Cell Phone Plans: Should You Go PrePaid or Contract?

The Great Cell Phone Plan Debate:

How To Decide Between A Contract Wireless Plan or Prepaid Card

Prepaid cellphone plans are quite flexible and can potentially save you lots of headaches as well as tons of cash— so how come the majority of people who use cellphones still insist on signing a contract? Below we’ll take a look at the pros and cons of contract vs. prepaid wireless cellphone plans.

If you’re tired of being tied down to a two-year commitment, it may be time to rethink why you’re still hanging onto that expensive ball and chain. Below, we’ll take a look at what benefits you may enjoy from a prepaid plan over a contract, then we’ll examine the prepaid vs. contract cellphone plans for several of the U.S. carriers to give you a better idea of whether or not you might benefit from ditching your contract and going prepaid.

Prepaid vs. Contract: The Pros & Cons

How to Decide Between a Prepaid or Contract Wireless Plan

In many countries, you can go to your local convenience store, buy a prepaid SIM for relatively cheap, and you’re ready to make calls in minutes with no contract. The downside? Often you’ll need your own phone. With a contract, carriers often subsidize the retail value of a phone in exchange for a fixed commitment from the customer. You’re basically paying for the discount. So what’s the real price you’re paying for that two-year contract, as opposed to going prepaid?

Examine Your Habits

Before you make any decision about going contract or going prepaid, you need to know your talking habits well. There are a variety of prepaid options: You can pay for X number of minutes, or you can pay by the day that you need access. Things to consider include how much in-network calling you do, and whether you call during nights and weekends. So, look at your recent phone statements, and look at them well.

The Money & Phone Issue

You’ve got several reasons to consider prepaid. If you suspect that what you pay in contract is more expensive than what you could pay prepaid, looking into this option is a valid alternative. (You might also want to try BillShrink to see other ways to cut down on your phone service.) Even if you’re currently out of contract, but your talking and data needs have changed, changing your plan will often obligate you to commit to a new contract for another two years, regardless of what provider you use. For the commitment-phobic, early phone adopters, or constant phone switchers, contracts can be huge detriments.

Keeping Your Number

While contract plans can seem like the adult grown-up version to the prepaid equivalent, this option isn’t just an alternative for unwieldy teenagers. The major carriers will allow you to port your existing number to prepaid plans, and if you’re already using a Google Voice number to manage your existing numbers you won’t have to change a thing to get started.

So What’s The Point?

At the end of the day, the point isn’t just to save more money (even though that’s often a big factor). It’s about not being tied to a particular carrier or phone for two years just because you signed a contract, or just so you could save a little money up front on a phone you’ll want to replace in less than two years, anyway. With prepaid, contract-free plans, you can focus on what should matter most: The quality of coverage and service a carrier provides.’

Details about specific wireless companies for comparisons and the rest of this article can be found here on LIFEHACKER.

Send an email to Erica Ho, the author of this post, at erica@lifehacker.com.

Money Saving Ideas Tips & Suggestions

We realize as we grow older that cash just doesn’t seam to go as far as it used to. Many people today live from paycheck to paycheck. With ever-rising prices and out of control inflation, many of us look for ways to save that hard-earned cash any way we can. Here you will find several money saving ideas, tips and suggestions that can help you stretch those hard-earned paychecks as far as possible. Your comments and suggestions are always appreciated so drop a comment below if you have something to add or suggest.

All the links below are within this website you’re browsing through now.

10 Alternate Uses For Brand Name Products

10 Alternate Uses For Car Wax

13 Tips For Saving Money On Groceries At The Supermarket

15 Driving Tips For Better Fuel Economy

Cell Phone Plans: Should You Go PrePaid or Contract?

Cell Phone Secrets You May Want To Know

FREE 411 Directory Assistance – Now More Choices!

Saving Money At The Checkout Stand: Are You Coupon Savvy?

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Fed Up With eBay? Look Where Else You Can Sell Online!

no-ebayFed up with the exorbitant (highly excessive) fees you’re paying on eBay?

Tired of being dinged for every conceivable move you make with your  listings  as well as displaying your merchandise?

Have you had enough of being overcharged for items that don’t even sell and paying again to have them relisted?

Sick of the constant fee increases, feedback system and policy changes?

There are alternatives — 100’s of them!

ALL of them are CHEAPER than eBay — Many are even FREE!!!

