Monday, March 31, 2014

As Obamacare hits enrollment milestone, some call for cheaper plans

<Discountp>If you're familiar with the different levels of Obamacare coverage, you've probably heard of the "metal" levels: Bronze, silver, gold and platinum, in addition to catastrophic health plans.

There have been some suggestions recently to add a cheaper coverage level to the Affordable Care Act to help draw people into the program. Karen Ignagni, head of America's Health Insurance Plans, suggested it this past week. The Obamacare "fix" package offered by five centrist Democratic senators and one independent yesterday would also create a lower tier of coverage. Insurance industry consultant Bob Laszewski offered a similar idea on his blog this week.

It's all happened in the same week that Obamacare hit a symbolic target - 6 million signups and counting in the program's first year. What's still unclear is the health status of those joining the exchanges. Insurers say adding a cheaper level of coverage would help attract into the program healthier people, who might not feel that strongly about their need for health insurance.

"People could gradually get into the program so they could be part of the risk pool, so we don't hold healthier people outside so the process could be working the way it's designed," said AHIP's Ignagni on C-SPAN's "Newsmakers."

At some point, there's a limit to how cheap plans could get without a change to the law. Plans have to live by ACA caps on out-of-pocket costs, provider network requirements and a mandated set of 10 benefits. Obamacare allies that fought for the law's passage wouldn't be thrilled about weakening those requirements.

Sabrina Corlette of Georgetown University's Health Policy Institute said she doesn't see the need to add a cheaper coverage level into the mix. "It strikes me as a solution in search of a problem," she said. "When you look at enrollments and where enrollment is going in the marketplace, we're seeing people gravitate to silver and above."

According to the Obama administration's most recent monthly enrollment report, the mid-level silver plan has easily been the most popular in the Obamacare exchanges - 63 percent have selected that level of coverage, in which insurers pay 70 percent of the costs. People choosing silver plans can also get federal help with out-of-pocket costs if their incomes are under 250 percent of the federal poverty level. The bronze plans, which offer cheaper premiums but higher out-of-pocket costs, have been less popular in the exchanges, accounting for 18 percent of signups.

Just 1 percent of exchange enrollees have selected catastrophic plans, but only two categories of people can purchase catastrophic coverage - anyone under 30 years old, or anyone who had their health plan cancelled this past year. People also can't receive subsidies for catastrophic health plans.

One wild card is we don't know much about what level of coverage people are buying off the exchange, where subsidies aren't available. The online Web broker eHealthInsurance gave us a glimpse of that market this week, reporting that 14 percent of its customers during the last six months have picked catastrophic plans and 43 percent chose bronze - both much higher rates than what the exchanges have seen.

Ceci Connolly, managing director of PwC's Health Research Institute, said there's been a shift toward cheaper plans in the later months of the six-month enrollment period. But it's too early to say whether another cheaper coverage level could bring more people into the market.

"There's so much we need to learn from this first year," Connolly said. "It probably makes sense to collect some information and make a more informed decision for next year."

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Two coupon inserts coming in Sunday's N&O

Look for two Promo Codes inserts -- a Smart Source and the P&G BrandSaver -- in this Sunday's home-delivered Final Edition of The News & Observer. Plus, look for two coupons in Parade magazine.

All together, there will be 134 coupons with a face value of about $190.

As usual, I'll have the coupon database updated and the best of the drugstore deals posted early Sunday morning so you can get a jump on your bargain shopping for the week.

I'll also have a separate post listing the new deals you can score at Harris Teeter Super Doubles with the coupons.

Please note: Single-copy and State Edition papers may not contain all coupon inserts.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Nokia says Microsoft deal to be delayed by a month

Finnish handset maker Nokia on Monday said its $7.2 billion On Sales with software firm Microsoft is expected to be delayed by a month and will now be finalised by April due to pending regulatory approvals from some antitrust authorities in Asia.

The handset maker , which is facing multiple tax cases in India, added that the proceedings in the country will not affect the timing of the deal.

Last September, Nokia had announced it would sell a substantial part of its devices and services (D&S) business, including assets in India, to Microsoft for $7.2 billion by March 2014.

"It now expects the transaction whereby the company will sell substantially all of its D&S business and license its patents to Microsoft to close in April 2014," Nokia said in a statement on Monday.

Nokia and Microsoft remain committed to the transaction, it added.

The two companies have received most of the required regulatory approvals, including clearances from the European Commission and the US Department of Justice, it said.

"However, the transaction is pending approvals from certain antitrust authorities in Asia, which are still conducting their reviews," Nokia said.

The handset firm said it is confident the deal will close, resulting in the sale of substantially all of its D&S business to Microsoft.

"Nokia reiterates that ongoing tax proceedings in India have no bearing on the timing of the closing or the material deal terms of the anticipated transaction between Nokia and Microsoft," the Finnish firm said.

Microsoft said in a statement the completion of the deal will mark the first step to bring Microsoft and the Nokia D&S business together.

"We are nearing the final stages of our global regulatory approval process. To date we have received approvals from regulatory authorities in 15 markets on five continents.

