Living Frugally While Studying Abroad

Some little girls dream of their weddings from age three. I on the other hand, dreamt of living in Istanbul (and many other international cities) from age 5. Every time I would go on an international vacation with my family, whether it was Turkey, Spain, France, Argentina, or even Zambia, I imagined what it would be like to live in the apartments overlooking the main squares of various metropolises. These vacations were lots of fun, especially because my dad was footing the bill for a week or more of travel. However, when I decided to study abroad, I was under a much more stringent budget. My overall stay couldn't exceed more than the tuition, room, and board of my home university. Although my home university was private, with expensive tuition, this ended up being VERY difficult endeavor. If you plan to study abroad in Europe or even Asia, things can get pretty expensive. Here are some tips to help you save money during your exciting abroad experience.

Before You Go: Choosing your Destination

If money is a big issue for you, you should choose your location wisely. If you barely have $300 to spend a month, Moscow (one of the most expensive cities in the world) probably won't be the best choice. You should find a place where the currency exchange rate works in your favor. Try going to South America or Central America if you are an American! Countries in this region are likely to give you bang for your buck. Also, just because the exchange rate works to your advantage doesn't mean a city will be cheaper. Ask your program director or study abroad office for some financial advice! 

Live with a Host Family

If you have the option to live with a host family during your study abroad semester/year, you should definitely consider it. Most programs, such as the Center for International Educational Exchange (CIEE) and International Studies Abroad (ISA), provide home stay options. Home stay options usually guarantee and incorporate at least one or two meals a day for students. This saves you from finding and funding your own (often expensive) meals. Usually the home stay option is not significantly more expensive (it's often cheaper) than living in a university dormitory. Plus, by living with a family, you will get a better acquainted with the cultures and traditions of a country or region!

Evaluate Costs of Living in an Apartment Versus a Dormitory

If you are unable to find a cheaper home stay option, make sure you check out local apartment costs. Many times, monthly rent can be much cheaper than the boarding costs of a dormitory. Programs usually allow you a grace period to leave a dormitory when you arrive. Living in an apartment can give you the independence and experience to truly get to know a city! 
Don't Buy Souvenirs until Your Last Week

My greatest expenses during my studies abroad: my unnecessary shopping expenditures! I traveled within Turkey almost every weekend. I wanted to buy an item from every place I visited. After all, you want to remember a place long after you visit it. The reality, those souvenirs mean NOTHING to me now. If you really want to remember a place, take great pictures. If you just NEED to buy something, buy a postcard from the various cities you visit. Tell yourself you won't buy anything until your last week of your study abroad experience.  You will be less likely to buy everything in sight, as the novelty will have probably worn off!
Mariana Ashley is a freelance writer who particularly enjoys writing about online college. She loves receiving reader feedback, which can be directed to mariana.ashley031

Code Violation

So we've lived in our same house for over seventeen years and we never had a garage sale, until this year. Actually, we've had three this year already, the most recent was last weekend. It was a quick, well organized event starting at 8 am and ending at 11 am when we promptly picked up the signs and then the traffic stopped coming. But the thing is, we live off of a busy thorough fare so we get lots of traffic, and there were usually at least three to six cars parked on our street during the sale those few hours, especially during the eight o'clock power hour (where we made over half our profits). It was a nice morning and everyone seemed happy to be able to score a deal - especially our repeat customers the ones who prowl the sales every Saturday morning.
Anyway, some anonymous person out there apparently doesn't appreciate our sales because they turned us into the City for a code enforcement violation. It seems that this little town doesn't allow yard sales more than once every 6 months. Well, who would have figured that one out?  Maybe its because It could be an eye sore or a traffic hassle. I'm thinking someone didn't like having to slow down to carefully drive through the cars parked on both sides of the street. I feel like parking both our cars on the road, one on each side to make the speeders slow down - but I'm too afraid they'll just smash one and drive on.
So, we've come up with a plan. We talked to our neighbor and we''re going to just have our next sale in our neighbors driveway across the street. We can have one every quarter if we alternate our driveway with her driveway. Besides then we'll have lots of stuff and not run out since thats usually why we close up shop when we run out of stuff. And actually we're learning about yard sales now that we've had a few. If you have your stuff priced right, you don't need to haggle - the product will sell to the next person. A lot of people asked me to sell something for $0.50 when it was marked a dollar and I said no, it would all be gone in a couple hours anyway. So they would just buy it at our price but they would check out with DH. After the first hour, he had three times the amount of money I had. I figured all the women who wanted to haggle but were turned down, just went to him to pay. Maybe it was one of them who turned us in, hmmm.

