Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wordless Wednesday | Loving My Little Tikes Crazy Coupe!

I won this Little Tikes Classic Crazy Coupe Car last fall from a giveaway on a Mommy Blog and since that time the grand-wee-one LOVES that car and plays in it almost every day.

~ Yes...I know, I used words again in my Wordless Wednesday Post!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

How To Save Money with Grocery Coupons

How To Save Money with Grocery Coupons by Cinnamon Henke

If you are like most families your grocery trips are one of your most expensive monthly “bills”. You hear about people saving tons of money and even getting items for free with coupons but you don’t know what to do. Here are a few tips to get you started.

First things first:

• You have to get the coupons!
• You can get some from the Sunday paper if you subscribe to it.
• You can find then in local grocery stores advertisements
• You can find places to print them offline.
• You can sometimes call, email or write companies and ask them for coupons.

Understanding types of coupons:

Manufacture coupons and Store Coupons. Manufacture coupons are usually good at every store as the Manufacturing Company rebates the Grocery stores to take them.

Store coupons are put out by the grocery stores to help draw you in. Some stores are now accepting competitors (other stores) coupons. Ask the stores in your area if the take competitor coupons.

So now you have your stash of coupons and you should try to organize your coupons. I keep mine in an envelope in the car so I always have them with me. Coupons do you no good if you leave them at home.

Here are more tips to help you save big!

• Some stores double coupons, ask the stores in your area if they do and when.
• Wait to use a good coupon until the items goes on sale, you will save even more money.
• Sometimes a store will let you use more than one coupon per item, try it.
• Pay attention to expiration dates on your coupons.
• Don’t be afraid to speak up, for instance. My husband had 7 coupons each for $1 off of the Organics brand items at Safeway. The cashier tried to tell him he could only use one per trip. The coupon did not say that anywhere on it, so he told her that. She ended up having to let him use all 7 coupons.

Now it’s time to go shopping and save some money!!

Article by, Cinnamon Henke a mom of 3 girls with big appetites. See how you can save even more money and earn money in the process by going to

NET10 Has Affordable Cell Phone Plans For You and Your Family!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Net10 for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

I have a rather large family and it is important to me that every member of my family have a cell phone which means I need to look for reliable and affordable cell phone providers for our family. I was doing some research online and stumbled upon NET10 and I am liking what I see! NET10 has no contracts, no hidden fees, no credit checks and no surprise charges!

NET10 has an unlimited monthly call, text and data plan that only costs $50 a month and that is perfect for me since I am a heavy cell phone user. I think their 200 monthly minutes for $15 a month is the perfect plan for my mother since she only uses her cell phone for important and emergency calls. What is really nice is that on their monthly minutes plans you can carry over any unused minutes to the following month at no extra charge. Real NET10 customer are loving NET10 and I can see why!

NET10 has international calling plans for those of you who have family and friends living overseas and over 75 countries participate with NET10. Wow! What a savings for you because International calling can cost an arm and a leg with those other companies!

NET10 only uses trusted phone manufacturers like Nokia, Samsung, LG and Motorola so you know you are getting a quality phone. Simple phones start out at $15 and you can upgrade to a camera phone with mobile web capabilities for only $40 and if you want a nice QWERTY phone with keyboard you can get those for around $60. Check out this Cute NET10 commercial for more information!

I can See the Light at the end of the cell phone over-charge tunnel and I am seriously considering switching our cellular service over to NET10. With all of the money I would be saving I could afford to take a second family vacation trip every year! yeah!!!!

Check out this NET10 video by REAL NET10 customer Hector to see what he has to say about NET10.

Visit Sponsor's Site

Monday, August 29, 2011

Daily Deal Site Addiction | How To Resist The Urge To Buy

The popularity of daily deal sites like Living Social and Groupon has yielded huge benefits. Consumers receive massive savings on everything from dining out to teeth whitening; yet with the positive comes the negative. The ease with which these deals can be purchased, coupled with the prospect of double-digit savings, is creating a troubling trend: daily deal addiction.

If your collective expenditure on daily deals rivals your monthly mortgage payment, remember the following tips to keep overspending at bay.

1. Cut Down on Subscriptions
With so many daily deal sites out there, your inbox is probably flooded with offers and the temptation is thus multiplied. Sign up for just one of your favorite sites and ignore the rest. Most of these services have similar offers anyway. You also might want to create a separate email address so you can discern deals from spiels.

2. Go Halvsies With Friends
Frequently, daily deals feature two-for-one opportunities yielding double the pleasure. Consider splitting the discounted cost with a friend to get even more bang for your buck.

3. Set Rules
Daily deal purchases should be treated like any other expense and incorporated into your monthly budget. Consider the activities on which you spend the majority of your discretionary income, and search for deals accordingly. To receive the best value, check out these tips for getting the most out of group buying sites.

4. Sell Your Daily Deal Vouchers
Half-off laser treatments may sound like a good idea, but you could later regret it. Never fear; sites like CoupRecoup help identify buyers for your impulsive daily deal purchases.

5. Save With Coupons Instead
Find coupons for the items you need, instead of making unnecessary purchases based on bid savings. No patience for coupon clipping? No problem. Find online coupons for Kohl's, Home Depot, and hundreds of other major retailers at

6. Choose Deals Wisely
A good deal is hard to pass up. However, you end up spending unnecessarily when the prospect of big savings clouds your judgement. Find deals for items you need and skip everything else.

7. Go Cold Turkey
Believe it or not, there was a time when Groupon didn't exist. If these deals are interfering with your daily routine, consider unsubscribing entirely and get back in tune with your real needs. You'll likely find they're much less expensive.


