Wednesday, April 30, 2014

How To Save Money: Shopkick

This week during my how to save money series, I want to share just one app that has changed the life of my phone as I know it! This beautiful app is called Shopkick.

Shopkick is an amazing app with so many ways to earn. On the app you are accumulating "kicks" or points in order to earn rewards. Every day when you open up the app you have the opportunity to earn a daily kick. Some days I open up the app and receive a one kick, yesterday I opened it and received three, you just never know!

When you walk into one of the listed stores on the Shopkick app (Walmart, CVS, JcPenney, Old Navy, etc..) you can earn kicks for just walking inside! Simply open the app and stand in the store's entrance for a moment or two until the app recognizes where you are. Then you can earn the allotted number of kicks for that store. The other day I earned 40 kicks for just walking into Target.

Another way to earn kicks is scanning products when you're inside a store. Whenever I'm grocery shopping or shopping in general, I open Shopkick to see if there are any products I can scan. You simply select the store you're inside and when you find the product you want to scan, you hold the bar code up to your camera and the app will check to make sure the bar code matches. If they are a match, you will earn kicks for just scanning the products! As you can see above, they are usually around 25 kicks which is great since you can earn 100 kicks for every four products you scan.

Now you are probably wondering what kind of rewards you can get for this app...

Right now I'm saving up for a $500 gift card (aka an iPad) I have to save up a ridiculous amount of points in order to earn an iPad, but I have previously received a reward. When I had 500 kicks, I traded them for a $5 Target gift card which was great to use on one of my couponing trips. There are all sorts of items you can redeem your kicks for; from gift cards, to cruises, to vespas, there is something for everyone!

If you are interested in joining Shopkick and earning rewards, just click here!

Have a great day everybody!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Siren by Kiera Cass

Last week I was obsessed with reading The Siren by Kiera Cass. I started it while I was waiting for my car to get serviced, and then ended up staying up until two in the morning in order to find out what happened. Books and I have such a love/hate relationship. I love to read, but I hate loosing sleep =)

The Siren by Kiera Cass is an amazing novel and after a slow beginning, it had me hooked. The novel is centered around a girl named Kahlen. Kahlen is a siren and lives and works for the Ocean, she is one of a few girls who has the task of bringing down ships in order to curb the Ocean's appetite. Kahlen (along with her sisters) is deadly to humans and cannot speak in front of humans or else will lure them to their death. Kahlen is discontent but willing to serve her 100 years in order to be granted a real life once she is done. That is, until she meets Akinli.

I found the beginning of the book a little slow as Kahlen shared the experiences she had with her sisters, however once she met Akinli and a love story began I was hooked. I love a good love story =)

The ending was just as I wanted it to be, I was content and thrilled that everything turned out just the way I wanted it to. Would I recommend this book? Absolutely. If you love a good love story and you love novels that allow crazy things to be happening in our normal, boring world- I would definitely recommend it to you.

I do have to say though, that it was a little difficult to get started reading since there is so much going on, trying to figure out why Kahlen is in this position and what her relationship with the Ocean is. There's also quite a long time line from the beginning to the end of the book, which at first makes it difficult to follow, but once things slow down at the end, everything falls into place.

Today, it's only $3.03 as a Kindle download! Find it here.

Have you read any good books lately?

Monday, April 28, 2014

Matching all of my bedroom furniture

Last fall I spent some time painting my dresser and my bookshelf in my bedroom. I decided that since I was going for a lighter, beachier feel in my room white colored furniture would be the way to go. There are several other pieces of furniture in my bedroom that aren't white- my desk, my jewelry armoire, and my tv stand..however for this project I am focusing on my nightstand.

Just for a heads-up: I don't plan on painting my desk, it is far too large and eventually it won't go in my bedroom so it won't need to match the other pieces. My jewelry armoire is a silver and matches just fine and since it was so expensive I don't ever plan on painting it. Lastly, my tv stand is borrowed from my parents and eventually I plan on replacing it with something white of my own.

So, long story short, I decided to paint my nightstand.

