Wednesday, December 31, 2008

FREE Bottle of Suave on January 14th

On January 14th, Suave will be giving away coupons for free bottles of shampoo. Check out their special web site here for details.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Weight Loss Doesn't Have To Be Expensive

Beautiful Plus-Sized Women

This is the time of year when people make those dreaded New Year's resolutions. I'm certain you will not be surprised to discover that weight loss is one of the most popular resolution.

According to a survey commissioned by Weight Watchers and conducted by Harris Interactive(R) about half (45%) of U.S. women say losing weight will be one of their New Year's resolutions for the upcoming year. Among those who will resolve to lose weight in the New Year. A recent study found 35 percent of people will break their resolutions by the end of January and only 23 percent will achieve their goals. The odds are against me you say. Why should I even try? I can't afford to lose weight now?

About seven years ago I lost 40 pounds. The weight had just crept up on me and it was easy for me to ignore a few pounds here and there until finally it was something I just couldn't ignore any longer. Once I finally made the commitment I learned so much about my body and food that I've been able to keep the weight off all these years later.

You can learn to eat healthy on a tight budget. Here are seven tips to help you do just that.

1. Read the nutritional values on the food labels. Make sure you are getting you money's worth. WebMd has a very informative article: How to Read Food Labels. Just because an item says it is "lite" doesn't mean it's better for you. Take advantage of sales at the grocery store and when possible combine them with coupons. Stock up when possible.

2. Eat your fruits and veggies. Sure our moms told us to eat our veggies and yes we get after our kids to eat their veggies, but do we really eat OUR veggies? You don't have to scratch fresh fruits and veggies off the menu just because money is tight. Shop the season. For example, apples are cheaper in the fall so is squash. Don't be afraid to try new fruits or vegetables. This autumn Mr. Thrifty and I tried spaghetti squash for the first time. We actually loved it and would eat it again. I know you believe your kids just don't or won't eat their vegetables but you can set a good example by making sure you eat yours.

"Veg-Up" your meals. If you read a box of hamburger helper they give you serving suggestions for veggies that would taste good with your meal. Vegetables are low in calories, which is good, and they are high in vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and fiber. Frozen vegetables are quick, easy, and inexpensive. Heat them quickly on the stove or in the microwave. You can choose single vegetables such as peas, carrots, green beans, and cauliflower, or you can try seasoned blends of vegetables.

If you drop red meat, poultry and fish from your diet, you'll find plant proteins cheaper than the equivalent amount of animal protein. The cheapest cuts of beef, such as ground round, average $3 per pound in U.S. cities (lean and extra lean); boneless chicken breasts cost $3.40 a pound; and canned tuna is about $2 per pound. Compare that with dried beans and lentils at less than $1 a pound and rice well below $1 per pound. A vegetarian diet is also better for the planet, reducing water usage and global-warming gases.

3. Portions. I will have to admit this was the downfall for the slippery slope that caused me to gain those initial 40 pounds. My parents served meals with servings so large one would have thought they were feeding soldiers coming back from a ten mile march. I went on to have two boys who were on the fast track to vertical growth. Seconds? Why the heck not when it tastes so good. Oh the kids didn't finish that, I don't want it to go to waste so I'll finish it.

A serving of meat should be about the size of a deck of cards. I know, when I first saw that amount on my plate my eyes told my head "Are You Kidding?' Go to any restaurant and you will see huge, sometimes never ending servings of meat. Our bodies don't need as much meat as we think it does. We actually need far more servings of vegetables and fruits than we do of meat. You can fill in the gaps by serving whole grains with your meal. When you limit portion size, you can stretch your meals further. I used to make those helper meals when I was rushed for time and they always called for a pound of hamburger. Believe it or not they taste perfectly fine with half that amount, especially if you add your families favorite veggies.

While we're on the subject of veggies you can cut down the cost of your meals by serving vegetarians dishes two or three nights a week. Beans are a good substitute for meat and can provide many of the same proteins and fibers. Research has proven that a vegetarian diet can lower your grocery bill. It may even save you money on health care costs, since vegetarians are less likely to suffer from obesity or chronic illness. Hubby and I have found that vegetarian meals doesn't mean rabbit food.

4. You do not have to belong to a Health Club in order to exercise. You should definitely visit a doctor before you begin an exercise program. The United Stats Surgeon General recommends to add about 30 minutes of physical activity of moderate intensity activity each day ON TOP of your customary daily activities. The problem is that nearly 50% of people who start an exercise program will quit within six months.

The average American adult averages 3,000 to 5,000 steps a day. Wearing a pedometer is an easy way to track your steps each day. Start by wearing the pedometer every day for one week. Put it on when you get up in the morning and wear it until bed time. Record your daily steps in a log or notebook. By the end of the week you will know your average daily steps. You might be surprised how many (or how few) steps you take each day. If you take an extra 2,000 steps while eating 100 fewer calories a day is enough to keep most people from gaining the typical two pounds a year that comes with middle-age spread.

You can slip those extra steps in by using the stairs insteadof the elevator, parking further away from the door of you office, church, mall, or grocery store. Walk around the store or mall before you shop. Take a walk after dinner.

No time for a walk? To quote one of Mr. Thrifty's favorite sayings, "You can make time for anything you want." There is no television show that is as important as the walk hubby and I take together in the evening after dinner. We use this time to talk about how our day went, our hopes, and plans. It only takes a half an hour out of our day but it's worth it in so many ways. Hubby not interested in walking? My mother used to put the youngest in the stroller and walk us around the block. Since there were six of us at the time we looked like quite the little parade. It was amazing how many kids, who weren't related to us would tag along. Consider finding a buddy to exercise with or locate a few buddies you can call upon to join you from time to time. But don’t let a flagging commitment on the part of your buddy influence your commitment to your goals. If no one else will go with you bring your dog. My dog lives for his walk. Bring your i-Pod and program it with your favorite music.

Check out your local library for exercise DVD's. Our library has exercise programs which include belly dancing videos, Sweating to the Oldies, and so much more.

