Genius.

I just found the most amazing business idea and I’m more than a little upset that I didn’t come up with it myself. Check this out. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

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You can rent textbooks! Rent them. R-e-n-t, which means to not pay $200 for a book you will open a maximum of 5 times a semester and then sell back 3 months later for $4. Is this not the best idea ever?! I mean, I’m sure some kid has been doing this in his dorm room for years, but the fact that everyone can now use the internet to rent a textbook as easily as they can get a Netflix movie makes me want to give this site a big, red A+.

It also makes me wish I went to school in the age of iPads, cell phones, and Chegg. My life would have been so much easier. Do you KNOW how hard it was to type a paper on a word processor that had no social networking distractions? Or to spend 10 minutes folding a note into a perfect triangle shape to pass to a friend in between classes instead of sending a text message? I have no idea how I had time for homework.

Everyone’s a Photographer

With all the apps available for smartphones now, does anyone even still use a regular point & shoot camera? There are apps that let you choose filters, add cool effects, change colors, crop, and basically make it look like you’re a professional photographer, even though you can’t figure out why your real camera has all these wavy lines and something that says “ISO” on the screen…

I’ve recently gotten hooked on Instagram. As far as photo-editing apps go, it’s actually kind of low-end. The only things you can do are choose a filter, rotate the photo, and add a blur. I like it more so because it’s also a social network. You can “follow” people and comment on their photos, and then explore photos taken by celebrities or other users that you’re not following. Check out some of these gems, posted by the same girl who can’t get those wavy ISO things off her camera (err…me.)

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There are some people who actually post some really awesome photos, so get the app and start following people! Then you can take advantage of the Postagram deal I’m about to share where you can turn your Instagram photos into personalized postcards for only 99 cents!

Ok, I’m kind of telling a lie. It’s not a deal anymore. Last week they were letting you sign up and send 5 FREE postcards. I dropped the ball on that one and forgot to post it, so now I’m trying to pretend that it’s a deal at 99 cents. But it is! Postcards cost…what? like 28 cents to mail now anyway? So for 71 cents more, you can take a fancy picture, add a cute message, and send it to someone on a high quality postcard. You can even choose to have the photo pop out of the card for someone to save or frame! Use it for a card AND a gift! Now you’re really saving money and I didn’t even have to lie

Olympicsessed

That’s not a real word, I made it up. Is anyone else completely obsessed with the upcoming Olympics though?! I don’t know what it is, but it happens to me every 2 years. Well, let’s be honest – the summer games are way more exciting than the winter ones, so I guess it happens every 4 years. That is a LONG time to wait for something. Especially when you are the Queen of Impatience, as my boyfriend will probably tell you. In fact, I bet he’s thought up lots of other titles for me.

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I think the Olympics to me are just like reality TV on steroids. I have watched all the little clips from On Demand and know everyone’s most embarrassing moments. I have read hundreds of articles at this point, so I know the names of the athlete’s pets along with their inspiring stories (the athlete’s, not the pet’s). I even have a friend coming over to watch the Opening Ceremonies with me and snack on Olympic-themed munchies and drinks. I must admit, I definitely buy into all of the hype and get attached to these people to the point where I am counting down the days until their races and meets. Good job Olympic Marketing Committee. You got me. Actually, I think you’ve got someone else in my apartment hooked too…

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My Weekend in Pictures

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Birchbox in Your Mailbox

I was recently thinking about cancelling my Birchbox subscription because, after all, I am really cheap. Then I received this month’s box and there is NO way I am cancelling now. For $10 a month, you get a little pink box in the mail, which is fun all in itself because who doesn’t love to get packages in the mail?! That box is filled with a bunch of samples (sometimes full-sized!) of different beauty products. There is usually something in there that is not a beauty product too, like the snack bar and the earbuds in the photo below.

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ALL of that stuff was in this month’s box! Clockwise from the snack bar are:

  • a bronzer that helps me look like I haven’t spent most of the summer so far in an office
  • a summery nail polish the color of ocean water (but pretty ocean water, not Atlantic Ocean water – sorry, it had to be said)
  • the cutest earbuds I have ever seen that were perfect for the Color Run 5K that I did the following weekend
  • some facial cleansers and moisturizers made from natural ingredients
  • a perfume sample that I actually liked because it’s not flowery at all
  • a hair mask that I desperately needed
  • cards explaining the items and where to purchase them, along with some other tips and goodies

I’m still excited just writing about this! I hope everything here lasts me until next month when I get my next one. I’ll give you one guess as to which one is already gone…

How Much Did I Pay for All of This???

It’s a trick question!! I paid absolutely NOTHING!! In fact, I actually MADE money from CVS for all of this stuff.

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Here’s how (the really shortened version):

  • I started with $19 ExtraCare Bucks from previous shopping trips.
  • CVS’s Black Friday ad was ah-MAZE-ing! So many things are completely FREE after ECBs
  • I used some coupons to make the amount that I actually spent less than what I got back – making me money!!

