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Save a Buck on National Dollar Day

Have you ever heard of National Dollar Day? This little known day commemorates the August 2nd in 1786 that Congress established the U.S. monetary system.

I was going to bore you with more facts about dollars and money. But instead I’ll leave that to the Federal Reserve and jump to the useful tips on how to save a buck on this National Dollar Day. Please note I am not being compensated to mention any of the companies or programs listed below; these are personal recommendations from one consumer.

Tips to save a dollar

  1. Couponing

    Not talking about the old school sit and cut coupons from the Sunday paper, although those are still useful if you have the patience. Digital coupons and saving apps are the quicker and easier way to save a buck. Most grocery stores will allow you to load the coupons directly to your store card. Very often there is little wait time for the coupons to load as I’ve loaded coupons at a wholesale club while walking through the store shopping.

    Saving apps and rebate websites are the next easiest way to save a dollar when shopping. My personal favorites are Ibotta, SavingStar and Checkout 51. Be careful to read the details on each offer carefully and match the product exactly. Fortunately some of the apps, like Ibotta, have a built in feature that allows you to scan a product’s bar-code while in the store to confirm it matches the deal. Even with my sporadic usage I’ve still managed to save over $120.

  2. Buy generic

    Unjustified brand loyalty is a waste of money when it comes to shopping for food and other household items. I came to that realization years ago when I started trying some of the store brands and generics at my local grocery stores. At times there was a clear preference for a brand name due to a difference in taste, but more often than not the two were extremely comparable in every way except for price, where the store brands consistently won.

    The rare exception to this is when using saving method #1 makes a brand name less expensive than the generic. Here’s where I have to mention Ibotta again because they have these great any brand rebates that you can use on store brands to save even more bucks.

  3. Libraries

    In July I encountered a Twitter-storm surrounding a foolish suggestion for the closure & replacement of libraries by a corporation. Needless to say that idea, didn’t fly with all of the savvy savers out there who know the best place to pick up a book for free still is the public library.

    Besides saving when it comes to buying hard copies of books, some libraries like my local one also allow you to borrow digital copies for your e-reader, saving yet more money. It’s also a great place to get DVDs and CDs (which we all know methods of digitizing, right?), although perhaps not the newest and latest ones.

  4. Kill the vampires

    The energy vampires that is. Not everyone can afford to immediately upgrade everything in their house to a more energy efficient model. However, you can stop things like phone chargers, computers, printers, TVs, sound systems and other random appliances not used 24-7 but plugged in all the time from increasing your electricity bill.

    The easiest way is to shut them off and unplug them when done using them. But realistically when it comes to our daily electronics (PCs, TVs) we’re not unplugging these, so the best bet becomes to put them on a power strip that you can flick the switch off when you’re done. Other tips to stop the energy vampires can be found at the U.S. Department of Energy’s website.

  5. BYOL

    This is the best tip but probably the hardest (at least for me) to execute: brin your own lunch. Here in the U.S., food establishments are practically everywhere. And if they aren’t close by yet, just give it a few months. Choosing to brown bag it over fast food or casual dining can save you hundreds each month. The trick I’ve found works best is planning ahead and duplicating my favorite meals from the closest casual dining restaurants near my work and office locations.

  6. Consignment

    Growing up what came to mind when I thought of a consignment store was the cluttered stores in the back of a shopping center where it became a tedious chore to find anything of value. Thankfully most consignment stores have changed. Also in all fairness, it may not be appropriate to refer to these stores as consignment at all, since they generally buy clothes on the spot as opposed to the old school method of splitting the money once the clothing is sold.

    My recent favorite is the franchise Clothes Mentor, which offers a personal shopper option. Online options like Thredup and Poshmark offer similar curation services, but to me, nothing beats being able to try something on first. Yes there are free exchanges and shipping, but who has time for that? Not me. Saving time is just as important as saving dollars.

Check out three other ways to save on my all finance blog.

What way(s) to save a dollar have you discovered? Share in the comments!

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Budgeting for Vacation? Don’t Overlook These Expenses | ShermansTravel.com

The next time you plan for a trip, be sure to take these expenses into account.

Source: Budgeting for Vacation? Don’t Overlook These Expenses | ShermansTravel.com

How to Divorce Your Job and Keep the House – #1

Let’s have a virtual show of hands, “Who hates their day job?”

raised_hands
Click to take the poll. See the results in the next post.

Everyday at mine, I encourage youths to really think about what job they will have and make sure it’s something they enjoy while my distaste for my job slowly grows. Believe it or not, I actually was excited when I began about what I how it would help me reach my personal goals and enjoyed it up until bureaucratic changes sapped all the joy from it. It’s become an abusive relationship. So I think it’s time to divorce my job just like I did my cheating, abusive ex.

