money saving tips

Five Ways to Get Extra Money

Bills have a way of cropping up when they are least welcome, especially during the summer months when the electric bill can skyrocket to levels unseen since Enron decided to play around with the California electrical grid.

Here are five ways you can make a quick buck to help catching up on expenses.


Starting your own company can be one of the most rewarding experiences possible in a modern capitalist society. You will encounter new people and face challenges that the average office drone will never encounter.

The potential for profit extends beyond the first client. You can potentially build up a company that you can sell for a decent profit down the line. A business is an investment in yourself and your name. Take great care, and it will turn you a profit both now and in the years to follow. If you’re not sure how to get started here is a good article on freelancing.

Donate Blood or Plasma

Blood banks constantly need fresh supplies, especially for rarer blood types. Contact your local commercial blood bank and find out if they are accepting paid donations today. If so, make a point to stop by and do your civic duty.

Going to a blood bank does more than give you a quick buck – it enables you to take solace in the fact that you could very well be saving a life.

Go to a Pawn Shop

Few people are willing to part with any of their possessions. In a pinch every option must be considered. Is that old television really worth keeping around? How about that computer you replaced with the last tax check?

Take an inventory of your home, and try to offload everything you do not use. Pay close attention to unneeded items that run up your bill, such as that old CRT television in the kids play room. It is an electrical nightmare, costing dollars per day.

Ask For More Hours

If you work in service, approach your employers about working more hours. During the summer months, the amount of business the company receives will normally increase. By offering to take on a greater work load, you can not only make more money but put yourself in a more favorable position for a promotion to manager.

Write a Story

Magazines are looking for stories all the time. So are publishers, both big and small. Drag out that half-finished story you typed up one slow day and finish it. Bring in your worst enemy, and ask that he does his worst. In the end, you will have a well written story ready for submission to many different organizations.

This is a good way to be creative and make a quick buck – additionally if you are successful, this will create a new revenue stream to help you out in the future. As a bonus here is a good article on how to get money fast which has ways not mentioned here.

Do not be afraid to ask for help, new writers come on the scene every day, so take advantage of the resources offered.

Get Rid Of Your Bad Spending Habits And Save

Its always easier to blow right through a budget than it is actually to stick by one. Shopping, eating out, and just purchasing impulsive items is something that we all have probably done in the past. And when you see your credit card statements, you won’t be smiling. But you can always begin with a fresh start, and put a savings plan together.

So read on for some tips you that you can use to get you started on the right track today.

You can get many tips all over the Internet that you can implement in your savings plan. But what can you use that will affect you each and everyday?

It Might not be the Big Ticket…

It might not really be about the big ticket items that are draining your bank account. For example, are you a coffee drinker? If you go to the coffee bar daily, you might be spending upwards of $3 per day. These items tend to add up over time. If you figure that you might purchase one each workday, then that is $60 per month. If you put that in a savings or checking account, then that adds up to $720 for the entire year You can also click here to know more about it. And this can apply to anything that you purchase in small amounts.

Try bringing your lunch with you rather than going out to eat. The savings will start to really add up. This will also give you a great opportunity to cook your own meals, which can help you lose weight or stay in shape.

Don’t Make This Common Mistake…

Most people make the minimum credit card payment each month. It really will feel great to pay down your debt. Add money to your credit card payments each month. Don’t make the minimum. Soon you may see it as a game and challenge to get your debt down to $0. And your bank account will thank you.


Now how many people wait for their paycheck and then splurge and start to purchase items they don’t need. Why not put as much as you can in a savings account, and just take out what you must.  But if you just can’t seem to store away some of your savings each month, there are some strategies you may not like, but they will work. ‘

Have Your Employer Automatically…

You can actually have a certain amount of money automatically deducted from your bank account each month, and have that transferred to a savings account, or even a Roth IRA. Many employers will deduct money from your paycheck if they offer you a 401K. Many professionals highly recommend that you contribute as much as you can to the 401K.

