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Back-to-school freebies has rounded up some great freebies for back-to-school, whether you're a student or not:

 OfficeMax coupon -$25 worth of supplies FREE with the purchase of select backpacks. Expires: 8/4. Shop through BeFrugal & get up to 6% Cash Back. 

Staples coupon - FREE $100 Prepaid Visa Card with the purchase of select laptops. Expires: 9/15. Shop through BeFrugal & get up to 5% Cash Back. coupon - FREE backpack with your purchase of select HP Netbooks. Expires soon! Shop through BeFrugal & get up to 10% Cash Back.

HP coupon - FREE Xbox 360 with your $699+ HP PC order. Expires: 9/8. Shop through BeFrugal & get 3% Cash Back.

Cash back rates can change from one day to the next. These rates were valid 7/31/12.

Free kids' haircuts at JC Penney Salon


During the entire month of August, JC Penney is giving away free haircuts for kids in kindergarten through sixth grade.

Just sign up to be a JCP Rewards member, find a JC Penney store with a salon and make an appointment.

---Samantha Maziarz Christmann

Would you like footprints with that?


Three Burger King workers near Cleveland have been fired after a picture was posted of one of them standing with his feet in two bins of lettuce.

You hear stories about stuff like this happening, but I think most of us try to pretend it doesn't.

Is this just a rare instance grossery that happened to be captured for posterity on some idiot's cell phone? Or does it happen more often than we'd like to imagine?

Most of us already feel conflicted enough about eating at a fast-food chain. We have to plug our ears and hum a song to drown out thoughts of what the food is doing to our health and what the corporations' business practices are doing to the planet. Pictures like this make fast food that much harder to stomach.

Maybe that's a good thing?

---Samantha Maziarz Christmann



Independence Day coupon codes

Here are some deals to take advantage of this Independence Day weekend, courtesy of Kendal Perez and

1. Botanic Choice
Take $30 off purchases of $100 or more through July 8 with code 4THSALE.

2. Timberland
Get 20% off any order through July 5 with promo code JULY2012.

3. Kohl's
Save 15% on your purchase of $100 or more through June 30 with code USA15OFF.

4. The Children's Place
Receive 30% off the American Collection through July 4.

5. J. Jill
Get free shipping when you spend $100 or more through July 8 with promo code 12SHIP.

6. Nautica
Take up to 40% off everything during the Buy More, Save More event through July 4 with code FIREWORKS.

7. Shutterfly
Click here to receive free shipping on orders of $30 or more through July 18.

8. Williams-Sonoma
Get free shipping on orders of $49 or more, plus take 20% off bedding and bath items through July 5 with code WHITESALE.

9. LeapFrog
Take 15% off orders of $60 or more through July 4 with code FFJULY4TH.

10. BlueFly
Grab this exclusive coupon code to get free shipping on all orders from Bluefly through July 5.

11. Patagonia
Enjoy up to 60% off 4th of July Web specials through July 5.

12. Sunglass Hut
Take up to 50% off select sunglasses through July 4 during the American Dream Sale.

13. Harry & David
Follow this link and save up to 33% on select Fourth of July Gifts through July 9.

14. Jelly Belly
Save 10% off orders of $35 or more that include a red, white and blue category item with code PATRIOT.

15. Pfaltzgraff
Get free shipping on orders of $75 or more, plus take 20% off your purchase through July 5 with code FIREWORKS.

Does Verizon owe you a refund?

LandlineIf you're a Verizon landline customer, you could be eligible for a payout from the company.

Verizon has settled a class action lawsuit accusing the telecommunications company of allowing deceptive overcharges onto customers' bills.

Unlike many class action suits, which tend to reimburse just a tiny bit of the defrauded amount, consumers affected by this suit are entitled to a full refund of any unauthorized charges billed from April 27, 2005 to Feb. 28, 2012.

Here is more from Troy & Banks, a local utility auditing company:

Over the past seven years, many Verizon landline customers have been paying for services they did not authorize or receive on their monthly telephone bills. These overcharges are known as cramming charges, or unauthorized, misleading, or deceptive charges on a customer’s telephone bill. Cramming charges are billed by a third-party company who is not affiliated with the phone provider, but is still able to bill on the invoice.

Cramming charges can be listed on Verizon customers’ monthly telephone bill as service and long distance fees, web hosting, collect calls and other miscellaneous charges. Cramming charges can range in price from $1.99 to as much as $49.95 per month. Only 1 in 20 Americans are aware of these charges on their bills, which affect an estimated 15 to 20 million households per year.

Verizon was recently sued over allowing these charges on their customers’ bills. Verizon settled the lawsuit, and, in accordance with the settlement, the court ruled that all cramming charges from April 27, 2005 to February 25, 2012 must be reimbursed to Verizon landline customers who file a claim. Verizon customers can visit the settlement site,, to obtain a summary of all potential cramming charges billed to them during that time period. Customers can then use this information to submit a claim to Verizon for a full refund.

Verizon has recently been sending out notifications of the settlement via mail and e-mail to affected customers. Customers who receive this information should be aware that the settlement is legitimate and the instructions provided should be followed in order to obtain a refund.

“With so many households nationwide being affected by cramming charges, there is a strong likelihood that many Verizon landline customers in Western New York were billed these erroneous charges as well,” says Brandon Jonas, a member of the Client Services department at Troy & Banks.

Would you put your vacation on layaway?

VacationWant to put your vacation on layaway? Sears is offering a way to do just that.

On, consumers can put hotels, cruises, rental cars and airline tickets on layaway, or choose from one of 100 vacation packages starting at $399.

But is it a good idea?

