How to Save Money on Your Cable Bill

How to Save Money on Your Cable Bill

When it comes to places we think to make cuts in our budget, the Cable Bill is often high on the list. Most people will admit they pay way more for cable than they would like and the good news is that you can easily save money on your cable bill!

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Seasonal Shopping – What to Buy this Memorial Day!

Seasonal Shopping - What to Buy this Memorial Day!

With Memorial Day coming up this weekend it’s a great time to take advantage of all the fabulous sales on appliances, mattresses and spring clothing. Due to the cyclical nature of retail sales, different things go on sale at different times of the year on a predictable basis.  Much like stockpiling your groceries, where you buy enough of what you need when it’s on sale to tide you over until the next sale, you can really take advantage of seasonal shopping to save some big bucks on your household expenditures!

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6 Tips for Shopping Farmers Markets

6 Tips for Shopping at the Farmer's Market

If you want to support your local economy AND get some fantastic fresh veggies, there is no place like the farmers market. When local farmers come together and offer their wares, you have the best local food selections right at your fingertips. Since this cuts out the middleman, you can often find some fantastic deals. To make your visit to the farmers market more enjoyable, here are a few tips:

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11 Ways to Save on Christmas Gift Shopping

11 Ways to Save on Christmas

1) Use Apps

There are many smartphone apps that can help you save money on not only things you buy everyday but toys, games, and clothes. For instance Target’s Cartwheel app, as well as Michaels, Hobby Lobby and many more apps often contain percentage off and other coupons.

2) Use Coupons

As we get closer to the holidays you will notice an influx of coupons on hot toys of the season in grocery coupon inserts as well as printable online coupons. Companies like Mattel, Milton Bradley, and a few others will put out coupons that when combined with sales make for amazing deals!

3) Shop Sales

This may seem like a no brainer but really, when you see an item that is on your list at a great price, go ahead and grab it. Saving $2 or $3 dollars later on is probably not worth the running around, long lines, and gas money.

4) Start a Gift Closet

While it may be a little late for this year, you can start right after Christmas building a gift closet for next year. While tastes change, and your kids may not demand the hottest Star Wars toys next year there are plenty of simple items like clothing, stocking stuffers, cologne, and beauty products that you can pick up at a heavily discounted price after Christmas. Designate a large tub in your closet or somewhere else convenient and fill it with gifts throughout the year as you find amazing deals. We use ours for unexpected birthdays, hostess gifts, and of course I am always stocking up for kids Christmas and birthdays.

5) Price Match

So many stores have begun to price match against other stores paper or online ads that there is no reason to pay more or run around to 3 or 4 places to get a great deal. Most places will also match Amazon’s listed prices so look them up on your smartphone while shopping.

6) Buy Discounted Gift Cards

Purchase discounted giftcards at GiftCardRescue.com and Giftcards.com for anywhere from 5%-30% off the value. Use a $100 card that you purchased for $80 in conjunction with sales and coupons – you won’t believe how much you save.

7) Minimize Your Shopping

Get with friends and relatives at the start of the holidays and agree in advance to only buy for the kids or opt to draw names so you are only buying for one person or couple in the family instead of every third cousin and great uncle.

8) Re-Gift

Not last years fruit cake of course… But if you receive gifts that just don’t fit you or your lifestyle there is no harm in re-gifting. Just be selective with who you regift to, make sure that the original giver and the new recipient do not run in the same circles. Your pet sitter who keeps her nails meticulous might love the nail dryer Aunt Helen gave you.

9) Seach For Codes

I never buy anything online or head out to the stores without first checking RetailMeNot.com for discount codes. You can find everything from restaurants to photo developing on there and you can save a ton overall.

10) Research Online

Search sites like PriceGrabber.com for the best deals. Scope out reviews also – cheaper does not mean you will save more money in the long run and more expensive doesn’t necessarily mean the item will last longer.

11) Budget in Advance

Set a budget up front and stick to it. Oftentimes the thing that costs us the most is mindless spending with no aim in mind, and not knowing what you have spent until you pull the tangle of receipts from your purse at the end of the day. Have a list and do your best to stick to it at all costs.

