Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Deals and Steals

Coupons! BOGOs! Discounts! If you're paying full price for something, you aren't trying very hard. Here are my methods for saving money.

For everday grocery store purchases, subscribe to the Sunday paper or visit these sites weekly for click-n-print coups:
Red Plum
These are the same companies who put out the coupons found in the paper, so if there's a coup for something you buy a lot of, go online and print out a bunch more! I recommend getting a coupon organizer and coming up with logical categories so it's easier to find what you are looking for. Some of mine are Fruit and Veg; Meat; Fibery stuff (eg, bread, cereal, granola bars); Dinner stuff (soup, pasta, kits); and Household (cleaning supplies, toilet paper, ziplock bags). I've seen some really cute coupon organizers in stores recently, like this one from Francesca's.

City-specific Daily Emails
Groupon started it all. Now I also get LivingSocial, CrowdCut, DealStork, and STeals (from the Star Tribune). I suggest being selective with what you buy--things that are actually a good deal, and things you will use. I like the discount to be more than 50%. Make sure you read the fine print (some restaurant deals exclude the busiest days of the week or the happy hour menu) so you know what to expect.

Amanda and I bought a couple Groupons to RollerDome at the Metrodome last spring.

Events and Activities
Goldstar sends out weekly emails for usually 50% off plays, comedy, and other stuff. Many theaters do $20 student rush a couple hours before showtime. or get on their mailing list and be on the lookout for discounted shows!
The fact that you have to pay to get into the MN State Fair sucks, but you can get tickets for $2 less in advance at Cub Foods (the deadline for that might have passed as the fair starts tomorrow), or find out if your place of work (or someone else's) can get even cheaper tickets. Also, buy a Blue Ribbon Bargain book for $4 at Cub ($1 less than at the fair!) to save monies on all the yummy food you were going to buy anyway! (I know the concept of buying coupons seems stupid, but sometimes you've got to spend money to make money!)

Also those big Entertainment books that retail for $25-35 are a good deal if you actually go out a lot or have a big family. I'm always afraid I will never remember to use the coupons before the year is up! A good idea might be to split the cost with some friends, family members, or co-workers, then more coups would get used.

Members-Only websites
You never know what stuff these sites will have for sale every day, but if you like designer clothes and accessories, you can save a ton (unless you actually like your money and you don't buy things at designer prices anyway). I joined (for free) Beyond the Rack and have bought a few things off of it (shipping is not cheap though so I try to combine items from multiple events).

I got this shirt from BtR, and wore it to Tiger Sushi II to help Rhiannon use her Groupon! Here's a site my sister referred me to:

If anyone needs a referral to one of these websites, leave your email in the comments and I'll send it your way!

Another cool website in the Twin Cities is Pocket Your Dollars, which aggregates coupons and deals from multiple sites into one place. at you can browse through discounted gift cards for local eateries (generally to use yourself).

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Fringe 2010, cont. (days ???)

Wednesday, August 11: did not fringe. Went to see Rufus and Martha Wainwright at the Orchestra Hall.

Thursday, August 12: Originally planned on seeing 4 shows, but instead played in a final softball game of the season with my team, SWAT (which stands for “seriously, we are terrible.” Because we didn’t win a game). So I did that, then went on a much-needed grocery shopping trip, then ate dinner and took a shower. Then I picked up Amanda and we saw…
-“O(h)” at the Southern Theater. It made fun of classical and modern dance, which I don’t know a lot about, but it was still good. They also sang. And stripped to their underwear.

Friday, August 13: ditched work early, met up with my mom, and drove all over Minneapolis!
-“ONEymoon” at the Southern
-“In the Weeds” at the Theatre Garage, about being a server and working at a restaurant
-“Bedroom Eyes” at the Jungle Theater. We even had time to grab some dinner (Milio’s) before this show!
-“Fw: Re: Mom Update” at the Playwright’s Center.
-“Speech!” at the Rarig Arena. Mike and Joe and others reenacting their forensics/oral interp days of high school (set in 1994). Very funny and true-to-life.

Today: much more expensive theater (Wicked) and another concert (Interpol). Sunday: working 2 more shifts, seeing at least 1 show (I only have 1 punch left!).

