A Financial Education Event
     

Bargaining 101 – How to Quibble Respectfully

If you save money by paying less on consumer items, you could “earn” anywhere from $100 to $10,000 a year. It’s just a matter of learning how to negotiate on everything from shoes to salaries. James 4:2b says, “You have not because you ask not.” The key to asking is to learn how to bargain without embarrassing yourself, your friends or your family. Here are a few successful strategies to try:

• Compare –Furniture, phone plans, electronics, jewelry and appliances are all highly negotiable. Find your desired item on a search robot such as Froogle.com, MySimon.com, NexTag.com and eBay.com or in sale circulars from the Sunday paper. Then print out the price, take it into your store and ask them to match it. Some stores, such as Walmart, will automatically match competitor’s ads (even on food items).

Compensate – If the salesman cannot match the price, then ask for other freebies such as complimentary delivery, free accessories, or an extended warranty.

Continue – If the salesman grants extra perks, don’t stop there. After you’ve secured these, ask for the manager and ask her to match the competitor’s price.

• Counter – It never hurts to counter a price, if you ask for 20% off and they offer 10%, then counter with 15%. When it comes to salary negotiations, you shouldn’t accept the first offer. Most salaried professionals ask for 10% to 12% more than what they’re offered, and often settle for 7% to 8% more. If you did this with your first salary, it could add up to $500,000 by the time you are 60 years old!

• Consideration – Don’t limit the odds of success by asking for too much. The store has to make a profit. Small appliances are usually marked up 30%, while larger ones such as washing machines are marginalized by only 15%. However, most large furniture items and jewelry are increased by a whopping 100%!

Communication – Learn to say: “Is this your best price?” “Was this recently on sale and can I have the sale price?” “Do you think you could ask your manager, I’ll be happy to wait,” “Hmmm, this item is a little damaged (makeup on the collar, an already opened box, a ding or scratch) could it be marked down?” and last but not least, “Thank you, I’ll be back!”

Ellie Kay
America’s Family Financial Expert (R)

Spring Cleaning – Garage Sale Success

I’m going indoor skydiving next week with a coupon that I bought from Groupon for only $35. I’ll get two flights, a DVD and bragging rights. I look at life as an adventure—especially when it comes to stretching my dollars and finding creative ways to make and spend money. Sometimes we need to have the ultimate adventure—a garage sale! Paying a dime on the dollar for a product still in its original box is a not only a thrill—it’s eco friendly because no new resources are made to create that product. Not only do garage sales simplify your life by helping you de-clutter, but they also provide a way to keep more change in your pocket and teach your kids the value of a buck.
Here are my top ten tips to host a successful garage sale. If you follow them carefully, you’ll find yourself flying high—without the bungee cord!

 Collect – Throughout the month, throw stuff in a big box marked, “Garage Sale.” Not only will you relieve clutter, you’ll soon have enough diverse items to host a sale. Of course, you may have your husband keep taking things out of that box.

 Location –It’s great to buddy up with a friend whose house has a better location than yours, in order to catch the attention of drive-by traffic. Or, ask a neighbor (or two) on your block to host their own sales—you could get three times the garage sale traffic with combined sales.

 Advertise— When you create garage sale signs for the neighborhood, use brightly colored poster board and a good contrasting color. Keep the lettering brief and legible and tape some balloons on it. Go in with your neighbors on a small ad in your local paper, it will really help bring people to your sale.

 Pricing – If you put a price your product, you are more likely to sell it. Most people don’t want to keep asking, “How much for this?” Even with the item marked, there will be some who will barter with you on the price—but that’s to be expected. Begin pricing items weeks before the sale, placing them in a “finished” pile in your garage.

 Cash – Have at least $20 in coins, 50 one-dollar bills and 6 five dollar bills. Keep your money box in a safe location and never leave it unattended. Bring each $100 earned into your house for safekeeping.

 Checks – Never take a check from someone you do not know. This isn’t just a matter of trust, it’s one of responsibility. Most people know to bring cash.

 Hold – Never hold an item without a substantial non-refundable deposit. If you hold it for free, then the customer might not return and you’ve lost your opportunity to sell that item.

