holiday deals Archives

Deals on Cards and Other Printed Products

At, use the coupon code cards-38 to take 40% off all holiday photo cards, and if you order 60 or more your order ships free.

High-end card company now has a deal of the day. (Who doesn't!) Today it's 50% off all business cards with the coupon code DOD1014. This makes them about 12 cents each, which does not compare to free business cards at Vista Prints, but my friend uses Tiny Prints as says they are worth it because of their designs. See all Tiny Prints special offers, including up to $40 off holiday cards.

At Snapfish, photo mugs and blankets are already 25% off, and you can take off another 25% with the coupon code WARMUP25, through Oct. 24.

If you subscribe to Shutterfly emails, check your latest for a 30% off photo books coupon code, good through 10/20. I can't share because it looks like one of those long, single-use-only codes.

Photo from Shutterfly.

Feel Free to Wait for a Sale: No Shortage of Canned Pumpkin This Year



I saw some canned pumpkin at the grocery store last week, and I was almost tempted to snatch it up, for full price, just because I remember there being a shortage last year. But, don't panic. News reports all over are saying there's no pumpkin shortage this year. Feel free to wait for it to go on sale, if you need it.

It's funny, the impulse we get to grab what is considered valuable. Even though I don't think I have ever made a pumpkin pie from canned pumpkin. I think I've only made one or 2 pumpkin pies, ever. And there is an organic pie pumpkin sitting on my kitchen cart from the CSA.

Despite the fact that I don't really need any, I'm still happy to hear about the widespread availability of canned pumpkin. Why? Because it's one of those items that may go on deeeeep discount clearance prices after Thanksgiving or after Christmas. And if I can get it for 25 cents a can or so? Well, pumpkin is a very healthy food and makes a great additive to breads, rolls, cookies, soups, and heck, I probably will make a canned pumpkin pie, if I can get it at that price.

If I can't find cheap canned pumpkin, maybe I'll get lucky and find a whole bunch of jack-o-lantern pumpkins being given away after Halloween, like I did this one year. Jack o lantern pumpkins taste just ok, but free is free.

Photo by BLW Photography, used via Creative Commons license.


How to Save on Halloween Costumes Online - Today Only a Groupon Deal and Target Daily Deal


One of the hallmarks of our age of consumerized parenting is the Halloween costume. Last week I heard a mom complaining that her daughter's costume of choice selected from a catalog was sold out before the end of August. It always makes this Frugalista feel like she's from another planet when she hears a parent bemoan her missed opportunity to spend $30 or more on a few pieces of fabric shoddily sewn together. OK, there are some quality costumes out there too, but they're even more expensive. And don't even get me started on the seasonal Halloween superstore.

Assuming that we are not going back to the days when kids put together their own costumes with pillowcases and odds and ends from the back of the closet, here are a few modern-day ways to avoid spending frightening amounts of money on Halloween costumes -- on the Internet, of course. Tomorrow I'll post about ways to save on costumes locally in the Chicago area. (So if you have a tip for Chicago costume savings, email me at carrielynnkirby AT today.)

  • Cute kid's sugar plum fairy costume is one of today's daily deals at 25% off, ships free.
  • Today there is an online Groupon available for CostumeHUB: $15 for a $30 credit, and it ships free if you spend $50 or more.
  • sells kids' costumes in its Halloween Boo-Tique, shipping is free on all costumes, and if it's your first order, use the coupon code CARR0281 to take off 15%.
  • Starting today, thredUP, the kids' clothing swap site, is doing special Halloween swaps. Select Halloween from a drop-down menu on the site, browse the boxes available, then pay $5 plus the cost of shipping to receive the box. In return, you agree to list a box of clothes for swap and mail it (postage free) when selected by another user. Listed on the site right now are a cow, a lion, a unicorn and other costumes. 
  • Through Tuesday only, use the coupon code SPOOKY10 at to take 10% off all Halloween costumes. Better yet, you can use two coupon codes on a single order at, so add the code SHIPFREE to make it, you guessed it, ship free. (Thanks, Mashup Mom.)
  • Zulily has multiple Halloween events running through 9/30: Le Top costumes and adorable outfits, Rubie's costumes, WishingWear costumes. This is pretty darn nice if you covet expensive, fancy Halloween costumes and your kids are flexible about what they want to be.
  • Freecycle is sort of a local/online hybrid, but let's mention it here. If you watch Freecycle listing for the next few weeks you will doubtless see costumes listed, or you can just ask your local Freecycle group for the exact costume you want.
  • Ebay's Halloween store is grand both for whole costumes and that one last accessory like the brown braids that turn just a girl in a blue dress into Dorothy. (Yes, there are lots of new items on Ebay, you don't have to wear a used wig.) And hey, they're offering free shipping on everything Halloween.

Photo by me. That's Nutmeg and Kit Kittredge, both wearing witch costumes made for them by Grandma. Disclosure: There's an affiliate link in this post.

