8 Tips For Gifting Daily Deals

A recent poll from Ipsos Public Affairs found 24% of shoppers are likely to purchase a daily deal as a gift this holiday season. With my e-mail inbox showing daily input from Living Social, Groupon, Amazon Deals, etc. I find so many great offers that are hard to pass up. Though the values can be great, not every offer is a bargain. If you have some daily deals on your shopping list, consider these tips before you buy.

1. Get Creative
A daily deal makes for a fun present, but ripping open an envelope for a piece of paper lacks in excitement. To add a more personal touch, include a small gift that’s related to the experience. For example, pair a voucher for golf lessons with a set of golf balls, or a bottle of lotion with a massage certificate.

2. Stop Self Gifting
When you’re searching several sites to find the right deal, odds are you’ll find a few things you wouldn’t mind gifting to yourself. Before you know it, your budget is gone and your gift list is still full. To cut down on temptation, pick one site and stick with it. What you don’t know can’t hurt you, right?

3. Efficiency is Key
It seems like every local newspaper and TV station is now partnered with some sort of daily-deal provider. With so many different options available, you can waste hours skipping from site to site. To streamline the process, try using an aggregator such as Dealery.com. They collect all of the latest local offers in one place to increase convenience.

4. Dedicated to Deals
Most daily deal sites require you provide an email address to view their offers. Many might even send you several emails a day when new offers become available. If these are being delivered to your main email account, they can clutter everything up and provide some serious distraction. Keep your worlds separate by setting up an email account dedicated to incoming offers. This way you only have to check in once per day.

5. Go With Gift Cards
Some think gift cards are impersonal, but that number is shrinking. Considering they’ve been the most requested present six years in a row, the demand is definitely there. Gift cards have options a daily deal can’t provide, including no blackout or expiration dates for usage. Not only do gift cards provide more flexibility, they can be purchased at discount prices from sites like GiftCardGranny.com.

6. Read the Fine Print
Before you buy, make sure you know all of the deal’s details. Many times they have speedy expirations or are limited to select locations. If the recipient has to drive two hours just to redeem the offer, it’ll likely go unused. When giving daily deals as a gift, give them a more personal touch by taking a little extra time to write up the rules and restrictions. This way there’s no confusion about how it can be used.

7. Unload Extras
Despite our best intentions, some gifts just don’t work out. Whether you forget to deliver it or it’s apparent the deal you selected isn’t the right fit, there’s still a second-hand market where you can get rid of it. Sites like CoupRecoup allow you to sell unused daily deals for cash online, and shop for unwanted deals that have been discounted even further.

And my personal favorite tip! ;-> :

8. Read the Reviews
It’s important to remember daily deals ultimately serve as a promotional tool for businesses. Spending $10 for $20 worth of food might seem like a bargain, but it’s not so attractive if the restaurant repeatedly fails health inspections. Keep from getting burned by reading reviews before you buy. Yelp is a great place to study up on local businesses with reviews from thousands of users who’ve already sampled the fare. And checking out review bloggers is a wonderful resource as well.

(*Information shared with permission of Andrea Woroch is a nationally-recognized consumer and money-saving expert who helps consumers live on less without radically changing their lifestyles. andrea@andreaworoch.com)

Top Cyber Monday Offers!

Check out some top on-line offers below for Cyber Monday, November 26, 2012.  Also, thousands of retailers are offering free shipping and other discounts on Free Shipping Day (Monday, Dec. 17).

Eddie Bauer
Get free shipping and 40% off any order with code ICE.

Lands’ End
Get free shipping and 30% off your order with code WONDERLAND and this pin.

Get free shipping on orders of $75 or more plus 15% off your order with code CYBER.

Crate & Barrel
Get free shipping and 15% off most orders with code SAVE15.

Take 50% off any order with code TODAYONLY.

Click here to get free shipping and 20% off all orders with code CYBER20.

Sierra Trading Post
Save 25% on any purchase with code CYBERMONDAY12.

Bath & Body Works
Get 25% off your entire order with code CYBER2012.

The Children’s Place
Get free shipping plus 30% off any order with code CYBER2012AF.

Old Navy
Take 30% off most orders with code CYBER. Use the same code for 30% off at Gap and Banana Republic.

