Frugal Portland http://frugalportland.com Save 50%. Spend Consciously. Take Control. Sun, 14 Dec 2014 17:00:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Frugal Portland Sunday Deals: For the New Mom http://frugalportland.com/frugal-portland-sunday-deals-new-mom/ http://frugalportland.com/frugal-portland-sunday-deals-new-mom/#comments Sun, 14 Dec 2014 17:00:50 +0000 http://frugalportland.com/?p=5722 Hi there, it’s Pamela from WikiPamela.com again with this week’s Frugal Portland Sunday Deals for you! Today’s deals are all about new moms and new babies! If you are a new mom, or know a new mom take a look at all these freebies. These would make amazing holiday gifts (for yourself or a friend). Get two free Belly Button Bands

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Sunday deals for new Moms Frugal Portland

Hi there, it’s Pamela from WikiPamela.com again with this week’s Frugal Portland Sunday Deals for you! Today’s deals are all about new moms and new babies! If you are a new mom, or know a new mom take a look at all these freebies. These would make amazing holiday gifts (for yourself or a friend).

Get two free Belly Button Bands (just pay shipping). I have actually been using these throughout my pregnancy and can tell you that they are a life saver! I am 8 months pregnant now and was never able to find a pair of maternity jeans that I liked, so I’ve just been wearing my pre-pregnancy jeans and using these Belly Button Bands to convert them into maternity jeans! They’re amazing!

Get 5 free baby leggings. I’ve ordered these too and can tell you that they are amazingly cute! While I haven’t used them yet (remember I’m only 8 months pregnant) I have washed them and so far they seem durable and cozy. These are essential for winter babies and can also be used as arm warmers!

Get 2 years of Parents magazine for just $0.33 an issue plus a free gift! Makes a great gift, or get a subscription for yourself (or both at this price!). Parenting is hard and we could all use some advice. Parents magazine is perfect!

These next three offers would make an amazing baby shower or holiday gift for the mom who plans on nursing!

Get a free nursing pillow (just pay shipping). New babies nurse a lot which can mean a serious arm workout for mom holding baby in just the right position. A nursing pillow can help keep mom’s arms from getting tired. Plus as a bonus this pillow can also be used for tummy time for baby later on!

Get 10 pairs of breast pads for free (just pay shipping). Don’t let leaks ruin your shirt. These reusable and washable breast pads are not only comfy but cute too.

Get a free nursing cover from Udder Covers (just pay shipping). For moms that like a little more cover while they’re nursing, the Udder Cover gets great reviews from moms that have used them.

And for the mom on the go, these next two offers would also make an amazing baby shower or holiday gift.

Get a free carseat cover (just pay shipping). A carseat cover is perfect to make sure baby stays warm and doesn’t wake up when being carried around.

Free baby sling from Seven Slings (just pay shipping). Ever tried grocery shopping with a baby? It can be hard because you don’t want to leave your baby unattended in the cart while you go to get something off the shelf. A baby carrier can be a life saver!

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Shop for a Worthy Cause and Win! http://frugalportland.com/women-save-money/ http://frugalportland.com/women-save-money/#comments Fri, 12 Dec 2014 14:48:44 +0000 http://frugalportland.com/?p=5859 If you live in Portland, and you are a woman, and you need more business casual clothing, you should not miss this sale. Clothing costs between five dollars and $15 and it’s all in wonderful shape, very gently used, and the kind of brands that you pay a lot more money for anywhere else. If you need another reason to come

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acey's

If you live in Portland, and you are a woman, and you need more business casual clothing, you should not miss this sale. Clothing costs between five dollars and $15 and it’s all in wonderful shape, very gently used, and the kind of brands that you pay a lot more money for anywhere else. If you need another reason to come to the sale, you know that the organization, is outstanding. They provide interview outfits for women transitioning back into the workforce, support for women who are in their first 90 days of employment (which are traditionally the hardest), and job skills to help break the cycle of generational poverty.

Below is their email blast:

Amazing deals on new and gently used women’s designer clothing, shoes and accessories (All starting at $5!) ***Featuring designers like: Ralph Lauren, Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, Eileen Fisher, Georgio Armani, St. John’s and more! 

Accessory grab bags and raffles tickets available for purchase!

Where: 1532 NE 37th Avenue, Portland, OR 97232 – Dress for Success Oregon. Between Broadway and Sandy in NE Portland.

