Remember when I did a happy dance 4 years ago because I wouldn’t be commuting to work again every day? Yeah, then I started pet sitting. Then I got popular. Now, I drive more than ever, BUT books on CD from the library are helping me stay sane!
My Recent “Reads”
- If you have a chance, the Lucy Kincaid series by Allison Brennan is VERY good, especially as an audio book. The plots are exciting and the narrator, Ann Marie Lee, is excellent. I will warn you that this is ADULTS ONLY since the topics are around serial killers, rapists, and a former victim with a very sad past who has transformed herself into a very knowledgeable and strong woman trying to get into the Cyber Crimes division of the FBI.
- For a more family-friendly series, although it still has death as a main topic since it’s set in the 1400’s, I’ve been loving the Crispin series by Avi. It’s a three-part series following the main character from the day of his mother’s death to what he matures into along his journey.
- I had a great time listening to dozens of suspense romance short stories about love, taking down the bad guys, and mystery with Love is Murder.
- I’m currently listening to Dean Koontz’ What the Night Knows. Koontz’ very descriptive writing style takes a little getting used to in the verbal form, but the book grabbed me from the first few minutes. I’m betting that some sort of demon or psycho haunting is causing the new murders…
Overall, I’ve listened to more than 100 hours of books while on the road in the last month or two, and I am enjoying getting back to my book-reading roots…even if it does mean I’m driving more. And I love our library system. Thank you to the public libraries! I may be volunteering for them soon.
Have you been able to read much lately?
I just heard about Groupon Coupons a couple of weeks ago. It’s a new part of Groupon (that’s my referral affiliate code, just fyi) that is just free coupons to use with their 7500+ partner sites like Macy’s, Nordstrom, Best Buy and Target. I would never suggest buying something just because there is a coupon, but why not use a coupon if you were going to buy something anyway?
Stacking Up the Savings
Another thing that hit me was that some Groupon Coupon places are also places that I can get discounted gift cards for when I use my Discover card cash back.
For example, I like Shutterfly. I’ve used them once so far to make a photo book of our cruise in mid-2013. But they are generally a more expensive splurge for me for something fun like photo books. Our cruise one cost around $10 thanks to a mailed coupon deal.
If I use my Discover cash back to buy a discounted gift card ($20 for a $25 gift card), and then I stack that with a Shutterfly Groupon Coupon, then I’m getting a great photo book for what amounts to less than $8 in credit card cash back.
That’s an inexpensive present for friends, family, or even just for me. Hahaha.
Have you heard about Groupon Coupons yet? What do you think of it?
I had a happy surprise last week! Found out from Amanda at Frugal Confessions that I won free tickets to Cirque du Soleil’s Amaluna! Mr. BFS and I have been to another Cirque du Soleil performance in Las Vegas, Mystere, and it was GREAT! Unfortunately, my husband already had plans for last night. So I took my Little Bro’ from Big Brothers Big Sisters since I knew he had never been to anything like it before. It was awesome yet again!
The show itself tells a love story of a shipwrecked guy meeting a great native on an island in the middle of nowhere. It’s all about the base in this show – 70% female cast and a 100% female band performing all of the music. I was proud to see the women kicking butt and taking names.
The story is told through many circus-like acts. There was aerial acts with rope, hoops, and bars. There were balancing extravaganzas. My Little Bro’ enjoyed the acrobatics with a see-saw the best. I kept my fingers crossed for the people doing gymnastics on parallel bars and the poles that go 4-5 stories into the air. The music was just as excellent as the acts. And every performer was stellar.
It was easy to have a fun night because the show in Houston is being held at Sam Houston Race Park – easy parking, easy check in, and a very comfortable big tent to hang out in.
The fragrance of popcorn greets you right away, but we were avoiding it and the drinks since it would have cost $7 for popcorn or $5 for a 20 ounce bottle of soda. BUT, during intermission, we decided to wander around and people watch. While we were strolling about, a very sweet, awesome, and generous couple actually stopped us just to hand us a free coupon for popcorn and a soda! How cool is that?!
By the end of the night, we had seen inspiring human tricks and feats, laughed at the comic relief, and had our fill of popcorn. It was dazzling and Little Bro’ said it was even better than the pizza arcade we went to last year. That says it all.
Have you seen a Cirque du Soleil performance before? Which one? Did you like it?
We haven’t had cable since last August, so I jumped on the opportunity to try out Sling TV for free for a week. Sling TV is a way of streaming stations like ESPN and HGTV online for $20 a month.
My Review of Sling TV
Before I get started, here is the full list of channels that you can stream live for $20 a month if you are using Sling TV:
- Food Network
- Travel Channel
- El Rey
- Adult Swim
- Cartoon Network
- Disney Channel
The pros of Sling TV:
- It was so nice to see an HGTV show again. Oh, how I missed all of that house crack…
- It was great for my husband to be able to tune into ESPN again, but he didn’t have many opportunities thanks to our schedule.
- Any alternative to cable is awesome to me.
- $20 a month seems reasonable if you will be using it significantly.
The cons of Sling TV for me:
- I need DVR capabilities since I only watch tv after my work – online and pet sitting – is done. Mr. BFS needs DVR since he refs during most of his shows.
- I couldn’t download the Sling TV program to our little Google Chromebook since it wasn’t compatible for Chrome yet.
Our Cable Alternatives
We’ve decided to keep on keeping on with our own cable alternatives:
- We have a Terk Antenna we bought for $40 downstairs.
- We have Netflix upstairs for $8 a month, and we use it to watch the heck out of series that we missed and Netflix Originals.
- We bought a $200 Google Chromebook that we use to stream shows directly from the network sites like CBS.
- We also use that Chromebook to stream Netflix downstairs when we need it.
