4 Overpriced Items to Avoid at the Grocery Store

4 Overpriced Items to Avoid at the Grocery Store

Your neighborhood grocery store is one of the best, most convenient places to shop, as almost everything you need for your home can be found in just one place. However, are you sure you’re paying the best possible price for all of your grocery items? These aisles can sometimes hold hidden expenses—and it’s best (for your budget) that you know what to watch out for.

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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 Ways to Save Money on Your Monthly Cell Phone Bill

6 Ways to Save Money on Your Monthly Cell Phone Bill

Is your cell phone bill spiraling out of control? Do you feel like no matter what you have tried you have no option but to spend big bucks each month? The truth is there are ways to save on your monthly cell phone bill; you just need to know these tips and tricks and implement them! Take a look below at 6 ways to save money on your monthly cell phone bill, so you can cut those cell costs down and save money for other necessities in life.

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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 Save Even More Money on Packed Lunches

7 Ways to Save Even More Money on Packed LunchesOne daily expense that may add up quickly in the monthly budget is the cost of school lunches. Buying lunch at the cafeteria on a daily basis can be expensive, and you’re bound to spend more the more children you have. As you may already know, packing your child’s lunches can save you a significant amount of money. Here are some other ways to save even more on lunches prepared from home:

1) Stock up on reusable containers.

Invest in reusable containers and in quality lunch boxes or bags instead of spending money on disposable containers and plastic bags. You’ll save a whole lot of money in the long run.

2) Use reusable bottles.

Spend a little to purchase quality reusable water bottles for beverages, too. They’ll come in handy for water, juice, milk, or whatever it is your children want to drink at school.

3) Purchase goods on sale.

Check your local grocery store for sales on cookies, crackers, juice, and other lunch box staples. If prices are low on your child’s favorite snacks, then stock up on them for days that you’re running low on supplies at home.

4) Save on condiments.

Save the extra napkins and packets of mustard and catsup from fast food restaurants and use them for your packed lunches. It may not seem like a big deal, but in the long run, you’ll save quite a bit on these little extras.

5) Stay away from single servings.

Juice boxes and individual bags of chips may seem extremely convenient, and there’s nothing wrong with buying them occasionally. However, if you’re on a tight budget, it may be hard to ignore the difference in costs between the single-serve items and the larger ones.

6) Pre-package your snack items.

Buy your cookies and chips in bulk and ask your kids to help repackage them in individual containers or bags at home over the weekend. Store them in a basket on the kitchen counter and you’re ready for the school week ahead.

7) Make your own goodies.

If you’ve got some idle time over the weekend, make large batches of gelatin or pudding, place them in individual containers, refrigerate them, and pack some on days you’re almost out of food items. You can also try baking goodies such as brownies or cookies instead of buying them at the store.

Photo Credit: iClipart


5 Hidden Moving Costs You Should Watch Out For

Woman moving inMost people will tell you that moving can be a stressful, chaotic and expensive experience. No matter how organized and careful you are with your moving budget, you’ll find that additional costs can quickly and unexpectedly add up. If you want to reduce your moving costs, then here are some hidden moving costs that you should watch out for:

1) Packing supplies and materials

A number of moving companies charge extra for packing supplies and materials such as boxes, bubble wrap, and packing tape. The cost of these materials can easily add up to hundreds of dollars, so start collecting sturdy boxes as early in the moving process as possible. Make sure to be thorough in your packing so that the moving company doesn't have to redo your work later on.

2) Disconnection fees.

You may not be aware of it, but some moving companies charge extra if they do more than just pick up your boxes and load them into the truck and vice versa. Asking movers to disconnect gas lines or disassemble furniture may cost you more than expected.

3) Long carry or stair fees

Some moving companies charge extra if the movers have to carry your furniture up the stairs, or if they have to walk a very l

ong distance to get to your home. Natural obstacles or narrow driveways may also make it more difficult for movers to carry your items from one place to another. If you’re moving to the ninth floor of a certain apartment building, you must remember to ask the moving company about these additional location fees.

4) Charges for very heavy items.

Do your movers need extra equipment or manpower for heavy items such as hot tubs, grand pianos, and the like? Inform the moving company of all of these large items and check that they include lifting fees in the estimate. You don’t want to get caught off guard when you see your final bill.

5) Time

Some moving companies bill by the job, while other companies bill by the hour. Hiring a company that charges by the job may mean that they’ll move fast, while going with a company that charges by the hour may mean that you’re not just paying for the drive to your new home, but for their breaks, too. Be sure to ask about this payment method to ensure that your movers don’t take their sweet time on purpose.

