Archive for October, 2010

Save on holiday travel with these steps

If it took autumn’s amber and crimson leaves to make you think about flying home for the holidays, you’ve nearly waited too long.

According to travel experts, peak travel dates for Thanksgiving are either sold out or are already very high. Christmas travel is more reasonable, but not for much longer. Alas, you don’t have to settle for a box of Captain Crunch cereal instead of mom’s turkey and dressing. While the average domestic flight out of Atlanta in the first quarter of 2010 was $355.65, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, there are still ways to save on holiday travel.

Three travel gurus — Anne Banas executive editor of; Terry Brennan, president of Williamsburg Travel Management, based in Atlanta; and Bob Diener, co-founder of, offer these tips:

Enjoy alternative travel: “Cruise lines, resorts and hotels have plenty of space at great prices,” said Brennan. “Usually the Caribbean bookings sellout a year in …

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Holiday layaway plans go glam

The idea of putting a kid’s bike, toys, clothes and shoes on layaway is nothing new.

Last year, stores like Sears and KMart got a big boost from its layaway options. But this year, layaway has gone glam. Diamond rings and other luxury items are now available in some stores through layaway. As more and more consumers shun credit cards, they are looking for payments that are affordable on items they still desire.


“We don’t specifically promote it,” said Dean Abell, the vice president of Sarah Leonard Fine Jewelers in Los Angeles. But he often suggests a layaway plan for his clients, especially for purchases of engagement rings and wedding bands, which can cost up to $35,000.

“Even if people have the money, sometimes they will take advantage of that option to break up the payments without incurring credit card charges,” Abell explained.

Layaway allows shoppers to make an initial downpayment, then make regular payments on the item over a period of several …

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Blue Angels free this weekend | Free and cheap Pumpkin patches | Discount on Johns Creek Symphony Orchestra

Wings Over Atlanta 2010 Air Show

This year’s Wings Over Atlanta 2010 Air Show is Oct. 16 and 17 at Dobbins Air Reserve Base. The event and parking are free, but plan ahead: There’s no public parking at Dobbins, so plan to make your way to Six Flags Whitewater, Cobb County Jim Miller Park and Lockheed. The first aerial act begins at 10 a.m., and gates close at 5:30 p.m. There will be military and civilian aerial and aerobatic performances, including the Navy’s premier aerial demonstration team, the Blue Angels.

Family Fun: Pumpkin Patches near Atlanta

I contend it’s far more fun to get a pumpkin from a pumpkin patch than it is to pick up one from your local grocery store. has a great round-up of pumpkin patches, all of which are free or very affordable. Most include other fun activities like hayrides and corn mazes, as well as fall festival goodies such as cider and pumpkin pie. Read all of the details here.

$15 for $28 Johns Creek Symphony Orchestra …

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Jessica Shops: Hot consignment boutique sale | Kids free at Georgia Aquarium | Free film festival

Kids free at Georgia Aquarium

Spider crabs. Bat fish. Sounds kinda scary, right? Well, it’s all part of the fun at the Georgia Aquarium on Oct. 29-31 for Georgia-A-Scary-Um. You and your kids can join the fun, including trick-or-treating, at a discount. Kids 12 and under are free if they come in a costume and are accompanied by an adult. The offer is valid for up two kids per paid adult or annual pass member.

Friday, Oct. 29: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 30: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 31: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Did you make a handmade costume? Show it off by submitting it in our Halloween costumes photo gallery.

Big Read Film Festival Free

This year’s Big Read Film Festival is Oct. 23 from noon to 4 p.m. at the Atlanta History Center. The film festival will showcase two films by producer and director Roger Corman: House of Usher and The Masque of the Red Death. The films are based on stories of Edgar Allan Poe and star Vincent Price. All Big Read programs are free, …

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Negotiating rent when you have damaged credit

Finding an affordable apartment a year ago wasn’t very hard for Atlanta area residents.

Occupancy rates were lower than they had been in years, so complexes were motivated to do all they could to get people in. They offered free months’ rent, dropped their monthly rates and added on perks that customers found attractive.

Those days are mostly behind us now said Alan Wexler, president of Databank Atlanta. In the last quarter, the percentage of occupancy rates were in the low 90s. The demand for apartments in the area could be driven by a 16 percent rise in home foreclosure rates since October 2009, according to data released this week by Equity Depot.

Foreclosures lead to severely damaged credit scores. In the 2010 Annual Property Owners and Managers survey conducted by, 53 percent reported a decline in creditworthiness of prospective renters. As a result, Wexler said, landlords are relying less on pristine credit, particularly in B or C-grade apartments.

