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June 2009 | Here's the deal: Bargains in Dayton
 

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June 2009

Site has budget tips for disabled travelers

Traveling with a disability can be difficult and expensive, and some budget guides don’t take into consideration the needs of folks with decreased mobility.

To address that, the Go Frugal Blog put out by FreeShipping.org has put together 11 budget travel tips for people with disabilities.

The site offers ideas for more accessible accommodations, as well as tips on issues related to flying, lodging and visiting museums.

Buy one, get one half off at Shoe Carnival

Shoe Carnival is running a special Wednesday through Saturday, July 1-4, in which customers will receive a BOGO When You Want 2 card.

This card will allow customers to buy one pair of shoes and then get a second pair of equal or lesser value for half off anytime they want through Jan. 19, 2010.

“We know our customers continue to face tough economic times, so we wanted to offer this promotion again so that those that didn’t have the opportunity to participate in April can do so now,” said Todd Beurman, Senior Vice President of Marketing for Shoe Carnival.

Shoe Carnival offered this deal in April as well.

The local Shoe Carnival store is at 5567 Salem Ave.

For more information, call (937) 837-8151.

Here’s the Deal: Repair or replace

A penny saved is a penny earned, but when you are faced with a broken appliance, you need to find out where it is best to spend those pennies.

So the question becomes: When is it financially best to replace an appliance, and when is it best to repair it?

To find out, I checked with some experts to get their advice on how to make the best decision and save the most money in the long run, especially during these leaner economic times.

Angel Stiffler of Logan Master Appliance Sales and Service in Kettering said the store has seen a decided spike in service in the last couple years.

“We have more people coming in to buy a used appliance or repair one,” said Stiffler, adding that Logan sells new and used items, in addition to providing service.

Stiffler said the staff works with the consumer based on what is wrong with the appliance and how old it is.

Questions to ask

Angie Hicks is the founder of Angie’s List (www.angieslist.com), which provides consumer reviews on appliance repair companies and more than 425 other categories of service.

Hicks recommended asking 10 key questions to determine whether to repair or replace an appliance:

1) Is it really broken?

The trouble may be a short in the plug, a tripped circuit breaker or a bad surge-protector outlet.

Hicks said to troubleshoot and read the product’s manual before you move forward.

2) How old is the appliance?

“If an appliance is getting toward its life expectancy,” Stiffler said, “we wouldn’t want to put a whole lot of money into it.”

Consumer Reports added that if your appliance is 8 or more years old, it usually makes more sense to buy a new one.

Energy Star, a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy, was more specific, noting that if your heat pump or air conditioner is more than 10 years old, you should consider replacing it.

And Hicks put together this list of life expectancies of average major appliances:

10 to 15 years for refrigerators, freezers, dishwashers, clothes washers and dryers.

10 to 20 years for ovens, ranges and water heaters.

15 to 20 years for central air-conditioning units.

3) Have you had trouble with the unit before?

Some items are more repair-prone than others. In general, CR recommended repairing favorite high-end appliances if you have not had much trouble with them.

Hicks added that, if the product is under warranty, it pays to complain.

4) How much will it cost to repair the unit?

CR advised folks to skip any repair that costs more than half the price of a new product.

5) What would a similar appliance cost?

Check to see if there are any sales on comparable items before evaluating the cost of each. Use resources, such as CR and Web sites like PriceGrabber.com, to compare prices and brands.

6) Are there any hidden costs to purchase (removal, installation, disposal, tax, etc.)?

Make sure you factor in the total cost of the effort before you commit. Stiffler added that air-conditioning units can be pricey to replace. “AC units might not be worth it, since getting the Freon replaced is expensive,” she said.

7) How difficult is it to replace the appliance (built-in)?

If replacement requires major renovation, consider that in your costs.

8) What additional features will I get with the new appliance?

Depending on the age of the old appliance, there could have been advances in technology that make replacement a more prudent option — including energy-efficiency.

9) What energy savings will I get with the new appliance? Will they offset the cost of a new appliance vs. repair?

Energy Star noted that when buying an appliance, remember that it has two price tags: “What you pay to take it home and what you pay for the energy and water it uses.” Energy Star appliances reportedly use 10 percent to 50 percent less energy and water than standard models.

CR added that high-efficiency air-conditioning and heating units can save up to 20 percent on heating and cooling costs.

As far as switching appliances solely due to energy-efficiency, Stiffler said that is common for refrigerators and washers, but that most dishwashers are already energy-efficient.

10) What tax credits are available for purchasing an energy-efficient unit? Will they offset the cost of a new appliance vs. repair?

Hicks pointed out that with the tax credits available now for energy-efficient appliances, “when you factor that in with the cost of repair, it might make good sense to go ahead and replace the appliance with a new one.”

Energy Star added that even installation can be covered by tax credit.

For more information on tax credits available, call (888) 782-7937 or visit www.EnergyStar.gov.

Help maintain appliances

Preventative maintenance is your best bet for prolonging the life of your appliances. Hicks provided the following tips to keep your appliances in good health:

Clean the condenser coils on your refrigerator annually and check door seals to ensure they are airtight.

Check air filters monthly and replace as needed.

Replace washer fill hoses every five years.

Avoid overloading the washing machine.

Have the exhaust duct on the clothes dryer inspected and cleaned once a year. Clean the lint filter before each use.

Don’t allow heavy grease buildup on the oven interior.

Drain a quart of water from your water heater tank every three months to remove sediment that slows down heat transfer and lowers the efficiency of your heater.

Have regular service as recommended by the manufacturer.

Fans are a cool way to save money

One appliance that can cut the cost of cooling your home is a fan.

Emily Gray is a spokesperson for Dayton Power & Light.

“A 65-watt fan running 12 hours a day will cost a customer around $2 a month,” Gray said, adding that the exact cost of running an air conditioner varies due to number of units, settings by users, etc.

“In general, a fan will use less energy than a central air conditioner.”

If you are in the market for a fan, there are some current sales to note at area stores:

Rite Aid marked down all fans 25 percent.

Walgreens has Wexford or O2 Cool fans for $12.99 to $19.99.

Target is selling its Lasko 18-inch oscillating stand fans and Honeywell oscillating tower fans for $27.99.

And Big Lots has Climate Keeper fans on special from $10 to $29.

Ways to save on haircare; best drugstore products

All the money some of us spend on our hair can add up. To address this issue, About.com put together a list of 23 things you can do to save money on your hair.

Some of them are small, like watering down shampoo, while others save money on a larger scale — like looking into going to a beauty school or learning to cut your own bangs.

What I really liked about their compilation, however, was their internal links to various other lists they have produced, such as the 10 top drugstore haircare products (I knew I liked Pantene for a reason!), the top eight products for color-treated hair and the top 10 secrets to styling curly hair.

Morris furniture half off this weekend

Morris Home Furnishings has really been on a tear as far as sales have been concerned in the last few months.

This weekend, June 26-28, Morris is again offering half off on all furniture, mattresses and leather in what they are calling their Independence Sale.

They are having 50 percent off savings on MSRP and Compare Prices.

And qualified buyers can still pay nothing for a full year storewide.

This latest sale, which followed on the deal from earlier this month to get a free 32-inch HDTV for spending $1,999, made me think the store was slowly going out of business.

But, fortunately, that is not the case, according to Rob Klaben, vice president of marketing for Morris.

“With the economy as it is, we have tried to come up with offers we think will move the needle,” Klaben said. “Home furnishings are one of the hardest (goods) to move (in a tougher economy). But we are not going out of business.”

Klaben said the TV deal was a successful one, raising the store’s average “ticket” or receipt by 25 percent.

He added that another effort that has been good for the store and the consumer has been the expansion of the Morris Clearance Center on Commerce Center Boulevard in Fairborn.

“We have many discontinued and overstocked items there,” Klaben said. “And we continuously take markdowns until we move the items.”

The Commerce Center store is only open on the weekends.

“A lot of people come back Friday at noon just to see (if an item) is still there,” he said.

This weekend’s sale is at all Morris locations.

Klaben added that there will be an interactive furniture experience display at the Wilmington Pike store on Saturday and Sunday that can help you envision what your home theater might look like.

“There is certain furniture that appeals to men and furniture that appeals to women, like for a man cave or a she den,” he said. “The display helps put the furniture together in more of a compromise.”

Also at the Wilmington Pike store, customers can register to win a $2,000 Lane shopping spree and get other free giveaways and discounts.

Free pizza rolls for Twitter, Facebook users

First they introduce a value menu, and now they are giving away free Stuffed Pizza Rolls with the order of a large pizza.

The Consumerist alerted us Thursday, June 25, to the promotion by Pizza Hut that gives coupon codes for free food to consumers via Twitter and Facebook.

As reported in Mashable, the social media guide, Pizza Hut hired a “Twintern” — a summer intern that would be responsible for maintaining the company’s presence on Twitter and other social media sites.

The Twintern, Alexis Robinson, came up with this promotion.

How the deal works is you need to either be following Pizza Hut on either Twitter or Facebook.

For your free order of Stuffed Pizza Rolls, you need to check on one of the sites on Independence Day, when the company will be announcing how to actually claim your free food, according to Mashable.

Old Navy sale 50% off many summer items

Old Navy is having a big sale on summer clothes and accessories on their Web site and in the stores, marking many items down 50 percent.

DealHack also notes, of the online sale, that shipping is free on orders of more than $150 with the coupon code: FREE150.

Otherwise, shipping is flat $7 and can include items from Banana Republic, Piperlime, Gap, and Athleta for no extra charge.

The online sale does not have a listed end date, but a representative from the Beavercreek Old Navy said the in-store sale runs through Sunday, June 28.

Bob Evans to offer free pie to G.I.s, vets

Calling it “G.I. July” in honor of Independence Day and the local premier of the film “Brothers At War,” Bob Evans Restaurants will offer a free piece of pie for all Miami Valley veterans and active duty G.I.s through the month of July.

Just present your military ID or discharge papers to the cashier at any of the 20 Miami Valley Bob Evans to receive the free sweet treat beginning Wednesday.

“It’s one way that we can show our men and women in uniform how much we appreciate their service and sacrifice,” area manager Tony Wenclewicz said.

The promotion runs July 1-31.

For information about “Brothers At War” and related Miami Valley promotions, visit www.AmericanVeteransInstitute.org.

To order advance movie tickets and help underwrite free tickets for local G.I.s, go to www.DaytonDefense.org.

Free subscriptions and a grocery challenge

According to the Deal Seeking Mom, who has never steered us wrong before, ValueMags is offering a free two-year subscription to Parents magazine.

The DSM also notes that you also can get subscriptions to the lesser known but equally free Yachting, Saveur and Bridal Guide.

On another magazine-oriented note, Andrea Deckard of Mommy Snacks reported on a grocery challenge published by All You Magazine.

The challenge? To spend $25 or less for each person in your family on groceries per week for four weeks. (Household supplies and toiletries do not count.)

You could win a $1,000 grocery card plus a year’s supply of Knorr side dishes and the chance to appear in the magazine.

The challenge starts on July 13 and ends on Aug. 17. You must sign up by July 12.

See Mommy Snacks for compete details.

And, even if you don’t win, you will surely find more ways to save money on your family in the process.

President signs ‘clunkers’ bill

Just a quick note to confirm that President Obama did sign the Car Allowance Rebate System — or “Cash for Clunkers” — into law on Wednesday, June 24.

In addition to the good information on related scams to look out for with this bill, Consumer Reports put together a list of basics about the bill if you think you may be eligible for this $3,500 to $4,500 rebate.

But do your homework before taking advantage of this bill.

CNN Money is among those challenging the utilization of this bill and today quoted Jeremy Anwyl, chief executive of the auto Web site Edmunds.com, as saying:

“It’s not a rebate. It’s a minimum trade-in allowance.”

CNN said the voucher replaces the ordinary trade-in value of the vehicle, rather than add on to it, which in many instances will be worth more than the voucher.

Ways to give a room a new look for less than $15

Since most of the rooms in my house could use some freshening up, an item from About.com today, June 24, is one that I can really get on board with — How to Freshen Up a Room for Less than $15.

Just so you know, each of their tips cost less than $15, rather than all of them adding up to less than that amount. That would be really sweet.

Among their tips for freshening up a room: Remove the clutter, paint and accessorize.

The site also has tips to update your kitchen on a budget, how to makeover a room in one day and an older post offering 10 not-to-pricey ways to change the look of your decor.

Good ideas all, and summer is a good time to tackle some projects at home.

What is the best quick coffee in the area?

Most of us don’t have the time or money to drive around and compare all of our options when we are looking for a good, quick cup of coffee.

And a story in today’s St. Petersburg Times reminded me just how many options we have nationwide, in addition to the ones in the Dayton area, competing for our business.

The story took a look at how the competition among big chains has been heating up over the last few years, with the addition of McDonald’s McCafe line and Dunkin’ Donuts’ specialty coffees, among others.

Then they showed results of a taste test they performed of the hot and iced coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts, Starbucks, 7-Eleven and McDonald’s.

The winners? For hot coffee: Starbucks’ Pike Place brand; iced coffee: McDonald’s Iced Mocha.

Some of the notes about the contenders were telling as well, like when it is mentioned that McDonald’s hot coffee tasted like it was on the burner for awhile. Although I generally enjoy McDonald’s coffees, quality control has always been my issue with them.

And it made me wonder what other folks in the Dayton area thought of our ever-increasing coffee choices, and which cups of Joe were most worth the money.

What do you think and why?

Printing online coupons about to get easier

Ever had trouble printing a coupon from the Internet? Well those days could soon be over.

Wallet Pop had an interesting story Tuesday, June 23, about a new HP printer that will be on the market by fall that makes printing coupons online quick and easy.

It’s being billed as the world’s first Web-connected computer, the site notes, adding:

There are a lot of great wireless features like movie tickets from Fandango and photos printed directly from online sites, but the one HP executives were practically giddy about is the ability to print coupons directly from Coupons.com.

The printer will reportedly cost $399.

Get the lowdown on everything credit card

If you have any questions relating to credit cards, this is your lucky day.

