Friday, December 21, 2007

Great Holiday Links #1

At this time of year, friends, family, businesses and strangers send around links to some truly wonderful, beautiful, inspirational, sentimental and just plain silly websites. Here are some of my favorites to share with you:

"Straight No Chaser" men's a cappella group out of Indiana University, sings Holiday songs. Excellent!
Merry Christmas! Men's A Cappella

Make an online video of your family, friends, pets heads on dancing elves and then send it around. What could be better?
Get Elfed by Office Max

Send the gift of inspiration.
Great Quotes from Great Leaders Movie

The Way to Happiness videos. Great Holiday Message.
Respect the Religious Beliefs of Others.

Beautiful animated cards by Jacquie Lawson. For all seasons and reasons. Not free to personalize, but free to see.
The Most Elegant E-cards on the Web.

Make lovely, handmade pop-up Holiday Cards. Here is the link to the:
Pop-up Christmas Tree Card

For those of you who want your gifts to be recycled AND artistic, here is:
Wrap Art

Comedian Anita Renfroe sings all the things that a mom says in 24 hours to the tune of the William Tell Overture. A must see for all moms. OK... this is NOT a Holiday Link... but it's a perfect link at ANY time.
William Tell Overture Mom

This is List #1. Be on the look out for List #2 as I am sure I will be getting more soon.







Attend Free Online College Courses

Did you ever wish that you could go back to college and take just a few more classes in some subject? Do you wish that you could send your husband or kids to Tufts or MIT or Berkeley to do some studying?

Of course, we "all know" that just dropping in for a few classes at MIT, Berkeley, Stanford or UC Irvine is "out of the question" unless your neighbor teaches there or you get a kick out of sneaking into classes on college campuses (a fun, but time consuming way to obtain knowledge.)

Not so, little bird!

There are TONS of FREE online college courses! No, I'm not kidding.... there are a jillion course lectures available online,...that you can just watch for free.

Currently, my son and I are watching a wonderful Course on the Constitution by Michael Badnarik (the 2004 Libertarian Candidate for President) and also a Physics class from Professor Lewin, one of the most beloved Professors at MIT. These can be hard subjects... but we are thoroughly enjoying gaining our new knowledge. It leads to fabulous conversations and increased understanding of life.

Will you get "college credit" for taking free online college courses? No. You have to "pay" for college credit (don't get me started).... but, you WILL get the knowledge from these courses.... knowledge is FREE.

Here is a link to a site of Universities withe the best free online courses: click here.

The best thing about these classes? If the prof is boring or not worth your time .... you can make him or her disappear with a click of the mouse. Not to mention, you get to go to class in your pajamas.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Free Music Search Engine and Internet Jukebox

This is the coolest thing since YouTube!

Songza is a music search engine and internet jukebox.

I just found out about this site this morning from one of my favorite sites: lifehacker.com

You type the name of a song that you want to hear in the search box. Up comes a list of possible links to hear the song. Click on the link and viola.... jukebox!

I spent the first hour of my day challenging the search engine with obscure and half forgotten song titles.

This is going to be hot, hot, hot. Say you "heard" about it first on Bobbi's Bargains!

Happy Listening! Click here to enjoy music, music, music.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Bargain Car and Truck Replacement Parts

A few years ago, my very nice brother-in-law accidentally came too close to our car while backing out of the garage (we were parked in the driveway.) Another inch to the left and he would have missed our car all together. However, as it was, he put a dent in the front door, the back door and pulled the chrome a little bit off both doors.

It didn't seem like too much damage. Seemed like any kid with a hammer and a tube of super glue should have been able to fix it. I certainly didn't want to send it to my insurance company and I refused to have my sister and her husband send it to their company. The hike in the insurance payments would have been ridiculous (the criminality of car insurance rates is another topic for another blog.) I said that I would get an estimate on getting it fixed. My brother-in-law insisted that he would pay for it. Deep down, I figured that I could swing the hundred or so bucks it would cost to fix. What would be the big deal.

So, I naively walked into a body shop to get an estimate. The guy looked at the car, went to his computer, did some math and presented me with an estimate for a little under $2000!!! What!!! Are you crazy? Did you actually look at this car? How could it POSSIBLY be that much money?

It turns out that we had to completely replace SIX components to the car!?!? BIG pieces.... like the entire doors - top and bottom! What? This is insane?

Well, I just KNEW there was a cheaper way. It was unthinkable that I, the queen of bargains, would even consider paying such a huge amount of money to fix a deep scratch and a couple of broken plastic clamps.

My hunt began.

I checked on the internet, went for a few more estimates, talked to friends and friends of friends. Couldn't really find anything much better. It was either live with the damage (which I would have if I could but the dangling chrome was dangerous. I had to get it fixed) or pay these exorbitant prices.

Finally, I figured out that I could check on Craigslist.com and found a guy who did auto body repair in the back alley of his house. I agreed to drive the car the two hours away, leave it overnight and come back for it. I was a big leery that the car would be gone when I came back to get it, but at that point there was little that I could do and I was just plain tired of trying to get this done.

We came back the next day and found out that the guy had NOT replaced the parts, but had filled the dents with some sort of "filler" and then painted and sanded the door. It really wasn't that bad.... it just wasn't what I had expected. To this day (a few years later) the paint still holds up.

The fixing of the chrome wasn't as good. Turns out that instead of replacing the broken clamps he had just glued the chrome back on. That didn't hold up very well in the Southern California heat, so we have had to reglue it a couple of times.

Nice story, Bobbi, but why are you telling us this?

Because I KNEW that there was a way to buy the replacement parts for MUCH cheaper. I just KNEW it. My bargain senses were tingling and I just knew that I was missing something and couldn't find it.

But.... TODAY, finally, the winds of bargain fate blew the location of the Bargain Car and Truck Replacement Parts my way.

It's called Pick Your Part, The World's Largest Self Serve Auto Recyclers with about a dozen locations in the Southern California area.

