Still relatively new to Arizona. I have lived on both coasts...I may be working my way inward now. :) I am the mom of a pretty awesome 17-year-old boy (though at this point he would wig out on my saying boy, kid or anything less than teenager) and the wife of a very amazing man. I have been blessed beyond measure when it comes to love, and isn't that really where the blessings count the most? I like to watch people and often I like to comment. I also enjoying helping people, but I kind of get saddened by seeing the same person always in the same boat.
I am feeling very random today so I am going to scatter a few tips.
OFF TO COLLEGE
Do you have a student on the way to college? If so, it is time to have the MONEY TALK!!!!!! Eeek, right?! I am so glad I still have a few years yet. If you haven't yet, sit down with your child and discuss finances and expectations. Get those expectations in order. As well as you are able, help your child figure out what expenses they will incur and figure out a budget. Make sure everyone understands what expenses, if any, you will be handling or helping your child cover. If it appears your child will need a part time job to cover the social side of college, you can help them right away with that hunt. One good thing to encourage is for them to look into campus jobs right away. They go fast so encourage your child to look into that right away. On campus jobs are nice, because you can often work them around your class schedules. Either way...have the talk.
I was recently reading the latest issue of All You magazine (have I mentioned how much I love this magazine?), and it reminded me of something that I wanted to remind you of. Whoever you are. ;) Many of these things I have been aware of for years, because I have been getting freebies for years, but they aren't always something that comes to mind for the newer freebie hunter. So here ya go:
1 - It is typical to be asked for your name, address and phone number and even birth date. If they ask for more personal information like a social security card or a credit card number...stay away.
2- Read the fine print. Every now and then you may see an offer where it says you can get a free product, but then it asks you to participate in three special offers. Don't bother. Really, really, really don't bother. All You advises that if an offer looks too good to be true...it probably is. Bummer I know.
3- Check out the website. Sometimes I see free offers and I have just never heard of the product. I check out the website, and it looks hinky or badly put together. It could be a phishing site in which case I would rather not have the free coffee or whatever.
4- This is an etiquette thing for me. I do not order a free sample from a small company unless I really am interested in the product. I don't just grab it for free because it is for free. Some small businesses are trying to generate buzz. That doesn't mean you should take advantage.
5- When in doubt on a company. Google them. Check Facebook.
6- This was a big one. Avoid unsolicited ads. If you are emailed a great deal from a stranger, you probably want to stay away. If something just pops up while you are visiting a website, move on. More often than not, you are better off avoiding these invitations.
7- There are some great sources out there for free samples. When starting out. Stick with them. One of my faves is HeyItsFree.net. You can also find great freebies on message boards and social sites like Cafemom.com. I search the web and use reliable sources. If I am unsure of a product, I definitely will not post it.
8- I've said it before, and so does everyone else. Set up a separate email address for your freebies. You can get a free email at gmail.com. This is one of the best ways to not flood your regular email box with unwanted solicitations.
GROCERY SHOPPING ON VACATION
My husband and I check out LifeHacker.com, and we seriously love it. They have great tips on all things techie which suits my husband, and some serious gems for a saver like me. My favorite was Jenny's number. Being a child of the 80s made me think of this idea as sheer genius. We hit lots of different grocery stores when we travel, and sometimes we do not have a loyalty card with a particular store. Most stores simply ask for a phone number, and apparently many people register with fake phone numbers. One of the most easily remembered numbers is from an old 80s song "867-5309 Jenny." LifeHacker suggests using the local area code and punching in Jenny's number to get the grocery store discount. Seriously...genius. By the way, they got this idea from Parent Hacks.
Tyndale publishers announced that they would be launching Digital First ebook titles. To kick start this new venture, they have five fabulous ebooks that for a limited time are absolutely free. You do not have to own a Kindle or Nook to enjoy these titles. Follow this link for Tyndale's post of eReader options. The available books are:
If you haven't had a chance yet, sign up for a free sample of Garnier Fructis Anti-Dandruff Shampoo and Conditioner. I asked my hair dresser about Garnier, and she said it was one of the best shampoos that you can get outside of a salon.
It looks like school is racing around the corner. It is time once again to start planning your purchases. Here is what we do:
-Take a count of everything. Certain teachers and classes are going to require things that you may not be aware of yet, but your child will always need pens, pencils, paper and notebooks. See what you have that you can use again. Make a list and follow that before you hit the sales flyers.
-When buying school supplies, don't forget to check grocery stores. More and more grocery stores are having sales on back-to-school supplies. Check out their circulars as well as stores like Target and Walmart. -Inventory clothes too. Spend an afternoon with your children and have them try on everything that they have.
-Once you know what the kids need, you know what you need to buy.
