Ocean in the Middle of Iowa

“This post brought to you by Derek!”

Derek got out the boxes of summer decorations and cobalt blue glassware that the doctor ordered me not to move! One was on the bottom of a stack of boxes.

Decorating this month reminded me of two things:

  1. Buying out of season makes it feel like Christmas all year-long, and
  2. I’m an Iowa girl.

Last week, I shared my inspiration for my August decorating. I talked about the “whale lights” I purchased earlier. Only, they aren’t whales, they’re dolphins! I also bought a glass dolphin, not a glass whale!

I unpacked my box of summer decorations and found a candle embedded with shells! Surprise! I purchased it last fall on a clearance rack and packed it in my summer box right away. Finding it was like opening a Christmas present!

It became the centerpiece for my kitchen table. I put my clear glass dolphin on one side of it and my new cobalt blue, glass dolphin in a vase on the other side. I didn’t have a cobalt blue table runner and pulled a scarf from my closet to use instead.Glass Dolphins and Seashell Candle "Ocean in the Middle of Iowa" frugalfish.orgOverturned vases are the platforms for my glass fish and a crystal oyster. My china cabinet is on a side wall. I try to have two layers of decorations in it because you are not looking at it from the front. I put a large starfish in front of my cobalt blue plate for that reason. The plate with a beach scene was a gift from Aunt Lesta! The candle in front of the plate is fish-shaped.Glass Fish and Crystal Oyster in China Cabinet "Ocean in the Middle of Iowa" frugalfish.orgI hung “dolphin lights” in my front window and put my three largest shells on the windowsill. I used shells everywhere!Dolphin Lights in Window "Ocean in the Middle of Iowa" frugalfish.orgShells fill my blue vases and I put a layer of small shells in the bottom of my glass block. On top, I put cobalt blue marbles and a few blue glass stones.Shells, Marbles, and Glass Rocks in Glass Block "Ocean in the Middle of Iowa" frugalfish.orgEven my wreath has shells on it. I opened up the blue bandana bow and wrapped it around the base of my wreath as an ocean. I added two white bandanas for the sea-foam on each side. I reused the material I used on last year’s wreath for the sky, see here. The rest of my seashells are in a net that I tied and wired to the bottom of the wreath.Ocean Themed Wreath "Ocean in the Middle of Iowa" frugalfish.org

The best way to shop is at the end of the season or in the opposite season. I buy summer clothes in July and winter clothes in January. The stores are trying to make room for fall clothes in July and drastically mark the spring and summer clothes down.

My next shopping trip I will be looking for patriotic and beach decor. I will pack them up and surprise myself again next summer. Of course, that means I have to pass on the items I no longer love to make room. It’s how you survive living in a small house.

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Resolved: More Weight, Food, Spending; Less Organizing, Travel, Reading

You read that title correctly. My resolution this year is to eat more food, gain weight, and spend more. I also plan on less organizing, travel, and reading.

More Weight

I can thank Jenny Kuhn for this resolution. Here is a picture of Jenny and me, with her daughter Kathryn, around 2005.

Jenny, Katie, & I "Resolved . . ." frugalfish.org

She moved to Arkansas and opened Jenny’s Gym. Last October, she competed in the World Powerlifting Alliance competition in Portland, OR. She is now the WPA-APA World Powerlifting record holder in the squat and the deadlift for the 45-49 age group in the 132# weight class. She also broke the previously held accumulative world record (squat+bench+deadlift), see here.

Jenny lifting in her gym "Resolved . . " frugalfish.org

 

Jenny regularly posts clips of her clients lifting. Most of the clips are of middle-aged women who are strength training. Sometimes she posts informational clips. When she explained the proper way to do a push-up, it changed my life.Jenny Kuhn "Resolved . . ." frugalfish.org

I usually tried doing push-ups from my knees, but that does not use all the muscles correctly. You need the same form as you would use to plank. Now I do them off of the kitchen counter and will move to the ottoman when my arms are stronger. If I do not keep control of my arms, I bump my forehead! I know I am using the correct form now.

