Category Archives: $

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.


Walmart Beauty Box: Mini Review

It’s here! My Walmart Beauty Box arrived today!

Let’s peek inside, shall we?

Ooh!  Let’s take a closer look:

Included in this box:

  • Sample of Juicy Couture perfume (love the cute little spray bottle but not the scent)
  • Sample of Clear Scalp & Hair Therapy Damage and Color Repair Shampoo and Conditioner (need this for my color treated hair!)
  • Secret Clinical Strength Invisible Solid in Completely Clean 1.6 oz (my favorite scent) [Retail value at $7.92]
  • Olay Regenerist Micro Sculpting Cream Moisturizer 0.5 oz [couldn’t find this size at but on it is $9.99]
  • L’Oreal Paris Revitalift Triple Power Deep-Acting Moisturizer 0.5 oz [couldn’t find online but 1.7 oz is $16.29]
  • Covergirl Continuous Color Lipstick in It’s your mauve .13 oz full size (looked like a very wearable color, but alas, seems more pinky orange than mauve when applied) [Retail value at $4.94]

Based on the deodorant and the Olay moisturizer alone this box is a great value. Looking forward to seeing what the next one brings.

Sign up here: Walmart Beauty Box


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!



How Couponing Helped My Husband Quit Smoking

My husband (we) decided that 2014 would be his year to quit smoking. Our daughter turns 2 this year and while she hasn’t been exposed to his smoking too much, she’s going to notice even more now than ever.

We looked at the options: e-cigs, patches, gum, prescription pills, lozenges.  We looked at the state quitline, the one that provides free smoking cessation products.  He decided he wanted to do it without the quitline, an to give the lozenges a try.

Those things are expensive!  Seventy two of them generally cost in excess of $30 and that package lasts a week or so.  That can get pricey, though cigarettes cost more.

I found some great coupons and deals at Target.  Most of these coupons expire February 2, 2014, so if you plan to get some, now is the time!  Here’s the scenario (coupons links are at the bottom):

72 Nicorette lozenges: $33.99

Target Nicorette coupon: -$10.00

Target Cartwheel Nicorette offer (20% off) the retail price less Target coupon: -$4.80

Manufacturer coupon: -$15.00

Total after all discounts (less tax): $4.19

And if you use the Target Redcard or Redcard Debit you get an additional 5% ($0.21) off making the total $3.98 less tax.

So for less than 1 pack of cigarettes you can get a week’s worth of smoking cessation products.  I’ve purchased 4 boxes already and plan to buy a few more before my coupons expire.

$15.00/1 – NicoDerm CQ Product – (


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!

I Almost Lost My Job Today

Rubber Band Wallet

Rubber Band Wallet (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This morning I took my daughter shopping.  One of the places we went was a dollar store near my house.  I was looking for some clearance deals and managed to snag just one – a Disney Princesses bucket and spade for just 45 cents.  I tripped over her last bucket and broke it a few days ago, so this was a nice find.

Our next stop was Target.  I had a bunch of coupons and deals all set up and enclosed in my coupon wallet.  We needed cheese and some other things and I was ready for every purchase with a coupon of some sort.  They were all in the plastic document wallet I bought from a dollar store and fashioned for my purchases.

Only problem is, when we got to Target, no coupon wallet.

I repeat: No. Coupon. Wallet.

I checked my purse/diaper bag.  I checked the car.  I checked my purse again.  I checked the car again.

No. Coupon. Wallet.

I had seen it in my purse at the dollar store during our first stop.  My daughter loves to pull things out of my purse if I leave it open, so I reasoned (prayed) that it must still be there.

I loaded her back in the car (and she cried and protested, having just been released from her restraints) and we went back to the other store.  I asked the friendly cashier when we came in.  She hadn’t seen it.

I walked the store, didn’t find it anywhere.  I was panicked.  I went back out to the car.  No coupon wallet.  I put my daughter in a cart and decided to comb that store with a fine toothed comb.

I was heartbroken.  That wallet contained coupons for several different stores and probably represented more than $200 in savings.  There were coupons that I had maxed out the print limits on.  There were coupons I was saving for just the right deal.  There were coupons that would result in free items for my stockpile.

My husband goes to his job every day and he brings home the money that pays the bills and buys the groceries.   That’s his job.

My job is to keep our daughter safe, happy, clean and well-fed.  I am also the cooker, the cleaner and the clothes washer.  I manage our money, keep the bills paid and keep food in the cabinets and the freezer for a fraction of what they cost retail.  That is my job.

That coupon wallet represented a few hours work: sorting, clipping, printing, matching and organizing.  That coupon wallet helps feed our family and keep my daughter in diapers.    And now it was gone.

Just as I started to feel tears welling up in my eyes, a woman rounded the corner talking animatedly with her friend.  In her cart was: MY COUPON WALLET!

It was wedged down in the seat portion of the cart.  You couldn’t see it unless you were looking at it from my angle.  I walked over and smiled.  “You’ve got something of mine,” I said, and reached it an unwedged the wallet from its resting place.

What a relief.  We went to Target and made our purchases and now it is lunchtime.  My job is saved!

Free Safety Latch Starter Kit

Look what came in the mail today!


I ordered this online a couple of weeks ago (or less) not knowing what I was going to get.  This is a great little free starter kit from Proctor & Gamble that can save you a little bit of money.

This is the dreambaby latch starter kit and you can sign up and receive it for free, as in no cost, as in don’t provide a credit card number or anything.  Completely free, not even shipping!  Order here.