Friday, February 27, 2009

Get the most out of Goozex

In case I didn't make it clear yesterday, I love Goozex! We are a huge gaming family and video games cost so much money. Those that game know that the system is a cash hog, then $40-$80 per game just adds up. 
Gamers also know that EB or other retail stores that offer trade in give very little back, but there is another option.
I already explained yesterday so I won't type it out again but I thought I would walk people through their first free game with Goozex. Because free games rock.

First off you need to sign up. That's right SIGN UP! you can't get a free video game without signing up. There is no cost, they don't take your credit card info. You do have to give them your address but you will not be billed for anything. Also, while signing up you want to chose that you want your trading region to include Canada and USA (Bermuda too if you like, but I don't think there are many users from there) this will give you access to more users, will make your game come sooner and you will have access to more games too.
After you are signed up and logged in, you will see a page that looks like the image below. (Minus my scribbles)
Like the image says, pick the platform for the game you would like to receive and then click 'available'
This will bring up a page that shows all games that are currently ready for trading. Once on this second page pick how the games are sorted. In this case you want to sort it by points'

This will put all games that are worth 100 points on the first page. Remember, you get 100 points to start with and now you can see all the games you can afford. 
Now go crazy. pick any game you are interested in. It's a free game, just get something you would like to try. If you don't like it you can always trade it back and get your points back or give it to a friend to try or whatever so don't be too picky. You won't be able to get the freshest newest game for 100 points anyways so just pick something that looks fun to you. (you can earn more points and save up for a newer game, I get more into that in a bit) To chose a game click the white 'want it' button under the image of the box. This will pop up a window that gives you more options like if you want to get the game with or without the box (without the box usually comes faster but boxes are nice) or if you want to put it on hold right now (You don't want to put it on hold at this time) and click done when you are done with that window (I usually just click 'want it' then click done) and then do it again for another game, and another game.
If you decide to continue to use this service, you can remove the games you don't really care much for. I suggest you keep using this service but please at least get your free game. I would give everyone in the country a free game if I could. Free stuff rocks so hard!
Anyways, after you pick your games just wait for something to come in the mail. That's it. If you like you can set your email settings in you 'account' page. I would suggest that if you never want to hear from them again, but if you plan on using this service you will need to get some emails like when someone requests a game that you have.

Like I mentioned before, you will not be able to get the hottest game but remember 
PS3 can play PS and PS2 games
PS2 can play PS games
Nintendo DS can play GBA (or SP) games
Wii can play Gamecube games
Xbox 360 plays many xbox games (Check which games on their backwards compatibility website)

Don't know what games to get? Like Halo3? try Halo 2 for xbox. Like paper Mario? Try older versions of this game on gamecube. 
Lots of good older games out there, don't pass them up because they are older. Also it's free, don't be so picky. If you don't like it, trade it back to the system and get your points back and get another game for the cost of one trade credit (or one dollar) or give it away to a friend or whatever you like.

Now a little something for those that chose to keep using the system. Here is how to get free trade credits (so you don't have to pay the dollar) and more free games for you. 
On the goozex website there will be a referral code. Share this code with your friends. When you are at their house talk to them about getting free video games and sign them up using your referral code. Not the one you used to sign up because that is mine and I will get the perk for it (I would like to get the bonus but this is about helping you now). Go through the available games together and pick something together. When they get their free game and they give positive feedback (after using YOUR referral) you get another 100 free points and 1 free trade credit.
If you know only 5 people, get them a free game each and that's 500 points and 5 trade credits. this is without even sending a single game of your own or a penny out of your pocket. If you can sign up and get games to 10 people that's the worth of a new release game on goozex. This is a little work, but people like to get free games and it is really easy to convince people to sign up, especially if you do it for them or with them (ask permission before doing it for someone). Trade back any games when you are done with them to get more points and use the free trade credits you got from signing up your friends to get more free games. The cycle never ends and you can keep getting free games forever.
Please use this website if you are a gamer. you will save a lot of money and your friends will like to save money on games too.
Sending the games you are done with to Goozex is the best way to earn points, but this way you can do it without sending games if you like.
Shipping in a bubble envelope is aprox. $1.96 and you only pay if you decide to send your games out. 

I think I made it sound more complicated than it is. This website is so easy to use you will love it.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Free WaW 'Makin' map pack for Call of duty

just like the link says, it's a free new map for Xbox live gold members. You can set this to download next time you turn on your Xbox by following the link too. If you have Call of Duty and are a gold member, take advantage of this.
Not sure if the offer expires or not.

