Promotion Codes

Coupons, coupons everywhere.  Without the hard copy of the paper anymore, I was not sure what I was going to do.  I diligently went through all the ads to stores I shop at on Sundays and clipped coupons which might help me pay the bills or get things cheaper at the mall.  I never said that being frugal was fun and it definitely is not easy, but I think that more and more people are moving in that direction.  I was watching MSNBC one day and I saw this segment on coupon and promotion code websites that have been helping people save money.  I was really impressed with one offering promotion codes.  It is great and seems like it is run by real people instead of just an aloof figure.

 

The site is really easy to use too, which makes life easier.  I told my mom about the site too and she is not a very technically savvy individual and yet she did not have any complaints, other than wondering why I had not told her about it sooner.  Wish I could have mom, but I only saw the TV spot recently.  You type in the name of the stores or website you want, it has both print out coupons for the supermarket and promo codes for Amazon and many other sites.  One of the best parts is that up in the corner there is a ticker that tracks down how much money the site has saved people.  It is almost at $500,000 and it has jumped up so much in just the short time I have been using it.

 

You get all the details about the coupons and promotion codes: amount, when it expires, and it lets you enter your own coupons if you happen to have some lying around your house and want to share.  It is almost like a little community, which in times like this is actually a pretty special thing to be able to admit.  As long as it keeps saving me money, I plan to keep using the site.  I try to enter promo codes, too, since I feel like it is my way of giving back to help out others.

 

So far the best I found was a Macy’s promotion code for $100 off.  While it was only a one time coupon, it worked out great during the holiday season.  I bought my mom this really nice white and red sweater and I think it goes great with the necklace my sister purchased for her.  It was originally $170 and way out of my budget, but with the coupon, I was able to get it down into the $78 range, after taxes, which did not break the bank.  My mom loved it and I felt good knowing that I finally was able to pick out a gift which she really likes.  At least I assume she does.  She wore it twice while she was in town and that was only for eight days!

Free Veterinary Services

As I have mentioned in previous entry, I have splurged a bit in my past my adopting a dog.  I love her very much.  She was abused when I first found her and while I had contemplated getting a different dog, in the long run this cast off that no one wanted and I have bonded more than I ever thought possible.  Plus, I have raised other people’s dogs and because of the quiet and overall good nature of my pet, my friend’s have turned out pretty well too.

 

Anyway, I have always been of a frame of mind that I do not go to the doctor unless I am really sick.  I do not like to take medicine if I do not have to and I do my best to just keep myself healthy and kicking.  However, when it comes down to Abby, my dog, I do not take any risks.  If she cuts her paw while we are out on a walk or I notice that her appetite is lacking, I usually consult the vet.  This is probably a bit paranoid, but while she is tough, the last thing I want is for her to somehow get an infection and get really sick.  Not only would that cost a lot of money, but it might cost her more than that.  I just cannot risk it.

 

Whenever I have had friends over in the past, they have always commented on how good of a dog Abby is.  I have thought so myself, but it is nice to have others validate my beliefs.  I wish I could take more credit for raising her, but it was really a joint effort and having her around other dogs and socializing her from the day I got her played a huge part in her current behavior.  One of my newest friends from law school, she is in the cohort a year behind me, grew up in Washington D.C.  Her mother is also a vet who has her office relatively close to where I live.  She is just as close as my regular vet.

 

I sort of took this girl under my wing because I saw that she was struggling at the beginning of last semester.  I had her over a lot, we went to the library together, and I passed along my old notes from last semester so she could get a sense of how to create her own system for recording the important parts of lecture.  She really turned it around and was really grateful for the help.  So grateful in fact, that she said that her mom has offered to be Abby’s vet for free!  That is great news.  While I am still a bit reluctant about this, because I do not believe you should be rewarded for doing what is right, it is definitely good to have out there as an option.

Newspaper

Growing up I used to know it was morning because I could hear the sound of my mom’s spoon clanking on the cereal bowl and because I could hear the screen door slamming shut as my dad came back in with the newspaper.  That was the environment that I was raised in and for the most part, I found it to be quite useful.  I have no doubt that if I had not spent so much time reading the paper when I was a child that I would not have developed my love and interest in law and the desire to change the world in a small way.

