Blog Archives

Suddenly Frugal on the “10! Show” in Philadelphia

January 6, 2010
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Click here to watch my January 6th segment on the “10! Show” in Philadelphia to discuss frugal New Year’s resolutions and (of course) my new book Suddenly Frugal.

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5 Frugal New Year’s Resolutions

January 6, 2010
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Earlier today I did a guest segment on the “10! Show” in Philadelphia to talk about frugal New Year’s resolutions. Since the video of that segment isn’t available yet (though I will post it here on the blog once it’s online), I thought I’d recap my advice and include tips and links for the products/services I’d mentioned. Discover ways to get something for nothing. A recent survey right here on this blog uncovered that six out of 10 readers–savvy frugal people–had either never heard of or never used Freecycle. Freecycle, where one person’s trash is another person’s treasure, is...

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Cooking Without a Kitchen: Stir-Fry Chicken in the Crock-Pot

January 5, 2010
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Cooking Without a Kitchen: Stir-Fry Chicken in the Crock-Pot

People have been wondering how we’ve been faring without our kitchen. As you know we demoed the old kitchen last week in preparation for redoing it in the near future. While my husband built a “wet bar” in our new family room which we are using as our makeshift kitchen, it is hardly a cook’s paradise. But yet yesterday I managed to cook dinner for my family without a stove in sight. I’ve got a great Crock-Pot recipe for stir-fry chicken (yes, I know that sounds like a misnomer), which, when served with rice cooked in the microwave, makes...

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Wedding Savings Tips for Matrimony Monday

January 4, 2010
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Wedding Savings Tips for Matrimony Monday

I had no idea that today, Monday, January 4th was Matrimony Monday until I got a press release from OneWed.com, an online wedding-planning resource. According to OneWed.com, the Monday after New Year’s is the biggest day of the year for wedding planning. That’s because nearly 35-40 percent of all proposals in the United States happen during the winter holidays, and the first day back at work after engagement season is when brides immediately jump online to start the planning process. I’m guessing some were already doing research online before then but let’s just go with the idea here and...

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Happy New Year 2010 Freebie Friday

January 1, 2010
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Happy New Year to all of my Suddenly Frugal readers. Here are a handful of freebies to get you through the first week of the new year and into the new decade. Free Wifi Remember: if you’re traveling through the holidays, you can get free Wifi at 47 airports nationwide. This deal is good through January 15th. Admission on the House On January 2 & 3, Bank of America’s Museum on Us program gives its cardholders free admission to more than 120 leading U.S. cultural institutions, including museums, historical sites, science centers and zoos. From the Metropolitan Museum of...

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Recycle Your Christmas Tree in the New Year

December 31, 2009
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Recycle Your Christmas Tree in the New Year

Who knew there was a National Christmas Tree Association? Well, there is and these folks have a nifty website that shows all the new and creative ways that communities dispose of Christmas trees without throwing them in the trash. I like that–the notion of keeping trees out of the trash. Thankfully, my town started a Christmas tree recycling program last year (full disclosure: I’m a member of the recycling committee that got that initiative going), and we’re doing it again in 2010. This makes me happy because it will save me from rescuing Christmas trees from my neighbors’ trash,...

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Frugal Living During a Kitchen Renovation

December 30, 2009
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A wall of cabinets came down in my kitchen today, as we finally got our kitchen renovation started. We’re keeping this project affordable by doing all the heavy lifting ourselves. But by doing it ourselves, it also means that our kitchen is going to be out of commission for a bit longer than if we’d brought in a contractor. I know that this decision will pay off (quite literally) in the long run. That’s because when we ordered our kitchen cabinets, the store automatically included the cost for installation–even though we were opting out of it. Let me tell...

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3 Ways to Reduce, Reuse, Recycle for 2010

December 29, 2009
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Right about now we’re getting ready to finish cleaning up from the holidays. Maybe you are, too–if you haven’t already. As you begin to collect your trash or put away your decorations, why not take a few minutes and think about stuff you used in 2009 that you can reuse in 2010? Not only will this keep you green, but it will save you green, too. Here are some ways you can do that: Reuse as many gift bags, bows, ribbons and sheets of wrapping paper as possible. Just today we had friends stop by for a post-holiday visit,...