Remember that only you will be able to control your spending, and reel in your poor habits. It will take some work, and soon enough you won’t see it as a hindrance, but as something that you’re proud of. It’s not painful to save money, in fact, your will be happy as your bank account swells.

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By Henry H. Hernandez

Henry Hernandez is an avid hiker, father and veteran from the lone star state. Henry works with an online Houston apartment locator, You can find Henry on Google Plus.

Money Advice You Should Ignore

There are a lot of financial “gurus” out there and plenty of blogs and magazines that offer the “best financial advice”, but a lot of them are just interested in writing an article or they are just misinformed. You may even have a close friend or family member who means well, but just doesn’t know what they are talking about when it comes to money.

Some of this expert advice could actually end up harming your financial situation rather than helping it. So how can you tell the good advice from the bad? What advice should be listened to and which advice should be ignored? It’s hard to know sometimes, but here are a few pieces of advice that should be ignored…

Cut the Cards

cut card

I hear it all the time and it’s not 100% bad advice, but taken to the extreme it could be really bad. That advice is to destroy all of your credit cards. Remember, the problem isn’t the card, it’s the one using the card.

I am firm believer in staying out of credit card debt, but I am also a firm believer in building your credit through the use of credit cards. The problem with destroying your credit cards, as I see it, is that it is really hard to build your credit score without them. Also, in cases of emergency a credit card can be a lifesaver. The trick is to pay off your credit card bills in a timely manner by paying more than the minimum monthly payment.

My advice is to pay off your credit card debt and then destroy all but one credit card for emergencies and for the sake of building your credit back up.

 A Life Plan For Your Children

A lot of insurance agents guilt trip well-meaning people into investing in a life plan for your kid should something tragic happen to you. It’s good to plan for the future, but what if nothing ever happens to you? Then you have been paying for something totally useless!

I recommend that instead of investing in a life plan you invest in your child’s college fund. This way they get the money w

hether or not you die and you can actually use it toward something.

No Fun

So you are in debt, you don’t have the greatest income, but you are still human. I hear it all the time that you shouldn’t budget for “fun” when you are in debt, but if you don’t make provision for fun or entertainment then you will go crazy, hate life and resent being money smart. It doesn’t have to be a lot and you don’t have to do something every weekend, but set aside a little something for occasional fun or else you will go mad.

The Cost of Couponing

Couponing has become a craze recently and that’s not a bad thing, but like anything you can do it wrong and waste a lot of time and energy doing so. Actually do the math when couponing and make sure the savings are worth it.

A lot of people who coupon end up buying stuff they don’t need because they are “saving”. You are not saving if you buy something that you don’t really need, want or will ever use. Coupons can be a trap that people fall into, so remember that when you coupon the goal should be saving money on what you were already going to buy. Anything else is money down the drain.

With any advice I suggest that you chew the meat and spit out the bones. What I mean by that is that you should take in the good advice and ignore the bad. If you’re not sure then do some more research on your own and find out what you think would work best for you and your financial situation.

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By Henry H. Hernandez

Henry Hernandez is a veteran from Texas with a lrge family. Henry works with an e-commerce site that sells cheap checks online You can connect with Henry on Google+.

8 Millionaires That Made Their Money In The Stock Market

We all love the story of the dirt-poor person overcoming past adversity and rising up to make the big bucks, triumphing over society and all its ills. While today’s millionaires and billionaires do not all share such a romantic background, many have preserved and worked hard to get to where they are today.

So whether you’re just trying to save a few extra dollars or looking to make a sizeable investment in the stock market, take a look at the lives of these eight millionaires who’ve made their money in the stock market:

Benjamin Graham (1894-1976)

He’s been cited as the influencer of Warren Buffet, Irving Kahn, and David Dodd, among others. British-born American professional investor Benjamin Graham is considered as the father of value investing, an investment approach where, in simplistic terms, one buys securities that appear underpriced. Graham taught this approach at Columbia Business School and in his book with Dodd, Security Analysis (1934). His legacy is profound, to say the least.

