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Post-Christmas shopping success!

I love after-holiday sales, even for holidays I don’t celebrate. I have gotten good at finding great deals after Valentine’s Day, Easter, Halloween, Christmas, etc.! The key is to not think about whether you celebrate that holiday or not, but to think about things that might be on sale that you could use. There are many seasonal products that anyone can use regardless of religious or holiday observances. For example, read here to find out what you can get at Easter time: Shop those Easter sales today!

Here is my wrap-up from the post-Christmas sales I hit yesterday.

My regular post-holiday trips are to Target, Michaels, CVS and Walgreens. I also look for any deals at Aldi and Schnucks on any seasonal food items, but those are normally my husband’s errands. This year the Michaels’ holiday items were already on sale when I was there Christmas Eve. I like to look for holiday craft kits that I can hang onto for the following year for my students. Here is what I got this year:

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At Michaels I found:

  • foam stickers of several types
  • an ornament craft kit for the kids’ photos (I used a wreath one this year and the kids loved it.)
  • some foam gingerbread men
  • some pencil-top holiday erasers I will give with my holiday gifts to my students next year.

Walgreens did not have anything I needed this year, but in the past I have gotten holiday cards, decorated holiday cups for my students, chocolate, stickers, and a cake decorating kit. See my post from last year: After-Christmas sales are great for everyone!

This year, CVS also did not have anything I wanted, although I could have gotten some chocolate, but passed this time! We did, however, find something my son had been wanting on his holiday wish list. He even had some holiday money to spend. He got a radio-controlled car for $6.50 (half off $12.99). They had lots of them and we even went back today to get one for the gift drawer!

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We were tremendously successful at Target. I guess I can add it to my list of Why I love Target! I found items not only in the Christmas section, but in the Home section and household aisles. Food items were 30% off and Home items were 50% off. Here is what we found:

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The food section is always full of holiday deals: (they were only 30% off now, but still a great deal)

  • holiday flavors of m&m’s (peppermint white chocolate and mint dark chocolate, two of my favorites),
  • icing (Who cares if my Shabbos dessert has peppermint icing or tree sprinkles?)
  • mint chocolate chip cookie mix
  • seasonal soft cookies (For $1.74 this makes a nice little treat for my boys.)
  • small packaged seasonal cookies (A treat is a treat no matter what shape; we can eat reindeer, too.)

Picture 282

We found the following in the Home section and Stocking Stuffer aisle:

  • a Deluxe Board Game set (regularly $20, got for $10; includes 7 games)
  • a surround-sound speaker (regularly $10, got for $5; great for our iPods)
  • two bath puffs (We always need to replace these and these may hold up a bit better than the dollar store ones. For items you should get at the dollar store, see my post Are “dollar stores” really a good deal?)

Picture 283

As for holiday items you might think are only for Christmas, I found:

  • an outdoor extension cord (We needed one for lawn care and Sukkos.)
  • mini lights (great for the Sukkah)
  • a winter scene craft kit (Last year I found a Superhero scene craft kit during their summer sales and my boys loved it. It made for a great family activity one night.)

This is also the time to look for light and plug timers and any type of extension cords for around the house (good for a variety of purposes). They were all 50% off!

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They also had tons of these seasonally-labeled storage bins, expecting that people will need them to store their holiday decorations and supplies. We use them for kids’ clothing and other supplies in our basement. At $6, this normally $7.99 tub was a great deal. I did not get the green and red ones, though!

I was very pleased with all my purchases and may go back next week to see if any other items are marked down even further!

Share your holiday finds in the Comments section. This will help other people think of great ideas for what to do with holiday items!

Related posts:

 

 

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Are “dollar stores” really a good deal?

A few weeks ago I went to my local Dollar Tree for water bottles for camp. It seems we always lose a few right away and I like having a backup for everyone. I took a little extra time in my browsing to write down what items are good deals at a dollar store. You do have to be careful because for some items, you get what you pay for. Like those water bottles. This year’s selection held up only one use before the sip top broke and the handles broke, too, Last year’s lasted a bit longer! Remember to bring your price list with you, so you can really determine if something is a good deal (for instance aluminum foil and plastic bags were not cheaper than the Ziploc brand at Sam’s Club). See my post on “Keeping a price list” for how to create your own.

