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Accept Free Samples of What Might Be Your Dream Job

09 Feb. 2016 
It took me several weeks to decide to buy a $4 pretzel. Every other Saturday, browsing the mall and savoring still another mouth-watering sample, I contemplated my choices. There was quite the array. Eventually I settled on Parmesan, with honey mustard on the side.



I spent more time deciding on a pretzel than a college major, which is one reason I wound up with a degree in engineering. Lucky for me, I also had three internships in school -- construction work, railroad design engineering, and manufacturing plant management -- so I knew for sure by the time I graduated I wanted nothing to do with engineering.

I was sold on internships, though. The chance to try on a job before you signed up for full-time employment -- why wouldn't you do that? Well, okay, the pay isn't usually very good if you get anything at all -- and most people have to do other work to support the supposedly free trial. But to sample a new job before committing to it? Truly, in my opinion, priceless.

You don't necessarily have to be a student to intern, and there are other ways of sampling careers. Do volunteer work. Help a friend, whose work intrigues you, on the weekends. I know people who tried on a new career just by entering a contest. My first sale as a writer was a 25-words-or-less essay, submitted for a "Back Home for the Holidays" contest sponsored by Good Housekeeping. I said I wanted to go back home to Minnesota because... my new husband has never looked out the window of a Mary Tyler Moore house and watched kids playing hockey on a frozen neighborhood lake. I didn't win the grand prize, a trip back home -- but I won a dishwasher. As a feature writing teacher pointed out, home is where the dishwasher is.

"It doesn't surprise me that you won," a friend said. "It surprises me that you entered." I thought about that for a long time. Haven't you always wondered who really wins those contests? It didn't matter. The fun I had putting that sentence together! You can have your dishwasher and the home that goes with it. I just wanted to keep writing.

It was in the feature writing class that I learned the power of a good letter. After turning in one assignment, the instructor asked me Free LiveJasmin Credits to help him with a book. Now that's an internship, I remember thinking. This opportunity might take me somewhere I actually want to go. I'll never forget one weekend afternoon, helping Vince. I was using the same computers real writers used to file real stories -- heaven. I wasn't getting paid, unless you count the appreciation from someone who became a good friend -- and the chance to work on something that had meaning for me. "I could spend my whole life at a sales job," I told him, "and never get the satisfaction I'm getting from my tiny part of this book."

I interned to get into radio, too. I worked at the Minnesota News Network in St. Paul. I didn't spend all day wishing I was doing that kind of work, because I was finally doing it. No one pulls you aside to tell you that you're too intense. You're supposed to be intense. I had found my people.

Going into radio -- or writing -- means taking vows of poverty, at least to begin with, at least in my case. When I interned at MNN, I barely made enough from a waitressing job to pay my rent. But I was happy. I didn't even know I was happy until a friend took still another job as a sales rep -- which wasn't exactly her calling, if I'm remembering this right. "I want a nice life," she told me. That part I remember for sure. Because my next thought was, "I'm glad I got that out of my system. I want an interesting life."

We try on clothes, we test-drive cars. When the stakes are higher -- 40 or 50 or 60 hours a week for maybe decades -- we might do ourselves quite the favor by approaching our careers the same way.

~

This essay is from The Career Clinic: Eight Simple Rules for Finding Work You Love.

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The Couponing Guide for Shoppers Who Don't Want to Look Cheap

09 Feb. 2016 
couponing

By Lisa Poisso, Contributor

If the eye-rolling and heavy sighs of impatient customers waiting for the cashier to process your stack of coupons leave you utterly mortified, extreme couponing might not be for you. But, that doesn't mean you should avoid couponing altogether. After all, more people than not use coupons.

Coupons in the News reports only 11 percent of people surveyed in 2014 for the 2015 Promotion Industry Analysis said they never use coupons. And,the most prodigious users of coupons (22 percent) are actually shoppers with six-figure incomes, according to the Statistic Brain Research Institute.

Even so, some shoppers feel too embarrassed to present coupons at the register. "People are fine with saving on their J. Crew sweater, but they're embarrassed saving on a box of cereal," said Joanie Demer, co-founder of TheKrazyCouponLady.com. "It's inexplicable."

But thanks to technology, there are numerous ways shoppers can use their coupons without the fear of embarrassment.Load-to-card rewards, rebate apps and other types of electronic coupons -- sometimes called e-coupons --allow shoppers to save money before or after the checkout lane. "There's lots of new ways to coupon without taking any action at the store and keeping everything on the down low," saidDemer.

