cop(s) ticket cleveland critical mass participants

So tonight was Critical Mass and it was a little bit of a CLUSTERF__, mainly because CPD officers couldn’t decide how they wanted to treat the mass. We had cop escorts, we had cops telling us to keep moving through red lights, and then we had one to two cops who were angry and ticketed some riders (not sure how many total).

So, Critical Mass is inherently a political action. I know a lot of people go there for fun and it IS fun. I know a lot of people don’t know the history or care about the political side of it, but they are participating in it nonetheless when we take over the street, raise the visibility of cyclists, and act as a united front. There is a risk you’ll be ticketed – it’s low (I don’t think there’s been ticketing before tonight for maybe 5 years and even tonight, only a few out of 700 cyclists), and if you are uncomfortable with taking the risk, then don’t come. After the drama of tickets, I decided to start corking every intersection downtown and encouraged people to ride through the red lights (because everyone was stopping). Only one person refused to go through the red in spite of my encouragement (what a hero). When the ride gets broken into several pieces like that because of red lights, it’s less safe for both cyclists and drivers AND the ride becomes 10x longer. People must be willing to take the risk or not come.

I’m going to look for more info on how to deal with the police during a Critical Mass. Frustrated tonight went as it did, but happy to have been there regardless.



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I think there are a LOT of busy people out there who love yoga and all of its benefits, but when it comes time to going after a busy day of work…well, quite frankly, i’ts difficult to peel ourselves off of the couch and away from our dogs/tv/books.

thus, i started YOGA CLUB on facebook. join the group and tell people you are going to yoga. or you’re gonna try to go. and maybe other people will join you and you’ll feel accountable. also, share free yoga opportunities and other neat stuff like that.



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krissie means deals #5: target

Target, Target, Target.

Target has perhaps the most complicated coupon-ing possibilities of any store. If you work it right, you can get serious steals. Honestly, there are so many tricks to Target-ing, I can’t even list them all on my blog…inventory look-up, secret deals, apps galore…it goes on. I’ll just give you a few tips.

All the ways to save:

1) Target coupons – inserts, online, mobile + manufacturer coupons

There are a few places to find Target-specific coupons. Sometimes they do their own inserts and put coupons in their ads. Print coupons from their website. Get the Target app on your phone for mobile coupons. These can be used with regular manufacturer coupons.

2) Target Cartwheel

I am somewhat obsessed with the cartwheel app. The app gives you a certain percentage off lots of products in the store (generally just 5 to 10% off). Sometimes the Cartwheel app gives you a significant savings – 40% off all women’s clothes, for example. And it’s just fun to scan the bar code to see if what you want to buy is discounted.

3) Target credit card

The Target credit card, if you are able to pay it off every month and in control of your finances, is nice to have – it gives you 5% off everything you buy.

4) Pharmacy Rewards

If you don’t have the credit card, but you use the Target pharmacy, you get a 5% off day for every 5 prescriptions you fill.

5)  Phone apps

Ibotta is an app that gives you a cashback reward when you buy certain items at certain stores. I always forget to use it and I usually don’t buy any of the stuff on it, but if you are combining it with coupons, you can get stuff for very cheap. Shopkick is another app I haven’t used yet but I have it on my phone. I just always forget about these apps. Shopkick gives you points for things like just walking into a store (Target being on them, duh), scanning items, or purchasing certain items. Points are redeemable for gift cards.

6) Target Gift Card Deals

You’ve probably noticed how you can get a $5 Target gift card if you buy certain items, usually at least 2 but sometimes just 1. On it’s own, not usually such a hot deal, but possibly could be in combination with coupons.

7) Clearance

Clearance at Target is best after holidays. Do me a favor, everyone, and stop buying everything when it’s half off. After a few days, it’ll go to 70% off. A couple days later, 90% off. Sometimes, it’s not even marked that way. I scanned an item that was supposed to be half off and it was actually scanning as 90% off. 90% off is when I do my happy dance in the store and call Alex and tell him, “I got some 90s!!!!”


