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Deals That Are Nifty by Sister Thrifty: May 2005

Deals That Are Nifty by Sister Thrifty

Great Steals and Deals around town and online to save you the big bucks and help you keep more of your hard-earned money!

Monday, May 30, 2005


Hi everyone!
I just got back from a fun business trip out of town and wanted to share some quick travel tips that really paid off for me. Whenever I fly I try to be the first one at the gate so I can be the first passenger to volunteer my seat in case the flight is full. Of course, you should only offer your seat if you're schedule is flexible and you don't mind being bumped to the next flight. On really popular flights I've earned free tickets as well as cash and merchandise. Well, I didn't get bumped on my flights this time, BUT I got upgraded to First Class because I was the only person who had volunteered without being asked and they needed to make room in Coach for some Stand-By passengers. Woohoo!!! I must say, life is goooood in First Class. :)
Whenever I stay at hotels I make sure I enroll in their frequent guest program. Pretty much any hotel you'd consider staying at has one and even some smaller hotels and Bed & Breakfasts are getting programs now. It's free to join and you can do it by phone or on-line rather quickly and painlessly. Because I was considered a "special" guest at the hotel where I stayed I was invited to a really nice coctail party with the manager (great free food) and was upgraded to a nicer room on the 44th floor which then allowed me entry into the hospitality suite for free breakfasts with people who paid much more for their rooms than I did! Woohoo!
Remember that web site I told you about awhile ago where you earn free dinners just for making reservations at restaurants (and eating at them)??
I didn't want to spend all my time on the phone trying to find out who had openings for dinner so I just clicked on to where I saw a little spreadsheet of where and when I could eat. I picked my restaurant and made a reservation in a snap. Within seconds the restaurant had my reservation and I earned points toward my next free dinner at the restaurant of my choice. This service is FREE! You'll find restaurants all over the country, which is really helpful when you're dining out of town and unfamiliar with where to go. Realize, places like Denny's and McDonalds are NOT on this web's a listing of nicer, more expensive restaurants.
The site will allow you to click on the restaurant you're considering to learn more about it and even take you to their web page. Wonderful service.
For local San Diegans, attached to this e-mail is a list of items that are for sale by Renee Johnson whose husband is selling a company. For more information call 760-496-0421 and ask for either Renee or Sterling.
If you need someone reliable to clean your home call Rosemary Jackett at 579-8565. She has 25 years experience, good references, does an excellent job and is looking to expand her business from Orange County to North County.
And finally, check your area to see if it is offering this free opportunity entitled "The Cool Community Shade Tree Program." As part of a grant through SDG&E, all homeowners in San Diego County are eligible to receive up to 5 free shade trees. There are up to 24 different trees to choose from, ranging in sizes from a 20 ft. Crape Myrtle, to a 35 ft. Mimosa Silk, to a 50 ft. Live Oak. Trees need to be planted appropriately near your home to provide shade. The trees come in 15 gallon containers (about 6' tall) and with two stakes and bands to secure. All information and procedures can be down-loaded at: or on Google look up
"Cool Community Shade Tree Program". The two page application is located
on pages 13 and 14 of the program booklet.
Step 1 Read the booklet.
Step 2 Complete the two page application, including the map showing where you will plant the tree.
Step 3 You must attend a tree planting and care class for about 1.5 hours at a local park Step 4 Depending on your timing and location, either you pick up the trees at a local nursery or they will delivery them to you.
Step 5 Plant your beautiful new trees and deep water them with care. You
can also receive a hard-copy version of the booklet and application by calling 1-888-831-8620.
Alrighty, that's it for today. It's always so much fun to get away and go
out of town, but then again, there's no place like home! I hope you had a
wonderful Memorial Day!!!
Sister Thrifty

