Archive for July, 2009

How to save on back to school shopping

Who knows better about what young students need, and don’t need, in a classroom than teachers?

They’ve witnessed the goofy, excessive and flat-out strangeness in back to school supplies. And the teachers we talked to have one comment: Stop it.

Back to the basics is what Back-to-School shopping should be all about, said Lisa Rogers, a fourth grade teacher at King Springs Elementary in Smyrna. Marbut Elementary school educator Rose Smith has no room for extras, either.

“I have a big tub of things in my closet that I collect,” Rogers said. “If they bring all that stuff to school, I end up taking it anyway. By the end of the day, they’ve forgotten all about it. It’s a waste of money.

Top of Rogers’ leave-it-at-home list? Pencils, all kinds of pencils.

Pencils with whistles and pompoms attached. Transformers and cheerleaders dangling off pencils. Even big packs of 24 pencils. “You only need one or two,” she says. Pencil sharpeners with lava inside? Another no-no.

Smith says bypass …

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Discounts: “Moore” | Free UGA event | 50% off Cheesecake | Free NBAF event

If you want “Moore” you can get it with a discount through August at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. Moore in America, the largest outdoor exhibition of British artist Henry Moore’s sculptures ever presented in North America, can be seen at a reduced price.

Visitors will receive a $3 coupon off the regular $15 adult admission price on Thursday nights, when the Garden is open for Cocktails in the Garden. The event pairs a specialty drink with a featured plant.

Those who pay full admission to the Garden on Thursday nights can return during the day and get $5 off the admission price.

Free National Black Arts Festival Children’s event

AJC writer Howard Pousner has written about a book giveaway as part of the 40th annual Coretta Scott King Book Awards. In conjunction with the National Black Arts Festival, this giveaway surrounds a host of free children’s activities this Wednesday, including a reading by Atlanta master storyteller Mama Koku. You don’t want to miss this event.

Tasty …

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Are you a Discount-aholic?

Are you addicted? Are you one of the many hooked on the rush of identifying the next great deal, sale or freebie?

If this sounds like you, or someone you know, tell us your story below.

I know a gentleman who starts his day with coffee and an internet search — not for breaking news and major headlines, but for the bargain he might get that day.

Another friend is admittedly a coupon addict, clipping and printing coupons every chance she gets (which is to say, daily). Some do it for fun; some to knock an edge off. Some do it for the purest of reasons — saving money.

Perhaps it started during the recession, or with a job loss. Or, perhaps this has been a part of your DNA. Deal hunting is as natural as breathing.

If you can’t help yourself — no apology necessary — tell us about it. If you’re a silent deal searcher, feel free to email me at I’d like to hear from you.

Happy Hunting!

Have a story idea? Send an email to

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Make the most of sales tax holiday: here’s your game plan

It’s tax-free weekend, a shopping extravaganza rivaled only by Black Friday in metro Atlanta. Shopping centers will go all out for the blockbuster convergence of back-to-school shoppers and bargain hunters July 30-Aug. 2.

“It’s an adrenaline rush,” said Holly Duffey, general manager of Tanger Outlet in Locust Grove.

Here’s a guide to get you ready for the sales tax holiday.

What’s in play:
To play the game, you have to know the rules. Simply, clothing and shoes must be priced at $100 or less. School supplies have to be $20 or less. Personal computers and accessories must come in at $1,500 or less. So, if you’re thinking of making a big computer purchase, for instance, break up the cart to make sure you don’t exceed the per purchase limit.

Have a shopping list:
Take inventory. Did your kid grow into a new shoe or pants size over the summer? What school supplies do you have left over and won’t need to purchase again? What extras will you need with the computer? …

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National Tequila Day | Half-Off musical tickets | School supply of the day

Salt before? After? Sour lemon?

It’s National Tequila Day, the origins of which are irrelevant to those more interested in finding a Mexican restaurant or bar to partake in the festivities.

I found two deals: The Original El Taco in Virginia Highlands is trotting out its pineapple infused tequila shots for $4 each. The restaurant is located at 1186 N. Highland Ave. Over at Agave Restaurant, free shot glasses come along with any shot. When you sit at the tequila bar, on any night from 5-7 p.m., Agave has two for one appetizers. If you know of any more freebies or deals related to National Tequila Day, spread the word below.

Free Candy Bar:

Don’t forget to download your coupon today for a free chocolate candy bar from Mars.

