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Leave It to Sam

24 Nov

Not me. Sam’s Club, that is (I’ll get to that in a bit). I’m technically on vacation, but I had to put in my two cents on Black Friday.

Courtesy: Sam's Club

You are absolutely crazy if you wait in the cold at midnight, even at Target, for a deal. My advice: Don’t even wait for Cyber Monday; make this Friday “Cyber Friday.”

There are so many options out there (I mentioned last week). It seems most people wait for those doorbuster deals to buy deeply discounted electronics. Still not worth it to me. First of all, with eBay, you can find great deals on new products–not necessarily used. And many electronics vendors on eBay accept returns. You may just need to do your own wrapping (which I suggest doing to save money anyway).

Next, if you’re a member of Sam’s Club, snapping up deals on all-things tech is easy. The megastore has an iPad® app and mobile app you can use starting November 27. Grab big screen HDTVs and electronics to diamond jewelry and toys. For example: One deal is a Magnavox 32-inch LCD 720p HDTV for $248.88 (and includes free shipping). Of course you must be a member, but I think any of those warehouse clubs are worth it (if you have the room or can split your spoils among friends).

Between now and the holidays, I’ll have some more ideas to save money, so stay tuned and have a happy and a healthy Thanksgiving!


From Joke to Open Bar

10 Oct

What founder Seva Granik says started as a joke has turned into a helpful resource (at least I think so) for New Yorkers who like to party, yet not spend their whole paycheck to do it.

“My roommate and I, we went out quite a bit in the early 2000s but didn’t have much money,” says the 36-year-old Granik. “So we sought out open bars as means to get our party on without having to pay.”

During the summer of 2005, he says he started a simple blog and an e-mail listing service around it because he was unemployed and bored.

“It blew up overnight,” Granik says.

Courtesy: Myopenbar/Hope Gangloff

And it’s no wonder why: Myopenbar provides daily listings of events, bars and clubs around the city that have open bars or deeply discounted drink specials, with details on times, covers and what’s included. For example, $6 will get you unlimited well drinks, Pabst Blue Ribbon (PBR) and Tater Tots Monday through Thursday from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Trash Bar in Williamsburg; Friday and Saturday nights, it’s a $7 cover. Get the idea?

So how does Granik find the listings?

“All of the content that’s up on the Web site is submitted to us,” he says. “We used to do a lot of research and sometimes even steal listings from other Web sites, but we got way lazy and now we rely entirely on what people send to us.”

While he focuses primarily on New York City, Granik says he has maintained extensive lists accumulated in other cities.

“We got really greedy and high on our success early on and opened branches in Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Miami,” Granik says. “But soon [we] realized that we didn’t have a stable business model in those cities to support the editorial teams, and closed those branches.”

Although there is nothing new on the horizon for Myopenbar, Granik says it still generates money through events and marketing campaigns.

“You can only do so much with a Web site about free booze, you know?” he says. “And we certainly did a lot with it…. The old girl had a good run but she’s still kicking major ass.”

Visit for daily and ongoing drink specials and get your party on!

Gratis Gigs

12 Sep

If you love live music and you don’t like paying (or paying a lot) to experience it, then you may want to bookmark MyFreeConcert. Founder Andy Meyers says he started the site in 2009 because, being passionate about music, he was getting frustrated with navigating the different Web sites for free concerts.

“The idea was fairly simple: I noticed that there were a bunch of sites that existed for just free stuff, but nothing solely for music. Because the free sites are more broad, they can’t delve as deeply into a particular area,” Meyers says. “Then I noticed that there were a lot of music-centric Web sites that simply listed everything. So I wanted to put those two together and create a music-centric Web site focusing on just the free and cheap stuff in New York City.”

Meyers recalls so many great events, but a few stand out for him.

“Seeing Kid Cudi and others with many of our readers while sipping on Bacardi and watching Ron Harper shoot jumpers was pretty ridiculous,” he says. “Or the Creator’s Project from last summer: a full day of music with free booze and food the entire time.”

And while the site is an amazing source for music connoisseurs to find free concerts, it also offers some pretty great giveaways to concerts that would otherwise cost a pretty penny.

“We have two different kinds of giveaways, the first being the ones that are run exclusively through MyFreeConcert. These are done with various partnerships and are posted to our blog,” he explains. “Or sometimes we’ll simply have a few leftover tickets or an extra ‘plus-one’ lying around that we don’t want to see go unused.”

