Wednesday, October 20, 2010

This Guy is Nuts...

BradsDeals is a blog by this guy who is what I would call a professional at saving money. He is nuts. You can sign up to receive a daily email from the website with deals of the day sent right to your inbox.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Friends and Family

I like to save my shopping trips for when I receive a coupon in my inbox for a friends and family weekend. I sign up for mailing lists for stores that I shop frequently (you can do this from the store website). Then when I get really good coupons (like ones that don't require that I spend a certain amount), I go shopping at that store's clearance rack. Labor Day weekend I got my son 5 pairs of shorts for next summer at Carter's for 11 dollars and change (clearance rack, plus an extra 20% all clearance, plus an extra 25% off my entire purchase for Friends and Family weekend). It pays to wait...

Tuesday, September 7, 2010 via Big Tent

You know when you sign up for something because it's relevent to your life at the moment and then everyone stops using that website as a means of communication and you forget about it? Here is an example of this situation turning out to be a good thing...I joined Big Tent (a website for groups to post in forums, send messages, etc. The group stopped using it and last week I started receiving random emails about deals on from their website. Normally this would be annoying if it weren't for the promo codes that it listed in the email to get 70% off the already discounted price for gift certificates to some good restaurants in my area. I paid 3 dollars for a 25 dollar gift certificate! Talk about awesome! The emails I get from Big Tent are from They remind me of Groupon to some extent but they pull deals from all sorts of different companies offering deals in your city. Check it out.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


I have a confession to make... I haven't paid to rent a movie since 2005. How do I do it? I use reward "$" from the surveys that I take on Once I have 25 imaginary dollars from surveys I cash them in for 6 months of free rentals (1 per month). My spouse has also joined so we use his reward money for rentals too (as well as all our magazine subscriptions too). Phew...I feel so much better getting that off my chest! :)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Deal for the week

Check out the following website for free stuff and great deals for this week! Thanks L.K.|main|dl6|link1|

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Thin Your Grocery Bill and Your Waistline

I know that this post may be a bit controversial but hear me out...I've recently come to the realization that I'm tired of eating over processed and overpriced food! When you go to the grocery store, all of the major food groups (i.e. all of those essentials mentioned in the food pyramid) are located along the walls of the super market. All of the stuff in the middle (i.e. down the aisles) is stuff that we don't need to survive (or eat healthy for that matter)! The only exceptions are the cleaners, toiletries, laundry, baby stuff located down these aisles.

Not only do I avoid going down aisles for things that I don't necessarily need (Hmmm, Chips Ahoy cookies...yes, please.) but I save money on buying things that are overpriced, already cooked meals. I have realized this week that it doesn't take that long to whip something together that is tasty and nutritious and costs me pennies on the dollar. I even find the time with a 15 month old running around my house, a dog that needs constant supervision so he doesn't eat anything valuable and a husband who is constantly out to sea (if I can find the time to cook a home cooked meal, so can you...). I don't give in to my junk food monster...If I do need something like spaghetti sauce, rice, pasta, those can easily be picked up in one aisle so I don't stray from my budget or my stomach's junk food wants...

Perhaps I'll add some of my whip up in a snap recipes here if demand is high... :)

Saturday, August 7, 2010

New direction?

I've been trying some new things out this week and I've discovered some great ideas and lifestyle changes that will help you save money and feel great. Once I get a good handle on it all, I will be making some posts. Consider this post a teaser for what is to come...

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Check your Receipts!

