deals en-US 6 Ways to Trick Salespeople <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-ways-to-trick-salespeople" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="car salesman" title="car salesman" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You have to deal with a salesperson to make a big purchase.</p> <p>It might be a refrigerator, a car, or even a house. Very often, you feel dissatisfied with the way a negotiation went. You may walk away feeling like you got taken for a ride, and that you had no defense for the wiles of the salesperson. (See also: <a href="">The 7 Laws of Negotiation</a>)</p> <p>Well, it's time to stop thinking about defense. It's time to turn the tables and start owning the outcome of your big purchases. To jumpstart your negotiations, learn these six ways to &quot;trick&quot; salespeople.</p> <h2>1. Buy Them a Cup of Coffee</h2> <p>Apply the <a href="">rule of reciprocation</a> on salespeople.</p> <p>When you first encounter a salesperson, greet her with a small gift (something as small as a piece of gum) or do a small favor for her (open the door). The idea is that you are binding the person to return the favor.</p> <p>No matter where in the world you are, this is a trick that works in negotiation. No matter how cheap your gift is, it will dramatically improve your chances of getting what you want. For example, in a study restaurant servers who presented the check with a mint and then paused to give the customer a second mint and tell them that this one is just for them got a <a href="">20% increase in their normal tips</a>.</p> <p>Ideally, buy them a mug of coffee, a cup of strong tea, or a can of Coke. Turns out that consumption of <a href="">caffeine makes people much easier to persuade</a>. Just don't use the drinks from the waiting room; instead bring one from outside that &quot;is just for them.&quot;</p> <h2>2. Talk Fast at the Beginning</h2> <p>Right after you hand that free cup of coffee, get the talking going&hellip; fast!</p> <p><a href=";fa=main.doiLanding&amp;doi=10.1037/0022-3514.34.4.615">Fast talkers are perceived to be more persuasive</a>. The sweet point is about 195 words per minute, fast enough to force salespeople to focus, yet slow enough for them to still understand you. If you talk beyond 195 words, people start judging if you really know your stuff.</p> <p>If you keep a fast pace, people don't have enough time to come up with counter arguments. So, channel your inner <a href="">John Moschitta</a> and start practicing that fast talk.</p> <p><iframe width="605" height="340" frameborder="0" src="//" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <h2>3. Slow Down Once They Agree</h2> <p>However, once you have the salesperson agreeing with you, start slowing down. If you <a href="">talk too fast to somebody that agrees with your message</a>, then you have the reverse effect as talking fast.</p> <p>Even when somebody welcomes your ideas, you need to give them time to evaluate your speech and agree with you more.</p> <p>This is when you slow down from 196 words per minute to about 144. If you talk slower than that, people start perceiving you not as persuasive again.</p> <h2>4. Curse Smartly</h2> <p>If you think that good negotiation skills and cursing don't go together, let me tell you that's some BS.</p> <p>This doesn't mean that you're going to open a can of potty mouth and spread it all over the place. The key is to <a href="">use the word &quot;damn&quot; towards the beginning or end of your speech</a>. The tactical use of this word significantly increases not only the persuasiveness of your speech, but also the perceived intensity of your words in the mind of the listener.</p> <p>Researchers theorize that the smart use of curse words gives the impression that you are being candid and not following somebody else's agenda.</p> <h2>5. Look &quot;Eye-to-Eye&quot;</h2> <p>Take a cue from waiters and waitresses on how to get what you want.</p> <p>A study from Cornell's School of Hotel Administration found several <a href="">techniques employed by servers to increase their tips</a>. One that stands out for our purposes is &quot;seeing eye-to-eye.&quot;</p> <p>This means to:</p> <ul> <li>Establish eye contact throughout your conversation;</li> <li>Bring your face closer to that of the salesperson;</li> <li>Position yourself so that your eyes are at the same height;</li> <li>Mimic the salesperson's body language and posture.</li> </ul> <h2>6. Learn the Four Square System</h2> <p>Think of good salespeople and you're likely to think of car salespeople.</p> <p>You might not like some of their techniques, but in the end they do a decent job at getting you to buy a car. A cornerstone of their technique is the four square system.</p> <p>The main idea of this worksheet is to take the attention from the total price and focus the entire conversation on the monthly payment. Any good car salesperson knows that you can wiggle the monthly payment without lowering the total price. For example, you can:</p> <ul> <li>Increase the number of payments;</li> <li>Provide a bigger down payment;</li> <li>Accept a bigger value for a trade-in.</li> </ul> <p><a href="">Read this confessional from a car salesman</a> on how to work the four square worksheet so that you can use it towards your advantage, or simply &quot;flip the table&quot; by demanding that it is not used in your negotiation at all.</p> <p><em>What is your favorite way to &quot;trick&quot; salespeople?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="6 Ways to Trick Salespeople" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Damian Davila</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> General Tips Shopping deals haggling negotiation sales salespeople Tue, 16 Sep 2014 17:00:06 +0000 Damian Davila 1210856 at 10 Little Words That Will Get You the Best Price, Every Time <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-little-words-that-will-get-you-the-best-price-every-time" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="car sales negotiation" title="car sales negotiation" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As a bargain hunter and writer, I find the power of words to be nothing short of amazing. The difference between getting a deal and walking away with the same price everyone else does is often just a word or two. (See also: <a href="">The 7 Laws of Negotiation</a>)</p> <p>There are plenty of words and phrases you should have in your shopping lexicon, but there are 10 you should never leave home (or shop online) without.</p> <h2>1. &quot;Please&quot;</h2> <p>Remember the old phrase your parents and teachers used to say? &quot;What's the magic word?&quot; Well, when it comes to getting discounts and bargains, please is genuinely magic. The Internet and texting age has all but killed a lot of pleasantries. Even please has been reduced to PLS in a message. So when you make sure you say &quot;please&quot; with every request you make, be it in person, on the phone, or if necessary, via email, you are showing deference to the person you're dealing with. This will go in your favor, and will result in a much easier negotiation process when you want to get a deal.</p> <h2>2. &quot;Thanks&quot;</h2> <p>When talking to a sales associate in a store, be sure to say thanks for everything they do. If they have to get up on a ladder to reach on item you'd like, go out of your way to thank them. If they need to look something up on the store's inventory system, thank them for their time. Say it with enthusiasm and authenticity; a dry &quot;staring-into-space&quot; thanks will have the opposite result. But, if you do this throughout the transaction, you are laying the foundation for a discount when the time comes to ask for one. (See also: <a href="">25 Ways to Say Thanks</a>)</p> <h2>3. &quot;No&quot;</h2> <p>This tiny word is incredibly powerful in the price negotiation process. In particular, it can be Kryptonite to salespeople at car dealerships. Put yourself in their shoes for a second. You work on commission, you've just spent two hours giving test-drives and fine advice to someone who is ready to buy. You sit down at the negotiation desk, and start to hash out a plan that will sell the car and make some money. And then, when you think you have the fish completely reeled in, it starts getting away. &quot;NO&quot; is a horrible word to hear after a long time in the sales trenches. The only way to respond is to either let the customer walk away (and watch two hours of your time go up in smoke), or invite them back to the table for further discussion. I have used this on every major purchase I've made, including every single car I bought. Only once did the salesperson let me walk away; when I got home, there was a message waiting for me on my answering machine asking me to consider a better deal.</p> <h2>4. &quot;Free&quot;</h2> <p>When you're buying something worth more than a few bucks, there is never any harm in asking for something for free. A friend of mine in college, Duncan, did this whenever he purchased anything, and he had a very high success rate (it didn't hurt that he was very charming fella indeed). &quot;No matter what you buy, ask them to throw something in for free, even if it's only worth pennies to them,&quot; he'd say. If he bought a tape deck, he'd ask for a free pack of blank tapes. If he bought a case of beer, he'd ask for a miniature bottle of scotch. The day he bought a used car, he asked for free tinting. Even if they said no to his request, they would often give him something, even if it were just a can of soda or a chapstick. Free is free. It never hurts to ask.</p> <h2>5. &quot;Maybe&quot;</h2> <p>Back in the day, when I was nipping at my dad's heels, I would ask for something and be given the answer &quot;maybe.&quot; It was so irritatingly non-committal that it left me knowing as much as I did before I asked the question. And it's just as powerful a word to use when negotiating for a better deal on something. When the salesperson asks if you'll take it, &quot;maybe&quot; is a fantastic way to reply. The natural response from your adversary will be something like &quot;why are you hesitant?&quot; and this leaves the door wide open for you to hammer home some points about price, reliability, and a warranty.</p> <h2>6. &quot;Manager&quot;</h2> <p>Whether you're dealing with someone on the phone (we all know how that can be), or you're in a physical store, asking to talk to the manager is a great ace to have up your sleeve. Most of the time, the person you're dealing with ether does not have the authority to offer a deal, or simply doesn't want to. The manager, on the other hand, has the keys to the deal safe. They can usually override the system and get you the discounts that regular hourly employees cannot give you. By asking to speak to the manager, you can often get the person you're dealing with to step up his or her game and get you a better deal themselves. You may sound a bit pushy, but be polite at all times and it will pay off.</p> <h2>7. &quot;Cash&quot;</h2> <p>If you pay in cold, hard cash you can usually get an instant discount. By simply stating &quot;I will pay you the full amount, right now, in cash if you drop the price by 10%,&quot; you can get a very quick deal. It will usually only work on high-ticket items &mdash; no one cares if you pay cash for your $5 latte. But if you're looking at cars, motorcycles, smaller pieces of real estate, high-end clothing, or expensive audio visual equipment, the magic word &quot;cash&quot; can work wonders for you.</p> <h2>8. &quot;Competitor&quot;</h2> <p>Perhaps this isn't the specific word, but the idea is there. When you're shopping around, it pays to let people know that you are looking. Better still, drop the other store's name, particularly when shopping for the big ticket items. &quot;I was over at your competitor's store, AAA Supplies, and they offered my a 5% discount. Can you beat it?&quot; There are two psychological tricks at play here. First, no one likes losing business to a competitor. And second, by asking to beat someone else's price, you're offering up a challenge. There's a sense of accomplishment achieved by meeting your offer.</p> <h2>9. &quot;Now&quot;</h2> <p>I personally love the word &quot;now&quot; when it comes to discounts. I use it all the time, from eBay shopping to deals in local stores. The immediacy of the word puts people into action, and they will often drop their price knowing you are ready to do the deal right now. On Craigslist, you can say &quot;I'll pick it up right NOW if you lower the price by $10.&quot; Boom, they want it gone quickly and will be happy to oblige. In a store, say &quot;what's on offer right NOW that you can show me?&quot; It puts the power of negotiation in your hands, and if they come back with &quot;no&quot; or &quot;nothing,&quot; you can easily renegotiate or just walk away. You can also say &quot;I want to cancel right now&quot; to watch the offers come flooding in from service companies like phone, cable, and Internet.</p> <h2>10. &quot;Offer&quot;</h2> <p>Finally, there's a word you can use that, if positioned correctly, can get you a deal almost every time. That word is &quot;offer.&quot; On its own, nothing special. But combine it with a phrase like &quot;what's the best offer you can give me on this?&quot; or &quot;make me a serious offer and I'll buy it right now&quot; and you're putting the ball in their court. They will very rarely come back with &quot;I can't&quot; or &quot;no.&quot; It's usually something to counter your question, perhaps with &quot;well how much do you have to spend?&quot; or &quot;what are you looking to pay?