Picking up Nickels

Friday, November 27, 2009

GUYS: Victoria's Secret Black Friday PJ's deal

For all of you guys out there who have no clue about what to get the lady in your life for the holidays, here is a nice way to score a bunch of Victoria's Secret stuff at a decent price for your wife/girlfriend/mom/sister.

Here's the meat of the deal:

  • First, you can get a free Runway Bag which includes Dream Angels Heavenly Eau De Parfum, Love Spell splash, and Beauty Rush lip gloss with a $60 purchase today only with coupon code VSFRIDAY (details here).

  • Second, you can get a free set of slippers with a sleepwear purchase through 12/8/2009 (details here).

  • Third, you can get 20% off your entire order through 12/2/2009 with coupon code VSSAVE20.

  • Last, sweeten the deal with an additional 6% off by shopping through ebates.com plus new Ebates users get an additional $5 signup bonus (see my take on ebates.com here).

For the scenario I put together for Mrs. Frugalson, I picked out one pair of The sleepover flannel pajama, one pair of The pillowtalk cotton pajama (back ordered till 12/12/09), a pair of Thermal slippers, and the free Runway Bag for a total of $70.59 shipped.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Since today is a day of giving thanks, I wanted to wish everyone out there a Happy Thanksgiving.

I'm thankful for many things, the most important being the health, well-being, and happiness of my family. I'm thankful for my job and my savings and for being able to provide a comfortable life for my wife and children. And last, but not least, I am very thankful that I was fortunate enough to be born an American.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

November 2009 Financial Asset Roundup

Here are my current financial assets as of the market close on November 9th, 2009:

Asset Oct 2009 Nov 2009 Change
Checking 297 279 -18
Money Market 27,971 39,035 11,064
Savings Bonds 20,695 20,781 86
Treasury Bills 0 0 0
CDs 130,605 120,585 -10,020
Brokerage 78,851 82,599 3,748
401k 82,936 84,709 1,773
Roth IRA 33,314 33,705 391
SEP IRA 188,409 191,095 2,686
529 Savings 39,735 40,525 790
Total Assets $602,813 $613,313 $10,500

The S&P 500 index continues to reach for yearly highs as it has risen 2.01% since the last update:

(chart courtesy of msn.com)

There's a lot to say, but not much time to say it (apologies for rushed content in advance). The recent rise in the stock market has been nice to see, but we still have a growing unemployment problem as it reached a new 26 year high of 10.2%. We're one step closer to health care reform as the House of Representatives passed a health care reform bill on Saturday. Crude oil has fallen back below $80 per barrel as the worry about hurricane Ida impacting oil production looks to be a short term problem.

As for money moves, I had already opened an ING Direct 2.10% APY 12 month CD in anticipation of my E-Loan 4.36% APY 12 month CD that matured a couple of weeks ago. I also have a 9 month Bank of America Risk Free CD @ 2.10% APY maturing in a couple of weeks and will probably use the cash to buy some November 2009 paper I Bonds (I bought electronic ones at treasurydirect.gov in April 2009) as well as fund my 2009 Roth IRA contribution. I'll still need to fund Mrs. Frugalson's Roth, but will probably hold off on that until next month.

On the business front, my projected 2009 S Corp revenue looks like it will be down about 9% from 2008 due to the loss of a long time client. And while it's hard to know for certain, 2010 revenue could be down an additional 7%. While that is a disappointment, things could be much worse considering the current state of the economy. I don't know how long those revenue levels will last, but while less money is coming in I may end up spending the next few years shuffling a good portion of my CD ladder money into Roth IRA's while still being able to make nice contributions to retirement and college savings. In any event, at least I've eclipsed my previous peak in financial assets for the second month in a row.

And finally, how about a quick word on grocery prices. Apparently, consumers aren't really noticing much of a difference in prices even though inflation has moderated quite a bit. Heck, even the Banking Guy at the Bankdeals Blog mentioned it last month. The thing is I have been seeing a pretty nice drop in my grocery spending over the past year, which I will examine more closely in a grocery price inflation update once my November 2009 numbers are in.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

DIY auto maintenance: a cheap oil change

I just changed the oil and filter for my 11-year old Nissan and realized I used up the last of my stash of 5w-30 motor oil. I'm always looking to save a few bucks, so I figured I'd share how I look for a deal when I need to stock up on oil:

  1. Look for rebates: The easiest thing to do is to simply run a google search for rebates for your favorite brand of oil: "Quaker State rebate", "Valvoline rebate", "Pennzoil rebate", "Castrol rebate", "Mobil oil rebate", etc.
  2. Check out the Product Rebates, Sales and Promotions forum at bobistheoilguy.com and the DIY Oil Change Deals discussion at slickdeals.net for leads on cheap oil.
  3. When in doubt, stop by your local Walmart: Walmart has a good selection of motor oils at a decent price. I know that I can always go in there and get a 5 quart jug of brand name 5w-30 or 5w-20 conventional (dinosaur ;) ) oil for about ten bucks.

I pretty much buy whatever brand name conventional oil (Quaker State, Castrol, Valvoline, Pennzoil, Mobil, etc.) I can get the best deal on after sale price and rebates. This strategy has served me well over the years, which includes running three cars into the ground with more than one hundred and fifty thousand miles on the odometer.

The other consideration with an oil change is of course, the oil filter. I used to buy the cheapest one I could find until I read an early version of Oil Filters Revealed several years ago. Since then, my first choice tends to be a Mobil 1 oil filter. They are pricey, but I have been able to buy a decent supply of them at a reasonable cost when they occasionally pop up on ebay. Failing that, I usually just buy the OEM filters for my Nissan at everythingnissan.com and my Honda at hondacuraworld.com despite the cost-saving measures imposed on their filters within the past few years (switching from metal to cardboard endcaps, for instance).

So, using the above strategy, I have found the following rebates of interest:

  • $10/$15 off Castrol Edge synthetic oil through 12/15/09 (pdf)
  • $6/$7/$12 off Mobil oil through 11/30/09 (link)
  • $5/$10/$15 off Pennzoil oil through 11/30/2009 (pdf)
  • $5/$10/$15/$20 off Valvoline oil through 12/31/09 when you sign up for their Long Haul Program (link)

As for myself, I think I'm going to stop by Walmart and see what a five quart jug of Pennzoil SUV, Truck & Minivan/Pennzoil High Mileage Vehicle motor oil costs because that $10 rebate could make it a sweet deal. Good hunting! :)