Tag Archives: holidays

Holiday Thrift Shopping With a Side of Safety

According to the National Retail Federation, online retail sales skyrocketed to $96 billion during the 2012 holiday season. The organization expects overall holiday sales to increase by 3.9% in 2013 with an average of $738 spent per shopper on gifts and other holiday items. Savvy consumers know that thrift shopping can get you unique holiday decorations and gifts and save your budget, but it can be a little more difficult to navigate.

Whether you’re shopping on or offline, there are ways to protect yourself during the holiday season. Here are some tips from PennySaverUSA.com:

Keep Santa’s Online Shopping Secure

Online thrift stores make shopping easy, but it’s also easy to get scammed, hacked and phished. You may think you’re savvy enough not to fall for phishing emails alerting you that you’ve been hacked. It might say that all you need to do is enter your confidential information into a form to resolve it. But more sophisticated phishers may copy a retailer’s logo, email templates and mask a URL to look like the real thing.

Always manually type the url of a retailer directly into a browser or call their customer service department if you suspect your account information has been compromised. Using credit cards or a service like LifeLock can also help keep your identity safe while shopping.

Go Shopping With the Credit Cards You Left at Home

If you already park near well-lit entrances, keep a sharp eye on your wallet and personal belongings, or store credit cards in a lock box, you’ll love Google Wallet. The app securely stores your credit card info and loyalty point programs in one place. While you can use Google Wallet to send money to anyone with an email address or online, it’s also handy for in-store use. Pay for holiday gifts at the hundreds of thousands of merchants who accept contactless payments.

Find the Best Price On the Go

Remember to use time and money saving apps for your holiday shopping. Over half the smartphones users Chadwick Martin Bailey and iModerate Research Technologies polled in 2011 said they use their devices to help compare prices and find product reviews. Join the crowd and find the best deals while shopping.

Try an app like ShopSavvy to scan barcodes to find a list of retailers and online stores that carry it along with a convenient price comparison. BuyVia allows shoppers to compare prices both nationally and locally while setting up shopping alerts. Like ShopSavvy, you can also use BuyVia to scan the barcode of your item, find out if it’s the best price, or research where you can get it cheaper, as PC Mag explains.

Be in the Know With Hotspots

It’s tempting to jump onto a free WiFi network to snap up a hot online deal you heard about. However, be wary of connections that don’t require a password for access. According to StaySafeOnline.org, the direct web access on your phone with a 3G or 4G connection or higher is safer than unsecured wireless networks on your smartphone.

Keep Your Paper Trail Incognito

Whether you shop online or off, keep a diligent paper trail of receipts and any warranties. But instead of leaving financially sensitive information lying around your home, car or office, use a site like Shoeboxed to store your info in one secure place. Shoeboxed digitizes and archives receipts and important documents into a single secure location.

What about safety? Shoeboxed uses the same SSL encryption as major banks and has been certified by TRUSTe, a leader in online privacy and security. You can then use that info to streamline your bookkeeping, tax deductions and expense reports.

Rating 3.00 out of 5

Free Friday: Holiday Freebies!

The Holidays are here, and that means family time, vacation days, and lots of great food. It also means the exchange of gifts. If you’re a procrastinator, like most people are, then you’re probably just going to end up buying gift cards for people left on your list. This special edition of Free Friday freebies brought to you by PennySaverUSA.com lists all of the freebies you get with gift card purchases this Holiday season.

Restaurant Gift Card Freebies

Applebee’s: Buy $50 in digital gift cards and receive a free $10 digital gift card.

Arby’s: For every $10 in gift cards, you’ll receive a free Peppermint Swirl Shake.

Benhinana: Buy $50 in gift cards and receive a $10 promotional card.

Black Angus: Buy $50 in gift cards and receive $5 in Bonus Bucks.

Boston Market: When you buy a $25 gift card, you’ll receive a free $5 bonus card.

Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Perfect for the Forrest Gump fans, Buy a $50 gift card and receive a $10 reward card that can be redeemed 1/2/13 – 2/12/13.

Bucca Di Beppo: Buy a $50 gift card and receive a free $10 gift card.

