Kevin is a graduate of the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University, where he studied marketing. Find him on Twitter and Google+

Jul 312014
weekend ideas

Noblesville’s Courthouse Square is the venue for two of our five top weekend ideas.

The kids may be going back to school, but the start of August doesn’t mean that the fun of summer is completely over. We know of a handful of fun activities to enjoy around town on the cheap. If you’re looking for some fun plans that won’t break the bank, keep this weekend’s roundup in mind:

Kroger Little Clinic Grand Opening – Four Indianapolis-area Kroger stores are celebrating grand openings of the Little Clinic. The four stores are located at 5810 E. 71st Street, 1930 E. Main Street (in Plainfield), 1330 W. Southport Road, and 5025 W. 71st Street. The grand opening activities include glucose and blood pressure screenings, adult immunization assessments, chair massages, balloon artists, and a ribbon cutting ceremony. (Yah, we’re betting the massages and balloon fun are more up most folks’ alley.) The activities last from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Friday, August 1.

Back to School Night in Noblesville – While supplies last, Noblesville Schools invite students and families to enjoy the Back to School Night at Courthouse Square from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Friday, August 1. In addition to the supplies, you’ll find hot dogs and ice cream, live music, school information tables, a dunk tank, video game trailers, and more.

Noblesville Art Fair – While we’re in Noblesville’s neighborhood, stick around until Saturday, August 2 to enjoy the Art Fair on the Square from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Artists will be setting up booths and selling their creations at the same Courthouse Square venue. Featured artists include Nick Roudeboush, Alice Harpel, Lesley Haflich, Fail Weiner, Andy Henderson, Lyndi Grubb, and more.

Mass Ave Criterium – The time to register for this cycling event has unfortunately passed. If you don’t mind enjoying the festivities from the sideline, however, Mass Ave will be hopping from noon to 9:00 p.m. Saturday, August 2. In addition to the big cycling race, you’ll find a New Belgium beer in an expanded beer garden, product street vendors, a kids rodeo, and much more. Plus, you’ll be able to watch all the action of the race from every section of the course on ten large TV monitors near the start/finish area.

International Friendship Day at Olive Garden – Of course, you can celebrate your friends all weekend long, but Olive Garden has a coupon that gives you the perfect excuse to take your best buddies out to dinner Sunday evening. Get the coupon here and you can take 20% off your check with four or more people on Sunday, August 3. After all, who doesn’t love a meal at Olive Garden?

And as a bonus, James Dant, a trendy, hip, unique, urban, street, contemporary, indie men’s clothing store will be showing the launch of its new commercial —the Life. Well Made viewing party, as they call it—at 5624 East Washington (Irvington) on Saturday, August 2. Showings are at 8, 9, and 10 pm. OK, so watching a commercial for fun is a little off-the-wall, but there will be food and beer as well as giveaways. Folks looking for a different vibe should put this on their Saturday to-do list.

Jul 312014
Holiday World

You know you want to go this week.

Say what you will about Disney, King’s Island, Cedar Point, and Six Flags, but the park we have just a few hours south of Indy in Santa Claus is likely the best value of them all. Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari are highly rated amusement parks, and deservedly so. They annually win awards for park cleanliness, the rides range from kid-friendly to super thrilling, they offer FREE suntan lotion and soft drinks, and the list goes on.

While the ticket prices are already relatively cheap by amusement park standards ($44.95 for adults, $36.95 for kids) there are ways you can save even more. If you order your tickets online from Holiday World directly, you can save $5 off your adult admission and $2 off your child or senior ticket. In past years, Marsh and O’Malia’s supermarkets have offered the same discounts, but this year seems to be an exception.

If you stop at Santa’s Candy Castle on State Road 245 in Santa Claus before heading to the park, the good folks there will sell you general admission tickets at $6 off the gate price. They’re advertising it as the biggest discount in the state, and we can’t dispute them!

Also, Holiday World itself has a very sweet discount up its sleeve for visitors who wear the uniform. The Heroes Discount will offer even bigger savings to past and present military, firefighters, police, and EMS (The previous link also takes you to that page, where you can read more on the procedures. Military take $6 off the admission price, law enforcement save $5.). Both groups enjoy an even deeper discount after 3 pm CDT (remember, Holiday World’s zip code is one hour behind Indianapolis.)

Finally, call well ahead if you are anticipating bringing a group of 15 or more people, as Holiday World will work with you to provide a big group discount.

Jul 312014
zoo pricing

Don’t monkey around with the gate prices

If you haven’t been to the Indianapolis Zoo lately, it’s a beautiful time to go. The recent summer weeks haven’t been too hot, and the animals are likely to be doing more than just lying still and sleeping. Plus, you’ll have a chance to see the awe-inspiring orangutan exhibit. Before you decide on a date to visit, however, keep a bran-new change in ticket pricing in mind.

The Indianapolis Zoo is now adjusting ticket prices based on that day’s projected attendance. In simple terms, this means that the gate prices won’t always be the same, and what you pay depends on how many visitors the Zoo expects to have on a particular day. They are changing the pricing method because they believe that they can boost revenue while also keeping the crowds on the busiest days from being too overwhelming.

