Showing posts with label nofollow. Show all posts
Showing posts with label nofollow. Show all posts

Publix Ends Curbside Service in Tampa

There goes the end of our Publix Price Checker, it will end at the end of the month here in Tampa according to this article in the paper. Hopefully, they'll keep the one in Atlanta for us to use to check prices. What a sad day...

Sign Up for Nestle Coupon Booklet

Go HERE and sign up for a free coupon booklet with $26 of Nestle product coupons. Sign up by Feb 1, 2012. Coupons expire 4/15/2012.
One per mailing address. Offer good only in TN, AL, GA, SC, FL.

Ideas for Frugal Family Time

According to a recent CNN Money article, many people have embraced a frugal lifestyle over the past few years, tightening their money belts, as a result of the economic downturn that has affected us all. While frugality certainly entails sacrifice, one benefit of living within ones means is that, instead of spending so much time spending money, we return to the more important things in life—spending quality time with friends and family. If you are relatively new to the frugal life, you may be wondering what fun activities you can do with your children that doesn't involve going on expensive shopping trips or eating out. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
1.      Board game night
Although it may sound old-fashioned, most children love the thrill of playing games with parents and siblings. Board games are an incredibly inexpensive way to spend hours together. Even better, most games require building important life skills like strategic thinking, planning, and more. Some challenging classics that are appropriate for all ages include Monopoly, Risk, Scrabble, and Clue.
2.      Picnic in the park
With the rising popularity of tech gadgets among this generation's youth, many children are not exposed to the outdoors as frequently as in years before. Considering that playing outside costs nothing, planning outdoor activities with your family is a great, and inexpensive, way to spend quality time together. Organizing a picnic at a local park, feeding ducks, or playing simple games like Frisbee are some great options with minimal associated costs.
3.      Matinees and college performances
Kids love going to the movies and seeing shows, but think about the last time you went to the cinema. Add up the cost of tickets, food, and parking, and you soon realize that the price is simply not worth the fun. There is, however, an alternative—most local universities put on plays, concerts, most of which are free or very cheap. If your kids are in school, they'll likely get a student discount. Most movie theaters offer large discounts on morning or early afternoon shows, called matinees, that'll give your kids the fun of going to the movies without the cost. Having a filling meal before going to the movies will help you save on movie treats as well.
4.      Cooking and baking
Aside from being an essential life skill that will serve kids well later in life, especially when they first head out to college or are otherwise on their own, cooking and baking make for fun and in expensive family activities. Concerned that cooking will be too complicated for your kids? Check out these kid-friendly recipes, courtesy of FamilyFun.com.
These are just a few ideas for a fun time with the whole family. The most important thing to remember is that spending quality time with your loved ones is usually more meaningful if you take money out of the picture.
This guest post is contributed by Lauren Bailey. She welcomes your comments at her email Id: blauren99 @gmail.com. 
 

New or Old?

Today, one of my coworkers was asking where I got my panniers on my bicycle. They're thinking of getting some and couldn't find any in the bike shops they liked. I looked at my old CyclePro Countryside Originals and explained that these panniers are over 23 years old. They sag a little on the rack, and the main compartment zipper has been repaired numerous times, and the side pockets had a hole in them. But they are still better than what I could buy new. The old canvas is tough and resilient, whereas the new ones are nylon which is inferior for the purpose. With my daily use, they are showing their age and replacements or repairs are needed. Its one of those things that is always on my "list" to get when there's a deal, or in this case when I actually find some that are suitable - at any price. Meanwhile they do the job well.
 
