Open Mic 7/18/13

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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. I bought a printer from OfficeMax last week. This week it is on sale for $20 less. Does anyone know OfficeMax’s policy for getting the sale price on previously purchased merchandise? I looked on the website but didn’t find anything. Thanks for your help.

    • I would assume they would since it is within a week, but not sure of their “official” policy. If they won’t, then just tell them you’d like to return it and repurchase it -using the receipt only and not bringing in the printer – thus netting you the $20 difference. If you still have no luck – then just but a “new” printer at the sale price. Then return it using the receipt from last week at full price. But I’m hopeful it won’t get to that point.

    • Tag – I think most mainstream retailers would give you a price adjustment within 7-14 days. I know that within the last year, Staples gave me a price adjustment that went on sale the week after I bought it.

  2. Happy Open Mic Day, everyone! :)

    Does anyone have ideas for tasty, healthy, filling, yet budget friendly meals? I’ve always been a healthy cook but I feel like my cooking routine could use a recharge and I want to get better at maximizing my buck while providing my family delicious, healthy food.

    Enjoy your day!

    • I have found that Pinterest is a great resource for my recipe needs…kind of a one-stop shop for a variety of ideas. I, too, look for the same type of meals as you and (through Pinterest) have found my way to many family-friendly healthy cooking blogs and recipe posts.

    • Check out Skinnytaste dot com – I don’t think I’ve made a recipe of hers that I didn’t like! Her Mexican recipes are so so good! Oh, and her Homemade BBQ is insanely good and easy. Also check out Pioneer Woman if you haven’t yet… food blogs and Pinterest really whet my appetite for cooking :) good luck!

  3. Valley Fair tickets is currently on sale for the lowest price of the season. Only valid 7/29 to 8/18 for $29.99

  4. Has anyone spotted any plant sales out there now..I have a few blank spots in my landscaping I’d like to fill in with end of season perenial sales-Thanks!

  5. Kristin says:

    Does anyone know of the best carpet deal in the metro area? What is a good price to pay for some average carpet for a rental house?

    • We’re having carpet laid on Tuesday by Home Depot. We checked around and found them to be the cheapest. Find a coupon online or at the post office in the change of address packet for Lowe’s for 10% off. HD will honor it, but won’t discount instillation. We had to order our carpet and because it was a “special value” it took a little longer for the order time, then they were scheduled a week and a half out for install. All in all, we ordered the Saturday before the 4th and installing on the 23rd. Not bad turn around time with a holiday thrown in there.

      • That’s where my parents ordered their new carpet from, too–they were pleased with overall cost and service.

        • My folks have recarpeted their basement, their addition, and they are doing their main level this fall, all with HD.

    • My vote for new carpet would be through Costco. Very good quality. The pad was a big upgrade. It’s only about 3 years old and looks brand new.

  6. colleen says:

    Does anyone see a kinesiology chiropractor in the St Paul area?

    • Shannon Stewart says:

      I love my chiropractor in St. Paul. She does a variety of ‘types’ but a lot of craniosacral and some visceral manipulation. Very minimal ‘cracking the back’ type adjustments and she doesn’t just do the same old thing each time, she really figures out what you need. She saved me after a twin pregnancy and then after my last baby. It’s Channing McKinley Chiropractic. If she doesn’t do kinesiology work, she would tell you and refer you elsewhere. I really can’t say enough about her!

    • I know Kinetic Physical Therapy in Woodbury is great!

  7. If you have a friend/know a consultant who sells 31 there is a 70% sale that started this morning and runs until tomorrow night. Really great deals!!

    • Hi everyone! I am a Thirty-One Consultant, and the outlet sale started today! Now, I don’t have a link to the sale, because I just became a consultant a few days ago, and am still learning haha. But you can search my ID #383968, and you should be able to go to the sale. Thank you! :)

  8. Does anyone have a HVAC professional they recommend? I bought an AC/Heat Pump and need a professional to install it for the warranty to be honored by Mitsubishi. I live in Bloomington. I would like to keep the cost down. I have a family members who are pretty handy, but looking for a professional just to do the final line set install and paperwork formality to ensure the warranty is effective. A family member (electrician) will be running power to the unit. Thanks!

