Open Mic 12/5/13

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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.

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  1. JoAnna says

    This was just posted by Cindy in the open mic from 2 wk’s ago:
    If anyone is interested in an inexpensive visit with Santa, I have the deal for you!!!
    My parents dress up like Mr. & Mrs. Claus at their house…
    8450 Ann Marie Trail, Inver Grove Heights, MN
    They have one of the biggest displays of Christmas Lights around and a sleight that they sit in for pictures.
    Pictures are FREE with them. ad they make appearances nightly, depending on weather (The rain today and yesterday caused the lights to go out… :-( )
    They have several displays of a variety of items, such as a religious theme, Santa’s Pet Shop, Santa’s work shop, etc.
    One thing they also have is a box for a collection of food shelf items in which they turn into the Inver Grove Heights Food Shelf and have given me some to turn into the Big Lake Food Shelf as well.
    They don’t believe me that these sites work as far as deals and getting the word out, so if you go, tell them I sent you via this website! Thanks!

  2. Sally says

    I bought a Groupon yesterday for $19 for $75 Staples personalized gifts . They have xmas ornaments for $8.00 each. Free shipping. I thought that was a really good deal.

  3. Sue says

    How often does Cub run the promotion for buy $100 in gift cards, and get a $20.00 coupon towards groceries? Is this only a once a year event?

    • Deb says

      I’ve been waiting for this promotion as well. I hope the recent gas money for gift cards wasn’t a replacement for the $$ back coupon.

    • Sheila says

      The deal was last week! I did not see it in the ad, but heard about it someplace on PYD. I did the deal (2 times) and hopefully for all you- it might still be running. It’s a limited choice of gift cards and they have to total $100 the register then prints out a coupon for $20 off of groceries at Cub the following week. I was bragging to my husband that it was free groceries and he said it was not free- you still had to spend the money to get the coupons, but to me- it’s as free as free groceries will ever be!

      Can someone confirm if this is still running this week??? It may have ended already. I had to ask at the service counter about the deal since there was no sign posted at the gift card area. She had a print off of the deal, this was the Lakeville on Heritage Drive Cub Foods.

        • Martha says

          The Gift card deal traditionally starts the Sat before Thanksgiving and runs to the Sat after. They some times run a second in the 2 weeks before Christmas with the coupon value of $10 instead of $20.

  4. Sue says

    I loved Carrie’s post regarding buying magazine subscriptions for a gift.

    Don’t forget that offers a variety magazine subscriptions.

    • Darcy says

      I would check with the recipient before buy a magazine subscription for them. In this day and age of decluttering a lot of people don’t want to get magazines in the mail. Especially if it was given to them they probably would feel obligated to not toss it adding to their clutter. JMO

  5. Carol says

    I bought the Better Homes & Gardens sheets that were on the Walmart black Friday ad for$24.96. When I opened them up there was a card in them that was good for a 12 month subscription to Better Homes & Garden magazine valued at $6.00 . It also said that if you did not want to receive the magazine you could write refund on the card and send it in with your . receipt. I’m wondering if that means I would receive a $6.00 refund? If so it would make the sheets only $18.96 an even better deal.

  6. Aga says

    Happy December! I wanted to mention Ebates because I imagine there is a lot of online shopping happening these days. Our family has been trying to use it for the small amount of shopping we do online and while it doesn’t result in much, we usually get enough in our quarterly check for my husband and I to go out for fancy coffee :)
    It doesn’t cost any more than the items you are already going to buy, but will allow you to get a bit back, so might as well use! PYD has a rewards program, too.
    If any of you are interested in checking out ebates, we’d love it if you would use our family’s link:
    [link removed by moderator]
    They are doing a refer-a-friend bonus this month, which you could take advantage of after joining, too- our hope is to earn enough to buy a World Vision Christmas goat.

  7. Melissa says

    Anyone have ideas of where we can see/take pictures with Santa for free or less than what the mall Santa charges? Preferably in the metro area. Thanks

  8. angie says

    I came across from a pyd shopping list link. Anyone use this site? I know its legit (Ty pyd !!) but I’m still confused..

    • JoAnna says

      I found a post where Carrie explained is a new website offering printable coupons for natural and organic products, which I describe in more detail below.

      There’s a new printable coupon website available called that can help you save on natural and organic products, including food, household items, personal care products, and more.
      Not only does Hopster offer coupons for popular natural and organic brands, including Ella’s Kitchen, Biz and The Natural Dentist, but it also allows you to earn points to increase the value of your coupons.
      All you have to do is sign up for a free Hopster account to start saving. And the best part is, the first 300 Pocket Your Dollars’ readers to sign up using this link will get a bonus of 750 points instantly added to their account. If you aren’t one of the first 300, you will still get 250 points, which is the standard amount offered to new members.
      How to Earn Points

      Besides the automatic bonus you get for signing up, points can easily be earned by completing various activities, or “Quests” as Hopster calls them, which include:
      “liking” companies on Facebook
      following companies on Twitter
      signing up to receive newsletters
      watching videos
      and more!
      Just click on the “Earn Points” link at the top of the page to start completing these quests.
      Increasing the Coupon Value

      In turn, you can use your points to increase the coupon value for a particular product.
      For example, there is currently a printable coupon available for $1/4 Ella’s Kitchen 100% Organic Products. You can increase that coupon value to as much as $2/4 Ella’s Kitchen 100% Organic Products by spending your points. Every 100 points increases the coupon value by $0.10. Just use the plus or minus symbols to increase or decrease the coupon value.
      If you are interested in increasing other coupons, click on the “Boost” symbol in the lower left-hand corner of the coupon’s box.

