City of Boston Toys for Tickets starting November 29th, 2012!

Starting on November 29th, the City of Boston will once again trade parking ticket fees for toys. This promotion is available to drivers that are issued a non-safety issue ticket on Thursday, November 29th to Saturday, December 1st! Bring toys at an equal or greater value of the ticket to waive your ticket fine for those three days to three different locations in Boston. The ticket exchange is available until Saturday, December 8, 2012 but keep in mind that safety violations are excluded from this promotion.

This is a great way to pay your fine and give to needy children this holiday season. For more information, locations and violations included, please visit here.

Kate’s Six Cyber Monday Tips to Survive Cyber Monday 2012

Hello! I hope you all survived Black Friday and still have some cash left for the Holidays! I must say that I like Cyber Monday a lot better than Black Friday, and you can shop from the comfort of your own home! Anyways, I wanted to give you all a few tips about Cyber Monday and Christmas Shopping in general because I know it can be totally overwhelming! Last year was my first serious Cyber Monday experience and I was totally overwhelmed. So here are my (very un-Boston related) Cyber Monday Holiday Tips:

1. Have a rough idea of what people want. Write down everyone on your shopping list and jot down a few ideas that they may like & what your budget is for each person. When great deals pop-up, I sometimes forget who would be a great fit for what and may forget someone on my list momentarily. Also, I may have someone on my list that always wants something that never goes on sale (sound familiar?), so Cyber Monday is a great day to cross those people off your list. This is because many stores will offer free shipping and a percentage discount on everything. You will just need to search for what you want specifically without it popping up on a deal finder. If you stay organized and know what people want sooner than later you can avoid doing a last minute splurge and paying full-price for something.

2. Know (and use!) the right resources. There are so, so many different online deal & money-saving websites that have list so many great Cyber Monday deals and use a combination of websites to find your favorites and best deals. These deal finders and resources can spark some great gift-giving ideas at rock bottom prices! There are also some deal sites that are especially dedicated to Cyber Monday like BestCyberMonday.com & CyberMondayDeals.com that will share the very best Cyber Monday deals! Also Boston-based company, BeFrugal.com has a toolbar that you can download that will let you know when there are promo codes available at checkout if you don’t feel like Googling various promo codes constantly to ensure you grabbed the highest discount available.

3. Shop Early. Just like Black Friday some of the hottest deals will sell out quickly, so think about waking up a few minutes early to see if you can snag a great buy before work. I had a hard time sleeping last Cyber Monday, and there wasn’t anything losing sleep about at 3 AM so go back to bed but set your alarm a few minutes early, just in case.

4. Use Cashback Sites to save more. This is one of my favorite online shopping tips because you save even more money shopping online through Cashback sites. Ebates.com and Shopathome.com are two cashback sites that I use often. Before checking out at an online store, I log into my one of my cashback sites (usually I check both to see, which one is offering the higher cashback amount) and then click my desired store to be redirected through their link. I then receive a percentage back into my account and then they’ll cut me a check for buying something I was already going to buy! Don’t forget about credit card companies and air mile possibilities, because most credit card companies offer a percentage off to shop through their website too. So do a little research to figure out what cashback sites will get you the most money back and make the most sense for you.

5. Don’t buy it, if you won’t use it. It can be really easy to get caught up in a good deal, but if you or your gift-getter will not wear those deeply discounted Jets pajama pants for .79, then why are you even buying them? Know the return and shipping policies of each store before shopping, and take a second to breathe and think if it something you really will use or give to someone else to use.

6. Oh, and not everything is a great deal. Just like Black Friday, not everything on sale is a great deal. Do you research beforehand and know what is a great deal for a product you are interested in and what isn’t. For instance, typically the best time to buy jewelry is during the summer, the best time for toys is two weeks before Christmas and for TV’s is during the Super Bowl. However, just because those are typically the best times to buy those things doesn’t mean you still can’t find good deals, but be able to spot a good deal when you see. Also, just because a store offers free shipping and a percentage off may not make it a great deal, especially if the price is always cheaper at Walmart or Target who will holiday price match for example.

Do your research, know your audience, and don’t worry… deals always cycle back through if you get too overwhelmed, so if you missed something, it will most likely come back around again soon. Oh, feel free to brag in the comments below; I would love to hear what cheap finds you found! Best of luck!

(And I did include referral links to my two cashback sites so I would get a little something back if you did sign-up. Feel free to read my disclosure policy here if you want).

Free Holiday Street Parking in Boston until December 29th, 2012!

From now until Saturday, December 29th, 2012 the City of Boston is giving two free hours at metered parking for holiday shoppers every Saturday. Although meters will not require payment during the next six weekends, the Boston Transportation Department will still patrol to ensure that the two hour limit is being respected to give everyone a fair shot at a free parking spot.

For more information regarding free holiday parking every Saturday until the end of December, please visit here.

 

Black Friday Store Openings in Massachusetts

Hehe, I love this!

Happy Thanksgiving! Hope you have a chance to relax with family and friends over a delicious meal!

As you probably know, Massachusetts has blue laws that prohibit Massachusetts retail employees from opening and working on Thanksgiving. If you have seen ads for different stores advertising opening at 8 p.m. on Thursday night, those are national ads and do not apply to Massachusetts (but do apply to NH).

