Friday, June 24, 2016

Swagbucks Three For All





Want to make a quick buck? (or six?)

Then it’s time to try Swagbucks! Just in time for Summer Vacation, Swagbucks has announced an another promotion where you can get a $3 (300 SB) Bonus just for signing up through our site and earning your first 300 SB. So open up your umbrella (not in the house!) and put on your slicker and galoshes because it’s about to pour 300 SB Bonuses for you and your family and friends.

New to Swagbucks? Great! It’s a site where you earn free gift cards for the things you already do online. You get points (called SB) and redeem them for PayPal or Visa cash and gift cards from Amazon, Walmart, Target and other great retailers. Here’s how to earn your 300 SB in an hour:
  1. Sign up for free through this link
  2. Watch a few short clips from Top Sports Headlines, World New Headlines, cooking shows, and the Latest from TMZ and earn 26 SB
  3. Take a 5 minute survey for 60 SB and a 13 minute survey for 100 SB. Even if you get DQ’d, you get paid up to five times for a total of 5 SB.
  4. Print a $1 Off Flintstone’s Vitamin Coupon and earn 25 SB
  5. Sign Up for Zulilly's free mailing list and earn 50 SB
  6. Click through entertainment-focused web content with NCrave for 20 minutes and earn 20 SB.
  7. Install the Hulu App on your phone and earn 24 SB.

That’s it! You’ve just earned 300 SB (worth $3 on its own) and you’ll get a $3 Bonus for your effort!

Already a Swagbucks member? Here’s how to get your $3 Bonus:
  1. Refer a friend to Swagbucks between Now and Tuesday, May 31st
  2. Your referral earns 300 SB by April 30th (see above!)
  3. You AND your referral will both be awarded an additional 300 SB each
That’s it! (the 300 SB bonuses will credit by June 5th) So once again, starting today, send out those referrals, a 300 SB Bonus could come in handy for a rainy day!




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Saturday, June 11, 2016

MGC+ Father's Day Sale [US Only]



According to a recent Swagbucks survey, the #1 item dads want for Father’s Day is Gift Cards. Forget the ties and sweaters, give dad what he really wants and earn Cash Back* in the process with MyGiftCardsPlus. Everyone wins!

Plus, from now through June 12th earn Cash Back and a 100 SB bonus** when you purchase Gift Cards to Lowe’s, The Home Depot, AMC, eBay, and Sears.

Make dad feel like this on Father’s Day:
via GIPHY


*Cash Back is paid in the form of SB points good for popular gift cards or PayPal cash.


**The SB Bonus Offers apply to one purchase per gift card listed above (Lowe’s, The Home Depot, AMC, eBay, and Sears). This offer expires at 11:59pm PST on June 12th. Your SB will credit when your electronic gift card is delivered.



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Friday, June 3, 2016

Repost: The Co-Sleeping Controversy - Why I Don't Obey the Rules

Once again, I have been "advised" about safe sleeping practices, so I decided it is once again time to repost the Co-Sleeping Controversy. It is frustrating to hear agencies promote certain parenting practices without telling parents the true facts and figures that go along with them.




Without restating everything that I said in my first post, I will leave a link to it here.

I will restate this part:

The Crib vs. Adult Bed Research

Let's talk about the research. And, let's start with Dr. Sears, who was the first person to say that co-sleeping was good for babies - and parents! Dr. Sears also co-slept with his children. He says that when parents ask him, "Where should my baby sleep?", he responds by telling the parent that they should have their baby sleep wherever baby and parent sleep best. Period. 

Dr. McKenna is a well-known SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) researcher who will testify that the adult bed is safer than a crib. His testimony is the result of 30 years of research and you can read his article "Co-Sleeping and Biological Imperatives: Why Human Babies Do Not and Should Not Sleep Alone". But, basically, if you don't want to read the article, Dr. McKenna discusses several topics, including how sleeping next to your baby is "biologically appropriate", different organizations that DO support bed-sharing, and that the family bed environment can be made to be SAFER than the crib.