Have a Lot of ExtraBucks to Burn? CVS to Sell $100 Laptop



CVS is reportedly planning to sell a Sylvania netbook laptop for just $99.99 this fall, according to Engadget. Specs aren't available, but if it's anywhere near as capable as the other netbooks on the market -- I use one to write this blog -- that's an amazing price. Especially if you, like me, like to blow all your ExtraBucks you've been rolling all year and start fresh in the new year.

Looks like they're also offering an e-book reader for $180, which seems like a terrible deal, considering that Amazon now sells a Kindle for $139.

(And I'm not just saying that because that's an affiliate link to Amazon. Which, disclosure disclosure, it is.)

Photo source: Engadget.

Vienna Beef Tent Sale This Week



I'm not sure how the prices at this tent sale compare to the regular prices at the factory store, but you'd think it should be a steeper discount.

WHAT: Vienna Beef Fourth of July Tent Sale

WHEN: Thursday, July 1-Sunday, July 4, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

WHERE: 2501 N. Damen, in the parking lot of the Vienna Beef HQ

P.S. Sorry for the scanty posting lately. I got a terrible toothache Sunday which turned out to be an abscessed tooth. My left cheek swelled up to the size of a pineapple and I've been trying to rest as the heavy-duty antibiotics go to battle inside my jaw.

Jelly Belly Belly Flops 50% Off Starting Tuesday



Buy four one-pound bags of Jelly Belly's Belly Flops (irregular jelly beans), use the coupon code FREEDOM, and get them for $17.76. That's apparently $18.20 less than regular price, so better than half off.

You can also use the same code to take 15% off red, white and blue Jelly Bellys.

Sale starts Tuesday, June 22 and runs through July 2 or while supplies last.

Deals from the Sunday Ads: Holiday Coupons for Michael's, Diapers, Deck Box



It's a GORGEOUS holiday weekend, so don't waste time poring over those Sunday ads. In fact, don't even read this post until it's raining tomorrow and you're lying around the house bored. Here are the best deals from this week's Sunday newspaper:


Continue reading...

Start Preparing for Dad, Grad and Teacher Gifts



The easiest gift is always a check or cash. But that's usually also the most expensive gift, since the the only measure of the present's greatness is how much you give.

I like to put together gifts that give the recipient a lot of value without costing me a lot. These take preparation, but luckily there are still several weeks left before that early-summer triple whammy: end-of-school for teachers, high school and college graduates, and Father's Day.

How do cobbled-together gifts like this go over? I learned in my first year of frugal gifting that it all depends on the recipient. I have several relatives who are overjoyed to receive a basket full of laundry detergent and toothpaste -- my grandma even loved her basket of Metamucil! Others would just as soon receive that check. Or at least a gift card that you got a reward for buying.


Continue reading...

45 Issues of Golfweek Magazine for Under $3 Total



OK, maybe I'm a sucker and this is always steeply discounted, but (nearly) a year of a weekly magazine for under $3 sounds like a steal to me. And both our dads love golf, so I just grabbed two of this deal for Father's Day: is currently offering 45 Issues of Golfweek for $2.99, with the coupon code GOLF. When you first click, the price will show as $79.99, but the coupon code will bring it all the way down to $2.99.

You can even pay with PayPal. But apparently this site sells out deals fast, so hurry!

(Thanks, For the Mommas!)

25% Off at Ann Taylor

Today, May 8, or Sunday, May 9, take 25% off your entire order at Ann Taylor, no coupon needed in store. On the Web site, use the coupon code MAY25, and shipping is free on orders of $150 or more. Which is probably not at all hard to spend at Ann Taylor.

If you go this afternoon, they're supposed to be having an event with "styling tips and music." Hm. If there are no free cocktails or appies, this Mother isn't going to go out of her way.

I Didn't Do a Mother's Day Deal Roundup, So Here's Someone Else's

Check out Money Saving Mom's comprehensive list of Mother's Day deals. I like the looks of a Cold Stone Creamery freebie, since they have one of those in the mall near my in-laws' house.

And of course I did mention that Old Country Buffet dealie. I'm not totally worthless.

(Feel free to chime in at any time here.)

Give a Gift Card, Get $5


Most Chicagoans give their mothers pizza for Mother's Day, correct? Good, then: If you buy a $25 e-gift card at UNO Chicago Grill here, you get a $5 e-gift card for yourself.

Or if you'd rather give your mom the ability to order Metamucil or nail polish for herself, get the same deal with a gift card. (It can be printed and used in the store, so if your mom wants to learn how to play the CVS game, that would be a pretty good gift in my book.)

You can even upload a photo to the virtual gift card, which according to the PR pitch I got is supposed to eliminate the lack of intimacy problem with emailing your mom a drugstore or pizza voucher. Yeah, I'm not sure if the photo will do it, but what do I know? I guess it depends on how low you set the bar in previous years.

Earth Day Deals



I thought Earth Day was always on a Sunday, but Nutmeg informed me this morning that it is today. She also made a paper Earth on which she taped a homemade Band-Aid.



Some Earth Day deals:

The Onion Store urges you to "Do your inconsequential part for the environment": Get a free water bottle with $40 purchase at The Onion Store with the coupon code EARTH.

