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!


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Its in the cards....Part three

Yesterday I had some problems with the blogger program dropping some of my loyalty programs links so I have included them in today's information. I am also posting the information about discount programs that offer savings up front but often are not free to join. Its important with discount cards that charge fees to know if your going to use it enough to make back the fee over the course time until the next fee is due. Barns and Noble for example charges a $25 annual fee, for me this is not a problem, I can usually make up the $25 in under 2 months, but if your not an avid reader this program would not work.

Priority Club which has Holiday Inn Hotels and a few others like the Indigo Hotels which I am looking forward to trying sometime when I can't find a Kimpton Hotel where I am staying.

MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas

Every major US airline has a reward program and it can be hard to sort through all the information to find the one that's best for you, especially since they all partner with different hotel chains, car rentals and some even with cruise lines and department stores. There is a web site dedicated to helping you find the one that is right for you, its called

Discount Cards:

Barns and Noble again, there is a $25 annual fee for the card so make sure you can save at least that much per year. The discount card also works in the coffee shop section so be sure to use it for any snacks as well.

F.Y.E. you can only join at the brick and mortar store but you can use the discounts on line, there is a $25 per year fee.

PetCo is free to sign up.

PetSmart is also free to join.

Starbucks Coffee, they have several levels to their program, each offering different discounts. The cards are free at the base level but there is also a Gold level which has a $10 fee for the year.

Sears offers a program for all their Craftsmen products.

GNC Nutrition stores, there is a $15 fee for this card and it is very limited in its use.

There are quite a few different grocery stores that offer discounts, in the Midwest where I live there are only has a handful that offer any type of frequent buyer program, but if you have one near you its worth checking out, they are all free to join to the best of my knowledge.

This will be the last blog until after Thanksgiving to give me time to prepare the feast. I am going to try to make as much from scratch as possible, frozen fruit salad, cream of carrot soup, zucchini bread, pumpkin pie and cranberry sauce all from scratch, hopefully the house will still be standing when I am done.

Hope you all have a fun and safe Thanksgiving, and for those of you heading out for Black Friday I wish you all the best.


Saturday, November 21, 2009

Its in the cards....Part two

As I promised yesterday, today is the continuation of reward cards because the list was rather long.

There are some considerations with all reward cards:

* Is it free? Although most are free, some rewards programs charge membership fees to enter. If you're considering one with a fee, make sure you've weighed its benefits carefully and will be able to get out of it what you paid to be a member.

* How easy is it to earn points? Earning points shouldn’t be complicated. Find out how much you need to spend in order to earn a point. The easier it is to earn, the faster you get your reward.

* Do the points take to expire? In some programs, the points you earn will expire after a certain date. Before you sign up, find out how long points take to expire. If you have a few sites that have expiration dates it’s a good idea to put a reminder in a calendar so you won’t forfeit them.

* What can I earn with my points? It’s important that the type of rewards you can redeem with your points are of value to you, if you get a free steak but are a vegetarian then that’s not going to be of value to you. Personally I don’t fly so the rewards for miles don’t interest me, however a lot of the miles can be converted to other items, be sure to check if you can interchange things you don’t want for things you do want.

* How do I track my points? Your points should be easy to track either online or by phone.

I hope that these will help you on your quest for the perfect holiday gift this season!

AMC Movies

Regal Cinemas


ACE Hardware

True Value Hardware

Auto Zone

Tops Grocery store

Staples, Inc

Office Depot

Block Buster movie rental

Max and Erma's Restaurants

Blackwoods Restaurants are local to Northern Minnesota and there is a one time $10 fee which you get back at the time of purchase as a gift certificate.

TGI Friday's Restaurants

Lawry's Restaurants, there is a $25 enrollment fee but you get a $25 gift certificate back right away.

Lettuce Entertain You has a wide option of places to dine, here is the full listing of their restaurants.


Kimpton Hotels

Marriott Hotels


I am having some problems with the Blogger program so tomorrow I will post some additional reward sites as well as discount cards, which are different because you get the savings up front instead of having to wait for a reward.


Friday, November 20, 2009

Its in the cards…..

