Monday, October 31, 2011

Free Stuff Calendar - November 2011

In all the hubbub of Halloween, friends, don't forget to mark your calendars for all the free stuff November offers!

The first week of November (October 31-November 6): Get a free small coffee at any McDonald's location nationwide.

November 11-13      Fee free weekend for over 100 National Parks. Click here for more information and for a list of participating parks.

November 24th - 6 a.m. on November 25th Free AAA "tipsy tow" in participating states. You do not need to be a AAA member...You just need to have had too much to drink to drive home, and AAA will come and tow your car back to your house for free.

****Special Feature: Free Stuff for Present and Past Members of the U.S. Military ****

November 7-November 11  Free Bloomin' Onion at Outback Steakhouse

November 11: Free meal at Applebee's (choice of 7 entrees)  
                         Free meal at Chili's (choice of 6 entrees)
                         Free doughnut at Krispy Kreme
                         Free doughnut at Tim Horton's
                         Free six-inch sub at most Subway locations
                         Free meal at Texas Roadhouse until 4 p.m.
                         Free car wash at thousands of car washes around the country. Click here for a list of              
                             participating locations.

November 14 (5-9 p.m.):  Free dinner at Golden Corral Restaurants

(Special thanks to The Military Wallet for the list provided here. )

Here's to another cheap month, readers!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Getting in Shape Without Going Broke

Fitness can mean paying for a gym membership, then feeling pressured to buy "cool workout clothes" to wear to this gym, and more! In other words: It can be quite a costly venture! However, it doesn't have to. Here are some tips that can cut down on the cost to cut down your weight!

1. Try using a free online fitness plan like Couch to 5K or Stew Smith's 45-Day Beginner's Plan to plan your daily workouts. Both of these are designed to do at home - which means no gym membership fees, and no worries about looking dorky in your old sweatpants. (Before starting any fitness plan, check with your doctor and all that jazz!)

2. Make your own weights. Fill up empty Gatorade or two-liter soda bottles with water to do strength training workouts. As you increase your strength, you can replace the water with something heavier, like gravel.

3. Don't pay for workout videos. Instead, check out workout DVDs from your local library or stream them online for free on sites like ExerciseTV or 

4. Get support from other folks for free online. Websites like provide message boards, recipe sharing, newsletters, and more.

5. Get a free pedometer. has some great tips about how to do that here!

...Here's to another cheap -- and healthy -- week, friends!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Seven Halloween Costumes for $1 or less (and links for lots more cheap ideas!)

The Great Pumpkin will soon arrive, and so will the Halloween party invitations! And the big question is: What will you wear? Well, worry no more, dear readers. After searching high and low, I bring you: Seven Halloween costumes that will cost you $1 or less (and links to a whole lot more cheap ideas!) ...Here we go!

1. Identity Crisis. This suggestion is by Steve and Annette Economides. Dress in all black. Then, buy a pack of adhesive name tags, write a different name on each one, and stick them all over yourself. For nine more cheap ideas from the Economides, check out this article.

You could look as
cool as this Static
Cling Kid this
Halloween! Photo
courtesy of
2. Static Cling. Dress in all one color, and safety pin dryer sheets, socks, and underwear to yourself. If you or a friend has hair gel or hairspray, you can also spike your hair up straight in the air. This is one of the many, many ideas on Robin's FYI Halloween Costume page. Visit the webpage to see 'em all!

3.  A tweet (as in a Twitter tweet). On the front of a white t-shirt, write the words "140 characters" in marker. This is from Glamour Magazine - and they have 20 more low budget costume ideas here. 

4. Chalk Body Outline. Wear all black and outline the sides of your body with white tape! Check out more ideas from Consumerist readers on this page. 

Ceiling fan = Cheap and quick
costume! Photo from
5. Ceiling Fan. Write "Go Ceilings!!!" on a T-shirt. If you have some lying around, add in some football war paint and a pair of pants that sort of match your shirt. For a bunch of other corny and cheap costumes (warning: not all are safe for work!) check out's Quick Costume Page here.

6. Pig in a Blanket. Ok, so it's not the classiest costume on the list, but look, sometimes you just want to be comfortable, and what could be more comfortable than lounging in a blanket or, oh, I don't know, that Snuggie in the back of your closet? Pick up a pig nose in the Halloween aisle at the Dollar Tree, and you're all set to settle back with some candy! Jill at Moolanomy has 24 other ideas to check out here. 

7. Cloud Nine. Throw on a white shirt and white pants and tape a $1 bag of cotton balls all over yourself. Stick on a sign that has the number 9 written on it, and voila! This is from Learnvest, and they've got plenty more ideas on this page. 

