Products with High Markup Prices and How to Avoid Them

Frugality, Saving Money

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The market is teeming with skyrocketing prices of products. Unfortunately, these are products that you need every day, and are therefore indispensable. On the other hand, there are some tried and tested tips to save up on the expenses.

  1. Buy refilled ink instead of the usual cartridge printer ink. The latter is so expensive, not to mention impractical especially if you use the ink every day for document purposes. What makes it more impractical to use is that you’d have to buy cartridge after cartridge of ink once one gets used up. To save up, buy refilled cartridges instead. They are a lot cheaper though the quality is good.
  2. Forget your bottled water. The manufacturing adds to the cost, and you are not helping the environment if you keep buying bottles of water daily. An alternative is to keep a tumbler with you and have it refilled in the office. You save a lot of money and you make Mother Nature happy, too.
  3. Purchase your own coffee beans pack and brew it in the office instead of ordering a Starbucks latter, which is overpriced.
  4. Make your own perfume. A signature scent or perfume costs dollars and may not be practical especially if you want to wear that scent every day. However, through chemical tests and learning how to concoct perfumes from raw oils, you can learn how to create that signature scent and even create one close to those luxurious perfumes endorsed and used by celebrities.
  5. Get generic names for drugs and medicine instead of the branded ones that are found to be thrice the cost of their generic counterparts. A caveat, though: find or buy ones from trusted and reputable pharmacies and as much as possible, buy those that were recommended or prescribed by the doctor.
  6. Subscribe to an unlimited text messaging service, instead of paying for individual texts. Some network service providers have promos like this, which is really meant to take off half the burden from their loyal consumers.
  7. College textbooks and other instructional materials cost $1000 if they are to be bought altogether. Some students are self-supporting and may find this setup heavy on the budget, especially for those references that they would use only once. The trick is to rent books or buy marked down ones. You can purchase the latter from thrift stores. These pre-loved books are often in good condition and are sold at a much cheaper price.
  8. Who needs designer clothes when you can shop at thrift stores instead? You do get designer labels, but since these are hand-me-down articles, their prices have been cut off. Just be careful and check any signs of damage.
  9. Produce can be costly if they are bought at your regular supermarket. To save up on vegetables and fruits, you can buy cheaper ones at your local market. The difference won’t be too big, but when you add all the prices, you will be able to set aside an amount for your next shopping.

Top 5 Holiday Shopping Coupon Tips

Couponing, Frugality, Saving Money

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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 or 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.

Habits to Avoid When Teaching Kids Financial Responsibility

Frugality, Saving Money

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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:

  1. 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.
  1. 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).
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.

5 Things you should Start Doing Right Now to Save on Christmas Gifts

Frugality, Saving Money

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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.

Tips for Using Twitter to Find Coupons and Deals

Couponing, Frugality, Saving Money

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Almost everyone has a Twitter account these days, and you’ve probably had a lot of fun exchanging tweets with your friends or seeing what your favorite celebrities are up to. But did you know that Twitter is also an excellent place to find deals and coupons online?

With a lot of business being done over the internet, companies are running all sorts of marketing campaigns that cater to netizens. Using the following tips, you’ll be able to use Twitter to take advantage of these offers and make huge savings online.

Follow Your Favorite Brands and Stores

Reading the Twitter exchanges between a company and its customers can be highly entertaining. However, that’s not the only reason why you should be following your favorite brands and stores. Twitter is often where they announce flash sales and limited deals. They may also post printable coupons or codes you can enter on their website for a discount on your next purchase. You have to be quick to take advantage of those, so you may want to keep them on alert.

Follow Established Couponers

Hunting for deals on Twitter can be daunting if you do it by yourself. You should therefore keep an eye on the most experienced deal-hunters to see how they do it. Many established couponers are extremely active on social media, and their Twitter accounts can be goldmines for anyone who’s looking for new ways to take advantage of bargains. In addition to learning more tips and tricks to help you save money, following these people will also point you in the direction of great sales and the best online resources for coupons.

Follow Accounts Devoted to Coupons

This is a bit different from following couponing experts. These accounts are run by people who use algorithms that scour the web for deals on a regular basis and tweet their finds to their followers. You can use these to find high-value coupons or deals that you didn’t even know existed. Just be aware that these accounts can update pretty frequently, especially during the holidays, so expect to see a lot of them on your Twitter feed.

Join Contests, Giveaways, and Other Promos

Twitter is the venue for a whole lot of contests, giveaways, and other promos run by different brands and stores. Joining in is easy: usually all you’ll have to do is fire off a clever tweet or post a picture. The rewards can range from small knickknacks to huge discounts, so be sure to check what you can win before jumping in.

Directly Ask for Discounts

Lastly, it won’t hurt if you Tweet at companies or retailers to directly ask for discounts or coupons. This doesn’t work all the time, but when it does, it’s always immensely rewarding. Of course, you’ll have a better chance of making this work if you have some Twitter clout, either in terms of followers or the nice things you’ve tweeted about the company’s products and services in the past. It also helps if you make sure to ask nicely!

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