There’s no better time to save a dime! Since the economy has every savvy shopper in an ultra-frugal mindset, discounts and coupons are truly considered a godsend. And you can find them everywhere—the Sunday paper, your mailbox, your email inbox and quite possibly the most prevalent place—online on coupon websites. Much to the penny-pincher’s delight, coupon websites have popped up everywhere. It’s the new craze, and folks all over the country are stocking up on all kinds of products and saving tons of money while they’re at it. In fact, some stores have even come up with new couponing policies thanks to a “backlash” from “Extreme Couponing”. Here’s one such story on MSN Money.
I think that means people love coupons. And if you’re moving, they’re especially good to have. Check out our list of the 10 Best Coupon Websites and tell us what you think:
1. Retailmenot.com. The convenience of online shopping can almost be addicting. If you do it often, you know it can get expensive. If you’re at the online checkout and see a field for “coupon code”, the chances are good that this site could save you a surprising amount. Before you click the “order” button, check here for a discount code!
2. Couponcabin.com. Another great source for online coupons. At Coupon Cabin they work with merchant partners to create exclusive online coupon codes. Just search the product, service or store you’re purchasing from and you’re likely to find a discount.
3. Fatwallet.com. Extra discounts on your purchases are offered by fatwallet.com via a variety of sources. Thousands of people may be looking for the same discounts, and this is the site where penny pinchers can come together and share information on how to save a few bucks.
4. Coupons.com. This site is great for bargain hunting on things like groceries and household items. They even offer local coupons to places right in your neighborhood.
5. Dropdowndeals.com. This is actually a free downloadable plug-in that recognizes what website you’re on and delivers deals. Basically, it’s designed to prevent you from having to search online for coupon codes. You can get coupons, daily deals, local deals and free shipping deals.
6. Techbargains.com. This is a coupon website that caters to tech geeks. If you’re looking to buy a computer or any tech accessories, you’ll want to surf through their plethora of bargains first.
7. Dealcatcher.com. You won’t just find grocery store deals at this coupon website. It’s updated daily with online coupons from some of the most popular online stores on the web. You can also find great consumer reviews and rebates.
8. Coolsavings.com. Get printable coupons, coupon codes and free samples. Enter your zip code and you’ll get local deals too.
9. Shopathome.com. Here you’ll find restaurant coupons, cash back rewards, grocery coupons and free samples—and who doesn’t love free samples? It’s a good place to check for Good Friday sale info too!
10. Couponmom.com. Stephanie Nelson is the Coupon Mom and she’ll give you great tips on couponing, along with tons of grocery coupons. If you’re ready to get in to couponing seriously, this is the site for you.
Are there other couponing websites you love? Share them with us! Oh, and since we’re talking coupons, we can’t go without letting you in on a deal from U-Pack. Mention coupon code “Blog11” to save $25.
What's the hardest thing about moving across the country? Besides figuring out how to keep your plants alive and remembering where you packed the bottle opener (keep it in your purse – you'll thank me later).
Some might say that packing sends them into a frenzy, or maybe it's figuring out the logistics – apartment hunting from 2,000 miles away is kind of a pain. But for me, the hardest part is always the first step: getting quotes from movers.
In-home estimates kind of make me nervous (partly because I watch too much Lifetime) but mostly because I'm not sure what the protocol is. Should I clean up first? I feel that the estimator will get a better sense of my kitchen if the dishes are piled up in the sink rather than tucked away inside cabinets.
I found that the best way is just to call the company directly. I thought I could save time with an online quote, but in most cases, I've just given my phone number and email address to 12+ moving companies that are very persistent callers. And more times than none, the online quote can't be completed and you're asked to call in to answer more questions. Why those questions aren't on the form to begin with is beyond me, but I digress.
After a rather aggressive call with a similar company I decided to call U-Pack. I had used their service when I moved to Los Angeles, but I was hesitant because I didn't want to load the ReloCube myself. Despite my 23 moves, I'm still not a very good packer and I wasn't sure I could convince friends to do the heavy lifting.
