Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Who wants to win a $25 gift card to use in time for Christmas? How about a $50.00 gift card? You can choose from either a Target, Amazon, Visa, or American Express card… it’s entirely up to you!

How do you win? I’m so glad you asked!

I don’t typically spend much in advertising each year. Word of mouth has been my best way of getting new customers. This year, I’ve decided instead of spending the money to advertisers, I’d put the money in my customers hands. All you have to do is simply refer my site, SantasSecretary.com, to all your family and friends. The person whose referrals result in the most completed orders will win a $50.00 gift card. Second place will win $25.00.

There will be a field on the order form asking how they found us. Have them put your name in the field. I’ll be tabulating the orders and even sending you results to let you know how you are doing. By the way, your orders count as well… just be sure put your name in the field. For those who have already ordered, fear not, I’ve already added yours!

Contest will end on November 30th and the winners will be notified by December 1st. At that time they will need to advise which card they want me to send them. That card will be sent out upon receipt of that information!

We thank you for your continued support and forward to seeing your names pop up in that field!


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Where have I been?!

Well, thank you for asking!!   I have spent the summer working on a new adventure!  My BFF and I have partnered together as.......... drum roll, please............... 

TWO FAT CHICKX LOSING WEIGHT!    <-- that's our new blog site under that link!

Our hope is to inspire, educate, and encourage as we take our own hike up the mountain of eating cleaner thus healthier!   Won't you please join us and encourage us as we try to encourage others?  (Because as you surely know, everyone loves and needs to be encouraged!)

We are looking for people who will follow us on Networked Blogs... won't you join us?  Pretty please??  We look forward to seeing and hearing from you!

If you are here from the Tuesday Blog It Forward ~ Welcome!! 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Time... How it Flies....

Can you believe it!!!Daisypath Christmas tickers
As a quasi single income family we really have to plan ahead for Christmas.  What am I doing to help cushion the blow?  I'm so glad you asked!  I play a game with myself.  This year I have really been taking advantage of the Target gift card promotions.  I do have my rules, though.  I really only buy it IF it is something that I will use and something that I like.  Otherwise, it's counter productive, in my opinion.  Why spend money needlessly?  I also have the rule that I must have coupons to help bring the cost down.  I refuse to pay full price for something, even if I am getting $5.00 or $10.00 back in a gift card.  Thus far I have $70.00 saved up in Target gift cards.  (I had more, but I used them to pay for the Easter basket!) I have (3) $10.00 Wal-mart gift cards I am expecting from rebates any day now, and I have my special little "overage" Wal-mart gift card that has over $50.00 on it so far.   "Overage"?  What is that, you ask?   Oh honey, let me tell you.  I am not good with keeping track of small change and small bills.  They seem to spend oh too easily.  So... what I do is make sure I have almost $10.00 in overages (that is the minimum you can put on a gift card, so they say) and put it on my handy dandy gift card.  Granted, I am typically having to train the cashier on how to add funds to an existing gift card, but I won't even go there today. 

Another avenue I use is Swagbucks.  I have over $40.00 in  Amazon gift cards I earned with Swagbucks. Gotta love free money!!

If I see something that I feel will be a good gift for Christmas, I will buy it and put it away... and hope that I can remember where I put it!  Yeah, I've been known to find things 3 years later.  The older I get, the more I forget!!  Hmm,  maybe I should reconsider that little plan of action...

So, what do you do to plan for Christmas?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Clean up at the register 3, please...

Well, it finally happened.... I knew it had to happen sooner or later.  I really would have preferred later.  I was attacked encountered by the coupon hater CSM at the friendly local Wal-mart.   Yes, it appears that there are still employees in management that are not up on the new couponing policies that have been in place since mid March.  Nevermind the fact that even CSM's do not know how to put money on an exisiting Wal-mart Gift Card....  I have had more than my share of cashiers AND managers tell me I have to get a new card because they cannot do it.  Then I have to educate them in the nicest, sweetest,  gentlest possible way.  You don't swipe it, you just scan it.  That's it.  It's already been swiped when I originally got it. "Oh, wow... I didn't know".... clearly you didn't.  And how sad is it when a customer (that has never worked at Wal-mart) has to teach the CSM?    I feel this is where corporate is letting their employees down.  They give them a title, but it appears, they are on their own after that to figure out policies and such. 

