Ask Cuckoo Readers

Posted: April 25, 2011
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There are some questions I’ve had readers ask about Nathan Engels, AKA Mr. Coupon, from We Use Coupons, after they saw him on Extreme Couponing.  Nathan asked if I wanted to do an interview with him, and I said sure!  I just went and asked him some of the questions my readers have been asking me:

How do you get a hold of the ads so early? In order to order a huge supply of the coupons you’re going to need, don’t you have to have the ad extremely early?

WeUseCoupons has thousands of members and often the ads are posted by them!  We sometimes get ads two or three weeks in advance.  If we order any coupons, we then have a chance to do that.

Where do you order your coupons from? Or do you get multiple copies of the Sunday paper?

I actually dumpster dive!  There are many coupon clipping services you could use if you don’t want to dumpster dive.

Thanks Nathan for clearing that up for us!  I personally get four copies of the Sunday paper at a sickeningly low price; it is just easier for me then worrying about ordering coupons and hoping they get to me in time for the ad not to expire.  I have never been dumpster diving but have no problem with other people doing it.

Ask CCD Readers: Do you have any questions after watching Extreme Couponing?

Posted: April 21, 2011
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(These are mostly for single people, but some may work for families!)

If you’ve always dreamed of taking a cross country road trip but are worried there’s no way you could afford such a trip, think again. It is definitely possible to travel through the United States on a shoe string budget and still have a fantastic time and get to see loads of places. Here are five cheap and creative ways to travel the United States without having to dip into your pocket too deeply, or even better yet, actually get paid to do so.

1. RV courier – RV couriers are people who are paid to drive recreational vehicles across the country. As an RV courier, you are required to get the RV to a particular destination within a specific time frame. Other than that, it’s up to you. You can decide on your driving hours and your driving route. If you have enough time to make a detour somewhere, then you can! The RV courier company pays your expenses and provides insurance. You never have to spend money on a hotel because you can sleep in the RV. If you have a driver’s license and a good driving record, you are a great candidate to become an RV courier.

2. Ridesharing – With the way fuel prices are these days, if there’s any way you can split the cost of gasoline, take it! Maybe you can convince a couple of friends to come with you, or maybe you can go online and search for other people who are traveling to the same destination as you. There’s a rideshare category on Craiglist and plenty of other websites catering to ridesharers. Ridesharing may turn out to be way cheaper than paying for a bus ticket.

3. Air courier – Sometimes custom law states that air cargo must be accompanied by a chaperone, hence the need for air couriers. This is a great way to score some airline tickets for free or below cost – but you’ll need to have a flexible schedule because oftentimes you’ll be given very little notice. Also, you won’t be able to bring a lot of luggage with you because you will not be allowed to check it.

4. Camping – Sure, some campgrounds are ridiculously expensive but you can always find ones with a reasonable price range at around $20 a night, or some that are even free! This is a great way to reduce or even eliminate the cost of accommodations. To cut down even more on the costs, borrow a tent from a friend or buy one cheap online.

5. Tour planner – If you become a part time group tour planner or a tour escort, you can probably score some complimentary vacations or tickets by selling vacations or get commissions from travel agencies. You can also write off any trip expenses as tax deductions by explaining that you are checking out new destinations so you can properly recommend them to your clients. To get tax deductions and free stuff, you’re actually going to have to start a legitimate business and get clients – you don’t just get to call yourself a planner and reap the benefits.

This post was written by Ryan Embly from CarRentalExpress.com. If you’d like to learn about his website click here.

Ask CCD Readers: Have you started planning your summer trips? We already did ours.

Posted: April 19, 2011
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Photo credit: Open Travel Info

I growl every time I have to get gas lately. It’s creeping back up to $4 per gallon again. That’s two gallons of milk (or one if you live in Florida – I can’t believe milk is sooo expensive there!).

I was searching for ways to save money on gas, and here’s my favorites. My first 10 gas saving tips are here.

