OUR TOWN BOOK
The new Our Town and All Around coupon books are now available. Get your money’s worth out of the book and buy the 2010 book now. Book expires in Dec. 1, 2011. If you go to a couple restaurants a year you should get your money’s worth back. Check out what’s new in the book at http://www.ourtownandallaround.com. Check out the larger winery section and golf section. The book now costs $28 plus $2 shipping and handling for a total of $30.
The new 2010 books are available now. Get your money’s worth out of the Entertainment book and buy the 2010 book now. Book expires in Nov. 1, 2011 - some coupons expire 12/31/2011. Hopefully this year’s book will be better. The book costs $35.
Free shipping. To order a book click here:
2010 ENTERTAINMENT BOOK
SAVVY SHOPPER BOOKLET
Order the new Savvy Shopper booklet. Over 150 pages long. Find out new ways to save money on over 5 dozen topics. Costs $13 (includes shipping & handling)
Click here to order:
Get a $25 restaurant gift certificate for $2. Normally it’s $10 – now 80% off! Gift certificates expire in one year. New restaurants listed during the month. If the restaurant closes, call restaurant.com and they will give you a mega-certificate good to purchase for another restaurant. Be sure to call before going to the restaurant to make sure they still accept the gift certificate. I find a lot of restaurants on the site that normally don’t issue coupons.
Use coupon code TASTE at checkout to get the 80% off. Ends 8/31.
They have been sending out a 20% off coupon good for Friday to Sunday. Sign up at riteaid.com to have the coupon e-mailed to you.
Click here for their $5 off a $25 purchase coupon:
This week free after rebate:
Tylenol - make money after $2 coupon
Click here for a $5 off a $25 purchase coupon good until Saturday, 8/29:
Free 8×10 collage print coupon in ad - good on Wednesday, 8/26.
Get 20 cents off gas at GetGo when you buy a $50 gift card at Giant Eagle. Ends 8/26. Great for when you need to buy a ton at Home Depot for a project. Good for up to 30 gallons so be sure to get up to 30 gallons worth of gas when you redeem your rewards. And be sure to use the gift cards quickly since too many stores are going bankrupt or closing. I hope you don’t have any old Woolworth’s gift cards…
Get a free PC Tune-up from Staples - $29.99 value. Click here for details:
They will be doubling coupons again from 8/30 to 9/5 at select stores.
Get up to 70% off on their patio furniture. Click here:
I visited family in England and Croatia recently. Lotsa planes, trains, and automobiles on the trip. No lost passports like the last trip, so all was good.
I had a free ticket with my US Air miles. We booked the other flights via Kayak.com. We used Kayak.com for hotels too, but mostly used Hotels.com via their site to book rooms. I like checking Tripadvisor.com to get a read on how good the hotel is too. Always interesting to see what people find in their rooms.
One thing that was odd about hotel rooms in Europe is that there were no alarm clocks. It’s a European thing. Plus air conditioning isn’t always in each room. Maybe they figure you’ll be awake sweating your arse off so you won’t need an alarm clock. Clever and it saves them money.
We went to a cousin’s wedding in England. They live in Carlisle which is near Scotland. At the end of the ceremony they have the couple and the best man and maid of honor sign a book to register the union. Nothing like getting the paperwork done right away.
I think we introduced a new tradition there. We started clanging our glasses, expecting the bride and groom to know they were supposed to kiss. Not so. They didn’t know anything about that tradition, so we told them to kiss and they did. Eventually the people there started to do it on their own.
After the wedding was a lunch reception for close friends and family. At night we went to a different location where they had a band play while they served finger food. No toss of the wedding garter.
And even though they spoke English, I had a very hard time understanding some of them. Really thick British accents. In Croatia I knew the language some, but most people spoke English there. A great site to translate other languages is http://www.nicetranslator.com.
We took trains, planes, boats, and cars to get to where we needed to go. If you go to England, get your train tickets in advance at trainline.com. Much cheaper that way.
We ate a variety of food. I found out I really like to eat Bounty. No silly, not the paper towel, but a chocolate-coated coconut candy bar like Mounds. The coconut was thicker than Mounds.
The prices for everything in Croatia were good. Recently the US dollar weakened so the exchange rate wasn’t as good. I still had some Euros left from a trip to England and Paris earlier this year and the rate was better at that time, so I used them to get some deals at the Duty Free Shop. Speaking of duty free, I had to pay for the bathroom in Split, Croatia. It was 1 Kuna to use the urinal and 4 Kuna for #2. There was a lady in-between the men’s and lady’s room and she would let you in and out after you did your thing. If I were her I’d make sure everyone washed their hands before handing over any coins.
A Kuna, the currency in Croatia, was exchanging at around 5 Kunas per dollar. In the early 2000’s you could exchange 9 Kuna for a dollar. In England, I was getting around 60 cents per dollar. A Euro was going for 70 cents per dollar.
I got a Capital One credit card through CreditCards.com because they don’t charge a foreign currency conversion fee. Most credit cards charge 2% to 3%.
In Croatia we did a lot of travelling. We went to Zadar, Split, Dubrovnik, and Rab. We stayed in Lun on the island of Otok Pag. It’s like an old village from the turn of the century. You’d almost expect to see Fred Flintstone ride by in his stone-wheeled car. I was last there in 1986. More houses and there is a paved road to town now. They have city water instead of well water too. More tourists now.
I rented a car through Kollandar Travel. They do a lot of European travel bookings. Most of the car rental sites forced you into renting a stick shift and I wanted an automatic. I didn’t want to run into any issues too. Sometimes it pays to go through a service that knows what to do, especially in a foreign country. Otherwise the issues you may incur will cost you more than in the end.