Parking: Available on the street or in the parking lot at the Banfield Motel.

Contact: Dress for Success Oregon at 503.249.7300
Cash and credit cards only (sorry, no checks).
Due to limited space, adults only please.
All sales final.
I’ll be there when the doors open at 10 AM, then I’ll be there again from 1 PM to 4 PM. If you see me, say hello!
I was just there this week (my usual time to volunteer is the HOPE program, which meets every other Tuesday and helps support women in their first 90 days on the job), and I came away moved. See, sometimes, especially for me, it’s easy to get locked up in my own little world (I say especially for me because working from home means I have to make an effort to be out of the house) and get caught up in, for lack of a better word, first world problems.
The HOPE attendees, though, do not have first world problems. They’re struggling. Some of them haven’t worked in months… for others, it’s been years. The odds are not in their favor. And yet? They keep coming. I sat at the front desk, checking people in, handing out grocery gift cards and gas gift cards (not much, but everyone was really appreciative) and looked at the sheets they were filling out.
Overwhelmingly, the women in this group who were stepping out of poverty and in general trying to get it together have jobs where they are helping people worse off than they are.
Think about that for a second. Tell me it’s not inspiring you to do better. To do more for others.
If someone who is not yet making enough money to stop qualifying for food assistance is taking a job counseling people on parole, or working with the homeless population so they don’t freeze over the winter, surely you and I can do more. Whether you feel it or not, if you’re surfing the internet from your home computer, you are privileged. Sure, you might have more credit card debt than you want (no judgement here, I’ve been there!), but if you have the funds for home internet, you’re not receiving public assistance, and therefore, you are doing really quite well. Kudos.
Look, it doesn’t matter whether you give to charity or not. I just want you to read this today, then pause, just for a second, and remember how good you have it.
Then, be nice to people. Everyone is fighting their own battle.
If you do feel compelled to give, Dress for Success is a worthy organization. The meeting I attended last night proved to me that this organization works. They provide a helping hand, not handouts. They empower women to use the tools at their disposal to make a good life for themselves.
Donate here if you want.
Put my name in the comment field (Kathleen Celmins) if you can’t come to the shopping trip. But if you’re local, you really should come shopping. I saw the stuff. It looks good.

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10 Free Things to do to Get Into the Holiday Spirit http://frugalportland.com/10-free-things-get-holiday-spirit/ http://frugalportland.com/10-free-things-get-holiday-spirit/#comments Tue, 09 Dec 2014 16:57:32 +0000 http://frugalportland.com/?p=5845 Get into the spirit of the holidays without spending a dime (other than gas money to get places). Here are TK free things to do to get into the holiday spirit (some are Portland-centric, but I bet there are similar things in your fair city): 1. Go See the Big Christmas Tree You know, the big one. In the town square.

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10 Free Things to do to Get Into the Holiday Spirit

Get into the spirit of the holidays without spending a dime (other than gas money to get places). Here are TK free things to do to get into the holiday spirit (some are Portland-centric, but I bet there are similar things in your fair city):

1. Go See the Big Christmas Tree

pioneer courthouse square christmas treeYou know, the big one. In the town square. Wherever that is for you. For me, it’s the middle of the city, and it’s lovely. I can enjoy the scenery as I drive past, or I can enjoy it for longer, if I happen to be downtown past dark (which, as cool as I am, let’s not mince words here, does not happen very often).

 

 

2. See Gingerbread Palaces

In Portland, step into the Benson Hotel and see this year’s amazing, enormous, gingerbread palace:

Frugal Portland free holiday things

I love this tradition. One, as a local, I never go to the hotels here, so it’s fun to step in and be surrounded by wood-paneled swanky hotel lobby. Two, it’s decorated so nicely, and three, holy smokes what a gingerbread house! My past attempts at glueing graham crackers together with powdered sugar and water pale in comparison to actual gingerbread palace with a church that has stained glass windows! See if there are gingerbread house competitions in your area.

3. See Crazy Light Displays

peacock lane

There’s a place in Portland… a neighborhood, really… with some odd rules in their homeowners’ association. If you buy a house on Peacock Lane, you must go all out in your Christmas lights. No, really. The best way to enjoy this little stretch of Portland is to park outside the neighborhood and walk. Driving through is ridiculous (and there’s another reason I won’t be living on Peacock Lane).

