Archive for the 'developing mad skillz' Category


How to get free magazines

We get a lot of magazines at our house but we never pay for a subscription. The quality of magazines range – from ones I love like Harper’s Bazaar and Lucky to mediocre ones like Maxim and Blender (now defunct).  We probably get ten to fifteen different magazines a month.

Lots of people have asked me how I manage to get these subscriptions for free – and I admit, it used to take a bit of research. But since I have found the Free Magazines forum over at SlickDeals, finding free magazines has become a lot easier!

You mainly get free magazines through companies that sell trade magazines – specialised magazines for a specific line of work. To bump up the subscription numbers these companies add a consumer magazine to try to draw more people in. You don’t have to sign up for the trade magazine to get the consumer one.

RewardsGold and FreeBizMag are two popular websites to find free magazines. If you go through the forum and find one you want to subscribe to, click on that forum post. Find the link in the post to the offer, and click on that. Typically you enter in your first and last name and an email. I have a “freebies” email that I use for stuff like this – it’s a yahoo account that I never check. When it comes to picking a business and trade, find something that is similar to your line of work, or just pick “student” for everything. It will ask you to narrow down your line of work, and like I said, just pick something that is similar. (Honestly, I just go through and pick whatever my cursor lands on.) I then click “Submit”, and go to the next page, where you typically enter in your address. I make sure I do NOT put a check mark or choose any trade magazines.

When you are done, the magazines typically come pretty quickly. I have gotten subscriptions like this for a couple of years now, and it works great.

Another, although less “free” method of getting magazines is through a Points program. We are with National City, and we get 2 points for every dollar that we spend on our debit cards. Subscriptions are pretty low on the points scale but they tend to be a bit higher in quality compared to the completely free ones.

I hope this helps – we enjoy magazines, but they can get pricey! This is a good way to keep ourselvs entertained for very little effort.



In order to add some variety into my wardrobe, I decided to try to find a few skirts that I could wear for everyday occasions. I looked at a number of different stores, and the skirts were either expensive, the wrong length, didn’t look good on a plus sized person, or all of the above.

Since I studied clothing design in school for a few years, I decided to break through my sewing fear (from an expensive and botched project) and to try a simple skirt. There were a lot of patterns out there that I liked, but they all had techniques that complicated the pattern. I decided, in order to get my sewing mojo back, I would make the simplest skirt I could.
And, it worked. Granted – I haven’t sewn a stitch of it. But the pattern drafting was extremely easy, and cutting it was a cinch. Since clothing can get expensive – and some of us can be picky about the styles we wear – I decided to round up some information that others might be able to use.

Skirts are really, really simple. I would have been done with mine in less than 20 minutes had I decided to do an elastic band waist, but because I am a bit larger I decided to put a zipper in to eliminate bulk.

I mainly used this tutorial here. It went really quick – drafted a quick pattern, folded the fabric like it said, and laid it out and cut it out. With the way the fabric is folded you have a skirt that has no seams in it – in total, it’s one piece of fabric. Put on a waistband/zipper or make a channel for elastic, hem it, and voila – you are done!

I am partial to the circle skirt, but I plan to try other varieties, too. Some sites I have turned up:

Skirts – Free Patterns

Circle Skirt Directions (includes a calculator that you enter your measurements into)

Half Circle Skirt pattern

5 Minute Skirt

Wrap Skirt

The “Oh Wow That Was Totally Easy!” Skirt Making Tutorial

And since I haven’t sewn a zipper in years, I decided to see if there was any tutorials out there that might smooth out the process, since zippers can sometimes be nightmares. I found this absolutely awesome zipper tutorial over at Sew, Mama, Sew! It uses a glue stick in order to hold the zipper still – genius! It makes installing a zipper a lot less scary!

In regards to fabric, you will probably have to guesstimate how much you need for your size. I tend to get 2.5 yards of 60” fabric. And if I find the fabric on clearance, that can mean a really inexpensive skirt! Also, if your fabric contains natural fibers – cotton, etc. – then I would suggest pre-washing the fabric if it is washable, to prevent shrinkage.

Please let me know if you have stumbled on any other great skirt or sewing tutorials out there – I’m always looking for something new to try!


More free stuff and “How do you do that?”


See that? Ohhhh, yes, of course you do. That, my friends and fellow frugalites, is more free haircare products.

I ran errands all day today. After I saved my boyfriend’s jeep from exploding (does he EVER check the fluids?), I went to Walgreens armed with 8 more Fructis coupons. This time around I got 2 shampoos, 2 conditioners, 2 “soothing milks” (I have no clue what these do, but I know I have frizz, and it says “frizz control” and it’s free, so I figured what the hell. You’ll probably see it in a “cheap critiques” post coming up), and 2 hairsprays. I also got 2 more rolls of free aluminum foil, but those aren’t pictured because the excitement level of free haircare products far exceeds free foil. I also got the boyfriend a 100 piece pack of Nicorette gum for $25, down from $60-ish. He typically pays $40 for the off-brand gum, so $25 is good either way. So 8 more haircare products and 2 more aluminum foils, free.

Also, Sasha at DebtFreeSaver asks:

Can you give more of a breakdown of how you managed to get all that for free?

Sure I can! Most free and steep discounts come from pairing a manufacturers coupon with a store coupon. This can include sales, too. Most stores (in fact, all that I shop at) allow this – but it has to be one of each, it can’t be two manufacturers coupons paired together. For example:

Walgreens had Garnier Fructis on sale for $2.99, down from $3.99.
They put out an Easy Saver coupon book each month, and it included a $2 coupon for Fructis products.
This takes it down to 99 cents. Fructis puts out a high number of coupons, typically for $1. Applied to your purchase, the item becomes free (or, you get a possible overage of 1 cent, depending on the store.)

It can take some time to develop the skills to spot all these pairings. I sit down with my binder and look through 3 store fliers – Target, Walgreens, and CVS. I note what is on sale, and then I see if I have any coupons for them. Free stuff doesn’t come around *all* the time, but it does – that’s when I stock up. Next time I get Fructis coupons I will probably pass them on to a friend to use, since I have plenty to last.

Is this clear enough? If not, feel free to let me know!

About Me

An always interesting but sometimes random blog of a 20-something just trying to save money in Cincinnati, Ohio. I am also a wanna-be foodie on a budget.

Likes: cats, pink alcoholic drinks, my KitchenAid mixer, knitting.
Dislikes: Our health care system, celery.

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About Me

An always interesting but sometimes foul-mouthed blog of a 20-something just trying to save money in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Likes: cats, pink alcoholic drinks, my KitchenAid mixer, knitting.
Dislikes: Our health care system, celery.

Social Networking Thingies