Charity Voice Research panel: $100 Amazon Giftcard giveaway

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UPDATE – The Giveaway is now CLOSED

Let me tell you a little about Charity Voice, but before I do I feel the need to share why I normally do not talk much about survey companies.

I receive numerous requests about alternative ways to earn money online.  While there are many survey companies (some reputable ones I have shared in the past), I hesitate to talk about a lot of them because many are crappy, spam you, sell information and require you to jump through hoops to earn points, enter sweepstakes, etc. before you can even think about getting anything out of it.

Charity Voice caught my eye because of the philanthropic angle.  The parent company has many years of  research experience and when the owner’s dog passed away from cancer, they were driven to make a difference in the ways charities can earn revenue while providing exceptional research results.  They created AllieSmiles and then the birth of Charity Voice.

I am so excited to be partnering with Charity Voice because in this economy it is getting harder and harder for people to give to the charities that so desperately need our help.  Charity Voice allows you to not only earn money for yourself, but you can also choose to donate it to your favorite charity.  How easy is that?  You can donate to many well-known charities such as Juvenile Diabetes, American Cancer Society, ASPCA, Red Cross, Big Brothers/Big Sisters and many more.  You can even contact them to see about having your favorite charity added to the list.

Brands and businesses NEED market research to improve their products and services, so they pay for it.  In return, Charity Voice pays you – CASH (not sweepstakes entries or points or credits) - via Paypal for the surveys you complete.  You even earn $5 just for joining.  Because their parent company are researchers themselves, they comply with all the laws governing privacy and spamming.

When you register, you actually choose how often you want to be contacted and you can opt out at any time.  You participate anonymously and will not be contacted by any of the companies or have to sign up for future mailings or offers.  You will receive invitations to participate in a survey, or you will see available surveys in your dashboard – look I had $5 worth right when I logged in:

If you qualify and complete the survey, you will receive reward dollars which you can cash out to paypal or donate when your account reaches $25.  You can decide each time – keep some, donate some.  Many surveys will pay $2, $5, $10, $25 or more depending on survey length and level of respondent required.  Your account is typically credited within 7-14 days after completion of the survey.  Luckily you only have to go through a couple questions in order to find out whether you qualify.  Now some of them are long – 20 minutes is really close to that, but one of mine was all about ice cream brands.

So if you have some time online and want to earn some money for you or a charity, or if you just want to provide feedback to help shape future brands and improvements, join Charity Voice now and be sure to look for the confirmation email to complete the registration process.

GIVEAWAY

To get things rolling, the folks at CharityVoice would like to award one Maven of Savin’ reader with a $100 Amazon giftcard. Now that will take a dent out of the Christmas shopping.

All entries must be individual comments on this blog post.

MANDATORY ENTRY – Join CharityVoice and be sure to confirm your registration.  Remember you get $5 just for joining.  Come back and leave a comment that you did and let me know what charity you are considering donating to.

Additional Optional Entries:

  • Follow @CharVoiceOnline and @MavenOfSavin on twitter and let me know you did.  Stay tuned for a future HOT TwitterParty with even more prizes!
  • Tweet the following – Join @CharVoiceOnline, earn $$ for you & charity & win $100 Amazon giftcard @MavenOfSavin http://bit.ly/oTnenR    and let me know you did.
  • “LIKE” CharityVoiceOnline on facebook and share this giveaway with your friends on facebook.  We are all about sharing here and who can’t use $100 on Amazon?

A winner will be chosen at random on October 16th.  GOOD LUCK

Disclosure: CharityVoice supplied the Amazon giftcard for this giveaway. The above post contains my referral link and 50% of any earnings I receive will be donated to various charities.

How to get the coupon inserts you want!

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Reminder, there could be LOTS of coupon inserts tomorrow as I shared in the Sunday Coupon Preview.  Make sure to check the potential coupon list to see if you even like the coupons.  Before you go nuts buying newspapers, here are a few tips:

Make sure your paper carries the inserts you want. 
Around me, the Boston Globe typically carries everything, BUT it is the most expensive.  I can get a local paper cheaper, but it does not carry the RedPlum (which is OK most weeks).  Check these sites to find which papers carry these inserts:

Check the paper (BEFORE YOU BUY IT) to make sure all the inserts are there.  
I get emails every week about missing inserts asking what they should do.  I ALWAYS check the paper (up at the counter so people do not think I am stealing the inserts) to make sure that the extra papers I am buying have what I need.

