May 30th, 2012 by RichmondBargains

Richmond Bargains Facebook

Today Facebook introduced a “promoted posts” option for page owners. Facebook now gives me the option to pay $15 every time I put a post on Facebook to ensure that more Richmond Bargains fans see the post in their newsfeeds.

“Doesn’t that happen anyway? Don’t I see your updates because I “Like” the page?”

Nope. Because of Facebook’s EdgeRank system which has been in place for a while, my posts currently only appear to some of you, some of the time (only about half, or less, of Richmond Bargains fans are shown any given post). Facebook helpfully filters the rest. The less you interact with the page, the less you see.

What’s a fan to do? If you like being updated about the latest great deals and free events in Richmond (call me crazy, but I assume that’s why folks became fans of the page in the first place!) you have a few options –

    1. Interact with the page frequently. This goes for all Facebook pages that you would like to continue to see. “Like” posts, comment, etc. I love hearing about the deals you find! If you aren’t active on an ongoing basis, Facebook starts to show you less and less from that page (unless, of the course, the page pays to promote posts)

    2. Add Richmond Bargains to a Facebook interest list. This only helps if you’ll remember to check the list you create

      Go to
      Choose “+ Add Interests” in the top right-hand corner, or edit one of your existing lists
      Choose pages to add to the list
      In the top right corner of Richmond Bargains Facebook page, you should see a “Message” option. Next to it there is a little blue arrow pointing down
      Click the arrow and choose “add to interest lists” option, and choose the appropriate list or create a new one.

    You can access this list from the sidebar of your Facebook home page, under Interests

    3. Subscribe to email updates. You can sign up to receive daily (here) or weekly (here) email updates from I feel like this is moving backward, but it may be the only way to be sure you’re not missing anything.

Oh-so-ironically, I’m going to fork over the promoted post dough in hopes that everyone sees this and is aware of their options for keeping up-to-date since I don’t plan on promoting posts!

Thanks fans! Y’all are great and I love sharing deals with you 🙂

Posted in Miscellaneous Tagged with: , ,

February 7th, 2012 by RichmondBargains

Coming this Friday to an inbox near you… or your inbox if you subscribe Weekly Deal Digest

Basically, it’ll be a weekly email newsletter with all the blog posts from the previous week rounded up into a handy-dandy list (excluding anything that has expired already). I’ll have them sorted into categories such as Free & Cheap Events, Top Daily Deals, etc. Plus, I plan to include links to a few stories on interesting Richmond or bargain topics from other sites that I’ve run across during the week!

Who should subscribe? Everyone! Well, anyone who wants a convenient summary of recent deal content from the blog. This way, you won’t miss a thing. The once-a-week newsletter format is also a perfect option for folks who aren’t interested in hearing me chatter every day/multiple times a day and don’t mind missing some of the more time-sensitive information I post throughout the week. On the other hand, if you follow Richmond Bargains on Facebook or Twitter, you might consider a newsletter subscription because it’s easy to miss a post with all the information overload on social media these days!

If you are happy with your current email subscription, delivered daily by Feedburner, you don’t have to change a thing. Those subscriptions will continue just as they are, and will include all the new posts from the previous 24 hours. If you would like to receive the weekly newsletter as well, you will need to fill out the subscription form.

If you decide a deal digest subscription fits your needs better and would like to unsubscribe from daily emails (I would wait til you see the deal digest to decide), there should be an easy “Unsubscribe” button to click at the bottom of each email Feedburner sends. If you encounter any problems with the process, please let me know!

The subscription form also includes two other subscription options: Breaking Deals and Special Offers.

    I’m starting a list of folks interested in receiving last-minute Breaking Deals. Those would be HOT bargains, usually available for a limited time, that I would email out as soon as I heard about them. Examples of Deal Alert-worthy deals include $5 Christmas Town tickets and $10 for $20 to spend at CVS. The max I would ever send would be one per day, but I anticipate them being much less frequent than that. Please check the box for that subscription if you’d like to receive those messages. You do not have to subscribe to the weekly Deal Digest to receive Deal Alerts.

    Special Offers is a category that I might start in the future, partnering with a local business to offer readers a super discount. The maximum would be one email per week. If that is something that interests you, by all means sign up and you’ll be the first to hear about it.

Besides the fact that I personally guarantee it’ll be worth your while to subscribe to this fabulous publication, there is an added bonus of a GIVEAWAY for subscribers this week –

    Scentsy consultant Whitney Mayer is giving away a “Windsor” warmer and a bar of Luna wax to one lucky newsletter reader! Scentsy is a wickless candle company that uses flameless warmers to melt wax and make your whole house smell wonderful. Whitney’s also offering any readers that book a party and mention Richmond Bargains a free plug-in warmer and scent bar in addition to the free items they will earn from their party. You can find out more on her website or contact her via email (

    Must be subscribed to the Deal Digest by Thursday, February 9, at 11:59 pm EST to be eligible. All subscribers are automatically entered. (1) winner to be chosen by

What questions do you have?

