Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Savvy Shopper: Get great deals on spring and summer staples

<Best Dealsp>Along with the first day of Spring having taken place, seedless watermelons at $2.98 are another sign that warmer weather is on the horizon. In addition, springtime staples like ice cream, barbecue sauce and chips are available at prices that won't leave you cold.

On top of the deals featured in this article, many more great offers are a click away on our Facebook page (enter "Lubbock Savvy Shopper" in the search tool). To make things even easier, "Like" our page to get the deals delivered right to your news feed!


Saturday, March 22, 2014

Best March Madness 2014 Deals, Discounts and Coupons

You might think about betting money on some NCAA basketball games during the 2014 March Madness tournament, but above all, you should bet your bottom dollar on saving money during this amped-up sporting event. Many retailers are offering promotions and sales. Let's take a look at some of the best savings out there.

TV Deals

You can't watch the games at home without a TV, and many retailers have offers for lower priced electronics and televisions:

  • Dell coupon code F6QLF1RRZJ$GVJ saves you $460 off the LG 60 Plasma Smart HDTV. Expires: March 25.
  • Save during the Sears sale for up to 30 percent off TVs and electronics. Exclusions apply. Expires: March 22.
  • Use Abe's of Maine coupon code GIFTCARD50 for a free $50 gift card with your select TV order. For a limited time only. Expires: March 24.
  • Take advantage of this special offer for a free $500 Crutchfield rewards card with your select LG HDTV order. Expires: March 30.
  • Get up to 20 percent off TVs and electronics at Kmart during its sale. Expires: March 22.
Related: First Day of Spring 2014 Freebies and Discounts

Sporty Savings

Witnessing the action might inspire you to play. Shoot hoops for less, and represent the team you are rooting for with fan gear and sporting goods:

  • Save during the Eastbay Basketball Sale. Online only. Restrictions apply. Expires soon.
  • Finish Line is offering up to 50 percent off NCAA apparel, plus free shipping on many items. Expires: March 28.
  • Shop during this Walmart sale to get a Lifetime 44″ Pro Court Basketball Hoop for only $104. Expires: April 10.
  • Sports Kids has special pricing with 30 percent off NCAA items. Expires soon.
  • Use the College Shack coupon code MADNESS5 for $5 off your $25 or more order. Expires: April 30.
  • Save during the Rawlings gear sale for 15 percent off basketballs. Expires: April 1.
  • Lids has a 2 for $25 special with select NCAA hats. Expires soon.

Fan-Friendly Sales

Everyone wants to get in the game. Even stores unrelated to basketball are offering March Madness savings:

  • Save up to 70 percent off with the Heidi Daus Designs March Madness sale. Expires: March 31.
  • There is a Magazines.com extra 20 percent off March Savings Madness sale, where you can save on ESPN, Paula Dean, Girl's Life and many more. Expires: March 20.
  • Save 15 percent off any order plus get free shipping when you apply MagicMurals coupon code MADNESS15. Expires: March 20.
  • Use Nearly Natural coupon code MARCHMADNESS for 10 percent off all orders for silk flowers. Expires: March 31.
  • SmartWool coupon code MARCHMADNESS gets you free shipping on any order. Expires: March 31.
  • Get a Sports Shot Glass for only $5 at Things Remembered with your Sports Mug order. Expires: April 13.
BeFrugal.com features cash back, online and Coupon Codes restaurant coupons, weekly ads, deals and bargains, as well as web-based tools to help consumers save time and money. Photo credit: Erik Charlton Join for free today and get paid to be frugal!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Keep coupons organized to maximize savings

One of the most challenging aspects of couponing is finding a way to organize your coupons so you can find them when you actually need them. Being organized when it comes to your coupons will save you a lot more money than being unorganized. Many new couponers simply give up couponing because they get frustrated with Price Compare organization. The good news is that there are some very effective and manageable ways to organize your coupons that will increase your grocery savings tremendously. There is no one method that works for everyone, but there are some methods that work better than others.

Common coupon organization methods include:

  • Accordion-style file
  • Envelope or Ziploc baggie in the purse
  • A lunchbox or shoebox with dividers
  • A plastic box made for index or recipe cards
  • The no-clip method
  • The binder method

Accordion-style organizers, envelopes and boxes

The organization methods that involve filing coupons one in front of the other have their benefits. The files, envelopes or small boxes are often small enough to put into your purse, and they are usually lightweight.

If you don't use many coupons, these types of methods may work very well for you.

The downside to these methods is that they make it very difficult to see what coupons you actually have. When you are in the store searching for a coupon, you will spend a lot of time flipping through each envelope or section and looking through each stack. It is very easy to let coupons expire with these types of methods because you can't see the coupons easily.