Good luck with your costume planning, peeps!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Have a Cold? Frugal Ways to Feel Better

Well, readers, this last week, I was sick, and being sick is always a bummer. But... knowing some cheap(er) tips for helping yourself feel better can... well, help you feel better! 

For those of you who might be fighting the first round of back-to-school cold season, here are some Captain Cheap-endorsed frugal cold busters:

Drink Tea - Or Even Better, Make Your Own
One of the best things I know to do when I'm sick is make up a pan of ginger tea. All you need is an inch or so of fresh ginger root and a saucepan of water. Boil for about 20 minutes; toss out any pieces of ginger that are left behind, and drink. Ginger has been shown to improve your immune system, works as an anti-inflammatory, and can also calm an upset stomach.  I've gotten a piece of ginger root for as little as $.30 before, and it got me through an entire winter!

Whether you're drinking homemade ginger tea or tea made from a box you got at the store, you can add in some honey and lemon juice if you've got a few extra cents to spare. 

DIY Steam Treatment

This is a big favorite of my parents, and it is absolutely free if your water is covered in your rent. Simply close your bathroom windows (if you have any), keep your fan off, turn on your shower to hot, and close the door. Sit in the bathroom for ten or fifteen minutes -- the steam will help relieve sinus pressure almost immediately. 

Another option is to boil a pot of hot water on your stove and put your face above the steam, breathing it in. 

Clear Out Your Sinuses With What's In Your Cupboards

Sometimes when you're sick, all you want is to be able to breathe through your nose for a few precious minutes. You can make this happen yourself by eating spicy or acidic food that is  already in your cupboard - taking a shot of apple cider vinegar, eating a dab of horseradish, or adding sriracha sauce to something you're eating.

Stock Up on Soup in Advance with Coupons and Sales

Sure, the benefits of chicken soup are mostly psychological, but so what? Even if you're tricking yourself into feeling better, you're still feeling better. Besides, when you're sick, the last thing you feel like doing is cooking, and canned soup can be a quick fix. You can get pre-made soup relatively cheaply if you stock up when it's on sale or when you have coupons. Here's the website for Campbell's direct manufacturer's coupons and promotions, and  you can get Progresso coupons by signing up as a member (it's free) on

Invest in a Hanky. 

At only around a dollar or so, a handkerchief is a much cheaper alternative to buying boxes and boxes of Kleenex. They're also better for the planet. Added bonus: Other people might think you're rockin' a retro style by carrying one. 

That's it for now, readers... stay frugal -- and healthy! 

Monday, October 3, 2011

Scoring Savings: Spotlight on Cereal!

Readers, where do you buy your breakfast cereal? Are you getting the most for your money?  This week, let's take a look at where you could be buying it, because changing your cereal-purchasing location can save you up to $10 per month!

Before we get talking about cold cereals, though, let me say this about breakfast foods: Oatmeal is almost always the cheapest way to go. Not instant oatmeal, but rolled oats, purchased from the bulk foods section or in a big cardboard tub. You can cook these up in the microwave just like instant oatmeal, and then add your own flavorings, like maple syrup or fruit, for cheaper than almost any other breakfast option. Oatmeal is also one of the healthiest foods out there, stocked full of protein and fiber. 

However, not everybody likes oatmeal. So here are some other ways to cut down on your breakfast cereal expenses: 

 See if Trader Joe's carries a version of your favorite cereal. Yes, Trader Joe's is known in some places for carrying expensive food, but it has one of the best deals in cereals around. One of my roommates claims that you can't taste the difference between Joe's Os (TJ's version of Cheerios) and name-brand Cheerios. Your wallet sure can tell the difference, though: A 15 oz. box of Joe's O's is $2.50, and the same size box of Cheerios can run up to $4.50 someplace like Walgreen's.

Try Target. Strange though it may seem -- since Target is not necessarily known as a grocery store -- Target offers mean deals when it comes to name-brand cereals. My favorite cold cereal, Quaker Oatmeal Squares, are $3.36 a box at Target at regular price, but are $5.19 at the grocery store near my house. Target offers other cereals even cheaper - a box of Rice Krispies come in at only $2.75, NOT on sale. 
Look up or down on the
grocery aisle to find
cereal like this, just
waiting to be taken
Look Low! A commercial a few years back encouraged people to squat down in the cereal aisle and look at the bottom shelf to find a good price, and that's still true. This commercial was for Malt-O-Meal, which has been the industry leader in discount breakfast cereal for years, but that's the case with all generic cereals;  they're still often stocked on the bottom or top shelves at grocery stores. No matter where you shop, be sure to look up and down to consider ALL your available choices, and not just the brands the store wants you to buy. 

Of course, coupons and sales can alter the playing field, too, so be sure to shop smart and rack up the savings in as many ways as you can! 

Here's to a week of scooping up some good deals on breakfast, friends!