Shopping

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

Are You Spending Too Much on Groceries?

If there is such a thing as an average family of four, there’s nothing average about how much that family spends on groceries. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a family of four with two kids under age 11 spends anywhere from $654.20 to $1,302.20 per month on food. Why the huge disparity? First …

What Is a Credit Card Sign-Up Bonus?

Unless you’ve opted out of junk mail or targeted offers altogether, you’ve probably gotten at least a handful of credit card bonus offers in the mail. Most of them read something like this: “Spend $500 on your card within 90 days and earn $200 in cash back.” “Spend $3,000 on your credit card within three …

Cheers to the Holidays: Food, Beer, and Wine Gift Guide

We’re in prime gift-buying season. Your list of who to buy for probably includes a foodie, beer lover, and/or wine enthusiast. This is a fun group to buy for because you can really get creative with your gifts. Plus, you can find awesome presents regardless of what you’re looking to spend. Here are some gift ideas …

25 Gift Ideas Under $10 I’d Be Happy to Receive

Whenever I see a typical gift idea list, I have two immediate frustrations. One, the gifts on it are often expensive. If there’s someone out there I’m going to be spending $100 or more on for a gift, it’s very likely that I know that person well enough that I don’t have to be looking …

Categories: Frugality, Shopping

How to Maximize Your Meal Planning Dollars with Bulk Buying

Sammi writes in: I really loved your article about meal planning for busy families. My husband and I have adopted this strategy and have been using it for about two months and our food costs have gone down a lot! The only challenge we have is how to incorporate bulk buying into it. The closest …

Categories: Frugality, Meals, Shopping

10 Holiday Gifts to Combat Consumerism Fatigue

We’re all guilty of it: You put off buying a present for a loved one, and suddenly it’s too late — so you just throw money at the problem and buy something for buying something’s sake. In the end, it’s a waste of money, and your friend or family member has another piece of junk they …

Seven Strategies I Use on Black Friday and Cyber Monday

I’ll be honest: since about 2009, I haven’t left the house on Black Friday. Instead, I usually sleep in after a long evening spent eating a big meal and having a few glasses of wine with family members. I do get up and check a few online sales, but I haven’t found anything in a …

Categories: Shopping

Best Black Friday Deals for 2014

Love it or hate it, Black Friday ain’t what it used to be. Time was, you’d gather with friends and family on Thanksgiving to over-indulge in food and football. The next day, off from work, you might go buy a Christmas tree and then head to the mall to start your holiday shopping. Pretty simple, really. Soon …

Cost-Cutting Tips for Thanksgiving Dinner

You may have recently mastered the art of budget-conscious grocery shopping, but preparing for Thanksgiving dinner is a whole other ballgame. Carving off some savings will take a lot more time and effort, since each dish typically requires its own set of ingredients, some which are a bit pricey. Before you check your bank account …

12 Surprising Ways to Save on Groceries

If you’ve been trying to cut costs to stop living from paycheck to paycheck, the food category was probably one of the first to take a hit. You may have tried slashing your grocery budget to an unrealistic amount and clipping coupons to make ends meet. If this approach is working, kudos to you. But …

Balancing Spending, Saving, and Social Situations

Each year, I go to Gencon (a convention in Indianapolis held every August) with a fairy large and ever-shifting group of guys ranging in age from early twenties and still in college to mid-forties and in full career mode. Some are married with children, while others are married without kids and still others are single. …

Categories: Shopping

Wine, Blind Taste Tests, and Your Money

You’re standing at the grocery store looking at a large selection of wines. You know you want a red wine to go well with your pasta meal this evening. One is $5.99 per bottle. Another is $19.99 per bottle and has a little tag bragging about the score it received in some wine magazine. Which …

Ten Questions to Ask Yourself Before Making a Purchase

There are few things that leave me feeling worse than an impulsive purchase that wound up being a piece of junk or wound up sitting in the closet gathering dust. Not only am I frustrated with the item itself, I’m also frustrated with me. It was my own personal choice to go ahead and make …

The Ultimate Guide to Getting Free Kid’s Clothes

In 2009, I had my first child, a girl I named Lydia Rose. She was beautiful and dainty just like a baby doll, and I loved dressing her up in cute little outfits and taking all kinds of pictures. Unfortunately, those first few years turned out to be expensive. Since I wasn’t all that frugal …

Buying It for Life Versus Buying Ultra-Cheap

I’m a big believer in a “buy it for life” philosophy. If you can buy a single item and it will last you for a very, very long time, then you have no need to buy replacements. I’d like to think that many of the household items I own – cast iron pots, well-made knives, …

Categories: Shopping

30 Great Gifts for $5 (or Less!)

Gift-giving can be an expensive proposition. Most of the ideas that tend to pop into people’s minds when it comes to exchanging gifts are expensive ones – or, at least ones that add up to a lot if you have to buy many of them. That doesn’t have to be the case. There are a …

Categories: Frugality, Shopping

Christmas in July

The average American family spends $749.51 on Christmas gifts. That’s a painful amount – it’s approximately 2% of the annual take-home income of an American family. As I’m writing this, Christmas is five months away. For me, that means it’s time to start planning. After all, if you know an event is coming in the …

Categories: Home and Life, Shopping

Shop Smart Using The “Shopping Hierarchy” Method

Last month, I wrote a popular article for U.S. News and World Report about “shopping hierarchies.” Here’s how I defined “shopping hierarchy” in that article: However, there’s stronger strategy you can apply that affects the price of almost everything you buy. I call it the “shopping hierarchy” strategy. It’s a simple strategy: Whenever you go …

Categories: Shopping