Money Saving Ideas

The do’s and don’ts of Shopping at a Wholesale Price Club

wholesale price clubShould you pay the membership at one of the wholesale price club like Costco, Sams club or BJ’s? It really depends on your shopping habits, how much you will purchase and whether you can find better prices elsewhere. Consumers who have time to do some comparison shopping will often find better prices for various items at other stores when they are on sale or on special. Buying those items at other stores will save you money. The return policies at price clubs is extraordinary. Service is top notch and prices on average are very competitive. But should you join wholesale price clubs to save money?

The do’s and don’ts of shopping at a wholesale price club

Each family will have different needs however the following can be considered general guidelines which may or may not apply when making a decision to purchase items at a wholesale price club:

  • Buying in bulk means you need to have storage areas
  • Can you use all of the bulk items within a reasonable period of time
  • Can you use items before the expiry date
  • Purchases of goods on sale or on special at other stores may save you money
  • Do you return many items, it is easier at wholesale price clubs
  • Large families can generally benefit more
  • Will the rewards pay for the membership fee

If you can answer yes to many of these questions, then belonging to one of the wholesale price club might be the right answer for you. If you answer no to many of the questions, you may want to say the membership fee and shop elsewhere. If you take advantage of specials at the competition, you can definitely save money compared to shopping at Costco. These are price leader deals that are offered to get you into a store where the store hopes you will spend money on other items at a higher price.


Money Saving Habits that Cost You

Money Saving Habits that Cost YouThis web site has an objective of identifying ways to save money and helping consumers to make the hard-earned dollars stretch further. But sometimes we lose sight of the fact that we are actually spending money to save money. We develop money-saving habits that cost you more than you save. It is important to really look at how much you will save before you spend money on something or take an action. For example, driving halfway across town to save a few dollars with a coupon you have just does not make sense.

Money Saving Habits that Cost You

One of our favorites is buying something just because it is on sale when we really do not need the item. It is clearly nice to have, but we would save a lot more if we just did not make the purchase in the first place.

Opening a store credit card to save 10 or 20% sounds great at the time, particularly if it is a large expense. If you cannot pay for the item when the credit card comes in and pay 19% or even up to 29% on some cards, you are going to lose your savings and then some very soon.

Buying extended warranties is another item we think you should avoid. Instead, use a credit card that doubles the warranty on your items purchased with it. You will save a great deal this way.

Buy in bulk when you can use all of the merchandise or groceries before they spoil, otherwise, you are just wasting money and losing any savings you might have received initially.

Savings accounts are a great way to set aside money for emergencies, however, you are losing money if you’re not collecting interest on your savings. Look for other opportunities that pay more and still protect your money.

Buying cheap often saves money initially. Cheap items wear out more quickly and replacing them just adds to your cost.

Free shipping is great and convenient. Compare the final price on everything before you make the purchase decision. Shipping is always built into the price one way or another.

If you have other ideas about Money Saving Habits that Cost You, please leave your comments and we will add them to this post.

Money Saving: Taking advantage of loyalty programs

loyalty programsAlmost every store, travel agency, hotel, airline and financial company has some form of loyalty program they use to enhance customer loyalty. Their objective is to retain you as a customer and to keep you from going to other providers. Sometimes these loyalty programs are really attractive while others you may never use. Let’s face it they all have some value, but it really depends on whether you will take advantage of the programs that determines their true value. If you do not use the program and let the points or credits build up, then there is no value to you and it is actually costing you more money to belong to the program.

Loyalty Programs – Value

Credit cards are notorious for offering points towards trips, hotels, airfare and a variety of goods. They offer trip insurance, purchase insurance and a host of other features. Many will charge an annual fee to use the card in return for all of these services. But if you do not use them then they are worthless and you are paying more than you should.

The writer belongs to a number of loyalty programs and over the years has cancelled some and signed up for others. The objective is to get value for your money and your loyalty.  We stay at a lot of hotels through the years and belong to specific chains to ensure that we get free rooms and meals. Same with coffee shops. We love to receive free coffees and deserts for our loyalty.

Double dipping is also something that many consumers can follow. Staying at hotels earns points for future stays. Charging the room to a particular credit cards also adds points on the card which also can be used for future stays at these same hotels as well as purchases of other goods and services that we are interested in.

With a little bit of focus you can actually save yourself a great deal of money.

