Sunday, February 24, 2013

Let's Have a Fling!

Come on, it's nearly Spring...time for a Fling, celebration, that is!  My friends on the Old Farmhouse Gathering Team are having a wonderful time creating new Spring themed items just for you.  Here's just a small sampling of the 177 new products.  Can you find my floppy eared bunny? Go to and type SFOFG in the search bar to see them all!

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Secret 'Wink Wink' Discount

Many who know me well know about my cautious spending habits and absolute intolerance for being overcharged, especially as so many goods and services are increasing their costs to customers.  It's a way of life with only one income and a continued desire to live in an expensive part of the country, Washington state.  I thought I might share a few unusual areas that I have discovered over the past year that have eliminated those increases and even reduced our overall expenses.

Now, we could certainly cancel our satellite service; that's a given, but we have no local service available out in the country without either subscribing to satellite or cable.  We can't even get a clear radio station without continual static.  And we're a family that enjoys some of the basics in being entertained.  But did you know that once your 'contract' with a satellite provider ends and you're stuck paying for the full amount that you can get another discounted monthly rate simply by calling and letting them know that you're considering cancelling their service?  I scored a $20 per month reduction this year in my service with one phone call and for 'signing' on for another year of service.  Then just call them again in a year for another discount.  I've done this one for 2 years now with success.

Our phone/internet provider recently sold to another provider, and they attempted a mandatory increase in my internet service even though I had signed on for a 'lifetime' rate (unless I change service levels) with the former company.  A breach in their contract with me.  Most people probably wouldn't pay attention to a dollar or two difference, and even their customer service people attempted to tell me 'too bad.'  However, ask for a supervisor and insist on your rights.  One phone call to them stopped that little increase, and a permanent record in my account to not allow further increases.  Paying attention to our monthly bills for these sneaky little tricks saved me some bucks there.

We enjoy reading the local newspaper over the weekend, and they had been providing a wonderful three day weekend rate that recently increased 15%.  I had made the decision that this was an expense that I would cut back on.  So one phone call to them of my intention, and I received a "loyalty" discount that is 30% lower than my old rate!

And lastly, we have had a weekly garbage service since moving here, which this year increased by about 15% due to their lowered intake of the recycling rebate that they pass through to their customers.  Well, we haven't had a full weekly garbage can in many years since we recycle everything that is allowed.  And I'm working on an composting area, although right now, I just bury it in the garden so the critters and our dog don't get into it.  A compost bin is on the list to make someday.  Anyway, we barely have any regular trash, so I eliminated the weekly pick up service and changed it to monthly.  We're almost through out first month, and that can is about half full, so that is definitely a savings worthwhile right now.

There are certainly a multitude of ways to save money.  These are just a few that I hadn't thought of before, so I thought I'd share them with you in case they've never crossed your mind to look into as well.  It seems that secret 'wink wink' discount is out there if you just pick up the phone and ask.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

And 12...

The older I get, the faster life seems to go by.  Today is our lovely daughter's 12th birthday.  And yet, I can remember what was surely just yesterday that she blessed us with that incredible smile and those big brown eyes full of wonder.

Now, at 12, there is more emotion, more opinions, more questions, and more activity in all that matters to a 'tween.  Finding the balance to keep the family harmony can be a challenge at times, but not nearly the struggle that I've heard many parents go through.  I love the fact that she is an easy going, flows with the tide, kind of kid.  If something doesn't pan out for her, she doesn't get discouraged and give up.  And the girl has more compassion and empathy towards any living creature than can be imagined.  It's a balance that she regularly achieves in a world full of that "me first" mentality.  It's that inner wellness that will keep her strong and resilient through the coming years.  

Happy Birthday Nic.  I love you!