freebies Archives

Free 8x10 Collage Print at Walgreens


Through Saturday, Oct. 23, you can get a free 8x10 collage print at with the coupon code 8X10TREAT. These make nice little gifts for grandparents.

Select the "pick up in store" option to avoid paying shipping.

Starbucks: Free 4-Pack of Via Natural Infusions

Play a surprisingly fun matching game on, and they'll send you a free four-pack of the new flavored Via instant coffee sleeves. You'll need to sign up for an account, and then they'll mail you the sample. 

If you haven't tried Starbucks Via, I have to share that I LOVE the stuff. To me, it tastes better than a cup of Starbucks coffee I brew at home. Maybe because I usually make it with a cup of hot milk and I'm a latte girl at heart. Anyway, that's my totally unsolicited, unpaid endorsement.

Thanks to Money Saving Mom, who for some reason is embarrassed that her family goes through five loads of laundry per week, for the tip.

Free Auntie Anne's Pretzel from Buyzooka


Buyzooka's doing another Freezooka today: a free Auntie Anne's pretzel, value of $3. Get it while it lasts. (It's a voucher that they'll mail you.) Good for Chicago and Chicagoland locations only.

Six Flags Fright Fest BOGO Coupons at Dunkin Donuts

My Dunkin' Donuts put out a stack of coupons for buy one, get one free tickets to Six Flags' Fright Fest Oct. 2-11, or $15 off Oct. 15-Oct. 31. The signage said you were supposed to buy something, but my shop was just giving them away.

Of course, if you buy the season pass for next year you can go to Fright Fest as much as you want for the rest of 2010. And you know, it's only open on weekends.

And, yes, yes, I used to work there as the Bride of Frankenstein. Tell us another one, Granny.

More Dunkin' Donuts deals available now:

  • Free treat bag with purchase of 1 dozen doughnuts or 50-count Munchkins. They are small but cute, and really, I'd rather my kids have small bags, wouldn't you?
  • Use this Amex card at DD, get $5. Still available, and I really need to do this since we are at DD at least 3x a week since it opened up right outside the gymnastics center in Oak Park. (In fact, Nutmeg and I are there right now.)
  • Free doughnut with purchase of medium or larger beverage. This offer is on the bottom of every receipt at my location: Go to within 3 days and tell about your visit.
  • Free medium beverage when you enroll in Dunkin' Perks, plus another on your birthday.

Free Night of Theater in Chicago

You know what I don't like? The way practically every theater company in the United States spells their name "theatre." This is America, actors! Love it or leave it.

That's what I like about Free Night of Theater 2010. Free Night of TheatER. Speaking of which, you can go to the theatER for free in Chicago during October. Just go to the Free Night of Theater 2010 Web site and choose from the available shows.

New tickets go up every October Tuesday at 10 a.m. So right now, the pickings look slim, with only "I Do! I Do!" in Evanston still taking online reservations. Tomorrow you should see a bunch more shows there. In the past it looks like they've been offering The Chicago Shakespeare Theatre's Romeo and Juliet, among many others.

It appears that all you have to do to reserve your free tickets is fill out a Web form with some demographic information.

You know what I don't like about writing theatER? It kind of looks like you'll be going to a dramatized emergency room. Like Tony N Tina's wedding, but you might get an emergency appendectomy.


Free Advil for First 500,000

This page looks like it's getting slammed, but if you can get through, you should be able to register for a free sample of Advil painkiller. A reader of Money Saving Mom says it was mentioned on The View this morning. Since I uncharacteristically accidentally watched some of The View today while cleaning up my kitchen, I am kind of mad that I missed this. Must be some kind of conspiracy that made my baby get all cranky and need to be put to bed before the spot aired.

Sunday Newspaper Ads and Coupons: Free Eos Lip Balm, Free Schick Razors, Cheap Apple Juice

Lots of freebies in the Sunday paper today! Free Nivea lip balm, free Schick Hydro razors, free Renu contact solution, all kinds of free after Office Depot Rewards stuff, free utility blades, shelf linter and book light at Menards. Scroll down for the deets.

I'm in Milwaukee today, and the Journal Sentinel (home of my first journalism internship) I picked up had only SmartSource and a General Mills insert. But the SS is a nice fat one, with $1/1 GE light bulb which usually results in free bulbs, $1/1 Energizer batteries, $1/1 Tom's of Maine toothpaste and deodorant, $1/1 Frigo string cheese, $1/1 Bush's beans (these usually go on sale for about $1.67) a Walgreen's store coupon for $.50/1 Kleenex 4-pack as well as a $.50/1 manufacturer's coupon for same, and two $4/1 Schick Hydro coupons which make them free at either CVS or Walgreens this week.

There should also be a RedPlum in your Tribune; the JS does not get RP for some reason.

Continue reading...

$5 Off CVS Halloween Stuff Coupon Today Only = Free Skulls

I stopped into CVS in Milwaukee today to get a newspaper and some cash. I received a coupon out of the in-store coupon printer for $5 off any Halloween costume, accessory or decor -- good today only. There are plenty of decor and accessory items that are under $5 so this is a nice coupon! I scanned my mother's card and got the same coupon for her too.




I bought these two skulls with light-up eyes -- they were 2/$5. Other items I noticed under $5 were a witch wig and novelty cups with straws.

P.S. I went back tonight and with my mom's coupon I bought 2 bags of fake spider webs for $5 even -- they didn't even charge tax -- and with Epu's coupon I bought a pack of tea lights for jack-o-lanterns for $4.99.

Free Photo Collage at Walgreens



Walgreens is giving out free 8x10 photo collages today (Sept. 30) and tomorrow (Oct. 1). These make nice little gifts. Order here, use the coupon code FBCOLL, and then select in-store pickup so you don't have to pay shipping.

Thanks, Mashup Mom! And get well soon.

Free Ice Cream at Cold Stone Creamery Today



I'm really really busy this week helping get the Parenthesis Consignment Sale ready in Oak Park. So busy that I almost forgot to tell you the extremely important news that it's Cold Stone Creamery free ice cream day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. today, head to Cold Stone Creamery for a 3 oz. Kate's Creation, which is caramel apple ice cream, apple pie filling, graham cracker pie crust and chocolate shavings. I'm gonna try to squeeze it in between dinner and my evening volunteer shift, if the line's not too long!

In the Chicago area, there are 2 Cold Stone Creamery locations in the city, one in Oak Park, one in Evanston, one in La Grange, one in Oak Lawn and one in Rosemont.

Dominick's Just for U Review and Giveaway

Gather round while I tell you about my experience trying out Dominick's Just for U personalized savings program -- then comment for a chance to win one of eight $25 gift cards!

I just logged into my Dominick's account to try out the Just for U personalized savings program. Since I already had a sign in to the Web site with my card number entered, I didn't actually have to sign up for Just for U. The personalized deals just popped up, and I could hit a button to add them to my card just like I add regular coupons to my card.

The free eggs was the first thing I added to my card -- 12 Lucerne Grade A eggs.

Continue reading...

Free Kobari Beef at Panda Express Tomorrow: Print Coupon Now



Tomorrow's the day that Panda Express is giving out free Kobari Beef (an Asian barbecue dish). The coupon is up on their Facebook page now. So if I were you, I'd print that baby in case too many get printed and they take it down.

Like that ever happens, right? 

The coupon's for a single serving, no purchase necessary.

Free Beer -- OK, Free Budweiser at Least



In college I dated this Swedish guy with a joke about American beer. He said it was like having sex in a canoe. Anyone know the punch line?

Speaking of which, Budweiser is giving out free samples of its beer this week in its National Happy Hour on Wednesday, Sept. 29. The Bud Web site is excruicatingly vague about what this involves, so here's a newspaper article that explains what's going on.

What's going on is, if you go to a bar on Wednesday, you might be offered a free sample of up to 12 oz. of Bud. Bottom's up.

Photo by L.C.Nøttaasen, used via Creative Commons license. 

Free Car Seat Check on Saturday 9/25



The people at SpaFinder might think it's Wellness Week, but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it's long unpronouncable acronym week Child Passenger Safety Week. Whatever you want to call it, you can get a free car seat inspection on Saturday, Sept. 25, to find out if you are one of the 75% of parents who have your car seat installed incorrectly.

Shall we get into a discussion of how the auto industry and the car seat industry have passed the liability buck by providing families with a system that is apparently failing 3/4 of the time? Or about how the economists behind Freakonomics combed through crash data and found that for kids 2 and over, seat belts are just as effective in preventing death as car seats?

OK, let's just list the times and places. And skepticism aside, I highly recommend you get your car seat installation inspected whether you are expecting a new baby or even if you've had littles for awhile but never had your set-up checked out, or if you're not sure what configuration your kid currently needs to be in. We had a check by the California Highway Patrol the day befor Nutmeg was born in 2004, and we learned things that a lot of parents don't seem to know about car seat use -- like that you're not supposed to leave the car seat's handle upright while you're driving.

WHERE: CVS Pharmacy, 55th Street and Western Avenue, Chicago, IL.

WHEN: September 25th from 10:00a.m.-2:00p.m.

WHAT: Child Safety Expert and Certified Passenger Safety Technician Kimberlee Mitchell will be on-hand to take parents through new industry recommendations, installation tips and do's and don'ts of the road when it comes to child safety. Sponsored by Dorel Juvenile Group and AAA.

Don't live in the city? Here's a page listing a ton of suburban locations where you can also get a car seat check-up Saturday.




Free Popcorn at Classic Cinemas

Sign up for Classic Cinemas emails during October to get a FREE 46 oz popcorn with unlimited refills. I think you get a little something if you sign up during the rest of the year, but certainly not a freebie that good.
Our downtown theater in Oak Park is a Classic Cinemas, and I love it that popcorn refills are always free. This summer when I took the kids to the $1 movies, I would buy one small popcorn and we'd make several trips back to the concession stand for refills. It gave us something to do while skipping the scary parts.
There are also Classic Cinemas in Downers Grove, Naperville, St. Charles and many other suburbs.
The Classic Cinemas site is also advertising $1 popcorn on Tuesdays.

Free Carmex at Walgreens After Coupon and Register Rewards

Print the $1/1 coupon for the new Carmex here.

Buy the new Carmex lip cream for $2.99, get $2 Register Rewards back.

After the coupon, you're paying $2 and getting $2 back. Free!

(As a recovering Carmex addict, I'm almost scared to try. But ... I'll take one for the team.)

Thanks, Cheaper Than Cheap Chicago.

Free 5" Eli's Cheesecake Today Only



Only today, Thursday Sept. 16, you can get a free 5-inch cheesecake at Eli's Cafe and Retail Store. Instead of a coupon, you need to show them a Tweet.


Well, Eli's is on Twitter. Their handle is @elischeesecake. Last night they sent out this tweet:

We have an even better offer! Show this tweet at Eli's Cheesecake Cafe tomorrow for a Free 5" Cheesecake #elicake Thanks Marc!

I just contacted Eli's to confirm that this offer is good today, at their headquarters at 6701 W. Forest Preserve Drive.

How to show them the Tweet? Well, first go to Scroll down. Right now the Tweet promising free cheesecake is near the bottom of the first page, but if they send out more tweets throughout today, it will move to the second page. You should be able to find it.

They just answered my question (via Twitter, of course) about how to show the Tweet:


@carriekirby You can show today's tweet on your phone or print screen a hard copy. Free 5" Cheesecake at Eli's today when you do!

If anyone out there gets free cheesecake today, please report back!

You could also win a free cheesecake by entering here -- they give one away every month.

Photo from Eli's Cheesecake.

Jewel-Osco Catalina Craziness

I'm kind of on a break from aggressively scooping up grocery deals lately. I think it's necessary for extreme couponers to allow themselves to step back when it becomes a bit much, otherwise it's just not fun anymore, and if it's not fun, it's not worth it.

But if you're all systems go, check out Mashup Mom's post about coupons for free pop 12-packs printing out when you buy a bunch of Chex Mix, which is already part of Jewel-Osco's instant savings deal this week.

Then there's this $1.50/1 Pillsbury Sweet Moments coupon, which can also become a freebie by combining deals at Jewel. (Or at Dominick's by combining with e-coupons you may already have on your card.)

What are Catalina deals, you ask? I explain Catalinas from the ground up in this Wise Bread post.

Bathroom Freebies: Free Dulcolax, Free Flushable Wipes

Don't you love when freebies dovetail? Today, you can sign up for a free bottle of Dulcolax to ahem, stimulate your economy, and then, well, let's not continue this metaphor. Here are the freebies:

1) Printable coupon for $8/1 any size Dulcolax Balance. You fill out a quick form, give them your email and agree to accept spam, and then you can print the coupon. I was able to print a second one, but had to go back to the form instead of just hitting "Back" on my browser.



These are on sale for $6.99 at Walgreens and there is a $2/1 in the September Wag's coupon book, so you might be able to get overage if they let you. Also, I saw on Mashup Mom that if you have a hangtag for a full rebate, they have extended the deadline. Darn, I threw mine out!

2) Up to two tubs Cottonelle flushable wipes free.

This is one of those "send one to a friend" deals, but nowhere does it say your "friend" can't be your spouse, child or roommate. Depends how generous you are, I guess. (It appears this one is very popular; the site keeps timing out for me.)

(Thanks, Money Saving Mom for the deal -- the cynical commentary was all mine.)

Free (or Almost Free) Stuff That Arrived in My Mail

Last week my mailbox just overflowed with frugal goodies. Check it out, and then comment and let me know what free or very cheap goodies you've scored lately:



Free business cards from Zazzle. This offer is no longer available, but these cards are really nice and shipping was free too.



Huge box of Huggies for just $10.50. Got this on Amazon by combining magazine coupon codes with the 30% off Subscribe & Save offer, which is now part of Amazon Mom. (P.S.: I paid the remaining $10.50 with a gift card I got with SwagBucks, so I didn't actually spend any cash at all!)



Free Pop Pals from Franklin Goose. Way back when, Franklin Goose was offering credits to people who reviewed products on their site. I participated and earned $35, but had trouble finding stuff to spend it on since they don't sell sippy cups or sun block, the organic-type stuff I have needed lately. So I bought these Pop Pals, which I thought would work for popsicles for some reason, but they're really only for ice pops -- despite the valiant efforts of my kids and a friend to use them on fruit bars:



 I'm kind of regretting this purchase because they will clutter up my kitchen and won't get used much. Oh well, they were free, with free shipping, after my credits.

 And, a little Groupon action:



$25 worth of organic raisins and other dried fruit from This cost me only $10 in shipping, since I got the $25 Groupon for free with credits I earned thanks to you, the best blog readers on earth.

I have bought several $25 vouchers for on Groupon at $10 each . It has come up on different cities and I wouldn't be surprised to see it come up again.

Today I got my first order. Look at those beautiful organic raisins and dried fruits! I'm happy about these vouchers, which I hope to use for Christmas gifts as well. We haven't actually eaten any because we have lots of fresh fruit in the house right now, but they look moist and lucious.

But I would be happier if their shipping rate was better. Shipping is $10 for 0-10 pounds.

For this order, I ended up paying about $12.50 because to use the whole $25 I had to go over a bit. For my second order, I'm selecting $23.94 worth of stuff, and it looks like that will work with the $25 Groupon. I'd rather leave a buck on the table than go over. This time around, I'm getting a jar of almond butter and two pounds pistachios.

Sunday Ads: More Free OfficeMax Paper, Free Candy Corn

OfficeMax is offering those 10-ream cases of office paper for free after MaxPerks again, as well as a free 12-pack of Sharpies, free Scotch tape pop-ups, Post-It pop-ups and Mead Five Star Advance notebooks. Have you successfully used MaxPerks? I went in this week and got the paper, tape and Sharpies, but I can't tell if I'll be getting the rewards or not.

Continue reading...

OfficeMax MaxPerks: Do You Use It? My First Experience Leaves Me Perplexed

This week I applied for an OfficeMax MaxPerks card for the first time and drove into Chicago to get some free paper. While the shopping experience was painless -- the free paper, Sharpies and Scotch Pop-Up Tape I selected were clearly marked -- I'm a bit perplexed by the MaxPerks system.

I knew I was going to have to wait until the end of the quarter to get the rewards, but I expected some notation on my receipt to say that I had just earned them. But there was nothing. When I got home and logged into my new MaxPerks account, I also saw nothing.

For those who use MaxPerks, is this normal? Do you wait until the end of the quarter to find out if you even earned anything? I can't imagine going back to the store months later and returning stuff because they failed to generate the expected rewards.

I guess that's a big advantage to the company.

Free 7 Days of Tanning

Tanning is bad for you. I would never advocate it.

However, if you're going to do something that's bad for you, paying for it is even worse. So if you're going to tan -- at this late stage of the summer -- at least get it for free with Buyzooka's freebie today.

Seven days of tanning for new clients, plus a free spray tan, at Ultimate Exposure Tanning Centers. Get it here before it's gone.

Buyzooka is another daily deal site, and they're giving some absolutely free deals to promote their Chicago launch. I'll keep you posted if anything healthier comes up.

Two Free Photo Books (You Pay Shipping) Expiring Today and Tomorrow

I was going to tell you about two free photo books deals expiring imminently, one for Shutterfly and and one for Picaboo. But then I found out that Picaboo actually has a coupon code out for a free photo book that is good through the end of the year!



So great for those of us who'd like to wait until more of the year is over to put together books for Christmas gifts.

Free Shutterfly 20-page photo book coupon code: 8PBA91. (You pay shipping. Expires tomorrow, Sept. 1)

Free Picaboo 20-page photo book coupon code: FREEBK. (You pay shipping. Expires today, 8/31. Thanks to Bargain Briana for this one.)

And the free Picaboo photo book code that's good through Dec. 31: 1GGLGB. I found this one just by Googling and landing on this sign-up page. The details page says it's for first-time customers only and expires 12/31/10.

Photo from

Free Gyros Day Report: Nom Nom Nom

Right at lunchtime today, I stopped by Dino's on the 100 block of Madison in Oak Park with two kids and three Kronos Free Gyros Day coupons. I was very hungry and a bit nervous, remembering reports of long lines and gyros shortages last year.

Well, I was able to park just outside the pizza shop's door at a meter that had 31 minutes left on it. I pulled two sleepy kids out of the car and marched in with our three coupons.

