Coupon Crazy!

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I am addicted. I am not shame and I will shout from the rafters that I am hooked. I watched an episode of Extreme Couponing and once I saw how much money they were saving, I said, “I can do that!” I started clipping and I also started saving money. I am far from extreme, but I am, unequivocally a coupon clipper.

Ironically, I can remember a time when whipping out a coupon was considered low class and made the bearer appear to be a cheapskate. People who clipped coupons were rumored to live in a house full of cats, made quilts and homemade jams. In essence, they were regarded as a step above being a hippie. Not anymore, welcome to the new breed of savvy shoppers and coupon clippers. Let me help you get started. It is easier than you think.

First we must determine what kind of shopper you are. If you are not organized enough to have to deal with a little purse of coupons, or have hours to spend price comparing in the grocery store, then we can start here. The easiest way to save is with your frequent shopper cards and make them work for you versus just having them dangling on your key chain. Kroger and Bi-Lo offers you Fuel Perks. The money you spend in the store earns you a few cents off your gas purchase at each visit. You can also download coupons to your rewards card and when you check out, they automatically take the savings off your final purchase! BiLo even offers you double coupons so you can save twice the money. I know right! No clipping, no coupons and you don’t have to seem like a crazy cat lady who makes quilts and jam.

Saving at the grocery store isn’t your only option. Crafters have long been saving at Michael’s, Joann’s and Hobby Lobby. The great thing about craft stores, if you have a coupon from another store, they will honor the discount. We can take it one further. If you are a teacher, you can also get teacher discounts at Joann’s and save an addition 15%. These programs are also available at Staples and Office Max. No matter what you are into, if you look, there is a coupon, a Groupon, and Living Social break. If you have a smart phone, you can download coupon apps and have discounts and bargains at your fingertips.

Now, I can understand if all of this couponing is far too much of a commitment, then here is the perfect solution, just price compare. Use that smartphone to help you make some smart decisions. There are several bar code scanners that will scan the price, and give you the best deals in a 50 mile radius, including online.

There are all types of coupons to help you save money when you want to dine in or dine out. Find out if your favorite location has a frequent shopper program or a loyalty program. I am one who believes in getting my money’s worth and each day I am out looking for ways to save money, cut lost and reduce my back end, literally and figuratively. You can find the savings approach that works best for you or you can search on Twitter and search under coupons. You can get real time updates on savings.

I have looked into Coupon Suzy and a few other sites, but those are more regional. The economy isn’t going to turn around on its own and in the meantime and in between time, I am working on some Christmas quilts for my great nieces and some jam from some pears my friend send over from her tree. Happy savings!











Whose Reality Is It Anyway?

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I was so excited! I had three days off with no papers to grade and a moment of respite. I was also home alone for the evening. You know what this meant. I stripped down to my favorite t-shirt. I snuck into the kitchen and opened a can of Coke after 7 pm, stuck in a bag of Lime & Sea Salt popcorn in the ole microwave and headed for my bed. It was going to be a night of television accompanied by a bag of popcorn, a Snickers bar and yeah, that full strength Coke. I was going to be up all night watching the boob tube.

I felt like the boob.

There wasn’t a darn thing on but reality television.

I found a show on people who bid on storage lockers.

I found a show on truckers who drive in Alaska or some frozen tundra.

Games shows, game hoes and people who competed for affection adorned the screen. I flipped more channels. There were people forced into rehab, celebrities in rehab and houses that needed rahab. There were skinny people who ate too little who trade lives with people who ate too much. Families with dogs that ran the house and houses with cats that over ran the house. Pregnant teens, bad parents, strict parents, organ donations, animal collectors, bone collectors, and hoarders.There were pawn stars, repo men, tattoo artists, barn divers, con artist, pest control, people who eat weird stuff, people who collect weird stuff, and people who are just plain weird.

Yes, I saw an episode of Swamp People. I found these people just simply disturbing as I continued watching and eating my popcorn. I don’t think anyone on the show had a full set of teeth. It is evidently their second season and no one has paid their dental bill. But then, I saw it.

A hair growing contest called Whisker Wars.

I turned into a sixteen year old and started to text all of my friends with something similar to, “Dude, WTF?”

I am fed up with reality television and I want to know, whose reality is this anyway?

