Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Watching the Ivy Grow

Today the Ivy League Universities posted their admissions lists - I suppose other universities and colleges did as well, although it was our experience that everyone else sent their letters out a week to 10 days earlier.

This has definitely been an interesting experience - and quite different from my own college application process. I don't think I applied to anything else but the University Of California system - I didn't really have much choice either financially or academically. I must say though, I am quite happy with my education and I was far to big a goof-off in high school to have deserved an Ivy League education. Better it went to somebody who worked their tail off or is particularly talented in some area.

My daughter, of course, had to rebel - like most teenagers do in one way or another - and thought nothing of applying to all the snobby east coast schools with bad gardeners. Well not quite all, only six of them and now she has gone and gotten herself accepted into two of them.

How can this be? This means she will probably want to go to one of them. After I recovered from the shock and awe of what my little girl had just managed to pull off, I could not help but notice that one of the most blatantly obvious traits of these east coast schools is that they are, in fact, located on the east coast and are definitely not in California.


It is not fair that we Californians get stuck with Stanford as our only snobby east coast school. Although they are snobby enough to count for at least two or three additional east coast schools.


To the mothers of next year's crop of wide-eyed geniuses, I can only offer this advice: Be careful what you wish for - you just might get it.


PS: Harvard, Princeton, Yale - you are most definitely now on my S%#T list.

PPS: This site predicted the outcome correctly of every last one of the schools where my daughter applied - I think it was 12 all together. I am not sure yet what to conclude from that.

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Monday, March 30, 2009

Retro Housewife Survival Guide - Get Organized

Hello, I am the Retro Housewife and I am a slob. Well, maybe slob is too harsh, but I am unorganized. I know this, have accepted it and am doing something about it. Little by little - baby steps that will become, I hope, great big organized giant steps.

Right now, my organization attempts come in fits and starts - literally. I have a fit and then I and everybody within earshot starts organizing. Or Else.

I was supposed to drive up to the mountains today to inspect our house - our nice Peruvian girls have returned home and I need to send them their security deposit. Well, I am not in the car driving. The months bills are still spread out over the floor of my little office and I have the sneaking suspicion that I have not paid them all because I have noticed some of the utility bills that just arrived have gone from snowy white to an annoying shade of pink - as if somebody were trying to tell me something.

So today's project is to develop a system for handling monthly bills in a timely, organized fashion.
  1. First I retrieved my little 3 drawer Rubbermaid filing cabinet, got rid of the Legos that had been occupying the top drawer and the wooden train set that was in the middle drawer. (I inherited my little 3 drawer Rubbermaid filing cabinet from my kids when they became too old to play with Legos or wooden train sets. And by getting rid of I mean I transferred the contents to a 2nd similar, Rubbermaid filing cabinet then squirted soap over the Legos and train set and ran hot water into the plastic draws to clean them. The Legos are in the kids' bathtub soaking in hot soapy water this very minute. Then I washed out the two drawers I plan on using for my monthly bill organizing scheme.)
  2. Then I got a wet rag and wiped down the skeleton of my new, 100% mine, Rubbermaid filing cabinet. Now it is clean and ready to be the backbone of project bill-pay.
  3. Next I labeled the top drawer "PAY" - I will stick all unpaid bills in this drawer as they arrive - and I labeled it because I have tried this once before but I forgot which drawer/shelf/cubbyhole I had designated as the unpaid bill receptacle, which pretty much doomed me from the start.
  4. The middle drawer I labeled "FILE" so that I can stuff the paid bills in there to be filed later - if need be. This drawer is a compromise - it takes into account my occasional slacker nature - and the fact that I would rather do almost anything than file things. It is easy to just open the drawer and toss in my already paid bills. The most important thing is that they do not hang out with the bills that still need to be paid - because then I get confused, it makes the task look larger and more ominous than it is and it becomes more likely that I forget one or six. It's an honesty drawer.

  5. Hanging File Folders
    The bottom drawer is the largest and contains all my active file folders, suspended in green hanging file folders. Similar to the picture on the left - Office Depot® Brand Recycled File Foldersexcept that mine are boring green and not happy orange. I don't need to label this drawer because its purpose is obvious, even to me!

Follow Up On My Organizing Project: I am failing miserably even though I have such a great system. The problem is my bills depress me, so I ignore them for as long as possible. If I ignore them, how can I sort them and organize them into their proper places? If I had more money to pay our bills, then I would be much better and very organized. I have a theory that rich people are very organized, because it must be such a joy for them to pay their bills on time and not have to ignore them. June 5th, 2009.

The Daily Coupons:
  1. Kmart coupon code: $5 off $50 for Father's Day on Apparel, with coupon code: KMART5OFF50 Exp. 6/22/09

  2. Sears coupon code: $5 off $50 in Tools Sears Coupon Code: SEARS5OFF50 exp. January 30, 2010!

  3. Get Organized coupon: 15% off ALL products to help you get ready for summer in your home, office or lawn at Get Organized. exp. 6/30/2009

  4. Organize.com coupon code: $5 Off $75 Purchase at Organize.com (Coupon code: a5129) no expiration - at least none given!

