Friday, November 26, 2010

Happy Black Friday!

And welcome to one of my favorite weekends of the year. I am sitting this one out this year (except for my price adjustment trip to Target that I wrote about here and a trip to Walgreens and CVS to get a few good "free" or "moneymaking" deals on stuff I actually need).

Anyway, I am shocked with how many Black friday deals are also happening online. Many of the major retailers put their deals both online and in the stores, so if you are staying in like me, you might enjoy taking a few minutes searching some deals online.

I am spending the day at the beach with my family, so I won't be posting anything. BUT...I wanted to recommend one web site today (and through Monday) if you want to get the latest deals. Sheri over at Swaggrabber seems to be updating the most frequently. I have a few other blogs that I like better on a day to day basis, but for Black Friday and Cyber Monday I would go here for the best and most up to date deals.

Have a great day, happy shopping, and bring on the Christmas music and decor!!!

Merry Christmas (29 Days early)!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Little People Nativity Set - $13.99 this week at Target!

One Target deal I forgot to put in my post yesterday is the Little People Nativity set is on sale this week at 50% off for $13.99. I looked around a little, and most of those sets retail close to $30. Target's regular price of $27.99 is the next best price I could find. I think I paid $19.99 for our set a few years ago.

Anyway, if you have little ones, this set is a wonderful way to get them interested in talking about the birth of Jesus. We put it under our Christmas tree. Even as my kids are getting a little older, they still like playing with it. A fun thing we do with it - we don't put the baby Jesus out until Christmas morning. Now that they are older, they ask where Jesus is, and it's fun to tell them that we have to wait until he comes as a baby on Christmas morning. When Jesus arrives on Christmas morning, they are reminded of why we really celebrate Christmas. So there's my plug for this product.

At this price, you could even get some as gifts! What a fun gift this holiday season.

You can look at the product here and even search to see if a store near you has it in stock (although that is not a guarantee it will be there...but it's always good to check).

By the way...have a Happy Thanksgiving (and Merry Christmas...34 days early!).

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Getting Black Friday deals at Target without waking up at Black Friday hours.

Welcome to Black Friday week. What are you looking for this Christmas? We are not looking for much. A downsize in home and baby on the way has led us to seek as much of a "stuff-less" Christmas as we can. BUT...I'm always looking for a good, sensible deal.

I am going to list a few things I have seen that would be worth the trip to the store...BUT, I will not be going at 4 a.m. on Friday. From what I have read on cincy savers, Target is the place to do the best Black Friday deals. Why? Because I can get my deals without actually going into the store on Black Friday. Target has a price adjustment policy which says the following:

  • If Target advertises a lower price either the same week or the week following your purchase, bring in your original sales receipt to Guest Services for an adjustment.
  • Exclusions: Price adjustments are not made for clearance prices or prices.
Soooo...I am heading to Target on Monday to get Hunter some Leapster games (shhhhh, don't tell). I will use my $5 off coupon found here. I have no idea how much I'll pay out of pocket...probably $22-$25 retail and $15-$20 after my coupon. THEN...this Friday or Saturday I will go into customer service (which I've heard isn't too crowded on Black Friday), take in my receipt, my items, and my Black Friday ad that lists Leapster games on sale for $15, and I will get cash back for the difference of what I paid (retail) and the $15 sale price. After the Black Friday price adjustment, I will pay (with my coupon applied) $10 per game. Not too shabby considering these retail $20 or more.

Have I done this before? No. Is it worth a try? Of course. I have already printed my price adjustment policy from the Target web site, and I plan on having it in hand in case there is a problem. In my understanding, it is a corporate policy, and they should follow it.

I will also be doing the same thing with pajamas that will be on sale on Black Friday and maybe some fashion scarves.

I have read on cincy savers that Target will not price adjust for items labeled as "doorbusters," but I can't find that in their policy. Just a heads up in case that is true. Again, I've never tried this before. BUT...if they won't price adjust something for you, you can always ask if you can return it and repurchase it right there at the Black Friday price. I have never had a customer service rep. tell me "no" before to that request, but you never know. I actually called the Casselberry Target tonight and asked a question about price adjustment (not Black Friday related), and she said if it didn't automatically adjust that we could just do a return and repurchase at the lower price.

