14 Ways to Save on Your Back to School Shopping (Plus Free College Checklist)

I have been writing about back to school shopping for years now around this time of the summer and it is a subject that about a gazillion other bloggers chime in on too, so it must be a biggie! The challenge or chore of it all is a headache for some and a burden for others, but it doesn’t have to be that way if you choose to follow a bit of advice. Here is my very best effort at making the experience not only a money saving one, but as stress free and even as much fun as possible.

If you have kids, back to school shopping is a must. But spending a ton on it isn't. Here are 14 ways to stretch your dollar further for back to school.

If your child is in his or her middle school years, you are probably a real veteran at BTS shopping and perhaps you think you have this routine “knocked” and you’re all set. But, and it’s a pretty big but, every year there are new players and rules to consider so it can’t hurt to review all of it before you venture out to actually do it! Plus, if your child is off to college for the first time, it’s on a whole different level.
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The Best Savings at 4th of July Sales and Beyond

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To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven. – Ecclesiastes 3:1

You don’t need to be a Bible student to know that when it comes to shopping, seasonality is a big factor in the art of saving money and finding the very best deals. 4th of July sales are the perfect example of that situation and offer some of the best opportunities if you know what to look for and you have a real need! You already know that buying only based on your wants isn’t always a good move and buying a “bargain” that you might never actually use is downright foolish!

If you're planning to hit the 4th of July sales, or shop throughout the month of July, you'll need to know what's "hot" and what's "not" in summer savings.

But, if your Independence Day plans include hitting up the malls or shopping online, get ready for what can be some of the best sales and celebrations of the year. Smartening up on what to buy (and not to buy) during the July and the summer sales and clearances will make the summer more fun and the outdoor party season much more enjoyable for you and your family! Continue reading

What Dad Really Wants for Father’s Day

Being a dad has been the biggest responsibility I have ever had. After all, bringing a new life into the world and literally trying your best to help make that person the best kind of person they can be and fulfill their life’s real potential doesn’t weigh easy on anyone.

I sometimes get a bit misty eyed when I think about my two kids and I always miss seeing them when they aren’t right here with me. I think we all feel that way because after all they are so very important to us.

Father's Day is coming on June 17th. I'll share with you the secret of what Dad really wants for his special day and you won't need to spend the big bucks.

So a couple of years ago, I wrote a post about my thoughts on Father’s Day and it really came from my heart. I think the message in it says what every dad (and mom too) thinks and feels about a day like this. Even though the environment we live in makes us feel like honoring our dads and moms is all about buying gifts and making a big deal out of just the one single day a year, I can tell you from personal experience, that’s not what dads (and moms) really want from their kids. Continue reading

Surprise! You’d Never Expect These Online Bargains

Please note this post contains affiliate links which help to fund this blog at no cost to you. Thanks for your support!

I do love a deal. There, I said it, but by now it’s really not a secret, is it? If you are like me, a typical “bargain hunting” shopper, you probably have signed up for emails from some of your favorite online retailers like Staples, Bed Bath & Beyond, Kohl’s, and Walmart, etc. They are constantly sending offers like coupons and discounts on their latest promotions that you probably love just like I do. It can be a great way to find some online bargains, so long as you only use them when you need them.

When searching for online bargains, you may think you know where to look. But surprise!...you might just find the best deals in some unexpected places.Logically you think if you need clothes, check out the deals at Kohl’s, copy paper then look at Staples, and new cookware or a bathroom scale, Bed Bath & Beyond, right? But did you know the magical part of buying and selling online is that all of these retailers sell stuff you’d never guess they have and sometimes they are shockingly good deals! You’d never expect to get these bargains at these sites and that’s why today I am sharing with you some really surprising things that I have discovered! Continue reading

These 19 Retailers Have the Best Return Policies in The World

L.L. Bean has long been known for its lifetime return policy, which it ended just this past February. But don’t despair. The company is still offering an amazing policy that most people are pretty happy about! The store now offers a still-generous one-year window for returns.

When preparing to shop, it's important not only to compare prices, but also to check a retailer's return policy. You'll want to find a retailer who stands by their products in case something unforeseen happens. Here are 19 retailers with the best return policies.

 

L.L. Bean ended its legendary lifetime return policy to clamp down on customers who were taking advantage and using it to replace heavily worn products.

“Increasingly, a small, but growing number of customers have been interpreting our guarantee well beyond its original intent. Some view it as a lifetime product replacement program, expecting refunds for even heavily worn products used over many years,” the company wrote announcing the policy changes to customers.