Marketing – Place furniture and bikes that will draw attention by the curb where people can see them. Try marketing ideas such as “buy three books/get three free.” It’s amazing how well this works—people respond to the word “free.”

 Clean –If an item looks newer because it’s clean, you’ll be able to get as much as 50% more for it. Run sturdy plastic toys through the dishwasher, spot clean the armchair, wash and hang clothes on a hanger, and polish wood furniture—it’s worth it!

 Expand – Let your kids get in on the action by selling lemonade on hot days or coffee and donuts on cool mornings. Let the kids go to the store with you to buy cups, donuts, napkins, lemonade and sugar. Be sure they understand how to make change and how to be courteous to customers. You’ll see the photo where one of my sons opened a “Cowboy Autograph” stand. Who knows? They may earn enough to fund their college education (or at least buy a new bike!)

Ellie Kay
America’s Family Financial Expert (R)

Frugal Living – The New Normal

In today’s economy—with the stock market looking more like a roller coaster than a steady climb, with gas prices hovering well above where they were in recent years, and with household expenses continuing to price families out of too-tight budgets—many families are looking for good ways to save money without injuring their lifestyles. I’ve put together a handful of quick tips that will pad your wallet without cutting corners.

One great way to save on everyday activities and outings is a coupon book.  Entertainment.com offers a coupon book that is available for 150 metro markets and costs between $25 and $45. Preview the coupon booklet for your area (or an area where you will vacation) to see if the coupons are ones you will use.  You’ll not only save on eating out, but you can also save on movie theaters, theme parks, dry cleaning, and local shopping.

  • Average advertised total book savings – $17,000
  • To only redeem 25% is annual savings of $4250
  • A mere 10% redemption savings is $1700 per year

Dining out is a necessity for some families with busy schedules or long commutes, and for some it’s a luxury reserved for special occasions. If you want to try out a new restaurant, but you don’t want to pay full price, you can go to Restaurant.com, a site that issues coupons and gift certificates for over 6,000 eateries around the country. Our family picks a spot and pays $10 for a $25 gift certificate—we save over 50% in the process!

  • Average restaurant bill for a family of four is $86
  • Family saves $43 x 52 weeks = $2236

Two absolute necessities for any family are Home Insurance and Auto Insurance. The average family can save a good deal of money with just a little homework and a short conversation with your insurance agent. For your home, you should raise your deductibles to at least 3% of the total value of the home and make sure to only insure the replacement value of the dwelling (usually 80% of the selling price of the home) because you’re insuring the home not the dirt.

  • This is an average homeowner’s savings of  $250 per year.

For auto insurance, make a phone call to ask for all the discounts that your company may offer. Some companies offer discounts that include: combining homeowners’ and auto policies with the same carrier, non-smoker discounts, good student rates, car alarm systems, storing the vehicle in a garage versus carport or street, rating the most expensive car with a stay-at-home (or for pleasure only) rating, being between the ages of 30 and 60, and discount for driver’s safety course certificate (taken to keep a ticket from appearing on the driving record.).

  • This could save the average two-car family with a youthful driver $900 per year.

One great place to save a few extra dollars that many families don’t consider is simple home updates. If you still have young children at home, you may want to wait to have your furniture recovered. By purchasing a quality slipcover for $65 instead of buying a new sofa for $850, you save $785. By placing a crocheted doily for $15 on the coffee table  to cover scratches made by a speeding Corvette (Hot Wheels size!) you save $115 over buying a new table for $130.

  • Total savings on simple in-home updates is $900

One of the most draining line-items in a family’s budget are unexpected and costly repairs. These fixes can add up over time, but they can get a lot more expensive if not quickly addressed. My guiding principle is: Repair now, save later. Broken tiles and chipped grout in the kitchen and bathrooms should be fixed immediately in order to minimize water damage to tiles and the wallboard.

  • The average repair to damage of this kind costs $350
  • Preventative maintenance is about a $30 repair for a savings of $320

Armed with these tips and more to come, you can save money on every-day expenses. It’s simple to live rich for less; it just requires a little creativity, a little know-how, and a lot of savings!