No-clip method

The no-clip method involves putting each coupon insert into a file each week by date. You do not cut out any coupons when the coupon inserts arrive. Then, when you see the deal lists with the dates of the specific inserts that coupons were in, you go to the different files, find the coupons and cut them out. You do this for every coupon you plan to use that was in the newspaper for the last few weeks.

Although it saves you tons of time on the front end, because you don't cut out any coupons until you see a sale to use them on, you spend much more time going back and forth to the same inserts over and over again for different sales.

Other negatives of using this system include not having a good way to file your printable coupons AND not being able to take advantage of any unadvertised sales. If you only bring to the store the coupons you cut out for your specific shopping trip, you don't get to use your coupons on all the other great deals that stores do not advertise in their flyers including clearance and sales that have continued from the previous week.

The binder method

The binder method, which is the method I use, involves filing coupons in baseball-card holders, dividing them by product type and storing them in a three-ring binder.

This method takes couponing to a new level of organization and allows you to find what you need, when you need it.

When I first started couponing over 15 years ago, I used a traditional accordion-style organizer. It worked for about a month, and I knew I needed another method. I was frustrated because it took me too long to find the coupons I needed when I was making my grocery list and when I was shopping in the store.

I discovered the binder method and have used it ever since.

I will say that the binder is bulky and certainly doesn't fit in my purse. I pretend that lugging it around is like weight lifting, and I am just burning a few extra calories while saving a lot more than a few extra bucks. Although the binder method is not for everyone, it is my favorite method and has worked beautifully for me for well over a decade.

Benefits of using the binder method:
  • A binder organizer can hold far more coupons than most accordion files, envelopes or recipe box organizers.
  • Each coupon and its value are visible, cutting down on the time it takes to find a coupon when you are looking over the sales ads or shopping at the store.
  • Expiration dates are easier to see, and you are less likely to let a valuable coupon expire.
  • You can quickly flip to the pages for the section of the store you are in and see all the coupons you have available. This is especially important if you run into an unexpected or unadvertised deal (which happens to me almost every time I shop).
  • The binders fit easily on the child seat section of the cart, so flipping through the pages as you walk through the aisles is simple.
  • Binder organizers are easily expandable. As your coupon inventory increases, add more coupon pages to your binder.
  • Many binders have pockets with room for your sales ads, calculator, pens and store reward cards.
  • Plus, you will look so cool with that big 'ole binder and people will be amazed by your awesome organization skills!

In reality, people do stop me in the store regularly to ask about my binder and how I have it set up. It's a great time to give a mini coupon class in the store. I am guessing that many of you who use the binder method experience this as well.

Create your own binder coupon organizer

You can easily make your own binder organizer with any three-ring binder (either zippered or not), baseball card pages (found in the trading card section of most big box stores) and tabbed dividers (found in the same big box stores or office stores).

I recommend labeling the tabbed dividers by product type so you can see all the coupons for a specific product in the same section. Here are the tabbed divider labels I use on my organizer:

You will need at least 24 baseball card pages, one for each tabbed divider section. Soon after you start using the binder method, you will probably want to add at least another 24 pages, if not more for some of the sections like dairy and frozen.

Pre-made coupon organizer insert sets

If you would rather purchase the pre-printed tabs and coupon insert pages instead of making them yourself, see my website for a pre-made set that fits in regular all three-ring binders.

What to cut

I use the binder method for 85 percent of my coupons. I cut out those coupons from the newspaper inserts that I know we will use and those coupons I am pretty sure we will use. I also cut out the coupons for products we don't use but I know I can get a good deal on the product to donate to the food bank. Then I leave the rest of the coupons uncut and file them by date in file folders. Every once in a while I end up finding a great deal on a coupon I did not think I would use and then I go back to the insert and cut it out. About once a month, I cut out the coupons I have not used and donate them to the military ( see www.coupsfortroops.com for more information on US military overseas using expired coupons).

Tips to remember

File your new coupons every week so you don't end up with a backlog of coupons.

Bring your organizer with you to your child's extra curricular activities and file while they are in ballet, soccer, music lessons, etc. If you watch a favorite television show each week, that's a perfect time to be cutting and filing coupons.

Remove your expired coupons once a month and then send them to our U.S. military stationed overseas. They can use manufacturer coupons that are expired for up to six months at the commissaries on overseas bases. For more information on this wonderful opportunity to give back to our U.S military, see www.coupsfortroups.com.

Each time you go through the cycle of filing coupons and shopping with your organizer, you will become more efficient and save more and more money. Good luck organizing and remember: It's your money - spend it wisely!

