10 ways to Bargain Shop!

Have you ever wondered how the extreme couponer’s save thousands of dollars each year? Have you ever wanted to be like them? If your answer is yes, I can help. Here are some of my tips and tricks to help you save money and time each year.

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Photo Credit: Carol Pyles

First, I have some ways to help save money. It is really hard to save money these days because everything is so expensive, but don’t fear there is a solution.

1. Get the Sunday paper every Sunday to get the stores flyers and coupons for that week. This will help you save more than you spent on the paper. Each Sunday paper is normally full of 3 coupons inserts and also contains store flyers that have even more coupons. Every week you’re saving over $100. Isn’t that Insane? In this week’s paper there is a $2 off of Maybelline Cosmetics coupons, which is $0.15 more than the paper. Your saving more than you spent on the paper! Wow!

2. Take advantage of some of the stores “free money” policies. A “free money” policy is when you spend a certain amount at a store and get money back. Stores like Kohls and Walgreens have the “free money” policy or something similar to it. Kohls cash back is given to you when you spend a certain amount of money and then you get a certain amount of cash back. The Kohls cash are just like coupons because they expire. For example, if I went to Kohls and spent $50.00 or over I would get around $10.00 Kohls cash back, but I can only use it from April 1-15th.

3. Do separate transactions in order to use more coupons and get better bargains. Some stores have a policy where you can only use a certain amount of coupons per transaction so you must read the stores policy and see if you have to do separate transactions. For example, sometimes in stores there is a limit on how many coupons you can use in each transaction so by separating them you can use more coupons. If I went to Target and I wanted to get Cereal because I had coupons to save $1.00 off 2 boxes and I grabbed 4 boxes because I had 2 of those coupons I could only use one per transaction. I had to separate the transactions in order to get 4 boxes.

4. Sign up for the email/reward program of the store to get notifications when there are sales or coupons available. By doing this you will receive even more coupons and deals and you will know when there are big sales going on. For example, the J-crew website has this window popup asking if you want to sign up for the email program. The email program is great because then you get to know when there are big sales or great deals going on. I am signed up with many email programs from different stores. My favorite email program is Bath and Body works because each week they have amazing sales. For example, this week the soaps are 5 for $18 or 7 for $24 and they are normally $6.50 each. So you are saving up to $21.50.

5. Go online and look on different coupon sites to find more coupons. There are some coupons online that you can’t get in the papers there are many websites like:

http://www.coupons.com/

http://www.redplum.com/

http://www.smartsource.com/smartsource/index.jsp?Link=MKRU3JAAR6CCY

For example, this week on coupons.com you can save $1.00 on the crest toothpaste and also you can save $2.00 on Pantene hair products.

6. Go to the clearance section first to see what they have on sale. This is the best section in the store and the least expensive section. You can find great things for amazing prices. For example, I went to the clearance section and found a nail polish that was originally $8.00 and was on sale for $3.00! You have to search hard in order to find the best deals.

7. Compare prices of an item to different stores. Go to the store with the least expensive price. Then you can find the store with the best price or you can have another store compare the price or maybe even beat it. For example, if I went to Wal-Mart and found a hair product that is $5.00 and then later I went to Target and saw the same one for $3.00, I obviously got the least expensive one.  If you find something you really want but you know that you could get it somewhere else cheaper then just wait to get it instead of spending more money. It may be annoying to wait, but I promise it’s worth it in the end.

Now in order to save money you have to save time. It takes a lot of time to find coupons, cut them and then go to the store and get the items you need. So I came up with some ways for you to save time and be more organized about it.

8. Do the math out before you go shopping so your plan is ready and you don’t take too long in the line. This will help save time in the long run. The math really helps so when you have to pay at the register you know how much you should bring. It also helps so you don’t have to do it after and then you have a plan before you go in the store. When I do this I like to look up the price of each product I am going to buy and add the prices all together and don’t forget to add the tax! After that I subtract the amount of each coupon that I am going to use so that I know how much I am going to pay when I go to the store and how much money I should bring.