But sometimes, new things are much better quality than old. I think electronic or electrical things actually are better with the advanced technology. DH has been complaining about his electric Remington shaver for a while. We got new blades for it a couple months ago, but it still was just not performing as expected. So I found a new shaver on Amazon that arrived yesterday. You have to know that DH does not really embrace change. He likes his routine and whenever something is different, he complains and fusses until he's settled in the new way. So of course, he whined that it charged different than the other one. He whined that the suction cups on the charger stuck to the table, but not the porcelain of the top of the toilet. But he did like that it was a lot quieter, and it was a lot smoother shave. So, now he's raving about it wanting to show me his close shave by snuggling cheek to cheek. I have to admit it really is a better shave, and something he should have switched out long ago.
 
Being frugal can sometimes make us hang on to stuff longer than we should. But it also keeps us using the durable, well made products that you can't buy quality anymore. You just have to know which is which.
 
Do you have a gem or a rock? 
 

Stay Hungry

The world is chattering about how Steve Jobs changed everything and how he brought us such great products and innovation. I have used my Apple product today, have you? People feel the loss of Steve Jobs because they love his innovative products. If you have an iPhone I'm sure you would say you absolutely love it. Anyone born after 1984 has never know the world to lack Apple products.
 
But what I don't like about Apple products is that they don't play well with others. This is by design. They have designed their own proprietary operating system on Mac computers, the iPod, the iPad and the iPhone. If you want to use their products you have to pay their high prices because there is no competition. They have snuffed out the competitors with lawsuits and strict partnering agreements.
 
This means we need to get other products to meet the needs that these products don't meet. If you want to listen to the radio, guess what  - your ipod is useless. If you don't have a PC to download itunes, its also useless. I only use my ipod to listen to music on my bicycle rides – other than that it is of no use to me. There are other products – like my Android smartphone that can provide all sorts of services other than just listening to music, and it can do that too.
 
My point is that I try not to patronize products and manufacturers that aren't compatible with other products. Granted I do have several ipods – but I've never paid money for them. I got them as gifts for signing up for a checking account, for test riding a motorcycle and for clicking ads to get points online. I use my ipods but I would never buy an Apple product because I don't like the business plan they have. I don't want to be hostage to their system and unrealistic prices.
 
There are a lot of other huge companies out there that don't play well with others but they are changing their ways. Amazon and Facebook have realized that if they don't make their products open to collaboration with other marketers, someone else will. I have embraced the Android smart phones because Google has purposely made their products and services link together with all sorts of other products and services. I'm not sure Google+ will ever catch up to Facebook, but they give us an alternative. And when all the sheep out there get sick of the privacy invasion and the constant changes on FB, maybe they'll look at their choices.
 
Anyway, the world has lost a genius. If you haven't read this already you should. HERE is the text to Steve Jobs commencement address to Stanford on June 12, 2005. It is riveting.
 
Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

Free Admission Florida State Parks - SUN 9/11/11

Hey Florida Folks - This Sunday, September 11th honors Literacy Month in Florida with Free Admission to all Florida State Parks! Just bring your library card, a library book or donation of family-friendly book* to get FREE entry into all Florida State Parks! (except the Skyway Fishing Pier State Park).

We might just head on up the road to the Hillsborough River State Park on our motorcycles. To see a list of all of the Florida State Parks, go HERE.
 
The next free admission day is Friday, November 11, 2011 in honor of Veterans Day.

Sign Up For Publix Shopping Spree Coupons

It's back! Go HERE to sign up for your free coupon booklet from Publix for their next Shopping Spree promotion with Kraft, P&G and Pepsi products. The valid dates of the promotion are 10/06/11 thru 11/3/11. Hopefully, they will have made some changes to the coupons because last time they were store coupons with a LU#, but it said Manufacturer coupon on the header - talk about confusing! There also was some strict language about not combining with other coupons, and limit one per transaction.
 
Expect to receive the coupons between 10/5 and 10/15/11. Limit one booklet per household.

New Printable Coupons - Minute Maid, Seattle's Best Coffee

Coupons.com has just released a bunch of new coupons, print yours now since some will go really fast.
 
