This is a friendly PSA from someone who’s had his fair share of credit card fraud over the last several years. As a lifelong saver, there was a time I could tell you the balance in my checking and savings accounts right down to the penny. However, in the last year or so, I’ve become lazy — just eye-balling the various balances and think that “seems right.” My lackadaisical approach has largely been driven by the various alerts set on my accounts. I was lulled into thinking I was safe. I was not. [Read more…] about Bryan Blathers: Check Your Credit Card Statement Now!
I’m not a theater critic, so I don’t have the credentials to thoughtfully critique any performance. That being said, I love the theater (especially musicals) and see just about every Broadway production that comes to town at the Denver Center for Performing Arts. (My all-time favorite is “Miss Saigon.” I’ve seen it more than 30 times. Obsessive much?)
Just like you, I know what I like — what makes my heart swell or gives me goosebumps. And the Broadway-bound production of “Frozen”, currently playing in Denver, made my heart swell, gave me goosebumps and more. Remember, I’m not a critic, so kindly excuse my rambling review. (I wrote it right after seeing the show on Friday night.) [Read more…] about Bryan Blathers: “Frozen” Will Warm Your Heart
I’m back, bargain buddies! They say to never assume, right? So I should have known better. Based on recent reader feedback, it seems some bargain hunters need a refresher course on the ins and outs of freebies, discounts and deals. We know most readers are extremely appreciative of our bargain-hunting skills and know how to successfully navigate taking advantage of promos. (I have met so many wonderful readers at grand openings, store sales and sneak previews. Much of our success comes from great word-of-mouth by loyal readers like you. Did you know we now have more than 15,000 subscribers?)
However, you’d be surprised at the number of e-mails we receive just about every day with readers complaining about a deal, accusing us of posting falsehoods or claiming unfair treatment — always when a deal doesn’t work in their favor.
Much confusion and frustration can be avoided by simply reading the fine print and knowing most (if not, all) deals follow the same set of rules: participating locations only, limit one per person, while supplies last, etc. For more information on the deals we post, please read on… [Read more…] about Bryan Blathers: Price and Participation May Vary
There’s no way around it, my parents are old. My father is in his mid-70s and my mother is a few years behind. And, no, 70 is not the new 40. There is not a weekly visit that goes by that I don’t give a tutorial on the TV remote control, iPad and Smart TV. (That’s not to say I don’t know any “senior citizens” who are young and vivacious, like my 70-year-old twin neighbors — click here. It’s just that, unfortunately, my parents do not fall into that category. And, trust me, they’re not offended by the term “old.” They embrace and accept their “oldness.” My father almost swallowing his tiny hearing aids, thinking they were pills, always provides amusement at family gatherings!)
The one thing my parents have mastered is saving money. My mother has always loved a good clearance rack and my father can’t get enough of thrift stores and garage sales. (Out of their three boys, I’m the only one who got the “bargain bug.”) As a result, my family is well-versed, when it comes to “senior discounts.” MHOTC gets the occasional request for more posts about senior discounts. And, thanks to my parents, I’m somewhat of an “expert” on the topic. [Read more…] about Bryan Blathers: Are Senior Discounts Really Worth It?