According to Dr. McKenna, the following organizations support the family bed:
  • The Academy of Breast Feeding Medicine 
  • The USA Breast Feeding Committee 
  • The Breast Feeding section of the American Academy of Pediatrics 
  • La Leche League International 
  • UNICEF 
  • WHO
The common thought amongst these groups, as well as Dr. McKenna, is that our ancestral mothers bed-shared due to breastfeeding. Why shouldn't we?

Dr. Margot Sunderland, the director of education and training from The Centre for Child Mental Health in London agrees with Dr. McKenna's stance on co-sleeping, as well. She says that children whose parents co-slept with them tend to grow up to be calmer, healthier adults, and they also may experience less amounts of stress than children who slept in cribs alone. Her book, The Science of Parenting, explains her opinion on bed-sharing. 

In Dr. Sunderland's book, she uses evidence from 800 different scientific studies to prove her theory, that co-sleeping is by far healthier than an infant sleeping alone. Many of the studies that Dr. Sunderland examined included brain scans to find out how infants' and kids' brains react in particular situations. She says that cortisol, a hormone that is related to stress, is increased in the infant body when they are separated from their parents.

One neurological study even revealed that the brain activity of an infant who is separated from a parent showed similarities to exhibiting physical pain! (And then we have the parents who let their babies CIO - "cry it out"! I'm not trying to judge here, but just imagine putting these two concepts together. Infants who sleep alone in cribs exhibiting signs of physical pain in their brain scans and then the parents practicing the CIO method. What exactly does the baby LEARN from this? When they are in pain, they cry and no one comes to comfort them?)   

Dr. Sunderland says that children should sleep with their parents up until they are 5 years old for maximum benefits and that this long-term co-sleeping is much healthier for children than sleeping alone. 

Meredith F. Small, the author of Our Babies, Ourselves: How Biology and Culture Shape the Way We Parent, says that according to studies, when a mother co-sleeps with her baby, the infant learns how to regulate his or her heartbeat, breathing, muscle movements, and brain wave activity. These same studies revealed that infants who sleep alone experience a difficult time regulating their body functions. These infants are also fussier and have more sporadic breathing. 

Now, the facts and figures:

The Statistics 

I told you that I would back up my choice with real, hard statistics, so you're probably wondering at this point,"Where are the REAL facts and statistics?" After all, all I have done is talk about some doctors' opinions, which goes against the majority of doctors and organizations across America.

First, let's talk about Japan. In Japan, the bed-sharing is a normal practice in their culture. You won't hear a Japanese pediatrician (unless they are practicing in America, of course) claim that the family bed is a big no-no.

Get this: Japan has the lowest SIDS rates in the world. Additionally, the SIDS Global Task Force conducted an international survey which revealed that cultures, like Japan, that practiced the highest amount of bed-sharing and co-sleeping produced the lowest SIDS rates. Food for thought...

Are these facts still too vague for you? No problem, I have more.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission conducted a study about SIDS that was released in 1999. Here's what they came up with:

  • There were 515 cases of accidental deaths of infants in adult beds between 1990 and 1997. If broken down by year, there was an average of 65 infant deaths each year in adult beds.
  • During the same period of time, there were 34,000 total SIDS cases. That breaks down to about 4,250 cases each year. 
So, to look at an average year, we would compare the 65 deaths that occurred in adult beds versus the 4,250 total SIDS cases. I'll figure it out quickly for you. That means that only 1.5% of the total SIDS cases each year occurred in adult beds. And, where did the other deaths occur? The study didn't say it, so we can't necessarily assume that the other 98.5% of infants died in cribs, but wouldn't you say that this "Bed-sharing Is a Big No-No!" is a bit unfounded at this point? 

What needs to be done is a REAL comparison of SIDS deaths in the adult bed versus SIDS deaths in a crib to ensure that there are no misconceptions. Until this type of study is conducted, I still would wager that the majority of the 98.5% of deaths did, in fact, occur in cribs, bassinets, playpens, and other products that were being used in order to avoid the family bed.

