Memorial Weekend Laptop Fizzle

On one of the past few days DH was wasting time on my precious laptop, surfing youtube and he picked up a virus. He didn't let me know right away, just after it got annoying when he tried to search and google would come up with a totally weird place in UK. Anyway, by the time I became aware of the problem it was a few days and there were no uninfected restore points on the system tools to go back to an earlier date.
 
I should have backed up my drive but I didn't. I did move all my files, music and pictures off and then tried to figure out my best option. I was planning on reformatting some day anyway, so that's what I did. I just re-installed the XP operating system, but what a pain now. I have to use my other hard drive to transfer at least an Internet browser onto the laptop so I can download some programs.
 
Needless to say, I'm backing up my main desktop so I don't have a problem if I ever have a virus or breakdown. And I told DH no more random surfing on youtube.com. So it'll be a while before he gets my laptop back.

$5 of $30 competitor coupon

In Tampa, there is a $5 off $30 Sweetbay coupon peelie on the front of both local newspapers. Good for use at Publix. Expires 6/6.

The Versatile Blogger

A big THANK YOU to The Trials of Big J and Little J who awarded me with the "Versatile Blogger" Award! Visit her fun blog HERE.
Part of the responsibility of accepting an award is to share the love - 
The rules for " The Versatile Blogger" award are:
1. Thank the person who gave you this award.
2. Share 7 things about yourself.
3. Pass the award along to 15 bloggers who you have recently discovered and who you think are fantastic!
4. Contact the bloggers you've picked and let them know about the award.
( Rules are flexible, in case you're not good with rules!)

So here are seven interesting things to know about me:
  1. My name is Marie.
  2. I grew up in the same house my whole life in a suburb of Minneapolis, MN. At the end of our street was a lot of property that had fields, trees, a fossil creek and later on, nice walking paths. We called this "General Mills" because it was owned by GM and was adjacent to one of their manufacturing plants and you could smell Trix and other cereals in the air when it was being manufactured. Many of the workers would walk on the paths during their breaks in their white lab coats. We played in the fields all the time and walked our dog there almost every day.
  3. I graduated from the University of Minnesota with a Bachelor of Science in Food Science. My first job was a temp job at Pillsbury's Research and Development Laboratories working for $4 an hour. Within a couple months one of the scientists hired me as a food technologist. It was the best job I ever had; making cookies, pizza, popcorn, salsa, meals, brownies, cookies, toaster strudels and biscuits. I had to buy a chest freezer to keep all the giveaway products from the pilot plant tests. Everyone there was a stockpiler and hoarder, trading cookie dough for pizza.
  4. I worked as a Food Technologist, and later as a Food Scientist for Pillsbury and then Sandoz Nutrition for many years. Then I met my DH and we moved to Florida, and I continued work in the food industry, but to work on the flip side of the fence for the ingredient suppliers.
  5. After 911, jobs in the manufacturing industry were getting less stable. Companies were failing and getting bought out and merging. I was laid off from several jobs in the ingredient and pharmaceutical industry and decided to get out and into something more stable. Thus the boring government job I have worked for many years, and will probably retire here. I work for Child Support Enforcement as a Government Analyst. I just analyze cases and make lists for staff to close or work cases, I also do some process improvement work as I am a certified quality analyst too. Dull.
  6. I've been with DH for twenty two years, and he's the life of my life. We both grew up in MN and moved to FL when we were young enough to enjoy all it has to offer. My parents and our families still live in MN and no one will probably ever move. That's just the way Minnesotans are. They love it there.
  7. I started this blog to share frugal stuff with people who may be interested. I have another personal blog but everyone up North doesn't really care how much I save at Publix because they don't have Publix up there.
Now for the drum roll and who I would like to share the love with. I follow many blogs that entertain or teach me things everyday. I'm going to list some great blogs that don't necessarily have to do with being frugal, but are worth the read. I would like to pass the Versatile Blogger Award to these blogs, check them out-
  1. The Thrifty Little Blog
  2. Maximum Chaos
  3. Moneyapolis
  4. Thrifty Florida Mamma
  5. Frugal For Life
  6. Four Hats and Frugal
  7. Frugal Racing Fan Mommy
  8. The Coupon Momma
  9. Frugal Dr. Mom
  10. Becoming Minimalist
  11. The Obnoxious SAHM
  12. Frugal Hacks
  13. Frugal Floridian
  14. Blogger Chix Designs
So Thanks again for visiting, and please take a minute to visit them too. 

