Monday, December 31, 2007

Saving money like Grandma did (and not in a mattress)!!

Today's tip on saving money is going old school. That's right, we're going to talk about a very inexpensive, simple way to save money, and it won't cost you a thing to start. You'll be amazed and astounded at how well it will work for you, if you give it a chance.

I'm talking envelopes here, people. That's right, plain old white envelopes...the kind we all use to use to mail letters to each other with, before we became addicted to email, instant messaging, instant chat, and yes, even blogs! Seeing as we don't use them any more (for the most part), I'm sure you have some lying around your home somewhere.

This is so simple, it will blow your mind. I'm not kidding. Seriously. This works best with a budget (which I'll probably talk about tomorrow), and will actually help you stick to the budget as well. Here is what you do...put the cash you have allotted or budgeted for something, and stick it in an envelope. That's it. That alone will save you money. How, you ask? It's not earning interest, you is just sitting in a paper envelope. True, but the magic lies in the psychological aspect of it.

Years back (a LOT of years back, like early last century), society did not have credit cards, especially not easy access to them like we do now. People saved their cash, whether in a bank, or in you guessed it, envelopes. Whether saving for vacation, a car (or mule, depending on how far back you want to go), or even a house, people would save their cash, and only spend what they had on hand. See, the great thing about cash, is once you are out of it, you can't spend more of it, until you get more in your hand.

Take for example your weekly (or bi-weekly, or even monthly) food budget. My wife and I use a monthly budget. Just for easy math, say we budget $400 a month for groceries. Break that down to weekly (as we base our menus on what is on sale each week at the grocery store) sums of $100, having a separate envelope for each week. Now when we go shopping, we buy whatever we need or want, as long as it is under $100...if we are over it at check-out, we have to put some stuff back, until we are under the $100 limit. By paying with the cash in hand, we can not overspend, because that is all we have. If you buy on a credit card, or even a debit card, you often will rationalize the extra purchase ("it's only $2 over"). Well, that $2 (or whatever sum it was) has to be taken from somewhere else, now, possibly leaving you short for a bill payment. Worse, you can easily overdraw or go over limit your checking or credit account, costing you huge fees, that can quickly reach hundreds of dollars extra (now that is NOT saving money). A quick personal example, I tried to transfer some money into my checking account, from another account. The bank messed up on their end (I had a print out showing it had been completed). Well, I made a purchase, and it overdrew my account, and long story short, I had ELEVEN bounced checks, which the bank tried to charge me $385 in fees for, not to mention the fees the other business wanted to assess me. What a headache it was getting it fixed (thankfully, I ended up not having to pay anything). This just shows how quickly those fees can add up, and paying the bank hundreds of dollars is not saving money.

So give it a try! Just pick one area of your financial life, and test it out for a few weeks. Set a limit for something (food, entertainment, gas, etc), and put that amount of cash in an envelope (remember to carry it with you), and write on the envelope what it is for. When it's gone, it's gone, until the next time you would refill it (ie - a paycheck). You'll be surprised at how quickly your money will stretch, and how quickly you'll save it, using this method. And remember, SAVING MONEY is MAKING MONEY!

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Sunday, December 30, 2007

Barter your unused stuff for other stuff - free!

Here's a website I came across today, that is perfect for this blog. U-Exchange is a website where you can register, post what you have to trade, and what you want to trade it for. It also allows you to search other members and what they have to to trade, and what they want to trade for. They have it set-up for the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. You can then break it down further by state.

Have a fish tank you want to get can swap it for a side-by-side refrigerator in Danville, VA. Got a heavy duty air compressor just lying around? Trade it for a Toyota Land Cruiser, in Berrett, MD. In Orange County, CA, you could trade a 14k gold watch for a laptop. The list is endless...check it out, you might be surprised at what you see, and who knows, maybe you can get rid of some of that stuff you have packed away or sitting around, and trade it for something you really need. Bartering is as old as time, and conjures up images of ancient civilizations, and crowded markets and bazaars, where customers and vendors haggle back and forth over price or products. U-exchange brings bartering into the 21st century, and into your living room. Take a few minutes to check it out, and see what kind of money you can save by swapping something you no longer need or use. Think of it this way, you paid for one item once, and more likely than not, got your use out of it. Now you can trade it for something else, and not have to pay extra money. Your original money that bought your first item, has basically doubled, as you are getting a different item. It's a great way to save and keep money in your wallet, and SAVING MONEY is MAKING MONEY!!

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Saturday, December 29, 2007

Free Cinemax!!

Ok, so it's not 100% free, but it's close enough. I was surfing over at a great forum called Slickdeals and saw this great offer! Cinemax for a year, for only $0.01 - that's right, ONE PENNY!

