Tuesday, November 30, 2010

2010 Christmas Cards Done!! Thanks to Shutterfly!

Seasonal Chic Noir Christmas Card

Get custom photo Christmas cards online at Shutterfly.com.

View the entire collection of cards.

I finished up our 2010 Christmas card!! What a relief!

I was so impressed by all the choices at Shutterfly.com. They turned out great! Here's all the cool features I was really impressed by:

1) Tons of designs, sizes, colors, and more. I really wanted to try out the cardstock photo card, so that's what I went with. I wanted to keep it simple, but they even have cards that you can turn into a "Storycard" and add details about the year and so on! Very cool.

2) Editing! I was able to crop, reduce red eye and add color choices, like black & white, sepia, and so on! I love having these options, because you never know when you might need them, or when you just want to add a cool effect to your card.

3) Again, I loved the ability to be able to have Shutterfly.com stamp and mail the cards for me, if I needed that. I didn't do it, this time, but what an awesome service.

I love how my card turned out and I really appreciate the offer to get 50 for free! What a deal! I hope you take some time to check them out too! You will be amazed!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Black Friday with Rite Aid!!

I know that title sounds weird, and definitely not the first place you would think of going on this busy shopping day! But to me, it was! Rite Aid has replaced my love of CVS. They are doing a similar program to Extra Bucks, called +UP Rewards, AND they have online coupons and money off ($/$$) coupons, so they have won my heart. Sorry CVS, it was fun while it lasted.

I almost went to Rite Aid on Thanksgiving (11/25) but decided I would wait because the Holiday Gift of Savings didn’t start until 11/26. So I exercised some shopping patience, and it paid off! (The Holiday Gift of Savings is where you spend so much at Rite Aid, and in return you get a gift certificate for up to $20!)

I made 3 stops at 3 different Rite Aid, all within a 5 or so mile radius. I prefer to go to a couple different stores, than do multiple transactions and wear out my welcome at one store. Since they are relatively close, that’s the way I like it.

My first transaction, I decided to get only UP+ reward items, with the least out of pocket.

*3 box of Kleenex $1.88 each, Get 1 UP each. Used 2 $1 on 3 (Oct/Nov) Video Value Q’s, 1 $0.50 coupon. $3.14 for 3, Get back 3 UP.
*2 boxes of Cottenelle wipes $1.88 each, Get 1 UP (didn’t get Ups—didn’t realize it was a limit of 3) Used $1 off 2 VV Q, minus $0.50/2 manu. Q. $2.26 for 2. (If I would have realized it was a limit, I may not have gotten them, but my mom said she wanted some to send in a care package, so I'll pass them onto her.)
*1 Conair Hair Dryer $9.99, Get 5 UP. Minus $1 from my 10% off Rite Aid coupon, minus $5 coupon from the Clip and Save booklet. $4.99 Get 5 UP.
*4 Dial Hand Soaps $0.99 each. Minus 4 $1 Clip & Save coupons. Free.
*2 Colgate toothbrushes $1.77 each, Get 1 UP each. Minus 2 $1 VV Q’s. $0.77 each, Get $1 UP each.
*2 bags of Halls cough drops. $0.99 each. Used 2 $0.50 VV Q’s, minus $1/2 man. Q. Free.
*1 box of Sinex $4.99, Get 2 UP. Minus $4 man. Q. $0.99 Get 2 UP.

I also used a $4 off a $20 purchase VV Q, plus 2 $1 UP coupons I already had. Without coupons, my total was $32.86. After coupons, my new total was $5.86! Plus I got back $12 in UP rewards to use at my next stop…

I then used my $12 UP’s to get more stuff, and earn more UP’s, and so on and so on!! I rolled them at Store #2:

*4 boxes of Fruit Loops $1.99 each, get $1 UP each. Used 2 $1/2 coupons. $5.96, Get 4 UP.
*2 candy bars 2/$1, Get 1 UP.
*Conair Hair Dryer $9.99 Used $5 Q. Paid $4.99 Get 5 UP.
*Ducolax $7.99, used $8 off coupon. Free.
*1 Vaseline Lotion $2.99, used $1 coupon. $1.99, Get 2 UP.