I spoke with Daniel who was the most calming moving rep I've ever dealt with. I was so impressed with our conversation that I even told Twitter. He listened to me as I rambled on about my move from LA to Chicago and how I wasn't sure if I'd be able to move everything on my own and oh my god how am I going to fit my couch into a ReloCube?! Sensing my impending panic he told me about MoveBuilder, a service that would help with the labor-intensive portions of my move. I. Was. Sold. From there, everything seemed to fall into place.
Leading up to my move I worked with Angie from MoveBuilder who made sure that I had everything I needed (except for her to fly out to help me pack – I asked). With my apartment full of U-Pack boxes I was ready to go. On the day of my move, MoveBuilder had sent out a team of movers to help load the truck that would take my belongings to the ABF terminal – unfortunately ReloCubes couldn't be left on my street and I didn't have an above-ground parking lot. The team was super friendly and surprisingly fast. And anything that wasn't packed in a box was wrapped in protective paper. That was an unexpected touch that was much appreciated.
I was able to track my ReloCubes along the way and at one point I saw that we were in the same city. Of course, I assumed that every ABF truck I saw during our drive had my stuff in it. My belongings arrived in Chicago a day ahead of schedule, which is something that impressed me the first time I used U-Pack as well. I met the next moving team that MoveBuilder arranged and they were even more impressive! Instead of two guys there were five and everyone introduced themselves and engaged in conversation with me.
Once we arrived at my apartment, they managed to get everything upstairs and unwrapped (remember all that protective paper?) in about an hour. They even bagged up all the paper and brought it to the dumpster for me. After I thought I couldn’t ask for a better move-in process, they offered to help me assemble my furniture, as most of it was taken apart to free up space in the ReloCubes.
It goes without saying that I was once again impressed with the service I received from the very first phone call all the way until the last check-in email from Angie and Autumnn. Thanks for laughing at my jokes, preparing me for this crazy cross-country move, and enabling me to have fun during my road trip!
Happy New Year from your friends at U-Pack Moving!
Whether you moved near or far in 2011, our hope is that you’re able to look back on your experiences and call it a great year. And now, as you move into 2012, may you have even more reasons to celebrate!
As you celebrate the New Year, we thought you might like to know about some of the most unique New Year’s celebrations in the U.S.; take a look at this infographic just released in the U-Pack press room. Here’s a hint: They include a giant peach, a falling baby, a haunted ocean liner, Egyptian queens, and five levels of interactive fun. Enjoy!
How did you celebrate the New Year? We would love to hear!
I have officially been living in Chicago for two weeks. A few U-Pack boxes still decorate my apartment, but for the most part I'm settled and adjusting to the winter weather. I've reconnected with a lot of family and friends and had a chance to fill them in on my road trip out here. The drive out to California was a bit of a whirlwind - we drove straight through without stopping - but this time we made sure to stop. The convenience of not traveling with a truck-load of stuff provided me and my mom with the freedom to take the scenic route and stop whenever (and wherever) our hearts desired.
Leaving Los Angeles was tough. Not only did I have to say goodbye to friends, but we left right after the Santa Ana windstorm. While the winds may have left LA, they were still causing a ruckus outside of the city. For a while it was impossible to get above 60mph as I drove right into the winds. California wasn't ready to let me go I guess!
Somewhere outside of Barstow we stumbled upon a small town of Calico. There wasn't much to it other than an actual ghost town and a nifty 50's diner with a dinersaur (get it?) park in the back - you know, the usual pitstop attractions. If you ever find yourself driving through California (on your way to Las Vegas perhaps) be sure to stop at Peggy Sue's.
When I planned the road trip, I purposely routed us through the southern states as to avoid snow for as long as possible. Apparently Mother Nature felt that Arizona was a good place to reacclimate me instead of, oh I don't know, Chicago. Almost instantly the dry land disappeared under a blanket of white. Confused and surprised I made my mom pull over so we could get a picture of my flip flops in the snow.
