Open Mic 5/24/12

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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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About Carrie Rocha

I am passionate about helping people live within their means so they can get out and stay out of debt. I live in Minneapolis, MN with my husband and two little girls.

Comments

  1. Good morning! My comment is in regards to affording basic dental care for those that don't carry dental insurance.

    I visited my dentist this week and they have an awesome savings plan which I just signed up for (which is not an insurance plan.) I was so excited that I thought I would pass the info along and hopefully help someone else out. I basically will save over 50% for the year! (And I'm not being compensated in any way.)

    For an Individual I pay $165 (plus tax) for one year of preventative care. It's a use it or lose it plan. I got 2 cleanings, 2 exams, and a set of bitewings for that price. If I were to get a cavity or need a crown/bridge, they offer reduced rates on those too.

    Here are the plans, which include the services I mentioned above:

    Individuals $14.99/month or $165/yr

    Individual + Spouse $29.99/month or $295/yr

    Family (4 people) $34.99/morth or $399/yr

    Additional child $9.99/month pr $95/yr

    Check them out! Prairie Dental Group (www.prairiedental.com) and they are located in Eden Prairie. I've been going to them since I was 5! Which is a long time, but I'm not telling you how old I am :)

    • The dentist I go to (Relaxation Dentistry in Chaska) also offers a program like that. A great service to their patients and I am guessing more and more offices do that to keep people coming in :)

    • I used to use prairie dental but left when my favorite DDS (Dr. Gordon) left their office to start his own practice downtown Mpls. Unfortunately he is too far away and doesn't take my insurance plan at his new location. You are correct Sarah – on average in Eden Prairie an exam, cleaning and bitewing x-rays will run about $200-$225.00 each time when paid out of pocket – and applying a cash discount most offices supply of 5% rather than deal with insurance filings still makes it similar to B1G1F.

    • Thanks Sarah for the info, I was actually going to post a question today about dental insurance for family. I will have to ask my current dentist if they offer such a deal. The insurance plans for dental are expensive and the ones I am looking at range from $159-$200+ through Delta Dental or Health Partners per month for family dental…WOW. It is nice to know there are other options.

      • We actually did Delta Dental on our own (after I left my job that had dental insur)…For us, it ended up being a complete waste of money. (I know every family is different). I'm glad that dentists are starting to offer these things. It seems like they are finally getting that prevention is key! Good luck on your search.

  2. Julie W says:

    I was wondering if anyone knew of an affordable place to get a car detailing done? Preferably on the northwest/northern areas. But I would go anywhere too. I have a Mazda 6 so not a huge car. The estimates I've gotten so far are 175$ and 225 and that seems high!

    Thanks

    • Julie – There is a car detailing deal today on Crowd Cut for use at VIP Auto Detailing in Brooklyn Park: http://www.pocketyourdollars.com/go/crowd_cut – It's $49 for a basic interior detail and $99 for interior and exterior.

      I also looked on Craigslist for independent auto detailers who will come to your house when I was selling my car last summer.

    • kierstien says:

      There is a place in lakeville that does GREAT work. I forget how much it was but I am pretty sure it was under your other two esitmates. Oh here I found it on their website. My inlaws got their van done there and it was done GREAT we heard about them from friends to.
      http://www.greenplanetcarwash.com/detail.php
      Good Luck!

      We will now go nowhere else to get detailing done.

  3. My father in law is building us a big play set. He has all the basic building supplies but asked me to get the accessories like slides, swings, etc. I've been looking on craigslist, but haven't found much. Anyone have any other suggestions?

  4. My DH and I are bring our camper up to St. Cloud and camping at a local campground. Wondering if anyone had any recommends for interesting shops that we should check out? Any favorite thrift stores, resale shops, etc etc?

    • Margo Mundis in Sauk Rapids and Threads in St. Cloud (close to campus) are great! They both have websites, so you can check them out to see if thats the type of shopping you are looking for!

  5. I shopped @ Rainbow yesterday and doubled 5 RR/Walgreens. I didn't know these would double!! I was pleasantly surprised.

    • I didn't know that Rainbow excepts these? Is this new? Which Rainbow? I was at cub in MG on tuesday and they said they don't take the ones that now say redeem only at Walgreens. It seems like it depends on the cashier. Does anyone know which Rainbow's take these and which cubs do?

  6. I'm wondering if anyone has ever had their car alarm go off when no one is near the car? I moved into an apt. recently and apparantly it went off at 2am and someone called the police. I live in the back so I didn't hear it. I have an older model Buick. Just wondered how you handled it and how much it cost?

