2010 Publix Art Calendar

I'm so excited I received my 2010 Publix Art Calendar in the mail today. Since they won't be distributing them in Tampa, I emailed corporate and they shipped one off in a day. There are great coupons for each month of the year, so if you want one I'd recommend requesting your own copy.
 
The coupons included are:
January: $2 off a $20 Purchase
February: $1 Off Any Grocery Item of $1 or more
March: $1 Off any Produce Item of $1 or More
April: $1 Off any Bakery Item of $1 or More
May: $1 Off any Meat/Seafood Item of $1 or More
June: $1 Off any Deli Item of $1 or More
July: $3 Off A $30 Purchase
August: $1 Off any Grocery Item of $1 or More
September: $1 Off any Bakery Item of $1 or More
October: $1 Off any Produce Item of $1 or More
November $3 Off of a $30.00 Purchase
December: $5 Off of a $50 Purchase

New Years Resolutions

Well it's the last day of the year and I have to admit, I haven't accomplished what I would like with this blog. I've spent a decent amount of prep getting the site up, and getting affiliates and trying to create interesting posts. However, I just haven't made it my priority. With a full time very boring government job you would think I could sneak in a few posts each day. But the death of me has been google reader and all the RSS feeds that I browse each day. There are a lot of great blogs out there with meaningful posts that I read and think, geeze I could write that too - but I don't because it takes a lot of time to write a good blog post. So with said, here are my frugal new years resolutions
  • Create a clear focus for the blog and have every post be related to the focus
  • Post regularly, not too much like some do but hopefully at least once a day
  • Provide meaningful content with every post, not just ads or deals that everyone is posting
  • Link up to Facebook and Twitter (@frugalapolis) and use those networks
So my goals are to just grow the blog with increased readership, and to share frugal practices and deals so others can benefit from a frugal lifestyle.
 
Happy New Year to You!

Is Your 2009 IRA Fully Funded?

You still have a few months to contribute to your IRA and Roth IRA's for 2009. This is a great way to cut your tax burden and save for retirement. There are some exciting changes for Roth IRA conversions this coming year that you should investigate which allow you to defer claiming half of the contribution until 2011, therefore easing the tax burden. According to the IRS, maximum IRA contributions for 2009 are the same for both a Traditional IRA and Roth IRA.  You can also split your contributions among both Roth and Traditional, but your combined contribution amounts are subject to these same limits.
Under 50 years old at the end of 2008:
  • Traditional IRA contribution limits = $5,000
  • Roth IRA contribution limits = $5,000
  • Combined IRA contribution limits = $5,000
Over 50 years old as the end of 2008:
  • Traditional IRA contribution limits = $6,000
  • Roth IRA contribution limits = $6,000
  • Combined IRA contribution limits = $6,000
  • IRA deadline for 2009 contributions is April 15, 2010.

  • Quizzle

    Another great tool I use to monitor my finances. Every 6 months you can check in, and get your FREE credit score (not just your report) on Quizzle.com 
    Your home, money and credit go hand in hand in life, here you can manage it all. At Quizzle, you'll get access to helpful tools and information that will help you make smart decisions about your life, including:
    • Free Credit Report
    • Free Credit Score
    • Credit Improvement Tool
    • Home Value Estimate
    • Home Loan Recommendations
    • Personal Budget
    • Advice on How to Improve
    Knowing your home value and the prices of homes recently sold in your neighborhood will come in handy when you want to sell your home, refinance your home loan or make home improvements. Staying on top of your money situation will allow you to cover life's expenses and save for your future. Understanding what's on your credit report and what your credit score is will put you in a position to qualify for the best mortgage rates, get that dream job or snag the lowest rate and payment on your new car.
    It is a secure site where you can enter your debt and income, and it will calculate your grade, A B or C in financial health. It's handy to see how your credit score changes based on how you spend or save your money. Mine actually went down to 797 (the range is 350 to 850) from 819 in the last quarter. I think its because we have less debt and have been spending less. Credit scores are really strange in how they are determined, and healthy financial choices don't always help your credit score.
     
