50% off at Payless Shoe Source

Oct 30, 2009

Okay, one of my friends just emailed me this and I had to put it up right away!

Oprah and Payless shoes got together and TODAY only, you can recieve 50% off ANYTHING in Payless Shoe Source.

To get the coupon for this, click here.

I have NEVER seen a coupon like this. They often have their BOGO sale (Buy One, Get One Half Off), but NEVER a pure 50% off coupon.

And, another friend just came over this week with super cute Payless boots on! I think I may need to get myself a pair.

I just tried to use the coupon code online. It doesn't work, so that means you HAVE to go into their store.

Free on Your Birthday - La Madeleine and FireHouse Subs

The good news is . . . well, it's ALL good news when it's FREE on your birthday, but this is even better news . . . when you sign up for some of these EClubs, they not only send you something FREE for your birthday, but give you something FREE just for signing up. As is the case with my first restaurant . . .

If you sign up at La Madeleine, when your birthday rolls around, they will send you a coupon for a FREE pastry. Yummy! In addition, though, as soon as you sign up on their EClub, you get a coupon for either a FREE Ceasar salade (that's the way they spell it) or a cup of Tomato Basil Soupe (again, their spelling, not mine). Have you ever HAD their Tomato Basil Soupe? Well, it's "to-die-for!"

The second place I'm going to tell you about (because those two paragraphs above didn't seem long enough to consider a post) is Firehouse Subs. If you go to their website by clicking here, you'll get a FREE sub for your birthday.

Don't forget to sign up everyone in your family!

Freebies and Deals on Halloween

Oct 29, 2009

Okay, with Halloween just a few days away, I wanted to share some of the great deals I found for the holiday. And I have a BUNCH of them!

Let's start with the FREE stuff. On Halloween night, between 6 PM and Midnight, stop by your local Taco Bell and pick up your FREE Black Jack Taco. What is that, you ask? It's a black taco shell with meat, lettuce, sauce and three cheeses. No purchase necessary. I believe it's at all Taco Bells because it's on their website, but you might want to call ahead.

Now, if you have a Papa Murphy's in your area, you'll want to bring your kids there on Halloween - dressed in their full costume. This store will be giving out FREE mini-sized kid's pizzas. Once again, call ahead to make sure your local store is participating - as I couldn't find anything about the promo on their website.

THEN, if your family isn't full enough, have them all change into a costume resembling a burrito (or some other Chipotle menu item) and head over to your local Chipotle. Anyone who comes into their stores dressed as something on their menu will receive a FREE menu item of your choice. This is for after 6 PM - so don't go too early! And, once again, call ahead to make sure your local store is participating. I couldn't find info on the deal on their website.

Okay, this isn't technically a Halloween deal, but it's a deal that is really only good until the day BEFORE Halloween, so I'm posting it. If you take this coupon - which you find by clicking here - to your local Einstein's bagels before 11 am on FRIDAY, you will receive a FREE bagel. The coupon says it expires on November 3, which is weird, because that's a Tuesday, but oh, well. I like Einstein's bagels. Do I LOVE them? No. I really miss good ol' New Jersey bagels. But, since I can't find anything similar to THOSE in Texas, Einstein's is the place that comes the closest. Make sure to print out coupons for all your kids - so the whole family can get FREE bagels.

Okay, and then I have a great DEAL for you. On Halloween and the day BEFORE, if you go to Old Navy, they will be selling their Halloween costumes for TWO DOLLARS!!! This is a GREAT chance to stock up for next year (and many years to come!) This is an in-store deal only. Make sure you get there early - they are bound to sell out!

Work From Home - Review Websites

Oct 28, 2009

Today is my daughter’s seventh birthday! That alone, makes today a reason to celebrate!

But, as if that wasn’t enough . . . it’s also Work-From-Home Wednesday!

The company I’m writing about today is called UserTesting. The way it works is you sign up with them by clicking here.

Then, depending on your demographic information, you will be asked to review various websites. Companies pay UserTesting to have their website reviewed by 5 users. You get paid $10 per website and it should take you about 15 or 20 minutes to review the site – giving feedback to the companies on what they can improve. For example, you may tell them that the site isn’t attractive or that it’s difficult to navigate through or that you didn’t understand some of the wording.

As you work your way through their site, you will be recording comments on either a computer microphone or the phone. At the end, you will be asked to write a summary answering four short questions.

In order to qualify, you must be at least 18 years old, have a computer with Windows XP or higher, have a broadband connection, and download their software. You will need to be able to record your voice, but you can do that with a computer microphone or on the phone.

Sounds like a fun job to me! I imagine the amount of work depends on your demographics and how many people they have who fit the same profile and for which target audiences certain websites are designed.

Let me know how it works out!

Join a Group and Make Some New Friends

Oct 27, 2009

When I was at work last Friday, a friend of mine told me about this website you found. It's called Meet Up and this is how it works:

When you go on there, you type in your zip code (and, your interest, if you want. For example: reading, French, skiing, politics, etc.).

The site then gives you a list of clubs, groups and organizations in your area that fit your criteria.

It's a fascinating site. I found myself spending over an hour searching through all the interesting groups! I even found a group dedicated to people who like to EAT!

I decided to see how many groups were within a 25 mile radius of my zip code in Austin. I found 934!

I then typed in the zip code for the town where I grew up in New Jersey. Within a 25 mile radius there were 4,849 registered groups! I decided to try the zip for the little town where my husband grew up in Upstate New York. They had 194.

My friend was telling me about the site because she'd joined two groups through them. One was for single parents to do activities with their kids. Another was for singles (over 40) to get together and meet each other.

