"A Penny Saved Is A Penny Earned"

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Free Samples To Cut Grocery Bill

RelianceMart5Image via Wikipedia

Free Samples To Cut Grocery Bill

The price that you pay for groceries has skyrocketed lately. The cost of bread and milk has steadily been climbing over the last couple of years. If you are like most people, then you may have been considering ways to help cut back on the amount that you pay. Have you considered getting a free food sample of some of your favorite grocery items? We are not talking about the food samples that they give out in the store for you to taste right there. However, we are talking about the countless food samples that you can order online and receive them directly in the mail.

These samples can really help you to get the products that you are already using for free. You might even be surprised at the sizes that you would receive. In some cases, you could actually get the same size of the item that you would have bought in the store. Once you receive the item, you can scratch it off of your shopping list that week. You would have gotten the product by simply filling out an easy form without spending a dime. It's quite an easy process.

Well, so you may ask what kind of food products can you get as samples? There are an endless amount of products available. Some examples of products include coffee, sodas, cookies, baby food, and many more. You can easily find the items that you put into your grocery cart as a product sample. Why not begin these easy steps that can quickly help you to slim your grocery bill?

Free Food Sample offers a wide variety of completely free samples that you can get for FREE. Check out our top product samples and learn how you can get more for less.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Tammie_Taylor


A penny saved is a penny earned,
--Greg

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Monday, September 28, 2009

13 Ways To Save On Gasoline

NGK spark plug (type BP6ES).Image via Wikipedia

13 Ways To Save On Gasoline
  1. You can save hundreds of dollars a year by using the lowest-octane called for in your owner's manual.
  2. Keep your engine tuned up. A misfiring spark plug can reduce fuel efficiency as much as 30%. Follow the service schedules listed in your owner's manual. Replace filters and fluids as recommended.
  3. You can save up to $100 a year on gas by keeping your tires inflated to their proper pressure. Under-inflation wastes fuel--your engine has to work harder to push the vehicle. Check tire pressure once a month.Wheels that are out-of-line (as evidenced by uneven tread wear or vehicle pulling) make the engine work harder. An alignment is warranted if there's uneven tread wear or if your vehicle pulls to one side as this decreases mileage.
  4. Observe speed limits. Mileage decreases sharply for every 5 mph above 55 mph.
  5. Drive gently. Avoid sudden accelerations and jerky stop-and-go's. Use cruise-control on open highways to keep your speed as steady as possible to save on mileage.
  6. Avoid excessive idling. Shut off the engine while waiting for friends and family. Today's vehicles are designed to "warm up" fast, so need to idle for long periods to warm the vehicle up in cold weather.
  7. Remove excess items from the vehicle. Less weight means better mileage.
  8. Store luggage/ cargo in the trunk rather than on the roof to reduce air drag.
  9. Plan trips. Consolidate your daily errands to eliminate unnecessary driving.
  10. Try to travel when traffic is light to avoid stop-and-go conditions.
  11. Join a car pool or take public transportation.
  12. Don’t drive! Try walking or biking to your destination, it not only saves money, it’s good for your health (both physical and mental).
  13. Every ten days, motorists who drive with under-inflated tires and poorly maintained engines waste more than 70 million gallons of gasoline. Remember, how your car runs and how you drive it effects your budget and whether or not you’re frugal or wasteful, not to mention the consequences on the environment.

A penny saved is a penny earned,
--Greg

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

10 Ways to Lower Your Auto Insurance Costs

Congestion caused by a road accident, Algarve,...Image via Wikipedia

10 Ways to Lower Your Auto Insurance Costs

You may not realize it, but the insurance rates you pay for your car can vary dramatically depending on the insurance company, agent or broker you choose, the coverage you request and the kind of car you drive. Listed below are a number of things you can do right now to lower your insurance costs.

1. COMPARISON SHOP.
Prices for the same coverage can vary by hundreds of dollars, so it pays to shop around. Ask your friends, check the yellow pages or call your state insurance department. You can also check consumer guides, insurance agents or companies. This will give you an idea of price ranges and tell you which companies or agents have the lowest prices. But don't shop price alone.

The insurer you select should offer both fair prices and excellent service. Quality personal service may cost a bit more, but provides added conveniences, so talk to a number of insurers to get a feeling for the quality of their service. Ask them what they would do to lower your costs. Check the financial ratings of the companies too. Then, when you've narrowed the field to three insurers, get price quotes.

2. ASK FOR HIGHER DEDUCTIBLES.
Deductibles represent the amount of money you pay before you make a claim. By requesting higher deductibles on collision and comprehensive (fire and theft) coverage, you can lower your costs substantially. For example, increasing your deductible from $200 to $500 could reduce your collision cost by 15% to 30%.

