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How to Save

How to Get the Best Deals in February

Posted on Tuesday, January 21st, 2020 at 11:07 am
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The month of February gives frugal shoppers a lot of opportunity for saving money. There will be sales on holiday related items, seasonal clothing, mattresses, and more! Most of these deals will only last for a limited time.

Super Bowl Sunday

February 2, 2020, is Super Bowl Sunday. Are you planning to host a party? Save money by cutting up fresh vegetables instead of buy pre-packaged ones. Consider making chili, a dish that can serve several people at once. Ask guests to bring their own beverages. Avoid ordering pizza. The pizza delivery places will be bogged down with orders on Super Bowl Sunday, and your guests may end up waiting a long time for their food.

Valentine’s Day Gifts

February 14 is Valentine’s Day. Some stores will start to put out their Valentine’s Day candies, cards, and gifts at the end of January. For the best deal, wait as long as you can before making those kinds of purchases. The price will drop as you get closer to the holiday. In general, stores will deeply discount their Valentine’s Day items on February 15 – if not on Valentine’s Day itself.

Buy some Valentine’s day cards for your loved ones (such as your parents, siblings, children, spouse, or partner). Store it away until next year. Don’t buy more chocolate than you and your family can reasonably expect to eat in a short span of time. Avoid buying boxed Valentine’s Day cards for your kids to hand out next year. Many schools have stopped having Valentine’s Day parties.

President’s Day Sales

President’s Day is on the third Monday in February, and is part of a three-day weekend. Mattresses typically go on sale that weekend. You may also find furniture sales, sales on winter clothing, TVs, and more. Check the sales papers and the store websites before shopping.

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How to Save Money and have a Social Life

Posted on Tuesday, January 21st, 2020 at 11:07 am
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Your budget is tight, but your desire to have a social life is strong. Fortunately, you don’t necessarily have to give up spending time with friends in order to avoid going into bankruptcy. Here are some ways to save money and have a social life.

Take advantage of happy hour! Many bars will hold a happy hour with special discounts on food and drinks. The menu may be limited, but generally will still have some variety. The lower prices during happy hour make it less expensive to go to a bar and spend time with friends. Not in the mood for alcohol? Some coffee shops have their own happy hour specials that include discounts on certain coffee drinks and pastries.

Look for free events. Warm weather encourages people to go outside. Most farmers’ markets do not charge an entry fee. They are good places to find fresh produce and listen to live music. Some cities will hold free concerts in local parks. Your local library might have a book club that you can join for free.

Do your friends enjoy playing games? There are several video games that can be played online for free. Start with the games that everyone has already purchased for a night of fun that doesn’t require anyone to leave their homes. Dungeons & Dragons is a wonderful way to spend an evening, either in person, or through the internet. If your friends live close by, you can invite everyone over for a board game night.

Have a movie night! Invite your friends over to watch a movie that you own, or one that is on the streaming service that you have a subscription to. Make some inexpensive snacks. Popcorn is a good one! Ask your friends to bring drinks. Rotate through so each friend gets a turn to host.

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Pier One is Closing About Half of its Stores

Posted on Tuesday, January 14th, 2020 at 5:43 am
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Pier 1 announced that it plans to close up to 450 of its stores. According to USA Today, that means nearly half of all Pier 1 stores will are closing. Bloomberg reported that Pier 1 could potentially end up filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Pier 1 provided information about this decision in a news release. Part of the news release said:

“In order to better align its business with the current operating environment, Pier 1 intends to reduce its store footprint by up to 450 locations. To reflect the revised footprint, the Company also plans to close certain distribution centers and reduce its corporate expenses. This includes a reduction in corporate headcount.”

Frugal shoppers might be able to take advantage of this situation. The first thing to do is to check the Pier 1 website to find out what special sales are being offered. They currently have a 60% sale on furniture. There is no information about how long this sale might last.

Furniture sales provide a frugal opportunity to replace a couch or chair that has worn out with a brand new one. Inexpensive furniture is very useful for young adults who are moving into an apartment for the first time.

In addition, Pier 1 is offering codes that can save shoppers 15%, 20%, or 25% on specific types of purchases from their website. The codes only last for a few days (but may be replaced by new ones).

If you have paper Pier 1 coupons, now is a good time to take them to your local Pier 1 store. Use them before the store closes! It is likely that many products will be offered at a discount, especially as stores get closer to their closing date. You can get a jump-start on holiday and birthday gifts by making your purchases now and storing them for later.

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How to Save Money at Convenience Stores

Posted on Tuesday, January 7th, 2020 at 2:16 am
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Convenience stores are a good place to save money. Shopping there for groceries, and other small items, can help you stick to your budget. But, that doesn’t mean everything in a convenience store is at the best possible price. Here are some ways to save money at convenience stores.

