Friday, August 6, 2010

FANTASTIC FRIDAY

Good morning everyone. How are you doing this beautiful end of the week? I'm good... DD has band pictures today, got my little nephew with me, and got the happy bug something fierce. Things are good here. I want to thank you for dropping in and hope you will stay awhile.

The first thing this morning is the article I found that I wanted you to see. Its a way to see where our money is going and if we can delete any unnecessary debts to be a little financial freedom. Check this out.

10 Expenses You Don't Need
by Jeffrey R. Kosnett

Confession: I hate to pay for parking. Unless it's as hot as Iraq or raining cats and dogs, I will do whatever it takes to find a legal space on the street, preferably free. And I'm good at it. It mainly takes faith, patience and experience. Recently, I found a spot on Chicago's North Avenue next to the famous Second City comedy club on a Saturday night, saving the $17 the building's garage demanded -- and the half-hour wait to climb the ramp after the show. I've done these kinds of things for years.

In the spirit of trading personal convenience for cold cash that remains in your wallet, here are nine other everyday expenses you don't need:

Banking Fees of All Sorts
Banking fees are generally small -- a couple dollars here, a couple dollars there -- but they can add up to hundreds throughout the year if you're not careful. Don't pay money just to manage your money. You can take easy steps to avoid these fees:

• Overdraft fees. Sign up for low-balance alerts via e-mail, and link your checking account to your savings account to move money as necessary to avoid $35 fees for insufficient funds.

• Checks and postage. Pay your bills electronically instead. You'll also avoid any late fees and black marks on your record if the postal service loses your payment.

• ATM fees. Know where your own bank's ATMs are located, even in other states, so you can save $3 every time you get cash out of the wall. Or consider switching to a bank that offers free ATM usage regardless of which bank's ATM you tap.

• Coin-counting commissions. Save the 5% it can cost you to cash in your nickels and quarters at the supermarket. Coin counting is gratis at hundreds of TD Bank branches in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Florida, whether or not you have an account. (Just pray the machine, called Penny Arcade, isn't down for service. That seems to happen a lot.)

Basic Investing Advice
There are plenty of wise reasons to engage a financial planner or adviser -- but there are also pointless ones. If all you want is help choosing mutual funds, especially if your choices are basic index funds inside a retirement plan, it's silly to fork over as much as 1.5% of your savings each year for someone to run a common software program to do this for you. You can arrange your money among different investments yourself or build a simple portfolio with little effort. Then rebalance every quarter or six months to restore your weightings.

By all means, get an excellent estate planner or an accountant when it's time to think about taxes and bequests. But you don't need help for everything.

Help Applying for Financial Aid
Commercial sites like FAFSA.com will help you complete and submit the important application for student aid for $79.99. But at the U.S. Department of Education's site, www.fafsa.ed.gov, you can fill out the application for free -- with all sorts of guidance on how to assemble the proper personal information.

Pet Care
Pet-sitting is big business these days, with brand names, franchises, uniforms, logos, and even lobbyists and consultants. But if your little guys are healthy, you can save the $50-a-day boarding fee while you're on vacation by asking a responsible neighbor, friend or family member to feed, walk (if needed) and hang out for a bit with your cats and dogs -- provided you volunteer to do the same when they're away. Make sure your helper knows who your vet is, and, obviously, don't be so informal if your animals have health problems that mean you should board them with the doctor.

Insurance on Rental Cars
The rental-car clerk will offer you a collision-damage waiver (sometimes called a loss-damage waiver), which can cost $10 to $20 per day. The CDW shields you if the rental car is damaged or stolen. But as long as the rental is for personal use and you have collision coverage in your own auto-insurance policy, you're covered without the CDW (with the same deductibles that apply to your own car).

Your credit-card benefits supplement your auto coverage. Most cards will pick up your deductible, and premium cards offer beefier coverage. Keep in mind that credit-card protection doesn't include liability. And if you've dropped comprehensive or collision coverage on your policy, the rental car will not be covered if it is stolen or damaged in an accident.

Credit Reports
Don't fall for sites that offer "free" credit reports, which often end up enrolling you in expensive credit-monitoring programs that you usually don't need. You can get a free copy of your credit report from each of the three credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion) once every 12 months at www.annualcreditreport.com. It's a good idea to stagger your reports -- getting a free one from each bureau every four months -- to keep an eye on the status of your credit and spot potential ID theft throughout the year.

