Off for the Weekend

I’m going on a little weekend trip so sadly I won’t be able to write any posts for the next 2 days.  I will though share my pictures from the trip for anyone who is interested.  Have a good weekend all!

Watched Some Movies (Thanks to the Free Blockbuster Trial), Let’s Review Them…

I’m entering week 3 of my 4 week free subscription to Blockbuster online (promo code was posted in the freebies section).  I get three movies at a time and this past week I received The Kingdom, Halloween (the Rob Zombie version), and The Family Guy Blue Harvest. 

I really enjoyed The Kingdom.  Hollywood is Hollywood so you never know how much realism is put into a movie, but if The Kingdom is somewhat accurate then it gives some good insight into the Middle East and how people live there.  It was as much entertaining as it was educational for me.  It is hard to step outside of your daily life and really get a feel for how different it is in other parts of the world, and this movie does a good job of that while keeping the viewer entertained.  The three main actors in the movie are Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Garner, and Jason Bateman.  I think Jamie Foxx gave a good performance, his character changed from the beginning to the end and I think he did a good job of following the transition.  Jennifer Garner was OK in the movie.  Nothing really stood out about her acting to me.  If you’re going to pay a big name actor the big bucks to be in your movie, then their acting job should stand out.  Jason Bateman did a good job.  His character was pretty consistent throughout the majority of the movie, it wasn’t until the end when we got to see him display some acting skills, and I think he did a good job when called upon.  All in all, I’d give the movie a B.

Halloween (the Rob Zombie version) was…well…directed by Rob Zombie.  Like “A House of 1,000 Corpses” (another Zombie directed movie) I was entertained, but it felt like something was missing.  There was never that character that you could connect with or develop a relationship with during the movie (unless you can relate to Michael Myers which would be a little scary).  I also think the use of profanity and nudity in the movie doesn’t add anything more then a cheap thrill or two, and the time would have been more well spent developing the main character more.  As far as a horrow flick goes, it does not scare you out of your seat at all, so it lacks in that respect.  I’d give the movie a C.

The Family Guy – Blue Harvest was the first episode of a new Family Guy season and is a recreation of Star Wars IV (I think… I’m not up to date with my Star Wars trivia).  Classic Family Guy stuff in here, maybe lacking some Stewie airtime, and Meg only gets a brief cameo, but they threw in a Grey Poupon spoof and that was unexpected but great!  I’d give this a B.

Just a note on the Blockbuster service, I have received my new movies pretty quickly after returning the old batch so Blockbuster is doing a good job on the turnaround time in my opinion.

Hiding Items at the Store: Smart, Funny, or Immoral?

In one of the Forum threads the topic of hiding things in a store came up.  If you’ve done this before raise your hand?  Disclaimer: I’ve done it before two or three times.  Here’s the scenario: something is going on clearance in a day or two (or maybe Black Friday is in a day or two).  The price drop is significant so you know the item is going to move like hotcakes the day of the sale.  For some reason you can’t get to the store at the crack of dawn the day of the sale but you really want this item at the reduced price.  As a result, you devise a simple yet effective plan.  You go to the store a day or two before the sale and hide the item you want in the store in a place where you don’t expect anyone would look.  The day of the sale you stroll into the store, go to the hiding place, uncover the item, stroll to the cash register and receive looks of wonder from the cashier as they are wondering how you managed to find the item you are buying since it has been sold out since 5 hours ago. 

So here’s my two cents: I think the concept of hiding something to save yourself money is smart.  It shows you are thinking, it shows that you are cost conscious, and if someone else didn’t think of this idea then that is their problem.  I also think this idea is funny.  The idea of sneaking around a store to find a good hiding place is amusing.  Do people try to act nonchalant because they are worried the security cameras will see them?  Or I wonder if people go through a whole act of pretending they are interested in something, so they put down the item they are carrying and then “accidentally” that item gets hidden behind some things.  The topic of immorality is a little tricky.  I don’t think you are being immoral towards the store (because you are not stealing the product, the product was going to sell at this reduced price whether you bought it or Joe Schmo bought it), but it gets into a gray area if it is immoral towards someone else who may have come to the store at opening and didn’t get one because you hid one.  I guess the old saying ‘the early bird gets the worm’ comes to mind, that person came early on the day of the sale, but maybe that doesn’t constitute ‘early’ when the possibility of coming in a dhiding the item exists.  And also, I know this happens though a lot of people aren’t aware of it, but employees hide items in the backroom for themselves to purchase or their friends/family to purchase when things go on megaclearance.  So I think hiding things levels out the playing field a little bit for the consumer.  In summation, I think it is smart, pretty funny, and… nah, not immoral.  Keep saving those dollars!

