“Is Ebates For Real??”

 Ebates Coupons and Cash Back

I get questions about cash back and points sites often. People want to know the whats, hows, and fine print before signing up. One site I receive frequent questions about is Ebates. Here’s the scoop:

1. How does Ebates work?
-The stores that Ebates offers cash back on give Ebates a referral commission for each purchase you make through them. For example, Home Depot might offer a 7% commission to Ebates for each purchase that is made going through the Ebates referral link. Of that 7%, you receive 3% cash back. Essentially, Ebates makes their money through your purchases, then shares the commission with you in the form of cash back. 

2. So, is Ebates legititmate?
-In short, yes. The site is a legitimate way to receive cash back on online purchases.

3. Okay, it sounds too good to be true. What is the fine print?
-There are some stipulations in order to receive your money. There must be at least $5 in your account in order to receive your check, which are sent out 4 times a year. Now, this isn’t usually an issue during Christmas time when I do quite a bit of online shopping, but there are times when I only receive one or two checks a year.

4. Are there any drawbacks to using Ebates?
-For me, there is the temptation to spend more, knowing that I will receive cash back on a purchase, so it’s been a testing of my self-control to only purchase what I was planning, and not making impulse buys :)

I have been using Ebates for about 3 years now, and have nothing but good things to say. And, since most of my shopping is done online anyway, it’s nice to get a little something back.

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*Links may be a referral link, but all opinions and ideas are my own, and have not been skewed in any way. 

Quick and Easy Tortellini Soup



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I’m excited to share one of our new family favorite recipes. It is an accomplishment indeed when both kids lick their plates (in this case bowls) clean!

It’s also very fast, easy, and requires pretty basic ingredients. Score, score, and score! Serve with a loaf of crusty french bread for a filling and delicious meal!

Quick and Easy Tortellini Soup (serves 4)
adapted from The Best 30-Minute Recipe

-1 carton (32 ounces) chicken stock
-2 bay leaves
-1/2 onion, chopped
-3 cloves garlic, minced
-1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce
-1 package (9 oz) fresh refrigerated tortellini (note: frozen tortellini doesn’t work well in this recipe. I purchased Trader Joes fresh cheese tortellini.)
-8 oz fresh spinach (chopped or baby)
-salt and pepper to taste
-parmesan cheese for serving

  • In a stock pot, bring the chicken stock and bay leaves to a boil. 
  • Meanwhile, saute the onion and garlic in a little oil until onions are soft and translucent, taking care not to burn the garlic. 
  • Add the cooked onion and garlic into boiling chicken stock, and add the tomato sauce. 
  • Dump tortellini into the stock pot, and cook until tortellini is hot and cooked through, about 5 minutes (or according to package directions.)
  • Take off heat, and stir in spinach. 
  • Remove bay leaves (which I always forget to do!) Season with salt and pepper, and finish with parmesan cheese for serving. 

Tell Me…Do you like soup for dinner? What is your favorite recipe?

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This Week’s Menu

We had nectarines last week. Oh boy, did we have nectarines! Stinker ate 10 in a single sitting yesterday. How I love the fresh fruit of summer! Thanks to the bounty, you’ll see “fresh fruit” a lot this week in our menu :)

-Zucchini Muffins and fresh fruit x 3
-Waffles and fresh fruit x2
-Pancakes and fresh fruit
-Bagels and fresh fruit

-Leftovers x 3
-Out to eat x 2
-Ham Sandwiches, Fresh Fruit x 2

-Grilled Burgers, Corn on the Cob
-Slow Cooker Black Bean and Cheese Burritos, Fresh Fruit, Homemade Guacamole x 2
-Pizza and Salad
-Baked Salmon, Rice, Broccoli
-Meatballs in some form x 2

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Look through tons of menu plans on Menu Plan Monday

Weekly Menu February 13-18, 2012

Like last week, I’m trying to take advantage of quick prep and easy main dishes by using my slow cooker for several meals, and making other prep-ahead meals. 
-Muffins and Fresh Fruit
-Heart Shaped Pancakes and Fresh Fruit
-Waffles and Fresh Fruit
-Oatmeal with Fruit, Toast
-Bagels and Fresh Fruit
-Out to Eat x2
-Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, Chips, Fresh Fruit
-Tuna Sandwiches, Chips, Fresh Fruit
-Italian Beef in the Slow Cooker, Baked Fries, Green Salad
-Grilled Marinated Shrimp, Rice Pilaf, Steamed Veggies
-Tex-Mex Burgers, Baked Fries, Green Salad
-Chicken and Black Bean Rice Bowls, Steamed Veggies
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The Money Saving Mom’s Budget, a Review

I have been a reader of Crystal Paine’s Blog, Money Saving Mom for a while, and have saved a great deal of money using Crystal’s tips, techniques, and deals. When the opportunity came for me to read and review her new book, The Money Saving Mom’s Budget, I immediately jumped at it. I was excited to see how she would take a subject that has been written about extensively, and add a new perspective.
The first forty pages of The Money Saving Mom’s Budget do not look at budgets or couponing or debt. Instead, you are encouraged to set goals—for life, not just for finances, and to get organized and to declutter your home. I found these to be refreshing chapters, because Crystal asserts that saving money is, at its core, a total attitude adjustment, not just the physical act of saving.
From there, Crystal expounds on budget making, giving the basics of how and why to stick to a monetary budget. She also includes several reproducible worksheets for setting up a budget. Also included in this section is the concept of a Time Budget. Taking itself from the old adage “Time is Money”, the notion of a time budget emphasizes that wasted time is in fact keeping you from making or saving money.
The Money Saving Mom’s Budget also includes chapters on couponing, what non-necessities one can cut out to make the most of their income, and tips on saving money at the grocery store. My favorite parts of these sections were the many options Crystal presented for saving money. At no point did I feel judged for having different priorities, (some things we prefer to be only brand name, and we like sports too much to cut out cable), which I appreciated. There were many ideas someone could put into practice to shave a few dollars off their monthly (or yearly) expenditures.
Eventually the book also touts the importance of a cash-only system. This Dave Ramsey method works well for many people, and while I completely agree with the importance of being debt-free, cash-only (including paying cash for a mortgage) I consider to be a blanket theory that does not necessarily work for everyone.  But, to each his own, and one must know their own spending habits and level of self-control to determine whether cash-only is their best option.
In short, I highly recommend The Money Saving Mom’s Budget, as both a way to get your life and finances on track. Crystal does a wonderful job of explaining both why and how one should take control of their finances. The reproducible worksheets at the end of the book are also quite useful.
This book is set to be released January 10, 2012, but you can pre-order it here. Crystal Paine is designating all proceeds to benefit Compassion International.
*While I was provided a complimentary copy of The Money Saving Mom’s Budget, all opinions stated thereof are my own. Post may contain affiliate links.