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Junk Pile Finds

February 21st, 2013 at 11:39 pm

There are some perks to my job. One of those being the stuff that people throw into the 'junk pile' that we have set up for furniture and donation items.

The following is a list of all of the items that I have found and brought home, with their retail values:

Vintage custom Mid-Century Sleeper Sofa by Seattle Mattress Co. (~$2,000 retail)
Canon D60 camera body (traded for espresso machine) (~$700 retail, ~$200 current market)
Outdoor table & chairs
iPod Nano ($200 retail)
Insignia iPod player ($150 retail)
Charbroil gas grille, large (~$300 retail)
Car Roof Rack (sold for $120)($200 retail)
Trunk-mount bicycle rack ($100 retail)
KitchenAid blender ($8 fix)($150 retail)
Bissell SpotBot ($200 retail)
ShopVac
Dyson DC-14 animal ($500 retail)
Bissell ProHeat 2 carpet machine ($250 retail)
Litter box, large
IKEA rug ($150 retail)

At least $4,400 worth in items that we have actually needed. Smile

Career Opportunity - Your Input?

January 14th, 2012 at 07:44 pm

I thought that some of you may want to hear about an opportunity I have coming up. 

The other day, we went to Starbucks for our weekly treat. While we were there, a woman not much older than ourselves took notice of us - mainly our beautiful little girl. (No matter where we go, she is always catching peoples' eyes!) We got to talking with this woman, and it turns out we have a bit in common, and she seems like a soul that could teach us a lot as well. She carries a small journal and writes in it throughout the day, rather than hunching over an iPhone, like so many of us (*cough*me*cough*). 

Near the end of our discussion, she grabbed my number and said she would pass it along to her husband, as his "company is always expanding and looking for sharp individuals." 

He called the next day and we arranged to meet at the same Starbucks this evening. A couple hours ago, we had that meeting.

This man came across professional and strong, comfortable in himself and his life. I had some doubts about him, however. I wondered if he was for real. He said things like "ambitious" and "self-motivated" to describe the type of people he looks for. He said he likes to work with people that are busy, that have more than one thing going on in their lives. He said those were the type of people that get things done. 

He asked some things about me. He asked a little about my work history, but mainly about me, as a person. My ambitions. Goals. Aspirations. Where did I see myself in one to five years, if I did find that career I was looking for. I told him, "I'll tell you - I can't describe my future, without describing my family. We take joy in the outdoors, the world, the people in it. My wife and I have a dream about owning a VW bus for camping and road trips. We want to homeschool our little girl." And then I mentioned that Idaho ranked 47th in quality of education... "We want to be able to bicycle more." More on that in a moment. Smile "We want to eventually make our home in Portland." Then he asked why we felt Portland was a good match for us. I told him, "What's not to love about Portland? Really. It's beautiful. It's bicycle friendly. There is loads a family can do there, and affordably! There's history. Portland is the most eco-friendly city in America. It's.... For us, it's that place. You round the turnpike to get onto the interstate that runs through the city and... You see the city itself for the first time... And you get goosebumps. Nowhere else is it like that for us." All he said was, "Oh wow." He actually didn't know exactly what to say to that. He seemed impressed. 

So what exactly does this guy do? He explained, a little bit. "We work with entrepreneurs... And we set them up with retailers... Most of our income is residual." 

Near the end of our meeting, he asked if making $50,000 a year, 10-15 hours a week was something my family could live with. I tried not to act impressed, as I am still skeptical. I told him, "That would definitely be a good figure if it worked that way." I had to come up with this response on the fly, and I think it was a pretty neutral one. 

We set up to meet again on Tuesday at 7:40p. We will meet at Starbucks, then go to his house. Hmm. He told me to bring my family so we could talk more in detail and decide whether or not it is a good decision for us to make. 


It sure sounds like a wonderful opportunity, does it not? What do you all think? 

I thought this sounded like something someone would rather hire a college graduate for...?

--

We got a bicycle trailer for the little one! Finally! It's a Burley D'Lite two-kid stroller. Or, if you're us, one kid and a Miniature Schnauzer! Smile It also converts to a jogging stroller, which is what we have been looking for. If you look this one up, it retails anywhere from $500-700. How much did we get it for? $100. Smile 

We sold my massage table for $180, put $80 into our birthday trip fund, and $100 for the stroller. We think we got a great deal. Smile 

Amazon Free Shipping - Short by a little & don't know what to get?

January 12th, 2012 at 12:46 pm



I am a fool for Amazon.com's FREE Super Saver Shipping. And here's why: If you spend just a little more, you can usually end up getting something basically for free, when you figure that that money would have been used for shipping.