Since muscle is heavier than fat, I plan on gaining weight this year. I want to gain muscle, not fat, and will concentrate on that instead of my bathroom scale!

Eat More

For the past few years, I would weigh myself on Monday and plan my meals based on that number. It didn’t work! I would gain a pound and then try to cut way back on my food. Of course, that pound stubbornly stayed.

This year I am going to work my body and feed it what it needs. I will eat bigger servings of salad, vegetables, and more meat. I never have been a big bread eater, but my sweet tooth is my downfall. That is where I will cut back.

More Spending

I am a saver and try to buy everything on sale. That is not always possible. This year, I want to buy things when I need them and not do without. I have lived under the poverty level during childhood and as a mother. I have no problem telling the difference between a need, a want, and a desire.

In my wallet now are 2 months worth of allowance! I also have a note of a few things I need to order. (Hello, sports bra!) I have watched the sales for over a year and have the money. I just need to get online and order it!

Less Organizing

Marla Cilley, aka The FlyLady, says over and over, “You can’t organize clutter.” But I can, and that is the problem! I organize things that I should send to Goodwill or pass on to family members.

There is a box with “Graduation” written on it in my pantry. My youngest graduated in 2015. I am hanging on to it for my sister-in-law, Melinda. I need to just give it to her, even though Brayden doesn’t graduate for another year.

Less Travel

I will no longer feel guilty for staying at home. There are many opportunities to go places and do things, but if I have to take a round of Prednisone to go, it is just not worth it! (Or worse, go without Prednisone and then fight a flare for two weeks.) I don’t care that I only go out 3 times a week for four hours. I have so much I love to do right here at home.

I know my Facebook page is boring, but I refuse to compare myself to others. I will travel vicariously with my friends. (Sorry, Jill, I have no desire to go clear up to the Arctic Circle. Enjoy your trip!)

I really enjoy the posts from Australia on the travel blog, outan’about.com. It was interesting reading about celebrating Christmas during their summer!

Less Reading

I can speed read. It is a blessing and a curse. I would normally go to the library and fill a large bag with 18 books every other month. (No, that is not a typo; it is eighteen books.) We have a great library that is always getting new books and the community buys books in memory of loved ones.

Obviously, I don’t watch TV at night, in fact, I will only watch a movie once. My family will put in a movie, and if I have already seen it, I go to bed and pick up a book. I can read a 300-page book in 2 or 3 days. The problem is, I get close to the renewal date and I speed read through my stash. That is not as enjoyable as slowly reading, savoring, and even taking quotes from books.

This year, I will only check out 8 books at a time and will make sure one of those books is nonfiction. I am on chapter 2 of the book, “Smarter Faster Better” by Charles Duhigg. There are many things I would like to do, but I get bogged down in laundry and cooking. I want to make those tasks more efficient to allow time for fun stuff!

Smarter Faster Better book "Resolved . . ." frugalfish.org

“If you will live like no one else, later you can live like no one else.” Dave Ramsey

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Frugalfish Gets a Fitbit?

Anyone who has read many of my posts knows I am NOT a fan of exercise, see here. (That title alone will make my friends think I fell off of the deep end.) Sweating makes me break out and I avoid it, but I do want to be healthy and used a pedometer for years to track my steps.

On the other hand, my husband is a jock. He loves to exercise and plays every sport. A month before his birthday, I found an offer from flylady.net that I could not refuse. It was “Buy One Get One Free” for a “J-Style Health” activity tracker for $60.00. That was a little more than I normally spend on a birthday gift and I made up the difference out of my spending money because I would be getting one, too.

$$$$$$$$

I ordered the tracker to use a pedometer but was fascinated by the other features. Of course, this generic version does not work as well as the Fitbit brand that sells for $100.00.

Heart Rate Monitor

I never was able to get the heart rate monitor to work. Every time I tried to sync that feature to my phone I got the same message, “Good Morning” which is equivalent to…

“WAKE UP!”

I guess my heart rate is what other people’s heart rate is when they are asleep. I decided I didn’t really need that feature. Both my husband and I have had our hearts tested with EKG’s and he had a stress test. Our hearts are healthy and we do not have a murmur or irregular heartbeat.

