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Savvy Spender
Live Well For Less


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    Tax Time!

    Wednesday, April 12, 2006
    Just a few ideas for what to do with your refund:

    1. Start a college fund for your child - I sure wish I had!

    2. Save it for a fun vacation.

    3. Pay of credit card debt.

    4. Save it for retirement.

    5. Remodel something or update your home somehow.

    Happy dreaming!


    Transfer Credit Card Balances

    Thursday, February 23, 2006
    With rising interest rates, a great way to save right now is to check out the Discover link in the right hand column. This takes you directly to their 0% offer with up to 5% cashback bonus and 0% fraud liability promise. They even called me when we made a large purchase to verify usage and their customer service department is great. If you are carrying a balance of say $5000.00 at even just 10% you could save $500.00 with a balance transfer. Check it out!


    Save Money on Insurance

    This is a great time to review things such as insurance policies while you are organizing tax information. You can save a lot of money by calling your insurance agent and raising your deductibles. You can also save on health insurance if you stop smoking and then notify your company. Here's to saving money!


    More On Taxes

    Tuesday, February 21, 2006
    If you end up getting a big refund this year - great! The only problem is that you have given the government your hard earned money all year! Really consider raising your exemptions so that you can get a little more back in each paycheck. Some people like to wait and get the refund and almost use it as a savings program, but you will save money if you raise your exemptions and apply the extra money to debt or savings each month. Then the government doesn't have your money - you do!


    Happy Valentine's Day!

    Monday, February 13, 2006
    On Valentine's Day, remember that small tokens of your affections do count - you do not have to "break the bank"! A special card or even just remembering a special candy that your siginificant other loves can be enough. Have a great time!


    Credit Card Interest - Yikes!

    Thursday, February 09, 2006
    Remember to pay the most money to the credit card with the highest interest charged, regardless of your balance. Once you pay off the cards from highest interest to lowest interest, you may be able to avoid running up balances on your cards because you will now have the extra money every month that you used to send to multiple credit cards. It's not easy, but the payoff will be well worth it!


    Tax Time Again!

    Tuesday, February 07, 2006
    The tax season is upon us - remember that you can save a lot of money by preparing your own taxes. It is easier than ever before to use a computer program for your taxes, and the IRS has a ton of important information to help you online. Here's to a big refund!


    A Great Way To Save Money On Groceries

    Thursday, February 02, 2006
    The best suggestion I have found on how to stretch your grocery dollar is to shop less often. I even try to go ten days between trips if possible. If you stock up on fruits and vegetables that keep longer(such as apples, oranges, and carrots), then you can definately make it at least a week between visits. Frozen fruits and vegetables can also help you extend your time between trips to the store - and who doesn't want more time to do more enjoyable things than to grocery shop every few days? You really will save a lot of money because you will not "impulse shop" as much. Keep a journal of your shopping to see - it really will save you money!


    A Cool Idea

    Wednesday, February 01, 2006
    Over the holidays I saw some banks that you actually have to break to retreive the money you have collected - it is a cool idea for your extra change that can really add up with time. One year I surprised my husband with a weekend trip after collecting our extra change! It is a fun and easy way to save!


    Happy 2006!

    Tuesday, January 24, 2006
    I hope 2006 is treating you well so far! The credit card bills start rolling in, spring seems to be far away, and everyone gets a bit of the winter blues; but hopefully a tax refund is just around the corner for you! Maybe you can pay off your highest debt (interest wise first), save for a future trip or home improvement, or save for your children's college. Happy dreaming!


    Happy Shopping!

    Monday, December 26, 2005
    Just when you think you are shopped out, you probably find that you have to return at least one thing to the mall - and you know you will probably not be able to resist some of the great deals out there! Remember birthdays that may be quickly approaching, or even shop ahead for next year if you are sure you will not have to return it (because the longest policies I have found generally are less than a year, which I feel is fairly generous). I wish everyone a happy and safe end of 2005!


    Still Shopping!!!

    Thursday, December 08, 2005
    I promised myself that this year would be different, that this year everything would be done by now, but I still have a long list of things to do! I am sure many of you feel the same way - that you love the holidays but pressure yourselves to make them each more memorable than the last and that puts undue stress on all! Take it easy and enjoy the process - I promise to take my own advice!


    The Best And The Worst

    Tuesday, November 29, 2005
    I truly believe that the holidays bring out both the best and the worst in people, or just accentuate true character! In one week I have noticed both charitable acts ( letting someone with fewer items go first through checkout) and nearly violent acts (over a parking space!!!). Remember that everyone is feeling extra stressed and hurried so everyone can stay safe this holiday season and maybe enjoy everything just a little bit more !!!


    I Am Shopping, Of Course!

    Monday, November 28, 2005
    Sorry that posting has slowed - I really am shopping online and at the stores and hope to be fininshed soon - use the comment section if you would like to ask any questions! Happy shopping!!!


    cafepress.com vs.zazzle.com

    Tuesday, November 22, 2005
    I just received a comment from someone concerning cafepress.com - check it out compared to zazzle. com and let me know what you think! Either way, you can find unique gifts for the holidays!!!


    Love Any Comments!

    I am enjoying the comments - please keep them coming! This can be an interactive site for sure - ask me questions if you would like to! Thanks again and happy holidays!!!


    Shopping Online Now!

    Monday, November 21, 2005
    There are a lot of great sale and clearance items now that will be gone after everyone starts really shopping seriously - take advantage now!


    Cashback Bonus

    Remember to start thinking about redeeming reward points for gifts (you can double them too!) soon because it can take a week or two to get your gift cards and then take another week or two for shipping of the gifts! Happy shopping!

    P.S. Don't feel badly if you did not sign up yet - use my Discover Card links to get a card now and save the points for next year for birthdays, anniversaries, or holidays!


    Super Suppers

    Super suppers is this great new place where you can assemble your choice of meals, bring them home, freeze them, thaw them when you are ready and your dinner is served! They taste amazing and I am very pleased so far with the results of my trip. It saves you grocery time, and to be honest a lot of the items(vegetables, cheese and meat) that you use there you cannot even find normally on sale or use many coupons on them. I think it will reduce my overall spending on a monthly basis - I will run an experiment for you so check back to my site and I will let you know my results!!!


    Mens Shirt On A Woman?

    Saturday, November 19, 2005
    The other day a woman had on a gorgeous shirt, I complemented her on it, and she said it was a men's Tommy Hilfiger shirt! It looked great on her, and I am mentioning this as a suggestion to look at things in a "different light" as they say, and you never know what you may see!


    An Act Of Kindness

    When I ordered a kids meal at the mall and then asked a grandmother if I could give her 3 year old granddaughter the "Chicken Little" toy from my meal I ended up having a wonderful conversation with a complete stranger. Just that little gesture on my part made both of our days a little more pleasant!


    Remember To Ask For Boxes!

    I just realized the other day that now is definately the time to start stocking up on boxes - just ask whenever you make a purchase. I even use shoe boxes for shirts or jewelry to disguise what I have wrapped! Also, save all of the tissue paper - I rarely even have to buy any for the holidays. It is a good idea to wrap as you purchase as well so you feel "on top of things". Happy wrapping!


    Wilsonsleather.com

    Wilsonsleather.com just alerted me to their new sales beginning next week, including leather purses as low as 9.99, and leather coats 50% off or more. The cool thing is that they also carry suede - I found a gorgeous coat for my 12 year old that is suede and it was only $30.00!!! They also carry hard to find items like quality briefcases - my husband is looking at a Kenneth Cole briefcase for work. Check it out!


    Discovery Toys

    Discoverytoys.com just sent me an e-mail with an offer for you during the Thanksgiving weekend! November 25th through the 28th from my link you can use the code "49FREE" for free shipping of orders over $49.00, plus they just reduced a lot of toys to 75% off! Happy shopping!!


    My Fico!

    Friday, November 18, 2005
    My Fico is a small link I placed in the right column for you - they are now offering (for only $7.95/month) a monitoring of your score and activity which is a wonderful idea if you are trying to better your score. More often than not scores are affected negatively by bad reporting, and this would definitely put an end to that so that you could improve your credit and save money! Check out the link to the right - I hope that it is of value to you! Have a beautiful day!


    Have A Great Day !!!

    I had a lot of errands to run and was not happy about that fact, but decided to take a light-hearted approach to the day and it turned out to be much more positive than negative! It is amazing how people will change and be much more friendly when you just greet them with a smile. Have a wonderful day!


    Omaha Steaks Make A Great Gift Idea!!!

    Thursday, November 17, 2005
    The Omaha Steaks company is everything that a company should be - they always deliver high quality at a good value and always guarantee replacement if you are not completely satisfied! This is a perfect time of year to try them for yourself +/or as a gift - they are offering "The Perfect Gift Collection" right now and also 3 Free Gifts will come with even that special! You get a tremendous amount of food, side dishes, desserts, and even a knife set and cutting board - check out the link!


    Zazzle Is So Cool!!!