Do not buy papers you cannot afford.
Remember there is always another deal, always another coupon and always another sale.

TOSS (or donate) your expired coupons

Out with the old, in with the new!  SInce there are tons of new printable coupons today and you will be bringing lots of inserts into the house tomorrow, it might be a good idea to clean out & organize your coupons today.  See how I do it HERE.  If you hang on to whole inserts, you can use the coupondatabase to find out which inserts still have valid coupons.  I sorted by inserts by date and found out that prior to July, most inserts only have a few un-expired coupons.  That is when I clip the few I want and toss the inserts.  Again, the 3 month rule held pretty well – even the 7/10/11 inserts only have 7 coupons left.

Same goes for All You magazine – prior to July 2011, there are only a couple valid coupons left – clip those and recycle the magazines.

Are you ready???

Daily Deal Sites: Don’t let your vouchers expire!

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Time to fess up and tell the truth. How many of you have let daily deal vouchers expire because you totally forgot about them?  Some sites are very nice and send reminder emails, but all do not.  A Daily Deal on something you would not normally spend the money on or an activity you would not normally do is WASTED MONEY if you forget to use it.

Even worse, I buy them so quick sometimes, not only do I not remember what I bought, but also have a hard time remembering from WHO since there are ever increasing numbers of Daily Deal sites.  How do you keep track of yours??  Do you pin them up, make a spreadsheet, mark them on your calendar???

I am printing mine all out right now and putting them in date order.  Then will put a reminder on my calendar for at least 2 week prior to the deadline.  Here are a few sites you might want to check your voucher inventory and expiration dates:

I am sure there are more.  I will add to the list when I remember them.  What was the biggest BUMMER of a voucher that you let expire?
NOTE – most sites (and are required by state law) to honor the paid value after expiration, but you lose the promotional value.

 

Year of the Staycation: Frugal Fun Across the US

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If you want to plan a staycation or frugal vacation somewhere in the US, go no further.  Yesterday I posted Staycation Boston: Frugal Fun in Massachusetts, but there are 85 other bloggers who did the same for their part of the country and here they are.  What a fantastic resource!

Be sure to come back and let me know what great staycation ideas you have for YOUR home state.

New England

Connecticut – Parenting Miracles
Boston, Massachusetts – ‎ Maven of Savin’
Manchester, New Hampshire – Common Sense with Money
Western Maine – Bubblegum and Lollipops

Mid-Atlantic

Erie, Pennsylvania – Growing Kids Ministry
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania – Somewhat Crunchy
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania – Family Balance Sheet
Buffalo/Niagara Falls, New York – Coupons, Deals and More
New Jersey – Oh! Diane

Midwest

Cedar Rapids, Iowa – Indoor Garden Musings
Mansfield, Ohio – Live the Adventure
Cincinnati, Ohio – Savings Lifestyle~Cincinnati
Mount Vernon, Ohio – Living Better One Day at a Time
Dayton, Ohio – Savings Lifestyle~Dayton
Grand Rapids, Michigan – Kitchen Stewardship
Metro Detroit, Michigan – “Cents”able Momma
Oakland County, Michigan – Bargain Shopper Mom
Warren, Michigan – Saving Dollars and Sense
Grand Forks, North Dakota – Frugal Front Porch
Indianapolis, Indiana – Bargain Briana
South Bend, Indiana – Excuse The Mess
Kansas City, Kansas/Missouri – Kansas City Mamas
St. Louis, Missouri – The Pickledpigsfeet
Branson, Missouri – Getting Freedom from Debt
Springfield, Missouri – I Think I Can
Rochester, Minnesota – Everyday Notions
York, Nebraska – Heavenly Homemakers
Omaha, Nebraska – Mom Endeavors
Madison, Wisconsin – Many Little Blessings
Oshkosh, Wisconsin – A Little Bit of This and That
Chicago, Illinois – Chicagoland Homeschool Network
Champaign, Illinois – Chambanamoms
Black Hills, South Dakota – Little House on the Prairie Living