The funny thing is my tracker would give me the same message when we were practicing for church and the guitar player went off on a tangent playing blues or country. My tracker must not care for that type of music.

Alarm to Wake Up

The alarm feature works really well. It wakes me up every time but I set it on 5:00 a.m. and it refuses to reset! When the clocks turn back on November 5th, my tracker will probably go off at 4:00 a.m. I stopped using it as an alarm.

Sleep Monitor

I no longer use it to monitor my sleep patterns during the hot weather because the wristband made my wrist sweat and I broke out. This time of year, when the Ragweed pollen is in the air, I have to take Benadryl at night along with my regular antihistamines. There is no way I can wake up at 5 after taking Benadryl.

I keep track of my sleep in my DayTimer anyway. Sometimes the only clue that I am fighting an infection is I suddenly start sleeping for 11 or 12 hours a night. The symptoms of a bacterial sinus infection are the same as a bad allergy reaction.  (I rarely run a fever.)

Calories Burned

This brand of tracker records the KCALs but I do not pay too much attention to it.

Pedometer

It seems to record the movements of my arms as steps. I would be playing the keyboard during the Wednesday evening service and in the middle of it, the tracker would buzz announcing I reached my goal of 10,000 steps. Amazing since I had sat down for the last hour!

I decided to keep the tracker in my pocket. Then it only records the movements of my legs and that is more accurate. Also, I didn’t want to wear it because of my sensitive skin.

Activity Alarm

I decided not to activate the activity alarm which goes off every hour to remind you to get some exercise. I don’t want to have to shut off the buzzing every hour. I use a timer to keep me on task. It is set for 15 minutes. I use it for some activities that I lose track of time doing: cleaning, reading, etc. or for things I can’t wait to finish – like exercise. The timer lets me know I have sat for too long.

$$$$$$$$

I talked to a few friends who have the original Fitbit brand of a tracker. They both were given the trackers by their employers as part of their health program. I would take it if it were offered to me by an employer. I did save a lot of money buying this generic activity tracker. I will keep it because it is serving its purpose as a pedometer.JStyle Fitness Tracker, "Frugalfish Gets a Fitbit?" frugalfish.org

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8 Tips For Buying a New Cell Phone

A migraine woke me up and I spent the morning with all the curtains closed. I thought about staying home, but David promised me a new phone in August. (Yeah, August was really busy.) We had a doctor’s appointment that day in the town where there was a corporate U.S. Cellular store.

Yes, U.S. Cellular is my service provider. Why? Because U.S. Cellular covers country. In my neck of the woods, the other providers have too many holes. Southeast Iowa is not densely populated. In fact, the county south of ours does not even have one traffic light! When we looked into cell phones, U.S. Cellular was the only one that completely covered our area.

The last time David shopped for phones, he found out you can get a better deal if you go with a corporate office. He checked with the local offices and they couldn’t offer him anything. He called U.S. Cellular and was able to get 2 free phones because we have been with them since 1994.

We told Ezekiel, the representative who waited on us, that we were their oldest customer. I’m not sure that is true, but many of my friends have moved from one company to another and we chose to stick with the one we had. (Unfortunately, even after all the nice things I have said, I do not get any money from U.S. Cellular. I do not participate in affiliate marketing.)

Back to my story….the days of free phones and penny phones are gone. Now, you buy the phone on time and they give you a monthly discount of $20.00 for buying the phones from them.

We started by looking at iPhones, but I use a Samsung and a Chromebook, which are both Android products. I told Ezekiel I wanted a big phone because I am near-sighted, and I needed one that took great pictures. We looked at the LG phones next, because there was one model with a good camera. I didn’t fall in love with any of them.

Finally, we looked at the Samsung phones. I am not one who has to have the latest product. We looked at older models and found one with a “Stylus,” a small pen-shaped instrument used to input commands. Earlier I shared how I would rather write with a pen than type, see here. That was the one I wanted!

The cost of covers surprised me; most of them were $29.99 to $39.99. I asked if we could use our points to purchase a cover, but the points reward program ended last year. They did have a cover for this phone that was a flip cover for $9.99.

