Open Mic 2/16/12

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Open Mic is a post every Thursday that is a mini-version of a discussion board. You can leave a comment with whatever coupon, money-saving or debt reduction tips or questions you have and other readers chime in and answer.

When you leave a comment on this post, you’ll be able to choose whether you’d like to be emailed follow-up comments or not. Getting comments via email is a great way to stay connected without having to visit the site a bazillion times (although I don’t mind if you come a bazillion times).

As always, I look forward to hearing the voice of the Pocket Your Dollars community. Read through the Open Mic archives here.

Your turn: Leave a comment with your money-saving, coupon or debt reduction question, thought or suggestion.

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Comments

  1. Janell says

    Looking for anyone's opinion on a good frequent flier rewards type credit card. We do use a credit card currently and pay it off each month, so we thought we should at least be getting some rewards from it. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

  2. Amber says

    What's a good price for a Queen Sheet Set? Really wanting to get two new sheet sets for my bed. I'm also unsure of what thread count to look for. Any advice is very appreciated.

    • Allison says

      At Walmart, when they had the Martha Stewart line their thread count is 300. Most large major store have sheets that start at 300. You can often find them in clearance. I have 500 but to get this price it's best to find it on sale or you can get it online. I got mine on ebay for about $40 with shipping. That's just the fitted full sheet. It's more expensive. Bloomingdale's at MOA is closing and they often are known for their bedding department. You should try calling and inquiring whether they have the color and thread count you are looking for.

      • ella says

        I recently saw some queen sheet sets at Aldi for $40, I think the thread count was 300 but not sure- cream or white. I have not tried them.

    • Heather says

      I looked at the prices for the high thread counts (500-700) sheets on black friday. I found the prices at Costco to be around the same as the black friday prices at JCPenny's. If you are ok with a lower thread count walmart and target always seem to have great deals.

    • Lisa says

      Amber – I read once or twice that higher thread count sheets don't breath as well, so if you tend to get warm or even sweat during the night (I sometimes do), lower is better for that (200-300 range).

  3. Carol says

    My coke rewards has a 12 month subscription to All You magazine for 333 points if anyone is interested in getting the magazine without having to pay money for it.

  4. Sue says

    Where is the best place to buy coconut oil? I am open to going to stores in the twin city metro area or on-line.

    What is considered a good price?

    • Molly says

      I've gotten it before on Amazon but I can't remember what I paid.

      Nutiva Organic Extra Virgin is on sale this week at Whole Foods – 15 oz. for $7.99.

    • sally says

      Lee, I had to laugh when I saw your question. I just has a conversation with my daughter the other day about the cost of Weddings. Of course the cake came up and I think it is the biggest waste of money along with the bridesmaid dresses. My Grandson got married a couple of years ago and his Wife had cupcakes and everyone loved them. Also my feelings on Bridesmaid dresses is if you ask someone to be in your wedding , I don't think it should cost them any money. I think the dresses should be part of the cost of the wedding. My Daughter thought I was nuts. LOL. I love your idea of renting the cake. After all it's just for "show".

      • Aubrey says

        haha – and I had to laugh at your response that the cake was the biggest waste of money, Sally! We got Costco sheet cakes for our wedding just over 2 years ago and paid $18 for half sheet cakes (I think they served 48) I felt like those cakes were some of the best money we spent on the wedding! Of course, one of the reasons we went with Costo cakes – besides the fact that they're DELICIOUS – was that they were much cheaper than a traditional-looking wedding cake.

        • Judy says

          We did Costco Sheet cakes at our wedding too. I think we got 2 chocolate ones and 2 vanilla ones? I don't remember exactly… but the lady who did our flowers had some extra roses (also ordered from Costco, and then we arranged them), and we decorated the cakes with the roses and greenery. They were really beautiful. Then for "our" cake, a friend make a 2 layer round cake (different size layers), and decorated it with some icing in our wedding colors and the roses too. I thought it was really beautiful, and it was really cheap for wedding cake. Those Costco cakes are good!

      • Jane says

        I think the tuxes are an incredible expense as well. My son was in a wedding and it was 165.00 for a tux…he's nine. His only cousin got married and it was a very special day – glad I had saved up and my sister actually found a coupon for money off, which helped! Be careful when you say yes when asked to be in a wedding.

