1. 5 Ways to Save on Back-to-School Shopping

    Published on July 22, 2016

    To your kids, shopping for new clothes, gear and school supplies may be the only good thing about going back to school, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune every year. Check out these 5 tips on how to save.

    1. Make a List- Use a recommended list as a guideline for what your child will need. Don’t be afraid to ask parents that have a child a year ahead in school to see what they had used the year before. When it comes to clothes, go through your child’s closet with them to see what fits and what you can get rid of. Try selling the clothes that no longer fit to make a little extra money for new items.

    2. Reuse items- While going through closets, get an idea of what your child can wear again as a base and purchase items to go with it. Also, go through last year’s school bag and check for lightly used pencils, erasers or other supplies that can be used again. This will save a little or a lot depending on what you find.

    3. Make a Budget- Before leaving for the store, decide on what you are comfortable spending. Make a list of all the items you need and don’t stray away from that list.

    4. Compare Prices- Check out the sale flyers from area stores or look online. A lot of stores will have back to school sales and will help you save a little. Don’t be afraid to buy in bulk when it comes to school supplies. Go in with other parents on buying supplies and you can split the costs. A lot of kids need the same supplies and buying in bulk can be a big saver.

    5. Bring your Child Shopping- This may sound a bit crazy for some parents, but bring your child shopping and make it an enjoyable experience for them. They may not be looking forward to school starting but picking out clothing and supplies can be enjoyable for them. But try to have an open mind when it comes to your child’s fashion sense. Avoid saying no to items just because you don’t like them, especially when it comes to clothing. Back-to-school shopping has the potential to be a hair-raising experience that can put a serious dent into a family budget. With a little advanced planning, however, parents and kids can have a fun day out that won’t break the bank.

  2. 3 Key Steps for the Car Buying Process

    Published on July 8, 2016

    In the car buying world there can be a lot of things that can go wrong. That is unless you take certain steps that, if followed, will hopefully result in a great experience. For some, the car buying process can be dreadful but for others it can be an exciting time in your life when you get something new. Many decisions need to be made including what kind do you want, where should you go, how much do you want to spend? To help make your car buying experience a little easier, take a look at these following tips.

    1. Auto Loans

    The first step when starting to look for a new vehicle will be determining your financing options or if you will be needing any financing. Start by shopping around for different auto lenders to see how much you qualify for, as well as at what rate. The amount you will be financed for will definitely affect the type of vehicle you can look at.

    2. Shop Around

    Always make sure to shop around while looking for your future vehicle. Take as many test drives as you want to help determine which type of vehicle or brand works best for you. Make sure to do your research before fully committing to a certain brand especially if you aren’t quite familiar with it. Don’t settle on something you aren’t completely sure about.

    3. Don’t be Afraid to Negotiate

    The price tag on the vehicle isn’t always a firm price. Some salesmen are able to lower the price of the car depending on how long it has been on the lot, as well as if there are any specials going on. Not only should you try to negotiate the purchase price for your future vehicle, but also your trade-in value, if you have one. Check out prices of similar vehicles on the internet and see what they are worth. This way you will know how much your vehicle is worth and you can try to negotiate with the dealerships on what they will give you. Depending on what they offer you, this might determine which dealership you purchase your car, truck, or SUV from.

  3. Plan Big and Save

    Published on June 13, 2016

    Planning parties can be a lot of pressure especially when you have a tight budget. Here are 4 money saving tips to party planning to help you stretch your budget and save big!

    1.) Make a Budget

    • The first thing you need to do when starting your parting planning process is to make a budget. Make sure it is realistic and stick to it. It may be a good idea to even itemize out your budget and decide how much you want to spend on each category such as food, decorations, etc.

    2.) Plan Ahead

    • It will save you in the long run to plan ahead and gradually pick things up as long as you know what theme you would like to go with. For example, most stores discount all of their holiday items after Christmas, take advantage of the savings and stock up for next year. Start a party tote and put items that you gradually pick up in it; future parties could then be planned around what you already have.

    3.) Be Frugal

    • Look for sales or use coupons when looking for decorations or party favors. Also, if you know you are going to have multiple parties in the upcoming months, order items together or reuse some of the supplies. Comparison shopping online could save time and sometimes money as well, especially when you’re able to save with free shipping!