Would you like to check out the Target Black Friday ad to see if there is anything you want to buy ahead and try to price adjust on Friday or Saturday? You can view a scan of the ad here.

While you're out getting your Black Friday deals ahead of time at Target, the deals for this week from Sunday-Wednesday at Target are pretty good too. Check them out here. The two best deals I see are the following:

Leap Frog Tag books are buy one, get one free with a sale price of $9.99. There is a coupon for $5 off 1 Tag book here. You have to watch a 45 second video and then sign up for something related to Chevrolet. I just checked "no" on all the options about being contacted for future offers, and then I printed my $5 Tag coupon. I was able to click the back arrow and then click "resend," and it let me print a second copy of the coupon. In my conversation with the Casselberry Target today, Shiela Marie in customer service told me that I could use one coupon on the "buy one" and one coupon on the "get one free." I do that all the time at Publix, but I wasn't sure if Target would do that as well. I told her that my $5 coupons would cause me to go over an extra penny, because the sale price is $9.99, and my coupons would give me a $10 discount. She said the cashier could adjust the coupon down by the penny. Guess what that means???!!! FREE TAG books!!! I have read that even if you don't own the Tag system, they are great hardback books for the kids.

Also, I will be getting "Beauty and the Beast" on DVD/Blu Ray combo. Millie is totally into this movie, and it has always been my fave. You can read more about this deal here, but basically, there is a $10 off manufacturer's coupon available through Disney and a $5 off Target store coupon in the Target ad tomorrow that you can stack for $15 off the $24.99 sale price. The coupons alone make the movie $9.99 (which is a great price), but there are two rebates floating out there for $5 each that will make the movie FREE if you do both rebates...and all you'll pay for after rebates are three cans of Campbell's soup and two packs of bagels. Again, Hip2Save has written about the coupons and rebates here.

There is also a Fisher Price Loving Family dollhouse on sale for $19.99 down from $39.99 starting tomorrow. I don't know which one it is, but I thought I would mention it. I was in the market for a dollhouse this time last year, so I might have jumped on that. Again, the ad scan for tomorrow's deals at Target can be found here.

Sooo...great deals to be had at Target this week. What will you be getting? What other stores are you going to shop this Black Friday? Personally, I may be more of a Cyber Monday girl this year.

Merry Christmas (35 days early)!

Hallmark Store $10 off $10 purchase coupon for moms or expectant moms!

Wow! This is a great deal. Register to receive emails from Hallmark stores here, and you will get a coupon to print for $10 off a $10 or more purchase. Many Hallmark stores carry popular gift items like Willow Tree figurines, Vera Bradley, jewelry, etc. Not to mention you could score free Christmas cards, wrapping paper, or an ornament for your tree. The coupon states that you can use it on sale items too.

By the way, I want to mention again that if you are signing up for email lists like these, I recommend you create an email specifically for receiving coupons and deals. That way your normal email won't be bombarded with emails from theses stores, but you can still get the great coupons and deals when you sign up for them.

I already signed up and printed the coupon out. It expires 12/24/10. Yay! I will definitely put this in my coupon holder for my next trip to the mall.

Thanks to moneysavingmom for the heads up on this great coupon.

Merry Christmas (35 days early)!

Help me get closer to a new camera!

Good morning, folks! I am going to try to post a deal or two later today, but this post is somewhat self-seeking. If I can get 15 friends to sign up under my referral link below for this web site hosting a contest, I will get a $25 Amazon gift card. I have been saving up my Amazon gift cards earned through Swagbucks to hopefully put towards a nice camera before this baby comes in February. So...cha ching! An extra $25 gift card in the pot would be awesome. If you don't mind, would you sign up under my link here?