9. Plan out your shopping day so you know which stores you are going to, when you are going to them and what you are going to get there. This will help you be organized and then you won’t be driving all over the place. Also you will not have the urge to buy unnecessary items that you were not intending to buy. For example, write down a list of things you need and the stores you want to go to so that you can get what is on your list, and only what is on your list.

10. And lastly, make sure you have all your coupons. Be organized! The best way to be organized is to find a place to store your coupons. Many people use binders, but I like to use bins or file cabinets.

That’s it! Hopefully these tips and tricks will help you save money at your next shopping trip.

 

“How to Bargain Shop Like a Pro.” MORE Magazine. N.p., 09 Feb. 2014. Web. 15 Apr. 2014.

“How to Bargain Shop.” WikiHow. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Apr. 2014

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Ten Snowboarders

At the Olympics in Sochi Russia, Sage Kotsenburg drops in for his first run on the Slopestyle course. Everyone stares in awe as he flies off the jumps. Sage Kotsenburg is just one of many great snowboarders included on this list.

  • Travis Rice, an American snowboarder, has been featured in the movie The Art Of Flight. In the film, he performs on many mountains in different ways, mostly in the backcountry. As Travis rides in the backcountry, he races through the deep powder snow. Travis has snowboarded at places like jackson Hole, and Alaska. Travis Rice was also the designer and winner of the Red Bull Ultra Natural and is now sponsored by Redbull. Travis is 31 years old and close to the end of his career, but he will definitely be remembered as one of the greatest snowboarders.
  • Chris Bradshaw is an American snowboarder who rides for 32 Technine, Electric, Ambiguous, J.S.L.V., Neff, Bear Mountain, F.O.D.T., Vans, Grenade, The Pharmacy, and Ride Shop. People know him for his street riding and being able to snowboard places they normally would not. He uses his skateboarding skills on the mountain. Chris jumps over a staircase in the city Instead of using a hill to ride down he uses staircase He and his friends make videos and are in Sunday in the Park, and Thirtytwo Spot check.
  • Torstein Horgmo is a Norwegian snowboarder that has won many competitions including the X Games. What makes him so great is the way that he rides. Torstein can ride many different styles, like deep powder and street. He is best at riding the park. He flies down the hill and does tricks with grace. He rides in most of the Shred Bots snowboarding videos with friends like Mark and Craig McMorris. Torstein is sponsored by Oakley, Rock Star energy, Go Pro, DC Shoes.
  • Scott Stevens, an American snowboarder and personally my favorite snowboarder because of his creative riding and for having some of the most unique tricks. Scott has been featured in many videos like, 32 Spot Check, Sunday in the Park,I Ride Park City,Videograss and Get Real. Some of his most famous tricks are one footed. Scott rides up to the rail with only one foot strapped into the binding. He uses his unstrapped foot to make easy tricks harder. He currently sponsored by Crab Grab, Union, Capita, Smith Optics and makes most of his money off of them.
  • Sage Kotsenburg, an American snowboarder most known for winning gold at the 2014 Sochi winter olympics. While at the Olympics Sage goes off the biggest jumps letting him win. He has also won many other competitions including the events at the Dew Tour and X Games. Sage Kotsenburg is also in the I Ride Park City and Holy Crail videos. He is sponsored by Nitro Snowboards,Nike, Monster Energy, Neff, Pro Tech.
  • Stale Sandbech is a Norwegian snowboarder who has participated in the Olympics in 2010 and recently won silver in the 2014 Sochi olympics. Stale is young and able to be acrobatie in the air. He goes high off the jump and flips many times before landing, the crowd cheers loud. He has also won multiple events at the X games. He is also featured in the Nation video. He rides for Oakley, Rome Snowboards, 32 Boots, Session Boardshop.
  • Mark Mcmorris, a Canadian snowboarder who won bronze at the 2014 winter olympics in Sochi and some X Games events. Mark rides down the slope and slides smoothly across the rail.  He is also in many of the Shred Bots videos with Torstein Horgmo and his brother Craig Mcmorris. He is sponsored by Burton, Oakley, Red Bull, DVS, BMW.
  • Halldor Helgason, a snowboarder from Iceland. He has won X Games events and is featured in the Holy Crail videos with Sage Kotsenburg. He is sponsored by Nike, Monster Energy, Oakley, Colourd Headphones, Neff, and Techrider. He also owns Lobster Snowboards, 7/9/13 Belts, Switchback Bindings and Hoppipolla Headwear with his brother Eiki. He had stated his snowboard company Lobster snowboards with Kristoffer Hansson. Halldor is also famous for some of his giant leaps. He rides off a small jump on top of the a building and flips on to another building.
  • Forest Bailey an American snowboarder. He is known for his unique urban snowboarding. Forest uses staircase railings for his snowboard, jumping up high and balancing, then sliding to the bottom. He won X games real snow, and has a part in the Nation video. He is sponsored by 686, GNU, Redbull, ADIDAS, Dragon, GNARLY.
  • Danny Davis a snowboarder from American . People know him for riding Halfpipe and went to the olympics for it. Danny flies up the sides of the halfpipe flipping high over the ground. He also won the Mammoth grand Prix and was in the Peace Park video. Danny is sponsored by Burton, Analog, Mtn Dew, Frends, Nixon, Dragon.