I do wish that pediatricians, child services agencies, and the like would provide parents with the real, hard facts rather than a generalized SAFE SLEEPING PRACTICES they tout. Please feel free to read the entire original co-sleeping controversy blog post that I researched and wrote and make the right decision, the safest decision for you and your child, without being forced into something that someone else thinks is best for you. 


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Friday, May 27, 2016

Memorial Day Sale


Fire up the barbecue, break out the lawn chairs, inflate the inner tubes, summer is about to begin! Do you need any supplies for your big weekend, have a summer trip to book, or maybe a new summer wardrobe? Take advantage of all the Memorial Day sales at your favorite retailers and put some cash back in your wallet when you do with the Swagbucks Shop & Earn Memorial Day Sale!

Earn Double Cash Back or more at your favorite retailers:


  • Walmart – 7 SB per $1
  • Sears – 2 SB per $1
  • Kohls – 4 SB per $1
  • Bed Bath & Beyond – 2 SB per $1
  • Gap – 2 SB per $1
  • Lowes – 2 SB per $1
  • Sephora – 5 SB per $1


And many, many more!

Plus, earn Double Cash Back on your summer travel bookings:


  • Booking.com – 6 SB per $1
  • Groupon – 7 SB per $1
  • Living Social – 7 SB per $1
  • Hotels.com – 8 SB per $1
  • Travelocity – 8 SB per $1
  • Expedia – 8 SB per $1


Enjoy your holiday weekend and remember our brave veterans - Happy Memorial Day!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Ulta.com Rewards & Platinum Status - How I Save Money Online on Beauty Products (And my beauty recommendations)

Yes, I just found Ulta.com and YES, I love them! The funny thing is, a month ago, you wouldn't see me using makeup nor hair products. I really could not did not find the time. All it took was chopping my hair from waist-length to shoulder length to get me started on a crazy Ulta spree.

Now, I am addicted!

I found Ulta.com to be a little confusing until I played around for a while and did some reading of FAQ pages. All you have to do is tell me about rewards and I am all ears. So...

Before I even get to the rewards system, I want to tell you that I am an extremely frugal online shopper. I will fill five online shopping carts to compare pricing, tax, and shipping for the same products to see where I will get the best deal. After doing this probably over a hundred times, I have decided that bouncing around from online store to online store will not get me the true pricing I am looking for.

I will get to the reason in a bit.

Price Matching

Also, if you are physically shopping in brick and mortar stores, you are probably missing out on the best pricing, unless you are price comparing on your smartphone. In that case, you might be fortunate enough to be shopping in a store that offers price matching. If not, well...let's just say you most likely could have found better pricing online. I say that because I have been watching prices on all types of products in the stores and doing my own comparisons to online prices. In many cases, I could have found a better price online.

Shipping

However, ordering online brings in another aspect - shipping - that you have to take into consideration. Lots of online stores offer free standard shipping if you order over a certain price point. If you are only buying one or two things, though, you might not hit that price point, which means you have to factor shipping into the price comparisons.

Hint, hint: I never pay shipping.

Back to Ulta.com

Sure, at Ulta.com, you have to spend $50 to get free shipping, but I find that if I plan ahead, I can hit that price point pretty darn quick, which means I can compare exact price for price online. But, if I plan ahead even better with products that I love and know I am going to need in the future, I can get unbelievable deals.

For instance, Ulta always has buy 2 or 3, get 1 free and buy 1 get one 50% off deals. When I see a product I am infatuated with and getting low on, it makes sense to get it when these deals pop up. That's where the savings really starts.

Here's an example with my current order

I just recently tried a sample of John Frieda Beach Blond Sea Waves Salt Spray and fell in love. The aroma is dreamy, leaving your hair smell almost shea buttery and when scrunched in my short hair, gives it awesome volume and incredible beachy waves with no frizz. I had to get some more!

Buy 2 Get 1 Free

Fortunately, that product just happened to be a buy 2, get 1 free deal, so I went ahead and ordered two of them! That left one thing...what was I going to get for free? Although I do love my new Kenra hair spray, I had heard great stuff and wanted to try John Frieda Sheer Blonde Crystal Clear Hairspray. After all, who doesn't need two hair sprays they can count on? And what better way than to try it for free?

