Shopping

Why We’ve Given Up on Coupons

About a week ago, my parents came to visit us for a few days. During the visit, my mother gave Sarah and I an envelope full of coupons she had clipped for products she thought that we bought but that she herself didn’t use. As Sarah leafed through the coupons, I began to realize something …

Nine Fantastic and Inexpensive Summer Recipes Using Fresh Seasonal Foods

For me, the best part of summer is the seemingly endless variety of fresh produce. It’s everywhere, from gardens to CSA baskets, from farmers markets to family gardens, from roadside stands to your local grocery store. The variety of produce available this time of the year is out of this world – and the best …

Categories: Frugality, Meals, Shopping

Six Simple Changes to Your Grocery Routine That Can Save You a Lot of Money

As I’ve alluded to a few times recently, a Fareway just opened in the small town in which my family lives (for those unfamiliar, Fareway is a discount grocer). The new store is close enough that I can easily walk or bicycle there, as the round trip is just a little over a mile. Prior …

Paper or Plastic? Two Ways to Save Money on Groceries

The average American family of four with two kids under 11 spends somewhere between $647.80 and $1,290.60 per month on food, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That’s quite a spread, and further proof that you can almost spend as little or as much as you want at the grocery store. The thing is, …

10 Things You Should Never Buy Used

Whether you’re trying to save money or be less wasteful in general, shopping at secondhand stores, garage sales, and flea markets is a good strategy. Not only do you get to save an item from the landfill, but you can usually pay a fraction of the retail cost. Of course, some items work better than …

The Best Used Cars for Simply Getting Around

It’s expensive to buy and own a car — the American Automobile Association (AAA) pegs the cost of owning a vehicle at a whopping $8,698 a year. But most of us need one to get around; in much of America, it’s just a fact of life. Still, that doesn’t mean we need an expensive car. While AAA takes into account …

Rotating Rewards: Smart Summer Buys in Discover and Chase Freedom Categories

When it comes to maximizing credit card rewards, many people choose to never pay an annual fee. That way, they never have to worry about canceling the card if they stop using it enough, or the impact on their credit if they do. Two excellent rewards cards that can help you maximize rewards without ever …

12 Items That Pay for Themselves Tenfold or More

When you’re trying to live a frugal lifestyle and save money, it can seem counterintuitive to buy anything new. Yet, that’s exactly what many money-conscious people do. The difference is, those who have mastered the art of frugality don’t just buy things; they invest in them. And they don’t just invest in “stuff;” they invest …

Finding Happiness for Free

A few weeks ago, I listened to a podcast episode – I’m truly sorry, I don’t know which episode or even which podcast it was, as it was one of many I was sampling that day and I’m having difficulty tracking it down – where the podcast guest made a suggestion that stuck in the …

Money Management 101: Why You Should Track Your Spending

Do you ever wonder why you run out of money by the end of the month? Do you earn plenty but still live paycheck to paycheck? Do you ever look at your savings and think you could be doing better? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, you’re not alone. In fact, a …

Our Favorite Best Buy Deals

Shopping for electronics and appliances is quite an undertaking. For starters, they can be incredibly expensive. And with so many competing companies and similar models, it’s hard to ever be sure that you’re making the right purchase. Best Buy, one of the leading consumer electronics companies in the United States, prides itself on being a …

Financial Advice That Needs to Die

Recently, one of my friends was curtain shopping when she received some pretty crazy advice from a friendly store employee. “You should expect to spend around 5% of your home’s value on curtains and draperies,” the saleswoman explained as she sauntered around the sales floor. Of course, my friend balked at the idea. Not only …

The Ultimate Guide to Online Shopping

Over 190 million people in the United States use online shopping sites, and that number is expected to grow exponentially over the next decade. The total value of the global e-commerce economy is expected to grow to $1.5 trillion in 2015 as online shopping becomes more commonplace and businesses adapt their marketing efforts to capture more …

The ‘Buy It for Life’ Compendium

Over the last several months, I’ve answered a big handful of “buy it for life” questions in the reader mailbag. Because the answers to those questions have been so spread out, a few people recently have asked me if there is a single place where they can go to find all of the “buy it …

Categories: Shopping

10 Smart Graduation Gifts for College-Bound Seniors

Summer is almost upon us, and with it a barrage of social events, from backyard barbecues to weddings to, of course, graduation parties. And while you can bring a tray of baked beans to a neighborhood cookout, and something straight off the registry to a wedding, it’s often difficult to decide what to get a newly-minted high school …

Categories: Education, Family, Shopping

The Best Kohls Coupons and Deals

Finding high-quality items for affordable prices is a never-ending pursuit that can often fuel frustration. How do you know you’re getting the best price at the best time when deals keep changing? When it comes to shopping at Kohl’s, getting a bargain is almost guaranteed — you should rarely, if ever, have to pay full …

Throwing Away the ‘Retail Therapy’ Crutch

Mary wrote in with a brilliant question that I feel deserves a much longer answer than what fits into the weekly mailbag. Here’s Mary’s problem: First, the facts: I am 26 years old. I graduated two years ago with a masters in accounting (so I’m not writing to you about crunching the numbers as I …

ALDI, Fareway, and the Value of Discount Grocery Stores

Recently, I came across a great article about ALDI in Forbes Magazine. For those unfamiliar, ALDI is a discount retailer in the eastern half of the United States (and in Germany) that focuses almost entirely on having the lowest prices on its merchandise. One method ALDI uses is relying entirely on store-brand products – you’re hard-pressed …

Categories: Shopping

Guide to the Gift Card Economy

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, gift cards continue to be one of the most popular presents to give and receive. According to a study by CEB Tower Group, Americans loaded over $124 billion onto gift cards in 2014, much of which was gifted in the form of “e-gift cards” or mobile gift cards. But gift …

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