Blog Archives

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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Additional Free Swine Flu Vaccine Clinics in PA

November 24, 2009
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I wrote last week about the free swine flu shots that Pennsylvania residents could get through Department of Health clinics held last weekend. I drove to Allentown on Saturday to get mine; the lines were so long that one kid standing with his mom behind me asked, “Are we going on a ride?” Since Dorney Park was just down the road, I could understand his confusion. Those clinics were “sold out,” if you were, so the Pennsylvania Department of Health has announced three more free H1N1 vaccine clinics today, Tuesday, November 24th and tomorrow, Wednesday, November 25th, in Delaware,...

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Tipping in Today's Economy

November 24, 2009
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Last year I chose not to give out tips to the individuals I normally would have tipped at the holidays–trash collector, postal service person, newspaper delivery dude–as a way to save money. I even avoided getting a haircut–or getting my kids’ hair cut–near the holidays so I wouldn’t have to add in a big tip to the 20% I already give. Seems I wasn’t alone in being somewhat Scrooge about tipping last year. According to the Consumer Reports National Research Center, during the 2008 holidays, fewer people than in the previous year tipped their newspaper carrier, barber, mail carrier,...

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Countdown to a Frugal Holiday: Layaway Plans

November 23, 2009
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For the next month, I’m going to be writing a series of occasion frugal living posts that fall under the heading “Countdown to a Frugal Holiday.” In each post I’ll highlight one way that you can save money this holiday season. I figured in today’s economy, we can all use some new ideas to stretch your dollar further–or reminders about tried-and-true methods for getting the most bang for your holiday buck. This year it seems like a lot of consumers are going to be keeping their credit cards in their wallets and paying with cash instead–at least that’s what...

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Freebie Thanksgiving Friday (November 20-26, 2009)

November 20, 2009
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I’ve tried to find as many Thanksgiving freebies as possible this week. Gobble, gobble! 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 months. Enjoy free ice skating at New York City’s Bryant Park! Detroit-area families that need coats for their kids, take note: Happy’s Pizza and Greater Grace Temple have joined forces in “Happy’s Coats For Kids” Winter Coat...

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Free Swine Flu/H1N1 Vaccines

November 18, 2009
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Free Swine Flu/H1N1 Vaccines

Finding someplace to get vaccinated against swine flu this year has become the proverbial needle in the haystack. Heck, just finding a doctor’s office or clinic with the regular flu vaccine is a challenge in and of itself. But here’s the good news: your state or county may be your best bet for getting an H1N1 shot–and for free, too. Last week the Bucks County Department of Health had a swine flu vaccine clinic in our school district. It was a well-organized, swiftly run operation in the middle school gym that, in the course of three hours, got 750...

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Frugal Holiday Traditions

November 17, 2009
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Sears just released a new survey about family traditions at the holidays. Its sentiment was really sweet, which is why I’m highlighting some of its findings in this blog posting: During challenging economic times, 90 percent of Americans become more focused on celebrating family traditions as well as creating new ones 18 percent of Americans plan to develop new traditions, such as using a grab bag or secret Santa approach to gift giving (I would love it if my family embraced this idea.) 25 percent are buying an artificial tree rather than a real one. (We made this decision...

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What Kind of Frugal Consumer Are You?

November 16, 2009
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One of the outcomes of this recession–beyond the obvious–is that consumers now fall into four different categories, so says a new study entitled “Marketing to the Post-Recession Consumers,” by the marketing strategy and research firm Decitica. Those categories are: Steadfast Frugalists Involuntary Penny-Pinchers Pragmatic Spenders Apathetic Materialists Here’s a little more about what makes someone adopt one of these four monikers. Steadfast Frugalists Steadfast Frugalists are committed to self-restraint, engaging in prudence with unequivocal enthusiasm. They make up about one-fifth of the American consumers, representing all income and age groups. Researchers found that these folks were the least brand...

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Freebie Friday (November 13-19, 2009)

November 13, 2009
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Hoping to track down some awesome Thanksgiving freebies I can share with you in the next few weeks. Stay tuned. In the meantime check out these latest free offerings! Free Food Double your pleasure, double your fun? How about double your freebies? 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...

