General Mom

Mom-of-5, building a home in California, step by step, with Faith and Feistiness ~ by General Mom Contractor

Month: December, 2013

Let the Iron Work Begin

Finding the right people to hire is the absolute most difficult and critical part of building a home. It requires talking to many people in the same trade, seeing their work and checking references.

One of the most visual impacting pieces of our project is the iron work. The front door is a full 9′ radius iron and glass door. I researched to the moon and back on this one and it boiled down to a door made in China or handcrafted. Cost was similar but quality was significantly different. So we opted for handcrafted. I interviewed several (10) local iron craftsman and finally settled on Silva’s Artistic Iron Work. He makes everything by hand. Truly a work of art!

We were referred by friends who has his amazing work in their house. I have been to his shop over the past 6 months and have seen him in action. Simply amazing! We also visited a home to see his work recently installed. So the homework is exhausting but will alleviate future headaches.

Silva started on the front door and he sent me this photo of our door being made in his shop! Super duper excited!


Our covered porch has a radius that mimics the front door.


It should look similar to this.

After he completes the door, he will work on the banister. It’s a ton of work but will be a piece of art!


Black Friday to Cyber Monday Tips to Save Money

This is the first Cyber Monday that this, Mom-of-5 kids, was prepared to shop online with new money saving skills. I’ve outlined the detailed steps below to save 5-10% below the advertised sale price!

Step 1: Research what you really want, can afford and most importantly if it will fit in your space in advance of a sale.  Research different brands by going to the store and writing down what you do and don’t like.  Be sure to read all the specs on line and measure to see if it fits. It pays off when you finally find a sale.

Step 2: Register for all the major cash back sites in advance. It’s free! These offer the best selection of stores:
Big Crumbs
Fat Wallet
Be aware that they rotate stores and how much cash back they offer. It’s kind of like the stock market and the percentages fluctuate. Once you know what you want you can search by appliances, toys, boots etc. Then you will see what stores like Sears, Home Depot are offering for cash back. Normally they offer anywhere from 1% to 10% (percentages double for Cyber Monday). Go for the highest cash back!

Step three: Go to the website directly you want to purchase from, Sears for example, to create an account and sign in. Otherwise, you have to do it when purchasing and this makes you feel like you won’t get that cash back with too many steps. Also, sign up for credit cards of those big stores in advance since, on big sale days they give extra savings of points or free financing.  At the least, make sure your credit limit is enough for your purchases when you are ready.

Step four: Close all web pages even if there is stuff in your cart. It remembers you when you come back in the next step.

Step five: Figure out which top three cash back sites are offering the biggest percentages and then click through that link to “shop and buy”.  That link takes you to directly to Sears for example. If you look up at the URL it sometimes says “ref” that means it got your referral site. So Sears will report your cash back at the end of the transaction or report which may take days.  I have received $$ back in my cash back account/paypal within a few days. Some are faster than others. But be smart, keep notes of how much your order was and which cash back sites owe you and what percentage too!

Step six: Use those retailer credit cards for extra discounts during checkout.

Step seven:  There are discount codes that sometimes work for free shipping or for first time buyers. Beware that you need the code during research time to cut and paste. Because you do not want to click through a site like Retailmenot or you will lose the tracking process of the cash back site.

Step eight: Some products have rebates which need your online receipt and postmarked by certain dates.

See, you can do this!! Are you exhausted or excited to save money on your next purchase??

Breakdown of my Cyber Monday Cost Savings:  I found a Bosch Dishwasher that our whole family agreed upon at a local store.  I searched all the box stores to see what deals they offered today.  I have been following a e-tailer in Missouri called Goedeker’s for a year with no tax and no shipping and they had a sale on this Bosch. The model was MSRP $1099, the box stores price $999 today.  My e-tailer had it on sale for a $100 less than that.  Making it $829 no shipping, no tax.  They had a $50 rebate form and I got 2% cash back from my entry cash back site. Our local electric company PG&E is offering an energy rebate of $50 as well.  So for $700 I got one of the top of the line Bosch dishwashers!

Have any savvy savings tips? Please share with us!