    • Heather says:

      Mine used to go off when it shouldn't, and it was a setting the auto place changed it to be less sensitive and it stopped going off when planes went overhead.

  7. I tried making homemade yogurt and it didn't thicken. Any tips or suggestions?

    • My mom experimented with it a lot. Once she finally got it how she wanted, she wrote the recipe on my blog. She's now starting to experiment with adding fruit. :)

      http://cookingthedeals.blogspot.com/2012/01/10-ea

      Hope it helps! I love her homemade yogurt & so does our 9-month old.

    • kris t. says:

      Here's my steps:

      I pour a 1/2 gallon of milk (can use skim. I use whole) into my pyrex container with a spout.

      Microwave for 14 minutes until milk temperature reaches 180*.

      Take out and let cool (takes about an hour) to 105*

      As it's cooling, I preheat oven at lowest setting for about 30 minutes (mine is 170*), then turn oven off, but turn on oven light, then open the oven to let it cool a bit.

      Once warm milk is at 105* I stir in about 2T of greek yogurt, and mix it all in well.

      I then take the pyrex container with the warm milk and cover with a plate and put it in the oven (again, oven off, but it's warm and leave the light on). Shut the oven door and don't open it.

      It takes anywhere from 8-10 hours to thicken up.

      To make greek-style, I drain into colander lined with a coffee filter.

      Hope this helps you (and anyone lurking) :)

      • thank you!! I'll try that. I used my crockpot w/the setting on low. Once the milk cooled, I put it in the crockpot and turned off the crockpot and covered it w/a towel, left it overnight. It didn't thicken enough..not sure what went wrong.

  8. Julie W says:

    Thanks Laura, it looks like a good deal! Have you or anyone else used them before? I am wondering about the quality if their services……

    Julie

  9. I know the Rainbow FuelPerks has kind of changed recently – they are supposed to be taking them at Shell stations – I believe I read that on this site. I logged into my FuelPerks account today and tried to find a location and nothing would come up within 50 miles of me. There is a Shell station about 2-2.5 miles from my house, however. Has anyone had any luck use those rewards? If so, where??

    • Melissa S says:

      I was on the site a few days ago and there were numerous Shell stations that came up, but today there are none and the site has been changed. It appears the search is not working so I called them and a representative tried to search with the zip codes I provided and she said its not working. She put in a request to have someone look into it. Hopefully it will be up and running again soon…

      • Thanks for the responses. I thought it was odd that there wasn't anything available in this area, but it turns out there really is. I will try the Shell near my house when I need gas next! They might even have signs up there – I don't know, I never go there. But I will now. : )

    • kierstien says:

      The shell gas station near me is Burnsville off of 42 and garden view rode i have used my fuelperks there twice and worked great! Also if you are going to be taking advantage of any of the get $10gas at cvs you can get shell gift cards there making your out of pocket less!!!

      • Does anyone know if the BP off of 694/Valley Creek Drive in Woodbury is still taking fuel perks?

        • Oops I just checked the Fuelperks website and that station is listed. I just checked the Shell search and it still showed no participating stations in my area either.

  10. Any one know of any fun cheap things to do with my 7 year old son this weekend. It is just the two of us this weekend. I live in the north metro so perferable things up that way. But right now I can't seem to think of any thing so anything would be gret right now.

    thanks for you help.

    Beth

  11. Are family cell phone plans a good idea? My husband and I have had tracfones for 2 years and love it, but getting ready to get 2 of our kids cell phones too and not sure if we should go for a family plan – which all seem crazy expenseive, but the unlimited talk/text is nice, instead of having to count minutes like we do now. Are there any other options out there? Wondering what others do. TIY! :)

  12. Perfect 10 Carwash is located in Spring Lake Park (I believe) right off of the old 10. They do a fantastic job! Not sure what the pricing is, but I would definitely check them out.

  13. Hey everyone!

    On my way home yesterday I a semi threw a rock up and and now my windshield is cracked. Its an older car so we just have the bare coverage on it and have to pay out of pocket for a new windshield. After calling a few places the cheapest we found is safelite auto at $400. Does any one know where I can find a coupon or where I could get it cheaper? Thanks.

    • I had my car done a couple of years and I called everyone in the book. Here's the # for the place 651-777-1901. Sorry I don't know the name but it was the cheapest at the time. I know they will go anywhere to do it but is cheaper if you bring it to their shop.

  14. My husband recently got dental insurance and he hasn't had dental for the majority of his adult life (he is 32). I know he will need a lot of work done and he's had teeth problems over the years. Is there a good dental office you would recommend in the Woodbury/Oakdale area? I know he will require extensive work on his teeth and want to go through a provider who will do a great job. We have Cigna for insurance. I am going to call for their in-network providers but would love to hear where people go to get their dental needs taken care of.

