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Thursday
May212015

Our Birds Eye® BBQ: Birds Eye® Steamfresh® Veggies

We love to have a bbq during the summer. Whether it is grilling chicken, hamburgers, hot dogs and more, it's always a great time with family and friends. As we shared a few weeks ago, Birds Eye® Steamfresh® Veggies are the perfect way to do this!

Birds Eye® veggies and I want to share with you a new product line is Steamfresh® Flavor Full and Steamfresh® Protein Blends – in 8 different varieties. Meijer is one of my fave grocery stores, you can't beat the perks, be sure to check out the Meijer Perks Page.

As part of their 8 new varieties, Birds Eye® also has some main course options, they have a couple of Protein Blends, a California Style, Southwest Style, Asian, and an Italian Style. These allow you to have a quick and easy main course too.

For today's meal, I decided to use the Birds Eye® Steamfresh® Veggies Southwest Blend, as the perfect side to rotissiere chicken:

 

I cooked up our rotissiere chicken and here is the final outcome:

 

Are you looking for more Birds Eye® recipes? Go here!

Birds Eye® new products: Steamfresh® Flavor Full and Steamfresh® Protein Blends - in 8 varieties! 

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Birds Eye® . The opinions and text are all mine.

 

Wednesday
May202015

16 Popular Stores That Price Match

Over time, I've discovered a few tips and tricks that get us the best price matching and adjustments at a number of popular retailers.

1. TARGET

If you find a lower price on something you bought within seven days of purchase, you can take advantage of Target's price-matching policy. Just bring your receipt to guest services and proof of lower price (from places like Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy) via website or printed ad. Price adjustments may also be made before you buy. Note: Any purchases made online are exempt from Target's price-matching policy.

2. WALMART

I've searched Walmart's website for pricing and headed to the store only to find the item more expensive on the shelf. In this event, you canrequest a price match in most U.S. states at the register. For other adjustments, bring proof of price to customer service and make sure the item is identical and in stock at the competing store. Walmart also offers its Savings Catcher to compare your receipt with local competitor pricing. If there's an opportunity for you to save, you'll get the difference back on an eGift Card.

3. MACY'S

Price adjustment requests can be made within 14 days at Macy's storesnationwide. Money is refunded to your original form of payment, whether cash, debit, or credit. Price changes are only made if the original purchase was made without a coupon, and you must take your item(s) back to the store for the adjustment.

4. NORDSTROM

Good news! If you find an item you just bought for less at a competitor's store, Nordstrom will meet that price provided it's the same color and size. Alternatively, if the same item you bought goes on sale at a Nordstrom store within 14 days of your purchase, you can easily get the extra taken off your order by bringing your receipt to customer service.

5. GAP, OLD NAVY, BANANA REPUBLIC

Keep your receipt to get a one-time price adjustment within 14 days of your purchase. Any items you bought using coupons, promotions, or other discounts (clearance, final sale, etc.) are not eligible for changes unless the promotion was free shipping. In addition, price adjustments for items sold online cannot be made in physical store locations.

6. J. CREW

Think fast, because J. Crew gives you just seven days from purchase to take advantage of its one-time price adjustments. Items must have been bought at their original prices (no clearance or final sale) and you'll need your receipt. The same policy stands with J. Crew's Factory outlets.

7. LOWE'S

My husband and I recently bought a new refrigerator at Lowe's. I noticed it was $3 less at a local competitor, so I asked about the 10% Price Match Guarantee, and we ended up saving an additional $3 plus $120 on our purchase. The store gives customers a full 30 days to compare prices at local stores and websites — impressive. Just keep your receipt and bring proof of better pricing to customer service.

8. HOME DEPOT

Not to be outdone, Home Depot offers similar 10% in-store price matching. This policy, as it goes with many retailers, does not extend to "discontinued, clearance, obsolete, seasonal, or distressed merchandise" at competing stores. Online purchases earn the matching only, minus the additional percentage back.

9. OFFICE DEPOT

For adjustments at Office Depot, just make sure the item you're requesting a change on is both new and identical at the store across town (or online). You can ask for price matching before purchase or within 14 days of receipt. The store will even match Amazon and Reliable, though third-party retailers are excluded from this policy.