UPDATED TO ADD: 25% off on summer clothes at at the Gap in Oak Park if you bring your reusable shopping bag. Thanks to reader Emma for this tip, and does anyone know if other Gap locations are doing this too? I don't see anything online.

Bring some plastic bottles to the Disney Store for a free hat.

List of 40 deals including free tote bags from Dominick's (with $40 purchase, the coupon's in the ad).

Chicago-area free events today including a tea-tasting at the Morton Arboretum this afternoon.

Mashup Mom's list of Earth Day deals includes a free bag from my favorite yogurt company.

$1 printer cartridge refills at Walgreens today only (thanks, Money Saving Mom.)

Chicago restaurant Earth Day deals -- two are tonight only, one is running all week.

It's Free National Park Week -- then again, Illinois' only national park is the Lincoln Home and that's always free anyway.

See any other special Earth Day deals today? 

St. Patrick's Day Deals


St. Patrick's Day is all about the green, right? You know, like the green you'll save? Get it?

Should I make some more jokes or just give you a happy St. Patty's Day by listing the deals?

Jokes, right? Oh, fine, here are your shamrock deals for St. Patrick's Day 2010 in Chicago:

  • Green beer: Pretty much any bar you walk into will offer a St. Patrick's Day special today, but if you really need a list, here's one from
  • Free rides to and from green beer sponsored by Miller Lite. Don't drink and drive, even if you're too cheap to call a cab.
  • More green beer: YouSwoop is perpetuating the highly offensive but totally true* stereotype that the Irish like to drink alcohol by offering St. Patty's drink deals: today it's $14 for a Drinks Around the World Class, a "class" that takes place in a bar and promises that you'll "Sample generous amounts of spirits, beer or wine." Or you could choose a food class. Tomorrow, it will be The Drink Deck card, which will save you $10 off your tab at 52 different Chicago-area restaurants and bars, for the cost of $20. You'll have to log on tomorrow to get that one, and I'm sure the first thing you'll want to do the morning after St. Patrick's Day is arrange for the purchase of more drinks, right? 
  • Green cash: Increased cash back amounts just for today from Mr. Rebates. (These go as high as 35% back for an Entertainment Book; talk about stacking your savings.)
  • Photos of green things: 120 4x6 prints for $10 at with coupon code 120STPAT. (Or free mug with $10 purchase with coupon code SNAPPYBD through tomorrow, March 18.)
  • Green toothpaste: 20% off everything at with coupon code SHAMROCK20, today only.
  • Green, um, running shoes: Print this coupon for $25 off $100 all week at Sports Authority, or use coupon code TSA78T for $25 off at
  • Green and not-so-green electronics: has a bunch of computer stuff on sale through midnight today and their prices are generally pretty low already.
  • Printable coupon for buy one, get one free GREEN Giant potatoes. (Thanks, Money Saving Mom.)

* OK, at least totally true for the Irish people in my family.

Photo by Amy_B, used via Creative Commons license.

Free Shipping at Snapfish and President's Day Deals

Happy Birthday Abe Lincoln! Maybe I'll send you some prints: Through Monday (President's Day), get free shipping from Snapfish with the code PRESDAY.

Also remember you can pick up a free 8x10 print at Walgreen's with code VDAY. You have to select a collage print for the code to work. Not sure if there's still time to order that in time if you're heading over there today to get super cheap Huggies (as low as $1.64 a pack!) with the 15% off coupon.

Get $25 off an order of $100 or more, plus free shipping, at Coldwater Creek with code WHH4484. (I'm not ordering again; I ordered a cute cardigan during their last sale and the button fell off after one wash.)

I'm off to Wag's today and hopefully Old Navy if the tot isn't behaving too badly. Then the children's library. Would love to hear if any of you score major Walgreen's deals today!

Dominick's Deals and Coupon Matchups Week of 2/11

Epu won't have to avail himself of any of these Valentine's deals since he already sent a beautiful pink azalea for me to kill. He probably didn't even use a coupon code, but just to be romantic I'm gonna restrain myself from asking. 

But if you lack Epu's get-it-done-earliness, Dominick's is there for you. For Valentine's Day, there's a coupon for $3 off if you buy 3 Hallmark cards and an arrangement of a dozen or more roses. And a heart-shaped box of Fannie May chocolates is on sale for $17.99, doesn't say how much that weighs.

Also these Saturday-Monday only deals: 16 oz. strawberries bogo @ $4.99; Starbucks coffee 12 oz. $5.99 (use $1.50/1 from the Nabisco booklet previously found at Dominick's; expired); Haagen-Dazs Ice Cream 14 oz. to 16 oz. $2.50; filet mignon $8.99/lb., Pepperidge Farm cookies $1.88.

Continue reading...

Christmas Clearance Report

Here are the Christmas clearance deals that I have seen out there as of today:

At my CVS yesterday, there was tons of Christmas clearance stuff, including candy, at 75% off, but I'm holding out for 90% off, which I'm guessing will start Sunday. I don't know if there will be any M&Ms or Hershey's Kisses left, but if so I'm ready with

Today I took Pebbles to Target on the Eisenhower and Mannheim Road, where they had a few Christmas items left at 90% off. I got those 7 picture frame ornaments for 19 cents each, two packs of Christmas stationery for 60 cents each (35 sheets). The snowman ornament and gift tags were also 90% off.

