Friday, October 30, 2009

Friday Deals

Welcome weekend! Glad you're almost here! No tricks, only treats on this day before Halloween! Enjoy!

*FREE Blackjack Taco at Taco Bell on Halloween from 6 PM - midnight!

*Keeping with the Mexican food theme, FREE boo-rito from 6 - closing on Halloween at Chipotle if you dress up like a burrito, taco or salad. I don't know how one would do that, but if you do, take pictures! I want to see!

*FREE yogurt at Menchie's if you wear a swirl hat on Friday or Saturday. I WISH I had a Menchie's nearby - free froyo sounds awesome!

*FREE Kids Meal at Old Spaghetti Factory with the purchase of an adult entree from 12-5 on Halloween! Kids must be in costume and be 10 or under.

*50% off on everything in Payless Shoes TODAY ONLY, courtesy of Oprah! You can either print a coupon or get one sent to your cell phone. Go here for details. (PS - does anyone else think Christian Siriano is fabulous?!)

And in case you don't have a fabulous costume lined up yet - don't panic! See one of our older posts or J. Money from Budgets are Sexy has 40 great ideas!

Happy Halloween and have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Trouble in Credit Card Paradise

I am one of those people who is in favor of using credit cards over debit cards (IF YOU PAY OFF YOUR BALANCE EVERY MONTH). By paying in full by the due date, you improve your credit score by showing you're a responsible consumer, and with many cards, you gain rewards like points, miles or cash back that you usually don't receive with your debit cards. As long as you can keep spending in check, credit cards (to me) are a pretty great way to get the things you need and get something back as well.

Stop the presses - because the good customers out there are being responsible, credit card companies are not making enough money on us. Usually when interest rates go up, it doesn't affect those of us who pay in full every month. But now, they're getting sneaky. Some lenders are imposing a new users fee, anywhere from $25-$75 a year and some are reducing rewards programs. But even more ridiculous, some banks will be issuing fines for customers who pay their bills on time. Yep. Other sad changes - you could be charged for not putting a certain amount on your credit card every year or you could be charged for having an inactive card. It's almost like they want people to stay in debt...

What to do about this? Well, before you think about cutting up your cards, do a little bit of research.

*Check with your bank and see if there are any changes that would affect you. Your bank may not be imposing anything on good customers.

*If they are, maybe do some shopping around. If you have a good credit score, you'd probably be able to get a good credit card with low or no annual fee. Typically, I've found that credit unions offer good cards with low fees and APRs.

*Check if your rewards are worth any annual fee you might incur. Maybe you have a card that gives you miles but you don't really fly. Look into switching to a cash back or points card that would be worth the fee.

*Consider closing newer cards. The older the card is, the more credit history it has and the more it will impact your credit score if you close it. However, it may be worth closing a new card that you don't use if you're going to be charged to put nothing on it.

Has anyone already noticed changes to their credit card fees? What did you do about it?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Store Credit Cards: Good or Bad Idea?

I have now seen multiple commercials touting their holiday sales - no, they don't mean Halloween. They're talking about those holidays - Christmas, Hannukah, and all the other gift giving occasions that occur during the last two months of the year. I can't believe they're here already! And while I will not really pay attention to Christmas until the day after Thanksgiving like I do every year (it's only fair to Thanksgiving), I'm already thinking about how I'm going to save money on holiday shopping.

Enter the store credit card. You've seen them. Heck, maybe you have one or more. When I was younger, I never thought they were a bad idea - I thought it made your finances easier. You could track your spending easier...or something. Riiiiight. I had four store credit cards by the time I was 20. Now, I never really took on a bunch of debt, but I could never resist when a sales associate asked if I would like to save 20% by opening up an account. Who doesn't want to save 20%?! So each time I went into a store and spent more than $5, it only made sense to open up a card. When I actually started paying attention to my credit report and my FICO score, I realized the more credit cards I had open, I was more of a credit risk. So I quickly closed all my accounts and have never looked back.

Until the holiday season....not only do you get money off when you make a purchase, but there could be extra perks! Free shipping, maybe a preview sale, free gift with purchase...UGH. I'm still sticking with what the pros say and my gut instinct and not opening a store account just to save a little bit of money in the short run, but it is awfully hard to do when you could be saving a serious chunk of change.

What do you think? I'm curious if any of you out there have a store credit card and think it's a good idea. What are your strategies for saving money during the holidays?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Free Snuggie!

I'm not going to lie....I'm a Snuggie Lover. I received one for my birthday last year from my friend Nick because I did a fair share of making fun of Snuggies. Like it's so hard to grab the phone or the remote with a blanket?

Fast-forward 6 months and add the chilly fall weather, and I love it! Instead of turning the heat on, I reach for my Snuggie and stay cozy.

If you don't yet have a Slanket, a Snuggie or a bathrobe you wear backwards, now's your chance to get one for free! I was reading one of my favorite personal finance blogs, WiseBread, and found this promo! Check it out and get ready to feel the Snuggie love!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Free Food and Good Flights!

If you're heading out to lunch or dinner, don't forget about Jack in the Box's FREE grilled sandwich with the purchase of a large fountain drink!

Also, if you're in the market to fly somewhere for a Halloween party, JetBlue has a crazy special for $31 for a one-way ticket! They are selling the rest of their open seats on Halloween for $31 today only! I wish it was for when I'm heading to NYC in a couple of months...

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Cheap and Easy Halloween Costumes!

All Hallows Eve is quickly approaching, and while I came up with a good costume idea fairly quickly this year, that is definitely not the norm. I'm usually one of those people who thinks I'll come up with something fabulous...never happens. By the 30th, I'm just throwing my hands in the air and scouring the internet for "quick cheap Halloween costumes" or "Halloween costumes that exist in your closet". I know most of you probably don't want to put a white sheet over your head and call it good, so here are some of my tried and true costumes from the past, plus other suggestions that would be great and inexpensive costumes:

*The iPod person - this may be my most infamous costume. I dressed completely head to toe in black sweats, black gloves, black skull cap, and sunglasses to represent the iPod people on the commercials. The must-have accessory - the white earbuds prominently displayed. Pro: everyone will think you're super creative! Plus, you most likely have everything in your house or easily borrowed, which means really low cost. Con: people think you're a burgular. Which is still a costume!

*I've also been Little Red Riding Hood countless times. I bought a red cape for $10, and paired it with a blouse and a skirt. Accessories were my picnic basket (which I did keep drinks and snacks in) and I kept saying I had to get to my grandmother's house.

*I love the idea from The Newlywed Next Door for her Halloween costume - Angela from "The Office"! Makes it even better and more obvious if you can go with someone who can dress like Dwight! This looks like it'd be a fairly cheap costume. You probably have a cardigan and a pencil skirt in your closet already. Just add some fun accessories that are very "Angela" and voila! You'll be icy and glaring at people in no time!

*My friend Julia suggested American tourists - love it! You could probably find wonderful Hawaiian print shirts, fanny packs and binoculars at Goodwill and it wouldn't cost very much.

*I've seen a basket of laundry - wear some comfortable clothes, cut out a hole in the bottom of a cheap laundry basket big enough for the person wearing it and pile it with clothes. I'm hoping you'd be a laundry basket of clean clothes...

*Something super easy and creative would be a black-eyed pea. Cut out a large letter P (you can make it with construction paper), pin it to your clothes and use black makeup around one of your eyes. Get it? Black-eyed P? Har har har!

*Anything that's current can make an easy and great costume. Last year, Sarah Palin was all the rage, and pretty easy for some of us brunettes with glasses to pull off. This year, I've seen lots of Kate Gosselin wigs (wow) - all you'd need would be the wig and people would know who you were!

*And of course, if you have a big box, paint, and scissors, you could be just about anything. A TV, a refrigerator, a box of candy, robot, dice (you might need a buddy so you could be a pair)...the list goes on and on.

So what am I doing for Halloween? Well, I LOVE 1960's style and I'm obsessed with "Mad Men" so my husband and I are going as Don and Betty Draper! This costume is going to be a little more than I typically spend; however, I did get a dress and shoes that I will wear again, and would have probably purchased anyway. The only extra things I'll need are a blond wig, a petticoat to give my dress some volume, and of course LOTS of fake cigarettes!

What will you be dressing up as for Halloween? Do you have some great ideas you'd love to share about homemade costumes or cheap and easy costumes?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Friday Deals

Hey folks!

Hope you've had a good couple of weeks! The fall weather's definitely starting to kick in up here in Seattle, and from the looks of it, everywhere else in the US! Here are some great deals to jump start your weekend!

*FREE 12 oz hot beverage at 7-11! To promote their new Brazilian blend coffee, they have this game (albeit a somewhat silly one) - for spending a couple of minutes trying out pick up lines on people in a bar, you get a free drink. Try to print this coupon first, but if it doesn't work, head to their website and play the game yourself if you have some minutes to kill. It looks like you can use the coupon once a day through Halloween! I'm going to get mine in a few minutes to wake up!

*FREE body or shower cream when you buy 2 at Bath and Body Works!

*The GAP family is having pretty good online sales through October 20th. Spend $75, get 15% off, 20% off $100, and 25% off $125. Use the Promo Code SAVE123.

* is having a sale - get $5 off every time you buy a pair of shoes ($10 off 2 pairs, $15 off 3, etc) through October 18. Use the Promo Code GETMORE. Definitely took advantage for some new gray pumps I had my eye on...

*A little early, but get a FREE grilled sandwich at Jack in the Box on Tuesday, October 20th with the purchase of a large fountain drink.

*For the fellas, Express has buy 1 MX sweater, get the next one 50%! Perfect for the chilly weather! (Bonus: if you sign up for Express' email list, you get 15% off your next purchase)

That's it until next week! Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Free Theater!

Do you wish that you could go to the theater but think it's just too expensive? Well, now you can! In 120 cities across the country, Theater Communication Group is sharing the theater experience for free! Go to their website to see if your city is on the list and find out what's playing! There's 75,000 tickets and the ticket grab starts today in most cities. Thanks to Alysia for the tip! Have fun!