Tuesday, December 8, 2009

White Elephant Gift- My Solution

Ok so my husband's new company does a white elephant gift exchange. White elephant gifts are kinda strange because some people give true useless gag gifts and some people just give small under $10 gifts... plus as part of this whole white elephant schtick, people get to "steal" gifts from other people, so you kinda want your gift to be cool enough that someone at least considers stealing it instead of picking out a new wrapped gift. So I wanted to give something kinda cute, not totally useless and something that maybe someone might actually want.

So here's my solution: PBJ!

I decided I would put together a basket with peanut butter, jelly, bread, etc. If you don't like PBJ, you know someone who does. And if you're allergic to peanut butter or something like that, you could always donate it to charity! With the $10 limit and some rules like not wanting to get only store brands so that it didn't look too cheap and really wanting to get a sandwich keeper that's shaped like a piece of bread, here's what I ended up with:

  • $.79, White Bread, Publix brand advantage buy
  • $2.89, Red Crayola Sandwich Holder shaped like a piece of bread (score! it was just hanging in the Publix bread aisle!)
  • 2 for $3, 16.3 oz Skippy Peanut Butter & 32oz Grape Welch's Jelly, with store coupon at Walgreen's
  • $1, Plastic Kid Plates, red, set of 3, Dollar Tree
  • $1, Plastic Knife, Fork & Spoon Pack, red, Dollar Tree (I really wanted just one cute knife but the plastic cutlery worked out)
  • $1, Plastic Tub, white, Dollar Tree (This isn't the prettiest piece, but it was the only thing I could find at Dollar Tree that was the right size, so it'll do and could be useful)
My total: $10.14 with tax added, and then $2 extra dollars to slap a big bow on the bread & a stick it all in a giant bag to wrap it all up in (both bought at Dollar Tree). So, about $10ish. That works for me! I think it came out looking cute and hopefully, no one will dread getting it!

What do you usually give as a white elephant gift?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Great deals on Energy Star Light Bulbs!

What started as finding one coupon for my non-profit to use for Energy Star CFL light bulbs (we're trying our hardest to go green!) has spiraled into a great list of good deals. So let there be light... cheap, energy efficient light!

Until next Monday the 30th, there’s a $2 off coupon for any GE Energy Smart CFL product ONLY at Target. According to Fat Wallet, that makes them .39 a light bulb! Some Targets will only let you use one printed coupon at a time, so keep that in mind. I know I'll be at Target sometime this weekend with all the post-Thanksgiving deals, so I'll take advantage of this one!

Here's a $1.00 of 2 GE Energy Smart (or GE Reveal or GE Edison Halogen bulbs if you need other bulbs) that's a manufacturer coupon, so I think you can use it in combination with the Target store coupon. You can always try at least! I must admit I'm confused by Target coupon policies and have seen/heard/experienced totally conflicting things. Just remember to always be patient and kind!

Here's a $5 off coupon for a GE Energy Smart CFL 5 or 6 pack light bulbs. If you go to the link, you can print the coupon, then close the window and pull up the link again to print a second coupon. You can only print two coupons per computer & it expires on Jan 22nd.

Here’s a coupon for $1 off Sylvania CFL light bulbs. It expires Dec 22nd and it says any Energy Star CFL product.

Also, as an FYI, there are some coupons/rebates if you buy energy star headlights for your car. I didn’t even realize that was available, so if you find yourself needing headlights, it's definitely worth looking into!

I'm excited to be working on green initiatives at my office -please send some good thoughts for this grant request I'm writing! PLUS today is exciting since my husband & I will (hopefully!) be going to see Al Gore speak tonight. We'll see how it works out because we have reservations but we can only get there an hour early and it seems to be a "Please RSVP, but first come first served" situation. Have a happy #ecomonday!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Free Movies: Huge Fan

Have you discovered Redbox & Blockbuster Express? Y'know those boxes that rent movies in front of drug stores & grocery stores? They give a TON a free rentals so you should use them! Plus you can go online and see what movies they have at the locations by you, so you're not surprised. 

The codes are for a FREE one-night rental. You have to get it in the next day at 9PM. And if you're late, it's only $1 per night you're late. 
  • Here's a free code good until 12/3 for Blockbuster Express: G29SA1. Just bring that code to a Publix (or other stores) near you that has a Blockbuster Express (search for locations here), type it in and rent a movie!
  • Here's a free code at Redbox: DVDONME. Redbox has kiosks at Walgreens, Wal-mart, McDonald's, um almost everywhere. Here are some other codes to try that should work but your mileage may vary (YMMV): BREAKROOM, DVDATWAG (walgreens only).
Redbox also does a free movie rental the first Monday of every month and frankly there are new codes coming out all the time, so watch for them and I'll keep you posted!

Friday, November 20, 2009

OMG, it was a coupon box.

Yesterday I had the privilge of touring the Community Action Center (CAC), an awesome nonprofit serving those in need and actively working to prevent homelessness in Sandy Springs & Dunwoody. I walked through the food pantry, saw the volunteers sorting clothes, almost bought a purse in the thrift store (it was really cute and $3, but they weren't open for business) and then I SAW IT.

Sitting on a side table in the waiting room where people wait to meet one-on-one to tell of their needs and have CAC compassionately work to help them... THERE IT WAS.

It was a black plastic box marked COUPONS.

I love coupons. I have an adorable coupon box. And I love how saving $0.40 really does add up. But I don't NEED to save the $0.40. (Here's a previous post on that idea.) I am not a small step away from homelessness or already homeless like many of these people seeking assistance from CAC. If you read my We-Not-Me Wednesday posts, you know that I believe that fabulousness does not come from expensive clothes or having money, it comes from thinking of others, enjoying life and constantly doing the best you can with what you have. That's where the frugal part comes in. Just doing the best with what you have... um, and taking advantage of companies that want to give you free stuff and try to get you to buy their products! :)

I love that CAC has a coupon box, so I couldn't help myself and peeked inside. It had a few walgreens coupon pages, but not much. I thought immediately of Maslow's hierarchy of needs and realized that "using coupons" doesn't rank up there with food & shelter. These people have more important things to worry about and even though coupons save you money, you have to have money to use them. I hope & pray that sometime very soon, these people will have enough money to use and enjoy coupons like I do.

Check out http://www.ourcac.com/ for ways you can help the Community Action Center. And you hang in there and keep clipping coupons! The more you save, the more dollars you have to help others!

**In other news, I'm totally jazzed that I won two tickets to Primal Atlanta this weekend! Huge thanks to Georgia Organics (become a fan of them on facebook right now). Great food, free beer & wine and some amazing people who really care about their food & where it comes from. Can't wait!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Make this Season about Others: Notice Them!

Maybe it's the fact that I woke up feeling sick this morning and am drugged up on decongestants & already multiple cups of honey vanilla chamomile tea with lemon, but my "We-not-me" Wednesday is a little deep today.

We're embarking on the Holiday Season- seriously like 25 business days till Christmas- and there are opportunities ALL around us to make this season not about us but about others just by being aware.

