Monday, September 25, 2017

Use an Electric Shaver for Legs!

So lately I noticed I was having a bad reaction to shaving my legs.  I tried special shaving creams, changing my razors more often, aloe after shaving, all kinds of things but nothing helped the red bumps and itching like crazy!  It dawned on me . . . what about an electric shaver?

I'd grown up with my dad using an electric shaver to shave his face but I'd never really seen it advertised for shaving legs.  So I headed to Amazon to search for electric shavers for legs that had good reviews and I came across this beauty:




It had good reviews and was on sale for $13.98 so I thought, why not try it . . . it wouldn't be that much of a waste if it didn't work well.

I've been using it for a couple weeks now and I have to say it's been awesome!  I haven't had any razor burn, no bumps at all, no redness and certainly no itching!  It takes a little while to get used to using it to get the closest shave (underarms are very difficult!) but I think it's getting easier.

So why am I writing about this on my blog about saving money?  Well this will save me a lot of money on the long run.  Instead of constantly having to buy new disposable razors and shaving cream, I will have something that should last a lot longer.  Even if you spend a little more on a nicer shaver, it can save money over time.

So why not try it out?!  And in combination with the grapeseed oil as talked about in this post, you'll have nice smooth legs without spending a lot of money!

Have you known about electric shavers for your legs all along and I've just been missing out?  Let me know what you think.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Get Healthy Ingredients for Meals Delivered Right to Your Door . . . For Cheap

It's been a while since I've done a post.  I've been busy but I've also been trying out different services for this post since November, so I have been working on this, just in the background :)

I'm sure a lot of you have seen things on meal kit delivery services, they've been becoming quite popular.  You might recognize companies like Blue Apron and Hello Fresh.  If you haven't heard about these companies, basically they provide you with a fully planned meal (except drinks) with all the ingredients you need to make it, delivered right to your doorstep.  What's even better than just having everything planned and purchased for you, is that they are usually tailored for the amount of people you'll be serving so you don't have to make a meal sized for 8 people and end up with leftovers for weeks and they also usually provide you with the exact amount of an ingredient needed so you also don't end up with random bits of extra items that usually go to waste.

It's really awesome.  And they're usually very tasty, healthy, and not too difficult to make.  But it's expensive.  Of course, because it does so much for you -- planning and grocery shopping are eliminated, which is worth a lot.  Prices average around $50 - $70 a week for 3 meals for 2 people.  I can certainly make meals myself for a lot cheaper than $20, I try to keep it under $10 a meal (for both my husband and myself together).

The good news is, they offer great discounts on your first delivery or through referrals (like mine below!) and you can also earn money for referring others.  You just have to make sure you cancel on time before your next delivery so you don't get charged the full amount!  This can definitely make it worth it because it is really a fun experience, you get to keep the recipes you really like to make it again in the future (though you have to buy the ingredients), and I learned a lot about cooking in general.  Many also offer a lot of different options for different dietary restrictions, especially vegetarian.

So here's my breakdown on the companies I tried.  If I try more in the future, I'll be sure to add it on to this list.


Chef'd logo
The Good: They have breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert options.  I only chose 2 items from their "Quick and Easy" section and they have been simple but tasty.  There's a variety of serving sizes and meal options to choose from.

Ingredients for each meal are separated into bags.

The Bad: Prices are a little high, that's why I chose some of the cheapest meal items.

The Price: Meals range from $12-$79 depending on serving size, breakfasts start at $10, and desserts start at $15.  Shipping is free if it's over $40, otherwise shipping is $10.

The Deal: Get $10 off with this link!

When to Cancel or Change Items: You don't have to sign up for a plan, you can just buy when you want.  If you do sign up for the weekly plan, you need to cancel at 11:59PM PST Wednesday before your delivery week.




Green Chef logo
The Good: The veggies are often pre-cut, makes prep time so much faster!  Good customer service.  Many different diet options.

The Bad: Very healthy, almost too healthy for me (you know where you notice that you're eating healthy because it's not the best tasting things).  I did have a problem with freshness on a bag of arugula, though they did refund a little :)

The Price: $10.49 per meal for a 2 person plan, $11.99 per meal for a family plan.  $9 for shipping.

The Deal: 4 free meals with this link!

When to Cancel or Change Items: 7 days before your next scheduled delivery




Hello Fresh logo
The Good: This may be my favorite.  They're very fresh (duh!), fun and unique flavors, and not too difficult.  Plus they give old customers a lot of 50% off coupons to restart again so I've actually received several boxes from them.  I don't think there's a single recipe I haven't liked.