&quot; Either way, they have just opened the door to a negotiation. Walk through it, and get your deal. This works on something as big as a house, or as small as a bag of onions at a farmer's market.</p> <p><em>What magic deal words work for you? Please share in comments &mdash; now!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="10 Little Words That Will Get You the Best Price, Every Time" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Paul Michael</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Frugal Living General Tips bargains deals discounts haggling negotiating price Wed, 10 Sep 2014 15:00:03 +0000 Paul Michael 1207217 at What to Buy (and Avoid Buying) in August <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-to-buy-and-avoid-buying-in-august" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="school supplies" title="school supplies" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Are we officially at the end of summer? Well, Hobby Lobby seems to think so. Last week, with the temperatures blazing at almost 100 degrees in Colorado, Hobby Lobby had filled the front of their store with pre-lit Christmas trees! And the aisles were full of Christmas items, too. Next year, I expect to see Christmas decorations at Easter. But this does mean you are going to see some great clearance deals soon, on items you can hardly believe are already on sale. (See also: <a href="">Shopping Calendar: The Best Time to Buy Anything</a>)</p> <p>Without further ado, here are the best and worst things to buy in August.</p> <h2>What to Buy&hellip;</h2> <p>And here are the deals in store for you this month.</p> <h3>Back-to-School Is <em>On</em></h3> <p>This is the time to grab your kids' school gear cheap. Of course, the usual <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;node=6990508011&amp;pf_rd_i=1036592&amp;pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&amp;pf_rd_p=1587219202&amp;pf_rd_r=D065C83288AB4568AC9B&amp;pf_rd_s=merchandised-search-2&amp;pf_rd_t=101&amp;tag=bguidelink-20">clothing</a> and <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;docId=1001271041&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;pf_rd_i=5430260011&amp;pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&amp;pf_rd_p=1578227762&amp;pf_rd_r=0KVGV629GAJ14E9V248V&amp;pf_rd_s=center-stage-1&amp;pf_rd_t=101&amp;tag=bguidelink-20">school supplies</a>, including backpacks, will be on sale. Also look out for great deals in places like Gap, American Eagle, Aeropostale, Buckle, and even Levi's. You'll also find deals on everything from dorm furniture to <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;field-enc-merchantbin=ATVPDKIKX0DER&amp;hidden-keywords=Household%20Essentials&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;pf_rd_i=7000837011&amp;pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&amp;pf_rd_p=1578773442&amp;pf_rd_r=0XNA65YGSRSSCTF70TXN&amp;pf_rd_s=center-2&amp;pf_rd_t=101&amp;rh=i%3Agarden%2Cn%3A3610841&amp;sort=relevancerank&amp;tag=whattobuy03-20&amp;linkId=OVRJUKPGGST5OGFH">cheap storage</a>. As usual, electronic deals for students will be popular, including laptops and accessories. And remember, tax free holidays in many states give you additional savings between August 1-3.</p> <h3>Target Slashing Toys</h3> <p>At the beginning of August, you'll see clearance deals in Target on a ton of toys, board games, and action figures. Target's aisle ends have been filled with 30% off deals, and a quick jaunt through a few of their stores yesterday revealed 50% and 70% stickers being applied with great abandon. Christmas is almost certainly going to happen again this year, so take advantage of these deals now and get more back for you gift buck.</p> <h3>Smaller LCD TVs Are Priced to Sell</h3> <p>Perhaps the college kids are the reason behind the TV pricing insanity, but smaller-sized TVs (up to 42 inches) are dropping in price by the week. As hard as it is for some people to believe (or admit&hellip;like me) that 42 inch TV you paid $1500 for can now be picked up for $299. And it will be the higher-quality LCD, not plasma. You really can afford to put a big TV in every room in the house now. (Although, do you really want to?)</p> <h3>Patio Deals Aplenty</h3> <p>There is still plenty of good weather left for grilling, but the big retailers don't want that patio furniture cluttering their aisles. They'd rather you took it off their hands, and they're cutting costs to make it a very attractive proposition for you. Now. You can pick up bargains of 40% to 60% off, and stores like Target, Walmart, and Sears will continue slashing prices throughout August. As always though, the longer you wait, the less choice you'll have. But when the 90% off sales hit at the end of the month, you'll be laughing all the way to next year's BBQ.</p> <h3>Swimwear</h3> <p>As the summer sales heat up, swimwear once again makes it into the clearance racks. If you're in the market for a new bathing suit, grab it now. Last minute vacation shopping later in the year is not the time to get your swimwear. You'll be disappointed.</p> <h3>Grills Are Flavor of the Month</h3> <p>August is one of the best months to get your grill on, and some of the monster grills and smokers will be on sale this month. As always, the longer you wait, the less choice you will have. Expect to see <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;node=553760&amp;pf_rd_i=2972638011&amp;pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&amp;pf_rd_p=1587347182&amp;pf_rd_r=D4B405BD24E744A8A099&amp;pf_rd_s=merchandised-search-3&amp;pf_rd_t=101&amp;tag=whattobuy03-20&amp;linkId=NPMHQ6VXPA7X2XAP">gas and charcoal grills</a> on sale for up to 50% off, and even more by the end of the month.</p> <h3>Summer Clothing</h3> <p>Tees, shorts, and flip-flops are already being cut by 25%-30% as the stores start to swap out summer gear for the longer sleeves and covered toes of fall. That's good news for many of us, especially people like me who wear tees the whole year round. By the end of August, you'll see 75% off a lot of these summer clothes, but as always, the cheaper prices come with less choice.</p> <h3>Laptops</h3> <p>This is starting to become a regular on the &quot;what to buy&quot; list. As technology gets less expensive, and new models replace old ones very quickly, you can take advantage of the tech deals that bring laptops in at record low prices. Just $300 can buy you a machine with a decent spec, and for the extra few hundred, you can get a PC laptop that will give a $2000 MacBook a run for its money. As always, shop around and look for rebates. You can also get great extra discounts on display models, as long as the warranty is intact.</p> <h3>Lawn and Yard Supplies</h3> <p>My grass has been green for just two months. So it makes sense that the stores would now start deeply discounting lawn, yard, and garden supplies at a hectic rate, right? Well, by now the prep work, fertilizing, and raking is pretty much done, with the next big date on the calendar being fall preparation. If you need a new hose, a shovel, a wheelbarrow, or even a stockpile of seeds, now is the time to go shopping. If you want a pool for your backyard, this is also a great time to go shopping.</p> <h2>What to Avoid</h2> <p>Don't bother with any of this stuff. Just know that eventually it'll move to the &quot;What to Buy&quot; category.</p> <h3>Everything Apple</h3> <p>Not the delicious fruit, but rather the expensive tech. Apple has a very strict product release schedule, and new models typically come out in late September and early October. That means you will not see good deals on Apple products until we get much closer to that time of year. Then, the next generation of products will ensure price drops on the current models.</p> <h3>Smart Watches</h3> <p>This time last year, smartphones were to be avoided. Now, it's smart watches' turn. They're just not at a place yet where they are mass-market, feature-packed, and reliable, and thus the price is not good. If you're seriously looking into a smart watch, wait a few more months.</p> <h3>Fall Clothing</h3> <p>The stores will be starting to stock up on fall clothing, and you won't see any discounts on these yet. The <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B008AK6XA8&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=whattobuy03-20&amp;linkId=TRYVPN5T6YH4B5HD">long sleeved sweaters</a> and <a href=";bbn=1040658&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;qid=1375218749&amp;rh=n%3A7141123011%2Cp_6%3AATVPDKIKX0DER%2Cp_8%3A20-40%2Cn%3A!7141124011%2Cn%3A1040658%2Cn%3A1045830&amp;rnid=1040658&amp;tag=whattobuy03-20&amp;linkId=D46USE54XA2WYLWG">warm jackets</a> will be hot items for many, and those who like to stock up on the latest fashions early will pay the price.</p> <p><em>Do you have any purchase plans this month? Let us know in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title=" What to Buy (and Avoid Buying) in August" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Paul Michael</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Shopping buying guide deals what to buy Fri, 01 Aug 2014 21:00:03 +0000 Paul Michael 980953 at 5 Surprising Ways to Get Deals <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-surprising-ways-to-get-deals" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="online shopping" title="online shopping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>All of our usual shopping haunts have data on our browsing and purchasing habits. While that can be disconcerting, we can use it to our advantage. Our shopping behaviors can reward us with cool stuff like coupon codes, discounts, free shipping, and bonus gifts. Here are five surprising ways to game the system and get deals. (See also: <a href="">50 Best Coupon code Sites</a>)</p> <h2>1. Abandon Your Shopping Cart</h2> <p>We have all done it. We shop around for items and add some to the cart, then something distracts us and we move on, forgetting to purchase the cart. Online retailers notice. Their job is to make sure we buy what's in the cart.</p> <p>Simply shop, leave items in your cart, and move on (you'll need to log in to your account so they know how to reach you). Wait a day or two. Check your email, and you might see an email from the retailer with a discount coupon or an offer for free shipping! Sites that are known to do this include Zappos, Best Buy, and Home Depot. Of course, some retailers just send annoying reminders that you left something behind, but ignore those.</p> <h2>2. Cancel Your Service</h2> <p>How many times have you been on the phone with your cable or Internet provider, threatening to cancel, when they then offer you a small discount to keep your business? Well, the discounts get better <em>after</em> you've already cancelled.</p> <p>Your mileage may vary with <a href="">many of these</a>, but in general, you will come out ahead. Try cancelling your Netflix, and a few days later, they will offer you a lower monthly fee than what you were paying. <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00DBYBNEE&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=MFM66VVKL4DTIQQP">Amazon Prime</a> is so determined to keep you that if you cancel, they might offer you a new membership for about half off.</p> <p>Almost every cable company will offer you a very special deal for joining their service again, to keep you from signing up with the competition. Try out this tactic out with a few services that you can do without for a couple weeks, like entertainment services.</p> <h2>3. Price Matching</h2> <p>It still works! Back when we all still shopped at stores, all the big box chains touted their price matching policy: Show the Best Buy circular at Circuit City, and they'll beat their price by one cent on your VCR. Gone are the days of advertising that tactic, but you can still take advantage of the deal. (See also: <a href="">Price Matching Cheat Sheet</a>)</p> <p>Ask your clerk if they price match, and if they don't know, go to customer service desk and ask for a manager. Almost every brick and mortar store has an unwritten price matching rule, and they prefer you not know about it.</p> <h2>4. Reddit Deals</h2> <p>It's true: There's a subreddit for everything! Reddit is a huge online community whose generally savvy and persnickety users are good at weeding out bad or useless deals. This leads to a really good selection of deals from all around the web, many of which are surprising and new.</p> <p>Check out <a href="">Reddit Deals</a> for the heads up on all kind of discounts, deals, and temporary price cuts for things like video games, tech gear, clothes, subscription services, and more. Then, pay it forward and be sure to share the information on deals you might discover with the Reddit community, to get more karma points.</p> <h2>5. Credit Cards</h2> <p>Lastly, and possibly most surprisingly: <a href="">credit cards</a>. You may not have noticed, but odds are your credit card issuer provides some really neat deals on everyday expenses and good <a href="">cash back rewards</a>. Some cards, like the <a href=";fot=1123&amp;foc=1">Discover it</a> card, offer 5-20% cash back if you shop through their online portal. Other cards offering really good cash back deals include Citi Dividend, <a href="">Capital One Quicksilver</a>, Chase Freedom, and BankAmericard Cash Back Rewards card. For example, this month I have been getting 10% cash back on all my orders using my BankAmericard.</p> <p>In addition, some cards offer other services that help you find deals. Select Citi cards (such as <a href=";fot=1123&amp;foc=1">Citi Simplicity</a> and <a rel="nofollow" href=";fot=1123&amp;foc=1" target="_blank">Citi Diamond Preferred</a>) offer a service called Price Rewind that searches through hundreds of online retailer sites 30 days after your purchase of a product. If they find a lower price elsewhere (difference of $25 or more), Citi automatically credits the difference. (See also: <a href="">10 Awesome Credit Card Perks You Didn't Know About</a>)</p> <p><em>Where are you finding discounts and deals these days? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="5 Surprising Ways to Get Deals" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Amanda Meadows</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Shopping bargains credit cards deals discounts Wed, 04 Jun 2014 17:00:28 +0000 Amanda Meadows 1141754 at What to Buy (and Avoid Buying) in June <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-to-buy-and-avoid-buying-in-june" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="donuts" title="donuts" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="185" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p style="font-size: 13px;">June. For some of us, it's a welcome break from the rain and wind. For others, that stormy weather is still hanging on and making summer seem way off in the distance. Wherever you stand, there are bargains to be had and &quot;deals&quot; to avoid. Here's a roundup of the best and worst things to buy in June. (See also:<a href="">Shopping Calendar:The Best Time to Buy Anything</a>)</p> <h2>First, What to Buy&hellip;</h2> <p style="font-size: 13px;">June starts off with Dare Day, so if you're feeling brave, this could be a great start to the month for you. Other odd holidays include Best Friends Day (June 8th) and National Splurge Day (June 18th, be careful). Of course, the traditional holiday, Father's Day, is the one most of us keep top of mind. Here are some deals that could help save some money this month.</p> <h3>Lingerie</h3> <p style="font-size: 13px;">Ladies and gentlemen, the sale that only comes around twice a year is back. The Victoria's Secret Semi-Annual sale is on again in June, meaning great deals on panties (look out for a FREE panty coupon in the mail) and bras, as well as all the other lingerie in store. In the spirit of competition, other&nbsp;<a href=";bbn=14333511&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;qid=1370300410&amp;rh=n%3A1036592%2Cn%3A!1036682%2Cn%3A1040660%2Cn%3A14333511%2Cn%3A2376214011&amp;rnid=14333511&amp;tag=whattobuy03-20&amp;linkId=GADKOCWWYVHN37YK">lingerie</a>&nbsp;outlets will also slash prices this month. This could be a good time to stock up on gifts for birthdays, anniversaries, and even Valentine's Day.</p> <h3>Donuts Are FREE</h3> <p style="font-size: 13px;">Yes, June 6th is National Donut Day, and to celebrate this fact all of the major donut chains, and some supermarkets, will be giving away a free donut to every customer. If you were so inclined, you could spend the day hitting up every location and get yourself a nice big supply of one of the nation's favorite treats. But that would be quite the task.</p> <h3>Caribbean Vacations</h3> <p style="font-size: 13px;">Hurricanes descend upon the Caribbean this month. That makes a lot of holidaymakers nervous about taking a cruise or booking a package trip. But remember, it's only the beginning of hurricane season, and the odds of getting hit by something huge are pretty small. But, nervous people means low prices. You will get some pretty great deals on packages and&nbsp;<a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;keywords=cruise&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;qid=1370300473&amp;rh=n%3A16899%2Ck%3Acruise&amp;rnid=2941120011&amp;tag=whattobuy03-20&amp;linkId=PT6PE6HBGZTWLSQY">cruises</a>.</p> <h3>Father's Day Remnants</h3> <p style="font-size: 13px;">Once Father's Day has come and gone, you can grab some serious bargains on anything that has been branded with&nbsp;<a href=";bbn=284507&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;hidden-keywords=-dirt%20-old&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;pf_rd_i=502661011&amp;pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&amp;pf_rd_p=1562741682&amp;pf_rd_r=00D14PG2EYBX5VFDZXZ4&amp;pf_rd_s=center-11&amp;pf_rd_t=101&amp;rh=i%3Akitchen%2Cn%3A1055398%2Cp_4%3ACafePress%2Cp_28%3ADad%2Cn%3A!1063498%2Cn%3A284507%2Cn%3A13162311%2Cn%3A!1063498&amp;sort=pmrank&amp;tag=whattobuy03-20&amp;linkId=JQACUEJHUMCDU2UM">Father's Day messaging</a>. Anything from &quot;#1 Dad&quot; aprons to beer glasses, T-shirts, ties, and cards will be going for a song. If you like to plan ahead, now is the time to pick up deals for next Father's Day. This also applies to graduation goodies.</p> <h3>Touchscreen Laptops</h3> <p style="font-size: 13px;">It seems hard to believe that these technological marvels can be priced so affordably, but you can now pick up a budget 11.6&quot; touchscreen laptop for the unbelievable price of $200. A few years ago, that would have been four times the price. If you're willing to spend a little more, you can get 15&quot; models for between $300-$400.</p> <h3>Gardening Items</h3> <p style="font-size: 13px;">Already? It seems odd to think that&nbsp;<a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;node=3610851&amp;pf_rd_i=2972638011&amp;pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&amp;pf_rd_p=1546900382&amp;pf_rd_r=CC1114A52EA040A9835F&amp;pf_rd_s=merchandised-search-leftnav&amp;pf_rd_t=101&amp;tag=whattobuy03-20&amp;linkId=SFX2CTGNYWGXMCNX">gardening supplies</a>&nbsp;will be going on sale, as the season for spending time outdoors has just arrived. But you will find deals on some gardening supplies by the end of June. Remember, stores are always months ahead, and fall items will always take priority over summer stock.</p> <h3>Go Fishing</h3> <p style="font-size: 13px;">Along with the myriad other holidays this month, June is also home to National Fishing and Boating Week. That means FREE fishing, no license required. To tempt you into the water (or onto the riverbank) you will see some nice savings on fishing equipment and other gear. Check out&nbsp;<a href="">Take Me Fishing</a>&nbsp;for more info.</p> <h2>And What to Avoid&hellip;</h2> <p style="font-size: 13px;">June 1st is &quot;Flip a Coin&quot; day. However, if you know what's good for you, you won't leave your bargain hunting to chance. Here are the deals to avoid.</p> <h3>4K TVs Are Not Looking Good</h3> <p style="font-size: 13px;">4K is the new standard in TV resolution. You may already own a Blu-ray player that will up-res your discs to 4K. But as the technology is so new, the pricing has not started to drop yet. If you want one of the latest TVs, you'll have to wait, probably until Black Friday. But there are still great deals to be had on LED and LCD big screen TVs.</p> <h3>Stay Away From Grills</h3> <p style="font-size: 13px;">Summer is not here yet (officially), so the stores are prepping with barbecue items, outdoor gear, and&nbsp;<a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;node=553760&amp;pf_rd_i=2972638011&amp;pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&amp;pf_rd_p=1546900382&amp;pf_rd_r=F17FAEC61F964D0EA8BE&amp;pf_rd_s=merchandised-search-leftnav&amp;pf_rd_t=101&amp;tag=whattobuy03-20&amp;linkId=26XRMIQLKA6ADCED">grills</a>. Some big retailers may try to tempt you with prices like 10%-15% off, but you'll be kicking yourself if you splurge now. Wait a while, if you can, and the prices will be slashed in a few months, with plenty of good weather left for grilling.</p> <h3>Apple Products</h3> <p style="font-size: 13px;">Hold off on buying anything Apple until the company makes its announcements on the new models coming to the market. The Mac Pro G6 is already available, at a price that will make most budgets whither and die (seriously Apple, $4000 for a computer?). But when new versions of current products are announced, you will see older versions drop in price.</p> <h3>Tools Are Not a Good Buy</h3> <p style="font-size: 13px;">Father's Day is in mid-June, and&nbsp;<a href="">tools are the hot item</a>&nbsp;of the month. The stores know it, too, and you'll see only tiny price cuts, if any, on just a select few items. Wait for the Father's Day heat to die down, and in a few months you'll get way more bang for your buck.</p> <h3>Don't Do Disney</h3> <p style="font-size: 13px;">Recent pricing reports indicate that Disney holidays are very popular and are&nbsp;<a href="">being priced accordingly</a>. Whenever anything is in high demand, the price spikes. And just by waiting until August, instead of June, you could save enough money to take an extra person with you for the same price.</p> <p style="font-size: 13px;"><em>Do you have any purchases planned for June? Please let us know in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="What to Buy (and Avoid Buying) in June" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Paul Michael</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Shopping buying guide deals what to buy Mon, 02 Jun 2014 10:00:40 +0000 Paul Michael 977578 at 7 Secrets to Scoring the Best Price When Buying on eBay <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-secrets-to-scoring-the-best-price-when-buying-on-ebay" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="shopping" title="shopping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Everybody loves a good online bargain, and eBay is one of those places where you can find great deals...or you could be totally ripped off. Here are the secrets to getting the best price on eBay. (See also: <a href="">5 Things You Can Resell on eBay That Still Make Money</a>)</p> <h2>1. Search for Misspelled Items</h2> <p>You know what you want: a Tiffany's silver bracelet. Like everybody else you're going to type &quot;tiffany silver bracelet&quot; in the search box and start browsing sellers. The problem with this approach is that you may get in bidding wars with other people because you're looking where everybody is looking.</p> <p>Instead, start your search with misspelled variations from your desired item. For example, &quot;tifany silver bracelet,&quot; &quot;tifanny silver bracelet,&quot; or &quot;tiffanny silver bracelet.&quot; If you are stumped for misspelling ideas, use an <a href="">eBay typo search generator</a>. Focusing on misspelled items is like hiding your item at a store before the sale &mdash; there will be fewer people finding it or entering bids on it.</p> <h2>2. Search for Items at Night</h2> <p>Another way to minimize your competition is to do your shopping at night. eBay is a site available around the world, so while it may still be a couple of hours before bedtime for you, others may be sound asleep.</p> <p>Take advantage of your time zone and filter those items by &quot;ending soonest.&quot; You may be able to get away with closing on bids while the competition is sleeping. A variation of this technique is to do searches during business hours. Just don't let the boss catch you.</p> <h2>3. Buy From Sellers With 20-49 Ratings</h2> <p>The more stars a seller has, the better. However, even those amazing sellers had to start somewhere. As an eBay seller with over 210 ratings, I can tell you that eBay does a good job at continuously motivating us to get to 50 stars. Any seller that has between <a href="">10 to 49 stars</a> has a yellow star. Once a seller reaches 50 ratings, the star changes to blue.</p> <p>While this may sound trivial, it is a big deal for a seller. &quot;Going blue&quot; is a big boost for position of items on search results and a major way to provide confidence to buyers. Sellers with 20 to 49 ratings work harder for buyer business and are more willing to accommodate your requests, such as asking for a discount or negotiating shipping charges. Just make sure to be polite when contacting them. Nobody likes a rude customer.</p> <p>The longer that you stick with an eBay seller on the journey to the 50 ratings marks, the more perks the seller may provide you.</p> <h2>4. Check Price at Amazon</h2> <p>It is not unusual for eBay sellers to either sell at Amazon or keep a close eye of similar items at Amazon. If you are able to find the exact same item on Amazon, contact the buyer, provide the URL, and ask if the seller would be willing to match the price. Just make sure that you are comparing &quot;apples to apples,&quot; and that the total price, including shipping, is indeed lower.</p> <p>This strategy is a good one because you are showing the seller that you're ready to buy. Few sellers can resist closing on a sale. After all, a bird in hand is worth two in the bush. Even if the seller cannot match the price, they may be able to knock off a couple dollars off.</p> <h2>5. Negotiate Shipping</h2> <p>Lowering shipping charges is easier than actual price. There are two main ways to do it. First, when planning to buy several items from a buyer, ask about discounted shipping for multiple items. This is a surefire way to bring costs down.</p> <p>Second, if you are willing to wait longer, then ask for cheaper shipping alternatives. For example, when buying books, CDs, VHS tapes, DVDs, or other forms of media accepted by USPS, the buyer could use USPS Media Mail. When buying big, yet very light items, a seller could use Parcel Select Lightweight.</p> <p>Unless you have dealt with the seller in the past, it is not recommended that you accept shipping without tracking. While you could potentially save even more without it, the lack of tracking could cause headaches for both parties if things don't go as planned.</p> <h2>6. Don't Forget About Your Coupon Codes</h2> <p>You'd be surprised at the number of buyers that forget to use their <a href="">eBay Bucks</a>. Because the eBay Bucks coupon codes are issued every quarter, people often forget about them. On top of that, sometimes the codes are not automatically applied to purchases.