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Ten Things I Think I Think (and Personal Finance Links)

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  • Grocery Store Thanksgiving - I think that there's tremendous value in going with a prepared dinner from a grocery store. Our local Safeway store had a $40 turkey dinner that included stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy cranberry sauce, etc. Since it was my wife and I and some other friends who didn't have local family there wasn't a "tradition" to uphold. Everyone agreed that it was a great meal, but my wife who loves to entertain, was most excited about being able to enjoy the holiday instead of putting 100% of her attention on making sure that there were no hosting hiccups. I enjoyed being able to watch the football game instead of having to help with the preparations.
  • More Cable Box Fees Commentary - I think that if you were interested in how how I ditched my cable box fees last week, you might be interested in a few updates I made to it. The product I bought turned out to be a bust, but another product (SiliconDust HDHomerun Prime) went on sale. I bought that one and I'm getting the cheaper version. If you combine it with the Google Offers deal today for $40 at NewEgg for $20 you can save probably another $20 (it should stack). Even if you aren't interested in that particular gadget, the NewEgg deal is a good one if you like electronics.
  • Social Deal Sites Comeback - I think social deal sites like Groupon and Living Social are making a comeback. Interest in such sites have been waning because the deals aren't so hot and the type of items can get repetitive (I've been offered a billion deals on massages for example). There's the aforementioned NewEgg deal. However, I'm more excited to for the Groupon deal this weekend that offered $20 worth at Old Navy for $10. Old Navy has good prices on jeans and they fit me well, so I'll make a frugal purchase even more frugal.
  • Gift Card Bonus Deals - I think that I love this year's new gimmick to get me to buy gift cards. Taco Bell and Panda Express are restaurants in my area (perhaps nationwide) offering a free meal when you buy a gift card of around $20. Typically that comes out to a $25 value for $20. If you buy that with a credit card that gives you rewards and you can get almost 30% off. In the case of Taco Bell, you could combine that with their Fresco Menu for a relatively healthy meal for a low-low price. Readers, I'd appreciate it if you'd drop in the comments if you've seen this at other establishments.
  • Small Business Saturday - My wife and I participated in Small Business Saturday enjoying a good breakfast and getting a little holiday shopping done. We spent more than the $25 reimbursement that AMEX was offering, but supporting a local small business is worth spending a little extra money on.
  • Movie Review of the Week: Twilight - (Note: Some minor spoilers here...) I think I might have to put Twilight high on my top 5 worst movies ever list. Off the top of my head only The American comes close to it. My wife and I saw this movie this past Friday night. Much of the movie consisted of two characters (Edward and Bella) staring at each other making odd faces with little meaningful dialog. There wasn't much of a conflict in the movie - the "bad" characters had been good in the previous movies and they seemingly had no motive to be "bad" in this one. The conflict was interrupted just to make sure that audience wasn't subjected to any actual action and the movie ended. I realize it was only part one of two, but Harry Potter pulled it off and had two interesting movies. The next day, I introduced my wife to the Vampire Diaries and she said it was million times better. I wasn't surprised, there is more action in any ten minute slice of the show than Twilight, and it's not like I think that the Vampire Diaries is that great of a show.
  • Television Review: Once Upon a Time - I think that one of the better new shows this season is Once Upon a Time on ABC. I had thought it would be gimmicky with the fairy tale premise, but it works. It's well worth catching up on Hulu. Give it a couple of episodes, I think you'll thank me.
  • The Legend of Tebow - I think the buzz around Tim Tebow is one of the most enjoyable moments in the NFL season. The guy can't throw a football ten yards without it bouncing a couple of times (I exaggerate slightly), but because he keeps winning everyone loves him. No one is giving the Bronco's running game and their defense credit for the wins. I'm caught up in the ridiculousness of it and find it entertaining. So I'll feed into that an spread rumors that Tebow can turn Gatorade into wine.
  • New England Patriots Defense - I think that it's interesting how they can be the worst of defenses and the best of defenses. Okay, perhaps they aren't the best of defenses, but they are 11th of 32 in giving up points which is pretty good. They'd be top 10 if not for giving up a garbage time score yesterday. At the same time they are 32nd in a 32 team league at giving up yards. I think a whole region of the country has enough radio talk fodder to keep it busy for the rest season.
  • One Edelman to Rule them All - I think that, despite the off-field actions, I'd take one "unknown" Julian Edelman over a dozen Tim Tebows. Edelman was drafted out of college as a QB and that is one of the few positions he hasn't played in the NFL. It's not often in today's game that a player plays offense, defense, and special teams as he does. So many athletes won't play this or play that and I commend him for showing that he's not only willing, but able to do anything to get on the football field.

