Free Eats – The Birthday Round Up

I always hope that my birthday falls on my day off and if it doesn’t I usually take off. Some of my friends argue that that is a waste of a vacation day. I disagree, your birthday is the one day of the year where you celebrating you. The moment that you entered this world. Why shouldn’t you spend it doing what you want and while your at it how about some free food to add to that celebration. Here is a list of five places that will reward you on your birthday with some free grub. In most cases all you have to do is sign up in advance. 

  • AppleBee’s – Always a “PiggyBankBuilder Giveaway” favorite, applebees dessertAppleBee’s will give you a free dessert on your birthday if you sign up to their e-mail club. I have a well founded suspicion that your dessert will also some with some free signing from the wait staff. 
  • DairyQueen – Keeps the dessert goodness going with a DQ Birthdaybuy one get one free coupon for one of their famous “Blizzards”. Not exactly free but who wants to eat ice cream alone anyway. All you have to do is join their fan club which will enter you into their contest and will award you a buy one get one free coupon just of enrolling. 
  • Houlihan’s – Will give one free entree(up to $15) houlihans birthdayto any Birthday girl or boy who joins their club as well. They will even give you one free appetizer just for joining, you are winning now and later. 
  • Moe’s Southwest Grill – A personal favorite of the PiggyBankBuilder, moe'sMoe’s will give one free entree (no fajitas) as well as chips and salsa to you on your birthday provided you join their club prior. There is a good chance that I will take them up on that, I really enjoy Moe’s. 
  • Tropical Smoothie Cafe – Will give you a free smoothie on your birthday. That makes sense. If your birthday is on the summer, like mine, you will tropical smoothie birthdayappreciate a nice frosty beverage to heat you beat the heat. All you have to do is join Club Tropical”.

So there you are, a fine collection of birthday freebies for you to enjoy when that joyous day comes around. 

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Stacking Up Savings to Build the Best Deal

The odds are pretty good that if you have found your way to this site you are someone who likes deals. Well my friend you are not alone. I am always looking for a deal, because like you I know that a few bucks saved here and there can really add up to some meaningful cash over time.  The trouble most people seem to have when searching for the best prices comes from quitting too early. 

You find a pretty good sale price and you think, “That’s pretty good”. I would argue that “pretty good” just won’t do. Are you paying with a cash back credit card? How much back 1%? Really? Did you use BigCrumbs or Ebates? You don’t belong to those sites? WHAT! You need to use all your available resources to get the best deal possible. Here is an example:

Let’s say you want to buy a microwave. Your old one is on its last legs, its big and dirty, it takes up too much counter space. You want something modern, energy efficient, quiet, with lots of features. You search around and you find a well reviewed unit that also happens to be on sale at home depot. microwaveThis stainless steel over the ranger Whirlpool microwave is exactly what you are looking for. It has over 1000 reviews on the home depot website and almost all of them are 5 stars. To sweeten the deal home depot is selling if for $228, that’s 12% off the retail price and they are going to ship it to you for free. Mission accomplished right? 

Pump the brakes for a second here, if you act now you are leaving a lot of savings on the table. You found a great microwave for a good price and who doesn’t  like free  shipping? Here are two more step you can take to sweeten the deal even more.

Click on over to BigCrumbs and Ebates and search Home Depot. You will see that Bigcrumbs is offering 3% cash back and Ebates is offering 4% and ontop of that they are giving you a $10 coupon code for an order over 100 dollars. Looks like this time Ebates wins, you link over to home depot, select your microwave, and enter your coupon code. You just saved and additional $18.72.

Don’t stop there. As you may recall I recently wrote about Discovercard’s 5% cash back offer at home improvements stores. At checkout you pay using Discover and you knock another $10.90 off the price. 

Two extra steps saved you over 30 bucks and knocked the price of that microwave down from $228 to $198. Those two extra steps took mere minutes but the savings were huge. 

So remember even after you get a deal you can still build on it with these simple steps. Build those deals!

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Would You Like $5.6 Million Dollars? Can You “Beat the Streak”?

All across America opening days are getting underway and fans are welcoming the start of another baseball season. Veteran players return and new players get their chance as sports talkers theorize and measure them against a sea of statistics. Baseball, more than any other sport, is about numbers and records. Arguably one of the most impressive feats in all of baseball is the single season hitting streak held by Joe Dimaggio. Back in 1941 the Yankee great got a hit in 56 consecutive games and no one has even gotten close.

To honor this record MLB.com has offer a prize to any fan that can create a hitting streak of their own. beat the streakAll you have to do is pick one or two players from either league to get a hit, just one hit in their 3-5 at bats for that game. If you are successful and pick more than 56 players in a row, you will have beaten the steak and will win $5,600,000. Sounds easy right? Well for the last 14 years no one has been able to do so and millions have tried. 

Last year I tried my hand at this contest, my best steak was 26. I learned of it mid season so this year I will have a full schedule to give it a try. Presently my streak is a zero, in my first three attempts at least one of my two hitters failed to get a hit. 

