Last Chance Giveaways

Today is the last day to enter the Dog Days of August Giveaway at Parenting Magazine. Each day has not only had it's own giveaway but there is a grand prize giveaway as well. Hop on over and sign up even if you haven't been playing. Remember, it only takes once to win sometimes.

Gevalia Monday

Gevalia is still doing their Gevalia Monday special but here's another great deal

3 Boxes of Coffee + a Mug for $3

How's that for a great deal to help kick off the beginning of the school year for all the Moms out there! Definitely a Cool Idea!!

Resolutions to Review - Impact on the Environment

Comfort and Joy love YoBaby yogurt and I subscribe to emails from Stonyfield Farm. Last week they included information about the Going Greener Guidebook that they put together with Body + Soul. You may need to register at Stonyfield to download but both are free. So, if you are looking for additional ways to look at minimizing your impact on the environment hop on over and take a look I think it promises to be a very Cool Idea!

New Years Resolutions - The School Years

It's been many years since I, myself, went back to school, but this time of the year always feels like the time of new beginnings and with Comfort and Joy going to new preschools [Joy heading off to school for the first time] it is a big New Year for our house.

So, it's a good time for me to address some resolutions. Well, one resolution in particular - meal planning - has not been on my radar. I give it a cursory glance at best. Mostly creating meals out of the same 5-10 menus put in rotation and hoping that somewhere in there we'll go out and have leftovers to cover the rest of the days in a 2 week cycle.

This needs to change. We'll be on tighter schedules and I'll also need to be packing lunches so I'm going to REALLY need to make a concerted effort to get back on track.

What's my plan for getting back on track with meal planning?
  • Take stock of what's in the pantry and come up with meals out of items that I already have on hand.
  • Look back through the Once A Month Mom site [especially on the months that I didn't cook from the menu at all - like this summer] and see if there are recipes I can pull to incorporate into our repertoire.
  • Go back through the Kraft Food and Family magazine that just came and pull out the recipes that I can see my family eating.
  • Write out the meals I plan to make so that I have to be accountable. If need be, I might even create a section here to do this. Let me know if this would be helpful for you, too.

And there you go. I think that's where I'm going to start. This weekend I'll be putting together the plan for next week. That gives me a week to get back into the swing of things before school starts for Joy. Planning ahead is going to make things much easier. I know it will. I just need to keep saying it out loud to myself because it's not sexy but it is definitely a Cool Idea!

Enjoy Eating Out without the Pinch toYour Wallet Weekly Promo Offer 300 x 250 is offering another great deal on $25 certificates. Get them until August 31st for just $2 using the discount code TASTE. This code can also be used on Dinner of the Month deals, too.

Remember to read the fne print because each restaurant is a bit different but the cool thing is that most certificates are good for a year! Stock up for yourself or for the holidays. It's definitely a Cool Idea!

Love it and Label It!

Along with registering for new preschools and getting our supply lists I've been thinking about how I might be able to make sure Comfort and Joy come home with the stuff that they take to preschool each day. Backpacks are big and hard to forget but what about reusable lunch bags, the reusable juice bottles that I use, etc. Then there are the requirements to label their spare set of clothes. I don't know about you but I can't get my little one's name legibly on an item of clothing.

Thankfully the people at Loveable Labels have figured this out and make wide range of labels to take care of the needs of kids and parents alike. There are sticker labels, fun stickers, shoe labels, iron-on labels, press and stick clothing dots, allergy labels, bag tags, and mini-metal tags. You can put text and icons on the stickers and you can choose a color for your set.

And as back to school time approaches, I was given the opportunity to test the Back to School Mega Pack which includes the following:

· 15 sticker labels

· 60 slimline labels

· 48 Press N’ Stick clothing dots

· 16 shoe labels

· 2 Mini-Metal tags

· 5 Book/Binder stickers

These personalized, durable and colorful labels stick with your kids and their stuff. You can label everything from water bottles, lunch containers, shoes to jackets and backpacks. They are dishwasher, microwave, washer and dryer safe.

