Open Mic 5/10/12

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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. Bonnie says

    Did anyone else see the "news" on WCCO regarding makeup shopping? I thought it was liek comparing apples to oranges, especially for PYD'ers. Who buys that stuff w/out waiting to match a sale with a coupon???

    • Therese S. says


      I read the story at WCCO's website.

      It was a good price comparison segment as they didn't take in account coupon or store rewards…so the comparison was just on shelf price.

      I was amazed at the price difference between CVS and Walmart. Since both stores DO accept coupons, I will now change my shopping habbits from CVS to Walmart (unless CVS has an awesome Care Buck deal)

    • says

      I know the article is talking about makeup, but everything is more expensive at CVS and Walgreens and that is no secret. I don't usually buy makeup, but have when I could get it free. I have gotten freebies at Walgreens, CVS, and Target, but never at Walmart. In fact, I don't shop at Walmart as much as the more expensive places because Walmart doesn't have the best deals. Their everyday prices are lowest (besides Aldi), but they can't compete with Target because target has their own coupons to stack with manufacturer q's. CVS has the extra bucks and Walgreen's has RR's so they tend to beat out Walmart most of the time, too. Walmart is great if you are not into coupons, but the other stores are more fun because I tend to get better deals there than Walmart. Don't get me wrong, I do like Walmart for when I need (or want) something that is not on sale anywhere. I know I can get the best price at Walmart – unless they have the product at Aldi and then I go there.

  2. AJM says

    I have received these Victoria's Secret coupons that I will not use and would be happy to mail them to the first person who emails me their address.

    $10 off a bra (valid May 8 – June 11)

    Free VS beach towel with $74 purchase (valid May 10 – 13)

    My email address is ajmelheim at

  3. Sheila says

    My name and email are showing up below in Speak Your Mind without my entering them in. How do I turn this option off? I do not want them to automatically show up.



  4. JoAnna says

    I am thinking if you clear your cookies and clear your cache your name and email address will not be saved. I love that they show up because then I do not need to type them in each time I reply to a comment.

  5. Christine says

    The easiest thing to do is delete your cookies. I will warn you that your saved passwords for other websites can be deleted as well in this process. Go into your Internet Properties, and under Browsing history click on delete. Depending on your version of IE it may say delete cookies. Mozilla and Crome have a similar option under properties.

  6. Julie says

    Any fun or interesting park or picnic ideas in the twin cities for a date night. ?ice ideas but not too romantic.

    • Ronda says

      The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum is a beautiful place to picnic, walk,etc. You can easily spend a few hours there and it is often free on Thursday evenings. Noerenberg Garden is also quite lovely located on Lake Minnetonka. It is operated by the Three Rivers Park district and its free.(From there you could go to the Minnetonka Drive-in in Spring Lake Park. I believe Thursday nights is Classic Car and Hot rods. They're all parked in the parking lot and its free)

  7. Amanda says

    Anyone have expired Frigo Cheese coupons from the 1/29/12 Smart Source? They are for $0.55/1. I need at least 6. I am more than willing to trade coupons that you are in need of.


  8. Sally says

    I just recieved an interesting email from Walmart. You can now order online & pay at the Store when you pick up your order. I wonder if you can use coupons when you pick up.Carrie or Laura , do you have a contact person at Walmart you could contact to see if this is an option? TIA

    • AsUntoTheLord says

      How funny…I was wondering the same thing. I'm guessing not since you won't actually be picking the item up that day (so if won't be available to scan before the coupon)…the order will still come later, which means 2 trips to the store if you choose Site-To-Store. I think this is mostly to accomodate cash paying customers. If anyone hears otherwise, I'd love to know! That would be awesome since the online price is often cheaper…or maybe they would charge the in-store/register price if you need to use coupons???

  9. Sally says

    I have another question. I have a set of fine China that I want to sell. My Mother bought this set from a Lady from Iran in 1957. It is beautiful. Over 100 pieces w/all serving pieces. Any idea of where to sell it? I'm thinking of taking a few pieces to Stillwater to an Antique shop to see what they will give me. I love this set and would keep it if I had a place to display it & use it.

    • V says

      Sally…I am sure you will…but I would for sure get a quite a few price offers on it before I sell it…who knows how much you could get for it. Good Luck! What fun!

