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Free financial webinars


If you've ever wished for help with your personal finances, it's here.

Consumer Credit Counseling Service offers a full schedule of free, live Web seminars  on an array of financial topics.

"Recession-Proofing Your Finances," will stream Tuesday at 9 a.m. followed by "Consumer 101: Knowing your rights," at 12:30 p.m.; "Couples and Money" at 6:30 p.m.; "Vision Quest: Setting your goals," at 8 p.m. and "Surviving Financial Crisis, Dealing with Divorce," at 9:30 p.m.

A full day of webinars is scheduled Wednesday and Friday, including seminars on debt, retirement, budgeting, renting, home ownership, credit scores and a fun one called "Grocery Shopping and Coupon Savvy."

The free, live seminars continue during the month of September and throughout the year.

To view a calendar listing of seminars, click here.


---Samantha Maziarz Christmann

Free "Elf on the Shelf" for teachers

Elf on the Shelf is giving away free Elf on the Shelf resource kits to the first 5,000 teachers who register for the Elf on the Shelf resource center, which provides teachers with free lesson plans.

Qualifying teachers must teach kindergarten through 5th grade at a public or private school.

Elf on the Shelf is a Christmas book with an accompanying toy Elf who scouts boys and girls for Santa's nice and naughty lists.

The free kit includes the storybook and elf, an Elf on the Shelf Birthday book and an elf costume.

Click here to register.


---Samantha Maziarz Christmann




Learn how to borrow eBooks from the library

The Digital Bookmobile is passing through town this month to teach library patrons how to borrow digital and audio books for their eReaders.

The high-tech tractor-trailer will be at the Clearfield Branch of the Amherst Public Library, 770 Hopkins Road in Williamsville on August 16 from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. It will be at the Orchard Park Public Library, 4570 South Buffalo Street, on August 17 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Learn how to borrow titles from the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library as well other libraries around the country using your computer, iPhone, iPad, Android phone or tablet, Blackberry, Windows Phone, Kindle, Sony Reader or NOOK.

Patrons of the Nioga Library System and the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library can use their library cards to borrow digital titles anytime by searching the Overdrive database.


---Samantha Maziarz Christmann

Free crab dinner giveaway Thursday in Amherst


Two years ago, Joe's Crab Shack celebrated its grand opening by giving away a year of free crab dinners to the first 100 diners through the door. The promotion drew 200 people to the Maple Road store in Amherst, some of whom camped out overnight to increase their chances of winning.

For its second anniversary Thursday, the Houston-based chain restaurant is trying to recapture the same excitement. The first 100 people in line will win one free crab bucket per month for a year. Doors open at 11 a.m.

For the rest of the day, diners at the restaurant can enter to win free crab dinners for life. One lifetime winner will be chosen and surprised Publisher's Clearinghouse-style August 14.


---Samantha Maziarz Christmann


Free Erie County Fair admission on opening day

The Erie County Fair kicks off Wednesday, with a plethora of deals and discounts for fairgoers.

A canned good donation gets you in free Wednesday. Canned goods will also get you $5 off an unlimited ride wristband Saturday and $5 off gate admission Sunday.


Firefighters and fire co. auxiliary members get in free Friday with proper identification. Veterans with proper ID get in free Sunday.


---Samantha Maziarz Christmann

Is Drew Brees a Cheapskate?


New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees found himself at the center of controversy earlier this week when a blogger posted a picture of a receipt showing he left a measly $3 tip on a $77.41 bill. The post went viral, and fans were quick to shame the millionaire quarterback for being stingy.

But it turns out, the $3 tip was for a takeout order. Brees defended himself on Twitter saying the tip would have been 20 percent or more if he had sat down.

While we at MoneySmart applaud frugality, we never condone skimping when it comes to gratuity. But this begs the question: are you supposed to tip on takeout orders? Experts say yes, but how much?

What guidelines do you use when tipping? Do you scale your tip according to the quality of service? The amount of work involved with your order? Whether the barista has a nice smile?


---Samantha Maziarz Christmann

Free Slurpees Today

July 11 is 7-Eleven Day, which means free Slurpees all around.

The first 1,500 customers at each 7-Eleven location will receive one free, small Slurpee per customer between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m.

Happy slurping!


---Samantha Maziarz Christmann

Free Home Tours Saturday


Engage in some shame-free real estate voyeurism Saturday with the Buffalo LIVING Tour.

I love checking out homes at realtor open houses but hate having to admit I'm not in the market for a new place and am there to gawk instead. So this free tour of condos, lofts and suites in adaptive re-use buildings in Buffalo is right up my alley.

From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., several high-end living spaces will be made open to the public. Folks are encouraged to walk from one location to the next, but two vintage trolleys will also be provided for transportation, originating from Horsefeathers Market & Residences, 364 Connecticut at Normal St.

The buildings will include the Frizlen Group’s Horsefeathers Market & Residences, 364 Connecticut; Ellicott Development’s The Antonio, 257 Pearl Street; Green Leaf Development & Construction’s 1040 Delaware; Buffalo Management Group’s EB Green Residences, 230 North Street and Ellicott Development’s 10 Symphony Circle.

Free parking is available at D'Youville College's lot C on Connecticut Street, two blocks north of Normal Street.

Pick up a tour pamphlet at any stop or download it here.

Free Toothbrush Wednesday

To celebrate National Toothbrush Day (which apparently exists), an oral care company called hello is giving away free toothbrushes.

Beginning at 9 a.m. Wednesday, anyone who likes the company's Facebook page and registers for the offer will receive a free toothbrush.

For every toothbrush that is given away, hello will donate a second toothbrush to charity.

The toothbrushes are made with biodegradable materials, such as corn resin.


---Samantha Maziarz Christmann

Latest Facebook Scam Seeks Donations


Is nothing sacred?

Scam artists on Facebook are impersonating popular religious leaders in order to solicit "donations," according to the Better Business Bureau.

The scammers put up a fake profile with the name and picture of a famous preacher and write posts about the importance of giving to charity, along with a handy link to the charity he or she supposedly recommends. Of course, the charity is a front and the money goes straight into the scammer's pocket.

If you have already connected to a fake profile, "unfriend" or "unlike" the page, then report it using these directions.


---Samantha Maziarz Christmann

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