Thursday, January 31, 2008

Freepeats.org expands to Boston, Houston and Chicago

One of my favorite blogs is Baby Cheapskate. A few months ago, the author, Angie, created Freepeats.org, which facilitates the exchange of good-condition baby, kid and maternity items. Freepeats has been up and running in Atlanta, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia, and will be available starting tomorrow in Boston, Houston and Chicago. Angie assures me that they're coming soon to Los Angeles so I'm waiting (it would be a good way to find new homes for all of the toys my kids have outgrown).

In the meantime, if you live in any of the areas where Freepeats is available, you should definitely check it out!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Free Tax Help Sponsored by the IRS

The Consumerist reminded me that the IRS provides free tax help to certain groups through various programs:

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA)

I was actually a VITA volunteer while I was in law school so I know a little bit about this program, though my knowledge is several years old at this point. The IRS says that VITA is a program for “low- to moderate-income (generally, $40,000 and below) people who cannot prepare their own tax returns.” However, I don’t remember being told not to help anyone who was above a certain income level, so I don't think someone with more than $40,000 of income would be turned away. Of course, (if I recall correctly) VITA volunteers aren’t trained to do many things that higher-income taxpayers would be eligible for, like itemizing deductions. And a higher-income taxpayer is probably less likely to be in the areas where VITA centers are set up. To locate the nearest VITA site, call 1-800-829-1040.

Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE)

According to the IRS, TCE “provides free tax help to people age 60 and older.” As part of the program, the AARP offers the Tax-Aide counseling program to help low-to-middle income people with special attention to those age 60 and older. For more information on TCE call 1-800-829-1040. To locate the nearest AARP Tax-Aide site, call 1-888-227-7669.

Tax Help for Military Personnel

The military has a strong VITA program and also offers IRS outreach via the Armed Forces Tax Council (AFTC). The IRS trains service members to prepare taxes with the special considerations of military personnel in mind.

For more information on these programs, including what documentation to bring with you to a VITA/TCE site, visit the IRS web site.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Great Giveaways Going On Now

There are a bunch of great giveaways going on right now. The first place to stop is the Bloggy Giveaways Carnival, which has over 500 giveaways listed.

You should also stop by An Island Review, where Kailani is giving away an Insignia Pilot Video MP3 Player & Bluetooth Headphones from Best Buy. Even better, you have another chance to win the same Best Buy prize at 5 Minutes for Mom!

5 Minutes for Mom is also giving away a Kodak 8.2 megapixel EasyShare M853 Zoom Digital Camera in Red Rose AND a $50.00 gift certificate to Kodak Gallery.

And Mod*mom is giving away a Phil & Teds Vibe Stroller from Tots On the Go.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Kleenex for 89 cents per box at Walgreens with coupon (limit 4 boxes)

I don't normally go to Walgreens, CVS or Riteaid unless I need something that I can't get at Target or I just happen to be near one when I need something. But between blogs like Sense to Save and Hooray for Free-bates, among others, I've become convinced that there are good deals to be had at these stores. You just have to work a little harder for them.

So as I went through the Sunday paper this morning, I flipped quickly through the drugstore circulars and found a Walgreens coupon for 89 cent Kleenex boxes (80 or 120 count; limit of four). I also clipped a manufacturer coupon for 50 cents off three boxes of Kleenex.

We went to Walgreens and I found the Kleenex. My total for four boxes was $3.35 (using both coupons), or 84 cents per box including tax, which is an amazing deal around here. If I want to send in the mail-in rebate, I can get an additional $1 back from Walgreens ($1.10 if I have the rebate put on a Walgreens giftcard).

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Lake Champlain Products are at Whole Foods

When I posted my review of Lake Champlain Organic Fair Trade Unsweetened Cocoa, I mentioned that I ordered it online from the Lake Champlain web site and paid $6.95 for shipping. Today I discovered that the larger Whole Foods in my area carries a wide selection of Lake Champlain products, including the Organic Fair Trade Cocoa. If I'd known that, I would have bought it in the store (I didn't think to check the price, being distracted by a demanding toddler).

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Get a FREE 2-year subscription to Parents Magazine

The offer is here. You'll have to sign up with Start Sampling first, but as I've mentioned previously, I've been registered with them for many years now and have never had a problem with spam. And I love Parents, too!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Review: Lake Champlain Organic Fair Trade Unsweetened Cocoa

When I posted Martha Stewart's recipe for a homemade hot chocolate mix, I mentioned that I was looking for a fair trade cocoa. A few weeks later, I used up the first batch of hot chocolate mix, so I need to buy some cocoa to make another. Some searching around the internet led me to Lake Champlain, which offers an Organic Fair Trade Unsweetened Cocoa.

At $8.00 for 10 ounces, it wasn't cheap. I bought three cans. Shipping brought the total to $30.95.

