Posted in Odds & Ends

No Pity Parties Allowed

The reinvention of oneself can be a less than joyful journey depending on the need for reinvention. Your new self can also be a journey of excitement as you look to your future. The process can follow overwhelming grief or untold happiness. It can be because you want a change or circumstances force a change. But whatever precipitates the journey, you’re still you. You may be quicker to laugh. You might also be slower to anger. But you still find humor in the same things. What made you angry when you were young still has the ability to make you angry today.

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I went through a huge body change over the last year. My waist grew. I have more junk in my trunk. My muscle turned to fat and I now have a middle age spread on my abdomen. My crop tops were rehomed. I cried when I stepped on the scale. I went on the offensive. I endured five hours of hair torture for a purple ombré. I texted a picture to my dad in Texas. His response was “why?” I fight aging with all available weapons. I showed my father in law daddy’s question. We had a lengthy discussion over hair care, skin care and cosmetics. His wife was a cosmetologist for 40+ years. He absorbed a fountain of information, but I still am not letting him cut my hair. I’m all about the savings, but I have to draw the line somewhere. He has arthritic hands and a tiny bit of palsy. That’s just so much no.

We came to the conclusion if people noticed my purple hair, they wouldn’t notice the almost 30 pounds I had gained in the last half a year. That answer worked for me. I actually thought it was funny. It was the answer I texted to my dad. When I told my brother, he responded by saying “well done, fat ass!” My family doesn’t give a person much time for a personal pity party. So I put my big girl boots on and stopped feeling sorry for myself. I also came up with a plan of action that involved beauty products galore, make up, and hair care products. That stuff can get expensive.

 

imageHere’s my latest free money exercise. And it will involve a lot of walking. I’m looking forward to being able to buy some cute crop tops again. It comes from my girlfriend Cassie. On her behalf, I want to ask you to donate your organs upon your death. Make sure your family knows your wishes. Cassie is a generous, funny and sparkling young lady who was the recipient of someone else’s generosity in the form of a transplant. My life is improved by knowing her. Not only does she brighten those with whom she comes in contact, she is an organization guru. I have no idea what my bathroom would look like without her.

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Shopkick has to be one of the strangest apps I’ve ever used. You don’t have to spend any money if you don’t want. Go to the mall, turn on your locations services and Bluetooth, and go to the mall. You get points for entering certain stores. You get points for scanning products. You get extra points if you actually purchase something. You could spend all day in a mall and rake in the rewards. This is definitely where living in a big city would have a huge advantage.  These points turn into gift cards for so many stores. I chose Sephora. Looking 29 when you feel 92 is expensive.  I also earn 250 kicks when you scan your first item but you only have seven days to do it.

A side note to the readers who joined my iBotta team:  we are $3.00 away from February’s team rewards. Scan those receipts from your grocery store.

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Posted in Odds & Ends

FREEvealing Moments

I have moments in my life where I can’t recall specifically how I ended up in some situation. I look back, have a wow moment and ask myself, “Did I just do that?” I was stone cold sober and I didn’t black out. I was along for the ride and, at times, in the driver’s seat. The journey just happened so fast and the brakes were inoperable. One such journey is my marriage. I recall being tricked into saying “I Do” almost 18 years ago because I’m pretty sure I said “No, I Won’t” at least half a dozen times. After all these years of marriage, I’m grateful for failed brakes.

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My journey with Amazon started much the same way. It involved a conversation with my girlfriend Sierra that revolved around a pair of $8 boots on the Aeropastale website. I’m always interested in a good deal. I never did get the boots, but I got a lesson in how she bought her Christmas gifts for little to no money.  Before I knew it, she talked me into signing up to review products for Amazon. Fast forward a couple of months, and I’m receiving emails from companies direct asking me to try their product. I’m still not exactly sure how it happened, but that’s what I’m doing. There are companies willing to just give you stuff. For huge discounts, and sometimes even free.

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It started out with beauty products and jewelry. I like to look young and feel pretty. The man of mine and his dad had no interest in my new adventure. The husband changed his tune when a set of throwing knives showed up. We played our own version of H.O.R.S.E. in the yard for hours. Steve’s daddy just likes getting the boxes so he can use his pocket knife. He became curious when a USB LED flashlight arrived. He claimed it for his own. The UPS drivers hate our driveway. I get between three to five products a day.