Any change like this can lead to confusion, but we have some advice on how to win with this new system. First of all, try to keep in mind which days will be the most popular and avoid those. We recommend sticking to week days rather than weekends. You can find decent prices if you purchase tickets online in advance; so far, the prices have tended to vary from approximately $15 to $30 per adult ticket (with kids tickets costing less). If you like a price, purchasing the ticket on the spot will lock that in — waiting is almost a guarantee that  you’ll pay more.

According to news reports, the zoo expects its 2014 attendance to reach 1.28 million, a 24 percent jump over 2013. We are the first in the country to introduce this dynamic pricing.

So, what do you think?

Jul 312014
Indianapolis Indians

Head out to Victory Field and enjoy the game against Rochester.

If you’ve been waiting for the perfect time to go watch the Indianapolis Indians play, your wait is almost over. You have a great opportunity to go to a game under (pardon the cliche) the Friday Night Lights at Victory Field. Best of all, you can purchase tickets on the cheap while also supporting a great cause. The game in question is a battle against the Rochester Red Wings that starts at 7:15 p.m. on Friday, August 8.

We’re giving you a weeks head start, because tickets are limited and subject to availability. The Mary Rigg Neighborhood Center is the group making this exclusive offer, and you can book your seats at the game for only $10 if you do so before they sell out. Of that small entry fee, $5 will go directly back to Mary Rigg to enable them to continue serving our community and making a difference in Hoosiers’ lives every day.

To purchase your tickets, visit the Mary Rigg Indians website page and enter the password Rigg where prompted. Finally, remember that the extra benefit to watching the Indians on a Friday night is that every Friday game ends in a fireworks show that doesn’t cost any extra to enjoy. It’ll be a great night for everyone involved, and we hope to see you there cheering on our Indians.

Jul 312014
Half Price Books

Among all the free leisure time activities, reading takes the cake for us.

Most of the teenagers aged 14 to 17 around Indy are now back in school, meaning they’re back to working hard on their education. Okay, maybe not as hard as you’d like them to work with college scholarship on the horizon, but most likely harder than they were over summer break. Despite the reemergence of homework in our teens’ lives, most of them will still have time to enjoy reading a good book on the side of their schoolwork. If your teen reads books this month and is willing to do a tiny bit of extra work with them, they could win awesome prizes from Half Price Books.

Throughout the month of August, Half Price Books is giving away prizes to teens aged 14 to 17 who read books and then review those books on social media. If your child shares a review, remind them to add #HPBteensREAD and tag @halfpricebooks for a shot at winning one of those prizes this month. In the meantime, teens are invited to stop by their local Half Price Books store, pick up a Teen Review Sheet, and fill it out with a short review that they can return to the store for a coupon that will take 20% off your entire next purchase.

Half Price Books sees this as an opportunity to reward kids for doing something that is already fun by itself- reading. If your teen loves to read, they deserve this kind of treat. If your teen doesn’t love reading, this might offer an incentive to try it again and perhaps find a new appreciation for the activity.

Jul 292014
State Fair

Don’t miss the fun this year at the State Fair.

If you live in Indianapolis and you notice that July is about to end, there’s always one idea that jumps out at you – the Indiana State Fair is about to begin. We’ve reached that point again in 2014, and the State Fair is just about to return. We’re talking about 17 days of FREE concerts (we recommend you check out our Guide to Indy’s Summer Concerts, as we’ve updated the post with all the State Fair’s FREE stage shows), craft beers (new this year), deep-fried Snickers and Oreos, and of course the cow and pig barns.

If you’re planning ahead and looking to take advantage of as many opportunities to save money while visiting the State Fair this year (we’re all Cheapsters here, after all), consult our list of special days and deals for this year’s installment:

Meijer Day: You can take 50% off one fair admission (worth $5) on Monday, August 4 if you spend $20 on Fall Creek apparel between now and August 4. Meijer will give you a Catalina coupon print to present. Also, be on the lookout Monday for a coupon in the Indianapolis Star that will give you FREE admission on Wednesday, August 6.

$2 Tuesdays: You won’t need a voucher for a discount on admission today. Admission is only $2 on Tuesday, August 5 and 12, and you’ll find $2 food specials all around the Fairgrounds. The rides are $2, too. Also, seniors over the age of 55 and members of the Red and Pink Hat Societies can ride shuttles around the grounds for FREE all day.

Fridays are Foodie Friday, where attendees pay $5 to get in and then soak up the savings from food vendors, too.

State Employees Day: An aptly named day, Thursday, August 7 is the day when State employees (as well as armed forces and veterans and their families) can enjoy FREE admission if they bring proper identification.

IPL Carload Day: Admission costs only $15 for up to ten people carpooling together with an IPL Carload Day voucher. Visit the IPL Power website to download the voucher.

BMV Day: On Wednesday, August 13, admission will only cost you $5 if you bring a voucher from Everyone in the family can use one, as you’re allowed one voucher per person.