Money Savings: Buying everything on Black Friday

Buying everything on Black FridayBuying everything on Black Friday sometimes can save you a great deal of money, but sometimes the items you buy are not really discounted as much as you might think. The only way to really know whether you are getting a good deal or not is to be prepared. Know what you want to purchase. Most important know the prices of the items that you are looking for. By knowing the prices, either regular price or usual sale price consumers can compare the Black Friday prices. They can make a quick decision about whether the item they are buying is really a good deal or not.

Buying everything on Black Friday – Lining Up

Many consumers line up early to get in the door to purchase the door-crasher items. Others go later interested in the excitement of the day and look for items they are interested in. Some just go for the excitement of the day, so they can say they went to a Black Friday event. It is an experience for sure that everyone should have at least once in their lifetime.

A great deal of patience is needed from the time you get into your car, to finding a place to park in the parking lot and dealing with the crowds of people in the mall or store that you go to. As the picture above shows, there are lots of people and they jostle each other as they move about looking for deals. If you are claustrophobic at all, stay home and avoid shopping on Black Friday. It is just not worth it for anyone that cannot stand crowds or gets frustrated easily with aggressive shoppers. Remember the best strategy is to know your prices for those things you are looking for. Focus on those to get the best deals. Otherwise, you risk paying more for some items than you might. Wait until some other time of the year when sales are available.



Money Saving: Spending more to obtain credit card rewards

Spending more to obtain credit card rewardsSpending more to obtain credit card rewards is one of the worst financial strategies that consumers could follow. Spending more usually means that you do not have the cash to pay the credit card bill. When the credit card statement arrives, the due date is clearly shown. If you cannot repay the balance by the due date, consumers are charged anywhere from 15% to 30% interest. Any savings in sales or rewards will quickly be used up in interest charges.  Sure, you have your reward. But it would have been cheaper not to buy the item at all. Perhaps purchase the reward itself instead of trying to obtain enough points to gain the reward.

Spending More to Obtain Credit Card Rewards – The Right Way

Credit card rewards can be worthwhile, provided you only purchase what you need. Always charge your purchases to the credit card and pay the full balance on the due date. Once you need to pay interest, you have lost any savings from the original purchase. Perhaps your item will cost more than the total price due to the interest charges. Credit card companies are counting on you to miss your payment to begin billing interest charges. In addition to collecting a commission on every sale from the store owner, they make billions from consumers by charging interest on overdue accounts.

Credit card rewards can be very lucrative, significantly, if they save you money for something that you would do anyway. For example, a card that provides rewards for travel to places you were planning to go anyway can be a good deal if the rewards cannot be used for something you like and enjoy, cancel the card and get one that meets your needs.

Be patient. If used properly, the rewards will build over time and save you money in the long run. Whatever you do, avoid spending more to obtain credit card rewards!



Money Saving: Buying the cheapest of everything

Buying the cheapest of everythingBuying the cheapest of everything can save you a great deal of money in the short term, but not always in the long term. There is usually a reason that something is cheap. That usually means it is not made well and will not last long! No problem if you do not need it to last long. But if a particular item lasts several years or receives a lot of wear and tear, you may want to spend a little more money and get a better quality product. Often there are sales of various goods for a variety of reasons.

Consumers can save a great deal of money. The mantra that our family follows is that we never pay full price for anything we purchase. We always look for sales. If something is not on sale, we either negotiate or wait until the item goes on sale.

Buying the cheapest of everything

Following this approach of always waiting for a sale item usually means buying items at a lower price and saving ourselves quite a bit of money. We also watch for sales that save us even more money.

For example, several times, we have purchased something on sale during the week. We know we are already ahead; however, some stores will have additional sales on the weekends. They might have a tax-free holiday, and whether an item is at full price or on sale, you still save on the tax. All we do is return to the store with our receipt and ask them for a credit for the additional savings. All large department stores and chains usually honor this approach.

By following the sales and by staying alert for sales, you can really follow the Buying the cheapest of everything approach!


Money Saving: Buying more online to qualify for free shipping

qualify for free shippingBuying more online to qualify for free shipping is one way to save money, however consumers do have to be careful of overspending. There are other ways as well to save money. Let’s assume that you need to buy a large item that cannot be picked up. You will need to have it delivered to your home or rent a truck to pick up the item. Either way there is a shipping cost of some kind to be considered. There are multiple ways to deal with this and we will cover some of them in the following paragraphs.

