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Making the most of your AAA membership

Most of us belong to Sam’s or Costco for bulk savings and have a AAA membership for emergency auto assistanceBut did you know that these membership programs have more than their advertised benefits? Why not take a look to see if you are really getting your money’s worth and all the extra perks provided.The AAA logo

Here is what I found out about AAA. For Sam’s Club, see my previous post on “Making the most of your Sam’s Club membership.” Costco to come soon!

Of course, the first thing I checked out was the savings discounts you can get with your membership. Did you know about some of these offers?

SAVINGS DISCOUNTS

Approved Auto Repair – Save up to 10% on parts and/or labor at participating Show Your Card & Save Approved Auto Repair facilities. Some restrictions and maximum discounts may apply.

Jiffy Lube – You can save 15% on their signature service at all participating locations in Arkansas, Illinois, Louisiana and Missouri. See my post on “What does an oil change cost?” for more Jiffy Lube deals.

Optical services at LensCrafters, Pearle Vision, Sears Optical, & Target Optical – Get discounts on complete pairs of eyeglasses without a coupon. This page has details on each store’s deals.

Payless ShoeSource – Members can receive an exclusive 10% discount on all regular price merchandise, excluding gift cards (at stores in the US and Canada). They even have an extra coupon available on this page.

Six Flags – $5 off general front-gate admission or $2 off general front-gate admission at Six Flags Water Parks. You also can get a 10% discount on merchandise purchases of $15 or more at all Six Flags operated locations.

St. Louis Cardinals – Get $10 off a regular ticket priced $20 or higher for any Monday through Thursday home game during the 2012 season. See this link for ticketing information and how to get this deal.

St. Louis Science Center – $5 off St. Louis Science Center Friends & Family membership levels and $1 off OMNIMAX movies. See my post “Become a member!” on why memberships are a good deal. (They have many other amusement/attraction deals that vary based on your area.)

Target.com – Members can save $10 off $100 online. Some exclusions do apply.

This is just a sampling of savings discounts that AAA offers in categories such as Play, Hotels, Travel, Shop, Auto, Dine, Services and Health.

MORE WELL-KNOWN SERVICES

Automobile splash

Travel:

  • Travel discounts and booking as well as TripTik driving directions and maps, online TourBook guides, eTourBook Guides
  • Travel checklists, event calendars, and vacation ideas
  • Information on foreign travel requirements
  • Car rental discounts

Insurance:

  • Auto, home/renter’s, and life insurance
  • Car buying tips
  • Health/Medical insurance – they even offer short-term insurance. I wish I had known about this three months ago while we have been waiting for my husband to be eligible for health insurance at his work!

Financial:

  • AAA Member Rewards Visa card
  • Travel money
  • Free identity theft monitoring (I am going to look into this, especially since this can be a costly thing to sign up privately.)
  • How to videos on money tips

News & Safety:

  • Information on gas costs and pricing
  • Safe driving tips
  • Travel magazine

Automotive:

  • Tips for taking care of your car
  • Links to AAA approved sites and battery service information

* NOTE: The links provided are for my AAA region, which serves Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, E. Kansas, S. Illinois, S. Indiana, and Texarkana, TX. To find information on your local AAA region, your computer should redirect you to your region’s website. However, if it doesn’t, you may need to click on “Other AAA Clubs” at the bottom of the AAA homepage.

Are you taking advantage of all you can with your membership! Check it out now! Tell me about how you saved!

 

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What does an oil change cost?

Nagger(Links checked 2/2013)

I know I am very guilty about not changing my oil enough. I know that changing my oil as experts recommend (every 3 months or 3,000 miles) will help improve the condition of my car and prevent breakdowns. However, it seems as if time and money always keep me from doing it on a regular basis. So I have tackled the money problem by investigating what an oil change really costs and by finding out who has the best deals. I have researched several nationwide chains and one local repair shop to compare.

FIRESTONE COMPLETE AUTO CARE

Prices:
Standard: $35.49
High mileage: $45.49
Full synthetic: $62.49 can vary by car, only do this if have used this kind of oil from the start

Coupons:
There is a monthly coupon right now on their website. For all current coupons click here. You can also sign up for their email list to receive specials and coupons.

Locations:
Firestone has more than 1600 locations nationwide.

Current low price with coupon = $24.85 + tax (with Feb. 2013 – 30% off coupon)

JIFFY LUBE

Prices:
Standard Oil Change: $39.99
Early Bird $24.99 (7 a.m. – 10 a.m.)

