Despite the calendar, this morning as I write this post, we still haven’t seen the temperatures make us feel like summer is just around the corner. In fact, “Princess” (our beautiful hanging basket of purple petunias…yes, we name our plants) slept last night in the house to avoid us having to put a winter sweater on her to keep her warm!
But just as light follows darkness, summer is going to arrive soon and for us, Memorial Day weekend is the kickoff to those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer! And what says summer more than a good old fashioned barbecue? Continue reading
We’ve all probably used the phrase “money doesn’t grow on trees” a time or two haven’t we? But as funny as it may seem, it kind of does in the form of food we shop for! Even though you can find food growing all around you on farms and orchards, even in densely populated places like New Jersey where we live, rarely if ever do we run out to go pick our own fruits and veggies or cut corn cobs or gather eggs from the chicken coops (or if you do, kudos to you for living off the land the way our ancestors did for thousands of years).
We live in an age that provides the convenience of the neighborhood supermarket, or supercenter as many are frequently called. It’s been this way for quite a while now, really booming with the development and growth of suburbia after World War II and has continued to grow and develop and morph into the supermarkets that we know and use every week today to feed our families. Continue reading
Being a frugal shopper can sometimes make you appear to be cheap. It’s especially so in certain key areas of entertaining your family and friends. Like, if you get those tickets for the big sports event and you’re way up in the rafters where there’s just the rumor of a game. Or you make a hot dinner date reservation and it’s for the “early bird” at 4:30 pm. The same can seem to hold true when it comes to buying wine for a special occasion or just for relaxing around the house. Buying a less expensive bottle (aka cheaper) can make you look or feel like you’re cutting corners or even serving something weird right? Nonsense I say. Despite not being a wine expert, I have tasted and shopped for my fair share over the years and have worked with retailers who sell wine from all over the world. Having done that I have formed some very firm opinions on good cheap wines.
Back in the 1800’s, America had a gold rush out in California. You’ve read about it in all the history books and you know it was mass hysteria back in those days as people packed up their belongings and headed west. It was exciting but a real hardship to get out there, get settled, and have the determination and strength to stake your claim. But it was worth it when you hit the main line and cashed out!
Today in 2016 there’s no striking gold out in California, but have you considered the gold you might find right inside your own home? In America today, we’re wasting tons of money, so much so that you can compare stopping that with discovering gold inside the 4 walls where you reside. We all are guilty of wasting our money and so here’s a short list on how you can strike gold starting right now by decluttering your home. Continue reading
We’re all aware of the decreases in gasoline prices over the past year, so much so that the average American family saved about $700 last year compared with the previous year. There are some reasons to rejoice about the decline of the price of oil and gas but also some reasons to fear it and its reflection on the current state of the world’s economies. That, however, is a subject for another post.
Today’s subject is a warning of sorts. It’s meant to tell you about price increases you can expect this year on several main fronts that can affect you and your money. Costs in these four categories will definitely spike in 2016 and being prepared for them may soften the blow. Continue reading
When I started blogging 20 months ago, I spent a lot of my efforts writing about how to save money on groceries. If you look through some of those posts, you see a lot of information in great detail that comes from my experiences and inside knowledge of working with and at supermarkets for many years. But a funny thing happened to me recently. I found I had fallen into a few bad habits about food shopping because I just wasn’t paying strict attention to it as I should. I know prices have gone up this year (despite what the government has to say about inflation), but how much? The spending results really surprised me when I sat down and analyzed what I was doing and spending each month, and alarm bells went off in my head immediately.
Last year, my wife and I spent about 20% more on our grocery budget than we have ever done in any year during our 10 year marriage. That breaks down to spending about $100 a week last year versus an average of about $80 a week in previous years. Do the math and that’s over $1,000 extra dollars spent that could have been saved or used for something else. Now I know that if you have a family full of growing kids you’re probably thinking, “$100 a week…what’s he talking about?” But simply put, we got out of the habits we previously practiced by being a bit cavalier and somewhat lazy. Continue reading
It’s getting close to the end of the year, and that usually means it’s party time again! Whether it’s a Christmas, Chanukah, Yule, or Kwanzaa celebration, or the big New Year’s bash, we’ll all probably be attending or planning some kind of special activity at work or at home with family, friends, and colleagues during the next few weeks. If hosting a party is in your plans, you may be concerned about your budget. But you can save money hosting a holiday party! Here are some really great ideas to use that will make your party a hit, without breaking the bank!
Writing about saving money is a feel-good way for me to share my knowledge with all of you. Since I’ve started, I’ve covered a number of ways that you can cut your grocery bill, home energy costs, shopping expenses and many more areas where we regularly spend our money. Some are smaller ways, and others help you to save big money, like shopping around for car insurance. But I wanted to share some other ideas with you. Each of them is different and if you make them into regular habits, you can save a substantial amount.
Bold Ways to Save Big Money
1. Give Up Your Car
The cost of a car is way expensive. You may have monthly payments in the hundreds, car insurance costs through the roof (here in NJ, it’s the highest in the country), maintenance and gasoline, plus license and registration fees. Continue reading
As a savvy consumer, you probably do some research before you spend your hard-earned money, whether it’s for a night out at a fine restaurant, a hotel stay as part of a leisurely vacation, or purchasing goods such as electronics or clothing. How often have you spent those dollars only to find out that the restaurant or hotel wasn’t quite what you were expecting? How much time have you spent exploring your plans and checking out online user reviews? Did you trust what you read? That’s the question I’m asking today and what I have learned about online user reviews can help you wade through some of the clutter and get to the real story.
There have been many articles written and surveys taken about the reliability of the reviews we see online for various services like hotels, restaurants, contractors, and of course, products. Some are positive and others are negative. According to a survey done by BrightLocal, the results for 2015 show that 80% of consumers trust reviews as much as personal recommendations, but 72% will do so only if certain criteria are met, with 31% needing to believe the review is authentic. Continue reading
We’d all like to think we know about most of the rules regarding our rights as consumers. If you’re old enough to know the name Ralph Nader (from before his political career), you can probably remember that he was very involved in protecting consumer rights and getting laws passed and policies changed that made shopping more consumer-friendly. The author of the book, Unsafe at Any Speed, he was particularly active with automobile safety and was largely responsible for the seat belt requirements in autos and their importance to safety protection regulations.
In a way, “Nader-isms” (if I can coin a word) have been responsible for a lot of things we do and think we know as consumers in all aspects of our shopping. I’ve spent 40+ years in retail stores and retail management, so I can tell you with authority that stores are now better than ever at attempting to satisfy and protect consumers. After all, happy customers are good for the bottom line.
But there are still myths out there that make us wary and distrustful. In a few cases, they may be justified. But you should know the myths from the reality. Continue reading