Essentially, this is an auto junk yard, with great customer service. The idea is that they will buy used and junked cars and trucks. They put them in a junk yard. You can go into the junk yard (you have to pay a $2 admission fee) and go find the parts you need. This might require some tools, so make sure you bring your own handyperson and some tools.... or your best batting eyelashes. Once you get your part separated from the car or truck it came into the junk yard with, take it to the front desk and pay for it. Prices for most items are listed online (a very nice touch) so that you will have some idea what it will cost.

You will save TONS of money. Of course, if you are the type that doesn't want to get their hands dirty or if you are concerned that the paint on the replacement part won't match exactly... then by all means, pay $2000 for $150 worth of replacement parts. But if you do, please don't tell anyone that you know me.

If you aren't in Southern California, then you can do an internet search for "recycled auto parts"+"the name of your town, area, state or country". If you can't find any place near you, you can contact a company in Minnesota that will ship the part to your front door - A-Abco Fridley's Recycled Auto Parts.

Hope this helps you. It surely made my day.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Free Food - Wild Food Plants

Believe it or not, there was a food supply before McDonald's. Hard to believe, but true. Not only was there food before the Big Mac, but there was FREE food. And, that food supply still exists. It is right outside your door. If you know which plants are edible and how to prepare them you can survive in the wild.

Here is a wonderful place to start: Sunny Johnson's Wild Food Plants website.

Her site includes short videos that show you what the plants look like, how to harvest them and how to cook them.

Unfortunately, it seems that Sunny has lost her videocamera, so it might be awhile before there are more videos. I hope she gets a new one soon, because I love the ones she has done so far. I'm planning on making False Dandy Balls for next Sunday Brunch.

Here is another lovely site to help you grow your own edible plants: How to landscape with edible plants.

For more sites and books, just search the term "edible plants" in your search engine.

Warning: some plants are poisonous. It is important that any plants that you eat are positively identified and you know they are safe to eat. For more information on how to do this, click here.

Now, go weed and eat.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Broadway - Cheap Tickets

A fantastic little web site for those of you going to New York City with a limited budget and hopes of seeing some Broadway plays: www.talkinbroadway.com/boards/

This site lists all the shows on Broadway and their policies regarding "Rush" and "Standing Room" tickets. These are day-of-the-show ticket sales that average around $25. Some of them require a Student ID.

The entire web site of TalkinBroadway.com is a great resource for any Broadway fan.

Free "Shakespeare in the Park" - Central Park, New York City

For the last 50 years, Summertime in New York City has meant free "Shakespeare in the Park" at the Delacorte Theatre in Central Park.

Every community that I have ever lived in (and I've lived in quite a few) offered free concerts during the summer months. Most notable is the free "Shakespeare in the Park" in Central Park - the heart of The Big Apple. (Thank you, Linda, for reminding me of this.)

You can pick up your free Shakespeare in the Park tickets on the day of the performance beginning at 1 pm at The Delacorte Theater in Central Park or from 1 to 3 pm at The Public Theater Box Office, 425 Lafayette Street.

Tips to remember when getting free Shakespeare in the Park tickets:

1. You will need to line up between 8 am and 10 am to have the best chance to get a ticket. Some people line up as early as 6 am.
2. Tickets are giving out on the same day as the performance.
3. Tickets are given out starting at 1 pm
4. Bring a chair to sit on, an umbrella for shade and something to entertain yourself if people watching won't be enough for you. (see #8 below)
5. One person = one ticket
6. There is no saving space in line for someone.
7. Tickets are reserved seats, so if you want to sit with someone, you need to stand in line with them.
8. Remember - GETTING the tickets is part of the experience. Come prepared to enjoy the first part of the show. It's entitled, "waiting in line in Central Park." If you are from "the sticks" you are sure to see some things they "don't have at home."

If the above tips don't sound like fun to you, you CAN buy a ticket to the show for $150.

For soothe.... go forthe... enjoyth.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Thift Shop Finder

Finally.... someone made the website that I always hoped would be created ... an online national Thrift Shop Finder! The website is called, "The Thrift Shopper." (www.thethriftshopper.com) There are already over 7300 Thrift Shops listed. Just a few clicks and you can have a listing of charity based thrift shops in your area. The listing includes store name, address, hours, telephone number, affiliated charities, and a link to a map. Who could ask for more? Well... there IS more... an online magazine, a forum, classifieds, etc. Get ready for a fun web surfing time on this one.

If your favorite, charity based Thrift Shop is not listed, you can add it. You can also rate the shops that you know. Help your favorite shop get some good publicity by posting a good review.

Don't forget to visit this site before you take a vacation. Make a list of Thrift Shops in your vacation destination. You can pick up local memorabilia for a fraction of what it would cost retail.

There is also a link to a syndicated cartoon strip that takes place in (of course) a Charity Thrift Shop - cute. It's called, "Heaven's Love Thrift Shop." (www.heavenslovethriftshop.com)

So, check out this site. Create a local list for yourself (including the maps). Stick the list and maps in your glove compartment. Then... when you find yourself in the area of town where the shop is, you can drop in and check it out. We must use our gas miles wisely.

Happy Thrift Shop Shopping!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Learn to Play the Harmonic - Fast, Easy and Free

I have managed to fail to learn to play at least a half a dozen instruments this lifetime. That takes a great deal of ability.... especially considering the fact that I REALLY would LOVE to play an instrument. I have tried everything from the triangle to the piano, all to no avail.

BUT... TODAY.... FINALLY.... I found a web site that REALLY teaches you to play (drum roll, please) the HARMONICA!

Yes, indeed, today, for the very first time, anywhere on the planet, Bobbi played "Shenandoah" on the harmonica. Truly, it was so easy, I couldn't believe it.

This guy, Jack, has put together a website that shows you how to start playing the harmonica in minutes. It's like magic.

I have spent hours, in the past, trying to learn to play the harmonica. I couldn't figure out how to do it. I mean, how complicated could it be? But all I was ever able to do was make the same sounds that any three-year-old would make by blowing the air in and out of the instrument.

But, today... I clicked on the link. Read a few paragraphs, followed the instructions and voila!.... I am now a musician. Book me into Carnegie Hall.

