Frugal

Start Earning Christmas Funds Now, the Fun Way

If you think it seems like retailers are starting to display Christmas merchandise sooner than ever before, you’re right. Holiday goods have already hit the shelves in some stores and will be appearing in others shortly. Santa himself will be at the mall before you know it!

It’s not unusual for people to take on part-time jobs during the holiday season to help raise a little extra cash for Christmas gifts, but it’s also possible to start earning Christmas funds now, the fun way! Here are six suggestions to get you started:

1. Garage Sale

Most of us hang on to junk that we don’t need for sentimental reasons or just because we’re too lazy to take it to the donation center. Drag the goods to your garage and have a garage sale one weekend. Baby clothes and toys as well as other items for kids, toddlers and babies; CDs and DVDs you no longer use; framed artwork that you haven’t displayed in years; and books and magazines you’ve already read are all great items to get rid of. Don’t have enough stuff to hold your own garage sale? Get a friend or two to join in. More stuff for sale means more shoppers will drop by. You’ll get rid of unwanted items and make some extra money for Christmas.

2. TreasureTrooper

TreasureTrooper.com is a free service that provides several different money-making opportunities. Once you register, you can get paid to take surveys or sample products. You can even refer friends to the site and get a commission on the amount that they earn. It’s a fun and easy way to make money from home, which is perfect for people with full-time jobs or busy stay at home moms.

3. Etsy

Etsy is an online marketplace where people buy and sell handmade or vintage items. Have a passion for making soap and candles or own an antique tea set? Register for an Etsy account or sign up with your Facebook account and start selling. It’s a great way to create an online business selling the arts and crafts that you enjoy making anyway.

4. Blog Income

If you have a blog, consider utilizing pay per click advertising services like Google AdSense, selling ad space on your home page, or writing sponsored posts (paid posts) for companies that want you to promote their goods or services. You could also do a bit of freelance work for another blog or company, writing or taking photos for their website—for a fee, of course.

5. Party Plan Marketing

The success of Tupperware parties that began in the 1950s has morphed into an entire industry. You can host “selling parties” in which you sell items like kitchen goods, cosmetics, or candles (think The Pampered Chef, Avon, or Scentsy) and earn extra spending money for Christmas. It’s usually possible to get started with these types of programs very quickly. When the people who attend your party make a purchase, you earn a percentage of the sale. If the party guests decide to let you host parties in their homes or become a party host themselves, you will earn commission on those sales, too. You can literally earn money while having fun with your friends.

If you’d like to start earning Christmas money now without taking on a second job, consider one of these five fun ideas instead!

Michael “Big Mike” McCaffery loves to assist people in finding the right career for them.  He works at a place he truly enjoys, Go Dish, and invites you to see some of their tweets about new products and services, as well.


Grocery Store Tips You Need to Know

Grocery Store Tips You Need to Know

Just when you think it can’t get any tighter, the home budget takes another hit. Breaking open the piggy bank doesn’t help when food prices skyrocket out of control. You only have so much to spend, and you have to stretch it out. Shopping for groceries is one area that gives you back some control and saves the piggy bank for a rainy day. It takes a little strategy, and these tips will get you started.

1. Planning makes a big difference. Browsing the aisles is a recipe for impulse shopping. Plan meals around selections that work with several dinners. Make a couple of pounds of hamburger do double duty. Put spaghetti on the menu for dinner, and cook up meat loaf another night.

2. Support your local house brands. National brands cost more because they spend more on advertising and packaging. Compare the ingredients in a national brand of anything to the house brand. They’re the same, so buy that lower cost item, and save money while you’re spending it locally.

3. Don’t blow it buying bulk. Your family loves chicken cooked a thousand ways, so buying the value pack works. Freeze it up, and you’re ahead of the menu planning game. Don’t buy bulk just because the price is low. Ten pounds of anything in the freezer is a waste of money if your family won’t eat it.

4. Coupons aren’t just for clipping. Everything is online including savings at your local grocery. Their website features weekly specials and coupons that you can print at home. National brands also offer online discounts. Coupons still come through the mail and the local papers, so keep the scissors handy.