    So give Quizzle.com a try for the new year.

    What is Swagbucks?

    Recently on Facebook, the question was posed? "What is this swagbucks thing?" Well, simply its a way to search and earn. If you use google to search the internet, you could start using Swagbucks instead and earn points. These points can be redeemed for gift cards and merchandise at your favorite online vendors, like Amazon. I've been using swagbucks to search for quite a while now and earn about 3 points a day, so in 15 days its enough to get a $5 Amazon gift card. So twice a month I redeem points and they email me an Amazon code. It comes out to about $10 a month. The cool thing is I have a special word that I search for every day and it gets me at least 1 or 2 SB (swagbucks). Sometimes it yeild nothing, but then I just add an "er" to the end and search again, then I get points usually. So actually, I have 2 words that NEVER fail to give me points on a daily basis.  So you could try that theory, just use a word like "suspend", and then add er to get "suspender". Or try market, and marketer.  I also check Slickdeals Swagbucks thread and people post swagbucks and hints how to find them. Its actually pretty easy and the $10 bucks a month doesn't hurt. It all adds up.
     
     
     

    Time For New Folders

    Back to work again after a long weekend, still a little slow so this is a great time to organize for 2010. Of course lots of photos were taken on Christmas and Christmas Eve and new folders were created on the PC to keep them organized. You may wonder how I manage to organize thousands of photos dating back to 2003 when I first got a digital camera. First thing I do is remove all pictures from the camera SD card. I put the SD card in a USB card reader. First I review the photos quickly to delete duplicates, or bad ones. We usually take lots of pictures to make sure we get a good one, but they get screened and deleted before permanently saving on the computer. Then I rotate any that were taken sideways, so they show up in the correct orientation on a slide show on the computer. After review, click the start button to get MY COMPUTER icon, and go to the photo directory that I have sorted by year, and add a new folder for Christmas09. Then I MOVE the photos off the SD card into the Christmas09 folder by selecting and dragging them over. I also upload to my shutterfly or picassa directory online at this time too.

    Now is also the time to consolidate folders, and to make a new 2010 folder for all the photos I'll take next year. Being organized helps you find photos you need in the future for prints or to share, or to make cards. Actually there are some deals out there for Shutterfly right now. CARDS4YOU is a code to get 12 free 5x7 cards and it may work in one of your accounts, not all work though. Also try to enter SHIPCARDS (exp 12/29) to get free shipping on your cards. I also got an email for 75 free prints by entering RUDOLPH.

    Publix Sneak Peak 12/24-12/31

    Well it looks a good stock up week at Publix starting Christmas Eve, they finally have some yogurt (Dannon Activa) that will be free or cheap with matching up the BOGO and coupons. Lots of cereals deals and more salad dressing. Keep checking back to the SNEAK PEAK this week as coupon matchups are added. Another great resource is www.iheartpublix.com for coupon matchups and deals.
     
    Keep an eye out for the Publix Art Calendar which is being seen in some stores now, they have great coupons for each month of the year. Get at least 2 copies if you can so you can maximize.

    Saved 87% at Publix

    Well we just got back from Publix, it took 50 minutes to shop, probably 20 of it was the cashier scrutinizing every single coupon. We got all the regular salad fixin's plus some fun stuff that will go in gift bags so I can't say what they are - but I'm sure I had over 60 coupons. Spent $27 and saved $167. But now I'm totally couponed out. I look at all my RSS feeds with more and more deals and I have to just click them away. I'm over it for now. We have enough to eat in this house for a long time, and a lot of products to clean, and candles to burn, and more than enough of everything. I guess I'm thankful for that. Anyway, with no coupons coming out the rest of the year, maybe we'll take a break from the coupon game. Hope you have a bountiful kitchen for the holidays and if you don't, try couponing.