I was going to post about Black Friday, but because Black Friday is as exciting to me as the Black Plague was in the middle ages I will post something that can maybe make those sales and the rest of the season a little bit sweeter.

I can’t begin to count the number of times I have been waiting in a check out line with my loyalty card in hand waiting my turn when I have heard the cashier say to the person in front of me “Are you a member of our rewards program? Its free to join if you would like.” and the customer says “no thank you“. Now I think to myself; why the heck wouldn’t you sign up? If you got a free candy bar of your choice with purchase, no strings attached you would take it, even if you didn’t want it for yourself you know someone you could give it to, so why would you not join a loyalty program that offers cash back or free merchandise? I have seen folks at Best Buy checking out with a large screen HD TV and DVR, spending thousands of dollars turn down the card and I just cringe, they assume its nothing big, but in fact they just told Best Buy “Thanks, but we are happy spending tons in your store and really don’t want $200 back in store cash.” Look at it this way folks, even if you never set foot in the store again its only a minute or two to give your name and address, so why not sign up, your spending the money in their store anyway, let them reward you for doing it. Here is a list of the companies I know of that have loyalty programs that are not attached to a credit card in the stores name, most of them are free to join unless I have stated otherwise. You may be surprised at just how many companies have loyalty programs, everything from your local coffee house punch card to your investment company, if you know of something that’s not on the list please post it in the comment section for everyone.

Here is a list of the Stores that offer programs, tomorrow I will list entertainment, dining, grocery and travel.


JC Penny; This one is a little different and follows what you purchase on credit cards registered under the program, still very easy but you will need to use the cards you register to receive points.

Big Lots



Hallmark Gold Crown Card

Borders Books

DSW Shoes

Famous Footwear

Nine West

Finish Line

Best Buy


Ultra (Program Varies by State)


American Eagle

Eddie Bauer

Tired of carrying around all the rewards cards? Guess what...there's an app for that! If you have an iTouch, iPhone, Blackberry or other smart phone you can download Card Star and it will store all your card info and it can be scanned at which ever store your in.

Hope this list get you thinking before you head out on Friday, I will get the rest of the list and more pointers out tomorrow for you.

Have a wonderful day!


Saturday, November 14, 2009

Virual Values

As I sit in bed for the 2nd day in a row with a head cold I thought I could make good use of my time by helping others that may find themselves in the same place now or in the near future. Being sick is really a pain in the you know what but if your stocked up on the things you may need it makes it a little more bearable. First its important to know what is wrong with you, do you have a cold or the flu? Here are the common guidelines to help tell the difference. WebMD says: “Cold symptoms usually begin with a sore throat, which usually goes away after a day or two. Nasal symptoms, runny nose, and congestion follow, along with a cough by the fourth and fifth days. Fever is uncommon in adults, but a slight fever is possible. Children are more likely to have a fever with a cold. Flu symptoms are usually more severe than cold symptoms and come on quickly. Symptoms of swine flu and seasonal flu include sore throat, fever, headache, muscle aches and soreness, congestion, and cough. Swine flu in particular is also associated with vomiting and diarrhea.” For the full article go to WebMD, there is a ton of info on their site.

There are a few coupons available to stock up now before you have to go out while you are sick and make yourself miserable.

$2.00 off of Theraflu
Sign up at the Robitussin web site and get a coupon for $2.00
You can request a $1.00 coupon from Puffs for their new Ultra Strong and Soft Tissues.
$2.00 off any Tylenol cold product as well as coupons for their other products.
Looking for a tasty way to be pro-active in guarding against getting sick? You can try free samples of Emergen-C (I like the strawberry Vitamin C)
And finally for all your aches and pains $1.00 off of Advil

So for those of you that are still feeling well and have read this far, how about a toast to your health? Arbor Mist just came out with a new sparkling wine that I am really looking forward to trying. $1.00 coupon and a toast to all of you who read and enjoy this obsession of mine!

Have a great weekend!!


Sunday, November 8, 2009

Hot Thanksgiving meal deal!