I've already labeled their backpacks and BYO lunchbags, reusable water and juice bottles, as well as, their spare pair of shoes which will stay at school for 'accidents'. I usually ignore this 'please label' advice because short of using a Sharpie and writing their name on the sole I could never figure out just how I was supposed to label a shoe. Here is how it is done:

The Back to School Mega Pack retails for $44.95 CND/USD but with discount code 'itscool' you will receive a 10% discount that will be available until September 10, 2009 . Hop on over to Lovable Labels and choose the country in which you reside (there is no price difference per country). Click on the Back to School Mega Pack (which is on the home page) and during the purchasing process you can enter your custom discount code 'itscool' to receive the discount.

The variety of sizes and uses of the labels is great. I love that Joy hasn't been able to pick them off - as this is her special skill! But mostly I love that someone has thought ahead to what the needs of moms and kids and families are and put everything for Back to School labeling in one place, made the ordering nice and easy and even included great colors and some adorable icons to decorate the labels. This is definitely a Cool Idea!

New Cellfire Coupons Released

Here's a list of the new Cellfire coupons that have been released:

Cottonelle®: Save $.25 on any ONE (1) 4-pack or Larger COTTONELLE® Toilet Paper.

Huggies® Diapers: Save $3.00 on any two packages of Huggies® Diapers.

Kotex®: Save $1.00 on any ONE (1) KOTEX® Product.

Pillsbury Toaster Strudel: Save $.55 when you buy any TWO Pillsbury® Toaster Strudel® Pastries.

Green Giant Veggies: Save $.50 when you buy TWO any variety Green Giant® Frozen Boxed Vegetables.

Hamburger Helper®: Save $.75 when you buy THREE any flavor Hamburger Helper®, Tuna Helper® OR Chicken Helper® Home Cooked Skillet Meals.

Old El Paso®: Save $.60 when you buy any TWO Old El Paso® products (Excludes Old El Paso® Refrigerated, Frozen OR Soup products).

Progresso® Soups: Save $.50 when you buy TWO any flavor Progresso® Soups.

Betty Crocker Fruit Snacks: Save $.50 when you buy 2 BOXES any flavor Betty Crocker Fruit by the Foot, Fruit Gushers, Fruit Roll-Ups OR Fruit Roll-Ups Fruit Stickerz Fruit Flavored Snacks.

Nature Valley Granola Bars: Save $.40 when you buy ONE BOX any flavor/variety Nature Valley® Granola Bars.

Fiber One® Bars: Save $.40 when you buy ONE BOX any flavor Fiber One® Chewy Bars.

Betty Crocker® Cookie Mix: Save $.40 when you buy any flavor 17.5 OZ. OR LARGER Betty Crocker® Cookie Mix.

Betty Crocker® Box Supreme Brownie Mix: Save $.75 when you buy TWO any flavor Betty Crocker® Box Supreme Brownie Mixes.

Cocoa Puffs® cereal: Save $.75 when you buy Cocoa Puffs® cereal.

Betty Crocker Potatoes: Save $.40 when you buy any flavor Box or Pouch Betty Crocker® Potatoes (Except Potato Buds®).

Chex Mix®: Save $.50 when you buy any flavor 4.5 OZ. OR LARGER Chex Mix® OR Chex® 100 Calorie Snack.

Betty Crocker Cake and Frosting: Save $.50 when you buy BOTH Betty Crocker® Cake Mix AND Betty Crocker® Frosting (any flavors/varieties).

Yoplait® Kids Zone: Save $.80 when you buy TWO any flavor Yoplait® products listed: Yoplait® Go-GURT® Yogurt Yoplait® Trix® Multipack Yogurt.

Betty Crocker® Fruit Flavored Shapes: Save $.40 when you buy ONE BOX any variety Betty Crocker® Fruit Flavored Shapes.

Yoplait® Cups: Save $.50 when you buy SIX any variety Yoplait® Yogurt cups OR any flavor Yoplait® Original OR Light Smoothies.

Betty Crocker® Warm Delights®; Save $.50 when you buy ONE any flavor Betty Crocker® Warm Delights® Bowls OR Betty Crocker® Warm Delights® Minis Bowls.

YoPlus®: Save $1 when you buy any flavor YoPlus® OR YoPlus® Light Yogurt 4-pack.
Select Cheerios®: Save $.75 when you buy any Frosted Cheerios®, Fruity Cheerios®, Apple Cinnamon Cheerios®, Banana Nut Cheerios® OR Yogurt Burst(tm) Cheerios® Cereal.

Fiber One Muffin Mix: Save $.50 when you buy any flavor/variety Fiber One(tm) Box Muffin Mix.