Andrea Woroch is a consumer and money-saving expert for Kinoli Inc. She is available for in-studio, satelite or skype interviews and to write guest posts or articles. As a nationally recognized media source, Andrea has been featured on Good Morning America, NBC Today Show, FOX & Friends, MSNBC, ShopSmart Magazine, Kiplinger Personal Finance, CNNMoney and many more.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Top 5 Extreme Couponing Mishaps | Great Couponing Tips!

Confrontations. Arrests. Thievery. Sounds like a compelling plot for an upcoming blockbuster or crime novel, right? Wrong. These themes can instead be found in local and national news stories, surrounding one of the most harmless activities out there: couponing.

Thanks in part to the popularity of TLC's "Extreme Couponing," some shoppers are getting more than they bargained for in pursuit of savings. Coupon Sherpa reflects on the most extreme couponing mishaps to date.

1. "I Didn't Know it Was a Crime."
That's what she said. Seriously. Earlier this month, compulsive-coupon-clipper Jamie VanSickler was charged with larceny theft, a misdemeanor carrying a potential jail sentence and hefty fine. Caught in the act by a newspaper-carrier-turned-sting-agent, VanSickler took 185 leftover Sunday newspapers, indicating to police she didn't realize it was a crime.

2. "No [Coupon] for You!"
When a mother of ten tried to redeem coupons at her local Kroger store in Georgia, the store manager allegedly refused to take her clippings and called her a "habitual coupon user." This southern momma is not only the only victim of "coupon discrimination," as other shoppers around the country hit roadblocks at the register.

3. Just Another Day at Walmart
April Cuevas was temporarily banned from all Walmarts after an altercation involving competitor coupons. When the cashier refused to take the coupons, management was called and a series of unfortunate events ensued. Cuevas misinterpreted the intentions of four male shoppers headed her way during the argument, and attempted to film them. A supervisor alledgedly scolded her and tried to knock the iPhone from her trembling hands. Upon exiting the store, Cuevas was pursued by a Walmart employee who demanded she return to "the scene of the crime," and even chased her vehicle as Cuevas left the parking lot.

4. Coupon Capers
Lock your doors, close your drapes, and hold tight to; there's a new kind of criminal in town. As arrests of self-proclaimed "discount-seeking thieves" escalate around the country, police warn concerned citizens of an increase in newspaper theft.

5. Discount Diva Dishonored
On the cusp of a new season of "Extreme Couponing," coupon enthusiasts cried foul when one of the featured shoppers was recognized as Jaime Kirlew, aka "Diva for Coupons." Kirlew made a name for herself on YouTube, unwittingly filming her unscrupulous strategy of barcode matching during a shopping trip to Target. After receiving numerous nastigrams, Kirlew quickly threw her enabler (BeCentsAble) under the bus and later admitted to coupon fraud.

### is one of four websites operating under the brand name and is dedicated to helping consumers save money and live more frugally.

How to Save More Money at Kohl's ~ Great Tips for Shopping at Kohl's

I'm always on the lookout to save as much as possible when shopping at department stores. While buying clearance items is the most obvious way to get more for less, the truly savvy can realize significant savings with a little research.

Kohl's, for example, has great prices from the get-go on everything from clothing to kitchen essentials. For even more savings, consider these six ways to score at Kohl's.

1. Double Up is one of the few websites that allows shoppers to combine coupon codes during checkout. 30% clearance on kids' sneakers, plus an extra 10% off your order, plus free shipping? Yes please! You can easily find Kohl's coupon codes at

2. Skip Shipping Costs
While we're on the subject of shipping, typically offers free or discounted shipping. If it's not free, it's likely 99 cents. And if it's not either, it will be soon, so hold off on your purchase until you can take advantage of one of these deals.

3. Get Instant Savings With Gift Cards
Discount gift cards are a great way to realize savings right off the bat. You can immediately save an average of 16 percent by purchasing a Kohl's gift card from

4. Sign up for E-mails
If you're a frequent Kohl's shopper like me, sign up for Kohl's Sales Alerts and save $5 on your next online purchase, or 10% off your next in-store purchase.

5. Earn Kohl's Cash
Every six to eight weeks, Kohl's offers $10 in Kohl's Cash for every $50 spent in-store or online. This is fantastic, but know the fine print: Kohl's Cash can only be used on in-store purchases within a two-week window which they determine. To learn more, check out this blog post from a happy Kohl's Cash user.


Maisie Knowles is the founder of, a website reviewing only the best baby products. She earned a B.A. in Communications from the University of Colorado in 2003 and currently spends most of her time at home with her two young girls.

Monday, August 22, 2011

A Crash Course in College Moving | Tips For The New College Student

The countdown has begun to move on from college dorms and your parents' basement. Freedom is so close you can taste it; no longer will your comings and goings be monitored. You can eat pizza and cookies for breakfast, lunch and dinner. But before these dreams become reality, there's a lot of work to be done with the whole relocation thing. To help you combat packing panic, here are 12 moving tips to get you smartly on your way.

1. Start SortingBefore you begin loading up boxes, go through all your stuff and weed out items you don't want. There's no point in adding this clutter to your new place. Remember, one person's trash is another's treasure. Before dumping and donating unwanted items, give friends and neighbors a chance to dig through for hand-me-downs. They'll appreciate the thought and it's one less thing for you to move.

2. Run Down the DamageCollege houses are not always in the greatest condition. Since you don't want to be on the hook for other tenants' wild times, get together with the landlord before you move in and do a walk through. Document any existing damage, snap a few photos and get the landlord to sign off on a list of problem areas. This will ensure you don't get nailed for pre-existing issues.

