bargains en-US How to Save $26,000 in 5 Years or Less <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-save-26000-in-5-years-or-less" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="investment plan" title="investment plan" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="160" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A penny saved is a penny that can be earning investment returns in a <a href="">well-diversified investment portfolio</a>. At least, that's what I think one of the late, great founders of our nation once said.</p> <p>It's hard to find ways to put money aside, but here are a few creative options that are often overlooked. Check out the strategies below, and you could have $26,000 (or more!) stashed away in just five years.</p> <h2>Shop Homeowner and Auto Policies</h2> <p>It's easy to become complacent about recurring-but-necessary bills like home and auto insurance policies. &quot;Most people sign up with a carrier and stay with them for 10 to 20 years,&quot; says Patricia Nelson, founder of the community outreach program Wise Women Workshop. &quot;Today though, there are no savings for loyalty. When a client switches carriers I see them save, on average, $600 to $800 per year.&quot;</p> <p><strong>Annual Savings</strong>: Up to $800</p> <h2>Negotiate With Cell Phone and Utility Carriers</h2> <p>It's a little known fact that <a href="">cell phone rates are negotiable</a>, but even less known is that you can also haggle with your utility providers. &quot;Most of these companies will figure out a way to knock $20, $30, $40 per month off of your bill because they want to keep your business,&quot; says Nelson. &quot;But, they're not going to call you and tell you ways to save money on your existing services with them.&quot; If you have success with just one utility bill and your cell phone provider, you could cut about $60 off your monthly expenses.</p> <p><strong>Annual Savings</strong>: $720 or more</p> <h2>Forego Cable TV</h2> <p>Most people think that the only way to get network TV stations at home is to pay for at least a basic cable TV package. That's just not true. Similar to the analog days, you can put a digital antenna on your roof and watch network TV for free (it's 100% legit and the shows come through in HD quality). (See also: <a href="">How Everyone Can Cut Cable and Still Watch What They Love</a>)</p> <p>Expanded cable TV packages average between $60 and $75 per month, and <a href="">costs are on the rise</a>. If you can't make it without your shows, there are plenty of cheaper options like Netflix or Hulu Plus, and you can play them on your TV thanks to all of the streaming boxes now available. In my house we gave up cable TV 10 years ago (except for the occasional, infrequently used introductory package after moving), and I was surprised to find I barely missed it. (Cable Internet, though? Like bread or water. Must have.)</p> <p><strong>Annual Savings</strong>: Up to $900</p> <h2>Shop Around for Prescription Drugs</h2> <p>Surprising but true, the cost of prescription drugs are not fixed. &quot;You could be purchasing your medication at the wrong store,&quot; says Nelson, who adds that Walmart offers a list of over <a href="">1100 drugs at $4 each</a> for a month's supply, substantially lower than most co-pays. &quot;If you're taking two medications and paying a $15 co-pay for each,&quot; she says, &quot;you could be saving $22 per month.&quot; No prescription plan required.</p> <p><strong>Annual Savings</strong>: $264 (more or less, depending on your prescription needs)</p> <h2>Bank Your Annual Raise</h2> <p>The <a href="">millionnaires next door</a>are notorious for maintaining a consistent lifestyle, despite rising incomes over the years. The average raise is expected to be 3% this year. If you make $50,000 now, that's a $1500 increase. Why not add that extra cash to your bank account instead of using it to trade up to a grander lifestyle? (See also: <a href="">5 New Income Streams Anyone Can Create</a>)</p> <p><strong>Annual Savings</strong>: $1500 on average</p> <h2>Brown Bag It</h2> <p> estimates you can <a href="">save $70 per month</a> by packing your own lunch (more if you live in a high-cost area).</p> <p><strong>Annual Savings</strong>: $840 (or more)</p> <h2>Cook Dinner at Home One Extra Night a Month</h2> <p>A recent study estimated the <a href="">cost of a home cooked meal</a> (per person) is $5.93 on average, compared to an average $12.28 to eat out. Skip family pizza night just <em>once</em> per month for your family of four, and the savings add up.</p> <p><strong>Annual Savings</strong>: $304.80</p> <h2>(BIG) BONUS: Ditch the Car</h2> <p>According to AAA, the <a href="">average annual cost of owning a car</a> is $8,876 per year. If you live in a walkable area or in a city with a good transportation system, you could forego the cost. Of course, not everyone lives in a walkable area or can get by without their own transportation, so this is a bonus option.</p> <p>Add up the savings (minus the car) to see how quickly a few small changes can add up.</p> <p><img width="605" height="360" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>Over five years, all that savings adds up to $26,644 ($71,024 if you're lucky enough to not need a car!). The results could get even better if you invest the money in a well-diversified investment portfolio.</p> <ul> <li>At a 3% average annual return over five years: $29,140.06.</li> <li>At a 5% average annual return over five years: $30,917.23.</li> <li>At an 8% average annual return over five years: $33,762.90.</li> </ul> <p>(Please note that investment returns cannot be predicted, and you should talk to an investment professional before selecting your investment portfolio.)</p> <p>Of course, the key to this and any other cost cutting plan is to remember to <em>bank the savings</em> you find. Otherwise, you're just shuffling money from one spending category to another, and not actually saving and getting ahead.</p> <p><em>What is the most effective way you've found to cut costs and boost wealth? Let us know in the comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="How to Save $26,000 in 5 Years or Less" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Alaina Tweddale</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Budgeting Investment bargains discounts investing saving savings shopping Mon, 16 Jun 2014 09:00:04 +0000 Alaina Tweddale 1142780 at 7 Things Non-Members Can Get at Costco (Including Cheap Eye Exams!) <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-things-non-members-can-get-at-costco-including-cheap-eye-exams" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="window shopping" title="window shopping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Like most Hawaii residents, I love Costco.</p> <p>With the price of a gallon of local milk as high as $9 and that of a gallon of gas already above $4, Costco is the patron saint of tight-budget students and sales-chasing moms in Hawaii. But the love for the big box retailer doesn't end in Hawaii: Costco has over 460 locations in 43 U.S. states and Puerto Rico.</p> <p>Since you don't need a gallon of mayonnaise or 3-pound bag of tortilla chips that often, you may decide that the $55 membership fee is a bit steep. Here is how to get around dropping five Hamiltons and a Lincoln and still enjoy Costco's low prices. (See also: <a href="">15 Things You Should Buy at Costco</a>)</p> <h2>1. Use the Pharmacy and Immunization Services</h2> <p>Costco's gatekeepers cannot hold you up if you are there to purchase items to which access is protected by Federal law. This means that you can still use the pharmacy and immunization services at any Costco warehouse.</p> <p>You can fill new prescriptions, refill existing prescriptions, or transfer prescriptions at the Costco Pharmacy. Even better, you don't even have to leave your home to use <a href="">Costco Pharmacy services</a>. You can order online and have your meds delivered for free via standard USPS within 6 to 14 days. This is quite convenient and lets you maximize your day to the fullest.</p> <p>If you do not have access to free immunizations, Costco often offers the lowest prices for flu ($14.99) and pneumonia shots ($69.78). Costco also offers Hepatitis A and B, HPV, Meningitis, Shingles, Tetanus/Whooping Cough, and Twinrix immunizations. Call the warehouse in advance to check <a href="">availability and pricing</a>.</p> <h2>2. Access Hearing and Optical Services</h2> <p>Another two services protected by Federal law are hearing and optical services. By letting the gatekeepers know that you want to use the optical or hearing services, you can get into the warehouse. However, make sure that the warehouse offers these services. The easiest way to check for this is by checking the &quot;Hearing Aids&quot; and &quot;Optical Department&quot; boxes when <a href=";storeId=10301&amp;catalogId=10701">searching for warehouses</a> at Costco's site.</p> <p>Most Costco Optical locations offer an independent doctor of optometry on site. Call the warehouse in advance to schedule an appointment.</p> <p>Costco often provides special hearing aid events to demonstrate the latest technologies. Check the <a href="">schedule for upcoming demonstrations</a> at select Costco Hearing Aid Centers around the country. Some of these events offer free samples. Let the Costco employee at the door know that you are planning to attend the event, and they will let you in.</p> <p>Keep in mind that you <em>do need a membership</em> to buy glasses, contact lenses, or hearing aid equipment. Or you can also use the $10 cash card trick shown below.</p> <h2>3. Window Shopping at Costco</h2> <p>If you really need to see a low price to believe it, you may want to scope out prices before making a final decision on membership. Unlike Sam's Club, Costco doesn't offer one-day passes. This doesn't mean that you cannot go in to browse around items, however.</p> <p>When meeting the membership card checker at the entrance, tell the rep that you would like to go to membership services and ask more info about membership. Head to the service desk, get the application and tell them that you would like to browse around the store before making up your mind. That's it; now you're free to go around and get the latest scoop on prices so that you can compare them to those of other stores.</p> <h2>4. Buy With a Costco Cash Card</h2> <p>Let's say that after comparing all prices, you found that the flat-screen TV of your dreams is indeed cheaper at Costco by several hundred dollars. Now what?</p> <p>The way to buy anything on Costco without a membership is with the Costco Cash Card. According to <a href="">Costco's site</a>, &quot;non-members may use the cash cards to shop at any Costco location in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and online at or on;</p> <p>The tricky part is that you must be a Costco member to purchase or reload cash cards. One way to get around that is to ask a friend or family member with a Costco membership to buy you a $10 prepaid cash card. Some stores may only have $25 cash cards available. Another is to buy a <a href="">Costco Gift Card online</a>. You can use the cash card to get into Costco and pay for part of your purchase. You can then pay the remaining balance with cash, debit card, or American Express credit card.</p> <p>Also, cash cards are accepted at Costco gas stations.</p> <h2>5. Shop Online</h2> <p>If you don't know any Costco members, then you still have a chance to access Costco prices. You can look for your item at <a href=""></a> and, if available, buy it.</p> <p>The advantage of buying online is that you can use non-American Express credit cards, which are not accepted at Costco warehouses. The disadvantage is that you are dinged with a 5% surcharge, which means that your purchase needs to be <em>less than $1,100</em> for it to make sense not paying the $55 membership fee.</p> <h2>6. Buy Booze</h2> <p>The availability of liquor in your local state depends on both company policy and state legislation. But in several states, such as California, for-profit membership stores cannot exclude the general public from purchasing alcoholic beverages.</p> <p>A <a href="">Costco employee confirms</a> that you can buy alcohol without membership when state law and company policy allow it, however, the employee also notes that most employees don't know this rule and may call a manager to confirm. Just be patient, and if the state law is on your side, you can protect your right to buy cheaper booze. Your cashier will use a &quot;99,&quot; a generic membership number that requires supervisor override, and you can pay using cash or accepted debit card or American Express credit card.