Category Archives: Home and Garden

$10 OFF Black & Decker Tools — Father’s Day Deal

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Get $10 OFF a $50 purchase of select Black and Decker power tools at Amazon, now through June 21st. Many of the tools are already discounted over 50% OFF (plus you’ll qualify for FREE shipping if the item is over $35), so this is a really great sale!  Go here to learn more.

Secret Sauce Buying Tip: Do note, that you won’t see the extra $10 discount subtracted from the selling price until you checkout and get to the final “Review Your Order”/Order Summary confirmation page. This is the last page you’ll see after you input your payment info — right before you actually approve the order to be placed.  It will look something like this.  Also, the items need to come from Amazon, not a 3rd party seller for the deal to work.

:: Go here to get this deal.

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2015 TEXAS TAX-FREE HOLIDAY for Energy Star Appliances, Lightbulbs, Ceiling Fans & More — Memorial Day Weekend, May 23-25

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Please pass this along to anyone you know who might be in the market for appliances, ceiling fans, or other Energy Star qualifying products (this can save them a bundle!)…

       

This Memorial Day weekend (May 23-25), Texas shoppers will again receive a break from paying sales tax on purchases of many energy-efficient products like fluorescent lightbulbs, ceiling fans, and energy-star home appliances — even energy-star rated college-dorm / compact-sized refrigerators qualify! This is an excellent way to get extra savings on any of the qualifying items, plus save on future energy costs too.

The energy-star products qualifying in 2015’s tax-free weekend include:

  • Refrigerators priced at $2,000 or less
  • Ceiling fans
  • Incandescent and fluorescent light bulbs
  • Clothes washers
  • Dishwashers
  • Dehumidifiers
  • Energy Star Labeled Programmable thermostats
  • Air conditioners priced at $6,000 or less

The 2015 sales tax holiday begins on Saturday, May 23, and ends on Monday, May 25 (Memorial Day Weekend).

ENERGY STAR logo

Qualifying products will need to display the ENERGY STAR logo which may appear on the appliance, the packaging or the Energy Guide label. The discount can also apply to delivery and installation fees and  there is no limit to the number of qualifying items one can purchase during this sales tax holiday.

:: To find out more, go to the Texas comptroller’s site, here.

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amazon cookware save 50 off promo code
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15 Tips to Avoid Storm Damage Repair Scams and Other Rip-Offs

Please help protect others by sharing this information…

storm damage fallen tree

Last week’s storms wreaked havoc on much of North Texas, leaving damage and destruction of vehicles, homes, property, and more. To avoid another disaster at the hands of scam artists, be sure to use caution with these useful tips from Fort Worth’s Better Business Bureau (BBB) and the FTC:

Avoid Home Contractor and Repair Scams

  1. Check with your insurance company first to determine your home and repair coverage and filing requirements; keep their contact information handy.
  2. Be leery of door-to-door workers or telephone solicitors who offer home repairs, inspections, heating/cooling services, or speedy insurance processing.
  3. Shop around for contractors. You may need to make temporary repairs, but permanent repairs made by a contractor should be the result of multiple work bids and contractor research.
    Require written bids that clearly identify the project’s materials, associated costs, labor charges, as well as the timing of work including the beginning and expected completion dates.
    • Be sure that the bids are comparable.
    • Do not pay in advance for any work and do not pay in cash.
    • Get references from the contractor’s past customers.
    • Check out the contractor’s history with the BBB and relevant trade association(s). Always research a business with the BBB before you sign any contracts.
  4. Require copies of all contractor licenses, permits and liability insurance prior to any work commencing.
  5. When work is complete, be sure to get a notarized statement that all sub-contractors have been paid in full to avoid a contractors lien on your property.
  6. If you have an HVAC repair, allow heating/cooling units to be cleaned out and dried before determining what, if any repairs are actually needed.

Steer Clear of Vehicle Damage Scams

  1. Similar to home repairs, shop around for a quality vehicle repair service. 
    • Require written bids that clearly show the repair parts, associated costs, mechanic labor charges, as well as the timing of work including the beginning and expected completion dates.
    • Do not pay in advance for any work and do not pay in cash.
    • Get references from past customers.
    • Check out auto mechanic’s history with the BBB or business review sites like Yelp.
  2. If you are shopping for a used vehicle, look for signs of flood or hail damage like rust, mud, watermarks, discolored upholstery, mismatching carpet or a musty odor.
  3. Request a vehicle report based on the VIN to check for past reported auto damage of any kind.

Protect Yourself From Charity & Financial Solicitation Scams
Take the following precautions to make sure your donation benefits the people and organizations you want to help.

  1. Ask for detailed information about the charity, including name, address, and telephone number.
  2. Get the exact name of the organization and do some research. Searching the name of the organization online — especially with the word “complaint(s)” or “scam”— is one way to learn about its reputation.
  3. Call the charity. Find out if the organization is aware of the solicitation and has authorized the use of its name. The organization’s development staff should be able to help you.
  4. Find out if the charity is trustworthy by contacting the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving AllianceCharity NavigatorCharity Watch, or GuideStar.
  5. Ask if the caller is a paid fundraising company. If so, ask the name of the charity they represent, the percentage of your donation that will go to the charity, how much will go to the actual cause to which you’re donating, and how much will go to the fundraising company.
  6. Learn the basic signs of a Charity scam and more ways to protect yourself at the FTC’s helpful online guide.

Help stay clear of all scams by using the free resources at the Better Business Bureau.  Be sure to check out all businesses and charities online or by phone (800)-621-8566.