Even Pros Can Make Mistakes

Well we just did our last weekly shop of the month and there is so much that we like, it was a pretty big shop. I usually don't like to get much over $25 per shop, opting instead to go multiple times so I can use a $5/$25 competitor coupon for each order. But to tell you the truth, I'm getting a little tired of all this shopping. I wasn't totally on my A game and made a mistake in the store that ended up costing probably about $5.23. I picked up the Planters Deluxe Mixed Nuts (with sea salt) and apparently they weren't BIGI, so of course then I paid for the 3rd can of nuts AND the 4th can. Anyway, DH talked me out of going to exchange for the correct item - he said are you really going to go in and ask for $5.23 back when you only paid $10 for $140 worth of product??? I actually used a gift card I got from overage earlier this month so it didn't really even come out of any budget or anything. The silly receipt is 44 inches long so it would kinda be embarrassing to show them my error. Oh well, I can live with it.
 
Anyway, the moneymakers this time were the Vivarin and the Sominex (in the front of the picture) and 3 schick razors, plus I would have made $0.71 for each 4 cans of nuts if I hadn't screwed up and got the "deluxe" nuts. They better be good. The savings basically were from lots of stacking of Publix Q's and Target Q's with MQ's. So here's my shopping list, I actually make this spreadsheet and try to go with it, but I have to fly by the seat of my tight pants sometimes. Today was one of those days, and thats when mistakes happen.
 

27-May


67


137.22


28.70


99.98


tax


8.90


73


-93.51%


Product


qty


price


subtl


-B1G1


-Q


total


Q#


Q details


corn


2


0.25


0.50


0.50


romaine


1


1.99


1.99


1.99


tomato


1


0.75


0.75


0.75


cucumber


1


0.43


0.43


0.43


bananas


2


0.30


0.60


0.60


mushrooms, sliced


1


1.99


1.99


1.99


Yokisaba noodles


6


0.60


3.60


3.00


0.60


3


$1/2 MQ 5-16ss or 4-18ss


garlic clove


1


0.10


0.10


0.10


sour cream, breakstone


1


0.99


0.99


0.99


texas toast croutons GAB


4


0.99


3.96


2.00


1.96


4


$0.50/1 x6/30


water 2.5 gal


1


1.99


1.99


1.99


milk


1


2.39


2.39


2.39


Planters Flvr Grv nuts BOGO


4


2.99


11.96


5.98


5.99


-0.01


4


$1/1 MQ print+ B3G1 free TQ


Planters nuts BOGO 9.25oz


4


4.29


17.16


4.29


9.29


3.58


6


$1/2 3-7ss+$1/1TQ+B3G1TQ


Chobani Greek Yogurt


9


1.00


9.00


9.00


0.00


12


B2G1free+(2)$1/1 MQ x5/31


Fisher Fushion Nut Snacks


3


1.00


3.00


3.00


0.00


3


$1/1 MQ


Morningstar veg patty BOGO


8


3.99


31.92


15.96


15.00


0.96


15


$1/1PQ+$1/1 MQ


Toy for birthday present


1


6.99


6.99


6.99


Kleenex hand towels 60ct


4


2.49


9.96


8.00


0.70


2.66


8


$1/1 TQ+$1/1 MQ


Qtips BOGO


2


2.47


4.94


2.47


1.70


0.35


1.12


4


$0.55/1PQ+0.30/1 MQ 5-23rp


schick razor 2pk


3


0.99


2.97


6.00


0.21


-2.82


3


$2/1 5-23ss


Phazyme, Sominex, Vivarin


6


3.19


19.14


27.00


-7.86


9


$5/2 PQ+(2) $2/1 5-16 MQ


$/$$ coupon


0.00


0.00


10.00


-10.00


2


$5/$25 competitor


hamburger buns


1


0.89


0.89

Does Couponing Make You Fat?

As I pull on my pants each morning, lately the button seems a little harder to get closed. My tummy is a little more jiggly, and my boobs are bigger. I hate to step on the scale because I told DH and myself that I'm going to lose some weight as swimming season is here. But it hasn't been happening. I did step on the evil scale earlier this month and weighed about 12 pounds more than I want to be. According to my favorite weight log site www.fitday.com, I'm about 15 lbs over the desired weight. Either way, I don't like it.
 
