Category Archives: Money

Excited doing cartwheels

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I am a huge fan of savings. As a single mom, pinching those pennies can be very important at times, especially with these climbing gas prices. A great way I’ve been able to trim the pennies and save my sense has been the new Target App Cartwheel . This is so helpful as you can clip in store coupons to use on things you need (diapers anyone?!).

 

cartwheel

When you login, you are presented with several in store coupons that you can clip and either print (if you don’t have a smartphone) or clip and access easily using your smartphone app at the register.  On of my favorite brands, Up & Up recently had a 10% off coupon store-wide for their products (diapers, wipes, face wash, bandaids, paper towel, etc) and I cleaned house and saved money.  Now to talk myself out of those new shoes ….

Gas guzzler blues

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If you are like me and you find yourself driving across time several times daily from daycare, to work, to schools and sporting activities … we are always on the move.  Gas can get really expensive for an active family costing them an average of $3,000 every year (that’s $250 a month)!!!  Before you get the filler-upper blues, try some of these tips and tricks to keep your wallet feeling a little better about those car trips!

1.  Check your tires air pressure often!  Tires that are low on air can actually make your car work harder and use more gas.  If you check the air-pressure and make sure to top it off when it needs it, you’ll shave off some gas usage.gas receipt  Likewise, keep up with those oil changes!  The smoother your engine is running the better miles/gallon you’ll get!

2.  Join a rewards program.  Many gas-retail establishments now offer reward cards that give you points for purchases of items like milk, bread, or other general goods.  Some even give you points when you fill up your tank.  It could be a credit card with a cash back reward system or a simple free rewards card, but it’s worth it to take note of how you can save.  If you have a gas station on the way home, stop in and find out about their rewards program.  For programs that reward you for buying things in the store, make it a habit to buy your milk and misc.  from

the gas station on your way home, earning you points that you can later use for a better gas price!

3.  Do you want a car wash?  – No you don’t!!!  Don’t get fooled by this clever marketing scheme (unless you actually need a car wash).  Let’s take a look at the math!  While the gas sign reads .10 cents cheaper if you buy that car wash, you now have a car wash to pay for actually making your total purchase cost more than if you just purchased the gas itself.  The car was is usually just a soap and water basic deal, so if you need one it could be a good idea to bundle them, otherwise just hit that big red NO button.

gas buddy

4. There’s an app for that!  Gasbuddy is a great smartphone app that will use your location in order to pinpoint the cheapest gas station near you.  If you are filling up it could be worth it to drive that extra couple of miles to save .5cents on your total purchase (but keep in mind driving out of the way tends to negate the savings).  The app also has a handy tool that let’s you report current gas prices. Each report you make enters you into a drawing to win a $250 gas gift card!  If you don’t have a smart phone, you can report prices from your home computer @ www.gasbuddy.com

5. Use your gps/smart phone to find shorter routes for you.  Many will let you input multiple destinations so you  can find the shortest routes between all your errands saving you time and gas!

6.  Empty out your car!  The heavier your vehicle, the more gas it will use.  If you aren’t needing all that beach gear, roller blades, folding chairs, etc … lighten up your load and thus help lighten that burden on your wallet!

Following some or all of these hints won’t make you rich, but it never hurts to shave of a few dollars here and there.  It can really add up in the end!

Moving

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I am moving in a few days, and I forgot how tedious it really can be.  I’ve lived in this house for ten years, and it really is amazing all the little stuff that collects during that time period.  Last weeks post talked about spring cleaning, and in most ways I’ve learned the two can be very similar.  To keep things simple, I made lists of what I needed to do to move out of each room.  Some people break down boxes into categories (i.e kids room – toys ; kitchen – pots), and some people just throw everything into boxes room by room.  I think both ways are effective – and I have done a mixture of both with this move.  However, one thing I’m trying differently, is I’m making boxes that are mixes of things from different rooms – the important things I want to unpack first.  When I pack the moving truck, I’m going to put regular categorized boxes in back, mixed boxes in the middle, and furniture up front.  This way I’m unpacking the “bones” of my room first.  The items I’m putting in my “mixed” boxes are surge protectors, bed skirts, lamps, tools, tape, and cleaning supplies as well as blankets, pillows, and toiletries.  This is the stuff I figure I will need first to put every room together.  Bed-skirts for example have always foiled me in moves because you have to put them on the boxsprings before the mattress goes on, but I have never been able to do that because they are always packed in the linen box.  Another thing that can be exhausting about a move is the cost!  Shop around for cheap truck rentals, and if your car has a trailer hitch, you’d be surprised how much cheaper a trailer can actually be (though figure more trips with a trailer a.k.a more gas!), ask at your local supermarket for boxes.  Produce boxes are the perfect size for moving and offer a lot of space in each box which means less trips for you between loading and unloading, and finally keep those receipts!  Some moving expenses you can write off on your taxes!

Couponing

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Many of you may have seen that T.V show “Extreme Couponing” (if you have Netflix they have it streaming on instant watch).  I wondered how much stock to give couponing so I did some research on it.  The extreme couponers were able to do what they do with store cards, coupon matching, and individual store policies.  Here are somethings to knwo off the get go if you want to do some heavy couponing:

1. Know the stores policy for coupons.  If you want to coupon at max savings find a store with a store card, coupon matching days, or other special discount days aimed at consumers and shop on those days.

2. Match sales with your coupons to maximize your savings.  i.e you see Kellogs cereal 4/$10.00 and have a coupon for $1.00 off two boxes.  With two coupons you are now paying $8.00 for 4 boxes of cereal vs. the sale of 10.00.  The regular price would probably be near $12.00 for 4 boxes, so again you’d be paying $10.00 with no sale using the coupon.

3. Read the fine print on your coupon, if it doesn’t specify a size, go for the smaller size.  Almost all stores have a 1 coupon / item rule.  Grab a few of these $ off one item that have no size specification, and usually you can come close to not paying anything or actually getting money back on the smaller items by buying more.  Here is an example:

1 large stick deodorant 3.50

1 travel stick (1/4 the size) 1.0

Coupon: .25 off 1 deodorant (no size restriction)

Buy 1 large stick your cost is now 3.25

Buy 4 travel sticks (using 4 coupons) your cost is now 3.00

Couponing can be a very effective way to trim your grocery bill down by hundreds of dollars every year, allowing you to breathe more freely about other things like rising gas costs or your kids braces.  I make a habit to always buy a Sunday paper, as essentially you are being paid to do it.  You will always find more than $2.o0 worth of savings inside helping you more than double the value of that 1 paper.

 

Try sites like http://www.coupon.com – or google “coupons”.  Don’t pay to join a site, or give your personal info out as mostly likely you could be signing up for a spam service.