There are groups for travelers, Girls Nights Out, dog lovers (mutts, boxers, poodles, etc), cooking, Bible studies, chick lit and chick flicks, sign language, biking, arthritis walkers . . . even, dare I say it, cross dressing (though, I doubt I'll be joining that group.)

Whatever your interest, you are likely to find a group to join. And, before you join, you can see how many members the group has already.

Try it out! If I didn't have 3 small kids and a ton of part-time jobs, I'd be joining a bunch of the groups. But, since I don't have the time, I think I'll only look into one or two. Still, it's going to be hard to choose! They all sound like such fun! And what a great way to meet new people!

Let me know if you find a great group in your area!

Not All Free Things are a Good Idea

Oct 26, 2009

As I am sure it is apparent by now, I like to get good deals – and I enjoy it even more if I can get things for free. But, believe it or not, even I have my limits. There are just some lines I will not cross, and I know the perfect story to tell you to demonstrate this fact.

When my husband, Rob, and I had been married for about 3 or 4 months, we were living in Manhattan, Kansas. Rob was in the Army, stationed at Ft. Riley, a post located about 30 minutes away from our apartment.

At that time in our life, Rob wasn’t home very often. In his early Army career, Rob always seemed to be “in the field” with his unit, or deployed somewhere, or just working late. I spent a lot of time alone in that apartment and a good deal of that time was spent worrying about him driving on the cold, and often icy, Kansas highway between Ft Riley and our home.

So, one winter evening about 13 years ago, as I waited for Rob to return from work, I spent time chatting on the phone with my best friend from childhood. As we caught up on each other’s lives, the call waiting beeped.

“Can you hold on?” I asked her, and when she agreed, I clicked over.

“Hello?” I said, half expecting it to be Rob.

“Good evening, Ma’am,” a man’s voice on the other end of the line said. “This is the Manhattan Police Department.”

I almost dropped the phone. My heart jumped into my throat. Had Rob been in a car crash? Was there an accident on post? My mind was racing a million miles a second.

“Yes?” I said, hesitantly.

“Someone has hit a deer with their car . . ."

I blinked hard. What did he say? Did Rob hit a deer?

“Excuse me?” I said slowly.

“Someone has hit a deer with their car and . . .”

A deer? Why was he calling me about a deer?

“We were wondering if you wanted to come get it.”


A deer?

Someone’s car?


“Excuse me?” I said again. Clearly, I was missing something here.

“We wondered if you wanted to come get the deer.”

No, I hadn’t heard him incorrectly.

Maybe he thought he was calling Animal Control and had called me instead.

I said nothing.

“Ma’am, are you still there?”

“Yes,” I said.

“So, do you want it?”

“Do I want what?”

“The deer.”

This conversation was getting weirder and weirder.

“Is it dead?” Maybe, if it wasn't, he thought I was a veterinarian and could nurse it back to health.

“Yes, it’s dead.”

Hmmm . . .

“And someone hit it with his car?”

“Yes,” he seemed be growing impatient with me.

So, I asked the only reasonable question I could think of at the moment.

“Why would I want a dead deer?”

I heard him rustling through some papers.

“Is this the home of Lieutenant Robert Seiler?”

“Yes.” So, now we were back to Rob. Maybe Rob had hit the deer after all.

“Well, he put your home down on the Road Kill List.”

He did what?

Did I hear this guy correctly?

The Road Kill list? What exactly was a Road Kill List?

Not realizing it, I must have asked those questions aloud because the cop responded to me.

“When someone hits a deer on the road with his or her car, we call the people on the list to come get the animal.”

And he was now calling me. Me.

Was this a joke? I looked around my kitchen. Was I on Candid Camera?

“What am I supposed to do with the deer?” I said hesitantly.

“I guess eat it, Ma’am.” He really seemed irritated with me.

Eat it?

A deer that had been hit by a car?

A deer they were now calling Road Kill?

I was supposed to eat it?

“Ma’am,” he said. “Do you want it or not? If you don’t, I’ll call the next person on the list.”

“Uhm . . .” I said, “No, I do not want it. You’d better call someone else.”

“Are you sure?” he asked. “If you don’t take this deer, then your name gets put at the bottom of the list and it’ll be awhile before we call you again.”

Was I sure? Had I ever been more certain of anything in my life?

“Officer, I am most certainly sure. Thanks anyway,” and I hung up the phone.

I don’t remember what ever happened to that conversation with my childhood friend. Maybe she’d hung up, tired of waiting for me to get back on the line. Maybe I clicked over to her and told her the crazy story about the bizarre phone call I’d just received.

What I do remember, however, is what happened that night when my husband came home.

“I got the weirdest call tonight,” I told him, as he walked in the door.

“Really, what?” he asked, taking off his Army boots.

“The police called and asked if I wanted a dead deer that someone had hit with their car.”

Rob looked up at me, all excited.

“Did you say we’d take it?”

This was not the reaction I’d been expecting.

Maybe he hadn’t heard me correctly.

“The cop said we were on the Road Kill List.” I said, pronouncing each word carefully.

“I know!” he said, smiling. “I put us on the list awhile ago but they’ve never before called. So, did you tell them we’d come and get it?”

And it was at that very moment, four or so months into our marriage, that I realized my husband and I were two completely different people.

“Did I tell him we’d come get it? Are you CRAZY?” I said, raising my voice. “He called it road kill! ROAD KILL! You married me and brought me to Kansas so I could eat road kill? Are you nuts!?”

“What’s the big deal?” he asked. “It’s no different than if I’d gone hunting and killed the deer myself.”