</p> <h2>7. Dine the Outside Food Court</h2> <p>$1.99 for pizza slices and $1.50 for hot dog and soda combo are as good as it gets. At several Costcos around the country, including all the ones in the Hawaiian Islands, the food court is outside. This means that you can buy all items on their menu without a membership. Remember to bring change because food courts take only cash.</p> <p><em>Do you know other ways to take advantage of Costco without a membership? Please share in comments.</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="7 Things Non-Members Can Get at Costco (Including Cheap Eye Exams!)" 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 bargains club stores costco Thu, 05 Jun 2014 13:00:17 +0000 Damian Davila 1141161 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 <a href=";fot=1123&amp;foc=1">Citi Dividend</a>, <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 deals discounts Wed, 04 Jun 2014 17:00:28 +0000 Amanda Meadows 1141754 at 31 Reasons Why I'm in Love With Thrift Shopping (and You Should Be Too) <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/31-reasons-why-im-in-love-with-thrift-shopping-and-you-should-be-too" 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>I realize I'm a strange animal. My palms tingle a little bit when I approach a thrift store. All my senses sharpen. The rest of the world fades into watercolor tones and muffled sounds. I can park, grab my wallet, hop out, and lock my car in a single fluid Matrix-inspired movement. Once inside, I can size up a thrift store in seconds: Who's the serious competition and who's just browsing? Is the store too organized or wonderfully chaotic? What's newly-stocked, and what's stale? (See also: <a href="">The 5 Best Deals in Every Thrift Store</a>)</p> <p>I've been a die-hard thrifter since I was 13 years old, and now, as I approach the midpoint of my 40's, my love affair with thrifting has only deepened. If you're a serious second-hand shopper, you may recognize many of your own motivations in the list that follows. And if you've never tried thrifting, consider all these reasons to fall madly in love with it.</p> <p>1. Where else can the average person go on a <a href="">real-life treasure hunt</a>? (I'll save you the click: Man finds copy of an 1823 print of the Declaration of Independence, worth almost $500k, in a thrift store!)</p> <p>2. Saving 75% on retail is just like getting a 75% return on your money.</p> <p>3. Used items are tried and true and (usually) come without surprises.</p> <p>4. Those second-hand jeans are already broken-in.</p> <p>5. Shop for good! Your purchases often help fund charitable causes.</p> <p>6. Thrifting is recycling at its most basic and beneficial level.</p> <p>7. There are all different <a href="">kinds of thrift stores</a>, and they tend to have the widest, wildest, most unpredictable inventory in the business.</p> <p>8. Because retail prices hurt!</p> <p>9. If older means made better, thrift stores have all the good stuff!</p> <p>10. Thrift stores are the perfect places to find an expensive weekend project.</p> <p>11. You can furnish a dorm room or college apartment on a shoestring.</p> <p>12. Thrift stores are windows into our culture &mdash; mix shopping with sociology.</p> <p>13. Thrifting keeps your kids out of the mall (and that's always a good thing).</p> <p>14. You can never have too many copies of &quot;<a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0060724277&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=VDNXEFPAVT543SRT">I'm OK, You're OK</a>.&quot;</p> <p>15. Sometimes, thrifting <a href="">pays off big</a>. (Again, saving you a click: North Carolina woman buys abstract painting worth $20k for $9.99.)</p> <p>16. Missing an obscure piece of your grandmother's china? Be patient; you'll eventually find it at a thrift store.</p> <p>17. Retail emporiums are homogenous. Thrifting lets you find something that no one else has.</p> <p>18. When you're thrifting, you're not directly increasing the industrial demand for more.</p> <p>19. You can brag about how much you saved.</p> <p>20. Because new books cost at least $14.99.</p> <p>21. Thrift stores are a picker's paradise. Vintage clothes and other items can be flipped for profit.</p> <p>22. Shopping second hand sets a great example for your kids. The value of thrift, creative reuse, and community support are noble lessons!</p> <p>23. Everything is prewashed and preshrunk. When a piece of <a href="">thrift store clothing</a> fits you in the dressing room, you know it'll fit when you get it home.</p> <p>24. Thrifting can be just a little competitive (in a good way). The friendly rivalry between serious thrifters produces more admiration than envy.</p> <p>25. Every day is new. Inventory turns over so quickly in some markets that you seldom see the same stuff twice.</p> <p>26. Thrift stores are time capsules into pop culture history. Teach your kids about <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0002DB5N6&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=R352XG4BCCHR6Q2O">ALF</a>, Rubik's Cube, Etch A Sketch, lava lamps, and Milli Vanilli.</p> <p>27. You can find items that have long since gone out of production. From out-of-print books to jeans with the perfect cut, thrift stores let us rediscover some of our favorite things.</p> <p>28. Because thrifting isn't just about finding old stuff; there are new items too!</p> <p>29. Because your depression-era parents or grandparents would be proud.</p> <p>30. Thrifting is arguably the most local and sustainable form of commerce.</p> <p>31. Thrift stores are the perfect places to find <a href="">back-to-school bargains</a>.</p> <p>There you have it, my belated valentine to thrift-shopping. Of course there are many more reasons to love this half-sport half-science. What are some of yours?</p> <p><em>Are you an avid thrift shopper? Why do you love it? What's been your best find to date? Please share a comment below (even a recycled one)!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="31 Reasons Why I&#039;m in Love With Thrift Shopping (and You Should Be Too)" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Kentin Waits</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> DIY Lifestyle Shopping bargains thrift stores thrifting Tue, 03 Jun 2014 18:01:08 +0000 Kentin Waits 1141160 at 15 Money-Saving Tips Every Parent Should Know <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-money-saving-tips-every-parent-should-know" 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>The average <a href="">cost to raise a child</a> (birth to age 18) for a middle-income family in the U.S. is now estimated at over $240,000. If you're like most parents, you are still looking for that proverbial money tree (a really big one at that!) in your backyard. The bad news: There is no such thing as a tree that sprouts currency. But the good news: There are plenty of easy ways to stretch your parenting dollar to its fullest. (See also: <a href="">Important Frugal Lessons Parents Teach Their Children</a>)</p> <h2>1. Prepare Your &quot;Defense&quot; Strategy</h2> <p>Grocery shopping with kids can get expensive. It's no accident that stores place candy, gum, and snack-size bags of cheese curls at checkout lanes, where they beg the attention of your junior shoppers. One strategy to sidestep &quot;negotiation,&quot; or worse yet, a full-fledged tantrum is to allow your child the &quot;privilege&quot; of putting an item of his or her choice on the shopping list before you hit the store.</p> <h2>2. Watch for Your State's Sales Tax Holiday</h2> <p>Most states offer a &quot;<a href="">sales tax holiday</a>,&quot; which could mean a nice gift for your pocketbook. On these days, which vary by location, states and some local governments suspend sales tax on certain items for a specific time period. Most occur in late summer to help parents save money when buying back-to-school supplies and clothing.</p> <h2>3. Form a Co-Op</h2> <p>Organize a co-op with other parents. Take turns visiting the warehouse stores (Sam's Club, Costco) and split those huge boxes of diapers, baby shampoo, and potato chips. Rotate child care services, with each couple or parent taking one Saturday night (or Tuesday afternoon) a month to watch the kids while the others enjoy a grown-up night out on the town or a solo afternoon to run errands or take care of your own appointments. (See also: <a href="">15 Things You Should Buy at Costco</a>)</p> <h2>4. Plan Purchases</h2> <p>Parents can save money by planning purchases during months when bargains are more likely. As Wise Bread outlines in the <a href="">Shopping Calendar</a>, certain items &mdash; from furniture to camping gear &mdash; tend to go on sale during predictable times of the year.</p> <h2>5. Take Advantage of Seasonal Sales</h2> <p>Stock up on crayons for $1 a box in late July and early August when the office supply and discount stores all compete for your back-to-school shopping business. Mechanical pencils, rulers, glue sticks, and loose leaf paper don't go bad, and you'll appreciate your &quot;back stock&quot; come February when your kids need to replenish their school supplies.</p> <h2>6. Shop Post-Holiday Clearance Sales</h2> <p>From Valentine's Day to Christmas or the 4th of July, after-holiday clearance sales provide a great opportunity to buy gift bags, wrapping paper, and decorations for next year.</p> <h2>7. Unleash Your Inner Negotiator</h2> <p>Participate in <a href="">eBay</a> auctions for everything from gently used clothing and kids' accessories to remote-control race cars or multi-packs of diaper rash cream.</p> <p>What's more fun than a treasure hunt? Consignment shops offer great buying (and selling) opportunities for gently used clothing, furniture, accessories, toys, and more. Similarly, thrift shops, house sales, yard sales, estate sales can all be sources of hidden jewels &mdash; at super low prices, which are often negotiable.</p> <h2>8. Visit the Clearance Table Early and Often</h2> <p>Party store clearance sections offer a great assortment of plates, napkins, gift bags, and party favors for your child's upcoming birthday parties. Why wait until the week before the party to stock up? See something you like, grab it when it's on sale!</p> <h2>9. Approach Online Shopping as You Would Black Friday at the Mall</h2> <p>Before you hit the &quot;checkout&quot; button when making any online purchase, make sure to search for a RetailMeNot <a href="">online discount code</a>, ranging from free shipping to percentage off purchase price. Many websites &mdash; from Shutterfly to Kohl's and Sports Authority &mdash; frequently offer their own discounts on the website's home page. Copy and paste into the promo code box at checkout for savings!</p> <p>Visit websites like <a href=""></a>, <a href=""></a>, and <a href=";dept=kids&amp;ref=qd_nav_tab_kids"></a> &mdash; just a few examples of online retailers that offer discounted prices on brand-name (often designer) kids' clothing, shoes, and accessories.</p> <h2>10. Compare Prices</h2> <p>It sounds simple, but prices for the exact stroller or bath soap can vary widely from one website or local retailer to another. Sometimes &quot;free shipping&quot; on what looks like a steal online isn't as good a bargain as it sounds if the base price is higher. Visit <a href="">ShopSavvy</a> or <a href="">RedLaser</a>to find the best prices on thousands of items online and in stores. Both also have apps to download to your smartphone, so you can compare prices on the go.</p> <h2>11. Love Thy Community (And Its Bargains)</h2> <p>From books to DVDs to audiobooks to even study aids, your local library can be a treasure-trove of free materials to educate and entertain &mdash; both you and your kids! Most libraries also offer free drop-in read aloud sessions and other special programming for kids.</p> <p>Many local park district programs offer free (or low-cost) lessons, sports programs, and entertainment options. If you live in an area without a park district, find one in a neighboring town. You'll almost always be welcome, although you might have to pay a slightly higher fee than residents.</p> <p>From middle schools to high schools, community colleges and fine arts associations, many local theater departments offer variety shows, plays, and concerts free of charge for area residents.