A Financial Education Event
     

Thanksgiving Traditions

Thankful Traditions

The Kay family photo for Woman’s Day magazine.

Back when my co-host of The Money Millhouse was just a little girl with a big smile, we created memories through holiday traditions.

One of the things I discovered is that not every “savings” can be measured in dollars and cents. One of the things we emphasized in our family is the saving of memories. Our Thankful Tree was featured in a Woman’s Day magazine one year. It took two photographers 8 rolls of film and four hours to get one 3 x 5 photo in the magazine. Joshua was missing for one roll of film and we didn’t notice until we saw him making faces from behind the photographers and we asked, “What are you doing back there?”

The tip we gave is how we’ve stayed in touch with family and friends during this holiday. On November 1st, we made a Thankful Tree on poster board and put it on our wall or front door. The tree was bare because the leaves that we made out of construction paper have not yet been gathered. The leaves have the person’s name on them and say, “Papa is thankful for _________.” But we left the tree bare at the beginning of the season to teach the children how barren our lives are without the giving of thanks.

We made and sent the leaves to friends and family around the world along with a self-addressed envelope. When these envelopes came back, the children got excited as they took turns opening them. At dinner that night, we read the leaf and give thanks along with those who are thankful and put the leaf on our tree. By Thanksgiving Day, we had a tree full of thanks. We carefully saved the leaves in an envelope marked by the year and kept all in our Thanksgiving decoration box. Each year, we read the leaves from past years.

We never know when this year’s leaf might be someone’s last, or which family might have a new leaf on next year’s tree. So we give thanks.  These days, we gather “thankful comments” from facebook, email and twitter, but the point is we are connecting with friends and family in a meaningful way.

This holiday, what are YOU thankful for?  Besides our health and our family, we are thankful for two weddings this year, healthy grandchildren, and the chance to be together during the holidays.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Ellie Kay

 

8 Ways to Thank a Veteran Today and Every Day

 

As far a military families go, I’m brat, a grandbrat, a wifebrat and a mombrat. Yes, military service runs deep in the Kay family. My Grandpa died as an aircrew member in WWII; my dad retired as a Chief Master SGT in the US Air Force; my hubby flew fighter aircraft in the Air Force for 30 years; one of my sons graduated from the Naval Academy and is an active duty Marine; another son graduated this year from the United States Air Force Academy and is at pilot training; and my youngest son is a junior at WestPoint. So when it comes to thanking our troops for their service, I really appreciate those of you who take the time to say thanks.  Here are some more easy ways to express your appreciation:

1.       Say “Thanks” – The fact that you are reading this blog, indicates that you probably already thank those in uniform when you see them. When people say “Thank you for your service” to my Marine son, he responds with, “Proud to serve.”  Be sure to also thank family members, including parents of service members, for the way they serve by supporting their military members. You can also say thanks by donating to Heroes at Home, which provides financial readiness for military readiness. In our Heroes at Home events I explain that when people say thanks to them, it’s their way of being patriotic.

2.      Say “Welcome Home” – As we all know, the Vietnam War was not a popular conflict, and those who served were greeted with jeers, taunts or just plain apathy. There are also those who returned from the Korean War who were never properly welcomed back. So when you see an older vet, ask them what war they served in and if it’s one of those two, then ask one more question, “Were you ever welcomed home?” If they say, “no” then simply say, “Well you have been now, welcome home soldier, thank you for your service.” I’ve done this many times and all were deeply thankful for the sentiments, and some were so deeply moved, they even had tears in their eyes. In our Heroes at Home Events, I encourage our young service members to welcome home these Veterans and just how much it means for someone currently serving to thank those who have served.

3.      Pick Up Dinner – Every year, restaurants give free meals and discounts for Veterans and those who are serving now and at The Military Wallet, you can get this year’s update. But why not keep it going year round? Once a year, or more, depending on your budget, pay for a military member’s meal. You may see a service member with his or her family or a group of military dudes and dudettes in a small group at a restaurant. Don’t go up to the soldier, sailor or airman to ask if you can pay for their meal. Instead, go to the manager or the waitress and ask for their bill, then pay it as you leave and tell the waitress to give them a simple message: “Thank you for your service.”

