shopping strategies http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/14804/all en-US The One Tool That Assures You Never Pay Too Much for Groceries http://www.wisebread.com/the-one-tool-that-assures-you-never-pay-too-much-for-groceries <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-one-tool-that-assures-you-never-pay-too-much-for-groceries" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/grocery-shopping-99132417-small.jpg" alt="grocery shopping" title="grocery shopping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="145" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Couponing, price-matching, and clearance browsing are all valid ways to save big money on the food and supplies you need each week. Many books are written on these tactics, but there is one, less-exciting method that is often overlooked. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-to-shop-for-food-cheaply-without-a-tedious-grocery-list?ref=seealso">Grocery Shopping for the Cheap and Lazy</a>)</p> <p>What is it? <em>A humble price book</em>.</p> <h2>What Is a Price Book?</h2> <p>A price book is exactly what the name implies: a written record of all the prices you would expect to pay for common household goods to be considered a good value. While many people use their price books for tracking and taking notes, the main purpose of the book is to tell you &mdash; at a glance &mdash; what you should be paying at the store.</p> <h2>How Can You Create a Price Book?</h2> <p>Whether you use a spreadsheet, notebook, or app, the concept is the same. You want to have a record of the 30 to 50 most purchased items for your household, along with the best average price for each.</p> <h3>Starting Out</h3> <p>Take milk, for example. Visit your local store and write down that day's price for milk in a notebook or a &quot;notes&quot; page in your official price book. Whether you buy it or not, you want to record the price. If it is a sale price, and the &quot;regular price&quot; is listed, write that down, too. Then, each week that a sale flyer comes out with the price of milk listed, make a note of these prices. Any time you visit the store again, make note of the price of milk, as well.</p> <p>After about two months, you should have noticed a trend on milk pricing, and quite possibly when it goes on sale. At the very least, you should have a rock-bottom price recorded, an average price, and a most expensive price. Your price book would then have an entry for milk with the highest price you should be willing to pay for milk, all prices considered. For many people this is usually a sale price that occurs often (at least once a week for most people given that milk is perishable) or an average between the lowest and the average price. If you see milk go on sale at 50% off during a special 4-day sale, for example, this wouldn't likely be the price you would record, since your odds of getting that price again aren't very good.</p> <p>Once you have established a price for milk, the same process can be repeated for all the items on your frequent shopping list. If you are busy and can't take the time to write down prices at the store, use old receipts to at least record the prices you've already been paying for various items. Keep in mind that items with a long shelf-life can have a more aggressively low price in the book, since it's possible to stock up and buy infrequently. Lunch meats or fresh veggies have less flexibility, since they don't last as long and may need to be purchased at prices other than rock-bottom.</p> <h2>How Do You Use a Price Book?</h2> <p>Putting the book into practice is simple. Take it with you on your next shopping trip, keeping an eye out for items in your book that you don't necessarily have an urgent need for. If items are priced at or below your price book price, you buy! If you are completely out of something, and can't wait until the price is right, you may be forced to purchase anyway. By stocking up and planning ahead, however, you soon shouldn't have to resort to emergency buying (even for items like milk).</p> <h3>Things to Consider</h3> <ul> <li>Price books are usually good for a year before they need adjusting (or more often in times of hyperinflation or when current events raise prices quickly). Revisit your pricing annually to make sure your price goals are realistic.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Practice good inventory records at home to avoid overbuying. Even if the price is great, you don't need more than what you can consume before the expiration date.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>&quot;First-In, First-Out&quot; or FIFO consumption guarantees that the oldest items get used before newer purchases, further protecting your great deals from spoilage or quality issues.</li> </ul> <h2>Tech-Savvy Options</h2> <p>If you get a hand-cramp just thinking about keeping an old-fashioned, pen-and-paper price book, go high-tech with an electronic version. Snap photos of prices with your cell phone or use scanning technology to get pricing via the store's app. Import your data into a spreadsheet or document that can be accessed anywhere. (Or better yet, use an app designed to do the work for you. <a href="http://thegrayworks.com/tgw/ValueTracker.html">Value Tracker</a> and <a href="http://www.cartcrunch.com/">Cart Crunch</a> are just two options that give you intuitive price book functionality at your fingertips!)