As you can see, it desperately needed a touch up. It was scratched, scraped and covered in crap. I've had this piece since I was in middle school (so we'll say 2000) so it has withstood quite a bit of use.

The first step I took was to sand the entire nightstand. This is my least favorite part by far, I think sandpaper sounds like nails on a chalkboard and I feel sick the entire time I do it. I know, I know I'm such a baby!

Then I painted the entire night stand (including the drawer knobs) and then I  decided that I wanted the drawer knobs to match the knobs on my dresser (meaning a trip to Walmart). So I gave the entire nightstand one coat of paint and left it to dry.

While I waited for the paint to dry I decided I should wash these filthy blinds. Look how gross they are! I got out a bucket of soap water and a rag and went to work cleaning them. Once I had one side cleaned, I flipped them around and did the other side.

Once I had three coats of paint on the nightstand and everything had dried nicely, I set it back up next to my bed (sans the drawers). I also just placed all these items on top quickly and then only left the lamp on top for the night.

I left both drawers out to dry overnight since I didn't want the paint to glue the drawers to the actual nigh stand (that would be a nightmare), but I did organize them, so once it's time to put them back in I will be all set to go.

This is the top drawer. I keep my sleep sprays (gifts) that I like to spray on my pillows before bedtime, some lotion, hand sanitizer, my Polaroid camera (blast from the past eh?), a sleep mask I like to use when I have headaches because it warms up in the microwave), a small flashlight, extra chapstick, floss, a small mirror, my fitness journal, my daily journal, and my Kindle.

In the bottom drawer I keep all my hair brushes, a few clips, hair straightener, blow dryer, curling iron, and a few hair products.

Doesn't it look so pretty?!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Weekly Couponing Wrapup

Hello again everyone! I'm back for my weekly couponing wrapup, sharing some of the great deals I got this week with you guys. Of course these deals are still valid today and tomorrow so make sure if something interests you, you get to the store soon!

Walgreens had some great offers this week,

2 Purex @ $5.99 each
on sale for buy one get one free
used (2) $1/1 coupons (from
Paid $3.99 for both.

2 Scope Mouthwashes @ $3.29 each
on sale for 2 for $6 
used (1) $1 coupon (from -would have used 2 if the register would have accepted it...)
Paid $5 for both.

I also used a $6 Register Reward from my last transaction to offset the balance.

I paid $3.83 out of pocket, and received a $3 Register Reward to use next time!

Then it was time to try my luck at CVS...

2 Oral B Pulsar Toothbrushes @ $8.29 each
on sale for buy one get one 50% off, making one $4.14
used (2) $1.50/1 coupons from
used $2 off $10 oral care CVS coupon
I paid $7.53 for both of these items.

2 Scope 4 packs @ $2.67 each

2 Venus Razors @ $7.99 each
1 Gillette Razor @ $9.99
1 Gillette Razor @ $12.99
used a $4/1 coupon
used a $3/1 coupon
used a $3/1 coupon
used $4 off $15 razor purchase
I paid $24.96 for these four items

Now, since my total was still up high enough I was able to use a $10 CVS coupon for $10 off a $40 purchase.

I also used $13.94 in ECB from last week to decrease my out of pocket cost.

I paid $16.85 (including the $3.26 tax) out of pocket, for all 8 items.

I received $16 back in ECB for next week!

I also received a few free samples in the mail this week:

This Sinful Colors Nailpolish in the color anemone came in my PinchMe Box this month! PinchMe is a website where you can order free samples of products to test out and then review them on the site. They release products every few weeks so there is always something new to try! If you are interested in PinchMe, click here.

I also received this Lipton Natural Energy teabags that I applied for forever ago! Can't wait to try these.

I applied for the protein packets so long ago,  but received a ton of items I didn't expect! I'm not sure if I'm going to use these but I'm sure I'll find someone to pass them along to!

By signing up for DD Perks I received a coupon for a free medium beverage! If you haven't signed up yet, I encourage you to do so!

I also received Adult gummy multivitamins from Sundown that I applied for online. Gotta love free samples! (Also included was a $2 off coupon!)

How did your couponing go this week? Did you receive any free samples?

