Showing posts with label save money. Show all posts
Showing posts with label save money. Show all posts

2017 Florida Hurricane Sales Tax Holiday 6/2 - 6/4/2017




The 2017 Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday begins at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, June 2, 2017, and ends at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, June 4, 2017. During this holiday period, qualifying items related to disaster preparedness are exempt from sales tax. However, the sales tax holiday does not apply to the rental or repair of any of the qualifying items. Additionally, the sales tax holiday does not apply to sales in a theme park, entertainment complex, public lodging establishment, or airport.


Qualifying Items
Selling for $10 or less:- Reusable ice (reusable ice packs)

Selling for $20 or less:- Any portable self-powered light source (powered by battery, solar, hand-crank, or gas):

Flashlights Lanterns Candles

Selling for $25 or less:- Any gas or diesel fuel container, including LP gas and kerosene containers

Selling for $30 or less:- Batteries, including rechargeable batteries, listed sizes only (excluding automobile and boat batteries):

AA-cell C-cell D-cell 6-volt 9-volt - Coolers and ice chests (food-storage; nonelectrical)

Selling for $50 or less:- Tarpaulins (tarps)- Visqueen, plastic sheeting, plastic drop cloths, and other flexible waterproof sheeting - Ground anchor systems

- Tie-down kits- Bungee cords - Ratchet straps- Radios (powered by battery, solar, or hand-crank)
Two-way Weather band
Selling for $750 or less:- Portable generators used to provide light or communications, or to preserve food in the event of a power outage.


First-aid kits (always exempt)



See more Information at LINK

Make Money with Your New Fitbit, And Some Tips





































Today in the paper it announced that the Fitbit app was the most downloaded app on Christmas Day. That means lots of people are going to start tracking their steps and hopefully get healthier. I got a fitbit early this year and have enjoyed the confirmation of my daily steps and it is one of my apps I check almost daily. The cool thing is you can turn your daily steps into money by linking your fitbit with some reward programs and other apps.




If you've got a new fitbit, here are some tips.
  • Wear it and forget it. If you take it off, you may forget it and miss out on your tracking.
  • The unit charge lasts several days, it charges on a usb port on PC or wall charger. charge it while sedentary reading or watching tv, or overnight.
  • Track specific workouts by tapping twice. then you can check the data on your PC to see expanded view of your activity progress.
  • Log sleep manually if you forget to tap twice before you lay your head down.
  • Link your fitbit to My Fitness Pal app to automatically add your steps to that app. Go to settings on your MFP app and click add devices, it will take you to website to allow fitbit to access your account.
  • If unsure of accuracy compare to cardio trainer app, or Moves app to validate movement. Actually if you don't want to buy a fitbit, the moves app will track activity without an additional device, just have your phone with you. Won't work for swimming or yoga, but would work for biking. The Moves app also can be linked to your www.ShopYourWay.com account to earn you points and $2 each week at Kmart or Sears.
  • Join higi.com to make money from exercising, android app. Link your fitbit and moves app to higi to earn even more. There is usually a new Challenge every month where you can win gift cards by logging in at higi stations (blood pressure machines) in Publix stores and other retail pharmacies.
  • Join www.Fitstudio.com and link it to your www.ShopYourWay.com account (at Kmart and Sears) to earn 2000 points each week you walk 15 miles. The points expire quickly within the week, but we've used it to get stuff almost every week.
  • Download app and join Google Fit which you can link to GoodCoins to earn points. Not really sure how many points you need or what they are worth.
  • Fitbit comes with a small and large wristband. Its good to have spare. If you don't like your color you can buy a fashionable band. They even sell leather and metal ornaments to make it look pretty.
Enjoy!

How To Save $2000 a Year

It has dawned on me that being frugal is boring. I know that sometimes I think its exciting to go recycling on Monday nights (Yeah! DH went with me last night too), and writing about coupon cost saving shopping trips, but y'all probably just skip the post after the first sentence, or even after the title. Today though is another boring tip that you probably already do, but maybe you didn't realize how much money you are saving by doing it. Its really simple. Brown Bag it. Yup, bring your lunch to work. It will save you thousands of dollars a year. But its boring because we do the same frugal lunch most days.

