Friday, October 23, 2009

International Bargain Shopping

From Here To Uncertainty from FromHereToUncertainty on Vimeo.

I know some brave and wonderful people who quit their job, sold their stuff, got rid of their house and took their kids and their lives on a trip to Europe. They are chronicling their adventures on a site called From Here to Uncertainty.

After reading one of their blog entries about a joke their kids played on Brenna (the mom) while shopping, I got to wondering how to find bargains in other countries ... especially w. So, I wrote to Brenna.

Turns out that Craigslist is international. The family has used it to find rentals during their trip.

Brenna also told me that Charity Shoppes (think Goodwill) are big. She says there are three or more in every town.

Because it is important to be able to find a good second hand shop wherever you go, I found a link to help you, if you happen to be in the UK. This Charity Shop Locator is run by the Association of Charity Shops and will help you locate second-hand (charity) stores in the UK.

Apparently the place to shop is Tesco. It's a cross between Costco and Wal-mart. I went online to check it out. I could tell I was looking at a European site because they had a bag of "Lots of Lollies" on sale. The prices are in Euros, so I can't tell if it is a bargain or not.

For those of you who are heading to countries where haggling is part of the shopping experience, here are some useful articles:
How to Bargain in a Market in Israel
How to Bargain at Mexican Markets

In Lille, France, bargain hunting is an annual event called La Braderie de Lille (The Fair of Lille.) The world's largest flea market takes place in the first week of September each year. A not to be missed event for an international bargain hunter.

I'd love to hear from any of my readers who went to La Braderie in Lille this past year. Sounds like a great time for a bargainista.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Free Balloon Rides in Orange County, CA

I have always wanted to take a balloon ride. I'm pretty sure my desire to do so comes from the scene in the Wizard of Oz where the "no-longer Great and Powerful Oz" flies away. I was always sooo upset with Dorothy for missing that ride.

Now, you don't have to miss the ride and you can do it for FREE!!

Get this. There is a Great Park being constructed in Orange County. It is on the site of the former Marine Corps Air Station El Toro in Irvine, California which is half way between Los Angeles and SanDiego. The Park is being promoted as the First Great Metropolitan Park of the 21st Century and is planned to be twice as large as Central Park in New York City. The design of the park has a great emphasis on sustainability with plans to generate and demonstrate cutting edge technology to inspire people to make changes in their lives.

You can read about The Great Park Design here.

Meanwhile, they have gotten their first attraction up and running. It is the Great Park Balloon ride... kind of like the one the Wizard flew off in, but not exactly.

This balloon is tethered to the ground so it won't go flying away. It's max height is 500 feet (which is plenty to see the planned park with a 360 degree view.) The balloon is not hot air, it is a giant helium balloon and is environmentally safe, non-polluting and virtually silent.

Rides are first come, first fly. The balloon only flies Thursday through Sunday and won't fly at all if it is too windy. The balloon will hold up to 30 people and can accommodate wheel chairs.

For times and directions click here. For more information about the Great Park Balloon and flight conditions, you can call the Visitor Center at their toll free number (866) 829-3829.

If you are looking for a unique first date idea, I'd certainly consider this.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Easy Way to Stop Smoking

The average cost of a pack of cigarettes in the United States is around $5.

The average smoker smokes a pack of cigarettes a day.

5 x 365 = $1825

One thousand, eight hundred, twenty-five dollars.... literally up in smoke.

If you are planning on smoking a pack of cigarettes a day for forty years, it will cost you $73,000 (without inflation.)

How would you like to save $73,000?

There is an awesome book called, "Allen Carr's Easy Way to Stop Smoking." It costs less than a few packs of cigarettes.

Check out these Celebrity Testimonials about this book.

My husband read this book and stopped smoking. I have other friends who read this book and stopped smoking. Ellen DeGeneres read this book and stopped smoking. You can read this book and stop smoking.

You can buy the book here.

The Easy Way to Stop Smoking: Join the Millions Who Have Become Non-Smokers Using Allen Carr's Easyway Method

You CAN stop smoking!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Research colleges for free at College Prowler

Extensive college research site, College Prowler, is now free. Due to a change in business model, College Prowler has opened their site up for free registration.