Use Coupons and Promo Codes and Never Pay Full Price!

sales

There is never a reason to shop online without taking full advantage of any offered coupons, codes, or promotions that might be found during an online search; consumers can quickly type in a query for any coupon codes available for their chosen merchants, and may be surprised by the results. It is not unusual to find some significant discounts that may only be available via these online results, that are easy to redeem when given a code or phrase to type in during check out.

Some consumers may make the mistake of thinking that the reduced cost of goods from their favorite online sellers is the rock-bottom price that they will receive. This in fact, is not always true. Even discounted or liquidated pricing from some of the most reputable and recognized sites offer coupons and promo codes intermittently that will slash additional money off of purchases, from free shipping to percentage savings off total order. Consumers that regularly use the internet for buying the goods and gifts needed may find that the money saved is fairly significant, and that this economical effort will accumulate to major savings at the end of the year. There are some specialty sites that take the work out of seeking out these savings, by compiling and providing them to online browsers. What could be easier than that?

These deals don’t end there, however; big name chain retail venues utilize these sites as well. Such mega-retailers as Home Depot and Macy’s also offer savings to their online consumer base for those that choose to order their merchandise from the sites that these vendors provide. With additional savings or deferred shipping found through an online coupon code search, shoppers can save even more on rock-bottom pricing for the goods that they use most often. This could completely revolutionize the way that people shop for everyday essentials such as apparel, housewares, and even toys! In an economy that can force many consumers to struggle to make ends meet at the end of the work-week, saving a few dollars on necessities, might give them a bit more in their bank account for some extras that they really want. Among the coveted rewards might include long overdue vacations, and even travel is something that can be shopped for online with additional discounts found with online coupon codes. It only makes sense that all shopping begins with an internet search for any and all applicable discounts before handing over hard earned money.

How to Get the Best Deal on Carpet Installation

How to Get the Best Deal on Carpet Installation

Although our house wasn’t that old when we bought it, the carpet had already been stained in several places because the previous owners had a bunch of dogs and kids. Since I was expecting quadruplets at the time, and the carpet was in great shape other than the stains, we decided to live with it until the kids got a little older so we wouldn’t have to worry about them ruining new carpet. The quads are seven now and it’s past time to have new carpet installed in the house so I went on a mission to get the best deal.

There are three different components to look at when comparing prices for having carpet installed – the price of the carpet, the price of the padding, and the price of the installation itself.

How to Get the Best Deal on Carpet Installation

Since the major home improvement stores in my area will match or beat their competitor’s prices, I started out by checking carpet prices at other smaller local stores and began keeping track of sales ads in the paper. Lowe’s has a low price guarantee where they either match a competitor’s percent off sale offer, or they’ll beat the competitor’s price on an identical item by 10%. Home Depot also has a price match guarantee where they’ll beat a competitor’s price on identical items by 10%. The guarantees don’t typically cover labor or installation costs so when I narrowed down my carpet selection I ended up choosing Home Depot since they currently have a $37 whole house carpet installation deal going on, as opposed to the $97 deal at Lowe’s.

How to Get the Best Deal on Carpet Installation

The thing that surprised me the most during my research is that the carpet pricing actually varied from store to store in the same chain so that’s definitely something else to keep an eye on. I live on the state line between Alabama and Florida so I had picked out my carpet in Florida but then I went to the Alabama store to actually place my order and I was shocked to see that they had a sale section where in stock carpet was under $1 per square foot. The sample that I had chosen at the other store was $1.65 per square foot and had a 5 year guarantee, imagine my surprise when I found a better carpet with a 10 year guarantee for just 93¢ a square foot. Add that to 49¢ per square foot for the padding and the total of $1.42 per square foot was cheaper than my original selection BEFORE adding padding. I’m thrilled to report that I saved nearly a thousand dollars on three rooms of carpet just by shopping around and also checking at several different stores within the same chain.

UPDATE! Beware of hidden charges!

Home Depot’s installers did a beautiful job of installing my carpet, however they told me that because there was paint on my concrete floors they couldn’t use nails on the tack strips and had to glue them down instead, then they proceeded to bill me an additional $331 for GLUE! I explained that I felt like it was a bait and switch so we renegotiated and I ended up paying an additional $30 since I felt that more than covered the cost of the glue.

