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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Travel: One-way car rentals for cheap.

This is new to me, but it's kind of a neat idea: car fleets need to move their fleets from winter vacation destinations and spread them out for the summer travel season, so they're offering cheap one-way car rentals if you pick-up or drop-off in the Pacific Northwest or Arizona. Rentals are as low as $1/day (not including taxes and fees) when you book by May 31.

Of course, you're basically doing them a favor by transporting their car across the country, but if you're looking for a spring getaway, it could be a fun road trip to drive from, say, Seattle to SF and then hop a cheap flight home.

(Courtesy of the Seattle Times)

Seattle: All-you-can-eat happy hour buffets.

Apparently the latest trend in happy hour is the all-you-can-eat buffet, at least here in Seattle. The Seattle Times has the rundown on the downtown hotel lounges that offer all the cheese and appetizers you can eat for one flat rate (usually $12-14).
  • Four Seasons - gourmet cheese buffet for $12, and a Northwest-themed tapas buffet for $14. You can get both for $20. About two dozen cheeses, with crackers, dried fruits, and nuts. Buffet is offered daily from 4:30-10 p.m. Lounge happy hour is 5-7 p.m. Sundays-Thursdays, when bar food, beer, selected wine and cocktails cost $5.
  • The Terrace at The Fairmont Olympic Hotel - all-you-can-eat appetizer deal for $12 and a $12 "endless cheese" deal during happy hour, 3:30-6 p.m. Sundays-Thursdays.

If you're willing to spend a little more on your happy hour nibbles for a tasty splurge, and you're a big fan of cheese, it might be worth it.

Facebook: Two free coffees at Corner Bakery.

Is it just me, or is there a touch of irony in a corporate promotion to encourage the lost art of gathering for friendly conversation... using Facebook? Well, nevermind. Corner Bakery wants to encourage you and your buds to meet up (at Corner Bakery, naturally) for a kaffeeklatsch. Join their Connect at the Corner app and enjoy two free coffees for you and a friend. Or you and you, if you're an introvert.

It's Free Coffee From Unlikely Sources Day!

Free coffee drink at ING Direct Cafe. $$$$

Well, this is a new one on me. Apparently online-banking-tycoons ING Direct have Internet cafes in some of their physical locations, and you can stop by for a free beverage and a wi-fi and maybe some investment advice.

I'd love to have a free bank latte, but alas, there are no cafes in Seattle. But if you're one of the lucky locations listed, stop in for your free bev!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Target: Free 8x10 and discounts on portrait packages.

Time for a spring portrait with the Easter Bunny? Put on your bunny ears and head over to Target's portrait studio, where you can get a free 8x10 print plus discounts on packages or on your whole order. Even better, there's no sitting fee, so you can pack the studio with your best bunnies and take a GIANT group photo!

Good through April 22. Find a portrait studio.

Facebook: Free Chocolate Almond Latte w/purchase at Einstein Bros. Bagels.

I really like Einstein Bros. Bagels and I wish we had them here in Seattle. And now here's one more reason for poisonous bagel envy, because when you become a fan of Einstein Bagel Bros on Facebook, you can print off a coupon for a free Chocolate Almond Latte with any purchase.

Today I'm having yogurt with All Bran "bran buds" (free sample*), and while they're OK, I guess, an asiago bagel with garlic-herb cream cheese and a chocolate almond latte to wash it down with would be a LOT better. I'm just saying.

*Speaking of which, I just noticed I'm eating free-sample bran and yogurt I got on sale, drinking free coffee, AND wearing a 99-cent cashmere sweater I dug out of the Goodwill bins. Did I become homeless without realizing it?!

"Tax free" shopping at Kohl's, JC Penney.

I have to say, this is a sales tactic I associate more with used-car dealerships... but hey, if it works, it works. Both Kohl's (April 1) and JC Penney are offering "tax free" shopping days. Of course, they can't really ignore sales tax, so what it actually means is they'll be taking a discount on your subtotal equal to or greater than your state's sales tax, and then charging you sales tax on that reduced total.

Well, the Kohl's offer is valid only in AZ,CA,FL,IA,MI,MO,TX,UT,VA,WV,WI. The JC Penney offer is valid only in retail stores, Wednesday, 3/31, to Saturday, 4/3. It doesn't sound like that big of a discount, but anyone who has made a major purchase in Washington knows the pain of forking over nearly 10% in sales tax, so if you need a big appliance or a tractor or something, this might be worth noting.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Seattle: Friends of the Library book sale, Apr. 16-18.

Okay, I do realize it's not April yet, but the Friends of the Library book sale is such a bargain that I wanted to give you puh-lenty of advance notice so you can put it in your calendars. Over 200,000 items will be on sale, and most books are just $1 each! They'll also have videos, CDs, audiobooks, art prints, rare books, and more. Definitely bring some boxes or bags with you, because you'll have an armload before you know it and you won't want to stop!

Here are the dates:

Friday, April 16: 6:30 – 9:30 p.m: Member Preview and Rare Book Auction. Members may buy up to 25 items each.
Saturday, April 17: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sunday, April 18: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

See you there, Seattle!

Seattle Restaurant Week, Apr. 18-29.

Just a little heads-up, Seattle, that Restaurant Week is coming up in a few weeks here. More than 100 local restaurants will be serving three-course dinners for $25, and many of them will also be doing a $15 three-course lunch. There's been a similar event in years past, but apparently restaurateurs felt it wasn't inclusive enough and decided to start their own.

You can check out the list of participating restaurants and start marking off your calendars now so you can hit them all. The $15 lunch is an especially good value, but $25 for a three-course dinner is nothing to sneeze at, either.

Amazon: $5 subscriptions on Ladies Home Journal, Bicycling.

