To The Parents that Didn’t Vaccinate Their Kids

There’s been a lot of chatter on the net lately about parents choosing not to vaccinate their kids. Don’t get me wrong – I delayed the chicken pox vaccine in each of my children for an entire year. I didn’t do it because I was afraid the government was poisoning them or some other similar nonsense, I did it so they wouldn’t have 5,671 vaccines all at once.

You see, I like knowing that my kids won’t die of completely preventable diseases that until recently, had all been but irradiated from the western world. In my mind, watching my child die a horrible, pain-filled death from measles or even the flu is worse than the *small* amount of toxins contained in the vaccine as a preservative. Call me crazy, but

But Jenny McCarthy said that vaccines cause autism!

Stop talking right now. You should not have children if you get your medical advice from Jenny McCarthy. She’s not a doctor. She’s not a researcher. She’s nobody. Just an ill-informed celebrity with way too large of a mouth praying on people’s insecurities.

In the past, vaccines have been more harmful than helpful. Just look at Polio!

Thank God for progress. Old vaccines weren’t nearly as good as modern ones and back in the day, the Polio vaccine contained live Polio virus. In very rare circumstances, that resulted in the child being vaccinated contracting the disease. Emphasis on the VERY RARE part. Today’s kids don’t even have that risk because they get inactivated, or killed, viruses in the vaccine. That means there is absolutely no risk of contracting Polio from the vaccine.

It’s important to note that there are places in the world – mostly third world hell-holes where Polio is still an endemic – where live viruses are used in the Polio vaccine. The reason is because those who get the live virus version of the vaccine are able to pass their immunity on to the people around them. That helps spread immunity more quickly than vaccinating every single person. The live virus vaccine is also taken by mouth instead of in a shot, which reduces cost and is easier to administer in areas where doctors or nurses are scarce.

Again though, nobody with access to this website has to worry about getting the new vaccine. If you have a computer and internet access, you live in a wealthy enough nation that Polio isn’t currently a threat and the killed version of the vaccine is perfectly fine.

It’s dangerous to give babies too many vaccines at once.

Hey, I’m with you. Remember what I said before? I delayed the chicken pox vaccine because I felt that it was just too much all at once for my babies to handle. I delayed the vaccine – I didn’t opt out. I just waited. My kids were still fully vaccinated before going to school. If you’re really concerned about them having too many vaccines and you’re not just looking for an excuse to opt out, feel free to delay the vaccine like I did. A year should be fine. Make sure they have it before they go to school.

Vaccines are toxic.

I really want to strangle people when they say this because 99 percent of them have no idea what thimerosal is, or that it’s even the ingredient in question. Thimerosal is a type of preservative and yes, it’s mercury based.

Fortunately, it’s only found in the flu vaccine now, so you can let go of your pearls.

And before you go opting out of the flu vaccine, your child will get more mercury from eating fish than they will get from the vaccine. Also, the mercury is bound in thimerosal, so very little of it is absorbed by the body.

If you’re concerned about toxins to the point where you’d opt out of vaccines, consider this: What’s more toxic – a minute amount of mercury or a huge dose of Polio? The diseases we vaccinate against can be lethal. Even if you really think that there’s enough mercury in a vaccine to give your child autism (there isn’t, but that’s not the point), would you rather have a living child with autism or a dead child without it?

It’s my right as a parent not to vaccinate my child.

I’m all for parental rights, but only to the point that your rights don’t infringe upon someone else’s. There are children that legitimately can’t get vaccines because of health reasons or allergies. That’s where a little thing called herd immunity comes in. The parents of those kids are counting on you to vaccinate your kids so theirs aren’t exposed to the illnesses.

While little Johnny will probably recover just fine from the chicken pox, Billy in his class who has cystic fibrosis might have a harder time fighting it off. If you don’t know Johnny is sick and you send him to school, he can infect Billy. Billy isn’t able to fight off the chicken pox because of his condition. Now Billy’s dead because you wanted to show “the man” that you can do whatever you want as a parent.

Even if your child manages to go to school with only impeccably healthy children with no underlying allergies or diseases, you probably still come in contact with babies once in a while, like at grocery stores or restaurants. Little Johnny can still infect those kids before they’re old enough to get the vaccine or strong enough to fight off the disease. Now you’re killing babies. Aren’t you proud of your decision not to vaccinate?

