Sep 032014

market-basket  I just visited my local Market Basket for the first time since the now infamous pissing match between the billionaire owners ended.  Can’t say I’m happy about it.

I don’t do a lot of grocery shopping since I don’t cook and mainly eat fast food.  But I do buy three things from Market Basket on a nearly weekly basis: cigarettes, beverages and snack foods.  While I’m amazed by the outpouring of support for Arthur T. Demoulas that the world was recently witness to and was excited to see so many people band together to stand up for what they believed was right, I continued to shop at Market Basket during the whole debacle.  Why?  Because I’m not interested in going to additional expense or trouble to support a billionaire spoiled brat.  But that’s not what this post is about.

This post is about the punishment and deceit that I (and so many others) saw coming.

On Saturday, the Boston Herald ran a story titled: CEO not in Market to raise prices. Here are the first few paragraphs- Continue reading »

Nov 282008
Part of the Friday Frugality Series - Previous in series         

Today is Black Friday, though I’ve barely heard that phrase this year and don’t know of any actual deals going on today.  Still, I have a feeling that if my regular Frugal Friday readers aren’t out shopping for deals, they’re probably still in recovery mode from yesterday’s National Day of Overeating.  So I’m just going to drop some quick news/tips/whatever with y’all.

I’ve written about the Safeway PowerPump Gas Rewards at Morgan Hill Review and about their doubling of points on gift card sales here in last week’s Friday Frugality.  They did finally get things together and credit me for the missing gift card purchases last week.  But on Monday when I went shopping I received yet another surprise: the coupon pictured above, left.  The coupon reads “$2 off your total shopping trip when you buy ANY 1 card.”  I did purchase a single small gift card on this purchase so I’m not sure if the coupon was triggered by that gift card purchase or my repeated calls to their customer service line, but I was still glad to use it on my Thanksgiving shopping trip and look forward to getting another one before the promotion ends at New Year’s.

The second tip has been sitting around my “to write about” file for a few weeks now, but its deadline is coming up soon so I’m dropping it in here.

About six months ago I wrote a comparison of the different coin counting machines available in my area and came to the conclusion that Coinstar was, by far, the best.  The primary motivation behind this choice was the ability to get the full value of your coins when exchanging them for a gift card instead of cash.  Well, now Coinstar’s gotten even better…

Now through December 7th, 2008 when you cash in $40.00 or more in coins at any Coinstar machine and redeem your coins for a gift certificate you will receive a small form to complete and mail in.  Then, within a month or so, Coinstar will send you a bonus gift certificate for the same company valued at $10.00.  No strings attached (except, of course selling your personal info to Coinstar).

Part of the Friday Frugality Series - Previous in series        
Nov 212008
Part of the Friday Frugality Series - Previous in series         Next in series

Earlier this week I wrote (on one of my other blogs) about Safeway’s PowerPump Gas Rewards program and how you can use it to save a ton of money on gas. I know not everyone has a Safeway (or Safeway gas) in their area, which is why I wrote the article on my local blog. However, I have since learned that Krogers (and possibly other members of the Safeway corporate “family”) have similar promotions in place. Now, that’s not enough to retread the entire program here on Philaahzophy so if you want the basics visit the link above.

Through the end of the year Safeway is offering even more gas rewards when you do something you’re likely to do this time of year anyway: buy gift cards. Not only do gift cards (with a few notable exceptions like pre-paid credit cards, Safeway cards, and event tickets) now count towards your accumulated spending for the purposes of gas discounts (they didn’t under the old system), but through either Christmas Day or New Year’s Eve (I’ve seen both on promotional materials) you’ll receive an extra $0.10 per gallon discount every time you accumulate $100 in gift card purchases.

Since the PowerPump gas discounts are now cumulative this means that one can actually receive a free tank of gas relatively easily. For example, my household spends about $150/week on our standard groceries, we also pick up one or two prescriptions a month from the Safeway pharmacy (each of which earns a bonus credit), and now I’m buying gift cards there as well and getting bonus rewards for every $100 spent.  Combine all of that with dropping gas prices and free gas is no longer a pipe dream.

Not only are gift cards a perfectly acceptable gift in the modern age, but I actually purchase them for stores and restaurants I regularly patronize as well, thus earning Safeway gas rewards when I eat at Chili’s, McDonalds, Jack in the Box or Subway and even when I shop at Home Depot, Target and my favorite “store” of all: eBay.  One word of warning, however…

When I purchased $90 of gift cards on Tuesday (and nothing else on the transaction) I swiped my card through the machine, but was not credited for the purchase.  After talking to store management I was told they couldn’t access the Safeway Club Card account so I would need to call the toll-free number (1-977-723-3929) and address the issue with them.  I dutifully spent my time and energy doing that and was assured my account would be updated in 24 hours.  Alas, after today’s shopping trip no credit had occured and I had to call again this afternoon.  Again, I have been assured that the credit would appear within 24 hours, but we shall see…

Part of the Friday Frugality Series - Previous in series        Next in series
Nov 112008

Just wanted to take a moment to welcome all of the visitors from the Veteran’s Day edition of the Festival of Frugality!  Although I’m personally so far removed from the American economy that the current credit crunch hasn’t had an immediate impact on my life, I’m well aware of the rises prices and the economic sufferings of those around me.

I’m just getting back to regular frugal blogging, but be sure to check out my Friday Frugality series to see my past tips on saving cash wherever and whenever possible.  And be sure to swing back by this Friday to read how I managed to pay less than $2.0 gallon for gas and don’t expect to fill my 33 gallon tank for less than $1.00 per gallon before the year is out!

Sep 222008

Last September I wrote a post titled Lies of a Gecko in which I took GEICO to task for their “we’re lowering Californians’ auto insurance rates” advertising campaign.  They hadn’t lowered mine at all 🙁  Well a couple of weeks back I received my semi-annual auto insurance renewal and this time they reduced my six month insurance rate from $252.10 (a $4 reduction from last fall’s bill) to $195.30.  Now that’s what I call savings!

Apparently this was a result of my now qualifying for the “GEICO Safe Driver Discount”.  You see, I’ve never had an accident or an insurance claim since I first received my driver’s license way back in 1986.  It just took GEICO a couple of years to understand that simple fact.  Feeling somewhat wealthy at the moment I received the latest bill I immediately paid the entire balance via their website, forgoing my usual four payment system.  But wait, there’s more…

The following week I received another large packet from GEICO.  This one included a complete new policy, and another revision to my car insurance rate: $164.80!  That’s another $30.50 in savings, or a total of 12% over my previous six months premium.  Apparently, not only am I a “GEICO Safe Driver” now, but I also qualify for a “5 Year Good Driving” discount.  Go me!  And go GEICO for recognizing it.  Only one problem – I’d already paid the higher premium.  So, torn between exulting in my new budget car insurance premium and wondering how I was going to get that $30 back I set the two packets aside for 48 hours.

Upon checking my bank account the next day (a constant habit of mine) I discovered that GEICO hadalready credited the $30.50 back into my account!  Now that is customer service, my friends!