Five Freebie Sites You Should Know About

Everyone loves to save a buck or two. At least I know I do. Back when I was into coupning, my days (and nights) were spent clipping hundreds of coupons and organizing them into my binder--which I affectionately named Reese's Moneymaker. Seriously, my binder has a name. And a cover page. Don't judge.

Now that I'm no longer actively couponing, I'm finding other, more resourceful ways, to save some pennies. Enter the internet. Although the internet is filled with completely useful and titillating information, such as how Buffalo, buffalo, Buffalo, buffalo, buffalo, buffalo, Buffalo, buffalo is actually a grammatically correct sentence, there are other, even more useful things in the hidden depths of the internet. You guys may remember this post I did a few months ago about freebie sites? Well, I recently stumbled upon a few more really great sites that I wanted to share with you all today.

1. I've been a BzzAgent for over a year and this is actually one of my favorite freebie sites. The best thing about BzzAgent is that you don't have to be a blogger in order to be a BzzAgent. Basically you go in, fill out ALL the surveys and sit back and wait for the campaigns. So far I've gotten over more than two dozen freebies, one included a Draftmark Beer Tap System valued at more than $60.00. I've tried cereal, Neutrogena hand cream and even Dr. Scholls in-soles. I actually prefer this over Influenster because it is a lot less demanding, and in my personal opinion, you get better opportunities. Also, you typically get tons of free coupons and samples to give out to friends and readers. I once got ten little bottles of Neutrogena hand cream that made great stocking stuffers!

In exchange for all these awesome freebies, you will have to write a review, tweet, post on facebook, and if you want additional points, you can post about it on your blog. The more you do, the more points you get. And then there's the bonus. Every time you complete a task from the campaign you get points which get redeemed on a site called My Bonus Points. Once you rack up enough points you can redeem them for gift cards. It takes a while, but I've already gotten 2 $25 gift cards to Old Navy and Barnes and Noble. Not bad at all.

2. Influesnter: As I mentioned before, I prefer BzzAgent, but Influenster definitely it's perks. In order to take advantage of Inluenster, you just have to be social media savvy. Not necessarily a blogger, but it is a bonus. Inluenster differs from BzzAgent in that instead of reciving one perk at a time, you get a box, called a V-box, filled with various freebies.

In order to get picked to receive a V-box, you'll have to fill out your profile and choose various categories that you are considered an influencer i.e. Parenting, Beauty, ect. Once you've established a relatively high score, you may be selected to received a V-box. The V-box typically comes with 5-8 (sometimes) full sized samples. Here's a V-box I received  last year.

In order to remain eligible for future V-boxes, you will have to take a mandatory post-box survey. In order to get selected for more campaigns, you typically have to follow all the companies that provided a sample via twitter and Facebook. You'll be required to tweet and share via Facebook and you'll get bonus points for unlocking various challenges. It's fun if you have the time and you get tons of free perks.

3. Freeflys: With a tagline like "Cheap is good, but free is better," you just can't go wrong. The simple, but cute layout makes it easy to sign up and navigate. The site is updated daily with useful and practical samples. You can choose from various freebies, including:
  • Health
  • Beauty
  • Children 
  • Food
  • Cleaning supplies
4.That Freebie Site: I've actually been using this site for years. I've gotten some pretty sweet swag from here. A few full-sized bars of deodorant, free totes, and dishwashing detergent. But the best part is, in addition to all the fun freebies, you can sign-up to take part in surveys for better products, and sometimes even cash. Although it can be difficult to qualify, I've made it in a few times and have a few extra dollars to show for it.

5. Freebie Finding Mom: I'm a huge fan of freebie finding mom. Back when I was a crazy couponing addict, I would stop by Freebie Finding Mom to get the scoop on the latest sales and coupons. I still swing by from time to time to get the lead on big sales, freebies and giveaways. The site is very well organized, one of the best out there. The freebies are practical and useful. 

So there it is, my roundup of some of my favorite freebie sites. What are some of your favorite sites for freebies?

10 Inexpensive Date Night Ideas

“This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group™ and Tony’s Pizza, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #tonyspizzeria

Enjoying date night when you have children can be hard. There I said it. Simple, straightforward and to the point. Once upon a time, Mr. A and I had a pretty active social life. At the time, we had no clue how good we had it. We could decide on a whim that we just felt like catching a movie or going for a game of miniature golf. But then Little J waddled into our world and things changed quite a bit. Not that we mind, because let's face it, any couple will agree that their lives changed for the better when they became parents. Make no mistake, Little J is the best that has EVER happened to us, but, date nights are slowly becoming a fading memory in the far off horizon.

Last weekend Mr. A and I finally decided to have a date night for ourselves to break in the new place. We switched it up a bit and pulled out all the stops. We ate dinner outside on the balcony with the sweet sounds of Sade serenading us and the aroma of Tony's Pizza wafting through the air. We enjoyed a glass (or two) of wine, one too many slices of Tony's, and just talked about life. It was one of the best night's we've had in a long time.

See date night doesn't have to be expensive or outrageous. It can just be your and your sweetheart, a slice or two of good ole fashion pizza and a chance to remind yourselves that it's the simple things in life that are the most pleasurable. Last weekend Mr. A and I had the chance to remind ourselves of this.

Finding inexpensive date night activities doesn't have to be difficult. Especially when there are so many options out there. You just have to be willing to look outside the box and stray from the beaten path. To help with this, I've put together a roundup of some fun, creative and  inexpensive ways to rekindle the magic with your loved ones.

