Friday, October 30, 2009

L.L. Bean Boots

 I want these boots for winter work in the Barn.  LL Bean is currently having a promotion in which a purchase of $25 or more gets you a $10 gift certificate towards your next purchase.  I've been meaning to buy some new socks for my mom, so I have two purchases to make, giving me $10 off one.  I also used Discover rewards to get a $25 L.L. Bean gift certificate for $20 in rewards.  Code 301358 has a 75% success rate for Free Shipping on Retailmenot, good until 1/1/10.  Now all I need is for them to throw in just a tiny little sale, and I'll jump.  C'mon guys, just 10% would do it... 

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Something else I want: Razor Naga; Bought the Bed today

Yep, it's a mouse for people with small fingers that game too much. 

I'm doing a version of the 30 day list with this - I am putting it on my blog, and if I still want it after Christmas, I'll buy it for myself in January.

I'm very proud of myself, I've been saving for Christmas via Smarty Pig since July.  Come December, I'll have $250 for Christmas.  Now all I need is to keep from spending more than that + my toy budget on presents (always difficult for me - there's always one more thing that someone in my family would love).

In other news, I bought a bed today.  As I said earlier, my rehabilitation doctor said that my current 9-year-old Sealy Posturepdeic was not going to cut it.  I decided at the end of the day to go with the Tempur-Pedic Classic.  I did talk my local mattress store into taking the sales tax off and they gave me a free mattress pad (which I was planning to buy anyway.  Not to be gross or anything, butt there's a certain time of the the month that I tend to leak.  And I hate stains on mattresses.  They bother me even with the sheets on).

It felt great to know that I was putting it on the credit card to get cash back rewards, not because I didn't have the money for it.  Sure, it's not extra money that was just lying about - it does set my emergency fund back, and I wouldn't have chosen to buy it now.  But I don't have to go further into debt; this is my first big purchase where that has been the case.

Sorry if my posting is sporadic and disjointed; I am looking forward to not needing these drugs anymore.  I can't believe lortab has a black market value - people are actually willing to pay money to feel like this!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Calf-length Wool Socks at a Bargain Price

Originally submitted at Gander Mountain

Precise fit and comfort for long days spent in boots. Made from mid-weight, no itch Merino Wool, these socks are packed with feet-saving features. The stay-up cuff ensures that the socks won't fall or leave your calf open to rubbing. Air channels throughout promote quick-drying. Arch support an...

Great Sock for the Price
By The Lost Goat from Meaux, LA on 10/26/2009

4out of 5
Pros: Comfortable, Soft
Cons: Too Thin
Best Uses: Daily Use
Describe Yourself: Bargain Shopper
I bought one pair of these socks as a trial pair because they looked too inexpensive to be any good. I am happy to report that I am planning to purchase several more pairs.

They are not particularly thick, but they are soft and comfy. They reach to the middle of my calf (I am 5'7') and stay up in my boots all day. They keep my feet cozy when they get damp.

They are just slightly larger than size - if you are on the cusp of a size, I'd order down rather than up.

I give them 4 stars because I wish they reached over my entire calf and because they are very light weight. But I highly recommend them for day-to-day wear under boots when you will be outside all day in the muck. After several washings (and drying in the dryer), there has been no shrinking or piling. They feel almost as nice as Smartwool and are a fraction of the price (plus I've never seen any Smartwool socks this long).
Sock inside out after several washings
Tags: Picture of Product
Sock after several washings
Tags: Picture of Product, Using Product
I don't get any kickback from recommending these, but I liked them so much that I'm posting my review of them on my blog.  As a bonus, Gander Mountain offers free shipping all the time.  If you are buying more than $50 worth of stuff, code GMTWY2 will give you $10 off $50 until November 5th.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Know Anyone Who Wants to Lead the Sustainable Farm Lifestyle?

For various reasons (including the fact that if Mr. Goat loses his job, he'll never be able to get a comparable one here) my time on the farm is probably limited. The inconvenience of being so sick has made me realize that it would be better to find a replacement for myself before I go, rather than afterwards. My parents agree, and so we are looking for a partner on our farm.

Our ad in the Stockman Grass Farmer reads as follows:

South Louisiana Family Farm seeks self-motivated person or family passionate about sustainable farming. Our small, grass-based farm produces grass fed and finished beef and grass fed goats that we market locally (primarily through networking and our web site). The ideal candidate(s) will have experience with raising grass, handling animals, and operating and maintaining farm equipment and the desire to partner with us to expand the farm and to add additional, complementary enterprises. We can provide housing, salary, and a share of profits. Priority will be given to those with a farm background who wish to lead the country lifestyle for the long term. If you are interested, please contact us by email at Include a short description of your background and why you would be interested in joining us here at Brookshire Farm.