5. Keep a log. One of the best tips I ever received for losing weight was to keep a food journal. This makes you accountable for every bit of food you put in your mouth. I kept mine as a spreadsheet on my computer but many people find it even more telling to keep this information on a small calendar that you can carry with you wherever you go. You can make these as simple or as elaborate as you would like. I find it better to keep is simple. Here is an example of a food journal from the smart people at MIT. Another food diary can be found here. Are you using Weight Watchers? Use this site to help calculate the points you are consuming.
Keep an exercise log so you can monitor yourself.

6. One of the best ways to lose weight is through motivation. When you have people around to support you, it's easy to reach your goals. Join a support group like 10,000 steps. Yahoo support groups. Check out your local church, library, or community center. My workplace had a "Biggest Loser" support group last year. Each participant paid $10 to get in on the pool. There was a weekly weigh in. If you missed the weigh-in you had to cough up an additional $2. You paid a fine for gaining weight. At the end of the competition, the male and female who lost the most weight won the kitty.

7. Avoid Fast Food. Let me repeat that. Avoid eating fast food as much as possible. Instead, make large quantities when you cook and freeze the food in serving-size portions. Want some inspiration for breaking the fast food addiction? Check out the movie SuperSize me or Fast Food Nation.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Do You Love Books?

Sleeping In

I do. Ever since I learned to read, my world has been shaped, refined, and influenced by the books I have read. As an adult, with so many other things to get done, reading is my sinful pleasure. Book clubs have become amazingly popular today and for good reason. After finishing a good book, most of us feel a need to talk about it, to compare notes, and relive the high points.

We all know that there are free books available for you at the library. I got my first library card when I was six and by the time I was twelve I would spend afternoons in the library which became my sanctuary from the turmoil that surrounded my life. I'm always on the look out for books when I go to second hand stores, yard sales, and even library sales (yes they have them and yes you should check them out). What if I told you that you could trade books on the Web for the cost of postage?

What's the catch you say? You have to give up some of your books. Below are some Book Swap Sites that you might want to check out. BookCrossing is earth-friendly, and gives you a way to share your books, clear your shelves, and conserve precious resources at the same time. Through our own unique method of recycling reads, BookCrossers give life to books. A book registered on BookCrossing is ready for adventure. Sign up for free.

Bookins. It's a more targeted way to barter than Craigslist Here's how it works: You get 15 points just for signing up, then more points for every book posted that someone else wants to grab. Points are assigned according to a book's age and original cost. the only cost is for the book's recipient -- a flat $3.99 for postage and delivery confirmation.

BookMooch. Give books away, get books you want. Give & receive: Every time you give someone a book, you earn a point and can get any book you want from anyone else at BookMooch. Once you've read a book, you can keep it forever or put it back into BookMooch for someone else, as you wish. No cost: there is no cost to join or use this web site: your only cost is mailing your books to others. Feeling charitable? You can also give your points to charities we work with, such as children's hospitals (so a sick kid can get a free book delivered to their bed), Library fund, or African literacy.

Novel Action: Swap your books for about $1/book – including shipping! Simply select any books from the site and send in an equal number of your books in exchange. Great value, flexible book bucks & custom alerts make Novel Action the best place to swap used books.

PaperBack Swap. Mail a book. Get a book. Any book you request is yours to keep, share or swap. No late fees. No processing charges. No hidden charges. Every time you mail a book to another member, you can request one for yourself.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas for All My Friends

old and new. I wish you and your family a Merry Christmas.

Last night hubby and I drove around the neighborhood looking at Christmas lights and listening to Christmas music. The twinkling of the colored lights in the darkness got me to thinking of a song I learned as a child, "This Little Light of Mine."

Each of us has a light (spirit) that longs to shine amid the darkness that surrounds us. So many of you strive daily to make the lives of others better, caring for relatives who are unable to care for themselves, a true commitment to community, nuturing your children, and donating to charitable organizations.

Rejoice in the special light that shines within you. Let it warm the hearts of others and guide you in the journey and promise of the future.

I'm wishing you and your loved ones joy and peace during this season and throughout the New Year.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Here We Come A Carolling

When I was little my parents used to bundle us up into the car to drive into DC to see the fancy Christmas displays in the department stores downtown. On the way back home we’d look for Christmas lights while listening to Christmas music on the radio. Simple pleasures but with gas as cheap as it is now it can still be a pleasure that you and your family can enjoy.

Don’t really have much in the line of Christmas music? Well have I got good news for you. I was able to download enough free Christmas music to make two cds. I’m not just talking no name musicians. You can get music from one of today’s hottest country artists, Trisha Yearwood, Brad Paisley, and Faith Hill. You can also get classic artists like the Beach Boys, Bing Cosby, and Aretha Franklin singing your favorite carols.

About a week ago I had to watch the school’s choir teacher’s class while she took the Senior Choir to sing at a local assisted living home. She left the movie The Sound of Music. I didn’t get to watch the whole movie but I could still sing every single song from memory. That’s why I was thrilled to see that I could get My Favorite Things sung my Trisha Yearwood from Sears.

Amazon is offering 25 Days of Free. There is a new holiday song each day but most of them are still available for free download. I was able to get songs from Sixpence None the Richer, Jars of Clay, and Barenaked Ladies. While there check out the Amazon Holiday Sampler. This sampler has five free Christmas downloads.

Mr. Thrifty and I are going to grab our coats and check out the neighborhood lights tonight. So good night and may all your days be merry and bright.

Monday, December 22, 2008

This Holiday Season See How Sears Can Help

Sears Posts A 146 Million Dollar Loss For Third Quartervar iamInit = function() {try{initIamServingHandler(320,211,370412

Danskin 55 cm. Core Ball, Swirl with DVD - Burst Resistant
Stamina Products Pilates Premier
The Four Agreements by Ruiz, Don Miguel
Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Millman, Dan
The Mastery of Love by Ruiz, Don Miguel
A New Earth by Tolle, Eckhart
Cook With Jamie by Oliver, Jamie

This prize pack includes one of my favorite books. it's called The Four Agreements. I read this book when I was providing hospice care for Alice. It really changed my perspective. I am happy to see he also included A New Earth by Tolle, Eckhart. I just finished reding this book a couple of days ago.

I loved his blog post because he also mentioned about how Sears is working with the Heroes at Home Program As an Army mom I can't thank him enough for mentioning that program.

Check out what Chris bought at Sears and see how you can win too.