I wanted to make sure this was in early so everyone shopping for Thanksgiving would have an early start. Walmart issued a press release on November 5th saying that you can get a $20 Thanksgiving meal for eight. The press release states "In addition to a twelve pound Grade A turkey, shoppers can buy three 11 to 15.5 ounce cans of Green Giant vegetables, two cans of Ocean Spray cranberry sauce, three six ounce boxes of Stove Top stuffing, one five pound bag of potatoes, a twelve count package of Sara Lee dinner rolls and a 22 ounce pumpkin roll cake - all for that twenty dollar price!" You can see the whole release at: Walmart press release.


Thursday, November 5, 2009

Savings by the book…..

Ahhh, its that time of year, the kids have had their day and it’s a few weeks until the turkey needs to be stuffed. Time for a little reading. No matter what your favorite type of book is there is never a reason to pay full price. There are sales starting already at the big chains, gearing up for the holiday season, Borders currently has free shipping on orders over $25.00 and is running a buy 4 books get the 5th book free promotion as well as their usual weekly specials. If you like Romance and enjoy reading on your laptop Barnes & Noble is honoring the 60th anniversary of Harlequin by offering free downloads of 16 different romance novels. FREE book downloads There is also the discount section of Barnes and Noble where you can find books at up to 80% off: Discounted books.

Currently Amazon and Wal-Mart are in a price war on books, each one matching or even lowering the price of books to make the sale, this started on pre-order sales and has lead to over all pricing competition. It pays to check both sites and check the shipping fees since this is the area that will probably cost the most, in some case it can be more than the book itself, Amazon has free Supersaver shipping on orders over $25.00.

Alibris is a wonderful place to find new or gently used books at a fraction of the price, there are offering free shipping on orders over $49.00 and there are coupons for $2 off $20, $4 off $40 and $8 off $80 available at Retailmenot. If your feeling creative Alibris offers a chance to win a $100 gift certificate to their site for writing a book review, its your chance to help someone else pick out a great book (or avoid a stinker) and maybe win something fun for yourself. is offering free shipping on orders over $35 until the end of the year, make sure you read the page carefully there are some specific things that need to be entered into the site.

Want to find the lowest price fast? The folks at Deal Oz heard that plea and did something about it. Now you can search by book title, Author, ISBN or Keyword and find the lowest price available. This is a great tool for people that don’t have time to check each web site for the best price, it does all the work for you! The site will also show if there is a coupon available for each store. is offering $5 off $50 with the coupon code of SAVEONBOOKS09 and they have a huge selection of used books. is an online site to purchase discount books, magazines and gifts, including books that are hard to find, there is a free shipping code of BKLVFREE and a coupon code for $10 off $50: RENEWMCC.

Next week I will give you some more information on where to find great books using book swaps, and some other nice programs out there for those of us that are avid readers.



Saturday, October 31, 2009

Winterizing you

We are quickly heading into winter and if your like me that means at least 6 months of dry skin, broken nails and flyaway hair. I try to remember to use lotion on my skin every day once we start heating the house. The mere thought of the combination of dry cold air and dry warm air makes my skin start to flake and crack. Fortunately there are quite a few good products on the market now days, but remember, you don’t need to pay top dollar for a wonderful product. If you have especially dry skin its good to find a body lotion that has an oil base in the winter so you have a protective barrier between you and the dry air. Facial moisturizers are different from body lotions, an oil based body lotion used on your face can cause break outs, its best to find something a little lighter to use for your face. If you have serious skin cracking or severely drying skin a visit to a dermatologist is your best bet and will net you the greatest rewards. There are some coupons out right now for some good winter lotions: $1 off Jergens Naturals, $1.50 off Dove Cream Oils Body Lotion. Is your skin REALLY dry? You may want to try the new Vaseline prescription strength lotion (You don’t actually need a prescription for it), they are offering $1.00 off at: $1.00 Vaseline lotion coupon. If you love Bath and Body products they are currently having a sale on their new product scent line, however its important to remember that scented products can actually irritate dry skin further so if your skin is overly dry use it only for that special night out. Bath and Body deals. Its also important to remember to use sunscreen in the winter, the suns reflection off the snow can be even more harsh than in the summer, there is a $1 off coupon at Coppertone. Don’t forget your lips in the winter either, Carmex has a weekly drawing where 50 people are awarded a free Carmex: My Carmex weekly drawing. Burt’s Bees is offering a free lip balm with $25 purchase, use coupon code WINNER at their website Burt's Bees. They also have a kit called Tips ‘N Toes on sale for $8.50 that includes Peppermint Foot Lotion (.47 fl. oz.) Coconut Foot Crème (.56 oz.) Almond Milk Beeswax Hand Crème (.25 oz.) Beeswax and Banana Hand Crème (.25 oz.) Hand Salve (.30 oz.) Lemon Butter Cuticle Creme (.30 oz.) Honey Lip Balm (.15 oz.) and a Pumice Stone. Burt's Bees Tips ‘N Toes kit.

