Sunday, July 31, 2011

Drugstore Deals 7/31-8/06

Very weak. Lately I have not been finding anything that is really worth it at CVS.
Skinny Cow Singles are 99 cents and you get 99 cent Extra Care Bucks making them FREE.

Very good this week. Lots of free after Register Rewards (RR) items and great price on cereal.

Complete Multi-Purpose Solution $8 -Free after RR. Check local circular for additional 1$ coupon.
Kids Smart Hi DHA-Omega- 3 Fish Oil -$7 Free after RR
Goody Colour Collection Snap Clip $2 -Free after RR
Celadrin InflameAway Joint Health $10 -Free After RR
Crayola Washable Markers $2 - Free After RR

Allegra 24 Hour Allergy Relief $6.99 - Free after mail in rebate
ReNew Life First Cleanse $20 - Free after Mail in rebate

Penway or Wexford 60 or 70 page notebook 39 cents

10 pack of number 2 pencils 39 cents
6 pack of Papermate Highlighters 39 cents
Penway or Wexford 59 cent items: 130 page filler paper, 80 page composition book, 24 pack crayons, 12 pack color pencils
Other 59 cent school supplies: Rose art 3 pack of glue stick, School glue 4 oz.
5 pack tab dividers with pockets by Wexford or Corner office - 99 cents
2 pack of sharpies - 69 cents
work essentials mini stapler 69 cents
2 pocket folders with prongs - 11 cents
Kellog's cereal is 4 for 10 with 5$ RR so the cereal is 4 for 5$.
Vitamin Water is 10 for 10$

Remember that at Walgreens you can only have as many coupon as items that you purchase. So if you want to use three coupon on one item, grab some fillers from the cheap school supply list.

Rite Aid:
29 cents school supplies: playskool crayons, noteboks, pencils, erasers and glue
Puffs tissues - 97 cents
Gillette Fusion ProGlide Razor $9.99 get $5 +Up rewards. Look for the 4$ coupon in your weekly circular to make this 99 cents.
Sharpie or Papermate Writing supplies are buy one get one plus you get 1$ up rewards when you buy 2.
Bic Stationary supplies are buy on get one plus you get 1$ up rewards when you buy 2

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Deal Alert: Free Photo Book

Mypublisher has a deal for a free 20 page mini photobook! This is for new customers only. Head over to the My Publisher Facebook page and "like" them. On the left "Free my Mini" will appear. Click, enter your email and wait for your code to arrive. Shipping is included, making this completely free.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Old Navy Stock Up Sale

Old Navy is currently running it's "stock up" sale. They cut up to 60% off popular items like shirts and shorts. This is for women's, men's, kids and even maternity. To get an additional 10% off enter the code ONSAVE10

Shipping is a flat 7$ or free if you spend more than 50$.

Office Deopt Sales July 31-August 6

Office Depot is having some nice offers next week. So if you want to prep your Sunday shopping list early, it might interest you to know they are having 5 cent school supplies! That's right, protractors, vinyl storage pouches and 2 pocket protfolios will be 5 cents each. Elmers glue is going for 1$.

If you spend 15$ or  more they are giving out a free backpack with lunch tote!

3 Free Months of Kosher Advantage!

I am pleased to anounce I can offer my readers 3 free months of Kosher Advantage Membership! Kosher Advantage is a club for Kosher consumers that allows members to receive a discont every time they shop in participating markets or restaurants. For a full list of participant just check this list. Notable members include China Glatt and Dougies (Brooklyn), Mama Leah’s Pizza (Baltimore), Got Kosher (L.A), Abigael’s, Seasons and Mr. Broadway (Manhattan), and Umami Sushi (Toronto). You can use your card an unlmited number of times each month, and an unlimited number of times at any merchant.  

To get a 3 month membership for free, Click here and use the discount code BudgetandBargain

Disclaimer: After three months the credit card you entered will be automatically charged  $4.95 a month. So if you see after that after a couple of months you are not saving more than $4.95 you should close your account by following the directions found here to avoid being charged.

Frugal Food - Iced Tea

We are big tea drinkers in my house. And I somehow always manage to get some new interesting free tea samples every few months.  But I am always looking out for sales on the teas we particularly enjoy or count on to settle our stomachs and cure our ailments. We get every last drop out of our tea bags - we are not a one use and dump family.

I have a special spoon rest that I place a used tea bag on for reuse. Once we have finished with a bag, it dries out and I place it in a large ziplock with all the other "used" tea bags. Now that the warm weather is upon us it is time to reveal the secret purpose of my dried tea bag stash - Iced tea! While these tea bags may individually be too weak to brew a proper cup, a handful of them thrown into a pitcher of boiling water with a little sugar makes a great batch of iced tea. Simply let it cool and put it in the fridge. A little sprig of mint from my windowsill garden and we are on our way to a refreshing summer drink.

Each batch has a subtlety different flavor because the bags are from the various teas we have had over the months. Some herbal, some citrus etc. But it always tasted great!

Make sure to fully dry the tea bags before storing. Moisture will kill them.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Laptop Keyboard Cover for 79 cents - shipped!

Meritline offers the 15" Notebook Keyboard Protector Skin in White. Enter Coupon code "MLCK7E28NL1" at checkout and it will become 79 cents. With free shipping! This silicone protector fits laptop keyboards from 13" to 15". Coupon expires after 700 uses.

Expect this item to take two to three weeks to arrive.

Earning Money: How to Sell Your Books

When I was young and just starting college I felt it was very important to buy fresh new textbooks. Do not ask me why I thought I had to have a brand spanking new book in order to get a good grade. As I am sure most of you know, I paid a fortune for those books. By purchasing used texts, I could have saved a lot of money and by looking at alternate options (more on this in another post) I could have saved even more.

