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Wrapping Up 30 Days on a Discount – What’s Next?

21 Sep

My 30 Days of Living on a Discount has come to an end. I’ll recap here the last few days of this project, which ended this past weekend. But I also need your help to decide what to do for my next project! Please weigh in on the poll below, to vote for the project you would find most interesting:

The best thing I did on the weekend, on a discount, was attend the ACL Music Festival. I went to the first one, ten years ago, and have been to about five since. But I haven’t been the past couple of years. A few weeks ago, I saw that KGB Deals was offering 50% off tickets through SuperStar Tickets – and had ACL tickets available in their system. So Keith and I both purchased the deal, and then bought one-day ACL passes for Sunday, September 18. Tickets were $61 plus $15 shipping for a total of $76. We got a $25 discount through the KGB deal, and then an additional $25 rebate through a special trial offer through SuperStar Tickets. Net cost for ACL tickets: $26 including shipping – a savings of 66%!

We had a great time, with a line-up of shows that included The Airborne Toxic Event, Broken Social Scene, Manu Chao, Social Distortion and Arcade Fire to close the show. Best day of the summer! Continue reading


Outrageous offers – the craziest deals I’ve seen

14 Sep

Today I thought I would share some of the wackiest, funniest and just plain surprising offers that I’ve seen. Since I started my 30 Days of Living on a Discount, I signed up for email notifications and newsletters from all the different coupon and deal companies out there. See the bottom of this post for a complete list of who I’ve been using, and feel free to add others I might not know of in the comments!

In receiving all these various deals in my inbox, I’ve seen some pretty crazy and amusing stuff. Here are a few of my favorite oddities – and if you want to see the wackiest thing I’ve ever done using one of these deals, check the bottom of this post.


Feathery jokers of the Winged Foul Foundation continually flaunt their cloud level view of the world. Just look at those barrel rolls and nosedives! Put the bird’s eye view to shame at Texas Skydiving Center and receive 1 Tandem Jump with Ground School for $179.

Show those birds what flying should really look like… cheeks blown back, arms out… a screaming mouth opened wide… pretty.

From Urban Dealight Continue reading

Giving Back to Get

9 Sep

Here’s something you might not know – Groupon has their own initiative to support social causes, called the G-Team. I have used Groupon since they were introduced earlier in the year, and have written about the group-deal-buying pioneers many times for my Living on a Discount project. But did you know that Groupon not only helps fund great nonprofit causes, but the whole Groupon idea came from that?

Groupon was born out of a group action and fundraising platform called The Point. As the Groupon community grew, their collective consumer power helped people get great deals and discover fun ways to experience their cities. Through G-Team, Groupon is connecting its users with their communities in meaningful ways. One of my very first Groupon purchases, in fact, was a matched donation to The Miracle Foundation. Continue reading

Taking Care of Business

2 Sep

Sometimes it’s the little things in life that require upkeep and maintenance, to help our daily routines flow smoothly. This week I had to attend to a few of those things, and was able to incorporate my discount project into it.

Loaner Bike Program at Eco-conscious Friendly's

My car needed to go in and see the doctor...poor thing needed an oil change and was having a problem with the AC (in this heat! Not good). I had purchased a Groupon for an eco-friendly oil change several months ago ($34 for a $75 oil change). Green Earth Oil is a biodegradable, recyclable, environmentally safe oil change, and I went to Friendly’s in East Austin to get it done. Savings: 55%. As an added bonus, Friendly’s checked my AC and rotated my tires for free, and they offer loaner bikes with a map of coffee houses and bike trails in the neighborhood. Since I only live two miles away, I just biked home and worked while they handled my car. (I also had to get my AC repaired at another place – no discount or coupon, I’ll admit. But with temperatures over 100 degrees, I had to get it done!)

There are also the little things like ink for the printer and supplies to keep the work life running smoothly. Hewlett Packard emailed me a 25% off coupon, so I ordered some replacement printer ink cartridges. Not very exciting, but I did save money. Continue reading

Yoga, Books, Dance and a Weekend Getaway

29 Aug

I’m happy to report that I’m still going strong on my discount-only living for this 30-Day project. Except for the following non-negotiable, fixed expenses I have not paid full price for anything.

  • Rent
  • Utilities
  • Gasoline
  • Groceries (although I use coupons on as much as I can, and Keith got a 50% off coupon for Greenling. But if I don’t have a coupon for milk, for example, I’m still going to buy it.)

Chilling at Half Price Books

I haven’t bought anything that I didn’t have some sort of coupon or discount for that gave me at least 30% off. This past week I’ve done some shopping, tried a new yoga studio and enjoyed a great weekend of fun.

Earlier in the week I visited one of my favorite places, Half Price Books. As the name implies, everything is at least half off, and I regularly buy clearance books here for $1. On this visit, I picked up two DVDs for my daughter at $5 each, for a savings of 67-75% (they were retail $15 and $20). I also had a little fun and bought a Liz Lemon t-shirt package from the show 30 Rock, at the Universal online store. I love Tina Fey, and the sale was 31% off. Totally frivolous, but a fun little treat. Continue reading

Being a Foodie on a Discount

25 Aug

Before I get into some of the fabulous deals I’ve used this week, I just had to share this funny piece from The Onion, my beloved Austin bastion of satire: Extreme Couponing Craze Increases Newspaper Theft. Funny stuff.

After my nephews left, I didn’t go out much on the weekend. I bought a few grocery items and cooked at home on both Saturday and Sunday. Recuperating from five days with two pre-adolescent boys.

Monday brought a very busy, long work day of catching up. So in the evening, I treated myself to a fantastic sushi dinner at Sushi Japon, courtesy of Groupon ($15 for $25 coupon, savings of 40%). It’s a very unassuming little place along I-35 just north of 2222, and one of my favorite sushi spots. Always very good – try the Hot Night roll. And by the way, Sushi Japon always offers their own coupon for 15% off. I used the Groupon Now tool, which is a super useful system to find out what deals are available at the moment, near your physical location. You can find something to eat, shopping, massages and lots more – deals to be had within a certain time period that day. When you use the mobile app, it’s terrific because it will list the deals closest to you first. No need to pay full-price when you have tools like Groupon Now and Scoutmob to tell you what’s nearby, at 30-60% off. Continue reading

A Family Visit on the Cheap

21 Aug

My nephews cool off with the bumper boats at Austin's Park & Pizza

This week I started my newest 30-Day project, Living on a Discount. Also this week, my two nephews came to spend their annual “week at Aunt Shelley’s house” summer visit. So, with nine and eleven year-old boys in tow, we set about to see what fun things we could do in Austin all week, under the parameters of my Discount-Only experiment.

The first day, we spent the entire afternoon at Austin’s Park & Pizza, an arcade and amusement park on I-35 in north Austin (Pflugerville, actually). This is a huge place where, for one price, you get a wristband that allows you unlimited access to all the rides and activities in the park, as well as a large pizza buffet and drinks. The regular price is $19.95 per person, with $10.95 for kids 40-43 inches tall (free for under 40 inches tall). I bought a Groupon several months ago for $9 each – saving me more than $10 per person, or 50%. Continue reading