TurboCharge Your Costco Savings! TrueEarnings Card from Costco and American Express Review

shopping_cart

Are you a member of Costco, or thinking about it?  Want to make your dollar go even further there?

Then the TrueEarnings® Card from Costco and American Express may be for you.

Shopping at Costco (or any warehouse store) is one of those things you have to evaluate – is it worth it for your family at its current size and eating/spending habits?  Buying in bulk can sometimes mean great savings but it can also be deceptive and even cost more than your local grocery store when all is said and done.

If you’ve calculated that Costco is right for you, the TrueEarnings Card from Costco and American Express can help you earn cash back on your purchases there and elsewhere.

Let’s review the TrueEarnings Card a little more in-depth and explore how you can combine this credit card with Costco’s Executive membership for extra savings:

Continue Reading

Less Is More: Make 2013 The Year You Buy Things Differently

While Americans often complain about our jobs getting shipped overseas, the simple fact is that the global marketplace lets us receive goods for an incredibly low price. 

We are paying less than our parents and grandparents did for goods, yet we have more debt and less money.

What happened?

I recently watched the movie King Corn, a documentary in part about the way our crops are grown and our animals are fed.

Regardless of how you feel about genetically modified crops and conventionally grown beef, the documentary was informative about the agricultural policy change in the 1970s.  While the United States used to carefully rotate crops and limit the crops that came to market, all of that changed when Earl Butz became the Secretary of Agriculture in 1971.  He urged all farmers to plant as much corn as they could, and as a result of his policy changes, food prices dropped radically.  Butz said in the movie, “The basis of our affluence is that we spend less on food now. . .We feed ourselves with approximately 16 to 17% of our take home pay.”
Continue Reading

3 Ways to Have a Less Commercialized Holiday Season

Are you feeling like scrooge yet? 

I love the holiday season and all of the festivities, but the commercial aspect of it diminishes my joy.

Having to go out and fight the crowds to buy presents is an activity I enjoy about as much as going to the dentist for a root canal.  The longer I wait to shop, the meaner and angrier people at the mall seem to be.

What’s even worse is that studies show that many recipients don’t even appreciate or value our gifts.

“Despite the fact that people spend a significant amount of time and money on gift-giving, their purchases often are less appreciated than they might hope,” say business school professors Francis Flynn of Stanford University and Francesca Gino of Harvard University in a study published in 2011 (WSJ).

Based on my own personal experience, I can attest that this is true.

Last year my mom was most happy to give me a Mint, which is a vacuum/mop that runs on its own presumably to clean the floors while you are doing other things.  My mom is a clean freak, while we, well, we are not.  She thought this would be the perfect gift.

The problem?
Continue Reading

Spending Less is NOT the Same as Saving Money

As the holiday shopping season gets underway, there is giddy talk of how much money shoppers are saving this year.

Unfortunately, this is a mindset that is rather common among consumers.  We have this idea that we are “saving” money when we get a good deal.

The reality, though, is that you aren’t actually saving money.

You are just spending less.

Are You REALLY Saving Money?

The words we use have a big impact on our behaviors.
Continue Reading

How to Control Your Emotions When Shopping

When I was a teenager, I went back-to-school shopping with my best friend and got suckered into buying more clothing than I needed or had money for. 

The saleswoman was smooth and knew all of the right things to tell a 16 year old girl who was nervous about going back to school and looking just right.  That saleslady upsold me on everything—I even bought the matching socks and earrings at her suggestion.

An hour later, embarrassed and a bit angry, I returned everything.

I bought my clothes with my own money from my part-time job, and I simply didn’t have the money to buy that much.

My experience was not unique, but unfortunately, many people now don’t return the items or better yet, stop themselves from buying them in the first place.

We don’t think of shopping as walking through an emotional minefield, but many times that is just what the experience is like.

One of the best ways to combat this minefield is to take your emotions out of shopping, which is easier said than done.  However, knowing why your emotions come into play when shopping can help you better control them.

How to Control Your Emotions When Shopping

Continue Reading

Swagbucks Review: Join to Receive Free Gift Cards and Other Prizes

Swagbucks_Signup

We are in gazelle intensity mode paying down our debt, and one of the ways that we can still give our kids a nice Christmas without spending a lot of money is through Swagbucks.

I simply search the Internet as usual using Swagbucks as my search engine instead of Yahoo! or Google; occasionally I will be rewarded with Swagbucks (usually ranging from 7 to 79 points per time).

What Is Swagbucks?

Swagbucks is an Internet search engine.

You can use it much the same way you use Google or Yahoo.  However, as you are searching, you are sometimes rewarded with Swagbucks.  These Swagbucks can be redeemed for gift cards or other prizes.

I have won anywhere from 7 to 79 Swagbucks at a time, and because I frequently need to search the Internet as a freelance writer and blogger, I usually win Swagbucks several times a day.  All of the Swagbucks I win accrue until I decide to redeem them for a prize.

What I like is that I am getting rewards for doing something I would do during my day anyway—search the Internet.

How to Sign Up With Swagbucks

Continue Reading

Earth Day Freebies and Deals – and a Little History Too

earth_lightbulb

Earth Day was first held on April 22, 1970, and it was lead by Senator Gaylord Nelson from Wisconsin.

Nearly 20 million people participated and today, 42 years later, we still celebrate Earth Day, but now, 175 countries celebrate Earth Day.

Earth Day 2012 will also be celebrated on April 22nd (and will be celebrated on that date at least until 2015).

The primary purpose of the day is to bring awareness to environmental issues as well as to focus on reducing, reusing, and recycling.

Of course, proponents of frugality recognize that the things we do to keep Mother Earth healthy are the same things we can do to keep our finances healthy.  By reducing, reusing and recycling, we become more financially conservative.

When you buy a used car, shop at garage sales or your thrift stores or hold your own garage sale or donate items you no longer use, you are saving money and keeping items out of the landfill, which is a win-win.

To celebrate Earth Day this year, several retailers are offering freebies or discounts.  There are plenty of great offers to take advantage of:

Continue Reading