The site is a community site where subscribers can post their creative gift ideas. It's actually a pretty neat site, but, let's be honest, I'm in it for the perks. Once you sign up, you can turn around and try to get 15 referrals yourself. Need a free Christmas gift, anyone? This Amazon gift card would be perfect. Just FYI...if you try to get 15 referrals, I want to let you know that the site has been clear that they will limit the promotion to 400 free gift cards. So...if more than 400 people qualify, they will randomly select the winners of the gift cards. So it's not a sure thing...but we all know 15 people, so it's worth a try!

Thanks again for reading my blog. I'll have some Black Friday ideas up before the end of the weekend. Have a great Saturday!

Thanks also to moneysavingmom and Hip2Save for the heads up on this offer.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Creative and afforable Christmas wreath

I am sure there are lots of "how tos" out there on making your own Christmas wreath, but I saw this post this morning on moneysavingmom, and I fell in love. If you like boutique looking things without spending a lot of money (or too much time) this is for you.

Please read this post here from Dittle Dattle for instructions on making this monogram Christmas wreath.

Although her blog post involves power tools and wood (which I'm sure are great), here's my plan:
  • Get free tree trimmings from Lowe's when we go buy our Christmas tree. They will usually let you gather any trimmings that fall from the trees as they cut the stumps off. So take a bag with you if you want to keep needles from getting all over your car.
  • Use cardboard or some other heavy board that I can find, cut an "F" with Donny's box cutter, and have at it with the trimmings and some wire.
  • Dig through my Christmas decor and see if I have any spare ribbon to hang it. I think I do, but if I don't, I'll take a 40% off coupon to a craft store and buy just what I need (which shouldn't cost much more than $1). BUT...I bet most of us could find some ribbon around somewhere (or hang it some other way...think out of the box!).
Now, for those of you who know where I live, you can check in a few weeks to see if I actually did it. I really do love this idea, and I need a new wreath. Check out my door on Dec. 1 and see if I followed through.

I would love to hear from you. What are your favorite frugal holiday tips? Feel free to comment on this post. Really, I would love to hear.

Merry Christmas! (38 days early)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A plug for Shutterfly...and a way to get free holiday cards

I love Shutterfly more than Snapfish. There, I said it. I have enjoyed Shutterfly's photo quality in their photo cards and calendars so much more. I also think their styles are amazing. You can use 1 picture or multiple pics in your photo card. I love those options. Check out their holiday photo cards here.

My favorite Shutterfly Christmas card was from two years ago (2008) when Hunter was 4 and Millie was 1 1/2. I was able to put three of my favorite pics on it - one of our family with Santa, one of the kids together, and one more formal family pic. That's what is so great about getting to choose multiple can put just about whatever you want on your card. I also loved the fun colors the card offered. The green on it was more of a lime green which matched well with some of the bright colors my kids were wearing. It was still red and green for Christmas...with a fun twist. I also love Shutterfly, because there are always coupon codes out there to get discounted cards. You can read about Shutterfly's current special offers here.

I also used Shutterfly to do Millie's birth announcement. I think I put 8 or 9 pics on it. Again, I LOVE the option of multiple photos. Take a look at their birth announcements here.

A favorite gift for Christmas is a photo calendar. I think someone in our family will be getting one this year, and I plan to go here to do it. Shutterfly really has a lot of options to make a calendar your own.

This year I am excited to get our Christmas card going...although I have no idea yet what picture I am going to use. Right now all we have are Halloween I guess I need to get that camera out. We'll see. At 29 weeks pregnant, I'm not too inspired for a photo shoot...but I know I need to get it done.

I honestly do prefer much so that I am blogging about them to get some free holiday cards. If you have a blog, you can get 50 free cards too! Bloggers get 50 free holiday cards from Shutterfly… learn more:

Ah ha! Now you know why I really wrote this stuff. If you blog, you should do the same...and send one to me!

