Baldies' Blog began originally in the UK by a 26 year old journalist with a blood cancer on a mission to inform the world about bone marrow donation.

He has since died, and I took on the cause of making cancer care more transparent for everybody.

Cancer is a disease that will touch everybody through diagnosis or affiliation: 1 in 2 men will be diagnosed and 1 in 3 woman will hear those words, "You Have Cancer."

I invite you to read how I feel along my journey and
how I am continuing to live a full life alongside my Hodgkin's lymphoma, with me controlling my cancer, not my cancer controlling me.

I hope that "Baldies' Blog" will prepare you to handle whatever life sends you, but especially if it's the message, "You Have Cancer."

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Strategic Shopping

The holidays are coming!! Let’s stop and focus for a minute on thanks and giving instead of Thanksgiving.
Okay, enough time spent on being sentimental.
To the right, by popular request, is my sister and I together. She is in the forefront and I'm in the background (As usual). This was taken in July 2008, a couple weeks prior to starting my study.
I'm giving some of my secrets to shopping out. I'm not educated on this subject in any way other than I am a woman and I like to do business. We'll say I graduated from St.P U (St.Pierre University) or The School of Hard Knox, whichever.
The anxiety surrounding holiday spending is suffocating this year. The tension in the air could probably be classified as a layer of the ozone.
Here are some technological “mommy secrets” for those of us who want to provide, but may need to cut some costs.
E-Bay, first and foremost. My shopping is done. I know you hate me. I did it for cheap without sacrificing quality. I shop straight from the Dominican or buy USED. My child won't care.
Here’s the loud down, I try to make money out of money.I’m on a fixed income and I don’t like it. I used to think I was good at making ends meet. So I need to keep it for my self esteem.
It’s another hobby of mine, something I can do from the peace and quiet of isolation.
Most of my tricks are online. First, my favorite, is Upromise. is an online college savings tool that allows you to contribute to a child’s education through on-line shopping rebates and the use of an Upromise credit card.
Do not get the credit card if you may not pay the balances out right each month, this will wipe away any benefit from the rebates. Rebates are up to 8% of your entire online purchase. I forget the amount of money given for purchases with the card, but it adds up!
I would never otherwise be able to save for X’s college.
I have linked this money to a Vanguard 529 account. Upromise offers this service to link the accounts. A 529 is a savings account meant for college expenses that get this, are taxed upon withdrawal at the STUDENT’S income bracket.
If you make $200,000, no problem, the account will be taxed at the $3000 your child makes washing dishes over the summer.
I'm thinking maybe my savings should go to feeding X in high school. He ate four peices of pizza last night, two bowls of spaghetti, and 6 cookies. In high school, I would eat twenty nuggets, all my fries, and a gigantic soda or two full Broilers and then complain BK didn't give enough food, and I have nothing on his daddy. We're in trouble.
This is my personal address If you’re shopping online, but don’t want to make your own account, go to this site, select shop in the tabs, find the shop you want among the list, click to go to the sites webpage, then shop away.
Vanguard offers investment options by age and level of risk. These options are actively managed for you and rearranged based on investment time.
I chose to diversify. The market is scary, and it’s proven over a 15 year period diversifying is more profitable than putting all your money in the S&P or other indexes.
I invest 20% each in Vanguards Growth, Moderate growth, and aggressive growth options, as well as 500 index and bond portfolios.
I am losing money, but it’s free money. DON’T follow my lead and get mad at me if it loses. I take no responsibility for your actions. I made my picks based on my tolerance level for risk and loss and an article in the “Wallstreet Journal.”
Upromise also is connected with an online agency that pays you to take surveys! Yes, you can get paid to answer questions about yourself. The company is called E-Rewards.
I also set up an online savings account through E*Trade. I think discount brokerages are the way of the future, and I receive 4% interest on my money.
To have an online account, I did have to link my e*trade account to a savings account at a local bank. I deposit my money into the local bank and transfer to my e*trade account free.
Four percent interest is more than you will get investing in most CDs, and the money is always available when you need it.
I also always search This site posts the current deals being offered for most shopping sites. Don’t find what you’re looking for? Try or
Also, coupons are back in a big way. I used them before I got sick, when I was actually working. I don’t want to part with more money than I have to EVER. Check out for printable coupons you’ll actually use. It’s amazing the savings.
If this does not satisfy you try or
There are some other risky games I play. Don’t play them if you don’t have time or the financial savvy I’ve be blessed with. My games are risky and will be a completely useless hassle and failure if you do not actively manage it.
I take the money from the credit checks that come at 0% interest with no transfer fee. Often, these “favors” come with strings, so read the fine print thoroughly.
If the deal really is 0% for say 9 months and you’re not going to be charged with a $50, 3% or whatever fee, I write the check to myself for the entire balance.
Oh, the horror! I know I’m going to get a hard time for admitting this. It’s risky business, I admit.
I put the balance in my e*trade account getting 4% interest and pay the minimum monthly out of the account, automatically, when time is up I pay the bill in full, keep the interest, and never pay anything extra to the credit card company. It makes my money work for me! I, essentially, amd making money from nothing.
Good luck on your strategic shopping.


emjay. said...

most of the boys xmas presents are craigslisted/ebayed. I sell to buy, whatever they're not using I get rid of, usually at the same price as whatever I'm trying to buy. That way I'm sure to sell the items I have in time to buy the items I want. is one of my favorite sites, you can sign up for the cupons you're interested (groceries, retail, etc.) and they send you emails weekly with the links for printable cupons.

I prefer the term frugal fanny myself.

Anonymous said...

Hillary, I read your blog every day, but never, ever did I realize I "the shopping queen" would find amazing shopping advice from you........ All I can say is THANK YOU!!!! THANK YOU!!!! THANK YOU!!!

You are an amazing woman, I think of and pray for you every day...even devote my yoga practice to you....... Also am familiar with Marinol...a friend took it while he was undergoing chemo...gave him the munchies and I think it was the BEST in terms of boosting his spirit and mood....You are my hero!!!

Anonymous said...

I am now caught up...a couple of days..and I have to read EVERYTHING. I like the check-writing/e-trade scheme...I like to take out lines of credit, put it in the bank, make the interest and pay the monthly bill if the numbers are right!! I was thinking of that book the guy wrote while in treatment for drugs...remember? I think it was "pieces.".or was a best seller, and it wasn't all true... He was on Oprah then they debunked his book..he sold A LOT of copies..AND your stories ARE true ( for the most-part hee hee), and your writing FAR surpasses his!! Do you see where I am going with this!!! ? And you can be on Larry King! and OPrah!..Love & happy holiday!! Deb Weatherby!