Earth Day Events & Freebies 2010

Celebrate Earth Day today by conserving resources. I rode my bike to work today to cut back on emissions. I'll use my re-usable shopping bags at Publix when I shop tonight. I'll maybe hang dry my laundry instead of using the dryer. Skip the plastic and paper, use real plates and utensils. Here are some ways to help celebrate the day-
Tampa Bay Earth Day events - rescheduled for 04/25/2010 at Lowry Park Zoo, see more info HERE.
Busch Gardens Tampa - As part of the Earth Day celebrations in 2010, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay are hosting a Jack Hanna Weekend. On April 24 and 25 there is an opportunity to have Breakfast with Jack Hanna at the Crown Colony restaurant starting at 8:30 am. Prices start from $17 (plus tax) for adults and $11 for children. If you like the idea of a sleepover then on April 24, there is a Jack Hanna Family Sleepover. The evening starts with behind the scenes activities, overnight accommodation at an on-site venue and continental breakfast the following morning. Prices are $78 )plus tax) per person or $68 (plus tax) for Passport members. Lastly on April 23 and 24 there is a Jack Hanna Serengeti Night Safari. The evening starts with tasty treats in the Safari Club followed by a night-time tour of the Serengeti Plain where with the help of night vision monoculars you can watch hippos, lions and hyenas and concludes with a talk by Jack Hanna around the bonfire. Prices are $60 (plus tax) per person (children must be 5 years or older).
City of Tampa - Mayor Pam Iorio will be joined by business and community leaders and Captain Green Eye to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day on Thursday, April 22, 2010 at 11:30 a.m. The event will be held in Lykes Gaslight Square Park, located at 410 North Franklin Street in downtown Tampa. The celebration is free and open to the public.

Target – Mail in 5 plastic bags to "Terracycle, 121 New York Avenue, Trenton, NJ 08638″ and get $1 back to spend on a reusable shopping bag.
Disney Store – Bring in SIX empty plastic bottles or soda cans to the Disney Store on Thursday, 4/22 and get a Free Friends for Change and Disney Store youth sized baseball cap (made out of 100% recycled materials). Limit 1 per guest, while supplies last!
Hanes – Buy 3 Hanes products and you can mail in a rebate for a Free Earth Day T-Shirt. Plus, the Arbor Day Foundation will plant a tree, up to 20,000, on Hanes behalf. Offer good from April 1, 2010 – May 15, 2010.
Earthbound Farm – Take the Kitchen Quiz (click "come into the kitchen" then "take the kitchen quiz") and you could win a Free Reusable Shopping Bag if you get all the answers correct (they will let you fix wrong answers).  The next chance to win a tote is tomorrow, Thursday (4/22) at 12 pm CST.
Babies R Us – Get a Free Reusable Tote Bag with printable coupon through 4/22, plus 25% off all clothes and shoes you can fit in the bag.
Kellogg's - Free Reusable Bag with 2 UPCs from Kellogg's Cereal and $1.75 shipping & handling.
Evos: The Tampa-based healthy fast food chain is giving away their free organic milkshakes served in their new biodegradable cups on April 22 at all locations. See website for locations.

World of Beer: Offering half off all organic beers on Earth Day. See website for locations.

Publix: Print this coupon and get $1 off the purchase of energy saving lightbulbs and receive a free reusable bag. Offer valid until 4/30.

Renaissance Vinoy Resort & Golf Club in St. Petersburg: During the month of April, guests staying at the Vinoy will receive free self parking for hybrid vehicles and complimentary bike rentals to explore the city's 50 miles of bicycle trails. Unwind at their in-house spa which offers organic treatments, and dine at the renowned Marchand's Bar & Grill, serving up free-range chicken, all-natural lamb and sustainable seafood selections.

Walgreens: Walgreens is offering $1 inkjet refills on April 22 as well as launching a new recycling program for cell phones and printer cartridges at all store locations. Starting on Earth Day, April 22, customers can drop off old printer cartridges and cell phones at any Walgreens photo counter.

CVS: Purchase a "Green Bag Tag" at any CVS, attach it to a reusable bag and receive $1 off your purchase for every four trips when you decline using plastic bags. CVS will give 5 cents to World Wildlife Fund for every GreenBagTag sold.

