How to Pay It Forward in Boston on Giving Tuesday

Giving Tuesday 2016 BostonThis post was written by contributor writer Kevin, who is currently a student at Northeastern University.

Today is Giving Tuesday, the global day of caring and giving… and you’d like to pay it forward. But where to start?

Even though Giving Tuesday is a worldwide phenomenon, there are still plenty of events and causes in the Boston area for you to support.

Here are just a few ways out of many you can give on Giving Tuesday in Boston this year:

Support Boston Universities: A couple of Boston-area schools have decided to take part in Giving Tuesday, and provide you a great way to help keep education top notch. Schools like Emerson College, the University of Massachusetts Boston, Boston University, and many more are available for donations today.

Some of these schools have a special donation drive just for Giving Tuesday, so you know that the money you give actually does make an impact.

Extra bonus: If 2,000 members of the Boston College family donate on Giving Tuesday, an extra $200,000 will be donated towards financial aid at the school.

Animal Rescue League of Boston: The Animal Rescue League is vital in supporting animals in need, and Giving Tuesday lets you help them with a special twist. An anonymous donor has agreed to match all donated money up to $25,000.

That means you’ll have double the impact on Giving Tuesday. Plus, you could even have your name (or your pet’s) up on their Wall of Honor if you give over $100.

St. Francis House: Sign up on Tuesday to donate your time, or consider making a donation to ensure that thousands each year can rely on the largest day shelter in Massachusetts. Better yet, if $10,000 is raised in 24 hours, an anonymous donor will match that amount.

Holly Hill Farm: If you’re still clamoring for everything fall, head on down to Holly Hill Farm near Cohasset. Giving Tuesday on the farm lets you participate in farming activities like planting, making compost or harvesting vegetables (9am-12pm, weather permitting).

Get outside and give back, or make a donation to their summer community service program if you’d rather stay warm.

Whatever you decide to do, make sure that you join the movement and kick off the Christmas season of charity and giving. If you’d like to learn more about Giving Tuesday, or look around for more ways to help, check out the official Giving Tuesday website.

Will you be participating in Giving Tuesday? What is your favorite way to give back this holiday season?

Awesome Cyber Monday Deals in Boston and Beyond

Cyber Monday Deals in Boston Today is Cyber Monday and I’m a little underwhelmed at the moment, but hopefully that will change throughout the day. Here are a few of my favorite deals around the web today so far with some national and local deals too! I’ll be updating if I find more awesome deals, so check back too!

Local Boston Deals

  • LEGOLAND: Get up to 50% off an annual pass today only!
  • Mass Audubon: Give the gift of a Mass Audubon membership at half price today only
  • Patriots ProShop: Get 20% and free shipping today only with promo code CYBERSALE16

Popular Promo Codes for Retailers

  • Target: 15% off most items online (available in-store too) with promo code CYBER15 + Free Shipping on all orders (great deals on Kindle Fire today too!)
  • Amazon: Use promo code HOLIDAYBOOK to get $10 off book purchases of $25 or more, deal ends at midnight
  • Amazon: 30% off select clothing, shoes, watches and more for men, women, and kids
  • Barnes & Noble: Get 15% off your entire order with promo code BNCYBER16 or 30% off one item with promo code BNBFRIDAY16
  • Get 25% off select electronics with promo code DROP25, today only
  • Fanatics: Get 30% + free shipping with orders $40+ with promo code CYBERMONDAY
  • Hollar: Use promo code CYBER50 for 50% one item + get $2 free credit and free shipping on orders of $10 or more for new users (Note: You can get a lot of great deals here, especially on Melissa & Doug toys, but shipping is slow so if you need it way before Christmas)

Restaurant Deals

  • The Cheesecake Factory: For every $25 Gift Card purchased, get TWO free cheesecake coupons (valid 1/1/16-3/31/16)
  • Margaritas: Receive a $30 bonus for $100 purchase in gift cards from 10-5pm today only
  • Use promo code CYBER for $25 gift cards for $2!
  • The Quarry (Hingham, MA): Buy one gift card, get one for half off

Local Boston Deals

  • LEGOLAND: Get up to 50% off an annual pass today only!
  • Mass Audubon: Give the gift of a Mass Audubon membership at half price today only
  • Patriots ProShop: Get 20% and free shipping today only with promo code CYBERSALE16

Hotel and Travel Deals

  • Last Minute Travel: Use promo code CYBER50 for $50 off all hotel purchases of $300+ or $100 off best value hotel purchases of $400 or more
  • Hotwire: Use promo code CM20 for $20 off $200 Hot Rate Hotels, CM30 for $30 off $300, and CM50 for $50 off $500 at Hotwire

Awesome Misc. Deals

  • Sling TV: Free Roku when you sign up for a month of streaming (Note: We did the 7-day trial at the start of the NFL Season and the games cut out a little bit so it wasn’t perfect, but affordable option to watch tv without cable)
  • Bluehost: Web Hosting as low as $2.40 from Bluehost + from 12-4pm today there will be a sale within a sale for even better deals!
  • Swagbucks: Join or sign in to your Swagbucks account and get 3x cashback today
  • All Entertainment Books are $19 + 15% off 2 or more books with promo code CYBER
  • LivingSocial: Use promo code CYBER16 for 25% off (max discount of $20) at

Also, don’t forget to use cashback sites like Ebates to save even money on purchases you were going to make anyway!