 

Clearly if I am so convinced about the importance of the paper in the morning and reading it around the kitchen table, something drastic must have happened if I am willing to stop my subscription.  Well, I would not say drastic is the right word, but something has changed.  I remember one of the first things I did after I settled into my new place was to set up the delivery of the Post to my apartment door.  They even gave me this nice little plastic mailbox where I have been diligently trudging out every morning to pick it up.  Not anymore.  Two days ago, I canceled my subscription.

 

I will admit, I have had a hard time getting into my routine the last two days.  Everything has been thrown off, which is actually quite embarrassing to admit, but here it is all the same.  Instead of relying on the physical paper, which has been costing me around $100 over the last year, I am taking a different path.  Even though I recycle it after I read it, I still felt that it was wasteful.  I have now been reading the paper on my laptop every morning.  It made sense.  I spend so much time with my PC in front of me doing work that I can get all the news that I always did and it is free.  Sure, there are a few subscription services that I am missing out on, but for the most part, I never paid attention to those sections anyway.  Hopefully I am able to stay strong and work this new part of my morning into my routine.

 

While I decided to cancel my subscription kind of out of the blue, I must admit that I have been having second thoughts.  Not about the general idea, but about the timing.  Why would I do this right before the Obama inauguration?  I wanted to have a copy of that paper because I knew it was going to be so historic.  It was the same deal after he won the nomination and then the election.  I have those papers tucked away inside a box inside of my closet.  I am just happy to have them.  I traveled all over town looking for copies the day after it happened and everyone sold out.  That is after the Post printed an additional 100,000 copies.  I heard it was even worse in Chicago and they had to print almost 300,000 more copies.  You would think the editors would know better.  Hopefully I will be able to get my hands on a copy of the inauguration one though.  I need to complete the set.

Take in a Roommate

This might not be the ideal situation for everyone, and I realize that.  Also not everyone is going to be living in Washington D.C., so maybe you will not have the same opportunities to see people that I do.  As many of you know, Barack Obama won the election in November to become the new president of the United States of America.  How funny that as I typed this up, his name still has not been added to the automatic spell-check function of Word or the Firefox.  Anyway, in the next week or so, everyone on Earth will be flocking to this city to see his inauguration.  The experts are predicting around 4 million additional people will flood into D.C. for the event.  This is on top of the regular people who live and work in the area.

 

While the city is attempting to get everything done in advance, there are some crazy things going on.  For instance, all of my classes are cancelled.  The private institution that I attend decided it would be pandemonium if we were all trying to get to class and using public transportation.  I have heard that everyone is being advised to use public transportation the day of the inauguration.  However, I have also been informed that despite how good Washington D.C.’s metro is, the best in the nation, it cannot handle an extra 2 million people on it.  It is going to be crazy.

 

Anyway, while everything is shut down in the city except the inauguration traffic, I have decided to pay some of my bills for the next few months by renting out the extra room in my apartment for the period of three days.  I simply have a fold-out sofa, clean sheets, a few extra pillows, and no access to the kitchen or anything.  There is also a small bathroom without a shower in it.  And yet, a couple on Craigslist was willing to pay me $3,000 for the three days that they will be here.  $1,000 a day for doing absolutely nothing.  I have the days off, so I will be able to make sure that nothing happens to my apartment.  I spoke extensively with the couple and they were very kind on the phone and it sounds like we will not have any conflicts of interest.  Plus, we will all be at the inauguration together, so I will not have to worry about them getting too excited in my place and destroying everything. With all that money, I can pay my rent, utilities, and most of my grocery shopping bills for the next three months.  Yes, this is a frugal and a good idea.  If you live in the area and want to get in on these good deals, get on Craigslist and keep your eye out for people who are looking for a place to stay.  Just watch out for the crazies.