Half-Off Tickets:

Consider seeing 42nd Street at the Fox Theatre on the Tuesday and Wednesday nights of the show, July 28-29. You can get tickets for half-price at all area Publix locations with Ticketmaster outlets. To get this deal, you do have to buy the …

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Best time to buy…everything

There’s a time and place for everything. Everything, as in lawn chairs, winter coats, wedding dresses, televisions and more.

If you’re looking for the best sales on the items you want or need the most, help yourself by knowing when to buy them. publishes an annual month-to-month Best Time To Buy list. Any shopper in the know will bookmark it.

Here’s a look at the rest of the year:






Broadway tickets


Patio Furniture

Outdoor Toys

School and office supplies


Produce: All Summer Long


Holiday Airfare

Health Insurance (September and October)

New cars

Landscaping plants (September and October)

Appliances (Sept. and October: Note — Georgia’s tax free holiday for energy and water efficiency products is Oct. 1-4)





Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (November/December)

Baking ingredients

Travel (All Fall Long)



Charity Donations


For more details on all of …

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Fighting foreclosure? Keep these 5 things in mind

Foreclosure filings nationally rose 33 percent in June compared with the same month last year, according to data collected by RealtyTrac, Inc. While the company is the nationally recognized source of foreclosure information, analysis by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution shows wide discrepancies as the statistics pertain to metro Atlanta.

By any standard, the number of Georgia homeowners on the verge of losing their homes, and those who have already done so, is in the thousands. This week’s Voice of the Expert is Mechel Glass, director of education for Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Greater Atlanta. She provides critically important tips for people who find themselves fighting for their homes.

Says Glass:

If you are behind on your mortgage payments, you are not alone. Millions of Americans either are late on their mortgage, or have been recently.

During this mortgage crisis some people have successfully worked with their lenders to bring payments up to date. In many of …

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Deals to catch: Golf | Sushi | School supply special of the day

Chocolate (sort of) and Sushi

Atlantic Station is more hip now that you can hang out there on the cheap. Take tonight for instance. The Movies In The Market series continues tonight with a free showing of Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory. Screening begins at dusk. Before you watch the movie, you can have half-price sushi rolls (with a purchase) at Strip from 5 p.m.-7:15 p.m.

School Supply deal of the day

Free backpack! Well, this one might take a while, but after the wait that’s exactly what it will be — free! Buy any backpack from Staples, and get 100 percent of the price back in Staples Rewards. Of course this also means you have to be a Rewards member, but it’s free to sign up. You won’t get the Rewards until October, but it’s worth the wait if you buy a quality backpack.

Golf, Bikes, Boats…That’s a Vacation

The Callaway Gardens summer special is a hot deal.

The Callaway Gardens summer special is a hot deal.

Through Aug. 31, Callaway Gardens is offering a ‘Summer Stimulus Package’ that is hard to pass up. For $99 per …

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Frugal and Fun: Inexpensive date ideas

Welcome to the third installment of Frugal and fun: inexpensive date ideas. Here we try to find interesting, different and fun date ideas for around $40.

Classical music:

The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra is presenting a Beethoven Blockbuster on Saturday at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre at Encore Park. Tickets start at $21 and with three Beethoven pieces being played, it’s well worth the dollar. Look forward to Leonore Overture No. 3, Symphony No. 7 and Piano Concerto No. 3. For a few more dollars, at $30 each moving this into more of a splurge date than a frugal one, you can make it extra special by stopping first at Sage Woodfire Grill in Alpharetta. Sage and ASO have teamed up for Belvedere in the Garden. Together they offer all the enticements of a romantic evening: martinis, hors d’oeuveres and appetizers, jazz and classical music at Sage from 4-7 p.m., before heading over to the amphitheatre for the 8 p.m. concert. It’s not cheap, but it’s definitely a bargain.

She …

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Take flight: 7 tips to save on airline travel

Would it be easier to flap your arms and hope for lift-off?

While airline deals are there to be had, the fees tacked on are climbing faster than a plane through clouds. This week, Delta Air Lines announced it is adding a $5 surcharge for paying for checked baggage fees at the airport instead of online. It goes into effect Aug. 4, and follows moves made by others like US Airways and United Airlines.

Fees are tacked on at many airlines for any checked bags, some charge for non-alcoholic beverages, others add on if you select your own seat, and at least two charge a fee for bookings made online.

It takes some savvy shopping to ensure a real flight deal, piecing together the array of extras that add to the overall tab. Just because a ticket is a steal at first-glance, one would be wise to look further before heading to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Southwest Airlines has avoided many of the extra fees, but since they don’t fly into Atlanta, you’d have to …

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