Sunday, December 11, 2011

Frugal Deals this Week...

FOOD
Free Peppermint Mocha Nescafe Samples available on Facebook. And CheeseNips at Walmart this week will be only .50 cents with this deal from "I Love To Gossip".

CRAFTS
Make a 3D-Snowflake from 6 sheets of paper! Turn your home or party into a winter wonderland!

ONLINE SHOPPING
December 12 (Monday) will have cyber offers that rival Black Friday....also Ebates will be offering double cash back! Sign up for Ebates now and shop til you drop online tomorrow!

STOCKING STUFFERS
One of my favorite Bloggers "Couponing to Disney" shows you how to get all kinds of goodies and stocking stuffers for free or really cheap in her Walgreen's or CVS scenarios. Print them out and bring them with you as a guide in the stores.

FREE READS

Win Free Electricity for 2012!

Power2Switch launched a new contest to win free electricity for a year!

To QUALIFY, you must be a Power2Switch customer. (Not a customer yet? Become one here: https://power2switch.com/)

To ENTER, you must:

1) Answer (via a comment on the linked blog) the question below and then...
2) Complete the entry form here: (https://power2switch.com/contest/billpay)

QUESTION: “If you have already switched to an alternative electricity supplier, are you seeing any savings on the cost of your electricity? If you just switched for this contest, what was preventing you from switching before today? What were you waiting for??”

DON’T FORGET TO SHARE WITH FRIENDS! THE MORE PEOPLE YOU SHARE WITH WHO SWITCH AND ENTER, THE MORE ENTRIES YOU GET INTO THE CONTEST!

You must be an Illinois resident to qualify. Winner will be announced on the Power2Switch blog on January 1st!

And don't forget you can always save more energy by following these simple tips given by Seyi Fabode (CEO & Founder of Power2Switch)

SIMPLE ENERGY SAVINGS ADVICE
Seyi mentioned in addition to switching to save money, there are other simple ways to save...
  • Turn off the lights when you aren't using them.
  • Never sleep with the lights on - it's a huge waste (of $ and electricity)
  • Kill the Vampires! (Vampire plugs that is!) Energy Vampires are appliances that use energy even while they're not on, see...they are dead but still suck energy,...hence, they are vampires - anyway, Seyi mentioned you can replace regular plugs with special anti-vampire plugs. These are great for TVs, computers and they monitor how long appliances have been on and turn them off when unused - saving you money on your electric bill! You can find these online or at Home/Hardware stores.
  • Ask your landlord for energy-efficient appliances, like "Energy-Star Rated". In the long run, they will save you both money! It's a win-win!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Free Pictures on Michigan Avenue!

Take your friends and family (And Pets!!!) to the Shops at North Bridge (520 N Michigan Avenue) in Chicago this holiday season. You can take free holiday photos for families, friends and even pets!!! (on certain days). Guests can take a picture with Santa (or a winter back-drop), edit, and print their photo all for free! (Sponsored by Windows) The free photo shoot set up is located in the guest lounge by Nordstrom and will be up through December 24. It’s a fun and free way to kick off the holidays!!!

BONUS! Plus for families traveling during the holidays, free holiday photos will also be available in 21 airports nationwide including Chicago Midway. Plus,....you can enter here to win a Windows 7PC or flights from Southwest Airlines!


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Aldi - a great place for cheap groceries!

Aldi Stores have been popping up all over Chicago lately since the Great Recession (2008 - ?).

But while Aldi is new to the mainstream, until recently the only Aldi I had ever heard of was on the outskirts of Coshocton, Ohio. My Grandmother and I would go shopping there when I stayed at her home, and sometimes there would be an Amish buggy with horses parked outside of the store. The local Amish population only shopped at Aldi and took advantage of the simple no-frills grocery store with low prices. My Granny says that they still continue to shop there to today! They are smart shoppers!

While there are no horses parked outside of my store in Evanston, there are still great prices on locally produced goods. Aldi has become my go-to place for dairy products. They stock Wisconsin Dairy products, "Happy Farms" for the lowest consistent prices. Milk is
under $3, Butter is on sale this week for $1.99, sour cream is $1.20 and blocks of cheese are $1.89. There's a host of holiday seasonal foods just in time for Christmas parties on sale now, including wines for $2.97 and cocktail sausages for $2.49! Check out the specials here and go stock up!

And while you can save a lot with coupons at Jewel and Dominick's...Aldi's products are store brand. This is a great relief to me, because I know I'm already saving without clipping coupons and relying on what the marketing wizards of the food business are telling me to buy! Also, their layout in stores is simple, no fancy marketing, just food on shelves with small signs overhead telling you the prices. Aldi also has a shopping app for smart phones, and it's free! i doesn't do coupons, because 90% of their products are store brand.