Whenever you go shopping at any store, check your receipt. Some grocery stores have coupons printed on the back and you may find one that you can use. Also, check the bottom of your retail receipts. Many stores offer to give you a perk (a coupon or something free) if you answer a quick survey about your shopping experience. I have gotten everything from a free Chik-Fil-A sandwhich to 15 % off my next purchase at JCPenney to $5 off my next purchase at Stride Rite to $3 off my next Petsmart purchase just by answering a few questions online or on the phone about my service at the given store. It seriously takes 5 minutes of my time and if I use the coupon, great, if not, I don't feel like I wasted too much of my time telling a store that I frequent about my shopping experience.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Target/CVS Savings

I know this isn't a ton of money but hey, every little bit helps. If you bring reusable bags to the register at Target, you get a 5 cent discount for every reusable bag used at the register to hold your purchases. CVS also offers an incentive for using reusable bags however you have to be a loyalty program card holder and also pay an additional 99 cents for a GreenBagTag. After four "Green swipes" you earn a coupon for $1 off your next purchase. Great to know you can get discounts just for dragging that reusable bag you carry in the trunk of your car with you to the store (heck, if you have kids, have them tote it!)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Cheapskate Next Door

I was puttering around on the library catalog the other day and came upon this book, The Cheapskate Next Door by Jeff Yeager. He wrote a previous book, The Ultimate Cheapskate's Road Map to True Riches, which I now intend to read as well. I haven't finished reading his most current book yet but I can tell you that it's filled with tons of information. Some of the information I already have posted here however there were some new things that I hadn't even thought of that he presents a great case for in his book.

He offers many tips and tricks as well as websites that will help you to comfortably and happily live below your means. What I love the most about this book is that its entertaining to read in addition to its educational value. I also love how he offers suggestions on how to live debt-free and pay off the big ticket items like your mortgage, student loans, etc. The mindset that he presents in this book really made me think about how I spend money and time on a daily basis. While David is on his next underway, I am going to try to take Yeager's "money fast" challenge and not spend any money during a given week. (I'll let you know how I come out) I definitely recommend this book to add to your summer reading list. I have every intention of picking up his first book after I finish this one.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Cheap entertainment on/around Campus

I found this article today. Its written by a Sarah Deveau (of "Sink or Swim: Get Your Degree Without Drowning in Debt" fame). It offers some great advice for college students that want to have fun on a budget. Not only do you get free/low-cost entertainment advice but she also offers a few ways to pad resumes and scholarship applications.

Cheap Entertainment for College Students

Renting Your Textbooks?

Ok, so I randomly came upon this site while messing around on the internet. allows you to rent your textbooks and thus save a ton of money off the list price for those books. I'm not a 100% believer in this but I could see how this would prove to be helpful for some. You rent your textbooks from them and then when you are done you send them back (via UPS and they pay for it). End of story.

I guess if you didn't want the hassle of trying to then resell your textbooks when you were finished with them, this could be an avenue for you. The website claims that renting can be much cheaper than buying used textbooks. You are helping the environment when you rent from them since they plant a tree every time you rent. They also allow you to sell your textbooks to them. This could be valuable if you want to see how much you can get for your textbooks from an outside source that isn't your school bookstore. Check and note how much Chegg would give you and then go try to sell your books back to the bookstore and decide from there which gives you more money back. Gotta save where you can in college right?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Battle of the Warehouse Clubs

Here in Virginia Beach there is both a BJ's Wholesale Club and a Sam's Club. They are maybe a mile away from one another, if that. I have a membership to Sam's but last year activated a 3 month free trial membership to BJ's to try it out. I ended up keeping my Sam's membership, but lately I have been having second thoughts.

There is really no need for me to have memberships to both and since it costs to have memberships to both it isn't practical for me to pay for both. However, after a recent trip to BJ's where I shopped on my mother's membership, I realized that it might benefit me more to shop there as opposed to Sam's.

First perk to shopping at BJ's is the ability to use coupons. They have some in-store and manufacturer's coupons are always accepted. I was able to get some yogurt that I could not buy at Sam's much cheaper than I would have paid at a regular grocery store or even the commissary with a coupon they had in-store. After a quick evaluation of the prices on things I normally buy anyway (I remember numbers so it was really easy to just recall from my brain what I paid at Sam's vs. BJ's for things), the prices were comparable with some things being cheaper at Sam's and some things cheaper at BJ's. The addition of a coupon for the things I normally buy (especially diapers) makes them cheaper at BJ's by several dollars.

