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Input needed: I’m buying a laptop tonight

After a series of unfortunate events, I am buying a new laptop. And, because we’re leaving on vacation tomorrow and I need to have it in hand as soon as we arrive home, I’m buying it tonight.

I knew this purchase was inevitable as the problems with my laptop have continued to increase and the 3-year warranty is almost expired. The plan was to buy one before the end of the year and I have had the money set aside for it for a number of months.

Being the frugal person I am, though, I held out for as long as possible but the time has come to hold out no longer since my laptop is completely shot. (I’ll spare you the extensive run-down of problems it’s experiencing, the biggest of which is that you cannot get on the internet and it randomly freezes up after around 2-3 minutes of use.)

So, Jesse and I will be ordering a new laptop online tonight and I thought I’d ask all of you bargain-shoppers here for some input on how I could snag the best deal. I’m really great at scoring grocery deals, but electronics are a bit out of my league.

I’ll be getting a Dell (sorry, Mac people, it’s impossible to change my mind so don’t even try!) and I need something that can withstand lots of use and abuse and last me for at least a few years.

Where should I look? What should I get? And how can I score the best deal? Any and all feedback is welcome and appreciated.

Review: Social Suppers


Recently, I had the opportunity to do a complimentary session at , a company with locations in Missouri and Kansas that offers meal assembly options for the busy family. I’ve always wanted to try out one of these stores and so I jumped on the opportunity to do a review in exchange for two weeks’ worth of meals in my freezer.

I very much enjoyed my experience and was impressed overall with the concept of this business idea. While I am not convinced it would save a number of us (myself included) money, I definitely saw how it could be a great option for those of you who are extremely busy and have more money than time right now. It might also be something to consider splurging on for stressful and chaotic seasons of life (such as before or after a move, during pregnancy, or right after having a baby).


–The convenience is incredible. Walking in and having all of
the recipes picked out for you, the groceries shopped for, the portions
divided up, the chopping done, and everything ready to go is, well, quite
an amazing thing. You just make your meals, package them up,
and leave the dishes for someone else to wash! We made the equivalent
of two weeks’ worth of meals in about an hour and a half total. When
else will that ever happen?


— is very child-friendly. The day I was scheduled for my session, I called and asked if my daughter could come with me. I fully expected that a place dealing with meal-prep and assembly would not be thrilled with me bringing along my three-year-old, even if I promised she’d behave. Contrary to what I expected, I was enthusiastically encouraged to bring my daughter with me.

The staff at Social Suppers was very helpful and inclusive of Kathrynne. They went out of their way to make sure she enjoyed herself and was able to participate in the meal assembly. Kathrynne and I made a very special memory during our mother-daughter meal preparation session and she’s enjoyed eating the food more knowing that she helped to prepare it.


–Social Suppers offers a wide variety of fairly nutritional meals. I noticed very few meals with ingredients containing MSGs, corn syrup, or food coloring. Many of the meals had vegetables as part of the dish and the beef they use is higher quality. Another great thing about making up the meals yourself is that you can choose to omit ingredients according to your family’s health needs and preferences. 


–The prices are rather high. While they claim to have meals which cost only $2.50 per serving, from my calculations, many of them are more like $4-$6/serving and that price does not include side dishes. Since I try to have our entire dinner be $2/person or less, the prices at Social Suppers are definitely higher than I am used to paying and seemed quite exorbitant to me. Granted, it is less expensive than eating out, but it’s quite a bit more than I would normally feel comfortable paying.

–The menus are not out-of-this-world.
We’ve now eaten the majority of the meals we made and while most of them were fairly good, we thought some of the dinners were rather bland and the servings were on the small side. Maybe it’s because we eat a lot and maybe it’s because I am forever tweaking recipes in order to get them "just right"? No matter the case, we weren’t incredibly impressed with the taste factor for most of the meals.

Note: If any of you are interested in trying out Social Suppers, you can get free assembly on your meals from now through August 31, 2008 by using promo code MSM08. You can call ahead with your requests and then just stop by and pick them up.

All You (August 29, 2008 edition): More great coupons!


The latest issue of All You (August 29, 2008 edition) has more great coupons in it, as usual.

Page 159 has five free product coupons for Nabisco Wheat Thins, 16 oz. Kraft dressing, Oscar Meyer Hot Dogs, Crystal Light, and 12 oz. Kraft Singles cheese.  To get each product, you have to "buy any THREE (3) KRAFT, NABISCO, or OSCAR MEYER product (excluding single serve)"

Remember the Planter’s $3/1 coupons? This is the same sort of deal. So you could buy three Kool-Aid packets (like we all need more of those!) for $0.10 each at Wal-Mart and get a completely free product.

You will also want to be on the lookout for other store promotions which would jive well with this coupon and net you more almost-free product. Let us know if you come up with any super deal using these coupons!

Thanks, Debbie!

Sears: Free $5 gift card from AdPerk"> Sears: Free $5 gift card from AdPerk


If you right now, you can earn a free $5 Sears gift card. This offer has reached its limit and is no longer available.

I’ve heard rumors that Sears has quite a few great deals on children’s clothing right now–some for less than $2 each at some stores. If that’s the case at your store, you might really be able to maximize on this free $5 gift card!

AdPerk also has a free subscription to available if you watch a few more commercials. Go here for more information on that.

By the way, I have personally tried this service out and earned a free magazine subscription which I have been receiving. It is very simple to do and worth a little bit of time and effort if you’ll use the magazine subscription or gift card you earn.

Walgreens: $5/$20 coupon–TODAY ONLY!



Go to download your $5/$20 coupon to use at Walgreens TODAY ONLY (Thursday, July 31, 2008).

There are quite a few good rebate deals this month so you might consider using it on those to make them a nice money-maker after the rebate and this coupon. Or, if you use baby formula, you can combine this coupon with the formula checks to get a sweet deal (formula checks do not count as traditional manufacturer’s coupons so your purchase doesn’t have to be a full $20 after coupons).

Thanks, Michelle!

Babies R Us: $15 gift card when you buy 2 boxes of Pampers


On Friday, August 1, 2008, Babies R Us is offering a free $15 gift card with every purchase of two boxes (92-count or more) diapers at their store.

I received $4/1 coupons for these boxes of diapers in the mail recently (perhaps because I signed up for the GIfts to Grow program?), so if you have any of those, combined with the $15 gift card deal, this could be a pretty sweet diaper deal.

Thanks, Tatiana!