Redskins Games

I have also found a free and frugal way that you can live in the big city.  Of course, this does not really apply at the moments because the Redskins blew their great chance at making it to the playoffs by letting the wheels fall off at the end of the season.  Alas, next year.  At least The Florida State University Seminoles were able to continue their bowl streak and absolutely crush the Wisconsin Badgers.  Anyway, I found out that if you show up to a Redskins game after the start of the game, even just 5 minutes into the first quarter and are there with someone who has a military ID then you both can get in for $10.  That is such a great deal.

 

The only other place that I have ever heard about this was down at Old Busch Stadium in St. Louis.  There, however, it was after the first inning and you could get your whole family in on it too.  The same basic theory applied, although it was supposedly free.  As I have never served in the military, or really enjoyed spending extra time down in St. Louis, I never took advantage of the opportunity.  As I was talking about this posting with one of my law colleagues, who happens to be from Milwaukee, I was informed that Miller Park offers the Bob Yueker seats.  These cost $5 and are the highest seats in the park, but they still provide a good view of the field.

 

Since multiple parks and teams are offering this type of deal as a little bit of payment back toward those who defend the nation, I think that everyone should look into it.  I am not saying you should try to exploit a military ID holding friend, but that they would probably like to know about this information and they might just take you to the game as your reward for helping share such good insight into a frugal life style with them.

 

Another secret to making sure that you do not break the bank when you go out to the games is to make sure that you do not buy anything at the concession stands.  The prices are all so marked up that you always lose.  Your best option is to bring in some snacks with you from outside of the park.  Everywhere I have ever visited has allowed this.  You can bring in nuts, chips, licorice, or a variety of other foods you can munch on during the game.  You can also bring in water and can usually get away with a bottle of soda if you are sneaky enough about it.  If you want to buy alcohol at a game though, there is no really good day to get it cheaply or easily into the stadium.  I know that at the Redskins game I got patted down by a security guard for any bottles or cans.

Mid-life Update

Well it has been quite a while since I last wrote anything here.  I would like to blame my busy schedule for that, but I know that there have been other things at work too.  I’ve had some pretty big life changes in the last few months.  The biggest probably, although I haven’t really wanted to deal with it too much, is the fact that I ended my long term relationship of five years.  We’re still friends and we still get along, it just did not work out the way that I thought it was going to.  Thankfully though, I have been able to move on myself and have found a new guy that I’m able to spend my time on.

 

I’m still working away in law school.  This last term has been pretty hectic, but I like to think that I got through it alright.  Everything still looks like it will work out for me when I get finished up next year.  I have my internship pretty well lined up form where I was working at last summer.  I am still in contact with a number of people over there and they seem to keep pushing for me to come back when I finish up.  I am at the point now where I am supposed to decide what exact area I want to concentrate on for further study.  I know that I want to do advocate law and would like to get involved with the government.  I will probably pursue that route a little bit more and talk with my advisor to see what he says.  I am sure that he will be of great help, as he has been up to this point.

 

As for my frugal lifestyle, well, that is still in the works.  I have recently been turned on to public concert series in the D.C. area.  Granted, most of them are during the summer months, but there have still been a fair share during these colder days.  I think more than anything, how warm the weather has been lately has been a really nice change of pace from what I thought it would be when I moved up here.  Granted, it is not Florida weather, but it still does not hurt when we have days in the 60s in January.  So far I have seen shows from the Naval Band as well as a performance from the President’s own Army Band.  I know someone from my childhood who plays trumpet for them, so that is why I was able to go in the first place.  I also have a friend who is going to have a piece performed by the Naval Band.  Ahh, the joys of knowing musicians.

Cheer-up Cupcakes

Well Jill still is pretty down about her boyfriend.  I do not know what we need to do to shake her out of this slump, but we thought that making her some nice food and having a whole morning of eating might just do the trick.  We know that she has been spending a lot of time alone as of late and has been eating a whole lot of ice cream.  She told us she has put on eight pounds in the last two weeks and that is not a good thing because she has always been at that weight where her doctors told her that she needs to be really careful.