So, if you have ever wanted to learn to play an instrument .... dig out the old harmonica that you have tucked in the back corner of your desk drawer and click here, to go to Jack's Harmonica Page. Within 10 minutes, you too, will feel like Bob Dylan. (Well, you might not FEEL like Bob Dylan, but you will be playing the harmonica as well as Bob Dylan and you will probably enunciate your words BETTER than Bob Dylan.)

Be sure to make a video of your first concert, upload it to Utube and send me a link.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

What is a blog?

Many people have asked me.... "What is a blog." Here is the short answer:

Blog is short for weblog.

A weblog is a journal (or newsletter) that is frequently updated and intended for general public consumption. Blogs generally represent the personality of the author or the Web site.

For more information, go to your favorite search engine and put in "definition blog"

You will get LOTS of links. Enjoy!

Want to get your own free blog? Go to wordpress.com or blogger.com or if you don't like those... go to your favorite search engine and search for "free blogging software"

Gentlemen, start your fingers! (obscure reference to the statement given at the opening of the Indy 500)

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Free Lemonade Stand from Sunkists - USA and Canada

OK... this looks like a totally awesome idea to keep your kids entertained, off the couch and in the real-life learning mode this summer. Plus, have the satisfaction of being able to earn money to donate to THEIR favorite charity.

Sunkist is giving away 10,000 very nice looking lemonade stands to kids 7-12 years old who want to donate their proceeds to the charity their choice. (although the rules do say they may donate at their discretion.)

There are lots of helpful goodies on their site (sales signs, how to price their product worksheets, income logs, etc) to help your child market their lemonade. A very good teaching tool and fun summer activity.

Last year the stands went fast, so apply online now. Available to residents of the USA and Canada.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Maker Faire - a rave review

I just got back from one of the most remarkable weekends of my life. I took my family to the 2nd Annual Maker Faire in the San Francisco area. (www.makerfaire.com)

This was an event that attracted "Makers" of all kinds to one venue to share their newest inventions and passions. Each booth was another porthole into vast as-yet-uncharted territory for all of us.

There is just too much to try and explain here, but there is tons of information on their site along with pictures of this past weekend's event.

The highlights for us were:

1. My husband and son watched hours of the Combat Robots competition and now they want to build robots and compete with them.

2. My daughter and I spent hours at one of the felt making booths and learned to felt. (Thanks Moxie!) This has opening a whole new area of art for both of us.

3. My son also purchased a fabulous radio control car and will be getting up to competition level with this.

4. My daughter and I were able to carry around a prototype camera purse and take candid pictures of the fair that are on line on the flickr site.

5. We learned about TONS of new technology in the internet world, got a great tip on how to set up a photography studio for cheap, learned to hand spin yarn, discovered an new and free 3D program that can be downloaded from the net, made some very cool jewelry out of recycled materials, found out about an awesome fundraising tool and of course.... walked the hamster wheel to power the giant nose picking sculpture.

6. We met lots of great people, get a zillion new ideas and were generally happier than pigs in the mud all weekend.

All this for a $20 ticket for the entire weekend for adults, $15 for students and $5 for 12 and under. Talk about a bargain.

I'm sure that everyone in my family learned more this weekend than they would have learned in an entire year of Science, Technology and Art classes.

We WILL be attending next year's faire. Check this out. For anyone who LOVES to MAKE things and is interested in what others are doing... this is THE place to be.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Best Designer Sample Sale in LA

Voted the Best Sample Sale in LA by "Downtown LA Scene", the Saturday Sale at the California Market Center is the place to go if you want to buy designer clothing and accessories at wholesale and below prices. You can get up to 50%-85% off original retail.

Now... I don't consider paying $65 for a $450 sweater the best way to shop.... but, if you want designer stuff... and a lot of it... and the current styles, then you should get up your shopping courage and get down to the California Market Center on most of the last Saturdays of the month.

The California Market Center is where hundreds of manufacturers have their showrooms in LA. Once a month, they sell their samples, overruns and overstock to the public.

Cost to get in.... $1 (yipee!).... parking is $6 (bring a shopping friend and split the cost). This is a sample sale... they won't take your credit card.... bring cash.

Scheduled dates for 2007 are:
3/17, 5/12, 6/23, 7/28, 8/18, 9/15, 11/10, 11/23-24th, 12/1,12/8, 12/15,12/22. The hours are 10:00 am to 3:30 pm.

The Saturday Sale at the California Market Center
110 East 9th Street, Los Angeles, CA 310-837-6788
For directions, click here.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Free TV audience tickets

Have you ever wondered how those people end up in the audience of TV shows? Have you ever wanted to BE one of those people?

There are several ways to get tickets to be in a TV audience. Getting to be in the audience of your favorite, very popular TV show is even possible.

The major shows all have their own websites. For instance: Oprah Winfrey has a website, Oprah.com. To find out about ticket reservations for her show, click here. Here website notes that "demand far exceeds supply." So, this is probably not your best bet if you are in town for the day and just want to see a show.

New shows or shows that aren't as popular - who DON'T have a "demand that far exceeds supply" - utilize businesses that supply audiences.

One of those businesses can be found online: On Camera Audiences. You can go to their website and find out what shows are currently looking for audiences and sign up. They are promoting a new shows that looks like it will be a big hit: "On the Lot" with Stephen Spielberg. They are just looking for people to sign up to get notified when audience recruitment starts.

You can search the internet for "TV shows"+"tickets" and over a million links come up. I think you will find something there to help you wherever you are and whatever show you want to see.

I've been in a TV audience before. It is fun and informative. A great date, family night out or addition to your itinerary to "The Big City." Enjoy!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Save a fortune on plastic surgery

Have you ever thought that you would be beautiful if only your ____________ (nose, eyes, chin, ears, neck, lips, etc) where slightly different? Ever consider plastic surgery so that you could look like the fashion models?

Do you have a daughter?

Save a fortune and buckets of tears.

Watch the Dove online video "Evolution."

Click here.

Have a truly beautiful day.