</p> <h2>12. Visit Cultural Venues on &quot;Free Days&quot;</h2> <p>Many zoos, aquariums, and museums offer &quot;Family Free Days,&quot; listed on their respective websites. For example, the Milwaukee County Zoo offers six <a href="">Family Free Days</a> throughout the year where admission fees are waived. Lots and lots of other <a href="">venues around the country offer free days</a>, too.</p> <h2>13. Dine Out for Less</h2> <p>Applebees, IHOP, and many other family-oriented restaurants offer <a href="">&quot;kids-eat-free&quot;</a> deals, where your child's meal is complimentary with the purchase of your adult meal. The Entertainment Book and its <a href="">members-only website</a> contains local buy-one-get-one-free (or at discount) meals, movie theater tickets, bowling games, and more &mdash; not to mention retail and travel deals. Usually sold as a fundraiser, if you use the book a few times, you've usually recouped its cost &mdash; and more!</p> <h2>14. Reuse and Recycle</h2> <p>With a coat of paint and a creative eye, many pieces of furniture can be <a href="">refinished or repainted</a> to look like new &mdash; or better!</p> <p>Decorating is fun &mdash; and affordable &mdash; when you look for affordable ways to <a href="">upgrade or repurpose furniture</a> to brighten up your kid's spaces.</p> <p>Old white undershirts may look like undershirts &mdash; that, is, until you take your kids' artistic talents to task. Tie-dye, fabric paint, and bedazzle kits can turn an old t-shirt into a fashion statement your kids will be proud to wear &mdash; not to mention a fun afternoon activity.</p> <p>Hand-me-downs often get a bad rap. Let friends and relatives know that you won't be offended if they offer you their child's outgrown clothing! Kids often love getting clothes from their &quot;cool&quot; older cousin or neighbor.</p> <h2>15. Harness the Power of &quot;No&quot;</h2> <p>Sometimes it's that simple: &quot;No.&quot; Or &quot;not now.&quot; Or my personal favorite: &quot;Put it on your wish list.&quot; In addition to saving money, you could be teaching your kids valuable lessons in personal spending. Sometimes the anticipation of getting that special toy or outfit makes it even sweeter &mdash; and sometimes, after the impulse period passes, the item doesn't hold as much appeal as it did in the store. Done right, &quot;no&quot; can often lead to teachable moments, which no money can buy!</p> <p><em>How do you save money on kid's stuff? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="15 Money-Saving Tips Every Parent Should Know" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Mardee Handler</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Family Shopping bargains discounts kids Tue, 27 May 2014 08:24:19 +0000 Mardee Handler 1140443 at 101 Ways to Save Money on Clothes <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/101-ways-to-save-money-on-clothes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="shopping" title="shopping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="191" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Clothes can certainly run up your budget, especially if you have a soft spot for shopping. But, not to worry when there are many smart things you can do to save and still have your fashion too. Here are over a one hundred ways to help your closet and your budget. (See also: <a href="">25 Secrets to Keep Your Clothes Brighter, Whiter, and Lasting Longer</a>)</p> <h2>1. Buy Generic Basics</h2> <p>You don't need to shell out big bucks on tanks, T-shirts, and other wardrobe basics and layering items. Skip the $50 white T-shirt and try places like <a href="">Old Navy</a> for such items (many $5 and less), or look to generic brands.</p> <h2>2. Shop Online Discount Sites</h2> <p>There are some amazing discount apparel sites out there that sell brand name clothing and shoes with big savings. Check out some favorites, like <a"" href="">6PM</a>, <a href="">Bluefly</a>, and <a href="">DSW</a>.</p> <h2>3. Shop End of Season</h2> <p>Retailers often unload merchandise at blowout prices at the very end of the season. Even mid-season sales abound, which can save versus buying pre-season.</p> <h2>4. Copy Designer Styles for Less</h2> <p>You can save by mimicking an expensive designer outfit (splurge) with a much cheaper, similar one (steal). Check out some of <a href="">Lucky Magazine's steals</a> or <a href="">steals from popular morning shows</a> to give you money-saving ideas.</p> <h2>5. Shop the Kid's or Men's Sections</h2> <p>For the petite, try shopping the larger sizes in the kid's section. Many accessories are also just as good and much cheaper here, too. Ladies can also shop for bargains in the men's section, like cool shirts and workout clothes.</p> <h2>6. Use Accessories Wisely</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>Use your accessories to dress up your existing wardrobe, so outfits feel like new. Ties, scarves, statement necklaces, and belts can all change the look of the most basic outfits. (See also: <a href="">10 Awesome Sites to Shop for Affordable Cool Jewelry</a>)</p> <h2>7. Use Personal Shopping Sites</h2> <p>Online personal shopping tools, like <a href="">Shopittome</a> (which sends emails when your favorite brands go on sale) or <a href="">Shopstyle</a> (which shows brands and items by price and retailer) can save you money on your apparel buys. Just be aware they can also tempt some to buy more, too.</p> <h2>8. Find Multi-Seasonal Items</h2> <p>Clothing that can work multiple seasons, like sweaters that go from winter to spring, or jackets with liners that go from fall to winter, give you great value for your money. Also look to stretch seasonal items, like summer sleeveless tops under blazers in colder months.</p> <h2>9. Shop Retailers With Good Deals</h2> <p>There are a handful of great bargains that certain retailers always seem to have. Check out some popular <a href="">retailers with surprisingly good clothing deals</a>.</p> <h2>10. Upgrade With Buttons</h2> <p>Save money by buying a discount cardigan or button-down, and replacing the regular buttons with snazzier options. Cool gold buttons, pearl buttons, or fancy menswear buttons can easily give your piece an upgrade for just a few bucks.</p> <h2>11. Hit Up Sidewalk Sales and Sample Sales</h2> <p>If you live in a big city, sample sales can be a goldmine of cheap designer apparel finds. Smaller cities and towns also have shops and boutiques that often offer sidewalk sales, as do malls at times.</p> <h2>12. Save on Jeans</h2> <p>Save on jeans by learning how to buy the best pairs that are not only affordable, but also durable. There are some <a href="">great jean buying tips</a> that can help you save, like finding blended fabrics and buying darker washes.</p> <h2>13. Shop Discount Department Stores</h2> <p>My love of <a href="">TJ Maxx</a> and <a href="">Marshalls</a> can't be beat due to the ever-changing inventory, great brands, and huge selection of discount apparel. Try these stores and others, like <a href="">Kohl's</a> and <a href="">Target</a>, to save.</p> <h2>14. Buy Items That Work With Your Existing Wardrobe</h2> <p>Stick to items that will coordinate with your existing wardrobe to get more bang for your buck. Think colors, styles, and more, that will integrate well with what you already have.</p> <h2>15. Avoid Zipper Damage</h2> <p>Always close up any open zippers when you wash, so they don't rip or pull other items as they tumble in the machine. I've ruined many T-shirts by washing them with unzipped hoodies and jeans.</p> <h2>16. Build a Smarter Wardrobe</h2> <p>Every wardrobe can be carefully built around core items, which give you the most use and versatility for your lifestyle. Look to guides such as <a href="">the best men's pieces</a> to own, or how to <a href="">turn key pieces into many outfits</a>.</p> <h2>17. Find Coupons</h2> <p>Always check sites like <a href="">RetailMeNot</a> for current promo codes and coupons. And don't forget to save store coupons that come in the mail or are handed out with your receipt in stores.</p> <h2>18. Shop Warehouse Clubs</h2> <p>While an unlikely hotspot for clothing deals, check out the clothing section in your favorite warehouse club, like <a href="">Costco</a> or <a href="">BJ's</a>. They often have some decent brands with prices that rival any discount store.</p> <h2>19. Make Clothes Fit Better</h2> <p>No need to give away clothes if they aren't fitting the right way anymore. Try several <a href="">no-sew tactics</a>, such as waist extenders, button extenders, and more, to make your clothes keep working for you.</p> <h2>20. Repurpose Items</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>You can jazz up an old item by trimming sleeves, adding embellishments, or turning it into an accessory. Check out some <a href="">stylish DIY clothing ideas</a> to turn your old items into brilliant, new pieces.</p> <h2>21. Invest in Long-Lasting Pieces</h2> <p>Investing in well-made, quality pieces can give you your money's worth. Such items can last years, and are often more economical than buying cheaper pieces that you constantly need to replace.</p> <h2>22. Make Iron-On T-Shirts</h2> <p>Instead of spending a fortune on kids' character or sports team T-shirts, you can make your own for cheap. You just need a plain tee (craft stores sell them for under $5) and some special iron-on paper, which works in most home printers to print any design off your computer that can be ironed on.</p> <h2>23. Return Items You Don't Love</h2> <p>It's wise to check return policies so you know you won't be stuck with a wasted purchase if an item doesn't fit or look right once you get it home.</p> <h2>24. Shop Forever 21 and H&amp;M</h2> <p>Don't underestimate the number of finds you can score at stores like <a href="">Forever 21</a> and <a href="">H&amp;M</a> no matter how old you are. Layering basics, accessories, and other fun items await you for a fraction of the price than you would pay anywhere else.</p> <h2>25. Borrow</h2> <p>Formal wear and maternity wear are prime candidates for borrowing from relatives and friends. My sister and I passed back and forth our maternity wear with each pregnancy, which really saved.</p> <h2>26. Keep an Organized Closet</h2> <p>Keep an orderly closet, so you can see what you have and avoid making silly buys you don't need. Organize hanging clothes by type and color, use shoe racks, fold sweaters neatly, and keep accessories visible, so you can shop your closet and not the stores.</p> <h2>27. Invest in Tailoring</h2> <p>Having a good tailor on hand can save you serious cash. If you score a discount item, the cost of tailoring will still have you coming out ahead, and give you a custom-fitted piece.</p> <h2>28. Follow One Out for Every One In</h2> <p>For every new item you purchase, donate one item in your closet. This can help curb excess buying and keep you honest about what's really being used in your closet.</p> <h2>29. Pass Up the Catalogs</h2> <p>Don't tempt yourself into an unnecessary purchase by browsing through the many clothing retailer catalogs that end up in your mailbox. Remove yourself from mailing lists or take them directly to the recycle bin.</p> <h2>30. Calculate the Cost of Wear Rule</h2> <p>Know if you are really getting good value out of your buys by determining your cost per wear &mdash; total price divided by the number of times you wear the item.</p> <h2>31. Shop Outlet Malls and Factory Stores</h2> <p>Shopping outlet malls and factory stores can save you on your clothing purchases. Just make sure the discounts are good enough, as some buys are just as expensive as on-sale items in the usual stores.</p> <h2>32. Use Store Credit Cards</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>If you shop a particular store religiously, then opening a store credit card can save you, but only if you're able to pay off your card each month. Stores usually give discounts upon opening, and you get access to special offers by being a cardholder.</p> <h2>33. Factor in Dry Clean Only</h2> <p>Be sure to factor in the extra costs of a garment if you have to get it professionally cleaned. Finding similar non-dry clean only items can really help your wallet.</p> <h2>34. Buy and Sell at Consignment Stores</h2> <p>Consignment stores are a great way to shop for some great buys on many fabulous pre-owned garments, as well as places to make some money on your gently used items.</p> <h2>35. Dye Faded Fabrics</h2> <p>Get more value out of your faded pieces by reviving them with dye. This is especially true of black garments or jeans, which can often fade over time. Check out some great <a href="">tips from Rit Dye</a> on how to go about it.