Buffalo Wild Wings: Buy a $25 gift card and get a free Blazin’ Bonus card that can be worth anywhere from $5 to $100 to be redeemed in January 2013.

California Pizza Kitchen: Spend $100 in gift cards and receive a free $20 rewards card.

Cheesecake Factory: For every $25 you purchase in Cheesecake Factory gift cards, you’ll receive a “Slice of Joy” card which entitles you to one free slice of cheesecake

Chipotle: Buy $30 worth of gift cards, and receive a free burrito, bowl, or an order of salad or tacos with your receipt by January 31.

Claim Jumper: Buy $50 in gift cards and receive a free $10 bonus card.

Del Taco: Buy a $25 gift card and get a free combo meal.

Denny’s: Buy $25 in gift cards and receive a free $5 gift card.

Fleming’s Steakhouse: Spend $100 in gift cards and receive a free $20 gift card.

Jamba Juice: When you buy a $25 gift card, you’ll receive a free 16 oz. smoothie.

Joe’s Crab Shack: Buy $25 in gift cards and get a winning ticket with various offers including $5-$10 off your meal, free appetizer or free steampot.

Morton’s: Spend $250 in gift cards (Whoa!) and you’ll receive a free $50 gift card.

Outback Steakhouse: Buy $100 worth of gift cards and receive a free $20 gift card.

Panda Express: Buy gift cards and get a free two-entree plate offer with your purchase.

P.F. Chang’s: Spend $100 in gift cards and receive a free $20 gift card.

Pinkberry: Buy $25 in gift cards and receive a free $5 gift card.

Rainforest Cafe: Buy a $50 gift card and receive a $10 rewards card.

Red Lobster: Buy $25 worth of gift cards and receive a free $5 off coupon.

Red Mango: Buy $25 in gift cards and receive a $5 Share the Love card.

Macaroni Grill: Buy $25 in gift cards and receive a free $5 bonus card.

Ruth’s Chris: Buy $250 worth of gift cards and get 10% off.

Souplantation: Spend $50 in gift cards and receive a free meal pass.

Taco Bell: Buy $20 worth of gift cards and get one free item.

TGIFriday’s: Spend $25 in gift cards and receive a free $5 Bonus card.


Retail Store Gift Card Freebies

The Children’s Place: Spend $40 in gift cards and receive a free $10 eGift card.

Cinemark: Buy $30 in gift cards and receive $5 in movie dollars.

L.L. Bean: Buy $50 in merchandise, and receive a free $10 gift card.

RedBox: Buy any gift card and receive a promo code for one free night’s rental.



PennySaverUSA.com’s Free Friday is a collection of third party promotions, offers and freebies that we’ve assembled from the web and elsewhere (the “Promotions”). The merchants and the products/services identified in the Promotions are not affiliated with PennySaverUSA.com, Harte-Hanks Shoppers, Inc., or any of its affiliates (“PennySaverUSA.com”). The inclusion of a Promotion in Free Friday should not be construed as an endorsement of PennySaverUSA.com or its products/services by such merchants. Free Friday and the Promotions are provided “As Is.” PennySaverUSA.com makes no representations or warranties whatsoever regarding the Promotions or the products/services included therein, including but not limited to whether the Promotions will be honored, have expired, are accurate or error free and disclaims all implied warranties to the extent applicable.

Rating 3.50 out of 5

Top Last-Minute Holiday Gift Ideas

Alright, it’s that time again. Time to scramble. Christmas is next Tuesday, and you probably still have some gifts to get. No worries, we’ve got you covered. PennySaverUSA is providing you with a list of the Top Last Minute Gift Ideas. Whether you need a gift for a coworker, family member, neighbor or mailman, there’s something on the list for everyone.

Top Last-Minute Holiday Gift Ideas

  • Box of Chocolates or Cookies

    You can never go wrong with a delicious box of chocolates or cookies. They range from low-end prices to higher-end, so depending on your budget, there’s a box that will fit what you’re looking for. Better yet, most of them come “pre-gift-wrapped” for the Holidays, so all you really need to do is buy it and slap a gift tag on it.

  • Last-Minute Gift Ideas

  • Drinkware

    Everyone uses cups, whether they’re plastic tumblers for water or coffee mugs for those on the go. Drinkware can be appreciated by anyone receiving the gift. They can be found at stores everywhere like Target, Walmart and coffee shops like Starbucks and Coffee Bean.