All the ingredients (except meat) are separated by meal into individual cardboard boxes to make it easy to store and to grab everything you need for each meal.

The Bad: I don't really have anything bad to say about this one.

The Price: $9.99 a meal for 2 or 4 adults, $8.74 a meal for 2 adults and 2 kids.  Free shipping.

The Deal: You get $40 off your first box with this link!

When to Cancel or Change Items: 11:59PM PST 5 days before your next scheduled delivery




Munchery logo
The Good: The chicken was already diced!  I love it when prep time is cut down.  Ingredients are separated by meal into boxes.

Order as many or as few meals as you want for as many or as few people as you want.  It's not a set number of meals for a certain number of people.  You can also add sides, salads, and desserts!  There's lots to choose from.

The Bad: You can't remake the recipe later because it doesn't have amounts listed :(  I also had trouble cancelling and had to contact customer support.

The Price: Dinners range from $8-$18 per serving for adult meals; $4-$6 for kids meals; sides, salads, and desserts $4-$8.  There is a delivery fee, though I'm not sure how much since I got this through a Groupon and can't find out through their FAQ.  There's also a membership option that's more like the other companies, though you have to be in a specific area and I didn't qualify so look that up if your interested.

The Deal: Get $20 off with this link!

When to Cancel or Change Items: 6 days before your next scheduled delivery




Sun Basket logo
The Good: Another yummy one.  They also separated ingredients by meal into bags.

The Bad: Monday delivery only.  Also, they wouldn't cancel right away, they kept sending me follow up emails and/or calls to make sure I wanted to cancel.  That was kind of annoying.  They did give me a $20 credit for my next order though, so worth it?

The Price: $11.49 per serving for 2 or 4 people, $9.99 per serving for 4 people + $5.99 shipping after first order

The Deal: 3 free meals with this link!

When to Cancel or Change Items: Thursday at 12:00PM PST




The Good: Very easy!  Spices were already chopped and prepped and I think that's the most time consuming thing.

There are a lot of meal options.  You can also add salad, meat, and sides.

The Bad: You have to return the box (they schedule a pickup for you but if you're in an apartment complex, like me, and delivery people don't always go into your building for that, you'll have to bring it to your local FedEx).  I guess it's better for the environment though :)

The Price: Meals range from $9.99 to $17.99, minimum order of $62.99 and $64.99 for free shipping

The Deal: Get $40 off with this link!

When to Cancel or Change Items: I couldn't get an exact answer on when you have to cancel by.  On their website it just says it has to be before something is in "process" to not be charged.





I put this one at the bottom because it is a little different than the rest.  These are not meals you make, they are pre-cooked and packaged, you just need to microwave and eat!

The Good: No prep or cook time!  A lot of meal choices, though they don't change each week, they only add new ones every so often.  So if you go back to order more, there aren't as many options.  But hopefully they'll keep growing and adding more!  This is a great option for single people because you don't have to have 2 of each meal.

The Bad: Nothing really bad to report :)

The Price: From $8.99 per serving to $12.50 per serving, depending on how many meals per week to you get.  Free shipping.

The Deal: Get your first 6 dinners for $39 with this link!

When to Cancel or Change Items: Again I couldn't find out exactly when you need to cancel by.  It's always safe to say a week before your next delivery.




I also tried Blue Apron, Gobble, Marley Spoon, and Plated but they didn't offer referral programs.


The one complaint I have is that getting herbs off the stems takes so much time!  I discovered this nifty little product and it works great and saves so much time!




 Is there a service you tried that I should check out?

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Make Money Driving for Uber and Lyft

I'm sure most people by now have heard of ridesharing, a popular new way to get around.  If you haven't, read this.  As many of you know, about a year ago I tried out driving for Uber and really ended up liking it!  (Read about my experience on my first day driving here).  I did it in my spare time for a few months but then I got really busy with my actual work.  Fast forward to September 2016, when my husband was getting ready for work and got a call from his work saying not to come into work that day, they were shutting down and he could pick up his paycheck that afternoon.  No warning.

Needless to say we were in shock for a while and didn't know what to think.  We were leaving the following week to go to Texas to pick up and drive back to California my grandparents' old Prius that they weren't going to use anymore.  That gave us time to think about what he should do.  It dawned on me, now we would have two cars, he could drive for Uber or Lyft while he tried to get another job.  Problem solved!  I didn't think my husband would consider switching altogether to just driving for his job because . . . well . . . he hates driving!  But we quickly saw how the benefits of doing this outweigh any of the negatives.  So here you have it, the positives and negatives of driving for a rideshare company.