I usually have no trouble losing weight quickly and maintaining the loss, but this past year has been different. I'm a firm believer in the thought that you can't improve what you don't measure. So I log my weight into www.fitday.com  (its free BTW) and I know that I used to weigh my goal weight last year in April 2009. I gained about 20 lbs by Christmas and then lost 15 after New Years, but now its creeping up again. My bike riding has been pretty consistent with about 380 miles ridden each quarter (I ride about 15 of 20 weekdays to work each month.) It did drop off during the winter when we were remodeling the bathrooms and kitchen so I could meet with the contractor each morning, and have the car to pick up supplies. I rode about 150 miles the 4QTR, and 200 miles the 1QTR of 2010. This lack of exercise probably contributed to my weight gain, since my body is pretty responsive to exercise.
 
However, now I am riding almost every day, and walking an hour a day, and still not losing weight. I eat the same breakfast and lunch I've had for years ( I know boring!) cereal with a banana, and a lettuce salad w/ chicken, plus a yogurt. So dinner is the change. And guess what we now eat for dinner? Yup, you guessed it - all that prepackaged, processed food that we get cheap with coupons. Frozen fish fillets, Curlys BBQ pulled pork, Zatarains Jambalaya with Premio sausage, Steamfresh meals, TGIF appetizers, Contessa frozen pasta meals, etc..
 
Since I've been couponing over a year now, I have it down to a point where I don't really even have a grocery budget, I spend less on food for the month than we spend on our cheap SERO cell phone bill. But, its taking a toll on my health and beauty. I'm trying not to buy the junk food, but when its free with coupons I can't resist. I tell myself I'll give it away, or serve it when we have company so that we don't eat it. But its just so darn convenient to open a package and have a quick meal.
 
So, the struggle continues. The evil scale vs the full freezer.

Twitter Hop Thursday

Welcome to Twitter Hop Thursday, hosted by Simply Stacie, The King's Court IV, Little Yaya's and Blessed, Review Retreat and Moms Wear Your Tees!

Would you like more Twitter followers and to be introduced to more cool people to follow? Come and join us!!

You'll have to click on one of the hosts because I'm at work and of course the Linky Tool is blocked here. I'll update tonight and follow you back!

Chobani and A Printable Coupon Tip

Save your Chobani yogurt coupons because they'll be on sale at Publix starting 5/27, if you have the coupons they'll be free.
 
Chobani Greek Yogurt $10/10
$1.00/1 - Chobani Greek Yogurt, Any Size – Tampa Bay Wine & Food Festival Booklet (no longer found, they were on turnstiles a few weeks ago)
B2G1 - Chobani Greek Yogurt PRINT
Here's the tip - The manufacturer site prints e-centives coupons which allow 3 prints (This tip works with Target printables too!). A way to get around this is to switch users on your PC and it will allow you to print 3 more for each user. For Windows XP, Just go to control panel->useraccounts->create a new account->enter a name for the account->then make sure "computer administrator" is checked, and then click "create account". Log onto that account, go print more of the coupons you want. Log off that account back to your original.

Nazi Cashier

So last night we went for a nice motorycle ride to Publix to do a short coupon run. We went to the one in Cross Creek neighborhood in hopes that there would be some Shick Hyrdo Edge 3 razors, Nivea Body Wash, Fisher Fushion Snacks and some Sorrento Cheese Sticksters. You know, all the free, cheap or moneymakers. I was disappointed to see they were out of the usual razors and body wash, but was able to score some Fisher snacks and a few packs of cheese sticks. I had to pull out my reserve Purina Dog snack coupons and get a couple Tbonz (2/$4) snacks as a moneymaker to help pay for the bread and produce. We finally found enough stuff to bring the total over $25 so I could use my $5 off $25 competitor coupon too.
 
So we have a choice of 2 lines open, the express lane or the Nazi Katherine cashier. Guess who we had to go to? Yup. So, we're checking out and DH gets rid of the bagger so he can bag himself. He likes to use the excuse "I'm on a motorcycle and have to pack it so it fits". It works. Anyway, I'm watching the screen, its all cool and I hand over my Q's and first off she's saying the Save-A-Lot coupon is not a coupon, so I have to point out the bar code. duh. She sets it aside, even though she's verified my order exceeds the minimum needed. Then she gets to the end and has the two store PQ's for $2.50 off Purina snacks and she starts beeping her way back through my screen to look at the price. Then she says, "I can only give you $2 off since that's all you paid". She didn't realize I already used the MQ that stacks with it for $1.50/2, and I'm not about to point that out. I said "Publix gets reimbursed the full amount from the manufacturer so you need to credit me the full value of the coupon". She objected. I said get the manager. We wave one over. She explains her side to him. DH nudges my arm and tells me to cool off. Be nice.
 