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Fringe 2010, days 4 and 5

on Monday, I volunteered by being "on-call" to be a box officer if they needed me. I hung out at Fringe Central for 2.5 hours and wrote a friend a letter, knitted, and talked to mom. i was not needed, apparently. easiest comp for four shows ever!
on Tuesday, i saw 4 shows:
-"Amaretti Angels." 3/5 kitties.
-"Pop Goes the Cherry." 4/5 Kitties.
-"Grind: The Musical," set in a coffee shop in Minneapolis. it sold out and they were understaffed so i box-officed and the house manager let me in for free! the show was average. 3.5/5 kitties.
-"Zombie High School." the best musical i've seen this year! good singing (all acapella with an awesome beatboxer), good songs, good acting, staging, etc. i was impressed. so apparently was the guy a few rows behind me who would NOT stop laughing. maybe he knew some of the cast. maybe he was drunk/high. detracted from the show a little, but i will buy the soundtrack if they ever create one. only one show left (saturday at 8:30), and i recommend it! 5/5 kitties.

Here are some pictures!
Sunday at the Ritz Studio. the Box office is CLOSED! no ticket for YOU!

Best house manager EVA! and the script for her amazing speech!

The realm of the box officer: ticket stubs, buttons, and credit card machine.

From the Bedlam rooftop patio on Monday, around 8 pm. view this full-screen for the full impact! It was rather surreal to be up there with only a few other people because after 11 pm it is PACKED. unless it's raining. then it's packed with soggy people.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Fringe, day 3

Sunday, August 8:
-A Nice Guy's Guide to Awkward Sex at Mixed Blood: featuring one of my favorite Acme regulars, Amber Preston! All of the characters are stand-up comedians (or aspiring to be). 5 out of 5 kitties.
-Bite Me, Twilight at Mixed Blood: I only got in because they added 12 seats and I used my gold comp! rather predictable based on his treatment of "Harry Potter" last year. still, very funny. 4.5 out of 5.

and then i worked 3 shows at the Ritz Studio!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Fringe, Day 2

Saturday, August 7:
"The Damn Audition," starring Joseph Scrimshaw and Randy Reyes. Best show so far. I guess all it takes are some good actors and a funny script! 5 out of 5 kitties.
"Naked Yoga" and other stories on a gay theme. not my favorite. 2 out of 5 kitties.

then i hung out in a coffee shop for an hour, had a latte, read the Onion, worked on my scarf. then i laid in the grass by Rarig for a few minutes. i was sooooo ready for a nap. but no time to sleep as i was due for 4 box officing shifts at the Rarig Xperimental. I worked one sold out show (Confessions of a Lazy Hmong Woman) and our recon sheets came out right every time, so it was a pretty good evening. i decided not to go to Bedlam, although i probably won't have any other opportunities to hang out there on a non-work night. Tomorrow morning I'm going with my neighbor (who has a pickup) to get my new front door from Home Depot....then more shows at 1! This time at Mixed Blood. Hopefully I'll see 2, maybe 3, but i have 3 volunteer shifts at the Ritz starting at 6:15 and I have some errands to run. so we'll see!

Fringe 2010, Day 1

my "day 1" was the overall day 2. but i was busy on the real day 1.
Shows i saw on Friday, August 6:
"Mike and Matt" and the Rarig Thrust: 4 out 5 kitties. Mike Fotis' younger brother Matt talks and acts just like him, but the resemblance is minor. i liked matt's story about the birth of his child better than mike's usual angry yelling about an incident in his life.
"Table 12: A Play at a Wedding" at Theater in the Round: 4.5 out of 5 kitties. my favorite show from Friday!
"My Mother Told Me" at the Southern: 3 out of 5 kitties. Dramatic spoken word and interpretive dance aren't my favorite genres.
"Cosmo the Musical or how to ruin your life by having unrealistic expectations" at the Rarig Thrust: 4 out of 5 kitties. songs based on articles from Cosmo, and very amusing characters!

today i'm going to see 2 shows, then have a break, then work 4 at the Rarig Xperimental (in the basement). Maybe i'll see you there!

Updated to add this picture of Spencer and me from the Fringe Prom on friday night!

beer goes great with '80s prom dresses.