Half-Priced Holiday: Christmas on a Budget

With so many people unemployed or underemployed this year, it’s easy to ask the question: Is it possible for consumers to emerge debt free this season, and how can they do that? This is a great question to ask, and I believe that the key is to simplify your holidays by developing a strategy for your purchases and executing that plan throughout the entire season rather than waiting until the last minute. We have seven children and have seen our finances run the full gamut of possibilities. When we were first married, we were essentially paupers and didn’t even have enough money for groceries for a few weeks. Now, we’re debt free in every area, but we still want to be purposeful with our money. So my plan works whether you’re flush in cash or your cash has been flushed!

Joshua gave Jonathan cars he painted with whiteout. The only problem: they were Jonathan’s cars to begin with.

Once you’ve decided to develop a Christmas spending strategy, you may be wondering where to begin. Here are some tips to keep in mind when you shop to save:

 

SpecificSet aside a specific “cash” budget—don’t use credit cards unless you know you can pay them at the month’s end.

Simplify – Gifts don’t need to be elaborate, especially during a recession. Think “practical” for friends and family who have been hit by the recession and consider giving gift cards that they can use to purchase essentials like food and clothing. These can still be customized to be more personal but the practical aspect of this gift can be more far reaching than any other gift and it’s better than cash.

Strategize Decide which gifts you’ll purchase and match them with seasonal sale ads.  Check off the items on your list and make note of any special limitations (i.e. ‘price only effective for three hours, limit two Ipods per person, etc.). Prioritize the stores you’ll shop according to limitations and values.

Split It – Follow the old “divide and conquer” rule when shopping holiday sales by going with a friend or your spouse. If there are multiple purchase discounts, you can split it and take advantage. You might also have a “two for one” special and share the savings.

Stick to Your Guns – Be aware that you may be tempted to keep buying even when you’ve already conquered your list. Marketers are good at placing irresistible bargains in eye catching places. Remember the main rule of the shopping season:  You can go broke saving money.

Steal It – Be sure to save some money in your budget for the after-Holiday sales. You can often get non-perishable gifts for next year’s list at anywhere from 50 to 75 percent off retail.

Since financial stressors are the number one source of arguments in most homes, getting a grip on holiday spending and trying to keep it on a budget makes sense.  You may be wondering how to get other family members on board because sometimes you aren’t the one overspending—it’s your kids or spouse.

Having a plan and sticking to it not only simplifies your holidays, it can simplify your life. The recession is a good excuse to restructure the way you do the holidays, and it’s a good idea to have a family meeting. Set up a fun night with hot chocolate & marshmallows and everyone’s favorite holiday dessert. Then explain that with so many people hurting financially around the world, you are thinking that it’s a good ime to focus on the gifts of love that we can give and receive during this time of year. After you outline your holiday spending plan, ask everyone to contribute their ideas as to how they can stay on budget but still show their appreciation and value for the people in your world. We’ve done this with our children, and you’d be amazed at the creative ideas they initiate that also save us money!

Great Dates With Your Mate

Here a happy snap of the first time I went to a military ball with the World’s Greatest Fighter Pilot. You have to love that 80’s hair, don’t you?

Valentine’s Day is a few days away, and according to the National Retail Federation, the average consumer will spend more than $115 for Valentine’s Day this year – up more than 11 percent from last year. Coupled with the money spent during the holidays, many will carry extra expenses over the coming months – particularly if a credit card is the chosen method of payment.
On Valentine’s Day, we all like to do things for our significant other to make them feel loved But while buying a beautiful piece of jewelry or spending a fortune on dinner may make them feel special, creating a mound of debt in the process is not very loving. Today, let’s look at creative ways to keep that date cheap without being a cheap date.

For Valentine’s Day, you might feel the need to pull out all the stops, but it’s not necessary. Sure, some people want to celebrate the holiday in a lavish way, but others prefer to go the low-key route. Whether you fit into these descriptions or fall somewhere in the middle, there are a romantic date ideas for Valentine’s Day or the weekend before that suit every budget.

FLOWERS When it comes to flowers, you usually get what you pay for and one way to cut costs is to hand deliver, this can save anywhere from $8 to $20. You could look at localliving.com or other group buying sites in your area which has been offering great deals on flowers. Another option is to get a potted bowl of blooms that she will see everyday. Treat them right and they will survive all year or longer for the price of cut flowers.

