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Thursday
May292014

3 Steps to Slash Your Internet and Pay-TV Rates

If you are one of the millions of consumers paying for TV and Internet servicefrom a major telecom provider, you may be able to reduce your rates by up to 30 percent. Below are three simple steps that should help you save money without making any changes to your existing service. These suggestions are most effective if you are not in a service contract, or when you use them shortly before your contract expires.

Step 1: Compare Rates from Other Companies

Regardless of where you live, there should be at least three companies in your local area that offer Internet and Pay-TV service. These companies may include Comcast, Time Warner, Dish and or DirecTV. 

Take a few minutes to review each of their promotional offers and write down the best you find that is comparable to your current service package.

Step 2: Talk to the Revenue Retention Team

All major telecom providers have what is known as a revenue retention team. This team is dedicated to retaining customers who want to cancel their service. 

To convince customers not to cancel their service, the revenue retention team is typically able to offer specially discounted rates. However, you can’t just call your service provider and ask to speak to the revenue retention team. You need to call them and tell the representative that you want to cancel your service. 

Think of this request as nothing more than a poker face in a game of cards. If the representative asks why you want to cancel your service, tell him or her that you have received a better offer from a competitor and that you are short on time so you’d really like to move forward with the cancellation process. 

Even if the representative offers you a slightly better rate, decline their offer. Once the representative transfers your call, you will know you are being rerouted to the revenue retention team. 

During this process, keep in mind that your service will never actually be canceled unless you provide the representative with a cancellation date. 

If, at any point during this call, you get cold feet, find an excuse to get off the phone and call back later.

Step 3: Renegotiate Your Rates

Once the retention team member asks you a series of initial questions, he or she will ask why you are canceling your service. At this point, present the best offer you found when researching competitors’ rates, and let the rep know that you are canceling your service strictly to reduce your monthly bill. 

More than likely, the retention team member will respond to this by offering you some type of free service upgrade, such as faster Internet speed. Politely decline this offer, and tell the representative that you are strictly interested in lower rates and would like to move forward with the cancellation process. This will generally force his or her hand and lead to an offer that significantly lowers your monthly payment. 

Typically, the deal offered to you will be a six-month or one-year introductory or promotional package. However, as long as it does not include a contract, you should be able to maintain similar rates by repeating this process right before it expires.

All things considered, making this phone call every six or twelve months is a nice trade-off for hundreds of dollars you can potentially save each year.

 

Wednesday
May282014

Flea-Free This Summer #petarmorprotects

It's finally summer and Heidi wants to play outside. Heidi is quite the hunter but she also manages to get herself into too much mischief too! She loves the water and with the lake within walking distance, she is always getting into some kind of adventure! 

With all these walks and getting outside, we want to make sure to keep her healthy. There are so many flea and tick products on the market, and it can get quite expensive.  

Did you know that flea infestation can spread to your home? A single flea can bite up to 25 times in one hour! These stats are amazing and scary.

Did you know?

The fleas and ticks on your dog are only a small percentage of the number in the animal’s environment. Fleas and their eggs can live outside in grass, soil and crevices in sidewalks and live inside in rugs and carpets, floor cracks and bedding.

Fleas and ticks multiply at an alarming rate and can threaten human health as well. Fleas can transmit tapeworms while ticks can carry the bacteria that cause Lyme disease. 

As a pet owner, before purchasing PetArmor Plus IGR you will want to be sure to buy the right product for your pet’s species – dogs and cats have different medications. Then get out the scale and find out your dog’s weight – too little won’t work and too much will make them sick!

Plus:

  • Consider your dog’s age.
  • Don’t split tubes between dogs – one FULL application is needed for each pet!
  • Only apply 30 days following the last flea and tick application.

You can find out more about PetArmor Plus IGR, along with all of the other PetArmor pet care products, at PetArmor.com.

You can also follow PetArmor on Facebook and PetArmor on Twitter to stay up to date on new products and promotions!