(Was that TMI?)

Of course you should never rush into a divorce with a spouse and the same thing goes for your job. I’ve been contemplating this change for about the past three years and researching how to do it successfully,  keep my house (the job can keep the kids and the pets), and progress towards full-time self-employment. My (Blogging 201) goal is for this to be a new biweekly post series, filled with tips, research, and my own personal experiences. So on to the first tip.

ECVtalkbubbleTip 1: Have a side-hustle, side-gig, or alternate income stream.

Most everyone is looking for ways to supplement their income these days. I’ve been doing it myself for about 10 years now. While there have been good and not-so-good years, I’ve persisted which is a key trait when your goal is to be self-employed.

Don’t know what you might be able to do?

Well if you’re reading this you might be a blogger. Fellow blogger Charlene Oldham talks about opportunities to get paid for your writing. She also suggested the site Elance.com. This site actually suggests work based on the skills you enter when you register. Check it out for ideas or do a web search for similar sites.

Check back in two weeks for a list of side-gig suggestions.

My Story – #WhyIStayed #WhyILeft

This should be called #WhyIStayed and why he had to go. I’ll refer to him as “P” which seems appropriate for this past perpetrator of domestic violence. Why I was with him is a paragraph for another post but was it love…

I don’t remember what led to the first incident but I do vaguely remember “P” throwing an iron my direction. It missed or perhaps he intentionally missed seeing as I did physically still resemble the female who had years before hit him with a car. Nothing serious; just a low speed tap to demonstrate my apathy with regards to his safety and well-being. Maybe that memory was there but it didn’t remain long as the thrown iron was followed by shoving me into the bedframe, the TV stand knocking it down, and then managing to pin me to the ground with his hands around my neck.

With this first instance I didn’t see myself as a victim. I still don’t because I acknowledge the part I played in allowing “P” to treat me as he would in time. The harder thing was trying to do the right thing and suppress my own violent tendencies. I thankfully put down the chair I was poised to hit him with. Yet when the police arrived I was told it appeared I was the aggressor due to him bleeding from where I scratched him while he was choking me.

I made him leave but ended up taking him back primarily because I had no intention of being a single mom especially when I didn’t even want to have the child. Also in trying to do the right thing by a higher power it meant not abandoning the marriage at the first sign of trouble.

Over time the abuse became more verbal, psychological and emotional. This combined with my own pre-existing issues with depression made me feel increasingly trapped and alone. Why I finally left is the last instance of physical violence which left me with a fractured wrist, a blown eardrum, body covered in bruises, lacerations inside of my mouth and having been sexually assaulted.

Domestic violence is a solvable issue that has to share a month with breast cancer and is often overshadowed due to that fact. That needs to change.

Women shouldn’t have to get to the point I got to in my past situation before realizing it’s time to go. There’s a private shame  that often accompanies domestic violence that prevents one from speaking up and seeking help. Also the issue is rarely covered unless there happens to be a high profile case that takes over the news for a time.

We all need to work towards not only raising awareness, as was done with the hashtags #WhyIStayed and #WhyILeft, but also to addressing the underlying issues that lead to abuse, which are often a combination of psychological and environmental. We need to support the local agencies, often not-for-profit that help domestic violence survivors. The local agency I support  is Hubbard House. Find your local agency and help out.

Let’s End the Cycle of Violence!

Weekly beauty tip #9 – In-Season Beauty Masks

It’s autumn & everywhere you look there’s something pumpkin or apple-flavored. Why not try using the seasons two favorite foods to gently exfoliate your skin? Let us know what you think of these masks.

Pumpkin Papaya Mask
½ ripe papaya, 1 cup pumpkin, 1 egg white, beaten until frothy, 1 tsp honey

Skin and seed the papaya; mash with a fork until soft. Stir in the rest of the ingredients until mixture is smooth. Apply to face using a circular motion,. Rinse off after 5 minutes. [Courtesy of Jennifer Jaqua]
The natural acids inside papaya and pumpkin exfoliate your skin, which helps keep your pores clear.

Apple and Tomato Mask
½ tomato, 2 tbsp. plain yogurt, 1 tbsp brown sugar, 1 egg white, 2 to 4 tbsp whole wheat flour, 2 slices green apple (chopped)

Mix all ingredients together until well combined. Spread the mixture on clean skin and let dry for 15 minutes. Rinse with warm water. [Courtesy of Sonya Dakar, owner of Sonya Dakar Skin Clinic in Los Angeles]
The natural acids inside tomatoes exfoliate your skin, which helps keep your pores clear.