Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Drop the Bag!

Once I get back from any store whether it’s Target or Food Lion, I always keep the plastic bags that the items come in. Just the other day I was thinking of different uses for these plastic bags to help save some money.(Image from Re-nest website)

Here are some ideas for using those plastic bags:
1. Put in small trash cans
2. Clean up poop, when you’re walking your dog
3. Wrap up paint brush
4. Make a rain hat
5. Kitchen clean up when you’re cleaning or cutting fruits and vegetables
6. Hold a wet umbrella
7. Shoe protector
8. Book cover protector
9. Packing material in lieu of buying white foam peanuts
10. Use like a rubber glove when you don't have rubber gloves handy

These are just few ideas for using plastic bags around the house. If you want some more ideas, please check out the article link above for 61 uses of plastic Walmart bags. So keep and reuse those plastic bags, they might come in hand.

Free Attractions in MD

With the weather getting nicer, more and more people are venturing outside to take it all in. As student, I would love to visit more museums or different attractions in MD, especially if they were free or discounted student prices.(Image from Hampton Inn)

Well search no more; I found a website called Free Attractions. When you navigate to the site you, click on your state and it brings up a chart with names of the attractions, city and state.

Here are some of the local attractions I found on the web site in MD:
1. Patterson Park, Baltimore
2. Basillca of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Baltimore
3. Holocaust Memorial, Baltimore
4. National Museum of Civil War Medicine, Frederick

Click on the link above for more ideas. Take in little of Maryland when you can.

It’s so nice outside!

It’s time to break out of your small dorm room or apartment and enjoy the beautiful outside weather. I know what you’re thinking; it’s the end of the semester and I am almost broke, so what can I do? (Image from Waterloo Village)

Here are some free ideas for having fun outside:
1. Take walk or run, whatever you are feeling up too
2. Take our lunch or dinner and eat it outside
3. Take pictures
4. Fly a kite, if you have one
5. Lay outside in the sun and work on your tan
6. Get some friends together and play a outdoor game, like volleyball, basketball or softball

These are just few ideas to take advantage of the beautiful weather and get outside.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Energy Star saving!

Last week my lamp burned out. I was so sad because it was very dark inside my bedroom and I couldn’t see anything. Luckily, my roommate Ashley came to my rescue with this crazy looking light bulb. The light bulb was in a curly shape that I have heard about but didn’t think anything of it.(Image from Green Purchasing at Duke website)

After replacing the light bulb, I become curious about how much money you can save by switching to these energy star light bubs. I found the energy star website and found out that you can “save about $30 over its lifetime and pay for itself in about 6 months”. “It uses 75 percent less energy and lasts about 10 times longer than an incandescent bulb.”

I continued reading and came across decorative lights strings made by energy star. My dad loves Christmas time and our house is cover in Christmas lights, which makes our electric bill higher. So I did some research for my dad. I found out that consumers use 75% less energy by using LCD lights. I also found out that they “can last up to 10 times longer; they are cool to the touch, and come with three year warranty”.

So next time you change a light bulb to energy star light bulb just remember you’re saving $ 30 dollars over lifetime.

3 R's

We all know the 3 new R’s: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.
(Image from Jackson County Website)

Over the years, landfills have accumulated billions tons of trash, but with recycling we can save space and cut down the cost. We should recycle in order to save money, use less energy, and use less of the Earths resources. Recycling also decreases airborne pollution releases from landfills into the air.

Now I bet your wondering how this relates to shopping thrifty. Well, with the 3 new R’s you can save money and cut costs. When you recycle a plastic water bottle or metal soda can and place it inside the recycle bin, it will be reused instead of going to landfill. The term reuse means exactly what it says. You can take an old water bottle refill it and re-use it again and again. In another example, you could take a used jelly jar, clean it out and use it for drinking glass or flower vase. The best advice I can give you to start with is not to over buy and only purchase what you need. Say you buy a bag of apples for a household of two people. Do you think all those apples with get eaten before they go bad? Why risk it; only buy what you need.

So keep these 3 new R’s in the back of your mind the next time you go shopping.