  1. Say no to brand names: They all use the same refineries and pipelines!
  2. Highway travel: exit at a moderately sized city.  Supposedly their gas is cheaper.  Head for the city center.  Two sources told me this is the way to go.
  3. Checking the air in your tires:  tip from my reader Amy: We have a Hyundai Elantra and recently went from Utah to San Diego, I kept telling hubby to do the air in the tires but he didn’t when we first headed on our trip. On our first fill up we calculated we got about 33 miles to the gallon…he filled our tires and our mpg jumped! We averaged around 37-38 mpg the rest of the trip and just recently I hit 40 mpg so fill those low tires to help with gas mileage!
  4. Get ride of the junk in the trunk: Less weight is better.  I have a stroller and subwoofers I don’t even use in my trunk – time to take them out!
  5. Scooter: One of my readers got a scooter just for her husband to go back and forth from work, at 56mpg that can save a lot on gas! Make sure that the cost of the scooter doesn’t out weigh the savings.  For $879 you can get a 100 MPG scooter!
  6. Tailgates down – sunroof up: Supposedly having the tailgate of a truck down reduces wind resistance (this was dis-proved by mythbusters though according to some of my readers, so go ahead, leave it up!)   Sunroofs should be up.
  7. Steady does it: Drive steady, no quick starts or fast stops, stay at the same mph as much as possible.
  8. But I love my A/C! Air conditioning can reduce gas by 10-20%.  Roll down the windows if possible.
  9. WHAT? Keep windows closed: Ok so the next tip is that windows open on the highways can reduce gas by 10% because of drag.  So A/C or windows down? ??  Here’s what Open Travel says “I believe that opening your windows at low speeds and using the air conditioner at high speeds gives you better fuel economy.”
  10. Windows down a tiny bit: Keep your windows down just a bit so the air can circulate through your car while you are parked.  This makes sense.  Still wondering about 8 & 9…

Ask CCD Readers: How high do you think gas prices are going to get???

Thanks to Tree Hugger.com and Open Travel Info for some of their suggestions!

Posted: April 17, 2011
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There were good versions of this coupon, printed from Bricks.com, but someone photocopied them and started selling them.  Photocopying coupons is a huge no-no, the manufacturer won’t reimburse the store for those coupons.  I am hearing mixed reports on whether or not all coupons of this particular coupon are invalid.  Just know that $2/2 Listerine, Aveeno, Carefree, Bandaid’s coupon has been added to the CIC Fradulent Coupon List. If you have this coupon, check the coupon code by entering it into Veri-Fi.com to make sure that yours is legit. But because this particular coupon is now on the list, stores will start refusing all copies of the coupon so don’t ask them to “push it through” as they won’t get reimbursed.

Thanks, CouponingToDisney!

Posted: April 15, 2011
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I am soon booking two coupon seminars in the coming weeks. Please fill out the form if you’re interested in attending!  They will be free to attend!

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey, the world’s leading questionnaire tool.

Posted: April 12, 2011
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Photo credit: Open Travel Info

I growl every time I have to get gas lately.  It’s creeping back up to $4 per gallon again.  That’s two gallons of milk (or one if you live in Florida – I can’t believe milk is sooo expensive there!).

I was searching for ways to save money on gas, and here’s my favorites.  There were many suggestions I left off the list, such as living near a bus stop or riding your bike to work, because I figure you either live near a bus stop or you don’t; there isn’t much you can do to change that situation.  And you either are within biking distance to work or you aren’t.   So things outside of your immediate control or no-brainers I left off to cut down to the ones that I think are more relevant.  These are in no particular order:

  1. Tighten the gas cap: Gas does evaporate.  I’ve had friends who had missing gas caps and didn’t care. Who knows how much $$$ in fuel evaporates from their car each day!
  2. Fill up your tank when you are near empty: Well, this one is tricky.  Supposedly, your car is lighter when it has less fuel, thus it uses less fuel to run. So it is good for your car to have less fuel in it.  But I was always taught not to let the tank get under 1/4 full, so if there is an emergency and you need to go somewhere quick you have gas to get there.  What do you think?
  3. Gas Prices While Traveling: Type in your zip code at GasBuddy.com to find out the cheapest gas station near you.
  4. Memberships, memberships, memberships: Sam’s Club, Kroger stores, and many other stores offer some pretty good discounts, around $.10 per gallon, if you are a member.  I specifically wait to go shopping to Smith’s until I need to fill up, so I can fill up while I am there – they go up to $1 off per gallon!
  5. Car Check-up: Replacing that old air filter could save you as much as 10% in gas!  Make sure your engine is tuned up.
  6. Shade: Park your car in shade or get a good window covering.  The cooler it is in the summer, the less A/C you will have to use!
  7. Call ahead: Certain stores, like Target, will put items on hold for you.  If you’re looking for a hot coupon deal, don’t drive all over town finding it in-stock at your local Target – call ahead first and if they have it, tell them to put it on hold.
  8. Time Your Trips: Traveling during non-peak hours will reduce your time spent in traffic.
  9. Combine Trips: I already do this – and I route the quickest ways from point A to B to C.
  10. Bye-bye Off Roading: Ouch! Traveling on dirt or non-paved roads can reduce your mileage by up to 30%!!!