Businesswoman Reading Paper

Although I don't drink coffee, I know that many people do and some people are willing to even pay $4 for a small cup of coffee. Want to give that coffee drinker in your life a special gift? I've included some made to order coffee recipes below:

Less Bucks Cafe Vienna

1/2 cup instant coffee
2/3 cups sugar
2/3 cup nonfat dry milk


Stir ingredient together.
Process in a blender until powdered.
Pour in decorative jar or small plastic container and attach the following instructions: Use 2 teaspoons to one cup of hot water. 35 calories each

Less Bucks Morning Mocha Expresso


1 cup instant coffee
1 cup sugar
4 1/2 cups nonfat dry milk
1/2 cup cocoa

Stir ingredients together.
Process in a blender until powdered.
Pour in decorative jar or small plastic container and attach the following instructions: Use 2 tablespoons to one small cup of hot water. Serve in demitasse cups 60 calories each.

Less Bucks Alpine Mocha

1/2 cup instant coffee
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup nonfat dry milk
2 tablespoons cocoa

Stir ingredients together.
Process in a blender until powdered.
Pour in decorative jar or small plastic container and attach the following instructions: Use 2 tablespoons for each 4 ounce cup of hot water. 40 calories each.

Less Bucks Cappuccino

1/2 cup instant coffee
3/4 cups sugar
1 cup nonfat dry milk
1/2 teaspoon grated orange peel


Stir ingredients together.
Process in a blender until powdered.
Pour in decorative jar or small plastic container and attach the following instructions: Use 2 tablespoons for each cup of hot water. 40 calories each.

Less Bucks Butter, Nut, & Rum Coffee

1/3 cup ground coffee
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon butter, nut, & rum flavoring

Blend coffee and dry ingredients in a blender.
Blend in flavoring and extracts.
Scrape sides of blender and blend 15 seconds more.
Place coffee mix in a filter. Place filter on a square or plastic wrap. Draw together with a ribbon. Make this gift extra special by placing the wrapped filter in a coffee cup. Bonus points for a personalized one. (Remember that's why people pay $4 for coffee at Starbucks because they write your name on the paper cup)
Makes an 8 cup pot of coffee.

Make your gift special by branding it. Starbucks does with their little mermaid. Use your computer to create a logo and attach it to the gift. We call mine Less Bucks but I'm certain you can come up with just as good a name for yours. Perhaps your logo can include a picture of your family and something like: Copeland's Coffees a pleasant morning jolt of inspiration. It's all about presentation.

Now go get busy because Christmas is just a few days away.

Wrap Up Your Christmas Shopping at Walgreens

Woman hugging santa
Today (December 22, 2008) the answer to the question what should I get my daughter/wife/sister has been answered. Walgreens is selling a Conair Gel Grips Ionic Styler Dryer for only $10. When you purchase this you will receive $10 Register Rewards that can be spent on another purchase in the store.

Don't forget, many Walgreens stores will be open until midnight thru December 23 Walgreens will be open Christmas Eve from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Call 1-800-WALGREENS for information about locations and hours.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

CVS Biggest Holiday Sale!

CVS Posts Rise In Profits

Today (December 21, 2008) and tomorrow will be a great day for saving money at CVS but you need to act quickly.

I’m having to start all over again after suffering that horrible condition of Ilostus-ecbus. This is a tragic affliction which generally happens when one puts their ecbs in a place one generally feels is safe, only to discover the ECBs have somehow disappeared. So I actually lost almost $50 in ecbs!!! You think having your computer crash is the end of the world.

In an effort to begin my ECBs anew I was thrilled to discover this big holiday sale. In order to do this deal with the least amount of money I broke it up into smaller deals.

The first purchase was five Listerine Antiseptic Cool Mint (500 ml) Be sure you buy this one because none of the others will work. Normally these are $4.29 but they are on sale saving you an initial $1.30 per item. You can purchase up to five of these and receive a $2.99 ECBs for each purchase. In this purchase I threw in two Revlon Classic Nail Polish which were on sale buy one get one free. The nail polish wound up being $4.99 for two, but I still had two coupons for $2 a piece which brought this part of the purchase down to 99 cents. I’m a firm believer in shopping all year for Christmas and these will go towards NEXT year’s gifts. I paid $15.94 out of pocket but received an ECBs for that amount.

Next purchase was two L’Oreal HIP Metallic eye shadow. My nieces will love this for their birthdays next year. These were $6.99 each and you could buy up to two per person to get back the full price in ECBs. I added to that order Excedrin Extra Strength, Express Gels (20 gelcaps). They were on sale for $3.99 and you will receive an ECB for that amount. I was able to use a $1.50 coupon for ANY PAIN RELIEVER generated by my previous purchase as well as the $14.95 ECB. Out of pocket that order was $1.63 after taxes.

I used the $3.99 coupon generated by the previous order to help pay for the next order. I bought one Sally Henson Lacquer Nail Dazzle which goes for $5.99. I also bought five Hershey bars. I also used a coupon for $1 off the purchase of two Hershey’s Dark Chocolate bars. I also used a coupon generated for buy three Hershey bars and get one free. I paid $4.81 out of pocket and received a $5.99 ECB
This week you can buy three Promax Bars (2.64 oz) for $5 and then receive a $5 ECB. This was part of my next order. I also bought a Hall Naturals Honey Lemon cough drop which were $2.59 and used a 50 cents off coupon to receive the $2.59 ecb. I also bought SlimQuick Energy for $4.99 with a $4.99 ECB. The last item in this purchase was Zipfizz Healthy Energy Mix. The cost was $5.99 with a $5.99 ECB
I’ll admit it. I’m a real soda fiend. Hubby always teases me about it. If you bought $15 of any coke products you get back $5 in ECBS. I will tell you that this is the lowest price this week for soda in my area. I know because I just went to Kroger and their “sale was two 12 packs for $8. CVS had twelve packs on sale for 3/$11 I bought three twelve packs and four 2 ltr Cokes. I used one of my ECBs and brought the price down to $11 and then got back $5 in ECBs.

