Holiday Bonus Gift Card Offers

There are SO MANY Holiday Bonus Gift Card Offers out this time of year.  I decided to share as many as I can find with you so that you can keep track in one place (which is what I need to do)!

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Holiday Bonus Gift Card Offers

Applebee’s – Buy $50 in Gift Cards and receive a $10 Bonus Card (exp 2/28/14).

*NEW* Benihana – Get a $10 Promotional Card (valid 1/02/14 – 3/31/14) when you buy $50 in Benihana Gift Cards . (exp 12/31/13)

Bonefish Grill – Gift $100 worth of Gift Cards and you will get a FREE $20 Bonus Card (valid 1/1/14-2/10/14).

Boston Market – Receive a FREE $5 Bonus Gift Card for every $25 Gift Card purchased.

Buca di Beppo – Receive a $15 Reward Card (valid 1/1/14-2/28/14) when you purchase $50 in Gift Cards. If purchasing online you’ll receive your Reward Card via email within 5 business days.

Buffalo Wild Wings – Purchase $25 in Gift Cards and get a Blazin’ Bonus card that’s worth up to $100. This offer is valid in the restaurant only and while supplies last until December 31, 2013. The Bonus Card is valid January 1-February 28, 2014.

Butterbees – (Cincinnati, OH) Buy $50 in Gift Cards, receive a $10 Bonus Card. Purchase $100 in Gift Cards receive a $25 Bonus Card.

*NEW* California Pizza Kitchen – All registered members of Califonria Pizza Kitchen’s Pizza Dough loyal program will receive a $20 bonus card (redeem after 1/14/14) for every $100 or more in California Pizza Kitchen Gift Cards.

Carabba’s Italian Grill – Through 12/31/13 receive a $20 Bonus Card (valid 1/1/14-2/10/14) for every $100 in gift cards purchased.

*NEW*
Caribou Coffee – For every $25 or more in eGift Cards and receive a $5 eGift Card bonus. (exp 12/31/13)

*NEW* Carl’s/Hardee’s – Purchase $20 in gift cards and receive a coupon good for a FREE Original Size Dollar Thickburger. (exp 12/31/13)

*NEW* Cheesecake Factory – Receive a FREE slice of cheesecake (valid 1/1/14-3/30/14) with every $25 Cheesecake Factory gift cards purchased.

Chili’s – Get a $10 Bonus Card when you purchase $50 in Gift Cards.

City BBQ – From now until 12/24/13 purchase $25 in Gift Cards and receive a $5 Bonus Gift Card (valid after 12/25/13).

*NEW* Dairy Queen – (in participating stores only) Receive a FREE Small fruit smoothie when you purchase $15+ Dairy Queen gift card.

*NEW* Denny’s – Receive a $5 Bonus Card when you purchase a minimum of $25 in gift cards.

*NEW* Einstein Bros – For every $25 in gift card purchases receive a $5 bonus card (valid 1/1/14-2/28/14).

*NEW* Famous Dave’s – You’ll be given a $5 Reward Card for every $25 in gift cards purchased at Famous Daves.

Kroger – Receive 4 times fuel rewards (4 fuel points for every $1 spent) when you purchase a Gift Card at your local Kroger store from now until December 8, 2013. Sign into your Kroger account and load savings on your Gift Card Purchases. It’s like a win, win, win!

*NEW* (Landry’s Inc.) Aquarium Restaurant’s, Babin’s Seafood House, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., Cadillac Bar, Capi’s Italian Grill, Claim Jumper, Crab House, Fish Tales, Fisherman’s Wharf, Flying Dutchman, Harlow’s, Landry’s Corporate Card, Landry’s Seafood, Lighthouse Buffet, Mai Tai Bar, Rainforest Cafe, Red Sushi, Saltgrass Steakhouse, T-Rex, Yak & Yeti – Buy a $50 gift card and receive a $10 Reward card (valid 1/02/14-2/12/14). (expires 12/24/13)

*NEW* Lawry’s The Prime Rib/Five Crowns/SideDoor, Tam O’Shanter and Lawry’s Cavery – Receive a $25 Bonus Gift Card (valid 1/02/14-3/31/14) with every $125 in Gift Cards you purchase by December 31, 2013. Lawry’s VIP Rewards members also earn one rewards point for every one dollar spent on gift cards.

