Comments Off on Top 5 Holiday Shopping Coupon Tips
The holidays are near and people are once again feeling the Thanksgiving and Christmas rush. Shoppers would again barge into stores and get hold of items they need for their Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners and holiday feasts. On the other hand, prices might shoot up because of the extreme demand. Hence, such times need smart consumers who know the value of discount coupons.
1. Shop online and maximize your coupons
What’s good about online shopping is that you get to buy your stuff without the hassle of going to jam-packed stores and squeezing your way in. Online shopping provides you all the convenience of buying anything you need and want. Moreover, you also get coupons instantly. There are a number of coupons that crop up in your screens. These coupons can be used to ask for discounts in your order.
2. Compare prices in stores and see which ones you’d buy with your coupons
It is a wise practice to check out various shops and see where you could use your coupons. You might just find items at fantastic discounts and awesome freebies. Know store policies as well. You might just come across a store that allows you to pair your coupons with discounted products. Other stores, on the other hand, would ask you to choose a product with a higher discount and match it with another item with a lower discount. If you’re online, it wouldn’t take so much of your time to check out the sites and compare the shops. Aside from Amazon, there are also other local retailers that offer special discounts
3. Use holiday shopping apps to get more updates regarding sales and discounts at your favorite stores
These apps could also be used to track your target items and see how much was taken off the price for a certain period. You can use barcode apps, too, to find the best deals in the market. Simply scan the barcode and you would see the prices and reviews. This will help you decide before you purchase anything.
4. Start early
It is always better to be prepared than to wait for the holidays to kick in. Even before November and December roll around, try to find coupons in your newspapers and online so you could stock up on them before the rush. Awesome deals are launched as early as October and you could take advantage of social media as well to get updated with the latest promos from your local stores. It wouldn’t hurt to mark your calendars and check out patterns. Discounts are usually given three times a month and it would be a good idea to get ready for any coupons that stores would be giving away.
5. Check out other sites that offer coupons
There is more to cyberspace than Google, and the latter could only offer as much. You can check DealsR.com or Coupontz.com for the best deals online. The site also tells you where else you could find coupons, some of which are unknown to those who browse only Google.
Comments Off on Habits to Avoid When Teaching Kids Financial Responsibility
Financial responsibility is one virtue that you can teach your kids so that they grow up as skilled financial managers. Being responsible with money is something that they can learn at a young age, and there is no excuse not to expose them to a very “grown up” thing. However, there are habits that you need to avoid so that your children will not misunderstand you. The primary step is to set a good example of being financially responsible. This is further specified into the following principles:
- Avoid fighting about money. According to a study in 2012, children who heard their parents fighting about money grew up to have financial issues and are more likely to be buried in huge piles of debt. Intense conversations about money will never make everyone in the family at ease. Instead, you can keep it low-key by conducting a “budget talk” where you and your husband or relative discuss expenditures in a positive light. Apply the problem-solution approach and avoid blaming one another.
- Avoid spoiling your kids when they want to buy stuff. Teach them to save for what they want, yet emphasize what they need to prioritize when buying. For instance, they may be able to save a few dollars to buy candy, but you can teach them to use it on a more important thing (i.e. books).
- The topic of money shouldn’t be a taboo. You can discuss this even with the children around, but avoid quarreling about finances. When your children ask about budget and expernditures, take time to explain to them these concerns.
- Avoid being dishonest. If you owe someone, don’t ask your children to lie on your behalf. Teach them to face the consequences of debts. Better yet, teach them not to get buried under a pile of debt.
- Don’t keep up with the Joneses. This is an attitude that could send any family to deep debts. Competing with other families will send a negative message to your kids – that it’s alright to spend beyond your means as long as you can address your caprices and unnecessary wants.
- Avoid being too comfortable with debt. Check how you spend on your items. Ideally, you should be spending from your own pocket and not relying on credit cards. Resort to the latter only if there is an emergency. Otherwise, teach your children to save for the puchase.