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Testing Testing 1,2,3

December 28, 2009
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Testing to see if schedule posts are going lived as planned….

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Checklist to Avoid Gift-Return Snafus

December 27, 2009
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Getting gifts is great. Returning gifts isn’t–especially if you find yourself in a situation of not having the receipt or having to deal with a retailer that simply doesn’t want to deal with returns (no fair, I say). That’s why I thought you’d find this checklist from Consumer Reports, on how to avoid gift-return snafus, to be helpful. Luckily, I had all the receipts and information I need to make gift returns this past weekend. Get a gift receipt. I always attach a gift receipt to any present I buy–even my kids’ own gifts. Not only does this ensure...

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Freebie Friday: Free Taco at Taco Bell

December 25, 2009
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Here’s Taco Bell’s Christmas gift to you: it is giving away 1 million free Fresco Tacos, but you need to download this coupon in order to get the deal. Supposedly, the website will let you know once the 1 million tacos have been eaten and therefore the deal isn’t good anymore. So far, it still seems to be working. Tacos for Christmas dinner, anyone?

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Merry Christmas

December 25, 2009
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Merry Christmas to all of my Suddenly Frugal readers who celebrate Christmas.

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The Goods on Wrapping Gifts

December 23, 2009
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I’m about to head upstairs and finish wrapping presents for Christmas Eve. So in the spirit of gift wrap, I thought you’d enjoy some of these stats, courtesy of the Scotch brand tape people, on how most people wrap (or don’t wrap) their gifts. Speaking of Scotch, I think that the Scotch Gift Wrap Cutter is one of the best inventions since sliced bread! One in four people wrap their holiday gifts one or two days before giving the gift (27 percent). Yup, it’s T-12 or so hours to Christmas Eve (when our family opens presents at my mother-in-law’s...

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Countdown to a Frugal Holiday: Dollars Stores

December 23, 2009
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My mother in law has a tradition with my daughters. Every December she brings them to the local dollar store and has them shop for everyone in the family. It’s a great way for my mother in law, who is on a limited budget, to help the girls shop in a way she can afford. And it’s a great way for my daughters to think creatively about gifts they need to buy for parents, uncles and more. (Last year I got two bottles of hand sanitizer from them. Be still my germophobe heart!) If you’ve got last-minute shopping to...

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Countdown to a Frugal Holiday: 3 Last-Minute Savings Tips

December 21, 2009
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Christmas may be four days away, but you still have time to save big. Check out these three last-minute savings tips, courtesy of CouponShack.com, a leading online coupon site, which has lots of other ideas on ways to save on holiday shopping this year: 1. Benefit from the price wars – Dell and HP are having a huge personal consumer battle, and you, the consumer, could come out the winner. For example, Dell just dropped its netbook price to $279. In addition, the ongoing war between Amazon and Walmart keeps getting better. Amazon just lowered the price on The...

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The Pre-Storm Supermarket Rush

December 20, 2009
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We got hammered with about a foot of snow this past weekend, as did most of the Mid-Atlantic and the Northeast. However, I knew enough not to head out to the supermarket for any last-minute supplies. Have you ever made that mistake, when snow is forecast, and found your supermarket packed with panicked shoppers? As one of my Facebook friends said, it’s a snow storm not the snow-pocalypse! But the truth is it always seems like people are stocking up on bread, milks and eggs before it snows. Interesting choice. I always associated snowy days with hot cocoa, not...

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National Regifting Day

December 20, 2009
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I totally missed National Regifting Day last Thursday, December 17th. Not that I think millions of Americans went out and regifted, but it’s a way of recognizing that regifting is an OK way to gift. Especially in this economy and for those looking not to waste gifts, I think regifting is a great idea. For more on regifting, check out this Philadelphia Inquirer story on how not to be a careless regifter, featuring yours truly in both the text and an accompanying photograph. What’s your opinion on regifting?