Meyers says MyFreeConcert has been lucky to have exclusive giveaways for concerts with artists like Adele, Lady Gaga, Incubus and Coldplay, as well as for festivals like The Bamboozle and Northside Festival.

“A few lucky readers got into the crazy-exclusive Kanye West show this June,”
he adds.

MyFreeConcert also lists contests from other sites.

“We aggregate as many as we can find on our page, so that people don’t have to wade through 50 blogs a day,” Meyers says.

Meyers says some freebies even come from fellow readers who have an extra ticket or need to unload tickets to a concert they can’t attend.

“For us, it is very important to have a fun dialogue going when it comes to running these giveaways.”

While Meyers has tons of stories about great free or almost-free concerts he and the site’s readers have been able to enjoy in the past, he says there are so many more to look forward to. That includes Multiverse Playground Part III, taking place this Saturday, September 17, which features art, music and stand-up comedy. And while not quite free (admission is only $8), expect complimentary Pabst Blue Ribbon, hot dogs courtesy of Crif Dogs and vitaminwater. And look to MyFreeConcert for the best free or cheap CMJ events this October.

Off (and on) Broadway

7 Sep

One of the best things about New York is that it is chock-full of culture–especially theater. London may have its West End, but I think there are more songs written about Broadway (“Lullaby of Broadway,” “On Broadway,” to name a few, versus “West End Girls” by the Pet Shop Boys). And this week, you can land yourself on- or Off-Broadway (as a theatergoer, not performer) for half-off. NYC & Company–the city’s official marketing organization–partnered with the Broadway League and The New York Times, among other companies, as well as the Off-Broadway League and Time Out New York to offer two-for-one tickets to some of the hottest shows in town. It’s the fourth Off-Broadway Week and the second Broadway Week.

According to NYC & Company’s Emily Mayrath, they came up with the promotion to boost ticket sales during traditionally slow periods, such as the end of summer. You can purchase Off-Broadway tickets starting this week through October 9 for performances from September 26 to October 9, and for Broadway shows until September 30 for performances between September 18 and September 30.

“There is something for everyone,” says George Forbes, President of the Off-Broadway League. “Off-Broadway Week gives New Yorkers and visitors a chance to experience the excitement of an Off-Broadway performance at a discounted price.”

The tickets are subject to availability and are only for certain sections. There are also some blackout dates. However, the very few restrictions didn’t get in the way of the people who bought out all of Wicked‘s two-for-one tickets in just three days! But don’t worry, there are plenty more shows to choose from: 15 Broadway and 25 Off-Broadway.

And, Amtrak Guest Rewards members can earn double Amtrak Guest Rewards® Points when buying Broadway Week tickets or members can redeem their points for tickets. (I’m sure that would be perfect for Vice President Biden!)

Below is a list of all the available shows. To get your tickets, visit either or



Bonus: Theatergoers can also enter the official Broadway Week Sweepstakes through September 30 for a chance to win two Broadway tickets a month for an entire year.

I’m Making the Rounds on Fox Stations Nationwide

2 Sep

Apparently, my appearance on My9 has been making the rounds on local Fox stations around the country. Here, I am informing viewers in Chicago earlier this week! And September 1, Atlanta residents who tuned into “Good Day Atlanta” also received some good freebie tips!

The Bloggains Guide to Fashion’s Night Out

28 Aug

Model Karlie Kloss (Photo: Craig McDean)

The third incarnation of Fashion’s Night Out (FNO)  is September 8.
And it can be overwhelming and intimidating, with more than 1,000 stores participating in New York City alone–and not just in Manhattan–as well as more than 250 stores in other cities. They stay open late, some
with live performances, DJs and
other offerings. According to Susan Portnoy, Fashion’s Night Out’s
Vice President for Corporate Communications & Digital Strategy, the original idea behind it was to give the the fashion industry a boost during the recession.  (If you want to see more on the conception of FNO, click here.)

“There are wonderful products being created especially for FNO as well as stores that are using a lot of interesting incentives that are tied to purchase,” says Portnoy.