One Bottle to Saving Money, the Planet, and Your Sanity

A look at the ingredients list or price tag of any household cleaning spray or shampoo is usually enough to curl your toes.  
Parabens are called "gender-benders" in the scientific community for a reason, and bleach leaves an awful smell from vapors that actually irritate lungs, skin, and eyes, especially of children and pets.  Moreover, items like personal and home cleaning agents—even when on sale—aren't always cheap.  The cost on the environment is a heavy price to pay, and more directly, they aren't always cheap on our personal bank accounts, especially since they don't seem to last very long.

Conventional cosmetics and cleaning companies make us pay good money to feel like we're doing the earth and our bodies a favor.  But not Dr. Bronner. For over 60 years, Dr. Bronner's line of soaps has appealed to thrifty eco-enthusiasts across America.  Now, their line is fair trade, organic, and still affordable.  Best of all, they're multi-purpose.  Save money and time by making your own shampoo, face wash, and household cleaning spray with just one diluted bottle of Dr. Bronner's liquid castile soap!
DIY Shampoo and Body Soap
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup Dr. Bronner's liquid castile soap
  • Optional 2 tsp jojoba oil for dry hair
  • Optional 5 drops of lavender or tea tree oil for oily hair
Mix the ingredients together in an empty bottle and shake before use.  It's watery, but its lathering capabilities will surprise you; try flipping your hair over your head in the shower and applying directly to your scalp so it doesn't just run down your neck.  Because lavender and tea tree oil are natural antiseptics, they'll help de-grease an extra grungy scalp (especially if you use a lot of hair products).  You can add the essential oils yourself or just buy the lavender or tea tree oil varieties they have at the store (they have 8 scents in all, each infused with different essential oils).  The eucalyptus and peppermint soaps do the best jobs at clearing sinuses, so stock up now in preparation for spring.
You'll find that as you use this gentle shampoo, your hair's natural moisture will keep you from having to spend as much money on hair products.  There's no sense in stripping your locks of helpful and natural oils just to replace them with parabens and petroleum.  As long as you wash a few times a week and use fewer chems, don't ever doubt your cleanliness.
DIY Face Wash
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup Dr. Bronner's liquid castile soap
No, you read that right.  It's that easy.  Whether you have fairly easy-to-please skin or the kind that has you prowling (which gives Dr. Bronner 4.5 out of 5 stars, by the way), Dr. Bronner's soaps are gentle on your skin and just tough enough on germs.  The mistake most people with problem skin make is stripping it dry, causing oil glands to go into overdrive.  Just follow cleansing with your typical toning and moisturizing routine and watch your pores shrivel, skin clear, and stress drop.
DIY Home Cleaning Disinfectant Spray
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 tbsp Dr. Bronner's liquid castile soap
  • 20 to 30 drops of tea tree oil
Tea tree oil was recently discovered in an Italian study to inhibit the spread of bacteria—even the fearsome H1N1 virus.  Rather than relying on bleach (and its toxic vapors) or low-grade pesticides to clean your tiles and counters, try mixing these ingredients in an old spray bottle to disinfect almost any surface.  Tea tree oil isn't toxic (unless you down a whole bottle of it at once), so you don't have to worry about the kids and animals touching the surfaces you've cleaned.

Credit: Dr. Bronner
Bio: Alexis Bonari is currently a resident blogger at College Scholarships, where recently she's been. Whenever this WAHM gets some free time she enjoys doing yoga, cooking with the freshest organic in-season fare, and practicing the art of coupon clipping.


