Archive for January, 2011

Try these cheap Valentine’s Day gifts

A $340 hotel package? Forget it. $90 concert tickets? Nope. $75 fixed-price dinner? Still too much.

Instead of spending your entire paycheck on Valentine’s Day, consider these gift ideas to keep your wallet fat and your romance blooming.

Love in motion

Kaitlyn Dennihy says she and her boyfriend of four years rarely splurge on Feb. 14. They’ve done everything from hiking to playing racquetball to attending a college basketball game.

“I just don’t see the point in spending a ton of money,” Dennihy, a Buckhead resident, says. “We really like to stay outdoors or do something active.”

So go ahead, you active types — fight with your partner. Take the couple’s fitness class at Dance 101, an Atlanta dance studio. The class is inspired by the Brazilian art form Capoeira, a mixture of martial arts and dance. It’ll have you touching, laughing and moving together — for only $20 per couple.

Leisurely love

Create a home spa. Add scented candles, relaxing music and dim …

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50% off the circus | $19 Braves package | Up to 70% off Columbia sportswear

50 percent off Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus

“The greatest show on earth,” Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, is now offering the greatest deal on earth — $28 circus tickets for only $14. The “Barnum’s FUNundrum!” show has flying trapeze artists performing quadruple somersaults, contortionists who can fit three humans into a cube the size of a milk crate, and an array of exotic animals including Nubian goats, tigers and even a rare Watusi. Plus, your favorite Asian elephants will be there. These Feb. 20 tickets are available through Goldstar.

$19 Braves package

Are you having baseball withdrawal? Don’t despair. You can still connect with your favorite team in preparation for the coming season. Get two adult and two children’s tickets for a guided tour of Turner Field, the Atlanta Braves Museum and Hall of Fame for $19 from Mamapedia today. Tours are in session Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., and vouchers must be used by April 15.

Up to 70 …

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Wes Moss: 10 exercises to get in better financial shape

Wes_Moss-for-Web-smaller-fiCertified financial planner Wes Moss provides personal finance advice and accessible investment strategies. His guest post appears here weekly.

I received an invitation to be on Q100 FM’s Bert Show last week and was asked to provide ideas that could help anyone make 2011 a better financial year. The guidance I offered can help anyone, regardless of age or circumstance. And while I only had time to talk about three of the ideas on air, here’s the full list of 10.

1. Write It Down – Today is the first day of the rest of your financial life, which makes it the perfect time to write down your goals on paper. As the saying goes, if you don’t know where you are going, you’ll never get there. Make time to map out your course for 2011 (and beyond) in every area of your life, including personal finance. There’s a strange power in doing so, plus you can refer back to these goals over the years to make sure you are on track.

2. Go on a debt diet today – Yes, all that …

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Google to launch deal site

Attention, daily deal website users. There’s another (yes, another) site in town, and most of you will be familiar with the name: it’s Google.

According to Mashable’s article, Google’s mode of operation is, “If you can’t join ‘em, beat ‘em.”

Google famously tried to buy Groupon for $6 billion just a few months ago in order to bolster its local advertising business. Groupon rejected the offer though and is instead preparing for a $15 billion IPO.

The search giant clearly isn’t giving this market up without a fight, though. With its vast reach, huge resources and brand recognition, it could prove to be a powerful player in the space. We’re going to be watching these developments closely. We’ve reached out to Google for comment.

Is there room in your life for another deal site? What would you expect from Google in this arena?

– By Lauren Davidson, Atlanta Bargain Hunter

See a great deal I should know about? Email me at ldavidson@ajc.com. You can also follow me on Facebook

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Free comedy show tickets | 2 for $20 deal at BLT Steak | boutique clearance | El Porton coupon

Free tickets to comedy show

Get your tickets to laugh out loud with Rachel Feinstein, a 2010 finalist on Last Comic Standing, at Funny Farm Comedy Club in Roswell. Feinstein is known for her array of character voices and jokes about her New York family. The best part of this deal? Tickets on Jan. 28 are free (plus a $4.50 service fee). Tickets for next Saturday’s show cost a mere $7.50, so purchase yours before they sell out. 11000 Alpharetta Highway, Roswell. 770-992-5688.

Two glasses of wine plus appetizer for $20 at BLT Steak

Pop in to BLT Steak and pull up a seat at the bar. Whether it’s happy hour or a late night snack time, BLT Steak is offering any 2 wines by the glass paired with one signature bread popover for $20. I called to find out just exactly the popover was (it’s their standard appetizer, not to be confused with the breakfast item). A representative for BLT told me, “You think bread is just bread, but this thing is crazy good.” Sounds like I need to make a …

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Are you a couponer?

