Archives for December 2016

Starbucks Rewards Double Stars This Week in December

I do not know if everyone gets the same “Double Stars” day of the month, but if you are participating in the Starbucks Rewards program, pay attention to your email or your app notifications or inbox for an alert of your upcoming “Double Stars” day. Mine is Monday 12/12/16. Check yours! You don’t have to do anything to activate this, the double stars show up in your account automatically as you make purchases.

PRO TIP: your Double Stars day is a great opportunity to buy the $40 January 2017 cup. This will get you an extra 80 stars, which are about 2/3rds of a full reward.

T-Mobile Freebies for December 13 headlined by FandangoNow rental and Wendy’s Frosty

The freebies for Tuesday December 13 in 2016 for T-Mobile customers, as part of the “T-Mobile Tuesdays” weekly promotions are split evenly. Two actual freebies and two coupons. The freebies are returning offers, a free FandangoNOW digital movie rental (this is the former M-Go service, not to be confused with the more well-known Fandango movie serivce) and the good old Wendy’s small frosty.

The other two are coupons. We keep it real here, we are calling a spade a spade 🙂 You get 25c off per gallon at Shell gas stations, and the other coupon is $10 off at

Load $10+ with VISA Checkout using Starbucks App, Get $10 eGift Card bonus

UPDATE: this arrived quickly – check the bottom of the post for the latest…

The VISA Checkout promotion is back at Starbucks! If you load $10 or more, using the Starbucks Mobile app (not their website) AND pay using VISA Checkout, you will receive a $10 Starbucks e-gift card bonus within 24 hours after the reload transaction goes through. It is important for this offer that you pay with VISA Checkout, not a credit card on file. This promotional period runs between 11/29/16 until the end of day on 12/22/16, so you can only use this promotion ONCE per account.

Screenshots of the critical steps and instructions below, highlighting the important parts:

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FILA Quadrix Running Shoes for $25 with free s&h

Shoe time! If you need a lightweight running/athletic shoe, FILA’s very own eBay store is offering new condition Fila Men’s Quadrix Running Shoes for $25 with free shipping per pair. Four different color schemes are available, and various sizes too. Some of the combinations are not available, so be sure to check to see if your favorite combos are available.

Here is the Orange color scheme:

And a look at the side of the box:

The one I received came with FedEx SmartPost. This is a service where it starts with FedEx but the Post Office delivers it in the end. So it is a slower shipping method, which is why they can afford to offer it for free since shoe boxes take up space 🙂

[EXPIRED] Lucky Rewards members: Free 10oz LaLlave Espresso tin can (ends 12/13/16)

This weekly freebie ended, but I believe this is the second time they offered this, so it may return at some point in the future…

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LG Stylo 2 (Boost Mobile) for $86 [limit 3]

If you like smartphones with a stylus but don’t want to pay the Galaxy Note big bucks, there’s a double-figures alternative. The new condition LG Stylo 2 in the Boost Mobile edition (under of the Sprint umbrella) is currently on sale for $86 with free shipping at Amazon by Amazon actual with a limit of three per customer. There is no contract requirement, but these are locked to the specific prepaid carriers. You can of course always use them as Wifi-only devices.

This has a built-in pen, and you get some special features that are linked to the pen, but note that this is not as good as the Samsung S-Pen, which is factored in the price 🙂 But for the price and given the 5.7″ screen size, this is not a bad value under triple figures.

I purchases this a couple of weeks ago and will be reviewing it. I’ve already posted the first part, how to deal with the Activation Menus of the Stylo 2. The one in review is the Virgin Mobile version, but given the links between the two, things should be similar.

This is what’s included with the Virgin Mobile kit (excluding the ruler of course):

Free 24oz Stainless Steel or Aluminum Water Bottle with $60+ Prime Pantry purchase

If you are an Amazon Prime member, you have the option to make purchases at Prime Pantry, Amazon’s attempt at a warehouse-club type of a service. For a limited time, they have a new promotion, if you place a Prime Pantry order of $60+, you get a FREE 24oz Water Bottle. You must add the color of your choice in your shopping cart, together with a qualifying $60+ purchase. There are four colors, three of them are Stainless Steel, one is Aluminum, so you have material choices too.

The price of the water bottle will be adjusted by the shopping cart in the last step before you place your order, so you can confirm you are getting this for free.

You can stack this offer with any PrimePantry “slow shipping” credits you may have in your account, or you can use it in combination with the Buy Five Free Shipping promotion (you buy any combination of five items from that list, and you get free shipping – it could be five different items, or five units of the same item, or any combination in-between).

1-Year Prepaid Kindle Unlimited subscription for $89

Reading is good, and if you like to read a lot and take chances on authors or genres you haven’t read or heard of before, a Kindle Unlimited subscription may be a good idea, sort of like a Netflix-style service for e-books. For a limited time during the holiday shopping season (they don’t specify an expiration date), you can get a prepaid 1-Year Kindle Unlimited Subscription for $88. You pay $88 right now, and for that, you get 12 months of membership. It comes out to just under $7.50 per month. The month-to-month price is $10.

You can see which ebooks are eligible when you search around the Amazon website, they have the “Kindle Unlimited” signs next to them. The service now also includes select audiobooks (a subset of the ebooks available for Kindle Unlimited) along with a monthly selection of digital magazine issues (they change on a monthly basis).

You don’t get to keep any of the above, but you can read/listen as long as you are a paying subscriber.

PS: I am not sure how this works in conjunction with Prime Reading as I haven’t had both subscriptions live at the same time. “Prime Reading” is essentially a mini-me version of Kindle Unlimited, available for FREE for Prime members. “Prime Reading” only has 1000 ebooks, while “Kindle unlimited” has over 1 million ebooks.

