Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Doing Cartwheels

I'd probably die if I tried doing a cartwheel right now.

Actual physical cartwheels aren't the point of this post. The new Target Cartwheel app very much is in a "so speaking of coupons" kind of way . . . .

Like I said in the post before last I figured I'd probably need to run out before the two weeks between big grocery trips were up for a few more things. Shocker. I was right. I was doing my normal browsing for coupons on Target's website and saw a link for something called Cartwheel. OK. Creative name? I guess. I went about browsing other things until I finally let my curiosity get me.

(Note: all of this will be based on the regular browser site not the phone apps.)

It's a quick, simple sign up if you have facebook (which I do so that was that). There's a lot going on at first it seems. Observe this lovely screenshot:

You may able to see on this screenshot that it shows a little ticker for total saved: $1.38. That was yesterday. That's pretty quick.

So here's how it works:

#1 Sign up - It's simple enough if you are all ready on facebook. If not, I'm not seeing many other options. Someone can let me know if it works with Google+ or just a regular email account. I didn't need any invite or code to get on. I just clicked the sign up with facebook button and it did that little creepy info-grabbing thing apps do and I was done.

#2 Take a second to get acclimated - There is quite a bit going on. Collections, badges, notifications, facebook settings, invitations, and all these clickable, shiny ad buttons that remind me of that brand guessing game that was popular for a bit.

#3 Settings - By clicking over your name at the top right of the screen you can get to settings. This is something you'll want to change first. Decide if you want your cumulative savings to be public and whether or not you want in-app notifications. There's another link on the bottom of this page to change facebook settings. 

#4 Browse through Collections - These are just categories for all the products Target carries that have an available discount. That is what you're seeing in the screenshot above. Here's an example of what you'll see when you click on a collection:

 Discounts range from 10-30% off all sorts of products. They even have discounts on mundane things that almost never have coupons like milk, cheese, fruit, and eggs. Yes. It's true.

Note: You're not limited to browsing through tons of collections. There's a search bar. You can type in brand names, generic items (cereal, cookies), specific items, or broad categories (baby, toys).

#5 See that fancy bar on top of the screen between browse and total saved. - This is your total available discounts. You do have a limit. You start with 10 just for joining and there are ways to earn more as you use the app. I'm up to 17 now and I just opened this for the first time yesterday.

#6 Look at your badges. - This is your gateway to increasing the limited number of discounts you can choose. Anything from inviting people (as long as they join in) to having your first cartwheel scanned adds up to more discounts.

#7 Notifications - The word pretty much sums it up. This just just a heads up of the latest goings on within your cartwheel. You can see the badges you've earned, friends who've started using the app, and all that boring stuff.

Here's essentially how it works:

You browse through the site. You're scrolling down and find a discount you want. Just click on the box and it'll flip itself around. (nifty!) On the back of the "card" you can choose to add, share (via facebook), or get details on that specific discount. Once you click add it's on your "my Cartwheel" list. That bar at the top keeps track of how many you've used so far. To see your compiled list click on the my Cartwheel tab. A discount "card" all ready in your cartwheel will have a white on red check in the upper right corner and one that is still available to be added will show a white on red star.

Like this:

The hose nozzle is in your cartwheel and the gardening accessories are NOT. 

As you browse, you can add or replace things as you see fit. If you're all ready at 10/10 (or 17/17 or whatever the case may be) items then you'll have to remove something from your list before adding another.

You could probably keep at this, browsing, choosing, comparing and searching for a while. Once you are done go back to the my Cartwheel page. Click on "redeem in store" to print out your list. There will be one barcode at the top for the Target team member to scan. 

But wait, there's more! (imagining this statement in George Takei's voice would be optimal)

This is not an either-or situation. These discounts DO stack with target coupons and manufacturer coupons. They also work with the redcard discount. I'm told that you could potentially have a quintuple whammy: cartwheel + target coupon + manufacturer coupon + redcard discount + reusable bag discount. 

 Your printed list will also show the number of times a discount can be applied. For instance, I had the Market Pantry milk 5% discount on my list yesterday. The list noted up to four purchases with the discount. I got two gallons so I got 5% off EACH one.

If you don't buy something on your list or if you've used up some of them it's not a big deal. You can either get your list back from the team member after they scan it or have them toss it and you can print a new one. If you don't get the correct item, the discount is expired (the deals do expire like normal coupons), or you've all ready reached your purchase limit it simply won't take it off your total.

It's a brilliant app! I was hesitant about it at first wondering if it would be worthwhile. The team member that helped me was all ready up to speed and HAPPY to see I'd brought it along with my coupons (yeah, not put off or annoyed). It was just as easy as using regular coupons but she only had to scan the single code one time to apply multiple discounts. 

Hopefully this helps someone out. Go here and sign up online! It's totally worth the discounts just on the unusually discounted items in my opinion. Worst case, if you hate it then don't use it again!