      • Mags says

        Not sure where you are, Sally, but you might want to try H&B Gallery in Minneapolis. They sell on consignment and have a good reputation. I agree with V – get a couple of quotes. Sometimes I check (if you know the pattern and they sell it) to see what they are selling for. They pay a pittance, so I wouldn't sell to them, but it's a good point of reference sometimes.

    • scat says

      I had an old set of fine china that was my mother's and did a little research a few years ago. I would start on the internet and see if you can find something similar. I also went to a town known for its antique shopping and found there was little market for what I had. Mine was Limoges from around 1920. I was happy to find that one of my nieces loved it and was happy to recieve it.

  10. jo says

    Sweeps month on TV – Channel 5 or 9 did thsi same comparison shop last year as well. Common sense tells you that Target and Walmart will be cheaper day in and day out but will get best freebies from CVS and Wags when you follow sales combined with Q's.

  11. Angel says

    Carrie, thanks for sharing on KTIS this morning! I too am the spending police but didn't realize how detrimental it was because there's never alot of extra. The things I say yes or no to are usually like eating out or not. We will start looking at last month's numbers every month and it will help both of us. We also got away from paying cash for food instead of using debit cards and I think that would help in this area too. If it's not in the envelope, it doesn't get spent. It's not up to me!

  12. B says

    Hello! I need to replace gutters and would like to have a few different companies come out for estimates. I have one scheduled with Home Depot Home Services, but would like recommendations of others locally in the twin cities. Any recommendations? Thanx!

  13. Mary says

    One thing in Walgreen's favor is that I have always been told that if a makeup color doesn't work for you or you don't like the way a makeup product works, you can return it there. Of course, you should still buy it on sale/with a coupon.

  14. Lori says

    I signed up for the MN Landscape Arboretum day tomorrow but did not get a voucher or anything to print. Is my name going ot be on a list when I get there or was something suppose to print?


  15. Korene says

    Summer is coming up and we go through a lot of sunscreen. What is a good price for the lotion and sticks and when is the best time to buy it?

    • mom of 6 says

      do your research on sun screen a lot of them are worse than the actual sun. An old white t-shirt or a swim top work the best for my kids

          • wtfci says

            The Environmental Working Group is an activist organization with an explicit agenda. Where are the actual studies that verify anything EWG claims?

            Look at the shoddiness of their reporting.

            "Over the last two decades, vitamin D levels in the U.S. population have been decreasing steadily, creating a “growing epidemic of vitamin D insufficiency” (Ginde 2009a). Seven of every 10 U.S. children now have low levels. Those most likely to be deficient include children who are obese or who spend more than four hours daily in front of the TV, computer or video games (Kumar 2009)."

            Since children spend more time inside this is somehow the fault of sunscreen? These claims are strawmen theories.

  16. Molly says

    My family needs to do a over hall of our finances. I know people say use the but I was wondering if anyone had recommendations for a financial planner

    • Jen from AV says

      My husband and I just completed the Financial Peace University Course through Dave Ramsey. WE LOVED IT! Our church hosted it, but if you go to his website you can search to see where the next course is. Ours was somewhere around $90. He also, has a site where you can search for local financial planners that he approves and I guess they all have to go through a course of his for his reccomendation???.

  17. Jen from AV says

    Hi all,

    So I am trying to find my coupon motivation again. My husband and I are on a MAJOR debt reduction plan and on the last haul. We should be debt free by November! YAY. Living frugally has been so helpful. My question is, how do you stay motivated and not so overwhelmed! The only times I felt I could get a good deal on items was when I was able to figure out Double Double days for Rainbow. I haven't seen many of these lately, so it is hard for me to stay motivated. I hardly understand the workings of the CVS program and walgreens program, so I mostly stuck to rainbow! HELP!

    • Anna says

      For CVS and Walgreens try planning out what your going to buy with what coupon. Are you going to do 2 transactions if so plan that out too.

    • scat says

      Jen — sometimes it helps to take a time-out. I'm doing that right now. Saving up on all my coupons and "needs" til double double day a week from Saturday.

      Too much of anything, even when it's good, can burn you out!

