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Deals That Are Nifty by Sister Thrifty: January 2010

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!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Will Work for FREE Scholarships

If you have high school students, especially juniors or seniors, then you know how busy the next few months are going to be to get them ready for college: SAT/ACT exams, applications, essays, financial aid plans and the hunt for scholarships. Paying for college can be a big hurdle for many families, especially during these tough economic times.

One option to reduce the expense of college is to spend the first two years at a community college. You'll typically save up to half the cost of a four-year degree by doing this. Remember, employers only care about where you graduated from -- not where you started your education. Then again, you need to be extra careful that those junior college credits are going to apply towards the university credit you ultimately want. I think half of the education (and the fun) is living away from home while attending a university. Now we're talking bigger bucks.

There are TONS of scholarships out there and if you just spend some time hunting, you WILL find something your child qualifies for. There are a number of bizarro scholarships available, including ones for being tall, being left-handed and even drinking milk. I’m not making this stuff up! Visit for complete details. When I was looking for scholarships for my two oldest boys I visited the Fast Web site weekly and grouped the scholarships by due date to help us organize our time better; many scholarships require essays, so we would conquer the applications one day/essay at a time. In a few cases we were able to reuse the same essay for several scholarship applications. This requires some work, but the free scholarships are worth it! And what a great boost to your child's self-esteem to know there are companies and organizations out there that believe in them.

The really obscure scholarships are usually funded by someone who had to overcome some kind of disability in life and can be found at There is even a fun annual contest sponsored by Duct Tape where the company gives scholarships to the high school students who can create the best prom outfits out of duct tape!

Talk to your student’s high school counselor to find out who is donating grant money, research money and scholarship money that you might not otherwise know about. Some high schools have a special Senior Awards night where scholarship donors give speeches and hand out money; get a list of last year's program from your high school counselor so you can see who is doling out money in your area. It's easier to get local scholarships than national ones.

Now all that talk of free money makes me dream of other freebies! Here's a list of this week's steals and deals:

Free KIND Bars at Starbucks (2/5)
Try KIND bars for free at Starbucks on February 5th! Starbucks will sample KIND bars at all of their 7,000 stores across the country! Drop in to try one of the two delicious flavors selling at your local Starbucks: Fruit & Nut Delight and Cranberry Almond+Antioxidants.

Free Stuff Giveaways from Allure (February)
The first 500 Allure readers to sign up at noon EST will win.
February 1: Sunsilk Hydra TLC 24/7 Creme
February 2: Tarte EmphasEyes Waterproof Clay Shadow/Liner Pot in Bronze
February 3: Talika Lipocils Expert
February 4: L'Or?al Paris Studio Secrets Professional Magic Perfecting Base
February 5: Caress Whipped Souffl? Ultra Silkening Body Wash
February 8: Lierac Paris Micro-Abrasion Stimulating Smoothing Cream

Free LEGO Groundhog (2/2)
One day each month you can learn how to build a cool LEGO mini model, and take it home - for free! US LEGO Stores - LEGO Groundhog: February 2, begins at 5:00pm until supplies last.
Visit offer page and use the top blue menu bar for LEGO Store locations in the United States.

Free Love Letter Kit (400 a day)
Every morning at 10am CST will be giving away 400 Love Letter Kits. Bookmark their page and mark your calendar. This offer ends on Valentine's Day Feb 14,2010

Free Fragrance Samples from Hugo Boss
Three different fragrance samples are offered from HUGO BOSS:
Hugo Man, Hugo Element and Female Fragrance HUGO Deep Red.
IMPORTANT: First, before you start filling out the form, you must select sample you want on the right side, then fill out the form and click (Send) one time! Nothing will happen, but if you wait a few seconds you should see a confirmation message: "Thank you for requesting your free fragrance sample" you also should get a tracking number for your request.
If you don't follow the instructions above, the submit form button will remain disabled.

Free Passport Holder (BCBGMAXAZRIA)
First, sign up for BCBGMAXAZRIA Exclusive News and eMail updates. Next, check your email, print it and bring it to the store near you.

Free $10 Coupon Booklet from Pillsbury
Ceate your profile to sign up to receive the Pillsbury® email newsletter, access exclusive member benefits on, and receive a free Pillsbury® coupon booklet with $10 in valuable savings. Offer limited to the United States and expires 3/1/2010. Please allow 6-8 weeks for delivery.

Free 20 oz. Orange Julius Fruit Drink or Fruit Smoothie
Join the OJ Quench Club and they will send you a coupon for a free drink or a premium fruit smoothie.

Free Preparedness Pack Sample
Please provide your information in the form and "Prepare then Share" will send your sample of preparedness pack right away.

