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Friday
Oct312014

10 Types of Bargains You Should Skip

 

1. GOING-OUT-OF-BUSINESS SALES

Take care these aren't run by a liquidation firm that is trying to get as much money as possible for the products. You'll find products marked down that are actually marked up from the original selling price, but are now being compared to a Suggested Retail Price.

Investigators at ABC news found on "product after product we could peel back the surface price tags to reveal the old prices below. For example, the surface price tag on a Calphalon saucepan said $124.99. But the one underneath said $109.99. Rachael Ray cookware? $199 on the new label, $179 on the old. The tag on a curtain scarf said $39.99 on the top, but peel it back carefully and there was another price tag for $27.99 below."

In some cities, stores have been "going out of business" for years. Even when Blockbuster went out of business, the prices they were charging for used DVDs were comparable to the prices of new DVDs online.

2. REALLY CHEAP FOOTWEAR

They may look decent enough, but your feet deserve good support, and any shoe or sneaker under $20 is going to have some major quality issues. A lot of these shoes are made in very undesirable places by impoverished laborers, and the emphasis is always about making the cheapest product possible. Not only will they give you back problems and cause blisters and other foot maladies, they'll also disintegrate within a few months of wear.

Unless it's a genuine quality shoe that was marked down by 80%-90%, you should avoid cheap footwear at all costs.

3. ZERO-INTEREST FINANCING

There's a caveat to this one. If you are someone who is meticulous about paying bills, and know with absolute certainty that you'll never miss a payment, you should consider it. Otherwise, don't bother. Free credit comes with a ball and chain of legal documentation that is designed to jump on you should you miss a single payment, or not pay off the loan in full within a certain time frame. The interest is calculated throughout the life of the loan, often at an exorbitant rate (think 25% and greater) and it's all added on if you make one mistake. Zero-interest financing can be great for a select few, but for others, it can be a nightmare.

4. DOORBUSTERS

Black Friday is coming, and you'll see adverts and flyers advertising insane "doorbusters" deals. Just be careful with these, and do your research. Doorbusters items are often old models that the store wants to dump, or are not even bargains at all. The Wall Street Journal found that many of these doorbusters were available at lower prices at other times that year, and pricing research firm Decide Inc. found that "nearly one-third of the products had been sold at lower prices this year." It may say doorbuster, but it doesn't mean it's a deal.

5. MANY BOGO OFFERS

BOGO used to mean Buy One, Get One free. Now it means anything from Buy One, Get One 50% off, to Buy Ten, Get One free (which is technically BTGO). The BOGO offers can be great money savers, if you want two or more of anything you're setting out to buy. But they are often designed to coax you into buying more of a product than you really want; and often, more of a product that the store is trying to get rid of. Just remember to average out the cost of the product, and if you can use all of it (especially if it's a perishable).

6. FLOOR MODELS

Stores like Best Buy will often let you buy floor models at reduced prices, but beware. First, you have no idea how long the floor model was actually on display. This is not a big deal for a dishwasher or fridge because they aren't in use. But for HDTVs, Blu-ray players, laptops, and other electronics, it's significant. You can ask an employee, but usually they don't know. Being on for 18 hours a day is wearing out the life of the product, and you don't want to take that risk. You also have to consider factory warranties, any missing accessories, and return policies. Then, look at the price of a new product (it may be on sale), or one that is "open box." The latter is a much better deal as it will be a reduced price for something that's simply missing its packaging. Floor models are often too big of a risk, despite the hefty discount.

7. EXTENDED WARRANTIES

Also called service plans, these are sold to you as a bargain. "It's just an extra $50 to cover your product for three years," says the store clerk as you're checking out with a $200 printer. Well, it's $50 you don't need to spend, and it adds a significant cost to the item you're buying. Consumer Reports says, "Our data show that products usually don't break during the two-to-three-year period after the manufacturer's warranty expires and the service plan is in effect." To put it bluntly, you're paying for something that won't be needed until it's expired. Don't bother. It will be money down the drain.

8. INTEREST CHECKING ACCOUNTS

Banks want you to skip the free checking and earn interest on your money. But it is often just a way to get you paying a monthly fee for a return that's almost insignificant. You will often need to keep a minimum balance in that account to earn a paltry rate of return, and when you look at the statements every month you'll see your banking fees are greater than what you're getting back. Unless you've got a ton of money in a regular free checking account (which is unlikely), you should stick to traditional free checking.

