Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Produce Printable Coupon - $1.00 off Dole Salad



Fresh produce coupons are hard to come by. High value fresh produce coupons are even harder to come by.

Follow this link to print a coupon for $1.00 off 1 Dole Bagged Salad. Remember, you can print two coupons per computer. I plan to print a few and wait for a good sale.

$10 Target Gift Card FREE with a $50 Purchase



Are you planning to do some shopping at Target in the next few days? Print this coupon and receive a $10 Target Gift Card when you make a purchase of $50 or more. It's easy to drop $50 at Target, especially with gift buying to do, so why not take advantage of this little bonus?

The coupon expires on Saturday and may take a few tries before it prints. While you're on the Target site, be sure to check out other printable coupons, including newly released toy coupons and high value apparel coupons, which could equal rock bottom prices on sale and clearance items.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

When Deals Disappoint

I'm trying not be irritated with Ecomom. They're a small business, not a giant chain store or mega corporation. They tried their hand at a great Thanksgiving sale....but they failed miserably.

The problem started when they offered a deal through Plum District where buyers received a $50 voucher for just $10, using Plum District's Black Friday promo codes. Ecomom should have known that their last promo like this caused their site to crash.

The problem grew when this voucher was coupled with Ecomom's own Thanksgiving weekend promo - spend $50 get $20 off and spend $100 get $40 off. Savvy shoppers soon figured out that their Plum District voucher could be paired with the Ecomom sale, equalling HUGE savings - $70 of products for spending just $10 or $100 for spending just $20.

The Ecomom site was flooded with traffic. It crashed. For days.

I bought my voucher on Saturday, and apparently, like thousands of others, tried using my voucher over the weekend. I was never successful in ordering my products, and today, I found out that every item I had planned to buy Nolan for Christmas, along with my back up plan items, had sold out.

I'm trying not to be irritated. Worst case scenario, I hold onto the voucher, use it down the road, and get $50 worth of products for the $10 I spent on my voucher. By no means a bad deal.

Here is what bothers me, though.

Online promotions, like daily deal vouchers and Facebook giveaways are becoming increasingly common. Companies have to be aware that deals spread across the internet at a rapid fire pace. Bloggers share deals with thousands of readers seconds after the deals become live. There should be someone on staff who is aware of this, someone who says, before we offer this deal, we better be prepared to handle it.

Ecomom could have dealt with their situation in a number of better ways. They could have followed the practices of Groupon and Living Social, and had a waiting period before the Plum District voucher was available for use. This would have significantly decreased traffic because users would not be able to couple the voucher with Black Friday promos. They could have programmed their system to block the Plum District voucher from being coupled with the Black Friday savings. They could have anticipated increased website traffic and better prepared by increasing their server capacity.

There are many things THEY could have done. But what do you, the buyer, do when a deal has turned out to be a disappointment? Well, after a tiny bit of venting, perhaps online :), move on, and realize that really, it just doesn't matter.

Baby Bargains



Here are this week's best baby deals and printable coupons. This isn't a great week for buying diapers and wipes in store - higher prices and few rewards deals - but Amazon does have a number of decent bargains, as well as free two day shipping, should you find yourself in need.

If you haven't already discovered it, Amazon Mom is a free program, which will earn you complimentary two day shipping on baby and kid related products. It also gives you a discount on diapers and wipes. Choose the subscribe and save option when ordering these products to receive an additional discount. You can cancel the subscription immediately after placing your order.

Diapers

Printable Coupons
$2.00/1 Huggies Little Movers Slip-On (printable)
$2.00/1 Huggies Little Movers Slip-On (Target printable)

Online Deals


Amazon - Luvs Ultra Leakguard Big Pack (258 ct.) - pay $30.39 with Amazon Mom and Subscribe and Save discounts - $0.12 per diaper

Huggies Little Snugglers (168 ct.) - pay $26.80 with Amazon Mom and Subscribe and Save discounts - $0.16 per diaper

Wipes

Amazon - Pampers Soft Care (720 ct.) - pay $20.00 with Amazon Mom and Subscribe and Save discounts, $0.03 per wipe

Kroger - Huggies Natural - 72 ct. - $1.99
- $0.50/1 Huggies Wipes 64 ct. + (11/20 Smart Source insert)
Pay $1.49, $0.02 per wipe

Baby Food (not deal match ups, just printable coupons)

$1.00/1 Beech Nut Multigrain Cereal - makes it $0.42 at Walmart, $0.25 at Kroger
FREE Beech Nut Starter Kit (one box of cereal and two jars) - must register

Toys/Apparel/Misc.
Old Navy - Buy one item, get one 75% off

Reader Response: Have you come across a baby deal you'd like to share? Post a comment or e-mail me at allisondurhamdeals@gmail.com. I will update the list with any deals I receive.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Cyber Monday



Opening my e-mail this morning, I was flooded with Cyber Monday sale e-mails. It seems that every online retailer is offering discounts during this online shopping answer to Black Friday.

Where can you find some of the best deals? Here are some highlights from the e-mails I've received. As usual, shop through Ebates to receive cash back on your purchases, as well as a $10 gift card following your first $25 purchase.

Barnes and Noble - 50% off New York Times Best Sellers, up to 70% off DVDs and Blue Rays, take an additional 30% off your entire order using unique coupon code N7C7K8T

Amazon - All day lightning deals (limited time/amount) in all product categories, up to 67% off DVDs

Best Buy - Savings in all departments, Free $10 gift card with purchase of $100+, select in store pick up

Ebates - Do your online shopping through this site and earn Double Cash Back from over 500 stores

Ecomom - $20 off $50, $40 off $100, use Plum District voucher to receive $70 for $10 or $100 for $20

Gap/Old Navy/Banana Republic - 30% off entire order using code "HUGECYBER," free shipping on orders over $50

LOFT - 50% entire online store, free shipping using the code "SHOP50"

Plum District - 40% off any deal using code "MOBILE40," additional $5 off for new members, deals on baby/kid gear, clothing, jewelry, home goods, photography, and more

Reader Response: Have you found an awesome Cyber Monday sale? Please share in the comments section!

