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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Amazon: 1-year MAXIM subscription, $4.

Amazon's magazine deal of the week is a one-year subscription to Maxim for $3.99. But wait - it's an auto-renewal subscription, meaning that they'll automatically renew your subscription at the end of the year (presumably not at $3.99, either) unless you tell them not to.

If you don't mind taking the extra step of going to your subscription manager page and unchecking the auto-renewal box, then go nuts! I just don't want you getting tricked into paying full price down the line and not realizing it until later.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Peet's: BOGO coffee drinks through Feb. 3.

Looking for a way to show your caffeinated love to a special someone? Show them how much you care by generously sharing your BOGO coupon at Peet's with them, now through Feb. 3. Or be a Scrooge and double up on cappuccinos for yourself. I won't tell anyone.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Free "Battle Bears" iPhone app, Jan. 29.

I think this is my first iPhone freebie post ever, which makes me feel old and obsolete. So, needless to say, I have no idea what this is or whether it's worthy of downloading, but at any rate, you can get a free download of BATTLE BEARS today only via the iPhone app store. (Normally you can get a limited version of BATTLE BEARS free and the full version costs money, but today's freebie is for the full version.)

I feel more futuristic and hip already.

(Thanks, Sonya!)

Seattle: Free lunchtime concerts at City Hall.

Downtown Seattleites can head on over to City Hall during February and March for a series of free lunchtime concerts. I learned about this while I was down at the courthouse doing jury duty, and opted to skip the bagpipe concert of "majestic Scottish music," but there are plenty of shows left in the series.

  • Feb. 4 - Cristina Orbe - Bluesy pop rock singer songwriter
  • Feb. 12 - Pacific Musicworks Seattle Chamber Players Extraordinary Double-bill
  • Feb. 18 - Overton Berry - Legendary jazz pianist
  • March 4 - Dave Peck Trio - Jazz piano trio
  • March 18 - Jherek Bischoff - Rising new music star & 15-member band

You are welcome to bring a lunch and hang out, and there are lots of dining options within a block or two, so you can easily grab a sandwich and head over for some cultural edification. (Seattle City Hall is at 700 Fifth Ave., aka Fifth and Columbia.)

Free Ensure shake.

Chewing is hard, right? But you still want nutrition in an easy-to-digest, sweetened form. Save yourself from endless mastication with Ensure! They're offering coupons for a free can and discounts on six-packs of Ensure. Looks like you may have to sign up for an e-newsletter in order to get your free can, but then again, you'll need some reading material while enjoying your non-chewed liquid lunch...

Free Qdoba food when you play their little game.

Qdoba is offering coupons for free Mexican fare when you play their "Craft Your Life" online game, which is basically a very elaborate version of MASH. I think everybody gets a coupon for a free drink when you buy a "Craft2" meal item, and then they're giving away thousands of coupons for free food if you're a lucky winner.

The gist of the Craft2 thing is that you mix-n-match single items to create your own meal, or something, I guess. For free food, I'd try it, but all I got was a loser drink coupon. Then again, I'll (apparently) be living in a mansion in Jakarta with my pet flying squirrel and my boyfriend Hipster Hayden, so who NEEDS their free food, anyway?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Seattle: Free SAM admission 2/28 with library card.

Hey Seattle, want to check out the SAM for free? On February 28, anyone with a Seattle Public Library card can get a free admission to the museum just by showing their card. Library card holders will also receive 25 percent off the purchase of a book at SAM SHOP and 10 percent off either Sunday Brunch or Sunday Urban Supper at TASTE Restaurant.

I know this is like a month early, but don't worry, I'll remind you closer to the actual date. There's no excuse for not getting your free dose of culture! And the Calder exhibit is pretty cool, if you haven't seen it already.

Free bag of Hershey's Pieces.

"What are Pieces and why do I want them?" you may be asking yourself. Well, Pieces are those bags of little candy-bar nuggets, draped in chocolate. It seems to have been reverse-engineered from Reese's Pieces, because they now have Almond Joy Pieces, Special Dark Pieces, and York Peppermint Patty Pieces.

