Up Close: SAVING MONEY

June 29, 2008 12:51:37 PM PDT
Up Close on how to SAVE YOUR MONEY -----SAVING MONEY ON GROCERIES-----

GROCERY SHOPPING

-BUY BASIC ITEMS
-SALES ON LINE
-WWW.SMARTSOURCE.COM
-ONLINE SHOPPING
-CHECK FOR SHIPPING
-SECRET SHOPPER

First steps when shopping:
a. Make a list of what you are buying ahead of time and set a budget for what you want to spend. Make a list
b. Don't shop with kids or when you are hungry
c. Embrace the 80/20 Rule ? shop for the most important stuff first (e.g. dinner items, etc?) and then if there is money left over, get the extras (e.g. snack foods)

Back to Basics: The more basic the items you buy, the more you save
i. Head of lettuce vs. bagged lettuce
ii. Whole chicken, vs. skinless boneless breasts
iii. 100 calorie packs vs. snack Ziplocs filled with snack items

Shop Smart and Make Savings Easy, go on line
a. Visit each week the web sites of your favorite one or two grocery stores
i. View circulars, sales on line ? easier to plan and view
ii. Download any on line offers, rebates or coupons there

b. Make coupon clipping a breeze
i. ANOTHER MUST TRY: Visit Smartsource.com an great on line coupon resource. On line coupons (once frowned on by grocers) are now easy to use as they are bar-coded. Pick the coupons you want, print them out, and bring to the store to use.
ii. TRY THESE: Consider these great but unexpected ideas as well.

c. Try Amazon for non-perishable groceries you use in bulk. Almost no better pricing, easy to search for what you want and often free shipping on items.
i. Recent sale on Unilever products perfect for picnics and BBQs (e.g. Lipton tea, Wish-Bone salad dressing, Hellmann's mayo, etc..). Buy $75 worth of the items and get $25 off.
ii. Separate pages that show discount offers for 90%, 80%, etc.. off of suggested retails.

d. Sign up and become a secret shopper (people who shop and then fill out reports to the stores on things like service, items in stock, etc...). Doesn't have to take much time and the food is FREE. Try Shadowshopper.com for details on how to try it.

-----SAVING MONEY AT THE PUMP-----

-WWW.GASBUDDY.COM
-MAP OUT ERRANDS
-FILL TANK HALFWAY

Gas Is a big place one can save by being smart and organized. Gas is the other obvious place where you can look to save.

a. Get the best gas deals by going to gasbuddy.com. Type in where you are and find the best deals on gas by typing in your zip code
b. Map out your errands by distance ahead of time so you go the most direct route and save on gas.
c. Also make sure you have your tires well inflated (improves mileage by up to 10%) and a Collision.kit by Buttoned Up on hand just in case
e. Fill up the tank half full, since the heavier the car, the more energy required to drive
f. Many people do not realize that some supermarkets offer loyalty card incentives. Meaning after a specified amount of groceries have been purchased over time a gift card is issued for local gas stations for amounts like $25. And other supermarkets offer 10 cents off per gallon with every $100 spent. Stop and Shop is one such grocery store.

-----STAYCATION-----

-PLAY TOURIST AT HOME
-CITY TOURIST WEB SITES
-CAMP IN YOUR BACKYARD

STAYCATIONS - STAY AT HOME AND VACATION THIS YEAR

1. According to Discover National Services, nearly 60% of Americans are cutting back on vacation plans this year because of gas prices. Try something different. Make a vacation out of staying at home or Staycations. Give yourself a budget and plan it like it is a real vacation. Puts your head in the right frame of mind and makes it like a real vacation.

2. When you do you use the car....try these:
a. TRY: Get the best gas deals by going to gasbuddy.com. Type in where you are and find the best deals on gas
b. Also make sure you have your tires well inflated (saves on gas ?up to 10% increase in mileage) and a Collision.kit by Buttoned Up on hand just in case
c. Or use an alternative, take the train, ride the subway... It makes for a fun adventure for the kids.

3. Play tourist in your own city. Take Advantage of City Deals. Living in the tri-state area you have New York city as a play ground with lots of amazing activites, and fun things to do during the summer. Many of these activities are free.
a. Go to the city tourist site for your city and look for city pass deals. b. Often you get free or significant discounts on mass transit, museums, restaurants, etc...
c. Just Google ? "tourist board (insert city name here)" to find the right place to look?This can be a small town or large city. Also try Conceirge.com for things to do in big and small areas.
d. Time Out/New York Magazine
e. TRY THIS: Go to restaurant.com and purchase gift certificates for $25 at participating restaurants (search by zip code) for only $10.00. Restaurants include: Fishmarket, AJ Maxwell Steakhouse
f. Go to a site like CNTraveler.com and see what they recommend tourists do in your area.