South Central

Checotah, Oklahoma – Blessed With One Income
Tulsa, Oklahoma – Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures
Gadsden, Alabama – Aint Mimi
Dallas, Texas – Funky Faith Girl
Dallas, Texas – Grocery Shop For FREE
East Dallas, Texas – Surviving The Stores
Fort Worth, Texas – Smockity Frocks
Austin, Texas – Stetted
Houston, Texas – Moms Travel Tales
McKinney, Texas – Wisdom Begun
East Texas – The Full Pantry
Murfreesboro, Tennessee – Life in a Barn
Nashville, Tennessee – The Country Chic Cottage
Mobile, Alabama – A Penny Saved is a Penny Earned
Birmingham, Alabama – iGoBOGO
Brunswick & the Golden Isles, Georgia – Teri Lynne Underwood
Alpharetta, Georgia – Cuponeando
Atlanta, Georgia – See Jamie Blog
Augusta, Georgia – Hyperactive Lu
Athens, Georgia and Mississippi – Tractors and Tire Swings
Little Rock, Arkansas – It’s Real Life

South Atlantic

Ft. Bragg, North Carolina – Military Wives Saving
Charlotte, North Carolina – The Carolina Clipper
Charleston, South Carolina – The Tween & Me
Greensboro, North Carolina – Mrs. Happy Homemaker
Jacksonville, Florida – Saving The Family Money
Orlando, Florida – Orlando’s Best Deals
Virginia Beach, Virginia – The Singley Fam Blog
Richmond, Virginia – Daily Dwelling
Hampton Roads, Virginia – A Home Made by Kiki
Charlottesville, Virginia – How to Have it All
Blackwater Falls State Park/Davis, West Virginia – Holy Spirit Led Homeschooling
Treasure Coast, Florida – The Cardamom’s Pod
Saint Augustine, Florida – Jypsie Visions
Lake Norman, North Carolina – Stretching Pennies Saving Dollars
Washington, DC – The WiC Project
Baltimore, Maryland – The Happy Housewife
Brunswick & the Golden Isles, Georgia - Teri Lynne Underwood

Mountain

Tucson, Arizona – Saving with Pam
Phoenix, Arizona – Mom Endeavors
Albuquerque, New Mexico – The Chou Life
Kalispell, Montana – Our Family Adventures
Salt Lake City, Utah – Just the 2 of Us
Thermopolis, Wyoming – The McDonald Family
Denver, Colorado – Denver Bargains
Colorado Springs, Colorado – Colorado Springs Bargains

Pacific

San Diego, California – Life As Mom
Yosemite National Park, California -Handbook of Nature Study
Seattle, Washington – Queen Bee Coupons & Savings
Whidbey Island, Washington – Manning the Homefront
Olympia, Washington The Coupon Savant
Portland, Oregon – Frugal Living NW
Willamette Valley, Oregon – An Oregon Cottage

Frugal Vacation Tips

Vacation or Stay-cation: Eating without Busting the Budget – Eat at Home

So are you ready to plan your Staycation?  What is the number one MUST DO item on your list?

Just the Way you Are: Looking good for less!

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Do you have to spend a fortune to look good?  That is the age old question.  But BEFORE we answer that question ask yourself – WHO DECIDES if you LOOK GOOD??

YOU DO and only YOU!

As I sat feeling very frumpy and down, feeling like a failure this week, I tuned into The Voice and was reminded – I AM AMAZING, JUST THE WAY I AM!

    When I see your face
    There’s not a thing that I would change
    Cause you’re amazing
    Just the way you are

I believe you look good when you feel good and you need to BE HAPPY with yourself to truly be happy. Did you know that a survey claims that people are happier if they compliment others 3 times a day. Have you told anyone they are AMAZING today?? Here I am telling you…

YOU ARE AMAZING… JUST THE WAY YOU ARE!!

OK, so even though our self-esteem and how we feel affect how we look, we DO have to go outside and look somewhat presentable, so how can we without breaking the bank? First of all, as we age, try these Recession Proof Beautification tips. NO PURCHASES necessary!

What home remedy beauty tips do you have?