5. Don’t buy beauty at the grocery store. It’s too easy to grab a lipstick when you just need bread. Grocery stores have aisles dedicated to personal items, but don’t pay the price. Makeup and hair products are expensive enough, so mark these off your food list, and shop for them at discount stores.

Get into the habit of planning before you head to the grocery store. Follow online blogs for real-world advice, and check you area paper for local specials. Tune into radio programs that focus on money-saving suggestions, like the John Labunski Dallas news show. His broadcasts focus on practical ideas that help you hang on to your hard earned cash. Times are tough, but with the right strategy, you can put away the hammer and start stuffing some savings back into that piggy bank.


Eight Ways To Feed Your Family In A Frugal Fashion

Eight Ways To Feed Your Family In A Frugal Fashion

If you have a family, you are likely to be well aware of the significant cost associated with feeding them on a weekly basis. Therefore, although there are certainly many ways to cut down on your spending, when it comes to family households, some of the biggest savings can be made by simply being careful how you stock the kitchen. Should you be interested in cutting down on how much you spend on food each week, here are eight tips for doing just that.

Purchase Ingredients Not Meals

Although ready prepared food is certainly convenient, said convenience isn’t exactly cheap. If you are a good cook, or you are willing to learn, you can save a significant amount of money each week by simply cooking most of your meals from scratch with fresh ingredients. And depending on your culinary skills, you might even find that what you cook yourself is not only significantly cheaper, it also tastes better.

Purchase Generic Products

Many of the products that you purchase each week can be purchased in generic form without sacrificing on taste. And because supermarkets often offer basic generic products at cost price, you can make some real savings.

Despite the fact that such goods are often priced as low as twenty five percent of the cost of branded alternatives, most of them taste almost identical. Although there are some items that it’s worth paying extra for, items such as tinned vegetables, cereals and fruit juices are all better off purchased in generic form.

Stock Up on Discounted Favorites

Although you should never purchase something that you won’t eat solely because it’s on sale, when the food in question is something that you generally purchase every week, it is well worth stocking up. Even popular brands that generally cost quite a bit occasionally go on sale at significant discounts. If you take advantage of such offers when they come up, the savings over the course of a year can add up to a surprisingly high amount.

Never Grocery Shop Without a List

Speaking of discounted goods, those in charge of supermarket design are highly adept at getting consumers to purchase food that they really don’t need. It doesn’t matter how good your intentions are when you enter a supermarket, if you don’t arrive armed with a strict shopping list you are highly unlikely to shop in a frugal manner.

Hit the Street Markets

The convenience of purchasing all of your food from a single place certainly cannot be denied but once again, such convenience is costing you money. While supermarkets offer the lowest prices on most goods, when it comes to fruit and vegetables, the best prices are almost always found at street markets. And when it comes to meat, the lowest prices, and the best quality, is usually found at the butcher. Therefore, if you are serious about saving money on food, and you have the time to spare, don’t purchase everything in the same place.

Avoid Loose Supermarket Produce

On the other hand, if you insist on purchasing your fruit and vegetables from the supermarket, you should always purchase the packaged variety. This is because when supermarkets sell loose fruit and vegetables, they charge consumers according to the weight. Packaged produce on the other hand is generally sold by the unit. And due to the variation in how much a unit of produce generally weighs, packaged produce always offers more weight for your money.

Forget About Loyalty Cards

Most people head to the same supermarket week in and week out, and in doing so they get a few dollars back each month thanks to their loyalty cards. The savings offered by loyalty cards however are typically only around one percent, and supermarket loyalty tends to cost people significantly more than that.

What supermarket is the cheapest tends to change every week, as each throws different promotions and price reductions. Taking advantage of such promotions each week is always going to save you far more than the cash back offered by a loyalty card.

Printable Coupons

Finally, it would be difficult to write an article about frugal food shopping without mentioning the benefits of coupons. Although many people assume that only minor savings can be made, if you head to the supermarket with enough of them, you might be surprised by just how much you can save.