Tonight, after the kids were in bed, I headed over to my favorite Jewel in River Forest, where they had tons of groceries, a few toys and some other Christmas stuff on clearance. In the Christmas aisle I got the two String World refill packs (I had picked up the two String World sets at another Jewel earlier this week), both the sets and the refills were $4.99 each; then there were several clearance carts near the produce section where I got the 10-11 oz. cans of coffee for $2.50 each and that fancy-ass tin of cookies for $2. Those cookies are for me, fyi.

I just got around to checking out the review of String World on Amazon -- oh man, they're awful! I think I'll return them.

Oh, and by the way, at Target today I also got a few great grocery deals: I hadn't managed to use my $2/2 Target coupons and $2/1 manufacturer's coupons together for Morningstar Farms before they expired, but today I was able to use them despite them being expired, and they were on sale for $2.99 each, so they were totally free. Also, I used a $2/1 Stockman and Dakota coupon for a package of beef that was about $2.47, and a $2/1 Archer Farms ham coupon on a ham steak that was $2.36. Pretty awesome.

You can print Target coupons, of course, here.

Fitness Club Enrollment Specials for New Year's Resolutions


Like so many of us this time of year, my husband is looking for a new gym to join to get fit in 2010. I'd like to support this quest, so here is my list of the best New Year enrollment deals at Chicagoland fitness clubs and gyms. I would of course prefer a free membership deal, which you can get at the YMCA and a couple of private clubs.

Here's a question for you: Anyone have luck negotiating with fitness clubs for free enrollment, even if it's not offered to the general public?

Through TODAY ONLY, Crunch will take $125 off your membership fee. You can also get a free guest pass to try it out.

YMCA Metro Chicago is offering a $0 enrollment fee if you sign up in January. If your local YMCA is not part of Metro Chicago, just contact them -- they are probably offering the same.


Continue reading...

Post-Holiday Ebay Bargains?

This week I was thinking about trying to declutter our house and sell a few things on EBay, like outgrown kids' snowsuits and such. Then I thought, Oh, but there's a glut of stuff on EBay right after Christmas with people reselling gifts they coudln't return and clearing out clutter to make room for new gifts.

At least, that's hat I've read. And it does make sense. But does anyone know if it's really true? Do prices of all kinds of stuff dip on EBay after the holidays? Is it a good place to find post-holiday deals?

I'd search around, except I don't want one more durn thing in this house right now!

Oh, and here's another fun Ebay tactic I've read about, which also works for Craigslist: You will get better deals if you search for misspellings of popular items. Because fewer people will be bidding on Hannah Anderson than on Hanna Andersson.

After-Christmas Sales, Anyone?

So how was your Christmas, if you celebrate Christmas? Mine was hectic and joyful and really very lovely. In fact I am still having it, since I am typing this from my parents' house while eating a Christmas cookie. Best of all, my husband has taken the children sledding so the house is quiet.

So, I've been a little out of the loop dealwise. I did venture out to the mall near my in-laws' house yesterday and picked up a few deeply discounted items at children's clothing chain Janie & Jack, and I see this 60% off sale is also online.

I got matching gingerbread man slippers for my girls at $16.99 each, and as you would expect from Janie & Jack they are very high quality:


There are also some beautiful party dresses and other gingerbread-man-appliqued items among the sale items, in case you want to shop for next year's Christmas clothes. Of course, everyone else is having a sale too. I lingered at Janie & Jack's midmarket sister Gymboree, where there were lots of leggings for runder $10, but since I didn't have any of the 20% off coupons they're always putting in magazines, I couldn't bring myself to buy. The Gymbo Web site says they're also having a 60% off sale.

And, you guessed it, their bargain sister store, Crazy 8, is also having a 60% off sale.

Any of you score any great after-Christmas bargains?

Now THIS Is Last-Minute Shopping

If you have Amazon Prime, you can upgrade to overnight shipping for $3.99 per item. Did you know the Post Office will deliver Express Mail on Christmas Day? I've gotten packages on that day before, no lie. But Amazon says that you'll get it by tomorrow if you order by 4 p.m. today.

 So if you're still not done, here are some Amazon toy bargains:


 Funny Phone Family Game for $9.99 (I bought this at this price in an earlier discount for my 2-year-old) 


Lego Duplo 71-piece Building Set for $18.14 (40% off)


And coming this afternoon on the Toy Lightning Deals is this Melissa & Doug dinosaurs floor puzzle. Which I am not paying extra to ship overnight, but I might just buy for my gift cupboard (or gift pile in the corner of the basement, as it were).

Now I've got to drag three kids into the Hallmark store for wrapping paper using that $5 coupon. And maybe into Walgreens. Wish me luck.