Logan’s Steakhouse – Grab $25 in Logan’s Gift Cards and receive a $5 Bonus Card (valid 1/02/14-2/12/14).

Longhorn – Save $5 off 2 adult entrees (valid 1/1/14-2/9/14) when you purchase $25 in Gift Cards.

Macaroni Grill – Pick up a $25 Gift Card and receive a FREE $5 Grazie Gift (valid 1/1/14-3/31/14).

Maggiano’s Little Italy – For every $100 purchase in Maggiano’s Little Italy’s gift cards receive a $20 off $50 Bonus Coupon and a 1 year subscription to Food & Wine Magazine, a $12 Value. If you’d like to skip the magazine you can opt for $12. For details heads to Maggiano’s website.

O’Charley’s – Buy $25 in Gift Cards and receive a $5 Reward Card (valid 1/1/14-2/13/14) good on a $10+ purchase.

Olive Garden – Grab $50 or more in Gift Cards and receive a $10 off two adult entrees (valid 1/1/14-2/9/14). This offer expires 12/25/13.

Outback Steakhouse – For every $100 in Gift Cards purchased receive a FREE $20 Bonus Card (valid 1/1/14-2/10/14). There is a limit of 10 cards. (Expires 12/31/13)

*NEW* Panera Bread – (online only) Receive a $10 eGift Card when you purchase $100+ In Panera gift or eGift cards. (Expires 12/31/13)

*NEW* Papa John’s – Purchase a minimum of $25 in Papa John’s Gift Cards and receive a reward code(expires 1/31/14) for 1 FREE Large 1 Topping Pizza. (Expires 12/31/13)

*NEW* Ramundo’s Pizza – (Cincinnati) Purchase four (4) $20 Gift Cards and receive one (1) $20 Gift Card FREE!

Red Lobster – Receive a $5 off coupon for every $25 Red Lobster Gift Card.

Red Robin – When you buy $25 in Gift Cards receive a $5 Bonus Buck (valid 1/1/14-2/28/14) or get a 20% discount on orders over $250+.

*NEW* Ruby Tuesday – Grab a $5 Bonus Card (valid 1/02/14-2/28/14) when you purchase $25 in Gift Cards or get a $15 Bonus Coupon when you purchase $50 in gift cards. (Expires 12/31/13)

Smashburger – Receive $5 Smash Card (valid 1/1/14-1/31/14) for every $25 in gift card purchases (Exp 12/31/13).

Steak ‘n Shake – Now through 12/31/13 purchase $20 in Gift Cards and receive a $5 Bonus Card.

Taco Bell – Purchase $20 in Gift Cards and receive 2 FREE Dorito Locos Tacos and a Large Drink! This offer is valid at participating locations and for a limited time.

Texas Roadhouse – For every $30 Gift Card purchase online you’ll receive a $5 eGift Card to enjoy at Texas Roadhouse. The Bonus eGift Card will be emailed within 48 hours with a max of $100 per order.

TGI Friday’s – For every $25 you spend on Gift Cards receive a $5 Bonus Bites card (valid 1/1/14-2/28/14).

Uno’s – Pick up a $5 Bonus Card (valid 1 /2/14-2/13/14) for every $25 in Gift Cards.

*NEW* White Castle – Receive a $5 Bonus Card (valid 1/1/14-2/28/14) for every $25 in Gift Cards purchased.

Holiday Shopping made easy with ShopRunner

Holiday shopping can be stressful. The crowded parking lots and stores, the long lines, and of course the limited supply of whatever it is that you are looking for can zap your holiday spirit. This post about holiday shopping made easy is brought to you by our friends at ShopRunner.

