Shopping 
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3 ways to avoid becoming a consumer victim during Black Friday shopping

Avoid becoming yet another victim of Black Friday shopping.It seems like such a good idea: spend a few hours on a day you’d otherwise just be sitting around in a turkey-induced stupor to knock out your holiday shopping at a fraction of what you’d normally pay.

Yes, Black Friday is billed as one of the biggest shopping days of the year, and has a reputation as the time to get the best deals on toys, clothes, electronics and everything else on your holiday shopping list.

But is Black Friday really such a good time to score deals? How much are you truly saving when you drop everything to try for a doorbuster?
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 Frugal Living 
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Extreme Couponing: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

CouponsAlthough I’ve been clipping coupons from my Sunday paper for a while, I just heard about extreme couponing a few months ago.  At first it seemed amazing that whole loads of groceries could be bought for less than $50, but at what cost?  I was surprised to hear about how much time extreme couponers spend planning each trip.  I personally only spend about half an hour each Sunday planning out the week’s menu with my husband and another half hour at the grocery store at the beginning of each week.  Here’s my personal view of extreme couponing: the good, the bad, and the ugly.

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 Frugal Living 
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Extreme Couponing: Classic Time vs. Money Dilemma

Coupon AccordianReality television shows are getting more and more “extreme.” Whether it’s families with enough kids to field a football team or people who tip the scales at several hundred pounds, it seems like the television watching public is obsessed with any extreme. The “first” reality show was basically extreme living on a remote island – remember the first season of Survivor? (surprisingly, I’ve never watched a full episode of Survivor, not sure how I avoided it)

Well, the latest “craze” seems to be a show called Extreme Couponing. If you haven’t seen the show, it basically follows people who buy a ton of stuff without paying a lot of money. There’s a lot of fake drama, as they talk about how they only budgeting $300 for groceries this month but the tally, before coupons, is up in the several hundreds of dollars. There’s some fake “worry” as the cashier starts scanning coupons and then shots of the manager and other people standing around watching.

Extreme is not the right name for this show, it should be called Excessive Couponing. Deadliest Catch is appropriately named – people die up there. It’s not extreme, it’s excessive.
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 Frugal Living 
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Restaurant.com Gift Certificate Coupon Codes & Tips

I remember when I first heard about Restaurant.com a few years ago. Their offer back then is the same as it is now, you can buy a $25 Restaurant gift certificate for $10. Every few weeks, they run a 70% or 80% off promotion where you end up getting a $25 Restaurant gift certificate for two bucks. Two freaking dollars… three if you only use 70% off.

A few years ago, hardly anyone took them. You went on the site, did a quick search for your area, and chances are only a few obscure restaurants were available. When I first looked, I didn’t even recognize a single restaurant in the 15 miles around my zip code! That’s not to say there weren’t any popular restaurants, we just didn’t know about them.

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 Credit 
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MyFICO Coupon Code: SURVEY30

MyFICO is offering a 30% off coupon if you take their customer survey. I’m not sure how long the survey takes but at the end they give you a new 30% off coupon code for myFICO products. If you want, you can take the survey or just keep reading for the code:

SURVEY30

For my thoughts on myFICO, check out my myFICO review. If you just want your credit report, you can request your credit reports for free every 12 months at annualcreditreport.com.

The code is valid until December 30th, 2009.

You can look here for more MyFICO promo codes.


 Frugal Living 
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How to Become a Coupon Ninja in 15 Minutes A Week

I love a good deal.

Coupons VendorFor years, I’ve seen all the grocery store coupon sites out there listing wonderful combo deals, how you can get free this and free that, but I never did it because I didn’t want to spend the time it takes to clip, sort, and manage coupons. I didn’t want to try to match them up with the sales circulars and double/triple coupon promotions to get the best deal possible.

I have nothing against people who do this, in fact I’m very envious of their organizational ability. I know that’s what it took to be a coupon ninja, I’d probably last a week or two, then it would fall by the wayside the first chance it could. That’s just how I am (I don’t bother with new year’s resolutions either!).

However, there’s a much easier way to be a coupon ninja and it involves the power of the internet.

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 Frugal Living 
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Spend to Save Trap

If you ever want to learn about consumer behavior, walk through a grocery store. Look at all the labels, how things are positioned, how sales are organized, and you’ll get tremendous insight into how we consume. Ever wonder why grocery stores have sales where they limit the number of products you can buy? You can get five cases of Diet Coke for $10 but you are limited to five cases. If you really wanted ten, all you need to do is buy five, drop them off at your car, and then buy five more in another “trip” five minutes after the first. The reason they “limit” your order is because it creates a scarcity and you’ll end up buying more.

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 Shopping 
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I Finally See Value in Entertainment Books

For the longest time, I thought that $25 spent on an Entertainment Book was wasted… until last night. Last night we went to Nichi Bei Kai, a Japanese steakhouse and sushi joint, with friends of ours and enjoyed a little Teppanyaki/hibachi dinner. Teppanyaki, also called hibachi (that’s what we call it), is where they cook the dish at your table and give you a little demonstration of knife skills, flames, and cooking. If you’ve never done the hibachi thing, you should give it a try because it’s a lot of fun and the food isn’t bad either. At the end of the meal, my friends pulled out a coupon they pulled from an Entertainment Book that scored us $18 off our meal!

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