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Give Life Back to REAL Music

Photo Credit: Larry Busacca/WireImage.com

Photo Credit: Larry Busacca/WireImage.com

The Grammys, music’s biggest night. The Album of the Year award was coming up. I thought that Taylor Swift would win. Her nominated album, Red, had an amazing year. But I was wrong. Dressed as robots, the French dance-pop band Daft Punk walked up to the stage to accept the coveted award for Album of the Year.

The definition of the Album of the Year award at the Grammys is “to honor artistic achievement, technical proficiency and overall excellence in the recording industry, without regard to album sales or chart position.” This year at the 2014 Grammy Awards, Daft Punk won the award. You may know their music by their smash single, “Get Lucky”. It is a song about drinking and partying, hence the lyric, “So let’s raise the bar, and our cups to the stars… We’re up all night to get lucky.”

I’m sorry, but when did partying become artistic achievement?

If you didn’t know, Daft Punk’s music is purely dance music, the music that is played in nightclubs. Each song on Random Access Memories is electronic and technical sounding. There is no contrast. Every song sounds the same.

The group does not even sing on their album. They recruited other artists, such as Pharrell Williams, to do that for them. The tracks that don’t have other singers sound like karaoke sing-a-longs. Only one word is repeated on each track.  They did not write one lyric on that album. And you’re telling me that this piece of music won an award previously won by musical legends such as Stevie Wonder, Frank Sinatra, The Beatles, and Whitney Houston?

In my personal opinion, the album that should have won this year’s award is Taylor Swift’s “Red” album. The album has a variety of music, all written, composed, and produced by Taylor Swift. The album contains genres that range from country, pop, dubstep, and folk. Each song is written or co-written by Taylor.

Taylor Swift has been writing her own music since she was 12 years old. She writes or co-writes every song that she has released. Taylor plays four instruments: the banjitar (banjo-guitar) acoustic and electric guitars, piano, and harp. This is what the Album of the Year award should be about. These Daft Punks only use technical sounds and disc jockeys (what dj’s use) to make their “music”.

Taylor Swift’s songs are inspiring. Sure, she may have many songs about breakups, but it’s her way to cope with the emotions that she feels. At least her music is relatable. You can’t tell me that you haven’t sang along with “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” at least once.

Taylor’s song-writing is impeccable. In her song “All Too Well” she says, “Maybe we got lost in translation, maybe I asked for too much, maybe this thing was a masterpiece ‘till you tore it all up.” If you’ve been through a loss of someone you loved, you must have felt these emotions at some point. Can you relate to a song that says “give life to music… let the music in tonight”?

Many award shows these days give the big-ticket awards to popular artists just to capture viewers. What happened to real music? We can’t let techno-dance music keep winning awards like this. America, wake up! This music is what your children will be listening to. Do you really want your little sibling walking around the house saying  “I’m up all night to get lucky” ?

You Can Help Save Our Planet

“The global environment crisis is, as we say in Tennessee, real as rain,” former Vice President Al Gore said during a recent speech. Although many people agree that action needs to be taken to reduce global warming, they wonder: Can one person really make a difference?

