Yup, we are in autumn now. It’s a little cooler and a lot more wet. Fall is typically a little on the dry side here, at least has been for the last few years, so all this rain is wierd. But nice. We are pulling further away from the drought stages the area was in for a while now, and now we have flood warnings all over. Leaves aren’t changing yet, but I figure we’ll notice something in about a week or so. We are in the South after all.
Since I know things are rough for everybody all around, I figured I dedicate this blog to a few things (mostly links) that might help money wise. No guarantee that they will work, as everyone is different, but hey, I know my own family is facing a lot of rough roads financially, especially right now. I will not go into specifics, because frankly if you don’t already know, chances are I don’t want you too for the moment (and if you do know, you are one of a very small handful), but I have been given an impromptu vacation from work. And with the Hubby out of work, it spells disaster with tying to keep our heads up. Thankfully, there is a small, bright light in his financial aid money from school to help with living expenses. But it’s already spoken for and it’s not here, yet *sigh*. So I have been looking up things on the net like crazy, and why not share it with my readers, some of who are family and friends.
Found this little article about Wholesale Clubs interesting. A few counterpoints to it, as I am a SAMs Club member and I love it. I do not enjoy the long lines that you can run into. As many of you know, I have problems with my legs, and somedays I’m lucky I roll out of bed. So the long lines at SAMs really suck. Then I discovered there is a major difference between going on a Friday/Saturday/Sunday versus the rest of the week. A few times I’ve managed to sneak up there after they’ve just opened during the week and managed to not see any lines! So that is something to consider. Also I know we mainly use SAMs for food, dog food (can’t find Vader’s food anywhere else for 12 bucks!) and some household items, plus gas. Gas is typically 5 cents cheaper than everywhere else. Once in a great while it will on par, and one occasion it was more than the RaceWay up the street. I have a friend who is a Costco member and goes in twice a year, and that’s it. She buys up all the paper products and cleaning products she will need. Once and a while she’ll get some office supplies, and there was the time she needed to get stuff for a party and she compared how much she’d spend there compared to Wal-Mart or elsewhere and figured she saved nearly a hundred dollars. And make no mistake, I don’t buy all my groceries there. Where would I put it all??? That and they don’t offer a good selection for diabetics, so that leaves Hubby out. No, we get Milk (always a dollar or more cheaper) and meat. What we don’t get at the butcher’s shop we get at SAMs and always for much better prices. We can get good sized Baby Back Pork Ribs for about $20 and get three racks that are roughly a foot to a foot and a half long. Before we got the reduced lunches at school for the kids we would get their lunch items from there. Spend a total of twenty or thirty and have enough food for their lunches to last a month and a half. So research and check it out. Don’t let articles like that scare you. Wholesale Clubs have their upsides as well as their downsides. And as for electronics, why aren’t you going to Best Buy? You don’t go to Wal-Mart, Target, SAMs, etc for your major electronics. Go to the places that specialize in them. That way you know what you are getting into and don’t get suckered.
We all love our TV. EVERYBODY has a show that we love to watch, even if it just that one show. Have you ever considered turning your PC or laptop into your TV set? This article from the New York Times shows you a few different ways. It helped us out a lot and gave us some ideas till we stumbled across that sweet two year deal with Charter. As always when dealing with a computer, and I’ve seen it time and again, with EVERYONE, if you are not computer savvy, don’t do these things yourself. Make sure you have someone who is, that way you aren’t ruining your PC, spending more money than you really should or just bulloxing the whole thing.We used our XBox 360 to stream a lot of stuff from Netflix’s Instant Watch and even things we downloaded off the net from Amazon and other places (does not work with iTunes, obviously). Hulu is a great place to watch shows online for free. They don’t always have every show out there, but you can always check cable network websites and find a lot of their own shows there. You Tube has been broadening their library to not just user created material. Anime fans should check out Funimation’s Channel.
One sad thing that happens during hard economic times is the animal abandonment. It reaches high on the charts and just in my neighborhood alone I’ve seen a big increase in strays. Don’t think you cannot afford your pet. It is possible to take care of them for very little money. If you’ve read this blog or caught me other places, or hell even know me, you know I have six animals, and yes, we are able to take care of them and ourselves. It’s not easy, and yes they have made sacrifices as well. They don’t get the high priced dog food or all the extra kitty treats they used to. And though we don’t go to the vet regularly, we do make sure their medical needs are taken of. And it is possible to do. Believe it or not, PetsMart is a good place to find food, and a lot of the times it will be cheaper than Wal-Mart offers. On average I pay 70 cents a can for Cujo’s food at PetsMart, when at Wal-Mart it will 85 or higher. Vader’s food we’ve found in a case of 24 cans for under $12 at SAMs. And the cats, I get them their food at PetsMart for at least $2-3 cheaper than Wal-Mart everytime, for the really big bags of dry food. Also, if your puppy or kitty has a sensitive tummy or you want to go green with animal food, try Whole Foods Market. We found a nice variety of canned foods at 75 cents a can and Vader loved it! And no problems from him. Cujo is picky in his old age, so it didn’t go over well with him.
