Open Mic 3/22/12

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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.

Two tips: 1) If you are reading this via email or an RSS feed, click on the title “Open Mic” to come back to the site and leave a comment and 2) If you are concerned about your privacy, just reference yourself by your initials and know that I will not share your email address with anyone else.


  1. V says

    I have a question for Carrie or anyone else that knows anything about penny stocks or where to get good advice about how to begin. I don’t want to pay a broker and I want to figure out how to do it on my own to have some fun with it and of course make a little extra cash. I have read things on the internet but still feel like I am not sure what to do yet.

  2. jeanie says

    We would like to have some 32 year old windows replaced in our home. We had Andersen Renewal give us a bid as we have their windows and like them. However, they are $3000 over our budget. Wondering what other replacement windows people have had installed and any recommendations?

    • Amy says

      @ Jeanie: I purchased 6 specially made windows from Window Concepts of MN in Eagan . Because my house is on a busy street I was given a deal for placing a sign in my yard advertising them, they also had a buy 5 get one free sale. I am very happy with my windows and they worked it into my budget. Highly recommended!

    • Amy says

      We recently got new windows. We got 4 quotes and went back to the company we really liked and told them they were too high and we would go with someone else who had lower price because we couldn't afford them. We gave them the other quotes and were able to negotiate something in our price range. We went with DuBois Remodeling in Hastings and I think Doug was our salesperson.

  3. Dannielle says

    Does anyone know of any good tire specials right now? I'd like to replace all 4 of my tires. (I have a '05 Infiniti G35x (don't know if that matters).

    • Therese S. says


      What I've done for my son's car when he needed new tires is go online and look at all the models that work for his car. (use the car owner's manual for tire specs) and once you have a list of brands and what the prices are, go to Midas, Discount Tire and Goodyear to see what the best deal they can do.

      Being prepared is the best defense when getting the best price.

      Also, look at what warranty is offered for the tires.

      Good luck!

  4. mrl says

    Does anyone have a good setup for their first aid drawer/box? If so, I'd love to know. I find we have stuff all over (linen closet, medicine cabinet, laundry room), but not one designated spot for the stuff (which really doesn't help when you've got an "emergency"). I'm thinking the way to go is a small see through rubbermaid/ tupperware type box with lid. That way the supplies would be portable to where the problem occurred. Anyway, if you have a good system or to a website that lists a good system, please let me know.

    • says

      The small rubbermaid type box is exactly what I have. I keep it in the upper hallway closet, but it is mobile when I need it to be. All of our open medicines plus first aide supplies are in the bin so we know exactly where to look if we need something. I keep my stock pile of first aide and medicines all together in a bigger bin in the laundry/stock pile room so that we can easily find more when our little bin runs low on supplies.

    • says

      Hi~ I run an in-home childcare and I have all my supplies in a plastic shoebox type. It holds all the required items needed by the state and it fits nicely in my bathroom cabinet. It works great too for field trips, just grab the box and go. Also I typed up a list with important telephone numbers and taped it to the lid, that way, if needed when I pull the lid off, all the numbers are right there

    • V says

      mrl….I keep a first aid kits in old baby wipe containers…nothing to buy and a way to use the plastic containers… I keep one in two areas of my house.

      Anybody else have good ideas of what use the baby wipe containers for? Well besides this type of storage I have a bunch here I keep saving them thinking as soon as I recycle them I will find a use for them.

      • sally says

        I use a baby wipes container for my empty ink cartridges. They can be messy so I don't want to "buy" anything. When I have 10 empties I take them to Staples. They pay $2 each. I also use one for makeup at home.

        • V says

          Sally….I did not know that about Staples….do you have to have 10 before you can get paid? Or can you just take one in and still get $2? Thanks for the tip!!!

        • V says

          I forgot when we were talking about baby wipe containers…when I buy the wipes that come in the noisy flexible plastic disposable containers but still have a hard plastic flip top; I use those for my 3 year old to play with. She loves to put little blocks etc…in and out of there…open, close, open close, putting smaller objects in and out of it for a really long time…it works wonders too on longer road trips too! Some of them I have to cut away the plastic film so she can put bigger objects in there.