    • JoAnna says

      I have heard of that. It is a fake cake that looks real, fancy, beautiful…..you then buy and serve sheet cakes. Saves a lot of money I guess :)

    • V says

      Lee and everyone else that commented on cutting wedding costs. I already knew I was old fashioned and I totally get the need to cut costs at weddings and I appreciate it. If you need to or want to that is great. But to those who may read all those comments of a fake cake and that they think bridesmaid’s dresses cost are a total waste etc…don't feel like you have to do them or bad if you don't cut corners on those types of costs. I never did and for me I totally enjoyed purchasing those expensive things for my wedding and for my girls who are now married too. I love to and need to save money as much as anyone. But there are times when I think it is okay and good to indulge and for me I figure if I don’t indulge myself or my children in planning their wedding, when am I going to? Money is only money and it is saved to enjoy too. So like I said if you enjoy saving at your wedding that is super; but if there is someone out there reading those comments and wonder whether or not if making those savings are right for you, or feeling guilty if you don’t go that route, know that they are not for everyone. I say ENJOY it…you only have one wedding (yes I am old fashioned) and you have the rest of your life to save save save on all the other big and little things….a happy time like that was no time for me to bring it down by doing my penny pinching. We lived it up to what we could afford by savings in other areas. So save on your wedding if that brings you joy but if that isn’t for you, know you really can “have your cake and eat it too”.

    • Lynn says

      I have heard that you can frost styrofoam bricks with frosting- you could do a 3-tier fake cake, decorate with silk flowers and then serve sheet cake or cupcakes!

      And, I know the question is about cakes but– as for kids in weddings, we bought boys tuxes for about $50 at tinytux.com (rental was $100), and i plan to resell at a children's consignment sale. My sister got an infant tuxedo at Burlington coat factory for under $20. For the flower girls we got 1st communion dresses from JCpenney for a reasonable price.

    • Lee says

      whatawedding.com is where I first saw the idea of renting a cake. They are booked for the date we need. For others who have never heard of this – all layers of the cake are fake except for one. This way you have a cake for pictures and one layer for the cutting of the cake without spending a lot of money. Sheet cakes are used to serve to the guests.

  5. Therese S. says

    I like American Expess (charge card that you have to pay each month); They have a card linked to Delta or you can use another type of Amex to earn American Express points to use for other travel needs like hotel, car and other airlines.

  6. Amber says

    Amber,

    I was looking for a queen sheet set this past fall and found $40 was the average for this size sheets. I ended up finding a nice set, The Big One, at Kohl's for $39.99 on sale. I love them! They are 275 thread count, but I don't notice a difference between these and the higher thread count ones I had. I also had a 20% off coupon and they were running their Kohl's Cash promotion, like they are right now, so I ended up getting them for $31.99, not including Kohl's cash. I found a $10 outfit for my daughter to get me to the $50 point.

    If you have a Kohl's charge card, you can use promo code HEART30 to get 30% off your purchase and promo code SWEETSHIP to get free shipping, making The Big One Queen Sheets only $27.99 shipped. Great deal if you ask me!

  7. Mikey says

    Any suggestions on where to get rid of a klunker car, not a donation type place but a junk yard type place. Don't some of them pay cash and then strip them for parts? Also, any ideas on where to get a relatively inexpensive runaround car for a kid–like under $2000 (would prefer something under $1500)? Thanks.

    • sally says

      Mikey, I have 2 grandsons that buy cars fix them up and re-sell them. If you get me your # I will pass it on to them. They sell cars usually under $2,000. One of them also parts out cars. You can email me a sak42116@msn.com

    • Judy says

      I think we found an ad in the paper for junk cars (there's lots of them in there). I called about 5 places, and got very different price offers – then went with the one that offered me the highest. They came and towed it away for free. Woohoo. So I'd suggest calling several places.

  8. Susan says

    Has anyone seen a coupon/deal for Pittsburgh Blue in Maple Grove? I don't see it offered on restaurants.com. Is there a coupon in the new Happenings Book? Thanks!