This week's magazine deal over at Amazon is a one-year subscription to the Ladies Home Journal for just $5. If that's not your bag, then you can always subscribe to Bicycling magazine for $5 instead.

And if neither of those does it for you, well, you're clearly just impossible to please.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Seattle: Free coffee, pizza, music on April 1 at Caffe Vita in Pioneer Square.

Seattleites who like free coffee, pizza, and music, take note: Caffe Vita is opening a new Pioneer Square location on April 1, and celebrating with a day of freebies!

On April 1:
  • 6 a.m. - 11 a.m. = free drip coffee
  • 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. = free small pizzas from Pizzeria Napoletana
  • 6 p.m. - 8 p.m. = free performance by The Tarantellas
  • 8 p.m. - Late = free food, drinks, and music for ages 21 and up. Performances by Trent (Head Like a Kite / Fresh Espresso), Thomas Hunter (Kay Kay / Wild Orchid Children), Fatal Lucciauno, and others.

(Thanks, Allison!)

Free Olay Total Effects Body Wash sample.

Olay, Olay
Olay, Olay
Body wash wash wash

That - to the tune of "Feelin' Hot Hot Hot" - is what I have stuck in my head right now. Pity me.

Free Olay Total Effects body wash sample!

Free Special K protein meal bar.

It seems like a good week for protein bar samples... and here's another one from Special K. Sign up to receive a free protein bar, plus coupons for protein bars and shakes, if that's how you roll. I usually just toss the coupons that come with my samples, unless it turns out to be something I really like and actually want to buy, but at the moment I've kind of got a backlog of protein bars in the snack bowl.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Borders: 40% off one item.

Well well well, Borders, it's been a long time. At last, we meet again: the 40% off coupon. Once, these coupons roamed the land wild and free, but it's been so long since they threw us a 40% one that I'm wondering if I should go and buy something just on general principles, to encourage them to keep 'em coming.

...Oh, wait, I can't search to see if they have something I want, because their website is broken and their search engine is down. Oh, Borders, you just can't do anything right, can you?

Free Benefiber sample.

Fiber is important. It is! Don't look at me like that. Fiber is for people of all ages, not just old folks like myself to dunk their dentures in for a night-time snack. See, Walmart believes me: fiber is hip and they want you to try a free sample!

Benefiber is orange-flavored, which should make it more pleasant than regular fiber powder, and they claim you can sneakily mix it into all kinds of things - coffee, yogurt, juice, or any cooked or baked items. I'm pretty sure I would notice if my coffee suddenly became gritty and citrusy, but what the hey, maybe I'll give it a whirl.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Tropicana Juicy Rewards.

So Tropicana has a "Juicy Rewards" points program, in which you enter promo codes to accumulate points that you can spend on coupons, discounts, etc. If you sign up today, you can get a BOGO Tropicana coupon for just 1 point. Plus, there are other good coupons like BOGO museum admission, discounts, and so on. And here are some codes to start you off!

2 Points

1 Point

So, just to recap:
1. Register
2. Enter codes
3. Click "Explore Rewards" and search for "Tropicana" to find the 1-point BOGO coupon - or browse applicable offers by your state or zip code


Seattle: $5 happy hour at Cheesecake Factory.

The Seattle Times reports that the Cheesecake Factory has rolled out a $5 happy hour here in Seattle as of last week. Like their normal menu, the happy hour menu is a giant spiral-bound notebook full of deep-fried, giant-portioned options, and there are drink specials too. So if you're looking for a happy hour snack that can double as a quick dinner, this might be worth checking out.

Locations: 700 Pike St. in downtown Seattle, 401 Bellevue Square in Bellevue, and 230 Strander Blvd. near Southcenter Mall. Happy hour is 4-6 p.m. Mondays-Fridays at the bar. Appetizers ($5) and other food items ($3.95-$6.95), beer $3, well drinks and wine $4, and selected cocktails $5.

5 free dog treat samples.

OK, I know I'm a little speciesist in my human-centric freebie posting, but this one ought to make up for it, since you get FIVE samples all in one. Sign up for some Loving Pets Gourmet Wraps treats!

Receive 1 each of the following treats, all with glucosamine and chondroitin added for joint health:

• Banana wrapped with 100% pure chicken
• Apple wrapped with 100% pure chicken
• Sweet Potato wrapped with 100% pure chicken
• Carrot wrapped with 100% pure chicken
• Sweet potato biscuit wrapped with 100% pure chicken

This all sounds pretty good to me. Maybe I should poke around my fridge and see what can be wrapped with 100% pure chicken as a snack... apparently, everything can.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Borders: 40% off up to two CDs.

Gather round, grandkids, I'm going to tell you a story of the olden days... back when I was young, music was trapped on round, flat discs, which you had to insert into machines in order to make them play. Oh, and they were easily scratched and they were stored in flimsy, fragile plastic cases that broke all the time. And we liked it!

Capture that olde-tyme magic at Borders with a coupon for 40% off up to two CDs. Good through March 25.

Information: Start a freebie spreadsheet.

Some of you have commented to me, "I filled out offer XYZ and it never came," or "How long will it take to get ABC rebate?" Sometimes I know the answer offhand, but most of the time I don't, because, let's face it, I sign up for a lot of freebies due to this blog.

I try to post only ones that I personally have tested the sign-up for, or that are vouched for by sites I trust, but there are a lot of reasons why you might not get the freebie you asked for. Sometimes, these freebies are designed for a small audience (like targeted email), but then go viral and the company is faced with either spending WAY more than they intended on the promotion, or looking like jerks and angering consumers by not fulfilling the offer. Sometimes (think of any of the fast-food free food promos) the offers come from Corporate, and the individual franchisees can't or won't participate. Often, they have a certain number of free samples to give away, and when those are gone, that's that - only you have no way of knowing that on your end.