Thankfully – there is an easier way to get all your shopping done this year. ShopRunner is a partnership of top retailers and brands that understand shopping isn’t always relaxing and stress free. By joining together they are able to help you save time and money – a win/win in my book!
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ShopRunner gives you access to a variety of online stores and millions of products helping you find everything you need right from your computer. As a ShopRunner member, you will receive unlimited Free 2-day Shipping, with no minimum order size, plus free shipping on returns and special member deals.  There’s a whole Gift Guide section which has many categories- my favorite of which (and didn’t show on the page) the Gifts Under $50 section.  This section was a pleasant surprise- it really has gifts for all ages!
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ShopRunner is super easy to use. While shopping online at any of their participating stores, you simply select eligible items, place them in your cart, and choose ShopRunner at checkout. A very quick and easy money-saving-way to get your holiday shopping done!
I know the holiday season is a time for giving, but don’t forget about your needs while you are shopping for everyone else. There’s a whole lot of beauty products available- I’m actually perusing some fun beauty products for one of my nieces (shhh don’t tell!) and maybe a few things for me (I need something to put my makeup IN at home). With almost 65000 products from 56 stores, chances are pretty great that I’ll find something amazing for E and for me!
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Holidays equal get togethers, lots of them, and you want to make sure you look your best. You can effortlessly get everything you need right through ShopRunner from the perfect outfit to your favorite makeup and beauty products.
Beauty.com and Drugstore.com are two of ShopRunners participating stores, and they have tons of great items designed to pamper you this winter. The perfect party look is just a few clicks away, and with free shipping you’ll keep some extra money in your wallet (so you can definitely splurge on that special new lipstick you’ve been eyeing :) )
Excited for this easier way to shop? You can try ShopRunner right now with their free 30-Day Trial!

So Aldi blew my mind

Earlier this week I headed into Aldi for the first time ever.  Yes, that’s right- I’ve heard of the awesome of Aldi for a long time but I rarely have cash on me and so I was always like “oh shoot, I’ll head in next time I’m shopping” and time got away from me.  I bought a lot of items- we didn’t need a full shop but we were really low on snack stuff for the kids’ lunches and I wanted to replenish- since Aldi was kind enough to invite me to be one of their Ambassadors and share three posts featuring Aldi, I figured this was as good a time as any.  So I went.  I saw.  I spent.  I saved.  I bagged.  I left. My friend Lisa swears by so many Aldi products and I coerced her into going with me for my first visit.

aldi-shopping-#aldisaves

 

Before you go into the store, you’ll see carts outside.  I’d heard you have to use a quarter to get a cart, and I wasn’t sure how that was going to work out.  Pop your quarter in, and your cart is released from the chains holding it to the other carts.  Just know that the quarter doesn’t go in all the way, and when you hook the cart back up to the rest when you are finished shopping, the quarter comes back out.

aldi-shopping-carts-quarters-#aldisavesOnce you are in, at least in our local stores, you enter by snacky food.  (Beware: don’t shop hungry!!) There’s a lot of yummy chocolate options, beware.  Or put some in your cart.  I had a recipe idea in mind for Silly Turkey Pops and grabbed some of the Aldi cookies that look just like Oreos- why not spend smart?!

turkeypop

The dairy is along the back wall of the store – which is really nice, because with the small store size, when you forget something before you finish, like I do every single trip to the store, it’s a 10 second walk to find what you wanted instead of 3 minutes.  I was very pleasantly surprised at the variety of dairy products.  My kids love frozen yogurt tubes for morning snacks-

Lisa’s favorite thing about Aldi is the dairy products….so I had a list in mind of what I wanted to get.  The Aldi Moo Tubes (yogurt tubes) that occasionally go on sale 2 packs for $5 were less than $2- everyday price.  Curious, I peeked at the ingredients- no high fructose corn syrup!! Score for the Martins!!  I also found cream cheese about half of what we pay at the grocery store, plus pumpkin spice cream cheese, which my kids have fallen in love with- again, for about half the price we normally pay.  That’s crazy to me.  Crazy but I’ll take it.

In the next aisle were baking supplies, and also holiday/seasonal items.  TONS of Halloween themed baking products and even a pretty decent selection of costumes for just $12.99!!  I have heard from friends in other areas for years that random “hot” toys will show up inexpensively priced at Aldi and now I can shop and share my fabulous finds right along with them.

Staple pantry items are available, as well as breads, and a NICE selection of produce.  I’m pretty particular about

So how does Aldi offer these prices without sacrificing quality?  That’s easy.  It’s a smaller store (which is honestly very refreshing- it’s a lot quieter and not as much stimulation- very relaxing), there’s no bagging clerks (yep, you’re on your own to bag, but it’s ok- there’s ample space to bag just past the checkout or you can do what Lisa does and bag in your car before returning the cart), no bank, no pharmacy, no florist… you get the idea.  Aldi takes a back-to-basics approach.  You come in, you get your food, you pay, you bag, you leave.  Oh! Don’t forget your bags- although there are some available for purchase!  All of these things combine to help keep the Aldi prices so competitive.  :)

I walked up to that checkout assuming I’d spent $80-85 on my items. I had a lot of dairy and produce in my cart and those items add up very quickly. Imagine my surprise (and delight) to find that my total was $63.48!  Got Aldi? Try them.  #AldiSaves, indeed!