  9. Kathy says

    I like the Chase Rewards (not miles card), but I get 1% back on all purchases, and 5% back on select categories every 3 months in the form of a statement credit or check. Just make sure when you apply for any of them, they should have no annual fee.

  10. mnsotamama says

    In Dec we needed to book a couple flights out of the country and decided to open an American Airlines Mastercard because they took $100 off as incentive. The annual fee is waived the first year which is rather steep at $85 a year however we do travel quite a bit and in just 2 months have earned just shy of 2 roundtrip tickets in the US or 1 out of country ticket so for us it is well worth it. The rate is a little over 15% but we pay it off every month. We put everything possible on it to earn points.

  11. Claire says

    Any suggestions on where to get diaper deals?

    It seems like there haven't been any good deals for quite some time and with #3 on the way in less than a month, we need to stock up!

    • Katie says

      My sister in law buys 90% of my nephew's diapers online. I'm not sure where, but she's always raving about the prices she finds. Might be worth peeking around!

  12. JoAnna says

    Opinions on the difference between down comforters and alternative down. We are not allergic to the real deal so can go either way. We really like the idea of the breathabilty of down and the yr round use (helps keep you cool in summer and warm in winter). But, the real deal costs much more. Is the alternative down just as good?

    • Katie says

      I have a down alternative comforter as well as a down alternative "blanket" (similar to a comforter, but much lighter in weight). When I was in college, I had an actual down comforter (smaller bed meant smaller price tag :) ). Honestly, I like the alternative just as much as the real deal. I don't really notice a difference at all. For the price, i'd go with a nice fluffy alternative :)

    • Mags says

      Joanna,

      I have both the real deal and the "faux" version. I MUCH prefer the down duvet. It's warm in the winter, but breathes, and it's comfortable in the summer months when the A/C is on. My faux comforter is cozy in the winter, but DOES NOT breathe. It's not useful in the summer months at all. I would laso say that I like the fact that I can toss my down duvet in the dryer on air with lavendar pouch (or something safely aromatic) and freshen it up. My faux duvet tends to get a little lumpy after washing and drying. My two cents.

      Check Ikea for prices on down comforters. They offer several weights at what I think are reasonable prices. You might also want to check end of season sales at Herbergers. Could be a good deal with a coupon.

    • ella says

      We like real down for our bed, it's light yet warm, but we used alternative duvets for our kids until they were older (cheaper, and quicker to launder), then switched theirs to down and they chose the cover (covers usually from Ikea, or sewn from 2 flat sheets), they still use them after several years so it's been a good investment. We keep our house cold at night. It helps to have a lighter version for use during milder weather, our winter duvet is too warm for that. The more good quality down and less feather the more expensive. I have bought these on good sales at JCP, Kohl's, even Macy's when they have their one day sales, recently I purchased online the LaCrosse comforter at The Company Store and have been satisfied- I waited for a sale and got free shipping- you can get on their e-mail list. Use a duvet cover to keep the comforter cleaner longer. We have a front load washer and can launder the duvet using mild detergent before storing during off season- saves on dry cleaning costs and better for the down.

  13. Peg says

    I wanted to let others know about another way to earn points towards gift cards that is similar to swagbucks, called Superpoints. It has a Superlucky button that you can spin to win points, as well as regular e-mail bonuses and videos to watch for points. It can be a little slow to pay out but has been safe for me so far (6 months and counting). They promise no spam (I haven't had any problems) and their goal is to "build the best rewards program in the world by offering the best sites to win and earn points, the biggest payouts, and the most rewards." It's an invite-only site but if you're interested in joining you can access my reference link below:

    http://superpoints.com/refer/dahlq007

    The general website is http://www.superpoints.com

  14. Stacia says

    Has anyone seen a deal or discounted tickets for the upcoming Disney on Ice show in early March? Thanks for your help.

  15. Beth says

    my subscription to the Star Tribune is up. Has any one seen and good deals lately. I like getting the paper but they wanted to charge me an outrages price to get another year. Any suggestion would be wonderful.

    • Allison says

      If you have milage, you can get it for free. I have United Airlines and get the Sunday paper for free. The only catch is that it's only for "new subscriber." So I just wait a few weeks after my subscription ends and go back and redeem more miles to get the paper.

