Cheap eating offers are starting to roll in

I think gift cards are the best gift. They’re easy for the gifter to buy.  And the giftee can get what they want and not have the hassle of returning something that they don’t really want or need. Restaurant gift cards are great, because everyone eats.

Christmas is coming and the bonus gift card offers are staring early this year.  Bonus gift cards mean you get a gift for yourself when you buy a gift for someone else. Or, if you’re me, you just buy gift cards for your favorite restaurants and use the gift card AND the bonus cards yourself. Make sure to read the fine print because the bonus cards can’t usually be used until January, but at least you’ll save money next year.

PF Changs is again offering a $20 bonus card for each $100 gift card purchased.

Roys is offering the same deal.

California Pizza Kitchen is offering…take a guess.

Red Lobster is blazing their own path here. You’ll get a $5 bonus coupon for every $25 spent on gift cards.

We’re only 6 days into November. More of these offers will be popping up soon. Check your favorite restaurant’s website or give them a call to find out if they’ve got a bonus for you.

 

 

$10 off $40 on Up & Up Products at Target

Target just sent me an email for $10 off on a $40 purchase of select Up & Up products, now until 9/20/2014.  If you buy online and choose Store Pickup, you get an extra 10% off. Use your Red Card and save an additional 5%. Online code: SAVE10.  To use the discount in-store, click here. If you’re shopping in-store, check Cartwheel, too. Up & Up product discounts are prevalent on there.

Up & Up is Target’s “private label” aka generic brand. I always choose Up & Up products over the brand name, if it’s available, and I’ve never been disappointed.

Happy shopping!

Do Good. Dine Out. Save Money.

The NoKidHungry program is partnering with restaurants around the country this month to help feed underprivileged kids. You donate a little bit of money, making you feel good about yourself, and you get a little bit of savings. Win-win!

  • If you have a Corner Bakery near you, from now until September 28th, if you go in and donate $5 to NoKidHungry, you’ll get a book of coupons that will save you over $25 in the cafe. If you donate $1, you get a free Whoopie Pie.
  • Donate $1 or more at Togos, and get a free 20 oz. fountain drink.
  • Macaroni Grill will give you $10 off your bill if you donate $5 or $5 off if you donate $2.
  • Like seafood? Joe’s Crab Shack is offering a $20 off coupon (bill must be at least $40) for a $10 donation or $10 off (bill must be at least $20) for a $5 donation. Buy it online because the coupon isn’t good until October 1, 2014 but it doesn’t expire until December 22, 2014. If you’re going to Happy Hour, this is a very good deal.

You can search for participating restaurants in your area here.

Are you having a tax deduction?

Ooops! I mean baby. Are you having a baby?

If you have a Babies R Us or a Buy Buy Baby near you, sign up for both stores’ e-mail list, text list, etc. BuyBuyBaby loooooves to send out “20% off” and “$5 off $15” coupons. And Babies R Us will accept them. Babies R Us will also send some coupons out, but not at BuyBuy’s frequency. And BuyBuy will also accept their sister store’s coupons (Bed Bath & Beyond). Depending on the cashier, Babies R Us may or may not accept Bed Bath & Beyond coupons.

If you’re having a baby, register at Babies R Us. With Endless Earnings you earn 5-10% on all items purchased off of your registry, even your own. That includes furniture, diapers, formula, and most everything you need. They’ll send you a gift card of your earnings. Also, they’ll send you a “completion coupon” (currently 15% off an entire transaction) a few weeks before your due date to purchase anything you didn’t receive. You can also add to your registry before checking out when you’re using the completion coupon in case you think of some more necessities.

Babies R Us also offers the Rewards R Us program. This is yet another way to get some earnings. You earn Rewards dollars (coupons) for your own purchases when you use the card at checkout at Babies R Us and Toys R Us. Rewards start at $250 in spending (2 points per dollar), which you’ll hit (and keep hitting) pretty quickly. It’s just like stacking coupons.

If you want to go for the trifecta, open a Toys/Babies R Us Mastercard. You’ll earn 4 points per dollar (at Babies and Toys R Us) with the Rewards R Us program and 1 point per dollar elsewhere. They’ll also send you card-holder only coupons and a one-time account opening “% off “coupon for your entire first purchase. (I didn’t sign up for the card, so I’m not sure if it’s 10, 15, or 20% off)

Put that baby to work!

Just for U was made just for me

If you live in an area with a Safeway, hopefully you’re already a Safeway Rewards member.  However, you may not have bothered to sign up for their “Just For U” emails. You are missing out on some huge discounts.

A few times a week, you’ll receive an email preview of the offers that are available. If you log into their site (or the mobile app), you can add the personalized offers to your card.  You can also add mobile coupons. I’ve noticed that many items on the personalized offers are also on the mobile coupons page, doubling the discount. You can also use any paper coupons you have and triple your savings. I saved 47% yesterday (it shows on your receipt).

There’s usually at least one free offer available, too. Yesterday I got a free Kashi frozen pizza (which was surprisingly good and I will definitely buy it) and a free box of Jolly Ranchers gelatin. And, because they track my purchases, I’m getting grande Starbucks drinks for $2 this month. Yay!

Obviously, they are tracking what you’re buying. That’s really not a bad thing. Come on! It’s a grocery store!!! You’re not buying anything illegal. They send you offers based on your shopping habits and what you’re already buying. It’s a total win for you. Who cares if they know you like to buy Lucky Charms every once in a while? Maybe you’ll get a discount on them next time.

You can also create an e-shopping list of the discounted items. This is great if you’re using the mobile app. It even lets you check items off as you put them in your cart. I tend to forget things very quickly, so this is one of my favorite features. I can see the offer price and compare it to similar items as I’m looking at the shelf. The Just For U price has been the lowest, in my experiences.

Just for U is a free app/service. Go sign up!

Line by line

mint.jpg

I just logged onto Mint to do my daily account check and was alerted to a finance charge on my credit card!!! No way!!!!

I knew I paid the balance in full before the due date, as I hate to pay to borrow money (But it does happen. I like to travel and that’s not always cheap). So, I went back through the online statement and made sure my math was correct and that it wasn’t my mistake. Nope. It was theirs.

I called the number on the back of the card and the customer service guy went through the  credits and debits and mentioned every possible way that the finance charge was correct. Once he had determined that, yes, the charge was actually incorrect, he reversed it.  It wasn’t a huge amount, but why pay for something that I don’t owe?

It pays to go through each of your account statements, line by line, every month. Computers do make errors and those errors might be costing you money.