3. Set Up Your ServicesBefore moving day, make sure to call the electric, water and cable companies so you have service as soon as you arrive. There's nothing more disappointing than moving in and finding the lights aren't working.

4. Take Advantage of Your ScheduleOne of the many great things about college is flexible scheduling. If you have the option, plan to move mid-week. This way, you can move at your own pace and don't have to compete with others cramming their move into one hectic weekend. Also, moving trucks are typically cheaper to rent in the middle of the week. If you do end up hiring movers, be sure to read this article from to learn about secrets moving companies don't want you to know.

5. Condense What You CanIf you have bags, suitcases or even coolers, think about how you can use them like boxes. Pack the small stuff inside larger items like Russian nesting dolls. The fewer trips you have to take back and forth, the more time and money you'll save.

6. Don't Pay for PackingBefore you buy expensive packing materials to protect your precious possessions, consider what you already have around. Dish towels, T-shirts and pillows all make for great packing materials. Your local grocery store will usually contribute some free empty boxes if you ask nicely during off-peak times. To cover more delicate furniture, hit a thrift shop for cheap blankets and tape them in place.

7. Wait to BuyIf you're the type that likes to plan ahead, it's tempting to shop for everything you think you'll need before the big move. In many cases, you won't need nearly as much as you expect. Fill in the space with what you already have before picking up a new sofa or coffee table. Once you know what you need, go shopping with roommates and save on some shared items. Try using coupons for discounts on back-to-college lines from stores like Target. They can easily be found at such sites as

8. Bribe Family and FriendsTrying to lug a floppy mattress up three flights of stairs by yourself is no fun at all. Your closest friends might help you with the move, but likely with some reluctance since no one likes moving. Sweeten the deal by planning in advance and offering bribes. A free meal and some suds can make it harder to resist.

9. Watch the SunYou won't find much relaxation in a scented candle when it's melted all over your clothes. Even though temperatures are dropping, mid-day heat is still strong at the end of summer. If you have items that can melt or will be damaged by the sun, make sure to pack them in an easily accessible place and unload them first. Don't forget about the bathroom, either. Aerosol products, such as body spray or sunscreen, can explode after sitting in the sun.

10. Ask About Student DiscountsYou're already paying a ton for tuition; you might as well make the most of your status as a student. Whether you're picking up packing supplies, a new couch or just some snacks, there's no harm in asking about a student discount.

11. Start Big, Finish SmallOnce you get settled in there's going to be plenty of time to unpack your knick-knacks. Instead of worrying about the small stuff, get major items out of the way first. Couches, beds and tables should all be in place before you begin putting up posters. Having your furniture set up will allow you to fill in the gaps and make your new house feel like a home.

12. Map Out a Floor PlanIt really helps to plan where furniture will fit before you move. Rough out a floor plan and fit in the major pieces so you have a guide on moving day. It also helps to have someone guide the move-in process. Spend the day playing traffic cop, indicating where boxes and furniture should be placed so you don't have to move everything after your crew has left. If you don't have that luxury, these six online room design tools should help you plan ahead.

Brandon Farestad-Rittel is a college-savings expert for Kinoli Inc. Based on his own college experiences and extensive research, this recent graduate has covered a variety of topics, including the college selection process, for-profit colleges, and the modern era of textbooks.

Carbonite is a Must for Work At Home Business Owners

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Carbonite for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Carbonite Online Backup
As a long time work at home business owner, I know how critical it is to have your files safe. Just the thought of losing my data at this point today makes me want to cry. LOL Honestly as a work at home professional, you need to have a method of computer backup for your data. There is so many instances of file corruption, viruses and even if your PC just up and dies like mine did last year. UGH! You must have a plan.

Carbonite unlimited online backup works automatically and it runs continually in the background of your computer backing up files whenever your computer is connected to the internet. That is an awesome thing. What is even better is that you can access your backed up files from any computer or on your smartphone or iPad with a free Carbonite app. That is a huge plus for anyone that uses multiple methods of connection to your work.

Right now there is a unlimited backup plan you can buy for your PC or Mac, with anytime-anywhere-access is only $59 a year! Try it free for 15 days, no credit card required, and then get two free months if you decide to buy. This Code BLOGAD gets you your two additional free months of coverage with purchase.

Don't delay, come by and check out the offer and learn more about protecting your critical data files with Carbonite. Make sure your docs, music, pics and email is secure!

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Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post and I was compensated by the advertiser to write this post. We were provided with the subject matter to write about but our thoughts, opinions and words are 100% our own. Please read our Terms of Service & Disclaimer Policy for additional information. All information contained on this blog is copyright 2011, All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Gift Card Advice as Borders Closes the Book on Business

In the wake of Borders recent announcement it's folding up shop, those holding gift cards from the bookstore chain may have cause for concern. While the second-largest bookseller says it's presently honoring gift cards, shoppers are well advised to use up their balances before it's too late. We faced a similar situation when Blockbuster and Circuit City filed for bankruptcy and are likely to do so again. To ensure consumers don't get left in the lurch, here are a five lessons we've learned from these experiences.

1. Move Fast
Store liquidations usually begin rapidly -- this Friday for Borders -- so it's often best to use up gift cards online, rather than wait until you have time to visit a retail store. Borders liquidation website says all 399 remaining stores will close by September, but they may start writing the final chapter on your local store much earlier.

2. Research the Bankruptcy Status
Borders was refused bankruptcy, meaning they had no choice but to liquidate. Other retailers, however, filed for bankruptcy and turned things around. Sometimes a company that's filed for Chapter 11 is allowed by the bankruptcy court to honor its gift cards. California, however, specifically requires merchants in bankruptcy compensate gift card holders.