There was no one waiting at the register and only two people eating in the restaurant. There was a sign on the window advertising Free Gyros Day. The staff were a bit hesitant but not rude. At first the woman at the register told me she could only take one coupon per person, but when I gestured to my two kids, the manager told her to ring them up one at a time.

Within a minute or two, I was presented with a bag containing three gyros sandwiches, and we were out of there. Dino's makes a gyros that is very generous on the meat, and a bit heavy on the sauce. Personally I wouldn't mind more onions, but then again more meat vs. more onions is certainly giving you more bang for your buck. If you were paying a buck, that is.

Here are my kids' photo reviews:


Toth: I like it! I really like it! (That baby loves meat and anything salty so it's the perfect combo for Mr. Skinnybones.) 


Pebbles: Food? Again??? Eeeew!!! (Pretty much her reaction at every meal.)

Did you get a free gyros sandwich today? Comment about your experience on this post.

Free Gyros Day Today! And More Freebies Throughout the Year

This post went out as this week's Deals and Steals newsletter. Subscribe here.



Free Gyros Day! Last year, many Chicagoans were taken by surprise when Kronos offered a day of free gyros, but this year, we are ready. Let's hope the restaurants are ready too. (I'm heading to Dino's in Oak Park with two of my little Frugalistas in 90 minutes.)

WHAT: One free gyros to any customer with a coupon at any of 54 participating Chicagoland locations.

WHEN: Today! Tuesday, August 31, all day.

HOW: Print out a coupon here, then check this Frugalista post for a list of locations.

Continue reading...

Prep Time for Tomorrow's Free Gyros Day

I just went to the Kronos Web site and printed out two coupons for each person in my family for tomorrow's Free Gyros Day. I had no problem accessing the site, making me hopeful that the whole event will go more smoothly than last year.



I didn't go last year, but I did hear a report from someone who waited in line for half an hour only to have his local restaurant run out of gyros.

Why did I print two coupons per person? Because I'm not sure which of the two Oak Park locations we'll hit, and you can select your location and have the name of it printed on your coupon. Now, it also says, "Reedemable at any participating location," but I'm not taking any chances.

To check for a location near you, see the drop-down menu on the coupon registration page.

It's funny, the rules also say "ONE COUPON PER PERSON," but it also says, "Please note: You may use different email addresses to print a coupon for a different location." Does that mean we are welcome to hit up two or more different establishments and have more than one free gyros? Oh well, I suppose we should leave some gyros "on the shelf" for others anyway.

The other rule that made me chuckle: "Up to six people per household." I'm taking that to mean that kids can each get their own free gyros, but only if one adult comes with five or fewer kids? So what if my husband and I had five kids, which is unusual but certainly not unheard of? And really, who cares what household we are in? I suppose they just felt like it would be rude to say: "Don't be coming in here with your 10 kids, haven't you ever heard of birth control?"

Because, you know, it would. Be rude, that is.

Whether you're bringing your eight kids or just your one hungry self, I'd love to hear reports from the field tomorrow as you go for the gyros. Comments are open!

$2 Off Ball Park Franks Coupon = Free Hot Dogs





Ball Park has a coupon on its Facebook page for $2/1 product. As is often the case with these high-value coupons, they say people are having a little trouble accessing it right now, but hopefully with a little patience you can get one.

Ball Park Franks are $1.50 at Jewel-Osco this week, so there you go: Free franks. Maybe even overage. Happy Labor Day.

Thanks to Ball Park for emailing me about this hot offer.

Free Gyros Day Is Tuesday!





For the second year in a row, Kronos is giving out free gyros sandwiches for a full day -- and that day is Tuesday, August 31!

Print the coupon for the free gyros here. Then take it to one of the restaurants listed below, any time during business hours on Tuesday, for the free gyros sandwich. There is no purchase required, but Kronos is encouraging everyone to help military families through the Fisher House Foundation, and they'll have collection boxes on hand for that.

There are 54 participating Chicagoland locations:


Continue reading...

Free Sample of Eucerin Daily Skin Balance



Like Eucerin on Facebook and fill in your address to get a free sample of Eucerin's new lotion. You also have to pledge to "put the health of your skin first," but I hope that part's not legally binding.

Nutty Guys Groupon and Free Picaboo Photo Book

Here are two deals posted elsewhere today, both of which made me, personally, squee:

1) $10 for a $25 credit at The Nutty Guys Web site -- today's Groupon for Tulsa, but available to anyone, anywhere. I was just reading that Money Saving Mom grabbed this Groupon recently, and I was so jealous that I missed it! So today I snagged 3, the upper limit. And I will love you forever if you clicke through that first link to sign up and order, so I can get a Groupon credit. (DEAD DEAL)

(Thanks to Coupon Geek for noticing this!)

2) Free Picaboo photo book, for only the cost of $8.99 shipping. This is the second time I heard about this lately, but this time around it was Money Saving Mom.

Try Sam's Club Free This Weekend and Sales Tax Holiday




OK, I'm not a big fan of the Wal-Mart or the Sam's Club, but I woudln't want you to hear about it from someone else: Try Sam's Club with no fee this weekend, August 6, 7 and 8.

This coincides with the back-to-school Illinois sales tax holiday, which I'm sure you've heard about by now. I want to post about strategic savings for the tax holiday, which runs Friday, August 6, through Sunday, August 15, but I can't promise I'll get to it before I leave for BlogHer '10 in New York City tomorrow morning.

In case I don't get a chance to write about this more until next week, here's a list of the clothing and school supplies included in the sales tax holiday. No, you don't HAVE to be shopping for a student to get it! Between this and the school supply sales going on, this is definitely the best time to stock up on scissors, pens and notebooks, not to mention steel-toed shoes, athletic supporters and rubber pants.

(All on the list. I'm wondering -- do they mean rubber pants like, for duck hunting? Or rubber pants for the baby to wear over his swim diaper? Or some third type of rubber pants I'm not aware of?)

Free Cheesecake! National Cheesecake Day!

Eli's Cheesecake is giving away free slices of cheesecake all day today! A different flavor per hour, and you could actually get one slice per hour through 6 p.m. if you have the whole day to hang around eating cheesecake and no concern for calories.



That's at  6701 W. Forest Preserve Drive in Chicago. The phone number is 773-205-3800.

Or, "Like" the Cheesecake Factory on Facebook for a coupon for a $1.50 slice. Or just go there tomorrow, July 30, and get any slice of cheesecake half price.

(Thanks, Free Things to Do in Chicago!)

Free Web Apps for Students

Bah. I don't believe in this "back to school" phenomenon. Summer is eternal, or it least it can't end until I've attended a summer festival and swum at my friend's neighborhood beach in Hyde Park.

However, my email box believes in back to school, and today it brought you a list of three free little computer programs (aka apps) for your students with their newfangled computers and such.

1) ( - Recently acquired by Plaxo, this free personal scheduling program helps students plan their classes, study time, and social calendar. And yes, it'll send the kids texts when they're supposed to be doing something. Which is good, cause I hear these kids will take all kinds of orders via smartphone that they would just ignore face to face.

2) ( - An advanced Track Changes, this service helps students collaborate on documents by giving them the freedom to send out the same document to everyone in the group at one time, upload each version they send back, and then compare everyone's contribution simultaneously in one view.

3) ( - Automatic bibliography and citation maker enables students to plug in their term paper sources and out comes the Works Cited page in a Microsoft Word document. (Sigh! Why didn't we have this when I was a student?)

This list came from Nordic River, which is not in fact the maker of a combo Nordic Trak/rowing machine but the makers of the middle app there.

  1. Do you guys know of more decent free apps for students? Or if you know of any free appies (as in appetizers), that would be even better.

This Week's Deals and Steals Newsletter: Free and Cheap This Week

This week's Deals and Steals newsletter collects a few free and cheap deals in the Chicago area for the next couple of weeks. Some of these will be new to you, others old news. You can subscribe to the weekly email newsletter here.

  • Free workshops on creating eco-friendly play spaces and kids projects at Colori Eco Paint Boutique on Saturday, July 31.
  • Free entrance: Fiesta del Sol street fair in Pilsen, July 29 - August 1. Family-friendly event features carnival rides, giveaways and Mexican food.
  • Cheap classroom supplies (up to 80% off) at Learning Resources tent sale in Vernon Hills. August 5-7 and August 12-14. (Thanks, Mashup Mom!)
  • Free at CVS this week: free photo book and free or (if you have coupons) moneymaking Kotex product. (Also, in an update, moneymaking BioTrue contact solution.)
  • Free garage sale finder: See every advertised rummage sale in the Chicago area this weekend on the map at ChicagoNow blog Garage Sale Warrior.

Free at Starbucks: iTunes Downloads

I'm working from Starbucks in the West Loop this morning (pretend like I'm on Foursquare), and I just picked up two cards for free song downloads on iTunes. One of for "The National" by Bloodbuzz Ohio, and the other is for "The High Wire," by Hang From the Lights.

Actually, maybe those song names are band names and song names are band names? The Frugalista is not so hip as to have ever heard of them.

The cards each have a unique code on the back, so I can't share them here, but if you stop in to Starbucks (like to get a free cup of brewed coffee for your empty beans bag, like I just did), look for cards.

Oh, and their wireless is now free for everyone -- you don't hafta have a registered Starbucks card anymore.

And finally, a young woman just gave me her table because she saw me looking for a power outlet and she wasn't using it! If that woman were in a Jane Austen novel, she would be the lovely-but-poor heroine who gets the dashing wealthy baronet in the end.

Free Parking at Watertower Place Starts Tomorrow - July 23-25

I posted this before, but wanted to move it up since it starts tomorrow.

WHAT: Free Parking at Watertower Place when you spend $100 or more (savings of $28)

WHEN: Next weekend, Friday July 23- Sunday, July 25

FROM THE PRESS RELEASE: Additional discounts and incentives will be available during the of weekend of Friday, July 23 from participating retailers such as Macy's, American Girl Place, adidas Sport Performance Store, Soma Intimates, Pandora, Banana Republic, Betsey Johnson, White House|Black Market, and many more.  Billabong will be host an in-store Beach Party Saturday afternoon featuring a swim suite sale, DJ and live models.  Stop by the concierge desk to receive a brochure detailing the additional discounts and incentives. 
A complete list of stores, events and special promotions, terms and conditions of parking are available at  For concierge service call (312) 440-3166.

Free Screening of Ramona and Beezuz - DEAD DEAL



Sorry, this event is booked up.

What a great freebie for those with kids:

WHAT: Free screening of new Ramona and Beezuz movie

WHEN: Saturday, July 24. Registration starts at 10 a.m., movie at 11

WHERE:  Cinemark Century Theatre in 1715 Maple Ave. in Evanston

BONUS: Stay after for a free creative activity and a free Tshirt

Register at the link above for a VIP pass in advance. This event is sponsored run by Chicagonista, my friend MJ Tam's Web site, and oh how I wish it was not happening on the rare weekend that my daughters go to stay with their grandparents! I really want to see this movie and would have loved to see it for free.


Mad Crazy Shopping: Never, Ever Pay $3 for a Tiny Box of Cereal

My cereal stock in the pantry was actually getting down to only one shelf. Which meant it was time for another free-cereal extravaganza, which Dominick's stepped right up to provide. Here's the crazy trip I did this morning:

2 Golden Grahams, 12 oz. $1.99 each

1 Cheerios 8.9 oz. 99 cents

1 Nature Valley Cashew Nut Clusters, FREE (why??)

1 Nature Valley bars Sweet & Salty, FREE

This is the "buy 4, save $4 plus free box of granola bars" deal at Dominick's this week. First of all, there's some crazy business with how the prices are ringing up. The cereals should all be $1.99, but as you can see the Cheerios rang up for only 99 cents. I've seen reports of this happening to lots of other people too.

The granola bars came up free as they were supposed to, but somehow the NV clusters came up free too. Huh??

So without any coupons, I'd have paid $5 for these five items. Not good enough, right?

Hence, I used paper coupons: $.75/2 Golden Grahams from a blinkie in the store, $.55/1 Cheerios printable that was probably expired, $.50/1 Nature Valley Sweet & Salty printable, and $1/1 NV Nut Clusters printable.

After the paper coupons, my cost is down $2.80 to $2.20.

Not good enough!

Bring on the e-coupons. I have been sporadically adding e-coupons on ShortCuts, Cellfire and the Dominick's site as they appear, and at Mashup Mom's prompting I went online last night and added new ones. Here's what came off:

$.75 for Golden Grahams

two $.55 for Cheerios

three $.50 for NV granola bars

three $1 for NV nut clusters

So that's $6.30 in e-coupons.

Final cost: NEGATIVE $4.10!

Yes, according to my receipt, buying these five items led to four bucks in overage to apply to the rest of my order. Pretty great considering that the regular price (pronounced in a derisive tone with raised eyebrows) for one box of these little cereals was $2.99.

Oh! More news flashes!

  • Huggies wipes are $1.99, and I had a $2/1 e-coupon loaded. Also used an expired $.50/1 coupon, so that generated overage too.
  • Mom 2 Mom diapers jumbo packs on clearance for $6, and there are small booklets with $1/1 coupons by the pharmacy. Last time I bought a Mom 2 Mom product, a $2/1 printed out. When I used that and bought a pack today, another $2/1 printed.
  • I got 3 Fage (pronounced fah-yay, according to their Facebook page) yogurt cups for 25 cents each after the Facebook coupon
  • And I splurged on  an 8-pack of Starbucks Via on sale for $6.99, used $1/1 printable coupon and two $1/1 e-coupons came off, for a final price of $4 or 50 cents per cup of instant coffee. Sounds crazy, but this stuff is actually good, especially when you pour it in hot milk. I'm going to be spending the weekend with people who brew bad coffee, so I thought it would be a prudent buy.

I also stopped by Jewel-Osco and got a free loaf of bakery bread with the no-longer-available coupon and two packs of blueberries with the $2 produce coupon. So the berries cost me all of 50 cents. Also, Tribe hummus is BOGO @ $3 something and I had two $.75/1 coupons.

People, I'm going offline for the weekend for some family time. Please forgive me for not posting Sunday deals! Have a good one!


Free Binaca!

OK, I think this was on Growing Pains? Where they do the Taming of the Shrew, and Alyssa Milano's dumb best friend has to be Bianca? But she keeps saying Binaca?

That was pretty funny. But you know what's a matter of utmost seriousness? FREE BINACA! The following is pasted directly from the email I received from Binaca HQ:

Here's a great deal from Binaca Breath Freshener! Get a FREE Binaca today! It's easy, just visit and follow these steps:

1. Share or Tweet about the FREE Binaca promo on Facebook or Twitter
2. Like Binaca on Facebook or Follow Binaca on Twitter
3. Order your free Binaca!

Sunday Ads: Here Come the School Supplies Deals

On the second Sunday in July 2009, I wrote up the Sunday ads from the alternative birthing center at the hospital, the morning after our little boy joined the family. Today I'm going to dash this out because friends and family are descending on the house and yard at 3 p.m. for a first birthday barbecue.

But guess what? Fourth of July is in the rearview mirror, which means It's time for back-to-school deals. (Insert lament here about how the retailers rush everything these days.) Actually, the fact that they start early is a good thing for bargain hunters, because it gives us six weeks to stalk the loss-leader offers to fill out our kids' supply lists.

The School Supply Deals

Walgreens: 10 Crayola markers 99 cents, Fiskars kids scissors 99 cents, and with in-ad coupon, erasers and novelty pencils 9 cents, legal pads 29 cents, Mead envelopes 69 cents, pocket folders 8/$1.

CVS: Sun-Tues only, get free Paper Mate pens and kids scissors after 99 cents ExtraBucks. Limit 1 each.

Staples: Thru Wed only: 1 cent each with $5 purchase: folders (limit 10) and 8-pack pencils (limit 2). a ream of mulitpurpose white paper is 1 cent after $4.98 easy rebate, limit 2. There's a coupon in the ad for $5 off a $30 purchase, good all week.

Office Depot: Buy Mr. Sketch Markers at $7.99, get a $7.99 prepaid Visa card by mail. Buy a Singline stapler for $15.99, free after $2 instant rebate and $13.99 mail-in rebate. $1 each after sending away for Visa cards: ream of multipurpose paper, 25-pack sheet protectors, Pentel mechanical pencils.

Toys R Us: Free lunch kit up to $9.99 when you buy any backpack at $12.99 or more. Buy one, get one free Crayola crayons and markers

Kmart has a free lunch kit with backpack purchase.

World Market has a cute little food thermos there for $5.99 this week.

Other Deals

Parade has a coupon for $.75/1 pound cake or cream pie

For the rest of the Walgreen's deals, see Money Saving Mom.

CVS: Complete multipurpose contact solution is free after $7.99 ECBs, and a moneymaker if you use the $2/1 from the 5/16 RedPlum. has Campbell's tomato or chicken noodle soup for 50 cents, milk is still $1.69 after ExtraBuck (limit 2, and don't forget you get a free gallon for every five you buy). For the full CVS deals, see Mashup Mom.

World Market will give you a free tote bag with purchase of $10 or more.

Jo-Ann has a coupon for 50% off one regular priced item. And their patriotic stuff is down to 70% off. 

Michael's has the usual 40% off one regular priced item coupon.

Toys R Us/Babies R Us has a coupon for 20% off any regular priced baby item. And a free gift card offer when you buy 3 Enfamil Premium 6-can cases of formula. (Use formula checks plus any coupons you might have.) Plum Organics baby food pouches are on sale 10/$10, use the printable coupon for $.50/2.

At Jewel-Osco the only new thing I see is watermelons for $3.99, limit 2, which is awesome because I'm about to run over there to get balloons and asparagus for the party. And, now, watermelon.

Target gift card offers: Buy 3 Starbucks coffee @ $6.99, get a $5 GC.

Coupons: The SmartSource insert has a BOGO coupon for Earth Options Raid bug spray, a BOGO for Olay cleansers, BOGO for Head and Shoulders shampoo or conditioner, $3/1 Bic Disposable shavers. Redplum has $1/2 Pop-Tarts in case you need coupons for the Jewel-Osco deal this week.

Five Free eBooks This Weekend



Do you have a BlackBerry, Android, iPad or iPhone?

Then get out of here, you're not a frugalista.