See, right there was another difference. I didn’t hunt. I didn’t even know anyone who hunted before I met Rob. And, I had certainly never eaten a deer.

Exasperated, I yelled, “I’m from New Jersey!” – as if that explained everything.

“What’s that got to do with it?” he asked.

“We don’t EAT road kill there!” I said, and stormed out of the room.

“Next time they call,” Rob called after me, “Tell them we’ll take the deer!”

I slammed the bedroom door.

It took us a long time, as a couple, to live down that story. As a woman, I, of course, immediately called all of my girlfriends to complain. They, in turn, told their husbands – all fellow soldiers in Rob’s unit.

For months after that evening, we would come home to messages on our answering machine that said things like, “Hey, Rob. This is Mike. I’ve got 2 dead squirrels and a skunk in my backyard. Do you want to come get them?”

Very funny. Very funny.

Three years later, we moved to Texas. Fortunately, for me, Austin doesn’t have a Road kill List. Or, at least, if it does, in the ten years we've lived here, I have not been made aware of it.

And, if one does exist, please . . . please . . . do not tell my husband about it!

No one likes a free meal more than me.

But, there are some free meals that even I have to turn down!

Free Grilled Chicken at KFC

Oct 24, 2009

I don't usually post on the weekend, but I wanted to let you all know about the great deal I found for Monday!

If you stop by your local KFC on Monday (10/26), they'll give you a FREE piece of grilled chicken!

No purchase necessary.

One piece of chicken per person. Click here for details.

(They promise to not run out of chicken this time, like they did for their Oprah promotion!)

Take your kids. I know that one piece of chicken can be a whole meal for mine!


Kids Eat Free at Ikea

Oct 23, 2009

One more deal I have to put up today!

If you head to Ikea from now until Sunday, kids eat FREE!

And the best part is, NO adult purchase necessary!

So, if you're in the area, you might want to stop in and get your kids some yummy Mac 'n Cheese (or something else just as good!).

You can find out info on the program by clicking here.

Free Cookie and Hot Chocolate at Barnes and Noble

NOTE: I just looked at the coupon and though it says "One per customer" but nowhere does it say you have to BE a child to get this deal!

If you go to the Barnes and Noble site by clicking here, you can print out a coupon for a FREE small kids' size hot chocolate and small cookie. It's only good for tomorrow, Saturday, October 24.

Take your kids down and have a special outing - and then head over to the Kid's book section to play with the Thomas the Tank Engine train set they always have set up!

What a fun day!

Free On Your Birthday - Toys R Us, Melting Pot and Disney

It’s Free-On-Your-Birthday-Friday!
Or, at least, free on your KID’S birthday!

The first company I’m going to talk about today is Toys-R-Us. My daughter has been signed up with them for a few years now. And, since her birthday is this coming Wednesday, and their “gift” just arrived for her, it’s fresh on my mind.

Every year, they send her a $3 gift card for Toys R Us.

Now, there’s not a lot you can buy at Toys R Us for three bucks, but there are a few things.
And, the good thing is, you don’t have to spend $5 or $10 to use the $3 gift card. It’s just a free $3.

What I usually do is take the card to the store all by myself and pick out something little for her. This year, I chose a small flashlight that I know she’ll have fun playing with in her bed at night. (I got it by the cash register, so it was pretty cheap.) I think I’m going to hang onto it and use it for a stocking stuffer. After all, she doesn’t know the card came, so she’s not expecting anything right now and this way, I save a little money on stocking stuffers at Christmas time.

To register all your kids’ for this program, click here. When you register your kids, you can also select whether you want Geoffrey the Giraffe to call your child on his or her birthday and what time would be best.

The second company, a restaurant, is PURELY for adults! At least, in my eyes. It’s the Melting Pot!

If you go to their site by clicking here, and register, not only will they send you a coupon for a free fondue for two on your birthday (at least, rumor has it they will), but they will also send you a coupon for a free Chocolate fondue for two you can use right now! I think I’m going to have to plan a Girls Night Out to enjoy that one!

Finally, I just want to mention that if you happen to be going to Disney World or Disney Land before the end of 2009 and you’ll be there on your birthday, you get free Park Admission! Info on that can be found right here.

Happy Birthday to you!

Great Gift Idea - Sit 'n Spin

Oct 22, 2009

Okay, here’s another great Christmas present idea.

If you go to Coupons.com you can print a coupon for $10 off a Sit ‘n Spin. (When you go to the site, click on the “Toys and Games” link on the left to find the coupon.)

Many Walmarts, (check the ones near you), have lowered their Sit ‘n Spin price to $16.52. Not all have this price - so check first. If not, I believe that Target is charging $20 for the Sit 'n Spin, so you can get it for $10 there.)

So, is you use the coupon, you can get a Sit ‘n Spin, which usually costs about $25, for $6.52!

What a great present idea! And, if your kids are too old for one, or you already have one, mentally go through your Christmas present list. Do you need gift for a young niece or nephew? How about the child of a friend?

It’s not to early to start getting your presents together! You’ll save yourself money in the long run if you buy smartly now!

FREE $15 Gift Code from Kodak

It's getting closer to Christmas and so as I find great deals and ways to save money on presents, I'm going to make sure to post them. Here is a GREAT way to get FREE or inexpensive gifts for family and friends.

Kodak (click here) is giving $15 gift codes away on their site. There are 3 phases to the program. During each phase, 100,000 gift codes will be given away (they'll email the code to you).