Meal Plan Monday



After a turkey filled weekend, we're nearly out of leftovers (thank goodness). That does mean, though, that I need to think a little harder about this week's meals.

As I plan out my weekly menu, I ask myself a few money saving questions:
What's already in the house that I can use? 
What's on sale? 
What do I have coupons for?
Which items are on sale AND have coupons?

After looking through the fridge and freezer and scanning the store ads, this is my meal plan for the coming week (five meals, not assigned to specific days - I'm too fickle for that). I've included links to any meals with online recipes.
  • Turkey Noodle Soup, French Bread - I plan to use the last of the leftover turkey and broth, as well as noodles (e-mailing No Yolks will likely get you a free bag), veggies, and bread already in the house. 
  • Balsamic Salmon, Brown Rice, and Veggies (whichever ones are left) - All ingredients are in the house. Let's hope the salmon doesn't let me down. I'm having bad flash backs of the pink goo from a few weeks ago.
  • Fried Ravioli with Pesto Cream Sauce (my own made up recipe, but something like this), Salads - The ravioli, bread crumbs, and pesto are in the house. I'll buy a bag of Dole salad, which is on sale for $2.00. I have a $0.75 coupon, making it $1.25.
  • Asian Chicken Breasts (from For the Love of Cooking - LOVE that blog!), green beans, rice - Everything should be in the house for this one.
  • Left over soup - or - Spaghetti (use homemade sauce from the freezer - I stock up on ingredients, like canned tomatoes, when prices are low) - I like to have at least one easy meal in the plan. They help me fight the urge to eat out when I really don't feel like cooking. 
Obviously, these meals only take care of dinners (and lunches for Alex - he LOVES leftovers). We're stocked up on breakfast foods, like cereal and oatmeal, but I'll need to pick up a few lunch items for Nolan and myself, as well as weekly non-perishables, like milk and produce. This is where I'll head back to my ads and coupons to do some price comparing and calculating (Kroger is looking pretty good for milk and fruit - $1 blackberries!). To save more money, you can pick up specific items at different stores offering the best price, instead of doing one big trip to a single grocery store (I know, not convenient for everyone).

Reader Response: Do you create a weekly meal plan for your family? Share it in the comments section! Feel free to link any online recipes.



Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Best Things in Life

So much to be thankful for this holiday season.



                                          




Saturday, November 26, 2011

Daily Deal - Plum District - Extra 40% Off


Plum District is continuing their fantastic Thanksgiving weekend sales. Be sure to check out the national deals, as well as those specific to your area. Change the area by using the pink drop menu on the top left side of the screen. In the Durham area, there are deals for photography sessions, salon services and more! There are deals that would make great gifts for moms, dads, and kids.

Most deals are already 50% off, or more. Add to that a $5 new member credit and the promo code "saturday40," which gives you an additional 40% off, and you'll score some amazing deals.

Here are some examples:

$50 to ecomom.com for $10 after new member discount and 40% off code


$10 for a Kelly Martin Photography session  (Durham area) after new member discount and 40% off code

$50 toward salon services at Studio 714 West (Raleigh) for $10 after new member discount and 40% off code

$40 for the Holiday Package from Omaha Steaks ($132 value) after new member discount and 40% off code

$50 to Jack Franklin Ties for $10 after new member discount and 40% off code



Friday, November 25, 2011

Daily Deal - Plum District - $50 to Ecomom for $10 AND MORE



Plum District is offering some great Black Friday deals, many with free shipping. Some highlights include:

$50 to Ecomom.com for $25

$50 to Sole Society (shoes) for $25

$50 to Canvas Lifestyle (wrapped photo canvases) for $25

$50 to Dandelion Baby (clothes and toys) for $25

Half off is a great deal, but it gets better! New Plum District members will receive a $5 credit, AND, by using the code enjoy10, you can deduct an additional $10 from your order.

This brings the cost of each deal mentioned above to just $10, an 80% savings!

Check it out (click on Explore Your District to see more deals)!

CVS Thanksgiving Freebies - How To

  


I know that some of you might not have Extra Bucks built up to begin your freebie Thanksgiving shopping at CVS. This is a little tutorial on how to roll extra bucks rewards to score some free products (see ad pics above, click to enlarge) and spend very little out of pocket. For this post, we'll begin with no Extra Bucks in hand, and as a challenge for myself, find a way to get as many products as possible for just $5.00 out of pocket (pre-tax), without using any coupons (which means anyone could do it).

Here we go.

For starters, you will need to be ready to do multiple transactions. The cashiers at CVS are used to this and won't give you a hard time.

Transaction 1: I'm starting by buying items that will add up to exactly $5.00, my target out of pocket expense.
Buy 2 Mars candy bars ($0.75 each), 1 Soft Lips ($2.00), and 1 Kleexex Cool Touch 50 ct. ($1.50)
Pay $5.00 OOP
Earn $5.00 Extra Bucks (will print on bottom of your receipt)


Transaction 2: I'm looking for items that will add up to as close to $5.00 as possible. That way I can pay with my $5.00 Extra Bucks and not pay more out of pocket. Being under $5.00 will be fine. I will just lose a few cents from my reward, as the register will adjust it down.

Buy 1 Cepocol Throat Lozenges ($4.99)
Total = $4.99
Pay with $5.00 Extra Bucks from Transaction 1 (hand your receipt to the clerk), just pay sales tax
Earn $4.99 Extra Bucks



Transaction 3: Since I have $4.99 in Extra Bucks, I will look for items that total close to $4.99. 

Buy 2 Hershey's King Size ($0.99 each), 1 Carmex ($1.00), and 1 CVS Dental Flossers ($1.99)
Total = $4.97
Pay with $4.99 Extra Bucks from Transaction 2 , just pay sales tax
Earn $4.97 Extra Bucks



Transaction 4: I am looking for items that will cost close to $4.97.
Buy 1 Finish Quantum or 1 Pepto-Bismol or 1 Listerine Pocketpaks ($2.99) and 1 Theraflu 8 ct. ($1.87)
Total = $4.86
Pay with $4.97 Extra Bucks from transaction 3, just pay sales tax
Earn $4.86 Extra Bucks

I've decided that there are no more items that I want. I stop my transactions and take home $4.86 in Extra Buck, paying just $5.00 + tax for all of my items.