Anyway, when you fill out this form and send in one full-size wrapper from the corresponding Hershey's bar, you shall receive (a coupon for) a full-size bag of Pieces. Or rather, the first 25,000 will, so get right on it if you want yours!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Seattle: free happy hour small bites at La Spiga.

Happy hour is never happier than when it includes free snacks, as far as I'm concerned. And La Spiga, in Capitol Hill, seems dedicated to delivering quality nibbles along with its drinks. Evidently, each drink comes with four small plates - always including olives and cashews and their signature flatbread, plus two more selections that vary nightly. If the picture in the article is anything to go by, it seems like a generous portion of snacks, too.

Here's the full happy hour menu (happy hour goes till 6:30), although $8 snacks seem pretty pricey compared to, um, free.

(Courtesy of the Seattle Times)

Free freezer bag shopping tote.

I've gotten Skinny Cow ice cream treats a few times in the past, and they're actually not bad. They mostly make reduced-fat ice cream sandwiches and stuff like that, but they're pretty good for what they are. Anyway, you can proclaim your love for Skinny Cow and other ice creams with this free cooler bag tote thing. No membership is required for this freebie, but supplies are limited, so get 'em while they're hot. Cold. Whatever.

Free Aveda Caribbean Therapy body creme.

Aveda is pretty good about giving away free samples, and they're always the generous travel-size bottle, not just some crappy single-use foil packet. So I like to post these when I see them, although unfortunately there isn't an Aveda super-close to me personally.

I was a bit intimidated the first time I went in, because it's very posh and quiet and spa-like in there, and they do clearly want you to buy something and not just get a free item and skedaddle. But if you keep up a facade of polite obliviousness, they eventually give up, and you're on your way with a deluxe sample of Caribbean Therapy body creme! (Scroll down to the bottom to get the link to the printable coupon.)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Information: PopChips sample fail.

Having signed up for the PopChips sample pack offer that I posted earlier this week, I was a tad surprised to see this email today from PopChips:

"hi there. we're sorry to say that someone "mistakenly" posted a "pop it forward" link for popchips onto the web this past weekend. we're not sure why, but what was a hand-delivered invitation to a small number of people, ended-up online with tens of thousands of people signing-up. we're really sorry about the mix-up and hope you understand. in the meantime, please enjoy this $1 off coupon (which expires 1/31/2010).

your friends at popchips"

The use of the scare quotes around "mistakenly" seems a tad passive-aggressive, but I suppose whoever sent this email is doing a fair amount of damage control today, so a little 'tude is understandable. In any case, if you signed up for that offer, I hate to be the bearer of bad news but I don't think you'll be seeing a magical PopChips gift basket anytime soon.

Bath & Body Works: 75% off, + 20% off that.

Bath & Body Works is having a smelly sale on their holiday scented bath products, up to 75% off! Plus, you can get an extry 20% off by using promo code INSTYLE20, or so I hear. I can't imagine why the Red Vines scented lotion didn't fly off the shelves this Xmas, but this tinted lip-balm quad compact is a steal for $6.

Borders: 33% off one item.

Here goes Borders with another one of their wacky percent-off coupons. This one is for 33% off one item, exactly - neither a penny more nor less. Come to think of it, I haven't seen a 40% coupon in a looong time, so maybe 33 is the new 40?

On a related note, I just got an email from Borders announcing that I had $5 in Borders Bucks, accumulated from all my 2009 cheapskate coupon shopping without really trying (I guess you normally earn a small percentage of your purchases as cash back, but it's pretty slim). Combined with the 30% coupon (Borders Bucks work like cash, so coupons can be combined with them), that was enough to get me a cute little boxed set of tea-and-biscuit notecards (which, sadly, I cannot show you because Borders' website is LAME). Free gifts without even trying - that's the HTN way!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Amazon: ReadyMade one-year subscription, $6.

