Archive for February, 2010

Coupon craze leads to new business for entrepreneur

Fumbling through coupons for cat food and cereal, dish detergent and diapers, is worsened when impatient shoppers’ sighs of exasperation are audible behind you.

Perhaps the coupon holder is antsy, too, having spent too much time in the store rifling through a plastic bag or the bottom of a purse for coupons that match sales items. This is the picture of a well-intentioned but inefficient bargain shopper.

It was the picture of Jamie Manangan.

“I wanted to be fast and get the trip over with, but I was using Ziploc bags to hold coupons and dropping them. Plus, I had to keep track of my shopping list,” said Manangan of Tucker.

The Dill Blossom coupon organizer

The Dill Blossom coupon organizer

Unable to find a product that suited her needs, Manangan, 31, dusted off the sewing machine she’d once used to make curtains and created decorative coupon organizers that she began selling in December. Her business, The Organized Shopper on, is one of many that have launched during the economic downturn.

Manangan …

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Brand names pushed off store shelves

If you’ve grown weary of trying to decide between too many products when shopping, you are not alone. You may not have to worry about it as much anymore, either.

According to a report, Wal-Mart and other major retailers are scaling back on brand name products to save themselves and their companies money and time. That means you’ll see more generic brands on the shelves and perhaps less expensive prices on name brands as the retailers negotiate better prices.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

For example, Wal-Mart recently removed Glad and Hefty-branded storage bags from shelves, replacing them with its own lower-priced Great Value brand, according to the parent companies of both products.

In the case of Hefty, parent Pactiv Corp. (PTV) told that Wal-Mart reversed its decision, and will return its products to shelves this spring — after Pactiv agreed to make the Great Value bags that will sell alongside the competing Hefty product.

“Hefty was off …

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50% off wine at Ecco | National Margarita Day | Free pancakes at IHOP

Free pancakes

National Pancake Day at IHOP is Tuesday, Feb. 23. So, you know there are free hotcakes out there somewhere. IHOP is giving away one free short stack — three buttermilk pancakes — from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. All they ask is that you consider making a donation to a children’s hospital through Children’s Miracle Network or other local charities. The free offer is valid only at participating restaurants.

50% bottles of wine at Ecco

Today through March 14, select bottles of wine at Ecco are 50 percent off with the purchase of an entree’ at the regular price. Can’t make it through an entire bottle? No problem because you can take unfinished bottles home with you. You will have to present this coupon to get the special offer.

National Margarita Day

Who knew? The cloudy skies doesn’t make me think of margarita, but nevertheless, it’s sunny somewhere. Today is National Margarita Day. Agave Restaurant is celebrating with 50 percent off all tequilas and margaritas all night …

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How credit card companies will remain profitable

No longer can credit card companies change due dates or hike interest rates without ample notice. Still, they’ll find ways to be profitable after the Credit Card Accountability and Disclosure Act — also known as the CARD Act — goes into effect Monday, experts say.

Wholesale changes meant to protect consumers from burdensome penalties levied by card companies will likely trigger results ranging from tougher access to credit to the rebirth of annual fees, said Ben Woolsey, director of consumer research for

“They’ll try to offset lost income,” Woolsey said. “It’s unprecedented that the government will come in and restrict the ability of [a company] to price the product the way they want to, but the fact that credit cards touch so many American households, the political pressure was so great that something had to be done.”

According to a survey conducted in late January on, 27 percent of cardholders say their card companies have increased their interest …

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Save 25% on Aida | 50% off the Circus | 70% off

More discounts has added a new slate of eateries to its dining menu. With a broader array of restaurants to choose from, the discounts the Web site offers each week are even better. This week gift certificates are 70 percent off — $3 for $25 gift certificates. Be sure to read the fine print on the certificate as different rules apply depending on the restaurant you pick to use your certificate. Use promo code ENJOY through Feb. 21 to get the 70 percent off.

Save 25 percent on Aida

The opera Aida has captured hearts over and over again. I’m excited that it is coming to Atlanta and hope to see it. You can save 25 percent on tickets by mentioning the ZDennis Twitter account — @ZDennis_ArtsPR when you make your purchase for the Tuesday and Friday shows only on March 2 and March 5. Call 404-881-6866.

