Friday, November 30, 2012

This Is Not A Deal Blog

I consider myself somewhat frugal (says the woman who just spent $300 on a phone*) and I've gotten a little ribbing for this.

I don't usually buy something without price matching it. I am a pain in the ass when it comes to this and I know I've tested my husband's patience more than once because I have to check things.

Frugal doesn't mean cheap. It means smart. I didn't grow up with a ton but we didn't go without because my mom was frugal. She clipped coupons and planned shopping trips and got us things we needed for holidays, not just toys. Most of what I've gotten my son that I've managed to not open and give to him straight away is practical stuff because I know his relatives will be getting him clothes and toys and what have you.

There are sites like that I'll browse but I find that sometimes, people get overwhelmed with "deals" and buy things they don't need. My house is way too small and packed with stuff already. I don't need to wind up on Hoarders clutching a mountain of toilet paper.

I see some people in my life who absolutely suck at finances and I want to help them but I feel it is overstepping my boundaries. Not everyone is comfortable with a financial system. I personally use Microsoft Money and my bank's online banking. That's it. No magic involved. Microsoft Money is free to download as it is no longer supported (*sniff sniff*) and I personally don't use it for anything but balancing my account. It is really handy for categorizing purchases and seeing where your money goes.

I love the "split" option, for example if I order on Wag/Diapers/ and get say, $50 worth of diapers and wipes, $30 worth of cleaning stuff and $50 worth of dog or cat food, I can split the transaction into those three categories.

I also use my PayPal Debit Card for almost every purchase I make. 99.9999% of my purchases are online as my husband pays from our joint bank account. I'm not a fan of credit cards, having fallen into the "trap" at a very young age and spending years digging myself out, so I only use debit cards. I don't like cash because I lose it, but I occasionally have some of that on hand too. The PayPal Debit Card gives me 1% back monthly which isn't a lot, but since I'm feeding in a lot of our household expenditures into it, I get a nice little bonus.

The only trick is matching stuff up - it comes through on my bank as just "PayPal" and sometimes there is a bit of a delay, so I do have to keep on top of it.

I also use sites like Ebates to get more cash back from my usual online shopping places. Unfortunately Amazon doesn't really do cash back year-round but they occasionally do. I'm an Amazon Prime member which means that many items they sell are able to be shipped in two business days. It is $79 a year and paid for itself over and over, especially when I had under the $25 total for "Free Super Saver Shipping".

*Said phone is the Galaxy Note II in white for my husband who requested it even before he knew our carries (Verizon) would be getting it. I saved up and purchased it today for him, it should be here next week and I'll be getting his old-new Google Nexus phone that was ordered a couple months ago after his 3 year old Droid X was "misplaced" at his work.

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