4. Watch Elf

Nothing gets me into the holiday spirit than watching Elf. My tradition is to watch it over Thanksgiving weekend, and I’ve done that for five or so years now. It’s sweet, it’s silly, and even my dad got into it. He started by asking, “What are you watching?” but then got roped in, and by the end of the movie was chuckling. I even heard him say later that weekend, “must be a south pole elf.” If you’ve never seen it, it’s on Netflix. If you don’t have Netflix, surely someone you know has a copy.

5. Take Pictures of Pretty Christmas Displays

Portland Oregon - White Stag sign.  Photo by Steve Morgan.I have a fancy camera with a lot of fancy accessories, and I like to take it on photo adventures. It’s really fun to head downtown and take pictures of lobbies. Hotels, restaurants, banks, even the streetlights, get into it with wreaths, evergreen boughs, lights, and twinkles. Our “Welcome to Portland” sign becomes Rudolph this time of year.

6. Write Emails to People You Miss

Stamps are expensive, but emails aren’t. Get fancy with your fonts and backgrounds on Word, then PDF that and send a non-traditional Christmas letter. Talk about your year. The highs, the lows, anything in between. Or send one-off emails. “Dear Grandma, I love you oh so much. Happy Christmas.”

7. Find Christmas Bazaars

This might sound counter intuitive, since we’re talking about free stuff, but I adore holiday bazaars, and have been to more than 100 in my life, and have probably spent money three of those times (not counting something warm to drink if the bazaar happened to be outside). They are SO FUN though, even if you don’t buy anything. It’s fun to see the entrepreneurial spirit alive and well in the holiday space. Plus, it’s a place where people wear Christmas sweaters un-ironically, even in Portland, which makes my heart happy.

8. Watch the Lighted Boat Parade

lighted-boat-parades-mDo you live on a body of water? I always have. Growing up, we would get reservations at a fancy restaurant, and we’d get them early so we could have a window seat to watch the boats go by while learning how to behave while eating seafood. We’d dress up, make it a thing, and it was always so fun. After my sister and I left home, my parents still made reservations for a while to watch the boats. Here in Portland, the water is more of an every-person thing, given that there’s a river that cuts right through the middle of the city. That’s great for those of us who don’t want to go spend money in a fancy waterfront restaurant but still want to see boats with lights on them. There are all kinds of places to go watch the sparkly boats go by. My favorite happens to be J.D. and Kim’s place, because it’s inside, but you could bundle up and walk along the waterfront. Go tonight! Or Thursday! More info at ChristmasShips.org.

9. Attend Open Houses in Downtown Stores

Macy's_Holiday_WindowsGrowing up, my mom sometimes took us to Seattle to do holiday things because Seattle was so big and cosmopolitan compared to Olympia. One of our favorite things to do was walk around the outside of department stores and see the amazing displays. They were always so fun and different! This memory may explain why adult Kathleen still thinks of Seattle as a magical place around the holiday season.

10. Go for a Holiday Hike

PiestewaPeak-brittlebushThis one is new to me, because I am afraid of the cold, but last year at Thanksgiving, I was in Arizona. “Do you want to go on a hike?” asked Brent’s dad, the morning of Thanksgiving. Sure! Paying in advance for all the things I was planning on eating later sounded like an odd, but awesome, thing to do. I thought it would be a great idea, and the path wouldn’t be crowded since, after all, it was Thanksgiving. I was 100% wrong about that last part. It was a great idea, but we had to park so far away from the trailhead that we got an extra little hike in addition to climbing a little mountain! Exercise, it turns out, is the thing to do in Phoenix on Thanksgiving. I’m guessing Christmas, too. It’s a fun tradition: gets us out of the house, our blood pumping, and being outside when most of the country stays inside.

What do you do to get into the holiday spirit?

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Frugal Portland Sunday Deals: Holiday Gifts http://frugalportland.com/frugal-portland-sunday-deals-holiday-gifts/ http://frugalportland.com/frugal-portland-sunday-deals-holiday-gifts/#comments Sun, 07 Dec 2014 17:00:29 +0000 http://frugalportland.com/?p=5822 Hi there, it’s Pamela from WikiPamela.com again with this week’s Frugal Portland Sunday Deals for you! I’ve found some great deals for the loved ones on your holiday shopping list. My favorite gift idea is the last one on this list, but be sure to order soon as that deal expires on the 8th! For the Disney lover on your list Have a

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Hi there, it’s Pamela from WikiPamela.com again with this week’s Frugal Portland Sunday Deals for you! I’ve found some great deals for the loved ones on your holiday shopping list. My favorite gift idea is the last one on this list, but be sure to order soon as that deal expires on the 8th!