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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Musings On Banana Republic

Is it not a bit strange that, given today's fanatical political correctness, Banana Republic the clothing store has somehow escaped the ire of the Banana Republic community here in the US? Not that this is something I look forward to - I mean, "Banana Producing and Exporting Nation Textile Retailer" just wouldn't be as catchy.


Banana Holder - Chrome by Spectrum®"Yes we have no bananas"

PS: Isn't somebody going to come along and scold me for being so incredibly culturally insensitive? Shame on me!


Friday, March 27, 2009

Retro Housewife Survival Guide - Coupons

I am so glad it's Friday - Just wanted to post a few coupons - That's all folks!


Daily Coupons:
  1. Carole Wright Gifts coupon code: 15% Off $40 Order, Carol Wright Gifts, April Coupon Code CWSHOW
  2. Dr. Leonard's Healthcare coupon code: 15% Off $40 Order, Dr. Leonard's, April Coupon Code DLSHOW Ends May 5th
  3. Militaryclothing.com coupon code: (Lots of practical stuff even if you are not in or shopping for somebody in the armed forces.) STIMULUS PACKAGE 18% OFF Sale at MilitaryClothing.com. Click and use the coupon code: STIM4 at check out. April 1st - 14th

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Retro Housewife Survival Guide - Saving Money and Making Do.

We have about $100 in our checking account right now. In fact, we usually only have about that much once the bills are paid. I still have 6 credit cards on my list, that I am working on. The next card to go will be Chase. There is less than $200 on that card now and I have decided to pay them off in $20 increments. That is my own personal brand of revenge for charging 29% interest. I figure it'll cost them a few cents here and there to send themselves a check every time I send them $20.00.

I could kick myself for racking up the debt - I know better than that - but I did it anyway. Spilled milk. Just going to pay it off.

I buy everything with coupons now - I remember seeing a report on TV or maybe I read it somewhere - about a woman who is so good at using coupons she often walks away without paying anything. (Legally - she's not stealing) I still haven't figured out how that is possible - paying much less, that I see - but the coupons I get are always $1 off this or 2 for one - but you still have to pay something!

Oops - there are the coyotes! Boy do they make a racket - and sound pretty scary, too. Maybe we'll go chase them later. Hey - It's FREE!

Daily Coupons
  1. Grocery coupons: "Delivering quality meat, seafood and produce right to your door!" Shop Vons.com today and save $12.95. This is for free delivery - but it is free to sign up and then you can print in-store coupons. They make you install a piece of software that makes it so you can only print to a printer - not to a file etc. But I installed it and it seems harmless enough.
  2. Vons.com: Chill Out at Home Spend $25 or more on participating frozen food items in a single transaction and get a $10 reward. Valid until 3/31 Examples of items valid for this offer: Hawaiis Own Passion Fruit Orange Juice - 12 Fl. Oz. club price: 10 for $10 - seems like a deal + lots of club pricing on Frozen Pasta+Safeway Calcium Enriched Orange Juice Safeway Calcium Enriched Orange Juice - 12 Fl. Oz. 2 for $4.00 and 16 oz 2 for $5.00Dreyer's Ice Cream 2 for 1.
  3. Here's a good one: Dreyer's Ice Cream 2 for 1! Safeway Club Price: BUY ONE GET ONE FREE (offer valid for deliveries on or before - 03-31-2009) - add 2 for offer
  4. Printable coupons this week: SAVE $.50 Challenge Dairy, SAVE $1.00 Kellogg's, SAVE $.35 Pillsbury, SAVE $.50 La Victoria, Save $1.00 V8, $1.00 OFF Safeway Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, 4 lb. Package with Card & Coupon., $3.00 OFF waterfront BISTRO™ Colossal Sea Scallops, 24 oz. with Card & Coupon.
  5. Kmart CouponHere's a Kmart Coupon Code: Kmart Welcome Coupon Code $5 off $50 Online Coupon code KWELCOME628 Ends 4/18 (I think the little blue guy Kmart has on that ad is cute.)
  6. Kohls: Free Shipping when you spend $100 I like shopping at kohls - have found some great stuff - especially for the kids and around the home. Must buy when they have a free shipping offer, though!
  7. Skechers: (Shoes kids like - teen type kids) Get 40% off select SKECHERS boots and more click and use the coupon code SALE40!
  8. Finally, Lands End Free Shipping coupon code: Enter the Promotion Code APR14 and the PIN 00009432 in the space provided. ends 4/14/09

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Public Service Post

Ditch the Plastic Bag - Choose the reason that suits you, and run with it!

Did I cover everyone? Good. Have a nice day!


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Ha Ha Get This! My Kid's Sick! Featuring Perky Juju

Back when I was a 2J1 working mother, I used to spend a fair amount of time commuting and driving up and down the state of California. It was while I was on these longer trips that I would listen to Dr. Laura - mostly because for some reason her show was the only thing that my radio picked up in parts of the California boonies.

I wasn't very fond of her, and at times she really pissed me off - mostly when she started ragging on 2Js (like me). At the same time, deep down, I knew she was right and that pissed me off even more. Well, suffice it to say, I have changed my mind about good old Dr. Laura and Kudos to her for getting on the radio and making types like me mad.

So this morning I tuned her in as I was making a quick run to the grocery store. Her topic was a certain perky Juju Chang of ABC and her recent video blog entry titled The Fix: Juggling a Sick Child. When I got home, I watched perky Juju discuss report on yack about the "Classic mommy dilemma" of where to dump your child when he or she has a fever.

