Thursday, December 31, 2009

Its that time of year again....

Happy New Year to everyone!! Its time for your new years resolution again. Most people give up their resolutions by March so keep your goals in the realm of something you can accomplish, don't set out to take on the world.

The top goals for new years for most people are to stop smoking, loose weight, get more organized and reconnect with old friends. Maybe these little gems will help you stay on least until April.

If your going to quit smoking that's wonderful!! It can be hard but the savings are tremendous, I not only saved on what I spent for cigarettes when I quit 2 years ago, but also saved about 1/2 of my health insurance premium as well, the there were also less trips to the Dr. for bronchial related problems. I have saved an estimate of $4350.70 in just 2 years, that's a vacation!! I quit using Chantex that my Dr. prescribed, if this is something you would like to try there's a $30 coupon to bring to the pharmacist on the lower section of their web page. If you would like to try without a trip to your Doctor then give Nicorette a try, they have a $5.00 coupon available as well as information about their quit rewards. There is also the Nicoderm CQ patch, they have a $7.00 coupon as well as a free sample available by mail on the front page of their web site and they also have a rewards program.

If you want to start loosing weight for 2010 there are some places that are offering discounts for their programs, such as Weight Watchers, who are waiving their registration fee through March (the offer is near the bottom of the page), Nutrisystem, which will give you two weeks free when you sign up and Jenny Craig, who is running a special of loose 20 pounds for $20 plus food. Of course to be true to myself I am including the totally free site of where you can find great recipes and information as well as exercise information, all without the cost of the name brand plans.

Looking to get organized in the new year? Two of the best tools for organization is a good set of shelves and a garbage can. If your cleaning out your attic, basement or store room and find something you haven't used in two years set it aside to give to a friend or donate, if its not in good shape throw it away. I have a ton of things I put in the store room vowing to repair then never do, they take up way too much valuable space so I try to throw them away or fix them immediately when I find them in there. Right now The Container Store is having their annual sale, 30% off all their Elfa shelf systems for you closets and storage areas, there is also a coupon code of WR4809 that will save you 20% off any non sale items.

Have you lost contact with your friend from high school or college and want to reconnect? Why not make it really mean something special by doing it with a beautiful card. Now days it can be so easy to send an email or make a phone call or even a text; but its so much more personal to send a card with a note from your heart. You can find some amazing cards and stationary at Lemon Tree Cards, Shelley has every card you can think of and if she doesn't, she will make it for you. If you need a return address stamp or just a stamp to make your envelopes stand out in the bunch, you can contact Bernie at The US Rubber Stamp Shop and she will get you what your looking for, if you are looking for something that you can't find on the site be sure to call the shop.

Hope this gets everyone on the right path for your new years resolution. Thanks for your readership in 2009, be sure to spread the word in 2010.


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Seasonal Survival Savings...

So by now everyone has heard about the BIG snow that we got over the Christmas holiday in the Midwest and most other areas of the country and I thought this would be a good time to remind everyone about what simple things they should have in their car for emergencies. I know now days most folks leave the house and assume the cell phone is all they need but that's not always the case and its better to be prepared. You can use an old back pack, a large canvas bag or just a cardboard box for all the items you need. Be sure to store it in the back seat of the car or the trunk only if you have a pass through from the back seat in case you can't get to the trunk for some reason. The minimum items you should have on hand include:

  • Your winter wear, (coat, hat, gloves/mittens and a scarf) ~ If its time for a new winter coat Herbergs has their after Christmas sale going on with 50% - 60% off of outerwear as well as a coupon code for an additional 20% off your purchase. Coupon code AFTERDEC1226

  • A blanket ~ Domestications currently has very nice fleece blankets for $19.99 plus you get a free throw with the purchase so you could have 2 cover ups in the car for you and a passenger. (To get the free throw you need to make sure the blanket and the trow are both in your cart.)

  • 1st aid kit ~ REI Outlet has a nice one available for $16.93 and if your an REI member you will get cash back for all your purchases at the end of the year.

  • Some non perishable foods, like breakfast bars or crackers, you can find all these at your local grocery market, you may be able to find coupons for your items at

  • Matches (the kind you can light with any surface).

  • An empty coffee can

  • A candle (a no drip one is the best).

  • A flashlight ~ Make sure its a good sized one, the real little ones don't put out much light. Outdoor World has a great Mag Light on sale for $19.99.

  • Extra batteries ~ Batteries Plus has a 10% off coupon code that is good online until 12/31.09, use code BPNS09.

  • A little tool kit or at least an all purpose tool ~ Amazon has a nice Leatherman tool on sale right now for $66.71, a savings of $31.74.

  • Jumper cables ~ Rocky Mountain ATV has a very nice set that comes in its own nylon carrying bag to keep it from tangling up in your car. They also are offering 10% off your order with coupon code 96639 and orders under $99.00 are charged a flat shipping fee of $7.00.

  • A shovel ~ Emergency Essentials has a nice tri-fold shovel that has a serrated edge that can really help in clearing away snow, it also comes in its own storage bag. They also have a lot of other items that would be handy both in the car and in your home. They currently have a couple of coupon codes, outdoors for 10% off your order and newstarget for free shipping.

