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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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April is the time to buy…

A Dyson DC07 upright cyclonic vacuum cleaner u...

Certain times of the year are the best times to buy various things based on sales and availability. Here is your tip sheet for this month:

Certain fruits: grapefruit, oranges, pineapple, and strawberries

Certain vegetables: artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, green onions, lettuce, peas, rhubarb, and spinach

Cookware: Along with May, October, and November, April is a good time for buying cookware. This is the time when consumers are preparing for end-of-the-year holidays.

Furnace: Spring and Fall are the best times to replace your furnace. This is because during winter and summer, contractors are busy with heating and cooling calls. They offer good deals during their non-busy seasons.

Jewelry: January, March, April, July, August, and September (the non-gift giving months), are when stores offer their real sales on merchandise.

Raincoats: With the rainy season comes many raincoats in stock. However, the rainy season may be short, retailers have only a limited time to sell their wares = sales!

Small appliances and other electronics: New models are often introduced around this time and retailers want to get rid of their older ones.

Sneakers: Many charity walks are in April which means sales for everyday consumers.

Thrift store deals: Spring is the best time to shop at thrift markets because people are spring cleaning. Some may choose to sell their wares at garage sales, while others take them straight to a resale or thrift shop. If the stores get really crowded with merchandise, store owners will mark down items, especially winter pieces.

Vacuum cleaner: Retailers will drop their prices on these to make room for new models which come out in June.

Sources:
- “Buy Ketchup in May and Fly at Noon: A Guide to the Best Time to Buy This, Do That, and Go There” by Mark Di Vincenzo
- Your Month-to-Month Guide to Shopping Deals” from Real Simple Magazine.

 

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Making sure the shoe fits!

Buying shoes for my kids can be a nightmare. I cannot always afford to go to a “real” shoe store with them to buy shoes. If I am going to Target, Wal-Mart, or even Once Upon a Child, I often go alone. I try to shop without them because I can better keep an eye on prices and deal with my coupons without the distraction of the kids. However, children can change shoe sizes so fast. Even within weeks! Knowing what size to buy can be very difficult!

shoesSo, I discovered a great tool about a year ago. It is a children’s shoe sizer, just like they have in shoe stores, only made of plastic (not metal). I got it from One Step Ahead, an innovative children’s retailer. Click here to see the shoe sizer.

It is easy to use and has helped me determine my kids’ shoe size before heading out to the store. Definitely worth the money!

I also keep hand-me-down shoes in boxes in our basement. I store each pair in a gallon plastic bag with the size written on the outside. This makes finding the pair and size I need so much easier! For more tips on how to store your kids’ upcoming clothing, see my post on “Staying on top of your kids’ clothing.”

Now, if only my boys would wear the shoes I get for them without giving me a hard time about it being too big, too small, etc., when I can tell it fits fine!

 
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Posted by on February 10, 2012 in Family ideas, Other savings tips, Reviews

 

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Give your old shoes a new life

What do you do with those shoes that cannot be repaired or donated for someone else to use? Here are a few ideas to give your old shoes a new purpose in life! 

For shoes that can be worn again:

Give them to a friend or community member. We have been fortunate to get hand-me-down shoes from several people. We appreciate them so much!

Good Will or Salvation Army – Find the nearest drop off site and drop off these and other items.

UsAgain – Donate your used clothing, shoes, and household textiles to these bins that can often be found at local recycling centers and schools. Check their website for locations. The items are then distributed and sold around the world.

Soles4Souls – this program distributes shoes to needy people, including victims of natural disasters. They have given shoes to people in more than 127 countries.

Share your souls – This is another program that donates shoes to impoverished people all over the world.

For shoes that CANNOT be repaired or worn again:

Nike Reuse-a-Shoe – I have mentioned this program before. They take old athletic shoes and turn them into various athletic surfaces.

Donating your old shoes to a good cause does not directly save you money. However, it does help you declutter in a meaningful way. It also helps you work on developing habits of living with only what you need and thinking of others. For more information on decluttering and donating, see my post “Declutter responsibly.”

 

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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.

 
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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.”

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

 

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