Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Loving the Library for Summer Reading

With the unofficial start of summer coming, I thought it would be nice to post my summer reading list.  I can't wait to start my list off this weekend at the pool!  Reading is a pretty awesome thing.  I didn't really enjoy it much in school when books were preselected for me and reading them just seemed arduous and boring.  Looking back, a lot of those books weren't even that bad, I think I just didn't like not being able to read them for my own enjoyment and then of course having to write papers on them.  Fast forward too many years to adult life when I can read whatever I like, but ironically don't have free time to read!  Go figure.  I read a lot more in the summer when I'm catching up on my Vitamin D at the pool. 

One of the best things I learned after spending way too much money on books that I would read through in a few short days and then put on a shelf to grow dust (I loathe reading the same book twice), is the joy of taking advantage of the technological advances at the library.  This might be common knowledge for many, but gone are the days of remembering how to use the dewey decimal system, or scrounging around for the location of the book only to see that it isn't there.  Now, you go online at home, find your book, place a hold and you get an email when it is ready for pick up at the front desk!  Another fabulous money saver is you can renew your books a few times if you haven't finished them or can't get to the library before the due date.  The only next best thing would be if they'd deliver and pick up your books at home when you are done (prob won't ever happen). There is a service similar to netflix that does this for a fee. If you do feel like buying your books, you might want to wait for the library book sale. I stumbled upon this gem when I went to the library last summer to pick up my books I'd placed on hold.  This is totally awesome for kids books or travel books which might not get much use (many were .50 cents to $1).

Here is my book list for the summer (no judging, I'm not into serious reads)
Emily Griffin: Heart of the Matter
Jennifer Weiner: Best Friends Forever
Cecilia Ahern If you could see me now and Thanks for the memories
Lisa See: Shanghai Girls (Borrowed from my awesome coworker)
Susan White: A Soft place to land
Greg Mortenson: Three Cups of Tea
Kathryn Stockett: The Help
Friday, May 21, 2010

Live Like No One Else

Since this blog is mainly about me and how I enjoy my life living a frugality, I couldn't pass up on sharing this extremely fitting post from Young House Love.  The first sentence has her telling us about her Father In Law's nickname (El Cheapo), how fitting!

I get a lot of grief from people in my family who don't understand why I don't want to eat out all the time, why I insist on packing my lunch and not going to starbucks, why I just won't go to a department store and pay full price, or why I have to use a coupon whenever possible.  I keep trying to tell them that I'm not cheap, I spend money (ask my hubby), that just isn't where I want to spend my money.  That doesn't make me cheap, it makes me directed and resourceful (at least I think so).

The YHL post really describes EXACTLY how I feel about living a frugal existence.  I don't live my life any less than Mrs. Jones, who might spends a lot on food, or clothes, or cars.  I live my life, saving for those things I really enjoy (fixing up my house, going on vacation with my hubby, buying presents for my family and friends).  I hope you enjoy the YHL post and can try and think of all the things that are most important in your life and the goals that are most important in your future. 

My goals aside from the given goal of saving for retirement, have changed as I've grown into an adult; first it was buying and paying off my car in two years, then it was buying our condo, then our townhouse and lastly becoming financilly strong enough to have a few babies!  Now my goal is to make sure we save enough to move into a SFH in a few years so that our down payment makes the mortgage low enough that we can always save for our dream of one day owning a home in Duck, NC.  I can only imagine the joy of saving for a place where we can retire and bring all our family together for holidays and vacations on the beach. 

Ever since I heard Dave Ramsey famous quote: "If you will live like no one else, later you can live like no one else." it has helped me to put into words why I do what I do.  What he means by this is we have a choice, spend money in your early years living like no one else, or save that money so that you can live a life full of blessings later.  I'd rather choose the later and continue in faith that God has later in store for me (if not our future kids/family will be very happy with the inheritence)!
Thursday, May 20, 2010

Graduation Recap and

What a jam packed week it has been!  Paul finally did it!  He's a college graduate, YAY!!

