‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ and other PF topics.

guardians of the galaxyI had a blast watching “Guardians of the Galaxy,” so much so that I later took my great-nephews to see it – a second viewing for all of us. That time, though, I went with an eye toward superheroic money lessons.

Hey, if I can do it for “Parsifal,” “Godzilla” and “Gotterdammerung,” surely I can do it for comic-book heroes.

8 personal finance tips from ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’” ran recently over at my day job, Money Talks News. Among them: “Classics endure,” “Good sense trumps sentiment (or should)” and “Judge performance, not appearance.”

Show me another job that lets you charge your movie ticket as a business expense. Other than movie reviewer, that is.

Also at Money Talks News is “Big-city lodgings for $29 a night,” a piece about hostels. I’ve long been a fan, and my recent trip to Austin was no exception: I encountered a clean bed, pleasant surroundings and free breakfast for about $31 a night.

Obviously you need to do some homework before plunking down your bucks. The article tells you how. While shared accommodations are not for everyone – and keep in mind that some hostels do have private/family rooms – it’s been a fun way to stretch my travel dollars and a chance to chat with people from all over the world.

Hitting the bullseye

Grandparents.com hired me to do yet another slide show, this one called “Target deals: How to save big at your favorite retailer.” Although I’m not usually a big Target shopper, the research for this piece made me realize I should be.

Although the words “slide show” may connote “big pictures, small content,” I promise you that this one is crammed with ways to help you save money. Maybe a lot of money: One blogger I interviewed, Christina Brown of Northern Cheapskate, got a $60 discount on the only toy her sons asked for last Christmas by using Target’s price-match guarantee.

Stephanie Nelson, aka “The Coupon Mom,” hosts a free Target Price Matcher tool at her website. All you have to do for one-stop shopping is find the best deals and take the flyer(s) for the store(s) with the best prices to Target’s guest services counter. (Hint: The tool includes Amazon.com deals.)

The piece includes all sorts of insider tips and tricks, including:

  • The Cartwheel app
  • “Coupon alerts” that can be sent to your phone
  • Weekly unadvertised promotions (which can be viewed each week at many coupon/deal blogs, including CouponMom.com)
  • The option of using an in-flyer coupon more than once
  • Free returns by mail
  • In-store pickup (order and pay online and it’s ready when you get there)
  • Target’s “subscription service,” similar to Amazon’s in that you can set up recurring deliveries of things you use most often (you get a 5 percent discount that stacks with the store credit card’s 5 percent discount)

Note: If you use in-store pickup, be sure to access Target shopping via a cash-back shopping site such as Mr. Rebates, Extrabux or FatWallet.com for an additional 2 to 2.5 percent savings.

What to buy this month

While some kids start school in mid-August and others attend year-round, September still connotes new teachers, notebooks and shoes. And while the weather might be very warm in some places, summer is still winding inexorably down toward autumn.

That’s why my current post at Retail Me Not is split between two seasons. Sure, clothing and school/office supplies are available for some very nice discounts. But so are grills, lawnmowers and appliances.

Appliances are seasonal? Sometimes. You think those harvest goodies are going to freeze themselves? Even when living the single life in Seattle I had a small freezer in my apartment. Whenever something I liked went on sale I could stash large quantities that would tide me over until the next sales cycle. The freezer paid for itself fairly quickly and now, in Anchorage, continues to keep grocery bills low.

As for other appliances, the holidays are practically upon us. That means extra  baking, cooking, entertaining and maybe even hosting visiting relatives. Special holiday linens and/or the sheets and towels used by holiday house guests translate into extra laundry, too, so watch for washer/dryer deals.

Putting the yard to bed

It’s easy to guess why grills and also lawnmowers go on sale at this time of year: By clearing out the 2014 inventory, merchants also make room for seasonal items like snowblowers, Christmas trees and giant holiday inflatables.

(I saw some of those set up in balmy, snowless Phoenix last December. Weird, especially during the day when the Snoopy-in-a-snow-globe becomes a flat plastic puddle atop a gravel yard.)

Where I live, September is pretty much the end of lawn care for the year, yet homeowners still need to get in at least one more mow before putting the yard to bed. In other places, grass keeps growing into October or sometimes all year round. If you’re thinking of replacing your old lawn-eater, now’s the time to shop.

As for grills, this could be a chance to get a really skookum cooker at a very nice discount. People grill all year round in Alaska (DF is out there doing a turkey in the Weber every T-day), and I bet they grill where you are, too. Or would, if they weren’t afraid of a little cold.

Winning werefolk ways

My friend Sonya Ann, who blogs at A Mom, Money and More, is giving away two Kindle copies of “Woofies: Werefolk in Alaska.” Hop over there and enter before Friday, Sept. 5.

This is the young adult novel written by an Alaska writer of my acquaintance, and I’ve agreed to help promote it. You can read a précis of the novel in a previous post I did on the topic.

Should you just want to buy a Kindle copy ($2.99), I hope you’ll consider using my affiliate link to do so. For the paperback version, follow this Amazon link. If using affiliate links bugs you, just head over to Amazon and buy.

First, however, I’d first suggest trying to win a copy through Sonya Ann’s blog. As the kids say, you’ve got to be in it to win it.

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  1. FYI Walmart also price matches for those who don’t have a target nearby. Same deal just bring in the ad to show to the cashier when you check out. They even let you price match food.

    • Donna Freedman

      Yep. But the Grandparents.com article was about Target so I focused exclusively thereon.
      If you have even a little time to price-match it can pay off. In fact, it was Wal-Mart that had the loss-leader price of $39.97 for that toy (normally $100+) but they were all sold, so Christina Brown took the flyer to Target and got the last one in stock. Since that giant Lego playset was the only toy her kids actually requested, she was pretty happy with the way her big-ticket item was made more affordable.

  2. I looooooooooooooooooooove Target. I use almost all of your tricks although I admit I have never taken advantage of price-matching. I really need to look into that more. The fashion blog you linked to? That is amazing! Thank you!!

    • Donna Freedman

      You’re welcome. The price-matching could come in really handy for you around the holidays, if there’s a Target closer to you than anywhere else. That is to say, find the toys you want to buy your kids cheaper somewhere else and take the ad to Target. Good hunting!


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