Top 5 Picks for the Week, March 2, 2012

Money-saving Coupons, Knowledge Junkies, Budget Apps, Caffeinated Soap, and Touchscreen Gloves

1. RetailMeNot

Photo Credit: RetailMeNot.com

Saving money and couponing has never been more popular, competitive, and now never easier.  Unless you are one of the die-hards who has made couponing their full-time job and are preparing for your appearance on reality television, most of us don’t have the time and patience to dedicate to clipping at that type of level.  But, if you are like me, you still don’t want to overpay for items that you can easily get at a lower price.  This is where I’ve found RetailMeNot to be a great money-saving resource.  Their site is divided into 4 main sections: Coupon Codes (for online purchases); Printable Coupons (in your area); Grocery Coupons (nationwide); and the Community where users can share tips, tricks, and deals they have found.   You are able to search by popular stores, your location, and categories of products.  Simply copy the codes for shopping online, or select your requested printable coupons then click on the button to retrieve and print the savings.  RetailMeNot’s community aspect is what makes this site stand out.  With dedicated contributors constantly updating the best deals, you are sure to find the latest savings, a note if listed codes and vouchers are not working properly, and upcoming expiration dates.  Save yourself some time and hassle as you save your money by using RetailMeNot.

2. Mental_floss

Photo Credit: Mental_floss.com

Mental_floss is the website that prides itself on being the place, “Where knowledge junkies get their fix.”  They cover a variety of subjects in an entertaining manner to educate and keep your mind healthy and alert.  Answers to life’s tough questions such as, “If I touch a baby bird, will its mother really abandon it,” fun facts from science, history, and even quizzes to test your understanding of the lesser-known aspects of life are all available.  With the popularity of their self-titled magazine, Mental_floss has opened an online store, as well.   Here you can purchase the best of their hilarious t-shirts, office décor, games, books, and of course subscription offers for their publication.  Whether you are looking for Med School in a box, ways to build your own crazy straws, or a mustache for your dog, the Mental_floss store is the site to visit.  Go online to have a chuckle and give your scholarly side a boost.

3. Mint.com

Photo Credit: Mint.com

Most of us try to be pretty good about watching our spending and sticking to a budget.   This is especially true at the beginning of the endeavor as we sit down to write out our goals for the month and year.  A few weeks later, though, we may be surprised to see how several little purchases are starting to add up.  Staying within your parameters can be stressful and difficult when constantly on the go.  Mint.com is a service that allows you to have all of your financial information in one area.  It can pull the transactions from your credit cards, loans, and bank accounts to give you an overview of where and how you spend your money.   It is a free service that only takes a few minutes to set up and is secure, providing notification of any suspicious activity.  I love Mint.com because we can set up budgets, and with the app for iOS or Android we can get a snapshot of where we stand at any given time.  If I have budgeted $20 for coffee this month and go over, Mint.com will have a notification that I have overspent the allotted amount and by how much.  It also offers other suggestions for investments and areas to view for possible ways to save more money.  Mint.com is one of the best all-in-one tools to manage your finances, and it is all for free at your fingertips.

4. Mollycoddle Soap

Photo Credit: Mollycoddle Soap; Etsy.com

As you know, I’m always looking for unique and quirky designs and accessories.  Mollycoddle is a gourmet soap company founded by Kelly McDowell out of Colorado.  She creates glycerin soap in every shape and size you can think of.  Some of the items are very ornate resembling Victorian cameo pins and others will make you do a double-take as they look just like doughnuts, pickles, and cupcakes.  The detail is exquisite and since they are made with vegetable byproducts they help to moisturize as well as clean the skin.  One of the best parts is the scents; Mollycoddle soaps offer everything from cool citrus basil to coffee aromas.  The Food Realism soaps have the same fragrance as their appearance right down to the crispy rice bars and root beer float.  Sure to spruce up your sink and bring a smile to your face, Mollycoddle soaps can add a splash of color for the holidays and they also make great gifts.

5. Touchscreen Gloves

Photo Credit: Isotoner.com

With the profusion of touch sensitive devices, I thought everyone had already heard of touchscreen gloves and been using them for the last few years now.  However, I have been surprised by the number of consumers who try to brave frostbite, or resort to fingerless gloves, when they need to make a call or work on their tablet.  Touchscreen compatible gloves have been around for awhile now, and they have improved from the first few tries.  I personally have 2 different pairs that I use when the temperature drops.  My first pair I got a few years ago when they hit the market, smarTouch gloves from Isotoner.  They keep my hands very warm and dry and allow me to use a screen with the tip of the pointer finger and thumb.  The only problems are that you need to make sure you get gloves that fit properly with your fingers at the end of the gloves to ensure a good connection with your device; and secondly with only 2 areas enabled with the feature, it does somewhat limit your use.  This last season I got a different pair from Agloves. They are a knit style with the conductive material woven throughout the gloves. This makes the fit much better for different sized hands and the ease of use is amazing; I have never had an issue typing, highlighting, or clicking on a needed app.  The only downside I have found with these, they are not as warm as the Isotoner pair, and being knit they will not keep your hands dry.  However, for everyday use, the Agloves are my Touchscreen Gloves of choice.  The best parts about reading this information now, if you have not already got a pair, many retailers are trying to get rid of winter stock offering the same products at significant discounts. If you already have them and love them you can also stock up for next winter, or start your Christmas shopping really early.

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