If you or someone you know is interested, they can also contact me through this blog. Please feel free to pass it along to anyone you think might be interested and qualified. We are looking with someone with a real passion for sustainable farming and a real appreciation or how much work, physical and mental, is involved.

I'm also looking for feedback on the ad - what kind of person do you think this ad will attract, and why?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Mattress Advice

I haven't been posting lately, because I've been loopy on pain meds.  My back has been giving me some problems for a while, and I've been bounced from specialist to specialist, and I am finally with someone who thinks that he can help me.  Unfortunately, I'm in enough pain that my muscles are tensed all the time, so in addition to the codine and xylocaine injections, I am also on lortab, which makes me nauseaus and loopy, so I am on hydroxyzine palmoate, which helps with the nausea but not the loopiness.  Anyway, I am very happy that I had an emergency fund built up, because this rounds of treatment is pretty much going to blow it. 

One of the things I have been prescribed is a new mattress.  I have narrowed it down between a Tempur-Pedic Classic and Serta Beyond Glamour.  Do you have any experience with either of these?  Is there a different mattress that I should consider instead?  Please help me out here - I've never actually bought a mattress before.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Finishing out the 10 day give more 10/10 & 11/10 - a few days later

Unfortunately, I had no trouble giving on Saturday - my cousin's stepfather died and I was asked to sing at his funeral.  Our family traditionally sings as an ensemble at funerals, and we're pretty good (if I do say so myself).  I was still surprised when my aunt, who leads the singing, reported that the funeral director asked for the name of our group and had any cards (for him to refer us for more funeral music).  So I guess I helped provide professional-quality music on Saturday.

I miscounted - Sunday's singing was actually day 11 of the 10 day give.  But it's actually the only one that the give really inspired me to do, so I'm including it.  Had I not had "what can I give?" percolating in the back of my mind, I don't think I would have had the courage to suggest it.

Our rendition of Because He Lives was less than professional, but was much more fun.  It's the first time I've ever practiced an ensemble piece with one person and then performed it with another - I had not realized how challenging it would be.  On top of that, I was singing the alto line, and I usually do the soprano.  I flubbed quite a lot, and I wussed out and sang the last chorus in unison because I lost my note.  But I kept smiling, and no one complained afterward, so I think most people thought that we meant to do that.

In summation, in 10 days of giving I:
(1) gave my disabled relative some aluminum cans to sell 
(2) tithed
(3)sent a care package to a female soldier in Afghanistan
(4) tithed on my earn more earnings
(5) helped my farm donate a bull to the local food bank / soup kitchen 
(6) took recycling to the dump
(7) sent a care package to a male soldier in Iraq
(8) donated a trunk full of clothing to the ARC
(9) shopped at the ARC
(10) sang at a funeral
(11) sang at church

Honestly, none of this stuff was a real stretch.  It's all stuff that I meant to do anyway, but the challenge did sort of give me a kick in the behind to actually get it done.  And it didn't cost me anything extra - my only monetary expenditures were tithing and care packages, which I already did before, and great deals on clothing, which don't really count.   So I feel a bit self-conscious about even having done this challenge, as it didn't turn out to be much of one. 

Friday, October 9, 2009

Getting Nice Things and Doing Good - 9/10

I said yesterday that I went to the ARC thrift store.  What I did not mention is that I tried on an adorable motorcycle jacket, which was exactly my size, but passed on it because I have already bought two jackets for this season.

I was kicking myself all night.  "After all," I thought to myself, "It's a classic style that comes into fashion every few years.  And this was a particularly nice one - It's missing the thongs to tie up the sides, but you could have replaced those at Hobby Lobby, and otherwise it looks like new.  And it was real leather.  And it was $10."

Today I went back and it was still there.  So it's mine.

(I'm not Sharon Rose or anything, but it's so cute I had to share)

And it counts as giving, since my money goes to benefit the disabled.

Since I was taking pictures of thrifting cuteness, I went ahead and snapped the jeans I bought yesterday as well:

I'm filling my closet up again, but that's why I get rid of stuff I no longer wear - so I'll have space for new cuteness.  And high-quality cuteness at low prices is the best kind of cuteness there is!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Clearing out Some Closets (and incidentally 8/10)

This week, my little brother cleaned out his closets.  He asked me to look through his stuff and see if there was anything to sell (I've found a few possibles) and then donate the rest.  I was inspired by that to pare a few more things out of my closet myself.  Here is what we sent (the target bag is my stuff):

Yes, that is an entire trunk full of clothing.  And let me say that he is in no danger of running out of clothing in the near future.  It just blows my mind how much stuff we have.