One more purchase and that was the Iceland healthy Joint (60 ct) This item was a bit pricey at $29.99 but you did get the full-price rewarded back as an ECB. So I bought it. With all these ECBs in my pocket I feel like it’s finally game on time again. There were other things I wanted to buy but the ladies at the CVS in Dallas told me that there were people at the door at 7 a.m. this morning and bought up a lot of stuff.

What's Free Under The Tree

Thinkstock Single Image Set
Like so many others, we’ve cut way back on spending this Christmas. Then again I’ve always been able to buy super gifts that have the Wow factor for the recipient without the Oww factor for my wallet. Let me share what’s under the Thrifty Maven’s tree this year.

For hubby there is an 11x14 collage photo poster from Snapfish. I bought it when they were running a special for free shipping and I was able to use a credit I had for a free poster. Mr. Thrifty and I have been married for seven years now and I thought he’d appreciate a collage of happy moments we have spent together. The other gift he will be opening come Christmas day is a mouse pad which features a photo of us taken on our last vacation. This was another free credit I had earned on Snapfish and I ordered it when I ordered the poster. I was also able to take advantage of a promotion advertised on Oprah for a free 8x10 hard covered photo book. Hubby and I had won a weeks’ vacation at an all inclusive resort in St. Lucia and I used the pictures from this vacation to create a unique gift. Out of pocket for hubby this year? ZERO dollars but don’t tell him because he’ll think I spent a fortune.

Hubby has learned a thing or two because I do know that I’m receiving something from Victoria’s Secret. He’s not as good at keeping secrets and besides I had to go with him to pick my gifts out. I’m really big on shopping for gifts all year. This is a HUGE savings. Twice this year Victoria Secret sent us a coupon for a free pair of panties. They even put the panties in the cute pink bags and I’ve spied them under the tree.

The grandkids reaped HUGE benefits this year from my sweeping hobby. They received those Indiana Jones Lego sets. Altogether these Lego sets were valued at over $300. I won them though but the grandkids won’t care if I won them or bought them. Total out of pocket for their gift, $20 and that was for shipping.
Speaking of wins I sent the boys gift cards that I won. Dan, my oldest received a $100 gift card from AMC Bowling Centers. Michael received a $25 gift card from Barnes and Noble and a $25 gift card from iTunes. Total cost of their gift under a dollar for stamps.

The big gifts this year haven't arrived yet and are free!!!!!!!! I won FOUR computers. Hubby will be getting a new touch screen, the boys will each be receiving a new HP notebook computer, and I will be gettng a new notebook computer and printer. This was an amazing blog contest and as soon as I receive this prize I will tell you more about it.

I realize not everyone enters sweepstakes and contests but if you are interested I will be posting articles about sweeping.

Free Photo


Add any 5x7 or 8 x10print to your cart on CVS and enter the code: ENLARGE and you’ll get one 5x7 or one 8.10 free. Limit one per account. This promotion is not valid with any other offer, discount, or promotional discount. This offer is good through December 24th so act quickly.

Are you new to CVS photos? Open an account and you can get up to 50 free prints. How does this work? You get 20 free prints when you open an account. Add an extra care card number to your account and you get 30 more free prints.

How To Save Money On Dryer Sheets

Woman folding laundry

When I was a little girl we hung our clothing out to dry and I loved the fresh smell of line dried clothing. Now there are many communities that restrict you from having a clothes line, so much for green technology. If you use a dryer and want to save money on dryer sheets try the following suggestions.

Did you know that you don’t need a full dryer sheet to reduce static? You can cut your dryer sheet in half and it will still be quite effective. Doing this will make the box last twice as long and it’s good for the environment because you are only generating half as much waste.

Recycle, Reduce, and Reuse for a better environment by making your own dryer sheets. I found a recipe that will allow you to make a reusable dryer sheet that will last twenty washes if you aren’t doing heavy loads. It’s a it of work but it’s worth it. Your clothes can still have that smell if that’s what you want and they will come out of the dryer just as soft as if you’d used the commercial dryer sheets. The directions are listed below:

•Take a wash cloth and place it in a pint sized jar.
•Pour your fabric softener in the jar over the rag and filling it almost to
the top. Place the cap on the jar and allow to sit for a few hours.
•This next step is messy and requires gloves and should be done over a bowl
in the sink. Remove the rag from the jar and squeeze the liquid into the
bowl. The rag should be damp but not dipping.
•Hang the wash cloth to dry and pour the recaptured softener back into the
•The washcloth should be ready to use in about 24 hours.

Want to do your part for combating Global Warming? Reuse your dryer sheets. You can slip a dryer sheet in your pillow case to freshen them up. Used dryer sheets pick up dust without using any cleaning products. Place an individual sheet in a drawer or hang in the closet. Used dryer sheets take the odor out of books and photo albums that don't get opened too often. Place a sheet at the bottom of the wastebasket to eliminate odors. You can also eliminate odors in dirty laundry by placing an individual sheet oat the bottom of a laundry bag or hamper.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Restaurant Gift Cards That Reward You

Man with credit card shopping online for Christmas gifts

My husband and I have a love hate relationship with gift cards. We’ve both know people who have held on to their gift cards too long and had the card expire. We also hate that some cards don’t have an expiration date but DO charge a monthly fee after a year which eventually makes them useless. This is why we generally avoid giving gift cards as gifts.

We do however love this time of year when it comes to restaurants and gift cards. That is because many restaurants are trying to encourage the purchase of gift cards with bonus programs. If you still have gifts to buy, you might want to consider buying a restaurant gift card and keeping the bonus for yourself. If we are dining at a restaurant that offers these bonus gift cards, we will often purchase the required gift card to pay for the meal we planned to eat and then keep the bonus card for a future visit.

So who’s offering these great deals?

Buca di Beppo (Hubby and I LOVE this place) you can earn a $25 Reward card with every $100 purchase. One card , per visit, per table. Present this card at the time of purchase to receive $25 off your total food purchase. Not valid with any other offers or discounts. No cash value. Tax, gift cards, and alcoholic beverages are excluded.

Applebee’s…It’s a Whole New Neighborhood!! BUY $50 IN APPLEBEE’S GIFT CARDS, AND GET A $10 BONUS –FREE!! From November 3rd through New Year’s Day, for every $50 in Gift Cards you buy in one of our restaurants, you’ll get a bonus certificate for $10 more.