Qualify for free shipping – Negotiate

If you find the best price at a regular store, but need delivery, most stores are going to charge a fee for delivery. The fee can range from $50 to $100 or even more depending on the size of the item and how far they have to travel. However your options include negotiating before you finalize the purchase for free shipping! Sometimes to close the deal a store will throw in free shipping! Otherwise you need to rely on a friend or rent a truck to pick up and bring your item home.

Many online stores allow their customers to qualify for free shipping if they spend over a specified amount. This is a great deal in most situations provided you are getting a good deal on the purchase price.

When comparing options, don’t forget to include the full price you are paying, plus fees, plus taxes and whatever your shipping cost will be including the free pizza and beer you may have to provide to your friends for their help. Comparing apples to apples is the only way to make sure that you really do get the best price overall.

One last point to consider is your time. You may not save any real dollars, if you spend a lot less time driving to the store. Buying something online may be the deciding factor. For money saving ideas, click here.



Money Saving: Putting your savings into a savings account

Putting your savings into a savings accountOne of the best ways to save money is by putting your savings into a savings account and then not touching it. Other people have funds deducted from their paycheck and deposited directly into a savings account, 401k retirement account, etc. But we want to talk about another way of saving for rainy days and emergency funds. For example, take all of the change in your pocket at the end of the day and throw it into a jar. How much money would you have at the end of the week? Another approach is to just place $5 in an envelope or jar each day. At the end of one week, you will have $35 to spend on dinner or just keep it and let it build until you need it. Would you miss the $5 or the change from your pocket? Probably not and that is really the message. Pick a number that you know you will not miss and make a habit of saving that money each day. At the end of the month put it in your savings account so that you will not be tempted to use it.

Putting Your Savings into a Savings Account

A friend of ours uses this approach to save money for his vacation. Both he and his wife throw their spare change into a large glass jar with a sealed top. When vacation time comes along, they break open the jar to count their money to see how much they have. Sometimes they will have as much as $1000 towards their vacation.

With electronic banking and automated payments, consumers can set up auto payments as a means of putting your savings into a savings account with no effort at all.  It takes 5 minutes to set up the automated electronic transfer into your account and you’re done. The bank will look after the transfer every month or whatever period you choose, depending on what you afford. All you need to do is make sure there are sufficient funds in your account to cover the transfer. It is that easy.

Money Saving: Buying in bulk

Buying in bulkConsumer buying in bulk can definitely save money if they purchase products that they will use. The problems start when you purchase items that are on sale when buying in bulk but you really don’t need all of that product. For example, the picture shows this consumer buying toilet paper. She is obviously getting a good deal and is stocking up on toilet paper. There is no question that she will use all of this product and save money at the same time. But what about other products that might not be used as quickly. For example, if you purchase 5 bottles of ketchup which have an expiry within one year? Will you use all of the ketchup within that time frame. If you do not and have to throw out some of the bottles, have you really saved any money?

Buying in Bulk When it Makes Senses

Items like toilet paper, paper towels, cans of fruit and vegetables, items you can freeze etc are usually good buys when you buy in bulk. Buying fresh vegetables in bulk makes no sense at all, nor does it make sense to buy fruit this way unless you can freeze some of the product for later use. We tend to purchase meat in bulk, separate it into reasonable portions, and then freeze it.

The same applies to bread and buns. Soap for dishwashing, soap for washing clothing, and similar products can also be purchased in bulk. Occasionally we will purchase some products in bulk that have an expiry date in a relatively short time frame. We tend to give away some of the product to other family members rather than see it spoil.

Before buying in bulk, ask yourself can I use all of this product prior to the expiry date. If I have to give some away or let it spoil will I still save money compared to purchasing the same thing at a regular price.


Money Saving: Driving out of the way to use a coupon

Driving out of the way to use a couponDriving out of the way to use a coupon would seem to be a silly thing to do for many people, yet everyone wants to save a dollar and they really do not appreciate just how expensive it is to drive and use your gasoline. It takes some effort to clip coupons. Also to sort them so that you can use them at the best times and when they are still valid. Consumers can save a great deal of money by using coupons, but when is the best time to drive somewhere to save money using a coupon? We came up with an easy approach to figuring this out.

Driving out of the way to use a coupon

Consider that your vehicle will use gasoline at the rate of an average of 30 miles per gallon. Some vehicles will get much more than 30 miles per gallon and some will be less, but let’s use this as an average. The average price of gasoline at the time of writing is $3.00 per gallon. Consumers can drive 15 miles and return for a total of 30 miles and a cost of $3.00 not including wear and tear on the vehicle.