A perk for shopping at Sam's Club is the fact that they have photo services in-store. I can't remember the last time I used the photo services there since we got an IPod that allows us to put photos on it for David to take underway with him so it makes this less of a perk, in my mind. However, if you do a lot of photo printing this would be a reason to keep a Sam's membership.

The second perk for shopping at BJ's is the availability of 100% no sugar added juice. I can't find anything at Sam's that isn't a juice cocktail or fake juice. Bj's has several options and with juice guzzlers like my son and my husband, it makes sense to save a few cents and buy in bulk to minimize trips to the grocery store.

Another perk for Sam's is their meat department. I really like the meat department at Sam's especially when they have "reduced for quick sale" items. They are almost always half price and I'm going to freeze them anyway so they will keep. I haven't really delved into the meat department at BJ's however, I've been told by people who have bought meat there that they were not impressed with the taste and quality. So the moral here is, I guess, is the intention to buy meat in bulk or can a trip to the commissary or grocery store suffice for this purpose?

I'm now at the end of my comparisons. I can't think of anymore...Anybody got anything else? Hopefully, someone benefitted from my brain explosion above...

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Get $10 off
your first order of diapers
use code NINA9494
$49 min. total order
buy diapers
shop  baby store

So I had found this site back when I first had Jordan and then I stopped using it because it was a bit cheaper to buy diapers at Sams. (Although $10 dollars off your first order makes getting diapers here cheaper, at least for that first order!) However, they have a ton of coupons on their site and there are a few things that you can get great deals on. It's great for first time moms too because you don't have to go to the store to get diapers and other baby needs, just hop on the computer and you can have them the next day! Even if you don't have a kid, you can save on shower gifts, etc. First time customers get $10 off their first diaper order ($49 minimum which is easy to hit because buying in bulk gets you there anyway). The code for $10 off is NINA9494.

I just ordered some sunscreen from them because its hard to find the "good and safe" sunscreen at the store. I'd rather not run around looking for the kind I want when I know I can get it here (and with a discount, 15% off skincare). I end up paying about the same amount anyway (or sometimes it ends up being cheaper). I recommend checking out the stuff on sale. Free 1 day shipping too...

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Swap your Stuff

Check out

It's free. All you do is set up a free account and post items that you would like to get rid of. When someone requests one of your items you send it off. You earn request credits which you can then use to get items from other users. The nitty gritty details are listed on their homepage. If you decide to join, let them know I sent you (Nina Hodapp).

Friday, June 11, 2010

Costco Shopping without a membership?

Thanks SH for this story.

Apparently, you can shop at Costco without having a membership as long as you have a giftcard. Just get someone you know that has a membership to purchase you a giftcard and shop until your heart's content :) (Hey it saves $50 on a membership...)

Monday, June 7, 2010

House cleaning = $ or new things!

I hate when I'm cleaning and I come across all the dvd's and cd's that I don't listen to that I still have to dust. I came up with a solution to get rid of them while making a few bucks or trading them for dvd's or cd's I'll actually use. FYE (For Your Entertainment) here in Virginia Beach buys/trades used dvd's and cd's. Stores that do this are all over the place. Use the internet to find one near you.

The great thing about these stores is you can take them your dvd's and cd's you don't use and turn them into cash (a few dollars a piece) or store credit (a few dollars plus an added 25% on each item). I can get some new stuff while cleaning out the old stuff and not have to shell out money in the process! Admit it, everyone has that copy of the Baha Men's, Who Let the Dogs Out? that you never listen to anymore...

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Planned Grocery Shopping

I thought I would post since I'm sitting here about to do the following. I always plan out my grocery shops the night before I go. It only takes a couple of minutes. First, I make a list of everything I need. I look through the coupons that I have randomly clipped out of the circulars and pull out relevant ones. Then I look at my list to see if there is any item that I could possibly search for a coupon for on the internet (Juicy Juice, Quaker oatmeal, etc.). I do my search and print stuff out. I put my list and coupons together and put it in my bag so I don't forget it the next day. The End :) I know it sounds rather involved but it's really not. I think its worth saving a few dollars on stuff you need anyway.