Just kidding. But you can get five free e-books for your device from Borders this weekend -- in fact they should be available for download already here. Oh, and you could also read them on your computer if you want.

The titles:

Dean Koontz's "Frankenstein: Prodigal Son,"

"One Shot" by Lee Child

"The Alchemyst" by Michael Scott

Julia Child's "Kitchen Wisdom"

"Master your Metabolism" by Jillian Michaels

You can also download chapter 6 of Danielle Steele's upcoming novel "Legacy," which hits shelves Sept. 28. 
First you need to download their eReader application -- also free -- for your device or computer. If you already have the app, just search for these titles in the Borders e-book store.

Also, keep in mind that there are generally lots of free classic books available for ebook readers. For example I have reread a couple of my favorite Jane Austen novels since I got my Kindle. (And I must say, they get better every time -- except for that way she has of breaking out of the story at the end just when it's time for the satisfying romantic climax, and wrapping it all up in her own voice as if she called you to let you know how it turned out. Jane, cut it out with the premature narrative withdrawal, would you?)

Photo from Borders.

Free Ink-Jet Refills in Three Suburban Ace Hardware Stores

Kind of random locations for this, but if you live near Libertyville, Crystal Lake or Homewood, stop into Ace Hardware for a free refill of your printer inkjet cartridge. Limit one per customer

• July 6 - July 12 at ACE Hardware, 155 Peterson Road, Libertyville, IL
• July 12 - July 19 at Ziegler's ACE Hardware, 6000 Northwest Highway, Crystal Lake, IL
• July 21 - July 27 at Ebel's ACE Hardware, 18410 Governors Highway, Homewood, IL

Check the listing at to see if they can refill your particular model of inkjet cartridge.

Free at Right Now

Money Saving Mom explains how you can get $15 off a $15 order at, plus get 5% cashback. Shipping $6.99.

Here are some items I see on the site for $15 or less:



hardware detailed wallet $14.99

Loop-terry dress $9.99

ultra-soft wrap $14.99

tights at $6.99 (would make a good filler since you probably have to spend over $15, not $14.99, to use the coupon code)

Free Ice Cream Friday at the Trib Tower

Stop by outside the offices of my corporate overlord, the Chicago Tribune, tomorrow at noon for a free Carvel Ice Cream Cup. This is something WGN Radio and Carvel are doing on certain Fridays throughout the summer. If they're out before you get there tomorrow, here are the other dates:

June 11th
June 18th
July 2nd
July 23rd
August 6th
August 20th

National Donut Day: Free Doughnut

In honor of "National Donut Day," Dunkin' Donuts will give you a free doughnut today with drink purchase. Or a free donut, I guess. Or at Krisy Kreme, there is no purchase necessary to get a free donut. But there aren't many Krispy Kremes around here.

Our $80 Shopping Budget: 9 Weeks' Worth of Diapers + Food

I'm sure you were all really bummed that I didn't post our spending last week. But, moving on, here's our over-budget spending for this week. We spent $129! Course, that includes nine weeks' worth of disposable diapers, but still, it's a lot. Especially since now that the week is over I feel like I need to shop again soon. First I'll break down our spending; then I'll dither on whether we really need to adjust our weekly budget.


Continue reading...

The Perfect Dominick's Trip: Saved 100%



I'm enjoying a sunny Memorial Day weekend with family, but I just had to pop in to say that I had the perfect Dominick's trip on the way back from the Oak Park farmer's market.

Yep: Saved 100%. Didn't even pay tax.

I stopped in to see if they still had those O Organic coupons out and if they still had O Organics pasta clearanced to 69 cents a box. Yes on both counts. So I brought my one box of O Organics macaroni up to the register with one coupon, and the cashier of course says she can't take the coupon because it's more than the cost of the item. I ask her to just try scanning it, and she calls the service desk, which tells her to go ahead and scan it. She scans and it does that thing where it adds 1 cent and then takes off 1 cent. She asks me to scan my card, and once I punch in my phone number, the order rings up as "RegPrice 69 cents" and "card savings 69 cents." Therefore, no tax! Free pasta.

Then I walked over to the Starbucks counter and handed over my empty beans bag and they filled my reusable "Oak Park Farmer's Market" cup for free.

Nutmeg and I walked out of the store pushing the sleeping baby in the stroller, and we were both grinning because I did not even get out my wallet for the whole trip.

P.S. My Dominick's also had a bin of Pantene products. The sign said Pantene shampoo was marked down to 99 cents, but the bin was full of styling products. I think there were $1/1 Pantene couposn in the February and March P&G inserts? And there was a $1/1 on the back of the 5/23 Parade? Some or all of these are expired but Dom's takes expireds so that's OK.

Sunday Ads and Coupons: Cheap Diapers, Cheap Thermacare, Moneymaking Contact Solution

Here are the best deals and coupons I see in this week's Sunday newspaper inserts. Let's make this quick and dirty so I can go outside and enjoy the weather! This week I'm interested in Huggies and moneymaking Complete contact solution at Walgreens, ThermaCare wraps for 50 cents a box at CVS, and the ConAgra deal at Jewel-Osco.


Continue reading...

Dominick's Grocery Deals and Coupon Matchups Week of May 20

Don't forget: If you go to Dominick's this week, look for that clearanced organic pasta I found and the $1/1 O Organics coupons that can make it free.

Not even Labor Day Weekend until next week, but already hot dogs are going on sale left, right and center. Dominick's has Nathan's Famous Beef Franks (12-16 oz.) buy one, get one free @ $5.99, and Johnsonville Smoked Sausage 13.5-16 oz. for $2.99. I've tried those Johnsonville things, and they do not compare to a nice juicy brat. Just a little culinary tip there.


Seafood and wine sale; the only thing I see that looks affordable are previously frozen cod fillets for $3.99 a pound. Course, my wine threshhold is generally $4 a bottle so that's why I'm not considering any of the wines listed affordable -- they run $6.99 for Beringer through $16.99 for Simi.


  • Buy 4 12-packs Coke @ $2.79, get two free boxes Nabisco crackers (shows Triscuit and Wheat Thins). Use expired $2/2 Diet Coke coupons from past booklets that were all about heart disease or diabetes -- I still have those both. Also use $1/2 Nabisco crackers from the 5/16 SmartSource.
  • Buy one, get one free Deli signature sandwiches, through 6/5. Limit one free per card per week.
Continue reading...

Free Rubber Stamp and More at VistaPrint

You know about VistaPrint, one of the cheaper online printing operations, right? I recently ordered checks* from them after realizing that my bank wanted to charge me $25 for 200 checks. Instead I ordered 150 checks from VistaPrint for $4.99 ($11.83 with "slow" shipping).

That reminded me that VistaPrint actually has things they give away for free, with you just paying shipping. Today I noticed a nice free offering: Rubber stamps with your address. You pay $6.31 for "slow" shipping (3 weeks) or $10.31 to get it in two weeks.

Might make a nice little grad gift for a high school graduate if you have their dorm address? Teacher gift?

In fact, if you go to the VistaPrint Web site, at the top of the left-hand column you'll see a whole list of free items. Sure, they'll try to upsell you to a larger amount or a more premium item that costs money, but if all you need are a few of something, the "free" is really a good deal.


*Remember checks? Those little booklets of paper that you write on in order to transfer money to your bank account to the bank account of another person or business?

I know, archaic. And yet from time to time I need to write one, usually to tuck into my kid's backpack for some school fee. (Public education, they call it! Ha!)

Free Bottle of Suave Professionals



Here's that Suave Professionals giveaway I warned you about yesterday: Fill out this form to get a free 14.5 oz. bottle of shampoo or conditioner.

Page seems to be loading fine, but make no doubt about it, these will go fast.

Suave/Rachael Ray Giveaway -- Free Shampoo Tomorrow

I guess Rachael Ray said Suave will be giving away 100,000 bottles of its professional product tomorrow, May 13. See what details there are on Frugal, Freebies and Deals.

I became a fan on Facebook just in case that's where they're doing it. Here's what Suave has to say on Facebook and Twitter today:

"Stay tuned for surprising Suave Professionals news tomorrow. We have a big surprise for you!"

Well, you know, I've got free shampoo coming out of my ears around here, but I'll keep an eye out for this tomorrow morning. All for you, dear readers.

Dunkin Donuts: We Will Get Our Free Coffee Day Too


I was a little confused today when I started hearing online that some folks were getting free iced coffees at Dunkin' Donuts today. Turns out that's not going on in Chicago today but in some other markets. Boo.

But my local store gave me some good news: They have coupons at the counter for a free iced coffee on Saturday, May 15. So if you pass a Dunkin' this week stop in and look for those coupons.

Also, if you sign up for Dunkin' Perks, you'll get a coupon for a free medium drink right away, plus another on your birthday.

(This post is dedicated to Sara, who woke up to find only decaf at her house today. Yikes!)

Free Mother's Day Coloring Pages for Download



So, you were going to take your kid out today to buy Grandma a Mother's Day present and now it's raining? No problem -- download one of these free Mothers Day coloring pages and you're good to go.

Hearts and Roses

I Heart Mom and more

Mom-Friendly Funny Supermom Picture (Shown above; don't worry, your kids won't get the irony.)

I skipped the ugliest ones that looked like a busted spammer scrawled them from white-collar prison. You're welcome.

Photo courtesy of



Hey Oak Parkers! Free Bruegger's Bagel



Oak Park doesn't have Einstein Bros, just Bruegger's. So I'm really glad that Bruegger's decided to release its own Facebook coupon for a free bagel with cream cheese.

Go to their Facebook page and pick Like. Be aware that when you become a "liker" or fan of a company on Facebook, you are agreeing to share some of your information with them and that that info may also be encoded in the coupon you print.

Then give them your email and they'll send you the coupon link.

Free Photo Collage at Walgreens



Get a free 8x10 collage print with coupon code GOODTHOUGHTS.from Walgreens. Select store pickup so you don't have to pay shipping. Good through Saturday for you last-minute Mother's Day people.

Proof That CVS Loves Us: $2/2 Body Wash Coupons from the Coupon Printer

This morning I headed over to my neighborhood CVS with much excitement to do the Nivea deal and restock my dwindling ExtraBucks wallet. I was helped by the manager of the whole store, and I told him about this blog, so Hi Nader or Nader's wife! If you are reading this.

Now that the meet and greet is over, the big news from my trip: The CVS coupon printer is spitting out $2/2 body wash store coupons! I scanned three different cards and each one got the coupon. That cuts the out of pocket for this deal to about $1.60 if you don't have the coupons from All You magazine, or 87 cents if you have them!

(UPDATED TO ADD: If you get a different coupon from the printer, try scanning your card again. The generic CVS coupons like this generally come out last, sometimes after scanning your card several times.)

Continue reading...

Walgreens Shop: Moneymaking Razor, Free Tape



This afternoon I found out three things about Walgreens:

1) You can make a $2 profit this week buying the Schick Quattro Titanium 3-pack of disposable razors. After reading the instructions on Money Saving Mom, I tried it today and indeed, paid $2 and got back a $3 Register Reward and a $1 Register Reward. The package also comes with "10 free songs," if you care about that.

2) Although the first Wag's I tried was not able to process the $1/1 Scotch Packaging Tape coupon with the 99 cents store coupon, it really can work because it did today. I thought you had to have them scan the manufacturer's coupon first and then the store coupon, but this guy ended up doing it in the opposite order and it worked.

3) You can fit a double jogging stroller in through the automatic door, but just barely.

Happy shopping! I am really busy this week but would love to get time to roll my $3 RR into one pack of Stayfree ($1 after $2/1 coupon from 3/28 RedPlum) and one pack Plackers flossers (there is supposed to be a $.50/1 coupon in 3/28 RedPlum but I can't find it). And then roll that back into more disposable razors!

Join DSW Rewards to Get $10 Off a $10 Shoe Purchase --> FREE SHOES



A month ago or so I bought a pair of sandals at DSW and signed up for their free rewards program at the register. Today I received a certificate for $10 off, in store and online, with no minimum purchase listed. There are a lot of shoes in their clearance section for $9.94, so this could mean free shoes!

You'll also get a $5 certificate on your birthday -- and you can even combine up to three certificates on one purchase. And if you give them your email they say they'll give you 500 bonus points, too.

I shop at the DSW in Wauwatosa, Wis., when visiting my in-laws, but Chicago-area DSW stores are at Oakbrook, Clark and Halsted and Southgate Mall.

Eat for Cheap Whether You're Highbrow, Midbrow or Lowbrow Today



Highbrow cheap eats: Today's Groupon is a $30 three course meal at Spring, named by Zagat as the top seafood restaurant in Chicago.

Midbrow cheap eats:

People rave about these Kitchens of India ready-made meals, on manager's special at Amazon for $1.47 each (when you buy a pack of 6 at $8.82). There are only two kinds left! Guess these won't last til I get my new infusion of Amazon gift cards Saturday from SwagBucks. (Oh, and order through Subscribe & Save to take off an additional 15%.)

Lowbrow free eats:

Don't forget those free CheezIts at Dominick's with the coupon from Jewel. Limit 3 -- I'm wondering if anyone would be well served if I make multiple trips and donate a full grocery bag of them to the Stamp Out Hunger food drive.

Wash your Cheez-Its down with some highbrow coffee: Today's YouSwoop is a $40 credit at for $20. (Oh YES I am buying that one. Now.)

Photo by smartwentcrazy, used via Creative Commons license.

Free Einstein Bros. Bagel and Schmear



In addition to that reusable coupon they released for free bagel Fridays, Einstein Bros. today is offering a Facebook coupon for a free bagel and schmear, which you can use any old day, through May 5. Just become a fan (which now means clicking "Like") and click the offers tab to get to the printable coupon.

I had no trouble loading the coupon today, so they must have gotten over the traffic trouble they were dealing with yesterday.

Just keep in mind that companies are learning a lot about you when you use a Facebook coupon. If you're concerned about privacy (I'm honestly not but I know a lot of people are), think about that before you use it. Some readers advise that they "unfan" companies as soon as they print the coupons so the companies will no longer have access to their profile information.

Chicago-area Einstein Bros. locations are mapped here.

P.S. It appears that the coupon for a free bagel every Friday morning and a $2 coffee + bagel on Tuesday is gone from the Facebook page now, but if you already printed it, you can use it through May 19.

To ConAgra or Not to ConAgra: A Coupon Mom's Dilemma



This weekend I broke down and brought home two packs of Lunchables, free after coupon at Jewel-Osco. Unlike one of my favorite bloggers, I can no longer brag now that I have raised my kids without ever feeding them these nasty little trays of fat and sodium -- I had a good run at six years, but that Lunchables is in Nutmeg's lunch kit today. Much to her joy.

That little drama is an ongoing conflict for me. I love freebies but I also love to feed my family healthy food. The more I learn about the industrial food system and the health hazards posed by eating processed foods, the more I want to opt out and provide my kids with healthier and less guilt-laden foodstuffs bought directly from farms.

But I still love freebies, and I do allow that acquiring food for free is good for my family too. Every time I feed them something I didn't pay for, this leaves money in our grocery budget that actually makes the purchase of those pricier "good foods" possible.

Continue reading...

Free Cake at Domino's

On Saturday night we hosted my daughter's first sleepover birthday (her 6th), and we ended up ordering Domino's as a treat. I haven't eaten Domino's in years but I am pretty sure it's true what they are saying about their new recipe being a lot better, becaues the pizza was halfway decent. Not the best delivery pizza I've ever had (we like Geppetto's in Oak Park), but better than our usual DiGiorno.

We ordered online -- two medium pizzas for $5.99 each -- and the Web site was fun for the kids, because they show you what your pizza will look like with the toppings you select. Then it shows you a progress bar so you can track your pizza through the baking and delivery process.

When we got our pizza, it came with an offer for a free order of Chocolate Lavas Crunch Cakes with an online purchase, good htrough 5/31/10. To get it, you have to complete an online survey at

Gee, I just rated it. Hey Domino's, will you give me credit for this post and just send me some chocolate cake right now?

Sunday Ads: Free Stuff at Walgreens, Menards and CVS

I picked up a Sunday Tribune at Jewel-Osco today and all it had was the CVS ad, Menards and Carson Pirie Scott, Jewel and Dominick's, plus the two coupon books. Thank goodness those were in there or I might have had to drive back to that Jewel-Osco and had an on-the-floor tantrum right there. I don't know why I even buy advance copies of the Sunday paper, because they are always missing something.

SmartSource has $.70/1 Palmolive dish soap to take to CVS this week, $.75/2 Dole fruit bowls, parfaits and another for gel fruit bowls, $1/1 Stayfree to take to Walgreens this week, $1/1 Johnson's baby product which is always good for a tiny bottle of baby shampoo at CVS (if you need a filler). RedPlum has $1/1 any Dove deodorant which could probably get you a travel size one free.

CVS has that Schick Hydro razor free after ECBs and coupon (3/21 SS, any disposable) AGAIN, and Softsoap Nutri Serum body wash is free if you have the $1/1 coupon from the current Reinventing Beauty magazine. (Which by the way has pretty crappy coupons this time around, mostly manufacturers'.) If you're almost out of dish soap like I am, you'll be happy to see Palmolive on sale for 88 cents, since there is a $.70/1 in the 4/25 SmartSource that takes the price down to a quite manageable 18 cents. Oh, and if you got a $2/1 store coupon for Huggies wipes like I did, combine it with the $.50/1 from the 4/18 SmartSource and get them free this week. Finally, Mashup Mom has a hot tip on how to get Fig Newtons or Wheat Thins free.

So, I don't have a Walgreens ad yet but I know there are moneymakers with coupons -- Stayfree and Plackers flossers -- becaues I read about them on Money Saving Mom.

Carson Pirie Scott has a coupon for an extra 20% off sale price apparel and fine jewelry, or lesser discounts off other stuff.

Menards has free deck wash after rebate. 

So, when I get a real Sunday paper tomorrow, maybe I'll update more. I say maybe because tomorrow is Nutmeg's 6th birthday, I've got family coming over, and it will probably be pretty crazy all day. But yay Epu and me for successfully raising a child through the end of "early chidlhood" into well, regular childhood.

Wow, a Free Burger King Whopper

Sign up for the Heartland Food Corp.'s VIP program and get a coupon for a free Whopper! Somewhere, I read that you should sign up with your real name because they may check your ID.