The key is to not rely on supermarkets to send you coupons in the mail. Instead you should head to their website and find the printable variety. Provided you are careful not to purchase products that you otherwise wouldn’t, you might find that savings of up to ten percent are not uncommon. And when you start searching online for manufacturer coupons also, you can expect to save even more.

Richard Braine writes on behalf of Cash for Gold UK, specialists in turning your unwanted gold into cash with simple, safe and secure processes.


Enjoy Summer Fun without Splashing Out

Enjoy Summer Fun without Splashing Out

When your budget leaves you with little room for extra treats, it can be difficult to find ways to enjoy yourself without spending a fortune. By getting creative this summer and making the most of the free or more affordable opportunities which are all around, you will be able to enjoy a long summer of fun in the sun, without damaging your bank balance.
If you regularly take holidays abroad during the summer months, but a break abroad will be beyond your budget this year, take a look at the following cheap ideas of how you could enjoy a summer to remember, even if you are staying at home.

Pack Up a Picnic

Why spend money on an expensive meal at a restaurant when you can make up a picnic basket or cool bag of treats and head outside to enjoy the scenery? Whether you are simply dining al fresco with a fresh salad on your garden lawn, or you are taking a trip to your favorite park for an afternoon of sunshine and sandwiches, a picnic is an easy and affordable way to spend a relaxing day.
If a big group of you get together and agree to each bring a different item of food or drink, then your picnic can be even more affordable. All you need are a few things to eat, some refreshing drinks and a picnic blanket, and you will be all set for a simple yet enjoyable lunch in the open air. For something a little different, why not try a classic barbecue with your friends on a summer evening?

Get Gardening

Gardening isn’t just about mundane tasks like mowing the lawn. When the sun shines, take the opportunity to get outside and make the most of the sun by spending some time improving your green space. Colourful and fragrant flowers help to make any garden a more pleasant space to spend an hour or two, so why not invest in a few new plants to brighten up your outside space?
Not only will you be improving your garden, but you will also be enjoying the fresh air, getting a good tan and lifting your spirits. All without spending a fortune.

Grab your Walking Boots

If you are lucky enough to live in the countryside, then you will be surrounded by opportunities for affordable exercise. Simply put on a good pair of walking shoes, grab a bottle of water to keep you refreshed, and head out into the fresh air to enjoy a relaxing walk. Whether you prefer a leisurely stroll or a more adventurous hike, going for a walk is a proven way to improve your mood and give your health a boost.
If you live in a more urban environment, then you can still enjoy the benefits of a good walk. Take a trip to a different area of your town or city and explore new streets, or alternatively go for a quiet stroll around your nearest park.

Go On a Fruit Hunt

From picking strawberries to seeking out blackberries, fruit picking is synonymous with summer, and doesn’t cost a penny. Grab a basket or bag, head to your nearest hedgerow, and see what delicious treats you can discover. Whether you are picking to eat, or are planning to whip up a delicious smoothie with your bounty, going on the lookout for fresh fruit is a rewarding and enjoyable way to spend a summer day.
There are numerous farms who offer self-picking, where you can help to bring in the fruity harvest in return for a few pieces of fruit of your own.
These are just a few of the ways to enjoy the summer season without stretching your budget. Think a little more creatively and it can be easy to find free and fun ways to make the most of the summer.

This post was written by Hayley Francis on behalf of Pounds to Pocket, providers of unsecured loans to help with your financial situation.


Seven Simple Ways to Cut Household Costs

Seven Simple Ways to Cut Household Costs

Household bills continue to be a major drain on family finances. While people cannot avoid them completely, there are things that can be done to cut expenses and make them more manageable.

Clean up your finances

Cleaning products can make an expensive dent on your supermarket bills. The various sprays, scrubs and wipes that you can buy can really add up. Take a look at how much you are spending on these items. There may be cheaper products you can use; for example, cleaning wipes will be more expensive than simply spraying cleaner onto a cloth yourself. There are also natural products such as lemon juice and vinegar that you can use to clean in the house. These can be effective as well as economical.

One of the easiest things to do is to reuse items you already have when it comes to household cleaning. Cloths can be expensive, so try turning old towels or clothes into rags for cleaning. Pop them in the washing machine to keep them fresh.