Circus 50 percent off

If you didn’t know about the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in town, you surely do know after one of the show’s zebras …

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Buy one, get one free Filet-O-Fish at McDonald’s

If you like McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish sandwiches, you’ll love this deal.

The sandwiches are buy one, get one free during lunch and dinner hours on Friday, Feb. 19, at all participating McDonald’s restaurants. You may not find this deal on their Web site, but the McDonald’s Atlanta Twitter post did alert followers today.

Follow me on Twitter @atlbargains and on Facebook at AJC Atlanta Bargain Hunter

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Save $20 at Park’s Edge | $30 off at La Grotta | 60% off Cheyenne Grille

Deals of the Day $15 for $35 worth of gourmet brunch, food, drinks and more at Park’s Edge restaurant. You save: $20. Brunch is Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. $20 for $50 at La Grotta, an Italian restaurant with two locations in Buckhead and Dunwoody.

Living Social: $25 for $50 at La Grotta. The Italian restaurant is working the deal sites today, as you can find discounts for the restaurant here and at Half Off Depot. Save 60 percent at Cheyenne Grille, famous for its fish tacos, lobster and steak fajitas.

For more daily deals, go to the Daily Deals blogroll on the bottom of this page.

Follow me on Twitter @atlbargains and on Facebook at AJC Atlanta Bargain Hunter

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Cheap date ideas: Free classical music | Oysterfest | Vancouver south | Walking tour | Run for it!

Don’t be a one night wonder. You had a great time on Valentine’s Day, so let the good times continue to roll with these free and cheap date ideas. None of these dates will cost you more than $40.

Oakland Cemetery Guided Walking Tour

Before moving to Atlanta, I’d never heard of guided walking tours through cemeteries. As it turns out, it’s a popular outing here, especially when it’s free. The Oakland Cemetery, in honor of Black History Month, is hosting the African American guided walking tour on Wednesday, Feb. 24. All tours begin at 1 p.m. at the Bell Tower. Maynard Jackson, Atlanta’s first black mayor, is one of several well known figures buried there.

The Olympian in you

Do all of the Winter Olympic sports have you wishing you could speed skate, ski or…curl? Well, Atlanta may not be the center of winter sports activities, but you can get in the spirit with some ice time at the Marietta Ice Center. There will be public skate sessions this weekend, Feb. 19-21. It costs $7 per …

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4 tips to help you save more now

Do you know how much money you need to retire? How do you save $100,000? Those are the kinds of questions you’re likely to hear as a national consortium of financial institutions, nonprofit networks, educators, government leaders, employers and others promote America Saves Week Feb. 21-28.

Saving in the United States peaked at 12 percent of disposable income in the mid 1980s. That number dropped to 1.4 percent in 2005, said Atlanta economist and certified public accountant Emily Sanders, and that was before the real estate crash. Today, it is back up to 3.9 percent.

That is well below countries like France (13.5 percent) and Sweden (14.5), but a vast improvement over where we were even a year or two ago.

“We are saving more for a rainy day,” Sanders said. “And, it’s not as easy to get financing. If we start saving more, that’s a good thing for consumers in the long term, but it hurts [economic] recovery in the short term. If Americans spend less, government picks up the slack …

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Discounted ASO tickets | Free cooking classes | Free pretzels

$12 tickets for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra

Violinist Leila Josefowicz will perform Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 1 for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Feb. 18-20. Conductor Roberto Abbado will “impart charm and vigor to Schubert’s most extensive orchestral score, justly known as the ‘Great C-Major’ Symphony.” Tickets are $12 when you contact Shelby Moody at 404-733-4958 or email Tickets at this special price cannot be purchased online or at the box office. Performances begin at 8 p.m. in Symphony Hall.

Free Auntie Anne’s Pretzels

I prefer the cinnamon, but I’ll take any of Auntie Anne’s warm, delicious pretzels. On Saturday, Feb. 20, the original and cinnamon are free from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Arbor Place Mall. If you need a reminder, get a text alert by texting WAKEUP to 80565. On the company’s last Free Pretzel Day in 2008, it gave away more than one million pretzels. Check the Web site for other locations near you for this national …

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