Victoria’s Secret
Get two free secret reward cards with any $10 order with this code.

Coldwater Creek
Get free shipping and 50% off everything sitewide with code MONDAY50.

Get free shipping plus 30% off your order of $49 or more (no code required).

Take 25% off holiday flowers with code CYBER25.

Get free shipping plus $30 off orders of $100 or more with code 2CYBER.

Famous Footwear
Buy one, get one 20% off plus free shipping with code CYBER12.

Get free shipping on any order with code FREESHIPCM.

Take 25% off orders of $50 or more with code CYBER25.

Get free shipping on any order with code CYBAFFD.

Take 30% off orders of $30 or more.

Take $20 off orders of $100 or more with code CYBER20.

Get free shipping plus 30% off any order (no code required).

Chinese Laundry
Get free shipping plus 30% off any order with code CYBER2012.

Ace Hardware
Save 15% on any order (no code required).

Get 20% off any order with code CYBER.

Get free shipping plus 40% off storewide with code CYBERMON.

*This information is shared with permission from FreeShipping.org.  FreeShipping.org is the largest resource on the Internet linking shoppers to free-shipping deals offered by over 4,000 online merchants.

What's On Your Wish List?

When it comes to shopping for holiday gifts I need some help in the form of a “Wish List”.  I can take hints some of the time but I would much rather have my family write down things that catch their eye, or share their desire for things that they’ve always wanted, so I can do my best-deals research and go shopping.  I was a bit surprised to find that my husband added “Black Leather Jacket” to his Wish List, but hey, it’s the holidays and I’m all for wishes.
I’ve found a wonderful site that carries low cost leather jackets that look great and provides good customer service, LeatherUp.com.   When it comes to leather you want to make sure you are getting quality and LeatherUp.com offers on-line chat assistance to answer your questions.  They also offer a detailed size chart, no-risk returns and a low-price guarantee.
They produce their own line  – Xelement – that is made of the highest quality leather and includes boots, pants, gloves and leather biker jackets for men and women.   If I know my husband I can read a little more into his wish list and see a biker jacket in his future.  I know he’ll look great!

I have my family’s holiday “Wish List” in hand and I’m searching on-line to find the best deals for this years wanted gadgets and clothing.  There is some fun to be had by actually going to a physical store and looking around, but I’m going the more convenient route and checking out things in the comfort of my own home.  (It probably has something to do with my memories of working retail for years.  Holidays + Retail/Customer Service = stressful and exhausting!)

One item on the “wish List” is an indulgence so I’ve been looking around for a good bargain.  The wanted item is a leather jacket and I just might be able to do that this year because I’ve found a site that has

The U.S. Postal Service is helping keep the enchantment of Santa Claus alive with its “Letters From Santa” program. “Letters From Santa” allows a parent, grandparent or any person in a child’s life to mail a letter to their child “From Santa,” postmarked from the North Pole. 
Here’s how “Letters From Santa” works:
1. Write a letter to your child from Santa Claus and sign it “From Santa.”
2. Insert the letter into an envelope addressed to your child with the return address:
3. Ensure a First-Class Mail stamp is affixed to the envelope.
4. Place the envelope into a larger envelope, with appropriate postage, and address the larger envelope to:
ANCHORAGE AK 99530-9998
5. Your letter “From Santa” will be mailed back to your child, postmarked from the North Pole.
“Letters From Santa” must be mailed to the Anchorage, AK, postmaster no later than Dec. 10, 2012. Santa’s helpers in Anchorage will take care of the rest. 
The personalized letters that parents send to their children via the “Letters From Santa” program is different from the historical “Operation Santa” program. In “Operation Santa,” the Postal Service facilitates the matching of customers with letters written to Santa from needy children. Participants in “Operation Santa” help fulfill a child’s dream with a gift and a response letter from Santa. (Customers are not provided the child’s address in the “Operation Santa” program.) The “Letters From Santa” program helps parents fulfill the dreams of their own children. 

The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.

Gray Thursday? What's Happening to Black Friday?

Here’s a title that’s new to me, recent news headlines suggest Black Friday is quickly morphing into Gray Thursday as big retailers one-up each other’s hours. Walmart is the most recent example, announcing it will open its doors at 8:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving, shortly after Sears made the same proclamation.