Here’s a quick list of some major retailers store opening times in Massachuetts for Black Friday, but it also doesn’t hurt to call your local store as well, as they may change from store to store, but here is what I found:

Walmart: 1:00 AM on Friday, November 23, 2012 (select stores 5AM)

Target Corp: 1:00 AM on Friday, November 23, 2012

Best Buy: 1:00 AM on Friday, November 23, 2012

Kmart: 5:00 AM on Friday, November 23, 2012

Kohls: 1:00 AM on Friday, November 23, 2012

Toys”R”Us: 1 AM for Dedham & I called Medford too and they said 8 AM… so you may want to call on this one, if your heading that way, just in case.

Wrenthem Village Outlets: 12:01 AM on Friday, November 23, 2012

Shops at Prudential Mal & Copley Placel: 9 AM on Friday, November 23, 2012 with a few exceptions (B&N and Saks opening at 8 AM)

CambrideSide Galleria: 12:00 AM on Friday, 11/23/12 for select stores like Best Buy, Bath & Body Works, Children’s Place, Express, H&M, Macy’s, and more. To see all store openings for the Galleria, click here.

Mall at Chestnut Hill: 9 AM on Friday, November 23, 2012

Square One Mall in Saugus: 12:30 AM on Friday, November 23, 2012

South Shore Plaza in Braintree: 12:30 AM on Friday, November 23, 2012

I called all the chains closest to Downtown Boston for the opening times, so if you are further out of the city, you may want to call your local store to doublecheck before arriving way too early or way to late!

Happy Shopping & Happy Holidays!! Best of Luck if you are participating in Black Friday this year!!

 

Free Tolls and Free Coffee for Massachusetts Thanksgiving Commuters!

If you are one of the millions of people traveling in Massachusetts (at least feels that way, right?) over the Thanksgiving holiday, you may be able to grab a few freebies!

Plymouth Rock Assurance will be sponsoring free tolls during peak time tomorrow November 21, 2012 from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Allston Brighton interchange on I-90.

If you don’t want to travel during the heaviest time to save $1 in tolls, you can also grab free coffee! To promote safe driving, all 17 MassDOT service plazas will be giving free coffee starting at 10 p.m. on Thanksgiving night (11/22/12) until 5 a.m. on Friday morning.

For more information about these offers as well as safe travel information, please visit the Mass.Gov’s transportation blog here.

Wicked Cheap Tip: Use your Charlie Card to Grab Local Discounts

Did you know that little plastic card stored safely in your wallet can also grab you some great local discounts in and around Boston?! From museums, entertainment, restaurants, the spa, the gym, retail locations, and much more, your Charlie Card can be saving you some cash. You can find all the Charlie Card discounts and savings here.

Some of my favorite discounts for 2012 are:

  • $2 off one adult admission at Franklin Park Zoo
  • $2 off one adult admission to the New England Aquarium (excludes IMAX and Whale Watching)
  • $2 off any regular adult admission at the JFK Presidential Library and Museum
  • $1 off at the Old South Meeting House and 10% off at the museum shop
  • Buy 1 adult admission, get 1 Free at the Old State House Museum and Boston Massacre Historic Site
  • 2-for-1 admission at the MIT Museum
  • 2-for-1 admission Sunday through Thursday and $5 off tickets on Friday and Saturday at Dick’s Beantown Comedy Vault
  • $199 off enrollment free and 1/3 off day passes at Beacon Hill Athletic Clubs
  • $25 off first individual sport enrollment at Boston Ski & Sports Club
  • Complimentary 3-day all access gym pass (new members only) at Fitcorp Fitness Center
  • Recieve $50 credit for new members at Zipcar with promo code MBTA12
  • Buy 1 Gourmet Pizza Slice & Get 1 Cheese Slice Free at Crazy Dough’s Pizza
  • Complimentary starter, soup, or salad with an adult entree purchase at the Elephant Walk
  • Free cup of chowder or dessert with a purchase of any entree at Dick’s Last Resort
  • Show your Charlie Card and get a free PRUferred Card with savings of more than 40 stores and restaurants at the Prudential Center

As you can see there are so many wicked awesome discounts by just showing your Charlie Card! There are also so, so many more in addition to what I mentioned.

If you don’t have a Charlie Card yet, what are you waiting for? You can grab one free at all MBTA ticket counters at Back Bay Station, Downtown Crossing, Harvard, North Station, and South Station, all rapid transit stations, select bus terminals, and even retail locations.

I will let you know when the 2013 discounts are in too, so check back soon :)

Free Aerosmith Concert on Monday, November 5th, 2012 at Noon!

Radio Station WAAF is joining forces with Aerosmith to bring a live concert to the streets of Boston for Free. The event is part of a pre-election party to rock the vote and to promote their latest album, “Music from another Dimension”.

Aerosmith will be playing starting at noon outside their old apartment building in Allston where they first got their start: 1325 Commonwealth Ave. Keep in mind their will be street closings on Monday because of this event, so plan early for your Monday commute.

If you would like to find out more information about this free concert, please visit here.

 

Inexpensive Wedding Dresses for Military Brides!

I recently heard about this organization, and I love it already! Brides Across America are helping military brides find their dream wedding dress for $20 which is a tax deductible donation. There are two bridal shops in Massachusetts that will be participating on select days in November, but there are numerous bridal stores around the country running events if you or someone you know in the military not currently located in Massachusetts.

These special bridal events are taking place starting November 6, 2012 to November 24, 2012 and pre-registration is required. There are also certain qualifications like you must be currently engaged or have had a civil ceremony within the last 18 months as well as military identification. To see if you qualify, please click here and for more information about the organization and upcoming events in your area, please click here.

How awesome!