So I finally decided to put together a spreadsheet, which I should have been doing all along, to track the freebies I send off for and keep an eye on when/if they are fulfilled. If my ultra-scientific method shows that a certain company has burned us, then the next time they post a freebie offer, SCREW THEM. Stick it to The Man!

Here's what's on mine. If you do a lot of mail-in offers, I encourage you to set up a log like this, so you'll know what you've got pending instead of just a vague feeling that you sent away for something and it should be here by now.
  1. Company sponsoring the offer
  2. Item/discount offered
  3. Contact info or URL in case of questions/problems
  4. Date ordered
  5. Date received
  6. A "Done" check box
If you have questions about whether a certain freebie offer worked for me, feel free to get in touch. Getting discounts and freebies should be fun, not a bummer, so I don't want you to feel ripped off about what you send off for. But remember, free is free, and you get what you pay for.

Free sample of Nestle Abuelita.

I've always been curious about Nestle Abuelita hot chocolate mix in the grocery store. The name translates to "little grandmother," and their package features a frankly rather stern-looking bespectacled granny eyeing you mockingly over a steaming cup of something. Now you and I can get a free sample in its new "granulado" incarnation (I guess it was tablets before, but now it's an instant powder).

If you decide you don't feel like hot chocolate once you get it, you can always put it to work making some whipped dessert poos. You heard me.

Free Everlast sports nutrition bar.

I'm sure there's some sort of irony in that I'm posting about free sports energy bars while cheerfully pounding down a slice of (reduced-fat!) coffee cake from Starbucks, but irony has never been my strong suit. Thus, Everlast presents: a free sports bar sample for you.

Actually, with 14g of protein and 4g fiber, that looks pretty decent. Choose from Peanut Butter Chocolate Crunch, Dark Chocolate Nut, or Oatmeal Raisin Walnut.

Oh shoot, I think I got coffee cake crumbs stuck in my keyboard.

Today until 10:30 - it's not too late to get a free Starbucks pastry!

I wasn't even sure if it was worth trying to do the Starbucks Free Pastry Day this year, because last year was such a disaster. But I'm pleased to say they have it much better planned this year, and it's happening RIGHT NOW!

Until 10:30, print out the coupon (or show it to the barista on your smartphone) and you can get a free pastry of your choice with the purchase of any brewed hot or cold bev. I plumped for the reduced-fat "very berry coffee cake" and a tall drip. What did you get? Leave it in the comments!

P.S. Seattleites, 3rd & Pike had plenty at 8:30 am, and 4th & Union had quite a few when I peeped in. Don't despair, they have supplies!

Monday, March 22, 2010

30% off at Old Navy.

Short and sweet: it's a coupon for 30% off any item at Old Navy. Good through April 4! Treat yourself to something springy as a reward for cleaning out your horrible winter closet...

Reminder: Free Ben & Jerry's Cone Day tomorrow, Mar. 23!

Once the thrill of your free Starbucks pastry has worn off tomorrow, you can give yourself an extra sugar boost with Ben & Jerry's Cone Day. From noon to 8 pm, swing by and pick up a free ice cream cone in your choice of flavors.

Participating locations in Seattle include 7900 E. Green Lake Drive N., Seattle; 176 Lake St. S., Kirkland; and 2800 Southcenter Mall, Tukwila. Step right up!

Free Olay Quench for Clunkers.

Here's a pretty nice rebate offer from Olay... when you buy any size (except trial size) Olay Quench body lotion (but not the In-Shower Body Lotion - more on that in a sec), you can send in the rebate form and get the entire purchase price back! If this PDF is huge on your computer, just scale it down so that it fits an 8.5 x 11 page so you can print it out.

Even better, if you go to Walgreens right now, they're offering a free Olay Quench In-Shower Body Lotion (8.4 oz) when you buy the regular Olay Quench lotion. So after you send in your rebate, you'll be getting TWO products for free!

I've done the Olay Quench rebate offer before and it worked perfectly - just remember to save your receipt and send in the form before the due date, and you'll get your check in the mail. This lotion regularly sells for about $8, so it's a pretty nice freebie if you're willing to do the steps.

Half Price Books: 20%--50% off coupons.

Well, this is a new one on me... Borders coupons, yes, but I don't think I've seen Half Price Books coupons before. Anyway, they're making up for lost time with FOUR coupons all at once. Today and tomorrow, you can get 40% off one item, then 30% off for the next two days, then 20% off for the next two days, and then on March 28, there's a coupon for 50% off. Which makes it more like Quarter-Price Books, but that's not nearly as catchy.

Find your nearest location (we have them in Seattle, of course) and grab some spring reading!

Reminder: Starbucks Free Pastry Day is Tues., Mar. 23.

Don't forget, it's almost time for free Starbucks pastry! On March 23 (that's tomorrow), just print out the coupon and take it to your participating Starbucks before 10:30 am for a free pastry with the purchase of any "handcrafted, brewed, or iced beverage" (meaning no bottled waters or juices).

According to the nagging little ad that has popped up on my Facebook homepage, the promotion starts at (shudder) 5:00 am. Hell, those early birds are welcome to the best pastries as a reward for being alive that early. Just leave me a dry bran muffin or something to claim when I drag myself in hours later, OK?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Free Profound Beauty HUSH Time-Out Treatment sample.

Redbook is really hooking up the entire Internet with its beauty sample promotions this week. Enter here to get a free sample of Profound Beauty HUSH Time-Out Treatment, whatever that may be. Oh wait, it's "the leave-in treatment that not only fights frizz but repairs and revitalizes the hair." Well, there you go.

Fighting frizz is a major interest of mine, here in the land of constant gentle mist, so maybe I'll take them up on this one.

Reminder: Free daffodils in downtown Seattle today.