Philip Fisher (1907-2004)

Philip Fisher is for many considered the father of investing in growth stocks. In 1931 at the age of 24, he started his own investment firm, Fisher & Company. Fisher managed this firm for nearly seven decades, retiring in 1999 at the ripe old age of 91. Most famously, Fisher bought Motorola stock in 1955 and held it until his death in 2004. His legacy also continues through his book Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits (1958).

Muriel “Mickie” Siebert (1928-2013)

Mickie Siebert holds a number of incredible records. The ‘First Woman of Finance’ was the first woman to own a seat on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and the first woman to head one of its member firms. When she began working, investment firms did not hire women beyond the role of secretaries. Despite this, Siebert obtained entry-level positions and eventually founded brokerage firm Muriel Siebert & Co, getting it registered on the NYSE after numerous rejections.

John “Jack” Bogle (1929-present)

Most well known for his bestselling book Common Sense on Mutual Funds: New Imperatives for the Intelligent Investor (1999), businessman Jack Bogle began his mutual fund company The Vanguard Group after being fired from his job at the Wellington Management Company. Today, Vanguard Group manages approximately $2.0 trillion in assets and much of its success can be attributed to Bogle’s leadership.

Warren Buffet (1930-present)

American business magnate, investor, and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Warren Buffet began investing in 1954 with just over $100. Today, he is worth over $20 billion and consistently named one of the wealthiest and most influential people in the world. Called the “Wizard of Omaha”, Buffet has accumulated his wealth primarily from investments in media, insurance, and consumer companies.

George Soros (1930-present)

It seems that 1930 was a good year to be born in. Known as “The Man Who Broke the Bank of England”, Hungarian-American business magnate George Soros has made a profound mark on the investment world, risking $10 billion on a single trade when he shorted the British Pound in 1992. Unlike many other top investors, he does not possess a clearly defined strategy, instead choosing to go with his gut feeling. If it works for him, then great!

Peter Lynch (1944-present)

American businessman and stock investor Peter Lynch has a reputation as being one of the world’s best fund managers, thanks to his management of the Fidelity Magellan Fund for over 13 years. Under his guidance and leadership, assets under management have grown from $20 million to over $14 billion along with an average annual return of 29%. Impressive, to say the least!

Mary Meeker (1959-present)

Mary Meeker is an American venture capitalist and former Wall Street securities analyst who specialises in the Internet and new technologies. A partner at Kleiner Perkin Caufield & Byer, Meeker has been called an internet oracle thanks in part to her piece “The Internet Report” that she wrote for Morgan Stanley in 1995. Since then, Meeker has been involved in many of the big investments and acquisitions of recent times, as well as investing in new investments such as Spotify and Groupon.

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Amelia Harris is a university student and freelance writer who is interested in personal finance and smart choices. She’s recently been learning about stock analysis in her free time – it’s fun, honestly!

Help Your Kids Become Financially Cautious

All of us have to go through some sort of financial crisis, at some point of our lives and it’s better to be familiarized with these kinds of financial crunches well in advance in your life. The sooner you learn to handle such difficulties, the easier it will be to handle such problems. There is no doubt regarding the fact you would like to offer a financially secured future to your children and to ensure this, it is important to generate the awareness among your children. Well, you cannot expect your children to learn all he financial strategies thoroughly as that might seem to be extremely boring to them; As an alternative, parents should come up with some interesting tools using which they can make their kids understand the value of money and the importance of smart saving. Here are some such tools that prove to extremely effective in terms of explaining the value of money and why should they make saving a practice –2978659159_81b24d3a44