3. Consider the Company's Stability
If you hear tales of other merchants threatening to close shop, research their financial stability via such sites as and Forbes Risk List. (Stores considered at-risk by Forbes presently include Rite Aid and Zales.) Also, regularly updates its list of "Gift Cards to Avoid."

4. Use It or Sell It
If you've received a gift card for a merchant you wouldn't frequent, don't wait until a store goes out of business. You can exchange gift cards for cash right now on such sites as and receive up to 95 percent of the card's value in cash.

5. Use a Credit Card
If you're concerned about a retailer's financial stability but still want to buy a gift card, do so using a credit instead of a debit card. You can then ask the card issuer to withhold payment until you're sure of the merchant's status.


Andrea Woroch is a consumer and money-saving expert for Kinoli Inc.. She is available for in-studio, satelite or skype interviews. As a nationally recognized media source, Andrea has been featured on NBC Today Show, FOX & Friends, MSNBC, ShopSmart Magazine, Kiplinger Personal Finance, CNNMoney and many more.

Straight Talk 2 Offers Fabulous Cell Phone Plans To Fit In Your Budget!

This is a partnered post written by me on behalf of Straight Talk. All opinions are 100% mine.

My husband and I have given up our land line and have completely gone to cell phone service for both home, business and on the road use. With that said, we are currently shopping around for a cheaper cell phone service that is reliable and affordable. While browsing online I came across Straight Talk and I think we might go with this service because they are affordable, reliable and they only deal with high quality phone manufacturers like Samsung, Nokia, LG and Motorola.

Straight Talk has everything you need and you can save a bundle in money and use that money for a family vacation or to pay off other bills. We all need to save more money these days! I like to be able to pick up my phone and call a friend any time I want and as often as I want without having to worry about the charges. Straight Talk has no long term contracts, no activation fees, no reactivation fees, no cancelation fees and no credit checks! Got to love that!

They have an All You Need plan that includes 1,000 minutes, 1,000 texts and 30 GB of web data and for around $45 a month you can get their unlimited service. All 411 calls are provided without a charge and they have an international plan available to those who make international calls. If you need a reconditioned new phone, they have those too for around $10 and they include cameras and are mobile web ready. For around $45 a month or $499 a year, you can get unlimited cell service and save a bundle!

mom knows best and mom has always taught me to shop around and get the best deal for my money and Straight Talk seems to be that BEST deal! I am tired of cell service providers roping folks in Hook, line and sinker with long term contracts and a slew of hidden fees. You can watch this video to hear what REAL Straight Talk customers have to say about this great company.

Have you ever used Straight Talk? If so, leave me a comment & let me know how you like it.

Disclaimer: This is a partnered post and I was compensated by the advertiser to write this post. We were provided with the subject matter to write about but our thoughts, opinions and words are 100% our own. Please read our Terms of Service & Disclaimer Policy for additional information. All information contained on this blog is copyright 2011, All Rights Reserved.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Herbal Foot Pampering Recipes For Busy Moms

* Image Courtesy of
As a mother, I used to neglect my feet as it just was not at the top of my list of things I needed to do. Now, after a busy day spent chasing around kids, I look forward to 20-30 minutes of spoiling myself with some much needed foot care.

To cut down on time, I keep a plastic bin in my linen closet stocked with the supplies needed to make the following recipes. In addition to the inexpensive ingredients, I like to keep clean towels, loofah sponges, foot files, pumice stones and foot lotion in the bin so that I have everything ready to go as I need it. I recommend purchasing a plastic basin at your local drugstore so that you have something to soak your feet in. You can easily whip up these recipes in only a matter of minutes.

Lavender Milk Soak6 cups of water
2 cups of milk
4 tablespoons dried lavender

In a large glass bowl, combine the water, milk and lavender. Microwave for 1 minute until mixture is warm. Pour into a foot basin and soak your feet in it for 15 minutes. Rinse and pat dry.

Almond Sea Salt Scrub

3 cups of sea salt
1 cup of Epsom salts
8 ounces of water
2 ounce of almond oil

Mix all ingredients in a medium sized container. Use a plastic scoop to measure out what you need. Rub sea salt onto the heels of each foot for 3-5 minutes. Rinse under warm running water. Pat dry with a cotton towel and follow up with a gentle moisturizing foot lotion.

Soothing Oatmeal Soak

1 cup cornstarch
1 cup powdered milk
1/2 - 3/4 cup of oatmeal

Combine all 3 items in a blender container and process until smooth. Fill foot basin 1/2 full with warm water and add oatmeal mixture. Soak feet for 10-15 minutes. Towel dry and apply moisturizing foot lotion.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Some Cool Things I Won Online Recently! you all know, I love to enter giveaways online (especially on mommy blog sites) when I have the free time to do it! The past month has been an excellent "win" month for me and I won several nice things recently!

I won an anniversary edition Schwinn Bicycle! yeah! (see photo above of my new bike!) I won that over on the One Savvy Mom blog! I also won from her blog two gallons of paint which we will be using when we remodel our master bedroom the end of September! wootwoot! I picked out a beautiful neutral light sandy beach color since my bedroom is in a beach/coaster decor. I can't wait to get my walls painted!

I also won from the Eighty MPH Mom Blog a nice package of cheese products. I got 4 packages of gourmet cheese, 2 tubs of yogurt and 2 tubs of a yogurt spread and they are from a cheese company in Wisconsin. Delicious!

I also won a lunchbox & lunch containers from Easy Lunchboxes over on Tara's blog and I also won a big jar of Tropical Tradition's coconut oil which I will be using for baking this fall.