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Some of My Latest Media

November 12, 2009
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Here are links to stories that I’ve recently written–or which others have written and quoted me–which I thought Suddenly Frugal’s readers would enjoy. Many of them include budget-oriented advice. Free Entertainment at the Dinner Table This story for Vocalpoint.com, the P&G website for women, shows how you can find free entertainment at the dinner table by engaging your kids in verbal games. And yes, we’ve played these during the dinner hour at my house. (This is one of the many unbylined pieces I do as a freelance writer.) House-Guest Etiquette in Time for the Holidays Every wondered how you...

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More Ways to Save for Thanksgiving

November 11, 2009
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Monday’s post on Thanksgiving savings was so well received that I thought I’d bring you more ideas on how to save money on Thanksgiving–and other holiday “trimmings.” Luckily, the folks at CouponShack sent over a tipsheet with 10 terrific ideas on how you can stretch your dollar further on Turkey Day. Let me know what you think and if you have any additional tips to share. Check to see if your local grocery stores offers loyalty points that can redeemed for a turkey. (Note: I’m working on including a free turkey part–pun intended–for the upcoming Freebie Friday post.) Price...

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Last-Minute Veterans' Day Freebie

November 9, 2009
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Found out about this delicious freebie after I’d written Friday’s post.  Doughnut lovers, take note: Krispy Kreme Doughnut Corporation is honoring America’s service men and women on Veterans Day by giving away free doughnuts to all veterans and active military personnel. Veterans and active military personnel are invited to visit any participating U.S. Krispy Kreme store on Veterans Day, November 11, and enjoy one free doughnut of any variety. I realize that a free doughnut is a small gift for the service the military provide to our country, but I’m sure people will agree with me that, nonetheless, we...

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6 Thanksgiving Savings Tips

November 9, 2009
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6 Thanksgiving Savings Tips

Figured a little advice on how to save on your Thanksgiving meal wouldn’t hurt, now that we’re less than three weeks from that big day. So here are 6 tips to consider, courtesy of Butterball–you know the folks who run that 24/7 turkey-cooking, question-answering help line for befuddled cooks who use their oven only once a year. (That number, in case you need it, is 1-800-BUTTERBALL.) Click and Clip to Save: Coupon usage is on the rise, and starting in November, families can visit Butterball.com for $2.00 off a fresh or frozen Butterball turkey while supplies last. Turn One...

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Freebie Friday (November 6-12, 2009)

November 6, 2009
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Hoping the freebies will pick up once we get closer to the holidays. Here are just a few for you to enjoy in the next week. Gratis Gift Cards Lots of online retailers and brick-and-mortar businesses want you to start shopping early for the holidays. That’s why many are offering free gift cards with a purchase. Check out this MSN Money Smart Shopping article for all the details. Free Food On Wednesday, November 11, 2009, participating Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar locations throughout the U.S. will invite all past and present military personnel to enjoy a complimentary entree from...

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This is Not a Money-Saver; This is Illegal

November 5, 2009
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Thrifty folks like I am look for ways to get the products they like and use without spending too much in the process. That’s why places like Freecycle, Craigslist and eBay continue to exist. But I’m always amazed at the folks who give away or sell perishables on these lists–things like baby food or infant formula. As your mom may have said to you, “You don’t where that stuff’s been.” Turns out that certain kinds of products for sale online are actually stolen goods. That’s why I’m dedicating today’s post to the following list, courtesy of the National Retail...

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Freshening Smelly Laundry

November 4, 2009
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Freshening Smelly Laundry

Despite my frugal ways I hate that I often “waste” money by forgetting to take laundry out of the washing machine in a timely manner. Why is this a waste? Because I end up with smelly laundry that I’ve got to wash again to get rid of the odor. So now I’m using twice the detergent (or vinegar) and twice the water to freshen my already clean laundry. Even with DIY laundry detergent, I’m still wasting my resources. (By the way, my laundry room would never look this neat; I just think it’s a nifty-looking washer and dryer.) Since...

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5 Frugal Ways to Reuse Halloween Candy

November 3, 2009
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5 Frugal Ways to Reuse Halloween Candy

This is what my friend’s dining room table looked like after trick or treating on Saturday night. Clearly, she has more candy than any one family could ever need. But, hey, if you’re watching your pennies, that is free candy after all. So how do you make the most of it? Here are 5 frugal ways to reuse Halloween candy. 1. Freeze it for later use. Toss the chocolate candy in the freezer so it doesn’t melt or spoil before you can enjoy it. When you get a sweet craving, you’ll know where your stash is (albeit cold but...

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Is Spending to Save Worth It?

November 2, 2009
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Is Spending to Save Worth It?

For awhile supermarkets were rewarding shoppers who brought their own bags by giving them money off their purchase. Except for my local Superfresh, which gives me three cents for each bag I bring, not many stores are giving those discounts anymore. But you have to wonder: if a store asked you to spend a little upfront to save in the long run, would you? The reason I’m thinking about this now is this: I got a press release last week from CVS on the store’s new GreenBagTag program. It’s pretty straightforward. You spend $.99 for one of these GreenBagTags....

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Freebie Friday (October 30-November 5, 2009)

October 30, 2009
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Freebie Friday (October 30-November 5, 2009)

More Halloween freebies, plus free food from Boston Market, Taco Bell and Uno Chicago Grill. Yum! Halloween Freebies Order an assortment of 12 or more Halloween cookies (below) from online organic bakery Beautiful Sweets, and you’ll get eight free Halloween cookies with your order. (This offer is good through October 31st.) Theatre Artists Workshop members in East Norwalk, Connecticut, will entertain young goblins and guardians with Ghost Stories on Saturday, October 31 — Halloween afternoon — from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. at TAW, 5 Gregory Boulevard in East Norwalk. Kids are invited to get a head start on the...

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Last-Minute Freebie for 10/28/09

October 28, 2009
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Last-Minute Freebie for 10/28/09

I just heard about this freebie being offered today, Wednesday, October 28th, in New York City. If you’re a Yankees or Phillies fan–or even just a fan of cheesesteak–you’ll want to know about this offer. Here are the details: The Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation (GPTMC) is hosting a Phillies fan party in New York City during game one of the World Series at Shorty’s, an authentic Philly cheesesteak restaurant/bar located at 576 Ninth Avenue (between 41st & 42nd). Starting at 4 p.m. you can enjoy free Shorty-sized cheesesteaks. The freebies last until game time. There will be other...

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Sustainable Food Awards

October 28, 2009
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Know someone who contributes to the sustainable food world? Then nominate him/her for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) Growing Green Awards 2010. There are four categories for people to enter: Food Producer Business Leader Thought Leader Water Steward Winners receive $10,000. Not too shabby! The panelists selecting winners this year include Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma, California Secretary of Agriculture, A.G. Kawamura and others. Nomination deadline is December 4th. Good luck to all the nominees.

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3 Ways to Green Halloween

October 27, 2009
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3 Ways to Green Halloween

It’s no surprise that when you try to green your Halloween, you’ll likely save some money, too. Here are 3 quick ways you can make this Halloween a bit more eco-friendly; these tips are courtesy of my friend Jodi Helmer, author of the awesome book The Green Year (Alpha Books, 2008), which provides 365 simple and inexpensive green ideas for each day of the year. 1. Green the goodies: Think of all the candy wrappers that one little goblin throws in the trash – then multiply that number by the millions of trick-or-treaters who are happily gobbling up their...

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3 DIY Halloween Costumes on the Cheap

October 26, 2009
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3 DIY Halloween Costumes on the Cheap

Whenever possible I try to spend as little as possible on my kids’ Halloween costumes. That’s why I really appreciate these three DIY Halloween costumes-on-the-cheap ideas from the folks at iVillage. While they’re designed for kids, I think any grown up could pull one of these off, too. 1. Bunch of Grapes Start with: Purple or green sweatsuit or leotard, green or purple balloons, brown tights or leggings. Add on: Blow up small purple or green balloons and carefully pin the ends of them to your kid’s sweatsuit or leotard, and you’re all set. 2. Tiger Lily (as in...

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Mea Culpa on the DIY CSA

October 24, 2009
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So maybe I overreacted at the state of my current CSA farm and didn’t give the farmers enough credit for how hard it was to produce, well, produce during this difficult growing climate this year. To all the people who posted comments and sent me private emails–you’re right: I have no idea how difficult it is to work a farm (though my mother’s side was farmers–apples and dairy) 24/7. And I probably shouldn’t leave the CSA after one bad year but keep supporting the CSA financially by renewing my membership. To that notion I have two things to say:...

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