Archive for January, 2009

Hooked on McPhonics
January 27, 2009

Last night was Free Movie Monday, so today is take-movie-back-Tuesday.  I usually get my free movie at the McFastFood near my house.  This caught my eye as I was pulling into the fine establishment.

mcphonics

I understand when sometimes sign owners must make do with what they have on hand.  For example, using a “5” in place of an “S” or turning an “M” upside for a “W”, but this is fantastic-ness beyond words!

I love my neighborhood.

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Year of the Ox
January 26, 2009

Happy Chinese New Year!

As per my tradition, I always get Chinese food on Chinese New Year.  And this year is no different.  I love take-out from little places in strip malls.   Why do those always have the best Chinese take-out?  My favorite place in town is China Dragon on West End.  I used to live around the corner and still love it!  Tonight’s new year’s fare…steamed mixed vegetables with garlic sauce and their yummy crab rangoon!  I even have a little bit left for lunch tomorrow.

chinese2

How will it turn out?
January 20, 2009

I have been on hold for more than 30 45 minutes.  I am waiting for a supervisor, but they thank me for my patience.  Yeah, right.

I got my Comcast bill today.  I was eagerly anticipating the lower bill since I’ve bragged about switching to the cheaper internet service.  But for some reason, my bill was a little more than last month.  How odd?  Not really, they charged me a service call! $30 for a service call?! (more than half of my bill!)  A couple weeks ago, I called and reported a problem I’ve had for a while; noise and background pictures (ghosting) on my local channels.  The service tech waited until after dark to show up.  He unhooked and rehooked up the cable, but never crawled under the house (where my cable set up really is).  I still had the problem.  He said, “there’s nothing I can do, it’ll get fixed when the digital switch happens.”  I figured he just didn’t want to crawl under the house in the dark and in the cold.  (sorry you waited until the end of my 3 hour timeframe to show up, but that’s not my problem!)  Essentially the guy told me there was nothing he could do to fix it.  Hence…No Service.

Recently, the local station that has the most trouble with ghosting held a test run and shut off their analog signal.  Guess what?  The problem wasn’t fixed.  In fact, it was worse!

Now, they are telling me that it warranted a service call charge, because supposedly the tech replaced some splitter.  I was never informed of a replacement of anything or of any charges.  Now, I’m still waiting on hold for a supervisor.  If this charge can’t be dropped, I guess I’m dropping cable (and my cheaper internet service).  My picture is much better on the digital box anyway.

So, now it’s a waiting game.  How long will they keep me on hold?  Will they drop the charge?  Will I drop my cable?

Stay tuned…I’ll give you results after these brief messages from our sponsors.  We appreciate your patience…

Update: After spending a total of 55 minutes on the phone (a large portion of which on hold!), I finally was connected with a supervisor.  I gave my soliloquy on the ridiculousness of paying $30 for a no-service service call.  The polite woman on the other end said she’d credit my account with the amount of the service call.  I will check back in a couple days to see if it actually happened and then gladly pay my bill, sans service charge.  So, for now, I still have my 12-ish channels of cable and cheap internet.

Deal huntin’
January 19, 2009

This past week I did some successful deal hunting.  First I hit up the overpriced brand name big box department store that’s closing here at the already dead mall.  They are closing a few throughout the country, including one such retailer here.  Although the prices are generally marked up and the clearance was almost entirely only 30% off, I managed to get a sweater, a sweater dress, 2 sweater coats, 4 pairs of shoes, 6 pairs of funky socks, a necklace and 2 pairs of earrings for around $200!  Quite a haul if I say so myself.  It is worth the trip to find the things that are either 50% off or are already marked down plus an additional % off.

I also visited this local news station’s website in search of a particular news nugget, when I came across this page.  Talk about great deals!  In particular, I found a set of 2-$25 gift cards for $25 for my hair salon.  So, I bought two pairs!  In case you’re keeping track, that’s $100 (that I will spend anyway) for $55! (including shipping)  That’s free money folks!!  And as I’ve already admitted, I do pay a pretty penny to coif, but it’s totally worth it – and now I do it with free money!  Thank you news station!!!  And you better believe I’m going to check it often for more fabulous (free money) deals!

And finally, this one is actually from a couple weeks ago, but too good not to share.  The first Saturday of the month at Goodwill is 50% off everything in the store.  This month I just happened to stop by and came across this gem, marked only $19.99!! Which means it was only $10!!!

stand

stand-close

Though I’m not in love with the color, I can afford to spend some time with a little black spray paint.  It’s in fabulous condition and I’ve always wanted my own really nice music stand that isn’t preceded by the word “wire,” but I always thought I’d have to shell out at least $50-$100!  Once I master the spray paint job (and it warms up here), I’ll post the pictures.  Maybe I’ll even pull out the bassoon and soak a few reeds!!