Basically, if you have Dish Network, and call customer service/billing, you can get Cinemax free for a year for $0.01, provided you sign up for autopay and paperless billing. IF your already a Dish customer on autopay and paperless billing, you can still get simply by calling them and asking for it. This will easily save you over $100 a year, if not more, and we all know SAVING MONEY is MAKING MONEY!!

Hat tip to kevinsoni, the original poster on slickdeals.

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Friday, December 28, 2007

Saving money while eating good

I love to eat...and I love to eat really great food. I really love to eat great food when I don't have to pay a lot for it. This is where comes in. At this website, eating great for less is as easy as 1-2-3.

Simply type in your zip code of the desired city you plan on eating in (or choose by state).

Pick the restaurant you want to eat at from the available list

Order gift certificate...get a $25 certificate for ONLY $10!! That's a 60% savings!!

I share this with you, because most of us are going to eat out, even occasionally, and there is nothing wrong with that...even when you tighten the belt to work your way out of debt, you need to have some fun now and then, and let's face it, for most of us, eating out is fun. We don't have to cook, clean, or do anything else...just eat. So saving 60% on something your probably going to do anyway, is an awesome way to keep more money in your wallet. Not to mention, now you have no excuse to not try some different restaurants...who cares if you don't like the food at every restaurant you try, because your saving so much can afford to experiment a little bit.

But, it doesn't stop gets better! I just saw an email that they are offering 70% off their prices - do you know what this means? Their regular price is $10 for a $25 certificate, so 70% off their regular price of $10, makes it $3!! Can you believe it - $3 for a $25 certificate. That's an actual savings of 88% of the $25 face value...and SAVING MONEY is MAKING MONEY!!
Simply use promo code COUNTDOWN at checkout, to get the 70% off.

Hurry, this offer ends on 12/31/07.

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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Stop being a slave to debt

Okay, the last couple days, I posted some great deals that I thought might be of interest to quite a few of you. And I know some of you were wondering why I was encouraging you to spend money, when my blog is about saving money, right? Money is made to be spent and there is nothing wrong with that...our goal here is to help you do it wisely, and get the most out of each dollar you spend. My hope is that I can help you learn to master your money, and have it do what you want it to do and have the money work for you, not you slaving away for it. Whether it's getting that awesome deal or discount, or finding some way for the money to make more money for you, take control of it. In the relationship between man and money, ONE of them is going to be the master of the other...which do you want?

The easiest way to become a slave to money is through consumer credit. Yes, I understand that sometimes we need it (say to buy a house, or even a car, though we should aim for cash at least with our vehicles), but more often than not, we do not. We get trapped by it, because we want to have something now, and convince ourselves that we can afford the monthly payments. Then we promise ourselves, "we'll only use the card for emergencies", and pretty soon, that dvd rental and take out food is a dire emergency (I cringe every time I think of how much those pizzas I bought in college are still costing me). Then, when a REAL emergency arises, we are more often than not, stuck, because we're pretty much maxed out on our available credit. Barely able to make minimum payments, we soon find ourselves struggling to keep our financial heads above water.

So, how do we break these chains holding us a slave to debt? First, realize, it took you many years to get into debt, so it's gonna take some time to get out of debt...there is NO overnight, quick fix. You need to also make the commitment to stop buying on credit, so cut up your can't pay off debt, if you keep adding to it. The next step is to save...that's right, save. But, Steve, how is saving, going to get me out of debt? By helping to make sure you don't need to go back into debt. This is the part that often trips people up and discourages them. Save $1000 in a special account that is reserved for true emergencies - this way, when they do come (and emergencies will always happen), you've got the cash to pay for it, and you can start to break the cycle of going into debt. It seems like a lot of money (and it is), but you'll be amazed at how fast you can actually save it. My wife and I were able to save about $1500 in less than a year, when we started down our road to financial freedom, and we still made all our monthly payments on our credit cards, loans, etc. The trick is to pay the minimum payment on each line of credit, and put all your extra money into savings. We chose to put ours into a money market account (MMA) that we linked to our checking account. This way we could get to it in a day or two if we truly needed it, but it was hard enough to get to prevent impulsive spending of it...not to mention we were making a lot of interest on it, compared to a regular savings account (almost 5% compared to .5%). is an awesome website, that you can search, and find a list of really good MMA's, and what interest rate they are paying you on your money (this is the part where the money works for you). Just another way that SAVING MONEY is MAKING MONEY!