Benefits of Being a Driver

  • Flexibility.  Create your own hours.  Want to go on a vacation?  Take some time off!  Need more money, go out driving for a few more hours.  You are in total control of when you work.
  • No boss to deal with.  Sure you still work for a company and they can have some strange rules or frustrate you with something, but there isn't someone constantly there above you.
  • Perks.  Companies are now offering perks like discounts for gas, car maintenance and insurance but also fun things like movie tickets!
  • Meet new people.  You can meet some interesting people and have some great conversations!
  • Explore new areas.  You really get to know the area around you and found out new places that you might want to visit yourself!
  • Bonus.  When you first sign up, they offer a bonus which can be anywhere from $300 to $2,000!  (Make sure you find out what the requirements are.  See details below).  They also offer other bonuses throughout the year.  You can also get money for referring people.

Downsides of Being a Driver

  • Paying for gas.  Rideshare companies don't reimburse you for gas.  So you should probably have a fuel efficient car if you are considering doing this.
  • Wear and tear on your car.  You will be putting a lot of miles on your car which depreciates value and means more upkeep and maintenance.
  • You'll owe taxes.  You will be an independent contractor which means your taxes aren't automatically taken out of your paychecks and you will owe money to the government come tax time.
  • Your body can hurt.  Just sitting around driving for hours on end several days a week can give you some aches and pains.

What You Need to Drive

  • Be 21 with a valid driver's license and at least 1 year driving experience (3 years experience for under 23 with Uber)
  • A 4 door car (generally 10 years old or newer but that varies by city and state).  If you don't have a car, they both have programs to buy and car through them.
  • Proof of registration.
  • Proof of insurance.
  • Pass a driving record check and background check
  • Smartphone with good data plan (I recommend MetroPCS)
Chances are you already have everything!

What Do You Make?

Uber and Lyft take 25% of the fare.  You keep the rest.  That simple.  My husband has been driving around 20 hours a week and averaging between $20 - $35/hr.  You can figure out based on those estimates about how much time you'd want to put in for how much money.  Keep in mind that the amount will vary depending on where you are and when you're driving.  It can be a lot less than that or a lot more.  I say why not try it out and at least get the sign up bonus and that will be worth the trial time at least.

Misconceptions About Driving

The biggest misconception is that it is unsafe.  While I won't argue that it is 100% safe and nothing could happen to you, it is a lot safer than people think.  Yes you are letting strangers into your car, but they aren't just any old person.
  1. They have to own a smartphone and a credit or debit card.  Obviously since these companies run off an app, you have to own a smartphone to use it. That means you won't be picking up homeless people.
  2. Riders get rated too.  If you've used a rideshare as a rider before, you know you rate your driver and those ratings affect whether or not they can keep driving.  Most people don't realize that the riders are rated by the drivers too.  While it isn't as strict, a person can be banned from using the app if they are rated low enough by enough drivers.  That means the crazies are weeded out.
  3. Phone numbers are kept anonymous.  Riders and drivers both get routed through another number so you can't contact that person later.

Bonus for Couples

I mentioned a sign up bonus and a referral bonus.  Well if you both sign up, and the second person signs up with the first person's referral, you'll double down on the bonuses.  For example, I signed up for Uber a year ago.  My sign up bonus was $300.  When my husband signed up in October, he used my referral link and got $700 for his sign up bonus and I got $700 for referring him.  Together that's a $1,700 bonus!  Each bonus is different at different times of the year and for each company so chose when to sign up wisely!


So what are you waiting for?  Sign up today!

If you sign up through these links, you'll be provided a bonus from mine or my husband's referral links.  The bonuses change throughout the year (remember I've seen them vary from $300 to $2,000) so keep that in mind when signing up.  If the bonus seems low, you might want to wait a bit.  There are specific requirements for getting the bonus, so make sure you read everything and understand what you have to do to get it!

 Drive for Uber

 Drive for Lyft


Saturday, December 3, 2016

Amazon's 12 Days of Deals

Hey all!  I've already finished a lot of my Christmas shopping from Black Friday and Cyber Monday online shopping deals.  Well, Amazon isn't done with those deals yet.  They are having 12 Days of Deals, each day a different category of deals so you can finish your shopping while still saving money!  It starts 12/4, so make sure you check it out each day.  You can sign up for reminders too, so go there now!

