Sunday, January 29, 2012

Tips on How to Save Money when Shopping at Department Stores

JCPenney recently announced a permanent markdown of at least 40 percent on all it's merchandise - a preemptive move to introduce a tiered strategy of ongoing promotions to offer consumers more value.

Wouldn't it be nice if all department stores followed suit? Since it's likely they won't, now is a good time to brush up on your department-store shopping skills with these seven tips to save at your favorite stores.

1. Befriend Sales Associates
Though your knee-jerk reaction to eager salespeople may be "I'm just looking," consider taking them up on their offer to serve you. Better yet, seek them out every time you shop the store. Building a rapport with a sales associate leads to the inside-track on upcoming sales and yields better customer service.

2. Get Smart
Retailers are making it easy to stay informed about upcoming sales, thanks to e-mail alerts and Facebook updates. But how often have you left a coupon at home or failed to print it from your inbox? Mobile coupons to the rescue! Tools like the Coupon Sherpa mobile app give you access to mobile coupons to use in-store. Just pull up the offer and hand your smartphone to the cashier. Phew!

3. Shop Thursdays
While online shopping experiences a spike in sales on Mondays, department stores often mark down clothing on Thursdays in anticipation of weekend shoppers. Save your Saturday for lunch with the girls and a matinee, and turn Thursday afternoon into a savvy shopping day. For more tips on the best times of the week to shop, consult SmartMoney's guide.

4. Retain Receipts
In an effort to de-clutter our cars, purses and file cabinets, receipts are often tossed immediately after a purchase. However, it's a good idea to hang onto receipts for up to 30 days should the item you bought receive a price reduction. Keeping tabs on an item you've already purchased can score you unexpected savings.

5. Gift Yourself (and Your Wallet)
If you're anything like me, you've already burned through those gifts cards you received over the holidays. Nothing compares to spending someone else's money on something you want, but using a discount gift cards comes pretty close. Save up to 35 percent instantly when you buy gift cards at less than face value from such sites as GiftCardGranny.

6. Shop Seasonal Sales
This one's a no-brainer but with "80-percent off" promotions cluttering my inbox, I'd be remiss not to mention it. Shopping for winter clothing as retailers gear up for the spring and summer fashions will land you great deals on warm clothing to wear both now and after beach season is a distant memory.

7. Reward Yourself
Most credit cards have a rewards program, so take a look at your account to determine if you can redeem points for gift cards. If you have the budget and are disciplined enough to pay off your credit card every month, you might consider charging everyday expenses on your card to increase those reward points and pay for "fun" stuff with earned points. If you're credit card doesn't earn points, check out this list from to find ones that do.


Andrea Woroch is a consumer and money-saving expert for Kinoli Inc., and has been featured among such top media outlets as Good Morning America, NBC's Today, MSNBC, New York Times, Kiplinger Personal Finance, CNNMoney and many more. She is available for in-studio, satellite or skype interviews and to write guest posts or articles.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

My Neighbors Are Pathetic!

Okay...please excuse me today as I get something off my chest & do some venting today! A few months ago some new neighbors moved in beside us and ever has been H*LL around here, especially at night!

You see...this family of 4 (including 2 toddlers) moved in and they sleep from around noon until 9 or 10pm at night. Once they get up...all heck breaks loose! These folks don't give a rats ass that their neighbors keep typical sleeping hours and that they are being disrespectful by keeping their neighbors up at night. What do I mean? Well, we live in a 3-bedroom townhouse so we have a shared wall with these idiots! From 10 or 11pm at night until lunchtime the next day these folks are up. Here is a partial list of their noise activities that goes on all night long.

(by the way...they keep their own 2 toddlers up and make these toddlers keep the same waking and sleeping hours as themselves!).

* Mom loves to do her laundry from midnight until 5am. Almost every night we hear her damn washer and dryer going on for hours at a time.
* Mom loves to put the 2 toddlers into the bathtub between 3am and 5am and every night we have to hear them playing, laughing, screaming and banging toys off the bottom of the tub!
* Mom loves to stand in her bedroom and yell down the hallway to the toddler's bedrooms and curse them out, discipline them or what have you. When I say "yell" this woman wakes me up every night due to her yelling about something or another.
* The 2 toddlers play upstairs all night long which means we all have shared bedroom walls with them. We can hear them playing, screaming, laughing, balls banging off our walls, toys slamming our walls, closet doors name it, we hear it!
* Mom loves to do her household cleaning from 1am until 7am so we hear the dishwasher going, her vacuuming, slamming closet doors, slamming dresser drawers, yelling, name it, we freaking hear it.