</p> <h2>36. Take Hand-Me-Downs</h2> <p>Hand-me-down clothing is the cheapest of all, since it's free. Take advantage not only for kids' clothes, but if you have friends or relatives looking to give something a new home.</p> <h2>37. Shop Thrift Stores</h2> <p>Thrift stores are a great place to score some vintage, or even brand-name, apparel for less. Many of these stores have hidden gems just waiting to be discovered. (See also: <a href="">10 Things to Look for Every Time You Visit a Thrift Store</a>)</p> <h2>38. Store Your Clothes Properly</h2> <p>Folding heavy sweaters, not over-stuffing drawers, using cedar blocks, and removing plastic dry-cleaning bags can save money by making your clothes last longer. I've ripped shirts, stretched out sweaters, and had moths attack by not taking some of these small steps.</p> <h2>39. Buy for Versatility</h2> <p>Choose pieces that work overtime to get the most value for your dollar. Think fancier flip-flops to wear at the beach or out at night, dress shirts as going out shirts, and sweaters and cardigans, which complement business casual ensembles, weekend wear, or as outerwear in warmer weather.</p> <h2>40. Sign Up for Email Lists</h2> <p>Sign up for email lists of stores or sites where you do your clothes shopping to receive valuable offers, coupons, and sales alerts. You can easily set up a dedicated email address for shopping sites to avoid clogging up your regular email.</p> <h2>41. Get Rid of the Wire Hangers</h2> <p>Like Mommy Dearest, clothes also share a hatred of wire hangers. Wire hangers can stretch out shoulders and tear delicate fabrics. Invest in some economical wooden or fabric hangers, at least for your most precious items.</p> <h2>42. Have a Clothing Budget</h2> <p>Just like a household budget, breakdown your monthly clothing allowance and stick to it. This is also a great way to track your spending and plan for seasonal purchases.</p> <h2>43. Avoid the Trendiest Items</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>While it's easy to fall in love with certain trends, you can save some cash by making sure you don't also fall for buying pieces that you know won't make it past this season.</p> <h2>44. Don't Just Shop to Fill a Void</h2> <p>Shopping, like any habit or addiction, can certainly bring momentary joy, but it can also run up your budget if you constantly use it to make yourself feel better. Be mindful that you aren't just throwing away money for short-term happiness.</p> <h2>45. Resell</h2> <p>Why not recoup some costs and save towards new clothing purchases by selling your gently used items. You can sell at a variety of places, from online resellers to Craigslist to garage sales.</p> <h2>46. Shop Clearance</h2> <p>Clearance racks can have great deals, but be sure to check your garment for stains or rips. Also make sure it's something you truly would purchase even if it were not in the clearance section.</p> <h2>47. Buy the Right Size</h2> <p>Buying a piece and thinking it will fit later after you lose a few pounds doesn't help your budget when the item sits unused in your closet. Buy for what fits now.</p> <h2>48. Rent One-Time Items</h2> <p>It's silly to spend a small fortune on a fancy dress or tux that you will only wear once. Save some money and rent your item. In addition to men's rentals, ladies now have options at places like <a href="">Rent the Runway</a>.</p> <h2>49. Have a Clothing Swap</h2> <p>If you have several friends that are game for a clothing swap, this is an excellent way to acquire new items by trading in your gently used pieces for those that your friends bring.</p> <h2>50. Pair Discount Buys With More Expensive Items</h2> <p>You can easily make your discount buys look pricier by pairing them with one higher-end item you have. This can instantly pull together an outfit and save you from having to buy many expensive things.</p> <h2>51. Do Your Research</h2> <p>If you find a great clothing item, make sure to check if it can be found for cheaper. Try sites, like <a href="">Froogle</a>, to find retailers and compare prices.</p> <h2>52. Shop Flash Sale Sites</h2> <p>Flash sale sites, like <a href="">HauteLook</a>, <a href="">Gilt</a>, <a href="">YOOX</a>, and <a href="">Zulily</a>, all have great apparel deals. While these sites can offer some amazing discounts, beware that you need to sign up and they can often tempt you into making spur of the moment purchases due to their timed sales and high free shipping thresholds. (See also: <a href="">Flash Sale Sites: Great Discounts&hellip;With a Price</a>)</p> <h2>53. Learn to Make Your Own</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>Even if you're not Molly Ringwald in &quot;<a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B00005JKOI&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=S2POBVCEI5OMMXR6">Pretty in Pink</a>,&quot; you can still learn some basics to make your own clothes by exploring online sewing classes and tutorials at sites, like <a href="">Craftsy</a>, or attending free sewing classes offered by big name craft stores.</p> <h2>54. Have a List</h2> <p>Just like grocery shopping, make a list of the exact clothing items you're looking for and stick to it. This will keep you from being swayed toward unplanned purchases.</p> <h2>55. Wash Carefully</h2> <p>Be sure to read clothing tags and following important care instructions to <a href="">preserve the life of your clothes</a> and not ruin anything. This means not mixing dark and whites and hand washing super delicate items.</p> <h2>56. Buy Knock-Offs</h2> <p>If you're lusting after $600 pumps, but don't have the budget to back it, look to buy a decent knock-off. Nobody needs to know that you bought a fake, but be sure you find quality knock-offs and don't overpay for imitations.</p> <h2>57. Shop Online Resell Sites</h2> <p>Clothing reseller sites, like <a href="">Tradesy</a>, <a href="">Poshmark</a>, and <a href="">Threadflip</a>, always have a huge inventory of gently used designer clothing for a fraction of the cost of buying new.</p> <h2>58. Wait for Special Days of the Year</h2> <p>Take advantage of special shopping days, such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the day after Christmas, when apparel deals are prevalent.</p> <h2>59. Limit Your Online Browsing</h2> <p>A lot of apparel buys can be spur of the moment, especially when browsing online. If you find yourself wanting to buy every time you are window-shopping online, it's time to limit the habit and save some money.</p> <h2>60. Avoid Buying Just Because It's on Sale</h2> <p>Being blinded by the price can make any good shopper fall for a deal, despite whether they truly love or need an item. Remember, it's still not free even if it's cheap.</p> <h2>61. Get Fashion Guidance</h2> <p>Magazines have become smarter about appeasing their target audience by including great clothing finds on a budget. Check out reads, like <a href="">Lucky</a>, <a href="">Real Simple</a>, and <a href="">Redbook</a>, which always have great money-saving clothing tips.</p> <h2>62. Clean Out Your Closest</h2> <p>Cleaning out your closet can create extra income if you have clothes to resell. Secondly, you may discover great finds you didn't know you had. And lastly, simplifying your closet can make you work with what you have so you don't need to buy more.</p> <h2>63. Have Patience</h2> <p>Having patience to hold out for sales will really help your wallet. Check with retailers as to their upcoming sale schedule or ask salespeople when they usually do markdowns during the week.</p> <h2>64. Buy Timeless Classic Pieces</h2> <p>Investing in timeless items that won't go out of style is key to building a good wardrobe and saving money over time. Classic suits, blazers, and button-downs are good pieces that always work.</p> <h2><h>65. Use Helpful Shopping Apps </h></h2> <p>Gain some cost-saving benefits with a number of clothing apps. Examples include <a href="">Stylish Girl and Cool Guy</a>, which let you take pictures of your wardrobe to shop your own closet, while <a href="">Shopkick</a> can earn you kicks (points) towards free gift cards when you visit retailers, scan items, or make purchases.</p> <h2>66. Manage Hems</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>If you learn how to sew a simple hem, you can save money on tailoring and repairs. However, if you are not handy with a needle and thread, try double-stick hem tape to easily change pant lengths or make repairs.</p> <h2>67. Stick With Favorite Retailers</h2> <p>Besides earning loyalty benefits, sticking with one store where you know exactly how things will fit you, trust the quality, and know the return policy can be a great way to always make good purchases.</p> <h2>68. Buy Fewer, Nicer Things</h2> <p>Simplifying your wardrobe can end up saving you in the long run by avoiding frivolous purchases and an overstocked closet that costs more, despite being full of cheaper items. Check out stores, like <a href="">Cuyana</a>, whose fewer, better things mentality aims to save you in the long run.</p> <h2>69. Rinse Bathing Suits After Use</h2> <p>To make your swimsuits last longer, be sure to rinse your suit or soak it in cold tap water to help remove chemicals, lotion, and other oils, which can damage or fade the fabric.</p> <h2>70. Shop Etsy</h2> <p>If you can't make your own clothing, there is definitely a shop on <a href="">Etsy</a> that can. While there are certainly some pricey items, there are also a slew of extremely affordable apparel finds.</p> <h2>71. Use Ebates</h2> <p>Earn some cash back by clothes shopping through <a href="">Ebates</a>. Simply click through the Ebates site to your retailer, and receive a check or PayPal deposit for cash back on your purchases.</p> <h2>72. Get Student Shopping Deals</h2> <p>If you are a student, be sure to take advantage of great clothing deals offered by <a href="">Student Universe</a>. Or, if you are in a well-known store, don't be afraid to ask if they offer student discounts if you have your student ID with you.</p> <h2>73. Avoid Similar Items</h2> <p>Maybe you love blue so much that you have a ton of blue items dominating your wardrobe. Vary it up and stop wasting precious apparel dollars on repeat items that don't extend your wardrobe.</p> <h2>74. Go on a Clothes Spending Freeze</h2> <p>If you desperately need to curb your clothing spend, try giving yourself a spending freeze for a set period of time. While this may be hard to do, it can get a bad habit in check and make your prioritize your future purchases.</p> <h2>75. Don't Over-Wash</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>Another way to make clothes last and save money is by not over-washing them. Items like jeans can get multiple wears before throwing them in the washer, as can many other garments. (See also: <a href="">You're Washing Your Clothes Too Much!</a>)</p> <h2>76. Time Shopping for the Biggest Sale Events</h2> <p>Some stores have frequent promotions, but others have semi-annual and annual events that are worth waiting for. Try retailer events, like <a href="">Nordstrom's</a> Half-Yearly sale or <a href="">Victoria Secret's</a> semi-annual sale.</p> <h2>77. Buy Cheaper Workout Gear</h2> <p>While certain workout clothes with special fabrics are worth the cost for certain activities, make sure you don't go overboard when other cheaper alternatives could work just as well. (See also: <a href="">Which Workout Clothes Are Worth Splurging On</a>)</p> <h2>78. Ask for Clothes as Gifts</h2> <p>If you have relatives or friends who want to know what they can get you for your birthday or holidays, ask for clothes. However, be sure to keep the tags on and look for gift receipts if fit or style becomes an issue.</p> <h2>79. Buy Only What You Need</h2> <p>Imagine how much money you could save if you only bought what you truly needed instead of also what you want. Try following this rule for a couple of months to see how much you save.</p> <h2>80. Shop eBay</h2> <p>Search around on <a href="">eBay</a> for great deals on new, gently used, and vintage clothing items from a variety of sellers.</p> <h2>81. Use Reward Credit Cards</h2> <p>If you must pay for clothing with credit cards, make sure your card <a href="">gives you rewards</a> for shopping certain retailers. Check out your card's online shopping mall to make sure you aren't missing out on extra points or cash back.</p> <h2>82. Do Smart Vacation Shopping</h2> <p>Be mindful of vacation shopping, which can lead to apparel splurges. That said, if you are in a place where desirable items or brands are made domestically, you might score cheaper finds than you could at home.