Saturday, June 6, 2009

NaBloPoMo makes me a superblogger

Look at me—I posted an entry with a memory and a call for opinions, and the other day I wrote this beast of an entry on religion. Is this what NaBloPoMo does to me? It's a gift and a curse: I write all my best stuff, AND THEN IT GETS PUSHED BACK IN A MATTER OF DAYS.

I suppose that's what the LinkWithin widget is good for.

It saves my entries from being forgotten; I guess you can say it's my blog's hero. ;P


Hm, if I'd known that the June theme was Heroes, I would've saved my Jason Santa Maria post for now. After all, he is my design hero of the moment.

And now, for our topic...


SAVING YOUR MONEY

I don't need to elaborate on the state of our economy, everyone else does that. I just know that you and I need to start spending smarter. This not only means saving more than spending, but it means thinking hard about where your money goes and if there's some alternative as to the 'why' and 'how' of its exit from your wallet or bank account. For example, during school I'm guilty of spending on food all the time. It's such a tough temptation to overcome: classes make you hungry, there's all kinds of food within walking distance right on campus, and food is relatively cheap... until it all adds up, and you need to buy some art supply for your next project and suddenly it's "Where did my cash go?" and "Damn, I need to withdraw again... I was saving that up" and "Do I really have to dip into my savings??"

For being born to two financially and economically smart people (I love you, Mommy and Daddy), I sure missed out on the money-smart gene. I'm pretty stingy, and up til now I thought that not spending at all ever was a good thing... but that only meant that I sucked when it came time to actually spend money. I'm slowly learning how to manage my money better by eating out less (home has free food, after all) and setting goals. I've learned these both from my parents and my own experiences.

One of the best and often forgotten ways of spending smartly is by using coupons!

Well, it doesn't really get past typical Filipino families and college students (both of which I am associated), but the vast majority of others, for some reason or another, simply don't use coupons or discounts.

But they're wonderful and save you money, therefore you should use them.
But how do you get these mystical coupons?

It can be as easy as finding them in your mail—often disregarded as 'junk mail,' countless pages of grocery and restaurant coupons get tossed out. It isn't hard to just give the page a once-over and decide if you're going to need any of those coupons, nor is it hard to clip it out and use it!

If you're a fan of a specific store, you should find out if they've got some sort of membership or rewards program, or a mailing list through which you can receive coupons and discounts galore. I'm a Borders Rewards Member, and I get weekly coupons ranging from 25%-40% off items in the store, and even greater discounts for specific items, not to mention details on in-store events. Every time I brandish my Rewards card upon payment, I get points, and those points add up to 'Borders Bucks'—basically, in-store credit, and it totals at the end of the year (which means all your holiday shoppings go straight into that, ooh~). I thought I'd have to spend like crazy to get any of that, but I actually got $5 on my card at the beginning of this year. Sure, it's only $5, but $5 is enough to have its own bill. And I'm cheap, so it counts. Borders also has Borders Rewards Perks, where they relay to you a bunch of member-exclusive deals from other stores. I've yet to use it, but it's still a good deal.

The Borders thing is just an example, you can find these kinds of things virtually anywhere!

Speaking of virtual, let's not forget the wonders of the internet. Here are a few websites that can help you cut down on costs:


  • SlickDeals.net - As the title suggests, the website is chock full of funderful deals, discounts and coupons from all over the internet. It's archived by date, and lets you know if the deals are already expired. Sweet deal!
  • RetailMeNot.com - Another site for coupons and coupon codes. Searchable and archived by subject and popularity.
  • FatWallet.com - ANOTHER COUPON SITE! Note that you might find a lot of the same deals across these three sites, but that's okay. This site also has a "cash back shopping" feature, check it.
  • eBay - Do I really need to say it? Online auction site, you can find a lot of things for really cheap here. You can sell them, too!
  • Craigslist - This one's also pretty obvious. Find people in your area who are not only selling things you want, but also job opportunities and even personal ads, oooh~
  • SwapTree - Now, this one is interesting. You get to swap whatever you have, with any other person for whatever they have. It's the ultimate P2P network. I'm a member, but I've yet to actually get to swapping. Tell me if you're there!
  • Joongel Search - This is more of a nifty search engine than anything else, but I've used it to shop for things and compare prices using their Shopping Search.
There you have it! A whole list of goodies, ready for you. You can bet I'll be using them while searching for a camera.

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