There are a number of “specialty” sites listed for those specializing in antiques, collectibles,  fine art, media, electronics, toys, children’s merchandise,  jewelry, home-made crafts and more. Another trend are sites that are set-up as “reverse auctions” where buyers attract sellers. Also more and more sites are including social networking, live chat and open forums for instant communication.

Majority of the sites listed are based in the United States but there are several listings from sites based in  Australia and the United Kingdom – also a growing number of “Global” site listings from Canada, France, Germany, India, Mexico, New Zealand and  elsewhere.

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* Freshly Updated on 9/18/09 – Now over 200 Listings! – Includes many new listings – Includes omissions from my previous posts – Sites that have been found to have shut down have been crossed out – Most listings have direct links to their websites – Simply click on their name and you will be taken to them – Keep in mind also that there is constant change or turnover in this particular business

More new listings added on 12/19/2009

New listings added once again on 2/5/2010 – Almost 300 sites listed!!! + more usefull links at the bottom of this post

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eBay Alternatives

For your convenience, most of the auction sites listed below are clickable. Simply click on the name and the link should take you directly to the website.

Take a look where else you can sell your stuff online …..

  1. 121Bid.com (UK based)
  2. 123Bidding.com
  3. 4Sale4Now.com
  4. 570Auctions.com
  5. 7Bids.com
  6. Addoway.com (social networking/marketplace)
  7. AdFlyer.co.uk (UK based)
  8. AlienBids.com
  9. AllBidders.com
  10. AllBids.com.au (Australia based)
  11. AlsoShop.com
  12. AltecTrader.com
  13. AlwaysAtAuction.com (collectibles, memorabilia, much more)
  14. Amazon.com
  15. AnueAuction.com
  16. AquaBid.com (Aquarium, Fish and fish related items)
  17. ArtFire.com (handmade items designed by artisans from around the globe)
  18. AtomicMall.com
  19. Auction-Warehouse.com
  20. Auction1.co.uk (UK based)
  21. AuctionAdCity.com (Auctions & Classifieds Online Marketplace)
  22. AuctionAddict.com
  23. AuctionBite.com
  24. AuctionBidz.com.au (Australia based)
  25. AuctionDawg.com (classified marketplace)
  26. AuctionFire.com
  27. AuctionJunkie.net
  28. AuctionLoot.com
  29. AuctionPage.com
  30. AuctionQuests.com
  31. Auctions8.com
  32. AuctionsWorldwide.net
  33. AuctivaCommerce.com
  34. Audiogon.com (High-End Audio Community)
  35. Aukro.cz (based in Czech Republic – also in Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia, Ukraine)
  36. AussieBid.com.au (Australia based)
  37. Bang4Bucks.com.au (Australia based)
  38. Bazaario.ca (based in Canada – serving USA, Algeria, France, Morocco, Pakistan, Tunisia, United Kingdom)
  39. Bid-2-Go.com (UK based – Global market)
  40. Bid2Trade.com.au (Australia based)
  41. Bid4Assets.com (luxury & high-value assets – buildings, historic cars, estates, yachts)
  42. BidAddict.biz
  43. Bid-ALot.com
  44. BidBunny.com
  45. BidCactus.com
  46. BidChief.com
  47. BidEuphoria.com
  48. Bidgogo.com
  49. BidMate.com.au (Australia based)
  50. BiddersNSellers.com
  51. BiddersSite.com
  52. BidEuphoria.com
  53. BidExcite.com
  54. BidFinal.com
  55. BidHopper.com
  56. Bidjit.com
  57. BidJunk.com
  58. BidLow.com (Reverse Auction site)
  59. BidNTrade.com
  60. BidOwl.com
  61. BidSell.com.au (Australia based)
  62. BidStart.com (“the collectible marketplace”)
  63. Bidtopia.com (specializes in liquidation, overstock, discontinued & surplus inventory)
  64. BidTunnel.com
  65. Bidville.com
  66. BidWerX.com
  67. Bidzinger.com
  68. BigTicketDepot (a new concept in selling with several added benefits)
  69. Bizium.com
  70. BlitzAuctions.com
  71. BluJay.com
  72. Bonanzle.com