4. Take advantage of free summer events
a. Look on line or in the local free entertainment newspaper. Most cities have free events like outdoors movies, park concerts, fairs, etc...
i. You have thought about doing these probably many times...this year, save money and do them.

5. Chip in with friends on a nearby vacation rental
-Saves money on gas, lodging, and food- Plus you have a blast with your friends.
- house swap if you live in the city, and friends live in the suburbs suggest swapping for the weekend.

6. Camp in your backyard
a. A MUST TRY if you have not done this before.
b. Pitch a tent in your backyard and get out in the great outdoors.
c. Light a 'camp fire' - use a fire pit - and roast marshmallows and make smores
d. Tell ghost stories, hunt and catch fireflies in glass jars (with holes in the lid)
e. It doesn't really matter if you use the restroom indoors or get up in the middle of the night and go inside, you will still make priceless memories.

7. Look for retailer deals on Staycation items for BBQ's and summer fun
a. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the nation's largest retailer, has launched an "American Summer" campaign, featuring tents, grills, coolers
b. Kohl's Corp has a "sale into summer" cutting prices on swimwear, patio sets

-----WANT TO TRAVEL-----

Look for travel deals. They do exist expecially if you are flexible on dates or can travel last minute

a. Our favorite site is sidestep.com. Put in where you want to go and when and automatically see the cheapest fares pop up. Don't book a flight without looking here. Kayak.com is another favorite as well.
b. Go to airfarewatchdog.com and sign up for email alerts when fares from your local airport go on sale. Especially great for travel to see family and friends and places you go to often
c. Entertaiment books
d. Find out travel days
e. Book a hotel with kitchenette
f. Share room and get cots
g. Eat lunch out instead of dinner
h. Room with tent

-----OTHER WAYS TO SAVE MONEY-----

GET FULL PRICE WHEN YOU MAKE A RETURN
Organize your receipts - save money when you have to return things or for your business and taxes. Easy to do. Just write a note on the back and save them for later.
a. Use an accordion file or a receipt.catcher or tax.filer by Buttoned Up
b. Easily save $100s if not $1000s especially if you have your own business.

JUST ASK
Ask for discounts (10% is typical) for services where it does not cost a company much money to add an extra person a. Summer Camps or classes for kids
b. Daycare centers
c. Gym memberships
d. Also ask for referral discounts

USE THE WEB
Use the net to help you save money.
o. Search for discount codes on google for free shipping and money off.
i. Try CouponCraze.com
ii. Go to sites like shopzilla.com to comparison shop for items

SAVE MONEY ON TOYS?
There is something online that allows you to swap your toys when your kids grow out of them.
www.toyswap.com is great, especially for young kids. It's a site on line that allows you chat with other parents and swap your kids age for age appropriate toys. Instead of having to buy new ones every 6 months, you save money with swapping with another families.

PAYING BILLS ON LINE:
Pay bills on line and save money on stamps (0.42 per bill/ average of 10 bills a month = save almost $50.00 a year ; price of stamps just went up

ORGANIZE SPECIAL OCCASSIONS AND GO CARDLESS:
Organize your special bdays and anniversary dates on line, send egreetings, save money = 50 a year *$3.50 (including postage) = $175

a. Great sites to use are americangreetings.com or bluemountain.com
b. Create a calendar of special yearly events: anniversaries, birthdays etc
c. Birthday Book....emergency

ONE VOICEMAIL
Organize to one voice mail box (like a cell phone) and save $8 per month = $96 per year ? forward phone and save time by not having so many mail boxes to check

SIMPLE CHANGES A FAMILY CAN MAKE TO SAVE MONEY?
One of the easiest things to do and you could literally save thousands of dollars is organize your receipts for taxes. So many people I work with try to recreate stuff while filing and I guarantee you are missing important expenses that are deductibles. What I tell people to do is to buy an accordion folder, every time you have an expense that business related (i.e. business dinner, buying a business publication) write a quick note on the back then throw it in the file; "money in / money out." At end of the year you don't have to recreate stuff and lose money instead you can save up to thousands of dollars. What happens to most people is they go thru that file and all I hear is, "I forgot about that" because you CAN'T keep track of everything

For more information on Sarah Welch, Cofounder www.Getbuttonedup.com

Other helpful web sites:
-WWW.COUPONMOM.COM
-WWW.SMARTSOURCE.COM
-WWW.GASBUDDY.COM


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