Wise Bread, a community of bloggers who write about living large on a small budget, put together an impressive list of stories that provide helpful information about credit cards Tuesday, June 23.

The site’s Ultimate Guide to Credit Cards provides facts about fees and programs, best ways to use your cards and how to get out of credit card debt.

Watch out for ‘Cash for Clunkers’ scams

Even though the president still hasn’t signed the legislation into law, there has been much written about the “Cash for Clunkers” bill — or Car Allowance Rebate Program, as it is officially known.

There have been sites about the rules, how it works, whether it’s a good deal, etc.

But be careful out there — some sites may not be legit.

CNN Money put out a warning this morning, June 24, alerting consumers to the fact that there are already scammers trying to use this bill to get some of your money.

CNN noted that:

Some purported “Cash for Clunkers” Web sites are asking consumers to provide personal information, including names, addresses and Social Security numbers, so they can “register” for the program, said Patricia Swift-Oladeinde, a spokeswoman for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the government agency assigned to administer the program.

There will be no need for consumers to register for the program, she said.

Swift-Oladeinde noted that other sites claim they will put you in touch with qualified dealers, when in fact, participating dealers have yet to be named.

Also, watch for sites that only use the term “Cash for Clunkers,” Swift-Oladeinde said. The official name is the Car Allowance Rebate System.

The NHTSA has set up an official Web site at Cars.gov to provide information about the program. The agency also has a hot line at (888) 327-4236.

Coupon your way to free hula umbrella

If you are willing to jump through a couple coupon hoops, you can get yourself a 6-foot hula umbrella at Rite Aid for free.

hula.jpeg
Summery hula umbrella photo care of Bayside 21

The offer was documented at a couple of Web sites, including Free Stuff Times and Mommy Snacks (which offers more layers to this deal).

How it works is, Rite Aid originally had the umbrella for $39.99, then marked it down 25 percent, making it $30.

If you use the two coupons available, one for $5 off, and one for $25 off, the umbrella ends up being free.

If you want to get in on the action, though, act fast. The $25 coupon expires today, June 23.

Black & Decker coffeemakers recalled

Black & Decker brand Spacemaker Coffeemakers were recalled today, June 23, due to a scalding and burn hazard posed to consumers.

coffeemaker.jpg
One of the styles of coffeemakers recalled.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the brew basket can shift out of alignment allowing hot water to overflow.

The firm has received 235 reports of the malfunction, including 10 reports of second-degree burns.

The coffeemakers were sold at major retailers nationwide, including Kmart, Kohl’s, Target, Walmart, Bed, Bath & Beyond, and Amazon.com, from March 2006 through March 2009 for between $60 and $70.

Consumers should stop using the recalled coffeemaker immediately and contact the distributor, Applica Consumer Products Inc., for a free replacement brew basket.

For more information, call (866) 668-4442 or visit www.acprecall.com.

Pizza Hut to debut value menu

Pizza Hut is slicing into the world of value menus, according to a report by the Nation’s Restaurant News on Monday, June 22.

pizzahut.jpg
This photo from Nation’s Restaurant News shows one of the test markets for “The Hut.” But, according to the chief marketing officer, Pizza Hut is not changing its name.

The extra-large pizza giant has plans for what they are calling a “Big Eat, Tiny Price” menu, with four items between $5 and $6.

Those items are:

Stuffed pizza rolls: Four pepperoni-cheese rolls with marinara or ranch dipping sauce for $5.

PANormous pizza: A one-topping, four-slice personal pizza for $5, with additional cost for more toppings.

P’Zone pizza: A calzone-style pizza with marinara dipping sauce for $5.99.

Pizza Mia: A one-topping medium pizza for $5.99.

The Restaurant News notes that this change in menu pricing puts Pizza Hut among the growing number of restaurant chains offering items around the $5 price point, including Boston Market, Subway, Quiznos and even T.G.I. Friday’s.

In other Pizza Hut news, the chain is not changing its name to “The Hut,” as had been reported earlier this year.

“Pizza Hut is not changing its name,” Brian Niccol, the chain’s chief marketing officer, said in a statement. “We are proud of our name and heritage and will continue to be Pizza Hut. We do use ‘The Hut’ in some of our marketing efforts.”

However, the shortened name is being tested in various locations nationwide.

Online clothing sales include Gap, Target

DealNews had a couple of great posts about big bargains at online retailers today, June 23.

gapdress.jpg
Flowy ruffle front dress originally $69.50, now $29.99 at The Gap’s site

Target is having a sale of 65 percent to 75 percent off clothing and accessories. Shipping starting at just $4.95, but many items qualify for free shipping on orders of $50 or more.

There was no expiration date listed for this sale.

Also, The Gap is having a sale of 50 percent off, plus another 20 percent off select merchandise. Shipping starts at $7, but orders of more than $150 are free.

The Gap deal ends Thursday.

And Urban Outfitters joins in by offering 80 percent off, plus an extra 15 percent off sales items.

Shipping starts at $6 for Urban Outfitters, or get free shipping on orders of $150 or more.

This deal expires June 30.

HGTV looking for shoppers attending World’s Longest Garage Sale

Think about garage sales as far as the eye can see — then multiply that by a thousand.

On Aug. 6-9, it will be time for the 22nd annual World’s Longest Garage Sale, which stretches 654 miles from West Unity, Ohio, to Gadsden, Ala.

The sale, also known as the 127 Corridor Sale, has again garnered the interest of HGTV, which is planning a show on the event, as it did last year, called the “Endless Yard Sale.”

The show is looking for teams of neighbors, friends and co-workers who live in the same town and who would be willing to compete against each other as they make their way through the miles of bargains.

Each team will be given a budget to makeover a room in their home.

Shoppers spotlighted will sale through Chattanooga, Tenn., and Jamestown, Ky.

If you are up to the challenge or just want to know more about this mega gathering of discounted goods, visit the official site of the garage sale at www.127sale.com.

Also, if you are a Dayton-area shopper planning on taking part in the event in any way, let me know. We could include you in an upcoming Dayton Daily News story about the ambitious sale.

Nickelodeon, Nick Jr. magazines fold

If I could get SpongeBob to comment, I bet his response would be punctuated with more than a few “Barnacles!”

The changing world of print products has lost another member, and one dear to cartoon lovers everywhere.

According to Media Life, Viacom announced earlier this month that it was pulling the plug on Nickelodeon Magazine and its younger sister publication, Nick Jr. Magazine.

Media Life blamed the “brutal print advertising environment” for the decision.

Publisher’s Weekly noted that the magazine was launched in 1993 and has a circulation of more than 1 million and a total audience of more than 6 million.

And the Consumerist reported today, June 22, that reports vary on whether the two will continue publishing until the end of the year, or there will be one big final issue in August.

The site added that Nickelodeon promises that they will issue refunds to subscribers.

Although not the same, at least kids can still get their Nickelodeon and Nick Jr. cartoons online and on TV.

DP&L offering heating, cooling rebates

As part of its energy-efficient efforts, Dayton Power and Light announced today, June 22, that the company has launched a rebate program to reduce the cost of central air conditioning and heat pump upgrades.

The rebates range from $200 to $600, depending on the system.

The rebate is based on the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating, which rates how efficiently an air conditioning or heat pump system functions. Your contractor can provide the SEER for your system.

“The goal is to provide an incentive to install high-efficiency units that use less energy and save customers money on their bills,” said Scott Kelly, senior vice president of Service Operations for DP&L.

To find a participating contractor or for more information, visit the DP&L site or call (877) 230-6937.

Contractors interested in offering rebates to their customers can also find out more information through those contacts.

These rebates and other efforts, including discounts on compact fluorescent lighting and appliance recycling, are part of the plan to meet Ohio’s energy efficiency targets to reduce electricity consumption by 22 percent by the end of 2025.

Recession felt first in your pants

Talk about bringing the economic forecast home.

According to CNBC and Federal Reserve chief Alan Greenspan, a good indicator of where the economy is heading has to do with the condition of men’s underwear.

“During a recession, underwear is among the first things that people stop buying — because hardly anybody actually sees them. This creates pent-up demand, and so when underwear sales level off and increase, it should signal an uptick in consumer demand.”

MSN also discussed this topic and noted that the theory does not apply to women’s undergarments, since they are typically more sensitive to the condition of their unmentionables.

According to the “underwear indicator,” there needs to be a return to 2 percent to 3 percent annual growth in sales in order to claim a recovery.

So, you ask, how do undie sales look? That’s where the outlook gets dingy.

One group, consumer research group Mintel, is predicting a continuing decline of 2.3 percent this year and no recovery until 2013.

But The NPD Group’s outlook for underwear sales offers more hope. After a year long, 12 percent decline through the end of January, the group says men’s underwear sales leveled off in February and March.

Hopefully, the NPD is more accurate. But, one thing’s for sure — the answers will all come out in the wash.

Are you still eating Jif? Using Crest?

Have you stopped using some of your favorite brands during the recession? If so, you are not alone.

We have noted before that during these challenging economic times more consumers are trying store brands to save money, but a recent study not only confirms this but notes which brands are keeping consumer loyalty, and which are losing out.

Reuters reported today, June 22, that the study from Catalina Marketing and the CMO Council found that for the average brand, more than half of consumers (52 percent) who were highly loyal to certain package-goods brands in 2007 became decidedly less so in 2008.

According to Advertising Age, the study is based on frequent-shopper-card data for about 35 million households, mostly from supermarkets served by Pointer Media Network.

Some of the biggest brands to take a hit? Crest toothpaste, PineSol, Tylenol, Advil, Green Giant frozen vegetables and Jif peanut butter.

Some of the brands that retained most consumers? Coca-Cola Classic, Folgers and Thomas’ English Muffins.

Advertising Age also noted that stronger, better-supported brands held their loyalty better than others — like Tide, which did better, compared to Cheer or Wisk.

Tide reportedly outspends the other two on advertising, and can be found on sale more often.

To view the whole study, visit the Pointer Media Network site to download the report.

The true test of loyalty, however, will be after the economy recovers.

If you are among those who have switched brands due to the recession, do you plan on going back to your previous favorites once money isn’t as tight?

Instant Savings Promotion tops deals

Andrea Deckard of Mommy Snacks has our weekly ad/coupon heavy hitters for this week, June 21-27, and spotlights Kroger’s Instant Savings Promotion.

“You buy 10 items in the same transaction and automatically get $3 off of your order,” Deckard said. “When you couple that with coupons, you can leave the store paying very little for those items.”

Deckard has a scenario at MommySnacks.net for purchasing Fruit Snacks and Barbecue Sauce and paying $1.50 after coupons, promotional savings and a Catalina.

Here are the top deals at area stores. For more on a particular store, just click on the store name.

CVS

FREE SoBe Life Water w/Printable Coupon

FREE Frank’s Hot Sauce

$.99 Tylenol after coupons/ECB (Extra Care Bucks)

Walgreens

FREE Aquafresh Toothpaste

$.73 Chex Mix

$.50 Band-Aids

Kroger

FREE Barbecue Sauce

$.36 Chef Boyardee Canned Pasta

Many other great deals given the Buy 10 get $3 off promotion. Check Mommy Snacks for more coupon matches to help you save big this week.

Meijer

FREE Dannon Yogurt

FREE Lysol Wipes and Air Sanitizing Spray

FREE Kool-Aid PLUS get an item FREE just for purchasing it. Check Mommy Snacks for details.

Target

$.50 Eggos Bake Shop

$.37 Ziploc Sandwich Bags w/Printable Coupon

FREE Cottonelle Wipes

Walmart

$.43 A-1 Steak Sauce

$.98 Starbucks Ice Cream w/Printable Coupon

$3 Always Infiniti Pads

Here’s the Deal: Kroger adds cell phone minutes to Plus card deals

Kroger has been busy packing more money-saving opportunities into its loyalty shopper program.

The KrogerPlus card just added another feature — free cell phone minutes. According to Rachael Betzler, spokeswoman for Kroger, shoppers can earn 20 free minutes or 20 free texts for every $100 spent per month.

The minutes max out at 300, or $1,500 a month. And those minutes, if unused, carry over from month to month.

The program is a partnership with iWireless phones, a division of Sprint. How it works is shoppers select and buy their phones at Kroger, choose the plan they want and register online.

There are monthly and pay-as-you-go plans; and both have options that don’t require a contract.

“It is beneficial, especially if you have children,” Betzler said. “Since the average family spends between $600 and $1,000 on groceries a month, why not get rewarded for that?”

Steve Dillhoff of Dayton said he bought two of the phones at Kroger about three weeks ago.

“We got the buy one phone for $30, get one free deal,” Dillhoff said. “(Using prepaid phones) was something we were doing already, so we figured we could get some free minutes this way.”

He said the phones “are really pretty good. We haven’t had any problem with being out of range or anything.”

Dillhoff said his family of six shops at Meijer more than Kroger, so he signed his 16-year-old son up under his parents’ card.

He added that his son already used all of his minutes and has bought more.

“But I would be a little leery about using it for texting at this point,” Dillhoff noted. “Since there seems to have been a little bit of confusion about if one minute equals one text.”

Since the program is new, there may have been some bugs to work out, but Betzler confirmed that one minute equals one text in this program.

“It’s definitely 20 minutes or 20 texts for the $100,” she said.

The deal just started last month in Cincinnati, recently made its way to all Dayton-area Kroger stores and should be in all Krogers across the country by the end of June.

Betzler said the phone deal complements the card’s other features, especially the fuel rewards program.

“If you spend $100 (at Kroger), you get 10 cents (per gallon) off your next fuel purchase and 20 minutes for your phone,” she said.

The fuel points can be used at Kroger gas stations; Betzler said there are 11 in the Dayton area.

The cards also have the capability to hold downloaded coupons for use in the stores, alert the store to shoppers who have purchased recalled items and qualify shoppers to get coupons for products they use mailed to their homes.

The fuel points also can be earned by filling prescriptions and buying gift cards.

“We have had customers stop by on the way to dinner and get an Applebee’s gift card just to get the fuel points,” Betzler said.