Bobbi

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Scholastic Books Warehouse Sales

Scholastic Books, publishers of a zillion books, has semi-annual warehouse sales. I haven't been to one of these yet, but I used to go to another book publisher's warehouse sales in Connecticut and they were WONDERFUL! Great bargains. Stacks and stacks of books and book related stuff.

There are scholastic warehouses in every state in America. Go to their web site and find the warehouse nearest you.

If you pre-register online, you will avoid lines and get a $10 coupon. This is a great opportunity to get a jump start on your holiday shopping!

Free Tom Chapin cassettes for Educators

Oh, oh, oh... my favorite, oh yes, favorite children's song writer and musician, Tom Chapin, is giving away free cassettes of his music to educators!

There is no way that I can say enough good things about Tom Chapin's music. The lyrics are thoughtful. The melodies are delicious. These are songs that you don't mind listening to 50 times in a row.

Apparently Mr. Chapin has a bunch of cassettes in storage that the stores won't carry anymore because they only want CDs. So, instead of tossing them or selling them to Big Lots, he is giving them away to educators. (you have to pay the shipping... he ain't totally crazy!!!)

Do yourself and your students a favor. Take him up on his offer. Get ALL the cassettes.

I own all of them and they are our favorites and we wouldn't part with them for the world.

By the way, when my kids were little we to went to several of Tom Chapin's concerts. Not only was his concert awesomely fun, he was also such a nice man. He made himself available after the concert until every single little kid had had a chance to come by and say hello and talk to him. He signed a t-shirt that my son wore until it disintegrated.

I'm so very pleased to be able to promote this wonderful performer. Just click here to go to his website and get the information on this free offer. Tell him that Bobbi's Bargains sent you!

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Worldwide Free Comic Book Day - Saturday, May 5th

Free Comic Book Day! Wow! What a concept! I just love it!

On Saturday, May 5th, Comic Book stores around the world are giving away Free Comic Books.

"This year, almost 2,000 comic book stores across the continent and around the planet plan to give away 2 MILLION comic books absolutely free! With up to 44 titles to choose from, the selection of books on May 5 will include comic books for all ages and tastes."

Go to the web site, input your zip code or your country and find a store near you that is giving away free comic books.

Don't miss it... pass this around.... let me know what you choose. Send me a picture of your Free Comic Book Event Adventure and I'll post it on my blog. As always... enjoy your bargains!

Bobbisbargains@hotmail.com

Sunday, April 22, 2007

America's Cheapest Family - Must Read Book

Turns out that I am only "1 degree of separation" from frame. My sister is friends with some lovely folks who wrote a book that got on the New York Times Best Seller List! And of course... what is it about? BARGAINS! Of course.

The book is called, "America's Cheapest Family Gets You Right on the Money" by Steve and Annette Economides. I had the pleasure of spending some time with the Economides family on a trip to visit my sister. They are wonderful people and live exactly like they save they do in their book. I, the Queen of Bargains, had a FABULOUS time talking with Steve and Annette.

Check this out. Steve and Annette have managed to feed their family of seven on just $350 per month, pay off their first house in nine years and purchase a second, larger home, buy cars with cash, take wonderful vacations, and put money in savings.

Their book is a must-read for anyone who is serious about living on a budget and getting the most for their money. I don't lightly tell people to BUY a book (when you can use the library) but this one you need to read from cover to cover. Click here: America's Cheapest Family to order the book. (of course, buy a used copy)

Friday, April 20, 2007

Shop Early - Save Big

OK... here is an important bargain shopping tip.

Don't grocery shop hungry and don't shop for presents in a hurry!

What I mean is this... don't shop for Christmas presents on December 24th. Don't shop for a birthday present on your way to the party. Don't try to find the perfect anniversary present on your way to meet your spouse at the restaurant. You will NOT find a bargain... you WILL spend more than you would if you weren't in such a time crunch.

I shop for Holiday presents all year long. I have a box (that becomes boxes) that is off limits to the rest of the family. Every time I find something that I think would make a great present, I buy it and stash it away in the present box. Most of the items in this box come from clearance shelves, yard sales, deep discount tables, thrift shops, etc. By the time the Holidays come around, I have almost all my shopping done. I then can go out and get some items that had to wait - like new shoes for growing feet.

I even have a box for presents for myself. (The rule is that I am not allowed to look at the presents in my own box. Then at the Holidays, I give my husband the box and have him wrap my presents! I always get what I want and I know it was a bargain.)

I also have a box where I keep presents that will be good for Birthday Party gifts. If I find a great craft kit that is age appropriate for my daughter's friends, I will buy several and put them in the Birthday Present box. Then, when I get 24 hours notice that, "Oh, mom, I forgot.... Sally invited me to her birthday party ... it's tomorrow." No worries... I just grab one of the kits from the present box, wrap and take to the party.

I must give credit to this idea from my mom, who always had a stash of wonderful "hostess presents" in the closet, just ready to take to the next party. She also had a freezer full of frozen cookies and fried chicken.. the women could feed a small army that just dropped in, out of the food in her freezer. But, that, is another story.

Hope this tip helps you save time and money.

Big Lots - Closeout Retailer

Big Lots, with locations all across America is a closeout retailer.

What is a closeout retailer? Per the Big Lot website:

"Closeouts are the same first-quality, brand-name products found at other retailers, but at substantially lower prices. We buy closeout merchandise from manufacturers who want to reduce inventory as a result of package changes, canceled orders, product discontinuation or test market products."

What this translates into, for you, the bargain shopper, is an ever changing inventory of stuff that didn't make it off the shelf of the store it was originally sold to. Why? Maybe because the packaging was the wrong color, maybe because the shipment came in too late, maybe because the shop didn't promote... or maybe because it is a yucky product. But... because the smart people at Big Lot were able to buy it for a cheap-cheap price.... you get a chance to buy it at a discount price.

I think it is fun to go into Big Lots when I just feel like I need to find a good bargain. My favorite aisle is the Stationery Aisle - home of craft supplies. I found some wonderful paint-by-numbers sets for $2.99 the last time I was at Big Lots. I bought a few for my "Emergency Birthday Party Present Box." A few days ago I was at Michael's Art Supply store and saw the exact same kits for $14.99. Now, that's what I consider a good deal.

