Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Some Culture and Some Sport

Nobody guessed what we were going to do this weekend.  Actually, nobody even guessed at all.  My mom asked for some hints over on facebook.  I guess I did leave it wide open - it could have been anything.

So, for those of you who have been anxiously anticipating the answer, here's what we did this weekend:
  1. Saturday night we went to a ballet.  We saw the Anderson Young Ballet Theatre's performance of The Nutcracker.  I'm not sure ballet is something we'll make a habit of attending, but it was interesting.  I especially liked watching the little bitty kids.  And the theater itself is really neat.

  2. And Sunday we went to an NFL football game.  We saw the Indianapolis Colts play Houston.  It was fun walking around the stadium and checking everything out.  When it comes right down to it, it doesn't really matter what sport it is - basketball, baseball, football - they're all about the same.  I'm not saying the actual games are the same, but all the silly things to keep fans interested, I guess, are all about the same.  It's crazy, and it's very tiring.  We had a good time, but I was really wiped out by about the 3rd quarter.  There's something about the lights and the constant noise that is really wearing.

So what did you do this weekend?

Monday, December 14, 2015

Bundle and Save

If you're like me, you're always looking for ways to save money.  Have you ever looked at your monthly bills and wondered if there was a way to cut them down?  Why do things like cable television and Internet access have to be so expensive?  There aren't many of us who would be willing to cut those things out of our lives, but there are ways to save on the bill every month.

Computer RepairThe key to saving on your Internet service is to look for phone and Internet bundles that package multiple services together with significant discounts.  It's hard to believe, but sometimes you can get television, Internet, and home phone services bundled together, and it won't cost you much more than it would cost to get just one of those services.  It will definitely cost less than using one provider for cable television, a different provider for Internet, and another one for home phone service.  Companies want all of your business, and they'll usually give significant discounts when you bundle your services and use just one company for all of your needs.

Many companies offer promotional deals to get you to sign up with their services.  While that sounds like a really good deal, be sure to check the length of the promotion and whether you'll be locked into a contract which will require you to pay higher prices after the promotion runs out.  It often ends up being a good deal anyway, when you average the cost of your payments over the length of the contract, but just be aware of when or if your monthly bill will increase and prepare for it.  Our cable and Internet provider offers promotional deals, and when they run out, we have to call to find out what the current promotion is so we can get our discounts back - which my husband needs to do about now to see if we can get our bill lowered again.

If your provider isn't willing to give you the latest promotional pricing when yours runs out, you may want to look into other providers in the area.  It's a crazy game, but most companies offer their promotions to new customers but not necessarily to their current customers.  So, switch providers if you have to in order to get the better prices.  It seems like a pain, but you'll end up getting newer equipment and perhaps some extra movie channels for a while.
Day 308/365: 'Prisonbreak' and 'Heroes' are back!!!
Besides saving some money every month, bundling your services means you'll also have the convenience of only having one bill to deal with.  Oftentimes you can save even more by signing up for paperless billing and automatic payments.  Which, of course, means that once you've got it set up, you don't have to do anything but enjoy your services. 

Until it's time to look at lowering your monthly payments again.

Try Something New

Let's play a guessing game.

Next weekend Jeffrey and I are going to do, not one, but two things that we have never done before.  Who wants to guess what we are going to be doing?  Mom (Ruthie), you are not allowed to guess since Jeffrey already told you.  The rest of you feel free to chime in with your guesses.

I can tell you that we will not be going zip lining - because we already did that last month.  I had been wanting to do that for ages, but Jeffrey wasn't so sure he wanted to do it.  He changed his mind pretty quickly once we got out there.  We had a blast! We are definitely going to have to do that again.

But not next weekend.  Next weekend we are going to do two completely different things.  Get your guesses in now, and I will let you know after the weekend - and see if anyone guesses correctly.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Should You Hire a Professional Cleaner?