I took the lot to the local Arc (a chain of thrift stores which benefit the mentally disabled).  While I was there, I also found a cute pair of DKNY jeans in my size for $2.25, so I made a donation and starting refilling my closet (isn't that always the way).

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

October Anysoldier - 7/10

I forgot to mention in my last post that the soldier I have been sending stuff to has removed his listing.  So the previous Anysoldier package and this one are sent to a new soldier.  Fortunately, I can always find someone looking for magazines and toilitries.

Carried Over:
(1) Shampoo and Conditioner.  These are the last of my stockpiled ones; next month I'll have to get more.
(2) Toothbrushes. The last ones - but I've already stockpiled a new one for next month.
(3) Cards.

Free (or almost):
(1) Toothpaste.  Got a Rite-Aid rebate check for 100% of the purchase price (only paid sales tax).
(2) M&Ms.  I used my free chocolate coupons at Rite-Aid when they were having a buy one, get one free promotion, so these were also free.
(3) Magazines.  From the same lady at church, this is her collection of automobile racing magazines - she is a huge NASCAR fan.  The GQ magazine was randomly sent to my house, addressed to someone that I know hasn't lived here for 15 years.  I figure it must be some sort of promotional thing, but maybe some metrosexual soldier will like it.
(4) Gold Bond Powder.  Not out of my toy budget, at any rate.  Mr. Goat paid for it out of his toy fund, as it's what he would want most if he were stuck in Iraq.

Not pictured (and pricey):
When I put all of this in the box, there was still a space.  And I hate to send a flat-rate box with a space.  So I thought "I have to run to Wal-Mart anyway, I'll just pick up a little something to put there."  Since I wasn't couponing or anything, I paid full price (tax included in reported price).  The soldiers also got:
(1) 3 pack of Ivory Soap.  It is cheap and it doesn't have anything in it that people are generally allergic to. $1.29.
(2) Suave Sport For Men. $1.06.  It said sport, so I went for it.
(3) 12 pack of Wal-Mart brand disposable razors. $2.70.  This is actually pretty good - I didn't get much cheaper than this with a sale and a coupon on the Daisy razors I sent earlier this week.

With the postage ($9.85), it comes out to $14.90 in spending.   I've done worse:)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Kind of Lame Giving, unexpected benefit of the Earn More Challenge

OK, my giving for today is - driving my recyclables to the dump.  There's no pick-up in my area, so recycling is really only for the committed.  So, I'm giving, in that I am keeping stuff out of my local landfill, and also giving my parish a bit more cash (they sell all the stuff they collect, except for glass).  Yep, it's lame, but I spent all day working on the farm, and didn't have time to find any good money-less giving.

One nice side benefit of the September Earn More Challenge has been that I have learned to use ebay.  A few weeks ago, Slickdeals had a great deal on Crocs  Nanooks - $12 with free shipping.  (As an aside, Slickdeals is a great website, unless you are unable to resist impulse purchases, in which case, never go there).  Anyway, when the shoes finally arrived, I discovered that they were too short and wide to fit me.  I quickly calculated that sending them back would net me about $4 after shipping.  However, the sale was long ended, and people were still buying them on ebay for only a little less than their listed price.  I listed mine there, and they sold within a day - I actually made a few dollars!

Aside from that, I also had an ebay customer from last month pay (I had written her off for challenge purposes) and sold one of the books I listed on half during the September challenge.  I ended up with another $25.89 (after shipping, packing  material, and fees) that I would never have earned if not for the challenge.

Now I am conflicted - should I spend this money on giving?  Or on one of my major wants this month - wool boot socks from Gander Mountain?  What would you do?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Bull 5/10

This morning we donated our old bull to the local soup kitchen.  They are planning to use him as hamburgers for a fundraiser. 

He was a good bull for us; this is much more humane than sending him to the market, where he would not be treated very well, and then would be harvested anyway.

The financial part of the donation is all my parents (they own the bull, and they are donating the processing fees), but it still counts as a give, since it was my idea and I set it all up.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Earn More Tithe 4/10

$50.63 more in $ to my church - tithed on my Earn More money and knocked out one of my 10 day gives at the same time. 

Also, I have my giving for the last day of the challenge set up - the lady who donated the magazines and I are going to do a duet of "Because He Lives" at Church next Sunday. I need to learn the alto line for it, so there's time donation involved.  Also, I find the lyrics a bit over the top, so the hymn is not my favorite.  My fellow musician has already chosen this music for her funeral (she's a bit older than me); she's a fan.  And I am the one who suggested it, which I would not have done had I not been looking for non-monetary ways to give back.   So, all in all , a win for giving more.

