As a consumer advocate and fan of my pocket protector Clark Howard, I’m always looking for the best value for not only myself but friends, family and listeners.
Also, welcome listeners of The Steve and Vikki Podcast Show! And our friends of PALMETTO MORNINGS with Chuck Boozer and Freddi Hammer, weekday mornings on WRHI 1340 AM and 94.3 FM. 5:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
Of course it goes without saying that flowers and chocolates are the number 1 gift for Valentines Day (or even jewelery for those really serious) but what else is there that might be on your sweethearts list this year.
A recent poll of SullivanShops.com readers suggested these ideas for February 14th love:
LOVE CARD: Don’t buy a pre printed card in the store, buy a blank card and write your own thoughts inside. These acts of love are much more impressive and show that you took time to think and share your thoughts in a card. Trust me, these cards are keepers!
50 SHADES OF GREY: Reader Neal suggested going to see 50 Shades of Grey then coming home and re-enacting it! Pick your favorite scene…improvise! Depending on your love for each other could mean the difference between a scene where you’re dressed or undressed!
MASSAGES! Whether done professionally in a spa or you treat your partner to the massage yourself, it seems everyone enjoys being pampered. The relaxing feeling of massage is truly a stress reliever and depending on who’s doing the massage can be fun at the same time!
YOU ARE RIGHT CARD: Clea has a great one– My FAV!, is the You Are Right card. Give it to your Valentine to be used one time, anytime in the calendar year, to be shown when it is time for your loved one to admit, that indeed, you are right. Almost 21 years of marriage ( yes, to the same fella) and this is actually really what it boils down to…. Thanks Clea! Speaking of your “vehicle” how about a
CAR WASH: Sally suggested an all frills car wash. Having a car is great but keeping it clean is another thing. Treat your Valentine to a clean ride. It ranks up there with house cleaning. Having someone do simple everyday chores to give your Valentine a break is a nice treat.
COOK DINNER: It’s easy and a lot cheaper than going out. Depending on the relationship, you can even blindfold your Valentine and surprise them with a sexy outfit, or maybe the smell of a certain food….Oysters anyone?!! If you can’t cook, buy it at the store already prepared and then plate it up at home as if you prepared it yourself! THEN take…
COOKING CLASSES: Well maybe you need to brush up on your cooking techniques or both of you do! If you idea of dinner is opening a can and pressing start on the microwave, I say yes! You can find deals on Groupon or inquire directly in your area. Take for instance Kroger Grocery store here in Atlanta has a cooking school. Almost every city has one form or another. And playing with food can be fun and romantic at the same time!
PICNIC DINNER: What about spreading a blanket out on the floor of your house and having a picnic! Open a bottle of wine or pop a beer or any favorite beverage and have a picnic! Robyn who suggested this says you can start with dessert first!
PHOTO ALBUM: Reader Ron says make a photo album of each other and then make coupons to go with it. Coupons can be for anything…clean your car, house, do laundry, cook dinner, pay for a movie,…. Ron says “We can all buy stuff that symbolizes love, but when you make it from your heart, that is true love.”
DONATION: Page said “I tend to really hate Valentine’s Day because it’s all based on materialism. I’ve never done this, but I decided that I’d like to pick a (preferably under-served local) charity and have whatever money would be spent on goods to be sent there. If each partner did that, what a beautiful tradition of love and sharing.”
MUSIC: Music is the universal language and love songs can come in any form…. Make a MIX TAPE playlist of your Valentines favorite music (love songs or not) and burn it to disc or download it to their music device! Thanks Bruce for that one.
VINTAGE: Corinn said buy something vintage that reminds you of your earlier days of dating…now this could only be a month or less or a few years but something that is a reflection of when you both started dating…fell in love, etc. Deb said her husband John “once bought me a vintage Gourmet magazine that was from the month and year that I was born... VERY cool! Very inexpensive, but so much thought!!!! You could do this with any magazine. Just don’t buy Good Housekeeping.
CAMPING: Now this isn’t for everyone but Katherine says “Camping” under the stars!” You may want to wait for a little warmer weather OR use the cold as an excuse to get close!! Could be the “ice” breaker you’ve been looking for if just starting out.
PAINTING: Buy a piece of canvas and paint a picture for your sweetie or even find some old barnwood and create a work of art.
COLLAGE: Reader Bruce suggests Create an”on this date in history” collage with fun facts etc that happened on your anniversary. (Be sure to INCLUDE your anniversary/first date/etc!! lol) Great idea Bruce. You can do this with photos (ready in an hour) and cut around the important parts of the photo and slide them all together and form your collage (to make it not look so square.) Print out favorite sayings or titles on your printer too!
SURPRISE GUESTS: Lisa had this great suggestion– hubby planned an amazing evening one year – we were out to dinner – fancy restaurant and at different times in the evening one of his friends would show up to the table dressed in suit with a silver tray and a gift - one gift was an electric bug zapper you plug in the wall and a little note that said the bugs may stray but i will never go away( he knows i hate bugs) then another man came in mid course with a tray and another gift – the gift was candles and maybe perfume – more romantic – and he sang me a love song right there at the table from beginning to end – then towards dessert another man came in with a tray and box and inside was a meat thermometer – as i always over cook meat to make sure its cooked – nothing raw:) and the note was again something cute to do with loving my cooking - then dessert came with a rose and there were diamond earrings in the leaf of the rose. HMMMM i dont think its gets more creative than that:) So sweet – I have best gorgeous hubby on planet:)
CATERED DINNER: If you want to splurge, have dinner prepared and catered in your home! Now it is relaxing to be served without having to cook but you’ll have to deal with the servers interrupting what could be a magical moment–ahem.