  5. Bree says

    I'm seriously considering canceling my cable subscription because of the cost, and since we can now watch SO much on the internet. Has anyone else done this – any advice? I am interested in the options for purchasing something (like Apple TV?) to get whatever I'm watching on my computer to stream to my TV. I, of course, plan to have Netflix and possibly Hulu Plus. Anyone out there with success stories/regrets? THANKS!! :D

    • Shannon S says

      We cancelled ours and have not regretted it. We just use converter boxes for our TV's (which if your TV's are older you will need). we download via the Wii for Hulu Plus and Netflix and find that works for most of what we want. there are still a few things we either have to wait for DVD on (though NetFlix) or watch on a computer, but overall have not regretted our decision at all.

      We have not tried Apple TV, but if I had to I would get a Roku Box as that looks to be the most flexible, to me.

      If you need to have a converter box the only suggestion I have is to NOT buy an Aptex converter. Ours died after just five months of use, and they have tons of problems. However, once we got a better converter box it's been smooth sailing.

      • says

        I would love to cancel my dish network as well. How do you get cable shows on the computer? Is there a monthly fee or how does it work? How do I stream the shows/programs to my TV? I'd love to be able to do this! I already have netflix instant streaming, but would love to get currently running programs instantly streamed without having to pay for dish. Thanks!

    • amyg says

      We cut our cable down to just basic service @ $9/month. We get local channels only, but it's surprising how much is considered "local" now. I kept the minimum so we could still have reception without the converter box (OCD, hate clutter). We use huluplus and really like it. There are some shows that I watch that are not part of hulu (The Big C, Weeds, ect). I just order them from the site.

  6. Sp says

    My daughter is graduating from college in May. I am at a loss for what to get her? I don't want to do anything electronic. One thought was an engraved watch, but kids don't really wear watches because of their cell phones. I am willing to spend around $100. Any great ideas?

    • Kris E says

      I can't speak of any deals off hand, but I'd want to give something she'll use regularly throught a lifetime.

      A beautiful engraved catch-all for her countertop. A nice artisic handmade wooden jewelry box. Something durable yet elegent (not glass) She'll remember you daily with these special gifts.

  7. JoAnna says

    If you plan on buying any shoes or purses at Target this week and are signed up for their email check your inbox/spam. I just received an email from Target that they will be on sale bogo 1/2 off next wk but I received a code so I can get the sale online today.

  8. jennifer hess says

    I am wondering if anyone knows a place to get good quality Dentures at a reasonable price. My dad is on a very limited income with no dental coverage and needs new Dentures.

    • sally says

      I got mine at the Smile Center. they have a number of places throughout the tc and they open 7 days a week. they are very reasonable.Go to and search for the nearest location for you.

      • nikki says

        The Smile Center may be cheaper, but I've heard a few stories where their dentistry isn't always the greatest. Especially for dentures, you want to find something that will be comfortable and fit. I'd just call around to local dentists, I'm sure you'll be able to find someone that's a little less expensive.

  9. Mary Kay says

    Does anyone know if there is a coupon for the new Muppet Movie DVD and or Blu-Ray?

    Would love to get it for an Easter Basket.


    Mary Kay :-)

  10. Kris E says

    Starting next Thursday, Home Depot will have their Cyprus Mulch on BOGO, making each bag around 1.40. Menards will probably price match as well

    KMart is running some awesome deals right now, double up to 5 coupons per day with rewards card and 25.00 purchase…

    Buy 4 ziploc bags, $1 MM

    Degree Deodorant .50 cent

    Scrubbing Bubbles (2 twin packs) are only .25 each

    Free bag of chex mix with $25.00 purchase

    Clorox 2 , 22 packs $1.74 EA

    All detergent .99

    These require coupons and shopyourway rewards card, you need a 25.00 purchase to double 5 coupons… There are sites listing out there what coupons and such. I've been stocking up on ziploc bags all week long!

  11. Louise says

    Does anyone know of how I could get a lot of expired coupons to the military without spending postage? I have a bagful and do not want to spend the postage to do it. Thanks. I love open mic.

  12. Kid says

    Thank-you for the update on the mulch. This is what I use and will be going there next Friday. Perfect timing. So pumped you posted this. Thank-you again :)

    • Kris E says

      Every year I call around because we need about 40 bags each year, there's always at least one week they do a BOGO deal.

