Monday Escape to Magic Mountain Linklet

We’re on vacation in North Carolina and having a super-dee-duper time. Enjoy this week’s roundup!

The Carnival of Personal Finance #158 : Vampire Slaying Edition was hosted at Mrs. Micah, who chosed my post My Personal Finance Confession Project: Credit Card Rates as an Editor’s pick! Thanks Mrs. Micah!.

Also check out:

My article Your Economic Stimulus Check Didn’t Include Money For Your Kids? You’re Getting Another Check! was in the Carnival of Money Stories hosted at The Dividend Guy Blog .

Other good reads:

Special thanks to PaidTwice at I’ve Paid for This Twice Already for mentioning my article My Personal Finance Confession Project: Credit Card Rates in her Sunday Morning Link Love – The Colonoscopy Edition, and for writing her own – My Personal Finance Confession: Retirement Funds. Thanks, too to Anna at To Be Debt Free for mentioning that same article in their Carnival of Personal finance Roundup and for participating by writing Personal Finance Confession.

Extra special thanks to everyone who shared their confessions and/or wrote their own articles! You rock!


Deal of the Day June 30, 2008

Sears is offering a printable coupon for $5 off a $30 purchase. There are some exclusions, so read carefully. Valid until 1/31/09.  Save this link and use it every time you shop between now and January 2009!

The same page also has a 10% off appliances coupon and other great offers!

Check back tomorrow for another great deal!

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Escape to Magic Mountain

View from the deck of the house on Magic Mountain

We’re in the mountains of North Carolina visiting my in-laws. They have a wonderful house on top of a mountain, far from the hustle and bustle of civilization. The nearest town is thirty minutes away by car, the nearest hospital forty-five (we found that out last October after Son stuck a pebble up his nose and we had to take him to the emergency room).

There’s something about being here that is good for the soul, and seems to make problems disappear. Husband and I both feel his way, and were looking forward to this trip with a fervor just short of desperation.

We’ve only been here since yesterday morning, and already the mountain’s magic is taking hold. Looking out at the hills and mountains, smelling the fresh clean air. Drinking cold, clean water straight from the tap. Without a water filter, even!

It’s heavenly. Our troubles and challenges don’t disappear, but they sure don’t seem daunting. When we think of them at all. The magic of the mountain…

And something else. Son had sniffles and a slight cough the day before we left. Normally that means three-a-day nebulizer treatments with the probability of a steroid to ease his little lungs. He did three nebulizer treatments at home the day we left, and since we got here there’s been not one cough.

Not one.

That means either the Magic Mountain air made the cough go away. Or it means the nebulizer is doing it’s job (I’m still giving him the treatments, though only two per day since the cough disappeared – and no steroid!!!). Or it could mean he’s outgrowing the asthma.

I don’t care if it’s one or all three. But I sure hope it’s number three, at least in part. And I hope the magic follows us home.

But even if it doesn’t, thanks Magic Mountain.

Deal of the Day June 29, 2008

Here’s a freebie for you!

Wet Seal women’s clothing boutique is giving away a free Chilosa by Prima J Tank Top while supplies last. No purchase is necessary, but you will need to redeem this printable coupon. Valid while supplies last through 07/03/2008.

Check back tomorrow for another great deal!

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You Know What I Did This Summer – Save Money!

The Life Network is running a Summer Savings Series with articles on how to save this summer. Here’s my entry!

Summer provides its own unique opportunities to save money. This summer is no exception, so I’m hot on the trail of ways to keep cool, and save money.

  1. Taking Son out of Preschool. I’ve been paying $50 per week for a year and a half to send Son to school two mornings per week. Since we’ll spend about a month on vacation this summer we decided to pull Son out of school. We’d already decided to switch him to a new school this August anyway (and under our state’s free Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten program it will be free!), and since we would have had to pay for the four weeks he wasn’t there we thought we’d give him a true summer off.
  2. Planning our vacations to stay with family. Both of the vacations we planned this summer are to visit family. This is a win for us in many ways because we love to visit and spend time with our families, we love the areas where they live (New England and the mountains of North Carolina), and we save by not having to pay for our accommodations. That said, we try to be good guests by paying for meals for everyone, pitching in with chores and projects, and cleaning up after ourselves.
  3. Taking outgrown clothing to consignment. Now that I’m sure we won’t be having any more children (sniff) I finally found a couple of local consignment stores specializing in children’s clothing. I’ve already consigned a large amount of Son’s clothing, and plan to do more. The money we raise will go into our long-term savings, and we get the added bonus of less clutter!
  4. Driving less. Except for our one driving vacation, I’m doing a lot less driving this summer. I’m taking advantage of our community pool, and trying to cut down on my errands. I’m also following my own advice on how to save money on gas.
  5. More cold or barbecued dinners. Salads, sandwiches, corn on the grill. That’s what summer cuisine is all about. If it weren’t for the occasional trips to the ice cream store we’d save even more (Yes, I know we could buy or make it at home, but there’s just something about going to an ice cream parlor and sharing a summer evening in coned camaraderie with fellow connoisseurs…)!

What are you doing to save money this summer?

Deal of the Day June 28, 2008

The Great Summer Sales are beginning!