Progresso® Broth: Save $.50 when you buy ONE any variety Progresso® Broth.

Nature Valley Granola Nut Clusters: Save $1 when you buy ONE BAG any flavor Nature Valley® Granola Nut Clusters.

**Coleman Natural Hot Dogs: Save $1 when purchasing a nitrate-free Coleman Natural Beef Hot Dog.

**Coleman Natural Bacon: Save $1 when purchasing a nitrate-free Coleman Natural Hickory Smoked Bacon.

** Indicates regional offers only available in some areas. Please visit for details.

These coupons are available beginning August 25, 2009 and will be available for saving until September 7, 2009. After they have been saved, you have 2 weeks to use them, until September 21, 2009. Grab your coupons over on the right hand bar and load them to your loyalty card. So many great deals and Cool Ideas!

Wonderful Wednesday

Before I get started with this week's listing of great freebies I want to make sure you knew about this great giveaway at $5 Dinners. Erin is celebrating her 1st Anniversary blogging with some great giveaways and this one is for a $250 gift card to the grocery store of your choice! You can enter up to 10 times so run on over and check this out. She's also giving away a Sam's Club Membership and gift card so take care of all of your entries while you're there!

And now here we go:

FREE Sample of Always Thin Flexi Style Liner

FREE Sample of Burt's Bees Natural Acne Solutions

FREE Hallmark Connections Card from WalMart

Also be one of the first 250,000 fans to join the Chick-fil-A Wave and you'll get a coupon for a FREE Chicken sandwich and entries are added in a daily drawing for a $50 gift card. I've posted several times about my love of CFA and their wonderful service so if you live or travel near these restaurants be sure to sign up.

Vindale Research - Sign Up!

Please be advised that it may take up to 14 days to successfully remove you from our mailing list.
To unsubscribe via US Postal Mail, please click here
or send inquiries to: Vindale Research, 243 5th Ave. Suite 541, New York NY, 10016.
This is another great survey company and they don't open their applications up very often so SIGN UP before this offer goes away if you are interested!! I'll tell you that I'll be adding them to my stable of survey companies because I've heard great things about them and I could use some more extra cash now that school is getting ready to start!

Monday Madness from Gevalia

Monday Madness

Gevalia not only has great coffee but they are known far and wide as having some of the best offers around. I mean, who has not heard of their offers, right?

Now, they are expanding on their intro offers that we are all aware of and offering something new each and every Monday.This week they are offering 30% off all coffeemakers. So if you are in the market for a new coffeemaker click on this link to run over to Gevalia and check out this week's offer! It's definitely a Cool Idea!

New Deal From Restaurant.Com Weekly Promo Offer 300 x 250 has a new discount code out there so that we can all treat ourselves, or friends and colleagues, to dinner as the summer draws to a close. Use discount code PALATE and get $25 certificates for $3. This code is good until 8/24/09.

You can also use this code for dinner of the month option. This option delivers said coupon to you each whatever month increment you purchase [3. 6. or 12] so that you don't have to remember to log back in and buy it again. Yep, it's that easy. So, while the code is out there why don't you go ahead and get Dinner of the Month at a place you love. Use them all or give one to a friend but it's still a great savings and definitely a Cool Idea!

Cheap Trip to the Beach

We're back at the beach with a friend visiting from out of the country. This time we don't have time to drive 10 hours away and rent a condo for a week. Instead we've driven 1 1/2 hours to the coast and we're camping. Not only are we saving money on gas, food, and lodging but we're taking advantage of resources that the Commonwealth of Virginia already owns.

Yep, as it turns out Virginia owns some of the best land in the area and has since the 1930's. This is a good reminder that not all campsites are privately owned or even part of national parks. States have their own park systems with camping facilities. Probably there's one near you or near where you might want to travel. Or just close your eyes and point and make that a fun destination for next year. It might just be your very next Cool Idea!

Frugal Car Care

I get No Debt Plan in my daily blog feed and I really enjoy these posts. Unfortunately, we're not close to being out of debt but my goal this year has been to not incur more debt. This has been hard while I'm home with the girls but we're trying hard.

