Showing posts with label amazon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label amazon. Show all posts

Bicycle Safety is No Accident

Maybe its the warm weather. Maybe its the time of day. But, some days drivers on the road are more erratic than normal. Today was one of those days. In the dark, early calm morning. With my handy dandy rear view mirror, I can tell when a driver spots me on my bike and speeds up to pass me before we come to a narrow area where there is definitely not enough room for a bicycle rider and a car, like a tight corner. I can also tell when a driver slows down to let me pass the situation (like today it was the garbage truck stopped in the oncoming lane).

I always think about close calls on my bike because I read about motorcycle crashes and bicyclists who were killed every day in the paper. Another grim reminder of the tragedy of biking, is the white ghost bike that was installed on my routes deadliest turn off 56th Street & Harney last week. I've always told my DH that if I get killed on my bike its going to be at that fork in the road. Drivers are speeding along and there are no signs to yield or slow or stop, just pick a direction right or left. I need to go right, crossing the left road in front of potentially left going vehicles.

Today the driver that tried to kill me was in a little red Kia or Corolla. I could tell they were going above the 25 mph speed limit and as I approached the downhill corner, I knew we both could not be there at the same time. So, I moved to the middle of the lane to capture my space so they didn't expect me to stay in the gutter to the right. That meant for them to pass me they went to the far left and then cut back in front of me, forcing me to the right into the gutter. Being the prudent biker, I moved aside rather than die.

Riding a bike to commute is not for everyone. Cars speeding 55 mph inches away from me, can be a little unsettling. It is a safe and healthy activity, made dangerous because of the drivers. I'm a driver too, sometimes. I know its a hassle to stop for a biker or walker. But it matters.

Here are some of the little things I do to help me stay safe on the road biking alongside traffic.
  • Be Seen - wear hi vis yellow or orange shirts or a safety vest. I wear a vest with reflective stripes when it is dark too.
  • Use Lights and MORE lights - I have a small Knog bike light that is super bright. It has a small rubber strap that clips on my front handlebar. It charges the battery with a regular USB plugin.
  • A super bright back red light. Its important to keep the batteries fresh on this one or the light is not quite so bright.
  • A lumos Helmet that has flashing front and back lights, and turn signals. I charge it once a week on my USB port of my laptop. 
  • A rear view mirror is critical to see whats coming up behind you, in the event you need to swerve into the lane of traffic to avoid a hazard such as dead animals, broken glass, piles of gravel, lumber debris or any other number of things that will impede your safe travels.
If you use all these safety features, you'll be seen by drivers and hopefully they will be the courteous ones who share the road.

How Much Did You Spend at Amazon This Year?

As the year winds down, I'm putting together a summary of our expenses for 2017. One of the most shocking discoveries is the amount of money we (mostly me) spent shopping. I'm ashamed to admit that we spent almost 20% of our money on "shopping". Most of it on stuff that would be considered non-essential. I bought two new laptops this year, bringing my total computers to nine. Does anyone really need that many computers? I used to justify it by printing coupons a lot, but I don't really need that many computers.

Amazon $ spent #items
2006 $913.92 29
2007 $1,480.41 46
2008 $2,920.07 53
2009 $658.17 44
2010 $1,506.67 40
2011 $1,166.29 42
2012 $2,512.45 49
2013 $1,336.77 55
2014 $2,178.44 67
2015 $1,750.34 65
2016 $923.15 42
2017 $3,201.32 87

Anyway, the largest culprit is Amazon. I started shopping at Amazon in 1998, and started using Prime in 2006. Over the years, it was  about 40 items a year and our average spent there was about $1750. Which I think it a lot. Well, this year the number of items doubled and the amount spent almost doubled. That doesn't even include the shopping I did at and, or all the other websites we bought sporting goods, clothing, electronics and household supplies. But that's a story for later.

Here is how you can check how much you spent at Amazon this year:
  • Log in to your Amazon account.

  • Select YOUR ACCOUNT to view details
  • Select Order History Downloads

  • Enter the dates you want to download, then click Request Report.