The Monster Sale at The Children’s Place offers kid’s apparel, shoes, and accessories at prices of $7.99 and under. As if that weren’t enough, they slice an extra 15% off purchases of $75 or more via coupon code MSAT78. Shipping is a flat rate of just $5. Coupon expires 07/05/2008.

Check back tomorrow for another great deal!

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Flummoxed by Finicky Feasters at This Wasn’t In The Plan

I got back from New England on Wednesday and am leaving for the mountains of North Carolina later today. We like to drive overnight so we don’t lose a day. Some say we’re crazy, but it works for us!

My friend Alison over at This Wasn’t In The Plan is on vacation, too. She asked me to write a guest post in her absence, so go ahead over and check out the post I wrote for her, Flummoxed by Finicky Feasters. It’s up today!

While you’re there be sure to cruise her blog, a wonderful mix of recipes and crafts and frugality. If you like it I hope you’ll subscribe to her feed.

Deal of the Day June 27, 2008

What is the quintessential American summer footwear?

The flip flop, of course!

Saturday, June 28th, Old Navy is going to offer their flip flops for only $1 a pair. At that price it would be great to stock up for next summer, even to buy in bigger sizes for the kids…

There are a few restrictions:

  1. Limit 5 pairs per customers.
  2. Solid colored flip flops only.
  3. In-store only.

Go forth and flip! Or flop!

Check back tomorrow for another great deal!

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To Explore the New World of Airline Travel You Need More Than a Map

Am I the only one who’d rather not be nickel and dimed by the airlines?

Even the most seasoned travelers feel like traveling neophytes as they try to keep track of all of the changing rules, regulations and fees the airline industry imposes on daily basis.

It’s a new world, folks, and things are changing minute to minute. Between fees for baggage and food and breathing their oxygen (well, not yet – but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s coming!), it’s increasingly more confusing to do what once required no more thought than whether to bring the black shoes, the brown shoes or both.

Last week Husband drove son and I to the airport for our trip to New England, and before he got Son’s carseat out of the car I’d already experienced a problem.

I had read that Delta was not (yet) charging for a first checked bag. I had checked in online and told them we were checking two bags – 1 large suitcase and the carseat. Apparently I didn’t research enough because I thought the weight limit was 75 lbs, and I’d weighed it at home to make sure it was within limits. They weighed it right at the curb and came up with the same 54 lbs I’d gotten at home, and told me the weight limit was 50 lbs.


Okay, I thought. How much is it for an oversize bag? For $15- $20, I might have just paid it. But no – they wanted to charge me $80 for four extra pounds!

As if. So, I opened the bag and took out a few things. One was my blow dryer, as I can borrow from my sister if I really need to. And it’s summer, so most days I just pull it back in a ponytail or barrette and my fifteen second hairdo is done.

I also slipped one thing into my carry-on bag, which I was loathe to do. My carry-ons were heavy enough. The one bag plus one personal item per person limits are being strictly enforced because of the new fees, so I usually have to finagle to pass muster. I have a large (but acceptable airline size) tote bag that I use so if needed I can put my handbag, laptop and camera equipment inside and still have room for more stuff. The downside is it gets heavy! I didn’t have to worry about finagling this time because there were two of us traveling, so we were allowed 4 items. But of course Son didn’t want to carry any of them…

So, adjust your travel budgets.  And try some of the following:

  1. Pack light. If you’re going somewhere you can do laundry you can really pare it down.  Mix and match wherever possible, be willing to wear your jeans twice, and use all of the space available (why not pack your socks inside your shoes?).
  2. Carry-on only. If you pack light you won’t even have to check a bag.  Just make sure the bag you take on board meets the airline’s size requirements, usually a total of 45 inches!
  3. Wear your bigger, heavier items. On this trip Son and I both wore our sneakers (even though it took an extra moment at security) and jeans and we each carried a sweater.  This makes more room in your carry-on or checked bag, and saves on the weight, too!
  4. Use lightweight luggage. My very good, sturdy suitcase weighs about ten pounds.  If I had a lighter suitcase I would have been able to bring everything I had to take out of my bag.  I’ll be looking for a large nylon duffel bag to use in the future.  And methinks luggage companies are going to be coming out with some nice new lightweight models!

It’s also good to know that they don’t count car seats,  strollers or wheelchairs as baggage for either checked baggage, and they don’t count and diaper bags as carry-on.  There are other exceptions, too, so check your airline’s baggage policy!

I also found this website, where a resourceful guy has promised to quickly update airline fees.

So today you probably won’t be able to bring both the black shoes and the brown shoes, especially if you’re going to need your sneakers, too. Choose one pair, and if the weight of y our bag isn’t a problem make them slip-ons. You’ll get through security quicker…

Deal of the Day June 26, 2008

Tired of paying $15 – $25 for getting your checks printed?

Wal-Mart has now ventured out into the check printing business and is offering many different designs with prices starting at just $5.95 for 150 checks. Also of special interest is their Photo Checks where you can upload a favorite picture of a treasured pet or family member to be printed on your checks. This offer is on-going and is most likely just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to all the services that Wal-Mart will eventually branch out into in their attempt to take over the world.

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Check back tomorrow for another great deal!

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