 Amazon's 12 Days of Deals

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Make Money from Saving Energy

Saving energy is important, not only for our environment but for saving money!  But what if I told you that you could MAKE money from saving energy?  That's what OhmConnect does.  OhmConnect alerts you when dirty, expensive power plants switch on nearby and pays you for reducing your electricity use.  It also shows you which things in your home are using the most energy to help you learn how to save more energy!  Sadly, this does only apply to California residents.

You get $20 just for signing up and bonuses as you reach higher levels for a potential of $75 in bonuses alone!




Here are the bonuses:
500 points for Silver
2000 points for Gold5000 points for Platinum


That’s right-- you get paid as you level up. If you reach Platinum, you’ll have earned a total of 7500 points ($75, or up to a $90 gift card to their Store)!

You can also join teams to have some friendly competition!  If you are in the San Francisco East Bay, join my team East Bay Folks!

Of course you also get points for saving energy during the OhmHours.

What is an OhmHour?


Once or twice per week, a local power plant near your home turns on. This isn’t any ordinary power plant. It produces 2 - 3x the carbon emissions that a typical power plant generates and spews out local pollution into the surrounding neighborhoods. Why does this power plant turn on? It’s quite simple actually.
  1. The grid produces just enough electricity to meet the demand of all those users.
  2. That amount of electricity is calculated by looking at the average historical usage in the area.
  3. Sometimes people use more electricity than is expected and another power plant has to turn on to prevent a blackout.

If you were running the electricity grid, wouldn’t you prefer to pay people to use less electricity rather than pay a power plant to turn on? The grid stays balanced, less pollution is emitted, and best of all, people get paid instead of power plants. It’s a win-win-win. 

That’s how OhmConnect works. Your household electricity reductions are sold back into the grid, a dirty power plant stays off, and we pass back those earnings to you. It’s never been easier to live green and make green.

So sign up today!  You can get started with OhmConnect by signing up here.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Save Money on Car Repairs

So recently I had a lot of major car repairs (you can read about it here).  And I learned some helpful things to save you money!

Find a Mechanic You Can Trust

First things first, find a mechanic you can trust.  This means ones that won't try and get you to buy things when you don't need them, that know your car well and can do the best work, and that are understanding and helpful when it comes to large expenses.  The best way you can find one is on Yelp.

The #1 thing you need to do is do your research!  The internet is great.  One of the most helpful aspects is being able to read reviews.  Your best bet in finding a good mechanic is to see what others have to say about them and the experiences they have had there!  Not only was I able to find a mechanic who only works on Toyotas (so I know they know what they are doing on my car) but that have great reviews!  People have nothing but good things to say about their work, their customer service, and most important their prices!


Do Your Research

Yeah I already said that.  But even after you have a mechanic, when they hit you with a huge repair that's needed.  Stop, take a moment, and go to the internet.  There are so many sites out there dedicated to every car that go into details and give helpful information about what to do.
  • Mechanics may not know all the specifics about your car, they work on many different kinds of cars so they might not know the best route to take (especially when it comes to hybrids or electrics which are so different and still relatively new)
  • You can often get parts cheaper yourself or brands that are better suited for your needs (see my posts How I Save a Lot of Money on Some Huge Car Repairs and  The Prius Auxiliary Battery Saver)
  • If you want to, there are instructionals on how to do repairs yourself which save a ton in labor costs.  (There are many little things you can do that are easy like changing filters)

Go With Used Parts

When you can, get a used part.  Again, do your research to know if it's a good idea first.  But a used part doesn't mean they're taking it from an old run down car.  Often times, you can get parts off newer versions of your car.  A brand new car can get in an accident and be deemed too expensive to fix but still have very usable parts on them untouched by the accident.  Why let them go to waste?!

How do you find the parts?  Well ask your mechanic, they can probably find it for you.  But sometimes it can be even cheaper if you do it.  Just type your part in online and there should be many options that come up.  You can also check ebay.  Many private individuals sell parts or companies with a large stock.  Many give warranties as well which is always a good sign.  (Make sure you read reviews to see that their a trusted seller!)

If It's Routine, Go With a Chain

If it's a routine replacement like brakes or tires, check online for discounts through major chains like Meineke and Midas.  Because they are so large, they can offer huge promotional discounts like buy 3 tires get the 4th free and they also have credit cards which can give you a discount plus some time to pay things off.  I don't trust them for anything other than these routine and simple replacements like I do a local mechanic, but it's worth it for these things.  Just make sure they don't try and get you to replace other things that aren't needed!