Utilize the price scanners on every item you think is marked down. You might be surprised. Check out the blogs and forums (I like the Target thread on Slickdeals’ forums) for hidden deals. Today I found men’s boxers for 90% off (they were Valentine’s Day boxers but not obviously so) because I knew other people had. Around Christmas, I found tons of stuff at 90% off that no one knew what so cheap. You can find secret deals and a billion other tips on websites like Totally Target.

Additionally, there’s a way you present your coupons so that you get maximum savings. This is from the Slickdeals thread:

  • Target Coupon for % off Total Transaction
  • Target Coupon for $x/$xx purchase
  • Then all manufacturer coupons:
  • B2G1 first
  • BOGOs next
  • Highest value coupons in descending order
  • Then remaining Target Coupons (paper, insert, mobile, Shopkick, etc) with GC generating coupons last.
  • Last barcode to be scanned is Cartwheel

OK, is that enough info or what? I’m tired!







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krissie means deal #4: couponing

I recently watched the show Extreme Couponing for the first time on Netflix. Well, that show is pretty stupid and those people are weird, but I’ll talk about extreme couponing anyway.

To get the savings they do on a regular basis, couponing “research” is extremely time-intensive. I guess if you’re a stay-at-home-mom with school-age children, this would be a great way to save money. But really: who needs 72 bottles of mustard? Or toilet paper stored under their kids’ beds?

There’ve been times in the past when I’ve gotten stuff for free or nearly free that I didn’t want/need. When you are a pro-dealseeker like me, sometimes it’s about the thrill rather than the item. So, when I end up with stuff that I can’t use, I donate it. I read on Joe the Coupon Guy (NEO’s extreme couponer extraordinaire) that they wanted him to be on the show, however, when he wanted to show that he actually donates a lot of the stuff he gets, they said no way jose because they only want to show the greedy, nasty side of people.

Anyway, here are some tips.

a) Pick a store that has a double-couponing policy. If you’re in NEO, Giant Eagle is probably your best bet. I hate Giant Eagle, but if you want to experiment with ‘extreme couponing’ then that’s where you’ll go.

b) Research your store’s policies. Is there a limit of coupons per transaction? Do they allow internet coupons? You should be able to find this on a blog or forum about your chosen store and couponing there.

c) Speaking of blogs, check out a few. I searched Giant Eagle couponing and found a couple of blogs, including this one. Blogs, like the one I linked to, provide you with a wealth of important information and will make your couponing trip easier. They post unadvertised deals, special coupons, and best of all: coupon match-ups.

d) Match up your coupons to sales. Save big or make money. The Sisters Shopping on a Shoestring listed match-ups on February 2nd. Here are some of the better deals:

Colgate Toothpaste 6.4 oz $1.19 thru 2/5 (reg $2.38)
75¢/1 from 2/2 SS
FP: 31¢ money maker!
Disney Gummy Vitamins 60 ct $2.99 thru 2/5 (reg $5.98)
$1/1 from 2/2 RP
FP: $1.99

OK, so what does that mean? The 75C/1 (where did that cents symbol come from?!?!) from 2/2 SS means you use the coupon from the February 2nd Smart Source insert in your newspaper. At Giant Eagle, .75 would double to 1.50, thereby taking 1.50 off a 1.19 product, and you get paid 31 cents for leaving the store with it. The vitamins coupon is from the February 2 Red Plum insert. Giant Eagle only doubles up to .99 cents, but you’re still getting a $6 item for $2. FP obviously means final price.