</p> <h2>83. Air-Dry Items</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>Get garments to last a lot longer, plus save money on energy costs by skipping the dryer when you can. If air-drying creates stiff clothes, partially dry items in the dryer and then line dry for the remainder of the time.</p> <h2>84. Do Jean Repairs</h2> <p>Whether your jeans were cheap or cost a fortune, finding the perfect pair is often not easy, so repairing a pair you love can definitely be worth it. You can learn to <a href="">DIY denim repairs</a> or invest a bit in a tailor or <a href="">professional jean repair service</a> to fix your favorite jeans.</p> <h2>85. Try at-Home Dry Cleaning</h2> <p>Try saving some money by doing your dry cleaning at home. <a href="">Dryel</a> or other <a href="">in-home dry cleaning kits</a> can save big on professional cleaning.</p> <h2>86. Don't Lose Socks</h2> <p>It's no fun wasting money on new socks just because one perfectly good one got lost in the wash. To avoid missing mates, wash all socks in a small lingerie bag or hold them together with a clothespin or clip in the wash.</p> <h2>87. Never Buy Full Price</h2> <p>Hold yourself to never paying full price on a piece of clothing. With so many chances at sales, discount apparel, and other ways to save, you can reside yourself never to pay the full ticket price.</p> <h2>88. Get Off-Season Finds</h2> <p>Besides finding deals at the end of the season, make sure to look for off-season deals as well. Winter coats during a heatwave in July are out there, and they are usually a steal as nobody is thinking about them.</p> <h2>89. Change Out of Your Expensive Items</h2> <p>It's wise to change out of your expensive clothes at the end of the day. Once home, things like chores, playing with the kids, or even just eating dinner can cause stains or pulls that harm your precious items.</p> <h2>90. Know How to Repair Buttons</h2> <p><img width="605" height="342" src="" alt="" /></p> <p>Fixing buttons is about the most common and simple fix you can learn to keep your clothes in the mix and save money. Also, be sure to save the extra buttons that often come with new clothes.</p> <h2>91. Avoid Social Shopping</h2> <p>Be mindful of shopping as a leisure or social activity with friends, as you may be more apt to buy just because others are.</p> <h2>92. Shop Thursday Sales</h2> <p>Many retailers, like department stores, start weekend sales events on Thursday evenings. Beat the rush and have your pick of the best deals at this time.</p> <h2>93. Pause Before Buying</h2> <p>If you are tempted to make a buy, try to wait and come back to it later. If you aren't still dreaming about the item after some time away, then skip the purchase. (See also: <a href="">9 Simple Ways to Stop Impulse Buying</a>)</p> <h2>94. Pay With Cash or Always Pay Off Credit Card Purchases</h2> <p>There's no need to make your clothing purchases cost more by paying interest if you carry balances on your credit cards. Make it a rule to pay in cash or don't buy unless you can pay off your card charges every month.</p> <h2>95. Touch Up With Black Sharpies</h2> <p>Extend the use of certain items and save money by using a black sharpie to touch up scuffs on things, like black shoes, purses, or jackets.</p> <h2>96. Avoid Buying Standouts</h2> <p>Like overly trendy items, be wary about buying very flashy items or an obvious piece. Some items like these don't get that much wear as people don't want to repeat them again because they are so recognizable or memorable.</p> <h2>97. Shop Around for Big Buys</h2> <p>Take the time to price shop when looking for high-ticket items. Any savings on expensive goods can be worth it, and it's always wise not to rush into a big purchase.</p> <h2>98. Take Inventory</h2> <p>Spending a little time to take inventory of your closet can give you good insight into your shopping habits, and what you may be buying too much of. It can also identify real gaps in your wardrobe and help you shop more strategically in the future.</p> <h2>99. Use Sales Associates</h2> <p>If you befriend a sales associate, not only can you avoid getting upsold, but they can also hunt out the best deals in the store for you, which you may have missed.</p> <h2>100. If You Splurge, Make It an Important Piece</h2> <p>Be smart about where you make your biggest fashion splurges. Nice dress coats, suits, dress pants, and even some jeans are all items that everyone will notice and can greatly improve your overall look.</p> <h2>101. Practice Restraint</h2> <p>Perhaps one of the hardest rules to follow if you are a clothes horse, but starting a new habit by limiting your purchasing when out or skipping the stores all together is the surest way of saving money on clothing.</p> <p><em>That was quite a list! Let us know if you use any of these tips when you clothes shop or if you have some good ones of your own to share.</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="101 Ways to Save Money on Clothes" 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> Shopping bargains clothes discounts fashion Fri, 23 May 2014 08:36:20 +0000 Kelly Medeiros 1140200 at What To Buy (and Avoid Buying) in May <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-may" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="woman shopping" title="woman shopping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="128" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As the weather continues to hammer certain parts of the US, it's hard to believe that summer is just around the corner. For many of us, spring is hardly getting the chance to poke its head through the dark clouds. But, there are May bargains to be had, and if you know what to look for you can save a bundle. Oh, and Mother's Day is on May 11th, so if you haven't started looking yet, use the list below for some money-saving gift ideas.</p> <h2>What to Buy</h2> <p>Memorial Day is in May, and that brings some very memorable bargains with it. If you're looking for deals on certain items, the top ones are listed here.</p> <h3>1. Spring Clothing</h3> <p>Even though it's still technically spring, the retail stores are preparing for summer. And to make way for all the beach balls and sun loungers, they're dumping <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;tag=whattobuy05wb-20&amp;linkId=BV6Z5DDKOOJVCYRW">spring clothing</a> by the truckload. Expect discounts of 50%-75% on light jackets, long sleeved tees, and other merchandise reserved for mild weather. Remember, Memorial Day (May 26) is coming, but the longer you wait for bargains, the less choice you'll have. Empty racks are not much fun to browse.</p> <h3>2. Mattresses</h3> <p>Memorial Day is <a href=";bbn=1063308&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;pf_rd_i=1063308&amp;pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&amp;pf_rd_p=1404571822&amp;pf_rd_r=6ACAC2C8B2044843A0B4&amp;pf_rd_s=merchandised-search-3&amp;pf_rd_t=101&amp;rh=n%3A1063308%2Cn%3A3732961&amp;tag=whattobuy05wb-20&amp;linkId=EUR32J7TC2Z3UVIH">mattress</a> day! We still don't know the link between remembering our fallen heroes and saving money on a bed, if someone knows why please let us know. Anyway, if the saggy, lumpy bed is ready to hit the curb, now is the time to replace it for less than you'd spend during the rest of the year. Traditional coil/spring mattresses will be the best bargains, but expect to see competitive pricing on memory foam and air-filled specialty mattresses, too. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="">The 5 Best Mattresses</a>)</p> <h3>3. Kitchen Goodies</h3> <p>Retailers are targeting college grads and the start of wedding season with discounts on <a href="">cookware</a>, <a href="">small appliances</a>, and <a href="">refrigerators</a> (if you give a fridge as a wedding gift, you are awesome). Keep an eye out for stellar deals on pots and pans, cutlery, microwave ovens, blenders, coffee makers, and knife sets.</p> <h3>4. BIG HDTVs</h3> <p>As every year passes, the big HDTV sets (55&quot; to 60&quot;) become more and more affordable. This year is no exception, and you can now replace your old 42&quot; LCD TV for a 60&quot; monster, at around a third of the price you probably paid for it. Shop around, and you can walk out of the door with a massive flat screen TV with change from $600. And what's more, the screen resolution will be beautiful. Don't expect any kind of discount on the new curved HDTV sets though. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="">The 5 Best 3D TVs</a>)</p> <h3>5. Mother's Day Leftovers</h3> <p>As mentioned above, Mother's Day is May 11th. Before that Sunday, prices on traditional gifts for mom will be high. But by May 12th, expect <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;node=6684128011&amp;pf_rd_i=502659011&amp;pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&amp;pf_rd_p=1546143082&amp;pf_rd_r=0Y03W7MSQW36GNWD8E1F&amp;pf_rd_s=left-1&amp;pf_rd_t=101&amp;tag=whattobuy05wb-20&amp;linkId=J4AMH5VIOMHMFUR5">Mother's Day branded chocolates, flowers</a>, fragrances, cards, and perfumes to be heavily discounted.</p> <h3>6. Party Supplies</h3> <p>As it's not peak season (yet) for parties, the stores will be stocking up and tempting you to take the goods. This is particularly true of grilling supplies like charcoal, plasticware, tablecloths, napkins, and condiments. There are also college grad parties, and Father's Day is in June. So get the deals now, before you have to pay for last minute goodies.</p> <h3>7. Office Furniture</h3> <p>Just like last month, you can still find great deals on office furniture and supplies. In particular, look for great deals on office chairs, filing cabinets, safes, and bookcases. If your home office is looking drab, this is a great time to add a little freshness to the look and feel.</p> <h2>What to Avoid</h2> <p>May has its fair share of &quot;bargains&quot; that are far from being good deals. Avoid the following, and wait until the offers are worth the trip.</p> <h3>1. Beef &mdash; It's Not for Dinner This Month</h3> <p>Although it's not quite peak season for grilling, many of us are pulling the covers off the barbecues and getting ready to cook in the outdoors again. If you must have the smell of brats and burgers in your nostrils, opt for pork, turkey, and chicken products. And stay away from the big ribeyes, t-bones, and filets that will take a chunk out of your monthly food budget.</p> <h3>2. Grills</h3> <p>Be it charcoal, wood, gas, or a combination, <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=1521173262&amp;pf_rd_r=8E0D46D9E35346D4AB42&amp;pf_rd_s=merchandised-search-3&amp;pf_rd_t=101&amp;tag=whattobuy05wb-20&amp;linkId=AAHX6SL4GJEFFZTS">grills are hot products right now</a>. And that means the prices are not. Give your wallet a break, and <a href="">get a used grill from Craigslist</a>. Some people just can't wait to have a bigger, brighter grill, and you'll get a great used model for pennies on the dollar.</p> <h3>3. Jewelry</h3> <p>Moms love <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;node=3367581&amp;tag=whattobuy05wb-20&amp;linkId=BTBNB4OQPVWBQNMP">jewelry</a>. And as Mother's Day is on May 11th, you will see high demand at the beginning of the month for sparkling gifts of all shapes and sizes. But jewelry doesn't go off either (unless is has Mother's Day messaging on it), so it won't be going on sale right after. Give the bling a miss, and think of something that will not break the bank.</p> <h3>4. Laptops</h3> <p>You will find some OK deals on <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;node=2956501011&amp;tag=whattobuy05wb-20&amp;linkId=WUEVMXLE2W755A4G">laptops</a> in May, but the best time to buy them is in the Back to School sales. If you can hold out, you'll get some great deals in mid-July.</p> <h3>5. Patio Furniture</h3> <p>Big retailers have already started discounting their <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;tag=whattobuy05wb-20&amp;linkId=5J4G45AKTA3UK24X">outdoor furniture</a>, but not by much. 15% off here and there is not worth your time. You will get massive savings later in the summer, when the shelves are being stocked with items for fall. Check your local thrift stores and Craigslist for <a href="">good deals on patio furniture</a> and outdoor rugs.</p> <p><em>Are you planning to make any big (or small!) purchases this May? What deals are you seeing?