Black Friday 2018

Friday, August 09, 2019

Just a Few Days Left to Enter Montgomery County Writing Contest

Residents of Montgomery County Maryland have until August 15 2019 to enter a short form writing contest sponsored by the Montgomery County chapter of the Maryland Writers’ Association and Montgomery Magazine. The top prize is $250 and publication is Maryland Magazine. There's no entry fee. Learn more here.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Make America Work Again T-shirt to Remember Furloughed Federal Employees

This post contains affiliate links. That means if you make a purchase, you could be contributing to our snack fund. Thanks.

The federal government has been on a partial shutdown since December 22, 2018. As the weeks go on, there are thousands of federal employees who want to get back to work. I made this t-shirt after a conversation with a friend who's on furlough. She said she needs somebody to tell the president that she and her co-workers need to go back to work. If she finds that person I suggested her message to the president be that he needs to adopt the slogan 'Make America Work Again'.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Shopkick Now Pays Out In Cash

In the previous post, I reviewed Shopkick, an app that you can use to earn points to redeem for gift cards. When I wrote the review, the only drawback to the app was that you couldn't redeem the points, called kicks on the app, for cash. Since then, Shopkick has announced that you now redeem the app's points called "kicks" for cash via a PayPal gift card.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Money Monday: These Two Apps Pay You

We're continuing our theme from last week, which was earning job-free income. Today we're talking about two shopping apps that pay you. I've earned money and/or gift cards from both of these apps (more on that later). If you click the links below, I may get some compensation (and you may too).

Ibotta gives you cash back rewards from shopping at major retailers. The way it works is you choose the retailer that you'll be shopping with. Then you select deals from what's available at that store. Each deal will show you a picture of the item, its name and the amount of cash back for the deal. After your purchase, you scan your receipt and your selected items with the app. While my account is usually credited with the money within a few minutes, Ibotta says this can take up to 48 hours. You need to have at least $20 in rewards to redeem the money. So far I've redeemed $40.

Pros: You redeem your rewards for cash via Paypal or Venmo. Ibotta gives you $10 at sign-up toward your first $20.
Cons: These rewards require a purchase.

Try Ibotta.

Shopkick is my favorite shopping app because you don't have to buy anything to get rewards. You earn points for a variety of activities. You can get points for opening the app while walking into selected retailers. Another way to earn with Shopkick is scanning barcodes of items at participating retailers. And you can even earn a few points wherever you are by watching videos in the Discover section of the app. Finally, if you are making a purchase of an eligible item you can get points for that too. I focus on getting points that don't require a purchase. I'v used my points to get Walmart, Target and Amazon gift cards so many times that I have lost count of how many I have redeemed. (I have earned over 38,000 points on Shopkick so far.) Last year I used my gift cards to do my Christmas shopping. 

Pros: You don't need to make a purchase to earn. Earning points is easy.
Cons: Points count toward store gift cards, not cash.

Try Shopkick.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Legitimate Adventures in Job Free Income: Surveys

If you're looking to make some money outside of your day job, the internet provides lots of legitimate ways to do so. However, be cautious because scams are also prevalent.

For taking surveys, these sites pay in cash and gift cards to major retailers. I've tried each of these and have received payouts. If you're wondering if this post has affiliate links through which I might receive compensation, the answer is of course it does.

YouGov is one of my favorite survey sites. Unlike other survey sites, you nearly always qualify for the surveys they invite you to complete. YouGov will e-mail you when there's a survey that you qualify for. While point values per survey vary, the minimum appears to be 100 points with most surveys actually awarding 500 or more points. The results of YouGov polls are sort after by the media and other organizations. I've redeemed my points for a total of $150 worth of Amazon gift cards.

Pros: For your efforts, you'll be rewarded with cash or gifts cards to popular retailers such as Amazon, Macy's and BestBuy.
Cons: You need at least 25,000 points to redeem for a $15 Amazon gift card. You'll need more points for more valuable rewards.

Try YouGov.

Survey Junkie
At Survey Junkie, you'll need to complete a profile so the platform can send appropriate surveys to your member dashboard, which you'll see when you log in. Each survey on your dashboard has a survey number, the number of points you'll earn for completing the survey, and the approximate length of time it will take to fill out the survey. If you don't qualify for a survey, you may receive 3 points for your time. If the survey fills up before you finish it, you often will receive 2 points for your effort. The number of points you can get for a survey varies. Once you've accumulated 1,000 points you can redeem those points for cash via PayPal or your bank account. Your points can also be redeemed for gift cards to retailers like Target and Amazon.