    This new site is so cool!!! You can customize many things including stamps, shirts, cards and posters; and they guarantee 100% satisfaction even though these are custom made-to-order items!!! These are some of the reasons you should check it out - especially with the holidays upon us - and you can close the link (in the left hand column) and be right back here.

    1. You can make real personalized U.S. postage stamps - so cool for holiday cards!

    2. You can make customized holiday cards, t-shirts, and posters.

    3. You can return for replacement or refund!!!

    They say that they aim to ship within 1 day and that you will receive your order in 3-4 days !!! I am so excited about this new link - have a great day!!!


    5% Back!!!

    Wednesday, November 16, 2005
    I called the Discover Card today and found out that they are offering 5% back on online purchases starting soon and running to the end of the year! Now is a great time to apply (see links in the column to the right), or call to sign your cards up on the plan - every little bit helps, and 5% cashback can double at many stores to 10%! Happy shopping!!


    Blinds.com

    Saturday, November 12, 2005
    Blinds.com is a new link I added because they will send you free samples of the materials, they offer live help during your ordering process, and they offer coupons like $10.00 off right now with code 10200509 (check out the link in the left column for more information). They also have just recently updated their site - I hope they can help you decorate your home!!


    A Few Cool Ideas!!!

    Thursday, November 10, 2005
    Just a few cool ideas/thoughts for today:

    1. No regrets - remember that you did the best that you could with the knowledge that you had at the time - move forward, because the past really is the past and no one is sure of tomorrow!

    2. No rules - no, of course, you have to have many rules to have a loving, caring society - but everyone should pursue their own dreams and not anyone else's dreams.

    3. No disappointments - no, of course again, you will not always get everything that you want, but you already have everything you need if you have food and clothing and a loving family!

    Have a beautiful day!!!


    Two Links Keep Disappearing!!!

    Wednesday, November 09, 2005
    Just a quick note about the stevemadden.com link in the left column and the spafinder.com link in the right column - if you see a blank space on the page, you can still click on the link to go directly to their site. Thank you for visiting savvy spender and I hope you have a wonderful day!!!


    Hot Toys

    Saturday, November 05, 2005
    Remember to buy the hot toys now before the holidays are upon us! Happy shopping to all!!!


    Ask For More Off!

    Thursday, November 03, 2005
    I found a great refrigerator for less than online at a small local business. Everything seemed great until they delivered the wrong fridge! To make a long story short, I asked for more money off given the inconvenience and the fact I ended up with a floor model and they were wonderful and did give me $50.00 more dollars off. It never hurts to ask - the worst is that they say "no" - and you have not lost a thing, you only have money to gain!


    Bad Products

    Whenever I receive a product that is not the quality promised, I call the company so they can remedy the issue. They will often times replace the bad product for you as well!


    Grocery Stores Online

    Most major chains have their grocery ads for you right online so you can save money by perusing the ad and building your list around it - even if you do not receive the newspaper advertisement!


    End Caps

    Beware of anything that is at eye level in the grocery store - and also watch the end caps. I noticed that in my stores the end cap merchandise, if not on sale already, is set for the next week's ad and will be on sale soon!


    Store Brands

    I am weary of store brands unless it is something like a paper product that really doesn't matter. The store brands in my area seem to be of lesser quality lately, and I normally save more by buying the Buy1Get1Free items that are name brand, especially when I use a coupon!


    Grocery Delivery

    If you are lucky enough to have groceries delivered in your area, try it and see if you save money. I did even though the groceries were a bit more because I cut down tremendously on impulse buys we did not need - and you really feel pampered and relieved of stress having them delivered. Even a good friend of mine who had 7 in her family saved a lot of money!


    Tax Time

    The government actually is making it easier than ever for individuals to do their own taxes. Unfortunately, the three times I paid someone to do our taxes they each made an error that would have reduced our refund! No one knows your financial situation better than you, and the sorts of errors they made were simple - they only had to ask me one question in each case - and they each almost cost me hundreds of dollars; I caught each error myself. So even if you are skeptical and want someone to prepare your taxes for you, just be careful and really check them over before sending them in - you could save yourself a lot of money!


    Vacations!

    Remember when scheduling vacations to look online +/or ask for a discount when you call - sometimes there is flexibility in pricing and they will discount your trip even more than the advertised price. Last spring when we booked a trip and paid in full up front(not a great idea, but required because it was a sudden trip), my husband literally saw a $100.00 mall gift card offer if we would have booked the trip there at the mall instead of calling just days before. I called immediately and they did send me the gift cards even though it was after we had paid in full. It never hurts to ask - the worst they can say is "no"!!!


    Babysitting

    When my oldest child was able to begin babysitting for us we decided to begin paying her. I know it sounds crazy, but it was a great idea. We only gave her $3.00/hour, it made her feel special and in control (she had to keep peace at all times to be paid), and it really did help her transition into the teen years. We went out once a week, so she received babysitting money and very little allowance. If she used the money towards something we approved of like stretching her wardrobe budget, then we would match her savings. We also match her savings if she puts the money away towards her future like extra spending money for college or towards a car when she graduates.


    Shopping With Kids

    My kids love it when I give them a budget for shopping. My teenage daughter decided to return two expensive pairs of jeans when she realized how much of her budget they had taken and how much more she could buy if she bought jeans on sale!


    Raise Your Insurance Deductibles

    Wednesday, November 02, 2005
    A wonderful way to save money today on insurance, especially with rates possibly increasing due to the natural disasters that have occurred, is to raise your deductibles on your cars or home. It can literally save you thousands of dollars over the next few years. The only catch is that if you do have a claim, you have to come up with more money, but just calculate your savings and put the extra away towards a future claim if it makes you feel more secure!


    Save Thousands Raising Children

    This is a silly example of savings, but I wanted to share it anyway since it seems there is another baby boom or something - so many people are starting families now! I calculated that I literally saved thousands of dollars by putting the generic diapers on my babies. If only I had invested that in a college fund when they were tiny!!! There are even some name brands that cost much less than the top brands, and to be honest who knows what kind of diaper your baby has on or who even cares as long as it stop leaks! Enjoy your children for less!


    Get Out Of Debt - Free!

    Never pay your mortgage company the huge fee that they charge you for the bi-weekly mortgage!!! I cannot stress the fact that this is a huge waste of money on many levels. The first and foremost level is the fact that you can apply extra to principal on your mortgage every month for free - just make sure that the bank has a line on your bill that says "extra principal payment". You can even go so far as to call and make sure they have applied the extra properly. Also, mortgage debt is normally the cheapest long-term interest rate that you will ever have, so in many cases it is not good to pay it off and then carry debt at a higher rate on credit cards or on a line of credit.


    A Few Coupon Codes

    Tuesday, November 01, 2005
    Just a couple of discounts for the following stores:

    1. Shoes.com - always free shipping and free returns!

    2. Lids.com - use code "novlids15" for 15% off of a $50.00 purchase, or use code "novlids10" for $10.00 off of a $60.00 purchase - they have hats and sunglasses!

    3. Mikasa.com - use code "HOLIDAY05" for 15% off of 50 or use code "NEWSITE05" for 25% off of a $100.00 purchase.

    Many of the other sites listed also have promotions through my links, like money off +/or free shipping. Happy shopping!


    itunes.com - download shows and videos!

    The newest link on my site from itunes.com allows you to download tv shows! You can also download music videos! So cool!!!


    Damaged Items At Store

    If you find a damaged item at a store they will normally discount it for you - just ask for a manager. The worst they will say is "no ", and then you can decide if you still would like to purchase the item!


    HELOC

    Never be afraid to get or use a HELOC (home equity line of credit) - as long as you are smart about it. The interest is normally tax deductible, so the current line of credit rate at 6.5% is really only like 4+% after your tax deduction. As long as you do not borrow more than your home is worth - or as long as you know you can make the payments even if interest rates jump - I think HELOC's are wonderful. If you pay off $8000.00 credit card debt you are carrying at say 15%, you could save over $800.00 a year after taxes with your HELOC right now!!! (I use the $8000.00 figure because that is the average debt people are carrying on credit cards.) Take the savings and pay down the debt rather than giving your money to the bank in interest!!!


    The Holidays Are Quickly Approaching!

    Monday, October 31, 2005
    Think ahead to the holidays this week and make a plan so that you are better organized - I promise you will enjoy your holidays even more this year if you shop early. I always feel a little bit more control over my spending, and it is a great time to stock up on frozen items that are on sale or to buy anything you find deeply discounted at department stores. Happy shopping!

    P. S. Remember to think about buying the "hot toys" now - you can always return them if you change your mind! Etoys.com and kbtoys.com have great specials, free shipping on many items, and tax in only two states. Discoverytoys.com has some really cool items too. (Remember that you can open a link, check out the site, close it and be right back here!)


    Try Something New!

    There are some new websites I thought we could try - let me know what you think of them:

    1. Zazzle.com - seems really cool, you can create unique and personalized pictures and other items.

    2. Delightfuldeliveries.com - seems to have wonderful treats and beautiful products.

    3. Stuffkidslike.com - just in time for the holidays, they carry some unique toys.

    4. Pongoresume.com - change your life in minutes with a new resume!

    5. Triphomes.com and clubhotel.com - book a vacation - live well for less!

    6. Swimsuitsforall.com - free exchange shipping from your home - to save us from the florescent lighting in dressing rooms!