Here is the app for Mac.

Here is the app for Android


Sunday, June 23, 2013

Facebook, Google+, Tumblr, Pinterest, and Twitter!

I've been piddling and fiddling with all the hoards of social networking sites for the past few days. It'll make it even easier to share stuff about the things I enjoy most (parenting, photography, star trek, etc) plus more platforms means more people!

I'm a misanthrope in reality (I don't even like myself most of the time) but I don't mind some virtual attention just like the rest of the people on the world wide web. Go figure.

So here are the pages and profiles! Go like, connect, share, follow, whatever:

Facebook - I guess this just my public page. Surely my musings all over my private page get annoying and I prefer to use it for keeping connected family. This will be nice for separating the two a bit more.

Google+ - Click here or click the fancy button on the top left of the page!

 Tumblr - I have several tumblogs. They are fun. Get one. The links are actually at the top of this page under New Mama Stuff, Kid Stuff, and For the Femme Nerds.

Pinterest - scroll down on this page and there is a button showing my latest pins and a list of what I assume would be the my most relative boards

Twitter - my twitter handle is spunkynerdmama

     Please feel free to share your own websites, blogs, or pages in the comments!

Thursday, June 20, 2013


     Well, first off, I want to say I'm super thrilled with my grocery shopping trip(s) this past Wednesday (one week ago yesterday). It wasn't anything near what you see on those crazy reality TV episodes but I managed to stay under $250 for our two weeks of buying.

We obviously all ready had some ingredients for meals in the house.

We're also in the process of potty training BOTH kids now so we don't go through nearly as many disposables as we normally would. It's not very consistent day to day . . . I'll say that.

It took me three hours of the afternoon to find and clip coupons and create my list. So, honestly, the reduction in spending feels more like I'm spending time instead of spending the money, if that makes sense. Thankfully, my time was worth a decent "wage" this time. ;)

I always find out afterwards that I could've done better. This deal here. That coupon there. Oh well. Better luck next time.

And, of course, it's nearly inevitable that sometime in the next two weeks I'll be out buying more milk, bread, eggs, and/or some forgotten ingredient.
 /end caveats

 Like I said, the afternoon of my shopping trip I spent a good three hours googling for coupons, scouring the Krazy Coupon Lady website. I do NOT do the kind of couponing you hear about on these reality TV shows. I have no spare space for a super pantry and we don't even have a deep freezer (although I have my eye on a small one because I'd love to buy some meat on the cheap and pre-make some healthier "freezer meals"). I make my list of what we want or need FIRST then do all my searching and clipping based on that. I usually have to rack my brain and check the cabinets because occasionally I do "over buy" things like peanut butter, oatmeal, and pasta. You know, the sustenance staples that you really can't have too much of (unless your home is starting to look like the inside of a walmart, that's a bit much).

   I also try with all my might to avoid walmart. It's another post for another day but the low price place is not that great and I'd rather my $$$ make noise elsewhere in the economy if you get my drift. I don't have a lot of choices up here in walmartville. What I'd give for a good Publix, Trader Joe's, Kroger, Earth Fare or Whole Foods.

Oh well.

I try very hard to keep our household a healthy one. I buy a lot of frozen vegetables and avoid canne although I prefer fresh from the farmer's market. (One day I'll have my own garden, dang it!)

 Here are a few of the awesome couponing sites I've found:

coupons (but even better: join swagbucks and get the SAME coupons + swagbucks a few weeks after the coupons have been processed)

krazycouponlady (she even lays out the best deals for you on her site. hover over "find my store" and select the location of your choice for the latest.)

lozo (if you just like the occasional good clip you'll like this. it's customizable and coupons are emailed to you.)

smartsource (these are going to be similar to the coupons that are in many Sunday papers.)

You can also find some really good coupons on retail websites or facebook. Usually a good $1-2 coupon is as simple as liking a brand page. Most retailers have their own listing of coupons on their website. Some even have store coupon cards that you can download coupons onto and swipe at the store (making it ridiculously easy).

    We also have a Walgreens Balance Rewards card. We've only had it for a couple months. We use them for our prescriptions but they will also occasionally have some great deals on things we'd buy anyway (like diapers, sunscreen, medicine, or even food) so we'll make a trip there (and it's not out of our way at all). You get points for what you spend and for buying certain items. We're almost to 5000 points which translates to $5. (10,000 is $10, 18,000 is $20, and so on). I've seen a new program advertised where you can earn more points for running, doing weigh-ins, or participating in community projects.

In the end:

$37 at walgreens for 3 packages of pull ups and swim diapers.
   -3t/4t huggies pull ups (50 count)
   -size 4 huggies little movers slip-on diapers (23 count)
   - size medium huggies little swimmers (11 count)
I saved $7 with coupons and we earned 390 points as well.
Darn the 9% sales tax applying to diapers.