Friday, March 14, 2014

'Scandal' Star Tony Goldwyn Cast As Polygamist In Lifetime Movie

Tony Goldwyn ("scandal cast") is set to play Warren Jeffs in an upcoming Lifetime movie. The film, "Outlaw Prophet," is based on the book from Stephen Singular, "When Men Become Gods."

"For the past six months we've been talking with producer Judith Verno about locations, details of the story. Our first choice for the book's title was 'Outlaw Prophet' which they're now using for the TV movie," Singular told the Denver Post of the production.

Jeffs was the leader of a fundamentalist Mormon polygamist sect who was caught after evading authorities for more than a year. The film follows Jeffs' rise to power following the death of his father.

Art Monterastelli ("The Hunted"), Steve Kornacki ("Boardwalk Empire") and Bryce Kass wrote the script for the movie, which will be directed by Gabriel Range ("Death of a President").

by RTT Staff Writer

For comments and feedback: editorial@rttnews.com

Entertainment News

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Business inventories up, but sales drop in Jan.

WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. businesses continued to restock their shelves and warehouses in January, but sales plunged during the snowstorm-plagued month.

Inventories rose 0.4% after a 0.5% increase in December, the Commerce Department said Thursday. But sales dropped 0.9% in January after a 0.1% decrease the previous month, putting sales back near September 2013 levels.

The report suggests that winter weather kept shoppers at home. But businesses anticipate a rebound because they expanded their inventories to meet expected demand in the months ahead.

SHOPPERS: JOBLESS CLAIMS: Drop points to stronger labor market Feb. retail sales rebound despite winter weather

Still, there is a possible danger to economic growth: When companies build their stockpiles as their sales fall, they may end up stuck with more goods than they need.

That potentially forces them to slash prices and sell at discounts in order to clear the extra inventory.

However, the February retail sales figures released separately Coupon Thursday indicate that sales growth has picked up. Retail spending rose 0.3% in February. Retail sales had fallen 0.6% in January and 0.3% in December.

The increase suggests that consumer spending has started to recover after being tempered by snowstorms and freezing temperatures that blanketed much of the country.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Yet overall economic growth could be slower due to the recent decline in sales and inventory expansion that has slowed from its pace in the middle of 2013.

Slower restocking will likely lower growth to about a 2% annual pace in the first quarter of 2014, down from 4.1% in last year's July-September quarter and 2.4% in the October-December quarter.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

HTC One Deals: Available for Free on Amazon

If you were looking to buy a new smartphone, then the timing is great Coupon has a couple of HTC One deals for you. The HTC One, which is undoubtedly the best-looking smartphone released on the market in 2013, is now available for only a penny on contract with two of the biggest US carriers.

Amazon is offering the Sprint HTC One with 32 GB of storage for only $0.01 after you sign a two-year contract with the retailer. Given that Sprint is offering the HTC One at $99.99, you will save almost $100 if you take advantage of Amazon's deal. If you prefer to buy the Sprint HTC One off-contract, you should know that the price is $699.99. Besides the Silver Sprint HTC One, you will also be able to choose from the Red or Black models.

If you prefer Verizon, then Amazon has a deal for you as well. The 32 GB Verizon HTC One is available for $0.01, of course with a two-year contract. Unfortunately, Amazon is only selling the Black Verizon HTC One model, but you will be able to save almost $50, as Big Red is selling it on its website at $49.99. The contract-free price of the Verizon HTC One is $699.99.

Amazon also has a HTC One deal for the AT&T variant. While AT&T is selling the 32 GB HTC One on their website at $199.99, you will be able to order it from Amazon at $49.99, therefore you'll save about $150. The AT&T HTC One is available with a Silver body or a Black body. In case you don't want to sign a two-year contract with the carrier, you will be able to grab the AT&T One at $699.99.

Furthermore, if you order any of the three aforementioned HTC One variants in the next 51 hours (at the time the article was written) you will have it shipped to you on Monday, March 10.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Interstate linking Vegas, Phoenix faces tough go

<weather phoenixp>By MICHELLE RINDELS
Associated Press

LAS VEGAS (AP) - Las Vegas and Phoenix are linked by a road that narrows to two lanes, hits stoplights in a Depression-era town and until recently backed up traffic over the Hoover Dam.

Despite being two of the largest cities in the Southwest, they aren't directly connected by an interstate freeway.

There have been halting advances toward creating a slick, new highway to cover the 300 miles of desert between Sin City and the Valley of the Sun, but if it's ever going to happen, according to Steve Betts, leader of a coalition of project supporters, "everyone would have to be very creative."

An effort to improve what's now a 4 ½-hour drive with a more reliable road has heavy-hitting allies, including business leaders and the Republican governor of each state. "Long-term jobs are created by our connectivity," Betts said, noting that the stretch would be the first piece of a new shipping route between Mexico and Canada.