6 Tips for Shopping Farmers Markets

6 Tips for Shopping at the Farmer's Market

If you want to support your local economy AND get some fantastic fresh veggies, there is no place like the farmers market. When local farmers come together and offer their wares, you have the best local food selections right at your fingertips. Since this cuts out the middleman, you can often find some fantastic deals. To make your visit to the farmers market more enjoyable, here are a few tips:

1)Be Comfy

Dress for the weather and be prepared to walk. Wear comfortable shoes, and dress in layers if the day starts off cool. You can always remove a layer as the day begins to heat up. An umbrella or a jacket can come in handy if you run into a shower as well.

2) Bring Your Own Bags

Although some farmers will bring a supply of sacks, it helps them out if you bring your own bags. And you would hate to miss out on some yummy goods if you have no place to put them.

3) Know What You Want

The sights and smells of a farmers market can be so enticing that you overbuy. You may want to visit the market once before you actually do any buying to get an idea of what they sell. The next time you visit you can come prepared. Keep in mind, however, that the offerings do change based on the season. Make a list of what you would like, but be flexible based on what’s for sale.

4) Come Early

If you want the best selection, get to the market early. Once a vendor is out of a certain item, that’s all they have until next week, so don’t miss out!

5) Get to Know the Farmers

It really is nice to get to know more about where your food is coming from. There are often friendly folks who are more than happy to tell you about what they have for sale, what’s particularly good and what they may have in the future. In addition, the more you visit a given vendor, the more likely they are to throw a freebie you way once in a while. They are also usually good for some wonderful tips on how to prepare the food they sell.

6) Use Your Finds Quickly

One of the greatest parts of the farmers market is how fresh the food is. Use or preserve what you buy quickly so that it offers you the most nutrients AND you don’t waste anything by having to throw it away.

Photo Credit: iClipart

How to Negotiate for a Better Deal!

Let's Make a Deal!Do you think everything is a set price? Think again! Sometimes you can negotiate your way to a better deal. The first rule of thumb in sales is to ask for a sale. The same can be said about getting a deal—if you don’t ask for one, chances are you won’t get one. There are a number of things you can ask for a better deal on and often get it.

1) Credit card interest rates

The race for your dollar is a tight one, and credit card companies do not want to lose your business, or the money you are paying them in interest each month. If you have a high interest card and you wish your rate was lower, ASK! Call the card company and tell the rep that’s what you are looking for. You can often mention a competing card that has a lower rate that you are considering switching to and accomplish your goal. Or, if bankruptcy is possibly on your horizon, mention that—the card company would rather get some of your money than none of your money. If the rep can’t help you, ask for a supervisor.

2) Cable, satellite and phone services

These fields are super competitive these days. Arm yourself with the competitor’s deal information, then call your current company and let them know you are planning to switch unless they match that deal. Be prepared to switch if they can’t match it.

3) Cars at the dealership

This one kind of goes without saying, but always, ALWAYS negotiate. Whatever the salesperson tells you is the bottom dollar is often NOT the bottom dollar. If they don’t accept your lower offer, thank them for their time, tell them you will be looking elsewhere, and walk away. It’s amazing how many times the “bottom dollar” can suddenly get lower when the salesperson thinks they may lose the sale.

4) Scratch and dent items

Many times stores will offer “scratch and dent” items at a lower price. You will often see these items in a clearance area of the store. Ask for a manager and see if there may be an even better price—the last thing that manager wants is for that merchandise to continue to sit on the sales floor! I’ve personally bought office chairs and filing cabinets for a great deal because they had small scratches on them.

5) Slightly flawed items in department stores…clothing, framed art, furniture, etc.

Sometimes you run across an item that is just slightly flawed—a shirt with a missing button, a picture frame with a nicked corner, or a piece of furniture that has been scratched. Often you can get a 10-20% discount on these items just by asking. Many cashiers are empowered to offer these discounts if you ask. If not, sometimes they can call a supervisor who can extend that discount to you.

6) Bulk items

Any time you are buying in bulk, it’s a good idea to see if you can get a bulk discount. Ask to speak to a manager to find out if you can get a lower price if you are buying “x” number of items.