Food & Beverage: Buy One Get One Free 20 oz of Sun Drop (Reg. or Diet)
$5.00 OFF any Large Powder 22 oz. or above purchase of Gentlease, A.R. or ProSobee
$1.75 OFF any one box of Mighty Leaf Iced Tea
$1.00 OFF any one (1) Minute Maid® Juice Box 10-pk, any variety  (stack with PQ in Sweet Summer Savings Booklet for Free JUICE!)
$1.00 OFF any 12oz. bag of Seattle's Best Coffee (goes with next week's Publix Sale)
$3.00 OFF any one (1) NIVEA Good-bye Cellulite Product (2.5oz.-6.7oz.)
$2.00 OFF renu fresh or renu sensitive multi-purpose solution (8 oz or larger)
$2.00 OFF any AVEENO sun protection product (Excludes trial sizes)
$1.00 OFF any ONE The Natural Dentist Product
$1.00 OFF any Triple Cream for severe dry skin/eczema care
$1.00 OFF any Triple Paste
$1.00 OFF any Mitchum or Mitchum for Women Product
$1.00 OFF 1 Box of 14 count Instead Softcups
$0.75 OFF any Clear eyes Product
$0.75 OFF Effergrip Denture Adhesive product
$0.75 OFF 1 Efferdent PM Denture Cleanser

$1.00 OFF any any BISSELL Pet Hair Tool

$4.00 OFF ANY Non-Drowsy Claritin Allergy Product (24 count or larger)
$3.00 OFF ANY Non-Drowsy Claritin-D Allergy Product (15 count or larger)
$2.00 OFF ANY Aleve 80ct or larger
$2.00 OFF ANY Florastor probiotic
$1.50 OFF ANY BOTTLE OF EMETROL FOR NAUSEA
$1.00 OFF ANY Disney Childrens' Vitamin Product
$1.00 OFF ANY Sundown Naturals Vitamin Product
$1.00 OFF ANY Urinozinc Prostate Formula
$1.00 OFF ANY Dr. Scholl's Freeze Away


How To Get Free Amazon Gift Cards

I'm sure a lot of you have joined Swagbucks for free by now and are on your way to your rewards. But did you know there are lots of ways to earn points besides just searching on your swagbucks home page?
Did you know that every Friday is MEGA Swag Bucks Day? SwagBucks has increased your chances of scoring BIG #Swagbucks on Fridays. Swagbucks is a fabulous program that rewards you with AWESOME prizes just for doing your everyday searches online.

Since I've joined Swagbucks I have earned tons of $5 Amazon gift card codes. Don't have a Swag Bucks account? Why not sign up today and earn 30 SwagBucks to get you started. Swagbucks just updated their policies and now allows each individual per household to have an account!
Here are some tips to get more swagbucks everyday.
 -Make http://www.swagbucks.com/your homepage, or add it to your favorites. Doing this will help you remember to use the swagbucks search engine everyday. Did you know that you can win multiple swagbucks each day? I usually do searches throughout the day and try to use different computers. I have two words that I enter and ALWAYS win at least once on each computer with those words. So if you find a word that works for you, try it regularly. Keep in mind though, don't over search. The swagbucks search engine is designed to detect weird search patterns. If it feels you're searching too frequently you will be shown the rules screen. I've never seen the screen but have heard about it happening to others.
1. If you are using your personal computer, install the toolbar to make your searches easy to do.
2. Make it a point to do some Swagbucks searches on Fridays for sure. On Fridays, you can win as many as 100 Swag Bucks in one search.
3. Become a fan on Facebook and a follower on Twitter. Swagcodes are released daily through these sites.
4. Do the Daily Poll every day to earn 1 swagbuck.
5. Do the Special Offers (click RED square) every day but just select NO THANKS for each offer, click through a few until you are awarded 2 SBs.
6. Earn Swagbucks by using the Swagbucks Shop and Earn site. By using this portal site to shop you will earn 1 swagbuck for every $5.00 spent.
7. Trade-in your old cell phone and electronics and exchange them for swagbucks!
8. Set up a Google Reader page, and install the widget on your feed page, or install it on your blog. Lots of codes are posted on the widget.
9. Check the Swagbucks Blog for clues and codes, usually there are codes a couple times a week posted there.
10. Check this forum discussion for codes that are currently active that other users have posted.
Give it a chance. It took me a while to develop routines of doing my searches through Swagbucks and figuring out how and where to find swagcodes.
11. Click on the tab TRUSTED SURVEYS everyday to earn 1 Swagbuck. You don't even have to do a survey, just click the tab.

