Category Archives for "Coupons"

Two for Tuesdays #2

In this second installment of Two for Tuesdays, I want to dive right into how to save you money right away.

#1:
One of the coolest new things on Amazon is their “Subscribe and Save” program, where you can:

  • automatically receive a new shipment of the item in intervals you select–every one, two, three, or six months
  • get a discount on their everyday price
  • get free shipping on every Subscribe & Save shipment
  • pay for each order only when the item is shipped
  • have the option to cancel at any time

Discounts are usually around 15-20 percent and there’s free shipping. For those items you’re going to purchase regularly, check out the prices on Amazon’ Subscribe and Save. I buy all our Seventh Generation baby products this way.

So, here’s the trick for saving money on those items you don’t buy regularly (note: not all Amazon products are available; in fact, most aren’t): Find an item you want to “try” and then sign it up for Subscribe and Save, get your order, then cancel the subscription. This will give you a 15 or 20 percent discount on something you tried. It’s a great way to give a product a trial and save money to boot!

#2:
Coupons. Not your every day coupons, mind you. I got this tip through The Simple Dollar, where Trent, the site’s author, gave a very useful tip. Take your Sunday paper’s coupons and file them away for a month. Then, in a month, take those coupons for products that you might use to the grocery and/or drugstore. Amazingly, a good portion of those coupons will be applicable to items that are on sale, where you will derive the double-whammy bonus of a sale item and use of a coupon to get a really low effective price. One example Trent mentions is a quart of ice cream for 19 cents! Your mileage will vary, of course.

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Ten Ways to Save Money Now

It’s a new year, you have goals, and you will succeed. Getting ahead in life is, as they say, a marathon, not a sprint. So, with that in mind, here are 10 ways to save some money this year. Some can be big, but most are small. But it all adds up.

  1. Get an energy audit. With energy costs rising each and every year, now is as good a time as any to assess, or reassess, your home’s energy use. There is a plethora of information online at your local utility to get you started. Many have online audits. Also take a look at their recommendations; often they are very good (like turn down your hot water temp to save some money).
  2. Shop for auto insurance. Geico often touts that switching to them can save you 15 percent, which is a healthy savings. However, you can often do better. Try your “work perks” programs for insurance companies that your employer has partnered with. Also, check out Costco. I recently compared “apples to apples” (keeping the same coverage but shopping various auto insurers) and found that Costco’s insurance partner would save me about $400 per year. That’s a good chunk towards funding an IRA.
  3. Coupons. I recently posted about an online coupon site called Red Plum that works with manufacturers and stores to offer you coupons based on what you need rather than trying to sell you something that you don’t need just to save money. I get coupons in the mail from Val-Pak, auto dealers, stores, etc. Just seek out coupons for those things that you’re going to buy anyway. Also, check out other coupon sites online, like RetailMeNot, who give coupon codes for various online shopping sites.
  4. Got a blog or a web site? Become an affiliate. You can then put up links on your web site for things that you will buy anyway and you’ll get a check or a direct deposit paid back to you in terms of an affiliate commission. Send your friends there, too!
  5. Cable or satellite subscriber? Call your company and pit their competition against them. Tell them, simply, that, while you love their service, you are switching to their competitor. In most cases, you’ll be whisked away to their retention department who has more flexibility in offering you a discount to stay. I do this with my cable company every six months or so and save at least $20 a month each time I do this. That’s $240 a year.
  6. Shop at Safeway? Right now, they’re giving a 15 cent discount on gasoline if you spend at least $50 in a single grocery transaction, which isn’t too hard to do. By all means, don’t leave the store with a $45 purchase. Buy another six pack of soda on sale (you know you’re going to drink it anyway). It’s like getting that $6 six pack for nearly half price.
  7. Drop your gym membership. Face it, you probably don’t go very often and you can get similar results just by exercising at home. Unless you’re a professional athlete, doing crunches, pushups, and pullups, coupled with brisk walking or running will give you all the benefits of a full-fledged gym, all for FREE.
  8. Don’t buy it unless it’s on sale. You’re going to buy what you’re going to buy, so wait until it goes on sale. This is especially effective with groceries.
  9. Pay your bills online. Let’s say you pay 8 bills per month. At 41 cents, that’s over $36 dollars a year you’ll save. Not a lot, but still, it’s a good dinner out with your family, all for making things simpler. Plus, it’s a lot more convenient to set up autopays on all your bills. And the time savings add up quick.
  10. Take every legitimate tax deduction available to you. Don’t leave any money on the table. Especially with a government that’s addicted to wasting your money.