Swap it into something new

There are a lot of websites out there that allow trades online. Some are totally free and for others there is a small fee like "trade credits" or shipping.

Book Crossing is a great place for book swapping. They have a system that is like a treasure hunt for books. You tag a book with their special code (BC-ID) and then "release it into the wild", meaning that you basically leave the book somewhere for people to find and then notify others on the website where you left it, so that someone else can find it.
You can browse other people's books and even email someone directly about a book you would like and request they email it to you. I have a friend that has gotten a lot of books this way and I have sent and received books in this manner. 
There is no fee for this service but they recommend you buy their stickers and bookmarks. You pay postage for books sent (usually a few dollars) or just release them into the wild at no cost (you just leave it somewhere).
This service is worldwide.

Video games: is a swapping website for video gamers. They offer games for PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, PC, Nintendo DS, PSP, PS2 PS and GBA. How it works is you list the games you own that you are willing to trade. When the game is requested you send the game for a point value.
For example, if you have Spore for the DS you list that you have this game on goozex. This game is worth 400 points. When someone else requests the game and you send it to them you will receive 400 points. Then you can use those points to "buy" another game, for example, Animal crossing:Wild world is 350 points.
This is a much better 'game for game' ratio than trading games to EB.
This service takes some time because someone needs to request your game and it goes through a list so people that listed the game first will be the first ones to send it.
This service is available in Canada, USA and Bermuda. European gamers can use
There is a fee for this service. $1 to receive a trade (Trade credit) , cost of shipping to send. Under $2 to send a normal game in a bubble envelope. I carefully cut open bubble envelopes and send my game in a used envelope (taped paper over the old address) so I don't pay for envelopes but the envelopes are 3 for a dollar at Dollarama if you need to buy some. 
Still, with the cost of shipping, this is still more bang for your buck than trading games in at EB or other game stores (Trade in 3 for 1 game??? YUCK) 

Right now Goozex has an offer where if you sign up you get 100 free points and one free trade credit. This is the same as just getting one free game so you can see if the system works (It does, I have been using it for over a year and have gotten hundreds of dollars in games from this website) without any risk or sending in any games of your own. They also have a guarantee and a great customer service department and will give you your points back if you do not get the game or if the game is broken. I have never had to use this because I have gotten all my games in excellent condition. I highly recommend this website and if you sign up please list me as someone that referred you (My user name is Annchan)

Movies: I have never actually used myself but have heard good things about it. It is like Netflix for Canadians in which it is a DVD rental website. Movies are delivered to your home with a postage paid envelope and you watch the movie, send it back, then the next movie you request comes in the mail. There are several different price packs to chose from. 
Quote from
Watch all the DVDs you want in a month with our convenient 1-DVD Unlimited Plan for $10.95, the 2-DVD Unlimited Plan for $18.95, or the 3-DVD Unlimited Plan for $24.95.
New members are eligible for a free trial. Trial memberships last two weeks which gives you a perfect opportunity to try the service. If you are happy with the service and selection from Zip, do nothing and your membership will convert to a paying membership and will continue for as long as you want.
You can deactivate your membership at any time. There are no deactivation fees.

So in retrospect, there are varying price points, no shipping and is available in Canada. It's a little more than I would pay for movies but if you rent a lot it is worth your money. Cheaper than renting at the local store and no driving.

Speaking about renting movies, I signed up for blockbuster's and Rogers video's email newsletter recently (Read: before Christmas) and the newsletters contained free rentals and other coupons. I went to their website more recently though (Read: 5 minutes ago to verify) and it shows discounts like $1 off rentals with a different coupon every week. Other local rental places might have newsletters with free rentals or coupons for signing up too so check it out. If you rent from those places you might as well get something off (if not totally free)

There are a lot more websites like these on the web but have been having a hard time finding some that are available in Canada. Here are some other links that have been recommended to me but I have not been able to try them out.

USA only:

Please leave a comment with other links for swapping websites or other places for free or cheap entertainment. I would love to learn more and share the links. Thanks!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Make your own: cute storage box

These cute storage boxes may not be the most durable but are very inexpensive, made with repurposed materials and are very cheery.

You will need:

-A cardboard box. Whatever size you like
-Liner for cupboards. I bought mine from the dollar store but are also sold at hardware stores. There are a lot of patterns to choose from. I even have a pattern that looks like a woven basket.