Merry Christmas (39 days early!)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Christmas Thoughts, Michaels, and Inexpensive Personalized Ornaments

I asked Donny the other day if I could turn on some Christmas music, and he promptly replied: "No. It's too early." Not too early for me, though. :) I get flutters every time I think about Christmas approaching...for many reasons. I love the lights, the decorations, the music...the spectacle. I know that many would blame all the spectacle on the commercialization of Christmas, but it still stirs my heart. Thankfully, it stirs my heart to worship Jesus, the babe and Savior of the world who was born on Christmas. He didn't get a lot of earthly spectacle when he was born. The heavenly Anyway, I figure if the earthly spectacle of Christmas stirs my heart to the Lord, then BRING IT ON!!!

Honestly, one of the other things that stirs my heart is a good deal...and there are plenty to be found this time of year. I am going to try to post more over the next few months (before my own babe comes) to keep you up with what I think the best deals are. This pregnancy has made me more picky about what a good deal is, so when I post you can know that it is a good deal...cause I just don't have the time and energy to post everything that comes along the way these days.

Anyway...back to why I am posting this morning. I LOVE personalized ornaments. My mom got my sister and I one every year from when we were three through our elementary school years. As a kid I loved hanging "my ornaments" up every year and finding just the right spot for them. Mom passed them on to me after I got married. Most of the ornaments have the year on them, but they are all different. Most of them have our names on them (except for the one that has our picture on it). BTW, remember that I am a twin, so I rarely talk about anything in my childhood (especially holidays) without referring to "us" or "our," because we did everything together.

Can you tell my kids are playing well together this morning? That's why I have the time to go all over the place in this post.

Back to the point...I have continued the ornament tradition with my kids. With each year that we had a new baby, I got a new family ornament at the mall personalized to show our new family with our new addition. I also did a personalized ornament at the mall one year for Hunter. When I went to pick it up, there was a mistake on it. I asked them to redo it. The lady asked me to wait for just a minute. I watched her scrape off the mistake and take a sharpie to fix it. "What???!!! You mean you just write the name on there with a sharpie? That's all???!!!" I don't know what I thought I was getting, but for $7-$10 per ornament, I thought it was something more than a lady with a Sharpie. If you have 2 or more kids that you are getting an ornament for, it becomes a very expensive endeavor to have them personalized.

After my "all you need is a Sharpie or a paint pen" realization, my ornament strategy changed. The next year, I went to Target and bought a Cars ornament for Hunter (age 3) and a Princess ornament for Millie (age 8 months), bought a white paint pen at Michaels, and I personalized their own little ornaments just how I wanted them. When I made a mistake guess what I did? I scraped it off and started over. my kids have a personalized ornament in Mommy's handwriting. I like that.

The next year I bought an ornament in which I could put a recent picture of them. I still took a Sharpie and put the year on the ornament. Last year, we bought ornaments for them at Disney, because it was our last year to have annual passes. So no personalization last year, but they each got an ornament, and I will always remember those ornaments from our last Disney year (2009).

Well, this year I haven't quite decided what I am going to do, but I saw something in Michaels yesterday that totally sparked my interest. They had "ready to personalize" ornaments that are just like the ones at the mall for $1.99!!! could totally use one of the 40% off coupons that comes in the paper or email (You can sign up for coupons on

Random - Did you know you can also use Joann's or AC Moore coupons at Michaels too? Michaels and Joann's will take one of each type of coupon in a single transaction, so in one transaction you could use:
  • one Michaels newspaper coupon
  • one Joann's newspaper coupon
  • one Michaels email/printable coupon
  • one Joann's email/printable coupon
  • any other different form of coupon (receipts sometimes print coupons or if you have a coupon from AC Moore, etc).
It's another way to make your dollar stretch further at those stores. Sometimes those stores sell Crayola sets or Melissa and Doug, Thomas the train, or other things that are expensive at most toy or book stores. Check at your local craft store and see if you can use your 40% off coupon on those items. Remember that those coupons often have exclusions and are almost always on regular price items only.

Soooo...if you bought one of those $1.99 ready-to-personalize ornaments with a 40% off coupons, you could get an ornament for your child for $1.20! All you would need is a paint pen or Sharpie. Let me confess - I don't have good handwriting, and I am a perfectionist when it comes to stuff like this, but I still like doing it for them.