Don't Buy a Gift Card Without a Kickback

If you haven't finished your holiday shopping by now, you're probably eyeing the easy out: gift cards. And I'm here to tell you that's OK. Just as long as you get a little sumpin' sumpin' extra out of the deal. There are so many offers of free this or that with gift cards this year that it would be madness to buy one without getting something extra. After all, when you buy a gift card you are paying the company up front for merchandise that might be picked up later. It's a pretty sweet deal for the vendor.

The Hartford Courant put together a list of offers, mostly running about 20%, for national chain restaurants and stores including LL Bean. That is, if you buy $100 in cards, you get a free $20 card. The Container Store goes a step farther and gives you $25, the article says.

Here's another list on WalletPop. And the good folks on ChowHound have some great Chicago-area suggestions too.

Steak N Shake will also give you a $5 card for purchasing a $25, and The Clubhouse Oakbrook or Nick's Fish Market will give you $25 on $100. And one of my favorite chain restaurants, Flat Top Grill, will give you $25 on $100. (Little kids eat free there, too.)

Oh, and by the way, if you have a restaurant you like to visit throughout the year, why not grab the opportunity and buy the gift cards for yourself? Then you're getting 20% or 25% more for your money. Assuming they're not on, of course, where you can currently get $25 worth of dining for just $2 using the code SANTA. (And definitely buy certs through MrRebates -- you get a whopping 27% cash back!)


Amazon This Evening: Plasma Car Goes on Lightning Deal


Those Plasma Cars are supposed to be pretty cool. This evening at 6 p.m., Amazon will put pink Plamsa Cars on sale as a Lightning Deal. The regular Amazon price is $59.04, and the Lightning Deal price will be ... who knows?

Photo by eschipul, used via Creative Commons license.

Sunday Ads 12/20: Christmas Prep Edition


There are no coupons in today's paper and all I'm really thinking about as I read this morning's Sunday newspaper ads is how to fill the gaps in my gift-buying, stocking-stuffing and wrapping inventories. So here's my last-minute gift guide based on the sales advertised in today's Sunday paper:
Continue reading...

Get a Free Shipping Upgrade

Today is SO TOTALLY the day I'm going to mail those Christmas cards. I thought I was waiting for stamps to arrive from, but somehow I did not complete my transaction and those books of stamps have been sitting in my cart all this time. So last night I went to Walgreens to try to get $5 Register Rewards for buying more than $25 in stamps, but, NO DICE. I am 0 for 2 in this week's RR offer.

This morning, snow is falling, friends are calling yoohoo but I am totally ignoring them, because I am DOING MY CHRISTMAS CARDS. Before I go, here's a tidbit for you:

A lot of Web retailers are offering free shipping upgrades now that it's pretty much too late to get anything delivered with regular shipping. Here are the offers I've seen:

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!

I'm Ordering a Last-Minute Calendar -- Free Today Only Plus Free Coasters, Free Flip Book


Have you noticed how all the sudden everyone's ordering "last-minute" gifts? I wanna say, come ON now, there was a simpler, or perhaps lazier, time in life when I didn't START Christmas shopping until the day of December began with a 2.

Be that as it may, it really is the last minute to order photo gifts like calendars. I received my two photo calendars today, which I ordered buy-one, get-one from Snapfish using the code RACHAELRAY, today. Then i realized I should really have at least more calendar.

Continue reading...

Give Everyone You Know a $10 Christmas Gift, for Free


Want to send a $10 Christmas gift to every single person on your holiday card list? Would be too expensive, right? Actually, it could be free:

Continue reading...

Deals of the Day for Monday Dec. 14: $5 Disney Hat and Glove Sets, Play Kitchen Under $100


Sick of Christmas yet? I was getting there, I admit, but then we put up the tree this weekend and the sight of all those ornaments clustered in the bottom three feet of a seven-foot tree made even Crabby Grinchy Mommy smile. The eggnog helped.

Here are today's best daily deals to help you get that holiday shopping out of the way:

Continue reading...

Roundup: Best Deals for Free or Cheap Photo Prints and Photo Gifts


I've got my free cards, I've got an order of stamps coming from I had my kids photographed by a talented up-and-coming photographer who sold us the reproduction rights as part of her sitting fee.

So now where should I send my images to get free prints to send out with my cards? Fortunately, the Web is chock-a-block right now with free or deeply discounted offers from photo printing companies. Here are the best offers I can find for free or very cheap prints and photo gifts for the 2009 holiday season. Most if not all will require you to sign up for a new account (unless it's a coupon code). But it's easy to sign up for a new account even if you have used the site already -- just use a different email address. Feel free to chime in if you have a good deal to add:

Snapfish has a LOT of deals going on: 

Gallery sneak peek (7 images):

View the gallery...
Continue reading...

Drop Everything and Shop: Lots of Toys 50 Percent Off Today Only


I just tested this deal and it works: Visit through this link and all the toys you see will be 50% off. They're listed as AOL Exclusive Toys. However, you do NOT have to be an AOL member to get the deal. I tested it just now and my $9.99 toy became $4.99 in Checkout.

Also, many -- though not all -- of these toys are free shipping. Sadly, it looks like the Lego sets are sold out -- sorry I'm not reporting this deal until late in the day. But still, you have hours left to shop! There are still some great deals on there, like the busy box above, which is priced at $48.99 with free shipping, so it would be under $25 shipped! I bought that toy a couple years ago and couldn't find it under $50 anywhere.