Start saving coins now and notice the Salvation Army bell ringers as they start next Friday. You don't have to give money all the time (or any of the time really)- but you can ALWAYS smile & acknowledge them. As I'm running to the next store to get more Christmas things, they're braving the elements and worse, putting up with people avoiding their eyes and rushing by trying to ignore them.
Speaking of rushing around, be aware of when you are in a hurry. Why are you in a hurry? Are you just rushing through a self-imposed unrealistic to-do list? Slow down. Be aware of the customer service people. My fav question, um ever, is to ask "They keepin' you busy enough today?" Whatever their answer is, I follow up with something that includes, "Well, we appreciate you!" Now, I'm pretty sure my husband is over me asking this to literally EVERY checkout person we encounter, but I feel like I'm doing my small part to keep someone else sane- which is a community service!
If you're an agenda person, allot an extra 5 minutes to every activity this season, just to smile, chat with folks, notice a child's happiness as they pick out gifts for others, etc. It doesn't take money to be a fabulous person.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

ShopText & Free Tea!

Do you have unlimited texts? Then this freebie service is for you. ShopText is using advertising in a new way- by having you respond to ads by texting them a code to get something free. It's really easy! If it's your first text to them, it'll take a few texts back and forth to get you signed up, but after that it just takes one. Here's a current deal that's cool- Text BETTY to 467467 for a FREE Betty Crocker Recipe & Coupon Booklet

Free Green Tea Sample from Lipton!  I am an herbal tea junkie, but I'm not huge on green tea. So, I'm excited to try it and give it a chance. I'm trying the naturally decaf honey lemon. Get your sample by clicking the Free Sample on the top right corner.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Love pets? Drink Wine!

Today's "We not me" Wednesday brings about helping others through drinking wine & shopping. LOVE IT!

There are two upcoming wine crawl events to benefit the Small Animal Rescue & Humane Society, which finds loving homes for homeless dogs in Atlanta. For just $5 in advance, you can visit 5 restaurants in Vinings on this Saturday the 14th from 1-5pm OR three on Wednesday the 18th in Midtown from 6-9pm. You'll be able to sample great wines and they'll have food specials along the way! Visit Atlantabartours.com for all the details!

I'm starting to adore how often Gap has great coupons! Save 30% at Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic and Gap & Banana Outlet THIS WEEKEND, Nov 12-15. As if that's not awesome enough, 5% of what you spend goes to support the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society! Woot woot! Here's the printable coupon link.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Postcards, Paper & Veterans Day!

Today, I decided to catch up on cool free samples, so I'm passing on my favs! I'm a huge free sample fan and truly, I do not get a ton of junk mail because of all the samples I get. I do get a lot more mail, but that's because they're sending me my samples and free coupons!

THIS IS REALLY COOL: Ok, through Hippopost, you can customize and send two FREE postcards a day. So, they'll take care of all the printing and mailing, and you have to do is fill out what you want and where you want it sent. Fun! And it really is a great way to get people familiar with their services, so it's a great company promotion! 

Free Memo Cube: Sandy Paper is promoting itself in my favorite way, by sending folks free stuff with their website on it! Get your free memo cube - I could always use more scratch paper! I end up writing directions to where I'm going on the end of a piece of mail (C'mon, you've done that too!)

Veteran's Day tomorrow: If you're a veteran or active duty, check out this site for a list of freebies and specials for Veteran's Day, tomorrow.

Thanks to my fav sample sites: MommySavesBig & Free Sample Freak!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Weekend Deals!

Ok there are some AWESOME deals going on this weekend!

IKEA: If you don't already eat at the IKEA cafe b/c it's a good deal and good food, you should this weeekend! Stop at IKEA in Midtown for their $1 Swedish Meatball plate at IKEA. It's 20 meatballs with mashed potatoes & cream sauce - a good about of food that's usually over $4. You don't need a coupon (deal is good Nov 7-10). Thanks to Cities on the Cheap!

GAP: Woohoo! 25% off entire purchase at GAP with printable coupon! It even includes sales items! (Good only Nov 6-8)

Macy's: It's Veteran's Day Weekend, so on top of 30-60% off sales, be sure to print out your additional 15% off at Macy's with this printable pass. If that link doesn't work for you, go here and look on the left side of the page about 2/3 of the way down. (Good only Nov 5-11)

Stein Mart: Stein Mart is just one of those store I expect to have nothing interesting and they always have great deals and cool stuff. Always. Here are great printable coupons for 20% off any single regular priced or sale item at Stein Mart AND 25% off Red Dot/Clearance! (Good through Nov 11)

I saw a bunch of these deals on Twitter, but thanks to Coupon Dad for the details!

**BONUS: Have you tried Nature Valley Nut Clusters yet? Get your free sample here! We love the Cashew kind and they've been like .30 with $1 off printable coupon at Coupons.com and if you load your Kroger Card, $1 off from Shortcuts.com & $1 off from Cellfire.com. Love it!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Games for Good: Encourage Others!

I have a TON of friends on Facebook who just love their games- mafia wars, farmville, all the quizzes, etc. The thing that makes those fun is that you encourage your friends to play with you. Well I discovered this cool site called SocialVibe that feels like you're playing games and encouraging your friends to play to via facebook, twitter, etc. but the whole time you're earning money for the cause of your choice!

Today, on "We-not-me" Wednesday, I'm featuring SocialVibe. SocialVibe calls it being "sponsored". Basically someone else (a big company) has committed to give money to a charity of your choice when you or a friend of yours does a set activity- something small linked to their brand awareness. The activities vary but so far I've posted my favorite Karaoke song (as part of a promo for an Xbox game) & wrote a note of encouragement (as part of a coffee-mate promo). I posted one activity to Twitter and one activity to Facebook to encourage folks to join me. So far, with about 6 minutes of effort that felt like a game, I've earned 460 points, which means that my small action has paid for 12 1/2 hours of support for sick kids through the charity I chose to support, Starlight Children's Foundation. It's fun!

I just posted the badge to the sidebar of my blog, so please click on it or it'll stay at 0 hours which makes me sad!

*If you don't know about Starlight Children's Foundation, they're a great organization that supports chronically ill kids through programs like providing video game & laptop carts during hospital stays to make the time go faster and organizing groups of kids & their families to go on fun outings to enjoy themselves and build a sense of community. It's good stuff.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Lookin' Fab for $55

I'm not an incredibly hip gal. Frankly, I'm generally so focused on the frugal that I lose a little of the fab. So this past week was an awesome step towards me being more equally balanced as frugal & looking fab! I spent a little over $55 and bought black boots, black heels, tights, non-brown everyday shoes AND a sweater dress! Here's the breakdown of my shopping week:

My fashion coach (AKA my awesome sister-in-law) had told me about this website, AMIClubwear.com. She thought I would like it because they have shoes on sale for quite cheap and send out coupon codes. Everyone is always trying to get me to buy new shoes because somehow I missed out on the female gene of enjoying shoe shopping. I only have a brown pair of boots, so I wanted to get a black pair. I bought these black suede knee high flat boots from AMI Clubwear because I thought they looked cool and they are not at all like my brown boots.