Time-Saving Electronic Coupons and Coupon Apps

The beauty of electronic coupons is how quick and easy they are to use. By using electronic coupons or coupon apps, shoppers are more likely to perceive you as a savvy insider than a deals-hungry discount digger. In fact, using a smartphone during checkout has become routine-- it's predicted thatmore than74 million Americanswill use smartphone mobile couponsthis year.

Paper coupons are still big business, but easier, high-tech alternatives help shoppers save without all the clipping and organizing. These new types of coupons and savings tools help you save in all the same ways you remember from traditional paper coupons and sales: discounts, free shipping offers, buy-one-get-one deals, first-time customer incentives and more.

1. Electronic Coupons

Electronic coupons can refer not only to digital coupons you store and show on your smartphone, but also a handful of other digital savings tools as well:

Printable coupons you find online:Print these coupons out and carry them along to present at the register.Coupon codes, typically used for online shopping:Plug in these alphanumeric codes to the discount or coupon field when you're placing an online order to get an instant discount.Store loyalty cards:Sign up for these promotional programs advertised in your favorite stores or on their websites to receive your loyalty card. Show or scan your store card at the register to receive credit for your purchase or any special discounts or coupons. If your wallet fills up with too many cards, digitize them on your smartphone with an app likeKey Ring, which can also digitize your loyalty cards.Card-linked offers:These are digital coupons or discounts loaded directly onto your store loyalty card, debit card or credit card. At checkout, the deals and savings are applied to your card.

Watch: How to Save Money Without Being a Crazy Coupon Lady

2. Smartphone Coupon Apps

Many smartphone coupon apps help you track down and manage digital and printable coupons. These appsall work a little differently, though, so research each one before you start downloading.

For example,Cellfirelets you view all of your saved coupons and allows you to save grocery coupons to your store loyalty card. You can even receive email notifications so that you know about existing offers when you walk into the store.WithGrocery IQ, youcan print out coupons or add coupons to you savings card as well.

When you download theSavingStarapp, you can select the offers you want and link them to your grocery or drugstore loyalty card. After checkout, or after you take a picture of your receipt, you will receive your savings in your SavingStar account. Once you've earned $5, you can cash out to your bank or PayPal.

There are also apps affiliated with specific stores and retailers. Demer callsTarget's Cartwheel appthe best all-around savings tool she uses today. In the app, choose up to 10 offers you want. Then at checkout, have the cashier scan the barcode on your smartphone to receive the discounts."It's one barcode, no matter how many offers, so you're not going to be holding up the checkout lane," said Demer.

3. Amazon Subscriptions and Coupons

Amazon has a "Subscribe & Save Coupons" page where you can see all available coupons. You can redeem a coupon you find on Amazon by clicking on it, selecting "Subscribe Now" and setting a delivery quantity and frequency.

Demer is a huge fan of this service, even though she's not affiliated with Amazon in any way. "Their prices are really competitive," she said. "I really feel like I want to hitch my bandwagon to Amazon."

The trick to earning the 15 percent discount on your entire order forAmazon's subscriptionitems is to make sure you're receiving at least five subscription items on your monthly delivery day. Since you can set subscription intervals from one to six months, be sure you have five items in each monthly delivery in order to earn the discount.



Many products on Amazon, such as snacks, personal care items and household basics, come with coupon orders. Just "clip" the coupon to receive the discount at checkout.

"You can add a coupon and subscribe to the item, so it's sort of like extreme couponing online," Demer said. "You're stacking multiple ways to save."

4. Rebate Apps

Rebate apps give you cash back based on what you actually buy at the store. Because rebate apps do their work once you've come home from the store, they might be one of the most discreetcoupon and savings tools out there.

With rebate apps likeIbotta,Checkout 51andSnap by Groupon, all the work happens before or after you shop. There's absolutely no action required at the checkout -- in fact, you can leave your smartphone at home with some rebate apps.

To use a rebate app, browse and add any offers you're interested in before you go shopping. Once you're home again after shopping, take a picture of your receipt and upload it to the app to receive cash back for the items you purchased.

A final word of advice if you're using any type of electronic coupon or deal:Store employees aren't always comfortablewith e-coupon technology. Should you run into technical difficulties during checkout, discreet couponers will probably prefer to try it again at another time rather than attempting to troubleshoot at the register.

Read:5 Stores Where You Can Stack Coupons for Ridiculous Savings

Where to Find Electronic Coupons

A savvy coupon shopper will usedifferent methods to find coupons, includingcoupon websites, brand websites, retailer websites, search engines and social media.Try Coupons.com or TheKrazyCouponLady.com to get started. You can also find online coupons and discounts on sites like CouponSherpa and RetailMeNot. And don't forget about coupons for smartphones and apps, like Cellfire and Grocery IQ.

