Category Archives: Saving Money

How I’m Thrive-Ing

Bottle of Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap

Bottle of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I finally succumbed to the millions of ads on social media and decided to try Thrive Market. Thrive is a healthy marketplace for all sort of organic, gluten-free, paleo, reuseable, blah blah stuff.

I’ve recently introduced coconut oil into my diet and Thrive was giving away a jar of coconut oil with every order (I think every order over $49). I found several things on the site that I already used (stevia sweetened chocolate chips), and a couple I thought might be fun (Tom’s of Maine toothpaste and deodorant) and made an order.

NOTE: You will receive 15% off your first order. About 30 days after your order you will be charged an annual membership fee of $59.95. Some people complain about that charge like they didn’t know it was coming. The site is very clear on this, but in case it isn’t I’m telling you: the charge is coming unless you cancel it.

I’m not a membership fee person, I hate paying those things. However, this has been worth it, in my opinion.

Thrive has an incredible inventory of products, with more added all the time.  Things I’ve purchased:

  • Dr. Bronner’s soaps and lip balms
  • Piggy Paint nail polish
  • Raw organic almonds
  • Xylitol
  • Compostable coffee filters
  • Coconut aminos
  • Figs
  • Organic and/or heirloom seeds: onions. tomatoes, carrots, etc

I’ve ordered lots of other things, too. Many products that are sold in major health  food store chains are cheaper on Thrive. I know, because I’ve checked.

I’ve got an order coming today that is mostly Thrive Market branded products, including sunflower seeds, organic spices, maca powder and chia seeds. I’m excited!

What you can expect from Thrive market:

  • Occasional coupons off your next order.
  • Free products throughout the year with minimum purchase.
  • Free shipping on all orders over $25.
  • A terrific selection of products from food to snacks to housewares to health & beauty.

Click this link to get 15% off your first order.

Update – Hollar!

I wrote recently about my experience ordering from Hollar. I received a couple of nonworking and/or broken items, so I contacted customer service. Here is how that worked out:

Nonworking Item:

[The Pillow Pets mini light up puppy dog came new in the package and did not light up. I changed out the batteries (it requires 3 SR41 or LR41 watch batteries) and it still doesn’t work.]  I emailed about this second, and got a message on 5/18/16 that they had shipped me a new one. Received it on 5/24/16 and it works! My daughter loves it!

Broken Item:

[The jar with the red lid was broken when it arrived. A strip of the jar was not covered in bubble wrap and that looks like where the break originated.] I emailed about this one first but didn’t receive any sort of response. After I received the pillow pet above, I forwarded the original email back to them asking if they had addressed that problem. I received a response from them that the item was out of stock and they were crediting my Paypal account. I received the refund email about 10 minutes later. I’m not sure if they would have done anything about it unless I sent another message.

I just went back over to Hollar and I see some new items that look like they might be handy. I will purchase from them again, keeping in mind that if there is a problem.

I think I will keep an eye on Hollar for party favors and decorations for my daughter’s birthday party this summer.

$2 site? Hollar!

The update to this post is here.

I started seeing ads for Hollar on Facebook several months ago, and it sounded too good to be true. It was like an online dollar store!

I finally decided to place an order last week after checking to see if they had any Peppa Pig items (my daughter’s obsession)  and finding some cute stuff.  My order was placed on 05/05/2016, and I received my items on 05/14/2016.

Here is what I ordered:

hollar order 1


hollar order 2


After 9 days (hey, shipping is free, so I’m not complaining) I received a large orange box containing all of my items. Quite a few items were glass, but everything was wrapped in adhesive bubble wrap.

The two large beehive looking glass jars have metal lids, and both have small dings in them. Not worth complaining about, but something I would avoid purchasing if I saw them in the dollar store.

The jar with the red lid was broken when it arrived. A strip of the jar was not covered in bubble wrap and that looks like where the break originated.

The Pillow Pets mini light up puppy dog came new in the package and did not light up. I changed out the batteries (it requires 3 SR41 or LR41 watch batteries) and it still doesn’t work.

The divided plates are not as impressive in person as they look on the site but I’m ok with them. I like the two smaller jars with green lids, and the Peppa Pig hat is perfect.

I’ve emailed customer service about the broken jar and the nonfunctional Pillow Pet mini, I’ll let you know when I get a response. The customer service hours are Monday – Friday and it’s Saturday so hopefully they will get back to me on Monday.

As of now I’ll probably order from them again, but I’m not sure what I’d but. Probably more stuff for the kiddo. Check them out: Hollar.


GwynnieBee and Me (Part 1)

Two of my best friends are getting married to one another this Saturday, and I haven’t been out of the house in anything dressy in a coon’s age.  This was going to be a little bit of a problem.