I won’t let that slow me, I have continued to submit my selections and hope to climb my way up the rankings. I’ve even gotten my brother and dad in on the action. Perhaps we will take a side bet to see who can get the best streak amongst the three of us. 

I’ve had a lot of fun trying to beat the streak and I recommend it to any one who is even remotely interested in baseball. It’s free to try and sooner or later someone will win that 5.6 million, why not you or me or you, if it is you it sure would be nice if you bought the PiggyBankBuilder a car. I’m just saying, it would be nice. 

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Discover Card 5% Cash Back Bonus

As far as cash back on credit card purchases go 5% is pretty much the gold standard. I have seen 6%, but its very rare. Most cards give you 1%, some 3% and only the most generous top out at 5%. In that category Discovercard has developed a reputation for offering a healthy variety of offerings. The categories change every quarter and April 1st marks the start of a new one, “Home Improvement”.

cashbackRegistration is very simple and very easy, it literally involves clicking a box to activate the reward category. Once you do you will be eligible to earn 5% cash back from home improvement stores, furniture stores, and Bed Bath and Beyond. So if you have any big projects slated or you are just looking to do a little Spring cleaning than this promotion is for you. Please note that the cash back bonus is only on your first $1500 in purchases so if you are remodeling that kitchen you are probably good for an appliance of two. 

For everyone else this is a great feature that should help you maximized savings when you are out looking for home improving deals. 

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The “PiggyBankBuilder Investment Portfolio” 3 Month Update”

Month three is  in the books and the portfolio is mostly positive. Silver gave back some green and CVC shaved off some red.

  • Market Vectors Oil Services ETF (OIH) – Purchase Price – $47.98, number of shares 26. Current Price: $49.45, a gain of $38.22
  • Cablevision (CVC) – Purchase price – $17.96, number of shares 68. Current Price: $16.57, a loss of $94.52
  • Microsoft (MSFT) – Purchase price $37.47, number of 33. Current Price: $39.56, a gain of $68.97
  • iShares Silver Trust (SLV) – Purchase Price $18.92, number of shares 66. Current Price: $18.96, a gain of $2.64

The three month progress stocks upso far is a gain of $15.31. This is a slight dip from last month. Almost all of the ground that was lost in silver. I find this a bit confusing because historically precious metals have done well during times of uncertainty. Despite the turmoil in Ukraine and bank runs in China silver and gold continue to slide in price. I am going to hold fast, I still like silver as a hedge against disaster. The other three stocks have continued to improve with Microsoft looking pretty strong. 

The portfolio is slightly green which is much much better than I did last year (a loss of over 500 dollars). One quarter in and I am feeling pretty confident. I guess will see how that pans out next month. 

 

*Please not that I am not and investment advisor.Please consult your investment advisors before making any financial decisions that could result in loss.

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Made in the U.S.A. Monday – New Balance 1080’s

New Balance was the beginning of the “Made in America” movement in my life. Their sneakers were the first product that I specifically bought because it was made here.  I have owned over half a dozen pairs since and have been coming back ever since. My commitment to domestically manufactured products has spread across my wardrobe and my home. Any of my regular visitors to this site can see my dedication to American workers in my weekly “Made in the USA Monday” articles featuring an impressive collection of American made items, many that I personally own.

Yesterday I returned to my roots and bought another pair of New Balance Sneakers. I currently own two pairs and they are both over 7 month old. So I did as I have in the past, my first stop was to BigCrumbs.com to lock in my 2.4% cash back from Joe’s NewBalance Outlet. Earning cash back of outlet prices is definitely what I would call “Piggy Bank Building”.

Once on the site I used their filters to find the available shoes in my foot size.1080 I selected a pair of 1080’s that normally retail for $134.99. I got them for $107.00. This about 20 bucks more than my 980’s that I currently own, but I am willing to pay a little more for a higher model number. If I decide that the cheaper model is a better value I will go back. 

I plan to return to the gym soon and to start jogging  and going for walks once the weather warms. My new pair of News Balance sneakers will certainly get a healthy amount of use. I will welcome the spring and summer with my latest pair of American made sneakers. 

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The Giveaway is Underway!

I’ve noticed a trend in the comments section regarding giveaway prizes. fridays foodYou guys seem to prefer restaurant gift cards over all others. In keeping with your preference I have obtained a $25 Fridays’ gift card for the prize. As usual I have included several methods of entry. Please keep in mind that you can enter daily via Twitter. Best of luck to all of you, let’s see if we can crack 200 unique entries.  

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Lessons From the Greatest Generation

As a TV news cameraman I get to meet a lot of different people. I encounter so many in a given month that it’s hard to remember them all, but every so often I meet someone who makes a lasting impact. Last Sunday I met a man that made me reevaluate certain aspects of my life.

Last sunday morning my station got a call from the daughter a WW2 veteran that was turning 95 that day. She had gotten a proclamation from their county executive and was going to present it to him in front of his entire extended family. Normally we don’t have the time or resources to cover stories like this, but as luck would have it my producer didn’t have anything else so my reporter and I went.