Of note as well is that those who use a Kroger brand MasterCard earn more — 15 cents per gallon and 30 minutes per $100.

Betzler said the selection of phones may vary.

“Larger Kroger stores might have more phones to choose from,” she said, noting that the display is usually at the end of an aisle.

For more information on the cell phone program or any of the KrogerPlus programs, visit www.kroger.com.

This week’s deals

Most Father’s Day deals have dried up, which is really a shame because 50 percent off seemed to be the benchmark this year.

A couple sales that continue through today, June 21, are Old Navy’s half off all men’s merchandise and the Sears spend $50, get $50 deal.

Visit www.Sears.com for more details.

New for this week, Goodyear is advertising up to $120 off four tires. The Miamisburg store also has coupons inside today’s Dayton Daily News for other services.

Kohl’s is having a “one-day doorbusters” sale today, with up to 60 percent off, and buy-one-get-one free frames, luggage and more.

And, speaking of BOGO deals, Rite Aid and CVS have many of those this week; there are some at Walgreens as well.

National days, months make for unofficial fun

This item isn’t all that oriented toward bargains, but the query did spring from a bargain post, and it is interesting nonetheless.

A week ago, it came to my attention that June is also known as National Candy Month. So I compiled some area candy sales to post for the occasion.

The whole idea, however, got me to thinking what other honorary titles our months and days hold.

I did a little research, and found these lists of national days and national months. Neither of the lists I found could be called “official,” but these were the most comprehensive.

The most fun one to look at is the national days, and find out what your birthday might also be known for — even though mine is known as Multiple Personalities Day.

You can also check out what hint of character the present day holds. Knowing that today is National Ice Cream Soda Day does make it a little more endearing.

At any rate, here is that info just in case you, like me, find it of interest. And, as far as a bargain, checking them out can provide you with at least minutes of free fun.

Many ways to save big cash on baby stuff

As most folks know, having kids is expensive. All that food, shelter, care, medicine, toys and Jell-O add up, so you don’t want to overpay for anything you don’t have to.

In this vein, many sites have ideas on ways to help ease (if only slightly) the financial burden of raising these adorable little cherubs.

Here are some of them that offer useful advice:

Consumer Reports put together a winning list of 8 ways to save big on baby stuff.

TipNut offers its 12 ways to save, and links to further sites.

BabyCenter has a list of freebies and coupons for your baby needs.

BabyCheapskate is a blog that makes saving money on baby its No. 1 job.

EHow, which notes it has advice on just about everything, has a list of ways to go about saving for new little people, while Free From Broke has 9 good ways to save.

The Go Frugal blog from FreeShipping.org has eight popular baby products that you can reproduce at home.

And, to round out the options, Freepeats helps you recycle and buy discounted baby stuff from other families.

Cultural freebies abound in the region

While trips to amusement parks and movie theatres are perfectly fine ways to spend a summer day, there are other options that will stretch your brain and not your wallet.

There are many completely free (really — free, as in no admission charges) cultural opportunities available for you and your family.

In Springfield, the 43rd Annual Summer Arts Festival opens at Veteran’s Park Thursday, June 18 with John Waite, former frontman for the Babys and Bad English.

The festival — produced by the Springfield Arts Council and underwritten by the Robert J. Bennett family — runs for six weeks, presenting a variety of talent. If you head south to Dayton, there are more cultural freebies.

The Dayton Art Institute (daytonartinstitute.org), 456 Belmonte Park North, features permanent collections including an African collection, American Colonial through Contemporary art, European art through 19th century French, photography and outdoor sculpture.

The museum’s glass collection features primarily American and European work from the 19th and 20th centuries, including pieces by Louis Comfort Tiffany and Dale Chihuly.

The Dayton Visual Arts Center (daytonvisualarts.org) maintains a gallery space in downtown Dayton to create opportunities for the public to interact directly with regional artists.

The center, located at 118 N. Jefferson St., was founded in 1991 by a coalition of Dayton-area artists, art supporters, and visual arts professionals.

DVA hosts 10 to 12 exhibitions a year, with major exhibitions chosen during the biennial call for entries, which is open to all artists.

The Dayton International Peace Museum (daytonpeacemuseum.org), 208 W. Monument Ave., features permanent and rotating exhibits, activities and special events to work toward a culture of peace.

“Nonviolent Solutions” is an interactive exhibit demonstrating how nonviolent methods have changed the lives of people around the world.

The museum also has a permanent exhibit in honor of Sister Dorothy Stang.

The National Museum of the Air Force (nationalmuseum.af.mil), 1100 Spaatz St., Wright-Patterson AFB, has on display more than 400 aerospace vehicles and thousands of historical items.

The museum creates a fluid experience from the Wright brothers to today’s modern technology.

Most free museums gladly accept donations to support their efforts, so if you can spare it, be kind and repay their generosity.

Better yet, let your children do it so they can learn to give back.

One area of growth in recession: Vocabulary

CNBC, Recessionwire and ABC News are among the folks taking a light-hearted look at some of the terms that have grown out of our current economic plight — the language of the recession.

Some of the terms they mention include:

201(k): Our 401(k) — worth half of what it used to be.

Bleakonomics: The dire forecasts and otherwise gloomy chatter still brewing, despite the recent cheerier economic predictions.

Bridge job: Jobs that you take, that might not be in your profession, but that bring in some income in the meantime.

Brokavore: One who eats locally grown or produced food; “an obsessively cheap but highly discerning eater.”

Canniversary: The anniversary of your joblessness.

Funemployment: “the condition of a person who takes advantage of being out of a job to have the time of their life,” according to Urban Dictionary.

Prayoff: When you hate your job so much you hope to get laid off.

Pre-Fired: Being dismissed before you even start a position. Usually because the company folds between the offer and your start date.

Recession Roadkill: The laid-off, the unemployed, and those generally getting run over by the economy.

Slayoff: A cold-blooded method of laying off employees, such as breaking the news on a company blog, leaving a note in an employee’s chair, dispatching a mass e-mail, or sending a certified letter to a worker’s home.

Any others to add?

New Balance shoes and clothes 70% off

DealNews spotted a huge one-day sale on New Balance shoes and gear today, June 19, at the 6pm.com site.

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These shoes are now $22.50, marked down from $75

DealNews noted that the items are 70 percent off — not “up to” 70 percent off — with prices starting at $9.60.

“With $6.95 for shipping, that puts almost all items at lowest-we-could-find prices.”

New Balance shoes can be a little pricey to start out, but they are good quality athletic shoes, which makes the sale all the better.

But, if you are interested, don’t wait — styles and sizes are going fast.

Nestle Toll House cookie dough recalled

Say it ain’t so.

The Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers today, June 19, to discard any Nestle Toll House prepackaged, refrigerated cookie dough, since it may contain E. coli.

The FDA also advises that consumers not cook the dough because consumers might get the bacteria on their hands and on other cooking surfaces.

The Consumerist noted that at least 25 people have been hospitalized since March.

The FDA has more information on safe food handling practices, and refers consumers with more questions to Nestle consumer services or by calling (800) 559-5025.

A complete listing of the recalled products can be found at this site.

Restaurant deals for dear old Dad

Now that you’ve heard all about various sales for Father’s Day, now it is time to take a look at some of the restaurant deals that could be yours, ‘cause the price is right.

As noted in the More With Less Today site, Outback is inviting customers to explore its new menu — 15 meals for less than $15, starting at $9.95.

Outback also is offering a $10 gift certificate to dads on Father’s Day, for use at a future visit.

At the downtown Dayton Spaghetti Warehouse, they are “feeding fathers for free” according to the host in Dayton. The downtown restaurant is offering buy one entree, get one free for dads on Sunday.

And the TGIFridays offer — buy one entree, get another free — although not specifically dad-related, is still going strong through Monday.

This also is a good time to remind folks about Restaurant.com, which offers restaurant gift certificates at far below their face value, like $25 gift certificates for $10, and $10 ones for $3.

Any other restaurant deals of note in the Dayton area?

Cash for clunkers bill passes; could net up to $4,500 for your old car

The “cash for clunkers” bill, as it has been fondly known, recently cleared some big hurdles in Washington and is poised to be signed by President Obama.

What will that mean for you? Hopefully a lot of cash for your old car.

The bill was passed by the Senate on Thursday, June 18.

CNN Money noted this morning that the measure was attached to the $106 billion war spending bill. It drew some opposition from lawmakers who were opposed to spending more money on the auto industry.

The measure would give consumers vouchers worth as much as $4,500 to turn in gas guzzlers and buy new cars that are more fuel efficient.

For more information on this bill, there has been a Web site set up to answer questions.

Tip Hero also has some tips for whether your car could qualify for the program.

And Wise Bread looks at what this bill means for consumers.

Free A&W float, free Orange Julius today

I like how these free food days are catching on. Thanks to Sonic, White Castle and Krispy Kreme and all the others who have been paving the way to these yummy freebies.

Today’s offerings are a free small root beer float at A&W Root Beer from 2 to 8 p.m. (no coupon required), and a free 20-ounce light smoothie at Orange Julius all day, with this coupon.

A&W is celebrating its 90th anniversary; Orange Julius may just be that nice (and want to draw attention to its light smoothies).

Also at A&W on Sunday for Father’s Day, customers can get a 90 cent Papa Burger.

All of these deals are one per customer.

There are 10 A&W’s in the Dayton and Springfield area. Check the Web site for specific locales.

In Dayton, Orange Julius is located in two Dairy Queen stores — at 1105 Brown St. in Dayton, at 5668 Springboro Pike in West Carrollton. And thanks to Deals Teamer Karen Baird for spotting this deal.

Enjoy!

Late-breaking sales for Dad

It is getting to crunch time for Father’s Day shopping, and some stores are primed and ready for it — planning their sales for right about now.

Among those is Lowe’s, whose sale started Thursday, June 18, and runs through Sunday. The home improvement store has gifts in categories for less than $10, $25, $50 and $99 — as well as those of more than $100.

Lowe’s also has 10 percent off all mowers, including riding ones, and special value prices on many tools.

Elder-Beerman is having a two-day sale today and Saturday, cutting prices 25 percent to 40 percent. E-B also will give you $10 off your next purchase when you spend $50 or more.

Macy’s is reportedly having its biggest one-day sale of the season (spring? summer? Father’s Day season?) Saturday, with a preview day today.

And, just for fun, Consumer Reports had a feature Thursday on what they found to be the best performing Father’s Day gifts.

How to protect relatives from scams

The Wall Street Journal wrote up and The Consumerist delivered a nice summation of how to protect those friends and relatives who might make easier (and more frequent) targets for scammers.

Among their tips:

Provide a printed script to use with telemarketers and leave it by the phone.

Re-route all mail to a post office box and go through it with the recipient.

Change the victim’s phone number.

Find other activities to fill up the victim’s time so he or she doesn’t feel as compelled to engage with friendly scammers.

To report fraudulent activity you can also call the AARP at (800) 646-2283 or visit AARP Fraudfighters.

For more info, including a box on “Scam Stoppers,” check out the WSJ story.

Walmart has new baby clothes for $1

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Garanimals Newborn Girls’ Creeper for $1

DealNews spotted this sale today, June 18 — Walmart is selling a variety of baby clothes for around the $1 mark, noting that many of the items were at “the lowest total price we could find.”

Shipping reportedly starts at 97 cents, and consumers also have the option to get it shipped for free by using Site-to-Store. Sales tax is added where applicable.

There are many more clearance items available online, although those prices are anywhere from $1 to $7.

What cities have the angriest drivers?

AutoVantage’s 2009 Road Rage Survey was released this week, and it took a look at the cities that seem to have the angriest, most aggressive drivers.

The group used criteria such as bad or careless driving, people driving while distracted by talking on the phone or texting, impatient driving, cursing, making obscene gestures and a myriad other rousing factors.

It is no surprise which city tops the list — New York. The biggest surprise is that the big, bad apple hasn’t been No. 1 all along. It moved from No. 3 in 2008 to unseat Miami, which dropped to a more respectable seventh.

The survey also ranked the cities with the least angry drivers. That list is topped by Portland, Ore.

As far as Ohio cities, Cleveland came in second place on the nice-guy list, while Cincinnati hung with the nasty boys, sitting at ninth place.

Little old Dayton did not even make it into the competition, which only incorporated 25 major metro areas. Makes you wonder how we would have fared.

In response to the survey, our watchful buddy Consumer Reports put together a list of ways to avoid road rage.

Tips to prevent overspending at gas pump

MSN Money and SmartMoney had a great roundup of 10 things gas stations won’t tell you today, June 18, that is well worth a read.

Among their notes:

Don’t use debit cards: “When you swipe a debit card at the pump, … some stations ask banks to automatically set aside some of your money: That amount can be $20 or more. … You could be out $30, $50 or even $100 until the station sends over its bulk transactions, which can take up to three days.”

Annual percentage rates for gas credit cards run high.

And, you can check the Internet for gas bargains. GasPriceWatch.com and Gaswatch.info help people track pump prices, and a more comprehensive site is GasBuddy.com, which has maps and message boards that tally gas price by ZIP code.

These are among the many valuable top 10 lists in SmartMoney’s “1,001 Things They Won’t Tell You: An Insider’s Guide to Spending, Saving and Living Wisely.”

Check out the MSN site for the whole story.

A special gift for a special guy

With Father’s Day this Sunday, here are some interesting twists on typical gift ideas to help you find the perfect gift for your Dad, uncle, brother, grandfather or special man who has made a difference in your life.

Instead of another college-logo sweatshirt or #1 Dad T-shirt, check out the selections at wolfgangsvault.com, a Web site dedicated to vintage rock concert memorabilia like T-shirts, posters, photos and tickets.

Men’s retro T-shirts, most under $35, feature bands from the mid-1960s through the 1990s, so you can give Dad Jefferson Airplane or the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

The site’s concert vault offers free downloads of concert recordings if you have an iPhone; the downloads are also available for purchase.

A 15 percent-off ordering code can be applied to all items ordered by June 21.