For the Disney lover on your list

Have a Disney lover on your list? Wicked Cool Toys is offering 15% off your total order, plus free ground shipping on the Disney Wood website. But hurry, sale ends 12/10/2014. Use code DISNEY15

15% OFF

For the techie on your list

We all have one of those friends or family members that are so hard to shop for…. they pretty much have everything. But Brookstone proves time and again that there are still cool gadgets to be had, and right now Groupon has $25 for $50 Worth of Innovative Products from Brookstone. Who wouldn’t love a gift from Brookstone? Be sure to check the terms and conditions.

For the chef on your list

Home chefs crave new kitchen gadgets almost as much as they crave new recipes. Check out these Coupon Specials from the Prepared Pantry for the chef in your life. You’re sure to find a new kitchen gadget that they don’t already have.

Banner to Prepared Pantry Holiday Deals

For the book lover on your list

Know a book lover? BooksFree offers gift memberships for paperback books as well as audio books, and right now you can get 20% Off Gift Memberships from BooksFree!

xmas_promo20

For the grandparent on your list

What could be cooler than sending a grandparent a full 12 months of memories of their grandchildren?  Why not send a 2015 calendar filled with amazing photos to that special grandparent on your list. MixBook.com is offering 55% off on photo books, calendars, and cards. But hurry, this offer expires 12/8/2014!

 

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13 Ways to Save Money This Holiday Season http://frugalportland.com/13-ways-save-money-holiday-season/ http://frugalportland.com/13-ways-save-money-holiday-season/#comments Tue, 02 Dec 2014 16:33:03 +0000 http://frugalportland.com/?p=5832 In case you couldn’t tell by the bell-ringing Santas, the lights up in your neighborhood, the colder-than-comfortable air temperatures, and more traffic in the retail areas, it’s the holiday season. Since Brent and I hosted our very first holiday as a married couple on Thanksgiving, we’re traveling for Christmas, so we’re doing a lighter decking of our halls than usual. I got

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13 ways to save money this holiday season -- Frugal Portland

In case you couldn’t tell by the bell-ringing Santas, the lights up in your neighborhood, the colder-than-comfortable air temperatures, and more traffic in the retail areas, it’s the holiday season. Since Brent and I hosted our very first holiday as a married couple on Thanksgiving, we’re traveling for Christmas, so we’re doing a lighter decking of our halls than usual.

I got permission from my sister to skip a tree this year, and hopefully we’ll have a tree in the new house (wherever that ends up being) next Christmas.

I’m getting swept up in the season. I love Christmas. It seems like people are a little nicer to each other this time of year.

Also, now that I’m married to a boy from the desert, Christmas means I get to have some unexpected fun in the sun to go along with my … figgy pudding? Yes, figgy pudding.

I got to thinking, though, about the one part of Christmas I don’t really like: forced gift giving. Now, I don’t work in an office, so I don’t think my coworkers expect any treats from me (but if you’re reading this, coworkers, send me your address!) but I’m in the minority.

Let’s set up some ground rules for the season, shall we?

Splendid! Below are 13 ways to save money this holiday season.

1. Nobody “Needs” a Gift From You

Do not stress! There is nobody out there who absolutely needs a gift from you. If you’re working on your goals, whatever they may be, understand that you do not need to shell out $15 x the number of people you know and love. Remember: it’s about being together (and wearing too much red) not about keeping score.

2. Go With Homemade Whenever Possible

This is the 8th season of Kathleen’s Homemade Christmas, and it’s a tradition I love (and I think the people on my list love it too). There are always caramels (although this year, sorry, friends, I out-carameled myself for the wedding, we’re doing caramel sauce this time around), and there are always other things. I choose a theme, and send gifts based on the theme. They haven’t gone out yet this year, so I can’t tell you what the theme is, but it’s good. Send me your address and $ for shipping and I’ll put you on the “nice” list.

3. If You Get an Unexpected Gift, Simply Show Gratitude

When you get a gift, the very worst response is, “but I don’t have anything for YOU!” so keep that thought in your head, and say thank you. Then make sure you have something homemade for them the next time you see them. It’s not keeping score. It’s about cheer, and love. No tit for tat, okay?