If you find yourself a victim of poor workmanship or a scam artist, immediately contact the BBB to try to recover your investment or alert others about the business or individual(s) involved. Consumers or small business owners victimized by a scam can learn more or file a complaint at fwbbb.org.

 

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TODAY ONLY: Save Over 60% on Norton Security ($29.99 For 5 Devices)

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TODAY ONLY: Amazon has a special daily deal offer ~ get Norton Security for $29.99 and protect up to 5 Devices including PCs, Macs, Smartphones and tablets  (retail is $79.99).  Norton Security gives you the their most comprehensive protection for the many ways you connect online. Along with proactive web and privacy protection, Norton Security even includes a special feature that helps you easily locate lost or stolen smartphones and tablets.

:: Go here to get Norton Security for $29.99 ~ price valid today only.  

Enjoy and Share!    :)

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How to Make Snow Ice Cream — a.k.a. Winter Bliss in a Bowl

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I hope you are enjoying our beautiful snow today!

We are not posting our weekly Fort Worth Free & Cheap Weekend Events (for Feb. 27 & 28) since most events are cancelled or postponed due to this lovely winter weather.  Instead, we decided to “dust off” and share this archived post/recipe from a few years ago —  How to Make Snow Ice Cream.

Have fun and stay warm! : )

Something New to Try
On this fluffy-white, beautiful snow day, I thought it would be fun to make snow   ice cream for the first time.  I remember my parents sharing memories about making the treat when they were kiddos (they grew up where snow was a more frequent occurrence than here in Fort Worth), and I always thought it sounded like the ultimate “fun food!”

I do believe this is just the thing to try on this wonderful winter day, and have already set my largest bowl outside to catch a container-full of winter bliss.

Following is the recipe I used, which comes with great reviews from allrecipes.com:

Bon Appetite, y’all!

Snow Ice Cream Recipe

Ingredients

1 gallon snow
1 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups milk (or half and half for a richer taste)

Directions

  1. When it starts to snow, place a large, clean bowl outside to collect the flakes.
  2. When full, stir in sugar and vanilla to taste, then stir in just enough milk for the desired consistency.
  3. Serve at once.

Options:  Personally, we like this recipe best, as is, but you can also try mixing other favorite ingredients such as cocoa powder, cinnamon, coconut, or chocolate chips. Get creative and the kids (big and small) will have a blast making it.

Did you try this recipe? We’d love to hear about your experience in the comments section.

Enjoy and Share!    :)

 

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$15 OFF Coupon for Paint at Sherwin Williams

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If you have a D.I.Y. paint project on your to do list for 2015, be sure and check out this $15 OFF coupon from Pottery Barn & Sherwin Williams.  The coupon is valid through March 24, 2015 and is usable on any retail paint or supply purchase of $75 or more from Sherwin-Williams.

::  Go here to get the coupon and learn more about this offer.

 Enjoy and Share!    :)

Over 200 FREE Pumpkin Carving Stencils, Jack-O-Lantern Patterns, Downloads and Creative Ideas

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200 Pumpkin carving ideas

Pick up a couple of inexpensive pumpkins and try you hand at a fun design with one of  these FREE pumpkin stencils — we’ve rounded up over 200 designs for just about every interest and level of difficulty:

  • The Texas Rangers fan club  has 4 FREE Texas Rangers and Texas themed FREE printable jack-o-lantern templates hereShow your support for our favorite baseball team!
  • Southern Living inspires with over 55 free pumpkin carving and decorating ideas – from elegant to jolly–to ready your house for the fall.
  • Better Homes and Gardens provides over 100  creative ideas and templates for decorating pumpkins hereThey even offer free customized stencils when you answer a short quiz based on your carving ability level, decorating desires, and project involvement needs.
  • Hesheys.com offers a wide variety of 30 different patterns from easy to advanced, with printable carving instructions.
  • DisneyFamily.com has over 30 templates including many Disney character patterns ~ Frozen’s Olaf, Mickey Mouse, Jake and the Never Land Pirates, Toy Story, Ferb and Doc McStuffins.
  • Nick Jr. offers 31 favorite Nick Jr. TV show character patterns like Dora the Explorer, Paw Patrol, and many others.
  • Lowes has created 8 downloadable designs to add fall flair to your front entry.  If you want something less halloween themed and more decorative, the Ginkgo leaf design is fantastic.
  • Kraft.com has 6 different pumpkin face patterns as well as an easy-to-follow guide for carving pumpkins, here.
  • PumpkinLady.com provides a wide selection of clever design templates, most for less than $.99. Click around the site for some great ideas.  You’ll also find 12 designs for FREE  here.

I recommend a couple of great tools for making your pumpkin carving project easier:

Pumpkin Carving

  • For the more serious pumpkin carving project, I recommend the Messermeister Pumpkin Carving Kit which includes a chef quality Pumpkin/Melon knife, scoop and carving tools in a storage case.  The special blades are designed to carve intricate designs beautifully (not for the kiddos, though)!   They’ll give a great grip when cutting and carving pumpkins and thick melons, too.

Pumpkin Carving

  • If you want one really good tool, I recommend getting a special Pumpkin/Melon Carving knife. We really like the Warren Pro Pumpkin Carving knife. It is well made with a walnut handle and comes with several sturdy replacement blades that have a fine saw like cutting action ~ they will not bend or break as with the cheaper versions.  Again, this is not safe for kids.

 

Enjoy and Share! :)


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Linking to Amazon through our site helps support Frugal in Fort Worth
(bunches of thanks!)