If you use a Target Visa you are supposed to get an additional 10% off with the code REWARDP4, but it didn't work for me. Maybe I entered it in the wrong field.

Wish I could sit here and browse every page of these toys, but I have kids to feed and then a mom's night out. But, you know, when I get home I will totally shop until midnight! Don't forget about Toys for Tots or your charity of choice!

 Thanks to the folks on the Slick Deals forum where I read about this deal!

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...

Links I mentioned on Chicago Now Radio

Didja hear me on the radio? Didja? Didja?

Nobody I know did. Not even my Grandma, who tuned in late because she was holding on the phone for the cable company.

But still, here are the links I mentioned on the air:, the deal-a-day site that's my favorite holiday shopping resource this year. Why look, today they have some pretty nice headphones for $12.99. See what I mean?

Amazon Prime one-month free trial. This will get you free 2-day shipping through the holidays. You may also be able to get a 3-month trial by putting a bunch of expensive textbooks in your cart and going through part of the checkout process without actually buying them. Not sure if that one is still active, but that's how I got my 3-month trial.

Got My Gift Cards! Did You?


Seems like only Monday I was so excited about getting 30% off gift cards to give as gifts and to spend on diapers and toilet paper. And today they turned up in my mail box!

They came packaged in very nice little cards, too, which will be very nice for the ones I'm giving away. Sadly, the 30% off deal is gone, but if you hating buying toilet paper and diapers, you might still want to read up on

I sure hope they stay in business long enough for me and my recipients to spend these things!

The Best Holiday Shopping Resources


 Today I gave a workshop at the Parenthesis parenting center in Oak Park about cutting spending in preparation for the holidays. It was really fun -- the ladies who attended were mostly pretty experienced cost-cutters themselves and they shared some resources that I was not even familiar with.

I'll be posting a few resource lists that we went over in that workshop, and the first one is the best deals and sites for holiday shopping. It's kind of a mish-mash of ideas, offers and resources. The comments section is primed and ready for your additions, too!

Continue reading...

For Holiday Deals, Speed Is of the Essence


I wanted to tell you today about how to get a free calendar or other photo gift from American Greetings' PhotoWorks, but, whump! All 20,000 freebies have been claimed and that deal is done.

Yesterday, I followed Mashup Mom's advice and got a cute little mp3 player for my daughter. Later I thought, at $7.99, I really should have gotten more for some of the other little girls on my list.

Yeah, right. Soooo gone.

So, people, look alive out there. Deals are afoot, but they are fleeting!

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.

Cyber Monday: Bebe Item for $2 With $10/$10 Coupon


Money Saving Mom posted this Cyber Monday deal, which I find hilarious because Bebe is so slutty it has a partnership with Nicole Richie, whereas Money Saving Mom author Crystal Paine is a Christian, home-schooling mom who used to advertise modest fashions on her old blog, Biblican Womanhood.

Use the code SURPRISE at to take $10 off a purchase of $10 or more, PLUS FREE SHIPPING. Go through Ebates or to get cash back, too.

I ordered a pair of legging tights for $12, and my total after the coupon code was $2.12 (including tax).

Cyber Monday Coupon Codes

There are so many deals out there today for Cyber Monday, I can't even begin to list them here. I like Wise Bread's round up of a bunch of deal sites all on one page. But let's do this: So you think you found a good deal on an item. First, remember to shop through Ebates, ShopatHome or MrRebates so you can get cash back -- all are offering EXTRA cash back on certain stores for Cyber Monday. Then, use a coupon code -- here's a list of the Cyber Monday coupon codes I'm seeing:

Continue reading...

Hot Cyber Monday Deal: 30% Off Gift Cards at


You know, the service that will mail you toilet paper and other drugstore goods and diapers with free shipping, has low prices and lets you apply manufacturer's coupons without clipping them? You'd think it couldn't get any better than that.


Today it did: Get 30 percent off gift cards if you share the deal on Facebook. First, go to and creative an account or log in. Then, go to and click the button that says "Share this deal on Facebook."

It should give you a little window where you can add a little message for your Facebook page. I filled it out and immediately was told that my 30 percent discount was activated. (If you don't want to post to Facebook, you can get a gift card at 15% off.)

Since a Jumbo pack of Huggies is regularly $9.69 on, or $7.69 after coupon, a 30% off discount would make them $5.39. For size 1, that's 10.8 cents a diaper, aka, as cheap as it gets.

Good through 11:59 tonight, Central time! Now I believe in Cyber Monday! I believe!

Cyber Monday Deals: Start on Sunday


When I was in Boston Store (Carson's) this Friday, an announcement came over the public address system: "We have just been authorized to extend our Black Friday Doorbusters until 2 p.m.!" When I got home, Toys R Us had sent me an email with the "exciting news" that their doorbusters had been extended until 10 p.m.

