How to Save

Tips for Making a Return

Posted on Monday, December 29th, 2014 at 7:00 am
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store_receiptMany people enjoy shopping for Christmas presents. Very few people can honestly say they look forward to making a return. It can be time consuming and frustrating! Here are a few tips that might make the tedious process of making a return a little less stressful.

Expect to wait in line.
One of the main reasons why people get frustrated while trying to make a return is because they expect they will be “in and out” of the store very quickly. This is almost never what actually happens!

Go into the store fully expecting to have to wait in line. Bring earbuds and listen to music or a podcast while you wait. You might also want to bring a snack that you can easily eat while standing. This will make the time you are stuck in the return line a little more pleasant.

Check the store’s return policy.
Before you head out the door, get online and read over the store’s return policy. Some stores won’t take back items that have been opened. Others will require you to have a gift receipt (or the original receipt) in order to make a return. You probably won’t be handed cash. Instead, the store may offer a gift card for the amount that your return was worth.

Typically, items will be priced high right before Christmas, and then dramatically drop after Christmas is over. This could mean that you will end up getting the new sales price for the item you return instead of the money that was originally spent. It all depends on the store’s return policy. Read it before you leave so you won’t end up frustrated.

Find the right size first.
Are you returning an item of clothing that was the wrong size? Go through the store and see if you can find your size before you get into the return line. If you find it, bring the correctly sized item with you to the return line. The cashier might be able to do your return, and your purchase, in one transaction. This could save you the trouble of waiting in the return line and then waiting in line, again, to make your purchase.

Don’t procrastinate.
For best results, bring your return to the store as soon as possible. Some stores will stop accepting holiday returns after a certain date. Wait too long, and you will miss the “window” during which you can make a return. Another good reason to do your return right away is it gives you time to “try again” if you forgot to bring the gift receipt with you.

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Gift Ideas for the “Hard to Shop For”

Posted on Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014 at 7:00 am
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Christmas cookiesThere are only a few more days before Christmas. Have you finished all your shopping? Or, are you struggling to figure out what to get for a loved one who is “hard to shop for”? This is a problem that many people encounter. Since you are running out of time, here are a few ideas on what to buy for the person who is difficult to shop for.

Get a Gift Receipt
Make sure to get a gift receipt for whatever you buy for the person in your life that is hard to shop for. Put the gift receipt into a Christmas card that goes along with the gift. That way, if the person already has one, or doesn’t like the gift, he or she will have an easier time returning it.

Homemade Christmas Cookies
Holiday treats make a great gift for loved ones that don’t like to bake. For best results, make sure you are aware of your loved one’s food allergies and dietary restrictions. Bake a batch of Christmas cookies just for him or her. Those that have to limit the foods they consume, in order to avoid getting sick, will be pleased with a batch of “safe” Christmas cookies!

Gift Cards
You can’t really go wrong with a gift card! Pick a store that you know the person likes to shop at. Chances are they will be able to find something they like in a store that they regularly choose to shop at. A gift card makes it easy to shop for the person who has “everything”.

Everyone needs a new pair of slippers, eventually. This might not be the most exciting gift imaginable. However, it is functional. It serves a specific purpose and is something your loved one can wear. Giving a gift that helps a person stay warm during the winter is a great way to show that you care. For best results, select a pair of slippers that look nice and is appropriate for adults. Avoid the slippers that are made to look like animals. Some adults won’t wear those!

The one great things about giving a calendar as a gift is that everyone will need a new one at the start of the year. Many people use the calendar on their smartphone or computer to keep track of appointments. Even so, it is nice to have a paper calendar that can hang on the wall at home or in a cubicle at work. Start by picking out a calendar that matches one of the person’s interests. Do you know what kind of calendar they are using this year? See if you can find one like that for the new year.

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Save Money by Using Re-Purposed Gift Wrap

Posted on Monday, December 22nd, 2014 at 7:00 am
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Gift boxLooking for a creative, yet inexpensive, way to make your gift really stand out? Try using some re-purposed gift wrap. You can tailor the wrap to fit with your friend or family member’s personal interests. Sometimes, the re-purposed gift wrap can function as a second gift.