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Father's Day

Hi all!
Father's Day is quickly approaching, as well as graduations and tons of weddings.....if you need to pick up a gift or some party supplies check out They often have free shipping which saves you drive time and
gas money! Here are some codes that expire 5/25/05:
Take $5 off a purchase of $30 Code: MAYED55
Take $10 off purchase of $50 Code: MAYED510
Take $25 off purchase of $120 Code: MAYED525
Take $50 off purchase of $200 Code: MAYED550
If your family drinks a lot of those drinks in pouches like Capri Sun, call this gal who will pay you cash for your empty pouches: 760-430-1043.
To sell your used kids stuff and get free advertising call 760-967-1063 for "Kids Stuff Etc" magazine.
Cinema Star Theaters in Oceanside (CA) has free movies and crafts for kids the last Saturday of every month! Sign up your kids for a free "Kids Fun Zone" card for more free stuff! The Mission Marketplace is on the corner of College & Hwy 76.
Call your local Lowes and Home Depot to find out which Saturdays they do free kids crafts. Your kids will have fun, learn some handy skills and come home with a cool masterpiece of some kind, perfect for gifts.
One of the Sister Thrifty subscribers, Gil Torriente, has a great learning experience I wanted to share with you all. In Gil's words:
For a long time, I have checked our bank accounts online almost every day.
We have several accounts, such as checking, and a few savings accounts for us and our children, available from the same card. Last week, I noticed a $301.50 withdrawal in our checking account and the same amount from a savings account from the day before. And other charges for account balance inquiry and for using a different bank than ours. I knew neither my husband, nor I had withdrawn money, and besides, we would never use a different bank.
(We are too cheap). And I could tell right away that one withdrawal was done in Los Angeles Chinatown, where we had not been. I called the bank and they could tell by their records that the first withdrawal ($300 plus bank fee) had been with my husband's debit card and his PIN. The other one was too early to tell, but later that day showed up as having used the same card and PIN, but in Upland. My husband still had his card in his possession and he has never given out his card number or PIN to anybody. How did it happen then?
The next day I had my answer. In the newspaper there was an article about somebody who had been convicted of stealing $600,000 from people by inserting magnetic strips into ATM machines and in that way copied the numbers from the cards used. With cameras in place somewhere, he observed people putting in their PIN. I am guessing that gas stations would be a good place for that, since the keypads are high up and very visible. My husband buys all his gas using a debit card, so somebody could very easily have observed him somewhere. Lesson learned: Always cover the keypad with one hand, stand in the way, pretend to punch in different numbers before you put in the real ones, anything to protect your PIN. Watch out for people with cell phone cameras or others watching you.
For us, it turned out OK. We cancelled my husband's card immediately, he changed his PIN. And I changed mine also. And the bank refunded all the money within a few days. But if we had had less money at the time and I hadn't checked our accounts often, it could have been really bad. And the bank may not be as willing to return the money when more time has gone by. I check every day now. And my husband proudly told me that he covered that keypad well last time he bought gas.
Since banks have cameras, they easily get a picture of the thief, but crooks are smart. Going to a different bank makes it harder for the original bank to get the pictures. It takes longer. Also both withdrawals from our account were done at night. That might give the thief more time before the transaction shows up.
Thanks Gil. I'm sooo glad everything turned out ok for you two. Keep those great tips, steals & deals, and other shopping advice coming!
Sister Thrifty