Eventually the snow piled up a few inches past our comfort zone and we decided to stop in Flagstaff, Arizona. We were only an hour or so away from the Grand Canyon, but when we woke up the next day it was only 1 degree outside. Any plans of sight-seeing were cancelled - of course it didn't help that about 10 miles into our drive a heavy fog set in erasing mountains from our view. Thankfully New Mexico warmed us up a bit. We managed to get in and out before the snow crossed the state line. If you ever find yourself in Albuquerque, be sure to stop for some frybread and honey! Delicious!
By day three we were pretty exhausted. Snow was on our tail so we kept pushing a bit further to stay ahead of the forecast. Unfortunately the terrain got pretty flat and bare after Texas so we didn't have much to entertain ourselves with - except for some funny signs, buffalo, and our own inside jokes (did I mention that I almost killed a tumbleweed?)
We stopped at a trading post (a gift shop) attached to a diner. Outside of the diner were two camera shy buffalo. I ran back and forth trying to take a better picture of them and I'm sure the locals were laughing at the girl in flip flops chasing buffalo. When we got inside we were met with a sign that read "Try our buffalo burgers!" I'm guessing those buffalo weren't just a tourist attraction!
Countless cans of Red Bull and stolen complimentary breakfast muffins later, we crossed the Illinois state line. Throughout our drive we heard at least seven songs about California. Remember how I said it wasn't making it easy to leave? After we got to my apartment in Chicago, we turned on the radio and "Sweet Home Chicago" was playing. The timing couldn't have been more perfect.
We have so much to look back on during our road trip, but the above highlights some of our favorite moments. Thank you U-Pack and Move Builder for giving me the chance to have some fun during my move!
Jennifer is the author of a great blog called Bottle Up the Crazy. This is part two of a three-part series Jennifer wrote about her cross country move with U-Pack. Read part one here.
If you’re looking to move someplace that is hospitable to cyclists, there are a few bike-friendly cities in the U.S. you could consider. The best cities for cyclists will have bike trails, reasonable weather, and a large cyclist community. Bicycle parking and fitness gear accommodations are also a bonus for storing bike gear. Read on to learn more about the best cities for cycling.
Boulder, Colorado The city of Boulder offers many biking trails in and around the area, but its majestic scenery makes the cycling experience all the more enjoyable. The summer weather is fairly warm and sunny. You can visit Boulder Indoor Cycling when the weather is too chilly for riding! Join the Boulder Cycling Club if you want to learn more about events in the area and be part of the city’s leisurely cycling community. You can also join one of the city’s many competitive cycling clubs if competition is an important part of your hobby. The family-friendly city also offers youth programs for young riders with a passion for the sport.
Portland, Oregon Many areas around Portland offer mountain biking trails, and urban cyclists frequent downtown. The city’s infrastructure and bike lanes allow for an easy commute through the metro area. The city encourages cycling as part of its commitment to clean air. Around 7% of the city’s residents are bicycle commuters! Portland’s warm summers and mild winters allow riders to hit the roads nearly all year long. Visit bikeportland.org to read blogs about the city’s cycling culture and find local cycling events.
Minneapolis, Minnesota The chilly city of Minneapolis is considered the best city in the country for cyclists. Why? Cyclists here are relentless. In fact, you can take a class in Minneapolis that focuses primarily on winter riding. Not only is traditional cycling popular here, but the city is also a hot spot for BMX. Some of the nation’s best bicycle shops are located in Minneapolis, including Freewheel Bike and Behind Bars. Around 4% of the city’s residents bike to work—an astounding percentage for a city that can plummet to 10 degrees Fahrenheit in the heart of winter.
The mentioned cities take the lifestyle of cyclists into account. Whether you’re a leisurely cyclist or an intense, competitive rider, these cities have something to offer every bike enthusiast.
