5 Time Consuming Things That Don’t Really Save You Money

Everybody loves to find new ways to save. After all, it’s quite thrilling to know you did something productive to save some money. And plus, every little bit counts when you’re trying to build your savings. But could your money saving habits actually be hurting you? Despite the best intentions, many people are actually doing things all wrong. Yes, certain habits might save you some money, but it can cost you quite a bit of time too. Spending your time to save a few dollars isn’t always worth it. Here are five instances when spending extra time doesn’t actually save you money:

Always Buying Used

There are many times when buying used might actually be a good idea. For instance, buying a used car can save you a lot of money. You can find plenty of used cars in like-new condition at a heavily discounted price. On the other hand, many other items should not be bought second hand. For example, you shouldn’t buy used car seats or tires for safety reasons. So how do you know which items to buy used? You need to research, and that can take a ton of time. It’s a balancing act, but sometimes waiting for a sale and buying new makes more sense.

Stalking the Sale Section

Who doesn’t love a good sale? Sometimes, you walk by and find the best things just sitting in a sale section waiting to be bought. But other times, it’s not so easy. Do you always gravitate to the sale aisle once you walk into a store, only to spend a considerable amount of time rummaging through a pile of things and not find anything useful? And worse, you end up leaving with one or more items you never really needed? Break the habit. Just because something is on sale doesn’t mean you need to buy it.

DIY Projects

It’s awesome if you have the gift of being handy and crafty, but not everyone is a DIYer. If you’re not comfortable making something on your own, you don’t have to make an attempt unless you find it enjoyable to give the job a try. It’s perfectly okay to buy something at the store already made. This is especially true for items you plan on using for a long time like furniture. In the long run, it might be worth it to spend a little more now. Not only will you save yourself some frustration and time, but your furniture will likely last longer and look better from the beginning.

Not Using a Credit Card

Having an “all cash” system is definitely beneficial for those who can’t control their credit card spending. However, using credit cards to pay can definitely be beneficial too. First, you don’t have to spend extra time counting change. Second, you can get reward points and cash back when using your card, which is like getting a discount on every purchase. Third, it’s actually easier to track your spending with a card, helping those who are disciplined and willing – improve long term spending habits.

Waiting in Line for a Deal

If you waited in line for Black Friday deals this year, you weren’t the only one. But is it really worth it? It’s up to you to weigh the pros and cons for yourself, but spending hours waiting in line is definitely not time well spent. Plus, most online retailers offer huge discounts and promotions this time of year too. If you shop online you can avoid the long lines and still earn great seasonal discounts without ever having to leave the house. You just have to do a little research and price comparison shopping first.

Article Source: Connie Mei for Moneyning.com

4 Ways to Save on Your Thanksgiving Feast

The countdown to Thanksgiving has begun. We all look forward to preparing a great meal for friends and family, but the costs (in both time and money) – can sometimes be hard to digest.

If you are hosting this year’s feast, here are few ways to keep the financial and emotional stress to a minimum.

Make a plan: Decide on your menu early. List all the ingredients you need and start looking for deals. When it comes to food shopping, the earlier the better. Many stores have already started their holiday season specials, so keep an eye out for coupons and discounts. Break up the Turkey Day shopping list and pick up a few items during your regular supermarket runs. Speaking of turkey, it’s time to get your pre-orders in. Spare yourself the stress of hunting down a turkey at the last minute by reserving a frozen turkey now. If you’re feeding a crowd, don’t limit yourself to just your local grocery store. Membership warehouses like Costco, Sam’s Club, and BJ’s are great places to find deals on bulk wine, beer and other drinks, as well as produce, frozen items, and desserts.

Buy the right size turkey: According to the Natural Resource Defense Council, about 204 million pounds of turkey, worth a total of $293 million, is tossed in the trash each year. The general rule of thumb to figure out how much turkey you need is 1 to 1 ½ pounds of turkey per person. Don’t worry, you’ll still have leftovers.

Sharing is caring: Who says you have to do all the cooking? Maybe this is the year you go potluck. As the host, you can provide the main meat dishes like turkey, ham, lasagna, or whatever your family traditions include. Then, ask your guests to each bring a side dish, dessert, or a bottle of their favorite beverage to complete the spread. But be sure to confirm what each person is bringing, or you may end up with five green bean casseroles.

Outsource the meal: Do you want to host Thanksgiving dinner but you’re not up to cooking this year? Check out mail-order meal kits. Some consider it the best of both worlds. It’s still a home cooked meal, but the menu and ingredients are all delivered right to your door. If you prefer to have someone else do all of the cooking, start scoping out local restaurants and grocery stores for Thanksgiving Day catering deals. You will likely spend more money than going the DIY route, but the savings in time and stress may be worth it. The most important thing this time of year, is to enjoy the holiday season and spend time with loved ones.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Article Source: Myriam DiGiovanni for Financialfeed.com

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