Sunday, May 31, 2009

Free Landscape & Garden Design Programs

My backyard needs a serious makeover. I'm not one of those people who can visualize something; I need to see it drawn out - which I'm no good at either. So here's some free landscape & garden design programs I found online.

Better Homes and Gardens offers plan-a-garden. You have to register as an online member, but it's quick and easy. The program is pretty basic and limited, but it works well for planning simple layouts. The website also offers free garden plans and other helpful tips and ideas.

Gardener's Supply Company offers a simple Free Garden Design Planner that is a must have when planning your vegetable garden layout. This website also offers valuable free advice on planting and care. 

A more elaborate program is the Showoff Free Landscape & Outdoor Living Software. You can upload your own photo, select your region's hardiness zone to see plants that grow in your area and more. You do need to register and install the free software. The program does have it's limitations, and of course you can get more functions if you pay to upgrade. The free version is fine in my opinion.

There's an app for that. iScape Free Landscape Design app gives you the opportunity to test drive the paid version at no charge. Take a picture or upload your own photo from your photo library. Use the tools to add grass, pavers, flowers, trees, walkways, patio furniture, etc. You can save and share your design via Facebook, email or print.

For designing decks, here is a Free Deck Designer from Lowes. also offers a Free Deck Designer and Free Deck Plans. You must register at these sites first.

Well I hope you find these as helpful as I did. Now if you know of anyone willing to do the actual labor of putting in the landscape or building a new deck for free, you let me know ok?

photo: micnae65,

Friday, May 22, 2009

Save Money this Summer

Ahh, summer. Time for flip flops, barbeque's and hopefully a chance to enjoy a little needed R&R. It's tempting to be lured by all the summertime pleasures: that pricey vacation, that new patio set, that shiny convertible. But there are several ways you can enjoy summer without going broke. Here are some ways to save money this summer.

Start with the flip flops. If you haven't seen the commercial, Old Navy stores are offering solid color flip flops for the entire family for only $1.00 a pair, tomorrow only May 23, 2009. Or, try for a free pair of Havaianas flip flops from the Seventeen Magazine Giveaway on June 6, 2009. You can see the official rules at or they can be found in the upcoming July issue.

Take advantage of free summer fun in your area. Many cities offer events such as free outdoor music concerts, local summer festivals, craft fairs and even free movie nights. (If you missed my earlier post, select Regal theatres are offering a Free Family Film Festival this summer.)

Check out the community events section in your local newspaper, see what free summer programs your local library may be offering or enjoy free amenities such as parks and local beaches if you have access to them.

Look for free stuff that kids can do this summer, such as the 2009 Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Program. Listen to The Consumer Queen's recent BlogTalkRadio show Free and Cheap Things to do With Kids this Summer for more great ideas.

Save money on your summer vacation by looking for great travel deals posted on the FatWallet Travel Deals Forum. You can also find money saving tips in my article How to Find Hotel Discounts and Travel Cheap. Save tons of money this summer by opting for a summer vacation closer to home. Go camping as a classic way to enjoy summer on the cheap, or opt to Vacation Cheap with a Staycation this year.

Go frugal treasure hunting at garage and yard sales, or make some extra money by having your own. Get the kids involved by letting them set up a lemonade stand, or better yet, make a killing having them set up a concession stand made up of items such as snacks and bottled water bought at local warehouse or discount stores. In my area, even I have been suckered more than once into paying $1.00 for a bottle of water at a yard sale on a hot summer day.

Have a GPS? Go on a high-tech treasure hunt this summer with Geocaching. Even if you don't have a GPS, consider creating your own scavenger hunt with family, friends and neighbors. Make a list of things people have to collect or find around town. Give clues and make riddles they have to solve in order to find the items. Play just for fun, or offer a prize such as the winner gets their garbage taken to the curb for a month by the losing players, etc.

What are you doing to save money this summer? I would love to hear your ideas.

Till next time - Cheap Cindy

photo: zenner,

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Happy Friday Freebies!

Happy Friday everyone! Here's some free stuff I found:

Be one of the first 250,000 people to sign up on Friday for the Mars Real Chocolate Relief Act and receive a coupon for a single size candy bar. Offer valid each Friday through 9/25/09.

Experience the Islands with a Free Sample of Hawaiian Tropic Suncare from Walmart. Choose from After Sun Body Butter or Sheer Touch SPF 15 Sunscreen Lotion.

Get ready for Free Ice Cream Day at Walmart on Saturday May 30, 2009 11am -4pm. Check to see if there is a participating Walmart near you.

Cuddle up with your old TV before transitioning to digital and get a FREE Bag of Popcorn from Yahoo! While supplies last. (Sign up is on right hand side of page near bottom.)

Be one of the first 100,000 people to sign up for a coupon for Free DiGiorno Flatbread Melts May 18, 2009.

Have a great weekend!

photo: hortongrou,

Friday, May 8, 2009

Free Stuff For Moms

Free Cup or Cone For Mom From TCBY Mother's Day, May 10 2009 at Participating Locations

The Mother's Guide to Self Renewal Free Book Download May 8-10 2009

Use Code UNDONEFREE at Checkout for a Free Undone! ebook from Harlequin, good until May 31, 2009

Free 12 issue Subscription to Working Mother Magazine (hurry, these go fast!)

photo: bies,

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

More Freebies

Cinnabon is celebrating National Nurses Week by giving away One FREE Cinnabon Classic Roll to each nurse who shows their healthcare ID May 6-12 2009

Sur La Table is having a Free Brownie Workshop Saturday May 9 at 11 am - All Stores. Score tips, techniques and delicious homemade brownies. No reservations needed - walk in and join the fun!

Mark your calendars for the Free Family Film Festival beginning June 2009 at select Regal theatres nationwide.

photo: tazzmaniac,

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Free Kentucky Fried Chicken and More

Print your coupon for Free 2 pc KFC Grilled Chicken, 2 Individual Sides and a Biscuit. Can be redeemed at participating KFC locations 5/5/09 - 5/19/09 (excluding 5/10) *UPDATE: KFC is now giving rain checks for this coupon (Did they run out of Chicken?)

Enjoy several Free Samples from which currently includes Hellmann's Light Mayonnaise, Caress Skinware products, Degree Women Fine Fragrance and Ponds Rejuveness.

Watch or download The 2009 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Show courtesy

And just for fun, upload a photo of your child - or yourself - into the Kideo Starmaker Demos. Here's one I made: Barney Starmaker Sample Starring "Cindy". (Ok, so that's not me, but you get the idea.)
photo: mzacha,

Friday, May 1, 2009

Free Comic Books

Just a quick note to let you know that tomorrow, May 2 is Free Comic Book Day. Comic book shops around the world will be giving away comic books for free! Check with your local shop to see if they are participating and get the rules.

If you miss this event, don't despair, you can read some comic books as well as comic strips online for free. Read my article How to Read Free Comics and Comic Books Online.

photo: wax115,