THE THOUGHT THAT COUNTS – One kind of fun option reminds me of one of my favorite romantic comedies, “Kate and Leopold” and that is to give flowers with specific meanings. Go to TheFlowerExpert to find out the meaning of different flowers. For example, red roses mean romantic love while a bouquet of mixed roses means “I don’t know my feelings about you yet, but I’m sending you roses anyway.” Carnations are a less expensive option and a red carnation conveys love pride, beauty and admiration.  Daisys are also inexpensive and convey “loyal love.” A sunflower symbolizes pure thoughts and it’s one that my 16 year son is getting his special friend-who-is-a-girl. So you can select a cheaper flower if, and only if, you write a note explaining the meaning of the flower and why you chose it for your true love.

DINNER – Eating out for Valentines is really important and there are quite a few ways to save a lot in this area and still have a nice time together.  Lunch or brunch can be half the price of dinner and you could go on the Sunday before the big day. In fact, some restaurants are offering prix fix menus for the weekend or entire Valentine week. Go to your favorite restaurant’s twitter or facebook page and see what specials they are offering to get the best value. Some of these values are only offered to social media friends. You can also go to www.restaurant.com where gift certificates have gone on sale this week. You can  get a $25 gift certificate for your favorite restaurant for as little as $2. Check community billboards at your local chamber of commerce website. For example, in our area, a local Greek center is offering a romantic, candlelight dinner for two with champagne, flowers, dinner and dancing for $50 a person. While this may not seem like a bargain at first, when you add up the cost of the individual items like the food, flowers, bottle of bubbly and a cover charge you would have to pay to dance, it’s an all inclusive deal that is sure to please. Plus, you can learn how to dance the Kalamatianos, a traditional Greek dance.

A SHOW – If you have a little more to spend, and want to take in a show, then go to broadwaybox.com or goldstar.com to find great prices on tickets.  Remember that you don’t have to attend on Valentines week for it to count, you only have to have purchase the tickets and presente them as a gift! We saw Phantom on Broadway for 50% off and got great orchestra seating. Or, if you want to give a gift that will cost less each time you use it, buy a season’s pass to a museum at www.museumca.org  and not only can you visit your local museum whenever you want for the year, but you also have reciprocal privileges at 400 other museums. The same applies to zoos and aquariums, go to www.aza.org (association of zoos and aquariums.)

Send me your questions or your ideas and I’ll answer them in my next blog!

Ellie Kay

America’s Family Financial Expert ®

Bargaining 101

If you save money by paying less on consumer items, you could “earn” anywhere from $100 to $10,000 a year. It’s just a matter of learning how to negotiate on everything from shoes to salaries. The key to asking is to learn how to bargain without embarrassing yourself, your friends or your family. In this summer season of garage sales and flea markets, it’s a good time to hone those bargaining skills. But don’t just use those talents when buying, use them to get a better salary at work on even in the mall.  Here are a few successful strategies to try:
· Compare –Furniture, phone plans, electronics, jewelry and appliances are all highly negotiable. Find your desired item on a search robot such as Froogle.com, MySimon.com, NexTag.com and eBay.com or in sale circulars from the Sunday paper. Then print out the price, take it into your store and ask them to match it. Some stores, such as Wal-mart, will match competitor’s ads (even on food items).
· Compensate – If the salesman cannot match the price, then ask for other freebies such as complimentary delivery, free accessories, or an extended warranty.
· Continue – If the salesman grants extra perks, don’t stop there. After you’ve secured these, ask for the manager and ask her to match the competitor’s price.
· Counter – If I don’t feel good about a price or an offer, I’ve learned to simply say, “I don’t feel good about that.” Or, “I just don’t feel comfortable with that number.” Oftentimes, they’ll ask, “What number would you feel good about?” It never hurts to counter a price, if you ask for 20% off and they offer 10%, then counter with 15%. When it comes to salary negotiations, you shouldn’t accept the first offer. Most salaried professionals ask for 10% to 12% more than what they’re offered, and often settle for 7% to 8% more. If you did this with your first salary, it could add up to $500,000 by the time you are 60 years old!
· Consideration – Don’t limit the odds of success by asking for too much. The seller has to make a profit. Small appliances are usually marked up 30%, while larger ones such as washing machines are marginalized by only 15%. However, most large furniture items and jewelry are increased by a whopping 100%!
· Communication – Learn to say: “Is this your best price?” “Was this recently on sale and can I have the sale price?” “Do you think you could ask your manager, I’ll be happy to wait,” “Hmmm, this item is a little damaged (makeup on the collar, an already opened box, a ding or scratch) could it be marked down?” and last but not least, “Thank you, I’ll be back!”
Ellie Kay
America’s Family Financial Expert (R)

Buy a New Car Cheaper Than a Used One!