Total before: $29.93. No $/$$ coupons. Minus Q’s and 12 UP’s. Paid $0.93. Got 12 more UP!

Off to my last store… (I stopped at the library to get a $5/$25 coupon.)

*2 candy bars. $1/2, Get 1 UP.
*2 Conair dryers. $9.99, used 2 $5 coupons. Paid $9.98, Get 10 UP.
*1 Philips in-ear headphones. $4.99, Get $4.99 Rebate.
*1 Got 2 Be hairspray $4.99, minus $2 coupon. Paid $3.99, Get $4.99 Rebate.

Total before $30.96, minus $5 off and other coupons, and $12 UP. Paid $0.96, got 11 UP.

Decided to run back in and get some pop.

*3 packs of Coke products. 3 for $9.99, Get 2 UP.
*4 candy bars. 2/$1, get 1 UP. Paid $2, Get 2 UP.

Total before $11.99, Used my $11 UP, paid $0.99. Got 4 UP.

ALL IN ALL, I bought $105.74 of product. After coupons and +UP rewards (I only started with 2 +UP) I ended up paying $8.74! I saved $97!! What??

THE BEST PART of it all, since I spent over $100, I GET A $20 GIFT CERTIFICATE from the Holiday Gift of Savings program! That totally rocks!

AND EVEN BETTER… I’ll get (2) $4.99 rebates (a $9.98 check in the mail) for the two items I got on rebate! Now that's a load of good Black Friday deals!

Monday, November 22, 2010

It's time to check out Shutterfly.com!

I’ve been selected, as a blogger, to get 50 Free Shutterfly Holiday cards! In order to receive the cards, I am going to share some of my favorites from their website!

First off, I’m so excited!! For the past 3 Christmases I’ve had a wonderful and exhausting time putting together a Christmas card with my son Cooper in it. I enjoy getting the picture. (Although it seems like after the age of 2, it gets harder!) The hard part is figuring out a format or design to put the picture in for the card.

Shutterfly has made it SO easy!

1) The selection is endless! Shutterfly has stationary photo cards on cardstock, folded photo greeting cards, matte or glossy photo paper greeting cards and NEW photo stationary cards--all with the most amazing and creative designs. Much better than my brain could ever come up with!

2) Envelopes are included! I don’t know why that’s such a big deal to me, but it seems like every year I’m scrounging around the stores looking for the correct sized envelopes to go with the cards I’ve made. I don’t need that, especially with all the other holiday activities going on.

3) Shutterfly will even ADDRESS, STAMP AND MAIL my invitations to everyone on my list! What? The website says they can stamp and mail any quantity of individual cards directly to your recipients for an additional $0.99 (domestic) or $1.49 (international) per card. What a great service, especially if you are in a time crunch!!

I’ve decided I’m going with the 5x7 stationary photo cards on cardstock. I have only done photo paper cards in the past, so I think this will be a cool look. Plus I prefer the flat card that can be hung on the refrigerator easily. My relatives seem to like the cute picture on their fridges too.

I don't know how to show you the card I particularly like (though it may change) but if you click HERE you can see it. It's very simple and elegant. I like the colors a lot and the design with the 3 pictures is great to show off Cooper. :)

So, needless to say, you HAVE to check out all the possibilities on Shutterfly for your holiday cards! Go HERE to find the perfect one for your family!

Just for signing up at Shutterfly.com, you automatically receive a credit for 50 free 4x6 prints! You can’t beat that!

P.S. Don’t forget to check out the other awesome photo gifts Shutterfly has to offer. Last year, my dad absolutely LOVED his photo mug I got him with Cooper all over it. He said he didn’t want to use it, because he was afraid he’d break it. :) I had to promise him I’d him another one if that happened. What a great grandpa!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Free Product Coupons ROCK!