 

 

Earn cash back online with TopCashback.com ($150 Cash Giveaway)

This post about how to earn cash back online is brought to you by TopCashback.com.  Opinions are my own. Most of us shop online these days.  It’s convenient, we can find the best pricing without having to go store to store, and quite simply, it’s convenient.  A popular trend that I adore is earning cash back online when shopping.  If you are going to spend your money, why not spend smart and maximize your hard earned money?

topcashbackcom-earn-cash-back-online

TopCashback.com has been around the UK for years and decided to head over here to the USA in fall of 2011.  They give ALL the commission rate stores pay them back to members as a cashback rebate. TopCashback.com is  free to join and use, with no minimum cash withdrawal level. You can cash out one cent if you really want to. Even if you just use your tell-a-friend link you can cash out immediately, as many times a day/week/month/year as you want, via PayPal or direct deposit. The TopCashback.com  tell-a-friend bonus is currently $10 and uncapped; recommend 1,000 people to them who each go on to earn $10 worth of cashback and they’ll pay you $10,000.  (Who doesn’t want $10000? I sure do!)

How does TopCashback stay afloat if they are giving all of the commission to users in rebate form?  They use Google Ads-on their pages clearly marked as ads and noted that they aren’t cash back offers so as not to confuse consumers.

Some examples of ways you can earn cash back online as a TopCashback member:

cheryls-cookies-free-cookie-plus-cash-back-topcashbackcom

 

Snag a free cookie (priced at $5) plus a free $5 gift card, delivered, after cashback.

Visit Cheryl’s through TopCashback, pick and purchase one of its $5 cookies and within seven days $5.50 cashback will have posted in your TopCashback account. The $5.50 covers the cost of the cookie and any sales tax you may possibly be charged, effectively making the cookie a delicious freebie.

Shipping is free plus you can add a complimentary gift message if you’re sending it to someone else (or you can simply send it to yourself).

Within 60-90 days the $5.50 should turn payable and can be credited straight to your checking or PayPal account.

The cookie will arrive in a gift box within a few days of your order and there will also be a $5 gift card for use on future Cheryl’s purchases; so you effectively get a free cookie and $5 to spend on another!

Terms and conditions:

The free cookie offer is available until 23:59 PDT on Friday, August 16, 2013, though is subject to availability and may close early.
The free cookie offer is available to new, current or past Cheryl’s customers.
Only one free cookie is allowed per TopCashback account.
Only one TopCashback account is permitted per person.
The free cookie offer is available for online sales only, for purchases made at Cheryl’s directly after clicking through TopCashback.com.
Transactions should only contain one item to ensure $5.50 cashback is credited to TopCashback accounts: a $5 cookie. If additional items are purchased at the same time, the cashback amount awarded will be 13% of the goods’ cost instead of $5.50.

 

topcashbackcom-target-mascara

Visit Target thru TopCashback and you can actually get a free- with a little bit of cash back- Maybelline Great Lash Mascara!  The mascara is $4.44 and with the $5.50 cash back, you actually end up with $1.06 extra.

Ready to shop? One This Mama Loves reader who is ALSO a TopCashback.com registered member will win $150 Cash!  This is open to both US and Canadian residents although the prizing will be only in USD.

True Blood, Sad Things and Life Insurance.

This post about life insurance is brought to you by our friends at Genworth. Opinions are my own. I  What do True Blood, sad things and life insurance have to do with one another?  Well, they all sparked this particular post, for one.  Plus, on  the latest episode of True Blood…Terry Bellefleur took out a life insurance policy just days before his untimely death.   Yes, I’ve managed to weave a television show about vampires into a really serious and heavy topic that none of us wants to think about. But hear me out.  Terry wanted to be sure that his wife and children were taken care of financially.  Sure, he’s fictitious and he hangs around with fairies and vampires, but he wanted to do what we all want- to make sure that we’re not adding any extra burdens and stress onto those we’re leaving behind.