  73. But-Y.com
  74. Buy.com
  75. BuyersChoiceAuctions.com
  76. BuyItSellIt.com [BISI]
  77. BuyNSellIt.com (antiques-toys-collectibles)
  78. BuyPeddlersMall.com
  79. BuySellCommunity.com
  80. CashBack-Auctions.co.uk (UK based)
  81. CDNauction.com (Canada based – Auctions & Classified Market)
  82. ChaseMe.com (Reverse Auction site)
  83. CheaperByTheDay.com
  84. CheekyOffer.com (UK based)
  85. ClickBuySell.com (Canada based)
  86. ClickIndia.com (India based – Classified Marketplace – in English)
  87. CollectorOnline.com (collectors marketplace)
  88. CozyBug.com
  89. CQout.com (UK based – Sites in UK/USA/Canada/Australia/Ireland)
  90. Craigslist.org (World’s largest classified marketplace site – Global scope)
  91. DaWanda.com (unique handmade products)  (France/Germany/UK)
  92. Dawdle.com (“For Games, By Gamers” – video games, consoles, accessories)
  93. DealTent.com
  94. Delcampe.net (international marketplace for collectors)
  95. DeRemate.com (Mexico/Latin America/South America)
  96. Diversetrade.com (Germany based)
  97. DormBay.com (college/student related merchandise)
  98. DoveAuctionSite.com.au (Australia based)
  99. e-Buy-Auction.co.uk (UK based)
  100. e-Duds.com
  101. e3Buy.com
  102. EasyMud.com
  103. eAuctions.com
  104. eBanza.com
  105. ebayWanted.com
  106. eBid.net
  107. eBidNBuy.com
  108. eCrater.com
  109. eFleaa.com
  110. Elfingo.com
  111. EnergyBook.co.uk (UK based – The Green Alternative)
  112. ePayAuction.com
  113. ePier.com
  114. eQuickBids.net
  115. eSyll.com
  116. Etsy.com (handmade & vintage items)
  117. Ewaey.com
  118. EzeAd.com
  119. Facebook.com/Marketplace
  120. FeverBid.com
  121. FindsIt.com
  122. FleaMarketGiant.com
  123. Flippid.com
  124. For24Hours.com
  125. FreeCycle.org (email based – non-profit – recycled)
  126. GBBay.co.uk (UK based)
  127. GEMM.com (global all-media related marketplace)
  128. GoAntiques.com (Antiques & Collectibles)
  129. GoBiddin.com
  130. Google.com/base
  131. GooleAuctions.com
  132. Gorage.com
  133. GoZBay.com
  134. GrannysAuction.biz
  135. GravityAuction.com (Where prices decrease until item sold)
  136. GumTree.com (UK based – Classified Marketplace – similar to Craigslist)
  137. GunBroker.com (Firearms & Accessories marketplace)
  138. HagglerHouse.com
  139. HappySheep.co.nz (New Zealand based – Classified Marketplace)
  140. HiBidder.com
  141. HighEndCrazy.com
  142. HighStreetSale.com (UK based)
  143. Hoobly.com (classified marketplace)
  144. Hood.de (Germany based -Auctions & Classified Marketplace)
  145. HopeIWin.com
  146. iBidFree.com
  147. iBuyCo.com
  148. InetFlea.com
  149. InterShopZone.com
  150. iOffer.com
  151. iSell.com (US & Canada classified marketplace)
  152. ItsGottaGo.com (overstocks, clearance, closeouts, bargains, collectibles, antiques, militaria)
  153. iWannaTrade.com
  154. JaxBids.com
  155. JCbid.com
  156. Job-Lot.com (UK based – classified marketplace)
  157. JoffeeAuctions.com
  158. Kidswap.ca (stuff geared towards children)
  159. Kijiji.com (online classified marketplace) (USA & Canada)
  160. Klonkers.com
  161. LDBidz.com
  162. LGGauctions.co.uk/auction (UK based)
  163. Listia.com (auctions for free stuff)
  164. ListItYourselfAuctions.com (An Online Collectibles Auction Alternative)
  165. Lixtor.co.nz (New Zealand based)
  166. MadeItMyself.com (“Think It, Make It, Sell It”)
  167. McBidz.com (Unique New All-in-One Marketplace)
  168. MercadoDeVentas.com (Global auction & marketplace – multi-lingual)
  169. MercadoLibre.com (Mexico/Latin America/South America)
  170. MGVliquidations.com
  171. MightyBids.com
  172. MilBid.com
  173. Mondro.com
  174. MonkeyBidz.com
  175. Multi-Sale.com
  176. MyAuctionPlanet.com
  177. MyBizArea.com (social networking marketplace)
  178. MyEAuctions.com
  179. MySale2.com
  180. MySellingSpace.com
  181. MyStore.com
  182. NeoLoch.com
  183. Njuskalo.hr (Crotia based)
