Feature Friday: A Year in Review

FF A Year in Review

Every Friday, I feature a fun and budget-friendly option in the Greater Boston area. The “Feature Friday” is typically mentioned on the Cheap Eats list, Free Things to Do in Boston, or Discount Attractions. However, there’s so much budget-friendly ideas on my pages, I thought it would be fun to feature something budget-friendly and different each week. Also, each Feature Friday is something I have personal experience with or took advantage of recently! Enjoy!

Today is the last day of the Feature Friday series! I had a great time sharing my hands on experiences with all of you every Friday!

I rounded up every Feature Friday post for 2014– feel free to check them out and hopefully you will get a few ideas of fun and cheap things to do in Boston (or a least a friendly reminder!)

Friday, December 19, 2014: Last Minute Holiday Gift Ideas (On a Budget)
Friday, December 12, 2014: Holiday Gift Card Promotions for 2014
Friday, December 5, 2014: .20 Wings at Penguin Pizza!
Friday, November 28, 2014: Cyber Monday Shopping Tips & More!
Friday, November 21, 2014: How to Make Side Money forthe Holidays!
Friday, November 14, 2014: $1 Cheeseburgers at McGreevy’s
Friday, November 7, 2014: Weekend Brunch at Masa
Friday, October 31, 2014: Happy Halloween!
Friday, October 24, 2014: SoWa Open Market
Friday, October 17, 2014: How to Save Cheering on Boston Sports Team
Friday, September 26, 2014: Discount Boston Parking with Mobile Apps!
Friday, September 19, 2014: Free Wine Tastings at Urban Grape!
Friday, September 12, 2014: Boston Public Library Free Museum Passes
Friday, September 5, 2014: College Student Discounts!
Friday, August 29, 2014: Castle Island 
Friday, August 22, 2014: My Experience with AirBnB.com!
Friday, August 15, 2014: How I Grocery Shop to Save Money!
Friday, August 8, 2014: $1 Pizzas on Thursday Nights 
Friday, August 1, 2014: Letterboxing in Boston
Friday, July 25, 2014: Free ICA Admission on Thursday Nights
Friday, July 18, 2014: Boston Beer Works VIP Card Program
Friday, July 11, 2014: Free Fitness Classes from Boston Sweetgreen Passport
Friday, July 4, 2014: Happy Fourth of July!
Friday, June 27, 2014: Haymarket Outdoor Market
Friday, June 20, 2014: Share Your Budget-Friendly Tips this Summer!
Friday, June 13, 2014: Habitat for Humanity Restore!
Friday, June 6, 2014: Laugh Boston Discount Comedy Show Tickets
Friday, May 30, 2014: Earn Rewards Through Mobee
Friday, May 23, 2014: Hike at Blue Hills Reservation
Friday, May 16, 2014: Happy Hour at the Globe Bar and Cafe
Friday, May 9, 2014: Pay with looped in to Save More
Friday, May 2, 2014: Happy Hour at the Oceanaire Seafood Room
Friday, April 25, 2014: The Complete Guide to Saving at Red Sox Games
Friday, April 18, 2014: How to Save at Fenway Park: Cheap Parking on Game Days
Friday, April 11, 2014: How to Save at Fenway Park: Food Deals near Fenway
Friday, April 4, 2014: How to Save at Fenway Park: Find Cheap Red Sox Tickets
Friday, March 28, 2014: Boston Winery Tasting Tour
Friday, March 21, 2014: Free Cupcakes Daily From Georgetown Cupcakes
Friday, March 14, 2014: Del Frisco’s Blogger Event
Friday, March 7, 2014: Discount Movie Tickets with AAA Card
Friday, February 28, 2014: $5 PBR Pitchers at Select Crazy Dough’s Pizza
Friday, February 21, 2014: Happy Hour at McCormick & Schmick’s
Friday, February 14, 2014: MFA on Wednesday Nights with Voluntary Admission
Friday, February 7, 2014: Happy Hour at the Melting Pot
Friday, January 31, 2014: Save $10 at Solas Irish Pub
Friday, January 24, 2014: 5 Napkin Burger Happy Hour
Friday, January 17, 2014: Free Samuel Adams Brewery Tour
Friday, January 10, 2014: Cheap Pizza from Waterfront Café (NLA)
Friday, January 3, 2014: Free MBTA Rides from Boston’s Logan Airport

What was your favorite Feature Friday post?

For more Feature Friday posts please head here. To subscribe to Boston On Budget’s nightly newsletter, please enter your e-mail here.

Holiday Gift Card Promotions for 2014!