Where to buy kids clothes-
-Summer clearance sales - I have to admit that I am blessed with a child who is only concerned about his sneakers. When it comes to clothes, he just wants jeans and t-shirts, and since there are many summer clearance sales going on, I can usually count on supplying his t-shirt needs in that way.
-Socialize - Check out clothing swaps or organize your own. With so many people connected on Facebook, it should be rather easy to organize a swap with friends and your friends connections.
-Yard sales - They are still going on like crazy, and now is a great opportunity to shop those sales and see if you can hook your kids up. Make sure to carry their sizes with you so you don't end up buying something that doesn't fit.
-Thrift and Consignment - Remember that a lot of other families will be going through their clothes and donate rather than sell. Check out your local thrift and consignment shops. You can count on finding some great deals. Bring the kids with you. More and more teenagers are very comfortable with thrift store shopping now. I run into them all the time. :) In fact, this weekend our Goodwill in Prescott is celebrating Christmas and July and it is 50% Saturday. Everything in the store is 50% off. This is a sale you definitely want to catch.
-LET YOUR NEEDS BE KNOWN. Yes, I solid capped that for a reason. This is huge. When I was a single mom, I was not shy about letting someone know that we were very cool with second hand clothes. I worked with a lot of moms who had children who were a few years older than my son, and they were always more than happy to bring me clothes to give my son. People are more than happy to pass along clothes that their children can no longer use to someone who can use them. Don't be too proud to turn it down.
Basically, if you can fill the holes in what your child needs before school starts by using what you have and filling in with clearance, yard sales, thrift and consignment shopping, you can take advantage of the sales that will inevitably hit after school starts. You barely have to be patient, before things will be reduced. COOL WEBSITE
I have to share a site with you that will be a HUGE help during the school year. Check out Khan Academy. The Khan Academy is a non-profit educational organization created by Salman Khan. He started by tutoring his cousin in math. When other relatives wanted help, he started making youtube videos. It all skyrocketed from there. At Khan Academy people can get help with trouble spots, learn something new, and learn at their own pace. There are exercises and over 2400 videos designed to help students learn. This is a great resource for getting help for your student in subjects that you may not be too fresh in. In fact, you can get up to speed yourself.
I first found out about the Khan Academy when I watched a speech that Salman Khan gave at TED. TED is a nonprofit that brings together some of the most incredible thinkers I have ever seen, and they share what they are doing in short speeches. After watching Khan's speech, I was convinced that we were going to take advantage of Khan Academy. Here is a link to that speech: Kahn at TED
Like Beech-Nut Babyfood on Facebook and join their virtual baby food drive. For every virtual jar shared, Beech-Nut will donate a jar of baby food up to one million jars. Follow the link to give today.
These codes for Blockbuster Express are rumored to expire July 15th and are for online reserve only. If one doesn't work, try another. Also they are for the $1.00 rental: 79CMEA5 49MLBJ2 43MDEB6 46ZGDB9 38EHJR9 56KBDJ9 79NCRP5 85VHAP3 73SVEM2 25HLG6
These codes expire July 18th 83MDEB5 68ZGDB5 42EHJR5 24KBDJ5 45NCRP9 62SVEM7
From July 14th to July 17th, participating Starbucks will give you a free 12 oz Tall drink when you purchase any pack of Starbucks VIA iced coffee. Remember this is just until the 17th and only at participating stores so ask.
Just a little peak at the sales that grabbed my attention: ALBERTSONS
-Ground Chuck 5 lbs or more $1.99 lb -Fresh Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts $1.67 lb -18 oz New Crop Blueberries 2/$4 -Pork Loin Roast $1.88 lb (Fry's has it for $1.87 decide for yourself about that extra penny) -Albertsons Large Eggs $1.00 dozen -Roma Tomatoes $1.00 lb (Fry's has these for 88 cents a pound) -Breakfast Sale - Kellogg's 20% More cereals 14.7 to 20.5 oz $1.99 (plus they qualify for Albertsons Yahtzee tickets that could get you more savings) -Red Green or Romaine Lettuce $1.00 each (Fry's has these plus iceburg lettuce for 96 cents)
Follow this link to see the whole flyer. Just put in your zip code, and it will take you to the flyer for your local store: Albertsons Flyer FRY'S
-Northwest Cherries $1.29 lb -Roma Tomatoes 88 cents lb -Boneless Half Pork Loin $1.87 lb -Kellogg's Cereal select barieties 10-20.5 oz or Quaker Cereal 12.5 to 15 oz $1.79 each -Green Onions or Radishes 2/$1.00 -Iceberg, Romaine, Red or Green Leaf Lettuce 96 cents each -Artichokes 2/$3 They are also having another great buy 10 save $5 sale. Here is just a smattering of those deals: Suave Deodarant 2.6 oz 99 cents Lever 2000 Soap Two Bar pack 99 cents Colgate Toothpaste 6.4 ounce 99 cents Philadelphia Cream Cheese 8 oz select varieties $1.19 Rice A Roni or Pasta Roni 3.8 to 7.2 oz 56 cents Don't forget that Fry's also has some great school supplies sales -Top Flight Compositon Books 100 Sheets 50 cents each -Top Flight Wirebound Notebook 70 Sheets 15 cents each -Oxford Twin Pocket Portfolio 15 cents each -Top Flight Filler Paper 150 Sheets 75 cents
To get a more indepth look at your Fry's flyer, follow this link. Just put in your zip code and you can check out the flyer for a Fry's store near you: Fry's Sales Flyer
-Boneless Pork Sirloin Chops $1.59 lb -Tropical Mangos 2/$1.00 -Safeway Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts $1.67 lb -Gorton's Large or Value Pack Selections 14-24.5 oz $2.99 Each (Friday 7/15 to Monday 7/18)
Check out your local Safeway flyer by following this link. Again, just pop in the zip code: Safeway Flyers
Okay here is the skinny, Erin from The Mom Adventures is trying desperately to win money for her charity 4 Paws for Ability, Inc If we all join in a very simple process, we can get her there. The win will provide a service dog for her dear son as well as hook up some other children with service dogs. Is there anything better than helping kids?