TGIFridays From November 5, 2008 through January 4, 2009, for every $25 spent on Friday’s® Gift Cards guests will receive a $5 Bonus Bites card while having all Gift Card purchases valid for “Give Me More Stripes” guest recognition program points. T.G.I. Friday’s Gift Cards are available in $10, $25 and $50. The Friday’s Gift Cards have no expiration date and no hidden charges. Friday’s Bonus Bites cards are redeemable between January 1, 2009 and June 30, 2009. The gift cards can be purchased at all participating T.G.I. Friday’s restaurants or online at

Click here for a coupon that will give you $5 off your food purchase at Bertuccis. It is not valid with any other discount or coupon. Tax and gratuity not included. Alcoholic beverages are excluded. One offer per party.

Brusters Real Ice Cream (this ice cream is super yummy) - buy $25 GC get $5 GC free - buy $50 GC get $10 GC free - buy $100 GC get $20 GC free (offer through 12/31/08)

The Ralph Brennon Restaurant Group is offering a $25 bonus card for you when you buy $100 in Ralph Brennon Restaurant Group holiday gift cards.

The California Pizza Kitchen Gift Card offers a $20 CPK Rewards card when you purchase $100 in CPK Gift Cards during the holidays. While supplies last

Tony Roma's - buy $50 gift card, get $10 certificate to use starting January

Timberlodge Steakhouse - buy $100 Gift Cards get $10 Gift Certificates

Red Robin (YUM). When you buy a $25 GC you get $5 GC free instantly - through 12/31/08.

Outback Steakhouse. Purchase $100 in Outback Gift Cards from November through December 31, 2008 and get a $20 bonus card. *$20 Bonus card must be redeemed January 1 through February 10, 2009. $20 Bonus card cannot be used for alcohol, tax or gratuity. Food and beverage only. Cannot be sold, reproduced or exchanged. Internet distribution or resale is strictly prohibited. $20 Bonus card must be present for redemption and relinquished at time of redemption. Not valid with any other discount offer. Limit of one $20 Bonus card per visit, one card per table and one use per card. This $20 Bonus card will not carry a future balance. No cash value. Lost or stolen cards will not be replaced. No photocopy, facsimile or reproductions of this card will be accepted.

Moes Southwest Grill. (I can’t eat a whole burrito by myself) Get a $5 Moe Buck back when you buy $20 GC through 12/31/08

Ruth Chris is offering a bonus gift card which is available online and at participating locations from November 1-December 31, 2008. Bonus Gift Cards are valid January 1-March 31, 2009. Bonus Cards cannot be redeemed on the same day of purchase. Not valid on prior purchases. To receive bonus Gift Cards, all $250 must be purchased in a single transaction. Bonus Cards will be shipped to billing address via first class mail 7-10 days from the date of qualifying gift card purchase.

So be generous this Christmas and don’t forget to get rewarded for doing so.

A Text Message From Santa? Priceless

Holidays & Occasions

Do you remember thinking that a personalized message from Santa was the greatest thing ever? Well what if I told you that your child could get THREE text messages from Santa. That’s right, Santa’s gone tech savy and your child will be thrilled.

You can choose from three unique text message packages. You can even add your own fully personalized text message from Santa Claus on Christmas morning. Your child doesn’t have a phone? The message can be sent to the parent’s phone.

The price is really affordable at only $4.49 for a text message package. Still not sold? Want to feel a little charitable? Well $1 of your purchase will go to the March of Dimes to support its mission to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality.

Find out more by going to

While I’m on the subject of Santa, you can help your child track the jolly man in the red suit by checking out NORAD’s tracks Santa. This is absolutely free. You can even track Santa by phone for FREE. Back in ancient times when I was growing up and color TV was considered high tech, I remember watching the news on Christmas Eve and feeling assured that Santa was on his way as they broadcasted that he’d been sited on radar. This of course was my cue to run to bed and pretend to be asleep so I could catch him putting my gifts under the tree.

Merry Christmas from our house to yours!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Enter Songs Without Having to Synchronize Your iPod

Now I’m going to be the first one to admit that I’m not a rocket scientist. Trust me I knew that even before my sixth grade teacher announced that to the class. Still I have a bit of geeky techie interest thing going on in my blonde little head. If you are able to merge music AND technology then I’m all in.

I was recently listening to Todd Cochrane’s from’s Pod Cast and I found out that there is a FREE download that will allow you to copy music and videos between your iPod and computers usually without having to install anything on the computer.

With SharePod you can quickly and easily share your iPod music collection with friends. The program can back up and restore your entire iPod or simply copy individual tracks to and from the device. SharePod can also add, remove, and edit playlists, import music/videos into your iTunes library, including playlists and ratings.

For more information and the free download go to

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I liked this site so much i told my students about it as the prom approached. One of the kids used it to save money when taking his girl to a nice local restaurant. I was thrilled.

It's pretty easy to use. You find a restaurant in your area or the area you plan to visit. Then you buy a certificate then print it out. Take that certificate to the restaurant and enjoy. Certificates are good for up to one year after purchase.

I would suggest that you try to use them as soon as possible because we did have a couple of occasions where we bought a certificate and then when we finally planned to use it the restaurant went out of business. Another time we were enjoying a really wonderful meal at a nice local Italian restaurant and the manager told us that he was going to stop participating in the program because not enough people were taking advantage of it.

Often you will find codes to bring down the price of the certificate and I just happen to have one.

Go to and use the code SANTA when prompted for a code. You will be able to purchase a $25 gift certificate for only $2. You can use them as gifts but remember to thoroughly read what the certificate is good for. Generally they do NOT cover drinks and your total bill must equal a certain dollar amount.

I have always been happy with my purchase but before I buy a certificate I call the restaurant to make sure they are still honoring them.

double the pleasure

If you don't have a mycokerewards account then today's a good day to do so. I've had one for a few years now and I just love it. I've been able to "cash" my codes in for magazines subscriptiions, stocking stuffers for the grandkids, and three photobooks from snapfish. You never pay shipping on your rewards.

It is amazingly easy. Log in to, enter your codes, and select rewards. Codes are found underneath coke bottle caps and on specially marked twelve packs of coke products. You can enter up to ten codes per day.