 

The Dream Car That Took 30 Years to Get

My first car was a 1974 Datsun B210. I was fifteen years old and forked over the cash from a multilevel babysitting service that I launched three years earlier. My folks firmly believed that I should pay my own way and it developed a “cash only” sensibility when it came to buying cars. Of course, my baby brother, didn’t have to pay for his car, but THAT is another discussion for another day!  Fast forward a few years (ok, a LOTTA years) and I was able to buy a dream car with that same philosophy. Buying used was the smartest way for me to go—but today, buying used could cost you MORE than buying new in some cases!

 This time of the year is a great time for looking into getting a car. Dealers have the 2013 models rolling in and at the end of the month, some salesmen are eager to deal in order to try and win the “salesman of the month” with all the perks associated with that coveted title. But which models should you look for in a new vehicle instead of used?

The gap between a one–year-old car and a new one can range as much as 20%, meaning the car you paid $25,000 for last year is worth $20,000 this year. Unless you purchase a car model that closes that gap such as a Chevrolet Camaro LT, where a one year old car cost only $126 less than the average price paid for a new 2012! Plus, if you finance, you usually pay a higher interest rate for used car than a new one, so if you include these expenses, a used car can cost more overall than a new one. For example, at Edmunds.com we found a $452 payment for a used, one year old Honda Odyssey minivan versus a $445 a month payment for a new one!

  Here’s the list of cars you should consider buying new according to the Kelly Blue Book:

   Vehicle                                     Price Difference                          Percentage

                                                                    Vs. new                             difference

Chevrolet Camaro LT                         $126                                                    0.5%

Toyota 4Runner SR5                          $254                                                    0.8%

Toyota FJ Cruiser                              $244                                                    0.9%

Subaru Impreza 2.0i                            $150                                                    0.9%

Jeep Wrangler Sport                           $281                                                    0.9%

Honda Fit                                            $234                                                    1.3%

VW Gold TDI 4 door                         $438                                                    1.4%

Kia Rio LX                                         $283                                                    2.1%

Mazda2 4 door                                   $306                                                    2.2%

Chevrolet Equinox LT                        $540                                                    2.2%

If the car you want doesn’t fit in this category, and you are going to buy used, then be doubly safe by ordering a car history from Carfax, AutoCheck and the Justice Department’s new database at nmvtis.gov in order to see if the car has been in a wreck or flood. But don’t stop there, take it for a thorough inspection by an independent mechanic because it’s almost impossible, in some cases to determine if that car is one of the 12% that ends up being a “salvage” car and some of these can end up on a dealers lot. If the used car is a CPO (Certified Previously Owned), then you should be safe.

      Also, whether you are buying new or used, be sure to come to the dealership armed with a printout version of the car’s evaluation/price according to Edmunds.com and/or KBB.com.

Finally, be prepared to negotiate the price of the car in THREE separate steps:

1)    PRICE – Negotiate the price of the car without a trade. Tell them you are thinking of selling your existing car yourself, and get the rock bottom price on the car you want to purchase without the bait and switch tactic of a dealer offering you a padded price on your trade to get you to go for the deal.

2)    TRADE – Once you’re satisfied you’ve negotiated the best price WITHOUT a trade, then negotiate the value of your trade-in vehicle SEPARATE from the price of the car you want to buy.

3)    FINANCING – Check out your own financing through a credit union or other resources before you look at what the dealership has to offer. If you walk in as a “payment buyer” meaning you have to secure a certain monthly payment, then they will work with you to get that monthly payment, even if you end up paying a lot more for the car.

Let me know your tips on how you get a good deal on a vehicle, I’d love to hear from you!