  184. OfficeHax.com (everything electronics)
  185. Oltiby.com (reverse online auction site)
  186. OneWay-au.com (Australia based + New Zealand)
  187. OnlineAuction.com (OLA)
  188. OnlineAuctionExchange.com
  189. OnlineAuctioning.com
  190. Oodle.com (large classified marketplace site) (USA, Canada, UK, India, Ireland)
  191. OrBay.co.uk (UK based)
  192. OtherAuction.com
  193. OverNightAuctions.com
  194. Overstock.com (Auctions.Overstock.com)
  195. OZtion.com.au (Australia based)
  196. PCBidz.com
  197. PhiMart.com (specializes in consumer electronics)
  198. Playle.com (Vintage Postcards, Postage Stamps, Postal History, Antiques & Collectibles)
  199. PlunderHere.com
  200. PrestoMart.com
  201. PriceGrabber.com
  202. PublicSurplus.com (sell your agency’s surplusoffice supplies, machinery, electronics)
  203. QBon.com
  204. QuickBids.net
  205. QuicklySell.com
  206. QXBid.com
  207. QXL.dk (Denmark based – sites throughout Scandinavia, Europe, Russia, Ukraine)
  208. RandomPlaza.com
  209. RazorBid.com.au (Australia based)
  210. ReadyToBid.net (UK based)
  211. ReallySmartDeals.com
  212. RoboBomb.com/auctions
  213. RubyLane.com (Quality Antiques, Vintage Collectibles, Fine Art, Jewelry)
  214. SavyAuctions.com
  215. Sears – Sellers Marketplace At Sears (it’s true, you can actually sell thru Sears!)
  216. SeeAuctions.com (antiques, collectibles, fine art, jewelry, precious metals, coins, books)
  217. Sell.com (classified marketplace)
  218. Sell.uk.com (UK based)
  219. Sell2Help.com
  220. SellBidandBuy.com (Australia based)
  221. Seller-City.com (Canadian based)
  222. SellMyStuff.com.au (Australia based)
  223. SellStuff.cc
  224. ShopHandMade.com (handmade crafts)
  225. Silkfair.com
  226. SoAuctionIt.com
  227. SpecialistAuctions.com
  228. SpeedyBid.com
  229. SportsCollective.com (the sportscard marketplace)
  230. Squeagle.com
  231. Stootsi.com
  232. StormPay.com (Storm Pay Auctions)
  233. StuffEnuff.com
  234. SwapAce.com
  235. SwapItShop.com (UK based – targeting the younger consumers)
  236. SwapThing.com (trade for items & services)
  237. TagSaler.com
  238. TazBar.com (UK based)
  239. TGoSell.com
  240. TheAuctionBoard.com
  241. TheCollectorsBay.com (collectors alternative to auctioning)
  242. TheDeadSkunk.com
  243. TheFreeAuction.com
  244. TheHighBidder.com
  245. TheRummage.com
  246. TheShopNSwap.com
  247. TheSOCexchange.com
  248. ThriftyBidderAuctions.com
  249. TIAS.com (fine antiques & collectibles)
  250. TotalBids.co.uk (UK based)
  251. ToysAuction.com (toys & baby products)
  252. TradeMe.co.nz (New Zealand based)
  253. TripleClicks.com
  254. Trocadero.com (Antiques & Fine Art)
  255. TruBidders.com
  256. Turbo-Auction.com
  257. U-CanBidOnIt.com
  258. uBid.com
  259. uBid4it.org (“Auction By Choice” – USA/UK/Canada)
  260. uBidRight.com
  261. uBuySell.ca (Canada based)
  262. U-CanBidOnIt.com
  263. UflipIt.com
  264. UkBidsAway.co.uk (UK based)
  265. Underbid.com
  266. Up4Bidz.com
  267. UpperBid.com
  268. USAuctionsLive.com
  269. USFreeAds.com
  270. uSiff.com
  271. uSold.net
  272. uTrove.com
  273. VideoGameSwapper.com (video game related)
  274. VintageValue.net (OSCstores.com) (free online store)
  275. VirNetBid.com (international online marketplace)
  276. WagglePop.com
  277. WanderBy.com (pet related products)
  278. wBast.com
  279. WeBidz.com
  280. WebStore.com
  281. WeBuy.co.nz (New Zealand based)
  282. Wensy.com
  283. Wigix.com
  284. WinkElf.com (handmade arts & craft items)
  285. Winnit.co.uk (UK based)
  286. Xoobie.com
  287. Xoobie.websyte.com.au (Australia based)
  288. Yahoo!Auctions (Canadian based) (Not sure if it is still running??)
  289. YahzooShopping.com (Australia based)
  290. YourBid.com
  291. YourHighBid.com
  292. zBestOffer.com
  293. Ziing.com
  294. ZillaBid.com
  295. Zillion.co.nz (New Zealand based)
  296. Ziot.com
  297. Zobids.com
  298. ZooBid.com