I'm not personally familiar with ReadyMade magazine, but one thing struck me as I read through the Amazon reviews: people really feel passionate about it. Granted, most of that is passionate hatred, like the reviewer who rants, "If I have to read one more article about how Readymade has been a "green" magazine for x number of years before it got trendy I'm going to order 500 subscriptions and cut all of them up into tiny pieces and DUMP IT ALL IN THE OCEAN."

From what I can glean through the flying specks of rabid spittle, it sounds like ReadyMade is a DIY glossy for hipsters, which sometimes has interesting projects but more often has over-simple, obvious "ideas" that you could have figured out yourself. And sometimes it has album reviews. If this sounds like $6 worth of entertainment for a year, then by all means, do it yourself.

Free Kashi samples.

To balance out the unhealthiness of that free Oreo offer I just posted, here's something a little healthier and hippier: get a free sample of your choice of three different Kashi goodies. I've tried their cereals before and they're pretty good, but I really like the granola/trail mix bars, so I think it's all about the chocolate coconut bar for me.

Facebook: Free Oreos for the first 150,000, 1/25 at noon.

Oreo is giving away 150,000 packages of their chocolatey sandwich cookies today at 3:00 pm Eastern time (aka noon Pacific time) on their Facebook page. I'm guessing you'll need to become a fan and then fill out a form on their page around noon, or whenever the overwhelmed servers will allow you to do so. I haven't had an Oreo for I don't know how many years, but I admit to being a little curious about their scary novelty holiday colored ones, so maybe I'll pick up a package of Valentine's Day Oreos with creepy pink icing.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

PopChips snack pack for up to 3 of your lucky friends.

PopChips has a new "Pop It Forward" campaign, in which they apparently expect that you'll selflessly nominate three of your friends to receive free PopChips sample snack packs. I don't know anybody that generous, but I do know that if you make a SNACK PACT with three of your other friends, and you each put the other people's names, you'll all get... uhh... eight packs each? I don't know, I wasn't a CHIP MATH major. Puh-lease.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Cost Plus: Free tote bag with $10 purchase.

Cost Plus is offering a free giveaway tote bag with any $10 purchase, while supplies last (see front page of circular). If you've ever been in there and wandered through their food aisles, you know it's not hard to rack up a $10 purchase there. A jar of chutney here, a Belgian chocolate bar there, a bit of imported licorice, and you're done.

I've got my eye on a slightly bigger purchase at the moment, however - a comfy leather chair and ottoman friend. Think they'll give me TWO tote bags if I do?

Free KIND snack bars at all Starbucks on Feb. 5.

I haven't ever tried a KIND snack bar, but I have seen them in grocery stores and they usually sell for about $2. So it's mighty generous of them to be giving away free samples in all Starbucks stores on February 5, don't you think?

They'll be offering two flavors, Fruit & Nut Delight and Cranberry Almond+Antioxidants, so stop by and get yours on February 5. I happen to have an SBUX right in my building lobby, so I figure I can put on a variety of wigs and outfits and visit them at least four or five times without them getting suspicious.

Flights on Virgin America starting at $44.

Virgin America is having a fare sale if you live in one of a handful of lucky cities (Seattle is included, but you can only go to SF or LA - not that that's such a hardship). Fares start at $44 one-way and some are pretty good deals, like NY to SF for $114. There's a lower rate through March 10, and then prices go up through June 20, but the deals are still pretty good.

Oh, and P.S., jury duty is now over! So I'll be back to my regularly scheduled deals 'n' freebies starting next week. Hurrah.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Free Cream of Wheat sample.

I am not a Cream of Wheat fan by any means. But if there's one thing jury duty has taught me (because yes, I'm still in it), it's the importance of keeping an open mind and making fair, rational judgments based on the evidence. Therefore, ladies and gentlemen, I submit State's Evidence #1, a free Cream of Wheat sample.

Your Honor, I rest my case.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

30% off at Borders.

I take it back - Borders is also offering a straight-up 30% off coupon at the same time as the $10 off $30 one. Well, can you blame me for getting confused? They have so dad-gum many coupons flying around all the time, who can keep track of them all? Unless that's the whole point...