Now, to my second issue last night.  If you are an avid couponer, you know that Wal-mart changed their policy that in the event of a coupon being valued at more than the product you are purchasing, they are to now give you that overage in the form of cash or against the contents in your basket. 

For verification, please go to Walmart Corporate Coupon Policy.  Scroll down to section labeled:  The following are guidelines and limitations: and look at the 7th bullet - does it not clearly state :

  • "If coupon value exceeds the price of the item, the excess may be given to the customer as cash or applied toward the basket purchase".???

  • Now, the cashier and one of the CSM's standing there had called the other CSM over NOT because I had an overage, but because I wanted to put the overage on a Wal-mart gift card.  My overage was $8.95 and I wanted to put $10.00 on my gift card.  That was inconceivable to them. 

    Them:  "We can't do that"!  "You are only getting $8.95 back". 
    Me:     "I will give you the $1.05 to cover the difference".
    Them:  " but you can't put money on a gift card once it's got money on it"
    Me:     "I've been doing it for weeks now, it can be done".
    Them:  "_____ come over here, please"   ( I won't call her name out in fear of being sued)

    Now, I have to go and explain it all over again about the overage and that's when it got ugly.  Well, Little Miss CSM at the Sheila Road Wal-mart proceeds to tell me that they cannot give me money back and that the coupon will have to be adjusted.  To which I very politely asked her if I could show her the Corporate policy that I had printed.  She proceeds to tell me that my policy is wrong and she will not allow me to get the overage. I asked her when that policy changed.  "It's always been that way".  I explained that this policy I had in my possession was printed 2 weeks ago... She proceeds to grab a sheet of paper that she is using as a  means of "I told you so" and says, and I quote:  "I printed this today and it says we do not do overages".  I politely asked her to void the transaction and give me my coupons. 

    I left without my stuff...  My hubby was amazed that I didn't stay and fight it.    I don't fight unless I know I will win and honestly, the policy COULD have changed.  I just needed to go home, get online and get my ammo in order.  I got in the car, and we started to leave and I remembered I didn't get their names.  So I had to walk back in there.  Found them huddled around a piece of paper along with the security guy... I guess they thought this was going to be a hostile situation!   I politely asked their names so that I could let Corporate know who I was going to refer to.  At first the smug CSM ignored me, but then she turned and let me see her tag. 

    A call has been placed with Corporate.  I now await their reply.   I fully plan to go back and get my stuff.  Surely it's been restocked by now!  I'll just make sure that (a) I don't have over $50.00 in coupons (that flags a CSM) , and (b) I steer clear of that cashier!)

    Tuesday, April 26, 2011

    And People Wonder WHY I Coupon?

    Well, let me educate you on this... To me it can best be summed up as this.  Coupons are money.  Plain and simple.  Now, while I cannot just collect coupons and stash them in my piggy bank, (wouldn't that be GREAT!) I can strategically use them to help lower my grocery tab, thus allowing me to use that saved money for things like, oh... I don't know... GAS for my car!   Buddy and I stopped to get gas for both the business truck and our family car.  He just put a little in the truck...a mere $41.00 (that big ol' tank will take $100 on it's own.  I, on the other hand, went ahead and filled the tank on the car.  Or at least that was my plan.  I couldn't do it.  I had to stop it at $60.00.   I just could not allow it to go one penny higher.  Now, keep in mind that we just spent $101.00 and I still have not put gas in my little point A to point B car.  (I drive a little Accent back and forth to work to save on gas).   If I didn't coupon and do REASONABLE stockpiles, then we would be in a pickle!.... well not a pickle really, more like big ole pile of compost!  Great for a garden, but not something you'd like to play in! 

    It does not seem that things will get any better.  So, I do my best to help make our dollars stretch.  We buy Malia's clothes and shoes from .. gasp... consignment shops. 

