Shopping

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 …

Five Reasons to Love a Clothing Swap (and How to Host Your Own)

I’ve always loved to shop. And I’ve always really loved to shop for anything wearable. Cowboy boots and maxi dresses. Cozy sweaters and dangly earrings. Button-downs and scarves. If it goes on my body, I’m hooked. But however you feel about shopping, I imagine you understand the excitement of having a new-to-you jacket (or statement …

The Ultimate Guide to Amazon Coupons and Discounts

Well, “ultimate” might be a bit of hyperbole, but I thought it would be useful to collect together all of the things I’ve learned about saving money on Amazon.com in one place. If you ever buy items at Amazon, you might find some of these tactics to be useful. It will prove difficult to find …

15 Buying Recommendations for Everyday Things

Over the last several months, a number of questions for the reader mailbag have revolved around what exactly I buy for various common household purchases. What kind of trash bags do I buy? What kind of batteries do I buy? You get the idea. I’ve been using these questions regularly in reader mailbags, but I …

Categories: 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

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