To celebrate we went to one of our favorite local restaurants alto plaza.  It serves all types of Spanish food and great drinks.  Paul normally gets the fajitas and I normally get the Paella.  They have really great appetizers and chips and salsa too.  The best part of this restaurant, is the atmosphere and the view looking out over the mountains going down rt. 29.

Even better still is the awesomeness that they are now on!  We love this website.  If you sign up for their emails, they send you coupon codes so that you can get 50-90% off of the gift certificates that they sell.  For Paul's graduation, we bought one $50 off of $100 gift certificate and we paid $4!  Pretty AWESOME!  I guess to sum it up, they are coupons that you pay for.  When we've traveled to places like San Diego, Miami and Cape May we thought ahead when they were doing 80% off sales and bought a bunch for our vacations, making sure first that we checked out the restaurants we were interested in on trip advisor and that there weren't any stipulations we didn't like(not valid on weekends, no alcohol).  This genius idea made paying for dinner's out on vacation much less painful for me.

I leave you with a picture of me and Paul at Alto Plaza celebrating the fabulous notion that we finally can just come home from work and enjoy being married without having to run off to class!  Take note of my dress which I mentioned in my last post!
Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Graduation is Finally Here!

I met my husband Paul the night before his first day in college August 1999! That was 11 years ago folks! Needless to say, I am more than thrilled and proud to be standing next to him as he accepts his diploma from GMU on Friday. I'm honestly not sure who is more excited about this accomplishment!

Of course, if I'm that excited, I'd like to be in a new dress for the event. Here comes my penny saved story. I went to target with my coworkers a few weeks ago during lunch. I was oogling over all the dresses (I have an awful fetish for dresses these days) when I came across this beauty:  Target Maxi Dress

I've been wanting a Maxi dress for a while, but based on my 5'2 slightly chubby frame it's been a hard find. For $29.99, it was a little bit out of my desired price range for a dress, but considering it took my husband 11 years to make it to graduation, it was a worthwhile investment for this monumental occasion!

Lo and behold a few weeks later, I got the target circular and saw that Merona dresses were on sale. I happened to be walking around target, spotted the dress in a different size, took it to the scanner and it rang up on sale at $19.99! Right in my price range for dresses! So I thought, what the heck it doesn't hurt to ask. So I took the XL size dress to the customer service desk and asked her if she could look up a size small, see that it was on sale, compare it to how much my credit card showed I paid a few weeks ago and issue me a credit for $10. After a few pleases, she said yes! Off I was with the perfect dress for under $20! This was officially one of my first postive experiences at the Target customer service desk!
Monday, May 10, 2010

Introducing Myself to Blogosphere!

Hi! I'm finally jumping on the blog wagon.  I've been wanting to have a place to share my adventures and focus my mind now for sometime.  Hopefully my blog will be fun, friendly and inspiring.  I'll be bringing you tips and tricks for saving and concurrently living life to the fullest as often as possible!

I named this blog A Penny Saved (Penee since Penny was already taken) because I have seen first hand what saving pennies can do.  I haven't minded the "el cheapo", and "coupon queen" nicknames my coworkers have conjured up for me.  I infact relish in them because I know that saving money has been my gateway to a charmed life with my husband of 6 years!  I love it when my friends call me asking for a coupon or when and where they should buy something.  I really feel honored!!

This isn't something that just came to me.  I've always liked the thrill of living frugally, wondering how much less I got something for than the person next to me.  For as long as I can remember (maybe 4-5 years old), I've been like this.  As a little kid, I used to clip coupons for my mom and cut out all the shoes from the ads that I liked.  By middle school my grandmother entrusted me with a weekly allowance of $5.  Even having gone to school in downtown Washington D.C., I used to make my $5 strech all week!  Normally, it was a soda here, candy bar there and bagels for lunches; never was it more than $5 a week!  By the time I was in college I had my mind set on bigger goals.  By 20 year olds I had purchased and was half way to paying off my first car a little green civic named greenie,was signing contracts on my first home with my soon to be hubby and had enough saved to pay for half our wedding! 

Now many years of saving pennies later, I bring to you a Penny Saved!  I hope that you will enjoy my blog and start saving pennies and stop paying full price too.  I'll try to update as often as I can so that you can see where my shopoholic adventures in saving and spending have gotten me.