Here are some items that ARE a good buy at your local dollar store:

Plastic containers: I love to find plastic baskets for organizing my classroom or toys at home, for gifts (like Shaloch Manos – Purim gift baskets), and more.

Dish scrubbers: Our sponges seem to get so disgusting even with frequent washing and microwave cleanings. So we instead love to use the handled dish scrubbers with nylon bristles.

Certain toys: There are some good deals on toys such as large bubble wands and other seasonal toys, mini figures (I found superheroes and Toy Story figures), silly straws (a great cheap prize for my kids), bug kits for outdoor discoveries, and stickers.

Teacher supplies: You often can find stickers, dice, playing cards, notepads, accents, and more for your classroom.

Party/gift supplies: Tissue paper, party bags, goodie bags, and thank you cards are super cheap here. Helium balloons are a great deal as well.

Craft supplies: The quantities are not big, but you can find a variety of craft supplies good for home or school.

Cheap ponchos: I would love to buy a bunch of these and donate them to our shul for emergency rain showers!

Shower puffs: Why pay more for a fancier shower puff when these work just as well!

Tea lights: At 16 for $1.00, this is the cheapest place I have found for tea lights. I use these in emergencies when I am out of Shabbos candles. They also work well for guests who need to light Shabbos candles at your home.

Food items: I have not priced out the food items yet or looked to see what is kosher, but friends tell me Goya beans are a good deal. I also like to get the Mrs. Freshley’s baked items like nutty bars. Cheap sinful treat!

Related articles:

* Do you have any favorite items you go to the dollar store for? Please share in the comments section!

 

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Kosher Birthday Freebies T – Z

Geoffrey's Birthday ClubHere is the last installment of my kosher birthday freebies as promised. I also have included a few additions at the end. Enjoy all these great birthday freebies!

The Children’s Place – By signing up for their Birthday Club, you will get a special coupon for your birthday and your child’s.

Toys “R” Us – When you sign your child up for Geoffrey’s Birthday Club, your child will receive a special birthday card and gift (until he or she is 10). Last year the gift was a $3 gift certificate for use at the store. You can also get a birthday call for your child from Geoffrey. If you shop at the store on or near your child’s birthday, they will give him or her a crown, balloon, and special announcement broadcast to the entire store.

Walmart PictureMe Studio – You can receive a free birthday portrait collage from Walmart when you schedule a birthday appointment.

Walt Disney World – NOTE: Walt Disney World used to offer free admission on your birthday. This promotion has been discontinued.

World Market – This is my favorite birthday freebie! By joining their World Market Explorer Rewards program, you will get a birthday surprise. Last year it was a coupon worth $10 to use at their store. You will also receive coupons via email throughout the year. You also get a 10% off coupon just for enrolling.

NEW ADDITIONS

If you have already signed up for the rewards on my previous Kosher Birthday Freebie posts, check out the latest additions I have added today (I also added them on the corresponding posts):

Benefit Cosmetics – Sign up on their Facebook page to receive a free Birthday Brow Arch!

Krispy Kreme – I could not confirm this on their site, but other sites state that you can receive a free half dozen glazed donuts and a coffee mug with either coffee or soda in it for your birthday! Their sign-up for their Friends of Krispy Kreme does ask for your birthday. Check with your local kashrus agency for the certification of each store and location Krispy Kreme is sold.

Pottery Barn Kids – When you join Pottery Barn Kids’ Birthday Club, your child will receive a personalized birthday card and you will get 10% off one item during your child’s birthday month. This club is for children ages 9 and under.

Related posts:

 

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Kosher Birthday Freebies R – S

Happy BirthdayThere are many websites that list birthday freebies you can get from various restaurants, stores, and online retailers. However, it can be very time-consuming to sift through all of them to find the kosher ones. Some of the offers have also expired and have not been updated. I have combed through several sites and am pleased to provide you with the fourth part of my series on Kosher Birthday Freebies. Enjoy all these great freebies!

Rose of Sharon Jewelry – By joining the Rose of Sharon Jewelry Birthday Club you will receive jewelry discounts throughout the year to celebrate their staff birthdays. They also sponsor monthly giveaways.