Currently, we are awaiting approval confirmation in the final markets," Microsoft General Counsel and Executive VP (Legal & Corporate Affairs) Brad Smith said.

This work has been progressing and the firm expects it to close next month, in April 2014, he added.

"Our acquisition will accelerate our mobile-first, cloud-first imperatives. We're looking forward to accelerating innovation and market adoption for Windows Phones and introducing the next billion customers to Microsoft services via Nokia mobile phones," Smith said.

Last week, in another setback for Nokia, the Tamil Nadu government slapped a Rs 2,400 crore tax demand on the company related to devices sold from its Chennai factory.

Nokia has approached the Madras High Court challenging claims made by the Tamil Nadu government.

On March 14, the Supreme Court had refused to lift a restraint on the sale of its Indian assets in a separate case related to payment of tax dues.

The apex court dismissed Nokia's plea against a Delhi High Court order directing its parent company to give an undertaking it would fulfil the conditions related to payment of tax dues.

The apex court's decision not to interfere with the high court order had put hurdles for Nokia transferring its Chennai plant, which is a part of the deal with Microsoft.

Nokia's Chennai factory employs about 8,000 people, 20 per cent of them women, and about 30,000 sub-contractors.

For more news from Business Today, follow us on Twitter @bt_india and on Facebook at

Saturday, March 15, 2014


There is no other time of the year that compares to what is about to take place next week. That of course is March Madness and the NCAA Tournament. As conference championship week dwindles down to a close the NCAA Tournament bracket is quickly filling up as teams continue punching their tickets everyday. Presently there are 13 teams who have done just that by winning their respective conference tournaments.

As each year comes and goes so too do prices NCAA Tournament tickets which have increased each of the past three years. For instance in 2012 the average ticket Deal Now for the tournament was $215, in 2013 it went up more than 11% for an average price of $240 and this year its over $50 more than last year clocking in at a steep $292.

Getting a little deeper into the ticket data, we see that the East Region has an average price of $691, more than double the price of any other region. Currently, the West Region is averaging $287, the Midwest Region is averaging $263, and the South Region is averaging $226. Having a venue like Madison Square Garden hosting this year's East Regional is clearly driving up demand and ticket prices. If a team from the New York area, like Syracuse, ends up making it to the Sweet 16 in The Garden, expect to see that average price increase dramatically.

That astonishing average price of the East Region, up 114% from last year alone, is the highest of any we have on record with the next closest being the 2013 West Region which went for $342. In fact the East Region has such a high average ticket price this year that only the Final Four All Sessions ticket is the only one that is more expensive at $1,100 while a regular Final Four ticket goes for $641 and the Championship Game at $631. Ironically, the average price Final Four tickets this year is currently $641, with a get-in of $142, and is the only round that has a lower average price this year compared to both 2012 and 2013. Those two average prices for Final Four tickets were $723 in 2012 and $888 in 2013. This is most likely due to match-ups and fans of those final four teams driving up demand and price. Obviously, with this year's final four match-ups still weeks away from being decided fans are still waiting patiently to see if their team makes the big dance.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Amazon has a few deals on Wii U games

Deal Today has some great deals again on Wii U titles, if you're looking for a new game to play.

Occasionally we like to focus on great Wii U deals for gamers who make have missed a title when it was originally released. Amazon currently has several titles on sale for Wii U, including recently released titles. If you haven't had a chance to pick these up, now is the time. If you know of a deal we haven't listed here, be sure and comment so others can see it.

These are for Amazon in the United States. If you're from Europe and want to share some of the deals you find available with online retailers there, be sure and share them in the comments!

Online Coupons: Where Can You Find Them?

If you shop online often, you may be aware that there are many online coupons available that can help you save money on your purchases. These coupons can help you get items for free with a purchase, get free shipping on your purchase or save a certain percentage off your total purchase. Almost every online story has online coupons available, you just have to know where to find them.

Coupons Websites
The easiest way to find coupons for your favorite online stores is to search coupon websites. There are many of these online and they can all offer different savings, deals, and offers. Most will offer information and restrictions on the coupons and even tell you if the coupon code you want to use is still working or has expired. A few of the most popular online coupons websites are RetailMeNot, CouponCabin, and DealCatcher.

Store Newsletters
If you shop at a store often, you may have been asked if you would like to subscribe to their online newsletter that is delivered to your email inbox on a regular basis. While you may not opt for this subscription because you think of the newsletter as spam, you could be missing out on some great store coupons. These newsletters often contain information on deals, sales, and special offers and even Amazon Deal that can be used online.

Ads And Inserts
While you might not think that ads and coupon inserts would have coupons that can be used online, you are wrong. If you look carefully on certain coupons and ads, you will find that there is a code that can be used to enter the coupon online. Not every coupon will have this option, but many do. It's worth checking out if you have a few inserts or ads around your home.

If you shop online often, it is worth finding coupons that you can use to save money. What are you favorite coupon sites or where do you find your online coupons?