Her options were:
  1. Give the kid some Tylenol and hope the school nurse doesn't call (hee hee)
  2. Fob the kid off on friends or relatives (hahahahah)
  3. Bring the kid to work (giggle)
  4. (D) All of the above
Her answer was (D) all of the above. She then scrunched up her eyebrows for 3.4 seconds to indicate the seriousness of this topic, quoted some idiotic statistics and that was that. Nice, light-hearted piece with lots of fancy camera action and edited down to the minimum to demonstrate how faced paced perky Juju's life is, and just how gosh darn important she is.

The thing is, perky Juju is just that important! But not to me, and probably not to 99.99999% of America. The only person in the world that measures her importance as highly as she does is that little boy in the video. To him, she is everything.

So it hurts a bit to watch her asking her son to "cough for the camera" although I guess I should be grateful his ailment isn't accompanied by projectile vomiting. And I kind of resent perky Juju's co-conspiratorial tone about "the other mothers complaining" when she sends her sick child to school to infect the other kids - so that she won't be hindered in the pursuit of her career.

What a crock. Make no mistake, this is not a Mommy issue. This is an ego issue. Perky Juju is telling you that she doesn't mind imposing on others when the need arises - that she is more important than you, while trying to pass it off as some higher-cause "feminist" issue. Perky Juju is just plain selfish. Notice she didn't even mention forking over some of her busy, career woman dough to hire a sitter or a nanny.

I call BS, perky Juju.


1 (2J = Job + Job, I am hereby doing away with "working mother" meaning working outside the home, because as any mother can tell you, raising kids and looking after a family is a full time job - I am open to suggestions on the 2J thing)

Special Advertising Section - Dedicated to Perky Juju!

Find the best local babysitters at Sittercity.com
  1. Need a babysitter?
    Sittercity has babysitters in your area.
    Sign-up to find the perfect sitter!
  2. Sittercity coupon code: 10% off promo code: SCSAVE10 10% Off Sitter City Promo Code Extended Through 6/30

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Monday, March 23, 2009

Retro Housewife Survival Guide - Quality vs. Quantity

Should you pay a little or even a lot extra to get quality? It depends on how much you use the item in question, whether there are costs associated with the use item, how much replacement vs. repair costs and how long you plan on keeping the item.

I have a little story about 2 dishwashers, both made by GE or General Electric, one around 2003 and the other around 1983. So about 20 years apart. The new GE dishwasher came with our new house and is the biggest hunk of junk on the planet. It cleans nothing unless it is washed beforehand and started falling apart the first year we moved in. The top rack wheels fell off, so the rack sags and has to be lifted and pulled out to load it. The rubber seals are cracking and falling off and if there is any food left on the dishes it gets caught in the screen and sits there. I hate this dishwasher. It wastes water due to the fact that all dishes must first be rinsed completely, and I am constantly running around telling my family members to SOAK THEIR DISHES!

Now the 1983 GE dishwasher is a powerhouse. It came with our cabin in the mountains and I verified that it was in fact the original dishwasher, and was built in in 1983. First, there is the obvious fact that the dishwasher is still working 26 years later - in a house that served the previous owners as a rental unit - (think groups of gung-ho skier types using the dishwasher for 26 years). Second, it actually cleans dishes and without washing them before they get loaded into the dishwasher. It is a power hog, but I don't care - it gets the job done and can deal with disposing of food remains on its own, so that when I open the dishwasher after a cycle, both the dishes and the dishwasher are spanking clean. I love my 1983 GE dishwasher.

Back then, it probably cost a lot more compared to what my 2003 dishwasher did today- there were simply no cheap appliances. But, they were intended to last, and last they did. My 2003 dishwasher needs to be replaced - and will be as soon as we can afford to buy a decent dishwasher. I want a Miele or a Bosch. These days, it doesn't come into my house if it isn't German. They cost more, but they are built like they used to be built in America. I had a Miele when I lived in Munich (a skinny little thing) but it was quiet and it cleaned dishes. Good qualities in a dishwasher.

Some Stores For Quality Shopping and the Daily Coupons:
  1. Orvis coupon: FREE 18" x 27" Leaf or Grid Pattern mat with the purchase of any two Water Trapper Mats (any size/st
  2. Orvis coupon: 30% OFF UNIQUE DEALS
  3. Orvis coupon: $20 OFF COZY SLIPPERS
  4. Orvis: For your bow-wow-woof woof: big fat savings on DOG BEDS & ACCESSORIES
  5. Maryland Square coupon code: (Shoes) 20% Off All Orders! Click and enter coupon code: SAVE20 at check out. Promotion ends March 29, 2009 at 11:59 p.m. CST (got that one out of their newsletter...)
  6. Bosch DishwasherBosch Appliance rebate: Bosch $1,000 Visa Prepaid Card rebate! I found this rebate at AJ Madison - and here is an aj madison coupon code: Save $50 off every order over $1999! Use coupon code: XE61S808 (on www.ajmadison.com). Here is another aj madison coupon code: Save $20 off every order over $999! Use coupon code: 46JZ5K5A And one more! Save $5 off every order over $499! Use coupon code: 8AE6QVT7
  7. Lands' End coupon code:
    20% OFF - MOST EVERYTHING! Enter the Promotion Code SPRINGTIME and the PIN 5926 in the space provided.