How You Can Help Bicyclists & Walkers

Federal funding for bicycling and walking is in jeopardyWe need you to send a short email today to your members of Congress.
Today, Congressman John Mica of Florida, Chairman of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, outlined his plans for the new transportation bill and called for the elimination of dedicated funding for biking and walking programs, which he suggested, "do not serve a federal purpose."
In the Senate, James Inhofe of Oklahoma is leading a similar attack. Inhofe, a senior member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, said that one of his top-three priorities for the next multi-year federal transportation bill is to eliminate "frivolous spending for bike trails."
If Representative Mica and Senator Inhofe get their way, dedicated funding for three crucial programs — Safe Routes to School, Transportation Enhancements, and Recreational Trails — will be eliminated. The cost-effective federal investment in bicycling that is making our nation better will shrink dramatically. We can't allow this to happen.
That's why we are asking you to reach out to the two U.S. Senators and the U.S. Representative who represent you in Congress. Ask them to support ongoing, dedicated funding for biking and walking in the next transportation bill. (You can find your representatives and send your note directly from the website. Click here to review clear, basic, suggested text for your email. Feel free to customize it and/or add a personal story.)
Your simple messages will make a difference. You can help refute Representative Mica's and Senator Inhofe's unreasonable, counterproductive cuts. You can help assure that progress will continue in all 50 states to make bicycling safer and better for people of all ages.

Be A Trendsetter - Spend Less with More Trips

An interesting study was conducted by Nielson that correlated the number of trips to the store with the economic woes. They categorized shopping into 4 types
  • Immediate: low-value, instant -need driven baskets with an average basket ring of $15 per trip
  • Fill-In: slightly higher value baskets averaging $51 per trip
  • Routine: weekly, high-value shopping trips averaging $98 per trip
  • Stock-up: large trips averaging $242 per trip
Not surprisingly, 82% of trips are the short "fillup" or "immediate needs" trips. I guess I'm part of the trend because I can tell you before couponing you would not catch me in the grocery more than once a week. I hated shopping, in part because of the large totals at the register. Anyway, the trends say more people are making more frequent smaller trips so they have more cash on hand and just get what they need to get by. 
I checked my receipt log and discovered that I made 253 trips to stores in 2010. Thats pretty frequent. I averaged my cost for each visit and its $5.53 per trip average since I spent about $1400 last year. But, my small trips were made for entirely different reasons than most people, and they were not due to economic trends. Maybe the studies got it wrong.
My small, frequent trips were calculated to maximize my coupon savings. Since I almost always have a $5 off $25 or $30 store coupon, I try to keep my trips before coupons close to that amount. If I made trips closer to $100 which fall into the "routine" category, I probably wouldn't be allowed to use 4 of the $5 off coupons since they are competitor coupons. But by splitting my $100 order into 4 smaller ones, I can save at least $5 on each transaction using the $5 off $25 coupon. Duh. Thats why I wonder sometimes when I see couponers in the store with their binders spread out across the baby seat area and their cart is overflowing and also filled on the bottom rack. They probably don't have tons of the $ off $$ coupons for that large order, so they are essentially wasting money. 
I also like to just get reasonable quantities of the items, to leave some product behind for the next shopper. Another reason for my small trips is that we tend go shopping on our motorcycles to far away stores in the country on the weekends. We are limited in what is shelf stable and what we can carry in saddlebags, so heavy things like soda and ice cream are off the list on weekend trips. Plus small orders allow for easier calculating in the aisle - you know, counting your coupons, counting your items, and then adding up the value of the cart vs adding up the value of the coupons. These 4 little calculations have saved me from big boo boos at the checkout with overage. I like to keep my totals between about $2 and $4, this gives me wiggle room for errors doing all that high math in my head.
Anyway, if you're using coupons and make frequent small trips, consider yourself a trendsetter!
 Graphic via Nielson