  • Scarves

    Scarves make great last-minute gifts, because you don’t need to know a specific size. They’re great for both men and women, and can be used for stylish purposes or functionality. They also come in a wide range of prices depending on material. So if you’re really looking to impress, go with silk or cashmere.

  • Gift Cards

    The ultimate last-minute gift will always be gift cards. You can purchase gift cards in store up until Christmas Eve, and eGift Cards online through Christmas day. You can get retail store gift cards or restaurant gift cards. You really can’t go wrong wit either option.

  • Edible Arrangements or Flower Bouquets

    If you have to get a gift for someone who lives far away, send them a bouquet of flowers or an edible arrangement. They’re festive, and can be used as centerpieces for holiday parties!

Rating 3.00 out of 5

Steals of the Week: Holiday Gift Ideas for Men

Shopping for the men in your life can be very difficult sometimes. Whether it be a son, father, brother, boyfriend, husband, uncle, nephew or friend, sometimes you just don’t know what to get. We’re going to try and lend a hand in the “gift ideas for men” department, with this week’s installment of PennySaverUSA‘s Steals of the Week.

We’ve used the PennySaverUSA.com online classifieds as our inspiration during our search for Holiday gift ideas for men. Here’s what we recommend:

Men’s Clothing Accessories

One of the easiest things to get for any guy in your life are clothing accessories. You don’t need to know a specific size, and they will have a use for it at some point in their life.

Accessories are a great gift idea for men

  • Money Clips
  • Cufflinks
  • Tie Clips
  • Collar Stays

Cuff links are a great gift idea for menThere are always variations to choose from, designs, type of metal, but you can usually make the right decision based on someone’s personality. If they’re not too flashy, maybe stick with something classic like these Antique Silver cylinder Flip Cufflinks. If they’re a sports fanatic, then it’s a safe bet to go with something emblazoned with their favorite sports team’s logo on it like this Oakland Raiders 3-Piece Gift Set or Ole Miss University Rebels Money Clip

Sports-themed Gear & Accessories

Tech accessories and sports-themed gear make great gift ideasPiggy-backing on our recommendation earlier, sports teams-related gear and items are always a hit (if they don’t already have it). Along with clothing accessories, tech accessories are also great gift ideas. If the guy in your life is an iPhone-addict, then get them an iPhone case that has their favorite team on it. Choose from a wide variety of NFL Team iPhone Cases from this seller on PennySaverUSA.com. If they’re not the tech person, then a hat is always a safe alternative. If you don’t know their hat size, then get an adjustable hat that has the snap-back and they can adjust the hat to fit the size of their head.

Video Games

Video games have evolved over the years, but their addictive qualities are the same. If someone you know is a video game junkie, then you can never go wrong getting them a video game. If they don’t already have the newest and most coveted video game, then you’re going to earn a tremendous amount of brownie points if you’re the one that gifts them the hottest game of the season/year. Just do your research before hand, and get

Video games and gaming consoles are great gift idea for menthe game for the correct gaming console that they have. If they’re not already hooked on video games, you can be the enabler in this situation, and get them an entire gaming console for the Holidays! Just be prepared to not talk to or see that person for a few days, since they’re entire days will be consumed with playing with their new toy. There are a lot of deals on consoles during the Holiday Season, and you can even find some in your local classifieds, like this deal on the Sony Playstation 3 Bundle.

These are just a few last-minute “general” gift ideas if you’re at a complete block on what to get for the guys in your life.

What are some “general” gift ideas for men that you recommend?

Rating 4.00 out of 5

Steals of the Week: Christmas Decorations!

It’s already the end of the year, which could be argued is the best time of the year. Holiday music, laughter, baking, family-time are just a few of the things that make this season great. For this installment of PennySaverUSA’s Steals of the Week, we’re going to highlight some of the best Holiday/Christmas finds that you can get on PennySaverUSA.com. We’ll focus on tress and decorations for today, and give you our picks for gift ideas in our next post.