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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Retro Housewife Survival Guide - Understand

Hello Out There!

I have a question for you. Why do you think Mexico is a 3rd world country and the United States isn't? Are Mexicans genetically inferior to Americans? Are they born with smaller brains? Are we just plain better?

The answers to the last 3 questions are No, No, and No. At least I have never seen any evidence of this, and I would be highly skeptical if somebody turned up with some.

Here is my answer to my first question: Our system is better than theirs. That is really the only reason. We have put together a social structure that does a far better job of taking care of the allocation of resources, educating the population and preventing corruption. Our system is based on the rule of law - which requires the majority of the population to respect the law or suffer the consequences. I don't like every law we have and I am sure most people feel the same way - but I do try to follow the law because I know if I don't, bad things will happen to me.

Our system is not by any means perfect, it could be better; there are a lot of things we need to improve on - but here's the kicker: it can also get a lot worse.

That's why when I hear Nancy Pelosi promising a group of illegal immigrants amnesty - and calling the enforcement of US law "un American", I get a little peeved. She is creating what some like to call a moral hazard - rewarding those individuals who have broken the law and giving them what they want. She is putting our system in danger, the only thing that stands between us and the crap hole that is Mexico. And yes, it is a crap hole. Most of the population lives in poverty, while the upper-class enjoys ridiculous wealth. If you are Mexican and feel insulted, you should be - but not by me - by the Mexican government that protects the corrupt few and forces the many to make do with crumbs or risk life and limb to sneak into the US.

The sheer number of illegal immigrants alone should have you quaking in your boots. Why? Because it makes it less likely that they will be assimilated into American society before their ways of doing things do too much damage to our system. In other words, instead of doing things the American way, they will continue to do things the Mexican way, which is what they know and are familiar with. This isn't something that is peculiar to Mexicans, this is human nature.

This is already happening right under our noses. The increasing prevalence of Spanish in this country should be setting off alarms from San Diego, California to Bangor, Maine. Not because there is anything wrong with Spanish - it is a beautiful language, but because it is not the language of this country.

The English language is the main ingredient in the recipe for making Americans, it is what we all have in common. And NOWHERE on earth is there a country where two languages peacefully coexist when spoken by two different populations in the same geographic location.

In Switzerland, they have four official languages, but the populations are separated geographically. They may learn the other languages in school, but most people are not fluent in more than one. I know this because I have tried to get by with German in Geneva, where they speak French, and it does not work. I had far better luck with English.

Even the perpetually peaceful Canadians are constantly running around trying to keep Quebec from declaring its Independence or trying to rejoin the mother ship. And they have geographic separation. What they don't have is a common culture -and that is because they have two languages - because language is, to a large extent culture.

Finally, In case you haven't noticed, the country is in a good amount of trouble. The system is currently broken and vulnerable. Nancy Pelosi and those like her are the biggest threat to your well-being and accustomed way of life there is. She is putting in jeopardy the lives of every single American citizen as well as those of all current and future immigrants to this country, both legal and illegal. Because if we break the system, we will be just another 364 million homo sapiens living in cardboard boxes and scrounging for food.

You must insist our laws are respected and enforced, and that Spanish is removed as an option. I hope I never get to say I told you so, because by then it'll be too late.


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Friday, March 20, 2009

The Gordon Gekko School Of Business

Most people associate Oliver Stone's movie "Wall Street" with the "Greed is Good" mentality that has prevailed since the corporate raiding '80s and decry the ethical meltdown that has befallen our business leaders, personified by the main character, Gordon Gekko. In this respect, "Wall Street" was a case of life influencing art and was a reflection of what was already taking place in society at the time, rather than the cause. The movie "Wall Street" and movies like it that followed, however, also had an "Art Influencing Life" effect.

Godon Gekko
By making "Wall Street", Oliver Stone unwittingly founded The Gordon Gekko School of Business. I know this because I have run into graduates of this school in my former life as a career woman. And, judging by some of the stories my husband brings home from the office as well as family and friends' accounts of life in the business world, The Gordon Gekko School of Business is still churning out graduates at full force.

The problem is not, as you might think, that GGSOB graduates are a group of cut-throat executives who skillfully but ruthlessly navigate corporate America in search of opportunities to exploit for their own financial gain. Graduates of the Gordon Gekko School Of Business are not responsible for our current economic crisis, either.

The problem is that there really is no Gordon Gekko School Of Business; not in the traditional sense anyway, where mundane courses like corporate finance, management, marketing or leadership are taught. The problem arises when GGSOB grads manage to worm their way up the first few rungs of the corporate ladder. Then, for lack of actual business education and experience, simply mimic the high-flying characters they see in Hollywood movies believing that this is sufficient to propel them to the top. Unfortunately, sometimes it is. (I don't blame Oliver Stone for this, making a movie that depicts the actual activities of a company executive, no matter how well run, would be a real snoozer.)