With serious thanks, Erin is also hosting a giveaway. Mind you, this giveaway is for $100 to go into Paypal, but we need to get this into a win for 4 Paws for Ability, Inc. If she wins, her son wins, many children win, and one lucky reader will win too.
Please read her post about what she is doing here. Please do help. It will only take a moment, and I know it will mean so much.
You can also jump right on this referral link too. This gives Erin credit. :)
When I lived in Rhode Island, I loved to go to the local farms and go strawberry or apple picking. It was a great way to spend time with the family and a great way to get some seriously fresh fruit. Now I am happy to report that I found a site that lists places that you can pick your own fruit. It is simply PickYourOwn.org. Click on your state and see what is available where you live. Phone numbers are also provided as well as many links to farm websites. Always call first to check on their hours and confirm that they are still operating.
If you or someone you know need some assistance with caring for a pet, contact the humane society to see if you can get some assistance. Sometimes they get donated food and are able to help families out. If you need some veterinary assistance, check out the Humane Society's website. There are lots of organizations out there that can help. Each one has their own guidelines. Here are some that I found when I went to the site. They also have a link so you can check out assistance in various states.
Some of these are no brainers and some are things to just keep in mind as the days get warmer.
Fans use less electricity than air conditioning. When you get up in the morning open the windows and run the fans to get the air circulating. Be sure to open the windows in the part of the house that is not getting hit directly by the sun's rays. Keep shades drawn on those windows.
With the AC on turn on your ceiling fan to run counter clockwise. This will help cool the air. You can raise your thermostat 4 degrees without noticing the difference. One key thing to remember is that a fan does not need to be on if you aren't going to be in the room. A fan doesn't cool the room it cools a person.
Keep lotions and toners in the refrigerator, and they will help cool you down when you apply them. You can also use minty soaps and shampoos. These will also help cool you down. Don't forget this great beauty treat that can also keep you cool. Chill a cucumber in the refrigerator. Cut some thin slices and lay them on your eyelids and forehead.
Dress in lightweight materials like cotton. When you get home from work or school, change into more comfortable lightweight clothes.
Stay indoors. Take the opportunity to enjoy free cool air by browsing at the mall or heading into the library.
Fill a hot water bottle with cool water and place behind your knees or under your ankles to help cool you in the evening. This is a great way to cool you for a good night's sleep.
PF Chang's has a printable coupon on their Facebook page for free Lettuce Wraps with any food or drink purchase. Just click on the Free Lettuce Wraps tab on the left side of their Facebook page. The coupon is good from July 6th through the 31st.
Michaels has some great Make It Take It activities for adults! Some require a purchase and some do not. Check on the link below and get some info on some great Christmas In July crafting opportunities.
FREECCM has free downloads this week from Fee, Stephen Cole, VOTA, Addison Road, 33Miles, Stellar Kart, and Cloverton. They also have some great giveaways too. Check them out and get some great free Christian music. Remember, you do need to be a member, but it is free and worth it. They don't spam you.
Or you can enter below for an email, you cutie patooties!
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Hubby portraying pomposity (not a word...I think)
Because IHEART RADIO STINKS IMO
Welcome to my mind...
What there is of it anyway. I am a person who is consistent only in the fact that I am consistently changing. I am a happy wife and mother. I have been blessed with an amazing son and an amazing husband. They both are quite generous in their love for me, and they both enjoy me for the oddball I can be. I am rich in my life and my experiences. I am not rich in the wallet, but you can't take it with you anyway...so I'll have nothing to miss. :)