      I was pretty pumped too and had to catch at least one person (you I guess LOL) before they went out and paid full price this weekend :) I checked and there are some awesome lawn and garden deals going on this weekend as well.

      If you sign up as Carrie mentioned awhile back for their garden club, you should also get a coupon for I think it is $5/50 purchase.

  13. Christine says

    My parents gave me diamond earings for my grad gift. They were small enough, and look professional when I go into interviews.

  14. steve says

    This is a great deal for a rewards credit card. I think this is the best deal currently. You have to join this credit union for $5.00. You can join it by an organizational volunteer with the red cross. If you give blood you qualify. I did contact the credit union.

    I am just giving information to those who use credit cards responsibly. Please do not respond and say that credit cards are evil. I pay off our bill every month. I am not trying to get into a discussion on the evils of credit cards.


    Earn 5 points per dollar spent on gas purchases*

    Earn 3 points per dollar spent on supermarket purchases*

    Earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases*

    No annual fee

    No foreign transaction fee

    Earn 5,000 points upon first purchase with the card

    Earn an additional 20,000 points when you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months of opening the Card – that's equal to $200 toward the reward of your choice

  15. steve says

    The last thing you want are cheap windows. I have friends that have purchased windows from some of the cheaper guys. They are sometimes not a quality window. your heating bills will be higher. They have been frustrated with their windows. (I don't work for a window company.)

    My opinion is to stay with Marvin or Anderson or one of the big guys. I believe you get what you pay for in windows.

  16. sally says

    It comes in the form a rewards credit & you have to have a minimum of $10 in rewards per month to get the the credit. It's a bit of a drive for me that's why I wait until I have 10 to redeem. Also you can only do a max of 10 per month. Occasionally they have a $10/$50 for ink, so I use my rewards and coupon and only pay $20 for $50 worth of ink. I'm really close to a OfficeMax now so I will be checking them out the ink deals.You can get paper for free after rewards so it's very easy to get the $10.

  17. sally says

    Nikki, I went to very high priced Dentest a few years ago to get my teeth pulled and my dentures. They were awful. I went in many times for adjustments and they never fit properly. It got so bad and painful that I stopped wearing them at home. When I ate with them I was in so much pain. This last summer I went to the smile Center to get new ones. I had 6 appointments to get the fit right before they even made the dentures. They are a perfect fit and I can eat anything I want & no pain. Also I liked the fact that when you make an appt. say at 3:30. You are in the chair no later than 3:35. If you are late for an appt. you have to reschedule they do not expect everyone that was on time to pay for your late apt.I would go back in heart beat.

  18. SarahBeth says

    Anyone know of any Free or cheap events going on this weekend in the Twin Cities and metro areas? We have visitors in town from out-of-state and I'm looking for free or cheap things to do with them.

    • Jae says

      I don't know of any special events taking place this weekend but here's a list of cheap or free places to visit

      Minneapolis Institute of Art

      Como Conservatory

      Tour of the state capitol

      Mall of America

      American Swedish Institute (not sure of the entrance fee)

      • Mikey says

        It's 1 pass per library card and the paper receipt they give is the pass you use which admits 2 people. There is even one for Como Zoo as I guess it includes a couple of ride tokens when the amusement/ride area opens for the season.

    • says

      SarahBeth – If you can wait until tomorrow afternoon, we'll have a post up then with a list of totally free activities going on this weekend in the Twin Cities.

  19. Morgan says

    The best gift I received when I gradutated highschool was a blanket that had my school logo on it and pictures of the buildings that were part of the campus. I went to a private school so the picutres of buildings were where all my memories were. But you could do something similiar with making a blanket with old sport uniform tees or childhood tees etc. I graduated almost 15 years ago now and the blanket is still used today. Love it.

  20. Sarah says

    My mom always used a plastic tackle box. You know the kind that expands when you open it. Helps keep things organized. I use a plastic shoebox (like rubbermaid) so I can see through it.

  21. April says

    My parents bought me a really nice luggage set for graduation. It is something I am able to get use of out for many years. Other family members bought me jewelry that I liked but over time styles change but I always go back to my luggage.

  22. Heather says

    I would try costco or sam's club they are usually the cheapest by far. I would call them first though as they dont carry as many brands/models as other tire places. I have used sams club in the past and been very happy.