I think most of you have caught on by now that there is no such thing as Black Friday, Cyber Monday or any other delineated bargain shopping day. This year has more deals everywhere you look than any other year in the past, and they have been coming fast and furious all weekend. Sure, there might be a few more special, deep discounts on Friday and Monday, but some online retailers (like Amazon) went ahead and called it Black Friday week and have been dishing out crazy discounts all week.

So Cyber Monday is tomorrow, but here are the "Cyber Monday Early" deals already available online today:

Continue reading...

More Toys R Us Black Friday Freebies: Free Crayons, Free Video Game

If I do a Black Friday sale this year, it will be Toys R Us, because their deals just keep getting better. I just got this email: Get a free 64-crayon box of Crayolas with any purchase at Toys R Us, Friday only. Opens at midnight tonight. Wow, Crayola is just giving these things out all over the place this year!

Get a free Super Mario Bros. Wii video game ($49.99 value) with purchase of Wii.

That's in addition to the other Toys R Us Black Friday deals listed on my Black Friday ads post, and the diaper deal on my Black Friday preview post.

Highlights From the Black Friday Ads


I'm up in Wisconsin, the turkey hasn't hit the table yet, and while my in-laws are all drinking and having a great time, I'm poring over these flyers for you. OK, and maybe for myself a little bit. I haven't decided whether to venture out tomorrow, but if I do it will be to Toys R Us, Target or both.

Before you start reading, be warned that local stores may vary in their hours and you should call anyplace you plan to hit before going if possible. They'll probably have their store hours on the message even if you call while it's closed today. (Then again, a disturbing number of stores are actually open today on Turkey Day.) Also, there's no substitute for picking up a paper and poring over these ads yourself. Not only will you likely find stuff you are interested in that didn't catch my eye, but there also may be restrictions on these items that I did not reproduce here.

And here we go! The Black Friday newspaper ad highlights:




Continue reading...

Walgreens Black Friday Deals: Made $1


I slipped out of the family Thanksgiving today because, lucky me, we were out of sour cream. Turns out Walgreen's was out of sour cream too, but they weren't out of Black Friday deal items. In fact, they were well stocked, especially with the 64-count Crayola crayons that are $1 after Register Reward. All in all, I spent $5 (plus 50 cents tax) and got $6 in Register Rewards with Walgreen's Black Friday Weekend deals. They have one deal that might be worth going back for on Friday only: M&Ms for 2/$3, get 1RR, and there's a $1 off coupon in the Walgreen's holiday booklet, which would mean two bags of M&Ms for one dollar.

Here's what I got:

$4.99 Infusium hair treatment (get $4.99 Register Rewards)

$1.99 Crayola crayons (get $1 RR)

$3 two Toblerones


$10 before coupons

Coupons used: $2/1 Infusium from All You, two $1/1 Toblerones from All You and a $1/2 Toblerone store coupon from the Walgreen's holiday booklet.

$5 after coupons, received $6 RRs.

Then I bought a newspaper and two bottles of CoffeeMate (buy one get one at $2.49, or 25 cents a bottle after two $1/1 printable coupons, no longer available). And two more boxes of crayons.

So now each little girl will have a new box of crayons in her Christmas stocking. Even today's jaded child still loves the box with the built-in sharpener.

I shopped using a print-out of this list from More Than Cents, so thanks, More Than Cents!

Photo by eschipul, used via Creative Commons license.


Black Friday Deals Are the Web's Worst-Kept Secret

If you're shopping Black Friday (whether you're waiting for Friday or shopping some of the pre-emptive sales already), you don't have to wait until the Thursday paper to find out what the deals are. Most of the Black Friday deals and ad scans are already leaked online, on sites like SlickDeals' Black Friday section and A Full Cup's board. Both those sites are full of friendly people in case you need help. But for the most comprehensive store listings, check out or

Mashup Mom has a post linking to Black Friday deals by category. For instance, if you are only interested in shopping for computers or comparing what freebies each store is offering, her post is very helpful.

 All photos from the companies or Web sites mentioned, except for the last one, which is by crd!, used via Creative Commons license. And the Best Buy image is by Ian Muttoo, also Creative Commons license.

Gallery sneak peek (11 images):

View the gallery...

Another Early Black Friday Deal: Leapfrog Sale Starts Tonight


Starting at midnight tonight, will start its Black Friday sale, discounting its stuff by 25% to 75%. There will be Tag books and Leapster games as low as $5, and free shipping on orders of $50 or more. Also, you get $10 off if you spend $100.

Here are a bunch of Leapfrog coupon codes that should make those deals even sweeter.

Your Black Friday Deals List of Lists


You've probably heard that the Black Friday ads for a lot of retailers are all over the Web. Here are links to the ads and resources I've seen:


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...

What Store Has the Cheapest Thanskgiving Fixings?


Even if you're not hosting a Thanksgiving dinner this week, this is a great time to stock up on your frozen turkey, potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing and whatnot.

The Frugal Mom's Kitchen, who is much more organized than me, already created a spreadsheet showing where in Chicago to get the cheapest turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and a few other items. She even put it on a spreadsheet.