Thats right folks...we are lucky to get 3-4 hours of sleep a night and since October...we haven't slept through one night of this BS yet! We have filed complaints and management has spoken to her and guess what? It did no good! She feels she can sleep whenever she wants and clean whenever she wants and make as much noise as she & her kids want to!

WTH? This woman doesn't work outside the home so there is NO reason why these kids and her can't sleep at night other than to be a pain in all of the neighbor's asses. She is so disrespectful! I know I have shared walls with neighbors and I don't do that crap all night long!

I am sick & tired of this BS but for now we are stuck since our house that we own is being rented out and that lease doesn't come up for renewal until September so we can't afford to move until then. I don't know we are going to survive this noise that she dishes out every freaking night!

Okay...thanks for letting me vent! I just had to get that off my chest! I don't understand why neighbors can't be respectful towards one another and be decent human beings.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

- Almost - Wordless Wednesday - Cape May County Zoo

My -almost- Wordless Wednesday post today is a photo of myself, hubby and our 2 1/2 year old granddaughter enjoying the afternoon at the Cape May County Zoo! This was the first time that our grand-wee-one had ever visited a zoo and she absolutely loved it! We are going to take her to the zoo again come May!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Throwing A Bachelorete Party? Check Out These Budget-Friendly Ideas

Most of us don't have the budget for a Parisian-themed blowout à la Bridesmaids, but that doesn't mean the bride-to-be should settle for the early bird special in the name of savings.

Though it may seem like bar-hopping at nearby watering holes is the cheapest way to go, money becomes no object once the booze start flowing. There are other ways to host a memorable ladies' night out sans the life-size cookie and gut-wrenching bar tab, so consider these six ideas before rounding up the girls.

1. Get Out of Town
This is the ideal option but not always the most economical. There are ways to reduce the costs associated with an all-girls getaway, but be prepared to plan well in advance. First, consider a one-night stay somewhere nearby, or relatively close to attendees' respective homes. Once a location is established, let party-goers know the details so they can get booking. Find party accessories online for less, and outfit the bride in a little girl's tiara for up to 75-percent less than speciality retailers.

2. Scavenger Hunt
Channel your inner child and create a scavenger hunt for the bride, complete with challenges to solicit free drinks from strangers and requests for silly photos. If you live in a big city, check out StrayBoots for inexpensive packages tailored for bachelorette parties and be prepared to uncover unknowns in your hometown.

3. At-home Wine Tasting
If the bride-to-be isn't into the bar-hopping-male-stripper scene, consider hosting an at-home wine tasting. Cut costs by asking attendees to bring a bottle of their favorite wine-and-snack duo. You'll need a wine glass for every attendee, plus water and bread to serve as palette cleansers. If you want to go all out, consult this advice from Real Simple magazine.

4. Lots of Laughs
The stress of wedding planning is likely getting to everyone, so a night full of laughter might just be what the doctor ordered. Check out your local comedy club and call ahead for front-row seating. Make yourselves known to the entertainers by ordering bachelorette-themed party wear online, making sure to grab free shipping codes from sites like to avoid delivery charges.

5. Paint & Sip
If you haven't yet taken advantage of the paint and sip trend, consider this your golden opportunity. What better way to celebrate the bride's pending nuptials than with a wine-laden arts and crafts session? Hit up Google for a nearby studio, or better yet, tap into a friend's artistic talent by having her lead the session at someone's home.

6. Bridal Bowling
You'll get plenty of attention as a group of all-girls in a bowling alley, but consider taking it a step further by outfitting the bride and attendants in the worst available versions of thrift-store wedding attire. Call ahead to reserve a couple lanes and talk to the manager about available packages, including pre-ordered food and a personal attendant. Let the good times roll!


Andrea Woroch is a consumer and money-saving expert for Kinoli Inc. She is available for in-studio, satellite or skype interviews and to write guest posts or articles.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

I Won a New Bike From Schwinn!