  • Click download, wait for report to generate
  • Click Open on the download into Excel or other spreadsheet software.
  • When you have your report, scroll over to column AD and click the top header to highlight the total item column, and it will show you key information at the bottom of your screen.
  • At the bottom you can see your average per item, the count of items and the sum of the dollars spent on items.
The first step to make improvements in the future, is to measure the past. It's interesting to view the items and notice how many are non-essential. If you're like me, it's most of them. I already have that type of item or a good substitute. The problem is the retailers have great marketing strategies and have infiltrated our lives with the desire to shop. Creating awareness of your shopping habits is a first step in tackling your shopping addiction. I'll share my strategy to quit shopping next year in another blog post shortly.

Happy New Year!

My Three Favorite Gadgets

So you know, frugal readers that just because we like to save money on most things, doesn't mean we deny ourselves of some of lifes simple pleasures and conveniences. Sometimes these pleasures and conveniences cost money, but of course we can try to frugally obtain these items.

I am a gadget hound. I love to get the newest things and I use them. Some I don't really need, but some I convince myself I really, really need. I'm dreaming of getting another computer (which admittedly I don't need) But I was at a conference where everyone had Apple Macbooks, and if those aren't the coolest, fastest, slimest machines made on earth. But they cost an arm and a leg. I'm scheming how to get one on a discount by waiting for tax free school sale (this three-day tax holiday is in effect from 12:01 a.m. on Friday, August 2, 2013, through 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, August 4, 2013) see FL DOR publication here. This year the tax break includes up to $750 for laptops and computers.

Anyway, heres my list of my three favorite gadgets:
1. Ipod Shuffle - I got this little music machine about seven years ago for entering sweepstakes where you sign up for a bunch of stuff to get points. So it was free, but I had to set up a spam email account and then cancel some some I signed up for with a prepaid debit card I had. It was kind of a hassle, but this is my favorite gadget so far. I use it everyday when I ride my bike to work, and then again when I go for a walk. I have it loaded with songs that have 120-140 bpm for optimum workout pleasure.

2. Android Samsung S4 phone - I've had smartphones for several years now and they have helped me save tons of money with my Grocery Tracker app, and avoid getting caught in rainstorms with my Weatherbug app. I also can track my finances on Mint app, and Dropbox is the most effective way to store documents when you use multiple devices such as Ipads, laptops, desktops, phones and my wifi camera. And since the demise of Google Reader, I have started using Feedly to capture my daily web feeds.

3. Ipad - I bought this refurbished last year and it has performed flawlessly so for $299 this Ipad2 has been worth it. I usually use it at home in place of the laptop, or when I want to read or watch a movie in the backyard. Amazon prime offers thousands of movies and TV shows for free and this device is great for that. I probably don't really need this gadget, but it is fun to have.

What's your favorite gadget?

How To Find Amazon Prime Lending Library Books

If you have Amazon prime, you probably are aware of the benefit of getting one free "prime eligible" ebook per month of your membership. Unfortunately, it is difficult to find books that fit into this category unless you apply a few filters. Here is an easy way to browse the free "lendable" books. These thousands of books can be borrowed using any Kindle device, but they are not transferable to other devices such as Ipads, Smartphones or PCs. There are no due dates, the book remains on your device until you return it. You can not "check out" a new book until you return the previous one.
1. Go to Amazon and make sure you're logged in. In the search box, select the drop down arrow and select the BOOKS department.
2. Then scroll down and select Prime Eligible. You must be signed into your Amazon account for this selection to show, if you don't have prime, you won't see this choice.
3. Then select Kindle Edition from one of Formats.
This will show you all the Kindle books that may be borrowed on your Kindle for free. Now to actually check out the book you must do this through your Kindle device.
So, to make this easier when you are on your Kindle, I browse the books I want on the computer, and then put them on my ebook wishlist that I created. Then when I am on the Kindle, I just click the shopping cart and go to my ebook wishlist and check out the book that way.
Good Luck and Happy Reading!