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="What To Buy (and Avoid Buying) in May" 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 buying guides discounts may bargains what to buy Thu, 01 May 2014 09:12:24 +0000 Paul Michael 973809 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 10 Things You Didn't Know You Could Buy in Bulk <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-things-you-didnt-know-you-could-buy-in-bulk" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="groceries" title="groceries" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When you think of buying in bulk, you think of the staple items that are often seen in Costco and Sam&#39;s Club. Canned food, packages of T-shirts, and laundry detergent are some of the &quot;no-brainers&quot; when it comes to buying bulk. (See also: <a href="">Bulk Buying Guide</a>)</p> <p>But what about some of the less obvious bulk items?</p> <p>Let&#39;s take a step back. Buying in bulk can happen one of two ways. First, you can go the traditional route and purchase from a bulk retailer like those mentioned above. Second, you can come across something that&#39;s so significantly marked down in price, that buying a lot of it makes more sense than buying a small amount.</p> <p>In order to come up with a few things that you didn&#39;t know you could buy in bulk, we&#39;ll consider items that pertain to both possibilities.</p> <h2>1. Gym Memberships</h2> <p>You&#39;ve got a couple different options here.</p> <p>First, most gyms will offer a discount if you sign up for a long time, say a two-year contract. This means that if you know you&#39;re a committed gym goer and will stick with it, you can get a better monthly rate by signing up for a longer period of time.</p> <p>Second, some gyms like Bally and Washington Sports Club offer discounts when multiple people sign up at once; so grab your friends and family and see if you can get a referral discount. (See also: <a href="">Legit Ways to Use the Gym for Free</a>)</p> <h2>2. Cell Phone Plans</h2> <p>The cost of a family cell phone plan, once you divide it up among five or six people, is far and away cheaper than single plans.</p> <p>If you can get a few family members on board, dividing a bill up between five people means everyone pays somewhere around $30 to $50 a month depending on what kind of package you get.</p> <h2>3. Fresh Fruits and Vegetables (CSA Subscription)</h2> <p>A lot of local farms and cooperatives will offer what&#39;s called a CSA subscription, or community supported agriculture. This is where you pay a monthly fee for a weekly supply of fresh fruits and veggies.</p> <p>Depending on the CSA, the price often comes out to be cheaper than buying the same amount at the grocery store (and even the farmers market) for comparable produce (usually organic). Plus, CSAs deliver. Not to mention you&#39;re supporting local farmers. (See also: <a href="">The 7-Step Food Budget</a>)</p> <h2>4. Toothbrushes</h2> <p>You can pick up a box of <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B005MQJ8OQ&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">14 Colgate Premier toothbrushes on Amazon</a> for about $0.93 per brush. The deals can get even better if you want to go with a cheaper brush.</p> <h2>5. Beer</h2> <p>Beer isn&#39;t typically thought of as a bulk item, but places like Costco and Sam&#39;s Club carry lots of it, with significant savings.</p> <p>For roughly one dollar per bottle you can take home a 24-pack of your favorite brew. (See also: <a href="">10 Reasons to Drink Beer</a>)</p> <h2>6. Diapers on Amazon</h2> <p>If you&#39;ve got kids, Amazon is a place with which you might want to get cozy. Diapers can be bought in bulk for around $0.28 per unit, while the price of wipes tank to nearly $0.02 if you buy several hundred of them.</p> <h2>7. Building Supplies</h2> <p>If you&#39;re a contractor, or if you&#39;ve got a big home improvement project you&#39;re trying to buy for, <a href="">Lowes</a> sells building supplies in bulk at a discounted price, usually netting you a 10% to 20$ discount depending on what you&#39;re buying.</p> <p>This only works if you need a lot of supplies, but if you&#39;re putting an addition on or remodeling a kitchen, it might be something worth considering. (See also: <a href="">Home Renovations That Pay for Themselves</a>)</p> <h2>8. Meat, Poultry, and Fish</h2> <p>This one is contingent upon you having a little bit of freezer space.</p> <p>Assuming you do, buying meat in bulk from a local butcher, from a major retailer, or directly from the ranch can save you some money and a few trips to the grocery store.</p> <p>Wherever you get it, divide the meat up into preferred portion sizes and put it into freezer bags before you freeze it. Label everything with a date so you know when to use it by and stick it in your freezer. If you&#39;ve bought enough, you&#39;ll have meat for months to come, at a significant discount. (See also: <a href="">5 Best Freezers</a>)</p> <h2>9. Gift Cards</h2> <p>Costco will actually sell gift cards in bulk at a <a href="">discounted price</a>. For example, you can buy two $50 gift cards to California Pizza for $79.</p> <p>I&#39;m not totally sure how that works out for California Pizza, but it means you get $100 worth of food for around $80.</p> <h2>10. Paint</h2> <p>If you&#39;ve got major painting project on your hands, it&#39;s a good idea to go with the five-gallon tubs instead of the gallon options.</p> <p>You&#39;ll save some money here, and it never hurts to ask for mistints or returns of the five-gallon tubs. If you&#39;re looking for a basic off-white, you might be able to find something discounted beyond the bulk price, which is already going to be cheaper than buying single gallons.</p> <p>Additionally, if you don&#39;t plan to use it all, this can be a good item to go halfway with someone else and share the container.</p> <h2>Creative Bulk Purchases</h2> <p>In general, if you get creative and work up the guts to ask, a lot of the things you buy on a regular basis can be purchased in bulk. If you know you&#39;ll use the extra amount, it&#39;s a good idea to consider a bulk purchase, even if the item doesn&#39;t fit the profile of your &quot;typical&quot; Costco or Sam&#39;s Club showcase.</p> <p>Figure out what you use a lot of, and see if buying in bulk can save you a little money. If you find it cheap, load up for a makeshift bulk purchase.</p> <p>You can even go in with people for cooperative buys and share the item, like when people buy meat in bulk from a butcher. Having more people involved guarantees the extra goods will get used, and lets you save a few bucks on something that you would be buying anyway.</p> <p><em>Have you scored great deals on bulk purchases we don&#39;t normally think about? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="10 Things You Didn&#039;t Know You Could Buy in Bulk" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Mikey Rox</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Shopping bargains Bulk buying discounts Wed, 08 Jan 2014 10:49:28 +0000 Mikey Rox 1107272 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 8 Cheap Ways to Play Video Games <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-cheap-ways-to-play-video-games" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="men playing video game" title="men playing video game" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You don&#39;t have to drop $400 on a console and then $60 per game to enjoy a video game. There are tons of ways to get your video-game fix without breaking the bank &mdash; and without having to break the law with sketchy downloads and cracks. From playing vintage games for nearly nothing to going the freemium route, it&#39;s easier than ever to play video games without shelling out the big bucks. (See also: <a href="">Ways to Save Money on Entertainment</a>)</p> <p>Here are eight cheap ways you can play video games.</p> <h2>1. Steam</h2> <p>Never heard of <a href="">Steam</a>? From the Makers of &quot;Half Life&quot; and &quot;Portal,&quot; Steam is basically an online video game store. You download the Steam client, and then you have access to all kinds of Indie and mainstream games. Not all the games are cheap, but Steam has sales going on all the time, so if you&#39;re paying attention you can grab some great games at rock-bottom prices.</p> <p>A few weeks ago, I nabbed &quot;Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines&quot; and &quot;Commandos: Beyond the Call of Duty&quot; for $3. Score!</p> <h2>2.</h2> <p>Love classic games like King&#39;s Quest and Fallout? Then <a href="">GOG</a> is the place for you. The games you used to play, obsess about, and pay $60 for are back at dirt-cheap prices. And they&#39;re all available to download anytime you want them.</p> <p>Want to relive &quot;Baldur&#39;s Gate&quot;? GOG has it for 9.99. What about &quot;Sid Meier&#39;s Alpha Centauri&quot;? Yours for just $2.39. But they don&#39;t just have old games &mdash; you can also try newer hits like &quot;Hotline Miami&quot; ($9.99).</p> <h2>3.</h2> <p>The Netflix of the video-game world, <a href="" target="_blank">Gamefly</a> is a subscription service that send you the games you want in the mail. Gamefly charges $16 for one game out at a time and $23 for two out at a time. Your monthly payment not only gets you one or two games out at a time, they also offer unlimited download playing time for certain PC games. (See also: <a href="">How to Play Netflix and Hulu on Your TV</a>)</p> <h2>4. Goozex</h2> <p>Where Gamefly is like Netflix, <a href="">Goozex</a> is more like a book exchange &mdash; Goozex lets you get new (to you) games in exchange for sending out games you no longer want to play.</p> <p>Sure, you may have to wait a while to get what you want, but at least you&#39;ll have access to some of the latest games out there.</p> <h2>5. FatWallet</h2> <p>True to its name, <a href="">FatWallet</a> is a site where deal seekers gather and post the best deals on everything you can possibly imagine. If there&#39;s a really good deal out there, these guys (and gals) will find it. (See also: <a href="">12 Essential Daily Deal Sites</a>)</p> <p>For gamers, that means you might find a coupon for a discount, certain games on sale, or even a game being offered for free for a limited time.</p> <p>Either way, staying tuned to FatWallet will ensure no good deal passes you by.</p> <h2>6. The Cheapskate</h2> <p>CNet is one of the best tech sites around, and Rick Broida writes the fantastic <a href="">Cheapskate blog</a>, where he posts a fantastic deal every day of the week (sometimes two&hellip; and he usually posts a bonus deal as well).</p> <p>I&#39;ve scored all kinds of crazy deals through Rick&#39;s blog, including getting the classic &quot;Bioshock&quot; for free.</p> <h2>7. Free/Freemium Games</h2> <p>The latest trend in mobile gaming (we&#39;re talking apps here, where your phone is your console) is something called freemium. That means you get the game for free but if you want to unlock additional features or don&#39;t want to wait to keep playing, you have to pay. (See also: <a href="">Top 5 Smartphones</a>)</p> <p>Forget about how they make money off this model&hellip; all I care about is that you can play some great games for free. Games like &quot;Fifa 14,&quot; &quot;Real Racing 3,&quot; &quot;Temple Run,&quot; &quot;Bejeweled,&quot; and &quot;Candy Crush Saga.&quot;</p> <h2>8. Go Old School</h2> <p>Technology is great and everything, but there&#39;s something to be said about hooking up the system you grew up playing games on and reliving the olden days.</p> <p>You can pick up an old Nintendo NES on eBay for $40-$60 with a bunch of games. Heck, you might even get one for even cheaper at a yard sale or something.</p> <p>Either way, you can&#39;t beat this option when it comes to cost and the nostalgia factor.</p> <p>Video games don&#39;t have to cost a lot, you just have to know where to look.</p> <p><em>Let me know in the comments where else readers can find a great deal for their gaming fix.</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="8 Cheap Ways to Play Video Games" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Carlos Portocarrero</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Entertainment bargains discounts toys video games Fri, 06 Dec 2013 11:36:07 +0000 Carlos Portocarrero 1098641 at Big List of Senior Discounts <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/big-list-of-senior-discounts" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="seniors" title="seniors" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Senior citizens have it made. Not only do they have retirement and senior centers (two things I can't wait to enjoy when I get older&nbsp;&mdash; hello, bingo!), but they also get to take advantage of a long list of discounts on entertainment, travel, dining, shopping, and more. What are those savings exactly? Find out right here in this big list of senior discounts. (See also: <a href="" target="_blank">Amazing AAA Discounts</a>)</p> <h2>Dining and Groceries</h2> <p>I knew that just about every restaurant offered senior discounts, but what a nice surprise to find that many grocery chains do, too.