I also won several other things in the past month so it was a fabulous giveaway winnings month for me! yeah! If you like entering giveaways you should check out the Two Classy Chic's Giveaway blog as they currently have 33 giveaways going on right now!

~ Shelly ~

Birdwatching | 17 Day Old House Finch Babies Have Fledged

Well, it finally happend...the 2 baby house finch birds finally fledged the nest today at age 17 days. The above photo was taken last evening when they were 16 days old and this afternoon I actually got to see them leave the nest with their mom. Kind of sad that I won't see the 2 babies again now that they have fledged their nest. (click photo above to enlarge to see the details)

Can you believe that it only takes 17 days from the time they hatch and are born naked for them to get down and feathers and leave their nest? wow! You can find their 1 day old photos along with other photos of them by checking out my Bird Watching category here on my blog. Sad to see them go but they are now on their own and building a life for themselves.

~ Shelly ~

In Honor of National Coupon Month: 30 Place to Find Coupons

** Image is Courtesy of **

In celebration of National Coupon Month this September, online source for coupon information, statistics and savings tips created by --shares 30 tried and true, plus some unexpected, places to find coupons for a month-long of savings.

Founded by the Performance Marketing Association in September 1998, National Coupon Month recognizes the impact coupons have had on consumer buying habits. Happily, coupons have become even more pervasive since 1998 and are now available just about everywhere you look, whether it be via the Internet, social media, smartphone or bank statements.

In fact, such digital coupons are galloping to the fore. According to research released June 1 by eMarketer, 88.2 million consumers will use digital coupons as an important part of their shopping experience in 2011. That's 47 percent of adult Internet users, a statistic that's destined to rise in the near future. The study also revealed 92.5 million adult Internet users will use online coupons in 2012, versus 96.8 million in 2013.

Wether you are new to the coupon game or a skilled clipper, is the ultimate destination for coupon-lovers featuring data, 30 days of savings tips, and much more. Helping shoppers save even more money during National Coupon Month, here are 30 places to find coupons for 30 days of bargains.

1. Coupon-Aggregate WebsitesForget all that clipping and sifting through newspapers; online coupons make the hunt-and-peck method a thing of the past. Coupon-aggregate websites allow shoppers to pinpoint the coupons they need and either use the coupon codes to save online or download printable coupons for shopping at brick-and-mortar stores.

2. Smartphone AppsMore than one in four mobile users in the U.S. own a smartphone, which makes coupon applications amazingly handy. For example, the free app that offers mobile coupons is perfect for I Love Coupon Month as it actually allows you to search for coupons while shopping. The coupon is then displayed as either a scannable image or numeric code that the cashier can enter at the register. You receive an immediate discount. The app also features grocery coupons. Type in your ZIP code to find a supermarket in the area, save desired grocery coupons from your phone to their loyalty card, and enjoy instant savings when their card is swiped at checkout.

3. Social MediaFacebook, Twitter, even YouTube provide links to coupons from just about every merchant and service you've heard of. Need a new dress? Visit your favorite retailer's Facebook page and print out a coupon. Heading to the grocery store? Check their Twitter feed for coupon links. Lastly, look for coupon bloggers who create instructional videos on YouTube that include similar links.

4. Daily Deal ServicesBy now, nearly everyone has heard about daily deal services, the largest of which are Groupon and Living Social. The success of these two behemoths has led to major clonage, including many companies focusing on specific regions or cities. Here's how it works: You register with the site and receive daily emails detailing major savings for various services and merchants. If you're interested, just click on the deal, pay and download the attached coupon.

5. Direct Mail PacketsDirect mail packets are envelopes stuffed with paper coupons and delivered to your mailbox. The most popular and steadily growing version comes from Valpak, delivered in light-blue envelopes roughly once per month.

6. Bank Statements BillShrink works with 2,000 banks to analyze consumer spending habits and provide coupons implanted in your bank statements above certain purchases. In essence, this method allows retailers to target coupons specific to your likes and needs, instead of requiring customers do the research.

7. Coupon TrainsTrains are a simple way for enthusiasts to exchange coupons through the mail. Every train is different, but the rules are basically the same. An envelope of 40 to 200 coupons is mailed from the "conductor" to the first person on the train list. That person removes the coupons they want, replaces them with those of equal value and number, then mails the envelope on to the next member. Many such trains are now sponsored by mommy bloggers.

8. Loyalty Card CouponsMost major supermarket chains allow shoppers to upload coupons from their websites to loyalty cards. The trick is to remember which coupons you've actually loaded so you don't forget or buy the wrong product. This marketing method is beginning to cross over to other companies. For example, Shell gas stations offer fuel discounts for repeat customers with rewards cards.

9. Manufacturers' WebsitesWanting to get a cut of the action, manufacturers began offering their own online coupons, some of which are printable coupons you can use in their stores. Others offer coupon codes for online purchases. The variety of coupons available may surprise you. Everyone from furniture to health-food manufacturers have gotten in on the game. For example, Lane Recliners recently advertised a $100 coupon usable with a minimum purchase of just $499.

10. Emailed NewslettersSign up for email newsletters offered on merchant websites and many will regularly send out coupons. If you plan on registering for a bunch of these newsletters, you might want to create a separate email account so your personal inbox isn't overwhelmed.

11. eBayThe online-auction site devotes an entire section to coupons, many of which are sold via the "Buy It Now" status. This means you can purchase the advertised coupon immediately without waiting for the auction to expire. The day I checked there were more than 81,000 coupons on offer.

12. PayPalBased on a subscriber's previous purchases, PayPal provides coupons specific to your needs.

13. Newspaper InsertsThe original source for coupons, newspaper inserts are still the number-one place to find print coupons. You can add to your collection without multiple subscriptions by asking friends and family to pass on inserts they don't use.