    7. Unlimited ringtones - my teenagers will love this site!


    Generic vs. Name Brand

    Our friend who is a chemist gave us a helpful hint that has saved us a small fortune over the years. He said to never buy the name brand over-the-counter medicine as long as the generic has the same active ingredient - just check the back of the box. Ask your local pharmacist if you are concerned or have more questions. Live well for less!


    An Experiment

    An experiment that I tried years ago was warehouse shopping vs. traditional grocery shopping. It was very interesting, because when I truly compared the savings I realized that I was paying much more for the larger sized items at the warehouse and was actually saving money by purchasing smaller items on sale at my favorite grocery store. The larger items are not always a savings, although in something like over-the-counter medicine or vitamins it is normally cheaper to pay for the largest size - it will save you a bundle in the long run.


    A Great Reason To Charge Purchases

    Sunday, October 30, 2005
    A great reason for charging purchases is that they will "go to bat", as they say, for you if you ever have a dispute or major issue with a purchase. It is nice to have a major company behind you in that case!


    Questions?

    I would love to answer any questions that you have about any of the topics I have talked about or questions about any other topics you would like me to pursue and research! I just want to help people live well for less and enjoy life more! (If you leave a question or comment, there is a name that is made up in the name section, use that to be anonymous, make up your own, or just delete it!) I really would love to hear from you so I can make this site interactive and more fun! Happy writing!

    P.S. If you leave a question, tell me if you want me to mention your name or not - I will keep everyone's privacy of top concern - ask me anything you want about saving or spending. I will only print your name if you ask me to mention it!


    Car Salesmen (continued)

    Remember not to be intimidated by car salesmen (male or female) - after I literally walked out of the dealership, all of a sudden they had the car I had wanted for less sitting right at the dealership! Live well for less!


    Cut Household Costs

    Quick tips for household savings:

    1. Change your furnace filter every two months -it will save you a ton of money!

    2. Reduce the amount of soap in your laundry load and wash more with cold water - you will reduce your heating bill for water and also extend the life of your clothes.

    3. Keep your refrigerator full - it saves energy!


    Remember To Persevere

    Saturday, October 29, 2005
    Just remember that lifestyle changes, even when they are for the better, take time and patience - that is why they say patience is a virtue! Every change is stressful, and human nature makes us resist even positive changes in our lives. And remember that the problems that you face may be there as a test to make you stronger!


    bluenile.com

    I just received a great link to bluenile.com for $150.00 off of diamonds and free fed-ex shipping - a lot of people get engaged this time of year or buy diamonds for loved ones (+/or buy for themselves!). Happy shopping!


    Container Store And Tupperware

    Container store.com and tupperware.com have been added to my site to help you stay organized! For home improvement, I also added blinds.com and remember sites like Sears(the home link also takes you to sears.com in the top right corner) and Target for example for more organization. As always, you can check out the links, close them and be right back here. Happy shopping!!!


    Shopping At The Mall

    I love to peruse the mall for fun when I do not really need anything in particular - it is a lot of fun to look for deeply discounted or clearance items in your favorite stores. I just found the coolest shirt on clearance for $2.00 (it was originally $30.00), but it has short sleeves so it was being cleared for winter merchandise to be stocked. (It is really easy to throw another shirt or jacket over your t-shirts or even tanks to extend their use.) Have fun!


    Importance of Insurance

    Friday, October 28, 2005
    Life insurance is unfortunately a must (less money for shopping!)when you are covering yourself financially. You should also carry supplemental disability insurance because the amount one is supposed to receive monthly from the government is only a percentage of what one was making before they became disabled. Some argue that even homemakers (women or men) should be covered by insurance because they do so many different jobs that would be difficult to replace financially! Check your coverages today to ensure a safe and bright future!


    Umbrella Policy

    Umbrella policies are one of the most important insurance products to carry. Maybe you have seen the commercial that shows a family losing their home after being sued after an accident - that is because they did not have an umbrella policy to cover them further. Most umbrella policies cover you for an additional 1 million dollars in case you are sued, like in this case - it sounds like a lot of coverage but you need it and it is fairly inexpensive to carry. My insurance agent gave me this example years ago - say your teenage daughter is downhill skiing and wipes out a CEO who sues your family for lost income - you really could lose everything. Or, as in the commercial, someone can sue you for medical injury due to a crash and you can lose everything. Call your insurance agent today and check to make sure you are covered!!!


    eddiebauer.com

    Thursday, October 27, 2005
    Right now eddiebauer.com is offering 15%off of your total purchase when you use my link (please see column to the right) and also free shipping! They say to enter 15DOWN in the coupon code area to get your discount. Customer service also told me that you can take 15% off of the clearance that is marked up to 60% off! Great shopping!!!


    A Few Ideas For Your Future

    These are just a few ideas I had that could be fun +/or save you money:

    1. Check out the e-loan link and start changing your future net worth by consolidating or transferring to a lower interest rate loan.

    2. Check out your FICO score at fico.com and start working on raising your number a bit higher every month - you will feel better and save money on loans and credit card interest!

    3. Check out earthlink who is offering internet service for 50% off for 6 Months and claims to wipe out pop-ups 100%, or direct TV and get a free DVR after rebate!

    4. Check out the new links, such as Santa Mail and make a child's life a little more exciting!

    Have a successful day!


    Sign Your Credit Cards!

    I just heard a horror story from someone yesterday about signing credit cards! She said that a friend of hers did not sign any of her cards, and when someone stole her purse and forged her name in their writing on the cards they were able to spend $10,000.00 while on a shopping spree. Then the companies did not support her even though the cards had been stolen because she had not signed them, and she may have ended up liable for the debt! (I do not know all of the individual legalities of this isssue or if she really ended up paying all of that, but it is something to be aware of!) The moral of this story is - sign your cards either with your name or "ask to see ID" - either way should protect you in this case. I will call a few of my cards and verify the best way to protect ourselves in this instance. Happy safe shopping!


    Signing Your Credit Cards (cont'd.)

    I did some research, and it seems that the best way to protect yourself in case of theft with your credit cards is to actually just sign your name! It is difficult for someone to forge your signature. For added protection my credit card company said that you could write "ask to see ID" and then sign your card. My credit card company said that in any case, even a card that is not signed at all, you are not liable for debt caused by theft ever. Hopefully that is the policy for all credit cards!


    Hot Toys - Purchase Soon For Holidays!

    This is something it has taken me literally years to learn because I like to wait until closer to the holidays to buy toys - kids change their lists, advertisers wait until December to hit you with the latest and greatest, etc. But this year I purchased something that I knew would be hard to get later(the i-dog - so cool - it's at sharperimage.com). Every year I am scrambling at the end to find the hard to find item such as this. Remember that you can always return things if you change your mind because most companies start to extend their return policies from now until next year - just ask the store about their policy. I believe this will help you feel more in control wants the holiday craziness begins!!!


    kbtoys.com and etoys.com

    Both kbtoys.com and etoys.com have just emailed me to tell me that they have terrific sales and clearance and also free shipping on many items - very convenient for buying the hot toys now before they are gone and you are scrambling during the holidays (as we all have too many times to count!). Live well for less!!!


    Free Coupons!

    Wednesday, October 26, 2005
    I just installed a link in the right column that will give you free coupons from coupon.com. I hope you find the coupons to be of great help in your pursuit of living well for less!


    Cashback Bonus Dollars

    Tuesday, October 25, 2005
    The reason I love Discover is for the cashback bonus. For example, say you charge all of your dining out purchases,groceries, clothing purchases, and gas purchases on your Discover card. You get at least 1% back for each of those things, sometimes more during special promotions. Say that you only charge $800.00 a month for all of those things listed above every month. After one year you can have a free iPod from Sharper Image! You would get over $100.00 in cashback dollars that you could then double for Sharper Image money so you would get over $200.00 in gift cards for Sharper Image! That is why I love Discover, especially if you are paying them 0% interest!!!

    P.S. The top Discover link to the right says that you would double your bonus to up to 2%, which could mean $400.00 at Sharper Image or towards many of their other companies!


    24% Interest!

    I just met someone who said one of her credit cards is charging her 24% interest!!! I explained to her that she really needed to either pay that off before paying off anything else, or she has to transfer the balance to a lower interest card. If she took advantage of a 0% card like you can get through the Discover link, she could save over $2000.00 if she owes over $10,000! (You sometimes pay a balance transfer fee for each card you pay off, but the highest fee I have ever seen is $75.00 - and it is worth it to pay $75.00 instead of $2000.00!) Even if you have a Discover Card, they will often times give you another type of Discover Card offering 0%. Then you can payoff the 24% card and be well on your way to being debt free! Live well for less!


