3 Money Saving Birthday Party Tips

 

Here are three tips on how you can spend less time and money hosting a party, and more time enjoying your child’s special day.

Reserve a shelter at a city park

Depending upon where you live and the time of year, a community park might be the best venue for your party. Not only will the children enjoy a day at a playground in fresh air and sunshine, you won’t have to pay to replace items broken by your little guests or for someone to shampoo red cake frosting out of your carpet.

In some towns you can rent a covered shelter with five large tables for around $35 for the entire day. That’s much cheaper than a trampoline park or Chuck E. Cheese, isn’t it? And when the party is over, toss the decorations and paper plates right into the park’s trash cans.

Serve donuts

Who doesn’t love donuts? They’re inexpensive, come in a variety of flavors, and they’re delicious. There is most likely a local donut shop nearby, with colorful donuts that appeal to kids and created a Pinterest-worthy display for your treats table.

Ditch the goodie bags

Goodie bags are not good for parents who are short on cash and time. Instead of goodie bags, buy a couple of bags of latex or Mylar balloons and a small helium tank. Before the party, fill the balloons and use them as decorations. The kids are absolutely thrilled to learn that they get to take one or two home at the end of the party … much more thrilled than they would be with a bag full of items they’ll play with for 10 seconds. The parents are also relieved of goodie bag clutter. Everybody wins!

Article Source: Heather Anderson for CUInsight.com

5 Things You Should Buy at Costco

About 1 in 5 products sold at Costco are the store’s Kirkland brand. According to Consumer Reports, some Kirkland products rate higher than premium brands. Here are four highly-rated Kirkland products and one other item you should be buying from Costco.

Bacon

Consumer Reports tested regular and thick-sliced uncooked bacon, precooked bacon and turkey bacon. Of all types and brands tested, only Kirkland Signature bacon was rated excellent. “It crisped up nicely and consistently and had balanced fat and meat flavors, complemented by wood smoke and a taste of sweetness,” the report said.

Mayonnaise

After you’ve stocked up on bacon, head over to the condiment aisle to pick up some mayo to make BLTs. Kirkland’s Signature Real Mayonnaise rated just as good as Hellmann’s in Consumer Reports’ blind taste tests. And, it costs 60% less.

Car batteries

Kirkland’s Signature 12866 battery, which is suitable for large Ford or Mercury cars, trucks or SUVs, aced nearly every Consumer Reports test. The $85 dollar battery almost beat out the top rated battery from Interstate, which costs $280. Consumer Reports rated all car batteries and said many Kirkland batteries performed very well in its tests.

Ice Cream

Kirkland Signature Super Premium Vanilla ice cream consistently rates 5 out of 5 stars, and Consumer Reports tasters called it “full and dense with a big dairy flavor and complex vanilla-extract flavor.” The Costco brand beat out premium brands like Breyers and Baskin Robbins, and because it’s typically sold in packages of two half-gallon containers, it’s much less expensive than Ben & Jerry’s – about 30 cents per serving, compared to $1 per serving for Ben & Jerry’s.

Eye glasses

Costco topped Consumer Report’s eyeglass store ratings, which was based on a survey of nearly 20,000 subscribers. Costco shoppers paid less for frames and lenses than those who bought their glasses from independent retailers, private physicians or specialty eyeglass stores like LensCrafters or Pearle Vision. The median Costco price for a pair of glasses was $186, compared to about $300 elsewhere.

The moral of the story, it might be time to think about getting that Costco membership. Or if you already have one, be sure to check out these products!

Article Source: Heather Anderson for CUInsight.com

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