I’ll be updating this all day, so check back! What did I miss???

ICA Boston Celebrates 10 Years with Free Admission, Activities and more!

ICAThe Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston is celebrating their 10th Anniversary with 10 days of activities, performances, and more.

ICA 10 begins Thursday, December 1, 2016 and ends on Saturday, December 10, 2016.

There are a lot of fun activities, performances, art-making and more scheduled, but my favorite part of ICA 10 is the reduced admission and free community day.

On Weekdays during ICA 10, admission will be $10 (and free morning coffee too) and free admission Thursday night (as usual) from 5-9pm will also take place.

On Saturday, December 10, 2016, The ICA will host a Free Community Day with FREE admission, music, activities, tours, giveaways, and more!

For more information or for the full schedule of events, please head here.

Will you be heading to the ICA soon for their 10th anniversary celebration?



3 Tips to Stay on Budget this Holiday Season

Save Money this Holiday Season If you’ve been following Boston On Budget for awhile, you may know that I love saving money AND shopping in my pajamas to find the best deals.

Here are three simple tips this holiday season to help stay on budget:

Make a List and Check it Twice…

Making a list is a great and easy way to save money on holiday gifts and more. It can be easy to overspend during the holidays, but writing down everything you need to buy and everything you bought is a great way to keep track of your budget.

I like to make a list of everyone I need to buy for, what my budget is, and what gift ideas they make like. I also write down what promo codes, coupons, gift cards, deals, etc. I may have at different stores so I have a visual of deals and gift ideas on the same spreadsheet.

Making a list and going back to your list throughout the holiday season to make sure your on track with spending is a great way to save money this holiday season.

Stalk your Items

If you have a few particular items you need to buy soon, stalk your items first and do some research. I like to buy items at low prices (duh, who doesn’t?) and will check multiple sites to see what the going price is if I’m unfamiliar.

I’ll sometimes google the particular item and put “hot price” or “lowest price ever” to see if any deal sites covered the items and what the price may be for that low target price.

I also like to leave a lot of items in the Amazon cart if I’m indecisive, and Amazon will let me know if the item changed in price.

If you are on Pinterest, you can also pin buyable pins, and you’ll be alerted when the price drops on the item. Just make sure the pin is buyable and has a price next to it.

Researching items and figuring out a decent price beforehand is a smart and easy way to save some money.

Get Rewarded for Holiday Shopping

Getting rewarded for your holiday spending is a great perk.

If you are doing a lot of online shopping you may want to consider shopping through a cashback site like Ebates. If you are not familiar with cashback sites, they pay you a small % back (usually between 3-5%, but varies) of your purchase for making a purchase through their links.

It’s really simple to use and very simple to get extra money on your online purchase. You simply go to, or a similar site, enter the store you want to shop at in the search bar, click the shop now button and wait to be redirected to the site. That’s it. Really.

After you make a purchase, you’ll receive an e-mail from the cashback site letting you know you know the amount in your account. Most sites pay out quarterly, but exact payment will depend on the exact source you use. Ebates is free and easy to use, you just need to create a free account.

Amazon only participates in select categories for cashback sites, so Amazon Smile is a great alternative if you want to give a little money back to your favorite charities this holiday season.

If you are heading to the mall, you may want to download the Shopkick app, as you get points for checking into stores and doing missions. It’s a quick and easy way to get rewarded while out shopping, and you can put the points towards gift cards to your favorite stores.

There’s so many different ways to stay on budget this holiday season. What are your favorite ways to do so?

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

Cheap Weekend Fun in Boston for November 25-27, 2016!

Free Weekend Events in BostonSince Thursday is Thanksgiving, here is the Cheap Weekend Fun roundup a day early, and an extra day of weekend fun included! Friday is of course Black Friday and there’s so many things to besides shopping if you’d rather avoid the mall scene.

If you are shopping on Black Friday, here are some of the popular store opening times on Black Friday since Massachusetts is a little different than most of the country.

Here’s some fun and inexpensive things to do in Boston this extra long holiday weekend:

Boston Tuba Christmas: Saturday, November 26, 2016 at Faneuil Hall. Enjoy this 31st Annual Christmas event where many tuba players serenade the crowd! Free.

The Charles Hotel Tree Lighting Event: Saturday, November 26, 2016 from 4-6:30pm. Enjoy holiday music, a visit from Santa Claus and a tree lighting at 5:30pm. Free, but please bring new hats, gloves, and baby coats to donate to Cradles for Crayons.