If you’re looking to save money on your holiday decorations for this holiday season, one of the best places to look are online classifieds, and why not start with PennySaverUSA.com!
Here are some steals that we found, while perusing the online classifieds:





These are just a few of the Christmas/Holiday-themed items we found. There are many more, so start searching the online classifieds on PennySaverUSA.com to find what you’re looking for in your area.

Rating 3.00 out of 5

Holiday Layaway: Friend or Foe this Shopping Season?

For the frugal shopper looking to save money, layaway has always been a good option. It’s easy and doesn’t require much forethought on the consumer’s part; they just head to the store, pick the item, and start making payments. No big deal, right?

Maybe. Admittedly, making a budget and heading out into the rush to find a few key items is a really smart way to do business. If you have the willpower to figure out exactly what you need, go get it and then resist buying anything more, then you deserve an award. In this case, the system will work well for you: you’re not only thinking ahead, you’re making sure you don’t end up buried in a pile of debt at the end of the expensive holiday season.

There are, however, a few caveats you should consider before signing up for these programs, and they are not always well explained by the businesses offering them. PennySaverUSA.com is here to help explain the advantages and disadvantages of using layaway this Holiday season.

Remember the Fee

Layaway Shopping this Holiday Season
The whole point of layaway is to plan ahead and save money, and in many cases doing so in a thoughtful, frugal manner will get you there. However, you shouldn’t forget that there are fees attached just like credit cards. Should you go through with your purchase, according to the Wall Street Journal, the fee is usually small. Should you, on the other hand, not end up making the purchase, you can often expect larger fees.

Consider That You Might Miss Sales

Using this program also often means that you will miss out on sales and promotions when they come around. Because you will presumably pick your purchases earlier in the season, you likely won’t be eligible for many of the discounts that occur later on, such as Black Friday. This might be worth it to you, but it’s best to be aware.

Be Prepared for Gift Card Rebates

According to TIME Business and Money, one of the biggest promoters of layaway – Walmart – returns your refundable fee after a successfully completed purchase in the form of a gift card. While the money itself is valid, this often means that you have to make another trip to the store, where you will likely end up paying more than the amount of the gift card. That is if you don’t forget it entirely.

Pay Attention to Payment Structure

Though payment structures are generally both reasonable and expected, make sure you are apprised of them ahead of time. For instance Toys “R” Us, has a fairly elaborate one that could trip you up if you aren’t careful. The key to successfully using this program is preparation.

So this holiday season, do yourself a favor and think long and hard before signing up. Sure, it’s an awesome way to stay out of debt and put presents under the tree, but it isn’t always as consumer-friendly as it seems. Keep these tips in mind, though, and you should come through just fine.

Rating 4.33 out of 5

Make Money Monday: Empty Your Attics and Closets to Sell Your Old Decorations

After an extensive amount of time, holiday decorations can begin to lose their appeal. This doesn’t mean that the decoration wasn’t cherished or enjoyed. As time evolves, so does your tastes. What you once thought was a welcome addition to your home decor is now taking up space in the closet. What can you do with these old holiday and seasonal decorations other than tossing them in the trash? Why not post an online classified ad and sell the decorations to another individual who shares your previous sense of style?

Why Online Classified Ads Instead of Local?

Sell your old decorationsAlthough local classified ads can cover a wide range of people, it pales in comparison to posting a classified ad on the Internet. Instead of a few hundred or so that may view your ad, millions have potential to see it online. You could cover a possible global market to anyone looking for your particular holiday decorations for sale.

Selling your old decorations at a yard sale can possibly unload your goods over a weekend, but some items could bring in far more money by selling them online. What a lot of people don’t realize is the collection value that many holiday and seasonal decorations have. What may be taking up space in one person’s point of view, could easily be a collectible item to another.


A way to find these decoration collectors is to sell old decorations online. Items that are in good to mint conditions could be worth more than you would have thought. In some cases, the value is far beyond what the item was purchased for. You could be sitting on a small fortune as it collects dust in your attic.

For example, you could have a single porcelain miniature holiday house that would complete someone’s collection. You could have a box full of Halloween decorations that a young family could start with. The only way you will know if your decorations are worth something to someone is to detailing what you have to sell.