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Freebie Friday (December 18-24, 2009)

December 18, 2009
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If all the retailers offering free shipping from yesterday weren’t enough for you, here are few more freebies to enjoy in the coming week! Ho Ho Ho-liday Music for Nothing! Still not in the Christmas spirit? iTunes is letting you download 20 Christmas/holiday songs for free. Someone on your list asking for an iPod Nano? From December 19-24, purchase an iPod Nano at Walmart and get a free $50 iTunes giftcard. (That’s music to my ears.) Complimentary Clothing Visit a Lucy story between now and December 20th, try on a pair of Hatha yoga pants, and you’ll get three...

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Free Shipping Day Today

December 17, 2009
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Ordering Christmas gifts online this year? Then you’ll want to make all of your purchases today to take advantage of Free Shipping Day. This is a day when more than 500 retailers are offering shoppers like you and me free shipping and with a guaranteed delivery in time for Christmas. Here is a partial list of participating retailers and websites: Bumble Bells bangles and booties are shipped free if you spend $50 or more. Accessories company Carol Alexander offers free shipping on any order over $25. At ChimneyBalloon, any order ships for free with this coupon code used at...

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5 Tips to Keep Shoes in Tip-Top Shape

December 16, 2009
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5 Tips to Keep Shoes in Tip-Top Shape

One of my daughter’s “big” Christmas gifts this year is a pair of Ugg boots–something she’s been requesting for years. Though they are expensive, I’ve heard from other parents who’ve bought these boots for their children that, when taken care of, these boots last forever. Now that my daughter’s foot has stopped growing–and with the understanding that she is not getting much else for Christmas–we’ve decided that this year is the right year to get her these boots. There is one thing I will be doing before I put them under the tree, though, and that’s pre-treating them with...

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Practical Gifts for the Older Folks on Your List

December 14, 2009
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I was thinking about Dear Abby last night when I heard Adam Sandler’s classic Chanukah song on the radio. (We got Ann Landers and her sister Dear Abby/
Harrison fords a quarter Jewish/Not too shabby! ) And then this morning I was reading her advice column in my paper. I wanted to give Dear Abby a shout out for some great gift advice: someone had written in about giving gifts for older family members and friends who don’t need more “stuff,” and she shared some terrific ideas that I thought the frugal folks here would appreciate. I’ve paraphrased some of...

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Please Stand By

December 14, 2009
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As expected I’m experiencing technical difficulties migrating my blog. For the time being please do not update your bookmarks to the unique domain. Instead continue to use http://suddenlyfrugal.wordpress.com Thank you. Leah Ingram December 14, 2009

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Technical Difficulties May Arise

December 11, 2009
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Dear Readers: This weekend I will begin migrating my Suddenly Frugal blog to a unique URL/domain at http://www.suddenlyfrugal.com. That domain is already directed here, so this change won’t affect those arriving here using that URL. But if you’ve been using the “suddenlyfrugal.wordpress.com” address, you will find yourself getting redirected as of Monday. As I make this migration, I may run into some technical difficulties. So I’ll apologize in advance now if your Monday morning blog posting doesn’t arrive as expected. However, I’m excited about the change to a Suddenly Frugal-dedicated site, which will allow me to expand this blog,...

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Freebie Friday (December 11-17, 2009)

December 11, 2009
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Guess retailers and restaurants aren’t as in a giving mood as the holidays get closer: just a handful of freebies for you today. Ho Ho Ho-liday Music for Nothing! iTunes is letting you download 20 Christmas/holiday songs for free. Free Food Become a fan of Stacy’s Pita Chips on Facebook, and you’ll receive a free bag of chips. (Thanks to One Cheap Chick at the Salt Lake Tribune for pointing out this offer.) Kids eat free at Chick-fil-A on Tuesdays from 5:30-7:30 p.m. (Note: there is a limit of 1 free kid’s meal per adult combo meal purchased, and...

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Countdown to a Frugal Holiday: Stocking Stuffers

December 10, 2009
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Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, chances are you’re going to need some “little” gifts at some point during this holiday season. It could be for a Secret Santa at the office, a small gift you’re giving in lieu of a tip or one of the eight nights of gifts you’re giving to your child on Chanukah. (When I was little, I got a small gift on each night of Chanukah. There never was one big gift to be had.) If you don’t already have a gift closet you can raid for stocking stuffer-like presents, consider some of these...