Today I wanted to feature Holiday Gift Card promotions as a great way to give holiday gifts and get a little something back for yourself!

If you do consider making a gift card deal purchase, please make sure to read the full terms. Many of the promotional perks mentioned have to be used by a certain date time frame (typically the first few months of 2015) and/or other terms.

Update: After posting I realized that Amazon is doing Gift Card deals as well part of 12 days of Christmas. It runs similar to lighting deals, so more gift card deals will be posted so keep an eye out on those!

Below is a list of local Boston restaurants and national restaurant chains that offer a little something extra this holiday season.

Al Dente Ristorante in the North End: For every $25 purchased in gift cards, receive an additional $5 gift card

Applebee’s: Buy $50 worth in Applebee’s Digital Gift Cards online and receive a free $10 Digital Bonus Card.

The Aquitaine Group: Receive a complimentary $20 dining certificate for every $100 you spend on Aquitaine Group Gift Cards. The Aquitaine Group includes Aquitaine, Gaslight Brasserie, Metropolis Cafe, Union Bar and Grille, Cinquecento Trattoria, and Greenlight Cafe.

Boston Market: Grab a free $5 Bonus Gift Card for every $25 Gift Card spent

Buffalo Wild Wings: Buy $25+ in Gift Cards and get a blazin’ bonus that could be worth $5-$100 at Buffalo Wild Wings!

California Pizza Kitchen: Spend $100 in gift cards, receive $20 bonus card

Cask ‘n Flagon: Get a $10 gift card for every $100 purchased in gift cards.

CBS Scene at Patriots Place: Buy $100 in gift cards and receive a free $20 gift card!

Chili’s: Buy $50 in gift cards, receive $10 Bonus Card

Earls Kitchen + Bar: Purchase a $50 gift cards and receive a $10 bonus card or purchase $500 or more in gift cards and get a bonus card back equal to 10% of the purchase.

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar: For every $100 in Gift Cards purchased, receive a free $20 bonus card.

Haru: Get a $10 promotional card for every $50 you spend through December 31, 2014.

Legal Sea Foods: For every $200 purchased in gift cards, get a “Lobster Dinner Reward” voucher redeemable between 1/2-3/31/15 for a 1-1.25lb steamed lobster with a choice of two sides.

Maggiano’s Little Italy: Buy $100 worth of Gift Cards purchased, receive a $20 off $50 promotional Bonus Coupon and a one year subscription to Food And Wine Magazine.

Margaritas Mexican Restaurant: Buy a $50 gift card, receive a $10 bonus card, and/or buy $100 worth in gift cards, receive a $25 bonus card!

Morton’s Steakhouse: Purchase $250 in gift cards and receive $50 reward card

Not Your Average Joe’s: Receive a $10 bonus card for every $50 spent in gift cards

Olive Garden: Purchase $50 in Gift Cards and receive $10 offer for yourself

Outback Steakhouse: Receive a free $20 bonus card when you buy $100+ in gift cards

P.F.Changs: Receive a $20 bonus card when you buy $100 in P.F.Chang’s gift cards.

Regina Pizzeria: Buy $50 in gift cards and get $10 free!

Rock Bottom: Spend $25 in gift cards and get a $5 bonus card

Ruby Tuesday: Purchase $50 in Gift Cards and receive a $15 Bonus Coupon or buy $25 in gift cards and get a $5 Bonus Coupon

Smokey Bones: Buy $50 in Gift Cards and receive $10 for yourself.

Texas Roadhouse: Receive a free $5 eGift Card on a future visit when you buy $30 or more in gift cards online.

T.G.I. Friday’s: Get a free $5 Bonus Bites Card for every $25 you spend on Gift Cards.

Yardhouse: For every $50, receive a $10 bonus card on future purchases.

Also, through 12/13/14, Groupon is offering 20% off local deals with promo code GIFT20. Brookstone Gift Cards, Apparel Gift Cards, Calvin Klein Gift Cards and and Spa Wish eGift Cards should work with the promo code to make these deals a little sweeeter! (Limit 3 with promo code).

Please let me know in the comments below if I missed any local or national gift card deals. Happy Holidays!

*This post does contain some affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy if you have any questions.

Feature Friday: .20 Wings at Penguin Pizza!

penguin pizza

Every Friday, I feature a fun and budget-friendly option in the Greater Boston area. The “Feature Friday” is typically mentioned on the Cheap Eats list, Free Things to Do in Boston, or Discount Attractions. However, there’s so much budget-friendly ideas on my pages, I thought it would be fun to feature something budget-friendly and different each week. Also, each Feature Friday is something I have personal experience with or took advantage of recently! Enjoy!