So the manager is getting ready to tell me no, but one look at me and my determination, and he waves it off and tells the nazi to take the coupon. She objects and he tells her "Kathy, stop with the explanations, just take care of the customer". So she enters my coupons and my total is $3.43 which I pay with my free gift card. As she is printing my duplicate receipt for the cheese rebates, I told her she should lighten up, its not like the money is coming out of her pocket. She glared at me and told me to have a nice evening. I did. Saved a total of $43.86 (92%). That brought my savings over $1000 for the last 30 days and it cost me $0 since I've been using gift cards I get from overage.
 

Donate & Get a $10 Publix Gift Card

Publix
 
Finally a blood drive where I can get a Publix $10 gift card! This weekend 5/22, Monday 5/24 and next holiday Monday 5/31, Florida Blood Services has a promotion where you can donate at Manatee, Pasco, Hillsborough and Pinellas locations and get either a $10 Publix gift card (at Publix locations), or 10 free Hooters wings (at Hooters locations), or a free footlong sub (at Subway locations).
 
If you are able and willing, please give the gift of blood.

Twitter Blog Hop

Welcome to Twitter Hop Thursday, hosted by Simply Stacie, The King's Court IV, Little Yaya's and Blessed, Review Retreat and Moms Wear Your Tees! Would you like more Twitter followers and be introduced to more neat blogs and businesses out there?


1. Add your Twitter to the MckLinky (you only have to add it to one and it will appear on all).
2. Click on the Twitter hostesses and follow each of them on Twitter. We will follow you back.
3. Follow as many people on Twitter as you like, but make sure to leave comments with links so they'll know where to follow you!

Spread the word and add this McLinky to your blog! Write your own post or copy and paste this one. Below the MckLinky box, you'll see "Want to be a part of this Blog Hop? Click here for instructions and code...." Have fun Twitter-Hopping along!


The Best Way To Manage Your Money

Mint
 
One of the most helpful tools I've found to track my spending is MINT.  Mint is a free online service that allows you to link up your credit cards, banks, investments and input assets to determine your net worth. It is read only and in the last year I've used it, I've never had any issues.
 
I love that I can log into ONE account to see an update of my expenditures and I can categorize and analyze them. For example, yesterday I realized that we're on track to spend $1643 this year on beer (we have a kegerator). That's more than we'll spend on groceries, which is on track to be about $1100 for the year. I also can see how much I make from rebates and secret shops by categorizing the payment checks.
 
So if you don't already use a budget tracker, I would highly recommend MINT.COM. You can sign up by clicking the banner or the link. Its free too.

Frugal Printer Toner Tip

Last night I was printing a few coupons and my low toner pop up came up on my PC. Its the first time I've seen that since I purchased my new Brother MFC7840 wireless laser printer around Valentines day. So I guess I'm close to the 2600 page limit of a toner cartridge. But who plans on replacing toner cartridges? I guess I usually do and have a spare for my other printer, a Samsung ML2010 that works just fine too - but its not wireless. Anyway, I need to start shopping around for a good deal on the toner, and see if I can get a coupon for one. The cartridge on Amazon is about $23 to $45 so I'll keep that in mind. I do have gift certificates I've earned from Swagbucks to cover the cost, so unless I get a really good deal somewhere else, that's where I'll buy.
But here's the frugal tip, actually two tips to make my toner last a little while longer while I shop and wait for a deal.
First, just remove the cartridge from the printer and shake it gently back and forth, side to side to spread the remaining powder ink around the chamber and redistribute it to areas where it can be used. This should give me at least 50 more copies.
The other tip is to fool the toner into thinking its not empty yet. The Toner Life LED light flips on and then the computer gets a pop up too, requesting you to replace the cartridge, even when there's still toner left in the cartridge. The machine detects end of life by shining a light through from one side to the other.

To circumvent the detection mechanism, remove the cartridge and put a piece of masking tape over the clear opening/circle on the right side of the toner cartridge, and then pop the cartridge back in. Eventually, you'll start seeing streaks, and then you'll know that the cartridge is truly empty.