Here's a great post about Frugal Car Care that I really appreciated because it pointed out the cost saved for each item on the list. While some of us probably do some of these I venture to guess that we don't all do all thirteen. My excuse for now is that the dealership takes care of everything since I'm still under warranty but that will end in a few thousand miles and I'll be on my own and you better believe that I'll be cracking open my owner's manual and learning how to change bulbs and filters and things like that.

But in the meantime, head on over to No Debt Plan and check it out. I appreciate the refreshing mix of information and the good explanations given when conversations take on a technical focus.

Another way to Add to your Christmas Fund

I signed up with Inbox Dollars this time last year and I've steadily seen my earnings increase. I probably get a handful of email a day and I do try to click on most of them so that I can keep my earnings moving along. You can also increase your earnings by buying offers and playing games. You may also get survey invitations that will increase your earnings, too, and this adds a nice bump to your total. Pay out is at $30 and it can take a little while to get to that amount but since I spend time every day in my email already I figure what's another click or two and what's easier than getting paid for reading email!

Wonderful Wednesday

There are some great freebies and giveaways this week so here we go:

FREE Sample of Kotex Ultra Thin Overnight Pads

FREE 1 oz. Sample of PINK Body Lotion from Victoria's Secret

FREE Sample of Emergen-C Multi Vitamin and new flavors!

Jenn at Frugal Upstate is running a Lunch Box giveaway that has so many amazing things in it that I can't even type them all here. There are items sponsored by Motts, Smuckers and Pepperidge Farm and it includes a wopping good number of Box Tops for your school! So, head on over to enter!!

Erin at $5 Dinners is celebrating her 1st Anniversary of her blog by offering several giveaways. Check them out because I'm sure there's got to one that you'll find irresistible.


Back to School Cleaning

As new clothes gets moved into the drawers for Comfort and Joy I'm also going through my own clothes and deciding what needs to stay - go - and what can be donated.

One nice this is that after 4years of being pregnant/ nursing and having lost weight I can now use my own closet as a shopping trip. Clothes that I wore and loved years ago but haven't been able to wear are now available to me, so I've moved them to prominent places in the clothes rack so that I know I won't need to buy anything similar. In fact, I won't need to buy anything at all for awhile thankfully because I found great clothes to layer all through the fall and winter.

Another great thing about going through clothes, whether it's when the seasons change or when you are going through a closet overhaul - like I'm doing - it gives you a chance to shake out pockets of pants and check the bottoms of purses, etc. I didn't score anything out of the pants [I'm careful about emptying my pants pockets when I take them off] but I did net 2 gift cards out of a purse! One of them was from when I was working and was for a local spa!!! I can't tell you the last time I had a spa gift card. This is a significant amount of money, too, so I am super-duper happy.

So, don't forget to shop in your own closest first. We use this rule for grocery shopping a lot but I think we sometimes forget when it comes to clothes. And, the corollary is - always shake out the pockets of pants and purses - because you never know what treasures you might find!

Sign up with Lightseed Panel

LightSpeed Research

Remember when I tallied up my survey time and money last month and I reported that I found that Lightspeed was paying in Paypal now but wasn't accepting new applications... well, here you go. Here's a super cool chance to sign up with a survey company that pays in real money.

I'll tell you some other cool things about them. Each invitaton you get from them includes the point value of the survey and how much time it should take you to complete the survey. I've also had surveys from Lightspeed that were screeners for product testing opportunities so really I got a two-fer on those surveys.

I can't think of anything more to say about Lightspeed except that it was one of the first panels signed up with and I've enjoyed these. I don't alway qualify for each survey but you never will. It is great that they pay in cash now so run your little fingers over and sign up while they are accepting new people!! This is an incredibly Cool Idea!!

Back to School Shopping

A huge thunderstorm woke us this morning so we didn't go out for morning of sun and fun and after watching an hour of cartoons it was clear that we would need to get out of the vacation house and do something before someone got hurt. So, we took advantage of the nearby outlet mall and checked out the Carter's outlet.

One good thing about the ages/ sizes of Comfort and Joy is that I rarely have time to put away clothes between seasons before it's time for the it to move to the next child. Comfort is oldest but Joy is very tall for her age so clothing moves from one to the other rather quickly.