Buy 1, Get 1 50%

I also needed a light "touch of summer" type of moisturizer, because...well, we are heading into summer fast at this point and it helps to have a glimmer of a tan and a good moisturizer. When I realized that the Hempz products were buy 1, get 1 50% off, I was ecstatic. It has been about ten years since I've used Hempz products, mostly because I stopped buying all of that cool stuff for a while. I ended up ordering the Hempz Touch of Summer Daily Moisturizer and the Original Herbal Moisturizer. (Side note: the aroma of Hempz original lotion is easy to fall in love with and the consistency is perfect, I can't wait to try all the different yummy smells!)

5 Products for Under $50! (And Free Shipping!) AND a Coupon Code!

Now, I have 5 products in my shopping cart. My subtotal is $52.23 before tax (which I am going to pay pretty much anywhere I shop online) and I qualify for their free shipping. But, that's not all the savings yet. A quick search for "Ulta coupon codes" and I found a coupon for $3.50 off an order over $10. And the crazy thing is, I STILL get the free shipping even when the total is reduced to under $50 with the coupon code!

You Won't Find Them This Cheap

Bringing my grand total to $48.73. Now, this may not sound impressive until you price compare to the lowest prices on the internet for all 5 of these products. I spent less than $10 per product! You won't get Hempz products for that cheap!

Reward Points

THEN, my order will be translated into points. Right now, Ulta is running a promotion where I will get two time the points my order would have originally received. Before this order, I had placed two $60 on average orders and have enough points for $6 off of an order. This order will add more points, and rather than spend them, I would rather let them add up.

Platinum Status

AAAAAND...when you rack up the spending to $450, which I can see easily happening within a year, you become Platinum status and get double points for every purchase as long as you maintain your Platinum status. From what I have gathered in forums, once you reach Platinum status, you remain at that status for a year. However, you have to reach the $450 threshold of spending again that next year to maintain it the year after. Can you imagine the amount of products you can get, though, with the deals, the freebies, the coupon codes, and the rewards? It's a beauty lover's dream!

You also get double points in your birthday month and I'm sure you get more rewards than I even know about. Feel free to speak up in the comments if you happen to have any more information!

Oh, I forgot to mention! MORE Free Stuff!

In my last order, I took advantage of some awesome FREEBIES that Ulta had up for grabs. I haven't received it in the mail yet, but am impatiently waiting for it!

I already make sure I spend the $50 to get free shipping, so it was nothing to add another $10 to get the FREE 22-pc Beauty Bag with any $60 purchase, a $100 value! (Or so they say...and, sorry, but I grabbed that promo before it was gone!) I can't wait to get it, though, and check out all of the freebie samples! THEN, I am also getting a FREE Hello Beautiful Deluxe Palette w/ any $16.50 ULTA Beauty Cosmetics, Brushes, and Beauty Tools purchase (this one is still up for grabs!).

But, wait! There's more FREE stuff! At the end of every order, you get to pick a free sample of a product Ulta is offering. I elected for the Skincare sampler.

In that order, I got 10 products for $60.88! And, I am nearly peeing my pants waiting for the box, which, for some reason, UPS shipped from Indianapolis, IN to Buffalo, then to East Syracuse, then back to Buffalo. Weird. Explain that one! Either way, I should see it by Tuesday!!!

Savings for Beauty Lovers

So, you can see how the savings can add up if you are a beauty products lover. Sure you have to be a frugal sale-hawking online shopper at Ulta to get the best deals. Not everything is on sale all of the time. You may not even find the best pricing or any free products to take advantage of, but my point is that if you are smart and you shop the deals and reap the rewards, Ulta.com might become your best friend for all you need beauty. I know it's mine.

I'll be Platinum sooner than later!

**This is not a sponsored post. I am not an affiliate, you won't find any affiliate links in this post. Just me sharing my opinion and experiences, as usual.


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