    Stop Living Paycheck To Paycheck

    I started this website one month ago so that I could help people get out of debt, stop living paycheck to paycheck and live well for less! I am living proof that you can do it and even have fun! My husband and I literally started out with over $30,000.00 of debt - and made very little money. If you use even only some of my ideas about shopping on the internet, shopping at superstores, and shopping at grocery stores I promise you will see a difference shortly in your net worth. When you are careful and in control you do not have to stop shopping - shopping is a way of life - you have to buy food for example!!! All you have to do is shop "smarter"! That is why I have all of my very favorite stores listed here on this site so you can find great quality items for cheap prices. Or if you save on everthing else, you can splurge on a site like Design Within Reach for that one-of-a-kind item that "makes the room", as they say. At first it may seem that you are spending more because you are buying ahead for the holidays, so this is a tough time to start a new plan, but within a year you should see a positive increase in your net worth if you take the time to try some of the ideas I have listed here. Good luck - I wish you great happiness and success!


    Getting Out of Debt

    The easiest way to get out of credit card debt is to try to put as much debt as possible on either 0% credit cards or very low rate credit cards, and then send any of your extra money that you have to the highest rate cards. Make a chart of your credit cards and keep a history of promotions and special rates so that you know when you need to transfer balances. For example:

    1. Card A with $5000.00 balance at 0% through August 2006 (promotion through my Discover link in right column) - pay only minimum balance.
    2. Card B with $3000.00 balance at 15% - pay minimum.
    3. Card C with $4500.00 balance at 19% - pay as much as you can!

    I promise the first steps are always the hardest, but pretty soon you will see a difference.


    More on Getting Out Of Debt

    Please be careful about how you get out of debt - I have heard a ton of really bad advice lately. The worst is to pay off the smallest amounts owed first regardless of interest rates. This is terrible advice!!! The fastest and smartest way to pay the least while getting out of debt is to pay off the highest interest rate loans first, regardless of the payment amount due. This will save you a ton of money and create a snowball effect. Once you pay off the highest credit card by putting as much extra as you can on the payment, then take that payment amount and apply it to the next debt. The first step is always the hardest, but pretty soon you will see that your debt is disappearing. Disappearing debt is cool!!!


    Eddie Bauer

    Monday, October 24, 2005
    Eddiebauer.com just sent me a message saying that if you shop through my link they are offering 15% off of all down products and free shipping! Pretty cool with winter approaching! (I put their new link in the right column if you would like to take a look, then of course you can just close the link and be right back here.)


    FICO Score - Save Thousands In The Future

    I added a FICO score link in the right column for you if you would like to either check or monitor your scores. If you are working to increase your FICO score - which is a wonderful idea for everyone because it will save you literally thousands of dollars just by bettering their scores with the major reporting companies.


    Car Salesmen

    Never let car salesmen intimidate you - they certainly will try to! The last salesman I dealt with acted sweetly for days and then stomped out of the room when I pulled a quote from another company and yelled something like it was my fault car prices are so high! What? I know- and he seemed intelligent up until that point! He and the finance manager also played the game that they could not get the color car I wanted (that was supposed to already be on the lot for me), and that I could only get the advertised price and nothing more!


    Net Worth

    Sunday, October 23, 2005
    With the holidays upon us I always take a moment to reflect where we fall under the categories of debt vs. net worth (your positives - your negatives!). I still indulge for the holidays - I basically just assess where we are now and then after the holidays(no one can really help but spend more now than during the rest of the year without turning into Scrooge!) I make sure we are back on track with debt reduction and savings. It is never worth living the life of a miser, just live well for less!


    Returns Made Simple

    I used to dread buying clothing online because I was always concerned with the hassle of returning an item, but returning online merchandise is easy! You can obviously just send it right back for an exchange or refund, but many people do not know that most online companies that have stores in your area will allow you to return your online puchase to the store. This is a great idea for anything if you would like to exchange it immediately. Just take your packaging(the plastic normally has codes - not the box) and your receipt with you - I have never had an issue returning online items to the store.


    Decorating Savings

    Saturday, October 22, 2005
    Some ways to touch up damages on furniture to extend their life and some other ideas are:

    1. Use a magic marker of similar color - I used brown to fix the frame on a mirror and it looks great!

    2. Buy a cool picture on sale and change the frame if you hate it!

    3. Fill your own pillows with foam +/or feathers - the pillow inserts were going to cost more than the pillow covers that I bought so I bought the covers and filled them myself - I saved like $100.00!


    Shop Less Often For Groceries

    Another way to save on groceries is to shop less often - extended your trips by stocking up on frozen veggies, fruit like apples that keep a long time, and veggies like carrots and celery(great with peanut butter or cream cheese!). My kids also like inexpensive meals like spaghetti, chili and hamburgers - it really helps to cut down on our food bill! It is also fun to make pizza or brownies from a box mix, and it is inexpensive. Have more fun and spend less time shopping!


    Car Sales

    Try to remember to always negotiate for the car you want before even bringing in your trade. And with the link Edmund's.com in the right column you can get an idea of what you will get on your trade. The internet is a great resource to get quotes for the cars you are interested in while you are in the privacy of your own home! Happy car shopping!


    Great Sales!

    When you are running errands, look for clearance. A week or so ago at a super store I literally bought 61 items for back-to-school time next year - including notebooks, index dividers, folders, paper, zip binders, book covers, portfolios, and even a backpack all for under $25.00!!! I was thrilled to get 61 items for like $24.50 - that is less than $.40/item! So fun!!!


    Hickory Farms

    Hickoryfarms.com wanted me to tell you that they are having a Harvest Sale with 25% off of a lot of items and if you want to check it out, just click on the link in the right column!!


    Replacement Cost Insurance

    Friday, October 21, 2005
    With all of the tragedies and losses I definitely have everyone's best interest at heart when mentioning all of this about insurance! I have never even worked in the industry, but I know how important it is to a solid financial plan. Replacement cost is key so you do not lose money when you are paid for your items by the insurance company. A good friend of mine was involved in a flood and the whole main floor (with master bedroom and all of their clothes and jewelry) including their garage was flooded and without replacement cost insurance they could have lost a ton of money!


    E-Loan

    I put a link to e-loan on the site so you can really change your life today by refinancing a large payment into a smaller payment - but remember that more than payment, interest rate is the key. I just used a 0% card to pay off another 1% card whose rate was going to jump up to 10% next month. I just saved myself over $700.00 that I would have paid over the next 8 months! Transfer a balance today!!


    More on Clearance

    Finding cool clearance items where you least expect them is so fun!! For example, I of course found great clothes on clearance just the other day on Macy's.com, but I never expected to find beautiful gold and black lacquered bowls and a plate under home clearance and called the "Zen Garden" collection! For all 3 items I literally paid $25.00 when they were originally $115.00! That is literally over 78% off of original price - and they are super-beautiful! I ordered them Monday and they arrived Thursday - you can check them out under home clearance if you would like (from my link in the column to the right), and you can just close that window and be right back here. Thanks for visiting savvy spender today!


    Switching Phone Companies

    Whenever I get an enticing phone offer, I switch companies! I have received up to $125.00 offers just to change my local home phone to a different company. The last offer was for $75.00 and it paid for almost 3 months of my service for free! It is like free money - wait - it is free money for about ten minutes of your time! So cool!!!


    Save Money -Try To Always Check Your Receipts

    Thursday, October 20, 2005
    Checking your receipts for errors is very important, especially when you shop at either a big discount or department store, because they carry so many items it is difficult for them to stay on top of all of the sale items! Also make sure that they key in the proper coupons - there is one store by me that almost always forgets to take my coupons off of the purchase. I also opened a credit card once at a home improvement store to save 10% on the spot, and when I got home after going through all of the paperwork I realized they didn't even take the 10% off! You can save yourself a lot of money, and in that case I called the store and they credited me by phone.


    Madonna

    Madonna ! This is not a normal type of post for me but some (I'm sure most) people are scratching their heads over the latest Madonna publicity stunt. This is a perfect example of someone abusing the power they have in the media. I think she is very talented and has greatly contributed to pop music, even if you don't care for her style of music, but my issue is that she has what most would consider to be everything - a husband, two beautiful children, huge homes including her English Manor(castle, more like it, like Sting's), and fame and fortune. She has done whatever she felt like most or all of her life and is now telling the rest of us we are wrong in how we have chosen to live our lives! I believe slow and steady "wins the race" and that you can live an honest, charitable, giving, loving life and still get "ahead". Success should never be measured solely in dollars, but also in how you have treated the people you meet in life's journey and in how you treat friends, family and even strangers. If she truly believes what she is saying, maybe she could greatly reduce the price on her new CD so everyone could afford to listen to it - we all know she does not need the money from the sales!!!


    Buy Now For Your Future!

    Wednesday, October 19, 2005
    Buy things that you will need in the future that are on sale right now. It seems an like an uphill battle if you are living paycheck to paycheck, but in time you we see that your debt is decreasing and your net worth is increasing. Stocking up on items you will need for the holidays at the grocery store or department store will save you huge amounts in the near future. Here are some things I have found at great discount prices:

    1. Fall clothing for holiday gifts - I found designer jeans on clearance at Macy's.com (but you can find things everywhere right now)for about $25.00 each(from $100.00 each). I also found light weight long sleeve shirts and beautiful designer tank tops you can where year 'round under a jacket (for 75% off).

