Archive for December 2013

I got $2000 back from my credit card company?!

A few months ago I blogged about how I love the Capital One Venture Card.  The other day I was curious how much we’ve cashed in this year on the card and was pleasantly surprised.  We have erased $1,548 in travel purchases for our bill and I have over $300 available to be cashed in at anytime!  That’s almost $2000 we got back and because we pay the balance off every month we haven’t paid a dime in interest.

We put everything we can on the card, like the expenses from the tree falling on my house earlier this year and our daycare costs.  Combining the points towards a family vacation, combined with our frequent flyer miles, I think will take a big chunk out of our expenses.

Now…where should we go?

Free Shipping? Not this year…

By Sarah Janda

I recently heard about Free Shipping Day that was on December 18th this year.  There were hundreds of stores that participated and offered free shipping.  I decided to check it out this year and went onto Targets website as they were taking part in free shipping day.  I spent over an hour adding various products into my cart that I was going to have shipped directly to my family and friends in Wisconsin for Christmas gifts.  When I went to checkout and pay for my purchase it was telling me that the shipping fee was $15.  I wasn’t sure why, because I thought it was free shipping day, and there were various places on the website that said spend over $50 and receive free shipping.   So, I thought because of those two options, I was covered.   Well, I failed to pay attention to the fine print.  Only certain items on the Target website were available for free shipping, none of which were in my cart.  Also, spend over $50 to get free shipping was only available to those with the Target store Red card, which I don’t have.  Also, because I was shipping to a state that has sales tax, there were taxes included, in addition to the shipping fee.  So, I decided to forgo Free Shipping day this year and will have to hurry and get to the store to buy some gifts.

“My name is Basha, and I am a shopoholic”

I am a self admitted ‘shopoholic’. I constantly hear, “Again, Basha?” from my loved ones around me, which always makes me think a little more about my purchases, but when I find a good deal, I have a hard time passing it up. It is important to me to not get myself into debt over this, so I thought I would share a few tips on how I indulge in my desire to spend, without breaking the bank and racking up the credit card bills.

Amazon Prime: Amazon has made themselves known to be the marketplace for whatever your heart desires, but seriously, the site really has just about everything on it at a price cheaper than you can get a most retail stores. Before I graduated from college, I decided to give Amazon Prime a try since they gave me a free six-month trial, and I haven’t turned back since. Aside from having access to their own Netflix type streaming service, what I appreciate the most is the free two-day shipping. Let me repeat that, FREE TWO-DAY SHIPPING! Though it does come at a price of $80 a year, or $40 for students, when you’re constantly losing or breaking your phone charger, needing a gift for a family member, or just treating yourself, this feature surely pays itself off.
Groupon and LivingSocial: Though I have heard horror stories about these deal sites, and how much they harm small businesses, I have recently bought into this whole Groupon and LivingSocial craze and have surprisingly been pleased. I have started out by purchasing a couple of corporate deals, one for the Body Shop, and the other for American Apparel. Products at both places don’t come cheap, so I knew I had to get them while they lasted, and ended up walking out of the Body Shop with over $50 worth of skincare products for $20 thanks to an additional inshore sale. Another great feature that I love about these sites is the ability to send gifts right there on your mobile app or on their website. Recently, one of my best friends bought a house in Florida, and with all of the holiday shipping going on, I knew I wanted to stay far away from the Post Office to make sure she had something to welcome her into her new home. Browsing through LivingSocial I stumbled upon a deal for a years magazine subscription for only $5! Not only would I avoid the crazy lines at the Post Office, but I could give a great gift that keeps on giving, well, at least until the end of 2014.
Email Alerts: While I will admit getting upwards of a hundred emails a week from various retail stores get a little obnoxious, I cant help but get excited when I open one of these emails and find a coupon hidden in there waiting for me. Who doesn’t appreciate a surprise 25% off of your purchase?

With the Holiday season in full force around us, I hope you all celebrate warm and with your families, and hopefully with money saving giving.

-Basha Gitnes

Tis the season to get a deal on holiday cards

I recently ordered our staff photo holiday cards and this was a new experience for me.  I have never ordered holiday photo cards, so I needed to do a little research.  While shopping around online I discovered some very interesting ways to get the best deals.  I started out by checking into a few suggestions from Melody and Basha and looked at Costco, Zazzle, Vista print, etc.  The average price per card on most of these sites was around 50 cents.  I then decided to check out some of the sites that are specifically known for photos, like Snapfish and Shutterfly.  They were a little bit less, averaging around 40 cents per card.  I then came across a website called   This website linked me to several websites that offered cards ranging from 22 to 50 cents per card.  I started with the site with the lowest price and that was   It wasn’t until I created an account and put the almost completed project in the cart that I ended up finding out 22 cents per card only applied to the first 20 cards.   After the first 20 cards, it then increased to 41 cent per card.  I then decided to check out another site  Their cards were coming up for around 30 cents per card.  I went ahead and completed the photo project and put it in my cart and sent it to Melody for a last review.  The next morning I opened my inbox and I had an email from York Photo with a code for 60% off.  This brought the price down to 16 cents per card.  York Photo also offered more variety of template choices.  Satisfied with the price and project, I went ahead and completed the order.  Another surprise was that less than eight hours later I received an email saying the holiday cards were already completed and ready to be shipped.   I discovered that with a little bit of research and tempting companies with the thought of your purchase by posting it in the cart and waiting, they just might send you a better deal.