Catch It!

Today, my dear friends, we are going to talk about money again. I have recently caught not one but two money saving mistakes. TWO! One saved me a little money and one is going to save me hundreds. HUNDREDS! First, you need to know how much I love the Patch NYC mini shop at Target.  I loved everything I saw on that endcap. Patiently, I waited for it to go on sale and one evening I was out at the old Target with my boyfriend and spotted some Patch items on a 50% off shelf. Hell to the yeah. I looked at the price sticker and it was the still the 30% off I had seen before. So I scanned it. Still 30% off. Then I did the one thing that not very many people do, but should. I asked.

The girl I asked quickly called her manager who told me it was their mistake and that they would honor the 50% off. Now, before you go taking one item off a shelf and putting it on a clearance shelf just to get the deal, don’t.  All the signs were supposed to read 30% off, not 50%. It really was their mistake. I was told to let them know when I was going to check out so they could alert the cashier. Now, here is where skill becomes luck. I explained what happened to the cashier. She couldn’t do it. Another employee or maybe manager saw her confused face and came over. He told her they can’t take 50% off the original price so she would have to take 50% off the ALREADY REDUCED price. This is the breakdown:

4 mugs = $4.99 ea reduced to $3.48 ea reduced to $1.74 ea

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1 teapot = $24.99 ea reduced to $17.48 ea reduced to $8.74

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Total Savings = $29.25

Now, I don’t know about you but an extra $30 in my pocket is a fantastic thing. Or maybe not wasting $30 on something I don’t really need is a fantastic thing. Either way I freakin love the set. Fo sho worth the $15. 

The other mistake I noticed was in a bill.  Earlier this year I had a surgery (story maybe to come).  Anyway, I’m paying off the surgery with a payment plan and I recently got my monthly bill.  The total had doubled. Um, say what? So I perused the charges and two recent doctors appointments showed that my insurance was paying a whopping $0.00.  Not cool. I called my insurance company and they told me my doctor didn’t accept my insurance so it was being charged to my out of network deductible. I thought this was ludicrous. My doctor is part of an enormous health system and there was no way she didn’t accept my very good insurance. So I fact checked (election reference, ay-ohh!) and sure enough she accepts it. I called the insurance company back and they sent me to a “Resolution Specialist” who saw that yes, my doctor accepts them and that yes, it was processing wrong. Boom.

Total Saved: $466

I’m just a lowly receptionist, but I’m pretty sure everyone wouldn’t mind reducing their debt my nearly $500. Asking questions and paying attention to what you are being charged is extremely important, especially if you are on a tight budget. Honestly, who isn’t these days? At 23 and living on my own, every penny counts. I pay my bills, not my parents or my boyfriend or any anonymous benefactor (not that I would say no to one of those).

Lesson learned: Really watch those totals. Ask questions!

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It’s an Asbesty Situation

My house was built in 1976.  It has a certain rustic charm that makes me feel homey. It is also a bit of a health risk.  The seventies were not exactly great times for building materials.  My primary worries are asbestos and lead.  In my research, I found out that asbestos isn’t just found in insulation (which is how I imagine it), but can be found in linoleum and ceramic tile, ceiling tile, joint compound and so so much more.  I’m a little afraid to go home tonight.

However, if I don’t try to patch up this charming little house, who will?  I can’t blame the house for the lack of wherewithal of the contractors. I also feel a sense of responsibility for the people who live here after us.  This isn’t my forever home, but I’m certainly not going to pass on a house that is full of carcinogens like it isn’t my problem.  Now, if you look in the background of this picture you will be able to see one of the possible offenders.

Asbest-OH NO!

Here is a close-up

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That dusty linoleum is:

  1. UGLY
  2. Impossible to get clean or keep clean.
  3. Adhered to the floor with a black adhesive that says,”I don’t look like any linoleum adhesive you’ve ever seen so perhaps you should test me for a deadly particle.” Or something.

Luckily for me, the contractor that redid the master bathroom left us a few boxes of tiles so I will be able to use those for our downstairs powder room (that contains the same dangerous/hideous tile as the kitchen) and have something to use when finding matching/coordinating tiles for the kitchen. We originally thought about wood flooring for the entire first floor, but there is something so wipeable and sturdy about tile that I really like. There are multiple places in the DIYosphere that say sealing and covering linoleum with ceramic tile is a safe and cost effective alternative to having the asbestoffender removed by asbestos professionals (a totally respectable option though). 