The day of my grocery shop I stick to my list. I save money by not going down any unnecessary aisles this way and picking out things I don't need. Sometimes I get lucky and an item I was going to pick up anyway has a coupon on the package. (Sometimes its better than the one I found, if I found one for that item).

Here's just some other random tips:
-look online and see if your grocery store allows you to attach electronic coupons to your frequent shopper card and do so before you go grocery shopping.
-some stores like Harris Teeter double coupons (sometimes they have weeks where they triple them) up to 99 cents.
-check the circular for the store you are going to to see if they have any deals on things you are planning on buying. This way you know which brands are on sale and which ones are the best price to buy.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Thanks Brynne for telling me about this website and providing testimonial (she got over 20 dollars back in checks in the mail)! This is really cool. Sign up (it's free) and access stores from this website and you earn cash back for your purchases. Just click on the stores from this website and you earn a percentage of cash back on your purchase! They also offer coupons for some of their retailers. Definitely worth it.

Online shopping

Whenever I decide I'm going to buy something online, I always look for ways to save money on my order. I recommend doing a Google search for coupon codes. Some of the websites that come up that are reliable are and I try all the codes listed that match the requirements for my order. I've gotten free shipping and up to 20% off my purchases doing this. It's definitely worth a shot to try if you have a couple minutes while placing your order.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

A friend of mine at Toddler Storytime told me about this website:
People post all kinds of great deals from $5 shoes at Land's End or $2 tank tops at Wet Seal. There are also household items, video games, etc. Might find something you need/want :)

This website is really cool. Just enter your zip code and it finds restaurants that are offering discounted gift certificates (most are 10 dollars for a 25 dollar gift certificate). Make sure you read the fine print though. Some require that you spend a minimum amount at their restaurant. Some don't require this and those are the best deals!

Friday, May 28, 2010

VS Semi Annual Sale

It's going on now. Get your undies, bras, and other items at way below their retail prices. Spend $100 and you get free shipping.

Memorial Day Savings

Just a quick little post...A ton of places are having sales this weekend, if there is something that you know you are going to buy in the future and its on sale this weekend and the funds are available to buy it now, why not? Save a little money by spending it now.

Carter's and OshKosh are having big sales this weekend as well as Stride Rite for all you moms out there. Get on their email lists to get valuable coupons! I have coupons for Stride Rite, Osh Kosh and Carters in my inbox, email me if you want me to forward them to you.

Cable Television

I know that I will probably get some flack for this post, however, I think I may have a valid point that could be appealing to some. What does cable TV cost these days? I think I saw a commercial for Dish Network for like 39.99 a month. I think that's the cheapest I have seen....Anyways, what if you cut cable TV out of your life? I mean, you can watch just about any show on the internet these days and those you can't you could always rent from Netflix, right? So think about it, forty bucks a month times twelve is 480. You could be saving yourself almost 500 dollars a year without it!

You can still get TV channels by buying an antenna and with HD they come in pretty good. We get 11 channels including all the major non-cable networks. I find myself filling in the time that I would have been channel surfing with other endeavors and spending more quality time with my son. Learn a language, start a blog :), read a book instead. There are countless possibilities of how you could spend your time. Any other suggestions?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Skinny Dip

If you live in or near Virginia Beach or Chesapeake and you haven't tried The Skinny Dip Frozen Yogurt Bar you are seriously missing out. Check out their website: It's worth a trip...and its super cheap!

Your local library

Looking for something to do that could possibly be educational for you or your kids? Check out the programs at your local library. Many libraries offer programs not only for kids (like storytimes and the summer reading program) but also programs for adults. Usually these things are FREE! Why not check it out? You might find something you enjoy doing and meet new people at the same time. You might be able to find a few moms with whom you can coordinate a playgroup.