TODAY (December 17, 2008) is a great day because it is DOUBLE POINT DAY. Each code you enter is worth double the normal points. It help you get to your reward that much sooner.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Do You Regift?

Today’s Thrifty Moment is a touchy one for some, it’s regifting. Surveys show a slight majority of people believe that regifting is acceptable. Which means that the rest of those surveyed think regifting is, well cheap.

So how can you regift without appearing tacky?

My first suggestion is don’t regift a gift to the original gift giver. We’ve all heard horror stories about such events. I remember going to a bridal shower once and the bride opened the gift to find a pair of silver engraveable goblet’s. As she pulled the goblets out of the box a small card fell to the ground. The card revealed the proof that this was a regift. On it was a card that said “Best of Luck always to you both Elizabeth and Bill. Love Alma” The problem was Alma, the bride to be had originally given the goblets to Elizabeth who had not only regifted the goblets but forgot to remove the original card before wrapping.
You can avoid this faux pas by keeping a notebook for this purpose or even sticking a colored 3 x 5 card in the box with the name of the gift giver and the date given written right on it. Make sure you TAKE THE CARD out of the box before wrapping.

In the same vein don’t give partially used gift cards. Some gift cards say clearly they are for $50. Even if you still leave $25 on the card it still looks tacky. Unused gift cards can be nice gifts but make sure they are for things that the recipient would like. I certainly doubt that my seventy year old father will be buying anything from the Express store in the mall.

One of the worse gifts I ever received was a perfect example of regifting gone awry. I was given a vacuum cleaner for Christmas by a relative. Now perhaps the fact that the gift was “wrapped” in a trash bag should have signaled to me the quality of the gift. Now I’m no vacuum connoisseur but even my untrained eye could tell that the vacuum had been used before. I thanked her for her thoughtfulness but to this day I will remember that I had to change out a full vacuum bag before I could use it the first time.

While I’m at it let me suggest that you wrap the gift with fresh paper. Nothing screams regifting so loudly as torn is torn or crinkled. Oh and trashbags? Not always such a great idea.

So do I regift? Yes. As a matter of fact that’s what we are going to take a look at right now. The other day I received this cute little door hanger. I really don’t have any use for it, but like many regifters, I’m hoping that it will find a nice home elsewhere. This regifting is the perfect kind. The person who gave this to me does not even know the recipient. It’s also a perfect regift because I can use the original packaging. Talk about being green.

As a matter of fact as long was we are talking green let me show you the next gift. I’m using a Starbucks bag. I love these little bags because they have the handles and Starbucks SCREAMS indulgence. In this gift I’m placing a small cosmetic case that I won. The case had an ARV of $10 so just throwing that someone’s way might be nice enough if you were doing a secret Santa. Because I actually work directly with the recipient I’m adding some special touches. I’m enclosing some lipstick that I got as a free sample earlier this year. It’s a full-size sample and most importantly it doesn’t say sample. I’ve also placed

So Merry Christmas and a Regift New Year.

Free Music Downloads from Schick

In the Smart Source Magazine for December 7, 2008 there was an ad for Schick Razors. The ad clearly states Schick Sleigh Bells Rock.

In addition to three different $2 coupons for Schick razors you can download one song FREE Instantly.

Simply visit and enter this code: SCHICKROCKS08. There are some 200,000 songs to choose from

When you purchase specially marked Schick packs you get 8 BONUS downloads while supplies last. The offer ends 6/30/09.


This week (December 14-20, 2008) CVS has Schick Quatro for Men on sale for $7.99. You can use one of those $2 coupons to bring the price down to $5.99. When you use your CVS card you will receive a $3 ecb (extra care bucks). You can use your $3 ecb on your next purchase at CVS. If you are super lucky you will find a Schick Quatro for Men with the specially marked bonus downloads. So you would get a super razor (my husband loves his) and 8 music downloads for $5.99 which of course is less than the cost of eight music downloads on iTunes or Amazon.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Smart Shopper Electronic Grocery List Organizer

Surely we've all heard that we should make a grocery list and stick to it when we are shopping. You will spend far less sticking to the list rather than just shopping. Remember grocery stores are designed and set up with one goal in mind "Get the customer to buy more."

Hate writing lists? My husband does too. That's why when I heard abou the Smart Shopper Electronic Grocery List Organizer on the Lipstick to Crayons site I had to find out more about it.

So What's so great about it?

First: You won't lose it because it wil stick right on your refrigerator door with its built in magnets.

Second They have already preloaded 2500 items.

Third: Voice recognition.

Fourth: A built in printer that doesn't need ink cartridges.

How much is this going to cost you? Well right now you can buy it for $79.99 with FREE ground Shipping. You can get an even better deal by using the promo code PP95551 and get $5 off the price of your Smart Shopper.

If you know someone who would just love this item as a Christmas gift make sure you order before December 18th.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Hooked on Reading

Thrifty Jinxy

Hi I'm Cathy and I'm addicted to reading. I can't go anywhere without a book. If I'm without a book for too long a period I go through withdrawals.

Perhaps you know someone like me. Is this person on your Christmas List? Not certain just what book to buy your bibliophile? Well have I got good news for you. Thrifty Jinxy turned me on to a book club after my own heart.

It's called Book Swim. You can rent hardcover and paperback books and the best part is they are sent directly to your house. My husband and I have netflix and this works the same way. You request a book you receive a book. You read the book. You return the book.

Worried about shipping? Don't be shipping is FREE both ways!!!!

Late fees? NOPE There are no late fees or due dates.

What about choices?

They're all here, best sellers, the classics, new releases and so much more. As a matter of fact on the home page one of the featured books is a book I read last month. The Black Swan. Very interesting book, oh there's some math involved but this book really gets your mind working. For example, what are the odds of flipping one coin 50 consecutive times and having it land heads up each and every time. No I'm talking about a real coin with a heads and a tails. Why is this worth knowing? Read the book and find out.

What about price?

You can get your first month of unlimited books (3 books at a time) for only $9.99

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Thrifty Jinxy is my Secret Santa

Thrifty Jinxy

Since I'm a subscriber to Thrifty Jinxy I've been getting great emails every day about exciting Christmas gifts and GIVEAWAYS!!!!