  • Tire chains ~ You can check out the supply at, they have a 125% low price guarantee and they also have a listing by state of the tire chain laws.

  • A red or orange piece of cloth to tie to your antenna so emergency workers can find you easier.

Its also a good idea in icy places to have a bag of cat litter or sand to use for traction. If you plan on traveling with your pet be sure you have some extra food for them as well as a blanket, it can get cold for everyone.

If you don't feel like putting all these things together yourself you can buy a AAA ready made kit with as many as 72 items in it at eSafety Supplies. They also carry a lot of other items that you may be interested in individually for both your car and your home in case of emergencies.

Remember, if you go off the road in the snow its important to stay with your vehicle, most hypothermia cases happen when people leave their cars and try to walk to find help. If you can't see a place to go then stay where you are.

Have a great week everyone and stay safe.


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Shipping your shopping free............

Today is free shipping day at over 700 retailers!!! If you haven't gotten what you need for the holidays yet then this is the place to check out. Note that a lot of the retailers are offering the free shipping on orders over a certain target amount so be sure you meet the requirements. You can find a list of all the stores with free shipping at

It pays to check for coupons and compare prices, two great sites for this are RetailMeNot for coupons and TheFind for comparison shopping. If you like TheFind it is also available in App form for iPhones.

Hope this helps with the holiday rush, have a great weekend everyone!


Sunday, December 13, 2009

Wining to save some cash......

No matter if your on your way to a holiday get together or having folks over to your place, its always nice to have a great bottle of wine. Not a lot of people know about the Wine and Spirits rebates so this should help you a little this holiday season.

Beringer Wine is offering a rebate of up to $12.00, 2 UPCs = $3.00, 4 UPCs = $7.00 and 6 UPCs = $12.00. You will need to send the UPCs from the bottles together with your cash register receipt dated no later than 1/31/2010 and the completed rebate form that should be available in the store where you purchased the wine. Must be received by 2/15/2010. Mail these items to:

Beringer Wine Offer Program #23100203

Box 4256008

Del Rio, TX 78842

Beaulieu Vineyard Costal Estates Wine is offering rebates up to $25.00, 1 UPC from a 750 ml bottle = $1.00, 3 UPCs = $5.00, 6 UPCs = $12.00 and 12 UPCs = $25.00. Send the UPCs from the bottle(s) together with the dated cash register receipt dated before 1/31/2010 and a completed rebate form that should come with the bottles (if you don't see the hang tag on a bottle ask the clerk in the store if they have a form), send them to:

BV Costal Estates Wine DCE-5683

Box 426008

Del Rio, TX 78842

Edna Valley Wines is offering rebates up to $$25.00, 1 UPC from a 750 ml bottle = $1.00, 3 UPCs = $5.00, $6.00 for $12.00 and 12 UPCs for $25.00. Send the UPCs together with a cash register receipt dated no later than 1/31/2010 and a rebate form from that can be found on the wine bottles to:

Edna Valley Wine Save up to $25 Rebate

Box 426008

Del Rio, TX 78842

Robert Mondavi is offering rebates up to $50.00 for the purchase of their Robert Mondavi Private Selection, Robert Mondavi Winery or Solaire by Robert Mondavi, 1 UPC from a 750 ml of any of the three included in the offer, = $2.50, 3 UPCs = $9.00, 6 UPCs = $20.00 and 12 UPCs = $50.00. Mail the UPCs together with a cash register receipt dated no later than 1/31/2010 and the rebate form found on the bottles of select wine bottles to:

Robert Mondavi Holiday $50 Rebate

Box 753923

El Paso, TX 88575

Black Box Wine is offering a $5.00 rebate. Send the UPC from a 3L box box of Black Box Wine together with a dated cash register receipt dated no later than 2/28/2010 and a rebate from that should be available where you purchase the wine. Mail together to:

Black Box Rebate Offer BBXNA10080

Box 751944

El Paso, TX 88575

Fetzer Wine is offering a $3.00 rebate. Send the UPC from a 750 ml or larger bottle of Fetzer wine together with a cash register receipt for the wine and any produce over $4.00 dated no later than 5/31/2010 and a rebate form that can be found on a bottle hang tag. This particular offer is limited to AK AZ CA CO CT DC DE FL GA IA ID IL KS MA MD MI MT ND NE NH NM NV OH OK OR PA RI SC SD TN VA VT WA WI and WY. Mail all the required items to:

Fetzer Wine / Brown Forman Corp Offer #328mn362

Box 426008

Del Rio, TX 78842

Please note that all the web links will require a date of birth so they can verify you are over 21 years old. The web sites do not have the rebate forms but they do have ways to contact the companies, they may be willing to send you a rebate form if you can not find one in the store where you normally purchase wine.

There are also rebates for other alcohol products that I would be happy to post if any of you are interested, there are some for various Irish creams, Whiskey, beer and more, just let me know if you would like that information as well.

I hope every one has a happy and safe holiday and will remember to drink responsibly.


Thursday, December 10, 2009

The art of giving and getting....

