25 Free Google Profiles Business Cards

Posted on May 3, 2009. Filed under: Career & Work, Uncategorized |

25 Free Google Profiles Business Cards

No charge for printing or for shipping compliments of Google.

Step 1  Create a profile here first


Step 2  Then go to  http://www.google.com/profiles/me/bizcards and checkout

first 10k

If you get “not found” for the second link go back to your profile page and there should be a link to get the cards on the top of there once you’ve added a little bit more to your profile.

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Free 5×7 Hallmark Mother’s Day Card with coupon code

Posted on April 28, 2009. Filed under: Bargain Shopping, Holidays, Uncategorized | Tags: , , |

Hallmark coupon – Free 5×7 Mother’s Day Card


For those really budget conscious shoppers, Hallmark is offering a totally free 5×7 Mother’s Day Card and even ships it for free. Just go online, choose a paper card, personalize it and enter coupon code CARD4MOM at checkout. Be sure to order by May 1st for delivery by Mother’s Day which is Sunday, May 10th this year. Offer ends 05/04/200

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Cookies for Car Repair: Barter whenever you can to save money

Posted on April 22, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , |

I currently drive an older car, a 1992 Toyota Celica, that I have had for more than fifteen years.  It only has a little over 105,000 miles on it, but it’s definitely starting to need more maintenance and repair work.  I know I will need a new car.  I’d like a sporty newer used one with 4 doors and some cargo room next time, but I’d like to get as much as I can for as long as I can out of this car, for as little money as possible.

A while back, my car started showing signs that the starter motor might be going. Two qualified mechanics checked the battery and even though the battery is about 5 years old, both said it was fine.  Based on the symptoms, the starter was probably the problem. Repair parts and labor were being quoted at around $350.

I talked to my Dad who is a DIYer and knows a lot about cars but lives across the country. He advised that I buy a remanufactured starter, which I can get for about $70 (after original core rebate) from Kragen, a local auto parts store.  The real expense was going to be the labor.  So I started trying to think of ways I could get that kind of expertise for free or at a much lower cost.  Living in silicon valley, I can usually find a handy guy to help me with a computer problem, but most of my friends here aren’t car fix it types.  I tried to find an auto mechanic school that would take my car as a learning project and have supervised students do the work.  I contacted a few locally, but didn’t have much luck with a response.  So I started to think of ways to barter which meant I had to take an inventory of my tradable skills.

I was chatting with one of my friends, Randy, who said he knew how to replace a car starter.  I was surprised because he is a mortgage loan agent and also has an online e-commerce product business called MarketAmerica.  I had no idea he was so mechanically inclined.  When I asked him how he learned so much about how to fix cars, he said his grandfather taught him when he was growing up.  Randy thought it might take a couple of hours.  I offered to bake him a big batch of peanut butter chocolate chip oatmeal cookies and write an article on my blog about bartering that would link to his business sites, so we had a deal.

Randy is also a former Marine and true to form, he certainly went above and beyond the call of duty to help someone out, which really shows the kind of person he is.  The whole process took about 6 hours, not 2.  Because of where my starter is located and it hadn’t been touched in 15 years, it was very difficult to take out.  Randy brought tools, but we had to take a trip to the hardware store so I could buy a 14mm socket which was the correct size for my bolts.  We also took the starter motor to Kragen to have it tested which Kragen will do for free. When it tested okay, we then decided to test the car battery again at Kragen which also tested fine.  Randy had them fully charge the battery anyway because my car had been sitting idle for 2 weeks.  Charging the car battery took an additional 45 minutes. The guys at Kragen suggested we clean all the wires and connectors around the battery and starter. I bought a set of cleaning brushes for $4.59 and Randy used a baking soda and water mixture to neutralize the acid and clean the parts.

Then Randy reinstalled my old starter and the old battery and my car started up like a charm. My cookies, based on Martha Stewart’s recipe, are fantastic, but I definitely got the better end of that bargain.

If you need a mortgage loan or loan modification or want to learn how to build a professional income working from home with a global internet franchise company offering over 30 million market driven product powered by Google,  please check out http://www.randypurnell.com/

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Swap Used CDs for FREE

Posted on April 21, 2009. Filed under: Bargain Shopping, Entertainment, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

SwapaCD is a great way to share CDs with people all over the country!

How it works

  • You have original, playable CDs that you do not want to keep.
  • You post those CDs to your “CD Tower” to offer to other members
  • You add funds to your swapacd money account (this pays the 49-cent transaction fee for each CD you request)
  • After you have posted the first 10 CDs to your CD Tower, you get a “gift” credit from SwapaCD to get you started swapping.  After that, you earn credits by sending out CDs to others.
  • You may order any available CD for 1 credit per disc (multidisc/boxed sets cost 1 credit per disc included)
  • If you want a CD that is not currently available, you can place it on your Wish List and we will notify you by email when it is available for you to order.  You can even have it sent to you automatically when it becomes available, with no email necessary.
  • When a CD is requested from you, we notify you by email, provide the address for you to send it out, and even provide a wrapper!
  • Wrap and mail your CD.
  • When the requestor receives it, you earn 1 credit. Yes, you pay the postage to send out your CDs, but when you request a CD, the sender ships it to you and you pay only the 49-cent transaction fee (plus 1 CD credit per disc)!
  • The CDs you receive from SwapaCD are yours. We hope that you will repost them to share with other members when you have listened to them, but you can certainly keep them, or give them away. Similarly, the CDs you send out to others belong to their new owners.

<a href=”http://www.swapacd.com/index.php?n=2&r_by=budgetmaven%40yahoo.com”&gt;Join the CD club and swap used CDs for FREE – SwapaCD.com</a>

When you join and are asked for a referral email, please use budgetmaven@yahoo.com

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Flattery will get you freebies in the mail

Posted on March 11, 2009. Filed under: Bargain Shopping, Cooking and Eating, Home & Garden, Pets, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

I can attest to the strategy in this news article working and I use it.  I  received multiple $1.00 off coupons for one complimentary email to customer service about  Aidell’s mango-ginger sausages,  free cat food, and Snapple coupons for raving about their diet Cran-Raspberry juice.  Making an organized list of products and 800 phone numbers to be proactive  is a great idea!

— The BudgetMaven

Flattery can get you freebies in the mail

By Spencer Soper
The Morning Call (Allentown, Pa.)
Posted: 03/03/2009 11:44:44 AM PST

Do you like free stuff?

Of course you do.

Well, we have a great tip on how to get free stuff, or at least some coupons.

Here’s the tip from a closet coupon collector:

“People buy things at the grocery store and if you have a constructive comment to the people who make the food or the product, call the toll-free number on the product and compliment them,” our tipster said. “Typically, the companies will give you coupons or a complimentary. You really get some nice coupons in the mail.”

This is brilliant. Especially since the people answering the phones are surely inundated with calls from angry people complaining that, “there was a severed finger in my canned peaches,” or “the wrapper said 1,000 sheets of toilet paper and I only counted 999½.”

So we rummaged through the fridge and the cupboards, wrote down some phone numbers, and made some calls.

Think of something constructive to tell them. For instance, we told the makers of Irish Spring soap to change the product’s name to “Global Spring,” to gain broader ethnic appeal.

A few days later the coupons started showing up in the mailbox. A free pack of Irish Spring soap worth up to $2.99. Thirty cents off Krusteaz pancake mix. A buck off two containers of Hellman’s mayonnaise.

We got a total of $25.94 in coupons. Even better, they’re for products we actually use.

Don’t be a glutton and call every day. But if you followed this tip once a year for 20 years and used all the coupons, you’d save more than $500.

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Article: Jean Chatzky on ‘The Difference’ Between You and the Rich

Posted on March 9, 2009. Filed under: Personal Finance, Uncategorized | Tags: , |

Some people seem to move relatively easily from paycheck to paycheck into comfort or wealth, while others get stuck or worse, fall back. What are the attributes and abilities that set them apart? Do they exhibit common behaviors and personalities? In her new book, “The Difference,” financial expert Jean Chatzky lays out the four types of people that make up today’s economic strata in America, and shares tips on how people can move up to being financially comfortable or even wealthy.

To read the complete article, click here

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Talk for Free on Valentine’s Day

Posted on February 11, 2009. Filed under: No Money Fun, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

Long distance phone calls can add up, especially if you are one of those people who does not have long distance service. 1-800-FREE411 is offering free 10-minute phone calls on Valentines’ Day from any landline in the U.S. to any phone number in the U.S.

When you dial the number the voice will ask you to type in the long distance number and you will get 10 minutes of talk time. After nine minutes go by, you will be given a warning that you only have one minute left. At 10 minutes the call will be disconnected.

The offer is valid for 24 hours beginning midnight Eastern Standard Time on February 13, 2009 and ending at midnight Eastern Standard Time on February 14, 2009

For the complete article click here
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San Jose Mercury News article: The basics of freezing

Posted on February 5, 2009. Filed under: Cooking and Eating, Home & Garden, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

The basics of freezing

Mercury News staff and wire reports
Posted: 02/03/2009 05:00:00 PM PST

Nothing ever rots. That’s the good and bad of the freezer. Good because its preservative powers let you stock up on bargain meat, save perishable ingredients, revisit your summer garden in February. Bad because, without the motivation of stink, it can become a bleak tundra of mysterious packages, their contents iced and freezer-burned beyond redemption.

To bring your freezer back from the dark side, some tips and inspiration:

The first rule of freezing

Do it fast. Slow freezing allows the formation of large ice crystals that will damage food’s cell structure. The two main components of quick freezing:

Cold. Keep your freezer at 0 degrees. If your refrigerator’s freezer gets opened a lot, consider using a stand-alone freezer for long-term storage.

Shallow.  Food to be frozen should be no more than two inches deep, so look for flat-storage options, such as shallow containers and bags laid flat. Don’t stack packages to be frozen.

The second rule of freezing

Reduce the amount of air around the food, by vacuum-sealing or storing in a tightly sealed container or bag. (Containers need an inch of head space to allow for expansion.)

The third rule of freezing

Label and date.  How long will it be good?

Safety: Food is preserved indefinitely at 0 degrees, though it needs to be handled properly before and after freezing. Bacteria or mold can become active again when thawed.

Freshness: The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s maximum recommended storage times for quality range from a month (sausage) to a year (uncooked beef roasts). The main enemies are ice crystals and freezer burn.

Freezer burn — dryness caused by air — isn’t unsafe; just cut away the damaged spots.

The easy way is in the refrigerator, where food won’t get warm enough for bacterial growth. Next best are immersion in cold water (in a leakproof plastic bag) or, if you plan to cook immediately after thawing, in the microwave. The USDA warns against defrosting in your car, dishwasher or yard. Refreezing It’s OK to refreeze raw food that has been thawed in the refrigerator (though the texture may suffer). It’s OK to refreeze partly frozen food as long as it hasn’t been warmer than 40 degrees for more than two hours.

Food will be a lot better protected by containers intended for the freezer than by your old yogurt containers. A test of various methods by The Washington Post food staff yielded some general rules:

Plastic wrap and food storage bags tend to become less airtight over time. Even the heavier bags intended for freezing shouldn’t be trusted much past a month. For best results, use two layers, wrapping food in plastic wrap, then sealing it in a freezer bag. If microwaving to thaw, remember to vent bag at least an inch and watch that it doesn’t melt. Home vacuum-seal methods, like Food Saver, sometimes require multiple tries to get an airtight seal; most problematic are meats or items containing moisture. Recheck the seal after a month in the freezer.

Polypropylene freezer containers, of flexible plastic, are available in a range of prices, from supermarket products to more expensive models with easy clip or snap fasteners. The inexpensive ones are prone to lose their tight seal after a month in the freezer. And read the labels: Some are not made for microwave and dishwasher, and some should not be used for fats or oils. Polycarbonate freezer containers, of rigid, clear plastic, are good options for long-term freezing and for microwaving — though you’ll pay more. Brands include Freshvac and Snapware.

Don’t freeze eggs in the shell. Egg whites can be frozen easily; some people freeze them in ice cube trays, then store in plastic bags. Yolks are more problematic, because they get gummy. The solution: Beat a quarter-cup of yolks with 1½ teaspoons of sugar or 1/8 teaspoon of salt, then freeze for up to three months. Then remember to use appropriately, sweet or savory.

Meat and poultry
They can be frozen in supermarket wrapping for a month or so; any longer than that, and you’ll want to give it more solid packaging. Meat vacuum-packed by the manufacturer generally doesn’t need more protection.

Most vegetables should be blanched before freezing — cooked in boiling water for two or three minutes — to halt enzyme activity that can diminish flavor and color. Most fruits benefit from freezing in syrup or with a sprinkling of sugar; some also need citric acid or ascorbic acid to prevent discoloration. Bags of purchased frozen fruits and vegetables should be double-packaged inside a freezer bag to prevent ice crystals and extend shelf life.

Washington Post, U.S. Department of Agriculture Resources General freezing guidelines: www.fsis.usda.gov/FactSheets
Freezing produce: www.extension.umn.edu/living; click on “food preservation” in the left column

Among retailers of freezer containers are the Container Store and Bed, Bath and Beyond.

What’s in your freezer? Some of my freezer staples include:

Homemade Stock

Tomato sauce



Grey Goose Vodka

Parmesan rinds

Ginger root

Cookie dough

Frozen bags of organic fruit (for yogurt smoothies)

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Sign up for Goldstar Events – get discount and free tickets to sporting events, theater, concerts, comedy clubs, spa treatments and more

Posted on January 28, 2009. Filed under: Entertainment, Low Money Fun, No Money Fun, San Francisco Bay Area, Travel & Leisure, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , |

It’s free to sign up for Goldstar to get email updates and access to first-rate live entertainment tickets at half-price or better in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Washington DC, Boston, Chicago, San Diego, Orange County, San Jose and more!

How does the Goldstar service work?
When you sign up and become a member of Goldstar, you will tell Goldstar what kinds of live entertainment you like and the areas where you live, work and play, or are traveling to, and they’ll deliver dozens (or even hundreds) of half-price offers to comedy, music, theatre, sports, spas and more.

Goldstar will then tell you about event offers that match your preferences. Members get a weekly email summary of events with Goldstar’s special pricing, and if you also sign up for email alerts, you get late-breaking event offers tailored to you.

It doesn’t cost anything to join, and you can do it in just a few seconds. You’ll be getting out to great live entertainment and having a good time with friends and family right away.

To give you an even better idea of how you can save money and do fun things by joining Goldstar, here are some examples of discount events that were included in my most recent email alert for where I live in the San Francisco Bay area:

– SAP Open: World-class Men’s Tennis Full Price: $48.00 – $62.00    Goldstar Price: $29.00 – $40.00
This year’s tournament features defending champion Andy Roddick, plus Juan Martin del Potro, James Blake, and more international tennis stars

Stars on Ice! Iceskating’s Superstars Full Price: $45.00 Goldstar Price: $25.00 See the best of skating from Olympic and World Champion skaters performing their best routines. Sasha Cohen, Todd Eldredge, Ilia Kulik and many more skating superstars

Giants baseball game tickets Full Price: $17.00 – $35.00   Goldstar Price: $10.00 – 20.00

FREE admission to acts at local comedy clubs instead of full price $12.00 – $17.00

Extranomical Adventures’ Wine Lover’s Tour:
Customizable Full-Day Wine Tasting
Full Price: $129.00    Goldstar Price: $64.50 Sample the wines of Napa and Sonoma Wine Country on a full-day tour. The Wine Lover’s Tour is a semi-private, semi-customizable tour, which will visit 4 to 6 wineries.

discounts on local spa services like massages and facials

half price tickets to various plays and concerts at multiple local and regional theater companies and venues.

If you like live entertainment but settle for a movie or DVD more often than you’d like, you might be interested in joining Goldstar Events. Join now for free today by clicking here and you’ll never say you’re bored and there is nothing to do again.

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14 good uses for coffee filters

Posted on January 20, 2009. Filed under: Home & Garden, Uncategorized | Tags: , , |

Coffee Filters COFFEE  FILTERS:  Inexpensive when purchased     at the dollar store and not just for making coffee (which helps  filter out the bad cholesteral raising coffee oils) …

1.  Cover bowls or dishes when cooking in the microwave. Coffee filters make excellent covers.

2.  Clean windows and mirrors. Coffee filters are lint-free so they’ll leave windows sparkling.

3.  Protect China.  Separate your good dishes by putting a coffee filter between each dish.

4.  Filter broken cork from wine.  If you break the cork when opening a wine bottle, filter the wine through a coffee filter.

5.  Protect a cast-iron skillet.  Place a coffee filter in the skillet to absorb moisture and prevent rust.

6.  Apply shoe polish.  Ball up a lint-free coffee filter.

7.  Recycle frying oil.   After frying,  strain oil through a sieve lined with a coffee filter.

8.  Weigh chopped foods.   Place chopped ingredients in a coffee filter on a kitchen scale.

9.  Hold tacos.  Coffee filters make convenient wrappers for messy foods.

10.  Stop the soil from leaking out of a plant pot.   Line a plant pot with a coffee filter to prevent the soil from going through the drainage holes.

11.  Prevent a Popsicle from dripping.  Poke one or two holes as needed in a coffee filter.

12.  Use expensive strips to wax eyebrows?  Use strips of coffee filters instead.

13.  Put a few in a plate and put your fried bacon, french fries, chicken fingers, etc. on them.  Soaks out all the grease.

14.  Keep in the bathroom. They make great “razor nick fixers.”

Any other ideas?  Please feel free to post!

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