But critics ask whether such a multibillion dollar development would be more than a vanity project that would take resources away from more immediate concerns. The cities already "are connected by U.S. 93. Whether they need an interstate is a question," said transportation historian Earl Swift.

That the cities aren't already linked by an interstate is a fluke of timing. The Phoenix and Vegas populations exploded just after the national road-building frenzy that started in the 1950s.

"As good as the planners were in the midcentury, they could not have foreseen the emergence of Las Vegas," said Robert Lang, director of Brookings Mountain West, a University of Nevada, Las Vegas-based think tank focused on the region's economics and public policy.

The Las Vegas metro area, population 2 million, is 40 times larger than it was in 1950. The Phoenix area, population 4.3 million, has grown 13-fold over that span.

"It's very difficult to remedy something like this once it goes wrong," said Lang, an expert in urban and economic growth. "Piecing this back together is a heavy lift."

Highway supporters won a key victory last year when Congress formally designated Interstate 11. The legislation provides no funding, but it allows builders to tap into interstate construction dollars.

Following that designation, transportation departments in the two states took up a $2.5 million study to plot routes and estimate a cost. The project could run about $4 billion using rough Federal Highway Administration estimates, or closer to $10 billion by other calculations.

Outside-the-box solutions could be necessary as the project confronts difficult political and financial realities.

The nation's interstate system grew out of "a groundswell of grassroots demand" that partly involved safety. The national road fatality rate in 1956, when funding for the system was approved, was almost six times higher than in 2011, the most recent year statistics are available.

"The highway death toll was shocking," said Swift, whose book "The Big Roads," explores the history of the interstate system.

Vehicle crashes were "killing more people on the roads every year than we lost (annually) in Vietnam. It was a crisis," he said. "The public was pushing congressmen to do something about it."

Decades later, the Interstate 11 project doesn't have such public urgency, and safety has been a relatively minor aspect of the pitch.

The main talking points now are how the interstate would create more efficient freight flows and boost the regional economy. "It's not a matter of functionality," said Tom Skancke, president and CEO of the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance.

"Looking from a global competitiveness standpoint, does it compete better globally?" he asked. "Or do we want to bounce along the bottom?"

An interstate could link Los Angeles, Phoenix and Las Vegas as partners in a "megaregion" that competes with other regions, and could open a trade route from Mexico to Pacific Ocean ports and Canada. Arizona and Nevada are currently losing much of that flow and its attendant development to Texas and California, according to Betts, chairman of CAN-DO, an acronym for Connecting Arizona and Nevada-Delivering Opportunities.

Proponents warn about the consequences of doing nothing, pointing to projections that the cities will add a combined 4 million people by 2025.

"We have to get ahead of the curve," Skancke said. "We're reacting to what happened 30 years ago, while the rest of the world is building."

Proponents are pushing nontraditional financing for Interstate 11, suggesting a public-private partnership in which investors would step in to provide funding. Others, such as transportation expert Bob Poole, of the libertarian Reason Foundation, suggest making the entire stretch a toll road.

Such plans acknowledge the reality that the federal highway fund, which pays for road projects, has dwindled under a revenue model that hasn't changed in 20 years. Also, aging roads and bridges demand an increasing share of that money annually.

However the project would be funded, supporters will need to overcome concerns from those who ask how essential it is that the two cities are linked by an "interstate" - defined as a multi-lane, divided highway with interchanges and few access points.

Road proposals are sometimes more about prestige than empirical demands, Swift said.

"Kill away all the layered arguments, and an awful lot comes down to 'We're too important not to have it,'" he said.

Arizona is well on its way to widening a 200-mile stretch of two-lane road between Phoenix and the Nevada line. All but 40 of those miles are now four-lane, divided highway, addressing most congestion problems there, said Michael Kies, the Interstate 11 project manager for the Arizona Department of Transportation.

In Nevada, county leaders recently approved a local fuel tax increase to pay for the $300 million Boulder City Bypass, aimed at loosening the most notable bottleneck between Las Vegas and the Arizona border. The 12-mile route will allow drivers to avoid Boulder City's quaint but often congested downtown streets. The bypass is expected to be complete in late 2017.

Also, in a joint Nevada-Arizona project, a bridge went up in late 2010 allowing travelers to bypass tourist traffic on top of the Hoover Dam.

Still, other critics worry that pushing further toward the interstate dream would contribute to urban sprawl and hurt the environment.

"The last thing we need is another freeway," said Sandy Bahr, president of the Arizona chapter of the Sierra Club. "We need to look for other transportation modes."


Follow Michelle Rindels on Twitter at http://twitter.com/RindelsAP.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.