ALDI TIPS:
  1. BYOB - Bring your own reusable bags, because after checkout, they don't provide free bags. You can use their cardboard boxes to carry your groceries out, but I find reusable bags easier to manage.
  2. Bring a Quarter - (If you forget a quarter, ask the cashier for change for a dollar) This is your 'rent a cart' quarter. You get it back when you return your cart. (It's amazing that it only takes a quarter to contain carts in the parking lot!)
  3. Bring cash or a debit card to pay. (No credit cards used here)
Find a local Aldi near you and start saving on your grocery bill!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Frugal Christmas...Chicago 2011!!!

2011 Christmas time in Chicago! I've already seen a couple 'Christmas' commercials with pink elves selling cell phones and car insurance. I guess that means it's that time of year to start thinking about December 25th.

There are so many things to do that are free or frugal in Chicago this season....and I know I have left so many out too! And, for out-of-towners, if you plan a vacation to Chicago this season, you will get to enjoy the many amazing free things to do here in the Windy City! Even many hotels during Christmas season offer great deals to get you in town and shopping on Michigan Avenue! As for dining, remember to check online for extra special deals like these!

Here's my 'must do' list for free Christmas and Winter events for 2011!
  1. Magnificent Mile Lights Festival - Be downtown on November 19th at 5:30 PM for the nation's largest evening holiday event! Lights, floats, free music, family fun and Disney characters - it's a great event to bring your whole family!
  2. Millennium Park Ice Skating: Bring your skates because there's a free ice-skating rink with a great view of Chicago's iconic skyline!
  3. Michigan Avenue: So many shoppers and festivities during the pre-Chistmas season! All the trees along the street are decorated and lit up! It's perfect at night during a light snow flurry strolling with someone you love looking at the lights and decorated windows!
  4. Free Christmas Carol Opera - take the kids and family to "The Christmas Carol" at Northeastern Illinois University on Nov 18 & 19th at 7:30 PM, the Classic Story is set to music by Chicagoan Ronald Combs.
  5. HOLIDAY CTA TRAIN!!! It's like Christmas on, well, a train! It's bright, cheery and costs the same as your regular train fare. Here's the dates Santa will be on the "el"!
  6. Cloud-Gate or "The Bean": Take fun pictures for your Christmas cards at the Bean with snow and mittens! It'll be a great Christmas card picture! Get creative! Located in Millennium Park.
  7. The Signature Room in the John Hancock Tower: To see Chicago from a bird eye's view, go up to the Signature Room rather than paying $17 to go to the observation deck (which is actually 2 floors below the Signature Room). Tip: The Women's bathroom has the best view of the city!
  8. Eli's Cheesecake Dock Sales: Near O'Hare, Bring your favorite cheesecake to the Holidays to share with friends and family for 50-90% off! With big discount on all their gourmet cheesecakes - you'll want to buy them all! Join their mailing list to stay in touch with their sales! Website
  9. Polar Days (at Northerly Island) - (Winter) Free wintertime and snowy fun offered throughout the winter on specific days. Ice Sculptures, free hot cocoa, Siberian Huskies, and more! Check Chicago Park District Page for details on days!
  10. Macy's on State Street - The Macy's (aka Marshall Field's) is a delight inside and out! At Christmas it's always decorated to the nines, with marvelous storybook window displays, and of course the designer tree is an annual tradition to see and take pictures; located on Macy's top level in the famed Walnut Room.
  11. The Home Alone House is the house of Home Alone character Kevin MacAllister (Macaulay Culkin) to the north of the city at 671 Lincoln Avenue, Winnetka (rail: Winnetka, Metra Commuter line from Ogilvie Transportation Center). I'm sure I don't have to remind you that this is a private home and not to disturb the residents.
  12. Christkindlmarket, German Christmas Market in Daley Plaza: An outdoor German Christmas Market that features German food, wine, German music (Brass Bands playing Christmas Carols), small houses filled with German ornaments and Christmas traditions. Bring the kids to come see Santa for free! Walk around and absorb the authentic German culture and music in the heart of Chicago,...splurge for the Hot spiced Gluhwein, because you'll probably be freezing. I mean, it's outdoors during December,...it's going to be cold! (Runs for one month, Nov 24 - Dec 24).
  13. Klingon Christmas Carol? - A seasonal favorite from Commedia Beauregard? Well, it could be, and you could find out for half price! Runs Nov 16-Dec 31.