With so many things to think about and pack, it can be easy to miss out on a few details. Take these hidden moving costs into consideration and you’ll find yourself more financially prepared for your big move.

Photo Credit: iClipart


3 Simple Ways to Save Money on Car Maintenance

3 Simple Ways to Save Money on Car Maintenance

Driving a car can be costly, especially with today’s rising gasoline prices. A number of frugal living enthusiasts choose to save money on transportation by taking the bus or riding a bike when possible. Unfortunately, many of us find owning a car to be a necessity, no matter how frugal we might be. As a car owner, you should know that it is possible to avoid costly repairs simply by performing regular maintenance on your vehicle. Here are some simple tips to help you save money on car maintenance:

1) Stick to a car mechanic you trust.

More and more car owners shift from car shop to shop, spending a large amount of money on various kinds of repairs. A better way to handle things is by establishing rapport with just one repair shop owner or manager. Find a shop you like and are happy with, and get to know the people behind the services on a first-name basis. Create regular business for just one person and your loyalty will pay off in the end.

2) Lighten your load.

When it comes to fuel efficiency and wear, one thing to take into consideration is your car’s weight. A basic physics equation says it all: Mass * Acceleration = Force. Regularly check the trunk and insides of your car to see if there are any unnecessary objects you can take out. A lighter car means a more fuel efficient one.

3) Regularly clean and replace your air filter.

As you may have guessed, the air filter is in charge of filtering the air that flows into the engine. It keeps bugs, dirt and various other things from entering your car’s engine. For optimal performance, a car needs a clean air filter. A dirty filter could mean lower fuel efficiency and increased maintenance costs.

Not all drivers know that the air filter is an extremely inexpensive and easy part to replace. You simply need to unhook and unscrew a couple of latches, take the old filter out, replace it with a new one, and close it up. In some cases, it’s as simple as washing your current filter with some water and soap and drying it out before putting it back in. If in doubt, ask your father, husband or some other knowledgeable person to teach you how to clean and replace your air filter. Once you see how easy it is, you’ll never have to pay for unnecessary labor again!

Try these simple tips and enjoy some savings when it comes to your car maintenance budget, then save even more on your gas bill with the Gas Price Finder app from my sponsor Murphy USA!


5 Common Excuses For Not Saving Money

5 Common Excuses For Not Saving MoneyIt’s incredibly easy to come up with excuses for not doing certain things. Saving money is no exception. It can be very easy to come up with excuse after excuse to put off saving up for emergencies, possible job loss, paying off debt, or other monetary goals or scenarios. Here are some of the most common excuses used for not saving money:

1) I don’t make enough money.

It’s completely possible to save even just a little each month, no matter how small your salary may be. Before hitting the malls or paying the bills, tuck away a small amount for your savings account. Even saving $10 or $15 per paycheck is enough to get the ball rolling. Try setting up an automatic transfer to make parting with your hard-earned cash a little easier.

2) I want to enjoy my money now.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to enjoy your money today—but don’t do this at the expense of your future. Not everyone is able to enjoy job security and good health until they are old and gray. Remember that you need to save for tomorrow, too.

3) I need to pay off my debt first.

Yes, it’s important to pay off your debt as soon as possible. However, keep in mind that you will always have bills to pay. In fact, a savings account will help you avoid digging yourself deeper in debt later on. Set aside even a small amount of money for your savings, whether or not you are debt-free.

4) I’ll save when I’m older.

You can never be too young to start saving. Sadly, many young people feel that they still have plenty of time to build up their savings account and that they should enjoy themselves now. They really should feel the other way around! Set aside a little money now while you have no mortgage or household expenses to think of. You’ll definitely thank yourself later.

5) I’ll wait until my salary is higher.

It’s true that some people actually do follow through with saving when their salaries are higher. However, not everyone succeeds with this mentality. You may earn more money later on, but your expenses will get bigger, too. A better mindset is to start setting aside money now, then increase your amount of savings when your pay increase comes through.

If you find yourself constantly mentioning or thinking these excuses, it’s time to change your attitude about money. We must realize that not saving up can cause us a great deal of financial distress later on. Regularly put money in a savings fund and you’ll rest easy knowing that you’re ready for the future.