</p> <p>Before completing a purchase, check if you have an available code from the eBay Bucks section of &quot;My eBay,&quot; copy it, and enter it in the &quot;Coupons, gift cards or certificates&quot; promotional box at the bottom of your checkout page.</p> <p>Another place to check for additional promo codes are the &quot;From eBay&quot; message inbox and the drop down menu labeled &quot;My eBay&quot; at the upper right corner when viewing the site on your desktop.</p> <h2>7. Read Return Policies</h2> <p>You pay for what you get. So, don't pay for a headache! Some sellers might be willing to negotiate with you when dealing with used items, but they may be quick to say &quot;no returns, no exceptions.&quot; Sometimes they may not say anything at all and assume that you have read their policies listed on the product page.</p> <p>Before clicking on the pay button, read the seller's policies in detail. If you're not comfortable with what you just read (e.g. &quot;buyer pays for shipping in case of return or exchange,&quot; &quot;there is a 20% restocking fee,&quot; &quot;all sales final&quot;), then it may not be worth your time to deal with this seller at all. Remember that the hidden cost of any transaction is the opportunity cost, and in the case of an eBay purchase it is the cost of return, exchange, or refund. (See also: <a href="">How a T-Shirt Equals a Taco</a>)</p> <p><em>What are other ways to get the best price on eBay?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="7 Secrets to Scoring the Best Price When Buying on eBay" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Damian Davila</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Consumer Affairs Shopping deals discounts eBay negotiating shopping Thu, 29 May 2014 08:12:17 +0000 Damian Davila 1140876 at 3 Easy Ways to Save Money With Twitter <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/3-easy-ways-to-save-money-with-twitter" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="tweet" title="tweet" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I spend a lot of time on Twitter.</p> <p>And by a lot of time, I mean &quot;my-wife-needs-to-hide-my-phone-from-me&quot; a lot of time. To justify all of my tweeting, I figured that I needed to prove that it could help us save some money. (See also: <a href="">How to Break Your Social Media Habit</a>)</p> <p>With some planning and these tips, you can use your Twitter account to help you save money, too.</p> <h2>1. Search for Deals and Discounts</h2> <p>Before you buy anything online, make it a habit to first search on Twitter for coupon codes for the product or service you are about to order. Use the <a href="">Twitter Search page</a> or search field on your browser or smartphone app to do some basic deal sleuthing.</p> <h3>Find the Vendor on Twitter</h3> <p>Some vendors offer a promo code if you follow them or retweet specific tweets. It is a good idea to also Google if the vendor offers discounts in exchange for following them on another social media channel (e.g. Facebook). (See also: <a href="">How to Make Facebook Productive</a>)</p> <h3>Check on Flash Sales</h3> <p>Some companies use Twitter to promote clearance sales. For example, <a href="">@DellOutlet</a> is well-known for announcing flash sales of refurbished computers and electronics with up to 30% discount.</p> <h3>Keep an Eye on Giveaways</h3> <p>Some companies run giveaways for promo codes or gift cards in the most unexpected places. Take a look at this contest from the Zappos <em>Careers</em> account:</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;">Let's get this week started off right! Zappos trivia and winner gets a 20% Zappos discount coupon! What year did Amazon acquire @Zappos Zappos Careers (@InsideZappos) April 14, 2014</p> <p>Now that's one account you wouldn't expect to get a 20% coupon code from! (See also: <a href="">Get Coupons for Every Online Store</a>)</p> <h3>Use Hashtags to Find Deals</h3> <p>#deals, #freebies, #coupons are examples of some hashtags that can point you to savings. Remember that companies often release on holidays and special days (e.g. <a href="">Tax Day</a>).</p> <h2>2. Use Twitter for Better Customer Service</h2> <p>If you mail a letter or send an email to a company to file a complaint or request help, only the company's customer care department knows about your pain. But when you share your problem on Twitter, you are increasing the number of people who are aware of the issue. (See also: <a href="">Getting What You Want from Customer Service</a>)</p> <p>Publicly shaming a company on Twitter can be a useful tactic to get your voice heard. Here are some things to consider before sending off your tweet:</p> <ul> <li> <p>Avoid tweeting when you are upset.</p> </li> <li> <p>Focus on facts, not rants. You want your tweet to have the potential for going viral for the right reasons.</p> </li> <li> <p>Include in your tweet the account from the company's customer care department , instead of the general company Twitter account (e.g. @WarbyParkerHelp versus @WarbyParker).</p> </li> <li> <p>Consider including a high-profile and relevant journalist, consumer advocacy group, or local politician that would support your case.</p> </li> <li> <p>Identify yourself via private message (PM) with a case ID or order number.</p> </li> <li> <p>Follow the company so that its reps can private message you.</p> </li> <li> <p>If the company does not contact you within 48 hours, send a reminder tweet that it still has not replied to your original tweet</p> </li> </ul> <p>Does it work? It surely can; just ask <a href="">Aetna</a>, <a href="">AT&amp;T,</a> <a href="">British Airways</a>, and <a href="">Southwest Airlines</a>.</p> <h2>3. Sync Your Twitter Account to Company Services</h2> <p>Some companies are using the Twitter API to provide some high-tech ways to save money. The leader of the Twitter-syncing-money-saving pack is American Express. By connecting their cards to their Twitter accounts, <a href="">American Express cardholders</a> can find offers from brands on Twitter for dining, shopping, and more.&nbsp;</p> <p>As of the time this article is being written, here are some samples tweets that participate in the program:</p> <ul> <li> <p>Tweet #AmexSoup, get $5 back 1x on $25+ in-store purch at Souplantation w/synced Amex Card! RegLtd Exp 6/30/14</p> </li> <li> <p>Tweet #AmexCrateBarrel, get $10 back 1x on $50+ qual purchs at Crate &amp; Barrel w/cnctd Amex Card! RegLtd Exp5/22/14</p> </li> <li> <p>Tweet #AmexHampton, get $25 back 1x on $150+ purch at Hampton Hotels w/synced Amex Card! RegLtd Exp5/31/14</p> </li> <li> <p>Tweet #AmexPetco get $5 back 1x on total spend of $25+ @ <a href="" title=""></a> w/synced Amex CardRegLtdExp 6/16/14</p> </li> </ul> <p>You upload the offer to your credit card by retweeting from your synced account. Other companies that have participated in the program are Virgin America, FedEx, Whole Foods, and H&amp;M.</p> <p>Who says that all your tweeting cannot help you save money? After getting several coupon codes and freebies (and better customer care for a smartphone replacement claim through our carrier) through Twitter, my wife has become a lot more lenient to my Twitter usage.</p> <p>As long as I keep on looking for discounts for her next shoe buying spree.</p> <p><em>How do you save some money with Twitter? Please share in comments.</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="3 Easy Ways to Save Money With Twitter" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Damian Davila</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Shopping credit cards deals discounts twitter Wed, 30 Apr 2014 09:24:15 +0000 Damian Davila 1137340 at The Only 5 Grocery Shopping Techniques You Need <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-only-5-grocery-shopping-techniques-you-need" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="grocery shopping" title="grocery shopping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Here's the excuse I hear most often for why people don't grocery shop frugally. Say it with me: &quot;I don't have time.&quot;</p> <p>Lack of time is not only the most common hurdle, it's also the easiest to overcome. The fact is, you can save money on groceries without spending more time shopping. In fact, you can probably cut down both the money you spend <em>and</em> the time you spend shopping, by changing one thing: your technique. (See also: <a href="">Save on Groceries With These Online Tools</a>)</p> <p>Maybe you didn't think picking up food for dinner as something that needed technique. You were wrong. There are dozens of techniques for filling the fridge, but some of them are better than others. Here are the five smartest.</p> <h2>1. Periodically &quot;Eat Down the House&quot;</h2> <p><strong>Why it's smart:</strong> Prevents food waste, which saves money. Keeps cupboards, fridge, and freezer uncluttered, which saves you from wasting time searching for things.</p> <p>This first technique doesn't actually involve stepping into a grocery store. Eating down the house simply means that you use up the food you have already purchased. Often people don't even know what they've got in their pantry or deep freeze. Take some time to take stock. Use your creativity to come up with some recipes making use of what you have &mdash; or consult a website like <a href="">SuperCook</a>, which tells you what you can make with what you have on hand. (See also: <a href="">Fancy Ways to Use Leftovers</a>)</p> <p>This technique will not only set the stage for future savings, but it will also save you time and money during the week you're doing it, because you simply won't have to go to the store (or only to pick up a few fresh supplements to what you have on hand).</p> <h2>2. Set a Budget and Stick to It</h2> <p><strong>Why it's smart:</strong> Like all self-improvement efforts, nothing succeeds like setting and working toward specific goals. Without a budget to measure against, shoppers have no idea whether they're shopping frugally or not. This also saves time because once you have figured out how many groceries you use in a typical week, you're more likely to get them all at once and not make multiple trips. (See also: <a href="">20+ Ways to Lower Your Grocery Bill</a>)</p> <p>When I used to post my weekly grocery spending every single week, I got lots of comments from the peanut gallery. Some thought my budget &mdash; whether it was $80 a week or $120 &mdash; was too easy to attain, while others thought it was unrealistically low. The number you set as your weekly budget has absolutely nothing to do with what anyone else thinks. It's a goal for <em>you</em> to aim for each week.</p> <p>If you want to save money, first keep all your receipts to measure how much you spend on groceries for several weeks. Once you have a weekly average figured out, cut 5% from that amount. Practice for about a month to see if you can stay under that goal. If it feels easy, go ahead and cut it another 5%. Keep doing this until you get to a point where you still feel challenged, yet you're not feeling deprived. Don't forget to bank the savings!</p> <h2>3. Rotate Grocery Stores</h2> <p><strong>Why it's smart:</strong> The same items sell for wildly different prices at different stores on different weeks. By periodically visiting different stores, you can reap the savings of all stores without having to waste time visiting multiple stores each week.</p> <p>Each week, most stores will feature a few items that are out-and-out steals. And different types of store offer different types of savings. If you had unlimited time, you could visit multiple major chains and pick up their deals of the week, stock up on produce at a low-cost ethnic market, hit Aldi for everyday low-priced staples, and visit Costco for dog food and diapers. But at that point, shopping would be your full time job, and no matter how much you save, you can't save enough to make up for spending that much time.</p> <p>Instead, work all your favorite stores into a rotation. When the weekly grocery ads come out, look each one over and decide if the deals are compelling enough to make that store your destination this week. If so, stock up on the sale-priced items and enough other reasonably good deals to get you through the week. On weeks that the deals in the ads don't excite you, hit an everyday low prices store like Aldi or a warehouse store instead. (See also: <a href="">Things You Should Buy at Costco</a>)</p> <h2>4. Grab Discounts</h2> <p><strong>Why it's smart:</strong> Grocery discounts may seem like only a few cents here and there, but when looked at in terms of percentages, they can add up to a good 20% cost reduction. Spending 20% less is at least as good as getting a 20% return on investments &mdash; but savings are tax free.</p> <p>Beyond the regular advertised sales, there are lots of ways to get discounts on groceries if you keep your eyes open. Coupons are one way, of course. Also keep your eyes peeled for marked-down perishable goods; for instance my local Safeway puts out meat and deli items reduced 30% to 50% every day. Not all stores do this, but when you find one that does, work it into your regular rotation.</p> <p>Some stores offer discounts through online programs now. Safeway promises 20% or greater savings to users of its Just for U program, and personally I have saved even more by using it.</p> <h2>5. Combine Deals</h2> <p><strong>Why it's smart:</strong> Taking advantage of multiple promotions yields maximum savings.