P.S. So I checked my printer page counter and it says I've only printed 540, and I also discovered the first toner cartridge is a starter kit so it is only intended to print 1000 sheets. So, its telling me I'm running low when it should only be 1/2 out. Watch for an update to see when it actually does run out and what my count is. BTW, I covered the sightglass with masking tape so it circumvents the detection - I'll be able to tell by light printing and streaks in the printing when it really is running out.

Opportunities For You

  • The Tampa Bay Rays got 10 strikeouts last night so you have 24 hours to go HERE to print out your FREE 10" PIZZA certificate, and then you have a couple more days until 5/20/10 to bring it to your local KANES furniture store to get your Papa Johns coupon from the customer service desk. The coupon expires 6/30/10. You don't have to attend the baseball game or have any sort of id or ticket to do this. You can do it every home game where the Rays get 10 strikeouts.
  • I have some free Shutterfly 8x8 photobook codes ($29 value), and free codes for a set of 12 5x7 greeting card codes remaining from my houseparty last weekend. If you want them, just make a photobook on shutterfly, and "share" it with me at frugalapolis at gmail dot com and I'll email you the codes. Then if you go HERE and enter 5 email addresses of your "friends" they will send you a code for free shipping, and send your friends a code for a free 7x9 soft cover photobook.

Publix Sneak Peek May 20-26

BOGO's
 
Ruffles Potato Chips, Assorted Varieties, 9-10 oz bag, Excluding Baked! Light & Natural, $3.99

Nathans Beef Franks, Original, Bigger Than The Bun, Dinner, Natural Casing or With Real Cheddar Cheese, 12 or 16 oz Package, $4.99

Oscar Meyer Beef Bologna, Regular, Light or Thick Cut, 16 oz Package, $3.99

Grape Tomatoes, 1 pt Package, $2.99

Fresh Express Salad Blend, Assorted Varieties, 4.5 - 12 oz bag, Surprisingly Low Price

Seattle's Best Coffee, Assorted Varieties 12 oz bag, Excludes Seattle's Best Organix Coffee, $6.99

Ken's Steak House Dressing, or Lite Accents, Assorted Varieties, 7 or 16 oz bottle, Excludes 8 oz Salad Dressing, $3.29

Sweet Baby Rib's Barbecue Sauce, Assorted Varieties, 18 oz Bottle, $2.35

Chatham Village Croƻtons, Assorted Varieties, 5 oz Bag, $1.49

A.I. Steak Sauce, Assorted Varieties, 10 oz Bottle, $4.24

Pure Wesson Oil, 100% Natural, Vegetable or Canola or Corn or Best Blend, 48 oz Bottle, $3.79

Idahoan Mashed Potatoes, Assorted Varieties, 4 or 4.1 oz Pouch, $1.25

Knorr Sides, Assorted Varieties, 12 to 13.25 oz package, $1.49

Ronzoni Healthy Harvest Pasta, Assorted Varieties, 12 or 13.25 oz package, $1.79

Betty Crocker Supreme Brownie Mix, Assorted Varieties, 19.8 to 22.5 oz box or Dessert Bar Mix, 19.5 oz box, $2.69

Kellogg's Cereal, Assorted Varieties, Frosted Flakes, Apple Jacks, Corn Pops or Fruit Loops, 17 to 17.5 oz box or Frosted Mini Wheats, 21.5 to 24 oz box, $3.99

Mott's 100% Apple Juice, or Mott's for Tots, Plus Kids Health, Plus Light, or 100% Juice Medleys, Assorted Varieties From Concentrate, 46 or 64 oz bottle, $2.99

Crystal Light Drink Mix, Or Iced Tea or Green Tea Mix, Assorted Varieties, 10 or 12 qt Cannister, $3.99

Ocean Spray Juice Cocktail, or Cranergy, Juice Drinks, or 100% Juice Blends, Assorted Varieties, 4 or 6 pack. 10 or 12 oz bottle, $3.99

Orville Redenbacher's Gourmet Popping Corn, Assorted Varieties, 4.8 to 13 oz box, $2.75

Keeblet Town House Crackers, Assorted Varieties, 7.7 to 16 oz box, $3.99

Keebler Sandies Shortbread Cookies, Assorted Varieties, 9.5 to 16 oz bag, $3.95

Emerald Honey Roasted Peanuts, or Dry Roasted, Regular or Lightly Salted With Sea Salt, 16 oz Jar, $3.19