Sephora When you sign up as a Beauty Insider, you get a free gift from Sephora on your birthday. Right now it is a Fresh Sugar Kisses Mini Lip Duo. By joining this rewards program you also get one point for every dollar spent. You also get access to special products and sets available only to members.

Shoe Carnival – You can sign up for the Shoe Perks Rewards Club and receive points for your store spending. You can even receive bonus points for your birthday.

Signature Brands – By signing up for their Birthday Club, you will get an email with special coupons for their products. Products include: Betty Crocker, Cake Mate, and Marble Mix’Ins.

Spirit of Living – By signing up for an account with this women’s clothing source, you can get a free item. According to other websites, the gift for 2011 was a bamboo tank top when you spend $30 during the calendar year. I could not confirm this year’s offer.

Starbucks – Sign up for My Starbucks Rewards and earn 1 Star every time you pay with your registered Starbucks Card at a participating Starbucks or their official online store. You also get a free drink on your birthday. Just buy something at a participating Starbucks using your card within 12 months of your card registration. You will then get a birthday postcard in the mail before your birthday. Use that in a store to get your free drink.

Stein Mart – Sign up to be a Preferred Customer and you will get special birthday discounts as well as other privileges.

Steve Madden Shoes – Join Steve Madden’s birthday list and receive a special birthday surprise from Steve Madden. You must be a Steve Madden Facebook fan. 

Swagbucks – I could not confirm this deal, but other birthday freebie sites say that you earn 50 Free Swagbucks for your birthday. Swagbucks is a program that allows you to earn points from surfing the Internet, watching videos, playing games, taking surveys and shopping online.

Related posts:

Please let me know if you are aware of a kosher birthday freebie I have missed in any of these posts.

 

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I love Vistaprint! Great freebies!

You may have heard of Vistaprint. They are a printing company that offers free business cards. Perhaps you have never ordered them or just thought that business cards were all they sold. However, thanks to Mara at Kosher on a Budget, I have been aware of many other deals they offer.

Every few weeks (it seems) they have anywhere from one to several products for free. You pay only shipping. There are many possibilities of what you can create from their products to take advantage of these freebies. I have included pictures of the items I have made.

Address labels are more than just for labeling envelopes. They can also be:

 Labels for your kids’ stuff: You can use their whole name and choose one of the larger font sizes to fill the label. Then use it to mark water bottles, school supplies, etc.

∞ Labels for anyone in the family: You can use the Caricatures style and make labels for the whole family. I need to mark water bottles and school supplies for all four of my boys, so I thought this would work well, instead of having to purchase a separate set for everyone. I made caricatures for each of my family members, included their names, and then put the text as “Property of the Kornblums.” Then I can just circle the caricature for the person the item belongs to!

∞ For invitations and reply cards for a special event: Decorate your label specially for a particular event. Use them for a large event such as a party, graduation, wedding, etc.

∞ Family book labels: I like to put a label on the inside of each of our books (kids’ and grown-up) that says “Property of the Kornblum Family.” This way if we lend out something, the borrower will know who it belongs to. Or if we leave something somewhere, the finder will know who to return it to.

∞ Teacher book labels: I have bought similar ones for my classroom books that say “Property of Mrs. Kornblum’s Classroom Library” and for my teacher resource books – “Propery of Mrs. Rachael Kornblum.”

∞ Thank you gift labels: Other ideas include gift labels which would say “Thank you! From (name).” These would work well for teacher gifts and party favors.

Business cards are not just for promoting your business or blog. They can also be:

∞ Gift labels: I made some (on Inkgarden) with our initial at the top and then the text “From the Kornblum Family / (our first names on the next line).” I can then use them in place of a card or sticky label on a gift (birthdays, Shabbos invite, etc.).

Sticky pads, notepads, and spiral notebooks are not just for notes. They can also be:

∞ Personalized gifts for teachers: Add their name alone or “From the desk of (name)” on the pad. Or come up with a cute saying for the front cover (if choosing the spiral option).

∞ Personalized gifts: These can also make great gifts for a birthday, graduation, new job, Father’s or Mother’s day, birthday gift, etc.

