We visited Out of Africa Wildlife Park last week while on our trip to Sedona, AZ. We spent most of the day there and had a great time. Someone on our flight to Phoenix actually recommended the park to us so when I first got to Sedona I started looking for a deal (like usual). I first went to their site and found that tickets were $39 per person. The first coupon I came across was $2 off for signing up to their newsletter. I signed up to it thinking any discount was better than none. Then, as I was doing the laundry Monday night at the resort, someone mentioned seeing a buy 1, get 1 free coupon in the yellow pages. I went back to the room and found the coupon!
If you are planning a trip to the area, I highly recommend checking them out after you clip a coupon from the Sedona Verde Valley yellow pages. The coupon can be found in the 2008 – 2009 edition on page 5 (see pics below of the yellow pages and the coupon).
We just spent a week in Sedona, AZ at the Sedona Pines. The weather was ehh but overall we had a great time. In the coming days, expect to see a few posts about some of the good and bad experiences we had along with a few deals you can find in Sedona.
I woke up this morning and thought I would check to see if there was anything major going on in the news. I went over to my usual sites: digg, cnn and the AP app on my iPhone. When I went to CNN I found it pretty funny that the main article on their site was about President Obama “slightly” bumping his head while getting on Airforce One.
As I went about my day I chuckled thinking how silly it is that the most important news story of the morning was President Obama bumping his head until the unthinkable happened. I was in the process of getting my daughter into the car when I accidentally bumped her head on the car. I remained calm even though she did not and I have to admit she was not nearly as composed as President Obama. I apologized many times for the accident and then explained to her that the exact same thing happened to President Obama so I needed to take a picture and alert the media!
In all seriousness, I don’t understand how something so silly can make the main page of most news organizations websites. I can think of at least half a dozen better things for a news organization to write about.
Last year I found out about CatalogChoice.org, an online site that was supposed to get you removed from unwanted catalogs during our first ever Green Expo at the Wilmington Riverfront. As soons as I got my first unwanted catalog, which to me is pretty much every catalog, I created an account on their site and added the catalog. For the next few months as I got a new catalog in the mail, I got excited to get rid of yet another unwanted catalog. I even began trying to get companies to stop sending catalogs to me at work.
At one point during the process, I swear the catalog companies caught on and started sending the catalogs under different variations of my name and began sending different variations of their catalog. A few examples of this are:
I opted out of the Gaiam catalog, and began receiving the Gaiam Mindy Body Arts Catalog
I opted out of the Pottery Barn catalog and began receivng the Pottery Barn Kids Catalog
I opted out of a catalog using Kevin Kahn and then get another one in under Mr. Kevin Kahn
It has been over a year now and I am finally removed from a good number of catalogs that I opted out of. Somehow within the past year I have also see an influx of random catalogs I’ve been added to. Below is a list of catalogs I have been removed from and a list of catalogs that have specifically said they are refusing my request. CatalogChoice does offer up the catalogs phone number so you can opt out via phone but I give these companies an F for
Companies not honoring requests from CatalogChoice.org
The Lakeside Collection (one of the random catalogs we have been added to)
Companies Honoring Requests from CatalogChoice.org
Back to Basics
Crate & Barrel
Olive Juice Kids
CatalogChoice is a great tool in getting yourself removed from a number of catalogs but it will not stop every single company. If you buy anything online you are subject to getting added to that companies catalog and on occasion other company’s catalogs as well. All in all, I would give Catalog Choice an A- for usefullness.
Mint Security / Privacy
You register anonymously.
they ask for your online banking user name and passwords, but do not see / store that information.
they connect securely to your financial institutions using one or more online financial service providers.
I just read this AP article mentioning the GOP wants to add more mortgage relief to the stimulus package.
Officials said the GOP was coalescing behind a proposal designed to give banks an incentive to make loans at rates currently estimated at 4 percent to 4.5 percent. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which were seized by the federal government in September, would be required to purchase the mortgages once banks have made them to consumers.
With current national rates hovering around 5.35%, this would definitely spur many homeowners to refinance. As mentioned before I am in the process of refinancing and have a lock for 4.75%. If the rate were to go down to 4.0% I might have to refinance again.
At the risk of boring you with my personal issues, I thought I’d ramble on a bit about what’s going on with refinancing our mortgage. I had planned on writing about something eco friendly however I’ve been dealing with the refinance for over a month. I locked in to a 4.75% rate with 0 points on December 17th 2008. I was approved and went through the appraisal process at which point I found out our house was valued $30k less than when we purchased it 2 years ago. I decided to go ahead with the refinance anyway since we plan to stay here for many years and I feel that 10 – 15 years from now it won’t really matter what our house was appraised for during this refinance. With all the paperwork in to the mortgage company, all I was waiting for was a date for the refinance. As the lock date was looming, I got a few extra last minute requests from the mortgage company which I gladly complied with (ie my full tax return and a copy of my homeowners insurance).