10. STAPLES

Likewise, you can request price adjustments at the time of sale or within 14 days of purchase at Staples stores. This policy excludes any local special events, like grand openings, anniversary sales, and liquidations. In the case of items with free versus paid shipping, Staples will match if both are on the same terms. However, if the store offers free shipping and the competitor's lower priced item does not, shipping charges will apply to the overall matching equation.

11. TOYS "R" US, BABIES "R" US

I bought my daughter a camera at Toys "R" Us earlier this year and was able to get it for the lower Amazon price by asking at customer service. The store's Price Match Guarantee is simple and straightforward. It's valid on in-store purchases only, limited to two items (if you're purchasing several identical toys), and the store's online prices are matched provided they aren't special "online only" promotions. Exclusions include Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals; clearance, closeouts, and flash sales; as well as any pricing that is low due to typographical errors.

12. BED BATH & BEYOND

Any pricing that's lower at direct competitors or online retailers like Amazon will be honored at Bed Bath & Beyond stores. This excludes club stores like Sam's Club, BJ's, etc., in addition to pricing that's low due to clearance, closeouts, or limited time quantities. Better yet, a manufacturer's coupon can be used in combination with the price match for even more savings.

13. KOHL'S

To get an adjustment, keep your receipt for two weeks after buying anything (original price or sale) from Kohl's to see if the price is lowered. Items bought on Buy One, Get One (BOGO) are excluded from this offer. Kohl's also matches competitor pricing provided you provide a dated ad — in-store only — with identical merchandise.

14. BEST BUY

Electronics behemoth Best Buy "won't be beat on price" — so you know you can get a good deal. At the time of sale, the store will match local store and online pricing in addition to online retailers like Amazon, B&H Photo Video, Crutchfield, Dell, HP, Newegg, and TigerDirect. Preordered or backordered an item? If its price drops, you will automatically get the lower price. You can also request price adjustments within 15 days of purchase with receipt.

15. DICK'S SPORTING GOODS

I actually live in the town where Dick's Sporting Goods first opened its doors in the late 1940s. Their Winning Price Guarantee applies to identical items sold at local retail stores. Simply bring in the print or online ad to get the match at the time of sale. Exclusions to this policy include rebates, coupons, clearance, closeouts, BOGOs, and out-of-stock items.

16. AMAZON

I had no idea that Amazon offers price-matching. But there's a catch; it's only on televisions and cell phones. All other items on this giant online store are exempt from the policy. Though there's no information about formal price adjustments on the site, I've found several personal accounts for how to get a deal. The process involves signing into your Amazon account, clicking the help button, and then chatting with a representative about the change in price you've seen to get your refund. The blogger in the above scenario has only tried this approach within a week of purchase.

In the end, I've learned that no matter what or where you're buying, it never hurts to ask about a retailer's price matching or adjustment policy. The worst answer you can get is "no," and usually you'll be pleasantly surprised by the extra dollars you'll have left in your pocket. Every little bit counts!

Source: Wisebread.com

Saturday
May162015

22 Easy Ways to Save on Travel



Planning a trip? Don't miss these 22 easy ways to save on travel.
Thursday
May072015

27 Free Money-Saving Apps

Click here to download these FREE apps, which will help you save money!
Wednesday
May062015

Good Grades? Freebies for Your Child

Chuck E. Cheese - Receive free tokens for being a good student. Choose from the Super Student Award or Graduation Certificate.

Krispy Kreme - Get a free original glazed donut for each A (up to 6 A’s).

Chick-fil-A – Bring in your all A’s and B’s report card and receive a free 8 pack nuggets.  (This varies greatly by individual franchises.)

Pizza Hut – Each grading period period, any child who has 3 A’s or the equivalent will receive one Personal Pan Pizza and a small soft drink or carton of milk by presenting his or her report card to the manager. This offer is good for Elementary and Middle School students. Dine-in only. Student must be present and the original report card must be presented. Available at participating locations.

McDonalds – If your child has a straight “A” report card, he/she can receive a FREE Happy Meal. This may vary by location so call ahead first!