</p> <p><strong>Applebee's</strong></p> <p>Seniors age 60 and older can <a href="" target="_blank">save 15% at Applebee's</a>.</p> <p><strong>Arby's</strong></p> <p>Seniors age 55 and older can <a href="" target="_blank">receive 10% off and discounted drinks</a> at participating locations.</p> <p><strong>Ben &amp; Jerry's</strong></p> <p>Seniors age 60 and older can <a href="" target="_blank">receive 10% off in-store</a>.</p> <p><strong>Boston Market</strong></p> <p>Seniors age 65 and older can <a href="" target="_blank">receive 10% off</a>.</p> <p><strong>Burger King</strong></p> <p>Seniors age 60 and older can <a href="" target="_blank">receive 10% off at participating locations</a>.</p> <p><strong>C-Town Supermarkets</strong></p> <p>Seniors age 60 and older can <a href="" target="_blank">save 5% on their grocery bill</a> on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and participating locations.</p> <p><strong>Chick-fil-A</strong></p> <p>Seniors age 55 and older can <a href="" target="_blank">receive 10% off and free small beverages</a> at participating locations.</p> <p><strong>Chili's</strong></p> <p>Seniors age 55 and older can <a href="" target="_blank">save 10% at participating locations</a>.</p> <p><strong>Denny's</strong></p> <p>Participating Denny's offer a <a href="" target="_blank">discounted menu for seniors age 55 and older</a>, plus AARP members can take advantage of everyday discounts on regular menu items for seniors and their guests.</p> <p><strong>Dunkin' Donuts</strong></p> <p>AARP members can receive a <a href="" target="_blank">free donut with the purchase of a large coffee</a>.</p> <p><strong>Friendly's</strong></p> <p>Participating Friendly's restaurants offer <a href="" target="_blank">senior-friendly pricing to those age 60 and older</a>.</p> <p><strong>Fuddruckers</strong></p> <p>Seniors age 55 and older can <a href="" target="_blank">save 10% at participating locations</a>.</p> <p><strong>Golden Corral</strong></p> <p>Seniors age 60 and older can <a href="" target="_blank">receive 10% off at participating Golden Corral restaurants</a>.</p> <p><strong>Gristedes</strong></p> <p>Seniors age 60 and older can <a href="" target="_blank">save 10% on their grocery bill every Tuesday</a> at participating locations.</p> <p><strong>Harris Teeter</strong></p> <p>Seniors age 60 and older can <a href="" target="_blank">save 5% off the grocery bill every Thursday</a> with the store's VIC card.</p> <p><strong>IHOP</strong></p> <p>Seniors age 55 and older can <a href="" target="_blank">receive 10% off at participating IHOP locations</a>.</p> <p><strong>Kroger</strong></p> <p>Seniors age 60 and older can <a href="" target="_blank">receive 10% off their grocery bill</a> on the first Wednesday of every month at participating locations.</p> <p><strong>Publix</strong></p> <p>Seniors age 60 and older can <a href="">receive 5% off their grocery bill on Wednesdays</a> at participating locations.</p> <p><strong>Super Fresh</strong></p> <p>Seniors age 55 and older can <a href="" target="_blank">save 5% on purchases over $30 on Tuesdays</a> with Club Card.</p> <h2>Shopping</h2> <p>You're only as old as the style you wear.</p> <p><strong>Banana Republic</strong></p> <p>Shoppers age 50 and older can <a href="" target="_blank">receive 10% off at Banana Republic</a>.</p> <p><strong>Clarks</strong></p> <p>Seniors age 62 and older can <a href="" target="_blank">save 10% at Clarks shoes</a>.</p> <p><strong>Dressbarn</strong></p> <p>Seniors age 55 and older can <a href="" target="_blank">save 10% at Dressbarn</a>.</p> <p><strong>Kmart</strong></p> <p>Gold K members age 55 and older can <a href="" target="_blank">save 20% on prescriptions</a>.</p> <p><strong>Kohl's</strong></p> <p>Seniors citizens can <a href=";pricing.html" target="_blank">save 15% every Wednesday</a> at Kohl's with a valid ID.</p> <p><strong>Ross</strong></p> <p>Shoppers age 55 and older can <a href="" target="_blank">save 10% on Tuesdays</a>.</p> <h2>Lodging and Travel</h2> <p>You'll find plenty of discounts on cars, boats, and trains, and on lodging when you get where you're going.</p> <p><strong>Alamo</strong></p> <p>AARP members can receive <a href=";;source=topBar_generic.gif&amp;header=1&amp;msg=AL_AARP_offer&amp;msg=AL_AARP_offer" target="_blank">discounts on vehicle rentals from Alamo</a> with a valid AARP membership number.</p> <p><strong>Amtrak</strong></p> <p>Amtrak travelers age 62 and older <a href="" target="_blank">can save 15% on train tickets within the U.S.</a> and 10% on tickets to Canada. Some restrictions apply.</p> <p><strong>Best Western</strong></p> <p>AARP Members age 55 and older are entitled to at least <a href="" target="_blank">10% off hotel rooms at Best Western hotels</a>.</p> <p><strong>Choice Hotels</strong></p> <p>AARP Members age 60 and older can <a href="" target="_blank">save up to 10% with advance reservations</a>.</p> <p><strong>DoubleTree Hotels</strong></p> <p>Seniors age 65 and older can take advantage of <a href="" target="_blank">Senior Discount Rates at participating DoubleTree by Hilton Hotels</a>.</p> <p><strong>Greyhound</strong></p> <p>Seniors age 62 and older can <a href="" target="_blank">save 5% on unrestricted passenger fares</a>. Some restrictions apply.</p> <p><strong>Hampton Inn</strong></p> <p>AARP members can <a href="" target="_blank">save up to 10% off the Best Available Rate</a> by entering your AARP member number when booking online.</p> <p><strong>Holiday Inn Express</strong></p> <p>Seniors age 62 and older are <a href="" target="_blank">eligible for a senior discount</a> at participating Holiday Inn Express hotels.</p> <p><strong>Hyatt Hotels</strong></p> <p>Seniors age 62 and older can <a href=";category=&amp;_requestid=656107" target="_blank">save up to 50% on prevailing rates</a> at participating Hyatt properties.</p> <p><strong>La Quinta</strong></p> <p>AARP members can <a href="" target="_blank">save up to 10% at La Quinta hotels</a>.</p> <p><strong>Marriott Hotels</strong></p> <p>Seniors age 62 or older can <a href="" target="_blank">save 15% or more on room rates</a> at Marriott hotels worldwide.</p> <p><strong>Motel 6</strong></p> <p>Seniors age 60 and older can <a href="" target="_blank">save 10% off standard rates</a> at Motel 6.</p> <p><strong>National Parks</strong></p> <p>Seniors age 62 and older can <a href="">receive free admission to America's national parks</a> with the purchase of a $10 Senior Pass from USGS.</p> <p><strong>Norwegian Cruise Line</strong></p> <p>AARP members can <a href=";cid=PA_AAR_N-A_PAR_AAR_N-A_NA_AARPPRO_TBDCRZ100701_AARP7">save 5% on cruises that are booked at least nine months in advance</a>.</p> <p><strong>Radisson</strong></p> <p>Seniors age 60 and older can <a href="" target="_blank">save 10% on standard rates</a>.</p> <h2>Entertainment</h2> <p>Many theaters offer discounted movies and so does a landmark water park.</p> <p><strong>AMC Theaters</strong></p> <p>Kick back and enjoy a flick on Tuesdays with <a href="" target="_blank">discounts for seniors age 60 and older</a> at participating AMC Theaters.</p> <p><strong>Bow Tie Cinemas</strong></p> <p>Seniors age 62 and older can <a href="" target="_blank">save up to 25% off regular-priced adult tickets</a>.</p> <p><strong>Carmike Cinemas</strong></p> <p>Seniors age 65 and older can <a href="" target="_blank">save up to 35% off regular-priced adult tickets</a>.</p> <p><strong>Celebration Cinemas</strong></p> <p>Seniors age 60 and older can <a href="" target="_blank">save up to 20% off regular-priced adult tickets</a>.</p> <p><strong>Cinemark/Century Theaters</strong></p> <p>Seniors age 62 and older can <a href="" target="_blank">save up to 35% on regular-priced adult tickets</a>, plus an additional 10% on all showing on Mondays.</p> <p><strong>Clearview Cinemas</strong></p> <p>Seniors age 62 and older can <a href="" target="_blank">save up to 25% at participating locations</a>.</p> <p><strong>Landmark Theaters</strong></p> <p>Seniors age 62 and older can <a href="" target="_blank">save up to 30% off regular-priced adult tickets</a>.</p> <p><strong>Muvico Theaters</strong></p> <p>Seniors age 55 and older can <a href="" target="_blank">save up to 30% off regular-priced adult tickets</a>.</p> <p><strong>Regal Theaters</strong></p> <p>Seniors age 60 and older can <a href="" target="_blank">save up to 30% off regular-priced adult tickets</a>.</p> <p><strong>SeaWorld</strong></p> <p>Visitors age 50 and older can <a href="" target="_blank">receive $3 off a one-day ticket</a> at SeaWorld in Orlando.</p> <h2>Miscellaneous</h2> <p>These last few discounts are for everyday things that didn't go anywhere else in this list.</p> <p><strong>Supercuts</strong></p> <p>Seniors age 60 and older can <a href="" target="_blank">save $2 on services at Supercuts</a>.</p> <p><strong>Teleflora</strong></p> <p>AARP members <a href="" target="_blank">save 20% at Teleflora</a>.</p> <p><strong>Verizon</strong></p> <p>Seniors age 65 and older can purchase <a href="" target="_blank">200-anytime-minute plans for $29.99</a>.</p> <p><em>Do you know of other senior discounts not listed here? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Big List of Senior Discounts" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Mikey Rox</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Consumer Affairs Deals General Tips Shopping aarp bargains senior discounts Mon, 01 Jul 2013 09:48:33 +0000 Mikey Rox 980183 at What I Miss About the Recession <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-i-miss-about-the-recession" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="recession bargain" title="recession bargain" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="187" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The recent &quot;Great Recession&quot; was officially deemed to be over in 2009, but it is only recently that the economic recovery seems to have really picked up speed. While it is nice to see the stock market go up and the unemployment rate go down, I do miss a few things about the recessionary years. I'm not actually looking forward to the next recession, of course, but when it comes (and it will, some time), here's what I'll be looking forward to more of. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="">Preparing for a Recession</a>)</p> <h2>Less Traffic</h2> <p>Lately I have definitely felt that traffic has increased during commute hours. It is great that more people are getting jobs, but I do miss the shorter commute times and less congested roads. Apparently the increase in traffic is happening all around the country, and the National Safety Council reported the <a target="_blank" href="">first increase in traffic related fatalities in years. </a></p> <h2>Shorter Lines</h2> <p>During the recession we rarely had to wait for a spot at a restaurant, but now that is very common. Restaurants that did not need a reservation during the recession are bustling once again. It is great to see establishments have more business, but it was nice to eat in sparsely populated dining rooms where it was easier to hear your friends across the table. There were also shorter lines at many malls and parks.</p> <h2>Bargains</h2> <p>It was much easier to find a bargain during the recession. You could negotiate down the price of almost everything, <a target="_blank" href="">including rent</a>. Hotels and travel were also cheap, and there were more restaurant coupons than I could use.</p> <p>Lately I have definitely seen fewer sales and coupons and an increase in prices on most goods and services. Large ticket items such as furniture and real estate were being sold at below replacement cost during the last recession, but now it is much more difficult to find a bargain that good.</p> <h2>Frugality and Saving</h2> <p>In the last few years everyone talked about saving instead of buying that next big thing. The frugal people were suddenly not so crazy!</p> <p>Now it seems that the tide is turning, and saving money is beginning to be uncool again. The <a href="">zero interest environment</a> does not help the savers' argument at all, and there seems to be less urgency for everyone to save as a whole. The funny thing is that saving during the lean years when you have less income is much harder than saving during the flush years. I do miss that more people cared about saving money during the recession, and I hope they realize that they should try to save more now to prepare for the next recession.