9. RENTAL CAR INSURANCE

It may sound cheap enough at the counter when you're signing the paperwork; especially when you compare it to the hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars you may have to spend should someone even ding the car while it's in your possession. But the truth is, most people don't need it. Your current car insurance policy will usually extend to a rental car. If you pay with a credit card, it will almost certainly offer rental car coverage in the transaction. The sales clerk will scare you with bug numbers and what-if scenarios, but seriously, skip the "bargain" that's "just a few extra bucks for a lot of protection."

10. OVERDRAFT PROTECTION

Federal law now states that you have to opt in to overdraft protection (it used to be an opt out clause) but you really need to stay away from it.

The pros of overdraft protection are weak to say the least. Sure, you won't have your card declined at the register, or be humiliated in a restaurant. But to be honest, you really should have a better handle on your money to avoid that ever happening anyway.

The cons? They're huge. A simple $4 cup of coffee can cost you $35 in overdraft protection fees. In fact, a study by Moebs found that "the average customer who took out a $100 loan from a payday lender paid about $17.97 in interest and fees, compared to the $27 average for overdraft fees." When something is looking bad next to a payday loan, you know it's awful! See if you can link your checking to your savings account. It's your money you're using, not the bank's.

 

Source: Wisebread.com

Thursday
Oct302014

Save NOW with Sears Coupons

Save NOW with Sears Coupons

Sears has always been on the cutting edge of savings and convenience.  Offering its customer base a wide variety of products for almost all aspects of life.  From jewelry, electronics, home appliances, clothing and automotive needs, there is something for everyone within the confines of Sears.  In addition to the variety of products offered, Sears has always been at the forefront of economically friendly pricing.

As the needs of customers change, so does how Sears makes it products available. Rather one prefers to ventured into one of its store fronts, browse through their catalogues or shop online, Sears offers savings on everything they have in stock.  Most are familiar with Sears coupons that are tucked away in the Sunday paper or delivered directly to the consumer through the male; but not many have been made aware of Sears coupons online. sears 20 off coupon code offering customers that may prefer online to catalogue or in store shopping, as well as customers that enjoy the ease of product comparison online. 

Online Savings

Available today, Sears is offering savings by way of Sears coupons for shopping at Sears. Savings currently range from 30-75% off of jewelry, children’s clothing, appliances and shipping.  This is in addition to the 15-50% savings available on additional items currently circulating online for the retail giant.   For the savvy shopper looking to upgrade their home or begin their holiday shopping before the rush of Black Friday or Cyber Monday, the additional savings available through the Sears Coupon Codes are more than beneficial.

Each month there are additional savings made available to conscious consumers for the robust product lines that are available at Sears.  The Sears discounts that have been made available perfectly compliment their longstanding mission to make shopping affordable and convenient for all.

The Sears Coupons are easy to use.  You simply find the item that you would like to purchase at Sears then copy and paste your Sears coupon code into the section by the same name during checkout.  

Save on Everything

Rather you need a Craftsman tool set for the do-it-yourself guru in your life or a replacement for your son’s favorite pair of Levi’s that are becoming unrecognizable, Sears has a coupon code for you.  Should you need to replace a noisy refrigerator or simply want to update an wedding set, Sears promo codes has additional savings for you.

Unlike other retailers that offer the same savings on the same products day-in and day-out, Sears coupons are for everything under the sun that one may need.  On any given day, clothing, jewelry, appliances, tools and more can be found on sale and/or accompanied by a Sears promo code.  It is imperative to Sears that its customers (new and old) are able to afford what they need and obtain it in a manner that is most convenient for them.  What better way to enhance convenience than with a budget friendly set of Sears coupon codes?

Monday
Oct272014

Baby Wipe Recall

Effective October 25th, there has been a nationwide voluntary product recall on select baby wipes distributed by the company Nutek Disposables as some packages may contain bacteria.

This recall affects wipes that were manufactured under the brand names including CutiesDiapers.com,FemtexFred’sKidgetsMember’s MarkSimply RightSunny SmilesTender Touch, and Well Beginnings. These wipes were distributed by Nutek prior to October 21st, 2014 to the following retail stores: Walgreens, Sam’s Club, Family Dollar, Fred’s, and Diapers.com. For more information, go here.

Friday
Oct102014

Truvia Class Action Law Suit

Did you purchase at least one Truvia Natural Sweetener product in the United States between July 1, 2008 and July 24, 2014? If so, you qualify for up to a $45 check or $90 worth of FREE Truvia Natural Sweetener Products via the Truvia Natural Sweetener Settlement.