I don’t want my kids to suffer the side effects of the vaccine.

Most vaccines have very few side effects. Babies may experience diarrhea or more spitting up than usual after the DTaP and mild fevers are not uncommon either. However, the side effects are nothing compared to the illnesses the vaccines are preventing.

Many parents worry that their kids will be allergic to the ingredients in the vaccine. Allergic reactions normally occur shortly after getting a shot and fortunately, being allergic to a vaccine is very rare. In that case, your child will rely on the kids around them to be vaccinated, so pray there aren’t too many other anti-vax parents in your community.

As far as I’m concerned, there’s really no good reason to not vaccinate your children if you are able to. Giving kids the gift of health is probably one of the most important things a parent can do.


Cleaning Tips: Kitchen Cleaning Checklist

Spring is right around the corner (hard to believe as I look at the snow in my yard!), so it’s time to start thinking about Spring cleaning. I’m going to spread my cleaning out over the course of a month rather than just a day or two so I don’t get overwhelmed. I’m also a big fan of checklists – I think they help me get and stay organized, so it’s no surprise that I’m making up checklists for my cleaning too.

Today, I’d like to share my spring-cleaning checklist for the kitchen. I plan on giving myself 3 days to tackle the kitchen.

Daily Tasks

  • Do the dishes, hand wash the pots and pans after every meal
  • Wipe down the counters
  • Empty the trash (maybe not daily, but definitely not yearly!)
  • Sweep
  • Change the towels

Spring Cleaning Tasks

  • Take care of cobwebs (I do this first so they don’t fall on something that has already been cleaned)
  • Dust light fixtures
  • Spot clean the walls
  • Clean the oven (I know – this should be done more than once a year, but I have 3 kids! Give a girl a break!)
  • Clean the stove top including the burner grates
  • Clean the filter on the stove fan
  • Descale the Keurig
  • Wipe down cabinet doors using a degreaser
  • Organize cabinets, tossing anything that hasn’t been used in the past year. Goodbye travel mug collection!
  • Sort spices, tossing anything that’s too old
  • Sort cooking utensils, tossing/donating anything that hasn’t been used in a year
  • Clean/organize under the kitchen sink, put down new contact paper if needed
  • Sanitize the counters with bleach
  • Clean the fridge (I do this more than once a year)
  • Defrost the freezer
  • Clean the microwave (this is more of a weekly task)
  • Clean the front of the appliances
  • Clean behind the TV (my husband has a TV on top of the fridge and he likes to hide stuff behind it…)
  • Clean the garbage disposal and sink drain
  • Clean the sink
  • Polish the faucet (tip, use a dryer sheet)
  • Clean baseboards using a dryer sheet
  • Clean the rug
  • Clean the board at the base of the cabinets
  • Sweep
  • Mop

Blizzard Preparedness Guide

It’s official – we are under a blizzard warning. The snow should start flying this afternoon and continue through early Wednesday morning, resulting in 2 to 3 feet. Here in the Northeast, we are no strangers to snow, but it still seems like whenever there’s a big storm on the horizon, people aren’t really sure what to do to get ready. That results in long lines at the grocery store and a shortage of milk, bread and eggs. Apparently folks like to eat french toast while they’re snowed in.

I hate battling the grocery store crowds and dealing with empty shelves, so I try to get out as soon as I hear that there *might* be a storm on the way. I’ve also gotten pretty good at preparing for the worst and I’d like to share what steps I take when bad weather is on the way. Please note that this preparedness guide can be used for all types of weather disasters including hurricanes.

Phase 1.) Buy Stuff  
The first thing people do when they hear about a storm coming is that they run to the grocery store and empty out the milk, bread and eggs. Don’t ask me why – maybe they really like French toast?

Unfortunately, you need to have a slightly more comprehensive list than those 3 items. The goal isn’t to make it through the storm, it’s to make it through the week if you lose power. Even if you don’t lose power, what if the grocery store does? Plan pantry-based meals rather than ones that rely on refrigerated or frozen items. Here’s a few ideas of some staples to help get you through:
bread, peanut butter, jelly, canned tuna, canned fruit, canned beans, instant rice, canned vegetables, canned soups, canned meats (chili, beef stew, hash, etc.), granola bars, pop tarts, crackers, chips, dry cereal

You’ll also want to buy batteries if you don’t have any handy, candles if yours are burned out (avoid scented ones if you plan to use them for light for extended periods of time) hurricane lamp oil if you have hurricane lamps, propane for your grill, propane cylinders for your camp stove, salt for your driveway, a snow shovel if yours is out, gas for a generator, gas for a snow blower and gas for your car.