TRENCH COAT: Reader Mal had this wild idea!–Personal slave for a day. Beck an’ call sort of thing. Dressed inappropriately for the public. If you do leave you can only put on a coat. Other has stay with you while out in public. When they ask for your coat at the restaurant you make the excuse you’re cold natured very cold natured!! That’s all I got Tom. Never done it by the way!!! Thank You Mal. We seem to think you know this too well to have never tried it!
GIFT BASKET OF DATES: Debbie said Create a basket with date nights planned for once a month for the rest of the year. Don’t think you’ll be together that long? Do it for the next date!
GET CREATIVE: Nancy loves this idea– treat ‘em like a Valentine all year long … surprise them when they least expect it. doesn’t have to be expensive (I like the picnic idea) … just get in the car & drive & explore – backyard movie night – scavenger hunt – something homemade (cake, cookies, truffles) – just taking the time to plan or make something means more than running to the store to buy what everyone else is buying and giving … if you can’t think of anything – Google it !!! (try Bing too just to mix it up!)
HANDYMAN: Diane gave us this one–I love it when someone does something for me. One time my boyfriend hung a new light fixture in the foyer…..those things to me come from the heart more than chocolates and flowers……or a fun day out together…..a nice ride somewhere……
BARBERSHOP QUARTET: Wendy had this great idea–I got a barbershop quartet visit to the house last year, serenaded me and gave me a solitary rose from my honey … Speechless and perfect .
PRESSURE WASH: Toren finds love –Pressure wash something. Seriously my love language is acts of service. (And guys love to pressure wash so what a great way to show love. You can pressure wash a huge heart in the driveway!!)
LOVE NOTES: Elise says My husband and I always give each other cards….we both write several paragraphs of why we love each other and usually some encouragement and lots of thankfulness to God. That’s enough for me!! Jewelry doesn’t suck either!!
Thanks to all of our readers for these great suggestions. Love comes in many ways so hopefully you found an idea or 2 here that will make this Valentines Day one to remember. And when in doubt, Card, Chocolates and flowers.
TOYS TOYS TOYS TOYS!!
Ok kids, ask Santa to bring you the number 1 toy of the year–wait for it–FROZEN! Anything from the Disney movie Frozen is a hit with kids. Dresses, Dolls, plush toys, bracelets, costumes… The movie came out over a year ago in November of 2013 and the toys are outselling the film!
Popular with boys is the Disney Frozen Sing & Swing Olaf! Who doesn’t love a snowman that repeats 4 phrases from the movie and sings that hit song “IN SUMMER.” This 13-inch soft Olaf not only sings but moves along to the music when you squeeze his left hand. He also says some of his most famous quotes from the movie including “I like warm hugs” and “Some people are just worth melting for.”
For the girls it’s the Disney Frozen Elsa Musical Light-Up Dress is a dress-up costume that lights up and plays music from the film! What song do you think the dress plays? 16 seconds from the Frozen song “Let It Go!” As the music plays, little twilighting lights light up all over the dress. Additional sweet details include a sequin embellished bodice with a Queen Elsa medallion on the front, glitter accents, and a big poofy princess skirt. What joy! And is 16 seconds even long enough!!!
Frozen is our Cinderella! Disney will sell over $1,000,000,000.00 in Frozen merchandise this year!!! And they aren’t going to “Let it Go” either! The phenomenon will continue into 2015 too with more Frozen merchandise being released. And surprisingly the Frozen Toy craze didn’t take off until the movie was released on DVD and now that movie is playing on a continuous loop all around the world.
Back from the 80′s it’s the return of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!! Yes, there was a great movie this year and even those critics panned it the kids loved it! From action figures to costumes all the stuff you had in the 80′s and tossed out is back!! One of my favs is The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Half-Shell Heroes Mega Mutant Leo from Playmates Toys is an interactive 12-inch figure that’s built for battle and roleplay. #Fun!
Or you may find this cuddly dream a must have based on one of the more recognizable characters in the TV series: The Pillow Pets Dream Lites Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Michelangelo is a soft bedtime toy that projects stars and Michelangelo’s face onto a ceiling or wall! It has four light options: green, amber, blue, or a combination of all three colors that transition every four seconds in a continuous loop. The lights shut off automatically after 20 minutes. This is not only a light projector, but also a soft take-along pillow! $29.99 retail.
My favorite toy of 2014 is The Max Tow Truck from Jakks Pacific is an interactive toy monster truck and yes it’s BIG with tons of power to tow, push, or climb. The truck has three modes-tow, push, and climb. Switch between them by pressing the bumper or the siren or simply pulling back on the gearshift. To tow, connect the chain to the back of the truck, then wrap it around what you want to tow and pull back on the shift. Max Tow will tow or push up to 150 pounds! Great for grandma and her walker! And Jakks recommends that things be on wheels. They suggest a wheeled platform, but we found it did just fine with a wheeled chair. The truck also talks, saying tons of funny, get-to-work phrases! Perfect for the office. Once you’ve loaded the 6 C size batteries into Max simply put him on a smooth surface and Go Tow Crazy! $49.99 retail or higher.