I'm committed to buying fair trade chocolate. I will not support child slavery.

And it was worth it, not just because I'm not supporting a company that's ruining the lives of innocent children. It was worth it because this is the best cocoa I've ever had! It's rich, silky, and has a depth of flavor I've never tasted in unsweetened cocoa before. It's going to be delicious in chocolate cakes and cookies, and I'm already trying to decide which recipe to try when I have the time.

If you want to splurge on some unsweetened cocoa, I highly recommend Lake Champlain's Organic Fair Trade Unsweetened Cocoa.

Note: I made my purchase through Ebates, which gave me a small percentage of my purchase back. I really am trying to develop my money-saving internet shopping habits.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Get a free sausage McGriddle (maybe)

Marc loves McGriddles, so I was happy to this offer for a free one from McDonald's. You just have to sign up to join "The Morning Impaired Society." Unfortunately, the offer is only good in some areas and ours is not one of them. And I can't see a way of finding out whether you're eligible for the free offer without giving them your email address.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Win a Red ‘65 Mustang Pedal Car

This has got to be one of the coolest giveaways ever: Janice and Susan at 5 Minutes for Mom are giving away a Red '65 Mustang Pedal Car worth $259 from their store, Pedal Cars and Retro Collectibles. It's a sweet ride for any preschooler - I'm sure Alex would go nuts over it!

Pedal Cars and Retro Collectibles actually has a lovely and surprisingly extensive pedal cars collection. I mean, who knew that there were so many different (read: cool) kinds of pedal cars out there? Alas, they don't have a garbage truck, or Alex would be getting that for his upcoming birthday. But for children with more traditional obsessions, they have fire trucks, pink cars, and more.

To enter the giveaway, head over to 5 Minutes for Mom for the details. And don't forget to check out Pedal Cars and Retro Collectibles.

Eat Better America (& get a free Fiber One sample)

I've been asked to tell you about the Eat Better America site, which offers recipes and tips for a healthy lifestyle. There are also forums where you can chat with other people who share a goal of eating better or losing weight, etc.

The site is funded by General Mills, so there are ads for their products throughout the site, but they're fairly unobtrusive. What's more annoying is that some of the recipes list specific General Mills products. I'm not sure why the listing of name-brand products bothers me, but it always has.

However, I do like the look and feel of the site. And there are printable coupons on products that you might buy regularly. With a young child, we go through a box of Cheerios quickly enough that I don't always have a coupon on hand from the Sunday paper, so I'm happy to have a printable Cheerios coupon. Best of all, you can get a free sample of Fiber One cereal to help you eat better.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Win a MacBook from SavvySugar

Enter here for a chance to win a MacBook (registration required).

I'd love to win this but I haven't used a Mac since I was in law school so I'm not sure I'd actually know what to do with it! But at the same time, we have two desktops and I've been thinking for some time now that we really could use a laptop and a wireless connection in the house. Winning a laptop would certainly force the issue!

Mixing things up here on CFO Reviews

In my never-ending quest to make the best use of my limited time, I'm going to cease the somewhat-daily roundup of links to freebies, contests and giveaways, and instead put up individual posts for the best ones that I come across. I will also post more reviews here, as well as other material that I think is appropriate, relevant and useful. And of course, if there's something that you would like to see, I'd love to hear from you (you can email me at cfoblog [at] gmail [dot] com).

In the meantime, here's a quick reminder that you can find roundups of freebies and giveaways at PRIZEY, Freebies 4 Mom, and An Island Review (check out the widgets in the right sidebar). The "Sites I Like" over in the left sidebar are also all excellent. In fact, I've been a Start Sampling member for almost 10 years now and love that I don't get any spam, just quality samples from them.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Contests & Giveaways

Sorry I've been scarce! I've been working on CFO and switching it to a custom domain. I've finally got it, so now I can get back to my usual blogging!

Contests & Giveaways:
One-year membership to Sitter City at Baby Cheapskate. Ends 1/20.

Valentine's Day giveaway at IndieFixx. Ends 2/15.

See Kai Run shoes at My Mom Shops. Ends 1/17.

How to Get Out of Debt by Jerrold Mundis at Money Musings. Ends 1/16.

TurboTax Premier 2008 at Free Money Finance. Ends 1/15.

$100 shopping spree at Art Bebe at My Mom Shops. Ends 1/17.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Freebies, Contests & Giveaways

Free Stuff:
Coffee-mate. Freebies 4 Mom

Sample of Poise Ultra Things with Wings at Wal-Mart. Via Freebie Fanatics.

Contests & Giveaways:
TurboTax Premier 2008 at Free Money Finance. Ends 1/11.

Joy by Mel Lim prints at Tangled and True. Ends 1/11.

Freakonomics at Real World Finances. Ends 1/11. Via Mighty Bargain Hunter.

