Saturday, January 30, 2010

2007 McManis Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon

Want a super complex and yummy Cab for under $10. Look no more. McManis Family Vineyards is producing an ultra-deep cab at a bargain price. Thought you couldn't get coffee, toffee, chocolate, blackberry, blueberry and good spice at this price point? Think's got it.

This deep ruby red vino comes from the heart of northern California and brings with it all the tradition the region has to offer.

It's Friday, so raise your glass and enjoy!

-Cash in the Couch

Friday, January 22, 2010

2005 Columbia Crest Two Vines Shiraz

This Columbia Crest wine is produced with juice grown in Washington State, and they find a way to make me smile every time. Their Washington bottles continues to blow every other wine away when compared to other wines under $10. Often on sale for $4.99-$8.99, these wines make perfect case purchase to become another staple in your cellar.

The Shiraz, in particular, is stunningly complex given the price category. It consistently outperforms and exceeds my expectations. This wine has a pleasant bouquet of jam and mixed berry fruit and covers the palate with black cherry. You’ll also catch notes of soft pepper and spice, however, it is not overpowering.

Again, another star in the Columbia Crest Two Vines repertoire… well done.

-Cash in the Couch

Monday, December 14, 2009

Holiday Shopping Secrets

With the holiday season upon us, I want to share a few secrets that will sure to make your season bright!

Online Pricing in Retail Stores

As mentioned in previous posts, before you travel to retail outlets to do your shopping, make sure you test the online pricing waters with and Google's Shopping feature. Search for the items you plan to purchase, and in seconds, you'll have a clear picture where prices range in the market.

Further, a friend of mine recently discovered that retailers are beginning to take their online published pricing inside their stores. With a little research and a quick question to the store manager, you'll get better pricing and avoid the risk of shipping.

For you shoppers who prefer to "see and feel" the merchandise before buying, this may be the perfect fit for you. Imagine getting Internet prices and walking out with your gifts in hand...give it a try!

Seek Generous Return Policies

As you travel from store to store, ask the employees to explain their return policies this year. Focus your buying at stores with liberal policies that allow you to bring in coupons at a later date or let you bring your back your receipt when they have "After Christmas" sales to receive a credit on your merchandise.

Online Coupons are Real and Really Work

Take a gander at coupon sites like (, Brad's Deals (, ( and others. Retailers are using these sites more and more to tap into savvy buyers like you.

Invest in a Sunday Paper

For under $2, pick up this Sunday's major local newspaper. These papers are loaded with Holiday Shopping goodies like Buy 1 Get 1's, 50% off coupons and buy $25 in Gift Cards - get $5 Free. Hang on to those Manufacturer Coupons - they almost always accept them at retail stores even after the expiration date.

Keep close tabs on the retail fliers in the paper as they will continue to communicate their most recent deals. Focus your shopping list this year on the top items for sale and think about your needs for the coming 12-24 months. Is there something you anticipate buying in the near future that you can get steal on right now? Fliers are a great way to refresh your memory on what you need at home or for gifts in the coming year. Read it!

- Cash in the Couch

Friday, November 27, 2009

Wine Finder Friday

2007 Don Miguel Gascon - Malbec

This Malbec from Argentina was a pleasant surprise when I first tasted it. I sampled it at Binny's Beverage Depot ( and noticed how well it was balanced.

The bottle cost around $11.99 and I soon thereafter found it on sale at Jewel for under $10.

It has violet color tones with great fruit flavor start to finish. It boasts plum, black cherry and spice notes throughout the middle. Surprisingly complex and can be drank easily with or without food.

Argentina and Chile are coming out with phenomenal wine for the price. Don't turn your head away from these South American gems.

It's raise your glass, and enjoy!

- Cash in the Couch

Friday, November 20, 2009

Wine Finder Friday

2007 Columbia Crest Two Vines - Vineyard 10 Red Wine

Let me preface this post by saying, WOW. This is by far the best bottle of wine I've ever tried under $6.

Masterfully blended, this Washington State product highlights the Cab Franc, Syrah and Sangiovese varietals. It has a medium body with sweet tannins. You'll catch raspberry, cherry and cola...and so much more!

As with any young, less expensive bottle, be sure to let it breath or decant for 30-45 minutes before enjoying for the optimum flavor profile.

Believe me when I say this one is a must buy!

It's Friday, so raise your glass...and enjoy!

- Cash in the Couch

Friday, November 13, 2009

Wine Finder Friday

This Friday, we look to a wonderful staple red wine for your cellar. It's the 2007 Hahn Estates Cabernet Saugvignon from the Central Coast of California. It's a perfect "second step" wine when you graduate into more complex cabernet.

I would almost say it has 2-3 flavor dimensions. It ranges from jammy to vanilla with cinnamon and spice. It's a tremendous value for the price and is highly recommended. It's not just your typical table red wine.

It's raise your glass, and enjoy!

Cash in the Couch

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Wine Finder Friday

Take a deep's Friday, and that means wine time.

This Friday's selection is the 2007 Trapiche Oak Cask Malbec from the Mendoza  region situated at the foothills of the Andes Mountains. Trapiche is the most well known wine maker in Argentina and dates all the way back to 1883.