Perhaps you or someone you know has worked with a GGSOB graduate; They are not pleasant people to work with and usually try to use fear and intimidation to get what they want. GGSOB grads will try to exert their power simply to demonstrate that they have it rather than to achieve a meaningful goal or make an actual contribution to the company. They are at best useless and usually end up doing significant damage. They are frauds.

Real leaders inspire. They don't fear talent in others, they harness that talent and use it to achieve the goals of the company. People do what they say because they respect them, not because they fear them.

I wish there was some way to screen for the The Gordon Gekko School Of Business grad, but there isn't - this is not something that will show up on a resume. I found that the best way to deal with them is to steer clear and wait for them to self-destruct, making sure you keep yourself at a safe distance so as not to be hit by the fallout.


PS: Gordon Gekko is number 4 on the Forbes Fictional 15

Daily Coupons:
Today I looked for coupons relating to business and finance - never hurts to know what's going on in the business world!
  1. Here's a coupon from Forbes for something called: "The Prudent Speculator" "Try The Prudent Speculator Risk Free for 6 Months" I must admit I have never read this publication, and am not given to speculating, prudent or otherwise - primarily due to lack of sufficient funds to do so - at least not until our credit cards are paid off - but if there was ever a time to get into the stock market, it's now. The same goes for real estate, IMHO.
  2. Free Quicken Online - Avoid paying late fees with Free Quicken Online bill reminders - Avoiding late fees and penalties is a biggie for me - before I started to actively manage our checking account, we were paying about $1,000 a year for Wamu's FREE Checking. How stupid is that! Now I watch the balance like a hawk. This is a useful service.
  3. This sounds promising too: Quicken Home and Inventory Manager - Her's a Free Shipping Offer.

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

She Passed!

The impossible has happened! My daughter passed her driver's test and now has her driver's license! Sixth time a charm! (She's going to kill me when she reads this - but I am so happy I want to shout it from the rooftop!)

It has been a long and difficult road.


The Daily Coupons:
  1. Mix & Match: *Orders much be delivered by 3/31/09. Selected varieties only. Items must be purchased in a single transaction. Sales limited to stock on hand. While supplies last. Some items and varieties may not be available in every store. No rain checks. No cash back. No sales to dealers. Cannot be combined with any other discount offer. See website for more details.$5.00 Off

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Retro Housewife Survival Guide - Coupons Galore

Lands' End Blue Tote
I've been doing some shopping online this afternoon, so I thought I'd share a few of the sales and coupons I found.

My phone just rang and it was a guy selling gold coins... it appears that Obama just announced that they have infused $1 Trillion into the economy. The economist in me must comment that these sorts of activities usually result in inflation - and the price of gold shot up $50 on the news. People buy gold when they fear inflation to protect their cash. Just an FYI. This is also worrisome if you have a flexible interest rate mortgage or equity loan because they will start incorporating inflation into the rate they charge you. Meaning interest rates will go up. Rats.
By the way - I have discovered Twitter. I have been hearing people talk about it but I thought it sounded kind of dumb. But now I have an account, and I put the little doohicky to the right ==>>
I am going to give it a chance before I decide whether it is dumb or not. Tweet.


Daily Coupons:
  1. The Container StoreNice Elfa Shelving coupon code: 25% off our entire store, enter coupon code: CLUTTERCREW - Oprah gives out this coupon code? I bet she doesn't have a piggy mess under her kitchen sink. Anyway, the Container Store never offers coupons =( so the economy must be getting worse...btw TCS is also offering 30% off Elfa shelving - which is great shelving and I wish I could buy some - but it is still too rich for me...MUST PAY OFF CREDIT CARDS!!! I bet Oprah has plenty of Elfa all over her house. ==>>^

    Oprah gets Elfa, I get a bucket. <<==

  2. Sears coupon code: Save EXTRA 15% Off Regular, Sale & Clearance Apparel & Shoes! Use coupon code: FFTNAPPA at check out. 3/20-3/22 Also useful: All Jeans For The Family On Sale especially if you have a son who refuses to wear anything but jeans.

  3. Need undies? Big sale starting tomorrow at BareNecessities: 4 Day Sale - 20% Off*! Plus, get an extra 30% off clearance items at BareNecessities.com. 03.19.09-03.22.09.

  4. SmartBargains coupon: 10% Off Site Wide Coupon this is 10% off Site Wide for All Customers - smart bargains normally only has new customer coupons - so this is a rarity. Active: 3/18 Expires: 3/25

  5. Lands' End The Find at Lands' End - One incredible buy for a limited time.

  6. Lands' End Spring Fling at Lands' End - Hurry, these love-it-gotta-have-it deals end soon!

  7. Lands' End Buy More and Save More on Lands' End Totes in any combination of sizes and colors.

  8. 20% Off Lands' End coupon code: Enter the Promotion Code SAVENOW and the PIN 00001539 in the space provided. I used this coupon to buy my nieces some sunburn protection: Lands' End Sun.Life Collection, The Smartest UPF Clothing Under The Sun!

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Retro Housewife Survival Guide - Home Based Business

Work From Home! Make $10,000 A Day!

