How to grocery shop with absolutely no money

Unfortunately, this is one of those months that has 5 weeks in it rather than 4.

This is especially hard for those of us who have to stretch a monthly grocery budget an extra week.

For example, if your food budget is $200/month, in a month with just 4 weeks, you can spend $50 at the grocery store.

But, that extra week drops you down to just $40/week to purchase the food on your grocery list. Trust me, that extra $10 can make a difference to an already strained budget.

An extra $10/week can make a difference to an already strained grocery budget. #workingpoorCLICK TO TWEET

How to get groceries with absolutely no money

One way that I manage to stretch my budget is to see what I can get free from the grocery store (although, I have to say, God Bless my local food pantries and thank you for all that you do!).

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The first thing that I check on my hunt for cheap groceries is what my local grocery store, Harris Teeter, is giving away free. As far as I know, this is the only store local to me that gives away food for nothing. I just check the emails,swipe my VIC card, and off I go. The look on the cashier’s face when I have to pay them nothing, nada, zilch is priceless. Examples of the groceries that I stored free are thin Oreos, Kellogg’s single serve cup Fruit Loops, and a cup of Greek yogurt. My upcoming freebies are Nabisco Go Packs and Oikos or Light & Fit Smoothie. (As a side note, my deals are only free on Saturdays and I have to make an effort to get to Harris Teeter early or the deal items will be gone.)

My next step is to check sites and apps that put out weekly grocery match-up deals. The Lord knows that I am way to lazy to do the matchups myself. My favorite is MoneySavingMom and KrazyCouponLady.

@MoneySavingMom and @KrazyCouponLady are my favorite sites to find grocery store matchups.CLICK TO TWEET

These sites match up coupons, deals, and apps to save money. They show you how to get food for as low as possible. Some of the deals are even moneymakers so you can end up making a dollar or two. A feature of these sites is that you can quickly and easily add the food to a printable grocery list. The caveat with some of these deals, though, is that you still may have to pay out off pocket and get the money off your next purchase. I signed up to have the emails featuring my local store delivered right to my inbox.

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One minute step that I take to save a few extra pennies is to walk to the grocery store barring any unforeseen circumstances or weather. I am lucky enough to live in easy walking distance of 3 major grocery stores and 1 Walgreens, and 2 Rite-Aids. All I need now is a CVS and I’ll be all set.

My absolute last tip, though, is to not let pride stop you from asking for help. You might need the long-term help of government assistance in the form of food stamps. Or, you just might need to just stretch the budget a bit by going to a food pantry. In this uncertain job market, there is no shame in asking for the help that you need. You can’t eat your pride so you might as well swallow it.

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Are there ways that I missed to help stretch a budget, especially ways that require no out-of-pocket expense?

Amazon Flex will now easily pay you $18 – $25 to deliver packages

After almost a year of searching, I finally found a job to replace the loss of my Leapforce contract. I am actually writing this post while patiently waiting for my pickup number to be called. So all you Amazon Prime members get on your Apple, Android, or Amazon device, download the Amazon Now app, and get to ordering!

Meanwhile, this post is more or less stream of consciousness being typed on my Amazon Kindle 7 while using the free WiFi provided by Amazon as I wait for my number to be called to pick up a delivery order.I deliver Amazon Flex (1)

The Job Search

As I was even considering becoming a courier for a living, I had my Indeed alerts set to send me courier jobs. On that list was an advertisement to earn $18 – $25 delivering packages for Amazon.

Research yielded only more ads and blog posts describing the same basics that I had already gleaned from reading the Amazon Flex website.

Finally, I found a decent forum thread on Amazon Flex on UberPeople. After reading the entire thread, I took the plunge and filled out the real quick application to be a Flex driver.

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The Hiring Process

A few days later (I don’t remember how long but I guess it was less than week or so), I received an invite to schedule myself for one of the two time slots available for a conference call.

On the day of the call, I elected to login in via computer but I believe that you can also call in. Either way, all voices except the conference call leader are muted. The leader goes over a lot of details on how the deliveries are to be handled but first, let’s start with the requirements. You must have a valid license, a clean background check, an fully activated Android (non-Verizon) cell phone with at least 4.2 and 2 GB of Ram, and a car. They never asked me to fill out those disheartening employment history forms.

You only complete the official sign up app after completing the conference call. After that, the call life leader will give you a website address to download the app. It not available anywhere else and the link is disabled after a few days.

If your background is clear (generally 48 hours but mine took about a week), you are cleared to put yourself on the calendar to start driving. My local area delivers from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. all week. Although I wish that they started earlier.

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Working the Job

Schedules are in 2 hour blocks and you choose the ones that you are available. Ie, 10 – 12 or 2 – 4 or 6 – 10. My choice for my first week was 10 – 6, Monday – Friday and I don’t was given 10 – 6, Monday – Wednesday. As you can see, I was not given all of the hours that I requested but it is a respectable amount for my first week. At least for me anyway.

