R) stores; however, operate differently. operates on an auction format (love it and use it) and Goodwill Too! operates on a "buy it now" with a flat shipping rate of $7.99 for everything. Goodwill Too! also offers not only used items but brand new items as well! Many of the items seem very very fair priced to me. Check out the "iPod" below to get a look at what they offer on the Apple iPod products! I will be checking this site regularly and see what items they will carry in the future.

Save $$$ on iPods & more at Goodwill Too!

$33.00 Blinds for $10.00!

I have "blogged" this before about how we save on our blinds, but thought, it couldn't hurt to share one more time. This past weekend we got one more set of blinds for a double window for $10 at Lowe's Home Improvement. The regular price on the Levelor Aluminum Privacy Blinds are $33.00 for this size. Not bad! How did we find a good deal like that? On Saturdays at our Lowe's (and maybe yours) they have aisle tables set up (I call them yard sale tables) with "mis-cut" blinds. Just means that someone had them cut and then said, nope not the right size or got them home and saw they weren't right and returned them. You can even have them cut further to fit your windows. Make sure you know your measurements you are looking for and check the guide on the box as to how far a blind can be cut down. I have a little notebook in my handbag at all times with all sorts of measurements for blinds and curtains, etc... Just in case I stumble upon a sale such as this.

We have one more window to go in our house then there will be all privacy blinds throughout. These are also better than the vinyl in blocking out light. Now I know the beautiful wooden blinds are probably the best way to go, but too expensive for us. By the way, the wooden ones, every now and then are on the yard sale tables too! :-) At our store, once again, it seems to be a Saturday thing.

Have a lovely weekend. We are in the final stages of preparing for our much awaited trip to Romania to visit my husband's family.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I Love Shutterfly! New Members get 50 FREE Prints PLUS a FREE Collage 11X14!!!

I was impressed to run across this deal by Shutterfly! They are my favorite online Photo Printing Service! Many may argue that other photo services are "cheaper" in price, etc... ; however, I have ordered from 3 other services besides Shutterfly thus far and, in my opinion only, Shutterfly is superior in service. Their attention to detail and care for the photos is first quality and makes it worth the few extra cents. I have ordered Large Prints from several online photo companies and Shutterfly Consistantly gets them to me in a timely manner and NOT bent! The packaging is Worth it!!! Their Photobooks surpass my expectations for a great product for the money. I ordered my son's birth announcements and baptism announcements through Shutterfly and Three photobooks and one snapbook. I have also bought coasters and calendars. Can you tell I love these guys?

If you have not used Shutterfly before...I urge you to take advantage of this fabulous offer they are running right now for New Members: New member’s offer: Get 50 free 4x6 prints and an 11x14 Collage Poster when you join Shutterfly.. I am pretty sure the only thing you will pay for is the biggie. Also, this will not be the last time you get free offers. Normally, new membership is the last and only time you see Free offers...not with Shutterfly...I still get on a fairly regular basis Free Prints offers and specialty services like collage photos or a free 11X14, etc...and of course online deals and coupons for just being a member already. Right now I need to use up 25 Free prints offered to me now.

New member’s offer: Get 50 free 4x6 prints and an 11x14 Collage Poster when you join Shutterfly.

I should also mention that with Shutterfly, you can pick your prints up at Target stores if you wish not to wait on shipping. They are very fast with the shipping however!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Tuesday Toot: Latest Ebates Purchase! Great Handbag for Travel!

I double up this week with this post and make it my "Tuesday Toot" as well! :-)

Just last week I bought a handbag for our trip in a few weeks from now. I bought it through Ebates at Magellan's (a very cool travel store) and will recieve 8% cash back added into my Ebates account. Not bad as I really wanted that bag. I received it four days after ordering it and I LOVE the bag! Check it out at Luggage Online (a place I found through Ebates and would have saved $10.00 if I had found this store first for this bag!) Still loving the bag!

PacSafe (Luggage Online's Sale for this bag ends in One Day! Get it now for peace of mind traveling! Sure doesn't hurt to have added security!)

Check out Luggage Online for many more deals on your summer traveling needs!
Great store!

Luggage OnLine

Friday, June 20, 2008

Bath and Body Works Survey $10.00 off $30.00!