Budget-busting tips

Actively look out for vouchers and coupons you can use to set against the cost of shopping, products and services. There are plenty of websites now that specialise in daily offers of discount vouchers that can give very significant savings and manufacturer websites often have deals on their items too. You can also take the old-fashioned step of cutting and clipping out coupons from food packets and tins.

Energy costs have soared in recent years but there are ways to cut bills. Buy energy-efficient appliances to help the environment and your budget. Modern household essentials such as washing machines, dishwashers and fridge freezers are now marked with a rating that shows which use the least amount of electricity. The best performers will shave pounds off your energy bills.

Shopping around is a tried and tested way of saving money. Research on the internet to find the best prices for pretty much anything you are buying, especially big household items.

Look out for finance deals that have 0% interest rates over several years to take the sting out of a big purchase and spread the cost. If you can afford it, bulk buy items you would be putting in your shopping basket anyway. Special offers (especially buy-one, get-one-free deals) on non-perishable food items can be a great way to stock up.

Keep items in good condition to ensure they last longer. Follow the maintenance and care instructions for appliances, vacuum cleaners, etc., to ensure they stay in tip top working order. When buying items look out for offers of free or cheap extended guarantees so that if something does break down you don’t face an expensive repair bill, perhaps for up to five years.

Having several pots simmering on the stove can get the electricity and gas metres ticking over, so find some great one-pot recipes to save on the utility bills and the washing up.

Apply as many of these money-saving tips as you can and hopefully you’ll soon notice the difference in your household expenditure.

This guest post was written by British financial blogger Francesca who writes on behalf of IVA Expert. Share your best money saving tips by leaving a comment or by Tweeting @franki_blogs!

Image Source


Ways to Stay Fashionable this Summer on a Budget

Ways to Stay Fashionable this Summer on a Budget

My sister has the absolute greatest knack for unearthing the best sales in the mall, or stepping foot into a thrift store only to throw together the most amazing outfit for around $15 from top to bottom. Since I was not so lucky to have been born with the nose of a bloodhound when it comes to sniffing out such steals, I’ve employed some research and some of sis’s best tips for scouting out sales and deals, and putting together a fashionable closet on a budget.

The trends this summer are pretty bold, and of course nothing like they were last summer. What’s a girl to do to keep up with the trends while sticking to a budget? Although it can be tricky to find items that both meet the budget and are trendy and wearable, it can certainly be done with some tips and tricks of the trade. Read on for the guidelines that can help steer you towards maintaining a sense of style and sticking to even the strictest of budgets.

Buy “It” Pieces at Inexpensive Stores

Trends that are very “of the moment” do not warrant spending your hard-earned cash on them, since they will probably only be here for a season. Sure, you want to keep with the times and be in style, but don’t blow your whole summer budget on a neon yellow skirt, as hot as it may be right now. Instead, buy these sorts of items at stores like Charlotte Russe and Forever 21, where you won’t feel buyer’s remorse if the item you purchased experiences a very short shelf life in its trendiness. Current trends include bold colors like bright orange, acid yellow, and neon’s. Soft pastels are big as well, by way of shorts, skinnies, and tops.

Shop Second-Hand

We are particularly lucky this summer because a lot of older trends are coming back, and that means thrift store heaven! Don’t knock thrift store shopping until you’ve tried it. It can be fun, creative, and of course inexpensive. Some tips I’ve learned from my sister are to look up zip codes of the wealthier neighborhoods in town, and find second-hand stores in these neighborhoods. You can certainly shop in Goodwill’s or other thrift stores in the trendy areas, just realize that you are probably up against some stiff competition. If you search out the more suburban stores, chances are there will be more merchandise and less people sifting through it.

This summer, look for wedge heels, which are making a huge comeback (maybe also peruse your parents’ closets or the attic for some classic wedges.) Another popular trend that’s making a comeback is sheer long sleeved blouses, worn with a bra or slip underneath. And denim button-up shirts are experiencing a revival as well, so scour a thrift shop or consignment store near you to score sweet deals on these retro comebacks.