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Helpful Advice & Suggestions

After checking out or scanning this long exhaustive list, you can see that there are plenty of other eBay alternative sites available — HOWEVER — Before you decide to register with any of them, you should ask yourself the following 5 important questions:

  1. How much traffic does the site get?
  2. How long has the website been operating?
  3. How much do you have to pay in listing and final value fees?
  4. What types of payment methods do they accept?
  5. How secure is the site?

You should be aware that the vast majority of these sites have very low traffic compared to eBay. However, a number of them are very “niche specific”, so if you happen to be selling niche items in the related auction site, you may be able to gain a highly targeted group of customers searching for your specific items.

Remember — Registering and selling at a website just because it’s free or has extremely low fees, is practically useless if the traffic is non-existent and therefore no one will be be able to see what items you’re selling.

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Statistics By The Numbers

► You can go HERE to check out the DAILY AUCTION SITE COUNT by the number of listings the top auction sites currently have – the statistics are updated hourly – courtesy of PowerSellersUnite.com

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Additional Site Links:

Included here are Directories – Forums – Guides – Info – Organizations:

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Alexa.comThe Web Information Company

You  can go here to check out website site traffic, analytics and demographics…

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Money Saving Tips At The Checkout Counter: Are You Coupon Savvy?

How Coupon Savvy Are You?

couponclippingsIn today’s shaky economy where most Americans (as well as others in countries around the world) find themselves tightening their belts and cutting back on non-essentials. There should be no need to feel embarrassed about clipping coupons and presenting them at the checkout stand as needed. In fact, there are a number of people out there that have gone way beyond that. There are sites now for coupon exchanges, clearinghouses, people putting them on CraigsList, eBay, and many other online classified marketplaces. I’ve even come across a site or two that keeps store ads and coupon ads updated on a daily/weekly basis — which is basically — a locator of where to shop to get a specific item at a particular sale price plus where to find the coupon at for further reductions. You may even be able to combine a store coupon with a manufacturer’s coupon for the ultimate savings. You may even luck out and find “double value coupons” or receive free coupons in the mail for example “spend $25 and get _x_ items for free or 50%-75% off”.

cash-moneyBelow you will find the best and most highly recommended sites for maximizing coupon savings to help stretch your dollar as far as possible. Most included FREE printable coupons on groceries, personal bath products and merchandise for your immediate use on your next shopping trip. A few will give you the latest coupon codes for immediate use.

Check ’em out and see which one’s work best for you…coupons-grocerybags-cart-checkout