The phases are as follows:

Phase 1 (Oct. 20 – Oct. 28)
Phase 2 (Oct. 29 – Nov. 5)
Phase 3 (Nov. 6 – Nov. 13)

If you sign up and they are all out of the gift codes, you will receive a 40% off coupon code. You can still try to get the $15 gift code during the next phase. I’m not sure if the 40% off and the gift code will work together, but it sure would be great if they did! (And, I'm not sure if you get a code during one phase, if you can get another one during another phase - but it's worth a try!)

I just went to the site, put in my information and got one of the $15 gift codes.

They have a lot of great products on their site – such as mugs, calendars and photo books you can personalize. Perhaps some great grandparent gifts for Christmas?

You also get entered in a chance to win tickets to the Ellen Degeneres show.

Don't forget to sign up your spouse! (I also signed up my parents and they both got $15 codes sent to their email account.)

Good luck!

FREE Chocolate-Covered Fruit Sampler

Oct 21, 2009

Okay, I have a FREE deal for you that you can get if you are on Facebook – but you have to hurry. (And, if you're NOT on Facebook, what on earth are you waiting for???)

You need become a FAN of the company Edible Arrangements. Once you do, click on the tab at the top of their page that says, “Free Dipped Fruit.” It will take you to a form you need to fill out.

So, what’s the FREE deal? For the first 100,000 fans who sign up, they will give a sampler of 6 pieces of their chocolate dipped fruit! They are already close to 70,000 fans, so don't wait!

They will email you a coupon code in a couple days that you can redeem online (but shipping is not included) or in your local store. (They are sending the coupon code emails out in batches, so it may take a few days to receive yours.) To find a store near you, click here.

If your spouse is on Facebook, make sure they sign up, too!

I LOVE chocolate covered fruit – even more if it’s FREE!


Work From Home - Amazon's Mechanical Turk

It’s true that the older you get, the faster the weeks seem to fly by.

I can’t believe it’s already another Wednesday, thus let’s talk about a way to Work From Home!

The company I’m going to profile today is called Mechanical Turk and it’s a part of Amazon.

This is NOT a way you will get rich – but it appears (from all my research) to be legitimate. The good news is, too, that you really don’t need to be very qualified. All you need is to be 18 or older and have a computer (and sometimes, you must be in the U.S.)

This is how it works: You go to their site by clicking here.

And then, according to a review I read on Oreillynet.com, “Some tasks asked you to transcribe audio. Others matched pictures to business names. Some made you look up handwritten information on deeds. Others simply asked for your opinion.”

Basically, the work is easy and simple, but tasks that Amazon realized computers were not able to do.

You get paid per task – once your work is approved.

But, it pays VERY little. I mean, we’re talking some jobs pay you 1 to 3 CENTS!

The highest paying job on there right now pays $5.

I imagine, though, if you find a task you’re good at and can get it done quickly, the money could add up – but I doubt it’ll be very quickly.

I see that one of the $3 jobs is for Moms to answer “mom advice” questions on Facebook.

A $1.55 job asks you to write at least 5 sentences about an experience you had with cancer, either as a patient, survivor or caregiver.

A lot of the jobs seem to be for transcription.

In order to get work, you’ll need to have an Amazon.com account.

(Even if you don’t have an account, though, you can check out the jobs they have available.)

If I were you, when I search the jobs, I’d sort them by “reward” – largest to smallest. After all, you want to make as much money as possible, right?

I have no experience with this company, and it doesn’t appear to pay a ton, however, this could be a perfect job for someone who needs to make a little extra cash and doesn’t see any other way to do it from home. I mean, even if you only make $20, that’s $20 more than you had before – and maybe a Christmas present or two for your kids. (By the way, you can get paid in cash or in Amazon.com credit.)

Good luck!

Get a FREE Taco Deluxe at Taco Bueno

Once again I’m going to do TWO posts in a day! I didn’t want this to be my only post, though, because I realize that only certain areas of the country have Taco Bueno.

For those of you who DO have Taco Buenos near you, here is the deal.

Until October 29, with this coupon (click here) you can get a FREE Taco Deluxe with any purchase.

What I did today was this: I had no kids with me (Yeah!) so I went and purchased myself a Tostado for 99 cents (they have bunch of other things on the dollar menu, too - like a cheese quesadilla or chips and queso). Then, I got my free taco. My bill came to $1.07. I then went home with my food (had a drink from my fridge) and ate a very inexpensive lunch!

It says limit one per customer per day. BUT, if you have your kids with you, you should be able to order individually for each of them – thus using numerous coupons. Doing this will allow you to feed each person in your family for about a dollar.

Hand each kid a juice box from your cabinet and you’re good to go!

(Just a warning, the tacos are a little bit spicey - you might want to count on eating those yourself and giving the kids the other dollar menu items.)

Save Money with the Baskin Robbins Survey

Oct 20, 2009

I have to admit that I have a guilty pleasure (at least, one I’m willing to tell you about!)

I love, love, LOVE Baskin Robbins chocolate malts. In fact, I love all Baskin Robbins treats, but the malts are my favorite.

On days when things have been particularly difficult – when I am at my wits end with the kids – I will get them in bed, walk downstairs and say to my husband, “I’m going out.”

And, where do I head?

Baskin Robbins.

I bet the staff knows me and my order by now. I know that I can recognize all of them!

The thing is . . . and this is the reason why it is a guilty pleasure (other than the calories and fat, of course) . . . Baskin Robbins is pretty expensive. I could get a whole half gallon of ice cream that would feed my entire family for less than what I pay for one dessert at their store.

And, that makes me feel guilty.

But, it doesn’t stop me from needing that malt and making my way there.

