Open Mic 12/6/12

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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.

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.


  1. Does anyone know if Best Buy is price matching for the season? There's a great price on a laptop at Target, but of course, it's out of stock.

    • Chris, I think Best Buy always price matches. However, when I've wanted to do it, they will call the other store (in your case, Target) to see if they have the product in stock, and if they don't, then BB wouldn't price match. I had that happen at a couple of different stores in the Twin Cities, but it was about 2-3 years ago. Good luck!

      • Therese S. says:

        WOW, I didn't know that Best Buy would only price match if the item is in stock in the other store!!!! Not a great business practice!

        Thanks for the heads up!

        • actually NOT matching a price on something that isn't in stock at another IS good business practice.

        • I agree. Selling a product for a competetior's price when a person couldn't easily actually obtain that price is not going to serve your business very well in the long run.

    • Christine says:

      Just an FYI, the Best Buy website sometimes has a different price than in the store. Just bring a print out of what you want from their website and if its more in store they will price match the website at the check outs. I saved $30 on a digital camera this way.

  2. Wow – Byerly's has some fantastic deals this week! $.99 for Ghiradelli chips, butter, eggs, brown & powdered sugar and more. And $5.99 Caribou Coffee which can be used with the recent $2/2 in the newspaper insert coupons.

  3. Several weeks ago, some one had posted the recipe for Homemade Vanilla. I tried searching for the post and could not find it. Does anyone still have the recipe? I would also like to know where to buy the vanilla beans and any reviews on the finished product.

    • Christine says:

      The best place to buy vanilla beans in Amazon. They have Mexican or Madagascar. Penzeys also has a really good price on vanilla beans, you can go in and smell the different types to find what you like better. All you need to do is let the vanilla bean sit in either vodka or rum (white) for about 6 months and its ready to go. I prefer using rum, I buy a 1.75 since its more economical. I use about 1 liter of rum for 2 vanilla beans. You can always add more rum or an additional vanilla bean if it needs more or less flavor.

  4. Done with my Christmas shopping for this year, but already thinking about next year. How does everyone else handle their gift budget? For example, if you have budgeted $50 for certain people, do you buy them $50 worth of gifts even if you great deals on them and only spent $25? Or do you buy them $100 worth of gifts while only spending $50?

    My problem is that I have several people who are difficult to buy for and often have to resort to a small item and gift card. If I spend $50 on one person for exactly $50 worth of gifts, it feels unfair to then give another an item that might normally sell for $100 but I purchased for $50.

    Disclaimer. If an item is $100 at Kohls however, I count an average sale price as its worth (not a Black Friday price though) because no one pays full price at Kohls because that would be crazy!

    • We use the price we pay for the item after coupons, discounts….towards the budgeted amount. I understand the fair issue you discuss but hope it evens itself out over the years (for example: this year Jo gets a better deal but next year Cindy gets a better deal….). We have a pass gift game with the adults and it has a limit of $20. I find bothersome when a person gets a $20 item for $10 and does not spend the other $10. My goal is to get as much as I can for the $20 limit (like a $70 toothbrush!!).

    • We are all about people not price around here. We set a reasonable Christmas budget for each family and attempt to purchase thoughtful gifts under that budget. We've found exchanging gifts much more emotionally rewarding and enjoyable since we gave up the 'Price Is Right' game show mentality. Have a Merry Christmas.

      • I agree with Tag, I set a budget of $30 a person for our family, I focus more on something thoughtful. This year my MIL wants a panini maker and that hits the budget, but I would like something else for her to open with it to have some surprise factor, so I am using what scrapbook materials I have to make her a small panini recipe book.

        I also have the opinion, if you want to spend $100 on one person and $50 on another, who cares, you are the one giving the gifts. Give what you want, not what you feel you have to.

      • Even though I keep close tabs on the price I pay for gifts, the gifts are still all about the people, too.

    • I can understand the responses to not focus so much on price. However, what do you do with your kids? Do you spend the same amount on each child or buy them the same number of gifts regardless of price?

      • I don't know your kids so I can only speak to how mine have acted over the years. Mine were more concerned that the number of gifts came out even and that they received something they really liked than the cost of their siblings gift(s).