Get a dozen free V-day cards and donuts at Krispy Kreme.

I haven't been able to verify this Krispy Kreme offer (by way of, but supposedly, through February 14, when you buy a dozen doughnuts, you'll get a dozen Valentine's Day cards free... and each card contains a coupon for a free single doughnut. So it's basically a BOGO, but it's valentines, too! See how that works?

Also, participating Krispy Kreme stores have heart-shaped doughnuts specially available for Valentine's Day, which your coworkers would probably enjoy more than that stale box of punctured, leaky chocolate-covered cherries. Just a thought.

$10 off $30 at Borders, again.

Hmmm, I'm not sure I approve of these dollar-off coupons as opposed to a percentage of the total price. Borders is offering another $10 off $30 coupon this week, good through January 25. I suppose that's good news if you were planning on buying something that cost $29.95, but otherwise I'd hold out for a better coupon. There must be one coming soon, right?

Monday, January 18, 2010

Free Taco Bell Fresco Taco, redux.

In case you inexplicably missed the free Fresco Taco offer the first time around, Taco Bell is bringing it back! Based on what I've read since the first time I posted it, it appears that that taco-wielding lady on the webpage is an actual person who lost a significant amount of weight on a "drive-thru diet," in which Taco Bell was peripherally involved.

That doesn't necessarily boil down to "Taco Bell = diet food," but if that's what you need to tell yourself to justify the free taco, you go right ahead.

Free Ben & Jerry's ice cream.

There's nothing like a nice, chilly ice cream cone right in the middle of winter, is there? Sign up for the Ben & Jerry's e-newsletter and you'll receive a coupon for a free cone.

You'll also become a "chunk spelunker," though, so you'll have to make your peace with that.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Jury doody.

At last, they've let me loose - but just for one day. Jury duty resumes next week after the MLK holiday, and although I've been scouring the Internets looking for deals, there's not much to be found out there today.

It has been interesting to be a tiny cog in the wheels of justice, but I look forward to being back here with you and posting freebies and deals regularly again! Hang in there and enjoy the 3-day weekend, if you get one.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Free Gold Bond Sanitizer/Moisturizer.

You may know of Gold Bond for their magical medicated powder products, but they're jumping into the hand-sanitizer game and they want YOU to try a free sample and get hooked.

I've requested a few samples through Walmart's online sample center, and I'm consistently impressed with how fast they get here and how reliably they arrive. So whatever else I may have to say about Walmart, they do give good sample. And God knows you'll need it if you decide to shop there.

41% off at the Old Spaghetti Factory, Jan. 12-13.

When I was a kid, the Old Spaghetti Factory in my hometown of San Jose was the epitome of classy, understated elegance in decor - to say nothing of that all-you-can-eat bread with garlic butter! Nowadays, I've discovered other dining options, but I do feel the old nostalgia strings a-pulling when they tempt my cheapskate heart with their anniversary discount promotions.

OSF is celebrating their 41st anniversary (I gather) and thus, a special menu is available on January 12 and January 13 only with 41% off their regular prices. The prices are pretty reasonable to begin with, given that you get salad, the aforementioned all-you-can-eat bread loaves, a beverage, and the beloved SPUMONI included. My favorite is the spaghetti with brown butter and mizithra, which is a mere $5.89 during the promotion.

The best part, though, is where they specify "one order per guest" in the fine print. Waiter, bring me one of everything! I'm eating leftovers aaallll week.

Free Kotex sample packs.

I think we could all use a few free Kotex samples in our lives. Am I right, fellas? Well, step right up and get yourself one of these free sample packs! Once you fill out your info, you'll have your choice of three different packs:

Sample pack 1:
Includes 2 Regular Maxi Pads and 2 fresh and dry long liners

Sample pack 2:
Includes 1 Super Tampon, 2 Regular Tampons and 2 fresh and dry long liners

Sample pack 3:
Includes 2 Ultra Thin Pads with wings and 2 fresh and dry long liners

I know, I know... how will you ever choose? But I'm sure they'll all be great. And absorbent.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Borders: $10 off $30.