Don't forget, everyone, today Pike Place Market does Daffodil Day, celebrating the arrival of spring by handing out 12,000 free daffodils at lunchtime.

Flowers will be distributed at the following locations:

  • Fourth Avenue and Pine Street
  • Pacific Place
  • City Centre
  • Downtown Central Library
  • City Hall

Plus, presumably, somewhere at the market. So mark your calendars and get your daffodils today!

Free sample of Rachel Ray Nutrish dog food.

Here's one for the dog owners... or the really hungry. Get your free sample of Rachel Ray Nutrish dog food! (You might get a weird pop-up login thing, but just close that and it goes to the page.) I feel like we've seen this sample before, but since I'm not a dog owner, I didn't order it myself, so you tell me.

A portion of the proceeds from every bag you buy goes toward Rachel Ray's animal shelter charity, so that's nice, I guess.

Borders: 30% off one item.

Borders has been awfully busy with their coupons this week... is there something I don't know about coming up? Well, anyway, here's another one, good for 30% off one item. As always, Borders Rewards membership is required, but it's free and you earn Borders Bucks and other special discounts.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Free sample of Freeman Pssst! dry 'poo.

Who says you need water to 'poo? Not Freeman Beauty, which is giving away free travel-size samples of their Pssst! dry shampoo. I love the can design, which has this groovy '70s Pepsi or Tab feel to it. You'll see what I mean.

Incidentally, this offer is sponsored by Redbook magazine, whose tagline for their website is, "Sex Tips, Marriage Advice, Getting Pregnant, & Online Sweepstakes." Sheesh, throw something about baking in there, and what else could a gal ask for?! (Or care about!)

30% off at Old Navy/Gap/Banana Republic, + good karma.

OK, as I thought, more of these discount shopping passes that benefit charity are popping up on the Interwebs. This one is for Teach for America, so if you like teachers and learning and stuff, show them with your credit card! Save 30% at the Gap, Old Navy, and Banana Republic March 18-21, AND 5% of your purchase goes to Teach for America. You can reuse this pass as often as you like during the valid time period.

How about one for the animals? I like my charity dollars to go toward our furry friends. Anyone seen one?

Starbucks: Free Pastry Day March 23.

Free Starbucks pastry? Free Starbucks pastry! On March 23 (that's next Tuesday), just print out the coupon and take it to your participating Starbucks before 10:30 am for a free pastry with the purchase of any "handcrafted, brewed, or iced beverage" (meaning no bottled waters or juices).

The key word there is "participating." Last year the Starbucks in my building quickly ran out of their allotment of giveaway pastries and refused to honor the coupon with the regular pastries they hand in the case, which led to much ill-feeling and some reluctant walking up the street to the next Starbucks a block away. (As it turned out, they had burned through their pastry ration too, except they said, "Fuck it, we're just going to give away what we have rather than make customers mad.") So it may take some patience, and I'd recommend hitting up an out-of-the-way, less-busy location that may not run out as quickly as the big downtown ones. But anyway, free pastry.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Seattle: Free daffodils on March 19 at Pike Place Market.

Every spring, there is a day when I get very confused because I see hundreds of people marching around town all clutching lone daffodils. It's not Good Neighbor Day, because that's roses... well, now I finally have the answer! Pike Place Market holds Daffodil Day on March 19, celebrating the arrival of spring by handing out 12,000 free daffodils at lunchtime on Friday, March 19.

Flowers will be distributed at the following locations:
  • Fourth Avenue and Pine Street
  • Pacific Place
  • City Centre
  • Downtown Central Library
  • City Hall

Plus, presumably, somewhere at the market. So mark your calendars and claim your daffodils this Friday - it's spring!

Baja Fresh: Free St. Patty's Day burrito w/drink purchase.

Baja Fresh doesn't see why corned beef and potatoes should have all the fun, so they're offering a free burrito with the purchase of a large drink today, Wed. 3/17, to celebrate St. Patrick's Day.

Just print the page and make sure your name is showing by clicking "Account" in the upper right-hand corner when you print. Then, throw on something green and hit up your local Baja Fresh for a truly Irish freebie.

Borders: 25% off one item.

Yes, it's a Borders coupon, good through March 18 for 25% off one item... do try to contain your excitement. I'll do the same. *yawn*

Facebook: Free Stride Mega Mystery Pack.

There's a lot of mystery here, but let's see what we can do to figure it out. First, become a fan of Stride Gum on Facebook. Then, using a browser that is not Internet Explorer, click the Mega Mystery tab and you'll get a signup page to register for your very own free pack of Mega Mystery gum!

I'm still not actually sure what that is, but I guess I'll find out when they send it to me...

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

30% off at Old Navy/Gap/Banana Republic, + good karma.

Nothing helps you rationalize a purchase like the self-righteous notion of Doing Good, and that's what this shopping pass is all about. Save 30% at the Gap, Old Navy, and Banana Republic March 18-21, AND 5% of your purchase goes to Big Brothers Big Sisters. You can reuse this pass as often as you like during the valid time period.

Usually this means a whole slew of nonprofits are partnering to bring you these discounts, so if you're not a fan of BBBS, I'm sure there will be others surfacing online. I'll post them as I see them, so you may judiciously spread the wealth of your philan-shop-y.

(Thanks, Julia!)

Free sample of Dove Daily Treatment Conditioner.

Seems like it's been a while since we had a Dove hair product sample offer, so here's one at last. Sign up for your free sample of Dove Daily Treatment conditioner and get ready for hair that GLEAMS.

Free U by Kotex samples.

I had to chuckle when I saw the picture on this free sample page. With the black background and fluorescent neon light-stick tampons, tell me that doesn't look like a menstruation rave. All it needs is a disco ball and a candy necklace!