If you have babies or young children, don’t forget formula, diapers and wipes. If you cloth diaper, now is a good time to think about some emergency disposables since you may not be able to wash your cloth ones if you lose power.

Don’t forget that washing dishes with no power wastes valuable water and is difficult, so grab some paper plates, paper napkins and plastic silverware. Check your trash bag supply and get some more if needed.

While it’s technically not “buying” something, swing by the ATM while you’re out and grab some cash. It’s good to have on hand if the power goes out.

Phase 2.) Think About Water
If you’re on private well water, you need to get set some water aside. Ideally, you’ll have gallon jugs available to put water in, but if you don’t, you can use buckets (good for washing clothes, flushing the toilet, etc.), the bathtub (again, flush that toilet or wash some dishes), pots and pans, pitchers, glasses, etc.

I like to fill bags with water and put them in the freezer to turn to ice. When it’s thawed, I can use it to drink, but while it’s frozen it will help the contents of my fridge or freezer last a little longer. I mostly do that during hurricane season – in the winter I can just put snow from outside in bags or put my perishables directly in the snow to keep them cool.

Even if you’re not on private well water you should set aside a couple pots and a few pitchers of water. When the power goes out, your town’s filtration system may go off-line for a short period of time. In the worst-case scenario, a tree could damage the pumping station near your home, resulting in a temporary loss of water.

Phase 3.) Electronics
After you’ve gotten the basics out of the way, it’s time to think about luxuries. Plug in every electronic item you have. Start early, because they take a while to charge. I usually give myself the 12 hours or so before the storm to charge electronics and ban the kids from using any of them before the storm sets in and we know how bad it will be. Turn off any apps you have open so the battery doesn’t start to drain the second you unplug it. It’s a good idea to power down your phone and turn it back on to reset the memory so it’s in good working order when the storm hits. You should also download the app for your local utility company, if they have one, so you can report power outages and check the status of your restoration.

Phase 4.) Warmth
If the power goes out, how will you keep warm? If you don’t have a generator, the answer is likely blankets, sweaters, etc. The most efficient way to stay warm is to have everyone in your family go into 1 room of your house and close the door. Ideally, it should be a small room. So, while you still have power, start gathering up your blankets and sweaters. Make sure everything is clean – if it’s not, now is a good time to do laundry. Wash clothes, blankets, towels and anything else you can fit in. I gather the extra blankets up and keep them in a central location (in the living room) for use during the day AND it makes it easier to bring them all to our “space” if the power goes out.

Phase 5.) Paperwork
The final phase in storm preparedness is gathering your paperwork. Keep your home owners or renters policy number handy as well as a phone number for the insurance company. Do the same thing with your car insurance. My paperwork stash also has phone numbers for the utility companies and our family members in the event that cell phones don’t work. Really it has anything we may need to grab if we have to evacuate, like the kids’ birth certificates, our marriage license, etc. I keep it in a water-proof bag in an easy to access location so I can just grab it and go if the need arises. Fortunately, you only have to do this once and you’ll be set for all future storms.

While this seems like a lot of stuff to do and is probably pretty overwhelming, try not to get too burdened by it all. It’s really only 5 steps, 4 after the first storm and if you start at least 2 days before the storm is projected to hit, you can easily get everything done without trouble – though the earlier you hit the stores, the better.

I know a lot of people reading this are wondering why I didn’t include an emergency radio. The reason is that most people have smart phones these days and you can get your information from Facebook or your local emergency management’s website just as easily as you can through a radio, so why bother buying, keeping track of and maintaining an extra piece of equipment?

5 Productivity Tips that Will Give You More Time Every Day

If there’s one thing I really struggle with as a stay-at-home mom, it’s time management. It’s so easy to have an “off” day (or a week) where it seems like nothing gets done. We switch down to bare-bones house work and I stay up until 11pm every night doing writing that I would normally get done during the day (I work from home).

I know that I have time management issues and a strong addiction to Facebook. That’s a fact. So, to help myself, I developed these 5 tips that have helped improve my productivity. I feel like I’ve gained at least 2 extra hours each day and my house and home look a little less neglected. Read on to see what I’ve learned.