Top 20 Most Frugal Cities

Attention, shoppers: Atlanta residents are saving more money than you are. When it comes to whittling down that grocery bill and tackling rising food prices, Atlantans are doing it best by using coupons.

For the second year in a row, Atlanta takes the top spot on the ‘Most Frugal U.S. Cities’ list, according to the 2010 Savings Index1 released today by Coupons.com, the premiere Web destination for coupons and savings. On average, regular users of Coupons.com in Atlanta printed more than $1000.00 dollars in coupon savings from the site in 2010. That is almost twice as much as during 2009, when they printed $531 in savings.

Tampa cashed in with coupons and maintained its position as the city with the second most savings. On average, regular users of Coupons.com in Tampa printed $863.00 in savings. Following on the savings heels of Atlanta and Tampa are, in order, Cincinnati, Saint Louis and Minneapolis, according to the Index.

“Across the country Americans are incorporating couponing into their shopping routine to alleviate rising food costs and keep their grocery bill in check,” said Jeanette Pavini, Coupons.com household savings expert. “Especially in the South and Midwest, shoppers know how to keep their pennies in their pockets, racking up substantial savings throughout the year.”

The South is a mega-saver: more than one-third of the top 20 frugal cities are in the Southern region of the United States. In addition to Atlanta and Tampa, other Southland cities on the list include Charlotte (#6), Nashville (#7), Raleigh (#10), Oklahoma City (#13), Miami (#13) and Dallas (#14).

Once again, Ohio is the country’s most frugal state. The Buckeye state is represented three times on the ‘Most Frugal U.S. Cities’ list – Cincinnati (#3), Cleveland (#8) and Columbus (#19).

North Carolina is Ohio’s biggest challenger, climbing the penny-pinching ladder with two cities in the top 10: Charlotte and Raleigh.

For the first time it was raining green in the Pacific Northwest as Seattle (#18) joined the list. Seattle is the only city on the West Coast that made the cut.

In 2010, regular users of Coupons.com hailing from the top 20 most frugal cities printed or added more than $1023.00 in savings to their store loyalty cards, which is almost twice the amount from 2009 of $535.00. Nationwide, more than $1.2 billion in savings was printed or saved to loyalty cards from Coupons.com and the Coupons.com network during 2009.

1. Atlanta
2. Tampa, FL
3. Cincinnati
4. St. Louis
5. Minneapolis
6. Charlotte, NC
7. Nashville, TN
8. Cleveland
9. Pittsburgh
10. Raleigh, NC
11. Kansas City, MO
12. Washington, DC
13. Miami
14. Dallas
15. Oklahoma City
16. Boston
17. Denver
18. Seattle
19. Columbus, OH
20. Wichita, KS
via

Publix Online Price Checker

Sometimes you see a really great coupon and wonder what the price of that item is at Publix. Happens to me all the time. Here is a great solution to your dilemma of needing a price check on an item - use the Publix Curbside service! Just click HERE for the Tampa curbside site and enter the name of your item in the search box. It will list the sizes, a picture, and the current price. These are regional prices and there is an Atlanta curbside site too, for all non Tampa readers.

Craigslist Tips to Sell Stuff Fast

I just relisted twelve items on Craigslist to try and sell before we have another garage sale at the end of the month. I have previously listed the same items with not much response, but this time its different. I've already sold my 2GB Ipod Nano for $50 and my seven extra bicycle tires for $2 each, and today I'm meeting with someone for the leaf blower and possibly the chainsaw. I also have tentative plans to sell a bike U-lock on Saturday.
 