There it is: 10 easy things to do to save money. If done with some determination, you could easily fund a Roth or traditional IRA with your savings. And, over the long haul, saving a few dollars here and there adds up to a ton of money.

Red Plum – Sweeten the Deal

Online coupons, from a major print coupon company. This is the beginning, finally!, of the end for printed coupons. In the near future, you’ll be able to upload your grocery list (Remember the Milk integration, anyone?) to the site (or, better yet, it will know where to go find it) and it’ll fetch appropriate coupons for you.

How sweet is that? You get the coupons you need, rather than having to wade through the Sunday paper.

Red Plum – Sweeten the Deal

NWA’s Top 101 Money-Saving Tips for the Workers It Fired

Below is a list of 101 ways to save money. The ironic thing is that the list was compiled by Northwest Airlines and handed out to the (former) employees the airline just fired. Now, I don’t know about you, but this stunt really seems like it’s rubbing some salt into some really fresh wounds.

Nevertheless, is the list below a viable set of money-saving tips? Some tips seem sound, others not so sound, still others depend on context. What do I mean by context? Take Tip #1. First, context: Taken in winter, this tip seems mostly right. 60 is a bit chilly, but one could wear sweaters, right? But in the summer, this is downright frigid. Actually, one could turn the tables in summer. For example, in winter, you might keep your thermostat at 66 and turn it down to 62 at night. But in winter, you might want to set your thermostat at 78 and turn it up to 82 at night.

The thinking is that you’re asleep and won’t notice the difference. The concept is to save money while sleeping. This means that you do whatever makes sense depending upon the season. In spring, it may not make any difference, since the temperature at night may not fall appreciably enough to make the thermostat/heating/cooling system do anything. Make sense?

Now, take #46. Don’t be shy about pulling something you like out of the trash. Okay, besides being really unpalatable, how many people will be willing to do this? Living in the Bay Area (California), I see people poring through trash every day, looking for a bit of coffee, a piece of bread, a cigarette. But I’d have to get really desperate before I started looking through the trash to nourish myself. I mean really desperate.

Not to mention the filth. Who knows what kind of sludge has touched this scrap food? It’s not only impractical to go through the trash, it’s also very potentially unsafe. Leave this tip to the NWA execs that lose their jobs over offering up this stupid “tip.” (Here’s a tip for you, Mr. CEO: Go dig through your own garbage for food.)

We’ll be sure to revisit this list frequently. There are some good tips in here, many of which can form the basis of a sound money-hacking lifestyle. Also, many can be expanded upon with real money-hacking modifications, such as switching to VOIP (like Vonage or Skype) to save money on phone service.

NWA’s Top 101 Money-Saving Tips

1. Set your thermostat to 64 and turn it down to 60 at night.

2. Use the phone book instead of directory assistance.

3. Use coupons at the grocery store.

4. Carpool.

5. Ask for generic prescriptions instead of brand name.

6. Do your own nails.

7. Rent out a room or garage.

8. Replace 100 watt bulbs with 60 watt.

9. Make long distance calls at night and on weekends, instead of mid-day, mid-week.

10. Throw pocket change in a jar and take it to the bank when it’s full.

11. Always grocery shop with a list.

12. Buy spare parts for your car at a junkyard.

13. Go to museums on free days.

14. Quit smoking.

15. Get hand-me-down clothes and toys for your kids from family and friends.

16. Meet friends for coffee instead of dinner.

17. Request to get interest on a security deposit for your apartment.

18. Take a shorter shower.

19. Write letters instead of calling.

20. Brown bag your lunch.

21. Make your own babyfood.

22. Use public transportation.

23. Drop duplicate medical insurance.

24. Buy old furniture at yard sales and refinish it yourself.

25. Apply for scholarships and financial aid.

26. Exercise for free-walk, jog, bike, or get exercise videos from the library.

27. Form a baby-sitting cooperative with friends and neighbors.

28. Buy your clothes off season.

29. Go to a matinee instead of an evening show.

30. Share housing with a friend or family member.

31. Hang clothes out to dry.

32. Do not use your calling card.

33. Volunteer two hours a month for reduced cost food through the Share Program.

34. Change the oil in your car yourself regularly.

35. Get pre-approval from your medical insurance company before undergoing any procedures or tests.

36. Buy ‘no frills’ vitamins.

37. Take a date for a walk along the beach or in the woods.

38. Make ca
rds and gifts for friends.

39. Shop in thrift stores.

40. Have your water company do an audit so you are not charged sewage fees for water used in your garden.

41. Refinance your mortgage.

42. Grocery shop on double coupon days.

43. Trade down your car for a less expensive, lower maintenance one.

44. Convert your cash value life insurance to term.

45. Shop around for eyeglasses.

46. Don’t be shy about pulling something you like out of the trash.

47. Recycle.

48. Move to a less expensive place to live.

49. Use low flush toilets or water saving devices in the tank.

50. Drop unneeded telephone services like call forwarding or caller ID.

51. Buy fruits and vegetables in season.

52. Avoid using your ATM card at machines that charge a fee.

53. Bicycle to work.

54. Shop around for auto insurance discounts for multiple drivers, seniors, good driving records, etc.

55. Ask your doctor for samples of prescriptions.

56. Borrow a dress for a big night out. or go to a consignment shop.

57. When you buy a home negotiate the sales price and closing costs.

58. Turn the hot water heater down and wrap it with insulation.

59. Never grocery shop hungry.

60. If you qualify, file for Earned Income Credit.

61. Shop around for prescriptions including mail order companies (Medi-Mail 800-331-1458, Action Mail Order Drugs 800-452-1976, and AARP 800-456-2277).

62. If you pay for childcare, make use of the dependent care tax credit or your employer’s dependent care flexible spending account.

63. Buy, sell, and trade clothes at consignment shops.

64. Shop around for the lowest banking fees.

65. Caulk windows and doors.

66. Iron your own shirts.

67. Plan your weekly food menu before shopping.

68. Buy a good used car instead of a new model car.

69. Purchase all of your insurance from the same company to get a discount.

70. Cut your cable television down to basic.

71. Go to an optometrist for routine vision tests or to change an eyeglass prescription.

72. Buy pre-owned toys and children’s books at garage sales.

73. Have potluck dinners with friends and family instead of going out.

74. Use the library for books, video tapes, and music.

75. Inspect clothing carefully before purchasing it.

76. Don’t use your dishwasher dry cycle; open the door and let them air dry all night.

77. At the grocery store, comparison shop by looking at the unit price.

78. Make your own coffee.

79. Use old newspapers for cat litter.

80. Shop at discount clothing stores.

81. Skip annual full mouth x-rays unless there is a problem; the ADA recommends x-rays every 3 years.

82. Water your garden at night or early in the morning.

83. Shop around for long distance rates.

84. Hand wash instead of dry cleaning.

85. Grow your own vegetables and herbs.

86. Shop around for auto financing.

87. Donate time instead of money to religious organizations and charities.

88. If you are leaving a room for more than five minutes, turn off the light.

89. Shop at auctions or pawn shops for jewelry and antiques.

90. Keep your car properly tuned.

91. Request lower interest rates from your creditors.

92. Trade in old books, records, and CDs at book and record exchanges.

93. Pay bills the day they arrive; many credit card companies charge interest based on your average daily balance.

94. Buy software at computer fares.

95. Search the internet for freebies.

96. Compost to make your own fertilizer.

97.If your car has very little value, you probably only need liability insurance.

98. Cut the kids hair yourself.

99. Increase your insurance deductible.

100. Buy in bulk food warehouses.

101. If your income is low, contact utility companies about reduced rates.

Site where I found the list.