DH & I have been having homemade salads for lunch at work for over seven years, I've been doing it longer -close to ten years. And I'm not bored with it. Its really convenient to just grab it out of the fridge and eat, no waiting in line for the microwave, heating time or assembly. More on that some other day, we do have an assembly line when we make our salads on Sundays. Anyway, to avoid boredom with our lunch, we change the salad to Olive Garden greek salads, or BBQ pork salads, or Taco Salads, but mainly its grilled chicken salads.

There are always the comments in the lunch room as we get our salads, "Oh another salad day, how exciting!", Or "Gee what kind of salad today?", or "You're going to turn into a rabbit eating salads like that everyday". But we make GR8 salads that are easy and healthy. Sure we put meat and cheese on it, but you've got to have some fat in your diet. We portion the salad dressing into snack size ziplocs and put a bag in each bowl so its easy to bite off a corner and squirt it on and toss the bag - easy to clean up too.

But one of the best things about bringing a lunch everyday is that it saves us over $2000 a year. It's even cheaper now that we use coupons, and when we get our garden producing, it will cut the costs by another third. A typical lunch purchased at the Deli would cost about $6/day or $1440/year. Our salads cost $1.51/day or $362/year each, so thats about $724 total household cost, compared to $2880 cost of Deli lunches for both of us.

I know its boring, but VERY satisfying to save money. I've attached a yummy picture of my salad for today, and cost analysis (CLICK TO ENLARGE) so you can figure out how YOU can save money by packing your lunch and using coupons.

Publix Paid Me to Shop This Week


My Publix trip to the grocery store this week, finds there are a lot of good coupon deals. Some of the good deals are due to stacking coupons (store coupons plus manufacturer coupons) even if the item is regular price, but some of the great store specials also coincide with some coupons available. The store I shopped at today was out of all moneymaker vitamins (Sundown and Nature Made), plus they were out of Almay deodorant, Right Guard Xtreme deodorant and I thought they were out of Tena 14 ct pads because the shelf was empty. But low and behold, way down below a couple shelves, shoved in the back some previous couponer hid some Tena packages. The Tena is not a moneymaker this week, but gets your order up to a coupon threshold for low out of pocket, this week I was trying to reach $50 so I could use the Publix $10 off $50 store coupon that was in the Sunday paper last weekend.

There was plenty of Honey Bunches of Oats because it was just getting unloaded from the delivery truck, I got a few clingwraps and the Lipton Tea moneymaker was fully stocked too. There has been discussion that the cereal $3/2 PQ is not a match for this sale, and I agree the wording is ambiguous. It seems they always forget to add punctuation to coupons, so the coupon does look like it reads This flavor or that flavor or the other flavor 15-18 oz. I read it that only the last flavor needed to be 15-18 oz. Anyway, others have reached out to clarify and Publix has responded online. Publix said the coupon wasn't meant to apply to this weeks BOGO product, but in the interest of good customer service they are accepting the coupon. They just ask coupon users to be respectful and not abuse the deal.

I thought the tax would eat up any overage but my calculations were off in my Grocery Tracker app (my fault) and they ended up paying me $3.63. I saved $94.28.


Frugal Cooking - Make Meal Leftovers


The other day I was at my hair stylist and the patron next to me was telling her stylist how her boyfriend would not eat leftovers. And I thought to myself, never in my house would that fussiness be allowed. But I overhead the gal say that her boyfriend was from a large family of seven kids, and there never were any leftovers, so they never had them. If there were leftovers, it was because the meal wasn't very good.
 
At my home, since there are only two of us, we usually make meals that will have leftovers. Just this weekend I prepared a double batch of enchiladas. Some meals taste better the second time they are prepared, like enchiladas, lasagna and spaghetti. I guess the tomato based products are what make the best leftovers. And as long as you pack up your leftovers in a clean manner there will be no food safety issues. Use clean containers, clean utensils, no cross contamination of raw and cooked, and wash your hands first.
 