4.       Operation Gratitude – During Veterans day week, our USAFA parents club volunteered to help put together care packages for the troops. Lots of volunteers put together over 7,000 care packages in one day! Each time I went through the assembly line with my boxes, it took all my self control not to slip that package of Rocky Mountain Factory fudge into my pocket. You can also donate DVDs, Girl Scout cookies, trial-sized toiletries, candy, scarves, gloves, small stuffed animals, books and more to the effort.

5.      Mow A Yard – Or rake leaves, or plant rosebushes, or paint an outhouse, or… you get the idea, for the military family of a deployed service member in your neighborhood, church or community.  When Bob was gone and I was left home alone with a house full of kids, I really appreciated that help. The best help comes from people you know, where that military family is comfortable knowing you are not a creeper!

6.      Donate Your Old Cell – If you are like most of the Kay family members, you get a new phone about once every 18 months or so (it seems to be an inalienable right in our clan). Instead of trading in when you trade up, give it to Cell Phones for Soldiers.

7.      Calling All Coupon Queens – I started out in the financial area as a Coupon Queen and eventually evolved to “America’s Family Financial Expert” ®. Along the way, I’ve encouraged families to donate their expired coupons to military units overseas. They can use your castoffs for up to six months past the expiration date. For more information, email us at assistant@elliekay.com and put “Expired Coupons” in the subject line.


8.     
Care for Critters – If you are like my hubby, you are a critter person. He sits in his easy chair each evening and instantly—voila!—three mini schnauzers appear in his lap. They were his constant pet therapy when he broke his back a couple years ago, thereby ending his career as a fighter pilot. If you love critters, then you can offer to provide foster care by taking in a dog or cat of a wounded or deployed military member while he or she is receiving medical treatment or on duty.  For more on this, go to Guardian Angels for Soldiers.

Thank you to all our Veterans and their families, and a special thanks to my husband, LTC Bob Kay, the World’s Greatest Fighter Pilot for his 30 years of service, to my Marine, Airman and Soldier. I’m so proud of all of you!

Ellie Kay

www.elliekay.com

Savvy Saver Quiz – part 2 – Food

Food expenses usually rank #3 in the family budget behind housing and transportation. If you can save money in this category, it can have a major impact on your family’s finances.

All your friends tell you that you are great when it comes to stretching your dollars in the food department. How do you score on the savvy saver quiz below?  This is part two of a series on how you can see how much of a savvy saver you are when it comes to the environment, food, budgeting, entertainment and transportation. Enjoy and let me know new ways you are saving on food!

Food

Q. How much do you currently pay for food per month per adult?

a) less than $171

b) between $172 and $217

c) between $217 and 267

d) greater than $267

Q. How many homemade family dinner meals do you make each week?

a) 6 to 7

b) 4 to 5

c) 2 to 3

d) 0 to 1

Q. How many prepared (frozen, ready to eat) family dinner meals do you make each week?

a) 0 to 1

b) 2 to 3

c) 4 to 5

d) 6 to 7

Q. How often do you take advantage of price rollbacks?

a) Every time I shop

b) Frequently

c) Occasionally

d) What’s a Price rollback? (or never)

Q. How often do you take advantage of price guarantees (the store honors price advertisements from competitors sale ads)?

a) Almost every time I shop

b) Frequently

c) Occasionally

d) Never

SECTION SCORING AND TIPS:

Welcome to the scoring section of the Food category – Give yourself the following points: every “A” answer = 4 points, every “B” answer – 3 points, every “C” answer – 2 points and every “D” answer – 1 point

16 – 20 points: 

Thrifty Taylor – Well done, you’re a SUPER SMART SHOPPER! When it comes to shopping, preparing and serving food in your home, you get the prize for being a smartest shopper on the block! You shop the rollbacks, know how to get the best values and make your family proud. You are well prepared for financial issues that arise in today’s economy and can be in a position to help others learn to be smarter shoppers as well!

11-15 points:

Low Cost Logan – Good Job, you’re a SMART SHOPPER! – You are doing a good job at keeping costs down for food and making use of your dollars. There is slight room to improve, but you are in a nice position to continue to be smart with your dollars and help your children learn to be smart shoppers as well.

