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

Think Long Term When Shopping Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Black Friday Sales

When you do your Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping don’t just think of things for the upcoming holidays — think long-term!

Many sales are at their best on these days.  It may be worth it for you to take advantage now and buy items for events and purposes throughout the year.

Many a time has passed where I thought I’d see an item on sale again but it ended up not being as good as the Black Friday or Cyber Monday price.  Damn!  Missed out.

Of course for this to work you have to have money in your budget to buy extra now for the rest of the year.  It’s silly to put great deals on credit if you are going to end up paying credit card interest later on.

If you think out it and plan well, buying now can save you money, and time, for the upcoming year.

Here are some great occasions to shop for on Black Friday and Cyber Monday:

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

Know Your Spending Triggers To Change Your Financial Behavior

Many financial experts advocate knowing your financial personality. 

Investopedia defines five major financial personalities: big spenders, savers, shoppers, debtors, and investors.  While these financial tests can be entertaining, most people fall into a several categories or none of the categories.

What can be more beneficial than learning what broad category you fit into is to identify your spending triggers and how to deal with them.

For instance, I am generally frugal.

I hang up my clothes rather than dry them in the dryer, my car has over 100,000 miles and is 8 years old, and I barter for services that I need rather than paying for them.

My one spending weakness is food, specifically going out to eat.

Generally, my desire to dine out is motivated by stress.  If I have had a busy or chaotic day, there is nothing I want more than to sit in a restaurant, relax, and have someone cook and clean up the mess.  To combat this trigger, I try to find other ways to relax, but I also prepare freezer meals so food is already prepared on a crazy day.  If I still want the dining out experience, I have learned to prepare ahead by buying deal certificates to our favorite restaurant so we can dine out for less.

By taking these steps, my family has curbed our dining out excursions from several times a week to once or twice a month.  I recognized my spending trigger and found solutions for avoiding it or ways to dine out for less.

Typical Spending Triggers

Continue Reading