Thanks, Couponers United.

Also, when you go to Burger King, check the back of your receipt for a survey coupon. Take a survey, get a free Whopper with your next purchase of fries and drink. For which you should get another receipt with coupon, should you want to take the survey again. Check out Wise Bread's advice on how to get through the phone tree.

Free Coasters, Cheap Pampers at Jewel-Osco and Other Quick Deals

Oh, readers, I had hoped today was the day we'd get to sit down over a steaming mug of coffee and really talk. The middle child is up in Wisconsin for a few days.* The bathroom remodel was supposed to be finished.

But then ... oh, never mind. Point is, the day is slipping away and I don't want you guys to miss these deals while I cater to a sick kid and a baby who apparently can't sleep when mom mixes Sudafed with caffeine** while breastfeeding:

  • Two free photo coasters, shipped, first 3,000 only so skedaddle. You have to shill the Web site to three friends, but you can placate two of them by giving them each a free coaster, right? (Thanks Hip 2 Save, who also notes that the Rayovac printable coupon has reset, and that gets you free batteries if your Target has them in the Dollar Spot. UPDATED TO ADD: AND I just followe4d Hip 2 Save's advice and used a $20/$20 coupon code at Springhill nursery. H2S, please stop posting such good deals so I can get something done around here!)
  • Cheap Pampers with a double-dip Catalina deal at Jewel-Osco, today only. And free Scrubbing Bubbles at Dominick's. Thanks, Mashup Mom, you're a monument to American Catalinahood.
  • Walgreens actually has two moneymakers going on right now if you gots the coups, reports Money Saving Mom. But hurry lest the vitamins and aspirin involved in the deals be sold out.

* What? If 3 is old enough to walk a tightrope over a tiger pit, it's old enough for co-ed camping trips, right? Americans, so prosaic.

** See *. 



Museum of Science and Industry Free This Week



Today (April 19) through Friday, General Admission is free at the Museum of Science and Industry. That includes this exhibit about tornadoes and other storms which I just realized my almost-6-year-old would adore. Too bad she's sick on the couch today.

Course, we are supposed to* get in free to Science and Industry any day with our Boonshoft Museum Pass, so we wouldn't go during a free week anyway.

* Actually we might get denied if we try to use it at Science and Industry, because the recipricol science museum program says you are supposed to live 90 miles from the museum you're trying to visit. But we did successfully use it at the Chicago Children's Museum last week.

Photo courtesy of the Museum of Science and Industry.

Tax Day Freebies 2010 and Deals: Free Coffee, Free Tax Help, Dinner Deals, BOGO Boston Market



My favorite of the Tax Day freebies 2010 is the free coffee:

In an apparent merger of Tax Day Deals and Earth Day deals, there's Starbucks free coffee April 15. TODAY Starbucks will give you a free coffee if you bring your own cup. I should bring a cup the size of my morning dose of coffee, like one of those joke wine glasses that holds a whole bottle. But if I really had a big enough cup, it woudln't fit in my car.

More Free stuff on Tax Day:

Need an IRS extension form 2009? Get free help filing your extension from a real CPA at the Small Bar. Extension for taxes first, drinks second.

Photo by Joanna8555, used via Creative Commons license.

Sunday Ads and Coupons: CVS Freebies, Toys R Us Gift Card Offers

Last night I only managed to write about the Target deals before crashing, which turned out to be a good thing since the baby had me up from 3:30 to 4:30 in the morning. This week I'm kind of excited about CVS for the first time in a few weeks; at the end of the week I'll be over there looking for Easter stuff at 90% off as well.

Coupon Inserts: RedPlum has two coupons for $1/1 32-oz. Mountain High yogurt, which I love. Also $3.75 off Vaseline Sheer Infusion lotion. Buy one, get one Cover Girl face product, which often combines real nice with a CVS or Walgreens deal. SmartSource has $1/2 Scotch-Brite Greener Clean products, $.75/1 Tribe Hummus, buy one, get one free Ziploc, $2/1 Boudreaux's Butt Paste or other product

CVS Free After ExtraBucks: Dove shampoo or conditioner at $4.49, a moneymaker with the $1.50/1 in the 3/28 RedPlum. Free after ECBs and coupon: Dial bodywash @ $5.49 with the $1/1 printable coupon, Schick Hydro razor with the $3/1 from the 3/21 SmartSource. Free after coupon: CVS Earth Essentials single roll toilet paper is 50 cents, so if you printed any $1/1 CVS paper product from the machine in the past week, you can get two rolls free. Cheap after coupon: Fillippo Berio Extra Virgin Olive Oil 17 oz. is just $2.99 after the $1/1 printable coupon, Simply Asia bowl or entree buy one, get one free @ $1.99, use two $.50/1 from the 2/7 RedPlum to get them for 50 cents each. For the full CVS deals, see Money Saving Mom.

Continue reading...

Got Our Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream ... Going to Bed

Since Epu was working late tonight, I had this (ahem, harebrained) idea that I would make the evening fun for the kids and take advantage of the pleasant weather by walking all the way across Oak Park with the double stroller to Ben & Jerry's for free cones.

It's, I dunno, a mile and a half? The walk there, from about 6 to 7 p.m., went just fine: The 3-year-old and the the baby giggling at each other in the stroller, the 5-year-old walking briskly because I'd warned her that if we got there too late, free ice cream time would be OVER.

Just before we arrived, the baby fell asleep in his car seat on the stroller, which was great. We hit the line at 7 p.m. and it wasn't TOO bad, just a few stores down the block.

But then something wonderful happend. A kid walked up to us and handed us an official-looking card that said "Line Pass." He told us to skip the line and go right into the Ben & Jerry's. I thanked him so effusively that he laughed and said that most people didn't react that way.

Most people aren't excited to skip the line at Free Cone Day? There must be something very dull about my life then because I cannot think of anything more exciting right now. It was such a nice gesture to pick out people with little kids -- and who knows, probably they were handing these out to the disabled or elderly too -- and let them skip the line.

So by 7:30 we were done with our cones and partway home already. That line pass was a real lifesaver because 7:30 is the girls' normal bedtime and they were really showing their fatigue. I ended up having the 3-year-old sit on the 5-year-old's lap in the stroller most of the way, but the little one was getting pretty squirrely and bothering everyone and by the time we got home the baby had woken up and started crying and I was thinking, All this for free ice cream?

But then before I knew it they were all tucked in bed, not too terribly late (8:30) thanking me sweetly for taking them for ice cream. And now that I just power walked 3 miles and I'm getting a cold, I'm right behind them. All in all, a good Free Cone Day.

Who else went for it?

Don't Forget Your Free Ice Cream



Starting at noon today, geta  free cone at Ben and Jerry's. No coupon needed.

(You can still get that free pastry with beverage at Starbucks, but you have only 20 minutes to print the coupon and get your butt over there.)

Three Chicago-area shops participate in this, according to Ben & Jerry's Web site: Oak Park (yay!), Navy Pier and Glenview. For the best chance at a short line, get over there before schools let out.

Ben & Jerry's Free Cone Day Is Tomorrow



It's not JUST free pastry day at Starbucks tomorrow, people, it's also Free Cone Day at Ben & Jerry's! Three Chicago-area shops participate in this, according to Ben & Jerry's Web site: Oak Park (yay!), Navy Pier and Glenview.

This is better than Starbucks' offer, because you don't have to buy anything to get a free cone. On the other hand, it usually generates big long lines, whereas Starbucks might not be so bad tomorrow. The window is noon to 8 p.m. At least in Oak Park, where the shop is near the high school, the time to get in is BEFORE schools let out. I'm thinking about giving the kids an early dinner, though, and trying around 6?

P.S. I am eating ice cream while I type this.

Free Pastry at Starbucks Tuesday March 23



Tomorrow before 10:30 a.m., if you buy a drink at Starbucks they'll give you a free pastry. You need to print this coupon to get it.

They still have the new bold brewed coffees for $1.50 so pairing that with the free pastry would make for a pretty good deal.

I got myself a Starbucks gift card with some of my SwagBucks* so I should really pop in there tomorrow morning, shouldn't I?

* You know about SwagBucks, right? If you search the Web through, they give you points called, well, SwagBucks, which you can redeem for gift cards and stuff. Last year I saved my SwagBucks all year and did most of my Christmas shopping for my husband with Amazon gift cards I'd purchased with my points. If you are able to get anyone to sign up for SwagBucks through you -- if you have a blog or even if you put your referral link on Facebook -- your points accumulate much faster. Signing up through my referral link is a great way to help support this blog!

Sunday Ads: Free Sobe and $2 Monopoly at Target



There's an extra coupon insert today that could be really handy if you like to stock up on kids' gifts: HASBRO! $5/1 Monopoly, $4/1 Busy Ball Popper (we have that one, it's great), $4/1 Connect Four., and more.

But it gets better: Target has Monopoly and Connect 4 on sale for $7 each. I really hope I have time to get over there this week and restock my gift stockpile.

And as long as you're going to Target, here's how you can get free Sobe at there this week: Buy 10 bottles @ $10, get a $5 gift card, making them 50 cents a bottle. Target has a $.50/1 printable store coupon here, There's a buy one, get one manufacturer's coupon here. I also have some $.50/1 tearpad manufacturer's coupons from CVS. If you can print five of those bogos (hit the Back button to print two per computer), you'll pay $5 and get it back as a gift card, making the Sobes free. As many store coupons as you can print will just be overage.

Continue reading...

12 Free 5x7 Stationery Cards From Shutterfly



Create a free photo-sharing Web site on Shutterfly through this link, and this week only they'll give you a dozen free 5x7 stationery cards. Which are apparently flat cards? The offer I got by email says not valid on photo cards, but the above card, which the Web site labels as a "stationery card," clearly has a photo, so who knows?

Free Ralph's World Concert



Ralph Covert of Ralph's World (he's one of these kiddie entertainers) will do a free concert in Algonquin on Thursday (March 18) at 1 p.m.

It's a promo at the Toys R Us there, sponsored by Huggies Pull-Ups to promote their "potty dance," which is supposed to help "keep your toddler happily motivated" to get toilet trained.

Is it just me, or is a diaper company the last person you would turn to for help potty training? I have no evidence of a nefarious plot here, but you know that it's in Kimberly-Clark's best interests for us to postpone potty training as long as possible. It reminds me of the "breastfeeding support kits" that the formula companies hand out to new mothers. Although I can't deny that Pull-Ups are helpful during the potty training phase, especially during sleep, it's been my experience that the only way to really get my kids to use the toilet is to get rid of all diapers, whether they're marketed for "big kids" or babies, as soon as possible.

Free Espresso Shot at Caribou Coffee: Update


Yesterday my 5-year-old and I had a coffee/hot cocoa date at Caribou. I'm happy to report that they said I didn't have to buy a drink to have my free espresso shot in, AND they obliged in giving me a medium-sized cup when I said I wanted to add some milk to it. No dirty looks or anything over making a free "bootleg latte."

Course, I was at least buying a hot cocoa. Your mileage may vary.

Photo by (nutmeg), used via Creative Commons license.

Free Espresso Shot at Caribou Sunday and Monday


Can you believe it's already time to set the clocks ahead for Daylight Savings Time? To ease the transition, Caribou Coffee is offering a free shot of espresso added to your beverage on both Sunday and Monday mornings this week, that is March 14 and March 15.

Sounds like you have to actually buy a beverage to get the free shot. Too bad, because I was all ready to ask for that shot in a larger cup so you can load up on milk or cream, Poor Man's Latte-style. And my hubs will be happy to drink that espresso straight up, if he has time to stop into a Caribou.

Believe me, we'll both need it. If regular people are tired the day after setting the clocks back, parents of littles are barely walking. Getting the 5-year-old to kindergarten one hour early will not necessarily be fun.

Photo by tellumo, used via Creative Commons license.

Dominick's Sales: It's Corned Beef and Cabbage Time


Yes, yes, there is corned beef for $1.67 a pound or another kind for $2.49 a pound and another kind for $3.99 a pound. And there is green cabbage for 29 cents a pound and that's always a good healthy veggie to pick up cheap.

But that's not what I'm excited about at Dominick's this week. Here's what I am excited about:

Buy 5, Save $5 includes Fresh Express salads this week, at 99 cents when you buy 5. Why yes, I do have left over $1/1 Fresh Express coupons from the Jewel-Osco Value Your Heart booklet, and remember that Dominick's takes expired coupons. Five free salads, hooray! I hope this includes the spinach which I can cook up to make it keep longer. Also includes 10-oz. bags of Monterey Mushrooms, Marie's salad dressings and Eating Right salad blends, all at $1 each when you buy 5. (Now, if Dominick's lets me GET the five bags of salad for free, I'll be happy. I'll let you know if it works out.)

Also listed as "buy 5, save $5" are these cereals: Kellogg's Corn Flakes, Quaker Squares, Betty Crocker Fruit Gushers @ $1, Post Fruity Pebbles, GM Honey Nut Cheerios and Nature Valley bars @ $1.50, and Post Honey Bunches, Kellogg's Raisin Bran and GM Lucky Charms @ $2. All those prices are if you buy 5.

You should be able to do pretty well with that one if you combine printable coupons, Cellfire and Shortcuts. Coupons that immediately jump to mind are $1/2 GM from the 3/7 SmartSource, 50 cents/2 Gushers and 40 cents/1 Nature Valley on a number of sites like this one. Then there are CellFire coupons: $.55/1 Honey Nut Cheerios, $.50/2 Gushers, $.40/1 Nature Valley, and more of the same on ShortCuts plus $.55/1 Lucky Charms.

Continue reading...

Free Coffee at Dunkin Donuts Today


Dunkin Donuts has a membership program called Perks (get it!?). If you're a member, you can get a free cup of coffee every Monday in March. Like today!

I just joined Perks to try it out and it's free and it only takes a minute, and it doesn't cost anything. But what I can't figure out is how you show that you're a Perks member. There's no card or anything. If you're passing by a DD today, maybe just stop in and demand your free coffee.

Say please.

Thanks to Stretching a Buck for this tip.

Free Year of Soap Opera Digest

email_sodigest.jpg is offering 52 weeks of Soap Opera Digest for free today. They'll want you to fill out a questionnaire and will offer you some trade publications, but you don't have to take any of them to get your free subscription.

IHOP on Over to a Free Breakfast


Tomorrow is Free Pancake Day at the IHOP. You get a short stack between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m., if you make a donation to the Children's Miracle Network. Find a list of Chicagoland locations here.

Much like Linda Evangelista, I would not get out of bed for free pancakes. Pancakes are about the cheapest food there is, and not one of my favorites. But I guess to a lot of people, it's worth it. My kids would love it except I'm not taking them.

Thanks to Money Saving Mom for the heads up. Photo by D'Arcy Norman, via Creative Commons license.

Photo Deals: CVS and Snapfish

Create a photo book on Snapfish and get 100 free 4x6 prints when you order by February 28. Use coupon code BOOKGIFT at checkout.

At CVS, get a free 8x10 enlargement or photo collage when you spend $20 or more on digital prints in store.

Snapfish Free Set of Photo Coasters, Free Flip Book, Free Prints, Shipped Free

Money Saving Mom posted about this yesterday but I didn't have time to check it out until today. Luckily, it still works! Open a new Snapfish account through this link, then go to your account. You should have credits for free coasters and a free flip book as well as 20 free prints.

Go ahead and make any or all of these things wiht your photos, and when you put them in your cart they should show up as free. The coasters are a $24.95 value so it's a pretty sweet deal. Then use the code PRESDAY to ship it all for free. Note that although you have to put in a credit card or Paypal account, it will SHOW your shipping to be free before you click Order, so you will know if it worked properly.

A Different CVS Strategy = Free Toilet Paper for the Year

I love this post on Money Saving Madness because it shows how different couponing strategies can meet different goals. Michelle over there builds and builds her CVS Extra Bucks from Thanksgiving weekend through about now each year, and then spends them on the Bonus Packs of toilet paper that they offer in the beginning of every year.

This post also shows how cyclical most brand and store promotions are; once you've been couponing a few years you get to know what promo is coming next.

She also has a great tip: Now that Bonus Days is almost over, look for those giant packages to be put on clearance prices, and still paying Extra Bucks, which can make them super good deals or moneymakers. I'll let you know if I find any like that.

Free Cookie at Panera Today



Happy Valentine's Day! You can get a free cookie at Chicagoland Paneras today if you text BREAD to 46786. They'll send you back a message, and if you show that message to the Panera staff they'll give you a cookie.

I thought of stopping in yesteday (when this started), but I wasn't sure if they'd give me free cookies for my kids or just one for them all to share. They don't have their own cell phones -- yet!

As always, I'd call your local store before heading over to make sure they're participating.

Photo by Blue Stone Graphics, used via Creative Commons license


Reminding Me Why I Love CVS


After a typically trying day with the kids, I slipped out for a little CVS fun. I had a $4/$20 coupon from my email burning a hole in my coupon file and 30 minutes before Grey's Anatomy.

I got all this for $2.70 out of pocket. That was all tax. The actual cost of the stuff I paid with  $12 ExtraBucks slip, and I got $13 ExtraBucks back. So in that way, you could say it was all free. Here's what I "bought":

Continue reading...

Denny's Free Breakfast Today: Anyone Eat a Grand Slam?

It was a busy morning chez Frugalista -- shoveling snow, one kid to school by 8, another to gymnastics by 8:30, Epu dropped off at the El at 9:30, and the rest of us to our drop-in daycare place by, well, 20 minutes late. So no Denny's free breakfast for us. And honestly I'm not big on pancakes and I can fry up some eggs and bacon under a buck, so whatevs.

But I'd love to hear reports from the field if any of you got a free Grand Slam breakfast at Denny's, or even drove by a Dennys today. Long lines? Did you get to pick how you had your eggs? Was it a pleasant breakfast or did you feel like a head of cattle at the trough?

If you hit a Chicago-area Denny's, please let us know what the location was.

Photo by Mshades, used via Creative Commons license.

Free More Magazine


Mercury Magazines is offering a free one-year subscription to More magazine. This is a legitimate company, and I have gotten all the magazines I asked for through Mercury. They do ask you to fill out some information and offer you some trade publications, but it only takes a few minutes.

They're also offering Maxim, although I'm guessing that the overlap between my readership and Maxim is nil.