3. DROP COLLISION AND/OR COMPREHENSIVE COVERAGES ON OLDER
CARS.
It may not be cost-effective to have collision or comprehensive coverage on cars worth less than $1000 because any claim you make would not substantially exceed annual cost and deductible amounts. Auto dealers and banks can tell you the worth of cars.

4. ELIMINATE DUPLICATE MEDICAL COVERAGES.
If you have adequate health insurance, you may be paying for duplicate medical coverage in your auto policy. In some states, eliminating this coverage could lower your personal injury protection (PIP) cost by up to 40%.

5. BUY A "LOW PROFILE" CAR.
Before you buy a new or used car, check into insurance costs. Cars that are expensive to repair, or that are favorite targets for thieves, have much higher insurance costs. Write to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 1005 North Glebe Road, Arlington, VA 22201 and ask for the Highway Loss Data Chart.

6. CONSIDER AREA INSURANCE COST IF YOU ARE MAKING A MOVE.
Costs tend to be lowest in rural communities and highest in center cities where there is more traffic congestion.

7. TAKE ADVANTAGE Of LOW MILEAGE DISCOUNTS.
Some companies offer discounts to motorists who drive fewer than a predetermined number of miles a year.

8. FIND OUT ABOUT AUTOMATIC SEAT BELT OR AIR BAG DISCOUNTS.
You may be able to take advantage of discounts on some coverage if you have automatic seat belts and/or air bags.

9. FIND OUT ABOUT NON-SMOKER DISCOUNTS.
Non-Smokers often get discounts.

10. INQUIRE ABOUT OTHER DISCOUNTS.
Some insurers offer discounts for more than one car, no accidents in three years, drivers over 50 years of age, driver training courses, anti-theft devices, anti-lock brakes and good grades for students. See the following page for a guide to these and other discounts.

INQUIRE ABOUT DISCOUNTS FOR:
  • $500 deductible
  • $1,000 deductible
  • More than 1 car
  • No Accidents in 3 Years
  • No Moving Violations in 3 Years
  • Drivers Over 50 Years of Age
  • Driver Training Course
  • Anti-Theft Device
  • Low Annual Mileage
  • Automatic Seat Belt
  • Air Bag
  • Anti-Lock Brakes
  • Good Grades for Students
  • Auto and Homeowners Coverage with the Same Company
  • College Students Away From Home Without a Car

A penny saved is a penny earned,
--Greg

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Monday, September 21, 2009

7 Ways to Save Money on Transportation

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7 Ways to Save Money on Transportation

1. Airline Fares
You can lower the price of a roundtrip air fare by as much as two-thirds by making certain your trip includes a Saturday evening stayover, and by purchasing the ticket in advance.
To make certain you have a cheap fare, even if you use a travel agent, call all the airlines that fly where you want to go and ask what the lowest fare to your destination is.
Keep an eye out for fare wars. Be prepared to act quickly.

2. Car Rental
Since car rental rates can vary greatly, shop around for the best basic rates and special offers.
Rental car companies offer various insurance and waiver options. Check with your insurance agent and credit card company in advance to avoid duplicating any coverage you may already have.

3. Buy Used Cars
When you are considering buying a car, buy used and you will save thousands of dollars. Most people can find a quality used car with low miles from those who were not so frugal and bought beyond their means. Checkout local papers, craigs list and other websites for deals.
Before buying any used car:

a. Compare the seller's asking price with the average retail
price in a "bluebook" www.KBB.com or other guide to car prices.

b. Have a mechanic you trust check the car, especially if
the car is sold "as is."

Consider purchasing a used car from an individual you know and trust. They are more likely than other sellers to charge a lower price and point out any problems with the car.

4. Car Repairs
Prevention is the best medicine. Most repairs cab be prevented or minimized by regular maintenance such as checking and keeping the fluids up (i.e. radiator fluids, transmission fluids, brake fluids, and oil). Also, regular oil changes and tune ups, along with replacement of worn parts like brakes and tires.
When repairs are needed, consumers lose billions of dollars each year on unneeded or poorly done car repairs. The most important step that you can take to save money on these repairs is to find a skilled, honest mechanic. Before you need repairs, look for a mechanic who:
* is certified and well established;
* has done good work for someone you know; and
* communicates well about repair options and costs.
A properly maintained car runs better and saves on fuel.

