Thursday, December 9, 2010

When Free Isn't Really Free

Free is my favorite word.  Love the word free.  Love it!  If something is free, I'm there.  One freebie I got while pregnant was the Arkansas Healthy Baby Book from the Arkansas Department of Health.  It's a book filled with prenatal information, but it also has some high dollar coupons that are validated at each prenatal and postnatal doctor's appointment.  I've been impressed by the value of the coupons in the book, so when I saw a free haircut coupon I was THRILLED!!!!  I made my appointment with the intentions of making a MAJOR cut. 

Here are the before pictures:

My coupon was to a "House of Beauty" here in Fort Smith.  My husband lovingly agreed to drop me off & watch E while I got my day of beauty and pampering. When we rolled in to the parking lot my anxiety level increased as I looked at the dilapidated sign of the shop, but seeing as the other coupons in the book were fabulous, surely this place was wonderful too right?  With great hope I kissed my family bye and opened the door.  Oh. My. Golly...this place was horrible.  Wood paneling, kitchy magazine clipping tapped on every available wall space, dust covered Red Hat figurines graced the numerous shelves.  I knew I was in trouble.  

I was greeted by a grandma like woman a seriously teased out bouffant hair do and more makeup that Mimi from the Drew Carey show.  Imagine her for the rest of the story:

Against my better judgment (and because I can't say no) I sat down.  She pulled out a broken brush, teased out my hair and proceeded to cut my hair.  This was perhaps one of the shortest haircuts of my life, lasting all of about five minutes.  Behold Mimi's handiwork: 

A close up of the jig jagged handi-work.

Needless to say, this was a completely unacceptable hair cut.  Had I been planning to keep my hair I would have been truly upset.  Fortunately, I had planned on donating my hair to Locks of Love so I didn't lose any sleep over my day o' beauty fiasco.

Today I go a REAL haircut by an actual PROFESSIONAL.  Here are the results:

And here is what was hacked off:

The actual cost of my "free haircut" was as follows:

$2 pity tip @ Mimi's House of Disastrous Hair Horror's
$20 actual haircut
$12 hair product
$8 tip in extreme gratitude for having presentable hair

But it was alllll worth feeling pretty for an afternoon.  I felt pretty, oh so pretty today.  It was nice.

Hard Time

I suppose I should have a post with an explanation.  I haven't been writing lately because I've been having a hard time.  A really hard time.  My grandfather, who has been struggling with luekemia for the past year has reached the final stages of his battle.  His body has begun rejecting donor blood, and yesterday, he received his last ever blood transfusion.  There is nothing that can be done and it is just a matter of time until he goes home to heaven.  

We've all known this time was coming, but somehow that doesn't make it any easier.  Even though I know my grandpa is ready to go to heaven, I'm not ready to be left behind. I've never been one that handles death very well, but the idea of possibly being out of the country when my family needs me most is overwhelmingly painful.  

If you are a praying person, please pray for my grandpa and grandma.  Please lift up our family in prayer.  We could certainly use a little extra grace at this moment.  

Thank you and God bless you.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Bag O' Toiletries

Today I packed all of the toiletries I would need for our trip in India in this tiny little bag for free.  How is that possible you ask?  Why samples of course!  The entire contents of this zipper pouch, and the pouch itself were all free samples that I have joyfully collected. 

Now I know some people find a 0.05 once package of toothpaste completely useless, but here is a totally wonderful use!  These tiny sample packages will go through airport security, and after collecting them through the year, I most certainly have enough to last our entire Christmas vacation!  Plus, you can't beat the price!

If you haven't considered sampling, try it out!  In my opinion it is definitely worth the time and effort.

You can find more ways to save money on your toiletries here.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Get What You Paid For

A few years ago one of my friends took me to a seminar about frugal living at her church.  It absolutely changed my life.  No joke.  I had already been trying to make frugal changes to my life, but the seminar challenged me to see what else I could do.  One of the lessons I learned from that hour long tutorial was to get the most out of what I already owned.  This lesson was part preventing waste, part saving money, part amazingness.  Seriously.  I had no idea how much I was throwing out until I started experimenting.  Let me show you.

Behold our finished peanut butter.

In the past this would get tossed in the recycling, but for the past few years I've been taking the time to scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula.  It takes about a minute.
 I simply scrape the pb in to this tiny container and it's enough for approx two more sandwiches.

Here are two of the best inventions ever to my mind--right behind electricity and refrigeration.  Ok, that's a gross exaggeration, but still, these little goo pushers (is the the technical name?) are great!  The green one twists and squeezes, while the purple one just squeezes.  The green one was a gift (Thanks Mom!) and the purple was part of a set of two that I got at Walmart for less than $2. They are well worth the money and help make sure you get every little bit out of your tubes of goo. But wait!  That's not all...

This is a picture of the above tube of  toothpaste.  It was squeezed within an inch of it's life, and would not yield any more paste.

I simply cut the tube and voila, about a week's worth of toothpaste!  Simply put a dab on your tooth brush and brush away.  (I do realize that this is somewhat unhygienic, so I would recommend only one person uses this paste, and perhaps it should be applied with a clean finger to the tooth brush).

This method can be used with lotions, face creams, and really any other goo in a tube.   Just be sure that when you cut lotions or the like you keep the top, wipe it out, and put it over the bottom portion so your new found goodness doesn't dry out.

As I have become more frugal and environmentally conscious I have found the importance of being a good steward of the resources I have been given.  Even if it is just a week's worth of toothpaste.