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Purchasing On-line

Hi everyone!
This isn't a thrifty tip, but several people asked me to let them know more about this: On June 5th on the Discovery Channel at 8:00 ET the "100 Greatest Americans" will be broadcast. Viewers will be able to call in or go on-line to vote who they think deserves the honor of the greatest american.
Other people have asked me for a few tips about purchasing on-line. The most important is to use good judgement! If you don't feel good about a company or have never even heard of a company then just don't do it. You could also check out the rating of that company at before you purchase and you might consider using a credit card that is only used for on-line purchases so that everything can be tracked easily. Here are a few more tips:
1.) The first thing you should always make sure of before making any online purchase is that you are
insured from fraudulent charges in the case that your personal credit card number
gets compromised in any way (highly unlikely). But there is a very slight chance that this could
happen. You can verify this by speaking with your credit card company directly, 99 times out of a
100 the company will only hold the card holder responsible for a maximum of $50 if anything.
2.) Before revealing any personal information about yourself, look for and examine the merchant's
privacy policy. We suggest this just so that you are aware of your privacy rights while shopping
on the merchant's site. For the most part these are provided for your own good so that you
know what kind of information they are collecting from you and why they are collecting it. In
Most cases this link is located at the bottom of every page usually entitled "Privacy Policy". If you
can not find this link request it from the merchant. If they do not have a privacy policy I
highly suggest that you do not deal with them!
3.) After you have reviewed the privacy policy and feel comfortable about revealing your personal
information to the merchant that you want to make a purchase from you should ensure just one
more thing. Make sure that their site is secure! You can usually tell this in two ways. Once you
click checkout you should see something telling you that you are being directed to their secure
server. What this is doing is taking you to a secure location where any data you submit from your
web browser to their site is encrypted. The other way of determining if their site is secure or not
is you will see an icon down in the bottom right hand corner of your browser in the shape of a
pad lock. If you notice neither of these things it is a safe bet that any information that you enter
is not secure or being encrypted. Sometimes you will only see the lock at the bottom right
corner of your browser window. If that is the case then it is safe to go ahead with your purchase.
I just received a virus alert from one of my computer services. If you have received e-mails in German lately DO NOT click on the link! There is a "Sober" Virus going around that sends itself to addresses gathered from compromised computers. The second pest discovered over the weekend is a new version of the "mytob" worm. Originally discovered in February, the "mytob"
e-mails attempt to look official with subject lines like "Important" or "Your e-mail account access is restricted". Do NOT click on those links either! Make sure you have good virus protection on your computer and never click on a link if you don't know where it has come from. A few weeks ago I told you to NOT click on any links from companies saying they are PayPal or Ebay either, especially if they address you just as "Customer" rather than being able to identify you by name. Be safe!
Gee, what a depressing newsletter today! Ok, I have to tell you something great now to make up for the computer doom and Internet gloom.....
The U.S. government has just reset the rates on Series I and Series EE savings bonds. If you buy now you can earn 4.80 percent on your money, which is a heck of a lot more than most places these days. To learn more, go to
If you love free stuff like I do, then check out All
kinds of freebies to brighten your day! Enjoy!
Sister Thrifty

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Check Clearing Act

Hey you!
So, did ya hear the one about the lady who claimed to find a finger in her Wendy's shake? Turns out it was a she was hoping would pay out
big for her in a major lawsuit against Wendy's. She's being charged with a
number of crimes and now Wendy's is trying to reclaim their customers who
were scared away by the scandal. Supposedly, if you walk into any Wendy's
around the country and ask for a free "Frosty" (their chocolate signature
shake) they'll give you one for FREE! Woohoo!
I wanted to let you know about the "Check Clearing for the 21st Century Act", a new law that revolutionizes the way banks process checks. Rather than routing checks back to the check writer's bank physically, it will be done electronically. The bank where the check is deposited will create a digital image of the check and transmit it electronically for payment.
The tragic events of September 11, 2001, were key in prompting the Act. Air traffic was halted for days, and as a result, those paper checks being transported via air didn't move. In the 21st century, transporting physical checks is not required when digital images and electronic clearing are possible. So, Check 21 was passed and slated to go into effect as of October 28, 2004.
The new law will affect consumers in that they will no longer be able to receive their original, cancelled paper check. Instead, a "substitute check"
will be provided by their financial institution. A substitute check will serve as valid proof of payment.
It's also important to note that checks will clear in a matter of hours, rather than days. This means that deposits will be credited to the recipient's account more quickly, but funds are also debited from the check writer's account faster, too. As always, be sure there are available funds in your account when you write a check.
Save 10% on your order when you enter promotion code TCTENEMALSAV at checkout.
Here's a great summer time freebie! If you have kids (and live near San Diego), go to and sign your little darlings up to be members of the KSWB Kids club. They'll receive a membership card (which doesn't really amount to anything meaningful), but you'll also receive a coupon for a free admission to Belmont Park AND a free kid's cone at Cold Stone!
That's it for today! Make it a great one!
Sister Thrifty