Preparing meals with leftovers in mind is a frugal way to save even more, on the already frugal habit of cooking meals at home. When you prepare larger quantities it means you can buy larger quantities of the ingredients saving on the big box. You also can save on preparation time since the leftovers will be easy and quickly reheated in the microwave, or on the stovetop rather than turning on the oven again. It also provides home cooked meals for lunches at work rather than going out to a restaurant to eat, saving $7 to $10 a day. And most leftovers can safely be frozen in individual portions for months so you can have that delicious meal again.
 

Saving At the Store Starts At Home

When looking at the family budget, we usually try to trim down on groceries and household goods.  This is all good in theory, but we've all had moments of grief at the checkout line when the cashier gives the total. There is a vast array of articles and advice columns on smart shopping and couponing, most of which can be very insightful.  However, they glaze over some of the more "obvious" ways to reduce grocery spending.  I tried to find a few simple ways to save that often get overlooked. Not only are these tips fairly easy to do, they can make a dramatic difference on how much you spend on food each month.
Clean out your pantry.  Americans waste about 25% of the food they buy. So if you spend $200 on groceries, chances are you'll end up tossing $50 worth of it, by letting things spoil. It's a cruel cycle.  Before you make your next trip, go through your cupboards and see what can be used up. Create a list of meals you can potentially cook with your findings. This can help you trim down your shopping list, as well as help you clear out your cabinets and fridge.  Be sure to make special note of products your family didn't eat and avoid making the same purchases in the future.

Eating healthy may save you money.  Contrary to popular belief, healthier meal options can actually be less expensive in many cases. For example, people that do eat breakfast usually have a sugary, carb-based one.  Although having a big breakfast is good and can give you more energy in the morning, a bowl full of sugar-frosted cereal in a bowl of whole milk may not be the best way to start your day.  Oatmeal is a great alternative to cold cereal; not only is it much better for you, but it's super inexpensive! High-fiber fruits and vegetables are a filling, healthy alternative to typical snack foods.  I promise you that a bag of baby carrots is much cheaper than a pack of potato chips, and it's much better for your family. 
Shop less frequently.  This one is sort of a no brainer, and yet people rarely mention it.  Sit down and plan your meals for 1-2 weeks; this way you'll have an accurate shopping list.  You definitely need to be realistic about your family's eating habits. I'm definitely a grazer, so I try to factor in small snacks when I create my list. Your personal schedule is also a very important factor. If you always have busy Wednesdays, pick up a couple of for those nights.  Meal planning is a great tool help reduce your grocery trips, just be sure to stick to the list!
Limit your takeout intake.  Ordering out can be super convenient when you're tired, or have guests (extra people at the dining table). But whether you're getting pizza for the kids or Chinese for yourself, avoid it at all costs.  Takeout adds up quickly, so avoid making it a habit.  If you already find that you eat out frequently, try slowly reducing the number of meals you purchase and cooking instead.  I've actually done this, and it makes all the difference.  Not just in your wallet, but your health.  People tend to eat a little healthier when they prepare the foods themselves.  And trust me, a homemade lunch can be just as delicious as a $7 sandwich.
Only buy in bulk when it makes sense! Ten pounds of potatoes for 4 bucks is a sweet deal, but you probably won't get through that bag before the potatoes start sprouting.  Remember, just because something is on sale, doesn't mean that you should purchase it.  Evaluate the need and practicality of bulk purchases.  Is the item even on your grocery list? If so, what's the shelf life? Stocking up is a great way to save money, but you may end up throwing money away if you aren't smart about it.
Author Bio: Brittany writes about frugal living, , and on behalf of Marie Callender's.  For more fun tips and dinner ideas.
 