First things first, I will need to send a sample to a lab to determine whether or not the tile or it’s adhesive contains asbestos (my bet is yes). I found this lab that will test my samples for a small fee and get me results quickly.  The site has very clear instructions on how to gather your sample and how to ship it. My samples ship out in the morning and I’ll post the results here.  I guess we’ll see how they change the plans we had for our slooooow remodel.

Have you had to deal with asbestos or lead related issues in your home?  Have you ever had anything really surprise you while you were planning a remodel?

I’m Going Through Changes

EDIT: I’m going ahead with changing the theme.  PLEASE let me know if you have an opinion either way.

…in my mind. When I started this blog I chose a theme basically because I liked the font and it was different from most of the other options (and free). I decided I was going to live with it for a while and see how I felt.  I could go either way on the theme as it is now. So I’m asking you, dear reader, what you think.  Would you keep this theme?

I am considering the “Ever After” theme.  I understand that it is a wedding theme, but I like the simplicity and retro flair.  I would really love to know if you would prefer reading with that theme over this one.  I feel like the one lonely balloon halfway down the current page is cool for moving, but lame for word-blocking.

I would show you the preview for Ever After but at 23 years old and having grown up in the age of technology, I am incapable of doing so. If you are a fellow blogger maybe take a second to check it out. I am desperado for the feedback. 

EDIT:  Haha! I have created a preview for you.

If you hate this one and Ever After, I am open to checking out other themes, but they must be free.  I just don’t have $60 to spend on prettifying my blog.

Shock Value

My boyfriend said something to me earlier this week that shocked me. It rocked me. It picked me up and dropped me.

He, the love of my life, had never EVER carved a pumpkin for Halloween. What kind of American is he?  My dad will never approve now. Ok, I’m being melodramatic, but I was still surprised. Carving a pumpkin is an easy, fun, and traditional way to celebrate Halloween in the U.S. I thought at first is was his major aversion to being creative/crafty/artsy, but he told me they just never did it in his house.

Maybe my shock was also related to the extreme amount of love I have for Fall in general. I love Halloween and my birthday is in the fall. I often celebrated my childhood birthdays with pumpkins, hayrides, or apple picking.  With much begging and reassuring that it would be fun, I convinced him to carve a pumpkin with me.  He watched me cut a hole in the top and scoop the guts out, then I handed him a knife and scoop and told him to have at it.

I could tell by the concentration in his face that he was at least interested in facing the challenge. I think the magical moment when we lit the candles in the finished pumpkins I knew he was sold. He even admitted to liking it. This is a major victory.

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His is on the left, a classic jack-o-lantern. Mine is the character Totoro from a movie I’ve loved since I was a child.

What traditions do you hold dear? Any common traditions you don’t?

Freshly Pressed Thoughts

If you are like me, you read most of the freshly pressed posts each day.  One of the posts chosen today was What the Penguin & Random House Merger Means for Authors.  I love to read, but I am not a writer.  Not an author of anything but this blog.  I encourage you to read the blog post if you haven’t.  It is a great post about the future of publishing and the effect of being able to self publish through Amazon. The merger of two very large traditional publishers in the wake of self published ebooks got me to thinking.  These publishers are virtual powerhouses being that you actually know what I’m talking about when I say Random House and you aren’t in the industry.  So why change? The world is changing.  We are moving forward. This is the digital age. More buzz words.

Here is the comment I made:

I think it’s interesting how these traditional paper publishers are looking to the future and focusing on ebooks while there is another cultural push to learn more traditional arts. Canning at home is making a comeback while we are all buying ebooks for our Kindle apps. For me, it’s a little disorienting.

Balancing the technology in our lives is something we all need to work towards.  The ability to learn about anything I want with only a few clicks, or communicating with someone miles away in seconds is something I love and take for granted.  I think, however, that we can all agree there are areas that technology has lead us astray.  Recently learning about the negative effects of artificial dyes in our foods, for example. I know it was not its intention, but that post really put some things into perspective for me.

Technology has given us so many opportunities and equally as many challenges. Finding the balance in all our lives is part of the human experience now.