    That kid dresses better than I do!  I don't have Gap jeans!  (I got mine from the Lee outlet stores 2 years ago)  Her Easter dress still had tags on it!!  Paid under $10.00 for her shoes and her dress! 

    Her toys... let me just say Craigslist is my friend... ohh, maybe I better shut up b/c if our secret gets out and too many people start hitting it up, the prices might rise.  We also LOVE to go "Saleing"... Yard Sales, that is!  This child has an amazing play area outside and it is the envy of the neighborhood!  (or so I've been told!). 

    We garden in the summer and eat fresh veggies.  We conserve energy at home.  We try to make our trips out and about to the best use possible.  No sense wasting gas.  We save errands for the weekend and try to make one big loop around town. 

    What do you do to help make your money stretch further?  Seeing how I need to still put another $20.00 on my debit card to fill my Accent up, I'm all ears!  Hollar back!

    Thursday, April 21, 2011

    $40.00 value for $20.00?? ($10 of which is S/H) Yay Groupon!!

    EBATES   and GROUPON are the places to go!   Did you know you can get money back on your Groupon purchases when you click through EBATES?  It's a win-win! 

    Look at this deal!  These are not sample sizes!!!

    "You get a General Mills sampler pack, coupon book, and up to $10 in shipping costs (up to a $40 value). Today's sampler pack arrives at the doorstep stuffed with the following delectable edibles"
    • General-mills12.8 ounce Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal
    • 13 ounce Reese's Puffs cereal
    • 12 ounce Kix cereal
    • 12.8 ounce Cascadian Farms Organic cereal
    • 5.8 ounce Fiber One 90-Calorie Chewy Bars
    • 5.8 ounce Hamburger Helper
    • 11 ounce Green Giant Corn Niblets
    • 9.5 ounce Old El Paso Tortilla Stuffers
    • 5 ounce Fruit Roll-Ups
    • 10.5 ounce Chex Mix Muddy Buddies snack mix
    • 17.5 ounce Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie mix
    • 13.7 ounce Wanchai Ferry Orange Chicken dinner kit
    Go ahead... sign up for EBATES and then look for the General Mills deal (found it in Minneapolis/St. Paul San Francisco site)

    Wednesday, April 20, 2011

    I Think I Need An Intervention

    OK... I have been bitten by the adorable cute bow syndrome... I think I need an intervention because at this rate, I will be having to adore the beautiful bows that match Malia's clothes in lieu of watching TV or surfing the net.  Do you think Verizon will understand that we must have bows?  hmmmm... Is there a rehab for something like this?.... just curious.

    Malia has been bitten as well. She always has been quite the fashionista, but I must say that the bows we have acquired with her spring/summer collection have pushed her over the edge to becoming a bit obsessive. We can't buy anything now without making sure we have a bow that matches perfectly!   We got really lucky on this one!!  Whoda thunk we'd find a brown and pink bow to match her top? 

    Her OCD hit her today!  We left an adorable little purple bow in the bathroom when we went to take a shower yesterday. As you may or may not know, bows simply do not fare well with water crashing down on them from the shower head. This morning, while getting ready for work, said bow was still in the bathroom. I logically suggested that we pop it in her hair until we got downstairs and put it on the hanging bow ribbon. She looked at me in horror... like I had bugs crawling all over me.  "Mommy!!  It doesn't match my pajamas"!!  Sheesh... 

    But I digress. The purpose of this post is quite simply to be able to get another entry into a giveaway. A headband giveaway!! Kammy's Korner has some adorable hair accessories and well... I want one!  So... in order to gain said additional entry, I am going to link to her giveaway post right HERE.  Now... It would really make me smile to win this for Malia so you know the drill.  Go to her post and enter to win.  You must be a follower and well, they ask for an email and you will need to post mine... it's love2bgigi@ .....OK,  JUST KIDDING... (no I'm not).... I am really... (OK, maybe a little serious)... but they would look so cute in her hair!!! 

    Actually, as I was looking at  Kammy's Korner online store I saw something that would look GREAT with this little pink/green jumper we found last week.....How cute is this little headband?  Yes, I know it is one of the giveaways, but I just can't take the chance that you will put my email down to win so I must buy it myself!!!  I do think I need an intervention.... just kidding.. (no, I'm not!).  It's like hair bow crack!  Gotta have it!