That’s when the debate started.

I told David I could buy the flip cover and just cut the flap off. He said the phone would not be secure because the flap had to snap into the cover. Ezekiel reminded me that I was purchasing a $535.00 phone and I should protect it. He also recommended the glass screen protector. If you drop the phone, the glass breaks, not the screen. The glass has a lifetime warranty, as long as you own the phone, and they send you a new one if it breaks.

I was overwhelmed. I like to be frugal, but I don’t want to be cheap. I knew I would hate the flip cover, but didn’t want to buy the expensive ones. I left the decision up to David because he pays the bills now. He ordered a regular cover and the glass.

I’m sure I could have gotten the phone on Ebay for less, but I could not pay for it over several months. The monthly payment is less than the $20.00 credit.

David was also eligible for a $20.00 credit on his line. He likes his phone and did not want a new one, but we asked them to add that credit to our account also because we were afraid that program might end before he needed a new phone. So his credit will offset the cost of the cover and glass screen protector. It’s a big phone and I plan on using it for several years.

Before leaving, I gave Ezekiel my business card and told him I would be blogging about buying my new phone today. He walked us to the door and opened it for us.

(Hey, Ezekiel, show this post to your boss and tell him I said you deserve a raise! Thanks for your help!)

Phone buying tips:

  1. Choose your provider based on coverage. Do you travel often? Rural area?
  2. Call or go to a corporate store.
  3. Remind them how long you have been with the company.
  4. Change phones when you are eligible for a discount. End of contract?
  5. Find the phone that fits you. Look at older models.
  6. Don’t buy something you will hate or won’t use.
  7. Do protect your investment.
  8. Take advantage of any perks, discounts, and programs offered. They don’t last forever.

How do you save money when you need a new cell phone?New Cell Phone, "8 Tips For Buying a New Cell Phone" frugalfish.org

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Shopping for a Chest of Drawers with a $65.00 Budget and $7.00 Cash

My husband works for a small lumber company. How small is it? There are only two salesmen…and one is a farmer…and you work every other Saturday morning. That means you can only take vacations in the winter.

Unless your Saturday off is a Holiday weekend!

David got lucky and had Saturday, July 2nd off. We decided to spend the long weekend in Des Moines. I looked at everything there was to do, but decided I wanted to spend the time shopping for a chest of drawers for our youngest.

His buffet/dresser served three generations. The repaired drawers were more suited for cloth napkins and tablecloths than for clothes.

We just replaced the washer and I knew our budget for appliances was not large. It discouraged me to find there was only $65.00 in that account. On top of that, I had purchased 4 pairs of shoes on clearance prices and didn’t even have much spending money left.

We took off on Saturday and I had $7.00 in my wallet. David had the money for food in his wallet. The motel and gas money came out of our vacation budget. I actually thought about staying home, but we love eating at new places, so off we went.

We pulled up the used furniture stores in the Des Moines area on David’s phone and used the GPS to try to find them. Several were in the poorer sections and we didn’t even bother to stop. We did go through D.A.V. Thrift Store, run by disabled veterans because we wanted to support them. We didn’t find what we were looking for there.

Our last stop was “Do Overz.” I loved the look of this store when I went to their website and I was not disappointed when I went inside! The owner sells furniture on consignment and she is very choosy about what she takes.

We found two!

The first chest we found was dark wood and had a bit of scratching on the top and the front. But it had two things going for it: 1) It had the same manufacturer of the chest of drawers we purchased a few months ago, and 2) It was $68.00!

The second chest was in better shape, but it was light wood and cost $124.00. I thought it was a better deal, but it will be in the “locker room.” (The guys keep their clothes in our large laundry room/bathroom and we dubbed it the “locker room.”) When we first moved in, the basement flooded and we had to throw away carpets, couches, and chairs. If that happened again, I would be crushed to have this nice chest be damaged.

We bought the dark chest. It fit our budget and it matches.