Photo Credit: iClipart


6 Simple Ways to Make Your Refrigerator More Efficient

6 Simple Ways to Make Your Refrigerator More EfficientThe refrigerator is one of the most energy-intensive appliances in the typical home, and having an efficient fridge in the kitchen can really make a positive difference both financially and environmentally. Thankfully, today’s newer refrigerator models are a lot more efficient compared to previous models.

Unfortunately, not all homeowners can afford to buy a new refrigerator, and some people are simply stuck with the appliances the landlord may have left behind. Here are a number of things you can to do save on energy and make your refrigerator more efficient:

1) Keep it full.

Cool air rushes out of the fridge each time the door opens, and the appliance works hard to replace this air. Not many homeowners know this, but a full refrigerator is a more efficient one. Try filling the empty space with bottles and jugs of water to help keep things cold.

If your refrigerator just contains a bottle of ketchup and a few cans of soda or beer, you’re much better off keeping your fridge unplugged or buying a smaller unit.

2) Keep the cold air in.

Make a conscious effort to open the refrigerator door as briefly and infrequently as possible. Avoid staring at the fridge’s contents blankly, and know what you’re looking for instead. Label leftovers and various contents to make items simpler to find.

3) Keep your food covered.

Uncovered foods emit moisture, and the refrigerator’s compressor works harder to remove this dampness. Always keep liquids and food covered or wrapped in plastic wrap. You may also want to invest in reusable plastic containers.

4) Regularly dust around your fridge.

It may seem taxing to move your fridge when sweeping or dusting, but make it a point to sweep or dust underneath, behind, and around the appliance every two months or so, especially if you have pets. Debris and dust that collects along the fridge’s coils and condenser tubes may make it less efficient.

5) Check the door gasket.

The gasket is the plastic portion that keeps the fridge door sealed shut. Check if the gasket needs replacing by closing the door on a piece of paper. If you can pull the paper with the door closed, it’s time to replace the gasket.

6) Make your own ice.

If you’ve got one of those refrigerator models with an automatic icemaker, you may want to consider giving it a rest. It’s a lot more efficient to make your own ice in ice trays.

Practice the abovementioned tips until they become habits, and you’ll be rewarded with many years of (extended) service, as well as extra savings in your pocket. You’ll also be doing the environment a favor!

Photo Credit: iClipart


7 Home Maintenance Tips to Prevent Costly Repair Bills

7 Home Maintenance Tips to Prevent Costly Repair Bills

Repair bills can be extremely tough to deal with – especially if you’re already running low on contingency funds. One way to avoid these pricey incidentals is by making preventive home maintenance a habit.  Here are some great ways to keep your house (and its contents) in great shape:

1) Repair your roof.

A small roof leak may not seem like much to worry about, but it can easily and quickly lead to larger problems such as mold and structural damage. Tackle roof leaks as soon as you see them to avoid damage to your wallet and to your personal property.

2) Clean your downspouts and gutters.

Make it a point to clean your downspouts and gutters at least twice a year, depending on the number of trees near or on your property. Clogged downspouts and gutters often cause interior water damage. Do what you can to keep water from flooding your home!

3) Sweep the chimney.

Hire a professional to sweep your chimney once a year. It’s extremely important that you keep your chimney free of bird nests, creosote and other flammables.

4) Replace air conditioner, air and furnace filters.

Regularly change your filters to ensure that it is not clogged up with dust and dirt. Changing it every month or so will make your air conditioner and furnace run smoothly and efficiently!

5) Drain your water line.

When the seasons change, be wary of the water in your water line – especially in all outside faucets. Turn off the water, drain your water line and let all the excess water out. Temperatures that are below freezing may cause water to solidify, damaging your plumbing and possibly causing flooding.

6) Check your driveway for cracks.

If your driveway is made of asphalt, remember to closely inspect it at least once a year. You can easily fill cracks that are approximately ½ inch in width or less, then apply a seal coat to finish off the job. Wider cracks can cause structural damage to your driveway, and can result in an extremely expensive repair bill later on.

7) Have the septic tank cleaned.

Frequently check your septic tank’s sludge level. Call a professional to clean out the septic tank when it is approximately ½ to ¾ full. Postponing this task may just leave you with a mess you do not want to deal with. To extend the time between cleanings use a septic tank treatment like Rid-X.

Make it a point to jot write these tasks down on your calendar. This way, you’ll remember to take care of them at the right time. You’ll save a lot of time and money by addressing small problems before they turn into big ones. With a little preventive maintenance, you’ll be able to save even more money, time and effort!

Photo Credit: iClipart


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