Frugal Ramblings

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Reader Holiday Tip: Over-the-Door Shoe Organizer Turned into Advent Calendar

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Holiday Tip (sent in by reader, Maria)…

Once our two daughters reached their teen years, we found that their Christmas wish lists became shorter, while the items on the list became more sophisticated (read as “electronic”) a/k/a more expensive. The good old days of small and sometimes inexpensive gifts were a thing of the past.

Last year, I decided to make countdown calendars (a/k/a Advent calendars) for my girls so that I could give them small items everyday for 24 days, and then one or two larger items from their wish lists on Christmas morning. The “calendar” wasn’t really a calendar at all. It was separately wrapped items numbered 1-24 and set out all around the living room where we place our Christmas tree. This year, I am planning to decorate an over-the-door shoe organizer; most of them have 24 pockets already and the pockets will accommodate many different sized items.

The possibilities for countdown calendars are pretty much endless, and can be super elaborate to super simple. Pretty much anything can be used to create this fun-to-make and fun-to-receive item. To fill the “calendar,” I have already purchased the Pez dispenser Target gift cards that Collin featured, as well as The Body Shop Groupon Offers. I have also been saving samples received in the mail throughout the year. Small makeup, lip glosses, little lotions, little nail polishes, perfume samples and the like are absolutely perfect for my girls’ countdown calendars. Some of the pockets will include play money that my girls can cash in when their study abroad trips come up next year.

For more information on the Hip2Save Holiday Tips & Deals series and to learn how you can participate in the fun, click here!

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My TOP Black Friday Shopping Tips

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Wow! The time is getting close. Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are just around the corner and will be here before we know it! With that being said, watch the video below if you didn’t get a chance to last year – I share my top Black Friday Shopping tips (and then check out all of the tips listed below the video)…

(If you can’t see the video, go here.)

A BIG thanks to the super talented musician, Jessica Frech, who wrote and performed the “Black Friday Night” song featured in this video. If you enjoyed this song, be sure to check out Jessica’s You Tube Channel, website, Facebook page and Twitter page. Thank you, Jessica!

My top 12 Black Friday shopping tips:

(1) Be prepared. Before you head out to the store, research the Black Friday ads (which I will be posting as the become available) and outline exactly what you would like to purchase. And to be extra prepared, you can even research the layout of your store, so you’ll know exactly where to head to grab the items on your list.

(2) Be ready to stand in line for quite a long time. Wear comfy shoes and appropriate outerwear and consider leaving the kiddos at home (if this is not possible, bring toys or other items to keep them entertained while shopping).

(3) Know your store’s hours (some stores are opening on Thanksgiving night while others are waiting until the wee hours of Friday morning). Again, I will be posting store-specific information in the coming days.

(4) Familiarize yourself with each store’s price matching and/or coupon policy. Keep in mind that many stores have created special price matching policies specific for Black Friday.

(5) Make a list! This will keep you focused and will definitely help to prevent you from being tempted to purchase additional items that are not on the list.

(6) Remember to ask yourself whether the great deal you see is actually a great deal for you. You may also want to research online prices versus in-store prices, as you can often snag better deals online even when you factor in shipping costs. Plus, think about the time and gas saved when shopping online! Love that!

(7) Keep those receipts! After the adrenaline rush is over, you may realize that you got caught up in the Black Friday craziness and purchased items that you really do not want. As long as you have the receipt, you should be able to return them and get a full refund.

(8) Go with your mom, sister, or a friend. Plan ahead and plan to split up so you can snag items for each other. It’s the only way I’ve figured out to help you be in two places at once! If you don’t want to go to separate stores, you can each start out on separate ends of the same store and meet in the middle after you’ve snatched up as many of the things on your (and each other’s) lists as you could along the way.

(9) Gas up the night before so you don’t waste precious sleep OR shopping time at the pump. Also, map out your route based on store opening times to minimize backtracking and missing out on doorbuster items you’re planning to purchase.

(10) Don’t give up! If the item you are looking for is not on the shelf or display, check the front of the store where other shoppers may have left items they weren’t sure about before checking out. Or, check with your cashier to see if someone happened to change their mind at the register and leave the item you were looking for there.

(11) Be friendly. You will be amazed at how people will help each other, even in the craziness, if they are approached with kindness.

(12 ) And my favorite tip of all… skip Black Friday and wait for Cyber Monday instead! There is nothing better than snagging *HOT* deals from the comfort of your own home in your favorite PJ’s! :D

If you are indeed planning to brave the stores this Friday, November 28th, be sure to check out all the Black Friday match-ups found here and check out the Black Friday Deals 2014 board on Hip2Save’s Pinterest page!