Skylanders: Trap Team is video on screen and a action figure game that combine to create magic for kids and adults! This is the fourth entry in the Skylanders series, and once again, Activision has found a way to completely reinvent the game. With the past three games, you placed a toy figure on the portal to zap them into the game. In Trap Team, you pull a villain character out of the game on screen and trap them in a toy crystal. Once you have trapped a character, you can play as them in the game, just like you do with the figures. In addition to trapped villains, there will also be a new cast of hero figures known as the Trap Masters and new core figures. These figures will enter the game on the new Traptanium Portal, just like the figures for the past three games. Since the game has you trapping and playing as villain characters, Trap Team will allow you to play as Kaos for the first time ever. $49.99 retail.
Some toys that have stood the test of time remain popular with kids today. For instance Ninja Turtles remains hot, Etch a Sketch, Cabbage Patch, Barbie, My little Pony. Etch a Sketch is my fav but has a 2014 price point of $20-$30!!!! You can’t go wrong with board games like Twister or Candyland. Plus Monopoly remains a great game and comes in custom editions based on many different themes.
Shopkins are hot toys for kids 5+. The Shopkins Easy Squeezy Fruit & Veg Stand from Moose Toys is a playset in the Shopkins line of miniature grocery-themed collectibles. As part of the fruit & veggie aisle, this playset comes with two exclusive Fruit & Veggie Shopkins and two shopping bags. Place a Shopkin on top of the juicer and twist to make it slide down. Attach the Shopkins to the top scale to pretend to weigh your little produce. The playset also features trays and display shelves, where you can house and store these and additional Shopkins, which are sold separately.
And for the kid who gets everything there’s the LEGO City: Cargo Train is an 888-piece set that builds a motorized R/C Cargo Train, Station, Truck, and Forklift. The set comes with 30 rail-track pieces and four LEGO City Minifigures-a train driver, forklift driver, truck driver, and a farmer. The Cargo Train features a motorized locomotive that moves forward and backward using the IR remote control. There’s also a cattle wagon, two cargo wagons, and multiple items to load onto the wagons, such as the farmer’s cattle, cable drums, and a fuel tank. The train station features an overhead crane that slides along a track. The crane has a winch that can be used to lower items onto the train wagons. There is also an office so the Minifigures can keep track of the entire cargo heading to and from LEGO City. There’s a lot of pieces and that translates into a lot of price: $175.99 retail! Whew, I only had $176 to spend!!
And every kid wants their own Ford F150 truck! Pile all those gifts from Santa in this replica Ford beauty. The Power Wheels Ford F-150 is a blue kid-sized replica of the real F-150 truck. This battery-operated vehicle has space for two riders and comes with a real FM radio preset to FM 94.3 WRHI and also comes with an MP3 jack. It drives at two speeds forward (2.5 and 5 miles per hour) WHOA! S L O W DOWN!! and one speed in reverse (2.5 miles per hour). It has high-speed lockout for beginners and Power-Lock brakes to keep kids from going too fast. The vehicle’s large, rugged wheels are designed to drive on hard surfaces, wet grass, mud, and rough terrain. Other features include a roomy truck bed with working lift-and-lower tailgate and seat belts. $329. retail.
Of course you can never go wrong with an iPad, cell phone or personal credit card or ca$h for the best behaved children!
Find out about all of the hottest toys on the “Toy Guy” Chris Byrne’s website “TTPM.com” by clicking HERE!
Black Friday ads online in one place! http://BlackFriday.com/ or http://www.TheBlackFriday.com
Also, Black Friday may NOT be the best deal. For instance, Best Buy features a side by side refrigerator for $999. The same item was $989 on Labor Day!! Do your research!
95+ Million people will shop Black Friday deals. But stores are diluting Black Friday from the big day it used to be by starting sales earlier and extending them. And opening on Thanksgiving day creates publicity (and dislike by employees.) Besides, Black Friday isn’t the biggest shopping day of the year. (It’s #2.) The Biggest retail day of the year? Saturday BEFORE Christmas! Yep.
Retailers want their employees to enjoy Thankgsiving with their families, just not on Thanksgiving. An estimated 26 million people will leave the turkey for the stores. (anything to get away from Uncle Bob.)
Thanksgiving Day Hours for instance:
- Toys “R” Us stores will open at 5 p.m., same as last year.
- Target locations will open at 6 p.m., two hours earlier than last year.
- Best Buy will open at 5 p.m., one hour earlier than in 2013. Stores will close at 1 a.m. (employees can eat then) and reopen 7 hours later at 8 a.m. on Black Friday.
- Some stores stay open nonstop for entire weekend. Thank goodness for self checkout since employees will be sleeping.
There’s one more full day of holiday fun than than last year (2013), but five fewer than two years ago in 2012.
140+ million people will shop Thanksgiving weekend.
Regardless when you are shopping, remember these tips:
Use a Credit Card that gives you rewards! There are many out there from cash to trips and everything in between. If your credit card isn’t tied to a rewards program find one that is! Many cards have introductory rates or 0% interest for a full year on purchases! For instance Small Business Saturday with American Express (11/29/2014) offers up to $30 in credits for shopping small business in addition to the associated rewards program with a particular Amex card. (see more info at top of page!) Shop around online for “rewards credit cards.”
MAKE A LIST!!
