MIDAS: Oil Change Deals!

Summer means road trips! Before you hit the road, make sure your car is road-ready!

MIDAS wants to help you with a sweet deal.

Find a participating MIDAS location near you to get the coupon and request an appointment.

Once you find a location near you, you can print a coupon for a Conventional Oil Change & Tire Rotation for only $29.99 plus a disposal fee at MIDAS. Prices and fees in Hawaii/Alaska are $49.99.

I printed my coupon off this morning, I’m getting Princess Sparkle Cupcake (this is what happens when you let the 4-year-old name the new car) ship shape, and ready to get outta town!


Sonic Drive-In App: Your Free New App Reward Is Here!

Check your Sonic Drive-in App!

Red Bull® Slushes are back, and you can get one for FREE in the SONIC App!

Redeem your new app reward at checkout and get a FREE Medium Red Bull® Slush with any app purchase. Grab the classic Red Bull® flavor or the NEW Summer Edition flavor ­— Strawberry Apricot! This reward is available through June 26, 2022.

And don’t forget- Order through the Sonic Drive-In app and get 1/2 off drinks all the time. Check app for details and restrictions.

Q-insights 2021+2022 SUV+MINIVAN Research Pays $150


Q-insights is another company where I do research groups, focus groups, and online surveys to earn extra money.

They have a lot of stuff in South Orange County, and less often San Diego County. This upcoming survey takes place virtually!

They are recruiting for a new online survey for owners of 2021+2022 SUVs and Minivans listed below. The survey pays $150 for 90 minutes of total time commitment online.

Audi Q7
Buick Enclave
Cadillac Escalade
Chevrolet Equinox
Chevrolet Suburban
Chevrolet Tahoe
Chrysler Pacifica
Chrysler Voyager
Dodge Durango
Ford Edge
Ford Expedition
Ford Explorer
GMC Acadia
GMC Yukon
Honda Odyssey
Honda Pilot
Infiniti QX80
Jeep Grand Cherokee
Jeep Wagoneer
Kia Carnival
Kia Sorento
Kia Telluride
Land Rover Range Rover
Lexus RX
Lexus LX 600
Lincoln Nautilus
Lincoln Navigator
Mercedes Benz GLE
Nissan Armada
Nissan Pathfinder
Toyota Sequoia
Toyota Sienna

Please note that you may be asked to provide proof of vehicle ownership during the survey.

To apply, please complete the pre-screener survey here. If you pre-qualify someone from Q-insights will call you to ask some additional qualifying questions.


Focus Group Connections: Consumer Research Project $150

Focus Group Connections is a research company located in Southern California. They conduct studies and surveys all over the US.

Currently, Focus Group Connection is looking for men and women to participate in an online Consumer Research Project taking place during the months of June & July on the topic of “Social Issues.” This will be two hours (120-minutes)total. To participate, you must have a working Desktop or Laptop computer with high-speed internet, audio, and a working webcam. If selected to participate, you will receive $150.00 for your time and insights.

If you’re interested in participating, please fill out the pre-screen survey here. Please note – Not everyone will qualify to participate and not everyone will receive a callback.

I’ve never worked with Focus Group Connections before, but I am always trying to find and pass along options to help y’all make money.

5/30/2022 Weekly Meal Plan!


I came back from my camping trip a few hours ago, and I’m already done with the meal plan for the week.

I’ll hit up the store tomorrow AM after I take the kids to school. We need just a few things… like MILK!

Our veggies and fruit are delivered by Yasukochi Family Farms CSA. For $28, it’s a great deal. I don’t have to pick anything, go to the store, or carry it upstairs. I can’t go to the store and get the same amount we get weekly for $28. Seriously. It’s a deal. They email a preview of what will be in the boxes over the weekend, so I can start thinking about what I’d like to make.

With the increase in food costs, we are leaning more and more on our CSA box each week as the base of most of our meals.

We’ve been trying a lot of new foods lately, thanks to the really great freebies from Social Nature lately too. It’s fun to try new foods.