Coupons:
$5 coupon right now on their website. For all Jiffy Lube coupons click here. I have also gotten coupons in the mail via weekly mailers. You can also sign up for their email list to receive specials and coupons.

Locations:
Jiffy Lube has more than 2,000 service centers in North America.

Current low price with coupon = $34.99 after 10 a.m. or $19.99 early bird. Note: Some locations may not allow you to use a coupon with the sale price.

DOBB’S TIRE & AUTO

Prices:
Standard Oil Change: $34.95

Coupons:
There is a special right now on their website: buy one oil change, get one free. For all their current specials click here. You can also sign up for their email list to receive specials and coupons.

Locations:
Dobb’s has 38 locations in the St. Louis Metro area, St. Charles County and some of Illinois.

Current low price with coupon = $34.95 for 2 oil changes (as of Feb. 21, 2013)

MIDAS

Prices:
Standard Oil Change: $18.99 – $26.99
Oil Change with rotation and other checks: $24.99-$32.99
High mileage: $39.99
Full synthetic: $59.99 – $69.99

Coupons:
The coupons vary by location. The website lets you print coupons for the location of your choice. You can also sign up for their email list to receive specials and coupons.

Locations:
Midas has locations in North America, Central America, Africa, Asia/Pacific, and Europe.

Current low price with coupon = $18.99 at some locations, $19.99 at others

VALVOLINE

Prices:
Standard Oil Change (full-service): $38.99
Synthetic blend: $53.99
Full-synthetic : $69.99

Coupons:
I just received a postcard in the mail for a full-service oil change at $19.99 or $15 off a synthetic blend or synthetic oil change.

Locations:
Valvoline has more than 825 franchised and corporate Valvoline Instant Oil Change locations across the county. They also have more than 300 Express Care stores across the country.

* Valvoline also features tips on their website for saving money on gas.

Current low price with coupon = $19.99

THE BEST DEALS for Standard Oil Changes:

  1. Midas at $18.99 + tax at some locations (sale price)
  2. Jiffy Lube from 7 a.m. – 10 a.m., $19.99 + tax
    Midas or Valvoline at $19.99 + tax with coupon, any time of day
  3. Firestone at $24.85 + tax with coupon, any time of day

FOR MORE COUPONS

You can also look at Valpak.com for coupons for many repair/oil change companies and locations near you. For more ideas on where to find great coupons for a variety of products, see my post “Coupon websites – updated!” 

Related posts:

 

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Making the most of your Sam’s Club membership

English: Logo for Sam's Club

Most of us belong to Sam’s or Costco or have a AAA membership for towing and car repairs. But did you know that these membership programs have more than their advertised benefits? Why not take a look to see if you are really getting your money’s worth and all the extra perks available. Here is what I found out about Sam’s Club Services (through this link you can find links for all of these headings). I have highlighted some of my favorites in RED. Stay tuned for details on Costco and AAA.

Discounted cell phone plans – available in store and online

Special events – product showcases and author signings, scroll down to Your Club Happenings on this link

Health & Wellness Services – pharmacy, optical center, hearing aid center, free health screenings (vary by location), The Prevention Plan software for purchase

Financial Services – SBA Small Business Loans, Sam’s Club Credit Card, Sam’s Club Discover Card, and check printing

Electronics and Technical Assistance

    • Tech ExpertsReceive free, member-exclusive assistance with any television, home theater, digital music player, camera, camcorder or computer you purchase at Sam’s Club.
    • EcoNewrecycling program for old electronics, if your item qualifies you can get a Sam’s gift card for the trade-in value!
    • Service Plans – you can purchase plans for replacement, service, or watch and jewelry care for products purchased at Sam’s Club
    • Delivery and Installation of products purchased at Sam’s Club

Personal Services – photo center and tire and battery center

Business Services – Click ‘n’ Pull and Fax ‘n’ Pull services, merchant payment processing, and business stationery

Have you taken advantage of any of these services? What was your experience? Share in the Comments section!

Related articles:

 

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Countdown to Earth Day

Crystal earth recycle icon

Earth Day is on April 22. However, I truly believe that every day should be Earth Day. I have already written about it in many of my previous posts.

To guide you in undertaking simple things for our Earth, check out the ideas and links below. Fortunately, protecting the environment often results in money savings, too. See “How much your green habits really save” from Earth 911.