A couple updates -
  • The new Publix Sneak Peek matchups at Slickdeals have been moved to HERE to the wiki. They should be easier to find and keep track of.
  • This upcoming RP & SS coupon inserts have a couple moneymaker coupons for use at Publix, so you may want to get a few extra - the $4/1 Zyrtec coupon is for ANY product and that will match up good with the $2/1 Publix Q from the pharmacy booklet, or even better with the $4/1 Target Q, for a nice moneymaker on the 5 ct ($6.49) or 3 ct package ($3.99).
  • Also in the inserts is another Mars candy coupon for $1/2 ANY easter candy, so get the $0.50 Snickers egg and make $0.50 each.
  • You may not have noticed that starting next Thursday 4/14, Publix is doing the $10 off $50 AMEX GC ($4.95 activation fee) deal again. I still have a couple cards left from last time, so I think I'll roll them over next week. This is a $5 moneymaker, plus you can use it to absorb your other moneymaker overage into it and get the $50 card for as low as $21 bucks or so.
  • If you watched the TLC Extreme Couponing show you were probably appalled and amazed at the same time. Well, this blogger shows us proof that one of the shoppers was a scammer, check it out HERE.

Publix Sneak Peek BOGO's 4/14 - 4/23/11

BOGO's (note extended dates due to holiday!)

Dole Pineapple 20oz can, BOGO $1.75

Kraft or Seven Seas Dressing, 14-16oz bot, BOGO $3.27

FishEye Pinot Grigio Wine, or Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, or Merlot, 750ml, BOGO $6.99 (Usually Regional)

Medium Shrimp Ring, 18oz pkg, BOGO $12.99

Bantry Bay Mussels, 16oz pkg, BOGO $4.99

Oscar Mayer Sliced Bacon 16oz pkg, or Center Cut, 12oz pkg, BOGO $7.19

Jones Dairy Farm Golden Brown Sausage, Links or Patties 7oz pkg, or Turkey Links 5oz pkg, BOGO $2.69

Simply Potatoes Diner’s Choice Mashed Potatoes, 32oz pkg, BOGO $4.19

Fresh Express Salad Blends, or Greens, 5-12oz pkg, BOGO- Surprisingly Low Price

Breyers Ice Cream, 48oz ctn, BOGO $6.17

Cool Whip Whipped Topping, 8oz bowl, BOGO $2.03

Alexia All Natuural Artisan Breads, 10.5-14oz pkg, BOGO $3.39

Sorrento Mozzarella Cheese, 16oz pkg, BOGO $4.69

Rondele Cheese Spread, 8oz cup, BOGO $4.69

Yoplait Yo-Plus Yogurt, 4pk 4oz cup, BOGO $2.00

Smary Balance Spread, 13-15oz or 2pk 7.5oz tub, or Spray 8oz bot, BOGO $3.59

Publix Deli Tea, 1gal, BOGO $2.59

Dove Silky Smooth Eggs or Promises, 8.5-9.5oz bag, BOGO $4.29

Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs, or Cups or Hershey’s Candy Bars, Marshmallow Eggs, or Bunnies, or Almond Joy Eggs or Kit Kat, 6ct pkg, BOGO $4.19

Hellmann’s Mayonnaise, 30oz jar, BOGO $5.41

Pure Wesson Oil, 48oz bot, BOGO $4.29

Mt. Olive Pickles, 16-46oz jar, or Pickle or Jalapeno Pepper Slices Pak 4pk 3.7oz ctn, BOGO $2.79

Del Monte Vegetables, 11-15.25oz can, BOGO $1.33

Tuttorosso Tomatoes, or Tomato Sauce or Puree, 28-29oz can, BOGO $1.87

Lipton Tea Bags, 100ct box, BOGO $3.91

PAM Cooking Spray, 5-6oz can, BOGO $3.39

Ocean Spray Juice Cocktail, or Juice Drink or No Sugar Added 100% Cranberry Juice, 101-101.4oz bot, BOGO $5.39