    I gotta go before someone else sees it!! 

    Everyone have a great day!!  Don't forget to enter my email addy to win

    Sunday, March 20, 2011

    Shameless.... or hopeful?

    I am was a giveaway entering fool.  There are still times when I do sit down and actually have the time to enter a few here and there.  One I had entered, but not won, was for a Baby Bullet.  BUT... I (along with others who lost) were given a second chance to win!!!  An easy popularitiy contest for the messiest baby.  I seem to have confused my friends.  They have liked the beg for votes on my wall, not on the picture itself.  You see, my friends need to go to FrugalNovice's Facebook Page and like her page... then look at her photo album for Malia and "Like" this picture HERE.

    So... in an effort to make it a little less confusing, I'm trying again to solicit votes for my messy face :)

    I covet any and all votes!!!  Thank you in advance!! xoxo
    Social Share Me!

    Gotta Love Frozen Food Month at Martins!

    So... noticed that March was Frozen Food Month at Giant/Martin's... I like frozen foods... a lot.  Love the convenience of them as well as the variety of options.  So, I figured I had month to buy $100 worth of frozen foods and in return, get a $25 Catalina coupon printed to use on my next purchase at Martins.... BUT the deal got sweeter.  I was able to get $100 of frozen foods way cheaper..

    How? ... you say... well, I'm so glad you asked. 

    This week you were able to piggy back the Catalina coupon deals.   If you buy $25.00 worth of  SPECIFIC frozen foods you would get a $10.00 coupon to use on your next purchase.... I think I smell some savings!!

    So first I go and buy (4) Wanchi Ferry frozen meals.  I had $6.00 worth of coupons, plus they were on sale... so, my total with tax came to $17.06 PLUS I got a $10.00 coupon for my next purchase

    Total:  $17.06 out of pocket

    Next purchase was for (5) Freshetta pizza... On sale, of course.... with coupons (including my $10.00 from my last purchase)... came to $10.63 out of pocket

    I am halfway to my $100.00 goal.... and only have $27.69 out of pocket....

    To I went and bought (5) boxes of Lean Pockets on sale (5) for $10 and (5) Stouffers entree's, also on sale (5) for $10.00 and one more Freschetta Pizza....

    Total after coupons, including my $10.00 coupon from last purchase....   My total:  $12.63 out of pocket... would have been less but I seem to have forgotten my other Freschetta coupon... bummer

    So now I am 3/4 of the way to my $100.00 purchase and only have spent $40.32  total out of pocket...

    My final purchase needs to be made before last night was over.  What shall I get?   Decisions, decisions....  I decided to go and pick up 4 more Wanchai Ferry meals and a bag of Dole sliced strawberries...less mfg coupons, $10.00 from my last purchase coupon, and sale price, my out of pocket $9.06 thus netting me my $10.00 on my next purchase coupon AND my $25.00

    Let's recap... under $50.00 out of pocket for over $100.00 of food and I still have $35.00 to use on my next 2 purchases.  Now I know that I could have done this a little cheaper, but I only wanted what I knew I would use and had coupons for.  Other bloggers have done a lot better and my hat is off to them! 

    Love when I get paid to shop!! How about you?

    Saturday, March 12, 2011

    Ahh, the sweet smell of saving money... part 2

    Like I said before, (I think I said before..) I use to coupon a lot, but got out of the habit.  Recent situations required that we re-aquaint ourselves with that special form of currency!    It took me a few weeks to get myself together, but the Target frozen food/gift card deals were a great jump start!  It was a win-win!  At least for us! 

    Now, last week was technically week 2, but it was really the first week I was able to really get down and dirty with the ads and printables.  Kudos to my mentors, The Krazy Coupon Lady and Totally Target!  They ROCK!  There are MANY others, too many to mention here.  Suffice it to say FB newsfeed and my email in box are rocking with deals.   My hat is off to them all!  Thank you!!!