Don’t be discouraged when you don’t have a large budget to work with. You might be surprised at what you can find in consignment shops, thrift stores, auctions, and garage sales. Chest of drawers

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Choosing My New Washer

My husband worked almost 30 years at the same lumber yard. It was family owned and opened in 1926. They closed its doors for the final time last year.

That was when I decided to buy only from local merchants.

I shared in a post earlier that my washer was not repairable. Saturday, I put a load in, and it would not fill with water. I shut it off, and the lights didn’t come back on, except for…

“Door is locked.”

I turned it back on, no luck.

I unplugged it, no luck.

I tugged on the door, no luck.

Finally, I plugged it back in and pushed the “start” button anyway. It went through a cycle draining imaginary water and then unlocked. After rescuing our clothes, we headed to our Hometown Sears.

Hometown stores are small hardware and appliance stores operated by independent retailers.  en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sears_Hometown_and_Outlet_Stores

I watched the wife of the owner grow up. Now, I see their kids growing up on Facebook. I want to support this family business. That is why we bought our microwave there, (not at Wal-Mart), and our snow blower, and David’s new “doo-hickey” – a leaf blower with a vacuüm attachment.

I re-read the article at debtproofliving.com about choosing a washer. I looked at washers at Searsoutlet.com and printed out a few prospects.

My children are grown now and our needs have changed. Our current washer is a large capacity, front loading machine. After the gasket needed replacing for the third time, I decided I wanted a top loading machine.

Following Mary Hunt’s advice, I set our budget, $400.00, and made a list of my top three requirements:

  1. Top loading machine
  2. Load size indicator
  3. G.E. or Whirlpool brand

We looked at the washers on the floor and only one met our qualifications. It was not the cheapest washer available.

I showed the saleslady the washers from searsoutlet.com and asked if the store would get credit if I purchased one of them. When she said no, I threw the list away.

We got a discount of 5% for using our Sears charge card and used the rewards money from earlier purchases. We talked about having it delivered, $45.00, and having them dispose of our old one, $10.00, but decided against it. Total cost – $427.00.

We paid for the washer and drove to a local waste management company. They said they would dispose of it for free if we brought it to their location.

David got on the phone and called a friend…who called his son-in-law…and came over. The three of them brought the new washer downstairs and lugged the old one out. (Our Hometown Sears loaned us a 2-wheel cart.) It pays to have a truck and friends with strong backs!

When I washed the first load, I set it on “Speed Wash.” I want it to last a long time. Next to it is my dryer that has lived through 4 washers, because I dry every load on “Permanent Press” and “Delicate.” It still gets really hot!

I encourage you to buy locally!

Washing Machine Panel

©2009-2016 frugalfish.org. All rights reserved.

 

Gifts for Administrative Assistants, Not Flowers or Candy

“My boss made the coffee every day!”

Yes, I was spoiled during the two decades that I was an administrative professional. Not only did my boss make the coffee, he would dump 2 sugar and 2 cream in it, and bring it to my desk. Then he would go over that day’s tasks with me. (He made great coffee! I didn’t.)

Both of my bosses spoiled me. I would get flowers and candy, not only on “Administrative Professionals Day,” but also on my birthday and other holidays, too. When my health forced me to step down from my job, I had a cupboard full of coffee mugs from them.

“But my favorite gift was…a paper shredder!”

Talk to your administrative assistants today! Flowers and candy are nice, but they might want something else instead.

According to a poll at Corporette.com, the majority of bosses spend under $25.00 or under $50.00 on “Administrative Assistants Day.”

“Think outside the vase…er, box.”

  1. Software: Is there software that would make their job run more smoothly?
  2. Upgrades: Maybe they have sufficient software, but would an upgrade make them more efficient?
  3. License: Some software can be loaded 3 times on one license: 1) Office, 2) Laptop, 3) Home. If needed, pay for the extra license and let them load a program on their home computer for their personal use. The more they use it, the more proficient they will become.
  4. Electric Equipment: Another favorite item in my former office was an electric stapler. It may seem like a luxury to you, but after stapling 100 handbooks, it feels like a necessity.
  5. Equipment Maintenance: I loved the big, old-fashioned, guillotine paper-cutter we used. It could cut through several sheets perfectly. But those blades need sharpened and the screw on it may need tightened.