I have been meaning to comment on those ads for some time now, and what with the economy falling apart, and people getting to be on the desperate side, now seems like a good time to do it. Here is my somewhat educated opinion on them:
  1. I know for a fact that there are people who make that kind of money and more "working from home on their computer".
  2. They are not going to tell you their secret; Not for free, not for $19.95 or $99.95 - Not even for $10,000. Would you?
  3. The "experts" behind the ads intend to make that kind of money themselves - from you - when you send them $19.95 to learn their secrets. The real money makers are hiding in their closets, hoping nobody notices them, and are beginning to think the postman is spying on them.
That said, it is actually entirely reasonable to consider starting up a business from home - with little more than your computer and an Internet connection. And lots and lots of work. There are many different ways to do it - the Internet has opened up thousands of possibilities and with a bit of creativity and lots of perseverance, you too can work from home. Here are some ways to do it:
(Today I will cover a few low-tech options - these are some ideas I have had, and are not gimmicks and will require you to work at them and develop a customer base, and you probably won't make much in the beginning, but there is no reason why you won't in the longish run, if you keep at it and learn from your mistakes - just like anybody else starting a business.)

Hint: Try these ideas out on family and friends before you jump in with both feet - it'll help you figure out what will work for you - and you'll probably have some brilliant ideas of your own along the way.
  1. Rebate Redeemer - See my previous post on rebates - the critical part being how many people never redeem their rebates. (Not only do people forget to cash in their rebates, many also fail to use those lovely gift cards that you can buy just about everywhere now.) You can start a service where you redeem people's rebates for them, and charge them a fee to do it, or take a cut of the cash back. I'll leave that up to you to figure out.
  2. Professional Shopper - Spend a lot of time shopping online? Know where to find the best deals? Do it for others - for free! (At least for no out of pocket expense for them, because you will get paid...) How does this work? Let's use Amazon.com as an example. Suppose your sister wants to buy some new make-up from Sephora she has seen the Sephora Brand Deluxe Palette - Collector's Edition ($200 Value) and wants to buy it. She knows you are starting a business so she asks you to get it for her. You hop onto Amazon.com, see that they are selling it for $32.00 + $5.95 in shipping and you buy it for your sister. Of course, before you bought it, you first signed up as an Amazon Associate and followed the instructions Amazon provides on how to earn commissions through their program.

    Now suppose your neighbor Sally wants the same thing. Now you are purchasing $64 from Amazon (Actually, Sephora via Amazon) and it just so happens that Sephora offers free shipping on orders of $50 or more - so you combine the 2 orders - you just saved your sister and your neighbor Sally $5.95 each in shipping charges. In other words, you have provided a valuable service. You earned a commission from Amazon by referring them business (See Amazon for % commission rates). There are some details you need to work out - like how to pay for the items - your sister'll fork over her credit card, but your neighbor Sally'll want to give you cash. Do you bill them? Get the money up-front (least risky for you most risky for them). You will have to work that out on your own, but I am sure you'll find a solution.

Daily Coupons:
  1. Botanic Choice coupon code: Take $20 off your order of $40 or more at Botanic Choice - 99th Anniversary Sale Use Promo Code BC99Y - valid through April 30, 2009. Botanic choice sells vitamins and health food stuff.
  2. Amazon.com coupon codes: Save up to 30% on McCann's oatmeal Save an additional 15% instantly when you purchase select McCann's products sold by Amazon.com. Enter code OATMEA98 at checkout. Plus, save an additional 15% when you combine this instant rebate with your Subscribe & Save order--bringing the total savings to 30%. Offer valid through March 31, 2009.

    McCann's CouponI recently discovered that Amazon sells groceries - and sometimes the prices and offers are great - especially for stuff I buy in bulk. - My kids love McCann's oatmeal.
  3. Here's a coupon code for Kraft Salad dressings at Amazon: Save $10 today when you spend $29 or more on eligible Kraft products sold by Amazon.com. Use the following promotional code when you check out: SALADTOP. Offer valid through March 31, 2009.
  4. Coupon code for: Orville Redenbacher, Pemmican, Chef Boyardee, Healthy Choice, Swiss Miss and More. Save $10 today when you spend $49 or more on eligible Orville Redenbacher, Pemmican, and more sold by Amazon.com. Use the following promotional code when you check out: CNAGAMZN. Offer valid through March 31, 2009.
  5. 20% Off Ghirardelli Hot Cocoa Save 20% today when you buy any eligible Ghirardelli hot beverages sold by Amazon.com. Use the following promotional code when you check out: CHOCO222. Offer valid through March 31, 2009.
  6. PG Tips Tea: Up to 35% Off Save up to 35%. Save an additional 20% instantly when you purchase select PG Tips products sold by Amazon.com. Enter code PGTIPS31 at checkout. Plus, save an additional 15% when you combine this instant rebate with your Subscribe & Save order--bringing the total savings to 35%. Offer valid through March 31, 2009
  7. 20% Off BaconnaiseBaconnaise Coupon Save 20% today on any eligible Baconnaise when you buy either eligible J&D's Bacon Salt Sampler sold by Amazon.com. Use the following promotional code when you check out: BACON333. Offer valid through March 31, 2009.
  8. Kraft Jell-O Coupon: $10 Off Kraft Jell-O and More Save $10 today when you spend $49 or more on eligible Kraft dessert products sold by Amazon.com. Use the following promotional code when you check out: DESERT49. Offer valid through March 31, 2009.

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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Retro Housewife Survival Guide - Rebates?