Gatorade Thirst Quencher, or G2, 64oz bot, BOGO $2.60

Mott’s Apple Sauce, 46-48oz jar, BOGO $2.81

Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe Cake Mix, (Excluding Angel Food) 18.25oz box, BOGO $2.05

Barilla Pasta, 13.25-16oz box, (Excluding Barilla Plus and Lasagna), BOGO $1.43

Uncle Ben’s Long Grain & Wild Rice, or Brown & Wild, 6-6.7oz box, BOGO $1.99

Idahoan Mashed Potatoes, 1.5-4.1oz pkg, or Scalloped or Au Gratin, 3.95oz box, BOGO $1.25

Kraft Velveeta Shells & Cheese Dinner, or Rotini & Cheese or Kraft Deluxe Mac & Cheese, 9.4-14oz box, BOGO $2.67

Duncan Hines Decadent Brownie Mix, 16.76-18oz box, or Decadent Cake Mix, 20.8-21.4oz box, BOGO $2.69

Kellogg’s Special K Cereal, 11.4-14oz box, or Low Fat Granola, 19.5oz box, BOGO $4.09

Krusteaz Cookie Mix, 15.5-17.5oz box, BOGO $2.19

Post Honey Bunches of Oats Cereal, 13-17oz box, or Vanilla Clusters 18oz box (Excluding Family Size), BOGO $4.09

Quaker Chewy Granola Bars, 8.4-8.7oz box, BOGO $3.09

Kellogg’s Pop Tarts, 8ct 13.5-15.2oz box, BOGO $2.69

Quaker Instant Grits, 12pk 12oz box, BOGO $3.19

Nabisco Crackers, or Wheat Thins Stix, 5.5-10oz box, BOGO $ 3.49

Thomas’ English Muffins, 11-13oz pkg, BOGO $3.69

Mentos Pure Fresh Gum, 50ct bot, BOGO $3.29

Nabisco Ritz Crackers, or Ritz Bitz Sandwiches, or Munchables Pretzel Crisps, or Thins, 9.5-16oz box, BOGO $3.79

Keebler Chips Deluxe Cookies, or Sandies Sortbread, 14.5-18oz bag, BOGO $3.99

Entenmann’s Softees Donuts, 10oz pkg, BOGO $4.39

Nabisco Newtons, 8-14oz pkg, BOGO $3.89

Lay’s Potato Chips, 10-10.5oz bag, (Excluding Kettle Cooked, Baked, Light, and Natural) BOGO $3.99

Keebler Club Crackers, 11-16oz box, BOGO $4.09

Planters Nuts, Regular Mixed Nuts, Cashews Halves & Peanuts, or Honey Roasted Peanuts & Cashews, $4.43

Orville Redenbacher’s Gourmet Popping Corn, 12-19.8oz box, or 30oz jar, BOGO $5.07

Wise Cheese Flavored Corn Snacks, Cheez Doodles 8.5oz bag, or Puffed Baked Cheez Doodle O’s 8oz bag, BOGO $2.99

Chinet Classic White Plates, 24-55ct pkg, BOGO $6.17

Vanity Fair Napkins, 40ct pkg, or Premium 40 or 100ct pkg, BOGO $2.35

Finish Automatic Dishwasher Detergent, 25 or 32ct box, BOGO $6.99

Thanks to Slickdeals Publix Thread!!!

Online Coupons: Changing the Way You Save

Online coupons can help you cut back on your spending if you are a frequent online shopper. A lot of businesses have turned to using coupons as a way of luring consumers to buy from them. There is a wide range of coupons you can benefit from. All of them offer discounts on the indicated services and products. One of the most respected and top distributor of coupons is Valpak. The company offers coupons for a range of products and services. Restaurants and food courts, grocery stores, car shops, clothing malls, electronics, massage parlors and hair dressers are just some of the products/services covered by Valpak coupons.