14. Online Store CircularsSubscribing to a newspaper for the circulars is still the number one way to find coupons, but many merchants now post these sale flyers directly on their websites, allowing you to download coupons or access the coupon codes.

15. Cellfire.comAnother coupon aggregate site, allows you to download coupons directly to your grocery loyalty card. The cashier then swipes the card at checkout and "poof," instant savings. The service is available for over 3,500 grocery stores across the country. Signing up for a free membership entitles you to additional savings and services.

16. MagazinesCoupons are one of the best way advertisers can gain attention amidst a deluge of ads in magazines. Check out medical waiting rooms for extra copies, but ask before you tear.

17. Entertainment BooksFor nearly 50 years, Entertainment has helped schools and other non-profits raise funds by selling these bound coupon booklets. You'll pay anywhere from $5 to $25 for a ton of coupons in such categories as dining, shopping, movie tickets, groceries, services, travel, attractions, car care, and home furnishings. You can also buy Entertainment Books directly from its website.

18. Recycling BinsAsk friends, neighbors, family members and stores if you can dig through their recycling bins for unused coupons. Be careful about hitting commercially owned bins, however, as some cities have laws against this practice.

19. Phone BooksPhone books may be the equivalent of print dinosaurs, but most include a coupon section for local businesses either in the middle or at the back.

20. Junk MailPostal carriers hate these loose flyers because they're hard to deliver, but junk mail promotions are a good source for coupons. Some replicate newspaper-insert content while others offer entirely different coupons.

21. Free SamplesManufacturers offering free samples through the mail usually include a coupon or two as a means of enticing you into purchasing their goods. This is pretty cool because you can actually try the product before buying.

22. Coupon Clipping ServicesYou'll pay a nominal fee for coupons from these services, but you can register to receive coupons in specific categories or for preferred manufacturers and stores.

23. Hangtag CouponsMost often found on wines and bottled products, hangtag coupons, naturally, hang off the neck of the bottles.

24. Coupon ForumsWhether your a newbie or an extreme couponer, these forums are a great way to learn about special deals and coupon links. Member discussions keep you informed about the best and worst coupons while offering tips for use.

25. With Your Grocery ReceiptKnown as Catalinas, these coupons are usually keyed to your purchase that day or, if you use a loyalty card, previous purchases.

26. Supermarket Tear PadsTear-pad coupons usually hang out next to a product in grocery stores. As the name suggests, you simply tear off the coupon you need and turn it in at checkout. Don't be greedy, however. Leave some behind for other shoppers.

27. Restaurant Recipe Tear PadsSearch the checkout station at restaurants for tear pads with recipes and attached coupons. You might also ask your server if they offer coupons. Some take-out menus also include coupons.

28. BlinkiesBlinkies are coupons distributed in stores by SmartSource Coupon Machines. The nickname refers to the machines blinking light, designed to catch your attention. SmartSource typically changes the coupons every month and the offers vary between regions and stores. Some blinkies actually "talk," which is incredibly irritating in already noisy stores.

29. Loyalty CardsMany supermarket chains allow shoppers to upload coupons from their websites to your loyalty card. The trick is to remember which coupons you've actually loaded so you don't buy the wrong products. This promotional method is beginning to cross over to other merchants. For example, Shell gas stations offer fuel discounts for repeat customers.

30. Inside Product PackagingLook inside your cereal boxes, can labels, etc. for hidden coupons. If you're lucky, the manufacturer has advertised the coupon's existence on the front of the package.


Andrea Woroch is a consumer and money-saving expert for Kinoli Inc. She is available for in-studio, satelite or skype interviews and to write guest posts or articles. As a nationally recognized media source, Andrea has been featured on Good Morning America, NBC Today Show, FOX & Friends, MSNBC, ShopSmart Magazine, Kiplinger Personal Finance, CNNMoney and many more.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Looking For A New Cell Phone Carrier? Check out NET10 Unlimited Plan

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Net10 for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

A few years ago we got roped into a long term cell phone contract with a slew of hidden fees that we just could not get out of for 4+ years! Well, since that time we have gotten a lot smarter about cell phones and cell phone carriers. Today I am sharing some information with you about the company called NET10 and their unlimited Plan along with a few other plans that NET10 offers.

Before we begin, I would like for you hear what a real NET10 customer has to say about NET10. With Net10 there are no long term contracts, no surprise charges and no credit checks! Wow, you gotta love that! In addition if you are a heavy cell phone user they have an Unlimited Plan where you can get unlimited calls, text messages and data for only $50.00 a month. If you are a light cell phone user you can get 200 minutes a month for $15.00 and you can carry over your unused minutes! yeah!

NET10 only uses reliable phone manufacturers like Motorola, LG, Nokia and Samsung. They have pay as you go plans so that you can structure your cell phone usage into your budget. This is great for both business use and personal use. What is really impressive is that as your cell phone usage changes you can switch your plans back and forth on a monthly basis to suit your calling needs. Airtime can be purchase online, local at a store or even by your Net10 phone.

You gotta check out this cute NET10 commercial which will give you some insight about the NET10 company. International long distance service is available to over 75 countries for about 15 cents a minute! In addition they have a country neighbors plan for Canada and Mexico where your family & friends who live in those 2 countries can call you on your NET10 phone.

You can get a simple needs phone (for calls & text) for under $15.00 and for under $40.00 you can get a phone that has camera, video and web capabilities. If you want a phone that has it all and then some you can get one of those for under $60.00. 