I noticed an ad on Facebook for GwynnieBee and thought it might be a solution, since there was a “first month free” option.  I went to the site and looked through some of the clothes and decided I could find something to wear to the wedding.

GwynnieBee is a plus sized wardrobe rental services with many different plans. You pick the clothes online and they ship them to you.  You try them on, wear them, then keep or send them back as you wish.  You can buy the clothes at reduced prices.  The monthly packages start at around $39 a month.

I picked out three dresses because of the three at a time out monthly plan I selected.  These are the dresses I chose:

gwynniebee wantedI thought the green and blue one might be the best one, but I was excited to have FREE options.  I couldn’t wait.

Unfortunately, the system doesn’t ship you any dresses until you have at least 15 items in your closet.  I agonized for a couple of hours and finally got enough dresses in my closet to trigger my first shipment.

Success! I got an email from GwynnieBee saying they were mailing out my first box.  So what was in it?  These:

gwynniebee gotI was a little bit disappointed, although I do like all three of these dresses.  The brightly colored one might be a bit much for the wedding but we shall see.

The shipment confirmation was email March 4 and the package was supposed to be delivered USPS Priority Mail on March 9 (yesterday).  I didn’t get the package (actually 2 packages) until today (March 10).

I’ve already tried on the dresses en situ but I will be doing a fashion show for my husband and daughter tonight with the correct undergarments and shoes, and I’ll have my husband take pictures at that time to post later.

I think I know which one I’m going to wear to the wedding, but I’ll wait and take votes.  More later!

Love Berries? Get ‘Em Cheap!

Summer berries.

Summer berries. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My daughter loves berries.  It doesn’t matter what kind: strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, she loved them ALL.  Of course, blueberries are her favorite but she doesn’t turn her nose up at any of them.  We give her berries every night after dinner as dessert, and sometimes during the day as a snack.

Berries can get expensive!  She can eat a lot, so I was buying a lot and relying on Target berry coupons and Cartwheel to get me through and then I heard about the Driscoll’s Berry Community.

You can save money on Driscoll’s berries by doing the following:

1.  Go to that link above and sign up and Driscoll’s will e-mail you a 50-cent coupon for your next purchase of Driscoll’s berries.  (HINT: You can print it twice.)

2.  Take your coupon to your local retailer that sells Driscoll’s berries and use the coupon (and any other discounts) to buy the berries.

3.  Take your inexpensive berries home and (THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT): turn the package over and take a picture of the label on the bottom with your cell phone.  It will look something like this:

driscolls label

Seriously – take the pictures the minute you get home because you’ll forget and throw the package away.  This is throwing away money.

4.  Once you have scarfed down the berries, go to the Driscoll’s survey site and fill out a survey with regard to the berries.  You will need the code on the bottom right of the label to complete the survey.  They will ask about size, shape, flavor, texture, etc.

5.  Once you complete the survey (should take less than 5 minutes) they will e-mail you another 50-cent off coupon PER PACKAGE (you can print it twice!) to buy more Driscoll’s berries.

After 4 surveys completed your coupon amount will increase to 75-cents off and from the 16th survey on you will get $1 off! I am already in the $1 range.

Does it help? Heck, yeah!  This week Publix has raspberries on sale, 3 for $5.  Using 3 $1 off coupons I only paid $2 for 3 6-oz packages of raspberries.  If they had been on sale at Target I probably could have done even better.  Last year I was getting pints of strawberries for pennies each.

There are no affiliate links in this post – I just wanted to share how I save money on fresh berries in my house.

P.S. For every Driscoll’s survey you complete each month you are entered into a drawing for $100!

Uhaul Discounts?

We are moving this weekend, in case you didn’t know.  One of the things we plan to do is rent Uhaul vehicle trailer to pull on the back of one of our trucks.  Does anyone know of any discount codes for Uhaul?  None of my memberships provide one and I’d like to save a little money if possible.

Local Moving Boxes

In the midst of moving we found ourselves in need of moving boxes, so we had to find some locally while waiting for the ones I purchased online.  If you’re in need of moving boxes and you don’t have a lot of time to have them shipped, here is how you can get them locally for free or cheap:

1.  Scan the neighborhood.  Do you have new neighbors moving in?  They might be willing to give you their moving boxes since they are done with them.

2.  Check with local grocery stores.  The local guys are usually more willing to help, though a big chain might, as well.  The problem is they may not have any available when you need them (I was told to check back with my local grocer on Friday but I plan to have this whole place packed up by Friday).