What happens to all the wrapping paper after Christmas is over? Hopefully, people are recycling it, but some will toss it in the trash. One eco-friendly way to get more than one use from gift wrap is to use re-purposed wrap instead. Wrap the gift in something that is will be useful to the person who you are giving the gift to.

Last Year’s Christmas Boxes and Bags
It has become common for people to save the gift boxes, and gift bags, that they receive. These sturdy resources can be used more than once. Take the name tag off the bag. Carefully unwrap the box so that it doesn’t get torn in the process. Store it away for a second use next Christmas.

Have you already got some gift bags and boxes stored away? Use those up before you purchase new ones. Very few people will notice that they have been reused.

Matching Interests
A really fun way to re-purpose gift wrap is to match it to the recipient’s personal interests. Old maps work nicely for people who are interested in history or who like looking at old maps. Use string to hold the wrap closed around the gift instead of tape (so the map will not rip as the gift is opened). The map can become a poster on the wall.

Wrap the gift for your loved one who quilts with some lovely fabric. He or she can use it up in a new quilt. Give the chef or baker in your life a cookbook that is wrapped in a nice apron. Does your loved one live in an area that has a plastic bag ban? Wrap his or her gifts in colorful canvas re-usable shopping bags.

From the Recycle Bin
Some of the things that you typically would toss into the recycle bin can be re-purposed into unique wrapping paper. Newspaper can make visually interesting gift wrap. Choose a colorful section of ads or pick a page that has several different sizes of font. Wrap newspaper around a gift of books or magazines.

Paper bags also make great reusable gift wrap. The paper is sturdy so you can decorate it with sponge printed shapes, draw a design on it, or write a happy message. It will hold up well as a wrap around gifts that are heavy.

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How to Get Discounted Gift Cards on Amazon

Posted on Tuesday, December 16th, 2014 at 9:30 am
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gift cards


Did you know that you can get Discounted Gift Cards on Amazon?! Right now during their holiday Daily Lightning Deals, each day they offer various gift cards at a discounted amount. They seem to offer 20% off the face value usually but you have to be ready when they go live! Here’s how:

1. Go HERE to see the upcoming Gift Card deals today. Bookmark this page so you can check it first thing each morning.
2. Set your alarm on your phone to go off 5 minutes before the gift card you want is scheduled to go live. These go FAST so you need to be ready!
3. Be ready and at the schedule time and the offer will go live. Immediately, add the item to your cart and it’ll be your’s!

Good luck and let us know what discounted cards you score!


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Frugal DIY Christmas Gift Ideas

Posted on Monday, December 15th, 2014 at 10:50 am
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Frugal DIY Gift Ideas

Christmas is just a few days away! Sometimes the best gifts aren’t necessarily the ones you can buy at a store, but the ones made with love! Here are some fun, frugal DIY gift that you can make at home for your loved ones!

Hot Cocoa Kits by

Mason Jar Cocktail Gifts by

Painted Mugs by

Ice Cream Sundae in a Box by

Candle Transfer by

Hot Cocoa Mix Ornaments by

Handprint Apron by



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Holiday Safety Tips for Pet Owners

Posted on Monday, December 15th, 2014 at 7:00 am
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Holiday Coupon CodesThe holidays can be exciting and happy for many humans. Their pets, on the other hand, can become harmed from the holiday food, decorations, and lights. Emergency visits to the vet can be really expensive. You can save money, and keep your pet safe, by following some of these holiday safety tips for pet owners.

Oh, Christmas Tree!
The ASPCA points out that your Christmas tree can be dangerous for your pets. Make sure that your tree is securely anchored so that it cannot easily be tipped over. Pets do get injured as a result of having a Christmas tree fall over on top of them.

Some cats will climb the tree. Both cats and dogs may take an interest in the ornaments or tinsel. Keep a close watch on your pets to make sure they are not ingesting tinsel, fragments of broken ornaments, or tree needles. You also need to take steps to prevent your pets from drinking the water that you give your tree. The ASPCA says that water can contain bacteria. Your pet can get sick from drinking it.

Skip the Mistletoe & Holly
Some people like to use these two plants as decoration during the holidays. They may look pretty, but they are dangerous to pets (who may decide to taste or eat them). Pets that eat Holly can experience nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Pets that eat Mistletoe can end up with gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems.

