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.