Warranties
The other day I bought the snazziest new Samsung smart phone from T-Mobile at the fair price of $249. The sales rep couldn't let me go, however, without asking me to pay $125 more for insurance against me dropping the unit or otherwise ruining it. The cheaper electronics get, the less these warranties make sense. Same's true with appliances. Now, if I could insure the suits I take to the dry cleaners -- or the luggage the airlines throw around -- we might have something to talk about.

Shipping for Online Shopping
At www.FreeShipping.org, you can find coupons and codes to secure free (or deeply discounted) mailing or delivery from hundreds of retailers. Some of these are constant offers as long as you make a minimum order. Others are occasional deals with a limited life. And if there's no cost for mailing, you can't get hit with that mysterious charge for "handling," right?

Water
There are times you'll pay anything for a cold bottle of premium H2O. If you're driving through the desert, riding your bicycle on a hot day or dealing with grimy yellow stuff in your pipes, price is no object. Once while on vacation in Florida, a construction crew accidentally cut the water lines to our residence. Off to Wal-Mart it was -- or we would've been unable to cook, wash or even make coffee for 12 hours. But why pay for bottled water all the time? Is it actually safer? Bottled-water makers aren't required to test their water or make their test results public. And few brands reveal important details about the source of their water and what it contains. Heck, about 25% of bottled water actually comes from the same municipal sources that deliver water to your home.

Ok now, I am not doing a gift today, but rather doing some various crafting like making bags out of the cat food bags and other recyclables, making stockings, pillows, etc. Things I won't necessarily be using as gifts... although I might be. BUT as the Frugal Mom it is almost like my duty to bring you different craft ideas to broaden your craft horizon LOL. So today I am bringing you a craft that is inspired out of need and by my DD. She needed something to put her lunch in during band practice, so I plan on making her one of these today and if you have small kids, this would be great to make for school too!



Craft Idea of the Day: Insulated Lunch Sacks

Please make sure to go there for all the instructions and pictures to help you make a super cool lunch sack for your kids!

Materials:

Approximately 3/8 yard of 45" wide fashion fabric for the exterior of the bag*
Approximately 3/8 yard of 45" wide fabric for the lining" (I used a nylon wind breaker weight so that it could be sponged off)
Batting - a thin but dense batting seems to work best
Fusible Web
3" piece of 3/4 to 1" wide hook and loop tape
Thread

Now its time to talk food! This is WACKY WATERMELON WEEK and I found a recipe for a meal that your salsa from a couple of days might work well with or you can just use the salsa this way. Either way its a delicious summer night treat!



Salmon with Fruit Salsa

Ingredients

2 cups chopped seedless watermelon
1 1/2 cups cubed fresh pineapple
1/3 cup chopped sweet red pepper
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup lime juice
1 teaspoon chopped jalapeno pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon pepper, divided
4 (6 ounce) salmon fillets

Directions

For salsa, in a large bowl, combine the first eight ingredients; add 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Let stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.

Coat grill rack with nonstick cooking spray before starting the grill. Sprinkle salmon with remaining salt and pepper. Place on grill rack. Grill, covered, over medium heat for 5 minutes. Turn and grill 7-9 minutes longer or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Serve the salsa with a slotted spoon with salmon.

Ok folks, I have to get off here today and go to the store to get some bananas and things before it gets too hot. So I'm gonna pack the boys and hit the road. Then I am coming back and doing some super sewing! Hope you have a super day and I will see you tomorrow for more fun and excitement (and hopefully alot of good pictures too!) Until then... HUGS!

1 comment:

  1. Debbie "MOM"August 6, 2010 at 12:02 PM

    The more I see that salsa the more I want to EAT IT!! I have never had a salmon filet though. I cant justify paying so much for it. The closest I have come to eating salmon is canned and I can eat that up easy. Salmon patties, salmon croquets, and salmon with pasta (that one was for the DH). I am not a big fan of pasta. I wish I could find a good sale on fresh salmon filets, then I could put some of that delicious salsa on it. LOL
    I have seen those lunch sacks for sale in stores like Walmart and such but they are usually made of plastic and made in China (which by the way irks me so bad). I bet these bags you featured today would be much cuter and stronger and stay together longer,and not fall apart like so many of the cheap made things that are imported from China. There I go, climbing back up on my soap box. I guess that is a bad habit I am getting from being older. LMAO
    That article is good but there are many more fees out there for stuff we do than anyone realizes. Beware of hidden fees. A lot of the fees mentioned in the article are up front announced fees. Some are buried so deep in contracts or sales receipts that it takes a magnifying glass or document enlargement to read them. Seriously! Cant things be open and honest anymore? I guess it should be expected in this "SUE HAPPY" world we live in. Til next time.....

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