 

About PetArmor Pet Care Products

PetArmor Plus IGR contains fipronil, the No. 1 veterinarian-recommended active ingredient used in FRONTLINE® brand products. It also contains Novaluron, an Insect Growth Regulator (IGR) that kills flea eggs and stops the reinfestation cycle. That is the most important thing (aside from killing fleas themselves) is that it kills flea eggs. Even if you kill all of the fleas during a flea bath or by picking them off with a flea comb, the cycle will begin all over again if you don’t kill the eggs too.

PetArmour is available at Walmart and Walmart.com, PetArmor Plus IGR kills adult fleas, ticks, flea eggs and chewing lice and costs less than FRONTLINE® Plus. To learn more, vist www.petarmor.com.

I am being compensated by PetArmor for your participation in this campaign. I am working with the Mom It Forward Blogger Network.

Friday
May162014

Where to Find Coupons for Healthy Foods

Living on a budget doesn't need to mean a lifetime of eating low-quality food. Coupons can help you save big on the healthiest items and brands, but you won't find them in your Sunday paper. To help keep your grocery bills down, we've rounded up 22 websites and newsletters serving up a selection of money-saving discounts on the healthy foods you love.

1. Stonyfield

Stonyfield is one of the oldest and most well-known brands of organic yogurt, ice cream, milk, and cream on the market. Create an account on their website to access printable coupons, special offers, recipes, and free goodies.

2. Common Kindness

This unique coupon website lets you change lives while you save money on healthy foods. Every time you redeem CommonKindnessprintable grocery coupons, they donate funds to your favorite non-profit.

3. Mambo Sprouts

This company's value-packed coupon books (available via email, snail mail, and in-store distribution) make it easy to live healthy and save. You can also sign up for alerts so you're the first to know when new coupons are available.

4. Organic Deals

Organic Deals is a clearinghouse of coupons, giveaways, and discounts for a wide variety of healthy foods and natural living products. Browse the site daily, or sign up to have deals delivered right to your inbox.

5. Living Rich With Coupons

This cleverly named website offers a plethora of printable coupons, free sample offers, and online deals. Just sort by "organic/gluten-free" to see coupons for healthy food brands.

6. Country Choice Organic

Sign up for this brand's e-newsletter and get money-saving coupons and special offers throughout the year.

7. LifeStyle Markets

LifeStyle Markets is a Vancouver-based organic grocery store chain that also offers online shopping to Canadian residents. View their monthly electronics flyer for the latest deals and discounts.

8. Organic Valley

Sign up for Organic Valley's monthly "Farm Friends" newsletter to gain access to organic news, recipes, and special offers for their dairy products.

9. Cascadian Farm

Since they're owned by General Mills, it's no surprised that organic foods from Cascadian Farms are available in most supermarkets. Register to receive their e-newsletter and get coupons, special offers, and more.

10. Redplum

Coupons are the main focus of Redplum.com, which offers discounts on everything from refrigerated food to beauty products. Access printable and downloadable coupons directly from the site, or sign up for their grocery coupon newsletter for even more savings.

11. Whole Foods

Want to shop at Whole Foods without spending your 'whole paycheck'? Browse the most recent printable coupons on their website before you go.

12. Earth Fare

If you like shopping at Earth Fare, you're going to love how easy they make it to save money on your favorite brands. Use their mobile app, printable coupons, deals by phone, or join the "Tomato Bank" to earn money-saving reward points.

13. Sprouts

Sprouts grocery store constantly updates the printable coupons located on their website. You can also sign up for their newsletter to access additional deals.

14. Vitamin Cottage/Natural Grocers

This natural grocery store chain doesn't publish printable coupons online, but it does have an electronic sales flyer as well as a list of "Insider Deals" that will help you save money while shopping.

15. Health eSavers

HealthESavers.com provides valuable printable coupons for all the most popular natural brands of food, groceries, natural beauty, supplements, and pet care products.

16. Earth's Best

If you've got little ones in the house, you'll love the contests, promotions, and special family-oriented offers available from this organic baby food manufacturer.