“Vantage Point”: Entertaining but Lacking

I had some free movie tickets and I decided to see Vantage Point this weekend.  The Spiderwick Chronicles also looked interesting, but I got a free ticket (deal was posted in the freebies section, but it is now dead) and I needed to use my generic free passes before they expired.  Vantage Point has a few name actors in it, Dennis Quaid, Forrest Whittaker, Matthew Fox (of Lost fame) to name a few.  The movie is mainly about a 20 minute sequence in time.  You get to relive the same 20 minutes about 5 or 6 times, each time from the viewpoint of a different person and then everything rolls up into the final 20 minutes.  I was entertained, so the movie did it’s basic purpose.  But I left the theater unfulfilled.  The plot was thin and lacking.  Things were left unexplained.  And there really was no ‘grand point’ to the movie.  I think Matthew Fox should stick to making TV shows (I am a huge Lost fan so just keep making Lost).  Forrest Whittaker is a great actor, but his liveliness seemed out of place in this movie.  I would not recommend paying to see this in the theater, I’d probably wait until you can borrow it from someone or if you sign up for a free Netflix or Blockbuster trial.  We’ll see this weekend if the Spiderwick Chronicles is any better…

Using Coupons to Save Some Cash

I use coupons every now and again but I know some people out there are coupon pro’s and can rack up the savings using coupons. In this thread Forums member SCC76 talks about a recent trip to Walmart where she bought items totaling $43.91 and she had coupons which totaled $38.51 meaning she walked out of the store only spending $5.40 (plus tax). If you’re a fan of coupons or new to the game there are a few ways that UsedShoe can help you. The coupons message board is found Here. The first topic in this board is a Coupon Train started by a few of the members and the way that the train works is you let people in the thread know you are interested in joining, someone will send you an envelope filled with coupons that they are not going to use. You take out whatever coupons you want to use, and you put whatever coupons you have at home that you’re not going to use into the envelope and send it to the next person. You’re only cost of using the coupon train is the stamp you need to use to send the envelope to the next person.

The coupon message board itself is a great resource for finding coupons online. Coupons usually have a life of a month or two (sometimes more), so if you don’t see a coupon you are looking for on the first page or two, do a search because maybe there will be one that got pushed back a bit. There are also “living” threads which get updated every week or two, such as the coupon thread found here and the Victoria’s Secret thread found here.  If you don’t want to lose track of the good threads you find there is a bookmarking option (if you are logged into your Forums account) so you can easily keep track of all the threads that you will use consistently.

Good luck with the coupons and if you have any success stories of saving big bucks feel free to share!

Why I Got Rid of Cable

I don’t have cable at home.  I haven’t had cable at home for over a year.  Yes, I am still alive.  So why’d I do it?

Initially the local cable company was going to jack up the price $12 per month (or something very close to that).  I wasn’t getting any additional features but they were going to increase the price by 15%???  So I took my cable box to them and told them ‘thanks, but no thanks’.  I had visions of replacing the local cable with DirecTV so that I could watch every football game under the sun.  But that didn’t go quite as planned because there was no place for them to install the dish and I could not have them drill holes through the walls.  So when football came along I searched the internet and found places that offered me the ability to watch football online.  Now that basketball season is in full swing, I am also able to watch more games online then I ever would on cable (unless I ordered a special package).  Throw into the mix that I can watch all the major networks, ESPN, ESPN2, and literally over 100 more channels online for free and now I have to ask you… WHY ARE YOU PAYING FOR CABLE?  There are also places to watch movies online up the wazoo.  I could literally watch almost anything I ever wanted to online.  And if you have a newer TV and can connect your computer to your TV, then double the pleasure and double the fun!  So cable was running me $70/month (and they wanted to raise it to around $82/month) for the package that was one step above the absolute basic (yes, I know, what a freaking rip-off).  So I am saving myself $70/month x 12 months = $840/year.   If you wanted to, you could take that $70/month, put it aside, and at the end of a year you can buy a brand new 42 or 50 inch Plasma TV and connect your computer to that and it’s like you got it for free (sort of) or go on a nice 7 day cruise to a tropical location.  And, I also have noticed my productivity at home has gone up substantially… is a result of my increased productivity :)  .  I still watch the shows that I want to watch, but I no longer sit there with the remote flipping through the channels and watching random nonsense.   So if you feel like making a change I’m throwing this idea out there for ya… dump cable and be happy!  :)~