Television is supposed to be a form of escapism. Tuning in to a bunch of foul mouthed women who were lucky enough to snag the most unattractive professional athletes on the team, does not really make for good television. It only proves you are a gold digger. I also cannot see the entertainment value of dismemberments, crime scene investigations, understanding the criminal mind or understanding criminal intent for that matter. If they are criminals their mind set is to commit crimes and their intent is to commit more crimes until they are caught. I don’t need corporate sponsors to support this idea, you could go over and find this out from my neighbor’s son.

I am fed up with talent shows that seem to wake up the most talentless people who wish to be seen. We are all promised 15 minutes of fame, but the case of Jersey Shore has turned it into three years. Three years of bad behavior, misogynist, and drunk women looking to score is not television programming. Really, is this what we have come too? Is this your reality because it sure as heck is not mine?

I don’t care if you think you can dance, or if you feel you’ve got talent, or you want to be an idol. I want to see someone on Good Morning America that has earned a SAG card for actually working on a situation comedy, a drama, or documentary. I long for the days when actors honed their skills and studied their crafts. I want to see movie stars who played a fantastic role that did not require spandex tights and comic book. I don’t want to see rappers turned actors turned moguls. I don’t want to see moguls turn actors fire has beens. I don’t want to see singers who want to be cool, who have dated their way up the acting couch, and can’t act their way out of a friendship, who now have starring movie roles. I want Joan Crawford. I want Dorothy Dandridge, I want a young Clint Eastwood although the current one is still pretty super awesome.

I miss Seinfeld. I miss Frasier, Cosby, Martin and heck Three’s Company for that matter. Mr. Furley was destined to say something to make you chuckle.

Before you say turn it off if you feel that way, I want to add, but why should I? In order for me to enjoy any television I must have cable. Therefore I am paying for television and this means I am going to watch it. As the consumer, I deserve better. I have been banned from watching HGTV because I did not understand they could redo a room in an hour, but in reality, that project takes a lot longer.

I am angry with Chopped because your mystery basket is no different than every third pantry and in almost any home across the world. How can I stretch these few random items and make it into a three course meal? That was year two of our marriage, and I am not impressed. I am angry with Who Wants to Be a Millionaire because we all want to be one. I don’t have to phone a friend for confirmation. And if you have $X million dollars to give to the winner of the XFactor, why can’t you put that same money into social security so Nana doesn’t have to worry about how she is going to eat in 2012.

I give up.

I must go because there are only 30 of those Tignanello bags left in this round and I have to call QVC.




Pretty is as Pretty Does

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Friday night, as I watched the sideways perspectives of Bill Maher, I actually listened to what he said. There was one line in particular that resonated with me. He stated that if Hillary Clinton made the same statement about Paul Revere as did Sarah Palin, the media and pundits would eat her alive. His reasoning, Sarah Palin gets away with more because she is pretty. It made me think and of course asks the question of myself that I will also pose to you; do attractive people get away with more?

In an ideal world I want to believe that those of us who actually use our heads are on equal footing, but then I changed the channel and there was Kim Khardashian. Her claim to fame is a big butt and a poorly filmed sex taped where the world was exposed to her cooter. I will not lie, she is beautiful, but is there anything else? As an amateur porn star, honestly, couldn’t You do better after a couple shots of Cuervo? She is essentially famous, for being famous and hanging with some equally untalented friends who also happen to be good looking with a great publicist. And to be honest, I have a big butt. I know 17 other women who have a big butt and are pretty and smart. If you know a good publicist, please send them my way, I would like to get an endorsement deal as well. A few cosmetic tweaks, carefully constructed makeup and hair weave, I too can be really pretty.

Then I thought of Jessica Simpson. I thought of her Pizza Hut buffalo wings commercial and Starkist tuna deals. Is she a genius or is she really that simple? Does it matter, she is pretty? Do we prefer to have women remain quiet or be outspoken with knowledge. I’m not certain so I must wait for you to weigh in.

I did ask my friend, who used Michelle Obama as an example. She stated that she is a Harvard graduate and a lawyer, yet her only stand has been on children, fitness and healthy eating. She did not make the Hillary Clinton mistake of creating a platform of politics, but instead opted for the well being of our children; inquisitive one that I am thought for a moment with a look of confusion on my face which prompted an answer. Her response was simply, you can be loud. You can be wrong. You can be loud and wrong, but never, ever should you be loud and right. Loud and right brings out the ugly in many and pretty is becomes as pretty does.

Let it marinate and get back to me.

How much, is too much?