The wallet, an often-expected man-gift, has moved into the new millennium in the form of the Jimi (thejimi.com).

The original Jimi is a slim plastic case that on one side holds four credit cards while the other side has a detachable money clip that holds one card and three folded bills.

The JimiX has an external money clip; both can be hung from a lanyard.

The wallets, for under $16, products are manufactured from 100% recycled and recyclable materials and 1% of sales revenues are donated to the For The Planet initiative.

Both styles are designed to be carried in front pockets and are water-resistant.

A 20 percent-off coupon is available at ads.thejimi.com/20percentoff/Walletrevolution/?s=goo&c=sem&gclid=CNu29pjjpsCFQ_yDAodQzOppg.

If board games are a favorite, how about making a unique version of Monopoly about his life and times?

Make-Your-Own Opoly, from TDC Games, allows you to create a completely unique board game revolving around family events, work experiences, hobbies or community activities.

The game comes with computer software and supplies to print the customized game board, cards, game pieces, money and box. By using a digital camera or scanner photos can be added.

The game is available at Amazon.com and from other on-line retailers, but search for prices and shipping options. I found prices ranging from about $18 to $28.

Photo-Opoly, from Cincinnati-based Late for the Sky ($29.95 at lateforthesky.com), provides all the materials to create a personalized version of the well-known board game featuring 22 favorite photos.

If you’d rather order a ready-made game that suits your Dad’s interests, Late for the Sky produces more than 25 specialty -opoly games including Do-It-Yourself-opoly, Fishin’Opoly, Grillin-Opoly, Brew-Opoly and Baseball-Opoly.

Children’s hoodies, necklaces recalled due to choking hazard

On Wednesday, June 17, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recalled hoodies sold at Macy’s and necklaces sold at retail stores and wholesalers nationwide.

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Example of girls’ hoodies recalled
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Example of boys’ hoodies recalled
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hnecklace.jpg

Both products were recalled because they pose a choking hazard.

The hoodies — boys and girls Epic Threads sweatshirts and girls Greendog sweaters — have a drawstring sewn at the base of the hood which can pose a strangulation hazard. No injuries reported.

They were sold at Macy’s stores nationwide from July 2008 through March 2009 for between $32 and $50.

The Chelsea’s Necklace and Bracelet Sets — in “Crayon” and “Shiny Heart” styles — have small parts can detach from the necklace and bracelet when the elastic string break, posing a choking hazard to young children.

No injuries have been reported.

They were sold at retail stores and wholesalers nationwide from April 1999 through April 2009 for about $4.

For the hoodies, consumers should immediately remove the ties or return the garment to any Macy’s for a full refund.

For more information, call Macy’s at (888) 257-5949 or visit www.macys.com.

For the necklace sets, consumers should immediately take the product away from children and contact D&D for an exchange or refund.

For more information, call D&D at (800) 262-9435 or visit www.dddist.com.

Many 50% off Father’s Day sales today

In honor of our dear old dads, here is a one-stop deal shopping experience that would make any father proud.

These are some of the biggest sales in the area for Father’s Day. Many have made today, June 17, a very good time to shop.

JCPenney: Amid other ongoing sales, JCPenney is having a big 50 percent off or more sale today and Thursday for Father’s Day.

Kohl’s: Is another one making today the day to shop. Kohl’s also is having a one-day sale today, marking stuff for dads down 50 percent.

Elder-Beerman: Also today, Elder-Beerman is having a one-day sale online and in stores for the big day, with 50 percent clothes, furniture (which looks really good) and mattresses, among others.

Sears: Sears has several big deals for the holiday, including the aforementioned spend $50 get $50 in men’s pants. The store also has $300 off a 42-inch Panasonic TV, as well as lawn and garden items and tools on sale.

Macy’s: Save up to 50 percent on dad gifts. Plus, print out an In-store Savings Pass for more cash off.

Dell: Dell is in the midst of its annual 10 Days of Deals. Each of the offers lasts two days and the sales include computers, TVs, camcorders, cameras and more.

Amazon: Act quickly with these deals, since you have to factor in shipping time. The Internet giant has a multitude of offers for a variety of dads.

Turn left here — D’oh!

Want to get your directions from Homer Simpson? TomTom portable GPS can make that happen.

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Photo from Consumer Reports

Homer is the latest celebrity voice available for download by the system, and even includes some of his signature sayings.

For example, according to Consumer Reports, you may hear your GPS say: “Take the third right. We might find an ice cream truck! Mmm … ice cream.”

Homer’s voice costs $12.95. Other voices are available for TomTom include John Cleese, Mr. T and, strangely enough, Curt Schilling.

And if you decide to go with Homer, remember that whatever character flaws he may have will not be a hurdle to his navigation efforts.

Even though he once said: “And how is education supposed to make me feel smarter? Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain. Remember when I took that home winemaking course, and I forgot how to drive?”

Thanks to the TomTom, you will still get to your destination.

Woo-hoo!

Get a free slider at White Castle

It seems that folks either love or hate White Castle hamburgers, but if you are in the love camp, this birthday gift is for you.

This summer, White Castle is turning the ripe old age of 88. And, the chain is celebrating by saying “Happy Free Slider to You,” and giving out a free mini-hamburger to all coupon-carrying customers.

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Photo from White Castle

To get your free slider, simply print out the coupon and redeem it anytime through July 12. As usual, there is a limit of one per customer.

Another way to get the coupon is if text “crave” to 43143.

You can get more details — and watch a slightly questionable video of a pig being doused with barbecue sauce Flashdance-style — on the restaurant’s Web site.

Area White Castles are at 119 N. James H. McGee Blvd. in Dayton, 5201 Salem Bend in Trotwood, 7601 Old Troy Pike in Huber Heights and at 1901 N. Bechtle Ave. in Springfield.

Starbucks coffee grinders recalled due to laceration hazard

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced Tuesday, June 16, that Starbucks Barista Blade Grinders and Seattle’s Best Coffee Blade Grinders have been recalled.

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Starbucks Barista Blade Grinder recalled

The CPSC said the grinder can fail to turn off or can turn on unexpectedly, posing a laceration hazard to consumers.

The firm reportedly has received 176 reports of grinders that failed to turn off or that turned on unexpectedly, including three reports of hand lacerations that occurred when the grinders turned on unexpectedly during cleaning.

The grinders (click here for affected models) were sold at Starbucks and Seattle’s Best Coffee stores nationwide from March 2002 through March 2009 for about $30.

The CPSC recommends that consumers immediately stop using the coffee grinders and contact Starbucks to receive a free replacement grinder.

For more information, call (866) 276-2950 or visit www.starbucks.com.

Good at sports trivia? You could win a discount on Nike sunglasses

Osborn Optical in downtown Fairborn is giving everyone a free shot to get a great discount on Nike Sunwear.

The store at 8 W. Main St. in Fairborn is having a Sports Trivia Challenge each Saturday that can get you 10 percent, 20 percent or 30 percent off nonprescription sunglasses for older teens and adults. The sunglasses start at $80.

Juanita Kline and her husband, Bob, have operated the independent retail store since 2007.

Kline explained how the contest works.

She said customers come in and pick out a Nike frame they like, pick out the shades and choose which discount they want to try for. She noted that the higher percentage off does not necessarily mean it will be a more difficult question.

“At the 10 percent off level, you pick the category and the answer is multiple choice,” Kline said. “At the 20 percent level, you get a random category and the answer is multiple choice. At the 30 percent level, it is a random category and not multiple choice.”

Kline added that there is a safety net — a consolation discount — as well. No harm, no foul.

Saturday’s hours are 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

For more information, visit the Osborn Optical site or call (937) 879-5716.

Shopper cards that save you money

We have talked about the value of frequent-shopper cards here before, but which ones really save you money?

According to the May issue of ShopSmart; magazine, some of the best cards for saving you cash are:

AMC Theaters: Earn points toward food and tickets.

Borders: Get $5 for every $150 you spend within a month, as well as other discounts.

CVS/Pharmacy: 2 percent rebate for every purchase, $1 Extra Buck per two prescriptions and discounts.

Kroger: 10 cents off gas for every $100 you spend and free/discount coupons on frequently purchased items.

Office Depot: Up to 10 percent rebate.

Petco: Free bag of food for every 10 bags bought in a year and free grooming or bath with every eight you buy in a year.

PetSmart: Coupons, offers, discounts.

Regal Cinemas: Points toward concession and tickets.

Staples: Up to 10 percent rebate.

Toys R Us: $5 gift certificate for every $150 during select periods, discounts.

Walgreens: Rebates on featured items.

Any others to add?

Papa John’s dismisses Domino’s, Pizza Hut pastas as ‘silly’

Papa John’s, the third largest pizza chain, has looked down the road taken by its industry-leading competitors and said, “No, thanks.”

Recently, Pizza Hut (No. 1) and Domino’s (No. 2) rolled out pasta and sandwich offerings to stay viable in a competitive fast-food industry.

But, citing “several reasons not to do it” as well as a worry that it could affect pizza quality, founder and CEO John Schnatter said the chain decided not to pursue those efforts.

Meanwhile, the new Domino’s and Pizza Hut products are doing well.

Domino’s reportedly sells 1 million sandwiches weekly, and the pasta lineup is “doing everything we hoped it would do” according to CEO David Brandon.

Pizza Hut’s pasta sales totaled nearly $500 million in the first year.

But Papa John’s remains stalwart in its position, adding that these products and big discounts are “silly” responses to economic times.

Schnatter said his competitors have been tempted into “silly things — like $4 pizzas, pasta bowls and subs, which is not pizza-related, which is negative on the category.” He also called the tactics distracting and said they reflected poorly on the pizzerias in general.

Maybe pastas just aren’t Papa John’s thing. Sour grapes, anyone?

Dress like a cow, get free chicken

Chick-fil-A, famous for its funny ads depicting cows advertising that we “Eat Mor Chikin,” is having a creative giveaway next month — dress like a cow, get free chicken.

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Photo from Chick-fil-A

On July 10, Chick-fil-A brings back its fifth annual Cow Appreciation Day and gives a free combo meal on that day to anyone fully dressed as a cow. It also offers tips on dressing like a cow (in case this is your first time).

There also is a kids’ photo contest June 22 and a Facebook photo contest July 10.

Area Chick-fil-A restaurants are at 3339 Benchwood Drive in Dayton, 1482 Miamisburg-Centerville Road in Washington Twp., 2700 Miamisburg-Centerville Road at the Dayton Mall, 2727 N. Fairfield Road at the Mall at Fairfield Commons and at 2360 N. Fairfield Road in Beavercreek.

So get moooving; this contest will be here beefore you know it.

Cheap ways to get fit this summer

The weather is turning warmer and the local pools are beckoning, but how do you look in that swimsuit?

If you would like to drop a few pounds, but don’t want to spend a lot, the Internet is here for you — offering ways to slim down without spending a ton.

The Go Frugal blog — a product of the FreeShipping.org site — notes their five top tips for exercising on a dime.

Among them: Use what you have and buy discounted equipment to use at home.

Another site, eHow.com, has ways to get fit and stay fit without a gym by walking, running, playing and eating right.

Over at NBC and iVillage’s Your Total Health page, they offer eight easy exercises you can do anywhere.

And American Consumer News has five ways to get in shape and save money.

Or, if you do want to join a health club, ShopSmart; magazine has tips for shopping for a gym to get the most or your money.

The magazine, a relative of Consumer Reports, also surveyed more than 10,000 ConsumerReports.org online subscribers who were gym-goers to get their experiences at various health clubs.

They found out that local gyms generally came out on top — which can be another savings.

And speaking of local clubs, a couple stories earlier this year looked at some of the costs of clubs in the Dayton area.

So, fear not this swimsuit season. Help is just a click away.

Teacher Appreciation Week starts today at garden center

This week, June 15-20, Meadow View Growers in New Carlisle is holding its Teacher Appreciation Week, giving teachers a 15 percent discount on merchandise.

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Million bells among flowers on sale at Meadow View

Make sure to bring your teacher ID.

Also this week for all area shoppers, quart perennials are buy 2 get one free, heirloom tomatoes are 5 for $5, veggie flats are 40 percent off and all 4-inch pentas, petunias and million bells are buy 2 get one free.

And, Ortho Max ready-to-use insect killer (32 ounce) is 25 percent off through Saturday.

Meadow View, a favorite among Dayton-area gardeners, is at 755 N. Dayton Lakeview Road (Ohio 235).

Deals roundup seeks out sales on cameras, computers, Netflix, travel, etc.

In an effort to use all the resources available to us, I would advise anyone looking to score a bargain to check out the list of deals found by DealHack for today, June 15.

Among the deals the site found are:

Kodak EasyShare 10.3MP Digital Camera $77 at Geeks

Save Extra 15 percent off All Outlet Vaio Notebook PCs at Sony Style

Save Extra 20 percent off Outlet MP3 Players & Phones at Sony Style (Final days)

Free 6 Months of Netflix & Adapter with TiVo HD DVR at TiVo.com

Verizon LG Dare VX9700 Smartphone 1 Cent Shipped at Amazon

Pay with MasterCard & Save $300 on Future Travel at Expedia

Save Extra 20 percent off Father’s Day Gift Items at Smart Bargains

For more of those deals, check out the full list at DealHack.

Also, over at DealTaker, they have corralled many sites and their Deals of the Day from many popular stores.

Best ad/coupon deals for the week; info on coupon terms

Last week, we had a reader ask about the abbreviations used to refer to various stores’ incentives and offers associated with coupons and bargain shopping.

Andrea Deckard of Mommy Snacks addressed this issue:

“Do you ever wonder what RR, ECB, SS, RP, etc., stand for? These are abbreviations for general coupon terms. I call it Coupon Lingo,” she said.

“There is a language to this couponing and it’s worth learning! You can understand more about Coupon Lingo in my post at MommySnacks.net.”

Also, here are this week’s best coupon/ad deals at area stores. For more deals at that store, just click on the store name:

CVS

$.99 Schick Razor after coupons/ECB

$.50 Crest Toothpaste after coupons/ECB

$.88 Kellogg’s Cereals

For more ECB scenarios to maximize your budget, visit Mommy Snacks.

