Latte and scone at Barrique's

We’re still working on making substantial changes and improvements to our Madison on the Cheap website, but it’s taking longer than we expected.

We launched Madison on the cheap in 2007 and posted almost every day until we went on hiatus. Recently, we’ve removed almost 5,000 posts (and an equal number of photos) that were out-of-date and no longer useful. Along the way, we’ve learned that decluttering can be a time-consuming task.

Right now, the best place to find our posts about events and short-term deals (like discounts on ice cream and frozen custard) is our Facebook page:

If you haven’t already “liked” our page, do so now and join the almost 5,000 people who know Madison on the Cheap is a great resource for locals and a fun source for nostalgia for many people who’ve moved away from Wisconsin’s capital city.

Also, a reminder that we keep out list of Thrift and Resale Stores up-to-date, as well as the pages listed under the Free and/or Cheap tab at the top of the page.

Now it’s time for us to get back to work. Thanks for stopping and taking the time to read our progress report.

The Quisling Towers apartments on Mansion Hill in Madison, Wisconsin

The Quisling Towers apartments on Mansion Hill in Madison, Wisconsin

Some of the best, most insightful walking tours of Madison’s historic neighborhoods are the subject of a series of free, self-guided tours published from 1986-2002 by the Madison Landmarks Commission and other local organizations interested in historic preservation. Originally published as small paperback brochures, a limited number were available free at Madison’s public libraries – and they were snapped up quickly. They are now out of print. Happily, however, they are available free from the City of Madison Planning Division as downloadable PDFs.

Even though some of these guides are almost 30 years old, most of the information they provide is still accurate – although you will discover that some buildings have vanished in the intervening years.

We listed the available brochures (with a link to the downloadable version) on a separate page on Madison on the Cheap.

If you’re planning to do a lot of online shopping, you should consider joining Ebates — it’s free and members receive cash back on their purchases. Right now, for instance, you’ll receive 10% back on purchases from Old Navy, The Body Shop, and Gap; 6% back on purchases from J. Crew and Lands’ End; and up to 20% at other online stores.

Plus, after you make your first $25 purchase (within the first 90 days after you sign up) Ebates will give you a free $10 gift certificate for Target, Home Depot, or your choice of several other stores.

Sign up now for Ebates and start earning cash back on your online purchases.

Computers contain a number of toxic and hazardous materials, including lead, cadmium, mercury, and flame retardants. Businesses and households are prohibited from discarding these materials into landfills.

If you live in the City of Madison, you can’t just leave that old computer at the curb if you want to discard it. You’ll have to pay a $10 fee for each CPU, monitor, or laptop you want to dispose of and deliver it to one of two recycling centers. Similar restrictions apply in many other municipalities.

Fortunately, there is an excellent way to recycle your computer equipment FREE. [click to continue…]

The Pumpkin Lady® (Lisa Berberette) has spent the past 13 years carving pumpkins “for the likes of Oprah Winfrey and Martha Stewart, and had the honor of being an expert judge for the Food Network’s Extreme Pumpkin Challenge.” She’s also “carved pumpkins on a chilly October morn in Times Square for Good Morning America and spent hot days under studio lights for the Home Shopping Network.”

But what we love about her is that on her website she offers FREE patterns that change EVERY WEEK from now through Halloween! Plus, she offers hundreds of exciting and creative patterns for just $1.49 each (or less if you buy lots of them).

The Pumpkin Lady’s website also offers free “how-to” videos and links to other interesting sites, including her blog and her Etsy shop. Pay her a visit and be inspired!

Thanks to Carolyn at Wichita on the Cheap for introducing us to The Pumpkin Lady,

Ice Age National Scenic Trail in Wisconsin

If you are age 62 or older and a US citizen or permanent resident, you can apply for a lifetime Senior Pass to the National Parks Service for just $10. That’s for a lifetime of admission to the more than 2,000 sites that the National Parks Service manages, including Yellowstone, Death Valley, and Grand Canyon.

To get this deal on the cheap, you should apply for this lifetime pass in person at a Federal Recreation site. If you apply through the mail, you’ll pay an additional $10 processing fee. You may download the mail application as a PDF document.

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There are many reasons why you may want to learn a second (or third) language — and the Madison and Middleton Public Libraries want to help you succeed in doing so.

These libraries now offer FREE access to the Mango Languages learning program, which teaches practical conversation and cultural awareness for the world’s most popular languages. There are 22 languages from which to choose, as well as 15 ESL courses.

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Adult Swim is offering a FREE download of “16 tracks of rare or unreleased metal from the heaviest bands in existence.” Featured bands include Black Tusk, Red Fang, and Withered.

The entire album download is an MP3 ZIP file. It’s about 146MB, so it will take a bit of time to download if you don’t have a really fast connection.

Adult Swim features lots of animated shorts for boys who never grew up; as its name suggests, however, it’s for adults, not kids.

The Wisconsin Department of Tourism has developed its first iPhone and Android application to provide Wisconsin visitors and residents with an “on-the-go” resource to “find fun in Wisconsin.”

The Travel Wisconsin™ app is available as a FREE download from the Apple iTunes Store and Google Play.

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Here’s another fun paper craft project for Halloween — and according to its creator, Rob Ives, it’s “specially designed to be made without using a sharp knife so it can be made by people of all ages.”

If you’d like to make this Pop Up Pumpkin, visit Rob’s website and download the pattern. You’ll find the download near the bottom of the page — after the helpful, illustrated tutorial.

The download is free, but you may want to treat Ives by making a small donation.