    4.) Don’t go Overboard

    • It’s hard not to get carried away especially with all the cute party ideas. If you really want to plan the perfect party while not spending an arm and a leg, try to focus on the essentials. Instead of going crazy on both the food and decorations, choose to do more on the food and less on your decorations or vice versa. Also, keep in mind the reason for the celebration… it’s generally not about all the extras, but about the people, the occasion, and the time spent together celebrating that.

  4. Plan for Vacation Savings

    Published on May 16, 2016

    Summer time is almost here and for many that means…family vacation! With the kids out of school, many families will be going to places like Disneyworld, Hawaii or even Yellowstone. Vacation planning can be stressful, as well as very expensive, but there are a number of ways to cut down on the stress and be less draining on the checkbook. Check out these 5 tips on how to save, but still have a memorable vacation.

    1. Be Flexible

    Being flexible on your dates can be a big money saver as airline or admission prices can fluctuate greatly from the weekend to weekday. When booking airline tickets, look at non-direct flights as they might save you money as well that you could spend elsewhere. Also, check to see if the amusement parks or other attractions have cheaper admission nights or discounted days for kids.

    2. Compare Rates

    Always make sure to compare rates for all the big purchases. If you’re looking for a hotel, check out the hotels in the area to compare their prices. While some hotels might be cheaper, also look to see if they have a continental breakfast or other amenities that will save you money while staying. If you’re going to be booking flights, hotel rooms and a rental car, try booking them together as a bundle as that may be cheaper compared to booking separately.

    3. Join Loyalty Programs

    Some hotel chains have loyalty programs for their customers that are frequent visitors. These chains can offer a free night stay or a discount after so many night stays. Sign up for monthly emails from amusement parks or other tourist attractions as some of these emails might offer discounted tickets for your next visit. Also, check out websites or Facebook pages to see if any of the local attractions have any coupons or discounts on admission. Getting a discount on even one person’s ticket is a savings.

    4. Try Rewards Credit Cards

    These credit cards are great because you could earn benefits such as free hotel stays, air travel or cash back while making your everyday purchases. It’s kind of like free money! Each rewards program is different and there are several types of rewards cards such as gas, airlines, hotel, cash, etc. Go to CreditSoup to see what your available options are.

    5. Think Outside the Box

    Whether if you’re traveling with a large group or just your family, look into vacation house rentals as they are sometimes cheaper plus offer more amenities than hotel rooms. In addition to the price, some benefits are having your own kitchen to save on your eating out expenses, offer extra room for everyone to enjoy, and depending on your destination, you may be able to find a house on the beach or with a pool for you to enjoy.

  5. Learn to be Financially Responsible

    Published on April 27, 2016

    Graduation is just around the corner and before you know it you could be faced with some tough financial decisions. Learning how to manage your finances for the first time can be a hard task to deal with especially if you don’t have a whole lot of experience managing finances. Check out these personal finance basics to get you ready for the next phase in your life.

    • Track your Spending

    Start at the beginning of the month and track your expenses to get an idea of what you spend. Your budget doesn’t have to track every dollar but have a basic idea of what money you have coming in and going out every month. This process will help you start making a realistic budget including your rent, utilities, groceries, gas, etc.

    • Make a Budget and Follow It

    You need to have a plan in place to keep everything in order, or you’ll find yourself falling behind fast. An easy way to keep within your budget is with the “envelope system”. Have separate envelopes for each budget that you have set for the month such as groceries, gas, entertainment, etc. This way when you visually see the money, you know exactly what you have left; and when an envelope is empty, you are done spending for the month for that category.

    • Make Savings Part of your Monthly Budget

    Always make sure to include money that will go into savings each month in your budget. An automatic transfer is the best way to make sure that you are putting money away each month. If you find it too easy to transfer money out of your savings account, open a savings account at a different bank or credit union. That way you will not see how much money you have in that account and it isn’t as convenient to withdraw.

    • Build Credit

    Getting a credit card is never a bad idea when it comes to establishing credit. There are several credit cards out there, it’s just finding the right one that can be challenging. To help save you time and stress, check out MyCreditCardMatch.com. This quick and secure site will help you find a credit card that fits your needs and lifestyle.

    • Minimize Student Debt

    For many students it gets very tempting to take out as many student loans as possible so you can live off that money. It’s important to keep in mind that the additional money you take out, will take you that much longer to pay back after graduation (and will cost you more with the additional interest). Some tips for managing your finances in college are to borrow wisely when it comes to loans, think about getting a part-time job to pay for rent/utilities. Also, it’s a great idea to funnel extra money, such as your tax return, towards your student loans to get them paid down sooner.


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