FREE design essentials course from


ideas for color scheme in living roomIt is very important to keep your skills sharp while continuing to learn new skills. Also for the trailing spouse, having a movable career or at least transferable skills is important. To this end, I just watched this highly educational graphic design essentials course that is FREE from until January 24, 2014.

Some things I learned:

– Gone are the design tips from the 80s, where everything must be centered and matching.  Offset, simplify, and use “analogous colors” from the color wheel to make your layout modern and interesting.

-When designing a layout and using a picture, pixelize the picture in order to identify main color themes in the picture.  Then you can use these colors to coordinate the text color or background color.

-Think outside of rectangles and boxes when setup a layout.  Uneven edges sometimes can give “life” to your layouts.

Watch the Online Video Course Before & After: Things Every Designer Should Know.


More Ways to Save (after the move)


Belkin’s Smart Strip

Hey, I’ve got more ideas! If you missed my earlier post, check it out here.

In 2013, I discovered Mr. Money Mustache, a blog for innovative, progressive thrifty folks. Mr. Money Mustache and his wife both retired at age 30 in order to start their family.  He’s got great ideas about how to truly change your relationship with money!  One idea I got from his blog was learning about green power strips, or “smart strips.

The strips are designed to reduce phantom energy use from appliances that are only occasionally used, like DVDs or printers. Here is a photo of one of the ones I recently purchased.  The DVD is hooked up to the green socket because it will only work when the TV is on (blue socket).  We have only saved a few bucks so far, but I’ve only had them two months; over the course of a year or more we will save a lot more….plus it is good for the environment!

I also learned about two interesting things Amazon does:  Amazon Warehouse deals and Amazon coupons.  Warehouse deals are products you can buy in bulk.  I have spotted 48-roll toliet paper for $23 and cases of KIND nutrition bars there.  The coupons work just like any other coupon:  You click on the Amazon coupon and the discount is applied at checkout.  These are two more ways that you can save by researching online and having the willingness to stock up!

Finally, I really need to mention Sierra Trading Post?  Has anyone ever shopped with them?  Wow. What a great company. I’ve had an ongoing love affair with this company for over twenty years!  From a small shop in Cheyenne, Wyoming, offering hand-drawn images of outdoor clothing in a 5-page catalog, STP has grown to become a powerhouse of super great deals for all types of people. Offering up to 70% discounts everyday, STP brings shoppers quality products from name brands companies. I just bought two Eddie Bauer-brand cotton tees for $6.75 each and an Ex Officio brand beanie hat for $12.50.  My husband bought Jacob Ash leather dress gloves for $12.71 each.  STP has both an internet site and a color catalog.  They offer discounts all year ’round! And the item I needed to return?  Free shipping on return item as well as the postage paid on my next order.  Great company!

Well, I hope this tips help those thrifty types save even more!

Feel free to post your ideas about frugality, thrift, and saving money.

UPDATE: Trailing Spouses Lose Benefits in Kansas


Most of the traffic to my site is about unemployment benefits for trailing spouses.  I realized today that Kansas law changed in 2012 so that non-military spouses who quit their jobs to relocate for their spouse’s job are NOT entitled to unemployment benefits.

Read more here:  2011 Senate Bill 77