College Prowler began its life as a site that gave the inside scoop on colleges by surveying students who were currently enrolled regarding what the school was REALLY like. Each school then got a report card on key points such as academics, athletics, nightlife, parking, Greek life, facilities, drug scene and weather. All of this information is put together into a user friendly format so you get a real feel for the school from the students, not just from the college promotional literature.

The site has expanded to include student aide calculators, video tours, costs, internships, and comparable schools. You can quickly see the difference in tuition for various colleges and your chances of getting student aide or a job to off-set costs.

You can also do a survey on your personality and find schools that might match. Kind of like a "college computer dating" service.

Even if you only want to check out how your own alma mater rates, it is worth visiting this site. If you are in the early or late stages of choosing a college for yourself or your child, it is a definite go-see.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Disney to give away one million free park passes to community volunteers

In 2009, Disney gave free admission to everyone on their birthday.

In 2010, Disney intends to give one million volunteers free admission to a Disney theme park in exchange for a day of service in their communities. This program is called, "Give a Day. Get a Disney Day."

The program begins on January 1, 2010, but you can sign up now to receive an email reminder and updates on the program.

You will need to volunteer a day of service with a participating organization and your service will need to be verified. Then you will receive a one day (one park) admission to a Walt Disney World® or Disneyland® theme park, FREE!

The volunteer opportunities will be made available through HandsOn Network. HandsOn Network has 250 on-the-ground volunteer action centers across the country and connects volunteers to more than 70,000 nonprofit agencies. To get more information on how your non-profit organization can join HandsOn Network click here.

You can sign up for Disney's "Give a Day - Get a Disney Day" here. You can read more details and FAQs here.

This is a great project that the entire family can do together. You must be 18 years of age to sign up and at least 6 years old to participate.


Free Museum Days - Los Angeles and Orange County - October 3rd & 4th, 2009

One of the reasons to live in a metropolitan area are the excellent museums. Below is a listing of museums that will be participating in the upcoming "Museums Free-For-All in the Los Angeles and Orange County areas. If you don't live in Southern California, don't worry. I'm sure there are free museum days in your area as well. Here are links for free museum days in San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, and New York City.

24 Los Angeles and Orange County Museums
Free Admission Days October 3 and/or 4, 2009

In a joint effort to present the arts and culture to the diverse and myriad communities in Southern California, the Museum Marketing Roundtable announces the fifth annual "Museums Free-For-All" Saturday-Sunday, October 3 and 4, 2009. The following museums - presenting art, cultural heritage, natural history, and science - will open their doors wide and invite visitors free of charge.*

Participating Museums:

Armory Center for the Arts - Both Days
The Autry National Center - Sunday, October 4th ONLY
Bowers Museum - Sunday, October 4th Only
California African American Museum - Both Days
California Heritage Museum - Saturday, October 3rd Only
California Science Center - Both Days
Craft and Folk Art Museum - Both Days
Fowler Museum at UCLA - Both Days
The Getty Center - Both Days
The Getty Villa**- Both Days
The Grammy Museum at L.A. Live - Sunday, October 4th Only
Hammer Museum at UCLA - Sunday, October 4th Only
Japanese American National Museum - Saturday, October 3rd Only
Los Angeles Fire Department Museum and Memorial - Saturday, October 3rd
The Museum of Contemporary Art,
Los Angeles (MOCA) - Sunday, October 4th Only
Museum of Latin American Art (MoLAA) - Both Days
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County - Sunday October 4th Only
Norton Simon Museum - Sunday, October 4th Only
Orange County Center for Contemporary Art - Both Days
Orange County Museum of Art - Both Days
The Paley Center for Media - Both Days
Santa Monica Museum of Art - Saturday, October 3rd Only
Skirball Cultural Center - Sunday, October 4th Only
The Studio for Southern California History - Both Days
*Regular parking fees apply. General museum admission only. May not apply to ticketed exhibitions.
**Timed tickets are required. Visit

Thanks Shannon for bringing this listing to my attention.

For a listing of year around free museum days in the Los Angeles area, click here.