Friday, July 31, 2015

Everything You Need to Know About Micropayments


View Interactive Version (via Choice Loans).

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Back-to-School Shopping Smarts: 9 Ways to Save

Summer break never feels long enough for parents who have already started prepping for the upcoming school year. According to data collected by the Rubicon Project, 40% of parents with children in grade K-12 are getting a head start on back-to-school shopping two months before the first day of class. With school shopping lists getting longer and supplies getting pricier, it's no surprise families have spent over 40% more on back-to-school products over the last decade.
Though your son or daughter's education is priceless, there's no need to blow your money on school supplies. Study these 9 smart shopping strategies to save time and money on back-to-school lists.

1. Shop at home.
When you go grocery shopping, you generally have a good idea of what's filling your 'fridge and pantry. Take the same approach with back-to-school shopping and search around the house for any supplies you already have or can reuse. If there are optional items on the supply list, hold off on buying those until you're absolutely sure your student needs them.

2. Know what to buy in-store & what to order online.
The customer-service firm StellaService has reported that the average cost of purchasing a typical list of school supplies in a store was 41 percent cheaper than buying those same items online, as reported by Consumer Reports. Though it's wise to stick to traditional retailers for notebooks and pencils, you should research deals online for backpacks, sporting goods and sneakers since you have a wider selection of products and prices available at your fingertips.

3. Compare prices on the fly.
Who has time to drive from store to store to compare prices? Luckily, the ShopSavvy app provides instant price comparison by snapping a picture of the barcode so you know the cheapest price on any good across retailers, both in store and online. If you're shopping online, use the Invisible Hand browser extension to get price alerts in case what you're shopping for is sold elsewhere for less.
4. Time your purchase.
They say timing is everything, and that's especially true for back-to-school shopping. Those living in or near states offering tax-free holidays should shop these days to save on sales tax. Since summer clothes are on clearance, it's best to load up on tee shirts and shorts and hold off until September and October for fall apparel, including denim. If you're unsure of the best time to buy items, use tools like TrackIf.com or the SnapUp app to track prices for you. Finally, continue tracking prices even after you make your purchase, since stores including Kohl's and Target will offer price adjustments.

5. Buy second-hand clothes.
As all parents know, kids grow out of clothing so quickly that it doesn't make sense (or cents!) to purchase full-priced garments. Instead, shop second-hand at local thrift or consignment shops, or online at websites like thredUp.com. In addition to buying clothing for less, you can sell items your kids have outgrown for credit toward the upcoming season's purchase. Otherwise, consider hosting a swap with family and friends who have school-aged children. Everything from unused notebooks and crayons to sneakers and clothes can be traded to help each other save big bucks.

6. Shop smart for sports and other activities.
In addition to school clothing and classroom supplies, many parents have to buying sporting equipment and musical instruments to support their kids' activities. Shopping smart for these pricey items can help you save big bucks. For example, Play It Again Sports offers gently-used sporting equipment for up to 90% savings compared to department stores. You can also shop online for musical instruments and save with coupon codes. For example, CouponSherpa.com currently has a promo code for 10% off American Musical Supply, where acoustic guitars start at $199.

7. Know where to find coupons.
Retailers will release store-wide and sitewide sales during back-to-school, but you can often find coupons and promo codes to save even more. Scour your favorite deal site for extra 10 to 30% savings, plus special deals on specific back-to-school products. Also, sign up for retail newsletters to receive a first-time subscriber coupon. For instance, GAP offers 25% off to new e-newsletter subscribers. Deal bloggers like TheKrazyCouponLady.com will help match coupons with store sales, saving you time in the hunt for the best bargains.

8. Use social media.
Stores reward customers who like, follow, post, tag, pin, tweet and retweet, offering social media fans exclusive coupons codes and special savings. Like a brand on Facebook or follow them on Twitter for a chance of unlocking special savings. Create retail lists for easy-to-browse sales and instant offers. Check in to a retail location on Foursquare for freebies and coupons and track prices with Pinterest. Ultimately, it pays to be social!

9. Look for last year's model.
More grade-school kids are carrying smartphones and are required to have tablets or laptops. Unfortunately, these devices are quite expensive. To save big bucks, opt for last year's models or consider refurbished. A previously-owned and certified laptop, tablet or smartphone from Apple, Samsung, AT&T or Verizon comes with a warranty and can save you anywhere from 20 to 40%. You can also trade in old gadgets and smartphones at such sites as NextWorth.com or to retail stores including Target and Best Buy for cash or store credit.

Andrea Woroch is a consumer and money-saving expert for Kinoli Inc. From smart spending tips to personal finance advice, Andrea transforms everyday consumers into savvy shoppers. As a sought-after media source, she has been featured among such top news outlets as Good Morning America, Today, CNN, Dr. OZ, New York Times, MONEY Magazine, Huffington Post, Forbes and many more. For more information, visit AndreaWoroch.com or follow her on Twitter for daily savings advice and tips.

