Archive for April, 2011

Wes Moss: U.S. debt crisis affecting your plans?

Certified financial planner Wes Moss provides personal finance advice and accessible investment strategies. His guest post appears here Monday mornings.

Wes-Moss-032011-USE-THIS-VERSIONIt finally happened. Last week, one of the big bond rating agencies, Standard and Poor’s, put a “negative” watch on U.S. government debt. This is the first time the good old US of A isn’t AAA-rated with a “stable” outlook.

How long can we spend $1.40 for every $1 we bring in? According to S&P, the chickens will come home to roost as early as 2013 if Washington doesn’t start getting our nation’s finances in order.

The credit watchdogs are rightfully worried the right and the left won’t come to an agreement to reduce deficits until it’s too late, resulting in a possible downgrade of our actual bond rating, from AAA to AA, and not just a downgrade in the “outlook.”

Among the stunning numbers behind S&P’s downgrade:

• Total outstanding public debt: $14.26 trillion, aka $14,260,000,000,000.00. That’s …

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Free (yes, free) comedy show tickets

You can’t put a price on laughter.

And that’s why, in celebration of the Funny Farm Comedy Club’s 10th birthday, the club is offering one free ticket to everyone in Atlanta (while supplies last, of course).

Choose from 24 free shows including CMT’s Mike Speenberg this weekend. Or got check out BET’s Shang, Tom Simmons (a winner of the Laughing Skull Comedy Festival) or Stephen Grant.

The Funny Farm offers a dinner menu and a full service bar, so go ahead and make a night of it. The venue is also located inside Andretti’s Indoor Carting and Games — perfect for planning a full day of fun.

Redeem your free ticket through this special link and let the comedy begin. 11000 Alpharetta Highway, Roswell.770-992-5688.

– By Lauren Davidson, Atlanta Bargain Hunter

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Free Starbucks coffee for Earth Day

travelmug (Large)Have you been using disposable paper coffee cups every day? Hmmm? Have you?

Leave it to Starbucks to remind us to save the planet. Honor mother Earth today by bringing in your own travel mug when you visit the coffee giant. In return, Starbucks will give you free brewed coffee — up to 31 oz.

Don’t have a travel mug? Starbucks will give you 20 percent off one today only.

If you desire to further support Earth Day and the Bucks’ promotion, change your Facebook photo to a picture of your travel mug, or use the one from Starbucks.

– By Lauren Davidson, Atlanta Bargain Hunter

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Save on ‘Fool for Love’ with Kenny Leon

Every little bit helps. Including $3 off multiple tickets during an expensive night out.

Get $15 tickets (reg. $18) today only to select performances of “Fool for Love” at Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company.

The show, which stars Jasmine Guy and Kenny Leon, tells a haunting story of obsession, denial and the relationship between two people who can’t live with or without each other. Inside the confines of a motel room, two estranged lovers revisit their shared history and reignite old rage. When they try to come to terms with their past the outcome is fascinating and shocking, funny and bitter.

Discount tickets are only valid for May 10-12 at 8 p.m., May 18 at 11 a.m. and 8 p.m., and May 19, 24 and 25 at 8 p.m. Order online at Ticket Alternative or by calling 1-877-725-8849 and using promo code TWODAY. 659 Auburn Ave., Atlanta.

– By Lauren Davidson, Atlanta Bargain Hunter

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Clark Howard: Don’t go into debt for your wedding

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

ClarkHowardWe’re getting closer to wedding season. If you or someone you know is getting married, I have some suggestions for you about ways to save money.

Costco Wholesale has been getting derisive press of late for selling high-end designer wedding dresses at a fraction of what they would cost elsewhere. We’re talking typically somewhere between $700 and $1,200.

The idea that weddings have to be frightfully expensive to be any good is an odd and amazing thing. I think about my in-laws who were married some 50 years ago and it cost them $25. Inflation adjusted, that would be like a $100 wedding today.

Joel, one of the producers on my radio show, got married less than six months ago. He and his bride Emily did a very inexpensive wedding. Emily had fun creating the décor for the wedding. She crafted flowers out of paper …

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32 ways you’re wasting your money

wallet (Large)

Have you neglected rebates? Bought unused Groupons? Missed bill deadlines?