The day I did my shopping at Bath and Body Works that I blogged about earlier this week, I forgot to mention the cashier showed me on my receipt that I was "chosen" to participate in a quick survey for $10 off any purchase $30 or more in the future and never expires unlike coupons! Awesome! I was thinking, hmmmm...can't be that easy! Well, it was....All I had to do was call the number on the receipt with a touch tone phone and press yes/ no answers on the keypad in less than 5 minutes about my shopping experience the day of that receipt. At the end of the call they give you a 5 digit Validation write it on the receipt and take it back in the store for your $10.00 off! Very VERY easy! I won't put it off next time when I get home. I did this time simply because I assumed for $10 it would take forever...nope...pretty fast and you don't have to speak to anyone...all automated. I love that! You can leave voice comments at the end also, if you wish to add anything.

Don't know what to get? Christmas and Holidays and occasions approach so it for then if nothing else I say!

New Banner by SwankWebStyle's Vicki!

I am pleased with my new banner for Thrifty and Creative! In time, I wish to upgrade the entire blog and change the entire look, but for now I am excited about my new banner to give added life to Thrifty and Creative!

SwankWebStyle: Vicki's Portfolio

Thank you Vicki for your patience...the Banner is lovely!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Thrifty Thursday: Getting One Full Month Ahead in Bills!

That is correct! We are one June Bill away from paying them off two weeks early. In the next two weeks we will pay off all the July Bills except one. When we return from our trip to Romania...we will pay that last bill which will be the last week of July, putting us one month paid off with the next month's worth of Paychecks being a surplus in our household. I am excited. This took many months (for us) to achieve. We did this because of our Trip to Romania, as we wanted NO bills to become due while we were gone. A nice side effect is being a month ahead on Bills. Pretty Exciting. We should come back to a bank account with several of our paychecks waiting for us with no bills (except the one I mentioned) to pay with it. I am so excited and relieved all at once! PHEW!

How did we achieve this? Simple (or not so simple...a lot of restraint): Anytime we had "extra" money like my husband's check to be a little higher than usual (overtime, etc...)...I would take that and apply it to a bill and pay early or stuff it into savings and refrain from saying "We have an extra $X.00 let's get this or that!" Also, we applied any bonuses, Tax Refund, Rebate the trip for Romania AND the bills! No frills! (Well some...shhh....just a few here and there...gotta live!) And by the way...this trip and preparation for all of this was 6 months in the making. So glad we are 2 1/2 weeks away from getting on that plane! :-)

Have a Terrific Thrifty Thursday!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Need a Custom Stamp for your Home Business? Use VistaPrint!

I love VistaPrint! I have used these guys many times in my years on the Internet. I have bought multiple Business Cards from VistaPrint, Address Stickers and also their Custom Self-Inking Stamps!

I found VistaPrint to be the best value when I originally did my search for a much needed stamp with my site, name, and address! Very cool and saved me tons of time when I had to stamp a ton of stuff. It looks far more professional than hand writing everything. Yikes!

A Custom Stamp is also a great promotional tool for yourself, blog or site by stamping the back of outgoing mail such as bills etc... You would be surprised how many folks that will see a site and say hmm....I will check that out. Just make sure your site domain is something easy to remember! If it isn't...maybe buy a second domain and redirect it! :-)

VistaPrint doesn't just make custom stamps, stickers and cards...they have an unlimited amount of products for your creative and business needs. They also have FREE products as well, just pay the shipping to test them out. They even offer logo creation at a small fee. Even if you have used VistaPrint before...check them out again now because they have so much more than probably what you remember if you haven't visited in a while!

P.S. One more product of VistaPrint's you just have to see and use is their Family Caricatures Address Labels! We made these before our son was born (yes, been a while) and loved them...we had us and the dog! Soooo cute! We need to get some new ones that will include our son. I love them!

Today is Thrifty and Creative's Blogoversary!!! One Year Old!

I can't believe this blog is now One Year Old Today!!! I am excited that I have kept up with it and continue to make improvements and have not abandoned my blog. I love blogging Personal Finance, Green Living and Deals. Kind of a mixture of all the above written in my own way...Melanie's way.