First thing! (and check it twice.) Family, friends, co-workers. Write down prices of what you want to spend and stick to your budget. And yes there are Apps for that! (Scroll down for more money saving “Must Have Apps!”)Santa’s Bag (iPhone) and Christmas List Snowball (android) let you create a profile for each person in your life, set a budget, add gifts with estimated costs and then record what you’ve spent so far. Nifty, huh! You can quickly see who still doesn’t have a gift and where you’ve gone over budget. Christmas List Snowball also has some fun animations to keep you jolly during the hectic holiday rush.
How long you have to return item? Exchange only? Credit in store or cash back? If bought online can item be returned to store or do you have to repack and ship back? You may spend more on return shipping than item costs OR defeat the original cheaper price offset with “free” shipping! Gift receipt required? SAVE RECEIPTS!! Empower yourself BEFORE shopping. (especially for online purchases!!) I like Costco for a full satisfaction guarantee on almost everything, 90 days on most electronic items. L.L.Bean has an unlimited return policy as does R.E.I. If you abuse it though you’ll make their “naughty” list and be limited on returns. Some stores have restocking fees (electronics, etc…) Seasonal items like Christmas lights might return at sale price regardless of receipt. (Target) See below for “OnLine Shopping.”
From store ads to online merchants. Will store match online prices? YES says Wal-Mart! (see next paragraph) More are these days. Remember that buying online offers convenience of never leaving home or in-store pickup but also means you may have to ship it back (KNOW THE STORE RETURN POLICY!!) or your gift recipient will so take that into consideration. Download scanner like red-line (by eBay) to your smart phone so you can scan UPC codes in store and compare prices to other merchants. Also take advantage of QR codes (Quick Response) is a square matrix bar code. When you “opt-in” you have access to manufacturer or store website and they have your contact info to send you sales, deals. They’ll also send you text messages/emails that can be annoying at the repetitive nature or depending on your cell plan could cost you money. ( Never sign up with your actual home address with these services. Use a P.O. Box or other address.) Also are the savings worth the time and gas across town (s) to pick up?
TAKE ADS WITH YOU TO STORE
Go through ads to find what you want and what’s on sale. Sometimes merchants make mistakes so proof of ad saves you time and money. And with fake ads being created online, the actual competitor ad or store ad you are shopping is best. Plus, not every store associate will know every sale advertised. Computers are programmed by humans and there can be errors! Wal-Mart now matches Amazon.com!! Here is their online price match guarantee. Read it carefully as people have already abused the system reducing various sellers on Amazon. Walmart will price match local competitors ads too Here.
Watch your personal belongings…purses, children, purchases. Put valuables in trunk OUT OF SIGHT. Don’t leave purse in cart when browsing. Pack lightly for shopping (less to carry!) Don’t take a lot of ca$h to store. Thieves watch to see when you open your purse or wallet if you are carrying a lot of $. Be observant when walking toward your vehicle and have keys out and ready to unlock car. Don’t stand there and fumble with items or looking through purse or wallet. Look around, shut the door and lock it. You have to play it safe and protect yourself and family. Just be cautious!
Remember: When shopping Amazon.com, try to buy from a merchant that is fulfilled by Amazon which has better return policy and gets you toward the $35 floor for free shipping. Better yet, try Amazon Prime for free 2 day shipping on almost everything!! **Read the small print! You must cancel before renewal for free trial.**
I always check prices online while shopping in a store to see if I am getting the lowest price. “Showrooming” as it’s called is more prevalent these days. To help you download store app to get exclusive online only offers or sign up for their members club. Check their Twitter page too! Try some other really cool apps for iPhone or Droid users. Scroll down to see “Must Have Apps!”
USE A DIFFERENT EMAIL
than your primary address. I formed an email account for use with all online purchases. This way your primary email doesn’t get spam and the like. Free to set up at your internet provider or yahoo, and gmail -my favorite. Use this “spam” email to sign up for all alone sites this way your primary email box will remain free of most spam, viruses, etc.
CHECK URL ADDRESS!
Cyber theft is up! Did you misspell the retailer online? Instead of Amazon.com you typed Amzon.com and could be directed to bogus site. Something seems too good to be true, it probably is! **Double check your order BEFORE you hit submit. Did you enter correct address? Credit card info correct? Item color and size correct? Will it arrive BEFORE Christmas/Hanukkah? Is there additional handling charges on each item or is it flat rate shipping based on amount purchased, not total items. Know the return policy BEFORE you hit submit (buy.)
You get to check out online and there is space for promo code or discount code. Open another window on your computer and search on Google the retailer name for discount (retailer name+coupon code or promo code) to see if there is an online code. Also search “free shipping”. Again, ALWAYS search for promo, discount or savings code before you checkout!
RetailMeNot offers 500,000+ coupons from 50,000 stores, RetailMeNot will help you search for the best coupons at your favorite major retailers, and find those retailers nearby. Scroll down to “Must Have Apps” for a digital coupon app!
has a website with tips to avoid being scammed: http://www.fbi.gov/news/news_blog/holiday-shopping-tips
And run your virus scans often!!!…your virus protection is up to date isn’t it? Great free protection: Avast.
THE EASIEST GIFTS FOR THAT HARD TO BUY FOR PERSON?
One size fits all!!! Gift card kiosks at Home Depot, Lowe’s, grocery stores feature cards from many retailers but it also means they are pre determined amounts which may be more than you want to spend. For example you may want a Target gift card but the grocery store kiosk has $25 and $50 cards only. Go directly to Target allows you the flexibility to customize the amount. KNOW if the card loses value if not used by certain date, dormancy fee or carries a fee to activate (like AMEX or Visa/Mastercard)
Put them all in a folder so you can locate them after holidays. No receipt means the store is in control and can give you lowest selling price from anytime during the year OR no return OR no $ back. AND CHECK YOUR RECEIPTS BEFORE you leave store for accuracy: sale prices, quantity, etc.
Tom Sullivan is a TV Host and radio personality who’s passion for saving money is not only smart but fun! Visit Tom’s website: http://www.TomOnAir.com
Must Have Apps!***
This is one of my favorites! ShopSavvy: lets you scan item barcodes while you’re browsing in a store, and then tells you if any local stores or online retailers have the same item for less! It’s like your low price concierge!!
Plus, you can also follow stores or products you’re interested in and by adding them to your favorites; the app will tell you when your favorite store is having a sale or a particular item gets marked down. It’ll also tell you if the store you’re in offers a price match policy. Find on Google play or iTunes.
TalkTo (this is my favorite!)
I once held 15 minutes on the phone with a large home improvement warehouse while driving to the actual store and telling the manager “I’m on hold now for 15 minutes and can’t get any help!” Say hello to “TalkTo!”
TalkTo gets you fast answers to questions you pose to local businesses via text. When you don’t want to make a phone call or get stuck on hold, or can’t find what you want online, use TalkTo to compare prices and check product inventory. And it’s not just for shopping. You can use TalkTo to find a table at a restaurant, or even book an appointment. Response time—also via text—is usually under five minutes. Slick, fast, informative. Also follow a stores Twitter page for answers to your “tweet” questions.
Ahhhh…found that item but now want a better price! Been there, done that. Prices change so rapidly, how can you ever know you’re getting the best deal? Well, just PoachIt!
PoachIt will track a particular product you’re watching and tell you when it goes on sale—pretty cool since retailers raise or drop prices all the time. PoachIt will also send you documented coupon codes for discounted items. Click on Poachit’s “Deals” section to find lots of marked-down products. And as with any app, you can be diligent on checking the prices online through searches and the like just to make sure PoachIt isn’t fried.
SnipSnap Coupon App
Don’t you think clipping coupons is so old-fashioned. With SnipSnap, there’s no longer a need to carry around a stack of physical coupons in your purse or car. SnipSnap lets users snap photos of their favorite coupons and store them within the app on your phone, making them readily searchable. SnipSnap also allows you to browse the coupons of other users too! Yep, being nosey pays off!! From ABC books to Zebra toys, there are over 1.1 million coupons on the site, with $100 million in savings so far. The app is available on both iOS and Android
Calling all DISCOUNT shoppers!! Shopkick is a must-have for you. Even if you don’t purchase anything, Shopkick will reward you for stopping by. Get points, or “kicks,” whenever you walk into a store. (Just know the “kicks” may not add up to all that and your time is worth more. Make a game out of it and go for it!) Redeem your “kicks” for gift certificates at stores like Tiffany’s and American Eagle Outfitters. Finally, window shopping pays off. Big spenders get even more kicks. The app uses your location to show which stores are participating. Example: You’ll get 200 kicks for walking into Macy’s. BAM! You’ve got a freebie coming as it only takes 100 kicks to redeem for a new mascara. Check out the “Black Friday” deals for freebies! This app is available on iOS and Android.
What to get the person that has everything or doesn’t “need anything?” That person in your life who wants and needs nothing: Now you’re really stumped! Let technology help you. Wanelo please!
Wanelo has an estimated over 10 million users—many of them young female fashionistas—and 200,000+ stores, Wanelo has become a hot app in the social shopping space by letting you discover and share things you or friends want, need and love (hence the name WAnt, NEed, LOve). Think of it like etsy or Pinterest for shopping. For instance, click on the image of a product—a white dress, beauty accessories—and go directly to its store. There’s also a “Stories” element that lets you group products and tie them together with a short written explanation.
Know what you want but waiting for the “right” price? ShopAdvisor is perfect for people like you (and me!) Scan the barcode of your favorite product and ShopAdvisor will put it on your “watch list,” alerting you when the product goes on sale. It charts price history and finds the best deal at a nearby location. Set price alerts to be notified once that bag is under $100. ShopAdvisor does all the price research so you don’t have to. It is available on iOS and Android. Like any app though, it’s programmed by humans so you can use this as a safety “price” net and do you own research potentially even beating the apps alerts.
eBay Now…has been quietly “cancelled!
Listeners know that I love eBay and have been buying and selling for years. Now eBay Now is the best thing to happen to last minute shoppers! eBay was offering free same-day delivery from nearby stores. But customers got tired of paying the $5.00 delivery charge to the “valet” who delivered your item. Really? $5.00 seems really reasonable and is more like a tip. eBay is now morphing the idea into buying through an app and then picking up in an actual store. Hence “pick up” yourself. This was ahead of it’s time. Look for it to return in the future but maybe from a different company. Download the eBay app and check inventory on their site as many brick and mortar stores list on eBay now. (And check buyer feedback/seller feedback to make sure you’ve got a reputable seller. eBay has good seller protection policies in place to help you, especially buyers.)
