Couponing Tips & Tricks

We all have power. How do you use yours? Via @InGoodCents

The Internet is so powerful. You can get answers, connect with loved ones, buy groceries, read news around the world, or plan a vacation. You can return a photo after a tornado carried it miles away. Return a lost credit card to a stranger.  Come together with millions for one family and support them while they never give up. Take away the financial burden for a family who just lost a child, when you can’t take away their pain. Blackout websites in the largest online protest to stop a bill that will censor our words. You can save a life. You can change the world.

Or you can complain. You can hurt others. You can cause tears. You can cast stones.

“Sometimes, the Internet can feel like a middle-school playground populated by brats in ski masks who name-call and taunt with the fake bravery of the anonymous. But sometimes – thank goodness – it’s nicer than real life.” (Susan Orlean)

As a blogger, I open myself up to criticism by putting my life online. I share my thoughts, photos of my kids, and a little bit about my family. I’ve learned quickly that those who have negative things to say will always be the most vocal and those who are happy, often remain quiet.

I’ve been lucky. The complaints I’ve received have always come in emails and comments on my own page where I can easily reply. But, I know I’m not perfect. I make mistakes. I’ve made lots of them. The thought that one of these mistakes will be picked up and spread across the Internet to haunt me forever scares me. Maybe I could handle it, but what if it hurt my family too?

Last week a Philadelphia blogger sent out an email to local restaurants hoping to build a relationship. She offered to barter services – advertising on her site and social media outlets in exchange for a free meal for her family.

One of the restaurants she contacted sent her email to a local e-magazine, who published it online in a condescending article, along with her email and phone number. The article was picked up by other blogs and websites, calling her desperate and even the worst blogger in Philly. It was shared, tweeted, “liked”, and reblogged. These websites are rejecting supportive comments and publishing the hurtful ones. Now she is being showered with hateful comments and phone calls.

Why? Was her pitch worded poorly? Probably. Did she over estimate her worth? Maybe. We really don’t have enough information to know. Is her request out of line? No. It’s common to barter services, especially in the blogging industry. Is it because she promised positive promotion? She didn’t promise an honest review. She’s offering promotion (advertising), which should be positive or it’s not valuable. Is she a horrible person? Honestly, I don’t really care.

“No one deserves to be hurt, no one deserves to be betrayed. What comes around goes around, be careful with your ways.” (Tiffany Alvord)

It doesn’t matter why.

Behind that email is a real person. A person who is putting herself out there in the online world. Maybe she’s not perfect. Maybe she’s made huge mistakes. Maybe she’s made enemies. But there is nothing she could have done to deserve the hate that is coming at her and her family.

As a Christian, it always saddens me to see how quickly we are to judge and cast stones. We hide behind our computer and show the worst sides of ourselves online by hurting others. We scream fraud at companies who offer a free sample, just because it’s gone quickly. We attack  parents who lived through tragedy, because there’s no way to explain the horror. We mock a busy model who is taking time to breastfeed her infant, because we don’t understand her life. We make a group feel unwelcome, because we don’t know how to help them understand God and love.

Judgement, hate, and hurtful words never help. It’s only adds to the bad.

“But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.” (Luke 6:27-38)

Love will always be more powerful. You will change more lives and touch more people with kindness, than you ever will with hate. So don’t judge. Just live and bravely show others how to love by being the best you can be to those around you, even online. It’s hard. You will falter. You will make mistakes. But, Jesus never said it would easy. He said it would be worth it.

“You want to know how to change the world son? One act of random kindness at a time.” (Morgan Freeman as God in Evan Almighty)

Imagine if everyone left kind words on the sites and pages they visit each day. Imagine if we used the Internet to say thank you instead of complain. If we used it to pick others up and point out their achievements, instead of bringing others down. Imagine if we used it to change the world one random act of kindness at a time.

Wow. Now that would be real power.

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This sponsored post was written by me on behalf of Indiana Family of Farmers. Regardless of compensation, all opinions are 100% my own.

Summer is a great time to get out of the house and explore your town, but it can get expensive if you spending a lot of time away from home. One way we save money on our adventures is to pack a picnic. That way when the little ones get hungry, instead of hitting McDonald’s, we have less expensive healthier options within reach.

Packing the perfect picnic can be a form of art, since there are so many things to keep in mind. Will there be a picnic table or will you be balancing your meal on your lap? Is there a good chance the kids will have grubby little hands by the time your food is ready? And those are just a few.

Picnics (1 of 1)-5

Tips for Packing Picnics for Families

  • Keep it Clean! Kids get dirty easily. That’s part of the fun of adventures. Make sure to pack hand sanitizer and/or baby wipes if there won’t be somewhere nearby to clean up before eating. Don’t forget napkins or paper towels.
  • Don’t invite the bugs. Bugs can quickly ruin any picnic. The Indiana Family of Farmers recommends filling a spray bottle with 1/4-1/3 peroxide and filling the rest with plain tap water. Spraying this along your picnic surface will discourage bugs from joining in on your meal.
  • Pitch-In: If you are going with a group, instead of each family packing a picnic, work together. Assign each family something to bring to help divvy up the costs of food. This works even when it’s just two of you meeting at the park.
  • Keep it cool. Keeping your food cold is always a struggle. Did you know that cold food should be stored at 40°F or below? On hot days, I often freeze our drinks when heading out on hot days to help keep our food cold and ensure we have cold drinks when we’re hot. I also freeze any foods that don’t do well in heat or might melt, like chocolate, fruit snacks, and meats, so they’ll say good longer. Insulated picnic baskets or totes are always a great idea!
  • Avoid Spills. I can’t count the number of times my kids didn’t finish something and threw it back in the picnic basket, leaving it to spill and create a gross mess that isn’t easy to clean. When packing foods, think about what will happen after the meal is done. You may need to throw in a container with a lid or some Ziploc bags to make the after-meal mess less messy.
  • Keep it Simple. Do as much of the work as you can before you leave the home, because prepping meals outdoors is never easy. Plus, try to pack multi-use utensils and containers. Finger foods are always a great, simple picnic item!
  • Pack Backwards. Place your ice on the bottom of your picnic basket, then put your items that need to stay cool in next. The last thing you should pack is your tableware, which you’ll need before passing out your food.

