This week’s money tip roundup also includes suggestions for tweaking your brown-bag lunch into a meal worth looking forward to, and a personal challenge that’ll make you $1,000 richer by summer’s end.
3 ways to avoid overspending online. Who would willingly make any part of life less convenient? There’s an argument to be made that online shopping is so easy that there’s not much time or need to pause and think. So …
Don’t keep your credit card on file.
Doing so puts you on the fast track to one-click impulse purchases. Opt to enter your payment info each time, and use those extra minutes for an Is it really worth it? gut check.
4 health myths that drain your wallet. Come on, who are you kidding?
I need a personal trainer to get the health results I want. Unless you have a medical condition or injury, you don’t need a trainer to sweat a little. To stay healthy, we probably have to exercise more and eat less.
5 tips for cutting food costs like a college student. This list was written for college students, but hey, they’re not the only ones interested in coupons—or Lucky Charms for that matter:
Use coupons wisely
A rule of thumb is to use coupons to buy the products that you would purchase anyway, but for less money. Don’t clip coupons for items you would never have tried, except for the sale, unless you really need the item. Some coupons are not a good deal. Consider the smarter purchase: a coupon to save $1.00 on two boxes of Lucky Charms at a larger size that get stale before you can eat them, versus buying one box for less at a regular price that you eat before the expiration date.
5 ways splurging can help you save. Spend more to save? Seems like an oxymoron. But, depending on what kind of shopper you are, it potentially saves time and money to, for instance:
Paying for home grocery delivery. Sure, you’ll pay slightly more along with an additional delivery fee—plus tip—to shop online, but it will cost you less. Here’s why: You’ll actually stick to your shopping list. Bye-bye impulse spending.
6 ways stores try to keep you there. Here are some more reasons to avoid the in-store experience—because the longer you’re there, the more likely you are to buy something you hadn’t planned on and don’t really need. One way stores keep shoppers from leaving, and keep them coming back time and again, is by making the shopping experience something of a messy, cluttered treasure hunt:
Stocking the Store With Surprising Finds
To keep customers shopping, retailers must strive to design their stores in a way that confronts shoppers with items that pique their interest and keep them browsing the shelves.
“One of the things that really keeps people in stores longer are new and unexpected discoveries,” [Buyology Inc. President Donna J.] Sturgess said. “This is what transforms shopping into an experience and not just a transaction.”
7 healthy brown bag lunches for work. There are hundreds of ways to spice up your sad homemade sandwich. Here are a few more, such as:
Add Dipping Sauces
A small bag of carrots and celery sticks isn’t too exciting – until you add garlic hummus or sweet Thai chili sauce. Tasty dipping sauces can spice up everything from leftover grilled chicken (cut into nugget-sized pieces), pre-cooked shrimp, and fruits and veggies.
8 ways to save $1,000 by Labor Day. The challenge, if you choose to accept, is to figure out a way to mildly tweak your lifestyle in order to be $1,000 richer by the end of the summer. One suggestion is to take advantage of the abundance of free summertime entertainment in your neck of the woods:
Think Like a Visitor
When you’re trapped indoors all winter, it’s easy to spend your weekend (and cash) on dining out, movies, and indoor entertainment. Free activities abound in the summer! Check your local paper or chamber of commerce website for weekend events. Vow to eliminate one night out each month with some form of free, or very cheap, outdoor entertainment.
8 ways to haggle like a rockstar. Do rockstars really haggle? Aren’t they above dickering over a few bucks? Seems so un-rockstar like. Anyway, Consumerist readers advise that at a flea market setting, it’s better to make a human connection rather than take the hard-ass haggling approach:
It helps to form a relationship right then and there. I think the best advice here, particularly if they’re a vendor specializes in something in particular, is to ask questions about their specialty and how they came to be interested in it.
9 top tips for hosting a profitable yard sale. Tips so nice we had to post them twice today include:
Do not bad-mouth your stuff. At one group garage sale, a friend consistently told customers what was wrong with the items they were buying. “Oh, that book is awful. That’s a terrible movie. That skillet doesn’t heat very well. That game is boring.” We sent this friend inside to drink beer ASAP.