Every Monday night from 5pm to 12am, Penguin Pizza has wings for .20!

When we ordered our .20 wings (pictured above) we were told they come in increments of 10 so $2 total for 10 wings. According to my wing loving husband, they were delicious!

Penguin Pizza is located at 735 Huntington Ave in Boston, Massachusetts. For more information, please visit here.

Have you done the wing deal at Penguin Pizza before? What do you think the best wings in Boston are?

For more Feature Friday posts please head here. To subscribe to Boston On Budget’s nightly newsletter, please enter your e-mail here.

How to Make Side Money For The Holidays!

Make Side Money Before the Holidays

This Friday I wanted to feature something that I think a lot of people may be interested in: Ways to make extra money for holiday spending. I like to try out different ways to earn money (mostly online or through mobile apps) and I wanted to share my personal experience and favorites with you. I figured this would be especially helpful during the holiday season when money may be extra tight.

Please note that everything listed below are websites and apps that I use regularly and are all easy to use. I like to use these sites throughout the year and then cash out my earnings near the holidays to help with the extra expense. None of the suggestions below will get you rich but will hopefully pay for a holiday gift or two.

Shopkick:

Shopkick is really the perfect app for the holidays. If you are unfamiliar, it is a shopping app that gives you points for checking into stores. You don’t even need to buy anything, and the best part is there’s often extra bonuses, points and missions, especially during the holiday season. For example, if I walk-in to Best Buy with the app open, I will receive 80 points! This can add up quickly, especially if you are at the mall and/or do missions on top of check-ins.

You can redeem your rewards straight from your smartphone and use your gift card from your smartphone. If memory serves me right, these gift cards get loaded to your account fast too!

My Holiday Progress: $50 in Gifts Cards, with kicks remaining for next time.

Mobee:

Mobee is another great app for people who are out and about a lot! Mobee is a mystery shopping type app that pays in rewards for reviewing different restaurants, fast food chains, retailers, and more. The surveys are usually pretty quick and different missions pay different amounts, but you can easily select missions on the go. If you sign up, use my referral code RWLH for 300 points. You can make a donation to charity at 350 points and earn gift cards at 500 so you are already really close to redemption after sign up!

You can redeem points for rewards with a good variety of gift cards and more. Gift Cards may take a few days to reach your e-mail attached to your Mobee account.

My Holiday Progress: $75 in Gift Cards

Ebates, Shop At Home, etc:

If you haven’t signed up for a cashback site yet and plan to do any online shopping, please do. Cashback sites are insanely easy to use and the savings can add up quick if you make a large or a lot of online purchases! The two I use often and like a lot are Ebates and Shop At Home.

If you are not familiar, you sign up for account and then search for the store you will be making a purchase from. If I am going to buy something at Kohl’s, I will search for Kohl’s and see they offer 6.5% cashback for my purchase. I click the link that takes me to Kohl’s, and then I act like a regular shopper and make my purchase. If I spent $100 at Kohls, I will receive an e-mail from the cashback site within a few days stating I earned $6.25. I will get this money every quarter in my PayPal account, but there’s other payment options too! This definitely adds up, especially for savvy online shoppers!

Depending on the Cashback website, typically these get paid through PayPal or by check every Quarter. You won’t receive the cashback before the holiday season is over but it will be nice extra money in 2015. However, Ebates offers a $10 gift card after first purchase for new users so you may receive it soon depending on when you sign up!

My Holiday Progress: $0 (because I didn’t save it for Christmas and the next check is after the holidays)

Swagbucks:

Swagbucks is a website that pays you to do certain things on the internet from taking surveys, searching the internet, participating in polls, printing coupons and more! I mostly use Swagbucks for the occasional search and coupon print but points can add up!

You can redeem Swagbucks for Gift Cards and more, and it takes a few days to receive the gift card in your inbox. I like redeeming for Amazon Gift Cards because they are only 450 points!

My Holiday Progress: $30 Amazon Gift Card

Ibotta, Checkout 51, Snap by Groupon, SavingStar, etc.:

The above are all coupon apps and websites that gives you cashback in your account when you buy certain items, mainly grocery and household items. For example, if there’s a coupon available for $1 off any milk, I would submit my receipt through the app to get the $1 back. I can use the same receipt for many different offers. (SavingStar works a little differently since it can be attached to your reward card so you would get that money automatically). Sometimes I hate uploading the receipts, but it really takes less than a minute and some of the offers are really worth it. I already have over $20 from Snap and I’ve only had it for a month since you can get multiple savings for one item on certain offers.