My cool new boots:

Sale Price: $12.99
Coupon code: Save 30%
Shipping/Fees: $11.88
Total: $20.97

**Enter code AMISHIPPED to get free shipping at AMI Clubwear if you spend over $50! Plus, it's worth a quick internet search to see if they have a current 30% off coupon code.

The middle part of my shopping trip is thanks to Oprah and her awesome 2-day 50% off coupon to Payless Shoes. So I went after work on Friday and I've never seen such happy women in the store. Everyone was chatting, handing shoes back and forth to eachother, all excited to be getting 50% off!. I found two pairs of shoes I liked: A brown pair of everyday loafer-like flats and a pair of black patent round toe heels. They have a stilletto heel, but it's not too high. I desperately need black heels (I literally don't have a basic pair of black heels, a truth that baffles my friend Jen) so that was an easy choice. Then I saw that if I bought my brown flats in dark purple, they were half price- so $24 for brown, but $12 for purple (both before my coupon). So I decided since it's still a dark fall color, I should abandon my standby of brown and step out to buy a color. My hubby asked this morning what color they were and I called them eggplant (he seemed impressed by that answer). I also bought a pair of black tights & paid the extra .50 for the ones partially made from bamboo. Now I'll be ready to wear my new boots in the cold. This isn't the best picture of the shoes, but my cat Paisley was being so cute that I had to include her.

My Payless Trip:
Black heels, sale price: $14.99
Dark purple loafer shoes, sale price: $12.00
Zoe & Zac Black tights: $7.99
Oprah Coupon: 50%
Total with tax: $18.22

**Payless has their BOGO half off sale going on now, so there are still good deals to be had!

Ok, so now I have a cool pair of boots, but I have like one appropriate dress to wear with them, so I was in desperate need of a sweater dress. I checked out Target and ended up finding a dress at Ross. Ok, so I love this dress, but it's so out of character for me- it's bright green, very form-fitting & pretty short. And it's a dress. I'm hoping I'll actually convince myself to wear it. I'm working on being a girl who wears dresses and I'm getting there.

Something to Wear with my New Boots:
Sweater Dress at Ross: $14.99
Total w/tax: $16.04

Shopping total: $55.23 So if I had actually set a limit of $50 in advance of my shopping spree, then I would not have made budget. But since I was just buying things that I thought were a good deal (which is generally not the recommend method), I was impressed that I got a pair of boots, 2 pairs of shoes, a pair of tights & a dress for $55. Acutally, I'm just impressed that I managed to buy 3 pairs of shoes- that's a lot for me!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Beauty & Beer!

It's MapYeti Monday! Last week I mentioned that I mostly used mapyeti.com for restaurant deals, so I decided that I'd comb through some of the other sections to see what great deals I could find for y'all!

Ok so now that we're past Halloween, it really feels like we're in the homestretch to Christmas. I LOVE getting people gifts from Sephora and fortunately, Sephora does good promotions where they give you something free (one for you, one for them!) and always free samples which are great to pad someone's gift. MapYeti linked me to Sephora's weekly deals page. The magnifi-scent deals are nice- if you're going to spend $70 on a designer fragrance, make sure you get something free! There's also a deal on Dior mascara that gets you two bonus small size mascaras- so you can decide if you like the Iconic better than DiorShow. Ok I'm speaking a language I do NOT know. I'm not a mascara gal, but if you are- let me know what you think!

Let's move to something I know better: BEER! Ok I've mentioned HopCity before and how awesome they are. They post their beer deals to MapYeti, so you can easily see what's going on at HopCity. This Wednesday is a FREE Thomas Creek Beer tasting at Octane Coffee Bar. Thomas Creek is brewed is from Upstate South Carolina, so you get to try some southern brew. The Thomas Creek website says 5 - 7PM, but Hop City says 5:30 -7:30, so I'd bet Hop City & Octane would get them to stay till 7:30. :)
With the weather getting colder and with holiday parties and family get-togethers on the horizon, here's a good introductory spray tan deal. Get an airbrush spray tan for $19.99 at Circuit Tan on 1529-A Piedmont Rd in Midtown. I have not tried spray tanning before, but it seems like it'd be an amusing venture and their website says you don't need an appointment which is fabulous for last-minute folks like me. You should go to their website and check out the header picture- the guy has electric blue eyes and it says come tan with me- sorta vampire like. It seems a little out of place, but it makes me smile.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Get Pretty for LESS Before the Holiday Season!

I can't believe it's almost November, but I know from past experience that once you hit mid-November, it might as well already be Christmas Day because those weeks are SO BUSY & just fly by! So, when I saw this Hawt on Yelp promotion on Cities on the Cheap I was quite excited. For the week of Nov 2-8 you can get 50% off at select salons & spas on massages, haircuts, facials, waxing, etc. *You have to call and make an appt. in advance and mention "Hawt on Atlanta". No walk ups!

While we're talking salons, I can't pass up the opportunity to promote Cayla at Bob Steele Salon Riverside. She's amazing (and really cool. I swear I'm not just saying that because she reads my blog!) AND the salon does GREAT promotions! If you make an appt. at Bob Steele and give them my name- Kathy Powell, you save 20% (and then I also save 20% on my next visit!). My favorite promotion is the procrastinator's special- they call it H.OT, Hair Openings Tomorrow. Once you've been once to the salon, you get a login to make appointments online. If you go on between 7pm & Midnight you can get 25% off appointments for the next day (only Tuesday - Friday). LOVE IT!
In other news, it's Halloween tomorrow. There are a ton of great free offers -especially if you have kids (or can borrow some for the afternoon) or if you plan on dressing like a burrito for Halloween. Here are a few good links to check out: Free Sample Freak, Atlanta on the Cheap & Centsable Momma.

Oh Bonus: Here are two coupons for Robek's Smoothies- if you're up by Perimeter Mall, Roswell or East Cobb, they are DELICIOUS! Also, if you're up by the Mall, buy something at Bath & Body works and get a free hand sanitizer. Thanks CouponCravings.
Have a happy & safe Halloween!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Frugal with your Time: Just Give 5

It's "We-Not-Me" Wednesday! Woohoo! Ok so today's We-theme is about giving your time not money. Now, I talked last week about volunteering and iParticipate, but this week I'm talking about giving of a SMALL amount of your time. FIVE MINUTES. Just five minutes. Can you be of help in five minutes... YES! I apologize that suddenly I've gone all caps happy in this post, but it's often easier to think that someone else will take action, but if everyone made small steps, we'd all be singin' Kum Bah Yah! Ok so maybe that's a little optimistic, but let's shoot for the stars. Here are two great resources... so take 5 minutes and visit these sites & sign up for their emails... don't worry- they're both free!
  • Five Minutes of Caring: In my email box everyday, I get a 5 Minutes of Caring email blast from Cool People Care. They're quick nice messages that give you tips, information to build awareness and a quick action for you to take. Some of the blasts are as as simple as ways to be nice to people or yesterday's was simple ways to green your halloween. Join the list- it's a start!
  • $5 or 5 Minutes= 1 Way to Make a Difference: I just found this site, The Causemopolitan, the other day and I'm kinda obsessed with it already. I'm also totally inspired by the author of the blog, Sloane, who is the poster child of just-doing-what-I can-and-actually-having-an-impact-on-others. Anyway, she has started a series with 5 simple things that take either 5 minutes or a donation of $5 and that really make a difference. Awesome and well-researched.
Be frugal with your time and just give 5 minutes. Even if you don't make a huge difference in the world with 5 minutes, you'll make a difference in your world- in your attitude, in your local environment, in your relationships, etc. And that IS making a difference!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Finding Sales for the Lazy & Directionally Challenged