And my last word on second-hand stores is to also look at what you can turn a shirt or old pair of pants into. I once bought a pair of high-end jeans that had stains on the knees and jagged bottoms, paid no more than $10 for them at a thrift store, and went to town on them with a pair of scissors. It now appears that I have name-brand jean shorts, and I wear them with everything. Be creative and don’t dismiss an awesome item just because it has a few buttons missing—ask for a discount and think or ways to spruce it up for cheap.

Save Up for the Staples

The best advice I’ve gotten from my fashion-savvy sister is that staple items like white button-down shirts, black slacks, and your favorite pair of skinny jeans are worth a small splurge. That’s not to say that it’s okay to drop an excessive amount on these pieces just because you need them, but think of them as the foundation for many other outfits to come.

For example, I love Gap slacks but cringe at paying the full $70 or so full-price. Instead, I weathered the post-Christmas shop rush on the counsel of my sis and low and behold scored a pair of straight-leg black slacks on the Clearance rack for a whopping $12.50. I did have to pay $13 to get the hem tailored, but a total of $25.50 for my staple black slacks that fit like a glove is still a steal. The bottom line with staple items is to constantly be on the hunt for these items, and get them if you can at a good bargain—even if it means weathering holiday weekend shopping rushes. And don’t be afraid to shell out a little more money for something you are going to wear ALL the time, as opposed to a “hot now” item.

Shop the Outlets

If you have never been an outlet shopper, it’s worth it to go once just to see what you’re missing! I’ve gotten so many good deals at outlets and swear by them. My advice is to make a list of things you need, such as a new work shirt or a fall jacket. I got one of my favorite work shirts at Banana Republic’s outlet store, although I would never buy one full price. I found a BR outlet about a half hour from my house, shopped the day after Thanksgiving, and got my “go to” white button down for 25% off the outlet price (around $30.) Even if there hadn’t been an additional sale going on, it still would have been a good deal. Stores like Coach sell clutches and wristlets for a fraction of the price you’d find in the mall stores, too. I scored a white-and-yellow summery Coach wristlet a couple of years ago for $23 that I still have and goes perfect with a little sundress.

Use Accessories

Use nail polish and an at-home manicure to add some pop to your outfit without splurging too much. Likewise, hats, jewelry and hair accessories can go a long way towards giving your look that little extra kick. I purchased a tan colored fedora last year at a swap meet for $6, and it is like my summer sidekick. It looks great with all of my outfits, and is perfect for keeping rays off my face at the beach. It made me cringe when a friend of mine purchased on from J. Crew for almost $70, when I had gotten mine for so much less. Hers did come with a colored band around the hat, which mine didn’t, but I added a ribbon from my craft kit for nothing and they look nearly identical.

If you’re using jewelry to amp up your look, try finding pieces from thrift stores or summer festivals. Often times at fairs and craft festivals you can barter for price tag, and they’re original pieces that can double as conversation pieces.

Be a Coupon Clipper

Gone are the days of getting every single coupon and deal in the Sunday paper. Instead, search for coupon codes to redeem online, or even coupons that you can print out and bring in the store. Some stores will even allow you to simply pull the coupon up on your Smart Phone, and show it to them when you check out (but call ahead to see if this method is accepted.)

If you sign up for shopittome.com, you can note which brands and sized are of interest to you, and the website will send you alerts when these things go on sale in your area.

Have a Closet Swap

My girlfriends and I get together every couple of months to do a closet swap, where we all rifle through our clothes and pack up what we haven’t worn in months, then meet at somebody’s house and swap pieces. What’s old becomes new again, for somebody else. I do this with one girlfriend where we don’t each keep the pieces we exchange, rather we simply borrow them, but it’s fun to do give-aways as well.

Follow Blogs like the Budget Fashionista

Just to name one, but there are many blogs out there devoted to staying up on the current fashions for a fraction of the price. The Budget Fashionista, for example, found a few summery skirts for excellent prices and posted them on her site, including a very trendy polka dot swing skirt for under $20, a breezy white skirt that can become a weekend go-to for $29, and a versatile maxi skirt for $25.