BACK IN MY DAY, girls preferred not to alert the world to their fallopian status with neon-colored feminine products, but I guess the times have changed. Anyway, sign up for your free samples here. And make sure this is playing in the background.

2010 Entertainment Books, $17 + free shipping + 25% cash back!

UPDATE: I also just happened to see that is offering an extry 25% cash back on purchases! Not 2.5% but TWENTY-FIVE PERCENT. If you're not a member, now might be a good time to join - here's my referral link.

You've heard me talk about the Entertainment Book before, and how they can be a great deal not only for you in your hometown, but also as gifts to out-of-state friends and family, or even (with research) purchased in advance for a city you are planning to visit.

Right now, ALL Entertainment Books are $17 + free shipping (be warned, shipping is kind of slow, so make sure you order well in advance if you're using it for travel purposes)! Use it once for a BOGO to the Woodland Park Zoo ($16.50) or the Museum of Flight ($15) or the Seattle Art Museum ($15) and it's practically paid for itself. Throw in a BOGO lunch and you're already making money on it!

Sometimes I can just hear my dad's voice coming out of my mouth.

Ben & Jerry's Free Cone Day is March 23.

Stay tuned, everyone: Ben & Jerry's Free Cone Day will be March 23 this year.

Free Cone Day!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Facebook: Free Ritz pretzel crisps.

Facebook to the rescue on this grim, freebie-less day! Become a fan of Ritz crackers on Facebook and you can get a free sample of Ritz Munchable pretzel crisps. I personally am not a fan of pretzels in general, and turning perfectly good Ritz crackers into pretzels seems like a lamentable, tragic waste, but if that's what you want, I won't judge you.

I mean, I will judge you, but I won't stand in the way of you getting a free sample.

Amazon $5 magazine sale is back!

I can't help loving this sale, even though I already have way more magazines than I can keep up on. Who can resist an entire year-long subscription for $5? Check out the full list, which includes:
  • Esquire - $5
  • Marie Claire - $5
  • Harper's Bazaar - $5
  • Seventeen - $5
  • Esquire - $5
  • People Stylewatch - $10

Free seeds for gardeners.

Has the mild spring weather gotten you eyeing your backyard or windowsill box? The Dinner Garden wants to give you some free seeds! If you don't live in one of the locations listed, you can email a request and they'll send you some. (Note: it looks like they're currently backlogged while awaiting more seed supplies, so be patient if you do request this one.)

Bath & Body Works: Free lip gloss for students.

I know, it doesn't really make sense to me either, but that's what the fine print says: Bath & Body Works is offering a free lip care product to students who print out the coupon and bring in their student ID. You can also enter a promo code if you're shopping online, which might be the easier way to go if you're, you know, not actually a student.

Good through March 21, o ye of chapped lips.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Information: How I make a purchase.

I thought it might be kind of interesting to some readers to see the (painstaking and perhaps a bit obsessive) process by which I make an online purchase, in order to ensure I'm getting the best deal and maximizing my rewards. Today we'll be looking at the Elle Lotti handbag, which I just purchased (in blue, if you're curious).

1. Comparison shop - In this case, Kohl's carries this product exclusively (as far as I know) and I knew this was the one I wanted and waited for it to be on sale. But if it were an item that many stores commonly carry, I would check my favorite shopping sites (Amazon, Zappos, Endless) as well as shopping aggregators like Nextag to get an idea of what prices are out there. Keep in mind, though, that additional discounts and bonuses, or perks like free shipping, may actually make the final price lower.

2. Find those promo codes - You may think you've found the lowest price, but online coupons and promo codes can make all the difference in the total price. As an example, let's say this bag was $50 at Macy's (but you have a promo code for free shipping), and $45 at Kohl's (but shipping is $8 and takes up to 2 weeks). The place with the "higher" price is actually the better deal overall. I love RetailMeNot to quickly check for current promo codes and see if any are applicable - here, I found a promo code for an extra 20% off at Kohl's. But don't just click through to the store directly! There are still more savings to be had.

3. Points, points, points - Now that you've identified the lowest total price, it's time to get rewarded for shopping! If you're not signed up for somewhere like Swagbucks or Ebates (full disclosure: those are my personal referral links), think about it. With Swagbucks, you earn points by shopping through their site and using their search engine, which can be exchanged for Amazon gift cards. With Ebates, you get cash back from sellers (percentage varies by store), mailed to you quarterly in a rebate check. Membership is free, and it's a slow-but-steady way to make a few bucks for the online shopping you already do.

4. Reward yourself - Finally, if you have a credit card that awards points or miles, you can use that as your actual payment method and get rewarded yet again for your purchase.

This may seem like a lot of effort, and it may not be worth it for smaller purchases. But I actually enjoy hunting around for the best price and the best discounts and perks, and I definitely like the feeling of saving money and getting cash back! It's that much more $$$ that I can put in my new handbag once it arrives.

Reminder: Free mango yogurt at Pinkberry today!

Just so you don't forget, today, March 12, from 5:00 to 9:00 pm, Pinkberry is doing a "Mad About Mango Happy Hour." You can get a free mini mango Pinkberry with toppings, and enter trivia contests for prizes and gift cards.

Yes, I am still super-bummed that we don't have Pinkberry here, thanks for asking.

30% off at Borders, in-store or online.

We all know the drill by now, right? 30% off one item, good online or in-store. Valid through March 15. Hooray.

$15 off at 39 Dollar Glasses. Should they change their name to 24 Dollar Glasses?

If you're a thrifty four-eyes, then you probably know about the online-discount-Chinese-glasses market. Places like 39 Dollar Glasses and Zenni Optical offer seemingly too-good-to-be-true prices on frames and complete glasses.