Tom Sullivan is a TV Host and radio personality who’s passion for saving money is not only smart but fun! Visit Tom’s website: http://www.TomOnAir.com
Negotiate your best deal with service providers!!
When was the last time you looked at your pricing for Television, Wireless and home phone? Plans are being introduced all the time and pricing changes almost weekly so pull out your bills and compare prices.
Example: I use AT&T as my service provider for cell, internet and home phone (yes, I still have a home phone!) AT&T sends out tons of offers in the mail and online. AT&T U-verse bundle offer included different layers of pricing and options…from a reward of $150-$250 Visa gift card. I had DSL at 4.5 mbs download and home phone at a cost of $65 a month. I upgraded to 21.5 mbs download and home phone for $70 a month. The additional $5.00 a month for a supremely faster internet was worth it. The cost was offset with a $250 Visa Cash card! I just have to maintain service for 1 year but am guaranteed pricing for 2 full years! AND I bundled with AT&T U-verse Family package for TV for just $19 a month!! (If I decide to cancel, I just pay a $15 pro-rated penalty for the remaining months left in my year commitment.)
I just changed my cell phone plan. AT&T introduces new Mobile Share Value plan with 10gb shared data!! I took my bill down by $50 a month!! That’s $600 a year savings!!! AND I have a bucket of 10gb of data monthly to use! (Plus, the sales rep on the phone said to call back often to check new plans and “re-negotiate” your bill!)
Tips: When you call a service provider, have a competing plan available to compare. Example: “Comcast is offering a family plan at $ a month and we’re paying $ a month, we really like AT&T and don’t want to switch, how can you help us? Sometimes operators aren’t empowered to offer anything so ask to be transferred to the “retention” department where those operators have power to offer incentives to remain with the company.
Gas companies always have competing rates. I locked in at 46.9 a therm for a full year! Now I do pay the monthly service fee of $5.99 but it still works out lower than higher therms. Do an online search for low gas prices in your city and see what you find. Some companies will work to retain your business and offer you a competitive rate lower than published rates. Ask them. Example: Scana emailed me an offer of 49.9 (in 2014) but only offered me 54.9 over the phone. Walton EMC offered me 53.9 a therm, a $25 bill credit and a $5.75 monthly fee! Shop around and don’t grab first option you find.
Fathers Day 2014
My favorite store in Rock Hill is Nichols Store. A dad wonderland! Find anything for dad there…from outdoor to indoor fun. HUGE HUGE VARIETY!!
How about a reflective safety vest for dad. Now he’ll look like he’s working construction but when he walks in the evening, cars can see him.
Dad loves music and even if he’s not mp3 ready, you can download some of his favorite songs and burn them to a c.d.. Now if dad still has a cassette deck or 8 track, upgrade him with an mp3 player! Vinyl? Transfer his music (favorite album) to disc. Chances are they probably have it on itunes or amazon.com
Speaking of Amazon.com, these items are all available there and for listeners of WRHI Palmetto Mornings, you can try Amazon Prime for FREE for 30 days! Log onto amazon.com and click on “Prime” for your free 30 day trial. (*Just cancel before 30 days are up or pay $99.) You’ll have access to FREE 2 day shipping just in time for Father’s day and can view thousands of online movies and books. (Items shipped free with Prime are indicated by the “Prime” logo next to item description.) Here is the link to Amazon Prime HERE!
How about getting dad his favorite TV series on DVD? Easy and so many choices. Complete Seinfeld TV series for just $54! What dad doesn’t love Seinfeld! Wait, don’t answer that. Find it on Amazon HERE.
33 discs of fun viewing pleasure! Just make sure dad has his remote close by.
My dad always says “what?!” So we bought him TV ears that allow him to hear the TV, family conversation, movies at his own personal volume. Super Sonic Personal Sound amplifier! Buy it HERE.
Swivel Microphone. Belt/Pocket Clip. Binocular Clip. Excellent for Television, Church, Dr. Office, Lectures, Worship Services, Birdwatching, Theaters, Etc. Just $35.00 Now dad can hear Palmetto mornings without any problem!!
Dad is ready to enter the tech age with his own cell phone. Chuck you’ll love this phone because you can see the huge buttons! This phone is designed just for Dad: Senior Citizen Cell Phone, Big Letters and Big Buttons, Simple and Easy to Use, SOS Button Phones(Prevent slipping, GSM, Brown) Buy it HERE.
Works with AT&T, T Mobile and other unlocked carriers. AT&T has pay as you go plans for just 10 cents a minute. Call your carrier to see if this phone will work on Dad’s plan. Just $45 for peace of mind. (plus either monthly contract OR pre-loaded minutes if available with your carrier.)
Hey Dad, smile! Here is your new camera!! Grab a camera from your local Target, Wal-Mart or camera store there in Rock Hill. A simple point and shoot camera is around $55-$75. The more money the better images you’ll get. Once you get the camera snap pictures of the family and then print them out…OR load them in a digital frame. Dad can take his own pictures and continually load the frame for new pictures. Dad can snap pictures anytime with his own camera! (Don’t want to spend that much on a camera? Grab your own smartphone or point and shoot camera and take pix of the family yourself.)
Grills! Dad loves to grill and a new Weber or Big Green Egg (kinda pricey though) could fit the bill! Don’t have the money for a grill? Accessories always are in style including new tongs, spatula and a grill brush. Find em at almost any store or hardware store. (Ace, Home Depot, Lowe’s.)