The total retail value of everything you see here is $76.23. I spent $2.38 in cash out of my own pocket, BUT in the end, I made $4 in ECBs after all of my transactions were done (I did 3 of them). So overall, I got $76 worth of stuff for free AND gained about $1.50.

You can do this too! The sale is good until Saturday 11/26. It’s SO easy! If you’re interested or have any questions about where to find coupons, just ask! The best part? You won’t get trampled, bloodied, or bruised like you might at Best Buy or Walmart!

Happy Black Friday to meeeee!

Haunt Your House for Cheap!

Sometime towards the end of September I flipped the calendar over early so that my boyfriend would let me decorate for Halloween. He’s not really the Scrooge type, but for some reason he didn’t want to decorate until it was officially October. I think he just didn’t want to face the fact that summer is over. I, on the other hand, could not stop buying Halloween decorations every time I walked into a dollar store. They’re just so cute and they’re only $1, so even if I get 30 of them, that’s still like….wicked cheap, right?!

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I realize this is terribly uncool, but I love the dollar store for things like this. I mean we got some pretty good decorations for just $1, and a lot of them will probably get reused next year. Even the ones that don’t (like the static cling pumpkin my kitten has been insisting should not stay hanging on our window) well, they were a dollar. I also got all my Halloween party plates, cups, napkins, straws, table cloths, candy bowls, and platters from the dollar store, which would have been scarily, creepily, frighteningly expensive had I gone to iParty or Target.

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I can’t wait to go back for Christmas decorations!! (Too soon?)

What Does CVS Even Stand For??

Did you ever wonder that? Well, maybe you have more of a life than me then. Which helps explain why I’m posting this at 8pm on a Friday night.

I just wanted to tell you about CVS’s advisor panel. If you join, they will send you occasional surveys to complete for Extra Care Bucks! And apparently the ECBs are anywhere from $5 to $15! CVS is slowly becoming my favorite place to shop. Sorry Target.

What Do Fly Fishing, iPads, Sweaters, and Coffee Tables Have In Common?

I overwhelmed myself with this one, and I keep staring at it deciding how I want to fit everything in. I originally wanted to tell you about the classes that A.C. Moore and Michael’s offer, but when I started researching it I found SO many more places that offer these! I want to sign up for them all!

Apple – You can take a free Apple workshop on everything from learning about your new iPad to using iTunes or iWork. There are a bunch of these, and frankly I’m shocked because nothing Apple puts out is inexpensive, so for these to be FREE is amazing. I want to buy an iPad just to take the class.

Bass Pro Shops – I’m not much of a girly girl, but I’m also not that much into fly fishing or hunting either. Some of these workshops don’t really interest me, but others sound kinda fun, like the snowshoeing adventure. I really just included this one because the Bass Pro Shop is such a fun store to visit. I mean, you could walk around the entire store just looking up at all the things hanging from the ceiling, although I don’t recommend this because there ARE stairs. There’s also a shooting arcade that’s pretty fun even if you stink at it and use 30 shots just to make the little beaver pop up.

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Michaels – These classes change every month, but this is the current schedule. They have little in-store demos and I’ve made a bracelet there once. The demos are free, but the classes sometimes cost money, like the price of materials or something. These are my weakness because I love fun crafty things, but I haven’t done one in a while!

A.C. Moore – They also offer in-store classes and I’ve taken a jewelry one here too. I think it was $17 and we learned to make a necklace. We had to buy or bring our own beads, but the tools were available for everyone to use. When I put my zip code into the link above, there are no classes listed for January in the store closest to me, which is the first time I’ve ever seen that happen, so keep checking because there usually are a few each month for jewelry making, cake decorating, and yarn projects. I’m thinking of making something like this for next year’s ugly christmas sweater parties:

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Williams Sonoma – I’ve been wanting to do one of these forever! Um..and I certainly could use the lesson. Ask my mom about the time I cried making chicken, or tried to make baked mac & cheese without cooking the macaroni first. I think I will sign up for one of these right away…

Home Depot – At first I wanted to be offended at the “Do-it-herself” workshops on this site, but then I read about them and…well, they actually are things that I wouldn’t have a clue how to go about doing, so they seem helpful. And FREE! There are also kid workshops and a projects section too.

I’m going to keep searching for more of these, but if you know of some that I missed, definitely let me know!!

CVS Thinks You’re Pretty

Shop at CVS a lot? Then make sure you enroll in the ExtraCare Beauty Club so that you’re earning ExtraBucks while you shop! You get a 10% off coupon just for signing up, $5 in ExtraBucks for every $50 you spend (BEFORE coupons!), $3 ExtraBucks on your birthday, and if you sign up today or tomorrow you will be entered in a drawing for a chance to win a trip to the 2012 People’s Choice Awards and $500 of products! I’m actually more excited about the $500 of products than the People’s Choice Awards. Although a trip to L.A. would be pretty sweet, provided there are no earthquakes that day. Or landslides. Or fires. Yeah, I’m still more excited about the $500 in products actually…

Just for the record, I know it’s called the ExtraCare Beauty Club, but you don’t have to be beautiful to sign up. I mean, even this girl can join:

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I hope she doesn’t read my blog.