I love a good deal... but I also am kinda lazy.  So I've found this site, MapYeti.com that is incredibly handy- just enter your address or zip code and it lists sales & specials for a variety of stores, restaurants, etc. in your area. You can even easily get directions there or search by category- I have to admit I've looked mostly at all the restaurant & bar selections. I mean, a girl's gotta eat & I can't go thirsty! 

I think this is such a cool site that I've joined forces. I am happy to announce that I am officially a contributor for MapYeti.com! I'm helping them grow their sales, especially on the north side of Atlanta & expand to more areas north of the Perimeter- since we all know when you say Altanta, it now means you could live anywhere in a huge handful of counties. In full disclosure, I just think it's cool to help them, so I'm not getting paid, but all the sales I post do include a link to my blog.

How it works: Businesses can post sales & specials and keep up their own page. Contributors (like me!) work to add specials. AND you can log in and add a user-contributed special as well! So if there's a place in your area you love that has a good sale, share it with others! MapYeti is currently in Atlanta, Boston, Minneapolis & New York.

I have officially declared Mondays as MapYeti Mondays where I'll feature my fav sales from MapYeti & sales I've recently added. So, go check it out & follow them on twitter @mapyeti. If you take advantage of a good sale you find on MapYeti, let me know about it!!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Bring your own bag!

Ok, so what are your feelings about bringing your own bags to the groccery store? I'm a little ashamed to say that I haven't jumped on the bandwagon. As someone who is always looking for simple ways to make an impact on others & my wallet, why the heck am I not bringing my own bags?? If you're one of those people who collects your plastic bags to use around your house, you know how quickly they pile up. Seriously, stores are personally wasting a lot of plastic on me & I don't want to be wasteful. SO, for people like me who have been a little slow on the uptake, stores are trying to offer some incentives to bring your own bags... including some cash back!

Target- Get a $.05 discount for every reusable bag you bring. It says you have to use their target reusable bags, which is kinda annoying, but if you shop there a lot, it's definitely worth it! This is starting Nov 1, so check with your store. Hopefully they'll let you use any reusable bag eventually.

CVS- Their system takes an extra step. You buy a $1 green tag to attach to your bag and then when you bring your own reusable bag, they'll scan your green tag and your Extra Care Card, and you'll get $.25 in extra care bucks on each visit. This is also pretty new, so check with your store.

Trader Joes- If you use reusable bags, you get entered to win a $25 gift bag. That's cool. And I always see people in that store with reusable bags.

Whole Foods- I really don't shop there often because it's expensive, but my nearby store gives you $.10 rebate for each reusable bag you use, plus this month you can donate your dime to help Georgia' flooded farms. Plus they sell sturdy reusable bags for $.99.

Kroger- I called my local Kroger after reading that some Krogers across the country give incentives, but my Kroger man was beyond clueless, so even if they did, good luck getting them to actually give you the deal at that store. Boo.

Now, I'm on the look out for good & cheap reusable bags! Let me know what you use & what you think!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

We Day: Volunteering is FREE!

Ok so today is my second installment of "We Not Me" Wednesdays, my newly created weekly post to talk about things we can do for others that uses your frugalness for good. 

Do you remember last year when all the major networks got together and did that big Stand up 2 Cancer telethon? Well, the forces behind that have gotten together to promote volunteerism. I was super excited when I heard this because volunteering is super fab AND super frugal. So I'm all about iParticipate, a week of all the major networks (and some others) weaving the theme of volunteering & service into their shows. Philanthropy.com's live blog on the week is following the week of shows, but it doesn't seem like they're convinced that the shows have been doing a really good job integrating the topic. But there are a lot of PSA's about volunteering, so that's a start. And there's a lot of the week left. Have you guys noticed volunteering in your fav shows this week?

Volunteering is extremely frugal for a ton of reasons- you get out of the house without spending money & you often get free food or snacks. Obviously, you don't volunteer just because it doesn't cost money, but if your current priority is saving as much money as possible, you should budget in time to volunteer to help balance your perspective.  

Ooh Also, if you pick the right activity, you can skip a trip to the gym! For example,  TreesAtlanta has great volunteer ops every Saturday that get you actively outside, helping plant and care for trees. Plus you're done by Noon so it barely counts as taking up your Saturday. 

Here's a BONUS We-Wednesday FREE gift: Spread the love and get a pack of 5 free "You're Great" Stickers. These simple stickers are to pass on to others. They'd make a great insert in a thank you card- so write a card to let someone know they're appreciated!

Strike A Pose: FREE Photos!

So, I'm really not good at taking pictures. It's not that I'm a bad photographer, it's just that I never think to have a camera with me. And if I do happen to have a camera, I forget to actually take pictures. Or if I do actually take pictures, they stay in my camera FOREVER. Literally, I'm not sure I've ever gotten digital photos actually printed so they look like real, frame-worthy photos. So, I'm excited about this FREE $15 Gift Card to Kodak Gallery. It's pretty harmless- all you need to do is sign up for their emails on the right hand of the page. And it has to be a valid email because they email you the online code for $15 to use at www.kodakgallery.com. Ooh I suddenly want a photo mousepad. I have no idea what picture I would put on a mousepad, but I could use a new mousepad. OOH or I could get some multiples of a Christmas-card-worthy-pic and then I have an excuse to shop www.linvites.com and get these cute Argyle adhere your own photo cards.  Love it!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Good for a Laugh & a FREE hot drink!

If you're in the ATL this weekend, you're quite aware that it seems like fall has been skipped over and it's suddenly winter. To keep warm, I found a cool coupon for a FREE coffee, cappuccino, hot chocolate or tea at 7-Eleven good through the end of the month. You have to play a totally HILARIOUS game in order to get the coupon.  Apparently, 7-Eleven now has Brazilian coffee, so they decided it would be a good idea to do a promotional game where you pretend you're picking up people at a bar by asking them cheesy pick up lines and seeing if they respond well or not. If you get them to leave the bar with you, you get the coupon- the game is called "Wake up with a Hot Brazilian". When you play the game, make sure you choose to go dance with the person. You play a guitar hero style dance game and the whole thing is more fun than it should be and it ends with a free drink, which is awesome! There aren't a ton of 7-Eleven locations in Georgia, but if it's not too far out of the way, seek it out. Plus the game is worth playing even if you don't use the coupon! Enjoy!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Cheap Fun Stuff THIS WEEKEND!