How To Save Money On Costly Auto Repairs

Taking your car to the body shop for repairs is never fun. You first have to deal with losing your car for up to several days. You then have to worry about a repair that will cost hundreds or thousands of dollars. However, there are ways to save time and money when it comes to your car repair.
Do The Repairs Yourself
There are repairs that you can do yourself if you have the expertise. Instead of going to the dealer to replace a dented quarter panel, you can repair the dent yourself. Some brake jobs and engine repair work can be done on your own as well. Most repair shops charge you more for labor than they do for parts. Doing the work yourself saves you a significant amount of money.
Go To The Junk Yard
Junk yards are great places to find used parts for your older car. They are generally priced to move as well. If you are willing to find the part yourself, you can usually have it for close to nothing. Keep in mind that the junk yard may be the only place where you can find a gas tank for a 1991 Sonata.
Go To An Internet Auction Or Classified Site
The Internet is a great place to find auto parts that people want to part with. Finding a private seller means you won't be charged a ridiculous amount for whatever part you need. Dealing with a seller in your area also means you don't have to wait for the part to be shipped to your home. That will allow you to make the fix much sooner.
Find A Mechanic Looking For A Side Job
A local mechanic who is looking for some extra cash may be willing to do the repair for you at a reduced rate. Perhaps you have a friend or colleague who owes you a favor. Take advantage of the situation to get your repair work done for a reduced price. You may even get lucky and get the work done for no charge.
Auto repair work is a costly and time consuming process. Luckily, there are ways that you can reduce the cost of repairs that you need done. Ask a friend, do it yourself or find cheap parts online. These are three great ways to make sure you are not spending your entire savings on a new radiator.
Bio: Bernard writes in the automotive field. Currently he blogs for Auto Selling Solutions a company that pays cash for your cars in San Diego.

You're Wasting Your Money

If you go to the grocery store with out a list, you're wasting your money. This is what I discovered in the last month, after a very frugal year. We had several holiday parties to attend and some holiday meals to bring food to. If we were able to plan for the event we used our overage. We made a list and were able to get a spiral sliced ham with overage. On another trip we were able to get a cocktail shrimp ring with our overage.
 
But earlier in the month, when we were on vacation at the condo it was a total bust. We spent $48 (I know shocker!) on a bag of food and some beer. I almost died spending that much and with only a few coupons. It was while I was away from a printer or my coupon stash at home, and the moneymaker deals were scarce. It was so discouraging and depressing. I didn't even want to use up my gift cards to pay that much. I'm used to getting three or four shops on a $10 gift card, so to use over 4 on a trip was unheard of.
 
One thing that has proven to be my best tip of the year, is to remember that if buying something makes money, you have to get it - even if you have no use for it. I buy lots of phazyme, vitamins, CWS and donate or sell at garage sales. You also need to plan to get free things (alka seltzer, theraflu) just to bring up your total so you can use a $5 off $25 coupon, and use the $5 savings for the things you need and want, that aren't on sale.
 
But the most important thing is to have a plan for your shop.

Seven Ways To Chop Down Your Phone Bill

Telephone service is a requirement for most people. It is one of those necessary evils in life. However, just because it necessary does not mean that it has to bog your wallet down. There are ways you can have a significant amount of phone service and not have to spend every penny. The following tips will help you to save on telephone service.

1.   Choose Mobile Phone Service Over Landline Service
Even if you are a work at home mom who hardly ever leaves your home, it will still be cheaper for you to use a cell phone as your home phone unit. The reason is the long distance charges. Landline companies usually charge extra for long distance calls. Just about every cellular phone provider offers nationwide calls as a part of the monthly allotment. This one change can save you a huge amount of money and you can speak to your friends and family members as much as you like.
2.   Choose Plans with Free Minutes
The best mobile phone plan is one that offers unlimited minutes. If that's too expensive, the alternative option is to choose a plan that offers free night and weekend minutes. The hours may vary between providers. You just need to investigate and choose the option that best fits your situation.
3.   Try Prepaid Service
Many prepaid service providers offer excellent monthly packages. The great thing about prepaid plans is that you can stop paying for them whenever you like. With a post-paid plan, you have to pay the bill every month whether you use the phone or not. Prepaid plans give you the freedom to cut your expenses any month that you see fit to do such. Some providers will allow you to skip three months before they release your phone number.
4.   Make it Basic
You can cut down your monthly telephone bill significantly by passing on  the extra features. If you do not absolutely positively need text messaging and data, cut them from the bill. The reason you have a phone is to make calls. Downgrading to a cheaper plan will not prevent you from doing so.
5.   Ask About Discounts
Some cellular phone providers reward their faithful customers with discounts. They give special V.I.P. privileges to people who maintain service and pay on time. In addition, customers who work at specific companies may be eligible for a discount on their monthly bills. Check with your provider and inquire about all eligible discounts. If some of them pertain to you, opt to take them.
6.   Perform Frequent Price Plan Checks
If you do not have an unlimited plan, check your usage each month to see if you can possibly move to a cheaper price plan. You might find that you have not been using nearly enough minutes as your current plan allows. If it looks like you can save money by downgrading your plan, tell the customer service representative to cut you down.
7.   Make Referrals
Not all cell phone companies offer discounts to customers who refer other people, but some do. Make a phone call to your provider and ask about referral rewards. If you are persuasive enough, you just might be able to maintain a free cellular phone account.