If your coupons will save you at least $3.00, you are breaking even, and if you can save more than that you are ahead of the game. Driving 30 miles is not that far and saving money on larger items where you can save at least $3.00 or more means that it is worth it to take the drive and save a bit of money. Anything less than this and it is costing you money.

Grouping coupons is even better than just going for one coupon. Taking your full list of coupons to the grocery store for example is one way to save a lot of money and reduce your overall cost for gasoline as well. Focus on large discounts to really make a difference especially if you need to travel any significant distances.


Money Saving: Buying an extended warranty

Buying an extended warrantyBuying an extended warranty is the same as purchasing insurance. There is the risk that the item you purchase will break down sometime during the lifetime that the insurance covers, and there is a cost to being covered for this possibility. Generally speaking, buying an extended warranty is a wrong decision since most manufactured goods are of very good quality. When you think about it, why would a company offer an extended warranty that you pay for other than to make money? They have figured out the probabilities of having to make repairs under warranty and feel they will profit from the premiums. This is just good business. However, there are times or situations when an extended warranty is worth it.

Buying an extended warranty

Take the purchase of a car, for example. If you plan to keep a car well beyond the regular manufacturer’s warranty, paying for an extended warranty might be worth it. The price of significant repairs on a vehicle can be costly. One claim may be sufficient to cover the cost of the warranty and this cost could also be expensive enough to drain your bank account. It comes down to risk vs. cost, which is one situation in the writer’s opinion; it would be worth it to take the extended warranty and pay whatever it costs.

Electronic stores routinely ask you if you want to purchase insurance for your purchase. A TV that costs $300 to $600 will not break your bank account, and if it stops working, purchasing another is not that expensive. Besides, it may be time for an upgrade since electronics change quickly. In the writer’s opinion, we suggest never purchasing the extended warranty for electronics. Save your money and use it for other more important items.

There is one caveat to this rule. If you depend on your computer for your livelihood and cannot afford to be without one for any time, you may want insurance to ensure a quick repair turnaround. Ensure that this is one of the features of the insurance. Twenty-four-hour turnaround will be significant in situations like this. Waiting for 3 weeks for your computer to return is not something you would want to deal with. The alternative is to have a backup computer. It should have the same software and data so you never have a computer.


Money Saving: Opening a store credit card to get a discount

Opening a store credit card to get a discountOpening a store credit card to get a discount can save you money immediately after the store offers a 10 or 20% discount to you. They do this simply for opening a new credit card account. There is nothing wrong with this in terms of saving money. Provided that you can always repay the balance of the card when you receive your statement.

The store is hoping you will not be able to repay the balance. They will often begin charging interest on the overdue balance at a rate that is around 30%, which is higher than most credit cards from banks. This is really how the store makes a profit, and a rather large profit at that. Any time you can charge 30% on a balance means high profits. So pay off your credit card as soon as the monthly statement arrives!

Opening a store credit card to get a discount – Will You Use It

One of the issues with these incentives is that many people will buy something that is on sale because it is on sale. They actually do not need the item and would not have purchased it if they had not seen it on sale. You are not saving any money at all if you incur interest charges and you do not actually use the item once you get it home!

Another factor to consider is your credit rating. Adding multiple credit cards to your credit rating will, over time, decrease your credit rating. When this occurs, and you need to borrow money for a loan for a car or perhaps your mortgage, it could mean that you will be unable to secure a loan or mortgage and/or pay higher interest rates which end up costing you money than you should be paying. Any money you saved with the initial purchase will be long gone with high interest rates, paying interest, or not being able to borrow money at low-interest rates.

Opening a store credit card to get a discount can be a good thing, but like everything else in life, it needs to be managed to ensure that it does not cost you money in the long run.



Money Saving Ideas

Money Saving IdeasSome times the usual money saving ideas are really not the best way to save money. As with most things the details of how you save money, will determine if you actually save money or not. The following list of the typical ways of saving money actually does work as long as you make sure that you are really getting a deal. For example, buying something because it is on sale, can save you money, provided that you are going to use it and that you actually need the item you are purchasing.

If you buy something that is on sale and does not need it or worse never use it, then you really have not really saved any money. Over the next few weeks, we will be expanding on the list below, providing examples and explaining why this typical list of ways to save money can actually cost you a lot more than perhaps what you planned. Stay tuned for more posts, but in the meantime review the list following and assess if any of these apply to you!