  16. Alisa says

    We are taking our boys (16, 13, 13, and 10) to Wisonsin Dells the first week in March. Staying at a condo that doesn't have a waterpark. It appears to be in between the winter season and spring season. Any good ideas on what to do there?

    • mnsotamama says

      Tommy Bartlett's Exploratory is alot of fun for the older kids such as your own and alot of fun for adults as well.

    • Amy says

      Make sure to stop at a WI Rest Stop and get the travel guide/magazine about the Dells. It will have coupons in it and some good ideas.

      There is an indoor amusement park called Knuckheads that offers $2 rides on Tuesdays. (We were just there last week and thought this was a good deal) They also have a bowling alley and that looked like fun too.

      Some other things are the Paint It Pottery Shop http://www.paintitpotteryshop.com/ or have lunch at Buffalo Phil's where the kids can have lunch delivered by train. We have had great food/dining experiences at Moose Jaw Pizza and Brewery and at Kahunaville at the Kalahari. Of course, the Kalahari Indoor Waterpark and Amusement Park is huge and a lot of fun. I think the indoor attractions at Mt Olympus would be too boring for your age of kids.

      Have fun…We love the Dells and have traveled there 4 times in the past 5 years!

  17. AJM says

    Funny you should ask! I have just been investigating this for myself. There are SOOOO many credit card offers out there that's it's difficult to sort through all the hype and find the one that's best for your family and your unique needs. I suggest Googling to find and read a couple of blogs dedicated to the subject. Some frequent flier bloggers are CRAZY with all their credit card applications and the ways they earn points/miles, but these are a little more moderate in their approach:

    * Google Mommy Points – she is very practical and easy to understand, and she's a mom!

    * Go to boardingarea dot com and there are a bunch of frequent flier blogs from which to choose

    * FlyerTalk dot com is a very active forum about all things related to travel, especially point & miles-earning credit cards

    You will find some great information online. I, personally, just got the Chase Sapphire Preferred and the Chase Ink Bold for Business. You have to be certain your credit rating can "take" the hits of inquiries from the credit card companies. And most of the cards that have points/miles bonuses require a minimum amount of spending in a certain period of time, so be sure that works for your budget. This is all explained in the blogs.

    For me, I like earning points/miles for stuff I would be purchasing anyway! And we pay off our balances every month. Also, you need to be disciplined so that using a credit card doesn't cause you to spend more than you would with cash!

    I've learned a lot from reading these blogs and now I have points/miles to use for travel, and I'm excited about that!

    Good luck!

  18. Augusta says

    I was thinking of getting a Minnesota Zoo Membership for a co-worker as a baby shower gift. Do they ever have deals on them? Or do I need to bite the bullet and pay the 87$?

  19. Ruth says

    All of our kids (still) wet at night, and the oldest doesn't fit into the traditional pullups anymore. Are there good ways to save on GoodNites or similar brands? I don't see many coupons or sales for them. TIA!

    • Sarah says

      I've got a 5yo that still needs them too so I feel your pain:) The best deal I've found consistently is for Underjams on Amazon, 0.42/ea, using subscribe and save (you can always cancel right away) with an Amazon Mom membership and free shipping. Target had a better deal with a gift card a few weeks ago so you have to watch. If others know of better deals, I'll love to hear about them too. I've tried reusable options too but they don't hold nearly enough to keep my daughter dry!

  20. Ann says

    I am starting to look for new furniture. We need a loveseat but I am not seeing any styles that I really like. I still like our old loveseat style. Anybody know of a cheap place to have furniture reupholstered?

    • Beth says

      We had Wally, of Wally's Upholstery in Vadnais Heights do a loveseat and sofa-bed. Our neighbor saw his truck and she went on to have some chairs done. The phone # is: 651-426-1790. Probably is best to call to make sure he'll be in if you plan on stopping by. (The first time I didn't and he was out, so I wasted a trip.) As far as "cheap" goes, I can't really speak to that, it depends on the quality of fabrics you choose. The furniture made these days generally doesn't have the quality that older pieces have.