- My husband has been watching rugby on Youtube.
- My husband also went over to his parent’s house a few times during the NFL season to watch games there.
- We watch movies from Redbox every couple of weeks when we get free promo codes or discount codes by text.
- Our friends bring over movies for movie nights if Netflix or our personal stash isn’t enough.
- I bought 120 DVD’s for $60, we added a dozen or so to our collection, have sold 17 of them for $54 so far, and we’re watching the rest one at a time until I sell off the 90 or so that are left that we don’t want to keep forever.
- We’re reading more again. I’ve also gotten back into listening to books on CD in my car while I drive to pet sitting gigs. The library is an awesome place.
We cancelled our Hulu subscription since we weren’t using it much at all. We also never got NFL Rewind. Honestly, the DVR is what we miss the most, and yet, we survive and find many other ways to spend our time in front of a screen, LOL.
Would SlingTV work for you?
I was sitting in bed trying to think of a great post idea, then I got sidetracked with funny memes and a great book. Then I thought, hey, what other stuff do I
waste spend my time on for free?
Free Fun Ideas
- Books, real and electronic, from the library, family, friends, etc. I’m listening to a great book on CD right now from the library, Love Me to Death by Allison Brennan. I’m also reading the latest book from the Eve Dallas series by JD Robb, which I am borrowing from my in-laws.
- Movie nights at home. On Monday, we watched Little Miss Sunshine, which was good! This Friday will be scary movie night with friends again since two of them haven’t seen Paranormal Activity yet! All of the movies we are watching lately have been from our personal collections. We also use Netflix and Redbox once in a while too.
- Hosting friends for dinners. Technically, you do need to buy food. But I’ve been using food that we already have on hand, either from the pantry or freezer, for the last few weeks. My friends take turns too, so we are only providing the meal every few weeks.
- Board gaming. We all met at a friend’s house last Saturday to play board games and card games for the whole afternoon and evening.
- Walking. I’ve been walking around my own neighborhood to check out our ducks on the lake, and I’ve been dog walking for a pet sitting client three days a week.
- Connecting with your spouse. My husband and I have been watching old-to-us series of shows like West Wing together, we’ve been cooking together, and we spend a solid half hour or more talking every day. We work out our weekly schedules together too.
- Selling my stuff. It may not sound like fun, but making money off of stuff I need to get rid of anyway is a great time for me.
- Get involved. I’ve been looking into volunteer opportunities recently. Being a “Big” for Big Brothers Big Sisters has been costing around $10-$20 a week since I do take out my “Little” for food and stuff like billiards. But being a foster parent for SMART Rescue hasn’t cost much at all – like $70 in food and toys over the last year. I’m also looking for something else to get into since I do have a little more free time that I’m sure some organization needs…
What do you do for free fun?
Remember my post about Nextdoor.com? It’s an online forum for just your neighbors. I found it a while ago, and I love it. It’s been great to find close garage sales, get notified of loose animals, and to connect with my neighbors for charity drives and stuff like that.
Yesterday one of my neighbors posted that she was trying to clean out her home. She had 120 DVD’s listed for $60. At 50 cents per DVD, I couldn’t pass them up, right? She didn’t want to list them out individually obviously, hence the low price tag, so I drove the 5 minutes to check out the two boxes. I figured we may want some of them for our own collection and I could sell the rest.
They ended up being pretty awesome DVD’s overall! My roommates and we have already gone through and pulled out the ones we want to see at least once before we sell them. My hubby just watched 12 Monkeys last night. I’ve started listing the rest for $5 each or 3 movies for $10. I’ll let you know how it turns out.
Reselling in General
I’ve been playing the resell game since I was a teenager. I listed out a lot of my side hustles before. One of my earlier ones was reselling jewelry to pawn shops that I bought on Bidz.com before people trusted online bid sites. I also resold Magic: The Gathering card packs throughout college and on and off afterwards.
For the last couple of months, I’ve been listing things around our house on Craigslist that we’ve been meaning to get rid of for a while. Now, it’s DVD’s. I can see how there are people that make a solid living on this if they take the time to do it full time and with more expensive items. I might need to start researching a few things to know what is resalable or not.
Have you ever gotten caught up in reselling things regularly? What did you focus on?
The Actual DVD’s
P.S. If anyone in the USA or Canada wants one or more of these DVD’s, email me at budgetingfunstuff *at* gmail.com and we can work out a payment method and I’ll send it to you for $3 per movie plus you’d cover shipping. I’d be using the Media Mail option at USPS. The whole collection would be $200 and I would cover shipping for you.
|The 13th Warrior|
|A.I. Artificial Intelligence|
|About a Boy|
|Austin Powers, Goldmember|
|Austin Powers, The Spy Who Shagged Me|
|Ballistic Ecks v Sever|
|The Bourne Supremacy|
|Clash of the Titans|
|The Count of Monte Cristo|
|Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon|
|The Five Heartbeats|
|The Green Mile|
|In Good Company|
|Kiss of the Dragon|
|The Lake House|
|Lara Croft: Tomb Raider|
|Lara Croft: Tomb Raider The Cradle of Life|
|The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen|
|Legend of the Red Dragon|
|Life or Something Like It|
|Maid in Manhattan|
|Master and Commander The Far Side of the World|
|Mission Impossible 2|
|Mission Impossible 3|
|The Mothman Prophecies|
|My Big Fat Greek Wedding|
|The Perfect Storm|
|Pirates of the Carribean, The Curse of the Black Pearl|
|Planet of the Apes|
|Princess Diaries 2|
|Reign of Fire|
|Shadow of the Vampire|
|Sweet Home Alabama|
|Terminator 3, Rise of the Machines|
|The Wedding Planner|