Then, stop shopping in department stores and hit the drugstores! Back in the day, you had to get the highest end cosmetic counter products, but now many consumer companies are giving expensive cosmetic, salon and skin care companies a run for their money developing affordable, quality products while offering coupons & rebates to boot. You all know we can get skincare and cosmetics for super cheap using coupons, sales, drugstore loyalty programs and rebates. Sign up for emails from all your favorite product lines for money saving coupons and keep an eye on all the CVS, Walgreens and Rite Aid drugstore match-ups to start taking a huge BITE out of your beauty expenses. I have been able to get $100′s in Olay products for FREE after rebates and coupons. NOW if you MUST have the high end stuff due to skin allergies or just because you WANT IT, then coupon for the things you need so you can afford to get the things you WANT.

What awesome beauty products have you been able to score on the cheap?

Want only the best fashions?? Have you ever tried consignment or thrift shops? You would be amazed what you can find. In addition, SHOP OFF SEASON.  That was one of the biggest tips in The Art of Shopping Gymboree.  Buy things on clearance now for next year. You do not need an expensive, sexy BRA to feel good (though I suppose IF I looked like those Victoria Secrets models, I would feel FINE in one of those – LOL!) DO not forget online shopping as well – there are many coupon codes, FREE shipping and by shopping through ShopAtHome and Ebates, you can save even more through cash back rebates.

Where do you get your best fashion deals??

So we are cutting corners everywhere just to make ends meet. Do we ever get a break? Can’t I just RENEW, relax and rejuvenate and not feel guilty that I want to be pampered and not have to color my own hair in the sink at home. Not to mention there are just some things I do not have the skill to do to myself – or it truly would be SCARY. Have no fear. In addition to all the money you are saving elsewhere, have you seen all the SPA & salon services you can get for over 50% off through local daily deal sites such as Groupon, Eversave, LivingSocial, BuyWithMe and more? Give a new salon a shot and keep an eye out for local salon coupons as well. They also make great gifts – HELLO Mother’s Day is just around the corner.

How do you save money and still pamper yourself??

I hope this has been helpful and at least started you thinking of ways to LOOK GOOD, FEEL GOOD and be the AMAZING person that you are without feeling like you have to spend a lot of money or carry so many accessories you are weighed down.

Understand your Medical Coverage = save money

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For the next 2 weeks I am the guest spokesperson over at P&G Everyday Solutions facebook page.I will be sharing all kinds of tips and tricks.  Come on over and say hello and be sure to “LIKE” them so you can get up to date information on when new samples and coupons are available.

Today’s tip is about checking your medical bills! Read some of my past experiences and tips in my post – Save Money: Check your Medical Bills. You would be amazed at the money you can save, just by understanding your medical coverage.

NOW IS THE PERFECT TIME to get a handle on it – some plans change with the new year and all deductibles are reset. So take this opportunity to figure out your coverage and stay on top of your bills to ensure you are being charged properly.

Remember, most times it is a simple mistake, but medical billing is so complicated that a simple mistake can cost hundreds of dollars.

Maven of Savin HOT DEAL Text alerts

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Do you want to be sure you never miss a time-sensitive HOT DEAL?  Well, NOW you can sign up for special TEXT alerts from ME.  This will NOT be all the deals in my regular feed, ONLY the time-sensitive HOT ones….

Like coupons that will run out fast, Amazon lightning deals… you know the ones when you finally get there are all gone – THOSE DEALS.

All you need to do is TEXT “follow MavensDeals” to 40404.

That’s it – I am just starting this so we will see how it goes. Do not worry, I will not load you up with TEXTS – only the SUPER HOT DEALS.  If you are on twitter and want all the posts, follow Maven of Savin.

How to determine what coupon inserts are expired

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A lot of coupons expired 12/31/10 and we got 5 new inserts in today’s Sunday paper.  So HOW DO YOU KNOW when your old inserts have expired?  This easy HOW TO guide will help you quickly analyze when you can purge your coupons.

OK – so I am embarrassed to say this is my OUT OF CONTROL pile of inserts. If you have read my Coupon Organization post, you know that I only clip coupons when I need them. I keep the inserts intact with the date written on the front and “file” them (usually – LOL :)) into my binder in page protectors.