1.) Clean the kitchen at night. My old routine used to be to wake up and immediately start doing dishes. No more! My husband got me new pans for Christmas and in an effort to prolong their life, I’m hand-washing them. If I wait until the morning, they’re nearly impossible to get clean with anything less than 40-grit sandpaper and a blow-torch. That’s some serious incentive to get things done before going to sleep. Once the dishes are washed, I quickly wipe down the counters and stove, then empty the compost bowl that collected scraps and peels during dinner preparations.

2.) Unsubscribe from at least 1 email group each day. In the morning I turn on my computer or go on my phone and I’ve got 15 to 20 emails waiting for me. If I’m lucky, 1 will be important. It’s also pretty distracting to be on the computer during the day and see the little red 1 over my mail icon. I always wonder what it is, even if I know there’s a 99 percent chance it’s junk. Which brings me to my next tip…

3.) Set designated times to check your email… and stick to it! If you’re like me, as soon as you see that little red 1 over your mail icon, you want to check it. Turn the notifications off if you can and set times to check your email. Depending on how bad you are, you may need to allow yourself to check it every hour on the hour to begin with and then cut back from there. Wean yourself slowly rather than going all-out from the beginning and you’ll have a better chance of succeeding.

4.) Use a timer. If you’ve been staring at the computer screen for 3 hours working, it’s easy to allow yourself to get distracted. Make it a game. I often use a timer and set it for 15 minutes. I challenge myself to get 3 pages done in that time frame, but even if I don’t, the computer gets closed and I go do something else. Not only does this keep your brain fresh and give you a goal, it also gets you up and moving more. I have 3 kids so it’s not an issue, but for other people it may be an added benefit.

5.) Create a cleaning schedule. If you don’t already have a cleaning schedule, you need one. Rather than trying to do everything sub-par every day, focus on 1 thing that’s manageable to do each day and don’t worry about the rest. For example, here’s m list:

Monday: Kitchen (microwave and floor)
Tuesday: Bathrooms
Wednesday: Bedrooms
Thursday: Clean out the fridge, food inventory & grocery shopping
Friday: Living room
Saturday: Bonus feature – dusting, windows, clean carpets, etc.
Sunday: Rest

In addition to weekly tasks, I also have daily tasks that include: scoop the cat litter, gather the eggs from the chicken coop, dishes, laundry, 1 bag of trash.

What’s the 1 bag of trash note about? Every day I grab a grocery bag and I go around the house picking up scraps of paper, broken toys, socks with holes, etc. and I fill up the bag. Once it’s full, I throw it away. I feel like that trick makes it so I’m never bringing more into the house than I’m taking out of it.

8 Types of People You’ll See in Facebook Buy / Sell / Trade Groups

It’s no secret that I spend way too much time on the buy / sell / trade groups on Facebook. You never know when you’ll find a bargain and I’d hate to miss a great deal on something my family needs. Unfortunately, those types of sites are packed with plenty of personality and if you ever sell on them, you’ve probably met at least a few of the following people:

1.) Carless Cathy – Carless Cathy is my favorite. She’s the gal that lives 2 towns outside of the area the site is aimed at and doesn’t have a car. She responds to anything free and asks if you can bring it to her.

Original Post: Bathroom Scale. Needs new batteries. FREE. Pickup in X town.

Carless Cathy: Interested

OP: Great, PM for pickup.

Carless Cathy: I don’t have a car, do you think you can deliver? I live in Town-Thats-30-Minutes-Away-From-Your-Location.

2.) Sob-Story Samantha – Sob-Story Samantha likes to go disguised as a good samaritan. She is constantly posting on various yard sale sites to collect donations of items, gift cards and cold hard cash for her best friend who has just been the victim of a horrible house fire. She doesn’t post what town the fire happened in or any other types of details. If you ask for details, she unleashes an even more unbelievable tale about how the family also recently suffered the death of their patriarch, the mom lost her job and the child has autism. Their pet goldfish died in the fire and the insurance company denied their claim. People dutifully drop items off at Sob-Story Samantha’s house, but wouldn’t you know it – the next week ANOTHER friend loses their house in a fire and Samantha jumps to the rescue. Some people think Sob-Story Samantha has an eBay store.

