Buying New Stuff and When to Spend

Sometimes, it’s just nice to buy new stuff. But when will we get the best deals? Here’s a look at some common purchases and the best times to buy them.

TVs: It seems like a new TV is on the wish list every couple of years, and there’s no time better to make that purchase than the holiday shopping season. Your best chance would be a Black Friday sale, but decent deals usually run throughout November.

Furniture: New furniture is typically debuted in February and August, which makes January and July the best times to get a deal. Stores need room on the showroom floors, and you can take advantage of this need by helping them make some room.

Appliances: As the holidays approach, stores are eager to get old models out of the way to clear space for new arrivals. Take advantage of these savings and you get yourself some new appliances in September and October, just in time for Thanksgiving and the holidays.

Carpet: If you’re looking to outfit your home a with a new dance floor, the best time to do that is after the holiday season, usually mid-December until the end of January. Just make sure you don’t wait too late. Once the middle of February rolls around, tax returns start arriving and the sales cease.

Mattresses: As spring rolls around, the mattress industry uses Memorial Day weekend as their big push to clear out merchandise. Most holiday weekends will provide a deal, but Memorial Day weekend is the usually the best for your wallet.

A new car: So you’re tired of that old ride, huh? Sometimes you need a new car, sometimes you just want one. It’s fine to start looking – but you may want to wait until late summer to pull your wallet out. As dealerships start rolling out new models, it’s a great time to buy something from the previous year’s release. It also doesn’t hurt to shop on a less busy weekday near the end of the month to help salesmen pad their quotas.

A new home: If you’re buying a new home, you’ll want to look in the fall and winter. This is when you’ll find your best deals, especially in October, before the end of the year. Nothing would make a seller happier than unloading that property in time for the holidays.

Article Source: John Pettit for CUInsight.com

3 Tricks to Save Money for the Holidays

If the holidays have crept up on you, then you probably haven’t started your decorating or shopping yet. If you’re in need of a few extra bucks for the holidays, here are three easy tricks to cut back for the rest of the year.

Cash only: We’re living in the world of Apple Pay and Venmo, which makes spending money easier than ever. If you’re not the cash type, just remember that it feels a lot more personal (and sad) every time you complete a transaction with paper money. It’s enough to make you second guess handing over your cash.

Bundle up: If you want to save a few bucks the “very easy” way, turn down your thermostat. It’s getting colder, but it’s an easy fix and it will save you money. Grab a blanket and some wool socks. Having a few extra bucks to spend will be satisfying when you get ready to buy your niece that karaoke machine she’s been wanting.

Keep tabs on yourself: Every single time you make a purchase, write it down. By physically jotting down every dollar you spend, you’ll quickly realize just how much money you spend on the “must-haves” in your life. This may be just the wake-up call you need to start cutting back on some of the not-so-necessary things you regularly purchase.

Article Source: John Pettit for CUInsight.com

5 Ways to Entertain Yourself Without Breaking the Bank

Look for discounts: Some local Regal Cinemas have a value day – does yours? Find out when your local Value Day is here. Don’t have a Regal around? Look for a coupon code here.

Head to the library: Books are free to check out (as long as your return them on time) and there’s no better price than $0. Find something exciting to read and your weekend is planned. Don’t feel like reading? Check out your library’s DVD section and watch one of those blockbusters you never got around to seeing.

Volunteer: When was the last time you spent your weekend doing something for someone else? Head down to the local food bank or find out if Habitat for Humanity is doing anything nearby. Not only will you feel good when you’re done volunteering your Saturday, but you may pick up some skills that you can use in your own home.

Find free events: Somewhere in your town there’s something free to do. Grab a newspaper or check the window at your local coffee shop. And don’t forget to check out our Monthly Things to Do on a Budget in Monmouth and Ocean Counties blog posts!

Go visit Mother Nature: Hike a nature trail, head to the mountains, or throw a worm in a pond and catch a fish. These are relatively cheap (if not free) options. Don’t know where to go hike? Check out Recreation.gov.

Article Source: John Pettit for CUInsight.com

3 Ways to Save During Football Season

While awesome, football season can also be expensive. If you’re planning on having big football weekends for the next few weeks, you’ll need to make sure you’re budgeting for all the money you’re going to spend. Here are 3 ways you can save this football season.

Raise some cash: If you’re going to spend a lot of money this football season, try figuring out a way to raise some extra dough to fund your fun. Having a yard sale could be a great way to raise some cash. Have a bike or some free weights you don’t use much anymore? Throw it up on EBay or Craigslist and turn it into some ribs and chicken for the game.

Do it right or don’t do it: We all love the big games, especially when our team is involved. When those weekends roll around, do it big! If you’re throwing a party, grill it up and stock up on beverages. Having a big event is always fun. If you plan on attending the game, plan out an exciting tailgate and do it right. When your team is involved in a lopsided matchup, keep it more low-key.