Head over here to check out other Black Friday Ad scans, Deals, and Sale Previews.

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Submit YOUR Holiday Deal OR Unique Savings Tip (You Could WIN a $50 Amazon Gift Card!)

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Do you have a unique holiday savings tip or have you recently scored an awesome bargain on a holiday deal?

If so, this post is for you! Starting Wednesday, November 5th (and every Wednesday through December 17th), I’m going to feature one lucky Hip2Save reader’s creative/unique holiday savings tip and/or a current holiday deal (that other readers hopefully can take advantage of too!). If your submission is selected and posted on Hip2Save.com, you will score a FREE $50 Amazon Gift Card!

Are you interested in contributing? If so, please send an email to holiday@hip2save(dot)com with the Subject Line “Hip2Save Holiday Submission” with the following required information:

(1) First Name and Last Initial

(2) Primary email address that you want us to use to correspond with you

(3) Paragraph(s) focused on either of the topics mentioned above. Correct grammar and punctuation is much appreciated. When appropriate, please provide step by step instructions.

(4) Image(s) that may be published on Hip2Save (please do NOT send copyrighted photos). Note that at least one image is required (more than one is definitely preferred). Please make every effort to send clear images.

Get your thinking caps on… :D

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Important Recall on Select Baby Wipes

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IMPORTANT NEWS for all of you who have purchased baby wipes recently! Effective October 25th, there has been a nationwide voluntary product recall on select baby wipes distributed by the company Nutek Disposables as some packages may contain bacteria.

This recall affects wipes that were manufactured under the brand names including Cuties, Diapers.com, Femtex, Fred’s, Kidgets, Member’s Mark, Simply Right, Sunny Smiles, Tender Touch, and Well Beginnings. These wipes were distributed by Nutek prior to October 21st, 2014 to the following retail stores: Walgreens, Sam’s Club, Family Dollar, Fred’s, and Diapers.com. For more information, go here.

*Consumers who have purchased this product can return it to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact the company at 1-855-646-4351, Monday through Friday, 10 AM – 4 PM EDT.

(Thanks, Amy!)

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So… I feel like I’ve been living under a rock since I hadn’t taken the plunge and started an Instagram page. Well, I am happy to report that I finally have one. Yep, Hip2Save is now on Instagram (a HUGE thanks to Tiffany from My Litter and Paul from I Heart the Mart for helping me get started – they ROCK!).

Please be patient with me as I learn how to be an instagramer (is that a word?)… I am not very good quite yet, but I’m sure trying. If you are on Instagram too, I’d love for you to follow Hip2Save! I am going to start posting more pics there – possible deal pics, personal pics etc. Plus, since I’m all about celebrating whenever I can – I am going to host a week-long Instagram contest! YaHOOO!

Starting today, October 27th and running through November 3rd, I am hosting an Instagram Photo Contest. Just snap a pic depicting the joy of couponing and you may win a $100 Starbucks or Amazon egift card (your choice!)

Hip2Save’s “Joy of Couponing” Instagram Contest

Step #1: Follow @hip2save on Instagram.
Step #2: Post a photo depicting the joy of couponing on Instagram
Step #3: Hashtag #Hip2SaveContest in the caption of your photo and tag @hip2save
Step #4: Repeat! Enter once daily through November 3rd at 11:59PM EST to increase your chances of winning.

On Wednesday, November 5th, I will choose two entrants who I think did a great job of depicting the joy of couponing and I will re-gram each of their photos and comment on each of the winning photos with instructions for redeeming the prize – either a $100 Amazon Card or a $100 Starbucks Card.

I can’t wait to see all the FUN pics! Good luck!

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Tips Needed for Planning an Event on a Budget

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Check out this email I received from a reader -

I’m making a birthday party for my son, on a small budget. I will have about 20 adults and 20 kids, so I was wondering if the Hip2Save community would advise in the best value for the money to feed all those people. Is it pizza, prepared food trays, homemade food, catering? In the past I tried to do it myself,  but it seems about the same as buying. Any ideas, good tips?

Feel free to share your suggestions in the Comments section…thanks!

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Truvia Natural Sweetener Settlement: Request up to $45 Check or $90 Worth of Free Truvia Products

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Did you purchase at least one Truvia Natural Sweetener product in the United States between July 1, 2008 and July 24, 2014? If so, you qualify for up to a $45 check or $90 worth of FREE Truvia Natural Sweetener Products via the Truvia Natural Sweetener Settlement.