</p> <p>This is the most challenging part of grocery savings, but it can also be the most fun. Say you have a coupon for your kids' favorite cereal. The coupon only brings the price of the cereal down to match the store brand, so you might wonder if using coupons is even worthwhile. Well, it's not very worthwhile &mdash; if the item you're buying isn't also on sale. Hold onto that coupon for a week or two, until the cereal goes on sale, and then you're combining two deals &mdash; and likely beating the price of the store brand.</p> <p>Other ways to combine discounts is to look for Catalina promotions, which print out rewards after you make a purchase, or add a &quot;basket coupon,&quot; which takes money off when you spend a set amount on your whole purchase. When advanced bargain shoppers brag that they got groceries for free, or even made money on certain items, they're usually combining multiple deals.</p> <p><em>What's your smartest grocery shopping trick? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="The Only 5 Grocery Shopping Techniques You Need" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Carrie Kirby</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> General Tips Shopping deals discounts groceries shopping Mon, 07 Apr 2014 08:49:04 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1134464 at The 8 Best Places to Find Deals at the Mall <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-8-best-places-to-find-deals-at-the-mall" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="shopping" title="shopping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Shopping malls. Some are shrines to over-indulgence. Some will have you emptying your bank account faster than you can say &quot;charge.&quot; And others, well, don't even go within 100 feet of them if you're planning to save money. In my hometown of Denver, that would be Cherry Creek mall. Very beautiful, very extravagant, and not one bargain anywhere within its luxurious walls. (See also: <a href="">17 Places to Get Discount Designer Clothing</a>)</p> <p>But other malls, especially outlet malls, can be goldmines of savings. And if you know where (and when) to shop within the mall, you can stretch your dollars considerably further. Here are the eight best places to find deals at your local mall.</p> <h2>1. Jewelry: Claire's and Icing</h2> <p>If you have girls, especially between the ages of 7 and 14, then Claire's and Icing can save you a ton of money on jewelry. True, it's not exactly the best quality, but the tastes of teenage girls change with the wind anyway. These stores constantly have deals running, including BOGO and Buy 2, Get 1 Free. And they don't just do deals on jewelry. You'll find bargains on purses, makeup, key rings, chap sticks, and more. It's paradise for young girls, and a money saver for adults. (See also: <a href="">Where to Find Inexpensive Accessories</a>)</p> <h2>2. Clothing: H&amp;M</h2> <p>Hopefully your mall contains an H&amp;M. Some don't, and that's a real shame. H&amp;M prices run from fair to &quot;that's incredible, how do they even stay in business?!&quot; The thing about H&amp;M is that it's both fashionable and affordable &mdash; two words that very rarely go together. They have major celebrities wearing and advertising their clothes, and if you hit the sales, you'll find these items for silly money. Jeans for less than $10, T-shirts for $5. You really can't go wrong.</p> <h2>3. Shoes: Payless Shoesource</h2> <p>I preface this with a note on quality. Many people will tell you that the shoes at Payless are crap. Sorry to be blunt, but that's what it basically boils down to. But to be honest, I've had hiking boots from Payless that I bought at the same time as a much more expensive pair from REI, and both have lasted well. I think the higher-priced boots are more comfortable, but many of the shoes sold in Payless are made in the same factories that churn out the expensive brands. You can also buy Airwalk shoes in Payless. Yes, if you want the latest and greatest fashions, and high-end brand names, this is not the store for you. But if you need shoes for the kiddos who are growing like weeds, and will be in another size in six months, there are plenty of choices here. (See also: <a href="">Try Frye for Stylish Shoes That Last</a>)</p> <h2>4. A Bit of Everything: Ross, TJ Maxx, and Marshalls</h2> <p>When you want some cheap clothes, bargain watches, cookware, bedding, shoes, suitcases, electronics, and kitchen gadgets all under one roof, these stores are great. The stock is name brand, but is often what the industry calls &quot;factory seconds.&quot; They are flawed in some way, but these ways are usually unnoticeable to anyone but a trained eye. That means a slightly incorrect logo placement, stitching irregularities, or even the tiniest of blemishes. For this, you'll pay as much as 90% less than retail. You may also get last year's fashions or discontinued stock. But if you don't care (and how many of us do?) this is a great place to shop and save.</p> <h2>5. Video Games: Game Stop and Game Zone</h2> <p>When you head to these stores, don't go for the brand new games. They cannot offer them at good prices, and they will most likely be cheaper online. Instead, look through the used games, and better still, the bargain buckets. Here, you'll find games that have been hugely discounted. It's not uncommon to pick up games for the Wii, Xbox 360, and PS3 for less than $5. Sadly, these stores have not carried the original Xbox games for quite some time, but you can still find them at independent retailers for as little as $2. They also take trades, so you can walk out with games without spending any money. (See also: <a href="">Cheap Ways to Play Video Games</a>)</p> <h2>6. Sunglasses: Kiosks</h2> <p>Every mall you go to will usually have small kiosks set up in the aisles. They will be selling everything from skin care products to cuddly toys and wallets. One thing to look out for is the sunglasses kiosk. This will have copies of popular styles at a fraction of the price. They are not counterfeit; they are simply mimicking expensive brands but without the high price tag. What you should know is this: over 80% of sunglasses in the world <a href="">are made by one company</a> &mdash; Luxottica. And almost every pair of sunglasses comes with UV protection. So while you may feel better spending $250 on a pair of designer sunglasses, remember that for ten times less you can get two good-looking pairs that will shield your eyes from the sun just as well.</p> <h2>7. Fragrances: Perfumania and Other Fragrance Outlets</h2> <p>When you want to stock up on fragrances for friends, family, or yourself, don't forget to look in stores like <a href="">Perfumania</a>. They almost always have good deals running, like BOGO, or BOGO 50%. They will also bundle deals, giving you fragrance sets that include shower gels, lotions, and even nightgowns; and they have a decent clearance section, where last year's hot fragrances are this year's hot bargains. Just be warned &mdash; the scent can be a little overpowering.</p> <h2>8. Kitchen Items: Kitchen Collection</h2> <p>If you have specific kitchen items you need, pop into a store like <a href="">Kitchen Collection</a>. It's considered an outlet store, but the goods offered within are great quality at excellent prices. Brands on offer include Cuisinart, Farberware, Black &amp; Decker, Keurig, KitchenAid, Ninja, Paula Deen, Waring Pro, and Sunbeam. There are gadgets and gizmos covering the walls and the aisles, and the clearance sections can be eye-opening. Expect to pay 50% less for your top-end items than you would in the department stores across the way.</p> <p><em>Do you have a secret mall shopping tip that always brings you the best deals? Let us know all about it. </em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="The 8 Best Places to Find Deals at the Mall" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Paul Michael</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Deals Shopping Buying Guides deals discounts shopping shopping mall Tue, 18 Mar 2014 09:48:29 +0000 Paul Michael 1130834 at 10 Places to Find Cheap, Good-Looking New Furniture <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-places-to-find-cheap-good-looking-new-furniture" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="furniture store" title="furniture store" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Finding affordable furniture doesn't mean you are relegated to college dorm decor or dumpster diving. Besides thrift stores, Craigslist, and garage sales, cheap-yet-attractive retail options do exist if you know where to look. Here are some great places to score some stylish furniture on a budget. (See also: <a href="">How to Save on Patio Furniture</a>)</p> <h2>1. Cost Plus World Market</h2> <p><a href="">Cost Plus World Market</a>, which originally got its name from selling items at cost plus 10%, now has 250 locations and an online site selling a collection of home items from around the world at extremely economical prices. World Market's eclectic furniture choices include many decorative fabric chairs for under $300, sofa options for under $600, and tufted upholstered beds under $500. Most products are made of solid wood and quality fabrics, and the site provides helpful running commentary from online reviewers.</p> <h2>2. IKEA</h2> <p>No frugal furniture list would be complete without a reference to <a href="">IKEA</a>. IKEA has some of the cheapest furniture around, and while it's true this is often due to things like particle board construction, there are a number of IKEA finds that even designers use as high-end substitutes. Check out the super affordable chairs and sofas from the EKTORP line, which start as low as $250 and whose white slipcovers make for a great spa feel. You can also score a good-looking KIVIK chaise for $350 in a variety of colors, while the AINA curtains rival more lux Belgian linen draperies. (See also: <a href="">DIY Curtains</a>)</p> <h2>3. Wayfair</h2> <p>With over 11,000 brands, <a href="">Wayfair</a> has an overwhelming number of home furnishing options available on its site. Furniture ranges from the extremely cheap to the high-end name brands, most of which are then discounted well below the original list price. Many pieces also include free shipping, which can save hundreds of dollars over other furniture retailers. <a href=";offerid=223073.10007155&amp;type=3&amp;subid=0">Walmart</a> also sells some Wayfair furniture on its site, too.</p> <h2>4. Pier 1</h2> <p><a href="">Pier 1 Imports</a> offers some furniture with flair at very reasonable price points. Most items have a global artisan feel, and the in-store displays prove helpful in providing inspiration for your furniture finds. You can now also order online and have items delivered or choose free next-day pickup at a store location. Some of my favorites are their collections of <a href=",default,sc.html?cgid=fabric-chairs&amp;nav=left">affordable upholstered chairs</a>, which always make a statement with unique fabrics and eye-catching designs.</p> <h2>5. Overstock</h2> <p>Finding 20% or more savings on great pieces of furniture makes <a href="">Overstock</a> worth a look. A vast furniture inventory and everyday free shipping on items over $50 (including the big stuff) also helps. Some of the more economical furniture buys may require some assembly, but the savings can help justify the labor involved. Overstock often runs additional sales on already reduced items for even more bargain shopping.</p> <h2>6. Home Decorators</h2> <p>If you've ever received one of <a href="">Home Decorators'</a> catalogs, you know they sell a variety of well-priced furniture items and rugs. It's also one of the few places online where you can customize fabrics and colors for fairly affordable prices. While durability can be questionable at times, a collection of product reviews is available to help you make your purchase. Make sure to check their outlet section and various sales events, too. I have had great luck with many items, including some custom upholstered dining chairs for $150, a hall tree from the outlet for under $100, and a handsome French-inspired settee for around $300.</p> <h2>7. West Elm</h2> <p>As the more affordable sister store to Pottery Barn, <a href="">West Elm</a>'s furniture is best known for small-space living and clean lines with a modern touch. Their Emmerson Collection boasts a rustic look for modern or industrial spaces, while their Mid-Century Collection provides a '50s vibe. Price points are not necessarily rock bottom, but you can score some nice pieces for under $500. Check out their inspiration and ideas sections, or head into your local store for designer advice. (See also: <a href="">How to Live Large in a Small Space</a>)</p> <h2>8. One Kings Lane and Joss &amp; Main</h2> <p>Flash sale sites <a href="">One Kings Lane</a> and <a href="">Joss &amp; Main</a> carry some high-end brand furniture, vintage finds, and affordable furnishings at major savings (think as much as 50% or more). However, you are limited to what's available during the timed sale periods, which means you need to be patient and check back often if you are searching for a particular item. Like many flash sale sites, you'll need to register, and also beware to buy only what you truly are looking for. (See also: <a href="">Flash Sale Sites: Great Discounts&hellip;With a Price</a>)</p> <h2>9. Target</h2> <p>Don't rule out <a href=";fot=9999&amp;foc=1">Target</a> for finding some attractive and affordable furniture. The store is great for finding cheap, simple furniture items, like bookcases, tables, desks, dressers, and nightstands for under $150. Like many cheap furniture items, assembly may be required. You can also spiff up some of their relatively modest pieces by buying your own knobs, pulls, and other hardware to make for a unique look.