Photo Credit: iClipart

7 Ways to Teach Your Family About Frugality

7 Ways to Teach Your Family About FrugalityWith a little time and practice, you can learn to incorporate various frugal tips, tricks and methods in your daily routine. One way to make frugal habits more permanent, however, is by getting the whole family on board. Here are some ways you can practice frugality as an entire family:

1) Be united.

It’s important that both parents are on the same page when it comes to frugality. It’s hard for children to take frugality seriously if one parent constantly makes fun of the other parent for being too tightfisted.

2) Create a set of family rules on frugality.

Different families practice frugality in various ways. As a family, discuss your financial goals (such as paying off the mortgage or saving up for a family vacation), and identify frugal practices and rules you can all follow to help you reach these goals. List the rules and post them in the kitchen or some other place where the entire family can see them on a regular basis.

3) Teach early on.

Frugality isn’t something that only adults can practice. Involve the young ones in your frugal lessons, as well. You can teach your toddlers little things such as turning off the lights and the TV when they leave a room.

4) Clip coupons together.

When your young children are old enough to use scissors and understand the basics of coupons, ask them to help you clip coupons for your weekly trip to the grocery store. If you have older kids who may not enjoy clipping coupons, teach them about bargain hunting, instead. Ask them to go through the sales and coupons to see if any of their favorite items are on discount. Tell them you can purchase one or two items for them if they are within a certain budget.

5) Take them shopping with you.

Occasionally ask your children to go with you to the mall or grocery store. You can use this time to teach your children about making smart, penny-wise decisions and show them how to compare prices and study an item’s quality versus its price.

6) Keep a cheerful disposition.

It’s important to maintain a cheerful, optimistic attitude towards frugality. If your children constantly hear you complaining about your difficulties with living frugally, then they will likely follow your example.

7) Demonstrate how to take care of your belongings.

Take the time to teach your children about being practical. Let them watch you mend clothing, remove stains on the sofa, or even repair broken toys or appliances. Show them that you take good care of your belongings, and they’ll learn to do the same with their things.

Keep in mind that transitioning to a frugal lifestyle can be a lot of hard work. Remember to occasionally reward yourself and your family for your efforts. Go out for some pizza or head to the movie theater to watch a film of their choice. Treating your family every now and then will help keep a cheerful attitude about frugality at home!

Photo Credit: iClipart

Living Frugally: 6 Things Every Beginner Should Know

Living frugally definitely isn’t easy. It can be especially difficult to forego that overpriced cup of coffee or a brand new pair of jeans if you’re a complete beginner at living a frugal lifestyle. As a newbie to living frugally, here are some things you need to learn:

1) Start gradually.

You can’t expect to drastically cut your budget in half and follow it faithfully on your first try. Not only will you feel deprived, but your family will feel the pinch, too. It takes a bit of practice to adopt a simpler, more frugal lifestyle. Take baby steps and gradually redirect your resources to better align with your goals.

2) Embrace your goals.

Yes, saving money is one of your goals—but you may find it more motivating to have a specific reason for your saving. Are you aiming for an earlier retirement? Do you want to start your own business? Do you want to pay off your mortgage? It will be easier for you to make frugal choices if you keep your eyes on your goals.

3) Be on the same page as your loved ones.

Don’t be the only one in the family making frugal choices. Your spouse and children need to be just as committed to making lifestyle changes if you truly want to improve your financial situation. Set common goals and discuss the sacrifices and changes each family member will need to make. Encourage each other when the going gets tough.

4) Make selective sacrifices.

Keep in mind that you’re just starting out and that you shouldn’t deprive yourself of some luxuries. If you’ve been having home-cooked meals all week, then why not treat your family to a nice lunch this weekend? Don’t be afraid to splurge and indulge from time to time.

5) Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.

Remember that as you venture into living frugally, you will have good days and you will have bad days. Don’t be disheartened by the occasional slip-up. Understand that mistakes are part of the learning process. With practice, making frugal choices will soon become second nature to you.

6) Monitor your progress and reward success.

Monitor your progress on a monthly and annual basis. You’ll feel a wonderful sense of fulfillment after paying off credit card debt and mortgages, and from seeing your account savings grow. Celebrate financial milestones! You deserve it!

Photo Credit: iClipart