We got a large 3 topping pizza for $10 in Lun. The funny thing is restaurant workers don’t really expect much of a tip. Even 10% was too much. We had a pizza delivered to us at the airport in Zagreb and it was $13 for a 4 topping humongous pizza. It was bigger than the size of a tire. The front desk ordered the pizza and it was delivered. They called and we wanted to give the driver a tip but she already paid for it and the driver was gone.
The biggest rip-off on all of Europe is the price for Pepsi or Coke at a restaurant. You get one of those tiny bottles (.25 liter) for around $2.50 or $3.00. And no refills! Beer was cheaper. And they don’t call it Diet Coke. They call it Coke Light. Water wasn’t free either. You had to buy bottled water and it was about the same price as Coke. Best bet was to go to a local grocery store and get a 2 liter for around $2.50.
Many people in Croatia make the minimum wage which is around $400 a month which explains the low prices.
As I’m typing this on the plane it’s apparent that the guy next to me needs to go to the bathroom. I have my shirt over my nose to mute the stink. And behind me wide-opened-mouth Mr. Snores-a-lot apparently needs a mint too.
Lun is known for its 1,000 to 1,500 year old olive trees. Also its Paski Sir cheese. It’s sheep cheese, but has a distinct flavor from the grazing habits of the sheep. They eat the rosemary plants and salt-coated vegetation there. Add some of the olive oil made there and it has a great taste and texture. Pricey. Many fig trees grow there along with pomegranates, lemons, limes, and grapes. No Pop-Tarts for me in the morning. Just good whole food.
There was no fast food joints in Croatia that I saw. A good many roasting spits with lamb, pork, and chickens getting a circle ride around the fire.
We made friends with some waitresses that spoke English real well. They said that only about 10 Americans visit Lun each year. I was surprised. Lots of Germans and Italians there.
We made a stop in Medjugorja, Bosnia-Hercogovina, a site where the Virgin Mary apparently appeared to some children from the town many years ago.
The War was bad in Bosnia, but I didn’t see much that showed remnants from it. Dubrovnik was shelled and they showed a video of the destruction there at a Memorial. You could see where some areas were fixed. We went to Buz-A-Bar which outside the walls of the city overlooking the Adriatic. Beautiful view.
I ate too much the whole trip. My appetite was quelled on the plane though. I was asked if I wanted a pizza with fish. The other choice was vegetarian so I went with the pizza. The guy sitting next to me asked me if she said pizza with fish. I quizzically said yes, that is what I thought she said too. What I got was a sandwich pocket stuffed with a tuna mishmash. She might was well have told me it was a baked vomit bag from the last flight because that is what it tasted like. The neat thing on an international flight was that drinks were on the house. I got all the wine and beer I wanted. So I washed down the vomit bag with the fine spirits.
I got a nice George Hamilton tan. Snorkeled a lot. I think I grew some gills. Maybe I can visit Aquaman and Sponge Bob at some reef for some chicken wings or something. Saw some scorpions.
It was hot. Only rain we got was on one morning. It was too hot to wear a shirt. And so much for no shirt, no shoes, no service. Most people shopped dressed like they are at the beach. And most of the beaches were “European”. Let’s just say you could save a few bucks buying just bottoms there. I do remember last time I was there in ‘86 there were more people au naturale. Not always a good thing because Grandmas sometimes like to go to the beach.
A lady gave me a coupon for 10% off at a wine bar. I must have had a “I’m suffering from not having a coupon withdrawal” look. They had a 50% off when you take out a bottle deal. Outside of that there wasn’t much as far as coupons. I did see a lot of sales – 70% off and less usually. Stores do advertise sale prices. But they don’t have a Sunday paper full of ads.
Seeing family also brought to attention the many issues families have. Every family has issues, but when it comes to family, remember to keep family first.
Communication is a major family issue. Too many people don’t talk things out with the person they’re having issues with or the person with issues doesn’t know how to communicate them out. The issues festers, assumptions are made, and then bad decisions ensue. All I can say is be honest and appreciate honesty. For instance, if your sister has a big nasty looking hairy mole on her chin that has been bothering you your whole life, lovingly tell her what’s her pet’s name that is sleeping on her chin. The conversation will flourish from there and break down barriers. Harmony will ensue like an Alvin and the Chipmunks tune. Ok, well I was joshing. Just be cool with each other.
I’ve heard of too many people expect inheritances too. AARP reported in 2004 that only 20% of Americans reported receiving an inheritance. The median inheritance was $29,000 according to Moody’s Economy.com web-site. Today’s numbers are probably much worse with the dire economy.
A co-worker told me recently how some family members were already in line expecting some inheritance from him. They were inferring that he not spend all his money. I told him that he should spend all his money now that he is retiring. I know times are tough, but he earned his money working hard and deserved to spend it all. Nobody should expect a penny from a family member after they pass. If anything, more people are in debt when they leave this earth, so again expect nothing and if you do get something, it’s a blessing.
One thing I want to mention is to try your best to see family while they are still here. Some people expect to travel when they retire, however they don’t because of poor health, money issues, or family is gone. It was a tough moment watching my Mom and her brother say their goodbyes. Neither are in the best of health and they knew it.
Anyway, enough of that. It was amazing to see family I hadn’t seen in 23 years and some for the first time. And sadly, there may be some I won’t see again. I hope that not to be the case. But the memories I have from the trip will last for a lifetime. We had a great time. I now need a vacation from the vacation now. I feel like a zombie from the jet lag. I don’t have a penchant for walking with my arms straight forward or wanting to eat brains, so it’s just a travel zombie feeling. And that’s the way it is…