Rite Aid 11-12-10

I've devised a new plan to get cheap stuff lately at Rite Aid. Awhile back in the paper there was an ad in the coupon section for "Try It Free" Ducolax Balance laxative. I KNOW, I KNOW. Not a pretty thing to be stocking up on. But it's free and it's worth $8. So when I am able to find 2 at Rite Aid (that's almost $16 worth of product) and then I can add at least $4 more worth of something I need (TP, paper towels, laundry detergent). Plus if I have any other coupons for the products, I can them and use my $4 off a $20 purchase coupon I earned at riteaid.com through their Video Values and I have pretty close to FREE stuff! Just pay tax, basically. I haven't had a lot of luck with free TP or paper towels lately, so I stocked up on Bounty, Scott and Brauny this week.

The Dulcolax coupon is HERE: http://www.dulcolaxusa.com/freeoffer/ and you can print 2 per computer. We don't have internet at home right now, but these coupons are through SmartSource and I can actually print them at the library without being blocked. And since the library has multiple computers, I can usually print two off each visit. I'll take it! I just need to earn some more $4 off $20 coupons! :)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Kroger: Cereal Sale 10-28-10

Oh, Kroger. You sweetheart.

I hit Kroger to try the cereal deal going on. (Buy 4 participating General Mills cereals, get $6 off your order.) It was heavenly. I only had 4 coupons, so it was a quick trip. But, don’t you worry, I’ll be back (after I print lots of coupons at my parents house tonight…) Here’s what I did:

3 boxes Cinnamon Toast Crunch. $2.99 each, minus 4 $0.55 coupons, doubled. $1.99 ea
1 box of Cheerios. $2.99, minus $1 coupon. $1.99.

Minus $6 off for the promotion.
Minus 3 $0.55 Cellfire/Shortcuts coupons (loaded online to my Kroger Plus card)
Was: $11.96, New Total: $0.31!! for 4 boxes of Cereal!
Plus they each have Box Tops ($0.40 for his school) on them for Cooper’s school to use. Love it.

Kroger Frozen Food Sale 10-24-10

(Sorry I'm a little slow to posting this one.)

Our freezer has been empty for awhile now.  So I was determined to get to Kroger tonight to hit the Frozen Food (Buy 10, Get $5 off) Sale they have going on through the 31st. Cooper went with me and rode in the race car cart. Love those things. We were in and out really fast, since I took some time during naptime to get my coupons organized and ready. Sometimes I feel like I’m in the store for an eternity when I spend a lot of time rifling through my coupon binder. Sometimes I enjoy it, if it’s just me. But I can’t afford to do that with a 3 year old in tow (and only 1 snack). He was really good, though. But, I’m sure you know, if you have kids (or have witnessed them in stores) that things can go downhill pretty quickly.  Here’s how we did:

3 Freshetta Pizzas. $4.48 each, minus 3 $1 coupons.
2 boxes of Gorton’s Fishsticks. $3.49 each, minus 2 $0.50 coupons, doubled.
5 Marie Calendar meals. $2.18 each, minus 1 $1.50/4 coupon, and one $0.50/1 coupon.
2 Hungry Man meals. $2.28 each, minus 2 $2 off coupons.
7 Healthy Choices meals. 4 @ $1.89 and 3 @ $2.18, minus 2 $1 off 2 coupons, 2 $0.50/1 coupons, doubled, and 1 Buy 5, Get 1 Free coupon.
1 Banquet Family meal. $2.28, minus $1 off coupon.

After the 2 $5 off promotions and my coupons, my new total was $22.69! Nice. And now our freezer is jam packed for awhile. What I bought is basically 6 dinners for the whole family and 14 individual lunches!

I told myself on the way home to snap a picture, but then I got home and started putting things away before I remembered. I didn’t have the energy to take everything out again for a picture.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Swagbucks is Simple!

Swagbucks is a search engine website that rewards you for using it. There are many ways to earn Swagbucks. Once you get started, take some time to explore.

Here’s my advice for making Swagbucks work for you, without much effort!

1. SIGN UP! Have you joined Swagbucks yet? If not, check it out… (Do me a favor though, and sign up HERE (www.swagbucks.com/refer/ssssbecky) so I get some referral Swagbucks. I’ll explain later.) You get 30 Swagbucks just for signing up!