4. Tip Service Industry Workers a Little Extra

If you’re out celebrating, tip more than normal. In my house, that means I pull out the credit card linked to the account we share. Because I’m a better tipper than Brent. There, I said it. I’ve aired the dirty laundry. Service workers in Portland are paid better than most cities (which is Brent’s defense for giving a 15% tip), but still. Having to attend all these holiday parties and not get to partake? Sucks.

5. Be REALLY Nice to People at the Airport

Speaking of jobs that suck, airport workers see people at their absolute worst. Add flight delays around the holidays, and wow. Be nice to TSA, the coffee stand person, the person at the airport bookstore, everyone. Not just “not mean,” but nice. Extra nice. Tell them happy holidays.

6. No Gift is Worth Going Into Credit Card Debt

Listen up, buttercup. If you have credit card debt, now’s the year for writing everyone you know and love a letter indicating all the things you love about them. Take the one you love on a scavenger hunt around town. DO NOT INCREASE YOUR DEBT for this holiday. It’s not worth it. It’s not the same as eating a piece of cake after a year of dieting. Get out of debt. Thank your loved ones for their help on your journey out of credit card debt.

7. Give Time (It’s More Valuable Anyway)

Even if you’re not in credit card debt, you may have more time than money on your hands this season. If you’re anything like me, your friends have babies. Give them time! Watch their kids for them while they go Christmas shopping. Spend time at their house if their kids are too little to leave behind. Run errands for friends. They can’t go get groceries because of their newborn? Tell them to make you a list and buy what they need. Even if they pay you back (and they will), you’ve given them something they can’t buy — time.

8. Give to Those in Need

Your kid’s teacher doesn’t need something expensive. Wait, that’s not actually true where we live. Teachers are underpaid. Get them gift certificates to places they won’t visit on their own. But give to those who are standing outside in the freezing rain asking for change. There are excuses, “they’ll just use the money for alcohol,” but I’m not buying it. First, who says people in homes are more entitled to a beer than people who are homeless? Second, would you stand out in this weather? No? Consider that you have more options than the person you drive past. Put together gift bags. Buy an extra coffee (this is MUCH more charitable than the silly “pay it forward” Starbucks lines where people aren’t even getting out of their cars!) when you see someone outside. People in need are the modern-day Tiny Tims of this world, and even Scrooge (McDuck) could be generous to Tiny Tim.

9. Consider Alternative Gifts

Brent and I agreed this year to skip traditional gifts and instead spend one night in a fancy hotel during our stay in Arizona. Most of the time, we’ll be with his family (OUR family!) so one night, we’ll escape down the road to a fancy hotel where we will be by ourselves celebrating our luck to find each other. Cheesy, right? Tis the season.

10. Save Where You Can

It wouldn’t be a Kathleen post if I didn’t mention the value of Groupon at least once. Sorry not sorry, there are awesome deals every single day on gifts and experiences that you can share and save up to half at the same time. Check it early. Check it often.

11. Sometimes the Thought Isn’t What Counts

If the thought is, “why on earth did she spend this money on me?” then it’s not the thought that counts. Far from it. If you’re giving a thoughtful present, it doesn’t have to be expensive. Give carefully, and really think about the recipient. Is it something they want? OR was it on sale at Groupon and you couldn’t come up with anything better?

12. Consider Experience Gifts

Have you heard of Goldstar Events? They offer experiences for 50% off. Things like tickets to the Nutcracker, the Santaland Diaries, or anything else can be had at steep discounts.

13. Do Cheesy Holiday Things

There are SO MANY things to do this season — my sister and I love to see the fancy decorated Christmas trees at the Convention Center. It’s a bigger version of what we used to do every year in Olympia, and it makes us think of Mom.

Biggest Advice: Plan, then Let Go

Follow these rules, then let December happen. Remember to focus on family (not focus on the family, that’s a political website), friends, and loved ones you maybe haven’t met before. Be nice, don’t stress.

That’s a motto we can all adhere to, right?