First off, I’m a cry-baby at the movies, but I’m also a harsh critic. I’m also a true film buff, cinephile and movie fan. (So far, this year, I’ve seen 82 movies. I’m just about to reach 300,000 points in my Regal Crown Club account, so you get the point. I love the movies!) Fortunately, I was able to attend a sneak preview of “Lion” last night. (I have connections, thanks to MHOTC! By the way, I often meet lots of friendly readers at sneak previews — always great conversations about how to save money.) “Lion” is one of the best films I have seen in years. (Yes, I cried. Shocker!) Based on the true story of Saroo Brierley, the film is about a young boy who gets lost in India and ends up being adopted by an Australian couple. [Read more…] about Bryan Blathers: The Best Movie I’ve Seen in Years
MHOTC loves local businesses and always support ’em, whenever possible. We especially love them, when they give back to the community, too. A few years ago, I found a fun, little boutique on a lazy Saturday afternoon strolling Broadway. (I always stop in, when I go to the movies at the Mayan Theater or grab a scoop at Sweet Action Ice Cream. And, yes, you can shop with your cone in hand!) And it was love at first sight. Hope Tank (64 Broadway) sells many unique products made by local artisans — “stuff” you just won’t find any place else. [Read more…] about Bryan Blathers: Shop & Give Back at Hope Tank Boutique
This post is long, so, if you’re not a PRINCE fan, feel free to drop out at any point. No hard feelings. If you’ve read “Bryan Blathers” with any regularity, you know I’m a die-hard PRINCE fan. You also know I’m a die-hard cheapskate. However, my one indulgence has always been PRINCE. No matter the expense, I traveled every opportunity I had to see him in concert, including to Boston, Las Vegas and Los Angeles. (Obviously, I never missed a Denver concert. I’ve seen him at McNichols Arena, the Pepsi Center, DU Magness Arena and the Ogden Theatre.) I also had the privilege of meeting the icon three times (albeit brief and somewhat awkward) — read about my interactions here. My purple dream was always to go to Paisley Park and this past week it finally came true! [Read more…] about Bryan Blathers: My Paisley Park Experience
First, this is not a sponsored or paid post. This is my personal PSA for those of us who are notorious for losing our wallet and keys. Everyone who knows me knows I’m in constant search of either my wallet or my keys. (I think it must be in the DNA for some people to always lose something.) No matter how many times I pledge to have a better system, it only lasts for a day or two and I’m back to searching under the couch cushions or tearing apart my bedroom. (For longtime readers, I’m still searching for my missing coupon file from two years ago – *laughing* and *crying* at the same time) [Read more…] about Bryan Blathers: Are You A “Loser”, Like Me?
I closed on the purchase of my condo on September 10, 2001. (Yes, the day before 9/11.) The next morning, I was headed to Hawaii for a family vacation. Needless to say, it didn’t happen. We were stuck in Los Angeles and ended up driving back to Denver. (FYI, a really long road trip with your parents, as an adult, is not as much fun as it sounds.) We eventually made it to Hawaii a few months later. However, I digress. The intro just made for an interesting lead to the real point of my story: How I learned about the importance of being neighborly. [Read more…] about Bryan Blathers: The Importance of Being Neighborly
A trip to New York City (with spa treatments, a Broadway show and a three-night stay in a $600-per-night hotel), a trip to see the Broncos play the Raiders in California, $600 in Colorado Lottery scratch tickets*, 50,000 miles from United Airlines, travel vouchers from Frontier Airlines, an iPad Mini and dinner with a big-time celebrity — these are some of the big prizes I’ve won entering sweepstakes. (For those new to “Bryan Blathers” — click here to read how I won dinner with Paula Abdul. The story is embarrassing, but true!)
Along with big prizes, I have also won numerous smaller prizes, including concert tickets, gift cards and free items — everything from a jar of pasta sauce to a football. I keep a journal of all of my wins — big and small. (I still remember my first win from KMGH in elementary school. I won a stuffed teddy bear from the “Noell & Andy” show. Does anyone else remember that show? I was so excited to hear my name announced on TV!) I seem to win a good prize every few months. And, by “good”, I mean anything valued at $25 or more. UPDATE: Yesterday, I won VIP tickets (with a meet & greet) to see Macklemore & Ryan Lewis on June 5 — plus, $100 to spend on food and drinks at the venue! [Read more…] about Bryan Blathers: How I Win So Many Sweepstakes Prizes
Upfront, I’m a bit of a cynic and pessimist. That being said, I always struggle with the advice given by self-help books and TV shows, even though I readily consume all of it. (I love a Sunday morning watching the Oprah Winfrey Network. By the way, I love Oprah. However, is it just me or do all of her “favorite things” seem really expensive?) No matter the self-help guru, the advice is always the same — “just be yourself”, “follow your passion” or “take risks.” And, in doing so, “happiness” is sure to follow.
My issue is that the advice is always coming from someone who’s already successful and wealthy. These shows and books never highlight someone who’s struggling or not well-off financially. Hindsight is always 20/20, right? It begs the question, “Which came first the chicken or the egg?” (The media creates this illusion that being happy or successful is achievable with the right attitude, only to make many of us feel like we’re flawed.) It’s difficult to “take risks”, when you have lots of bills to pay. It’s easy to sit high atop a perch and espouse such wisdom because you don’t have to worry about money. Most successful people don’t answer to anyone, so “being yourself” comes much easier. [Read more…] about Bryan Blathers: Can Money Buy Happiness?