I could have continued on with transactions, but at this point, I think you get the picture. The idea is to purchase items with a total close to the amount of extra bucks you have in hand. That way, the extra bucks serve as your payment, and you pay very little out of pocket.

When you walk into CVS, I suggest having a written or typed list, breaking down your transactions. After every item is in your cart, separate the items by transaction. As you place the items for a transaction on the check out counter, double check your list to make sure they match.

After a little practice, it's really quite easy to roll extra bucks. I'm happy to help and answer questions, so feel free to leave them in the comments area. I check them often! :)

Black Friday Freebies - CVS


As far as drugstores go, CVS's Thanksgiving Weekend sale is pretty impressive. They are offering twenty eight products for FREE after extra bucks rewards. A number of these products can be matched up with coupons, actually making them money makers, meaning you earn more in rewards than you paid. You can check this post for coupon match ups. You can also visit the CVS website to view the sale ad if you did not get one with a newspaper.

As a tip, my CVS had the free sale items in big tubs at the front of the store. I didn't think to look there when I got to the store, and initially thought most items had sold out, when really, there were buckets full of each one.

Though 28 items were free, I knew that Alex and I would only use a small number of them, so I stuck to buying just a few items. I did three transactions, spending $1.22 (mostly sales tax), with $10.48 in extra bucks still in hand. Here's a look at my purchases.



Transaction 1: 
2 Snickers Bars $0.75 each (earn $0.75 EB for each Mars brand bar, limit 4)
1 Finish Quantum $2.99 - $1.00 printable (earn $2.99 EB, limit 1)
2 Reese Peanut Butter Cups Minis $0.99 each (earn $0.99 for each Hershey's King Size, limit 2)
1 Kleenex Cool Touch $1.50 (earn $1.50 EB, limit 1)

Total After Coupons = $6.97 - $6.97 EB from previous trip = $0.00 pre-tax, $0.54 with tax
EARN $7.97 Extra Bucks

Transaction 2:
2 Colgate Total Advantage $2.87 each - 2/$1 off Colgate Advantage (earn $2.87 for each EB, limit 2)
1 box Fiber One Brownies $3.99 - $0.40 off Fiber One Brownies (earn $3.99 EB, limit 1)
1 Dove Chocolate Bar (earn $0.75 EB for each Mars brand bar, limit 4)

Total After Coupons = $8.08 - $7.97 Extra Bucks from Transaction 1 = $0.11 pre-tax, $0.63 with tax
EARN $10.48 Extra Bucks

Transaction 3:

1 Dove Chocolate Bar (earn $0.75 EB for each Mars brand bar, limit 4)

Total = $0.75 - $0.75 Extra Bucks from Transaction 2 = $0.00 pre-tax, $0.05 with tax
Earn $0.75 Extra Bucks

Total OOP = $1.22
Still Have $10.48 in Extra Bucks

Holiday Shopping - Ebates


This is a reminder, that as you're shopping online for holidays, be sure to check out Ebates, which is a site that offers money back for online purchases made at major retailers. For Black Friday, Ebates is offering double cash back at over 500 stores. For example, you can earn 10% back from Barnes and Noble and Kohl's.

As a bonus, you will earn a $10 gift card to a store of your choice after signing up and completing your first $25 purchase.

Daily Deal - Groupon - $20 at Old Navy for $10



With all the Black Friday shopping going on in stores and online, you might not have had time to check out  the daily deal sites, like Groupon and Living Social.

Head to Groupon, where the national deal is $20 at Old Navy for $10! The voucher expires on December 24 of this year, but if you plan use it for Christmas gifts, that shouldn't be a problem! You are allowed to buy one voucher for yourself, as well as a gift.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Grateful

http://www.pamsclipart.com


I'll be spending the day cooking, resting, and giving thanks with my family. No more blog posts today. Happy Thanksgiving, readers!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Streets at Southpoint Black Friday Hours and Promos

As Black Friday sales at big box stores have crept earlier and earlier, mall retailers have followed suit. Many stores at Southpoint (the mall in Durham) will be opening at midnight, including Gap, Banana Republic, and Macy's. Others, like JCPenney and Sears, will open their doors at 4:00 am. The remaining retailers will be open for business at 6:00 am. To see opening times for all Southpoint retailers, visit Streets at Southpoint Guru

ALSO - If you shop Southpoint before noon on Black Friday, hold onto your receipts! If you spend more than $200, bring your receipts to Center Court, where you can redeem them for a FREE $20 mall gift card.

Daily Deal - Mossimo Sweaters at Target - $5.99


If you happen to make a trip to Target today, be sure to check out Mossimo sweaters (v-neck, crew, and cardigans), which are on sale for $9.99 (sale ends today), down from $19.99. Print this Target coupon for $4 off women's sweaters, and get each sweater for just $5.99. I bought two for myself. :)

Pre-Thanksgiving Productivity

What a productive morning! Carnitas in the crock pot for dinner, two trays of baby food pureed and in the freezer, sweet potatoes prepped, and cranberry sauce made and chilling in the fridge. Top it off with a FREE Dunkin' Pumpkin Latte, and playing outside with my boys in this beautiful NC weather. Lots to be thankful for. Life is good!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Leave No Extra Bucks Behind


I haven't been doing much, well really, any, shopping at CVS in recent weeks. I haven't been too impressed with the sales, and after surveying our bathroom closet, and seeing a stockpile that should last us well into 2016 (give or take), I decided that it was really time to take a break from buying body wash and the like. So when I was cleaning out my coupon binder the other day, I realized that I had $4.48 in CVS Extra Bucks, which were set to expire tomorrow, as well as $4 Extra Bucks expiring in a few weeks.

Not one to leave Extra Bucks unused (hey, they're free money!), I needed a shopping plan. ASAP.