17. Imagine Foods

Imagine Foods is known for its organic and GMO-free soups, stews, gravies, and stocks. If you've been wanting to try them, visit the website first: There's a $1-off coupon on the home page!

18. Simply Organic

Simply Organic is the king of organic spices, seasoning mixes, sauces, and salad dressings. They've also got a pretty nice list of printable coupons to use next time you're shopping in-store.

19. Healthy Life Deals

Healthy Life Deals is run by a former nanny turned blogger. It gathers up all the best on and off-line deals from Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, and other healthy grocers in one convenient place.

20. Saving Naturally

Not only does Saving Naturally deliver a wealth of natural and organic printable coupons, it also offers information about the best coupon databases in the U.S. and Canada, and tips for keeping your coupons organized.

21. Live Better America

Everything about Live Better America is designed to get you inspired about making delicious, healthy choices. Become a member to access to hundreds of dollars in coupons each month.

22. Earthbound Farm

This brand regularly offers coupons for their Organic Bound salad products. Just check the bottom of the page for the latest online offer.

Source: Wisebread.com

 

Saturday
Apr262014

#MomSavings Twitter Party- Prizes! April 29 @ 9 PM

How can you make Mother's Day special without giving into spendy marketing schemes? Come share your tips and memories with us at our Mother's Day Twitter party!

Join us on Tuesday, April 29th @ 9 pm in the #MomSavings hashtag on Twitter!

Hosts: @mommyswishlist @savingsmania @lisajoythompson @frugaladventure

Prizes and sponsors:
  (1) $50 gift card to Fannie May Chocolates, (1)  Swarovski Serious Bracelet(value: $115.99) (1) Tria gift package (value: $50), (2) $50 Amazon gift cards courtesy of Valpak.
RSVP here, we'll see you there!

 

Saturday
Apr262014

Consumer News: Amazon Prime Pantry

Yesterday, Amazon finally unveiled its Prime Pantry service, which allows customers to consolidate as many grocery items as they can into one large box for home delivery. But given Prime Pantry’s selection and long delivery times, is this something that people can actually use? The answer is… maybe.

WHO WOULD WANT THIS?

•Urban Dwellers Who Don’t Cook: I’ve met a surprisingly large number of people who live in major cities but who rarely, if ever, cook at home. They eat out, get take-out, or order every meal. But these people also tend to have things like soda, cereal and snacks in their cupboards… and of course they need the usual suspects like toilet paper and soap.

But many densely populated cities lack proper supermarkets, forcing urban dwellers to pay extortionate corner store prices. Having a service that delivers these pantry staples cheaply and efficiently to their doors may be appealing.

•Senders Of Care Packages: Got a kid living off ramen cooked on a hot plate in her college dorm room? Prime Pantry seems tailor-made for the parent or loved one who wants to treat someone to a box full of stuff to someone who could use cookies, deodorant and toothpaste.

•Rural Shoppers Who Want To Save A Trip To The Store: Some rural areas of the country face a similar problem to densely populated urban centers — a lack of readily available quality supermarkets. And sometimes those stores don’t carry items for shoppers with specific dietary needs, like food allergies. A service like Prime Pantry wouldn’t solve all these issues for everyone, but it could be used to supplement trips to the supermarket.

•Consumers Without Cars: For people who don’t drive or don’t have ready access to a vehicle, supermarket shopping can be a huge pain in the read-end, especially for the non-perishable items. Shopping without a car means you often have to sacrifice value for convenience; for example, buying only a single roll of paper towels instead of the 8-pack. Every non-perishable item you can get delivered to your door is one you don’t have to carry home from the store.

WHO WOULDN’T WANT THIS:
•Extreme Couponers: Prime Pantry does offer coupons on some items, but people who are practiced in the coupon martial arts will probably want to stick with their current shopping habits.

•Food Snobs: While there are a handful of smaller brands available on Prime Pantry, most food snobs will turn their noses up at almost every item. This is not the place to pick up items you can brag to your friends about having in your kitchen.