I’ve tried buying ice cream at the grocery store and making my own malt at home in the blender. I’ve experimented with skim, 2% and whole milk. I’ve tried various brands of chocolate ice cream. But, no matter what I do, it doesn’t taste the same.

Thus, since I am bound to head over to Baskin Robbins, I have found a way to ease my conscious - at least a little.

If you go to this website by clicking here, you can take a survey regarding your latest visit to Baskin Robbins. It’s easy and takes less than a minute to click. And then, once you submit it, it gives you a “$1 off your next $4 or more purchase at Baskin Robbins” coupon.

One dollar is not a huge savings, but if every penny counts, than I have just saved us a hundred of them, right?

So, every time I get a chocolate malt craving, I quickly go to the website and take the survey regarding my most recent visit. I then print out my coupon and I’m on my way.

If a bunch of you are going to Baskin Robbins, you can all take the survey before you go. Then, if each of you orders separately (and trust me, it’s not hard for one person to reach a $4 order at that place!), you can each get a dollar off your dessert.

Check it out next time you’re headed to Baskin Robbins! You’ll be happy you did!

Who Should I Marry?

Oct 19, 2009

Let me preface this by saying that my husband, Rob, would not approve if he knew I was telling you all this story. But, it's just so funny, I have to go ahead anyway . . .

When my daughter was four years old, and our oldest son, Bennett, was less than a year, we were eating dinner at the table as a family. In the middle of dinner, I got up to turn over some extra pieces of chicken in a frying pan.

All of a suddden, my daughter, Jordan called out, "Mommy! Bennett is standing up in his highchair!"

Without turning around, I said, "Bennett is Daddy's responsibility right now. I'm cooking dinner."

To which, Rob said, unenthusiastically, "He's fine."

I turned around and glared at my husband. "Rob!" I said, in my most irritated voice.

"If he falls out of the chair, he'll learn not to do that again."

I think I just sighed out of frustration and for a minute, no one said anything.

Suddenly, Jordan broke the silence when she said, "Mommy, when I get married, I shouldn't marry someone who doesn't take care of his children, right?"

I did my best to contain my giggles.

I said, "You're right, Jordan. You should NOT marry someone who does not take care of his children."

At that, Rob got up and sat Bennett down in his highchair, securing the seatbelt.

We never spoke about it again.

I mean, what can you say when your four-year-old says something like that?

Taco Cabana - Tac-O-Treat coupon books

Oct 16, 2009

Okay, it is very rare for me to do two posts in one day, but I came across a good deal this morning that I just had to share.

This morning, I was going through the drive-through of our local Taco Cabana (and I apologize to those of you who don’t have this chain near you – for missing out on today’s deal AND for just missing out on this restaurant in general!), when I saw a sign advertising their “Tac-O-Treat” coupon books.

For a $1 donation to St. Jude’s, you can get a coupon book with five coupons – each good for 1 FREE bean and cheese taco.

Now, I don’t know about your kids, but mine LOVE bean and cheese tacos. And, pretty much, one of them is a whole meal for them. So, if each of these coupons “costs” 20 cents, then I can feed each of my children a meal for that small of an amount.

I bought three of them. But, since I have 3 kids, I might go back for more.

The coupons are only good for the month of November.

You might want to hurry up to your nearest Taco Cabana to get this great deal. When I was there, they had a stack of them at the register, but, like any other good deal, they are bound to go fast!

Free on Your Birthday - Burger King and Denny's

It’s Friday and that means I have something that’s FREE on your birthday!

These deals are actually for your kids.

The first one is Burger King. If you click here you can register your kids for the BK Birthday Club. They’ll email your email account when it’s your child’s birthday with a coupon for a FREE kids’ meal. Unlike some companies, you can use the same email address for numerous children, so I was able to put all of my kids on my one email account.

It’s a little complicated, though, to register the kids. It turns out, after you register them, they send you an email for each child. Go into the first one and follow the instructions. You have to give your approval for the birthday club (I think because it also includes an online game program for the child to play). You can only register, though, through ONE child’s email – so don’t even bother trying to go through the other emails. Then, once you create YOUR account, they send you ANOTHER email to verify it and you have to click on the link. Once you are in your account, you can ADD the other children who have already registered by using their “username” and password. Got it? You might need to read through those steps a few times as you do it.

The second offer is from Denny’s. If you sign up your kids by clicking here, they will send your child a coupon for a free meal AND a sundae! This offer is not as complicated. Basically, you just fill out the online form. However, when you are done, it says, “Add another child.” If you click that, it just takes you to a page where you can print off the PDF form to mail in. That’s a hassle. Instead, click the BACK button and just fill out another online form.

What a great way to get them some nice treats for their birthday, that don’t cost YOU a dime!

Happy Birthday to your kids!

Free Panties From Victoria Secret

Oct 15, 2009

I’m afraid that this blog post may fall under the category of “TMI” (i.e. Too Much Information).

Oh, well . . . I’ll have to live with that.

I, personally, feel the best panties for women out there come from Victoria’s Secret. I’ve tried many others, but the Victoria Secret ones seem to be the most comfortable and last the longest.

But, they’re not cheap, are they?

I’m sure there must be other women out there who feel the same way about this brand . . . and so, I’ve got a great FREE deal for you!

If you join Victoria’s Secret Pink Nation, by clicking here . . . you can then print off a coupon for a free pair of VS panties! (And a $10 off your next bra coupon.)

And, if you’re not a woman . . . I’m sure there is a woman in your life who would appreciate you getting the free panties for her!