Buying Textbooks

Every student hates the beginning of new semester because it means big bucks for new textbooks. It seems like textbook prices keep rising and many students can’t afford the high cost of new textbooks.(Image from Iowa State University website)

Here are some solutions:
1.Shop around and especially check out Amazon.com

2. If you must buy textbooks in the bookstore, try to buy used ones

3. If you have friend who took the class last semester, ask if they kept their book and if you can borrow it

4. If you have a friend in the same class, consider sharing the textbook and cost

5. See what books the closest Book Exchange has to offer (Links to Towson Book Exchange)

Hopefully next semester, you won’t face high textbook bills. Good Luck shoppers.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Moving Out!

The school year is starting to come to end and it’s time to start packing to go home. (Image from Sun Sentinel website)

I have been living off campus in Fairways at Towson apartments off of Goucher Blvd for about two years now. As we all know, a lot things start to build-up over the school years, like junk and other random items.

My roommates and I are trying to get a head start on cleaning and deciding what could be sold in garage sale. But none of us have personal experience running a garage sale, so we looked online to find some help.

Here are 6 tips for future garage sellers from an article called “How to have a successful Garage Sale”.

Garage Sale Tip #1: Get a Friend

You will need someone to help you with your garage sale. Besides needing help moving tables there will also be times during your garage sale you are going to be bombarded with people asking for lower prices. It’s more enjoyable with another person (or persons) and probably more cash. Also note that people tend to flock to the multiple family garage sales.

Garage Sale Tip #2: Let People Know Ahead of Time

Get garage sale signs out at least three days in advance. People need some forewarning and some encouragement when it comes to getting up early on Saturday morning. Many customers show 30 minutes before your posted start time. Early birders swarm garage sales and are some of the best customers of all. They are your friends when it comes to a successful garage sale.

Garage Sale Tip #3: Timing

You need to know that no matter what time you start the garage sale, there WILL be people there earlier. “Early Birds” are often ready to buy, buy, and buy. It might be wise to purposely list the garage sale a half of an hour later than you really would like to start. For example, set your start time to 8:00 knowing that folks will be there at 7:30.

Garage Sale Tip #4: Location, Location, Location

To state the obvious, you need to have your garage sale in a populated neighborhood. However, if you have garage sale signs directing folks or an ad on Craigslist.com, you won’t have an issue with numbers

Garage Sale Tip #5: Limit the work

Don’t get hung up on marking every single garage sale item with a price. Arrange your garage sale in separate pricing areas. Make a box full of socks 25 cents each. Try to limit your pricing to a few different numbers (e.g. $.25, $.50, $1, $5). This will help you when folks start wheeling and dealing.

Remember your goals when you are asked to lower a price at your garage sale. You do NOT want to have a lot of stuff left over to haul to Goodwill; that would be more work for you. So don’t be stubborn and refuse to knock 25 cents off the price. You will be surprised at innate bargain quality that arises in the heat of the bargaining moment.

Garage Sale Tip #6: Enjoy the Interaction at Your Garage Sale!

Have fun talking to people. Most people that frequent garage sales are enjoying the process. (Otherwise they wouldn’t be up at such an early hour on a Saturday). If they are enjoying it, you should too!

By following these simple garage sale tips, you can turn your trash into cash! One more note: once you have completed your garage sale (most garage sales tend to slow down in the early afternoon), gather up all of the remaining unsold stuff and haul it immediately off to Goodwill. Not only will you be cleaning out your garage but you will be helping people in need.

Recent news story!

ReStore is a new thrift store. It sells donated building supplies, furniture and household appliances at 50 to 90 percent off the retail prices.

While other stores are closing in New York, ReStore is staying open and doing well.

"People want to save a little money fixing up their house, so instead of having a contractor do it, they can find great bargains themselves" said Cynthia Jennings, a Habitat for Humanity board member.

At ReStore, much of the merchandise has never been used or has been used so little that it appears new. A $1,200 refrigerator with a bottom freezer might sell for $500. A $1,000 slab of granite could sell for $150. A variety of items, such as flooring materials, toilets, lighting and nails, might show up on any given day.

It’s great place to start when working on a building project. To learn more read “In Tight Times, Thrifty Loudoun Store Shoppers Thrive”.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Pop Star Shopping

Australian pop star Kylie Minogue was spotted shopping in thrift stores in her home town of Melbourne last Wednesday. It’s hard to believe that pop star like Kylie would shop at thrift stores, but with today’s economy I can believe it.(Image from Scarlett website)

“She looked happy as she browsed around before buying a couple of summery dresses, a trendy little hat with a peak and a skirt. All up, she spent under $40.” What a great buy for Kylie. For more on this story click here, Kylie's thrifty shopping spree.