Jury duty isn't leaving me much time for posting, but I'm glad to see I can always rely on Borders to provide me with a quick coupon to pop on here. This one's a dollar-off instead of a percentage - $10 off $30, which means you'll want to keep your qualifying purchase as close to the $30 minimum mark as possible. Looks like it counts toward Entertainment Books, though, and I believe they're still bundling them with the $5 gift cards, so they'd be paying you to take a free gift card. Just saying.

Justice isn't free.

In case you came to visit today and wondered where all the magical freebies are, I regret to inform you that the HTN is going to have to take a little leave of absence this week for jury duty. Yep, I'm doing my civic duty at the local temple of justice, and while it's supposed to be over this week, you never really know.

And no, I'm not testifying as an expert witness on getting awesome freebies. But thank you.

The HTN may post sporadically this week, but you may not see too much action here this week, so I just wanted to let you know I'm not sleeping on the job or anything. I look forward to seeing you back here once Justice is saved!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Free Swagbucks code = free Swagbucks.

Courtesy of, here's a little trick to get a free Swagbucks code: After logging into your account, click “Ways to Earn” and then “Special Offers.” Then click the blue box that says “No Obligation Offers.” Skip through all the offers shown to you (about five or so) and at the end, you’ll receive a free code! Granted, mine was only worth one Swagbuck when I cashed it in, but still, free is free.

If you're new to Swagbucks, it's basically a search engine that rewards you for searching with "swagbucks" that can be redeemed for Amazon gift cards and the like (45 Swagbucks = $5 Amazon gift card). Here's my referral link in case you want to join. It's free to join, and I've earned $30 in gift cards so far, so, you know, that's pretty cool.

All Entertainment Books $20.10 in 2010.

Get it? Get it? The year is 2010... so all Entertainment Books are on sale for $20.10! It's very clever. If you missed the previous sales for the 2010 edition, there's still plenty of time to save a bundle this year (the coupons are good through November). I've been a bit of a slacker with my own book, actually, due to the holidays, but any minute now I'll get back on the savings train. Whoo whooooooo!

BOGO beverages at Peet's.

Take a special friend with you to Peet's and look like a big shot when you grandly present them with their own free drink, courtesy of this BOGO coupon good through Jan. 18. Or just pretend that you have a special friend, and double-fist some lattes on the way to work. I won't judge.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

HTN in Seattle Times Freeloader!

Check it out - the Hard Times Newsletter was name-checked in the Seattle Times Freeloader yesterday for our post about Crown Publishing's free advance reader copies! The Freeloader, as I may have mentioned before, is a new column that focuses more on Seattle-centric freebies (rather than coupons/discounts or Internet offers, as we do), but I guess free books merit an exception.

From time to time you may see crossover between the HTN and STF, so keep an eye on both for maximum free-age!

Free Emergen-C sample.

It's been a while since Emergen-C popped up offering free samples, so I'm glad to see they're kicking off the new year right: by sending you free packets of their fizzy vitamin drink mix.

After responding to quite a few of these offers, I now have a lifetime supply of Emergen-C stocked up in my underground freebie shelter, but seeing as I'm currently fighting off a cold, I suppose there's no such thing as too much vitamin C.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

IKEA: Free breakfast January 9-10 + sale.

Just in case you didn't get enough crowded, stressful, bargain-seeking shopping experiences last month, IKEA is offering a big sale this weekend, including free breakfast for all! At the Seattle store, they're serving a free breakfast plus free coffee until 11:00 am.

Last time I was at IKEA, they were having a 99-cent meatball dinner special, which I took advantage of and was pleasantly surprised by. So I would imagine that their free breakfast would be just as good. I mean, you can't even buy the ingredients for 99 cents, to say nothing of having magic Swedish elves to cook it and do the dishes for you!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

JetBlue winter flight sale.