I love me a good FREE festival and The Chastain Park Arts Festival seems like a Don't Miss event! 10-6 on Saturday & 11-5 on Sunday! They'll have great artists and you can be part of a world record try- they're going for the longest line of pies! Sign up at the Costco tent on Saturday or Sunday and bring your pie on Sunday at 2:30PM. ALSO buy a beer while you're there b/c money from beverage sales is going to the Big Trees Forest Preserve- which is AWESOME and hardly anyone knows it's there! Once the leaves change a little more, I'll do a post on cool free places to enjoy the fall- Big Trees is definitely on the list!

Target Family Fun Day at Woodruff Arts Center: Sunday Oct 18, Noon - 5PM Ok, so I literally called to make sure there wasn't a "bring a kid" requirement, but there isn't! They will have a lot of kid-oriented activites (and a lot of kids around), but it's FREE admission to the High Museum! So if you're looking to be inside on this chilly weekend AND get a free peek at the DaVinci exhibit, it's a great option.

Ooh Also if you go to Burger King this Month, be sure to donate $1 to their BK Scholars program and you'll get a coupon booklet with 8 free fry coupons! Woohoo!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

"We" Wednesdays: Food for $5

This is the first post of my NEW "We" Wednesdays! Every Wednesday's post will feature something for others, with a "we-not-me" attitude. Of course, all of these posts will stay true to be frugal and fabulous- because thinking of others first is ALWAYS fabulous. 

So today I will be a small part of the #Eaton30 challenge where you feed yourself for $30 for a whole week with the goal being to think of the multitudes who live on this reality in our country EVERY week. It's not to be in their shoes, but to add some perspective- I think nothing about buying a chai tea, but could eat three meals on that money. Since I was on vacation, I'm not doing the full $30 for 7 day challenge, but just focused on feeding myself today for $4. Now, I fed my husband dinner also, so I'm upping the grand total to $5 for ALL my food today AND dinner for my husband. I think he'll appreciate eating tonight. :)

Breakfast: Strawberry Yogurt
Lunch: Chicken & Black Bean Salad
Chicken thighs 1.75
Black Beans (seasoned) .85
Lime .42
Habanero Pepper .2**
Dinner: Black Bean, Chicken & Spicy Corn Tostadas for 2
Leftover Chicken & Black Bean Salad: Free
Tortillas: .99
Corn: .57
$4.91 = Under $5 for 4 meals! 

**Ok, I bought the smallest, hottest pepper my market had, which was the habanero. And I only bought ONE tiny orange pepper. It was so light that it wouldn't register on the scale, so they gave it to me free. I marked it as .2 because all people might not be given a free habanero pepper. But life would definitely be spicier if everyone just handed out free habaneros!

Overall, it took a decent amount of thought and planning to come in under budget. I think it will make me think with more purpose about what I'm buying and when/how I'm going to use all of it. And act as a reminder to be generous with the money and resources I do have to help those who do not have.
Here's my Chicken & Black Bean Salad Recipe:
1 Pkg Chicken Thighs
1 Can Seasoned Black Beans, drained of excess liquid
1/2 Small Lime
1 Small Piece of a Habanero Pepper
Salt & Pepper to taste (those are gimme items not included in the day's total)

Remove skin & excess fat from the chicken. Run your finger around the bone in the back until it separates from the chicken so you can remove the bone. I grilled the chicken thighs with salt & pepper on my George Foreman indoor grill for like 7 minutes, till the juices were clear.
Once chicken is cooked, chop it up & mix it with the black beans. Start with a small strip of habanero and chop it very finely. I added some salt as an abrasive to break it down more into almost a pepper paste. Add as much as you can handle, but I knew it would be sitting in the fridge all day, so I didn't add a ton figuring it'll get stronger. Adding lime is my favorite part. I squeezed half a lime in (I LOVE lime) and grated some of the peel in too for a pop of green. Serve cold or room temp or however you like it.

Chicken, Black Bean & Spicy Corn Tostada
Leftover Chicken & Black Bean Salad
1 Pkg Tortillas (I used flour)
1 Can of Corn
1 Small Piece of Habanero
Use extra 1/2 Lime if needed
Salt as needed

I wanted to make my rather simple chicken salad have some more pizzaz for dinner, so I tried to step it up a notch. I chopped up more habanero (in small pieces but not as tiny and pulverized as before) and mixed it with a can of corn and salt. The goal of this is to be spicy and act as a salsa. It was definitely spicy and delicious. I let it sit on the counter to sit and get spicier.

I warmed the chicken salad in the microwave. Meanwhile, I took the flour tortillas and toasted them in the over so they got crispy and puffy. Obviously, I burned two of them in the process, but had extra, thank goodness. To serve, put scoop of chicken salad on tortilla and a spoon of corn salsa on top of that. With the crunchy tortilla on the bottom it was like a yummy taco salad where you eat the shell as you go. 


Friday, October 9, 2009

$30. Could you do it?

Being frugal by choice is a luxury. Sure, I'm not swimming in money, but I always have enough money to eat. Enough money to buy a newspaper to clip coupons from. Enough money to be online talking all the time about how to conserve money. That is not the case for most of the world.. or for more of Atlanta than you think!

A lot of Atlanta bloggers are participating this coming week in a challenge to feed yourself for the week for $30. I've been following the #EatOn30 challenge on Twitter and haven't committed to do it this coming week because I'll be on vacation till Tuesday. But it has made me think a lot about solidarity. To me, solidarity is the reminder that we're one human family and I need to work to support, protect and love all my brothers and sisters.

So, since:
  • The national average for those receiving food assistance is $22-24 a week
  • The Suplemental Nutrition Assistance Program's average benefit is $101 A MONTH
  • 1/6th of the world's population lives on $1 a day

I need to kick up my solidarity efforts. Go to Tami's blog for full details on the challenge and sources for the stats. Since I am not participating fully this coming week, I am making my own commitment. This blog needs a recurring feature... so EVERY WEDNESDAY will be "We" not "Me" Wednesdays, to focus this little blog, just once a week, on how we can help others by raising awareness, using our resources in smart ways and helping others, while still staying on budget. This Wednesday I'll be feeding myself for $4 a day- on real food and posting my results. Have a great weekend and you'll hear from me next week!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

New product FAIL, Old products WIN

In today's showdown of new vs. old... OLD WINS!

The NEW:  I'm all for trying new things, especially frozen products because it's just so quick. So, when I got a $1 off coupon for Gorton's Grilled fillets, I figured I would definitely try it if it wasn't too expensive. So for $1.99 after the coupon, I got Classic Grilled Salmon Fillets. In general, the texture was pretty good, but I couldn't get over the overwhelming liquid smoke/faux grill flavor. The website literally says, "Bursting with a classic smoky grilled flavor." Um.. they aren't kidding. I barely ate any of mine, which is good because I realized it has MSG, which is a no-no for my migraines. But the hubby ate it. He's good like that. And huge kudos to Gorton's for putting the nutrition info and ingredient list so prominently on their website. Fortunately, we had good veggies & rice, so my dinner was still good. I might be open to trying their grilled scampi shrimp that doesn't have straight msg, but it was more expensive. 