</p> <p>There are many things about the last few years that were not very nice, but I definitely saw the brighter side of the worst economy since World War II. I hope some of you were able to get some great bargains that you could use for years to come, and that you are keeping up those <a href="">good frugal habits</a> you have learned. In the next recession those who have cash will have many more choices than those who don't.</p> <p><em>What do you miss about the recession?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="What I Miss About the Recession" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Xin Lu</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Financial News bargains Economy habits recession Fri, 29 Mar 2013 09:48:30 +0000 Xin Lu 971476 at Hobby Lobby, Who Exactly Are You Trying To Fool? <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/hobby-lobby-who-exactly-are-you-trying-to-fool" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="Beware Hobby Lobby" title="Hobby Lobby Store" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="149" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Anyone who reads Wise Bread regularly knows that I love a deal. I&rsquo;m a deal hound &mdash; I sniff them out and save a lot of money every year. (See also: <a href="">Get a Deal Every Time You Shop</a>)</p> <p>So, when I was strolling through a local Hobby Lobby today looking for a new sketch pad and some empty boxes, I happened upon this sign:</p> <p><img height="299" width="500" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>Wow, 90% off home accents, including pillows. Sweet! Our current pillows have begun to fray and have definitely seen better days. This was serendipitous. I abandoned my search for a sketch pad in favor of some pillow hunting instead.</p> <p>With most accent pillows being between $20 and $40, I figured I would find something that suited our home for between $2&ndash;$4. Hey, maybe less if they had originally been $10-$15, like the ones Target often sells. The plethora of pillows that greeted me was great. I knew I&rsquo;d find something.</p> <p><img height="299" width="500" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>Within a minute, I had found several that I liked. I picked up one, checked the price tag, and felt my jaw drop to the cold floor. After I picked it up, I checked the price again.</p> <p>Here&rsquo;s the cause of my nasty surprise:</p> <p><img height="242" width="269" alt="" src="" />&nbsp;&nbsp;<img height="242" width="300" alt="" src="" /></p> <p>Yes, you read that right. These pillows had an &ldquo;original price&rdquo; of between $90 and $120! Did I walk into the wrong store? Was I actually in an upscale boutique in New York.</p> <p>No, I was in the clearance aisle of a Hobby Lobby in Colorado.</p> <p><strong>What was the explanation?</strong></p> <p>Well, perhaps the pillows were made of exotic fabrics, hand-woven by monks who ate only elderberries. A peek at the label showed that the exotic fabrics included polyester, rayon, and sometimes, cotton.</p> <p>Maybe the brand was something I had never heard of. One that stands for very high quality. Borgata. Sounds pretty fancy. I did a web search and found plenty of Borgata pillows at prices ranging from $30-$55. Most were around $40.</p> <p>I have to ask myself, were these pillows ever sold for the original price? Did they even get close to it? Or was this some ploy to bring people into the clearance aisle to grab pillows, only to give them sticker shock and have a good laugh. I would have asked a store clerk, but it was lunch time and the only two that were around were dealing with lines 6-people deep. No one had any pillows by the way.</p> <p>I&rsquo;m not saying $9-$12 is a lot to pay for a pillow. Not at all &mdash; it&rsquo;s decent. That&rsquo;s not the point. It&rsquo;s the whole &ldquo;90% OFF&rdquo; thing that bothers me. Look again, and you'll notice the full sign reads &quot;90% Off Our Everyday Low Prices.&quot; Really? $120 for a throw pillow is an everyday low price? Maybe for the Sultan of Brunei, but for an average family on an average income, it's not even in the same ballpark.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s almost a bait and switch, because people have a good idea of what pillows cost, and what 90% off that price is. If I said &ldquo;90% off cappuccinos!&rdquo; and then you discovered that my sale prices were $2-$4, you'd feel cheated. And rightly so. 90% off cappuccinos would mean 50 cents, tops (unless you're usually buying $18-$36 coffees, in which case, seek help immediately).</p> <p>Is Hobby Lobby just blissfully unaware of how insane the original prices are for very ordinary pillows? Are they fooling anyone? And have you had similar experiences of vastly inflated prices to keep the sales prices high? Please, share your stories.</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Hobby Lobby, Who Exactly Are You Trying To Fool?" 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 bargains expensive pillows hobby lobby overpriced rip off sales Mon, 04 Apr 2011 09:48:05 +0000 Paul Michael 515908 at Advertising Jargon That Aims to Mislead <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/advertising-jargon-that-aims-to-mislead" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="Free and other fakeries" title="signs" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As an advertising professional, I have often had to use phrases and headlines that stretched the truth a little. Sometimes, a lot. I have never lied, unless it was blatant for the sake of humor (beer so strong, the bar prices are in Braille). But I have most definitely have been &quot;asked&quot; to use some techniques that drew a fog over what is true and what is legally acceptable. These are terms used to deceive and mislead. And now, I'm featuring some of the most popular ones here.</p> <p>Watch out for these. If they're being used, you should think hard about your purchase or do a lot more research. </p> <h3>&quot;Never pay for a covered repair again&quot;</h3> <p>I see and hear this one a lot in insurance commercials. Lately, it has been used in a commercial offering extended warranties on cars. And it is used in such a way that you think &quot;Oh great, no more repair bills, I'm covered.&quot; Well, I'm afraid not. The key word here is &quot;covered,&quot; and it renders the whole phrase useless. See, they don't tell you in the ad what is and is not covered. For all you know, the only repair that is covered is when the engine turns itself into a bowl of banana pudding. Saying you'll &quot;never pay for a covered repair again&quot; is like saying your umbrella will &quot;keep you dry on the sunniest day.&quot; Well duh, of course it will. A covered repair, well, it's covered. Of course you don't pay for it. But WHAT is covered? Is anything covered that is actually important? Find out before you buy an insurance policy or warranty that has more holes in it than 100 lbs. of Swiss cheese.</p> <h3>&quot;Compare at $XX&quot;</h3> <p>Is there a more underhanded phrase in the advertising world? I don't think so. Do you know what this means? Well, it does not mean that this product was once $60 and is now $15. Not even close. It means that someone, usually an &quot;expert&quot; working for said company, thinks that this product or service may be worth that amount of money, or is comparable to other products selling at that higher price. It's used in infomercials a lot. &quot;Buy this frying pan for $20, compare at $80!&quot; It does not mean you're saving $60, it just means that someone, somewhere, thinks that the pan is similar to another pan that could have sold for $80. It's like putting an ad on Craigslist for your crappy old sweater and saying &quot;compare at $100.&quot; It's a self-valuation, and therefore, meaningless.</p> <h3>&quot;Buy 10 for $10&quot;</h3> <p>It could be any variation of items for dollars, but the sign is misleading 99% of the time. Very, very rarely do you actually have to buy 10 items to get them for $1 each. They will simply ring up as $1 at the register, whether you buy four or five or even nine. The store is employing a simple tactic of misdirection. They want you focusing on picking out ten items rather than daring to buy just a few. And most of the time, as robotic consumers, we do what we're told and buy ten packets of rice or bottles of soda. If you do happen to buy a few, and they ring up as more expensive, just keep your eagle eye on the register and let the checkout person know you have decided against those items. But that happens once in a blue moon.</p> <h3>&quot;Free trial&quot; and &quot;Risk-free trial&quot;</h3> <p>Let's start with free trial. Most of the time, the free trial comes with a time period, after which you start paying for the service. For instance, a two-week free trial subscription to a newspaper, after which the credit card you provided will start getting dinged, automatically, for a certain amount of money. This is often called a &quot;passive subscription.&quot; You do nothing; you start paying. You have to actively call and cancel to opt out of the full subscription before the trial ends, and that's when you get hit with &quot;save sale&quot; scripts and hard-sell techniques. Free trials may give you something free, but you are giving the manufacturer your personal information and credit card info, which is just as valuable to them as the product you get for nothing.</p> <p>Now, moving on from the free, to the risk-free. What does that mean? This time, you're basically being told that if you buy something and you don't like it, then you can return it &quot;risk-free.&quot; But be careful. Even though they say there's no risk, you're in muddy legal waters. There may be restocking fees, or you may have to jump through many hoops to get your money back. And you may have to wait quite a long time to see it. I usually stay away from any kind of trial unless it is a genuine free trial that requires no money up front.</p> <h3>&quot;Just pay shipping and handling&quot;</h3> <p>Again, another landmine you need to dodge. That phrase is loaded. No legitimate business can turn a profit by giving away product and only asking you to pay for postage. In these instances, which often accompany the free trial, you are paying for S&amp;H up front with a credit card, and that information will be used to charge you for something else later on.</p> <h3>&quot;BOGO&quot;</h3> <p>&nbsp;Once upon a time, BOGO stood for Buy One, Get One free. Simple enough. Then, BOGO stood for Buy One, Get One 50% off. Now, BOGO can stand for almost anything. I&rsquo;ve seen Buy One, Get One for $50; Buy One, Get One 20% off; and even this &mdash; BOGO* (Buy One, Get One 50% off by mail-in rebate!). Marketers love to use handy phrases that are well-known to consumers, and this is another good example. We all think we know what BOGO means, but it&rsquo;s not a legal term, so it can stand for anything. Just keep your eyes wide open when you see a big BOGO sign &mdash; it may not be what it appears.</p> <h3>&quot;Free*&quot;</h3> <p>Ahhh, the asterisk. It's the marketer's friend and the consumer's enemy. You can hide a wealth of sketchy terms and conditions and nasty little &quot;out&quot; clauses behind the asterisk. For instance, in this case Free* could be followed by: &quot;*Offer only available to residents of Alaska aged between 49-52 with a surname that begins with Z.&quot; Ok, extreme example, but I've seen similar exclusions. Sometimes it's only free if you buy another item of equal or greater value, which is back to the BOGO language. Sometimes it's free if you jump through hundreds of hoops and buy other products. Occasionally, rarely, it's actually free. But the asterisk does mean someone, somewhere, is missing out. The asterisk has taken a powerful word like free and made it about as trustworthy as a grandma with big eyes, big ears, and very big teeth.</p> <p><em>Know any other terms that trick you up? Let other Wise Bread readers know.</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Advertising Jargon That Aims to Mislead " 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="">Consumer Affairs articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Consumer Affairs Shopping advertising bargains jargon marketing Thu, 04 Nov 2010 13:00:08 +0000 Paul Michael 279684 at