2. REMIND YOURSELF! Once you sign up, add Swagbucks to your homepage, toolbar or Favorites. This will remind you to use it. Once you get into the habit of using Swagbucks, you’ll be able to earn more quickly. Swagbucks has its own “Toolbar” that you can download. It’ll show up at the top of your internet window. Sometimes you earn a Swagbuck just for using it.

3. DO WHAT YOU ALWAYS DO! Now, instead of going to Google or Yahoo or where ever you go to search online, go to “Swagbucks” and start there instead. You will randomly earn Swagbucks as you search. Usually 6-10 at a time. Once I got 49, for some reason, all just for typing in a website name and clicking “Search!” Depending on how much you are online, you can get them multiple times in the day.

So even if I know what internet address I want to go to (like yahoo.com to check my email) I type it in Swagbucks and then click the link through them. It's a small extra step, but you could earn Swagbucks by doing it. It’s as easy as that!

4. SHARE! To me, this is the best way to earn!! Once you sign up for Swagbucks, tell friends about it! Give them your referral link—you’ll find this under you account information. It’s usually something like “swagbucks.com/refer/yourswagbucksname”. They will get 30 Swagbucks for signing up, and then once they start earning, you get the Swagbucks too! Just because you referred them! The first 1,000 Swagbucks they earn from searching, YOU EARN TOO! That’s awesome!!

Other (More Complicated) Ways to Earn, IF you have the time:

Swagbucks offers other “Ways to Earn” if you want to put more time and effort into accumulating Swagbucks faster. Most of these are found under the “Ways to Earn” at the top of the Swagbucks homepage.

• Daily Poll: Taking the Daily Poll will earn you 1 Swagbuck. Pretty easy.

• Swagbucks TV: When you watch the offered videos, you can randomly earn Swagbucks. This takes time (but you can start the video and open a new window—so you don’t have to just sit and watch.) When I have done this, I have randomly earned 5 Swagbucks a couple of times. This is a new feature (and I’m not particularly impressed with it.)

• Surveys: Answer questions on varying survey topics. You do not automatically qualify, even if a survey is listed on your page. This takes time, usually 10-20 minutes, but some surveys are worth up to 150 Swagbucks if you qualify.

• Special Offers: Special offers vary in levels of participation and reward. Some are simple and just involve giving out your name and email address. Some are more complicated, requiring credit card information, purchasing a product, downloading an application, etc. I have only done the ones that just want my name and an email address, which usually give 10-40 Swagbucks. I use a “junk” email address where I don’t mind getting lots of extra emails.
**Disclaimer: To me, Special Offers is the least dependable way to earn Swagbucks, but it is getting better. When I first started, the Swagbucks would not always be credited to my account. Now with most of the offers, you can check your status and file an inquiry if you did not receive your Swagbucks. Also, pay attention to the wording of the offer. They have gotten better about being specific on exactly what you have to do to earn the reward.

• Codes: Swagbucks will also randomly give out “Swag Codes.” Swagbucks has a page on Facebook which is a good way to keep track of new codes. You enter them into the “Gimme” spot on the Swagbucks homepage, and they award you the Swagbucks. There is also a “Widget” you can add to your blog to see if there is a code available. Codes expire quickly, and I seem to find them just a couple minutes too late, so I don’t put much effort into finding them. I like it when I do, though.

AND MORE--Browse through the "Earn" tab up at the top of the Swagbucks page. They recently added coupons, so when you print them and use them, you can Swagbucks. Cool.

Moral of the Story: Even if you only use Swagbucks to search or go to websites, it would be easy to earn enough to get a $5 gift card a month. Then you’d have $50-60 in amazon.com gift cards (or whatever you want to spend your Swagbucks on) in a year. Hey, google.com doesn’t give me anything to Google, so I might as well use Swagbucks and get something back!

Remember: Use this link: www.swagbucks.com/refer/ssssbecky to get started!! You’ll get 30 Swagbucks for signing up! I hope that helps! Thanks!!