•Anyone Who Needs Things Quickly: Yes, ordering online is incredibly convenient and may be less expensive than going to the store. But if you’re going to run out of dishwashing detergent tomorrow, Prime Pantry isn’t going to help. The delivery estimates on Pantry orders are upwards of 3-4 business days, so it’s not for people with any urgent needs.

•Warehouse Shoppers: Even though Prime Pantry is all about shipping items in bulk to save time and money, it’s not about actually buying in bulk. So if you’re a fan of going to Costco and buying a stack of toilet paper the size of a dog house, or if you looked at the earlier mention of a 30-oz. jar of mayo and went “Is that all?”… then you’re probably best sticking with your local warehouse store.

Would you use this service???

Source: Consumerist.com

Monday
Apr142014

Twitter Party: Win Amazon Gift Cards, More #EasterSavings

#EasterSavings Twitter party- $250 in prizes!

Easter is just around the corner. Let's talk Easter traditions, recipes, and ways to save!


Join us on Tuesday, April 15th @ 9 pm ET in the #EasterSavings hashtag on Twitter!

Hosts:  @mommysavesmoney @prettyfruga@savingsmania 
@mycrazysavings

Prizes and sponsors: (2) $50 Amazon gift cards courtesy of Savings.com, (1) $100 Target e-gift card courtesy of Savings.com.

RSVP: Go here to RSVP
Wednesday
Apr022014

50 Smart Things To Spend Your Tax Refund On

Here are 50 smart things to do with your tax refund this year.

1. START AN EMERGENCY FUND

Approximately 28% of Americans don't have an emergency fund. If you fall into this group, take some or most or all of your tax refund and start an emergency savings account.

2. GET MARRIED

It can take years to save up for a wedding. Whether it's your own wedding or your child's wedding, a tax refund can cover some of the expenses.

3. TAKE A FEW CLASSES

If you're not happy with your job, use your refund check to take additional courses that can help further your career and result in a bigger paycheck.

4. OPEN AN IRA

For a comfortable retirement, don't rely solely on your 401(k) or Social Security. Use the money from your tax refund to start an individual retirement account.

5. MAKE AN EXTRA MORTGAGE PAYMENT

One extra principal payment a year can reduce your mortgage loan term by years — as much as eight years on a 30-year mortgage. Use a portion of your tax refund to make an extra principal payment and eliminate this debt sooner.

6. PAY OFF CREDIT CARD DEBT

If you're paying a high interest rate, it can take years to pay off your balance. But if you drop a lump sum on your cards after getting your tax refund, you can become debt-free faster.

7. PAY DOWN YOUR CAR LOAN

If you're close to paying off your vehicle loan, use your tax refund to wipe out the balance and free up cash each month. Or use some of your tax money to pay down your balance, which can reduce your auto loan term and eliminate negative equity.

8. TAKE A WEEKEND TRIP

Everyone deserves a break to recharge and relax their mind and body. Use some of your tax refund to enjoy a few days at a relaxing destination of your choice. (See also: Affordable Weekend Getaways)

9. START PREPARING FOR A FAMILY

If you and your partner are thinking about starting a family in the near future, this money can go towards your future nursery. Deposit the refund into a dedicated savings account, and only use these funds to purchase a crib, a dresser, a changing table, and other baby supplies.

10. FURNISH YOUR HOME

Furniture is expensive; and if you've recently moved into your first place or a new place, you might have a few empty rooms. Your tax refund can go toward buying a bedroom set, a living room set, a dining room set, or other furnishings for your home. Many retailers offer discounts around tax time — take advantage of them.

11. TAKE CARE OF MEDICAL NEEDS

Unfortunately, some people defer medical care because they can't afford the cost of certain appointments or procedures. Put your tax refund money to good use and make essential doctor appointments to protect your health.

12. SAVE FOR GIFTS

Set aside a percentage of your tax refund and prepare early for the holiday shopping season.

