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Deals That Are Nifty by Sister Thrifty: September 2007

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, September 24, 2007

High Definition TV & foreclosures

Hi everyone!

We had dinner at a friend's house recently who was thrilled to show us his cool high definition TV. Very impressive! Clark Howard is one of my favorite consumer gurus and this is what he had to say about HDTV:
This is going to be a great year for high definition on your TV set. According to new statistics from the electronics industry, 25 percent of households are now hi-def. Just 18 months ago, that number was probably seven or eight percent. There's more hi-def programming being churned out, too. The Discovery Channel made a big ratings comeback thanks to Discovery HD, which features incredible photography that renders beautifully in hi-def and has really captivated viewers. Now, Direct TV's goal is to have 100 HD channels before the end of the year. What's happening there is that they're scared of the triple-play packages from the cable companies -- where you get cable, Internet and phone -- so they're fighting back with this promise to offer more hi-def programming. Clark's approach to hi-def is to let the early adopters get in the game and drive the price down as the quality of programming up. That's already happening. Many of the major TV networks now put out hi-def transmissions in addition to regular broadcast signals. Meanwhile, a plasma TV today costs a quarter of what it did 36 months ago. And this Christmas, you can get a hi-def set for under $500 bucks. Still too expensive for your taste? The irony here is that you get a better picture from a hi-def transmission if you use conventional rabbit ears on your old TV set than if you actually pay for the hi-def programming and equipment. On the retail front, the way people purchase hi-def equipment is changing as well. Electronics retailers like Circuit City and Tweeter are in trouble because people buy their equipment at Wal-Mart, Costco and Sam's Club. In fact, the only electronics retailer doing well in hi-def sales is Best Buy.

My twin sister lives in Las Vegas and discovered this great web site: It's a company that gives away free show tickets to help theaters fill their seats so their show looks like a big hit. If you're planning a trip to Las Vegas, check it out!

The author of "Chicken in the Headlights" (Matthew Buckley) told me about this great web site: that kind of works like a barter system for avid readers. You put books on your list that you're willing to give away for free. For every book you give away, you're eligible to request a book from somebody else. You pay shipping when you send a book, but not when you get one.

The country has seen a surge in foreclosures lately due to the secondary loan market. Facing foreclosure can be a scary thing. It doesn't have to end as terribly as you think it might. Instead, try to arrange for a "short sale" with your lender to actively market your property. It can help pull you (and the lender) out of the hole. Never heard of a "short sale" before? In the case of a short sale, the lender agrees to accept less than the loan balance if you can get the place sold. Why would a lender want to do this? Well, it turns out that it costs a lender $70,000 on average to foreclose on one home, according to industry estimates!!! So a short sale is something of a win/win situation for lender and borrower alike. The neighborhood also wins in this situation because for every house foreclosed on, the average selling price of other homes in the immediate area drops 1.5 percent. Foreclosure is like a cancer that spreads in a neighborhood, but it can be healed with prevention by contacting your lender and setting up a short sale to actively market the property before the fact. An answer of "no" today may be "yes" tomorrow, as the lender may have to first get a waiver from someone they sold the loan to in order to permit that short sale.

Ok, on to happier subjects! I found this interesting article about saving tons of money on groceries. Check it out!

And now for some fun freebies:

1 year free subscription to DIET & NUTRITION MAGAZINE


Free hearing aid batteries:

Alrighty, that's it for now. Have a wonderful week!

Sister Thrifty

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Back to school & Cell phones

DEALS THAT ARE Nifty by Sister Thrifty
Yikes! Time sure flies! It's been way too long since I've sent out a newsletter because life has been so busy! Besides the normal amount of mayhem in my home, two highlights were that my 6 th book hit stores last month and I took my first son to college! He earned a 4 year academic scholarship and is going to save us a bundle in tuition & housing! Woohoo! Now that's thrifty! I'm keeping my fingers crossed that his 3 brothers will follow his great example! If you have kids going to college then you know how expensive it is just to pay for all those doggone textbooks. A great way to lower those costs is to buy used textbooks online at some of the following sites:,,,,,, and are all good sites for this purpose. Amazon is also doing big business selling college text books, and there are some British book websites that offer science textbooks for about 40 percent off the domestic price (even when you factor in the cost of international shipping.) Don't buy your books before class starts. Go the first day and ask your professor if you can buy a prior edition and try to find it used.

Back when I was in college we didn't have cell phones and so all of my roommates and I would share the cost of a phone. Here are some great tips on saving money with your landlines and cell phones:

Phone companies charging fees to not use long distance
Do you need yet another reason to dump the three monopoly phone companies -- Verizon, AT&T and Qwest -- and their outdated landlines? Well, here it is: Verizon is playing dirty pool by getting into the AT&T game of charging customers a fee for long distance even if you don't use long distance. The Verizon fee is a couple of bucks a month, but AT&T had been charging people between three and five dollars to not use long distance! So unless you absolutely need a landline, why not liberate yourself? Here's the problem the phone companies are facing: They fought very hard to be able to sell long distance, but then people started using their cell phones, pre-paid cards, the Internet and/or cable phone companies to make their long distance calls. In fact, the cable companies usually offer unlimited long distance. So now the monopoly phone companies are fighting a losing battle.

Metro and Cricket eyeing merger
Metro PCS and Cricket may be getting ready to merge. These companies are like the Southwest Airlines of the cell phone business. They run extra-lean operations and undercut traditional cell phone operators by a handsome margin, passing the savings on to customers. With Metro and Cricket, flat-rate calling usually starts at $30/month for unlimited calling. The only problem is that if you travel, you may or may not be able to use your phone because Metro and Cricket don't have coverage across the country. Metro is now looking at the possibility of buying Cricket's parent company. If this happens, it would create a fifth major player in the telecommunications industry.

Free e-mail on your old cell phone
What if you have a regular old cell phone that doesn't get e-mail and you want it on your phone without all the extra fees and having to buy a new phone? There is now a service called Teleflip that sends your emails to your regular cell phone for free. You can also send e-mails for free. Make sure you have unlimited text messaging when using this program though because each e-mail is logged as a text. Go to and try getting free e-mails on your regular phone.

And now, for this week's fun freebies!

Free Sample Of BIZ Laundry Detergent

Help your children develop healthy bedtime habits and receive a free manual character toothbrush. Choose from Dora the Explorer, Diego, SpongeBob, Shrek or Superman. Simply fill out your washing,brushing and reading log to earn rewards. **See site for details**

Free Bottle of Bath & Body Works Lotion **Must Complete A FREE Offer** EasyNo CC# Required, Nothing To Purchase** Free Sample Purex Natural Elements Laundry Detergent

2 Free Cups Of Soyogurt From Wildwood Foods Sample Of Tasters Choice Coffee Vital Golf Samples( For Energy/Hydration)Includes:2 packets of Amino Vital Mix & Shake 2 packets of Amino Vital Pro Charge powder 2 packets of Amino Vital Fast Charge caplets

I hope you all had a great summer and are enjoying the Back To School excitement. Remember to share your steals and deals with me so I can pass on the savings to everyone else. When you enter the contest online at you can win free dinner certificates each month!


Sister Thrifty

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