      • AsUntoTheLord says

        Is it confirmed somewhere that the 19th is a DDDaze? I called some stores in my area and none of them had heard that. One of the ladies is a CS I've befriended who would have told me if she knew about it. I shop PNS though.

  18. mary says

    We have looked into using but it doesn't work with our credit union. Does anyone have any advice on another program like this for tracking our finances?

    • Sarah says

      If you are looking for a budgeting software-I can't recommend YNAB enough. It's made a vast difference in getting me budgeting and staying on track. If you are looking for just a tracking software, I had downloaded the sunset version of microsoft money for free. Not sure if its still available, because they are discontinuing it (hence the free) and that also worked really well.

  19. Laverne says

    Wondered if you were aware that Kmart is now doubling coupons up to $1.00 every day max 5 coupons

    • mandak says

      With an additional $25 purchase, per the ad that just came on my TV. I assume that's before coupons….it would take good planning to make it worth the trip.

      • mrl says

        And they have weekly coupons (available in store or online) where you get a free product if you buy $25. So after purchasing $25 (the cost of the items before you apply any MCs) worth of product you get a free product (this week might be chips ahoy cookies) and then you can double up to 5 coupons (up to and including $1 ones at my store) and use additional coupons (that won't double) on the other items you are purchasing.

        I had some very good purchases last week getting free Mott's apple juice (value $3.29 – free w/ weekly coupon) and then using 5 $1 coupons that doubled on my groceries (which were all on sale – the only way to go with Kmart, in my opinion, since most of their items are pretty pricy if they are not on sale).

        If you are a rewards card member I definitely encourage you to check it out. With the right coupons and sale items and the free weekly item it can make for some great deals.

    • Carol says

      K Mart does not allow any returns right now…..that is, the stores that are closing. I purchased a mattress pad and found a flaw when I got home. I'm stuck. So much for 20% off. Be careful of store closing "bargains".

  20. Christine says

    Does anyone have a suggestion on banks? It seems every couple months we have to redo our checking accounts because they have all these fees. My husband and I each have personal account, which holds a balance of under $100 each. We also have our main checking account. We are looking for free checking, with few fees. Also we need something that has an overdraft on it. We occasionally run a little too low in our accounts. Also, we needs a bank that does not have a three day turn around time for depositing a check. We live in Woodbury and work in Eagan and Bloomington, so something convenient is also required. We are not opposed to a credit union.

    • JoAnna says

      I love, love, love and highly recommend United Educators Credit Union. They have a few locations which includes Woodbury (that is their biggest location, too).You can become a member for free if you work at a school or if you don't then pay a one time fee of $25 that goes to their scholarship fund. Their checking accounts are no-fee and even earn interest (as do their savings accounts). They have over draft protection, too. If you want more info I will give you my email address :)

    • LR says

      Have you tried Associated Bank yet? The branch in Hudson on Coulee Road (next to Applebee's) has great customer service and is more than willing to go over their accounts in detail. I would ask for Bobbi or Jody (Jody might be on FMLA). There is also a branch in Woodbury for convenience. I know they have some accounts that if you meet some requirements the monthly fees are waived, like direct deposit, or use your debit card, etc. Most of the funds from check deposits are available the next business day, except for a short period of time after opening the account. To avoid this just keep your old accounts until that time period has passed. Also if you need checks, just go online to their website under learn more under Checking & Savings to print a coupon for free checks They also have a few options for overdraft protection.

      Wherever you decide to go, just tell the banker how you will be using the account and you want to avoid fees. Have them really explain the accounts and how they work. It may take an hour or more, but you will know exactly how the account will work and avoid fees. Not to mention think of the time saved by not having to switch all your accounts to another bank again.

    • wtfci says

      Credit union. The larger banks really don't have the competitive advantages they used to have for being the bank for average joes and janes. They now cater to industry and wealthy customers.

  21. says

    Sheila – If you're using a public computer, it would be best to delete your cookies, but if you're using your home computer, it's OK to save them so you don't have to enter them each time you comment.

    Rest assured that your email address will be kept private on our end and we will NEVER send you unsolicited email messages.

  22. says

    Korene – Now is the time to start looking for sunscreen deals. I personally wouldn't pay any more that $5 a bottle/tube as those are generic prices we're seeing right now (without a coupon). Lowest I've seen so far is $4.49 before coupons.