The blog is telling you the weekly sales that match up with the coupons you are getting that same day. For the more advanced, you can find match-ups for previous coupons..Which means you have to hold onto your coupons and convince your boyfriend/roommate/cat not throw them out.

e) So, if you want to be a real extreme couponer, you need to save your coupons and get multiples. You should be able to use one coupon per item. If you’re buying three Colgate toothpastes, you can use three Colgate toothpaste coupons. I think this is confusing because of the language on the coupon, but stores let you do it. But this means hitting up your neighbors’ recycling bin, getting your friends to donate their ads, or finding a sweet delivery person connect. You can also buy extra newspaper, but that obviously cuts into your cost. AND you can actually buy coupons themselves from eBay and other websites. It’s illegal to sell coupons, but you’re paying for their time. This sounds stupid, but if there’s a really good deal on an item you actually USE, then it could be worth it to do it multiple times. COULD BE.

f) For further assistance, you can take a CLASS with Joe the Coupon Guy. I get his weekly newsletter and trust me, this guy is pretty wackadoo, but his classes are free and I’m sure informative if you are interested in getting into this wackadoo business.

This is it in a nutshell. Obviously, I’m leaving out a loss and I’d be remiss if I didn’t include the possibilities for things like super Fuel Perks at Giant Eagle, internet coupons galore, and other ways of saving, like the app Ibotta. But this is enough information for one day and I feel like I’ve been typing for hours! This might be my longest blog post ever!

I’ve really peaked in my 20s, writing about couponing on my blog! You other 20-somethings can have your beer and art and trips to Brooklyn, I’ll clutch my coupon pouch ’til death!

DISCLAIMER: I am not actually an extreme couponer. I don’t do any of the stuff above because I don’t have the time or patience. PEACE.





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krissie means deals #3: online shopping

OK, so if you are going to shop online, you can save money in more ways than just looking for sales. Here are some of my pro-tips.

1) If you are looking for something in particular, or want to take your deal-getting self to a whole new level of money-saving-nerddom, use websites like Slick Deals or Fat Wallet. I only use Slick Deals, but they are basically the same. They are crowd-driven website where people post deals they find online. So, Alex has been in the market for a bunch of LED light bulbs for his bike shop. Well, LED light bulbs are pretty expensive: at least $10 each. I was on the Slick Deals website where someone had found that Home Depot had a certain kind for $5. It’s a forum, so I read through the thread and found that if you input a certain zip code, the price changed to $2 each! 80% savings + free shipping over $50.

The people who post on Slick Deals are mostly pretty weird. Like, a number of them buy way too much stuff because it’s on sale. I can be bitten by that bug, but…c’mon. For instance, like people buying 6 bottles of Kraft salad dressing from Amazon. Which isn’t even as stupid as some of the things I see but I am too lazy to look for more examples. You can do that on your own time…Also the website is totally full of weirdo men who get excited when someone posts a deal on underwear from Victoria’s Secret…You’ll also find extreme couponers on some of the forums.

2) Use websites like Ebates to receive a small cashback for shopping through their website. For instance, if you use Ebates as a click-through to Bluefly, you get 7% of your purchase back.

3) Use your credit card for rebates. If I use my Discover card’s “Shop Discover,” certain retailers offer cashback. Compare to websites like Ebates for the highest. I’ve received a lot of cashback through my Discover card. When I bought my house, I had to buy a refrigerator and dishwasher. At the time, Discover was offering 5% cash back on all online purchase and an additional 5% cashback on I saved about $80 this way.

4) Use promo codes. This is an obvious one to most, but a lot of websites have promo codes, either advertised or not, so that you can get free shipping, discounts, etc. Search the retailer you like plus promo code on Google to see what’s what.

5) Remember, as fun as online shopping can be, it’s important to also support local retailers!!! I try to do a good blend of both. And as cheap as you can find stuff online, it’ll always be cheaper if you buy it used from Craigslist or at your thrift store (except for Unique on Lorain, which I am starting to hate more and more because of their insane prices!!!!).

OK, hopefully this is helpful to somebody!!