As you all know...I love entering giveaways on various blogs and it is a passion of mine. I don't win very often but I do like to enter them because it is a great way for me to learn about new companies and new products coming out into the marketplace and often times those product reviews that are attached with the giveaways help to influence the purchases that I make.

Back in August of 2011 I entered a giveaway on a mommy blog every day trying to win a beautiful new bike from Schwinn and I am happy to report that I was indeed the winner and I finally got my new bike just last week! I couldn't be happier about this!

I am so impressed with the Schwinn company and their products that I am now going to purchase a child's bike for my almost 3 year old granddaughter for her upcoming Birthday this spring and I am going to purchase a new Schwinn bike for my hubby at the same time so that we can all go bike riding together! We are really looking forward to it!

I would like to thank Schwinn for sponsoring the review & giveaway on that blogger's blog and I am super excited to have been the winner! The new bike arrived and today my hubby is going to assemble it for me and once springtime gets here...I will be out pedaling around town on my new Schwinn bike!!!

If you are looking to purchase a new bike this year I would like to suggest that you check out Schwinn!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

6 Things to Consider When Donating Gift Cards to Charity

The season of giving isn't quite over, as Americans make last-minute deductible donations to a wide variety of non-profits. Unwanted gift cards received during the holidays have happily emerged as a popular contribution, and for good reason.

According to the National Federation of Retailers, eight in 10 consumers bought at least one gift card this year, for what BigResearch estimates is a total of $27.8 billion in sales during the holiday season. Naturally, not all those cards aren't exactly well matched to the recipients, which means a lot of plastic goes unused; thus the trend towards donating unwanted gift cards.

Before you contribute your card, however, here are six caveats to consider.

1. How Much Are You Actually Donating?
What percentage of your gift card will be directed towards the charity's stated purpose and how much towards overhead? Ascertaining this fact may require reading the fine print or contacting the non-profit directly.

2. What is the Minimum Balance You Can Donate?
Some charities will accept any balance, but others don't want the hassle of processing a card that's worth less than $10 or $20.

3. How Will the Charity Use Your Donation?
Gift cards sometimes end up being given directly to the charities clientele, while other non-profits resell the card for a percentage of the face value and use the cash.

4. Should You Simply Resell the Card Yourself?
Not many non-profits accept gift cards, but there's a way you can still make hay out of this sunshine. You can exchange your gift card for cash on such websites as, then donate the proceeds directly to your preferred recipient.

5. Would the Charity Prefer You Donate Purchased Items?
Check with the non-profit to see if they would rather you purchase groceries, clothing, etc. and donate these items, instead of the cards or cash. If your gift card comes from a merchant selling products the charity doesn't need, some stores allow you to exchange gift cards for those from another store. Look for a kiosk near the cash registers that contains a variety of cards from different merchants.

6. Can You Donate the Gift Card to a Silent Auction?
One way to make sure cash goes directly to a non-profit is to contribute your card as a biddable item for a silent auction. If the buyers are feeling charitable, the non-profit might end up with more than the value of the card.


Andrea Woroch is a consumer and money-saving expert and has been featured among top news outlets such as Good Morning America, NBC's Today, MSNBC, New York Times, Kiplinger Personal Finance, CNNMoney and many more. She is available for in-studio, satellite or skype interviews and to write guest posts or articles. For all media inquiries please contact Andrea Woroch at 970-672-6085 or email

Perpetual Moving

This guest post from Lewis Beck

My husband and I have had the worst luck lately, and have had to move three times in the last five years. Needless to say, moving so much has been really hard on us. Our first home was the worst of the three. After we moved in we started getting sick all the time. At first, we thought it was just a fluke, but then we discovered that there was toxic mold in the ceiling. There was no way we could stay there, so we had no other choice but to move.

The second place wasn’t as bad, but it wasn’t good either. We liked the actual house, but the neighborhood was really bad. I don’t know how we didn’t realize how bad the neighborhood was before we moved in. We went to and got a home alarm system but that didn’t even help. We still felt really unsafe and wanted to get out of there. Now we are on to our third home and hopefully this will work out. I don’t think that I can take another move. We were much more cautious about choosing this one, and I think we finally made the right choice.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Walgreens is Taking a Stand to Support Their Customers not Big Business

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Walgreens for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

I don't know if you have heard about the big blow up between the drugstore giant Walgreens and the prescription middle man Express Scripts, but it is a big row. Check out the press release between Walgreens and Express Scripts . Just so you know what is happening, Express Scripts has not renewed their contract with Walgreens and it is all over the price of the drugs you buy and need. Walgreens is trying to keep prices as low as possible for their customers and Express Scripts wants to raise prices and add to their profits. One of Express Scripts biggest insurance company is TriCare, which carries our military families insurance.... just what they need is higher prices!