So if you have Amazon Prime, have a basic understanding of the written word and want to do your own reviews, sign up at Amazon Review Trader and get started. There are several virtual stores for this, but ART is the simplest place to start. You can ask for help along your journey. I’m not going anywhere.

I never know where my next journey will take me or what it will entail. Stay tuned for my next roller coaster ride.

 

 

 

Posted in Odds & Ends

FREEdom in Family

Sometimes my life feels like the old Rolling Stones song, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”.  I guess my high school teacher who said life isn’t fair was right. But if I try sometimes, I might get what I need. Life gets in the way when you make plans. My plans never included helping my husband care for his parents.  I don’t think his did either. I was thinking more along the lines of cabana boys feeding me grapes in Cabo. He was thinking of a 2 room cabin in Alaska.  We unfortunately lost his mother in 2009 and moved in with his father in 2010 to help out. I worked and then I didn’t. Then I worked again. Then I didn’t (can’t we just stick on the not working part?).  One day while I was at work, Virgil decided to check out a slow drain in the bathroom sink. He made his version of a DIY rotor rooter that involved some left over cable line and his electric drill. It was PVC pipe. Stop laughing. I’m serious. We didn’t have a bathroom sink for a week. I haven’t decided if he is allowed to watch DIY YouTube videos unsupervised or not yet.

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My father in law and I have morning coffee together and contemplate our plans on solving world hunger and rescuing all the homeless animals. Don’t lie, you like animals more than humans too. We eat breakfast together and make our conquering the world plans for the day. Sometimes those plans include doing absolutely nothing. Everyone needs to stop and enjoy nature, or read a book or watch a John Wayne movie one more time.  I have a friend who has a doctor who actually prescribes this stuff.   I’m not sure he’s in good standing with the American Medical Association.  Other days we conquer it all. I cook and he washes dishes. I load the washer and dryer and he helps fold and put up. Someone needs to convince my husband I really could use a maid. I spend more time with Virgil than I do my husband of almost 18 years. Whoever said Absinthe makes the heart grow fonder was a genius.

Once or twice a month, my husband will take me out on a date. I’ll give you his email address if you want to talk to him about date night ideas or convince him to get me a maid. It’s a rarity for us to be alone, and I cherish those times. When we were first married, I took care of his children as well as my own and him. In all of our married life, I think my accumulated total working years might add up to 5. He’s a pretty great guy even if he won’t get me a maid. We’ve been financially stable and down on our luck. One year we were so down on our luck we spent the summer living in a 25 foot Winnebago in the backyard of a friend’s home. Learning the best and most valuable ways to save money has been a learning lesson spanning almost 2 decades.

 

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The men in my life are very supportive of anything I want to try. So they didn’t even bat an eyelid when I told them I wanted to pay for a subscription to Amazon Prime. There was no argument. Although my husband did ask me why. I told him I was interested in the free shipping. He asked me what I was going to buy. When I said I wasn’t going to be buying anything, he just shook his head and walked away. I should have told him I was going to order cleaning supplies but I was afraid he would laugh at me. It’s one of the reasons I need a maid. To use the cleaning products.

 

He was still shaking his head days later when all my items started arriving by postal service and UPS. And of course they both reminded me I said I wasn’t going to buy anything. In actuality, I may have spent some money. Not very much. They didn’t mind. My father in law is tickled pink to get to play with and test out new kitchen gadgets with me. I pick out a pillow for my rear and a robe to keep me warm.  Vigil uses them both. My husband is overjoyed with the survival goods and the Zombie Apoalyose throwing knives.  Neither one has figured out how I’m doing it but they’re loving every second of it. The curiosity is killing them. Subscribe to my blog and you’ll learn my secrets before they do.  You might want to subscribe to Amazon Prime while your at it.