Image via Wikimedia Commons

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Amazon Deal: HTC One is Now Free With a Contract

Every day we search for the best smartphone and tablet deals and now we've found a free HTC One at Promotional">Amazon with a two-year contract with Verizon or Sprint, while with an AT&T plan is $49.

The HTC One is still a really good smartphone, even though it's been released one year ago. It's hardware is not outdated yet and this deal makes it worth if you're looking for a new smartphone that won't empty your pockets.

Amazon has the deal available for all three major carriers in the US and you can order the 32GB HTC One by clicking the following links: Verizon, Sprint, AT&T.

The HTC One comes with a 4.7-inch Super LCD3 1080p Full HD display with a 1,080×1,920 pixels resolution and a density of 469PPI, a quad-core 1.7Ghz Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor, Adreno 320 GPU, 2GB of RAM, and 32GB of internal memory. Out of the box it comes with Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean, but it cna be updated to Android 4.4.2 KitKat, which is the latest version.

The Taiwanese maker has done a great job with their smartphone and it's been praised by most customers and critics. It's camera is also one of the best, even though it has only a 4MP sensor, marketed as Ultrapixel.

It's considered the most beautiful smartphone and it's built out of aluminium, making it feel premium and looking really good. Also it has probably the best sound quality, with the two stereo front speakers.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

QPR v Leeds United: live stream guide and Championship preview

Posted by 1st March 2014, 10:03am

Queens Park Rangers take on Leeds United in a crucial Sky Bet Championship clash. Find out how you can watch a live stream of the game from Loftus Road here.

Where: Loftus Road, London

When: 12:15 GMT

Watch live: to watch on NowTV from Sky! Read on for a 50% discount!

Leeds United travel to Loftus Road to face Queens Park Rangers in an intriguing Sky Bet Championship battle, with both sides in middling form.

The hosts have lost their last three league games, and having led the division for much of the season, have dropped to fourth place in the table - seven points adrift from the automatic promotion spots.

QPR are missing star midfielder Joey Barton through suspension, as well as Alejandro Faurlin and Danny Simpson, while Charlie Austin and Matty Phillips' absences will see them miss approximately two months - which could prove damaging to their promotion hopes in the remainder of the campaign.

The loan signing of Ravel Morrison from West Ham United could prove a masterstroke from Harry Redknapp, but Leeds United have had a few tricks up their sleeves themselves.

Brian McDermott has brought Stoke City goalkeeper Jack Butland and Connor Wickham of Sunderland to Elland Road on loan, and both promising Englishmen will be hopeful of making starts here.

Tom Lees may return to the heart of the Leeds defence, while Alex Mowatt will be hopeful of gaining a place. El Hadji Diouf did not travel to west London.

The match will be live on Sky Sports with coverage starting at 12pm. If you don't have a Sky subscription why not grab yourself a NOW TV Sky Sports Day Pass - Pay As You Go access to all 6 Sky Sports channels for the first time ever!

fanatix has partnered with NOW TV to offer a special discount to our readers. Get 50% off usual price of £9.99 for a Sky Sports 24 hour day pass by entering this Best Buy: AFFSPORTS50

Click here to watch QPR v Leeds with a Now TV Sky Sports Day Pass.

You can enjoy all six Sky Sports channels live for 24 hours without a contract and because the 24 hours starts when the pass is activated, not when it's bought, you don't have to wait until kick off to get yours.

Friday, February 28, 2014

These Retailers Must Be Crazy to Partner With Amazon

You can tell just how desperate retailers are to gain sales when they're willing to give the greatest threat to their existence access to their greatest asset, their customers. They're putting their own heads into a noose by which their biggest rival will hang them, and they're doing so willingly.

We saw in the run-up to Christmas retailers' wild-eyed fear that seasonal sales would implode, a fear that has largely been borne out over the ensuing weeks as dismal holiday earnings numbers have been released. That only confirmed their clouded judgment, as The Wall Street Journal reported last week that some 10 name-brand retailers, from Abercrombie & Fitch to Neiman Marcus, will partner with Promotional to feature products on the online e-commerce king's website but complete the sales on their own sites.

It's a sneaky maneuver by Amazon, allowing the e-tailer to gain incredibly important insights into its brick-and-mortar rivals' customers, leverage it can then use to steal them back and ultimately sink the competition. We've seen these stealth schemes deployed before by Amazon; the only surprise is how often it's able to hoodwink its rivals into letting the fox guard the henhouse.

Several years ago both RadioShack and office supplies leader Staples let Amazon place lockers in their stores where its customers could pick up packages they ordered from the website. The thinking apparently was that while Amazon shoppers were in their stores they'd pick up some pencils or a capacitor or two, incrementally leading to higher sales for the retailer. Instead, RadioShack and Staples found they were only bolstering the competition's preeminence at their own expense, and both companies quickly ended the partnership.