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Groupon’s Cyber Monday Deals http://frugalportland.com/groupons-cyber-monday-deals/ http://frugalportland.com/groupons-cyber-monday-deals/#comments Mon, 01 Dec 2014 17:32:36 +0000 http://frugalportland.com/?p=5819 I didn’t do Black Friday. Well, I did, accidentally step into a store looking for something specific, and came away shocked that what I wanted costs so much money. Seriously. I forgot what retail shopping was like! However, as I’m sitting here with a cup of coffee wading through emails, I can’t help but notice that there are some excellent deals

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I didn’t do Black Friday. Well, I did, accidentally step into a store looking for something specific, and came away shocked that what I wanted costs so much money. Seriously. I forgot what retail shopping was like!

However, as I’m sitting here with a cup of coffee wading through emails, I can’t help but notice that there are some excellent deals out there for Cyber Monday.

Groupon, especially, is handing out discounts like candy.

Below are a few:

Groupon 30% off gift shop sale

{30% off for Cyber Monday}

Huge deals on spa treatments, fun activities, haircuts, restaurants, and more

{Up to 80% off physical goods}

Fuzzy boots, earphones, fitness trackers, pet beds, kitchen stuff, electronic toothbrushes, and a wide assortment of random stuff

If you’re looking to treat yourself, go for the first deal. Some people (not me!) don’t like getting Groupons for Christmas, but if you set it up to say, “let’s go get our nails done together!” and clandestinely paid with a Groupon, your friend would be none the wiser.

If you want to save big on physical goods, go for the second deal. Your recipient wouldn’t begin to guess that you bought their gift using a coupon, so it’s a double win. Unless you write a frugal living blog that your friends know about. Then they’ll assume you got a deal.

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Frugal Portland Sunday Deals: Extra Cash for the Holidays http://frugalportland.com/frugal-portland-sunday-deals-extra-cash-holidays/ http://frugalportland.com/frugal-portland-sunday-deals-extra-cash-holidays/#comments Sun, 30 Nov 2014 17:00:24 +0000 http://frugalportland.com/?p=5718 Hi there, it’s Pamela from WikiPamela.com again with this week’s Frugal Portland Sunday Deals for you! Is there anything better than saving money? Well maybe… what about earning some extra money? If you’re looking to earn some extra money for the holidays, check out these offers. Sign up with Survey Spot and earn cash or Amazon gift cards just for sharing

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Sunday deals extra cash for the holidays Frugal Portland

Hi there, it’s Pamela from WikiPamela.com again with this week’s Frugal Portland Sunday Deals for you! Is there anything better than saving money? Well maybe… what about earning some extra money? If you’re looking to earn some extra money for the holidays, check out these offers.

Sign up with Survey Spot and earn cash or Amazon gift cards just for sharing your opinion.

MindsPay is another company that offers you cash for your opinions. Click below to sign up for free.

Panda Research also offers a free sign up and up to $50 per offer completed.

Opinion Outpost also offers cash or Amazon gift cards.

And, last but not least… Fusion Cash give you a $5 bonus just for signing up!

Now get out there are start earning some extra cash to put in your savings!

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The Emotional Roller Coaster of House Hunting http://frugalportland.com/emotional-roller-coaster-house-hunting/ http://frugalportland.com/emotional-roller-coaster-house-hunting/#comments Tue, 25 Nov 2014 17:28:17 +0000 http://frugalportland.com/?p=5792 We were ready to sign. The pen was in our hands. All we wanted was what was represented in the sales documents: a functional, 15-year old ready-to-move-in house. We knew the place wasn’t perfect. Yeah, we’d have to finish a third bedroom. Maybe the kitchen was a bit outdated, and the configuration was a little odd. But that location! That

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The emotional roller coaster of house hunting -- Frugal Portland

We were ready to sign. The pen was in our hands. All we wanted was what was represented in the sales documents: a functional, 15-year old ready-to-move-in house. We knew the place wasn’t perfect. Yeah, we’d have to finish a third bedroom. Maybe the kitchen was a bit outdated, and the configuration was a little odd. But that location! That neighborhood! We were willing to pay listing price, despite the flaws of the house. We were elated. Once we got to the negotiation phase, though, the deal simply fell to pieces and we had to walk away.

We had come a long way into the process. When we first saw the house, we were blown away by the prime location of the home. I mean, this place was smack dab in the middle of one of the most explosive development corridors in all of Portland, a little outdated cabinetry was not going to be the thing that separated us from this place. We put in an offer almost immediately after seeing it. The seller accepted our bid and away we went.