1. Visit Italy--From the comfort of your home: Okay, so clearly not all of us can decide to jet-set off to Italy at a moments notice, but you can always fake it til you make it. Nothing is more romantic than enjoying Italian on a rooftop (or balcony) with romantic music serenading you and your sweetie sitting next to you. Believe me, if you haven't experienced that, you haven't lived. Bonus: Tony's Pizza offers very affordable and authentic tasting pizza. Just sayin...

2. Local sports games:  Perhaps your local sports teams aren't exactly Superbowl, Stanley cup, or World Cup material, but who needs professional teams when you have access to inexpensive booze and yummy concession food.

3. Living Social and Groupon deals: Everyone love a good deal, and the internet makes it even easier. Last year, Mr. A and I happened upon an awesome Groupon deal for 5 private dance lessons for $25.00. Now, we have both apps on our phone so that we can check in frequently to see if there are any good deals. 

4. Food truck scouting: Back in the day, food trucks weren't exactly the cream of the crop. Now days, food trucks have come quite a ways. Depending on where you live, most towns even have gourmet food trucks to choose from.

5. Test drive a car: Yes, it seems silly, but just imagine riding down the highway in a Ferrari with the wind in your hair...Need I say more?

6. Go sightseeing in your city:  Just because you've lived some place for your whole life doesn't necessarily mean you know every thing there is to now about it. Get out and act like a tourist!

7. Volunteer: Back before Mr. A and I were an official couple, we bumped into each other while we were volunteering for Operation Holiday Cheer. It was then that I knew I was really starting to like this guy. Any guy who will give up time on the X-box to package boxes to ensure that even single soldiers who were deployed got a little extra holiday cheer was clearly the guy for me. Doing something good for the community can be a great experience to share together. And it's completely free. My favorite price :)

8. Take lessons together: Refer to number #3 for a great way to find inexpensive dance, painting, archery, cooking ect. lessons.

9. Go on a museum/art gallery hop: Most towns have a few museums or art galleries that are free to the public. Scope out the local newspaper for upcoming events at these galleries and then slip into your swankiest clothes and go have fun. Bonus: sometimes those art shows have free wine and appetizers, just saying...

10. Go for a ride: Rent a bike, rent a scooter, rent a car, rent some skates. There are so many options. It doesn't matter how you choose to do it, but some days are so gorgeous that simply hopping in a car and going for a ride together can be the best date you'll ever have.

Now you guys can't say I never gave you nothin! And because I can never pass up a good deal, I'm going to do you one better. Tony's Pizza currently has an awesome deal on their pizza. Use this coupon to save $.75 off any 2 Tony's Pizza's.  Be sure to grab you coupon and head over to Walmart while supplies last so that you can have your pizzas in time for your next date night!

Follow Tony's Pizza on Twitter and Facebook for more deals and news from the kitchen!

Did I leave a fun date idea off the list? What is one of your favorite ways to spend time your significant other?

Homemade Instant Oatmeal

Every once and a while, a recipe comes along that changes your life for the better. This recipe has done that for my family. Because Little J is such a finicky eater, breakfast in our home has always been a hit or miss. But then this recipe fell into my lap and now things have changed.

The best part about making your own instant oatmeal is that you have complete control over what goes into your food. Granted there may be a few additives in the ingredients themselves, but for the most part, you can eat this without having to worry that you're going to grow a third-eye. Even better still, you can't beat the price. Most of the ingredients are generally found in the typical household. Still, even if you don't have any of the ingredients you'll only pay about $10.00 for about a months worth supply of instant oatmeal. Not bad considering the bill for a months worth of Quakers Instant Oats will run you about $30.00.

For 20 packets of homemade instant oatmeal, you will need:
10 cups of quick oats (not the old fashion kind!)
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1 teaspoon of salt
1 cup of dry milk
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
20-30 seal-able sandwich bags.

To prepare your packets, just toss the oats into a blender or food processor and blend them a bit. Be careful not to blend the oats too much or else you'll end up with mushy oatmeal.  I highly recommend only adding one cup of oats to your blender or processor at a time. It'll be easier to control.

Once you blend your oats, just stir all the ingredients together in one big bowl, then use a large spoon to add a few scoops of your mixture into sandwich bags. You can experiment a bit with the ingredients. Maybe add raisins or cranberries to give it a different taste. I added a bit of dried apples to our oatmeal for a bit of extra flavor, and it was amazing.

When you're ready to eat a packet of your freshly made homemade instant oatmeal, simply boil a pot of water and add as much, or as little as you would like. Then toss it in the microwave for about 30 seconds and your done!

So there you have it, a 5 minute solution to a breakfast that the whole family will love!


My Baby You'll Be

I was in the middle of complaining about not being able to fit into my dress when I found out that my friend had just lost her son. You can imagine how trivial it seems now. How silly it was to be so upset about something minor when there are people in this world experiencing a pain that great. A pain no parent should ever have to experience.

Later that evening we went to a birthday party. And it was absolutely gut-wrenching. While one of my friends was celebrating her daughter's birthday, another was mourning the loss of her child. I can't even imagine. I don't want to imagine. I no longer know how to exist in a world without my daughter. And that is terrifying.

I'm not sure what the takeaway from this post is. Other than to hold your babies a little bit closer today. Because somewhere in this world there is a mother who would do anything for just one more chance to hold her child in her arms. They may drive you crazy. They may do the opposite of everything you tell them. But no day is promised--for anyone. Not even our little ones.

And if you could, just say a kind prayer for my friend and her family. They are truly living through every parents worst nightmare.