The answer is: Yes! There are many simple things you can do to help the environment in a big way.

We all know about recycling and that it is extremely important. I cannot stress this enough because in United States, 2.5 million plastic water bottles are thrown away every hour. So the next time you reach for a plastic water bottle, think about that fact and choose a refillable glass bottle instead. The glass bottle will reduce the amount of petroleum needed to make plastic bottles, reduce the carbon dioxide emissions created during the manufacturing process, and eliminate the air pollution created while cleaning up the discarded bottles.

Using recycled paper every day also helps our environment. If you use one box of 100% post consumer recycled paper, you reduce carbon emissions by 5 pounds. And don’t forget that paper recycling also applies to other products such as facial tissues, toilet paper, and paper towels.

Using recycled paper also saves a lot of trees, which add a lot of beauty to our environment. Perhaps even more important, trees give off oxygen and purify the air we breathe by absorbing harmful chemicals and carbon dioxide. An average-sized tree produces enough oxygen in one year to keep a family of four breathing for one year, and an acre of trees removes up to 2.6 tons of carbon dioxide each year. So why not plant a tree in your yard or suggest that your school have a tree-planting day? According to the Environmental Protection Agency, planting trees is a must if we want to save the planet. Trees also provide food and shelter for forest animals. Even after they die, trees help our planet: They are biodegradable, recyclable, and renewable.

When we think about helping our planet, we also need to think about the food we eat. Did you know that most fruit and vegetables in our supermarkets were picked 4 to 7 days before they reached the store, and that they traveled by plane or truck an average of 1,500 miles? If you buy locally-grown food, you reduce the air pollution and carbon emissions produced during the food’s transportation. Buying from local farmers also helps make it profitable for them to farm. In this way, we can help preserve areas of land used for planting, and reduce the amount of land sold to developers who often cut down trees to build houses and roads. Buying local food is also better for our health. Once picked, food begins to lose its nutritional value, and the further it travels, the greater the nutritional loss. So stay healthy and help our environment by eating local food.

Another way you can help our planet is to take shorter showers every day. The average shower uses 2.5 gallons of water per minute. If you reduced your shower time by 4 minutes each day, you would save 3,650 gallons of water per year. Environmentalists have serious concerns about present and future water shortages on our planet. So why not shorten your shower by 4 minutes a day and use that 28 minutes a week to do something that’s more fun than taking a shower? Maybe you could talk to a friend or get going with your day faster.

It’s up to each of us to do what we can to save our planet, and as you can see, simple actions can have significant results. “Global warming, along with the cutting and burning of forests and other critical habitats, is causing the loss of living species at a level comparable to the extinction event that wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. That event was believed to have been caused by a giant asteroid. This time it is not an asteroid colliding with the Earth and wreaking havoc: it is us.” (Former Vice President Al Gore) Yes, it is us, and it’s up to each of us to make changes. Let’s get started!

Anyone Can Marry

Over the years, gay marriages have been a huge controversy and whoever thinks that it is wrong for people of the same gender to marry, it is very unfair. The purpose of marriage is so one can be happy for the rest of his or her of life with someone at your side, either male or female.

Many states have banned same sex marriage. According to the stats, In 2004, Massachusetts was the first state to allow same sex marriage. Ever since then, the divorce rate in the state became the lowest in the country. Between 2003-2008 the divorce rate went down 21 percent due to gay marriages. Also, from 2000-2010 many countries started approving gay marriages as well. The Netherlands (2000), Belgium (2003), Canada (2005), Spain (2005), South Africa (2006), Norway (2009), Sweden (2009), Argentina (2010), Iceland (2010), Portugal (2010), Denmark (2012), Uruguay (2013), New Zealand (2013), and France (2013)

Not only has the decrease of divorce rate and the increase of countries for sex marriages put an impact also, more people are getting jobs. According to UCLA law school,  making gay marriage legal in New Jersey in a course of 3 years made a huge gain in the economy getting over 248 million dollars which also gave around 800 jobs to unemployed people. Similarly, gay marriages in New York would give a 142 million to the economy in three years. This shows that Gay marriages gives financial gain to the states. This is good because it reduces the stress in the economy.

