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Archive for April, 2010

Kelly at Kelly’s Korner has a blog carnival today featuring money saving tips so I thought I would join in because saving money is so much fun!   I always get excited when I get a good deal.  (BTW, I am planning on posting the SeaWorld pics but it is taking a long time for them to all load on Flickr :))

First, I’ll start with the fact that I’m not afraid to negotiate.   I’ve tried couponing and though it is a great concept, it takes time and I lasted one week.  I don’t have the patience.  However, the one thing I have find to be most effective in saving lots of money in business and personal life is negotiating.  I learned early on from my mom and I have honed my skills at the art of negotiating.   You really have to know when it is appropriate and when the time  comes, don’t be afraid to ask.  I’m rarely told no.

Ways to Negotiate:

1.  When we purchased our new lot, we didn’t have an agent because I found the lot myself.  We were a day from closing and I decided to ask the seller if we could have the 3% back as a credit to the purchase price since we didn’t bring an agent to the table.  The answer was an immediate yes and we saved a TON of money.  It was a simple question and I got an easy answer that came through very successfully and that was after we had already negotiated the price on the lot.

2.   When calling about phone service, electricity, internet, etc. always play them against each other.  For instance, we spend a lot of money on electricity every month, especially during the summer.  I called up another company that was advertising low rates and found out the details of their program.  I then called up our electric provider and told them we were going to move services unless they could match or beat the other providers rates.  They didn’t want to lose our business so they matched them drivng our monthly electric bill down by 30%. 

3.  Volume Negotiating – With my business, I buy a large quantity of different things and you would be amazed at what you can negotiate when buying in volume.  If you can think of something you spend a lot of money on with a particular company, do not hesitate to ask for a discount or if you already get a discount, a better one.   I’ve never been turned down on this one.  

4.  Banking Fees – All of our bank accounts are free.   I always negotiate this.  It’s really very simple…just ask.  

Price Matching

1.  Shoes – Nordstrom’s will price match on anything.  If you see shoes online on sale, bring in the print out and they will match it.

2.  Target has a new price match policy as well which is awesome!

3.   Don’t be afraid to ask a company if they will price match.  If you are at a particular store and don’t have time to go elsewhere, pull out your iphone, look up the product online and see who has the best price and ask the store if they’ll match the price.   Most of the time, they will.  

Rewards Points and Rebates

1.  Most people don’t use their credit card rewards to their full advantage.   If you can pay off your credit card at the end of every month, I highly recommend this.   For bookkeeping purposes and rewards points, we put everything we can on credit cards.  We pay them off 100% at the end of every month.   There are major benefits to this.  First, the rewards points.  We love to travel and pay for many flights with these points saving us thousands of dollars a year.  Secondly, everything is itemized so you can easily see what you spend your money on every month.  

2.  Ebates – I do use ebates and have received quite a bit of funds back by using this service.  It really is a no-brainer.

Coupons – No clipping Involved

If you are purchasing from a store online, always, always go and google “store name coupon”.   Many stores have coupons floating around.   The internet makes it so easy to save!

I hope these tips help someone save money!

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Playing Around

I start my photography class today!  I’m super excited.   Thank you, Scott, for giving me this gift.  I think it is priceless!   To me, a moment in time is a treasure that we will never get back.  Time passes but the photo remains so I’m driven to capture the best photos I can.

I was just playing around in Photoshop and made this.  I think it turned out really cute!
Avery Collage

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Natural Light Photography

I’m a member of clickin moms and though I have had good intentions of using my membership, I haven’t had time. However, they sent me an email about this workshop and I’m very excited about participating. It’s called The Light Workshop and is all about shooting in natural light. I’m desperate to get better at taking pictures of Avery and my family so I asked for this for Mother’s Day :)!

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Happy 2nd Birthday, Avery!

Today you are 2!  We’ve been practicing for months showing you how to make your fingers into rabbit ears.   I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that 2 years have gone by since we first met you.  

You had a great day today!   You went to school where you celebrated your birthday with chocolate cupcakes.  Daddy picked you up early and took you to Bass Pro Shops and then to the park so you could “fwing”.  “Fwinging” is one of your favorite things to do.   You guys then came by the house to pick me up and save me from my never-ending work load and we took you to the Aquarium Restaurant.  

When we got there, I made a huge mistake by letting you go in the Jumpy before we went inside to eat.   You were unhappy about having to get out and though we promised we would come back after dinner and looking at all the fishies, you were not having it.   All through dinner, you cried to go to the “Junky,” as you call it.  You loved looking at the fish, but would not forget about the “Junky.”  Oh dear…   After dinner and lot of whining about the “Junky”, we took you back.   You just couldn’t get enough of it, laughing, squealing, and jumping.   You are too funny! 

These are just a few from today.  I’m exhausted and will post more of your special day tomorrow.   We are celebrating your birthday at Sea World this weekend so the fun has just begun.

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Avery put her own shoes on…can you tell?
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She is standing like this because that is how I’m standing taking this picture:
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The last two years have been the most special two years of my life. Avery Grace is a miracle and she truly lights up our lives. I cannot believe tomorrow she will be 2 years old. I remember the day we went to the hospital like yesterday. Scott and I were both unbelievably excited to meet her.

It’s hard to believe that little tiny baby is now counting to 11, drinking out of her own cup, singing Twinkle Twinkle, ABC’s, etc., and just talking up a storm. She has such a fun personality and doesn’t miss a beat. My favorite thing in the whole world is when she comes to give me a huge hug and says “Awwwww” while patting me on the back. It’s fabulous and everytime is like the first time.

Oh, how we love you, my darling little girl!

That is one very, very proud Daddy:

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JELLO Pudding

It doesn’t get any better than this:
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Easter Weekend

Last weekend was a fun-filled and hectic weekend starting off with an Easter celebration at Avery’s school. They had an Easter egg hunt followed by lots of yummy snacks like ice cream and Cheetos. I will note that Avery was the only child that at her whole ice cream cone (not surprising given who her Mama is). She loves it as much as I do! Saturday, we went to the Zoo with Mariam (Aunt Mary) and her family and had breakfast with the Easter Bunny. Of course, Avery loved every minute of it…the fish, goats, elephants, lions, etc. She is so funny! If something excites her, she starts giggling uncontrollably. She’s also known to say “OOOOOOHHHH!” when something fun is in store with her eyes getting really big. BTW, Scott had the bright idea that we would walk to the zoo which was fine until it was time to walk home. The combination of walking to the zoo, through the zoo and back home was a lot of walking. We all crashed for an afternoon nap. Saturday evening was Mariam’s Confirmation ceremony and we drove to Shiner late that night. Sunday, my parents hosted our family Easter celebration and as always, there was LOTS of yummy food made by my parents.

Avery’s Easter Egg Hunt at School:
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She has a mind of her own:
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Snack Time! This actually reminds me of something my Grandpa Kocian used to say, “Ice Cream, We Scream, We All Eat Ice Cream.” Very cute! He loved ice cream as much as Avery does.
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After the party, Scott had to go do something so I took her to the park:
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I love her expression here:
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The Zoo:
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Petting the Easter bunny:
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We had breakfast with the Easter Bunny:
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The little gophers climbing out of their hole:
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Walking home:
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We stopped to smell the flowers:
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Easter Sunday:
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What are they doing?
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Way overexposed but I still love it:
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Nice hair, A!
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Holy Smokes, she had a lot of junk food:
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Going through every egg to make sure she got all the goodies:
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I need to take more pics of A and Papa. I don’t have any.

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