I attribute the success of these listings to the fact that I included a picture of the item in all listings. Even if I didn't have a picture of my actual item, I got a picture off Amazon to show the buyer what the item looked like. 
 
The second important thing to do is provide a phone number. If you don't want to reveal your cell phone or home phone, get a free number from Google Voice that you can have forwarded to your cell.
 
The third point that seems to have made a difference this time for me, is to encourage buyers to text you. ALL my contacts have been initiated by text this time because I encouraged people to leave a message or text me and I'll get back to them. With my Google voice number, it forwards the text to my cell phone and google voice account, where I can reply either way. Did you know you can be logged into more than one gmail account at one time? This allows you to work on blogging on one account and if your google voice is linked to another account, you can just click over.
 
The fourth thing that goes without saying, is to price your item appropriately and describe it accurately. If it is scratched or compromised in some manner, just tell people up front rather than wasting everyone's time with a meet that surprises the buyer when they see the condition of the item.
 
If you have some higher priced garage sale stuff, I highly recommend listing on Craigslist and attempting to sell before the sale. Plus you'll get a list of contact numbers or emails to let people know of an upcoming garage sale.
 
Good Luck 

35,000 Miles

I was just reading my RSS feeds and this blog Bits of Wisdom shared some trivia that the average person walks 35,000 miles in a lifetime. So of course this got me wondering if I'm average. I walk for exercise, along with biking - as they are both low impact activities good for old people like me and dear. The 37F air this morning made me feel old because it appears that this will be a no ride month for the bicycle. I have not had it past the driveway due to the cold weather. Quite depressing. Also our walking  has been curtailed due to the "boot" that dear is still wearing 13 weeks after his motorcycle collision.
 
So, normally in the good old days we used to walk 10,000 steps a day which is about 5 miles. We did this an average of 5 days of week, so 20 days a month at 5 miles is about 100 miles a month. However, it has decreased to about 40 miles a month the last 3 months, so this year the total will be close to 1000 miles walked for me. That means it would take 35 years for me to walk 35,000 miles. I figure I probably have been active since I was a teenager so I probably already have my 35,000 miles under my belt and am on my way to walking more than the average person. This does not surprise me, as I live a healthy active life. In addition to my walking 1000 miles this year, I have also ridden my bike 1500 miles to work this year. Its not quite as much as I would have liked to, but acceptable and an improvement over last year.
 
So, 1000 miles walking and 1500 miles biking is a lot of self propelled mileage. But where the heck did that get me? You would think I would be skinny by now with all that exercise. But one thing I've learned for sure, is that I get hungry when I exercise. I consume a lot more food and enjoy it. However, due to the decline in exercise the last quarter of the year, I have gained some weight and this is not good. The evil scale will make a reappearance next year I'm sure as I chronicle my efforts to once again get back into those petite jeans.
 
Anyway, it would be interesting for you to figure out how much you walk and if you're above average, or if you need to start hoofing it.

Free Shipping Day Friday Dec 17

Well, you procrastinators now have a reason to put off getting that last minute gift, and its called Free Shipping Day! Yes, this Friday December 17th there are over 1400 online merchants that will offer free shipping (over 60% have no minimum limit on order to qualify) and guarantee arrival by Christmas Eve Dec 24th.
 
So If you haven't finished your Christmas shopping, this Friday is a great day to cross everyone else off your list. The online event is organized by FreeShipping.org, a site devoted to free shipping coupon codes. So far 1,408 retailers are on board.

Some sites may allow you to combine the free shipping offer with other coupon codes, while others have some restrictions. Some of the participating merchants are Macy's, Sears, LL Bean, Lands End, Kmart, Sierra Trading Company, Cabelas, Ralph Lauren, Office Max, Sephora, Victoria's Secret, JCPenney, Bath & Body Works, Harry & David, Melissa & Doug, Nike, Levi's, UGG, and the Apple Store.