Also, Gay marriages would make more couples adopt children. Thousands of children are waiting to be adopted. Many are still left in the orphanage. Many have grown up there for around 5 years. All they need is two caring parents. This way it is good for both the kids because they have someone to take care of them and good for the the couple because they can start a family for each other.

Also people that banned gay marriages in their states should take a good look at the civil rights. In 1967, the supreme court said that marriage is “one of the basic civil rights of man,” and same-sex marriages should receive the same protections given to interracial marriages by that ruling.

Not allowing gay marriages isn’t fair to the people who want to be happy. If it is banned in all states, think of all the things that could happen. There could be huge protests on streets.What is really bothering is that other countries are allowing gay marriages but half of the United States isn’t. And we call our land the land of freedom. We might want to rethink that. Many people aren’t happy about the bans in the states.


         I think we should have the right to marry who ever we want. Anyone can marry!!

Should the Redskins Change their Name?

The Washington Redskins are a professional football team that was started in 1932. After over eighty years of playing in the NFL, people want to change the Redskin name because they believe it refers to Native Americans in a racist manner.

The owner of the team Dan Snyder has stated many times that he would never change the Redskin name. Some fans in The D.C. area want to keep the name because it is a major part of their past, and they identify the team by its name.

If people want the Redskins to change their name, why not other sports teams across the country? Teams like the Atlanta Braves and the Chicago Blackhawks have references to Native Americans. In the article Should the Washington Redskins Change their Name, it says , It says that “ most Native Americans aren’t bothered by the word”. The Native American Community as a whole should be consulted on this matter. If the majority of the Native American community is not offended by the word, then the owners of the football teams should be able to keep their name.

The Washington Redskins football team has been around for over eighty years. They have won championships and are a big part of the city. The fans identify the team by its nickname. If the Native American community as a whole does not have a problem with the name, than the city and its fans should be able to keep the name.

Chewing the Fat Away

According to the CDC, obesity has doubled in the past thirty years, which means more than ⅓ of children are overweight. This affects about 17% of children in the U.S. Obesity also affects children’s school performance. “Wow” may be one of the words you are thinking right now, but we can change this. You can change this!

There are many causes of obesity such as feeling stressed or depressed, poor eating, binging, lack of exercise, family history or problems, medical illness, medications, and  low self-esteem. Because of this, there are also many risks at stake for obesity like increase of heart disease or heart attacks, high blood pressure, diabetes, breathing problems, trouble sleeping, and different types of cancers. This is why kids should stay active so they don’t experience these types of risks.

Some, but not all,  children find many different sports and activities to stay active. Some children are too lackadaisical to get up and be active so they sit at home and eat. I believe that all children should participate in at least 2 activities that will help them stay active and healthy.

Samantha’s Stevens story is very similar. Samantha is 4 years old and weighs about 54 pounds, which is in the obesity category. Her mother tells ABC News that she would constantly go for junk food and is also the biggest girl in her class. Samantha’s pediatrician Dr. Joanna Dolgoff helped her with finding fun activities that a 4 year old could do that would be considered working out like playing red light green light or carrying heavy bags while a monster is chasing you. Samantha would play different games and activities to stay active. She loved them and had fun playing these games.

Samantha’s mother Cohen also contributed to help make Samantha’s healthier lifestyle better. Cohen has taught Samantha a routine that helps her stay away from junk food like if a food is a green its healthy, if its yellow not so healthy, and if its red its a once in a while.

Samantha’s goal was to get out of the obese category. She lost 3 pounds! Now she reached her goal and is out of the obese category. There are many ways to rectify obesity, but not everyone’s way is the same. Everyone has to try different activities to see what works and what doesn’t work in order to become healthier and that is exactly what Samantha did.

My routine in order to live a healthy lifestyle is running every other day and along with that, doing different little workouts and stretches. This is my way to stay healthy and it could be completely different from someone else’s way, but that’s okay!

There are many ways to reduce the obesity amount in this world and now its your turn to make a change. So get up and be active!

Time: Michael Phelps’s Retirement

I knew something had happened when I came into swim practice one day and all of my teammates were talking about Michael Phelps returning to swimming. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. After the 2012 Olympics, Phelps had seemed … Continue reading

Gay Marriage: Where’s the Harm?