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            There is a great generational divide occurring and it is not the older generation versus the newer generation, but it is life versus living.  Growing up in the 70’s and 80’s, life was a simpler time but our values were also simple.  Treat others as you want to be treated was the golden rule.

            In the 80’s we were introduced to music television, mainstream rap, a half-naked woman who wanted to be “Like a Virgin”, and music that moved mountains. Health and fitness began to take form and we flocked to the gyms so that our power suits fit well and we were attractive to the opposite sex. A big disease with a little name awoke a sleeping giant and we began to live once more in moderation.

            However,  Generation Y moved aside and Generation Next began to grow up, grow out, and outgrow those simple items that made childhood enjoyable so they could “connect”.  Video games became more violent, children became more reticent and parents became busier.  It now took twice as much money to drive a car we didn’t need, live in a house we couldn’t afford, and work a job that we hated.  Why? So we could give our children, whom were squirreled away in their oversized rooms, more stuff that said, “we make money” but can’t spend time on you.

            Celebrating the arrival of the 21st Century brought more gadgets, more doo-dads, more debt, McMansions, and more stuff neither we, or our children needed. However, plastic surgery was something we could now afford, and if we were just plain ignorant, we could score our own television show. There was no longer a need to study or hone a craft, just score a show, bring some stupid friends, get drunk, curse out people, and poop in the floor and you were an instant success.  You could also score double points if your private bedroom escapades were “leaked” and everyone could see your cooter.

            I don’t want to see your cooter. I don’t want to see his wangdoodle. I want to see a movie that has real sustenance that I don’t have to read. I want to go to lunch or dinner with a friend and not have to eat my meal while watching the top of their head. I want to be able to say I had some work done, and it still means to my house, or my car, and not my body or my cooter. It has all become too much living and not enough of enjoying life.  I am starting the revolution. I am taking a stand and I pledge to live my life, not through my iPad, Nook, or $800 cell phone.  I want to have a cup of coffee with you face to face; and just to make sure we are clear, I don’t want to talk about your cooter.

You are what you eat…..

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This afternoon, while doing a favor for a pal, I stopped in a local downtown eatery to pick up a Skinny pumpkin latte and decided while I was there, I would grab a bite to eat. I requested a nice chicken salad with a side of hummus and bagel chips. I didn’t think it was a bad choice and as I sat and waited for my order, I picked up one of the downtown papers and saw a quote:

“To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art.” La Rochefoucauld

I began to think and even question if I was in fact an intelligent eater. Am I giving my body the fuel it needs to function properly are am I eating something that will continually keep me “out of shape.

I decided to put myself to the test. I went to the brand new all you can Hibachi Grille in West Augusta. There was more food than the eye could process and a line out the door of people waiting with baited breath to gorge themselves at the all you could eat trough. I must admit that I too was tempted. There was ice cream, sherbets, seafood that was fried, dyed and laid to the side. There were shrimp prepared 7 different ways, a seafood salad, green salad, and rice salad. There was a ton of rice with noodles, noodles with vegetables, fried rice, white rice, sticky rice oh my.

I saw big kids, little kids, even kids with rock, short kids, fat kids, and even a kid with a lollipop. The adults had plates that were brimming with selections of starches, meats, and breads. I went to the food bars and noticed there was Sushi and looked for some options on chicken. Again, it was either fried or covered in a sauce but lo and behold, in the back of restaurant was a line to the Hibachi grille. For a mere penance of a tip, he would prepare my meal on the grill with my choice of vegetables. If I opted for no starch, and just chose a protein based meal I could have it, or if I chose to have vegetable plate, I could do that as well.

There are intelligent choices at the all you can buffet. Yet, there were so few people who were inclined to make a good choice which not only affects them personally, but also their children.

Where do we draw the line and create an art of eating what our body needs to function properly, while enjoying the culinary arts. I believe the answer is moderation. Moderate yourselves to enjoy the beauty of a good meal out with family and friends, but with the good conscious to know what we need to be healthy. I know, we have heard it all before and have seen the arguments from everything in health care reform, to reality television urging us to be a bigger loser. We even laughed at the over eater who had a tendency to “over eat”. However, in order to be better in our every day lives, and to be better people, we have to take the small steps that take you on the bigger journey.

Saying no to that piece of cheesecake is a good step, or you can have the cheesecake and just not have a second helping. Start the journey small and set a goal and in the end, you won’t eat your self to death.