Walgreens

FREE St Ives Body Wash after coupons/RR

$.65 Hefty One Zip Bags

Get 8 Jars of Ragu for $4

Kroger

$1.69 Keebler Cookies

$.50 Easy Mac Cups

FREE Aquafresh Toothpaste

Meijer

FREE Taco Seasoning

FREE Malt O Meal Cereal

GREAT Catalina deal starting Friday: Get 4 Boxes of Fruit Snacks for $3.90 after coupons/Catalina

Target

$1.75 Pepsi 12 pack w/Printable Coupon

$.99 Secret Deodorant

GREAT Gift Card deal: Buy 3 Packs of Pull Ups and pay $12 after coupons/Gift Card/Rebate

Walmart

$.28 Sure Deodorant25 Kotex Pantiliners

$1 Raisin Bran Cereal w/Printable Coupon

FREE Tea after Mail In Rebate

Six Flags declares bankruptcy; shouldn’t affect visits

If you are planning a trip to one of the 20 Six Flags theme parks in the country, don’t fret. Even though the business declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy Saturday, June 13, it should not affect your visit to the parks.

Reports this morning, June 15, note that the bankruptcy filing will not cause Six Flags to lay off workers or sell any of the parks.

“This isn’t a liquidation,” said CEO Mark Shapiro. “This is about the past. This is about debt that’s been around for just too long.”

None of the Six Flags parks are in Ohio, by the way, and our nearby Kings Island is owned by Cedar Fair, which also owns Cedar Point near Cleveland and Knotts Berry Farm near Los Angeles, among others.

But speaking of Kings Island, the park does have many discounts this summer.

If you visit often, the annual season pass is a great deal and pays for itself in three visits. If you are going for just one day, there is the single-day online ticket sale of $32.99. And if you are going at night, there is the Starlight Admission ticket for $24.99. The original admission price is $47.99.

And, regardless of the theme park(s) you plan on attending this summer, eHow has instructions on how to never pay full price at any of them.

Cheap dresses, shorts, more as summer nears

With the official debut of summer now less than a week out, it seems time to take a look at where to get some great deals on summer clothes.

This year, cool and cheap summer dresses are the hot trend. About.com put together a great list of stores (online and not) to find some great, inexpensive dresses. Among those on their list are Old Navy and Overstock.com.

For men, they have the benefit this week of having Father’s Day sales to add to the summer bargains. Kohl’s is having a big sale of up to 50 percent off items for men.

Macy’s is having a summer sale while celebrating dads, and even J.Crew is getting into the action with big discounts for the hottest season of the year. J.Crew has polo shirts, shorts, shoes and more on sale.

Overstock.com has a great selection of men’s items (clothes and other gift ideas) for less than $25, and others for less than $50.

And everyone in the family can benefit from the coupon code deals at Retail Me Not. They have discounts on all kinds of summer deals on clothes, as well as their usual array of deals in general — including everything from Dell computers to Papa John’s pizza to Vera Bradley items.

Keep an eye on these stores and sites as the season heats up.

Here’s the Deal: Things to buy before the economy gets better

There have been rumblings for the last couple of months that the end of the recession is in sight.

As Liz Ann Sonders, chief investment strategist at Charles Schwab, noted recently on “Good Morning America”: “It isn’t any brilliant prescience on mine or anybody else’s part,” Sonders said. “There’s certain indicators we can look at to set the turn, and I think we have seen that turn.”

The news analysts cite data showing improvement in the housing market, fewer job losses and a dropoff in job claims, or those filing for unemployment.

For us here in Dayton, those claims of the economy picking up are harder to see. Between NCR and Iams leaving town, GM filing for bankruptcy, and county jobs in Montgomery and Greene being lost — and these are just a few of the most recent blows — it doesn’t seem like we should start spending our hard-earned cash on much beyond food and shelter.

But, if you do have the means, it may be a good time to pull the trigger on some bigger purchases you have planned. It is an opportunity to get these items at an extreme discount before they inevitably go up in price once the economy catches up with the analysts.

This spring, Forbes put together a list of the top 10 things to buy before the economy recovers

And, just to bring it home to us Dayton-area shoppers, I added some local flavor to their suggestions.

1. A house: It is no secret that the recession has caused a significant reduction in home prices, but what you might not know is those prices may be beginning to level off.

According to the Dayton Area Board of Realtors’ multiple listing service, the average sale price for a single-family home was $117,343 per unit in April, the most recent figures available, compared to $124,720 per unit in April 2008.

The DABR added that this April, the figure is the lowest year-over-year monthly decline in average price since July.

Rick Heben, general manager of Coldwell Banker offices in the Dayton area, said that he thought prices were beginning to stabilize.

“The affordability index is like at an all-time low,” Heben said. “But I think we’ve hit bottom, and I think we’re on our way up now. I think we are going to see rates and prices go up a little.”

He said the savings are best for the first-time home buyers.

“They have this first-time tax credit that’s awesome; so they can get a 5.5 (percent) fixed rate, a good price on a home and then eight grand (from the tax credit),” Heben said, adding that buyers have to close on their homes before the end of November to get the tax credit.

Heben said he worries that some folks are going to wait themselves out of a good deal.

“Right now it is well within their reach, but a year from now, they might not have these opportunities.”

Also, if you already own a house and want in on the deals, consider refinancing. Contact your mortgage lender and see what the current interest rate is. It can save you thousands of dollars in the long run.

2. A car: Since the recession began, dealerships have been offering huge incentives and large cash rebates to get your business. Add to that the dissolving of some models, such as Chrysler and Pontiac, and it makes for a good time to buy.

Jon Linkov of Consumer Reports said this month that price wars between companies probably aren’t going to be as common as you might think in the near future, but you may find significant buyer breaks from dealerships hoping to unload their inventory.

Click here for some more buying tips from MSN Money.

3. A vacation: The recession has nudged the hand of vacation package planners who already had to make themselves look good in a highly competitive Internet marketplace.

To get an idea of some of the current deals out there, just Google “cheap vacation package.”

I found one this week offering up 70 percent off vacations to Mexico.

4. Toys: This weekend, area Toys R Us stores are offering what they call their “lowest prices of the season.”

Among the deals is a $20 gift card and two bonus accessories worth $25 when you buy a Wii gaming system, and pools and water slides up to $50 off.

  1. High-dividend stocks: Forbes listed this, but stocks are not my area of expertise. If you have a financial planner, I recommend addressing this topic.

  2. A laptop: The Consumer Price Index noted that personal computer prices fell 13 percent in February from a year earlier.

Also, earlier this week, Apple announced it was cutting the prices of its new line of MacBooks, which then caused its suddenly “older model” MacBooks to go on sale.

Of note this week is that Staples, Radio Shack and Office Depot all advertised a sale on the 16-inch Intel Core 2 Duo, but for three different prices.

Staples has it for $549 (after rebate), Radio Shack has it for $579 and Office Depot has it for $599. Office Depot said it was “our lowest price ever.”

7. Diamonds: Forbes noted that the Jewelry Research Institute reported prices for polished diamonds are down 14 percent, on average, from their highs last summer.

In the Dayton area, jewelry discounts in general can be found at Macy’s and Elder-Beerman since these stores are clearing out their inventories.

Macy’s is switching jewelry vendors, and Elder-Beerman is phasing out the department. Both currently have sales of up to 80 percent off their fine jewelry.

8. Women’s clothing: In the past year, huge discounts on women’s clothing have been in vogue — even at stores not traditionally known for savings.

Therefore, those that have been known for cheaper prices have been driven to previously unbelievable lows.

For example, this weekend Kmart is having a buy-one-get-one free sale on women’s sleepwear, and Kohl’s is having a final clearance sale of up to 80 percent off.

9. A television: As is the way with technology, as it advances and becomes more commonplace, prices go down. This, coupled with recession pricing, has made it a good time to buy a new TV.

This week, Sears has a Panasonic 42-inch plasma screen TV for $649.99 ($599.99 online at last check Friday), for a savings of $250.

10. Furniture: In the Dayton area, Morris Home Furnishings has been bending over backward to get business in the last few months, offering hundreds of dollars in savings and no-interest financing.

Right now, Morris will give qualified buyers a free 32-inch HDTV for spending more than $1,999 on certain furniture or mattress purchases.

June is National Candy Month? Sweet!

Did you know it was National Candy Month? Don’t worry, most area candy stores didn’t know either.

But, fortunately for all of us, they do have some deals to report.

So, in honor of this little-known yet delicious distinction, here are some specials at area candy stores this month and beyond:

The Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory at the Mall at Fairfield Commons has many summer specials in place.

It is offering all dipped strawberries for $1 each, ice cream is on sale for one dip for $1.75 and a double dip for $3, fudge and store-made barks are 25 percent off, and apples and cookies are buy three, get the fourth one for free.

These sales run throughout the summer.

Esther Price noted that it doesn’t have any sales per se, but does have a new line of candy popcorn.

The candy popcorn costs $3.49 per quart, or $6.49 per quart to get carmel corn drizzled with chocolate. The candy popcorn comes in many flavors, including fruit flavored, carmel and toffee.

At Nurrenbrock Quality Candies, when told that June was National Candy Month, Linda Nurrenbrock said, “Every month should be National Candy Month!”

I couldn’t agree more, Linda.

The Nurrenbrock store, located at 2570 Shiloh Springs in Dayton, has chocolate covered strawberries for $18.95 per pound and hard candies for $2.99 per pound.

And at Winans Chocolate & Coffees in Piqua, 308 W. Water St., is having a sale on its peanut, coconut, pecan and cashew brittle all for 50 percent off. That sale is while supplies last.

Any other sweet deals out there? Just let us know.

In case you were curious, June is also sometimes known as the National Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Month, Gay and Lesbian Pride Month, Turkey Lover’s Month and National Iced Tea Month, among others.

Bookstores having Father’s Day sales

Barnes & Noble is offering up to 40 percent off gifts for dads online. The sale is not at stores, although some books that could appeal to dads are up to 20 percent off in stores.

lostcity.JPG
“The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon” by David Grann is 40 percent off at Barnes & Noble (originally $27.50, now $16.50)

Books, music, games and magazines are among the items on sale online.

Barnes & Noble also is having a DVD and Blu-Ray sale, in which you can buy two and get the third for free. This sale is online and in stores.

Borders also is having a Father’s Day sale, offering six deals of 50 percent off or more online.

Area Borders representatives said they will have a sale for dads in the stores next week, but didn’t have the details on it today, June 12.

Get a free photo card for Father’s Day

Money Saving Methods listed a great deal Thursday, June 11, about how to get a free photo card for the dad in your life.

card.jpg
Free card for Father’s Day

The photo offer is through American Greetings Photoworks, and the offer expires Tuesday.

Money Saving Methods also notes that you can get up to 50 free prints if you are a new member to the American Greetings site.

The free card deal uses the promo code “LOVEDAD.”

On the American Greetings site, there also are many other photo gifts to choose from, if you need some personalized gift-giving ideas.

The dad-related merchandise is on sale right now for 15 percent off with the coupon code “DAD15.”

Urgent recall issued for women’s robes after 6 deaths reported

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is urgently re-issuing a recall of 162,000 women’s full length Chenille Robes.

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Chenille Robes recalled

Since the recall was originally announced in April, Blair LLC — the company that sold the robes — has received reports of six deaths due to the robes catching on fire, according to the CPSC.

Five of the six victims were female, and all five were cooking at the time of the incidents. Three of the victims were in their 80s.

CPSC and Blair announced the recall for the robes after Blair learned of three robes catching on fire, including one report of second-degree burns.

Blair was subsequently made aware of the fatalities after the recall was announced and after Blair had sent letters of the recall to consumers who purchased the robes.

The Women’s Chenille Robes have the following item numbers: 3093111, 3093112, 3093113, 3093114, 3093115, and 3093116.

The item number is identified on a label in the garment’s neckline. The robe is a one-piece garment made of plush sculpted chenille, a shaped stand collar, and horizontal chenille front and back yolks and cuffs.

The robes were sold in Blair catalogs, stores and on its Web site from January 2003 through March 2009 from about $20 to $40.

CPSC and Blair once again urge consumers to stop wearing the garments immediately.

For information on returning the robe and to receive a refund or a $50 gift card for Blair merchandise, call (877) 392-7095 between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, visit www.blair.com/recall, or e-mail blairproductrecall@blair.com.

“CPSC urges all consumers to report any incidents or injuries involving consumer products, even after a recall has been announced,” said Acting CPSC Chairman Thomas Moore.

“Contact the CPSC so that we may help prevent tragic deaths or injuries like those that might be related to the Blair robes.”

Annual Warehouse Sale at Gerstner this weekend

H. Gerstner & Sons Inc., a Dayton tradition for 103 years, is having its annual Warehouse Sale this weekend, June 13-14 — just in time for Father’s Day.

gerstner.jpg
Gerstner Legacy Chest

Gerstner, which sells its goods across the country, specializes in tool chests, roller benches, workstations and accessories, jewelry chests, hobby chests, dressers — “pretty much anything made with wood.”

“We also sell to a tremendous number of knife and pocketknife collectors,” said Jack Campbell, president and CEO of the company. “We have all types of wood chests in which people keep items of value.”

Campbell said the sale will have the merchandise marked down 40 percent to 75 percent, with extra discounts for anything that is damaged.

“If you are handy, you can get a real deal,” Campbell said, noting that something damaged might be marked down from its original $800 or $1,000 to between $100 and $200.

Also, if you love woodcrafted items, but are in the market for something smaller, Campbell said there will be vendors at the sale offering items such as cutting boards, tools, religious items, etc., for less than $25.

The sale’s hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. Pricing for the sale will be posted by 5 p.m. today.

H. Gerstner & Sons is at 20 Gerstner Way in Dayton. For more information, visit Gerstner’s site or call (937) 228-1662 on Saturday.

Donate shoes, get $10 store credit

Foot Solutions, a health and wellness franchise that focuses on foot care and proper fit, is partnering with Soles4Souls to hold a shoe drive that will benefit people in the area who need shoes.