    Another Shutterfly deal $15 off

    This seems to be account specific and may not work for all but, it seems to work on old and new accounts. If the code doesn't work on one account, try entering it in one of your "friends" accounts. Anyway, enter FIFTEENOFF in the special offers field to get a $15 credit for any purchase over 15.00. Supposedly this is valid for 6 days after entering into your account, but offer expires TODAY and must be entered in your account NOW. It will show an expiration of sometime in 2109 (over a hundred years from now) so obviously its a typo. The real expiration date was reported on slickdeals.net.
     
    I'm not sure if you can combine with the previous offer mentioned HERE where you can get $10 credit. But I'm thinking it may combine since the $10 credit is a unique code, and the other is a targeted offer. Try it. I can't because Shutterfly.com is blocked at work - but I'll do it later. 

    No Coupon Inserts this Sunday

    It is with great sadness I share with you that there will be no coupons in the paper on Sunday morning. Guess its time to put the extra paper on vacation hold for a couple weeks. And on Sunday the 27th, there will only be a Proctor & Gamble insert, no others. So it looks like I won't have to go recycling for the rest of the year. That is news that brings me some small amount of joy, because I was just complaining to my helper elf that its a drag digging thru the papers for coupons hidden among the million Christmas ads.

    Print this Great Coupon

    Idahoan Buttery Homestyle 14-Servings - $1 Coupon Offer
     
    Who doesn't love mashed potatoes? These are simple to make and go great with any holiday meal. Click the banner or go HERE. Available at Publix in FL, available at CUB in MN.

    Amazon

    Amazon Logo
     
    Amazon is my favorite online vendor and its the first place I check for items. If you are shopping at Amazon, do me a favor and click through my site so I get a couple pennies. Just click the banner ad above, or search using the search box on the sidebar of the the blog.
     
    If you aren't a member of Prime which gives you free 2 day shipping, here's how you can sign up for a FREE MONTH of PRIME SHIPPING!
    Here is how:
    1. Add "Cars" Blu-ray disc to your to cart at AMAZON
    2. On the checkout page you'll see a one month Amazon Prime trial offer to sign up for.
    3. Click on "Learn More"
    4. Start your FREE trial
    5. Remove the "Cars" Blu-ray from your cart and continue shopping as usual!
    Don't forget to uncheck the box for auto-renew or you will be charged when the trial is up.

    Eight Free Disney Digital Books

     
    When you go HERE and register to choose your childs reading level and take advantage of features like:
    • 500+ new and classic Disney books.
    • Click to hear words pronounced.
    • See definitions using the built-in dictionary.
    • Be immersed in Look and Listen stories with voices and sound effects.
    • Use Story-Builder to create Disney stories.

    $10 off any Shutterfly Order

    Register HERE (Parenting.com Baby Model Search) and instantly get a unique coupon code for $10 off any Shutterfly order. You can use your $10 off anytime before November 15, 2010!
     
    Remember to cut and paste the code to keep it somewhere safe where you can find it again when you need it. They will send you an email but you might think its spam and accidently delete it - I did! Anyway, you could use different email addresses to get a few codes since they are good for almost a YEAR.

    Frugal Gift Bags

    This year lots of family and friends will be getting Gift Bags of stuff rather than a single present. Some of our friends are unemployed or underemployed, or have had their hours cut back at work and just don't have the means to give lavishly. So for our gifts this year we're going to put everything in Publix re-usable bags that we've gotten free this fall with coupons. We'll put other items we got free or for less than a $1 so that by the time the bag is filled it will have a $50 or more value. This is what's going in the bag:

    1. Arm & Hammer Toothpaste
    2. Reach Toothbrush
    3. Razor
    4. Glade Fragrance Collection Candle
    5. Glade plugin air freshner
    6. Dog or Cat treats food
    7. Candy bar
    8. Fisher Fusion Nut Snack
    9. Progresso Soup
    10. Crackers
    11. Alexa crunchy snack
    12. Chinet plates and napkins
    13. Infusium Shampoo or Conditioner
    14. Snuggle Fabric softener or All Laundry Detergent