I could walk into CVS and just spend $4.48 on random items, but I like to shop with a bit more savvy. My goal was helped along when I received an e-mail yesterday from from CVS, giving me a coupon for $5 off a minimum $25 purchase (PRE-COUPONS). OK, now I could get creative.

We were in need of diapers, and I saw that Pampers big boxes (80 ct.) are on sale this week for $18.99, with $4 Extra Bucks back. I also had a $1 Pampers coupon. $18.99 would not put me at the minimum $25 to use my $5 off coupon, though. I would need to add more to my cart.

I realized that I had a coupon for FREE Sauve Dry Shampoo (up to $3.00 off), on sale for $3.49. This would bring me to $22.48. Close, but not quite $25. Coupons for free products are perfect to use at CVS when you have a coupon for $5 off $25 or $4 off $20. Free item coupons help you raise your total so you are able to reach the minimum purchase amount, but they do not add to your out of pocket expense.

With about $2.50 left to spend, I saw that American Greeting Cards were offering $3 Extra Bucks when you bought three cards. Cards priced at $0.99 were included! I decided to pick up three. This brought my pre-tax total to $25.45. Perfect.



Now it was time for savings! Here's a breakdown.

I bought:
Pampers Cruisers (80 ct.) - $18.99
Sauve Dry Shampoo - $3.49
3 American Greeting Cards - $2.97

Pre-Coupon Total = $25.45

- $5 off $25 CVS coupon (check your e-mail for one if you've signed up for e-mails)
= $20.45

- $1.00 off Pampers (Manufacturer Coupon from baby home mailer)
- $3.00 off Dry Shampoo (free product coupon from Sauve promo)
= $16.45

- $4.48 Extra Bucks
- $4.00 Extra Bucks (decided to use them all)
= $7.97 + tax = $9.35 OOP
AND I earned $7.00 in Extra Bucks ($4.00 and $3.00)

Baby Bargains



This is the first post in a new series called "Baby Bargains," which will appear on Tuesdays. In these posts, I will share some of the best deals on baby items, like diapers, wipes, and food. I will also share any coupon match ups or retail specials I have come across.

Here are some of the current best baby deals.

Diapers


CVS - Pampers Jumbo Pack box - $18.99
- $2.00 off one Pampers Box (10/30 P&G insert)
Pay $16.99 and receive $4.00 Extra Bucks, like paying $12.99

Target - Buy 3 Huggies Little Movers Slip-On Jumbo Packs - $8.99
Use 3 $2.00/1 Huggies Little Movers Slip-On (printable)
Use 1 $2.00/1 Huggies Little Movers Slip-On (Target printable)
Pay $18.97, receive $5.00 Target gift card, like paying $13.97

Wipes


Kroger - Pampers 448 ct. - $11.99
- $1.00/1 Pampers Wipes (10/20 Red Plum insert)
Pay $10.99, $0.02 per wipe

Target - Up & Up 264 ct. - $4.99, $0.02 per wipe


Baby Food (not deal match ups, just printable coupons)

$1.00/1 Beech Nut Multigrain Cereal - makes it $0.42 at Walmart, $0.25 at Kroger
$0.60/1 Beech Nut Cereal (any)
$1.10/4 Beech Nut Stage 2 1/2 Jars
FREE Beech Nut Starter Kit (one box of cereal and two jars) - must register
$1/7 Earth's Best Jars
$1.00/1 Similac Formula (under baby)

Toys/Apparel/Misc.

Carter's - 50% off entire store (also online) - excludes clearance items
$2.50/2 Gerber onesies
$2.00/2 Gerber Sleepers or Pajamas

Reader Response: Have you come across a baby deal you'd like to share? Post a comment or e-mail me at allisondurhamdeals@gmail.com. I will update the list with any deals I receive.

Extreme Makeover - Thanksgiving Leftovers



I'll be cooking a full Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday. For two people. A twelve pound turkey, potatoes, stuffing, sweet potato casserole, green beans, cranberry sauce, rolls, pie. For two people.

This is an excessive amount of food, I know. The problem is, I just can't let any of it go. Since moving away from family in Wisconsin, and missing out on most holiday meals, I've wanted to hold on to a least a little bit of tradition and normalcy, even if that means cooking a meal meant to feed 15, for just Alex and myself.

Every year, I'm left with a ridiculous amount of leftover food. Most of it is eventually eaten, but I thought, this year, I'm going to try to think of a few more interesting ways to use up my Turkey Day leftovers.

I started by looking through my cabinets and fridge, taking note of what I already had, things that could work well with turkey or one of the the side dishes. I then started to imagine new ways to use the leftovers using ingredients that would need to be purchased.

Here are the leftover makeovers I've come up with so far:

Turkey Noodle Soup

  • Uses leftover turkey. I already have carrots, onion, celery (from stuffing), egg noodles, broth, and spices. No new ingredients needed. I'll use the recipe linked above, with a little tweaking of the spices, but I'll substitute turkey for chicken.
Turkey, Havarti, and Cranberry panini

  • Uses leftover turkey and cranberry sauce. I just needed havarti cheese to make these sandwiches.
Turkey Pot Pie

  • Uses leftover turkey. I plan to use up veggies that are in the house, make my own gravy base, and top with biscuits that I already have. I could also top this dish with leftover potatoes or stuffing to use more leftovers. I will bake it in the second pie crust that came in the two pack I bought for my pecan pie. 
  • I'm intrigued by this one. I've never tried to makeover sweet potato casserole before, but I might give it a shot.
Reader Response: Do you have a favorite dish made from Thanksgiving leftovers? Please share!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Weekly Grocery Shopping - Thanksgiving Edition

Mondays are usually my grocery shopping days. I wait to see the Sunday inserts and grocery store ads before making my weekly menu and then grocery list.

This week, I needed to shop with Thanksgiving dinner in mind. I was lucky enough to have a lot of ingredients for the meal already in the house, like spices, baking supplies, and some fresh veggies. I was still fully expecting to completely bust my budget with this trip, though, so I was pretty pleased to actually see my final bill - $51.00 and a 34% savings - not terrible at all.