Black Friday has reached an almost celebrity-like status over the years, with enough buzz, chaos and excitement to rival the latest Hollywood scandal. Years ago my mom and I would plan our early Friday morning shopping and have some fun, but we’ve been finding the same deals on-line that have turned the early morning wake-up back by a few hours – with gratitude!

It’s only appropriate to take a “what’s in, what’s out” approach to the trendiest shopping strategies for the most notorious shopping day of the year.


IN: Shopping online. Last year, 70 percent of doorbuster deals were available online, according to DealNews.

OUT: Pre-dawn shopping. Frostbite, runny noses and sleepless nights are for amateurs. In addition evening store openings on Thanksgiving, the Internet will help you avoid the harsh, early-morning elements.

IN: Crowd control. Target stores tested a stampede-mitigating strategy last year, allowing only a certain number of people across the threshold at a time. Expect more of the same this year.

OUT: Mob mayhem. Trampling and blunt-force trauma are so two years ago. If you want to relive the magic, check out this video for a montage of Black Friday chaos.

IN: Knowing the best time to buy. Who knew Black Friday doesn’t actually offer the best prices of the year? Decide.com knows the right times to shop, and you can too with their app.

OUT: Falling for faux deals. News flash: Retailers can’t actually afford deep discounts on all of their merchandise, but they can inflate original prices to make it seem like you’re getting a steal.

IN: Using a mobile device. Mobile shopping is all the rage this holiday season, as savvy consumers use devices to shop, save and keep track of their budgets. Download digital helpers like the Coupon Sherpa mobile app to save even more on Black Friday.

OUT: Relying on print circulars or in-store ads. Retailers are increasingly using social media and mobile tools to communicate with their patrons. You’re missing out if you’re not plugged-in to Facebook and Twitter.

IN: Being thankful. Since most stores will open their doors at midnight on Thanksgiving, it’s only fitting you be thankful to all the patient people working the sales floor on Black Friday.

OUT: Behaving badly. Yelling at salespeople, elbowing fellow shoppers and generally creating a scene will definitely land you on Santa’s naughty list.

IN: Sticking to your list. Doorbuster deals are loss leaders, getting you in the store at ungodly hours with the promise of killer deals. Stick to your list to avoid going over-budget.

OUT: Getting greedy. Buying a bunch of useless stuff because it was “such a good deal” is not only out, it’s unwise.

IN: Locating your car in seconds. It’s tough to remember where you parked when you arrived foggy-headed in the wee hours of the morning. Luckily, if you have an iPhone, there’s an app for that. Getting out of the parking lot, however, is all on you.

OUT: Failing to find your car. Endlessly roaming the parking lot rows in the bitter cold is more than uncool, it’s irresponsible. Didn’t you know there’s an app for that?

(*Printed by permission: Andrea Woroch is a nationally-recognized consumer and money-saving expert)

The cold weather has finally hit my corner of the world.  I’ve noticed a chill in the air and my skin is feeling dryer than usual.  It’s time for me to find a better moisturizer

While stopped at a red light I looked at my hands on the steering wheel and cringed.  Why are there dry, old looking hands in front of me?!?  I haven’t been very good about moisturizing and it is showing big time.  When I got home

11 Veteran's Day Freebie's

Our nation’s veterans and active military deserve more than one day in their honor. With that in mind, retailers, restaurants and other businesses are doing their best to make this Veterans Day (Sunday, Nov. 11) more special by offering fun freebies and discounts. 

(Most of these offers require some form of military identification, and others are limited to select locations. Ultimately, it’s best to call ahead to determine exactly what’s needed to redeem the offer.)

1. Anheuser-Busch Parks
All past and present military, together with up to three of their dependents, can get free admission to most locations of Anheuser-Busch Parks one day per year.

2. Applebee’s
All military personnel with a valid I.D. can get a free meal on Nov. 11 from a special Veterans Day menu.

3. Golden Corral
As part of its annual Military Appreciation Monday Dinner, the Golden Corral is offering free meals to all past and present members of the military from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Nov. 12.

4. Grace for Vets
Grace for Vets is an organization dedicated to supporting both active and retired military personnel by organizing free car washes during military holidays. Click here to find a participating location near you and get a free car wash on Nov. 11.