Today I found a dress similar to Comfort's beloved and favorite dress on the sale rack. It was marked down from $20 to $5.99. I also found a two-pack of leggings on sale 50% off of the regular price of $18. I grabbed a cute patterned skirt for Comfort that was marked down to $3.99 and a 3-pack of cute socks for $5. Also on the sale rack was a pair of pink fleece lined 'sweat pants' for little girls that were marked down to $4. The socks were the only thing not on sale but I always buy plain color socks and these had cute designs so I figured it was a little bit of a splurge and even with this I spent less than $32 with tax.

Some of these items will be perfect as the girls head out to school this year. The dress is actually going to be 'stockpiled' for when the current dress gets outgrown. I'll put it in the dresser with other items that I buy 'ahead' when they are on sale. My next 'buy aheads' will be shorts for Comfort as the end of summer is coinciding with the inability to get her shorts to pull up easily anymore. Thankfully, shorts are likely to go on sale soon so I'll get some and put them in the dresser for next summer and we'll be ready for when the weather turns warm again.

As this is the last full day of our longest vacation ever we made lemonade out of lemons when the weather changed our plans making it impossible to enjoy the morning on the beach. Thankfully we were able to still be productive and better still - we were definitely had some Cool Ideas!

Box Tops Go Back To School

Box Tops for Education is having a massive bonus giveaway! The Big Clip is giving away 1 Million Box Tops to 3 schools. The Grand Prize is 500,000 Box Tops and 2 first prizes of 250,000 each.

You can enter every day until October 31, 2009 so make sure you that you enter the giveaway often so that your school has a good chance of winning this awesome chance at some very Cool stuff.

Purple Mountains Majesty

If your family is in desperate need of a get-away before school starts you might want to take advantage of the last Fee-Free weekend in the US National Parks System. Whether you head out west like the Obamas or just take in a park somewhere near where you live this is a great time to check out the wonders of our country and to get in an inexpensive and frugal vacation all at the same time. It's definitely a Cool Idea!

Wonderful Wednesday

Mercedes at Common Sense with Money is running another great giveaway. Head on over and leave a comment letting her know what your favorite Hanes product is and you could win a $50 Hanes Gift Card. You can also get additional entries by twittering or posting about the giveaway on Facebook.

Dana at Frugal in Virginia is also running a great giveaway with a great product. Our family loves YoBaby but Ive not seen the new 3-in-1 meals yet so I am interested in looking into these when we get back from vacation. Head on over to her site to enter a chance to win a reusable YoBaby bag, bowl and cover, an Eric Carle growth chart, and coupons for their new product.

And now we'll get back to our regular free deals of the week:

Get a 10 day sample of Bare Escentuals Matte Foundation at Sephora, Sephora in JC Penney or Ulta Stores

Request a FREE Sample of Somesault Snacks

FREE sample of Carefree Ultra Protection Liners and Coupon

FREE Sample of John Freida Brunette Brilliant Liquid Shine

And in case you haven't seen that the coupons in the Cellfire block have recharged as of yesterday, take a look today. I've seen coupons for Huggies, yogurt, Cherrios, and many, many others that I've loaded to my Kroger card. Load 'em up before you hit the stores!

A Couple of Great Deals

Magazines.Com is offering a $5 coupon using the discount code SUMMERSALE at checkout. Weekly Promo Offer 300 x 250 has another great deal. They are offering $25 certificates for $2 using the discount code PORTION. Remember to check out the details for the specific restaurant that you are interested in but usually certificates are good for a year. These would also make great gifts! So if you are wanting to pace your holiday shopping don't forget to start early.

Local is Relative

One thing to remember when you go on vacation is that wherever you go you are someplace 'local' and there are specialities and stores that run by the locals. Well, duh, right. I know, but sometimes when we are tourists we forget that not everything is a chain that can absorb the ebb and flow of seasonal traffic.

I'm not suggesting that you go out and buy all the random knick-knacks at all the tourist locations you visit but I am suggesting that - again - you be intentional about where you spend your money when you do shop. We did about a 50/50 job of buying our groceries local this week. To restock we hit the Sam's Club but for produce we found a roadside stand for potatoes [new, baking, and sweet], onions, lemons, tomatoes [slicing and roma], and peaches the size of a baby's head! We loaded ourselves down - two of us in four hands and we only spent $12!

Tonight we're heading out to eat at a local restaurant we found a couple of years ago that has great food and fantastic service. A yummy and Cool Idea!

Frugal Vacations

So, we've been away from home almost a week now and so far we've spent very little cash. How did that happen?

