Archive for September, 2009

Last Tuesday on 9/22/09 I gave you a list of places that gave you specials throughout the year and on your birthday if you sign up for their newsletter. One of my readers, Rita, emailed me to let me know that the Starwood Hotels has a “Celebrate your birth year special”, through December 30, 2009.

They are celebrating the year you were born. With this special offer for two night stays (some properties may offer three nights), you’ll receive rates equal to your birth year! The first night you pay regular rate. Second night (and third night if applicable) your rate will equal your birth year! (If you were born in 1960 you’ll receive 2nd and 3rd nights at $60!) This rate will be confirmed at check-in upon presentation of valid ID.

Go on line to see what hotel and what kind of rate you can get:

 www.starwoodhotels.com

Not all Starwood Hotels have this special and some will tack on additional money to your birth year rate. I checked out one hotel and they added $100 plus my birth year but most of them don’t do that.  Play around with the different areas near where you live. Some of the hotels regular rates were only $89 while others were $189.

Go ahead celebrate your birth year at one of the Starwood Hotels. Who knows you might get a sweet deal at a hotel you’ve wanted to stay at.

Thanks Rita for letting SurpriseKiss.com know about this “birth year special”.

Keep those sparks flying!
JoJo

© 2009 – 2010, Surprise Kiss. All rights reserved.

Share This Post

There is unclaimed cash out there and some of this cash could belong to you! As you know I try to help you find extra cash in ways you may not have looked at before. Who knows you might get an extra windfall you had not expected. According to Robert Longley from About.com’s guide to government resources you could be owed thousands!

• Certain types of insurance companies a few years ago turned policyholders into stockholders and paid out dividends. Check out this website to see if your insurance company converted to stocks: www.glenndaily.com/mhctable.htm. Contact them to see if you are owed money.

• Did you know that the IRS is holding billions of dollars of unclaimed refunds? This is due to people who didn’t file a return. You can get forms for a prior year at: www.irs.gov.  File your return and you could be getting money back!

• Did you lose a savings bond and you know it has stopped earning interest, but you haven’t redeemed it?  Fill out form PDF 1048 at: www.publicdebt.treas.gov  to track down a lost savings bond. It is really hard to search the form you need through the website above. So I went through www.google.com and typed form PDF 1048 and was able to find it right away. To be safe though you may still want to go through the www.publicdebt.treas.gov website. Just know you will have to work to find the form. I eventually did find it through them but there were so many unlikely steps I almost gave up!

• Did you work for a company that has gone bankrupt? You can see if you have retirement funds waiting to be retrieved by going to: www.pbgc.gov and see if you are a missing plan participant.

• There is all kinds of unclaimed money out there that you may not be aware is in your name. Things like unclaimed paychecks, utility deposits and life insurance proceeds may be held at your state’s property office. Log on to: www.unclaimed.org.

Who knows there may be money waiting for you to claim and you didn’t even know about it. You may be able to do something extra special for your anniversary you hadn’t planned on because of money found.

Keep those sparks flying!
JoJo

© 2009 – 2010, Surprise Kiss. All rights reserved.

Share This Post

You and your spouse could be a runaway couple from the hustle and bustle of daily life to a quite reteat if you keep saving $5 a week!

Keep those sparks flying!

JoJo

© 2009 – 2010, Surprise Kiss. All rights reserved.

Share This Post

Live theater is available in most cities and it is always fun to take advantage of. We have two in our community. One is your typical small playhouse that you see in most communities and the actors are usually local people. The other is run through our community college and is a professional conservatory.  Actors from all over the United States come to hone their craft here. Both are very reasonably priced and it is a wonderful way of seeing some great live theater.

When we first moved from Los Angeles to Santa Maria, CA we couldn’t believe how inexpensive it was to see wonderful professional live theater. The first summer we moved here we seen three plays in one week. Granted it is a different experience but it is still quite enjoyable.

If you want to have a lovely evening out, your local community theater is one way to have a fun evening date that isn’t too expensive. Our local theater is only $14 per person and the community college is $28 per person. Also, check to see if they have student or senior’s rates.

That is all well and good you say but you don’t even have $14 to spare let alone buy a ticket for your partner. Did you know you can still see a play and not pay a cent? That is right. Most local theaters are running on a tight budget and can’t afford to hire people to usher or work the concession stand. They need volunteers.