        As a side note: NOW is a great time to start talking about celebration expectations. Appropriate ways to react to gifts they do & don't like, what's the plan when you're at an un-fun relatives, etc. (Mom & Dad's gift(s) are the only ones that can be greated with *uncontrolled* shouts of joy and jumping on the furniture. ;)) How to react if someone reacts badly to a gift they have been given by your child. My daughter's love language is Gifts, especially the giving part. Until we sat down and talked, she was crushed whenever her recipient wasn't over the moon with happiness over something she had made or picked out.

        Congratulations on having finished shopping already. You Rock!

        • Wow, finished shopping! Congratulations! I'd better get into turbo drive!

          As far as budgeting for adults, if I get a deal on a gift I will just be happy that it cost less than I expected to pay, and put that saved money toward a future deal for that or some other person on my gift list, rather than spending up to whatever limit I've set. I look at that limit as a spending ceiling. If I go a bit over or under that limit hopefully it evens out so I don't ever go over budget.

          Mary your small gift plus gift card idea seems like a good solution.

          For our kids when they were younger we usually chose an item or two from their wish list that was reasonable for our budget, then gave them each similar type gifts- for instance: sleepwear, winter gear, toys, sports items, electronics, books, music, movies, etc. We tried to make the number of gift packages as even as possible. Sometimes we'd wrap similar items in one box if somebody had extra (2 books, for instance).

          We tried to keep the costs similar for each kid, but often gifts for older kids cost more than for younger kids. None of them seemed to be concerned about costs. We stuffed their stockings with some small, fun, inexpensive personal gifts, candy, fruit, magazines, personal care items, etc. All similar but a bit personalized for each kid's tastes.

          Another thing we always do is choose a charity and send a portion of our family gift budget to that, as a gift from our family. We copy out the information on a card and have one of the kids open and read the card during gift opening. This year we are giving to One World Futbol Project. Donating the extra amount might be something to consider.

  5. Kind of a funny question, but I took the summer off from couponing as we were in the midst of building a home and staying somewhere temporary. Now that I've been printing coupons from again, I hate the layout they have now. Is there a quick way to get to the end of the coupons so you can easily re-print the coupons you've already printed once? Previously one could just click on the last page and there they would magically be. :) Thanks for your help!

    • Tami, I had a well paying but terrible job over the summer that kept me out of couponing and I was annoyed to see that as well lol. :) I don't think there is, I just click the section it goes under i.e. peanut butter click "Foods." Sometimes even when I do that I have to scroll through ever Personal Care, Household, etc. coupon and the coupon is hiding on the last page after it was printed once. HTH

  6. Anyone have a place they are sending their expired coupons? Anyone tried Coups for the Troops or any other suggestions?

  7. Just a heads up on buying any deal from Pixiwraps. I purchased a deal through saveology about a month ago and the code for the deal does not work. I called Saveology and they created a ticket last week and have not heard from Pixiwraps. I just called Saveology again & they gave me a # to call. Pixiwraps is on the west coast so their not open yet. But I went to their website and there a number of complaints. Some people have waited up to 3 months and still do not have their canvas. Last week I told you about Easy Canvas Prints I ordered from. I got my Canvas in less than 2 weeks and love it. I finally figured out the $10 refer a friend code. Anyone who sent me an email will be getting an email from me today about this. If anyone else wants the code send me an email

    • Other Pocketeers have complained about Saveology, their deals, their customer service (or lack thereof)….in the past–Carrie does not promote that site's deals anymore because of the issue. Hopefully Carrie has a contact at Saveology and/or Pixiwraps so she can help you out :)

  8. Carrie,

    Is there any way that PYD can be programmed so that when you click on a coupon link in a shopping list, a new page or tab is opened verses having to leave the PYD site? I try to print coupons as I click boxes to create my PYD shopping list, and many times can't get back to my list and have to start over because I've been directed away from PYD. :) This would be super helpful. Thank you, THANK YOU to you and your team for all that you do!