So to summarize, cut up the cards, and start saving some money. Does $1000 seem out of reach? Make your first goal saving $100 in an emergency account. The more you save, the more addictive it becomes...just develop the HABIT of saving. When you reach $100, make your goal another $100...cut it down in smaller steps, and have smaller victories to celebrate. Each goal reached will make it easier to reach the next goal. And remember, that light at the end of the tunnel, is no longer a freight train coming straight at you.

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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Holy cow!! A PS3 for under $300!!!

Alright gamers, here's a steal, er deal, I missed on the earlier post...get a 40Gb Sony Playstation 3, for under $300. Here's how it works...

Get $100 credit plus 12 months no interest after purchase of Playstation 3 at Sony Style. The 40Gb version retails for $399...apply for and get it with the Sony Style card, and you get $100 credit (see terms for details), dropping it to $299!! This is a deal if for nothing else than the Blu-Ray DVD player it comes with. Now, normally, I don't recommend buying on a credit card, but seeing as you get $100 credit, and no interest for 12 months, I say go for it, as long as you have cash in hand. Make the minimum payments until the $100 credit appears on your statement, then pay it off (with the cash you had set aside for it), and close the account. You also get 5 FREE Blu-ray movies by mail, when you buy the PS3, so figure another $100+ in free stuff right there, for a $200 savings overall. See how easy it was to make $200 on something you were probably gonna buy anyway...SAVING MONEY is MAKING MONEY!!

(Sony deal ends on 12/28/07)

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Christmas money burning a hole in your wallet?

It's the day after Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring...except for all the gamers and their new games! And I KNOW a bunch of you got some Christmas cash that's burning a hole in you wallet! Well, these deals should help you lower that burn to a smolder, and keep more of your money in you wallet, because SAVING MONEY is MAKING MONEY! Enjoy!

Halo 3 for the Xbox 360 is on sale here until midnight 12/26. It's selling for $29.90 (50% off), NEW! WHILE SUPPLIES LAST!

World in Conflict for the PC is 60% , at $19.99

Call of Duty 4 is on sale at Best Buy for $37.99 with free shipping or instore pick-up.

Assassin's Creed for the PS3 is on sale for $37.99 with free shipping or instore pick-up. If you go instore, print and try this coupon for $10 any PS3 game, for a sale price of $27.99 (YMMV - Your Mileage May Vary). Hat tip to Dr. Evil at SD for the coupon.

Xbox 360 Gamer Points at Toys 'r' Us are on sale as well. Buy 3 of the 4000 point cards, and automatically get $10 off. Enter TRUPAYPAL 20 in the promo code box, then checkout with Google checkout, and POSSIBLY get another $10 credit, if you are a first time Google checkout user. YMMV. Total cost of $119.97 (possibly $109.97 with Google checkout), from an original retail of $149.97...a $30-40 savings.

There are tons more deals out there, at the same sites I posted above, just look around, but these are some of the HOTTEST!!

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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Free 1GB Scandisk Secure Digital Card

Merry Christmas! Since we're all about saving money here, I wanted to pass this little deal on to you. I gave my wife a new digital camera for Christmas, but stupid me, forgot a memory card for the pictures...the built in flash memory hold only SIX pictures!! Not good! So, I get online and start looking around at and I found this...a 1GB SD card on sale for $10! Woohoo! But, wait, Steve, you said it was free, and now your saying it cost $10 - what's gives?
Well, I looked below the checkout button, and saw a little link for buying it through "Google Checkout", and first time users of Google Checkout get $10 off their first purchase! On top of that, that particular item qualified for free shipping (if you choose 7-9 day shipping at checkout), so it ended up being free (when looking for products that qualify, look for "Free Shipping" under it, in GREEN lettering)!! Now, I'm not in so much hot water with the wife, which is good for everybody involved.

But hey, if you don't need a SD card, see what else they have...there was quite a few items that were under $10 that had free shipping as well, or maybe you see something else you need to buy (or were going to buy anyway), and now you can use the "Google Checkout" and get $10 off your order...and like we love to say here...SAVING MONEY is MAKING MONEY!!

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Monday, December 24, 2007


So, this is pretty cool...a search engine that gives away stuff just for searching. It's called BLINGO! and it's powered by Google, so you get the same great searching power, with a twist.
When signed in, you simply search like you normally would. You get stuff if you happen to be the first person to search for something, after a prize is released. Prizes include gift cards, iTunes, movie tickets, cash, and even the occasional vehicle. Also, with every search, you get entered into the Publishers Clearing House contest. Normally, I do NOT recommend playing a lottery, or anything else where you need to pay money to participate, as it is basically a losing proposition...however, as this is free, and it's done while doing something you do anyway, I felt it couldn't hurt to put it out there. Even if it's something small, like a movie ticket that you win, that's still a couple dollars that end up staying in YOUR pocket, and SAVING MONEY IS EARNING MONEY!! Give it a try!

