Monday, November 29, 2010

I love my deals sites!

Hate to let the cat out of the bag but several friends and family will be getting certificates from Groupon, LivingSocial, et al this Christmas. I have been on a real lucky streak in the last couple of weeks - since you can't predict what the deals are going to be, you can't really plan on purchasing them as gifts, but there have been a few that once I got the email I immediately knew who would love it. I am going to have to buy some cards or something to put them in as it's rather hard to wrap a sheet of paper. :) If you have not signed up with a daily deals site, you are missing out, kids! I'm writing an article on them and have found a ton that are awesome.

If you are not a member of these sites you are sorely missing out:

Groupon - almost everywhere!
LivingSocial - also almost everywhere!
Eversave - many cities available and also tons of online stuff, multiple deals per day

These are nice but don't usually have in-your-city stuff, mostly online deals:

Roozt - exclusively online, all eco-conscious stuff!
Jasmere - all online, lovely luxurious stuff that makes great presents!
Mamapedia - great stuff for kids, especially little kids, and great as gifts for moms
Plum District - lots of great online deals plus you get $5 for signing up!
BuyWithMe - in-city deals for an expanding list of cities plus some pretty good online deals.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Getting better

Things have gotten a little better in recent months. Boyfriend has a three-to-six month contract again, but this time at a major bank that isn't known for running out of money and firing its newest employees like the last few places he's worked. Unfortunately there aren't a lot of full time permanent jobs out there - a lot of these places seem to be taking on contract employees to try them out, and potentially offer them positions, but they also seem to use contractors when they aren't sure they'll have any money to pay somebody after three months. It kinda sucks. And my job is getting busier all the time, but I'm on salary so I don't get overtime or anything.

At work we're heading into open enrollment season - this year my company is giving us SIX different medical plan options and giving us several for vision and dental where we used to have just two medical and one vision/dental plan. I'm not sure if this is actually designed to give us choice, or to confuse us into not realizing that the costs have doubled again this year. Since Boyfriend is getting his own health insurance now, I can get something that hopefully will lower my costs, since I'm currently paying about $130 a month for my health insurance and feel like I could do with a more catastrophe-focused plan that would lower my premium. I should go use my vision benefits, actually, but I think my glasses prescription is fine.

In pets news, the only sick animal recently has been the dog, who developed a "lick granuloma" on her paw - basically an infection that occurred because she licked a wound, and the wound healed but the infection didn't. I took her to a new vet on a mystery shop and actually really liked the vet, so we'll be going there from now on. With this mystery shop you can do the same pet at the same location approximately once a year, so hopefully I can get her shots for free. The antibiotics were a little pricey but much less than surgery to remove the granuloma would be, and they seem to be working, so fingers crossed on that. I've been putting all the pet expenses on CareCredit (a 0% veterinary/dental credit card) and you get 3, 6, or 12 months to pay depending on the size of the purchase. I've got to really start paying this down because the 0% periods on several purchases are expiring early next year and I haven't made much of a dent in the older purchases.

I'm hoping to get through Christmas with a $300 budget for gifts - we'll see how that goes. I've been buying gifts on and off through the year at estate sales and with Groupons, so I already have several. I'm also combining forces with Boyfriend, who isn't rolling in it either, so we can buy one present jointly for friends and some family members.

If you're not a MoneyCrashers reader, you should be, since I'm now a writer there! It's been interesting trying to write about things that other people can learn and benefit from, instead of going on whining about how I don't have any money on my blog. ;)

A couple of recent articles that were very popular: Essential Tips for Saving on Plus-Sized Clothes, How I Got My Minimums Reduced, Is a College Degree Valuable without Job Skills?