In the winter my hair gets as dry as my skin so its important to use a shampoo that moisturizes and conditioner on at least on the ends of my hair to keep them from getting split. Your hair is like your skin when it comes to hot water, try to use warm or cool water instead to keep it from drying out. Don’t go outside with wet hair, this can cause breakage. If you must leave the house with wet or damp hair remember to wear a hat or scarf. Aveeno has a new line of hair care products made to fit with your specific hair needs and it’s the one I have chosen to use over the Winter. You can try a free sample and see if its right for your hair at: AVEENO® NOURISH Hair Care sample. If you use styling products Dove has a free sample as well, their product is designed to work on damage caused by heat products. Dove hair care sample. Dove also has coupons available for their hair products at: $1 off any Dove hair care product.

Don’t forget your nails during the Winter, they can become dry and brittle too. Keeping your nails in water too long can weaken them and cause them to lose their natural moisturizer, you can use a moisturizer on both your fingernails and toenails to ensure they are well cared for, try this before bed each night and after a bath and you should notice a difference. Its also important to wear gloves on your hands in the cold weather to keep your nails from the extreme temperature changes. There is a wonderful on line source for any kind of glove known to man at Gloves-online, be sure to check out the sale section.

Hope this helps going into the Winter months.


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Halloween family fun:

M&M Mars Haunted Mansion has fun free games for the kids and recipe ideas for fun treats. You can also register for their sweepstakes, there is a link for one free entry and there are additional entries on each bag of M&M or Mars candy. Check it out at

Pogo features free games and now has options to dress up your Pogo mini avatar in spooky outfits and just for Halloween you can get in on the fun of playing Spooky Slots, who knows you may even win the progressive jackpot! They also have a sweepstakes with Spooky Slots, not part of the regular progressive jackpot, if you play between October 12 and October 31, 2009 you are entered each time you load the game. If you don’t have a free Pogo account you can get one at

Send a free e-card to a friend, relative or co-worker for Halloween, tons to chose from for all ages at Got a great picture of your pumpkin patch you would like to give to your friends? Why not send it as a free post card? At Hippopost you can upload your picture and they will make it into a post card and mail it for you free of charge, up to two a day: You can even liven up your email with free stationary from You can also find screen savers, wallpaper and active desktops to spice up your computer screen.

Once you have the pumpkin gutted and carved don’t throw away those seeds! Here is a simple recipe for oven toasted pumpkin seed, just remember to keep an eye on them so they don’t burn. Almost everyone has fond memories of Chex mix, this is a fantastic recipe for a Halloween version. Here is a coupon for $1 off any two boxes of big G cereal which includes Chex:

Want to spice up your phone for fright night? Here is a site with free ring tones for your phone as well as some cool music you can put on a CD and play at your Halloween mixer. If your in the mood to watch a spooky movie to get you in the spirit Hulu has dedicated an entire section of their site to the season, check out the Huluween section at: to find a free move to keep you up at night.

