Category Archives: Sales and promo codes

Made in the USA: Headbands for running and fitness from 4 manufacturers

Finding running gear made in the USA is tough. In a previous post, I discussed the handful of running shoes I could find that are made in America. While searching for a good headband for running, I was pleased to discover this week that my favorite product line is made in the USA!

I first tried a Bondi Band headband after purchasing one at a pre-race runners’ expo. The headband stays put and has a comfortable backing that wicks sweat away from my skin. It is also wide, giving you more forehead and hair coverage than some of the very narrow headbands sold by major sporting goods stores. The band comes in a couple of different styles and numerous colors and prints. A group that have sayings on them  offer humorous options. Not a runner? The Bondi Band could be used for aerobics, yoga and other workouts as well.

I investigated headbands made by other companies, but many were more expensive than the Bondi Band. I found a promo code on RetailMeNot that allowed me to get five Bondi Band headbands for $25 — a discount of $3 each. Another wide headband I seriously considered was $18 for one. Plus, BondiBand says 10 percent of its pre-tax profits go to charity.

While I have not tried them, I found three other headband lines made in the USA. First is the Halo headband. The manufacturer says the Halo wicks sweat and absorbs moisture. It comes in three different styles: a pullover headband, a version that ties in the back and a Velcro headband. If you’ve tried a Halo headband, please share your comments on how well it works. RetailMeNot also offers a Halo promo code. The bands cost $12.95 to $14.95.

A line of headbands made for women are also manufactured in America — RazzyRoo headbands have a unique design in the back and come in a wide array of prints and colors. The manufacturer’s website doesn’t offer many details on the features of these, so its hard to tell if the group labeled “running headbands” have wicking or sweat-absorbing properties. Expect to spend $5 (clearance items) to $15 for one of these.

Chica Bands offer another headband option for women. In a response to my email, a company representative told me these are made in America. The Chica Bands website describes the product as “a nonslip, nonbinding hair band…for active women and girls.” They come in solid colors, reflective finishes and a variety of other designs. Check out RetailMeNot for Chica Band coupon codes. These headbands range in price from $10 (sale selections) to $17.50. A “Chica on the cheap” option in the sales section allows you to get 10 discontinued bands for $25, but you won’t know the width or style until they arrive.

I would love to hear from ladies who have tried RazzyRoo headbands or Chica Bands for athletic use and get their comments on how well the bands work at keeping sweat off your forehead.

If  you’ve found other running or fitness headbands that are made in America, please let me know so I can expand my list.

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Filed under Made in USA, Product recommendations, Sales and promo codes, Saving money

Quadruple fuel points at Kroger through June 22

Now’s the time to stock up on gift cards for summer birthdays, Father’s Day and yourself. Through June 22, Kroger is offering quadruple fuel points on gift card purchases when you use your Kroger Plus card.

Your total points earned will be four times the card’s value. So, a $25 gift card earns you 100 fuel points, and those 100 points entitle you to 10 cents off each gallon of gas you purchase in a single fill-up at a Kroger fuel center. A $100 gift card would net you a 40-cent fuel discount.

There are some important exclusions to keep in mind. You’ll find details in this previous post, along with the reason I stock up on gift cards for myself during these types of promotions.

Available cards at my local Kroger store include Target, Home Depot, Barnes & Noble, Subway, Best Buy, Petsmart and many more. Check out the full list online.

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Finding the best price on a rental car

A few times a year, my husband and I fly out of state to visit his family and find ourselves in need of a rental car. After numerous searches for an affordable vehicle, I’ve uncovered nine tips that can help you find the best price on a car rental.

Tip 1: Don’t play favorites. If you find a rental car company you love and stick with it, you won’t get the best deal. Be open to renting from a different company on each trip.

Tip 2: Compare prices on numerous websites. If you only check prices in a couple of places, you could end up seriously overpaying. For example, I just checked prices for a trip we have planned for Easter weekend 2013. The first website I checked turned out to be $113 more for the rental period than one I found later.

Here’s a list of prices I found for a 49.5-hour rental of a midsize car, from highest to lowest (rounded to the nearest dollar):

Tip 3: Don’t assume bargain websites will provide the best price. I have found great deals for rental cars on Hotwire, for example, but on other trips, a major rental company’s website provided the best deal. On this trip, the cheapest Priceline price was $68 more than what I found on the rental company’s site for the same class of vehicle.

Tip 4: Not all coupons are created equal. If you are part of a motor club or have a credit card, you may receive coupons in the mail with codes that give you rental car discounts with various companies. I’ve discovered that you often get a better price without entering any code. When you’ve narrowed your choices down to a couple of websites, try requesting one quote with the coupon and one without to see which price is best.

Tip 5: Consider paying in advance. Some websites offer a discount if you prepay for your rental. However, this payment may be nonrefundable or subject to a cancellation fee, and you may not be able to change the reservation to different dates, so be sure of your travel plans before choosing this option.

