The Best and The Worst of 2009

As 2009 draws to a close, I’m reminiscent of all the awesome things that happened in my own life and on my blog.  While I didn’t save up to pay cash for a house, I did however have an incredible year of savings!

The Best of Blogging and Life Changes

- I provided healthy and organic foods for my family for under $40 a week.

- I stepped out of my comfort zone and taught my first couponing class.

- I was named one of Savings.com’s Top 30 Deal Pros and was flown out to San Francisco for an exclusive event with other bloggers.

- My site traffic more than doubled.

- I launched Forums and a Chat Room on my site.

-We cut out our home phone bill by switching to Magic Jack, and haven’t looked back! Phone service now only costs us $20 a year!

-We cut our Cable TV, but still are able to watch all of our favorite shows for under $10 a month.  More will come on this later.

- I personally scored a FREE Wii and Wii Fit, and dropped two pant sizes by working out!

The Best Freebies

Disney Pixar’s UP for free on Blu-Ray and DVD, Disney’s Tinkerbell and the Lost Treasure for free on Blu-Ray and DVD, Free Chick Fil A Sandwich, $10 in free gas at Shell or Jiffy Lube, $10 in free food from Swan’s, Free subscription to Woman’s Day magazine, $25 in free groceries from Kraft., Glade Soy Candles, 3 lb. Bag of Organic Honeycrisp Apples, Full Sized Bottle of Old Orchard Juice., Free Lunches at Ted’s Montana Grill., Free International Delight Coffee Creamer and More International Delight Coffee CreamerFree EOS Organic Lip Balm, Free $15 Credit on Shutterfly, Stacy’s Pita Chips, Coupon for a Free Quik Trip Sandwich, Salad or Wrap (you know, I think this has reset again!), $25 in Free Sharpie Products, Seventh Generation Laundry  Sheets and Seventh Generation Dish Soap, Free Organic Hand Sanitizer, Free Organic Steaz Tea, Country Bob’s All Purpose Sauce, Free Hot Beverage at 7-Eleven, Free Box full of full-sized Boiron Homeopathics, Free Starbucks Coffee and More Free Starbucks, and even more Free Starbucks, Free Sweetfire Chicken at Panda Express, Free Bounce Dryer Bar, Free Bare Minerals Make-Up and Brush from Sephora, Free Quart of Glidden Paint, Free Beach Umbrellas at Rite Aid, Free Dagoba Organic Chocolate, Free Tropicana Juice, Free DiGiorno Flatbread Melts and Again!, Free Chocolate Fridays, Free Burt’s Bees Lip Balm, Free $10 Gift Card to the Mall of your choice, plus a ton of Mall freebies!, Free Burger’s at TGI Fridays, and even More free burgers, Free Honey Bunches of Oats, Free CFL Light Bulb from Home Depot, Free Thomas Train at Toys R’ Us, Back to Nature Macaroni and Cheese at Whole Foods and a Free Bottle of Suave.

The Best of Deals

-$5 off any purchase of $5 or more at Hallmark, $5 Huggies Coupons and $5 Luvs Diaper Coupons, $10 Honey Baked Ham coupon, Free Laura Mercier Primer, Burt’s Bees Grab Bag Deal, Buy One Get One Free Egg Coupon and Again., Personalized Photo Stamps for .40 cents each$40 in Free stuff at 1-800 Flowers, Organic Maple Syrup for $11-$13 shipped on Amazon (free with Swagbucks), Old Navy Online Coupon HuntVeggie Tales DVD for $2.99 shipped, Eco-Friendly Shoes for under $10 Shipped, Space Chimps Wii Game for $5.89 Shipped, $20 in free plants from Spring Hill Nursery, Free Car Rental from Hertz, $1 Hotel Rooms, Hickory Farms Gift Sets Were 90% Off. This happened in January last year, so hopefully we will see this deal again in 2010!!, $25 back when you joined Sam’s Club, Quick Books Simple Start Free or Better at Office Depot, and a $5 Jennie O coupon, which made for free meats!