You can't go to Big Lots with a shopping list (until you are very familiar with their inventory), but you can and will find all sorts of things you just KNEW you needed.

Find a Big Lots location near you.... enjoy!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

International - Free Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream

Alert, Alert all you Bargain Hunter Ice Cream Lovers.... Tuesday, April 17th, 2007 ... from noon til 8:00 pm, Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream shops AROUND THE WORLD will be giving out Free Ice Cream Cones! WOW!!

You can go to their website and locate the participating store nearest you. It's amazing how many shops they have.

Take a picture of you and your clan eating a scoop in some far off land. I'll post the happiest picture on my site. Send to: Bobbisbargains.blogspot.com

New York City - Discount Theatre Tickets

I didn't want my East Coast friends to think that I have abandoned them, so I consulted with my Long Island Discount Queen friend, Linda, to find out what kind of great Big Apple Bargain I should tell you about.

She came up with a goodie that I didn't know about: The Theatre Development Fund... TDF.org.

This is a great group that has true discount theatre tickets for those who qualify. Who qualifies?
  • Students
  • Teachers
  • Union members
  • Seniors (62 or over)
  • Civil service employees
  • Staff members of not-for-profit organizations
  • Performing arts professionals
  • Members of the armed forces
  • Clergy
That covers A LOT of people.

Check out this site. There is an annual $25 membership fee, but you will easily make that up with the discount you will get on ONE Broadway show ticket. You can get advanced tickets to Broadway, Off-Broadway, and Off-Off-Broadway shows as well as Dance, Performance Art and special events. Not all shows will be on this list, but there are A LOT. You can also check out this site and join up if you are going to go to New York for a visit. It will be worth it.

Makes me wish I still lived in NYC... I LOVE Broadway!!!

Penny Saver USA - another great internet free advertising source

Dear Bargain Hunters....

I have lived in many places in the United States. Each place has had its own weekly free magazine that you either got in the mail or picked up at the local corner market.

Penny Saver is one of those magazines. It has grown with the times and is now online. Yipee!

Penny Saver covers markets in nine states including: California, Florida, Connecticut and Arkansas.

You can select your local region to find anything from Houses for Sale to Farm Fresh Fruit. This is a great source for finding a rental, a used car or a garage sale. It is also a free resource to use for selling your own great stuff.

Those of you living in major metropolitan areas can use the site to get an idea of how much cheaper housing is in Idaho. Those of you living in the boonies (non-metropolitan areas) can get a reality check on how expensive housing is in Los Angeles before packing your bags to head for stardom.

Penny Saver is an old favorite of mine. Certainly Craigslist has taken away some of its earlier luster, but it is still in there kicking as a great source to find and promote local bargains.

Another Free Movie Screening - "Schooled"

(NOTE: The original post had the wrong email address for reservations. The correct address is: RSVP@studioscreening.com)

Oh boy, this looks like a REAL good movie! I'm very excited to be able to let you know about the free movie screening followed by a Question and Answer session of the movie "Schooled." The screening is scheduled for Thursday, April 26, 2007 in Beverly Hills, CA.

Here is what the website says that the movie is about:
"Schooled is an earthly character study about a teacher in crisis who discovers a shockingly alternative school that teaches him to connect with kids as people."

There is a trailer on the website that has truly peeked my interest. Reservations seem to be made by emailing: RSVP@studioscreening.com

(Note that the web site indicates there will be screenings in other areas of the country and I bet there even could be screenings in other countries if someone contacted them.... hint, hint.)

I really don't know anything more about the movie than what you will see on the web site. I'm not a friend of the director or anything like that but I have been involved with Alternative Education for almost 30 years.

Maybe I will see you there! Let me know what you think of the movie: Bobbisbargains@hotmail.com

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Receive updates by email

I've received several emails letting me know that subscribing to my blog is not the easiest thing on the planet. I know... I almost couldn't figure out how to sign up myself!

So, I have done some research (my favorite thing) and found a way for people to easily subscribe to my blog and receive updates by email.

There is now a little box on the top right hand side of my blog to subscribe by email. Just enter your email address. You can unsubscribe at anytime.

Please let me know if there are any problems doing this or if it is still too difficult. I will find a better way if necessary. I don't want any of you to miss out on any of my bargains.

By the way, you can email me at Bobbisbargains@hotmail.com

Also, if you have bargains that you would like me to include in my blog, send it to me and I will include it.

Happy Bargain Hunting!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Free Movie Screenings - Los Angeles area

One of the best things about living near Hollywood is that there are a lot of movie screenings available. However, finding a way to get invited to those screenings can be pretty tricky.

Being the Bargain Queen that I am, I have a way to get my readers on a very special list so they will be invited to free movie screenings. These screenings take place in the Los Angeles, Orange County and Ventura County areas (of Southern California.) You get to choose your area.

There are movie screenings going on all the time. Once you are on "the list" you will get email notice of the name, location and date/time of upcoming screenings about 4 days ahead of time. You choose which ones you want to attend. However, if you say you are going to go to a screening and then don't go... you will be taken off the list. The "ticket" is always good for at least two people - sometimes more. Sometimes you even get free popcorn and a drink. Sometimes the screenings are in the private screening theatres on the major studio lots. Nice!

Unfortunately, I can't post the link here.

You have to email me at Bobbisbargains@hotmail.com and ask for it. Put "free movie screening request" in the subject line.

Once I receive an email from you requesting the Free Movie Screenings information with your name and email address, I can then send you instructions on how to get on this list. I promise I will NEVER give this information to anyone and you can use a nickname if you want. I will, however, automatically put you on my email list once you request this. If you don't want to be on my email list, let me know and I won't put you on the list ... and I will still send you the free movie screening information. But... why would anyone want to opt out of MY email list??