5. Auto Insurance
You can save several hundred dollars a year by purchasing auto insurance from a licensed, low-price insurer. Call your state insurance department for a publication showing typical prices charged by different companies in your state. Then call at least four of the lowest-priced, licensed insurers to learn what they would charge you for the same coverage.

Talk to your agent or insurer about raising your deductibles on collision and comprehensive coverages or, if you have an old car where repairs would be easier paid for out of pocket, dropping these coverages altogether. Taking these steps can save you hundreds of dollars a year.
Make certain that your new policy is in effect before dropping your old one.

6. Sell the Car
Join a car pool or take public transportation. Sometimes we need to look at the big picture of automotive ownership and see if it’s feasible just not to own at all.

7. Don’t Drive!
Try walking or biking to your destinations, it not only saves money, it’s good for your health (both physical and mental).


A penny saved is a penny earned,
--Greg

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Friday, September 18, 2009

Family Meals Under $5 - Tuna Casserole

Sorry for not posting last week. A headache and football games got in the way. Anyway, this weeks dinner has some "stock up" items that were really great. It's also a classic, easy recipe that can be made in one pot. You can tweak it by adding different veggies or different cream soups to suit your family's tastes.
Some sliced tomatoes from the garden make a great accompaniment, and their free.

One Pot Tuna Casserole - $4.65

1lb uncooked macaroni (3 1/2c) -1.88/3lb @ Super 1 Foods = .62c (Stock up)
2 5oz cans tuna - 38c can coupon @ Super 1 Foods = .76c (Stock up)
2 cans cream of mushroom soup = $1.30
2 c grated cheddar cheese = .72c
2c milk - $1.48 gallon @ Super 1 Foods 12 hr sale = .18c
1 T Worcestershire = .08
1 16oz pkg frozen peas = .99c
1 c bread crumbs = free

Preheat oven to 350. In a large pot cook pasta till al dente. Drain and return to pot. Add remaining ingredients except bread crumbs and stir to combine. Pour into 13 x 9 baking dish and top with bread crumbs. Bake for 30 min or till heated through.

I'm amazed every time I go to the store it seems like prices have gone up. That's why I try to stock up on the things I use on a regular basis when they go on sale, like the pasta and tuna. One of our local grocery stores has a 12 hour sale every month. This is a great time to stock up since they usually have at least one or two things I use on sale. If I happen to have a coupon the savings are even greater.

Live less, Live more
Renee




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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

9 Ways To Save Money On Insurance And Banking

9 Ways To Save Money On Insurance And Banking

1. Homeowner Insurance
You can save $100 or more a year by purchasing homeowner insurance from a low-price, licensed insurer. Ask your state insurance department for a publication showing typical prices charged by different licensed companies in your state. Then call at least four of the lowest priced insurers to learn what they would charge you. If such a publication is not available, it is even more important to call at least four insurers for price quotes.

Make certain you purchase enough coverage to replace the house and its contents.

Make certain your new policy is in effect before dropping your old one.

2. Life Insurance
If you want insurance protection only, buy a term life insurance policy.

If you want to buy a whole life, universal life, or other cash value policy, plan to hold it for at least 15 years. Cancelling these policies after only a few years can more than double your life insurance costs.

Check your public library for information about the financial soundness of insurance companies and the prices they charge.

BANKING/CREDIT

3. Checking
You can save more than $100 a year in fees by selecting a Free checking account.

Banking institutions often will drop checking fees if paychecks are directly deposited by your employer. Direct deposit offers the additional advantages of convenience, security, and immediate access to your money.

4. Savings and Investment Products
Before opening a savings or investment account with a bank or other financial institution, find out whether the account is insured by the federal government. An increasing number of products offered by these institutions, including mutual stock funds and annuities, are not insured.

To earn the highest return on savings (annual percentage yield) with little or no risk, consider certificates of deposit (CDs) and treasury bills or notes.

Once you select a type of savings or investment product, compare rates offered by different institutions. These rates can vary and, over time, can significantly affect interest earnings.

5. Credit Cards
Don’t use them, get a debit card instead. You can reduce credit card fees, which may add up to more than $100 a year, by getting rid of all cards, and avoiding late payment and over-the-credit limit fees.

6. Auto Loans
Don’t get a loan, if you’ve followed the frugal living principles, you should have significant savings earning a low interest rate, pay for the car in cash. This could save you as much as several thousand dollars in finance charges.

7. Mortgage Loans
You may save tens of thousands of dollars in interest charges by shopping for the shortest-term mortgage you can afford. On a $100,000 fixed-rate loan at 8% annual percentage rate (APR), for example, you will pay $90,000 less in interest on a 15-year mortgage than on a 30-year mortgage.