Now true, if she is worried about her weight, it would make sense that we would not be giving her all of these really fatty and bad foods that would make things worse.  So we went a different route and tried to find deliciousness that was not too un-heart healthy.  I think that we did a really good job on that.  I have included the recipe here so that you too can be involved and get a sense of what the baking scene in Washington D.C. looks like.  Please let me know what your suggestions are after you have whipped up some of these goodies.

1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon soda

1 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup butter

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

2 egg whites

2/3 cups plain yogurt

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F (180° C). Line 10 muffin cups with foil or paper liners.
  2. In a bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer, beat together the sugar, butter and vanilla on high speed for about 2 minutes, or until well mixed. Add the egg whites, one at a time, beating for about a minute after each one. Now add the flour mixture alternately with the yogurt, in about 3 portions each, beating after each addition just until combined, and scraping down the sides to make sure everything is well mixed.
  4. Pour batter into the prepared cupcake pan and place in the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned on top and a toothpick poked into the middle of a cupcake comes out clean. Let cool completely on a rack.
  5. To assemble the Cupcake menorah, frost all the cupcakes with your choice of icing and decorate in any way your heart desires. Place 9 cupcakes in a row on a platter or foil-covered cardboard base. Raise the middle cupcake up higher than the others — the “shamash” or leader. Stick candles into each of the 9 positions. When it’s time to light the candles — enjoy the flickering flames while you eat dinner, then eat the menorah for dessert!

Book Theft

I would like to say that everything was going well and good with school this year and to a certain extent, I can.  But my lawmate is not having a very good time.  Her boyfriend left her and she just got all of her books stolen at the Law Starbucks.  I do not understand why within our own group someone is going to rob one another.  It seems that she is now in a serious problem because that first set of books cost her around $600.  She does not have the necessary money to replace all of those and that does not even take into consideration the fact that her wallet was in the bag too.  When all was said and done, she lost around $700 and all of her credit cards, plus the replacement fee for her ID and the keys into the law buildings.

So I told her that we would try to help her raise the money for books.  I went and talked with some of the professors and they said that they would find some old copies and see if they would still work.  I know that at least one of them said that they were going to write into the publisher and see if they could not get an extra desk copy that she could use.  I really love the professors here and they really understand real world issues that we are all dealing with.

As for my own books, I spent around $500 and even though mine were the same books as Jill’s, I paid a lot less.  I used Abe books this year and I am a fool for not having done this the last few goes at this.  The savings were intense and the selection was amazing.  Since most people do not sell their law books back it is not like I can just go on Amazon and buy all the books that I need.  So if you are a law student, I recommend that you go out there and buy your books from Abebooks.com.  Even if you are not a law student, I think you should give it a look.  It has such an impressive spread.

It seems that this time around, Law School Socialism just is not panning out the way that it did last year.  I don’t know if the new cohort is just a little bit less friendly or if they have not realized how much we are trying to help them out, but they are not contributing or giving us any sort of benefit in return.  They do not even say thank you and that really has irritated everyone that I have talked to.  Maybe it is still just the nerves at the beginning of the year.  Time will tell.

Chocolate Filed Crescents

While I still want to give you all some recipe ideas, I also want to give you some back story.  Most of the comments I receive about these creations, other than the ones telling me how good they, involve wanting to know where I experience them.  I’d like to say that I sample all the fancy restaurants in the D.C. area, but that simply isn’t the truth.  I happen to have made good friends who are in the know about recipes.  That and a couple of them working for catering businesses and they give us all the inside scoop.

 

This week I was meeting with Angela, who worked as a pasty chef at a restaurant for a few years in between undergraduate and law school.  She is probably the best friend that I have out here and if it was based solely on my friends’ abilities to bake tasty treats, she would win hands down.  After our discussion of internships and how each of us was doing with it (yes I told her all about my pants suit episode) she told me that she was going to make me something to forget all my troubles.  I somehow doubted that, but over the last year I’ve learned not to doubt Ang.