6-10 points:

Moderate Morgan – Nice Work, you are a SHOPPER! – There are some areas where you’re doing better than others and there’s always room to improve. By shopping for price rollbacks, creating more foods from scratch and learning about price comparisons, you can learn to save a lot and become a smart shopper!

5 points:

Extravagant Emerson – You are a one who SHOPS! – There’s a difference between just shopping to get what you need and shopping with an eye for savings. Although you scored in the high spending spectrum of the quiz, it only means that you have the most potential to learn to save! There are a lot of strategies that can help. Just learn to steer away from a steady fare of frozen and convenience foods and make a few more homemade meals. If you learn to buy food when there are significant savings such as price rollbacks and low price guarantees, you’ll do much better. Just think, you’re beginning to learn how to shop smart!

Let me know your score and how you are saving even more!

Ellie Kay

America’s Family Financial Expert (R)

Coupon Blessings – Diary of a Coupon Queen

I had five children seven and under, a fighter pilot husband who was gone more than he was home, and we had just made our eleventh military move in thirteen years. Because we moved so much, we homeschooled the kids to give the poor little dears the continuity they needed.  In the midst of keeping a clean home, volunteering at our local base, couponing, grinding our wheat and making our bread, I decided to do something totally unreasonable:  I wrote my first book, Shop, Save and Share. This photo is what we looked like when I penned the “Coupon Queen’s” book, just after coming back from my first book signing.

Besides having a high energy level at that time, the main reason I wrote a book was to help other families get out of the debt the same way we were able dig out from $40,000 in consumer debt. It seemed that writing a book was the best way to get the word out to a lot of people at once.  Fast forward twelve years, and my kids are almost all grown and gone and I now have 14 books under this expanding belt of mine. 🙂 As I reflect on whether Shop, Save and Share achieved it’s intended purpose, I introduce a guest blogger, Andrea Wiener, who will give us her story. (This is a shortened version, for the full version go to Coupon Blessings.)

Andrea’s Story:

So glad to have this opportunity to tell my story – how God used Ellie Kay and her ministry to help eliminate my $30,000 credit card debt.

 At the age of 17, I was $30,000 in debt from almost a dozen credit cards.  [In 1999] I’m prayin “Lord, I’m still up to my ears in debt and now I gotta stock up on stuff”[for Y2K].

 God quickly started answering that prayer – a few days later, Ellie Kay appeared as a guest on “Life Today” with James and Betty Robison. Ellie had just come out with Shop, Save, and Share – I was excited to read it cos’ here was somebody that made sense – and I wanted to know how to share blessings with others when I didn’t have too much myself – and a whole bunch of debt besides which.

 Ellie’s book was SO simple – I think I ended up dog-earing a few of them – her explanation of couponing and blessings were easy. Simplest concepts were new to me – like using a store coupon with a manufacturers’ coupon!

 As I mastered each concept, I immediately started using it – and moved on to the next one. I used to keep her book in my bag – that’s why it was getting so dog-eared, and I ended up having to buy a few of them.

 What I like about the book is that Ellie’s Christian worldview and integrity come out from the VERY first chapter. I remember this quote from the Shop Save and Share audio/video series – “everything we do must be done with integrity and honor” – so whenever the shelf-clearing tendencies try to take over as I shop, I go back to that.

 In 2000, all my debt was paid off. 12 years later, I have a couponing website (www.couponblessingsnow.com) and a corresponding Facebook page (CouponBlessingsNow) – but if it wasn’t for God putting Ellie Kay and Shop Save and Share into my life, I don’t think I would have any of this.

 My advice to you guys? If you haven’t already, check out Ellie Kay on her website (which is www.elliekay.com) and on her “Ellie Kay” Facebook page – you will be blessed, for she will teach you a LOT.

*************

Thanks, Andrea, for sharing your story today and everyone be sure to check out her blog.

Ellie Kay

America’s Family Financial Expert (R)

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

 

Grocery Delivery Savings – The Way of the Future?

When our kids were all young and still living at home, a trip to the grocery store was an event. For starters, trying to find an item on my enormous shopping list was an immediate challenge among my four boys to see who could get it first (it involved a lot of tackling, shoving and broken jars of mayo).