  15. Katrina says:

    We just upgraded ours and have an extra slide that turns and a rock wall. I’m pretty sure they are still good. I live in Isanti and going to Maplewood on Sat if you’d like to meet me somewhere.

  16. Anywhere I can buy 81 mg aspirin for a good deal this week?

    • Target's Up & Up brand is always cheap. You get three bottles for under $3, for a total of 108 pills. There's usually a Target printable for .50 or $1.00 off, as well.

      • Walgreens starting Sunday has Ecotrin 81 at $3/2, with a RR of $2/2, and a $1.50 off one in 5/6/2012 SS for a very nice deal.

  17. You inspire me to ask my dentist about something similar. We are self-employed and pay for dental insurance, but I'm not sure it is worth it. If I could get something like what you mention above, but in the northwest metro, I'd drop my insurance.

    • Carrie, we go to We Care Dental in Brooklyn Park, so that's not too far from you. We purchase the preventative plan which is $95 for the year. It includes two exams and cleanings plus bitewing x-rays. You also get a 15% discount on all services. They have two other plans that include more than just preventative care if you need more work done. Here's info about their plans:

      http://www.wecaredentalus.com/clients/5964/docume

  18. Yep, I was going to say that I'd buy a car detailing offer through a daily deal site. Be sure to google the company and check their reviews before buying, but we've done that a few times and been pleased with the results.

  19. This isn't shopping related, but I went to college at St. Ben's and if you've never been to their campus or to St. John's you may want to go there. St. John's has a nice walking path around one of their lakes that takes you out to a little chapel. If you found a campus map you could get the specifics, but the trailhead is at the beach right behind the Abbey.

  20. Jen – How much is a family plan? The lowest unlimited, single person plans I know of are through Boost Mobile. It starts at $45/month (I think), then your monthly bill reduces by $5 after you've paid your bill on time for 6 months. It reduces another $5 after 6 more months and it can go down to $30 for unlimited talk, text (and maybe data too, I forget the specifics now).

  21. Mary Kay says:

    We are looking for a Company that does Duct Cleaning. We are in the North Metro and would like a reliable and reasonably priced company. Anyone???

    Thanks a ton! :-)

  22. Mary Kay says:

    Carrie, PYD Staff and Pocketeers,

    Thank you so much for your help over the last couple of months about Cell Phones, Contracts and so forth.

    My contract had ended with Verizon and we were able to buy a phone out right and then get the phone service I needed for $35 a month verses the $69+ a month we were paying on a contract. I am so thankful for the money we are now saving!

    Thank you all!

    Big Virtual Hugs! :-)

    MK

  23. Mary Kay says:

    Has anyone used Miracle Maids that is being advertised? We need a deep house cleaning and were curious if anyone has used them.

    We use The Cleaning Solution and they are great but it just adds up with out a deal. Their deal last fall was fantastic!

    Thanks for the help!

    MK

  24. Munsinger & Clemens Gardens – two distinct but adjacent gardens on the banks of the Mississippi River northwest of the intersection of University Drive SE and Kilian Blvd SE, and along the southernmost portion of Riverside Drive SE, in St. Cloud, Minnesota. The gardens are open every day from 7:00 a.m. to 10.00 p.m., spring to fall. There is no admission fee. (wikipedia)

    I used to live 6 blocks from the gardens. They are GORGEOUS. Small gift shop, bathrooms. Parking is on the street. I recommend that you park DOWN by the river. It's shady and there is a turn around.

    Val's (Rapid Serve) Diner. The place is a small box on the corner of East St. Germain St. & Lincoln Ave. You order on a touch screen in the lobby (or call for take out). Best greasy burgers and fries you'll ever want to clog your arteries with! Inexpensive. 628 E St Germain St

    If you have kids: Several of the parks (and there are a lot of parks in St. Cloud/Sauk Rapids) have water pads for the kiddos to run through on hot days.

    The public library is 4 years new and quite impressive, if you need the internet or have a rainy day it's a good choice.

    If you need to shop, you'll find most of the Metro 'box' stores + Salvation Army, Savers, Once Upon a Child etc.

    I'm not sure if Summerland will be open this weekend but if you have a desire to drive go-carts or play mini-golf that's a good place to go. Check with the local radio stations for discount passes. (I don't remember the local names anymore.)

    Deal Chicken (website) has daily deals for the St. Cloud area.

    I hope you have a great time.