HD DVD Format Going Down the Toilet

So if you have been under a rock today you may not have heard that Toshiba is giving up on the HD DVD.  For those of us who purchased a HD DVD player (like me) this really bites the big one.  Shame on me for not waiting until the “format war” was over before purchasing a new DVD player, but in my excitement at seeing movies in crystal clear picture I could not wait and I jumped the gun and went with the more affordable HD DVD player.  While I am disappointed that the HD DVD will be a dying breed, I am optimistic that people will be running for the exits and selling their HD DVDs on Ebay for rock bottom prices (hello Ebay).  I have no problem piling up on all the movies I want at dirt cheap prices, and then I could buy a dual HD DVD/Blu Ray Player if I really want to.  So the moral of the story is patience (like the Guns n Roses song).  Otherwise, you might be singing with Queen “Another One Bites the Dust”.

How to Track Your Deals and Savings

I’ve always been interested in how much money my deal hunting saves me in a year, or how much worth of freebies I get, or how much using coupons saved me.  Once I tried keeping tracking on a piece of paper but I lost the piece of paper and that was the end of that.  Since the New Year just arrived I said to myself that I would like to track this year how much money I save, but I didn’t want to do it on a piece of paper because that’s so 1980’s so what I’ve decided to do is create a file that will allow me to track everything.  I figured why not throw in some extra trimmings and instead of having a plain vanilla tracking form (snooze) I am going to add in some pretty nifty features.  I don’t want to go into detail on these features (because I haven’t thought of them all yet) but they will be nifty (I hope).  So I started working on this file today and I figure it will take me a few days to complete, but when I’m done with it I need a couple of people to test it out (that’s right, I’m going to s-h-a-r-e my file).  So I need a few people who are willing to test it out and see if it works as flawlessly as I hope it will (in other words you’ll be pointing out my plethora of mistakes that I made).  If you’re willing to test this out please leave a comment in this post and let me know.  I will shoot to have this file completed by this weekend and will email to the testers for testing at that time.

Contact Form for

If you want to contact me please use the below form and it’ll go straight to my email inbox.  I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

[contact-form 1 “Contact form 1″]

Happy New Year’s!

Quick update before I sign off for the night…  there is a new section added in the UsedShoe Forums for Sweepstakes and Instant Win Games so if you’re a fan of those check it out!  I was not familiar with them so I’m just learning about them but they seem pretty fun from my first experiences with them (the instant scratch and win games are like instant lotto tickets except you don’t need to dish out $1 every time). 

I’d like to welcome/recognize the first official UsedShoe Forums moderator, SCC76, who will be moderatoring the aforementioned Sweepstakes board along with the freebies board.  SCC76 is an expert deal hunter and I think she will bring a lot of great things to the Forums, so if you see her in the Forums section feel free to say hi.

Not much deal hunting going on tonight, I’m taking the night off to celebrate and you should too!  And then I’ll be back tomorrow to start off the New Year right with some amazing deals – hopefully :)   Be safe, don’t drink & drive, and watch out for the other guy.

Merry X-Mas

No post today, busy with the holidays – and cleaning :(

Merry X-Mas, Happy Holidays, catch ya on the 26th!

“The Golden Compass” Stinks

This is a bit off topic, but maybe not really if I save you some money.  So I purchased two DVDs from Target one day and they had free movie passes to The Golden Compass inside them which I was excited about because I wanted to see the movie.  I had seen previews for it and the movie looked really good.  The previews lied.  The movie was not good, in fact it was horrible.  There were some cool graphics and animations I admit, but they could not overcome the fact that the plot was convoluted and so far fetched that I spent the majority of my time in the movie theater contemplating if I should get up and leave… Read the rest of this entry »

Custom Message M&Ms (with Free Shipping)

This isn’t really a deal, but I thought it was pretty cool and deserved to be mentioned on here (plus you can get free shipping until 12/31). This site allows you to make custom M&Ms which may be fun if you’re hosting a party and wanted to include a bag with your party favors. The interface is fun for the first minute or two of using though I’m not ordering anything from here…Link here

New Look for UsedShoe

I am in the process of trying to give UsedShoe a new look and would love any comments, opinions, feedback.  I think adding the blue border makes the site easier to read.  I think the header has to go, but I’m not quite sure what kind of Header would look good (specifically referring to the website name area).  Anywho, let me know if you have anything to add.

The 101 Best Web Freebies

This is a pretty cool/interesting article I found and thought I would share with you from Business Week.

You can find this article here.  If you find anything really useful from the article write a comment and let me know about it.

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