PS2: Kindle Unlimited (KU) kinda makes it very hard to use the older “Kindle Lending Library” (KLL), which still continues. You’d have to use a Kindle hardware device for the KLL, and you don’t see the kLL option if a book is available through KU, so the only way to get your KLL item is to find something that is in KLL but not in KU. Impossible task on an e-reader, but more doable if you have time to spend on a Fire tablet or the Fire Phone 🙂

20% off Subscribe and Save on many RxBar 12-packs

On Mondays, Amazon often has 12-packs of RxBars as Lightning Deals, but if you need more, or your favorite flavors are not participating, there’s another way to get a good deal on them. Currently Amazon is running a 20% off Clip-On coupon on a “Subscribe and Save” (S&S) subscription for the Chocolate Sea Salt flavor.

The price (as of the time of writing) is $24.69 minus the 20% off coupon, you can get the 12-pack for $19.75, which brings it down to around $1.65 per bar, a pretty good price.

Remember though that “Subscribe and Save” is a subscription, so make sure you adjust it according to your needs. The coupon only works on the initial/first purchase, not on subsequent deliveries. The coupon does not work on the “one time purchase”.

The same 20% off clip-on S&S coupon also works on the Coconut Chocolate flavor and the Blueberry flavor and the Maple sea salt along with the Chocolate Mint and finally Peanut Butter.

Because dates are dominating the flavor, I find the Chocolate Sea Salt and the Coffee flavors to be the best, a level above the rest of the flavors. The dates also make some of the other flavors less tasty, eg blueberries. But to each his or her own of course since taste is very personal and subjective 🙂

Having said all that, as of the time of writing (December 8), the best deal is the Blueberry flavor going for $21.73. Minus 20% off drops it to $17.38, which makes it $1.45 per bar.

The prices to meet or beat are $2 per bar if you live near a Trader Joe, which sells them one by one. However, Trader Joe only has a subset of flavors. Alternately, Whole Foods has the individual bars on sale for $2 each every few weeks. Whole Foods seems to have more flavors, but still not the complete line-up.

[DEAD] Buy $50+ in Gift Cards, Get $10 off in future purchase at Lucky’s

This promotion expired…

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Dec 9-10: 20% off Holiday Coffees and Teas at Peet’s

For two days only, at participating Peet’s brick and mortar stores, you can get a 20% off discount when you purchase their holiday coffees and teas on Friday December 9 and Saturday December 10 in 2016. Only actual coffees (ground or beans) and teas (loose leaf or bags), along with holiday gift items are eligible. The sale does not include barista-made drinks or pastries or their regular prepared foods or drinks and accessories.

Needless to say, if you like their Holiday Blend coffee or their Winter Solstice or Holiday Blend teas, this is a great opportunity to stock-up and get some gifts too. The Winter Solstice tea is so tasty and fragrant, that alone is a must buy 🙂

An excellent choice is the Winter Solstice tea (flavored black tea), in the characteristic Peets tin, sadly with the Mighty Leaf logos #StillBitter

Amazon running App-exclusive deals until 12/20/16

Amazon is running app-exclusive deals when you use their official apps on mobile devices. There is a special section now in what used to be the “Gold Box” area of the app, the “App Only” deals are hanging out in-between “All Deals” and “Upcoming”. Here’s a screenshot:

They are also running various promotions in the app that explain this exclusive. I’ve seen this on Android devices. I’m not sure how it looks on iOS because I don’t have an iOS device 🙂 Here’s a screenshot from Android:

Strategically though, app-exclusive offers however can backfire on companies because it frustrates people who prefer to do their shopping from a web browser. The frustration digs into a retailer’s favorability, so they have to be careful not to irritate more people than they please with these type of offers 🙂

Samsung Book Deals choices for December 2016 are up

December is here, and if you have an eligible Samsung device and you are running the Kindle app downloaded from Samsung’s own app store, you can get a free eBook from a choice of four every month, either for a preset period of time or for as long as you own the device. The promotion depends on which device you bought and when you bought it. Samsung changes things every other millisecond 🙂

As usual, all four choices are previously released Kindle Unlimited ebooks, so they have plenty of customer reviews that could help you decide on which out to get. This is different from Kindle First that offers pre-release e-books.

So back to Samsung, these are the four choices:

They are:

  • “Heir’s Grace” by Tim Pratt
  • “The Rose Girls” by Victoria Connelly
  • “Storm Warrior” by Dani Harper
  • “Shadow Hunter” by Michael Prescott

Buy $300+ in AMEX Gift Cards, Get $20 Staples Gift Card via Easy Rebate

Staples is back with another prepaid gift card Easy Rebate promotion, this time it is the turn of American Express to do the 20/300 dance. You buy $300+ in American Express gift cards at Staples stores until the close of business on Saturday 12/10/16 (in a single transaction) and you will receive a $20 Staples gift card via Easy Rebate (which can be submitted online, no need to mail anything in).

As with before, the trick is to get to $300 with one or two gift cards, so the activation fees won’t eat into your $20 Easy Rebate. If you pay with a credit card that has a higher percentage on office supplies (eg Chase Ink has 5%) then you can make a small profit there, and then use the gift cards to pay for items that would otherwise only get you 1% or 2% back in credit card rewards.

Valpak coupon: $10 off a $30+ Big 5 B&M purchase (exp. 12/24/16)

Don’t throw the Valpak coupons away if you are a fan of Big 5 sporting goods. Inside their latest envelope you will find a coupon that gets you $10 off a purchase of $30+ at their brick and mortar stores. The coupon cannot be used online. You must take the original coupon per the instructions on the front of the coupon. This is running until 12/24/16, so there’s more flexibility.

The coupon below is for reference only, you have to find yours in the Valpak envelop…