13. BUY NEW WINDOWS

If your old, drafty windows drive up your home's heating and air conditioning costs, use your cash to buy quality ones, which ultimately reduces your energy bills.

14. SAVE FOR A DOWN PAYMENT

A down payment and closing costs are two of the biggest obstacles to homeownership. If you receive a sizable tax refund each year, save this money, and you might have enough to purchase a place after a few years.

15. DONATE IT

Maybe you already have everything you want and need. Give back to your community or an organization and enjoy the happiness of giving.

16. SAVE UP TO PAY CASH FOR A CAR

If you're hoping to pay cash for your car, save your tax refund for a few years and avoid a car payment.

17. GET A WILL WRITTEN

Some people put off estate planning because of the cost. However, untimely deaths are a reality; and the sooner you prepare, the better.

18. BUY LIFE INSURANCE

If you have a family, a spouse, and debts, you can't afford to go without life insurance. Plus, the death benefit can cover the cost of your burial and funeral.

19. BOOST YOUR HOME'S VALUE

Put the cash toward updating your kitchen or bathroom, or installing new flooring. These increase your home's value, helping boost your profit when you're ready to sell.

20. START A BUSINESS

The money from your tax refund can provide startup capital to get a new venture off the ground. Use the money to purchase supplies, advertise, create a website, and purchase business cards. (See also: How to Start Your Dream Business)

21. BUILD YOUR EMERGENCY FOOD SUPPLY

Increase your supply of canned and other non-perishable foods. A stockpile comes in handy if you experience financial hardship and can't afford to grocery shop, or if you need to reduce your food budget.

22. BUY AN ENGAGEMENT RING

If you've held off proposing because you didn't have cash to buy a ring, now is your opportunity to pop the question and move forward with your life.

23. PURCHASE NEW APPLIANCES

Does your dishwasher, stove, refrigerator, or washing machine give you problems? Home appliances aren't cheap, but a tax refund can provide the funds you need to upgrade to a newer model. Tax time discounts will shave the cost and the energy efficiency of this year's models will show up in lower energy bills.

24. MAINTAIN YOUR CAR

Getting a car repaired is certainly cheaper than buying a new car. Your tax refund can go toward large automobile expenses, such as a new engine, transmission, and other costly repairs.

25. UPDATE YOUR WARDROBE

If you have a closet full of clothes that are in good condition, it doesn't make sense to blow your tax refund on new attire. But if your clothes are old and worn, and you desperately need a few new pieces, use your tax refund to get the items you need.

26. EXPLORE A HOBBY

Do you wish to learn an instrument or perhaps take up a hobby, such as drawing or dancing? Your tax refund can pay for lessons. (See also: Awesome Money-Making Hobbies)

27. REFINANCE YOUR HOUSE

A mortgage refinancing can lower your interest rate and monthly payment, but it also involves closing costs and fees. Use your tax refund to pay these mortgage-related fees.

28. PREPAY YOUR SUMMER VACATION

Get a jump start planning your summer or dream vacation. The earlier you book airfare, hotels, and ground transportation, the more you can save.

29. HELP YOUR FAMILY

If a relative needs financial assistance, give or lend some of your refund.

30. BUY A SAFE FOR YOUR HOME

Filing important papers in a cabinet or drawer is risky, as they can be stolen or damaged in a fire. Purchase a fire and waterproof safe for your home and protect your documents.

31. PAY OFF A 401(K) LOAN

Funds in your 401(k) can come in handy if you buy a house or experience economic hardship. Since you have to repay a 401(k) loan, use cash from your tax refund to replenish your retirement account sooner.

32. HELP YOUR KIDS START SAVING

Get your children into the habit of saving money at an early age. Open a savings account or a certificate of deposit for your child. (See also:How to Raise Financially Independent Kids)

33. VISIT A FAMILY MEMBER

Not everyone can live within close vicinity of their relatives. If your family lives in another part of the world or country, your tax refund can allow for more frequent visits.

