Best Bargains: June

Here are some ideas on how to save money in June.

Summer gets into full swing this month. Check out the June deals at your local grocery stores.

Go ahead and buy some extras while they’re on sale to save some money over the next few months as you partake in summer activities.

Here are some of the items that will be on sale in June:

• Bottled water
• Soda
• Tea bags
• Iced tea mixes
• Frozen treat novelties
• Ice cream

Looking for fresh produce? You’ll also find deals on these delectable fruits and veggies:

• Cantaloupe
• Corn
• Blueberries
• Lettuce
• Peaches
• Strawberries
• Watermelon

On nonfood items, you’ll get some great buys on dishes in June. Later, around Father’s Day, look for sales on tools for Dad.

As summer approaches, you might be thinking more and more about getting into shape. June is a great time to check out your local gyms because they’ll be reducing the cost of their summer memberships this month.

It’s time to get out and explore the local bargains as you celebrate the coming of warmer weather. Save on these food and non-food items to get your summer party started.


Best Bargains: May

Here are some ideas on the best ways to save money in May:

Are you ready for picnics and barbecues? May is the time to eat outdoors. After all, the weather is beautiful and there are all kinds of outdoor activities to take part in.

You’ll find plenty of bargains at the grocery store this month for all those cookouts!

Look for sales on these foods:

• Bottled water
• Carbonated beverages
• Hamburger
• Hot dogs
• Buns for hamburgers and hotdogs
• Chips
• Condiments like mustard, ketchup and relish
• Frozen pies
• Ice cream
• Frozen novelty treats

If you’re after a new refrigerator or vacuum cleaner, May would be the month to replace those 2 items as the prices will be right.

Some summer-related items will also be on sale, like:

• Napkins
• Paper plates
• Disposable cups
• Charcoal
• Charcoal fluid
• Pots and pans for cooking
• Outdoor furniture

Plan to have the best summer you’ve ever had this year.

Stock up on all these foods and nonfood items to last you until fall arrives. You’ll make your dollars go further and have plenty to eat all summer long!


Make the Most of your Money in May

Here is a calendar of things that can help you focus on your finances this month.

1-31 National Mental Health Month. This month-long observance encourages greater understanding of mental health. Reducing your stress levels helps your mental health, so keep your finances under control so they don’t cause you excess stress.

5 Cinco de Mayo. Although this celebration is a national holiday in Mexico, people in the US also celebrate the Battle of Puebla in 1862. Why not cook up your Mexican feast at home to save a few bucks?
8 National Teachers’ Day. This holiday commemorates the importance of teachers in all of our lives. Talk with your kids about how they want to celebrate their hard-working teachers. Then, assume the financial teacher role and talk with your kids about smartly managing their allowance. Useful money habits are best learned at home.
12 International Nurses Day. Give these wonderful workers the due they deserve. If you’ve got a nurse in your family, give her a savings bond to help her on the road to financial success.

13 Mothers’ Day. Have a special celebration for your mother today. While you’re visiting, talk with her about how her retirement planning is progressing. If she’s already retired, find out some tips about how to prepare for your own retirement.
19 Armed Forces Day. Honor the armed forces today. If you have family members in the armed forces, give a share of stock for their dedication to our country.
22 National Maritime Day. This day is designated to celebrate merchant mariners, who transport cargo and passengers safely in the waters of the US. Why not “transport” an extra $100 to the bank this month in their honor?
28 Memorial Day. This US holiday commemorates all the American women and men that have died serving their country. Why not spend time with those you love today? Enjoy a money-saving picnic in the park with friends and family.

31 World No Tobacco Day. This world holiday encourages people to educate themselves about the health consequences of tobacco use. If you smoke, take time today to figure out how much money you spend in a month for cigarettes. If you don’t smoke, good for you—you’re already saving money!


Frugal Living Tip: Check Out eBooks from Your Local Library

How Much Can You Save? ? $40+ monthly on Electronic Books for Your Reading Device

Making It Work:

Are you enjoying the latest trend in reading with an electronic reading device? There are plenty:

Amazon Kindle, Apple iPad, Barnes & Noble’s Nook, Sony’s e-Readers, Onyx’s Booxes, Pocketbooks and many others.

Since most of these readers offer you the latest mainstream books at reduced pricing, you’re already paying less money for electronic books than for printed ones. But did you know many public libraries offer to loan ebooks for free?

Depending on the library, you can access the latest books written by your favorite top authors for nothing!

Financially, this is amazing when you think about it, particularly if you’re an avid reader. All you have to do is get out your library card and access your local library’s website using your device. You’ll most likely be asked to enter your library card number early in the process. Navigate to the library’s e-resources webpage, which they’ll have if they offer electronic books.

There, you’ll find a link to the listing of devices onto which you can download the library’s ebooks. Use your device and the library’s software to proceed through the process step-by-step. Then, browse their current electronic book library. Once you find a book you like, click the “download” button to load the electronic book onto your device.

The books will remain on your device for you to read for two to four weeks, depending on the library’s terms and whether your selection is a new book or not.

Depending on how much you read and how often you purchase books for your device, you stand to save $40 or even more monthly accessing your library’s electronic book collection.

Why spend your hard-earned money on books to read once? If you check out electronic books at your local library you won’t pay a single cent!

You can read all you want at no cost to you. Plus, some libraries also offer magazines, journals and other resources electronically for free as well.

Now, that’s a great way to save money and still live well.

Visit Eternal Spiral Book to see their catalog and then head to your public library. You can also browse through Amazon’s site and find titles you like, then see if they are available through your library.