I was able to pick up weekly staples, like juice and milk, get ingredients for pre-Thanksgiving meals, everything I still needed for Thanksgiving (including a 12 pound turkey for just $4), and ingredients for post-Thanksgiving meals (I'll mention more about those in another post).

Here's a look at my purchases as well as my Thanksgiving Dinner Menu, complete with links to recipes.

Thanksgiving Menu 2011

Sweet Potato Casserole (no marshmallows here, think brown sugar, pecans, and spices - YUM!)
Stuffing
Cranberry Sauce
Green Bean Casserole (for me) some other form of Green Beans (for Alex)
Garlic Mashed Potatoes (no recipe - just boil potatoes, mash with milk, butter, and roasted garlic, etc.)
Gravy (version TBD)
Pecan Pie

Holiday Shopping- Black Friday - A Little Reader Help

I have to tell you, I'm really not all that excited for Black Friday shopping. I have a kid who will likely be more intrigued by the wrapping paper and boxes than the presents inside, and I'll be flying home to Wisconsin for Christmas, which makes big items impractical (flight with a 32 inch flatscreen seems challenging). I'm also pretty sure the hubs is working on Friday, which would mean waking baby up for door buster shopping. I'm relatively new to this mommy thing, but that would seem to be an awful idea. Black Friday is just not in the cards for me this year.

A good money saving website blogger would probably locate and post Black Friday deals, even if she didn't really care about them herself. Well, as I told you when this blog began, that wasn't going to be me. :)

I may still post a deal or two, or some store hours if something catches my eye, but for now, I have a request for you, my readers.

If you have found a deal that you think is fantastic or can't miss, please share! Leave a comment or e-mail me at allisondurhamdeals@gmail.com. Share the name of the store, the product name, and any price info you have. If I get any responses, I'll compile and categorize them in a pre-Black Friday post.

THANKS!!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Saving $ on Thanksgiving Dinner


THANKSGIVING DINNER - 2009


THANKSGIVING DINNER 2010 - SAME RECIPES - BUT NO WINE FOR PREGGO 

Are you hosting Thanksgiving, or like me, cooking at home for just your family? If you're looking to cook on the cheap, yet still enjoy a traditional meal, check out these money saving coupons.

Turkey:
$5.00 mail in rebate when you buy one Butterball Turkey
$3.00 off when you buy one Mrs. Smith's or Mrs. Edwards pie AND one Butterball Ready to Roast Turkey (11/20 Smart Source insert)
$1.00 off Honeysuckle Turkey

Vegetables:
$2.00 off 2 Earth Bound Farm Organics Products ( = two FREE bags of fresh carrots at Walmart)
$1.00 off 3 Birds Eye Products (click red scissors, register)

Side Dishes:
$1.00 off Idahoan Potatoes (FREE at many stores, including Walmart and Kroger)


$1.10 off two Bob Evan Side Dishes (includes potatoes, mac & cheese, etc.)
$1.00 off two Ocean Spray Cranberry Sauces 

Rolls/Bread:
$0.50 off two Pillsbury Cresent Rolls (will double to $1 at many grocery stores)
$0.30 off two Pillsbury Grands Biscuits (will double to $0.60 at many grocery stores)
$1.00 off Rhodes Brown and Serve Rolls (makes them less than $1.00 at many stores)

Desserts/Baking:
$0.50 off Imperial Sugar (will double to $1 at many grocery stores)
$0.50 off Dixie Crystals Sugar   (will double to $1 at many grocery stores)
$0.35 off Karo Corn Syrup  (will double to $0.70 at many grocery stores)
$0.25 off Gold Medal Flour (will double to $0.50 at many grocery stores)
$0.50 off Two Pillsbury Pie Crusts  (will double to $1 at many grocery stores)
$1.00 off Sarah Lee Cream Pies

Have you found other Thanksgiving related coupons? Please share!

Holiday Shopping - FREE Magazines Through Recyclebank



I've posted a few times about Recyclebank, the eco-education site that rewards you for performing recycling themed tasks. After accumulating reward points, you're able to redeem them for prizes like coupons. Another reward option, though, is a magazine subscription. For as little as 115 points, which you could easily accumulate in just a few minutes on the site, you can score a free subscription to magazines including Good Housekeeping, Better Homes and Gardens, Seventeen, and Martha Stewart Living.

Keep the subscription for yourself, or have it sent to a friend or relative as a holiday gift. You might not have the option to print a gift page, but you could easily type one yourself and wrap it for gift opening. Just another way to save a little cash this Christmas!

Holiday Shopping - Ebates Cash Back



When it comes time for holiday gift giving, I love shopping online.

Internet shopping has come a long way in the past ten years or so...a very long way. Nearly every major retailer now offers an online shopping option, and such sites are secure and safe for credit cards. I laugh thinking about a gift Alex and I received the Christmas of our engagement year (2004), purchased online.

Way back in the early 2000s (haha), many shopping sites were not reliable or legit, and I'm pretty sure the wireless speakers we were given were either refurbished or hot, and by hot, I mean stolen goods. We had the speakers for less than a week, when one night, they literally became hot, burning to the touch. They began to crackle and pop. As smoke puffed out of the speaker casing, a green foam began to ooze from every opening on the speaker - battery acid - battery acid foam, leaking all over not just the speaker, but the desk and carpet.

I share this story to suggest that you use a little discernment when shopping online. And look for a store that offers a good return policy (which the speakers did not), perhaps free return shipping.

Now, back to the original intent of this post - EBATES.

If you're like me, you plan to do at least some of your holiday shopping online. If that's the case, why not grow your money in an easy way? Sign up for an Ebates account.

Ebates is a website that offers cash back on your online purchases. Simply log in to your account, search for your desired retailer, and click to visit their website. Ebates will track your purchase using a tracking number. You never enter any credit card information on the Ebates site. Once you have made an online purchase, the retailer confirms it with Ebates, using the tracking number, and your account will be credited with a certain percentage of your purchase amount, say 5% or 8%. Once your account has accumulated at least $5.00 in cash back, you will receive payment from Ebates, your choice of a check or paypal payment.