</p> <h2>10. Big Lots</h2> <p>As one of the largest broadline closeout retailers, <a href="">Big Lots</a> offers some extremely discounted furniture. Shopping Big Lots is easy with over 1,400 stores nationwide and the ability to browse online. Microfiber sofas under $300, nightstands under $70 and majorly discounted Serta mattresses are just some of the extremely cheap furniture finds available.</p> <p><em>Where are some of your favorite places for cheap, good-looking furniture?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="10 Places to Find Cheap, Good-Looking New Furniture" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Kelly Medeiros</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Home Shopping deals discounts furniture Tue, 18 Mar 2014 09:24:09 +0000 Kelly Medeiros 1130833 at What to Buy (and Avoid Buying) in March <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-to-buy-and-avoid-buying-in-march" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="woman jumping" title="woman jumping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Right now, it may not feel like spring is approaching; many of us still have snow on our lawns and extra blankets on the bed. But, in a few months we'll be unpacking the shorts and light jackets, and getting ready to tune up the lawn mower. As always, stores are way ahead of consumers when it comes to stocking the shelves. They clear out products you want right now in favor of items you will soon need. But that makes for great bargains, if you know what to look for. (See also: <a href="">Wise Bread's Shopping Calendar</a>)</p> <h2>First, What to Buy&hellip;</h2> <p>There are plenty of awesome holidays this month. March 4th is Mardi Gras, also known as Fat Tuesday and Shrove Tuesday (or Pancake Day in the UK). In the UK, Mother's Day is Sunday, March 30th. And we also have the spring equinox on March 20th. Let's take a look at some of the bargains that accompany them.</p> <h3>1. Chocolates, Chocolates, Chocolates</h3> <p>Something the stores never want hanging around are seasonal items, especially edible ones. Valentine's Day may be long gone, but the stores still have plenty of goodies on the shelves. And they want to get rid of it quickly! You'll see 90% savings on perfectly good <a href=";bbn=16322461&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;qid=1393616528&amp;rh=n%3A16310101%2Cn%3A!16310211%2Cn%3A16322461%2Cp_n_intended_use_browse-bin%3A2257371011&amp;rnid=2257345011&amp;tag=whattobuy03-20">boxes of chocolates and other candies</a>, and all because they're in heart-shipped boxes and flowery red packaging. It's silly, but it's good for your wallet. (See also: <a href="">15 Reasons to Eat More Chocolate</a>)</p> <h3>2. Frozen Foods</h3> <p>March is National Frozen Foods month. Who knew? That means you'll see a ton of great coupons in the circulars and discounts in stores. If you have space in your freezer, now is the time to use it up. Or grab yourself a <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B001CWDZYI&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=whattobuy03-20">cheap freezer</a> off Craigslist and stock it up! Remember, these foods can last a year or more, but the deals don't ever last that long. (See also: <a href="">Make-Ahead, Freezable Hot Breakfasts</a>)</p> <h3>3. Intel-Based Laptops</h3> <p>If you need a new laptop for school, college, the workplace, or just to have around the house, now is the time to check out deals on Intel-based laptops. Now, there are several types of Intel processors, from the older Ivy Bridge and <a href=";bbn=565108&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;qid=1393617812&amp;rh=n%3A172282%2Cn%3A!493964%2Cn%3A541966%2Cn%3A565108%2Cp_75%3A20-%2Cp_n_feature_four_browse-bin%3A1264444011&amp;rnid=676578011&amp;tag=whattobuy03-20">Celeron</a> models, to the newer Haswell versions. Strangely enough, the better deals seem to be on the <a href=";bbn=565108&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;qid=1393617812&amp;rh=n%3A172282%2Cn%3A!493964%2Cn%3A541966%2Cn%3A565108%2Cp_75%3A20-%2Cp_n_feature_four_browse-bin%3A1264444011&amp;rnid=676578011&amp;tag=whattobuy03-20">Haswells</a>, so if you have $500 to spend, you can get a fast and reliable Dell, HP, Lenovo, Acer, or Sony laptop with a Haswell Core i5 or Core i7 processor.</p> <h3>4. Big Screen TVs</h3> <p>It won't be too long before <a href=";bbn=6459736011&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;qid=1393618062&amp;rh=n%3A172282%2Cn%3A!493964%2Cn%3A1266092011%2Cn%3A172659%2Cn%3A6459736011%2Cp_n_size_browse-bin%3A3578041011&amp;rnid=1232878011&amp;tag=whattobuy03-20">42&quot; LCD TVs</a> are given away free with boxes of cereal. Seriously, every year big screen TVs get cheaper and cheaper. A few years ago, a <a href=";bbn=6459736011&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;qid=1393618062&amp;rh=n%3A172282%2Cn%3A!493964%2Cn%3A1266092011%2Cn%3A172659%2Cn%3A6459736011%2Cp_n_size_browse-bin%3A3578041011&amp;rnid=1232878011&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">60&quot; 1080p LCD TV</a> would have set you back a few thousand dollars. This year, you will get change out of $800. And those <a href=";bbn=172659&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;pf_rd_i=1266092011&amp;pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&amp;pf_rd_p=1737263342&amp;pf_rd_r=1MYVBWR356V9CBB81KHK&amp;pf_rd_s=merchandised-search-3&amp;pf_rd_t=101&amp;rh=i%3Aelectronics%2Cn%3A172282%2Cn%3A!493964%2Cn%3A1266092011%2Cn%3A172659%2Cp_n_feature_keywords_three_browse-bin%3A7688788011%2Cn%3A!493964%2Cn%3A!493964%2Cn%3A!493964%2Cn%3A!493964%2Cn%3A!493964%2Cn%3A!493964&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">4K TVs</a> are also going to drop in price, too. If you have plans for a home theater, this is a great month to buy, especially if you're expecting a tax refund.</p> <h3>5. Luggage</h3> <p>Now's the time to stock up on travel gear. If past performance is any indication of how things will go this year, <a href=";bbn=172659&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;pf_rd_i=1266092011&amp;pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&amp;pf_rd_p=1737263342&amp;pf_rd_r=1MYVBWR356V9CBB81KHK&amp;pf_rd_s=merchandised-search-3&amp;pf_rd_t=101&amp;rh=i%3Aelectronics%2Cn%3A172282%2Cn%3A!493964%2Cn%3A1266092011%2Cn%3A172659%2Cp_n_feature_keywords_three_browse-bin%3A7688788011%2Cn%3A!493964%2Cn%3A!493964%2Cn%3A!493964%2Cn%3A!493964%2Cn%3A!493964%2Cn%3A!493964&amp;tag=whattobuy03-20">luggage and baggage deals</a> kick into high gear in March. New luggage models (do people really care about the trendiness of their suitcases?) come out now, so old models are priced to move. From retail stores like Sears and Walmart to online retailers like eBags and Amazon, you should find yourself some sweet bargains. Hopefully, flights will be just as good to you. (See also: <a href="">Packing Secrets From a Pro Traveler</a>)</p> <h3>6. Snow Gear</h3> <p>If you like fresh powder, there's still time to enjoy it while wearing some <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;node=6443707011&amp;pf_rd_i=1036592&amp;pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&amp;pf_rd_p=1714561622&amp;pf_rd_r=100MKAQG0588ZYM9282P&amp;pf_rd_s=merchandised-search-8&amp;pf_rd_t=101&amp;tag=whattobuy03-20">snazzy new gear</a>&hellip;and it doesn't have to cost full price. Just like last month, there are deals to be had on those big winter jackets, snow boots, hats, and all sorts of other stuff designed to keep the icy weather at bay. These deals won't last too much longer, so grab them now.</p> <h3>7. St. Patrick's Day Merchandise</h3> <p>Once again, the green beers will be flowing on March 17th &mdash; St. Patrick's Day. And as soon as the sun sets on the 17th, the stores start discounting <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;node=6361262011&amp;pf_rd_i=507846&amp;pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&amp;pf_rd_p=1740538522&amp;pf_rd_r=1MB94V0H98599B98XPAX&amp;pf_rd_s=right-csm-1&amp;pf_rd_t=101&amp;tag=whattobuy03-20">St. Paddy's Day merchandise</a> with a determination that would make the Little Engine That Could jealous. In the past, Target has quickly and massively discounted the green gear. Remember, until the 17th you won't see many deals, but after then you can scoop up the bargains and stock up for next year.&nbsp;(See also: <a href="">Ways to Serve Potatoes on St. Patrick's Day</a>)</p> <h3>8. Amazon Prime&nbsp;</h3> <p>If you've been debating an <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00DBYBNEE&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=whattobuy03-20">Amazon Prime</a> membership, now could be the best time to jump on it. Over the past year, changes have been made to Amazon Prime that have made it less of a deal than it used to be. For instance, the change to &quot;add on items,&quot; which were once free to ship with Prime, but are now only shipped free if included with an order that brings your total over $25. Rumors have it that Amazon is going to hike the rates by 50% or more. Get in now, and enjoy free two-day shipping and a massive library of free TV and Movies to stream whenever you want.</p> <h3>9. Seeds and Plants</h3> <p>Of course, with frost and hard ground to contend with, you won't be planting a whole lot right now. But you can order what you need now and save 50% or more on <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;node=3480662011&amp;pf_rd_i=2972638011&amp;pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&amp;pf_rd_p=1715557162&amp;pf_rd_r=01NXSG4MF9P76MRC1ZN5&amp;pf_rd_s=merchandised-search-1&amp;pf_rd_t=101&amp;tag=whattobuy03-20">seeds</a> that will make your garden grow. (See also: <a href="">Guide to Container Gardening</a>)</p> <h3>10. Silverware and China</h3> <p>Wedding season is not until June. Christmas is over. The stores want to get some of their silverware and china stock cleared. If your <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;node=13162311&amp;pf_rd_i=1055398&amp;pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&amp;pf_rd_p=1685437002&amp;pf_rd_r=1EPWRPMZ4CHPZGWSA50J&amp;pf_rd_s=merchandised-search-4&amp;pf_rd_t=101&amp;tag=whattobuy03-20">plates, bowls and cutlery</a> are looking a little past their prime, now is a great time to refresh them all. And remember, the old ones can be donated to charity for a family that really needs them.</p> <h2>What to Avoid&hellip;</h2> <p>There's a lot of flimflam in March too. It starts at the beginning of the month with Oscar Night 2014, and let's not forget Daylight Savings Time on March 9th &mdash; one hour of sleep lost, one extra pot of coffee on Sunday. Let's see what we should be looking to avoid this month.</p> <h3>1. Sexy Lingerie</h3> <p>It's not the same as candy; <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;node=14333511&amp;pf_rd_i=1040660&amp;pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&amp;pf_rd_p=1740541382&amp;pf_rd_r=01Y3ZE0BQEDWEG6FAM9S&amp;pf_rd_s=merchandised-search-leftnav&amp;pf_rd_t=101&amp;tag=whattobuy03-20">lingerie</a> is lingerie, and it is still popular despite Valentine's Day being over for another year. When it comes to sales, most lingerie stores follow the lead of the biggest and most infamous &mdash; Victoria's Secret. And as their semi-annual sale is in June, you should hold off on your shopping until then.</p> <h3>2. Xbox One Systems and Games</h3> <p>The <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00CMQTVUA&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=whattobuy03-20">Xbox One</a> is still a hot item, but the discounts are coming in April. Now that the rush is over for Christmas, and the big fans have already picked up their systems, sales are on the decline. Microsoft doesn't want to see the PS4 gaining any more market share, and the best way to combat that is with discounts. Keep your eyes peeled, but don't buy anything just yet.</p> <h3>3. Spring Apparel</h3> <p>Spring is not just around the corner. But the stores have a different story. They're stocking up for spring right now, and they have no plans to offer any kind of discounts just yet. <a href="">Spring gear</a> is still priced at or close to the recommended retail price. Wait a month or two, and those prices will come down just in time for you to get a month or two of good use out of everything you buy.</p> <h3>4. New Smartphones</h3> <p>The <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;node=2407748011&amp;pf_rd_i=2335752011&amp;pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&amp;pf_rd_p=1716418262&amp;pf_rd_r=00XHABXX9A3H6TWYH2E3&amp;pf_rd_s=merchandised-search-6&amp;pf_rd_t=101&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">latest models</a> are everywhere, and they're full price. By all means use this time to start looking around for models you'd like to have, but hold your horses. Give it a few months and those full price phones will start falling in price.</p> <h3>5. Gym Memberships</h3> <p>If you're a regular at the gym, you should have seen the New Year's rush die down by now. But, it's far from over yet. People are still trying to fulfill that <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;node=3408271&amp;pf_rd_i=3407731&amp;pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&amp;pf_rd_p=1712840642&amp;pf_rd_r=1G6D6ZGAWBG8VVMNDYK6&amp;pf_rd_s=merchandised-search-5&amp;pf_rd_t=101&amp;tag=whattobuy03-20">resolution to get fit</a>, and gyms are not struggling to make their numbers. Wait a few more months. Once the sun is shining and people can run outdoors, they'll start hitting you with offers.</p> <p><em>Are you planning to make any purchases in March? Where are you finding deals?