Posted in Odds & Ends

Save 25% Unshopping

Your 16 year old daughter tells you she needs a formal because she was asked to prom by “the hottest guy in school”.  But there’s a problem. Your 14 year old son needs dental work because he stopped a line drive with his face. The money hungry giant of retail consumerism is chomping at your heels. What is a parent supposed to do? I can’t help with the dentist but I can help with the dress.  If I told you, the reader, you might be able to get that costly formal in gently used or even brand new condition for under $10.00 USD would you keep reading? Well, keep reading because it can happen.

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I’d like to introduce you to a fairly new phenomenon called sharing economy. It’s pretty cool. In the virtual world, sharing economy lets you give away things you no longer want, need or use so you can shop for things you really want. That sounds interesting, right? There has to be some catch because it sounds too good to be true. There is a small catch. But you’ve come this far, stay with me for a little bit longer.

 

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I started this journey after reading an extreme thrifters blog sometime in August of 2015 and agreed to an unshopping challenge. When you take the unshopping challenge you commit to buy nothing new for 30 days. I hope you’re not thinking I’m going to direct you to National charity thrift stores and garage sales. I’m not. While there’s nothing wrong with either of those examples, I have something better. Do I have your interest now?

 

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What could be better than getting up at the crack of dawn to hit every garage sale in the weekend paper? How about sifting through other people’s stuff all day long from wherever you are from your smart phone? There is an app that was created for just this purpose. I was able to unshop every single Christmas gift. A very nice lady somewhere in Massechusettes was cleaning out her closet which included a large selection of Coach purses. I was able to trade enough of my items to get four of them, plus a Danielle Nicole from Notdsrom that retails for over $200 for myself. Another lady in Maryland was going through her footwear.  I cannot even imagine the retail cost on a pair of Gucci boots, but I got them. I also traded for a too cute pair of Coach tennis shoes. What’s the catch? I can read your mind from here.

 

You have to offer up your unused or unwanted item. I’m happy to give away things so I can shop for things I really want. I remember years ago, I had a neighbor that lived two doors down. Every Wednesday we traded refrigerated leftovers so we wouldn’t have to cook dinner for our families. Sometimes we even planned our menus together.  Tammy and I traded everything from applesauce to zucchini and everything in between. Sometimes we even traded our children for a while.  I can only imagine what exchanges we could have made had smartphones and apps been available to us more than 20 years ago.

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If you’re interested, in de cluttering and trading your unwanted items for something you need, join me on yerdle. Use my link to sign up and you’ll receive $35 reuse dollars (in app currency). It comes with a free shipping just to try it out. So basically you get something for free.  I earn $10 reuse dollars for the referal. Should you choose to actually participate and successfully ship your first item, I’m rewarded with a free shipping credit. If enough of my readers love this app as much as I do, I could possibly never pay shipping again.

Join me. You’ll thank me.  Your family will thank you.

Join Yerdle

Stay tuned for more money saving tips, freebies and discounts. In January I was able to purchase $879.44 in products our family needed or wanted from Amazon for a total cost of $23.62. I’m no mathematician but over $850 in savings is huge.

 

 

Posted in Odds & Ends

It Pays To Snap Receipts

By now several of you have checked out the iBotta app and joined a team of awesome shoppers and savers. I have the additional hope that you may have some trust in my recommendations. So I’ll briefly share five more similar platforms to earn money while you shop.

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Receipt hog is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a slow earner but there’s really no exclusion. Receipts for fuel, alcohol, tobacco products and anything else you purchase that you can get a receipt confirming your purchase. Scan each and every receipt. When you get 4,500 coins, you can turn it into a $30 Amazon card. You’re on your own. There’s no referral bonus for me or for you.

 

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You need to be fairly organized in your grocery shopping for this one. There are only a certain number of items available to claim. So if you want it, you have to grab it. The rewards are transferred via check from the company headquarters in Canada once you reach $20. You have to request it.

 

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Savings Star is another earn money for grocery shopping. It takes more effort than most but it also has the highest monetary rewards. You can also enter your loyalty card from merchants and avoid scanning a receipt. Rewards can be transferred to your PayPal account, to Starbucks gift cards, to AMC Theatres gift cards, or to iTunes gift cards when your account reaches $5. Select before you shop. Again, you’re a lone wolf wolf without a bonus to you or to me.

