O.C. Bargainista: Pretty in pink (lipgloss, that is)

Freebie of the Week: A free lip gloss from Express stores! Better hurry if you want to cash in on this one — the offer only is active today, to receive a coupon to redeem Sept. 8 to 10. Go to http://www.facebook.com/express and select the "New Fans" tab, saying you want to be a fan, then fill out the form for your personalized coupon.

While the kids are away, Mommy can play

Happy September! The kids are back in school, so it's time to pay a little attention to Mommy. Good thing the SpaFinder Deal Days promotion is now active, with loads of Orange County spas and yoga studios offering flat-rate $50 deals or other bargain offerings. Example: a wellness massage and detoxification session for $50 (retail value: $150) at Ergonique in Newport Beach. Also, check out the deals at the Clarins Skin Spa at Bloomingdale's, Fashion Island. Across the bay, the no-chanting, fitness-oriented YAS East Costa Mesa yoga studio has single classes for $8.50 instead of $17. Other Costa Mesa participants include both of its Bodycentre Day Spas; the Spa & Fitness Club; and the Clarins Skin Spa at Nordstrom South Coast Plaza. To check out what's available or to sign up, visit http://www.spafinder.com/dealdays.

Labor to find those sales

It's Labor Day weekend, so if you normally throw out those sales circulars, dig them out and ogle the loss-leaders at each store. Highlights include 40 pounds of Kingsford charcoal for $9.97 at Home Depot and up to 10 Simplicity patterns for $1.99 each (retail value: up to $17.95 each) at Jo-Ann Fabrics & Crafts.

Got groceries? Labor Day weekend also makes for the perfect time to stock up on freezable favorites, including extra-lean ground beef for just $1.99 per pound at Sprouts Market, or seedless green grapes at Ralphs for 69 cents per pound. (What? You've never tried frozen grapes? They're a million times tastier than Popsicles, and much healthier.) While you're out, pick up an apple or cherry pie for this weekend at Vons for $1.99.

Buy an Apple, get an iPod Touch

Still need a new Mac computer for your college-bound kid (or your own classroom)? This is the best time to buy, as Apple is offering rebates of up to $200 off — and a free 8GB iPod Touch to teachers of any grade level and college students who buy a new Mac with education pricing through Sept. 7.

Have a hot sale tip, or know about a great local business that you think deserves a little attention? Contact the O.C. Bargainista at candicebaker@gmail.com. And remember — never pay retail!

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