    That said my new car needs tires I couldn't find there and I go to Discount Tire. They are super nice and you can call ahead to make sure they have all four in stock. If not they usually can get them the same day from surrounding stores.

  23. Jae says

    I'm trying to incorporate healthier grains into my diet. What would be an frugal replacement for white rice? The common suggestions I've come across are quinoa, barley, millet, brown rice but I have no clue about their costs.


    • EC says

      Whole wheat cous cous starts at $2 a box at Trader Joe's. It's really really easy to prepare and is very versatile.

    • Chanda says

      I buy brown rice at Target, and I'm fairly certain it is the exact same price (or VERY close) to the price for their generic white rice. Barley is also very inexpensive. Quinoa is definitely costly, but delicious and worth it every once in a while.

    • wtfci says

      Pay attention to the coupon and grocery posts each week. We have picked up Riceland's brown rice that was free after weekly price reduction and manufacturers coupons.

      Aldi also sells a precooked brown rice for $1.49.

  24. mrl says

    I need to purchase 3 Wii remotes (for the Nintendo Wii gaming system). Game Stop has new ones for $40 and previously owned ones for $30. I was shocked they are so expensive. Has anyone recently purchased these items and found a better deal? If so, let me know. Thanks.

    • sally says

      I am not famlier with brand but 6GB is pretty good. I think if the brand is good it's a great deal. I'm saving for a Computer myself right now & I would buy it if I had enough money.I don't want a laptop.

      • Michelle says

        Lenovo is IBM so I am familiar with the brand as my Dad worked their for almost 40 years. I am leaning towards getting it because our other one is on it's last leg.

  25. Debora says

    I would have to second Window Concepts. We have had all of our windows, a deck door, and our front door replaced by them. When we had gotten quotes from other places, the other salespeople were really nasty in what they said about every other company. With Window Concepts, their quotes were alittle less and the salespeople and installers were very courtious. In fact, after the installers left, they had picked up after themselves so well that you could hardly tell that they were there. Can you tell that I'm a happy camper with them?

  26. EC says

    Does anyone use a financial planner or adviser and find that it helps? I'm very good at couponing and spend very little money on basics like toiletries, cleaning supplies and toiletries, but I think it gives my hubby a false sense of our finances. I had to use money from savings last month to pay our auto/renters insurance and neither of us are contributing to retirement accounts right now. I need someone trustworthy who an guide us on our overall financial situation. Any suggestions?

      • Vickie says

        We use a financial advisor with Ameriprise out of Elk River. When I first met him, I told him if we didn't get good service, we were going to leave…that was 14 years ago and we are extremely satisfied. Let me know if you are in the northwest part of the Twin Cities as I would definitely recommend him to you.

    • Chris says

      Dear EC,

      Keep in mind that any and all Financial Planners are in a business to make a living!! There are basically two (2) types of Financial Planners. Those that SELL you products to make their living and those the CHARGE you for their advice. Neither is BETTER than the other, just keep your eyes open for what you want to get out of it and how you want to spend your money. The Ameriprise Advisor mentioned in the previous post. In general, anyone associated with a company, Ameriprise, Thrivent, and INS co, is making their money by selling you something.

      (If they don't charge you up front they make their money off of other administrative fees.)

      I have only used a Fee for service adviser myself. Meaning I pay them for the advice they give me. I am all for doing things as inexpensively as possible but I also believe you get what you pay for and GOOD Financial Advisers are not cheap. You can expect to pay $175-$300 per hour. Yes, I am sure you can find cheaper ones, but keep in mind, they are earning their living.

      There are two that I have used and would confidently recommend to anyone:

      JNBA Financial and Ruth Hayden. (worth every penny)

      I hope this helps!

  27. Nate says

    We cancelled our cable and it's been great. We watch nearly everything through Hulu (not plus) so it's completely free. I hooked up an old computer to our TV and it works perfectly. When I checked Hulu Plus did not offer a lot of the shows we watch, though that may have changed. A set-top box like Apple TV or Roku will only stream Hulu Plus. An old computer can stream regular Hulu, so that's my suggestion if you have an old one laying around.

  28. Bree says

    Thanks for all the responses!!!! One thing I forgot to mention is how much I will miss watching twins games on tv. :( MLB TV subscription for the year is 109.99. Is it worth it to pay this if I'm going to ditch the cable?