Then last year Amazon launched a program called Amazon Source for independent booksellers to sell Kindle devices and e-books and earn a commission on the proceeds from their sale. With both Wal-Mart and Target refusing to sell the Kindle, the program was touted as a win-win partnership since Amazon could reach more customers while the booksellers would offer a technology readers have been moving toward in greater numbers anyway. Amazon managed to get at least two booksellers to sign up for the program, but the American Booksellers Association decried it as a blatant attempt to steal customers from the already hard-pressed retailers.

Amazon is once again pushing the latest cooperative program as an "everybody wins" idea. Amazon Prime customers, who are facing a hike in the $79 annual fee they pay for access to the service, would get free shipping on the items they ended up buying directly from the retailers. They also get a broad spectrum of brand-name clothes to choose from without the hassle of surfing to each company's individual site.

As for the retailers themselves, they will presumably get more traffic than they otherwise might, understanding their customers are trolling Amazon's website anyway, so they may as well get a potential sale out of it. Unfortunately, that sounds an awful lot like what RadioShack, Staples, and the booksellers were saying when they convinced themselves partnering with Amazon was a good idea, only to realize later on that the e-commerce leader was simply leading them down a crooked path to ruin.

Perhaps the retailers have a backup plan in place for when swoops in and steals their customers, but they're crazy if they think they'll come out on top.

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The article These Retailers Must Be Crazy to Partner With Amazon originally appeared on

Rich Duprey has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends The Motley Fool owns shares of and Staples. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Wednesday, February 26, 2014


<Coupon Codeh2>Cover

Yasir Osman Has Taken a Long, Twisting Ride to Entrepreneurship When Yasir Osman arrived in New York from his homeland of Sudan in 1989, he had $100 in his pocket [...]



Farms, Open Space Shape Belchertown's Outlook The sun shone brightly on almost a foot of snow as Steve Lanphear pruned apple trees in his Belchertown orchard. Although the temperature hovered [...]


Difference Makers to Be Feted on March 20 at the Log Cabin You might call this the 'Home Depot class.' Indeed, there are some notable building, or home-restoration, stories involving [...]


Special Features

At Webber & Grinnell, the Devil Is in the Details The sales pitch at Webber & Grinnell Insurance often comes down to one simple question: what are you not covered [...]


Partners at chikmedia Say Marketing Shouldn't Be Stressful Meghan Rothschild was taken aback by how Bob Lowry, owner of Bueno y Sano, described her new marketing firm's work: "zany things [...]


New York Sound and Motion Invests in the Big Picture When Ed Brown interned for a neighbor's lighting and gaffing business during one of his college summers home on Long [...]


Phillips Insurance Agency Specializes in Surety Bonds Joseph Phillips is drawing a triangle to illustrate how a surety bond works. One leg is upheld by a contractor, and the other [...]


If the Answer Is 'No,' the Consequences Could Be Costly By MICHAEL LEVIN When it comes to cyber security and data breaches, no system is infallible. Some of the largest [...]


A chart of insurance agencies in the region Click here to download the PDF


Springfield-based TSM Design Opens Second Office in Hartford Nancy Urbschat recalls the moment she and her team at TSM Design saw the small yet attractive office space in the historic [...]


As Speech-recognition Technology Improves, More Applications Emerge Speech-recognition technology, which instantly translates human speech into a digital document or command, has been around in some form for about two decades. [...]


A chart of area web development companies Click here to download the PDF


A listing of available commercial sites Click here to download the PDF


Clerk of Courts Laura Gentile Has a Lot on Her Docket For almost two decades, Laura Gentile has been exposed to plenty of things she'd rather not think about - [...]


Auto Dealers Expect Sales to Accelerate in 2014 By MICHAEL REARDON With the recession in the rear-view mirror, the automobile industry is poised for another successful year fueled by a [...]



Cloud of Uncertainty Hangs Over Casinos This should be a time of great anticipation and, yes, celebration for some players in the casino industry - and, likewise, in communities like [...]


Cost Report Creates False Impressions By LYNN NICHOLAS The state's Health Policy Commission (HPC) just released its latest Cost Trends Report, in which it claims Massachusetts healthcare providers - primarily [...]


Monday, February 24, 2014

Daily Deals for February 24 2014, featuring Painter X3

<Promo Codesp>It's time to save some of that hard-earned cash with our Daily Deals, featuring exclusive TUAW Deals, a handy list from Dealnews and our own handpicked iOS and OS X selections.

TUAW's Daily Deals

Become A Digital Artist With Painter X3 [On sale for $299, down from $429]

A complete art studio at your fingertips!

Whether you're an illustrator, concept artist, traditional artist, professional photographer, or designer, Corel® Painter® X3 will give you all the tools you need to unlock new artistic possibilities.

With hundreds of customizable brushes, paper textures and wet and dry media that look and feel just like the real thing, Painter replicates real-world art supplies more realistically than any other paint program on the market.

Plus, new features and Photoshop compatibility makes it easy for artists of all skill levels to learn and use Painter.

Save 30% on Become A Digital Artist With Painter X3 at TUAW Deals.

