What Are The Best Dollar Store Buys?

Dollar stores aren’t just for the incredibly frugal. A recent Colliers International study shows dollar stores now outnumber national drugstore chains, according to Independent Retailer.

Despite obvious deals, some shoppers are still reticent to patronize these retailers because they lack confidence in product quality. If you struggle to make the leap into dollar-store savings, consider these eight must-haves to get your feet wet.

BY Kendal Perez

1. Greeting Cards
This is my number-one dollar-store purchase. Never again will I pay upwards of $5 for a greeting card when I can find perfectly clever, poignant and practical cards for $1 or less at my local Dollar Tree. You can also find bulk thank-you cards and other decorative notes to maintain correspondence without breaking the bank.

2. Candy
I have a raging sweet tooth but can’t bring myself to pay over $2 for something my waistline doesn’t need. Thankfully — or perhaps not, depending on how you look at it — dollar stores have many name-brand goodies to curb my craving. It’s also my go-to place for stocking up on provisions before the movies.

3. Party Supplies
Whether you’re organizing a company party or kids’ birthday bash, dollar stores have scores of party supplies to make your event a hit. Banners, balloons, confetti, gift bags and wrapping paper are just a sampling of the available inventory, and you can always find holiday-themed decor on the cheap. Even if you don’t have a dollar store nearby, you can order online and find coupons for Dollar General at sites like CouponSherpa.com for additional savings.

4. Single Servings
Dollar stores are a great place to pick up single quantities of popular items. For example, a friend of mine recently purchased two wineglasses as the traditional set of six or eight was way more than she needed. She was able to get what she needed without compromising price or storage space. Score!

5. Hair Accessories
While some fashionistas may have reservations about getting their hair candy at a discount store, I can’t stress enough how practical it is to load up on the basics for less. Most hair bands and bobby pins are created equal, so there’s no reason to pay more for them than you have to. In fact, dollar stores sometimes carry the popular Goody brand of hair bling, so keep your eyes peeled.

6. School Supplies
Every school year seems to bring with it a more demanding list of required supplies. Thankfully, most educational essentials are as basic as you can get, allowing for incredible savings. Spiral-bound notebooks, three-ring binders, bouquets of freshly sharpened pencils — you can find it all at the dollar store.

7. Kids’ Toys
Children tire of toys faster than the speed of paychecks, so parents everywhere could use a practical outlet for keeping their kids entertained. Dollar stores dedicate an entire aisle to superhero swag and princess must-haves at unbeatable prices, so check them out before paying department-store prices.

8. Airplane Distractions
Though airport shops offer plenty of tempting snacks and magazines, the price of these items will quickly eat up your budget. Why pay over $3 for trail mix when you can pick some up at a dollar store for a third of the cost? In addition to thrifty snacks, you can find coloring books, Sudoku puzzles and other distractions to keep yourself inexpensively occupied during a long flight.

About Kendal Perez

Kendal Perez is a frugal fashionista and bargain shopper who helps fellow shopaholics find hassle-free ways to save money. She has the resources to be an extreme couponer but prefers a less complicated approach to staying in-budget. Kendal has been quoted in such media outlets as CNN Money, FOX, ABC, NPR and Home and Family Finance Radio. For savings tips and more information, visit HassleFreeSavings.com.

Leap Day Freebies: Subway, Chick-fil-A, Microsoft and McDonald’s

Leap Day only comes once every four years, so why not celebrate with some great freebies?  Consumer Reports ShopSmart magazine found lots of great freebies and offers that you can cash in on today at places like Subway, Chic-fil-A, and McDonald’s.

Additional details can be found below and on ShopSmart’s website.  Info from Consumer Reports ShopSmart magazine.

Leap Day brings free stuff!

By Kenrya Rankin Naasel

It only comes around every four years, and now Leap Day is finally upon us. Companies—especially restaurants—around the country are celebrating by giving you freebies. Here are a few of the national giveaways we uncovered:

Subway is offering a free cookie with every purchase.

Chick-fil-A is offering various freebies and nearly free deals at locations around the country. Some stores will sell $0.29 milkshakes, others will give away four-count Chick-n-Minis and at least one store is giving everyone who shows up in a green shirt a free sandwich with the purchase of a side and a medium drink.

Microsoft will release its new flight simulator, Microsoft Flight, for free.

McDonald’s has offers at several locations; a store in Washington D.C.’s Union Station is giving customers a free McCafe Shake with the purchase of any Extra Value Meal. Locations in southern Virginia and North Carolina are giving away free coffee all day.

Tons of blogs are offering giveaways, too. Hit “Like” on Facebook.com/entergiveaways and Google “Blogs leap day giveaways” to find cool freebies, including a $300 Amazon gift card. And be on the lookout for freebies from local stores and venues; we found a theater in Portland, Ore., showing movies for free, and a free product with purchase at an art supply and gift store in Arlington, Mass.