    • wtfci says

      Yes. It's worth it. The average price per episode of a network television show for download is about $1 per episode. At 162 games a year that would be $162 for a whole season.

      The best part is it hooks up to Xbox 360.

  29. Megan says

    I am trying to plan a vacation to Disney World for feb of 2013 for 6 or 7 people. 2 being kids.(a 6 and 10yr old) I have researched high and low and every website possible. Wndering if anyone has ti[ps onthe best places to stay with that many people? Disney or not? Condo or not? Thanks!

    • Vickie says

      Look at renting a house in Florida. We have been their twice (both times with kids) and rented houses both times (8 to 10 people each time). Both houses came with a pool and hot tub. When we factored in the cleaning deposit and rental cost, excluding food, we were less than or equal to a Disney hotel. Both houses were within very reasonable driving distance from Disney and were close to grocery stores where you could buy your own food (and use Q's of course!). The kids LOVED the pool because it was never crowded and they could enjoy to their hearts content. The adults liked it because, especially for food, we could buy what we wanted, at a price we were comfortable with and not be limited by a menu! Especially helpful if you have folks that have special dietary needs. Have a great time!

      • Beth says

        I also agree about renting a home. We have gone thru several times. We like to find something in the 34747 zip code area as that area has relatively easy access to the parks. If you are planning on going to the water parks during your trip, you may want to check in advance to see if any will be closed. If one is closed, the other will be extra busy. It is sometimes a good idea to alternate days at Disney and days hanging around your pool.

        At that time of year, you'll probably want to pay the extra to have the pool heated. Staying in a house usually gives you access to a washer and dryer, so you get to come home with fewer dirty clothes. We often pack things like laundry detergent, dish soap, dishwasher detergent, cereal, muffin mixes, etc. Groceries are expensive there, and the space that this takes up going down is replaced with souvenirs :>)

      • Megan says

        Thanks Vickie! Yea, price wise I have found the same thing. Could you share where you rented from? There are so many to choose from and they all look pretty good.

        • Mary says

          My husband and I lived there for several years and we love the sandwiches at Mad Capper. It's where we always go if visiting there. We also love Dock Cafe and the atmosphere at Freight House and Leo's Grill. Our favorite stores are Alfresco and Chef's Gallery. There is also a cool card and gift shop across from Leo's that I can't remember the name of.

        • Vickie says

          Like Beth, we used I'm not sure what the zip code was of the area we stayed in but it was called Orange Grove. The kids loved this area because there were real orange trees with oranges on them. The adults liked it because there was a grocery store between the house and Disney that was easily accessible. I also agree with Beth that a heated pool is well worth it! And, both of the homes we stayed in had washer/dryer. This was really great because we didn't have to pack as many clothes. Have a great time!

  30. Chris says

    Hey Carrie!

    First I wanted to compliment you on your new photo on the website! You look Fabulous!!

    Last year, StarTrib ran a deal with PYD for one year subscription for the Sunday Paper. It included a coupon books and other goodies. I've just gone past my year. Any Deals cookin' with the StarTrib??

    Thanks in advance

  31. Traci says

    My husband and I are going to Stillwater this Sunday – Monday. Does anyone have any favorite restaurants or shops they like to go to there? Thanks!

  32. Rachel says

    I just did this great deal at KMart! (Found on several other coupon sites):

    Kmart Catalina: Buy $10 worth of Cottonelle, Viva, Kleenex, Scott, Glade, Ziploc, Scrubbing Bubbles, Windex, or Libmam, get back a $5 Catalina coupon to use on a future purchase (valid through 4/7).

    * Ziploc Catalina: Buy 4 Ziploc brand bags, get a $2 Catalina coupon back to use on a future purchase (valid through 4/14).

    Buy 4 Ziploc bags on sale for $2.50


    Use 4 $0.70/1 Ziploc Bags coupons found on (click on the coupon that shows $0.60/1, then watch the video to get a $0.70/1 coupon instead – you’ll need access to more than one computer to print multiple coupons)

    Pay $7.20

    Get back a $5 Catalina coupon AND a $2 Catalina coupon

    Final cost only $0.20 total – just $0.05 per package!

    There's a $1/2 Ziploc bags from SS, or 60c/1 manufacturer cpn on Even with those, it's still a great deal!

