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Also: Don’t forget your comparison shopping

Perhaps you, like me, are spending a lot of time watching the Amazon Lightning Deals these days. It should go without saying that you always double-check a deal before you jump on it, but I’m saying it, anyway.

For example: I’ve been wanting a hands-free leash for one of my dogs. Right now, this extra-long hands-free leash is on a Lightning Deal for $16.99 (down from $23.99). Hmmmm. I don’t really need a long one, though. And my product page came up with an ad for this regular hands-free leash (with similar excellent reviews) available for just $9.99. That’s more my style, and a quick price check reveals that’s a great price.

So! Then I remember to read the “Special Offers” section, and it turns out that if I purchase 2 or more qualifying items I can get one for free with code WKFATFME. Really? I tried the code on 2 leashes. Yep, 2 leashes for $9.99 shipped. (I have two dogs, but only one goes for walks. I guess a friend is getting a leash!)

In other words: Compare. Read. Check. Then go get your deals.

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Right up my alley for the next quarter

Have you been remembering to sign up to Get More with Discover? You can enroll now for the next quarter starting in July, and then from July through September you can earn extra money on Home Improvement and Department Store purchases, and—be still my heart!—Amazon purchases! Seeing as how I’ll mostly be spending those bonuses at Amazon, anyway, I’ll happily grab the bonus if they want to give it to me.

My Subscribe & Save items alone should be enough to get me plenty, and if I’m already into holiday shopping by then, well, that’s just more cashback to rack up.

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Well this is fabulous

Target is donating a billion dollars (!!!) to education, and you can get $25 sent to your school by thanking a teacher through the campaign page. Facebook login required, but it’s a very simple process after that.

Say something nice to a teacher you love, earn money for the school. Nice!

[Thanks for the tip, Jill!]

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Stuff you should do this week

Happy some-of-the-world-is-returning-to-normal-life day! If you’re lucky, you’ve still got some time off this week to ring in the new year and figure out how many random objects and festive bows got crammed under the couch last week.

Today is the first day in a whole week that I’ve felt normal again. Hooray for Tamiflu! And here’s a few things I’ll be doing over the next few days; maybe you’ll want to do them, too.

Take care of any year-end charitable contributions. If you’ve been meaning to make a donation somewhere, or have bags to drop off at Goodwill, get it done before the 31st so you get the tax benefit for this year. I try to do a closet clean-out before the holidays, but sometimes (like this year) I don’t manage it. We did it over the weekend and I’ll be dropping off our donations today.

Do another once-over wherever you were storing gifts. Whether it’s a closet, a corner of the basement, a magical cupboard (hey, I don’t know your life), wherever you were stashing gifts this year, go through and make sure you didn’t miss anything and know what’s still in there. During the big Lightning Deals frenzy at Amazon I often acquire not just holiday, but birthday and other random gifts, as well. Now’s the time to make sure you know what’s stashed.

Finish any thank-yous. Did far-flung family send goodies your way? Hopefully you already said thanks, but if not, take care of that before the hustle and bustle of returning to “regular life” takes over.

Clean your refrigerator. Yeah. I’m sorry. It’s my least-favorite thing, too, but if you’re like me you’ve been cooking and feeding people and then refusing to cook and ordering out and in general your (my) fridge is probably full of scary things by now in the back corners. Won’t it be great to ring in 2015 without mystery containers lurking in your fridge…?

Do resolutions, however it works for you. I’m not much of a New Year’s Resolution type, myself, but we do tend to do a family night either on or new New Year’s Eve where we talk about what our goals are for the coming year as a family. Also I’ve been making a vision board every year for the past… four or five years or so, I guess. (My daughter has joined me the last few years.) It’s nice to just take a few minutes to stop and breathe and think, y’know?

Spill… what’re you up to this week?

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Don’t forget to Get More this fall!

Registration is now open for the October-December Get More Discover Bonus, and it’s perfect for the holiday shopping season—extra bonuses on purchases made online and at department stores. It’s like they made it just for us!

Go sign up right now, before you forget, and then earn yourself some extra cash this year without even trying.

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Pssst, you could win some Amazon $$

Hey, do you have a few minutes to fill out an informational survey for They’ll use the information you provide to make their site better, which in turn helps me to make this site better, because I work with them.

Just click right here to do the survey, and then don’t forget to include your email address—three lucky respondents will be randomly selected to win $50 gift cards to Amazon. Sweet, right? Go do it now before you forget! (And let me know if you win!)

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Amazon raising the price of Prime: Save now!

Amazon continues to make Prime a little less awesome (boohoo!)—starting mid-April, the yearly cost of Prime membership will be increasing from $79/year to $99/year.

Personally, I will continue to pay for Prime, because I figure it’s saved me well beyond that $100 each year. That’s not going to stop me from grumbling a little, though. As one does.

Here’s the good news, though: If you’ve been thinking about getting Prime, well, now would be a great time to sign up, before the price increase, obviously. And the better news is that if you have Prime already and your renewal date is past mid-April, here’s how to get one more year at the old rate! Just go purchase a Prime gift subscription for yourself (you can use the same email addy, even) and set the gifting date as the day after your current subscription expires. Then turn off your auto-renew. Voila, you’ll automagically get an email about your gift on the day you specify, and then you can turn your auto-renew back on (if you like), and you’ve saved $20.

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Don’t forget to Get More

If you have (and love) a Discover Card the way I do, you may have somehow forgotten in the midst of the holiday hustle and bustle to sign up for this next quarter of increased bonuses. Go sign up and from now through March you can get additional bonuses when you eat out or go to the movies… up to $75 worth.

I don’t know about you, but I’m certainly not going to turn down extra money.

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Last minute? No problem

Don’t forget that if you have Prime, $3.99 gets you overnight shipping on about a billion different items from Amazon, which means whatever you forgot can still be ordered today and here in time for Christmas. I don’t know about you, but for me, $4 is a pittance to pay to not have to hit the mall these last couple of crazy days. (And of course you’re still watching those Holiday Lightning Deals as they scroll by, right? Right.)

Also, I want to apologize for not being as present here as I usually am for this season of bargain-hunting. Some unforeseen family circumstances meant I had to put real-life first the last few weeks. Hopefully everyone found what they needed and is gearing up for a lovely Christmas (or generic holiday break or whatever).

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Keep your eye on the Lightning Deals

You are watching the Countdown to Black Friday Lightning Deals over at Amazon, right? The closer we get to Black Friday, the better the deals are.

Coming up in just a few minutes is an adorable limited edition set for a GHD flat iron (I love my GHD and you can pry it out of my cold, dead hands)—that could be a great deal depending on the price they put it at. There’s also a Melissa & Doug baby bowling set coming up. Oh, heck, there’s lots of things. Just make sure you keep it bookmarked and keep checking back.

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