    Back on Track

    Well its been a while since I've posted and I apologize to all those new readers who click and see that old post. I'm going to try to make it more of a priority to keep this place updated with lots of interesting frugal thoughts. The bathroom remodel took a lot of effort and we're still finishing touches like installing knobs on cabinets and towel racks, and hanging pictures. Still haven't figured out what to do with the toothaste and toothbrush, but that will come.
     
    We did well on the budget with the bathrooms, remodeling both completely with new fixtures, walls, ceiling, tile floors, tile tub and shower walls for only $8300. We have a great handyman who did top quality work. Its funny now that we've experienced having tile installed in our home for the first time, we are both very alert to seeing grout lines and tile everywhere. Its amazing the spectrum of quality work you can see, and most of it is not quality.
     
    Anyway, the kitchen remodel is next. I'll post more about that as we get to it.

    10 Lifestyle Changes

    Here are 10 lifestyle changes you can make to lower your blood pressure and keep it down. For more detail see source HERE

    1. Lose those extra pounds and watch your waistline

    Blood pressure often increases as weight increases. Losing just 10 pounds can help reduce your blood pressure significantly. In general, the more weight you lose, the lower your blood pressure. Losing weight also makes any blood pressure medications you're taking more effective.

    2. Exercise regularly

    Regular physical activity — at least 30 to 60 minutes most days of the week — can lower your blood pressure by 4 to 9 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). And it doesn't take long to see a difference. If you've been sedentary, increasing your activity can lower your blood pressure within just a few weeks.

    3. Eat a healthy diet

    Eating a diet that is rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products and skimps on saturated fat and cholesterol can lower your blood pressure by up to 14 mm Hg.

    4. Reduce sodium in your diet

    Even a modest reduction in the sodium in your diet can reduce blood pressure by 2 to 8 mm Hg. And bigger cutbacks mean greater reductions in blood pressure.

    5. Limit alcohol consumption

    Alcohol can be both good and bad for your health. In small amounts, it can help prevent heart attacks and coronary artery disease and potentially lower your blood pressure by 2.5 to 4 mm Hg. But that protective effect is lost if you drink too much alcohol — generally more than one drink a day for women and more than two a day for men.

    6. Avoid tobacco products and secondhand smoke

    On top of all the other dangers of smoking, the nicotine in tobacco products can raise your blood pressure by 10 mm Hg or more for up to an hour after you smoke.

    7. Cut back on caffeine

    The role caffeine plays in blood pressure is still debatable. Drinking caffeinated beverages can temporarily cause a spike in your blood pressure. And some studies show that people who drink caffeine regularly have a higher average blood pressure, suggesting that caffeine might have a long-term impact. But other studies show you can develop a tolerance to caffeine so that it doesn't affect your blood pressure.
    To see if caffeine raises your blood pressure, check your pressure within 30 minutes of drinking a cup of coffee or another caffeinated beverage you regularly drink. If your blood pressure increases by five to 10 points, you may be sensitive to the blood pressure raising effects of caffeine.

    8. Reduce your stress

    As with caffeine, the influence of stress on blood pressure isn't settled. Stress or anxiety can temporarily increase blood pressure.
    You need to know what stresses you before you can try to reduce your stress. Take some time to think about what causes you to feel stressed, such as work, family, finances or illness. Once you know what's causing your stress, consider how you can eliminate or reduce stress.

    9. Get regular health care

    If you have high blood pressure, you may need to monitor your blood pressure at home, or use the monitor at Walgreens or Publix.

    10. Get a support system

    Supportive family and friends can help improve your health. They may encourage you to take care of yourself, drive you to the doctor's office or embark on an exercise program with you to keep your blood pressure low.