    2. School supplies are deeply discounted everywhere - I stocked up for next year and donated some to the kids' displaced by the hurricane.

    3. Buy decorations the day after the holiday for next year - I decided we have enough for this year and I will wait and buy more decorations for next year on clearance and save a ton of money!


    Save Even More Money

    You can normally save even more money on internet sites by giving them permission to email you in the future. It is great because you are updated on the status of your package arrival time, but it can become a burden if your email inbox is constantly overflowing - it is added stress we don't need! Many times I have been offered an additional 10% off online purchases by allowing them this permission, but have then unsubscribed to their emails (at the bottom of the page they send you) if they constantly send emails I no longer want to receive. Just check it out because it could save you additional money at check out - especially if you are a first time customer or have not shopped there for quite awhile because most companies clear out their files regularly.


    perfectmatch.com = livewithregisandkelly.com

    I just wanted to mention that the Live with Regis and Kelly Show had the perfectmatch.com segment on today, October19 - through my link you get a two month free trial period and can get much more information from Regis and Kelly or perfectmatch. Live well for less starting today!!!


    Fogdog.com - So Cool!!!

    Tuesday, October 18, 2005
    I love to by our sporting goods online because I find it is difficult to find excellent prices on sports equipment anywhere else but online. I even found a beautiful poker table I put in my home that doubles as a dining table and is solid wood - it was very inexpensive, and I used a promotion and was not charged tax! Some other reasons I love fogdog.com:

    A. Outlet shopping - up to 70% off!

    B. No tax unless you live in KY, NC, or PA.

    C. $15.00 off of $75.00 for using the link I provided - and they run this promtion often!


    Warranties - Extended and Otherwise

    Warranties are such a waste of time and money. You know when a sales associate is spending more time trying to sell the warranty than the product you just purchased something is seriously wrong! When we were first married, my husband was even sold a warranty of sorts on our car loan from someone I worked with at a bank who then won a huge TV soon after from the bank for pushing extra products. They may be worthwhile on a car, but you can decide that towards the end of your standard warranty - when I leased my car they tried to sell me on extras like these after I agreed to buy the car - and then got "angry"(an act) with me when I refused to pay for things I did not need. Never be intimidated - it is your money and so you have the power!!!


    My Dream

    My dream for this site is to truly help people. I am a stay-at-home mom with one income, one husband, and three children still living at home (with one on her way to college soon). The reason I combined my writing with corporate links is because I truly believe in all of these websites and they have helped me tremendously over the years to save money, research the best prices, and live well for less. It also saves me huge amounts of time and energy to do the majority of my shopping from home. I used to even have my groceries delivered to my home and it saved me time and money(no impulse buys) but unfortunately there is no one in my area now who delivers groceries!


    Make A Positive Change Today!

    Make a positive change today - some ideas to try:

    1. Increase your 401K or whatever savings tool you have in place by just 1% - I promise you will be happy you did, and you can always cancel the change later or even borrow from the savings in the future if you truly need it.

    2. Try to organize something - go through your closet and donate items to your local charity(after all these recent catastrophes the local charities really need our help).

    3. Try to be just a little more positive today and see how small changes effect everyone around you!


    Design Within Reach

    I just wanted to mention this new site that I put on savvyspender because they have some tremendous sale items and I did not know that they even have accessories. They do feature really cool things from top designers - for example you can buy an Eames chair from them - and those things of course tend to be pricey but of the most excellent quality. Live well for less!!


    Magazines.com

    Just a brief mention - there is a coupon code that magazines.com wanted me to mention to you - save an additional $5.00 with this code - fall_50ff - thanks!


    perfectmatch.com Featured on Regis and Kelly Show

    I wanted to briefly mention this new site perfectmatch.com because I did some research on it and it seems that the application process is slightly lengthy but worthwhile - they ask for more information so that they can be better at matching people, which seems like common sense to me! The Live with Regis and Kelly show is using them now, and through my link in the right column of this page you can try them free for two months.


    Financial World As Infinite

    Monday, October 17, 2005
    I like to view the financial world as infinite instead of as a pie, for instance. This is my personal example of how win/win attitudes are better than win/lose attitudes. One of my best friends worked hard for a tech company and worked his way up. He lived below his means and bought all of the stock he could hoping that one day the company would be purchased. Everyone of us around him had the opportunity to buy stock at a low price, but it was not a sure thing as the market never is! To make a long story short, he walked away a very wealthy man when the company was bought out - and many of their friends and family members became envious as though they had won the lottery!! I was happy for them and viewed it as a success for our group of friends - that with hard work and perseverence you can succeed. That if they succeeded, we all would in whatever we wanted to pursue. Instead, many viewed it like they got a bigger piece of the pie which left all of the rest of us with crumbs!! I do not see any logic in that kind of thinking!!!


    Retirement - A Great Idea!!!

    Reverse mortgages are a wonderful tool for retirees who want to live well while still living in their home. Basically it is like a line of credit or home equity loan that pays you, and is paid off when the home is sold. This is definately something I will rely on when my husband and I retire because I want to help my children and grandchildren with education and homes while I can!! For more information, check out reverse mortgages in a search or call a mortgage broker.


    Autos - Lease vs. Buy

    I did some extensive research on my last car purchase(actually lease) which I will share much more of later on, but basically wanted to mention that if you drive under 15,000 miles/year and would like a new car every 3-4 years then based on my research I believe it is worth checking into the lease. One example of a time I should have done this is when I bought an SUV that I ended up hating at the end of one year. I new I should just keep it, but I really could not stand the way it drove and safety became an issue. If I had leased it I would have been much better off, because you can get out of a lot of leases and into something new much more cheaply than I did after the depreciation. Or I would have driven it to lease end for only a little more than I ended up losing!!!


    Apple iTunes, Musicmatch, and Napster

    Apple iTunes, Musicmatch and Napster - I added them just for the convenience of comparing different sites for music. I hope they become a valuable resource to this page.


    Retirement Will Be Great

    I hope you have read some of the more recent articles about what not to fear about your retirement +/or the fact that many investment advisors are telling us to save much more than we will need(many people are leaving large sums to heirs) because they feel it is better to have more than to fall short. Also consider these facts:

    1. You will need much less money in retirement than you need now, even if you plan to travel and help your children/grandchildren. You will no longer pay into social security(6.2%), you will not pay whatever percentage you are paying now into a 401K plan, you will no longer have commuting fees(gas alone is a small fortune!), you will no longer have work attire, lunches out, chipping in for gifts, etc.!

    2. You will probably no longer have a mortgage or have only a small balance left to pay - that is normally one's biggest monthly expense.

    3. You will only have daily expenses for yourself/significant other - no teenagers to feed, for example!!!


    Live A Little - Or A Lot!!!

    Live a little, or a lot, by checking out some of the new links on this page:

    1. Monster.com - maybe today is your lucky day and you will find a new job or even new career!

    2. Edmunds.com - absolutely my favorite guide to car buying. When I traded my car the salesman tried to intimidate me by telling me that their trade-in prices are not valid and that he would only look at another site for pricing(which tends to be quite a bit lower). Of course he matched them after I walked out!!!

    3. Ice. com vs. Blue Nile - dream a little or splurge on something beautiful for yourself!!!


    Comparison Shop For Everything!

    Comparison shop for everything - even lawn service if you would like to have it! My husband hates to mow the lawn, but for years we thought it was out of reach or frivolous to pay someone else to do it. I finally shopped around, and even though our neighbors almost all use the same company(don't compare yourself to the Jones'!), I found a company who does a tremendous job for less than half of what they are all paying a month. The company is smaller than the other, but does name matter when you are having the lawn mowed? I would rather save money and spend it elsewhere! Happy comparison shopping!!!


    Credit Cards - Why I Always Carry A Balance!

    Credit cards debt never worries me because contrary to some people I believe that they can save you more than they can hurt you if you handle them properly. I abused my first credit card and it abused me back by charging me 21.9% interest!!! My monthly payment never even touched the balance. But instead of that terrible scenario, consider these:

    1. Discover Platinum Card at 0% - see link in right column:
    A. $5000.00 @ 18% = save $750.00
    B. $8000.00 @ 18% = save $1200.00
    C. $10,000.00@ 18% = save $1500.00

    2. Carry $8000.00 (average household debt) at even 0.9%, which is the offer I often receive on my existing cards, and save almost as much instead of carrying this amount on a line of credit or home equity loan.

    3. Use another cashback bonus card like Discover (your household can have more than one) and pay your monthly purchases off so you do not pay high interest rates.

    It is fun to be in control of your credit cards!!! I literally save a small fortune by using mine!!!


    Walmart.com - Why I Love It!