The inspection showed more problems with the home that we had ever imagined, but we figured the sellers honestly just didn’t know. It was, after all, a rental unit, so they didn’t see the problems evolve over time. “Now that they know there are some real issues, let’s hope they agree to fix them and things will be fine,” I said to Kathleen.

Now Kathleen and I share common goals and dreams, but our personalities and outlooks on life are quite different. Kathleen is an optimistic sort and quite trusting. I am very pessimistic and cynical of others’ motivations. In aggregate, we tend to balance each other out, but each of us needs to manage the other’s expectations in very different ways.

In the early part of the deal, Kathleen was picking up my spirits about the snags we were hitting. None of them were particularly bad (the seller took more than three extra days to accept our offer; we were going to have to spend a significant amount of money on projects to improve the house), but it was enough to give me sleepless nights.

Post-inspection, the onus of managing expectations switched to me. It was pretty clear from the inspection that the place was more of a fixer-upper than the sellers had led us to believe. The range was not in working order. The deck was unsafe for people to stand on. There was unremediated mold in the attic due to bad ventilation and the inspector detected high moisture readings in the master bathroom. Who knew what problems were growing underneath the tiles? I began to doubt the sincerity of the seller.

As the process continued, the seller denied that a 15-year old house could need such dramatic fixes, and wouldn’t budge on the price. I was worried about deeper issues, the ones we couldn’t see. It was clear that we were going to have to walk away.

The decision hit Kathleen pretty hard. She had already mentally moved into our new house, had geared up for some DIY projects to improve the place. My heart broke while I listened to her dejected voice over the phone. She acquiesced in a near whisper, “Okay.” I could tell she was choking back a tear.

She bounced back a few hours later and slept off all the residual disappointment the next day.

Portland is a seller’s market right now. Houses in our neighborhood in Southeast Portland rarely last more than a few days. There is intense pressure to make an offer on a house after only a few moments of consideration. It is not an ideal circumstance for people making life-changing decisions that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Fortunately, Kathleen and I are in an advantageous buyers’ position. We have a place to live today. While we’d like to change our living situation, our situation is by no means unbearable. We can afford to bide our time and wait for that best-case scenario.

It’s strange how emotional the home-buying process is, even for a couple that knows they can wait. The house we walked away from was flawed in a zillion ways, but we still got caught up in the emotion, the dreaming, the highs and lows. It’s also instructive, though, to be aware of how emotional you can get over something. There is no bigger decision you can make than buying a home, the worst thing you can do is make a snap judgment based on emotion. Take some time and think it through, even if you’re afraid you’ll miss out.

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Frugal Portland Sunday Deals: Holiday Card Roundup http://frugalportland.com/frugal-portland-sunday-deals-holiday-card-roundup/ http://frugalportland.com/frugal-portland-sunday-deals-holiday-card-roundup/#comments Sun, 23 Nov 2014 14:00:42 +0000 http://frugalportland.com/?p=5784 Hi there, it’s Pamela from WikiPamela.com again with this week’s Frugal Portland Sunday Deals for you! I know that Thanksgiving isn’t even here yet, but December is right around the corner, and if you were planning on getting holiday cards out to friends and family, now is the time to order them! Here are some deals on holiday cards so you

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Sunday deals -- holiday card round up frugal portland

Hi there, it’s Pamela from WikiPamela.com again with this week’s Frugal Portland Sunday Deals for you! I know that Thanksgiving isn’t even here yet, but December is right around the corner, and if you were planning on getting holiday cards out to friends and family, now is the time to order them!

Here are some deals on holiday cards so you don’t shock your pocketbook if you didn’t budget for them. But hurry, some of these deals expire soon (like today!).

20 Cards for $4.99

InkGarden.com is offering 20 Custom Holiday Cards – Just $4.99 plus shipping and handling (Standard Shipping: $4.49), but hurry… this offer ends TODAY (11/23/2014)! Offer good for new and returning customers.

20 Custom Holiday Cards – Just $4.99 – Save $16.99!

30% Off Entire Order

TinyPrints.com is offering 30% off your entire order, but hurry because this offer also expires today (11/23/2014)! Miss your chance at 30% off? Click here for 10% off your order or click here for $50 off your $150 order (some exclusions apply).

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10 Photo Cards for $1

York Photo Lab is offering 10 Custom Photo 5X7 Stationary Holiday Cards – Just $1 (S&H Not Included. Standard Shipping: $3.49). New Customers Only. Hurry, this offer expires 11/28/2014.