You can save thousands of dollars in interest charges by shopping for the lowest-rate mortgage with the fewest points. On a 15-year, $100,000 fixed-rate mortgage, just lowering the APR from 8.5% to 8.0% can save you more than $5,000 in interest charges. On this mortgage, paying two points instead of three would save you an additional $1,000.

If your local newspaper does not periodically run mortgage rate surveys, call at least six lenders for information about their rates (APRs), points, and fees. Then ask an accountant to compute precisely how much each mortgage option will cost and its tax implications.

Be aware that the interest rate on most adjustable rate mortgage loans (ARMs) can vary a great deal over the lifetime of the mortgage. An increase of several percentage points might raise payments by hundreds of dollars per month.

8. Mortgage Refinancing
Consider refinancing your mortgage if you can get a rate that is at least one percentage point lower than your existing mortgage rate and plan to keep the new mortgage for several years or more. Find a mortgage calculator online and calculate precisely how much your new mortgage (including upfront fees) will cost and whether, in the long run, it will cost less than your current mortgage.

9. Home Equity Loans
Avoid home equity loans, they will cost you thousands of dollars a year and these loans reduce the equity that you have built up in your home. Also, if you are unable to make payments, you could lose your home.


A penny saved is a penny earned,
--Greg

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Monday, September 14, 2009

6 Ways To Save Money On Housing And Utilities

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6 Ways To Save Money On Housing And Utilities

1. Home Purchase
You can often negotiate a lower sale price by employing a buyer broker who works for you, not the seller. If the buyer broker or the broker's firm also lists properties, there may be a conflict of interest, so ask them to tell you if they are showing you a property that they have listed.

Do not purchase any house until it has been examined by a home inspector that you selected.

2. Home Improvement
Do-it-yourself, you can save large labor costs by doing the improvements yourself and most home centers will give free advice, not mention classes on how to do it. They want your business and will provide these services to get it.

If you can’t do the work, remember that home repairs often cost thousands of dollars and are the subject of frequent complaints. Select from among several well established, licensed contractors who have submitted written, fixed-price bids for the work. Do not sign any contract that requires full payment before satisfactory completion of the work.

3. Major Appliances
Consult Consumer Reports for information about specific brands and how to evaluate them, including energy use. There are often great price and quality differences among brands.

Once you've selected a brand, check the phone book to learn what stores carry this brand, then call at least four of these stores for the prices of specific models. After each store has given you a quote, ask if that's the lowest price they can offer you. This comparison shopping can save you as much as $100 or more.


UTILITIES

4. Electricity
To save hundreds of dollars a year on electricity, make certain that any new appliances you purchase, especially air conditioners and furnaces, are energy-efficient. Information on the energy efficiency of major appliances is found on Energy Guide Labels required by federal law.
Check with your electric utility to learn if it has a program to help reduce the costs of any appliance purchases.

Enrolling in load management programs and off-hour rate programs offered by your electric utility may save you up to $100 a year in electricity costs. Call your electric utility for information about these cost-saving programs.

5. Home Heating
A home energy audit can identify ways to save up to hundreds of dollars a year on home heating (and air conditioning). Ask your electric or gas utility if they can do this audit for free or for a reasonable charge. If they cannot, ask them to refer you to a qualified professional.
Check with local utilities about programs that help with energy efficiency upgrades for homes, these programs can save you thousands of dollars in home improvements and increase the value of your home.

6. Telephone Service
Check with your phone company to see based on your usage, which service plan will save you the most money.

Check your phone bill to see if you have optional services that you don't really need, use only occasionally or could do without. Each option you drop will save you money each year.

If you make more than a few long distance calls each month, consider subscribing to a plan that has unlimited long distance.


A penny saved is a penny earned,
--Greg

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Friday, September 4, 2009

Family Meals Under $5 - Lodge Ribs

My good friend Julie gave me this recipe. Her family used to make it at their restaurant. It's super easy and super good too. You get to use the crockpot, so it's also a great dinner to have when you have a lot of back-to-school events.

I will say that I haven't made this dish in awhile because of the cost of the meat. There is no way I'd be able to keep it under $5 except for a good sale on the ribs and some good couponing. As you can see the main dish takes up most of the cost of the meal. Thank goodness for the garden to provide a healthy and delicious side dish.

