Thursday, March 23, 2017

It's National Reading Month! Celebrate with your Mobile Device!

FTC disclaimer:  This is a sponsored post from U.S. Cellular.  All opinions are my own.

With a blog name of "Books, Bargains, Blessings", you know I love books.  I used to be a self-proclaimed book snob and only read physical books.  But then I got a mobile device from U.S. Cellular and discovered the amazing world of eBooks.

My husband and I have a lot of appointments, and I love the fact that since I always have my phone on me, I am able to access a book anywhere I am with U.S. Cellular's national wide coverage.  Not only books, but I can read magazines, news, and yes, even blog posts on my phone.  I have read more than one book by stealing a few minutes here and there.  In line at the grocery store, waiting at a doctor's appointment, or while my husband fills the car with gas, having a reading app on my phone allows me pull up something interesting to read wherever I am.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

March 2017 Life Update

Things have been really exciting around here lately.  Mostly with good excitement.  I've kept my big news from February rather quiet because I didn't want anyone to know we were going to be gone for a while, but I won a big sweepstakes prize on SuperBowl Sunday.  So many companies have promotions on that day, I nickname it "SweeperBowl".   Turkish Airlines aired a commercial with James Earl Jones, and in conjunction with that gave away 10 business class tickets.  I won one of them!  For my husband to join me on the trip, we had to purchase a ticket for him, and we had to pay for hotel.  But still, we had planned a vacation for this month anyway.

Friday, March 17, 2017

The New Sheetz Reward Program De-Mystified (Based on What I Know Now)

One of my most visited blog posts is The Ultimate Guide to the Best Deals at Sheetz so I felt I needed to write a blog post about what I currently know about how the Sheetz reward program is changing on April 5, 2017.

This seems to be the year for changes to loyalty offers as My Coke Rewards is changing and the last day to enter codes is March 22, 2017.   Because Sheetz is my favorite loyalty program with My Coke Rewards a second, I have to wonder what is in store for 2017 with anything else I participate in!

One of my favorite things with the Sheetz program has been the buy 10 get 1 free offers.  In my guide to the best deals at Sheetz I suggested saving your free items for MTO products for a more expensive one.  For instance, I love the meatball and pepperoni subs.  (If you haven't tried the pepperoni sub on wholegrain with extra marinara sauce, you are missing out!)  If I save these credits and redeem them for a $9 six inch sub (which can be possible), then here is the breakdown of what I am spending and the rewards on that item.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Five Great Apps for Planning a Date Night

FTC disclaimer:  This is a sponsored post.  All opinions are my own.

My husband and I love to go out and do fun things.  It is rare that we have a date night that isn't in some way associated with something we needed to do that week, but it's also because we live in such a rural area that we try to plan our trips to the cities near us.  When we do, we always pull out my iPhone 7 Plus from U.S. Cellular and plan the evening.

When we were dating, we did a lot of texting as phone plans were different back then.  Did you know that 61% of people texted a potential love interest within the first few weeks following a first date.  (Funny but true, by the time my husband and I had a real date we were already married.  Everything we tried to plan fell through, including a trip to the Smithsonian -- that was when the government was shut down!  Perhaps my husband should have used these apps!)

What are some apps that are helpful when planning a date night?

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Here's What Happened When I Took a Blogging Course And What I Recommend Instead

FTC disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links.

In early 2016, I decided to take a blogging course.  It was quite a bit of money, but I also know that investing in myself is something I need to do from time to time.

The TL;DR version is:  I got my money back from the author of the course and I recommend other things instead of a high priced course.


1.  My page views went down.   I recently took the GRE and scored at the 82nd percentile of writing, so my page views are not reflective of my writing ability.  I think what happened was two things:  I deleted tons of old content which would have been drawing a little traffic to my blog, and secondly, I felt very forced in what I had to write.  A year later, and I'm still struggling to get page views back to where they were.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

How to DIGITAL Coupon at Dollar General

For years, I have loved the $5 off $25 purchase coupons at Dollar General.  Dollar General is a great place for inexpensive items, and that coupon has helped me get some super bargains over the years.

Now that Dollar General has an app where you can load coupons to your account, there are so many more savings opportunities!

It seems that most Saturdays you can download a $5 off $25 coupon right in the app.  The wonderful thing about this coupon is the discount is taken BEFORE coupons apply.  (A few stores may do it differently, but my stores take it from pre-coupon discounts).  So in theory, I can make sure I buy items using coupons.  The original pre-coupon price only needs to hit $25 for the $5 off $25 coupon to be deducted.  The $5 off $25 coupon also works on sale and clearance items.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Save Big by Shopping at A Grocery Store Outlet

FTC disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links.

If you have been following my blog for any time, you know that I love a good bargain.  I have been using coupons for nearly a quarter of a century -- since I was in my teens!  But today I am going to talk about shopping at grocery outlets.  I am fortunate enough to have one about 20 minutes from me, and a different one, which I try to visit a couple times a year just two hours from me.  There are other things I do in that town, so it's not just a trip to visit the outlet, but the car sure does come back filled!

Grocery outlets usually don't accept coupons, but that's okay because many times you can get items as cheap if not cheaper than double coupons.

The most unfortunate part of outlets is if they run out of something, they might not get it back in stock.  So if you see your favorite cereal there get as much as you will use before it goes stale.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Life Update February 2017

I haven't given a life update / Adoption update since August, so I thought it was time to fill all of you in as to what has been going on in our lives.
Yes, we still want to adopt.  That is a huge desire.  But while I wouldn't say life has been getting in the way, we have been trying to prepare ourselves for that.  We've been doing a lot of work on the emotional and mental preparation that comes with fostering / adopting.  We had more to do on that than I had realized, so this has been taking some time.

We are still working on the house.  Not only does it need to be up to code, but I am still getting rid of "stuff".  What is this "stuff"?   Mom had, as her best friend from high school put it, "Many Treasures".  Not long after Mom passed away I had some work done on the house.  Most of this was put in tubs and needs to be unpacked and sorted through.  (A few keep items, some to give away, some will get tossed.)  This is slower going than I had anticipated, and it is also mentally exhausting as well.  

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Christmas Without Debt: February Edition - Stationary

FTC disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links.

Welcome to my monthly series on how we can plan to have a Christmas without debt.  Not having debt eases stress and anxiety, which means we will appreciate the holiday more and be able to enjoy the extra time with loved ones without worrying about the bills that will come due in December.

As I mentioned in my December Christmas without Debt post,  you should know how much you should set back each month based on your spending last Christmas.    You should plan on either spending that whole monthly amount through the year -- or setting it back for use at Christmastime -- or a combination of the two.

This month we are going to focus on cards and greetings.

Friday, February 3, 2017

I Was Kicked Out of CVS Over Legit Coupon Useage!

I have been a CVS shopper for years, and yesterday I was in our "city" (town of 35,000 or so) and decided to pick up some stuff at CVS before heading home.  I didn't go to the one I prefer in that town because it was snowing, and I wanted to get home as quickly as possible.  (Little did I know that I should have gone to the CVS I preferred because although inconveniently located, they are well trained to handle coupons.)

I bought a number of items, including the eggs at 99 cents which were limited to two per person.  I have always obeyed limits when shopping.  I read a sign (or misread, I will say I may have been at fault here, but this is important at check out) I read a sign that said Coke products were 3 for $15, spend $30 get $10 back in Extra Care Bucks.