Custom Photo 5X7 Stationary Holiday Cards – Just $1 – Save $11.99!

Buy 4 Cards Get 1 Free

The Greeting Card Shop has cards for 1.99 and is offering 5 cards for the price of 4 through 12/24/2014

tgcs_holidays14_promotion_website_banner_b

Whew! You get all that? My head is spinning. I feel like that was a very fast deals round up! Now, go order your Christmas cards so you can enjoy Thanksgiving.

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Are You Really Winning When it Comes to Bargains? http://frugalportland.com/really-winning-comes-bargains/ http://frugalportland.com/really-winning-comes-bargains/#comments Sat, 22 Nov 2014 00:03:28 +0000 http://frugalportland.com/?p=5799 The following post is from Derek Sall, owner and operator of Life And My Finances. Derek writes to help his readers get out of debt, save money, and become wealthy. Are you great at sniffing out bargains? I bet you take great pride in finding a steal from time to time and then can’t wait to tell your friends. But what if

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The following post is from Derek Sall, owner and operator of Life And My Finances. Derek writes to help his readers get out of debt, save money, and become wealthy.

Are You Really Winning When it Comes to Bargains?

Are you great at sniffing out bargains? I bet you take great pride in finding a steal from time to time and then can’t wait to tell your friends. But what if I told you that you might actually be losing money when you buy something on sale? Is that even possible? It sure is. You just have to have the right mentality.

Do You Truly Need The Item?

Retail stores are fantastic at getting us excited about a sale. They haul out the big red sign and plop the special item right in the middle of the store. The sign says that these products are 30% off their original price. That’s a pretty good deal right? Well, that all depends. Did you need the item before you walked through the doors? If not, then chances are that it isn’t all that great of a deal for you. If there were no sale, then you probably wouldn’t even have looked twice at this special product. Therefore, instead of spending $0 on that product, you are now spending $20, $50, or maybe even $100! Whatever the amount, it is 100% more than you were going to spend on that item before you saw the sale. In this instance, you should absolutely not make the purchase. You’ll save more money that way.

The Sale Might Really Not Be a Sale

There are certain stores in my area that are notorious for raising their prices before they have a sale. Of course, not everyone knows that, but I have definitely taken notice. While I’m pretty sure there are laws against it, some stores will actually raise the regular price of a few items by 30%, and then will call it a clearance sale and mark it 50% off. In actuality, the item is actually closer to 20% off if you compare it to the original retail price. Just because something has a huge red tag on it does not necessarily mean that it is a good deal.

Better deal? Go for Groupon. Right now, they’re offering 30% off local deals. Stock up for Christmas!

You Might Be Wasting Your Good Deal

Let’s talk about groceries for a minute. There are many different types of stores where you can get your groceries. You could buy your food from a Super Target, from Walmart, from Costco, from an upscale grocer, or maybe a discount grocery store. Some offer better deals than others, but buying in bulk seems to be a great way to save money…sometimes.

My friends are married and have no children, and they have a membership at Costco, a big box retail store. They constantly rave about this store and all of the great deals they find there. While I don’t doubt the deals, I do doubt that they are actually saving money.

You see, whenever I go over there, their cupboards and their refrigerator are absolutely stuffed with food. As I pull something out to eat, they often tell me, “I don’t know if that is still good. It has been in there for a really long time!” Based on the frequent reminder that their food might be spoiled, I estimate that 25% of their food goes to waste. So, if they are saving 10% more than me on each items, they are still losing out by 15% in the end because most of their bulk purchases are going into the garbage!

You Must Live by a Budget

You might not be a spender by nature, but a budget can still help you out quite severely. In the case of the wasted food we just discussed, a budget would help you understand how much money you were spending on food each month. Buying in bulk might cause you to spend quite a lot in one particular month, but that means you should be spending very little in the following months. If you don’t see this happening in your budget, then you are probably wasting money.

Budgeting is obviously a good idea, but it is not always the easiest thing to do. You must keep up with your spending and properly categorize your expenses in order for it to help you. If this is a challenge, then I would suggest setting up an account with Mint.com or PersonalCapital.com. These are excellent tools not only for budgeting, but also for tracking your investments and your net worth!

Until you set up a budget, you really won’t know if you are losing money by purchasing a sale item.

How about you? Have you ever thought that you could lose money by buying something on sale?

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