Friday, December 31, 2010

CouponMountain and Toys for Tots

Here's a good deed you can do with a click of your mouse if you have a Facebook account. CouponMountain is donating money to Toys for Tots, and the amount will be determined by the number of Facebook fans they have on Dec. 31. They’re going to give $1 for every fan (up to $50,000).

There's just one day (today!) to meet the goal of 50,000 fans, so if you have a Facebook account, skip on over there and go to CouponMountain page and click on the "Like" button. Pass it on to your friends there, too. It's for a good cause.

CouponMountain was one of the first of its kind on the internet. I wrote about them 'way back when they first started because I was impressed with the way they implemented the concept of providing just about every coupon and good deal there is out there.  I'm still impressed by their service, so when they asked me to let you know about their Toys for Tots drive, I was more than happy.

And, nope... I don't get anything for saying this, except a good feeling.

Monday, December 27, 2010

New Year Clean

I said I wouldn't post again until after Christmas, then I did, didn't I? That's because I had scheduled that post and forgot about it. Old age and all that....

Anyway, here we are. Christmas has come and gone and the New Year is right ahead. I always have the urge to clean house this time of year. I mean, really clean. As in throwing out things and giving away things. It's become a tradition to start cleaning out drawers and cabinets and shelves the day after Christmas.

I don't often stop to think about it, but there's a reason for it. Cleaning out drawers and shelves shows me what I've wasted time and money on. Things I thought I wanted, things I saved to "do something with," things I was going to fix some day. Projects left over from last winter. Clothes that no longer appeal. Gadgets that I never found truly useful. You know what I mean.

When it's all cleaned out (I'm not through yet!), there will be such a feeling of relief, of freedom - and I will resolve, once again, to not clutter my life with things that are not important.

One of these years I will get it right.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Give yourself permission...

On and after Christmas Day, give yourself permission...

to not pick up the Christmas wrapping right away. It will wait until the coffee has been sipped, the gifts admired again, the comments and questions and laughter has been savored.

to take a nap on Christmas afternoon.

to do something just to please someone else whether you want to or not. Remember that it's a choice you can make.

to eat another serving of dessert. Christmas only comes once a year and you won't sabotage your diet by overeating just a little one time.

to buy that thing you really want if you didn't get it for Christmas.

to stop and watch the snow falling or the sun shining or the grass growing. What you have to do will still be there 10 minutes from now.

Above all, give yourself permission to remember and to think and to reflect on what Christmas means to you and what it offers to the whole world, whether the whole world celebrates it or not.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

10 Places to Find Free Holiday Craft and Gift Ideas

The holidays can make us forget that we are trying to be frugal. But the truth is that you don't have to spend a lot of money to see your loved ones smile. With some time and a few dollars, you can craft a homemade gift that will be just as nice--if not better--than anything you can buy from a store. Home made gifts are considered more thoughtful and are almost always more appreciated. The following sites will help you create a gift for everyone on your shopping list.

Disney Family Fun - This Disney site offers a wide range of last-minute gift and craft ideas for kids. Instructions are also available for homemade decorations, cards, ornaments, party supplies, recipes, and printables.

Martha Stewart - Martha Stewart's official site provides tons of craft and gift ideas for men, women, kids, babies, and pets. Other offerings include personalized gift ideas, bath and spa gifts, hostess gifts, and stocking stuffers.

Better Homes and Gardens - Better Homes and Gardens offers tons of holiday craft, gift, and recipe ideas. You can also get tips on tree decorating, card making, and more.

Family Crafts - This site offers hundreds of homemade craft and gift ideas, crafting tips and tutorials, and creative recipes. Other site features include a regularly updated blog and discussion forum.

Kaboose Crafts - Kaboose Crafts provides a holiday craft gallery as well as a homemade card gallery. If you can’t find what you're looking for in the galleries, you can use the site's craft finder search engine.

The CRAFT Blog - You can find new gift ideas on CRAFT magazine's popular blog each day. Postings include pictures, videos, instructions, tips, and more.

Craftown - An online craft resource since 1999, Craftown features instructions and pictures of more than 1,000 crafts. Other site resources include a learning center, article library, forums, and a newsletter.

Dollar Store Crafts - This unique site focuses on crafts that can be made from dollar store purchases. Craft ideas are available in the $1, $5, and $10+ range.

CraftyPod - CraftyPod is both a blog and a podcast. Topics focus on craft-related tips and techniques. The site also provides videos and tutorials.

All Free Crafts - This no frills site offers more than 1,200 homemade craft, decoration, and gift ideas. Categories include holiday crafts, candle crafts, kids' crafts, jar gifts, and green crafts.

Guest post from Bailey Harris. Bailey typically writes on finance, insurance, and related topics for the Car Insurance Blog.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

What they're not telling us about inflation

I enjoy reading Gary D Halbert's weekly enewsletter because he always has something to think about.

Part of what he was talking about this week caught my attention. At least I know I'm in good company:

""Let’s face it, how can inflation be only 1.2% over the last year when we’ve seen the prices of many commodities rise sharply?  On average, our basic food costs have increased by almost 50% over the last year (as measured by wheat, corn, oats, and canola prices).   Beef and pork prices are up almost 40% over the last year.  Cotton prices are up over 50%.  Your morning cup of coffee with a little sugar has risen by around 35% since last October."

Yes, let's face it. Food prices are soaring, and cotton clothing will soon. It's not a good situation, money-wise and the immediate future does not look rosy.

And "they" tell us that inflation is low? It's an interesting discussion that you might want to read for yourself:

Inflation Coming Sooner Rather Than Later