Griffin 3.5mm Auxiliary Audio Cable [On sale for $6.99, down from $25]

Ramp up your road trip playlist or DJ a spectacular house party with this essential cable, which connects any audio device to your speaker system of choice - car, home speaker system or portable boom box. This cord gives you the versatility for any situation!/p>

Save 72% on Griffin 3.5mm Auxiliary Audio Cable at TUAW Deals.

Deals from Dealnews

  • StackSocial: [Mac Software] Name Your Own Price 8-Course Learn To Code Bundle for $10
  • Other World Computing: [Computer Accessories] OWC Garage Sale: Deals from 50 cents on RAM, accessories, computers, more
  • REI: [Laptop Carrying Case] The North Face Crevasse Laptop and Tablet Pack for $59 + free shipping
  • ExperCom: [Mac Pro] Apple Mac Pro Xeon Quad w/ 28" 3840x2160 4K LED LCD for $3,442 + $17 s&h
  • [Laptop Accessories] Foldable Laptop Stand for DJs for $25 + $9 s&h (updated)
  • [iPad Accessories] Refurbished Logitech Keyboard with Cover for iPad for $19 + free shipping
  • VM Innovations: [Headphones] VM Innovation, Sennheiser Headphones from $13 + free shipping
  • StackSocial: [iPhone Cases] TaskOne Multi-Tool iPhone 5/5s Case for $65 + free shipping
  • Best Buy: [Watches] MetaWatch STRATA Watch for iPhone 4S / 5 or Android for $90 + free shipping
  • eBay: [Networking Cables] 50-Foot CAT5e Ethernet Cable for $4 + free shipping
  • eBay: [Microphones] K700 Condenser Microphone for $46 + free shipping
  • MegaMacs: [iMac] Refurbished Apple iMac Ivy i5 Quad 27" Desktop for $1,100 + $34 s&h

iOS Software Discounts

OS X Software Discounts

Note: All prices are USD and subject to change. Some deals may expire quickly. TUAW is not responsible for third-party deals and cannot guarantee availability or quality of any particular product at a specific price.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Know Which Online Retailers Offer Coupons Via Live Chat


Can't find a coupon code anywhere? With the growing "live chat" customer service trend, many operators are trained to hand out Price Compare to polite shoppers that simply ask. I did the research and found a dozen of the most popular retailers that'll hand out a code via live chat to shoppers who play their cards right.

This post originally appeared on Rather Be Shopping.

Here is what I discovered (in alphabetical order):

Bass Pro Shops

One popular online store that readily hands out coupons via live chat is, which is a huge shopping destination for hunters, fishermen, and outdoors-men. If you can't find a coupon the traditional way, be sure to pull up a live chat session and politely see if they have a coupon code up their sleeves. A few tips:

  • Always be polite and courteous when asking for a coupon since your words are all you have when trying to score an online discount.
  • [Customer service agent] Debi immediately hooked me up with a coupon code good for free shipping on my entire order. This coupon did exclude boats, but luckily I'm not in the market for a new boat!
  • If live chat fails to bring you a coupon at Bass Pro Shops make sure to check out their Facebook page as they have currently have a couple coupons posted on their wall.

Birthday Express and Celebrate Express

If you're in the planning mode for your child's next birthday party or any other big shindig, be sure to hit up a live chat operator for a coupon at Celebrate or Birthday Here's the skinny:

  • Both websites use the same coupon codes so you can start the live chat feature from either site and the codes will work on both.
  • Leslie hooked me up immediately with a coupon code good for 15% off your $75+ regular-priced merchandise total. Not a great coupon but certainly handy for larger purchases.

Dress Barn

For those who love to shop for bargains at you're going to want to get well acquainted with their live chat feature. Here are a few tips:

  • I got the impression that my operator, Laurel, had a big list of coupon codes at her disposal. I say this because she said "Try PRES14″ as if she had other codes up her sleeve if for some reason it didn't work.
  • So if you're buying more than one item, or any sale items, ask the Dress Barn operator for a coupon that better fits your online order. I think you'll be happily surprised with the results.


For those of you not familiar with, they sell athletic footwear, apparel, and training equipment. They are known for their amazing selection but tend to also be on the expensive side so you'll always want to shop with an Eastbay coupon code. Here is how I scored one from live chat:

  • I was having trouble viewing their website and asked my operator, Dan, if they had any current coupons. He told me they did and it was viewable during step four of the checkout process.
  • I told him I couldn't see it on the website and he was able to tell me the coupon code needed to collect 20% off.
  • This is a good strategy for any website you're having trouble using as many retailers will give you a coupon for your inconvenience.


I can only assume that the Foot Locker live chat operators are sitting at their desk wearing a stripped ref shirt with a whistle around their neck.

  • My Foot Locker live chat buddy, Aaron, hooked me up with a free shipping on $75 or more coupon code. Not great, but if you shop regularly at Foot Locker you already know that most of their shoes are priced above $75.
  • I tried to get something better out of Aaron, like 20% off, but he did not have another coupon for me. He said that later in the month he'd have a 20% off coupon, but nothing right now.
  • I asked him if better Footlocker coupons typically come out later in the month and he confirmed this to be true.