I know of a couple who love to go and watch live theater and see all the plays for free! They sign up to volunteer and are assigned duties before the play starts. They will hand out the pamphlets or take tickets at the front door. Sometimes they usher or work the concession stand during admission. They are helping support the community theater and they get to have an enjoyable evening out.

This is something you might be able to do for your local symphony or concert that is coming to your city. Call the place where the venue you want to see is going to be playing and see if they have a volunteer program where you can help out and still be able to watch something you thought you couldn’t afford.

So don’t sit home complaining you can’t afford to go out on a date. Grab your partner and see live theater because it won’t cost you a penny!

Keep those sparks flying!
JoJo

© 2009 – 2010, Surprise Kiss. All rights reserved.

Share This Post

Last Thursday, Sept. 17, 2009 I gave you 5 top travel tips. Number 5 on the list was to “be persistent” when a hotel is sold out. I suggested that you go ahead and reserve a second choice hotel and then to keep calling up to the last days before you depart.

This happened to us one year. I kept procrastinating about making a reservation because I couldn’t quite make up my mind on where I wanted to stay and what I wanted to do for our anniversary. Well one month before our anniversary I finally got off the fence and called our favorite bed and breakfast in Pacific Grove, a quaint little beach community up North. To my disappointment they were booked.

That evening after work I told my husband about my disappointment and that we needed to find another place if we wanted to getaway and have a little romantic reprieve. We talked about where we would go but nothing sounded as nice as our favorite little inn. We finally decided we would take a trip down to Los Angeles for our anniversary because we knew getting a hotel room would not be an issue on the weekends.

A week before our anniversary my husband called me at work to say forget about our plans to go to Los Angeles because we were going to our favorite inn in Pacific Grove! I couldn’t believe it and wanted to know how he was able to get a room. He told me that he had been calling everyday for the last month, per the suggestion of the inn, and low and behold there was a cancelation!

Another thing I mentioned last week was to make friends with the reservationist and that was exactly what my husband did. My husband is a very likable guy; he rarely gets angry and isn’t pushy. I have heard him when he talks to the reservations dept and he will always try to make friends with them while they are checking to see if there are any rooms available at their best rate.

It does pay to keep checking the hotel or inn you want to stay at. Who knows your desires to stay at that special hotel or inn may come true. I know ours did!

Keep those sparks flying!
JoJo

© 2009 – 2010, Surprise Kiss. All rights reserved.

Share This Post

Fall is here and if you look around your area there may be some great off season deals at a hotel you normally couldn’t afford.

Our anniversary is in March and we love to go to Pacific Grove which is next door to Carmel, CA. It is only a 3 hour drive from where we live and we stay at a bed and breakfast up there for less because it is usually slow around that time. We reserve a room with a fireplace and Jacuzzi tub. I know many couples where I live that will travel only 40 minutes from town because they can get a local’s only special from fall through spring. Most rooms have a fireplace and “fresh-water” hot tub.

 I looked up several places to see if they were having a fall special going on during this season. Some of the places had dinner or breakfast included. Here is what I found:

• Gosby House Inn, Pacific Grove, CA -  Mid –week 25% off
• Sycamore Mineral Springs, Avila Beach, CA - Mid-week Local Special
• The Cliffs Resorts, Pismo Beach, CA -  Signature Sunday Special
• The Lara House, Bend, OR  -  Fall Special: Get your 3rd night free
• Camden Harbour Inn, Camden, ME  - September Mid-Week Special

Call around and see what kind of “Fall Specials” are in your area. Who knows you might be able to afford to stay at a hotel you’ve always wanted to go to but couldn’t afford. You can surprise your spouse with an “Off Season Romance.”

Keep those sparks flying!
JoJo

© 2009 – 2010, Surprise Kiss. All rights reserved.

Share This Post

What is better than getting a good price for something? Not having to pay for it. Did you know that many businesses offer freebies throughout the year and on your birthday? Ask the customer service desk or check out the store’s website to see what kind of deals they have to offer. Sign your children, spouse and yourself up for these specials.

Here are some of the websites you can sign up with:
• www.baskinrobbins.com/bdayclub 
Free scoop of ice cream on your birthday.
• www.redlobster.com   
Free birthday cake and sometimes other offers throughout the year.
• www.borders.com
Free dessert on your birthday at Borders café.  Though out the year you will receive any where from 20% to 40% off any book of your choice. My husband and I wait for the 40% off to purchase a book we have want to read.
• www.macaronigrill.com
Free birthday cake and sometimes other offers throughout the year.
• www.gutenberg.org
Thanks to Project Gutenberg you can download books from many of your favorite authors for free! Take your pick of 30,000 books and still growing.
• www.verseit.com
Do you have a birthday, anniversary or other special occasion announcement that you are trying to write and are looking for just the right words? Verseit is where you will find professionally written verses you can personalize for any occasion and it’s free.
• www.regalcinemas.com
You earn 1 credit for every dollar you spend. Then you can redeem the points for free movie tickets or concession items.

I am sure there are more freebies out there you just need to search and remember to ask the next time you are in your favorite store if they have any freebie offers. If you are concern about receiving to many emails from all these companies then have an email address set up just for these types of emails. Check your freebie email every so often to see what kind of offers they have for you.

Please remember these websites can change their freebie policies at anytime. Happy hunting for that next freebie you weren’t expecting!

Keep those sparks flying!
JoJo

© 2009 – 2010, Surprise Kiss. All rights reserved.

Share This Post

Talk about your marriage with respect and keep saving your $5 a week. Your marriage deserves it!

Keep those sparks flying!

JoJo

© 2009 – 2010, Surprise Kiss. All rights reserved.

Share This Post

Today is date night and you are doing the same thing you always do. Maybe you will be going for a walk in the park, out to dinner or a cup of coffee. As you are driving there you are thinking “boring.”  Same time, same place. Why not do something different while you are on your way to your destination?

Have a little fun and make a game out of people you pass guessing what they do for a living, where they work and live. Also try to guess what their names could be and if they have a pet and the name of their pet. Decide whether or not they have children; how many and what their names would be. The more outrageous it is the more fun you will have.

There is nothing wrong with doing the same thing every date night; it becomes a tradition that you have with your partner. Traditions are a good thing. It creates unity; this is who we are as a couple. Once in a while you can add a different dimension to your tradition so that it doesn’t become so boring. Doing something like playing a simple guessing game can make you laugh and enjoy each other in a different way.

I have always said when you laugh with someone you connect with that person. The feel good feelings and togetherness is what keeps your marriage together in the good times and the bad times. So if your date night seems to be getting boring kick it up a notch and play a guessing game. It does a marriage good.

Keep those sparks flying!
JoJo

© 2009 – 2010, Surprise Kiss. All rights reserved.

Share This Post

Some of these tips I can bet you already do but I am almost positive you haven’t thought of some of these.

1. Research your destination

Call the hotel or visitors’ bureau and ask specific questions, read a travel guidebook or research on line. Such as: www.tripadvisor.com

2. Make an emergency list

Include the phone numbers and account info for your Credit Card Company, bank, health insurance, personal physician, driver’s license, car rental and hotel. Also, include any reservations you may have for restaurants, activities, etc you may need to cancel. E-mail the list to your self and a very close friend or family member. That way you will always have the information available for you. You will be able to look it up on your computer if you bring it along or go to an internet café. If the area doesn’t have a place you can go to or you didn’t bring your computer at least you can call who ever you designated and get the information you need.

3. Ask your insurance agent about your car insurance and rental cars

If you are renting a car to go on a trip always ask your agent if your auto policy covers you completely when you rent a car? And ask if you are covered for luxury and SUV rentals if you are planning on renting one.

4. Cut your meal expenses

Eat at a fine restaurant and make lunch the large meal of your day. It will cost you less and you can walk it off the rest of the day. Eat a light breakfast, large lunch and light dinner. You will save money. The expensive restaurant will have the same location, same service and same great view but for a lot less at lunch.

5. Be persistent when a hotel is sold out

Reserve a second choice hotel. Then call the sales manager or the head of the reservation dept at first choice hotel and keep calling up to the last days before you depart. You’re probably going to find a room has become available because people need to cancel for various reasons. If so cancel the second choice hotel reservation. When doing this, make friends with the manager or reservationist you are talking to. They are more likely to try and help you out and give you the room when it is available.

These 5 top travel tips should help you be prepared for most situations. Remember have a wonderful time on your trip.

Keep those sparks flying!
JoJo

© 2009 – 2010, Surprise Kiss. All rights reserved.

Share This Post
Get RSS Updates
Subscribe Here

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner