In another ridiculous piece of travel news, the Washington Post says an airline carrier called Frontier Airlines says it will now charge for carry-on bags and soda — up to $100 for the bags, and $1.99 for a soda. If it’s any consolation, you’ll get to keep the entire can of soda.
Frontier Airlines is quick to point out that there’s no charge if you can spend an entire flight with your carry-on bag under your feet — er, under the seat in front of you. It’s the overhead bin space that’s the precious commodity. If you reserve your space before your flight, it’s “only” $25. But if you want a space when you check into the gate, you’ll have to pony up the $100. These fees are charged each way. So if you plan on coming back home, you’ll be paying them all over again.
It’s bad enough some airlines make us pay to bring our regular-size suitcases (the horror!) with us on our flights, which are usually necessary when traveling to a faraway place. Apparently, many travelers have been trying to get around that fee by stashing as many carry-ons as allowed in the passenger cabin bins.
Airfare is exorbitant as it is, with all the fees, surcharges, and ever-changing prices. This is one more reason I’m happy to stay close to home — or drive to my destination.
The soda, at $1.99, is ridiculous on its own. Are the flight attendants going to cough up a penny in change every time someone asks for it after handing over two bucks? (I would totally be that person, by the way). Don’t worry, you’ll still get your water for free — for now.
EDIT: Frontier Airline’s social media folks are already in damage-control mode. Within minutes of tweeting about blog post (NOT EVEN MENTIONING FRONTIER BY NAME), I received a response:
Further into the WashPo article, it mentions that if you book your flight through Frontier Airlines’ website, you will avoid the carry-on luggage fee. I’ve asked if that means you’d have to pay the fee if booking by phone. Let’s see if they respond to that.
In this day of electronic financial transactions, the paper check is going the way of the dodo bird: extinct.
Sure, we all write a check now and then, for those few places or people who don’t accept payment electronically. For us, checks go to the town for the quarterly water bill, or to a medical professional when we don’t want to pay with a credit card.
But what about the check register? What are we doing with those?
I’ve always been the period who dutifully collected receipts and entered them into my checkbook as necessary — sometimes daily, but more often, once a week. Anytime I’ve had a bill online or had an automatic deduction coming up, I’ve noted it in my checkbook.
Now that I have a smartphone, I have my handy-dandy Mint app. And I don’t feel the need to put everything into a checkbook register, since most deductions happen automatically (or within a day or two). But what happens when I schedule bills to be paid online ahead of time? If I have 5-6 things scheduled, such as the mortgage payment, utility bills and car payment, what happens? In the end, I want to know what our account balance will be AFTER the online bill payment goes through. I want to make sure I don’t have a low balance.
Is there a way to stop balancing your checkbook in this case? It doesn’t seem possible. Anyone have a solution? Is there an app for that?
As I’ve probably mentioned a billion times before on this blog (and in real life to all my friends and family), I love a deal. And to get a deal, you have to do some research before buying. I’ve never been a spontaneous Sally — I need to find the best price AND, hopefully, a coupon or promo code before making a purchase, whether it’s clothes or a major appliance or a cable/internet/phone bundle (see our new FIOS contract triumph).
You have to really search well to find promotional codes for online retailers. Not all stores offer online discounts, but it can’t hurt to look.
There are also a number of websites that “collect” promo codes for a number of retailers in one place. Some of the more common ones include CouponCabin.com, Coupons.com and RetailMeNot.com.
But the one that’s most impressed me is a newer site called Save1.com — for every coupon or discount code you use for one of their featured retailers, they donate a portion of their commission to feed hungry children. The company is family-owned and represents more than 5,000 merchants, and since October 2012, they’ve provided more than 95,000 meals to malnourished children through their nonprofit feeding partners.
I’ve found great coupons for discounts and free shipping for major department stores like Macy’s and Gap, and I’ve also come across other retailers we use, such as RadioShack and BestBuy.
So not only can you save money, you’re helping others. And I can get behind that.
My original plan was to take Emily grocery shopping with me today, but then I thought better of it. Miss Independent doesn’t do well in shopping carts right now — she’d rather run around the store and wreak havoc. Sorry, Charlie — that’s not going to happen.
Instead of doing some night shopping, I decided to do another shop-from-home order. I find it much more relaxing — I can take my time with the sales circular, match up coupons and truly buy what we need. I do it this way maybe once a month. The cost is $10 for them to fulfill your order, but you get every 5th order fee-free, so it averages to $8 for each online order.
Today, they had a special: Spend $150, get $20 off as a coupon. It was only available for the shop-at-home online service. So while it cost me $10 to do the order, I got $20 off — a net savings of $10.
All told, I also wound up saving $35 between sales and other coupons. Definitely better than bringing a fiesty 2-year-old to the grocery store, then spending all of your time trying to keep her in the cart and entertained!