Alas, my undergraduate folly left me with a large stack of aging textbooks that I would never use again. I did not even use some of them for the actual class I purchased them for! They were on the recommended list so I felt this "need" to purchase them but I never used them. I quickly learned that selling these texts was the best way to recoup some of my losses. After I switched to buying used books I sometimes made back my entire investment! So if you have books sitting on your shelf that you have no possible purpose for, you might think aboout selling them. It can bring in a lot of cash and clean out space at the same time. Here are my tips for getting the best price on your books.

1) Sell FAST - Textbooks have a shelf life. Manufacturers want to keep making money so they keep putting out new editions, and most students want the newst edition. Plus the information in some textbooks, like science texts, gets outdated quicky. The sooner you sell a book the better price you will get for it.

2) Sell within you school first - You will not have to pay shipping or comission if you seel directly to a student. The best way to find these students is by looking within your own program - if you needed that book for a class those taking that class next semester will likely also need it. And they will be looking to buy it used off someone. If your school has a message board or email list - use it!

3) Give details about the condition - Do not just write "new" or "very good". The more detail you give, the more likely you are to attract a seller. Is there underlining? Highlighting? Is the cover creased? 

4) Use recycled packaging material - If you are selling the book on an internet site like Amazon or ebay, you will have to ship the book to the purchaser. Recycle boxes and envelopes from packages you might have received. We get tons of padded envelope packages at work. These envelopes would go into the garbage, but I totally reuse them. Just make sure to remove all old address material, pad the package well and seal with a lot of tape because the post office sometimes seems to have elephants running over the packages or something.

5) Offer expedited shipping - The purchaser has to pay the shipping fees so there's no extra cost to you and it can help you achieve a sale. If you sell a book standard shipping send it the cheapest route - media mail or standard depending on the zoning.

Refunds on Ariline Ticket Tax

This may be the one good thing coming out of the current U.S. budget crisis. On July 23rd the federal excise tax on airline tickets expired and needs to be repassed with the rest of the budget. Therefore purchasers of tickets for travel on or after July 23rd may be entitled to a refund on taxes collected, and the IRS has asked airlines to start refunding.

United Continental Holdings is telling people to call the IRS and ask the agency to give them their refund (way to pass the buck on to the next guy United. Not cool.) Southwest airlines is doing the same. Jetblue on the other hand is encouraging those travelling within the next seven days to email in for their refund. People travelling after seven days should stay tuned for further updates.

For updates from the IRS check HERE certificate 80% off

Every now and again does a great deal where gift certificates can be had for dirt cheap. You get to chose from the hundreds of restaurants that they have in their program. It makes a night out with friends all that much more affordable. Or that anniversary splurge suddenly not such a splurge. To get your certificate for 80% off enter the code SAVE This will work until July 31st. Most of the certificates never expire!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Upcomng Tax Free Dates

The best week for back to school shopping may be coming soon - depending on what state you live in. Sixteen states are planning sales tax weekend breaks this year on common back to school items like clothing, computers and office supplies. Sorry my fellow NYers are state is not feeling so generous.

Mississippi: July 29-30 apparel items costing less than 100$ including footwear and clothing will be tax free.

Alabama: August 5-7 items including computers, schools supplies and books.

Arkansas: Augst 6-7 clothing under 100$ and school supplies.

Connecticut: Augsut 21-27 Colthing and footwear under 300$ will be exempt.

Florida: August 12-14 clothing, books and school supplies. Dollar limits may apply.

Iowa: August 5-6 clothing and footwear under 100$.

Louisianna: August 5-6 Most items less than 2,500$ will be exempt. This almost had me packing my bags to move.

Maryland August 14-20 Clothing and footwear under 100$.

Missouri: August 5-7 Clothing, computers and school supplies. Dollar limits may apply.

New Mexico: August 5-6 Clothing, computers and school supplies. Dollar limits may apply.

North Carolina: August 6-8 Clothing, computers, school supplies and sports equipment. Dollar limits may apply.

Oklaham: August 5-7 Clothing and footwear less than 100$.

South Carolina August 5-7 Clothing, computers and school supplies exempt.

Tennesee: August 5-7 Clothing, computers and school supplies exempt. Dollar limits may apply.

Texas: August 19-20 Clothing, footwear, backpacks and school supplies less than 100$.

Virginia: August 5-7 Clothing, footwear and school supplies. Dollar limits may apply.

If your state is not on the list, don't let it get you too down. Check out THIS Yahoo News article about states where individuals carry the highest debt loads.

Win a 150$ gift card to target

Enter Fast! This contest is running for 1 hour only. Jdeal is offering a chance at winning one of two Target gift cards for 150$. It is completely free to enter you just need to have an email address. Simply Click Here.

Good Luck!

Scotch Mailers 39 cents

Walgreens has put Scoth mailers on sale for 39 cents. Just clip the coupon in this weeks Walgreens circular - available in store. Valid for mailers that are Cushion 6x9 or 8.5x11 in, Bubble 4x7 or 10.5x15 in, or Photo 5.75x8.5 in. Limit 3 per purchaser.

If you are like me and resell books on amazon and ebay these make great shipping tools. They are cheaper wholeasle, but you have to buy hundreds and frankly that would cost me more in the long run as I would have at least 50 unused envelopes.

Another great postal shipping supply idea: recycle! I always reuse the envelopes and boxes I get from others. This is 100% free and good for the planet. However, it is not always the best customer service move if you are dealing with finicky purchasers. And sometimes I just don't have a used envelope on hand so I whip into my supply of those purchased on sale.

31% off Go Daddy Purchases

Go Daddy is one of the cheapest reliable places to register a domain name. Today they are offering 31% off your entire order including registration, renewals and hosting pacakges. There is no minimum order. An 0.18$ ICANN fee still applies. Simply type the code gdz737a at checkout. The code OK412 will get you a new domain name for $7.66 (including ICANN fee) so that one is preferable if you are just registering a new domain name for a year.

Trial and error has shown this coe is working for a maximum of 5 domain names per order. However the code is reusable, so if you want more domain names, just make multiple orders. 