This great value at $9 boasts soft tannins and displays plum and blackberry upon first blush. It has a surprisingly long finish of black pepper spice and hints of vanilla.

I tried this wine at a friend's birthday party, was completely taken by surprise, and followed up with a Wine Finder Friday post.

It's raise your glass, and enjoy!

Cash in the Couch

Does it Pay to Join Sam's Club?

With any membership that charges an annual fee, you need to decide whether it is cost effective to join. Cost effective to me means that the price of membership is far less than the savings earned. With a typical Club membership at around $35-45 (it’s cheaper if you take out a Business Membership), I would argue you should save almost double the cost annually, if not more.

Is it Worth it?
Recently, I’ve been keeping track of what I specifically buy at Sam’s to gauge if the membership is worth it. Here is a glance at my grocery list:

Electronics: Televisions, Cameras, Photo prints

I never recommend buying electronics without pricing around. Always check local retail stores and sales flyers along with online retailers like to ensure you are getting the best price. But let’s say you don’t comparison shop. Sam’s, Costco and others have very reasonable pricing on all electronics. In fact, I get all of my photo enlargements done there – they are fantastic.

Food: Cereal, Meats, Seafood, Cheese, Party Platters, Chips, Bakery, Frozen Pizza, Frozen Anything

Buying in bulk traditionally saves. Make sure you have your cell phone calculator handy to find the unit prices to make sure you’re getting the best deal.

Beverages: Water and Booze. Buy your booze here. Seriously. I repeat, Buy your booze here. You get the point.

Alcohol prices at Sam’s is crazy low. My favorite example is a 24 pack of Miller Lite glass bottles. Remember, a 24 pack of ML cans at most grocers are around $15, maybe $13.99 on sale. Sam’s sells their glass bottles, traditionally more expensive, for around $13.45. Darn good price.

As there are many wine lovers on Cash in the Couch, wine prices are stellar. My favorite, of which I’ll cover in a future Wine Finder Friday, is Chateau Ste. Michelle Cabernet Sauvignon. Traditionally $15 in most grocers, Sam’s sells it for $11 and change.

Nestle Water Bottle cases which typically run from $3.99-6.99, once again, Sam’s sells for less…$3.49

You’re Not Cool Unless You Join (and save)
Now I don’t go there for everything, but when I’m saving $3 per bottle of wine, saving a $2 per box of cereal, $2 per case of water, I hit that $35 market in a flash…and you just might too.

See you at Sam’s, fellow member!

Cash in the Couch

Friday, October 30, 2009

Wine Finder Friday

Happy Friday Wine Lovers!

For today's Wine Finder Friday, we travel to the distant land of Chile for a Pinot Noir that's a true sleeper. This $11 selection produced by Concha y Toro - marketed as Casillero del Diablo - is a real surprise for Pinot Noir under $20.

Pinot Noir - A delicate fruit

You may be aware that the pinot grape is a very delicate and tough fruit to grow. It loves cool weather and rocky soil. Due to the challenges growing great pinot, it often costs well above $20 to taste its true brilliance...and that's what makes this selection a great find. Pinot Noir is famous for its light red, light body and mild acidity - a perfect first step into the world of red wine for cautious white wine generalists.

Casillero del Diablo is aged in French Oak for 8 months and features soft tones of chocolate, coffee and mixed fruit.

Pinot Noir is notorious for being food friendly, so drink and enjoy it with everything!

It's raise your glass and enjoy!

Cash in the Couch

Friday, October 23, 2009

Blingin’ Watches on a Budget

I, like many, suffer from chronic watch envy. Don’t deny it. You probably suffer from it too. It’s a known habit that humans stare at bulging time pieces. Let’s face it, we all have caught ourselves gazing into the glare of a shiney wrist watch on an unsuspecting passerby and thought, “Daaang! That thing is huge…must have cost a fortune!”

Truth is, you can find some of those eye popping gems for a great price...if you look hard enough of course. But don't sweat it, I'll make it easy on you.

A Quick Lesson on Watches

- There are very few watch makers that can produce large quantities of high quality time pieces.

- You’ve noticed that companies like Fossil brand ( have hundreds of different styles and price points. In fact, Fossil manufactures high quality watches for some very high-end brands like Michele and Michael Kors.

Make the Trip

Recently, I found myself in the market for a new watch as a gift for my now fiance. A friend of mine tipped me off that Michael Kors watches, similar to the styles found at Nordstroms, could be found on the cheap by heading to the local Prime Outlet Mall ( and more specifically to the Fossil Watch Outlet (

After 5 minutes of visiting the store, I was awestruck by the selection, the brands they manufactured and the prices they sold them for...I ended up walking out of there with a $350 Michael Kors watch for $85.

Granted, most of the watches available were from last year's collection, but c'mon folks, who honestly knows that?! And who cares???

All in all, I walked out of that store with my shoulders back, my head held high, a beautiful time piece in hand, an elated bride to be, and a cool $265 back in my pocket.

Cash in the Couch