Then there was Bethany, screaming about Joshua pulling her hair or the fact she wanted a particular treat in Aisle 2. And, of course, there was the checkout line, where I would whip out my wad of coupons and absorb the scathing looks of people in line behind us as I cut my grocery bill in half.

Today, I can only imagine how much time and effort I would have saved if I had the convenience of grocery delivery, which is rising in popularity and convenience.

Go on, try it out!

More and more stores are testing the grocery delivery market – Walmart and Amazon are a couple of the bigger ones. Then there are online companies who specialize in grocery delivery, like Peapod (national) and Artizone (currently limited to Chicago and Dallas). Because of this increase in options (and since it’s a relatively new concept), companies will give you a deal for trying their delivery service.

For example, Walmart is offering $20 off and free delivery for your first order, while daily deal sites like GrouponArtizone give huge discounts on the first order for smaller companies. My son, Daniel, used for his first delivery and got $120 worth of local produce and groceries for just $60! Even if you just try out a number of different companies, you’ll be spending less than you would during a traditional grocery trip.

Saving more than you think

Think grocery delivery is all about convenience? Think again. In addition to saving you gas and time, it helps you in other ways:

  • Save money: Grocery delivery used to only be an option for those who didn’t worry as much about money, but now it’s more affordable than ever. Many companies have no delivery fee, or if they do, it’s very small. And the prices are comparable with traditional grocery stores, especially if you take advantage of online coupons.
  • Save time: This one almost goes without saying, as you’ll be saving a trip to the grocery store (which takes longer if you have kids). You also save the hassle of writing out a list, as you can keep track of your order online before you place it.
  • Save the planet: Many grocery delivery services combine a large number of orders onto one truck, resulting in a smaller carbon footprint. It also reduces wear and tear on your car. And if you order organic produce, you’ll be supporting local farmers.

As I said, just trying grocery delivery service will save you money in the short run. And if you take advantage of deals and coupons (many sites even have double coupon offers), you can save in the long run as well. Grocery delivery is only going to become more and more commonplace, so now is a great time to give it a try.

Ellie Kay

America’s Family Financial Expert (R) 

Quick Guide to Grocery Coupons

A Quick Guide To Coupons 

     I remember the very first time my eyes locked onto it. In my seven-year-old mind I didn’t realize it at the time, but this was love at first sight. Who would have thought that a little piece of paper would one day open the door to a literal, million-dollar life? There was something magical about the script, the numbers, and the pretty picture. It was as if I found out that the king and queen of Genovia were at the same hospital as my parents when I was born and that I was switched at birth. It was as if the royals took home the wrong baby and I was a princess who went to live with mere commoners.

What was this precious paper you ask? The paper I fell in love with was—a coupon.

Coupons made me feel like a queen and ushered in a lifestyle change. It was where I not only was able to save money for my family and help us get out of debt, but it was the bridge from a business background to a new career as “America’s Family Financial Expert” ®. Here is a quick guide on coupons that can start your life as a financial royal.