Comfy EasyPC Learning System for Children at Momsational (bloggers only). Ends 1/31.

Second Annual WearEver Extreme Cookie Challenge for parents and kids. Ends 1/31. Via Slashfood.

Oreck XL Ultra at Bloggy Giveaways. Ends 1/24.

Instrumental CD at All Financial Matters (it's by JLP's brother). Every day for the next six days.

Green Bunny Bag at Rachael Rabbit. Ends 2/14.

$50.00 gift certificate to Bruno Jamais Restaurant Club & several beauty products from the David Scott Cosmetics line at Fabulously Broke in the City. Ends 1/31.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Contests & Giveaways

TurboTax Premier 2008 at Free Money Finance. Ends 1/10.

Saranoni Prize Pack at Tangled and True. Ends 1/10.

Prisoner of Love Valentine Jewelry at Wise Bread. Ends 2/7.

$25 gift certificate to Milk Factory at Bloggy Giveaways. Ends 1/13.

Day Runner organizing system at Momsational. Ends 1/23.

Mod Bedding, Utility Bag, Poster + Height Chart at mod*mom. Ends 2/14.

db clay wallet at Lifehack. Ends 1/16.

Seven Wishes Bracelet at Green LA Girl. Ends 1/11.

Yet another copy of You're Broke Because You Want to Be by Larry Winget, this time at My Two Dollars. Ends 1/13.

5 Land's End diaper bags at Design Mom. Ends 1/11.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Freebies, Contests & Giveaways

Free Stuff:
Sample of Quaker Simple Harvest Treats. Via Freebies 4 Mom

Contests & Giveaways:
You're Broke Because You Want To Be by Larry Winget at Cash Money Life. Ends 1/12.

You're Broke Because You Want To Be by Larry Winget at All Financial Matters. Ends 1/9.

3 Whole Foods Natural Weight Control Gift Baskets at mod*mom. Ends 1/28.

Peace Love Mom Cozy Mom Thermal at Bloggy Giveaways. Ends 1/12.

Evenflo Triumph Advance Deluxe Convertible Car Seat at Momsational. Ends 1/22.

Saranoni prize package at Tangled and True. Ends 1/9.

$10 Amazon card at The Amatureist Financial Journey. Ends 1/31.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Freebies, Contests & Giveaways

Free Stuff:
Sample of EAS.

Sample of Vera Wang Princess Fragrance. Via The Bargainist.

Printable coupons at Red Plum. Via Lifehacker.

Contests & Giveaways:
You're Broke Because You Want to Be book at Beachgirl's Budget Blog. Ends 1/12.

Sweetbeets cards at Tangled and True. Ends 1/8.

Nikon CoolPix P5100 12.1 MP Camera at Momsational. Ends 1/21.

MacBook at Savvy Sugar.

A handbag a month for the year at The Budget Fashionista. Ends 1/28.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Freebies, Contests & Giveaways

Free Stuff:
Sample of Intimately Beckham (men's and women's fragrances) from Wal-Mart.

Contests & Giveaways:
"Plastic bag Rehab" bag at Green LA Girl. Ends 1/6.

No-Throw Strap at MomReviews. Ends 1/11.

Jesse Walker patchwork sweater at Tangled and True. Ends 1/5.

Family Prize Package at Momsational. Ends 1/17.

Bizzimom Planners at Bloggy Giveaways. Ends 1/9.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Freebies, Contests & Giveaways

Free Stuff:
Sample of South Beach Living Granola Clusters from Walmart. FW

Sample of Pamprin. Go to Smart Source, select the Pamprin sample, and click "print coupons." You don't have to print anything, just fill out the online form. Via My Good Cents.

Contests & Giveaways:
Organizing prize package from LobotoMe at Design Mom. Ends 1/6.

The Hawaiian House Now book at An Island Review. Ends 1/8.

$50 certificate to KLEAN Bath & Body at Bloggy Giveaways. Ends 1/8.

BLVD Ivy Backpack Diaper Bag at Momsational. Ends 1/15.

Super Woobee at Tangled and True. Ends 1/4.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Free Stuff, Contests & Giveaways

Free Stuff:
H&R Block Deduction Pro. Via Freebie Fanatics.

Sample of Habanero HOT Sauce. Via Fat Wallet.

Sample of LACTAID® Fast Act Dietary Supplements. Via Freebie Fanatics.

Contests & Giveaways:
Satsuma blankets at Tangled & True. Ends 1/3.

Big Blue Bus Store keychain at Green LA Girl. Ends 1/4.

Regis & Kelly Baby Contest 2008 - get the details at Thingamababy.

Name My Baby Boy Contest at Thingamababy with 20 prizes of $50 credit at Vincent Shoes. Ends 1/31.

Various prizes from Sarah & Abraham at Bloggy Giveaways. Ends 1/7.