Not able to get out to the local haunted house this year,? Check out this one on line for free at: this one is not very scary but I would go through it before you let your little ones watch, every child has a different fear level. This is the link to the Bone Garden’s virtual haunted Inn:

Have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Driving up your savings

This is the perfect time of year to look at getting your car tuned up for Winter. Depending on where you live that could even include new snow tires. A tune up can increase your mileage as well as find any potential problems before they become major repairs. Check all your fluid levels, spark plugs, air and fuel filters, change the oil and remember to check the pressure in your tires, if they are under inflated you could be losing over 3% of your car estimate gas mileage. Currently Pep Boys has a coupon at their site for a free seasonal prep evaluation that includes checking the exterior lights, wipers, coolant system evaluation and battery/starter check, you can find their coupon here: Pep Boys this coupon expires 10/31/09. If you want to start small and just go for the oil change there is a coupon for $6 off at Valvoline: Valvoline savings and Jiffy Lube is offering a coupon for $5 off their Signature Service® Oil Change which features a whole lot of nice extra touches: Jiffy lube.

If you live in a northern climate and need new tires or snow tires for your vehicle there are currently some great offers available to you. First, Cooper Tires has a $40 to $75 rebate available if you buy 4 qualifing tires, good through 10/31/09: Cooper Tires Goodyear has a $50 to $100 rebate depending on if you have a Good Year Credit card that is good until 10/31/09 Goodyear Tires, Michelin tires has a $70 rebate until 11/15/09: Michelin Fall Savings.

Amazon currently has a slew of BOSCH wiper blades that are available for rebates, to find out if they have the blades for your car you can check here: BOSCH wiper blades they are all eligible for Amazons free super saver shipping.

Having a good roadside plan over the winter is a great idea in case of any emergency like going off the road, the car won’t start or you need help changing a tire. Now days a lot of new cars come with road side assistance of some kind, be sure to look it over and see what is covered and what you have to pay out of pocket, if anything. Another popular place to see road side assistance coverage is with your auto insurance, check with your agent to see if you have this coverage and what exactly is covered and if there is a deductible. Remember that there is always the tried and true AAA: AAA Membership , the advantage to AAA is that they offer discounts at many retailers including places like NAPA where you get a 7% break. They also will give you free maps of where ever you may be off to visit over the holidays; whether its over the river or through the woods.

Hope this helps get you prepared for the coming winter season!


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Saving green while being green

Going green is the currently the “in” thing to do, its cool, its fashionable. For me its nothing new, growing up I was the teen pushing everyone I knew to recycle. I was considered the tree hugging kid on the block, turns out I was just ahead of my time. Now I’m older and I have discovered more ways to help the environment. Of course being the practical sort I have found economic ways of being green as well.

One of the best ways starts with the food we eat, if you have access to a farmers market you can get some of the best quality food while supporting your community of local growers, many of whom are also organic which means no pesticides in the air or ground water. Better still, if you are patient you can start your own garden and have a wonderful payoff at the end of the growing season. There is a fantastic charitable organization called The Dinner Garden that supplies seeds, gardening supplies, and gardening advice free of charge to all people in the US, if you have too many seeds they would be more than willing to redistribute them to people in need, also consider sending them the seeds your garden produces at the end of the year. If you need seeds yourself just let them know and they will get them out to you, you can find them at: The Dinner Garden.

Change the light bulbs in your home, I know you probably have heard it before but ENERGY STAR® Qualified Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs and indoor or outdoor hardwired light fixtures can last up to 10 times as long as regular light bulbs , use up to 75% less energy and save you up to $65 in energy costs. That’s $65 to do something fun with! GE is currently offering a coupon for $1.00 off two CFLs and you can print up to 2 coupons. GE Coupon. Switching your appliances to energy star ratings saves a lot over the course of a year as well, check the yellow sticker when you purchasing an appliance and it will tell you how efficient it will be per year.

Beyond changing a light bulb or getting a new dish washer the government offers tax credits for consumers who purchase and install specific products, such as energy-efficient windows, insulation, doors, roofs, and heating and cooling equipment in existing homes; this credit is for 30% of the cost, up to $1,500, for improvements "placed in service" starting January 1, 2009, through December 31, 2010. See for a complete summary of energy efficiency tax credits available to consumers. (per the Department of Energy’s web page)

Bring your own bags to the grocery store, there are a lot of them now that are offering discounts if you have your own bag. One thing to remember though is to make sure you have a bag designated JUST for meats and poultry. I usually use a plastic bag from the grocery store and re-use at home to empty the cats litter box, then I know its not going to get used again and cause a potential problem. If you don’t want to wash the bags after each trip to the grocery store then it’s a good idea to at least spray the inside of the bags between uses lightly with something like Lysol just to make sure there is no cross contamination with other raw foods you may be eating. Let the bags air out after you use them and don’t use them for anything other then grocerys. Here is a cool way to give an old T-shirt a second life by turning it into a shopping bag: T-shirt shopping-bag If you get enough of these you will never need to buy a store bag again!