I’m not one to get too sappy over the passing of celebrities. I even cringe, when I see people crying on TV over some actor or musician. We don’t know these people, so how can you be upset? Yesterday changed all of that for me. I’m simply heartbroken at the passing of PRINCE. I never thought I’d see the day. Mainly because he seemed of another world — mysterious and immortal.
My first experience with his music was when my older brother, on break from the Navy, brought home a cassette of “1999” for my middle brother. I commandeered it and fell in love with it. Next, that same middle brother took me to see “Purple Rain” (just a few months later) at the Villa Italia twin theater in Lakewood. In those days, the rules were much more lax because it was R-rated and we still got in, even though I was only 13 and my brother was 17. Much like every teen, I played “Purple Rain” a thousand times that summer — never skipping a track. (I still get emotional every time I hear “The Beautiful Ones” and the title track.) [Read more…] about Bryan Blathers: My (Brief) Interactions With PRINCE
I never pay full price, when I dine out. Never. (Big surprise, right?) I always have a coupon or promo in hand. That’s why I love Groupon. The vouchers give me an opportunity to experience new restaurants and shops that I would not otherwise try. (Don’t worry, I’m not a “bad cheapskate.” I always tip on the full amount of the bill before the discount and so should you. I’ve heard horror stories from wait staff of customers leaving a tip on the balance — sometimes just a buck or less.) To be honest, there are very few places I go back to (after using a voucher) because they’re just too expensive without a deal.
However, after using a Groupon voucher several months ago, I have a new favorite Chinese restaurant — Min J Asian Cuisine at 6585 Greenwood Plaza Blvd. in Greenwood Village. (It’s a relatively new restaurant — just a little more than a year old…I think.) It’s located next to the Greenwood Plaza Stadium 12 movie theater, tucked behind CB & Potts. (Perfect for a dinner-and-a-movie night, especially on Sundays because of the theater’s $6 ticket prices!) This is definitely a case of “don’t judge a book by its cover.” The exterior is a bit shabby, looking a little run down. However, it’s deceiving because the atmosphere inside is rather “fancy” and modern. The outside clearly does not match the inside, night and day. [Read more…] about Bryan Blathers: Because of Groupon, I Love Min J Asian Cuisine
I’ve been known to make a Target clearance run on the weekends — just going from Target to Target and only shopping the clearance shelves. (Yes, I lead a very full life. Thank you very much.) Admittedly, I’ve found some of my best deals at Target. (I’ve never been a “Walmart person”, but many of my fellow bargain hunters tell me you can find great deals there, too.) If you’re unfamiliar with clearance at the bulls-eye retailer, you need to start looking for the red-orange tags. Clearance starts at 15% off and progresses up to 90% — with intervals at 30%, 50% and 70%. (Every now and then, I find items at 85% off. However, it’s rare to find items at 90% off, with the exception of seasonal merchandise. If you do, go crazy and fill your cart because you’re not going to find a better deal.) You can tell the markdown interval because it’s reflected on the upper-right hand corner of the tag — you’ll see a tiny 15, 30, 50, 70 or 90. Clearance is usually located on end caps, but can also be found in the aisles on occasion. Over the years, I have found a trick that I’ve kept to myself until now… [Read more…] about Bryan Blathers: My #1 Tip For Target Clearance
I must be the luckiest guy in the world. For years, I’ve read about pay-it-forward stories happening at restaurants and drive-thrus. Well, it happened to me for the second time. (The first time was at Taco Bell, a few years ago. At the time, I shared my experience here.) I was at Starbucks buying breakfast sandwiches for my elderly parents (in their 70s) on Tuesday morning and (surprise!) the family ahead of me in the drive-thru lane paid for them. It seems like such a small gesture, but I can tell you the impact is profound. In the moment the barista told me my tab was covered, I felt shocked, special and grateful. Unfortunately, it seems we no longer expect others to be kind, generous or thoughtful. The family pulled away so quickly. There was no chance to honk my horn or tap on the driver’s window to share my gratitude. They had no idea about my gender, race, political beliefs, religion or financial situation. They simply wanted to make a stranger’s day a little brighter. The act was not small by any means, especially for a bargain hunter like me. The $10 they saved me allows me to put more gas in the car, buy more groceries or add to my savings account. Every action has a reaction. [Read more…] about Bryan Blathers: Thank You, Kind Strangers.