Old Doesn’t Mean Useless

As long as something is in usable condition, there really is no reason to dump it in the trash. The Internet is full of people who could be looking for your specific items. Millions of users browse the Internet on a daily basis looking for all kinds of random items. As many have seen, a simple auction or classified posting could net an unbelievable amount of money.

Sell Your Old DecorationsFor instance, people are always looking for the Coca-cola Polar Bear memorabilia. Something you picked up at a yard sale for less than $5 could net far more than that to the right collector. However, not everything is a collector’s item. The point is, you don’t know until you try.

Regardless of method, selling your old holiday decorations could help a family or surprise a collector. Why not turn that collection of home decor into something worthwhile? Post an online classified ad today and see what can become of it.

Rating 4.00 out of 5

Free Greeting in the PennySaver for Veterans Day

PennySaver is offering a free greeting in honor of Veterans Day 2010 that will appear in the PennySaver publication during the week of Nov. 10 for all of our California customers.

From now until Nov. 4th, we will be accepting your greeting for free of up to 15 words with a black headline.

We are providing three separate ways in which you can leave a message for a loved one or friend who has sacrificed for their country:

1. Call:  (800) 995-3333 or  Fax: (760) 599-1505. The form to fill out and fax can be found by clicking HERE.

2. Twitter: Tweet #pennyshout with your 5-digit zip code and message. (CA only)

3. Mail: Fill out this form and mail to: Attn: Veteran’s Greeting/Private Party, 1300 Specialty Drive Vista, CA 92081.

You can also enhance your greeting with a blue headline with symbol for $6 or a blue shaded box with a black headline for $10. ——————>

Please limit your ads to 2 per household.

Pay tribute to those in your life who you want to honor on Veterans Day.

Rating 3.00 out of 5

How To Save Money and Still Have A Fun Halloween

For parents of small children,  Halloween night is a special time for memories to be created and shared. Who ever said that you have to spend a lot of money to make Halloween fun for the kids? We’re here to tell you about multiple ways to save on costumes, decorations and treats.

The stores this time of year begin filling up with the newest styles of costumes for kids, and they can get rather expensive, especially with more than one child to dress up for the holiday. Halloween is one holiday where buying used items seems extremely reasonable. Most costumes are worn one time and then put away, so usually the elements of wear and tear aren’t issues. We are encouraging parents to sell their old costumes via classifieds to help other parents out and to make a little extra money to use for their own fun. Take a look at our Halloween page to see what is being offered up and what kind of deals you can find, and sell your old costumes while you’re at it! If you aren’t finding what you want you want, you can always try to make it from scratch, using items that you have around the house. So often, the best costumes are those that came from the imagination of the person wearing it. It can also create a great experience for a child and parent by allowing them to work together on such a fun project. We even have a section just for Halloween masks, which might be the hardest part of making a homemade costume look legit.

Halloween is a great time to decorate the house and yard with spooky gravestones, cobwebs and ghosts.  If you have decorations from years before, maybe it’s time to sell them to earn enough money to change it up this year. Some houses do the same theme every year; why not change things up and go scarier, or funnier? And if you want to save money, you can easily make your own scary decorations using household items. Create spider webs by pulling cotton apart, use old cardboard for gravestones, old sheets for ghosts, and the staple of Halloween, The Jack-O-Lantern! You can find hundreds of carving patterns free online, and you just need a few bucks to buy the pumpkins themselves.

After the trick-or-treating, you will probably have a few kids who have had too much sugar that need some activities to ride out the evening.  You can always take the kids to a “Haunted House”, but those can often be pricey and out of the way. If you decide to stay in, you can always show them the horror classics, such as The Wolfman or Frankenstein, that you can probably find at your local library or video store. These movies might scare the kids a bit, but are still very tame compared to a lot of what is out there today. And there are thousands of scary stories online to print and read to them to keep them on the edge of their seats!

As far as treats go, there is so much choice out there for Halloween candy, but sometimes the classics are the best. A bag of Candy Corn mixed in with a bag of peanuts is a delightful snack for the evening…. Easy, cheap and delicious.

Halloween doesn’t need to be expensive. It just needs to be fun!

Do you have any ideas for ways to save while preparing for Halloween? Comment below!

Rating 4.00 out of 5