Those who donate their gently used shoes will get $10 in store credit to be used at Foot Solutions in exchange. The credit is one per customer.

The donated shoes will go to the Kettering YMCA and The Clothes That Work program.

Foot Solutions sells shoes and inserts that run from $100 to $300. Most shoes are athletic or casual, because the main focus is good support for your foot. They also have some dress shoes.

Even if you don’t plan to buy something at the store, you can donate shoes for a good cause.

The program runs through the month of June.

Foot Solutions is at 2140 Miamisburg-Centerville Road.

Site finds deals, raises money for charity

There are many couponing sites to choose from in cyberspace, so why not check out one that raises money for a good cause?

Alex’s Coupons, which has been around since 2001, was founded by Todd Martini. Martini was trying to raise money for his daughter, Alexandra, who had been diagnosed with leukemia in 1998.

The site offers coupons and deals to more than 1,200 stores, and is easy to navigate. You can browse by store or by category. MSN Money even named it one of the 100 most useful sites on the Internet.

“Early on I decided that Alex’s Coupons would also focus on raising childhood cancer awareness and raising money for childhood cancer charities,” Martini said.

In the last four years, they have donated more than $23,000 to childhood cancer charities, including more than $13,000 to Starlight Starbright Children’s Foundation of Washington.

Alexandra is now 11 years old and doing better, although it has been a long road for the entire family. You can read more about their journey on the Alex’s Coupons site.

REX sales up to 45% off everything

REX stores, in the midst of their liquidation sale, have raised sale prices to 45 percent off the ticketed price of everything in the Beavercreek and Dayton Mall stores.

In January, REX agreed to lease 37 company-owned stores and lease or sublease two others to Appliance Direct. Rex also plans to sell inventory, furniture and fixtures to Appliance Direct.

In the meantime, REX has been having sales of increasing magnitude, noting that “our loss is your gain!” and adding that their are still great deals left on microwaves, appliances, dehumidifiers, air-conditioners and entertainment furniture.

If you are in the market for any of these, it may be worth a look.

Grill Master? Golfer? Kohl’s has sales for Father’s Day

kohlstie.jpeg
John Lennon tie on sale

Kohl’s has broken down dads into eight handy categories — King of the Castle, Everyday CEO, Golfer, Sports Fan, Sharp Dresser, Leisure Lover, Grill Master and Gadget Guru — and lets the deals flow from there.

Among their offerings are a Chaps Linen-Blend Sport Coat for $89.99 (originally $200), a Ralph Marlin John Lennon Self Portrait Silk Tie for $20.40 (originally $34) and frames, like those for pictures of grandkids, originally $19.99, and now $11.99.

If you shop online, the latest you can order items for Father’s Day is June 17. The holiday is a week from Sunday, June 21.

Area Kohl’s are in Sugarcreek Twp. at 6400 Wilmington Pike, 2850 Centre Drive in Fairborn, 8301 Old Troy Pike in Huber Heights, 1869 W. Main St. in Troy and 1600 N. Bechtle Ave. in Springfield.

Facebook news: Aliases to be allowed; new virus to watch out for

Good news for those of you who prefer the name you gave yourself to the one you were given. Starting Saturday, June 13, Facebook will allow aliases to be employed by its users.

According to the folks at eWeek.com, users will be able to choose a user name on a first-come, first-served basis for their profiles and for the Facebook pages they administer.

As Consumerist adds, the new name can also replace the nine-digit number assigned to you on your Facebook URL.

In other Facebook news, watch out for a virus reported this morning, June 10, at Wallet Pop.

It is called the Koobface virus, according to CNET News, and it reportedly works by sending users a message announcing, “You look funny in this new video” or something similar and invites recipient to click on a provided link.

Once on the video site, a message says an update of Flash is needed before the video can be displayed. The viewer is prompted to open a file called flash_player.exe.

Facebook also has directions on how to remove the infection.

Apple cuts inspires ‘older’ MacBook sale

Earlier this week, Apple made news for cutting the price of the iPhone and its MacBook laptop computers.

macbook.jpeg
MacBook sale

Apple rolled out a new 13-inch MacBook Pro that starts at $1,200, or $100 lower than an existing similar notebook, and a 15-inch Macbook Pro that starts at $1,700, $300 less than the current model. The company said the new laptops boast longer battery life and faster processors.

Since that announcement, prices have dropped on Apple’s suddenly “older model” computers as well.

Today, June 10, the Dealzon Web site lists the retailers where you can get MacBooks for up to $805 off the original price.

It lists the best seller as the Apple MacBook MB466LL/A 13.3-inch 2GHz Laptop (Aluminum Unibody) that is selling for $1,094, or $205 off the original price.

The computer that is $805 off is the Apple MacBook Air MB940LL/A 13.3-inch, 1.86GHz Core 2 Duo, 128 GB SSD. That computer is $1,694, down from an original $2,499.

Half off all men’s merchandise at Old Navy

Old Navy is having a Men’s Better Half Off sale — selling all its merchandise for men for half off.

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Men’s Linen-Blend Button-Front Shirts are now $12.25 to $17

In stores, everything for men — clothes and accessories — is marked down 50 percent. Online, many of its items are up to 50 percent off.

Regardless of which avenue you take, it is a great sale, and it runs through (you guessed it) Father’s Day on June 21.

And, don’t forget, many of those men’s clothes (sweatshirts, T-shirts) can work for women as well.

Area Old Navy stores are at the Dayton Mall, across from the Mall at Fairfield Commons at the Shoppes of Beavercreek and in Springfield at the Upper Valley Mall.

Hand sanitizers could contain bacteria

Consumer Reports and The Food and Drug Administration are warning consumers not to use any skin products made by Clarcon.

The Clarcon Biological Chemistry Laboratory Inc. of Roy, Utah, voluntarily recalled some of its products because they could contain high levels of disease-causing bacteria, as were found during a recent inspection.

Examples of those products include skin protectants and sanitizers marketed under several different brand names, including CitruShield, Dermassentials, Magic Touch, and Pure Effect.

As CR notes:

The company’s claims that their products treat open wounds, damaged skin, and protect against infectious disease are particularly troubling. One such product, Magic Touch, is marketed as a lotion, an antibacterial, an antibiotic, and a germicide that is “great to apply open wounds because it helps heal the skin without scars.”

These products are primarily for use in industrial, janitorial, restaurant, and health care settings. If you’ve purchased a Clarcon product for personal or home use, the FDA advises you not use it, throw it away, and report any serious adverse events to the FDA’s MedWatch program.

CR issued the reminder that you can prevent infection at home by washing your hands with plain soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds, or an alcohol-based sanitizer like Purell.

MLB.com, Home Depot among site’s top 10 deals of the week

Another good site for finding bargains is Savings.com.

The site has deals under the headings of “Member Favorites,” “Staff Favorites,” and “Popular Merchants,” as well as a way to search for deals on specific items.

Monday, the site did a roundup of their top 10 online deals for this week — June 8-13.

Among their findings:

20 percent off at MLB.com.

$10 off orders of $100 or more at Home Depot.

And 20 percent off at Spiegel.

The site noted that this top 10 deals will be a weekly feature, so look for more deals next week.

Deals on Crystal Light at Meijer, Target

Like Crystal Light? These sales are for you.

Deals Team spotter Karen Baird has brought this little deal to our attention today: Crystal Light (in the 1.3- to 3.4-ounce canister) is on sale through Saturday, June 13, at Meijer.

The canisters, which each make 10 to 12 quarts, are “buy two, get two free.”

“When you purchase four canisters, you can receive a coupon at the checkout for $2 off your next shopping order,” Karen said. “The coupon expires two weeks from the date of issue.”

For more information on Meijer deals this week, visit the store’s Web site.

Of note as well is that on the Mommy Snacks Web site, you can get access to coupons for Crystal Light offering 2 for $2.

With $.99 Crystal Light On-the-Go (3 packs near the registers) on sale at Target and the coupon, you can get the Crystal Light for free.

Spend $50, get $50 at Sears

Sears is having what it is calling a Father’s Day Apparel Rebate, offering $50 Rewards Cash toward a future purchase of men’s apparel when you buy $50 in men’s pants at Sears.

The offer started Saturday, June 7, and runs through Father’s Day, June 21. Rewards Cash can be redeemed between June 30 and Oct. 30.

There is a limit of one rebate per household and it is not valid with any other discounts (including associate discount).

Reward Cash valid only on men’s apparel and excludes Lands’ End Merchandise. The mail-in rebate must be postmarked by June 30.

Wendy’s celebrating Father’s Day by helping foster children

Wendy’s is celebrating Father’s Day with a Frosty Weekend on June 20-21, and donating 50 cents from every Frosty sold to the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.

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Enjoy Frosty, help kids

Also for dads, on Wendy’s Web site, children can create a free Frosty Card. Wendy’s will donate 25 cents from every Frosty Card made to the DTFA as well.

The DTFA was created by Wendy’s founder Dave Thomas, who was adopted as a child. The foundation raises money for children in the foster care system.

Another deal of note on the Wendy’s site, which is not related to the holiday directly but helps save money as most dad’s like, is the chance to get $1 off your next Wendy’s meal by signing up for WendyMail.

Biting into Apple’s slicing of iPhone prices

The news Monday, June 8, that Apple had cut the prices of its iPhone to $99 was met with understandable excitement by those who hope to buy the cool gadget at a more accessible price.

It also was met with a few cautionary notes about how these new prices work for the iPhone 3G and the upgraded iPhone 3G S, and to whom they apply.

Wallet Pop notes that “the news isn’t all sunshine and unicorns.”

“Although Apple is selling the new iPhones for $199 or $299, and the press is already praising those prices as if they’re the Treaty of Versailles, they only apply if you don’t have an iPhone already. That price is bait for new customers. I’ve had one for six months, and Apple says I can’t have those low prices.”

Darren Murph of Engadget said: “If you’re midcontract on AT&T (with any phone), you’ll be asked to shell out a whopping $299 for one of these 8GB units or $399/$499 for the 16GB/32GB iPhone 3G S.”

“Frankly, that upgrade deal reeks compared to the offer that was passed along to those who upgraded from the iPhone to iPhone 3G (midcontract users paid the same as new/renewing contract users), but then again, the original iPhone was only sold in unsubsidized (and thus, crazy expensive) form.”

Dan Fost of the Chicago Tribune noted that:

“For AT&T customers who want to upgrade from another phone or replace an iPhone 3G, it comes at a cost: $499 (8 GB), $599 (16 GB) and $699 (32 GB) with a new two-year agreement, according to the company’s Web site (scroll to the bottom for these price notes).”

InformationWeek said the $99 price will likely boost sales, but noted that AT&T needs to lower its data service plan to entice buyers.

“The fact is, AT&T has to come down on the price of service,” analyst Ken Dulaney told InformationWeek.

So, just be aware that these new prices are good, but don’t apply to everyone. And, like any business, Apple is still concerned with its bottom line and will try to make up their profits somehow.

As Business Week’s Peter Burrows notes:

“But far from slashing prices willy nilly, Apple made targeted cuts (of iPhones and laptops) likely to help it win share without sacrificing the earnings gains that have powered an 80 percent increase in the stock price since mid-January.”

Price not too high for healthy skin

While $10 may seem a bit steep for a single bottle of sunscreen, investing in a high-quality product that will do the best job possible is a worthwhile way to spend your money.

Daily use of sunscreen for you and your children is one of the most important self-care practices you can undertake, but tends to be one of the least practiced, even in the summer months.

After all, who needs sunscreen on a cloudy day? All of us do, regardless of skin tone, since, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, up to 40 percent of the sun’s ultraviolet radiation reaches the earth on a cloudy day.

The sun’s rays, both UVA and UVB, do significant damage over a lifetime, most of which can be prevented with daily sunscreen use and extra care during especially sunny exposures.

Slathering on an ounce of sunscreen at a time (about a shot glass full, says the SCF) can help protect you from skin cancer and premature aging.

Look for combinations of barrier ingredients to ensure broad-spectrum protection. The best choices, the SCF says, contain combos of chemical barriers like avobenzone, PABA derivatives and salicylates paired with physical blocks like titanium dioxide or zinc oxide.

Since we’re all likely to forget to reapply every two hours as is recommended by the SCF (or know we should but don’t bother), many sun care manufacturers are now employing technology that allows avobenzone to last longer in the sun without breaking down.

Banana Boat’s new technology is called AvoTriplex, while Ocean Potion touts Solaplex. Aveeno’s version is called Continuous Protection with Active Photobarrier Complex, which takes longer to say than it does to apply.

La Roche-Posay Anthelios products (around $27; available only at CVS pharmacies) contains ecamsule, also known as Mexoryl SXTM, the most recently FDA-approved broad-spectrum sunscreen. Unlike avobenzone, Mexoryl SX is a photostable UV filter that protects against the entire UVA2 spectrum. The formulation in Anthelios products combines Mexoryl with avobenzone and octocrylene for stable, broad-spectrum coverage.

And if you’ve ever tried to apply sunscreen to the face of a wiggly, noncompliant child, try Ocean Potion’s Dab-on SpotStick. Its unique delivery system allows you to pat the liquid on via a spongy tip and it dries almost instantly, so there’s barely any time for complaining.

Sun protection without grousing at any price is a bargain, but for about $4, this little thing is sunscreen nirvana.

Where to get 2 free kids’ meals with adult order

There are a number of restaurants that offer free or reduced-price kids’ meals with the purchase of an adult entree — Tumbleweed Southwest Grill on Sundays, Golden Corral everyday (for kids 3 and younger) and Gold Star Chili on Tuesday nights, to name a few.

But there also are restaurants that offer twice the savings, serving up two free kids’ meals with every adult entree.

Those restaurants include Denny’s on Tuesday and Sunday evenings, Lone Star Steakhouse all day Tuesdays and Captain D’s on Thursdays. These are dine-in only deals.

As with every chain restaurant offer, they are only at participating locations. And there are age restrictions that apply, with the cutoff age usually being 10 years old.