- Avoid tackling too much about money either. You can discuss money matters but be wary of making it the sole topic in the household. It may make your children think that money is too important. Also, teach your kids the value of money, but tell them it cannot equate happiness.
- Impulsive spending may influence your kids. Teaching them to think twice before buying anything will make them more responsible in handling money. Teach them to buy one at a time as well.
- Do not overspend. Show your kids that the right way of managing finances is to buy what’s important, and to buy what your family can afford. Buying at thrift stores and book sales is not a bad idea after all. Teach your kids to be a smart consumer.
Comments Off on 5 Things you should Start Doing Right Now to Save on Christmas Gifts
Trying to save money during the Christmas season is a skill that most people haven’t mastered yet despite many attempts. Shopping is a must during Christmas but there are things that you can do to save on Christmas gifts. Here are some useful money saving tips that you can use.
1. Plan a List of People and Follow a Budget
You are not obliged to give a present to every single person you’ve been acquainted with. Likewise, it’s not your responsibility to please them with expensive gifts. Start by making a list of family members to whom you want to give a present to. Allocate a certain range of amount for each person. Remember that it’s alright to spend a little more on people who are fond of you. However, it’s important to stick to your budget. Setting up a budget gives you an overview of how much you will spend on gifts alone.
2. Save Money for Gifts
Take a look at the list you just made. Perhaps, you want to give a few people something special or expensive. As early as possible, you can start saving spare change and small bill denominations in a jar daily. Only open the jar once you’re prepared to shop for gifts. Creating a separate pool of funds for Christmas gifts prevents you from getting overwhelmed by sudden Christmas shopping expenses. To even squeeze in more money into your savings, you can start deciding how to cut your daily expenses. Try bringing packed lunch for work instead of dining outside or bringing your own water instead of buying drinks from convenience shops.
3. Start Window Shopping
Window shopping trains you to control your shopping impulses and gives you an idea of what gifts you can buy for your loved ones. Take time to visit the mall and novelty shops you used to just pass by in a hurry. You may unexpectedly spot a one-of-a-kind marked down item that fits your budget for someone in your list.
4. Go DIY
You can save some money by putting your creative skills into good use. Making your DIY Christmas gift personalized like inscribing the recipient’s initials and using their favorite color will help make your gift appear more valuable. Now, you don’t have to be that someone who always gives cheap gifts. Create something useful like personalized mugs, coasters, clock and soaps, or resin jewelry. The possibilities are endless. People tend to value personalized gifts because they feel a connection with them. DIY gifts are never meaningless gifts.
5. Always Opt for Useful Gifts
Take time to list down the simple things that that person likes. This doesn’t mean that you would give them cheap office appliances. Rather, look into their hobbies and preferences. Your money is going to waste if you bought a meaningless and useless gift that the recipient finds irrelevant in their life. It would be better to look beyond the glitz of gift items and ask yourself how that person will benefit from your gift. Seeing them actually use your gift gives a bang to your buck better than any discount can give.
Comments Off on How Much Can You Save by Bringing Your Own Lunch Food to Work?
Bringing your own lunch to the office is just one of the ways to save money. It is practical, economical, and could even be healthier, as compared to buying your lunch in the office cafeteria or i fast food joint.
Eating out sounds like a fantastic idea, considering the convenience of not bringing extra bags with you. Eating out with your officemates is also an enticing idea.
However, try listing down your expenses starting from breakfast to your snacks and you may be surprised at your monthly expenditures for food and drinks alone.
You can save a lot of money if you’d just pack your own breakfast or lunch to work. Imagine bringing your own mug to the office and simply brewing your own Arabica beans – you save a lot instead of ordering for a Starbucks venti every day!
To reduce your costs, you can try these tips:
- Prepare your own breakfast. Buy a bagel and a muffin at the local bakery instead of getting one from a restaurant. You can also cook your breakfast. Instant oatmeal does not cost a lot if you’d buy a pack from the supermarket, nor do a tray of eggs and a loaf of bread. You can save as much as $50 on breakfast if you make your own sandwiches at home.