Sob-Story-Samantha: ISO Donations for a friend who just had a house fire. She lost absolutely everything, including the family goldfish! Thank God she and her baby made it out alive. The fire destroyed everything and they are living in temporary shelter, so I am collecting everything. Clothes, household items, gift cards, cash – whatever you can give would be so appreciated. Thank you in advance.

Concerned Individual: I’m so sorry for your friend’s loss. What size clothes do they need?

Sob-Story-Samantha: I’m not sure what size she is, I’ll have to check. The baby is in size 12 months right now, so anything from that and up. She is a size 7 shoe. Her boyfriend was living with them too at the time, so I’ll get his sizes as well. Thank you!

Concerned Individual: Ok, let me know.

Sob-Story-Samantha: She says she hasn’t bought clothes for herself in years since she was unemployed due to taking too many days off to take care of her son who has autism. Her boyfriend was also laid off. So, she’s not sure of her sizes. Do you think you could do a gift card instead so she can shop for stuff that fits? Even Kohls cash would be great.

3.) Nelly the Negotiator – As the name implies, Nelly the Negotiator loves the thrill of haggling over price. You can write FIRM in all capital letters until the sun comes up and yet 2 seconds after you post your item, Nelly the Negotiator will jump in offering you half of your asking price. When you reiterate that the price is FIRM, good old Nelly takes that as a sign that negotiations are going well and she continues.

OP: Sony DVD Player. Works good. Remote included. $10 FIRM.

Nelly-the-Negotiator: Interested. Would you take $5?

OP: No, sorry, $10 FIRM.

Nelly-the-Negotiator: Can we meet in the middle? $7?

OP: No, I’m sorry, I don’t want to go lower than $10.

Nelly-the-Negotiator: Interested at $5 if it doesn’t sell.

4.) Nit-Picking Nikki: Nit-Picking Nikki is like the yard sale police. If your post strays outside of the group’s rules AT ALL she will call you out on it, belittle you and then report you to the admin. As soon as you get a notification that she has commented on your post, you cringe and reluctantly check to see what faux pas you have committed.

OP: Vintage Beanie Baby. NWT in protective box. $25 OBO.

Nit-Picking Nikki: You didn’t list a town. You have to list a town according to the rules.

OP: Sorry, X Town.

Nit-Picking Nikki: You need to edit the post with that information.

OP: Ok, I’ll do it when I get to a computer.

Nit-Picking Nikki: It’s in the rules. You should really read them before posting.

OP: Ok, thank you, I’ll make sure I fix it.

Nit-Picking Nikki: [tags admin]

5.) Forgetful Fanny: Forgetful Fanny conveniently forgets the price of the item when she arrives to pick it up. Porch pick-ups are her favorite. She has been reported to the admin at least once, but is careful about who she targets to avoid getting removed from the site. If caught, she claims she forgot. The majority of Fanny’s dealings happen off-site. If you’re ever slighted by Fanny, the best thing to do is to block her because she’s not shy about hitting you twice.

6.) Change-Only Charlie: Change-Only Charlie must be a professional panhandler because that woman has more change than most banks. She pays for everything in nickels, pennies and dimes, exclusively. She will come to your house and leave a plastic grocery sack full of change on your porch where the item once was. Sometimes, she’ll scribble a note on the back of a gum wrapper explaining that all she had was change. You were counting on using the money from the sale to purchase something else on the yard sale site, so now you have to go to a bank and have the sack of coins exchanged for bills because you can’t imagine paying for something in all change.

7.) Big-Bills Bertha: Big-Bills Bertha only carries $20s or higher. She will come to your house and knock on the door to get change made for a $3 item. If you don’t have change, she’ll ask if she can mail you the money and take the item now. She has no intention of paying you later.

8.) Always-Interested Irene: Irene is apparently shopping for 7 families and she is interested in literally everything posted. Camera? Interested. Free bag of assorted gift bags? Interested. Used gum? Interested. The one thing Always-Interested Irene is NOT interested in is following-up. After posting interested, she immediately drops off the face of the planet. She has a fondness for posting in groups with long required waits.

OP: Changing table and dresser combo. Some scratches. FREE. Pickup this weekend. Need a truck as it does not come apart.

Always-Interested Irene: Interested

Someone else: Interested

OP: PMed you, Irene

65 other people: Interested

[23 hours go by]

OP: Irene, are you still interested?