An hour before my shift, I receive a message on my phone that my shift is about to start. After gassing up my car, I clicked start traveling and the app launches a GPS turn by turn directions to the warehouse. There are reserved spots for drivers but not enough for us all so I just find an available spot and head on in.

Entering the building, there is a sign with instructions to take anumber from one of those machines like in a deli and have a seat until my number is called.

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So there I sat (and here I sit today) until my number is called. When it is my turn, the warehouse wheels out a cart full of goods and I scan the orders in using the same Flex app on my phone. After making sure that the orders are complete, off I go following the turn by turn directions on my phone to the customer’s address.

Arriving, I click I’ve arrived and read for any special instructions from the customer or notes from previous deliveries by other drivers. I deliver the package (or not deliver if circumstances warrant), log in who I delivered it to and I’m off to the next location. The most that I have had are three stops but I have delivered to almost every city.

Looks like my number is coming up soon so I will cover pay in a future post. I should have more information then anyway as I am still awaiting my very first paycheck! Yay!!!

4 things television executives need to learn about streamers

Television executives really do not understand us online streamers.

You can tell by the way they attempt to manipulate and control us.

You would think that some savvy exec would research the “cut the cord” movement to learn the motivations and methods of stream movies and television online

But, no, these old fogies still attempt to control the viewing audience in methods that worked 10 years ago when cable or air was the only two options available.

Before I found Hulu, I use to find all types of ways to watch tv series online free. I watched Naruto all the way up to the Shippuden episodes and even the first few seasons of True Blood.

Now I watch my tv series online legitmately with a combination of Hulu Plus, Netflix, and Amazon Prime.

1. We are cheap. Sometimes I think about going back to cable. I really do. And then I go over a friends house and scroll through the bazillion channels that I would never watch (I am looking at you ESPN) or just plain don’t have anything on that is new or original and I am so glad that I don’t pay a bill to be bored.

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Oh, and Amazon, this one is specifically for you. When you make a show free with Prime, leave it free with Prime. I have watched my way through The Closer twice already and you think that I am really willing to pay to watch it a third time. Uh, no….

2.
We are controlling. We want to watch what we want to watch when we want to watch it. Period. I actually loathe season finales. Wait until September for a new episode?? Who does that?? Lol.

And I have a message for Hulu. Yeah, stop with removing of episodes of a current season. Because you do this, I don’t even watch you as much as I use to and I am even considering cancelling you altogether and just waiting until the show appears on Netflix. Let me tell you how I usually watch a show. First I check to see if you have all of the seasons. If not, I check Netflix or Amazon. I watch all the seasons on those stations and then I turn to Hulu to watch the latest season only to find that you start on episode 6?!? Why? Now you lose out as I simply wait for next season to hit Netflix…

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3. We are loyal to a show not a network. Half the shows that I watch on Netflix, I have no clue what the initial programming channel use to be. Nor do I really care.  I will watch a show that I like over and over and over again. From beginning to end. I am on my third watching of Buffy the Vampire Slayer as I type this post. If I had to guess, I would say that it was on CW with a 75% sure rate.

4.

We hate, Hate, HATE when a show is improperly rapped up, or worse of all, not rapped up at all. I still giggle when my friend first got Netflix and discovered the show Ringer. After she watched the last show, she actually called me to ask when the next season begins. Unfortunately for her, the show has been off the air for years and, yeah, the left us hanging like that….~sigh~ So, shows that leave me hanging, I very rarely watch again. Yet shows that rapped it up in a bow but still left me wanting more, I rewatch over and over and over again. I am re-watching House, MD and considering going through the recently finished Dexter again.

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Without this in mind, the television execs need to find a way to work with online streamers rather than treating us as if we are the same as the traditional television viewer. We are a subset onto our very own and we like it that way.

No going back.

My cord is cut!

~MsCrookedHalo

True Blood and other HBO shows now streaming on Amazon

I am super excited to announce that I just started watching True Blood for free with my Amazon Prime membership.

I have access to HBO Go but it is one of the glitchy apps on my Roku Streaming Media Player.

My friend says that she isn’t having a problem with it but there are days were it can take me up to 20 minutes to get a show to play.

And, no, it is not my ROKU as I have no problems with Amazon Prime, Hulu Plus, or Netflix.

Before you get to excited, though, right now it is only Seasons 1, 2, and 3 that are free with Prime.

In Season 4, they start asking for $2.99 an episode or $34.99 for standard definition and $46.99 for high definition of the entire season.

Personally, I will be watching on Prime until I hit the final episode of True Blood season 3 and then work my way over to HBO to finish it up before the new season begins on June 22nd.

Here’s the trailer for True Blood Season 7.

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Once again, they are saying that this will be the final season.

You can keep up with the official True Blood news news on the HBO True Blood website.

Other shows that are available from HBO on Amazon are full seasons of The Sopranos, The Wire, Deadwood, Rome, Six Feet Under, Eastbound & Down, EnlightenedBand of Brothers, The Pacific, John AdamsAngels in America, and Flight of the Conchords and some seasons of Boardwalk Empire, and Treme.

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