- A regular serving of pasta costs between $12 and $15, depending on the ingredients, the chef who prepared it, and the restaurant that served it. You can buy the ingredients and prepare a sizeable serving good for five people for only $10.
- Why buy coffee, soda, and snacks at the snack bar or vending machine when you can get them at the nearest store? Buy a big pack of granola bars or cupcakes in the grocery store and just bring them to work.
- As long as your office has a clean water supply and a purification system, you don’t have to buy bottles of water every day. What you need is a tumbler, which you can refill when necessary.
- Buy the following and vary your lunches: fruits such as apples and bananas, yogurt, water, carrot sticks, cereal and granola bars, pasta, oatmeal.
- Pick a plastic bag or a Tupperware container where you can put your food in.
- Create a food plan so you can avoid buying on impulse.
- Learn a lot of recipes and set aside time for enjoyable yet straightforward recipes.
- Record these experiences and compare the changes in your lifestyle and finances. You can calculate the total number of savings since you started bringing your lunch to work. From an average lunch cost of $12, your expenses will soon drop to $3 at the most. Your annual savings from food and beverage could be more significant.
- As much as possible, bring food that is easy to carry or put in lunchboxes.
Bringing your lunch to work is an effective way of saving up. Instead of feeling dismayed at not eating out often, just think at the number of pennies you can save from preparing your meals.
Comments Off on 5 Ways to Reduce your Winter Heating Bill
Your home’s central heating system is indispensable during winter, but is the thought of your heating bills more merciless than the freezing night itself?
Do you wish you can cut down your heating system’s energy consumption?
Here are some helpful money saving tips that you can use to lower your winter heating bill.
1. Clean your Heating System’s Ductwork
The heating ductwork should be free from vermin, mold and dust. Airflow will be constricted, causing your heater to exert more pressure and thus consume more oil, propane or electricity.
2. Check your Home’s Insulation
An excellent home insulation is your best friend when you want to save money on your winter heating bill. During cold seasons, insulators around your home keep the heat from dissipating from your house, thus your heating system consumes less energy.
Attics should have an 11” rock wool or fiberglass insulation, or an 8” cellulose padding insulation. The walls and floors should also have the same insulation.
Water pipes should also have enough insulation. If you live in an apartment, ask your landlord about the condition of your apartment’s insulation. However, good insulation won’t be able to conserve heat well if the walls, floors, roof and ceiling have holes.
Also, check for drafts. Drafts are considered air leakages from the wind pressure outside your home. Drafts can be checked professionally but they can cost around $200 to $800, depending on the area to be tested. Sometimes, drafts can be caused by openings around the plumbing vents and on the floor.
These openings lead to stack effect or air infiltration. The heat indoors escape holes around the high areas of your house like the attic while cold air seeps in through the lower levels.
If there are minor spaces and crevices where indoor air can escape, you may opt to buy weather stripping seals or window insulation kits.
3. Lower the Thermostat
Sacrificing a few degrees Fahrenheit or Celsius can help reduce your winter heating bills by at least $100 annually.
You can even save more when you use natural gas or propane. The average temperature preferred by homeowners is 70˚F (21˚C). However, remember that every additional degree contributes to about 10% of your bill.
Lowering the thermostat to around 60˚F (16˚C) at night and 68˚F (20˚C) will give you significant savings on your heating bills. If you find this too cold, you can wear thicker garments to compensate for the colder temperature.
4. Less Hot Water
Use colder temperatures when washing dishes and doing the laundry. Because showering with cold water may feel uncomfortable, take shorter baths instead. You can also turn a few degrees down on your water heater.
5. Watch the Glass
Glass doesn’t conserve heat well. Windows and other glass components at home account for the majority of heat loss from your home.
During the coldest parts of the day, especially if there is no sunshine in sight, pull down you curtains and blinds.