  • Create a chart – Remember that parents are the first teachers to their children, and therefore you should be cautious enough regarding your spending habits. If your children see that their parents make it a point to save money religiously, they will also grow a habit of the same. To cultivate this habit from the very childhood, you should create a reference chart mentioning the total amount to be saved. For instance, if there is a parameter of 10% of total earnings to be saved, your children would know that if they get rupees 10, they must save 1 rupee out of that.
  • Put some money into Piggy bank – If your children are too small and it’s not possible make them understand the importance of saving money, it might not be feasible enough to create a bank account for them. Instead, consider creating a savings account for him at home, and the best way to do this is to create a piggy bank. Make sure your child put a certain amount of money in the piggy bank regularly, and count it after a certain period of time. This habit, would eventually help your kid to realize the value of saving. Again, make sure that you keep certain coins handy so that you can give them change if they ask for it in order to put in the piggy bank.
  • Try to Avoid impulsive shopping – Teach your children regarding being patient and ask them not to indulge into impulsive shopping. They must understand that it is not possible to buy everything that they want, right at that moment. Avoid buying them something right when they demand for it. This would give them a scope to reconsider whether they would really need that thing or not. If the kid doesn’t crave for that item anymore, it would mean that he just wanted to have that, and don’t need it that seriously.
  • Take them to the bank – Kids just love to behave like elders and there is no doubt that they would like to visit the bank with you. This would also help them get familiarized with all the formalities.

Save Money When Posting Your Large Christmas Presents This Year!

Save money when posting your large Christmas presents this year!

 A pile of presents and Christmas tree

Christmas is already an expensive enough time without you having to pay extra for the delivery of presents, but for those with friends and relatives who live far away, there just isn’t another option. This can turn Christmas from a time filled with joy to a time filled with stress.

However, it doesn’t have to be like that. There are ways in which you can reduce the cost of your deliveries hugely, and this can come in really handy if you’ve got a lot of things to send, as just as prices can add up to a hefty cost, savings can add up to a rather pleasing sum. Here are some tips for cutting the cost of your Christmas deliveries.

1. Send your gifts early

 Calendar showing month of December

Most organised people will know that leaving it too late to send your gifts at Christmas is risky, because it’s a busy time for all courier companies, and you’ll be lucky to get your packages delivered on time. However, sending gifts early can also save you money.

If you opt for next day delivery, the chances are your packages will be put in a half-filled van. Some services, however, do not deliver packages until the van is full, to save on fuel costs (and on unnecessary journeys). If you’ve got around 10 days to spare, you can use one of these services instead and you’ll find that your delivery cost is much cheaper.

2. Reuse old packaging


Paper and string-tied parcel


This tip is not only good for your bank account, but also for the environment.  The cost of delivery is not the only thing you need to pay for when sending packages. You also need to pay for the packaging itself, which can be quite expensive if you’re sending a particularly large or fragile item. If you open items you receive carefully and keep the packaging, you can use it later on to pack other items in without paying a penny.

3. Use a courier reseller

 Piggy bank sitting on money

When you go straight to a big brand, you’ll find that the costs are quite high. If you use a courier reseller, you’ll be able to deliver your packages for less without compromising on service quality. That’s because these sellers have amazing buying power with big companies like FedEx. They offer the services for less money and get the companies more business in return.

4. Compare prices online

 Laptop keyboard

Another way of getting great service for less money is shopping around online. You’ll find that many courier services online come from courier resellers, and a lot of them will be smaller and lesser known than the leaders of the market. They’ll offer their services for less to earn more business, but that doesn’t mean they’re any less efficient than the larger, more expensive brands. You can read reviews online to make sure they are trustworthy and reliable.

5. Post parcels from work

Chairs and desks in office

Many companies offer a benefit for staff where they can post their packages through the company and use the company discount. The cost will then be deducted from the employee’s wages, but it will be significantly less than it would have been if they posted it themselves. It’s worth asking at work if you can do this, because it could save you a lot of money if you’ve got a lot of packages to post.

6. Make sure parcels are packed properly

Large parcel

Whilst most of the time the cost of your delivery will depend on the weight of your packages, you also need to think about the volumetric weight. If your package is taking up a lot of space in the van, no matter how heavy it is, it’s going to cost you extra. Pack your parcels as tightly as you can and make sure there is no tape or packaging sticking out.