Home Depot

Next, I hit up Jen via live chat at The Home and asked her for a coupon code. She was unable to provide one but she did offer a pretty cool service that is worth sharing.

  • I told her I was doing a kitchen remodel and looking for a coupon for a new dishwasher. The washer was already on sale for close to 25% off and no additional savings were available but she was incredibly familiar with the washer and was able to answer all my questions. Very handy if you are doing a big remodel and have a bunch of questions.
  • Jen was by far the most helpful live chat operator I have ever talked to in terms of product knowledge. Well done Home Depot.


I was really impressed with the live chat operator at, who ironically was also named Jill. I wonder if they only hire gals named Jill? But anyways, she really went beyond the call of duty.

  • First, Jill hooked me up with a free shipping coupon and then she dropped the 411 on where to find the best deals. She told me J.Jill was offering their entire "Sale and Outlet" section for an additional 30% off for a limited time. No code needed.
  • I love when live chat operators tell me where they most savings can be found on that particular day.
  • Also be sure to follow J.Jill on Twitter as they are known for dropping exclusive coupons on their feed on a weekly basis.


L.L.Bean is known for their quality clothing and outstanding customer service that includes a 100% satisfaction guarantee. These days they always offer free shipping on your purchase but rarely have other coupons. Your chances increase greatly if you use their live chat feature as they want you to finalize your purchase today. Here's the best strategy:

  • Be polite, maybe even compliment them on how happy you have been with prior L.L.Bean purchases. In other words, butter them up a little then ask for a coupon to help you save a little money today.
  • I was able to get a 10% off coupon code to apply to my purchase. Not huge savings, but well worth the few minutes it took to get my discount.

Lands' End

There is little doubt the live chat feature at Lands' End will pay off for you in one way or another. Here is the direct link to a Lands' End live chat operator. Here is your best strategy for savings:

  • By being polite and direct I was able to score an online coupon for 30% off all merchandise with free shipping on $50 or more.
  • Lori, my live chat operator, was very receptive to helping me save some money and she had excellent knowledge of Lands' End sizing and styles which was a very nice bonus.
  • If you can't find a Lands' End coupon always open up a live chat session and politely ask for one. Chance of success: 95% at the very least.

Office Depot

I opened up an Office Depot live chat session I was not very confident that I would get a coupon code as they can be pretty tight about handing them out. But my buddy Bobbi delivered the goods. Here is your best strategy:

  • I simply asked for a $10 off $50 or more coupon and was given it right out of the box, next time I will amp it up and ask for a 20% off coupon. I got nothing to lose.
  • Also, it is worth noting that over the years I have received tips that the Office Depot Facebook page is also a great resource to score a coupon when 'Live Chat' doesn't deliver the goods.


I was really impressed with the customer service live chat employee "Sweety" gave me. Here is how it went down:

  • After I asked her if she had any coupons I could use, she asked me to make sure my order was in my virtual shopping cart so she could take a look at it and find the best coupon for me. Pretty cool.
  • After I placed my photo-book in my cart, she took a look at it and came back with the very generous offer of a $10 credit on my photo-book on top of the 25% off site-wide offer Shutterfly was already offering.
  • Tip: Make sure you add the maximum number of stuff you want to order in your cart, open a live chat session and start negotiating the best coupon you can get.


For those of you not familiar with Snapfish, similar to Shutterfly, they specialize in taking your photos and turning them into amazing prints, gifts, and cool books and calendars. Your order total can add up pretty quickly so be sure to hit up the Snapfish live chat feature and ask for a coupon code.

  • I simply asked for a coupon code, nothing specific, and my buddy "Shashank" hooked me up with a 30% off coupon. I couldn't help but think of Morgan Freeman as I collected my savings.
  • They typically allow you to stack coupons so feel free to politely ask for a free shipping coupon as well. They often have a free shipping coupon on $25 or more.

Have you had any success scoring a coupon code at other online retailers using their live chat feature? Let us know in the discussion below.

Ask For a Coupon | Rather Be Shopping

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Saturday, February 22, 2014

Editorial: Make sure taxpayers get the best deal for prison plan

The Republican majority of the Utah House - including many members who make all or part of their living by buying, selling and developing real estate - really wants to move the state prison off all that yummy land in Draper and turn it over to the private sector. Really, really.

The good news is that they want the prison site so badly that they are at least promising to give the people of Utah something very valuable indeed in return. And that is not just a shiny new prison, which will probably sit somewhere to the west of the Wasatch Front, but what sounds like a comprehensive reform of the whole Utah correctional system.

That's the Discount deal the taxpayers are likely to get. But we should make sure to hold our brokers, er, representatives accountable for following through on their offer.

The House Republican caucus gave its blessing Thursday to House Joint Resolution 19. That's the measure that ratifies the conclusions of the state's Prison Relocation and Development Authority - the initials of which are also the brand name of a very expensive purse - in finding that the prison that sits on some 700 acres near the Point of the Mountain should find a new location and the current site be turned over to the market forces that have already transformed the area into a sea of bricks, glass and concrete.