</p> <p><em>Do you keep a price book? Tell us about it in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-one-tool-that-assures-you-never-pay-too-much-for-groceries">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-places-to-get-coupons-online">The Best Places to Get Coupons Online</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/want-to-save-a-bundle-on-your-groceries-consider-you-local-asian-market">Save a Bundle on Your Groceries: Consider Your Local Asian Market</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/easy-ways-to-save-on-7-everyday-buys">Easy Ways to Save on 7 Everyday Buys</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/unbearably-stupid-packaging">Dumbest packaging ever?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-is-gasoline-so-cheap-a-cost-comparison-of-40-common-household-liquids">Why is Gasoline So Cheap? A Cost Comparison of 40 Common Household Liquids</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping groceries price book shopping shopping strategies Fri, 11 Jul 2014 15:00:05 +0000 Linsey Knerl 1156977 at http://www.wisebread.com 20 More Signs That You Were Raised by Frugal Parents http://www.wisebread.com/20-more-signs-that-you-were-raised-by-frugal-parents <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/20-more-signs-that-you-were-raised-by-frugal-parents" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/old_photo.jpg" alt="Vintage family photo" title="Vintage family photo" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="149" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In August, I wrote an article entitled <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/30-signs-that-you-were-raised-by-frugal-parents">30 Signs You Were Raised by Frugal Parents</a>. That article was inspired by my own parents&rsquo; frugality and by witnessing how a whole new generation of folks is instilling some of those same money-saving and self-sufficient ideals in their kids.</p> <p>Whether it&rsquo;s fueled by economic uncertainty or just the growing realization that there&rsquo;s more to life than stuff, there seems to be a quiet resurgence in simplicity that&rsquo;s encouraging to watch. I think some of the wisdom, tongue-in-cheek humor, and nods of understanding that readers saw in those 30 signs can help us all embrace who we are and the traditions we came from, and learn the value in passing on that spirit of frugality to tomorrow&rsquo;s parents. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/frugality-simplicity-and-sustainability">Frugality, Simplicity, and Sustainability</a>)</p> <p>So, in honor of all those frugal moms and dads of yesterday, here are 20 more tell-tale signs that you may have been raised by frugal parents.</p> <p>1. Carving pumpkins for Halloween isn&rsquo;t just an artistic endeavor &mdash; it&rsquo;s serious preparation for a pumpkin-flavored cooking challenge.</p> <p>2. You&rsquo;ve secretly placed generic food items in brand-name containers to avoid conflicts with fussy kids.</p> <p>3. You&rsquo;ve &ldquo;fixed&rdquo; a scratched bumper with a strategically-placed bumper sticker. &nbsp;</p> <p>4. You can make a delicious stew from the unlikely and random assortment of leftovers.</p> <p>5. You buy winter coats in the spring and Bermuda shorts in autumn.</p> <p>6. You can quick-scan the items at a yard sale in five seconds while driving and without slowing down.</p> <p>7. There&rsquo;s an herb garden on your kitchen windowsill.</p> <p>8. You know the many secret uses of Super Glue, Armor All, mink oil, and linseed oil.</p> <p>9. You know the prices you see at used car lots, yard sales, estate sales, and on Craigslist are just ranges.</p> <p>10. You&rsquo;re amazed that people actually pay for water.</p> <p>11. You pay as much attention to the price on the back of a greeting card as to the sentiment written inside it.</p> <p>12. For you, dollar stores are on-par with amusement parks.</p> <p>13. You know how to meld many slivers of bar soap together to make a &quot;new&quot; bar.</p> <p>14. You keep a flashlight and hand-sanitizer in your car for dumpster diving and picking up curb-side treasures.</p> <p>15. You mourn the loss of clotheslines across the American landscape.</p> <p>16. You hold a loyalty card to one or more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beyond-goodwill-the-different-types-of-thrift-stores">thrift store chains</a>.</p> <p>17. Your knowledge of various <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/secret-homemade-stain-removers-that-kick-butt">stain-removal methods</a> could earn you an honorary degree in chemistry.</p> <p>18. Depending on the store, you feel a cosmic pull toward the dented, dinged, mismatched, and remnant sections.</p> <p>19. You know exactly what each member of your family needs six months before they do &mdash; and you can find it for half-off.