      • Kris E says

        Yes. Go to and sign up… make sure you opt in with an email address because you'll get bonus rewards. You can print the card but you can also use your phone number at check-out (give that before ringing up items)

        I hadn't been to Kmart for a year so it was good this came up, I had 5.00 in my account ready to expire LOL

        I didn't go yesterday so I'm crossing my fingers that not enough of the shelf clearers have heard about this yet so I can get some more.

        Even without doubling it's a great deal

        Buy 4 at 10.00, use 2-$1/2 coupons=8.00-7 in catalina's. Comes to .25 per box of ziploc bags. You can roll one catalina/coupon per order on this so I'm a little worried about the shelf clearers…. I didn't go yesterday as planned.

        I saw a sign on Tide and Hanes, buy tide and hanes, get a $5 reward. I'm going to try to buy a tide stain pen and some hanes, see if that cat prints.

        Also, there are plenty of sites talking about these deals, one I found helpful was

        I gave you page 2 so you could see a full list of all the deals, updated stuff is on page 1 but not the full list.

  33. sheepy says

    I haven't had cable or a dish for 8 years. Sometimes I wish I had cable because I love watching the Food Network and TCM, but I watch a lot of Food Network stuff on Swagbucks and earn points at the same time.

  34. Heidi says

    Does anyone know of a good framing place? I have a needlepoint item I want framed and would need a custom mat. I don't want to spend a lot of money on it, so was wondering if I could get a custom mat made and try and frame myself.

    • Rachel says

      Try Blick Art & Materials. They may be able to cut a mat for you and you can buy the frame there. It's worth a phone call to ask.

    • Michelle from Maple says

      Art and Frame World in Maple Grove has a Groupon Now coupon for $25 off of $50 , but you need to use it tomorrow. I have used them before and have been extremely satisfied with the results. They are very helpful with selections.

    • amyg says

      The Michael's in Eden Prairie has a really good framer. I can't remember his name, but he is an artist that does framing for them. He is there alot. They have coupons in their flyers all the time for 50 or 60% off framing. I have been VERY pleased with his recommendations and work. He even says with a coupon he can't believe how inexpensive the quality of framing is.

  35. Cris says

    For my college graduation, my mom framed my diploma in a really nice frame. I was glad that she did that because otherwise I'm sure it would have gotten lost or destroyed somehow!

  36. wtfci says

    Pricematch. Anyone that sells tires will match their competitors prices. Tires Plus will also accept competitors coupons.

  37. Rachel says

    I'm not a member, and got both Catalinas. I should note that the $2 is a mfg coupon, and the $5 coupon says store coupon (so can only be used at Kmart).

  38. Rachel says

    I'm not a member, and received both Catalinas. I should note that the $2 one is a manufacturer, but the $5 one says store coupon.

  39. Shelly says

    Quinoa is a great one to keep around for times you didn't plan ahead – it cooks much faster than brown rice and certainly wild rice. I add it into things like chili, but I also like it cold in the grain/bean salads I made for lunch for myself. Sometimes I get it at Trader Joe's and sometimes bulk at Whole Foods. Costco probably has the best price, though (I've just not purchased it there yet) – and now I see they have wild rice for a really good price.

  40. Shelly says

    If you can do something to get a Disney code, they can be very helpful for discounts. We've stayed off property once and on property twice. Love, love, love staying there. Love all the benefits – the early entrance, late night times that are just for Disney resort guests. Love the transportation and not having to get in a car for a week. Love the Disney friendliness and service. We have used the Unofficial Disney guide extensively for our planning the last 2 times, and used Small World Vacations (online site) to book everything but our airfare last time (did the airfare ourselves online). Can't say enough about the (free) services of Small World. Our agent was incredibly helpful and made our reservations for the nicer restaurants we got to use since we used the Dining Plan for the first time. With some great tips from the Unofficial Guide you can really make that Dining Plan a sweet deal. We also brought food to keep in our hotel room and didn't ever purchase breakfasts – worth it to us to get right out to the parks before they officially open. Happy Planning!

  41. Michele says

    We bought the Nyco version from Amazon a few tears ago and they have worked out great. We purchased 2 remotes and two steering wheels for $25 and received free shipping. HTH!

  42. Melissa F says

    I got my husband a nice leather brief case/laptop bag for when he went on interviews. Not sure what her field is but that could be a thought.