If you absolutely must have Mistletoe and Holly as part of your holiday decorating, choose a safer alternative. You can purchase inexpensive plastic plants at crafts stores. Some dollar stores will have them, too.

Watch Over the Lights
There are many things that can make a Christmas tree look attractive to your pet. One of those things are the Christmas lights. Don’t let your pet chew on the lights or the wire they are attached to. It is possible that your pet could receive an electric shock as a result of chewing through the coating on the wire and coming into direct contact with wire itself.

Do you like to light candles? Always put a candle on a stable surface. Doing so can help prevent the lit candle from being knocked over if your pet bumps the table it is sitting on. Don’t let your pets get close to the candle. They might find the flame to be fascinating, but are probably unaware that fire can burn them. Make sure you blow out all candles before you leave a room and before you go to bed at night.

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Where to Find Free Christmas Coloring Sheets

Posted on Monday, December 8th, 2014 at 7:00 am
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Crayola Crayons December is one of the busiest months of the entire year. There are parties to attend, presents to shop for (and wrap) and a lot of decorating to do. Despite this flurry of activity, it is possible for your preschooler or kindergartener to be “bored”. Here is where to find some free Christmas coloring sheets that will occupy his time.

Coloring sheets are great for many reasons. One, they let even the smallest kids create some art. Two, they give your child a fun way to practice small motor skills. Three, they help channel off some of the Christmas excitement that kids don’t often know what to do with. In a pinch, they could double as a Christmas card to a grandparent. has a total of 48 different Christmas related coloring pages. Some are bingo game sheets, others are party invites. The biggest group consists of secular Christmas images and religious Christmas images. Here are a few to start with.

* Christmas Santa is a large image of Santa’s head. Above him it says “Ho! Ho! Ho!” and underneath him it says “Merry Christmas”.

* Christmas Stockings is a drawing of two stuffed stockings that are hanging on the fireplace. There is a clock and poinsettias in the background.

* Christmas Gifts Under the Tree is a drawing of a decorated Christmas tree with three wrapped presents beneath it.

* Nativity Manger shows a nativity scene with Mary and Joseph looking into a manger while a cow, donkey, sheep and geese look on.

* Three Kings shows a drawing of the three wise men who are carrying gifts. One is pointing at a bright star in the sky.

* Christmas Shepherds is a drawing of four Shepherds, and some sheep. It is drawn in a slightly different style than the previous two coloring pages.

Disney has a Christmas coloring page that features Mickey and Minnie. They are drawn in the style that the characters were in when animation was in black and white. You child can add color!

NickJr. Has packs of Christmas coloring sheets that feature characters from their shows. Choose from:
* Lalloopsy

* Peppa Pig

* Dora

There are more! Each one includes a set of free, printable, Christmas coloring sheets that, when put together, tell a simplified story.

* Cartoon Jr. has six different Christmas coloring sheets that are based on the animated feature “A Charlie Brown Christmas”. These free to print coloring sheets would be great for kids to entertain themselves with after they have watched the movie.

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Our Favorite Cyber Monday Deals!

Posted on Monday, December 1st, 2014 at 9:49 am
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cyber monday

Today is a GREAT day to do some online holiday shopping! Most online retailers are offering amazing coupon codes for HUGE savings!

Search for Coupon Codes from your favorite online retailers HERE!

Here are a few of our favorite online deals happening today. Just click on the link of the deal you want to take advantage of below:

HOT! Kohl’s – 20% Off All Orders
– Promo Code: CYBERTAKE20
– Expires 12/3

HOT! Bath & Body Works – 25% Off All Orders
– Promo Code: HEYMONDAY

Best Buy – Up to 90% Off Cyber Monday Items + Free Shipping
– No Promo Code Needed

Perfumania – 35% Off Sitewide + Free Shipping
– Promo Code: VIPCYBER35

Victoria’s Secret – FLASH SALE! $25 Yoga Sale! Includes PINK.
– Promo Code: YOGA25

Aeropostale – 70% Off All Orders
– No Promo Code Needed

Toys R Us – $20 Off Orders $150 or More Using MasterCard + Free Shipping
– Promo Code: MC20

American Eagle – 40% Off All Orders + Free Shipping
– Promo Code: CYBERDAY

Staples – $15 Off Orders $100 or More + Free Shipping
– Promo Code: 17116

Lane Bryant – 50% Off All Orders + Free Shipping
– EXPIRES Tomorrow!

Vera Bradley – 50% off Select New Styles + Free Shipping!
– No Promo Code Needed

Let us know what deals you score or if you’re looking for anything else!

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In Season Produce in December

Posted on Monday, December 1st, 2014 at 7:00 am
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grapefruitThe best time to buy fresh produce is when it is in season. Every fruit and vegetable has a certain time of the year when it is at its most plentiful. It tends to be sold at its lowest price of the year during that season. Here is a quick look at what is still in season in December, what is no longer in season, and which foods are newly in season this month.

What’s still in season?
Produce doesn’t pay attention to the same calendar that we do. As such, there are times when a particular fruit or vegetable has a season that spans more than one month.

Apples are staying in season in December. So are the cranberries you enjoyed at Thanksgiving dinner. Other fruits that remain in season include: dates, oranges, pears, persimmons, pomegranates, and tangerines.

What about the vegetables? Beets, a vegetable that everyone seems to have a strong opinion about, are still in season. Broccoli and Brussels sprouts are, too. You can continue to enjoy hearty vegetables like cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips and winter squash. Other vegetables that will stay in season in December include: celery, kale, mushrooms, peppers, onions, spinach, radishes and Swiss chard.

What’s new?
It might sound counter-intuitive, but there actually are some fruits that go into season in December. Many are of the type that people might consider to be “tropical”. In short, they are the fruits that grow in places that stay warm all year round. Some include: grapefruit, lemons, papayas, passion fruit, and tangelos.

Many vegetables that were in season during November are still in season now. New additions include: bok choy, collard greens, escarole, fennel, mustard greens, and radicchio.

What’s out of season in December?
Every month, there will be foods that slip out of season. You are going to have to wait until next year to get them at a low price. Say goodbye to the clementines. If you miss them, try an orange, persimmon, or tangerine instead. (All of them are still in season).

Garlic goes out of season in December. Typically, this means that its price will start to go back up. Pumpkin, a vegetable everyone wants in October and November, goes out of season in December. This may be an issue for those who like to bake pumpkin pies from scratch for dessert on Christmas. There are also some other types of squash that are no longer in season. Try the winter squash instead.

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Tips for Camping Out on Black Friday

Posted on Monday, November 24th, 2014 at 7:00 am
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Winter SKinAre you planning on camping out for the Black Friday sales? There are those who do it every year and some who do it once in a while. The experience has few similarities to camping out in the summer for rest and relaxation. It definitely isn’t for everyone! Here are some tips for camping out on Black Friday.

Don’t wait until Thursday night.
There was a time, not that long ago, when the Black Friday sales started on the Friday after Thanksgiving day. Today, many stores are going to be open, and offering their best deals, on Thanksgiving. This change means that those who want to camp out for the sales should do it on the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving.

There are some exceptions to this new “rule”. Some stores are going to be closed on Thanksgiving. Those stores will have their biggest sales on Black Friday. If your goal is to buy something from those stores, and you want to camp out in line, do it after you finish Thanksgiving dinner.

Don’t bring your kids.
Camping out for the Black Friday sales requires a person to do several things that little kids do not tend to enjoy. A person must stay in one spot for the entire night. Little kids have a hard time sitting still. A person must spend several hours waiting in a line. Children tend to lose their patience if they have to wait too long for something. Camping out in front of a store might be exciting to adults, but children may find it to be incredibly boring!

Safety is another thing to consider. Who is going to watch your child if you fall asleep? There have been situations where violence has occurred among the people who were waiting for the store to open.

Do your best to stay warm.
The weather in November can get dangerously cold. Those who are planning to spend an entire night camped out in front of a store need to take precautions. Wear layers. Make sure you have a hat, gloves, and a scarf. Choose warm boots and consider wearing more than one pair of socks. Cover all exposed skin to prevent it from getting frostbite.

Some people bring a sleeping bag with them. That puts a thick layer between you and the cold ground. It also gives you an additional layer to wrap yourself in. There are those who bring a small tent with them. It might help block the wind.

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