Archives for June 2009

Saving Money on Your Cell Phone Bill

I usually feel like an oddball when it comes to this topic, because I am one of the few people who doesn’t seem to have unlimited text and calls on my cell phone. I have a really basic phone (It does take photos) and a prepaid calling plan. It helps us stick to our budget.

But if you are have to have something other than a prepaid plan but also need to fit it into your budget, I would suggest trying out the following sites and tools to see if you can bring down your cell phone bill.

billshrink

Bill Shrink: Find the out if you are getting the best price on cell phone plans, but also check on gas prices and credit cards. (free)

Over My Minutes: Want to make sure you don’t go over your minutes, but are too busy to keep track? Sign up at Over My Minutes and you will receive an alert on your phone when you are getting close. (free)

Or, you can go all crazy like me, and just use a prepaid card. Frankly, I can’t stand being on the phone all of the time, so it suits me fine. Maybe it will work for you too.

Sound off: How do you save money on your cell phone bill?

Go Ask Alice: Alice.com

One of the neatest and most useful sites to debut recently is Alice.com, a product planning site that helps you track your shopping, reminds you when you might be getting low on an item and has FREE SHIPPING. Do you get the implications of that?? No trips to the store for necessities! Have them brought right to you.

I was impressed with the ease of use of the site and the ability to track, budget and plan your shopping. Getting started and using the site are truly a snap.

To start, build your family. Here’s mine:

Alice signupScreenshot

Choose the items that you use in your home:

Alice pickproducts

Your account will be created and a nifty screen will give your some tips for getting started:

Alice gettingstarted

Here is where it gets really cool. Once you’ve created your account, you have access to coupon codes and a plethora of tools to help stay organized :

My products: keep track of the products you use

Budgeting: track how much you are spending on items

Advanced planning: plan out what you use when and when you will need a new product

Order History: see what you have purchased and when

Shop by room, Best Deals, Green Products: there are various ways to search and shop for items

Alice my account

See that little text box in the image above? I added that to show you the other beauty of this site: It shows you current deals that are available. Each deal only has a certain number offered, so once that number reaches zero, it is no longer available.

Conclusion: Alice.com is such a neat, interactive site. Adding items to your cart is as simple as drag-and-drop. The prices seem reasonable, shipping is free, and selection is good – filled with brands you are familiar with.

Let me know if you use it and what you think of it.

*fyi: the link I used for the site includes a referral code. Feel free to delete it if you sign up, but if you keep it, it will give me 3% if you ever make a purchase. You can do the same with your friends and family too.

Open Source Sewing: Burda Style

I’ve mentioned here before that I have a love for Open Source (OS), whether it be software, design or development. Free doesn’t mean it’s cruddy when it comes to OS.

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Burda Style is a sewing site that has adopted the Open Source philosophy:

While creating BurdaStyle, we were captivated by the open source philosophy: the sharing of intellectual property and allowing the public to adapt it to their specific needs. We assimilated the concept to BurdaStyle, removing the copyright from our patterns. Our open source sewing patterns are free to be used as a base for your own design. Whatever you sew, you can sell if you like. We believe that removing copyrights from our designs will inspire creativity and spawn multiple new designs – and that’s wonderful!

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(Summer Dress with a Bow)

Not only is it a site for learning techniques and gathering ideas, but readers can contribute their own tutorials, tips and techniques. The “How-Tos” section is fabulous – with a plethora of instructions. There is even a category for Maternity Wear Alterations.

It is also a community with an active forum and a blog.

Whether you are a seasoned sewer, looking for new patterns, or a newbie wanting to learn some basic “how-tos” Burda Style has it covered.

Faith Like a Child

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There is nothing like watching children worshipping. Completely uninhibited. Arms up. Singing off key at the top of their lungs.

I’m so grateful that our kids were able to attend our churches VBS this past week.

615 school-aged children

$3300 (!!!!) given in offerings to build FOUR wells in India (their goal was $1500)

50 children making a decision to follow Christ

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Their eternity is now on a totally different course. Forever changed.

For more info: I’ve written a post on how to pray for your children, with resources listed.

Fathers and Daughters (alternate title: Watch your words)

When I was a teenager, I came across a letter that my dad had written to my mom when I was born. He was overseas when I was born, deployed to Korea. So the first time we met face-to-face, I was around 6 months.

At the time I discovered this letter, I was an awkward, self-conscious teenager with plum hair and white lipstick.

The feelings that swept over me as I read that letter stay with me to this day, and I’m sure that they have carried me through many hard times, as they built me up at that time, and surely sparked something that help reprogram me out of my teenage whatever it was

My parents were great at letting us know we were loved. Except for the New Years Day dinner my 9th grade year, they rarely fussed over my eclectic-ness. I know it drove them nuts that I wore clothes with holes in them and that I never ironed. Even still, there was a part of me – that part of a child who wonders how someone could ever love someone like them – that knew there must be some strings attached.

Reading this letter I realized that there were none. Seeing in ink, on that aged piece of paper, my father’s words, words of complete and utter joy, I knew without a doubt that I had always been and would always be: loved.

I’ve tucked that letter away into a safe place. But even if I never see it again, it was burned onto the memory of mind.

Beyond this – know that your words have an impact. Spoken or written. For better or worse – they are out there.

Make them count, so that they make a difference.