Now, I made a $25 purchase at Nordstrom.com a week or two ago. I will receive $0.66 back from that purchase. That isn't a lot, but when combined with the online purchases I still plan to make, it will add up. It's certainly more than I received without Ebates. AND, I received a $10 Target gift card for making my first purchase of $25 or more. The gift card has already arrived, so I can tell you that the gift card promo is legitimate.

Some other Ebates perks: The site gives you available coupon codes for each retailer you visit, like codes for a percent off purchase or free shipping. By using Ebates, you won't have to seek these out on your own. Also, during the holiday shopping season, many retailers are offering double cash back (or more) through Ebates. For example, instead of 2%, Old Navy is currently offering 7% cash back. Snapfish is offering 20% instead of 10%.

If you've managed to read through my rambling and story telling, I invite you to check out Ebates, and let me know what you think!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Holiday Shopping - Grouponicus

As you're finishing (or starting) your holiday shopping, be sure to check out Groupon for money saving gift ideas. Though not all areas have started local deals, Groupon is offering daily national deals, which they've named 'Grouponicus,"with significant discounts on items great for holiday giving.

I looked at the site today, and a few deals caught my eye. Right now, you can purchase a $50 American Apparel or Sharper Image voucher for just $25. They are also offering Flip Cameras for $69, regularly priced at $135.

Want a real Christmas tree but don't feel like going to pick one out? Grouponicus is selling real fir Christmas trees, delivered directly to your door for $59, about what you would pay at a tree lot.

Keep checking the site throughout shopping season, as new deals are added daily.

For an added bonus, shop for your Groupon deals through Ebates and earn 3% cash back on every purchase. You'll also receive a $10 gift card from a store of your choice after making your first $25 purchase. My Target gift card from Ebates just arrived in the mail!

Daily Deal - 75% OFF at Old Navy

Looking for deals on clothes, but not wanting to battle the weekend after Thanksgiving crowds? Head to Old Navy for pre-Thanksgiving daily deals. Starting today and ending Wednesday, 11/23, between 12:00 and 5:00 p.m., Old Navy will be offering significant price cuts on coats, sweaters, and more. See the picture above for specific daily deals, as they will change each day. Unfortunately, Old Navy does not seem to be including any kids or baby clothing in this sale, but if you head to the store and find out otherwise, please let me know!

Friday, November 18, 2011

I Miss My Purple Teacher Chair



I had a major "I miss teaching" moment today.

I decided to bring Nolan to Barnes & Noble for story time this morning. As we sat waiting near the stage, with dozens of other babies, toddlers, and preschoolers, a worker shoved his way through the crowd. "The normal story time lady had a family emergency. Her son is sick, and she had to go home," he announced.

"Oh, me!!" my mind screamed. "Put ME in that chair, and hand me the book! I want to do it!"

"But don't worry," he continued. "Someone else will be here in five minutes. Hold tight."

As we were assured, story time began in five minutes, with a reader who explained that she'd only done this once before. She read in a rushed, quiet voice, doing little to capture the life of the story, its characters or pictures. I wanted grab the book from her hands, take over the reading, and show those little minds how exciting the world of a book could be.

It really isn't my purple teacher chair that I miss. It's what it represents and reminds me of. I don't miss the hard, immovable plastic, or the shocks that the chair sent through me each time I rolled across the carpet (even though I do miss the laughs it gave the kids). I miss what I did there.

I miss holding a book in my hands and reading it to a captive audience (one that doesn't stick the book in its mouth - sorry, Nolan). I miss the "Awwws!" and "NOOOOOs!" as I end a chapter, put my pink bookmark in the page, and say with a smile, knowing I have them hooked, "we'll find out what happens tomorrow." I miss bringing characters to life, delving into the content of the book and teasing out the greater meaning.

I know that before I'm ready for it to happen, Nolan will be ready for the type of story telling that was done in my purple teacher chair. For now, board books and peek a boo pages will be my new story time...and I'm going to cherish every moment of it. Slimy pages and all. :)


* If you're interested - FREE story time at Barnes and Noble South Point takes place every Friday at 10:30.

Durham Favorites Friday - Duke Gardens

If you live in Durham, you likely know all about the Sarah P. Duke Gardens on the Duke University campus. Assuming for a moment that you're unfamiliar, though, let me introduce you to another of my favorite Durham spots.

The Duke Gardens is a 55 acre nature oasis, maintained by an army of Duke employees and volunteers. Offering winding trails through wooded areas, as well as impeccably manicured areas of themed vegetation, the gardens are a place to relax, exercise, or play. Take a hike, bring a book, a picnic (or purchase snacks at the Terrace Cafe - open seasonally), a frisbee or ball to throw around, and especially your camera. You'll find the gardens an easy place to waste away a few hours.

This is one of my favorite places to take visitors, especially those visiting for the first time. It never fails to impress, and it's a short enough walk to the heart of campus, if your guests would like to see that as well. It's difficult to put the beauty of the gardens into words, so here are a few pictures from one of my trips a few years ago (really, these don't do it justice either). Follow this link to visit the Sarah P. Duke Gardens Facebook and view photos.


 



Visitor Information:

Location

Duke University
426 Anderson St

DurhamNC 27708
Hours
9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. Monday-Friday
9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Saturday
12:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. Sunday

Admission - Free

Parking
For a Fee ($1/half hour) 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Monday-Friday and 1:00-5:00 Saturday and Sunday
FREE 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Saturday, 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. Sunday, and 5:00-6:00 p.m Monday-Friday

Look for FREE street parking outside garden gates (unless parking restrictions have changed)

Groupon Now! - $1 Lunch Deals - Today Only

UPDATE - SOLD OUT - HOPE YOU GOT YOURS!



The Groupon Now! $1 deals are now live. If you haven't checked them out yet, I suggest you head over and do so. There are some great deals for the Durham area.