But not every store has an incentive. So, I’ve whittled down a list of locations, including designer boutiques, restaurants and block parties, most offering  freebies to draw you in. From goody bags, food, cocktails and raffle prizes, to mini-makeovers, massages, manicures and makeup consultations–you can enjoy these perks during FNO without having to spend hundreds of dollars (you may even see some celebs if that’s your thing). Although, if you can, you should spend: Many businesses and designers–in addition to offering FNO-specific items or incentives for purchases–will donate a portion of their sales from the evening to charity. At the very least, buy a FNO T-shirt (long-sleeve version, $30, above) for $25 or tote bag for $50 (available at most participating stores): 40% of the proceeds will go to the New York City AIDS Fund in the New York Community Trust.

But if you consider yourself a charity case, below is a list of 27 places to hit if you want to score some swag. And note: Don’t be late; some spots only give out the goodies on a first-come, first-serve basis (while supplies last).

A Uno Tribeca
Image consulting for makeup, accessories and fashion, as well as live music, wine and snacks.
7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
123 West Broadway, Manhattan, 212-227-6233

Alice + Olivia
Sno-Cones, cotton candy, carnival games and raffle prizes.
6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
755 Madison Avenue, Manhattan, (212) 545-2895; 80 West 40th Street, Manhattan, (212) 840-0887

AnGG New York Boutique
Refreshments, cocktails and a raffle drawing at the end of the night for gift certificates worth up to $250.
6 p.m. to 11 p.m.
325 7th Street, Brooklyn, (718) 788-2898

ASH Footwear
Live music, a DJ, nail art by manicurist Tracy Lee, food and drinks.
6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
44 Mercer Street, Manhattan, (646) 422-7098

Bare Escentuals
Call ahead to make a reservation for a free “make-under.” Free limited-edition tote bag with any $50 purchase, while supplies last.
6 p.m. to 9 p.m. (6 p.m. to 11 p.m. at the Times Square store)
Multiple stores throughout Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island and Brooklyn; visit for locations

Betsey Johnson
The SoHo location will feature music from DJ Kalkutta, makeup by Stila Cosmetics and live models. The Upper West Side location will have hair by Faith and Reeva G. All three locations will offer cupcakes, champagne and a chance to win a Betsey Johnson tote.
6 p.m. to 10 p.m. in SoHo, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in other locations
138 Wooster Street, Manhattan, (212) 995-5048; 248 Columbus Avenue, Manhattan, (212) 362-3364; 1060 Madison Avenue, Manhattan, (212) 734-1257

Appearance from professional surfer Taj Burrow to celebrate his new line for Billabong, food, drinks and a DJ. The first 100 people to arrive will receive a free limited-edition gift. The first 50 people also will receive a free Billabong Jrs. tote.
7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
597 Broadway, Manhattan, (212) 840-0550

Bogner New York
Hors d’oeuvres, champagne and a free gift while supplies last.
6 p.m. to 11 p.m.
380 West Broadway, Manhattan, (212) 219-2757

Catherine Malandrino
A DJ, giveaways and cocktails. Meet Catherine Malandrino from 6 p.m. to
7:30 p.m.
6 p.m. to 11 p.m.
652 Hudson Street, Manhattan, (212) 929-8710

Crabtree & Evelyn
The first 30 visitors will receive a choice of a trial size of Crabtree & Evelyn’s new Pomegranate Soap, Body Lotion or Shower Gel. Enhanced gifts for purchases of $75 or more, door prizes and refreshments.
6 p.m. to 11 p.m.
10 Columbus Circle, Manhattan, (212) 823-9584

Elie Tahari
A special gift, music from DJ Maia, dessert and cocktails with celebrity chef Candice Kumai, style blogger Keiko Lynn and Elie Tahari himself to celebrate the launch of ETC, Tahari’s new online magazine.
6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
417 West Broadway, Manhattan, (212) 334-4441

Elizabeth Arden Flagship Store
Mini-services, cocktails by Dutch Kills, music from DJ Shan Boogie, raffles
and special gifts. Receive a complimentary eyelash application with any purchase of $50 or more. Call to RSVP for a full-access appointment and to reserve a special gift.
6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
691 5th Avenue, Manhattan, (212) 261-1254

Fiorentini + Baker
Music, cocktails and Italian delicacies. Meet designer Deborah Baker and enter to win a complimentary pair of boots or shoes of your choice.
6 p.m. to 11 p.m.
54 Mercer Street, Manhattan, (212) 226-7229