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Photo Credit: HBO.com

My wonderful husband has had life insurance for many years. I’ve had some myself for a while. But we took a long hard look at things and realized that we were paying an awful lot for not very much coverage.  I mean, I’m home full time with the kids.  If the unthinkable happened, and we know that it could, there’s enough in place that the kids and I would be ok for a while.  That said, if that unthinkable were to happen to me, my husband would still have to go to work.  But we’d have no childcare. I AM the childcare.  That, and my income would be gone.  Poof.  That’s not a great scenario, right?  We don’t have enough life insurance to cover ourselves if the worst thing were to happen. Not a great feeling.  (Please note, this is already in motion to be corrected).

And…I hate to even type these words, but you probably know by now that I will say the hard to say and bring up the awkward on here…if the unimaginably unthinkable were to happen (yes, that’s a phrase, and maybe I did make it up) and something were to happen to one of our little ones, we’re going to now have coverage so that expenses relating to that omg-its-hard-to-breathe-even-thinking-about-it-situation were to happen wouldn’t put us under huge financial stress. I mean, if something happened to one of our children, I’m confident that would be ENOUGH stress and adding financial stressors would only make it worse.

the kids who made me mama

See, that’s the thing. We’ve never thought things all the way through before.  But the fact is, and maybe it’s sad if you don’t believe in God or maybe it’s happy if you DO believe in God, but we all die. Hopefully not until we’ve had a long, fulfilling life with some happiness in it.  But recent events in our very own country prove that bad things happen.  I have friends who have lost a spouse.  I have friends who have lost their child.  I’ve watched people close to my heart and family live through those horrors and it kind of opened our eyes, like it has so many others.

Do you want something to happen that you’d need life insurance? NO.  Never.  No one does.  But it can happen to us. To you. To me. We need to educate ourselves and protect ourselves.  Even we stay home parents need to take a long hard look at why (men and) women are not buying enough life insurance. (That’s a pretty informative article, by the way).

I’m going to close with this: If the Martin family is taking a look at True Blood, sad things AND life insurance, maybe it’s worth you taking a second look too. At least at the life insurance part.  Take a second look, get the sad stuff overwith, and enjoy something fun with your loved ones.
Do you have life insurance? AND do you watch True Blood?

Shop at Kroger and earn points on gas purchases!

This is a sponsored post about how to earn points on gas purchases at Kroger stores!
Up to $1 off per gallon on fuel purchases at Kroger and 10¢ per gallon at participating Shell Stations.
http://www.kroger.com/fuel/Pages/A1.aspx

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3 easy ways to earn fuel points in Kroger stores every day:

  • Shop for Groceries (normal exclusions apply): $1 in Groceries = 1 fuel point.
  • Double fuel points for Gift Card purchases (normal exclusions apply). For example, $25 in Gift Cards = 50 fuel points.
  • Non-federally funded Prescriptions: 1 Prescription = 50 fuel points.

Going shopping, the movies or out to dinner? Get a gift card at Krogers and earn twice as many points towards your gas purchase.
Gift Card purchases count 2X toward your fuel points monthly balance, with the exception of Kroger and Kroger Family of Stores Gift Cards, Green Dot prepaid re-loadable products, MoneyPaks, American Express Variable Load Gift Cards, Visa Variable Load Gift Cards, and MasterCard Variable Load Gift Cards.
Learn more here:  http://www.kroger.com/fuel/Pages/A1.aspx

5 Things You Need to Know Before Buying a Home

This is a sponsored post about things you need to know before buying a home. Opinions, as always, are my own. The following is a list of 5 things that I feel are very important to know before purchasing a home, regardless of where you live.

1. What are you looking for? This may seem like a really easy one, but often, when making that list of needs/requirements, you may find that some of the things you want or need will surprise you.  For us, 2 bathrooms was a must in our second home.  With our first? It didn’t matter so much, because it was just the two of us.  Or so we thought.

2. What amount will the bank approve you for?  This number is kind of key.  I would recommend getting your financial ducks in a row as much as you are able to before you go to the bank for pre-approval.  BUT…before you start doing cartwheels at the number you are preapproved for, please, PLEASE know #3, listed below.

3. Know your monthly income AND your monthly expenses.  The number you get preapproved for does NOT factor in your expenses, and what living costs.  For example, you may be approved for a $400,000 loan based on your income, but when you factor in utilities, food, gas, car payments, auto insurance, homeowners insurance.  That $400,000 seems like a lot heftier price tag when you remove your living expenses from your income.  It often IS a huge price tag and, in my opinion, why so very many people in our country are so house poor.  If your household monthly income is $2700, and your mortgage will cost $2350, are you going to be able to cover the utilities, taxes, insurance, food, gas, clothes, etc, that you need to live on top of that?  Not likely.

My best advice to you is to sit down with your income and expenses as they are now, figure out what they are, and figure out a number you can comfortably pay for your mortgage THAT way.  Once you know that, plus whatever money you are putting down on a home, you can have a better feel of what price range to start your house hunting in.    Just because the bank says you can afford something doesn’t mean you really can.

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4. Get an inspection.  I can’t say this enough.  When you do find that home you want to make an offer on, get the inspection. Use someone licensed. Make sure the roof can withstand heavy snows like ours does.

5. Research the area you want to move to.  What’s the current mill rate in the town or city?  What kind of services are included with your tax payments in town?  If trash pickup isn’t offered by your town, you may very well have to factor those costs in to your budget. If you have children and the schools aren’t what you want for them, paying tuition for private school is also going to affect your budget.

Do your homework.  Articles like this about having emergency savings one can further help you with your research before you start the home buying process- many experts feel that having 6 months of bills in savings is key and we happen to agree with that school of thought.  It’s like an emergency safety net.

There are many resources available to help you find out about mortgage insurance options- Genworth financial has a very comprehensive section about purchasing mortgage insurance. You may find this article about planning your first move to be helpful if you are a first time buyer.

What are your home buying tips? 

Keeping Family Safe

This post about keeping family safe is brought to you by Lifelock. Summer is almost offically here, just a few more days of school for the kids and we’ll be free! It also means lots of long days outside in the sun and swimming in cholorine- all things that can be harmful if we don’t take steps to protect our family. Some of the simple things we can do to keep our family safe in summer months are applying sunscreen frequently, keeping everyone well hydrated, buying hats that everyone wants to wear, rashguard and UV protective clothing, finding ways to stay cool and not get heat exhaustion. Aside from the fun in the sun, I’ll also be working all summer- frequently, using wi-fi when the kids have swim and tennis lessons. Unfortunately, our utility and mortgage companies don’t let us take the summer off, so I’ll be working on the go- and that means I won’t necessarily have the security I have at home.
lifelock offers 5 points of protection

That’s why I’m glad I’m a LifeLock member – Lifelock offers a suite of services (including credit monitoring) that work together to protect your identity from various risks including credit fraud. I can do what I need to do for my blog and have peace of mind that I’ve got some protection, all while watching my kids at swim and tennis lessons.
This video is a really great illustration of just what LifeLock can do for us to protect our family, and very in tune with today’s lifestyle and social media usage.
With social media so prominent in our world, especially for me as a blogger, I need to know that someone’s kind of “got my back” so to speak. This video captures so much of what can be shared- and found- online through seemingly innocent shared information. I’ve learned not to “check in” places unless I have to- While my birthday may be available on some social sites, my year of birth is not. I do know there are probably other things I don’t even realize are “out there” but that’s why I’m a LifeLock member- I have been for almost a year and will continue to be in the future. I like the idea of someone looking out for me, for my family. Part of keeping my family safe is keeping ME safe— and our identity.

What do you do to keep your family safe in summer? Are you a LifeLock member?

FTC DISCLOSURE This Mama Loves aims to provide unbiased editorials. However, I wish to disclose that from time to time I may receive free products or other compensation from companies for blogger reviews.