Here are some highlights:

$10 at Tomato Jake's for $1 - Redeem between 11:00 am and 4:00 pm today
$10 at Ben & Jerry's (Durham or Chapel Hill locations) for $1 - Redeem between 11:00 am and 11:45 pm
$20 at Cinelli's Pizza for $1 - Redeem before 10:00 pm today

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Best Things in Life

A few weeks ago, I was sent an e-mail from Similac. I would normally delete these because Nolan doesn't eat formula, but this one caught my eye. They were offering four FREE classes at The Little Gym, which is a national chain of gyms for kids. The Little Gym charges a monthly tuition of $80 for once a week parent/baby classes, so this was a GREAT deal. Parents, you might want to sign up for Similac e-mails, even if you don't use the formula! Who knows what other freebies might be around the corner.

I signed up for a free introductory class online, which anyone is able to do. Now, we'll be able to use our four free classes, courtesy of Similac, for a total of five free classes.

Nolan LOVED his time in the "Bugs" class (4-10 months)! He got a chance to play with other babies, bounce on mats, practice his standing, do forward rolls, and sing with momma. I'm actually really excited to go back. :)

When I got home, I had an e-mail waiting from his teacher. She had taken pictures during class and put together this collage for us.

Groupon Now! - $1 Lunch Deals - Tomorrow Only

A while back, I posted about Groupon Now! Deals. These are limited time discount voucher deals, good for discounts on everything from dining to services like hair cuts and auto work.

Tomorrow only, Groupon Now! will be offering $1.00 lunch deals, meaning you will be able to purchase a voucher for lunch at a participating restaurant for just $1.00!

Participating restaurants and deal details are not yet available, but the site mentioned that there are many participating Raleigh locations. I would hope there will be some in Durham as well! Check the site early tomorrow to snag an inexpensive lunch in your area!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

International Delight Creamer - $0.17 at Harris Teeter



Head to the printable coupons tab (use zip code 43601) to print a new $0.75 coupon for International Delight Creamer. All 16 oz. varieties are on sale at Harris Teeter for $1.67. With your doubled coupon, each bottle will be just $0.17. Remember, you can print two coupons per computer.

Small Business Saturday - Shop Local



Next week Saturday, November 26, following Black Friday, comes Small Business Saturday. Sponsored in part by American Express, this day is an effort to increase consumer support for small, local businesses. While you probably have plans to support the retail giants on the day after Thanksgiving, I urge you to shop local on 11/26/11!

Where could you go? I'm happy to point you in the direction of some of my local Durham favorites (many will be featured in future 'Durham Favorites' posts). Follow the links provided to find locations and hours.

Breakfast/Brunch/Lunch (all casual dining and family friendly)
  • Guglhupf - in love with their German bakery and unique outdoor seating
  • Parker and Otis - coffee + chocolate + deli + gourmet groceries + gifts + wine = one amazing store
  • Scratch - Fantastic breakfast and lunch, as well as pie with a national reputation
  • Toast - yummy Italian style sandwiches in a downtown setting
  • Nosh - can't get enough of their egg and cheese biscuits! Very kid friendly with games and books around the restaurant.
  • Dulce Cafe - one of my "Durham Favorites" - great coffee, baked goods, and gelato
Dinner & Drinks (casual eats)
Shopping
  • Ox and Rabbit - old time soda fountain, milkshakes, gifts, and a large selection of baby items
  • Magpie - reasonably priced women's clothing and accessories
  • Fifi's Fine Resale - resale shop featuring large discounts on designer clothing and accessories for women, prices of items in store longer than 30 days drop by 50%
  • Morgan Imports - a little bit of this, a little bit of that - apparel, home goods, off beat gifts, knick knacks, and more!
Reader Response: Do you have a favorite local shop you plan to visit on Small Business Saturday? 

Sunday Coupon Preview - 11/20



This Sunday's paper will have only one coupon insert, Smart Source. Browsing through the preview, found here, I found very few food coupons, and those I did see have free printable versions available online. The insert does have diaper and wipes coupons, but unless you're a Huggies buyer, the 11/20 paper might be one to skip.

Durham area readers, if you don't want to purchase a paper this Sunday, check your driveway for your free copy of the Durham Herald. This newspaper should contain a Smart Source coupon insert.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Saving Money When Dining Out


When attempting to save money, cutting back on dining out would seem to be an obvious step. Let's be honest, though. Eating out is fun. It's tasty. It's easy.

Restaurant eating can be expensive, but there are ways to reduce your bill so you still feel able to indulge once in a while. The tips that follow will help you prepare for dining out. They are money saving steps you can take before you get to the restaurant. In a future post, I will give tips for reducing your bill after you're actually ready to dine.

SIGN UP FOR RESTAURANT E-MAIL LISTS

  • By signing up to receive e-mails from your favorite restaurants, both fast food and sit down, you will be alerted to special events and promotions. You are also likely to receive money saving coupons, sometimes for free items. For example, earlier this fall, I was alerted, via e-mail, to a Chick-fil-A promotion offering free breakfast. I've also received coupons from other restaurants for BOGO (Pei-Wei, Chipotle, Noodles, etc.), free items (Bruegger's, Which Wich, etc.) and dollar amounts off of my bill (Maggiano's). Unfortunately, e-mail discounts are most common for chain restaurants. I've yet to encounter e-mail list discounts for my favorite, non-chain restaurants.
CHECK DEAL SITES LIKE GROUPON AND LIVING SOCIAL
  • On any given day of the week, a daily deal site like Groupon or Living Social will be offering discounted vouchers for area restaurants. Discounts offered are typically 50% or greater. For example, earlier this year, one of my favorite Durham restaurant's, Pop's Backdoor Pizza, was offering a voucher on Living Social where the buyer paid $10 for a voucher worth $20, a 50% savings. Vouchers from daily deal sites provide a great way to save on non-chain restaurants, as well as a less expensive  way to try a restaurant for the first time.
'LIKE' YOUR FAVORITE RESTAURANTS ON FACEBOOK
  • Many companies are now turning to Facebook for promotions and advertising. By 'liking' your favorite restaurants' pages, you'll be the first to know about special offers and promotions (like Outback Steakhouse giving away free steaks a few months ago). Many restaurants offer coupons on Facebook, only available to fans. 
COMPLETE CUSTOMER SATISFACTION SURVEYS FOUND ON RECEIPTS
  • Over the past few months, I've learned to closely examine each receipt I'm handed. On occasion, you'll find a invitation to complete a customer satisfaction survey. While the reward for doing so if often an entry into some sort of prize drawing, there are times when you will be rewarded with a free food. For example, I've received free sandwiches from Chick-fil-A after completing satisfaction surveys.
LOOK FOR COUPONS
  • There are a number of places to seek restaurant coupons. In addition to restaurant e-mails and Facebook, you might find coupons in local coupon mailers, newspaper inserts, or entertainment books. I've also found coupons in less expected places, like the pages of the Durham events calendar (discounts to Moe's, Twisted Noodle, Q Shack, etc.) and in the back of the phonebook. These coupon sources are great places to find discounts to both chain and non-chain restaurants. 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Recyclebank - New Opportunities to Earn