Frugal Sally
January 6, 2009

funny pictures

Sally is taking steps for a more prosperous year (read, once again perfecting her frugal side) and wants to share her economic plan.

As I reported yesterday, I called Comcast and switched to their budget internet service.  They won’t tell you that they have a cheaper version of their internet service, but if you call and ask for it, they will gladly set you up.  It’s a slightly slower speed, but so far, I don’t notice much of a difference in my internet connection and look forward to my new bill. I also decided to save some money and put in some elbow grease.  We’ll see how long this lasts, but it’s true, Sally will no longer pay a service for home cleaning.  I really despise house cleaning, but there’s got to be a cheaper way and one that’s a little more thorough.  I also decided to extend the time between my hair cut appointments.  I acknowledge that I am probably a little bit more extravagant in this department, but I do get great entertainment with my fabulous hairdresser.  However, if I add in at least another 3-4 weeks between appointments, I’m cutting out up to the expense of 2 whole appointments a year, which is a nice little bit of change.

Here are some other tips that I actually started last year, but plan to continue.  When the weather’s good I try to walk or bike to work as often as possible.  I save on gas, help the environment, and get a little extra exercise.  I also take advantage of Free Movie Monday.  Redbox (you know, those little red kiosks outside the golden arches and inside grocery stores) will send you a text message with a code on Mondays for a free movie rental if you give them your cell phone number.  I know the movies are usually only a dollar plus tax, but hey this way I get free entertainment while my Neflix movies are in the mail from the weekend.  Besides it’s a great opportunity to try out a potentially bad movie without wasting any money.  Another obvious one is bringing my lunch to work  and trying to limit my eating out at lunch to once a week.  It also helps me eat healthier.  Finally, I have been trying to sign up for eBilling whenever possible either through my bank or through the actual company sending me a bill.  Not only am I saving a stamp (and in one case getting a discount on my loan interest rate), but I’m also helping the environment by choosing to receive bills electronically rather than in the mail.

What are your planned budget cuts this year?

P.S. many thanks to Abby Cat for the use of her lolcat image!  Please vote for her lolcat here!

What a day!
January 5, 2009

Well, the holidays are officially over (for now). The first day back to work for a full week’s grind went fairly well and proved productive. Once home, full on pasta, and entertained from Free Movie Monday, I decided to finally tackle my bills and finances. Yeah…should have gotten to that sooner. But not too many crises that couldn’t be averted. This task took longer than I planned, but I also managed to cut down on two of my monthly expenses. Note to Comcast subscribers…they don’t tell you this unless you ask, but they have a ‘discount internet’ rate that is 1 Mbps as opposed to 6 Mbps and a little bit cheaper. I’ll let you know if I notice any difference in speed, but I honestly don’t use the internet at home as much anymore.

After spending a couple hours in front of the computer, organizing finances, setting up filing, and making payments, I finally relaxed and checked some email and read blogs before bed. That’s when I noticed it…

Hooter is back!

I have an owl that lives in my favorite old tree in my backyard. I usually hear him in the summer and fall. But as I sit here, I hear the distinctive…

“Who…Who…Who!”

All is calm in Sally’s world again!

Happy New Year
January 1, 2009

So, my horoscope yesterday actually had great advice.  It suggested writing a letter to yourself to be read in one year.  It asks you reflect on the past year, particularly what you have accomplished and are thankful for.  It also asks you to write what you want to happen in the new year.  I thought this was a great exercise, even though I usually avoid feel-good hoopla like this.  But given the rollercoaster ride that was last year and Sally’s new outlook on life, I think I actually have something to add.

After spending quite some time as a lady of leisure, I managed to finally snag a job, which eventually led to what I believed was a dream job.  I made the most of it and proved my strong will and endurance, but more importantly I proved that I knew what was best for me.  Happily I eventually ended up with a better job that has restored Sally’s sanity, freedom, and confidence.  It has proved to be a brilliant move.

I eventually made a much needed, but loving, parting with a long-time friend.  Once again, Sally was able to finally experience some freedom without truly losing what I already had.  It also allowed me to have some fun and pushed me to make a brave move outside my comfort zone.  I have discovered new things and definitely have some great stories to share.

Now, I have decided that with all the ups and downs of last year and recoveries I’ve made that I have a new plan…

I am going to own 2009!!

I am going to take it on, make it mine, and get more out of it than I could ever imagine.  Look out new year….2009 belongs to Sally!!