Cut the flaps off the top of the box and discard these, Then cut the shelf liner so that it will wrap around the box with some overhang on the top and bottom (see image)
If you want so line the inside with the pattern as well leave more overhang on the top.
Since mine is going on a top shelf I did not leave much overhang on the top and bottom because no one will see the inside or the bottom and this saves some liner for another use.

Peel off the backing from the liner and stick to the outsides of the box. I had to do mine in 2
 pieces but just lined up the pattern so you can't tell. You will have some of the liner h
anging off the top and the bottom when you are done sticking it to the sides. 
Be careful to stick the liner to the box tightly so to prevent air bubbles and wrinkles.
Cut a little slit on each of the corners and then fold the cupboard liner over the cardboard box bottom and over the top into the box. 
once the whole box outside (and as much of the bottom and inside as you like) are covered you are done!

Use your box wherever you like, and it doesn't look like you are just using cardboard boxes as storage

UPDATE March 30th 2009: I made another one 
This time with a smaller box. This one lives on top of my fridge. Looks cute to me!
This entry has been added to 's $5 challenge
Check out her website. I really like it!

Edit April 1st 2009 - I have made even more of these HERE

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Make your own: Bagged frozen fruit and veggies

Making your own bags of frozen veggies or fruit is very simple and not really all that time consuming.  This method keeps the food separated so you can just grab what you need without defrosting the whole bag, like when you buy frozen bagged foods from the grocery store.
I just happened to be doing strawberries yesterday so my tutorial is showing strawberries, but you can do this with any vegetable, fruit or even prepared foods like meatballs or chicken fingers.

Step 1: Have extra. I buy a lot of fruit and veggies when they are "reduced for quick sale".  This offer will vary by grocery store but most places have a section where they have dying produce and can be substantially cheaper. With these strawberries, for example, there was one squished one in the bottom so it was marked down. Pick out the yucky bits, this means anything that you can't or won't eat and wash the rest of the food. Wash and dry the food like you would before you would eat it fresh.

Step 2: Prepare. If you had smaller berries you do not need to cut them, if you want frozen whole berries you do not need to cur them either. Personally I like the green strawberry tips removed and then cut into quarters so they fit in the blender nicely (I use them to make smoothies). You might want to cut your pieces so they are the right size for whatever meal you are thinking of or a smaller generic size or even leave things whole. This is personal preference. When you are done cutting everything to size place everything on a single layer on a baking sheet. If you are afraid of the food sticking to the sheet you can use parchment paper or freezer paper as a liner but I have found that I do not need the paper if there is no access water from the wash.

Step 3: Freeze this layer of food. 

Step 4: After it is frozen, remove the items to a bag and enjoy your frozen foods. 

Note: You don't have to do a lot at a time. This large bag of strawberries started out small. I found that my family was not eating a large box of strawberries before they went bad so I would freeze the left overs before they were no longer edible and, on top of buying them discounted when I saw it at the store, it added up to the large bag pictured.
This also works great with discounted meats. I put meat frozen in this manner in bags and then can just take out what I need. I have lots of different cuts of meat and chicken in the freezer and just grab what I need. 
My family also has pizza every Friday and sometimes we like different toppings. A whole can of olives or a whole pepper or even a whole package of sausage is too much for one or even two pizzas so I freeze the left over toppings in this manner. Toppings can then be added to the pizza frozen and are defrosted while cooking.

As an example on how you can cook using frozen ingredients, the other day I made soup using frozen cooked, chopped, chicken thighs and frozen cooked, chopped, sausages. I took a handful of both meats and put them in a pot with a little margarine and some garlic. when the meat was slightly defrosted I added handfuls of different veggies from the freezer and added fresh chopped potato (Because I had none frozen). Covered the whole thing in chicken stock, seasoned it, and let it simmer for about 20 minutes. No one knew it was frozen stuff. Good as new!

Another time I will give tips about freezing whole meals ahead. Hope you found this helpful!

Monday, February 23, 2009

The start of something new

Welcome to 'Cheap 'N Cheerful'. There's nothing here yet but soon you will see the three T's

All about living with frugality whether out of choice or necessity. Save money and live healthier by doing it yourself or with the help from a friend.

There are several blogs like this on the world wide web so what makes mine special? The Canadian angle., the lack of personal blogging in this space and the comination of crafts, projects and recipes all designed to save you money.
From home repairs to video games to dinner to fun activities, I've got your back.

Remember to keep a smile on your face and have fun!