Monday, July 26, 2010

Goodwill is GRREAT!

I don't know about you, but I like to shop at Thrift stores from time to time (it is too hot in Houston for garage sale shopping for me).  I like Craigslist, but sometimes there are the same items at Thrift stores if you can find the time to go.  Now I have a confession to make, I used to think Goodwill stores were a step below the thrift store (so to speak). This is where it comes from...I moved to Houston in 1979, my dad lost his job in Arizona when they laid him off, he worked in the mines. The economy was a lot like it is today, so we packed up the car and moved to Houston to live with my Grandmother. We didn't have anything, we slept on the floor (it was fun), and we had to go the Salvation Army for our clothes.  I used to get picked on at school because kids knew I had "Goodwill" clothes. (yes this is where it started, I never corrected them)  In essence though, I learend that it was cost effective to purchase second hand clothes, but I was reluctant to go to Godwill or the Salvation Army.
Goodwill IndustriesThe Goodwill store on 290 and Mangum has recently been remoldeled. I always knew it was there, but never went in. I decided to give it a try one day, and I've been addicted since. Oddly enough, it looked and felt like a Marshall's or TJ Maxx inside. I've been able to purchase more brand name items that look new, at a price that I not only feel comfortable with paying, but will help keep me within my goal for becoming debt free.  I bought a Kate Spade purse for $2.40, Ann Taylor suits for $5.00, Banana Republic blazers for $8.00, I could go on and on. I've seen clothes with Talbot's labels, Minolo Blahnik shoes, and Baby Einstein DVDs.  The point is when money counts, check Goodwill first, I'll bet it will be worth the trip.  My husband finds it funny that he does not worry about his wife's shopping habits, he knows there isn't alot of damage I can do at Goodwill. Happy shopping!!

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Monday, July 19, 2010

Credit Card Company ticked me off!

I've been trying to pay off my debt, and doing a pretty good job at it. I've started to get those tempting pre-approved envelopes in the mail.  I got this one piece of mail from HSBC Card Services (it was a pre-approved card I got a long time ago), the card was approximately $300 from pay off, and I got a "credit limit increase" of $1,200.00!!  Now keep in mind, I had planned an outing with my 12 year old daughter. We were going to a meal preparation place called dream dinners, it gives you some variety to the freezer cooking menu. 

With that being said, we went, (cost $370 plus tax) enjoyed it so much, we had to sign up for the next month's class in order to save on the cost of the meals. (It's complicated, but it made sense at the time)  I knew I had to spend another $300 but I couldn't afford to spend it out of this paycheck (truck payment is due).  Of course, I remembered the letter in the mail from HSBC, and checked to see if I had the card with me.  Wouldn't you know it, I did. So when the lady swiped the card, it was declined.  I couldn't believe it, so I asked her to try again, and told her about the new credit line. I decided to call HSBC to find out what was wrong.

HSBC Bank in ArmeniaImage via Wikipedia
Apparently, I was late on my $15 minimum payment, and that needed to be paid before I could use the card at all. (It did not matter  that I had avalialble credit)  I politely asked the person on the phone to let me speak to a manager ( I really wanted to use the card now). I could feel the blood rush into my face as I asked the manager to look at my payment history, look at how long I have been a cardholder, and if it made any sense to her that HSBC is willing to trust me with an additional $1,000.00, but they won't trust me with $15 worth of credit.  I explained to her that her company is about to lose a paying account.  She apologized to me and I paid for the next course with my debit card. (The truck would have ot wait, mom and daughter time came first)  I came home, turned on my computer and paid off the card with my online bill pay.

This was a mixed blessing, I've been trying to get out of debt, and this forced me to use the money I had.  It was a little embarrasing to tell my husband that we had .16 in our account (I paid the truck anyway to avoid a late fee), and that we couldn't eat out.  He was fine with it, he knew what my goal was , and he supported my decision.  I told a couple of co-workers, and my sisiter, they all said "Good for you". I paid that card off and am now one step closer to my goal.
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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Magic Bullet...Made my Baby Food Worries disappear!

I bought the Magic Bullet yesterday to see if I could use it to make my own babyfood, I was using a blender prior to this, and I was thinking to myself...this is definitley something a stay at home mom could do, not a working mom.  It was becoming overwhelming, and I was going to give up. I figured there had to be and easier way.  I called my sister (she is off duing the summers) and she told me to give the Magic Bullet a shot at it.