I would like to invite you to follow NET10 on Facebook and on Twitter for additional information. Check out this video where you can see the Light about how great NET10 is and what they can offer to you!

Visit Sponsor's Site

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Goodyear Blimp Taking A Cruise Over My House Today

Hubby and I were pleasantly surprised this afternoon when we spotted the GoodYear Blimp cruising above our house! Wow...the blimp was pretty low so we were able to get some decent photos of it cruising around...matter of fact, it completely circled our property!

One of these days I would love to take a ride in the GoodYear Blimp as I think it would be a lot of fun! Today was the second day in a row that we spotted the blimp in our area but today it was specifically flying over our property and it was to see it this low as we could really check it out!
You can click on my photo to enlarge it so you can get a good "glimpse of the blimp" LOL So it was kind of the highlight of our boring afternoon to see it! hahaha!


Sunday, August 7, 2011

Birdwatching | Ten Day Old Baby House Finch Birds

Time to update all of you on the baby house finch birds. As of yesterday they are 10 days old and as you can see in this photo (click it to enlarge) there are 2 babies and they now have their eyes open and their beaks are fully formed & mom has been feeding them well. Their bodies are completely covered now in down and very fine feathers. They are not moving around too much just yet but when mom leaves the nest to feed they cry for her which breaks my heart :(

I think they are totally adorable but the sad thing is that within a week they will be gone as they usually fledge around 14-16 days (at least that has been our past experience). I will try to get a better photo tomorrow but it's really hard now since they are the same color as the nest!

~ Shelly ~

Saturday, August 6, 2011

9 Basics for a Budget Friendly Adult Birthday Bash

Thanks to Facebook's weekly reminder of your friends' birthdays, more attention is being paid to natal anniversaries than ever. Adults particularly tend to celebrate landmark birthdays that end in a round figure. The cost for such parties, however, can easily get out of hand. In the spirit of creating a back-to-basics bash, I offer the following nine tips.

1. Discount Decorations
Dollar stores are your go-to place for party decorations. You'll save up to 70-percent off party store prices and the selection is equally nice. Dollar stores also are a great place to finding inexpensive wrapping paper and reusable gift bags.

2. E-invitations
Facebook is one of the best ways to create a simple invitation using the "Event" function, but not everyone uses the social network. Several websites, including and, offer free electronic invitations that do the trick while providing RSVP feedback.

3. Serve Finger Food
A four-course meal takes a lot of time, skill and money. Instead, keep guests happy with simple hors' doeuvres created in your kitchen. You'll want to avoid the pre-packaged appetizers from your grocery or specialty store as they'll cost you 40 percent to 60 percent more than homemade.

4. Borrow Your Finery
Stepping out in a new outfit or dress shirt will surely impress your guests, but it'll do little for your budget. Borrow something to wear from a friend for that special birthday-outfit feeling. If that's not possible, check out second-hand stores for a bit of frugal frippery.

5. Booze as Gifts
Instead of bringing gifts to the event, ask guests to contribute booze for the celebration. Alcohol is the most expensive element of any adult party, especially if you've invited a rowdy crowd.

6. Skip the Cake
Store-bought cakes are often expensive and don't always taste the best. Instead, serve simple cupcakes, baked goods, ice cream or -- horrors -- make your own cake from a box mix.

7. Select a Strategic Time Slot
Plan the event for directly after lunch or dinner, when guests will already have eaten and won't expect much in the way of food.

8. Register with
Take the burden off friends by having the birthday gal or guy register for gift cards at They can buy discount gift cards for the recipients favorite stores or restaurants and they'll never know the cards were purchased at less than face value.

9. Don't Stress Out
You're less likely to buy extras at the last minute if you don't sweat the small stuff. Your role is to be a good hostess and you can't do that with frayed nerves.


Andrea Woroch is a consumer and money-saving expert for Kinoli Inc.. She is available for in-studio, satelite or skype interviews and to write guest posts or articles.

Are You Prepared

Guest post from: Constance Rodgers

Is your family prepared? Your family should be prepared for disasters. It does not matter if it is bad weather, a job loss or the current economy. Job loss is often a disaster that catches families off guard. Unless a parent is aware months ahead of time they will be losing their job, it is often a shock and completely unexpected. We were caught off guard when I lost my job. It was not anything I had done to warrant a pink slip. My supervisor just told me very matter of fact like that my department was being ?phased out.? To this day I am still not sure what that means. Anyway, we did not have a penny saved and our family struggled for a long time. We are still not out of the woods, but we are doing a little better.  The kids are very understanding and they accept the fact that they may have to play with their older toys a little longer or they may have to wait to go to the salon. I have a great family.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Bath & Body Works and Slatkin & Co. Giveaway Ends August 9th, 2011

Bath & Body Works and Slatkin & Co. Present My Candle Recipe Winners & The Final Challenge!

The home fragrance authorities, Bath & Body Works and Slatkin & Co. are pleased to announce the three lucky winners of the MyCandleRecipe contest, selected by Harry Slatkin, Creator of Slatkin & Co., Erica Tucker, owner of Sweet E’s Mini Bakeshop in Los Angeles, and Givaudan Fragrance Expert, Jeanine Guerrero during a live cooking event held in New York City.

Tim Ong of Houston, Texas with Strawberry Pistachio Delight
Mary Shivers of Ada, Oklahoma with Tropical Tangerine Cake
Naylet La Rochelle of Miami, Florida with Maple Sticky Toffee Pudding

The Giveaway Prizes: Now the expert judges are turning the decision over to you to select the winner who deserves the ultimate grand prize – a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to join Harry Slatkin in New York City to watch as his or her dessert turned into a gourmand candle. Simply log on to to view exclusive cooking event footage and vote for your favorite contestant. FIVE lucky voters will also win a year’s supply of Slatkin & Co. candles!