Family Video – Throughout the month of June, Family Video gives a FREE overnight movie or game rental to
students for every ‘A’ they receive on their final report card in any core subjects designed to ensure that we are an active, participating member of the community in which our store is located.

Cheryl’s Cookies – Get up to 3 FREE Cookies for A’s.

Cold Stone Creamery – Not on a national level, but the stores are individual owned & operated so the best thing to do would be to ask your local store as some have offered them in the past.

Bank Rewards – Check with your local banks and credit unions as many of them offer money rewards for good grades as well.

Saturday
May022015

11 Retailers Where You Can Negotiate Prices

Several major retail stores will actually take part in price negotiations, and will usually give you a better deal than the one you were expecting. You just have to know how to play the game. And it goes without saying — be polite and courteous the whole time. Demanding a discount won't get you anywhere.

1. BEST BUY

Let's start with the one most people have asked me about. "Can you really haggle at Best Buy?" Yes, you absolutely can, although the results will vary from store to store.

First, you want to go shopping towards the end of the month, between the 29th and the 31st. Like most retail stores, Best Buy gives its floor managers sales goals, and they really want to hit them. By going in when they are down to the wire, you have more haggling power.

Next, follow a few simple rules and you will get the bargain you want.

  • You will get better discounts on high-end items. A huge $2500 TV or home theater system has a serious markup, and therefore, more wiggle room. If you go big, start negotiating.
  • Ask for freebies to be thrown in. If you're buying a computer, ask for a pack of blank DVDs. If you get a laptop, ask for a free bag or wireless mouse.
  • Focus on floor models and open box items. I've had great success buying floor models at massive discounts. The great thing is, you can buy the Geek Squad protection on it, and they'll replace it for a brand new item if they're unable to repair it. Open-box items are also easy to haggle on, and 20%-25% off is fair. And if the packaging on a new item is damaged, ask for a discount. They will often give you 10% off.
  • Bundle and save. Buying a monitor and a keyboard? Ask for a discount on both. The same goes for a TV and Blu-ray player, or a bunch of DVDs. If you are buying multiples, the store manager has some discretion to give you a deal.
  • Remember price matching. If you see a lower price anywhere, Best Buy will match it. So before you buy, search for the item on your smartphone and find the lowest price online or locally. Then watch the salesperson crumble.

2 & 3. HOME DEPOT AND LOWES

The top two big box DIY stores both have very similar policies when it comes to negotiating, and the following guidelines apply.

  • Scratches, dents, and dings give you great haggling power. On big appliances, most customers want their new items to be pristine. They cost a lot of money, they should be perfect. But who cares about minor dings? After a few months in the house with kids and pets, those dings will soon appear anyway. Seek out scratched and dented items when you want a new appliance, and start haggling. It's damaged goods, and the managers have wiggle room. Even torn packaging can get you a discount.
  • Get deals on poor quality lumber, roll ends, and off cuts. If you're building a fence and don't mind a few imperfect pickets or posts, grab them from the rack. Then, talk to a store manager and ask for a discount. You should easily get one, since the lumber they can't sell gets junked, anyway. You can also get great deals on roll-ends for carpet and linoleum, as well as off-cut wood and other materials.
  • Floor models are also great starting points for negotiations. These days, you can get all of your major appliances from the hardware store, and they all have floor models that have been poked, prodded, and generally used and abused by potential customers. However, they work just fine, most of them have never even been plugged in. Ask for a floor model, at a 10%-15% discount. If they are not ready to sell the floor models yet, ask when they are. You may even be able to put one on hold, if you are particularly charming.
  • Take advantage of stocking errors. This doesn't always work, but if you see something you want and the price looks too good to be true, it could be a product that has been placed in the wrong section. If it's a one off, forget it. But if the whole rack is marked at $10, instead of $20, then it is a legitimate angle for a discount. They priced it incorrectly, it's their mistake, and their loss. This happens a lot at hardware stores, especially in some of the aisles with very similar products at vastly different prices.
  • Price match. This is always a good option. Now, Home Depot and Lowes seem to be a little tougher on this than other stores, and will require evidence of a product in stock locally for a lower price. Online price matching will be way more difficult to achieve.