OK... this is the best deal of the day. Don't pass it up.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Shows and Event Tickets for Less - Goldstar Events

Even Patrons of the Arts need a good discount! I love the theatre, but the going rate for tickets is above my budget.... especially if I want to take the entire family.

Of course, that means that I needed to find an easy way to get reduced rate tickets. Enter Goldstar Events! Now this is a nifty little idea. You sign up and then weekly you get an email listing all the events in your area that you can get discount tickets for. (They cover all the major metropolitan areas in the US.... sorry, only the US.)

This week, there are discounts on everything from $5 LA Clipper Tickets (basketball) to 50% off at the Cote d'Azur Beauty Spa in Pasadena. (of course, my listings are for the LA area) They are also listing Free Tickets for the upcoming Santa Monica Designer Shopping Party on April 26th at the Santa Monica Civic Center.

There is a service fee on the tickets, so even for the free tickets, you will pay something. But it is still a better deal than paying full box office price. Of course, if you know someone in the cast that can get your free tickets... even better!

Now, here is the deal. You DO have to sign up, but it doesn't cost anything to do so. Then you get an email every once in awhile letting you know about some upcoming events in your area at discount prices.

If nothing else, you will get to know about some fabulous events that are happening in your area. You can have a thrifty date and be in the know about the current scene in your city! What could be better?

PS.... here is another site: LA Stage Alliance. They list half price tickets and also show what shows are opening this week and closing this week. Same deal as above. Join and then they send you an email. Great way to get a "2-fer" date.


OK... please let me know if you see any great shows. Post your comments to my site and let your friends know about me.

Monday, April 9, 2007

College Money - Websites

Someone sent this to me. I'm passing it along.

Looking for ways to pay for college?
Check out these web sites for some tips and tons of information:

www.salliemae.com The nation's leading provider of student loans

www.fastweb.com Over $3 billion worth of scholarships. Detailed college profiles, jobs and internships, and tips for success

www.fasa-ed-gov or www.fasa.ed.gov lists Federal Student Aid options (I had trouble getting on this site, but try both addresses and keep trying. I think it just gets alot of traffic.)

www.finaid.org scholarships, loans, saving for college,
military aid, advice, calculators, info on testing, admissions, and jobs.

www.ed.gov Info on aid and grants from the Federal government.

Cool Free Astronomy info from Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, CA

Good morning all my bargain hunting friends. April 21 is National Astronomy Day. Who knew?

To honor this day, there is some really cool, free information you can get on the web.

There is a new video on the Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) web site. It shows you what you can see in the night sky in April. Plus, there is tons of awesome space/sky info on the site. If you are in the Pasadena, CA area, JPL is having their Annual Open House on May 19th & 20th, 2007.

The Abrams Planetarium is making the April astronomy chart available for free. You can usually only get it by subscription. Here is your chance to check out how a star chart works. I've already printed out my copy. I'm looking forward to watching the sky this month.

So, just click on the blue highlighted words to go to these fun sites.

As always, enjoy your free stuff!

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Time is money - cheap and easy way to organize your papers for taxes

Getting ready for taxes can be very stressful, especially if you are one of those people who just toss your receipts into a box or a drawer all year long. Here is a way to help.

At the beginning of each year, buy one of those big expandable file folder boxes (the ones with 12-16 sections and a handle on top) for around $10 at your local office supply store. Label each section:

Bank statements
Credit cards (I mark one file for my husband's cards and one for mine)
Medical/insurance bills
Tax materials (receipts from dropping off items to Goodwill, W2s when they arrive, articles about new tax laws that might apply to you at tax time, etc)
Telephone Bills
Utilities
Education receipts
Office Supplies

The idea is to have one place to keep the papers that you will need at tax time and do a presort on them. Then when you have to settle down and get ready to do your taxes, all the papers are in one place.

After you are done with your taxes, label the outside of the box with a big label stating the year and just store it away.

This saves HOURS of time and helps reduce the stress at tax times.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Cheap Candy

Dear Bargain Hunters.... today is the day before Easter Sunday and Easter Egg (Candy) Hunts have been going on all over your town. The grocery stores and drug stores have had shelves full of bags of candy wrapped in pretty spring colors.

Tomorrow (Sunday) they need to magically fill those shelves with other seasonal items. Egad! What will they do with all those bags of candy?

They will put them on sale at a DEEP DISCOUNT!

For a day there will be shelves of candy and Easter items at 50% and 75% off. The good stuff will be snatched up fast. The no-so-good stuff will linger but will also disappear. There will be cheap baskets, stuffed animals, "grass" and of course, candy!

In general, I have found that my local drug stores have the most seasonal items and put them on the deepest discount on the day of the actual holiday and the day after the holiday. You can ask your favorite store when they put seasonal items on sale and get there when the sale starts.

Go get 'em, bargain hunters.

Friday, April 6, 2007

The Daffodil Garden in Running Springs, CA

Oh dear Bargain Hunters... sometimes we just need to find a great spot to "get some space." Nature is one of the greatest bargains on the planet.

I just found out about a wonderful Daffodil Garden in Running Springs, CA (by Lake Arrowhead in the San Bernadino Mountains) that is only open for three weeks out of the year. (late March to early April) This weekend (Sunday, April 8th) is the last day this year to view the Gardens.

Created by (Alma) Gene Bauer and her husband, Dale, starting in 1958 with 48 bulbs, this garden apparently blankets the mountain side. A visitor to the garden created a great site that can give you a taste of the gardens. (I can't believe that pictures can possibly capture the beauty and serenity that these gardens must exude.)

If you can't make the trek, then at least go to the site and check it out. (www.geocities.com/thedaffodilgarden/garden.htm) Just the concept of what this couple have done is awe inspiring... and let's face it... a little awe and a little inspiring can go a long way.

Enjoy!





Monday, April 2, 2007

Proctor and Gamble Freebies and Promotions

Proctor and Gamble... makers of Pringles, Charmin, Pampers, Tide, Durecell, Iams Pet Food, and on and on... have lots of promotions and freebies.