Lodge Ribs - $4.33
Mashed Potatoes - .64c
Sauteed Garden Vegetables - Free (I used zucchini, bell pepper and tomatoes)

Total - $4.97

Lodge Ribs
Boneless country style pork spare ribs, 1/2 lb per person - 99c lb @ Safeway = $3.85/3.89lbs
1 18 oz bottle BBQ sauce - free (I don't remember the price because I got it earlier this summer when it was on sale at Albertsons. I had a coupon and was able to use a doubler coupon, so I got it for free -Yeah!)
1 pt maple syrup - .48c see recipe below

Season Ribs with salt and pepper. Layer in a greased crockpot, ribs (about 4 or 5), syrup and BBQ sauce. Keep repeating layers till all meat is used Cook on high 3-4 hrs. Reduce heat to low and cook an additional hour.

Maple Syrup
1 c water
2c sugar
1/2 t mapleine
Bring water to a boil. Add sugar and mapleine. Stir till sugar is dissolved.
This is the way I have made my syrup for years. It's so much cheaper than the store bought kind. If you want to thicken it up a bit you can add corn syrup.

Mashed potatoes
8 potatoes @ .08c ea = .64c
Boil and mash.

I'd have to say the frugal skill I used with this dinner was patience. Sometimes it's just not worth giving in to higher prices. I really love this recipe but when meat prices went up I knew this just wasn't something I was going to be able to make. Since I have 8 in my family I need to get a least 4lbs of meat for this. I've been waiting for prices to come down to where I knew I could afford it (around 99c/lb) and eventually they did.

In the meantime we ate many other delicious meals. So instead of giving in to high prices, a little patience will help keep your grocery budget where you want it.


Live less, live more
Renee


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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

5 Super Fun Kid-Friendly Destinations That Won't Break The Family Budget In This Economy Crisis

5 Super Fun Kid-Friendly Destinations That Won't Break The Family Budget
By Alexandra Vrugt
 
Summer doesn't stop because the world is going through an economy crisis. While many families are looking for ways to reduce their overhead, the reality is that summer is still....summer! So, don't let this economy crisis keep you and your kids from going out and having a blast. An abundance of fun is out there at easy to get to destinations.

Cheap and exciting times can be had if you and your kids look at things a little differently this summer. From experimenting with silly and frugal recipes to finding fun spots that you can get to easily and get supplies that you can buy for cheap, there is no shortage on opportunities for a good time for those that seek them out. Try out these 5 super fun kid-friendly destinations that won't blow your family's budget in this economy crisis:

Try your local McDonald's, Wendy's, or Chick-fill-A Playland! Indoor playgrounds are fantastic places to visit with the kids. They love to do all of their regular outdoor playground stuff in the comforts of an air conditioned playland. You can get all the fun without all of the finances also by buying the cheapest thing on the menu. Often, you can get by with spending less than $1 per person! Buy for cheap a fun goodie like ice cream or cookies and your kids will be even more satisfied.

Go on a nature scavenger hunt. This is an activity that is great during this economy crisis because it can help you and your family learn to keep things in perspective relative to the earth and it's resources. Do a little research and get an age or grade appropriate science nature trail scavenger hunt worksheet online that you will find for free. Then, get the kids, bike, scoot, or walk to your nearest nature trail and let them explore.

If you can, have some fun at the beach. Buy for cheap some gas to get you to the nearest sandy place and watch the kids have a ball. You don't have to plan to stay at any fancy hotels, just make it a day trip and bring along some snacks that you can buy for cheap in advance. Most beaches are free and full of playtime opportunities for kids.

If you don't live near a beach, find a park with a sandpit. Many municipalities have incorporated sandpits into their playgrounds and parks because kids really love sand. A completely free activity, your kids can have a blast on the playground equipment and still try their hand at sand art. Buy for cheap some snacks and keep lots of water available. Kids love to snack and play, but if you don't play you could end up paying a lot of money for snacks from a vending machine.

Go camping...in your own backyard. Pitch a tent that you can buy for cheap at a discount store and plan a night when you and the kids sleep out under the stars. If you want to make a whole afternoon and evening of the backyard adventure, then, prepare a menu using frugal recipes like hot dogs, chips, and fruits and veggies that are in season that you can buy for cheap. Make the house off limits except for "emergencies" and your kids will have a summer adventure that they will remember for years to come. You will remember that it barely cost you anything but that you all have a fabulous time!

Summer fun doesn't have to cost an exorbitant amount of money. You can buy for cheap different things that your kids can use to explore, play, and learn during their visits to these 5 cheap and cool destinations. This economy crisis brings with it enough stress. Don't let it rob your family of a cool, cheap summer!

About the Author:
As a wel-known connoisseur on saving money in daily life, Alexandra Vrugt has written many articles on how to manage on less. You can receive a free copy of her Ebook '15 Top Ways to Save Money' by visiting her MakeEndsMeetOnline.com website.

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