Paying too much for your city water bill? Consider putting in a rain Barrel or two. What you pay for the barrels you will get back in what you pay the water company in the summer. In a year with average rain fall you should be able to water your garden as well as your lawn. Sam’s Club has a 200 gallon green collapsible rain barrel available for only $135.32 with free shipping at: Sam's club rain barrel.

Love reading a magazine every week or month? That subscription costs cash and even recycled its hard on the planet. Check out the free eZines available on line, one of the best that fits right in with the cause can be found at: Living Green Magizine It is full of helpful and sometimes surprising information as well as ideas of things you can do to help the environment.

Considering buying a green product but don’t know how well it performs or if you will get your money‘s worth? Try this site, its considered the consumers guide to the green revolution and should have useful information on almost anything your considering: The Daily Green.

Have a wonderful day!


Monday, October 12, 2009

Trick or Treat……

Here’s the trick, finding great costumes for a reasonable price. Lets start with the costumes, this is something that can range in price from a few bucks if your creative to over $100, the thing to remember is that it’s a one shot thing, they will either outgrow what ever you decide on this year or it will be something outdated by next year. A couple of fun costumes I remember from my neighborhood growing up are the mummy and sisters that every year went out as a pair of dice. Both costumes are easy and inexpensive to make. The mummy just requires old white sheets, if you don’t have any at home try the 2nd had stores like the Salvation Army or Goodwill. The nice thing about this is your child can help make their costume. Begin by cutting starter slices in the sheets, then have the kids help you rip them into long strips. The strips are simply wrapped around your child’s body, arms and legs and tucked under to stay in place. Wrap one or two around the top of the head and one going around the chin and up over the head as well, be sure not to obstruct your child’s line of sight. To make the face light you can either pick up some white makeup (usually can be found this time of year at the dollar stores) or use a pressed powder that is very light. Dark lipstick or even black lipstick and dark eye shadow on the eyelids and under eye area will complete the look. For the dice all you need is a cardboard box that isn’t too big for your child, Whit spray paint, (A can 10oz can of Quick Dry Gloss white all purpose paint is only .97 cents at Home Depot. ) Black construction paper, glue, scissors, box knife or sharp knife, tape, black clothes. The instructions for this easy costume can be found at: This can also be modified to be fuzzy dice by simply using a fuzzy fabric and covering the boxes before adding the construction paper dots, covering the box in gift wrap and adding a bow to your child’s head changes them into a Christmas gift, paint the box as a Rubik’s Cube to mimic the popular puzzle, or paint the box robins egg blue and add a white ribbon and viola, it’s a Tiffany box. If your kids insist on being the latest greatest thing to come out of Hollywood I would try a second hand store, one of the big ones in our area is Rag-Stock. EBay is another source for costumes but if you find one that is inexpensive make sure you don’t end up paying too much for the shipping. If you don't have and EBay account you can sign up for free at Right now is having a sale on some of their really cute costumes for kids as well as some great items for adults, you can find them at: and if you use coupon code haunt65 you will get 10% off your order of $65 or more, there are more coupon codes for Buy Costumes available at