    I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical at first - until I saved over $250.00 on a camera for my husband!!! I was searching all the sites I new of for a camera, and finally I remembered that Walmart has a huge selection of things online ranging from toys to electronics, and also has pretty low shipping fees as well. When I found the camera for $250.00 less than the price listed at a "high end" store, with a free memory card to boot, I was not going to let vanity(more like stupidity) rule and pay $250.00 more to say the camera was from such-and-such!!! I also gave you the link to Walmart to comparison shop for toys along with the other toy links - with the holidays approaching I think it will be a great resource. Happy comparison shopping!


    More on Building Your Home

    Sunday, October 16, 2005
    I have a few more ideas about building your home, hopefully some will help you if you ever decide to build or are in the process of building:

    1. Put what you really want into the house from the beginning - everyone finds out the hard way that if they move a wall two feet it can cost thousands and delay the process.

    2. Upgrade what you can afford to if it is important to you - it will cost you thousands to rip out brand new materials and replace them with the upgrade you had desired.

    3. Do not worry so much if you have a high construction loan rate on your own or from the builder - we just refinanced when the house was finished for a much lower rate.

    Many more ideas soon on all of these topics!


    drugstore.com - More Reasons to Love It!

    drugstore.com - more reasons to love it! It is so easy to shop from the privacy of your own home for things like make-up, over-the-counter medicines and toiletries. They also always offer the following:

    1. You get 5% back on your purchases to use in the future as a credit.

    2. They have a color guarantee with free returns if you are not happy - I love that they have the new Rimmel lip boost gloss that actually works and stays on for only like $6.00!

    3. Free shipping on $49.00 purchase, and no tax as I mentioned before unless you live in the state of Washington.

    4. Packages delivered in timely fashion, and even my one backordered item arrived quickly.

    5. One free item of your choice everytime you shop - who doesn't love free stuff???


    Building A Home

    My husband and I have had two homes built and have finished a third(only owning one at a time, of course!), so I have learned a little about dealing with the contractors. Just a few ideas for now, many more to come in future articles:

    1. Really watch your selections, obviously, right? But you know how little things add up! I saved about $3000.00 by going to two different plumbing suppliers and comparing apples to apples as they say. I saved about $4000.00 on lighting!!! Also, the internet is a great resource to make sure you are not being taken advantage of - try searches to check basic items.

    2. Be nice to the guys building your home - bring them doughnuts or cookies, or send pizza and soda - hardly anyone ever does and you will be extremely happy you did!! In addition to keeping your homesite more cleanly to doing all kinds of extra work for free, they will also create a happier work environment.

    3. Treat your builder with respect even if he makes a mistake - he wants to maintain a great reputation and will normally remedy any issue if you treat him as an equal.


    Dream A Little - Create A Wish List

    It seems that whenever I try something new some huge roadblock pops up just as I start the journey! Perseverance is the key, and I truly believe that everyone can attain anything that they want if they try hard enough and visualize. I know of a professor, for example, with Down's Syndrome who had to try for years and years to get through school because he literally did not have the capabilities it takes to obtain a degree, but he succeeded! I know that when I first started to save to build a home, I had many financial roadblocks right away that I never saw coming; including a ton of home repairs in the house we lived in, rising interest rates, my husband crashing the car, a very sick daughter, etc. But we perservered and everything worked out fine, it just took us a little longer to save the money. And the house was beautiful even though we had very little furniture and I had to stencil the rooms to add character - which is very inexpensive but time consuming. Just dream a little and persevere in the face of opposition!!!


    Save Thousands of Dollars- And Even More In Time!!!

    These are just some tips that could save you thousands and even more over the next few years:

    1. Clean credit score - what really happens is that errors on your report hurt you probably more than anything - just check it once a year from an agency - it is free to you. With good credit you will save on your mortgage rate, auto rate, equity rate, and credit card rates(you will get 0% - 2% offers in the mail all the time from cards you own)!!!

    2. When you sell your next home and have agreed on the price with the buyer, make the realtors lower their commission at least 1%. They will tell you they cannot, or your realtor will tell you the other one will not, but they will to close the deal. I have done this several times myself with many realtors and companies. This 1% - 2% you save is thousands to you on your home sale and is not that much to each realtor(a few hundred each, and they make enough!). If your realtor has both buyer and seller or both realtors work for the same company they are already making a ton of money from you.

    3. Carry balances only on 0% cards or low rate cards(please see my Discover Explanation), and charge daily purchases on reward cards and pay that off in full every month.


    $110 Saved at Favorite Grocery Store!!!

    I just came from my favorite grocery store and I saved $110.00 on my groceries! My total was $126.00, but it would have been $236.00. It did take me an extra half an hour or so, but I think $220.00/hour is worth it!! All I did was match my coupons to the store ad. Some of the coupons went towards B1G1Free items, and I did by the fruit and veggies that were on sale, but those are normally the freshest anyway. Plus the store I frequent is positively the nicest, friendliest, cleanest store in my town and some people think that it is too expensive!! I got like 25 bags of groceries for $126.00 that will last me close to two weeks(we are a family of 5 with teenagers)! I saw another person with coupons kind of hiding them - never be embarrassed about saving money honestly - when you are in control of your spending and planning for your future it gives you a sense of pride. Or I can be happy I have $110.00 to spend on the internet!!!

    P.S. If you do not want to use coupons, just buying B1G1Free items and sale items I still would have saved $75.00!!!


    Kohl's - Great Idea!!!

    Kohl's Buy One Get One Free sale starts today - in all departments, including women's, men's, juniors', kids' and shoes - and the coolest thing is that you can by a sweater, shoes, pj's, or jeans/pants for yourself(for example) and get something free for another family member. Or, of course, you can buy just for yourself - you could get two sweaters for just $20.00!!! Just click on my link in the left column to check this out! So cool!


    Zirh - So Cool !!!

    Saturday, October 15, 2005
    Zirh is a brand new link I added because they have great quality items at reasonable prices - live well for less! They are now offfering the following promtions/deals:

    1. Free shipping!

    2. Free facial cleanser with $20.00 purchase.

    3. No sales tax unless you live in New York.

    Remember shopping through my site is 100% secure - my links take you directly to the companies - and I have been shopping through the internet since it first began encrypting and have never had an issue, and have always received my orders in a timely fashion.

    P. S. Also remember that most credit card companies will fight for you if you do ever have a problem with quality, and that most will not charge you if you dispute an item you think was mistakenly charged to you. Happy shopping!!!


    Target - New Furniture - Tremendous Value!!!

    Target has a brand new vintage modern series of furniture by Thomas O'Brien that is really beautiful. I am very impressed because it commands a lot of style with Target's pricing sensibilities and will allow you to really update a dreary room with just a few pieces. Please view for yourself through my link in the left column, and then click on furniture or view ad because it is featured on the front page. Have a beautiful day!!!


    Target - Design and Function

    Friday, October 14, 2005
    Target has a very contemporary designer named Michael Graves who designs virtually everything from pots, pans, and teapots(I have owned these for years and they are of excellent quality); to really cool Monopoly games and furniture. Sometimes you can find his items in clearance, as I did with the pots and pans - they were $100.00 and marked 75% off so they were $25.00 and I use them everyday! Just another reason to love Target!!!


    Great Deals Right Now!

    Some wonderful new links I have posted here need mentioning:

    1. Bombay has the most beautiful new merchandise - and when you go to the site from my link here you will see many promotions, sale and clearance items - this one link takes you also to Bombay Kids and Bombay Outlet.

    2. Kohl's has some terrific buys right now in clearance and sale sections - they also offer many more cool products online than I have ever found in their stores.

    3. Wilson's leather is incredible. Through my link they have an additional 40% off of clearance that will appear in your cart at checkout! For example:
    A. Women's leather jacket was $275, reduced to $130-40%= $78.00!
    B. Men's leather jacket was $350, reduced to $200-40%=$120.00!
    C. Kids - boys(but they also have girls) - black leather jacket already reduced to $60.00!

    4. Red Envelope - beautiful, reasonably priced, unique ideas and gifts you can personalize - even wedding and bridesmaid ideas. They have a special section just for "customizable gifts" - check it out!

    5. Mikasa - most everyone can find something they love at Mikasa. And through my link you will save even more!!!

    Please remember that I have set this up so you can go directly to these sites through my links to save extra, and then just close their window and you will be right back here! Please also remember that these are the official sites and they have given me permission to link and represent them here - which I find an honor because I truly love all of these companies. Have a cool day !!!


    www.savvyspender.net - welcome!!!

    Thursday, October 13, 2005
    www.savvyspender.net = www.savvyspender.blogspot.com
    Just a quick note because this site is new and I wanted to explain the URL link. Happy shopping!!


    Macy's.com - Why I Love It!

    Macy's.com is one of my all time favorites. They have spectacular sales and promotions, like free shipping or 10% off when you use your Macy's card. This is what they are offering right now:

    1. Up to 50% off Home Store items - you may find something great for the holidays.

    2. Save an additional 10% off of Home Store items just by using your Macy's card.

    3. Clearance items that cannot be beat - and a very easy site to navigate with search links that help you find specific clearance items for men, women, and home.

