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  • Review: ScoreBig – Save money on event tickets

    ScoreBig provided me with a promo code to facilitate this review, which contains my referral link. All opinions are my own, honest opinions. Read CFO’s full disclosure here.

    Review: ScoreBig -

    If you’ve looked into buying event tickets – whether for a concert, show or sporting event – you may have been shocked by the high prices. I know I have. My kids are huge baseball fans but we just don’t go to see the Dodgers much because even tickets in the blue Reserve section are rather pricey – by the time we’ve paid for the tickets, parking and food, we’re well into the $250+ range just to watch a few hours of baseball.

    So when the folks at ScoreBig asked me to check out their service, I was very curious. ScoreBig guarantees that you’ll save on each and every ticket they sell, and you’ll pay no additional fees and get free delivery. They have tickets for sporting events, concerts, theater, Broadway, family shows, and attractions throughout the country. Perhaps most importantly, they promise that all of the seats you purchase will be together.

    I searched for Los Angeles Dodgers tickets, and got a list of upcoming home games that tickets were available for:

    ScoreBig review -

    I picked the Memorial Day game, and got a list of seating sections to choose from:

    ScoreBig review -

    As shown in that screen cap, ScoreBig doesn’t list a price you pay; rather, you make them an offer. There’s a helpful bar that appears to tell you the likelihood of your offer being accepted:

    ScoreBig review -

    At the end of the checkout process, they’ll tell you if your offer has been accepted. If it’s not, you can’t make another offer on the same seats for 24 hours, but you can make an offer on other seating options. ScoreBig gave me $100 to spend, so I offered $25 for four seats, and my offer was rejected – but, they countered with an offer of $31 per seat. So, even if your offer isn’t accepted, it seems like ScoreBig will tell you what you “should” have offered and give you the chance to decide if you’re willing to pay that price. {I’m pretty sure these tickets were more expensive because we chose a game with a promotional giveaway.}

    I actually did accept the counteroffer, and my tickets were sent via FedEx within a few days at no additional cost. I didn’t know what to expect from ScoreBig before starting, and I was pleasantly surprised at how easy the whole ticket-buying process was. Now my whole family is excited about going to the game! {Tip: If you’re going to a game at Dodger Stadium, you can purchase parking online ahead of time for $10 to avoid paying $15 at the gate.}

    If you sign up for ScoreBig’s savings alert using my referral link, you’ll get $10 off your first purchase. Let us know what great deals you find!

    Thank you if you join ScoreBig using my referral link!

    Book Review: Blogging for Profit by Ruth Soukup

    Review of Blogging for Profit -

    Note: This post contains affiliate links that help support this site at no additional cost to you. Thank you for clicking through them! You can read CFO’s full disclosure here.

    I discovered Ruth Soukup’s book, How to Blog for Profit (Without Selling Your Soul) last year when it was mentioned by Crystal at Money Saving Mom.

    I’ve been blogging for nearly ten years {wow, the years have flown by!}, so I’ve read a lot about the topic of blogging. But it’s taken me a while since quitting my job as a lawyer and becoming a full-time blogger to embrace the fact that blogging is now truly my job.

    How to Blog for Profit really helped with that mental shift, because Ruth takes the business of blogging seriously but also with enthusiasm, passion, and conviction. Most of what’s contained in the book can actually be found for free all over the internet. But Ruth has pulled all of that information together in one place, and it’s all well-written and completely credible.

    She covers all of the major topics, from advertising to sponsorships to SEO optimization and strategies for increasing traffic to your site. She even shares income figures for some anonymous blogs, and how those figures divide up in terms of where the income comes from. I have to say, Ruth’s explanation of SEO was the easiest to understand that I’ve ever come across.

    The biggest message in How to Blog for Profit is that your blog content needs to be worth reading. It’s always been true, of course, but it’s so true that it’s worth repeating. The addendum to that is one that hasn’t been addressed as much, and it’s that your content needs to look good, especially in this day and age of Pinterest.

    The best message in the book is that if your content is great, you can make money. Ruth covers the various methods, including affiliate links, selling your own products, ads, and more. Her writing is concise and clear, and in my experience, accurate and credible. In fact, because my own personal experience correlates with much of what Ruth says, I find her completely credible on the parts that I didn’t know much about, like SEO.

    Each chapter ends with an action plan, although most of the tasks on each action plan aren’t “do it and forget it” types. Many require an implementation plan of their own, such as designing an aesthetically pleasing and useful site, or joining collaborative Pinterest boards. Basically, you can read the book in one sitting, but you’ll have to choose tips to focus on, and then come back to the book when you’re ready to take the next step.