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Say Thank You to Popsicle

by Susan on October 16, 2012

in Frugal Living, Tips & Basics

Today, we’re taking the time to say thank you to Popsicle.

As a savvy shoppers, it’s nice to show appreciation to the companies we love.  Each week, we take the time to say thanks to one company for the savings they provide, providing us with great products, or just general things we love about them.

Some companies may send us a gift just for being a loyal fan and taking the time to show our appreciate.  Since it’s nice to be appreciated back and it’s important to realize that being kind can help you save even more, we’re tracking who we’ve thanked and how (or if) they’ve showed appreciation in return.

How it Works

  1. Write an honest message expressing your thanks to the company or brand.  It doesn’t have to be long.  Short and sweet works too.
  2. If you don’t like a particular company, don’t force it.  Just skip this week and participate again next week.  Only thank those you truly appreciate and want to thank.
  3. Make sure to include your address in case they decide to send you something to show their own appreciation to you.

Say Thanks To…

Popsicle

Why We Love Them

Need some ideas to get you started?  That’s okay.  Here’s a few reasons I love Popsicle to inspire your own thank you message.

  • Fun treat for kids and adults.
  • An easy way to ad fluid to the diet of out little ones when they are sick.
  • Sugar free popsicles are a great sweet treat when you are dieting.

Don’t forget to check out status updates to see who has shown their appreciation back.  Remember, not every company will send something in return, but this is more about saying thank you, so have fun with it!

You can find many manufacturer coupons in the Coupon Database.

More Ways to Save:

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Today, we’re taking the time to say thank you to Weight Watchers Smart Ones.

As a savvy shoppers, it’s nice to show appreciation to the companies we love.  Each week, we take the time to say thanks to one company for the savings they provide, providing us with great products, or just general things we love about them.

Some companies may send us a gift just for being a loyal fan and taking the time to show our appreciate.  Since it’s nice to be appreciated back and it’s important to realize that being kind can help you save even more, we’re tracking who we’ve thanked and how (or if) they’ve showed appreciation in return.

How it Works

  1. Write an honest message expressing your thanks to the company or brand.  It doesn’t have to be long.  Short and sweet works too.
  2. If you don’t like a particular company, don’t force it.  Just skip this week and participate again next week.  Only thank those you truly appreciate and want to thank.
  3. Make sure to include your address in case they decide to send you something to show their own appreciation to you.

Say Thanks To…

Weight Watchers Smart Ones

Why We Love Them

Need some ideas to get you started?  That’s okay.  Here’s a few reasons I love Weight Watchers Smart Ones to inspire your own thank you message.

  • Variety of great tasting mealss
  • Easy to take with you on the go.
  • I can create my own diet plan like the Mail order diet plans at a fraction of the cost.

Don’t forget to check out status updates to see who has shown their appreciation back.  Remember, not every company will send something in return, but this is more about saying thank you, so have fun with it!

You can find many manufacturer coupons in the Coupon Database.

More Ways to Save:

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Say Thank You to Mission Foods

by Susan on September 18, 2012

in Frugal Living, Tips & Basics

Today, we’re taking the time to say thank you to Mission Foods.

As a savvy shoppers, it’s nice to show appreciation to the companies we love.  Each week, we take the time to say thanks to one company for the savings they provide, providing us with great products, or just general things we love about them.

Some companies may send us a gift just for being a loyal fan and taking the time to show our appreciate.  Since it’s nice to be appreciated back and it’s important to realize that being kind can help you save even more, we’re tracking who we’ve thanked and how (or if) they’ve showed appreciation in return.

How it Works

  1. Write an honest message expressing your thanks to the company or brand.  It doesn’t have to be long.  Short and sweet works too.
  2. If you don’t like a particular company, don’t force it.  Just skip this week and participate again next week.  Only thank those you truly appreciate and want to thank.
  3. Make sure to include your address in case they decide to send you something to show their own appreciation to you.

Say Thanks To…

Mission Foods

Why We Love Them

Need some ideas to get you started?  That’s okay.  Here’s a few reasons I love Mission Foods to inspire your own thank you message.

  • Tasty soft Tortillos
  • Always fresh
  • Variety of sizes for different needs
  • Soft, hard, floor, wheat etc.
  • Great for Breakfast burritos, wraps, cheese rollups, tacos and anything else

Don’t forget to check out status updates to see who has shown their appreciation back.  Remember, not every company will send something in return, but this is more about saying thank you, so have fun with it!

You can find many manufacturer coupons in the Coupon Database.

More Ways to Save:

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