Other than the instant discounts you get when you use online coupons, you can benefit from loyalty points and reward programs. This is for people who use Valpak coupons frequently. Keep looking out for these offers so you can apply for those that you qualify for. Large companies often partner with Valpak to give tremendous offers that can go a long way in helping you save money. You could win yourself a three month supply of grocery or get free car service worth $5,000 at a particular service station. This is a clever way that businesses use to attract customers. If you happen to be one of the lucky customers to win these packages, you get to save quite an amount of cash in the process.

You have every reason to use online coupons because coupons work with all major credit cards. Also, you probably buy most of your stuff online as most people shop for nearly everything online. If you get coupons for half the items you’ve added to your shopping cart, you will have saved a considerable amount of money. How can you find these free online coupons, you ask? Simply visit the Valpak website for a list of available coupons. The company has recently categorized coupons based on location so that consumers who would like to get discounts at their local stores can benefit. At the website, type in your zip code for a list of coupons available in your area. You can choose those that you would like from this list and print them out.

Online coupons can only be used on the net, not in physical stores; except where stated otherwise. Check also that the coupon is available for all shoppers as some are specifically for first time shoppers only. To get the most out of your coupons, choose those that can be used over and over again. Coupons with a one-time-use promo/discount code have a clear warning that they cannot be used again. But even this one-time discount is worth having. As a caution, always check the validity of the coupon before picking it. Many online coupons are designed to last only a few days so do not get one if you do not intend to use it until a month later. Others do not have a validity period indicated; it is the store that decides when they can be availed, depending on the demand of items on offer.

Sally is frugal shopper, a health nut and a workout fanatic. She’s an expecting mother and elementary school teacher in the Chicago area.

#Rays Get 10 Strikeouts! Kanes Strikeout Contest 2011 - Free Pizza Time Again

I love this promotion and its back again this year! When the Tampa Bay #Rays strike out 10 or more batters in a home game, their sponser Kanes Furniture offers a free Papa Johns personal pizza, for a limited time. Last year we got dozens of pizzas because the Rays were so HOT. This year I'm not so sure since they lost their first four games...
But today April 6th, the Rays struck out 10 players, so within 24 hours you must click HERE and register and print out a certificate, and then within 3 days bring it to a Tampa area Kanes furniture store customer service desk and they will give you a little card that you redeem at Papa Johns for a free 10" cheese pizza (or upgrade for $5 to a large with toppings). You have to get your butt into Kanes within 3 days of a strike out, but the card for a free pizza is good until ?? (I'll let you know when I get mine). At least that's how it worked in previous years.

EDIT: It looks like this year they might require the ticket stub from the home game, rather than accepting printed certificates - they have taken down the web page now. This would be a bummer! Anyway, I'll keep you posted if I hear any good news. I might even stop by Kanes to find out what the real deal is.

Extreme Couponing

Well, all the other bloggers are doing posts on Extreme Couponing so I figured I might as well too. Unless you live under a rock, you probably know that the series on TLC is premiering tonight after my fav show Survivor.  Extreme Couponing is going to be the death of us all. All the couponers that is. There are going to be a bunch of noobs out there in the stores throwing coupons at the cashiers demanding they get paid to shop! Its going to be havoc, and the stores know this. So they are tightening up their belts and shoving out their chests and saying "THIS IS HOW IT IS NOW" - no we won't take that competitor, no you can't buy that many, no you can't use that many coupons, no no no!

It already is a getting to be a pain that there are so many of us out there who want the deals, there isn't enough merchandise to satisfy our hunting desires. The shelves are already bare. What will the new couponers do? Hopefully, they'll give it up - and soon.

I might just take a break for a while to avoid the frustration...

Tax Refunds Rolling In

Yeah! I got my income tax refund yesterday, what a great mail day. I prepared them online using Tax Act and it was really quick and easy. If you haven't done your taxes yet, what are you waiting for?