Monday, July 25, 2011

Free First Aid Kits

Get a free first aid kit from the Colorado Joint Replacement in Denver: Copy and paste this link: and fill out the form.

10 Habits That Are Killing Your Budget

We've all seen the usual budget advice - cut out that late, eat more at home - but these little nuggets of wisdom often focus on small things that many of us stopped doing long ago or have learned to enjoy in moderation as befits our budgets. This post talks about some oft overlooked, but crucial habits that can be killing your budget without your even noticing. Looking at the mindset that leads up to these budget boo-boos can help you develop defenses against them.

1) Impulse "Sale" Purchases - The people set up stores are no fools. They put the childrens clothes right next to the maternity and the sale items at the ned of every grocery aisle for a reason. They are hoping to lure you into an impulse purchase. Frugral readers can usually avoid the temptation but succumb when a giant "Everyday low price" or "Sale" sign is tacked on. Think to yourself 'can I remove one item from my cart or my list because I am getting this item?' if the answer is no you likely don't need it. Look at the price critically. SOmetimes these signs do not indicate any actual price drop. What price do you usually pay for this item? Even more crucial - how much of that tiem do you really need? Buy one get the next at a discount sales or sales that require you to buy multiple packages may let you pay less per item but you end up buying more items thn ou can possibly use and thus costing you more in the longrun. Some sales are great, as are some stock ups, but not all arecreated equaly.

2) Not Having a List - Strolling hte aisles hoping to be "inspired" for this weeks dinner menu leads to overpurchasing and waste. BY planning ahead you can group meals with similar igredients together helping to avoid waste. ou can also plan for menus that use leftovers from other nights. lists also force you to stay on track and avoid the perils of impulse purchasing. It certainly takes some time to plan out a list - especially if you, like me, like t plan meals arond the stores sale/discount/loss leader items but the are well worth the efort. They also streamline the cooking process later in the week. Do yourself a favor and make a lit. Then keep it (perhaps electronically) so that you can reuse some menus later down the rad cutting out excess list making time.

3) Refusing to buy generic - There are only a few items where a suitable generic cannot be found and one must buy the real deal. Heinz ketchup comes to mind. Other than that, you should at the very least try the generic once before branding it inferior. You may jjut be surprisd. Generic does not mean lower quality. Often th ingredients re exactlyt he same in hte name brand and the generic. It just means it was manufactured by a diffferent company. Kirkland, Costco's generic label is known for high quality. This is especially insidious int he case of medication. You feel justified in paying more for your families health. however the drug industry i highly reulated and if a generic put anything but the proper, pure medication intot hat bottle it would not be allowed to reach shleves. Tylenol, acetaminophin, has been around forever and there is no secret formula. The generic works jsut as well as the brand name nd is just as safe.

4) Giving in at the last minute - After  shopping trip well done, you feel like you deserve a reward so you grab one of those candy bars sitting at the register. Or your child is using hte checkout line wait as an audience for his screamin fit about that silly putty he really wants. What's a girl to do? Put it back. It may seem like such a small thing but those $2.00 candy bars once a week can add up to hundreds of dollars. It is important to treat yourself nd keep yourself feelin good, but this should be done in a rational thought out manner. Would you rather have those overpriced candy bars or those new shoes that moved to the clearance rack and became affordable at the end of the month? As for your child, practice saying "no, sorry not today" adn as they age start giving them an allowance and letting them spend it themselves. You'd be surprised how many "I NEED it" screamin fits disappear when you tell a child to spend their own money on it. As they learn how to prioritize wants because their funds are limited you will be teaching them to maintain a budget as well.

5) Thinking your too yong t save for retirement - When you are young is the exact right time to save for retirement. It gives your money the optimum chance to grow and accumulate. This is espcially true for those with a Roth RIA that lets you pay taxes now to avoid paying them when you withdraw money. A 25 year old who starts to save has to put in half or less of what a 35 year old would have to put in to reach the same amount when they hit 65. If you don't yet have a retirement acount, make one. And if you company has a matching money policy, please contribute as much as you can or to the max that this policy will allow. This is free money that you are getting as the company has promised to kick in just as much as you do.

6) Overspending to get Rewards - I regulary feature mileage deals and explain how credit cards can be used to up your redit score and get you bargains. However I always accompany these posts with a very important disclaimer.

7) Not Reading Your Bills - I know it feels great having the money to pay those bills, but don't just blindly write a check. Look at what you are paying. Has thre been a big change? Is there something you did not buy listed on there? These are issues that need to be adressed! On the average medical bill I usually find 40-100$ that magically disappear when I call their receptionist and ask what is going on. Plus reading your bills can alert you to changes in your money spending habits, areas that are hemorrhaging money and how to nip rising bills in the bud.

8) Buying Before Checking for a better price - We all want to get chores done quickly. However sometimes a simple search can turn a good deal into a great one. Simply typing "insert name of store here coupon" into a search engine can find you free shipping or coupons. Sites like 'retail me not' jumpstart the process. Sites like eBates may even give you cash back on your purchase.

9) Waiting for your partner or friends to bail you out - Your spouse is not an ATM, neither are your friends or your parents. Do not avoid forming a financial plan because you think your nearest and dearest will always bail you out. This is not fair to you or them.

10) Giving up the minute you break one of these rules - This is pretty self explanatory. We all fall off the wagon sometimes. That doesn't mean you shouldn't get back on.