Walgreens has a giant network of stores and their purchasing power is huge, so they have dropped the price of their Prescription Savings Club at Walgreens so that you, the consumer and our military families that are effected by Express Scripts decision, can save on thousands of generics and name brand meds. You may not even need to use your prescription coverage. Do some price comparisons and see if buying direct from Walgreens can save your family the money you deserve to save.

Follow Walgreens on Twitter and follow Walgreens on Facebook for up the the minute changes and information on the Express Scripts mess and show your support for lower cost meds on a daily basis.

Visit Sponsor's Site

Wordless Wednesday | The Beautiful Princess on Christmas Eve Day!

I just had to share one more photo of my previous 2 1/2 year old granddaughter at Christmas this past year. This photo was taken by her mother (my daughter) at their home and I just love how grownup she looks in this photo. I think she is totally precious!!!

It just amazes me at how fast our children and grandchildren grow up and every hour & every day is so very precious. My husband and I try to spend as much time as possible with her and she is just the "apple" of our eyes.

We love you Gigi!!! ~ Nanny and Pappy

Friday, January 6, 2012

Winterize Your Home to Save on Energy with These Great Tips!

Furnaces are kicking in across the U.S. as temperatures sink. Alas, keeping warm comes with a higher sticker price each year, no matter what type of heating system you use. According to CNN Money, the average bill for a home using heating oil is more than $320 per month while gas users fork over $160 monthly.

Here are some thoughts on how you could lower your heating bill without freezing your way through the winter.

1. Energy Audit
The first step is to assess any problem areas. Ask if your utility company provides a free or low-cost energy audit, which will identify changes you should make. If you such audits aren't available, there are still ways to ascertain problems for yourself and small projects you can accomplish without professional help.

2. Seek Incentives
Some states offer improvement incentives, including providing and installing a free programmable thermostat; paying a portion of insulation upgrades; or providing rebates on the cost of materials. Look for such offers at the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency. If you can't find an applicable program, you can reduce the cost of supplies by finding coupons for major home improvement centers, hardware stores, big-box stores and more at such sites as CouponSherpa.

3. Change Furnace Filters
Many of us think of changing our furnace filters just once or twice a year, yet experts say we should replace them every month during the heating season. Better yet, switch to a permanent filter you can clean regularly.

4. Dodge the Draft
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you can waste 5 to 30 percent of your energy use to heat the great outdoors through drafts. The simplest remedy is to place draft dodgers or snakes at leaking doors. You can use an old towel or make your own easily out of a leg of pantyhose stuffed with rice or sawdust and tied at both ends. To find air leaks, place a light candle in front of possible drafts, have someone blow through the crack from the other side, and watch to see if the flame wavers.

5. Weather Strip Thresholds
Draft snakes are fine for cracks at the bottom of doors, but we often lose heat at the sides and top of doors and windows. Check out this video explaining how to install weather strips.

6. Install a Programmable Thermostat
A programmable thermostat allows you to keep the house cooler when it's empty and automatically turn up the heat before you arrive at home or get up in the morning. The Nest Learning Thermostat represents the latest and greatest in programmable thermostat technology, but you don't need to shell out $249 to benefit from one of these gadgets. You can pick one up for as little as $20 and save an average of 10% a year on your heating and cooling bill.

7. Upgrade Your Attic Insulation
Roofs are energy vampires. They'll suck rising heat right out of your home, if not properly insulated. Types of insulation include the standard fiberglass (in both batt and blown forms), rigid foam board, spray foam and cellulose. Unless you're handy around the house, this is a project best left to professionals, but it's the best investment you can make to reduce future energy bills.


Andrea Woroch is a consumer and money-saving expert for Kinoli Inc., and has been featured among such top news outlets as Good Morning America, NBC's Today, MSNBC, New York Times, Kiplinger Personal Finance, CNNMoney and many more. She is available for in-studio, satellite or skype interviews and to write guest posts or articles.