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="What to Buy (and Avoid Buying) in March" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Paul Michael</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Consumer Affairs Shopping buying guides deals discounts what to buy Mon, 03 Mar 2014 11:36:40 +0000 Paul Michael 968384 at Best Money Tips: Valentine's Day Deals and Freebies <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-valentines-day-deals-and-freebies" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="Valentine&#039;s Day" title="Valentine&#039;s Day" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some awesome articles on Valentine's Day deals and freebies, strange facts that are actually true, and squeezing more out of your day.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="">Valentine's Day Deals and Freebies</a> &mdash; If you purchase a dozen donuts from Krispy Kreme, you can get a dozen free! [Pocket Your Dollars]</p> <p><a href="">14 Strange Facts That Are Actually True</a> &mdash; Did you know a professional mimic can forget their own voice? [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="">On a time crunch? Squeeze more out of your day</a> &mdash; To squeeze more out of your day, use technology to your advantage. [Get Rich Slowly]</p> <p><a href="">5 Best Tips for Effective Budgeting</a> &mdash; Recording your expenses immediately can help you budget effectively. [Money Help for Christians]</p> <p><a href="">Make It Easier (on Yourself) to Be Responsible with Money</a> &mdash; Make it easier on yourself to be responsible with money by being committed to staying out of debt. [American Debt Project]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="">How the Attitudes of People During the Depression Can Help You Reach Financial Independence</a> &mdash; Being resourceful and grateful can help you reach financial independence. [Three Thrifty Guys]</p> <p><a href="">Financial to dos before you say &quot;I do&quot;</a> &mdash; Before you say &quot;I do,&quot; figure out if your goals are compatible with your significant other's. [Five Cent Nickel]</p> <p><a href=";utm_medium=feed&amp;">How to Budget for Unexpected Expenses</a> &mdash; When budgeting for unexpected expenses around your home, make sure you have a specific fund for emergencies, not just improvements. [Thirty Six Months]</p> <p><a href="">How I Negotiated 46% Off A Tailor Job</a> &mdash; Did you know physically holding an object when you are negotiating shows you are attached to it and will pay a higher price for it? [Bargain Babe]</p> <p><a href="">Valentine's Day Date Ideas for You and Your Kids</a> &mdash; This Valentine's Day, take your kids for a nature walk or bake heart-shaped cookies. [Parenting Squad]</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Best Money Tips: Valentine&#039;s Day Deals and Freebies" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Ashley Jacobs</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Frugal Living best money tips deals freebies Valentine's Day Fri, 14 Feb 2014 11:00:28 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 1125725 at It Pays to Be Late: 7 Awesome Things You Can Get Cheaper at the Last Minute <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/it-pays-to-be-late-7-awesome-things-you-can-get-cheaper-at-the-last-minute" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="farmer&#039;s market" title="farmer&#039;s market" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I&#39;m habitually running an hour or a day or a week behind. The upside of this chronic lateness is that I&#39;ve found that waiting until the last minute to buy things often leads to unexpected discounts. Here are some ways that the latecomer gets more deals than the early bird (and deals are better than worms, don&#39;t you think?). (See also: <a href="">16 Amazon Deal Hacks</a>)</p> <h2>1. Farmers Markets</h2> <p>Show up at a weekly fresh produce market in the last hour, and many vendors will be happy to make you a deal. Even if they don&#39;t change their signs, just ask: &quot;How much for all the peaches you have left?&quot; Nobody wants to load unsold produce back into the truck. (See also: <a href="">Fresh Fruits and Veggies by the Month</a>)</p> <h2>2. Garage Sales</h2> <p>It&#39;s 1 p.m. on a Saturday, and neighbors are starting to pack up their unsold goods and schedule charity pickups. It&#39;s the best time to wheel and deal &mdash; most people have by this point given up on making money and just want to avoid hauling the stuff back inside. (See also: <a href="">How to Turn Trash Into Cash</a>)</p> <h2>3. Rental Cars</h2> <p>Because <a href="">we don&#39;t own a car</a>, my family rents them several times a year for weekend getaways and such. I&#39;ve found that the best prices often come up on <a href=";offerid=215953.10000002&amp;type=3&amp;subid=0">Hotwire</a> or <a href="">Priceline</a> on the day before or even the day of the rental. At this point, the rental companies may know roughly how many cars they&#39;re going to have sitting idle, and they will release more to these cut-rate vendors. The rental companies themselves may also list last-minute specials on their sites.</p> <p>Of course, if you really need a car, you don&#39;t want to wait until the last minute and then find out that the last minute prices are sky-high. So I recommend making an early reservation at the best price you can find &mdash; search <a href=""></a> for good prices &mdash; as a back-up. If you don&#39;t select the &quot;pay in advance&quot; option, car reservations are generally non-binding for the customer.</p> <h2>4. Hotels</h2> <p>The same thing goes for hotel rooms &mdash; hit Hotwire, Priceline, or Orbitz at the last minute, but consider a backup conventional reservation. Just remember that many hotels charge cancellation fees if you cancel too late, so check their policy.</p> <p><a href=";fot=9999&amp;foc=1">Orbitz</a> is nice because its listings tell you how the price compares to &quot;usual&quot; prices. For instance, when I searched for a room in San Francisco for a weekday night, it told me that the $139 price it was quoting for the Kimpton Prescott hotel was 25% less than usual.</p> <p>You can also wrangle last-minute hotel deals by simply calling the front desk and asking for a discount. (See also: <a href="">Best Credit Cards for Budget Hotels</a>)</p> <h2>5. Flights</h2> <p>Last-minute flight deals are one of those bargain leprechauns that I have always heard about but never quite believed in. After all, when you book a flight, you&#39;ll notice that the prices trend higher and higher as the travel date approaches. And how many times have you boarded a plane recently with lots of empty seats?</p> <p>Well, in truth, you can never count on getting a last-minute bargain to a specific destination. But if you are flexible and keep your eyes open, you may be able to find last minute opportunities. Like with hotels and rental cars, you want to start with Priceline, Hotwire, and Orbitz. (See also: <a href="">How to Get the Lowest Price on Airfare</a>)</p> <p>Another place to look is the airline&#39;s home page. I registered on American Airlines and entered my prefered travel routes, SFO-ORD or OAK-MKE. When I logged in recently, it notified me that I could fly from San Francisco to Chicago and back for just $200, less than half the price on most other upcoming dates &mdash; but only if I left this Saturday and returned on Monday or Tuesday. You can also get last-minute deals emailed to you if you sign up with airlines and travel sites. And set up a fare alert on to let you know when a route you travel drops in price.</p> <p><a href="">USA Today</a> has two more tips for snagging last-minute deals. First, travel alone, because single cheap seats are easier to find than groups. Second, look for sites that cater to the region you&#39;re traveling to, like Airtech, which specializes in cheap flights to Hawaii.</p> <p>Finally, if you are heading to a vacation destination, try searching the sites of tour operators like <a href="">Apple Vacations</a> or <a href="">Funjet</a>. (See also: <a href="">Cheap International Vacation Destinations</a>)</p> <h2>6. Holiday and Seasonal Goods</h2> <p>Of course, the best deals on Christmas decor or Halloween costumes will come <em>after </em>the holiday, when retailers want to clear the shelves for the next season&#39;s merchandise. However, a lot of stores discount these things, say, 25% or 50% in the last week leading up to a holiday. If you aren&#39;t particular about what your Halloween costume will be, or if you can wait until the last couple days to wrap your Christmas presents, you can snag major discounts.</p> <p>Likewise, if you can wait until July 1 to buy a bathing suit or until January to buy a snowblower, you&#39;ll get a better deal than if you shopped ahead. Back-to-school clothes and supplies will be on clearance before the kids really need most of them.</p> <h2>7. Theater and Event Tickets</h2> <p>Tickets to the hit musical &quot;The Book of Mormon&quot; start at $125 in San Francisco &mdash; unless you show up two and a half hours before the performance and <a href="">get front row seats for $29 each</a>. OK, these are sold by lottery, so you&#39;re far from guaranteed to get in, but if you have the time to gamble, you can save a hundred bucks or more.</p> <p>Most cities have a ticket booth where you can line up to buy half-price tickets (plus a fee) for whatever show has empty seats that night. Some sports venues, such as Wrigley Field in Chicago, and performing arts venues as well sell cheap standing room only tickets on the day of the event. Finally, don&#39;t forget to look on Craigslist, where people with changed plans often unload tickets for cheap &mdash; just take some precautions <a href="">to avoid getting scammed</a>.</p> <p><em>What have you gotten a great deal on by waiting until the last minute to purchase?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="It Pays to Be Late: 7 Awesome Things You Can Get Cheaper at the Last Minute" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Carrie Kirby</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Shopping deals discounts haggling last minute shopping Wed, 08 Jan 2014 11:37:20 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1101382 at 10 Things You Should Never Buy at the Dollar Store (and 10 You Should) <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-things-you-should-never-buy-at-the-dollar-store-and-10-you-should" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="shopping" title="shopping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Who doesn&#39;t love a trip to the dollar store? You walk in with five bucks, and you walk out with a bag full of stuff. (See also: <a href="">Home Decorating for Under $5</a>)</p> <p>Of course, the stuff you have in that bag is going to vary in quality from good to &quot;Are you sure you want to take the risk?&quot; So I have compiled a top 10 list of things to buy, and 10 things to steer clear of.</p> <h2>What to Buy</h2> <p>Here are the items you should look out for every time you&#39;re at the dollar store.</p> <h3>1. Gift Wrap, Cards, and Party Supplies</h3> <p>What&#39;s the most depressing thing about buying gift-wrap? Personally, I hate spending $3-$4 on a roll of paper that is specifically designed to be seen for 10 seconds before it&#39;s ripped off and thrown in the trash. That&#39;s why I always get it from the dollar store. It&#39;s 75% cheaper, it looks just the same, and it&#39;s not so painful to see it get annihilated. While you&#39;re there, grab balloons, plates, cups, plastic cutlery, greeting cards, and anything else related to a birthday or anniversary. You&#39;ll save a ton of money over the years.</p> <h3>2. Glassware, Cups, and Mugs</h3> <p>There&#39;s a decent selection of glassware in most dollar stores, and they&#39;re perfectly safe for the home. They&#39;re not made of inferior glass that will shatter when you breathe on them. The glasses may not be the most current styles, and you may not get exactly the shape you were looking for. But if you&#39;re just looking to add a few glasses to your cupboard, your money goes a long way here. The same goes for cups and mugs. Again, don&#39;t expect a massive array of the latest styles. But they hold tea and coffee just fine.</p> <p><img alt="" src="" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <h3>3. Reusable Plastic Containers</h3> <p>It&#39;s often called Gladware, but that&#39;s a brand name. You can find these storage containers made by Betty Crocker, Ziploc, Rubbermaid, Tupperware, and many others. Your selection may not be that great in the dollar store, but you&#39;ll get a lot more containers for your cash.</p> <h3>4. Coloring Books, Crayons, and Kids&#39; Crafts</h3> <p>The prices of coloring books range from &quot;how much?!&quot; to &quot;seems reasonable.&quot; In the dollar store, however, they&#39;re as cheap as chips. And while you&#39;re there, stock up on crayons, pencils, erasers, pipe cleaners, colored paper, and glue sticks. (See also: <a href="">Budget Design Ideas for a Kids&rsquo; Playroom</a>)</p> <h3>5. Batteries</h3> <p>&quot;No way,&quot; I hear you cry! Well, yes way. Fine, dollar store batteries <a href="">aren&#39;t as good as the expensive, name brand batteries</a>. Dollar store batteries are usually older carbon-zinc technology, as opposed to alkaline or lithium. BUT, when you&#39;re paying $1 for a pack of 4 AA batteries, and the name-brand variety costs $5-$6, you are getting a better deal. So, they won&#39;t last as long, but they&#39;re at least 80% cheaper. If you don&#39;t mind replacing batteries more often (and checking often too, as some batteries will leak if left in too long) they&#39;ll do just fine; especially for those power-draining kids toys.