  21. Shannon says

    Lee – I am in the wedding industry (but I'm not a baker – sorry!) and just wanted to make sure you knew about the VIB Program. If not, check out Forever TV's VIB (Very Important Bride) Program. Signing up is free and it gives you access to all sorts of wedding vendors at a discounted rate. Bakeries, florists, dresses, tux rental – you name it – it's on there! http://www.forevertv.com/

    Plus, there's a cocktail party that they're throwing this Saturday night at The Carlson Towers in Minnetonka with chances to win tons of prizes and gift certificates, music and a comedian for entertainment, complimentary appetizers, etc.. If you're planning a wedding and are interested in attending, I do have a few pairs of complimentary tickets left, otherwise it's $15/person. Email me at thephotoboxx at gmail dot com

  22. nise23 says

    How can I get signed up to receive the Rainbow coupon booklet by mail? I used to get it in my old apartment but not anymore :(

    • Steph says

      When I emailed rainbow, they told me that you can't sign up and you can just try to ask for the booklets at the front desk. Sometimes they have them and sometimes they do not…

  23. Steph says

    My boys still wet, too, and we use goodnites. There are usually coupons for them, and CVS will have extra care buck deals with them every so often, too. Also, they are an allowed item for flex plans, too, so that's nice.

  24. mark says

    Buy the early Sunday edition on Saturdays from Walgreens for 75 cents. Save your Register Rewards to get free papers. Cub has the early Sunday editions on Saturday for $1. Always check the papers to see if the have the coupon inserts before ou buy. Check SundayCouponPreview.com on Fridays to determine on how many Sunday papers to buy based on the coupon inserts that will available.The Sunday before the first of the month usually has multiple inserts. Good luck !

  25. mark says

    Does anyone know that if you use a $4 off a $20 order coupon at CVS, will you still receive ECB ( Extra cash back ) with that order when buying qualifying items ? Just wondering.

  26. Cris says

    I buy my diapers on Amazon. I am an Amazon Mom (it's free to sign up) and I use the subscribe and save feature (then often cancel my subscription right away). With those discounts, diapers are 20% off, plus sometimes there's a coupon to add as well. Plus, the diapers are dropped right at your door and you don't have to haul your family to the store!

  27. Andrea S says

    The co-ops defiantly carry it you might be able to find it in the health food or ethnic sections of rainbow or cub. But I know I've boughten it at the wedge or Seward co ops. And any health food store should have it.

  28. Andrea S says

    Haha I have to laugh at all the people who think Costco cakes are good I'm a pastry chef in the wedding industry and where I work we let them choose if they want a cake from us or bring one in with a fee and the few times people have brought in the Sams club or Costco cakes we can't help but laugh.

    One of the biggest savings is to have the fake display cake and then serve sheet cakes that no one sees. I know some of the cake places around town will do the fake display and then make you sheets to serve like Penny Steele cakes, Jessica's cakes or queen if cakes to name a few. If your already planning on buying sheets I would think that would be the way to go.

    Also if your looking for a simple display cake you could do it yourself Lynn's cake and candy in fridley as cake decorating classes along with micheals.

    • Katie says

      I think Costco cakes are delicious and I find it pretty sad that you openly say you laugh at people for buying them who are paying your place of employment to celebrate one of the happiest days of their lives at. For shame.

      • Andrea S says

        Support local. Not big corporations. You'll get a better product, you will be a person not a number and you'll actually get love in the product you purchase.

        Support small businesses and our world will be a better place.

      • Shelly says

        We used a local wedding cake "maker" for our daughter's wedding to make a relatively small but GORGEOUS cake. She matched the beading on our daughter's dress & veil, and it was so cool. That cake was guaranteed nut-free (our daughter is allergic to both nuts & peanuts) as well. But then we purchased Costco filled sheet cakes – 4 of them I think. People raved about them, even our chef neighbor. The cheesecake filling is so yummy in those Costco cakes. Glad we had the "real" cake for the photos and for our the head table – but felt no guilt about not serving that for the entire group. Good luck!

  29. Kris E says

    Great deals on ink at Office Max starting Sunday

    20% off MaxPerks rewards for any purchase of $60 or more (or 2 identical) ink cartridges

    In addition I'd received an email $25/100 Max Perks online purchase.