I'm thinking of adding my free samples to this post every week that way I can keep you updated with all the freebies!

Have a nice weekend =)

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Project 365: Week 16

This has been an awesome week for me, mostly because I've been on vacation from work for most of it! Here's what has been going on around here:

On Thursday, Day 107 I had quite a few errands to run, one of which was picking up my bridesmaid dress for my friend Brittni's wedding! I now have two bridesmaid dresses hanging up in my closet, which is a good reason to get out and be active everyday....

On Friday, day 108 I was shocked to receive an e-mail that said I'm in the top 2% of CVS shoppers! I do buy a lot of stuff there, but I don't pay for most of it =)

After work on day 109 I headed out for a 3 mile hike with two friends from work, Kaitlin and Laura. It was great to get out and get some exercise and get a chance to chat with both of them!

Day 110 was Easter Sunday and I talked quite a bit about it during Sunday's post.

On Day 111, I spent quite a bit of the day working on a painting project that will be featured in one of next week's blog posts...can you guess what it is?!

The morning of Day 112 was spent in the waiting room of my local Toyota dealership getting my car fixed. Boring! However, since it was Earth day, I managed to get outside in the afternoon to pick up some trash and take a walk with my mom, which was great after all the sitting.

Photo: Day 113, I have to pee. But first, let me take a selfie. #project365

Day 113: I played trivia with my regular team- one of which is my best friend since 1st grade. Gotta love friendships that last a lifetime =)

How was your week?

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

How To Save Money: Couponing Apps

Today during this episode of my How To Save Money Series I'm going to be sharing a few of my favorite couponing apps.

I have a folder on my phone simply dedicated to couponing. I have a bunch of apps that I use regularly and today I will be sharing four of them with you. (Don't worry- the rest will be coming up in future blog posts!) The four that I will be talking about today are; Ibotta, Shopmium, SavingStar, and Checkout 51.

The first couponing app I use regularly is called Ibotta. It is a great way to earn a little bit of extra cash on items you are already purchasing. You can browse through offers by the store you are planning on shopping at. Each offer has different amounts you can earn by completing different tasks. All of the tasks are really simple; polls, learning a fact, or sharing on Facebook are just three examples of tasks. Whatever the task is, it doesn't take more then a few seconds to complete. (Well unless it's watching a video…but I think the longest one I've ever had to view was about two minutes)

Once you complete the tasks you simply shop for you item, and then bring it home. Once you have purchased the item you click the Reedem button, scan the barcode on the product, and then take a picture of your receipt. Within a day or so you will have your money. Once you reach a $5 threshold you will be able to cash out to either your personal bank account or to your PayPal account.  You can also turn your balance into a number of gift cards.

SavingStar is so simple to use it's incredible! Once you have created an account you need to add all your store shopping cards to your account. Make sure you add all the cards you use; CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, grocery stores, etc. Once you see a product you would like, simply activate it and then shop for it at a store that you use one of the cards at.

Once SavingStar confirms your purchase, you receive your money and can transfer it into your bank account or PayPal account. My favorite part about SavingStar is that you can buy things for deals over time, not all in one transaction. SavingStar requires a $5 minimum payout, but it is often easy to reach that amount rather quickly.

Checkout 51 is a newer app but I have quickly grown to love it! This app requires a $20 cash out amount which is a little annoying, but also means that when you do cash out you will have quite the substantial pay out!

To use this app you don't have to do anything until after you've been shopping. Once you have one of the offers on your receipt you simply have to take a picture of your receipt and they will credit your account.

The process is so easy I don't understand why everyone doesn't do it!

The last app I'm going to share with you today is Shopmium. Shopmium is the app I have added most recently, but it's exciting that there is no minimum cash out value. If you add your PayPal account to this app, once you complete an offer you will instantly receive your money which is great.

For this app you purchase an item from the list of offers and request your rebate by submitting your receipt. Easy!

All these apps are a great supplement to couponing. You can shop and get your items couponing for pennies and then earn money back to cover your cost and then some! Often these offers turn great deals into freebies and freebies into money makers!

Are you couponing yet?

