I regularly preach that everyone should use their loyalty cards, clip coupons, and shop all the sales in order to save their hard-earned bucks. You don’t have to become an extreme couponer or spend countless hours sifting through circulars, but if you pay attention and give it a bit of forethought, you can save a bundle when you shop. I thought today I might brag a little bit about my successes while doing some routine shopping errands with my wife. I hope you will pick up the vibe here when I show you how with very little effort, I was able to save nearly 80% on my purchases, and keep $171.07 in my pocket!
The first thing we did was to make a list of stores where we planned to shop, and what route to take that would be most efficient in terms of saving time and gas money. First we’d head to the gas station to fill up, then a stop at Casual Male to use my free birthday money, next a trip over to Lane Bryant for my wife to use her bonus coupons and free rewards dollars, a quick stop at Harmon Discount for some health and beauty items, and finally a stop at the supermarket to get some advertised bargain OJ. Now, let me show you our savings! Continue reading
Poems, songs, and proverbs have been written about time over the centuries. We talk about time every day, whether we are “saving” it, “spending” it, being “on time”, having “time off” or measuring it in some other way. After all is said and done, time is the only thing we all share and we never know exactly how much of it we will have in the end. The very last thing we should do is waste our time. It’s that important and precious, isn’t it?
In this blog I have written about some “time savers” over the past year or so. Today, I want to talk about the importance of time in a few of the ways that affect you, your family, and your finances. Continue reading
I know that I post most all the time about saving your money and scrimping each day to accumulate wealth and financial health and yada, yada, yada. But if truth be told, I do have some flaws in my game and yes, I do enjoy a bit of frivolous fun and entertainment that may actually sound as if I’m willing to throw some good money away.
Well, not exactly. I believe if I’m pretty careful, and I give it some serious thought and restraint, that every once in a while I can “entertain” the thought of going to a casino and having some fun without blowing my finances and risking my future! In fact, I can sometimes turn that occasion into a free trip with no expenses and even come home ahead. Although not a certainty, the opportunity to get “comped” is a tough one to pass up and every so often it works out that way.
Getting comped, for those of you not familiar, is receiving free credits to gamble (slot dollars or table play), free meals, free hotel rooms, free entertainment, free gifts, and/or free parking all because you have spent a period of time gambling in the casino. Continue reading
Here where I live in New Jersey, we have the highest real estate taxes in the United States (and probably the universe as well!) with a whopping average of $3,971 per year. Now that we’re closing in on a new fiscal year in my town, and my first quarterly tax payment is due on August 1st, I am reminded again that many of us simply accept the tax evaluations we receive from our local assessor and pay up without really knowing what can be done. In fact, if there has been some kind of error made or even if you just need a further explanation as to how the assessment was calculated, there’s a lot you can do.
It matters not whether you pay your taxes through an escrow account (which I don’t recommend if you have that choice) or you do as I do and pay them directly to your local office, you still have the right to challenge your assessment and you may in fact have good reasons to do exactly that! Continue reading
It’s July and Americans are getting ready to celebrate Independence Day on July 4th! It’s a day with fireworks, great food, and gathering your loved ones together to appreciate all the good things we have here in the US and pay homage to it. Despite the headlines, we still know that this is the land of opportunity and we feel lucky to be a part of it. And so we celebrate our country’s independence. But have you ever thought about celebrating your financial independence day?
Financial independence (or FI as it’s known) isn’t a dollar amount you accumulate but rather a date that you have or will set for your financial freedom. Most of us think of it as a retirement date, simply because it will take some time to reach the goals for your independence. For some people it can come early in life, just ask Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg. But for the rest of us, it’s a longer term goal and we get to it with good plans and habits. It’s what we want and look forward to, isn’t it? So let’s plan it right now: your financial independence day can come before retirement! Continue reading
A few weeks ago, in my roadmap to happiness, I mentioned knowing what is enough for you. In our consumer society, we always seem to want more and have a difficult time “settling” for what we already have. But having gratitude that we have enough—enough to eat, a place to live, health care when we need it, family and friends—can make us rich beyond our wildest dreams.
I was reminded of this wealth during the past few days. My wife Suzanne volunteers at a food bank, and the clients there don’t always have enough. It is difficult to see people struggling for basic needs. Thankfully the food bank is able to provide them with a considerable amount of food. The donations they receive provide not only canned and boxed goods, but fresh bread, dairy, and produce as well as frozen meats. Of course when you have perishable goods, it can be a challenge to manage the inventory with the demand before they spoil. And that is why last week we received the unexpected abundance of a case of zucchini, several pounds of carrots, and a case of ripe pears. Continue reading
In this day and age, perhaps more than ever, spending your money wisely is essential to keeping you and your family financially healthy. If you’re like me, you probably plan a budget and think about your big purchases long and hard before you spend any hard-earned money. You probably don’t think you waste your money, but sometimes our everyday habits leak money without our even realizing it.
Are you wasting money? Take a look at this list to figure out what ways your money may be disappearing right out of your pocket. Continue reading
Maybe you’re in your twenties and you’ve been out and about enjoying life. You socialize with your friends most nights and you finally got that apartment you always wanted even though it cost just a little more than you wanted to pay. You have a job, but it’s not the one you really wanted. It’s a paycheck and some experience, but you really want something better. And now this…you realize that you just can’t pay all your expenses each month and you’re in big trouble! Trust me on this: you’re not alone. Many young people (and even not so young people) start out with the idea that everything will just fall into place once they’re on their own. They’re all about the fun of independence, their first apartment and job, and what seems to be a great adventure with sunshine and happiness ahead. But, the reality is you never had to manage your own money before. Mom and Dad probably helped you quite a bit and if a shortfall ever arose, well they put a bandaid on it with a loan or a gift. There’s nothing to be ashamed of here. It’s part of growing up and now that you are an adult, you need to figure it out on your own!
So you can’t pay your bills…what can you do? Continue reading
After 40+ years of working in the retail world, and even more years as an astute shopper, I think I know that the intention of almost every retail establishment is very clear. Their goals are very simple. They want to make a profit (yes, it’s not a dirty word!) and to make you a happy, satisfied customer so that you will return again and tell your friends to do the same. There are “rules” to be followed in many cases (they’re also known as consumer protection laws), but mostly it’s a common sense approach to resolving issues and shopping mistakes.
As upfront as that sounds, things do occur that can prevent such simple goals from being achieved. What happens in reality often leaves a bad taste in the shopper’s mouth and prevents the goal of mutual satisfaction from occurring. Why? Well again, it’s not complicated. Sometimes an honest mistake is made by a store and its employees. Other times, it’s the chain of command and the retail staff feels the need to protect the store from being taken advantage of by customers (and that does happen sometimes), which can lead to tension and customers leaving unhappy. Here are some real life situations I’ve experienced and what I did to resolve them from both sides of the shopping transaction. Continue reading
Now that summer is upon us, and the days are getting warmer and warmer, the air conditioning is already starting to crank up. That’s why it’s that time again to look at ways to save money off your monthly utility bills.
I know saving on energy costs isn’t the sexiest money saving technique, but it can never be a bad idea to remind us all that we spend an ever-increasing amount on our utilities and appliances that “burn” our dollars almost constantly. In addition, saving energy will help in saving our planet by using less, polluting less, and keeping our own personal carbon footprint on the smaller side. That’s important to me and my personal philosophy to do so for the benefit of future generations. Continue reading