    • Not sure if he does this type of install but we used Parkview Heating and AIr, 102nd & Park View CIrcle in Bloomington last year for the whole new system. I would reccommend him to any of my friends and family. He was neat, clean, did the work as promised and when promised. Nice local guy, no hard sales and not a chain! 952 212-8732.

  9. Which is the cheapest site for contacts these days? I am looking for acuvue oasys specifically.

  10. I asked this a couple of weeks ago. Has anyone received their $15 P & G rebate? I mailed mine on May 7th.

    • I missed the mail in date so I can’t help you/

    • About 3 weeks ago I got mine it was a credit card with name and $15. I can’t tell anymore info I already used it. The envelope was not marked from p & g. I hope you didn’t mix it up with junk credit card mail.

    • Therese S. says:

      Weeks ago I received my ‘debit’ card…but was $10

      It came in a plain white #10 envelope that looked like junk mail.

  11. Where have you found the best deals for k-cups?

  12. In June My hubby and I started working out every weekday. I am now researching supplements, protein shakes…..I have heard rave reviews regarding Shakeology. Anyone here try that/use that? Thanks :)

    • Advocare also sells good products.

      • Christine says:

        I haven’t heard much about Shakeology. I also use Advocare, and absolutely love it. I lost 11 inches (total throughout my body) during my first 24 days. I also use My Fitness Pal to track my calories, since cleanses tend to leave you short on calories.

        • Oooops….it was 24 days. I dieted the week before so I forget it was “only” 24 days.

    • I have also heard a bit about FitBit–anyone use one?

      • I did their 30 challenge and lost 27 lbs. You cut out a lot of indulgences caffeine, sweets, and dairy in the first phase. There are supplements you take to maintain health while cleansing out the toxins. They sell an abundance of products. Spark, is their healthy redbull per say. My husband was a two Monster, then maintained his alertness with coffee throughout the day, he changed over to Spark during the 30 day challenge and swears that 2-3 glasses throughout the day kept him just as alert. They also have products to help with sleep, meal replacement shakes, etc.

      • Sorry, you were asking about fitbit, oops. No experience with that.

    • Heather says:

      I have not tried them, but the cookies and cream GNC protein shake is great.

    • JoAnna – My husband tried Shakeology last year and LOVED it. We couldn’t afford to keep getting the shake mix, but he was a big fan while it lasted. :)

    • JoAnn – if you are up to making your own shakes at home, check out They have meal plans to follow and a line of supplements.

  13. christine says:

    I have an upright piano that I’m looking to donate to a good organization. Does anyone how of any organization that may want this?

  14. T: (651) 698-3280 1326b Grand Ave. St. Paul, MN 55105
    This organization would certainly take it off your hands. They are located on Grand Avenue right by Hamline.

    • christine says:

      Thanks you Elizabeth for this information. I’m so pleased that there is an organization out there that could use it. They even come and pick it up. So impressed. I have contacted them. Thanks again.

  15. My husband and I are looking to take a trip to the black hills next month. We would like to do this as cheaply as possible of course. I am wondering if anyone has any tips on cheap car rentals? I’ve done some different online searches and the best i’ve found is about $170-$200 for 5 days for an economy car. We are hoping that by doing it this way we would save money in gas, rather than driving our SUV. My husband is a vet, and would qualify for military discounts also, but I have not seen any options for that sort of discount (online anyway). Thanks!

    • Helperlady says:

      Do not rent from the airport. They have to add many fees etc.

    • Nichole says:

      If you’re not picky about the company, I always use where you can name your price. I usually get compact or mid size cars for around $9 per day. When we went on vacation to Utah last spring, I got a minivan for $21 or $22 per day for 10 day – much better than putting that many miles on our own car!

      • Also, if you have a Costco membership try their website for rental car deals.

      • I second Nichole’s response. I have gotten a Premium SUV for as little as $18 a day thru Name your Own Price on Priceline. Although there are more fees added thru an airport rental, the base price will usually be lower and bigger selection than the off-site suburban ones. Last minute works best as well. It’s a game – you have to bid low enough to get a counter-offer and not too low to be rejected. I usually shoot for 50% off what is currently listed and then have most times gotten a counter proposal about $3-$5 more than my bid. One time I was shocked and my bid accepted then I got the buyers remorse thinking “oh my I could have probably gotten that cheaper if only I had bid less” Happy vacationing.

