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Saving Money

6 Ways To Be a Smarter Shopper

  Let’s face the music, retailers are constantly coming up with ingenious ways to separate you from your hard-earned money. Some strategies are patently obvious and some are very subtle. In either case, it is important that you raise your awareness in order to avoid falling prey to their tactics. With that said, here are six strategies to ensure you become a smarter shopper. 1. Beware of Warranties and Rebates Let’s start with extended warranties. Be aware that buying an extended warranty on new consumer electronics is historically a bad move. Take for example a new $400 television. In order for the $50 extended warrant to be a smart move, the probability it will breakdown has to be much greater than the chance you can’t afford to fix or replace it. For the major majority of shoppers, insuring a $400 TV does not justify the possible risk of it breaking down. Also, there is obviously a reason the sales folks at Best Buy relentlessly push extended warranties. They are major money makers for them and they wish all consumers would buy them. Believe me, they have run the numbers and clearly know they are sucker bets for us shoppers. Don’t ...

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DIY Rock Chip Repair and Some Extra Savings

We all know that DIY car repairs can save tons of money. I would love to have pocketed the money we’ve spent on car repairs and maintenance over the years, but who am I kidding? Everything under the hood looks like a thingamajigger to me and watching a million YouTube videos isn’t going to help. However, I have finally found one car repair that anyone can do at home. Windshield Rock Chip Repair We have a 1999 Civic named Yertle that I drive almost exclusively in the summer. Yertle is old and slow but runs great and gets good gas mileage. We are all for keeping him running but don’t want to spend more than necessary. I set out for town one Saturday a few weeks ago and noticed a rock chip in Yertle’s windshield. If you’ve ever had a chip in your windshield you probably know what happens if you let it go. The whole windshield has to be replaced, which can cost a few hundred dollars. We seem to get a couple of rock chips a year, and they usually cost around $30 to replace. I called the glass shop we use only to find them closed, along ...

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Can You Recognize a Scam?

Back before the recession hit, we used to get offers for time share presentations pretty regularly. I personally think buying a timeshare is right up there with purchasing ocean front property in Kentucky, but to each his own. After the economy went south, I assumed those went the way of the dinosaur, but low and behold, look what we got in the mail a couple of weeks ago! I guess it’s a good sign of economic recovery that people are getting rooked there is a market for such things again. I don’t know that these offers could be considered a scam because you generally get the prize they are offering if you do your part. However, the things they are usually selling are not generally a good use of money. Do you know how to spot a scam? Being the curious person that I am, I called to see what this offer was about, assuming it was a timeshare presentation. The very perky operator told me that to claim my prize of two airline tickets for anywhere in the continental US,plus a two night hotel stay and a $50 Expedia gift card, all we had to do was attend a ...

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6 “Money Saving” Tips That Really Stink

(A quick thanks to Kim for letting me be a regular contributor on her terrific blog. I hope to bring a little levity, some frugal living tips, and maybe even a coupon or two that you can use to save some money.) Having been blogging since 2007, I think I have heard every single piece of financial and money saving advice. Some are absolutely brilliant and some really stink. Today I want to take six of the stinkiest and hopefully debunk them once and for all. (A lot of this is personal opinion so please feel free to disagree in the comments!)   1. Brick in the Toilet This tip is courtesy of my Dad, who is without a doubt the most frugal guy I know. A few years ago he told me about the “water saving” technique of putting a brick in the tank of the three toilets at his house (insert joke here!) and how much water it’s going to save him over the course of a year. I, being the type of guy who‘s always looking to save a buck or two, tried it with my toilets. The end result was a brick that was disintegrating and ...

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We Cancelled Our Satellite TV!

Last week, I made the phone call I’ve been planning for months. It was to Dish Network, and I asked them to cancel our satellite TV. When the agent asked if I was sure or if she could offer me a discount, I did briefly hesitate, but stood my ground. The programming went dark right away, and we are now sans paid TV. Am I sad? Nope, I’m free. Despite a brief time during my residency, I have had some sort of cable or satellite TV for fourteen years. While it did serve it’s purpose, we are now at a point where we don’t watch that many programs other than to offer background noise while we are doing other things. There are a couple of network shows that I enjoy, but nothing I can’t live without. We also don’t want our daughter to hear some of the things that pop up on seemingly benign programming. When your three year old is running around the house saying “Dammit” after watching Pawn Stars or the now six year old is asking what a vaginal mesh transplant is, it gets a bit old. We aren’t going completely TV free. We still enjoy watching ...

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