OK, now its time for the treat….. Candy!! Most of us don’t get a lot of kids that come through trick-or-treating, if that’s the case you can pick up candy now on sale at most retailers. This week Target has a great sale going, two 10 oz to 12.5 oz bags of candy for $5.00 or you could check out Sam’s clubs mixed Mars mini bag at 52 oz for $9.77 ( these are smaller than the fun size so kids will probably take a couple at a time so its about the same value as the Target bags with the fun size.) If you start running low remember that most Walgreen's are open 24/7, they currently have bags of candy available for $3.99 but I think if you need them on Halloween night the price will be even less by then. Nestle has two coupons available at their web site, one for a fun size bag of Butter Fingers and one for a fun size bag of Wonka Candy, the links to print the coupons are along the edge of the site at: If you get more children ringing your doorbell than most folks then try a place that specializes in mass quantity, ordering on line there is the Candy Warehouse, they are offering assorted chocolate 6 pound bags (96 oz) for $24.00 plus shipping, there are about 240 pieces in a bag but again they are the small size so kids may take two or more each. They also have non chocolate candies available starting at around $7.50 + shipping for mini packs of Gummy Worms but these are less cost effective since they are only 1.5 pounds or 45 pieces. You can get 15% off at Candy Warehouse using coupon code CWDC15. I checked a large number of online bulk candy distributors and they were the least expensive, however, shipping rates vary from state to state.

Hope all this is helpful, have a great week!


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Making Halloween fun on a budget:

Its that time of year again when the air turns chilly and crisp and children start thinking of candy and costumes. I am not a big Halloween person, I have a few small things that get put out if I remember but I have a friend who lives for this holiday so she has been a big influence in writing this piece. If you are looking for creative ideas for your home there is no need to buy one of the tantalizing glossy covered magazines at the check out counters of the grocery stores or mass market retailers, now days you can find so many things on line that offer great suggestions. Of course the number one source for all things decorating or entertaining is Martha Stewart, her web site features a centerpiece with dark fruit, black candles and plastic roaches that can be found at most craft stores such as Michael's or a dollar store, you can check it out at One of the best places to find fun things for your home are the dollar stores and the thrift stores, don’t be afraid to check out the local Goodwill or Salvation Army, you could find the treasure of a lifetime as well as helping out a worthy cause. Towards the middle of October most of the craft stores start having sales on their Halloween items, but like with Christmas, if you can wait and go the day after you will net the biggest savings as well as have something to look forward to next spooking season. There are also a lot of things you can create on your own as well, even those who aren’t crafty can do something as simple as a bouquet of fall branches with colored leaves, and the best part is you don’t even need to add the water, once they are withered and done just toss them out and get more. If you have roses in the garden that are frost bit don’t be shy about using them either, just cut them and put them in a vase and use some food coloring to make colored water (orange or black works well, you can get black by adding a little bit of all the food colors) and tie a black or orange ribbing around the vase. If the petals start to fall off you can just cut the tops off until your left with a bouquet of thorny stems. (Remember the Adam’s Family?)

For outside you can always go with the traditional carved pumpkin, before you buy on at your local grocer though check with your friends and neighbors, a lot of people seem to have planted pumpkins this year and I have not been able to give away my extras. There are great kits out there for carving a pumpkin but you really don’t need them unless you have kids that want to help, then you will want the carving knives that won’t cut your little ones hands. If you would like something that is child friendly for carving your Jack-O-Lantern check for a Pumpkin Masters Kit, usually Sears has these at very reasonable prices. If you don’t want to go for the full traditional pumpkin Better Homes and Gardens has different stencils for dog breeds and just plain creepy, weird and fun. The free stencils can be printed from their web site: . If you have old clothes that have become too worn out or torn these are great for creating your own scarecrow. All you need is the leaves raked from your yard to stuff the clothes. There are easy directions at

If the kids are looking for something to do to help with decorating there are free pages that can be printed and colored for the fridge. This page has 25 nice designs to choose from: Yes, I know it says its for teachers, but really, aren't all parents teachers?

That’s all for now, next up will be costume ideas for little or no cash out of pocket.

I finally decided to start a blog because so many of the people already know I can be tight with a dime if I try. I have come to accept being called the coupon queen; but that just what folks see, what they DON’T see is the half hour I spend making a grocery list when its time for the “stock up” trip, the scouring I do on the internet to find what I am looking for at the lowest possible price (preferably with free shipping) or the time I spend looking for inexpensive or free things to do with my time locally. Surprisingly this is one of the “free” hobbies that fit’s the bill for me, it give me something to do, it doesn’t cost me a thing and hopefully you can get some useful information from it.

Thanks for checking it out!