Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Uprinting giveaway winner

I flipped a coin, and the winner of the Uprinting poster print is


Congratulations, I'll be emailing you.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Giveaway: Free poster print from uprinting

Uprinting who sponsors my blog, is giving me a free 18x24” Rolled Poster Print to give away to one of my lucky readers, as well as one for myself. Since I'm in the process of moving, I intend to use my poster print to decorate my walls with pictures that remind me of the early days of my marriage and make the new place feel like home.

In order to enter, just leave a comment below explaining how you intend to use the poster print if you win! You can get bonus entries by blogging about the giveaway with a link to both me and to uprinting, or by tweeting my link @uprinting. If you do either of those things, just leave a comment below saying that you did.

In case you've signed up for uprinting giveaways before, this one is 100% free and includes shipping for the first time.

I will announce a winner on September 29.

For more information visit

Poster Printing

Online Printing

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A time to give: Giving with your computer

You may have noticed the new charity banners on my sidebar. Whenever possible, I like to use the Internet and my computer to help me help charities I care about. Here are a few of the sites that I use to give with my time instead of my money.

Better the World is a new giving community. You can earn points towards cash donations to your favorite charity by visiting their website, filling out profiles, viewing ads, installing a browser toolbar, or by putting a widget on your website, social network profiles or blog (like the one to the right). You can generate lots of charitable donations for activities you do anyway.

Social vibe is a very similar concept. Donate to charity by installing sponsor messages on your websites or profiles, and by participating in the social community. Choose your cause and choose your sponsor. Some sponsors also give out "perks" but I have yet to get anything.

If you have more time, check out my list of Click to donate sites on squidoo with a great list of different ways to give to charity without spending money.

For more ways to give, check out A Time to Give at Saving and Giving.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Frugal Friday: Carpet cleaning

I have a giant dirt stain in the living carpet of my apartment from a plant I overwatered about a year ago (oops). I tried to clean it with carpet cleaner at the time, but it seemed a futile pursuit, so I just repositioned my furniture to cover it. Foolish, I know, and shortsighted because now as moving day fast approaches I am realizing that a stain in my carpet may prevent me from getting my security deposit back (not very frugal). I considered renting a steam cleaner (still not so frugal), but decided first that I'd give it one more shot on my own.

First, I attacked it with carpet cleaner, following the directions on the bottle. I sprayed, I waited, I blotted. Dirt was clearly coming out of my carpet, but it wasn't making much of a difference.

Then, I realized that I could spray plain water on my carpet and achieve nearly the same results. Again, I sprayed, I blotted. I used rags, old towels, paper towels. I tried stepping on the cloths to get more dirt out. Dirt continued to come out of my carpet. Clearly this was working, but it seemed like it would be a nearly endless process.

Finally I had a breakthrough. I sprayed the carpet with water until it was really wet, then I sprinkled baking soda over the entire area. The baking soda quickly became brown as it soaked up the dirt and water. I waited a few hours until the baking soda had completely dried then picked it up with my vacuum. Wow! For the first time I could actually see a noticeable difference in the stain. It's not completely gone, so I'm repeating the process, but it's a heck of a lot easier and more frugal than anything else I had thought of!

For more frugal ideas, check out Frugal Fridays at Life as Mom.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Saving money while moving

So, we're moving in a week (a week!) and I am feeling a bit overwhelmed. In the midst of all the packing, decluttering, reorganizing and relocating, it's easy to get caught up and not worry about saving money. What I've realized, though, is it makes me feel a little more normal to try to continue saving money even as my life is turning upside down.

1. Sign up for hotel points clubs and frequent flyer miles programs, so that I can earn rewards for things that hubby's work is reimbursing us for.

2. Avoid switching to paper plates, etc until the last possible minute.

3. Sort through my books and figure out which ones to sell to the used book store.

4. Pack up a bag with some granola bars, a box of cereal, and some easy microwaveable shelf-stable food to eat on travel days, and avoid some restaurant meals.

5. Come up with creative ways to use all the food in my fridge and freezer, and try to eat at home every meal until we leave. (The last day, I'm going to invite all of the grad students in hubby's old lab to come raid the fridge and keep whatever they want so I can avoid wasting it.)

6. Call cable and internet companies in new city to see what discounts are being offered. If I don't get a good deal, I'll try to wait a month or so and just do without.

7. We have movers who are being paid my hubby's work, so I don't need to acquire boxes or pack, but I'm still planning to donate or get rid of a lot of things so we can move to a smaller apartment, and save a ton of money.

8. Use upromise insurance center to request renters insurance rates for the new apartment.

9. Print coupons for most of our favorite fast food and fast eating restaurants and put them in a folder to bring on the road.

My mind is spinning, trying to come up with more things. Does anyone have suggestions?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Lazy Tuesday Link Love

I've been in need of a little inspiration lately, so I thought I'd share with you some of the fabulous frugal blogs that have been inspiring me lately.

Life as Mom, who hosts Frugal Friday every week, manages to keep her life organized, save money, and keep a sense of humor. This week I'm loving her post on Meal Planning Shortcuts.

Frugal Chick seems to be a girl after my own heart. With a focus on simplifying, decluttering, and frugality, her blog often speaks to truths that I've been looking for ways to say. This week I'm inspired by her check in and goals post, which has me wanting to set some goals of my own.

And the most recent addition to my must-read list is Saving and Giving, a deals blog that focuses on using your grocery surplus to help others. I am especially excited about her weekly feature A time to give and am trying to think of something to write tomorrow to contribute.

What have you been reading that keeps you inspired?