Split your tickets up: Feel the need to be at the stadium a lot this season? Try splitting those season tickets with a friend. You can go to games together or divide the games and take other friends and family. This way, you’ll each get to see 3 or 4 games for a decent price. You can even sell your tickets for one of the bigger games, avoid getting stuck in the crazy traffic, and maybe even fund the rest of the season.

Article Source: John Pettit for CUInsight.com

4 Ideas for “Me Time” Under $25

Whether or not you’re a parent, it’s important you take time out of your busy schedule to take care of yourself once in awhile. Parents often call this “me” time and although some may not want to admit it, everyone needs a little time to themselves for rest and relaxation. Here are four budget-friendly tips for getting that much needed “me” time for under $25.

Pick out a Pinterest project.

Whether it’s a new recipe, a home décor idea, or a creative craft, go back to your Pinterest boards and tackle that project you’ve been longing to get to. Having a small project to do on your own, will get you feeling creative and also productive.

Have your car cleaned.

Sometimes having someone do your chores makes all the difference in the world. Cleaning out your car is not something most of us look forward to, so do some research and find auto-detailing shops in your area on the cheap. In most cases, you can usually get a great interior and exterior wash for around $20. Check out Groupon for deals near where you live or work.

Take a nap.

Who doesn’t love a good nap? Many of us are lucky if this is ever an option. On the next weekend that rolls around, make it part of your day, even if it’s just 30 minutes. If you have children – arrange in advance for them to be looked after. Just getting that extra time in to rest can really help recharge your batteries, even if you just lie down and don’t go all the way to sleep.

Go out for a solo coffee date.

Those fancy coffees can really put a dent in your budget, but grabbing one every so often can be a nice treat. Make a plan to hit up your neighborhood coffee shop with a good book or magazine and sit and enjoy your favorite beverage. The coffee will give you an energy boost and the alone time will help you feel happy and rejuvenated.

Article Source: Wendy Bignon for CUInsight.com

 

3 Ways to Save on Back-to-School Basics

It’s hard to believe, but it’s time for kids to start heading back to school. Back-to-school season means shopping for new supplies and whether it’s a backpack, a lunch box, or a new wardrobe, it can be a pricey time for parents. Bankrate has reported that on average, parents spend up to $670 for one child on back-to-school gear. Here are 3 ways you can save on your school shopping, while making sure your kids have everything they need.

Clean out the closets.
The key to not overspending is figuring out exactly what your children need, and not just what they want. Take a detailed inventory of what they have, what is in good condition, and what still fits. Then, you will know exactly what you need to purchase when you hit the stores. Although it may be fun for your kids to pick out a new backpack, if last year’s bag works, tell them the money can be used on something else that they actually need.

Buy in bulk.
Do your children have a favorite lunch item or snack? If so, head to the nearest warehouse store and buy these goodies in bulk. Whether it’s goldfish or peanut butter, you’ll be glad to have enough when making their meals this school year. Also, if you have multiple children, these stores are an excellent option for stocking up on supplies for every kid.

Check out consignment stores, clip coupons.
Many local consignment shops have great name-brand items at reasonable prices. Back-to-school season is a popular time for them as well, so hit up the secondhand shop to see what new inventory they’ve gotten in. Additionally, pay attention to sales and coupons in store circulars. Even small savings can help in the long run when you’re trying to stay on budget while buying all your children’s new school gear.

Want to earn cash back on all your back to school purchases this year? Apply for a Visa Signature Credit Card from First Financial! You’ll earn 1% cash back, no restrictions.*

*A First Financial membership is required to obtain a Visa® Signature Credit Card. A $5 deposit in a base savings account is required for credit union membership prior to opening any other account/loan. APR varies from 13.9% to 18% for the Visa Signature Card when you open your account based on your credit worthiness. This APR is for purchases, balance transfers, and cash advances and will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate. Subject to credit approval. Rates quoted assume excellent borrower credit history. Your actual APR may vary based on your state of residence, approved loan amount, applicable discounts and your credit history. No Annual Fees. Other fees that apply: Cash advance fee of 1% of advance ($5 minimum and $25 maximum), Late Payment Fee of up to $25, Foreign Transaction Fee of 1% plus foreign exchange rate of transaction amount, $5 Card Replacement Fee, and Returned Payment Fee of up to $25. No late fee will be charged if payment is received within 10 days from the payment due date. Visa Signature Card Cash Back: Your First Financial Visa® Signature Credit Card will earn cash back based on your eligible purchase transactions. The cash back will be applied to your current credit card balance on a quarterly basis and be shown cumulatively on your billing statement. Unless you are participating in a limited time promotional offer, you will earn 1% cash back based upon eligible purchases each quarter.

Article Source: Wendy Bignon for CUInsight.com