    • I know that Carrie and Laura have worked on this issue in the past. I never assume a link (within any website) will open in a new window so I always hit the control button as I click the link–then the link will open in a new window :)

    • HI Tami,

      Just hold down the Control button on your keyboard when clicking the link and it will open a new window. Slick!

    • Or right-click the link and choose "Open link in new tab" or "Open link in new window"

  9. Here is a 20% off coupon for Barnes and Noble:

  10. Does anybody have a list of bonus deals when you buy gift cards?

    ex. – Free $5 gift card when you buy $25 worth of gift cards at Davanni's.

    Free hot chocolate when you buy a gift card at McDonald's.


  11. Does anybody have a good deal on cable or dish?

    We currently have neither – (husband doesn't want to pay the $s)

    My son really wants it for all of the upcoming bowl games. (He says

    only 3 of the upcoming bowl games are on regular TV.) I enjoy sports too

    and would also like to watch the Twins once in a while. You see advertisements

    for $19.99/month or $24.99/month, but what do you really pay after all of

    the taxes and fees? Thanks

  12. Does anybody know of any great holiday light displays or neighborhoods? My son LOVES holiday lights, so we would like to take a self guided "tour" of cities sometime soon.

    • If you go to Star they have a lists of light displays (private homes) worth going to see. It will list the homes by city.

  13. A question, I was at target last night spent over $50 but didn't remember my $10 gift card coupon. Can I go back today with my receipt to redeem it? I have been able to use a coupon after a transaction but it was before I have left the store at customer service. I just don't know if I can do it the next day?

    • I would call customer service ahead of time. If the person you talk to says no politely ask to talk to a supervisor. This way you don't waste a trip; make sure you remember the name of the person that said yes just in case.

    • I've done it last year, and it was honored. Let us know if it works this year.

  14. Hello!

    I will need to be buying new tires soon. I have never purchased new tires for my BMW. I haven't gotten an estimated range of prices from my dealership, but I'm wondering if anyone has a place to recommend for getting a good price on tires for a bmw ? Not sure if the make of the car matters or not….?

    thanks!! :) have a great day everyone!

    • Not sure where you live, but Discount Tire in Brooklyn Park (near Home Depot on Boone) offers good customer service the few times I have been there to get a tire patched. We also have had good car service at Victory Auto (several locations). Tire cost is not so much the type of car you have, it is the quality of tire you want to purchase and the size of tire you have that affects the price of tires.

    • I had a good experience with Youngsted's in EP (there are several in the western suburbs). Not for a BMW though… like Amy mentioned, price is based on the size and quality of the tire, not your vehicle make or model. Youngsted's had tires anywhere from a couple hundred to over a thousand and did a great job explaining the differences/advantages/disadvantages to me. They ha dthe best deal at the time on the Goodyear tires I went with.

    • We have bought tires for 4 vehicles at Discount Tires – Ford Windstar, Ford Taraus, Ford Explorer, & Dodge Avenger. We have been VERY pleased with their selection, knowledgeable staff, and follow up care. My dad is the one who recommended them to us and he has used them for his van and my nieces and nephews cars. We HIGHLY recommend them. You can even give them a call and tell them what you drive and they can recommend tires to you over the phone, along with pricing! Hope that helps!

  15. My husband just updated my MAC computer and now I am having difficulty printing the wonderful Target coupons. Anyone else with a MAC out there have the same issues? If so, what did you do to get it working again? Any suggestions would be great!

    • AP,

      Have you tried using a different browser? I have trouble printing target Qs if I use Google Chrome, but not Firefox or IE

  16. Why do some manufactures put "Do Not Double" on their coupons? When Rainbow and other retailers double coupons, are they not the ones making up the difference?

    • I've always assumed it's because certain manufacturers do not want their products to be purchased for very cheap. Perhaps they believe there's a negative association with their product being sold for free or very cheap. Maybe they think people won't pay regular price for their product if they've gotten it at a much lower price in the past? I can't really think of any other reason they would mind.