The Worst of Deals (Ones that Didn’t Go so Well)

Many companies still do not realize the power of viral marketing, and how quickly deals spread across the internet.  Here are some of the deals that did not go so well in 2009.

-Korres Free Gift with any purchase:  While the company wasn’t able to fulfill our orders, they did in fact send us all some great free samples.  They made the best out of a bad situation.

-Gevalia coffee pot deal:  Sadly all of our orders were canceled.

-$10 Free Credits on QVC: QVC offered everyone free $10 credits, but then backed out and removed everyone’s credits. Not cool QVC!

-Free Cranberry Squares on Amazon: Amazon canceled everyone’s orders, admitting there was a pricing error.

-$10 Sears Junior Fashions Coupon: Sears started rejecting the coupon across the board, even though the coupon was still available on the Sears.com website.  They shamefully wasted a lot of people’s valuable time, when they could have easily removed the coupon from their website.

-Free Rotisserie Chicken and Flowers at Whole Foods:  Unfortunately the coupon went viral way too quickly, and Whole Foods had to retract it.

-KFC 2-piece Meal Coupon: Another example of a company underestimating the power of the internet.  Everyone started getting turned away, and finally KFC refused to accept anymore coupons.  You could get a raincheck if you went in and picked up a form to fill out and mail in. Did anyone do this?  Not me!  I was done with them at that point.

-Free Stuffed Animal and Baby Blanket: This was apparently a scam site that duped many of us, including myself.

I don’t know about you all, but I am definitely looking forward to the deals to come in 2010.  I hope you will all stick around and enjoy the savings this following year.  If you’ve followed me at all this year, then you know that this list barely even scratches the surface of all the deals we uncovered together in 2009.  I’m interested to hear what your favorite deal from this past year was.  And I’d also love to know if you have any positive feedback in order to make 2010 a fabulously thrifty year on TheThriftyMama.com!

26 Comments:
  1. oh my goodness … what a great recap. I even enjoyed looking at all of the “deals that were not such deals!” They seem so “small” now…especially compared to all of the GREAT deals… so much more GOOD, than there was “bad” … quite a successful year. Congrats to you, and thank you so much for being such an inspiration (and help!) to me this past year.
    Here is to great things and many blessings in 2010! God Bless!
    I think that my favorite deal of 2009 HAS TO BE all the swagbuckin’ that I did… it paid for Christmas, thank you thank you thank you!!
    .-= KeriLyn@SheSaved´s last blog ..$5/5 Printable Healthy Choice Coupon…. =-.

  2. I was going to go with Magic Jack this year, but read some horrible reviews about poor quality and bad customer service. More bad reviews than good. And the bad ones were really bad.

    How long have you had the Magic Jack? I’m really interested in it if you think it’s good.

    • We have had Magic Jack for over six months now, and I am happy with it. I’ve had a few instances where call quality was poor, but overall it has been great. With how much it saves me, I can abide a few poor quality calls in handful of good calls. I’ve had poor quality with regular phone services, so it’s really a moot point.

      • Thanks for the info. I’ll have to discuss it with my husband again. It would just save us so much money!

  3. What about that Omaha Steaks deal? Booo!!

    I loved all the other great deals. Thank you for spending so much time keeping us informed so we don’t have to spend so much time in the stores, on our feet, in line, with non-couponers waiting behind us. :)

    God bless you and your family…

    • LOL krks. I remember that, but I believe that was fall of 2008. The Omaha Steaks deal is the most infamous of all the worst deals, in my opinion. Omaha Steaks is on the top of my list of bad companies.

  4. I haven’t tried the magic jack yet – I did just get a box for my TV that downloads shows straight to it (a lot cheaper than cable!). Congrats on fulfilling your weight loss goal!

