Archive for August, 2012

Coupon Mom: High-value coupon tip, current deals

Savings tip: Hold on to great coupons to use during sales

Now that school is back in session, we can expect to see more coupons in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Sunday circulars. Last Sunday there were three circulars: RedPlum, SmartSource and Procter & Gamble. Don’t overlook the high-value coupons in each circular, and hold on to them to use in future weeks when the items are on sale.

For example, the Aug. 26 RedPlum circular has a coupon for one free Super Poligrip ($2.60 value), and a $10 mail-in-rebate form for Pfizer products. The Aug. 26 SmartSource circular has coupons for 30 cents off one cup of Yoplait Simplait yogurt, which may be free once the store doubles the coupon when the item is on sale. Also find 50 cents off Maruchan noodles (also free when doubled and on sale), “buy one, get one free” coupons for Wholly Salsa (value $3.99), a free Bic FlameDisk (value $4.99), 50 cents off Carefree products, and $2 off Stayfree products. The Procter and …

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Clark Howard: IPhone 5’s release helps cut phone prices

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 don’t mind not having state-of-the-art technology, there’s a way for you to save big bucks on a smartphone.

We’re close to Apple’s rollout of the iPhone 5. That’s already been sucking life out of the iPhone 4 and the iPhone 4S market, causing prices to drop at retail.

Sprint has discounted the iPhone 4S (with contract) by $50, and Apple is matching that price at their stores. But you can expect prices to trend downward on both fourth-generation models big-time in the next few months.

It’s the same pattern each time Apple rolls out new technology; everybody fawns over the latest model and the old model gets sold on discount.

For example, when the iPad 3 came out, the previous iteration was marked down to $359 — instead of $499 for a new iPad 3.

Apple products depreciate faster than normal for …

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Jessica Shops: Rent designer dresses, find kids’ items

Dress it up

Rent the Runway: It’s time to give that little black (boring) dress a vacation. This site allows you to rent designer dresses at a fraction of the cost. They send you a back-up size and return envelope, making it so easy. Save 20 percent on your first-time rental with code “BETTERMORNINGS20” through Friday.

Options when buying for babies, toddlers, kids

Kushies: Kushies makes fantastic things and offers one-stop shopping on its site for baby and toddler items. Find organic layette, apparel, pajamas, cloth diapering and accessories, award-winning educational toys, baby basics, blankets, bedding, nursing, organic products, swimwear, training pants, bibs, bath toys and much more. Use discount code “jessicashops2012″ and take 10 percent off any item. Valid through the end of September.

Second Childhood Consignment Event: This is the season for consignment sales on kids’ items, with this event set for Sept. 13-16. This is one of the most highly selective …

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Deals roundup: Golf, baseball, car care

Golf, baseball

The Creek Golf Course: This Labor Day weekend, golfers who donate $5 to the Wounded Warrior Fund collection box at The Creek Golf Course can play 18 holes for nearly half off. Regular fees for 18 holes with cart are $50; this deal lets golfers play for $30 ($25 for golf, plus $5 donation). Tee times required; donations must be cash or check. Deal valid Friday-Monday. (Hard Labor Creek State Park, Rutledge. 1-800-434-0982)

Better Baseball: Sharpen those baseball skills with affordable batting cage practice, thanks to a deal at DoubletakeDeals.com. Pay $20 for a certificate good for a two-hour batting cage session with unlimited pitches ($50 value). One certificate per visit; cannot be combined with other offers. Other restrictions apply; available for a limited time. (132 Carruth Drive, Marietta)

Car wash, auto club

California Autobuff: Refresh your ride with this deal. For a limited time at HalfOffDepot.com, pay $12 for a certificate worth $40. Use it for a …

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Wes Moss: What U.S. home prices mean for Atlanta

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

Wes Moss hosts 'Money Matters' Sunday mornings on AM750 and 95.5FM News/Talk WSB.

Wes Moss hosts 'Money Matters' Sunday mornings on AM750 and 95.5FM News/Talk WSB.

There’s bad news and good news in the list below. Which is the good news?

A) The race for president is heating up.

B) Congress’ own accountants are warning lawmakers a recession looms in 2013 if they don’t head off an automated schedule of massive tax increases and spending cuts.

C) Europe is still an economic basket case.

D) The U.S. housing market appears to have hit bottom.

The answer is D. It is indeed good news if housing has finally crash-landed (or stopped going down). An industry can’t start recovering until that happens. And we need home construction, incredibly important to the U.S. economy, to bounce back.