Here's some good advice from Time magazine:

The one big problem with layaway: it’s often not a smart financial move. One study has shown that consumers who use a credit card over layaway will end up paying less interest on the purchase, even on a card with a high APR.

The one positive aspect of choosing layaway over using a credit card is that there’s virtually no way consumers can get buried in overwhelming debt in the same way they can when using plastic.

Before jumping at Sears’ vacation layaway plans, make sure you know what you’re getting into. Read the plan’s fine print, know precisely when your payments are due and how much time you have to pay off the purchase. Plus, figure out what Sears’ fees are for late payments and whether you’ll have to pay any additional travel booking fees. For hotels and cruises, Sears says there are no fees added, but a booking fee may be charged to air reservations.

But even before all of that, consider whether taking a vacation this year is a wise move. Because if the only way you can afford one is to work out a layaway plan, maybe this summer you should consider staying home.

Meet Nik Wallenda Sunday

WallendaLooking for something fun and free to do this weekend? Watch the wire walk on ABC tonight, then bring the kids to the Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls Sunday for a chance to meet daredevil Nik Wallenda. Here's more from the mall:

Two days after daredevil Nik Wallenda makes his historic high-wire walk from the United States to Canada over the Falls, visitors to the Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls will have an opportunity to meet him in person.

Wallenda will be conducting a free meet and greet at the outlet from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 17. The event will be located in Fashion Avenue inside the mall and is first-come, first served during this limited time-- so get in line early.

KidsThe 33-year-old aerialist from Florida, part of the Flying Wallendas, will walk 1,800 feet across Niagara Falls at 200 feet above the gorge bottom on Friday evening. He will be the first to cross over the brink of the falls. More than 100,000 spectators are anticipated to attend the high-wire walk on both the American and Canadian sides.

The walk, which is scheduled to begin about 10:15 p.m. Friday and take between 30 to 40 minutes to complete, will be televised nationally by ABC. Tickets to attend the event and get a glimpse of the historic walk are no longer available.

However, on Sunday, members of the public will have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet Wallenda in person at the Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls, 1900 Military Road. offers new, lower price points is offering discounted restaurant deals at new, lower price points. Here's what the company had to say in a press release announcing the new denominations:, the nation’s leading destination for restaurant deals, today launched $15 dining certificates and eGift cards retailing for only $6.  With this new option, restaurant goers will save $9 at more than 15,000 participating restaurants nationwide. The certificates can be purchased online at or on a mobile device using’s mobile apps.

“ now offers more choices of dining deals than any deal site or restaurant directory on the planet,” said President and Chief Marketing Officer Christopher Krohn. “The new $15 gift certificate is a great option for lunch or a fun, fast-casual meal, and will tempt deal seekers and food lovers alike.” 

Featuring more than 60,000 dining deals daily, is the smart first stop when going out to eat. New restaurants and deals are added daily and gift certificates are now available in $10, $15, $25, $50, $75, and $100 denominations. Unlike most restaurant deals, Gift Certificates never expire, and can be easily exchanged at no charge across its nationwide network of participating eateries.

Free fun at the library next week

It's a zombie walk for teens and tweens! Here are the details from the Downtown Central Library:


Downtown Central Library. 1 Lafayette Square

(between Washington, William, Clinton and Oak Streets)


Saturday June 16, 2012

1:00-3:00 p.m.


Join the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library’s Children's Programming Team and Terror Technologies of Buffalo.  Dress up as your favorite Zombie and we will help you add the final touches with special ghoulish make-up. Together we will parade around the Central Library for all to see!  There will be Zombie treats at the end of the walk!



This free event is open to the public (recommended for ages 10+) and is part of the

Library’s 2012 Summer Reading Carnival Celebration!!  This year’s reading theme for teenagers is "Own the Night."

The all-ages Summer Carnival begins at 10 a.m. and features crafts, games, the Magic of Mr. J,

guest appearance by Pinkalicious from the Theatre of Youth, a showing of

Tim Burton’s animated fantasy film Corpse Bride and much more!

Everything is free. 

This summer, all 37 Libraries in the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library System have events, programs and prizes for kids of all ages who participate in the Summer Reading programs.

Call 858-8900 or visit for more information.

Memorial Day freebies and discounts


Have plans this weekend? Check out this great list of freebies and discounts from

1. AAA Tipsy Tow
Plan on partying a wee bit hard this Memorial Day? AAA wants to keep you off the roads by offering a free vehicle tow for all partiers from 6 p.m. Memorial Day until the wee hour of 6 a.m. on Tuesday.

2. Air Shows
Check out the searchable database of airshows scheduled for Memorial Day weekend throughout the country, as offered by the EAA.

3. Bass Pro Shops
Participating stores will help your kids have a ball Saturday and Sunday with crafts, photos, photo contests and their Summer Kickoff Challenge.

4. Blue Star Museums
More than 1,500 museums across the country are offering free admission for active military personnel and up to five family members. Call ahead to see if your local museum is participating.

5. Cabela's
Save anywhere from 20 percent to 60 percent on hundreds of items on Memorial Day, plus receive free shipping.

6. Home Depot
All active duty and retirees receive a 10-percent discount on Memorial Day for purchases of up to $500.

7. Knott's Berry Farm and Soak City Water Parks
Admission is free to active and retired military personnel on Sunday and Monday. You can also purchase up to six discounted admission tickets for members of your immediate family.

8. Lowe's
Active duty military and their family members as well as retired military and VA recipients receive a 10-percent discount on all personal purchases.

9. Parades
VetFriends offers a state-by-state list of Memorial Day parades scheduled throughout the country.

10. Ramada Inns
Escape for the weekend and save 20 percent for three nights or more at participating Ramada Inns across the country.

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