Wish me luck on the alto line - I generally sing soprano, so this is a bit of a stretch for me.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

September Anysoldier - 3/10

I know it's already October.  But I didn't ever manage to get this mailed last month (although I bought everything by September 15th) so I am planning to mail two boxes this month. 

Stuff from last month:
Well, all of it, really:) But seriously, Things that carried over are:
(1) shampoo and conditioner
(2) toothbrushes
(3) cards

Stuff that was free or just cost sales tax:
(1) always pads sample pack
(2) M&Ms - I used my other free chocolate coupons from their promotion this summer
(3) CVS chocolate covered fruit and nuts - they sent me a random email coupon for a free snack sized package of CVS nuts.  I figure that nuts with chocolate > chocolate-free nuts - Hope the soldier isn't on a diet!
(4) Toothpaste - Free with Rite-Aid check rewards (paid sales tax).
(5) Magazines - A lady from my church donated these.  They are basically the last three months of People, which she takes as a subscription.  Even though they're outdated, I think they'll still be fun to look at.

Things I bought:
I threw away my receipts, so I'll have to give you approximate numbers (tax included).
(1) Tampons - on sale, paid ~ $4.60 
(2) Razors - on sale, had $2 off coupon - paid ~ $2.50
(3) Ivory - not on sale, ~ $1.70
(4) Maxi Pads - on sale 2/$3 - a bit more than I usually pay, but I usually get pantyliners rather than pads. 

It's a large flat rate box, so the shipping will come out to $11.50.

Total: ~ $21.80. 

And that was my planned giving for today.  I'll keep you posted whether I recognize any opportunities for unplanned giving as the day goes on.

Friday, October 2, 2009


My giving for today is very boring.  I have my tithe taken out of my bank account every month, and today is the day I auto-debit. 

I'm keeping my eyes out for a chance to give more, but as I plan an evening in, it would be an unusual circumstance for it to occur.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Earn More Results and Give More Kickoff

My stated goal for the Earn More Challenge was to make $555.56 by selling on ebay, selling on half, donating plasma, picking up cans, and anything else I could think of.

Here's how I did:

Total Extra Earned: $ 506.33  (short $49.23)

(1) Ebay and Half - net $366.32 - Ebay was more time consuming that I had realized; taking pictures and photoshopping them to look decent, as well as writing out descriptions, took on average 30 minutes per item.  This would probably get faster if I had more practice.  Half was much faster; I would say it averaged about three minutes an item. On half I listed 63 itmes, of which 6 sold, taking about 3.1 hours. On ebay I  sold 18 items and had 31 unsold auctions, so that's about 24.5 hours.  All together 27.6 hours, so an average of $13.27 an hour, assuming a base cost of zero for all items (which is pretty reasonable, since I usually donate clothing and books, and I don't itemize tax deductions).

(2) Plasma donation - net $90.00 - I only managed to donate for the first week.  It took me 9.5 hours for my two successful donations, for an hourly wage of $9.47 (not including driving time).  I am not counting my failed attempt at donation, where I waited four hours and finally left in frustration.  If I had been able to make myself donate plasma one more week, I would have achieved my goal.  But the time spent on ebay did not really leave me enough free time for plasma donation, and, as you can see from the hourly comparison, ebay was a better use of my time.

(3) Selling cans - net $0 - I couldn't find anywhere local that buys cans.  I know I can sell them about 45 minutes away, but I rejected that as not being worth the time and gas money.

(4) Anything else - net $50.01 - I cashed in my credit card points for a $50 cheque, and I found a penny on the ground (thanks, SS4BC;)

In conclusion, I have an extra $506.33, a few nice clothes to take to the consignment shop, and ~ 10lbs of aluminum cans.  I'm glad I participated; I'm happy to have the extra money.  I'm also glad that I didn't go with my original goal of $200 - that would have been too easy, and there's no way I would have kept up the ebaying at the rate I did all month once I was at goal.  This challenge did remind me, though, why I don't try to make extra money this way on a regular basis - it pretty much sucked all of the "me" time out of the month of September.

On that note, I'm trying something different for the month of October - Christian PF's 10 Day Give.  His idea is to give at least one thing every day for ten days.  It doesn't have to be money, which is good, because my discretionary spending for the entire month of October is $36.  And it makes a nice segue from the Earn More Challenge, because today I am giving a relative the aluminum cans.  She and her husband live on her SSI disability and his social security cheque, and I know that one of their small extra income streams is selling aluminum.  I still don't know what aluminum cans are worth by the pound, but I can assure you that the money will mean more to her than it does to me.