Whole Foods Market: This promotion isn't so much a deal for us but it's a way to kill two birds with one stone by shopping and giving a charitable donation to a local organization. Whole Foods Market Tampa is donating 5% of all of their profits on Earth Day to Sweetwater Organic Community Farm — a local CSA that provides sustainable, organic food and educational programs for the public. 9 am-9 pm. 1548 North Dale Mabry Hwy., Tampa.

National Parks: It just so happens that National Parks week coincides with Earth Week, so they're celebrating by offering free admission to all 392 U.S. national parks from April 17 to April 25.

Travelocity: Travelocity if offering up to 40% off eco-friendly hotels across the globe during Earth Week, highlighting their top 40 green hotel deals, as well as offering discounts on participating hotels in their Green Hotel Directory.

Travelzoo: Get great discounts on LEED® certified hotels across the U.S.

Burt's Bees: Get a free Head to Toe Starter Kit with every $50 online purchase. Orders must be placed before 11 p.m. on April 30.

Earthbound Organic Farm: Get a $1 off coupon for any Earthbound Farm product by answering all 12 questions correctly in their online quiz. (Hint: They give you a cheat sheet you can study first.)

Environmental Booty: With every purchase during Earth Week of an Envitote reusable shopping bag, you'll receive a free EnviPal, a lead-free insulated lunch pack.

iTunes: Download the first episode of the BBC Planet Earth series "Pole to Pole" for free on iTunes from April 12 to April 26.

Frugal Excess

So, you all know I'm battling with my OCD (Obsessive Coupon Disorder) and I'm not making much progress. I've gone to the store every day this week for one thing or another. It's especially troubling because usually when I set my mind to do something, I can pull out the willpower and do it. When I decide I need to lose 10 lbs, I just change my diet, up my exercise and a month or two later I've lost the weight. Same with saving money, if I know a large expense needs to be paid, I just do the math and save a portion each month until we have enough to go ahead with the purchase. But this couponing is whacking me out. I find it extremely hard to not save money. I don't really think its that bad of thing to be addicted to, as far as addictions go. Sure, I can talk myself out of buying something I don't need or won't use - but what about the stuff I will use? Everyone needs to do laundry and clean their bathrooms, right?
Anyway, one of the biggest traps in being frugal is the sense of security I get from having a sufficient stockpile of something. My DH is sabotaging my frugal efforts by using the products we've purchased excessively. His thought is that we have more so he uses it more generously than we would if we knew it were the last package. For example, we have 20 plus bags of Eight O'Clock coffee. They are not large bags, only 12 oz I think. It seemed like he was getting a new bag every week from the stockpile and I asked him to write the date on a bag to see how long it lasts. Well, he just opened a new bag and the previous one lasted 12 days. So 1 oz per day. I guess that's about right to make a pot of coffee. But it seemed like he was burning through it (his job is to make coffee every day), when really he wasn't. However, there are items I know I tend to use generously (cheese, sauces, salsa, salad dressing) because I know I have plenty more. 
I've only been couponing a year, so I'm going to chalk it up to inexperience. Once I get more comfortable with yearly cycles on coupons and sales, I'll be able to control my insecurities about the quantity to stockpile. So for now, I'm going to just increase my awareness of my feelings and try to acknowledge my fears of not having enough, or fears of spending too much for something.

My Frugal Day

Being frugal is a lifestyle and it starts everyday you wake up. Here's how I live frugal
  • Make my own coffee at home, use a reusable mug and some of that free creamer from Publix.
  • Take a shower and use the free Scrubbing Bubbles to keep the new shower sparkly clean.
  • Eat some free cereal for breakfast, along with fruit, a glass of milk and a vitamin. 
  • Pack my lunch - a salad we made on the weekend, a free yogurt and a soda. Keeps me away from vending machines.
  • Pack a snack to have mid-morning
  • Ride my bicycle to work to save on gasoline, plus get some exercise and enjoy the outdoors in the morning.
  • On Mondays, say thanks to my coworkers who bring me their coupons from the Sunday paper.
  • Check the coupon blogs, RSS feeds and forums for the deals. Do a couple surveys.
  • Start planning my shopping trip to Publix on Thursday when the sneak peek comes out.
  • After work, do a secret shopper assignment, or run an errand like change the oil in the car.
  • Make dinner from the stockpile, cut or print a few coupons I'll be needing.
  • Read a book, play with the dog, go for a walk. All frugal fun.
If we're lucky, we can go all week without spending any money, except for a few bucks at the grocery store. Of course, thats the ideal. There are always the days you need to get gas for the car, or purchase something needed.
Being frugal doesn't mean you can't do anything. Many of the best and most wonderful things in the world are free. Enjoy them.