Gas saving tips 11-20!

Ask CCD Readers: How do you save money on gasoline?

Thanks to Tree Hugger.com and Open Travel Info for some of their suggestions!

Posted: April 11, 2011
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Got too much stockpile? That’s where Couponing for Community comes into play! It is a blessing to give. I always feel better giving than receiving!  So I would like to encourage all of you to set aside some extra items you don’t need and donate them to charity all year – May 8-14 is the official drive though!

Deuteronomy 15:11 For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land.

Lists of places to donate your stockpiles:

National:

Ask CCD Readers: If you know of anywhere in your state to donate, or nationwide, leave a comment and I’ll add it to this list!

What do you have in your hand? Perhaps you, like Moses, feel that you have nothing with which you can serve God. But think about what your neighbours need. Maybe you can help them with whatever is in your hand. Maybe that is exactly what they need. –Dick Nieusma

Posted: April 11, 2011
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My family in front of  the Hogwarts Castle (you can go inside it and that is awesome -so many settings from the movie recreated! My favorite ride is inside too!) You can also go to the shops of Hogsmeade (you can even order Butter Beer and shop at Olivander’s wand shop!)

I went to Orlando, Florida on vacation last week and had the time of my life.  My in-laws live there, so they were kind enough to buy us plane tickets to come visit them, since that is easier for them then coming to Utah to see us.  It was my first family vacation with my family.  Me, my husband and our two daughters.  We saw the in-laws, but spent most the vacation with just my family since my in-laws had to work.  I have been to Orlando before, but going with my kids is whole different experience.  

Did you notice I was gone?!?!? I had plenty of posts I’d written before I left scheduled to post, such as my Un-Extreme Couponing series and my price points lists.  Then my friend Kristin over at Couponing to Disney pitched in and did a “blog swap” and posted some deals on my site too.  And she posted pictures of my trip! View us at the Tri-circle ranch, the day it was raining at Magic Kingdom, and us drawing chalk with Chip & Dale!  I should have added that to my list of tips – it’s FREE and they give you FREE chalk and there was no line!

  1. At Disney World: Reserve your character dinner early! We wanted to do the Mickey’s Backyard Barbecue but when we called 3 weeks in advance it was already sold out. What is a Disney character dinner? You eat with the characters! We did get to do the Lilo and Stitch Polynesian Breakfast and it was fantastic! You sit and eat all you can eat, and Mickey, Pluto, Lilo and Stitch come to your table to take pictures with you. Then your kids get up and do a dance with them. This was my daughter’s favorite part of the trip. And considering we actually didn’t see Mickey Mouse anywhere else on the trip, it was worth it!
  2. Go to Disney’s Magic Kingdom when it’s raining! We had no lines and got to see the whole park in one day.  This wasn’t due to the time of the year – every other day on our trip the parks were slammed and we were waiting hours for rides.  It was due to the rain!
  3. Get your Disney fast passes for the most popular rides early! Everest at Animal Kingdom was sold out of passes by noon!  They do limit them per day, so get to the best rides early.
  4. Watch the new “Let the Memories Begin” show at the Magic Kingdom. This is phenomenal!  It only started 2 months ago.  It is hard to describe what it is, but the castle is changing drastically during the show and is worth staying at the park late to see this.  This show is after the Electrical Parade and right before the Fireworks.
  5. Don’t skip Universal Islands of Adventure! I am really shocked people go to Orlando and skip Universal Studios.  They have the Dr. Seuss world which my daughters loved, and a lot of little kid rides.  And quite frankly, their roller coasters are stellar!  The new Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride was my favorite of all the parks – and I have been to Busch Gardens, all 4 Disney World parks, Sea World and both Universal parks!  My family calls me the Extreme Theme Parker.
  6. You can skip the regular Universal park. I’m not the hugest fan.
  7. Get the Express Pass at Universal if you are going anytime between March-September. The lines are very long and there are no fast passes, you must pay for the Express pass to get on rides quick.  We waited in line for 3 hours for the Harry Potter ride.  We were wishing we splurged on the Express Passes!
  8. Get there early. Run to the most popular rides.
  9. Stay there late. Ride the other most popular rides you didn’t get to in the morning at night.  The crowds really started to thin out at nights we noticed.
  10. Make sure to checkout Couponing to Disney before you go to Disney World – she has lot’s of great tips for Disney vacations!