I have a Victoria Secret credit card - for the sole reason that if you own one, they periodically send you coupons in the mail for FREE panties. From what I understand, if you join their VS Pink Nation, they also send you coupons via email for other free stuff. YEAH!


Work From Home - ETS

Oct 14, 2009

Happy Work-From-Home Wednesday!

The company I’m profiling today is one that should be familiar to all of you if you ever took standardized tests in high school. It is Educational Testing Service (ETS).

ETS offers a number of opportunity to score standardized tests (generally, the essays) from home. They do not hire for all tests all year long – their hiring process appears to be based on demand. At the moment, you can apply online for three different tests. To be a scorer for these tests, the following is required:

School Leaders Licensure Assessment (SLLA) – You must have certification as a school principal or superintendent or teach graduate level courses in an accredited educational leadership program.

Test of English as a Foreign Language™ Internet-based Testing (TOEFL iBT) – You must have hold a B.A. or higher degree from an accredited college, have experience assessing non-native speakers’ English and be qualified in English language teaching.

Test of English for International Communication™ (TOEIC®) - You must have hold a B.A. or higher degree from an accredited college and it is preferred that you have experience assessing non-native speakers’ English.

To apply for any of these positions, click here.

If you don’t fit into any of these categories, you may still want to bookmark their website. Throughout the year, other positions become available for those who are Certified Public Accountants, have K-2 teaching experience, are a college professor, those who teach Chinese or Japanese AP courses or merely hold a Bachelor’s Degree in any area.

Scoring standardized test essays is a grade way to make a little extra cash while in your own house. If you have the patience to sit through hundreds of essays – then this may be the job for you!

Note: I do my best to research all the companies I write about. To my best understanding, they are legitimate. But please, do your own research and NEVER pay money to work for a company!

Kids Eat Free - Boston Market

Oct 13, 2009

I’ve got a great Kids Eat Free meal deal for you today!

Boston Market is running a special, until October 31. If an adult makes a $6 minimum purchase, two kids (under age 14) with that adult can eat for free. (Kids must be present at the time.)

So, if you and your spouse both go in to Boston Market and spend about $8 a piece, four of your kids can eat for free. With tax and drinks (FYI: the kids’ meals include drinks), you and your family of 6 can eat for about $20. Not a bad deal!

Four kids can also eat for free if a family meal is purchased. (Those meals cost between $20-$24.)

I think my family might be making a family outing to Boston Market in the near future. It’s the type of restaurant where I can take my kids and not be too worried about their behavior!

Maybe I’ll see you there!

The Dippy Egg

Oct 12, 2009

Yesterday morning, I made my almost-seven-year-old daughter breakfast – an over-easy egg and an English muffin. Looking at it, I thought it came out pretty good. Sometimes, I have a tendency to overcook the egg. But, this time, it looked just right.

I handed it to my daughter and she began to chow down. After a minute or so, I asked her, “How’s the egg?”

“Good,” she said.

“As good as Grandma makes?”

(According to Jordan, my mom is the best “dippy egg” maker on the planet.)

“No,” she said, as she kept eating.

“It’s not?” I asked her. “What did I do wrong?”

She took another bite and chewed it, thoughtfully.

“It has good taste and I like the crunch, but I’d like to see more texture.”

Are you kidding me?

Can we say, “Someone has been watching the Food Network a little too often?”

Free on Your Birthday - Hollywood Video and Schlotzsky's

Oct 9, 2009

Did you know that Hollywood Video will give you a FREE video rental on your birthday?

Yep, it’s true! You don’ t need to go online to sign up, but if you have a Hollywood Video Membership, make sure that your birthday is on your account. Also, if you have anyone else on your membership (like your spouse), check that their birthday is on there, too. (You can do this by just calling or asking the salesperson to check your account on the computer.)

Then, on your birthday, go in and get your free movie!

Another birthday deal is from Schlotzsky’s Deli. If you go and register online, they will email you, for your birthday, a coupon for a FREE small sandwich. When I just did the registration, it had me click on which location I preferred to use. So, I clicked on the one closest to me. I think that address will show up on the coupon and you have to go there to redeem it.

Don’t forget to sign up your spouse and kids, too!

But, the thing is that you can only put one person per email address. That is a problem if your kids don't have emails. (I usually just type in one of my two email addresses for them.) So, you'll have to figure out what to do about that . . .

When you sign up, they will, right away, email you a coupon for a free drink and chips with the purchase of a sandwich, which is good for about 3 weeks.

Happy Birthday to you!

Free Breakfast at Ikea

Oct 8, 2009

I love Ikea. In fact, I need to write a whole post about how much I love Ikea.

But, this post is not about their furniture and other items – it’s about their restaurant. First of all, on any given day, they have a great menu with really good prices. I like taking my kids there because you can get a kids meal (which includes a small refillable drink) for less than $2.50. The macaroni and cheese is YUMMY – and it's 99 cents!!! (WITH the drink!) Sometimes, I get the meal for myself!
They also have a meatball meal which comes with French fries for $1.99. The PBJ and fruit cup meal is also $1.99 and the grilled cheese and fries is $2.29.

The adult meals are also really good and reasonably priced. You can view the whole IKEA menu by clicking here.

But, that’s not what this post is about. This one is about how to get a FREE breakfast at Ikea this weekend.

This Saturday (October 10) – Monday (October 12) Ikea is giving away a FREE small breakfast and a FREE coffee (one per customer). The breakfast (according to the their photo) includes scrambled eggs, bacon and potatoes. I’ve had it before – it’s really good!

Unfortunately, the offer is not valid at Ikea Houston, Ikea Hicksville or Ikea Direct.