As some of you know I have an absolutely beautiful Granddaughter. Since I'm Queen of my own little Universe that makes her my Little Princess. Finding just the right gift for my royal grandbaby was a bit difficult but I think I've found it.

Princess Debut

It's a game that's great for your gammer in training. It's easy to learn but it's challenging enough so you don't tire of it quickly.

Right now you can get it for $28.99 with free super saving shipping.

So check it out. Click here to be taken to the GIVEAWAY.

Oh one more exciting thing. This is the second time I've blogged about Thrifty Jinxy and how I really like the site. Well today I noticed that I, that's right me me me, MY Site was listed as a link to the post. It was in the number one position no less. You know they say don't you? You're judged by the company you keep. Well I'm really excited about the company I'm keeping.

Check out Thrifty Jinxy and the 25 Days of Christmas. There are great gift ideas for everyone. The right gift for your special someone might be right under your nose.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

A Gift That's Uniquely Yours

As a Grandma, I can say with a great deal of authority that the gift I'm hoping I will find under my tree this year will be ANYTHING with photos of my grandkids. (IMHO the most beautiful kids in the world).

I just love Shutterfly. You can create great gifts like mugs, tees, aprons, and more that would rate a TEN PLUS on the happiness scale for recipients.

This Christmas I am giving my husband several gifts I purchased from Shutterfly. One is a collage poster. I incorporated photos of some of the happy times we've spent together over the years. I also made him a mousepad with a special photo taken at our wedding. I can't wait to see his face when he opens it. He always said he loved that photo and now it will always be right there for him to see.

I've always included family photos with our cards and this year is no different. I know my Mom and Dad just love getting photos. Guess that's where I got it from.

Anyway. If you haven't already opened an account now is the perfect time. Just by joining you get 25 FREE (that's as in no cost to you) photos. Already have an account? NO PROBLEM. There are two more great deals going on right now.

You can get Free shipping on $50 with code SHIP50.

For everyone: Buy an 8x8 photo book, get 30 free 4x6 prints with code AF73-SAVE through this link. This deal is good until January 6, 2009. I love their photobooks and I recently made one with photos taken on our last vacation. We went to St. Lucia and stayed at an all inclusive resort. It was AMAZING. Now our photobook will help us treasure these memories.

Saturday, December 6, 2008's Magic Giveaway with HP and Microsoft

The "HP Magic Giveaway” is giving away about $6000 worth of gear to a winner at

What is included in this amazing giveaway?

HP TouchSmart IQ816 PC
HP HDX 18 series Premium Notebook PC
HP MediaSmart Connect
HP Pavilion dv4 series Entertainment Notebook PC (with Windows Live)
HP Mini 1000 (with XP)
HP Photosmart C6380 Wireless AIO
HP 564 Photo Value Pak
Microsoft Office Home and Student Edition 2007 (Student - Teacher Edition) 1 copy; 3 licenses

Now stop right there. In case you don't know I AM a Teacher and I really could use the Microsoft Office Home and Student and Edition 2007. The really great part of's giveaway is you can donate one, two, three, or all the computers to your local school if you choose. I chose my school, Rome High School because more than half of our students are eligible for free or reduced lunch. Many of our students do not have access to computers and with budget cutbacks we can't always provide the latest technology. I think I'm in love with the website just for doing this.

Not familiar with the items being given away? Well let me tell you a bit about them.

HP TouchSmart IQ816 PC : Want to touch instant access to information, e-mail, TV, music, and more? Comfort through webcam connection? Check our generation TouchSmart PC IQ816t. Slim and stylish look of this system “at home” in almost anywhere

HP HDX 18 series Premium Notebook PC HP Pavilion X18-1020US 18.4 Inch Laptop. Expanding on the sophisticated elegance of the current line, the new X18-1020US is defined by fluid, modern lines and metalized finishes with surprising innovations inside and out. 18.4-inch Diagonal High Definition HP Ultra Brightview Infinity Display, 1920x1080 reolution, 2.26 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo Processor P8400 with 3 MB L2 Cache, 4096MB DDR2 System Memory (2 Dimm), 500GB (5400RPM) Hard Drive (SATA), NVIDIA GeForce 9600M GT with up to 2302MB Total Available Graphics Memory with 512MB dedicated
LightScribe Blu-Ray ROM with SuperMulti DVD±R/RW Double Layer, Intel WiFi Link 5100AGN and Bluetooth

HP MediaSmart Connect : Play Your Music/ Photos/ and Video From Any Windows Based PC in Your House On Your HDTV, Direct Access to OnLine Media Services, Integrated Windows Media Center Extender Functionality, HP Pocket Media Drive bay/ Built In Wired and Wireless Networking/HDMI/ Component Video/ and Digital Audio Outputs/ Media Playback From USB Based Portable Storage Media

HP Pavilion dv4 series Entertainment Notebook PC (with Windows Live

HP Mini 1000 (with XP) : Integrated wireless technology helps you get online easily and often from just about anywhere, View websites and photos clearly on both the 8.9” or up to 10.2" displays
Travel light with the ultra-mobile design – only 1” thin, starting at just 2.25 lbs
Work and play comfortably on the near-full size keyboard (92% of full size)
Ideal for email, IM and chatting face-to-face with built-in HP Mini Webcam
Snap an HP Mobile Mini USB drive into recessed port to add storage

HP Photosmart C6380 Wireless AIO : Compact 3-in-1 color inkjet printer that prints, scans, and copies, Print crystal clear color photos up to 9600x2400 dpi
Ultra-fast printing speeds as high as 33 ppm, Built-in Wi-Fi allows for wireless printingm Measures 17.79 x 15.97 x 8.17 inches (WxDxH); weighs 16.4 pounds; 1-year limited warranty

HP 564 Photo Value Pak : well heck you need ink to print don't you?

Microsoft Office Home and Student Edition 2007 (Student - Teacher Edition) 1 copy; 3 licenses : OMG this is the best. this is the program I will be teaching in my class next year. I can learn it before I get it. That is if we are able to budget for it. The economy is causing many school districts to cut back and software and technology is the first place to cut.