To submit your claim, head here and complete the form no later than December 5, 2014. You can also request that a copy of the claim form be mailed to you by calling 1-888-512-0492 or request the form by e-mail at mail@TruviaSweetenerLawsuit.com. You may choose to receive either a cash refund or a voucher for free products. Click here for more information.

** No proof of purchase is necessary to obtain settlement benefits. However, the Claim Form must be signed by you under penalty of perjury (either by hand or, if you submit it online, electronically), affirming that you are a qualified member of the Settlement Class and that the information provided therein is true and accurate to the best of your knowledge. **

Source: Hip2Save

Friday
Oct102014

AT&T Customer Refund

If you are a current or past AT&T Mobile customer (AT&T customers after January 1, 2009 are eligible) and you believe that you may have been charged by AT&T for unauthorized third-party charges (like subscriptions for ringtones and text message subscriptions for horoscopes, celebrity gossip, and flirting tips), then you may be entitled to a refund.

To submit your claim, head here and complete the form no later than May 1, 2015. To request a refund, you will need either the AT&T billing account number or mobile phone number for the affected account. If you are unsure if you are eligible for a refund, contact the FTC’s refund contractor at 1-877-819-9692 for more information.

Source:Hip2Save

Wednesday
Sep172014

73 Easy Ways to Save Money

The first step to saving dough is to have a go-to list of cost-cutting strategies in your pocket. Below are 73 ways to cut spending, some more orthodox than others. Find just a few that work for you and watch the savings add up. (See also:The 10 Things Everyone Should Be Saving For)

1. CANCEL CABLE TV

With so many streaming options like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, there's barely any reason to pay for cable TV. at all. Unless you watch a whole lot of new programming, it's even cheaper to buy your shows by the season through itunes.

2. FIND A CHEAPER CELL PLAN

Don't overpay for minutes or data that you're not using. Likewise, be sure to shop carriers every time your contract is up to make sure you're buying from the cheapest service provider (assuming they also offer the best coverage, of course).

3. SHOP FOR GROCERIES WITH A LIST

A list can help keep you from adding needless items in the shopping cart (chocolate chip cookies, anyone?) that can flatten your wallet while fattening your waistline.

4. SHOP YOUR HOME AND AUTO INSURANCE POLICIES

There are no discounts for loyalty these days. One expert I spoke with recently estimated a$600 – $800 annual savings by comparing insurance carriers every couple of years. That's a big bang for a couple of minutes worth of work.

5. BUY DISCOUNT PHARMACEUTICALS

Large retailers are increasingly offering discounted pharmaceuticals. GoodRX.com compares prescription prices to help you find the lowest costs in your area. Both Target and Walmart have a large list of generics that are priced at $4 for a month's supply. Shop Rite also offers a discount generics program as well as free short-term supplies of prenatal vitamins and diabetes medication.

6. THROW A POTLUCK PARTY (INSTEAD OF GOING OUT)

Going out to eat is expensive. Why not have your friends over, instead? If everyone brings a dish or drink, you can all eat like royalty for the night — for next to nothing.

7. LEARN TO SEW

Taking your duds to the tailor for button and rip repairs can add up, not to mention the price of scrapping the item altogether and buying new. Why not learn to sew and make minor repairs on your own at the fraction of the price?

8. ASK YOUR CREDIT CARD COMPANY FOR A RATE REDUCTION

If you carry a credit card balance, any reduction in rate can help shave a couple of dollars off your costs. Before you call, be prepared with any offers you've received from competitors and come to the phone with a script, like this one. If you have a $5,000 balance, a 5% rate reduction could save you $250 over the course of a year.

9. CONSIGN CLOTHES YOU DON'T WEAR ANYMORE

Clearing clutter not only saves space and time, but it can also pad your savings account, if you send your castoffs to your local consignment shop. Most consignors offer you a percentage of what the items sells for, keeping the remainder for themselves to pay for overhead and as profit. If you're not wearing the duds anymore, it can pay (literally) to clean house.

10. LEARN TO COOK

A recent study found that it costs $12.28 per person to dine out, on average. If you live in a major city or have champagne tastes (like me), it can cost substantially more. Cut your dining costs by at least half by cooking more of your meals at home.

11. COOK MEALS IN BATCHES

Save time and money by doubling or tripling recipes when you cook. It takes just as much effort to cook one meal but you'll end up with two or three nights worth of dinners (saving you time as well!) plus you can save cash by buying groceries in bulk. (See also: Save Time and Money With a Bulk Cooking Weekend)

12. OPEN YOUR WINDOWS

Cooling costs add up in the summer. Instead of turning on the air conditioner, open up the windows. You'll save money and air out the house at the same time.