The OLD: There are two new thrift stores in the ATL! TODAY is opening day on the NEW Goodwill Store in Buckhead, 3906 Roswell Rd. Yes you heard me right, Buckhead! I used to think the Buford Hwy Goodwill was the best because that's where the collection box from Lenox Mall went, but there are high hopes for fancy clothes being $4 at this new location. Woohoo!  
Just a bit further up Roswell Rd. in Sandy Springs is the new Thrifty Living Discount Center on 6655 Roswell Rd. The store is trying to be like a Goodwill, but with all of the proceeds going to Christian causes. They have a second Roswell/Alpharetta location planned too, but it's not opened yet. If you make it a day and go from the new Goodwill to Thrifty Living, be sure to also stop at the Sandy Springs Goodwill at Roswell & Johnson Ferry Rd. LOVE IT!

Monday, October 5, 2009

My $1 Shopping Trip: All About the Washingtons

Drawing inspiration from The 99 Cent Chef, who cooks with items that are each less than 99 cents or at least less than 99 cents per pound, I decided to shop a little differently this week. So what the 99 Cent Chef has that I don't is the 99 Cent Only store, which is only in the west and has food and produce. But I have Kroger, so I thought I'd improvise. 

As I shopped, I put every item that was under $1 (or under $1 per lb) in the same part of my shopping cart. It was good motivation not to buy expensive things because I could easily see the money stocking up. I ended up with over 20 under $1 qualifying items (in full disclosure, exactly 21) including black beans, sweet potatoes, apples, bananas, chick peas, green onions, canned tomatoes, yogurt, cucumbers, pasta and chicken breasts. Split chicken breasts keep being .99 per lb, which is handy because I strangely enjoy separating the breasts & tenderloins and freezing them in individual bags so they're ready when I need them. Overall, I'm excited to start putting my $1 items together to make cheap meals. Fun!

In other $1 news, I used over 10 $1 off coupons during my shopping trip! In full disclosure, I literally used exactly 11. :) I saved close to $18 in coupons. Woohoo!  AND the cashier said she liked my pink paisley coupon box. SCORE. 

Speaking of a dollar... Here's a $1 off Arbor Mist wine & sparkling wine coupon.  It's all about the Washingtons!

Walgreens Deals: FREE Wheat Thins!

Ok, so if you follow the coupon blogs, drugstores are king. There are some great deals to be had at Walgreens, CVS & RiteAid. I must admit that generally I find it complicated, but there are times that they make it pretty easy--- you just can't ignore good deals!

Worth the trip to Walgreens THIS WEEK- I'll definitely stop by for my FREE box of Wheat Thins! Yep, with this $1 printable coupon and the sale price, you get a small box of wheat thins for FREE! Who doesn't love wheat thins- plus they're great to have around to use for dip when you have peeps over.

While you're there, here are other Walgreens deals that interest me this week:
  • C0ffeeMate Creamer for .50. Here's the printable coupon for $1 off
  • 2 FREE Campbell soups! You'll need this coupon AND you'll need the in-ad clipable coupon, so if you have your Sunday paper floating around, pull the Walgreens ad OR when you walk in the store, look for the ad flyer to be sure you get the deal.
For more Walgreens deals this week, especially ones that use sunday insert coupons and Walgreens rewards dollars, check out Deal Seeking Mom.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Harvest Midtown THIS SUNDAY!

Thanks to the wonderful people at hipandsavvy.com, there's a GREAT $10 off promo code for this Sunday's Harvest Midtown Festival! Just enter HipAndSavvy to get your tix for $35! I had seen a $5 off code, but $10 is even better!

Ok so it's not uber-frugal at $35, but it's all-inclusive: food, wine & entertainment. PLUS, which is how I can always justify these events, money goes to Camp Twin Lakes, which is an awesome organization that provides camp experiences for kids struggling with illnesses & other challenges. PLUS it's from 1-4, so maybe you can eat enough to not eat lunch or dinner, in which case the $35 is looking better & better!
Also, just got my Free Night of Theater tickets to the Alliance! Woohoo!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Free Night of Theater!

Big thanks to my husband's mom for raising him to always tolerate and usually enjoy most any cultural event I drag him to. I do watch a lot of sports for him, so it works out pretty well.  And since the hubby appreciates free things almost as much as I do, we're HUGE fans of the Free Night of Theater. Last year we got two free tickets to Shakespeare Tavern- which freed up some funds to eat dinner there and have a beer during the show. It was a great night! 

So here's how to score two free tickets to a variety of upcoming shows...
All you have to do is go to the website and order your free tix. Pretty foolproof.  The key is that the ticket window opens at 2PM TOMORROW, so go to the website tomorrow afternoon for your first choice! There are a decent amount of theaters participating: Alliance Theater, Georgia Shakespeare,  Dad's Garage, etc. and though a lot of them are on Thursday nights, there are a variety of dates between Oct 15 & 30th.  Let's go be cultured for free!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Free beer and people who know about it.

If you haven't been to Hop City Beer & Wine in Midtown (1000 Marietta St.- basically behind Georgia Tech) you should probably go- right now... or as soon as humanly possible! They're a great store with people who know about beer and wine. They'll help you find a beverage that you'll love -and that's in your price range! The selection is extreme- seriously my husband was so happy it was a little ridiculous. Not only are they a great store, but they sponsor FREE tastings!! Um yeah, that means free beer. They have the tastings across the street at the Octane Coffee Bar (1009 Marietta St) which is a cool, comfortable coffee shop that also serves beer & wine- which is awesome. It's definitely a tasting, so you don't get full size beers, but it was fun sitting at the bar learning about the beers from the beer reps and we weren't disappointed with the amount we got to sample.  It's a perfect FREE happy hour treat. There's a free Hop City tasting at Octane TOMORROW! Wednesday Sept 30 5-7PM. Not that it really matters what kind of beer, but it's good stuff from Belukus Brands- Youngs Double Chocolate Stout & Blanc de Brussels!  

Don't worry, if you miss tomorrow's free tasting, there are more free tastings at Octane on October 7 & 14!  And they seem to do them pretty often... which is AWESOME! Free beer makes me smile. 

Monday, September 28, 2009

$1.50 for a Movie?? Cheap Dates Rock.

This is my first "Cheap Night Out" post. I might do one once a week or less or more.. I obviously have a well-thought out plan. :) 

The classic dinner & movie is getting to be RIDICULOUSLY expensive.  So let's create a viable and more creative alternative. It starts with a new theater. There aren't many cheap theaters in Atlanta, but I LOVE Picture Show at Merchants in Marietta (East Cobb County).  Tickets are $1.75 each .. all the time... except on Tuesdays when they're $.75 and for matinees which are $1.25. Awesome!