I am looking forward to a second Blogoversary Next Year!

Lift your recycled Glasses and "Cheers" to one year complete Thrifty and Creative!!!

Have a Wonderful Wednesday!

Get your own free Blogoversary button!

You can also get this cool gadget above that counts down to YOUR blog's Blogoversary!
I would not have been aware it was today if it weren't for this little handy tool that I have at the bottom left of my blog!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Tuesday Toot: Home Sweet Home!

My Tuesday Toot this week is an obvious one for me. I am "tooting" the fact I am home for the summer. I didn't realize how tired I was until I had yesterday and today off to realize...summer break is GOOD!

I am also "tooting" that all of our main purchases for our trip this summer to Romania is nearly finished with three weeks to go! Not bad!

Last Tuesday Toot for this week: I am successfully (thus far) working on paying off all the June and July bills before July 5th (departure date). One bill left for June and I will roll into the July Bills this Friday!

What's your Tuesday Toot? Check out other's Toots by Visiting the Mommy Community Link above! Have a fabulous Tuesday!

Bath and Body Works Deals this week! 75% Off!!!!

Hey all!

Yesterday (on my first Monday at home) I went with my friend to the Mall. We stopped in Bath and Body Works as the Giant 75% Off sign drew us in like a strong magnet! :-) I can't resist a sign like that and especially at one of my fav stores!!!!

I hadn't been to the mall in many months so I felt it was okay to walk in. I believe I did very well. They are getting rid of a ton of stuff and getting ready to re-stock with new fragrances according to what the lady was saying. I am telling was like half the store on sale!

Okay, so what did I buy? Here it goes:
4 Liquid Anti-Bac Brown Sugar & Fig Soaps for $10 (It was a clearance 4 for $10)
2 Sprays in Night Blooming Jasmine (a discontinued fragrance that I do like, very airy) (75% off)
1 Body Lotion in Night Blooming Jasmine (75% off)
1 Shower Gel in Night Blooming Jasmine (75% off)

I figured I would stock up as Bath and Body Works Products do seem to last forever!

Oh yeah and my total for all 8 items: $21.33 !!! Wow! That is like two items at regular price!

If you like or love Bath and Body Works...I would totally encourage you to go check it out during the work week and see what you find! Sooo much to choose from in this sale!

Have a wonderful Tuesday!

I almost bought some "FitFlops;" however, just couldn't do it due to my savings...I didn't want to offset the savings with a $49.99 purchase. I am thinking there has to be a way to find those flops and get some kind of sale on them? Maybe not...pretty new here in the U.S. Popular in the U.K.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Weekend Deals and Home Sweet Home!!!!

I am so excited to be blogging to you with comfort and ease...meaning, I am not in any kind of rush and am fully relaxed due to the fact I am HOME for the Summer now! Whoo Hoo!!!!

Now on with the Weekend Deals Update:

The best deal this weekend was at my favorite store: Target! My husband was shopping for a watch and wasn't looking for anything pricey...just something that works. (Somehow, always a challenge for us to find one that works for a length of time.) So he had the lady show him one $30 watch and it wasn't water resistant so he said no thanks. Then there was a watch next to it...he said (Out of curiosity) how much is that one? She had to scan it, as it had no price on it. It scanned Regular $67.00 and she said Wow! It is on Clearance for $16.00! I heard this and better get that one. But first, he made sure it was water resistant and it was up to 5 meters or something. I guess my husband has secret underwater life or something. LOL Anywho, we got that one, and I said "Happy Father's Day!" :-) Big Savings and a really nice looking, and working watch! Can't beat that! Lesson here: ASK, you never know!

We also at Target, bought a camera (for someone when we go to Romania this summer) that everywhere else was sold out or higher priced at $130.00. Target had it on sale for $98 this weekend. So glad to get that one out of the way and on sale as well. Not bad.

So it was a pretty exciting weekend in the shopping department just on those two items alone. We did get normal deals like me a pair of Bermuda shorts for $15.00...regular $19.99. I need them for the trip this summer. I am not a shorts gal...but will need them for this trip.

