Open Mic 8/16/12

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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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  1. Angie says

    Oh no!!!! I wanted to do both the P&G rebate AND the Olay rebate… BUT last night's shopping trip included BOTH Olay items and 2 P&G things, on the same receipt. Does anyone know if they'll let me send one copy of a receipt? It does say "Original sales receipt" on the rebate form! :( (But both forms look to be by the same company)

    • JoAnna says

      I have never made a copy when the fine print states original sales receipt. I would go back to the store with the items and receipt, explain the situation and maybe they will return the items and allow you to repurchase them at the service desk (then you will have the separate receipt). When buying rebate items I try to run separate transactions so only the rebate items are on the receipt I need to send in to the company. Hope it works :)

      • Therese S. says

        I agree with JoAnna,

        Best thing to do is go back to the store with one set of the items to return and then repurchase them to have on a seperate receipt.

        I too buy items that are part of a rebate seperatly. Rules tend to be strict with some companies than with others.

    • Sheila says

      Some stores can actually print a duplicate receipt. I have done this a few times for when I needed more than one original.

  2. sue says

    Watch out for activation fees on the Visa gift cards at Cub, it makes it a money losing deal if you buy the $25 cards,

  3. Lori says

    Would appreciate any recommendation of a house painter in Brooklyn Park area. Also

    some rotten siding needs to be replaced so must have some knowledge of that rather than strictly painting.

  4. Jen A. says

    My daughters (twins) are turning 12 this fall and would like a spa party. Anyone know of either…. a good place to go to take girls for manicure/pedicure/facial (that's economical, of course!) OR someone who would come to the house to do that? I'm in the Apple Valley area. Thanks!!

  5. Sandi says

    Where is the best place to sell baby/childrens clothes? Garage sale/Just Between Friends/ThredUP/consignment/Once Upon a Child? My clothes are in excellent shape, many not worn or with tags.

    • Donna says

      Sandi, I have heard from another mother that the Once Upon a Child store near ridgedale pays the most for your clothes than most other OUAC stores. If that Helps. Also I have found facebook has online garage sales too. Which could be easier to sell things little by little. Hope all of this helps.

  6. Sandi says

    I would also like to know a great place to buy high-quality, economical children's bedding. My little girl will be switching to a "big bed," and I'd love to get some nice linen.

  7. Sue says


    When CVS had a sale on the Accu-Chek Nano Blood Glucose Monitor a couple of weeks ago, you mentioned that this would be a good item to donate. Where can I donate them? Any ideas would be very much appreciated. Thank you in advance.

  8. Anna says

    I'm throwing a baby shower this month for my sister-in-law, Do you have any tips for cheap games, decorations, etc. Thank you!

    • Mikey says

      We always did a game wearing a blind fold and using a timer. Fill a bowl with uncooked regular (not instant) rice and put several little baby sized safety pins in it. Whoever gets most safety pins picked out of bowl in time limit while blindfolded wins game. Another favorite is a bingo game where you hand out a sheet of paper with bingo game and list of items on it that she would receive as gifts. Guests pick items from list on page you gave them in any order they choose on bingo card (no 2 cards the same that way!) and as she opens gifts,they cross item off on their own bingo card. First one to get a bingo wins. Also, there's a game using a tray of baby items (smaller items) that is covered and passed around with a time limit. Each person gets to look at tray passed around for a set amount of time and person who recalls and writes down most correct items from tray wins a prize. Then tray of items is given to mom-to-be as part of her gift. Word scrambles of baby items or baby names is another good one. We also usually put an X on bottom of a plate or two and while everyone is enjoying food and visiting, ask them to check bottom of their plates for an X and give that person or persons a small wrapped gift. These gifts were always small items like from dollar store like note pads, dish towels, dish scrubbers, chip clips, coffee gift cards, etc.

    • Elle says

      A cheap game is to fill a bowl with rice and toss in some baby safety pins. Who ever gets the most number of safety pins win a prize.

    • Rachel says

      Take a roll of string and have each person cut off the amount of string that they think is the circumference of the mom-to-be's stomach. Winner gets a small prize.

      • Darrick says

        Using blank paper cut to 4×6 or index cards you have everyone put the paper on top of their head and draw what they think the baby will look like, then when done put their name on the other side of the paper. Collect all the drawings and have the mom-to-be pick out the best drawing as the winner. All of the drawings can then go in a photo album for the mom to keep.

    • Sara says

      One shower I attended had all the food baby/mini sized. Mini cupcakes, corndogs, etc. Super cute. Personally one of my favorites from my shower was the hostess had the guests bring a children’s book with a personalized message to the baby. She let everybody know instead of bringing a card to use the book as identifying who brought what gift. My daughter now has a ton of books from friends/family members with special messages and books are super cheap to get at garage sales or thrift stores too.