There are many tips and tricks to lowering your telephone bill. Test these out individually or in any combination. Your next bill should be a lot lower than your previous statements.


Talia Martinez likes to shop, write about personal finance, and writes for travelinsurance.org.

How To Save Money On A Car

Purchasing a vehicle is one of the biggest investments you will be making besides a home. However, there are many tips on how to save money when you hit up a car dealership that will leave you with big bucks in your pocket. Below, you will find several tips on how to walk out of the dealership with the best deal possible.

One of the biggest problems that occurs when purchasing a vehicle is buying at sticker price. The price on the sticker is often overpriced with room for negotiation. By simply asking to lower the price, this will often get you savings of up to $2,000 without much hassle. Remember, you do not have to be pressured to purchase a vehicle at an unreasonable cost. If the dealer attempts to pressure you and does not want to reduce the cost, simply tell them that you will continue looking for a car at another dealership.

Another tip to saving money when purchasing a vehicle is to pay fully in cash. By doing this, you will save yourself thousands of dollars in interest. In addition, this decision will allow you to own the car outright without any possibility of repossession or high interest payments. Since this is not always possible, the next best step is to make a large down payment to reduce the principle amount that will be financed. A lower principle balance will reduce the amount of interest that will accumulate over the life of the car note. Ultimately, this will save you money as well by preventing excessive compound interest from robbing you of your hard earned dollars.

The last way to save money when purchasing a vehicle is to buy a pre-owned vehicle instead of a new one. Buying a new car may feel great but comes with a heavier sticker price. By purchasing a certified used vehicle, you are able to save up to $5,000 because of it having a previous owner. Also, rather than trading in your current vehicle, it is possible to get more money for it by selling it yourself. Many dealerships will low-ball the value of your vehicle during a trade-in to your disadvantage in order to reap a bigger profit. This can be avoided and will allow you to make more money for your down payment. Furthermore, having more available cash will give you more options when choosing your future vehicle.

Guest post:Sean is an expert when it comes to cars because he works for Cash for Junk Cars Company that pays cash for autos.

How to Get Out Of Debt This St. Patrick's Day


St. Patrick's Day is right around the corner. The holiday is a great opportunity for people to get together with friends and family and knock back a few beers. Traditionally, people don green attire on this holiday. However, if you want to enjoy all of the St. Patrick's Day festivities, there is another green thing you need to worry about. That green thing is money. Many people suffer from mountains of credit card debt. Debt can be suffocating for anyone who finds themselves in it. For St. Patrick's Day this year, it is time to take steps to get out of debt.

Assess the Situation
The first step to getting out of debt is to figure how serious the situation is. To do this, pull up all of your credit card statements and figure out exactly how much you owe. You also want to think about how you wound up in debt to begin with. A good way to do this is to track your spending for a week. Write down every cent you spend. This will help you understand where all of your money went. The first step to getting out of debt is understanding how you got there. Otherwise, you run the risk of getting in to debt all over again.

