Date Night Deals

Between weekend travel, weddings and summertime spending, my wallet’s been aching a bit lately. It wasn’t until I went to Yelp Corfu, a new Mediterranean tapas place on Cross Street, and saw a $20 for $30 Yelp deal that I remembered how often I used to rely on Groupon, Living Social and other deal sites for affordable date nights (and girls’ nights out!).

I used to always open and read those daily deal emails. I loved them. In fact, I loved them so much that I kept signing up for more. Groupon, Living Social, Capitol Deal, Yipit, Woot. It got out of control. So I slowly stopped checking them, forgot about them, and that was that. But when I saw the Yelp deal for Corfu–which is supposed to be great, by the way–I started poking around my old haunts to see what kind of bargains I was missing out on.

Thought you all might be in the same boat so I figured I’d share my findings. In no particular order:

Two-hour social painting event from Paint Nite. Was $45; now $25.

BYOB ceramics classes at the ClayGround Studio. Was $40; now $21.

Comedy magic show for two at Illusions Bar and Theater. Was $32; now $16.

$16 for $30 worth of Thai food at Thai Yum. 

$16 for $30 worth of Turkish food at Cazbar.

Two pints of Belgian beer, fresh steamed mussels and one row-nut dessert at Rowhouse Grille. Was $32; now $15.

$15 for $30 worth of sushi and more at Sticky Rice.

$10 for $20 worth of Southern-inspired food at Myth and Moonshine.

$25 for $50 worth of comfort food at Langermann’s.

Bottle of wine with cheese and a shared plate at Silo.5% Wine Bar.

$20 for $40 worth of gourmet pub food at Heavy Seas Alehouse.

$20 for $30 worth of Mediterranean tapas at Corfu.

$10 for $20 worth of seasonal American cuisine at Liv2Eat.

**When buying a deal, be sure to read the fine print on how/when the voucher can be used as well as when it expires. Also remember to tip on the bill amount BEFORE the applied discount.**

Of course, Baltimore’s Restaurant Week also starts on Friday, so that’s another way to try a new spot without breaking the bank. If you haven’t already made your reservations, get on it!

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My strange obsession

So, I’m that person.

You know, the one in the grocery store poring over her plastic organizer, pulling out her phone every five minutes, taking way too long to decide between Charmin and Quilted Northern. I’ve always been a bargain hunter but it wasn’t until I moved in with my boyfriend (and we decided I’d handle the groceries while he handles the utilities) that I took it to the next level. Yessir, we’re talking coupons.

It started out simply enough. “Hey, there’s a coupon for that brand of hummus we like!” And I won’t say I’m one of those extreme couponers–I’ve made it a point to avoid the laminated binders–but I’ve definitely started to take it more seriously once I realized just how much there is to save. Once you start couponing, you realize what an idiot you’ve been for paying full price. Think about it: Why would you pay $9 for a bottle of laundry detergent when you can almost always get it for under $1, or even free?

So, here we are. I’m the weird coupon lady that all my friends make fun of, and that all the people stare at in the aisles of Harris Teeter. And I’m OK with that, because I save a TON of money.

I think there are a few really big misconceptions about couponing. One is that everyone has these insane stockpiles of products they’ll realistically never use. Another is that couponers end up buying really unhealthy groceries–Hamburger Helper or Jimmy Dean sausages. The truth is, it is what you make of it. I try to eat pretty healthily (OK, I’ll admit I throw a pint of gelato in the cart every now and then). I rely on coupons to minimize the cost of toiletries, cleaning supplies and other household essentials so that I’m left with a lot more money to buy fruits, veggies, meats and other fresh foods.

This week is Super Doubles at Harris Teeter. HT usually doubles coupons up to $1 (meaning a $.50c coupon becomes $1, $.75c becomes $1.50, etc.), but on Super Doubles week, coupons are doubled up to and including $2. So if you have a $2 off coupon, it becomes $4 off. It’s pretty much a feeding frenzy for my kind of people.

If you’re curious about couponing, The Krazy Coupon Lady offers a much better guide than I could ever write. Once you read that and learn what a “matchup” is, click over to Southern Savers for a great weekly guide to shopping Harris Teeter’s sales.

In the meantime, let me show you the best of my scores this week.

IMG_20150627_141721390 (2)

VIC sales are the usual Harris Teeter deals you get by giving your Harris Teeter card; eVIC sales are Harris Teeter deals you get by signing up for their online sales site; coupons are mostly from coupons.com with a few Red Plum/newspaper coupons mixed in; iBotta rebates are from an app that gives you cash for buying certain products.

(Disclaimer, if you are an actual so-called “crazy couponer,” I’m sure you could have done much better than I did, but keep in mind I do minimal planning and don’t buy coupons in bulk.)