  9. Marta says

    Has anyone seen any Chima Lego party supplies anywhere? The Minnetonka Target doesn’t have them and neither does Party City. Birthday party is Sunday, so am looking local (versus online). Thanks!

  10. Julie says

    I’m looking for the best combination items to buy at target using cartwheel etc. I want to maximize my 20 percent coupon from Black Friday. Thanks for any ideas!

  11. E says

    Does anyone have recommendations for fast, inexpensive internet service providers? We currently have it combined with cable but need to cut back on our expenses.

    • Shannon Stewart says

      If you live in Minneapolis, we get the city of Minneapolis internet and it works great and works out to about $17 a month if you do the 2 year and just a little more for one year. We don’t have cable or smartphones or anything else that we could ever bundle, so its a good deal.

  12. ella says

    We are looking for gift ideas for an elderly relative in an assisted living apartment. He still can get around with aid of a walker, but has had to give up most of his hobbies (gardening, woodworking, choir, etc.). In past we’ve given books, magazine subscriptions, a desktop chiming clock, sweater, slippers, photo albums, music cds, etc. but are looking for other ideas.

  13. lori says

    My mom lives in assisted living. Most of the residents there want someone to take them places, like Walgreens and Kohls. If you have time, taking the person out on errands might be a great gift.

    Stamps are also a great gift, my mom still mails stuff and she never has enough stamps.

  14. Salima Khakoo says

    Great gifts for elderly shut ins
    1. A date to bring them somewhere fun like s Christmas concert and Scandanavian dinner
    2. Postage stamps and cards so they can keep in touch with family.
    3. Basic cleaning items too hard to lift like toilet paper, detergent, etc in a laundry basket with a bow.
    4. Nice chocolate and other treats from Aldis.
    5. A subscription to netflix with help to hook it up on TV.
    6. A home massage or pedicure, manicure at home
    7./ A haircut gift card from someone willing to come to the home
    8. A week of groceries from Coborns and computer train ing on how to order in the future
    9. Gift cards to places that deliver food.
    10. Homemade pies and other frozen food that the person can warm and eat.
    11. Your company- the most valuable gift ever.

    • Sally says

      I live in a Senior Bldg. and you would be surprised how many have no one or anywhere to go on Christmas. We have 92 Apts. and at least 20 people have nothing to do on Christmas. So I decided to have a party for them on Christmas Day. I thought we’d have some food , do a small gift exchange and play some bingo for prizes. I don’t have the money for this and was wondering if I could get Cub or Target to donate some food/prizes. Has anyone ever asked them to do something like this? How do I go about it? I just want these people to get out of their Apts. and mingle with each other.

      • Kathy says

        Sally, I think you may have more success if you approach mom and pop retailers for donations, since they do not have to go to several different managers. Perhaps the bldg. manager has a slush fund for residents to purchase some items? You could also ask residents if they would like to have a potluck.

      • Rene S says

        Sally, bless your heart! This idea makes me smile. Target is usually quite generous toward their community, so it can’t hurt to try them. ITA Kathy’s idea about approaching smaller businesses, and be sure to bring a flyer of the party or business card of your complex as “proof” you exist.

        • Salima says

          If you let me know what you need perhaps my place of worship can dona some items. I also noticed that the dollar store and some nice items for the holidays like 500 piece puzzles etc. Let me know and I am happy to coordinate. We also have some students who want to make bracelets for gifts and I can get them connected to you.

  15. lori says

    Sally, when you say senior building, you mean people 55 or older but not assisted living, right? I have something I could donate but it would require that the person who gets it has transportation to an AMC Theater.

    • Sally says

      About half of the people drive still. We have a 95 yr. old that still drives and she’s sharp as tack.
      I saw her the other day and she had bags from Walgreens and Walmart. I asked what she was shopping for and she said she went to Church and then met her girlfriends for lunch and did a little shopping. LOL! I love it. I wonder how old her girlfriends are? Anyway Lori if you have something to donate you can send me an email for my address. And Thank You so much.

  16. Sally says

    Sorry for the late reply Lori, I signed up to get all comments but I didn’t get yours. The bldg. is 62 + & disabled. We have some younger people here that have disabilities. It is not assisted living. As soon as it warms up I will be going to Target/ Walmart, Cub/ Menards/ Home Depot/ Walgreens. I’ll let you know how that works out.

  17. Ann says

    If you are comfortable doing so, please send me your address and I’ll send you some gifts for the party. Ann, Northfield, MN

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