Publix Sneak Peek Weekly Ad 4/7-4/13/11

Prego 100% Natural Italian Sauce, Traditional, Flavored with Meat, Fresh Mushrooms, or Chunky Garden Combo, 45oz jar, BOGO $3.79
Mueller's Pasta, 12-16oz box (Excluding Lasagna, Jumbo Shells, and Egg Noodles), BOGO $1.43
Nabisco Snack Well's Brownie Bites, 5.3-6.9oz box, BOGO Surprisingly Low Price
Sunkist Almond Accents, 3.5-3.75oz bag, BOGO $2.99
Toufayan Pita Bread, 12oz pkg, BOGO $1.29
Juicy Juice 100% Juice, 8pk. 6.75oz box, BOGO $3.25
Ocean Spray Craisins, 6oz bag, BOGO $2.29
Del Monte Tomatoes, 14.5oz can, BOGO $1.57
V8 V.Fusion Vegetable & Fruit Juice, 46oz bot., BOGO $3.99
Wish-Bone Dressing, 16oz bot., BOGO $2.97
Pompeian Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 32oz bot., BOGO $11.99
Ken's or Sweet Baby Ray's Marinade & Sauce, 16oz bot., BOGO $2.99
StarKist Chunk Light Tuna, 4pk 5oz can, BOGO $3.89
A1 Steak Sauce, 10oz bot, BOGO $4.41
Post Cereal, Selects or Great Grains 13-16oz box or Trail Mix Crunch 17oz box, BOGO $4.41
Kellogg's Frosted Mini-Wheats Cereal, 15.8-20.4oz box or Unfrosted Mini-Wheats 18oz box, BOGO $4.51
Nature Valley or Fiber One Granola Bars, 14.1-17.8oz box, BOGO $5.99
Emerald Mixed Nuts, or Almonds or Cashews, 10-11.5oz cnstr., BOGO $5.79
Rold Gold Pretzels, 7-16oz bag, BOGO $2.99
Keebler Town House Crackers, 7.7-16oz box, BOGO $4.09
Nabisco Single Serve Tray Packs, 12 or 15ct 9.45-25.2oz pkg, BOGO $6.17
Snickers Minis Candies, or M&Ms Chocolate Candies, M&Ms Mix, Minis Mix, or Variety Bag Fun Size, 30-42oz bag, BOGO $9.99
Arnold Whole Grains Bread, or Grains & More, Healthfull, or Country White, 24oz loaf, BOGO $3.99
Pepperidge Farm Milano Melts Crispy Cookies, or Distinctive Milano, 5.75-7.5oz bag, BOGO $3.49
6-Pack Estrella Damm Lager Beer, 11.2oz bot, BOGO $7.99 (Usually a regional deal)
I Cant Believe Its Not Butter, Spread 15oz or 2pk 7.5oz tub, 16oz bot, or 10oz bot, or Spray 8oz bot, BOGO $3.29
Green Giant Valley Fresh Steamers Vegetables, 11 or 12oz bag, BOGO $2.39
Diana's Bananas Banana Babies, 10.5oz box, BOGO $4.49
Morey's Fish Creations, 10oz box, BOGO $6.99
Birds Eye Voila Meal, 21-23oz bag, BOGO $5.15
Aunt Jemima Frozen Pancakes, or French Toast, 6-40ct 12.5-14.8oz box, BOGO $2.77
Banquet Breaded Chicken Patties, or Nuggets, or Chicken Breast Tenders or Strips, or Popcorn Chicken, 24oz pkg, BOGO $5.49
Playtex HandSaver Gloves, BOGO $1.99
Purina Beggin Strips Dog Snack, 6oz pkg, BOGO $3.50
Crest Toothpaste, 6.4oz tube, BOGO $2.99
Lysol Disinfectant Bathroom Cleaner, 32oz bot, BOGO $3.73
Glass Plus Glass & Multi-Surface Cleaner, 32oz bot, BOGO $2.49
Clear Eyes Eye Drops, 15ml bot (Excluding Complete 7 Symptom Relief), BOGO $3.99
Beech-Nut Stage 2 Baby Food, 4oz jar, BOGO $0.57
Thanks to Slickdeals Publix Thread (remainder of Ad and coupon matchups here)