Put Together a Budget for Pieces You “Have” to Have

Last but most certainly not least, make sure that if there is an item out there that you find yourself longing for, make a budget to save up the money to purchase it. This is a good way to avoid buyer’s remorse, since you will have to think on it and save for it for awhile, and if it doesn’t end up being that important or special you just won’t buy it. It’s also a surefire way to avoid accruing shopping debt. And with the times being what they are, and living in a nation plagues with credit card debt, student loan debt, and credit scores that have seen better days, trust me, it’s worth saving up for something instead of making an impulse purchase.

If you enjoyed DK’s article, check out RoadFish.com for more articles on personal finance.


Five Common Mistakes Regarding Travel & Entertainment Deductions

Five Common Mistakes Regarding Travel & Entertainment Deductions

Expenses for entertaining and travel are one of the most common expenses that small and medium sized businesses have to make. They are also one of the areas of expenses that cause the most confusion and seem to have the most unexpected complications for people when filling out their tax forms. That’s because of some common mistakes people make when calculating their entertaining and travel deductions. This article will look at these common mistakes:

(1) You Can Deduct 100% of the Cost of Business Entertaining and Business Meals.

Of course you can’t. In fact, when you take a client, vendor, customer or potential partner out to lunch, dinner, social event or even drinks, you are only permitted to deduct 50% of the total spend. That 50% is the absolute limit you can deduct, regardless of whether you only spend a couple of dollars or as much as $200. So you take a client out for dinner and a sports event and spend $400 for the evening. You can claim $200 on your tax return.

(2) You Can Deduct the Cost of Your Daily Commute.

It doesn’t matter what area you work in, where your job is based or how far you have to travel to get to work. You are not allowed to put in a claim for travel that is considered to be commuting to work. Commuting is classed as a non-deductible expense. There are exceptions however. If for example you are moving heavy equipment that is part of your job, (such as large machinery or a particularly large musical instrument) then you will be able to deduct the cost of that bit of your journey. Similarly, from the moment you arrive at your job or workplace, any journey you make for the purposes of your job or your business, is immediately deductible. And lastly, if you are one of the thousands of people who work from home and you have declared your home as your place of business then any journey you make from your home for business purposes is considered deductible and not classed as a commute.

(3) There is a Limit to How Much You Are Permitted to Deduct

Actually, there is no upper limit on the amount you can claim for entertaining or travel expenses. The only stipulation really is that the money you spend on entertaining should not be ‘lavish and extravagant.’ Clearly this is open to wide interpretation. The money a high flying headhunter spends on wooing a major banker will obviously be far more lavish than the money a small law firm in a small town spends on a new client. It’s up to you and your accountant to work out whether the amount you spend on expenses is appropriate.

(4) You Need to Keep Receipts for Everything.

In fact it is not necessary to keep receipts for anything less than $75 when it comes to your travel and entertainment expenses (with the exception of hotel bills). So, if you take a client for a couple of beers then pay for them to take a taxi back to the station and it all comes to about $30 then you don’t need to keep the receipts. On the other hand it never hurts to keep them anyway, just for your own financial housekeeping and in case the IRS ever decides to doubt you!

(5) You Can’t Combine Business and Pleasure When It Comes to Travel Expenses

Under certain circumstances you can. One example would be taking your family with you on a business trip. Should you be making a business trip within the US and making a deduction for the trip, it doesn’t matter if you bring your family or partner with you, the deduction is still allowed. Obviously you could not include any additional costs for the trip as a result of your family coming with you (such as sightseeing or additional hotel rooms) but the costs of the primary reason for the journey (including travel, expenses, business hotel rooms etc)  will all be deductible.

 

Esther is a financial blogger. She writes about everything from small business advice to financial software and from taxes to mortgages to where to find a good financing company.


Promo Codes Are they Worth the Fuss?

Promo Codes Are they Worth the Fuss?

Nowadays it seems like everyone and their dog offers promo codes for this service or that product. The amount of promotional e-mails that fly into inboxes can stack up quickly, leading to an overabundance of e-mails full of special offers and discount codes that can seem overwhelming. Then, when you do want to buy something, it seems that a promotional code is nowhere to be found. You have to spend several minutes before each online shopping trip searching for relevant and active codes to use on your purchase. It can seem like the entire process is not worth the effort.