To submit your claim, head here and complete the form no later than December 5, 2014. You can also request that a copy of the claim form be mailed to you by calling 1-888-512-0492 or request the form by e-mail at mail@TruviaSweetenerLawsuit.com. You may choose to receive either a cash refund or a voucher for free products. Click here for more information.

** No proof of purchase is necessary to obtain settlement benefits. However, the Claim Form must be signed by you under penalty of perjury (either by hand or, if you submit it online, electronically), affirming that you are a qualified member of the Settlement Class and that the information provided therein is true and accurate to the best of your knowledge. **

Are you wondering what these lawsuits are about? The two lawsuits challenge the labeling and marketing of Cargill’s Truvia Natural Sweetener products. Plaintiffs allege that they purchased Truvia Natural Sweetener products and were misled by statements on the labels describing the Truvia Consumer Products and their ingredients—including stevia leaf extract and erythritol—as “natural.” Plaintiffs allege that the Truvia Natural Sweetener products they purchased were not “natural” because they contained ingredients that were “highly processed” and/or derived from genetically modified organisms (“GMOs”) and that the descriptions of the products, and of the ingredients of which these products were made, were inaccurate or misleading.

(Thanks, Growing up on Coupons!)

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Select AT&T Mobile Customers: Submit for Refund for Unauthorized Third-Party Charges

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If you are a current or past AT&T Mobile customer (AT&T customers after January 1, 2009 are eligible) and you believe that you may have been charged by AT&T for unauthorized third-party charges (like subscriptions for ringtones and text message subscriptions for horoscopes, celebrity gossip, and flirting tips), then you may be entitled to a refund.

To submit your claim, head here and complete the form no later than May 1, 2015. To request a refund, you will need either the AT&T billing account number or mobile phone number for the affected account. If you are unsure if you are eligible for a refund, contact the FTC’s refund contractor at 1-877-819-9692 for more information.

Are you wondering what these lawsuits are about? In its complaint against AT&T, the FTC alleges that AT&T billed its customers for hundreds of millions of dollars in charges originated by other companies, usually in amounts of $9.99 per month, for subscriptions for ringtones and text messages containing love tips, horoscopes, and “fun facts.” Click here for more information.

(Thanks, Jennifer!)

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Red Bull Energy Drink Settlement: Request $10 Check or $15 Worth of Free Red Bull Products

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UPDATE: Access to the online Red Bull settlement claim form is down at this time. Please call 877-495-1568 and request the form be sent to you by mail.

Did you purchase at least one Red Bull product in the United States between January 1, 2002 and October 3, 2014? If so, you qualify for a $10 check or $15 worth of FREE Red Bull Products via the Energy Drink Settlement.

To submit your claim, head here and complete the form no later than March 2, 2015. You may choose to receive one of the following two benefit options: cash reimbursement of $10 OR $15 worth of Red Bull products shipped to your home. Click here for more information.

** No proof of purchase is necessary to obtain settlement benefits. However, the Claim Form must be signed by you under penalty of perjury (either by hand or, if you submit it online, electronically), affirming that you are a qualified member of the Settlement Class and that the information provided therein is true and accurate to the best of your knowledge. **

Are you wondering what these lawsuits are about? This settlement addresses two consumer class action lawsuits alleging that Red Bull’s Marketing and labelling misrepresents both the functionality and safety of Red Bull beverages. Plaintiffs made claims against Red Bull for breach of express warranty, unjust enrichment, and violations of various states’ consumer protection statutes.

(Thanks, Growing up on Coupons!)

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Reader Tip: Check the Lifetime Warranty First

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Check out this tip from Hip2Save reader, Nora…

I just recently found out that all Delta faucet products have a lifetime warranty. Recently my kitchen faucet started dripping and before my husband headed off to Home Depot we called Delta to ask what part we needed for the problem we were having. A very nice lady that answered my call informed me that they’ll mail any parts I need free of charge and if replacement parts are unable to fix the problem, they’ll send a brand new one free of charge and this applies to any of their products.

If you do not have the serial number of the product you’re having a problem with, they’ll send you an email and have you reply to it with a photo of the faucet and they’ll keep that on file if any additional parts are needed in the future. Please note that they did state that parts are sent out to anyone free of charge, but for them to replace the item you do have to be the original homeowner.

I figured I’d share this wealth of information with you to share with your other readers that may not know about this warranty on all Delta products. I’ve spent money over the years after becoming a homeowner on parts and even replaced a few faucets that had broke, because I didn’t know about this. I sure wish someone told me a long time ago, I could have saved quite a bit of money!

Have you ever taken advantage of a Lifetime Warranty offer from a company? Please share!

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