Jun 19 2013

If you’re reading this in Google Reader … let’s stay in touch, ok?

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Hi! This post is for the 68% of my subscribers who use Google Reader. If you read my site via another reader or via email, cool! Or if you follow me on Facebook, I like that, too.

I have used Google Reader for six years. I used it to follow blogs and quickly keep track of my favorite sites. Saves a lot of time, since you don’t have to click over on a whim to see if the blogger published something new.

And wouldn’t ya know it, Google is getting rid of Google Reader on July 1. As in, you won’t be able to use it anymore. Your data — gone. Blogs you followed? GONE unless you migrate to another service.

I’ve been pretty irritated at this, and I’ve tried several alternate feed readers to see what works best for me.

At first, I tried Feedly and didn’t like the magazine style, but you can customize the look so it’s more like Google Reader’s. I’m still working with the Android app to see if I like it…but the web version works ok for me. Switching to Feedly is absolutely seamless — you log on with your Google account and it pulls your feeds and organizes them as they were. Plus, reorganizing your feeds is much simpler, if you needed to do that.

I like that you can “save for later” (similar to Google Reader’s starring feature).

I also tried The Old Reader, Blog Lovin’, Blog Lines, and a few others that I can’t even remember. Those didn’t work so well for me, but maybe you’ll have better luck.

I’ve also started subscribing to blogs via email. I set a filter. THIS IS IMPORTANT, as I don’t want a ton of blog posts in my inbox.

In Gmail, I click on the message and then the “more” tab at the top. From the drop-down menu, I select “Filter messages like these.”

I “create filter with search” and check three boxes: SKIP THE INBOX (archive it) and “apply the label” and created a label called “blogs.” The last box I tick is called “Also apply filter to matching conversations.”

Sure, it’s a bit tedious to do that for every blog. But, it allows me to have blog posts accessible by email, but NOT in my inbox.

There’s plenty of options if you’re switching from Google Reader. Wish it didn’t have to come to this.

I hope you’ll stick with me one way or another! Thanks for reading here and participating in the conversation.


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Jun 17 2013

How I saved on kitchen light fixtures and our faucet

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Here’s how I saved some money on the light fixtures and faucet for our kitchen renovation.

Before shots:

kitchen before

old light fixtures

 

Our designer did his thing and searched for the right fixtures for our area: above the sink; above the island; above the table; and under-mount lights for the cabinets. He also selected a faucet that fit what I was seeking.

Turns out, the best prices for all of those items were at Lowe’s. That surprised me — I think of that store as a bit pricey. But, everything was far cheaper there than it was at other places I searched for like items, so we rolled with it.

Total price before discounts and cash back, with tax: $688.05

Here’s how I saved:

  • I clicked through Ebates and earned 6% cash back on my total. ($38.08 back)
  • I searched for coupon codes, and found one that gave me $25 off a $250 order. I was spending enough that I could split my purchase into two $250+ orders, so I divided my transaction, used the codes twice and saved $50 with that code. Not only that — when you reduce the dollar amount of the purchase, you’re also reducin
    g the sales tax. So, cutting $50 off the retail price saved me 7% of tax of $50, or a savings of $3.50. Not much, but still!
  • I paid with my 1.75% cash-back credit card ($11.10 back)
  • I used free shipping when that was an option, and free store pick-up when it wasn’t.

Total with tax after discounts and cash back: $585.37. Plus about $8 worth of lightbulbs.

We could have selected cheaper fixtures. I could have hit the Habitat for Humanity ReStore or something similar to perhaps find super deals. But in the end, I’m happy with these purchases and I’m excited to see it all come together.

Shane installed the light fixtures. We could have hired that out, but it would have cost quite a bit — one company quoted $270 just to install the three fixtures.

Here’s our kitchen today. We’ve primed the walls and installed fixtures:

new light fixtures

She thought I wanted a picture of her stickers. Well, kinda. But here's another angle, and with the lights on

She thought I wanted a picture of her stickers. Well, kinda. But here’s another angle, and with the lights on

 

 

Notice the circle above the island light? Yeah that’s from the old fixture. This is why we didn’t paint the ceiling yet — we’ll do that now that the new fixtures are in place. Also need to paint the trim and the walls (you can see the wall color we selected — it’s on a foam board perched above the cabinet in the bottom picture).

The old fixtures put out a yellow cast, even though the bulbs didn’t cause that. Didn’t like the brass, either. This combo puts out a LOT of light. I think I might get a lower wattage bulb for the island.


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Hey! I'm Kacie, wife and mother of 3. I write about my family's finance: how we save money, improve our spending, and plan for the future.

I hope I can inspire and encourage you to improve your situation. See disclosure.

I'm adopting a much slower-paced posting schedule, and treating this as a hobby blog now.

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