This is THE Essential software suite for home computer users makes it a pleasure to complete schoolwork and other tasks, Includes 2007 versions of Excel, PowerPoint, Word, and OneNote, Intuitive user interface that exposes commonly used commands; updated graphics and formatting galleries help you to easily produce high-quality documents, Work with confidence and security thanks to the improved automatic Document Recovery tool and the Document Inspector tool, which removes personally identifiable information from your document, Enhanced Help system includes online tutorials with step-by-step instructions; includes OneNote, a digital notebook that helps you gather, organize, and search many types of information in one place

Excited Yet? Well check out and learn more about this great giveaway

Looking for Just The right Christmas Greeting Cards?

Want to know about The BIG Give Day 9?

Well I'll let you in on a secret Alley and Company are giving away a $20 gift certificate to Alley and Company.

Alley And Company is the HOME for Custom Announcements, Invitations and Cards.

Alley and Company uses your favorite picture or digital images to create your custom designed photo birth announcement, invitation or photo card. These high quality photo cards are professionally printed on Kodak Endura photo papers and their cardstock cards are professionally press printed. All of their designs include envelopes for you to mail your custom photo birth announcements.

Alley and Company is proud to offer the lowest prices for photo birth announcements and invitations without compromising quality and customer service. Alley and Company's goal is to offer you the best shopping experience and the highest quality cards at a price you can afford.

Learn how to win this great prize on Bird on a Wire. While you're there check out this great site. Bird on a Wire is bookmarked on my favorites list.

A Very Etsy Christmas

Etsy and it's sponsors are giving you a chance to win over $750 in prizes.

So how can you have a Very Etsy Christmas and an Etsy New year? What kind of prizes are they offering? Well read on and you may just be able to tell Santa, "That's OK we already have everything for Christmas this year."


The Sponsors:

This and That - $20 gift card
Red Pajamas - Little Man's Tie ($8)
Baby Luv Gifts - Cute Custom Beanie ($15)
Baby Bears - $25 gift card
My Custom Baby Boutique - $25 gift card
Baby Goin Places - PocketChanger Diaper Changing Pad ($25)
Layla Legs - $15 gift card & free shipping
Second Story Window - $10 gift card
Inspiring Color Tie Dye - Youth pullover hoodie rainbow diagonal or swirl ($30)
Baby Peas - boy or girl cloth play blocks- set of 4 ($18)
Abby Chase Designs - Lotus Hair Flower ($13.50)
Tadpoles and Tutus - $20 gift card
Make it and Love It - onesie/bootie set of choice (14.99)
PiggyTails Boutique - Christmas tutu and snowman wand with a matching personalized bow ($26)

Four Dog Day - Cute Pink Key Ring ($8)
Jupita - $20 gift card
Zeba - Coin Pearl Earrings ($20)
Jodi Horgan - $25 gift card
One of a Kind Custom Jewelry - $20 gift card
Across The Pond - choice of any vintage button ring ($14)
Kerstin Hanson - $20 gift card

Bath and Body
Krug's Eco-Logic - $15 gift card
Indulgent Creations - Soy candle travel tin, soap and lotion ($16.50)
koko candles - holiday brownie cupcake candles ($25)
Dazzle Dott - $20 gift certificate

Especially for Mom
Mary Zoom - Pink Polka Dot Glam Cleaning Gloves ($10)
Maggie Sue Designs -A cup cozy and coordinating set of Tame Your Mane ponytail holders ($12)
Gaia Conceptions - "My Everything" piece (clothing, $40)
BoojiBoo - apron of winners choice (only ones in stock, $28.75)
Stones of Healing - $20 gift certificate

Yummy Treats
A Sugar Affair - $10 gift card
Cakebox Cookies - $20 gift card
A Thyme 2 B Comforted - $25 gift card
Double Dipped Sweets - $20 gift card
KE Cookies - One dozen chocolate chip cookies ($8)
AngelPie Cookies and Cakes - One dozen decorated sugar cookies ($18)
Meg's Creations - 2 pack of cookie and brownie mix ($24 including shipping)
Cookie Art by Sarah - One dozen sugar cookie snowflakes and $25 gift certificate ($53)

Paper Crafts
Paper Treasures 4 U - 2 page 12''x12'' Christmas layout ($9)
Inkspot Workshop - 1 Set of 6 Snowman Gift Enclosures 1 Set of 6 Tree Bird Gift Enclosures ($12)
Take Note - 1 set of personalized notecards ($15)
Articulations - 6 lunchbox love mini cards ($5)

Now How you do you win? Well check out the Busy Mom Blog

Then you can take a look at some of my favorite sites like:

1. Baby Bears which specializes in personalized items for your baby.
2. Across The Pond where you can Buy any two items in my shop and get one of equal or lesser value free
3. Indulgent Creations where EVERY order receives a FREE SAMPLE of a different scent!!!
4. boojiboo specializes in vintage inspired aprons for adults and children. We even have reversible bibs for the little ones in retro prints.
5. Cakebox Cookies has DELISH Gourmet, Hand-Iced Shortbread Sugar Cookies
6. Take Note has this great offer BUY ANY 3 NOTE CARD SETS AND YOU'LL GET THE 4TH SET FREE!! They make great stocking stuffers, gifts for friends, teachers, coworkers and hair stylists.

When I was typing up my favorite stores from each category I could just hear Julie Andrews singing "These Are a Few of My Favorite Things.

So don't miss out on this great contest and buy some great gifts from some really super ladies.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

I'm in love

Go ahead gossip about it. Yes I'm a married woman but I just can't help myself. I've just seen the most perfect lightweight video camera. It even fits in my pocket so I can carry my new love with me wherever I go. (sort of on the downlow but in a really good way)

Vado is the thinnest video camera ever and Mommy Googles is offering you, and well yes me a chance to win this great camera.

Check out Mommy Goodles at

Tell her i sent you.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

It's a Thrifty Jinxy Christmas

Have You checked out Thrifty Jinxy lately?

If not let me tell you what you are missing. They are giving away a

TJMaxx gift card (ARV $75).

TJMAXX has it all, clothing, shoes, toys men's gifts, women's gifts, accessories and so much more.

I've been a subscriber to Thrifty Jinxy for a little while now and they email me often with great deals. So check them out once, subscribe, you won't be sorry.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

free downloads for gamers

Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix Official Soundtrack

you can download the whole album or select tracks.

Click here for more details.