Depending on the company, there may be a minimum limit of $10-$20 before you can redeem. Most are offered through PayPal with other payments available, however, I haven’t redeemed these yet since most are fairly new to me.

If you are just starting out, I would recommend SavingStar, Snap, Checkout 51 and Ibotta in that order. Both SavingStar and Snap do not require a Smartphone either, but the other two do.

My Holiday Progress: Roughly $70 between the four sites

Discover Credit Cashback:

It’s not for everyone, but I like to use my credit card for purchases to receive cashback to save for Christmas. You do need to be careful if you use your credit card for everything since you want to make sure you pay off your credit card each month to avoid charges. There’s a lot of different options for cashback cards and you may prefer air miles over cashback. I do like using my Discover card and there’s options for 5% cashback but there’s really a ton of credit card options. I recommend doing a lot of research to see if cashback credit cards are a good fit for you and your spending habits.

Depending on the credit card, there many be certain terms or restrictions. With Discover I can use my cashback directly on Amazon purchases, gift cards, statement credit and more!

My Holiday Progress: Roughly $140

Total Earned for Extra Side Money to put Towards Holiday Gifts: $365!

My extra side money total for the holidays might not seem impressive, but I didn’t put a lot of time and effort in these earnings either. I also cashed a little throughout the year at certain sites, so I may have been able to get a little more spending cash for the holidays.

I also really hate and avoid survey sites and things that are really tedious like Amazon’s MTurk, but it is an option if you are a bit more patient. If you are interested in taking surveys, the only one I really liked was Pinecone Research and they paid $3 per survey and paid timely.

All the websites and apps used above were routine and didn’t take too much extra time. I recommended an app (that I no longer recommend) to my father-in-law and he earned five times more than I did with a lot more effort and a little more trial and error. You can definitely have more success than me, or earn less depending how active you are.

If you use any of these websites and apps, how did you do this year? Did you save your earnings for holiday gifts too?

What are your favorite ways to earn side money for the holidays?

Please let me know in the comments below if I missed any of your favorite ways to earn a little extra side money online or through mobile apps!

*This post does contain some affiliate and referral links if you sign up through my link. However, I do use and recommend these sites whether or not you sign up through my link. If you have any questions, please see my disclosure policy. Thanks!

For more Feature Friday posts please head here. To subscribe to Boston On Budget’s nightly newsletter, please enter your e-mail here.

Feature Friday: $1 Cheeseburgers at McGreevy’s

mcgreevys

Every Friday, I feature a fun and budget-friendly option in the Greater Boston area. The “Feature Friday” is typically mentioned on the Cheap Eats list, Free Things to Do in Boston, or Discount Attractions. However, there’s so much budget-friendly ideas on my pages, I thought it would be fun to feature something budget-friendly and different each week. Also, each Feature Friday is something I have personal experience with or took advantage of recently! Enjoy!

I haven’t highlighted the same restaurant yet, but I wanted to this time because there’s a fun promotion attached to this food deal for November!

McGreevy’s in the Back Bay of Boston has $1 Cheeseburgers every Tuesday night from 4pm to 11pm. However, during the month of Movember, gentleman (and ladies, I guess?) with authentic mustaches will receive a free cheeseburger!

If you haven’t done the cheeseburger deal at McGreevy’s before, you will receive a slip and you can check off what you like (very similiar to the $1 pizza deal) if you want to add to your burger. Every topping (lettuce, bacon, tomatoes, etc.) are an additional fee, but it still makes for a pretty cheap and tasty burger!

For more information about $1 cheeseburger night or free cheeseburgers for Movember, please head here (sound warning)!

For more Feature Friday posts please head here. To subscribe to Boston On Budget’s nightly newsletter, please enter your e-mail here.

Feature Friday: Weekend Brunch at Masa

Masa Weekend Brunch Boston

Every Friday, I feature a fun and budget-friendly option in the Greater Boston area. The “Feature Friday” is typically mentioned on the Cheap Eats list, Free Things to Do in Boston, or Discount Attractions. However, there’s so much budget-friendly ideas on my pages, I thought it would be fun to feature something budget-friendly and different each week. Also, each Feature Friday is something I have personal experience with or took advantage of recently! Enjoy!

Masa Restaurant in the South End of Boston has a brunch fiesta special available every Saturday from 10am to 3pm and every Sunday from 9am to 11am. The brunch fiesta includes a two-course brunch for $7.95.