7. Separate your parcels

Van being loaded

Different courier companies often specialise in different areas, so if you use a company who normally deals with lighter parcels to deliver a heavier one, it might cost you more. If you send heavier parcels separately with a company who usually deal with them, you’ll probably find that they’re much cheaper to send.

8. Take out insurance on expensive items

 Porcelain/china vase

It might not sound like a way of saving money but it’s a good idea to have your more expensive items insured, especially if they are fragile, because if they break whilst they are being delivered, you could receive a large sum of money, or the courier company could pay for a replacement. If you don’t do this and an expensive gift gets broken in the mail, you’ll have lost out on a lot of money and your friend or family member will be short of a gift.

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Holly Williams is a writer who simply loves Christmas and, more specifically, saving money during the celebrations on everything from postage to turkeys.

Five Ways To Save Money At Home

Buffalo may not have been hit as hard by the economic downswing as some other cities but many of us are still lighter in the wallet than we would prefer. It seems that almost nobody has been able to entirely escape at least some of the economic sting. Besides, regardless of our current economic situation, it is unlikely that any of us like the idea of wasting money. We would never throw money away consciously but many of us don’t realize how much money we could save by being a little wiser at home. The monthly utility bill is one of the peskiest expenses but there are a number of easy things that can be done to cut that bill down and save some money. Here are three of the easiest and most effective.
1. Appliances
Most of our homes are packed full with gadgets, machines and appliances. Although most of these things are designed to simplify our lives and provide convenience, they can oftentimes do just the opposite. At the very least they can end up costing a lot of money. Being smart about the way you use your appliances can end up saving you a lot of money in the long run.
Big appliances such as dishwashers, dryers and washing machines have become so commonplace that we don’t even consider them luxuries anymore and as a result we don’t consider that there might be a more economical way to use them. You will find that your utility bills are significantly lower each month if you only run big appliances when you have a full load, rather than every time something needs to be washed or cleaned. You should also avoid running appliances that give off a decent amount of heat (ovens, dryers, dishwashers) during the day in the hot summer months. That excess heat will increase your home’s internal temperature and put an extra burden on your air conditioning.
2. Windows
Speaking of temperature control, doors and windows are the most crucial aspects in maintaining a desirable temperature in your home year round. We all know that winter in Buffalo can be bitter cold and we all want to keep that cold outside as much as possible. One effective way to keep winter heating bills low is to keep the curtains open on all south facing windows during daylight hours to allow UV rays to naturally warm the home. The opposite should be done in the hot summer months to keep air conditioning costs low—close all window coverings during daylight hours and particularly all those that are on east and west facing windows.
3. Lights
Another great way to save money and avoid wasting energy is through the conservative use of lights. Forming the habit of turning off lights when leaving a room seems small and inconsequential but the economical use of lighting will help your electricity bill in big ways. It is wasteful to leave lights on when you’re not using them and especially if lights are left on while you are out of the house for long periods of time, such as for vacations or business trips. Some will leave lights on when leaving the home as a security precaution but it is far more effective and far more affordable in the long run to put your lights on timers. Automatic timers do a better job of improving home security while also avoiding the consistent drain on energy that runs up electricity bills in a hurry.

David Glenn is a home improvement expert from buffalo that freelance writes for Vivint. He occasionally freelance writes about home automation and making your home more green. Check out Vivint’s home automation systems for state of the art home automation.

Money Saving Tips for First Time Students

Money Saving TipsFor many young people, going away to university represents their first independent steps into the financial world – and they can be overwhelming. Having to budget for food, bills, course materials and more can often leave many first-time students feeling depressed and overwhelmed. But it doesn’t need to be a challenge. With a little forethought and planning, it’s still possible to make even the tightest student budget stretch to cover everything you need.

Housing is an important consideration. While the all-inclusive option of student housing may seem like a great idea at first, removing the worry of bills and council tax, most student halls are now run by private companies that are profit-driven and don’t always represent the best deals. It’s worth investigating houseshares as an alternative; the rent is commonly around half the price of private student housing, and your household can work together to save energy and reduce bills. If you get along with your housemates, it’s also a great idea to cook communally. This saves a lot of money on your food bills, minimizes food waste and creates a great environment to live and work in too.