General Mills Chex Mix Snack Mix, Traditional or Cheddar, 15 oz bag, $3.39

Kit Kat Snack Size Treats, or Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Peter Paul Almond Joy, or Hershey's Milk Chocolate or Cookies n Creme, Jumbo bag, 17.1 to 20.1 bag, $5.99

Nabisco Chips Ahoy! Cookies, Assorted Varieties, 9.5 to 15.25 oz package, $3.25

Green Giant Valley Fresh Steamers Vegetables, Assorted Varieties, 12 oz bag, $2.39

Dove Ice Cream, Assorted Varieties, 15.1 oz box, $3.29

Jose Ole Taquitos, or Tacos, Assorted Varieties, 20 or 22.5 oz Box, $4.99

Klondike or Slim A Bear Ice Cream Treats, Assorted Varieties, 16 to 27 oz Box, $3.59

Kozy Shack Pudding, Rice, Original, European Style or Cinnamon Raisin, or Tapioca or Chocolate, 22 oz tub, $2.99

Right Guard Anti-Perspirant & Deodorant, Total Defense, Assorted Varieties, 2 to 4 oz package (.55 Instant Coupon on Select Packaging) $3.99

Purina One Adult Dog Food, Lamb & Rice or Chicken & Rice Formula, 4 lb Bag, $6.99

Wisk 2X Ultra Laundry Detergent, Assorted Varieties, 2X Concentrated, 100 oz bottle, $9.99

Lysol Disinfecting Wipes, Assorted Varieties, 56 or 80 count canister, $5.49

Spray 'n Wash Laundry Stain Remover, With Resolve Power, Regular or Max, 12 or 22oz Bottle, $2.99

Dixie Plates or Bowls, Assorted Varieties, 20-48 Count Package, $2.99

Hefty OneZip Bags, Storage or Freezer, Quart or Gallon Size, 13 to 22 Count Package or Fresh Extend Fruit & Veggie, 12 Count Package, $2.29
 
Post credit, thanks to Slickdeals
 

KanesStrikeOut Get A Free Pizza

I love this promotion and its back again this year. When the Tampa Bay Rays strike out 10 or more batters in a home game, their sponser Kanes Furniture offers a free Papa Johns personal pizza, for a limited time.
 
So HURRY -  the Rays struck out 10 players on May 15th, so within 24 hours you must click HERE and register and print out a certificate, and then within 3 days bring it to a Tampa area Kanes furniture store customer service desk and they will give you a little card that you redeem at Papa Johns. You have to get your butt into Kanes within 3 days of a strike out, but the card for a free pizza is good until November. At least thats how it worked in previous years.
 
 
 

Ten Tips to Earn Swagbucks

I'm sure a lot of you have joined Swagbucks for free by now and are on your way to your rewards. But did you know there are lots of ways to earn points besides just searching on your swagbucks home page?
 
Did you know that every Friday is MEGA Swag Bucks Day? SwagBucks has increased your chances of scoring BIG Swagbucks on Fridays. Swagbucks is a fabulous program that rewards you with AWESOME prizes just for doing your everyday searches online.

Since I've joined Swagbucks I have earned tons of $5 Amazon gift codes. Don't have a Swag Bucks account? Why not sign up today and earn 30 SwagBucks to get you started. 
 
Here are some tips to get more swagbucks everyday.
 
 -Make http://www.swagbucks.com/ your homepage, or add it to your favorites. Doing this will help you remember to use the swagbucks search engine everyday. Did you know that you can win multiple swagbucks each day? I usually do searches throughout the day and try to use different computers. I have two words that I enter and ALWAYS win at least once on each computer with those words. So if you find a word that works for you, try it regularly. Keep in mind though, don't over search. The swagbucks search engine is designed to detect weird search patterns. If it feels you're searching too frequently you will be shown the rules screen. I've never seen the screen but have heard about it happening to others.
 