4 & 5. SAM'S CLUB AND COSTCO

Wherever you do your bulk buying, there are some strategies you can employ that can help you get better prices. Remember, just because you're already getting a discount, it doesn't mean the prices cannot go lower. Your membership fees and the bulk buying formula are the reason the prices are low. The stores are getting this stuff cheap, they make great profits, and you can negotiate.

  • Know the store layouts. Clark Howard, a consumer expert, says that the best deals in both of these stores are on aisles five, six, and seven. Knowing this in advance, you can head over to these areas and talk to the manager about buying a lot of these goods for a discount.
  • Look for items going off that day. Whether it's fruit, meat, bread, cakes, or vegetables, the manager will be very pliable towards the end of the day. They'd rather get a sale from you than throw it all in the dumpster.
  • Check the prices. For instance, any items ending in .97 at Costco are either discounted or on clearance, even if they don't advertise it. That means the store wants them gone, and gone quickly. Knowing this can really help you when it comes time to ask for a few bucks extra off.
  • Tires should never be bought at sticker price. The warehouse stores rely on you thinking that they will have the cheapest prices around. This is a complete fallacy. With your smartphone at hand, bring up the prices of the same tires at places like Discount Tire or Tire Rack.

6. FURNITURE STORES

There are big retail chains, and there are local mom-n'-pop businesses. However, they both have one thing in common: They are willing to negotiate on certain items, especially as the markup on furniture is so high. How high, you ask? Try 80%. A lot of the stock is bought overseas, shipped in, and marked up to ridiculous amounts. Here are some negotiation strategies you can use.

  • First, head to the back of the stores, or the clearance sections. You will find some products marked "as is" or "last one." Well, this is a great place to start haggling. They have discounted the stock because they want it gone, and if you are ready to take it off their hands on that day, you'll be doing them a favor. Don't get greedy, it's already cheap, but drop the price another 20%. If you can, offering cash also helps.
  • They know many of their products are not as high-quality as they make out. So, start looking over the pieces like they're used cars. Inspect the joints, the finish, point out the flaws. As you make your case for the poor craftsmanship, you are laying the groundwork for a discount.
  • Buy more, get more of a discount. If you plan on remodeling the bedrooms, see if you can afford to buy everything at one time. If you're dropping a lot of money, the furniture store may work with you.

7 & 8. WALMART AND TARGET

You might think that the country's two largest retailers wouldn't let you haggle. Well, this isn't the case. There are times you can haggle, if you know what you're doing.

  • Like other stores on this list, Walmart and Target will let you haggle on items that are damaged or dinged. On damaged items, you can get a13% discount at Target. I checked into this, and it's a standard figure that is often offered, especially if you received a damaged item from Target.com. So, if you are okay with the amount of damage the item has, ask for the discount. They will often apply it right there.
  • Food is very easy to negotiate on. Just like in the warehouse stores, Walmart and Target managers know that food that has reached its best-before-date is not going to be easy to sell. That's why you'll often see those "manager's special" stickers on meat and seafood. Well, just go and talk to a manager and ask for a discount on the food. They will usually apply a savings sticker right there. It can be anywhere from $3 off, to half price. If it's in questionable shape, or the packaging is beaten up, you can often get it for 75% off.
  • Discontinued items are another great way to save money. You can find out about them from websites, and armed with that knowledge you can ask for big discounts. You will also see them in bargain bins. The store wants them gone; they will negotiate.

9. PAWN STORES

You've seen Rick on Pawn Stars, so you know the score here. This is one of the few kinds of stores that actively encourages haggling, due to the nature of their "buy low and sell high" model. They want to engage you in negotiations, but this of course works both ways. You can get a deal, if you know how to approach them:

  • Learn the pawn store discount codes, such as the codes from Pawn America. Once you know the secret, you are instantly given a way to know how much the item can be discounted. Other pawn stores may have similar codes, so do your homework.
  • If you're selling, make sure you know as much as you can about your item. And then, make sure you make the first offer, knowing that it will be countered by a much lower offer. One of the first rules of negotiation is that the person who sets the price controls the bidding.
  • Don't over-negotiate. The pawn store owner is running a business, and has to make a profit from the items he or she buys. Yes, they are ready to haggle, but if you offer them half of what the item is worth, they'll laugh you out of the store. When they say "final offer," they mean it.