    4. Electronics and other cool items you cannot easily find elsewhere.

    To see what I am talking about, just click on my link in the right column so you could get these promotions - and remember, you can close the link and be right back here! Have a cool day!


    Shopping - So Sweet !!!

    Tuesday, October 11, 2005
    Shopping of course can be a lot of fun, especially when you find great deals and feel you are in control. Internet shopping allows you that feeling of control because you can sit in the privacy of your own home and decide if you really want what is in your shopping cart. I am creating a comparison shopping site to help us get the best price and the best quality. I think it will be of tremendous help with the holidays approaching - I am adding new companies through the links on this site as quickly as I can - but only those I personally trust.

    P.S. Cool feature - almost every link on this site opens a new window so you can check out current promotions, or even look over the Discover offers, and then just close the window and be right back here!!! Also please notice I added Edmunds.com for your convenience. Happy comparison shopping!!!


    A Cool Idea

    Monday, October 10, 2005
    A cool idea to help you stay better organized and that will help you achieve your financial dreams is to keep a journal of your spending for a month or two. You can create something through the computer, but for me it was easier to just use a notebook and create categories like "dining out", "grocery shopping", etc. - then whenever I would come in from running errands I could just jot down the information from my receipts. Or, you can keep receipts for a month or two and then log them. Budgets never work, just like diets do not work because you are depriving yourself of something and will binge (or go on a huge spending spree)!!! But just knowing how and where you are spending gives you the control to decide if you want to make change - you know how the little things add up quickly - hence, the "latte factor"!!!


    Welcome To Savvy Spender!

    Saturday, October 08, 2005
    Welcome to Savvy Spender - I hope this becomes one of your favorite sites on the web! My goal is to create a great resource for anyone who wants to live well for less. Please bear with me because this is a new site - I apologize if I mention a great deal that has expired, and I will really try to update everything as often as I can. Also, I have added quite a bit of sponsors recently; so if you are having any problems viewing or searching this site, just try to re-enter www.savvyspender.net in a search engine. Thanks and happy shopping!!!


    Omaha Steaks.com - More Reasons To Love It!

    I just wanted to let you know about some great new promotions Omaha Steaks is offering - and remember, they are not just steaks (please see my first article on them for more information)! You can use the link in the column to your right to go directly to their sight and see what they offer, but these are the current promotions through this site:

    1. 65% off of many different items, including great packages for gatherings like fall cookouts or football tailgating parties

    2. 3 FREE gifts with purchase !!!

    A. 6 burgers - a quarter pound each
    B. 6 piece cutlery set
    C. cutting board for meat or vegetables

    3. End of Summer Sale with extra great deals.

    I personally love the 3 Free Gifts - it is a great time to try Omaha Steaks with this deal! Remember that customer service is very important to them and they will replace or refund anything you do not believe is 100% great. Happy grilling!


    Vacations

    Monday, October 03, 2005
    While scheduling vacations be sure to ask if there is a special promotion, or if it is a big company, look online before booking your stay. On our last trip, my husband literally saw a $100.00 off coupon two days after booking - I called, and they did give me the money back even though I had already paid in full. It never hurts to ask!


    Enjoy Today

    Wednesday, September 28, 2005
    Enjoy today - try something new! A couple of ideas:

    1. Try to appreciate what you have and where you are right now - try to "live in the moment" as they say. (For instance, notice the colors in nature because the cold hand of winter is quickly approaching.)

    2. Try to make someone else's life just a little bit easier - but don't tell anyone you did it. I think I heard that idea on an Oprah show years ago. I try to do it often because it is fun and it is like keeping a secret to yourself and also makes it more powerful because you did it out of the goodness of your heart and not for any personal gain or praise or recognition. It can be something as simple as leaving a coupon that you don't need in front of the item on the shelf, or helping and elderly person who is struggling with their cart in the parking lot load their groceries. (Or in that case a very pregnant mom who has children in tow! )

    3. Try to leave guilt behind you! I heard somewhere that in some cultures there is no word for guilt. You may regret something or wish things had been different, but you did the best you could with the knowledge you had at the time. They do not feel you should carry the weight of the guilt around with you, it can keep you from making positive changes in your life for the better. (For me this means no guilt for having not talked to my Mom for a couple of days!)

    4. Try an experiment that is a lot of fun tomorrow morning. When you first wake up instead of jumping out of bed right away try to recall your dreams. It is a lot of fun - I just tried it with my daughter this morning! (When I tried it myself the last time my dream was that one of my favorite groups The Dave Matthews Band was going to play at my house but they were making my family and I help them setup and Dave was nowhere to be found!)


    Blogosphere

    Blogosphere discussion on Gilmore Girls - a reaffirmation of the endless possiblities of the net! My girls and I were watching a very popular show called the Gilmore Girls - it was a brand new episode on the WB last night. The show always seems to keep up with or ahead of trends, and last night they had a conversation about the Blogoshpere. They also made a joke about rising gas prices (premium vs. regular unleaded = whether or not you have money left over for snacks!), and they had what I assume to be the brand new picture Ipod.


    Target.com - Why I Love It!

    Most everyone knows a lot about Target, but these are some reasons I love Target:

    1. They have great prices, cool home furnishings (I literally just bought a gorgeous bedspread for my daughter from Target yesterday), and much more.

    2. When you use your Target Visa card and register your favorite school they donate a percentage of your purchases from Target to the school - they make it easy for you to support your community!

    3. When your purchases reach $1000.00 you receive a personal 10% off of purchase coupon good online or at the store. With the holidays quickly approaching, I am trying to time mine so that I can make one huge purchase and save a lot - 10% off of $500.00 saves you $50.00.


    Omaha Steaks.com - Why I Love It!

    Omaha Steaks - it's not just for steaks! I love this company because I can honestly say that everything I have had so far - and I have placed numerous orders with them - has been top notch, as they say. Of course they offer steaks, filet mignon is my favorite (live well for less!), but I didn't know until I personally ordered from them that they also have great deals on veal, pork, lamb, poultry, and beef (the hamburgers are great!). They have wonderful seafood - crab stuffed sole is our favorite - they also have pastas, appetizers, sides, sauces/seasonings, gift plans & ideas, cookbooks and even pet treats! I also love them for the following reasons:

    1. Outstanding, quality products at a great price.

    2. Your order is delivered promptly to your door in a solid styrofoam package that you can reuse for a picnic or even a trip. The food is vacuum sealed in individual boxes clearly marked with the product name on the side - it makes it easy to stack them neatly in your freezer and see what you have. There is dry ice in the large package so you do not have to worry about racing to put everything away, if you're at work and come home you can do that at your leisure.

    3. Their customer service is impeccable. When they say 100% satisfaction or your money back they truly mean it! One time a couple of months ago I found one steak to be a little fatty. I called them just to let them know so they could reference it for a quality check, and they insisted on either replacing the box of steaks or crediting my account immediately! I did not have the same experience with a grocery store - the steaks were truly horrible and I was told pretty much just too bad and they did not let anyone know.

    The link in the right column of my page will create a new window for you if you would like to just take a moment to check out what they have.


    Infinite Internet

    I just began working and building this site about two weeks ago and just opened it to the public about a week ago - but it seems to me to be of tremendous benefit to have something like Blogger available - for free - to anyone who would like to express themselves through the internet. It is really cool and I am having a tremendous amount of fun so far! I did not even know what blogging was until my brother told me about it - he thought I should try it, set me up through blogger, and now I can't get enough! My whole family thinks that I am obsessed with this but the better word is passionate. The possibilities are endless !!!


    Bombay.com - Why I Love It!

    Bombay has the coolest home furnishings at a great price! They are of great quality and go from a more traditional style all the way through to contemporary. They also have really great gifts as well. I just bought my best friend a leather travel jewelry box from Bombay for $12.00 for her birthday and she loves it - Bombay is her very favorite store! You can view it if you would like by clicking on the banner box in the left column, and I set it up so you can then close that window and you will be right back here!
    They also have great sales through this same site for Bombay Kids and Bombay Outlet. The current promotions are as follows:

    1. 25% off Harvest Sale - which is where the jewelry box is under "Gifts for Her" - it is called the Leather Travel Jewelry Box II and comes in red or black

    2. 10% off of entire purchase of $100.00 or more in Bombay Kids - they give you a coupon code

    3. 10% off of your 1st purchase if you open a Bombay credit card or some 0% card offers

    I hope you love Bombay as much as I do!!!


    Dream of Tomorrow

    Monday, September 26, 2005
    These are some ideas I have tried personally that can help you live better today, and make tomorrow more positive and fun!

    1. Create a wish list of financial goals you have - such as creating a safety net so you can stop living paycheck to paycheck, or of starting a 401K, or of even buying something big in the future like a boat! Dreaming is free, fun, and very personal - write down anything that motivates or excites you.

    2. Create a priority list - list what is truly important to you; such as family, friends, work and organizations you enjoy. Remember everyone is unique, so everyone will have a different list - for example many may love sports, exercise, or shopping. Many may list ways they would like to help their community change for a better future.