Ellie Kay

America’s Family Financial Expert ®

www.elliekay.com


Black Friday: Fact or Fiction?

The Kay Family, Christmas on the Move, 1995

The Kay family has been waking at the crack of dawn the Friday after Thanksgiving for almost two decades in order to save as much as 50% on our Christmas purchases. But does all that hot chocolate and bleary-eyed effort really pay off? There is a lot of misinformation about this retailers’ dream day, so I’d like to set the record straight on what is fact and what is fiction regarding this special day.

  • Black Friday sales begin on Black Friday.

FICTION:  It seems that the holiday sales begin earlier and earlier each year. We are used to almost bypassing Thanksgiving as a holiday and decorations go out in stores even before Halloween is over. While some stores like, JC Penneys have issued press releases that they will “honor Thanksgiving as a family day” and not open until 6:00 AM on Friday, other stores aren’t sharing the sentiment. For example, some big sales will start on Thanksgiving day, including stores like Sears, Wal-Mart and K-Mart; you’ll find them at Bradsdeals or BlackFriday So if you need an excuse to get away from your annoying sister-in-law and walk off some of that turkey, you may want to do some shopping on Thanksgiving.

  • Getting a store credit card to get a discount will hurt your FICO score & you should never use any credit  card for purchases.

FACT: Every time you open a line of credit, or there’s an inquiry about your credit you run the risk of getting a hit on your Fair Isaac Credit Score, or FICO. So trying to receive that extra 20% off all your purchases and then closing down the account in a couple of months is usually a very bad idea. It’s especially bad if you’re going to buy a new car or a home in the next several months. Plus, if you are someone who is prone to run up your credit cards and not pay off the balance each month, then you’re in for a double whammy. Your best friend may tell you she does this all the time to get the discounts, and all she’s telling you is that she also gets hit on credit score. Give her the facts, and help a sister out!

When it comes to using a credit card, you are are often better off using credit if you know you can pay the balance at the next billing cycle. It will help you in a dispute with an online vendor and can help you earn rewards points to buy other gifts. Check out LowCards for the rewards and cash back conus you might get. Some credit cards have their own extended warranties if you buy that item (think electronics) with the card. They’ll take a one year warranty and double it. Go to Credit.com to find out the details on what your card is offering.

  • Price Matching Doesn’t Apply on Black Friday

FICTION:  Wal-Mart has offered to match competitor’s ads for years, and this year is no exception. Last year, Best Buy, Amazon, and Home Depot got in on the price comping, and this year you can expect even more including
Target.  So bring in the ads to these various stores to get the good deals (some stores will even match online offers), and save those receipts as well. Because if you have an elite credit card, including  or some offered by Citi and Visa, they will offer a price-protection feature where they will refund you the difference if you find a lower price for the item you’ve bought. For example,the  Chase Freedom card refunds up to $500 per eligible purchase and up to $3500 per calendar year and is valid 90 days after purchase.

Black Friday is not the busiest shopping day of the year.

FACT:   According to the International Council of Shopping Centers the busiest shopping day of the year is actually the Saturday before Dec. 25. In fact, only 35% of respondents plan on shopping on BF—which is more good news for you. It won’t be as crowded as you thought!

  • They give away products for free on Black Friday

FICTION: Yeah, right. You may have been dipping into the cider a bit early if you really believe there are free door busters on Black Friday. The most you will get is some cheesy little ornament worth $2.99 given to the first 100 customers. This also means that sleeping outside the store to get something you think is free.

  • The Best prices of the year are found on Black Friday

FACT: Sorta. There is no doubt that some items will never be cheaper than on Black Friday, but other items may be part of a large retailer’s push to get those Saturday-before-Christmas shoppers and may cut their Black Friday prices. You can use a cool tool at Decide.com to help you figure out whether you should buy that item now or later. It uses data to help you decide the best time to buy a certain product.

  • Black Friday deals are worth sleeping on the curb to get

FICTION:  If you really love the great outdoors and want to sleep under the starts to get one of the 3 HDTV deals that Best Buy is offering in your city, then knock yourself out. But really, this year there are more BF deals available online and in the store as well. For example, this year Kohl’s is offering its online shoppers all early bird deals on Nov 21 and all day on Thanksgiving!  So unless you just have a whole lot of free time on your hands, I’d pass on the sleepover.