    I hope you had a great Christmas! I posted some linky love for you back at my blog, thanks for sending traffic my way in December :)
    .-= Little People Wealth´s last blog ..Thrifty Thursday Deal Roundup! =-.

    • What kind of box did you get for your TV that downloads shows? Where did you get it, and how much was it?
      I would also love to know how you can watch your fave shows for $10.00 a month, and cut out the cable.
      We’re stuck in a contract with Direct TV for one more year, but would love to know of other options after our term is up.

  5. I am trying to read your post about providing healthy and organic foods for your family for under $40 a week but I can’t find it. I clicked on the link and none of the posts it brings me to is the one I am looking for. I’m really interested in reading it. Thank you!

  6. Thank you for all your great help in 2009! You help so many and all the savings are amazing.
    Blessings for the new year!

  7. I think my favorite freebie was the edible arrangements free chocolate dipped fruit. Yum! Thanks for all you do!

  8. Thank you for letting me know that the free baby blanket was a scam. I was wondering why I never received that danged thing. Probably much like the free Snuggie, they are just looking for our info…and our email addresses. :-( Shame on them!

  9. Don’t forget the 100 free photocards WITH free shipping- those were GREAT!

  10. And the free flowers from 1-800-flowers! I just sent mine to my Grandma for her birthday.

  11. The free $40 Photobooks and calendars from Photoworks were great freebies too! $15 Kodak credit was great too. There were a ton of free photo gifts this year! On the worst list…..I remember the Fannie Mae deal went pretty bad for a lot of people too.
    .-= Tammi´s last blog ..My Deal Scenarios for Jewel P&G Catalina Deal =-.

  12. My family did the KFC deal, we went in and filled out the form but didn’t have to mail, the KFC location took them. A month or so later we got the coupons for free meal + drink, only downside was each coupon was for a different week but we still used them.

  13. When I logged into your site tonight, your advertisement on the very top right flashed and said I was the 10,000 visitor, and also audibly said it and said “This is no joke”. I closed the screen and reopened it 5-6 times, and the baby that is in the ad was there instead of the “winners” box. Just thought I would let you know. My husband is a computer engineer and I asked him, and he thought there might be a virus associated with that ad.

    • Thanks for letting me know Amanda. I’ll try to get that removed. i have been very unhappy with my ad network. Unfortunately I’m in a contract with them :(

  14. I actually work at KFC. They did send out new coupons and even fulfilled them beyond the actual expiration date. I worked the first day of the Oprah coupons and we ran out of all the chicken in the whole store! Needless to say, that was a bad idea on their part, but if your looking for freebies we have free chicken day once a year and it isnt nearly as bad then…

  15. How in the world did you remember all that??
    You had my head spinning!
    You snagged some awesome deals this year…
    I look forward to an awesome 2010 with you!

    I bought my MagicJack last year…and STILL haven’t hooked it up!
    You’ve inspired me!
    NOW…we’re all ready for you to spill the beans on cable!
    ahh…it just sucks me in!

    kathy
    .-= Kathy´s last blog ..FREE Poster Calendar at Shutterfly =-.

  16. Hi, I remember the Sham-Wow freebie! Has anyone recieved it? I sure didn’t!

  17. Thank you for the awesome re-cap. I am new to coupons, but not to savings. You have inspired me. I’m especially interested in the Jack Magic, any replacement of cable, plus a new, cheaper, fast internet provider. Our contract is up in Feb., so I’m shopping.

    Have a Great & Blessed New Year!!!
    Kristine

  18. Thanks for the fun, frugal re-cap! I actually was able to take advantage of the KFC deal w/ the original coupons (my husband and I went in the day the Oprah show aired and enjoyed our meal in a nearly empty restaurant!). I also got the QVC $10 credit and used it to buy a paper lantern for my sister. I think that being quick was the key in these instances – I miss out on lots of other deals because they get out of control and the company shuts them down. I’m looking forward to another year of great deals and reading your blog! Thanks for all you do, Crystal!

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