“An easy trick to sharpen and keep these blades sharp is to frequently cut several sheets of aluminium foil. Just pull out a sheet of foil and slice it 10 or so times into little pieces. Unless the blades are really worn out this should work. This, by the way, is official for many cheap cutters.”  boardgamegeek.com

“You never know until you ask.”

Money is tight and businesses may not have the funds for something new. You would be surprised how small things can make all of the difference, i.e. replace the broken blind that allows the sun to shine in their eyes late in the afternoon.

“Make it personal.”

Whatever you choose to do, remember to write a personal note in a card…even a plain “Thank You” note. You cannot do your job without them. Take a few minutes to appreciate their work.

Paper Cutter

 ©2009-2016 frugalfish.org. All rights reserved.

Stainless Steel or Silver

I own two grapefruit spoons.

According to the back they were made by the same manufacturer using the same molds. The only difference is the material used. One is stainless steel and the other is silver or silver-plated.

Spoon Manufacturer

One is easy to care for – you just throw it in the dishwasher. The other requires a special cleaner, and even if you don’t use it, you have to routinely clean it. It has to be stored in a special place or it will tarnish.

Yes, mine is tarnished.

2 Grapefruit Spoons

I never use the expensive silver spoon. I also don’t take care of it as it needs. I always grab the stainless steel one.

The funny thing about expensive things is they require more work. A lot more work.

It’s the same with any riches. You have to take care of it in a particular way or you have to hire others to “polish your silver.”

When we desire lovely things, we don’t always count the cost of taking care of them. We don’t own them; they own us!

No matter how wealthy you are, the practical items will get used more often.

Form follows function.

Pretty takes second place to practical.

Practical is always frugal.

©2009-2016 frugalfish.org. All rights reserved.

“Angels We Have Heard On High”

Aside

(Press play for music to accompany this post.)

“Charlotte worked at finishing the last of the costume pieces: putting the foil from gum wrappers over the cardboard crowns of the wise men…we strung popcorn and the berries from the mistletoe Joe shot out of the trees…cut a star out of two paper sacks and…colored it with red and blue pencils. We glued the two stars together and then Joe lifted Milo so he could ease the star down onto the highest point of the tree.”

The Angels of Morgan Hill, by Donna Van Tiere

We do not have to work as hard on our Christmas decorations as our great-grandparents did! They made all of them and used candles as lights. We also do not need to spend tons of money every Christmas.

Each year I have a new Christmas theme: “It’s All About the Manger,” “Birthday of a King,” and “Christmas Music.” This year’s theme is “Angels We Have Heard on High.” When I went shopping, I was looking for angels, feathers, and tulle.

I spent my allowance on these ceramic feathers that clink when they bump together.

I spent my allowance on these ceramic feathers that clink when they bump together.

I found these bells, rolls of tulle in the wedding section, and feather boas in the dress up section.

I found these angel bells, 2 rolls of tulle in the wedding section, and 10 feather boas in the dress up section of Dollar Tree.

My daughter made this macrame angel in Girl Scouts. I got the directions from her former Girl Scout leader and planned on making more, but procrastinated too long.

My daughter made this macrame angel in Girl Scouts. I got the directions from her former Girl Scout leader (Thanks, Jacque) and planned on making more, but procrastinated too long.

I have a box of angels and used them in my decorations. I hung this cookie cutter on the tree.

I have a box of angels and used them in my decorations. I hung this cookie cutter on the tree.

My sister, Michele, gave me a box of decorations she didn't want and I kept all of the angels. I was thrilled when I found these ceramic angel ornaments in that box!

My sister, Michele, gave me a box of decorations she didn’t want and I kept all of the angels. I was thrilled when I found these ceramic angel ornaments in that box!

Also in the box from Michele were these napkin rings. Since there were not enough for my family, I hung them on the tree, too.

Also in the box from Michele were these napkin rings. Since there were not enough for my family, I hung them on the tree.

I nestled a few angel tree toppers in my tree to fill in holes.

I nestled a few angel tree toppers in my tree to fill in holes.