Vet costs are a big issue for people. I know. I have six of them, and three are in old age and two of them are not in the best of shape. Plus there is Vader’s knee. This is where a lot of research comes in handy, as well as talking to a vet to find out fact from truth. And you don’t have to go to a high priced one either. Do you have a Tech College where you live? A lot of them will have a Vet Sci department that will help you with your vet needs for a lot less than what the local vet charges. A LOT less. And I’ve seen them sometimes do the care for free, just so the students get the experience they need. And don’t worry, the teacher (who is a licensed vet) is standing over them, making sure everything is done right. And often times, these Vet Sci programs will have access to certain things that some vets don’t have or waaaayyyyy overcharge for. It does not hurt to call them and see just what they have. Also, have you ever driven by certain supermarkets or even Wal-Mart and seen the signs for pet vaccinations? Most charge $7 per animal now and you can have the rabies and other shots taken care of, no hassle, and it’s legit. These same places often offer limited specialized vet services that are handy for elderly people or those that are seriously bad off. We had Tux fixed by these people and we were happy for the service. What would have run us well into $200 or more, we paid $56. They also threw in her shots and a quick check up and gave us all kinds of places to contact that would be real cheap should she need ER care within the first 24 hours of her surgery.
Here’s a big one for pet owners: medicine for your beloved animal. A few years ago one of my nieces stumbled across this lovely website, and I’ve found it to be much, much better than PetMeds and all the others. The only thing I don’t like is the fact you can wait two to three weeks before you get the stuff, but at a flat rate shipping cost and offering cheaper prices than all the others, especially the vet, I think I’ll live. You don’t even need a prescription from the vet to get the stuff, which with it being in Australia is a good thing. But we have gotten our flea treatments from there (which is good, since two of them are allergic) and we’ve gotten other meds from there at a hefty discount. I’m not kidding. We spend on average, every four months on all six, $150 for the flea treatments. I once went to 1800PetMeds, and had to step away from the computer. Almost three hundred and that was before the shipping! And when Vader runs out of his medicine for his knee, we can get it from PetSuppliesNet for $20 less than the vet and everyone else. Plus, they have this thing where you get ‘rewards’ for buying there. Basically what it is, you spend your money and then you have a small percentage of that to go towards reducing your next order’s bill. I think I have about $11 waiting around on me right now. Not alot, but when you need to save money, every penny counts.
Back to tech colleges. These are wonderful places, and I know they aren’t the only colleges that do it either. But the next time you need a hair cut, some dental work, and a slew of other things that you need done and don’t have a lot of money, call them up and see just what they might offer. You’d be surprised. Local beauty schools offer discount haircuts, and I heard of one that did the same for nails and other services. I know, I know, they don’t know what they are doing and I’ll look horrible. Not so in a lot of cases. The teachers are right there (as with the Vet Sci) and they don’t just let a brand new student do it. You also need to communicate what it is you are looking for and make sure it is clear. ou can even get some of the work done on your car at a few of them. And some even sponsor or are affiliated with health clinics and they can point you there to help you with your own medical needs.
So it certainly pays to do a little research into your local area and see just what it is you can save money on. I know our most recent and best find was through a local gas station that partnered with a local grocery chain. For every $50 we spend at the store is 5 cents off our gas bill. And it accumulates. You don’t loose it and I’ll tell you, it was nice paying ten cents less than everybody else for our gas. Yes, it means having a store card, but we already do a lot of shopping there and the gas station is on Hubby’s way to school, so we don’t have to change any of our habits, at all. Which is nice. Especially since gas prices are still up where nobody likes them.
Well, I hope you all get something out of this. If I can help someone out by sharing this stuff then good. If it gave you an idea or something, then great. If not, sorry. This stuff is not designed for everybody. I know some areas weren’t hit too hard when the economy tanked, mine was one of the harder hit (but not the worst), so I’ve seen a lot and discussed it heavily with many people. At work we typically do stuff like this. If one finds out a great sale or bargain, we automatically let the rest know and it spreads. So I hope you all are doing well, that you are all healthy and having some fun with your life. I’m off to get dinner started and to sweep and mop the kitchen, then it’s time for Heroes! Yup, from 8-10PM tonight I will be ignoring the phone (you better be dying!) so I can hopefully see Heroes newest season recapture some of the magic from the first season. From what I’ve seen, they have a shot at it, as long as they proceed carefully. So later all!