Shopping

Expensive Items and Buying for Life

One common question I get in the reader mailbags concerns buying items for life. Given the prevalence of these questions – and many of the comments I’ve seen about my responses to them and the suggestions from readers – I thought it might make sense to dig further into the “buy it for life” idea. …

Categories: Shopping

Can Cash-Back Rewards Beat Your Savings Account?

Are you tired of earning less than 1% on your savings? You’re not alone. With interest rates hovering near record lows for the past few years, the average savings account in the U.S. is currently bringing in around 0.17% APY, according to GoBankingRate data. In other words, most people are earning next to nothing on their liquid savings. And you …

12 Money-Saving Food Strategies My Family Uses

Over the years, our family has steadily built up a number of little “food hacks” that we use to save money and time when buying food and preparing meals at home. Often, we don’t even really think about them, but sometimes, when we step back and look at our meal patterns, we see lots of …

Seven Strategies for Haggling at Stores (Even Large Chain Stores)

One of my big goals over the last few years was to improve my haggling skills. In the past, I always felt as though it was inappropriate to haggle in many stores, mostly because the whole process felt uncomfortable for me. Over the last few years, however, I’ve negotiated discounts on a number of items, …

Categories: Shopping

Using Upromise to Pay for College

Whether you’re looking for a way to save for your child’s college or deal with your own student loan debt, Upromise might be a way to give your efforts a boost. According to its website, users have earned more than $850 million toward college through everyday spending. What Is Upromise? Upromise, a partnership with Sallie …

The Busy Mom’s Guide to Meal Planning

When the alarm sounds each morning, it’s time to hit the ground running. It doesn’t matter if you’re well rested or are in desperate need of a few more hours cuddling the pillow. There are children to be cared for and tasks to be completed, not to mention a full day at the office if …

My Five Worst Money Traps – and How I Handle Them

As proud as I am of our positive financial progress over the last several years, there are still big areas of my life where I don’t always make the smartest spending choices. Even with all of the mental preparation and good choices that I do make, there are still times when I will choose to …

The 21st Century Wallet: Will Mobile Payments Go Mainstream?

When I set out to write about the pros and cons of mobile payment or electronic wallet technologies, I assumed it would be a simple and interesting subject. Interesting, yes. Simple? Not at all. Apple Pay, Google Wallet, SoftCard, and PayPal are some of the leaders in the emerging mobile payments field. But how might these …

Categories: Shopping, Technology

Debt-Free Payment Methods: Alternatives to Cash

Whether it’s Target, Home Depot, or Sony, it seems like every couple of months another huge corporation is hacked, exposing vast amounts of customer information. So it’s no wonder more Americans are turning to cash for their spending needs. This solution has its own set of problems, as well as benefits. If you’re thinking of switching to a cash-only …

Can You Save Money by Becoming Vegetarian?

Beef prices hit record highs last summer and prices for beef, pork, and eggs are expected to climb throughout 2015. Meanwhile, a growing body of research indicates that eating meat and animal products can contribute to a host of health issues, including diabetes and cancer. A recent study published in the journal Cell Metabolism revealed that middle-aged people who …

What Do New Parents Really Need?

If you ask baby boomers how parenting has changed over the years, many can name a host of once-safe practices that have since been outlawed. People from my mother’s generation talk about how, as babies, they rode in the front seat of their family car without a car seat. And my mother often jokes about shrouding us in …

Five Indispensable Apps to Save Money When You Shop

How many people still clip coupons from the newspaper? And if you do manage to find the time to sit down and review weekly coupon offerings, do you then remember to take them to the store when shopping? I’m not that organized. Clipping coupons has almost become an antiquated way of doing things amid the rise …

Are Credit Card Rewards Really Worth It?

A friend recently mentioned that she wished she had more time off work to travel – and more money to travel with. “I don’t see how you do it,” she said. “Airfare is crazy expensive. And then you have to pay for your hotel, rental car, and food!” She was right, but I quickly reminded …

Best Ways to Use Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

There is a reason why so many fans of credit card rewards go out of their way to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points. Aside from being versatile and easy to use, the points can be very lucrative — especially if you know how to use them. If you’ve never had a Chase credit card that earns Ultimate …

Six Strategies for Maximizing the Value of a Warehouse Club

Over the holidays, I had a great conversation with several relatives about the compared merits of Sam’s Club and Costco (our conclusion was that you should just use whichever is most convenient or closest for you), which eventually turned into a discussion of how to get the most value out of a warehouse club membership. …

Categories: Frugality, Shopping

Five Reasons Your Budget Isn’t Working

If you don’t use any kind of written budget, you have lots of company. According to a Gallup poll, only about a third of Americans prepared a detailed household budget in 2013. That’s not to say everyone succeeded. The fact is, using (and sticking to) a written budget can be a huge chore, especially at first. And …

Four Tips for Using FSA Money Before New Year’s

At the end of the year, we can all get a little scatterbrained. Between work deadlines, gift shopping, baking treats for the kids’ holiday parties, making travel arrangements, and stressing over what to write in the greeting card, there’s just not enough time to get everything done. So we forget stuff — important stuff like our flexible …

What a Deal: Groupon for Essentials

It’s easy to dismiss Groupon as a service aimed at getting you to waste your hard-earned cash on frivolous splurges and bargains of questionable value. After all, some of the most popular Groupon deals are for things like buy-one-get-one-free restaurant meals, spa treatments, and vacation bundles. In other words, stuff you don’t need. An article in The Atlantic echoed …

Seven Practical Gifts for College Students

The holiday season is well under way. If you’ve got someone on your list who’s headed to college next semester or already there, here are some practical suggestions to send them back to school with a smile: Gift cards. Funds are usually low in college, so a gift card is always welcome and generally a …

Categories: Education, Family, Shopping

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