After reading this short article, I noticed some important information was missing, like if Kylie usually shops at thrift stores or why she likes to shop at thrift stores. I think readers would like insight into Kylie’s life and relate her pop star life to shopping thrifty.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Save Money on Dates

With our economy in serious trouble, everyone is trying to save a little extra money, even on dates. Back in the day the boy would pick up the girl, go to dinner and maybe movie and boys were always expected to pay. Now times have changed and so have prices.

Here is some date money saving tips from article called “A Student's Guide to Great Cheap Dates” for next time when you ask that special someone out:

1. Take advantage of Mother Nature. One idea for students trying to create a magical date on a small budget is to have an outdoor picnic, take a hike or stroll through a park, tube along a river or relaxing relax on the beach.

2. Coffee anyone? AskMen.com suggests taking a date to a coffee house, preferably one that provides free refills, and spends the night getting better acquainted with one another. The website highly recommends visiting coffeehouses for a first date.

3. Use your surfing skills. CitySearch.com is an excellent resource for free events happening in cities across the country. The website not only lists the events in each area, but also ranks and critiques them as well. For example, the website suggests that students attending college in Richmond, Va. spend an evening walking the grounds of Maymont, a 100-acre estate filled with romantic pathways and gardens, while students 21 and over in Jacksonville, Fla. can tour the Anheuser-Busch Brewery and receive free beer samples. The only money you'll need for these activities is for travel expenses.

4. Maybe you can get lucky... Another idea is to take advantage of radio station giveaways, which can include concert tickets to some of the area's most highly anticipated shows.

5. For the not so lucky... For students not fortunate enough to win any contests, many radio stations, especially those in large cities, host free concerts. Radio station DC 101 in Washington, D.C. provides free concerts each Saturday evening during the summer in downtown D.C., with such notable headlining acts as G. Love & Special Sauce, Better Than Ezra and Cake. A picnic beforehand and a daylong date can be spent at practically no cost, says Bursey.

6. Check out the campus scene. "Many colleges offer lots of free activities," says Greer. "Such as lectures, readings, movies, dances, barbeques; lots of different things. Students should check their college's Web page to find a calendar of events and take advantage of what's offered."

Free Samples Over Here!

I don’t know about you, but I love getting free samples. I enjoy walking down different rows while I am shopping to hear someone ask me “Would like to try free sample”. Wouldn’t it be great if there was web site that told about different free samples? (Image from Google Image)

Well, there is it’s called “Shopping 4 Freebies”. “Shopping 4 Freebies” gives a list of the free samples for the day, where to find cheap gas prices, coupons, saving tips, freebie hunting tips, lists of different categories and much more.

Take Control of Your Expenses

When you’re a new student at college, it’s hard to understand and control your expenses. I wish I had some direction on how to save money at school.

In the article “27 Money Tips for College Students” the author J.D offers money saving ideas under different categories like Money Management, Organization and Planning, Campus Life, Personal Life, Decision Making, and Making Money.

These are few of tips that I found to be the most useful from the article:

1. Make smart choices. You can do anything you want, but you can’t do everything you want. Decide what’s important to you, and pursue that. And remember to leave time for yourself.

2. Don’t hang out with big spenders. Some kids have parents with deep pockets. Other kids are well down the road to financial trouble. Hanging out with them can lead you to spend more than you can afford.

3. Take advantage of campus activities. There’s always something to do. Attend free movie festivals. Pay a few bucks to see the local symphony every month. Support the sports teams. Attend lecture series. Get the most from your student ID!

4. Limit vices. Beer, cigarettes, and pot are expensive. They also screw with your body and mind. Take it easy on the vices. There’s nothing wrong with a drink or two on Friday night, but don’t go overboard.

5. Track your spending. Use a notebook, or use Quicken if you have it. Good records will prevent you from getting overdrawn at the bank or charging more than your credit limit. This habit also allows you to detect spending patterns.

6. Make a budget. It doesn’t have to be fancy. At the start of the month, estimate how much money you’ll receive and decide where needs to go. Remember: you don’t need to spend it all.

7. Save your receipts. Put them in a shoebox under your bed if you must, but hold onto them. You’ll need to be able to compare them with statements at the end of the month. And some you’ll need to keep for several years.