  17. We are thinking of switching our present (slow) internet service to Century Link. They are offering 19.95 per month with 5 year price lock, but must also bundle a Century Link home phone service with them. Seems like a no brainer to get much higher speed for a less expensive monthly rate, and we plan to keep our home phone at least for a bit longer. If you have this service are you satisfied with it? Are there any other issues with this deal? TIA

  18. I am a music teacher looking for Symphony candy bars to give to my students this year. I haven't seen them at my Cub or Target. Does anyone know where they are carried? Thanks!

    • I saw them in a display near the front of my Cub store last night. I'd go in and ask at the service desk if you can't find them.

  19. If you live, work, or drive by a Kwik Trip, they are selling 1 lb. of butter for $1.99, no coupon, limit 5, until Dec. 21st. Also they are selling a dozen eggs for 99 cents, no coupon, no limit, until Dec. 21st. So if you are doing some baking – stop in! I buy the butter and freeze it! For that price, you can't go wrong!

    • Byerly's is having a great sale as well…Butter for $.99 and eggs for $.99. Looks like you can get good baking deals all over.

  20. Is it better to buy ink for printer online or at stores? Where can i get the best deals? Thanks

  21. Melissa W. says:

    Our kids each get 3 gifts. We try and get the one thing they really want, and then a couple of smaller gifts. We chose that number because of our religious beliefs, and we shared with our children why we were choosing to stick to 3. They have all been great about it even though we only started this a few years ago. They like that we really try and do their one favorite, and don't really care if the money balances out or not. BTW there are 6 of them ages 2-17.

    • Therese S. says:


      We do the same in my family. Three gifts each. (Three Wise Men in the Bible) My husband and I spread them out through the day.

      They get their first gift in the morning (was Santa gift when they were young…now it's a gift card or cash) and then got another gift around noon (usually clothing) and then a last gift at night before bed (something from their wish list)

  22. Melissa W. says:

    Aldi's just lowered their everyday price on butter to $1.99 a pound.

  23. I expect it has more to do with deals struck with the retailers. The retailer may require that the coupons are DND in exchange for carrying the product. The deals between suppliers and retailers can be very complex and it depends on who has the most power.

  24. You need to look at the phone options. They may be requiring you to a sign up for a telephone serivce that is more expensive than you would otherwise purchase. I have been with Century LInk and its predecessors for many decades and I wish I could get that 5 year rate with my current phone service, but the only way to do it would be to sign up for much broader and more expensive phone service.

  25. We have Dish and we pay $39.99 a month. We don't go out much so it is in our entertainment budget.

    • We were able to get an additional monthly discount on our Comcast service because we bundled it with our Verizon cell phone. It is at least worth a look.

  26. If you use and print the from their site…it is arranged like the old way which I prefer, too.

  27. Me too. It's like it a little off or maybe little to the right and printing without an expiration date. My $10 off a $50 purchase printed with an expiration date this time and with an intact barcode! I am hoping that I won't have any issues when I redeem it.

    • Joy that is exactly what happens! I called the Target help desk and they said that if it had the barcode on it Target should accept it, but I don't think so, it just looks off and without an expiration date? What did you do to fix the problem? I have tried different browsers without any success.

  28. For my Canon and HP printers, hands down best prices are on Amazon with free shipping when you spend over $25

  29. I bought my vanilla beans at I think they are even cheaper than Amazon and they are a good quality (I got the Madagascar variety). I put two beans in a glass peanut butter jar and filled it almost to the top with vodka. It's been sitting for nearly three months and it's turned to a nice dark brown color. I used a little in a recipe last week and I think it was good, but I should probably let it "steep" a little longer. I would recommend putting your extract in a dark place, and remember to shake it every so often.

  30. Yes! It's a little tricky but this works every time: Click the continue button but hold it down. While holding it down, click the space bar multiple times, I usually do it about 20 times or so. Then you let go and all the pages open up after a few moments.

    • Thank you SO MUCH for the help, gals! :)

      • what i do is….I open the link in another page, then go back to PYD and do the same thing again (this also helps PYD get more money too) so that I have 2 active pages for the same coupon. Then I find the coupon that I want to print (DO NOT CHECK or PRINT the coupon yet), then go to the other open page and do the same thing, find the coupon. then when you look at each page they should both be unchecked and unprinted. then click each one, and print each one. See what I've noticed happens is that the coupon doesn't get put to the bottom until you click on it and/or print it. So you can trick the system by having both coupons in your screen ready to go before you print. This not only saves you time having to page down to the bottom, but because you click on that link 2 separate times, we should be earning PYD extra moola! HTH!