10. THRIFT STORES

As someone who goes to thrift stores often, haggling is a great skill to have. Every thrift store is different, but having worked behind the scenes at Goodwill, I can tell you that the pricing is very loose. Some items are marked too low, and others too high. With that in mind...

  • Look at the color-coded tags. If a color is on sale that week, it means it has been sitting on the shelf for a long time. Thrift stores have a high turnover, and want to make room for new merchandise constantly. These items are ready to go to something called salvage, and that means you have the ability to haggle the price.
  • Look carefully at the condition. Is it scratched, dented, or chipped? Does it work correctly? Did you find snags or holes that the pricer may have missed? Simply by pointing those things out, you can get a manager to knock a few bucks off the price.
  • Use your smartphone to bring up the going rate of the item you want. If they have overpriced it, they'll usually bring it down to the price you show them. After all, they get all of their items for free, so it's all profit for the charity.
  • Ask for discounts on bulk purchases. I recently bought a set of four plates the same price that three would have cost me, simply because I asked for a discount if I took them all.

11. DEPARTMENT STORES

Despite what you may think, Nordstrom's, Macy's, Kohl's, and Dillard's are definitely open to haggling. Managers are open to a little negotiation, and are even authorized to go 10% below a competitor's price. Here's what you need to do to make sure you are in the discount zone.

  • Price matching is key. If you find a blouse or a pair of shoes cheaper in another store, bring it up on your smartphone. They want your business, and they have numbers to hit. The price is not going to be much lower anyway, and they'd rather have less profit than no sale.
  • Sales happen all the time. Ask if the item you're looking for was recently on sale, or if it is coming on sale again soon. The store manager will often give you last week's sale price. You can also come back to a store when the item you bought at full price is now on sale, and ask for the difference as a refund. They will usually honor this.
  • Once again, scuffs, scratches, and dents are great haggling points.
  • Use something called "sticker shock." That means you're very interested in the item until the clerk reveals the price. If you are really taken aback, they will look into discounts for you. Sometimes, those discounts can be significant, especially on jewelry and watches.
  • Ask for extras to be thrown in for free. If you buy a suit, ask for a shirt and tie.
  • The golden rule with department stores — ask for the manager. They have the authority to offer bigger discounts, and if you are very polite, they often like to show how powerful they are by giving you a big fat discount.

Source: Wisebread.com

Monday
Apr272015

Collecting coupons in Canada: What you need to know

Ever wondered where other people get their coupons from? Ever wanted to get your own and use it to save money when shopping? Whether you are a veteran coupons user or you are absolutely new to collecting as well as using coupons, here are a few things that you really need to know in order to increase your coupon count.

How to collect coupons:

  • Online coupons sites – there are several online websites that are dedicated to printing and mailing coupons to their customers or at least to all those in their mailing list. However, some offer the coupons and let you do the printing.
  • Online auction sites – these are a great place to get your coupons if you really want to start and have a good collection. In most cases, they have coupons from various active coupon sites Canada offers.
  • Contact manufacturer – in the event that you like and want a certain product, you can just go ahead and visit the manufacturer’s site and contact them from there. You can choose to either write to them or simply give them a call. Normally, there is a contact link that you can use for that purpose. While contacting them, you are free to ask for samples of the products or coupons, if any. On the other hand, you should not be discouraged in case you get a no, but try again after a number of months, if you really want or like the product because companies, just like anybody, like hearing compliments about their products. If it is a concern, you can still go ahead and write or tell them about it.
  • Newspaper inserts – quite a good number of flyer inserts are often included in local newspapers. Just check your weekend flyers or you can alternatively check online as to when the flyers will come out.
  • Hanging on store shelves – many are the times that coupons are hanged right beside the products in the stores. If you check them out, you might get a coupon for something that you really want. Collect more coupons in case you are looking forward to make multiple purchases.
  • Coupon trading/forums/trains – you can find and join a group of people who are dedicated to saving money as well as finding the best deals in Canada. Here, you can check out various couponing Canada sites to sample various deals that are available. It is also a superb platform to meet people who are really interested in not only collecting coupons but also trading the same. A single coupon train normally consists of around 6 to 8 people.