It's Not Working

On Friday, I confessed my addiction to couponing, and vowed to stay out of the stores until my next regular shopping day - next Thursday. Now its Sunday and I just back from Publix. I also went to Publix yesterday, and to Walmart. Between the three trips, I spent $2.86 and saved $93.51. It was great savings, but I've failed to stay away from stores.

My vow is not working. I told DH he's making it hard for me to succeed at my mission to curb this behavior. He says we "need" Benadryl itch relief sticks and if I don't use a coupon, he's going to get them anyway. What could I say?

Anyway, I guess I need to just focus on some other behavior modifications to curb this addiction. I know I'm not going to go recycling on Monday for sure. We'll see what else I come up with.

Confession of A Coupon Addict

I am finally willing to admit that I am addicted. It is consuming my thoughts constantly, and it must be controlled. I am addicted to coupon shopping. It's the thrill of the hunt for the deals, and triumph of finding the shelves stocked, and ready for my match ups. But, last night my DH brought to my attention that it has to stop.
Here's my confession. We went to Publix and everything was well stocked, all my moneymakers (Zantac, Schick razors, Aleve, Bayer) and all the scrubbing bubbles products I wanted. Notice I didn't say needed, because in the previous 3 days I had also been shopped and got multiples upon multiples of scrubbing bubbles. I didn't need more, but the thing is I got approval from the store manager to use the $5 Target Gift card wyb 3 scrubbing bubbles products. So I got 12. (mind you I already have over a dozen at home). My newest challenge this week has been to get gift cards for my overages, so I can actually go negative on my orders because the gift card absorbs it. So I can get the dollar value high with all those $7.99 starter kits, and then I can use multiple Publix $5 off $50 coupons, plus a competitor $5 off $30 coupon and before you know it - they paid me to shop. So, this week I've accumulated $90 in gift cards from my coupon overage.
But I screwed up yesterday. Bad. I was so excited when I saw the travel items I use for overage, and started filling the cart, I was too pre-occupied to pull the coupons to match up with the items. I pulled all the other ones but not my overage items. When the total at the end of the shop was $33, I was wondering why it was so high, but didn't want to prolong the checkout, it was already too long - the cashier wanted to double okay the Target gift card coupon with the manager, etc. So, I figure it must have been from throwing a couple things in the cart that weren't planned. Of course my mind is churning, "what happened, why wasn't it twelve dollars???" as we walk out the store - and then it hits me. I forgot to give them my $5/2 Zantac coupon and the $3/1 razor coupons and the $1.50/1 nyquil coupons. I did the math in my confused little brain and realized I paid $21 more than I should have. So we're checking the receipt and sure enough I didn't use the coupons, checked my envelope and there they were in the back. We debated about going back in to apply them, but decided against it because they paid us $7 already for the $40 gift card and our cart full of groceries. How could I go in and say pay me $21 more?
I suppose I could go back and have them apply the coupons to the receipt, but I figure its a lesson learned. I can use the coupons next week, since they don't expire for a while. But, I confess I have a problem and I need to control it. I was so despondent, forlorn and felt like such a failure for paying that much for groceries. Thirty three dollars is the most I've spent in almost a year for any shopping trip. It just kills me. The stupid thing is, most people would be ecstatic to have a shop like that where I saved $144 (81%). That's what makes me realize I have a problem.
Here are indicators of my coupon addiction, maybe you see yourself here too:
  1. I have bought coupons from a clipping service
  2. I get multiples of the Sunday paper delivered just for the coupons
  3. I go "recycling" in the neighborhood scrounging through peoples curbside receptacles for coupons on recycle night ( I know, Yuck)
  4. I create a spreadsheet list for my shops, calculating quantity and prices. I panic if I don't have it. I update it many times throughout the day as I figure out new combinations of purchases, and new deals.
  5. I clip and print coupons almost every evening while on the computer.
  6. I bought an old PC just to print more coupons, now I have 5 computers (I know, WTF!!)
  7. Add to that, I have 2 printers
  8. Of course my fridge and freezer are full all the time
  9. I bought an extra freezer to store food from my couponing.
  10. I have to freeze some foods that won't keep in the fridge (meat, cheese) because I've purchased more than I can eat before it would go bad.
  11. I bought a big storage shelf to store my stockpile, and its full and overflowing on the floor.
  12. Of course, all the new kitchen cabinets and bathroom cabinets are full of product.
  13. I've got coworkers and neighbors who give me their inserts, as if my 6 isn't enough, plus the 10 I get from recycling. Why do I need 20 copies of coupons??
  14. My coupon insert box is full and I'm starting to stack on top of it
  15. I buy stuff I know I don't need. I just got 36 Gatorades last week on deals, did I really need the 20 more Powerades? There's only 2 of us to consume all this stuff. And who needs 2 dozen scrubbing bubbles products?? Our bathrooms are brand new from the remodel, they're not even dirty yet!
  16. Before couponing, I hated to shop and would only go once a week - 4 times a month. Now I go almost every day to the store. I went 11 times in April and its only the 15th. I shopped 22 times in March.
  17. I have a hard time giving the stuff away if I think I might need it someday - even if its a remote chance.
  18. I buy cat food and treats when they're free, and I don't even have a cat. Now how bad is that??
  19. I'm signed up on several coupon forums to make sure I get all the deals
  20. I subscribe to over 100 coupon blogs and read hundreds of entries daily to keep up with the deals
Okay, I think you get the drift. I'm confessing my addiction and I'm ready to change. I've vowed not to shop except one day a week, not matter what deal I'm missing. Check back later for my list of corrective actions to help me curb my addiction.
Do you have any advice on how to control this obsessive behavior? I'm open to suggestions.