P.S. Don’t forget to click the link in the confirmation email to complete your subscription!

Posted in Bargain Basics Tagged with: ,

January 2nd, 2012 by RichmondBargains

ncl glass

Happy New Year Richmonders!

As I reviewed 2011 on Richmond Bargains, I found the site received over 170,000 visits! It’s thrilling to see the blog grow like that in its fourth year, so thanks y’all!

I spent the weekend thinking about ’12 and I came up with a few goals for the site this year. Want to hear? If I tell them to you, I’m much more likely to make the effort to make them happen…

Increase Traffic and Subscribers – Shooting for 200,000 site visits and reaching 10,000 folks across Email/Facebook/Twitter. The traffic increase is not a big reach, but it’s less of a priority to me right now because it doesn’t really indicate reader involvement. Subscriber growth will be substantially more challenging; the current number is about 6000. (10,000 has kind of been my BHAG – Big Hairy Audacious Goal – since early on in the blog, and I reached that figure by ballpark guesstimating that there are 1 million people in the Metro Richmond area, and at least one percent of them must love finding deals!)

Host a Richmond Bargain Awards – Why not vote for some local frugal favorites, like best happy hour deals and best place for finding cheap first apartment furnishings? (I just need a catchy name – suggestions welcome!)

One Review A Month – I love business reviews – like restaurants and thrift stores – in theory because they are evergreen content that can help people for a long time, not time-sensitive like many of my posts. Unfortunately, they are also the most difficult posts to bring to fruition. There is time spent visiting and researching, ideally without kids, plus the need for a large block of time to actually write the review. Kid-free time and large blocks of time are in short supply these days.

More Local Business Partnerships – This is the area where the reality of Richmond Bargains has fallen short of my vision for it. Working with Richmond businesses could add value for readers. But it requires a time investment – see challenge of previous resolution – and frankly, some sales skills, which I totally lack. Nevertheless, I will resolve to reach out to at least one business a week to discuss opportunities for working together, such as special events, giveaways, and advertising. (And I could use your help! Either by suggesting businesses to me that I should contact, or mentioning to a local company that you heard about them on Richmond Bargains)

While I’m at it being accountable, a few resolutions for my personal life include

    Read one book a month (I used to read non-stop but after marriage and kids, I haven’t made time for much longer literature than a magazine. So I’m finally putting my birthday Kindle to good use and am part-way through Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God – a recommendation from Ann – and have Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time waiting for me at the drive-through window of Tuckahoe Library)
    Get rid of one item a day (Sell/give away/throw out. Yes, sadly, I easily have 365 things that need to be removed from this house. Yesterday was expired makeup, today is the Norwegian Cruise Lines glassware from the Alaska cruise when my husband proposed)

Looking forward to a terrific year!

What have you resolved to do this year? Besides find more deals, of course

Posted in Bargain Basics Tagged with:

November 1st, 2011 by RichmondBargains

halloween 1

I’ve mentioned my older son’s love of planes before; there wasn’t much doubt as to what he wanted to be for Halloween this year.


So I started the hunt in September. Unfortunately, little boys’ pilot costumes seem hard to come by on the thrift store/consignment sale circuit.

I ended up turning to eBay. For a week or two, I added flight suit auctions to my watch list. Most seemed to end up in the $20 range, but one day I stumbled across one with a low price and few bids. I stalked it until the last few seconds, then placed my bid and won a brand new costume for just $7.18.

With $5 shipping, my total cost was $12.18. To make the deal even better, I had picked up a $15 eBay Groupon for only $7 back in April (and paid for it with credits). Applying the Groupon towards my purchase meant the cost of the costume was only $5.68!

You take your chances regarding quality when buying on eBay, but I was quite pleased with the outfit. It has “real” fake patches, lots of pockets with zippers, etc., and came with aviator sunglasses that made it look like he stepped off the set of Top Gun.

And in the real test, my son loves it. He’s already worn it a dozen times since it arrived in mid-October. While he stubbornly refuses to wear sunglasses of any kind during the summer, he’ll wear these all day long and peek over the top.

halloween 2

How about you? How did you save money on cute costumes this year? Thrift store/swap/clearance/DIY? I’d love to see the pics if you want to link to them or add them to Richmond Bargains Facebook page!

Posted in Kid Stuff Tagged with: ,

October 13th, 2011 by RichmondBargains

If you found my blog because of local news stories this week, (belated) welcome!

I’m Alison, the blogger who writes in addition to being a wife and mom to a three-year-old and three-month-old.’s motto is “bringing down the cost of living in RVA” and I do my best to bring you the super deals, top free events, and other tips for saving money around Richmond. Hope you’ll take a minute to browse around and perhaps learn something new!

