Our dear friends Judy Rhodes and Jeri Watson started A Second Look in 1983 with 25 boxes of clothes purchased from a local auction. Their humble beginnings have blossomed into one of the most visited and most beautiful consignment stores we have ever seen. With more than 10,000 people consigning nearly new clothing items and with dated tags that reduce in price every 30 days, you are almost guaranteed to find a bargain every time you shop.
We love gardening and grow organic fruits and veggies on our property all year long. For those of you with limited space or time, there's a great product to help you garden without the hassles of roto-tilling the soil and fighting weeds.
Years ago, Annette's mom took a cake decorating class at ABC cake decorating in Phoenix. She learned so much during that class that she started making THE most delicious cakes our family had ever tasted. She passed her knowledge down to Annette and to our daughters Becky and Abbey too. They all have made fantastic cakes for parties and other celebrations we've hosted.
We'll post some photos of their creations soon.
We always buy our computers "pre-owned" from either Ebay or a remarketer. But when it comes to computer parts like RAM and hard drives we always buy them new with a manufacturer's warranty.
When John, our oldest son, was starting his college career, we did our early research for scholarships in the public library reference section. We pored over huge volumes of The College Bluebook – Scholarships, Fellowships, Grants and Loans. We took copious notes and made numerous copies of pertinent pages. Later, we found free web sites to aid us in our search and provide custom-tailored information. These cut our search time immensely.
You know we're careful with how we spend our money. Well, we do the same thing with our business. We're always looking for deals, discounts and great service.
We were asked this question on Facebook:
Because we have a coupon swap with several friend and family members, we don’t need to always have a newspaper subscription to get the grocery coupons we use.
A couple of years ago we paid a tax professional to help us with our taxes. Bill did a great job and got us a maximum refund. It was at that same time that we heard about Turbo Tax online Tax Freedom deal. If you meet certain criteria (lower income, military service or you qualify for the Earned Income Credit) you can use Turbo Tax for free. We ran our numbers through Turbo Tax and got the same result as the paid professional. Since that time we’ve been using Turbo Tax for our own taxes and for our kids too.
We're planning a trip to San Antonio, Texas to cheer as our son Roy graduates from Air Force basic training. We're checking rental car prices and looking for the best rates. We'll be comparing the Entertainment Book, AARP, AAA and any other discount plans we can get, and we'll let you know the results.
If you have any suggestions on who to quote, let us know.
We're starting with Thrifty, Budget and Enterprise.
When our kids were younger, we'd buy lots of party decorations and party favors from Oriental Trading Company. Whenever the catalog would arrive, each of the kids would spend hours circling the "cool" things that they wanted to have for toys and as trinkets to decorate with when guests arrived. We experienced good delivery and good customer service.
We've always bought gently used pre-owned cars (from individual owners, not dealers). One book we read calculated that over a lifetime the difference between buying new cars (with financing) and paying cash for gently used cars can save you over $128,000. We don't know about saving that much money, but we do know that we've never had a car payment, never paid a penny in interest on car loans and always found great deals on used cars.
We use Macintosh computers (always bought used) at our house. They cost a little more, but we've never had a virus problem . . . ever. But we have had hard-drives die and that has created all kinds of problems. In the past we regularly backed-up our writing (books and columns), email and other data to dvd's and stored them in a safe-deposit box at our bank. It was time consuming, but it saved us loss of data a couple of times.
Remember that most retailers kick off the holiday buying season on the day after Thanksgiving (Black Friday) by dropping some killer deals. You can get a jump start on your holiday shopping and planning by visiting web sites that publicize many of those deals in advance. We use:
Having multiple sources for coupons will always save you money. We swap unused coupons from the Sunday paper with several friends. The result is that we often end up with several copies of really valuable coupons — this makes stocking up and saving money much easier.
Whenever we travel by air, we used to spend hours looking for the best airfare. But now we're finding deals faster and getting extra discounts too.
Years ago, Annette's dad, Syl Meola retired from a sales job in the electronics industry and took a job at his local church as the head of the maintenance department — that's right, he became a janitor. Syl is the consummate organizer and master of efficiency. He can fit more stuff in a small space than anyone we know. One thing he noticed was that whenever there was a reception or some sort of meeting where drinks were served from a coffee pot or cooler, inevitably some of the liquid ended up dripping on floor.
We love books at our house — we have over 3000 of them; and we love music — it's constantly playing — we have several hundred cds, even more mp3s and even some LPs.
While we love music and books, we don't love paying full price for them.
A subscriber to the web site sent in a great tips for saving money on college text books.
A subscriber turned us on to Restaurant.com to SAVE on Dining. We tried it for our anniversary last year and enjoyed a $35 meal for only $18 (this included the price of the gift certificate we purchased, tip, tax and the cost of the meal). The selection of restaurants is great.
The more control you have over your money, the more money you'll have.
We buy an Entertainment Book every year not only for saving for dining out in Phoenix, but for so much more!
Eating Out We've used the Entertainment Book for years to save on dining out. They've got coupons for hundreds of restaurants from fast food to elegant sit-down restaurants.
Get PREPAID without getting BURNED!
We like T-Mobile Prepaid Plans (read more about them here) and just purchased a pre-paid phone for emergencies. T-Mobile's customer service is phenomenal. Their best deal is to buy 1000 minutes of air-time (1 year expiration) and then roll-over any unused minutes by purchasing any denomination of minutes before the end of the year.