As well as saving money on where you live, an alternative approach can save you money on your course materials too. Check second hand bookshops for your required texts, or ask around on places like Freecycle or University message boards to see if any older students have texts they would be willing to part with for a discounted rates. These days, you can also find many important texts online, so check with your tutor if there is a cheaper way to access the material you need.

As a student, you’ll obviously want to spend some time socialising and having fun, but this doesn’t need to break the bank. Keep an eye on websites like Groupon and LivingSocial to find special deals at local restaurants and offers on nights out, and make the most of discounted students nights at local bars and clubs. You can also get great deals in local shops with your student ID, so make sure you have it with you at all times. Also, check out the fun things to do for free in your city. You’ll find museums, parks, historical sights, hiking and walking trails and plenty more to do that doesn’t cost a penny in every city.

Every student has a mobile phone, but do you really need to be spending the equivalent of a week’s food bill on a contract to get the latest iPhone? Instead, why not opt for an older model smart phone and pay half the price? Or, if you mostly use your phone for calls and texts, a pay-as-you-go tariff could be the best choice for you. Many networks let you order a free SIM card to try out their services, with plenty of deals available such as free texts and free calls to other users on the same network. For international students, check out a specialist service provider that offers discounted rates on calls to other countries. For example, networks like Lebara offer great opportunities for calling Pakistan cheaply, while others offer texts to places like India, China, Africa and Eastern Europe for as little as 10p per text.

Taking these first few steps into the world of finance can be scary at first, but with a little help and advice you’ll find yourself on your feet in no time at all.

How To Improve Home Energy Efficiency

It’s true to say that we are living in times of economic crisis. The current financial climate has resulted in the everyday person looking at ways to scrimp, save and cut costs in their day-to-day lives. Improving the energy efficiency of your household is a fantastic way to reduce your outgoings; best of all it can be achieved for next to nothing.

Ideally, once you have saved up enough money to leave the rain behind, you can escape to a hot sunny beach somewhere with a cocktail in your hand, but more importantly using less energy reduces your carbon footprint so that you can take pride in making a difference. So, here is your guide to the best ways to improve your household’s energy efficiency at various levels.

image source

Level 1-Ways of Staying Warm

One of the basic things to remember is do not leave your heating on constant. Leaving the heating on all day long is truly insane unless the country that you are in is experiencing Antarctic conditions. The heating is generally the most expensive bill for most households, so making any kind of difference will go a long way. Think about:

• Using thermostats – Use your household’s thermostats to your benefit. The majority of the time, all you need is the heating on for a couple of hours before you get up in the morning and a couple of hours for when you get home from work. From time to time you should check your meter to see how much you are saving. Adjust accordingly in winter and summer months.

• Wrapping up – If it is especially cold in your house, instead of hitting the ‘boost’ button on your heating, why not invest in a heated throw to wrap around you. Remember that hot water bottles or classic favourite and can also be your cheap friend on these occasions but there are some trendy gadgets you can buy that will do the trick, why not invest in USB foot warmers or go hi-tech with a Dyson Air Multiplier. The Dyson Air Multiplier is suitable for winter and summer as technology allows the air heat to change hot or cold, so with change of seasonal weather this fits in perfectly to the home.

Level 2- Preventing Draughts

Most of a household’s heat escapes through cracks in walls, windows and even through doors. Keeping the cold out whilst maintaining the heat is possible. Prevent draughts by investing in some heavy hanging curtains for your front and back doors. Also, be a detective in your own house by investigating where other draughts are coming from; keyhole covers and draught excluders are a good way to reduce the amount of cold weather coming in.

Level 3- Loft Insulation

One of the best ways to prevent heat from escaping is to invest in thick loft insulation. Remember, you can always top up your loft insulation if you are running low. Ideally, you want around 270mm of insulation covering your loft. In addition, know where the best places to insulate are, for example insulating between the joists will actually keep your house warmer.