Thank You to the 53% of You Who Paid Taxes

Today is Tax day and in honor the government office where I work has decorated the break room with red white and blue streamers, nice colored tablecloths and centerpieces. Seems they're going to have a little pot luck to celebrate the 53% of you who actually paid Federal Income Taxes this year.
To you other 47% who paid no taxes this year, shame on you for sucking off society. Our economy and Federal deficit would be in much better shape if you would just forget about all those deductions that have been recently created and now have contributed to our economic downturn. I hope you stay off the roads that you didn't help maintain this year, and stay out of the libraries and parks too.

My Publix Plan 4/2010

I hope all of you are taking advantage of the moneymakers at Publix these days, I know I am. At least I'm trying to when they have the item in stock, it seems there must be a lurking coupon queen in Temple Terrace cleaning out the stores, even the one I call the ghetto publix due to the clientele. Anyway, we're taking a ride on the motorcycles tonight to make a coupon run to Bealls to use our $10 off $10 coupon, and to hit a far away Publix for some scrubbing bubbles deals.
I asked at my local Publixs' and they have absolutely no problem honoring the "Get a $5 Target Gift Card wyb 3 Scrubbing Bubbles" items, and giving a Publix gift card. So here's my plan to get a $50 gift card tonight using moneymakers, $/$ competitors and store coupons, and the scrubbing bubbles Target gift card coupon. I'll report back Thursday. Keeping my fingers crossed for Zantac and Schick razors in stock!
This shop is way off on coupon count vs items, so I'm not even going to try to get fillers, I'll just call the manager over. Notice all the product and a $50 Gift Card can be had for $3.18 (a 97.8% savings).
Its a plan anyway. Wish me luck.
Productqtypricesubtl-B1G1-QtotalQ#Q details
creamer BOGO61.9911.945.976.98-1.016(2)b2g1+(4)0.75/1MQ
yogurt Fiber One bogo22.505.002.502.000.502$1/1 print
ziploc bags (0.33 ea)41.997.963.983.000.9852-b1g1+2-$1/2 PQ +$1/2 MQ
Publix gc150.0050.0015.0035.003Get $5 Target GC w 3 scrub
scurb bubbl refill53.9919.9522.70-2.7510B1kitG1refill+$0.55/1 PQ
scrub bubbl pwr spray57.9939.9540.00-0.0510$5/1 MQ 4-11ss+$3/1 PQ
vicks nyquil dayquil, trial$1.5/1 vicks 2-21pg 1-17pg
bayer aspirin12.692.693.50-0.812$1.50/1 print + $2/1 PQ GAB
schick razors40.993.9612.00-8.044$3/1 3-21ss, $2/1 4-11ss
Zantac41.094.3610.00-5.642$2/1 1-31ss or $5/2
coupon0.000.005.00-5.001$5/$20 competitor
coupon0.000.0010.00-10.002$5/$50 Publix