10$ off a 10$ or more pruchase at pier one imports

Pier one is offering a great coupon today. 10$ off a purchase of 10$ or more. The coupon is valid through 7/27/11 so you have to act fast. Simply "like" them on facebook to get your coupon.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Drugstore deals Week of 7/24

Here are the best of the Drugstore Deals this week:

Rite Aid:
V05 shampoo or conditioner 15 oz. 69 cents With Rewards Card
Disani Water 1 Liter, Smart Water 1 Liter, Snapple 16 oz., Powerade 32 oz. 10 for 10 With Rewards Card
Mead marble Composition Notebook 100 pages 3 for 98 cents With Rewards Card

Ajax dishwashing liquid 16 oz. 89 cents
Tuf paper towel 2 for 1$
Mini memo or mini composition book 19 cents

Arrid XX or Arm & Hammer solid 2.6-2.8oz 99 cents
VO5 shampoo or conditioner 15oz 82 cents
Renuzit adjustable air freshener 7.5 oz. 88 cents
Caliber 1 subject notebook 70-80 sheets 4 for 99 cents limit 8
Gatorade thirst quencher 32oz or Sobe Lifewater 20oz 88 cens limit7

Target In Store Deals Week of 7/29

Staples has a nice amount of free or really cheap items this week. Great for getting more of those back to school needs.
  • 5-pack BIC Brite Liner Grip Yellow Highlighters Free after $4 Easy Rebate
  • 500-sheets Ream of Staples 8.5"x11" Multipurpose Paper $1 after $5 Easy Rebate
  • 100-pack Kodak Premium 4"x6" Gloss Photo Paper $1 after $13 Easy Rebate
$1 In-store Deals
  • Avery Insertable 5-Tab Dividers
  • 50-count Box of Staples Jumbo Paper Clips
  • Staples Steel 1-Hole Punch
  • Westcott 12" Finger-Grip Ruler
  • Staples Dual Pencil Sharpener
  • Staples Translucent Pencil Box (assorted colors)
  • 2-pack 80-sheets Staples Mini Composition Book
  • 3-pack Staples Magnetic Bulldog Clips
  • Staples 5.5"x9" Clipboard
  • Staples Stickies Portable Notes
  • RoseArt Classic Washable Markers
  • 3-pack 50-sheets Staples Mini Legal Pads
Also available is a 5$ off 25$ Coupon. Just Click HERE

Friday, July 22, 2011

PiperLime 70% off Final Sale Items

Piperlime takes up to 70% off select final sale items. With free shipping on all orders. Sales tax is added where applicable. Final sale items cannot be returned or exchanged. Piper Lime is a brand linked with Gap, and Banana Republic and Old Navy. Often they have some good shoes and clothes. Not a bad time to stock up.

Cross Vice Flexible Gel Pen 4 Pack for 9$

July 22nd only, until 9 pm ET, Pennywise offers the Cross Vice Flexible Gel Pen 4-Pack for $9.99. Coupon code "dealnews1" drops it to $8.99. With one cent for shipping. Colors will ship out at random.
Please note that this merchant does not offer a return policy.

These pens typically retail for 100$, so if you use them this is a great deal. If you are like me and use 1 cent Bic pens or pens from the office, not such a great deal.

Borders Liquidation: Not Such a Great Deal

Last night the Borders CEO released an email to all Borders customers saying Borders stores are sad to be closing but liquidation deals are going on now in store. Borders gift cards will be honored and markdowns up to 40% will appear on shelves.

Before you run out of the house to the nearest Borders let me caution you that this is not a great deal. Borders routinely offered coupons for 50% off any item. This was gong on even a week ago. So 40% off is not great. According to a Deal News article this happens because Liquidation sales are run by outside parties that have bought up the remaining merchandise. If you wait patiently, you may see prices get slashed to 80 or 90% off. This tends to happen 6-8 weeks into liquidation.

Moral: Good things come to those who wait

40% Off at the Gap - today only!

Today, July 22nd from 12 pm - 3pm the Gap will be having a sale online and in store for 40% off regularly priced merchandise. Simply enter the code GAPTREAT at checkout. For those going in store you can print THIS coupon.

Excludes jeans, kids uniforms and backpacks.

Land's End Clearance

Land's End Warehouse Online has put up a lot of clearance. Things are gonig for 70$ off. This sale continues until July 27 but quantities are lmitied.


Various Promo Codes are also available to swaeten the deal:
PARENTSA11 PIN: 8355 Will get you Free shipping on 50$ or more and will take 10$ off any non clearance item you pruchase
Promotion Code HOT and PIN 6399 Will get you free shipping on any order 50$ or more
FREESHIPJULY pin: 2406Should get you free shipping on any order

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Free Sample Websites

I love a free sample as much as the next person, but sometimes tracking them down can be time consuimng. There are a few good websites you can sign up for that consolidate things and give you access to lots of great freebies. The catch? They send a LOT of email so be sure and use your junk email that you have set up just for this purpose. Remember to always be patient as it takes time for the freebies to arrive.

FreeFlys has a good assortment of Freebies. To sign up you need to give them your name and email adress and an adress to mail to. There is a check box that is automatically checked that signs you up for the daily email. If you are looking to cut down on email, uncheck this box. Then you go through a little list of offers for email and deals from other vendors and websites. I turned most of them down except for a couple that were for free samples. ALWAYS use the jink email as all these offers will send you yet more email. You can also unsubscribe from those mailing lists.

Planning Family is offering some Baby Freebies.

ThredUp Deal on SaveMore

I have bee meaning to write about ThredUp for some time. Now that is featuring a deal for the site I have been given a final push. ThredUp is for anybody that has ever lamented how quickly children grow out of their clothes. This site allows you to swap in clothes and toys for children for new items, or to just get rid of your items to a loving home.

Moms pack a UPS flat rate ship box full of gently used items. They then list the box on the website. Another mom will scroll through the boxes, find one whose descriptions she likes and claim it. The purchasing mom pays the 5$ flat rate USPS shipping fee and voila the box of new clothes is at her door. To visit the site and learn more Click Here. 

Moms rate the boxes and sellers so you can be sure your shipper is packing used items properly sorted by size and gender.

SaveMore is having a deal where you can get 31.90$ wort of boxes for just 16$ To purchase that deal Go HERE. 

If you are new to savemore you will 10$ free signing up making this only 6$.