  • Be careful before you buy because you may not be able to get a full refund on some of your Black Friday purchases

FACT: Retailers sometimes tighten their return policies during the holidays.  I remember one year I got 35% less than what I paid for a camera because of restocking fees that Best Buy charged me. Not fun. Other stores may only give you an in-store refund, so you are locked into spending your refund at that store. So be sure you know the store’s refund policy before you slap down the dough.

  • There are special, “secret” deals online that are not in the circulars.

FACT:   In recent years, on Thanksgiving Day, retailers like Best Buy, Target, and Wal-Mart have advertised extra Black Friday deals that were not listed in their circulars. These “secret” deals are only found online or with the store’s app, so the trick is to find them early so you’ll know about them when you arrive at the store on Friday. Get the Dealnews app to find new listings.

Myth: Cyber Monday offers the same caliber deals online as Black Friday in-store sales. For those of you who’d rather fully digest your Thanksgiving meal and not stand in line starting at 3 a.m. on Black Friday, we understand. Shopping for the best deals can be exhausting, but if you wait until Cyber Monday you may be missing out on some of the highest markdowns of the holiday season.

Happy Savings!

Ellie Kay

 

Saving in the Store with Links to Super Savings

By learning how to save money in stores for groceries, toiletries, and cleaners, you can also begin your journey to million-dollar life. The only true failure would be never to start. Here are some tips to save money in the store, whether you’re destined to be a Savings Queen or not. If you apply a few of these tips, you could save up to 50 percent and if you apply most of them, you could cut your food bill by as much as 80 percent. Here are some of the best tips to transform you from a coupon commoner to a Coupon Queen.

  1. The List: Research indicates if you shop with a list and stick to it you are likely to spend as much as 30 percent less than listless (pun intended) shoppers. The exception could be when you can get items for pennies (or free) that are not on your list—get these anyway!
  2. Impulse “Buy-Buy” Guys: Using a list has a second benefit: researchers show that the typical consumer spends almost $100 per hour while shopping a discount department store, grocery store, or discount club. In other words, the more time you have to window-shop, the more money you’ll spend. Just think, spending thirty minutes more in a store can cost you $50! So get in and get out of there as quickly as possible and say bye-bye to impulse buys.
  3. Store Directory: Make your list according to aisle order and you’ll save even more time and money. By shopping according to aisle order, you won’t become a grocery nomad—wandering back and forth while you look for that last item on your list. Go to the customer service desk at the store you frequent and ask them for a map of the store. These are usually called an aisle order chart, store directory, or store map.
  4. Price Comping: Many stores including Wal-Mart Superstores, will match competitors’ sale prices. Check and see which stores do this in your area, not the store and sale price on your list, bring those sales circulars with you, and then ask the checker for the lowest price. This tip takes only minutes and saved our family over #3,500 last year because it can also apply to anything in the store (electronics, household goods, etc.). It also saves time and gas.
  5. Tune Out and Cash In: Watch fewer television commercials. A recent consumer report indicated that couch potatoes are far more likely to overspend at the store for each one minute commercial the watch die to the marketing effects of this medium—to the tune of an average of $260 per hour! Keep in mind that this dollar figure includes everything from Skittles and Diet Coke to a new car or luxury item.
  6. Savings 101: Buy products when they are on sale. This may sound elementary and it is, but you’d be surprised at how many people do not take advantage of sales. They’re “too busy” to shop the sales, or when something goes on sale, the think, Well, I still have some of that at home, I don’t need it now. Get the sale ads in your weekly paper and make your list according to what is on sale. Be sure and put your list in aisle order and save the sale ads for your price comping trips.
  7. Sale Awareness: Don’t give in to “impulse buying” for sales. If the discount is only 10 percent, then think twice about giving in to the urge to buy the product simply because it’s on sale. The exception would be if the item is needed immediately—in that case, you can be grateful for the fact you’ve saved 10 percent rather than nothing!
  8. Loss Leaders: Shop the loss leaders. These are items in the sale circular that the store is selling for less than their cost in order to get the consumer into the store. If you come in to buy the $.99 chicken breasts, then chances are good you’ll go ahead and pick up another thirty items you “need” while you’re in the store.
  9. Go Online for More Savings: Online has so many opportunities to save from food to prescription drugs to clothes. Check out the chart below from http://www.wow-coupons.com/ for great guide to saving money on and offline:
Wow Coupons Grocery