I went a few Sundays ago before heading to the SoWa Open Market. I had made a reservation on OpenTable.com to ensure I’d have a table (and I like earning dining points too).

I had the seasonal fruits as my first course and (2) chocolate chip pancakes as my second course. (My husband had the eggs benedict, pictured above, which looked much more exciting than mine.) Also, complimentary corn bread was also at our table, which was delicious.

Overall I really enjoyed my brunch experience at Masa and recommend it to anyone looking for a relaxing and affordable brunch in Boston!

Have you done the brunch fiesta special at Masa before?

For more Feature Friday posts please head here. To subscribe to Boston On Budget’s nightly newsletter, please enter your e-mail here.

Feature Friday: SoWa Open Market

SoWa Boston Market

Every Friday, I feature a fun and budget-friendly option in the Greater Boston area. The “Feature Friday” is typically mentioned on the Cheap Eats list, Free Things to Do in Boston, or Discount Attractions. However, there’s so much budget-friendly ideas on my pages, I thought it would be fun to feature something budget-friendly and different each week. Also, each Feature Friday is something I have personal experience with or took advantage of recently! Enjoy!

SoWa (South of Washington) Market takes place every Sunday in a three block area in Boston’s South End from May to October and continues inside during the colder months.

The last outdoor market of 2014 will take place this Sunday, October 26, 2014 with a Halloween theme: Carnival of Curiosities. There will be a Halloween costume contest as well to kick off the last outdoor market of the season!

SoWa Open Market includes a farmer’s market, arts and vintage market and food trucks from local people and businesses. The first time I went to SoWa I missed an entire area, so make sure you check out the map before you go so you don’t miss anything!

For more information about SoWa Open Market, please head here.

Have you been to SoWa before?

For more Feature Friday posts please head here. To subscribe to Boston On Budget’s nightly newsletter, please enter your e-mail here.

Feature Friday: How to Save Cheering on Your Favorite Boston Sports Team

A Playoff Patriots Game at Gillette Stadium

Every Friday, I feature a fun and budget-friendly option in the Greater Boston area. The “Feature Friday” is typically mentioned on the Cheap Eats list, Free Things to Do in Boston, or Discount Attractions. However, there’s so much budget-friendly ideas on my pages, I thought it would be fun to feature something budget-friendly and different each week. Also, each Feature Friday is something I have personal experience with or took advantage of recently! Enjoy!

Last year the New England Patriots had the highest ticket price in the NFL and the second largest overall expense to attend a game at Gillette Stadium. It was almost $300 per person to attend a game last year, on average, which is not very budget-friendly.

I have to admit that one of my splurges are attending Patriots games and other Boston sporting events. (I think rewarding yourself here and there for items that are important to you is important to do.) However, I typically don’t spend near $300 for myself at a game. Here are some tips for saving at Patriots games and more:

  • Buy tickets at asking price (or below) directly from the source when they go on sale, especially from the Patriots because they tend to sell for a lot more from third party sellers
  • Attend less desirable games to find lower ticket prices (Bad/cold weather games, bad opponents, awkward date/times, etc.)
  • Travel and park with a group of friends in one car and split parking costs or look for other inexpensive travel options. (For example: $40/4= $10 per person for parking at a Gillette Lot)
  • If you do plan to eat and drink at the game, eat at home, tailgate for the game, or find an inexpensive dining option. Try not to eat in the stadium whenever possible to avoid high drink and food prices.

If you do like to attend Pats games at least once a year and don’t have a ticket hookup, I’d recommend signing up for the Patriots season ticket waitlist. It is $100 per seat when you sign up, however, you can put that towards season tickets if you do go that route. The best thing about being on the Patriots waitlist is access to the ticket exchange.

The NFL ticket exchange is a great way to buy tickets from other fans at face value or below. Sometimes it can be tricky to find tickets for high demand games in advance, but you can usually find tickets for a few games, as well as last minute tickets to the high demand games.

Although the waitlist isn’t for everyone, it definitely works well for myself and my family and has already paid for itself. One year we were able to find playoff tickets below face value because the weather was less than ideal. It definitely has saved us a lot of money and we’ve gone to a lot of great games!

However, if you do not want to be on a waitlist and couldn’t get tickets at face value when they went on sale, finding last minute tickets to games are a great way to avoid high ticket prices. You just need to be flexible.

Do you have any tips to save on Patriots games or your favorite Boston Sports Team?

For more Feature Friday posts please head here. To subscribe to Boston On Budget’s nightly newsletter, please enter your e-mail here.