The vision, of course, is that the land will go back on the local tax rolls and create a boon in economic activity.

The dark side of that view, of course, is that we might think we are just moving a storage yard. But we're moving a prison, with custody of a few thousand souls who must not simply be housed and fed, but treated, educated and prepared for a re-entry into society with, hopefully, the skills they will need to survive inside the law.

That requires more than even the newest bricks, beds and security cameras. It requires programs, experts, volunteers, medical care and a minimum of separation from families and other support systems that are always crucial in helping inmates make it on the outside.

The good news is that HJR19 makes careful and explicit note of all that. It sets out that the planning for a new prison include consideration of all those factors, including that every effort should be made to reduce, or at least slow the growth, of the number of people Utah incarcerates.

That, plus a demand that the sale and development process for both the new prison and the old site be as transparent as possible, could still make this a good idea.

But the people of Utah need to stand guard to make sure that happens.

Monday, February 3, 2014

New V2 Cigs Coupon Codes Released During the Largest Sale of the Year

LOS ANGELES, CA -- (Marketwired) -- 01/30/14 -- ECigBuzz, known primarily for providing trustworthy e-cig reviews online, has released exclusive V2 Cigs coupon codes during a one day sales event. V2 eCigs has teamed up with leading review website ECigBuzz to offer the biggest discount on their products available anywhere online. Shoppers looking to save 65% can use the Amazon Deal Online "ECIGBUZZ15" and for 40% discount on flavor cartridges use "ECIGBUZZ10" until the 30th of January, and it even works in combination with any official promotions.

The new V2 coupons can be viewed here:

V2 Cigs has been awarded the number one position among the popular e-cigarette brands reviewed by ECigBuzz. The company has succeeded in maintaining its slot in the top 10 list, which is a clear proof of its manufacturing quality that manages to counter competition from its fellow brands, relentlessly. V2 has a robust standing in terms of reputation. ECigBuzz helps consumers in making the right choices by offering objective assessments of the pros and cons of each e-cigarette brand through its regular reviews.

Speaking about the innovative V2 eCigs, a company spokesperson commented, "The V2 Cigs electronic cigarette is a revolutionary alternative to traditional cigarettes. V2 electronic cigarettes offer an authentic smoking experience without the smoke, ash and odor produced by tobacco cigarettes."

The first V2 Cigs coupon code is ECIGBUZZ15, which provides a 65% discount on starter kits. So, if a user is making a switch from the traditional cigarette, this could be a great way to save as much as possible on kit purchases. The V2 Cigs promo code for the second offer is ECIGBUZZ10, which provides for a stellar 40% discount on flavor cartridge purchases. For both offers, the discount codes need to be entered at checkout and the savings are then deducted from the total purchase amount.

For smokers who have already switched to e-cigarettes, these V2 coupons hold the promise of comprehensive savings on one of the most coveted e-cig brands. And for those who are still contemplating a switch, this could prove to be an opportunity like no other.

About ECigBuzz:

ECigBuzz is an online e-cig review, news, and opinion site.

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Published January 30, 2014 – Reads 175
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Saturday, February 1, 2014

Promo Code for Motley Crue Tickets: Customers of are Enjoying Deep Savings on Motley Crue Tickets for Sale by Using a Promotional Code

GERMANTOWN, Wis., Jan. 31, 2014 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- A Coupon Code for Motley Crue tickets can be found at, enabling customers to obtain seats for the group's "Final Tour" at very reasonable prices. The musicians have come to the decision to retire, and hard rock music fans will be eagerly seeking Motley Crue tickets for sale.


The members of the group have signed a contract claiming that they are breaking up and will tour one last time. Each musician has plans that he will put into action once the tour has wrapped up. In the meantime, music fans can find Motley Crue tickets for sale that will give them one last chance to catch a live performance. This is an opportunity that should not be passed up, especially when a promo code for Motley Crue tickets will bring the price of seats down even lower.

Shows in the United States and Canada will take the performers through North America from the 2nd of July until the 21st of November. Toronto, Edmonton, Calgary, and Vancouver are on the tour schedule for Canadian fans who are interested in attending a final show. U.S. residents in a number of locations from coast to coast will also have the same chance to obtain tickets for an upcoming event.

Throughout the band's 33 years in the music industry, the group has released nine albums with over 100 million copies selling around the globe. Since the musicians have developed a huge following of devotees who have enjoyed their music over the years, tickets may sell out quite rapidly for final events. When the road trip concludes, the band will no longer tour as a group, and each member will go his own way, executing whatever plans he has in mind. has many Motley Crue tickets for sale that customers will want to obtain. To take advantage of lower prices, patrons can use a promo code for Motley Crue tickets that will bring about instant savings.

Media Contact: Andrea Pedersen,, 262-422-9800,

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Published January 31, 2014 – Reads 130
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Saturday, January 25, 2014

Our Turn: No plans to kick the planning habit

Milestone birthdays matter. At least, in the world according to Pinterest, some parents and myself.