First of all we brought most of our food. As most families who vacation at all know it's cheaper to bring your own food as long as the food isn't going to go bad. The first place we stayed on the first leg of our trip had a full kitchen so we knew we could cook. They also provided our breakfast as part of our costs. [More on this in another post.]

We did have a couple of stops on the trip down for meals and we had to buy gas and there was a trip to the grocery. I did have some coupons to use at the grocery. Some of them I brought with me and some were from the free booklets that the hotel had in the lobby. Never underestimate the power of those free brochures!

But it's not just food that we brought. We brought DVDs for the girls to watch and we spend the rest of our time enjoying the beach, pool, and other stuff around the island that are free. We brought their snacks. I packed laundry detergent and dishwasher detergent and a dishwashing detergent sample I'd gotten in the mail. I know we'll want to go out and enjoy a meal later but we want it to be when we WANT to not when we need to because we just don't have anything in the room to eat.

And there you go. It's not rocket science but by rolling together a lot of Cool Ideas going away on vacation can be done without spending a lot of money. We'll explore some more ideas over the next few days so stick around!

Tax Free Weekend!

It's back to school time and many states are having their Tax Free Shopping weekend right now. We're on vacation in South Carolina and Georgia but SC has Tax Free weekend right now so we'll be able to take advantage of some of the shopping even though we're missing Tax Free Shopping at home in Virginia.

If your state is having a Tax Free Shopping Holiday it really is in your best interest to make sure you know what is covered. You might just be surprised!

But, you say, you don't have any school aged children. Okay, so you'll just be able to stock up on some new clothes and maybe a pair of shoes. Here's where I say you should check out the approved list of items because in the Commonwealth of Virginia baby clothes and diapers are also tax free this weekend. Corsets are, too, even though I can't for the life of me figure out why.

So, check out if your state is having a tax holiday for back to school shopping and make sure you can take advantage of the list. You'd be amazed what is on the 'approved' back to school list because saving money, especially when it's the government's ides, is always a Cool Idea!

Power Pilot is Over

The power company contacted us this spring to let us know that our year in the Critical Peak Pilot program would be nearing an end and just before we left for the beach we received another letter to let us know we were done. They also included in that correspondence a spreadsheet with our savings for the year and information that the program should be rolled out as an option to everyone starting in 2010.

It was nice to see that we did in fact save money. I wish we'd saved more but considering that we had some significant hurdles - including renovating our bathroom in August last year - at a couple of points in the year we did very well. Overall, we saved $180. Personally, considering that we already do the basics - use CFF bulbs, turn off lights when we leave the room, use a programmable thermostat, use ceiling fans, etc, I wasn't sure how much savings we'd see. But by changing our habits some more we saved even more money and I'll definitely be signing up for the new program when it's rolled out in the new year!

If you are interested in how you can continue to lower your power bill and you already do all the regular things don't forget that most power companies will offer a free power audit. Also, it can't hurt to ask if they have plans for a program like the Critical Peak Pricing program. Perhaps if they have enough people ask about it they'll figure out it's a Cool Idea, too!

Beach Reads redux

I'm missing book club this month for the first time in the 18 months since I joined. It's a bit difficult to deal with actually so I'm making sure that I actually do a good bit of reading on my own.

I'm also reading about reading and I came across some newer statistics about romance novel readership:
  • 74.8 million people read at least one romance novel in 2008
  • 24.6 percent of all Americans read a romance novel in 2008, versus 21.8 in 2005
  • The heart of the US romance novel readership is women aged 31-49 who are currently in a romantic relationship
  • Impulse purchases outnumber planned romance novel purchases
  • 60 percent of romance readers bought at least one new romance novel in 2008
  • The most popular places romance novels are read are at home or while traveling or on vacation
  • 29 percent of romance readers usually carry a romance novel with them

There you go. I won't actually get any reading done while on the beach. That's not possible with toddlers around but perhaps during rest time in the afternoons or after Comfort and Joy have gone to bed at night.

And once again, if you haven't found a romance author that you enjoy, drop me comment and tell me what kind of stories you like to read. I'm pretty sure that if I can't come up with some ideas then Hope or Becke might have some ideas as well. We are full of Cool Ideas!

More Great Giveaways

I didn't want anyone to miss out on these so I'm creating an additional post.