39 Dollar Glasses is offering a $10 discount on their homepage with promo code LUCKY10, but my sources tell me you can get a $15 discount with promo code cjp15. I ordered a backup pair from Zenni once and they're okay, but not great - they feel a little flimsy and can't really be adjusted because they're made from cheaper materials. But as an emergency backup pair or for prescription sunglasses for summer, these cheapo glasses work just fine. I know it's hard to visualize summer right now, but it will come someday... probably right about when your slow-boat-from-China glasses finally make it here.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Feeling lucky? Tons of contests through Woman's Day.

Okay, contests and sweepstakes aren't really freebies, but they are free to enter and you could win a fabulous prize. More importantly, there is NOTHING out there in freebie-land today, so I'm posting this in case you'd like to turn your luck around.

Woman's Day is a magazine you probably don't read, but they always have tons of contests on their website - and now they have even more, in partnership with other publications. Scroll about halfway down the page, and that's where they start. There's designer jewelry, a bunch of all-expenses-paid vacations both domestic and international, fragrances, home stuff, and more. You usually have to click through to skip one or two "featured offers" in order to enter, but it's all free and you don't have to sign up for anything. And you can enter once per day. Someone's got to win, and it might as well be you!

Starbucks: Free 1-lb bag coffee when you fill a passport.

Remember those summer reading programs they would do at the library, where you got a sticker for every book you read, and once you filled up your card, you would get some semi-lame prize like a personal pan pizza from Pizza Hut? Well, this new promotion from Starbucks kind of reminds me of that. Starting now through March 14, you can get your International Journey Coffee Passport at any Starbucks, and every week you can sample a different exotic blend ($1.50 for 12 oz) and get the corresponding sticker. When you get all eight stickers and fill your passport, you can redeem it for a 1-lb bag of the coffee of your choice.

So, let's think about this. $1.50 x 8 = $12. Bag of Starbucks coffee = about $10, depending on the blend. So if you normally buy a coffee a week at Starbucks anyway, then you're getting a free bag on top of that, and if you normally brew your own at home to save money, you're effectively getting 8 free brewed coffees with your regular bag-of-beans purchase. Not a bad deal, assuming you're willing to go through the sticker-collecting rigamarole and commit to completing all 8 weekly flavors. But are you?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Reminder: Free Panda Express Honey Walnut Shrimp today.

Just in case you somehow inexplicably forgot: free Honey Walnut Shrimp today, March 10, at Panda Express when you become a fan on Faceboook and print out the coupon. Shake your won tons and get over to a Panda Express today!

Mar. 12: Free mango yogurt at Pinkberry.

Once again, I am dreadfully jealous of people who live in places that have Pinkberry, because on March 12, from 5:00 to 9:00 pm, they'll be doing a "Mad About Mango Happy Hour." You can get a free mini mango Pinkberry with toppings, and enter trivia contests for prizes and gift cards.

Granted, it's far too chilly in most of the country for fro-yo to sound like a great idea, but c'mon, just do it for me, will you?

Sephora @ JC Penney's: Free Too Faced Lash Injection mascara.

That's a lot of information to cram into one subject line, so allow me to elaborate: when you bring this coupon to a Sephora counter inside a JC Penney's, you'll get a free sample of Too Faced Lash Injection mascara. The offer is while supplies last, but it says that if they're out, you can pick a sample of anything else you'd like, which is downright neighborly of them.

I like Too Faced for their cheeky attitude and fun makeup kits, like the "Walk of Shame" bag, including toothbrush and mints, that promises to "will get you out the door and walking home without the shame." So why not give their saucy mascara a try?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Free Lancome Juicy Tubes lip gloss.

I hesitate to even post this one, because they're only giving away 8,000 tubes, which seems like it will be gone SO FAST that you wouldn't even have time to get you one. But just in case you're feeling extra-speedy, here are the rules:

"Beginning March 9, 2010, bring the April 2010 cover of Seventeen or a printout of the home page to any participating Nordstrom store to receive a full-size LancĂ´me Juicy Tubes lip gloss (approximate retail value: $18). Eight thousand (8,000) will be given away. One per person. Giveaway ends April 12, 2010, or while supplies last. Once all lip glosses are distributed, there will be no substitute product given away."

April 12? Yeah, right. I'd be surprised if any were left by March 12. Still, if you were going to be at the mall anyway today or something, it might be worth a shot to print out the homepage and give it a try.

Free Lever 2000 sample.

There are some advertising campaigns so successful that they are seared into my brain forever. If Lever 2000 never spent another penny on advertising, you could wait until I was 80 years old and say the words "Lever 2000" and I would automatically reply, "For all your 2000 parts."

Nevertheless, they are boosting awareness by offering free samples, so why not take advantage? Surely you have a part or two that could be cleaner...

Free sample of Dunkin' Donuts TURBO.

Well, I don't know about you, but I'm sold just after hearing the name. TURBO COFFEE! I could pretty much use that any weekday morning, but especially today. We had a staff meeting first thing, and somehow a bear claw made its way into my hand, and then I was full of almond and icing and flaky pastry and zzzzzzzzzzzzzz


(click Free Sample on the right-hand side)

Monday, March 8, 2010

DSW: $10 off, free shipping starting Mar. 9.

I wanted to be sure to post this one, as I'm planning on using it myself for these little beauties. Starting tomorrow, March 10, you can use promo code MARCH10 to get $10 off any regularly-priced pair of shoes at DSW.

DSW Rewards members also get free shipping with promo code SPRSHP. You can stack up to 3 promo codes, so if you find another good one out there, by all means pile it on! Then tell us about it in the comments so we can get even cheaper shoes.

Free Lipton Tea sample pack.

I drink lots and lots and lots of tea, so I'm always glad to see a tea-related freebie pop up like this one from Lipton. Get a free 4-pack sample of your choice of green tea flavors: Mixed Berry Green Tea, Orange, Passionfruit & Jasmine Green Tea, Natural Decaffeinated Honey Lemon Green Tea, or Green Tea with Citrus.