Postcards are not just for advertising a particular event or your business. They can also be:

∞ Thank you cards: Choose the artwork you like and use the words “Thank you! From (your name or family members names).”

∞ Kids’ birthday gift thank you notes: Include text like: “Dear _____, Thank you for coming to my party. Thank you for the ________________. Love, ___________” Then your child can fill in the blanks, making this a personal thank you that he or she helps with.

∞ Birthday cards: I send a lot of cards every month and this can add up in cost. So I thought it would be nice to have a few birthday postcards on hand. I chose a birthday design and then added the words “Happy Birthday! Love, (our names).”

∞ Moving notification cards: Use these to tell people you have moved.

For the latest info on current specials and freebies from Vistaprint, check out “Kosher on a Budget.”

Have you created any other neat ideas on Vistaprint? Share them in the Comments section.

 

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Kosher Birthday Freebies J – P

Candles spell out the traditional English birt...

I am sorry for the long delay in posting the more of these kosher birthday freebies. I hope you still enjoy them and get some great freebies!

Kmart Birthday ClubJoin the Kmart Birthday Club and children get $5 Birthday Bucks, a crown, Happy Birthday certificate, and a Fun Pack with surprise goodies!

Krispy Kreme – I could not confirm this on their site, but other sites state that you can receive a free half dozen glazed donuts and a coffee mug with either coffee or soda in it for your birthday! Their sign-up for their Friends of Krispy Kreme does ask for your birthday. Check with your local kashrus agency for the certification of each store and location Krispy Kreme is sold.

Little Tikes By joining their Birthday Bonus programLittle Tikes will send you special discounts, promotions, and offers approximately 30 days before the birthday. You must register at least 7 days before your child’s birthday.

Maggie Moo’s Ice Cream — Join the MaggiE-mail and receive a special offer on your birthday and more!

Medieval Times — Join the Birthday Fellowship at Medieval Times and get a free feast and tournament on your birthday.

Missouri Lottery — Register on the Missouri Lottery My Lottery site and get Draw Game coupons on your birthday.

Olan Mills — Get a free Olan Mills portrait package that includes one 8×10, one 5×7 and four wallets when you join the Birthday Club.

Old Navy — Sign up for their email list and receive an exclusive treat on your birthday. You can also sign up your kids.

OfficeMax — Receive a special coupon for your birthday as part of their Max Perks program, see my post “Get rewarded for shopping – updated!”

Pottery Barn Kids – When you join Pottery Barn Kids’ Birthday Club, your child will receive a personalized birthday card and you will get 10% off one item during your child’s birthday month. This club is for children ages 9 and under.

For more kosher birthday freebies, check out my posts:

If you find others, please share them in the Comments section!

 

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Get rewarded for shopping – Part 2

Here are some more reward programs (or loyalty programs) sponsored by some great stores and brands!

Hallmark logoHallmark Crown Rewards
Earn points for your card and gift purchases at Gold Crown Stores. Points turn into gift certificates for use in the stores. Hallmark is a great place to not only get wonderful cards, but other nice gifts. With the Crown Rewards program they often have various limited edition items that are only available to members.

Michaels Rewards
You will get special coupons for signing up and for your birthday, as well as special discounts throughout the year. After spending $250, you can earn Gold status for more benefits. I could go crazy in this store if I had enough money! They have great ideas for gifts, as well as just fun projects to do on your own or with kids. Check your Sunday paper for their weekly ad including coupons.

Oberweis Dairy Moola Cards
This card is a loyalty card, gift card and stored value card in one. You can earn points for purchases and then they become flex dollars to spend in the stores. We just tried this ice cream a few weeks ago and it was great! Nice to have another kosher option of somewhere to eat (and a fun place to go)!

Seventh Generation Inc.7th Gen Nation & Rewards program
Details are not fully available on this yet, but you can earn points right now by participating in a few activities on the website. We love their cleaning products and use them all over our house!

* For more reward programs, see my post “Get rewarded for shopping – updated!”

 

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Are “deal-a-day” sites a good deal?

I recently began subscribing to several “Deal-a-day” sites and even purchased a few deals – getting $10 off a $20 purchase to Office Max and $20 off a $40 purchase to Body Shop. I regularly shop at Office Max and love their Max Perks program and the Body Shop Groupon made two holiday gifts more affordable.