13. TURN OFF THE LIGHTS

Don't let your electric bills get out of control. Listen to what dad always said and turn off lights when you leave a room.

14. UNPLUG UNUSED APPLIANCES AND GADGETS

Even if they're not in use, they're still draining electricity, so long as the plug is in the socket.

15. BORROW BOOKS, EBOOKS, AND AUDIOBOOKS FROM YOUR LOCAL LIBRARY

Voracious readers know that book costs can add up quickly. Save yourself some dough and borrow from your local library instead. Most libraries have added e- and audio books to their catalogs, so you can borrow in your favorite format.

16. DECLUTTER

Decluttering your home helps you find the things you already own — so you're less likely to make the mistake of buying items in duplicate or triplicate (of which I am guilty!). Bonus: You'll also save time because you'll know where everything is. (See also: Do This One Thing a Day to Defeat Clutter Forever)

17. USE LED LIGHTBULBS

A household can save over $6,000 by switching their home lighting from incandescent bulbs to LEDs. The bulbs cost substantially more up front, but they're extremely energy efficient. They can last between 11 and 17 years, even if used up to 12 hours a day. Over time, the higher up-front cost of the bulbs will pay you back in substantially lower energy and replacement costs.

18. CANCEL UNUSED SUBSCRIPTIONS

Unread magazine subscriptions needlessly clutter your space and drain your wallet. If you're not reading the issues, let the subscription go.

19. CANCEL UNUSED MEMBERSHIPS

It's easy to let memberships services like those to Netflix and your local gym run, even if you're not using them. Check out where you're being billed monthly for a service you don't utilize and get canceling.

20. BUY USED

Consignment stores are good for more than just selling. You can often buy high end brands at a fraction of the price at your local consignment shop, eBay, or from sporting goods resale shops. Great finds can also be found at yard sales and estate sales.

21. SET UP A BABYSITTING CO-OP WITH FRIENDS

Long gone are the days when a local teen would watch your kids for $3 an hour. Today's babysitters charge anywhere between $10 and $20 per hour, depending on where in the country you live and how many kids you have. Instead of breaking the bank to get some much needed quality time with your partner, set up a babysitting co-op with other local parents.

22. BROWN BAG YOUR LUNCH

One online calculator estimates a New Yorker can save $31,200 over 10 years by packing a lunch instead of going out. Even workers in less pricy cities can see substantial savings from a homemade lunch. (See also: 25 Quick, Cheap Lunch Ideas)

23. PERFORM ROUTINE MAINTENANCE ON YOUR CAR

Your car's regular service isn't the place to scrimp. Changing your car's oil and filter every 3,000 – 10,000 miles (depending on what your owner's manual recommends) is the best way to avoid engine failure, which can add up to thousands of dollars in repair or replacement costs. That's just for starters. To avoid costly repairs, follow your auto manual's recommendations for air filter changes, tire rotations, brake checks and more.

24. WEAR MORE TRADITIONALLY STYLED CLOTHES

Following fashion trends can be expensive, particularly for women. Traditional or conservative style choices go out of fashion less often, meaning you can update your wardrobe less frequently.

25. PLANT A VEGETABLE GARDEN

According to one blogger, the Burpee Seed Co. estimates a $1250 produce yield for every $50 a family spends on seeds and fertilizer.

26. CHECK OUT FREE OR CHEAP COMMUNITY EVENTS

Most communities offer free or inexpensive community events like these, found in New York City. Check out your local chamber of commerce or township website for what's available near you. Most often you can stay entertained without spending a dime.

27. DITCH YOUR CAR

According to AAA, the average annual cost of owning a car is $8,876 per year. If you live in a walkable area or in a city with a good transportation system, you could easily forego that cost.

28. PACK YOUR OWN VACATION SNACKS

Most major theme parks will let you carry your own snacks through the gate and the savings can really add up. A snack-sized serving of grapes costs $3.69 in Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom while you can buy an entire bag at the grocery store for about the same amount. Pack a backpack on your next day trip and you can shave beaucoup bucks off your final day's tab.

29. PACK SNACKS AND COFFEE FOR YOUR CAR TRIP

We all want to break up a long drive with a stop at Starbucks. In my area, a tall frappuccino costs over $4. Add in another for my spouse and some snacks for the kids and a little diversion can add up to over $20. Instead, bring some brew from home and pack kiddie snacks in a couple of ziplock bags.