The link is there, but it takes a minute - watch the banner ad at the top scroll through its little slideshow, and the very last image says "Get a free sample." Click that and it takes you through to the sign-up page.

JetBlue: $10 fares if you travel 3/9 or 3/10.

JetBlue is celebrating its tenth birthday with $10 fares! The catch is, they're departing out of NYC to a handful of locations, and you have to book today and fly tomorrow or Wednesday, 3/9 or 3/10.

"Flights included in JetBlue's 'Thank You fare' promotion go from the airline's home base at New York's John F. Kennedy International airport to Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, Orlando, West Palm Beach and Fort Myers, Florida; Buffalo and Rochester, New York; Oakland, California; Burlington, Vermont; and Salt Lake City, Utah."

Apparently there are more tenth-anniversary sales and specials to come, so follow them on Twitter to get the scoop.

Facebook: Free Panda Express honey walnut shrimp, 3/10.

Panda Express wants you to try their new Honey Walnut Shrimp this Wednesday, March 10, for free! Just become their Facebook fan and click on the coupon tab at the top to print your coupon. The offer is only good on March 10, so mark your calendars with a blob of grease or something.

Free John Frieda 'poo + conditioner samples.

Seems like it's been a while since there was a free 'poo offer out there, but John Frieda has come to the rescue with a free sample offer for their Full Splendor line of hair products.

I don't know that I personally need a boost of volume and thickness, since I spend most of my time trying to get my hair to be flatter (hence my favorite JF product being Frizz-Ease), but if you're longing to have a big old mane of hair to fling around in slow motion, this sample is for you.

Dunkin' Donuts: Free coffee Mondays in March.

Dunkin' Donuts wants you to have some free coffee! Well, actually they probably want you to buy a sackful of donuts, but this is how they're luring you inside the store. Go to any Dunkin' Donuts location on Mondays through March, and you'll get a medium hot or iced coffee for free.

Sorry, Seattleites, there don't seem to be any locations in Seattle and maybe not in all of Washington, so you'll just have to fantasize enviously about the free coffee others are enjoying across the country today.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Facebook: Win big with KING FM!

Hey, Washington residents, I know you're a big fan of KING FM. No? Well, maybe you will be when you see how many contests they put up on their Facebook fan page! They've done two just this week, one of which I just won: dinner for two at Brasa and tickets to the Paramount's Silent Movie Monday! (This isn't kickback advertising or anything, I just wanted to gloat about my winnings.)

The contests are fairly easy, trivia questions that anyone who's Google-proficient will be able to answer without much trouble. Contests are open to WA residents only, so if you live here, check it out!

Facebook: Free SunChips.

Oh, I do love SunChips. They allow me to crunch on a salty snack while deluding myself into thinking it's healthy because the words "garden vegetable" appear on the bag. Become a fan of SunChips on Facebook and you can get a coupon for a free 10.5 oz bag!

Good for the first 100,000, so get on over there and get yo' chips.

Borders: 40% off one item.

Wow, Borders, it's been a while, but here you are at last, coughing up the 40% off. That's enough to make me start pondering what I "need." For once I don't have five birthdays coming up to shop for, so I'm afraid whatever I get will have to be aaaaall for me. What a shame.

Maybe I can use it to pre-order this...

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Information: 5 scary ways to eat hot dogs.

Courtesy of WiseBread, here's an informative yet terrifying article about 5 "new" ways to eat hot dogs. Some of these are pretty basic (add sliced hot dogs to mac 'n' cheese!), but then there's something called "Hot Dog Spread Sandwich." It's just as frightening as it sounds.

If you're looking for ways to use up that Costco flat of hot dogs, though, give it a look.

Endless fries and pancakes at Denny's.

It's like a hobo's dream come true: when you purchase any Denny's entree valued at $2.50 or more (and is there one that costs less?) that includes fries or pancakes, they will endlessly, patiently, tirelessly refill those pancakes and fries FOR FREE until you explode.

I can't tell you how long it's been since I ate at a Denny's, but I do enjoy the ritzy sophistication of the fries served upright in a soda glass. Clearly they're making some changes, and I want to be riding the crest of this free-pancake wave.

Mar. 6: See 5 Best Picture nominees for $25.

Don't have plans for this weekend? WELL NOW YOU DO. Cinemark is showing five Best Picture/Best Director-nominated movies this Saturday, March 6, all for $25. The festival starts at noon with "Precious" to get things off to a cheery start, and includes "Inglourious Basterds," "Avatar," "The Hurt Locker," and "Up in the Air."

Sadly, "Avatar" is in 2-D, which is not really the way to see it, but if you're lagging on your Oscar preparedness and you want to knock a bunch of them out in one fell swoop, this is how. Check participating locations and maybe consider downloading that "when to pee" iPhone app.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Pets: Free Beneful IncrediBites sample.

It always bums me out when pet food sounds fancier than what I'm eating. I'll be sitting at lunch with a tuna fish sandwich or something, reading a magazine ad that rapturously describes "succulent plank-smoked salmon fillets served in a rich sauce over tender rice," and feel some definite speciesist resentment. Why should cats and dogs get all the best morsels?

Well, I guess I could sign myself up for this free sample of Purina Beneful IncrediBites dog food, which certainly sounds quite fancy. Perhaps I too would like "a variety of crunchy and tender pieces, small-sized and easy to chew," Purina. Did you ever think of THAT? *sob*

Ben & Jerry's: $1 Maple Blondie scoops, Mar. 3.