If you really want to keep your curtains and blinds up at day to let some light in, make sure to layer thermal insulation films over the window’s glass panels. Never keep windows open.
Comments Off on Tricks Extreme Couponers Use to Save on Groceries
These days, every little bit counts when it comes to saving money. However, it can be difficult to cut back on one of the most essential household needs – your groceries.
Fortunately, extreme couponers have some tricks you can use to save big in the supermarket.
Make Time to Clip Coupons
The first step is to acquire coupons. Scan the inserts of Sunday papers, search online for printable coupons, and look for coupons before throwing out your junk mail.
You’ll have to make time to go through all of these and clip out or print the ones you can use, but your effort will be rewarded.
When you know what coupons you have to work with, start planning your grocery list.
Create a meal plan for the coming week based on the ingredients you can get at a discount, and decide what other household items you’ll be getting.
You should always know exactly what you’re buying and how much you’re going to spend before you leave the house.
Organize Your Shopping Trip
Good organization is the key to any successful couponing venture, so be sure to have all your coupons sorted and ready for use on your shopping trip.
Putting them in an envelope or organizer that you can easily whip out at the cash register will save you a lot of time.
If you’re planning to hit several stores at once, keep the coupons for each one in separate, labeled compartments.
Sign Up for Rewards Cards
Many stores offer rewards cards for loyal customers. These are usually free, and they’ll give you access to limited discounts, freebies, and other advantages. Using coupons on top of these benefits will definitely boost your savings.
Wait for Sales and Combine Coupons
To get the most out of your coupons, learn to wait for sales and combine coupons.
For example, you’ll save a lot more money if you wait for a buy-one-get-one-free sale on a certain type of cereal, then use a store coupon to get a discount on top of that. You can also use a different brand-related coupon on the same purchase so you end up paying even less.
With this strategy, it’s actually possible for the discounts to exceed purchase price, and the store may end up paying you for taking items off their shelves. Just make sure that your grocery store’s coupon policy allows you to pull this off before trying it out.
Use Your Common Sense
The best extreme couponers make use of common sense.
For instance, they know that huge discounts are great, but that they won’t do you much good if you never use the stuff you buy. Another sensible tip is to take the size of your storage space into account.
Buying in bulk to get more savings is all well and good, but when you have to start storing boxes of laundry detergent in your hallway, you’re going too far.
Couponing can be challenging, but it shouldn’t be stressful. Don’t fret about missing out on good deals. Set realistic goals for yourself, and count every dollar saved as a triumph.
With such a mindset, you’ll look forward to every trip to the grocery store, and find that you’re saving more each time.
Comments Off on 5 Ways to Cut Down on Transportation Costs
Transportation costs are unpredictable. Gas prices often fluctuate. In addition, you will find yourself going on unexpected trips from time to time, especially if you have your own family already.
As a wise and practical individual, you shouldn’t let your weekly transportation expenses affect other basic necessities negatively. Here are five money-saving tips that will surely cut down your transportation expenses.
1. Take the classic approach: Walk and Bike
In the Dutch culture, bikes are popular mode of transportation. People love to bike to work, to dates and to school. There are a lot of reasons why cycling is effective even in major highways.
You may not be able to impose priority bike lanes and bike parking in the meantime, but you can opt cycling overriding motorized vehicles. If you’re just taking short trips, cycle instead.
If the situation doesn’t permit you to bring your own bike, walk. Bring foldable doll shoes or slippers to work or school so you can walk comfortably in longer distances.
Also, don’t forget to bring an umbrella. If you worry about having a bulky suitcase, there are foldable umbrellas the size of your palm.
2. Use public transportation
Public transportation can be a headache during rush hour, but taking public transit will help you save a significant amount of money per month.
If you prefer driving to work, try commuting whenever you do something minor such as visiting a friend, Subways, trains and some buses run on a schedule so make sure to take note of it to arrive at your destination on time.
Connecting rail system that traverses different states may offer tickets that may be valid in different train stations.