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Sunday, December 23, 2007

A Christmas present from me to you!

Alright, it's Christmas time, and we all know it means family, friends, good food, gifts...and long lines, bumper to bumper traffic, and more likely than not, some holiday debt. Okay, for a lot of people, A LOT of credit card debt. And that means more interest payments, and more chances to be late or miss one payment, and have the interest rates on all your cards jacked sky high.

So, what can you do about it? A few simple things. First, an attitude change. STOP buying on credit, unless you know for sure you can pay the balance off, or have the money in your account, that you can have payments auto drafted from your checking account each month (be careful of bounced check/insufficient funds fees as well). Credit has it's place, but not as a means to satisfy the "I gotta have it now" mentality. I talk to people all the time who want to find a great investment that will give them huge returns, so they can retire later in life. Know what I tell them? Look at your credit card statement. What interest rate are you paying? That's your investment right there. But wait a minute, you say, how can what I am paying, be an investment? If you weren't paying that interest to a credit company, who would have that money? You would still be in your pocket. If you have an 18% interest rate, SOMEBODY is getting a pretty good return on their investment (their loan to you), but it isn't you.

Let's pretend you have a small balance of $1000 because you found a great deal on an HD LCD big screen tv, and it is the first purchase on a brand new credit card card (assuming you make no further purchases on that card after the tv). At 18% interest, with a minimum payment of $25, it would take you 60 monthly payments to pay it off...and you would have paid a total of $1500...that's right, you paid $500 in interest, half the cost of the tv to begin with. If you had saved $25 a month, it would have taken you 40 months, just over 3 years, to save enough to buy it. Seems like a long time to save (which it is), but you also save the $500 to begin with. Now, after the 40 months, you keep putting that $25 a month you were saving into an investment fund (say a money market account - MMA) for the last 20 months you would have been paying on it if you bought it on credit. There are currently some MMA's paying you 5% interest, and you need as little as $1 to open it. If you continued to make that monthly $25 payment, but put it in your investment instead, you would make about $60. After that, if you never put another payment in that account, but let it sit there and grow, in 20 years, you will have just shy of $1500. Granted, this is a simple example, with a low dollar amount, but it helps to prove my point...if you don't have to pay the interest on a credit card, you've just saved and made yourself a nice little return on your money, by simply keeping it in your wallet. SAVING MONEY IS MAKING MONEY!!

Another simple thing you can do to save around Christmas time is to save before Christmas time. Banks and credit unions have Christmas Club programs, or you could simply put money aside into your own account (like the money market accounts mentioned above), for next year. By only buying in cash, and saving for it ahead of time, you'll keep more in your wallet. If you spend $1000 on Christmas gifts, that's only saving $100 a month, from January to October. Put it in a MMA at 5%, and you would actually have about $1075 to spend. Put it on credit cards, and in order to pay it off in 10 months, you'll pay $108 a month, for a total of $1080. But it really cost you $155 extra, between the interest paid and the lost interest you could have earned, so we could say the true cost of putting it on your credit card would be $1155. SAVING MONEY IS MAKING MONEY!!

Finally, you can try something my wife and I do with our families (this works really well with big families). Draw names. Yep, it's that simple. Put everyone's names in hat, and draw one name per person. That is who you are buying a gift for. Just between our adult siblings and our parents, my wife and I would have 14 people to buy for. Trying to buy a nice gift of somewhat decent value for each of them can get pretty expensive, for EVERYONE involved, even if the gifts are relatively inexpensive (say $20-30 a piece). By picking one name, we eliminate the pressure of having to find and fund all those gifts, and we can spend extra money to find a really nice gift for that one person we are shopping for, and still save a couple hundred dollars. Of course, we still buy small gifts for all the kids, nieces and nephews, and our own spouses, but by not having to buy a gift for all the adults, everyone saves money, and SAVING MONEY IS MAKING MONEY!! (notice a theme, here?)

MERRY CHRISTMAS and happy savings!

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What we are about.

Hello, and welcome to Easy Money Saving. My name is Steve, and I love to save money when I make a purchase, and make money too. I have been helping friends and family find those good deals, and finally decided to broaden my audience a little bit. I will post tips from my own experience, and from other trusted sources as well, on how to keep more of your hard earned dollars in your pocket! Whether it's saving money on a pack of batteries, to saving money on buying a car, to how to make money on the internet, or some other home based business, we'll cover it all. You can also email me for suggestions on a specific topic you would like to see covered, or if you have a question, I will do my best to answer it, or find the answer for you. Again, welcome to Easy Saving Money.

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