5 other people: Interested

OP: Irene, I never heard from you, so I’m moving on.

These are just a few of the different personalities you’ll meet on yard sale sites. There is so much garbage blocking up the feeds that it’s hard for normal people to sell their stuff. I used to try and sell things on the sites myself, but quickly gave up. I’ll keep hoarding my junk until I can arrange for a charity pick-up. At least they’re on time, don’t pound on my door looking for change and I can write-off the value of the donation in my taxes. For now, I’ll stick to buying and let everyone else deal with the more colorful characters.

DIY Glass Cleaner Recipe

Today’s post is all about glass cleaner. I’ve seen all types of cleaners posted on Pinterest, and a lot of my friends have tried them, but very few people have tried their hand at glass cleaner. I don’t know why – may it seems intimidating because of the rather strong smell of commercial cleaners?

Fortunately you can make home made glass cleaner that works just as well as the commercial stuff for a few cents and you’ll never have to stop what you’re doing to run to the store for more cleaner ever again. Here’s the recipe:

DIY Glass Cleaner

1/8 cup ammonia
1/2 cup rubbing alcohol
3 drops blue dawn
3 drops blue food coloring

In an empty spray bottle (I used my old Windex bottle), combine the ammonia, rubbing alcohol, blue dawn and food coloring. Fill the bottle the rest of the way with water, cap it and mix gently.

If you have a really large warehouse size bottle of Windex that you’re trying to fill, you may need to double the recipe. Please note that this is the same as glass cleaner with ammonia so you can clean many things with it and as a bonus, it’s streak free!

Winterizing Your Home

Winter is here. Whether you like it or not, it’s getting colder and there’s really no end in sight. The best way to stay warm this winter is to properly winterize your home. You may think that just because the snow has already flown that it’s too late to do anything to protect yourself from the cold, but you’d be wrong. Read on for some practical winterization tips to help stay warm.

Eliminate drafts – You can use a draft dodger, a simple tube sock full of beans or anything else you can think of to block air drafts around doors. They even make a foam device that slips onto the bottom of the door and stays in place as it’s opened and closed.
Change the furnace filter – This helps your furnace work more efficiently so it can heat your home better. You’ll use less fuel and you’ll have cleaner air all at once. It’s a win-win.
Reverse our ceiling fans – When reversed, ceiling fans direct hot air back down into the living space and circulates air more efficiently so there are no cold spots.
Winterize water lines – If you’re worried about frozen pipes, get some pipe insulation tubes. They’re inexpensive, easy to install and readily available at most hardware stores.
Turn downy he water heater – Water going into your water heater is going to be colder in the winter. Let your water heater have a break by turning down the temperature. That way, you’ll burn less gas warming the water up and as a bonus, you won’t feel as cold when you get out of the shower.
Install storm doors – Most average-skill DIYers can install storm door on their own. While this is usually a fall project since you have to keep the door open for a brief time, it can still be worth it to do in the winter.
Insulate windows – Plastic window insulation kits are poplar and are a great choice if you can’t afford full window replacements. The kits are easy to install and are inexpensive to buy. The only tools you need are scissors, a tape measure and a hairdryer.

Are there any other things you do to winterize your home? If so, share your tips in the comments section.

Top Grocery Rebate Apps

I both love and hate trying to save money, especially at the grocery store. While clipping a few coupons out of the Sunday paper doesn’t seem so bad, technology has now given us more ways than ever to save. One way is by using grocery rebate apps on a smartphone. The apps let you upload a receipt image and get a few cents back on your purchases. Over time, the savings add up and eventually you can cash out for a check. Lets take a look at 2 of the most popular rebate apps out there.

1.) Checkout 51 – This app was first introduced in August 2012 for the iPhone. It quickly gained popularity because of its user-friendly interface and variety of earning opportunities. You access the app straight from your phone and you never have to worry about carrying paper coupons. Just open the app at the grocery store, check the current offers and check the ones you like. Buy the items on your list and check out as normal. When you’re done, snap a picture of your receipt and upload it right into the app.

New offers are added on Wednesday and sometimes there are time-sensitive offers that don’t correlate to the normal offer schedule. You can have multiple accounts for each household and once you request a check, processing and shipping usually only take about a week.