30. NEGOTIATE FEES WITH SERVICE PROVIDERS

Everything is negotiable, so… negotiate!

31. USE COUPONS

If you don't like the coupon clutter, check one of the latest coupon apps like RetailMeNot orFavado.

32. VACATION WITHIN DRIVING DISTANCE

Airfare rose 2% in 2013 and flyers coughed up $3.4 billion in fees last year. Bring down the cost of your vacation by going Griswold style and packing up the station wagon (or minivan).

33. EXERCISE AT HOME

According to one source, the average cost of a gym membership is $55 per month. Instead, check out these exercises that will give you a gym-quality workout for free.

34. PAY OFF YOUR DEBTS

The average household owes in $7,221 in credit card debt at an average fixed rate APR of 13.02%. All that interest adds up to money that's needlessly being paid out to credit card companies. Stop the cycle, pay in cash, and stash those payments in your own account. (See also: How to Wipe Out Your Credit Card Balance)

35. SAVE YOUR LOOSE CHANGE

Put it in a jar at the end of each day and watch the pennies add up.

36. QUIT SMOKING

pack of cigarettes costs $5.51, on average, and THEY KILL YOU.

37. BREW YOUR OWN COFFEE

One blogger estimates the cost of a cup of home brew at 16 cents per cup. Compare that to your local coffee shop.

38. USE FEE-FREE ATMS

Find one here.

39. PAY EXTRA TOWARD YOUR MORTGAGE

Calculate your potential annual savings here.

40. WEATHERPROOF YOUR HOME

You'll save on energy and replacement costs by insulating pipes, installing storm doors and windows, and caulking cracks.

41. BUY CLOTHING ON SALE

Retailers want to make room for new merchandise at the end of a season and usually slash prices to a fraction of what you'll find at high season. Take advantage of the savings by buying off season and preparing for the following year.

42. BUY CONSIGNED CLOTHING ONLINE

Consignment stores aren't just for selling your cast offs. Check your local options or check out some of the newer online consignors like TwiceThredUP, or Greene Street Consignment.

43. BUY HIGH QUALITY CLOTHING

Don't like to buy used? Invest in higher quality duds that will stand up to wear and tear over the years. The upfront cost may be higher but over time you'll be shopping far less often.

44. LEARN TO IRON

The average two-piece dress costs $12.47 to dry clean. Iron your pieces at home and you can stretch the time between dry cleanings.

45. SET GIFT PRICE LIMITS

The average cost of Christmas for families in 2013 was $801. Birthdays and holidays don't have to be as expensive if you talk to your loved ones and set a price limit on gift giving. It's the thought that counts, anyway. Right?

46. BUY A SMALLER HOME

Because lower utility bills, lower maintenance costs, less to clean, less to furnish, and lower tax bills. Need I say more?

47. LIVE CLOSE TO WORK

One blogger estimates you can buy a house priced $15,900 more for each mile you live closer to work.

48. MOVE TO A CHEAPER CITY

According to one online calculator, it costs half as much to live in Chapel Hill, NC as it does to live in New York City. Make your own comparisons.

49. GET A ROOMMATE

Half the rent, half the utilities.

50. PAY YOUR BILLS ON TIME

Chronic late credit card payers can face a fee of $35 per month, in some instances. That's an added expense with no included benefit. (See also: How to Get Rid of and Avoid Late Fees)

51. DOWNSIZE TO ONE CAR

Save on the added insurance and maintenance costs of the extra set of wheels.

52. DOWNSIZE TO A SMALLER CAR

A sedan has a lower sticker price and also guzzles less gas than an SUV.

53. SKIP THE CREDIT CARD WITH THE ANNUAL FEE

There are plenty of reward cards available that don't tack on an unnecessary annual fee.

54. CANCEL YOUR LANDLINE

91% of Americans carry a cell phone so there's little reason to maintain the expense of an additional land line.

55. SEND YOUR KID TO A CHEAPER COLLEGE

In his latest book David and Goliath, Malcolm Gladwell argues that the academically gifted will rise to the top at a lower-tier school and that there are many esteem-boosting advantages to this education strategy. You and your kid can also save a whole heck of a lot of money in the process.

56. KEEP DRIVING YOUR BEATER

A paid off car has one major advantage over a new car: It's paid off. Think twice before you upgrade to a newer model with a hefty monthly price tag.