Here are a few more ways to become more COUPON SAVVY…

  • Clip Newspaper Coupons – Check the Sunday newspapers for coupon inserts from RedPlum, Smartsource, and PG Brand Savers (Proctor and Gamble). You can get duplicate coupons by purchasing more than one Sunday newspaper. Try asking friends and relatives for coupon inserts that they’re not planning on using.
  • Print Out Internet Coupons – Visit smartsource.com and redplum.com for more money saving coupons. Both sites require you to download free coupon printing software so that grocery clerks will be able to scan them. I love these coupons as I often find they are for $1.00 or more off the regular price of items. Just be sure to check your supermarket’s internet coupon policy. One of my local supermarkets does not accept internet coupons at all. Another local supermarket will accept them, but only up to $1.00.
  • Combine Your Coupons – You can use a combination of newspaper coupons and internet coupons to net big savings at the supermarket. If you time your purchases correctly, you can use these on top of supermarket items already on sale.
  • Study The Sales Circular – Find out what’s on sale and plan your menu around those items. My favorite supermarket’s sales circular saves me some work by making note of corresponding coupons found in newspaper coupon inserts. Another great thing about sales circulars is that many also include additional coupons you can use for more savings.
  • Sign-Up For The Supermarket Savings Program – They go by a variety of names (Super Savers, Price Plus, Advantage Plus, Super Shoppers, etc) but they do the same thing: save you money! When you sign up, you’ll receive a card. Each time you shop, present the card to the cashier and any discounts offered on items you purchased will be taken off. Many savings programs offer free turkeys and hams throughout the year (based on the amount you spend during a certain period of time), mail additional coupons to your home, and even offer discounts for families who purchase lots of baby items.
  • Familiarize Yourself With Your Supermarket’s Savings Policies – Ask the following questions to get the most for your money: Does this store accept competitor’s coupons? Does this store double or triple coupons? Does this store accept internet coupons? What day of the week do sales begin?
  • Stock Up On Items When They Are On Sale – Most supermarkets tend to drop the prices on meat on the “Sell Buy” date. Often times, prices on these meats are significantly reduced because they cannot sell it after this “Sell Buy” date. This is the perfect time to swoop in, scoop up the great deals, and freeze them immediately for later use. This way, you’re able to keep your freezer well stocked.
  • Stockpile Pantry Goods As Well – Save money by purchasing goods BEFORE you need them. When something goes on sale, arm yourself with coupons and buy enough to last 3 months or so. You never want to be forced to pay full price for an item just because you need it now. Plan Ahead
  • Don’t Forget The Drugstores – Great deals can be found on detergents, hygiene products, and paper toiletries at places such as Walgreens, Longs, CVS, and Rite Aid. Check the sales circulars for these stores as well. They often include money saving coupons. Manufacturer’s coupons are generally accepted there as well.
  • Seek Money Saving Solutions Online – Two great places to visit are The Grocery Game and Coupon Mom. Both sites help grocery shoppers keep track of coupons and note when items reach rock bottom prices so you can really save money. The Grocery Game charges a fee for the service, but Coupon Mom does not. Another website to check out is The Grocery Guide. When you enter your zip code, you can choose a supermarket in your area and view the store’s sales. It also tells you if coupons are available and lets you know where to find those coupons.

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Coupons Books for Entertainment & Dining– This one you’ll have to pay for if interested, but has the potential to save you hundreds if you and your family or friends dine out or entertain frequently. There are tons of different editions of this booklet that specialize in individual cities and regions across the United States. Prices vary – Expiration’s vary – Locations vary – Bonus sections vary

For nearly 50 years, Entertainment has been helping people save in tough economic times with the big Entertainment coupon book. Today, more then ever, people realize that the premium 50% off and 2-for-1 coupons found in the book help them save on everyday essentials right in their neighborhood including:

  • Dining
  • Shopping
  • Movie Tickets
  • Groceries
  • Services
  • Travel
  • Attractions
  • Car Care
  • Home Furnishings

Plus, with each book purchase you get online access to hundreds of additional local printable coupons and incredible online shopping discounts not found in the book.

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Here’s another post from this blog about saving money on groceries:

13 Tips For Saving Money On Groceries At The Supermarket

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15 Driving Tips For Better Fuel Economy

fuel-wallet-gaugeFor many drivers, changing your driving habits, or improving upon your driving habits, can actually improve your fuel economy up to 30% right away (depending on how you drive). The following tips on driving more efficiently and maintaining your car will help you improve the fuel economy of your car or truck. The more you can do, the more you will save. See how many of these you already do and possibly improve upon the ones you don’t.

15 Driving Tips For Better Fuel Economy

  • Use cruise control to maintain a steady speed on the open highway.
  • Know the correct starting procedure for your particular make, model and year of car. Don’t race a cold engine to warm it up.
  • Avoid extended idling to warm up the engine. Start driving right after the engine is started and warmed up, but avoid rapid acceleration.
  • Maintain steady speeds for the best fuel economy. A car uses extra fuel when it accelerates. “As a rule of thumb, you can assume that each 5 mph you drive over 60 mph is like paying an additional $0.20 per gallon for gas.”
  • Minimize the need to brake by anticipating traffic conditions. Be alert for merging traffic, slow-downs and red lights.
  • Travel at moderate speeds on the open road. Higher speeds require more gasoline use to overcome air resistance.
  • Use the air conditioner only when needed. Air conditioning dramatically reduces fuel economy.
  • Spark plugs should be in good condition. Spark plugs in lesser condition can reduce gas mileage up to 12%
  • Check the air filter twice a year. A dirty air filter increases fuel consumption and can cause poor performance. A dirty air filter can reduce can reduce gas mileage up to 20%.
  • Inflate tires according to the recommendation in the owner’s manual. Under-inflated tires are a safety hazard and can cut fuel economy by as much as 2 percent per pound of pressure below the recommended level.
  • Use the right octane level for your vehicle – Using premium gasoline in an engine designed to run on regular doesn’t improve performance. Even some vehicles that call for higher octane fuels can run on regular unleaded, though with some loss of performance may occur. (Check your owner’s manual to be sure)
  • Be sure your gas cap is snug or tight. “Improperly seated gas caps allow 147 million gallons of fuel to vaporize every year in the U.S.”
  • Lighten up your load – Carry only the bare necessities. Don’t haul things around in your trunk that you don’t need. “For every extra 250 pounds your engine hauls, the car loses about one mile per gallon in fuel economy.” This will vary with the size of your vehicle (car, truck, van, suv, etc)
  • Reduce drag – About half of your vehicle’s energy is expended overcoming air resistance. (The other half is expended in acceleration.) Reduce your car’s workload — remove anything that might cause drag (such as luggage racks, bike racks, ski racks, etc)
  • Take care of car-care “incidentals” that can affect fuel use. For example, a defective radiator thermostat can waste gas by extending the engine’s warm-up time or decreasing the engine’s operating temperature. A stuck brake caliper can create drag, which also wastes fuel.