Margot is a guest post writer for Sparefoot.com on the subject of relocation. She is also a passionate cyclist who has lived in several different states.
What screams "it's Christmastime!" louder than a beautifully decorated Christmas tree? Okay, maybe Santa. But Christmas trees surely are at the top of the list. And there are some amazing ones around the country. This Must-See Holiday Trees infographic, just released in the U-Pack press room, depicts the country's most festive firs, pines and spruces. Check it out!
I had no idea that the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree in New York ranges from 69 to 100 feet tall. And the Swarovski Star that has topped the tree since 2004 — do you have any idea how big it is? It's 9.5 feet in diameter and weighs 550 pounds! Who knew? Hurry if you haven't seen it yet; the tree normally comes down the 5th week after the ceremony or the 8th week after its arrival.
Okay, I don't want to spoil all of the surprises, but I'm also super impressed by the Coeur d'Alene Holiday Light Show in Idaho. Though I haven't seen it in person, I can only imagine the impressiveness of more than 30,000 twinkling lights on the largest living Christmas tree in the world — a 161 ft. Grand Fir. If you've ever seen it, I would love to hear about it!
All of the folks at U-Pack want to wish you and your family a very happy holiday season!
If you’re moving household goods from Canada into the United States, the following Frequently Asked Questions (and answers) should prove helpful. If you have additional questions, please feel free to leave a comment below.
What documentation do I need to move my household goods from Canada to the U.S. with U-Pack? Since your belongings do not accompany you when you use U-Pack to move from Canada to the U.S., you are required to provide the following documentation:
A completed US Customs Form 3299 (Declaration for Free Entry of Articles Not Accompanying a Resident or Non-Resident), that includes an itemized inventory of your shipment with an approximate dollar value in U.S. dollars.
Proof of Status that shows you have legal permission to move yourself and your personal items into the United States – VISA, passport or birth certificate.
You should keep the original copy of all documentation and provide copies to the ABF driver at your origin.
What should be included in my household goods inventory? The U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency suggests that your items be listed in categories: Furniture, Kitchenware, Household goods, sport equipment, clothes, books, Home/office equipment/Tools of Trade, other personal effects.
How does moving from Canada to the U.S. work with U-Pack? ABF delivers a moving trailer or ReloCube to your location in Canada. You load your household goods and provide all required documentation to the ABF origin driver. ABF drives to your location in the United States. You unload.
How much does it cost to move my household goods from Canada to the U.S. using U-Pack? The cost of moving from Canada to the U.S. depends on several factors—the exact locations you’re moving from and to, the date of your move, and how much you’re moving. The best way to determine the cost is with a free moving quote. It’s a simple process—enter your origin and destination, along with your move date and shipment size to get an instant price. Note that a $19.35 Customs Broker Manifest Processing Fee applies to all shipments moving from Canada into the U.S. and that rates are in U.S. funds.
Do I need to be present at the border for clearance? Not when you’re moving with U-Pack. ABF will file Form 3299 on your behalf, so it is not necessary for you to be present at the border for clearance.
What happens if my shipment doesn’t clear customs at the border? If your shipment is not able to clear customs at the border, it may move in bond, at the discretion of the Customs and Border Protection Agency. When this happens, it must be cleared prior to delivery and a bond fee will be assessed. The most common reasons a shipment fails to clear at the boarder are:
The paperwork is not filled out properly
All necessary paperwork is not provided
For detailed information about the requirements for moving household goods from Canada to the U.S., (including do-not-ship items) and for information about how to determine whether you are a resident or a non-resident (whether duties apply) see the document provided by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency entitled: Moving Household Goods to the U.S. For questions about moving from Canada to the U.S. with U-Pack, call 800-413-4799.
