Dollars & Sense columnist John Ewoldt searches the Twin Cities and beyond for bargains and strategies to spare you time, money and hassles.
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Posts about Back to school

Free kids' haircuts at JC Penney all month

Posted by: John Ewoldt Updated: August 6, 2012 - 8:18 AM


Experts say the lowest prices on back to school supplies occur in the last half of July, but August is already shaping up as another bargain month.

JC Penney is offering kids in kindergarden-6th grade a free haircut all month long. It's a $14 value (haircut only, no shampoo or style). JC Penney salons in the Twin Cities area include Rosedale (651-631-3330), Southdale (952-920-8101), Ridgedale (952-544-6000), Eden Prairie Center (952-944-6807), Maple Grove (763-416-1708) and Maplewood (651-779-3040).


Appointments are requested but not required. Other salons will also offer haircut specials too, although not a free cut. Great Clips will be sending out coupons in the mail soon. Fantastic Sams will mail out coupons in the Valassis insert  starting Aug. 12. A kids' haircut will be $9.99 and an adult haircut will be $10.99. Haircuts at Fantastic Sams include a free shampoo, conditioning rinse and a basic blow dry.   

Two other sources that can be good for haircut coupons are Valpak and Moneymailer.



 JC Penney

Free physical exams for local high school athletes

Posted by: John Ewoldt Updated: August 2, 2012 - 10:21 AM




The Minnesota State High School league requires a physical exam of all students participating in a high school sport, but  on Thursday Aug. 9 any high school student athlete without any known, pre-existing health problems can get a free exam. Athletes with diagnosed health conditions should consult with their physician for a more in-depth physical.

About 10 physicians from Twin Cities Orthopedics and Allina medical Clinic administer the exams, which take about 15 minutes. There is no appointment necessary, but anyone who signs up by Aug. 7 is eligible to win a free iPad.

 Students must print and bring a form to the event along with their parent or guardian. If a parent cannot attend the event, the form must be signed in advance by the parent/guardian. 

To register go to the Twin Cities Orthopedics website and click on "events" or call 952-512-5647. Advanced registration is not necessary but the form must be printed and brought to the event. No appointment times are given in advance.

The exams will be given from 5-8 p.m. Aug. 9 at Twin Cities Orthopedics at 4010 W. 65th St. in Edina. In addition to the exam, other freebies include sports drinks, nutrition bars, and drawstring backpacks.

Deals on carpet cleaning, furniture, kiddie stuff, milk and Redbox

Posted by: John Ewoldt Updated: August 25, 2011 - 9:21 AM



I'm all over the map today with deals from carpet cleaning to milk. Let's start with a good deal offered by the Strib on carpet cleaning. A lot of carpet cleaners offer similar deals, but few rate as highly as CarpetClean. For $85.50 (regularly $171) you get three areas cleaned. CarpetClean is check rated for superior quality and reasonable prices by Twin Cities Consumers' Checkbook. In fact, 91 percent of CC's customers surveyed rated the company's performance "superior." The deal runs through Sunday, and the cleaning must be completed by Nov. 30. This is a good time of year to schedule a carpet cleaning when the humidity is lower and carpets dry faster.



The Oh Baby! Outlet (743 E. Lake St., Wayzata, 952-404-0170) is closing Saturday, so everything is discounted an additional 25 percent. Co-owner Tom Lauer said there is a still a large selection of girls' summer and fall clothing, baby bedding, adult bedding from the sister store Que Sera in twin, full and queen sizes, and decorative pillows for the home, also from Que Sera. Everything is already marked down at least 50 percent or more, including baby and children's designer clothing, shoes, accessories, nursery furniture, accent tables, mirrors and bookcases. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Saturday.

One of the best furniture consignment shops in the Twin Cities, the Wabi Sabi Shop, is celebrating its 2nd anniversary by offering an additional 10 percent off everything through Sunday. Wabi Sabi is one of the few furniture consignment shops that doesn't look like a thrift shop or antique shop. Prices are excellent.

Redbox offers one free DVD movie rental today for a one-night rental. Go to the site for your neighborhood kiosk and a list of available movies.

Lunds/Byerly's stores  have milk on sale for only $1.99 per gallon (limit 2) through Wednesday. General Mills cereals are also a good deal, including Cheerios.




Internet service offered for $10 a month to low-income families

Posted by: John Ewoldt Updated: August 23, 2011 - 3:24 PM


In 2010 Comcast was voted “worst company” in America by readers of Since then the company has taken steps to improve its reputation. Comcast’s recent attempt to polish its image is a good one. In mid-September, the company rolls out a discounted broadband Internet service in the Twin Cities for $10 a month plus tax in homes that have at least one child receiving free lunches through the National School Lunch Program. The company is also selling optional Acer or Dell notebook-style computers for $150 that support wired and Wi-Fi and include Windows 7 Starter operating system.


That’s not a bad deal considering that 1.5 Mbps service level normally costs $27 to $40 per month, depending on bundling. Competitors that are currently charging $5 to $10 per month offer dialup service, which has significantly slower response time.

“It’s an effort to help more people afford digital service,” said Comcast spokesman David Nyberg. The company will also provide free training and educational resources on how to use the Internet safely and efficiently. 

Local partners in the program include Neighborhood House, CLUES, Hmong American Partnership, Big Brothers Big Sisters and Minneapolis Urban League. “Internet access is often the first bill a low-income family eliminates when budgets get tight,” said Michelle Ness, program director at Neighborhood House in St. Paul. “We want to create a culture of going to college and you can’t do that without a computer.”


Some say there is there’s an ulterior motive to Comcast’s generosity, calling the low-cost service a by-product of the Comcast-NBC merger, in which the company agreed to “increase broadband deployment in low income households” as one of a number of conditions to the acquisition. People who commented on the Consumerist website wondered why low-income childless couples, singles, and the elderly are not part of plan.


“Internet Essentials stemmed from an earlier, similar program called Adoption Plus,” said Mary Beth Schubert, vice-president of corporate affairs at Comcast Twin Cities. “It never got off the ground, but approximately 6 million students from over 3 million families may qualify for the new program.”

To request an application in English, call 1-855-846-8376 or call 1-855-765-6995 for Spanish. For more information go to Internet Essentials. To qualify, enrollees must live in a Comcast service area, have not subscribed to Comcast Internet service in the previous 90 days and not have an overdue Comcast bill or unreturned equipment.

Speed dating discounted 50 percent

Posted by: John Ewoldt Updated: February 28, 2011 - 10:44 AM


One of the lesser known deal-of-the-day sites, Homerun, is discounting a whole new genre today--speed dating. No boring restaurant coupon for a place you've never heard of--this deal is the first of its kind that I've seen.



The Homerun dating deal is for Date and Dash, which holds speed dating in 69 North American cities, including Minneapolis. According to DateandDash's web site, the next events are slated for March 11, March 25, April 8, and April 29.

I don't know how strict the parameters are but according to D&D's site, the March 11 event is open to professionals with a college degree ages 25 to 35. Are 24 and 36 year olds turned away at the door?

March 25 and April 29 have separate sessions for 22 to 32 year olds and 33 to 43 year olds.

Apparently, anyone over 43 years old is either supposed to be taken, not looking, or unable to keep up at a speed dating event.  

Is the fact that speed dating is now being discounted a sign that it has jumped the shark?

Are singles who pay less for the event less likely to find a partner because they "invested" a smaller amount of money and are therefore not as emotionally attached to it?




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