Free Bag of PIECES Candies (first 25k)
REESE'S@facebook: "Through 2/10, or while supplies last, visit to learn how you can get a coupon for one FREE bag of PIECES Candies. Offer good for the first 25,000 people who visit"
Coupon good for one Free Bag of New PIECES Candy in a Crunchy Shell.
To receive your coupon, complete downloaded order form and send along with one complete candy bar wrapper from: HERSHEY??™?®S SPECIAL DARK?® Dark Chocolate Bar, ALMOND JOY?® Candy Bar, YORK?® Peppermint Pattie or REESE??™S?® Peanut Butter Cups.

Free Chips and Queso (Chili's)
Join Chili's E-mail Club for the latest happenings and exclusive offers, including a welcome gift of FREE CHIPS AND QUESO within 48 hours of signing up!

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Sunday, January 10, 2010

FREE DVD rental!

Hey all!

Here's a great little freebie for those of you who live near a "Red Box" rental.

I didn't know what it was until I moved here to Las Vegas. It expires quickly,

so hurry up and enjoy!
Sister Thrifty

Dear Customer,
2009 was an amazing year for redbox and we want to thank you, one of our most

loyal customers, for helping us continue to make entertainment affordable to


For a limited time only, enjoy a free one-night rental when you use promo code

RBXLUV10 at any redbox nationwide. Hurry — this offer expires at 11:59 PM

Central on Monday, January 11, 2010.

There's no catch — just our way of saying thanks.



Contact us at


Monday, January 04, 2010

Starting the new year with service pays off!

No doubt that most of us have the same stuff on our list of Year's resolutions: lose weight, exercise more, be a better parent, save more money, and serve others more. Right? Well, I can help you out with a couple of those right now! (Save money & serve more)

Starting on January 1, 2010 volunteers will be able to sign up for volunteer opportunities specifically designed to engage whole families in volunteer service. In exchange for your day of service you and your family members aged 6 and up can qualify to receive a free ticket to a Disney Park! In order to receive your Disney ticket you must follow the directions below:

Go directly to and click on "Give a day, get a day"

Complete the registration process for you and your family

Sign up for a Disney qualified project listed on the Disney parks website

Show up for the project you signed up for and volunteer

Make sure when you show up for your Disney qualified project you sign in and out so you receive credit for your volunteer service. The FAQ will answer most of your questions regarding participation, black out dates, ticket redemption and more.

While you're revising your New Year's resolutions, here are a few more worth considering:


1. Drink plenty of water.

2. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a beggar.

3. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants, and eat less food that is manufactured in plants.

4. Live with the 3 E's -- Energy, Enthusiasm and Empathy

5. Make time to pray.

6. Play more games

7. Read more books than you did in 2009.

8. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day

9. Sleep for 7 hours.

10. Take a 10-30 minute walk daily. And while you walk, smile.


11. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

12. Don't have negative thoughts on things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.

13. Don't overdo. Keep your limits.

14. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

15. Don't waste your precious energy on gossip.

16. Dream more while you are awake.

17. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need..

18. Forget issues of the past. Don't remind your partner with his/her mistakes of the past. That will ruin your present happiness.

19. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. Don't hate others.

20. Make peace with your past so it won't spoil the present.

21. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.

22. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class, but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.

23. Smile and laugh more.

24. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree...


25. Call your family often.

26. Each day give something good to others.

27. Forgive everyone for everything..

28. Spend time w/ people over the age of 70 & under the age of 6.

29. Try to make at least three people smile each day.

30. What other people think of you is none of your business.

31. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.


32. Do the right thing!

33. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.

34. GOD heals everything.

35. However good or bad a situation is, it will change..

36. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

37. The best is yet to come..

38. When you awake alive in the morning, thank GOD for it.

39. Your innermost is always happy. So, be happy.

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Sunday, January 03, 2010

Changing the way we think about money in 2010

Happy New Year!

Each January I’m filled with hope and renewal to break old habits and replace them with new ones that will improve my daily life. I’m ready to change some things. They say the definition of insanity is doing the same things and expecting different results! Along with some of my behavioral changes are some changes of financial thinking that have resulted from this crazy economy.

I love reading and found some support for the same idea.  Here are a few rules that have changed in the past few years, requiring us to change the way we work our money.

Old Rule: Pay Yourself First
We were told to put away money into our savings first and then pay bills. Sure, stashing cash in a savings account for emergencies seems prudent at first glance. That is, until you run the numbers and realize you’re paying out 20 times more in interest than you’re earning on your savings by letting an outstanding balance linger on your credit card.