To find out more about restaurants that offer free and discounted kids’ meals, visit the Kids Meal Deals site and plug in your ZIP code to find the deals in your area.

Job fair for outlet mall Tuesday in Monroe

The Cincinnati Premium Outlets, located between Cincinnati and Dayton off Interstate 75 at Exit 29 (Ohio 63) in Monroe, is having a job fair from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, June 9.

The job fair will be held at Monroe Senior High School, off Ohio 63, at 220 Yankee Road.

Representatives from the center’s stores will be interviewing for all positions and will be seeking to fill hundreds of positions being created by the new center.

The new upscale outlet center under construction in Monroe is on schedule for its Aug. 6 opening.

For more information, to complete an application prior to the job fair or to seek customer service training prior to attending the job fair, applicants can visit the WorkForce One Web site.

The Butler County Regional Transit Authority will provide resident transportation for the Job Fair from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Cost is $2 each way, payable on use. Reservations can be made by calling (513) 785-5237.

Stores opening at Cincinnati Premium Outlets will include Adidas, Banana Republic Factory Store, Bass, BCBG Max Azria, Brooks Brothers Factory Store, Brown Shoe Closet, Calvin Klein, Carter’s, Chicken Now, China Max, Clarks Bostonian, Coach, Cole Haan, Columbia Sportswear Company, Crocs, Easy Spirit, Ecco, Factory Brand Shoes, Fragrance Outlet, Gap Factory Store, Gymboree Outlet, Hugo Boss, Izod, J. Crew, Jones New York, Kasper, Kenneth Cole, Le Creuset, Michael Kors, Naturalizer, Nike Factory Store, Nine West, OshKosh B’gosh, PacSun, Polo Ralph Lauren Factory Store, Reebok, Rockport, Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th, Samsonite Company Store, Saxbys Coffee, Tommy Hilfiger, Totes/Sunglass World and Villa Fresh Italian Kitchen.

Get good grades? Get free stuff

Getting good grades is reward in itself but, just to sweeten that deal, here are just a few area businesses that give out free goodies to kids who get good grades.

To get these deals, kids need to bring in their report cards.

Chuck E. Cheese will give you 15 free tokens for each good report card (“A”s and “B”s).

Cold Stone Creamery offers a free kid-size cone for a good report card.

Family Video has a program called Report Card A, every June. For every “A” in a core subject, Family Video will give a coupon for a free rental of a movie or video game throughout June. The coupons do not apply to brand-new movies.

Krispy Kreme gives out a free doughnut for every “A” on your child’s report card, up to sixth grade.

Many businesses (like Limited Too, Applebees and Blockbuster) had report card deals at one time, but have since discontinued them.

If you know of any other Dayton-area businesses that reward students for good grades, comment below — these hard-working kids deserve it!

Hulu may start charging subscription fees

The Consumerist noted this weekend, June 6, that Hulu — the famously free provider of TV and movie content on the Internet — may start charging subscription fees.

The Consumerist cites the musings of Jon Miller, former AOL boss, who is now heading up digital initiatives at Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.

Miller reportedly has already started making waves by suggesting Hulu might add or move to a paid subscription model.

Miller will have a seat on Hulu’s board since the Fox television network, a unit of News Corp., is part of the Hulu joint venture.

But would this fee structure doom Hulu? Only time will tell. But if comments be our guide, the reigning thought is that consumers will bristle at having to pay for something that they used to get for free.

Coupon/ad deals for week of June 7 (and why 11th item free not best deal)

This week, Meijer has the 10 for $10 get the 11th item FREE promotion.

But Andrea Deckard warns that it might not be the best deal you can get.

“Meijer will only double two of the same coupons, so if you have five items and lose out on doubling of some coupons, getting a $1 item FREE isn’t better for your budget!” the author of Mommy Snacks said.

“I always do separate transactions to ensure all my coupons get doubled so I have more in my wallet! Check out my thoughts on what I call, Penny Planning, at Mommy Snacks.net!”

Here are Andrea’s best coupon/ad deals for the week of June 7:

CVS

Swiffer and Febreze ECB Offer

FREE Gillette Fusion Razor

Dove ECB Offer

Visit Mommy Snacks.net for ECB scenarios to maximize your budget

Walgreens

$2 Purex Complete Detergent after coupons/RR

FREE Mars Candy Bars

Coppertone Suncreen B1G1 50 percent off — visit Mommy Snacks.net for a $3 Printable Coupon

Kroger

$.69 Ken’s Salad Dressing

$.69 Daisy Sour Cream

$.50 Knorr Noodles or Rice Sides

Meijer

$.30 Aunt Millie’s Bread

$.50 Hunt’s Ketchup

FREE Aquafresh Toothpaste — visit Mommy Snacks.net for a Printable coupon

Target

$.36 Yoplait Yogurt Cups — visit Mommy Snacks.net for a Printable Coupon

$.25 Edge Shave Gel

FREE Crystal Light

Walmart

$.25 Kotex Pantiliners — visit Mommy Snacks.net for a Printable Coupon

$.87 Snuggle Fabric Softener

$.88 Borden Cheese

Father’s Day sales getting into full swing

With Father’s Day coming up on June 21, many area stores are ramping up their sales.

At Dick’s Sporting Goods, golf clubs are the focus, with an ad in today’s newspapers to take $100 off any iron set of $500 or more through June 13. The ad also is online. Golf balls, Calloway golf shoes, carts, clothes and more are included in this sale.

At Dick’s, there also are a variety of gym shoes between $39.98 and $49.99, and Reebok T-shirts and shorts 2 for $20.

JCPenney has its “lowest price ever” on Dockers original khaki pants, selling them for $24.99, among many other discounted fashions for dads. The store also has J.A. Henckles knives, regularly $299.99, on sale for $149.99, as well as luggage, kitchen electronics, razors and more.

And getting in on the golf action, JCPenney is running a contest called PGA TOUR Apparel Sweepstakes, which offers the chance to win a trip for two to the Tour Championship in Atlanta in September. No purchase is necessary.

And Sears is having what they call a Father’s Day Mattress Event, selling Sealy, Serta, Sears and more brands of mattresses for 50 percent off, and an extra $100 off select models.

Sears also has TVs, lawn and garden items and Craftsman tools on sale.

Also of note today, but not necessarily Father’s Day related, is that participating Kmart stores are doubling manufacturers coupons up to $2. The ad says the doubling time is indefinite, but the Beavercreek store manager said it was at least through Saturday.

Nominations for world’s worst credit cards

Most of us know that not all credit cards were created equally; some have rates that go up or limits that go down or are just not as useful as they should be.

To help us avoid these more unfortunate credit cards, MSN Money has corralled experts and put together a list of their nominations for world’s worst credit cards.

Their findings?

Worst retail card: Macy’s, due to its with its 23.99 percent interest rate. However, it just edges out J.C. Penney, American Eagle Outfitters, Gap, Brooks Brothers, J. Crew and Dillard’s, according to their findings.

Worst cash-back card: Money Return Platinum Plus Visa from Bank of America. “So you pay up to almost a 20 percent APR to earn (back) only 10 percnt of your interest that you pay out of your pocket,” said Curtis Arnold of CardRatings.com. “Doesn’t take a math genius to figure out that this is a lose-lose proposition.”

Worst subprime card: Centennial Gold MasterCard from First Premier Bank. “So, if you get approved for a $250 line (of credit), you are out $256 in fees during your first year of card membership and only have $71 available credit your first month,” Arnold noted. “What a rip!”

Worst secured cards: New Millennium Bank Secured Gold Visa or MasterCard and New Millennium Bank Secured Platinum Visa or MasterCard. Bill Hardekopf of LowCards.com notes the “features” of the platinum cards: “A $59 annual fee. A $99 processing fee. A 19.5 percent (interest rate) for purchases and balance transfers. And no grace period.”

Worst prestige card: Visa Black Card issued by Barclays Bank. Justin McHenry of Index Credit Cards said this card “attempts to use marketing fluff to convince people to pay $495 per year for a card that offers little more than other cards that are free or have nominal fees.”

Worst marketing for an otherwise OK card: American DreamCard MasterCard issued by HSBC. Arnold said that HSBC touts this as “the credit card program that can make people rich!” Which is probably a better tag line than “an apocalyptically horrible idea to encourage gambling through overspending! Oh, and let’s suck your friends in, too!”

Visit MSN’s site for more info on these, other credit card tips and where to find the best credit cards.

It’s Friday, so check out Amazon’s deals

Friday is known for many things — TGIF, Friday Night Lights, fun, freedom and general frivolity.

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Save $135 today on this Everyday Pan

It also is known for big sales at Amazon.com.

One that stood out to me today, after looking over their offerings, was this Calphalon 12-inch Everyday Pan.

Originally $168, this pan is marked down 80 percent to a much more handleable $32.99, for a savings of $135.01 (or 80 percent). And the item ships for free with Super Saver Shipping.

Facebook sets up fee structure for goods

Facebook, the largest social networking site in the world, has reportedly implemented a payment system. Not for membership or the many other free components of the site — but for goods.

Users are able to buy Facebook “credits” to buy virtual goods from the third-party applications that run on the site, or from Facebook itself. These fees would pay for games, buy virtual goods, and perhaps even do real shopping.

Already, according to the Financial Times, the Facebook faithful are spending real money buying virtual goods and credits on the applications that run on Facebook’s platform.

Zynga, the largest applications developer on Facebook, with 42 million users of its games, is reported to be nearing annual sales of $100 million.

Facebook currently runs on ad revenues, and does very well. As Wallet Pop notes, Facebook is designed to be a massive time-suck, and, in the process, it sells a lot of ads. Some sources have pegged the site’s current revenues at approximately $500 million.

This new feature should pad that sum nicely.

Mega Moms’ Sale set for June 13

A week from Saturday, on June 13, The Family Network of Dayton will hold it’s third annual Mega Moms’ Sale at St. Albert the Great Church in Kettering.

It is a consignment sale of family items and clothes, similar those held by Mothers of Twins and the TWIGs, according to Jan Gomez, a member of The Family Network.

The sale will be from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Parish Center behind the church, 3033 Far Hills Ave., at the corner of Far Hills Avenue and Dorothy Lane.

There is a $1 entrance fee to be paid at the door, but if you print out this blog post, you can get in for free.

Among the items for sale will be kids’ toys, clothes for all seasons sizes 0-12, baby and toddler gear, outdoor play equipment, furniture, books, maternity clothes and much more.

“We have 22 sellers, so that’s a lot of stuff!” said Gomez, who added that the pricing starts at 50 cents.

Plan to shop early for the best selection.

This is a cash only sale. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Ronald McDonald House of Dayton.

The Family Network is a nonprofit, nondenominational organization helping to strengthen individual and family relationships through encouragement, support, communication and networking.

“As far as I know,” Gomez said, “this is the only large-scale consignment sale of this type in June. The others are usually in early spring and early fall.”

Free doughnuts today at Krispy Kreme

Just a reminder — don’t forget to pick up your free doughnut today, June 5, at Krispy Kreme on Dorothy Lane in Kettering.

The restaurant is celebrating National Doughnut Day by inviting all customers to come in today and have a free doughnut in any variety.

No purchase is necessary, but it the offer is one per customer.

Area Domino’s holding food drive

Domino’s is making good news again today, June 4. Earlier this week, the pizza chain announced it was cutting prices 35 percent, and now it is holding a food drive for the needy.

The Feed the Hungry and Feed Your Family with Domino’s Pasta for Pasta Food Drive (whew!) will be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, June 6, at participating Dayton-area Domino’s locations.

How it will work is customers can trade in a box of pasta or any other nonperishable food item for a coupon good for a free order of Domino’s BreadBowl Pasta.

All collected food will be donated to local food banks around the Dayton area. The offer is valid for carry-out orders only at participating locations and while supplies last. There is a limit of one coupon per customer.

According to Domino’s media relations, the local Domino’s participating in the food drive are:

1450 Kuntz Road, Dayton

531 Wilmington Ave., Dayton

5391 N. Dixie Drive, Dayton

6583 Brandt Pike, Dayton

1219 E Central Avenue, Miamisburg

1240 Spinning Rd, Dayton

5995 Bigger Rd, Kettering

5099 Springboro Pike, Dayton

3512 W Siebenthaler Ave., Dayton

26 E National Rd, Vandalia

1258 Kauffman Ave., Fairborn

3320 Dayton Xenia Rd, Beavercreek

17 N Allison Ave., Xenia

2 N Smithville Road, Dayton

885 E Franklin St., Centerville

502 W National Road, Clayton

1800 N Main St., Dayton

4399 W 3rd St., Dayton

2533 Wilmington Pike, Dayton

937 W Main St., Troy

417 W McCreight, Springfield

1045 Villa Road, Springfield

1554 E. Main St., Springfield

937 W. Main St., Tipp City

766 Scioto St., Urbana

120 N. Sunset Drive, Ste A., Piqua

7096 Dayton Springfield Road, Enon

331 S. Main St., New Carlisle

30 days free for Consumer Reports online

Consumer Reports’ Web site is a great resource for information but, unlike many other sites, it is not free.

However, if you have ever wanted to see if it would be something you could use, now is the time. CR is offering a free trial membership for 30 days.

The online version of the magazine regularly costs $26 for one year or $5.95 for one month. If you also subscribe to the magazine, the online addition is $19 per year.

All of these renew automatically, until you tell them otherwise.

So, if you want to check it out, the offer is a savings of at least $5.95.

Be aware, however, that you will need to provide your credit card number for the free trial, and after that trial period you will be charged and then refunded $26 (if you choose not to subscribe).

Here’s how you cancel: Log in to “My Account” from the home page and select “cancel subscription.” You will receive a refund for all remaining months (but partial months can not be refunded).

Clothes That Work Dollar Sale today only

The Clothes That Work boutique, a resale shop, is having a one-day sale from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. today, June 4.

The sale has single items — such as women’s dresses, coats, blouses, slacks and jackets, and men’s shirts, pants, sport jackets, sweaters and coats — for $1 each.