3.  Freecycle.  I cannot push Freecycle enough.  This is a great resource for anything free.  We got a lot of great moving boxes here including some small ones that were already marked “Books!” that we put books! in! (Seriously, even if you aren’t looking for moving boxes:

4.  Other freebie groups.  Where we lived there was a Freecycle group and another freebie group that used Yahoo groups.  I was a member of both and advertised on both.  You should also check Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc.  Search terms to try: freebie, freebies, freeuse, freebiecycle, freecycle

5.  Office/Friends.  Your office might have some of those awesome paper boxes.  Your friends might have some, too!

6.  Home Depot.  I remembered looking at Home Depot online when I was looking for moving box kits.  When we ran out of free boxes I purchased some from my local Home Depot store.  Great quality, a wide variety of sizes, and they had plenty in stock.  Prices ranged from $0.69 for a small box to $9.98 for a wardrobe box.  I didn’t pay more than $2.00 for any of the boxes I bought.

I tried all of the above and we’ve got almost everything packed!

Make Money Grocery Shopping


Money (Photo credit: 401(K) 2013)

How many times have you read a headline like that and thought “Yeah, right. Not going to happen.”  Well, before you click away, give this a read.

I’ve always felt those headlines were crazy, until I tried it myself, and it worked!   These apps require a smart phone or a tablet with a rear-facing camera, but they all are good ways to earn money while shopping.  My results are included in the descriptions:

1.  Ibotta.  I fell in love with this app last summer when I earned $5 on some items I was going to buy anyway.  I cashed out through Paypal ($5 is the minimum payout) and felt liked I had robbed the bank!  Basically, you scroll through the offers on this app, fulfill some simple requirements and then buy the item at a participating store (you can even use coupons on the item!), snap a copy of your receipt and the UPC on the item and Ibotta will put cash in your account.  There are bonuses for buying combinations of items, there are bonus events like the one they held last fall and they have a wide range of items including pet care, restaurants, hardware stores and more.  They have some great “any brand” offers on milk, cereal, juice, eggs, and ice cream.  Get paid for buying milk and eggs? Yes, please! My lifetime earnings are $102.75 so far.  I’ve cashed most of that out but I’m currently working on building up another big amount before I cash out again. Get cash back for buying your favorite products – yes, real cash! Once you try it, you’ll be hooked.

2.  Receipt Hog.  This one is a little bit different than Ibotta, and cash doesn’t add up as quickly.  However, you don’t have to buy specific products or stick to specific stores.  The way Receipt Hog works is, you set up your account and then every time you go shopping at the grocery store you just snap a picture of your receipt and upload it to the system.  Receipt Hog process the receipt and awards you coins based on the dollar amount of the receipt.  They may also send you surveys on certain stores or on certain items on your receipt that will result in additional coins.  Sometimes you will get a “free spin” which is a slot machine-like spin that awards you even more coins.  The coins add up and can be cashed in for cash or Amazon gift cards.  I cashed in, I believe, 1800 coins for a $10 Amazon gift card a few weeks and received it via email a few days later.  I currently have 790 coins (minimum to cash out is 1000) and I still have two spins and a few receipts in my purse to snap and upload.  No special purchase requirements here, but you can only use grocery store receipts.

3.  Checkout 51.  This is a new one on the shopping/earning circuit.  This is a Canadian company and it looks like they only pay out via check once you earn $20. They have specific offers that are only available for a week at a time but can be purchased at any store.  You purchase the item, “claim” the earnings on the app and then snap and upload your receipt.  I’ve racked up earnings of only $3.50 so far, but one week was a $1.00 milk payout in the same week I earned a milk payout and milk bonus on Ibotta so it wasn’t like I had to buy anything special.  I uploaded receipts I already had.  They do milk and eggs and the like as well.  I don’t know if they pay but I’m not going to get bent out of shape about it if it turns into nothing since I’m not buying anything special to make it happen.  I’ll let you know if I ever reach that $20 payout.  Maybe they’ll be doing Paypal by then?

In addition to these apps I also use coupons and my savings apps (I’ve saved $103.58 with Cartwheel by Target since I started using it!).  Happy shopping!



Are You Couponing Yet?

In the last couple of weeks I’ve had a few friends post on Facebook that they really need to start couponing.  Being the helpful and enthusiastic couponer that I am, I am always willing to offer help and advice.

I’ll tell them about sites like The Krazy Coupon Lady and Cuckoo for Coupon Deals which are my go-to sites.  I also like The Passionate Penny Pincher.  In addition I am a huge fan of Target.  I use the debit Redcard, the mobile coupons, Cartwheel and other coupons.  Great ways to save there.  I also LOVE Ibotta!  The new version is fantastic.

If you’re not couponing yet, what would it take to get you started?  How about FREE?  Yes, you can purchase items for FREE with coupons, and you don’t have to be one of those extreme couponers to do it.

Here are some links to coupon for FREE.  Give it a try and let me know if you like shopping for FREE!

Shop for Free

Under A Buck Walmart Deals

Some of the coupon sites have a shop for free post every week, so keep an eye out!