Earth Day is coming up, for example. Why not borrow this handy guide? Earth Day and Every Day: A Beginner’s Guide to Green Activities and Recipes (Green Matters)

Easter is only a few days away: Quick and Easy Easter Dinner Recipes (Holiday Entertaining)

Head to your library to see what other great titles you can borrow.


Success Strategies for Saving Money at the Holidays, Part 1

The best way to save money at the holidays is to be honest with yourself and others about what you can and can’t afford. Don’t burden yourself with debt, or feel guilty if you don’t have much or indeed any money for the holidays.

The holidays seem to be synonymous with gifts, parties, food and alcohol. But not that long ago in England, the Christmas stockings hung from the mantelpiece by the fire were considered stuffed to the brim if there was an orange and a sixpence in them (about a dime).

We are not sure how things have become so commercialized in the past few decades, but with the current economic recession still biting hard, this year is the right time to get back to basics. For example, do you really need to buy a gift for everyone in the family? Or more than one gift per person. Is quality important, or quantity?

Each family will have to decide these things for themselves, but it is important to ask the question. If you have a large family, can you do a Secret Santa in order to just gift to one? Or can all the adults agree that Christmas this year will just be for the children, and that they get to ask for a list of three things and Santa will be bringing them one as a surprise?
(Continued in Part 2)


Success Strategies for Saving Money at the Holidays, Part 2

Success Strategies for Saving Money at the Holidays, Part 2

Continued from Part 1
You can create a lot of family fun without having to spend a lot on food and alcohol. If you do want to indulge yourself by going out for a meal or drinks, don’t starve yourself all day in preparation for a feast. Also don’t buy a lot of expensive and watered down drinks. Your friends might consider taking turns hosting and getting in cases of beer from the warehouse club, or larger bottles of wine. In many cases the whole bottle will be cheaper than what you are paying for one glass of wine in a restaurant.

Have a potluck holiday supper in which everyone brings a dish, or you assign people appetizer, main course, sides and so on. You can provide all the cutlery and drinks or have everything bring a bottle or six pack and you provide the tableware, glasses and desserts.

Make do with the decorations you already have, or get some free resources online and use crayons, colored pencils and whatever else you already have in the house to make your own decorations with the children. Spend time using the toys that the kids got last year for the holidays and probably have not played with since.

In fact, one great way to spend early December planning for the holidays is to take the time to start clearing out things in your house and especially in each child’s room and start gathering all the things that you and the children don’t use or have outgrown.

If they are decent quality, put them on sale at eBay or donate them to the Salvation Army and be sure to get a receipt. Then look on their website to calculate the values for the items and deduct those amounts from your taxes next April.

Use the money you earn on eBay or the money you save on your taxes as the foundation for next year’s Christmas savings account. Don’t feel pressured to spend what you don’t have. Practice saying, “I can’t afford it,” or “If we want it, we have to save up for it.”

Also be sure to revise your Christmas list in light of what you find as you do your holiday cleaning and sorting. You may find yourself crossing a lot of items off the list.

Try to stick to practical gifts for your loved ones, such as attractive items that double as school supplies, for instance, can make great stocking stuffers. Clothes, shoes, boots, a new back pack and so on also make excellent gifts, especially if they are at the right price and your child did not get very many new back to school supplies.

As for re-gifting, we are all in favor of it provided it is not fruitcake. But seriously, if you have no use for it, by all means pass it on to someone who will appreciate it, so long as no one will find out or expect you to use or wear the item you were gifted. Also consider if it is genuinely that person’s taste or not. Re-gifting can help fill in blanks in your list, and it can also enable you to give a gift to someone you would like to be able to give one to, but might not have in the budget.

Everyone has different perspectives on Christmas and what they wish to spend versus what they can afford. If your gap has widened this year, be honest about it and focus on all the fun and free ways you can celebrate the holidays. The new found financial freedom you start creating for yourself and your family will be well worth it and the best gift you can give to your children.

For more top tips on how to save money at the holidays, see How to Save Money this Holiday Season


Frugal Shopping Ideas for November

In anticipation of Thanksgiving, November is an excellent month for deals relating to cooking, baking and housekeeping. Now is the time to get ready for the holidays, and winter.

November is also the month where Cyber Monday and Black Friday offer some truly excellent deals on electronics, toys, games and other holiday gifts to kick off the gift-giving season.

There are deals to be had all over the place during the month of November.

Fruits and Vegetables

✴ Oranges
✴ Cranberries
✴ Tangerines
✴ Pomegranates
✴ Pears
✴ Pumpkins
✴ Persimmons
✴ Sweet potatoes
✴ Broccoli
✴ Spinach
✴ Mushrooms
✴ Winter squash

Grocery Savings

✴ Turkey
✴ Cheese
✴ Butter
✴ Baking supplies
✴ Pie crusts and readymade dough
✴ Frozen pies
✴ Dinner rolls
✴ Cake mix and frosting
✴ Pie fillings
✴ Nuts
✴ Spices
✴ Dried fruits
✴ Halloween clearance candy
✴ Soup
✴ Broth
✴ Marshmallows
✴ Oatmeal

Other Non-Food Items:

✴ Trees, bulbs and shrubs
✴ Carpeting
✴ Flooring
✴ Electronics
✴ Tools
✴ Toys
✴ Christmas gifts
✴ Aluminum foil
✴ Baking pans
✴ Plastic wrap
✴ Cookware

Remember: There’s nothing wrong with buying during the right season to save money if you’re buying products that you intended on purchasing anyway. Shop smarter, live better! That is our motto.