Recyclebank is a website that promotes eco-friendly behaviors. Users are rewarded for participating in educational website activities, such as watching brief, interactive videos and taking pledges to participate in green activities. The points you earn through these activities can be exchanged for rewards, like coupons. My favorite rewards are coupons for $2.00 off Kashi products (makes for cheap Kashi when combined with a sale) and coupons for free smoothies at McDonalds.

New sponsors and earn opportunities are added periodically, and a number have been add recently. If you are already a member, head over and spend a few minutes catching up on earning points. If you are not a member yet, check it out, and become a recyclebanker!

71% Savings at Kroger - 11/14

Our cabinets and refrigerator are well stocked, so I knew this week's grocery shopping trip would be a small one, really only needing perishable items. I headed to Kroger to use my quarterly reward certificate and to take advantage of a General Mills promotion. Many General Mills products, including cereals and granola bars are on sale for $2.50/box, with a $3.00 instant savings when you buy four items. My plan was to combine this promotion with some coupons to get inexpensive Cascadian Farms granola and Nature Valley granola bars.

The total value of my purchase was $45.64. Using my store card, rewards certificate, and manufacturer coupons, I saved $32.44 and spent just $13.20, for a savings of 71%. Without my rewards certificate, I would have saved 41% - still not bad.


Here are the items I bought, with match ups of coupons used:
1 gallon of milk
1 rotisserie chicken (-$2 printable coupon, -$0.80 Kroger store coupon from rewards mailer)
2 boxes Cascadian Farms granola (-$1.00 off 2 peelie from box)
2 boxes Nature Valley granola bars (-$0.75 off 2 coupon from 10/2 Smart Source)
2 boxes Annie's Mac & Cheese (-$0.75 off 2 printable)
1 Kroger Dijon Mustard
1 heavy cream
1 can Kroger black beans
1 Martha White muffin mix (I know there were Martha White coupons in yesterday's paper, but I couldn't find mine)
1 bag Dole lettuce (FREE product coupon from contacting Dole about spoiled lettuce)
1 cucumber
1 red pepper
1 sweet potato (making baby food)
6 apples
3 bananas
1 pomegranate
green onions


Here are some coupon match ups for the General Mills promotion, in case you are interested in checking it out. Each product is on sale for $2.50. With the instant $3.00 savings when you buy four participating items (can mix and match), each product will be $1.75. You can add coupons for additional savings.

Honey Nut Cheerios - $0.50 printable (will double to $1.00)

General Mills Cereals - $1.00/2 printable 

Nature Valley Granola Thins - $0.50 printable (will double to $1.00)

Nature Valley Granola Bars - $0.75/2 manufacturer coupon (10/2 Smart Source)

Cascadian Farms - $0.75 coupons.com printable (if you printed before it ran out)


Swag Bucks Win

My morning search for Swag Bucks ended in success when I typed in the phrase seen in the picture below. :)

New Blog Feature - Printable Coupons & Coupon Codes

You may have noticed the addition of tabs at the top of this blog. By clicking the "Printable Coupons" tab, you'll find a new blog feature I am very excited about.

The Printable Coupons tab contains an interactive printable coupon database, which offers the same coupons available on the coupons.com website (not every available online coupon). You are able to search for and print coupons directly from my blog, rather than having to visit a second site. This is also nice because I'll often mention specific coupons needed for deals. I can now easily direct you toward these coupons.

In addition to printable coupons, the database also provides access to available retail coupon codes. You are able to narrow your search by store, like Target or Kohls. You can also filter by shopping category, such as Women's Apparel or Pet Supplies. After finding a coupon code that interests you, follow the link to be brought directly to the merchant website.

Please let me know if you find this feature helpful. I'd love to hear thoughts and feedback!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Stretching Your Dollar - Small Steps

I headed out this afternoon in search of a treat for Alex and myself. After arriving home, I realized that my purchases were a perfect example of stretching your dollar in a small, easy way.

At the entrance to our subdivision are two shopping options, a Rite Aid and a Circle K convenience store. My money saving started with my decision to visit Rite Aid instead of the mini mart. While prices at convenience stores tend to be the same week to week, by visiting Rite Aid, there was a possibility of finding a sale or rewards money deal.

Alex had requested a Snickers and chocolate milk. I decided that I was craving a candy bar too. None of these items were on sale at Rite Aid, and the total bill would be just over $3.00. 

Using my Rite Aid store card, though, I was able to take a $3.00 purchase and double the amount of merchandise I would receive. I noticed that Orbit Gum was on sale for $1.00 per pack. Each pack would earn a $1.00 reward. There was a limit of three packs of gum per card, which meant that if I bought three packs, I would earn $3.00 in rewards money.

I decided to do two transactions. In the first, I bought three packs of gum. My total was $3.00 + tax. I earned $3.00 in +UP Rewards money. In my second transaction, I bought both candy bars and the chocolate milk. I paid using the $3.00 reward from transaction one, which left me with about $0.25 left to pay out of pocket.



So, instead of paying $3.00 for two candy bars and a chocolate milk, I paid $3.00 for those items AND three packs of gum. This was not the most thrifty of shopping trips, but it is an example of how you can take a last minute purchase, paying full price, and stretch your dollar.