  31. I was just at Target tonight and didn't realize it was a coupon deal. I thought it was automatic. Customer service told me to bring the receipt and coupon to get the deal.

  32. Tami – Good question. You have me very curious about what's going on as we do have things set on our end that when you click on a link that goes off Pocket Your Dollars, it is supposed to open in a new window. Our webpage has to fully load before that functionality works, but from what I can tell on my end it is in place and working. Have you always had an issue with that? Which internet browser are you using?

    • Thanks so much for the help, all! I will hold down the control key from now on. :)

      Carrie, yesterday I was using Firefox, but it happens on IE as well, and usually only when the link takes me to And Carrie, a sincere thank you for all that you do! We were able to build a home this summer and because of the thriftiness I have learned from you we were able to afford to do some really neat things in our house that we otherwise would not have been able to do. :)

  33. I think I have seen them at Walgreen's and CVS

  34. I just realized that I now do the right-click/ "Open link in new tab" method without even thinking about it anymore. :)

  35. Thanks, Shelly! We posted the Lunds & Byerly's coupon matchups here, in case you (or anyone else) is looking for a printable shopping list:

  36. Tag – We do something similar. We keep an overall budget of what we'd like to spend, then try to purchase gifts without regard to specific price on each one.

    My thought is that handmade gifts (and gifts like that) often cost less but can in some situations mean more. If my sister knits me a scarf and only had to pay for the yarn, that can still be a more meaningful and valuable gift to me than if she spent xx amount of dollars on something she bought from the store.

  37. Emily – Here's the map Sara was referring to:

  38. Bree – Not sure where you live, but my husband swears by TireZoo (locations in Anoka and Bloomington). We just got new tires for my vehicle there at a great price – they're super fast, too.

    • I've ALWAYS gotten really good deals on tires from I just bought 2 full sets of some really good high quality tires, and paid approx 20% less then the best local brick-and-mortar competitor

  39. Im looking to join a coupon trading/sharing group in Minneapolis (or surrounding suburbs). ANy suggestions for one already going? TIA!

  40. I have the same problem! and it happens with some of the smartsource coupons too! I use IE for printing all my coupons on both Mac and PC, because its the most universal. This happened last time there was a software update..I sent lots of emails to a bunch of different customer service reps..and was told I just had to wait for everyone (browsers and coupon printing sources) to "get on the same page"…UGH

  41. It can get pretty spendy sending the coupons directly to the bases themselves. When you're searching for a place to donate your coupons to, look for a organization that has you send the coupons to them instead. That way it keeps your shipment domestic. here are some that i found through a quick search..

  42. LOVE the recipe book idea! I am hoping to do something similiar for our daughter who is cooking on her own for the first time! Merry Christmas.

  43. Personal Warning: Avoid the Target on County Road 42 in Burnsville. I had 10 of 100 and 15 off 150, but had lost the 15 coupon somewhere in the store while I was shopping. I asked them to take an item off my order, since I could only use the 10 of 100 on this trip. The cashier told me that wasn't possible, so I just returned it at Customer Service.

  44. I use Safari to print and along with Marie I can't print Smartsource coupons in either browser. Honestly I haven't invested too much time in searching the internet for a fix yet, but not hopeful to find fix soon. I have a feeling that it has to do with the fact that coupon network has not updated their info for our latest software update. Hope they get to it soon… Maybe this weekend I have some time to do alittle searching.

  45. Btw, just got an e-mail from Olive Nation with a free shipping code. The e-mail actually says two different codes, so I'm not sure if it's FREESC or FREESB. That makes the vanilla $6.95 for 7 beans!

  46. If you're on Facebook, you could join this group:

    It's been pretty quiet lately, but maybe fresh blood would get it going again!

    • Thanks Cris! I sent a request to that group the other day, and still havent had any response.