Some convenience stores sell groceries. You may be able to find staples like bread, canned soup, crackers, rice, beans, and frozen vegetables at the convenience store. Make sure to check the prices. Could you get the same type of item at your local grocery store for less money? It helps to check the grocery store’s sales paper before you shop.

Avoid the convenience store’s ATM. The best ATM to use is the one that is connected to your bank. In general, banks allow their customers to use their ATMs without being charged a fee. The ATM at the convenience store is highly unlikely to be connected to your bank. That means you will be charged a fee for using it.

Pay with cash. You can be certain that the convenience store will take cash. They typically don’t take coupons, and almost never offer a loyalty card. Buying things with cash forces you to stay within your budget. It also prevents you from running up a big credit card bill.

You can get more soda, for less money, if you buy it from the convenience store’s soda fountain. Bottled or canned sodas tend to cost more than a fountain soda, despite offering less ounces for the price. The disadvantage of buying a soda fountain drink is that it cannot be stored for later. Consider how much you can realistically drink before the fountain soda goes flat. Pick the appropriate size.

Avoid buying pain relievers at the convenience store. These stores tend to sell very small packages of medicine at a high price. You can get a better price, and more medication, at a pharmacy.

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The Best Things to Buy in January

Posted on Saturday, December 28th, 2019 at 11:41 pm
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The start of a brand new year is a great time to save money. There are things that go on sale in January that you might need. Wait too long, and the price will go back up again.

The best time to buy holiday items is the last week of December through the first week of January. Christmas ornaments, wrapping paper, stockings, and lights will be at the lowest price of the year.

People who enjoy using a paper calendar can find one at a very low price after Christmas is over. The prices get lower as the month goes on. That said, the variety of calendar available also diminishes the longer you wait to buy one.

January is a good month to buy winter clothing, including coats, hats, scarves, and gloves. This will be especially helpful to people who live in places where winter weather can extend into March or April. You may find a winter clothing sale during the three-day Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend.

People who live in warmer places will also find sales on winter clothing items in January. The sale does not match the weather of a specific location. Instead, the sale is designed to make room for the new spring line of clothing that is already starting to take up space in the store’s back room.

Linens are also on sale in January. The first “White Sale” was created by department store owner John Wanamaker, in January of 1878. At the time, all bedding and towels were white. Wanamaker needed a reason to entice shoppers to spend money at his store in January.

Since then, stores typically have what is now called a “linen sale” every January. Buy the bedding and towels that you need now, of whatever color and pattern you like. The price will go up when the annual sale ends.

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Change Your Mindset and Save Money

Posted on Friday, December 27th, 2019 at 12:12 am
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Saving money is important, but most people do not find it to be fun. People tend think about all the things they could be spending money on and tend to feel that they are missing out. One way to save money is to change your mindset.

Realize that saving money is a privilege. There are many people who are deeply in debt, with no means of being able to pay it off. Some people are are struggling to pay their utilities and rent, and are unable to afford to buy food or pay for their medical care. Start viewing your ability to save money as a blessing, not a punishment.

Learn to separate your needs from your wants. A “need” is something that you literally cannot live without. This can include food, medical care, and weather appropriate clothing. You need to pay your rent (or mortgage) in order to live indoors, and your utility bills so you can have access to warmth and water.

A “want” is something you would like to have but can live without. A “want” could be the newest smartphone (when your older one is still functional). It can wait until you save up for a new one. Start thinking of saving money as the way to get the treats that you don’t truly need, but desire to own.

Does it seem like you are always running out of money? Why does that keep happening? It could be because you aren’t thinking about what you spend. Buying a coffee before work doesn’t sound too expensive – but it can add up if you do it every day. Start collecting receipts, and it will open your mind to your spending habits.

Change your mindset to see the benefits of saving money. It makes it easier to do!

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How to Teach Your Kids to be Frugal

Posted on Saturday, December 21st, 2019 at 1:09 am
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Very few people intrinsically understand how to be frugal with their money. Parents are going to have to teach those skills to their children. Doing so will help them to live frugally when they are older.

Making Choices with Money

Help your children understand how much things cost. One way to do this is to have them use their allowance, or the money their received on a gift card, to buy the items they want. The next time your child asks for something they want at a toy store, take the opportunity to talk about making choices with money.

Show your child how much the item costs. Clarify how much money the child has in their pocket or on their gift card. This can help young children understand if they can afford to buy it right now. If they want to buy two toys, but only have enough money to buy one, they must make a choice.

Have Your Kids Contribute

Older kids tend to want things that are expensive. A teenager who has a driver’s license can help pay for their own car insurance. Teens who desire to have the latest, newest, smartphone can pay for the data service portion of the bill.