Two-piece items — like suits, twin sets, dresses and skirt sets — are $2 each.

Scarves and men’s ties are four for $1.

The sale is cash only, and all sales are final.

Clothes That Work is at The Job Center, 1133 S. Edwin C. Moses Blvd. in Dayton.

E-B gets jump on summer with sale

Despite the fact that we have yet to stick one painted toenail into the summer of 2009, Elder-Beerman is celebrating the season with a sale — and not just any sale — but with their “biggest sale of the summer.”

ebdress.jpeg
This AGB Solid Sheath Dress, originally $86, is on sale for $29.97

The eager event started Wednesday, June 3, and goes through Sunday.

The sale includes “bonus buys” offering 60 percent off clothes for men, women and children, as well as luggage, and has coupons for extra savings of up to 20 percent off other sale items (although not the bonus buys).

The bonus buys include summer dresses for $29.97, and Izod, polo shirts and T-shirts for $12.97, among others.

For those holding Elder-Beerman credit cards, you can also earn double the reward points during this sale.

Online, the store is offering a coupon code to help you get another 20 percent off.

Buy one men’s suit, get 2nd one free

Men’s Wearhouse has a great deal right now for anyone that needs a couple nice, men’s suits.

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The store has a deal in which, if you buy one suit, you can get a second suit of equal or lesser value for free.

In the Dayton area, this deal is good at the Men’s Wearhouse stores in Centerville at 2860 Miamisburg-Centerville Road and in Beavercreek at 2750 N. Fairfield Road.

The bargain-finding site Buxr also notes that, with this deal, when you order online, you can get free ground shipping on orders of more than $100 or have your order shipped to your local store.

National parks waive fees for 3 weekends

Going on any trips to national parks this summer? If you plan right, you could get in for free.

For three weekends this summer — June 20-21, July 18-19 and Aug. 15-16 — the entry fees will be waived at the 147 national parks that charge for admission.

This includes Yosemite and Yellowstone, as well as Ohio sites such as James A. Garfield National Historic Site in Mentor and Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial National Memorial in Put-in-Bay.

Yosemite regularly charges $20 per car or $10 per person, Yellowstone charges up to $25 per person, and those Ohio parks charge $3 to $5.

The National Park Service site also notes that many other parks never charge an entrance fee, so you can plan inexpensive visits year-round.

Strollers, play sets, trampolines recalled

If you have kids, this recall roundup is for you.

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Bugaboo Bee Strollers recalled
playset.jpg
Step2 Play Up Gym recalled
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Trampolines recalled

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has recalled Bugaboo Bee Strollers, Step2 Play Up Gym play sets and 13-foot Square Trampolines that were distributed by Skywalker Holdings due to potential safety hazards.

The brakes on the Bugaboo strollers can fail, causing a stroller to unexpectedly roll away on an incline. Bugaboo has received 121 reports of the stroller’s brakes failing. No injuries have been reported.

The strollers were sold nationwide and on various Web sites from August 2007 through April 2009 for about $530.

Consumers should stop using the strollers and contact Bugaboo to receive a free repair kit. To order the bracket kit, go to www.bugaboo.com.

For more information on the stroller recall, call (800) 460-2922 or e-mail bugaboobee-service@bugaboo.com.

The hazard reported on the Step2 play sets is that the triangular hangers that attach the swing’s ropes to the upper rail of the play set can break, posing a fall hazard.

Step2 has received 17 reports of hangers breaking, according to the CPSC. No injuries have been reported.

The play sets were sold at Toys R Us stores nationwide from January 2009 through April 2009 for about $400.

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled play sets and contact Step2 to receive a set of replacement hangers and instructions at (800) 347-8372 or www.step2.com.

On the trampolines, the straps supporting the top of the trampoline’s enclosure to the poles can fail. The enclosure could drop if these straps break, posing a risk that a user could fall from the trampoline.

The CPSC said that Skywalker Holdings has received at least 250 reports of straps breaking. No injuries have been reported.

The trampolines were sold at specialty stores and major retailers nationwide and online from January 2007 through February 2009 for between $400 and $600.

Consumers should immediately stop using the trampolines and contact Skywalker Holdings to obtain a free repair kit at (866) 603-5867 or www.skywalkertrampolines.com.

Local blogger on Nielsen power list

Erin Chase, the author of 5dollardinners.com, has been named one of the Nielsen Online Power Mom 50, which they call a collection of leading voices in the mom blogosphere.

Chase, a Centerville mother of two, helps families serve healthy dinners for a family of four for $5 or less.

Chase made the Nielsen list of “Savvy Spender Mom Blogs.” The criteria used was based on blog posts and comments, links, Twitter followers and other metrics.

Nielsen said that women age 25-54 with at least one child are the so-called “Power Moms.” Power Moms represent nearly 20 percent of the active online population, according to Nielsen Online, and they are wielding more influence than ever.

Although Chase has been operating her blog for less than a year, and it has drawn rave reviews across the country. In April, Chase appeared on “The Rachael Ray Show.” And, in January, she won a year’s worth of groceries from Walmart for her video on money-saving tips.

On the Nielsen list, they also have categories on the Power 50 such as “Mom Approved” (product reviewers), “Queen Bees” (anchored around parenting) and “Mamastes” (travel mom bloggers).

Since the list came out, she also has been featured in the Washington Post and Boston Globe.

Congrats, Erin!

Up to 100 free prints at CVS; new June coupons

The beginning of the month means a new batch of coupons at a plethora of Web sites, and thanks to our buddy Andrea Deckard of Mommy Snacks, your June offerings are available in convenient one-stop shopping fashion.

Also at Mommy Snacks, there is information to get up to 100 free photo prints at CVS/Pharmacy.

Just follow the simple instructions for your first 50, and see if you want to employ your spouse’s e-mail to get another 50 free. You only one ExtraCare Card.

For more money-saving ideas, including a post on 2009 financial goals, visit MommySnacks.net.

Coffee deal seems to have lost steam

Remember that deal that the Gevalia coffee company had last month that I posted on this site?

The company offered a 12-cup Gevalia Coffee Maker (a $99.99 retail value), a stainless steel thermal carafe ($44.95 retail value), a stainless steel travel mug (a $14.95 retail value) and gourmet coffee for $10 — including shipping.

Well, it seems that the coffee deal has gone south — and not to Colombia.

One of our staffers here at the Dayton Daily News, the one who initially alerted us to the deal, was able to take advantage of this deal exactly as noted.

Another staffer applied, but did not get the deal. She did, however, get her money back.

Here is the rejection letter she received:

Dear ——-:

Thank you for your interest in Gevalia. Unfortunately your order could not be processed. The offer you responded to was part of a targeted direct mail campaign which was extended to a select group of customers.

This special offer was reprinted on different internet sites without Gevalia’s consent.

We apologize for any inconvenience that this may have caused.

Sincerely, The Gevalia Customer Service Team.

When I contacted that customer service team, they cited “demand” for the reason they no longer have that deal online.

They did, however, say they had another similar deal that is currently available.

So, just be aware — it may or not work out. But at least you should not be out any money in the process.

Free Float Night Wednesday at area Sonics

In an effort to thank you for going to Sonic Drive-in, the company is offering a Free Float Night from 8 p.m. to midnight Wednesday, June 3, at area Sonics.

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Get this free float on Wednesday night

Each customer can get a free 10-ounce root beer float. No purchase is required, but there is a limit of one per customer.

The offer is reportedly good at all area Sonic locations. To find your nearest Sonic, visit its Web site and punch in your ZIP code.

For more info on this and a look at various fast food freebies of late, check out this article on USA Today’s site.

Financial advice for recent graduates

There are many graduations occurring in the Miami Valley and, with that in mind, here is a look at some good advice for recent grads from Savings.com:

Start accruing good credit: Start putting utility bills, bank accounts, loans, and credit cards in your name as soon as you can, even during college, if possible. Doing this will build up your credit history, and you’re likely to get more favorable interest rates down the road when your credit score is higher.

Stay connected for less: Try to get your friends and family on the same wireless phone network so that you can talk to each other for free.

It’s not used, it’s pre-owned: There is nothing wrong with used cars. Be sure to check the vehicle history report and to have a mechanic look it over before you buy.

Ensure you’re insured: Shop around to find the best car insurance rate before committing. Check into new graduate discounts, and ask about combining renter’s insurance with your car insurance, you’ll often be able to get a discounted rate.

Save, save, save: Having a nice little sum tucked away will help you if you happen to lose your job, if you need to make a big move for a new job, or if you have some other random unexpected expense that pops up. Try creating an ING Direct savings account online. They offer great interest rates, and they offer cash incentives if you get friends to sign up.

Denny’s offers Slam for $3.99 through June

Denny’s will sell its Everyday Value Slam breakfast for $3.99 throughout the month of June. The breakfast usually sells for $5.99.

The offer, according to the Nation’s Restaurant News, is an extension of the chain’s Weekday Value Slam, which includes two eggs any style, two pancakes and a choice of bacon or sausage. Beverage is not included.

The chain’s original Grand Slam breakfast features four components, but the new promotion has three, including bacon or sausage.

John Dillon, Denny’s vice president of marketing, said if the promotion proves to be successful, the chain may consider continuing it.

The Dayton-area Denny’s is at 1136 S. Main St. near Miami Valley Hospital.

Farm fresh produce project at Dorothy Lane

How would you like locally grown, fresh produce available at your local supermarket?

Farm 2 Fork Fresh, a program of the nonprofit TransPlant Project, is accepting memberships in a Community Supported Agriculture program operating out of the three area Dorothy Lane Markets in Oakwood, Washington Twp. and Springboro.

Here’s how it works:

To take part, you need to sign up from 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. today, June 1, through June 11 at a Dorothy Lane Market. There is an initial $35 membership fee. You can also sign up online.

Then members can sign up for six-, 12- or 18-week memberships at $25 per week. You must sign up in advance. The boxes are picked to order.

Then, beginning June 18, shoppers can go to their Dorothy Lane Market to pick up their prepaid Farm 2 Fork Fresh CSA box.

The box will include a bit of everything grown on the member farms: In June, that will include peas, spinach and lettuces, and more; in August that will include tomatoes, herbs and peppers, among other fresh vegetables.

The TransPlant Project noted that the total range of produce to be included in the CSA boxes includes:

Apples, asparagus, beans, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cantaloupe, carrots, cauliflower, chard, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, garlic, herbs, leeks, lettuces, kohlrabi, onions, parsnips, peas, peppers, potatoes, pumpkins, rutabagas, raspberries, rhubarb, spinach, squash, strawberries, sweet potatoes, many varieties of tomatoes, and zucchini.

Shares are limited for this first season, but if the program does well, TransPlant hopes to have a similar project for the fall, according to communications director Amy Lee.

The TransPlant Project provides education and employment for ex-offenders, as they transition from incarceration to restored citizenship.

The group also provides fresh, safe, affordable, locally grown food and flowers using the best green business practices.

Domino’s cutting prices dramatically

Domino’s Pizza is dropping their prices across the board by an average of 35 percent, according to Dayton-area franchise owner Tristan Koehler.

The chain, Koehler claims, will now be the lowest-priced pizza delivery company in Dayton.

The new everyday prices will be a medium pepperoni or 1-topping pizza for $6.99, and a large pepperoni or 1-topping pizza for $8.99. A small will be $4.99. Additional toppings will still cost extra, making a medium deluxe pizza $9.99, and a large deluxe $12.74.

The prices go into effect Tuesday, June 2.

Koehler added that Domino’s will still offer specials on TV and in print, “but our regular menu prices will now be essentially the same as our previous coupon sale prices.”

“We wanted to find a way to help our customers who have been so loyal to us over the years, during these really tough economic times,” Koehler said, adding that the change was made possible by a combination of lower commodity prices and an examination of the Dayton-area pizza market.

Maybe the recent news of Cici’s vacating the area made room for another slice of the cheaper pizza action.

Many deals great for stockpiling this week

Stockpiling is the name of the game this week, according to Andrea Deckard of Mommy Snacks, who compiles this weekly list of the best area ad/coupon savings.

“I see several deals that are great for stockpiling: deodorant, Crystal Light, Insect Repellent, and more,” Andrea said. “When you stockpile during the great sales, you give yourself more room in your budget for future weeks.”

CVS

$.50 Kraft Easy Mac Cups — visit Mommy Snacks for a Printable Coupon

$.50 Glade Air Freshener

Several ECB and B1G1 FREE Deals this week too!

Walgreens

$.10 Ban Deodorant after coupons/RR

Money-Maker on Ecotrin Tablets after coupons/RR

FREE Crystal Light or Country Time Lemonade — visit Mommy Snacks for a Printable Coupon

FREE Cutter Insect Repellent

Kroger

$.29/pound Bananas (Stock up and freeze for baking or smoothies)

$.50 Knorr Noodles or Rice Sides

$2.27 Tombstone Pizza — visit Mommy Snacks for a Printable Coupon

Meijer

Awesome Crystal Light and Meijer Water Deal! Visit Mommy Snacks for details

$.50 Ritz Crackers

$.28 Betty Crocker Suddenly Salad

Target

$.39 Pup-Peroni Dog Treats

FREE Hefty Handy Saks Small Trash Bags — visit Mommy Snacks for a Printable Coupon

$.49 Dry Idea Deodorant

Walmart

FREE Blue Bunny Ice Cream Sandwiches — visit Mommy Snacks for a Printable Coupon

$.50 Benefiber Drink Mixes

$.97 Coppertone Suncreen Sticks

Save money, cut fat by eating at home

It is no secret that eating out takes a big bite out of your budget. An 8-ounce soft drink costs about $2 at a restaurant, but can cost as low as 23 cents at home.

That’s like an 800 percent markup and you haven’t even gotten to the food, yet.

And it is not just additional costs that get you. Consumer Reports recently wrote a story about how restaurant and takeout meals can really pile on the pounds, often by piling on the sodium.

To help you out, however, the consumer machine also mentioned six secrets to help you slim down as well as some ideas for smart cooking choices.

So, if your schedule allows, make more time to eat at home. It can save money and your waistline.

 

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