One other idea - Michaels also had nice 2"x3" photo frame ornaments that have "2010" on them for $3.99 (regular price). These ornaments with a family photo or a photo of all the kids in it would be a great way to do a personalized family ornament for your own family or for grandparents or other family members.

Wow...I wrote a lot longer than I thought...and my kids are getting restless. I was inspired yesterday by the ornaments at Michaels and wanted to pass along the idea.

Merry Christmas!!! (42 days early)

Friday, November 12, 2010

$50 of Coldwater Creek merchandise for $25! Today on Groupon!

Wow! If you are looking for a fun Christmas gift for that mom, sister, or other special woman in your life (or if you are just a Coldwater Creek fan), then the Phoenix Groupon deal today is just right for you!

I am still new to Groupon, but here's how it works:

1. Sign up for Groupon HERE.
2. Look for "Visit more cities" on the top of the page, and search under "Phoenix" deals. (It's ok to buy Groupons out of your city if they are national deals...which this one is.)
3. Click on "Buy" or "Buy for a friend" depending on what you want to do.
4. Once you have purchased the Groupon, it will appear in your account under "My Stuff" under "My Groupons" in a few days.
5. Print and enjoy!

This deal is active today, Friday, November 12 and tomorrow, Saturday, November 13. How fun to get something checked off the Christmas list!

Fine print: Expires Feb 14, 2011. Limit 1 per person. Valid in-store and online. Valid toward merchandise only. Not valid toward previous purchases. Value of the purchase must be greater than or equal to the value of the Groupon. Must use in 1 visit. Not valid with other offers.

Even if you are not interested in Coldwater Creek, Groupon still offers some neat daily deals at deep discounts. Go ahead and sign-up and request the daily Groupon for your city, and you will get an email with what is being offered locally. If you read any bigger money saving blogs, they will periodically post national deals like this that you can buy anywhere.

Thanks to Hip2Save for the heads up on this deal.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Things I've seen

Went to Aldi (Altamonte Springs) today for a massive trip to stock up on nearly everything I need for meals for November (with the exception of Thanksgiving).

I was amazed to find the following deals that you might want to be aware of:

Milk - $1.99 per gallon - What in the world?!!! I haven't seen it under $2.19 in a really long time.

Potatoes - $1.69 for a 10 lb. bag - Ok, this pregnant gal has not cooked potatoes in years (really, is there much nutritional value at all?)...until I tried this recipe from moneysavingmom. It is really good (and I add garlic to make it better). Let's just say that my favorite lunch last week was a PB & J with a side of mashed potatoes...YUM!

Nothing else that exciting...but those two things were exciting to me. There will be more deals as Thanksgiving approaches, but I still hold that Aldi is the best if you just want to get most of your groceries at one place and still get a competitive price even without coupons. Aldi's prices do vary sometimes by store, but it's worth a try if you have one close and need to pick up a gallon of milk!

Now to Publix...that was my other grocery stop today. The best thing going at Publix right now is Target printable coupons. Ask your customer service rep (even call ahead and ask) if they will take Target coupons. When I talked to a rep. at our Publix (Hollieanna), he said that Publix managers across Orlando were told to start taking any coupons they could. My Oviedo Publix never took Target coupons, but my new one does...and it is awesome.

Check out these Target printable coupons.
Here are my favorites:
$1 off any produce item
$1 off any bakery item
$1 off Market Pantry ice cream (don't think this one is available anymore)
$1 off two Kraft cheese
$1 off two Nabisco crackers

Paired with a BOGO and a manufacturer's coupon, the Kraft and Nabisco coupons should make for a good deal. The produce and bakery item coupons are great to get free or really cheap products. If you are trying to find ways to eat organic, use these produce coupons to cut down on the price of organic. You can usually print 2 coupons per computer. Target usually reloads their coupons 2-3 times/month, so check it out periodically.

Ok, that's what I saw at the stores today. Let me know if you see anything interesting or worth noting. I'll try to post more frequently as the holiday deals get better and better. Happy shopping and holiday planning!