The Virginia Beach library's website is From there you can search the catalog or click on individual libraries and get their information including lists of classes and a library calendar. I find that those people who love books are very passionate about what they do. When in doubt, give your local library a call. Most of the librarians are thrilled to talk to you about what they have to offer at their library.

College Textbooks

There are 3 things you can do with college textbooks after the semester is over.

1) keep them
2) sell them back to the college bookstore
3) put them on and try to sell them yourself

I recommend doing #3 if you have no intention of keeping a certain textbook. Now, this may not be beneficial if you have a lot of science textbooks because let's face it, a new edition comes out like every 2 months...However, books for your "fluff" classes like that copy of Shakespeare's Hamlet or that random anthropology book that was written in the '30's could be useful to someone else. I found that the college bookstore was only willing to give you pittance on a book you sold back (like a few dollars or so.) Creating an account on allows you to set the price of your book competitively to match those that are selling on the site. You could actually end up getting almost what you paid for the book if demand is high enough. I've sold a number of books on and even though you know you paid for those books at some point, it's nice to see the transaction deposit after the selling period ends. Sometimes I forget I sold things so when I go to budget and make sure there is enough money to pay bills, there's the added bonus of money I forgot existed. :)

When you need to buy textbooks, I always checked first to see if the price was better than my college bookstore. Most of the time it was (despite the fact that I also had to pay shipping). Buying used books also saves you money. If you don't care whether or not someone has highlighted in the book then why not save some dough?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Land's End

If you have never bought anything from Land's End you are missing out. They have great clothes that are guaranteed (no matter what). I highly recommend shopping their overstocks (which are only online) for great deals. Their stuff washes up nicely and if you are ever dissatisfied you can take it back! You don't even need to send it back to the company, just drop it by your neighborhood Sears for a full refund!

And if that wasn't good enough to get you interested in checking out their stuff, they almost always offer free shipping! Most of their codes have a dollar amount you have to spend, however, if you get their catalogs, there are almost always Free Shipping codes that have no minimum you must spend on the inside cover insert...You can use them twice before the expiration date too (just in case you need to send stuff as a gift as well as send stuff to yourself as a present :)

It's a win-win situation. In the words of my sister-in-law Lindsay, "They are almost paying me to buy [them]!" You won't be disappointed...

P.S. If you have a USAA Rewards Credit Card, go to the USAA webpage and connect to their Rewards Shopping. Connect to Lands End through your credit card and get 4 points per dollar you spend in Rewards Points....Bonus!!!

The current free shipping coupon with no minimum is ISLAND PIN: 9172 expires 6/8/10


If you haven't tried this site out yet I highly recommend that you do. It doesn't cost anything to join and you can set your preferences to not receive daily emails if you like. This website provides daily deals that are ridiculously discounted since they have an agreement with each of the businesses to provide a certain number of customers from the sale of each Groupon. You are never obligated to buy anything. They cater to a number of cities all across the U.S.--Hampton Roads, Philly, Boston, Baltimore, etc. It's definitely worth a few minutes of your time...who knows, they may offer a coupon for something that you would already buy! Why not save money on something you are going to buy anyway?

First Post

Ok, so I've never felt like I've had anything important to say that would warrant the creation of a blog. However, over the past several weeks I've been thinking to myself, "Wouldn't it be great and beneficial to others if I share some of the things I have discovered to save money and to maximize cash savings without sacrificing certain luxuries?" I feel like I could be helping out my fellow moms, recent college grads, the cash strapped etc. rather than not sharing some of the great things I have discovered. So why not? Here is my blog containing all these things that I find to be great deals, cash minimal and great freebies (which are the best kind of bargain!)

So I'm going to post these things I come across that I find particularly valuable. I'll try not to limit my posts just to things in this area but things that can also be valuable nationally (perhaps internationally?). I promise not to bore you with my life's inane details in the process either.