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Save More than Just Money with Your Holiday Shipping

December 9, 2009
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Another green-themed post for you. Did you ever stop to think about how your shipped holiday gifts get to their destination? The folks at Rodale did when they did a green comparison on nationwide shippers: UPS vs. FedEx. Believe it or not, Brown is the greenest shipper of them all, mostly because in addition to eco-friendly packaging, UPS has figured out ways to reduce fuel consumption in its trucking lines. That said, FedEx deserves two green thumbs up for a few of its initiatives, including: Shipping envelopes made of 100% recycled materials Boxes and other packages designed to be...

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6 Tips for a Green Holiday that Saves Green

December 8, 2009
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I know that I don’t want to end up in the red after the holiday season is over. I also know that by making greener choices, I might save some green in the process. That’s why I’m giving you a quick refresher course with 6 tips on how having an eco-friendly Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa or general holiday season can add up to some cha-ching for you. 1. Use sustainable gift wrap. My grandmother would be so proud of how I’ve gotten into the habit of saving and re-using holiday wrapping paper. Not only does this cut down on trash,...

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Countdown to a Frugal Holiday: Spare Change

December 7, 2009
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Countdown to a Frugal Holiday: Spare Change

Let me ask you a question: how much spare change do you have lying around your house? What are you planning to do with it? Have you ever stopped to consider how that spare change might help to take the edge off holiday shopping? Ever since our family became suddenly frugal, we have gathered up our spare change whenever we needed some extra dough. This usually occurred before going on a vacation or to an event. We figured if we could use “found money” to supplement our spending, we wouldn’t end up in the red. In most instances our...

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Freebie Friday (December 4-10, 2009)

December 4, 2009
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Lots of free food offers for you this week! Free Food Kids eat free at Chick-fil-A on Tuesdays from 5:30-7:30 p.m. (Note: there is a limit of 1 free kid’s meal per adult combo meal purchased.) Now Boston Market lets two kids eat for free on Saturday and Sunday. Good for kids 14 and younger (yeah, mine qualify) and until January 31, 2010. You know I’ll be repeating this freebie in Freebie Friday postings for the next few months–you know, just in case you forget and all. Don’t forget that kids eat for free at Denny’s on Tuesday nights–and...

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Frugal Teacher Gifts for the Holidays

December 3, 2009
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Frugal Teacher Gifts for the Holidays

I did a story for the National Education Association’s website on how teachers and other educators should handle gift giving in the classroom during the December holidays. While that story was written from the educator’s perspective, I thought it would be helpful to offer some advice from the parent’s perspective. Here are some quick and frugal teacher gift ideas, broken down by age of your kid/level of school he/she is in. DAY CARE A gift card to a nail salon where day care teachers and the classroom aides can get a manicure is a great idea. You figure that...

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Countdown to a Frugal Holiday: Bag Credits

December 2, 2009
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Countdown to a Frugal Holiday: Bag Credits

I did some pre-Black Friday shopping last week at Target and was surprised to read this on this bottom of my receipt: Get 5 cents off every time you use a reusable bag. Since when did Target start offering a bag credit? Mind you, I’m not complaining, but it’s an excellent incentive for you to bring your own bag to save the plastic, plus Target gives you this five-cent credit for each bag you bring. And if you were one of the lucky ones on Black Friday, you may have received a free Target reusable bag that you can,...

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How Suddenly Frugal Saves You Money

December 1, 2009
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Here is a round up of some recent reader comments that show how reading this blog really can help you to live more frugally and to save money: “Your post just saved me $225 on the appliances for my new home.” “Yesterday at a furniture store’s going-out-of-business sale I channeled you and asked if they’d give me $100 off if I bought two pieces. They did.” “Thank you for the printable coupon website. I have saved a bundle.” “Saved $360. Not bad.” If reading this blog has saved you money, let me know.

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Don't Be Stupid (and Get Sick) By Being Frugal

November 30, 2009
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Did you know that turkey leftovers are good for four days only? That means that if you have anything still in the refrigerator from Thanksgiving, it should hit the trash today. Or the compost pile, as long as there’s no meat, bones or dairy. (If you managed to get your leftovers into the freezer, you should consume them in the next two to six months.) Wonder what other kinds of leftovers or food staples you might need to throw out to avoid food poisoning? I did a story a few years ago on how to figure out when to...