    So I'm getting 3 high yield black and 1 multi-color cartridge retail for 108.98

    should come to $62.18. The savings will be issued in Max Perk Rewards

    I also got a 40% off clearance items, email from Tuesday Morning. Sale starts tomorrow/saturday

  30. Emily says

    I have a few items that I have been putting together to donate. Can I mail them to the Alexandra House? If so do you have an address that I could send it to?

  31. Shelly says

    If you are a Costco member or have a friend/family member, watch for their coupon sales on their high thread count Egyptian cotton sheets. After using them the last few years, I would never want to go back to a lesser quality sheet set. They have lasted and lasted with just being washed and put back on each week. Can't say enough about them!

  32. Mel says

    A good friend went to Bloomingdale's and said that even with the 40-70% off each sheet was still $40 plus, so $100 and up for flat, fitted, and pillowcases. I would only suggest that if you're willing to pay for the designer sets they carry.

    Also, thread counts are deceiving and not all are created equal, the way its woven is important. Chemicals on the sheets can even make it hard to tell how soft they'll be after washing. The industry is intentionally difficult to compare brands/styles and pricing. I recommend either getting a referral on a specific brand from a friend or using the reviews as a guide if shopping online, although sheet preferences are very personal and what one person finds soft another will find flimsy.

  33. Becky F says

    I am trying to find out when Cub and Rainbow mark down their meats-especially in Apple Valley and Eagan. Does anyone have this info? Thanks!

  34. Kathleen says

    Hi,

    If you happen to have Tidy Cat $1.00 off coupons from the 1/29 RP, I would love to trade them for other coupons. I don't have any babies anymore (just teens!) so I could definitely trade any baby coupons. I buy a lot of papers each week when there's good coupons, so I generally have multiple coupons for what you might need. My email is khaskell@frontiernet.net

    Thanks!

  35. Jackie M. says

    Chris, Target is having a fairly good deal on diapers this week…..2 Huggies Big Packs and a 64 ct. of wipes for $27.97 after coupons and a $5 gc deal.

  36. Jackie M. says

    I am wondering if anyone has a list prepared of "good" prices to pay for various staples, i.e. toilet paper, paper towels, cereals, etc. I live in a fairly small town and have a couple of local stores that I'd love to start using my coupons at but I'm never sure if I am getting a "good deal". If you have something prepared please email it to me at dmeixner@paulbunyan.net

      • Jackie M. says

        I don't have an Aldi near me (in fact I don't even know what Aldi is) but I guess that I could use that list to create a rock bottom price list…I think that's what you're suggesting.

  37. JoAnna says

    That is what I meant :) I don't have an Aldi too close to home either. They have great everyday prices without coupons.

  38. silveryoung1 says

    I do like the Delta American Express card, you can do 'pay for miles' once you have it, which allows you to combine miles with payment if you don't have enough miles (it knocks $100 off a ticket with every 10,000 miles you have). You really have to look at your locale and see what hubs/airlines you have and where they connect to, also. Plus what destinations and I like direct flights as the risk with travel always seems not making your connection/delays. I am also able to buy family members tickets on my Delta skymiles account. Don't know if other airlines allow this.

  39. Darrick says

    I don't know how much you are looking to spend. For my wedding three years ago we went with Kakes Kreations by Kathy. She works out of Elk River and did a great job. I believe it was $1.75-2ish per slice, still a little steep if you have a large guest list but compared to some other places that charge $10 & up per slice its much cheaper. It looked beautiful and tasted delicious!

  40. Jackie M. says

    Someone please help me!!!! Either I am so addicted to PYD that I dreamt this or I am just losing my mind and can't find the post anymore…..my mind says that someone said you could stack a Walmart coupon with a manufacturer coupon. I never knew that Walmart had coupons so I am trying to figure out if I am so addicted that I dreamt it or if I am simply losing my mind!!!! :)

  41. Kmom says

    I don't know where to rent one but to save money on my wedding cake I made it myself but it wasn't cake it was rice krispies. It was 4 tiers, very pretty and a huge hit plus it cost practically nothing with coupons. Lol. Congrats!

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