  43. Dawn N says

    Office Max also gives rewards for used cartridges last time it was $3 per cartridge in the form of rewards.

  44. LanaeG says

    I cancelled the DISH about 5years old. Their family programming package was a you consider Home Shopping Network a premium channel. We purchased a High Definition Antenna which we placed in the attic above our garage thru for about $75.00. They also give instructions on their site as to what direction to aim your antenna to get the best signal for your local area. We did amazing hi def reception on all the basic channels for free. Love it and will never going back to those outrageous cable/satellite bills.

  45. Sarah says

    There was a Roku box deal and conversation about this on this site a few weeks ago – if you search Roku box I think you'll find it.

  46. Lindsey says

    I'm certain that this has been talked about on PYD already, but I can't find an open mic that has recently talked about it.

    I am looking for a good place to find grass fed beef, chicken (and eggs) and pork. It should be organic, and if it's not, there should be a good reason not to be.

    • Liz Lorenz says

      I buy grassfed beef from Lighthouse Farm in Princeton, MN. They have pork too, and sometimes chickens.
      3 or 4 years ago I ordered from Harmony Valley Farm, they have scheduled deliveries to sites in the cities, they no longer have chickens, but they have beef and pork
      I usually buy organic (pastured) eggs from a church friend, but when I can't Costco is the best price at $5.99 for 2 dozen organic brown eggs.

      I too have had a hard time finding chicken, but my two sources are Costco, they have organic whole chickens (not sure on price), organic chicken thighs ($3.99/lb) and organic chicken breasts ($5.99/lb), or Wedge Co-op in Mpls, has Larry Schultz Chicken which is organic, I have only bought the whole chickens, they are otherwise too expensive there.

  47. says

    Jae – We eat lots of brown rice. I often make a wild/brown rice mix. In either case I normally double what we need for the meal at hand, then freeze the remainder for a quick side dish on a busy night. I defrost the ziploc with rice in the microwave, then put it in a glass bowl with a lid and a smidgend of water and heat on high for 2 minutes at a time. I stir every 2 minutes and take it out when it is steaming. My family actually prefers the texture of the reheated rice :)

    Yes, Quinoa is faster, but my family doesn't care for it very much by itself. When I mix it – brown rice, wild rice, barley and quinoa, then they don't notice the difference. It's significantly more expensive than other grains so I don't go out of my way to have it on hand.

    Oh, and this isn't a grain, but a legume – lentils. We eat tons of beans – of all types – but lentils are my personal favorite. They cook really quickly and if you use chicken or beef broth instead of water they are delicious!!

  48. says

    My mom gave me a family heirloom ring that was her grandmother's for my college graduation. To me, at the time, it felt like a rite of passage into adulthood or something that I could now be trusted with this family ring. If you have anything like that it may be more precious than any other gift, especially if you write a thoughtful note.

  49. says

    I'm not a very good resource for you on this one. One of my personal goals this year is to become much more knowledgeable about things like this. You'll be able to teach me a thing or two, I bet :)

    • Nikki says

      My broker told me that if I ever wanted to play with stocks on my own to get one of those online accounts and only risk so much. In other words only deposit what I was willing to lose :) I watch CNBC every morning any there are commercials on that channel for those types of accounts for online trading. Once you find the companies that you would like more info on, try and search for some reviews of the software.

      A good place to learn the verbiage is on This site has a great few sections of financial videos. I am starting this myself so I can understand what that Cramer says:))

      You might find Khan Academy useful for your kids to. Over 3000 teaching videos on all subjects.

      • Nikki says

        I forgot to add that i have heard those commercials advertise under $10 per trade and also free trades for up to 6 months. I just have never looked into those online trading accounts so I can not recommend one.

  50. Shelly says

    Depending on her line of potential work she may need a new wardrobe, and a Macy's gift card (or whatever store) may be enormously beneficial. It doesn't seem like a keepsake type gift, but a lot of people struggle purchasing business attire for new jobs when they're just out of college!

  51. Lena says

    Does any one have any experience with a free fax website? I don't have a landline so I can't fax from home. I do see a good number of places online where you can send an email and they will fax – but I'd like to know of specific websites that people have had experience with.

    • Mikey says

      Not sure of any fax websites, but I've gone to Cub customer service before and they would fax stuff for me for a dollar. Can't beat that price for an occasional fax.