Deal Alert: Hot Topic 50% off Clearance

Hot Topic has their 50% off sale. Click here to view items. Move fast and put stuff in your cart. It goes fast! I got 9$ shoes and a 10$ denim skirt! Some of the items are really hip/rocker but browse through to pick out the stuff without skulls and bones if that is not your thing.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Cookbooks FREE on kindle

Every now and again the Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook releases a sample for free on the kindle website. Last year we got Thanksgiving recipes. Now they are offering 10 summer time treats. Click here for your Kindle free download!

Also free for kindle right now is Cooking Simply the Italian Way and 50 Soups.

Walmart Clearance Going on Now

Walmart has put thousands of items up into the clearance section. This includes apparel, jewlery, household and baby. Prices start at 1$ and Shipping can be as low as 97 cents. To avoid shipping all together see if you can "ship to store" for pick up. This is free and available on many items. You just go and pick them up at the store.

Walgreens Deals

This week Walgreen's has mini highlighters for 9 cents each. They also have two pocket folders (a common school list supply item) for 9 cents.

Money Manners

A coworker of mine is constantly forgetting his wallet at home and asking to borrow money. He's great at paying me back. The very next morning he has the entire sum and runs around to find me to make sure he gives it back promptly. I lend to him without hesitation. Which makes me feel guilty when I refuse to do the same for personal friends I have known for years - beause they have never paid never me back. We've all been in these sticky situations - a friend asks for a loan and forgets to pay back, you go out with the girls and are not sure who should pay the tab etc. Short of hiding in a closet for the rest of your life there's no way to get aroud them. Yet you can set boundaries that protect your finances in a polite manner. If your friends really are friends they will understand you can't float them forever, nor would they expect you too.

RULE 1: Know what you are geting yourself into. When your friends call up to invite you to the next summer barbeque make sure you understand the financial arangement. A simple question, such as "Is it potluck, what should I bring?" should ensure you get the run down of how this is going to work. Think it's simple? It's not.

Take the example of a good friend of mine who was told that the host would do the shopping and they would all split the cost later. She assumed they would go to a normal summer barbeque where the kids ate hot dogs and the adults munched on burgers and potato salad. Instead, she entered a world where children were given fancy steaks purchased premarinated at the most expenssive store in town and adults munched (gorged) on every fancy pre-pepared food item under the sun as well as an extensive array of store bought salads and other items. There was also enough food to feed twenty times their group. Her portion of the bill was more than she would pay to take her family out to a fancy dinner. It cost her a lot of savings. However, what could she do? Run away when they brought out the bill? Fake an illness the minute see saw the first steak hit the grill? When you show up unaware of your hosts expectations you have no choice but to go along with them.

If you find out your host is expecting you to show up to such a feast and to foot the bill for it, you then have several options. You can decline to come to the event and host the next one yourself so you are in charge. You can also proffer a suggestion such as "It's so much nicer when we do potluck. Can't we all bring some things and split the cost of the paper goods"? If it is a close friend you can even remind her that "I don't know if that is really something we want to spend so much money on. The kids don't know the difference and we prefer to live modestly int his economy". However, you want to be careful with that approach - if this is the type of friend who is also the neighborhood over-exaggerator and blabber mouth you'll end up with everyone thinking you are behind on the rent and need food donations.

RULE 2: Pay what you owe. We all have those friends who go out to dinner with us and order a five course meal only to take four courses home. When you finish your salad they are calling for the check and then immediately grab it and start splitting it in half. They calmly inform you that your half is 75$. No matter that your salad was 13$. Asking you to essentially pay for their meals for the week or to foot their extravagant taste is not OK. When the difference between what two people order is small or reasonaby close it is easier to just split the bill. When the discrepancy is large you need to nip this in the bud, politely. "I think we should each pay for what we ordered" might be best. Otherwise you will end up in this situation over and over. You might even start ordering large quantities of restaurant food to compete with her - further hiking up the bill. Or you will cease going out with her anymore causing her to be hurt and offended.

RULE 3: Do not stalk people in the name of charity. Supporting charitable institutions is great but asking your friends every week to fork over cash for your latest new cause is not. Mention something once and move on. You never know what is going on in their wallets and pushing them until they feel like donating is a mandatory requirement for continuing this friendship is unfair. Not to mention - if you or your husband is in any way employed by this institution or if you get a cut of the money you bring in (I know several people who are employed as fundraisers for schools with such arrangements) it is downright tacky and rude to push your friends and tell them they should give more. Your judgment is not exactly clear in this situation and neither are your motives.

RULE 4: Do not ask ow much your friend gets paid. Unless you are doing his taxes. It is none of your business. Don't tell them how to spend their money either. I don't care if they just said they can't afford that dress you think would look great on them yet drive a Lexus and eat out every night. Their money is their business and they can spend it as they want. Maybe they really love restaurant food and prioritize it over new clothes. So long as they are not ripping off neighborhood charities, stay out of it. If someone starts asking you about your financial particulars a polite but firm "we don't really discuss our finances in public" should do. Or, try another approach "Why do you ask? Do you need some help working on your budget?" Often people are awkwardly trying to figure out how much they should be spending on things by comparing their salary to yours and your stuff to their stuff. This method is pretty useless but also very common. Dealing with this head on can actually help them out.

RULE 5: If you break it you pay for it. Same goes for your child. If you smash a vase or your child spills all over the rug you need to immediately offer to pay for the repair. It's the right thing to do. Your frind may refuse, but they will be grateful for the offer. And if they do not refuse - do not be insulted. You broke something. You should repair it.

RULE 6: People need to pay you before their name goes on the card of expenssive gifts. This happens to me al the time. We agree to chip in together to go in on a gift. Suddenly people Id o not even know are calling to chip in. The price of the gift goes up The amount I get paid back does not. Various people just don't remember to pay me back. I don't want to feel like a beggar asking for what is rightfully mine. I don't even know some of these people well enough to have their phone numbers. How they got mine is still a mystery. Set rules at the beginning: please pay me at the event or before because I don't know when I'll see you all again. If someone does not pay up, refuse to go in with her again until she does.