Pick A Pear, or An Apple

Today, my morning snack was a crunchy green apple. Yesterday, it was a juicy fresh Valencia orange from our orange tree. Most mornings, I try to choose a healthy snack, rather than a serving of homemade chex mix, or baked goods. As a former food scientist, I know the difference between eating healthy calories and how great they make you feel, instead of simple carbohydrates that give you a short burst of energy but then you crash.
 
Well, it seems like Weight Watchers the popular diet program has finally ditched their archaic points system and revamped it with Points Plus system. Finally, common sense prevails and they are telling their participants that "yes", it does make a difference which calories you eat. But it doesn't take a scientist to tell you that eating fruits and vegetables is always a better choice that a commercially prepared snack or processed food item. Our grandma has been telling us that for years. Now, I am the grandma telling that to anyone who will listen.
 
There is someone I know who has always had a normal, healthy body weight - while all their siblings have been obese. In fact, all the siblings had stomach stapling or lap band surgeries to help overcome the obesity. It seems to be working for them. By physically limiting what you can eat, your body starts to lose weight. But the surgery doesn't fix the underlying psychological problems. My theory is that obesity is a visual indicator of a lack of self control. It's as simple as that. And if you lack control in your diet and exercise, it seems like this lack of self control ruins everything in your life, like your finances and relationships. If you can manage to resist that cookie, or make yourself exercise daily, or not buy something you don't have money for, you are heading in the right direction. Self discipline to do the right things and develop good habits is the key to maintaining a healthy weight, managing finances and fulfilling relationships.
 
I have never been on weight watchers and I am not promoting them, but I am glad they are finally sending the message to all the people out there, that it is really better to eat fruits and vegetables, rather than choose potato chips. In the past program, the points were equal - but we have known for decades there is no comparison in the consequences of eating processed snacks versus eating fresh fruit or vegetables.

Ice Ice Baby

Finally, this morning we got the final upgrade to our kitchen. Previously, I wrote about how the ice maker quit working on our refrigerator, and we had a few choices to make about how to live with no ice. Here's what went down. Of course, we all know that Black Friday sales are taking place this week and it's a great time to buy something you've been shopping for and finally the price comes down. Well, we knew back in October that we finally needed to get a fridge because the icemaker died. We decided against craigslist because of the uncertainty of the the remaining life of the appliance, so that left buying it new. We researched the features we wanted - my sister made me swear to get black handles on the stainless finish because they get fingerprints if you don't. We also have our fridge tucked into a corner so the only visible side is the front, so we opted for the frugal option to just get stainless steel doors, with black metal sides.
 
To complement the rest of our appliances we stuck with Kenmore by Sears, and ended up getting this model for $749 during the past Friends & Family sale. It is regularly priced at $1249. Currently its going for $1062, but on Black Friday it will be $699. We decided to go ahead and pay the $50 more to get it delivered when we'll be home this week, rather than have to try to arrange delivery around work. The real factor in pushing us to get the fridge now was the fact that we're home for delivery this week, and we want to start cranking out ice for our next vacation in early December at the condo in Naples.
 
So, I know you're wondering what we're going to do with the old white fridge. If you're a couponer, you know how wonderful it would be to have a stockpile fridge for all those milk, cheese and creamer deals. Well, you guessed it, the old fridge is going to be my stockpile fridge. I convinced DH to get rid of our small college dorm size beverage fridge, and we'll unplug the small extra freezer too, so really I'm unplugging two small appliances to keep the big one. Hope it works out like that. If I fill both full size refrigerators, then I'm in trouble.