I spent so many years (over 39!) in the retail environment that I can personally verify that some people out there do abuse return policies to the point that it has to be “built” into the retail price these days to cover for what stores must throw away that was returned for bogus reasons. Continue reading

So, Did Anything Good Happen to You This Week?

Once again it’s the start of a new week. It’s Sunday right now and for me at least it feels like it’s definitely an opportunity to start out fresh and clean and leave last week’s chaos behind us. I hope that my faith in that will be rewarded. It just seems that all that goes on such as the chaos in Washington, on Wall Street, and even just on Main Street right here in town leaps out at us all. But somewhere along the way I keep thinking that something good must be happening out there! Usually I ask that question in a different way. It’s usually, “Tell me something good that happened this week.” But what I really want to know is if anything good happened to you this week…your own personal good news.

Bad news and chaos seem to rule the headlines, but today I'm interested in good news. I'm sharing the story of my frugal shopping win, and I'd love to hear your good news of the week.

The good things seem to just come and go, often without being recognized and truly appreciated. We have to recognize the bad things because they are right in our faces and must be dealt with, but the good things just add quality to our lives in some simple way and sometimes we expect that to be part of the norm and we may even take them for granted. It’s only when life gets disrupted by the bad that we sit up and take notice. Continue reading

18 Money Saving Ideas for St. Frugaltine’s Day

I definitely love being in love! I am so fortunate that I have found true love on my second time around when I met and fell for Suzanne, my beautiful wife, back in 2005! Not only is she all that and a bag of chips (am I dating myself with that phrase?), but we share a mindset about personal finances and that crosses off the list any arguments we might have about money. That is a problem that many couples endure and it can really damage a relationship.

You know it's coming on February 14th, and now you need some Valentine's Day ideas that won't break the bank. We've got you covered with some money saving ways to show your love.

Having said that, we both enjoy celebrating Valentine’s Day each year but we do it on our own terms. So it’s kind of a challenge to come up with some new ways to have fun, share our love, and still remain fiscally solvent. Here’s a not so short list of money saving ideas that can make your Valentine’s a “St. Frugaltine’s Day” of fun and frolic! Continue reading

Why You Should Christmas Shop All Year Long

For today’s guest post on Christmas shopping all year long, please welcome back fellow blogger Anum Yoon.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year—unless you leave all your Christmas shopping until November and December. The long lines, the rush to get to the mall on Black Friday, the stampede to pick up this year’s hottest toy—it’s all part of the game, and it’s a game that can make you very, very tired.

Black Friday to Christmas Eve may be prime shopping time, but it's better for you & your wallet if you do your Christmas shopping all year long. Here's why.

What happens when you don’t put off your Christmas shopping until November? Does it matter? It actually does, and you’ll be a lot less likely to encounter the emotional dumpster fire that ignites as the clock steadily marches closer to Christmas. Not convinced? If you need more reasons than that alone to start shopping sooner, here are five more reasons to start picking up presents year-round. Continue reading

How “Bargain Brain” Can Tank Your Finances

Bargain hunting can save you money, and who doesn’t love a bargain? Of course, we all do. But for some people, looking for the next “great deal” becomes an addiction. The call of the clearance rack wins out over practical matters like common sense and whether you need or want what you found. You may not even have a place to put it. I’m almost positive you have some things hanging in your closet right now that still have the tags on them from way back when you got “that great bargain”.

If you're addicted to bargain hunting, you may have what is known as Bargain Brain. Endlessly shopping for bargains you don't need will ruin your finances.

 

Getting a “bargain” on something that you will never need or use is a complete waste of your time and money! Continue reading

Retail Tricks That Make You Spend More Money

Happy Halloween! Today’s a day for tricks and treats, but no one likes getting tricked by retailers who make you spend more money! I’ve spent most of my working life inside retail stores starting way back in 1972. That’s when I began a job as an assistant buyer at R.H. Macy’s, a real learning experience for me as to exactly how a retail business is run and how it makes lots of money. Some of that knowledge was valuable then and is still just as valuable today. There’s an old saying “the more things change the more they stay the same”, and that couldn’t be more true in the world of retail.

It may be difficult to go out shopping and not spend a lot of money, but these retail tricks are making it even harder. Here's what to look out for.

Retailers, marketers, sales professionals, and CEOs are determined to make you buy more than you planned when you shop. In addition, retailers have an arsenal of sales tactics that may seem silly, but serve as heavy-duty artillery when it comes to persuading you to part ways with your cash. Remember the phrase accredited to P.T. Barnum when he said “a sucker is born every minute”? That’s where the tricks come into play. Continue reading