If so, you’re hemorrhaging money. That is, you’re unintentionally spending it on things for which you don’t receive any value. And Kiplinger’s article Stop Wasting Your Money highlights 32 ways to quit.

A sampling of wallet-draining circumstances from the series inlcudes:

  • high insurance premiums from speeding tickets
  • a sagging credit score
  • failure to comparison shop via smartphone apps
  • overlooking tax breaks
  • high annual credit card fees

What do you think is missing from Kiplinger’s list? What have you found in your own budget that’s draining you of cash?

– By Lauren Davidson, Atlanta Bargain Hunter

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$39 to get fit | 50% off sushi | 50% off dog boarding

$39 for a month of fitness classes

You know bathing suit season is just around the corner, right? This offer from DealSwarm today gives you a month’s worth of group fitness classes at Brookhaven’s Thrive Fitness for only $39. This package of 18 classes usually retails at $360, and you’ll have 60 days to use it.

sushi (Large)50 percent of Aqua Bistro sushi

You’ve decided the chicken sandwich and fries just aren’t cutting it anymore. It’s time to pick yourself up out of the restaurant funk. And today’s coupon from Double Take Deals makes it easy. Pay only $10 for $20 worth of sushi from contemporary urban sushi restaurant Aqua Bistro in Atlanta — a savings of 50 percent. Challenge yourself to try the submarine roll, the empress roll or the ninja roll.

50 percent off dog day care

If you’re a frequent flier but have to leave your pooch at home, why not leave him where he can make some friends? Today’s deal from Half Off Depot gives you one night of boarding at Camp Woof Dog Day Care and …

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Free dessert for Chick-fil-A princesses

I scream, you scream — even princesses scream for ice cream. So pack up the royalty in your family and go out for ice cream and other desserts this week.

The Moore Road Chick-fil-A restaurant on Peachtree Industrial Boulevard in Suwanee will host “Princess Night with Miss Georgia” for local girls on Thursday from 5 to 8 p.m.

Parents are invited to bring their daughters dressed in their favorite princess costumes. Activities include photographs with Miss Georgia 2011, Kaylin Reque, and the Chick-fil-A “Eat Mor Chikin” Princess Cow, crown-making crafts with Miss North Gwinnett pageant winners and a free small-sized dessert of choice for all attendees in princess attire. (Moms, it might be worth it for you to don a tiara as well.)

“We are very excited to see our local princesses come to the restaurant all dressed up,” said franchise Operator Brad Williams. “This will be a fun night that parents and their princesses can enjoy together.”

Chick-fil-A at Moore Road. 1035 …

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Do you still pay for shipping?

This weekend I had the option of hauling myself to Lowe’s (my closest hardware store open on Sundays), driving even farther to a Home Depot … or ordering online. The clincher in my decision was that Home Depot offers free shipping on more than 60,000 items, including the plumbing piece I needed, saving me gas money and time.


This past holiday season, 40 to 45 percent of online retailers offered free shipping in an attempt to secure sales, up 10 percentage points from the previous year, according to Bloomberg News. And, in a 2010 Forrester survey, 44 percent of participants said they abandoned an online shopping cart because of high shipping costs — the top reason for not completing an online purchase.

Americans are voting with their dollars: They don’t want to pay shipping fees any longer.

And retailers are responding. You’re probably seeing other major retailers including Amazon and Target offer free shipping with a minimum purchase, usually from $25 to …

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Tax day discounts: RA Sushi, Whole Foods, Cinnabon

“Manic Monday” special at RA Sushi

To provide a little relief for those who procrastinated on doing their taxes, RA Sushi has created a “Manic Monday” special, extending its happy hour from 3 p.m. to close.

Today choose from more than 35 sushi, appetizer and tapas selections ranging from $2 to $7. In addition, RA will continue offering all-day drink specials, including select beer, wine and sake from $2 to $6. Updated earlier this year, the happy hour menu has been expanded to include garlic sugar snap peas, shishito peppers, squid salad, seaweed salad, spicy salmon roll, rainbow roll, and tuna tataki. Special is available for dine in orders only. 1010 Midtown building at 1080 Peachtree St., Atlanta. 404-267-0114.

Tax-free shopping at Whole Foods

Whole Foods Market is paying customers’ sales tax today. Shoppers can stock up on everything from natural and organic food and eco-friendly clothing to bath and body products and green cleaners, all without paying a …

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