</p> <p>20. Your ability to retain information on sizes, inseams, ages, birthdays, and anniversaries is unrivaled.</p> <p>See yourself in any of the above? Of course, these are just 20 random ways that our parents saved a few bucks and made ends meet. Surely there were hundreds (thousands?) of others that went unnoticed. Back in the day, saving money was less conscious strategy and more second-nature. <em><br /> </em></p> <p><em>What money savings methods did your parents use that you may not have appreciated at the time, but have since come to respect? What do you find yourself doing unconsciously that identify you immediately as the lucky kid of a frugal parent?</em></p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-more-signs-that-you-were-raised-by-frugal-parents">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-sell-your-kids-stuff-at-a-consignment-sale">How to Sell Your Kid&#039;s Stuff at a Consignment Sale</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/31-reasons-why-im-in-love-with-thrift-shopping-and-you-should-be-too">31 Reasons Why I&#039;m in Love With Thrift Shopping (and You Should Be Too)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-alternative-housing-options-you-can-afford">5 Alternative Housing Options You Can Afford</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-money-lessons-we-could-all-learn-from-dwayne-the-rock-johnson">6 Money Lessons We Could All Learn From Dwayne &quot;The Rock&quot; Johnson</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/23-relaxing-ways-to-enjoy-your-kids-first-day-at-school">23 Relaxing Ways to Enjoy Your Kid&#039;s First Day at School</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle frugal parenting shopping strategies thrift stores Wed, 07 Nov 2012 10:36:44 +0000 Kentin Waits 955044 at http://www.wisebread.com Refurbished FAQ: Sound Strategies for Buying Refurbished Goods http://www.wisebread.com/refurbished-faq-sound-strategies-for-buying-refurbished-goods <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/refurbished-faq-sound-strategies-for-buying-refurbished-goods" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/5415512522_fc72764d48_z.jpg" alt="woman listening to music" title="woman listening to music" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I have vivid memories of buying a refurbished JVC boom box in the late 1980s, and that faithful stereo served me for a decade without a hitch. What's more, it sounded better than any boom box I've owned since.</p> <p>Make no mistake. Buying refurbished saves you cash &mdash; usually at least 15%, and often much more &mdash; while keeping tons of goods out of our nation's landfills. That said, you must know what you're doing before you venture into this bargain terrain.</p> <h3>What does &quot;refurbished&quot; mean anyway?</h3> <p>Refurbished implies that an item has been used in some fashion and reconditioned, and on dealnews, these are the only items that we call refurbished. However, sometimes a store might simply be offering a used item that's received questionable levels of repair. Whenever possible, dealnews will use the most explicit description possible; if the item was never used but isn't &quot;new&quot; because it's open box, scratch and dent, etc., we label it as such. Moreover, if it wasn't reconditioned in some way, we simply deem it &quot;used.&quot; (See also: <a title="5 Home and Family Items to Avoid Buying Used" href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-home-and-family-items-to-avoid-buying-used">5 Home and Family Items to Avoid Buying Used</a>)</p> <p><strong>Do:</strong> Stores will use the names they see fit. So when you can, get specific information. An item sold in a scratch and dent sale, for example, suggests cosmetic damage.</p> <p><strong>Don't:</strong> Dismiss a product just because you have no idea why it's refurbished. Many other pieces of information &mdash; including the available warranty &mdash; will tell you how to proceed.</p> <h3>How crucial is the warranty on a refurbished item?</h3> <p>It's <em>very</em> crucial. A refurbished item without a <a title="How to Take Advantage of Free Extended Warranty from Your Credit Card Issuer" href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-take-advantage-of-free-extended-warranty-from-your-credit-card-issuer">warranty</a> could work just as well as one without, but should something go amiss, you'll have no company backing the product to offer support. So if you're looking for something as &quot;good as new,&quot; you might want coverage that is too.</p> <p><strong>Do:</strong> Look for a full manufacturer's warranty. That means the maker of the product stands behind the item just as they would a new product. Third-party warranties are also beneficial, but keep in mind that if the warranty company severs its relationship with the product, or goes under, you'll have problems getting service or repairs. Also, third-party warranty services inspire a <a title="warranty scams" href="http://www.edmunds.com/auto-warranty/third-party-extended-warranty-scams.html">disproportionate number of consumer complaints</a>, according to Edmunds.com.