Wheat Thins Garlic and Herb toasted pita chips

3.15 – .$.65c VIC sale –  $2.50 eVIC sale – $1 iBotta rebate = FREE + $1 moneymaker

Pantene Pro-V shampoo and conditioner (2 shampoos; 1 conditioner)

$3.65 each x 3 = $10.95 total – $5/3 eVIC coupon – $2/2 coupon (doubled to $4) = $1.95 for all 3; $.65c each

7th Generation handsoap

BOGO at $3.49 making sale price $1.74 – $1 iBotta rebate = $.74

7th Generation dish soap

$2.50 – $1 off coup (doubled to $2) – $1 iBotta rebate = FREE + $.50 moneymaker

OxiClean laundry detergent

BOGO at $8.49 making sale price $4.49 – $2 off coupon (doubled to $4) = $.49c

Colgate Total toothpaste

$3.99 – $.99 VIC sale – $1 off coupon (doubled to $2) = $.99

7th Generation laundry detergent

$8.99 – $2 coupon (doubled to $4) – $3 iBotta rebate = $1.99

Olay body wash

$4.99 – $1 VIC sale – $1 coupon (doubled to $2) = 1.99

Cortizone Anti-Itch cream

$3.99 – $1 off coupon (doubled to $2) = $1.99

7th Generation cleaning wipes

$6.69; VIC sale for $4.99 – $1 off coupon (doubled to $2) = 2.99

Playtex Gentle Glide tampons 

$5.19 – $1 off coupon (doubled to $2) = $3.19

Venus razors (4 count)

$11.69; VIC sale for $7.49 – $2 off coupon (doubled to $4) = $3.49

Secret Clinical Strength deodorant 

$7.97 – $2 off coupon (doubled to $4) = $3.49


TOTAL BEFORE VIC SAVINGS = $82.08

TOTAL AFTER VIC SAVINGS (not including eVIC specials/coupons) = $67.79

TOTAL OUT OF POCKET AFTER ALL SAVINGS = $21.80


Not pictured deals include Energizer batteries ($4.99 to $.40c), a banana (free), Wholly Guacamole ($2.99 to $.99) and Angel Soft toilet paper ($6.75 to $2.97).

Super Doubles continue through midnight on June 30. Click over to Southern Savers to see what kinds of deals you could get this week.

Friday Five (ways to save at Camden Yards)

I read a City Paper story a couple of months ago called “The Cheap Bastard’s Guide to Baltimore Baseball.” Since I’ll be watching the O’s fireworks night from a nearby rooftop (the ultimate cheap bastard move), I thought I’d share the guide as well as some of my favorite tips to save a few bucks. These tips are Baltimore-specific, but can easily be applied to other ballparks around the country.

1. Get discounted tickets.

If you’re not tied to a specific date or game, look around to see what discounts are available. If you work for a big Baltimore employer, you might find that you can get an employee discount. If you’re going with a large group, call the ticket office and ask for “group sales” (you’ll even get your group’s name on the Jumbotron–oh, the possibilities!). For Ollie’s Bargain Nights on Tuesdays, all Upper Reserve seats are $10 when purchased in advance. And if you’ve still got a valid student ID hanging around, every Friday, you can score Left Field Upper Reserve seats for $7 at the box office.

2. Carpool or call in a favor for parking.

The cost of parking near Camden Yards isn’t that astronomical–you’ll find lots for $8-$10–but you might be able to minimize even that cost. If you know someone who lives near the park, they may have guest parking passes you can use for free. Otherwise, consider carpooling to split the cost.

3. Minimize drink purchases in the park. 

I won’t go so far as to say that you should avoid drinking during the game entirely; there’s something about the combination of beer and baseball that’s sacred. But definitely take advantage of the nearby bars (Pickles, of course, but also Sliders, Pratt Street Ale House, etc.) for cheaper drinks than you’ll find in the stadium. I’ve seen Boh tallboys for around $3. Some Federal Hill bars run pre-game specials and offer golf cart rides to the game.

4. BYOF.

As a rule, I pretty much never buy food in the park. Camden Yards has a really great food-and-drink policy that lets you bring in your own food as well as sealed, nonalcoholic drinks. Freeze a couple water bottles ahead of time and either bring lunch or pick something up from one of the vendors outside Pickles. If you do get hungry inside the ballpark, there’s a concession stand on the upper deck that offers kids’ hotdogs (don’t worry–available to anyone) for $1.50. Just ask any ballpark worker and they’ll direct you.

5. For the love of God, don’t buy any merch.

I am always shocked to see people buying jerseys and T-shirts at Camden Yards when stores like Target, Kohls and Old Navy sell licensed gear for a fraction of the price. I’ve found really cheap stuff on clearance at those stores toward the end of the season. Abby is also all about promo nights, where you’ll get stuff like a Buck Showalter garden gnome or an Orioles trucker hat.

What about you? Any tips for saving at the ballpark?

And if baseball’s not your fave (but who am I kidding, it’s not called America’s pastime for nothing), check out the other Friday Favorites in the blogosphere at Heather’s linkup and Clare‘s!