State to State Movers It’s Flashback Friday! Each week U-Pack revisits a blog topic that has been helpful to our readers. Today’s flashback—“State to State Movers”. This post introduces U-Pack as a great, cost-effective way to move across state lines. Make sure to check out the comments too. U-Pack customers often ask great questions and have insightful input. Happy Friday!
If you’re searching for state-to-state movers, you may have found that the local mover you’re familiar with isn’t able to move you across the state line. Because of licensing restrictions (out-of-state movers are regulated by the Department of Transportation), many will actually refer you to an Interstate (or state-to-state) moving service like U-Pack—the easy, low-cost way to move long-distance and across state lines.
Here’s how moving state-to-state with U-Pack works:
You load your belongings and pay only for the space you use.
ABF delivers to your door at your new home.
Of course, with U-Pack you also have the option to add standard loading and unloading services—or you can step it up a notch and choose a full-service move with U-Pack’s sister moving service—MoveBuilder.
About moving state-to-state with U-Pack As you can tell by the description of how U-Pack works, it differs slightly from what you might traditionally think of when you’re searching for state-to-state movers. Likely full-service van lines are the companies that come to mind. But thanks to ‘you pack, we drive’ services like U-Pack, there are more affordable options. Customers are sold on U-Pack because of the competitive prices, ABF’s excellent reputation in the industry and its flexibility (which is a big deal when you’re dealing with the stress of moving)!
In fact, the affordable price is the top reason so many customers choose U-Pack to move state-to-state. When we take a look at post-move survey results from the past year, 79% of U-Pack customers choose the service because of price.
If you need a free moving quote, or have questions about moving state-to-state with U-Pack, click, call or leave a comment below. We’ll be happy to help! 800-413-4799
Meghan is a guest blogger. The views and opinions expressed in this blog post are solely those of the original author. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of U-Pack, the blog.upack.com staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.
So I was sitting around, shooting the breeze, talking about some of the craziest and most irritating Christmas traditions I've come across (or partaken in) through the years, and as I reminisced, it occurred to me that it would be a disservice to the world not to share my thoughts. So here you go; the ten most unusual, crazy, and irksome holiday happenings I can think of.
1. Christmas Sweaters. I used to sport the fashion on occasion. Okay, practically daily in December. But I usually chose tasteful and subtle numbers that weren't too flashy (and didn't actually flash) or jingle when I walked. I like to be festive. But then all of the spoil sports came along and decided they needed to have "Tacky Christmas Sweater" parties to try and end our so-called "madness." I think they just wanted a hip excuse to wear them too. Well, I took offense, and didn't participate. One, because none of my sweaters are "tacky" and two, I refused to go to a store and lay down a hefty wad of cash to buy one. (I was glad to see the resale shops were sticking it to the party goers though.) Now, I do agree that tacky Christmas sweaters exist. If anything is around long enough, someone always rolls out a tacky version of it. So I'm surprised the department stores still offer these knits. But I guess if the demand is there, they don't care if they're worn by the festive or the hipsters.
Photo Courtesy Meghan H. cannot be reprinted.
2. Outdoor Inflatable Decorations. They're cute, and I enjoy looking at them at night, all lit up in their jolly holiday spirit. But what I don't understand is the carnage that awaits in the light of day. Once the blowers are turned off, Frosty and Santa lay flat and crumpled upon the lawn, waiting for their shot of electricity once night falls again. Come on folks, nobody wants to see the air sucked out of Snoopy or Pooh on their way to work in the morning. You don't have to leave the light on all day, but couldn't you at least spring for the blower so they can be all Christmassy during the day and not just in the dark of night?
3. Decorating Before Thanksgiving. Nothing irks me more than seeing Christmas decorations out before the turkey is even thawed. Come on folks, isn't it bad enough that Black Friday has turned into tryptophan hangover Thursday? Can't you wait until after Turkey Day to get out the old red and green? Now one exception to this rule came from a friend in Iowa. She posted on Facebook "I understand why you want to put your Christmas lights up in October before it is freezing, but you don't have to turn them on." If you are going to decorate for Christmas in September, at least do us a service and don't turn them on until Black Friday.