 

As she was whipping everything up in her kitchen, it reminded me of how many things I’m missing in my own.  When I moved up here, I left most of my baking utensils, pots and pans at home with my mother.  I guess you could say that I did my fair share of baking while I was at home, although I also know how to cook.  Not that I ever really get to do that for captive audiences anymore.  Again, a story for a different time.

 

Basically in the time that it took me to type that last paragraph, Ang had already started the preparation for her award winning (seriously) chocolate-filled crescents.  When all was said and done, it took her about 20 minutes to get it ready and 12 minutes to bake.  After feasting on these delectable goodies for a while, I asked her the recipe.  She gave me the one she wants published.  It isn’t as good as the ones she made me, but still pretty close.  I hope you enjoy it.

 

3 tablespoons butter, softened

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 tablespoon milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

¼ cup baking cocoa

3 tablespoon finely chopped pecans

2 tubes refrigerated crescent rolls

 

For the glaze:

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

2 tablespoons baking cocoa

2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon water

2 tablespoons butter, melted

½ teaspoon vanilla

 

In a bowl, cream butter and sugar.  Beat in milk and vanilla.  Gradually add the cocoa.  Mix everything together.  Gently fold in the pecans.

 

Unroll the crescent dough and separate in to triangle shapes.  Spread about 2 rounded teaspoons of filling over each triangle all the way to ¼ inch of the edge.  Roll up each from the wide side.  Place the pointed side down on an un-greased baking sheet.  Curve them to make the corners have the crescent shape.

 

Bake them at 375 degrees for 12 minutes.  Remove them to a cooling rack.  While they cool, whip together the glaze ingredients until smooth.  Then drizzle them over the crescents.

 

This should give you about 16 amazing goodies for yourself or others.

Wet Day at Work

At my super secret internship, in one of the most important buildings in the United States, I got drenched. When I was talking to my mom about this earlier in the day, she couldn’t help but laugh at how pathetic I sounded on the phone. Hopefully it doesn’t come across in the same tone online. Please let me know in the comments if this sounds pathetic. Not that it will really change anything, but just for my own knowledge.

I always dress nicely for work. I mean, I meet incredibly influential people on a daily basis and I would love to be employed by any of these people when I finish school, so I want to leave a good impression. Earlier today I was wearing one of my gray pants suits. I got them on sale earlier in the year at JC Penny’s and they have served me well so far. Unfortunately, as I learned today, they bleed. Terribly. Needless to say that when I got home from work I had to throw the whole pants suit out in addition to my blouse, socks, and undergarments if you know what I mean. Even my skin is tinted a bit gray and I’ve showered four times without it coming off.

Since I’m buying my clothes from Penny’s, I obviously am not worried about spending tons of money. I’m Ms. Frugal after all and really try to stretch my dollar as far as it will go (let me tell you it isn’t going nearly far enough these days). I’ve never had any problem with my clothes before, but after this I might need to spend a little bit more money on them. The tag on the pants suit said that it was colorfast, but obviously, someone made a mistake in labeling it as such. I have a good mind to sue them. Oh, there I go again sounding like a lawyer and one of the kind that I hate.

I would like to say that I got wet fighting against a tidal wave of bad legal advice, but it was much simpler than that. The sprinkler system in my office went off. At first I didn’t know what the beeping was about, I figured fire alarm, but didn’t realize how serious it was until the water came rushing down. I’ve never been in a situation where sprinklers have turned on and I had no idea how much water comes down and in such a short period of time. Now I know even though I wish I didn’t.

It seems that one of the servers in the room behind me overheated. The fan failed or something along those lines. While the server room is full of electronics, the designers of the building saw in their infinite wisdom to equip it with a world class sprinkler system. I found this out because I was in the server room looking for some files on one of the PCs. I didn’t smell any smoke. All I know is that it is already cold in that room and that being drenched in water does not improve the situation.

So there it is. That was my day. I had to spend another three hours at work drying out before they let me go home. My boss apologized that they couldn’t spare me, but I’m quite upset all the same. I wasn’t productive at all for the rest of the day and I doubt you would be if your hair was dripping on to every page of legal text you looked through.