For those of you that are new to meal planning, I’ve got an easy 101 style post here with super easy tips and steps. After you get that down, here is info about batch or freezer cooking.

I’ve gotten a pretty good inventory of the pantry, freezer, and fridge done (I try to update it after every shopping trip), so I’m able to plan meals and use up what we’ve got with little waste.

I only post our dinner plans for the week, because our other meals are usually the same each day.

Breakfast: Coffee with 1/2 and 1/2  for me, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids. They are also into fruit and bagels for breakfast. Lately, the big kid has been digging protein shakes in the morning. This is his favorite kind. 

Lunch: I have a plastic tote in the cupboard full of self-serve snacks. I buy treats and snacks in bulk and fill up snack-sized zip-top bags. I’m back to packing lunches again. However, school lunches are free this year- Little Bit has been buying her lunch and expanding her palate.  The big kid still brings lunch from home.

Dinner: I picked up our Dream Dinners order last week, and we’ve got a couple on deck for this week. I’m leaving a lot of prepped foods for the rest of the family to enjoy while we are out camping.

    • Monday: Nug night- crinkle fries, apple slices & strawberries
    • Tuesday: Savory chicken with sesame honey butter, corn, broccoli
    • Wednesday: Breakfast for dinner (eggs, pancakes, fruit)
    • Thursday: Charhouse Chicken Sandwiches with Heirloom Potatoes,
    • Friday: Takeout night!
    • Saturday:  Leftovers
    • Sunday:  Breakfast Burritos, fruit

My Savings Checklist: Before and After The Shopping Trip

One of the ways I save money on groceries is to utilize cashback apps. But I’ve never shared how I do my cashback “work”.

When it’s time to hit the store, I’ll scroll through Ibotta, Shopkick, and the Coupons.com apps to see if there is anything on my list. If so, I click the offer/coupon (only needed on Ibotta and Coupons.com, no work is needed beforehand for Shopkick). Sometimes I’ll check Fetch Rewards to see if there are any extra point offers. Last week there were two offers for hand soap in the Fetch Rewards app, which was on my list. It ended up making the handsoap free!

If I’m going to Target, I’ll also check the Target app for any coupons or Target Circle offers for anything on my list.

The nice thing about all of these apps is that you can scan the barcode of items if you aren’t sure they qualify for a rebate offer.

Once I get home and get everything put away, I take my receipts out and start scanning.

With Ibotta, Walmart and Target are no scan stores. Just make sure your payment card and Walmart/Target accounts are linked to Ibotta (It’s pretty easy and directions are available in the Ibotta App). For other stores, just open the app and follow the directions.

I scan my receipts through the following apps each time, regardless of what I buy:

I know it sounds like a lot of work, but really, it’s about 10-15 minutes once a week and I’m saving thousands of dollars a year. For the apps that offer gift cards instead of Paypal or Venmo payouts, I select gift cards for the stores I buy groceries or other goods frequently.

I love getting Target Gift cards. I can load them directly to my Target App, and use them at checkout straight from the app, no need to carry around printouts or remember to open emails or other apps at checkout.

Talk Back: If there are any apps that you like that I didn’t mention, please leave a comment!




Shopkick: Earn Cashback When you Visit Stores and Shop!

I’ve never talked about Shopkick before, and it’s a pretty easy program.

Shopkick is a rebate app, similar to Ibotta, where you earn points that can be redeemed for gift cards (there are over 70 gift card options) when you buy specific products.

But what makes Shopkick different is that you can also earn points by scanning barcodes in-store, and by opening the app while you are in the store and checking in through the Shopkick app. It definitely makes walking through the mall a little more lucrative. Walk-ins/Check-ins will net you between 10-75 points, and scanning product UPC’s will net you between 10-50 points. Each store and product is different. With over 40 stores, you can earn on almost any shopping trip.

I use Shopkick to check-in, and if I’m in Target by myself and not in a rush, I’ll scan a few product UPCs for extra points. I earn about $10 in Shopkick Gift Cards a month, just by doing my usual shopping and checking into stores.