JetBlue is having a winter sale on airfare right now, starting at $29 each way. Of course, there are the usual restrictions - travel must be booked by Jan. 13 and travel must be completed by Mar. 24, etc. etc. BUT there are some decent prices, so if you have some winter traveling to do, check out the sale.

Borders: 33% off any item.

I knew it wouldn't take long for Borders to ring in the new year with a percent-off coupon, but this one is somewhat different - rather than being a multiple-of-ten percent off, it's good for 33% off one item, online or in-store. Not that I'm complaining, because 33% is (marginally) better than 30%, but still, it's odd.

Anyway, it's good today through January 11, so if Santa didn't bring you everything you wanted, now is the time to self-gift.

Free half of a gourmet candy apple.

If you're having trouble picturing this freebie, well, so am I. Do you get the stick? Do they candy-coat the exposed half of the apple so it doesn't get all brown and gross? I guess there's only one way to find out, isn't there?

Order your free one-half of a gourmet candy apple, in your choice of (many) flavors. I went for Dark Sea Salt because I'm a hipster like that, but they have traditional peanut and sprinkle toppings if you're squaresville with your candy apples.

Free Slim-Fast Peanut Butter Crunch bar.

Make no mistake, I'm not a dieter and never have been, but I do enjoy a meal replacement bar every now and then, when the idea of actual food just sounds like too much work. In that spirit, I once bought a box of these Slim-Fast snack bars and they were actually pretty good. If you don't believe me, you can try one free. And if you still don't believe me, well, I'll let you go back to your Trader Joe's cheese crunchies... if you share.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Info: The 2010 Gift Wrapping Challenge.

According to this interesting WiseBread article, 50% of the paper consumed in the U.S. is used on wrapping and decorating consumer items. This figure seems a little high to me (I would think junk mail would be closer to that 50%), but okay, I get the point - we use a lot of fancy paper to wrap gifts, and if it's lucky it makes it into the recycle bin, but hardly ever gets reused.

Anyway, the article has some good tips that stemmed from a challenge she issued to a friend: wrap all presents throughout 2009 without using any new wrapping paper, plastic wrap, or gift bags. While some of the tips are pretty obvious (buying gift bags from the thrift store instead of new), some are fairly ingenious ("wrap" gifts in purses and stockings from the thrift store - if the recipient doesn't like them, they can pass it on to "wrap" another gift or donate it back). I gave reusable shopping totes as gifts this Xmas, and while I didn't use them as wrapping (I was mailing the gifts), those also make chic gift wrap that's a gift in itself.

If you're feeling ambitious, you can try the challenge in 2010!

Free 2010 Nestle calendar w/coupons.

Just in case you didn't receive a calendar as a gift this holiday season, it's not too late to score yourself a free Nestle 2010 calendar, chock-full of coupons for Nestle products. No word on what the calendar illustrations look like, but with any luck, they'll feature happy families beaming as they enjoy delicious/high-quality Nestle products.

Happy New Year free coffee Jan. 4 at McDonald's.

Western Washington, McDonald's is looking out for you and don't you ever say different: get a free 12-oz cup of coffee at any of their 190 western WA locations all day today, January 4. No purchase necessary, although presumably they'd like you to buy something while you're there.

This is good news for all the hobos, since it's pretty cold and rainy this morning and I'm sure McDonald's is nice and cozy and dry, in addition to being a free coffee ATM all day.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Amazon: Some healthy magazine subscriptions, $5.

You're not making any resolutions for New Year's, right? I mean, you don't buy into that arbitrary "fresh start" mandate or "turning over a new leaf" Oprah nonsense, do you? You do? Oh, well, in that case, you might want to sample one of these extremely wholesome and nutritious health magazines from Amazon, all $5 for a one-year subscription.
  • Vegetarian Times
  • EatingWell
  • Fitness
  • Yoga Journal
  • Backpacker
  • Smug Anemic Food Martyr
OK, maybe that last one doesn't actually exist, but that's kind of what my brain sees when it reads those other titles.

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