Well, my system got out of control when we out our house on the market in June and had to HIDE everything to show the house over and over. ANYWAY, enough with my failure…

Since a TON of coupons expired 12/31/10, I wanted to share with you is the EASY WAY to determine which inserts you can TOSS or send overseas to the military. When I am under control, each month I will go through my oldest inserts and when MOST of the coupons are expired, I clip the stragglers to put in my binder in baseball card holders and I retire the insert – sounds real official – LOL!  Doing that keeps about 3 months current in my binder – give or take an insert or 2.

Now you could start at the oldest and weed through each insert looking at the expiration dates OR you can use the COUPONDATABASE as a starting point.  I have already started you off by sorting the database by INSERT ONLY.  You can always search by coupon source.

So I pick INSERT and click SEARCH.  This will show you all the NON-expired coupons from inserts in latest date order.  Then click on SOURCE DATE – to reverse the order to show oldest first.  Keep in mind there may be some regional differences, but this is a good start.

This shows you that there are actually still some Listerine and Reach coupons from LAST January that have not expired – LOL.  You may laugh, but these will come in handy some day for a sweet Listerine deal.  There are a few listed from 8/8/10, but they look like errors, BUT I will scan those just in case.  I will also grab the FAB, Ajax, Dynamo from 8/29.  Then there are a few from 9/19 and 9/26.  OTHER than grabbing those onsie – twosies, you can toss any other insert prior to 10/3/10.  That is when the number of coupons increases.

SO IT DOES STAY TRUE to my 3 months of ACTIVE inserts!

Now to stay on top of it – I try to add a week and remove a week if enough have expired – or sometimes I wait until month end if you have the space. So there you have it. I hope it helps you do a little QUICK organizing of your coupon inserts.

You can do the same sorting by MAGAZINE COUPONS to see when you can toss your old All You Magazines and more.

UPDATE:

thrown away – WAY EXPIRED

Nice & organized – 3 months of inserts and All You magazines

Rite Aid 101: HOW TO SAVE at Rite Aid

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There are many ways to save money at Rite Aid. Some of the programs are new like the +UP Rewards and some are well established like Single Check Rebates, but any way you cut it, Rite Aid is one of my FAVORITE places to shop! You will be amazed at the savings you can get by just participating in the programs.  This post is SUPER LONG, but I wanted to have one place you could come to get a glimpse of everything you need to know about Rite Aid.

You can see Rite Aid’s COUPON POLICY and how it spells out exactly how to use multiple coupons there.  You have the ability to combine manufacturer coupons along with various store coupons – video values, in-ad coupons, wellness coupons and more.  You will want to become familiar with this well detailed policy!

Rite Aid Wellness Program

The Rite Aid Wellness Program is new this year and you now need to have a wellness card in order to receive most of the sale prices in the flyer.  It is FREE to join and you can even just pick up a card right in the store, but remember to activate it online so you can receive all the additional savings including a $5/$25 Rite Aid coupon and more.  Just have the cashier scan your card before every purchase.

EARN POINTS every time you shop:

  • Earn one point for every dollar spent on non-prescription purchases.
  • Earn 25 points for every prescription you purchase.

These points are accrued each calendar year to earn you REWARDS:
- For every 125 pts (up to 375 pts), get a one time 10% shopping pass.
- For 500 points, get 10% off all non-prescription purchase for the rest of the year and a FREE health screening.
- For 1000 points, get 20% off all non-prescription purchases for the rest of the year.

PLUS, ENJOY EVERYDAY BENEFITS, INCLUDING:

  • Members-only sale pricing throughout the store
  • 10% off Rite Aid Brand products every day
  • 24/7 exclusive access to a pharmacist when you call 1-800-RITEAID

… see more info about exclusions and limitations HERE.

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LIVE CHATs Wednesdays 8pm

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We are moving our LIVE CHATs to Wednesdays from 8 – 9pm as it conflicted with other scheduled LIVE CHATS.  I am looking onto better avenues for future weeks, but for tonight we will remain on our Facebook CHAT for one more week.

You can see how to log in and participate HERE.

By popular DEMAND, TONIGHTS discussion will be on…

Coupon Organization.


Take a look at my Coupon Organization post before the CHAT so we can discuss all the different options.

Hope you join us to share what works for you!