Finally, you’ve got a dad who just is too hard to buy for? GIFT CARDS!! Find gift card kiosks at most grocery stores. A gift card is loadable with any amount you choose (if not available in any amount you choose, then go to the actual store you want a gift card for and they can customize the amount on the card.) Some cards come in pre-set amounts which may not suit your budget.
Remember, find something that dad loves and see if he could use an updated gift to replace what he has worn out….like a wallet!! (My dad uses the same wallet since high school!!) Happy Father’s Day Dad!!
Welcome to Sullivan Shops! In the Georgia area? Check out “The Serv Store” for extreme deals on everything including luxury top of the line mattresses from big name dept. store at just $399 KING, $299 Queen!!
Looking for off price shopping that helps an even greater cause in the Buckhead area? BUCKHEAD THRIFTique is HERE!
Freddie Hammer and Chuck Boozer on WRHI Palmetto Mornings.
Have you noticed how low magazine prices are lately? I just got a full year subscription to O Magazine for $2.00!! (Now don’t say I paid too much!) You get a magazine, you get a magazine…and you can get O Mag or any of 18 selected magazines for just $5.00! From Cosmo to Road and Track, find them here.
Go big this holiday with a great tech gift. Turn your computer, smart phone, tablet into a hdmi projector with images up to 60″!!
HDMI Pocket Projector from Brookstone let’s you go big …Projects up to 1080p HD images up to 60″ diagonal. Rechargeable and portable. Connects via HDMI to most smartphones, tablets, computers, video players, cameras and more* Mega-bright LED lamp projects up to 85 lumens for up to 2 hours on a single charge. Dual built-in speakers and focus control or connect external speakers! Rechargeable 3800mAh battery doubles as a USB backup battery for your smartphone devices. Includes 3′ HDMI cable, Micro HDMI adapter, Mini HDMI adapter and AC adapter. Dimensions: 3.9″ w x 3.8″ d x .89″ h; .5 lbs. Who says projectors are just for movies? Our portable projector connects to multiple devices for a “big screen” view of just about anything. Compact, portable and rechargeable, the HDMI Pocket Projector takes you from business presentations to game time with friends to family movie night. Find it HERE Santa! $299 suggested retail.
Christmas Jewelry for her is one of my favorite gifts for ladies because she probably doesn’t have any at all! ETSY online has a great selection from snowmen with rhinestones, candy canes, Christmas trees with swarovski crystals, snowflakes and more!…or find some you like at a store in your area. Next year she can wear them as early as November or if she dresses like the stores decorate for the seasons, as early as July!
And online stores like Vistaprint, Shutterfly, Tiny Prints and even Costco offer photo albums you customize online with your own pictures…for any occassion from birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, graduation….
Potty Putter!! This let’s the too busy guy get a quick putt in even while, ahem, sitting on the throne!
Food Sodas with flavors from corn to bacon, now you’ll always have your taste even between meals!
And in Rock Hill visit my favorite, Nichols Store!! Something for everyone at every price point.
WRHI Chuck and Freddi
Love is in the air and guys especially, it’s that time again! Hello!!
Remember every father’s day you get a tie? Boring! I feel women probably feel the same way…right Freddi? Do you want jewelry for Valentines? (OF COURSE!!) But why not be surprised! So whoever you may be buying for, MIX IT UP!! Jewelry AND something she may not be expecting!
Let’s start with the jewelry.
HEGE JEWELERS. (Pronounced like Peggy with an H)
143 Herlong Ave
Rock Hill, SC 29732
Hege jewelers is a staple there in Rock Hill. Mom Kathleen has been running this family business for 35 years!! Daughter Linda and her brother Mike work there as well. Hege Jewelers offers beautiful jewelry, AND Custom jewelry. Take a ring or something sitting in a drawer and repurpose it into a necklace. Let Hege show you how.
Here’s something you can do (and should do often) as a little surprise. Chuck, I know you do this for your wife all the time! (No, not complain!) Slip a love note, card, sticky note into their bag…their laptop (when they open it, surprise!) her purse, his wallet, the refrigerator, on the remote…in the car on sun visor! Cut out hearts from magazines or print a couple out and make a card!!! Write down something deep here. Not just “I love you” but why…what is it your wife, husband, partner does that makes you love them? Express it! Send an electronic card too! TEXT a little something something to them during the day…Now, be warned!! Make sure you have the number correct. Don’t want to send a fun note to your wife and have it go to your boss Bob!
Flowers! Roses are red but any flower will do. White Daisies: The white petals of daisies signify loyal love, purity, beauty, innocence, patience, and simplicity — Red tulips symbolize perfect love. Red carnations represent admiration, deep love, and affection.
Find out all the meanings of flowers at Better Homes and Gardens magazine online : http://www.bhg.com/holidays/valentines-day/decorating/romantic-flower-meanings/#page=2
Decorate your home! Buy a bouquet of heart shaped balloons from Dollar Tree or any dollar store. They’re bigger and last longer! 12 for $12 and you can surprise your Valentine by slipping them out of your trunk after he/she has gone to bed and put in the kitchen or bring them to bed in the morning!!!
We love coupons, right? Print out your own coupons and tie red ribbon around them all…then tie them to a bottle of red wine or champagne! Think of the fun you’ll have redeeming them! You can use a 3×5 card or buy red blank cards and create your own fun!