Earlier this week, we went out to the car to find that some idiot had broken one of our wiper blades. The same person also got into another person's car. Well, I am pretty sure that the wiper arm is okay, so I just need a new blade. Straight from the manufacturer, these blades are $30. No thanks! So I looked at AutoZone and similar places, to find blades for the same price, but of much better quality, such as the RainX blades.

Then I read about silicone blades. These things last for YEARS, rather than the recommended six months. And they keep on working! And, guess what... Retail price is $25!

So I did some hunting, and found the same ones on Amazon for much cheaper! To be exact, the driver side (a 22" blade) is $14.27, and the passenger side (a 19" blade) is $10.40. Altogether, that is just under $25.

Well, as most of you know, FREE Super Saver Shipping kicks in only at $25, on eligible items. So I browsed my Save For Later list, and realized that I had some Kool Stop bicycle brakes on there for my '72 Schwinn. SWEET!

Added those to the cart and the total came to just under $35, $5 cheaper than if I had ordered just the blades and paid for shipping. HA! Take THAT, Consumerism! And I got all those for less than one blade from the manufacturer. Smile

So, if you think you're just going to have to buck up and pay for shipping, remember to check your lists. If you can't find anything in there cheap enough, there is this super awesome tool, called the Amazon Item Filler. You simply enter the amount that you are short on receiving the FREE Super Saver Shipping, and it finds items in and around that amount. Alternatively, you could always enter the difference between the total for shipping, and the current amount of the items you have. In my case, this would have been about $10.

Here are links to the items mentioned in this article:
edit: For some reason, links are not showing up when using vB code or HTML... >.<
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00029X5WO/ref=oh_o00_s00_i00_details - Silblade (choose your size - don't know it? Amazon does!)
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001SYM690/ref=oh_o00_s02_i00_details - Kool Stop Continental bicycle brake pads
http://www.filleritem.com/ - Amazon Filler Item Finder

Fooducate Yourself

December 10th, 2011 at 10:09 am

Yesterday, we finally got a chance to use a new iOS app that my wife found the other day.

Using the built-in barcode scanner (or by typing in the name of the food product), you can instantly view the health information about that item. It will give you a letter grade ranging from F to A+. It will then break down the information into things such as calories per serving, how it ranks on a dieter's theoretical list, etc. And, the best part, this app also informs you as to the content of that item. Potatoes are high in Vitamin C, and it will tell you that. It will also tell when an item's packaging contains BPA. Or, hey, how about that Smart Balance vegetable spread that your doctor recommends? How about the fact that it contains TBHQ and EDTA? Bet your doctor didn't tell you that! I also bet you wouldn't have guessed that Bush's reduced sodium kidney beans are considered one of the healthiest!

For those that are looking to really get away from the CRAP found in your everyday foods, this is a really awesome app for you!

Fooducate - web site - App Store



Fooducate - web site - App Store

Want to Get Back @ Big Banks?

October 30th, 2011 at 09:17 pm

Obviously, the absolute best way to get back at banks is to never owe them money, or even to never bank with them. However, we live in a digital age, so the latter may not be possible for a lot of us. I know that it is not for me. There is still yet more to do!

If you are still receiving credit card offers via snail-mail, there is a beautiful - and I do mean b-e-autiful - way to be a nuisance to them.

Have a gander and let me know what you think! I will be doing this from now on.

(Apparently, you cannot embed YouTube videos. So, here ya go...)

http://youtu.be/ZgkSiyIUz_w

Workforce Assistance

October 13th, 2011 at 06:27 am

This morning, I am headed off to the Goodwill Workforce Assistance programme. Since I lost my job and my wife has yet to start her job, I have to attend this program until either, a) my wife starts work, or b) I start school. Most likely, it will be that my wife will start work soon, as she should be going in to sign papers by the end of this week.

The Goodwill Workforce Assistance programme sounds like a great one. They will assist with:
Clothing for interviews
Gas vouchers
Resume building
Job searching
etc.

My wife's father went thru the programme and - while it was dull and boring - he said it was quite helpful.

I will let you all know how it goes.

Also happening today:
Picking up baby wipes for the little one. Going a little over our budget for the month. Since we got the Chase Freedom credit card (which we pay off twice per month, and use exactly like a debit card), it seems as though we have gotten off-track somehow, as - when I was employed - I have been paying some of the remaining balance on the card with the next paycheck, rather than the current one like planned. So, somehow, somewhere, we are spending too much. This has to be taken a hold of.