Monday, July 13, 2015

EyeBuyDirect Eyeglasses Review

I've always been skeptical of buying eyeglass frames online, so when the people at EyeBuyDirect came to me with a review opportunity I took it. I was excited to get some new frames because I've been wanting some plain black frames. The adjustable nose pieces on my old frames were hurting, and I couldn't figure out how to get them in the proper position.

EyeBuyDirect Eyeglass Frame Features

So, EyeBuyDirect gave me a gift code that would cover the cost of the frames with prescription lenses, including some excellent features: Transitions (which turn into sunglasses in the sun), UV Coating (to protect my eyes from those harmful rays), and an Anti-Reflective Coating (which cuts down on those annoying glares).

Online Shopping Experience

Off to EyeBuyDirect.com I went in search of frames. They have an overwhelming array of style choices, which I prefer over a teeny selection. I took quite some time to choose my frames. I loaded my photo on EyeBuyDirect so I could virtually try on the frames I liked. It doesn't quite look right, but you can get a pretty good idea of what they would look like. You will need to take certain measurements of your face so the computer knows where to put the glasses. I also measured the frames I was currently wearing to ensure I didn't get any frames that would be smaller than those. I prefer large, rectangular shaped frames. With the measurements of the frames on the website I could easily rule out the ones that would be too small for me.

Getting the Glasses

I ended up choosing the Claudia frames in black. I entered my information for shipping and billing, as well as my prescription. I received an email shortly after confirming my order with a link to check the status anytime I wanted to. I loved this because I could discover exactly where my glasses were from the lab to my house. It took about a week to get them in the mail. I love them! They fit well. I have no problems with glare. The Transitions work well so I am not blinded by the sun. Plus, I feel good knowing there is a UV protective coating protecting my eyes from the sun's harmful rays. I may just keep these frames forever.

Disclosure: I receive products in exchange for writing reviews. There may be affiliate links in this blog. I'll earn a commission if you buy something through these links.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Custom Electric Guitar

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Get the best custom electric guitar from Musician's Friend online. Check out the Schecter Guitar Research Synyster Custom Electric Guitar in black. This guitar is a replica of the very one Synyster plays on stage. It looks rockin' with silver stripes on a glossy black finish. Right now you can get this awesome instrument with free shipping, a free two-year warranty AND an instant $400 savings! This offer is not going to last long so go now!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Selk'bag Iron Man Sleeping Bag Review

 
Selk'bag Iron Man Sleeping Bag is wearable just like Tony Stark's suit. It resembles his suit as well, and even has zip-on shoes of the same material so you can walk around while in the sleeping bag and still be warm when you have to go out and check on the fire or scare away that pesky raccoon (not advised). The hood acts as a pillow and can be worn up or down. It has gotten a 5-star review on Amazon and the price ranges depending on which size you order.


Disclosure: I receive products in exchange for writing reviews. There may be affiliate links in this blog. I'll earn a commission if you buy something through these links.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Chalk Ink Review



Chalk Ink is a high-quality line of chalk markers. You can use them to write on chalkboards, mirrors, plastic, ceramics, and glass. The ink is water-based pigmented ink and is easily removed with ammonia-based cleaner. It is non-toxic, non-acidic, odor, and xylene free. Works best on non-porous surfaces. Chalk Ink comes in a wide range of colors, including but not limited to: white, red, pink, orange, yellow, green, blue, and black.

Disclosure: I receive products in exchange for writing reviews. There may be affiliate links in this blog. I'll earn a commission if you buy something through these links.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Funnybone Rolli Stamps Review


Funnybone has a line of Rolli Self-Inking Rolling Stamps with countless different patterns and images for everyone. You're bound to find one you like! Each one is a little under $11 and there are stamps with rainbows, umbrellas, cupcakes, hedgehogs, ribbons, hearts, trains, nesting dolls, and dogs. These stamps are ready to go and provide little mess. The ink is contained inside and when you roll the stamp across the page it comes out evenly, so you don't need an ink pad and you don't need to keep dipping the stamp in ink. Rolli Stamps are so much fun!

Disclosure: I receive products in exchange for writing reviews. There may be affiliate links in this blog. I'll earn a commission if you buy something through these links.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Darth Vader Apron Tee Review



The Darth Vader Apron Tee is a nice father's day gift for any dad who likes to grill and loves Star Wars. A 100% cotton white crew neck tee with a Vader-inspired apron on the front and a picture of a #1 Dad button. Super cute Dad gift for Father's Day, his birthday, or whenever! Sizes vary from a small to an XXL. Available at JC Penney. Retails for $20 - currently on sale for $11.99.