  25. Just checked the FuelPerks site and it appears to be up and running again. Thanks again everyone for your help.

  26. Julie – I haven't used that specific detailing service, no. I ended up going with a guy on Craigslist who did a great job (and was priced slightly lower than that) but we had some serious communication issues regarding timing. I think we rescheduled three times.

  27. Beth – I put together a weekend events and activities roundup each Friday so stay tuned for that post. :)

  28. When you add the yogurt starter, throw in a package of unflavored gelatin. This also helps if you are using skim milk, rather than whole.

  29. I've used mine at the Blaine store before! That was the day I am most proud to say that I got 6 bags of groceries for only .18 or .38 cents!!! I am so proud of that moment! I tell everyone my little accomplishment! :-)

  30. Does anyone know or recommend the best way to move yourself clear across the country? I'm doing a little research but but everything seems so expensive. Ive checked into pods and Uhaul, but I heard Uhaul trucks aren't really dependable. I am moving to Florida later on in the year.

    • The last time we moved ourselved we went 400 miles and found that Budget was a lot cheaper than Uhaul. My husband said the Budget truck was more comfortable and easier to drive than the Uhaul truck we had used previously. Good luck with your move!

    • Jennifer says:

      I moved twice using a Budget truck (20 foot truck with my car behind on a car carrier). I had started with a 'tow dolley' (where 2 wheels are up) but found it was scary driving that way. When you have the car carrier, it 'flows' better as your driving. One of the big lessons of driving that kind of set up is to observe the posted signs (like entrance or exit ramps on highways) – - you really have to watch your speed. It was a number of years ago but I remember it being around $1000. Looking back now, I probably would have gotten rid of WAY more stuff and traveled lighter. I ended up buying different furniture for my living situations and that kind of thing so I paid to haul a bunch of stuff that I never really needed. Good luck!

  31. kris t. says:

    Wow!! I currently have dental insurance on my own due to a divorce but it's $$.

    Does anyone live in Burnsville/Eagan who uses one of those plans? I'd be willing to switch dentists if necessary, since my current dentist does not offer anything like that (except for Care Credit which I will never use).

    • I just signed up for Caps Dental. It's limited to participating dentists but has already save me a couple hundred dollars on a crown and my daughter's checkup.

      capsdentalplan.com

  32. Has anyone seen the CUB MEMORIAL DAY ad??

    • I was in last night and they had seedless watermellons 3.99 and the pop was 4 for 8.88 instead of 4 for 10.00 thats about all I saw

  33. I went to Cub BP (Colorado Ln) this morning – they argued with me about the 1.00 of lays potato chips ( expired 5/19) – said Cub only accepts coupons now for 1 month (which i am quite well aware of) her example was from the 25th to the 24th of the month – i said but this coupon just expired 5/19 that is less than 1 week ago – she kept going on about new system and new rules!Crazy! after about 5 minutes she finally scanned coupon again no problem – not sure what happend but that was the craziest thing i've ever experienced at Cub!

  34. Thanks so much for the info! Someone else suggest Penske trucks as well. I hope it goes smooth and yes, I will have to two my car. I will have someone else driving the truck. Someone who has truck driving experience. I will definitely check into Budget though!

    Thanks so much!

  35. I used my crockpot and a similar method and it didn't thicken either – I don't think it stayed warm enough. Now I heat it to 180 in the crockpot, let it cool to 110 deg, and stir in the yogurt. I preheat my oven to 170 deg (the lowest temp setting), then turn it off and turn the light on. I wrap the crock in a towel and place it in my oven for 8+ hours and it thickens well.

  36. AsUntoTheLord says:

    One thing to consider with cell phones is the service you'll all get where you are the most. Paying less is only cost effective if you can use the service. I learned this the hard way so I thought I'd throw in my 2 cents. Also, some companies don't tell you that you can often return the whole phone/deal within a couple days if you find their service doesn't cover your most frequented areas well (even if their coverage maps say it should). It may be helpful if you find a company with a good price, to ask around at work (or your kids, at school) and see if anyone has that service and when kind of signal they get. HTH :-)

    Oh and if you or your husband work for a big company, ask the HR person if the mobile company they contract with offers a discount to employees' personal plans as well. When I was working for a major health care company, Sprint gave me a 20+% discount on my monthly bill.

  37. Papa John's is celebrating the race this weekend with our 50% OFF Race Days Special!

    Get 50% OFF your total regular menu price order, today through Sunday when you order online! Available at participating locations.

    Use the promotion code RACE1

    Offer expires 5/27/2012

  38. Zer – I'd recommend Woodbury Dental – Dr. Edlund and Dr. Pelke are GREAT! We've been going there for years and they're also the official dentist for the MN Wild and Saints Baseball. They are amazing! 651-739-7910

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