However, I recently began wondering if all of these deals are such a good deal. I purchased a magazine subscription that said it was more than 80% off. Then when I looked the magazine up on Amazon I realized I was saving only $6, not the $48 advertised on the deal site. So here are some tips to follow before making a purchase on one of these types of sites:

1) Don’t let these emails clutter your Inbox. See my post on “Managing the mass of emails in my inbox” to organize your emails more efficiently.

2) Check the price of the item or service on other reputable sites before making a purchase. Make sure the savings are really there.

3) Make these purchases useful instead of just a splurge on something you might not have bought otherwise. Think about saving these deals to give as a gift cards or to purchase a gift for later. See my post on “Happy Birthday to you, and you, and you.”

4) Ask yourself “Do I really need this item, service, or gift certificate or am I just buying it because I am getting a good discount?” Ultimately if you are spending money you wouldn’t have spent otherwise or going over your budget, it is not a good deal, NO MATTER WHAT THE SAVINGS!

5) Check the expiration date on the deal to make sure you will be able to use it before it expires.

Fdny calendar
Image via Wikipedia

6) Does the site offer products you like and can afford or is the service a reasonable enough price that you would buy it anyway? If you get a deal on a website that sells clothes that are too pricey for your budget, even the savings from the deal might not make it worth it!

Here are my favorite deal sites that I subscribe to:

 Groupon
∞ Mamasource
∞ 
Living Social
∞ 
Plum District
∞ 
Jewpon

Please feel free to comment on any great deals you have found through these sites!

 

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Surf, shop, and share to earn rewards and prizes!

There are two basic components to living on a tight budget: spending less and earning more. I have written many posts on how to spend less. However, there are ways to earn more as well:

∞ Sell items you are done with or don’t need (Ebay, yard sales, consignment shops) or donate them and keep your records for a tax deduction.
∞ Make the most of your talents by offering a product or service to others.
∞ Get products, services and information for free! See my posts on freebies and free resources online and ways to do it yourself.

Did you know that you can also EARN freebies for activities you already do online like shopping, searching, browsing and sharing? Below are several websites that offer you ways to EARN cash back, freebies, and high-value coupons.

Recyclebank – by committing to actions that help our environment, you can earn free products and high-value coupons.

Swagbucks – earn freebies by surfing the web, watching videos, answering polls, playing games and more.

Ebates – earn cash back from purchases made through their network of stores.

Shopathome – earn cash back from purchases made through their network of stores.

Shop at Walgreens and CVS and earn Register Rewards and Extra Care Bucks. See Kosher on a Budget’s tutorials: “How to shop & save at Walgreens” and “How to shop at CVS”.

Rewards clubs – Check any stores (online and brick and mortar) that you frequent often to see if they offer a rewards program. See my posts on rewards programs and birthday freebies (which are often part of rewards programs).

Please add any more you have heard of in the Comments section!

 

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Sports freebies for kids

Many professional and amateur sports teams offer kids’ clubs to help get kids interested in their teams and to promote athletics and fitness. These clubs often offer free tickets, souvenirs, and other related items. To find one in your area, Google your favorite sports’ team’s name and “kids’ club” to see what is available. Or check out the links below.

Major League Baseball:

To find the kids’ club for your local baseball team, check out MLB.com Kids.

National Hockey League:

The NHL Kids website does not have links to individual hockey teams’ kids’ clubs, however you can find links to the various teams’ websites here. It does have games, programs and other information for kids, though.

National Football League:

The National Football League website did not have a kids’ section at all, but you can link to individual football teams’ websites here.

National Basketball Association:

The NBA Hoop Troop is a fun site for kids with games, scores, videos, and more. To link to individual team websites, click here (you have to click on the pull down menu “Teams” at the top left of the website to get to links for each team).

If you live in St. Louis, here are links for our main sports’ teams’ kids’ programs:

St. Louis Cardinals – Cardinals Kids

St. Louis Blues – Jr. Blue Note Kids Club

St. Louis Rams – Rams Kids Club

Thanks to Michelle and Sally for this idea!

 

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