Frugal Reading

In case you're interested in reading a bit more this year, here are a few great books I've read just this week.
  • Bitter Brew - William Knoedelseder - a great non fiction personal story about the rise and fall of Anheuser Busch.
  • The Painted Drum - Louise Erdrich - fiction story about an indian drum that heals sickness
  • The Black Box - Michael Connelly - fiction, a Harry bosch mystery solving LA crime
  • Presumed Guilty - Jose Baez - non fiction about the Casey Anthony trial as perceived by her lawyer
I love to read and read hundreds of books a year. But the only book I've purchased is an ebook called Moneyball for $0.25 from Amazon (which is a great nonfiction story). All my books are either hardcover or ebooks from the library. I also have gotten over 800 books this past year free from Amazon. This website publishes free ebooks every day, and I usually get one a day. I only pick books with a rating over 4.6 out of 5, and with over 20 reviews. The free ebooks I have read from these selections have all been excellent, including An Unproductive Woman and Butterfly Forest.
Did you know you can lend Amazon books to others as well? Its really simple to do, just select the book in your Kindle account, and send an email with the link to your friend and they get the book for 14 days before it is automatically returned to you.
My point is that reading is a very frugal worthwhile activity. It keeps your mind sharp, and provides entertainment where ever you are. My ebooks can be loaded onto my smartphone so they are with me all the time, or they can be transferred to my Kindle or Ipad if that's what I prefer.
If you haven't hooked up with your local library online, why not do it today?
In Tampa, the local site for the HIllsborough county library is HERE.

We're Rolling Now

Yesterday our rolling wire shelving arrived from Amazon and DH and I spent the rainy evening assembling them. They are really nice and sturdy and will make great stockpile shelves and also for our dressing room. We plan to put all our Tshirts and pants on these rolling racks so that they can be moved around when we need to. I've been looking all over the internet for shelves like these but shipping killed the deal, and tax. Silly me I didn't even look at Amazon til it came up in a google search. So they shipped free and were tax free from Amazon.
DH was alarmed at my blog post yesterday suggesting that it meant we never would have guests in our home again. But that's not the case at all. We plan to give up our bedroom to visitors, and then move ourselves in the master bedroom which we use as a dressing room. The stockpile room will also have rolling storage racks which can be easily moved to another area of the house when we have a visitor needing that guest room for accommodations.
Anyway, as part of the remodel we've got one room empty and ready to paint and will empty the dressing room this weekend. The ceiling fans should arrive today so they can be installed prior to carpet install next week. Then we can move onto the next project.
Here's what we've spent on the bedrooms projects:
$985 Carpet, pad purchase and install
$174 Paint (4 gal) and rollers
$398 Ceiling Fans for each room (2)
$200 Handyman replace windowsills, install electric outlet
$ 56  Marble windowsills (3)
$1,813 Total
Not too expensive yet. I'm not including the rolling shelves because they aren't really part of the project - we just happen to be getting them to help us move stuff around during the projects and then they will have their other purpose in life later.

Amazon Kindle Fire $139 TODAY ONLY

Amazon has the Kindle Fire, Full Color 7″ Multi-touch Display, Wi-Fi (Refurbished) priced at only $139 with Free Shipping as the Gold Box Deal of the Day. This is the best price I have seen so far!
If you've been on the fence, now is the time to get it. You can select the "gift"option if you don't know what Amazon account you'll want to link it too.
Each Certified Refurbished Kindle Fire is a pre-owned Kindle Fire that has been refurbished, tested, and is certified to look and work like new. They come with the same one-year limited warranty as a brand-new Kindle Fire. Kindle Fire: great for web, movies, apps, games, and more. This offer is valid today only, March 29, 2012, when sold by Warehouse Deals. Offer good while supplies last. Limit 5 per customer.

Win a $100 Amazon GC every Year for Life!

Appsumo has a giveaway for a $100 Amazon Giftcard every year for life which seems pretty great to me. All you have to provide is an email address so it's a simple, easy entry. Ten (10) lucky winners will get the prize. All entries must be received by 11:59 PM CST on 12/28/2011. It could be you... 
Enter HERE

New or Old?