However, promotional codes can provide customers with beneficial discounts and significant savings on products if used properly. When used in the correct ways, promotional codes live up to their hype and are worth the fuss it takes to find and use them on most products.

The Goal of Promo Codes
Retailers offer promotional codes to customers as a way to bring in new business, pull shoppers into their online stores, and as a way to improve brand loyalty. Customers feel like they receive a better deal with the option to save with free discount codes and are more likely to shop at a store that offers visible discounts. Retailers use this marketing strategy to get customers to commit to purchases. When customers feel like they get a good deal, then they are much more likely to shop at that store again. This benefits customers and the retailer at the same time.

Types of Promo Codes
Promotional codes come in several different forms in the online world.

• Voucher Codes: Vouchers provide shoppers with a code they can enter at checkout for additional discounts on products. These codes often provide additional savings on select products or may offer free shipping or even a free product with purchase. These codes are the most similar to the traditional couponing experience and are often sent through e-mail advertisement campaigns.

• Discount Deals: Discount deals are hosted by third-party sites and allow retailers to build up their customer base by offering unique discounts to customers. Customers can usually find discounts for the entire store, such as a deal to pay $25 for $50 worth of products at the store. These discount deals connect retailers with customers and benefit both sides of the equation.

• Loyalty Points: Loyalty points provide a way for retailers to reward their customers. Customers that shop often at a specific brand can earn rewards points that will offer larger discounts, exclusive deals, pre-sale shopping, and even cash back. This is one of the best ways that retailers can reward loyal customers and help them feel valued.

Benefits of Promo Codes
Promotional codes offer many benefits to customers. The popularity of promo codes means that it is possible to find a promotional code for nearly every online store on any given day. No matter what you are shopping for, you will probably be able to find a discount for at least a few dollars. Promo codes also help you save with every purchase. The steep competition between online retailers means they are constantly trying to outdo each other. This results in greater benefits for customers and bigger discounts on merchandise from clothing to large electronics.

Drawbacks of Promo Codes
If you are not careful, you can fall into the pitfalls of promotional codes. It is hard to resist good deals, even if you are not currently in the market for that item. If you find yourself placing an order for a new product almost everyday, then you may be purchasing items that you do not need just because of the enticing discount. Some promotional codes only work when you purchase certain items, such as only working on new merchandise and not the sale merchandise. Receiving hundreds of promotional offers in your mailbox each week can be irritating and time-consuming to delete.

Eliminating the Hassle
It is not difficult to eliminate the hassle of promotional codes. Unsubscribe to all offers expect for your favorite brands where you shop often. Look at the discounts each week, but only make a purchase if the store offers something you actually need. When shopping for anything else online, complete a quick search for a promo code to help you save more on your purchase. Many websites have a list of all current promotional codes for online shopping.

Citations:

This is a guest post by Sam, who currently represents Ozvouchercodes a phenominal resource for saving money with online coupons and promos.


Couponing for Beginners

Couponing for Beginners

As the economy gets tighter, many families have come to find that couponing is the only way to get what they truly need while sticking to the family budget. If you have wanted to get started using coupons but aren’t sure where to start, this quick-start guide is just for you.

Step 1: Get Your Coupons

There are many sources for great, usable coupons that will save you big. Try these for starters:

  • The Sunday Paper – Get the paper with the highest circulation for the biggest variety of coupons. If you are serious, buy one paper for each family member.
  • Friends and Family – Ask your loved ones to save any unwanted coupons for you. They will probably be happy to do so.
  • Hit the Internet – There are thousands of printable coupons on the Internet. You can find them on couponing sites or on manufacturer sites.
  • Use a Clipping Service – If there are current coupons that you could use in multiples, ordering from a clipping service could save you quite a bit in the long run.
  • Check Your Stores – Many stores have coupons available. All you have to do is ask or look around.