First, Jenn at Frugal Upstate has a great giveway sponsored by Nestle. They are giving her a $500 Walmart Gift Card to give away as part of this Back To School Campaign. Hop on over and check out the post because there are many great ways to enter.

Also, since I've been talking about reading romance novels this week it's particularly interesting that I've found a giveaway from a romance author. Marilyn Brant is giving away 2 samples of Starbucks VIA Ready to Brew coffee. Just leave a comment on her blog then email her your address and she'll ship the samples anywhere!

Wonderful Wednesday

We made it to the beach and for a few days here we'll have internet until we move on. Comfort and Joy are enjoying the ocean so much more than last year when all they would do was throw the sand at the water. So much more tiring for me as the parent but I'm happy to see them growing up.
First of all today I want to make sure you saw this giveaway at Common Sense with Money. Mercedes is giving away a $100 VISA gift card if you leave a post with your favorite back to school memory. For additional entries you can twitter, facebook or blog about the giveaway so head on over and add your memory to the comments.

Secondly, here is great end of the season deal from the WNBA and One2One Network .There is a special offer for One2One Network members and bloggers to share with their friends, readers and fans for the remainder of the WNBA regular season.

Just go to and enter the promo code WNBABLOG and experience what exciting, affordable, family-friendly entertainment the WNBA really is!

Atlanta Dream - For the remaining regular season games (Excluding 8/23 vs LA):
Get $25 seats for $15; Get $19 seats for $12

- For the game on 8/23 vs the Los Angeles Sparks
Get $25 seats for $24; Get $19 seats for $18.

Chicago Sky -Up to 34% off the regular ticket price.

Connecticut Sun - Get $18 seats for $10; $22 seats for $18; $27 seats for $23

Detroit Shock - Get $15 lower level sideline seats or $50 VIP seats.

Indiana Fever - Buy 1 ticket and get 1 ticket of equal value free.

Los Angeles Sparks - Get 15% off tickets in all sections

Minnesota Lynx - Get $8 seats.

New York Liberty - Get 33% off tickets and $10 parking.

Phoenix Mercury - Get $43 tickets for $16; $26 tickets for $10.

San Antonio Stars - Get over 50% off the gate price.

Seattle Storm - Get 50% off all Storm tickets.

Washington Mystics - Get $35 tickets for $15

And here's another Giveaway. This time from Parenting Magazine. There's a different giveaway every Monday - Friday for the month of August and a special Grand Prize. Check it out and be sure to enter every day.

Also, I saw that the 2010 IKEA Catalog is out and as a way to celebrate back to school shopping IKEA has Kids Eat Free until August 30, 2009 so if you need to pick up a few things feeding the kidlets is a piece of cake - literally - at IKEA!

And Not to Be Missed - It's the beginning of the month - coupons have reloaded on the coupon bars so don't forget to print out what you want for the month!

Beach Reading

We have headed south to the beach this week and I'm not entirely certain that I'll have internet access until we get to the condo that we have rented with my folks later in the journey so I'm pre-populating some posts just in case...

So, Beach Reading for me is synonymous with romance novels. And as you can imagine I have a few packed with me. I also have a few other books from my TBR [to be read] pile packed as well. I've been meaning to read the latest Isabel Allende book and I just picked it up from the library so it's coming with me. Also, I have a new book from Sarah Strohmeyer. I loved the Bubbles book so I'm looking forward to this one.

Keep your eye on the 'What I'm Reading' box to see how much progress I'm making. My guess is I'll either fly through them or they'll all come back untouched!

Better Way to Track your Coupons!

Announcing the Deal Seeking Mom Coupon Database!

The Deal Seeking Mom Coupon Database is a comprehensive listing of coupons from newspaper inserts and printable coupon sites such as, and as well as e-coupons from CellFire and Upromise. They’ll be adding Bricks coupons and those listed on manufacturer sites as they go forward, but they didn’t want us to have to wait any longer to be able to start using it!

A couple of the features that it includes:

An expandable view to give you even more information about each coupon, including limitations, product categories and subcategories.

Perhaps the most exciting feature, though, are the Personal Coupon Boxes! That’s right – you can create an account to keep track of all of the coupons you currently have in your stash to make your own personal shopping and saving easier.

