Saturday, June 02, 2007

Pennies

So I'm totally cheap, but my justification for it is that it's true that pennies add up to dollars. I get all warm inside when I've saved some pennies, and I'm absolutely toasty this week.

That sofa that I found on Craigslist is awesome, but the key was patience. There were plenty of "almosts," but I had to just be OK with sitting on the floor until the moment was right. Finally last Sunday night, there it was, a La-Z-Boy sofa that was just the right size (80" long), reclined on both ends, wasn't ugly and came from a good home (meaning no pet damage, no pee damage, no sex damage or any damage that smells like or conjures up images of any of the above). Awhile back I'd gone to La-Z-Boy to look at sofas like this one, and they started at about $1100 and quickly went up from there. Considering my motto at home that "I can't have anything nice" because those other than me (mostly the kitties, once in awhile the duck) somehow seem to ruin anything nice, spending that much didn't really appeal to me. Now on the other hand, if I could get basically the same exact couch for only $125 from people who likely only used it 5 times ever and mostly just had it as a place holder in their sitting room, then it might be OK to have something nice. And so the deal was made. Having a friend with a truck is a very good thing, and having a sofa with removable back pieces just sweetens the deal since there are some tight turns between the front door and the final destination into the living room. Getting it into the house was effortless, and propping my feet up with an iced coffee at the end of the day is priceless (or well worth the $125).

My other proud moment happened when I went to the grocery store to pick up a few things. I try really hard not to go to the "real" grocery stores and to instead go to the Winco because the prices are really so very much less, but Winco's crowds and lines can be a pain in the ass unless it's a well-planned big shop (or in the middle of the night like we sometimes do on weekends). So here I am at the Safeway with the little club card thing that I hate, and I played my favorite little game of buying only things that are actually a really good deal (and that I will actually use) and nothing else. Usually the receipt proudly announces that I've saved 3% or 10% or something. This time: 40%! I got name brand laundry detergent at about half price, some bread, salad stuff (organics on sale, too!), deli lunch meat and cheese and 3 packs of Oscar Mayer hot dogs (freezable until camping and on sale 3 for price of 1!) for a total of $17.14. I saved $11.45 and came home in a really good mood.

Finally, since I have nothing to watch on TV, I went ahead and took a look at Amazon.com's Mechanical Turk (or mturk for short) program as was mentioned here on one of my favorite money blogs as something to do while bored. Wikipedia (love that site) has a decent mturk article/explanation, too. There is an incredible array of mind-numbing tasks that you can do and often get paid only $0.01 - $0.03 to do, but there are others that I actually found somewhat interesting (such as tasks related to English language teaching) and that even pay more. After 5 separate days of answering random crap in my spare time, my balance is up to $10.28. Not bad for time I'd have otherwise spent aimlessly surfing and getting $0.00. There's plenty more cents "pending," and that is a little bothersome since I see no guarantee that everyone who posts a task (called a HIT - human intelligence task) will actually pay. For now I've stuck to either tasks that are not very time-consuming or those from requesters who've come through with payment in the past. I don't see myself retiring anytime soon doing this, but it's something to do when bad TV shows are on in the background or if I'm really bored at my desk. At first I thought I'd just cash out (which you can do at anytime - didn't see any minimums), but since you can also just apply it to an Amazon gift certificate, I've decided to give it a few weeks to see if I can save up for this Dustbuster or this Dustbuster (can't find either in stores, and reviews sound like they will pick up kitty litter pretty well, which is the whole reason I'd like one) before I get so bored that I quit entirely. Sure, I could just order one, but that wouldn't warm me up, now would it?

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