And as you can see by the screenshots of the app, there are offers for products that you may actually buy. Nothing weird or hard to find.

If you want to check Shopkick out, you can sign up with code JOY087662 & we’ll both get a bonus! The Shopkick app is available for both Android and IOS phones.

Baby in your life? Check out Enfamil Family Beginnings®

If you are expecting or have a little one, check out this awesome offer from Enfamil!

Join Enfamil Family Beginnings® and get up to $400 in FREE gifts including coupons, formula samples, Belly Badges™, and more! (Available while supplies last!)

6 Small Ways to Trim Your Out of Pocket

With my work year coming to an end, I need to trim my budget. It looks like my monthly income is about to be cut in half. I applied for a summer school job, but I haven’t heard back one way or another, so I’m guessing I didn’t get the job and I need to prepare for that.

There are fun activities that the kids want to do this summer, and they all cost money, so I need to trim a bit more so we have the opportunity to have some fun.

Here are a few ways that you (and I) can save some money and free up room in our budget this summer.

Start by looking over your family budget. Is there anything you can dump? Streaming services you no longer use, monthly subscriptions that no longer serve you? For us, we are dumping Netflix next month. We no longer use it enough to justify the $20/month. Feel like you are overpaying for your cellphone or other services, look into switching carriers or plans. If you don’t have a family budget, here is an easy way to put one together.

Use It Up, Wear It Out, Make It Do, or Do Without. This is an oldie, but a goodie. And by this statement, I mean that use what you have on hand. Eat the food in your kitchen (meal planning can help with that), wear the clothes you’ve got, and repair them as needed. Don’t forget that there are groups like Buy Nothing, where you can share and receive goods and services from those in your neighborhood. It’s hard to not want to keep up with the Joneses, especially in our society where it seems like everything is based on presentation and showing off what you’ve got on social media.

Take advantage of programs in your community. There are so many free and low-cost programs meant to help families during this time of unprecedented inflation, low wages, and other social issues that contribute to financial instability. Here in San Diego County, there are resources for free food and free clothing. 

If you have someone in your family who requires electricity for their medical devices or if you are low income, check out your local power companies website to learn about discounts you may be eligible for. This post has details and more tips.

If you are looking for some free summer fun for the kids, there are events like Kids night out, and summer reading programs.  And in California, there will be free breakfasts and lunches for kids under 18 throughout the summer through schools and local parks and rec. As soon as I have more details on those, it will be a separate post.

My final tip- Don’t be embarrassed to ask for help. There are so many programs and resources out there to help. Even if you feel like there are people and families out there who “have it worse”, you deserve help. This isn’t a “who has it worse” situation. Everyone deserves to live a good life. Take advantage of opportunities that come your way.

Talk Back- If you have tips or tricks to help with lowering your Out of Pocket, I’d love to hear it!


Earn Cashback at Walmart with Zarty!

I learned about Zarty on Reddit last week. I downloaded the app, and had to try it for myself. Last night I went to Walmart and decided to give it a shot.

There are three parts to earning cashback with Zarty.

  • First, scan the product in-store before you buy it.
  • Then scan the receipt after purchase, and answer a few questions.
  • Finally, a few days later, answer some additional questions about your experience with the product.

Some products have a 100% cashback rebate in the form of points. This week, it’s frozen veggies and crescent rolls. There was a Snickers bar too, but I missed out on that by a few hours.

What I like about Zarty is that it’s super easy to use. Once you earn 10,000 points you can cash out for a $10 Walmart Gift Card.

That’s it. It’s simple, it’s easy, and you can use it with other cash back apps. You earn points every time you scan in a Walmart receipt too, even if you don’t have any offers on your receipt.

We don’t have a great Walmart in our city. It’s not a supercenter or neighborhood market, so they don’t have a lot of groceries, but if you live in an area with either of those and you shop there, this app may be a really great way for you to earn even more cashback.

There is no referral link or code to download this app. Just go to the app store or Google Play store and download the Zarty app to get started!