Pros: Surveys have almost always been available when I've logged in. You can get paid in cash.
Cons: Most of the surveys I've seen award between 40 to 90 points. You have to take a lot of surveys to get to the 1,000 points, however, I've managed to do it in less than a week when I work on it a few minutes each day.

Thursday, October 04, 2018

What is DC Vote Celebrating?

Local organization DC Vote is celebrating its 20th anniversary with an event on December 4th. In case you've never heard of DC Vote, and it wouldn't be a surprise if you've never heard of DC Vote, the organization's vision to see DC residents become first class citizens. In its vision statement, DC Vote says reaching that goal will be evidenced by DC "gaining the freedom to control its own budget, pass its own laws without congressional interference, and having its citizens enjoy equal representation in the US House of Representatives and the US Senate."

What is DC Vote celebrating? DC citizens do not have equal representation in the US House of Representatives or the US Senate. Congress still has the legal authority to interfere with DC's laws. As long as Congress has that right, DC does not have complete control over its budget. DC Vote is zero for three in accomplishing its vision. 

Someone who understands what there is to celebrate, let me know in the comments. Thanks.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Value Village Thrift Store on Annapolis Road

We went to Value Village Thrift Store at 6611 Annapolis Rd in Landover Hills, MD  today. We had heard that it was so large a thrift store that it had fifteen cash registers. While the bank of cash registers, each one was with its number posted up to fifteen as described, is impressive, the rest of the store leaves a lot to be desired. The selection of items is huge, some areas of the store are more organized than others, and the prices are on the high side for a thrift store.

My son and my nephew found a very clean set of plastic railroad tracks in its original storage box but without the train that would give the tracks a purpose. We also saw a tricycle that was missing a pedal, a Paw Patrol bucket that had some food in it, and lots of books and board games. The books are buy 4 get 1 free, which is nice if you can find five books to buy. Children's picture books are $1.29 while kids' chapter books are $1.79. Also in the media section were CDs for $1.99. There were even some VHS tapes for sale. (Does anyone still have a player for those?) We saw a used pencil case marke $1.29 that we had seen new the day before at Target for 99 cents.

The good news is that Value Village Thrift Store is having a 25% off back to school sale for three days starting Friday July 27. Even betters news is that they're having a 50% off day on Saturday August 4.

Bottom line: This store has it all: furniture, apparel for the whole family, toys, books, games, knick knacks, shoes, home decor and more. Do your research and make sure you're getting your used item cheaper than a new one.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Save 20% Off T-shirts and More This Weekend

Save 20% All Items Today and Tomorrow with code WEEKENDDEALZ   

Shop Make a Statement T-shirts and Gifts

Truck Touch Tomorrow Saturday April 28

Kendall Demonstration Elementary School PTA is having a Truck Touch tomorrow, Saturday April 28. Admission is free but there's a cost for some activities such as the yard sale and for food and drink.
Kendall Demonstration Elementary (@Gallaudet University)
800 Florida Avenue, NE, Washington, DC
 "Touch A Truck" to be held April 28, 2018

Thursday, March 08, 2018

On the Recent DC Public School Scandals

Today DC Councilmember David Grosso put out a press release regarding the recent scandals that have plagued DC Public Schools. In the following quote from that press release, the councilmember refers to addressing the root causes of those scandals.
At this time, I believe it is best to keep the Education Committee's time and energy focused on our students—an effort that requires a deeper examination of the root causes of the scandals that have beset our education system in recent months in order to swiftly and deliberately resolve them in meaningful ways.
Let's applaud the councilmember's commitment to addressing the cause of these scandals rather than the scandals themselves. As he points out in his press release there are other investigations that will look into the scandals.

In part, scandals involving officials skirting the school lottery system result from the perception that there only a few schools within DC Public schools that will provide a quality education. And of course, the other scandal related to graduating students who did not meet graduation requirements only reinforces that perception.

All of want the best for our children. It's so sad that DC Public Schools has yet to show solid results in providing quality education in most schools. If there are a limited number of schools that are perceived to be good, most parents, who find themselves in a position to pull strings for his or her child, would also find it difficult to resist the pressure to do so. DC ultimate solution for lottery scandals is to improve the quality of education in schools throughout the city each school is attractive to families and not a select few.