Sunday, December 15, 2013

Bing Rewards

This week I'm going to be talking about something I just learned about a few days ago: Bing Rewards.  I'm sure a lot of you have heard of Bing, it's a search engine that has really been advertising and trying to compete with Google.  They have a test, Bing It On, where you try 5 searches and choose between two screens (Google and Bing) of which results you like better.  Honestly, I chose Google more times, 3 out of 5.  I don't know if I've been using Google so long that I'm just trained to like it or what but regardless, I have switched my search engine to Bing because of the rewards program they have.  (Want to try the Bing It On Test?  Click here)

Bing Rewards is simple -- they reward you for searching through Bing.  You get a reward point for every two searches made (up to 30 a day) and reward points can be redeemed for a number of options, primarily gift cards.  Now if you're like me, you use the computer a lot and search for things multiple times a day.  Why not get rewarded for something you already do all the time?  As I said before, I actually prefer Google's results for the most part, but generally I can find what I'm looking for on Bing and if not,  just go back to Google for that one search.

On the Bing Rewards dashboard, they also have really easy tasks to get more rewards points.  Simple!

Some of the redemptions offered are entries into sweepstakes drawings.  Don't be tempted to throw away your reward points!  I always think it's funny that with many rewards programs some of the things offered to be redeemed are entries into sweepstakes, what a waste!  There are plenty of ways to enter sweepstakes that are free, just do those.  You might as well get something useful out of the rewards.  I'm aiming towards the $5 Amazon Gift Card, because that's what I use the most.

Like the idea?  Sign up for it here:  (Guess what?  You get rewards for referrals too!)

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Decorating with a Budget

Most of my posts during the holiday season so far have been about shopping, and understandably so.  But today I want to talk about decorating, another fun aspect of the holidays.  This is relevant to most people because even if you aren't someone who decorates for every holiday, most people decorate at least some for the winter holidays.  A lot of times, the whole house gets transformed -- inside and out.  But that can be expensive.  Here's a few tips on where to find cheaper holiday decorations:

1. The Dollar Store
I've talked about it before and I'll say it again.  This is one of the best places to get holiday decorations because they're so cheap!  I know a lot of you think that because it's so cheap, the quality of the products are cheap too.  That's not true!  I understand not getting your lights from there, though I still trust it (they even have LED lights!), but there are many other decorations that are not electronic that are just as good of quality.  Especially paper products that you are going to throw out every year.  Take a look at what the Dollar Tree has to offer: Dollar Tree Holiday Decorations
holiday decorations

2. Thrift Stores
You may be thinking I'm crazy, but people do donate decorations to thrift stores.  Go take a look!  I've bought a huge box full of ornaments for super cheap -- it was for a project which I'm going to talk about next:

3. Make Your Own
There are all kinds of fun ideas to make your own decorations which would also make a fun family project!  Here's one of my favorites (they also make great gifts!).  Just go to the dollar store or thrift store (or after Christmas when they're on sale) to get a bunch of ornaments and and then head to your local craft store for a few other supplies:

There are all kinds of color combinations you can do:

Monday, December 2, 2013

Cyber Monday

So after my rant about disliking Black Friday, I want to say how much I LOVE Cyber Monday.  As stated before, I love online shopping, and I even love it more during the holidays because it saves a lot of time and hassle.  What is Cyber Monday you ask?  It's the online equivalent to Black Friday.  The biggest proponent of this is Amazon. (Again, I talk about Amazon a lot but it's for a reason).

So check out your favorite online stores and see what kind of sales they have.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Black Friday . . . Is It Worth It?

Sorry I didn't post over the weekend like I normally do, things have been crazy busy for me.  Today's post is going to be a little different than normal.  Usually I post about ways to save money but keep in mind it's EASY ways to save money.  This post we're going to think about Black Friday . . . probably the most savings you can get on any item for one day only.  But I don't advocate it, at all.