If you’d like to keep up with the latest deals I post, you can subscribe to receive daily email updates, delivered by Feedburner (you’ll receive a confirmation email; follow the link in it to finish activating your subscription). Alternatively, you can “like” Richmond Bargains on Facebook or follow @rvabargains on Twitter.

Regular readers, here are the links if you want to see how much the baby has grown; Can’t seem to do much without him these days! –

From Monday evening, here is the segment from Catherine Hawley at ABC WRIC Channel 8 promoting some couponing classes I am helping teach at Chesterfield County Libraries (I will post registration info for that next week; the class I’m teaching will be October 29 at 10:30am at the Bon Air Library, and will be about how to find discounts on pretty much anything besides groceries)

And in a piece that aired Wednesday evening on NBC WWBT Channel 12, I was interviewed by Gray Hall for a story on avoiding coupon scams.

Posted in Coupons Tagged with: ,

August 6th, 2011 by RichmondBargains

Biased mom disclosure: I *may* be posting this video because the opening shot features The Cutest Baby in the World.

Also to remind everyone about the Frugal School Supply Challenge going on! How many school supplies can you buy with $10?

Story: NBC12 More Bang for Your Buck

For more details, read my previous post, and check out RVA Coupon Pros on Facebook.

(Link to video:

Posted in Contests & Giveaways Tagged with: ,

July 6th, 2011 by RichmondBargains


You might have noticed it’s been a little quiet around here lately…

That’s because our new addition has arrived! He was born last Tuesday with a blessedly uncomplicated delivery, and we love him dearly already. My three-year-old proudly tells everyone he meets that he’s a big brother, and so far, has been very patient and affectionate with his little sibling.

Though it’s a little overwhelming, I’m excited to be embarking on life as a mother of two (my boys 🙂 ), and hopefully I will be able to resume full posting schedules soon! More than ever, I appreciate the deal tips from readers, and welcome guest posts if anyone is interested in sharing their thoughts on saving money.

Posted in Miscellaneous Tagged with:

April 10th, 2011 by RichmondBargains

(Photo: Sunglass Warehouse)

I can’t wait – My husband and I are heading out today for a two-night babymoon/birthday getaway, the first kid-free night in at least a year and a half and probably the last for quite a while. I’m looking forward to doing some reading – I got a Kindle for my birthday – and taking some un-hurried photos. Thanks to everyone who is making it possible: my parents (for watching my son), Groupon (for the hotel deal), and wonderful blog readers (for the Groupon referral credits I redeemed for the hotel stay) 🙂

I’ll be back on Tuesday, and in the meantime have several posts scheduled to run during my absence. Speaking of which, I’m always looking for guest posters if you have money-saving knowledge to share!

Posted in Miscellaneous Tagged with:

April 8th, 2011 by RichmondBargains

wtvr cbs 6

If you just can’t get enough of me, wake up errrrly tomorrow morning and tune to the WTVR CBS-6 weekend morning show. I’m supposed to be a guest for a few minutes around 7:45am talking about money-saving tips!

Did I mention it’s live? As I write this post I’m getting a little nervous. At least I managed to squeeze in a haircut this week! (Using a Groupon, of course)

Posted in Miscellaneous Tagged with:

March 31st, 2011 by RichmondBargains

more bang for your buck

If you’re stopping by for the first time because of NBC12’s “More Bang for Your Buck” program this afternoon, I just wanted to say hi & welcome!

I’m Alison, the stay-at-home mom blogger who writes You probably “met” my son Henry too, and we have another little boy on the way in June.

As was mentioned, my goal is to make it easy for folks in Richmond to do the things they love while spending less doing them!

This is the museum membership post to which Jennifer was referring regarding VMFA membership to see the Picasso exhibit. It’s a great deal, especially if you might go more than once. Other current items include the Richmond Public Library book sale starting tomorrow, today’s daily deals, free weekend events, Kings Dominion opening weekend discounts, and special Final Four discounts tomorrow and Saturday.

The rest of the site literally JUST went live today, and I hope you get a chance to browse around.

And while you’re here, take a sec to enter the Bath & Body Works gift card giveaway by leaving a comment on this other post (contest ends Monday).

If you’d like to keep up with the latest deals I post, you can subscribe to receive daily email updates, delivered by Feedburner (you’ll receive a confirmation email; follow the link in it to finish activating your subscription). Alternatively, you can “like” Richmond Bargains on Facebook or follow @rvabargains on Twitter.

Thanks for visiting, and happy saving!


If you missed the show, here is the video:

If that isn’t working for you, you can follow the link to the video on NBC’s site

(1. That’s not my usual computer! I was stuck with the teeny netbook because my hard drive crashed last week. Boo.
2. If I’d had more than a few hours notice about the interview, I definitely would have gotten a haircut! Badly needed.
3. I appreciate that Jennifer didn’t choose to air the footage of Henry being glued to a new fire truck video we checked out from the library, which was how I distracted him during the interview)

Posted in Miscellaneous Tagged with: