How to Use a Credit Card Wisely

Credit, in the form of credit cards, is something most of us want, need, and use almost every week of our adult lives. Learning how to use a credit card wisely helps us to save money in the long run and avoid the trap of ongoing debt. Many of us use credit cards for convenience, so that we can avoid carrying cash in our pockets for purchases like groceries, gas, and household items. This makes sense when done with responsibility, thought, and keeping your budget foremost in your mind. Many advisors say to pay cash for everything and avoid credit cards entirely. I disagree. Credit is important to have and protect, and to learn to use wisely.

How to use a credit card wisely
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Check Receipts When You’re Checking Out

It’s so important to check receipts every time you check out. Why? It’s shopping day and you’ve diligently planned your meals, scanned the weekly ads, carefully checked prices, crafted your shopping list, clipped and printed coupons, and checked your budget. You arrive at the store (not hungry, of course), efficiently navigate the aisles, avoid impulse buys, and check out. But when you get home and unpack, you look over the receipt and wham! all your diligence is undone by an error on your receipt. It’s so aggravating. Who wants to bother wasting the gas and time to go back to the store?

check receipt

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Free Things to Do This Fall

Fall is in the air and there are plenty of free things to do to enjoy the season. When I was a child, I loved trick-or-treating in my homemade ghost costume (really an old sheet with some holes cut out). As an adult, I love the pennant races and the World Series. Whatever you love to do, there are lots of ways to do fun things for less or for no money at all.

Free Things to Do This Fall

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9 Alternatives to Traditional Supermarkets and 1 You Should Avoid

supermarkets

Looking for an alternative to your traditional supermarket?

Choosing where to grocery shop out of all the possible supermarkets and stores can a very personal decision. You need to balance many considerations such as price, quality, freshness, selection, and convenience. Whether you’re looking for a place to cherry pick the sales, find some special ingredients, or you’re ready to ditch your trusty old supermarket for something different, here are 9 alternatives to consider and 1 you should avoid. Continue reading

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce, the Easy Way

Homemade spaghetti sauce

The easy way to make a delicious meat sauce

Who doesn’t love a plate of pasta covered in a beautiful homemade spaghetti sauce? Buying sauce in the jar at the supermarket typically means a lot of added salt and often added sugar as well. And homemade just tastes better. This past week, Laurie over at The Frugal Farmer posted How to Make and Can Spaghetti Sauce which gave step-by-step instructions on preparing a delicious-sounding homemade sauce from fresh tomatoes and preserving it in jars. She makes it sound easy but if you’re anything like me, you might be a little intimidated by a 3-day cooking process and dealing with canning supplies. For those of us who want to take baby steps, I thought I’d share with you this recipe for meat sauce using canned tomato products and dried herbs, plus the convenience of freezing portions.

Where’s the meat in the meat sauce?

Most meat sauces in a jar at the supermarket are really just “meat-flavored”. This basically means that the meat and the sauce shook hands and went their separate ways. But with this sauce recipe (originally from my wife’s Aunt Julie), the meat and the sauce have a passionate love affair. If there’s too much meat, you can reduce the amount to suit your family or your budget. Plus, there are other ways to alter the recipe to your taste, and I’ve made a few notes below to that effect.

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How to Deal with Customer Service When You’re Dissatisfied

How to deal with customer service

When dealing with customer service, take a calm and friendly approach

When you’re a shopper, no matter what you’re shopping for, there will be times when you are dissatisfied and will need to know how to deal with customer service. Since I have had many years’ experience in the retail world, from department stores to specialty retail to grocery stores, I frequently am asked what to do when shopping and you’re not satisfied. There are practices that I advise, because remaining calm, honest, and professional will achieve results. Continue reading

Restaurant Savings: 11 Ways to Dine Out and Save

Dine out on a budget

Dine out on a budget

While shopping at the supermarket and cooking at home is the best way to keep your food costs low, we all know there are times when we just want (or need) to dine out, whether it’s at a fast food joint or a nice restaurant. Saving money while dining out can be a real challenge, but it is possible. Here are some easy ways to save: Continue reading

Supermarket Savings: 10 Do’s and Don’ts to Save Money on Groceries

Do's and don'ts to save money on groceries

Follow these do’s and don’ts for more savings

While good planning, and following that plan, is the key to saving money on groceries, there are still things you can do to limit your spending while you’re shopping at the store. Whether it’s avoiding the influence of the supermarket as they try to coax you into spending more, or simply asking for what you want, here are 10 do’s and don’ts to save while grocery shopping:

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Supermarket Savings: Your Grocery Budget – How to Make it and Stick to it

Grocery budget chart

Setting a budget goal for food will help you save money

Do you have a monthly grocery budget that’s working for you? Too many people head to the supermarket, start shopping and know that they are finished when their cart is “full”. Without a workable budget to guide your shopping, you’re probably spending more than you need every month with much of it going to waste.

Unfortunately, for lots of people the idea of budgeting is either scary (will I need to know spreadsheets?) or restrictive (I just want to buy what I want). It doesn’t have to be either one. A grocery budget is simply a goal to help you plan for what’s really important. You can treat it like a game where the object is to see how little you can spend while still providing nourishing and tasty meals and snacks for your family and the prize is putting that extra money toward another goal. Continue reading

Supermarket Savings: How to Buy Fresh Seafood

Fresh fish and seafood

Know when to buy fresh seafood and what to look for

A lot of people suggest buying from the local fish market, but you can get fresh seafood at the supermarket more conveniently and for less. We all know that eating fish is a part of healthy diet. It’s easy to prepare and readily available at your local supermarket. But it’s important to know what to look to get the best taste and insure your money is well spent.  How should it smell? Should it be shiny or matte? What should you look for if the fish is already wrapped and not on ice? Because it can be confusing, almost half of all Americans seldom eat fish at home! Here are my tips for buying fresh:

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