A DJ, mini-makeovers by NYX Cosmetics and mini-manicures. Join the GUESS List and make a $5.00 donation during the event to the NYC AIDS Fund and receive a goody-filled canvas tote that can be customized by a local graffiti artist.
6 p.m. to 11 p.m.
575 Fifth Avenue, Manhattan, (212) 922-9792; 537 Broadway, Manhattan, (212) 226-9545

“Karaoke Karnival” with celebrity appearances, performances, raffle prizes and complimentary carnival food and beverages.
6 p.m. to 11 p.m.
109 Third Avenue, Manhattan, (212) 677-3171

Maybelline New York
Free mini-makeovers, free tubes of Great Lash mascara while supplies last and music from DJ Chelsea Leyland. The first 300 guests will receive a limited edition Great Lash T-shirt designed by Patricia Field.
6 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Gansevoort Plaza, Little West 12th Street, Manhattan, (212) 984-4000

Champagne and a raffle for a chance to win a MCM fall/winter 2011 handbag.
6 p.m. to 11 p.m.
The Shops at The Plaza, 1 West 58th Street, Manhattan, (212) 832-2626

Live music, performance art, drinks from the Inwood Tea Bar and Chess Lounge at Nostylgia and a product giveaway to all attendees.
6 p.m. to 11 p.m.
251 Dyckman Street, Manhattan, (212) 304-0337

OTTE Tribeca
Snacks, cocktails, limited gift bags will include goodies from Tocca, Bluma Project, RGB Nail Polish, Bullet Magazine and OTTE. Also, a giveaway of one head-to-toe look from OTTE’s fall lookbook.
6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
37 North Moore Street, Manhattan, (212) 431-8501

Paper Doll Boutique and Beauty Bar
Free manicures, mini-massages, makeup applications, cocktails and giveaways.
6 p.m. to 11 p.m.
921 Fulton Street, Brooklyn, (718) 622-7867

A DJ, complimentary cocktails, gift totes for the first 25 people and a chance to win one of four $50 Pop gift certificates.
6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
310 Grand Street, Brooklyn, (718) 486-6001

Ricky’s NYC
Makeovers by Ricky’s NYC Elite Pro Beauty Team and Two Faced Cosmetics along with a complimentary specialty manicure by Dashing Divas led by Katy Perry’s nail Stylist Patricia Yankee or receive a $25 deep conditioning blow out by a Revolver Salon stylist with any skincare or cosmetics purchase of $40 or more. Also, champagne, snacks, a DJ, raffles and gift bags.
6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
2387 Broadway, Manhattan, (212) 721-0427

shadé brielle
Cupcakes, refreshments, gift bags, gifts with purchase, hourly door prizes and celebrity appearances.
6 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Visit to RSVP and for more details

Surface to Air
Early-arrival gifts, cocktails and an exclusive screening of Kid Cudi’s “Mr. Rager” video, directed by Surface to Air’s founder & CEO Jeremie Rozan.
7 p.m. to 11 p.m.
27 Mercer Street, Manhattan, (212) 529-1407

Teen Vogue
Teen Vogue-inspired Essie manicure stations, AriZona Iced Tea smoothies and Popsicle bars, a performance by Sky Ferreira, Teen Vogue‘s Andrew Bevan DJing and a chance to have Teen Vogue editors sign your Teen Vogue Handbook.
Bleecker Street at West 11th Street, Manhattan, (212) 286-7087

Vera Wang on Mercer
Follow Vera and @VeraWangGang on Twitter as they tour the city in a customized Mister Softee truck. Meet Vera while she serves fans their favorite ice cream flavor. Also, exclusive shopping incentives and giveaways.
6 p.m. to 11 p.m.
158 Mercer Street, Manhattan, (212) 286-7087

Via Spiga
Free gift with purchase as well as complimentary gelato and a chance to win a fall footwear wardrobe.
6 p.m. to 11 p.m.
487 Broadway, Manhattan, (212) 219-3999

All You Need Is a Dollar and a Drink

22 Aug

Ever wanted to buy someone a drink but thought, “Shoot, I can’t afford my drink and one for someone else!” Well, depending on the drink and the location, you can–through Bartab. Bartab’s mobile app (or Web site, allows you to buy $1 drinks at  participating bars for a friend–or yourself–and send it via Facebook, text or e-mail. The receiver then shows the bartender the virtual coupon and redeems the drink for another dollar.