Affording what they want will typically require the teenager to find employment. Parents can help their teenager to start keeping track of the amount of money they earn, and to make a budget. This skill will set them up to make informed, and frugal, choices about money after they leave for college.

Teach the Basics about Money

Tweens and teens are ready to learn about the differences between a credit card and a debit card. It is an important lesson to learn before they are old enough to apply for them. Make sure they know the difference between a savings account and a checking account.

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AC Moore is Closing All 145 Stores

Posted on Thursday, December 12th, 2019 at 1:11 am
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AC Moore announced that it will close all of its 145 arts-and-crafts stores. The majority of the stores are located across the East Coast.

AC Moore’s parent company, Nicole Crafts, said that Michael’s (a larger craft store chain) will take over the leases for as many as 40 former AC Moore stores. AC Moore did not give a timeline for the store closings. It has already stopped accepting online orders. For best results, call the store before you shop to make sure it still has the items you want.

If you visit the AC Moore website, you will notice several large, brightly covered advertisements about storewide sales. Save 25% to 50% off the original price of many items – in store only. Holiday floral and décor is 50% off the original price, Melissa & Doug toys are 40% off the original price, and kids arts & crafts are 30% the original price. There are also deals on custom framing.

These sales could end whenever the stock runs out and as stores close. You may want to take advantage of the sales by visiting your local AC Moore as soon as possible. Now is a good time to pick up additional materials for your favorite type of crafting. It is also a good opportunity to purchase gifts for creative and crafty loved ones. Choose wisely! The store may close before it is possible for a return or exchange to be made.

There is a chance that your local AC Moore will become a Michael’s store. This can be good news! Michaels is a larger chain than AC Moore, and is more likely to be able to stay in business. The change means that artists and crafters won’t have to search for a new craft store to shop at. The original location will still provide that purpose – but under a different company.

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Frugal Resolutions for the New Year

Posted on Wednesday, December 4th, 2019 at 1:27 am
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This year, make your New Year’s Resolution to live more frugally in the months ahead. Doing so will likely require you to make some changes about how you spend your money. It may seem hard at first, but the result will change your views about spending.

Start Using Coupons

Coupons are an excellent way to save some money on groceries. You can find coupons in the advertisements that are sent to your mailbox. You can get a loyalty card from your favorite grocery store and have access to special deals, discounts, and sales. Check the website of the brands that your family enjoys. That brand may offer coupons to those who sign up for email.

Make a Budget

One way to get a good idea of where your money is going is to make a budget. Write down every bill that you need to pay on a monthly basis. This can include rent, mortgage, utilities, internet access, phone data charges, bills that are not covered by your health insurance, and more. Keeping track of the amount you owe, and comparing it to the amount you make, will make it very clear if you need to make some changes.

Shop Smarter

Consider buying clothing and household items from local thrift stores. The price will be much less expensive than if you bought the same things from big box stores. Dollar stores are another good place to shop, especially ones that also sell food. When the weather gets warmer, it is time to check out the local garage sales.

Find some Frugal Friends

It can be hard to stick to a budget if all of your friends have a tendency to spend lots of money every weekend. You may have more success if you find some frugal friends who you can hang out with. Frugal friends will be interested in inexpensive entertainment options.

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Tips for Having a Frugal Christmas

Posted on Wednesday, December 4th, 2019 at 12:00 am
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People often feel the need to spend a lot of money at the end of the year. It starts with the Black Friday sales, and continues right through December. What if your budget is not equipped for a massive amount of spending? Try these tips for having a frugal Christmas.

Wrap Gifts Frugally

Use up the holiday gift wrap that you purchased last year before purchasing more. If you run out, consider going to a dollar store to buy more wrap and tape. You might be able to get some festive bags to put presents in while you are there.

Another way to wrap gifts frugally is to use newspaper instead of buying gift wrap. It won’t cost you any money – especially if you use the grocery store advertisements that appear in your mail for free. Some gift wrap cannot be recycled, but all newspapers can be!

Make Handmade Gifts

Do you like to bake? It doesn’t cost very much to make a batch of Christmas cookies that you can give as gifts to family members, co-workers, and friends. Put some cookies into a zip-lock bag to preserve freshness.

Do your loved ones like to bake? Buy some festive looking sealable jars from a dollar store. Put in layers of the ingredients they need to bake their own cookies. Attach the recipe to the jar with string or a ribbon. It will be even more meaningful if the recipe you share is one that has been handed down from one generation of your family to the next.

Frugal Celebrations

Parents can take their children to visit Santa Claus for free. Everyone can do a tour of the most decorated houses in their area without having to spend much money. If the weather isn’t bad, your family may be able to walk there and back. If not, it shouldn’t cost too much in gas to slowly drive through the are. Religious families may enjoy going to church on Christmas Eve.

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