$44 at Aldi
 We filled our buggy. This included 2 bacon wrapped filet mignon, cow milk, kefir, eggs, cheese, plenty of fruit (nectarines, kiwi, bananas), a few veggies (bell pepper, carrots), cereal, two loaves of bread, cinnamon rolls (totally unnecessary!), nut butters, syrup, and snacks (graham crackers, peanut butter crackers, etc).

If we'd bought these things at walmart it would've been no less than $60. If I had the funds I'd go do a same day duplicate trip sometime to show the difference.

$120 at Target.
 This included a few more food items that I had specific coupons for that made it even CHEAPER than Aldi like yogurt, apple sauce pouches, frozen veggies, frozen pizza, and pudding. I got really good deals (I think) on almond milk, frozen chicken, and the glade plug-in refills. I even splurged on a few clothes for the kids (less than $2 a piece), got E a new toothbrush, and household misc (handsoap, paper towels, toilet paper, all-purpose cleaner).

I spent another $25 at Target two days ago to get some more bread, milk, cookies, and junk food for the girls and myself. They even had lalaloopsy coloring books in the $1 bin so I let the kiddos get those and pick a $0.99 pack of crayons.

37 + 44 + 120 + 25 = 226

We'll need (want?) more milk, cereal, and eggs for sure right before the second week is up but that shouldn't be a big deal.

Hopefully I can do even better for the next trip! 


Friday, June 14, 2013

Amazeum? Yes. Please!

Check this out:

     THAT my friends is an artist's rendering of the Amazeum. What is that? "An interactive discovery center" for kids that is being planned for right up here in NWA!! I've heard rumors of such a children's museum since moving to the area but this is a really real deal. Sign me up for an annual membership now please and thanks! Bentonville gets all the cool stuff. But, that's ok. That's ok. It will be right up next to the beloved Crystal Bridges as current plans have it.

Go here to read more.

If this turns out anything like the McWane Center in Birmingham, Alabama or the Creative Discovery Museum in Chattanooga, Tennessee then it will be a superb addition to this area.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


We've finally been making trips to the library again. Here's our current stash:


     The first two are truly great because they contain real, practical knowledge. They have the typical child-level language but also plenty of new information. They would be great to read alongside a preschool lesson or a trip to a related museum. My 3 year old has a particular love of planets so La Tierra/Earth was especially intriguing for her. She loves to see the moon and look at stars. I've just begun teaching her more about the earth and the planets. She was totally intrigued by the pictures of the earth's core and of lightning. I could tell as we read that she soaked up the information like a sponge. I Drive a Bulldozer would be great for any young kids that love construction. It essentially follows "Noah" through his day at work and all the things he does to drive a bulldozer and what all the machine can do. Both girls enjoyed this one as well. In the beginning my not quite 2-year-old was insisting it was a dump truck (she's been on a dump truck spotting kick lately when we're out) but by the end she was finally calling it a "doder".

     The other benefit of La Tierra/Earth is that each page includes the same information in English and in Spanish. Even if I don't teach them directly I like to have my children exposed to many languages (an unexpected benefit of living in NWA where there are many different languages being spoken even in Target some afternoon). This would be awesome though if your family is bilingual or even if you are learning yourself!

    The second two, Emily's Balloon and Pilot Pups are certainly your typical imagination-driven children's books. However, they aren't typical in their class of whimsy. Emily's Balloon is filled with soft, beautiful illustrations and simple text. The story is very short and calm. The ending is sweet and true to the nature of childhood. Pilot Pups was just adorable. Any kid would like this one. The pages are so colorful. It really captures the depths of imagination humans are capable of as a household becomes a flying adventure.

   I should note, Emily's Balloon was written by the author of Mad at Mommy. If you love one you'll definitely enjoy the other. I'll definitely be looking for more Komako Sakai books.


Saturday, June 8, 2013

Hello Blogspot

     So for anyone paying attention, if things get super weird around here for the next few days it's because I'm experimenting with the possibility of switching this blog over to wordpress. I've also started up a dedicated email to use with Google+ on here, potentially Pinterest, and facebook as well. This will take a lot of time to work out kinks and iron out my final decisions. I'd really like to be able to connect more with the world through this blog so I'm trying to get my toes dipper in all the various corners of the social media sphere WITHOUT smearing my old personal email address all over the place.

So for all you very quiet, dedicated readers out there please be patient. Feel free to check back here and to the wordpress blog as well. All posts should be visible on either page.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Malco Kids Summer Film Fest

     I saw this a while back and don't recall sharing this!! We're planning on going once (or twice if it goes well) while hubby is out of town for training. There are Malco Theaters in Arkansas, Mississippi, Kentucky, and Tennessee so share with friends!