 

 

FREE Grocery printable coupons site! Many many grocery printable coupons from top brands.
Hopster Hopster maximizes savings on your favorite household brands by allowing you to customize your coupons. Getting started with Hopster is easy. Print a few FREE coupons. Start a quest and complete fun activities to unlock exclusive higher-value coupons.
Coupon Bar Download our FREE CouponBar and get quick and easy access to dozens of coupons on your favorite brand name products!
FreeFlys Get FREE samples from top name brands! Cheap is good, but FREE is better!
SavingStar  FREE eCoupons – new way to shop! Select the eCoupons you like and they’ll link them to your store loyalty cards! Use your loyalty card at checkout. Your money is automatically added to your SavingStar account!
RedPlum FREE Grocery printable coupons site! Many many grocery printable coupons from top brands. More savings!
SmartSource FREE Grocery printable coupons site! More savings!
Entertainment Members love Entertainment® because it is the most convenient way to access exclusive discounts and coupons in their area. Enjoy your life more with savings on the things you love to do.
Couponizer Portable system for organizing, storing, and accessing coupons! Get FREE compact mirror w/order!
SavingsAngel Save on groceries now with help from SavingsAngel. Get “Extreme Couponing” deals without the extreme lifestyle. Each week, an army of nearly 100 angels compiles store sales, manufacturer coupons, offers, rebates and promotions. $2.50 a week membership.
Coupon Clippers Buy grocery coupons! Get exactly what you need!
Select Coupon Program Join Susan Samtur’s Select Coupon Program today to receive $25 in FREE coupons. Afterwards you can buy and sell grocery coupons!
eBay  eBay is the world’s largest online marketplace, where practically anyone can buy and sell practically anything. Buy Grocery coupons at eBay!
MySavings FREE Samples Find various FREE Samples and product samples to give consumers the opportunity to try their latest and greatest product lines.
Quality Health FREE Samples Receive FREE coupons, discounts, and special offers from leading brand name pharmaceutical and packaged goods companies. FREE Samples!
FREE CookBook 100 Diabetes-friendly FREE Recipes.
FREE Prescription-Savings DPRxCard Card FREE Prescription-savings Drug Card – for everyone– 10% to 60% savings on most medications. Over 48,000 national and regional pharmacy chain stores. Valid at pharmacies: Target, Walgreens, CVS, RiteAid, Costco, Pathmark, and many others.
Pharmacy Discount Network – FREE Prescription-Savings Sign up and receive a FREE discount drug card to save up to 75% on prescription drugs. It’s good at over 65,000 drug stores: Albertsons, CVS, Costco, Eckerd, Kmart, Duane Reade, Target, Walmart, Safeway, Walgreens, Publix, RiteAid.
YourRxCoupons.com

Sign up and receive up to 75% FREE with the pharmacy savings coupons from YourRxCoupons.
You & Your Family

Multiple printable coupons from few brands. Palmer’s Cocoa Butter & more
Colgate-Palmolive

Multiple printable coupons from Colgate-Palmolive brand.
Internet Drug Coupons.com   FREE database of 216 downloadable coupons for prescription drugs,

non-prescription drugs, and medicines for pets.

Home Solutions

Printable coupons from few brands: JET-DRY, ELECTRASOL, LYSOL, etc .
Procter & Gamble

Enjoy the latest samples and coupons from P&GbrandSAMPLER, a member benefit of P&G Everyday Solutions..
Right @ Home

SC Johnson offers great home-care products you use every day, like Windex®, Glade®, Scrubbing Bubbles®, Ziploc®, Pledge®, Raid®, etc.
Living Naturally

Organic grocery food printable coupons.
Organic Valley

Organic Valley Soy, Milk and other printable coupons.
Mambo Sprouts

Organic and Healthy grocery food printable coupons.

Ellie Kay

America’s Family Financial Expert ®

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