3. Plan and group your tasks
It’s helpful to group tasks and chores and plan when and where you intend to buy them. Going back and forth to the same place will definitely cost you more. Start by listing the things you ought to buy and keep it with you always.
When going somewhere, take note if you’re going to pass by certain stores that carry what you need. Better yet, you can check it online and see if the shipping cost is free or cheaper than what you would have spent on transportation
4. Tune-up your car
Make sure your car’s air filter is clean and the tires are properly inflated. If it’s time to change oil, do it as soon as possible.
When driving, avoid the habit of slamming on the breaks and gas to avoid stressing your car’s engine. Tune-up your car to save on gas and be a cautious driver to save on repair costs.
5. Drive when there’s light traffic
There is a big difference in cost if you drive on constant acceleration and deceleration versus cruising on a longer distance at a constant speed.
Try to avoid driving during rush hour. If you want an alternative to this, choose a car with good mileage and overall performance.
In the long run, a good-looking high-maintenance car wouldn’t be so attractive if it regularly drains you of large amounts of money.
Comments Off on Most Common Mistakes Made by New Couponers
With the possibility of huge savings to spur you on, it’s easy to get caught up in couponing. When you’re just starting out, however, it’s equally easy to commit errors that cost you money or cause you some embarrassment in the checkout line.
These are the mistakes most commonly made by new couponers, and how you can avoid them.
Not Doing the Math
A lot of new couponers don’t do their math before heading to the store, and end up having to pay hundreds of dollars more than they expected.
Always take the time to do the math so you know how much your total will be before and after the savings from coupons.
Failing to Read the Fine Print
Coupons come with a lot of fine print, and you ignore this at your peril. Make sure to read it carefully so that you know the exact specifications of the item a coupon is for.
That way, you won’t end up with the wrong product in your shopping cart. You should also pay attention to a coupon’s expiration date.
Buying Things Just Because They’re On Sale
Many new couponers fall into the trap of buying things they don’t like simply because they’re on sale. No matter how big the discount is, doing this will waste your money.
Don’t pick up items your family won’t use unless you intend to give them away as donations or gifts.
Refusing to Buy Products Without Coupons
Another extreme is refusing to buy the products you need unless you have coupons for them.
Don’t put your family through a shortage of shampoo, cereal, or other necessities just because you’re waiting for a good deal. It’s alright to buy something at regular price if you need it immediately.
Chasing Down Every Deal Available
Couponing is hard work, and you’ll burn yourself out if you chase down every deal available in your area.
Learn to pick and choose the sales that will be most useful to you, and don’t get frustrated if you miss one. After all, sales always come around again.
Using Coupons Immediately
Another strategic error common among new couponers is using a coupon immediately after finding it.
Unless you need the product right away, you’ll save more if you wait for sales or mix and match coupons to get the best deals.
There’s nothing more frustrating than preparing your coupons, driving to the store, and finding out that somebody else has cleared the shelves of the products you wanted. Don’t be the person who does that! Leaving some items behind for other customers is basic couponing etiquette.
Losing Patience with the Cashier
Couponing can be tough work for cashiers as well, and you won’t be doing anyone any favors if you lose patience with the person who’s ringing up your shopping.
Don’t hold up lines by arguing with them about the store’s coupon policies. If you think the cashier has made a mistake, ask to be moved to customer service with the bare minimum of fuss.
Comments Off on Top 5 Money Savings Tips for College Students
It hurts to know that, even if you graduate, you will not get employed immediately.
In addition, with student loans, you will be six feet deep in debt once college is over — not to mention that you need to keep yourself alive during the next few years or so.
It is sad that your parents (that is, if they are able) will be the ones primarily working to get you through all of that. And it is unfortunate that, despite your parents’ unwavering efforts, the money you get will never be enough to get you by.
Aside from getting a part-time job and attempting to get a scholarship, saving money is the best way to lessen your parents’ burden and for you to have a sustainable college life. Here are 5 money savings tips for college students like you.