So let's assume you're not messing with the classic date night that much and you're going out on a weekend night, so that's $3.50 for 2 tickets and then what. I guarantee you're going to want to do something after you see a movie at Picture Show, so instead of dinner before hand, do a movie & go out afterwards. It's just more entertaining to see a movie at Picture Show- the crowd is more interactive, people laughing or clapping inappropriately- you'll want to debrief the whole experience afterwards. Though it's not a fancy place, I've never found the seats sticky or the place creepy in anyway. If you go knowing it's a cheap theater, you'll love it! 

Ideas for going out afterwards... So you've made the trip out to East Cobb, now what? Here are two recommendations. Everyone loves ice cream, but make yourself look like you know all the local & best spots and go out for gelato Roma's Gelato & Italian Ice. You'll turn left on Roswell from the theater and keep going until you turn right at Piedmont & it's in the shopping center on the corner. Around $3 a person gets you YUMMY gelato. And you can ask to sample flavors till you find what you like- which will be all of it. 

If you prefer a drink to a frozen treat, I recommend Suburban Tap. It's right around the corner from the theater. Have a beer, catch up on sports scores on their tv's & if you go to a 7ish movie on a Saturday, you'll be there to catch team trivia which is ALWAYS fun. I can't vouch that they're drinks are especially cheap, but it's not an expensive place and it has that local-bar-with-loyal-customers feel. If you do want to eat, here's a $3 off $20 or more coupon

So go live it up in East Cobb & enjoy your movie!!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

My sick shirt

So, you all know the feeling- you wake up in the morning and feel the tickle in your throat. Your head hurts, you can't breath through your nose, etc. You're sick. You can deny it- "Oh I'm just starting to get sick, but I'm not sick yet." Yeah, whatever. You're sick. When I wake up like that- like I did today- I'm obviously going to wear my sick shirt.

Yeah, I have a sick shirt. It's an older banana republic t-shirt- light blue, with a boatneck and just perfect. It's comforting, simple and adds a feeling of being well-put-together that I'm going to lack b/c I'm blowing my nose every 2 minutes. I can pair it with a shirt or nice pants if I'm going to work, or like today, it's obviously with jeans. I've even rocked it with track pants when I've felt awful but need to look enough like a human to go to the doctor's office or run to the drugstore. I only wear the shirt when I'm sick, because it's the sick shirt. 

So I'm sick and decided to try a natural cure. Have you ever searched the internet for natural cures? There are like a million. I decided to focus my search to the use of apple cider vinegar. Basically, I've been taking dayquil liquid which tastes really bad, so I think apple cider vinegar is a better option. I just gargled with some apple cider vinegar and water and it actually tasted good. I have no idea of it'll help, but I'm trying it. I think I'll try some vinegar & honey "tea" later. We'll see how it goes!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Store brands are great...

I love store brands & am a HUGE believer that you really do save a lot of money by buying generic, store brands. There are a ton of things that I buy store brand and there's no difference to me- and sometimes the store brand is better. Target brand Archer Farms is delicious AND last time I went I was able to find little red tags with great discounts on some of their Archer Farms frozen stuff b/c they discontinue products to control inventory (a bag of frozen veggies & calzones- good stuff). Also, I'm obsessed with Publix brand ice cream. I bought Publix Irish Cream ice cream once and got totally addicted- even think their packaging is pretty. 

BUT there are just some times where store brand doesn't cut it. We all have our loyalty items. My biggest by far is Classico Tomato Sauce. I love it! It's what my food-loving family raised me on and other sauces seem to taste too ketchup-y to me. I've been mixing it up lately, trying some of the other brands that try to look like classico and they're really just not as good. So what do you do when you're trying to hunt down a good deal on a specific brand/product?

Coupon Databases! It's exactly what it sounds like- a searchable list of all the coupons that are available. Some good coupon databases: A Full Cup & Hot Coupon World. There aren't a ton of coupons out there right now for my Classico, but when it's on sale, I can turn to the coupon database, make it as cheap as possible and stock up!

Happy couponing!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Saved by the coupon code!

When I know I need clothes or am running low on shampoo, I can be on the lookout for deals, promotions, coupons, etc... but that's not always the case. There are times when you just need to buy something at the last minute. For me, it's usually buying something online and usually at like midnight... like 36 hours before you need the item in your hands. 

So what am I to do when my frugalness is challenged by my procrastination? Turn to coupon codes! So let's say I just realized it's the day before Mother's Day and neither mom or mom-in-law have gifts yet. This is obviously a hypothetical situation since both of them could be reading this :) but if it was real, I'd be looking to go online and quickly order flowers so they can be delivered ASAP. In one extra step, I can easily save 15-25%... so what's the extra step?
  • Go to www.retailmenot.com. You can search for a specific store or in the above completely made up example, you can search flowers and then click on the flowers related coupon category on the right and it'll pull up all the current coupon codes. So right now, there are a bunch of discounts, including a code for 25% off at Teleflora, which means it's an instant $10 off! 
  • Do a Google search for "storename coupon code".   This works well when you're getting someone a wedding gift and they have three store options- a quick search can tell you which store you should buy from. And there are a ton of great sites like Retail me not that can pretty instantly save you money or at least get you free shipping!
Once you have the coupon code, you just enter it when you're checking out and you're all set. Mother's Day (or the next special occasion I forget about) is saved by the coupon code!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

How to be selfish & still donate to charity!

Always using coupons and shopping for deals, frees up some funds to donate to worthy causes... which is awesome, but there's still only a set amount of money, so here are some ways to give to charity that benefits the organization AND you!
  • Use your normal activities to help raise money: There are often promotions where money goes towards an organization just for buying a certain thing at that time that you would have bought anyway. Here's a GREAT example of doing what you'd normally do and helping others... This week is Share our Strength's Great American Dine Out. There are a TON of Atlanta restaurants who have committed to donate money during the week of Sept 20-26 (THIS WEEK) to Share our Strength, which fights childhood hunger in the US. Go to their website to find restaurants near you and be sure to ask the restaurant how they're participating to see if there's a set menu or item you need to order, if it's just a blanket donation they're making of their sales this week, etc. 
  • Go to charity events to network: People always say it's "who you know" that gets you new jobs, promotions, new clients, etc... so get out there and meet important people. A weeknight charity event with an auction, open bar & food, is a great place to meet high-up folks! This Thursday, September 24th, 21st Century Leaders -a youth leadership development organization- is having an event called the Fete at the Foundry. At the event, Atlanta's 40 under 40 (as named by the Atlanta Business Chronicle) are announcing this year's 20 under 20... so that means that the $35 ticket price gets you shoulder to shoulder with a TON of important folks that the ABC thought were the best of the best, all while supporting impressive young leaders, plus enjoying the usual food, drinks, music & auction. Awesome! Bonus: if you can't make the event, they're also raffling off a vespa & a MacBook Pro, so you can make a straight $20 donation, but it comes with a chance to win something really cool. 
  • Make your fun social activity one that help a cause: My great example of this is all day beer & music festivals that also benefit charities like the upcoming HOToberfest on October 3, 2009 at Glenwood Park. Seriously, $30 gets you in the beer garten to sample 110 beers from around the world AND the event is focused around sustainability and care of the Earth, so funds raised go to great earth-friendly organizations like Trees Altanta & Upper Chatahoochee Riverkeeper. For as much as you'd spend at a bar that night, you get an all afternoon activity that helps great causes and help educate you on things you can do to enjoy the Earth and good beer! That's happiness pie.
  • Jump in to help!: I love me a charity gala with floor length dresses, huge auctions, dancing, good food & free drinks... but even with a lot of coupon using, I cannot easily justify $150+ a ticket. The FrugalFab solution is to volunteer! Find an organization you like and an event that is super fru-fru and tell them you'd like to help.  Be ready to put in the time- usually greeting people for at least the first hour or helping with the auction & check out during the last hour. Most organizations will let you be a normal guest during the times you're not set to help, which means like half the time, you're partying on someone else's dime and you don't have to feel guilty because your manpower helped the event be successful and raise money for the cause!
I'll continue to highlight nonprofit charity events that I think are a great way to put your money to good use!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Free samples are my friend