And Last … But not least … Drive less!

Walk – Ride your bike – Take public transit – Carpool – Combine errands – It’s may be obvious, but is  easy to forget … the less you drive, the less you’ll spend on gas.

Do what works best for you!

13 Tips For Saving Money On Groceries At The Supermarket

shopping-listA shopping list is almost a must … and a very useful ‘tool’ to remind yourself what you do as well as don’t need to purchase. However most experts on being frugal, emphasize shopping with a list because it prevents impulse purchases. Impulse purchases wreck havoc on grocery budgets.

More than half of all grocery purchases are unplanned!

No wonder creating and sticking to a pre-made list can bring grocery costs down.

But that’s not the only way to save money at the supermarket. Below you will find several tips for saving money on your next grocery bill. Some of these may be obvious ….. others not as much. All of them can help you save at the supermarket. See how many of these you can benefit from:

#1 – Make a list — and stick to it –

This is the cardinal rule of shopping. The list represents your grocery needs: the staples you’re out of, and the food you need for upcoming meals. When you stray from the list, you’re buying on impulse, and that’s how shopping trips get out of control. Sure, a magazine only costs $5, but if you spend an extra $5 every time you make a trip to the supermarket, you waste a lot of money.

#2 – Compare unit pricing –

The biggest package isn’t always the most cost-effective. Stores know that consumers want to buy in bulk, and so they mix it up. Sometimes the bulk item is cheaper, sometimes it’s more expensive. The only way you can be sure is to take a calculator. Almost all larger grocery stores and supermarkets post unit prices on the shelf tag for most items, which makes comparisons easy when you know what to look for.

#3 – Think twice before getting a basket or cart –

Carts slow you down and make you buy more. Studies have shown the longer you stay in a store, the more you buy. If you’re dashing into the supermarket to pick up milk and bread, don’t impulsively pick up a basket. Baskets induce people to buy more. If you’re limited to what you can carry, you’re more likely to avoid impulse purchases. Only use a basket (or shopping cart) if it’s absolutely necessary.

#4 – Don’t examine things you don’t need –

The more you interact with something, the more likely you are to buy it. Virtually all unplanned purchase come as a result of the shopper seeing, touching, smelling, or tasting something that promises pleasure or fulfillment. Do you know why grocery stores place those displays in the aisles? To intentionally block traffic. They want to force you to stop, if only for a moment. It only takes a few seconds of idly staring at the Chips Ahoy! to convince you to buy them. Stay focused.

#5 – Live on the edge –

Health-conscious shoppers know that the perimeter of the store is where the good stuff is. Stores typically place the healthier, less-processed items on their perimeters, such as baked goods, dairy products, fresh meats, fruits and vegetables. All of these are generally placed along the outside edge of the supermarket, while the processed stuff can be found up and down the aisles. Shopping the edges isn’t just healthier — it’s cheaper too!

#6 – Discard brand loyalties –

Be willing to experiment. You may have a favorite brand of diced tomatoes, for example, but does it really matter? Go with what’s on sale for the lowest unit price. You may find you like the less expensive product just as well. If you try a cheaper brand and are disappointed, it’s okay to return to your regular brand.

#7 – Choose generic –generic-brands

Better yet, try the store brand. Generic and “house-brand” products are generally cheaper than their name-brand equivalents (unless on sale) and are usually of similar quality. The only difference is marketing and fancy packaging. So, if it costs less and tastes the same… should it really matter?… I mean, after all, you’re not eating the packaging. ?