Ask For a Discount

If this is your only mode of transportation, make sure the mechanics know that.  Often they will offer to get a rental car for you, a discount on rental cars, or a deduction off your costs (I got $200 off my bill!).

Is it taking much longer than expected?  Ask for a discount.

There could be many reasons.



I hope these help.  They can save you thousands, trust me!

How I Saved a Lot of Money on Some Huge Car Repairs

So a while ago my car had a bunch of lights suddenly turn on.  It was driving normally but I thought I should get it checked out never the less.  After a long day of testing, it came back that it was a faulty Skid Control ECU unit, quoted at $2700!  Basically it is a computer component and what it does is take control of the braking system when it senses the car is skidding.  At the time, the weather was still nice so it was still safe to drive since I shouldn't be skidding.  So I took it back in order to discuss with my husband what to do with this huge hit.  As with weighing any big car repair, it's hard to know whether it's worth investing into or not.  In order to help us, I thought I'd go to the internet to see what people said about this issue.  THIS WAS MY BEST DECISION!  And what I will always do now with big repairs  (See my post Save Money on Car Repairs)

First I found out that a new skid control unit is about $1700 new, I don't know where he got $2700.  But that's still a high price.  The issue was rare but those that did have it said to buy a used one on ebay.  So I went to ebay . . . and found one for $40 with a 2 week free return period and 30 day warranty.  Done.  That's $1660 saved right there.

Once I received it, I scheduled an appointment to have it installed.  The mechanics were skeptical about putting in a used part from ebay, but I trusted the many posts and threads I had read about all the previous Prius owners that had had that issue and solved it this way.  They said it would take a full day or two since it involved a lot of reprogramming so I planned it around my days off.  I brought it in on Tuesday 9/13.

Later the next day I had still not heard anything so I called for an update.  There was another issue.  When they had turned on the car, another major warning light had come on.  This was before they started the install of the skid control but they were checking and rechecking everything with that to make sure it wasn't something they had done because what it was reading was a transaxle fail.  This one comes in at a whopping $7,000 new.

After a few days of testing, and resetting they determined that the used skid ecu I got was fine and had fixed the problem but I indeed did need a new transaxle.  They actually recommended used on this one and estimated to get that for $700.  I could have probably found a cheaper one online, but I was needing the fastest way out of this as each day without a car is very difficult (we were getting very creative with meals as we hadn't gone grocery shopping in so long!) and that price was a huge reduction already.  Plus he said since they had just done a major repair, they would give a discount on labor.

So it took a few days for them to get a part and then install it . . . but that one was faulty.  So they had to get another.  More than a week had passed by.  I wasn't hearing many updates from them, so I would have to call and I know they got tired of hearing from me and they were tired of trying to fix my car since they were surely loosing money on it.  After a couple weeks, the owner finally asked if this was our only car.  When I told him yes, he actually made the offer of paying for a rental car saying about $30/day.  He felt bad for how long it was taking them.

I looked at getting a rental car, wow they are expensive (not $30/day when you add it all up more like $50)!  We were getting by with using Uber, Lyft, and BART.  I actually had a code for Lyft of $5 off 30 rides so the timing of that discount couldn't have been better!  So that was still cheaper than getting the rental car.

Finally on 9/28 the car was ready to be brought home.  When I went to pay the bill he asked about a rental car.  I took a risk and said we had gotten one and my husband had it at work (don't look at me like that, we were paying for transportation that we wouldn't have just not through a rental car!).  He asked how much per day it was and I said about $32/day (I just took his number and added a little, that's still way less than what it would have actually been).  Then he asked for how long.  And I said, well we brought this car in two weeks ago yesterday.  "Wow!" he said.  He worked out the math -- $448.  Of course they couldn't take all of that off, I wouldn't want that anyway.  But he said how about we take off $200?  Sure!  (After adding up our expenses for transportation in those two weeks, we spent about $173 so we saved there too!)

Breakdown
Skid Ecu $40 ($1660 savings)
Transaxle $700 ($6300 savings)
$200 off for transportation ($27 less than what we spent)
a few hundred saved on labor
~$8360 saved!

Lesson: Do your research first, go with used parts when you can, and if it's your only transportation, ask for a discount since you have to pay for other transportation!