I brought the box home, and saw that there weren't any real specific instructions for baby food preparation. I had already done some research, and had printed out instructions, so I used that to make peach baby food.  Now somethimes I can overthink some things, so I was looking for an obstacle in using the product. I thought there would be a lot of items to assemble, or there would be limitations on what can be put in it. It is time for me to say I was wrong! This Magic Bullet is pretty much a no brainer, it is great!!  There is very little clean up, it is just the right size for me to make a couple of ice cube trays and continue to do the rest of the things I normally do before Monday.  My husband watches the baby for me while I do it, and even he has said that it doesn't take long.  He used it to make a protein shake and liked the different colored rims for the cups. I saw him looking for some more complex way to turn it on, I told him just to give it a twist. 

This morning I got up and realized that I forgot to buy some coffee... I had some coffee beans in the pantry that I bought by mistake a long time ago.  I remembered that the Magic Bullet can be used to grind coffee beans too.  This Magic Bullet is a life saver to me! It is going to help me save money on baby food, protien shakes (good bye Smoothie King), and now it prevented me from going to the store for morning coffee.

I'm going to have to give the Magic Bullet a "Rocket Clap"!! I love it!
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Saturday, July 17, 2010

Target Shoppers unite!!

I had to go to Target, I plan on making my own baby food, so this was supposed to be a quick trip to Target.  I was looking for the Magic Bullet, I did my research online, and I was ready to get started.  I got what I needed and when I got home I realized the cashier failed to put some glass storage containers in my bag. Ugh, I had to go back to Target, hope that they would give me the item I had paid for.

If any of you are famliar with the Target on Hwy 290 and Hollister, there have been several businesses that have come and gone.  For some reason since there has been an increase of new businesses there lately, there are a lot of panhandlers too. I was pulling into my parking spot, when a man started to approach my truck.  It was still running, and by this time I became a little concerned, and locked my doors.  I was alone in my truck with the man standing on the other side of the driver's side door. He placed his hands together in a cup-like manner, and told him through my window and motioned with my hands; that he needed to leave or I would call the police.  I waited in my truck for him to walk far enough away for me to feel comfortatable to go inside Target.  I explained to the customer service rep about my missing item and she called a manager to help me. 

I decided to tell the manager about the man outside along with the missing item. Robert was very polite and asked me if I would mind if he addressed the situation outside prior to the missing item.  I agreed and we proceded to go outside so that I could identify the man for him. The same man was outside another vehicle parking in the accessible parking. They too had not actually placed the car in park yet. 

The manager asked the man to leave, and returned to tell me that he needed customers to tell him when this happens so that it will stop.  Don't get me wrong, the point is that if this continues, it will affect all of the businesses in that area. People will stop coming, and once again the business will be gone, including Target. We need to do our part and let all of those businesses know and perhaps there will be more security.

Thank you Robert for helping me today, and for making me feel safe when shopping at Target!
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Customer Service Week

I'm a full time working mom that has the same basic needs as everyone else. I just want to take time and give feedback on the customer service that I get this week. I normally shop at Kroger on 43rd and Ella, and I usually do my grocery shopping on the weekends. I had to buy groceries, and was wanting to use Kroger's cupons that you can download to your plus card. It has to be done at least one hour prior to your checking out, to use the coupons that you've downloaded.

My husband decided that we needed to go to the store before I could download my coupons. I tried to use the website on my husband's iTouch, but for some reason the link wasn't working. I tried to use my new Droid Incredible (I hadn't even read the manual yet) in the car on the way to the store, and again the link did not work. I decided to go to the customer service desk and see if they could help me. I was surprised to find out that I was directed to the website to call for help. I used my cell phone and called the number on the website. Wouldn't you know it, the business hours do not include weekends, so of course no one was available to help. I was starting to get upset, so I asked for manager to help. I figured, surely he has a computer and would allow me to go online, access my account and I could continue to shop. (I don't think I was being unreasonable)

This gentleman approached me that had a familiar face, I explained to him what I needed to do and he allowed me to use his computer. I asked him if he has ever worked at another Kroger in Houston, and sure enough he has. He used to work at the one in the Heights on Yale and 20th st. !! I was happy, when I realized who he is and we continued with a little small talk. By this time, Patrick (the manager) had tried several times to get to the website (although it was working), but he couldn't get to it. We determined that there must be some type of security device on his computer preventing him to "surf the net" since he could only access work related pages on the site. I told him that I really appreciated him taking the time to try to help me.

He was so nice, and I left there knowing that Kroger has very good people working for them and that I will continue to shop there. I'm one of those people that thinks everything happens for a reason, so I'm happy that I had a problem with the website. (I wouldn't have had a problem if my husband would have given me time to download them from our PC) I would not have known about the excellent customer service that Kroger provided to me. I am truly a loyal Kroger customer now and I always will be. Thanks Patrick!
Kroger logoImage via Wikipedia
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