Here's a neat trick for nudging online retailers into sending you email coupons and coupon codes: Abandon the items you want in your online shopping cart without purchasing them.In an attempt to close the sale, some retailers will email you a coupon code for whatever you've left in the cart.

You can often score coupons by being a supportive follower on social media, too. Some stores and brands will share coupon codes and deals with their social media fans. Or, they might use newsletters and brand clubs.

Finally, don't neglect the power of an internet search to find the coupons you want. Hit your favorite search engine with the name of the store or brand plus the word "coupon."

Top Brands and Stores That Offer CouponsWith electronic coupons and rebates, it's easy and convenient to keep your couponing profile low key while still enjoying coupons for popular and high-end stores and brands, like Lacoste, J. Crew Factory, Banana Republic, Athleta and Aero. You can link these brands' offers right to your debit or credit cardthrough Coupons.com.

The best card-loaded deals and electronic grocery coupons, according to Demer, come from Safeway, Vons and its affiliates. Stores known for their great deals, like Kohl's, also tend to offer coupons.

The Best Coupon Savings Strategy

The tools that ultimately save coupon expert Demer the most money just happen to be the most discreet, a real bonus for users who prefer not to advertise their affinity for coupons. Surprisingly, as easy and convenient as they are, card-loaded offers and other electronic coupons don't form the backbone of her ongoing savings.

"I am able to save more -- a great deal more -- with rebate apps, for example," she said.

The other big gun in Demer's arsenal is the double whammy of Amazon subscriptions and clickable coupons. "I'm seeing pretty significant price savings -- that's how I'm beating Costco prices," she said.

But, it's good old-fashioned sales that save Demer the most money, even more than couponing.

"It's still for me all about the combination," she said. "But the No. 1 driver that's going to reduce your budget is the mental shift that says, 'Instead of shopping around what I ran out of or the recipes I just found on Pinterest, I'm going to look at my sale circular. I'm going to visit TheKrazyCouponLady.com, and I'm going to make my purchase decisions based on what's on sale.'"

Read More From GOBankingRates:

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: The Couponing Guide for Shoppers Who Don't Want to Look Cheap

Saving Money, How To Save Money, Coupons, Saving Money Tips, Extreme Couponing, Ways To Save Money, Frugal Living, Online Coupons, Living Frugally, Saving Money At Home, Frugality, Couponing, Frugal

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7 Things to Consider When Using Discount Coupons Online

05 Feb. 2016 
Taking advantage of discount coupons is a great way to save some money. If you frequently shop online then you should be aware that a lot of online merchants give away discount coupons as their means of marketing. The more discount coupons that they give out would usually translate to more sales on their part because customers are always enticed when online merchants give customers privileges. However, if you happen to encounter higher than usual discount coupons online then you should be skeptical about it and validate if it is indeed authentic. Here are things that you should consider whenever you use discount coupons online.

1.Be aware that scam websites who are offering fake discount coupons with outstanding discounts are scattered everywhere in the internet. They simply do this to attract attention and make people click on to links in order to get the traffic that they want out of black hat marketing. This is why you should double check discount coupons that you may receive online for validity.

2.Be realistic. With our current economic crisis then no one can afford to give free merchandise or discount that would reach up to 75% off these days. Once you see such offers then might as well disregard it unless it is from a popular company or a legit brand in the internet.

3.Do not pay for discount coupons. Keep in mind that they are always for free then if a company or person initially asks money in exchange for discount coupons then that would most likely be a scam or something illegal that the owner of the discount coupons does not know of.

4.Take advantage of non-profit coupon information centers in order to check whether a certain discount coupon is legit or not.

5.Always read the terms and conditions that goes along with discount coupons. Be aware of the validity or expiration date of the discount coupon and where or how it can be redeemed. Also, check if such discount only applies to online purchases or to all types of purchases.

6.Be wary if a certain discount coupon offer lets you provide personal information. Some companies out there do this strategy as a part of their lead generation campaign only and the discount coupon could only be a front.

7.Discount coupons that were just sent via email by a random company are most likely fake or a scam. Be wary of these and do not click any link that they try to give you along with the email. The email was sent via an automated software and dont feel privileged for it.

There are a lot more things that you might want to consider when taking advantage of discount coupons online most especially if the discount coupon has complicated terms and conditions. The ones given above are the most basic and important. As long as you have those reminders in mind then nothing should go wrong when redeeming online discount coupons. If you want to make money check this site:

Author's Bio:



I'm just your average hygienist with a passion for excellence. I do what I do best, which is to help my patients achieve healthy smiles and provide & educate them with oral health care solutions and lifelong cosmetic procedures.

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05 En 2016 
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