I hate rebates. But that's just me. Why do I hate rebates? Because I get suckered in by the offer of cash back and savings or a free this or that, and then I never turn in the rebate form to get my savings.

Well, You are a dodo, you might say, and I would have to agree with you. I don't know why I never manage to redeem my rebates - maybe I don't have a stamp, or I intend to download the rebate form off the web and then I forget, or I lose the receipt or it's Friday or maybe all of the above.
A DoDo
A Rebate! KitchenAid Rebates
But the truth is, there are many dodos like me out there! In fact, companies count on a good percentage of their customers being dodos when they create the rebate offers in the first place. Have you ever wondered why rebate offers typically offer much larger savings than any "instant discounts" offered? A good percentage of us out there fail to turn them in!

What can we conclude from this? (See if you can pick the correct answer!)
  1. That the Dodo is not really extinct after all

  2. Flightless birds do far more shopping than bears

  3. There is a lot of money to be saved by using rebates - if you are disciplined enough to do the busy work required to claim your rebate.
If you chose option (3.), you are correct! (If you chose options 1 or 2, you are probably a Stanford grad.)
The trick is to "Know Thyself" as somebody famous and important once said. If you are fastidious and organized and are not afraid to jump through the occasional hoop, then rebates are for you. If not, Hands OFF!

(I know you won't listen to me - I never do.)


Daily Coupons: - How about some rebate offers! (This is part of the test...)
  1. KitchenAid Rebate: RECEIVE A $40 PREPAID DEBIT CARD PLUS 2 BONUS GIFTS By mail when you purchase a select KitchenAid® 6-Quart Stand Mixer*. Between January 1 and March 28, 2009.
  2. Acuvue Contact Lens Rebate: Get up to $30 back on select Acuvue contact lenses. - See site for details. Expires 6/30/09. Oooooh the savings....
  3. GE Appliance Rebate at Home Depot: Receive up to a $500 rebate with purchase of 2 or more eligible GE Appliances at homedepot.com
  4. Kodak Cash Rebate: Buy Any EASYSHARE Camera, Trade In Your Old Digital Camera For A Cash Rebate!
  5. Rebate Offers at WolfCamera.com
  6. Ciba Vision Contact Lens Rebate: $40 rebate on Ciba Vision brand contact lenses. Offer expires 4/30/09. See site for details.
  7. Save 20% on all photo merchandise, including Cards, Calendars, Prints and Photo Books at Kodak Gallery! Use coupon code: SPRING2020 at check out. Ends 3/31/09.

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The World Needs More Of This!



Saturday, March 14, 2009

Retro Housewife Survival Guide - Saving

I started my first little business enterprise when I was 7 or 8 thanks to Budweiser and the local Elks club. My friends and I were crawling around in the trash dumpsters at the Elks club after one of their shindigs and were retrieving some mighty fine swizzle sticks, party streamers and other colorful party paraphernalia. (They and apparently every other adult around at the time were either unaware or didn't care) .

To get at our intended loot, we had to wade through a gazillion Budweiser beer cans (not to mention chicken bones, cigarette butts and used paper plates) and at some point a light went on in my head and I realized that these foolish adults were throwing away money.

We high-tailed it home, grabbed some Hefty bags and returned to the dumpsters to mine the abandoned riches. When our bags were full, we would stomp on the cans in the driveway to make room for more. Aluminum cans fetched 15 cents a pound (or was it 5 cents?) back in 1973 (ish) and I remember a full bag of squashed cans would net us $5 - $7.00. To us that was a fortune considering $1.00 spent prudently at the local 7-11 would buy a whole bag full of candy - most of the small stuff was a penny a piece and a candy bar cost maybe 25 cents.

I am not recommending that you crawl around in trash dumpsters - my point is there is money in your trash. I still stomp my aluminum cans (these days I rinse them out first) and cart them off to the local recycling place - where I now get $1.55 a pound for aluminum cans + CRV on the plastic and glass bottles.

I usually walk away with $25 - $30 which would have otherwise been thrown out. If you find it difficult to save these days, start recycling and put that money into your savings account. If you already recycle, I guarantee you there is somebody in your neighborhood who does not. Send the kids door to door to offer to pick up neighbors cans and bottles - and then make sure they follow through - then put the EXTRA cash in the bank.

Where there is a will there's a way!


Today's Daily Coupons: Brought to you by Restockit.com! Buying Power For Small Business - And Smart Housewives who save money by buying in bulk!
10% OFF $250 Restockit.com coupon code: Take 10% Off Orders Over $250. Excludes Sheds and Technology. Use Code: AF9522

5% OFF $75 Restockit.com coupon code: Take 5% off Orders Over $75 at ReStockIt.com. Excludes Sheds and Technology. Use Code: AF9521.

Sears.com Coupon Code: Save 75-80% off Fall/Winter Apparel + get an Extra 10% off with code TENOFFCLRB at cart 3/14-3/19 coupon code: TENOFFCLRB

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Friday, March 13, 2009

Retro Housewife Survival Guide - Credit Card Debt

Last summer I took a look at all of our credit card debt and nearly had a heart attack. Between us, my husband and I had nearly $60,000 of debt - much of it stemming from paying the IRS. Since I knew the economy was going to tank in a big way my top priority became getting out of debt.