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krissie means deals #2: estate sales

Every piece of furniture in my house has come from an estate sale, thrift store, or antique store. Or Craigslist. Really, buying new furniture in Cleveland isn’t the smartest choice, considering you can get really great quality vintage/antique stuff for so much less than buying new from even cheapy furniture stores like Ikea and World Market.

So, the art of the estate sale. Most sales open Thursday or Friday. If there’s a sale I find that has amazing stuff, I will try to flex my time at work and go on the first day. When a sale says “numbers at 9, opens at 10″ or something like that, it means you go pick up a number and that is the order in which you will go. It makes much more sense for you to wake up early and get a good number (most house sales will let 15 or 20 people in at a time, depending on the size of the house) then go when it opens and be stuck with number 112 and wait two hours. Alex and I spotted this Danish modern chair we NEEDED for our living room. We went to the sale ridiculously early (like left our house at 8am when numbers were given at 9:30), got number 2 and 3, and discovered number 4 also wanted the chair. Alex scoped the house out while we waited, knew where the chair was, and grabbed it. Had we not arrived so early, number 4 would have had our chair.

the chair!
the chair!


The downside, however, is that most estate sales attract a number of dealers who stock the resale vintage shops all over the city. They will be there extremely early for good sales (sales with lots of mid century, shabby chic, high end, digouts) and you can basically forget about getting the good stuff if you aren’t.

So where do you find out about these estate sales? Most companies list on this website and some are listed on Craigslist, particularly sales that are ran by a family member rather than a hired company. By the way, those sales are often AWESOME because the family member doesn’t know how to price stuff and often has no idea what they have. They’re risky, though, because they don’t really have pictures of the stuff so you don’t know what you’re getting into until you get there. Also, they almost always take cash only (not even checks) and I always find myself running short on the cash I need. Most professional estate sale companies will at least take personal checks and many take credit cards but charge an additional fee.

Happy hunting, peeps.



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krissie means deals #1: saving @ anthropologie

Anyone who knows me knows I love a deal, so I’ve been pressed to write some blog posts about all the nerdy ways I save money. This is an easy one.

I have a lot of clothes from Anthropologie. Often, when someone asks me where I got the dress or blouse I’m wearing, I tell them it’s from Anthropologie and they say, “oh I love that store, but it’s too much money for me.” Well, hello, I work at a nonprofit and have more student loan debt than the US Treasury! I never pay close to retail on Anthro stuff and you shouldn’t either.

All you have to do is utilize the “wishlist” feature on Anthropologie’s website. Scour the website and throw everything you like onto your wishlist. Check it once or twice a day to watch it for sales and “popbacks.” Popbacks are items that have been returned. Because of Anthropologie’s lenient return policy, people can return items several months (even years, but it probably won’t be sold again, even if it’s tagged) after buying it. Once an item is in stock, it’ll say so on your wishlist and the price it’s at. I’ve gotten several items for $10 or $20 that way. It’s all about knowing your limit on item though – everything at Anthro goes on sale at one time or another, but try not to blow your entire paycheck on everything you want otherwise you are not getting a deal! It’s really rare that stuff completely sells out before it ever makes it to sale. It’ll be cut once, generally by half. Then as time moves on it’ll be cut a 2nd or even a 3rd time until it’s “dimed” out and can’t be sold anymore (and I guess goes to Gabriel Brothers).

Also, if there are items you really like that are unavailable online, you can call customer service to do a store look-up for you. A pair of booties I loved got marked down to $30 last winter and quickly sold out in my size online. Customer service gave me a list of stores that seemed to have my size in stock. I called the stores (around 10 or 11 am is a good time to call, before they are busy). Most didn’t because the central database isn’t always up to date. But one did! So the store shipped it to me and voila!

Around the holidays, they usually take an additional percentage off clearance items. One year, they took an additional 50% off clearance. It was the BEEEST. They don’t really do that anymore, but they DID do it today on home items. If it were on apparel, I’d be in trouble.

ok, hope this helps someone!



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