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Cyber Monday Deals of the Hour

November 30, 2009
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Looking to score a deal on Cyber Monday? Here is a list of retailers that will be offer “deals of the hour” today (this information is courtesy of the National Retail Federation): All Times Are Eastern 8:00 – 9:00 a.m. Toys “R” Us 9:00 – 10:00 a.m. Dell Home 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. Overstock.com 11:00 – 12:00 p.m. The Home Depot 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. Sears 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. drugstore.com 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. Kmart 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. HP Home 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. Borders 5:00 – 6:00 p.m. eToys 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. Sierra Trading Post...

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Countdown to a Frugal Holiday: Shopping Portals

November 30, 2009
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Today is Cyber Monday, and according to the National Retail Federation, 96.5 million Americans will log on to do some kind of shopping. While that’s hardly the number that braved early hours and freezing temperatures to score deals on Black Friday (195 million shoppers), it’s a pretty significant group that will be online today.(Wonder how many websites will freeze up or crash because of this?) That’s why I wanted to remind you that if you do shop online–today, tomorrow or whenever–you might want to consider using a shopping portal. These are the kinds of sites that you visit first,...

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Countdown to a Frugal Holiday: Decorative Lights

November 30, 2009
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Countdown to a Frugal Holiday: Decorative Lights

So what are the chances that you began decorating your house for the holidays right after Thanksgiving? I know that many families go out and get a tree once the turkey is eaten and the dishes cleaned, and if you’re one of them, here’s some food for thought: one of the biggest energy hogs at the holidays is your holiday lights. In addition, these lights can pose a fire risk. So let’s say you’re in the market for new holidays lights: here are four ideas that show how going green with your holiday lights can save you green: For...

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Freebie Friday (November 27-December 3, 2009)

November 27, 2009
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How is it possible that December is around the corner? Didn’t the school year just start? Even though I posted a slew of Black Friday Freebies yesterday, I figured you wouldn’t mind some additional freebies to get your holiday season started. Check out what’s free for you in the coming week! City-Specific Freebies Starting January 1, 2010 Washington, DC will charge residents 5 cents per plastic bag they take when shopping. (IKEA already does this.) To help Washingtonians stock up on reusable bags, the city will be giving away more than 120,000 free market bags in the next few...

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Black Friday Freebies

November 26, 2009
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Black Friday Freebies

I’m posting these Black Friday Freebies a day early so you can plan accordingly to get as much free stuff on Black Friday as possible. And, according to the National Retail Federation, about 134 million shoppers are going to be on the prowl for Black Friday deals tomorrow. So why not score some a Black Friday freebie or two as well? Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving. Free Gift Card BookSwim (the Netflix for books) is offer the follow Black Friday deal: use the coupon code FREEGIFT10 to send all of your friends, family, coworkers, and service people in your community...

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Free Coffee from Dunkin Donuts

November 25, 2009
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Wish I’d known about this freebie for last week’s Freebie Friday round up–it’s good for today only and for United States Postal Service workers only. So here’s the deal. Dunkin’ Donuts is delivering a very special gift to the men and women who deliver our holiday cards, catalogs and presents. Today only, Wednesday, November 25, Dunkin’ Donuts will serve free coffee to any United States Postal Service (USPS) letter carrier. Any USPS letter carrier that is wearing an official uniform or shows their union card identification can visit participating Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants throughout the country for a free coffee,...

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Countdown to a Frugal Holiday: Free Turkey

November 25, 2009
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Let’s talk turkey–the go-to dish for Thanksgiving. Any chance your local supermarket offers the chance throughout the fall for you to earn points towards a free turkey? If so, make sure you cash in that free offer before it expires–even if you’re not cooking on Thanksgiving. Even though my mother in law is treating us to a meal out on Thanksgiving, you can bet that I didn’t let my free turkey pass me by. In fact, I cashed in that “coupon” this past weekend and guess what? The turkey I got was worth $34! That’s not chump change. My...

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