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Spring Cleaning and Organizing: Bathroom Spring Cleaning

This weekend I decided to take on the bathroom that my brother and I share. There wasn't a ton to be done, but I knew there were a few products I wanted to pass on to other people. I also wanted a chance to clean up all my bathroom drawers and get everything organized and sanitized.

Here's where I started:

This section of the medicine cabinet is my brothers, so other then some overflowing hand soap, there's nothing in here that concerns me or has anything to do with me.

The middle section has a bunch of my hand soaps and a few shampoos and face products.

This section is what I consider "my side" I keep as many items on these shelves as I can fit in this section. Shampoos, conditioners, bath products, soaps, and face products.

This my top drawer- just toothpaste and toothbrushes mostly.

The second drawer holds bath products, some extra body washes, and other random products.

The bottom drawer holds all feminine products and a few tissues.

Now here's what happened.

The first section of the cupboard remained the same. The second cupboard lost a few products. I had a couple things I wanted to pass on, including an Origins Charcoal Mask. I used it once and didn't care for the way it made my face feel.

The third section changed a little bit as well. I ditched all my Tresemme products since I can't stand them. So those have all been taken out of my cabinet, which is great since that clears up a little bit of room. I also know that if I won't be using them someone else would definitely appreciate them more.

I just cleaned up my toothbrush/toothpaste drawer since it tends to get a little junky.

I took a few items out of this drawer. I replaced my shower cap with a new one and took my shampoo and conditioner samples and moved them to the shower so I would use them sooner.

I only took a before picture of the underneath of the cabinet (keeping it real over here!) but I didn't get rid of anything, just simply tidied it up a little bit. I turned the towels around to make the pile a little bit neater. I moved around the cleaning supplies, shower gels and mouthwashes to create a cleaner look as well.

Now, I have a bag of products to donate and feel like everything is just a little bit neater! Now I encourage you to sort through your products and donate the ones you aren't using.

As you know I am participating in Less Stuff, Less Stress this year and trying to use up products I currently own rather then buying new ones and I'm also working on cleaning out the clutter in my closet, drawers, and life!

This bag will definitely count towards my Less Stuff, Less Stress total!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Free Sample Alert!

Do you love getting free samples in the mail? I certainly do and I've already requested my free samples of the following products!

Nivea Lotion Sample:

Dial Lotion Sample:

Go quickly because once they're gone that's it!

April Birchbox

I just love when my Birchbox arrives and brightens my day! Last Thursday I was extremely excited when I saw this box waiting for me..

The theme of April's box is Rainy Days which is perfect for the motto: April Showers bring May Flowers! We have had a few really wet days in the last couple of weeks, however we've also had some beautiful days which make the weather seem extremely promising- summer is coming, eventually!

I love the blue inside this box too, it was a nice change from the usual pink tissue paper. Blue is my favorite color and this definitely made the box more visually appealing this month.

The first product I pulled out is this KIND Healthy Grains bar in Maple Pumpkin Seeds with sea salt. I won't be eating this because honestly it kind of scares me. I'm not a particularly adventurous eater and this doesn't really appeal to me. I'm sure I will find someone to eat it though!

I am thrilled to receive the same size shampoo and conditioner in this Davines Oi line. So often I end up with a shampoo or conditioner that is bigger then the coordinating one and it really annoys me that I end up with extra of one or the other. I will be able to use these in the same amount of time which is great. I also have liked the Davines line I tried from a previous Birchbox so I'm excited to try this out.

I also love a good body wash and this one from Gilchrist & Soames looks like it's right up my ally. On the bottle it says stimulating sea wrack. I love anything ocean-y so I am really excited to give this a try.

I'll have to play with this Sumita Color Contrast Eyeliner a little bit because my Birchbox card says it's in Jamun (Deep Purple). I'm curious if it will be closer to black then I'm imagining it to be. I can't picture using a deep purple eyeliner on myself, but I will try it out.

The last item in my April Birchbox is a Color Club nail polish in the color Gold Struck. This is a very shimmery polish and I imagine it will look really pretty on, I can't wait to try it.

That's what I received in my Birchbox, if you get a Birchbox I would love to hear what you received in the comments!