In mid-2003, for example, residential investment contributed nearly one full percentage point to our gross domestic product. …

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Coupon Mom: New-product tip and a bunch of deals

Save with high-value coupons on new products

Take advantage of high-value coupons and sales when manufacturers introduce new products. For example, you will find a $2 coupon for the new Hershey’s Simple Pleasures chocolates (5.6-ounce bag). Kmart has the item on sale for $2.99, so if you use your $2 coupon at Kmart, your final cost will be 99 cents. CVS also has this item on sale for $3, and you can use your coupon to get the chocolates for $1.

Kroger deals

• Chicken: Economists predict the price of chicken and pork will increase later this year because of this summer’s drought and its effect on feed crops. If you have the freezer space, you might want to stock up on rock-bottom sales now. Find Kroger-brand boneless chicken breasts on sale for $1.89 per pound in the value pack, and also bone-in pork picnic roasts for 99 cents per pound. Tyson boneless chicken breasts are on sale for $2.29 per pound.

• Store promotion: Get $5 off when you buy 10 participating …

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Clark Howard: Rest easy with the second-best mattress

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

ClarkHowardAmericans are obsessed with buying the right mattress because of a nationwide epidemic of insomnia. But don’t fall prey to the marketing. The best buys aren’t necessarily on the most expensive ones.

The August 2012 issue of Consumer Reports took a look at both mattresses and mattress retailers. The highest mattress rating of all goes to Tempur-Pedic (average price $2,465 for a queen-size mattress). But the real story here is the No. 2 mattress brand: the Original Mattress Factory (average price $855 for a queen).

Yes, that’s right — the second-highest rated product is one-third the cost of the industry leader. Now that’s a Clark Smart buy.

Price does not necessarily equate to satisfaction with mattresses. A more expensive mattress may not make for a better product.

When it comes to retailers, Consumer …

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Jessica Shops: Midtown Restaurant Week, quilt classes

Let’s go gourmet

Midtown Restaurant Week: The event is my favorite way to try the best of the Atlanta culinary scene at a reduced price. From Sept. 1–9, 28 participating high-end restaurants offer gourmet prix-fixe menus starting at $15 for a three-course lunch and $25-$35 for a three-course dinner. Stops on my list include lunch at the French-inspired Atmosphere Bistro and dinner at Ecco, where I can’t wait to try the mixed lettuces with radish, almonds and a tarragon-mustard vinaigrette; pappardelle with braised pork, peppadew peppers and garlic; and olive oil, sea salt and chocolate ice cream, all for $25 (regularly $31).

Get crafty

Intown Quilters: This shop is marking its 10th birthday with 10 days of $10 classes. That’s a savings of up to $35 and a jump-start on handmade holiday gifts. Only a few classes have openings left and the discount is valid through Saturday, so call 404-634-6924 to register now. The deal is valid for various types of quilting classes.

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Deals roundup: Have some fun, inside or outdoors

Alliance Theatre: Catch the world premiere of local playwright Pearl Cleage’s romantic comedy, “What I Learned in Paris.” Purchase half-price tickets for a limited time at Poshdealz.com for $20 (tickets will be left at will call). Discounted tickets are available for shows at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 5, Sept. 9 and Sept. 11, and 2:30 p.m. Sept. 9. (Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree St. N.E. Atlanta)

Actor’s Express: Score discounted theater tickets with this one-day sale, which will take 25 percent off tickets on Saturday for 25 hours only, all in honor of the theater’s 25th anniversary season. The sale starts at 10 p.m. Friday and ends at 11 p.m. Saturday. For more info, call the box office at 404-607-7469 or visit its site. Previews are typically $15, while other tickets start at $24. (887 West Marietta Street NW, Suite J-107, Atlanta)

Mountasia: Have some friendly competition with this special, available for a limited time at Doubletakedeals.com. Pay $20 for two …

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Wes Moss: Six important rules for investing

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

Wes Moss hosts 'Money Matters' Sunday mornings on AM750 and 95.5FM News/Talk WSB.

Wes Moss hosts 'Money Matters' Sunday mornings on AM750 and 95.5FM News/Talk WSB.

I’m a big fan of Vanguard Group founder John Bogle. I can’t think of anyone in the investment world with a better record for divining market trends and their impact on investors.

So it got my attention when Bogle recently said he believes we are facing the most difficult investment environment of his long career. An anemic economy, poor financial industry oversight and a Wall Street culture of greed are among his big concerns. But what most bothers Bogle is today’s shortened investor time horizons. He notes our post-World War II habit of long-term investing has given way to a “culture of short-term speculation.”

A study by Strategas RP supports Bogle’s theory, tracking the steady drop in the average holding period for stocks, from 8.3 …

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