But, for the rest of us who live near other Ikeas . . . it might be a good way to take the family out for a nice breakfast this weekend!

See you there!

Work From Home - Writer, Filmmaker, or Copy Editor

Oct 7, 2009

Okay, when I talk about today’s Work-At-Home Wednesday company, I know a little bit about what I’m talking about – since this is a company I actually work for!

It’s called Demand Studios and what they do is hire people (like me) to write articles for various websites, such as EHow, Livestrong, GolfLink and Trails.com, among others. In addition, they are also hiring Filmmakers and Copy Editors.

Let me tell you a little bit about the writing job, since that’s the one I understand the best. I work as a freelance writer and when I log onto their website, I select what article or articles I’d like to write from, literally, thousands of titles. I then research my article, write it and submit it for editing. Sometimes it comes back to me that it needs edits. Most of the time (fortunately) it does not!

And that’s it. I get paid $15 per article. Not a ton, but I’m getting faster at writing them, so the money is beginning to add up. I find that I research five or 10 articles in a sitting and then, when I have a few free hours, I sit and write a bunch of them in a row. I have a week from when I choose my article to when it’s “due.” Up until last week, they paid me every Friday via Paypal. I just got an email from them, though, that they are now beginning to pay us twice a week! It’s great to not wait very long for my paycheck.

I also have the opportunity to write “revenue share” articles which will pay out “revenues” over the 5-year life of the article instead of the flat rate of $15. I’ve written about 15 of those articles and enjoy the monthly cash they bring in. But, since I usually want to be able to count on a set rate of pay each month, I don’t do very many of those right now. According to Demand Studio’s research, however, over the 5 year period, those articles will probably pay you about $75 each as opposed to the flat rate of $15 up front.

So, if you are a writer or have a strong writing background, this may be a great stay-at-home job for you. I know that it fits perfectly into my schedule.

And, if you're a filmmaker or have experiencing in editing, check out those jobs, too.

Note: I do my best to research all the companies I write about. To my best understanding, they are legitimate. But please, do your own research and NEVER pay money to work for a company!

Thrift Stores and Garage Sales

Oct 6, 2009

For some reason, it has only been in the past few years that I have discovered the joy – and deals – you can find at thrift stores. I don’t know why it never occurred to me before to shop at them, but it didn’t. But, now that I know what a treasure chest they can be, I try to pop into my favorite ones whenever I’m in their neighborhoods.

So, what kind of great finds have I found? Well, I’ve learned that you can get GREAT deals on kids’ clothes and even shoes! Last year, right about this time of year, I realized that my then-2-year-old son, Bennett, needed long pants for the winter and he really had none. I went to old Navy and they had some pretty good sales going, so I got him about 3 pairs. I think the pants were $10 a piece. When I went to pick him up at his preschool, one of the teachers there (who has also become a good friend) told me that I should have checked out her favorite Thrift Store first. (For those of you in Austin, it’s the Family Thrift Center on Oltorf – at the corner of Congress.) Since it was on my way home, I decided to check it out right away. First of all, I could not believe how much STUFF they had! Racks and racks and racks of clothes of all sizes, toys, household items, shoes, books . . . and they kept bringing more stuff out as I shopped. I made my way to the boys’ section and found GREAT pants in Bennett’s size – for about three or four dollars! (Some of them were even $1.99 or less!) I got him about 5 pairs and paid a great deal less than I had at Old Navy – and some of them were even Old Navy brand (or even Gap).

Since that day, I have made it a point to search for the clothes I need for the kids there first – or at other Thrift stores in Austin – before I pay retail. It is, of course, always hit or miss – but I found my daughter’s Easter dress for next year – a beautiful, fancy dress with a sash – for $7. I got her a pair of never-worn Crocs for the same price. I’ve even picked up quite a few birthday or Christmas toys there for less than $5 (the kids don’t know they’re not new – they are just happy they don’t have to fight with the box when they open their gifts!) I bought a winter coat for my daughter for about $5. I got my son’s fireman Halloween costume (a real, well-made raincoat - not some cheap plastic thing - that is made to look like a Fireman’s coat) for $5. The other day, I realized I needed a button-down white shirt for the baby to wear underneath his red sweater vest I bought him for Christmas – and didn’t want to pay retail for it. I popped in there and found a perfect one for $1.99. While I was there, I stumbled upon an adorable, looks-brand-new Nemo pull-suitcase for $4. Since the Desitin exploded all over his other diaper bag and I can’t get it out, this was a perfect solution to my problem! (Though the boys now fight over who gets to pull the bag.) I have even stocked up on bathing suits for Bennett for the next few years.

For those in Austin, my other favorite Thrift Store is Savers (I go to the one on South Lamar.) The good thing about them is that if you bring any item in to donate, they give you a coupon for 20% off your next purchase of $10 or more. I try to keep something in my car to donate (an old sweater or pants or something.) That way, whenever I’m there, I can get the coupon and use it on what I purchase that day.

I have also discovered that thrift stores can be a great place to buy small appliances. Now, I have to say up front, that Good Will is my LEAST favorite thrift store. I think they price too high (isn’t that crazy? I actually think Good Will is too expensive!) but . . . when it comes to shoes and clothes, they are. The reason they are good for buying small appliances is that, unlike most thrift stores, you have about a week to return the appliance if it does not work. I bought my blender, my popcorn air popper and my small food processor at Good Will – each for $5 -$7. Each works perfectly and all have lasted us a few years already.