    So..  week 2 of serious couponing begins when I started Sunday out with another trip to Food Lion to take advantage of yet another pack of Pampers.  I grabbed a pack of  50 newborn pampers for $2.99 plus tax. (regular 10.99).   It looked so nice sitting next to the one I got on Saturday... ok, maybe not, humor me, ok?

    Monday, I had my Pediacare coupons cut along with my Walgreens pedicare coupon with the intention of scoring 2 bottles of fever reducer for free.  Sadly, I had to pay $1.00 each because the children's dosage ran higher than the infant drops.  BUT, I still saved 11.50, so all was not lost.  SOOO.. I decided to go the next day when I was directed to better coupons from my sources.  The poor young sales clerk was totally confused with how I could stack coupons, so she had to call the manager.  Finally I walked out with (2) more Pedicare infant drops for 50 cents.   (the coupons I had were resulted in a money maker and the manager would not push it through so I had to go back to my old $1.50 off two).  So, bottom line, I have (4) bottles of fever reducer that was worth $27.00 for the bargain price of $2.63 after tax.  Not too shabby!

    Well, I am not proud of this, but I could not help myself.  I got a little OCD with the Rite Aid $3.99 coupon against the $3.99 Thermacare back thingy... I could not have an odd number.  So I ended up with 20.oops.... just recounted I have 26.  Holding my head in shame, (but do know that I did not wipe out the shelves at the 5 Rite Aids I visited during the whole week), my total of (20) (26) 3.99 Thermacare Back thingy's cost me out of pocket... ZIP / ZERO dollars and ZERO cents.  Total saved: $83.79 $108.93

    So in the meantime,  my other coupons for my Purex 3 in 1 detergent arrived mid week and I was oh so pleased to be able to use them with my final rain check at CVS...  Regularly 8.79 each x 10 = 87.90 plus tax = $92.30...  but my rain check was for $3.99 and I had (10) $3.00 coupons plus $8.00 in extra care bucks... my total cost out of pocket... are you ready?  $3.89 for a savings of $88.41... color me happy.   Between last week and this week, I should not have to buy laundry detergent for a VERY long time!

    So, thus far, all together $214.80 $239.94 in merchandise.

    $9.66 out of pocket

    Total savings $205.23 $230.27 (can you say cha-ching?)

    I've been checking out next weeks coupons and deals getting my game plan on.  Not really sure if I will have much to post as we are in the midst of remodeling the bathroom.  The way I see it, there will always be similar deals in a few months if I do miss them.  
    Well, off to do laundry!  Have a great week!

    Saturday, March 5, 2011

    Ahh, the sweet smell of saving money!

    I love coupons.  We try not to pay retail for anything, if at all possible.  There are tricks to the trade.  As I blogged and entered giveaways, I was introduced to some amazing coupon queens!  They have taught me, via their blogs and FB posts, how to fully utilize the coupons and play the drugstore games.  I've been renewed!

    Last week I was able to save oodles of money on frozen food at Target stacking coupons PLUS gained $5.00 gift cards every time I purchased any 7 frozen food items.  I banked all those gift cards and was able to use it to buy 2 video games for Wii (Zumba and Just Dance 2 on sale at Target for $29.99 each)  Well.. I don't have Zumba yet, but I do have the raincheck and the gift cards on hand when it gets back in stock! 

    Speaking of stock... Our stock pile had been drawing low so I used this week to help regenerate it...

    I got some amazing deals and my game plan all plotted out.  I spent under $40.00 and saved over $100.00!  Not too shabby, don't you agree?  

    The young lady at CVS stood there with her mouth hanging open after I purchased (7) Purex 3 in 1 detergents and (1) Pro Glide razor.  After coupons and ECB's (extra care bucks) my OOP (out of pocket) total was under $5.00. 

    The nice lady at Rite Aid was equally amazed when I bough (4) Nivea Lip Care and (6) of the new Snacker candy (and 1 bag of Princess candy rings) all for nothing... zip... nadda!