RULE 7: Don't skimp at the office, but don't get taken advantage of. We all have life cycle events and our offices often collect cash to give us gifts. However when a new secretary shows up every month, gets married, you chip in 30$ for a gift and they leave the next week things have gotten out of hand. Speak to your supervisor about coming up with an actual office policy on gifts.

Rule 8: Ask for your money back. Before dropping a friend or refusing to ever lend them again you should gently remind them once to pay you back. Often they really have forgotten and are grateful for the chance. So a few weeks after the have borrowed the money remind them before your next meet-up. If they still forget, let it go. But be wary about loaning in the future.

Rule 9: Never be ashamed of your finances. You are managing your budget and doing the responsible thing. If your friends really cannot fathom why you may not want to spend upwards of 50$ on a small backyard barbecue or why you refuse to splurge on their birthday party at the fanciest place in town - which they are hosting but asking the guests to pay for - then maybe they are not really the best friends to have. A good friend is sensitive to others and so should you be. If your friends lavish spending makes you uncomfortable or if the standard of living in your crowd is way over your budget and nobody is willing to bend a little or cut back a drop to include you, you need to think about finding a crowd that is willing to work with you a little. True friends do that. It's not worth going into debt and forgoing retirement savings to hang out with "friends" who won't.

Deal Alert: Free Blockbuster Express 1 Night Movie Rental

Blockbuster Express has some codes going for a free 1 night movie rental from their kiosks. Simply enter the code. Move fast, they expire on 7/22/11.

code: 72HLG2
Code: 62MDEB7
Code: 23ZGDB8
Code: 86EHJR3
Code: 29KBDJ5
Code: 44NCRP7
Code: 35SVEM6
Code: 33MMMT9

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Office Max and Office Depot Sales

Office Max has soe incredible deals going. Supplies will definitely vary by store. The highlights:

OfficeMax Filler Paper 100-Pack for 1 cent
Schoolio Crayons 24-Pack for 25 cents
OfficeMax Clear Zippered Binder Pocket for 25 cents
Just Basics Ballpoint Pens 10-Pack for 50 cents
Schoolio Composition 100-Sheet Book (pictured) for 75 cents

Highlights a Office Depot:
Office Depot Brand 12" Plastic Ruler (pictured) for 25 cents
Office Depot Brand Notebook Filler Paper for 25 cents
Office Depot Brand Stick Pens 10-Pack for 25 cents

Crayola Crayons 24-Pack for 25 cents
Sharpie Permanent Marker 2-Pack for $1
Office Depot Brand 2-Pocket Folders 10-Pack for $1
Office Depot Brand Multipurpose White Copy Paper for $1

Children's Wear Baby, Infant and Toddler Clothes on Sale

There are lots of great items for hte kids on sale at the Children's Wear Outletstarting starting as low as 50 cents. You will have to pay shipping. (Shipping prices posted below)

Boys swim trunks from $6.00

Nightgowns for $3.00 and Pajamas for $5.50

Books with wipe clean boards for $2.00 that come with a marker.

Flannel pants for toddler boys and girls are $3.00 each.

Onesies  2 for $3.00 Note: These do come in packs.

Layette Gowns for babies for .99

Here is a list of all sale items:

Other great deals, like 50 cent bibs can be found here.

$0.00 - $30.00 for $6.95
$30.01 - $75.00 for $8.95
$75.01 - $100.00 for $10.95
$100.01 - $150.00 for $12.95
$150.01 - $200.00 for $14.95
$200.01 and up 8% off order total

Target Back to School

Another retailer rolling out the back to school items is Target. Check out this weeks deals, and head over fast because many expire by 7/19.

Scotch  Magic Tape - 50 cents Make sure to print Targets 50 cents coupon for Magic tape found here.
Sharpie 2 count accent highlighters and 2 count markers - 50 cents. Get the markers for free by printing Targets Sharpie coupon for 1$ off found here.
Bic cristal ballpoint pens 10 count - 50 cents
12 inch ruler, protractor or compass by Wescott - 1$
Drawing paper 40 page pad by Picon - 1$
Construction paper 96 page pad by Picon - 1$
RoseArt glue sticks 6 count - 80 cents

Other deals you may want to check out while you are at target:
10 for 10$ 700 ml Smartwater or 20 oz. Vitaminwater. PLUS free 6 pack 20 oz. Smartwater when you by any ten of those single products.

Kikkoman soy sauce or teriyaki sauce is 1.42$ Get extra savings by printing THIS coupon for 1$ and only pay 42 cents!
Added Bonus: Buy any three 8 oz. Kikkoman products by 8/31 and mail in your receipts by 9/18 and get a free kitchen utensil! Detailed instructions are found here.

Back To School Sales at Staples

Although it may still feel like early summer, manufacturers and retailers are all ready rolling out the back to school sales. Staples has a variety of items this week for 1$. If you've got kids, grab your school supply list and head on over to get some of those items and good prices! To peruse the weekly ad, click here.

1$ Items:
  • 12-pack Staples Assorted .7mm Mechanical Pencils
  • Staples Dry-Erase Board Eraser
  • 25-pack #10 Pull & Seal Envelope
  • 8.5"x11" Dry Erase Board with Marker
  • 5-pack BIC Brite Liner Retractable Highlighters (assorted colors)
  • 5-pack Paper Mate Sharp Writer .7mm Mechanical Pencils
  • 4-pack Ticonderoga #2 Check Pencils
  • 10-count RoseArt Washable Markers
  • 12-pack Staedtler Noris Club #2 Colored Golf Pencils
  • Staedtler 6" 180-Degree Protractor
  • 4-pack EnduraGlide Low Odor Fine Tip Dry Erase Markers (black)
  • Staedtler Compass with Measuring Guide
  • 4-pack Pentel WOW! Gel Colors Sparkle Barrel Pens (assorted colors)
  • Stretch Pencil Box (assorted colors)
  • 5-pack BIC Clic Stic Ballpoint Pens (black)
  • 4-pack Staples Glue Sticks
  • 80-sheets Staples 3"x5" Memo Book
  • 5.5"x8.5" Dry Erase Board with Marker
  • 60-sheet Staples 3"x5" Memo Book with Magnetic Closure
  • Avery 1" Durable Binder (black or blue)
  • 4-pack Paper Mate Profile Retractable Ballpoint Pens, Extra Bold (black)
  • 0.14 Really Useful Box (assorted colors)
  • 500-sheet Hammermill 8.5"x11" CopyPlus Copy Paper $1 after $5 Easy Rebate
  • 60-pack Staples Photo Plus 4"x6" Gloss Paper $0.50 after $9.50 Easy Rebate

Friday, July 15, 2011

Deal Alert: Rachel Ray Everyday People Panel

Members of the Rachel Ray Everyday People Panel get free samples before they are available in stores, and can be entered into contests for cash and prizes. It is free to join. Just click this link and click "join". You do not need a code to join. Just leave that blank.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Best NYC Thrift Shops

I love a good thrift store. But sometimes finding anything usable amid the mass of irreparably broken, ripped, scribbled and stained items can seem daunting. The trick is finding a thrift store that does the sifting for you, and still ofeers a good price.

Every thrift store has it's own personality and style. Some are run by large non profits, others are run by people who love to peruse estate and yard sales, hand picking items to resell. While a thrift store may have a lackluster selection of jewelry it may have a great selection of shoes, or dresses or furs etc. Getting to know your local thrift stores streamlines the shopping process. Letting the local owners know you can help you snag a great deal before it goes on the shelves. For instance if you would like a mink fur in a size 4, you might want to leave your name with the propietess of an upper east side thrift store. She'll call you when ti comes in.

Pricing also varies based on your location. Manhattan thrift stores employ professional pricers. So while you can get a deal, you are not gong to get a Vera Wang wedding gown for $20. They know what they have and are not going to just give it away. In the outer boroughs that line is sometimes blurred. Stores also often have speciale events when prices drop as they clear inventory. Join the store email list to find out when these will happen.

Since I live in NY I thought I'd share some gems that I have found with you. Please feel free to type in your own recommendations for shops in your area!

Upper East Side:
Thriffany - 1439 First Avenue. This store has your usual areas with clothes and brick-a-brack but they truly excell in the furniture department. I have seen gorgeous pieces here for reasonable prices. When I get a house I am furnishing it from Thriffany.

Housing Works Upper East Side - 202 East 77th street. This is one of many Housing Works branches. I have been most happy with the furniture, book and household item sections. Once I got a brand new cherry wood cutting board with silver inlay and matching knife, in original packaging for 8$. They have events like 1$ book day so sign up for the email list.

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Thrift Shop - 1440 Third Avenue. This is a posh store. Their pricer tends to go towards the higher end of the pricing scale. Therefore I find them best on shoes and jewelry.

Cancer Care and Spence Chapin- 1480 Third Avenue and 1850 Second Avenue. I consider these two a pair. They have a lovely section of evening gowns. We are talking major glitz and sparkle. They also get in the occasional fur. The clothing racks can yield good finds but you need to be willing to sift.

The Coterie - 1387 6th ave (between 56 and 57th streets). OK, they are not actually a thrift store but I can't help but mention them. The selection of dresses and evening gowns in this place is great. The price isn't bad either. Each dress is one of a kind and the staff is super helpful.

Pippin - 112 West 17th Street. This cute little shop has vintage jewelry and hats. Do not be fooled by the limited counter space. There are drawers and drawers for you to pull out and admire.

Angel Street - 118 West 17th street. This is a nice looking place with plenty of designer items on the racks.

City Opera - 222 East 23rd. This is a shop with great clothes, dramatic hats and accessories and great prices. It has two levels and has been featured in high end fashion magazines.


Rewind - 335 Ave. U This store has a mix of sophisticated and trendy. They hip clothes and accessories like handbags.

Deal Alert: Coupon Code for plus a Free Headband!

The website CoverYourHair is offering a 72 hour deal. Just enter the code HBD10 at checkout and get 10% off your entire order. Plus every order will come with a free random headband. In the past I have ordered from this website and I will say that the best deals are in the sale, clearance and "under 5$"  categories or on items like Israeli tichels and headscarves that are hard to find at local stores. They have very good customer service - they sent me the wrong item once and told me to keep it as a gift and shipped out the correct item to me the very next day.

Things like fancy headbands (see below) may or not be a deal - I can make these myself and I get the supplies wholesale so for me it's not a deal. But if you are not crafty, it may be worth it for you.

Beautiful Large Flower Hard Headband


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Secret to Saving at Home Depot

Home Depot is known as a great place to get high quality advice on fixing up your home, instructions on how to do-it-yourself and pretty good prices on most items. However one simple tip can help you maximize your home depot savings.

Get a Coupon! Home Deopt usually has pretty good prices. But coupons make these prices even better. Home Depot will honor coupons from competing store like Lowes. This is great because Lowe's always offers a 10% off coupon for people who are relocating. Simply walk into the post office and ask for a change of address or relocation packet. You do not need to be moving to do this. The packet is free. The clerk will simply hand you one. Inside there will be a Lowe's coupon for 10% off your entire order. Home Depot will honor it. This past fourth of July my in laws barbeque broke. They found the exact grill they wanted, at the best price at Home Depot. They goot an additional 10% off the all ready lowest price by using this coupon.

You can also search for coupons easily by typing "home depot coupon" into google. Often something usable will pop up. It's always worth getting that little extra bit off.

My Habbit - Great Deals PLUS 25$ Free

Amazon has opened a new website called My Habit. This site features designer goods in Women's, Men's and Children's fashions for steep discounts. I have even seen 586$ shoes sell for 10$ on this site. However, getting the most from this website requires some effort.