57. CREATE A PERSONAL WAITING PERIOD

One study found that North Americans spend more than $4 billion per year in impulse buys. Create a cooling off period for yourself and go home to think about a purchase, before you make it. You'll be surprised by how much you'll save.

58. USE CLOTH DIAPERS

For new parents who can stomach the added responsibility, cloth diapering can save a family several thousand dollars by the time baby turns two and a half.

59. SKIP YOUR SUPERMARKET'S PRE-CUT FRUITS AND VEGETABLES

The markup is high and they expire faster. Cut your own and save.

60. BUY GENERIC GROCERIES

Generic groceries usually taste just as good as their more expensive brand-name counterparts. They're also cheaper.

61. EAT HOMEMADE SOUP

Invest in a $20 crock pot and throw all your leftovers in the pot. Dinner is made when you get home from work, it was cheap, and it's good for you. Triple win. (See also: Thursday Night Soup: Delicious Soup From Leftovers)

62. MAKE YOUR OWN BREAD

Baking bread is easier than you think. A homemade loaf also costs a small fraction of a store-bought loaf.

63. FREECYCLE YOUR CASTOFFS

Declutter your life by taking advantage of your local freecycle community. You can also find a few new things for yourself, at zero added cost.

64. MOW YOUR OWN LAWN

The cost to hire a service to mow your lawn averages between $0.06 and $0.31 per square foot. Mow your own and you can save a bundle over time.

65. GO TO THE MATINEE

From the movie house to Broadway theater, matinee showings are substantially cheaper. If you're paying for a few friends or family members, the cost can be cut dramatically by watching a show in the afternoon instead of evening.

66. MAKE FRUGAL FRIENDS

Frugal friends can help you keep your savings goals on track, inspire you with new ideas, and won't encourage you to break the bank on the newest trends.

67. HAVE YOUR SHOES REPAIRED

Repairing quality footwear is usually more cost effective than buying cheaper shoes more frequently. A quality pair of men's dress shoes can last for 10 years or more, particularly if they're resoled or re-crafted. A good cobbler can extend the life of your shoes for decades.

68. BUY CHEAPER WINE

The research shows that we really can't tell the difference between an expensive bottle of French wine and a cheaper bottle of domestic swill. Save yourself the bucks and buy cheap. If you're serving guests and want to look upscale, invest in a decanter, just for show.

69. SHOP CONSIGNMENT SALES FOR KIDS CLOTHES AND TOYS

There are consignment sales throughout the country where parents sell their castoff toys and clothes for a fraction of the cost of buying new. Find one near you and save big.

70. DRESS FOR THE WEATHER

Before you crank up the heat, grab a cardigan to stay warm. Offset the cost of high fuel costs with appropriate winter gear in the house. Sweaters, fingerless gloves, and fleece pants help keep you warm in cold weather.

71. VACATION IN THE OFF SEASON

A September beach vacation can cost half of what it costs in July or August. (See also: Top Travel Reward Credit Cards)

72. VACATION VIA A HOUSESHARE PROGRAM

Services like Airbnb give you the opportunity to find unique vacation accommodations while you save a few bucks. You can also earn some cash by renting out your own place while you're out of town.

73. DRINK AT HOME

Skip the expensive bar and have your nightcap at home with friends.

 

Source: Wisebread.com

Thursday
Jul172014

Consumer News: Kindle Unlimited

 

Amazon.com may be set to debut an unlimited e-book subscription service based on pages that were posted to its website before being taken offline. Early on Wednesday, observers began noticing pages from the Seattle online retailing giant advertising “Kindle Unlimited” a service that will offer “unlimited access to over 600,000 [e-book] titles and thousands of audiobooks on any device for just $9.99 a month.”
Source: Forbes.com

 

 

Wednesday
Jul022014

23 Money-Saving Items Everyone Should Own

Can I get this cheaper?

This is a question that all thrifty shoppers ask themselves before opening their wallets. And well they should: Less expensive is good. But what about items that actually save you money over time? (See also: 101 Ways to Save Money Around the House)

It's time to pile savings on top of savings with these 23 money-saving items that everyone should own.

1. RECHARGEABLE BATTERIES

Remote controls, wall clocks, cameras, toys, smoke alarms. There are just too many items that take batteries around the house. Instead of shelling out big bucks for new batteries every month or so, invest in a set of rechargeable batteries. Not only will you stop wasting time running to the store, but also you will avoid the frustration of finding out that stored batteries have no charge. Just make sure to unplug the battery charger when not actively charging your batteries. Battery chargers continue to draw electricity even then.