A few days before the lock was set to expire I found out that the mortgage company, Provident Funding, was contesting the appraisal that had been submitted 3 weeks earlier. They said the appraisal only had 3 comps (comparable houses) in the report and they wanted 4. After the mortgage broker got a hold of the appraiser, she went ahead and offered a fourth. After another day or 2 with no word, I found out Provident Funding was now saying the fourth appraisal was invalid since the fourth house had a basement and our house did not.
To make a long story somewhat short, I am now in a 12 day lock waiting to hear back the latest about whether Provident Funding will make good on their initial offer or if they will cancel my refinance for some bogus reason.
I’m wondering now if I should have just gone with a local bank that was also offering the 4.75% rate the day I locked in my mortgage. I feel if i had I might not be sitting in this situation but on the same hand I don’t believe this is the mortgage brokers fault as he also would like to get this refinance finished.
As with all other blog posts, I feel the need to offer up some deal advice even though my refinane is not going as planned. I’ve been updating the mortgage rates at a few local Delaware / national mortgage companies. This is by no means a complete list, but feel free to check DealCatcher daily (around 11:30pm) for the most up to date rates from the banks below
A few years back my wife and I decided to stop drinking so much soda and switched to drinking mostly water. As a result we became much more aware of the taste of water. For a few years now we have been paying to have Deer Park water delivered to our door since our home drinking water tastes bad and refilling those small brita filters was a pain in the butt. When we moved to our new house, we inherited a fridge from the previous owners that had a water filter built in. I thought this would be a great way to get rid of our Deer Park water service since we could now just get filtered water from our fridge. There were 2 problems with this:
1 – the fridge does not also have a hot water feature which is really nice when making tea, hot chocolate, etc.
2 – My wife did not like the fridge water as much as it was not as cold
A few weeks ago my friend Dan and I were talking about water filters / service and he found the Greenway Water Filtration System. Basically it looks just like one of the 5 gallon bottles that you put on the water cooler but you can pour tap water in the top chamber and it filters the water. I decided I would be the Guinea pig and test this new product. I knew if it were going to work for us it would have to be easy to replace the water, the water would have to be cold and it would have to taste good. Once we received it in the mail, I put it together, followed the directions soaking the filter for 30 minutes in water and then filled the top chamber. The water filtered through the top chamber surprisingly fast. Now came the real test….My wife and I both drank a glass of water and were extremely happy with the taste / coldness of the water. Even better is the fact that the Greenway bottle is BPA free, unlike the 5 Gal water containers from DeerPark.
Now for the best part….the savings
Our Current Water Plan
5 – 5Gal Bottles of Water – $36.25/month
36 x 12 Months =$435 per Year
New Water Plan
Greenway GWF7 Water Filtration System w/ 1 Filter – $50 (approx)
1 Addl Filter – $25 shipped (approx) $75 for the 1st Year, $50 each additional Year
In all I’ll besaving $360 by using the water filtration system. There are a few things missing from the above including the cost of tap water but that depends on your location and would be maybe an extra $25 – $50 per year tops. There is also the water cooler which is normally offered by the water companies for free (as a rental…ie they take it back when you cancel the service). This would cost around $100 – $150 at Amazon, Home Depot or Sears. Even with these 2 additional features, the first year savings alone is worth $200.
I bought the Greenway GWF7 from Target.com when it was $39.99 + Shipping. As of today, they are not in stock at Target but are available from EverythingFurniture for $49 + Shipping.
My name, as you may have guessed, is Kevin Kahn and I am the affiliate manager for DealCatcher.com. Our site helps you save money by posting coupons & deals for hundreds of online merchants. I have worked for DealCatcher.com since Dec 2000 and have to say I really enjoy helping friends & family save money.
In my spare time, I’ve been helping friends and family set up their sites and blogs. I have thought about writing my own blog for some time but never pulled the trigger. I have to admit that I finally decided to start writing my blog after seeing how much fun my brother-in-law Mark is having with his blog over at WineLife365.com. Thanks Mark!
I plan to use my blog to write about the many things that interest me including: saving money, going green for less, eating local / organic and saving more money. Ultimately the underlying theme of the blog will be to show you what types of green products we’re using and ways to save money.
*NOTE TO FAMILY* – I believe Santa will be bringing this to Haley this year so don’t pre-order it for her 😉
I just thought I’d give a heads up to any parents interested in ordering the new Elmo Live doll. He will be selling for around $60 – $65 shipped online and will probably be hard to get a hold of as it gets closer to Christmas. Here is a video of him on Gizmodo if you are interested in seeing all the things he does.
You can pre-order Elmo Live at Amazon and get an extra 20% off using the directions at DealCatcher.com.