10 years ago, Massachusetts became the first state to legalize gay marriage. Since then, they have been joined by 15 more states. But still, the LGBT community is shunned, and 35 states are still opposed.

There are 8.8 million people in the US who are LGBT. A few big breakthroughs towards total acceptance of the LGBT community include many very popular celebrities coming out publicly such as talk show host Ellen DeGeneres and television star Jim Parsons. One of the most prominent is Jason Collins, an NBA center and the first publicly gay athlete in American sports. The fact that celebrities have started to show who they are is huge because of how big an influence they are on society. They could inspire people to be more accepting of gays, and thus cause more states to legalize gay marriage.

The country has become much more accepting of the LGBT community. According to a poll on http://www.gallup.com, 50% of Americans now support gay marriage, and just the gay community in itself, while in the past the numbers were always around 40%. Also, only 43% of Americans find gay marriage morally wrong, contrasting to past stats where 55% of Americans found gay marriage unnatural.

Studies on the huffingtonpost.com have also shown that same sex marriages have a lower divorce rate than heterosexual marriages, and state that legalize same sex marriage have a lower divorce rate then states only with heterosexual marriages.

However, 50% of Americans are still opposed to gay marriage as they find it “unnatural and against god’s will.” They state that the Bible condemns homosexuality as an unnatural sin. They claim marriage has always been a constitution between a man and a woman, and that god hates gays. And certainly, there are lines in the bible that might hint that. But there are other lines that show he doesn’t care. Macklemore, an up and coming rapper, is a big believer in gay rights. As he says in one of his songs, “‘And god loves all his children’, is somehow forgotten but we paraphrase a book written 3500 years ago”

If people won’t support gay rights for themselves, please at least support the children in the world growing up with LGBT parents. People say that kids need a mother and a father, that having two fathers, or two mothers is just unnatural and unhealthy for children. On the contrary, testimonies from kids with homosexual and heterosexual parents show that their quality of life is about the same. In fact, studies have shown that gay parents tend to be more committed and loving to their children than straight parents because they chose to be parents. What I mean is that, gay parents hardly ever accidently become parents, while according to nationaljournal.com, almost 50% of pregnancies are accidental among heterosexual moms and dads.

16 states have legalized gay marriage.  Since 2004, over 71,000 gay marriages have taken place. Over 25% of gay couples raise children, and everything has gone just fine. Nothing has happened to the community around them, or to the gay couples themselves. So what’s the argument? A gay couple marrying doesn’t affect your life, so why should two people not be happy together just because someone probably 10 states away voted no on gay marriage? I think people are just afraid of change, and just are disgusted because they couldn’t ever imagine themselves being LGBT.

Many people sit back and watch people trapped inside of themselves all the time, people who would rather die than be who they are. That’s why we need gay marriage to be legalized in all the states of the U.S and eventually the world. It would cause more people to be accepting of the gay community, and allow a human being to live a life with all his rights, even if they might be a little different from the majority of our society. As Macklemore states: “And a certificate on paper isn’t gonna solve it all. But it’s a damn good place to start.”

Baton Rouge

Baton Rouge, Louisiana is a small city that has many economic differences. The richer part of the town wants to break away from the other side. They want to make their own new town called St. George. This would raise many problems.

The richer part of the town seceding would leave the old town with less money and more economic problems. The town would have a hard time paying for things like police and firefighters. The education would be downgraded.

One of the reasons that the town wants to secede is because the whiter and richer part of the town say they want better schools for their kids.

The people of the town that are looking to secede could find a way to solve their problem. They want a better educational system for their children. The people of the town that want to secede could give their kids this better education by sending the kids to private schools. They could also use school choice or move to a town with the education that they are looking for.

If sending your kids to private school is a problem for you, there are other solutions. Voting for better education and putting more money towards the cause would bring the students education up. Seceding would be a pointless thing for the families to do when they could just move to a new town. There are many ways to stay away from insignificant conflict.

Letting the town go through with the secession might also cause other places to try to do the same thing, which would split up different parts of the country.