P.S. It worked. I spent $3.96, saved $120.48. They didn't have any Zantac or Schick razors so I only got a $30 gift card.

Un-Frugal Boobs

Saturday night we went out for a pitcher of beer and chicken wings at our favorite little pub, and our favorite bartender was telling us about her upcoming surgery. Mind you that she is about 36 years old and normal weight with maybe a little muffin top above her jeans. She used to weigh over 300 lbs many years ago, and lost all the weight and has kept it off. As a treat to herself years ago, she bought some boobies. She saved her hard earned tips and has paid $10,000 for a nice pair of C or D cups, and she shows them off in the halter tops, and clothes that I would consider underwear. I would wear the tops she wears under another shirt, certainly not alone for fear of attracting too much unwanted attention. Granted DH would love it if I wore clothes like that, but I don't mind if he looks around at the other girls instead - just so its only looking.

Anyway, she was telling us that she is having surgery this week to get bigger implants. My jaw almost dropped because in my opinion her implants are plenty big already. Then she went on to tell us how this will be her third surgery, and that the first doctor was pretty conservative and only would put in the 320 cc size. Then the next doctor put in 360 cc size, and now she's going to get 390 cc implants. The kicker is she went to the bank to get a loan to get financing for her new boobs. We're not sure of the new price tag yet, but I'm sure we'll hear all about it when she gets back in a couple weeks. The bartending is her second job that she works on Saturday to help with the bills, since she is divorced with 2 young kids.

The funny thing is that DH is excited to see the new boobs. Its like if you get a new car and you want to show your friends. He expects her to practically flash him to show off the new improved implants. Personally, I think its dysfunctional to replace perfectly good boobs with new bigger ones. Granted there may be a leakage problem or something she didn't share with us, that requires more surgery - and maybe she is just getting more boobs while they're in there operating anyway.
I just shake my head, I don't understand it.

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Frugal Fun - Friday Extra Concert Series 2010

Its the time of year when lots of free outdoor activities take place that are family friendly and fun. One of my favorite things to do in Tampa every Friday evening in April and May is to attend the Friday Extra Concert Series. Here is the concert schedule for 2010. This year, the concerts will take place in two locations - the Lowry Park Bandshell and the new Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park. The concerts are free and open to the public. Arrive early to spread out a blanket, set up your chairs, enjoy a picnic, and visit your friends and neighbors before the concert starts! Park rules must be observed.

The "opening acts" starts at 7:00 p.m. and perform until 7:25 p.m. The "main acts" starts at 7:30 p.m. On April 23rd, there will be an extra "act" - the Eth-Noh-Tec storytellers at 6:30 p.m.

Concerts in the Lowry Park Bandshell:
April 9, 2010
1. Juniper Trio
2. The Definitive Tribute to the Eagles - Alter Eagles

April 16, 2010
1. The Third Band
2. Coo Coo Ca Choo

April 23, 2010
6:30 Eth-Noh0Tec Storytellers
1. Will Erickson
2. Thomas Wynn and the Believers

April 30, 2010
1. Emily Turnage
2. Monday, Monday

Concerts at the Curtis Hixon Waterfront ParkMay 7, 2010
1. Bride Of Chaotica
2. Stolen Idols

May 14, 2010
1. Brandon Shepherd
2. Don Juceam Orchestra

May 21, 2010
1. Thick as Thieves Trio
2. Stacey Knights

May 28, 2010
1. One Mounted Tom
2. Johnny G. Lyon Band