For some reason, this offer just seems slightly creepy to me. Maybe it's the wording of the offer from Ben & Jerry's, explaining why Maple Blondie ice cream cones are $1 today: "We're so proud of our favorite Maple Blondie, Hannah Teter, for bringing home the silver! Let's celebrate in true Ben & Jerry's fashion." Does that mean she's a Canadian blonde athlete or something? I don't know, it just sounds a teensy bit sketchy-uncle.

But don't listen to me; get your very own Maple Blondie (cringe) for just a buck, today only.

Facebook: BOGO Skittles and Starburst.

Facebook, Skittles, and Starburst go together like peanut butter, jelly, and, um, bread. BFFs! So why not celebrate that joyous union with BOGO offers from Skittles and Starburst when you become a fan on Facebook? Once you become a fan, just fill out the forms at those links and it sounds like you'll get a printable BOGO coupon that you can use right away.

I wish there was a Facebook fan page for sour gummi worms, though, because that's what I've totally been craving this week. Sigh.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Information: Swagbucks widget on the HTN homepage.

If you scroll down to the bottom of this page, you'll see something new: a Swagbucks widget. This little gadget tracks SB promo codes that are available on the SB blog, Twitter, Facebook, and more, so it's a handy thing to check throughout the day if you're hell-bent on accumulating as many bucks as possible.

If you have no idea what I'm talking about, Swagbucks is a search-and-win website that awards you points for searching online and completing special offers, which you can use to buy merchandise and (more importantly) Amazon gift cards. You can sign up here (full disclosure: that's my referral link and when you sign up and earn points, it awards me points too). Read my online review of it if you want to learn more about it!

BOGO Teese Cheese.

This one is very definitely not for me, as I'm no vegan and the mere thought of "vegan cheese" makes my soul shudder a little, but for my non-animal-product-consuming friends out there, you might want to give this a try. Fill out the form and get a BOGO Teese Vegan Cheese coupon by email, good through April 4.

I will admit that the grilled cheese sandwich on that page looks pretty good, though.

(Thanks, Laura!)

Emergen-C: free samples and... cocktail recipes?

Waaaaait a minute. I mean, I've always personally felt that a good slosh of alcohol (with a Nyquil chaser) is the best treatment for certain common ailments, but Emergen-C is practically insisting that you shake up a delicious cocktail with their powdered vitamin-filled drink mixes! This new freebie offer includes your choice of four sample flavors, plus drink recipes.

I don't know about you, but if something looks like a martini, comes in a martini glass, and is called a "Bluetini," I say it's a martini. Bottoms up, Emergen-C!

Free sample of Arm & Hammer toothpaste.

I do love these little travel-size guys for taking on overnight trips or stowing away in a desk drawer for a bit of post-garlic-lunch cleanup. I've never tried Arm & Hammer toothpaste, but baking soda is supposed to be good for your teeth, so... ehh, why not?

Facebook: Free bottle of Vitamin Water Connect.

Here's another Facebook offer, which I haven't taken advantage of myself because I'm not a big flavored-water drinker: become a Facebook fan of Vitamin Water and fill out the form, and you'll receive a coupon for a free bottle of their Connect beverage.

This freebie is good for the first 100,000, so you should have ample time to get on over there and get yours.

Borders: 30% off one item.

Come and get it! Your piping-hot, fresh Borders coupon of the week, this time for 30% off one item. Although really, with all the coupons they put out, we should all have completed our libraries and DVD collections by now.

Free biscuit and gravy from Waffle House.

Wow, I have to tip my hat to Waffle House for this piece of web art. It's like hopping in a time machine back to 1993 - giant bold sans-serif text, dancing animated four-leaf clovers and all!

But more importantly, it has a coupon at the bottom for a free biscuit and sausage gravy, so if you're lucky enough to live somewhere with a Waffle House, you can biscuit up for free through March 15.

Unless you use that time machine to take you back before the expiration date, that is...

Monday, March 1, 2010

Amazon: 1-year subscription to Entertainment Weekly, $10.

Amazon's magazine sale this week is pretty good: a year of Entertainment Weekly for just $10. It reminds me of the heady days of the online Xmas blowouts, when magazines were on sale left and right for $4 or $5. But this is still a considerable savings, and I'd say I easily get $10 worth of amusement out of my subscription, especially when passing it on to others to enjoy. It's more green AND less green at the same time, if you get my drift.

Recyclebank: Get coupons for free hippie stuff.

All right, maybe that's not the best way to sell this freebie... let me start over. Recyclebank is a website where you earn points by recycling, mailing in your electronic gadgets, and other "green" activities. Then you can use these points to buy gift cards, coupons for free household items, and more.

It's free to sign up, and if you do these steps, you'll have enough points for a couple of nice items. I got coupons (being sent in the mail) for a box of any Kashi cereal and a bottle of Seventh Generation dishwashing liquid, which are worth a few bucks each.

1. Sign up for RecycleBank
2. Join the eBay Green Team (just check the box and get 50 points)
3. Enter the code RECYCLEYOURMAGS

(Courtesy of

Free Bounce dryer sheets sample.

Here's a sample offer from Sam's Club for Bounce dryer sheets (you don't need to be a member to get them). Now there's no excuse not to do your laundry... and by "your," I mean "mine." Seeing as I'm down to the sweatpants-and-company-T-shirt level of my closet this week, I could use a little help.

Free e.l.f. Fronch manicure kit from Warner's.

You know, Warner's, I don't know that I appreciate your narrow, constricting view of my femininity. Just because I'm female and wear a bra, that doesn't mean I go googly-eyed over free French manicure sets when you wave them in front of my face. I mean, I might... but not just because I'm a girl and girls love things that are pink and white and girly.

Free e.l.f. Fronch manicure kits when you sign up (and I'm assuming you're also agreeing to receive bra catalogs in your mailbox in perpetuity, so this could be a hilarious prank too).

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