On the drive to this man my reporter and I expressed our main concern. This man is 95 and we have to talk to him. I’ve interviewed people in there 100’s and it can be a challenge. Almost every person over 100 that I have met was deaf. I don’t know what it is about human ears, but they tend to quit on you as you approach the century mark. Trying to talk to a deaf person is very frustrating particularly if they aren’t exactly all there. We arrived at the house with our fingers crossed.

Screen Shot 2014-03-25 at 11.14.17 AMOnce we entered all of our concerns were erased. This man was pleasant, engaged, and he could hear pretty well. He answered all of our questions and his replies were very interesting. As I listened I could see that this man was happy and fulfilled. He had learned and lived some very simple rules that allowed him to be successful. Form his answers here is what I have deduced. 

  • Marry the right person. When we asked him about his family he began to tear up and replied “I married and angel, I couldn’t have done any better.” I realize that finding love isn’t easy, but that doesn’t mean you have to settle. You control who you allow into your life. This man, even after 60+ years of marriage still genuinely loved his wife. After the interview she took me aside to make sure that I was going to edit it so he would look good. She was looking out for him, she knew everyone would see it and she wanted to make sure he wasn’t embarrassed. That’s love. 
  • Work for a company that impresses you. This man worked for Pfizer, the worlds largest pharmaceutical company. He said that when I first got there he looked around at what they were doing and he was excited to be a part of it. He knew this was a good company with a bright future and he worked there until he retired. There have been times in my life when I worked for TV stations or production companies that I knew were mismanaged or performing poorly and I stayed because the money was good or because I didn’t want to switch jobs. You know what happened? The stations laid me off or closed. Now I work at a station that make a great product and is owned by a sound company and I am better off.
  • Be the decider in your life. One of the common themes of the interview was that this man made choices. When World War 2 started he enlisted, he didn’t wait to be drafted. He found a company he liked, he applied. When he came to Long Island he fell in love with the place and moved here. I believe that this also contributed to his happiness. He enjoyed his life because he choose it. How many of us work jobs we hate with long commutes, never spending time with our friends and family. It’s your life, you have to control your destiny. 
  • Invest. After only one week of working at Pfizer this man asked if he could buy stock. They told him that only executives could do so. He suggested that they change the policy arguing that employees who own stock will work harder. A week later they agreed and let him buy shares in the company. I have no idea how much he bought, but I suspect that he earned a vast sum of money as the value of those shares climbed decade after decade. Is he an extreme example? Perhaps, but he saw a valuable opportunity and he took it. This investment allowed him to elevate his standard of living and provide for his family.

In the end I got a rare opportunity to hear the story of a wonderful person. I enjoyed meeting him and his family and I will try an incorporate his life lessons into my own decisions. It impacted me so much that I decided to share them with you. I hope they help you in your own journey. 

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Made in the U.S.A. Monday- Assenmacher Specialty Tools – Oil Funnel

The best solution is always the simplest. Now I haven’t changed the oil in my car for a long time, but I remember it well. It seems like a one man job, but in reality you need three hands. This comes into play when you are trying to pour the new oil into your engine. You can try to pour it in without a funnel, but that is a messy gamble. So you go for the funnel and it either tips over or pops out. When its all said and done you end up getting oil all over your engine or your hands or both. If you have some rags on hand you can clean it up, but now you have oily rags in your garage, a total fire hazard. 

Enter the creative geniuses of “Assenmacher Specialty Tools”. Based in Boulder Colorado these fine people make a threaded oil funnel. oilIt uses the very same threads that your oil cap uses.  All you have to do is line it up and give it a few turns, now it’s locked into place.  This frees up your hands and eliminates the chances of the funnel toppling out and spilling oil all over the place. 

It’s a concept that is so simple, so obvious that you wonder why it wasn’t put into use years ago. This threaded oil funnel is a great gift for the do-it-yourselfer in your family. It’s the type of present they will like until they use it, then they will love it. 

At $24.67 this made and manufactured in the USA product is a good value. Please keep in mind that you have to buy the right funnel for your vehicle. This oil funnel is designed specifically for Toyotas so please pick accordingly. As you can see from the link the Amazon rating for this product is a perfect score, all 34 reviewers loved it.

They could have bought so cheap flimsy Chinese made funnel, but they appreciate the quality and inventiveness of the American made alternative. I hope you do as well. 

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And the Winner Is…

Another contest has come to a close and this one had me a little confused. The turn out was pretty strong, but not a lot of comments?  In the past I would usually get a fair number of comments and this time when I asked for them I only got two? Very strange.

By a unanimous vote of 2 (thank you Thomas and Kathy) the GiftcardsDarden gift card has been one won by…. Kobi from Gladstone, Oregon! Congratualtion Kobi, I believe you are our very first winner from the “Beaver State”. I hope you enjoy your prize. 

As for everyone else better luck next time. The next contest will launch shortly.

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