On a happier note, with our Chase rewards points, we ordered:
Bodum Chambord 8-Cup French Press Coffeemaker
Bodum Assam Tea Press - Black
Bodum Anywhere 8-Oz. Travel Mug - Green
Bodum Anywhere 8-Oz. Travel Mug - Black

Sweet! We have been wanting to drink more tea, and now we can! Also, a French press makes coffee far superior to that of any automated methods (sans the super expensive machine, possibly). We can't wait! Smile

Also, take a look over to the left column. See that Personal Loan @ 15% that has a remaining balance of $546? We will be paying that off with savings once the wife secures her position. While we would rather not take from savings for this, it is a must-do if we are to survive on a lower income.

And last, but indubitably not least, today I will be selling a part of our previous computer that took a poop on us. So far, we have sold over $250 worth of items. However, I did end up losing $8 on two of the shipments, because shipping was far more than I was quoted. I will make a post after I've sold and shipped everything to analyze the actual net earnings from all the items.

Wish us well!
Peace!

Stay Frügal

Let the Plasma Flow...

October 12th, 2011 at 09:48 pm

Today was a very long day. While my mother in-law stayed with the little one, the wife and I spent the day donating plasma.

Plasma is a great way to bring in extra cash. You can donate plasma twice in a seven day period, at $25 per donation. That ends up being $200/mo if you do it on a regular basis. Not a bad income for a few hours of your time each week, right?

Today was our first time going in, so we expected to spend three hours there, like they say you should. Typical visits after that take an hour to two hours. You sit, you wait for your name to be called, then you sit in a reclined chair hooked up to a machine for about 45 minutes while your blood is drawn, plasma extracted, and blood returned. For me, they take 1 liter of plasma. It is based on your weight. This is for a typical day. Today, however...

We were there from 12:30p to 5:40p. During the plasma extraction process, my wife had to have a bottle of water and crackers. Typically, no food or drink is allowed in the plasma center. However, since the last thing we'd eaten was breakfast, we were probably a bit underprepared for the process. No thanks to the extensive waiting time, no doubt.

After the whole thing was over and we were home and getting ready to eat, I was feeling short of breath after just walking up the stairs or picking up our eight month-old. I checked my heart rate when I was feeling short of breath, and when I was "at rest." Active heart rate was 136 bpm, while resting was 92. Not good!

Not sure if we will go back. It may be better the second time, as the waiting period will be shorter, so we won't have to sit there without any food for so long.

On a lighter note, yesterday I saw a pair of Dr. Martens shoes at a local secondhand clothing boutique. They were only $16 and not very worn. And, since I do not have any winter shoes, I am pondering the purchase. However, this is absolutely no time to be buying things like clothing and shoes. Urgh!

A Fresh Start (New Blog)

October 6th, 2011 at 09:18 pm

After some drama with my previous employer, and per the advice of some regular readers of mine, I have decided to create a new blog, in the hopes that I am not stalked by said employer's staff.

A little about who I am and what I am about. I am married, Christian, have an 8-month old daughter, and am recently unemployed, due to my previous employer making false accusations and following them up with a termination. Currently in proceedings with the Department of Labor and finding other employment. I start school at the local university in Spring of 2012. I will be majoring in Nursing. It is my dream to someday work as an OR Nurse or in a pediatric oncology unit. We shall see just where it all leads me.

We currently live in my parents' house, where my 32 year old delinquent brother does as well. If you know who I am and have read my previous posts, you will understand that he is not exactly the greatest person to live around. We were planning our exodus from this place when I was terminated from my position and almost all hopes of any future employment that I was seeking were lost.

I am a hypermiler. By that, I mean that I pump my car for more fuel economy than the average person. Our car, a 2007 Ford Focus S with 5 speed manual transmission, is EPA rated at 24 city/33 hwy/27 combined. I have consistently been averaging 40 mpg or more on the past few tanks, as I am improving my skills. You can find my stats at my CleanMPG.com profile. Once our tires are done for, I will be purchasing LRR (Low Roll Resistance) tires, which help to improve fuel economy. Also, I am running AMSOIL Signature Series 100% Synthetic oil, which is good for 25,000 miles/12 months between changes. It also provides superior cold-weather start-up, lower friction, and is more affordable (when calculated by qt per mile) that all other oils available. This oil costs about $.27 per mile, as compared to Mobil 1's $.67 (thereabouts).

There is plenty more to know about me, and I am sure I will touch on them in the future, as I have already done in my former blog here on savingadvice.com.

Some more recent developments are that my wife has an interview with her former employer (Macy's) for a non-seasonal sales position. Talk about role reversal! I am pretty concerned as to how well I will do with the little one with mommy gone off to work.

Also found out today that my credit rating went up from 715 to 726. Up 11 points from last month. Started at 640 in February. Now that's rewarding!