3 Easy Ways to Save Money this Fall

You probably spent a decent amount of money this summer on vacations and just having fun in general. Then you had to spend money on all kinds of things so your kids were ready to go back to school. The sad part? The holidays aren’t too far off. If you need a few easy ways to save money this fall, here are 3 ideas that may help you.

Keep your systems off: You’ve probably been keeping your house frosty during these hot summer months. Now that it’s starting to cool down slightly, it’s a good time to think about shutting it off before the cold weather arrives. If you can wait until closer to November to turn your heater on, you can probably save a few hundred dollars. That’ll come in handy on Black Friday!

Stop going out so much: In the summer, it’s fun to spend time and money doing fun things outdoors. Now that it’s cooling off, take advantage. Instead of dining out, break out that crock pot, make a big batch of chili, and enjoy a hot bowl on a cool evening. Haven’t been using that gym membership you bought back in January? Cancel it, and go for a run or a bike ride in the great outdoors. It’s finally cool enough that you won’t melt.

Unsubscribe: Is your inbox full of promotional emails? As the holidays will be right around the corner before you know it, it may be a good idea to unsubscribe to some unnecessary ones. Sure, you might need some gift ideas for family, but you also may be tempted to buy a few discounted items for yourself. If you need help with unsubscribes, check out Unroll.Me.

Preparing ahead now, will have you ready to go and saving a bit before the most expensive time of year hits shortly!

Article Source: John Pettit for CUinsight.com

3 Ways to Save Money and Simplify Your Life

We’re all busy, and life is pretty crazy. Juggling your personal life and a career can be quite stressful, and at times, very expensive. How often do you feel this way? If the answer is too often, it may be time to make a few changes. Here are three ways you can simplify your life and save money in the process.

Set it and forget it: Keeping up with all of your financial responsibilities can be a hassle and an unnecessary stress in your life. To make this process easier, create a budget, stick to it, and automate as many payments as you can. When you don’t have to think about bills and savings accounts, it’s a lot less stress in your life, plus you don’t have to worry about late fees and missed payments.

Stick to your household budget and learn how to create one with First Financial’s budgeting guide.

Get rid of your junk: After a long day, it’s nice to enjoy your home and all your “stuff.” But how much of that “stuff” are you really using? What’s important and what’s just clutter? You really think that kayak from college is going to ever be more than an artifact collecting dust? Getting rid of the clutter in your life can bring you peace and put a few extra dollars in your pocket. Have a garage sale, and donate whatever doesn’t sell to a local charity.

Downsize your life: Are you running yourself to death getting from Point A to Points B, C, and D? Slow down a little. Between baseball, soccer, cheerleading, and ballet, your family can get way too busy. Figure out what’s important and cut out the stuff that doesn’t really matter. Being on-the-go less means being at home more, relaxing, and spending less money on fast food and sporting goods.

Article Source: John Pettit for CUInsight.com

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