Tis the season for hustle and bustle, but it doesn't have to be stressful and expensive. If you have folks that are hard to shop for one of the best things to give are gift cards. They fit perfectly in a card, no gift wrap required. The best part is that there are a lot of places this year offering gift cards free with a purchase of either merchandise or other gift cards. That means that if its a store you like you can keep the bonus for yourself or you can send the windfall on as a gift to someone else and make your dollar go even further.

If you live by a CVS Pharmacy, they currently have a promotion going, for every $25 worth of gift card by Email (eGift Card) purchased, the purchaser receives a $5 eGift Card, they will send you just one gift card based on your total purchase, so if you spend $25.00 you will get a $5.00 E-card, and if you spend $150.00 on gift cards you will get a $30.00 E-card.

Best Buy is currently running a promotion on their DVDs, if you buy 5 DVDs totaling at least $50.00 from their extensive list they will give you a $25.00 gift card.

Got an outdoor person on your list? L.L. Bean is offering a free $10.00 gift card with a purchase of $25.00 or more, note here that you will not get more for spending more so your best bet is to stick to the $25.00. The $10.00 gift certificate is only good until February 16,2010.

Applebees is offering a $10.00 bonus card when you spend $50.00 on gift cards, but you can not buy them on line, you need to go into the store.

If you live in the Duluth area our local Black Woods / Black Water restaurants are offering a deal if you are a member of their diner club. Buy a $100 gift certificate and they will give you an additional $25.00 gift certificate. You can mix and match these which is really nice. I got the 1st card to Black Woods because I know we love it and we go quite a bit with my niece, and I got the $25.00 card to Black Water because we haven't been there and have wanted to try it, this will get us to go and it will be close to free.

There are a few ways to get gift cards at below cost. First you can always check eBay, however there are even less expensive venues out there. My friend Bernie found a site I hadn't seen before that I am very excited to order from its called Plastic Jungle and they ship for free! If you have ever used it yourself I would love to hear about it. There is also the Gift Card Rescue, where you can sell, exchange or buy discounted cards, they also have free shipping. Also, if you live near a Costco they sell gift cards for all sorts of places at below face value. (Super saver tip: If you can get a discount Costco gift card and use it to purchase discounted gift cards to other stores you can save up to 60%!)

Finally, if your looking for a great way to present your gift instead of just popping it in an envelope then check out the Gift Card Girlfriend for a ton of wonderful and creative ideas!

Hope you are all having a wonderful week!


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Saving dough…

Its that time of year again, time to get out the mixing bowls and baking sheets and start on our holiday cookies. Whether your in a cookie exchange or just making goodies for your family you can always find a way to make your dough go further.

Nestle has a holiday recipe guide available for free while supplies last at their web site, as well as free e-cards.

A few Christmas’ ago….OK so maybe its more like 10.…my neices made something they called puppy chow and brought it to a potluck at my sister-in-laws. Sure looked like dog food but it tasted wonderful and its so easy to make and share.

Chex Puppy Chow:

9 cups Chex cereal, (any kind works)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Put the semisweet chocolate chips, peanut butter, and butter into a 1 quart microwavable safe bowl. Microwave uncovered on high for 1 minute. Stir until everything is melted. If stirring doesn't melt everything, place in the microwave on high for 15-30 seconds. Be sure to stir until it's well mixed and smooth. After it's well mixed, add vanilla. Pour Chex cereal into a large bowl. Pour the chocolate, peanut butter, and butter mixture over the Chex cereal. Use a spatula and mix until all the Chex are covered in the mixture. Toss like a salad to coat entirely. Pour the powdered sugar into a large zip lock bag (2 gallon). Add the Chex. Shake until all the Chex are well coated. While all the Chex are in the bag, clean out the original bowl so no chocolate residue is left inside. Dry the bowl. Add mixture from bag and place into the bowl. If the Chex are not fully coated with powdered sugar, add more powdered sugar to bowl and cover with cling wrap. Shake until well coated. To make for gifts put the mix in glass jars with festive labels.

Coupons for this recipe:
$1.00 off 2 boxes of Chex at the Betty Crocker web site.
Nestle Toll House chocolate chip coupon at the Nestle web site.

Not the baking type? Not a problem! King Arthur Flour has great mixes available, they even have a mix for dog biscuits so you can be Fido’s hero too! They currently have a great deal going, 15% off when you buy 5 mixes, no coupon code needed. These mixes also make great gifts for someone who loves to bake but has limited time.

Don’t even want to bother with mixes? That’s not a problem either. Pillsbury has coupons for their pre-made cookies, just heat and eat. The best part is you can decorate them any way you want and make them look homemade.

Remember, the cost of homemade is a lot less than store bought, on the average a dozen sugar cookies cost you only .95 cents when made at home, that same dozen jumps to $1.45 per dozen if you use a pre-made refrigerated dough and jumps again to a whopping $4.25 per dozen from a bakery.

If your planning on doing your baking over the weekend be sure to check your local grocers ads for savings on the things you will need. You can check out the Sunday paper inserts early at

Hope everyone is having a great week so far!