Protecting and storing your important documents with BestBequest

This is a sponsored post about safely and privately storing your important documents, pictures, and videos, With all of the natural (and sadly, unnatural) disasters that happen in the world these days, having a way to keep our important papers and documents is more important than ever. It used to be the safety deposit box at the bank, kept safely in a vault….then home safes became popular….but none of these is infallible. It’s all at risk. Wasn’t there an entire house that fell into a sinkhole? No fire protection can keep a safe from falling into mud to never be seen again, unfortunately. The folks at BestBequest.com have come up with a way to help consumers protect their legacy in a digital manner, safe from natural and manmade disasters. They’ve created a virtual vault called the LegacyVault, within which people can have their own digital safety deposit box and protect their assets, documents, papers, memories and more.
storing your important documents
My parents were very thorough in their plans and wishes for their care if the need arose. They have always been diligent about storing things in a safe place, and done the best they could to have others aware of their wishes. I can tell you without hesitation that this service would definitely have been something my dad signed up for- he was in the computer world long before it was mainstream and he understood how much benefit the internet was going to offer to consumers long before I even had an email address.
BestBequest allows you to plan ahead for life changing events by providing a place to safely store personal documents, pictures, videos and more. The site also allows you to determine who would get access to your digital assets (i.e. – Facebook, email and personal finance accounts).

This may not seem like a big thing, at least the social media aspect, but a friend of mine recently shared with me that her deceased uncle’s girlfriend has been using his Facebook account 18 months after his death to chat with friends and play Facebook games- refusing to create her own account and not seeing that using his account for this is wrong. It’s been very hard for her whole family because they have mutual friends. Given that social media isn’t going to go away anytime soon, we need to have plans for things in place.
storing your important documents with bestbequest
With the LegacyVault

Account Activation – Our system to ensure the Users information is released to the designated people at the correct time and not before.

Bypass System – Allows for one person to activate the User’s account.

Friends & Family System – Relies on friends and family members to activate the User’s account.

Account Activators – The people the User has designated to activate the User’s account – they cannot see any account data; they just activate the account.

Account Trustees – The person(s) the User has designated to receive the reports after the account has been activated. Account trustees cannot be Account Activators.

Connecticut is one of only five states that have created laws governing digital asset management after death. Isn’t that amazing? I have a feeling we’ll be seeing more and more laws governing digital asset management and more after death in the next several years.

Would you utilize a service like this?

Why on earth do I need life insurance?

Why on earth do *I* need life insurance, when I’ve been a stay home mom for just about 8 years now? I haven’t been a source of income for our family, so why would life insurance be something we need? Thanks to my Ambassadorship with Genworth, who sponsors this series of posts,  I’ve been learning more and more about important financial issues (long term care, mortgage insurance, caregivers, women and finances and more), I’ve learned that just because I haven’t been a “breadwinner” in our family doesn’t mean I should not have  a life insurance policy.

3 kids are 3 good reasons to get life insurance

Photo credit: Jennifer Mirock Photography www.mirockphotography.com

This is another one of the conversations that we need to have with our loved ones that isn’t going to be full of warm fuzzies, fun, or necessarily comfortable to have.  There are many articles that speak specifically about having stay at home parents carry life insurance policies. I won’t lie, I had no idea.  Obviously I am well aware of the contributions made by the parent who stays home full time.  I’ve been that parent. But it never occurred to me that those contributions, when gone, would have such a huge impact.

If something were to happen to me, all of the things I do would be left for my husband to do- which means more time doing things, more stress, for HIM. It would also mean he’d have even less time to be with our children.  Obviously, in the likelihood that something did happen to me, there would be grief and shock and mourning for my husband and all three of the kids- which to us, is what he’d want to be focusing on- trying to help the kids learn to live with the changes in their lives, and to learn to be a family of four without me there. It’s not pretty to think about. It’s not fun. I get very anxious when I think about it- but that’s why it’s important to have plans made and life insurance in place. Then the costs of a funeral, childcare, housekeeping, etc. are at least in part taken care of so that it’s not an additional burden on what will likely be a very overstressed family.

As a mom, I feel like my job is to work myself out of a job (paraphrased by a very wise mom named Laurie I know)…if I do my mom job right, I’ll get my kids to be strong, independent adults who can function without me by their side.  Part of that “job” has to be to take care of everything that I’m able to do- and that does include the not fun parts of life.  The sad, the scary.  The unknown.  Be prepared, and hopefully never use the life insurance.  The alternative scares me because I’ll be leaving my family unprepared.  Now that I know how important my contributions are on a financial level, I feel like it’s my responsibility to have that life insurance in place to cover those contributions so I don’t leave my family in a mess.

Do you have life insurance? Do you agree that stay home parent should have life insurance as well?

This post is brought to you by our friends at Genworth.  Opinions are my own.