      • Karen says

        At my shower one of my favorite things was my friend had everyone write down a piece of advice for the mom to be in a cute book. It still is a favorite memento from my shower.

        My favorite game was the one where you cant say a certain word like "baby". when everyone comes in you give them a diaper pin or a clothes pin they need to clip on their shirt. and then if someone says the off limit word you take their pin. The one who ends up with the most pins wins. Its funny to see what words people replace the word with and how competitive people get (maybe that's just my family). Even my Grandma who couldn't hear well was getting into it. Believe it or not she came in 2nd place.

  9. Heidi says

    Question for you users – is there a way to get data imported for the entire year? I was using another budgeting software and decided to switch to since there were so many recommendations on PYD. However when I signed up, it only imported for a 3 month period. I would like to do a yearly budget and know what I have spent since January etc. Is there a way to switch the settings so that it will automatically import these? Also does anyone know how long it keeps your data stored – a year or longer??? TIA

    • Therese S. says


      I use Mint but have never downloaded the data to Excel…but you can!

      In the TRENDS tab you can pick from (this month, last month, this year, all time) and then section 3 "get the report" is a link to export to CSV which will open into Excel. This is only the for the Category amounts.

      Hope this helps!

  10. Nicky says

    Looking for opinions on a good washer and dryer to purchase. We are a family of 6, so it needs to clean well and last.

    I know this topic has come up in previous open-mic so if anyone knows of a specific date to look in the archives that would help too! Thank you.

    • Crystal says

      We have lg steam wash & dry and really like them. They are front load and seem to hold a lot. Steam part really doesn't seem necessary though.

  11. scat says

    Nicky — I bought a Maytag Bravos a couple of years ago and just love it. It's the same type of washer as the front loaders but is a top loader. IT has no agitator. I prefer the top loader because it doesn't require so much bending over. There was a noticeable improvement in the cleaning compared to my old washer which was only five years old.

    Most appliance stores carry this washer so it is really easy to shop online for it. And there are frequent sales and specials offering free delivery and set-up. I noticed Home Depot is running a sale right now.

    • says

      Since i don't have a warehouse club membership I buy it at Walmart. Occasionally, in the wintertime, there will be some flour coupons, then I'll have them doubled at Rainbow and go that route, but just yesterday I bought 5 pounds of whole wheat flour for $2.96 at Walmart.

    • Cris says

      I can't remember how much it was, but I know I bought my last bag at Trader Joe's and I thought it was a good deal.

  12. Marne says

    The Kids Rack in Champlin is having their dollar sale next week, Thursday – Saturday, Aug. 23 – 25th. I've found some nice items in their $1 bins – even Disney name brand dresses! Also jeans and other things. I try to have an idea of what my girls need before I head there though, otherwise it's too easy to buy too much because of the $1 price tag :)

  13. Carol L says

    I am wondering if any PYDers have taken advantage of the StarTribune Sunday paper for $26.00/52 weeks + $25.00 gift card. Final cost = $1.00. I signed up for this promo recently, got my first paper last Sunday, but not sure when I will get the gift card. The customer service rep said it takes 6 – 8 weeks. Has this been your experience? Have you had any problems?

  14. jo says

    Replacing my 30 year old furnace before winter and before it dies with High Efficiency – any recommendations or referrals that you have used?

  15. Shel says

    I'm looking for recommendations for a crockpot. I currently have the Rival Smart-Pot #3860. It cooks too fast. I seldom use the programmable settings because it gets things done too fast which is a problem if I'm not home and ready to serve dinner when the food is done. I'm looking for one that I can start before leaving for work in the morning and not come home to mushy/soggy dinner. I'd like to hear which crockpot any of you use and like. Thank you!

  16. carol says

    Last I checked Mike's Discount Foods on Central Avenue in Hilltop, they had 5 lbs Gold Medal whole wheat flour for 99 cents. They don't take coupons, or have a consistent selection, but I usually find great deals there.

  17. Sue S says

    Hey, all you State Fair fanatics (like me). If you are planning to ride a State Fair Express Bus, buy your ticket on line ahead of time at and save $1 per ticket. Pay $4 instead of $5 at the bus parking lot. Look in the lower right corner of the home page.

  18. Rebecca S says

    I have never had a problem with sending in copies of reciepts for rebates. I make sure that I make a high-quality copy, then I just write "Original reciept used for a different rebate. Thank you for accepting my copy!" on it. I have done this for P&G rebates.

    • Cheri A says

      I wanted a no-frills crock pot after I had one of those programmable ones that didn't work. I bought this one from Walmart a few years ago and love it. I love that the top is glass, not plastic. The pot is removeable, but it's not too heavy. The best feature that I love is that the lid can be secured with hinges if you need to transport it somewhere. During the school year, I often take it with food for the teachers during conferences. No more worrying about having to transport it.