  23. says

    Jen – It's OK to take a break! I took a several-month break from using coupons at the end of last year and the beginning of this year and just shopped at Aldi for pretty much everything (with a quick trip to Cub or Target/Walmart for anything Aldi didn't have).

    As for CVS and Walgreens, I recommend trying them out as you can get some GREAT deals there. CVS is less complicated since there are reasonably clear limits and you can use Extra Bucks on other items that generate Extra Bucks. Try out a small shopping trip (1-3 items) so you can see what the receipt looks like and how the Extra Bucks work.

  24. says

    I just got next week's ad in the early edition and YES, the 19th is a Double Double Daze! :)

    Unfortunately, I'll be out of town for my cousins' graduation. :(

  25. Mickey says

    Does anyone know Targets policy on using coupons that don't say excludes trial/ travel sizes? I was at Target today with my daughter & a cashier yelled at me telling me this was not the intent of Target to have people use the Axe, Banana Boat, Coppertone, Degree,etc coupons on the smaller sizes. I told her the coupons don't say excludes & she once again camed down on me very sternly & told me that either I buy the full size products or don't use the coupon. Very rude & my daughter was upset by seeing this behavior by a Target worker.

  26. kris t. says

    I agree – ask to speak to a manager, and next time, avoid that person.

    I have one particular Target worker who never fails to be rude to me alone. (not only noticed by me, but by other people who remark about her rudeness to me alone). Not sure why she singles me out, but I go to lengths to avoid her, even checking out at pharmacy if there's no other option.

    Unless it specifically states NOT FOR USE ON TRIAL, they should have no issue.

  27. kris t. says

    Did anyone else run into this issue this past weekend:

    Early Sunday edition of Star Trib had NO coupons. I went to 2 different stores and zilch. I ended up going with a Pioneer Press which set me back $1 instead of the .50 Star Trib. :(

    • says

      It was interesting this weekend. I work at a very large nursing home/rehab facility where dozens of papers are delivered every day. When I work the weekend I make my rounds and grab as many inserts as I can from throughout the facility. I noticed this weekend that the Saturday papers varied even within this one facility. I found only a few papers (in the same stack – just random) with all three inserts. Several more had the SS and RP, but no P&G. There were also several that had only RP inserts. It was so random. In total I scored 7 P&G, 16 SS, and 22 RP. I've seen this before in the Saturday/Early Sunday edition, but not to this extent.

  28. Sally says

    I am looking for a matress and box spring. I haven't shopped for one in years. Anybody have any suggestions on where to go. I feel like it's an easy product to get "scammed' on.

    • JoAnna says

      We bought 2 mattresses at the Original Mattress Factory about 5 yrs ago and are very happy with the purchase. I am very turned off by pushy sales people but did not experience that type of sale. They were knowledgeable and patient.

    • says

      I've noticed a lot of plugs for the original mattress factory. I have never bought from there but my parents have and they are happy customers. They had them make a custom mattress for an antique bed passed down from my great grandparents. Just after they had that done (it's been a few years) I heard an advertisement for the original mattress factory on the radio and the customer story they were sharing in the advertisement was identical to my parents story. I'd like to think that it was my parents story they were sharing. I was excited about it regardless. They have my vote.

  29. kris t. says

    *********CUTTING THE CABLE CORD!~**********

    We have Comca$$t. Internet is $25. Basic tv is $15. I'm fed up with the price creeping up.

    Internet – I need it for my job. Nonnegotiable. :)

    TV – we only watch the local news.

    I'm considering Roku plus rabbit ears to get the local channels (like KSTP, Kare11, etc). WIth Roku, but you need an internet connection of at least 1.2 mbs. I KNOW that if I call Comcast and tell them to drop my TV, the internet will skyrocket to who knows what.

    While $15 a month for basic tv isn't bad, still..we rarely watch it and I'd rather pay a lump fee for Roku (they're only about $60-100).

    Is anyone else in this situation? Do you have internet through someone else besides Comcast? How much? Are you happy?

    I need to completely research everything before I cut Comcast, because the transition has to be seamless (I work daily from home and my job depends on having internet).

    All stories/tips/experiences are welcome, so please feel free to chime in.

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