2.) Ibotta – Ibotta works similarly to Checkout 51. You have to unlock offers, buy specific products and scan your receipt. Select stores allow you to link your loyalty card too, so offers are automatically redeemed without having to scan a receipt. There’s more of a social aspect to the money-saving app too since you can complete team goals and add friends.

Once you reach a specific threshold, you can request a check. Reaching your goal isn’t difficult, especially if you use the app for both grocery and household purchases. You’ll find rebates for everything from food to cleaners and personal hygiene products. If you’re open to trying new brands, Ibotta can help make it worthwhile.

Now that you know a little bit more about these rebate apps, do you think you’ll download one? What are your favorite money-saving apps?

5 Places to Find Grocery Coupons

If you’re like most people, groceries probably eat up one of the largest chunks of your household budget right after your mortgage and utilities. Unfortunately, you can’t simply stop eating, so you’ve got to get creative if you really want to shrink that bill. Coupons are probably the most popular way people save on groceries, but where can you get the coupons you need for the foods your family eats? Read on for 5 places to find grocery coupons.

1.) Newspapers – The Sunday paper usually has flyers in it full of coupons. On any given week you can expect 1 to 4 flyers. Don’t stop there though – store flyers and even advertisements in the regular part of the newspaper can all contain additional coupons. If you get a local paper, look inside for coupons before you throw it away.

2.) Online – You can also find coupons online. These coupons are printable and are usually similar to the ones featured in the Sunday newspaper, though the values may be lower. All you need to redeem an online coupon is a computer and the internet. Select the coupons you want and print only those ones to save money on ink and paper.

3.) Manufacturer’s Websites – Finding coupons on the manufacturer’s website can be a pain, but if there’s a particular item or brand of items that you’re looking for, it can really pay off. Sometimes, it’s easier to write to the company and request coupons to be mailed to you. Several companies do this and all you have to do is send a note to the brand through their website and wait for your coupons to come in the mail. Even if they say they don’t have coupons to send, you aren’t out anything for asking.

4.) Magazines – The rise of women’s magazines has caused manufacturer’s to include coupons in certain publications. Magazines like Good Housekeeping or All You have a female readership and frequently include recipes and coupons. You can subscribe to one of these magazines or just pick one up at the checkout line.

5.) Apps – If you’re not into keeping papers organized, a coupon app may be just right for you. Using a program like Ibotta or Checkout 51 lets you scan your grocery receipt for a chance for savings. Just remember, never pay for a coupon app as that makes saving money pointless.

Look for coupons in these 5 places and you’ll soon be on your way to starting a collection of high=value coupons that you’ll be proud to print and use.

Savings Opportunity: Walmart Savings Catcher

Have you heard about the Walmart Savings Catcher Program?

Savings Catcher a new way to save on the things you buy the most and best of all, it’s incredibly simple. I’m generally not a fan of app-based programs like Checkout 51 or Ibotta because you have to scan your receipt in a million images, buy certain products and do a ton of research to get the best deal. The amounts are low and you have to reach ridiculous thresholds like $20 to checkout. I’m not that patient – I like instant gratification.

The Walmart Savings Catcher Program is app-based, but it only requires you to scan the barcode at the bottom of the receipt. If scanning isn’t your thing, you can type in the number instead.

That’s it. The rest is like magic – the program scans local ads looking for the items on your receipt. If it finds one, and it’s at a lower price, you get the difference. The app tracks the amount and you can redeem it in the form of a Walmart gift card. You can use the gift card in-store or online. There was a promotion going too where you could double your rebate by having it loaded onto a Bluebird prepaid card. I’m not sure if that’s still happening, but if you’re a Bluebird user or if you do your grocery shopping at Walmart, it’s definitely worth looking at.

The program has gone Nationwide now, so everyone can use it. You can still use coupons and shop like you normally would, just remember to scan your barcode at the end of your shopping trip. And if you bought anything that you may want to return later, the program keeps a copy of your e-receipt handy in case you lose the paper one. It’s an added bonus!

To really see the savings add up, you’ll need to shop for groceries. I’ve found that 99% of the time, that’s what the system finds cheaper elsewhere. Also, note that the brand and quantity have to be the same, so Walmart branded items won’t qualify.

If you haven’t downloaded the Walmart app with Savings Catcher, maybe it’s time you did. After all, even if you only save $5 over the course of a year (unlikely), it’s still $5 more than you had before!