Step 2: Get Organized

Your organizational system will depend upon your style and preferences. Here are some possible ideas to get you started:

  • Envelopes – For beginners, a check file or a set of envelopes will suffice. As your operation grows, however, you will probably need to change your system a bit.
  • Electronic Organization – For the least amount of work, file your coupon inserts by date and then locate the ones you need through an online database of coupons.
  • Binder – One of the most effective systems for serious couponers is to use a three-ring binder with baseball card holders. Simply take your binder with you every time you shop.

Step 3: Learn Your Store’s Policies

For maximum savings, you will need to know your store’s policies on coupon redemption.

  • Loyalty Card – Many stores offer a loyalty card that offers special savings. These cards are free, so make sure to get yours.
  • Doubling or Tripling – Many stores will run double or triple coupon promotions. Find out when your store does so and shop on those days. You will also need to know the maximum double and triple amounts as well as how many coupons you can use during the promotion.
  • Stacking – Check to see if your store will allow you to combine store and manufacturer coupons on the same item.
  • Competitor Coupons – Many stores will honor coupons issued by their competitors and will also match advertised sale prices. It is worth your time to know which stores do so.

Have a Plan

To get the most from couponing, you must have a solid plan. Make a list before shopping and try to use coupons on items that are on sale for the highest savings. Check weekly ads and make sure to ask for a raincheck if an on-sale item is sold out. Just be sure not to buy an item you don’t need just because you have a good coupon. After all, couponing is about saving on items you would buy anyway, not spending unnecessarily.

About the Author

Kevin D. is a writer for HowDoIbe.com. This is a site that can help you learn how to save money, and even learn how to become a investment banker. You will learn more about couponing, and save more than before.

Image credit


Things You Can Do More Cheaply With Coupons

Things You Can Do More Cheaply With Coupons

Coupon websites give us a fantastic opportunity to get great discounts on all sorts of activities which range between a whole host of different things. The temptation for many people here it seems is to look at only eating out as the main thing you do with coupons, when actually there are many more great opportunities this can open up. Here we will look at a few of those activities, which will hopefully give you some inspiration as to ways you can have a great day out and save money.

Restaurants

Well yes, restaurants still are something you can do with coupons, so make sure that you consider this option and do use them from time to time. In fact if you’re looking to save money then you may as well always pick venues that have coupon deals and over the course of a couple of years you can probably save hundreds this way.

Activities

More exciting perhaps are the range of activities you can get involved in using coupons. These generally mean things like driving classic cars or sports cars, going bungee jumping or skydiving, doing high ropes, caving, white water rafting or anything else of that ilk. This way you can enjoy a great adventure and get your surge of adrenaline while also ticking off items from your bucket list. If you are the kind of person who believes life is about the experiences then this is a must for you.

Staying in Hotels

Coupons will often help you to save money on hotel stays and this can be used in many ways. Of course you can use this to get money off of a holiday, or you can plan your holiday around them. Likewise it can also be useful of course for family events and business trips. Alternatively though, just booking a hotel somewhere and going to stay there for a night or two can be an incredibly relaxing and romantic way to spend a weekend.

Classes

Coupons for classes are particularly useful as they enable you to increase your skill set and to even improve your CV. This way you can learn a language, learn to cook, learn to give massages or pick up any number of other skills in order to have more strings to your proverbial bow.

Cinema

You can also use coupons at the cinema which is a great way to make a general activity cheaper and turn it into something you can do on a whim or when you want to rather than it being something that you can only do on very special occasions.

Shopping

Often coupons can help you to get great deals at particular stores and this is of course a good way to save yourself a regular expense such as your weekly shop, or to get things you want that otherwise wouldn’t be able to justify. Do remember though – it’s not saving money unless you would have bought it otherwise.

Treatments

You can also get coupons for spa days, which are a great way to unwind and take a break from everything – the health benefits of which can’t be overstated. At the same time you can also use coupons when getting various necessary treatments which include things like haircuts, getting waxed or doing your nails.

Brian Kreesy likes to share some attractive textbook coupons on his site to help readers to get the best deals in textbooks. He has come up with a site named TextbookCoupons.com to achieve this.


%d bloggers like this: