Category: Living Large

Stacked Discount Shopping For the WIN! – $10 Bonus Cash!

Stacked Discount Shopping For the WIN! – $10 Bonus Cash!

Do NOT buy the 2018 Entertainment book until you read this!

Don’t get me wrong, I love the Entertainment book.  There are tons of restaurant deals on there for 50% off all over town.  My parents started buying it when I was a kid, and I’ve been addicted to it ever since.  But, there’s an even better way to save all that, and I aims to tell you about it.


Here’s my Golden Rule of Frugal Shopping: Always Shop At a Discount!

Back in 2010, I became a member of a site that shares a portion of their affiliate income back to the shopper. I thought it was pretty novel then, and they’re still around! I know, when you’re considering doing business with someone, it’s always a little sketchy when that new “Order Your Contact Lenses Online” store has only been around for 5 months.

So let’s say you’re interested in shopping at Macy’s for something, you go to this site I’m about to share with you, find the store at which you want discounts, click the affiliate link to the store, and you get cash back into your account, after you’ve made your order. I’ve saved about $500 over the years. I’ve started shopping a lot more at Amazon, which doesn’t really give a discount through these guys. But Macy’s? Sure… you can get 6% of your cost rebated to you.


The Savings Really Stack Up!


And it stacks!

You can stack this with your miles/points card. The 6% rebate doesn’t come off of your purchase price.  It comes back to you as a rebate, so your purchase price appears as full price and get all your miles for the purchase.

Let’s say you’re traveling for work. Hotels.com absolutely kicks butt for finding hotels at a cheap rate.

When I was traveling to New York City for work as an freelance consultant, where my hotel was burdened into my hourly rate, I’d click their affiliate link for Hotels.com, book the travel, get my Hotels.com rebate form for booking 3 or more nights from my Entertainment book, and book the whole thing on a miles credit card. I ended up paying so much less than I would have without stacking those savings.

  • Full Price of the Hotel on the rewards card
  • 6% Rebate by using their affiliate link
  • $20 rebate for booking 3 nights

Sure… but where can I shop?

Oh, and that contact lens example above? 1-800 Contacts – 5% rebate.
The Entertainment coupon book?  A 17.5% rebate!! (and a free shipping coupon code)
You can link your credit card to In-Store savings at Brick and Mortar places. Like Bed, Bath, and Beyond… When you’re getting new towels to use that 20% off coupon they’re always mailing out, you will get another 2% rebate when you use your linked rewards credit card.


It’s actually pretty amazing how many places have discounts running here. It’s pretty much everywhere you’re probably already shopping. So, instead of giving you affiliate links to high priced products and trying to convince you how awesome they are, here’s my advice and plea to you:

Sign Up At Ebates and Save!

If you actually buy stuff through their links after signing up through that link, I get $5 and YOU get $10. At a minimum, if you never use them again after buying the Entertainment book, you get $10 for using them once! This is insane! Now, they’re hoping you’re as excited about their deals as I am, and you’ll just keep buying stuff through them. They share the wealth, and they just keep making their affiliate cash hand over fist because of their profit sharing process. If they weren’t so confident you’d love their deals, they wouldn’t be willing to give you $10 for just signing up.

Now that you know about them, it’s silly to ever shop the normal way again! Am I right?!





Achieve Your Goals with a Modern Twist on Ancient Greek Wisdom

Achieve Your Goals with a Modern Twist on Ancient Greek Wisdom

Having mentored quite a few folks in the art of leadership, I’ve found that metaphors are extremely helpful.  By attaching a parallel physical or familiar concept to abstract skills being developed, it’s easier to draw corollary conclusions, paths, and jumpstart success by realizing what does and doesn’t work in the more familiar or concrete metaphorical concept.

One of the mantras I follow as a life policy comes from ancient wisdom, “Moderation in all things”.  This timeless instruction comes from the inscription Meden Agan (μηδὲν ἄγαν) [Nothing in excess] in the temple of Apollo at Delphi, where kings would seek the wisdom of the Gods.

Temple of Apolllo at Delphi

The Mind-Body Link

It is fairly common knowledge that yo-yo dieting actually has deleterious effects, resulting in weight gain over the long run. If you’re not familiar with the concept, it’s when someone goes on a weight loss diet, then stops, then starts again, then stops again, and so forth. What happens is that the period of reduced caloric intake pushes the body to believe it’s starving. The body responds by reducing metabolism, and weight loss plateaus (unless you go full anorexia – never go full anorexia!) After a while of this “Gotta lose weight at all costs!” attitude, then plateauing, it’s hard to keep up this sacrifice when there’s no obvious gain. So, after the restricted calorie window ends and caloric intake goes back to normal, the calories are now more impactful, since the body is now acclimated to fewer calories.

Similarly, in exercise, when performing the same actions again and again, such as running marathons, fitness gains plateau, as the body recognizes these patterns and becomes more efficient at what is now normal.  According to Dr. Arnold Lee, MD of San Francisco, “When you do the same activity all the time, your body gets used it and becomes very efficient. Eventually, that adaptation will mean that you burn fewer calories even when you’re doing the same amount of exercise.” Taken even further, and the repeated motion can start wearing down joints and connective tissue, and we’re back to deleterious effects of excess.

In both of these situations, a “good thing” becomes a “bad thing” when taken too far or for too long.  I believe the same to be true in the pursuit of happiness.  For example, it makes me very happy not to go to work as a wage slave. I might be able to give that up for a year or so and live off my savings, but after the money is all gone, what will I do? At some point, I might find I need some money for fundamental needs, such as food, shelter, gas,  etc.  And then, I have to work again, but what work will I do, when I’ve been out of my lucrative field for the past year.  How will I explain that gap on my resume, assuming I’m even given the chance?