      Maybe I'll just start another one :)

      Anyone that's interested can message me at coupon clipper 3 3 3 @ yahoo (take out that spaces of course

  47. I found a nice trick around Slow-pokeness ! Go to the homepage and go to bottom of the page. There is a link for Printable Coupons. Click on that and it is a gateway to and loads alot faster and you can pick which page you want, especially if you want to fast forward to the last page to print your 2nd coupon. Hope this helps !

  48. Has anybody run across the cardboard novelty glasses that sell for around $1 apiece this Christmas season? When you look at Christmas lights, they show up as 3D shapes (candy canes, gingerbread men, angels, etc etc depending on the glasses). My friend got ours a few years ago a little hardware store, but I've not seen them since. They made fun inexpensive kid gifts. Thanks!

    • We originally got ours (years ago) at Seasonal Concepts… which is now inside HOM Stores. Maybe call there? Good luck!

      • I think I just saw some at a dollar store.

        • Oh, wish I had read the post about the Dollar Store before I drove all the way up to the Lowe's in Maple Grove!!! But they had them, and they were $2 each. We have a Dollar Store much closer, and that wouldn't have been a place I had thought about!!

  49. Is anyone else having problems with the Online Coupon Code Database? Every time I try to use it I get an error message.

    • I just used it earlier today, but let me check again.

      • I just tried and it worked fine for me. What browser are you using and which version?

        • My browser is IE 9. The SEARCH, MERCHANT, and CATEGORY boxes appear. After approximately 10 seconds they blink/refresh. Several seconds after that I get this message: "This program cannot display the webpage." If I refresh (F5) the page it stays the same. I just retried it with the same results.

        • Thanks for the info. I use Chrome and don't have a problem at all. I'll ask the developer about it. In the meantime, if you're willing to switch browser I know it works with Chrome.

  50. Please tell where you feel the best deal on ham is this year. In the past I have had the Cook's ham from Rainbow but found it to be very grisly and fatty. I don't want to spend the money for a high end ham and I prefer not to have to spend $25 on grocery to get a deal.

  51. Today I got a call from the Pioneer Press offering me a subscription for the paper Thursday through Sunday plus the e-paper for $13 for 13 weeks. That's a nice deal but I asked if there was a deal I could get for a longer period. Three months is pretty short. So she offered me the same deal but for 26 weeks — that is $13 for 26 weeks! I took it.

    I had let my subscription to the Pioneer Press lapse because they had raised it to $1.50 a week just for the Sunday paper and the e-paper.

  52. I'm planning to buy my husband a chainsaw from Home Depot for $140.00 for Christmas. Are there any deals out there for gift cards that anyone knows about?

    Thanks for your help!

    • Yes! Online you can buy them for 7% off through PlasticJungle. Filter to just get ecodes if you want the code emailed to you for immediate use: Also, check the sales flyer for your local grocery store as many MANY of them nationwide are having some sort of "buy $100 in gift cards, get $10 off a future purchase" type of promotion. If the participating gift cards aren't listed in the store's ad, just call the Customer Service counter.

  53. Awesome! That's great tip for plastic jungle. Thank you so much for the help!

  54. Just went to Roseville Byerly's. They still have a good supply of the 99 cent specials– flour, sugar, eggs, butter and baking chips. They were out of the Pillsbury cake mixes. This is the last day of the special.

    • The one off 94 and White Bear Ave had all the baking stuff left… but I didn't look at the cake mixes, since I didn't need any.

  55. This is what I had to do to be able to print and coupon network coupons on my mac:

  56. Any recommendations for inexpensive internet options – 12 mbps speed? I want to get rid of our home phone. We do not have or want cable either. Thanks!

  57. FYI, the Pioneer Press has been doing promos at Rainbow Foods in the Blaine/SLP/Coon Rapids area. It's 13 weeks of Wed/Thurs/Sun. for $26, but you get $25 in RaInbow Foods gift cards on the spot. I'm not a PP reader, but figured I would get more than a dollar's worth of coupons from the issues! :)

  58. How would you trade your coupons? Via mail?

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