As I suspected, she has Jewel's frozen Jennie-O as the cheapest at 37 cents after the $10 coupon (get one in Sunday's flyer or in the flyer at the store). They have the best sweet potatoes too at 28 cents a pound. Aldi has cranberries at the best price at 89 cents. Target has Stove Top stuffing at 79 cents, and Campbell's cream of mushroom for 49 cents.

Continue reading...

Deals, Deals of the Day


Sing that title to the tune of Home on the Range. This week, you might as well get at home with that credit card in your hand, because the online deals are all around. All about half the "regular price" or better:

Books-a-Million says it can't wait until Cyber Monday and is offering featured deals all day. Right now it's the full "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" series (7 books) for $35.06. ($31 if you spend $25 to join their club.)

Continue reading...

Sunday Ads: All the Stores Are Warming Up With Price Cuts and Coupons


The retailers are already pulling out so many stops that I wonder what stops will still be in for Black Friday. OK, actually the Black Friday offers are no mystery at this point, and I'll post some links to all the previews tomorrow. But before then, we can already get games at half price at Target, all kinds of gift card offers and $/$$ coupons, rebates on Kitchen Aid mixers and more. Many of the deals are good through Wednesday only.Why am I just sitting down to post these at 9:30 Sunday night? Well, let's see -- my birthday party last night quite unexpectedly ran until 2 a.m. Then we had to get ourselves up in the morning and drive 90 minutes to get to Wisconsin in time for the Packer game kick-off. Kind of the fall/winter Sunday ritual around here. After putting 3 kids to bed and a little party clean-up, here I am.

Target: 50% off games including Twister, Operation, Sorry, Scrabble, and my favorite kids' present, Hungry Hippos. This makes them just $4.79 to $7.49! I once stocked up on Hungry Hippoes on Amazon when it got as low as $8, so I think this is a great price for stocking the gift closet and helping out Toys for Tots or your charity of choice. Also half price are a Fender acoustic guitar @ $74.99 and a Little People Fun Park set @ $19.99. Other good deals are Xmas PJs: infant and toddlers' for $5-$7, kids for $6-$10 and women's for $10. Some of them are more winter themes than Christmas, but this being Target, all of the designs are cute.

Continue reading...

Quick Deals Before I Go Cook for My Friends: Old Navy, Disney Store, Amazon


Today is my birthday. Yay, me! I just commiserated with my mom that 36 years ago right now, she was saying to herself, "Thank God THAT's over."

So far I celebrated by listening to the new Chicago Now radio show on WGN, being served homemade waffles in bed, and shopping at Salvage One, a really amazing warehouse full of vintage built-ins and stuff near Damen and Chicago. (More on that later.)

Next I'm going to spend the afternoon prepping homemade cocktail meatballs, two kinds of fondue and other treats for a few friends who are coming over to celebrate. But before I embark on a cook-a-thon, a few deals for you to celebrate my birthday with:


Continue reading...

Even Black Friday Is Early? Oh Well, Mr. Potato Head Is Only $2 So Who's Complaining?


Before I tell you how to get a Mr. Potato Head toy for just $2, let me wax nostalgic: Seems like, way back when I was a child, people complained about how stores set up their Christmas decorations the minute the Thanksgiving leftovers were put in the fridge.

Nowadays, of course, waiting until after Thanksgiving to start the holiday shopping season would seem as prim and restrained as, well, waiting until after marriage to get on a family cell phone plan. Just not financially possible in this economy, right?

So I guess I shouldn't be surprised that the retailers can't even wait until Black Friday to have Black Friday. Today's Tribune comes with several flyers advertising so-called doorbusters. "Black Friday Now!" Sears insists, sounding not unlike my 2-year-old.

So, anyway, if you are looking to shop this weekend there are coupons and doorbuster ads in today's paper:

Continue reading...

Christmas Shopping in the Second-Hand Market: Would You Do It?


Every year, I tell myself that while my kids are still too little to know better I'm going to pick up some of their Christmas gifts used. And I have bought an item or two off EBay in "new in the box" condition. But I haven't really held to my pledge very well so far.

What about you? Have you found items at resale -- be it thrift shops, rummage sales, Ebay or other online venues that you gave as gifts? Did you worry about getting "caught"? After all, so many of the gifts I receive these days have the gift receipt taped to the box, but even a pristine gift bought at resale won't have that.

Garage Sale Warrior has a great post up today about holiday shopping at Goodwill -- without going to Goodwill. Did you know Goodwill has an online auction site called Blogger Diana Durkes found 10 winning items over there that would make good gifts.

Photo by Divine in the Daily, used via Creative Commons license.

Hallmark Coupons: $5 Off Printable and 30% Off Coupon Code


This one goes out to my mother-in-law, with her everlasting love for collectable Christmas ornaments: Print this coupon to take $5 off an order of $5 or more at a Hallmark store. Then hit the back button on your browser to print another one.

Make Janice proud and use yours toward one of those Star Trek ships that light up. We have so many of those things, we could probably set up a whole separate Star Trek tree.

Or, spend $30 or more at and get 30% off with the code HOLIDAY30.

Photo by riptheskull, used via Creative Commons license.

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...

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!



Most Active Pages Right Now on Facebook