Tag Archives: family finances

Little Green Lies: Fibbing for Budget’s Sake

**Editor’s Note: I chose this for another “Throwback Thursday” post ~ great reads from last year I’m not ready to archieve w/o one more pass. Enjoy!

I’m an honest person. In fact, I hate lying and am usually terrible at it. I’m the kind of person you should never ask “if your butt looks fat” in those jeans. While I wouldn’t be heartless about it, I’d probably say that we “can find a more flattering style.” So knowing this about myself, I was shocked and appalled by my recent behavior on a shopping trip to a local specialty store.

My friend Cristy at work has the coolest little loose leaf tea pot. I fell in love with it as she kindly made me a cup of tea one afternoon when I was feeling under the weather. So, after some internal deliberation about spending money for something that I wanted but did not necessarily need, I knew that I simply had to have one, too.

Before I went shopping, I estimated that I would probably spend about $30 on a tea pot and a couple of ounces of tea. I knew from the moment the sales clerk opened his mouth that my carefully planned budget had met its match. This guy knew more about tea and tea accessories than Bob Barry knows about Sooner football.  He was simultaneously incredibly helpful and terrifying.

I was firm on only spending a set amount in this store and he was the czar of cross selling. I picked out the tea pot and then moved on to tea. I already knew which type I wanted so I asked for two ounces. He reminded me that you ‘get a better price break if you buy four.’ I was still feeling strong at this point and stuck to my guns. “No, I’ll just start with two ounces, thank you,” I said.

Then, he threw the first curveball my way. “You’ll need a tin to store it in. Otherwise it will rot. Would you like the small one or large one?” My mind started racing. Rotten tea? Well, I can’t have that! I had no choice but to buy the tin, right? So, I weakly said, “I’ll take the small one.” Score one for the tea king. Continue reading Little Green Lies: Fibbing for Budget’s Sake

I Don’t Recommend Books…But If I DID…

Kelly M. Roberts, MS, LMFT - Clinical Instructor, Oklahoma State University

Friends, colleagues and sometimes people I don’t even know very well  ask me this same question several times each year, AND I provide them with a baffled face and stammering answer every single time: “Hey, what book do you recommend for __(enter any couples issue)__ ?  I’m thinking about buying a few books today.” OR …“I have a friend who is looking for a book.”  OR,… “I want to recommend a book, can you help me?”

I struggle with two main issues when asked this question.  First, I have no idea what the person or couple has already read.  And secondly, people apply books and personal growth in such unique ways that sometimes what I think is a great read or extremely applicable might fall flat with another person.  Or sometimes that flips and what I think isn’t necessarily sound or grounded information is the “key” to helping someone get out of a rut.

Therefore, understanding that you may have already read some (or all) of these books, and, that you may not get out of them what I or some of my clients have gotten, I’ve put together a list of the top five challenges I see couples face on a regular basis and books that might help in direct or indirect ways.  However, I’ve also provided a bit of discussion to go along with the books so I’ll be breaking this post into two or three parts.  Here we go…

To begin, I want to address the core “top three” basic challenges most couples will experience at some time in their life: opposing views on parenting, financial struggles, and sex/intimacy.  In that order:

Continue reading I Don’t Recommend Books…But If I DID…

Jenny’s Got a Gun: Budget Sharpshooter Bags Bargains (No animals were harmed in the making of this blog)

You won’t find a glassy-eyed 10 point buck blankly staring down at you from the walls of my home. I’ll never be found in a deer stand at 4 am, covered in doe urine, peering through the scope of a bolt-action Remington. You’ll never peek into the bushes to find me laying there in head-to-toe camo, with grease paint on my face and a branch on my head blowing softly into a duck call. If I do happen upon an animal in the woods, I may yearn to pet it or at the very least feed it. Shooting it isn’t on my agenda. But, make no mistake. I’m a hunter, through and through.

When you walk through my home, you’ll see my hunting trophies scattered around but none of them have been freeze dried or mounted. I’m a bargain hunter and I rarely pay full price for anything. Among the bargains I have conquered, you’ll see our last name artistically displayed on the wall in the entry way. I saw the concept of vinyl lettering on the wall in a decorating magazine. The company had beautiful ideas but their prices were far above what I was comfortable paying. So, I found something very similar in an E-Bay store and had them custom make my idea for about 10% of the cost.

In my kitchen, you’ll definitely notice my cobalt blue KitchenAid stand mixer. This particular bargain was a real fighter. I had to track it for months before I finally bagged that beauty. You see, it has been my dream to own a stand mixer ever since I started tuning into the Food Network years ago. I just couldn’t get past the cost. No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t justify to myself spending that much money on something I wanted but did not need. So, last year, I grew tired of just stalking stand mixers and decided to pull the trigger. I studied the migratory habits of stand mixer sales and learned which store had the best price on the color that I wanted. Then, I asked my family for gift certificates to that store for Christmas. I gathered some additional store credit and scouted for online promo codes. Locked and loaded with my own personal brand of ammo, I hunkered down and waited for that big sale to come along. When it did, I sprung into action, redeemed all of my credits, gift certificates, promo codes, and rebates. Before that stand mixer even knew what hit it, I scored it for the grand total out of pocket cost of $35.

"In my kitchen, you'll definitely notice my cobalt blud Kitchen Aid stand mixer..."

The secret to big game bargain hunting is to never buy something simply because it’s on sale. If you didn’t intend to buy it, don’t need it, or can’t afford it, you aren’t doing yourself any favors. The biggest thrill that I get is from saving money on something I need or plan to buy anyway. So, I’ll share a few tips to get you started on your own shopping safari but promise me that you’ll be careful. I don’t want anyone accidentally shooting themselves in the foot by overspending.

If you’re making a considerable investment in an item, a little reconnaissance can’t hurt. Once you decide on the item you want to purchase, make sure you will be getting the best price and brand. I like www.amazon.com to check out user reviews and ratings.

Before you buy anything, check out sites like www.retailmenot.com and www.couponcabin.com. These sites have both free printable coupons for in-store expeditions as well as online promo codes that you can redeem for online shopping. I check them every time I am ordering online and almost always find something that saves me a few dollars. A great local site is www.consumerqueen.com.

Sometimes it’s nice to sit back and let the bargains come to you. Limited time sales are hot right now. You can sign up to have daily offers e-mailed to you. Websites like www.Groupon.com and www.livingsocial.com offer limited time deals in your area and some are just too good to pass up. I recently scored a manicure/pedicure for $25 and gave it to my friend Christy for her birthday. I also bought 10 Zumba classes for $10 and a professional housecleaning for $49, which I plan to use around the holidays.

Other sites offer sales that may last a few days such as www.ideeli.com for adult, kids, home items, and travel deals. Ideeli has many great sales on designer items that you may not be able to afford otherwise. For special kids’ deals, www.totsy.com is a great place to find everything from clothes to toys. All of these sites are free to join.

I don’t want to see any of you on a future episode of “Hoarders” so it’s important to only buy things you need and don’t get carried away with the high that bargain shopping can give you. While it’s fine to be proud of scoring a sweet deal, I have realized that I need to dial back on my tendency to “over share”. Now when someone says, “Cute skirt!” instead of “Thanks, I got it for 75% off at Kohl’s!” I just smile slyly to myself and simply say, “Thank you”. How much (or how little) I paid can be my little secret.

Now get out there, bag some bargains, and save a few bucks!