Wednesday, May 11, 2005


Howdy y'all!
Trish Maes sent me a great on-line shopping tip that I actually shared with you all about a year or so ago, but now that there are so many new subscribers I realized I should probably mention it again! For any of you who order on-line, don't push that submit button yet! Before you do, bring up a second Internet window, go to your favorite search engine (I love and type "promotion code" and the name of the on-line store you want to shop at. There will usually be some kind of special sale or discount that is going on and you can save big bucks. If the store offers free shipping, then it doesn't even make sense to drive to the actual store to buy the item, especially now that gas is so expensive! Hey, your time is
valuable too. :)
I recently discovered a couple of helpful Internet sites where you can save
some more moola. Check out and
Yesterday I talked with the owner of a local A&P store who told me where she shops to buy all that soda and junkfood for her convenience store....would
you believe Costco?! She says Costco & Sam's have lower prices on those
items than what she would even pay from the product vendors!
Here are some local (San Diego) festivals and events that could make for some free family fun!
May 11 Wild Animal Park Founders Day....that means everyone gets in FREE!!!! 760-747-8702
May 13-15 Santa Ysabel Arts Festival 760-765-1676
May 14-15 San Diego American Indian Cultural Days 619-281-5964
May 14 Pacific Beach Block Party
May 15-22 golden Oldiies World Rugby Festival.....this is the 2nd time the
event will be held in the US. Lots of stuff going on.
May 20-22 Ramona Rodeo
May 28 Julian Mayfest sounds like they're really trying to get tourists
to go up there!
May 28 KIFM Jazz Festival
May 31-June 12 Lipinsky Family San Diego Jewish Arts Festival
Have fun!
Sister Thrifty

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Bad Business

Hi everyone!
When you watch the Today Show or other "news programs" on TV, you probably expect the experts on those shows to be unbiased and unbought, right? Well, the Wall Street Journal found, after several months of digging, that many of these experts are basically paid mouthpieces. TV stations have to "fill the beast" with news content and they always need filler. Unfortunately, they don’t ask a lot of questions and these "news" items are really advertorials.
The Journal found that many big companies are paying people with some name recognition to go on these shows and praise their products. Companies include Kodak, Atari, Microsoft, Mattel, LeapFrog and Radio Shack are all paying for impartial product reviews. One "expert" who appeared recently on the Today Show to talk about new gadgets had been paid by eight of the companies he praised. It severely hurts the reputation of the show when news like this is published. The shows need to label themselves as "Entertainment," not "News" if they are going to continue to do this!
Wanna know what small business make the most money? The following "mundane"
businesses, as the New York Times calls them, made people the most money over the past five years: landscaping, child care, janitorial services, nail salons and hair salons. Those five have been the biggest money makers in the
small business arena, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Now you know.

Check out where you can find out about some of the biggest scams and ripoffs going these days. You can also get help on their web site for filing complaints and reports to let others know about a bad company you may have had the misfortune of doing business with. It's kind of like the Better Business Bureau, but with an attitude! Start blowing your whistle!
Camber Hardy wants you all to know that the San Diego Symphony offers free tours at Copley Hall. Check out
In local Carlsbad news:
Rosemary Tobler needs to move soon and is trying to find someone to take over her lease:
Cute single story house in gated community close to beach.
"Harbor Point" neighborhood off of Paseo del Norte, free-standing detached home, $1850/month.
Fireplace, 2 bedroom, 2 bath (aprox.1600 sq. ft.), new flooring, granite countertops, new stove.
Low maintenance yard, will accept pets. Detached garage with Loft area for
lots of storage.
Availiable immediately. Please call Rosemary at 760 579-8565.
A sister in the Oceanside 1st ward has a room (or two) for rent. It is in the Avalon condo area, upstairs, and she does have a dog. It could be for a female student, an older sister, possibly even a single mom with a child.
Rent would be about $550/month, but negotiable. Her name is Linda Smith,
email:, phone 760-529-0870.
Also Trish Bradley still needs a job as an elderly care taker, or as a nanny. She has great references and is very loving and kind. Her phone number is 760-754-2985. She has a drivers licence but no car. She knows the bus system well.
Ok doky. That's it for today. Enjoy this beautiful weather...while it lasts! It's supposed to start raining again this weekend.
Sister Thrifty

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