A better rule: Treat every dollar as an investment. This forces you to objectively weigh your options and identify which ones will give you the best bang for your buck (or return on investment). According to one of the writers at , sometimes the best “investment” will be to pay off Visa first and pay yourself second. Other times you’ll need to think about future dividends. For example, should you invest in home improvements to increase your house’s resale value and your current enjoyment of it (a less tangible but still legit “payoff ” to consider)? Or should you invest that renovation money in your IRA so you can afford a retirement pad with a beachfront view? When you treat every dollar as an investment, you define the goal that’s best for your bottom line and peace of mind, knowing exactly what tradeoffs you may be making.

Old Rule: Pay Off High-Interest Debts First
In strictly dollars-and-cents terms, there’s no argument: Wiping out any debts that carry double-digit interest rates will save you the most money in interest. But if your goal is to improve your credit score, you’re better off paying down store issued credit cards (like those pitched at clothing store registers with the enticement of an immediate discount on your purchase) and “no money down interest for 1 year” financing deals (a favorite sales ploy of furniture, electronics and appliance stores). If a store issues you a credit card with a limit equal to the amount of your purchase, then you have an instantly maxed-out credit card sitting stagnant on your record, dragging down your credit score until you pay off the balance.

If you must charge an item you can’t pay off in one lump sum, avoid appearing maxed out: Use a card with a high limit, preferably one already in your wallet.

Old Rule: Sweat the Small Stuff
Yes, the small stuff adds up, but rather than focusing on pennies, go for the big bucks. To save $549, you can either eliminate 183 sodas from your budget (at $3 a pop) or spend about 20 minutes on the phone with your insurance company to lower your annual premiums!

You can apply the same logic to the rest of your budget— concentrating your cost-cutting energy on the four-figure line items (food, transportation, apparel and travel tend to be the biggies). If you still need to trim your spending, that’s when you can tackle the smaller-ticket expenses on your list.

Old Rule: Save by Switching to a Low-Cost Insurer
Sure, you can shop around and save a few dollars on coverage. But don’t dash off a “Dear John” letter to your insurance company just yet. It could cost you more than what you’d save on premiums.

Insurers value loyalty, and they show it by giving longtime customers discounts for things like avoiding accidents or moving violations for three to five years and buying multiple policies (e.g., homeowner’s and auto) from the same company. “The size of that discount generally increases every year you go without an accident, but it can be as high as 20% off your premiums,” says Kimberly Lankford, author of The Insurance Maze: How You Can Save Money on Insurance—and Still Get the Coverage You Need. Be particularly wary of dumping your homeowner’s insurance company to save a buck. Besides losing earned discounts, you put your insurability at risk. “Insurers are generally less likely to drop you for making small claims if you’re a longtime customer,” Lankford says.

To stay in your insurer’s good graces and hang on to more of your money, the new wisdom is this: Buy insurance and don’t use it. You can actually save by staying put. To do this, raise your deductible to $1,000 from $250 and then pay for small claims out of pocket instead of submitting them for reimbursement (about a 15% to 30% savings), and purchase your auto and homeowner’s insurance from the same company (usually 15%). “At the end of the day, you could cut the cost of your policy almost in half,” says Lankford.

Old Rule: Max Out Your 401(k) (or Other Job Retirement Plan)
Despite the oft-sung praises of socking away money in an employer-sponsored plan, blindly adhering to this old nugget can be detrimental to your long-term financial health. “The tax benefits offered by a 401(k) plan can be completely eliminated if the plan’s administrative costs and additional fees are even a percentage or two higher than investments you could make outside of your 401(k),” says David Loeper, a retirement-plan industry veteran and author of Stop the Retirement Rip-off!

Other signs of a subpar plan: limited investment choices (like only high-fee, underperforming mutual funds), absence of an employer match, and administrative costs that are put on participants’ tabs. Ask HR how much your plan costs and who pays, or request the plan’s “Summary Annual Report,” “Summary Plan Description” and/ or any contracts that list fee arrangements to see for yourself.

Don’t let your plan rob from your retirement. If your 401(k) charges fees in excess of 1.5% (FYI, that’s 1.5% of your hard-earned money siphoned right from your savings), it’s time for Plan B: Invest enough in your 401(k) to get the full employer contribution match (that is, if it’s a dollar-for-dollar match, or close to it). If your company doesn’t kick in anything (or too little), skip this step. Next, if you qualify for a Roth IRA (it’s based on income, and the rules are changing), invest as much as you can. If, after that, you can afford to sock away even more for retirement (yay, you!), divert more toward your 401(k) to get the tax break (invest pretax money; it lowers your taxable income for this year).

Here’s to positive changes in 2010!

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