1. If you are using your personal computer, install the toolbar to make your searches easy to do.
2. Make it a point to do some Swagbucks searches on Fridays for sure. On Fridays, you can win as many as 100 Swag Bucks in one search.
3. Become a fan on Facebook and a follower on Twitter. Swagcodes are released daily through these sites.
4. Do the Daily Poll every day to earn 1 swagbuck.
5. Do the Special Offers (click RED square) every day but just select NO THANKS for each offer, click through a few until you are awarded from 1 to 3 SBs.
6. Earn Swagbucks by using the Swagbucks Shop and Earn site. By using this portal site to shop you will earn 1 swagbuck for every $5.00 spent.
7. Trade-in your old cell phone and electronics and exchange them for swagbucks!
8. Set up a Google Reader page, and install the widget on your feed page, or install it on your blog. Lots of codes are posted on the widget.
9. Check the Swagbucks Blog for clues and codes, usually there are codes a couple times a week posted there.
10. Check this forum discussion for codes that are currently active that other users have posted.
Give it a chance. It took me a while to develop routines of doing my searches through Swagbucks and figuring out how and where to find swagcodes.

Frugal Dental

A couple days ago I went to the dentist to investigate a little tenderness in my back molar when I bite hard stuff, like granola. They did a full set of x-rays since I didn't have a set on file. I decided to go ahead with it since they are valid for 5 years and I really wanted to know what the deal is with my bum tooth. All these dental decisions were a little easier to make since I had recently signed up with www.Dentalplans.com (my referral code is 65A21S68) in case you sign up too.
 
Since the insurance options offered by my employer are pretty un-frugal, we checked out other options. DentalPlans.com is not insurance, but is a discount dental plan designed for individuals, families and groups looking to save money on their dental care needs. Participating dental care providers have agreed to accept a discounted fee from plan members as payment-in-full for services performed. As a plan member, you simply show your membership card when visiting any participating plan provider to receive most dental services at discounted fees.
 
My DH had a chunk of his tooth fall out earlier this year and had to make an emergency visit to the dentist. We didn't have any insurance or dental plan, so the expense looming was not cool. I quickly searched the internet and found www.dentalplans.com and my dentist participates, so I signed up and we were covered for the dental appt two days later. I think the plan cost about $140 for a year of family coverage, less than the price of two cleanings for the year. As it turned out he needed a root canal and crown which would have cost over $2000 with out any plan. With our discounted fees, it came to 1/2 that for $1000.
 
Now with my deal, it turns out I have a cracked tooth. When I bite down on the old filling it pushes the crack open and I feel some tenderness. There is no pain yet, but I need to get the tooth ground away, replace it with a core and a crown, for the estimated price of $700. Without the dental plan, it would cost about $1200 for the core and crown. So this year it is definitely paying off to have this discount plan.
 
So if you can't afford the dental insurance provided by your employer, I would suggest investigating a discount dental plan, its worth it.

Too Much of A Good Thing

This week there are tons of great deals at Publix, my favorite store to shop with coupons. There's moneymakers on Olay products (ends today in FL), free Fisher snacks, free Nivea body wash, free Schick Hydro Edge razors and a good deal on Sorrento Cheese Sticksters. The problem is that ALL the stores are out of stock of ALL these items.
 
I'm fortunate to live by 2 close stores within a mile of my home, plus there are 2 other stores that are out of the city in small new developments that usually have better stock than in town. Earlier this week I was able to find some coupon booklets and some product, but yesterday was frustrating. This couponing frenzy is getting too popular. Too many people know how to do it and some are not exactly shopping with integrity by clearing out the shelves. I'm sure every store in Tampa has orders into the main warehouse in Lakeland, but I'm also sure the warehouse is out of stock.
 
It would be nice if stores could anticipate our coupon shopping desires, but it seems like they don't.  I know some bloggers have contacted their store managers ahead of time to ask to see the sneak peek of the ad to help the store. They offer to alert the store about products they may want to stock up on before the sale due to increased demand by coupon shoppers with match ups. This seems like a win-win deal, but I'm not sure I want to step right under the radar by being the local coupon expert to my stores.
 
So, I've scaled back on my couponing chatter, especially to neighbors and co-workers who shop in my neighborhood. I don't want to create competition for the inadequate supply of some products the store stocks. Its real easy to tell if there is another couponer in your store because the moneymakers are always gone, and the good deals are nearly gone. I know rain checks are an alternative, but that is not quick or easy to shop that way, or under the radar. Plus stores won't give out rain checks for advantage buy items. I've started "rolling" my gift cards into new gift cards with my overages and I really don't want to explain how it all works to the store managers, as they may stop giving overage on items with coupons. IMO its ethical to get overage since the store gets reimbursed for full face value of the coupon, but some people don't understand and its better to just stay low profile.
 
So if any of you have any ideas on how to get your stores to keep adequate stocks, I'd love to hear it. Until then, my motto is shop early, shop often.