“In …

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Save on Hawks tickets | 50% off Georgia Tech tickets | Santa at Phipps | BOGO at T.G.I. Friday’s

Save on Hawks tickets

Through the end of today, the Atlanta Hawks are offering a ticket special that reduces the price by as much as $23. Use promo code HAWKS for tickets to opening night on Oct. 30 against John Wall and the Washington Wizards, Nov. 3 against the Detroit Pistons and Nov. 7 versus the Phoenix Suns.

Georgia Tech tickets starting at $10

Granted, Middle Tennessee State isn’t likely to strike fear in the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. But, the team will stay want to play well to stay on track this season. Georgia Tech faces Middle Tennessee State on Saturday, and tickets are 50 percent off (not including additional fees) on StubHub. I found this offer on Upper Endzone, Lower Sideline and Lower Corner seats typically sell for $40-$60 for this game, but this deal saves over 50 percent. Click here for more details.

BOGO Boss’s Day at T.G.I. Friday’s

T.G.I.F’s is celebrating Boss’s day with a buy one, get one free offer on Oct. 14 and 15. On either day, …

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The hottest holiday gadgets

The prices of flat screen televisions dipped 20 percent during last year’s holiday season. While we won’t see such a dramatic drop this season, experts predict that prices will fall as much as 8 percent, according to research from DisplaySearch.

Said the Los Angeles Times:

U.S retailers can’t blame the soft discounting on booming business. There’s a surplus of unsold TVs nationwide because so many households already have high-definition televisions. That’s why forecasters predict that sales will be flat compared to last year.

“It seems like it would make sense to drop prices on TVs when you have a warehouse full of them,” said DisplaySearch analyst Paul Gagnon. “But that’s not the whole story.”

Other hot electronics items this season, according to


iPhone 4

Apple’s new iPod

Microsoft’s Xbox Kinect

HTC’s Desire

Samsung’s Galaxy S

Kymera Magic Wand

The Droid and the Kindle are also anticipated hot items.

What gadget do you want to give or receive this …

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DealSwarm set to launch in Atlanta with daily deals

DealSwarm, a new deal site offering discounts of 50 percent or greater on local dining, entertainment and other services, will soon launch in Atlanta and three other cities across the the country.

Cox Media Group’s DealSwarm will kickoff in coming weeks in Atlanta; Austin, Texas; Dayton, Ohio; and Seattle, before expanding to other cities throughout the country in 2011. Customers can now register on to receive daily announcements on deals that will roll out within the next few weeks.

DealSwarm bargains will be found on Facebook applications and Twitter accounts in each market, as well as through e-newsletters. CMG is owned by Cox Enterprises, as is The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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

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Discounts on goods and services you need in Atlanta

It’s not hard to find deals on restaurants and entertainment. Getting rock bottom deals on services can be a bit trickier. Here are a few we’ve come across:

Up to 46% off full gutter cleaning

Soon enough, fall leaves will clog your home’s gutters. If you lack the time or ability to clean them yourself, here’s a solution. On Angie’s List, I found a discount for up to 46 percent off on a full gutter cleaning. It would be $95 for Angie’s List members (a $175 value), and $115 for non-members. Plus, it comes with a 20 percent discount on a gutter protection system. There’s a surcharge added on for homes that are 3,000 square feet and larger. The coupon expires Nov. 30.

$39 two-room carpet cleaning

Kids and pets, in particular, do a number on carpet. Keeping it clean can be a chore. It helps when you come across a deal to cut the price. This is a good one on For $39, you can get a two-room carpet cleaning with pre-treatment and deodorizing from All About Carpet. …

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Senior citizens prepare for Social Security freeze

With the announcement that senior citizens will face yet another Social Security freeze, many are bracing for a paycheck that doesn’t meet the rising cost of living, according to an Associated Press report.

The government is expected to announce this week that more than 58 million Social Security recipients will go through a second straight year without an increase in monthly benefits. This year was the first without an increase since automatic adjustments for inflation started in 1975.

It’s a frightening thought for many seniors who do not have a pension to rely on. Here are some tips to maximize your Social Security benefits:

1. Retire, then retire again

A retiree collecting Social Security may find another well-paying job. In this scenario, the individual can withdraw benefits application and repay in one lump sum what they’d received. Later, they would reapply for what would be a larger Social Security benefit, as much as 30 percent higher. Additionally, …

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