Today, one of my coworkers was asking where I got my panniers on my bicycle. They're thinking of getting some and couldn't find any in the bike shops they liked. I looked at my old CyclePro Countryside Originals and explained that these panniers are over 23 years old. They sag a little on the rack, and the main compartment zipper has been repaired numerous times, and the side pockets had a hole in them. But they are still better than what I could buy new. The old canvas is tough and resilient, whereas the new ones are nylon which is inferior for the purpose. With my daily use, they are showing their age and replacements or repairs are needed. Its one of those things that is always on my "list" to get when there's a deal, or in this case when I actually find some that are suitable - at any price. Meanwhile they do the job well.
But sometimes, new things are much better quality than old. I think electronic or electrical things actually are better with the advanced technology. DH has been complaining about his electric Remington shaver for a while. We got new blades for it a couple months ago, but it still was just not performing as expected. So I found a new shaver on Amazon that arrived yesterday. You have to know that DH does not really embrace change. He likes his routine and whenever something is different, he complains and fusses until he's settled in the new way. So of course, he whined that it charged different than the other one. He whined that the suction cups on the charger stuck to the table, but not the porcelain of the top of the toilet. But he did like that it was a lot quieter, and it was a lot smoother shave. So, now he's raving about it wanting to show me his close shave by snuggling cheek to cheek. I have to admit it really is a better shave, and something he should have switched out long ago.
Being frugal can sometimes make us hang on to stuff longer than we should. But it also keeps us using the durable, well made products that you can't buy quality anymore. You just have to know which is which.
Do you have a gem or a rock? 

How To Get Free Amazon Gift Cards

I'm sure a lot of you have joined Swagbucks for free by now and are on your way to your rewards. But did you know there are lots of ways to earn points besides just searching on your swagbucks home page?
Did you know that every Friday is MEGA Swag Bucks Day? SwagBucks has increased your chances of scoring BIG #Swagbucks on Fridays. Swagbucks is a fabulous program that rewards you with AWESOME prizes just for doing your everyday searches online.

Since I've joined Swagbucks I have earned tons of $5 Amazon gift card codes. Don't have a Swag Bucks account? Why not sign up today and earn 30 SwagBucks to get you started. Swagbucks just updated their policies and now allows each individual per household to have an account!
Here are some tips to get more swagbucks everyday.
 -Make homepage, or add it to your favorites. Doing this will help you remember to use the swagbucks search engine everyday. Did you know that you can win multiple swagbucks each day? I usually do searches throughout the day and try to use different computers. I have two words that I enter and ALWAYS win at least once on each computer with those words. So if you find a word that works for you, try it regularly. Keep in mind though, don't over search. The swagbucks search engine is designed to detect weird search patterns. If it feels you're searching too frequently you will be shown the rules screen. I've never seen the screen but have heard about it happening to others.
1. If you are using your personal computer, install the toolbar to make your searches easy to do.
2. Make it a point to do some Swagbucks searches on Fridays for sure. On Fridays, you can win as many as 100 Swag Bucks in one search.
3. Become a fan on Facebook and a follower on Twitter. Swagcodes are released daily through these sites.
4. Do the Daily Poll every day to earn 1 swagbuck.
5. Do the Special Offers (click RED square) every day but just select NO THANKS for each offer, click through a few until you are awarded 2 SBs.
6. Earn Swagbucks by using the Swagbucks Shop and Earn site. By using this portal site to shop you will earn 1 swagbuck for every $5.00 spent.
7. Trade-in your old cell phone and electronics and exchange them for swagbucks!
8. Set up a Google Reader page, and install the widget on your feed page, or install it on your blog. Lots of codes are posted on the widget.
9. Check the Swagbucks Blog for clues and codes, usually there are codes a couple times a week posted there.
10. Check this forum discussion for codes that are currently active that other users have posted.
Give it a chance. It took me a while to develop routines of doing my searches through Swagbucks and figuring out how and where to find swagcodes.
11. Click on the tab TRUSTED SURVEYS everyday to earn 1 Swagbuck. You don't even have to do a survey, just click the tab.


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.
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