1. Automate your expenses and financial flow
Once money comes to you, everything that you need to pay and set aside should be already managed and allotted even before the money gets to your savings account.
Do not delay paying off your bills. It will allow you to spend money that is yours alone and prevent spending money that should go to important stuff.
Also, doing so will prevent you from loaning money just to pay for the bill that you should have paid when you had the money.
2. It might suck, but the library must become your best friend
As much as possible, do not buy books that you need for class. If the library has free Internet, which most of them have, then do your online business there.
3. Abuse your body a bit by eating poor-college-kid food
You are still young and healthy. When times get tough and rough, bread and instant noodles will become your sustenance.
Of course, it does not mean that you should kill yourself just to save money.
Be creative with your food. Add some eggs and a few garnishings to keep your ramen a bit healthier and nutritious.
4. Make friends
You do not need to endure college hell alone. Make some friends and help each other out. Just like you, they need someone they can rely on to.
Take advantage of each other’s skills and abilities. Some of them might know how to cook, which can allow you guys to eat delicious food without spending too much.
Some might be good at other life skills like bargaining and coupon hoarding. “United we stand, divided we fall” — take that motto to heart.
5. Of course, be accountable to yourself and learn some life skills and hacks
Learn things that you can do yourself instead of relying on others.
Do not worry.
All those things will be not for naught. Eventually, when you get out of that hellhole, you will be in a much larger hellhole: the life of an adult.
College is not only there to teach you academic stuff for your future job, but it is also a training ground to prepare you in conquering the much harsher world out there.
Comments Off on Top 5 Money Savings Tips for Families
With an unstable economy and the nonstop inflation of the prices of necessities, saving money is a task the entire family should do. However, money saving is no ordinary task. It is something that you must consciously do and it requires tremendous amounts of willpower.
Due to that, here are some simple tips that do not require a lot of conscious effort and willpower. And once you get the hang of doing all of these, it will come naturally. Consider these tips as to things you need to do and an investment in you and your family’s future.
1. Learn how to cook and learn how to enjoy it
This can never be emphasized enough: This simple life skill has been often ignored by people.
Cooking your own meal can help you save more than 50% of the money you spend on fast food and family restaurants. It will cost you an hour or two, but aside from money, cooking your own meals ensures that your family will be eating healthy food, which can prevent them from getting easily sick.
2. Become a smart shopper
You do not need to be a coupon hoarder or a “store discount specialist.”
All you need to do is shop in bulk and make it a one-time trip each month. It can save you time, money, and stress — not to mention that you will live comfortably until your stocks last.
You can also check out fashion outlets so you can grab your clothes there at a discount.
3. Spend your family time at home
You do not need to go out just to have fun. Save yourself from the hassle of driving, herding the kids around, and walking too much. Spending your time with your family at home is a relaxing way to lessen your expense and bond with your partner and kids.
Of course, it does not mean that you should not go out forever. Go out when it is convenient: when you have money and a lot of time (or if you are in vacation).
4. Teach your kids how to be frugal
Yes, frugality is a difficult trait to learn and adapt to when you grow up. Yet, the best time to learn that is during childhood. Teach them how to be thrifty. Teach them the life skills they need to become independent and wise when using money.
In return, aside from the long-term benefits, they will be the ones that will initiate and remind you of the things that can save you money. You earn the money; they think about how you can spend the money wisely.
5. Learn more life skills along with your kids
Seriously. It does not mean that once you get the job you want and have the family you dreamed of, you will just do your responsibilities and let yourself stagnate. Aim for self-improvement. There are things in life you must learn.
Together with your kids, learn how to cook, clean the house, fix the plumbing, and do the laundry yourself (if you rely on laundromats).
It sure sounds like a hassle, but it is an investment that you need to make. Doing everything yourself (or almost everything) will prevent you from relying on expensive workers and service people.
And if things go wrong and you do not have money, you can just use the life hacks and skills you have learned.