    All in all, How to Blog for Profit is easily the best advice I’ve ever read on making money blogging. If you’re a blogger, or thinking about becoming a blogger, who wants to make money, I can’t recommend this book highly enough. At $4.99, the book is well worth the price. However, Ruth seems to regularly put the book on sale for just $0.99, and I’ll let you know the next time I see the book at that price.

    Good luck in your money making blogging ventures!

    Image via by ddpavumba.

    Review: Favado {Grocery Saving App}


    Last week, I had the fabulous pleasure of attending the Favado app launch, where I learned about this new grocery savings tool, and got to meet Andrea of Savings Lifestyle and Toni of The Happy Housewife for the first time after “knowing” them online for years. (If you’re fans of theirs too, know that they are as nice in person as they are online!) I enjoyed meeting the other bloggers in attendance too, as well as members of the team. 🙂

    Favado is a new (and free!) mobile savings app that helps you find the best deals at your favorite stores, with and without coupons. For instance, using just the app and two $0.50 off coupons, one of the groups at the launch party scored 30% savings on their purchase. Andrea and I shopped together, and spent just under $100 for over $210 worth of items! (We used more coupons, of course, but not that many since we didn’t have our usual stash of inserts at our disposal.)

    I think Favado is an especially terrific option for someone not looking to use a whole bunch of coupons. It’s so easy to use, and includes listings for more than 65,000 grocery stores nationwide. You can use it to make up a list based on this week’s ads, complete with coupon match ups, and email the list to yourself (with links to any printable coupons). You can search for the current best price on something you need (perfect for when you run out of something!). And you can get notifications of sale prices on specific items (just tell Favado what you want to know about).

    One of the changes I suggested is to include right in the listing an “as low as” figure so that a deal-seeker with a price list would be able to tell without clicking through if there are coupons or other savings that bring the item down to a stock-up price. As it stands right now, I still find my method of scanning blog match ups for stock up prices easier to do than checking each individual item in Favado. But Favado is still useful for creating my shopping list once I know which store(s) I’m going to.

    Favado Screen Shot

    If you haven’t tried Favado yet (it’s FREE!), I encourage you to check it out. The development team at is really interested in making the app as useful as possible, so if you have a suggestion for improvement, definitely use the Feedback option in the app to send them your idea. You can sign up below, and start using Favado as soon as you’ve downloaded the app!

    Disclosure: The Favado links in this post are affiliate links (thank you for using them!). All opinions are my own, honest opinions. You can read CFO’s full disclosure here.

    Guest Review: Gluten is my Bitch by April Peveteaux

    I was sent a copy of Gluten Is My Bitch: Rants, Recipes, and Ridiculousness for the Gluten-Free by April Peveteaux to review. I’ve experimented with going gluten-free, but my trial was pretty short-lived. So I thought the review would be more useful coming from my friend, R.D., who has celiac disease and truly needs to eat gluten-free. Here’s what she had to say …

    As the title suggests, the author is funny, but rather brash. Some newly-diagnosed people might find it too abrasive at first (when I was first diagnosed, I was an overly-sensitive self-contained pity-party that could cry at the drop of a bread basket!). But Peveteaux is completely right that the best way to approach this diagnosis is with humor and honesty, and she has a lot of great tips. Also, she is candid about the fact that her humor comes from a bitterness about having to be gluten-free. She even directly addresses those annoying hipsters who choose to be GF (and vegan or paleo). Anyone who has to be GF will ultimately connect with this book.

    The book starts out as a how-to guide on figuring out whether you need to be GF. Peveteaux’s story is entirely too familiar: no problems with gluten until a sudden onset of horrible stomach/bathroom problems without an obvious source, then invasive medical testing and a diagnosis of Celiac disease. Anyone who has been through this process will find Peveteaux’s descriptions recognizable and humorous. She also addresses those lucky people who discover a gluten intolerance/allergy without having stomach/bathroom problems. Later, she tackles how to deal with a child’s diagnosis, including several helpful tips about hidden sources of gluten in a child’s life (who would have even thought about Playdough?) and suggestions on snacks for GF kids of different ages.

    Because the book is a sort of hybrid between an introduction to going GF and a recipe book, it actually does not include very many recipes. However, the recipes I tried were all good, easy, and excellent resources for someone new to GF living. They are the types of foods you fear you will not be able to eat ever again on a GF diet (chicken fried steak?!), and they do not taste at all GF.