Disclosure: I receive products in exchange for writing reviews. There may be affiliate links in this blog. I'll earn a commission if you buy something through these links.

Monday, July 6, 2015

8 Simple Steps to Get You Back On Track


By Sara Siskind, Culinary Nutritionist, Certified Holistic Health Counselor
1.     Start each morning with 2 large glasses of water with fresh squeezed lemon.  Our bodies wake up naturally dehydrated.  Instead of reaching for coffee or tea, begin with water!  The lemon naturally cleanses the body and adds beneficial vitamin C to keep your immune system strong. 

2.     Stick with 3 satisfying meals with 1 to 2 snacks a day if needed.  A satisfying meal contains a healthy fat, fiber and protein.  Also add in different flavors and textures to keep your food interesting.  Think hot and spicy, creamy and crunchy!

3.     Fast for 12 hours a day.  Meaning finish your last meal by 7pm and have your next meal the following morning day at 7am.  It could be 8pm to 8am.  We work hard all day long digesting our food which takes lots of energy from us. Your body’s digestive system needs a break too.

4.     When you snack, choose high-protein, fiber rich whole foods. A handful of nuts with a piece of fruit is a great option.  It’s the perfect a source of heart heathy fat, protein and fiber that our bodies need to help us get through the day.  My favorite on-the-go snack of choice is Setton Farms Pistachio Chewy Bites.  Its chock full of antioxidants and protein and comes conveniently packaged in a bite-size snack.

5.     Break a sweat!  You don’t need to dedicate an entire chunk of time to a workout, but make it count.  Instead of an hour walk, run an 8 minute mile and 2 minutes of pushups and sit-ups.  Jump rope for as long as you can and do a plank for 60 seconds.  When you sweat, you release toxins and endorphins that make you feel good.

6.     Add in more greens!  The number one thing missing from the Standard American Diet are greens.  Leafy greens are loaded with nutrients and micronutrients Switch up your breakfast from oatmeal to a green smoothie or an omelet with veggies.

7.     Stay away from B.L.T’s- Bites, Licks and Tastes.  You know who you are… They certainly add up when you are trying to lose weight and stay on track.  BLT’s end up as mindless eating that doesn’t satisfy or curb your appetite. 

8.     Don’t get to the point of starvation.  Trying to watch what you eat doesn’t mean starving.  Hunger is ok.  It is a sign from our body telling us it is time for more fuel.  However when you go too long without food your body’s metabolism slows and it is much harder to get satiated.  Rule of thumb- do not go more than 4 hours without eating.

About Pistachio Chewy Bites
With two main ingredients, Pistachio Chewy Bites provide healthy snack lovers the amazing benefits of pistachios and cranberries in a delicious and nutritious bite-size bar.  Pistachio Chewy Bites are heart-healthy, 100% all natural, gluten and dairy free, low in sodium, GMO free, vegan and a great on-the-go protein snack.  They also have no cholesterol, zero trans-fat and are a good source of dietary fiber.  These nutrient-rich snack bars provide a great balance of carbohydrates, protein and fat for sustainable energy. With 7 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber and healthy fat, the individually wrapped bars are the perfect one stop shop. 

Available in major grocery store chains across the country such as: Bristol Farms, Fairway, Shoprite, A&P, Roundy’s, HEB, Safeway, Ingles, Gelson’s, King Kullen, Earth Fare, Price Chopper, Wegmans, Save Mart, Lucky, Hy-Vee, Shop n’ Save, etc.  They are also available online at Amazon.com and Puritan.com.

Pricing: 6-Pack $5.99 and 16-Pack $12.50


About Sara Siskind
Certified Nutritional Health Counselor, Sara Siskind is the founder of Hands On Healthy, cooking classes for adults, families and teens based in New York. Sara has dedicated her career to educating clients on how food and lifestyle choices affect health, and how to make the right choices to look and feel your best each day. Sara translates the complexity of integrated nutrition into usable tools with easy-to-cook recipes that appeal to the entire family. Sara counsels privately to offer highly customized health and nutrition plans for her clients. She also works with parents on shopping and cooking smarter to create healthier homes. In addition, she teaches beginner to gourmet cooking classes with her signature "toss it in" approach. In addition, Sara regularly works with corporations and non-profit organizations to lead workshops and lectures on healthy eating.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Tetley's Natural Green Tea with Lemon Review




Tetley Steamed Green Tea with Lemon will help you get the energy you need to start the day. The leaves are steamed instead of roasted giving a smooth taste (no bitterness). The lemon flavor adds a nice touch. It tastes great!


Disclosure: I receive products in exchange for writing reviews. There may be affiliate links in this blog. I'll earn a commission if you buy something through these links.