How to Write a Helpful Product Review

Usually when I'm shopping for a specific item there is a process I go through before purchasing. These steps help me understand what's available out there and how it's working out for others who have purchased the same item. For this reason, as a courtesy to future shoppers and to the vendor of course, I like to write product reviews. I'm not talking about blog reviews and giveaways, since they are compensated with free product, and incentives. I generally do not follow review and giveaway blogs, nor do I participate because I don't really believe they are accurate representations of the users thoughts on the product.
My preference is to read and consider reviews where no compensation is provided to the writer. Like the kind on Amazon, or Trip Advisor or merchant websites. I also like to give reviews whenever I purchase a product. Reading uncompensated user reviews is one of my first steps to a purchase. Then I research specifications and make sure the item will work in my situation, and then I search around with google, forums and deals sites to find the best vendor to buy it from - considering my experiences, the vendor reputation, shipping cost and speed, returns and availability. I also prefer to shop Amazon first because they excel in all categories, plus my Swagbucks can be exchanged for gift cards there.
Anyway, when writing a review with the objective of informing other consumers (not impressing the product manufacturer) it is important to state some main points:
- Why you were looking for this item
- What other choices did you consider
- What is the specific application for the item
- What difficulties did you encounter in your first use of the item, or upon setup - and how were they resolved. Also point out if you think it would affect other consumers too, and what you think is the cause of these problems.
- If you did not have any problems, explain why this item is so great, what is new and improved over your old one, etc
- Lead the reader to other sources of information about this item, for example install videos on another site, or a forum where users have experience with the item
- Its also helpful to note how much you paid, if it was a seasonal sale or discount, or if there is a rebate or other deal you used too.
- Make your statements specific and accurate, don't generalize and write plain unhelpful comments without backing them up with details.
So the next time you buy something online, take a few minutes and provide some feedback in the form of a helpful product review. It really helps others.

General Mills & Kraft Price Increases Soon

Better stock up on cereals now even if you don't need to quite yet, as these price increases may make the days of free or $0.25 cereal over.
 
 
NEW YORK -(Dow Jones)- General Mills Inc. (GIS) is raising prices on some cereals and baking products, the clearest signal yet that food makers will pass some price pressure from higher commodity costs on to retailers and consumers.
General Mills is instituting "low-single-digit" percentage price increases on select cereal brands and slightly higher increases on some baking products, such as flour and baking mixes, spokeswoman Kirstie Foster said.
Separately, Kraft Foods Inc. (KFT) is also starting to raise some prices, people familiar with the matter said Wednesday, though the scope of Kraft's increases wasn't immediately clear. A Kraft spokesman declined comment Wednesday, but the company recently said it would selectively raise prices on some brands to offset commodity costs.
New price increases would come at a time of still-widespread caution among consumers, who are still jittery about the pace of the economic recovery. It could also put some retailers in a bind. Supermarket operators, who have expressed caution about consumer confidence, will have to decide whether to raise shelf prices or sacrifice profits.
General Mills will raise prices on select cereal brands starting Nov. 15, the spokeswoman said, affecting about a quarter of its cereal business in the U.S. Specific brands weren't disclosed, though the spokeswoman said it would be the first price increase on many of the cereal brands in more than three years. General Mills' brands include Cheerios and Lucky Charms cereals and Betty Crocker baking mixes. Price increases on the baking brands will go into effect Jan. 3.
Kroger Co. (KR) and Safeway Inc. (SWY) executives have said in recent weeks that they expect to be able to pass along such increases, although other supermarket chains such as Supervalu Inc. (SVU) are engaged in another round of price cuts in stores to keep shoppers coming in.
Supervalu on Tuesday said it was going to run another round of price cuts, a direct response to declining sales and market share. The new strategy comes as a major supplier in the past week told Supervalu that it will raise prices "across the board," Supervalu Chief Executive Craig Herkert told analysts Tuesday. A Supervalu spokesman declined comment on which supplier warned the company of higher prices. (This company owns Save-a-lot and CUB foods)
 
By Anjali Cordeiro and Paul Ziobro