2. EFFICIENT SHOWERHEADS

Showering accounts for about 17% of residential indoor water use. High efficiency showerheads optimize the amount of water that needs to flow through your hot water heater. By installing efficient shower heads, the average American family can save about $70 on water costs per year and more on water heating costs. Look for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's WaterSense label to ensure satisfactory showerhead performance.

3. OUTDOOR SOLAR POWERED MOTION ACTIVATED LIGHTS

Outdoor lights represent a challenge in many ways. By being on for several hours, they use a lot of electricity. Also, you need to remember to turn them off the next day or they keep ramping up your electricity bill. Harness the power of the sun and motion sensor technology and get solar powered motion activated lights. The lights draw energy from the sun during the day and activate only when they sense nearby movement.

4. ENERGY STAR WASHING MACHINE

The average American family does about 300 loads of laundry every year. An Energy Star certified washing machine uses about 20% less energy and 35% less water than conventional ones. If your washing machine is over 10 years old or a top loading model, you need to take action! It is estimated that if every household in the U.S. switched to an Energy Star washing machine, we would together save about $250 million every year!

5. ENERGY STAR CFLS

  • Change a single bulb for a CFL (compact fluorescent lamp), save $40 or more over the lifetime of the bulb
  • Change 5 bulbs for CFLs, save $200 or more over the lifetime of the bulbs.

Use this savings calculator to get a more accurate estimate on how much you can save based on your local electricity cost and desired type of bulbs.

6. BAKING SODA

At just a bit over $1.50 per pound, this is the ultimate household tool. With baking soda you can:

  • Wash produce.
  • Clean your grill.
  • Freshen up rugs.
  • Remove hard stains from clothes.
  • Wash your teeth.
  • Clean the dishwasher or coffee machine.
  • Treat throat infections.
  • Deodorize a cat litter box.
  • Fight dandruff.
  • Melt icy sidewalks.
  • Clean toilets.
  • And many more fantastic uses!

Think about how much you spend on products for each of these uses. Switch to baking soda and start saving money.

7. FOAM ROLLER

Chiropractors and massage therapists are expensive. The average rate for a massage is about $60 per hour. This doesn't mean that you should totally give up on taking care of your body. You can take care of your pain points and "knots" on your own with a foam roller. Starting at about $5, a foam roller is the most budget friendly way to take care of tight muscles and prevent common injuries. From hardcore runners to couch potatoes, everybody can benefit from a foam roller. (See also: Turn Your Home Into a Spa With These 5 Frugal Stress Relievers)

8. GROCERY AND SHOPPING BAGS

Stop wasting money on trash bags and reuse the bags that you get from grocery stores and retailers. Reduce and reuse. Grocery bags are perfect for bathroom trash cans, and bigger bags can be used for tall kitchen cans and certain diaper pails. Small grocery bags are perfect for keeping smelly kitchen residues, such as onion and garlic, contained. You save money and do your part in helping the environment.

9. REUSABLE WATER BOTTLE

Stop your plastic habit! If you buy a $6 water bottle case every week, you end up spending over $300 per year. This is before redemption fees and applicable taxes. Switch to a reusable water bottle and use those savings for a credit card payment. (See also: Stuff We Love: A Lifefactory Reusable Glass Water Bottle)

10. HERB GARDEN

Cooking at home is always cheaper than dining out. Fresh herbs are great to give your dishes that extra "oomph." However, buying fresh herbs, such as mint, basil, and parsley, can be quite expensive. If you have a spot that gets about six to seven hours of daily sunlight, such as a ledge on a kitchen window, you can have an indoor herb garden. You can pick only the amount that you need and let the rest double as a nice kitchen accent piece.

11. OLIVE OIL

Besides being great for cooking, olive oil helps you:

  • Moisturize your skin by drinking it and adding it to warm tub baths.
  • Preserving extra fresh herbs for later use.
  • Untangle your hair and moisturize damaged hair.
  • Prevent hairballs from your cat by adding a teaspoon into your cat's food.
  • Free stuck zippers by dipping a cue tip into olive oil and swabbing the zipper's teeth.

12. CANNING JAR

Attention wine drinkers: Save leftover wine for up to a week by storing leftover vino in a canning jar. It preserves the original flavor longer than just a cork and bottle, a method that only keeps the original flavor for a day or so. This tip is especially useful to prevent that $30 wine bottle from becoming vinegar in just a few days.