Roslindale Tree Lighting: Saturday, November 26, 2016 from 3-5pm. Enjoy this annual tree lighting with holiday music, Santa, and a tree lighting!

Quincy Christmas Holiday Parade and Celebrations: November 25-26, 2016. Enjoy a tree lighting, parade, and watch Santa parachute from the sky this weekend in Quincy!

Small Business Saturday: Saturday, November 26, 2016. Shop small this Saturday and help a small business this holiday season.

Zoo New England Half Price Admission Day: Friday, November 25, 2016 at Franklin Park Zoo and Stone Zoo. Both the Franklin Park Zoo and Stone Zoo are offering half price admission on Black Friday from 10-4pm!

Green Friday at the Trustees: Friday, November 25, 2016. Enjoy free admission and parking at Trustees properties this Friday.

Your Terrible Holidays: Friday, November 25, 2016 at 10pm at Riot Theater. Head to JP on Friday night for free improve comedy.

Blink! at Faneuil Hall: November 20, 2016 to January 1, 2017 at Faneuil Hall Marketplace. Enjoy this state-of-the-art sound and light extravaganza  every night this holiday season at Faneuil Hall Marketplace!

Jordan’s Enchanted Village: Kicks off Saturday, November 19, 2016 to January 1, 2017 at Jordan’s Furniture in Avon. Head to Jordan’s Enchanted Village in Avon to relive childhood memories and check out this wonderful holiday display!

Harvard Art Museums: Massachusetts residents are admitted free every Saturday morning from 10am to Noon year-round with proof of residency

Harvard Museum of Natural History: Massachusetts residents are admitted free every Sunday morning from 9am to Noon year-round with proof of residency

Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology: Massachusetts residents are admitted free every Sunday morning from 9am to Noon year-round with proof of residency

Hope you have a great weekend!

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Black Friday Store Hours in Massachusetts

Black Friday MA Hours

Are you looking for the store opening hours for Black Friday 2016 in Massachusetts?

Keep in mind when you hear ads for stores saying they’ll be open on Thanksgiving Day, it does not apply to Mass thanks to Blue Laws. Some stores like gas stations, CVS, Cumberland Farms, etc. may be open but the big retailers (and liquor stores!) will not be open.

Below are some of the more popular store opening times from national retailers and shopping plazas:

Walmart: 1:00 AM (4AM in Avon, MA) on Friday

Target Corp: 1:00 AM (some stores may open later, check your local Target) on Friday

Best Buy: 1:00 AM on Friday

Kohls: 1:00 AM on Friday

Toys”R”Us: 1 AM or 8 AM, depending on your local store

Macy’s: 12:30 AM on Friday

T.J.Maxx: 7:00 AM on Friday (same for Home Goods and Marshalls too)

Bed Bath and Beyond: 6 AM on Friday

Wrenthem Village Outlets: 12:00 AM on Friday morning

Shops at Prudential Mall: 9:00 AM on Friday (there are a few stores opening early)

Copley Place: 8:00 AM on Friday (there may be a few store exceptions, so contact the specific store directly)

CambrideSide Galleria: 12:01 AM on Friday (individual store opening hours may vary though)

Assembly Row in Somerville: 8:00 AM on Friday

Square One Mall in Saugus: 12:01 AM on Friday

South Shore Plaza in Braintree: 12:01 AM on Friday

It’s always a good idea to check your town’s local store opening times as well, as local towns may have their own restrictions as well.

Also, keep in mind that not everything is a good deal and stores may have *very* limited quantities of door busters to lure you in, and you may not end up getting a good deal.

Many stores will offer great deals online on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and more, so you can skip the crowds and still get great deals in your pj’s,

Are you participating in Black Friday this year and what deals are you most looking forward too!?!

Good Luck!

Free Coffee at Cumberland Farms on Thanksgiving!

Free Coffee Cumberland Farms bostonIf you are doing some traveling this Thanksgiving, you may want to stop into Cumberland Farms for a little pick-me-up!

All day on Thursday, November 24, 2016, Cumberland Farms is giving away FREE coffee and you can grab it hot or cold in any size! The free cup also includes hot chocolate, cappuccino, and tea as well!

For more information about free coffee a Cumberland Farms on Thanksgiving Day, please head here.

You can also receive free coffee from any MassDOT Service Plazas from 10 p.m. Thanksgiving night until 5 a.m. on Black Friday!

Half-Price Day at Zoo New England on November 25, 2016!

zoo new england

If you are looking for a Black Friday shopping alternative but still want to save money, you may want to visit the Zoo New England on Friday, November 25, 2016!

You can grab half-off admission at both Franklin Park Zoo in Boston and Stone Zoo in Stoneham, MA from 10am to 4pm on 11/25/16 for the entire family!

For more information about half-price day at the zoo, please visit here.