Emily’s toddler glasses are here. They’re rubbery and lavender, and have a thin strap that goes around her little noggin to ensure they stay firmly perched on her little nose. They’re made by Miraflex. The strap comes off, but I don’t think we’ll reach that milestone for a while, because she’s still running around like a bull in a china shop.
She’s doing amazingly well with them. Counter to my initial fears, she’s kept them on all week with minimal prompting and a few well-placed bribes — one of which has introduced her to the sugary world of M&M’s. “Candy!” Hey, at least she’s naming each color before she pops 5 of them into her mouth at a time. Another now has her constantly asking to watch nursery rhymes on YouTube. Wait — maybe bribing wasn’t such a good idea! But the glasses are staying on, and that’s all that matters.
When we picked up the glasses, I finally had a moment to ask what the exact prescription is — Emily’s protests and crying at the end of our appointment at the pediatric ophthalmologist made me forget to ask just *how* bad her sight is. We knew her eyes were crossing sometimes (the right more often than the left). But it turns out she’s fairly farsighted in both eyes — the glasses are made for +3.00 correction in both eyes.
Only time will tell if she needs them forever. But for now, they’re working, and that’s all we can ask for.
Rockin’ her new glasses and saying “cheese!”
Having a pair of terrible eyes myself — a lazy eye that needed glasses and patching, astigmatism, one nearsighted eye and one farsighted — I knew this day would come for Miss Frugalista. I just didn’t think it would come at the young age of 2.
Our toddler just turned 2 on Groundhog Day. A few weeks before that, everyone started noticing that her right eye was turning inward now and then, especially when she was tired. I had the ophthalmologist’s card in my purse when we went for her well visit, where the pediatrician also noticed her eyes. Three weeks later, we were at the pediatric eye doctor’s office, where it was confirmed that Miss Frugalista has a case of “accommodative estropia” — lazy eye due to farsightedness and trouble focusing. The eyes cross (‘accommodate’) in order to focus to see properly.
At this point, we don’t need to put a patch over her “good” eye or, what would be more likely for our energetic little bunny, use blurring eye drops in the good eye. Instead, the pediatric ophthalmologist believes glasses will be sufficient to correct the issue.
Glasses on a very active, very opinionated 2-year-old are apt to break and not be worn. Right now, they’re making her eyeglasses, which will have a lavender silicone frame with a strap that goes around the head to help a toddler keep them on. Those are $80. The lenses will be scratch-resistant and super lightweight. Those are $160.
They will also be unfashionably round. This is what they’ll look like.
I think we should start a pool to see how long it will take until she wears them full time, as indicated.
So much for potty training. Someone’s getting a short reprieve on that!
It’s a given that everyone has different financial priorities. Some people have hobbies and enjoy spending their hard-earned cash on something as simple as crocheting supplies, or as complicated as wine-making. Others get a kick out of scouring the sales racks for high fashion finds. Still others travel as much as they can.
On the other end of the spectrum, there are the folks who won’t spend a dime on anything they don’t need for their day-to-day survival, or they’re socking away their extra funds for a rainy day or for retirement.
Me, I’m somewhere in the middle. I’ll (likely) never be able to buy a $400 purse without going into convulsions and wanting to return it for a full refund RIGHT THIS SECOND. I can’t even bear to gamble, because it’s an almost guaranteed loss thanks to my crappy luck at the slots or the roulette table. (Blackjack? I at least stand a chance.)
I don’t want to judge anyone who chooses to spend their money differently than I do. We all have different expenses, different incomes, and different financial outlooks. Some people want to save it all for old age. Others say you can’t take it with you. I will occasionally cringe if someone tells me how much they spent on a pair of new shoes, but I swear I’m only thinking about how much it would hurt me to drop a few hundred bucks on a pair of Louboutins.
I just hope I don’t come across like Scrooge McDuck.
Less Time, More Money Spent
Time isn’t something I have a lot of anymore. What used to be “free time” is now spent playing with and caring for our 2-year-old, cleaning up toys and doing more laundry. I’m planning her meals and ours — when I have the time. Coupons? Only if I have the time to cut them from the fliers or load them onto my club card. Or if I remember to do it before running out to the store. If I don’t have coupons for stores other than grocery stores, I just don’t go.
I also have less time to compare prices. Sometimes, I just have to run out and pick up baby wipes, coupon or no coupon. Diapers, I have those covered — I’m enrolled in the Amazon Mom program, and those boxes show up at our front door like clockwork. We’re out of cat litter? In the pre-child days, I’d check out which store had it on sale. That rarely happens anymore.
Now that Miss Frugalista is 2, I’m hoping I can get back to my old penny-saving ways, because a buck here and a buck there adds up. Just don’t count on me turning up with a new pair of Louboutins on my feet anytime soon.