Getting to know the world of coupon-ing

September was ‘National Coupon Month.’ I’ve never been able to get into the idea of clipping coupons each week, saving them in a binder, ending up portrayed as some crazy lady on a reality TV show where I buy 6 shopping carts full of unneeded groceries for $3…

But, I started to wonder – how much time and effort would it really take to save some big bucks at the grocery store? Luckily, you don’t have to go subscribe to a bunch of newspapers for those Sunday coupons anymore. Thanks to the internet, it’s relatively easy to hop online and start coupon-ing! So, I figured why not try out a few sites throughout the month and see if coupon-ing works for me.

I’ve listed three sites below that I found to match my ‘coupon-ing level.’ I don’t want to pay for super-secret-extra-special coupons, so all the sites listed provide FREE printable options. Some of them are apps for your phone, or have an app companion to the website. Before you get too excited and start signing up for each site, here’s one simple, yet great tip from the website

“Sign up with an alternate email address. Don’t make the mistake of joining every coupons site and manufacturer newsletter list with your main mail account. Get another free account from Yahoo or Gmail and make that your “deal mail” address. Check it before you go shopping every week so you won’t be bombarded with ads on a daily basis.”

Now, where to find some coupons for that grocery bill:

  1. RetailMeNot – Offers both Android & iPhone apps, plus easy to use website. This one is by far my favorite!
  2. – This website takes a bit of getting used too. I felt overwhelmed the first time I visited, but take your time getting to know the site! All the work is done for you.
  3. – The layout is similar to that of CouponMom, lots of information all at once! I’ve found it’s best used by selecting either the ‘coupons’ or ‘local coupons’ tab at the top.


Depositing Made Easy

After you get over the excitement of getting a check or perhaps even some cash, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? For most people they think, ‘when can I get to my bank to deposit this?’ Let’s be honest, sometimes finding time to make it to a branch isn’t easy, and then on top of that – when you get to a branch, you might have to wait in line to make that deposit.

Well my friends, I’m here to give you two deposit options that involve virtually NO LINES and in one case NO TRIP TO THE BRANCH!

 1. ATM Deposit

Did you know you can deposit cash and/or checks at ALL Apple ATMs? I hate waiting in lines, I know, I know, sometimes you have no choice. But, if you’re at a branch to make a deposit there’s no excuse to stand in the teller line – just go to the ATM!

 All you have to do is:

  • Search by zip code for the Apple ATM nearest you at
  • Swipe your ATM/Check Card in the machine and enter your PIN
  • Select Deposit
  • Put your cash/check into a deposit envelope*, place it in the marked location on the ATM and Voila! – your money is deposited.

(*The following ATMs DO NOT require an envelope to make a deposit; just follow the on-screen instructions – Fair Oaks , GMU Fairfax (JC), GMU Arlington, GMU Prince William, Lockheed Martin, Manassas, Mt. Vernon, NVCC Annandale, Sudley Manor and Winchester.)

2. Scan Deposit

Yep, that’s right, scan those checks from the comfort of your home, dorm, apartment, friend’s house (you get the idea) for immediate credit to your account. Instead of linking to the  requirements, I’ve listed them below to save you time! Don’t be intimidated by the number of bullets, the time it takes you to read through them is a lot less than you’d spend driving to a branch to make a deposit. 😉

 So, to start using Scan Deposit you’ll need to:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Be enrolled in NetBranch Online Banking
  • Have an active Apple Checking account (5 or more transactions a month)
  • Have been an Apple member at least 90 days
  • Be in good standing with Apple (no negative balances, no late payments on Apple Loans, not had an Apple Loan written off, etc.)
  • Not had a single non-sufficient fund (NSF) fee applied to your account within the past 24 months
  • Use Apple’s FREE Direct Deposit service
  • Have a valid email address on file.

Meet these requirements?

Login to NetBranch Online Banking and click the Products and Services tab to enroll! Check out a list of FAQs HERE.

And stay tuned… soon you’ll be able to make deposits with your Android or iPhone. It’s in development now.

I hope these options help alleviate some of your ‘deposit pains’. 🙂

PS-If the check you’re depositing is a paycheck, see if your employer offers Direct Deposit. It’s FREE at Apple and is the fastest way to have access to your cash. Plus, if you’re employed at a partner school district, we likely pay you a day early too. How’s that for speedy!?

Student Discounts – yes please!

Helloooo, Mason Nation! Whether this is your first year at George Mason University or your last, we want to make sure everyone is ‘in’ on where to go and how to get the best deals in the area! There’s so much to do, so many restaurants to try – check out the website below for student discounts (some are specifically for GMU students) before you head out!

I just stumbled upon this site, TUN (The University Network) – head to their website HERE and watch the deals scroll in. You’ll find everything from restaurants to gym memberships to salons and more!

If you don’t want to watch the scrolling deals (personally it made me dizzy..), click on the green bar at the top that says “Latest Student Deals Around George Mason University Click Here To See Them All!” to view a map of all the deals. The page will look something like this (just click each bubble to view the deal! Enjoy the savings!):

Have fun this weekend!

Well, with summer ‘officially’ over (I’m looking at you Labor Day), it’s time to get into the fall spirit. And to be quite honest, after the ridiculous heat we just melted through all summer, I am MORE than ready for some cool fall air.

I like exploring and trying new things in our area, so here’s a round-up of local, budget-friendly events to check out this weekend:

  •  Great Grapes Wine, Arts and Food Festival – Reston Town Center

    September 8 & 9, 12 p.m. – 6 p.m. This is a great event for friends and/or families! Bring lawn chairs, blankets and enjoy live music with over 200 Virginia wines. Learn from the experts with hands-on demos of wine and food pairings in the Gourmet Live! Tent. There’s even a Kid’s Activity Area.
    2 Day Adult ticket – $37 in advance (includes souvenir wine glass, lanyard, unlimited samples and access to all cooking demos)
    1 Day Adult ticket – $20 in advance, $25 on-site
    Designated Driver ticket – $15 in advance, $20 on-site

  • 10th Annual Alexandria King Street Art Festival – FREE Event

    Saturday, Sept. 8, 10 a.m.-7p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 9, 10a.m.-5p.m. Browse festival booths that line King Street between Washington and Union Streets. Plus, this year participate in a smart phone scavenger hunt for a chance to win prizes at the Torpedo Factory Art Center, AND a 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday drawing marathon!

  •  “Rock of Ages” Musical – Wolf Trap

    Sunday, September 9, 8 p.m. Based on the book by Chris D’Arienzo, “Rock of Ages” features tunes by famous bands from the 80’s, including Journey, Night Ranger, Styx and more. This musical is described as “an evening full of rock ‘n’ roll, comedy and non-stop fun.”
    Tickets – $25-$45

  •  Cirque du Soleil – National Harbor – On-going show, check site for dates and times

    This weekend: Saturday shows at 4 & 8 p.m. and Sunday shows at 1 & 5:00 p.m. If you haven’t seen a Cirque du Soleil show, I highly recommend checking it out. It’s truly unbelievable what the performers do and how easy they make it all look! This show is ‘TOTEM’, tracing the journey of the human species from its original amphibian state to its ultimate desire to fly.
    Tickets – $40-$153 or check out the LivingSocial deal HERE for discount tickets.