Now, the other great place to get kids clothes is garage sales! If you hit the right garage sale (and you can do this by checking your local paper or Craigslist for those who will be selling kids’ clothes in the sizes you need) you can get really, really great deals – much better than any thrift store. Usually, garage sales sell their clothes for about a buck. Sometimes even 50 cents. I bought Bennett (and ultimately Maclain, because he’ll get me the hand-me-downs) a ton of shorts for those prices this summer. I got Bennett a pair of perfectly-good Sketcher sneakers for $2 at one and a pair of Spiderman sandals for a dollar at another. At one garage sale this past March, I bought FIVE winter coats – in all sizes for all the kids – for a DOLLAR a piece! Now, you can’t beat that! (And you KNOW I’ll be able to resell all these clothes later, for at LEAST that much money!)

In addition, I find my kids sometimes get “nicer” brand clothing by me shopping at a thrift store or garage sale. The reason being is that I will rarely shop for them in Gap or Gymboree, because I find those stores to be some expensive. But, other people shop there for their kids, and then resell those clothes! If I can get used items from there, I end up paying less for those big names than I would if I went to the sale rack at Target or Walmart!

I have also gotten some GREAT deals on toys at garage sales. Bennett has a big, Little Tykes tool bench (with all the tools) in his room that I picked up for $10 one year. And, we have one of those big outdoor playhouses in our backyard (retail price? Over $500). I got it for $50 and ALL my kids love it – and will for many years to come.

I just want to say one more thing before I end this post. Since I never know what deals or in what sizes those deals will come when I shop, I keep big plastic tubs in my kids’ closets – each marked with different sizes they have not yet worn. As I buy them clothes – some they won’t wear for many years – I wash them and stick them in the appropriate bin. That way, when they finally reach that size, I can just pull out the tub and they already have a wardrobe ready to wear – and it’s one I haven’t paid very much for. I kind of keep a mental list of what I have in each one – bathing suits, pants, winter coat, etc – so that I don’t buy too much of the same item. But, Bennett already has winter coats purchased for the next few years and Jordan has the same, in addition to pants and shirts and bathing suits. You don’t want to pass up a good deal if you help it – even if it won’t be worn for three or four years. You may not be able to find such a good find when you need it years from now!

So, if you don’t shop at thrift stores – especially for your kids – I’d encourage you to see what you town or local area has to offer and check it out. And, check out what garage sales are happening on the weekends. I bet you won’t be disappointed.

The Orchid and Me

Oct 5, 2009

As I have established in an earlier post, I am not very good with plants. I just have a hard time remembering to water them and thus, as a result, they often turn brown and crispy.

So, when my mom brought over her orchid last week (which I had given her as a gift) and asked me to take care of it while they were away on a trip, I thought it wasn’t a very wise decision on her part. I have a terrible track record. Still, I told her I’d take on the challenge of keeping her plant upright and full of flowers.

Apparently my lack of a green thumb has not gone unnoticed by my children because, just this evening, my 6-year-old daughter stopped in front of the orchid and asked, “Is that a real plant?”

“Yes,” I told her, not really paying attention.

“It’s really real?” she asked.

Yes,” I told her, more emphatically. Did she not hear me the first time?

Still staring at the plant in bewilderment, she asked, “Then . . . why is it still alive?”

Free on Your Birthday - Red Robin

Oct 2, 2009

I’ve decided to start a new series called “Free-On-Your-Birthday Fridays!”

There are a TON of Free things you can get on (or around) your birthday. I know that I have not taken the time to fill out all the online registrations and I bet you haven’t either.

But, if we all do one or two a week, by the time our birthdays come around, we’ll be inundated with FREE stuff!

Thus, this is the company I’m going to talk about this week: Red Robin

Now, this is one club I actually HAVE signed up for – for me and all of my family members. If you sign up for their EClub by clicking here, they will send you a coupon for a FREE birthday burger.

If you’ve never had a Red Robin burger, you are missing out. I’m not a “hamburger” person, but even I think they are YUMMY!

So, don’t dilly dally – sign up now!

Happy B’day to you!

Wendy's, McDonalds and Burger King Trick or Treat Books

Oct 1, 2009

I’ve got a great deal for you. (Actually, I have three of them!)

If you go to your local Wendy’s, ask them if you can buy a Trick or Treat Gift Book. They cost $1. The reason this is a great deal is because, inside the book are 10 coupons for FREE Jr. Frosties. The coupons are good from November 1, 2009 until February 1, 2010. All of the proceeds go towards the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.

Then, after you stop at Wendy’s, go to your local McDonalds and ask them for their Trick and Treat Pack. Their book contains 12 coupons for free items, such as small ice cream cones, apple dippers and apple juice or milk. These aren't valid until after October 31.

THEN, while you're out, stop at your local Burger King. They are selling their "No Tricks" booklets for $1. They include 8 coupons for a FREE value size fries. These coupons are good from October 1 until December 31.

These are great coupons to use in a variety of ways. I don’t know about you, but when I’m out and about with my kids, they are ALWAYS asking me to get them a snack or a drink at all the fast food restaurants we pass. If I had those coupons in the car, it would be no big deal to stop and get them something – for FREE! (Well, really, if you average in the $1 I paid for the book, it’s costing me about 8 or 10 cents per item, but I think I can swing that!)

Another great way to use this is for Halloween! After all, it DOES say they are “Trick or Treat” books. You can pass them out at the door to the kids who ring your bell.

Just FYI - I'd call your local restaurant first to make sure they have the coupons in stock before you make the trip down there. The McDonalds I visited said they don't have them yet - but I think some of the stores are stocked up already. And, from what I understand, not all stores are carrying them.

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