Why I wanted to write a little something about it is because over the weekend, I heard on the news that people were already starting to camp out in front of stores like Best Buy for Black Friday deals.  I'm sorry, what?!!!  A week before people are lining up?!  That's just crazy.
Black Friday camping

Why I don't like this?  Well first of all, it is not an EASY way to save money.  You have to camp out in the freezing cold and brave getting trampled to death to really get the good deals.  Not worth it in my opinion.
Black Friday crowd

Second, and most importantly, this takes away from Thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving is supposed to all be about relaxing and being with family.  We as a culture have become so materialistic, we are doing away with a tradition about GIVING THANKS for what we have instead to get more for cheap, cheap, cheap!
Save Thanksgiving

So that's my rant about Black Friday.  I don't do it.  In fact, once Christmas shopping season starts, you will hardly ever see me near big stores and don't even think about the mall!  I try to do all my shopping online so that way I don't have to deal with trying to find parking, dealing with the pushing and shoving, waiting in line forever.  Plus, you can usually find something more customized for each person.

Well, I don't want to leave you all with no tips on how to save money.  So here's the "Black Friday" that I take part in: Shop Amazon - Black Friday Deals Week - Big Savings, No Waiting

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Bridal Fairs

So today I just got back from my first bridal fair outing.  Now I'm totally exhausted and a little on overload of wedding stuff BUT the good thing about bridal fairs: the discounts and the giveaways.  Getting tickets for the fairs are usually cheap, $5 - $10, but regardless, it's easy to find coupon codes to get free tickets which is exactly what I did.

Now even though I haven't picked anything out yet for my wedding, I didn't really go to shop.  I went to get discounts and to be entered into drawings.  Almost all vendors have giveaways for a wide variety of services, many that are worth quite a bit, also there are generally some overall large giveaways like a honeymoon.  But even if you don't win any prizes, there are a lot of discounts. 

Another plus: the fashion shows.  But not exactly for the reason you'd expect.  I realized that the real plus was seeing what dresses were difficult to walk in.  Obviously you don't want to be worried about tripping on your gown walking down the aisle.  Yikes!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Amazon Prime: A Great Deal!

This week I am going to be talking about one of my favorite deals, Amazon Prime.  Why is it one of my favorites?  It's because it combines two things I love: online shopping and movie/TV watching into one great deal!

What is Amazon Prime?  Simply put, it's an instant streaming service like Netflix and it also gives you free two day shipping on Amazon products.

How much does it cost?  It's a yearly membership fee of $79.  That's only $6.50/mo.

Why I like it so much:
  • I do a lot of online shopping.  It's so much easier -- you can do it anytime you want, at the convenience of your own home, search through thousands of products to find the thing that exactly suits your needs, and it gets delivered right to your front door.  Amazon is one of my favorite online retailers because they have such a large selection at amazing prices.  The only drawback of online shopping is having to pay for shipping but Amazon Prime eliminates that problem.
  • I love watching TV and movies and I really love doing it without commercials.  Amazon Prime is a great instant streaming source with plenty of options.  As with any streaming service, it excels in some areas and doesn't in others.  It definitely has more newer selections in TV than in movies and doesn't have quite the selection as some other streaming services but it does offer some that other major competitors don't.  Plus it's cheaper per month and you get the free shipping.  
Like what you're hearing?  Click here for a free 30 day trial!   Join Amazon Prime - Watch Over 40,000 Movies

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Getting Engaged? Try an Antique Ring!

So I have some fabulous news . . . I got engaged last weekend!  So you can expect a few blogs on saving money on weddings, though I don't want to post too much of that because this isn't a wedding blog.

Here's a picture of my beautiful ring:
antique ring

 It was his great-grandmother's ring.  I love it so much and couldn't have asked for something more me!

So, if you are planning on getting engaged I highly advise thinking about an antique ring, even if you don't have an heirloom ring to give away (obviously that saves you a lot of money!).

Why an antique ring?  Well first of all, they're a lot cheaper and I only list that first because this is a blog about saving money.  There are a few other (and more important) reasons though.
  • They are unique.  In my ring, the flowers in the band were hand crafted.  You're not going to find that today.
  • They can be worth a lot more.  You can usually find nicer quality stones and metals since they were easier to find a long time ago!  And this is done at a fraction of the price of a normal ring.
Need I say more?  Why get a ring that looks like everyone else's cookie-cutter rings, when you can have a unique piece of history?  But maybe that's just me.

Now that you're engaged, check out my posts on how to save money while planning your wedding starting with: Setting a Wedding Budget