34. HIRE A FINANCIAL PLANNER

If you don't know much about personal finance, working with a financial planner can get your money on track. These professionals can assist with various aspects of financing planning, from retirement planning to investment planning.

35. THROW A SURPRISE PARTY

Do something special for someone you love. For example, give your grandparents or parents a 50th wedding anniversary party, or throw your child a graduation party.

36. SAVE FOR DAYCARE EXPENSES

Once you receive your tax refund, deposit this money into a special account and only use it to pay your child's daycare expense over the next year.

37. IMPROVE YOUR HEALTH INSURANCE COVERAGE

If you don't have the best health insurance plan, use your tax refund to acquire better health insurance — perhaps a plan with a lower deductible and copay, or more coverage.

38. GO TO A SPA

There is nothing wrong with having a little fun with your tax refund. Spend the day at a spa getting a relaxing massage, manicure, or pedicure.

39. BUY A BIKE

If you're looking to add more activity to your life, and possibly reduce your transportation costs, buy a bike.

40. MAKE YOUR HOME MORE ENERGY-EFFICIENT

An energy-efficient home translates into big savings down the road. Your tax refund can go toward the purchase of solar panels, a new roof, a programmable thermostat, and LED light bulbs. (See also: Best Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs)

41. PREPARE FOR AN EMERGENCY

If you live in an area prone to hurricanes, earthquakes, and other natural disasters, the money you receive from the government can go towards a disaster kit. Purchase a generator for your house, and other supplies like a hand crank radio, a first aid kit, emergency blankets, extra chargers, multi-purpose tools, and flashlights. (See also: Items You Might've Forgotten in Your Emergency Kit)

42. HIRE A PERSONAL ASSISTANT

Between work, family, and life, there isn't always enough time in the day. If you're running on empty and you need help throughout the day, use your tax refund to hire a personal assistant.

43. UPGRADE YOUR CELLPHONE

An unreliable cellphone won't help you in an emergency, and it doesn't project a professional image if you run a business. Upgrade to a phone with features you need, such as calendars, email, etc.

44. PAY OTHER TAXES

If you receive a federal tax refund, use this money to pay any state taxes you might owe, or personal property taxes.

45. PREPAY A GYM MEMBERSHIP

The initial cost of joining a gym isn't always cheap. Not only is there the monthly fee, there's a startup fee or down payment. Get a membership with part of your tax refund and start a healthy routine. Use a bigger part of your refund to pay for an entire year — and ask for a prepay discount.

46. RENT AN APARTMENT

Are you ready to move out on your own? Use your tax refund to pay a security deposit.

47. GET ORGANIZED

If clutter dominates your home or office, work with a personal organizer to get your life in order.

48. ENJOY AN ELEGANT EVENING OUT

Some people never have the opportunity to enjoy a night out on the town. Grab your significant other or a best friend, and treat yourself to fine dining and maybe a bottle of champagne.

49. SAVE FOR YOUR KID'S COLLEGE EDUCATION

Whether your kids are young or teenagers, it's never too early or too late to start saving for their college education. Depending on how much you receive from the government, one refund check might pay for a semester of school.

50. START A GARDEN

Organic fruits and vegetables purchased at the grocery store can break your budget. Start a garden in your backyard and eat healthier for less.

What smart things do you plan to do with your income tax refund? Please share in comments.

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Monday
Mar172014

Spring Cleaning Twitter Party: March 18, 2014 @ 9 PM #SpringSavings

Spring cleaning: do people really do it, or is it all a huge conspiracy? Come find out, and share tips for making spring cleaning (if it is indeed real) as painless and frugal as possible! Plus, we have $300 in prizes to give away!

Join us on Tuesday, March 18th at 6pm PT/ 9pm ET in the #SpringSavings hashtag on Twitter!

Hosts: @mommyswishlist @savewshellie @savingsmania @sawickis

Prizes and sponsors: (2) $50 Amazon gift cards courtesy of Savings.com, (1) $100 Amazon gift card courtesy of Savings.com, (1) $100 Target e-gift card courtesy of Savings.com.