Ask CCD Readers: Any tips you have for traveling to Orlando?

Posted: April 1, 2011
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Or… something that everyone already thought of and I am the last to think of it?

As I was giving my girls a bath the other day, I realized instead of just sitting and doing nothing as I usually do, I could scrub the toilet and clean the bathroom.   Since the girls take 1/2 hour baths (most of bath time is play time for them), this was a great time to get the cleaning done in the bathroom while still keeping an eye on them.

Now I started rotating between their bathroom & mine for their baths, so I get mine cleaned up too.   And we have very hard water, so our toilets need cleaned often or they get grimy build up.   I think my girls are watching their mom clean and learning about hard work plus my house is looking cleaner, so I think it’s a good thing.

As for the hard water, when we do get stains I have found Lime Away to be the only product that works.  Have you found a product that works great?

Ask CCD Readers: Any tips you’d like to share?

Posted: March 18, 2011
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giveaways

Most of you know I work hard to ensure my list of giveaway linkys is kept up-to-date; if they aren’t updating their linky, I chop it from the list.

I also run a giveaway listing service. One of my new friends Cheryl has a great $100 Movie Theater Gift Card giveaway going on that she wanted me to help get the word out about. Check it out over at My Free Product Samples. Anyways,  Cheryl emailed me some linkys and giveaway directories that weren’t on my list – so now I have added them to my list (view full links and more on the list):

Post your Blog Giveaways on Facebook Link Once Per Day Max
Lucky Contests Fill out a form – reciprocal link req.
Sandy’s Realm Fill out a form – reciprocal link req.
Contest Hound Fill out a form – reciprocal link req.
Sweepstakes Lovers Fill out a form- high traffic
SweepstakesMag Fill out a form- medium traffic
Big List of Giveaways Fill out a form- medium traffic
Momma is Sweeping Mister Linky for low entries- 150 or less entries
Oh So Savvy Mister Linky – 200 or less entries & ends in less than a week
Mrs. Cox Blog Mister Linky
Super Saving Mommy Mister Linky
Dear Crissy Mister Linky
Sweep Tight Mister Linky
The Divine Miss Mommy Mister Linky
WAHM resource site McKlinky with pictures

Please checkout my list of linkys anytime you are hosting a giveaway, I guarantee you will get more entries and new followers to your site!  Also, let me know if I am missing any and I’ll add them ASAP.

Posted: March 17, 2011
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Login to Living Social and click on the red cross banner underneath the Living Social logo – for every $5 you donate, Living Social will give $10 to the Red Cross!

Head over to the Voskos Greek Yogurt Facebook page and “like” them. Through March 22nd, Voskos Yogurt will donate $1 to a Japan earthquake relief fund for every Facebook “like” to this status. (Thanks, Family Friendly Frugality!)  Make sure to like their status, not just their page!  I’m not sure if it is just that status or the page you have to like to get the donation.

Through March 31st, AT&T wireless postpaid customers (i.e. those who receive a monthly bill from the company) will not be charged for international long distance usage from the United States and Puerto Rico to Japan and will not be charged for text messages to Japan originated from a U.S. wireless number.

Through April 10th, most Verizon wireless and residential customers can make calls to Japan for free; Verizon postpaid customers in the U.S. will receive free text and multimedia messaging to Japan for the same time period. (Thanks, Ohio Coupon Connection)

You can go to soles4souls.org and make a donation. $1=1 pair of shoes.  You can also donate shoes.

You can get American Airlines miles when you donate through the American Red Cross

Any donations to LDS Humanitarian Services are always sure to be used directly toward people in need and not used toward administrative costs.  All LDS workers are volunteers, so there are no administration costs.  Online donations can be made through the Humanitarian Services Giving section of the LDS Philanthropies Web site.

Ask CCD Readers: Do you have any other ways to donate that you would recommend?

Posted: March 12, 2011
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I posted my Freebie Friday and Funny Friday a day late, but better than never, right?!?!?

Gasoline Humor: This week gas prices seem to be soaring, soon it will be $4 per gallon, so let’s at least get a laugh out of it!


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