5. Hooters
Military veterans and active-duty personnel can get 10 free wings with the purchase of a beverage on Nov. 11 at participating Hooters locations.

6. Lone Star Steakhouse
Select a free entree from Lone Star’s Stars and Stripes menu on Nov. 12. The offer is valid at participating restaurants for all veterans and active military personnel.

7. National Parks
Free admission to over 100 national parks is available to everyone on Nov. 10 and 11.

8. Olive Garden
All veterans and those on active duty can select a free meal from Olive Garden’s Veterans Day menu on Nov. 11, with options including Chicken Parmigiano and Seafood Rustica.

9. On the Border
Active and retired military personnel can get a free entree coupon (up to $10), redeemable between Nov. 12 and Nov. 30. Anyone who brings a Sizzling Salute to Veterans flyer on Nov. 11 will have 15 percent of their total purchase donated to Carry the Load, an organization dedicated to raising awareness about the true meaning of Memorial Day.

10. Red Robin
All military personnel can receive a free Red’s Tavern Double and Bottomless Steak Fries on Nov. 12 at participating locations. Red Robin will also donate $10,000 to the Wounded Warrior Project.

11. Sports Clips
Past and present U.S. service members can get a free haircut from participating locations of Sports Clips on Nov. 11.

(*List shared courtesy of Coupon Sherpa.  Thank you to Coupon Sherpa for compiling the best offers into 48 Veterans Day Freebies, 11 of which are detailed above.)

LG Smart Magic Big Screen TV Giveaway!

Time for a giveaway that would make a fantastic gift for the Holidays! Enter today and Good Luck!

LG Smart Magic Bigscreen Giveaway Event

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Beauty and brains make magic together in this super-slim HDTV. Its edge-lit LED panel delivers a full HD picture with smooth images, even when watching fast-paced action movies. Smart TV technology brings the best Web-based entertainment content right into your living room over your home Wi-Fi network. Finally, make confusing controllers a thing of the past with the point-and-click convenience of the included Magic Remote — no sleight of hand necessary!

LG 42″ Smart TV 1080p 120Hz Edge-Lit LED HDTV Features:

  • 1080p Full HD picture resolution
  • Edge-Lit LED design
  • Smart TV
  • Wi-Fi adapter
  • Magic Remote
  • TruMotion 120Hz
  • Triple XD Engine
  • Picture Wizard II
  • Intelligent Sensor
  • Clear Voice II
  • HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface) cable included

One lucky reader will receive a LG 42″ Smart 1080p Edge-Lit LED HDTV with Wi-Fi and Magic Remote!

Giveaway ends November 26th at 11:59pm, open to Continental US residents, ages 18+. To enter please use the Rafflecopter form below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway*Disclosure: I received no compensation for this publication. My opinions are my own and may differ from those of your own. ANN AGAIN… AND AGAIN REVIEWS is not responsible for sponsor prize shipment.

Holiday Food And Gifts To Make!

If the Holidays inspire you to create delicious gifts in your kitchen, you will thoroughly enjoy this cheery collection of ideas from the magazines Good Housekeeping, Redbook and Country Living put together in one visually tempting magazine, Holiday Food Gifts to Make!

You’ll find fun and merry ways to deck your halls with affordable gift basket arrangements or recipes to whip up the perfect batch of Christmas cookies. You’ll also find a special collection of super-easy, super-quick presents you can literally make in minutes, as well as an entire section dedicated to new ways to wrap your presents using surprising containers and materials.
What’s inside?
  • Sweet and savory recipes for gingerbread cookies, muffins, jams, gourmet breads, and much more
  • Adorable ideas for creating easy and one-of-a-kind presents for your loved ones
  • Tips on how to make fragrant soaps and scrubs using everyday ingredients in your kitchen
  • Super-cute home decorations like homemade fringed pillows or cozies for your holiday silverware
Holiday Food Gifts to Make! is available for $9.99 and can be purchased at your local supermarket, newsstand or bookstore. A digital edition is also available at Zinio.com or Nook.bn.com. For even more photos and inspiration, check out their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/hearstspecials and their Pinterest images at www.pinterest.com/hearstspecials.
(*Disclaimer:  I have received a copy for review.  My opinions are truthfully my own*)