REDUCE …

∞ packaging by buying in bulk.

See my post on “Bulk discounts.”

∞ waste by bringing your own bags to the grocery store.

See my post on “Reusable shopping bags = savings.”

∞ waste by finding new uses for old things or repairing things when you can.

See my posts “Don’t throw it out,” “Revamp and wear again!” and “Quick fixes without a repair call.”

∞ trash by making homemade whenever you can instead of buying store-bought items.

See my post on “(More) Make your own…”

∞ electricity usage by installing compact fluorescents in your home.

See my post on “Brighter savings.”

∞ water usage by making some small changes in your home.

See my post on “Not just a drop in the bucket!”

∞ energy usage by purchasing energy-efficient appliances.

See my post “Cash back for protecting Mother Earth.”

∞ energy usage through ways you prepare for Shabbos.

See my post on “Saving money and energy on Shabbos.”

REUSE …

∞ books by swapping books you no longer want with others.

See my post on “My favorite find – swapping books.”

∞ a plastic or stainless steel water bottle every day for work, day trips, your kids’ lunches.

∞ cloth napkins for meals.

See my post on “Switch over your disposables.”

∞ your coffee filters and use dryer balls instead of dryer sheets.

See my post on “Filter and fluff without waste.”

RECYCLE …

∞ find ways to recycle everything you can!

See my post on “Recycle, recycle, recycle” for how to get started or for resources on where to recycle various items.

∞ items in your home that you are done with by giving them away to others in need.

See my posts “Declutter responsibly,” “Finding a home for used stuffed animals,” “Give your old shoes a new life,” and “Spring cleaning for a good cause.”

∞ old medications by disposing of them properly or taking them to places that can recycle them.

See my post on “Recycle your unused medicines.”

 

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Spring cleaning for a good cause

Different types of stuffed toys

As much as I know it adds to my cleaning time, I cannot help but spring clean/declutter when I am cleaning for Pesach. It makes me feel good to get rid of things in our home that we no longer need or use. I just cannot throw things away if they might be able to be used or recycled, though! For those of you like me, I wanted to refer you to some older posts with information on putting your unwanted items to use for others (or repairing or recycling them if appropriate).

Happy decluttering and Pesach cleaning!

 

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Treat your shoes right!

Once you have found a pair of shoes you like and have spent money on, you want them to last. Nothing upsets me more than when my favorite pair of shoes wears out too fast or when my sons’ shoes break after only a few months (or even weeks). Here are some tips on how to make your shoes last longer and care for them.

How to care for your shoes:

∞ Rotate between two pairs of shoes for different uses. Shoes will last longer and do better if they can air out/breathe between wearings.

∞ Take your athletic shoes off properly by unlacing them and removing them with your hand.

∞ Use your athletic shoes just for exercise (not for around the house or around town).

∞ Spray your new shoes with a waterproof/stain protector like Scotchguard spray.

∞ Wear hose or sock liners with dress shoes to avoid perspiration eroding the insoles.

∞ Use shoe trees to help your shoes keep their shape. Cedar is best for use on shoes you just wore that day because it will absorb moisture. You can use plastic trees for other shoes. My husband has shoe trees in the shoes he doesn’t wear as often and stores in the closet.

∞ Be sure to polish leather shoes periodically because the salt from sweat can dry out leather over time. Polishing will keep the leather supple.

∞ If you have a problem with smelly shoes, consider using an insole. You can also clean the inside of your shoes with alcohol or a drop of tea tree oil on a swab. Be sure not to get either on leather as it will stain.

∞ Check into whether your shoes can be resoled and if the cost is worth it. See my previous post “Doing a little sole searching.”

English: A patent leather men's court shoe (pu...
Making over an old pair of shoes:

With the help of a good shoe repair person (cobbler) you can do a lot to fix or make over a pair of shoes. Just be sure to evaluate the cost of those repairs versus how much you paid for the shoes!

∞ If you have a pair of heels that are too high, look into getting them cut down to a shorter height. The same can go for raising a heel. Generally, a half-inch higher or lower is about the limit.

∞ Consider dying your shoes if their color has faded from rain or other elements. This works best for leather and fabric, not suede or man-made materials.

∞ Change the heels to a thinner or thicker shape.

∞ Add embellishments like faux gemstones or grosgrain ribbon to the toes.

∞ Convert pointy-toed shoes to round toed shoes or closed shoes to peep-toed shoes.