Basically, couponing in Canada, or rather getting and using coupons in Canada, is more a fun thing while, at the same time, is a good and proven way of saving money. Don’t be left behind, collect your coupons today start this simple journey of making sure you shop more for less the next time you go to a store, whether it is local or online.

Tuesday
Apr212015

8 Ways to Get Student Loan Debt Forgiveness

The cost of higher education keeps climbing. Since 2004-2005, average college tuition in the U.S. has grown by over 35% to a total of $9,500 in the 2014-2015 school year. While there are many opportunities to receive grants, scholarships, and relatively affordable loans to finance a college education, there are also a number of loan forgiveness programs that can help to erase debt after you've graduated. Here are some of the best loan forgiveness options available.

1. TEACHERS

Many areas of the country need high quality teachers, particularly schools with students who fall into low income brackets. If you teach at one of these schools or at educational service agencies for five consecutive years, you may be eligible for up to $17,500 worth of complete forgiveness on Federal Stafford Loans. PLUS loans are not eligible for forgiveness under this program.

2. EDUCATORS

While the forgiveness of Federal Stafford Loans is limited to teachers, theforgiveness of Federal Perkins Loans is more expansive, and broadly includes educators. Perkins Loans can be 100% forgiven if you elect to become a school librarian, an employee at a child or family-centered agency, a staff member at a Head Start program, pre-kindergarten, or childcare program, or a school speech pathologist, special education teacher, or full-time teacher. Most of these programs require you to work in a low-income school, remain a teacher for a certain number of years, and some also carry specific education requirements, such as a master's degree.

3. ARMED FORCES

If you are considering joining the military, there are loan forgiveness opportunities for you. Should you serve in a hostile fire or imminent danger area, you may be eligible for forgiveness of your Federal Perkins Loans. If your active service ended on or before August 14, 2008, you can receive up to 50% loan forgiveness. If your service began after or includes August 14, 2008, you may receive up to 100% loan forgiveness.

4. FIREFIGHTERS OR LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS

Should you feel called to protect your city by becoming a firefighter, law enforcement officer, or corrections officer, you may be able to receive up to 100% forgiveness of your Federal Perkins Loans.

5. NURSES OR MEDICAL TECHNICIANS

Nurses and medical technicians across the country are in short supply. In less than 10 years, the nursing field is expected to increase job openingsby 19%. Full-time nurses and medical technicians can be awarded up to 100% loan forgiveness of their Federal Perkins Loans.

6. AMERICORPS VISTA OR PEACE CORPS VOLUNTEERS

Many young college graduates feel a compelling call to serve in a volunteer capacity in the U.S. or overseas. If you fall into that category, there are two programs that would help you to gain up to 70% loan forgiveness of your Federal Perkins Loans: AmeriCorps VISTA is a volunteer program for students who want to serve in vulnerable areas in the U.S. The Peace Corps is a storied program that pairs American volunteers with sites abroad in developing nations.

7. EARLY INTERVENTION SERVICES OF THE DISABLED

There are many nonprofit and government organizations that seek to provide critical and early intervention services for the disabled. If you work for one of these organizations, you may be eligible to receive up to 100% forgiveness on your Federal Perkins Loans.

8. FULL-TIME FACULTY AT A TRIBAL COLLEGE OR UNIVERSITY

The U.S. Department of Education has designated certain colleges and universities as tribal colleges. This means that these colleges and universities are primarily focused on educating U.S. citizens who are American Indians and Alaskan Natives. Full-time faculty members at these schools can receive up to 100% forgiveness of Perkins Loans.

Receiving a college education today is now an expensive proposition for just about everyone. Luckily, these loan forgiveness programs provide options to finance your education while also helping you to make a meaningful and lasting impact in a community that needs your skills and talents.

Source: Wisebread.com