      • brendaw says

        I've had model 84095 for almsost 20 yrs now. I got it at Fleet Farm for about $20. My mother in law has had 2 of these (diff shapes) for much longer than that & my college roommate had inherited her mom's at that time (so they last!) Nothing fancy, but they work well, are good quality & go easily from heater to fridge. In fact, I've even reheated things on my flat top cooktop. Only downside is if you put it in the dishwasher, you need to re-season it (not hard, but I did it once — basically wipe oil on it– and don't want to think about doing it again.) It cleans up nice.

  19. Cris says

    My favorite is to buy a bunch of cheap plain white onesies along with fabric markers. Have everyone decorate a onesie for the new baby. You can find a lot of great decorating ideas if you google "onesie party."

    • Lisa says

      We did this at my baby shower last year, but we used the iron on applique. I thought it was a great idea until I needed to wash them. The heat of the wash/dryer would release some of them. Plus I didn't want them to come off while my daughter was wearing them as they could be a choking hazard. So if you are going to do a "onesie party" don't use the iron on decorations/applique.

      • Amanda says

        You can get cheap gerber baby food at Rainbow with the new coupon booklet. A game that I've played frequently at baby showers is guess the baby food. You buy about 10 different baby foods similar colors, remove labels and have guest sniff or if they choose taste the baby food and guess what the flavor of each is. It is really fun!

  20. Paula says

    We recently used Perfection Heating and AC located in Maplewood. They were very knowledgable and we were very happy with their service. (And we are very picky!) Our old furnace was acting up and they even came out on a Sunday morning to make sure it was okay until we could replace it.

  21. says

    Thanks, Marne! I need to inventory my kids' clothes to figure out what they need in the next size up. I'll make a point to do that before this sale next week so I can go in there with a clear idea of what we need.

  22. Linda says

    I like Standard Heating and Air. Great service and competitive prices (they were willing to come down to almost match a competitor's price when I asked). I've found coupons for them in my local newspaper, as well as sometimes in the Wed flyers.

  23. Allison says

    My manicurist will come to your house and do nails. She is very good and does a great job! Thao 952-212-3864

  24. kris t. says

    Carol – regarding the Strib offer – I signed up on June 14 and got the Cub $25 gift card about early August, a few weeks ago. Hope this helps.

    The envelope it came in looked like junk mail..sorry I can't remember the company name it came from though…

  25. kris t. says

    Just a little thumbs up to my Cub..not sure when they started doing this, but the self-service checkouts no longer require a cashier to scan each coupon. They let you do it yourself.

    Yay!! :)

  26. kris t. says

    Speaking of the State Fair, what are your must far as doing or eating?

    Mine are:

    Mini doughnuts

    Doggie show

    Giant sing-a-long

    Ice cream at the dairy building while looking at the butterhead

    corn on the cob

    Sweet martha's washed down with a glass of milk from the milk truck!

  27. jean j says

    I have an expired ten dollor Kohl's Cash. Does anyone know if Kohls or any other store accepts expired Kohl's cash?

    • says

      I have never heard of any other store accepting Kohl's Cash and, from what I understand, they are very strict on the dates. It would take a miracle for you to be able to redeem it, I think.

  28. me says

    Where can you find decent prices for gluetin free items? Some stores vary by over a dollar for a small box of mac and cheese.

  29. kris t. says

    As much as possible, I try to stick to whole foods and just avoid gluten (or make my own items) rather than buy pre-made things because they're so expensive!! I've changed my diet in a way where I don't need to replace what I used to eat with things that are using shiritaki noodles instead of expensive GF pasta, etc. When I bake, I use nut flours instead of an expensive boxed mix (I've noticed more mainstream brands with GF stamped on them too, but they are more expensive).

    However, I look for things in this order:



    Co-op as a last resort.

    Cub has the most items, but prices are higher than Target.

    Sometimes I also find things at Big Lots, most likely leftover items from areas where GF doesn't sell well.

    Good luck!

  30. Christine says

    Mine was the same way it took about 4 weeks to come, but it is in a non descript envelope. On the upside I was able to renew the next year for $26, but they never sent a renewal notice for this year at the same price.

  31. Christine says

    On this subject, My parents bought me a furnace a couple years ago, and I haven't had the money to install it. Anyone have ideas on who to contact to install one? I have gas, and some of the lines may need to be moved.

  32. Christine says

    I would check Trader Joes, they tend to carry some of the dietary restrictive foods at a better cost than most stores. I shopped there a lot when I did a cleanse and went Dairy and Carb free for 2 weeks.

    • JoAnna says


      My hubby's business (small, MN owned business since 1996) specializes in removing water stains from toilets. They also can seal the toilet making water stains less likely and easier to clean (without toilet bowl cleaner). His company also restores grout, shower glass, tile, granite….and seals all those surfaces too. Check out They are also on Facebook. He will offer a PYD special :)

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