Friday, June 25, 2010

It's a Small World Afterall

As I sat on our couch this morning, drinking my coffee, checking out my favorite websites and watching the results show for "So You Think You Can Dance" (I think it is a bunch of bunk that Melinda didn't go home) I realized the Internet is truly amazing.

Being a child of the 80s and 90s era, I can appreciate how far computers have come.

I can remember being about six or seven years old sitting at our old Commodore 64 playing an 8-bit knights jousting game with my dad. The graphics were horrible, compared to today's standards, but the fact that you could control this "blocky" character on a screen right in front of you seemed like magic.
I can also remember when we upgraded to a "PC" and played "7th Guest" for the very first time. This was the first, and really only game except for "Fatal Frame", to give me nightmares. I was afraid to go to sleep because I really thought that Henry Stauff was going to come after me. (Any of you that have played that game can identity with this feeling I am sure.)

Shortly after the upgrade and "7th Guest," came the introduction of the Internet. We were not an America Online family, but we had something similar, but for the life of me I can't remember what it was.

I still can feel the anticipation of listening to the various beeps and whirls as the computer dialed up to the Internet for the first time. I felt like this whole world opened up to me.

My dad had bought a book that had some Websites listed that you could go and check out about various topics. (This was before everyone and their brother had their own web page and way before geocities.)

The two sites I went to most often was Pythonline and a Beatles website, because this was during my big "British Invasion" obsession when I wanted to move to England during my seventh and eighth grade years.

Shortly after, I was introduced into the world of social networking and ICQ. Oh how I remember, that little annoying "uh oh" noise it would make when a message came in. To this day, my parents never understood how I could stay up to 2 a.m. talking to friends that I had just spent the whole day with.

During college I was introduced to what I feel was the crack-cocaine of instant messaging: AOL Instant Messenger. Even though I could walk down the hall to tell my friends something, or even just say it out loud to my roommate across the room, I would still use AOL. No joke, one day when I signed on, and my list of all my contacts appeared to be wiped clean, I broke down and cried; just like a typical junkie. Honest to God this happened, Kev was there and he can vouch for it.

Today there are all sorts of different social networking sites like Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, Foursquare and more. It makes it seem like nothing and no one is out of reach and we are all just a keystroke away.

Because I am so amazed at the never ending vastness of the Internet and the ability to find anything your heart desires, I thought I would share a few of my favorite links with you.

Facebook Love it or hate it, it has truly revolutionized the way people stay in contact and connect with each other. Through Facebook I have been able to keep in touch with my college friends, reconnect with ones from high school and even find out there are others out there who are as obsessed with Walt Disney World as much as I am.

Facebook, just like other social networking Websites, are almost a double edged sword. While it provides a computer screen that acts like a veil of protection which is good because it allows people to open up, it is also bad because it does allow people to open up creating horrible things like cyberbulling.

I really think cyberbulling can be be curtailed a lot if more parents really understood the new technology and got involved in it. I understand, that a lot of these parents did not grow up using a computer like I did, but I think it is their responsibility to learn for the sake of their children. In my opinion, if your kid has a Myspace page or Facebook account, then you should have an account and you should be on their friend list. If you don't want to do that, then you should have access to their account and password. It might seem like an invasion of privacy, but you are showing your child that you care. When they grow up, they will thank you.

You Tube For me You Tube is such a deadly deadly trap. I go on the Website to find one little thing, like how to crochet a beret, and for the next five hours I will be sucked in watching everything from bad local commercials to people fall down the stairs.

You Tube has been a great tool to allow very gifted musicians to display their talents and become discovered. Before, they would have been forced to go to a major music capital and by luck and happenstance have the opportunity to perform in front of a major music executive. But, today we are connect with just one click of the upload button.

Blogs are another thing that people have a very love/hate relationship with. The accessibility of blogs has made everyone into a journalist (at least in their own minds). From shock, celebrity blogger Perez Hilton to my favorite coupon Website Hip 2 Save , everyone has an opinion on something and they are going to make it known.

You can find a blog for almost anything including the most obscure. Just to prove my point, I did a search for Pig Racing (since it is such a popular event at our county fair that will be coming up at the end of next month). On the first page of searches, this is what I found.

If your passion is pig racing, bacon or any other breakfast food, I think you should have the freedom to write about it.

In keeping with that, I would like to share just a few of my favorite blogs:

Wild ARS Chase My real life friend, Andy writes a very entertaining blog. His topics range from realty show play-by-plays to reviewing Cosmo. He keeps his readers always guessing what he will talk about next.

The Coupon Goddess I have already sung the praises of Hip 2 Save, but I recently found this awesome coupon blog that I think really needs to be shared. The Coupon Goddess talks about saving money and using coupons, but she makes her blog a little more personal by talking about her family, sharing recipes and even dealing with everyday stresses. It was through this Website that I found an amazingly delicious and cheap dinner recipe that I will share with you when I get back from our trip next week.

Bakerella This is a blog that I would file under it makes me green with envy. This woman is such an AMAZING baker and she shares how she does it and makes it look so simple. She makes these fun little things called "cake balls" and turns them into beautiful and cute creations like Winnie the Pooh, Summer Bumble Bees and even Hello Kitty! I am going to have to give them a whirl sometime. That would surely make me a Daring Domesticate!

I think I have bored you enough with my personal history of the computer and the Internet, but I just wanted to share my new found appreciation for Al Gore's invention. ;)

There will be no updates while I am away in Williamsburg because I don't feel like paying for Internet at the hotel, but I will probably make a slide show of the photos to post when I get back.