According to Davis Schneider, spokesperson for Bartab’s parent company, Webtab Inc., the idea came after observing that Facebook trend of buying people virtual gifts (remember that scam!). Schneider says the thought was: “Everyone’s sending these fake, virtual drinks, why not send real drinks?” Thus, Bartab launched in May 2011 in San Fransisco.

He says the idea is to bring virtual interaction into the physical. Now, you can interpret that how you like (a way of enticing someone to meet you for a drink, possibly?). My friend just sent me a drink last week before we went to play trivia at Stone Creek Lounge (one of the more than 100 participating bars in New York City). I know so many people who don’t make a ton of money or are unemployed and don’t want to go out and spend. This is a great way to at least be able to be social without breaking the bank. And we so often loosely say to each other, “Let’s grab a drink.” It can, at times, be BS, right?  However, by sending someone a drink, it kind of forces you to actually drink together (hopefully).

There are some very minor catches: It’s not just for any drink, just the drinks listed for that bar. My friend sent me a black cherry vodka cocktail. With a splash of soda, it was quite good. Also, you can only claim one drink per hour and one per bar per day. So, technically, you could start at one place at 8 p.m., redeem your first Bartab drink, move onto another participating bar at 9 pm, redeem a drink there, and so on… Still, not too bad considering a drink in New York City can cost, on average, $14.

Bartab has more than 700 partner bars and restaurants in 17 markets now. Besides New York and San Francisco, it’s now available in Los Angeles, Denver, Seattle, Atlanta, Washington and Phoenix, to name a few other cities. Schneider says Bartab plans to partner up with liquor companies soon to offer branded products, both regionally and nationally. So sign up, add some money to your account via Mastercard or Visa and start drinking. Cheers!

If You Missed It, My Appearance on My9′s “The 10 O’Clock News”

16 Aug

If you missed it, here’s my advice on how to get freebies online, as well as locally–everything from medicines to toiletries and even movies–some of which I’ve mentioned in prior posts. Enjoy!

Watch Me on My9 News August 15

15 Aug

Before I post my next deal, I wanted to quickly mention (as I have for days via Twitter and Facebook) that I will be discussing freebies on My9′s The 10 O’Clock News tonight (Monday, August 15). Due to the preseason Jets game, it may actually air at 11 p.m. Click here for a preview…. and set your DVR!

Not Going Viral

3 Aug

Courtesy: AVG

In my online search for the driver software for my printer the other day, I made a wonderful discovery: what appeared to be reliable anti-virus software that was FREE!

I discovered AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 2011 on (click on the link to see the full review). With almost 400-million downloads, according to CNET–not to mention a great review–I decided to download it myself. My Norton subscription just happens to be up for renewal and this was better than spending the approximately $45 for it.

There is a version–Internet Security or IS–that sells for $54.99 and offers more features, but according to AVG spokesperson Tony Anscombe, the free and IS versions are comparable in their protection.

“The IS product has Anti-Spam, Firewall and other features integrated making it a single security solution,” he says.

The free version, however, is perfect for the casual personal computer user. It also includes what AVG calls “intelligent scanning,” which I think is a great idea.

“This means that if the user is using the machine, the scan takes [fewer] resources,” Anscombe explains. “When the user stops using the machine, the scan grabs them back. [It] stops any effect of slowdown; the user can adjust the priority of the scan.”

And, according to Anscombe, AVG improved Anti-Virus Free Edition 2011 over the last version, bringing the number installation screens down to five from 13, adding a fix button that allows the user to easily fix any issues all at once and leaving an icon on the desktop for easy access to common features.

However, an optional browser toolbar also adds easy access to several features, which includes scanning Web sites and e-mails for potentially harmful links.

“The toolbar is used to notify the user of potential threats during browsing,” says Anscombe. “All features still work without the toolbar installed, but easy visual notification from the toolbar makes the user more aware.”

Courtesy: AVG

That toolbar also notifies the user of new e-mails and Facebook messages, even if your browser isn’t open to the page. And the program regularly connects to AVG’s server to update threats and virus definitions. Basically, it’s pretty much all you need if you simply use your computer to surf the Internet–even to shop and pay bills–or write the occasional blog entry.

Anti-Virus Free Edition is only compatible with Windows 7, XP and Vista operating systems. Visit to download.