  1. Store Coupons: A true store coupon is one that is issued by the store and not the manufacturer. Consumers can tell if it’s a true store coupon by the redemption address in the coupons fine print. If it has the manufacturer’s name, then it is a genuine store coupon. This will be a critical point in the ability to layer savings factors while using a store coupon.
  2. Price Store coupons: These are usually store coupons, but sometimes they are manufacturers’ coupons. These coupons will give the shopper a product for a specific price and sometimes free. For example, I used a store price coupon last week for Colgate toothpaste, which gave me a price of $.99 (a savings of $2.00 off the regular price).
  3. Combine Coupons: A consumer cannot ever combine two manufacturers’ coupons on one item—such as a regular manufacturers’ coupon and an electronic coupon. But you can combine a manufacturer’s coupon and a genuine store coupon for big savings. For example, CVS Drugs Stores offered a price store coupon for Secret deodorant for $1.19 and I had a manufacturer’s coupon for $1 off, so I got my fave deodorant for only $.19. That’s a “secret” that I can’t keep to myself!
  4. Instant coupons: Look for product instant coupons. Sometimes products will have a “Use This Coupon Now” coupon attached that you can tear off and use immediately. Keep in mind that these are always a form of a manufacturer’s coupon. These are also available on your stores’ app that you should download ahead of time.
  5. Product Packaging: Look inside the product for more manufacturers’ coupons, special offers, or rebates. Sometimes there will be a coupon in side the box for cents off the next purchase or for a rebate or another special offer. I got Kellogg’s cereal bowls for a couple of box tops and $2 postages and handling—these were quality bowls that the kids used for several years.
  6. Take it on the Road: When leaving for a vacation or taking an extended trip to another city to see family, take the coupons with you. This system works anywhere, but the savings factors will range from average to super depending on the offers available at local stores.
  7. Electronic Coupons: Check out the different websites or apps that offer free coupons. You should not pay for ANY coupon online—it completely defeats the purpose, and, in many cases, it is a scam. Check out these reliable sites I found on http://sunshineandsippycups.com/. Note that many of the websites may have the same or similar coupons. But if you usually buy multiples of an item, such as 3 or 4 packages of cheese or lunchmeats when they’re on sale, then being able to print out the same coupon on a few sites can be pretty handy.
  • CELLFIRE: Save grocery coupons directly to your supermarket savings card with Cellfire.
  • COUPONS.COM: Free Coupons! Save on your favorite brands. Print free coupons before you shop.
  • A FULL CUP: Great resource for printable coupons, as well as sale match-ups and tips!
  • INBOX DOLLARS: There are a lot of ways to get freebies and earn cash here – But a super awesome tool is that you can find your favorite coupons here, and get PAID when you print them!
  • GROCERY COUPON NETWORK: 100% FREE registration to receive free printable coupons, exclusive email savings, recipes and helpful grocery savings tips.
  • LIVE BETTER AMERICA: This is a great way to get high-value coupons. They’ll send you a weekly newsletter with the best from brands like Pillsbury and other kid-friendly faves, and they’ll match them to recipes too.
  • SWAGBUCKS: This is another site that offers lots of ways to get freebies, and also pays you for printing coupons on their site – very cool!
  • PENNY PINCHER GAZETTE: Visit Penny Pincher Gazette for Free Printable Grocery Coupons!
  • RED PLUM: Print Free Grocery Coupons from RedPlum!
  • VOCALPOINT: Vocalpoint was made for smart, deal-savvy women like you. Coupons, Samples, Tips, and more cool stuff.
  • FREE COUPON ALERTS: Lets you know when the newest coupons are available.

Ellie Kay

America’s Family Financial Expert (R) 

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

 

 

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You & Your Family

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

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Internet Drug Coupons.com   FREE database of 216 downloadable coupons for prescription drugs,

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Home Solutions

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

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Right @ Home

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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 ®

Keeping to the “B” Word

Families usually have favorite restaurants, movies, and even special songs that reflect the character and tastes of the family. Your budget will be just as unique as your family. It will be based on variable factors, such as your family’s size, geographical location, debt load, and income.

When Bob and I first set up a budget, we realized that both of us wanted to have healthy finances, even though we approached money differently. As you go through the sometimes-painful process of establishing and sticking to a family budget, it is important to make a real commitment to these important issues. We also realized that we didn’t need to go overboard by pinching our pennies so tightly that it strained our relationship and took all the enjoyment out of life. So we allowed for an occasional indulgence, implemented budget-cutting techniques slowly, and modified our plan as needed. As time went on, we fine-tuned some aspects of our budget and then did an annual check-up to make adjustments that allowed the budget to become a part of our lifestyle.

De-Stress for Less (part 2)

In order to fully embrace the value of free time, we need to remind ourselves of the importance of recreation and relaxation in our overall quality of life and productivity. Our families, marriages, and friendships all need time to regenerate and celebrate so we can be refreshed and ready to face the next round of daily demands of modern living. Unfortunately, if we are not mindful, those rewarding activities can become costly and negatively impact our budgets—which puts us right back into stress mode!

If entertainment and eating out is scheduled into your spending plan, then there’s no stress of going off budget. But what if you could go out twice as often and still stay on budget? Here are some ways to have twice the fun at the same price:

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