Thursday, May 27, 2010

Spring/Summer Activities

School is ending in less then a month and with summer on the horizon, here are some ways you and your family can really enjoy yourselves without hurting your pocketbook.

1. Cinemark's Summer Movie Clubhouse - 10 movies for $5 if purchased in advance.  Select your state and movie theater here:
2. Regal's Free Family Film Festival - free movies during the summer.  Select your state here:
3. Local libraries - most times they have their summer reading program where you can earn rewards after every so many books read.  The ones in Maryland have summer activities.  In the past, they have had magic shows, science shows, storytime, etc...
4. Smithsonian Museums - these are always free admission.
5. Redbox - rent movies for $1/day.
6. Blockbuster Express - rent movies for $1/day.
7. Restaurants with indoor play areas - places such as McDonald's and Chick-Fil-A.
8. Visiting a local farmer's market - It is a great time to teach kids about different fruits and vegetables and to find out where our produce comes from.
9. Day trips to Washington DC - is a great opportunity to soak up the history of our country and to visit all the free monuments, museums and tourist attractions.  We loved visiting the National Zoo, Navy Memorial & Museum, White House, state Senate office building, reflecting pool, National Mall, Smithsonian Museums, Arlington National Cemetary, etc...
10. Day trips to Ocean City, Maryland - is time to enjoy all the sites on and off the boardwalk and enjoy the beach!  While you are down there you can visit Assateague Island National Seashore and wildlife refuge.
11. Visit Baltimore's Inner Harbor - is a great time to take in a little history of Baltimore like at Fort McHenry.  There are also the tourist attractions like the National Aquarium, Fells Point, Lexington Market, etc...
12. - Offers great deals on activities throughout the Baltimore metropolitan area and other cities across the country.  We were able to purchased discount tickets for Earth Treks and Arundel Golf Center.
13. Local parks - Local parks are a great resource because they normally have running/biking/walking paths, playgrounds, tennis/baseball/basketball facilities, restrooms, picnic areas, water activities, etc...  Sometimes these parks host organized runs and have events there as well.  Some have admission fees and others do not.
14. Indoor playgrounds - These are often found in local malls.  Most of them have hand sanitizer stations.
15. Oriole Park - Chick-Fil-A offers a Junior Orioles Dugout Club program where you can purchase a new membership for $17.  For kids 14 and under:
16. U.S. Naval Academy Museum in Annapolis, MD - Offers a history lesson on the Navy.  It is beautifully updated and offers a good view of the dock.
17. Baltimore Washington International (BWI) trail and viewing area - This is a great time to teach kids about aviation and for them to see it for itself.  Some of them even have a playground area for kids to play, details here:
18. Ellicott City - Walk through and soak in the history and enjoy the local atmosphere and foods.
19. AMC Summer Fun Bowling Pass - Offers 2 free games per day, details here:
20. Bank of America's Museum on Us program - Free museum admission if you use your Bank of America card, details here:
21. Apple Free Workshops - Free workshops at participating Apple stores, details here:
22. Pottery Barn Book Club: Free story time 11-1130am every Tuesday at participating stores, details here:
23. Borders free story time, see your local store.
24. Barnes and Noble free story time, see your local store.
25. National Crytologic Museum & National Vigilence Park:
26. Baltimore Museum of Art - free family Sunday's between 2-4pm with free activities.
27. Anheuser-Busch Here's to the Hero's Program - complimentary one day free admission for a service member and up to 3 family members to either Sea World Orlando Orlando, Sea World San Diego or Sea World San Antonio, Busch Gardens Tampa, Busch Gardens Williamsburg, or Sesame Place, Adventure USA, Water Country USA valid through December 31, 2010.
Registration and details here:
28. Every Tuesday night, can you purchase upper seating for Baltimore Orioles games at Camden Yards from Ollie's Bargain Outlet for $8, details here:
29. Read books on free download of Kindle for pc and get free book downloads from various websites.
30. Family game parties - board games, outside games, video games.
31. Pool parties.
32. Don't forget all the places that kids eat free to stretch your dollars even further.
33. 600 museums offering active duty military and their families free summer admission, details in this Washington post article:
34. Craft days at home with friends.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Successful Yard Sales

Since I have been trying to downsize our household, I have also been researching ideas for successful yard sales online. Most of what I found include the following:

1. Heavily Advertise your yard sale (i.e. Pennysaver, Craigslist, local newspaper, signs in your neighborhood a few days before, etc...) which will mean heavier foot traffic.
2. When having a multi family yard sale, use different color stickers to price your items. Remove stickers from all sold items and place in a book. At the end of the yard sale tally the different color stickers up which makes it easier to split up the money.
3. Make sure you have some bags on hand in case people buy more then one item.
4. Have your kids sit out and help sell their items.
5. It's ok to sell other things like bottled water, baked goodies, etc...
6. Price all your items before the day of the yard sale.
7. Go early to set up.
8. Bring tables, mats, blankets, hanging racks, chairs and such that you will set your items on or sit out on.
9. Have everything set up before the start of your yard sale.
10. Most of all have fun and make money on stuff you do not use anymore.
11. Make sure you have enough change on hand.

Do you have any other helpful tips for a successful yard sale? If so, I would love to hear them.

Case Lot Sale

Case Lot Sales can save you a bunch of money in the long run especially when they allow you to use coupons for them and as long as you have the space to store them.

On Friday, I went with a good friend and our kids - there was a two hour wait just to get in because there were not enough carts. Too long of a wait, so we left. The second day I went was Saturday mid morning and there was no line to get in however an hour wait in line to pay. There were a lot of great deals this year and I saved over $20 in coupons effortlessly which was really nice for a change. The commissary either had all the coupons inside with the items themselves or they were giving the coupons out near the products. Examples of great deals include Cheese Nips - regularly $6.50/6 boxes or $1.08/box , after coupons $3.50/6 boxes or .58/box and Mountain Dew - regularly $4.99/24 pk, after coupon $3.99/24 pk.

When I got home, my family helped unload which was great! They are awesome!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Restaurant Coupons

Over the years, we have managed to save a good amount of money by using coupons and discount gift certificates at restaurants. Whether it be fast food, sit down or otherwise. If there is a coupon or a discount gift certificate out there, most often I can find one. I will be sharing with you restaurants that we frequent throughout the year and where you can find coupons for eating there at a discount.

Sign up for their Quizno's Q Club and get monthly coupons delivered to their inbox. In the past there have been $1, $2 or $3 off coupons, $5 off $20 sandwich platter, free drinks with a sub/salad purchase, free chips and drink with large sub, etc...

Sign up for their emails and have coupons and specials delivered to your inbox. Most times there is a $3 off a cake purchase, for your birthday they have a coupon for a free scoop of ice cream and occasionally they have programs like .31 scoop night that support their charities.

3. Starbucks:
Sign up for their newsletters and get in the know about free coffee days, specials and free events at participating locations.

Sign up for their newsletter and receive specials, promotions and coupons directly to your inbox. Occasionally they have buy one, get one (bogo) free meals and free dessert coupons. They have a promo going on where if you visit them on Mother's Day for brunch, lunch or dinner, each table will receive a special gift.

Sign up for their Wendy Mail newsletters and receive valuable coupons and promos delivered to your inbox. Occasionally they have $1 off coupons on new sandwiches and other items.

6. Groupon:
Sign up for and get their deal directly to your inbox. In the past, they have had bar and grill, seafood and other restaurant deals.

Sign up for their e club and get their deals and coupons delivered to your inbox. Friday's they usually have free bagel Friday's with coupons, free bagel & schmear when you sign up on, discount coupon for their bagel buckets, etc...

Sign up for their newsletters and get valuable coupons in your inbox. Currently they are running a $5 off 2 dinner entrees coupon.

Sign up for their Blizzard Fan Club and get their coupons delivered to your inbox.

Sign up for their Dave and Busters Rewards program and get valuable coupons from buy $10, get $10 or buy $20, get $20 in game play for free, free appetizer coupons, free entree coupons, etc...

Sign up for their Give Me More Stripes program. In the past, there were bogo free entrees, free appetizer with purchase, etc...

Sign up for their P.I.G. (Pretty Important Guest) newsletters and get coupons in your inbox.

Sign up for their VIP club and newsletter and get their specials delivered to your inbox.

Sign up for their email club and get coupons delivered to your inbox.

Sign up for their e-club and get great deals and coupons delivered to your inbox.

Sign up for their e club and get a free gift for joining, a free burger on your birthday and something special on the anniversary of the day you signed up with them.

Sign up for their email club and get their specials and coupons in your inbox.

Sign up Rocket e club and get the deals in your inbox. Coupons include a free hamburger on your birthday.

Sign up for their e club and get their deals, free gifts and more in your inbox.

Sign up for their Inside Scoop club to be in the know of new stores, special offers, new food and what the future holds.

Sign up for their mClub and get in the know.

Sign up for their email newsletters and get in their know.

Join the Buffalo Circle club and get in the know.

24. Assorted restaurant coupon resources:
a. (Yomato Sushi, Woodfire Grill, Garry's Grill and Catering, Bill Bateman's, etc..)
b. (Pizza Hut, Bill Bateman's Bistro, etc...)
c. Entertainment Book or (Auntie Anne's, TGI Friday's, Greene Turtle, Tony Roma's, Qdoba, Don Pablo's, Champps, Fuddruckers, Boston Market, Cinnabon, Domino's, Hardees, Pizza Hut, Wings To Go, etc...)
d. Clipper Magazine or (Ledo Pizza, Cheshire Crab, Hibachi Grill and Supreme Buffet, The Olive Tree, Mongolian Grill, etc...)
e. Pennysaver or (Johnny's Family Restaurant, Wendy's, Popeyes, Double T Diner, Listas, Friendly's, etc...)
f. Consumer Eye magazine
g. Local newspaper (Dunkin Donuts, Subway, Chuck E Cheese, Quizno's, Hardees, Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Boston Market, Baskin Robbins, Cold Stone Creamery, Dave and Busters, Pizza Hut, Domino's, Papa John's, Little Caesars, etc...)
h. Direct mail from local restaurants (McDonalds, Burger King, etc...)
i. Local restaurant menus sometimes include coupons
j. Mall brochures (Auntie Anne's, etc...)

Other Restaurants:
Sign up for their newsletter and get their specials, coupons and coupon codes delivered to your inbox.

Sign up for their BFF (Best Friends of Friendly's) club and get their newsletters with valuable coupons delivered to you inbox. Right now they have a promo on Mother's Day of bogo free breakfast.

Sign up for the Safari Club and get promos, specials and coupons delivered to your inbox.

Sign up for their newsletters and get valuable personalized coupons, recipes, specials and other information delivered to your inbox.

5. Living Social:
It is a program similar to Baltimore Groupon.

Sign up for their Club Fondue and get info on their events.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


Since e-coupons came out, it makes redeeming coupons almost effortless depending on where you shop.  Some of the e-coupon sites that we use include the following.  Safeway is the only grocery store that I know about here from the list of stores you can redeem these e-coupons at and we rarely go there.  Check their e-coupon sites for redemption locations.


Don't take my word for it, check it out or try it for yourself.

Happy Saving!

April Savings

April has turned out to be a wonderful month full of savings.

This week alone, we saved so much money in due diligence to the time I invest in strategic couponing.  I had not been able to get down to the base to get my shopping done, so instead I opted to support our local economy by shopping at our local stores using sales along with store coupons and stacking them with manufacturer coupons.  We were running low on stuff here so I had a chance to stock up on some items this week.

Here are our savings:
At Rite Aid - total oop: $46.22, before coupon total $98+
At Staples - total oop: $16.17, before reward total: $47.13 - $30.96 Staples Rewards
At Target - total oop: $22.43, before coupons: $32.94
At Walgreens - total oop: $36.74, before coupons: $53.74
At CVS Transaction 1- total oop: $37.39 - $10 MIR = $27.39, before coupons: $44.99
A CVS Transaction 2 - total oop: $47.22, before coupons: $82.47

The savings opportunities have been all over.  Just today I told my friend that there are coupons for most everything out there from products to services to restaurants, etc...  I asked her how she shops without using coupons.  She said it is hard to shop without coupons because she knows that she has one somewhere for it but just is not very organized when it comes to couponing.  This is the same friend that I have been teaching couponing to and she has gotten a lot better since we first started a few years ago.  She does not carry her coupons with her and wonders where they are most of the time.  It is so frustrating to watch her throw money away like that.  So today in Target, I showed her a few simple saving methods and she found it to be unbelievable.  I feel better that I was able to save her a little while shopping for things that she needed.