I just found a page on their website where they list their latest freebies and promotions. There are free samples, tips and contests. They are currently running a contest to write a new Jingle for Pringles. Winner gets a trip to the 2007 "American Idol™" Finale in Hollywood! Oh boy... you could visit me and sing me your winning jingle. I happen to know that a few of my readers are great song writers and COULD win this. (You know who you are.... so click here and start writing!)

I suggest that you don't try to find this page from their homepage... it's not the easiest to find. Just click here for the latest Proctor and Gamble Freebies and Promotions.

Enjoy!

Baskin Robbins 31 cent scoop night - Wednesday, May 2nd, 2007

Here's a goodie for ice cream lovers!

In honor of The Fallen Firefighters Foundation, Baskin Robbins will be selling ice cream at 31 cents per scoop... a great bargain .

Wednesday, May 2nd from 5 pm to 10 pm only!

This is a 5 hour sale.... so don't miss it. Mark your calendars now.

To find out more and to locate the nearest Baskin Robbins store near you, go to:
http://baskinrobbins.com/Promotion/31cent.aspx

To make sure you don't miss out on future bargains, subscribe to this blog .... scroll down to the bottom of the page and sign up!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Freebies - something free for everyone

Attention Bargain Hunters.... there are lots of free items to be had with just a few clicks of your fingers.

Companies have known from the beginning of trade that a free sample is a great way to get new customers.

Never has it been so easy for you to find free samples and just plain free products as it is today with the internet.

My favorite way to find these free offers is with freebies.about.com. Here is a great starting place for you to find freebies including: teacher freebies, computer freebies, beauty freebies, gaming freebies, etc. Personally, I stay away from the pharmaceutical freebies.

Once you start going down the links on this site you may never find your way back. It's lots of fun.

I really like this site because the Guide always lists out what risks there are to signing up for the freebie.

If you are fussy about getting extra email, then I do suggest that you get yourself an email address that you use JUST for freebies.

So, set your browser to www.freebies.about.com and find yourself some great freebies. You can sign up for the email newsletter and you will be reminded to go and check for new freebies when they are posted.

Enjoy, enjoy!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

LA - great fashion bargains - FIDM store

'Morning LA Bargain Hunters.

Here is one of my favorite treasure hunting stores.

The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in downtown Los Angeles has a Scholarship Store on the Los Angeles campus. You never know what you will find at this store because the merchandise comes from over 400 manufacturers, alumni and students of the Fashion Institute. The money that is made at the store goes to the scholarship fund.

I have found the most unusual merchandise at this store. One side of the store features "street" clothes and accessories. The other side features formal wear - wedding dresses for $50!!, mother-of-the-bride dresses, prom gowns. Great, great, great bargains!

The link to their site is: http://www.fidm.com/resources/scholarship-store/

919 S. Grand Avenue (at 9th Street)
Los Angeles, CA 90015
213-624-1200

Hours: Monday-Friday 9:00 am - 6:00 pm Saturday 10:00 am - 4:00 pm

As always... let me know if you found some great fashion finds!! Bobbisbargains@hotmail.com

Timing is Everything - knowing when to buy what

OK, bargain hunters, here is today's lesson:

Timing is everything... you've heard this before. It holds true in many areas of life, and it certainly holds true in bargain hunting.

Here's a great example.

You need an air conditioner. You REALLY need the air conditioner in the middle of a blazing heat wave in the middle of the summer. Imagine what a window air conditioner will cost when the weather outside is above 100 degrees. IF you can even find one to buy...

Now, think SNOW... think FREEZING... think hats and gloves, sweaters and snow boots (you folks in Southern California, think... long sleeved shirts). What do you think an air conditioner will cost during this weather? BIG difference!

This difference even holds true at Yard Sales (my favorite shopping place). During the hot months an air conditioner will be snapped up at a Yard Sale. During cold weather, that same air conditioner will go for almost nothing.

Why? Don't know. Maybe people forget that it will ever get warm again. Maybe the person selling the item doesn't think of it as having any value. But, I tell you... this is TRUTH!!

Yes, yes, yes... I know that there are SALES during "the season." But, I hardly ever find REAL bargains during a "Season Sale." There ARE bargains to be had during the "End of Season Sale." I just bought a fireplace grate at Home Depot for $2.50... it retailed last month for $18.95.

So, when it is cold, buy things for warm weather.... air conditioners, pool supplies, bathing suits, patio furniture, bar-b-ques, etc.

When it is warm/hot, buy things for cold weather ... space heaters, winter coats, flannel pajamas, ski equipment, etc.

And of course.... when to buy Christmas decorations? The day after Christmas, of course.

As always, let me know your bargain finds. You can email me at: Bobbisbargains@hotmail.com

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Spring L.A. Kids Consignment Super Sale

Here is a goodie for folks in the Los Angeles, California area. There is a Super Kids Consignment Sale. March 23-25, 2007 at Seville Hall, 7963 Van Nuys Blvd., Van Nuys, CA 91402.

I just found out about this FABULOUS twice-a-year sale. This is a kids - infant through pre-teen - products sale. (clothes, strollers, books, toys, maternity clothes, etc.)

The person that holds this sale, Kristen Nelson, will take your consignment items in advance, then sell them and then you get some of the money. Just like a regular consignment store... but the entire sale is just one weekend.

There are over 15,000 items and around 275 consignors.

What a great find! Got this just in time to let you know about the Spring Sale this coming weekend.

Wish my kids were little so that I would have a better reason to go to this sale.... but believe me, I'll go anyway... I'm sure I'll find something that is a bargain!

Here is the link to find out more: www.lakidsconsignment.com

Let me know if you go to this sale and if you got some good bargains.


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Gabes. THE best store for new brand name clothing.

Gabes!

That is all you have to say to ANYONE that has ever shopped at a Gabes store.

What is Gabes? Officially, Gabriel Brothers, a unique off-price retail company that gives shoppers fantastic deals on a wide selection of name brand merchandise.

Gabriel Brothers has been in the discount clothing retail business for more than 40 years. The Gabriel style of merchandising actually dates back to the 1920s, when Lebanese immigrant Z.G. Gabriel peddled merchandise in the tiny coal towns scattered throughout Fayette County, Pennsylvania.