Money Saving Ideas – List

  • Buying Something because it is on sale
  • Opening a store credit card to get a discount
  • Buying an extended warranty
  • Driving out of the way to use a coupon
  • Buying in bulk
  • Putting your savings into a savings account
  • Buying more online to qualify for free shipping
  • Buying the cheapest of everything
  • Spending more to obtain credit card rewards
  • Buying everything on Black Friday
  • Taking advantage of loyalty programs

If you know of other ideas or perhaps have a different take on our list, please let us know. We will be glad to include your ideas in a post or as a comment on one of the posts. We all want to have enough money to do all of the things we want to do in life. Making it last as long as possible is one way to do that. Also buying the items you actually will use is another way of maximizing your savings.

Turn Your Junk Into Money

Turn your junk into moneyTurn your junk into money can be a rewarding exercise for many reasons including actually getting some money for your stuff. This is another one of our posts designed to help people make money or save money around the home.

There are some things to do associated with selling your junk to make sure that you get the right amount for your junk, and we will list some of them in this post. What is junk to one person might be worth a lot to others. At the same time, some things are really junk and should be thrown out in the garbage. That’s why the first step is to assess what your stuff is worth before you try to sell it.

There are other benefits as well to getting rid of junk. For example, getting rid of the clutter in your home is a rewarding experience. Many people breathe easier when they finally see their homes neat and tidy, especially when they made some money as well.

There are many ways to get rid of junk. Many consumers turn to the traditional garage sale approach and get rid of many things this way. They can also sell some items using eBay or Kijji or one of the other online sales tools. Finally just plain donating your stuff to a good will company will not make you any money, but you will feel better knowing someone will be able to benefit from your used items.

Turn your junk into money – Garbage Pickers

Have you ever notice these trucks going around on garbage night? These are the guys that are looking for stuff that people are throwing out that they can pick up for free, possibly clean up or repair and sell. They also pick up metal items to sell, and they usually have full trucks by the end of the night.

They sell this stuff at flea markets and garage sales. Metal of various kinds is recycled and sold for scrap. There seems to be enough of these guys going around that sometimes they compete to pick up stuff. They spend a lot on gas and time, but they are making money, or they would not do it.

Occasionally they will find something really expensive and sell it on line. Before you throw out something that is valuable, or holds on to it forever, why not try to sell it yourself instead of just throwing it out. It takes a bit of work, but then it is money in your pocket instead of someone else’s or the garbage. Also, be patient. We recently sold one item on Kijji, that had been advertised for over a month. At this point we had no expectation of being able to sell it, then one morning we got a call from a person who bought it and did not even negotiate. They paid the asking price!

Ten Things to Do To Sell Your Junk

  • Find out what it is worth
  • Clean it up and make sure it is in good condition
  • Clean all data off your electronic items
  • If selling online, take an excellent picture
  • Decide were to sell it – garage sale, online, auction, etc
  • Avoid fee’s if possible
  • Choose your words carefully to avoid appearing as a scammer
  • Maximize your online listing views
  • Maximize your garage sale  visits by properly advertising
  • Lower prices usually mean you sell stuff quickly
  • Be careful of people who are trying to take your item and your money

Sort Your Junk

Part of finding out what your stuff is worth is sorting your junk into categories. For example, some things you will want to sell at a garage sale, while other items may be better sold online through one of the online systems.  If you happen to have valuable items, an online approach may be better than a garage sale, for example.

Garage sale buyers are always looking for really cheap deals, and if you have an expensive item, unless you pre-advertise, the chances are that you will not be able to sell your expensive item at a garage sale.

While you are sorting your items, some things will just not sell due to their condition. Put this into the garage sale, if they do not sell, put them in the garbage or donate it to a charity if you think someone can use it.

Be Careful Turning Your Junk Into Money

Whether it is face to face or online, there are always people who will try to scam you or even rob you. If you meet someone face to face to sell some thing, always take a partner along with you to ensure your safety. If you are selling something on-line, make sure you have received the money before sending your item to the buyer. eBay allows money to be placed in escrow to protect both the buyer and the seller.

I have even seen people at garage sales trying to steal items, and some will even try to take your money if it is left unprotected. If you have a lot of items, it is often a good idea to have several people helping you at busy garage sales.

If you are just not into selling items at garage sales or online, donate your good items to a charity. They sometimes will even pick up and provide you with a donation slip for use when you complete your tax return. Another way to save some money!





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