Tip 6: An extra driver can be a deciding factor. Many companies only allow the person whose name is on the registration to drive the rental car. If you want a spouse or friend to drive the vehicle, you’ll have to pay extra with some companies. That extra fee can make a competitor’s price a better deal. For example, National’s policy says you can expect to pay about $10 extra per day to add a driver unless you are an Emerald Club member of have a corporate agreement. For a 5-day rental, you’d be tacking $50 onto your bill. Avis’ additional driver policy would allow a spouse to drive the vehicle at no extra charge and could make its rental car  cheaper. You can usually find this policy in the Customer Service section of the website or by typing “additional driver” into the site’s search engine.

Tip 7: Call your insurance company before booking. Depending on the type of coverage you have on your personal vehicles, you may not need to purchase the rental company’s collision insurance. Bypassing this fee can save you considerable cash.

Tip 8: Read the fine print. At least one company will charge you a fee if you request bonus frequent flier miles for your rental through an airline promotion. Reading the detailed information provided in the reservation process can help you avoid charges like this.

Tip 9: Squeeze out all the discounts you can. After you’ve selected a rental car company, start your reservation at Ebates.com to get cash back on your reservation. Ebates cash back rates for rental cars include:

  • Alamo: 2.5 percent
  • Avis: 3 percent
  • Budget: 3 percent
  • Enterprise: 2 percent
  • Hertz: 1.5 percent
  • Hotwire: 2 percent
  • Priceline: 2.5 to 3 percent
  • Travelocity: 1.5 percent

I hope this advice helps you save a stack of cash the next time you rent a car. If you have more tips to add to this list, please post a comment.

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Beware of exclusions at Dick’s Sporting Goods

Dick’s Sporting Goods is one of the largest stores of its type in my community. The two-story superstore sells clothing and shoes for a variety of sports, as well as camping equipment, guns, kayaks, workout equipment and many other sports-related items. While the store sells high-quality merchandise, none of it is cheap. So, being the bargain hunter that I am, coupons and promo codes offered by Dick’s are especially appealing to me.

Recently, I shopped for a pair of running shoes for my father as a Christmas gift. I was excited to receive an email from Dick’s with a code for a percentage off of athletic shoes. I scoured the Dick’s website for the right pair of shoes and tossed them into my virtual shopping cart. When I tried to apply the promo code, it wasn’t accepted, and I couldn’t decipher from the error message what the problem was.

I called the store’s customer service hotline for assistance and found out the brand of shoes I’d selected was not eligible for a discount. So, I asked how I could tell what brands are eligible and which ones aren’t. The sales rep told me to enter the word “exclusions” into the search engine at dickssportinggoods.com to return a list of brands to which discounts don’t apply.

Turns out the list is long and included most of the shoe brands I was interested in: Nike, Saucony, Asics and Brooks are on the list. In fact, as of this writing, more than 100 brands of sporting goods are on the list, along with a note that the following are also not eligible for coupons: tennis and racketball rackets, baseball/softball bats and gloves, licensed and championship merchandise, outdoor electronics, cardio fitness equipment and golf balls.

So, if you have a coupon or promo code for use at Dick’s Sporting Goods, here’s some advice: before you spend a lot of time looking for the perfect item, use the search word “exclusions” on the company’s website to find out whether you can use the code on the brand or type of item you want.

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Promo and coupon codes for the week before Thanksgiving

It’s the time of year when sales and discounts abound, as retailers try to reel in holiday shoppers. Here are some promo and coupon codes you might want to take advantage of this week:

Inkjet Superstore: Use coupon code THANKSGIVING to get free shipping through November 22. Use promo code CANON to get 10 percent off Canon product through November 18. Only one code can be used per order.

Kohl’s: Take 15 percent off your purchase with coupon code GRATITUDE through November 14.

Meijer: Save 15 percent when you order an item from the Meijer website and pick it up in the store. Use promo code SHIPTOSTORE to get this deal. It ends November 17.

Bare Necessities: use coupon code X15OFF to save 15 percent and get free shipping on bras, underwear and other essentials. This code expires on November 19.

Lands’ End: Save 30 percent off your purchase with promo code FRIENDS and PIN 1511. Plus, get free shipping on orders of $50 or more. This offer ends November 13.

CVS Photo: Need photo prints in a hurry? Use promo code PRINTS12 to get 12-cent photos at CVS when  you order 50 or more. The photos will be ready for pickup at your local CVS the same day you order them online, if you order before 3 p.m. This deal ends November 17.

Timberland: Need hiking books, a backpack or outerwear? Save 20 percent of fyour purchase at Timberland with coupon code PRESENT12. The store’s website does not state an expiration date for this offer.

New York & Company: Use promo code 3712 to save $30 on a $75 purchase at New York & Company. Plus, get free shipping if your order is $125 or more. No expiration date is available for this offer.

Have you seen a great deal available this week? Post it here so others can save.

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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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Save 30 percent on Levi’s

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

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