This angel was purchased in memory of my dad who I remember wearing monkey socks when I was a child. The year of his death is written on it. I also have a sweet, ivory angel in memory of David's mom. Since the monkey sock did not fit with my theme, I nestled him inside the branch.

This angel was purchased in memory of my dad, who wore monkey socks when I was a child. The year of his death is written on it. (There is a sweet, ivory, angel in memory of David’s mom.) Since the monkey sock did not fit with my theme, I nestled him inside a branch.

I added a few gold instruments that I thought an angel might play!

I added a few gold instruments that I thought an angel might play!

The tree skirt is quilt batting that I purchased for the quilt I am making my daughter Laura. I draped tulle over the top of it.

The tree skirt is quilt batting that I purchased for the quilt I am making my daughter, Laura. I draped tulle over the top of it. I blogged about the fake tree trunk in “Christmas Music.”

When my youngest son, Derek, saw the finished product he exclaimed, "Mom, is that your robe around the bottom of the tree?" (He gets his sarcasm from me.)

When my youngest son, Derek, saw the finished product he exclaimed, “Mom, is that your robe around the bottom of the tree?” (He gets his sarcasm from me.)

I saved one feather boa to use on my wreath. I tied together some scraps of tulle I had on hand for it and added: an angel ornament, gold bows, and gold bells.

I saved one feather boa to use on my wreath. I tied together some scraps of tulle I had on hand for it and added an angel ornament, gold bows, and gold bells.

Total money spent, $38.00.

 

JCPenneys “Black Friday Rebate Reward Cards” are Useless

My daughter moved into a new apartment last fall and she needed kitchen appliances. We had read the Black Friday flyers advertising appliances for “$9.99, $14.99, and $24.99. We should have known it was too good to be true.

We headed home after Thanksgiving dinner at my mom’s and put our leftovers away. We decided to go to the Pre-Black Friday Sales and pick up a few appliances.

When we got to the store we noticed the prices were not reduced. You paid full price and then sent in a “rebate.” The store then sent you a VISA card for the difference.

I am really good about filling out rebates and we decided to go ahead. We got the same type of deal at another store.

I sent in the rebates and after Christmas my daughter informed me she already had one of the appliances. We offered to return it and give her the cash, which we did. When the gift card from that store arrived, we decided not to use it because we returned the purchase.

We still have that card and it is useless now. Since, I didn’t try to use that card, I don’t know if the same thing would have happened there that happened at Penneys.

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Before I go any further, I need to tell you…

I LOVE J C PENNEYS!

I was thrilled to have the card because most of the clothes I buy are made by St. John’s Bay which offers 100% cotton and tall sizes. I blogged about my love for those clothes earlier in “The Top Five Things I Love,” see here. I love the quality of their tablecloths and I purchased all of my new drapes there.

But in this case, they let me down. We tried to use the card after Christmas and they asked for our pin number. I thought, silly me, I should have brought the letter that came with them in my purse. I got them out and put them in my purse when I got home.

We do most of our shopping online and I tried to use them there. No luck. Costumer service could not help me. I decided I had to use them in a JC Penneys store.

The cards have a fee of $3.00 that starts to be deducted after 6 months. In June, I realized I was running out of time. I tried to use them again at Penneys, and they asked for a pin number. I pulled out the letter and there was no pin number on them. I asked the cashier for help and they said they didn’t know.

We were beyond frustrated. We tried to call the toll-free number on the letter and it was disconnected. It has now been a year and the cards were eaten up by the monthly fees. Oddly enough, the cards do not expire until 02/16. The fees eat it up by 09/15!

I contacted customer service a few months ago and asked them to pass on my complaint. I did not hear anything back. They would not give me an email address to voice my complaint.

The moral of my story is…the “rebate reward cards” at Penneys are useless. If you are offered the difference in price in the form of a rebate that issues you a VISA reward card…forget it.

The Black Friday Ads came out on Monday and once again Penneys is offering appliances with a “rebate.” I’m not falling for it again.

These cards cannot be redeemed at Penneys or anywhere else.

These cards cannot be redeemed at Penneys or anywhere else.