Not only that, every last one of my husband's cards was charging him between 27 and 30% interest. (I actually thought such rates were illegal, but as it turns out, they are NOT.) So here is what I did. I lined up the bills by the interest rate percentage we were being charged, highest to lowest, picked the biggest offender (Discover card - you will pay to discover...) and then started throwing every spare penny I got my hands on at the bill.

When I had paid off the balance of that card, we closed the account and I started paying on the card with the second highest interest rate, and so forth. I am now on the 2nd to last card and can't wait to have those gone too. I found this method really helped me get a handle on the situation before it got out of of control. (Just to be clear, I made sure I paid the minimum balance on the other cards, but any extra funds went towards the high interest card.)

There is no magic to my method, all I am doing is paying off the most costly debt first. It also makes the situation seem less overwhelming if you focus on one piece at a time. Closing the account after it is all paid off is a great feeling - we're getting our freedom back.

Hope that helps,


Daily Coupons:
Here're some coupon codes for the boys:
  1. AutoAnything coupon code: Save $10 off $99* + Free Shipping w/coupon code SPRING2009 at AutoAnything *Restrictions apply! Valid 3/20 - 3/23.

  2. AutoAnything coupon code: Save $30 off $399 + Free Shipping* w/code AASAVE30 at AutoAnything. Valid thru 3/31. *Restrictions apply.

  3. MilitaryClothing.com coupon code: Coupon for 15% Off All Orders click and enter coupon code: STPAT at check out. March 13th - 20th

  4. Shoemall coupon code: 20% off all sandals at ShoeMall.com using promo code: SANDALS plus FREE shipping! Exp. 3/17/09 - ok so the shoemall.com coupon code could conceivably be used to buy women's shoes but it's SHOES we're talking about!!!!!! Women MUST HAVE SHOES!
  5. Here's another shoemall coupon code: Take an additional 15% off Sale items at ShoeMall.com Offer valid on internet orders of SALE ITEMS only. No credits given or adjustments made on previous purchases. This offer is not redeemable for cash. Enter shoemall.com coupon code 15MORE in your shopping bag, then click on "update bag" to apply discount. Excludes the following brands: Camper, Geox, Globe, Harley-Davidson, Merrell and Minnetonka. Promotion expires Sunday, March 29 at 11:59 p.m. CST.
  6. Mootsie Tootsie Women's Idare talking Sandal

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Retro Housewife Survival Guide - Coupons

Hi All,

I have started making use of coupons for everything I buy - I am now that annoying lady in the grocery store with the stack an inch thick. (Sigh). I never used to do this, but I have realized that you can actually save quite a bit of money this way - if you are disciplined and don't fall for the little tricks.

Here are some of my tips so far:

  1. Sign up for Vons.com - even if you don't use their delivery service, you can find tons of coupons to use when you go shopping at Vons. Just print them out and go! No searching through the newspaper with scissors in hand. Plus, I have found that having an account with their delivery service can get you out of a pickle at times. Like the time my 15 year old son stayed home when we went to Tahoe. We needed to extend our trip a day, and he had eaten all the food (he and friends as it turned out). Since he can't drive to the grocery store, we would have had to let him starve or come home as planned! Instead, he got online and did some grocery shopping of his own which was delivered the next day. Happy kid, happy parents.
  2. Safeway is what Vons is called in some places - so same deal there. Here is a coupon for their delivery service: Save $12.95 with online grocery shopping and home delivery from Safeway.com.
    Shop Now
    - (nifty button)
  3. Or if you live in Philly or DC, "Grocery delivery service is available in and around the Greater Philadelphia Metropolitan Area and Washington D.C." from Genuardis.com. It seems to me that Genuardis is also related to Safeway and Vons...
Happy Saving!


Daily Coupons:
  1. Nordstrom coupon code: Free shipping when you purchase any pair of shoes online at NORDSTROM. Enter coupon code SHOES at checkout. Note the coupon code is valid for online purchases at www.nordstrom.com.
  2. Sears.com Coupon: Fall/Winter Apparel + Get An Extra 10% Off! Coupon code: TENOFFCLRB at check out. 3/14-3/19Download and Print Sears In Store Coupon CodeDownload and Print Sears In Store Coupon Code!
  3. Here are some nice Easter bargains to be had with this Kmart coupon: Buy One Get One 50% Easter Decor a Buy One, Get One 50% off for: Canon Towels and Bath Rug Buy One, Get One 50% Off Shoes All of the kmart coupons are for the website (www.kmart.com) and are valid: 3/15-3/21 - I haven't come across any coupon codes for kmart, although I have seen them in the past.
  4. Kohls.com coupons:
    Free Shipping when you spend $75 or more This one expires today (3/14)
  5. Macys.com coupons - there are so many Macys coupons I list them all on a separate Macy's coupon page.

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Monday, March 09, 2009


One has to wonder whether this is just sheer incompetence, ignorance and stupidity on the part of the politicians who pooh pooh'ed the concerns of the Bush administration!!??? Alan Greenspan and other early warnings of our current mess. Was anyone aware of this?

I am flabbergasted. Both that nobody brought this up during the election campaign and that FOX News has actually managed to do a worthy story. Kudos to Youdos Fox News. It's about time.


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