 

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This one is a little more complex because the offers change every Monday. Which means you must upload your receipt by midnight Sunday. I idon’t grocery shop every week. Plus, your rewards are only delivered by PayPal. You a don’t get a different option.

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Shopmium doesn’t offer much for me unless I drive 90 minutes or more to shop.  This is definitely a where you live makes it worth it. I have 3 stores available in my area. HyVee, Target and Walmart. My friend who lives in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area has too many to count. So although I have it, there’s very few offers for me to accept. You can receive your rewards through your checking account or through PayPal. It’s an automatic payout 24 hours after your account is credited. Although I don’t use this one very often, I do get a bonus if you sign up using my link.   Fancy a Lindt chocolate bar for FREE? Just download Shopmium for iPhone or Android   Shopmium and use my referral code during sign up: MGCMYFPJ Bon appetit!

I would also like to take the time tointroduce you to Katelyn. She was a recipient of one of the Coach purses I was telling you about.  She’s modeling a limited edition wristlet. I’ll tell you all about that and many more money savings and budget reducing opportunities in the weeks to come.

 

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Posted in Odds & Ends

The Freebie Faerie

Free fairies are everywhere. You just have to look for them. I’ve managed to uncover some of the best and brightest. The sample faerie is a wee li’l box full of trial sized items. There’s Birchbox and Ipsy, if you’re into beauty products and $10 a month. This doesn’t intrude into your budget. Fill out a few questions about your interests and likes. Select the contents of your box. New boxes come out at the end of the month. It will take about six weeks to recieve your first box. You only get a box if you request one. You need your emails to tell you when a new box is available. My first box contained two bags of dry cat food, hand lotion, shower gel, tide pods and a new sponge by 3M.

Join me on PINCHme   pinchME

Unlike the iBotta in my previous post, I don’t benefit in any way from signing up. I’ll be posting other earn money while you shop apps in another blog post. I’ll also be discussing in depth how to get brand new items from Amazon at no charge. I’ll also be discussing ways to reduce your spending by 25%. Here’s a sneak preview of the Gucci boots I was able to buy for myself for $7.

Posted in Odds & Ends

Earn Money Shopping

February is the month of love. More than one person loves a good deal. I’ve got a pretty good deal I would like to share with you. There will be more money savings tips in the future. I’ve spent the past six months trying out the best places and apps to score a good deal. One of my favorites is iBotta. My friend Jennifer told me about it. At first glance, it appears to be a lot of work. But this app isn’t virtual currency like some. This is real money you can flip into a $25 gift card to several merchants. How do you get this free money?

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Make your grocery list. There are a variety of grocers (and retailers of apparel, automotive, and even pet stores) that participate in this nifty deal. After you make your list, check out the rebates offered on ibotta. Most recently, I purchased Folgers Peefect Measures. It was for sale at WalMart for $3.88 with a $1.50 coupon on an 8.39 ounce container. Ibotta had a $2.00 rebate. I scanned in the bar code from the coffee and the receipt from WalMart. That was the biggest score, but my total savings on that excursion was $7.75

Additionally, I only paid $0.38 for a can of coffee. That’s the kind of savings every family likes. When my ibotta account reaches $25.00, I exchange that for an Amazon gift card of the same amount. There are 7 other companies that participate in the gift card program. Or you have the option of having the funds deposited into your PayPal account. Why am I sharing this? What’s in it for me? What’s in it for you?

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Several things actually. You get to be on my team. There are team goals with a monetary reward. In order to be on my team, you need to make sure you sign up using my unique code which I will provide at the end of this article. You have to log into a mobile device that has never been associated with ibotta. You also need to verify your first rebate. That means go shopping.

Are you a receipt hoarder? Is your purse loaded with receipts from Dollar General? Dig them out and get them flat. If any of your receipts are within the past 7 days of signing up, you can claim a rebate. What do I get for referring you? Not a thing. You get to start with $10.00. However, if you actually join my team by participating in the rebates, I’ll earn $5.00. So there is a benefit to me. At the same time, you’ll get your own unique code to build your own team.

Please join my team. Happy Shopping.

 

iBotta