Monthly Archives: October 2012

Coupons returning to JCPenney? Company provides first promo code, paper coupon in months

Faithful JCPenney shoppers got a rude awakening in February 2012 when the company implemented a huge change to its marketing strategy. Instead of weekly sales and a variety of coupons and promo codes, JCPenney instituted what it called “fair and square pricing.” The basic idea was that shoppers would get the stores’ best prices all the time and wouldn’t have to wait for a sale.

The strategy appears to be an epic fail thus far, with news reports showing large drops in sales at retail stores and online. My recent visits to my local JCPenney store seem to confirm this, as the place looks like a ghost town. The sales and marketing disaster may have played a role in the resignation of the company’s president this summer.

It appears things may be changing at JCPenney. For the first time in months, I’ve seen a money-saving promo code for use on the company’s website. You can use code EXTRA30 to get 30 percent off clearance items, along with free shipping on orders over $50. Since February, the only coupon codes I’ve seen the company offer have been for free shipping when you spent a specified dollar amount online.

I also recently received a paper coupon in the mail from JCPenney. It offered me $10 in an attempt to woo me back into the store to view the company’s new in-store boutiques devoted to various brands, such as Izod and Liz Claiborne.

Were you a JCPenney shopper before the new marketing strategy? What do you think it will take for the company to get back on track?

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Filed under Business news, Sales and promo codes

Cleaning products I love

Notice the title of this blog doesn’t say I love cleaning, because I am not a fan. But since I have a house to keep tidy, I do love products that help me accomplish that goal easily. In this blog, I will never recommend products I haven’t tested myself and found to be reliable. That’s why I can confidently suggest three tools to make your cleaning chores easier.

  1. Mr. Clean’s Magic Eraser: if you haven’t tried it, you may be skeptical that a simple sponge can cut through soap scum like nobody’s business. Trust me–it can. After years of trying to remove the “ring” around acrylic bathtubs, I’ve finally found a product that gets the job done. I use the Magic Eraser Bath Scrubber for my tub. The Original Magic Eraser is great for removing marks from painted walls.
  2. Scrubbing Bubbles Flushable Bathroom Wipes: Let’s face it. Using a toilet brush to try to clean the toilet seat is a losing and messy proposition. That’s why I love these wipes. I can use them to clean the toilet seat, lid and tank, then flush them away. The wipes are septic-safe and made from biodegradable cloth. These are a little more expensive than I’d like, but they do a good job.
  3. Lysol Antibacterial Kitchen Cleaner: not only does it kill germs on countertops, this is a great cleaning product, too. It cuts through grease on my stove and is a good value. One bottle lasts a long time. I keep an eye out for coupons that make this an even better deal.

What are your go-to cleaning products? Share your discoveries to help make an unwanted chore a little more enjoyable for others.

Please note I never accept payments or gifts to recommend products.

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Filed under Product recommendations, Shopping tips

Save 30 percent on Levi’s

Use coupon code FF2012 to receive a 30 percent discount on any order at You’ll also get free shipping. Start your shopping at, and you’ll add 4 percent cash back to your savings.

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Filed under Sales and promo codes

Photo print savings at Mpix

Use coupon code SALE2012 to save 25 percent on photo prints at Mpix. The company’s photo prints finished second in my photo comparison test, and I personally prefer its prints to the winner, Snapfish. This offer is only good through 11:59 p.m. tonight (Wednesday, Oct. 24).

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Save big at Snapfish with promo code

Use coupon code SURPRISE50 to take half off your purchase at Snapfish through Tuesday, Oct. 23. Start your shopping at, and you’ll also get 20 percent cash back. That’s what I call a great deal!

The offer excludes store-pickup items and some themed products, such as Disney and Sesame Street.

Snapfish was the winner of my photo comparison test, beating out Shutterfly and other photo printing vendors.

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Filed under Sales and promo codes, Saving money

Reliable brands with long-lasting, durable products

My paternal grandfather was a kind and generous man. When I moved away from my hometown in the fall of 1990 to attend college, he wanted to make sure I had all the essentials needed to furnish my off-campus apartment. So, he bought me several household items. Now, 22 years later, two of those items are still with me and are working great.

The first is a Dirt Devil canister vacuum. I have used it regularly over two decades and never had a moment’s trouble with it. This is despite the fact my mom used it to vacuum up drywall pieces on one occasion–not the recommended use of a household canister vacuum. I have no trouble finding replacement bags to fit this model. I also own a Dirt Devil upright vacuum I purchased about 17 years ago. While I have not used it as often as the canister model, it has performed reliably as well.

The second item my grandfather bought which is still with me today is a Sunbeam mixer. I don’t use it as often as I used to, but it has never failed to perform properly.

I’ve also found items manufactured by General Electric (GE) to be durable, long-lasting products. I own a GE chest freezer that was purchased about 10 years ago. We have not always treated it as well as we should (it weathered a few North Dakota winters in garages), but it has always been reliable. Because of its proven performance, when the time came to buy an upright freezer recently, I chose the GE brand. I also have a GE blender that has been in use for 12 years. An added benefit of being a GE customer is knowing some of the company’s appliances are made in the USA.

The products mentioned above were not “top-of-the-line” or expensive models, but all have performed admirably. Companies that care about customers make reliable products, and customers like me reward them with repeat business and referrals.

What brands and products do you own that have lasted for many years? Share your experiences to help others make wise shopping choices.


Filed under Customer service, Shopping tips