Before I got hugely into using coupons and hunting for every deal I could find, I was into signing up for free samples.  Free stuff is awesome- especially things like food & laundry detergent that you'll definitely use. There are some really good sites that give you legit free samples from companies that are truly looking to give you the item and not just trying to get you to fill out "free" offers or spam your email address.  Here are some great places to start: my three fav sites AND my three favorite current freebies!

Mommy Saves Big- This is an awesome site. You'll have to click on the Free Samples section since they also have online discount codes, printable coupons, etc. 
  • Currently my favorite free sample from Mommy Saves Big is Free Betty Crocker Potatoes. Now you do have to sign up for the Betty Crocker newsletter, but they don't spam you. It'll let you truly unsubscribe and you can always get another email to use just for samples. I do that and like having all the e-newsletters from companies in one spot so you can scan for coupons and good recipes. 
A Cheap Chicks Ray of Sunshine- If you're worried about spammers and bogus freebies, Cheap Chick is your girl. She is always on the lookout for legit freebies and does "Forget it freebie alerts" to let you know which companies to avoid. She also has a coupon database.
  • My current favorite freebie on Cheap Chick is a free Evil Ronald McDonald Mask from PETA because it proves that there are all sorts of random freebies available online! Don't worry, she does have a lot of less obscure free stuff too!
Free Sample Freak- Brandie posts great freebies and has a very happy & colorful blog. 
  • My current favorite freebie from Free Sample Freak is Free Burt's Bees Acne Solutions because Burt's Bees is awesome and I've heard good things about their acne stuff!
Much more on free samples to come in future blog posts! :)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Mall Coups!

I am hoping to do some shopping this weekend. If you are too, here are some great deals!

Going to the Mall? Check out the great food court coups and more at www.hipandsavvy.com! Discounts at the Mall of Georgia, Perimeter Mall, Atlantic Station & Town Center Mall. Oh & the Taco Bell at Lenox & Cumberland Mall, too.
  • Now on Hip and Savvy, most are food court coupons, but there are a few hidden coupons to be aware of! Like the Perimeter Mall coupons have coupons for Wildfire & Maggiano's- two great restaurants at the Mall, but not in the mall. The Perimeter Mall coupons also have a 15% off watch repair, which is handy.
Here's an AWESOME printable Ann Taylor 40% off any full price coupon. I am excited to use that one!

It's pink & paisley!

Seriously, I am not a very girly girl, but I am excited to rock out my new pink & paisley coupon box. I love paisley and actually have a cat named Paisley (and another cat named Argyle- for not being a fashionista, I have a thing for fabric patterns with cool names). I'm definitely not finished organizing the coupons yet, so there will be more pics of the inside to come. 

Now I will feel cool using my coups. Hopefully. That is the goal. Oh and to save more money because I can actually find the coupons I want to use!

My dad is my coupon hero

Growing up, my dad had a black index card box that I estimate has saved him like 1 million dollars (that's a loose estimate). He would not only clip coupons every Sunday, but he had (and still has!) his coupon box organized by aisle in his grocery store. He has a definite system. It's awesome. 

So with all that awesomeness upbringing, I went to the store Wednesday to buy a box to hold my coupons. This should be a simple endeavor, but suddenly I got very concerned about how my coupon box would look to others. I suddenly wanted to look cool- and am choosing to express my coolness through my coupon organizer which is possibly the least cool thing, um ever. So after going to three stores, I came home and scoured my house for cool boxes. I think I've found a suitable box- it's a makeup box so as bonus, there's a little mirror in the top and elastics to hold a pen & mini scissors! I'm still working it out, so hopefully later today I'll post pictures of my makeup/coupon box.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Bonus Virtual Coups: The Basics

I know, I know, Publix is cooler than Kroger. But the Kroger Card makes shopping at the Krog fun, frugal & fabulous!

Bonus coupons are a lot of the reason why my Kroger Card is so dear to me. You can literally load coupons onto your card so there's nothing to clip, no wasted paper (yey for the environment) and you can use them on top of printed coupons, so you can save a ton. All you have to do is register you card # with these sites and then choose your coups. This takes like 2 minutes and can be done all online, so it was designed for the lazy & cheap... like me!

Shortcuts is my favorite because it also has coupons for Kroger brand items. Really, store brand and bonus coupons is happiness. Cellfire often has some of the same coups as Shortcuts, which means you can get both the cellfire coupon, the shortcut coupon & a paper coupon together. There's also PG&E Saver which I don't like as much as the others because I don't really buy name brand, but it has a lot of decent deals.

I'll be talking about these sites a bunch, so check them out and I'll highlight deals I like on future posts.

Great tailgating coupon:
.65 off Kroger Cornitos OR Tortilla Chips from Shortcuts - that ended up being .35 for a bag of tortilla chips... during football season! 

Ok so my first real post is about virtual coupons because I just don't have a good coupon organizing system. Somehow, just putting them all in my purse is not working- don't ask me for a pen b/c I'll never find it! Anyway,  my paper coupons are in total disarray. Tomorrow I'll post on my new coupon organizer!

OMG I have a blog

Why am I starting a blog? Really, a lot of reasons. It makes me happy inside to use a coupon, I love living in Atlanta and simply adore good deals, especially on food and beer. You'll notice that I mention food and beer a lot in my blog, because well, I like to eat & drink... kinda a lot. :)  

I'm thinking this will be a mixed bag blog: part coupon blog- where my posts are short and mostly directing you to the most recent awesome deal I've found, part this-is-my-life blog- where you'll learn too much about me and I'll share my crazy perspective on things going on, and part sweet & sour mix- as all good cocktails are. As a young adult working full-time and attempting to be a good wife, I don't have the time I'd like to devote to couponing, so my version is a doable level of coupon-obsession and money-saving things & places I recommend.  Enjoy!

And follow me on Twitter: www.twitter.com/frugalfabATL