Gabes now has has more than 30 locations throughout West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Virginia.

I was in my first Gabes when I was about 8 years old. It was at the end of an alley in a small, crammed shanty of a house. There were piles of work clothes (this was coal mining territory) at REALLY cheap prices.

Now each Gabes store is about 50,000 square feet of selling space crammed with high quality name brand merchandise. It is a bargain hunters dream.

When I go East to visit my family, I always take an empty (large) suitcase with me. It will be full of Gabes bargains on the return trip.

I was once in a chiropractor's office in Boston, Massachusetts. I was talking to my daughter and I mentioned that we would "go to Gabes when we were at grandma's house." This other lady in the waiting room excitedly said, "Are you talking about Gabes?" I said, yes. Well, she went on and how about how wonderful Gabes is and that there is nothing in the world as great as Gabes, etc.

And ... she was right.

When you shop at Gabes, you expect to buy name brand blue jeans for $7.99 (retail $65). Liz Claybourn dresses for $11.99. Designer suits for $24.99. I mean this is REAL bargain shopping.

Now, here is the drawback. Gabes stores are ONLY located in the mid-east coast of the United States: Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia. (a big boo-hoo for West Coasters) However, if you are even close to one of the stores, it will be worth it to drive, fly, carpool to the nearest store and buy clothes for your entire family (you can buy household items also.)

The other drawback is that you MUST look closely at the items before you buy them. Does the zipper work? Is there a stain or rip or is the back of the shirt sewn on upside down? You CAN return the items (except clearance items ending in .00 prices) but it is a drag to get home and discover that your great bargain is irreparably flawed.

Now, just so you know what I am talking about.... when I go to Gabes and power shop, (and it DOES take hours, ... don't think you can just zip in and out of Gabes) I leave with two or three GIGANTIC bags of stuff for my entire family for under $200.

WARNING: If you can't deal with rows and rows of racks that are out of size order.... if you can't try on clothes in cramped dressing rooms.... if you can't dig for bargains.... then I suggest that you go to the mall and PAY RETAIL!!! Only a shopper with nerves of steel, eagle bargain finding eyes and comfortable shoes can shop at Gabes.... but, if you have what it takes... you will have the best wardrobe in town for the least amount of money.

Go get 'em bargain hunters!

Check out Gabes at: www.gabrielbrothers.com

And... if anyone in the Los Angeles area knows of a store with real (none of this puny 10% discount stuff) deep brand name discounts, be sure to let me know. Write to me at: Bobbisbargains@hotmail.com

Craigslist - don't leave home without it

OK... bargain hunters... here is another international bargain tip: Craigslist

I use Craigslist so often that it is hard for me to think that there are people that I know that don't know about Craigslist... but it is true.

So....let me enlighten you: (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

"Craigslist is a centralized network of online urban communities, featuring free classified advertisements (with jobs, housing, personals, for sale/barter/wanted, services, community, gigs and resumes categories) and forums sorted by various topics.

It was founded in 1995 by Craig Newmark for the San Francisco Bay Area. After incorporation in 1999, Craigslist expanded into nine more cities in 2000 (all of them in the U.S.), four each in 2001 and 2002, and 14 in 2003. As of November 2006, Craigslist had established itself in approximately 450 cities all over the world.

In December 2006, Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster appeared at the UBS Global Media Conference in New York and perplexed Wall Street analysts by telling them Craigslist has little interest in maximizing profit from the website but instead prefers only to help users find cars, apartments, jobs and dates."

So, this is one AMAZING international "help" website. I have found my house, car parts, garage sales (the best!), free stuff, jobs, a videographer for my son's skateboard video (http://www.ifilm.com/profile/Dannyrk/video/2829906), the most FABULOUS floor to ceiling library style bookcase for about 10% of original price, a 14 foot trampoline for $35, stained glass repair specialist, etc.

You can find just about anything on Craigslist... even a date (if that sort of thing is what you are looking for). You can certainly find out about events in your area. And of course, YOU can list items to sell, give away or barter.

So.... bargain hunters, set your browser to: www.craigslist.com and find your local area. Enjoy!

As always... let me know what kind of great bargains you find.

Freecycle - how to get free things

As my first tip from Bobbi's Bargains, I am going to tell you about one of the best ways to get FREE stuff that you actually WANT and to get rid of stuff (for free) that you don't want anymore.

There is an international network called "Freecycle." Their motto is "changing the world one gift at a time." There are groups all over the world. At this time there are almost 4,000 groups and over 3 million members. Just looking at the list of countries and members is fascinating.

Here is how this works: you sign up to be part of the group closest to you. You receive emails on a daily basis telling about items that people are offering. You email them back and arrange to get the items. You do the same thing when you want to get rid of something. The only rule is that the item must be absolutely free.

I have gotten furniture, books, craft items, and clothes. I have given away moving boxes, furniture, clothes, toys, books, a large piece of broken glass (hey... someone wanted it and I didn't have to haul it to the dump), computer monitor, etc.

This is one of the greatest recycling projects on the planet and sooo much fun.

So, now you go to www.freecycle.org and sign up.

Keep me infoed. I'm curious to see what kind of wonderful goodies my friends get from this gigantic giveaway.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Friends don't let friends pay retail

My dearest bargain hunters...

The time has finally come for me to go global with my bargain tips.

I AM the queen of bargains. I have been a stay-at-home mom for over 15 years. It has been a labor of love and bargain shopping.

I read some of these NEW and WONDEROUS ways to save money and I wonder.... WHO is PAYING retail for these unnecessary items and then putting them on credit cards that have 23% interest.

Egad! The world needs my advice.

So... I have started my blog... Bobbi's Bargains.

Those of you in the Los Angeles, California area will be the big winners on this site, because that is where I am located at the moment. But, I have lived on both the east and west coast and I have helped all my friends become MUCH better bargain shoppers.

So, grab your wish lists and let me show you how to "Live Large for Less!"

Check back often. Let me know what kinds of bargains you are looking for and I'll find them for you.