    At Walmart I was able to get (15) cans of Muir Glen organic tomato paste that sells for .97 each... all for total price of $3.25

    Target and Food Lion are where I spent the most money... but even that was minimal compared to what I got.  Febreze Sport, Gain Fabric Softener , Nature Valley Granola bars (free),  ibuprofen, Pampers (a DEAL at 2.99 after sale price and stacking coupons).  The only unplanned purchase was the Stouffers frozen lasagna.  It came with free frozen garlic bread, free frozen Birds Eye Steamers, and free Pepperidge Farm cake.  So.. I spent and extra 11.00, but dinner is served!!

    Wednesday, March 2, 2011

    Speaking of giveaways!

    Together we save is giving away a $35.00 Kroger gift card... in honor of the Cart Busting Sale Event!
    Head on over there and enter all my your info for a chance to win!


    When did it become March?  Wasn't it just Christmas the other day?  My momma always told me that when I got older the days would go by quicker.  She was not lying!!  I sit here in amazment as I look at the calendar and see that I forgot to change it to March... Excuse me while I correct that little issue.

    OK, I'm back now...

    So.. I've been really busy both at the day job, the home front and all hours in between.  Thus, I have been really behind on my contest entering self.  I've entered the one or two here and there but really not like I was doing for my Christmas gifts!  I really need to figure out how to squeeze more time in so that I can get those gift cards, and really neat products.  I'm sitting on $30 worth of Amazon cards right now that I am saving for Christmas.  Hoping to add a whole lot more to it via Swagbucks!  (That's where I got the $30 worth I have on hold now).  If you are not swagging yet, please hit the link below and sign up!  (and yes, you will be giving me credit for doing it.. hope you don't mind!)

    Search & Win

    SO... Back to work I go... I had my 10 minute break to swallow some food down... If anyone figures out how to slow down time... let me in on it!!  At this point, I may have to give up sleep... or (smile) excercise! Just kidding!!  (not really)... I'm kidding... (no, I'm not!)

    Have a great day!!  Hope to see you soon!

    Saturday, February 19, 2011

    Chili's gift card and Fake and Bake giveaways....

    Yes, I'm back to entering giveaways.  I've missed it terribly, but I was just too busy to devote the time to it.  I have the utmost respect to the blogs that do offer giveways.  Their job is hard... and one that I thought I would like, but reality set in and I tell you what... if you want writers block, try to give review after review after review..  Hat's off to you all who do offer reviews and giveaways!!!

    Now to get to the point of this post.... It appears that if I want extra entries in a particular giveway at  Thanks, Mail Carrier! , the blogger is ... get this... expecting me to tell others about it!! Seriously??  Why would I tell anyone that I am entering a giveaway for  say a.... $20 Chili's Gift Card  or even... I don't know... maybe some Fake and Bake self tanning products ?  I'm just saying!  I mean ...  why would I make the odds higher?.... Because I want the extra entries, that's why!   So... don't head on over to Thanks, Mail Carrier! and tell her Cindy sent you... it won't really help you, but it will make me feel special :)

    Wednesday, February 2, 2011

    It seemed like a good idea at the time...

    Let me preface by saying … yes, this is a true story, and yes it happened to me yesterday….

    I was in my basement yesterday, leisurely walking on the treadmill going around 3.0 for a 20 minute mile…. I had finished a chapter of a book I was reading and did not want to start another chapter yet.  My mind was wandering the last few minutes of my routine...

    I started thinking..  hmmmm … wonder if I can walk backward on this and help exercise different muscles… I’ve seen it done on Biggest Loser…  so why not try it? 

    There was a flaw in my thinking….

    Rather than take the time to turn off the treadmill and start slow, I simply turned myself around using the runners on the side… I stepped on the treadmill … still going at 3.0
    Before I knew it I was flying off into a bunch of boxes piled behind my treadmill… 

    All I could do was lay there and laugh at my stupidity!  Next time, I think I will do things a little differently...

    Saturday, January 22, 2011

    A Can't Miss Offer!

    OMG!  This program is $30.00 off through January 31st!  I'm going online and order mine now!!  Want to join me in my quest to shed the pounds?  Come on!  Let's do this together!!  Let's make muscle and burn that uhm... flab?