13. MOUTHWASH

At Walmart you can get a whole 1.5 liter bottle of mouthwash for around $5. Here's how to stretch that bottle even further:

  • Use as an antiseptic if you have no nearby alcohol.
  • Make a 50/50 solution of alcohol-based mouthwash and vinegar and treat nail fungus.
  • Treat athlete's foot with the same 50/50 solution.
  • Apply alcohol-based mouthwash to a cotton ball to your face as an astringent lotion.
  • Clean your windows.
  • Deodorize your toilet with a cup of mouthwash and let it sit for about 30 minutes before flushing.
  • Mix 4 parts of water to one part mouthwash in a spray bottle to help plants affected by mildew and fungus.

14. SPARE CHANGE JAR

Avoid the coins-in-couch cliche and get a spare change jar to keep all those coins around the house. In just a couple of months, you will be surprised how much you can save without even trying. Encourage your whole household to chip into the spare change jar. (See also: 20 Smart Ways to Spend Your Loose Change)

15. .EDU EMAIL ADDRESS

Ok, so this one isn't really an "item", but still. Current college students and past graduates that keep their .edu email active can often:

Some high school students may be eligible also for .edu email accounts so check with the student's educational institution.

16. CASH BACK AND REWARD CREDIT CARDS

Competition among credit cards is constantly increasing. There is no need to be tied to a card that offers neither rewards nor cash back offers. With cash back credit cards offering up to 2%, it is amazing how some companies will pay you to use their credit cards. If cashback is not your cup of tea, then there are also gas rewards cards and air miles programs.

17. VACUUM SEALER

This is one of the kitchen gadgets that can save you the most money. A vacuum sealer allows you to buy items in bulk and not have any of them spoil. Think beyond meat, poultry, and seafood. How many times have you bought a two-pound basket of strawberries at low prices during the summer, only for over half of it to spoil? With a vacuum sealer, you can seal half and freeze it for later use. Zero waste.

18. BLENDER

Some people gotta have their daily Jamba Juice fix. With the cheapest smoothies starting at $4, this habit can cost you about $120 per month. Save money by making your own smoothies at home with a blender. With $20 or less you can get a blender. Not only you save money, but you can control the amount of sugar and extra calories that go into your drinks.

19. ELECTRIC TOOTHBRUSH

My wife has the most beautiful smile. Every time that she goes to the dentist, she passes the checkup with flying colors. Her secret is that since she turned 29, she followed the advice from her dentist to switch to an electric toothbrush. Ever since that switch, she has been able to minimize the amount of additional necessary dental work during her visits, which lowers our medical bills. (See also: The 5 Best Electric Toothbrushes)

20. TWITTER ACCOUNT

Another non-item item,Twitter is not only for catching up your friends and the latest news. It can be a major tool for savings. (See also: 3 Easy Ways to Save With Twitter)

  • Several retailers release Twitter-specific flash deals, giveaways, and coupon codes.
  • Customer service reps are under pressure to give outstanding service in this public format.
  • Some companies, such as American Express, are willing to sync your Twitter account to its online platform for perks and special services.

21. SQUARE OR PAYPAL HERE

How many times have you tried to collect from a friend who owes you money and she gets away because she doesn't have cash on her? Fix this problem by using your smartphone as a credit card processing machine with the Square or Paypal Here apps. Both companies ship you a credit card reader for free — nothing else is needed. Square and Paypal do take around a 2.7% cut but a payment in hand is better than an IOU.

22. WHATSAPP

If you have friends and relatives abroad, sending text messages is very convenient but gets expensive quite fast. Even if you sign up for an international SMS plan through your cell carrier, you're looking at about $0.25 per SMS, depending on carrier and country.

The reason why Whatsapp is superior than other international messaging apps is that the app is designed for virtually every smartphone. Even though my Mom uses a Blackberry and lives in Ecuador, my sister uses a Nokia and lives in Germany, my wife uses an iPhone, and I use an Galaxy S3, we are all able to text with each other from our own phones. I used to spend over $50 in international SMS and now I spend zero. That's four of us not spending a dime while keeping in touch across the world.

23. CROCKPOT

crockpot is a lifesaver for busy people. You know that eating at home is cheaper, but often there is just no time to prepare a meal. With a crockpot you just need to chop up your ingredients, throw some spices, and you are good to go. You can leave a crockpot running before leaving for work or overnight to have a meal ready for you when you come back from work or to take there for lunch. (See also: 25 Cheap and Easy Crockpot Recipes)

What is your favorite money-saving item?

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