Make a Budget
If you want to figure out a plan to eliminate debt, you need to figure out how much you can afford to pay. In order to do this, you should make a budget. A budget is a template that helps you live a financially responsible life. You can make your budget in any number of ways, but a monthly budget is the most common format. When making your budget, you want to list several categories. First, list all of your income. Then, list your fixed expenses. This includes loan payments, rent, and utilities. The next category will be your variable expenses. This includes groceries, gas, clothing, and entertainment. This is the area where you have some flexibility. Assign a reasonable amount that you feel you can stick with. After your expenses, list another category. This category should include money you can put toward debt and money you can save. If you have left over money in your variable expense categories, that is more that you can put toward debt. The key is making a budget that you are comfortable with.

Learn to Save Money
If you pay a little more attention to detail, you can save a lot of money in every category. With groceries, look for coupons and sales before you go out. If you have a smartphone, take advantage of the many apps that are geared toward saving money at the store. To save on gas, consider combining trips. If you plan your activities ahead of time, you might be able to knock out more errands in one trip. For your gas bill, turn your thermostat down a couple of degrees. You will still be comfortable while saving a sizeable amount of money on your bill. As for entertainment, look for special event deals. It may be difficult to find a money saving pattern that works for you, but you will see results once you do.

Consider Debt Relief
If your credit card debt is sizeable, consider debt relief programs. First, contact your credit card company. They may be willing to work with you on a payment arrangement that will save you money and not destroy your credit. If you have debt on several cards, consider a debt relief service. These services can help you eliminate credit card debt in a less stressful way. Essentially, they will eliminate fees and interest so that you can save in those areas. As long as the debt relief program is reputable, you should be able to eliminate your debt as time goes on.

Author’s Bio: Mark Paul is a regular contributor for Debt Consolidation Advice and guest writes for several other finance related blogs. He covers the debt relief industry and provides helpful ways for getting out of debt. He also offers various tips for saving money and being financially responsible.

Do It Yourself Debt Settlement

You might decide to settle your own debts instead of hiring a debt settlement company because you want to save money on settlement fees. Or, perhaps you’ve heard about scams rampant in the debt settlement industry and want to avoid being taken advantage of. Some people decide to settle their own debts so they have control of the process from start to finish. There are lots of good reasons to settle your own debts.

Getting Started
When you decide you’re going to settle your own debts, you stop making monthly payments on your debt. Instead, each month you’ll deposit your regular monthly debt payments into a separate checking account whose sole purpose it to hold your settlement funds until you’re ready to pay a settlement. You might open this checking account at an entirely different bank if the credit cards or loans you want to settle are at the bank of your primary checking account.

Creditors routinely agree to settlements between 40% and 70% on balances that are 90 days or more past due. The account must be past due for the creditor to deem it risky enough to take a settlement on. If the creditor thinks they can get the full balance from you, they won’t agree to a settlement.

When to Make a Settlement Offer
Once you’ve saved up enough money to pay a settlement (about 50% of the current balance due) and you have an account that’s more than 90 days past due, you can make a settlement offer. If this is the first time you’ve mentioned settlement to the creditor, you might briefly mention it as a possibility. For example, you might say, “I’m having trouble getting caught up on my payments. In fact, I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to pay this account in full. If I could come up with the money, would you be interested in taking a settlement on this account.”

When you bring up settlement with the creditor, be prepared to offer a dollar amount to settle the account. So, if you owe $10,000 and you want to settle for 50%, offer $5,000. If the creditor refuses or asks you to pay an amount you’re not prepared to pay, politely end the call and repeat the process in another month or so.

Settling Your Account
When a creditor agrees to a settlement offer, there’s one more step that has to happen before you make payment. You need to get a settlement agreement on company letterhead. The settlement agreement should include the date of the offer, amount of the settlement, date the settlement must be received, and a note saying the settlement will satisfy the account in full. You’ll get the settlement letter faster if you have access to a fax machine. That way you can sign it, fax it back, and make the settlement payment.

Many creditors will take the settlement payment over the phone if you give your checking account and routing number. The creditor may also accept a cashier’s check or money order for payment. Make sure you confirm the payment method.

Frank Collins is a seasoned writer with strong background in both personal and business finance. You can read more of his articles about debt relief options, credit counseling and related services at the debt settlemmient blog.