Atlantans are the most coupon-savvy people in the nation, according to this story today. Not only did Atlanta top out the country, but we also almost doubled our coupon usage from last year, printing out more than $1,000 of savings in coupons in 2010 from Coupons.com, up from $531 in 2009.

Do you use coupons?

  • Yes, and they save me a ton of money.
  • Yes, but I usually don’t save that much.
  • No, but I’d like to start.
  • No, they’re not worth it.

View Results

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More from the story:

Atlantans were 10 times more likely to print coupon savings than the average U.S. resident, according to the survey, and nine times more likely to access coupons via a mobile application.

Do you use coupons? What are the best deals you’ve found from either everyday inserts or through a phone application?

A great place to start clipping coupons is in this Sunday’s AJC, with savings worth up to $197.

– By Lauren Davidson, Atlanta Bargain Hunter

See a great deal I should …

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Clark Howard: Run away fast from that gym contract

Consumer expert Clark Howard’s column appears here each Thursday in conjunction with Deal Spotter, a weekly print section in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

clarkhowardIf you’re like most people, you overindulged in calories during the holidays and then made a New Year’s resolution to eat better and exercise more. Here’s a warning so you can avoid getting eaten alive by gym salespeople.

The health club industry basically has two business models. In the good one, you pay month-to-month or quarterly with no real contract. But the sleazy business model involves long-term contracts designed to give your checking account a workout.

With the sleazoids, the downfall begins when they offer you a free tour of their facilities. The tour is done by a commissioned salesperson with the intention of getting you to sign a multi-year contract.
Once you sign that contract, the gym does what’s called “moving paper.” They sell it to a finance company that will take the note on for pennies …

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Free frozen yogurt | Free flight presentation | $20 gift card from Sam’s Club

Free frozen yogurt

Pop in to Red Mango for its grand opening on Jan. 29 and receive free frozen yogurt, plus a free t-shirt for the first 100 customers. The dessert company is part of the probiotic frozen yogurt trend and advertises its product at about 150 calories per serving — before toppings, of course. Their products are gluten-free, free of artificial flavors and come in Original, Madagascar Vanilla and Pomegranate flavors. 2052 North Decatur Road, Decatur. 404-320-1111. 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sun.-Thurs., 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Fri.-Sat.

Free flight tour and barbecue

American Flyers Flight School at the DeKalb Peachtree Airport will host an open house and free barbeque on Feb. 5. Show up for a facility tour and a presentation by a certificated flight instructor. Guests may try the flight simulators and check out the training aircraft displayed on the flight line. Additionally, every guest will receive a certificate for two free hours of instruction in one of the flight simulators. …

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There’s still money available for college

For many high school students, the college hunt may be nearly over, but where the money will come from is still a mystery. Some financial aid remains, though, even this late in the game.

The first thing to do — ASAP — is fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. It’s the door to any need-based financial aid.

“Unless you’re a multimillionaire, I usually advise people to fill out the FAFSA,” says Miriam Parker at the College Counseling Center of Atlanta. The result could be a grant, loan or work-study plan. “They’ll put together a package for a student, and the student can choose to take all or some of it.”

But don’t give up after you find out what your household contribution is. “That’s like [paying] the sticker price at a car dealership,” Terina Isaac says.

Isaac, a North Atlanta High School guidance counselor and the College Board’s 2010 Southeast Region Counselor of the Year, says families don’t need to wait until they do their …

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Keep those resolutions going: Fitness deals

One-month membership to Urban Body Fitness, plus four personal training sessions

Half Off Depot is offering a spectacular deal this month: a one-month membership to Urban Body Fitness plus four sessions with a personal trainer for only $45. Even if you decide the gym’s not for you, a month is certainly enough to jump-start your exercise routine. Urban Body Fitness trainers are certified by at least one national certification organization. 500 Amsterdam Ave. NE Atlanta. 404-885-1499. 5 a.m.-10 p.m. Mon.-Fri., 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Sat., 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Sun.

Free dance classes

Yes, free. No strings attached. Dance 101 is offering free Discover (beginner) classes this week, ranging from ballet to yoga dance trance to salsa underground. There are 32 classes left to drop in on this week, so get going to try them all! (Not that you would, but you could…) 2480 Briarcliff Road, Suite 11, Atlanta. 404-542-3887.

Boot camp classes, plus personal training session

KGB deals is advertising three …

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