∞ Change knee-high boots into ankle boots. The cost will depend on the lining and zipper types.

∞ Add or remove straps. A pump or flat shoe can become a Mary Jane or ankle strap. The same can be done in reverse.

** To find a trained cobbler in your area, visit the Shoe Service Institute of America.

** For tips on using insoles to solve various problems: “Save your Soles” from Real Simple Magazine.

Sources:

- “When to replace your shoes” from REI.
“How to care for your shoes” from Real Simple Magazine.
“How to revive worn clothes and shoes” from Real Simple Magazine.
“Make over your Shoes” from Real Simple Magazine.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on January 19, 2012 in Other savings tips

 

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Doing a little “sole” searching

Shoes are something I find hard to shop for. Either I spend too little and they fall apart (like tennis shoes for my boys) or I find something I like and then they stop making it when I want a new pair (like my favorite pair of L.L. Bean Mary Janes). I am not a shoe fanatic, rather a practical shoe wearer. I have brown and black dress shoes, tennis shoes, Crocs, and a few sandals I hardly wear. And I feel guilty buying shoes for myself unless they are really worn out, since my kids seem to go through shoes so quickly!

However, no matter what your shoe personality, I am sure you might be interested in how to save on shoes, too, (or you wouldn’t be reading this blog).

For the first part of my series of posts on shoes, I have provided tips on when to repair your shoes or when to buy new ones.

WHEN TO REPLACE YOUR SOLES:

Leather shoes:
With your shoes off, apply pressure with your thumb to the part of the sole that is under the ball of your foot. If this spot is soft and has more give than the sides, it is time to replace the soles. If you can feel things (like pebbles or debris) through the bottoms of your shoes when you walk, then it is definitely time to replace the soles. You can keep replacing the soles indefinitely. However, if you get a hole that cuts all the way through and the midsole gets wet, it may be time to replace the shoes entirely.

Rubber soles:
Replace when they lose their grip or traction.

Athletic shoes:
The soles of sneakers cannot be replaced. Discard running and walking shoes after 300-550 miles of use. For cross trainers replace after about a year. Shoes for court sports should be replaced every month (for those playing 5-6 times per week) or every 3 to 4 months (for those playing 2-3 times per week). Shoes for other aerobic sports can last around 300 hours. Signs to look for: wrinkles in the midsole and uneven wear patterns on the bottom sole.

- For specific tips on running shoes, see “When should you replace your shoes” from Fleet Feet Sports.

Hiking boots:
These shoes should last about 5-10 years. The treads can be replaced when you notice heavy wear on the heels and under the balls of the feet.

** NOTE: Keep in mind that deciding whether or not to replace your shoes’ soles will depend on the cost of the shoes. Make sure the cost is worth it! According to my husband, not all shoes can be resoled, too. Check with your local shoe repair.

Français : Photo d'une chaussure de sport. Le ...

WHEN TO BUY NEW SHOES:

Three ways to tell when you need new shoes (from REI):

1) Do the press test:
“To determine if the midsoles of your shoes are compressed and are no longer providing cushioning, do the press test. Using your thumb, push on the outsole upward into the midsole. With new shoes, it should be easy to see the midsole compress into lines or wrinkles. As the shoe wears down, the midsole compresses less with the same amount of pressure. When the midsole shows heavy compression lines and the press test reveals a minimal amount of compression, there is little or no cushioning left.”

2) Examine how your shoes look:
Dirty is okay, that mean you shoes are being used! General wear and tear is what you should be concerned with. Look at your shoes to see if the heels are stretched out, if there are places on the outsoles that worn down or if you can see how the shoes have molded to your foot.

3) Pay attention to how they feel:
You will feel when there is little or no cushioning left in your shoes. Aches or pains in your feet, legs, knees, hips or back after you’ve worn your shoes are a good sign that you need a new pair. Other signs include friction or blisters in unexpected places. This means your shoes have stretched and your feet are moving around too much.

The above tips were taken from:
– “When to Replace your Soles” from Real Simple Magazine’s February 2007 issue
“Replace Athletic Shoes When Mid-Sole Shows Signs Of Wear” from MomsTeam
“When to replace your shoes” from REI

More to come on shoe care, shoe makeover tips, and donating used shoes!

* For information on updating and cleaning out other items in your closet see my posts “Revamp and wear again” and “New season, new(ish) wardrobe.”

 
1 Comment

Posted by on January 16, 2012 in Family ideas, Other savings tips

 

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