In the pursuit of wealth, I can scrimp and save every penny, and spend my time clipping coupons, visiting deal sites, and but what does this do to my overall health and happiness, if I take this to too much of an extreme?  Most coupons are for crap food that fewer and fewer people are eating, so these products need additional incentive to keep the product moving.  So, I stock up on garbage food that cost me next to nothing?  What if I become so conditioned to not spending money, that I don’t enjoy my life while I still have it?  What good is a huge bank account at 40, if I die at 45 because of the stresses I’ve imposed on my body and mind during that time?  What good is “retirement” at 65, if I’m only going to live 5 more years?

Proven Solutions

Yo-yo dieting fails because of the mind-body issue associated with deprivation combined with the body acclimating to new caloric levels.  The “slow and steady” approach with everything in moderation results in solid weight loss that sticks.  Increase exercise, decrease intake (many different perspectives on which intakes to reduce and how much), and slowly, but surely, the weight will come off.  Come on, you didn’t get fat in one month, did you?  How long did you think it will take to lose it?

In Personal Wealth terms, though, this seems like the “Work Your Whole Life for a Pension” plan.  And we’re back to “What good is it to retire at 65, so I can die 5 years later?”  There has a be a better way, right?

Hacking the System

I’ve often used this metaphor when a client attempts to use “averages” to make decisions, but completely ignores the persistent huge swing back and forth.  If your head is in the oven, but your feet are in the freezer, “on average” you’re comfortable, right?

If slow and steady wins the race, is there some way to turn up the heat (as it were) on the process, and still keep an “average” that results in expedited progress?

The Cycle Diet takes our natural metabolic processes, and turns them in our favor.  Without going into all the detail, periods of reduced caloric intake create the weight loss, but then there’s a weekly binge to throw the pattern off.  This doesn’t just keep your body from thinking it’s starving, it actually triggers what’s called situational hypermetabolism.  Quite a few programs are now leveraging the findings of the Cycle Diet.  The Four-Hour Body and Paleo diet, for example, similarly work this same angle, though each works a bit differently.  The key point is that the program becomes more effective, at least partly, because rather than feeling deprived, there’s a reward waiting at the end of the tunnel that makes each day of “suffering” a bit more tolerable.  Then on cheat day, you can eat that piece of cake or have that date night at the fancy Italian restaurant.  In fact, if you’ve been having a hard time making time for that special moment to rekindle a mature relationship, having a cheat day makes you put date night on the calendar.  Mine is Saturday, and we use that as our chance to visit the restaurants we review and blog about. We can have the decadent dessert, appetizers, and the works to get a full appreciation of the menu and still be on program.

If you haven’t heard of the P90 Workout, it’s an exercise regimen that works for muscles just like the Cycle diet works for the metabolism. Through a process called “muscle confusion”, the efficiencies that Dr. Lee warns us about are averted.  New muscle groups and movements are rotated through so that you get a complete workout yet the plateauing phenomenon is bypassed.  The boredom of constantly Sweating to the Oldies or Tae Bo’ing to the same DVD for months on end is also avoided.

As Yogi Berra said, “90% of [the game] is mental”, and this is the same with any program requiring you to change your behaviors, especially if it involves some form of austerity, such as a cash fast.

Hacking Your Psyche – For The Win

If doing without is just too hard to stick with, and all that sacrifice results in a backlash of horrific eating, spending, or loafing — maybe we can learn some lessons from the successes in the Cycle Diet and P90 regimen.

Here’s an idea:  After a month of cutting out fancy coffees, dining out, and cigarettes, use half of that big chunk of savings to take a day trip.  Make it a reward for all that hard work.  Knowing what’s waiting, after success, might just make it easier to say “no” to those expensive habits.  Then, after those habits are broken, the motivational tool becomes less and less necessary, at the pace that makes cents.

Maybe progress won’t be as fast as going on a 90-day cash fast.  But, if you don’t make it through the cash fast, it becomes easier to label yourself a failure, and just give up on the whole thing – the dreams, the goals, and the effort required.  Slap on the shackles and head back on into wage slavery. It’s a gilded cage, right… that’s not SO bad…

Being able to set goals at which you can succeed are key to accomplishing anything long term.  The first time I physically fasted, I had no idea what to expect.  The same thing for the first time I ran a 5k, then 10k.  I’m sure you see where this is going.  Little wins create confidence that turn into the big wins.

Have you found a way to hack yourself and wire yourself to win in some other area?   Do you think you can leverage what you’ve learned about yourself to win in the new and scary place?  Share the lessons you’ve learned in the comments below.






Photo Credits

One of my key aspirations is to express my creativity through capturing the beauty of nature through photography and videography.  All of the photos on this site were taken by me, The Happy Camper.


Because my wife and I still work for our wage slave masters, while I viciously attack the concept of such servitude in this medium, I will use a pen name and refrain from being directly visible in any of the photos or videos.  This is because “the man” isn’t terribly interested in having people work for them who aren’t in it for the “long haul.”  Just as companies can fire someone when it’s right for them, I reserve the right to quit my job when it’s right for me, and would prefer not to gain any unwanted attention from the overlords until then.

My Gear

Starting out:

Current Gear:


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Affiliate Links

You can help me achieve my dream purchasing any products you would normally buy from Amazon using my affiliate link. The Amazon Affiliate program allows content producers (like me) to earn a small commission for any customers referred to Amazon.  The cool thing is that the customers don’t pay any more for their purchases than they normally would. This allows viewers and readers to help support content creators without incurring any extra expense.

Thank you for your support of my happy! Any money that I earn from these ads, whether from advertising or Amazon Affiliate sales, allows me to focus more on creating content and take my steps to escape from wage slavery.

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