But while I am gone, I will be updating and posting photos on Twitter, so you can follow me

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Getting Ready to Blow this Popcicle Stand

As I write this, I am sitting on the couch in our living room surrounded by cat toys and little bits of yarn from our carpet that Anna has pulled out.

My desk is covered in coupons, a dress, information about the various acts at the Fayette County Fair and shopping flyers.

Even our kitchen island is covered in mail and our poor floor hasn't been "swiffered" in about a week.

This is all do to my level of motivation dropping like the New York Stock Exchange.

The reason for this is because we are going to be heading on a mini-vacation to Williamsburg, VA on Saturday.

I always lack motivation when it is near a vacation. I just don't feel like doing much of anything which makes me even more tired.

Back to Williamsburg, Kev and I will be traveling with my parents to spend five days in the colonial town.

We have plans to visit Colonial Williamsburg, Busch Gardens, Williamsburg Pottery Outlet and Jamestown.

We tried to save money buy purchasing our tickets to Busch Gardens through Ticketmaster, and it has caused a miniature mess.

Before purchasing the tickets, Kev and I looked to see if there was a location that was close to us where we could go and pick up the tickets.

We saw a grocery store in our town would be able to do this, so we proceeded to purchase the tickets for $47 a piece instead of the advertised $61 a piece through Busch Gardens.

When we went to the grocery store to pick up the tickets, the person behind the desk told Kevin that since they were Virginia tickets, they couldn't print them out.

Needless to say, we were upset and were determined to not lose the money that we already had invested in the tickets.

When we got home, Kev called Ticketmaster who told him that he could pick up the tickets at a few of the grocery stores down in Virginia.

So this is what we are going to have to do. There should not be a problem because the guy from Ticketmaster told Kev twice that he will be able to pick up the tickets without a problem in Virginia.

Since my parents invited us to come with them, and they are taking care of the cost of the condo that we are staying in. In turn, we wanted to take them out to dinner one of the nights we are down there.

After reading so much about, we decided to give it a shot.

For those of you who do not know about it is a Website that lets you purchase gift certificates to various restaurants at a discount.

For example they are running a special now that lets you purchase a $25 gift certificate for $2 if you type in the promo code SUMMER. (This deal is only good until June 24.)

There are a few catches, not all towns participate with Since we do not directly live in a metropolition town, we don't have any restaurants that participate.

There are also some restrictions placed on the gift certificates. For example, some places will require a minimum amount to be spent in order to use the gift card, or they may restrict the use of the gift card to only Monday through Thursday.

All-in-all, it is a pretty good deal. If you are interested in learning more about, let me know and I will tell you more information.

Since we are going to be staying at a condo, we will have a kitchen which means we will eat our breakfasts "at home" instead of going out each morning. This is a saving that can really add up.

What this also means is that we get to go grocery shop and I can try couponing at a different store. Call me a nerd, but I am super excited!

Well, I think the dust bunnies are starting to revolt against the cats, so I better go clean up this war zone.

If any one knows of any good places to check out in Williamsburg or knows of any great ways to save money while traveling, please leave a comment on the blog!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Neat Little Trick Can Save You Big Bucks on Tickets

It is looking like Kev and I will probably go with my parents to Williamsburg, Va. at the end of June.

I love to go to Williamsburg for the historical aspects, but I also am looking forward to going to Busch Gardens for a day.

I was a little bummed out to learn that tickets to B.G. were going to be about $61 a person. It was a little pricey, but I thought that I would just have to save a little bit for it and it wouldn't be a problem.

After surfing on the Internet for discounts, I found a great tip.

You can buy B.G. tickets through Ticketmaster for around $41 a piece! This means the tickets would only cost $100, including the handling fee.

So my suggestion is to go to Ticketmaster first for your amusement park ticket needs! (Unfortunately, there are no Kennywood tickets at Ticketmaster.)

Friday, June 4, 2010

Deal of the Day

Here is a great deal to pick up at Target:

Sobe Lifewater

Use a B1G1 coupon found here
Use a Target $.50/1 coupon found here

You can print each coupon twice so you can score six Sobe Lifewaters for $3. Not a bad deal and they taste pretty good!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

It is like finding $400

As many of you know, from one of my previous posts, I have become pretty enamored with coupons.

I had started during the middle of May and have been keeping track of how much we have saved during the whole process.

I was able to combine my love of coupons with my love of spreadsheets (don't ask) and from approximately May 25 to May 29 I was able to save $483.83!! That is a pretty good chunk of change, if I may say so. If I take just $400 and multiply it by 12, that is an additional $4,800 a year in savings!

Since yesterday was June 1st, I had to start a new chart, so my grocery shopping trip yesterday was not part of my previous tracking. After going to Rite Aid, Walgreens, Target and Aldis, I purchased four bottles of suntan lotion, three bottles of Aveno lotion, two packages of light bulbs, Alice in Wonderland on Blu-Ray, two boxes of cereal, 10 Weight Watcher Frozen Meals, six Sobe Lifewaters, just to name a few of the products. All of these products pictured right would have cost $125.66, but because of coupons, sales and rebates, I got everything for $62!

The reason why I am sharing this is because, if I can do it, you can too. It just takes some time, organization and planning. If I would not have Hip2Save I would have lost and overwhelmed with the whole coupon process. So, I am interested in starting a sort of "Coupon Club" where I live.

The club could meet once a month and discuss various topics and even take some "field trips" to the different stores in the area to see how to shop and get the most bang for your buck!

Another aspect of the club could be a coupon exchange. For example, at this moment, I do not have a need for coupons that are for baby products. But, I know many of you do. I could exchange the baby product coupons for something that I need.

Let me know what you guys think. If you are interested, leave me a comment, or send me a message on Facebook.

I would love to get the club up and running!