Guilty of whipping out the paper cutter more often than necessary, I've been known to design invites to parties of three, so imagine my enthusiasm as my husband's birthday nears.

Whether it's the result of my history in the hospitality business or the remnants of my third-grade passion to become "an artist," when I hear the word milestone, I immediately start planning a menu or choosing a location.

Unfortunately, when my husband hears "milestone" he thinks about mortality, death and the disappearance of his wife, who can be found either in the craft room or discreetly using up all the printer ink.

Each year I assume "no surprises" and "no big crowds" — knowing my better half would always choose intimate and small to a lavish celebration.

But in spite of his lower-than-average expectations, I still wake up at 3 a.m. with the perfect "small meets big" celebration idea only to forget it by 8. I rally friends who will never be included for ideas, ask restaurants for their availability without confirming reservations and likely hassle my mother-in-law with incessant emails.

Consumed with planning, he can see determination on my face as the day nears. I'm no longer listening, but instead heating up my hot glue gun and trying to book a theater in which he can watch his birthday "video card."

If "gift-giving-anxiety" is a thing, I have it. I thrive on the successful gifts so much that every birthday is outdone the next year. A trip to the beach turns into a weekend away, lunch includes a show and likely a hotel stay afterward. Dinner is a three-course meal paired with the perfect brew and ended with a three-tier cake.

Regardless of the year we're celebrating, the outcome is never that small, so the awareness that "this birthday matters more than most" causes an all-new pressure for planners like me, whose calendars are marked with more exclamation points than numbers.

And so imagine my surprise, and eventual satisfaction, when my mortality-obsessed husband came clean about my non-surprise plans for 14 people.

Too much, too many.

"Guest of honor" is a cardstock crown my man never plans to wear.

No sooner had he confessed before my early morning wake-up calls ceased. No longer stressed by concerns about my checking account or whom I may have left out, instead plans for possible chinese chinese new year cards food were made, friends were alerted via email, and my husband's face began to show less concern and more acceptance, with what might even be a hint of enthusiasm.

But, while I quieted his Aquarian concern and we reached a Gemini-friendly compromise, one twin agreed while the other secretly wondered if I would still have time for paper invitations, now that we had finally come to an understanding on the nature of the celebration.

Surely, a follow-up to the email request is called for; after all, this is a milestone birthday.

Just two. Two, real paper invitations, hand-written addresses. A keepsake, for my sake, not his.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Amazon denies reports it is in early stages of streaming pay TV service


Amazon would not be not the only service attempting to chip away at the monopolies cable companies have on distribution.Simon Dawson/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Amazon has denied a report that it plans to roll out a pay TV streaming service that will feature live programming from several media companies, according to USA Today.

The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that Amazon had approached at least three media companies, citing people familiar with the matter.

Amazon now offers on-demand TV shows and movies free to customers who are members of its premium shipping service, Prime. A move toward such online streaming would add live television channels to the on-demand video service and come as a challenge to cable- and satellite-television service providers.

If the service did come into fruition, the world's largest online retailer would join the ranks of several other companies trying to own the living room with TV programming piped through the Internet. Intel attempted a similar move, though it scrapped its ambitions and sold its project to Verizon on Tuesday for an undisclosed sum.

The venture would also add to the growing number of services popping up that are eating away at the profit margins of legacy distribution companies like Comcast and Time Warner.

Television giants tend to be reluctant to make distribution deals that might upset long-standing partners whose fees and payments have fueled industry growth.

Companies like Netflix and Hulu have seen their customer base grow by 4 percent in the past two years, while TV subscriptions have dropped 6 percent, according to research from the NPD Group. Google's YouTube and Microsoft are also working to step up their streaming-video program services.

It's not just cable companies that have their backs against the wall. The four big broadcast companies have waged an all-out war on the streaming service Aereo, which uses digital "antennas" to broadcast local TV channels without paying the companies the traditional lucrative retransmission fee.

Aereo's customers, instead of paying cable companies a sizable monthly fee, pay the service as little as $8 a month for access to local channels and a collection of syndicated programs, movies and children's programming. The company also offers limited Spanish-language channels.

The Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether Aereo has the right to operate without paying the broadcasters. So far, lower courts have sided with Aereo.

Verizon, meanwhile, announced on Tuesday that it is buying Intel Media for an undisclosed price. The chip-making giant intended to deliver movies and TV programming to customers via the Internet cloud, but the project never got off the ground.

Verizon said the acquisition "will accelerate the availability of next-generation video services" delivered to devices, including mobile phones and tablets.

The deal includes intellectual property rights and other assets for Intel's OnCue Cloud TV platform. Verizon will also offer to keep the 350-person Intel unit, which will continue to be based in Santa Clara, Calif.

Al Jazeera and Reuters

Cable companies have struggled to keep their subscriber base in recent years, as more people opt out over costly cable bills, poor customer service and subscriber-fee disputes between the distributors and media companies - like the recent feud between Time Warner and CBS - that leave millions of customers without access to channels they have paid to receive.