Archive for November, 2008

How to find Black Friday bargain shopping deals

Posted on November 26, 2008. Filed under: Bargain Shopping, Personal Finance, Uncategorized | Tags: , , |

Here are some  web sites to help you get the best deals on Black Friday and year round. Make a shopping wish list, do your product research (e.g., read reviews), do some price comparisons for both online and in store deals (check the sales flyers) to get the best bargains.  Double check the accuracy of the information posted on these sites.

Sign up for email updates, alerts and notifications when available.  Happy Thanksgiving, good luck and good shopping!

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Buyer beware: Gift cards, retail chain store closings and bankruptcies

Posted on November 20, 2008. Filed under: Bargain Shopping, Personal Finance | Tags: , |

If you tend to give or receive gift cards around the holidays, or have gift cards you have not yet used, you need to be careful.  The cards may not be honored after the holidays if the retail stores are going out of business or have filed for bankruptcy.  Filing for bankruptcy doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ll be stopping operations, but it’s not a good sign.

Newspaper and journal articles have circulated with names of 32 retail chains that are closing some or all of it’s stores. Stores that are planning to close after Christmas are still selling the cards through the holidays even though the cards may be worthless January 1. There is no law preventing them from doing this.  On the contrary, it is referred to as ‘Bankruptcy Planning.

“There are cases already showing up because gift cards will not be honored because the business is no longer in business,” UAB economics professor Mickey Gee states, ” If you buy a gift card, buy it from a company you think will be in business. Give it to the recipient and tell them not to wait to use the gift card.”

He says stores that have filed for bankruptcy aren’t required to honor the cards unless a judge orders them to do so.  In those cases, Gee says there could be stipulations. He cited Sharper Image that is allowed to redeem gift cards after you’ve spent 200 dollars.

Instead of a store specific gift card, you might want to consider giving a VISA or Mastercard gift card which the recipient can use anywhere.  If you do give a store brand gift card, just make sure the store locations near the recipient are not targeted for closing or can be also be used for online purchases if the store has an ecommerce site.

Below is a partial list of stores that you need to be cautious about:

Circuit City (filed Chapter 11 and closing 155 stores)

Ann Taylor 117 stores nationwide closing

Lane Bryant, Fashion Bug ,and Catherine’s to close 150 stores nationwide

Eddie Bauer to close stores 27 stores and more after January

Cache will close all stores

Talbots closing down specialty stores

J. Jill closing all stores (owned by Talbots)

Pacific Sunwear (also owned by Talbots)

GAP closing 85 stores

Footlocker closing 140 stores more to close after January

Wickes Furniture closing down

Levitz closing down remaining stores

Bombay closing remaining stores

Zales closing down 82 stores and 105 after January

Whitehall closing all stores

Piercing Pagoda closing all stores

Disney closing 98 stores and will close more after January.

Home Depot closing 15 stores

Macys to close 9 stores after January

Mervyns closing all stores

Linens and Things closing all stores

Movie Gallery filed Chapter 11 and is closing at least 920 stores including 220 Hollywood Video

Pep Boys closing 33 stores

JC Penney closing a number of stores after January

Ethan Allen closing down 12 stores.

Wilson Leather closing down all stores

Sharper Image closing down all stores

K B Toys closing 356 stores

Loews to close down some stores

Dillard’s to close some stores

Steve & Barry’s has filed bankruptcy

Shoe Pavillion has filed bankruptcy

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far ) – find local sales, specials and promotions,

Posted on November 19, 2008. Filed under: Bargain Shopping, Cooking and Eating, Entertainment, Health & Beauty, Home & Garden, Low Money Fun, San Francisco Bay Area, Travel & Leisure | Tags: , , , , |

Shopping SalesRestaurant PromotionsSpa & Fitness Deals

Sign up for FREE to win a $400 gift card!

WHAT IS CITYSKOOP.COM? is your source for local sales, specials and promotions.

Find Clothing & Furniture sales up to 80% off, Restaurants offering half price wine and food nights, discounts on Spa & Fitness services, Hotel specials and much more!

WHY SIGN UP? Membership is FREE and gives you the following benefits:

  • Deal Alert Newsletter – be the first to hear about hot deals
  • Save listings to your private folder
  • Email listings to your friends and family
  • Chance to win a $400 Gift Card* to a local business
    • Currently your choice of Best Buy, Mastro’s Steakhouse, The Palm or Bloomingdale’s


  • Food & Drink Promotions – Half-off wine nights, special holiday meals, happy hour specials, drink specials, Restaurant Week menus and more!
  • Shopping Deals – Sample sales, trunk shows, warehouse sales, holiday sales and more for Women’s Clothing, Men’s Clothing, Kids & Toys, Sporting & Outdoor and Pets.
  • Body & Beauty Deals – Spa discounts, special spa packages, salon discounts, yoga and pilates deals, fitness center discounts and more!
  • Home & Garden – Furniture sales, floor sample sales, lighting discounts and home and garden decor deals.
  • Travel – Hotel and Resort discounts, airline deals and promotions.
  • Online Shopping Deals – Clothing sales, electronics discounts, sporting goods sales, shoe sales and more!

WHERE CITYSKOOP IS LOCATED Look for them in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Chicago and San Diego. Coming soon to Las Vegas, Boston, Miami and Atlanta.

Membership is FREE, so sign up today!!

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far ) – find free petsitters

Posted on November 15, 2008. Filed under: Pets, Travel & Leisure | Tags: , , |

Petciety is a website that facilitates the barter exchange of pet sitting services among it’s members. It’s free to register.

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How to Get Free Tickets to Obama’s Presidential Inauguration

Posted on November 12, 2008. Filed under: Travel & Leisure, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

Tickets to the 56th Inaugural Ceremonies will be provided free of charge and distributed through Members of the 111th Congress. The Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies does not provide tickets to the public. Members of the public interested in attending the Inaugural Ceremonies should contact their Member of Congress or U.S. Senators to request tickets.

The public should also be aware that no website or other ticket outlet actually has inaugural swearing-in tickets to sell, regardless of what they may claim. Tickets will not be distributed to Congressional offices until the week before the inauguration and will require in-person pick-up.

“Any website or ticket broker claiming that they have inaugural tickets is simply not telling the truth,” said Howard Gantman, Staff Director for the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies. “Tickets for the swearing-in of President-elect are all provided through members of Congress, and the President-elect and Vice President-elect through the Presidential Inaugural Committee. We urge the public to view any offers of tickets for sale with great skepticism.”

Note: When I called the office of my local Congresswoman, I was told the tickets were not yet allocated (i.e., they don’t know how many they are getting or how many tickets per person or household) and that they would not know or distribute them until some time next month. I was told I would be notified either way, based on my email request –BudgetMaven

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