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Archive for the ‘Shopping’ Category

How to Be a Savvy Shopper

Brought to you by: The Frugal Buzz On May 25, 2011 No Comments

Today almost everyone can use a discount or two. Even now when money is tight there are still places that offer true discounts on items needed daily in your life. Getting creative and doing your homework before venturing out can help to save you a lot of money over time.

One important thing to realize about discount stores is that they buy the merchandise that manufacturers are having a hard time getting rid of. The discount stores are able to buy these items at a fraction of the cost and sell them to you for less. There is nothing wrong with these items, except that they were slow movers. They can offer a great amount of savings off of name brand items.

Large discounts stores, while they do have sales also generally have a location within the store for last season’s big hit, along with many items they choose to put in the discount aisle. Look to buy in bulk on staples used every day. This comes in handy, especially when they are the sale item and can offer you good savings.

You need to get the local flyers out and really look to see who is offering the best deals each week, and then commit to attend several locations in a single outing. Buying items in discount stores after the holiday has passed can get you items for the next year at a fraction of the cost.

Coupons are another great measure to add when shopping for bargains. You can get them from your local papers or online. Also, choosing generic brands over the named brands can continue your trend in savings. Whatever your needs, using the above methods will help you save big on many of your needed items. Remember to always make a list before heading out.

Items such as shampoos, cleaning supplies and paper products are great to buy at discount stores. The ingredients in generic shampoos and cleaning supplies are really not different from those in name brand department stores. Keeping this in mind will cut the costs but not the quality.

Shopping in a discount store can yield significant savings. For everyday cleaning items that you use profusely, shopping at a discount will keep you within your budget. There will always be some items that you have to pay full price for, but savvy shopping at discount centers will help alleviate those costs.

Saavy Shopper

Another tip to keep in mind is to buy generic items whenever possible. Most supermarkets stock their own brand name foods. These can often be similar or even the same to the brand name items at a fraction of the cost. Look for bargains but beware of buying something just because it is on sale as sometimes you’ll end up spending more than you really need to.

Before heading out to the supermarket it’s also a good idea to write a list or stick to it. This will help stop impulse purchases. You can use this strategy with other types of shopping as well.

Using cash instead of debit or credit cards is another good idea. This will mean you can only spend what you have on you and other items that you may impulsively buy if you had plastic on you can be given a little more thought – do you really need that new pair of shoes? If the answer is still yes in a few days time then you can purchase the item knowing you’ve given it logical though.

Saving money while shopping isn’t too difficult if you stick to a few basic and important rules – make a list, shop around and think purchases through before buying.

Frugally yours, Mary

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Free Menu Planning & Grocery Sheets

Picture Source:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/the_justified_sinner/2498066986/

Menu Planning Tips for Busy Moms

Brought to you by: The Frugal Buzz On March 30, 2011 No Comments

What’s For Dinner? Menu Planning Tips for Busy Moms

Dinner is the last meal of the day and a time when families can get together and discuss their day. It is also a hectic meal for busy moms who are just getting off of work or who have been busy with other activities all day. If you are a busy mom or you know a busy mom, here are some menu planning tips to help make dinner meals easy and even fun.

1. Schedule your meals a week in advance.  This is one of the most important planning tips for meals. Knowing what you are going to eat throughout the week means less chance that you will stop off at the closest fast food joint for a convenient, but unhealthy meal. Decide on the last day of the previous week (let’s say Saturday for the sake of argument) what the menu will be for the following week. Create your shopping list from the list of ingredients to avoid buying what you don’t need at the grocery store.

2. Look for bargains. Clip coupons, read advertising circulars and the like to decide where the best grocery to shop is for your menu items. If one ingredient is a common denominator in many meals, consider buying in bulk to save money. Common staples like milk, eggs, bread and sugar can be bought in bulk as well. Some stores will have double or triple coupon days when you can save even more. 

3. Search online. After a while your family will get tired of chicken and rice every Thursday. You can get into a menu rut sometimes. Use the Internet to search for new and exciting recipes. Learn to put a twist on old recipes for a new taste.

4. Have a leftover night. After preparing meals for five or six days, there is bound to be some food left over. Designate one night to be leftover night and let everyone mix and match for dinner. It saves mom from having to throw away any food.

5. Cook your meals in advance. After deciding on a menu plan for the week, go ahead and fix as many meals as you can. Choose a day when the entire family can help like Saturday morning or Sunday afternoon. Each person can take one meal and fix it for the following week. Once everything has cooled, store it in sealed containers or casserole dishes to be frozen until the night it is needed.

6. Do prep work in advance. All of the meals can’t be cooked at once. Some foods just taste better freshly prepared. For them, so as much prep work in advance as you can. Enlist your kids to help chop (give them the kitchen shears instead) vegetables, dice cooked meat and mix together dry ingredients. The night of the meal, all that is needed is to add the wet ingredients and bake.

Meal time doesn’t have to be all on mom. The entire family can help with dinner so it is a relaxing meal for everyone.

Frugally yours, Mary

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For even more help bringing back the family dinner hour, click on the links below!

Dine Without Whine Menu Planning Site Tour

Dine Without Whine Sample

How to Stretch Your Budget

Brought to you by: The Frugal Buzz On January 14, 2011 No Comments

You have heard about surveys and online ways to make money. Some of them maybe questionable, but MyPoints is a site where you can earn rewards just for purchasing items that you would normally buy.  Don’t worry, there are plenty of ways to easily earn points without buying too.

Some online sites ask you for credit card information or ask you to send them money in order to earn rewards. This is not the case with MyPoints. Here is how the process works.

MyPoints is free to sign up. All they need is a valid email address and a password that you come up with. Before you can begin taking surveys or making use of their offers, they will have you fill out small questionnaires about yourself. These questions may ask you for your address, the type of work you do, household income and your personal interests. All of this information helps the site to send offers your way that you can take advantage of.

Once you have completed your questionnaires you are ready to get started. You can explore the site. There are companies listed in alphabetical order who work with MyPoints. Each one will offer you a point value per dollar for items you purchase through the link with their site.

For instance, let’s say that you want to buy a book online at Barnes & Noble. When you click the link, you are taken to their website. Once you add the book to your cart, enter payment information and get a confirmation, the information is sent back to MyPoints. It can take up to 30 days for the site to credit your point value. If the site offered five points per dollar spent and you spent 30, then you are entitled to 60 points in your bank.

In addition to these offers, MyPoints sends out emails on a daily basis. They list a variety of offers from changing your car insurance company to subscribing to Netflix to buying DirecTV. You click on the link to visit the site. Many of these emails credit you with five points just for visiting the site. If you purchase something, you get even more.

Surveys are also sent in the form of emails. Some are for you and others may be geared towards other individuals in your household. Completing the preliminary questionnaire and qualifying for the survey can yield five to 100 points.

Each time you log into the site you can see your point value. There are also games on the site that you can play by adding money to your account. Each win credits points to your point bank.

All points can be redeemed for different gift cards in denominations from five dollars to $100. There are restaurant cards, store cards, megastore cards and spa certificates.

Using MyPoints is an easy way to earn points for a few minutes work. These points can be redeemed for free gift cards to use for you or give as gifts. Click on one of the banners to get started today.

Frugally yours, Mary

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