      • Therese S. says:

        have to agree with Nichole. Priceline is AWESOME…I got a rental car for $8 a day about a month ago…other times it’s around $11-15 per day with unlimited miles.

        • Thanks for the priceline idea! I had looked on there, but didn’t see the name your own price option. Found it now!
          It looks like they also charge a security deposit (upon pickup i believe). Any idea what they charge for that?

        • Depends on the rental company you get. Budget puts a $200 hold on your credit card. Enterprise and Thrifty do not.

  16. Hi fellow PYD-ers! Just looking for suggestions on a duvet cover. We have a king size bed, and I am looking for a teal & brown duvet cover. We have 2 dogs AND a cat that sleep with us, so I wash the cover weekly. If you have suggestions for places that are not super expensive and have a nice selection, I welcome them! I did find a perfect one at, The Jennifer Lopez Ocean Drive set, but its $202.99 ON SALE! GULP! Maybe I can wait for a 30%, but that is still more than I want to spend, especially if its not on sale any more. THANKS!

    • If you can sew. You should look into the option of making your own. You just have to sew two sheets together. Just buy one size up from your comforter. So if you have a king, you can buy king sheets, but for deep matresses. Then sew them together. You have more options among sheets. Plus, it’s reversable. Good luck!

      • Jennifer says:

        Great idea! I have minor sewing skills and sewed a duvet from some clearance sheets I found-much cheaper. If you really like a design at a store, then they often have matching/coordinating sheets. As Kendra said, you can just buy two different flat sheets that coordinate to make it reversible. If you don’t like to sew and are in the Twin Cities area, then you might check Macy’s, Bed Bath and Beyond, JCP, or Linen and Things when they have a sale. Both Macy’s and JCP have good coupons and percentages off sale sometimes. I also really like a few online sites for bedding: Garnet Hill and The Company Store clearance. Kohls does have good sales. I hope that’s not too many options. I love all the ideas, suggestions and support I find here! Good luck!

  17. I was looking for a good tree service and I found the best in the twin cities. They are They did a wonderful job for a price I could afford. Thanks for all who wrote and gave me names of tree services.

  18. This is the first arborist that could tell me what kind of tree I have in my yard. I have others try but they did not know what kind of tree it is.This company is so good.

  19. What is stock up price on toilet paper? Our local store has Angel Soft regular rolls/4pks. for $.79 this week.

    • Carol – It totally depends on what you like (brand/size/etc.). I usually shoot for 35¢ or so for a double roll of Cottonelle, Charmin, etc. (don’t like the cheap stuff).

  20. Anyone have any recommendations for a dentist in the Plymouth area?

    • Dr. Michael Colbert, but he is in Maple Grove. Easy to get an appointment and he’s very down-to-earth.

    • I know this is probably too late for you, but just in case the other one doesn’t work out or you wanted another suggestion, I go see Dr. Brian Mondale in Plymouth near Hwy 55 and County Rd 73. I really like him and he’s good with my young son, too.

  21. Christa says:

    What is a good price per roll for paper towels (any brand)? Also looking for the same info on Cottonelle toilet paper. Thank you!

    • Christa – I shoot for 35¢/double roll of toilet paper but sometimes pay more if my stockpile is getting low.

      Paper towels I aim for 50¢/roll or less, but that’s for the regular sized rolls. Mega rolls you could pay more for and still be getting a good deal.

  22. Our Sunday StarTrib has been stolen out of our box the past two weeks. Any recommendations on how to ensure we receive our weekly paper?

    • Get up earlier than the paper is delivered and watch to see who is stealing.

    • Allison says:

      Are your neighbors receiving their paper? I had this problem with the paper not being delivered. I went round and round with star trib about this…now I just go out and buy the paper.

  23. Be sure to check the price of things on sale at Cub Foods. The charged me full price on two things that are on sale this week. Now I have to make a trip back to get a refund on them.

  24. Have you tried couponing at Teals?

  25. Jennifer says:

    Any suggestions for a good, reasonable painter in St. Paul? We need some interior painting done (we’re frugal but I don’t like to paint, so I think it’s worth paying for…:)). Thanks!

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