Details: Head on over to and take a look at the 3 finalists creations. You will see each of the 3 finalists listed and you simply vote for the one you would like to see win. (click on the vote button). A new window will pop up where you enter your email address and cast your vote. Please enter your correct email address as you will be sent an email with a link it that you will need to click to validate your vote which enters you into the giveaway.

What's In It For You? Well, FIVE lucky voters will also win a year's supply of Slatkin & Co. candles! Voting started on Wednesday, August 3rd and will close at midnight on Tuesday, August 9th, 2011. So head on over to and cast your vote today!!!

~ Shelly ~

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Birdwatching | Six Day Old Baby House Finch Birds

Time to update you all again on our baby House Finch Birds! As of yesterday (when the photo was taken) there are 2 babies in the nest and they are now 6 days old. As you can see, their bodies are now 70% covered in down and about 15% of their feathers are through. Their eyes are still shut and their beaks are really starting to take form.

The mommy finch who I have named Ester (short for nester) is taking great care of these 2 birdies and only leaves the nest to feed or for when we mist it with water & take photos. The babies are growing at a bionic rate...doubled in size in only 6 days but yet still pretty small. I will update you all again in a few days.

~ Shelly

Please Participate in the My Coke Rewards Schools Program!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of My Coke Rewards for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

MCR_School_Blogger_0706[1].pdf (page 3 of 3)

When we turn on the news or read the newspaper all we hear these days is budget cuts, budget cuts and more budget cuts! This economy has been absolutely terrible for the past few years and one of the industries being hit the hardest is our nation's school systems. Every time I turn around I hear about more programs being cut at our local schools. This really upsets me and saddens me because our kids are the future of this country and they need to have a great education!

Today I would like to tell you about the My Coke rewards for schools program where you collect Coke caps from 15 different Coke brands and submit those points found on the caps online at the My Coke Rewards web site. Once you have submitted your reward points you can donate them to your local schools which they can cash them in to receive school supplies, art supplies and gym equipment. Even the smallest donation in points can greatly help our local schools which in turns helps our kids!

If you are a school employee or with any of your child's school groups you can set up an account on behalf of your child's school so that all of us here in the community can donate our Coke reward points to the school.

From July 13th through September 30th, 2011 Sprite is giving away 25 playgrounds, worth $25,000 to schools and they are giving consumers who enter any code from Sprite or Sprite Zero beverages an entry into the sweepstakes to help their school win. Any new school who registers will be eligible to win this fabulous giveaway!

MCR_School_Blogger_0706[1].pdf (page 3 of 3)

Please go to the My Coke Rewards web site TODAY and register for a free account. Collect your Coke Rewards caps and enter in the codes to receive points which you can donate to your local school. If we all pitch together we can ensure that our children get the items and equipment that they need to have to ensure their strong educational future. As parents and community members, we can do it!

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Monday, August 1, 2011

How To Keep The Kids Busy and Comfortable While Taking A Long Road Trip

Are you heading out soon on a road trip or family vacation and taking the kids along? If so, you will want to plan ahead and pack up several things that will keep the kids busy and keep them comfortable while you are traveling. How much you take along with you will depend on the number of children traveling with you and how long you will be traveling by car as children will need a nice variety of things to do so that they don't get too bored.

Here are a few suggestions on things you could purchase and pack to help keep the kids busy and comfortable while traveling this summer.

* Hangman Game (Paper and Pencils)
* Tic, Tac, Toe Game (Paper and Pencils)
* I Spy Something (Color) Game (Paper and Pencils)
* License Plate Collector Game(Paper and Pencils)
* Crossword Puzzles & Activity Books
* Coloring Books and Crayons
* Sticker Books
* Classic Travel-Sized Board Games (Checkers, Chess, Sorry)
* Electronic Hand-Held Games
* Dice Games (Yahtzee)
* Classic Card Games (Uno, Go Fish, etc.)
* DVD's and a DVD Player

In addition to packing games and activities to keep the kids busy while on a road trip you want to pack some cold beverages, various snacks, a few paper bag lunches, extra set of clothing for each person, a first aid kit, travel pillows and a few throw blankets.

Being prepared ahead of time while taking a road trip with the kids will save you a lot of stress and aggravation while out on the road.

Shelly Hill is the owner of the popular travel blog called Pennsylvania and Beyond located at where you can find valuable travel related articles, travel tips and lists of things to see and do across the United States.

Women's Express Jeans: Born to Rock the Sidewalk!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Express for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

If you would run into me in real life in my own hometown chances are you would see me wearing a great pair of jeans. Matter of fact, I guess you could say, I live in jeans and I love to wear them! With that said, I don't love every jean out in the marketplace and I am picky about the jeans I wear. I like my jeans to fit my curves and hug me in all of the right places.

One of the places I like to shop for denim jeans is at Express and I absolutely love the Express jeans because they come in some many figure flattering styles and right now they even have the trendy colored jeans! I like wearing boot cut, wide leg and relaxed fit jeans but on the weekends when I go out for girls night I like wearing jean leggings with an over-sized top or tunic.

When it comes to women's jeans, what is your style? Are you into those trendy colored jeans yet? I have been thinking about getting a pair of white jeans to take on vacation with me next month since white goes with just about everything.

Have you checked out the Express giveaway yet? If not, you should! Express is hosting a giveaway and they are giving away 50 pairs of Express Jeans! I am keeping my fingers crossed that I win a pair of jeans as I sure could use a new pair for the fall!

So speak up...tell us, what is your denim jean style?Advertisement

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