    3. Create an honest list of how you are really spending your time and energy and list changes that you would like to make.

    Happy dreaming!


    Discover the Discover Card!

    Sunday, September 25, 2005
    Just some quick tips about Discover because I use my card more than any other, and this is why:

    1. Cashback bonus - through my link to the right, you can get 2% back on all purchases or 1% back on purchases and 5% back on gas purchases (through the gas link). With gas prices as high as they are, it is a great idea!

    2. They run additional cashback periods during the year - the latest was 5% cashback at restaurants. You would get that as well as the bonuses I explained above!

    3. They are offering (through both of these links to your right) the following:

    Platinum Card - gas or regular
    0% for ten months - that is almost a whole year of 0% interest
    no annual fee

    For example:
    In 10 months, the 0% could SAVE you around $500.00 - vs. a different card with an interest rate of say 10% that had a balance of 5000.00!
    You could SAVE almost $700.00 if you had $8000.00 on a card - in just ten months!

    4. I love to double the reward dollars I earn - we will take Sharper Image as an example because it is my favorite and it is fun!! It's as easy as just calling Discover and asking them to double your credits for Sharper Image. They will send you gift certificates right away, and then you can go shopping! (They are online - check out the link to the right!) It is a great idea for the holidays, and it is like you got the money for free - especially when you are paying no interest!


    More on Internet Shopping

    Friday, September 23, 2005
    There are many ways to layer savings when shopping on the internet. I love using a coupon code when free shipping is offered (and a lot times no tax!) and also getting cashback from a credit card - for example:

    1. 20% off of $100.00 purchase at a great store
    2. free shipping is being offered
    3. no tax
    4. use cashback card (Discover, for instance, offering 2% back - click on Discover link on my site for more information!)
    5. double your reward money by calling Discover for future shopping at one of the many stores that double

    you pay $80.00 and will receive $3.20 towards next purchase = real cost $76.80
    vs.
    paying around $125.oo for the order if you did not use these ideas

    or on $200.00 purchase:

    you pay $160.00 and will receive $6.40 towards next purchase = real cost $153.60
    vs.
    paying around $250.00 for the order if you did not use these ideas

    you saved almost $50.00 in the first example and almost $100.00 in the second example!

    Keep in mind shipping charges vary company to company, as do tax rates. But in either case, it is a fun way to save!
    If you choose some sale items +/or clearance items when shopping you will save even more!

    Live well for less!!!


    drugstore.com -Why I Love It!

    I have found a lot of great deals on drugstore.com - here are some reasons I love it !

    1. Free shipping when you spend $49.00 on non-prescription items !

    2. Free stuff each time you shop - you get to choose an item from a list that you want free !

    3. No tax unless you live in the state of Washington !

    4. Great sales on makeup, household items, GNC products, health food, exercise equipment, vitamins, over -the- counter medicine, and even pet items !

    5. Fun promotions like buy 2 dove items, get a beautiful silver box and a blush brush free or free microdelivery peel with a philosophy purchase.

    As I said before, I will not mention anything I am not passionate about or do not have prior experience - and will only link directly to sights I love that are of outstanding quality. (You can link directly to drugstore.com (look to the left column) and I'm sure you will love it! Then, if you want, just close the window and you will come right back here!)


    Some Fun Ideas

    I love to make a game of seeing how much I can save through grocery shopping. It can be a lot of fun, and you can take the money you have saved and do a lot of great things with it! These are some of my favorite things to do:

    1. Treat yourself - you deserve to live well! I find CD's on Amazon - sometimes I will look for a new group or buy an old favorite that reminds me of great times. Or you can download a couple of songs you love from Apple Itunes for only a few dollars.

    2. Save for your future - increase the amount you put in your 401K by just 1% - you will hardly notice the change in take home pay if you do it on a before tax basis and you will feel great and proud of yourself for dreaming of your great future!

    3. Surf the web - go to stores you love and look for clearance items or special promotions - it is wonderful when you find something you had wanted at full price finally on clearance!


    Amazon.com - Why I Love It!

    Here are a few reasons I love Amazon.com!

    1. Free shipping on $25.00 purchase.

    2. No tax unless you live in Kansas, Kentucky, North Dakota, or Washington.

    3. Clean CD's for your kids - I have not found any other store that has as many. You may have to search the artist's collection to find it, but it is there.

    4. New products exclusive to Amazon - Amazon Shorts are short stories and essays by many different authors and are sold for much less than books.

    5. Quick delivery - the estimated shipping time is normally much longer than the actual time it takes them to deliver your items.

    P.S. I posted a direct link for your convenience if you want to check it out! (Please see left sidebar.)


    Grocery Shopping

    Tuesday, September 20, 2005
    We all would all love to save money on groceries so we would have more money for even more enjoyable things - for clothes, for a new car(as I am now), or for savings. I have conducted my own experiment over the last two months and have cut my grocery bill almost in half (and I have 3 kids ages 9-16 and a husband, and we have been trying to entertain family and friends more often). Try any of these ideas and you will save money - try all to save more!

    1. Go through your favorite store's ad and build a grocery list around the Buy1Get1Free items and sale items.

    2. If you love snacks or soft drinks like we do, try to stock up when your favorite things are at the lowest price. I even buy mostly sale fruit and vegetables - they are normally also the best quality items.

    3. Use coupons on everything you need - I stopped using them and it really makes a difference. The best thing is a coupon used towards a Buy1Get1Free item or items! For example, last week my favorite store had spaghetti sauce marked Buy1Get1Free:

    A. spaghetti sauce originally priced @ $1.59 with B1G1 sale = 1st one for $.80, 2nd one for $.79
    buy only 1 for $.80 - $.25 coupon = pay only $.55
    my store doubles coupons so $.80 - $.50 = $.30 - PAY ONLY $.30 !

    OR

    B. spaghetti sauce originally priced @$1.59 with B1G1 sale = 1st one for $.80, 2nd one for $.79
    buy 2 and pay $1.59 - $1.00 off coupon (with purchase of 2 ) - $1.59 - $1.00 = pay only $.59 for 2
    PAY ONLY $.59 for 2 jars of spaghetti sauce - that is less than $.30 EACH!

    Most of the stores in my area divide the original price in half as mentioned above, but I know a few stores that make you buy 2 - $1.59 for 1st item and $.0 for the 2nd item. You can check your favorite store's policy to find out (call, e-mail, or ask customer service). In any case, example B (see above) will work for however your store rings B1G1Free items.

    I promise to share many more ideas on how to save on groceries soon!!


    Brand New Site!!!

    I just wanted to let you know that this site is still under construction - so bear with me! I also want to mention that I am trying to pull together many resources to make our lives easier. I am only going to talk about ideas that have proven personally to be of great interest and that have enriched my life with my husband, three children, family, and friends. For example, I will never suggest that anyone should run all over town to save a few dollars - especially with the high price of gas! Instead I will give you concrete ideas for how to slash your grocery bill almost in half at your favorite store. I will also never suggest a web sight unless it has proven to me to be a great saving tool for high quality items. Thank you for your time - and with time I believe this site will be of great help to many!

    P.S. Both http://www.savvyspender.net and http://www.savvyspender.blogspot.com will bring you to this sight.


    Monday, September 19, 2005
    commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.


    Welcome to Savvy Spender!

    Friday, September 16, 2005
    Since this is my very first post, let me first welcome you and explain a little about myself. I love to shop, and I love living well (some of my friends and family would say very well!); but I want to do both in the smartest financial way possible. I want to share my many ideas to help everyone live well on whatever money or income they have available. I had to learn the hard way how to turn massive debt around - I married someone who had a negative net worth of close to $30,000 (due to student loans for a bachelors degree). I was still in college when we got married, and to make matters worse, we eloped (i.e. no wedding gifts or money at all)! We had our first child four years later and sacrificed my income for me to be home, and began using credit cards at 21.9% interest to supplement income. When we decided to save for a starter home I began reading almost every financial and personal finance book our library had to offer. To make a long story short, we learned how to pay off the debt, save, spend wisely, and we have been very successful. I would love to share what I have learned and help make the road to financial success an exciting journey!


    Internet Shopping

    The internet offers so much important information and helps me live well for less! In a matter of minutes, I just found coupon codes for many different clothing stores. With a coupon code for 15% off of a purchase of $50.00 or more, and if I use a cash back credit card, I will save quite a bit. For example, say I spend $100.00; that $100.00 becomes $85.00, and I will receive almost a dollar back from my credit card (two dollars if I choose to double the reward towards a certificate for shopping!) It may sound like a little here and a little there but you know it all adds up! In this example, I saved almost $20 - and $20 a week is over $1000.00 in a year!


    My Dream

    Thursday, September 15, 2005
    Thank you for visiting savvy spender. I hope that you enjoyed the site. Please keep in mind that this is a work in progress - it has only been public for just over a week. I will continue to add much more content to all of the topics I have just begun to discuss. Also please keep in mind that this is a peronal site - I am not a financial planner - I just wanted to help people, and so far it has been really fun! I have many more links from supportive companies to add as well, so stay tuned as they say!