Alrighty, again, I am very excited to get back to blogging without being in a rush, etc...and kicking back and relaxing! Yay! Summer Vacation!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Last week of School: aka: Work

This is the last week of school for students and staff. The students finished on Tuesday...we (teachers and staff) finish tomorrow!!! Yippie!

Today we have workshops, an hour in our rooms, and a luncheon! Tomorrow we will finish up our rooms and checklists to "get out the door" for summer!

I am looking forward to the rest and relaxation that summer tends to bring. This summer we are (as you know already, thanks to my many mentions of it) going to Romania (where my husband's family members are). I am looking forward to it. There has been a ton of preparation and unfourtunately way more expensive than I thought it would have been, and I am not referring to the plane tickets. The many gifts, etc...we have bought for people there and saving money for ourselves to have fun once we get there. I will be delighted to get on the plane so there is nothing more to do in preparation for the trip.

My banner for my blog here is almost ready. I am very excited about a clean look to the upper part of my blog. Hopefully I can save up money to have the whole thing done in the future. For now, I am excited that the first thing you will see, will no longer be the tiny entrecard ad and a brown banner with nothing on it at the top of the blog.

I will be blogging way more than pretty soon once school is completely out.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

It's Hot Outside!!! What to do to stay cool?

Hi all!

I know, it has been nearly a week since my last posting. This was the students last full week of school and it was a busy one. We had awards days nearly every day for the different grade levels...all grade levels had their field days...and on Friday there was an all day "fun day" where I assisted with the all day sock hop. I assisted with nearly every event...mostly the field days and fun day sock hop. Needless to say, I was exhausted each day when I arrived home with no energy to blog. :-) I should be set from here on out as the students have one and half days of school left for the school year. On Monday I will give out Art awards for fourth and fifth grade...and other than closing out my room, cleaning up, and attending workshops and meetings...I will be done for the school year and home for summer! Yay!!!! :-)

Okay, what you really came to read about:
It's HOT Outside! I would dare say miserable! It hit 100 degrees yesterday and it is expected to hit 103 degrees or higher today and tomorrow. Combined with NC humidity...yikes...stay indoors!

So what am I doing to make sure we survive these days by staying cool without suffering (with any luck) a very high electric bill?
First of all: We will be keeping the blinds closed (mid-day) and the curtains drawn. We will also be running all the ceiling fans in all the rooms that have them. The thermostat downstairs is set for 78 degrees and the upstairs is set for 80 degrees. It is comfortable and not I am pleased. The truth will be in the electric bill if this is enough effort for this hot streak.
I know I am seeking out ways to reduce the bill further and I found a few things for our home:
We need a front door storm door. (This will help the little corners or tiny holes around the front door that allow air conditioning to escape and heat to get in.)
We also need one new blind in one room upstairs...I saw how the light was easily flowing through that blind that we hadn't gotten around to changing.
I am also feeling like I need some thicker curtains in a couple of the bedrooms upstairs.
The great news is that all the efforts we put into our house last year is showing this year. Last month's bill was $88.00! Man, I was excited about that. That is the first time since being in this house we got our bill that low!!! Our efforts are paying off and we can see that. What did we do? Well, added two ceiling fans, better blinds in some rooms, and thick curtains in two of the three rooms downstairs. What a difference.

Have a nice weekend! Stay Cool!!!!! :-)

What are you doing to beat the heat and your cooling bill?

Monday, June 2, 2008

Yard Sale Report

I am reporting how the much anticipated yard sale went this past Saturday.

Everything went smoothly as far as setting up and pricing, etc... problem.

My friend and I both had tons of stuff. This being my friend's first EVER yard sale...she had a TON of stuff...and mostly large items at that! She did really well...making $202.00! I thought that was awesome especially since there were yard sales all around us and it was as if people were holding on to their money because they were trying to spread it out through the different yard sales. I can't blame them...that I how I yard sale as well. I, myself, made $78.75 which is not bad at all considering I was mainly selling clothes and a few random items and small toys. I am pleased with the outcome of our yard sale. All profits from my earnings will go towards our trip this summer to Romania. I was most of all excited to clear out my house and make way for more organization.

I have pictures of the before shot of all the stuff...however, am learning still how to use my new camera from Mother's Day and how to put the pictures on the computer.

Happy Monday!
This is our students' last full week of school! Yippie!