Level 4- Double Glazing

Did you know that you can save around two hundred pounds a year by investing in double glazed windows when compared to single glazed? Generally a swift and pain free process, getting double glazed windows fitted in your property is one of the first things when making your household more energy efficient.

Level 5- Cut Down on Water

Saving energy isn’t all cutting down on heating bills; it’s your water bill too. Look at ways of reducing the amount of water you get through in your home. If you have young children look at sharing baths, or for adults there are shower gadgets you can buy to help try and reduce the level of water you use. Try and use your dishwasher and washing machine as little as possible by making sure it is completely full when you put it on and always turn it off from the mains, every little cost helps. Then do think about your boiler choice, there are eco-friendly boilers that will save you money. >/p>

Level 6- Alternative Energy Sources

If it is feasible for your household, why not look into going green with your energy? There are plenty of avenues you could go down, including solar, water and wind energy or even using an eco-stove to heat your house.

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Now that you have your guide, follow these top tips and you will be well on your way to saving a nice amount of money to put towards that beach holiday in Saint Tropez!

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Author: Many thanks to Jen Beswick and the Staunch and Flow Boiler repair team who created this article for you. We look forward to hearing if you have saved costs!

5 Coupon Hacks To Save Money

Who doesn’t love a deal?

You don’t need to be a die-hard coupon maniac to enjoy the thrill of BOGO (buy one get one). You don’t need to spend hours pouring over multiple copies of the Sunday paper to get a little rush as your grand total is reduced at checkout, either. Saving money just takes some savvy.

Here are five coupon hacks that can save you money from the comfort of your laptop or smartphone.

One thing to consider? Be careful about potential coupon fraud. It is easy to get fraudulent coupons or coupon codes online. If you don’t trust a site don’t continue, or you could open your computer or email address up to hackers. By following the official store brands and websites and using legitimate couponing websites or apps you can prevent fraud.

Get Honey

What’s sweeter than local honey? Honey the browser-based coupon-finder! That’s because Honey is a free coupon search engine that works with just a click.

Honey is a free extension that automatically searches for and applies coupon codes when you shop online. Honey works for over 100 online

stores so far, and growing. Here’s a video that shows Honey in action.

Fan & Follow

Don’t neglect to “like” or “follow” your favorite stores and brands in social media. Giving a simple “like” will put the store’s specials into your Facebook news feed. So will following the brand on Twitter. Monitor both for savings by checking in periodically, or keeping a notepad nearby to write down savings codes.

PHOTO: Flickr user MissMessieSavingStar Grocery Coupons

How would you like coupons automatically loaded onto your store loyalty cards? No cutting coupons and no need to remember to bring them with you. That’s the premise of SavingStar, a free service.

The savings here go on “behind the scenes” — you don’t get a discount at the register or see the discount on your receipt. You do, however, accrue your savings into a SavingStar account. Then you are paid via your bank account, PayPal, or Amazon gift card.

The money accumulated here can be spent at a number of online retailers or donated to your favorite nonprofit, like American Forests. If you choose the nonprofit route, you can effortlessly give to worthy causes without changing your shopping habits.

Rethink What You Really Need (Free!)

Coupons are great, but so is living with less and consuming less. One of the best coupon hacks is to focus on changing your lifestyle. Get off of as many treadmills as possible and your savings can be significant. Who says you have to live like everyone else, anyway?

Start at home. Reduce your family’s overhead costs by moving into a smaller house or getting rid of one of your vehicles. Plant a square foot garden to offset some of your food costs. Commute to work on your bike. Make your own laundry detergent and hang your laundry to dry on the line to reduce your utility costs.

These and multiple other changes do add up. Simplifying your life can also be deeply satisfying, too — and that’s worth just as much, or more, than any coupon savings.

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Katie McCaskey is a freelance journalist writing for Vistaprint Deals, the official website for Vistaprint coupon codes. Besides running a small business in Staunton, Virginia, Katie has covered personal finance and small business marketing topics for over 10 years.

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