6 Ways to Reduce Fuel Costs

Crude oil prices are surging again as commodities traders respond to the continued tension between Iran, Israel and the United States. According to NBC Nightly News, the fear of any kind of military action in the Middle East drives up the price of fuel despite no real shortage of supply. Just recently, the price of gasoline rose three-and-a-half percent and is up 42 cents from one year ago.

cars in traffic

As winter subsides into spring, consumers should gear up for another pricey summer with gas prices expected to peak just in time for weekend getaways. But before you cancel your vacation plans, consider these tips for saving on fuel.

By Andrea Woroch

1. Use your smartphone.
Look up gas prices in your area and pinpoint the least expensive options on your route by using GasBuddy.com. The site also offers a mobile app that uses GPS to provide current gasoline prices per gallon based on your location. Another option is the CheapGas app which guides you to the least expensive gas station in your proximity, an invaluable resource when driving in unfamiliar areas.

2. Travel with cash.
Many gas stations advertise the price per gallon to cash-paying customers and those who use credit cards are charged an additional 10-cents per gallon. Pay with cash when you can to save.

3. Stock up on discount gift cards.
You can purchase gift cards at less than face value from sites like GiftCardGranny.com including gas gift cards for popular brands like Chevron, Shell and Exxon. For example, the site is currently selling a Hess gift card for 8-percent off. These cards go fast, so set up an alert to receive an e-mail when new gas cards become available.

4. Fuel up at the warehouse.
Membership-based stores like Costco, Sam’s Club and BJ’s Wholesale Club have discounted gas. In some cases, you can use affiliated credit cards to get a double-dip discount: Pay less at the pump and get a cash back bonus. For instance, the Costco-branded TrueEarnings American Express card lets customers earn three percent cash back on up to $3,000 in gas per year.

5. Find a gas reward credit card.
If you are going to swipe your credit card at the pump, look for one that offers a high reward like Chase Freedom Visa, which offers 5 percent back on gasoline purchases. For other options, check out PTMoney’s "The Best Gas Rewards Credit Cards of 2012."

6. Go for grocery and gas discount programs.
Many supermarket chains have partnered with name-brand gas stations to offer reward programs. Ralph customers can get 10-cent per gallon savings at Shell stations in Southern California after redeeming 100 grocery points at the pump. Other grocery chains like PriceChopper, Kroger and ShopandStop offer similar programs. Speak with a store manager to find out which local gas stations will honor the reward program, as some franchise-operated stations may not participate in the programs.

About Andrea:

Andrea Woroch is a consumer and money-saving expert for Kinoli Inc. She is available for in-studio, satellite or skype interviews and to write guest posts or articles. As a nationally recognized media source, Andrea has been featured among top news outlets such as Good Morning America, NBC’s Today, MSNBC, New York Times, Kiplinger Personal Finance, CNNMoney and many more. To view recent interviews or for more savings tips visit AndreaWoroch.com.

Redbox Week of Free Game Rentals

The best things in life are free and I love getting things for free. Before I started blogging I would spend my time scouring the internet to find freebies and ways to get things for free. Now, I get information sent to me to share on the internet, boy have things changed.

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This week that list of freebies includes video game rentals at Redbox.  As a thank you to their loyal customers, starting Sunday, February 26, you can reserve a game online at www.redbox.com/gamesweek and get the first day of rental free.

Redbox offers rentals on the newest releases across Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii including Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Just Dance 3 and Elder Scrolls: Skyrim for just $2 a night.

Visit www.redbox.com or use the free iPhone and Android apps to find your neighborhood Redbox kiosk.  The week of free game rentals ends Thursday, March 1.

How To Have An Oscar Party On A Budget

Whether you’re a movie buff or a fashion aficionado, Hollywood’s most buzzed about event is more enjoyable when you can gossip with friends over celebrity style and debate the list of nominees for best actor. However, hosting an Academy Award party requires more than your typical party fare, since paper plates and pre-made dip fail to capture the magic of star-studded evening.

On the other hand, tapping into emergency funds in the sake of honoring Tinsel Town’s finest is a clear waste of money. Consider these red carpet-worthy ways to throw an unforgettable Oscar party on a budget:

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Check out the Oscar Preview Special

BY: Andrea Woroch

1. Spread the Word
By now, most of your friends should know where the awards party is come Sunday evening. But if you’ve been procrastinating, a broadcast invite via Facebook is a great option to get the word out and rally your crew. For a more festive approach, check out this customized and free Oscar-themed e-vite.

2. Get Red Carpet Ready
It’s not an Oscar party unless you dress to impress, so request that guests arrive in award-winning attire worthy of the red carpet. Hit up second-hand stores or discount retailers like Ross and TJMaxx for affordable evening wear or channel your inner Bjork with a stuffed animal wrapped around your body.

3. Star-worthy Snacks
Being frugal doesn’t mean you have to revert to serving Ruffles. A simple shrimp cocktail is an elegant yet affordable hors d’oeuvre that is sure to tickle the taste buds of your many guests. Similarly, frozen treats like mini quiches can be bought in bulk for a savings at warehouse stores like Costco. Cheese and crackers is another quick yet delectable snack all are sure to enjoy. Don’t forget to use printable grocery coupons from CouponSherpa.com or their mobile coupon app for additional in-store discounts.