  52. Lynn says

    Dock Cafe- it's right on the water (get a window seat), reasonable prices.

    Luna Rossa- Italian, great service

    Smalley's BBQ – lively at nite, excellent food

  53. tag says

    Which Smile Center did you go to? And, most importantly, who did you see?

    Based on my experience with SC, I would not be able to recommend the office in Big Lake.

  54. Nikki says

    My hubby just picked up grass seed at Menards. It was Nature's Finest. Normally $22. and on sale for $16 for a 10 pound bag and it has a $6 rebate. Sale is through 3/25.

    There was a "Northern Blend" and a "Think & Hearty"

  55. sally says

    I went to the one in Brooklyn Center and the gal I saw was Asian and was wonderful. I'm sorry I can't find her card but I think she was the only Asian there.

  56. Bree says

    Does anyone have any tips on financial aid for college? I'm looking specifically into private student loans, and I'm hoping to find some with low-er- interest rates with no origination fees. (Yes, we will be taking out the max in federal student loans, in addition to needing a bit more from a private loan source) Are there any that exist? It would be a tremendous help to our situation. Thank you all!

    • Andrea says

      Check your local Credit Union. Affinity Plus offers student loans (through a 3rd party) at very good rates, but you and the student have to be members. The application process is tedious, but it was totally worth it for us. Not only do we have a good rate, but payments are suspended until 6 months of no enrollment. And….this is the best part…you do not need to go through the full application/approval process each year. They do some sort of check, but not the full blown tedious ordeal – then your loan amount increases (kind of like a line of credit) rather than having numerous loans outstanding that you need to consolidate later. Also, assuming you are a cosigner, if the first 48 payments are made on time (by the student) then the cosigner is released from responsibility. AMEN!

      Several other loan products on the market require you to make monthly interest only payments and have high rates. Be wary of those.

  57. says

    Just a little bit of trivia – did you know that quinoa is not a true grain and is more closely related to beets and spinach? We do eat it like a grain, though so it is often mistaken for one. I have no idea, however, what nutrients it has in comparison to grains. I was surprised to learn this.

    • Shelly says

      Unlike the rices, Quinoa is a perfect protein food. I don't like it just plain, but enjoy mixing it with other things like wheat berries, black beans, etc in cold salads. And I could certainly be slipping it into more hot things, but often don't think of it.

  58. Shannon S says

    Many of my shows show up in Hulu (for com puter viewing only). There are many that show up on the networks website like TNT or WE or Oxygen, I do miss HGTV and Food Network, but not enough to pay $$$ per month just to have those options. I sometimes have to wait for thing to come out and be in netfilx for dvd, but it all balances out.

  59. Amy L. says


    Can you cash in your points for cash?? My mom has a very good points card but she can not get cash but she can get gift cards (to very specific stores) and they plan on getting a brand new lawnmower by this summer. I have Chase Freedom (they have different bonuses for signing up mine was $300 for the first $500 I put on the card. 1% cash back all the time and 5% cash back on categories quarterly. I like it and am with you on the whole credit cards are not evil topic.. You just need to be financially responsible!! Just wanted to share my card "perks" as I truly do like it and have gotten about $600 cash back on purchases I would have otherwise made and not have gotten any money back!!


  60. V says

    Thanks everyone for all the advice…this was all helpful and I am going to start working towards doing this….I really like the idea of putting only so much in an account and work with that only or maybe even set a yearly goal of only being able to "spend" so much and once that is gone I would have to wait to do more.

  61. Katrina says

    Does anyone know how to get discount tickets for Twins games? We want to go to a specific game in April and the cheapest tickets aren't too expensive ($18) but the fees they charge are outrageous! $7 per ticket plus a $3.50 order fee! And unfortunately we are an hour away so it's not practical to go to the box office. The tickets are much cheaper on StubHub but I have read that people sometimes get bogus tickets there so I am wary of buying from them. Any suggestions?? Thanks for all the help, this website is the best!!!

  62. Megan says

    Thanks everyone for your tips! I am a Disney nut so I have researched a lot of things as I went two disney the last few years. The big difference this time is the number of people. I wanted to find something cheap, but also convenient. Thanks for narrowing my search down! I will be checking out! Thanks again.

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