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Posted on November 28, 2011.

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11 Responses to “Ten Things I Think I Think (and Personal Finance Links)”

  1. Dee says:

    I’ve seen the gift card deal at AMC and Coffee Bean. I think AMC was $10 in a concessions gift card if you buy a $30 gift card. Coffee Bean was the free drink with a $25 (?) gift card.

  2. Sun says:

    Re: Gift Cards

    Except for the free meal, you are front loading your expense and rewards with the credit card. If you were to eat at those restaurants at a later time, wouldn’t you use the same credit card? I could see the tactic being useful if you had a 5% cashback for a limited time on a rotating category, the location was convenient, and you ate there frequently

    The way to save money though is to make your own meals and skip the restaurants.

  3. Steve says:

    The newegg deal is sold out. Both the google offer and the HDHomerun Prime model in question @ newegg.

  4. Lazy Man says:

    Good point Sun, the gift card doesn’t double up on the credit card rewards – it just time shifts you payment earlier to later. That’s a negative thing because you are giving the retailer money ahead of time and take the risk of losing the card. Retailers enjoy booking the revenue early and the breakage or people not using the cards.

    I agree that skipping restaurants is one of the best ways to save money. However, many have conceded that they are going to go restaurants at one point or another, so might as well take advantage of any deal you can get.

  5. Lazy Man says:

    Balls! That’s my response to NewEgg deal. I deserve that for taking a few hours (due to interruptions) to write up the post.

    These external CableCard tuners have only been on the market for a few months. I found with the Ceton that the technology does have its hiccups. Perhaps it is a blessing in disguise. Unless you are an early adopter like me, it might be wise to wait for them to mature and for the price to drop.

  6. I’ve become a fan of “once upon a time.” It grows on you! Also love “easy entertaining.” Short of going out for Turkey day (which we did), buying the meal already prepared is a great idea.

  7. We did the prepared meal thing from our local grocery store: $20 for two people which included a huge turkey breast and everything else needed for a decent Thankgsgiving dinner. Last year we cooked a whole bird, and ate probably a fourth of it. The “grocery store” Thanksgiving rocks! Thanks for the links.

  8. A win’s a win, no matter how ugly … but I’d be wary of extrapolating Tebow’s successes over the long term.

    After a while, you’d think teams would employ stall tactics in the second half to give Tebow less time late in the game. Run the play clock all the way down every time, for example.

  9. Lazy Man says:

    It’s the extrapolating Tebow’s success over the long term that is bringing about the controversy. There aren’t too many that have the Bronco’s wining the Super Bowl this year, so wins this year don’t mean to much. Some fans might even look at them as bad, as they were in the running for Andrew Luck before Tebow. Now they’ll get a middle of the pack pick. Fewer tools to build on.

    If I were an opposing team, I don’t think I’d employ too many stall tactics due to Tebow. I would tend to think that the more times my offense gets the ball the better. I think Denver would want as few possessions as possible because in a limited sample size a team that is not as good can hang around and hope to steal a game at the end.

  10. I also participated in small business Sat. I headed over to a friend’s jean store and got a new pair. I don’t have an Amex but I still got into the spirit! lol

  11. TinTin says:

    I totally agree with Lazy Man on the Grocery store thanksgiving. In times like this, we must be smart and go for value unless of course if we have a lot of money to throw around. Merry Christmas!

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