CleaningYou may have several surfaces that you need to have cleaned. Should you attempt to clean them yourself? Many people try to avoid the cost of hiring a cleaning company by trying to do the cleaning on their own. However, some jobs are just too big for the average person to handle. Also, some cleaning jobs involve the cleaning of biohazardous materials. Obviously, these items are incredibly dangerous and need to be cleaned up in a very specific way. Otherwise, the health of the people doing the cleaning could be put in jeopardy.
Here are some of the advantages of hiring a cleaning company.
  1. The job will be done right the first time
    You run the risk of not doing the cleanup correctly if you attempt to do it yourself. This can create additional problems at your home or business that could have been prevented if you had simply called a professional cleaning company in the first place. The pros will take a look at the surface that needs to be cleaned. They will then determine what the substance is that needs to be removed. These two pieces of information will allow them to figure out exactly how they will go about cleaning it off. Different substances require different cleaning chemicals to completely remove them.
  2. Many cleaners do not harm the environment
    You might be one of the many people who are concerned about possibly harming the environment with chemicals used in the cleaning process. If this is the case, there are now many professional cleaning companies that exclusively use cleaning products that will not harm the environment. This was not the case 10 years ago. However, the general public has recently expressed a desire to use cleaning products that are safe for the environment and the cleaning industry has responded. Do you need to hire an experienced concrete cleaner? You can get in contact with one by visiting http://actcleaners.com/.
  3. You can avoid contact with dangerous substances
    You may find yourself in a situation where you have potentially harmful substances that need to be cleaned up. This requires much more than your average cleaning chemicals to do the job right. There is a special protocol that must be taken to ensure that all traces of the substances have been removed from the area. There are special cleaning solutions that need to be used to clean substances like feces and medical waste. A cleaning company will know what to do.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Holiday Shopping with Less Stress

ShoppingI used to work retail, so maybe that's why I don't really like shopping.  Any time.  At this time of year I especially want to avoid stores at any cost and only go out if I absolutely need something.  You know I like to save money, but are any of those holiday sales actually worth braving the crowds?

For those of you with mile-long gift lists, the question is - Is it possible to still get something for everyone on your list, without actually having to brave the insanity of holiday shopping?  Nowadays the answer is a great big YES!   Here are some ways to get all of your holiday shopping done with as little stress as possible:
    Airport gift list
  • Shop online.  I know this is probably the most obvious one, but oh, what did we do before we had the Internet?  Not only can you shop at the obvious online retailers like Amazon and Rakuten (formerly Buy.com), you can also order online from most of your favorite stores.  While you're shopping, be sure to check for extra savings, like extra savings with an online coupon code and cash back on your purchase, and you can get an even better deal than you would have if you'd gone to the store.  Most retailers will ship your order for free, whether to you or to your recipient, if your order is over a certain dollar amount, or you can order online and pick it up in the store.  A lot of stores have special parking for customers who order online, and all you'll have to do is run in and get your order.  An advantage to ordering from a physical store is that, should your recipient need to return or exchange the gift, they can do it right at their local store.  No messing with shipping it back and waiting.
  • Make something.  In my case I'd probably bake something.  My daughter Beth loves to crochet, and people love getting a handmade blanket, hat, or scarf.  The key is to use your talents and skills to give someone something they can't, or won't, actually make themselves.  If you're looking for inspiration, Pinterest is a great place to look, and if your gift recipient is also on Pinterest, check to see what he or she is pinning to get an idea of what they might like or want.  I personally pin lots of things I like but would never be able to make myself, and I have a friend who has made me several of them!  There are also sites like Etsy where you can buy handmade items online.  If you don't have the skills or time to make something yourself, you can still give a unique gift, and support the real people who make the things they sell.
  • Gift CardsBuy gift cards.  This may sound a bit impersonal, but as long as you know what restaurant your gift recipient likes to eat in or what store he shops at, you have a gift that is guaranteed to please, and you won't have to brave the crowded retail stores.  Right now many places are offering some special bonuses when you buy gift cards, so not only will you get a gift to give, you'll also get a little something for yourself.  Olive Garden and Steak & Shake are two restaurants that are giving an extra $5 or $10 to you when you buy a certain dollar amount in gift cards.  Our local grocery store sells many different gift cards, and they're giving 4x the fuel points on gift card purchases now, making it really easy to save extra money on gas when purchasing gifts.  There aren't a lot of people buying holiday gifts at the grocery store, so it's pretty safe.
Those are just a few ideas for surviving the holiday shopping season.  I'm sure you have some of your own, so feel free to share.  You might have just the suggestion someone is looking for.  Of course, if you love shopping and the crush of crowds, feel free to disregard all of this and Carry On!