</p> <p><strong>Don't:</strong> Assume all refurbished items come with a warranty. Sometimes a product listing will have no warranty information listed. Occasionally, a vendor is just bad at providing warranty information, but frequently, the item just doesn't come with one. Some stores, like <a title="dealnews Sony" href="http://dealnews.com/s716/Sony-Store/?matches=sony+style?erfe=wisebread">Sony Store</a>, have a blanket warranty policy for refurbished items, and it won't appear on every page. For sites that sell products from multiple manufacturers, it's best to call customer service to confirm.</p> <h3>What's the best way to reduce the odds of getting burned on a refurbished product?</h3> <p>Seek out companies with great reputations for products and customer service &mdash; or their items sold by retailers with equally sterling reps. Avoiding any equipment problems at all costs, and across all purchases, is a lofty goal at best. So aim to select a manufacturer that will help you get issues resolved without a hassle.</p> <p><strong>Do:</strong> Pick companies and products that rate high among users for quality and customer satisfaction. Pay special attention to those that excel at <a title="How to Get What You Want On Customer Service Calls" href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-what-you-want-on-customer-service-calls">customer service</a>. A quick Google search will return useful customer reviews.</p> <p><strong>Don't:</strong> Buy products that rate sub-par even in new condition. And when you hear an overwhelming number of stories about bad customer service, especially from the retailer, just say no.</p> <h3>Are there some items to always/never buy refurbished?</h3> <p>Strictly speaking, no &mdash; although some are easier to inspect than others. It's easier for most people to assess the quality of a refurbished bicycle, for example, than the laser on a CD player. Also consider technological advantage versus the reduced price. When the iPhone 4 came out, the cost of the refurbished iPhone 3G became even more appealing. But would you be happy with the old model once you learn about all the fancy things the new one can do?</p> <p><strong>Do:</strong> Consider the &quot;classics.&quot; Products that capture the imagination and hearts of consumers are likely to make great bets as refurbished goods.</p> <p><strong>Don't:</strong> Pass up the opportunity to inspect a refurbished product, when possible. Also, ask lots of questions. The answers will give you more ammunition for making a smart decision.</p> <h3>What if I buy a refurbished product and there's a problem?</h3> <p>Here's where your skills as a cool-headed bargain hunter come in. It's easy to blame the problem on its refurbished state, but remember &mdash;&nbsp;the malfunction may be totally unrelated to the &quot;refurbished&quot; label. Don't rush to judgment, and exhaust the precautions you should have in place for an event like this. Use your warranty. Visit the store's retail operation and look into an exchange or a refund.</p> <p><strong>Do:</strong> Work calmly towards a solution &mdash; but if you find yourself at an impasse, remember your options as a consumer. You have rating websites such as Yelp and the Better Business Bureau as resources. No reputable retailer or manufacturer wants a blow to their whole reputation based on mistreating you.</p> <p><strong>Don't:</strong> Make threats or engage in name-calling. In the rare instance that you're treated unfairly, remember the old saying about two wrongs not making a right. There's a way to fight for your consumer rights, yet not pick a fight. The last thing a good company wants to hear is that you're taking your business elsewhere from now on. Use the power of your purse, and not your curse.</p> <p><em>This post is by <a title="dealnews" href="http://dealnews.com/">Dealnews</a>.</em></p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Buying refurbished can save you cash...as long as your purchase isn&#039;t a dud. Here&#039;s what you must know before you venture into this bargain terrain. </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dealnews">Dealnews</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/refurbished-faq-sound-strategies-for-buying-refurbished-goods">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-to-look-for-every-time-you-visit-a-thrift-store">10 Things to Look for Every Time You Visit a Thrift Store</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-25-best-things-to-buy-on-craigslist">The 25 Best Things to Buy on Craigslist</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tips-for-shopping-at-estate-sales">Tips for Shopping at Estate Sales</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-household-items-that-are-better-second-hand">7 Household Items That Are Better Second-Hand</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-home-and-family-items-to-avoid-buying-used">5 Home and Family Items to Avoid Buying Used</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping buying used refurbished shopping strategies Mon, 10 Oct 2011 10:36:15 +0000 Dealnews 730922 at http://www.wisebread.com