AAA Day: AAA members bearing valid membership cards will enjoy FREE admission on Thursday, August 14.

Pepsi Wild Cherry Day: Bring any Pepsi brand can with you Sunday, August 17 and you’ll receive $2 off your gate admission.

If none of these fit your plans, head over to the online site and order advance tickets before midnight July 31 to take $3 0ff and knock that price down to $7. Or head to central Indiana Walmarts or CVS pharmacies to buy tickets in person for $7 there. The link to these savings is here: Everyday State Fair admission discounts.

For those of us who like unusual, quirky deals: Bike to the fair and take $1 off the gate admission. You must enter through Gate 18 to get this deal; you may lock up your bike at the racks available on the Monon Trail. Or, if you want to skip parking fees, park at Glendale Mall and use the FREE shuttle from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Jul 292014

Have the kids been begging for Culver’s? This is one night you’ll definitely want to Let Them Go.

Culver’s is usually known for two things in particular – delicious hamburgers with buttery buns that melt in your mouth, and equally delicious frozen custard. Both of those things will still be on full display Wednesday, July 30, but they will be joined by a congregation of superheroes and princesses. If the kids have been itching for another fun opportunity to wear those Halloween costumes you purchased nearly a year ago, this is a great time for them while you save money on their dinner.

From 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Wednesday evening, kids aged 12 and younger who dress up as their favorite princess or superhero will receive FREE food from the Greenwood Culver’s location. If the costumes are complete, your child will enjoy a FREE kids meal. If he or she wears a single item (like a cape, tiara, or mask), they will at least give away a FREE one-scoop sundae. The Hulk, Batman, and Princess Elsa will have a fun time with their friends, while the parents of these heroes and princesses will love the reduced price of a family dinner dining out.

Jul 292014
Indianapolis Colts

Hakeem Nicks is just one of the new names you can choose from in this jersey sale.

If you aren’t a baseball or tennis fanatic, you haven’t been watching much in the way of sports lately. That’s all about to change, however, as we prepare to welcome our Indianapolis Colts back for what we hope will be a Super Bowl run. We’re all looking forward to this coming season and anxiously anticipating the return of players like Andrew Luck, Reggie Wayne, Pat MacAfee, TY Hilton, and more.

With the first game of the season only a handful of weeks away, it’s the perfect time to update your Sunday Game Day wardrobe with a new official Colts jersey. The Colts Pro Shop is offering all the jerseys you’re looking for, several of which are at incredible prices. You can purchase an official jersey with big names like Luck, Richardson, Wayne, Hilton, etc. on the back for only $100 (less than you’ll pay in most retail stores). The Colts Pro Shop offers the newest jerseys for our rookies if you want to be a hipster who pulls for Donte Moncrief or Jack Mewhort even before they become household names.

The best deal of all, of course, is to purchase jerseys for those players who were Colts last year but have since moved on. Coming from someone who purchased a $10 Danny Granger jersey at the first Pacers game after he left, an authentic jersey is an authentic jersey and you can’t beat that price. You can wear the names of Heyward-Bey and Pat Angerer for just $29.95, while Vontae Davis costs you only $59.95.

Jul 292014
National Cheesecake Day

The end of July is here and we don’t need any cheesy lines – lets go enjoy some cheesecake.

We ran this post over a week ago, but the time has come to enjoy cheesecake on the cheap. If you are a cheesecake lover, National Cheesecake Day means Christmas comes early for you at The Cheesecake Factory. Not only that, but the Cheesecake Factory is letting you enjoy the festivities two days in a row. You can visit The Cheesecake Factory on both Wednesday, July 30 and Thursday, July 31 and enjoy any slice of cheesecake (and they have more than 30 flavors to choose from) for half off of regular price. That alone is worthy of a post from us.

The only ground rules on these two beautiful days are that you are limited to one slice per guest and the deal is for dine-in only. Other than that, any slice is half price for the last two days of July this year. We’ll see you at The Cheesecake Factory this week for this incredible celebration.

Jul 282014
Studio Movie Grill

They might be dumb and dumber, but it would be dumbest to miss out on these low ticket prices.

This is, quite honestly, one of the most creative movie theater promotions we’ve seen this year. Studio Movie Grill, the theater we’ve written about before that allows you to watch movies on the big screen in luxury while also offering full course dinner menus as you watch, has noticed that the upcoming movie horizon features a ton of sequels. Whether you’re looking forward to those sequels or privately thinking they won’t be as good as the originals (or both), Studio Movie Grill has an awesome opportunity for you these next few days.

Every day from now through Thursday, July 31, Studio Movie Grill is offering you $2 tickets to see the originals that inspired some of these upcoming sequels. Here’s your choice of original movies to pick from:

  • Mrs. Doubtfire
  • Despicable Me
  • Pitch Perfect
  • Dumb & Dumber

Studio Movie Grill is calling this promotion the Refresher series, as we could all use a refresher on the older films to prepare for the upcoming sequels. At those prices (plus the added benefit of no online booking fees), it’s hard to say no to a movie night this week. When you’re ready to purchase your $2 tickets, just click our linked text in red.