Don't Forget: Denny's Free Grand Slam Tuesday

Confession: I just got around to posting about the free bottle of hot sauce being given away on Facebook because the Saints won the Super Bowl yesterday, and now all 12,000 bottles are gone.

But don't despair! You can still get something free this week: Denny's is giving away those free Grand Slam breakfasts tomorrow. That's a free Denny's breakfast on Tuesday, Feb. 9.

Check for your nearest Denny's on their Web site, and show up betweetn 6 a.m. and 2 p.m. tomorrow. I know it doesn't seem like some free breakfast food would be worth that kind of wait, but you never know -- you might swing by and find no line at all. It happened at certain times at certain locations last year.

Dominick's Freebies Today Only

Until 8 p.m. tonight, Feb. 7, spend $50 at Dominick's and get a free Tombstone pizza, a free bag of Fritos or Cheetos, a free pack of Hillshire Farm Lit'l Smokies AND a free pound of potato salad from the deli. That's a hell of a lot of freebies, probably $10 worth, I'd say.

I'm psyched because I was thinking about a Dominick's trip on Friday and ended up putting it off until today. I'll probably go during the Super Bowl when it's sure to be dead, and if they're out of the freebies hopefully get a raincheck.

$20 Off $20 Purchase at Ann Taylor

Print this coupon and take it to an Ann Taylor store Saturday, Feb. 6 only to get $20 off a purchase of $20 or more. Pretty nice! You do have to try on a pair of shoes, but not necessarily buy one.

I would totally buy some camisoles with that if I had time tomorrow. Too bad I'll be running around pulling together my kid's birthday party instead of trying on shoes.

Denny's Free Breakfast Again: Tuesday


Get a free Grand Slam Breakfast at Denny's on Tuesday, Feb. 9, from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. There's a locator on that page too to find your Chicagoland Denny's.

Remember this offer from last year? I kind of feel like it kicked off a whole year of freebies, so thanks, Denny's, even though I didn't wait in line for free eggs, bacon and pancakes and probably won't again this year. Actually, I read a newspaper report (I think it was in the paper) of someone who spent all morning going to lots of Denny's locations and at some of them, there was no wait.

Photo by HH Studio, used via Creative Commons license.

Try a KIND Bar Free Today at Starbucks

Starbucks is giving out free samples of Kind granola bars today, Feb. 5. The announcement does not specifically say that this is a full-sized bar, but that seems to be the general assumption out there. If you stopped by Starbucks already and got the freebie, could you comment to let us know?

Panera Valentine's Deals - Updated

Text BREAD to 46786 to get offers of free stuff between now and Valentine's Day. Some will be outright freebies, like a free cookie on Feb. 14, and some will require purchase. This is apparently in Chicagoland only. Us lucky bastards.

You'll get the offers by text, and then you show your phone to the Panera staff who hopefully don't think you're crazy. And if you don't have unlimited texting (you probably don't since you are so frugal, right?), keep in mind that they will keep sending you these texts unless you reply with the message STOP.

Update: A helpful reader who works at Panera says that there are not new deals every day. I guess I misunderstood that part. Oh well, I did get a text this morning saying that the current deal is a free bread bowl if you buy a cup of garden vegetable with pesto soup through Sunday.

Free Blood Glucose Test at Walgreens Friday

I got the chance to spend some time with Oprah this morning while cleaning my kitchen. Don't get too jealous over the glamour of my life, people, but I have one of those little flip down TV screens so it's like Oprah and I are practically nose to nose as I wash dishes.

So Oprah says we can all get our blood sugar tested free at any 24-hour Walgreen's or a Walgreen's with a clinic, Friday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., no appointment necessary.

She also offered us a free one-month trial on the BestLife diet site, created by Oprah's personal trainer, or the diabetes plan by same.

How ironic if any of us couponers turned out to be diabetic without realizing it, after buying and giving away all those blood glucose meters, eh?

Dominick's Deals and Coupon Matchups Week of Feb. 3 -- Free Tortillas, Free Sudafed and Lots of Cheap Junk Food


Dominick's really brung it this week, with store coupons for stuff that just happens to match up with the manufacturer's coupons printed in last week's and this week's Jewel ad. The coupons from Jewel all expire today, while the new Dominick's store coupons aren't good until tomorrow -- however since Dominick's accepts expired coupons it shouldn't be a problem.

Whether you plan to watch the Super Bowl Sunday or not, this is the week to stock up on any junk food, frozen pizzas and stuff that you might want throughout the rest of the winter.

Continue reading...

Free US News and World Report

Mercury Magazines is offering a free subcription to US News and World Report today. You'll have to answer some questions and they'll ask you if you want a bunch of trade publications, but after that they'll confirm that they're sending you US News and World Report, whether you accept any trade mags or not.

Sunday Ads: Free Dog Food or Cat Food! Free Toblerone, Free Toilet Paper


It's a pretty good week for freebies, mainly at PetSmart and Walgreen's. By using coupons and other offers this week, you can get a free bag of dog food or cat food, free men's body wash, a free box of chocolates, free lip balm, free eye drops, free Joint Juice and free toilet paper.

Wrapped around the front of the Tribune is a Dominick's ad with four freebie coupons: 1 free pound of 80% lean ground beef, 1 free Fresh Express salad, 1 free 14-16 oz. Kraft salad dressing and 1 free 12-16 oz. Prince Pasta. That's supposed to be a free pasta meal, and, no offense, Dominick's, but fatty ground beef over white flour spaghetti and an iceburg lettuce salad (that's the variety they show in the picture) with Ranch is, well, the less said the better here, I guess. I don't worry about offending Dominick's, which is a big grown up grocery chain and can take it, but want to offend any readers who might consider that meal the height of culinary fanciness. Anyhoo, the same coupons are also in the flyer inside the paper, and you have to spend $50 to use them and it's good Sunday through Wednesday.

Continue reading...

Facebook Freebie: $5 at Babies R Us

Ooh, here's a hot one: Become a fan of Babies R Us on Facebook and they'll email you a $5 gift card, today only. Now, the gift card will only be good until 2/20/10, but you can use it online and it doesn't say anything prohibiting diaper purchases. (thanks Money Saving Mom!)

While we're on Babies R Us, they're also having up to 35% off strollers online with free shipping as their deal of the week. And their Everything Baby Sale ends today. There are a bunch of coupons here including $25 a high chair, swing, playyard or basinette. Also get a 2% rebate if you shop through Mr. Rebates.

Possible Free Movie Ticket From is one of those companies that is looking for good candidates for trade magazines, and they'll offer you something of more general interest for free to get you onto their site. I've gotten a lot (too many) consumer magazine subscriptions this way.

Right now, they say they're giving a free movie ticket to the first 500 takers. I went here and selected the field I work in and several subcategories to narrow down my job title, then was asked if I wanted any trade mags (I didn't), then had to click skip through a few "offers" like printing coupons, then put in my address and finally they said they'd let me know if I was one of the first 500.

Hmm. That was kind of a lot of work if I don't get anything, but for a free movie ticket it would be just about the right amount of work. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Second City: Free, Cheap and a New Way to Double Your Haiti Donation


Certain things are so unfunny that even Second City can't wring any good material out of them. Like, than Haitian earthquake. Which is probably why SC is playing it straight and matching its audiences' donations to the Red Cross this week. Go see one of the participating shows and donate, and they'll match the donations at the end of the week.

And while we're on Second City, lookie here!

Continue reading...

Two Facebook Deals

Since I used to be a business reporter, some of my Facebook friends are current business reporters. Nowadays they are kind of apalled that I am publicly "a fan" of so many corporations. Whatever happened to my journalistic integrity?

Folks, I sold it for freebies. Here are two Facebook freebies you can sell your integrity to:

Become a fan of Einstein Bros. and print a coupon for a free bagel and schmear, good through Jan. 31. (Thanks, More Than Cents!)

Go to this page and become a fan, then at 2 p.m. go to the page and grab a coupon for a free packet of Oreos. Will probably go fast. (Thanks to ... wherever I saw this one, can't remember, sorry!)

UPDATE: The Oreos are all gone, people. Sorry!

Continue reading...

Free Milk and Other Coupons


Lots of hot printable coupons out there right now:

Enter a contest to win milk for a year, or just print two coupons for a free gallon with $100 grocery purchase (hit the Back button on your browser to print. Since the coupon is good for up to $4 and milk these days often only costs $1.99 a gallon, I like to use these coupons to encourage myself to buy organic milk. (Thanks Krazy Coupon Lady and pretty much everyone else.) has new Huggies coupons including $2.50 off the Pure & Natural variety (by the way I bought a few packs of these with coupons and they work fine), $2/1 overnights and 75 cents off wipes.

Print $1/1 Quaker oats (instant or regular) here and here. I'll let you know if I see any oatmeal on sale for a buck or close to it, which would make for free oatmeal with this coupon. (Thanks Common Sense With Money.)

Mommy Snacks lists a bunch of new printable coupons including $2/2 Nabisco crackers.

Mashup Mom has links to coupons for Edy's ice cream and Coke. The Edy's is $1/1 and the Coke is $2/4 -- and there is no print limit! That Edy's coupon is sure to come in handy for the next big Jewel-Osco Catalina deal.

This $3/1 Neosporin Lip Health coupon must have been reset because I was able to print two more, which will make for a $1 moneymaker at Walgreens. (Thanks Surviving the Stores.)

Finally, a warning: If you were planning to buy $30 worth of Johnson & Johnson products and submit for a $10 rebate, My Brain Is Inside Out reports that people are only getting the check if their total was $30 after coupons. Bah.

Photo by Joe Shlabotnik, used via Creative Commons license. 

Get in Line Now for Monday: Free Wings and Free Sonic

Chicago Tribune writer Kevin Pang blogged about two free food opportunities in the suburbs Monday: a new Bufallo Wild Wings is giving out coupons for a year's worth of free wings, and a new Sonic Drive-In is giving out free combo meals. Both are only to the earliest customers, so it will probably be one of those deals where you have to line up to get it.

Not worth it to me when I can get free food with Catalina deals practically anytime, but, you know. Free food.

Sparkfun Free Day Is Over

UPDATE: SparkFun already "sold" out its $100,000 of free products -- in less than 2 hours. Some folks on Twitter said they had their SparkFun order ready in their cart before the giveaway even started, tried reloading constantly since it began at 10 a.m., and still weren't successful. Oh well -- better luck next time.

P.S. I put a few pics at the end of this post in case you are wondering what the heck Spark Fun is and what it sells.

The Web site SparkFun is down right now, which isn't too surprising, since SparkFun (aka Spark Fun) is giving away its merchandise for free today. Even if you can get the page to load, according to the SparkFun Twitter discussions, people are having a hard time loading the checkout pages. There is also an SparkFun IRC channel: #sparkfun.

If you manage to get onto the SparkFun Web site, you can order $100 of merchandise per household, and pay only shipping. This is supposed to run through tonight, but since this giveway appears to have attracted a lot of attention, I'm betting they will reach their cap of $100,000 in free products long before then. Right now they are up to $20,000.

Gallery sneak peek (4 images):

View the gallery...
Continue reading...

Our $80 Spending for This Week: Moneymaking SoyJoy Bars, Free Electrasol, Free Cookies



I didn't write about grocery shopping over the holidays, and to tell you the truth I didn't do much. I'll jump right to the first shopping trip of the new year, and then sum up what I did with the last few after that.

This week, we came back from our Christmas visit to our parents' houses on Tuesday night, and although there wasn't much fresh in the house, I didn't grocery shop until today. It was so frigid out, and we were busy dealing with our end-of-the-year flexible spending account issues and searching for lost keys and whatnot, so I let it slide and we ate from the pantry and freezer. Epu stopped at Dominick's for me one day picked up a take-and-bake pizza and celery, onions and carrots so I could make our Christmas hambone into split pea soup. That was $15.

Tonight, tempted by Walgreen's and CVS deals, I finally broke down and ventured out into the cold night. I hit one Wag's, one CVS and Jewel, and got everything in the photo above for $74 out of pocket. I received a $10 Catalina at Jewel (the "spend $25, get $20" P&G Catalina deal -- I realized just before going to the store that we were almost out of Size 4 diapers), earned $7 Extra Bucks more than I used at CVS, and $15 in Register Rewards at Walgreens, for a whopping total of $32 back at all three stores.

Continue reading...

Sunday Ad Flyers 1/3: Free Electrasol, Free GE Energy Smart Bulbs

I summed up the five awesome coupon inserts in the 1/3 Sunday paper already, but let's look at the other sales and deals advertised in the papers this week:

CVS has one-packs of GE Energy Smart bulbs for 99 cents after Extra Bucks, which means they're free after the $1/1 coupon in the 1/3 SmartSource (there was also one in the 11/22 SmartSource, and there's a $1/1 printable too). Also at CVS: "spend $10, get $5 Extra Bucks" offer for Nivea products, which could probably result in free lotion or lip balm after coupons from this week's inserts.

Continue reading...

ANOTHER Free Gift From Shutterfly: $15 Credit

I am honestly starting to feel photo gifted out. I have redeemed free credits for Snapfish, Shutterfly and Kodak and, so many that I am wondering to whom to give some of the free gifts I have created. Last night for some reason when I opened a Snapfish account for my husband I was credited not just with an 18-month calendar, as expected, but ALSO a set of coasters AND a free flip book.

That's why I am SO GLAD that this new $15 credit from Shutterfly is good for 100 years. Follow The Thrifty Mama's instructions, or follow mine: Go to Shutterfly, click your account, click Enter Special Offer Code, and then type in the code FIFTEENOFF.

Worked for me!

CVS Freebie Report


Today I took Nutmeg on a walk to CVS and Jewel to get her wiggles out, and because I had a beef stew simmering on the stove that lacked nearly-free frozen vegetables.

My CVS was well stocked with the three free-after-Extra-Bucks Christmas items, probably because only one of them was marked as a freebie. I was pretty happy with these items -- a lot of times the seasonal freebies are useless tchotchkes, but this is obviousy the most useful stuff possible if you celebrate Christmas. I especially liked the tissue paper and hope to get some more on my parents' card and my husband's tomorrow. I'm thinking that with some paper and gift bags I got on clearance after Christmas last year, plus this tissue paper, I won't have to buy an paper this holiday season.

Pretty basic transaction:

2 tissue paper $3.98

2 bows             5.98

2 rolls gift tags  3.98

Total: $13.34, minus $2/$10 CVS brand purchase = $11.34 + tax. Paid $10 in ECBs and the rest off a gift card from a prescription, received $13.34 ECBs. Moneymaker!

At Jewel, we did two quick transactions of the "spend $15, get $5" General Mills Catalina deal, with Nutmeg working the self-checkout like a pro.

(If you're wondering what a Catalina deal is, it's only the most awesome way to get free groceries in the world. Get up to speed on Catalina deals by reading this.

First 7 boxes Green Giant vegetables for $16.10 before card, $7 after scanning my card, minus $1.50 from three $.50/2 printables, and I paid $5.50 and got a $5 Catalina coupon back. I also bought a bag each of grapefruit and oranges, so I had no problem using my $5 Cat from a previous transaction to pay.

Then we worked the Progresso trick that I learned about from Mashup Mom, because Nutmeg wants to be a big shot and bring in 25 cans of soup for the school food drive tomorrow. Guess we'll be bringing the wagon.

Got 12 cans of Progresso soup for $1 each, which was $12 minus the two $2.49 "broth" credits, or $7.02. Minus $3.25 in coupons, so I paid $3.77 and got $5 back. Moneymaker! This time I bought two bags of split peas, on sale for 79 cents each, as a filler to boost my total above $5 to use the $5 coupon I'd earned a few minutes earlier.


Sunday Paper Ads and Coupons: Free Fannie May Chocolate


Today's Tribune has a one-page ad for Fannie May chocolates with two $10 off coupons: One for use in-store and one online coupon code, which is 10566. There is no minimum purchase, but it looks like neither coupon can be used on sale items. In-store at least you should be able to get just under half a pound of chocolate for free. On the Web site, though, the cheapest full-price items I see are over $20. Still, the coupon also takes off $7.25 to make shipping free, so if you have a gift recipient who appreciates fine chocolate this would make it a lot cheaper. (By the way, Dominick's has Pixies on sale this week for $14.99 for a 1-lb. box. The coupon and Web site would be a slightly better deal, because the total there would be $14.88 including tax. And no, you cannot use the $10 off coupon at Dominick's -- Fannie May retail locations only.)

Highlights of the other coupon inserts: RedPlum has $3 off coupons for several DVDs or BlueRays, including Curious George: A Very Monkey Christmas, Coraline, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, as well as regular movies like Funny People, Inglorious Bastards and Public Enemies.

Continue reading...

Friday Night Shopping Binge: Free Soup, Walgreens Moneymakers

All week I've been writing up all the good grocery and drugstore deals out there, and not being able to get away from the house due to bad weather, other engagements and a late-working husband. So tonight while Epu put the kids to bed I gathered my coupons, and at 8:30 I zipped up my parka and ventured out into the night. I spent more money than I expected at Old Navy, made money at Walgreens, got free food drive soup at Jewel-Osco as well as cheap pop. All around, three successful missions!

Continue reading...

Transaction Ideas for Freebie-ful Walgreens Midweek Ad


Crystal Paine just posted a couple of scenarios that could earn you $15 (not to mention net 9 free products) at Walgreens this week, based on the mid-week ad they released. They'll be doing that every week until Christmas, by the way.

Here are my own deal ideas. Each transaction will be $25 before coupons, because Walgreens will give you a $5 Register Reward if you spend $25. (A tip: wait until the cashier tells you the total before you hand out the coupons; according to Mashup Mom they may have to press the Total button before entering coupons to make it register that you actually spent $25.) The items I chose will mostly be going into stockings, except the Coke, of course, which is for holiday entertaining.

Continue reading...

Walgreens and Dominick's Facebook Offers: Free Clementines, Free Shipping


Both Walgreens and Safeway (Dominick's) have offers on their Facebook fan pages today, but I don't believe you need to become a fan to take advantage of them. Which will save you the emarrassment I experienced when I became a Safeway fan and one of my real friends commented, "Seriously??"

Well, OK, Dominick's and I have our differences when it comes to whether cashiers should act all weird every time a coupon leads to getting an item free, but actually I am kind of a fan. Especially since they gave us those sweet gift cards while back.

The offers:

Free shipping at today only with code WFAN.

Free box of Clementines with $25 purchase at Safeway, Dominick's or other stores in that chain. Click here to load the coupon onto your Club Card, then you can get a free 5-pound box of Cuties Clementines Tuesday, Dec. 8 only, with a separate $25 purchase. Kind of a lot of restrictions, but nice freebie ($4.99 value) if you were going to shop Dominick's this week.

Looking back at this week's Dominick's deals, I think I could spend $25 there by doing the "buy 5, save $5" deal several times and throwing in some bogo berries. And two gallons of milk, we always need milk. 


Free $25 Gift Certificate will give the first 500 respondents a $25 gift certificate from, via mail. This isn't a huge freebie, since $25 gift certificates routinely go on sale for $2 toward the end of each month. Still, it would be nice to have because some popular restaurants always see their certificates sell out before they go on sale, and with a general gift certificate you should be able to choose any restaurant on the site.

The site will ask you to say yes or no to a few very niche publications before you're done, but it only takes a minute. I have gotten free consumer magazines from this company before and I don't think giving them my address has caused me any problems.

Last Chance for Free Photo Cards!



SeeHere's offer of 50 free 4x8 photo cards ends TONIGHT! If you haven't yet uploaded photos and ordered cards, this is your last chance. See Freebies4Mom for all the details, or my previous post about the deal.

Deals and Coupon Matchups from the Sunday Ad Inserts - Nov. 28

OK, after Thanksgiving and Black Friday you've given up shopping AND eating for the rest of the year, right? So I'll just drop these ad flyers in the recycling bin without giving you a preview, right?

Oh, calm down. You and my 2-year-old -- neither of you can take teasing.

This week I'm excited about the Jewel flyer because the the Xtreme Value is 10 oz. bags of Wonderful Pistachios are buy one, get one free at $4.99. With two $1/1 coupons from the 11/15 SmartSource or if you have any of the previously available printables, these will be just $1.50 a bag! I don't know about your house, but Chez Frugalista pistachios are a sought-after stocking stuffer. I'm just kind of bummed that I used two coupons buying two bags of this at Dominick's when it was on sale at $4.99.

Continue reading...

Got Your Free Cards? Now Get a Free Photo Book


Did you order your 50-100 free photo cards from I did and was pleasantly surprised to get them by FedEx just a couple days later! They are beautifully printed.

Continue reading...

15 Ways to Celebrate Christmas for Free or Really Cheap Without Working at It

Here are 15 amazing offers and ideas that you can use to get free holiday greetings, gifts and more. Soon, I'll be posting about my ideas for generating extra money to spend on the holidays so you don't go into holiday debt.

Gallery sneak peek (15 images):

View the gallery...
Continue reading...

Yes, You Can Make Money Buying Blood Sugar Meters. Should You?

This week Bayer meters used by diabetics to measure blood sugar are a $5 moneymaker at Walgreens. Reader Tracy asked me to explain how this works, and I will. I'll follow the walk-through with a little discussion about whether it's ethical to make money buying this kind of item.

Here's how it works:

1. The meter is on sale for $14.99, so if you use the $30 off coupon from the 10/25 RedPlum, they'll adjust the coupon downward and you'll get the item for free.

Continue reading...

CVS Trip: Free Milk, Free Nuts, Free Huggies Wipes, Free Everything


You know you're a crazy coupon lady when you realize you're out of milk in the evening and say, "Yay! I'll have to run to the store!"
Continue reading...

Free Cocktails at Woodfield Mall


Back when I was a technology reporter in San Francisco during the dot-com boom, you could get free drinks any night of the week at the launch party of some idiotic new startup. Nowadays, you have to dig a little deeper for the drink-up-ortunities.

But here's one for you: Free drinks at 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at The Limited store at Woodfield Mall in Schaumberg this Friday, Nov. 13, at a promotion party for Nicole Williams, author of Girl on Top. Here's what they're offering:

- A swag bag (first come, first serve, so get there on time!)
- An exclusive 40% discount on The Limited's brand new business-chic attire (perfect for that next big meeting or interview)
- Free-flowing Girl On Top Cocktails
- Career advice from Nicole Williams (who couldn't use that at a time like this?)

RSVP required.

Hey, I just got a cute The Limited skirt for $2.50 yesterday. Should I put it on and wear it to this party, and brag about how I got the skirt at the thrift store? Or would that be tacky?

Udder Covers: A Scam or a Deal? Maybe Neither

It was brought to my attention that there are some complaints out there about the company behind Udder Covers, which I mentioned earlier today is offering a "free" $32 product for only the cost of shipping and handling. There are accusations in some message groups that the company selling the breastfeeding covers, Milk Bands, is a scam company and that people who have ordered from their Web site have seen unauthorized charges on their credit cards afterwards.

After researching the situation online, here's what I found:

1) This coupon code is not a limited time thing. They company apparently wants to sell its nursing covers for $8.95 and offers "free product" coupon codes continually as a clever marketing tactic to get people excited enough to order. (It worked on me!) While everyone whose online report I saw (and I read dozens of posts about this) did receive their nursing cover, some people found that they were cheaply made and not really worth the $32 "full price." Since it appears the company is selling a lot, if not most of, its covers at $8.95, that wouldn't surprise me. However, the competing product, Hooter Hiders/Bebe au Lait, does in fact cost over $30 so it's not an unheard of price for this type of product.

2) There are first-hand accounts online of people who ordered from Udder Covers and subsequently had their credit cards compromised, mostly on Baby Center forums. There are also reports of people who ordered and had no problems, on Baby Center, and on other forums. I asked around and the only person I found who had ordered from them had no problems.

There are accusations out there that the owners of the company are involved in all kinds of Internet fraud, but then there are other folks out there defending them (scroll lower in that same link). Confusing, yes.

The most pertinent thing I saw was that the parent company, Milk Bands, is registered with the Better Business Bureau with a grade of A and only three complaints, all of which were delivery issues and were resolved.

If all these other people believe they were fraud victims because of this company, why didn't they report them to the BBB? Or maybe they did and the BBB determined there wasn't enough evidence to post them as official complaints? I have no idea.

So, bottom line: This offer probably isn't as great a deal as it appears. I can't say based on the information available that this company will steal from you, but I will say this: I'm glad I used PayPal and not a credit card for my order.

Disney Deal and Whole Foods Coupons and Possible Free Kleenex at Walgreens, And, And, And!


I've got simultaneously napping kids here at home and the other one at school. It's been 2 hours of solid getting stuff done around here! I'm kind of giddy!

And here are some exclaimation-point worthy deals I just heard about too!

Today's Disney Store deal is $5 PJs. Normally $16.50! I ordered 5 pairs! Cause I'm on some kinda kids napping high! (Not a kidnapping high! Do not alert authorities!) Use code SHIPTODAY to get $5 shipping on orders of $89 or more (but my $25 order had shipping of just $4.95). Thanks, Mashup Mom!

And at Whole Foods, you can get a 2010 calendar with $30 worth of coupons -- for $2! Proceeds go to charity! Thanks, Garage Sale Warrior!

And, and, free Kleenex at Walgreens, says Money Saving Mom!

(Please see subsequent Udder Covers post before deciding whether to order this one!) And and and, a free Udder Cover to hide your boobs while you're breastfeeding, with coupon code cranberry2, says Money Saving Mom reader Courtney. $32 value! You just pay $8.95 shipping! The other brand of these things is called Hooter Hiders! Personally I can't be bothered with things like that but maybe you're going to a baby shower soon!

Seriously, folks, if you have not experienced having both your at-home kids nap simultaneously while your other kid is at school, you have got to try it. Best legal high I have ever experienced.

50 FREE Photo Holiday Cards -- Unbelievable!

This is one of the best freebies I have seen since I have been in the money-saving game: Freebies4Mom has a deal with Fuji to offer a set of 50 photo cards for free, including envelopes and free shipping. Just go to FujiFilm's SeeHere and use the code freebies4mom-1109, and it's good through Nov. 30.

MoneySavingMom points out that this would also be a great deal for birth announcements.

My idea this holiday was to have my 5-year-old draw a holiday picture for the front of our card. Of course, we could use this offer to print her drawing on cards, I imagine. Or maybe I should hurry up and get that holiday photo taken!



Dominick's Deals and Coupon Matchups 11/5 -- Free Breakfast


Dominick's will give you the fixings of a free breakfast this week if you spend $50 (card prices, after coupons) on Saturday or Sunday. There are four coupons for free items on the front of today's flyer: one for free orange juice, one for a free loaf of raisin bread, one for free bacon and one for free eggs. All store brands. I estimate these items would be worth around $10 total in your typical sale prices.

This would be a pretty good deal if it weren't for that pesky line about spending $50 AFTER manufacturer's coupons. Who wants to do that? Looking through the rest of the flyer, there isn't $50 worth of stuff on sale that I would normally buy. I can think of a few strategies, though, if you want to try for this free breakfast:

Continue reading...

More Halloween Freebies


So, free burrito tonight after 6 p.m. if you "dress like a Chipotle burrito." I'm weighing the cost of full-body aluminum foil against the actual price of the burrito.

More Halloween freebies, list courtesy of someone on my Freecycle group. As always, I suggest your call your local store to make sure they're participating.


Kids who wear a Halloween Costume get a free meal at Applebees on October 31st. children age 12 and under, dressed in a Halloween costume, to a free kids' meal at lunch or dinnertime on October 31. The offer comes with the purchase of an adult entrée, for dine-in service only.
Call your local Applebees to see if they are participating in this promotion.


Customers can visit any Toys"R"Us store - dressed up in their ghoulish garb - on Saturday, October 31 from noon to 3pm to participate in a spooktacularly safe Halloween celebration. Children ages three and up who attend Geoffrey's Trick "R" Treat Parade will receive a complimentary, reusable bag, which they can fill up with goodies and giveaways (while supplies last) as they parade around the store with everyone's favorite mascot, Geoffrey the Giraffe.


Creep in from 6pm to midnight o Halloween(Saturday, October 31st) to get one Free Black Jack Taco.

The new Black Jack Taco is free, 1 per person.
The Black Jack Taco is a black taco shell with beef, zesty sauce and cheddar/mozzarella/ pepper jack cheese. Hey, it's free!


Free Mattel Toy on Halloween for Children in Costume. Or print this coupon for $5 any $20 Mattell toy.


Tomorrow is the last day you can get a $1 chicken meal with this coupon.

KFC Free Chicken: My Experience

We went through the drive-in at the KFC at Madison and Ridgeland in Oak Park to try out the free piece of chicken deal. There was no line. I wasn't sure if I could get the free chicken at the drive-through, but when I asked about it, they just asked how many people in my car.

I told them 4, and they told me to pull up to the window. I barely got the chance to tell them I wanted biscuits too -- they certainly weren't trying to upsell me so I would have felt perfectly comfortable going through for the free chicken only.

When they handed over our bag they did not comment or care about the fact that the four people in the car were one adult, two kids and an infant. The free pieces of chicken were two very small wings, a leg and a breast.

So if you happen to pass a KFC this evening, I'd say stop right in for that free chicken. It was no trouble, although if you get the wing that would be pretty much a drag.

Sunday Ads 10/25: Free Diaper Sample, Free Lip Balm, Free Soup

If this week's ad summary is a bit dry and to the point, blame my mom's slow computer that I'm typing on. Maybe I need to use that $70 off Dell coupon I got with the Kellogg's rebate for an upgrade for her.

At any rate, there are lots of good grocery deals this week with coupons, ExtraBucks and Register Rewards, not to mention that just about everyone has deep discounts now on Halloween costumes and candy. It pays to procrastinate! Behind the break you'll find out how to get free soup from CVS, free Dove soap from Walgreens, cheap DiGiorno pizzas from Walgreens or Target, Free LypSyl lip balm from anywhere, and a free diaper sample online. Free is good!

The coupon inserts: Redplum has coupons for $2/1 for the new Pampers Extra Protection diapers and $1/1 Pampers Sensitive wipes, but you have to buy both the diapers and wipes to use the $1/1. Also, they have an offer for a free sample of this new diaper from Walmart. Also a $30 off coupon for a Bayer Contour blood glucose meter which will get you some free ExtraBucks at CVS next time this meter is paying ECBs. (I have given these away on Freecycle and found quite happy recipients.)

Continue reading...

Free Just Tastes Better: Free Piece of Chicken From KFC

When KFC tried to give out a ton of free meals, it went kind of bad. Lots of people waited in line and weren't able to get served.

Now KFC says it'll give out one piece of its grilled chicken to each customer on Monday, Oct. 26.

Actually, I'm pretty sure they already had a day when they gave out a single piece, and it went fine.

I'll drop into a KFC if there is no line. I don't do long lines for freebies, especially not for one lousy piece of chicken. The program Marketplace on NPR addressed this issue briefly tonight in a humorous interview between host Kai Ryssdal and his editor, Paddy HIrsch.

It's a fun listen, with Kai trying to talk about opportunity cost and Paddy insisting, "Free just tastes better."

Yeah, it does.

Museum of Science and Industry Is Free Weekdays All Month

'Tis the season -- the weather gets cooler, the tourists go home and the museums start their generous runs of free days. Through the end of October, you can go to the Museum of Science and Industry for free any weekday.

As an added bonus, the museum's having a kids' Halloween activity on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. See how that overlaps there?

More free days this month:

The Adler 10/20 and 10/27 (Tuesdays)

The Shedd Aquarium 10/26 and 10/27

And get this: You can download this Chicago museum free days calendar for your Outlook or Google calendar for 99 cents from Chicago Hot Blog.

Also, see my post about how to go to museums on any day you want with a pass from the library.

I Try the Deals for You

Tonight I am physically exhausted because I was out pushing the stroller ALL DAY trying out deals to report the results to you. OK, to tell the truth I was out all day because I get a little overly obsessed with completing my day's plans sometimes, and my seemingly simple plan of visiting a Jewel other than the one by my house to look for those Playtex cooking gloves that were free after coupon through today kept getting thwarted. I really wanted the gloves to make these clever Halloween decorations:


 Get it? They're like disembodied hands. The gloves will also be used to make the ice for the punch at the Halloween party Nutmeg's throwing for her little friends.

Continue reading...

Free Coffee at 7-Eleven for the Rest of October!

Print this PDF coupon as many times as you like and stop by your local 7-Eleven as often as once a day for a free cup of coffee, now through Oct. 31. Wow, free coffee! I love it, especially since my local 7-11 is just a block down the street.

(There have sometimes been problems with scammy PDF coupons being posted online, but this one is hosted by a 7-11 site so I imagine it's quite legit.)

Free Subscription to Cosmolitan

Get a free subscription to Cosmopolitan magazine, 1 year, no strings attached. This is from Mercury Magazines, which I have found to be totally legit.

I have so many free magazine subscriptions. Cosmopolitan was the one that made me realize I had gone too far. My 5-year-old can read now, and the words on the cover of that magazine were not the kind of material I wanted sitting around the ouse!

On the upside, most magazines these days have coupons in them, including Cosmo.

And speaking of magazines? I just found out that my favorite, the only magazine I have willingly paid for, Cookie, has folded. Drat!

Giveaway: Leapfrog Tag Junior


I'm not just a deal-seeking Chicago mom. I'm also a mommyblogger. And lately American companies just loooove us mommybloggers, and they send us free stuff all the time.

I'm giving away one of the free things I got recently: A Tag Junior reader from Leapfrog. They accidentally sent me two to review, so I'm giving away the extra one. This is kind of a lame giveaway, because the package has already been opened by my rotten kids. But it works and hasn't really been used. Comes with the book "If I Were."

Oh, and speaking of mommybloggers? I wrote this article on recently about how we're getting so spoiled by all these free products that we're planning to take over the world.

CVS: Got My Milk and a Bunch of Other Stuff for Just the Tax

We needed milk tonight, so off to CVS I went. Armed with two $5/$25 coupons from taking the quiz on the CVS site, of course, not to mention a few manufacturer's coupons.

I got all this in two transactions. Both were over $25 before coupons. After coupons, I paid about $22 + $4 tax, and got $24 Extra Bucks back. So really, it all cost me $2 -- 29 cents less than the price of the milk.



The ECBs I got were for the Vaseline Infusium deal (costs $7.99, get $7ECBs) and the "spend $15, get 5 ECBs" Cover Girl deal. Exact instructions on where to find the coupons can be found on Common Sense With Money. I didn't get any guff about my selections for the Cover Girl bogo coupon, although I know some other people have been hassled by cashiers with a narrow definition of what consitutes a "face product." My other filler was a $2 bottle of CVS-brand Viology shampoo, with a $2/1 coupon from the Reinventing Beauty magazine you see there. I actually rang up the magazine, then pulled out the coupon and had him scan it.

By the way, I tried on the lip stain in the picture, which is on sale for $7. Meh. It is exactly like coloring your lips with a felt-tipped pen, and I don't think the effect was any better than a much quicker lipstick.

All This for Free at Kmart Super Doubles

I topped off an exhausting weekend of shopping with ... more shopping. Why yes, I am starting to figure out why I never have time for anything.

But still. When I did a quick perusal of the possible deals at Kmart to write it up for you this morning, I saw that not only could I actually make money buying Special K, I could also get free Ziploc bags (which we were getting low on) and the free Reece's peanut butter cups I missed out on getting last time around. The clincher was that when 5-year-old Nutmeg found out I was going to get Halloween candy, she actually wanted to come with. I also kinda sorta told her we could maybe get some Halloween decorations, too. The kid is obsessed with this holiday.

Here's what I got for free:



(That Cariboo game you see in the background is just clutter in our house, not part of the purchase.)


Continue reading...

Sunday Flyers -- 9/27

There are 3 coupon flyers including the monthly P&G.

Kmart double coupon deals were covered in this post; there's also a $20/$100 coupon in the flyer for home fashions, bedding or bath.

CVS has some freebies this week, most notably a moneymaking bottle of Vaseline lotion after ExtraBucs and coupon, through Tuesday only. See I Heart CVS for all the deals.

Walgreens has the same lotion as a moneymaker as well, plus a number of Register Rewards freebies including Chapstick. I love free Chapstick! (In fact yesterday I got my free Eos sample in the mail, just after the one I got at BlogHer expired due to tampering by a 2-year-old. Thanks Eos!) See all the Wag's deals at Money Saving Mom.

Continue reading...

Free Museums on Saturday


The Notebaert Nature Museum is free this Saturday if you print and present this admission card. Kids LOVE the butterfly enclosure there and it's probably the highest-profile Illinois museum participating in Smithsonian Magazine's free museum day. Others include the Swedish American Museum, which has that fun kids' immigration activity thing, and the Aurora Fire Museum.

Too bad we are booked solid Saturday what with the Parenthesis consignment sale and then a free "tea" for kids and their dolls at the Oak Park Women's Exchange. Which by the way is supposed to be a great place to get inexpensive outfits for kids' dolls, if you're like me and the kids' grandparents have so generously given them an outrageously expensive doll for which there are so many outrageously expensive outfits on display at a certain outrageously huge store on Michigan Ave.

No matter -- I just found out that our Oak Park Public Library now has a Museum Adventure Pass program, similar to the museum passes Chicago Public Libraries has been providing for years. Using that we don't have to wait for a free day -- we could go free anytime the pass is available to the Morton Arboretum, the Kohl Children's Museum, the Brookfield Zoo or even get a parking pass to the Chicago Botanic Garden. OK the list is not as extensive as the Chicago program's but there is plenty there to keep us busy.

Lots of other suburban libraries are participating in this including Oak Forest, Aurora, Berwyn, Evanston, Forest Park and more.

Photo by kevcole, used via Creative Commons license.

Free $10 Gift Certificate for Rockit Bar and Grill

Thanks to reader Amber for this tip: Get $10 off your food bill at Wrigleyville's Rockit Bar and Grill. It says the offer is available for five days but I'd sign up asap if I were you.

The Web site offering it is called We Give to Get, and apparently like Groupon they offer a hot Chicago deal every single day. I'll be paying attention, believe me.

OH, and speaking of Groupon? You have 30 minutes left to score $100 worth of waxing or tinting services at Juko Nail and Skin Rescue for a mere $50.

Free Ice Cream on Thursday

Cold Stone Creamery will give you a free 3-oz. serving of "Jack's Creation" Thursday between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. It's to benefit Make a Wish.

I of course won't be doing this because I'll be at the 900 Shops on Michigan Ave. doing Blogapalooza. But I went last year and that Jack's Creation is friggin' delicious. I hate to even ask who this Jack is or was because Made a Wish is for terminally ill kids and I really cannot even think about stuff like that while I am a nursing mom. The hormones make it pretty much impossible.

But what was I saying? Ah, yes. If you're not at Blogapalooza tomorrow evening, then at least get some free ice cream. Or maybe do both! You should totally do both.

Free Thursday: Blogapalooza

ChicagoNow's throwing a little party for the general public tomorrow along with the 900 shops on Michigan Ave. Well, it's kind of an event at the various stores, but since there will be free food and drink and fun, interesting people there, I shall call it a party.

Michigan Ave.! Just like Oprah's party. Here are the deets:

Thursday, Sept. 24

5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

900 N. Michigan Ave.

Continue reading...

Last Chance for Kellogg's Fuel for School Rebate Moneymakers at Jewel or Target This Week


The only big deal that stands out this week at Jewel is a new Kellogg's promo: Buy 10 of selected items (mix and match) and you get them for $1.50 each. Remember that Fuel for School Rebate, where you buy 10 Kellogg's products and they send you a $10 check? Well, it ends Sept. 30, i.e., the end of this shopping week. So if you haven't done it yet, now's the time. Buy 10 of these items at $1.50 each, pay $15, and get a $10 rebate check. Better yet, use coupons to bring the 10 items down to a buck each and it's all free after rebate. Better better yet, use coupons to bring them down to 50 cents each and then the rebate is a moneymaker.

Continue reading...

Sunday Flyers -- 9/20

The SmartSource this week include more Campbell's coupons for the Jewel-Osco Catalina, a buy-one-get-one coupon for a caramel apple or double chocolate fudge shake at Steak n Sheak (damn those look good), Dairy Queen and Quiznos Qs. The RedPlum includes several that would be useful for the week's CVS deals, including $1/1 Neutrogena hair product and $1/1 Aquafresh.

At Target, I don't see any hot gift card offers like recent weeks, but there are a couple of sales: memory foam mattress toppers are on sale for $43.49 (twin) through $135.99 (thicker full version). They don't list prices for queen or king but they do say others are on sale. 12-count Pop-Tarts and 8-count Nutri-Grain bars are on sale for $2 each. (Combine the $1/2 Pop-Tarts manufacturer's coupon from the 9/13 RedPlum or the $.55/1 printable with the $1/2 Target coupon to get them for a buck a box.)

Toys R Us is having a birthday party for Geoffrey, its mascott giraffe, on Saturday, Sept. 26 from noon to 3 p.m., with parades, activities and product giveaways. How nice of them to schedule it right during most tots' naptime. They're also having a sale that lasts all week" buy 2, get the 3rd free," good on all Lego Building Sets, all video games, all books, all LeapFrog learning toys, all Barbies, all Star Wars, all Playskool and a bunch of other stuff. There's also an offer for a $20 Pizza Hut gift card if you buy the game Birthday Party Bash for Wii, and a $15 Toys R Us gift card if you buy a Scooby Doo game and video together. They also have a $5/2 coupon for Pampers mega packs, which can be combined with Pampers manufacturer's coupons, and a $2/1 for value boxes of wipes.

Kohl's says you get $10 "Kohl's cash" for every $50 you spend, in addition to a big anniversary sale where you can take 15%, 20% or 30% EVEERYTHING when you use your Kohl's charge card. Both offers are in store or online, through Wednesday.

Through Sept. 29, Carson Pirie Scott is giving out coupons for 20% off any item (regular priced or sale) for each clothing or home textile item you donate to Goodwill. You are supposed to bring the items to the Carson store to get the coupons. You know, that is probably the best price you're ever going to get for most used clothing items. I would really like some boots for this fall; maybe I should figure out a way to squeeze a trip to Carson's into my schedule. And maybe get these?

CVS: A slow week. The only freebie I'm interested in is Crest toothpaste, free after ExtraBucks and the $1/1 coupon from the 8/30 P&G insert. (Because SOME people I coupon shop for are picky about their toothpaste brand. I'm looking at you, Mom and Dad. And Grandma.) The candy deal is all right if you want to get ready for Halloween: spend $15, get $5. It includes some items not listed in the flyer, like some individual bars. For the rest of the meager CVS deals this week (including free Sally Hansen nail polish) see Money Saving Mom.

Walgreens deals include a store coupon for 12 rolls Angel Soft toilet paper at $5.49 (combine with a $1/1 manufacturer's coupon from the 9/13 RedPlum). Reese's Pumpkins (size of a single cup) are 50 cents, so you should be able to use that $.55/1 coupon from the 8/23 RedPlum to get them free. For more Walgreens deals (including free Crest and a ThermalWrap moneymaker, see I Heart Wags.)

At Jewel-Osco, they're advertising Colgate toothpaste (4.6 oz.) for 1, so you could get it free with a $1/1 coupon (There's one in today's SmartSource that says "Sensitive" but you could probably use it on any Colgate paste. Or use one from the 9/13 SmartSource.)

Office Depot's Hot Deal of the Week is 500 sheets of multipurpose paper for 99 cents after rebate, limit 2.

Sports Authority has a $25 coupon off a purchase of $100 or more, good through Tuesday only.

Kmart has a Catalina deal that may have been going for a long time because it sounds familiar: Spend $25 on certain brands, get a $5 coupon; spend $50, get a $12 coupon. Brands are Huggies, Pull-Ups, Scott, All, Glade, Snuggle and Off! But after my experience with Catalinas at Kmart, I wouldn't touch it.

As usual: 40% off one item at Michael's and Jo-Anns.

Coupon matchups from the Hot Coupon World database.

Jewel 9/17-9/23: Make Money Buying Campbell's Soup


I'll post the rest of the Jewel deals later, but first here's a word about this week's Campbell's Catalina deal. (If you don't know what a Catalina is, read this post.) Have you noticed that Campbell's has been discounting its products all over the place lately? This $1/2 cooking soups printable coupon will really come in handy at Jewel this week, especially if you have access to multiple computers and can print a lot of copies, because there's a Campbell's Catalina deal going:

Spend $15, get $5. Products include Cambell's tomato or chicken noodle @ 50 cents (w/out card 20/$15), Goldfish crackers 6.8-8 oz. @ $1.25, 2 oz. Goldfish or Campbell's Canned Pasta (Spaghetti-os) @ $1, V8 Splash juice 64 oz., Milano cookies or Swanson chicken breast 4.5 oz. @ $2, Cambell's Select Harvest or Chunky @ $1.25, Prego pasta sauce @ $2.

Here's the moneymaking deal: Buy 20 cans Cambpell's tomato soup for $10 with card, $15 pre-card price. Use 10 $1/2 printables to get them free. Collect $5 Catalina coupon. Or if you only have a few $1/2s, also clip the the Cambell's coupons from the 9/13 SmartSource: $1/2 V8 Splash, $.40/2 any condensed soups, $.40/4 chicken noodle or tomato, $.50/2 Select Harvest.

Continue reading...

Free Ted Kennedy Issue of Newsweek

When Brett Favre retired, I bought a bunch of those commemorative magazines, thinking they'd be worth something one day. (Yes, I'm a cheesehead by origin.) Then the dude came back and my magazines seemed to hold a lot less gravitas.

At least we know that won't happen with this one: Fill out the form here for a free copy of the Newsweek commemorating Ted Kennedy's life.

Sunday Flyers: Golden Gate Edition

So, here I am in San Francisco, and you'd think I'd be out visiting my old haunts and eating all my favorite foods. I did eat some good food, but today I've been hanging out at my friends' apartment, waiting for Nutmeg to call out to me from her sickbed. It's a nice apartment on a great little shopping street in Bernal Heights, but still. It's not the getaway I'd hoped for this weekend.

But lucky for you, my confinement means that I had time to pick up a Sunday Chronicle (my alma mater -- I used to be a business reporter there) and look through the ads. If you didn't already know, there are five coupon inserts in some markets -- two Red Plums, two Smart Sources, a Generall Mills insert, and one other one that San Francisco apparently didn't get.

Target has a Kashi gift card offer: Buy 5 Kashi products @ $2.88 and get a $5 gift card. There's a (new or reset, I think) $1.50/1 Kashi coupon here for a cereal or snack product (thanks Money Saving Mom), which you can print twice per computer. There's also a $1/1 Kashi frozen pizza Target coupon here. Mashup Mom lists a few other Kashi coupons here. So if you are able to get five $1.50/1 Qs, you'd pay $6.65 for 5 products and get $5 back, making them $1.65 for five, or 33 cents each.

Continue reading...

The Frugalista Is Out of the Office, But ...

I'm in San Francisco for a long weekend. Work and pleasure. But while I'm here, I'll try to pop in with a few moneysaving tips. Such as:

  • There's a 16-family rummage sale to benefit a local girl scout troop in my home village of Oak Park this weekend. Saturday, Sept. 12, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., 608 S. Gunderson Ave. As much as I love being in SF, I hate missing a big sale like that!
  • You can get a coupon for a free box of "your favorite" Barilla pasta if you try their whole grain stuff and don't love it. (You do have a favorite pasta, don't you?) These "if you're not completely satisfied" offers are always confusing to me. If I thought it was just ok, would it be wrong to send in my proof of purchase and receipt? I like whole grain pasta, but I don't know if I've ever sat down to a plate of spaghetti and said "I just love these whole grain noodles. I just LOVE them!"
  • I missed a great Kashi deal when I typed up the Jewel sales this week: "Buy 4 select products, get $4 instant savings." Thanks to reader resweater for pointing it out, and here are details on how to make it a moneymaker or at least get some cereal or granola bars for very cheap from Mashup Mom.

Free Cocoa Puffs at Jewel with Catalina and Coupon


If you sign up for the (surely riveting) newsletter from, you can print a bunch of coupons inlcuding $1/1 Cocoa Puffs. If you can print five copies of this coupon (two per computer are allowed), you should be able to get five boxes free with the "spend $20, get $5" Catalina deal at Jewel through tomorrow.

Transaction idea:

5 boxes Cocoa Puffs ($4.45 pre-card price x 5 = $22.25, $2 card price x 5 = $10)

- five $1/1 coupons (if you have access to multiple computers)


pay $5, get $5 Catalina coupon back = free!

Thanks to The Frugal Girls for the tip that has coupons! Other coupons on that site that can be used for the Catalina deal include $1/2 Grands, $.50/2 Green Giant Boxed Vegetables, and $1/3 Progresso.

Photo by CJ Sorg, used by permission through Creative Commons.

Free "Party" With Oprah in Chicago

It's usually pretty hard to get tickets to see Oprah live. Long waiting lists, yadda yadda yadda. But Tuesday, you could see Oprah on Chicago's Magnificent Mile, taping the season premier of her 24th season. And admission is my favorite price: free.

You'd better have the day off, though. According to Oprah's Web site, they're letting people into the "party" area at noon, and taping starts at 5 p.m. I can't imagine how early people will start lining up for entrance, but they do say that overnight camping will not be permitted.

It's kind of funny that they call it a party, though. To me, a party means punch and pie, or something of the edible and drinkable nature, whereas Oprah's page says to bring water and that "No food of any kind will be provided" for the seven-hour even (Five hours of waiting for taping to begin + two hours of taping.)

You will get live music, though, from the Black Eyed Peas and our hometown girl Jennifer Hudson. That's kind of party-like.

The show is all-ages and kids are allowed if accompanied by adult. But I'm not bringing mine, that's for sure. Seven hours of standing outside, with no punch and pie?

I love you, Oprah, but I'll have to miss your party.

Photo by nayrb7, used via Creative Commons license.

Free Aveda Hand Cream on Your Birthday

According to For the Mommas, the "lavishly sized" Hand Relief cream Aveda will send you on your birthday is worth $25. I love Aveda products so I signed up here.

By the way, once you sign up, they also tell you that you can get a sample of the hand cream by spending $30 on their Web site with the code Birthday. And free shipping.

Like I said, I love Aveda.

Kmart Super Doubles Trip

OK, I caved. I succumbed to the siren song of Kmart Super Doubles. I did pretty well, but I must warn you -- I have never been able to do a Super Doubles trip in less than 2 hours. Maybe if I were better organized or if I didn't have the kids with me.

I did OK -- $50 worth of stuff for $10.



The coupon for the thing I really wanted to use for free product, Softsoap Ensembles refills, was no longer available, but I did have those four $.55/1 Reece's coupons, which would translate to four free 10-packs of Reece's (on sale for $1 this week) for our block party pinata this weekend. Naturally, those coupons got lost in the back of my coupon file while I was there, and despite hauling all my coupons out of the file to sort through them on a shelf, I coudln't find them until I got back. Of course, it didn't help that I was shopping with a rambunctious toddler and an infant.

As a consolation, I was able to get a bunch of my husband's favorite deodorant for free. That high-maintenance man -- I've got a bag of deodorants sitting around from the Unilver Catalina, but he wanted his frangrance-free Mitchum. And now he's got it.

These are the things I got free after coupon:

2 packs Huggies wipes travel size $1.99 each (used $2/2 Huggies bath & body coupon from inside Huggies box)

4 sticks Mitchum deodorant bogo @ $3.99 (used two $2/1 coupons that printed out at Jewel)*

Starbucks Frappucino bottle (This stuff is disgusting and has 340 calories! I was bummed once I drank that then read the calories and realized I could have had a milkshake.) (used $1/1 from 6/21 SmartSource)

Large bottle Softsoap on sale for $3.99 (used $2 Walgreens Register Reward)*

Kotex Lightadays $1.29 (use $1/1)

Things I got for cheap:

1 pack Huggies wipes $1.99 (used a $.75/1 from mailer to get it for 50 cents)

1 pack Pampers $9.99 (used a $2/1 coupon from somewhere to get it for $6)

2 boxes baking soda 69 cents each (used $.75/2 to get them for 32 cents each)

2 cans Campbell's soup $1.49 each (used $1/2 to get them for 50 cents each)

chocolate chips for $2.29 (used $.50/1 that printed at Jewel to get them for $1.29*)


Heath bar 89 cents

hair bands $1.99

I used the $5/$50 from the Sunday ad, and I tried to use the free product coupons, but I guess you can only use one special Kmart coupon per transaction.

Note: If your Kmart has ice cream (mine doesn't even have a freezer), the $2/1 Starbucks Ice Cream coupons from the 8/9 RedPlum would probably get you a free pint. It was priced at $3.99 at Target.

* I e-mailed my local Kmart manager before I went to ask whether manufacturer's coupons with the logos of other stores would be accepted. He said yes and so I had the email printed in order to prove it to the cashier if she gave me any trouble with the Mitchum coupons or the Register Rewards. But she didn't give me any flack and they doubled just fine.

Free Chick-Fil-A Sandwich Labor Day

Wear a sports team logo to a Chick-Fil-A store from 10:30 a.m. to close on Labor Day for a free chicken sandwich.

Walgreens Transaction -- Ho Hum

Every time I do deals at Walgreens I leave feeling like it was more trouble than it was worth. I think this is mainly because I'm so familiar with CVS and the layout of my regular store that any other drugstore seems like a pain to me.

Anyway, yesterday my $5 Register Reward was expiring so I went in planning to spend it on free-after-RR-and-coupon items such as the 360 toothbrush and Reach floss. They didn't have the toothbrush so I said, no problem, I'll get the Carefree Ultra with this coupon I just happened to bring just in case! But they didn't have that either. Grr.

Here's what I ended up getting:



2 cans Campbell's soup $1.38 (after store coupon)

2 Glade candles              5.00

Reach floss                     2.99

Chapstick                       1.89 (filler)

clearance toy                  2.99 (filler)



MINUS Qs and DISOUNTS 2.14 15% off Q (no longer available)



                                     -  1.00 $1/2 Campbell's printable

                                         4.24 2 free Glade Qs from the 8/9 Sunday inserts

                                         1.00 Reach Q from the 8/2 SmartSource


                                         5.90 -- paid $5RR plus 90 cents, got $3RR back

The clearanced bubble toy I got is not pictured because I can't find it. I was not thrilled about paying 90 cents cash -- I thought I was grabbing a 99-cent chapstick but now I see on my receipt that it was nearly $2. But considering that I got the $5RR for simply spending $25 on stuff I actually wanted, it wasn't bad to walk out of there with a small bag of useful stuff only 90 cents out of pocket. If only it hadn't taken an hour. :(

While I was there, I noticed this book by the pharmacy:

It has manufacturer's coupons for Colgate, Biotene, vitamins and Walgreens Ace bandages. Some of the coupons say "only at Walgreens" while others just say in small letters "redeemable at Walgreens," and technically they should work anywhere since they are bar-coded MQs.

Tuesday Deal News

1. Don't forget to get your free Kronos gyros today with this coupon.

2. It's the first of the month, which means new and reset coupons at (including Qs that work for the Kelloggs/ConAgra Catalina at Jewel, and the Special K deal at Target), SmartSource, RedPlum, and ShortCuts (including $1/1 Energizer batteries that can be combined with the $1/1 from the 8/2 SmartSource).

3. It's a good time to hit even though the discounts don't come out until the end of the month there. Why? Some restaurants consistently sell out, and if you've been wanting to get a gift certificate to one of those, better snatch it up now.

4. CVS is printing good coupons again at the register or coupon machine -- yesterday I got one for a free product (more feminine products, gettin' a lot of those lately) and one for $5 off Duracell recharchable batteries, which could be combined with the $2/1 rechargables from the 8/30 P&G flyer. Do the rechargables count toward the "buy $15, get $5 deal"? I dunno. 

Chicagoland Freebies and Deals for Monday

I'm gonna walk my toddler and baby over to Walgreens today to spend my $5 Register Rewards. Good thing I checked Money Saving Mom first -- she just posted a link to this 15% off coupon good today only at Wag's.

I'm planning my walk to include a stop at Oak Park landmark Buzz Cafe, which is reportedly giving out free coffee today to celebrate its 10th birthday. At least that's what OakParkerr says on Twitter.

Also remember to print this coupon good for a free Kronos gyros tomorrow.

Guess we missed this one: KFC was giving away value menu lunches from a boat this weekend on Chicago's lakefront. Only to people on boats, Cause you know, those people with boats totally need a free lunch worth $1 or $2. Anyway, since KFC created a special free-sample dispensing boat to promote its new value menu, I'll keep an eye out for other free-lunch-ortunnities.

The Sunday Flyers -- Free Ice Cream, Kmart Super Doubles

Oh MAN I am tired what a weekend. My father and brother came to see us yesterday to help watch the kids so Epu and I could spend some time cleaning out all the half-unpacked boxes and piles of junk in our basement. So now it's 7 p.m. Sunday and I'm just now sitting down to tell you about the deals in the Sunday newspaper. I can already tell you the highlights, though: Free ice cream at Target and another week of double coupons at Kmart.

Before we begin, help for the newbies: Glossary of terms; How to CVS; What's a Catalina; Overview of the Frugalista's Methods.

Coupon Inserts

It's a good week to pick up extra papers (or do a little Dumpster diving) if you are doing CVS deals, because there are lots of coupons tying into ExtraBucks deals this week.

First of all, the September P&G Brand Saver is in today's paper. There's a $1/1 Bounce dryer bar Q and a $.75/1 Tide Stain Release Q that work w/ an ExtraBucks deal at CVS to get you the dryer bar for $2 or the Tide for $2.25, and Duracell Qs that work with an ECB deal too. (CVS's rewards are called either Extra Bucks or Extra Care Bucks. For some reason the deal-hunters online have chosen to call them ECBs, not EBs. Fascinating, the etymology of the deal-hunter tribe.)

Continue reading...

Target Deals -- Some End Today

I'm a little bit ashamed to say that I visited the new Super Target on Mannheim Road twice this week. Even though this new big box palace is just a 10-minute drive from my home, it is usually my policy to sparingly visit stores that I can't walk to. But see, what happened is, my husband was going to drive over there this morning anyway to take Nutmeg shopping a the huge new Michael's. With a coupon from the Sunday paper, of course. We are supposed to be working on shoveling out our basement this weekend, so I thought I would go along to see if Target had any single shelving unit on sale, as well as pick up a few things I'd forgotten, use some of the coupons I just got in a Target mailer, and, yeah, I'll say it: Hit the many free-after-coupon deals at Target one more time.

We didn't get any shelving. But we did VERY well on what we got.

Before I get to my deals, I want to note a couple bargains I didn't buy:

  • Pink girls Radio Flyer Lights & Sounds Trikes are on clearance for under $30, normally $60. That's quite a steal since Radio Flyer is rarely discounted steeply.
  • You can get free dog food by combining a Target coupon with the buy one, get one sale that probably ends today. Thanks My Brain Is Inside Out for that tip.
  • Gold N Plump boneless skinless chicken breasts for 49 cents/lb! If you got a Target coupon mailer this week, take the $2/1 Gold N Plump Target coupon and combine it with a $1/1 manufacturer's coupon from For some reason I didn't have any $1/1 MQs with me so I got a lesser deal :-(

And now for the deals I actually got, in my two trips this week. First today's:



Total spent: $62.38 for regular purchases plus $247.49 for XBox* = $309.87

Total before coupons and discounts: $384.67

Saved: $74.80, 19.5 percent savings


Continue reading...

CVS Transaction: Made $4 Thanks to Crap I Didn't Need


Note: The deals in this post are good through store closing tonight.

Recently I was showing a friend how to make money and get free stuff at CVS. During that week, I got a couple packs of highlighters for free after a coupon, in order to boost my total up to $20 so I could use a $4/$20.

"Don't you end up getting a bunch of crap you don't need?" she asked.

Well, yes. But the crap always seems to find people who do need it. In that case, highlighters turned out to be on Nutmeg's new teacher's supply list, so I was able to score brownie points by sending in two packs.

Continue reading...

Thursday Deals

Have you heard of It's a whole network of sites with daily deals, including wine.woot and kids.woot. It's that last I want to turn your attention to today: They're selling a Crayola Kids Tote for $14.99. says this stuff may be worth $50. Since shipping is a flat $5, I ordered the maximum -- 3 totes -- for my gift closet (or rather, gift pile in the corner of the basement). Does that seem excessive? Ha! My daughter just started school and now has
  • Here's a freebie worth typing in your name and address for: Free lip balm from Eos. I got one of these free at BlogHer, and they are very niiice (pronounce as Borat to get the full effect of how nice these are). The shape, once the cap is off, is disturbingly suggestive, but that just meant my husband went out of his way to watch me put on lip balm. The site is slammed right now since every deal site out there is listing this deal, but maybe if you try later you can sign up.
    • Drugstore Deals: Midweek Update

      • $5/$25 coupon at Walgreens good today through Saturday.
      • Free photo collage at Walgreens with code FUNDAY. Also 25 free prints if you buy 25.
      • More Walgreens freebies with coupon. Also note there's a bogo Chinet coupon in today's Jewel flyer that might result in free stuff when combined with the bogo Chinet products at Wag's this week. See all the week's deals at I Heart Wags.
      • $30 prescription transfer coupon in Dominick's flyer today, which can also be used at CVSes that take competitor coupons. Also, Jewel has been printing coupons for 10% or 20% off your order with a NEW or transferred scrip. And don't forget there is a $25 gift card coupon in the CVS flyer this week.
      • Free Reece's and Kotex with coupons at CVS this week. (What a themed pairing, eh ladies?) Free items are especially useful when you're trying to use a $4/$20 coupon from the pharmacy. See the rest of the week's CVS deals here.
      • Today's the last day of the Box Tops Catalina at Jewel, which includes drugstore items such as diapers, toilet paper and Kleenex.
      • Lots of freebies with coupon at Target this week, including baby bottles and travel-size toothpaste. (By the way, I went today and was able to get free baby bottles, artisan bread and bananas, but the checker wouldn't accept my $1/1 coupons for the 99 cent General Mills cereal cups.)

      Free Ride in a Kid Taxi

      I got a flyer for this service called Grasshopper Kids. In the western burbs, they drive kids to school, classes, etc. in a van. The flyer has a coupon: "First ride is free," good through 12/31/09. I imagine if you call them you could ask for the same offer.

      Membership also has a multi-level aspect to it: You get a 10% discount for every friend you refer, up to a 50% cut for five referrals. I like it.

      Welcome WGN Listeners!


      I had the privilege of sitting in the WGN radio fishbowl studio this morning with John Williams for a few minutes. Baby James came along of course and their wonderful producer Beth Swierk held him in the sound-proof control room while I talked with John.

      We talked about CVS deals, combining coupons with sales, whether rebate deals take too much time (my answer: usually), buying kids' clothes ahead during the end-of-season clearance sales, and how setting a weekly budget -- not coupons or any other tactic -- was the most important step for me in becoming a frugalista.

      For those of you who are new to bargain-hunting and couponing, these posts will help: My glossary of couponing lingo and my overview of a workshop I gave on bargain grocery shopping. Yes, a lot of my posts are about grocery shopping, although you will also find great ideas here on entertainment, clothing and living the frugal lifestyle.

      Continue reading...

      Freebies for Tuesday: Free Video, Free Poster, Free Magazine

      * Tip on the Wag's freebies this week: Go online earlier in the day or at least early evening. When I was trying to upload photos between 10 and 11 p.m. last night, the site was totally slammed and it was frustrating.

      Today's Deal Hounding: Free Fruit Snacks, Not Free Granola


      I had an idea about the Catalina deal at Dominick's on fruit snacks and granola. The deal that caused me all kinds of confusion because people with stores that double coupons were saying it was a freebie deal, but for us where they don't double, not entirely free.

      My idea was, what about those Cellfire coupons? Right now there are 40 cents/1 Qs on Cellfire for both the fruit snacks and granola bars. Wouldn't combining those be just like doubling, allowing us to get all 8 boxes of snacks for free?

      So I tried it today, and here was my result:

      Continue reading...

      Walgreen's Photo Deals All Week: Today is Penny Prints

      Walgreen's is offering a different photo deal every day this week. Today's deal is 25 4x6 prints for a quarter TOTAL. Order online with the coupon code PENNY, and select in-store pickup so you don't have to pay shipping. Good today only (although I assume you could pick it up whenever as long as you order today).

      They're not saying what the rest of the week's deals will be -- I'll let you know when they're revealed. Looks like tomorrow's might be for a large poster print or something. Yesterday's was a free 8x10, but sorry, I didn't know about that at the time.

      If you need more than 25 prints, Walgreen's is also offering 50 prints at a dime apiece through Saturday. There are also a ton of offers online where you can get 50 free prints for signing up for new online services -- I'll post a compilation of those soon.

      And if you need your contacts to see those photos, you might appreciate the $15 lens care coupon book Walgreen's is giving away with a contact lens order. I didn't even know they sold contact lenses!


      Kmart Super Doubles Start Today

      We're about to have company, so I'll have to share the other deals from the Sunday flyers later, but I wanted to give you the heads up that Kmart is doubling coupons up to $2 this week starting today. Money Saving Mom has a list of free-after-coupon items with this deal. Although Kmart can be a bit of a pain to deal with, I have gotten some good deals in the past when Super Doubles come around.

      Call your location to make sure they're participating or call before heading over.

      Free Food Tuesday


    • Get a free mint cookies & cream milkshake from Steak & Shake with this coupon, through tomorrow, August 12. It's a PDF, so you can print one for each member of the family. Chicagoland locations include Aurora, Bolingbrook, Evanston, Gurnee, Hoffman Estates, Naperville, Rosemont and West Chicago. Call your location before heading out to make sure they're participating.
    • Take this survey to get a coupon for a free Kashi product.
    • Free apples and bananas at Target (free Rayovac batteries too).
    • Free sample of Somersault snacks.
    • $10 in free food delivered free from Schwan's (this appears to still be available!)
    • Free item with purchase at Arby's every Wednesday all summer. Tomorrow's freebie is a free roast chicken club with soft drink purchase.
    • The Unilever Catalina deal is still going through Wednesday at Jewel and there are tons of deals that result in free food! I will post soon with some last-minute deal ideas for you.
    • $25 in groceries free after coupon and rebate from Kraft.
    • Thanks to Money Saving Mom, Wise Bread and STL Mommy for these hot tips!

      Sunday Flyers, August 9

      Good Morning! It's a hot day; why not sit inside in the air conditioning and clip coupons? Unless you are too cheap to have air conditioning.Then you can sit under a ceiling fan and watch your coupons get flown all over the room like I do.

      1. This morning's coupon flyers.

      I was excited to see a General Mills coupon insert in today's Sunday paper, since the Unilver $15/$30 Catalina deal is still going on though Wednesday and General Mills products are included. However, the coupons inside aren't that exciting; most of them are available at the same or better value on or in past flyers. The only ones I clipped are the $1/1 Nature Valley Nut Clusters and and the .50/1 Yo-Plus (I already used all the $1/1 ones I had printed online.)

      If you are planning to do the Kraft $25 free food promo, there are several coupons that could help today: In Redplum thare are $1/2 Qs for Kraft Singles, Philly Cream Cheese, Kraft chunk cheese, Breakstone cottage cheese or sour cream and a $1/1 for Velveeta. There's also a $1/1 for a pint of Starbucks ice cream. I'm not sure if that's included in the deal, but if it is, those of you holding free pint coupons from the Facebook promo (now over) can really cash in. In SmartSource, there is a .50/1 Jell-O Pudding or Gelatin, $2/2 Kraft mayo$1/2 for Velveeta Shells & Cheese or Kraft Deluxe Mac & Cheese or Easy Mac, and a buy one, get one coupon for Velveeta Shells and Cheese cups. (Don't forget there is also a $1.50/2 printable for Kraft Deluxe Mac & Cheese or Velveeta Mac & Cheese and you should be able to print it twice per computer.)

      2. The CVS Sales

      Um, excuse me CVS? I can't seem to find the free school supplies in the flyer this morning. What's with that? It's like I don't even know you anymore! (Fortunately, free school supplies will be back next week with Phillips headphones, filler paper, pens and school boxes.)

      Oh well, there are two deals worth doing: Jumbo packs Huggies diapers are 2/$18. But that's not a very good deal, you say! I could do better buying a huge value box.

      Not really. First of all, CVS will pay you $4 ExtraBucks if you buy 2 packs. So that brings the price down to $7, a very good sale price. There are plenty of manufacturer's coupons out there, mainly from home mailers. I was lucky enough to receive a mailer when the new baby was born containing two $3/1 Qs. You might also have $3/1 coupons for the Pure & Natural variety, which I have not seen at CVS. Will those Qs work on regular Huggies? I don't know, but it's worth a try.

      Continue reading...

      Two Quick Drugstore Dealies

      1. The Walgreen's $5/$25 coupon has been extended through Saturday. You can print the new version from their Web site. Note that Walgreen's, unlike CVS, requires you to spend $25 AFTER COUPONS to use the coupon. The only way to avoid spending at least $20 out of pocket after the coupon is to use formula checks, which are not considered coupons.

      2. CVS is giving each ExtraCare card holder a free gift this month. The coupon for this gift will print out with your receipt if you make a purchase, or if you scan your card at the red coupon machine found in most stores, it should print out.

      If your coupon happens to be for a free pack of CVS AA batteries, like mine was, you should get in there by tomorrow if possible: Those are buy one, get one free this week, meaning that your coupon should get you two free packs.

      Also keep in mind that these free product coupons are great for when you're trying to use a $4/$20 coupon like the ones currently available in little booklets from the pharmacy. Because, unlike Walgreen's, CVS DOES let you use the coupon if your total is $20 before coupons, a free product coupon helps you get up to that threshhold without spending any extra cash.

      Free Oprah Magazine, Others for a Song

      I'm about to put a huge boxload of magazines up on Freecycle because I have subscribed to way too many free magazines. The ones I got for free include Ready Made, Elle, Wired, Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, Scholastic Parent & Child, Woman's Day and Business Week. Then I have magazines I got for a few bucks a year, such as Parenting and Parents. Or maybe I got Parents for free too. So hard to keep track.

      You, to, can fall victim to free magazine overload -- or be smarter than me and exercise some restraint. Mercury Magazines regularly offers titles for free to anyone who signs up for them. Today, they're offering a free subscription to O, the Oprah Magazine.

      I'm tempted. But I'm not gonna do it. Stop twitching, mouse finger.

      If you are looking for a magazine not offered free at Mercury -- usually they offer a popular magazine for a limited time but boring trade magazines all the time -- Amazon is offering a $5 gift certificate with a number of magazine subscriptions through August 31. If you deduct the value of the certificate you're getting, a $5.99 subscription to Redbook becomes 99 cents, and an $8 subscription to Details becomes $3. You get the promotional certificate 7-10 days after the purchase, so don't be alarmed when you don't see it on your order summary at check-out.

      Free Screening of "The Time Traveler's Wife"

      "The Time Traveler's Wife," based on the novel by Chicago author Audrey Niffenegger, is coming out as a movie on August 14. But you can see it for free on Tuesday, August 11, if you register for the preview at

      The screening is at 8 p.m. at AMC River East, 322 E. Illinois Street.

      Thanks to Cindy Fey of We All Fall Down!

      Tuesday Freebies: Schwan's Food, Nail Polish, Sharpies, Coffee

      I don't bother signing up for freebies unless they're really substantial. But today I have some good ones, starting with:

      •  $10 worth of free food delivered for free by the Schwan Man. The Schwan Man used to come to our house when I was growing up -- Schwan's is a company that drives around a freezer truck and somehow induces your mom to spend money on delicious frozen desserts that she would never buy you in the grocery store. We used to LOVE the "tin roof sundaes" from the Schwan truck.

      Sadly, I can't find a tin roof sundae bar on Schwan's Web site, but you CAN get a box of ice cream bars for free right now. Just go to the site, enter your zip code to make sure Schwan's delivers to you (I tried a few Chicago zip codes and they were in the delivery area), register, and put something that costs $10 or less in your cart. When you check out, there will be no cost and no delivery charge. You don't even have to enter a credit card. I ordered 2 pounds of chicken nuggets because my baby is getting fussy and I won't be able to cook much in the next few weeks.

      According to Money Saving Mom, this offer is good for the first 500,000 orders, only for families who haven't placed an order in the past 14 weeks. 

      Continue reading...

      Most Active Pages Right Now on Facebook