4. Santa Claus. Now, don't get me wrong, I love the big man in red, but if you really think about the whole thing, especially in our world today, it's kind of creepy, scary and strange. He rides around in the sky in a sleigh, pulled by eight tiny reindeer, and on a foggy Christmas also led by one with a shiny red nose. He lands on the roof, somehow shimmies down the chimney, leaves presents, eats your food, evades your attack dog, gets back up the chimney and goes on to the next house. AND he makes it around the world in one night. AND he knows if you have been good or bad. AND we beg our kids to go to the mall and sit on his lap and tell him what they want so we can get a picture. If anybody besides Santa ever tried to do this around where I live, they would probably be shot and then questioned.
5. Mistletoe. It's a parasitic plant folks. Who ever thought it was a good idea to cut the parasite out of a tree (actually a good idea to try and help save it) and put it in your home for the holidays? Back in the olden days, they put a fresh sprig up every Christmas Eve and left it all year to protect the house from lightening and fire. They think some Scandinavians came up with the kissing notion. But only if it still has berries. I bet we've all been kissed by a few parasites in our lifetime but who knew you were kissing under it!
6. Christmas Cards with Pictures. A friend told me the other day, "By the way, I'm not doing Christmas cards this year. I am refusing to do it. Last year I pulled out the previous year's card and it looked exactly the same as the card I was looking at. I couldn't tell which card was for which year—and I'm their mother! The kids haven't changed, so nobody is getting a card. Besides, everyone sees my kids all year long, why do you need a pic at Christmas? I'm tired of trying to "keep up with the Jones'," and paying for the sitting fees. And by the way, you can't join me, you had a baby this year and your kids are young enough they change every year. They are so cute." Or something like that. But she was right. It has turned into a bit of a competition and a lot of the spirit of the Christmas card is gone. So why do we do it?
7. Dirty, Naughty and Secret Santa. If played with good intentions, this game can be fun. But I have yet to be to one of these parties where one of two things didn't happen, and usually both. One, someone brings some junk they had stuck in the back of their closet or saved from the last party where they got the short end of the stick. Or two, a few people get a little too competitive and take things a little too seriously. While I like unloading junk as much as the next guy, I do try to take something that I think might be another man's treasure. But I usually end up in the crossfire for the coveted present at the party for the ladies at church even though I'm not that competitive . . . it's all in the strategy.
8. Fruitcake. Do I really need to explain this one? I have only met one person in my life that liked the stuff and hers was soaked in brandy. I have heard of fruitcakes that get passed around as a joke that are older than I and could do some serious damage if pitched through a plate glass window. I wonder if anyone has tried using fruitcake for skeet practice and if the bullet just glanced off . . .
9. Festivus (for the rest of us). Yes, this is a reference to the old Seinfeld episode where George's father introduces us all to the holiday. Now, I'm not sure if it originated there or if it was somewhere else. I never had the time to read the book on the subject. I just know my sister had a Festivus pole for a short period of time two years ago until she finally put the branches on her tree. No one participates in the feats of strength but we fairly regularly air our grievances.
10. Pickled Herring. Unless you're of Scandinavian descent, you may not have heard of this. My father is half-Norwegian, so my Irish mother discovered that some Scandinavians eat pickled herring on Christmas Eve for good luck. For as long as I can remember, we all stand around in the kitchen with little forks and take a bite out of the jar before adjourning to play games. When my husband first joined the family, he gave it the old college try, but just couldn't get it down. Between you and me, it's really not that bad; just dip it in a little sour cream sauce. I suspect we're really supposed to do this on New Year's Eve, but that's when we eat black eyed peas.
Though I've thought of a lot of them, I'm sure I haven't covered all of the irritating and unusual things that go on throughout the holidays. If you've got some of your own, leave a comment and tell me about it.