Got a little more time? Create a video of pictures of the two of you in a montage theme with a favorite love song. Maybe your favorite song is Elton John “Sorry seems to be the hardest word!” (joke.) Editing software online or on most computers allow you to drop in pix and add a song. I like Muvee Reveal and there is a link at SullivanShops.com http://www.tomonair.com/2011/10/06/muvee-reveal-x/
Bake a dessert! Chuck, are you good in the kitchen? Cooking?!! Just buy Pillsbury or ready to bake cookies and let the kids cut them out using a heart shaped cookie cutter available at most grocery stores. The kids can decorate (and eat) them too! It doesn’t have to be fancy just heart shaped and as they say, the thought that counts…and in this case, taste as well!
Freddi you’ve been slaving over a hot microphone all morning and I bet you’d love to have dinner prepared for you, right?! Surprise your Valentine with a home cooked meal. Now if he or she is there all day, go buy a prepared meal and then surprise them but just don’t make them serve it and clean it up. You do it all! Yes, even the dishwasher!!
Watch a Romantic movie! Guys, this is not what you may be thinking!! Ahem. Freddi, what’s your favorite romantic movie? Chuck? Go by Red Box or your movie store (they still have those, right?) and pick up the dvd. Call ahead to reserve it! I bet Titanic will still be on the shelf though.
I think you really have to be in tune with your Valentine to win with whatever you may be planning. There is always the gift card route too…dinner out is a nice treat (just not a drive through!) and if all else fails, a hot bubble bath in a clean tub by candlelight and a new piece of lingerie could be all that you need.
If you’re buying a massage from a local spa, ask them to post date the certificate so you don’t look like you waited until the last minute….
More including other gift ideas at SullivanShops.com
Freddie Hammer and Chuck Boozer on WRHI Palmetto Mornings.
Mother’s Day is THIS Sunday!!! Whether your mom is your “mama” or your wife, here are some great ideas for Mother’s Day listeners of Palmetto Mornings on WRHI!
Online shipping is a little more expensive now but still doable (but isn’t mom worth it!) so you’ll probably want to shop local in order to get more for your money and not spending $ on 2 day shipping.
First, what does mom want, what does mom need? Kids can create something and color it…that’s cute, but what mom really wants—and you’ll agree Freddie, is jewelry!!!! And lot’s of it!! Right?! I like local and HEGE JEWELERS. (Pronounced like Peggy with an H)
143 Herlong Ave
Rock Hill, SC 29732
Unlike those large chain jewelry stores at the mall, HEGE Jewelers will customize jewelry from older pieces. Turn a ring into a necklace, a necklace into a bracelet. Surprise mom with something refreshing from a piece she no longer wears. Yes, old is new again!
But guys, Chuck, isn’t jewelry so over rated? Wait, don’t answer that!! Mom may have all the jewelry she wants so perhaps she wants to be pampered. That’s what mom really wants. Splurge on a spa treatment. …I like SERENITY SPA in Rock Hill. (http://www.sparockhill.com/home) Mom can relax with a variety of delightful pampering services like Oxygen facial, hand and foot care, massage, manicure or pedicure, or hair style! Mention Chuck and Freddie on Palmetto Mornings when you book 3 services from their salon menu and receive 10% off!
Serenity Spa Salon
1622 Ebenezer Road
Rock Hill, SC 29732
On a budget?
· Draw her a bubble bath: light some candles, put on some music and keep the kids occupied (maybe buy them a new dvd to watch). This will allow Mom to enjoy a little piece of spa-living right at home!
· Make her a candlelight dinner: even if it’s a simple meal, the gesture will make her feel like it’s back in the days when you were courting her. And yes, YOU clean up the kitchen!! And then WATCH A CHICK FLICK!!! “The Notebook” is always a favorite!
Here’s another great idea I found from Parent’s magazine:
*Arrange a lunch with her friends: surprise her with a lunch date! Get in contact with some of the husband’s of your wife’s friends. Make plans ahead of time for all of the Dads to babysit for the kids so the mom’s can go out to a nice lunch. Go ahead and make the reservations for them and everything! Thankfully, you can’t reserve a spot in the drive-thru. She’ll be grateful for the splurge, and still get to enjoy most of the day with the people that matter most to her – you and the kids!
Mom may like some more time for herself and that means sleeping in late, maybe breakfast in bed and some dessert, ahem! If you’ve got kids, keep them quiet.
How about a family picture? You can then load it in a photo frame that you’ve pre-loaded with tons of pictures of you, the kids, the pets…plug it in and it’s ready to go!
Check groupon for deals in the Rock Hill area. I’ve got the link on SullivanShops.com. http://www.groupon.com/local/rock-hill-sc/things-to-do or http://www.groupon.com/local/rock-hill-sc Everything from bowling at the fun center, golf, art classes, food, fitness and even flying lessons!! And if you go up with mom, just make sure she’s in a good mood that day to bring you down—safely.
Remember, the most special gift doesn’t have to come from a store. As a matter of fact, it comes from the heart. (Chuck, start the piano music.) Mom just wants time to feel appreciated on Sunday AND that you’re really putting yourself out there to make the day feel special for her. Turn off the TV, put down the remote and devote the entire day to whatever she wants. It’s her day. We love you mom.
Find more ideas at SullivanShops.com