With your Personal Coupon Box, you can:

  • Add your own regional or specialty coupons that aren’t in the main database.
  • Edit the quantity of each coupon.
  • Edit the expiration date on printable coupons based on the date you print them.

I haven't been over to check it out yet but these are just the features that I know I need and I can't wait to check it out!

Two Week Survey Roundup

What does a typical week of surveys look like around here? I wish I could tell you. I should probably keep better track. I know that Jen has a tracking system. Me, I just wing it most of the time

But in the interest of really learning how much time and attention I was giving to the surveys I kept track for the past 2 weeks of the surveys that I have done. I've missed few. I know that, but here's a good idea of how many invitations I accepted. I say accepted because there were sooooo many invitations in the past couple of weeks that I just could not do them all. Also, I prioritize and do the ones that I know will pay the most. Maybe that's a discusson for another post.

Here's the listing:

SayNation: 5 invites/ 2 surveys

Lightspeed: 7 invites/ 4 surveys 1 invite/ 1 survey

Opinion Outpost: 4 invites/ 2 surveys

FocusPointe: 2 invites/ 2 screeners

SurveySpot: 4 invites/ 0 surveys [I only do surveys for $$ here]

Focus Forward: 1 screener invite/ 0 surveys

ValuedOpinions: 5 invites: 3 surveys [$9]

NPDOR: 2 invites/ 2 surveys

Mindfield: 6 invites/ 3 surveys [$3]

Focusline: 9 invites/ 0 surveys

Surveyhead:10 invites/ 2 surveys [$6] 2 invites/ 2 surveys [20pts]

Toluna: 4 invites/ 3 surveys [$3]

AmericanConsumerOpinion: 1 screener

SurveySavvy: 2 invites/ 0 surveys

ConsumerVillage: 1 invite/ 1 survey [$15 payout for project completion]

HarrisPoll: 1 invite/ 1 survey [50pts]

OpinionPlace: 3 invites/ 0 surveys

BrandInstitute: 1 screener

This was a very busy couple of weeks in my email-box. This time commitment brought in $21 in my accounts accruing and $15 in Amazon certificates [already in hand]. Some of these were lengthy surveys an some weren't. I haven't been good about tracking that yet but what I have begun to learn is that there is incredible overlap in the invitations. This is why you will get a lot of the declines!

What the time vs. money worth it? Right now I have time but I don't have money so I have to say it was worth it because it still allows me to be at home with the kids while they are small. But that's a decision everyone has to make for themselves no matter what they are doing. Whether you work outside the home or don't work at for money at all. Is it worth it to you right now? If yes, then you are good. If not, then you need to look at making some changes. Small changes maybe, but changes.

So, there you go. In the interest of accountability and as I try to make some money as a stay at home parent, I'm going to try to do a better job of tracking the invites/ participation/ points vs. cash earned/ time expenditure. Stay tuned for upcoming posts as I revisit this Cool Idea!

Help out the Neighbors through the 3/50 Project

Perhaps you've heard about this already. I hope you have but since we're on the tail end of my Christmas in July series it seemed fitting to discuss the issue again.

Here are the actual facts and not just the anecdotal information or math that I pulled out of my head. Details are from the flyer created by Cinda Baxter of the 3/50 Project:

3: What 3 independently owned businesses would you miss if they did not exist? Stop in. Say hello. Pick something up that brings you a smile. Your purchases are what keeps these businesss around.

50: If half the employed population spent $50 each month in locally owned businesses it would generate $42.6Billion in revenue. Imagine the positive impact if 3/4 of the population did that!

68: For every $100 spent in locally owned independent businesses $68 returns to the community in taxes, payroll, and other expenditures. If you spend that in a national chain only $43 stays here. If you spend that online, nothing stays here.

1: The number of people that it takes to start a trend.


This is something near and dear to my heart because we live in a pedestrian shopping neighborhood and each month we are seeing stores go empty. Some have only been here for a while. Some have been here much longer. I hope and pray that our neighbor-stores will be able to weather this economic downturn and I know that as tight as things are for us, personally, when we have the option to go out for treats we choose to spend our money here in the neighborhood so that our money stays here and helps.

This is not all that different than when we choose to be frugal. I am advocating that when you spend your money you continue to make good choices. It's definitely a Cool Idea and with a little time and attention on our part it will help our friends a great deal. And if we don't take this time now, these stores won't be around in the future. That's all I'm saying.