    I will say the recipes sometimes needed a little spicing up for my taste, but each was easily adaptable. For example, the macaroni and cheese was excellent, but next time I will add a little extra flavor – maybe some bacon or a more pungent cheese like gorgonzola. The Cowboy crepes were so good even my gluten-full boyfriend really enjoyed them. The chess pie (which I had never heard of) certainly lived up to its description as causing a “sugar coma” and was delicious!

    Peveteaux also provides good gluten-free cooking tips that will save a lot of time and bad experimentation. I wish someone would have told me not to eat GF dough (the terrible flavor of what looked like delicious chocolate chip cookie dough caused me some serious psychological damage), and that I could have saved a ton of time and frustration (and ended up with a better tasting pie) by just buying a frozen GF pie crust from Whole Foods instead of trying to make a GF crust from scratch.

    Overall, I think this book is a really good resource for anyone new to the GF diet.

    Thanks for your perspective, R.D.! (And I don’t remember any pity parties when you were newly diagnosed.)

    If you’re interested in purchasing the book, the Kindle edition is $9.99 and the hardcover version is $13.90 at Amazon.

    Review: Sea World San Diego

    We went to Sea World in San Diego for the first time a couple of weeks ago. The boys had a great time, and the animal performances are truly amazing. Everyone’s favorite part was the Sea Lions Live show, in which two sea lions and an otter do scenes from popular TV shows. I left wanting a small otter to take home as a pet. The host of that show was the most entertaining part of the day, and before the show began, it was fun trying to identify the TV theme song before he acted it out.

    We saw three other shows, Shamu Live, Blue Horizons, and Pets Rule. Predictably, Shamu Live has killer whales – and it just blows my mind that these enormous creatures can lift their bodies out of the water the way they do. Unfortunately, the “story” element of the show – involving some unclear theme of “believe” – detracts, rather than adds, to the enjoyment. And since the story involved a carved wooden whale tail, as we left the stadium, there was someone hawking whale tail necklaces to hit us over the head with the commercialism.

    Blue Horizons primarily features dolphins but also has pilot whales and beautiful birds. However, here too, there’s a ridiculous story that just gets in the way of the entertainment. In fact, they needed an emcee to describe the premise before the show started: a “young girl” dreams of interacting with dolphins and birds, and her dreams come true when she meets the dolphin god Delphis and the bird goddess Aurora. The “young” girl looked to be at least 30, so that was disconcerting. Delphis turned out to be a trainer whose gray wetsuit had the outline of a dolphin tail. Aurora and her bird trainers were not-quite-spectacular Cirque de Soleis style performers. There were also high divers looked like they’d reached their pinnacle in college – they were good, but not great, and one of them hit the water face first, causing me to cringe.

    You are allowed to enter the stadiums 30 minutes before showtimes, but for the most part, you’re then stuck sitting there with the kids with nothing to do. It’s not that big a deal for adults or older kids, but I recommend being prepared with a distraction with younger kids. We had snacks while waiting, which worked out because of the time between shows.

    Speaking of food, we ate lunch at the Calypso Bay Smokehouse, which was about what you’d expect from an amusement park restaurant: marginally edible and overpriced. Exercise caution if you order a large soda, because they don’t provide lids unless you spring for a souvenir cup – I ended up with soda on my plate, though it fortunately landed in an unoccupied compartment.

    Although the signs outside the park say no outside food or water, we clearly had bottled water and snacks in our backpacks when they were inspected at the gate and were allowed to bring them in. That helped keep costs down, since of course, everything is outrageously expensive inside the park. I was particularly shocked by the cold soda in reusable plastic bottles that were being sold before the shows for $8.75.

    There are a few rides at Sea World, but my boys didn’t meet the height requirement for most of them. For younger kids, the Sesame Street-themed rides in the Sesame Street Bay of Play area are great. Active kids of all ages will enjoy the climbing structure that’s in the same area.

    Right now, Sea World has a deal where you get a child’s ticket for just $5 when you buy an adult’s ticket. Regular admission is $69 for ages 10 and up and $59 for ages 3 through 9 (ages 2 and under get in free), so the $5 deal is awesome.

    Parking note: We arrived shortly after the park opened and declined the upgrade to VIP parking for an additional $5. After we parked, we were surprised by how close we were to the park (a world of difference from Disneyland), so I think you would want to pay for preferred parking only in very exceptional circumstances.