#8 – Use coupons wisely –

Coupons really CAN save you money. But you need to use them wisely. Clip coupons for ONLY the things you need — staple foods and ingredients — not for processed junk food. Learn to use special coupons. Occasionally, local stores will mail out savings coupons like “$10 off a $50 purchase coupon” or “Spend $20 on any grocery items and get ‘x’ items at no or minimum cost”. If you know it’s coming on a regular basis, you can plan your major shopping trips around it.

Saving Money At The Checkout Stand: Are You Coupon Savvy?

#9 – Make one big trip instead of several smaller ones –

Each visit to the grocery store is another potential opportunity to spend needlessly or excessively. By reducing the frequency of your trips, you’re not only avoiding temptation, but you’re also saving money all the way around (meaning your time and fuel costs).bulk-bins

#10 – Buy from the bulk bins –

Some stores offer bulk bins filled with baking ingredients, cereal, spices, nuts, seeds, etc. When you buy in bulk, you get just the amount you want or need, AND you pay less… Much less.

#11 – Always check your receipt! –

Make sure your prices are scanned correctly. Make sure your coupons are scanned correctly. Sale items, especially, have a tendency to be in the computer wrong, and yet few people ever challenge the price at the register. After all… It’s YOUR money. It’s your responsibility as well as your right to have your order rung up WITH sale and coupon items discounted correctly – Ask for it!

#12 – Shop alone! –

Research finds that people tend to buy more when shopping in groups rather than when shopping alone. Men, more so than women, are easily suggestible to the entreaties of children as well as eye-catching displays. Try to shop by yourself if at all possible.

#13 – Shop on a full stomach –

Studies show that folks who shop when they’re hungry tend to buy more food. Thirsty people will stock up on more drinks. This is certainly true for me: If I go to the store for milk on a Sunday morning without eating breakfast, I’m likely to come home with donuts and orange juice and Lucky Charms, too.

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Any of these tips can help a savvy shopper save money at the grocery store or supermarket. And a combination of many of the above (if strictly followed without deviation) may actually slash your grocery budget significantly.

Give it a try and see what works for you.

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Here’s another recent post link from this blog about coupons

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    10 Alternate Uses For Car Wax

    car_wax_&_clothDid You Know?

    Car wax not only shines and protects, but does a whole lot more!

    Whether in liquid or paste form, car wax is formulated to fill scratches and give a high shine to nonporous surfaces like glass and metal, while protecting them from smudges and stains. It’s handy in multiple other ways too, so grab a lint-free cloth and get to work.

    1.  Keep Appliances Fingerprint-Free

    Apply a thin coat of car wax to stainless-steel fridges and stoves. Buff clean to resist fingerprints and smudges.

    2.  Shine Your Faucets

    Rub car wax onto kitchen and bathroom metal fixtures to keep them shiny and spot-free.

    3.  Free-Up Sticky Mechanisms and Hinges

    Use car wax to lubricate the hinges of garden shears and scissors.

    4.  Fix a Skipping CD

    Apply a small dab of car wax to a scratched CD and buff it clean using short strokes along the length of the scratch, not across it. Rinse the CD with water, and let it air-dry before playing.

    5.  Combat Corrosion

    Apply a thin coat of car wax to brass door knockers, mailboxes, and other outdoor fixtures to keep them from tarnishing.

    6.  Fight Mildew

    After using your regular cleanser, apply a layer of car wax to the inside and outside of a shower door and buff off with a dry cloth to stave off mildew growth.

    7.  Make Closets, Drawers and Windows Easier to Slide Open

    Rub a small dab of car wax onto the tracks of sliding closet doors, drawers and windows so they’ll slide more smoothly.

    8.  Prevent Bumper Sticker Buildup and Residue

    Before placing a sticker on your car’s bumper, rub a tiny bit of car wax onto the area the sticker will cover. Later, it will peel off easily—no gummy mess to scrape off.

    9.  Keep Snow from Sticking

    Shoveling is hard enough when snow is heavy and damp. Apply two thick coats of car wax to the head of a shovel (or to the inside of your snowblower’s chute) to prevent the white stuff from sticking.

    10.  Make a Mirror Fog-Free

    Rub a thin layer of car wax onto a bathroom mirror and buff it clean. Next time you step out of the shower, you’ll be able to see your reflection without having to wipe away

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    Here’s another alternate use post from this blog that can be a money saver:

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