Cheap in Erie
By Dana Massing Erie Times-News staff blogger
I am a grandchild of the Great Depression and a survivor of more recent recessions. Through my grandparents and parents, I've learned to spend wisely and to save while still being able to live life well. I want to share my discoveries with you and hear yours.   Read more about this blog.
 Phone: 814-870-1729
Posted: April 15th, 2014
I didn't know I'd won two bottles of Nicole by OPI nail polish (Promises in the Dark on the left and Better After Dark on the right) and a coupon for a Dove dark chocolate bar until the prize box arrived in my mail.

I didn’t know I’d won two bottles of Nicole by OPI nail polish (Promises in the Dark on the left and Better After Dark on the right) and a coupon for a Dove dark chocolate bar until the prize box arrived in my mail.

My luck with chocolate has really been good this year.

First were the five coupons for free Snickers bars, three of which have already been eaten. Then I won a Mars candy giveaway and am awaiting that coupon in the mail.

And on the same day I got the free Hershey’s Cookies’n'Creme cereal that I wrote about earlier today, and which also included chocolate, I also got a box with two bottles of Nicole by OPI nail polish and a coupon for a free Dove dark chocolate bar.

Until the box arrived in the mail, I didn’t know I was one of the 25,000 recipients of the chocolate and polish combo. So I was pleasantly surprised. That giveaway has ended but the Mars one is still going on. You can play it daily and win twice. It ends April 27. Go to http://www.goerieblogs.com/cheapinerie/2014/03/mars-giving-away-chocolate/ to learn more.

 

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Posted: April 15th, 2014

Here’s an example of how not being a savvy shopper can cost you.

When I was a kid, my mother would sometimes drive from a department store on one side of town to a department store on the other side in search of the best bargain. That was great if store 2 had a dress or pants for, say, half the price of store 1. But sometimes she’d get to store 2 and find the price there was a few pennies more than at store 1. So she’d drive back to store 1. However, in that case, she probably spent more on gas going between stores than she saved by returning for the lower-priced item.

It’s always a good idea to determine if a bargain is worth the effort.

Look for another savvy shopping tip on Wednesday.

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Posted: April 15th, 2014
My 32nd freebie will take care of the cost of my breakfast for one day this year.

My 32nd freebie will take care of the cost of my breakfast for one day this year.

I’ll be eating a free breakfast courtesy of Betty Crocker.

Betty gives away 10,000 free samples a month to her members. I’ve received au gratin potato mix, sugar cookie mix, tortilla chips and fruity snacks in the past. The latest freebie was a single-serving bag of Heshey’s Cookies’n'Creme cereal that will be perfect for breakfast one day this week.

To join for free so you can get in on these giveaways, go to www.bettycrocker.com

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Posted: April 14th, 2014

Whether you’re celebrating that your taxes are done or need sustenance to get through the completion process, Arby’s has a freebie for you Tuesday on tax day.

Go to Arby’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/arbys or go directly to http://coupon.arbys.com/taxday to get a coupon for a free snack-sized curly fry. The coupon is only good on April 15 and you’re only allowed one per customer.

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Posted: April 14th, 2014
My 31st freebie of the year is a small sample of nourishing cleansing oil.

My 31st freebie of the year is a small sample of nourishing cleansing oil.

 

Back in March, Walmart and Garnier were giving away skin cleanser samples. Mine recently arrived in the mail.

It is no longer in the list of free samples on the Walmart site.

However, when I checked there today I found coupons for Kellogg’s cereals, Hormel breakfasts and Fiber One fruity snacks. The coupons apparently change each time you refresh or revisit the page. Or at least they did when I was at the sites. Go to http://instoresnow.walmart.com/Free-Samples-and-Savings.aspx

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Posted: April 14th, 2014

Saving money isn’t just about finding the biggest sale or the smallest price. It also involves some common sense and sometimes some math.

Here’s an example from one of my recent trips to the grocery store:

An item I wanted came in 20-count and 40-count versions. Buying two of the 20-count packages would have cost me 60 cents more than the 40-count. So normally I would have picked the bigger package because the cost of each individual item in it was less. However, there was a promo going on that week that offered $2 off the purchase of two 20-count packages. So I bought two of the smaller ones, still ended up with 40 and saved $1.40.

Come back tomorrow for another savvy shopping tip.

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Posted: April 14th, 2014
A book of prayers from a variety of traditions and sources is this week's Faith page giveaway.

A book of prayers from a variety of traditions and sources is this week’s Faith page giveaway.

A prayer book is this week’s Erie Times-News Faith page giveaway.

Edited by David Schiller, “The Little Book of Prayers” is a collection that includes prayers from different traditions including Arapaho, Christian, Hindu, Jewish and Muslim and even from songs, poems and novels.

To enter the drawing, send your full name, address, city, ZIP and the keyword PRAYERS on a postcard to Faith, c/o Dana Massing, Erie Times-News, P.O. Box 6215, Erie, PA 16512-6215 or in an e-mail to dana.massing@timesnews.com.

One entry per person please. Deadline is noon Wednesday

To see the winner of last week’s books, go to http://www.goerie.com/article/20140412/LIFESTYLES03/304129971/In-Brief%3A-Giving-away-copy-of-%27Little-Book-of-Prayers%27

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Posted: April 13th, 2014
My 30th freebie of the year is similar to my 22nd and also came with a coupon.

My 30th freebie of the year is similar to my 22nd and also came with a coupon.

 

The second of two Nivea lotion samples that I requested has arrived. The first was Smooth Sensation for dry skin. This one is Extended Moisture for dry to very dry skin.

It’s a nice size for a single use at home or to carry in my purse.

It also appears to still be available. Go to www.facebook.com/niveausa and click on “Nivea Samples.”

 

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Posted: April 12th, 2014
I grew these lavender plants, my 29th freebie of 2014, from seeds saved from lavender I picked last fall in my yard. I also shared some of the seeds with friends and family so they can grow free plants too.

I grew these lavender plants, my 29th freebie of 2014, from seeds saved from lavender I picked last fall in my yard. I also shared some of the seeds with friends and family so they can grow free plants too.

Last fall I picked some of the lavender that grows in my yard so I could create sachets to give to some of my friends and family members for Christmas.

When I was putting the lavender in the drawstring bags that were four for $1 at a Dollar Tree, I noticed seeds falling out.

I gathered up all the seeds. I put some of them in envelopes, labeled them and included them in the Christmas packages so others could grow free plants.

I planted the remaining seeds a few weeks ago in a pot that I bought years ago. Now I have free little lavender plants growing in my kitchen in a pretty container that I’ll move out on my front porch once the weather gets warmer.

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Posted: April 11th, 2014

Here’s a rummage sale that’s being held at a church but will benefit an animal shelter, and your wallet if you find any good buys.

The sale benefitting the A.N.N.A. Shelter will take place Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Fairview Presbyterian Church, 4264 Avonia Road, Fairview. Call (814) 392-7600.

If you know of a rummage, garage, next-to-new or similar sale at a church or nonprofit organization, e-mail the details to me using the link above. Make sure to include the sale dates, hours and address, along with a telephone number or web address where people can get more information.

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