My Habit updates it's "collections" daily and items that are the best deals - think 10$ items, or very popular items - think handbags, sell out within minutes if not seconds. The updating is done every day at 9 PST or if you live where I live 12 noon EST. A little before noon I log onto the website and begin refreshing the page. The minute the new collections appear you must click on them and scroll as quickly as you can. If something catches your eye put it in your cart immediately. A second of hesitation can cost you the item as others will snatch it up while you deliberate. Once the item is in your cart you have 9 minutes to check out. Plenty of time to shop a little more, do your deliberation and remove unwanted items from the cart. The point is to reserve the item as quickly as you can by placing it in your cart. Decide later.

For a limited time, until August 1, you can get 25$ off your purchase when you enter the code SUMMER25 at checkout. Shipping is free so some items become completely free! This will work once per account. Note that My Habit is owned by amazon and therefore remembers amazon accounts associated with your email address. Therefore, you can use your amazon credit. You will also be able to use any shipping and billing addresses that you have saved in amazon automatically.

Frugal Food: Giardiniera

This weekend I headed out to the local flea market and green market. While I perused the stalls one thing really caught my eye, and my nose! One vendor was selling pickles. Far beyong just pickled cucmbers this stall had pickled tomatoes, pickled mushrooms and my personal favorite: a pickled vegetable assortment known as Giardiniera. The spicy sweet smell wafted over and followed me all the way home where I decided to whip up a batch of my own homemade pickled vegetables.

Giardiniera is actually easy to make and it looks beautiful. It makes a great hostess gift when placed in a glass jar and can brighten up a table or plate. Plus it preserves vegetables that may have started going bad in a day or two. You don't need giant pickling vatts or canning equipment to use my recipe. You've got everything you need right in your kitchen.

Pickling Marinade:
3 Cups boiling water
1.5 Cups white vinegar
4 Tbs salt
6 cloves of garlic cut in half
3/4 Cup sugar
1 tsp mustard seed
1 tsp whole black peppercorns
3-4 basil leaves (optional)

You can use whatever vegetable you like, from a mixture to only one vegetable. Here is what I used:
1 head cauliflower
Half a head Brocolli
24 ounce button mushrooms
4 Kirbie cucubmers
1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
1 onion
2 carrots

Chop up the vegetables and put them to the side. Combine all marinade ingredients and heat until boiling. It is preferrable to use a non-reactive pot like Cast iron or Stainless Steel for this process. Immerse the vegetables in the pickling liquid for 30 seconds. If you like crispy pickles you should remve the vegetables at this point. However if you like "dead" or limp vegetables you hould leave them in for several minutes. Using a Slotted Spoon
transfer the vegetables into glass jars, pack the vegetables in tightly and then pour in brine to the top of the jar. Store in the refrigerator.

A note on canning: This recipe calls for you to place the pickles in the fridge and assumes you will eat them in a few weeks. However if you want to store your pickles at room temperature and have them last years then you will need to use proper canning procedures to ensure there is no harmful bacteria or spores that can grow during this period of time on the shelf. In this case you absolutley MUST use sterilized canning jars.

Proper jars are always made from glass and have no chips or breaks. They have glass, plastic or metal lids often with a rubber seal. Two piece jars offer a vacuum seal which is great for canning. To sterilize, first wash with hot soapy water and rinse thoroughly. Then place in an oven set to 175 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 minutes. Alternatively you can immerse the jars in boiling water for 15 minutes. Use tongs to handle hot jars.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Walgreens Deals 7/10-7/16

As you may have seen me mention in previous posts I believe many of the best deals can be had in national chain stores like the drugstores CVS and Walgreens. This is because their deals and sales are national so you do not get overcharged simply because you live in a big city. This week Walgreens has some good deals I thought I'd share with you all.

W Women’s 6 Blade Razor System: This will cost you 3.99$ but you will get back 3.99$ in register rewards. So it is essentially free so long as you remember to spend that 3.99$ on something else.

G-U-M Dental Care: Toothbrushes retail for 2$ and again you get 2$ register rewards so these become free.

Hyland’s Teething Gel : This sells for 5$, and you get 5$ register rewards back. However, if you print THIS coupon for 1$ off Hylands teething gel you will only pay 4$ and still get 5$ register rewards. So you have just earned yourself 1$!

10 for 10$ - You can mix and match Vitamin Water, Domino Sugar, Betty Crocker Brownie Mix, Tuna, Daisy Sour Cream, Kleenex Tissues and several other items. Each item will be 1$. At most stores they are allowing you to make purchases not in multiples of ten and still pay 1$ for each item.

The beauty of the register rewards is that items become free - but only if you use those rewards before they expire. In fact in the case of the teething gel you make more money than you spend. People without babies will be buying this item just to make that extra dollar. I shop a lot at Walgreens because their milk and eggs are cheaper than the grocery store so I never have trouble using the rewards. This may not be true for you, but that doesn't mean you can't benefit. A great tip for using those rewards efficiently is to first purchase all your register rewards items for the week. Then purchase anything you were buying that was not going to give you register rewards - such as the ten for ten items. This way you can walk out of the drugstore having spent very little with a lot of items and not having to worry about going back to spend the rewards. The cashiers are so nice at my Walgreens they do this for me automatically. They segregate the goods and do two separate ring ups.

Happy shopping!

Deal Alert: Free Slurpee

Every 7-11 the chain store 7-11 offers a free 7.11 oz. slurpee drink. Enjoy!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Deal Alert: Half Off Cover Your

Another SaveMore Deal. You can buy 15$ of credit on for only 7$. You can buy multiples deals but you can only use 1 per transaction and it does not include shipping. They have hats, headbands, clips, pony holders, things for adults and children.

If you are a new sign up they will give you 10$ credit for free, so that is a good way to get the deal for free.

To check it out please click here.