</p> <h3>6. Holiday Decorations</h3> <p>Easter. Halloween. Christmas. Thanksgiving. If you can name a holiday, there are expensive decorations to buy. Luckily, your dollar store has a good stock of bargain decorations, and few people will know the difference. A word of warning though&hellip;avoid anything electrical (see the first point in the &quot;Do Not Buy&quot; list below). (See also: <a href="">Holiday Shopping at the Dollar Store</a>)</p> <p><img alt="" src="" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <h3>7. Most Cleaning Products</h3> <p>Bleach is bleach. Ammonia is ammonia. Glass cleaner is glass cleaner. Don&#39;t worry about paying 75% more for the name brand versions; just get down to your dollar store and stock up on the cleaning products you need at bargain prices. You may find some of the products are not as strong as the name brand versions, but just use a little more. At these prices, you can afford to. While you&#39;re in that aisle, pick up sponges, dishcloths, towels, and other cleaning products. (See also: <a href="">The 5 Best All-Purpose Cleaners</a>)</p> <h3>8. Personal Hygiene Items</h3> <p>Go ahead and spend a small fortune on those name brand shampoos, conditioners, shaving creams, deodorants, and toothpastes if you want. Cheap shampoos and conditioners often work as well as more-expensive ones. (See also: <a href="">Luxury Hair Treatments From Your Kitchen</a>)</p> <h3>9. Socks</h3> <p>Whether for the gym or daily wear, you&#39;ll find bargain socks in the dollar store. Just evaluate them as you would any other item of clothing. Some can be very thin and not offer the cushioning you&#39;d like.</p> <h3>10. Movie Theater Candy</h3> <p>Those boxes of candy they sell for an arm and a leg in the cinema are being sold in dollar stores, often at 2-for-1 prices. Stick to the name brands like Raisinets, Skittles, Jujyfruits, Whoppers, and Hot Tamales, and you&#39;ll do just fine. Of course, always check expiration dates on any food you buy. (See also: <a href="">A Quick Guide to Expiration Dates</a>)</p> <h2>10 Things to Avoid</h2> <p>From good value, we move to not so good. Or absolutely no way! Here are 10 things to put on your &quot;avoid at all costs&quot; list.</p> <h3>1. Anything With a Plug</h3> <p>There is no way of knowing if these items have met the minimum safety requirements, because the UL (Underwriters Laboratories) <a href="">safety seal is often counterfeited</a>. So although those night lights, extension cords, and other electrical &quot;bargains&quot; seem like a good deal, avoid them.</p> <h3>2. Food Storage Bags, Aluminum Foil, and Cling Wrap</h3> <p>You really do get what you pay for with these household staples. It may only be a buck for a box of bags, but look again. How many bags are you really getting? And will they hold a seal like the name brand bags you buy in grocery stores? As for cling wrap, it won&#39;t be of the same quality as the varieties you&#39;ll find in your supermarket. Expect it to be tricky to get off the roll, thin, and not very &quot;clingy&quot; at all. And the foil will be paper-thin and tear easily.</p> <h3>3. Kitchen Utensils</h3> <p>I speak from personal experience on this one. Way too many times have I been tempted to buy a spatula, can opener, or cooking knife from the dollar store. In my experience, they are not well made &mdash; especially when it comes to knives. Buy good quality knives, especially a <a href="">chef&#39;s knife</a>, and don&#39;t skimp on the price. If you get a quality knife, it can last you a lifetime.</p> <p><img alt="" src="" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <h3>4. Vitamins</h3> <p>If you&#39;ve looked at the prices of vitamins in your local grocery store or health food shop, you wouldn&#39;t be faulted for trying to find them cheaper elsewhere. However, the dollar store is not the place to look. Daily Finance cites a 2004 Consumer Reports study that says half of the 18 multivitamins they tested were <a href="">missing vital ingredients</a>. And the FDA does not have tight controls on vitamins. Bottom line&nbsp;&mdash; they probably won&#39;t hurt you, but you may be getting short-changed.</p> <h3>5. Toys</h3> <p>When your kids are involved, it&#39;s best to err on the side of caution. Many unbranded toys from the dollar store are low quality. What&#39;s more, they may not meet current safety regulations. You don&#39;t want to risk the safety of your child to save a few bucks. If money is an issue, shop the clearance aisles in retail stores, or look for good, used toys on Craigslist and second hand stores. (See also: <a href="">10 Fun, Homemade Toys and Games</a>)</p> <h3>6. Medicines</h3> <p>When it comes to your health, it&#39;s better to go with the name brand or generic items in the supermarkets and retail stores. Painkillers may be substandard, counterfeited, or lacking ingredients that the label claims they have. And one of the biggest problems is medicines like Ibuprofen have often gone past their expiration dates. Keep a watchful eye before you buy.</p> <h3>7. Oven Mitts</h3> <p>They&#39;re cheap, and they look the same as more expensive versions. The difference is in the construction and the padding, and you don&#39;t want to mess around with something designed to protect you. Do yourself (and your hands) a favor, and buy the more expensive versions. You&#39;ll be glad you did.</p> <h3>8. Soda</h3> <p>The one-liter bottles of soda in dollar stores are not really a bargain. You can usually pick up a two-liter of the same variety for just a few cents more at your local grocery store. And the same goes for cans and smaller bottles of soda, too. It&#39;s really not worth it. (See also: <a href="">Homemade Soda</a>)</p> <p><img alt="" src="" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <h3>9. Tools</h3> <p>Any DIY aficionado will tell you&nbsp;&mdash; a $1 screwdriver or hammer is going to break, and quickly. As someone who does a fair bit of DIY myself, I can tell you that tools are worth the investment. Don&#39;t go anywhere near the tool section in a dollar store; you are just throwing your money down the drain. And more importantly, <a href="">poorly made tools can be dangerous</a>. (See also: <a href="">Cool Tool Gifts for Fixer Uppers</a>)</p> <h3>10. Chewing Gum</h3> <p>There&#39;s nothing wrong with it, but it&#39;s just not a bargain. Go to a warehouse club like Costco or Sam&#39;s Club and you&#39;ll pick up a huge pack of gum and save way more money than you would buying gum from the dollar store.</p> <p><em>So, that&#39;s my list. 10 to try, 10 to avoid. Do you agree? Have you got other things you would add to either list? Let us know.</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="10 Things You Should Never Buy at the Dollar Store (and 10 You Should)" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Paul Michael</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Shopping bargains deals discounts dollar store Wed, 08 Jan 2014 11:25:26 +0000 Paul Michael 1107270 at 15 Things You Should Buy at Costco <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-things-you-should-buy-at-costco" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="shopping" title="shopping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Warehouse stores are some of the best places to get a great deal &mdash; but you have to be smart about it! The number of people in your household, price, quality, and product longevity can all have a bearing on what items you decide to buy in bulk. Still, there are some clear deals when it comes to warehouse shopping. Here are 15 Items that are definitely worth buying at Costco, and will give you the most bang for your buck! (See also: <a href="">Frugal Rules to Follow When Shopping at Costco</a>)</p> <h2>1.Berries</h2> <p>In regular grocery stories, berries can be pricey. Costco usually has larger cartons for a fraction of the price. For example, get a 12 ounce container of blackberries for around $5.50, when you might get half as much at a regular grocery store for a similar price. (See also: <a href="">Guide to Choosing Fruits and Vegetables</a>)</p> <h2>2. Almonds</h2> <p><img alt="" src="" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <p>Costco is definitely the place if you&#39;re looking for lots of raw almonds. Pay just 12 bucks for a 3 pound bag of raw almonds, which is much cheaper than stores who sell much less for a similar price. (See also: <a href="">The Best and Worst Nuts</a>)</p> <h2>3. Olive Oil</h2> <p>If you&#39;re not super picky about your olive oils, Costco carries a line of Kirkland Signature extra virgin olive oil that&#39;s actually pretty good (and actually EVOO, not like some other <a href="">brands that are impostors</a>), and runs $15 for a 2 liter bottle. Get your cooking on!</p> <h2>4. Soda (and Beer)</h2> <p>If you&#39;re a soda drinker, Costco is definitely the place to keep you stocked. Major brands sell 32 cans (that&#39;s more than five 6-packs) for $12-$13 which is way less than you&#39;d pay at a grocery store &mdash; or through a vending machine! With beer from Costco, you wind up with a case &mdash; four 6-packs &mdash; for what you&#39;d pay for three 6-packs everywhere else. Who doesn&#39;t want a free 6-pack? (See also: <a href="">How to Make Soda at Home</a>)</p> <h2>5. Soy and Almond Milk</h2> <p>Though usually they come in packs of three, it&#39;s definitely worth getting soy and almond milk (in any flavor) at Costco. These 3-packs sell for approximately 20% less per container than normal store prices.</p> <h2>6. Frozen Meals</h2> <p>Costco frozen meals usually come in packs of four and they carry a couple different brands. The varieties change, but the price in the four pack is usually at least a dollar cheaper than it would be to buy all four meals at a regular store. (See also: <a href="">15 Frugal, Single-Serving Freezer Meals</a>)</p> <h2>7. Rotisserie Chicken</h2> <p>The rotisserie chicken specials at Costco are out of this world! Depending on the time of year, Costco often runs chicken specials that will give you two chickens for $5, or give you a discount on the poundage. You can freeze the chicken, use the bones for a broth, or cut up pieces for sandwiches, salads and dinners. It&#39;s a steal! (See also: <a href="">25 Ways to Use Rotisserie Chicken</a>)</p> <h2>8. Organic Chicken Broth and Boullion</h2> <p><img alt="" src="" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <p>A case of one-quart cartons of broth or a package of organic base lasts a long time in the pantry, so stocking up at Costco is definitely a good idea. You can get a 16 ounce jar of chicken boullion base for around $5, and six 32 ounce boxes of Kirkland organic chicken stock for around $14, which is a big savings on regular store prices.</p> <h2>9. Fresh Seafood</h2> <p>Every other weekend, there will be a booth at Costco selling fresh, low-cost seafood. Though seafood is usually fairly expensive, these deals can cut the cost of your seafood purchase considerably. For example, Costco routinely has mussels and clams in the $2 per pound range, which is a great deal! If you&#39;re throwing a dinner party, these seafood specials are a great way to bring some sophistication to your event without breaking the bank. (See also: <a href="">Affordable, Sustainable Seafood</a>)</p> <h2>10. Lunch</h2> <p>For $1.50, you can grab a full quarter pound all beef hot dog or Polish sausage and an extra large fountain drink, while loading up on Deli mustard and other toppings for free from the pump dispensers. You can also get a very large slice of pizza for $1.50, or grab a chicken bake, parfait, or salad from $2-$5. Get a big lunch, so you won&#39;t overspend when you&#39;re perusing the aisles!</p> <h2>11. Paper Products</h2> <p>Paper products like toilet paper and paper towels are a great Costco buy! Sure, you&#39;ll have to lug them home with you, but you&#39;ll get a lot more from your money buying these products in bulk.</p> <h2>12. Ink and Toner Cartridges</h2> <p>Provided you aren&#39;t switching printers anytime soon, it&#39;s a really good idea to buy a bundle of printer cartridges for your home printer at Costco. At an office supply store, ink can run you around $12 for just one. At Costco, you can usually get five for around $50. Not bad!</p> <h2>13. Kitchen Appliances</h2> <p><img alt="" src="" style="width: 605px; height: 303px;" /></p> <p>Luxury and staple kitchen appliances alike can usually bought at a large discount at your local Costco, and this is especially true if there&#39;s a rebate or seasonal deal. For example, the Magic Bullet electric grinder, which usually costs about $60, was on sale for just $30 earlier in 2013. (See also: <a href="">5 Kitchen Luxuries That Are Worth It</a>)</p> <h2>14. Glass Storage Dishes</h2> <p>Get your multi-piece Pyrex storage sets from Costco, and you&#39;ll save a bundle from regular retailers. These sets usually last a long time, and have durable rubber tops for stacking and are around $30.</p> <h2>15. A Gym Membership</h2> <p>If you&#39;re cool paying for a year or two upfront, Costco is by far the best place to get a gym membership. For example, get a two year membership to 24 Hour Fitness for just $25 per month! That&#39;s way less than you&#39;d pay through the gym itself, and far cheaper than most comparable gym memberships.</p> <p><em>Costco is a great place to get a lot of specific deals. What are your favorite Costco deals?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="15 Things You Should Buy at Costco" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Rebecca Leib</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Shopping bargains costco deals discounts Thu, 12 Dec 2013 00:48:58 +0000 Rebecca Leib 3674 at