4. Serve in Style
Though serving food on paper plates is practical for a party, the Oscars call for something a bit more upscale. Purchase clear plastic plates and champagne flutes from the dollar store, offered at nearly 50-percent less that other retailers. While you’re there, pick up some star-shaped confetti to add a touch of bling to your serving table.

5. Create a Memorable Entrance
Give your honored guests the ultimate star treatment with a red carpet entrance. To keep it quick and cheap, pick up some inexpensive red felt from a nearby fabric store to adorn your home walkway. Add some dazzle to your decor by dangling decorative stars and white lights around your entrance and living room.

6. Designer Drinks
The official beverage of the 2012 Oscars features a botanical-infused vodka with fresh-squeezed sour mix, topped with champagne and a rose petal. You can easily mimic this signature cocktail with tart lemonade, flavored vodka and your favorite Brut champagne. For other Oscar-cocktail knockoffs, check out these recipes from Oscars.org.

7. Games
No party is complete without a fun activity, and the Oscars provide the perfect opportunity for a friendly wager. Charge a minimal entrance free to your party – think $5 – and create a pool with the collected cash. Then, have guests choose winners for select categories and whomever has the most right answers wins the pool.

8. Goody Bags
Leave the designer diamonds and exotic truffles for the celebrities and create your own goody bags on the cheap. Dollar stores are a great resource for candies and gift bags, and you can find scented candles and other indulgences at Target or Kohl’s.

About Andrea Woroch :

Andrea Woroch is a nationally-recognized consumer and money-saving expert for Kinoli Inc. She is available for in-studio, satellite or skype interviews and to write guest posts or articles. To view recent interviews or for more savings tips visit AndreaWoroch.com.

Lands’ End Family + Friends Sale Save 25%

The Lands’ End Family + Friends sale runs Tuesday, February 21 through Tuesday, February 28 and offers 25% off regular priced items on both the Lands’ End and the Lands’ End Canvas website, plus free shipping with no minimum purchase.

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To apply for savings, use promo code: BUDDY and pin: 2140.

Free Sample of Quaker Oats Oatmeal Honey Nut Squares

I love Quaker Oats cereal it’s one of my favorites and they have a new flavor and I can’t wait to try it. They can’t wait to share it, they are giving away free samples of the Quaker Oats Oatmeal Honey Nut Squares on their Facebook fan page.

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Go Grab your free Quaker oats sample now!

Have a Subway Lunch Giveaway

I want to reward those of you that follow MomStart by having a giveaway here on my new blog. You’re probably thinking why do it on the new blog, essentially I’m doing it here because I’m testing out the waters for having a new blog, and seeing how influential I am on Facebook and twitter or if it’s MomStart the blog that has all the influence.

That and Facebook doesn’t like it if you host giveaways on their site. So for those of you that follow MomStart you get one point for each thing you already do. It’s up to you to decide if you want to do anything new.

Enter to Win:

10.00 Subway Gift Card

To Enter:

Do any of the following:

 

[Read more...]

Save with Right@Home Glade

 

I signed up for Glade Right@Home and have actually received free products. They have sign ups and the first so many will get one. It’s often hard to be first but it’s possible.

Fitness, Apparel & Vitamins Sale Walmart

Walmart is trimming the prices on fitness equipment, accessories and apparel in-stores from Jan. 11 – 18.  According to a recent NPR survery, 51% of Americans said they would resolve to exercise more this year and 48% of those people are aiming to lose 10-29 pounds. Walmart’s new offerings provide something to help every health-conscious consumer take strides toward their goal in 2012.

Special offers available in stores Jan. 11 -18 include:

Fitness Equipment and Accessories

· Weslo Cadence G 5.9 Treadmill – $277

· Gold’s Gym 310 Elliptical – $277

· Gold’s Gym PowerSpin 390 Recumbent Bike – $247

· Timex Heart Monitor – $49.82

· Gold’s Gym Multi Step Deck – $38.97

· Gold’s Gym 10-Pound Kettle Ball – $18.77 each

· Gold’s Gym Stay Ball – $17.77

· Danskin Now Yoga Mat – $9.47

Apparel

· Danskin Now Ladies’ Tara Sneakers – $14.87

· Danskin Now Ladies Yoga Capri’s – $12

· Danskin Now Ladies Sports Bra – $8

· Starter Men’s Track Separates – $15.97 each

· Starter Men’s Performance Heather Tee or Striped Shorts – $8.47 each

· Starter Men’s Wick Tee or Solid Active Shorts – $6.47 each

Food & Vitamins

· MegaRed Omega 3 Krill Oil 300mg, 60 ct. – $22.46

· Pure Protein Whey Powder, 2 lbs. – $17.88

· Yoplait Yogurt Light – $.60

· Glucosamine Chondroitin Triple Strength, 40 ct. – $9.97 (on rollback from $11.94)

· Slim Fast Shake 4-pack – $4.98 (on rollback from $5.48)