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10 Things More Expensive This Fall & Tips to Fight Back

August 20, 2014 by Kyle No comments   •   Filed Under ,

I recently read an article on CBS MoneyWatch talking about 10 things that are going to be more expensive this fall. Fairly interesting stuff for a dude like me who always tries to predict rising costs and figure out ways to divert said costs. What I found most interesting is the author had no problem spouting rising costs on certain items with absolutely no advice or tips on how to avoid them. Fairly typical I suppose. So I took it upon myself to research ways to not let these 10 things weigh you down this fall. Here is what I discovered…

Fall costs

Sandwich Meat

~ Wow, I love me a big ol’ fat sandwich loaded with meat, cheese, and veggies. Throw it all on a soft sourdough roll, some chipotle sauce, and I’m one happy dude. Turns out Kraft is raising the price on 50% of their products. They are raising their meats by 10% across the board this fall. The current cost of milk, pork, and chicken is forcing Kraft to raise their prices. Here is how to fight back:

  • A ham lover? Buy a whole or half ham and slice it thinly for sandwiches. Freeze what you won’t use within the week. You can get it for less than $2 a pound.
  • Do the same for turkey and roast beef. Buy and cook and entire turkey or roast, slice for sandwiches, freeze a ton of it and have cheap sandwich meat for months.
  • Buying in bulk, cooking, and slicing meat is especially a great tip if you have kids and are packing lunches every weekday.

Bacon…Yummy Bacon

~ Bacon is the duct tape of the kitchen, right? A new recipe just not working…throw in some bacon and you’re good to go. Pig farmers are hurting with high feed prices due to a major drought in most of the western U.S. and the result is bacon at a record high price of $6.11 a pound. Here is the single best way to save money on yummy bacon:

  • Buy Kirkland Signature brand bacon from Costco. It consistently ranks as the best bacon from Consumer Reports and you can buy four 1lb packages very reasonably price at $17.64 or $4.41 per pound. Almost $2 dollars cheaper than the national average. Use one package, freeze the other three for later. Bacon problem averted.
  • If you are not a Costco member then be sure to shop grocery store circulars and look for deals and coupons on a pound of bacon. Just yesterday our local Safeway had a sale for $3.99 a pound. When you see a deal be sure to stock up and freeze it.

Denim Jeans

~ According to CBS MoneyWatch, denim prices are jacked way up right around back-to-school season as manufacturers know many folks are buying. Here are some tips to save:

  • Thrift stores. The one cool thing about denim is it lasts forever and typically looks better with age. This makes shopping for denim jeans at your local thrift store a no-brainer. Most are usually stocked to the gills with jeans, name brand jeans mind you, and are sold for pennies on the dollar.
  • When buying denim new, always shop with a coupon, especially when shopping online. Retailers like Levi’s.com, Kohls.com, Lands’ End.com, and American Eagle Outfitters.com have some terrific coupon codes available to help you save up to 40% off your next pair of jeans.
  • Lastly, simply hold off on denim purchases until October when Rather-Be-Shopping.com will start to see an increase in holiday coupons, particularly for apparel stores.

Chocolate

~ When milk and cocoa goes up in costs, it makes sense that Hershey’s is going to raise prices, 8% in July to be exact. Mars did the same with a 7% increase. But chocolate lovers do not fret, here is how to still get your fix and NOT pay more.

  • Buy in bulk and save money by buying Kirkland Signature chocolate products from your local Costco. Stay away from name brands as those will consistently cost you more.
  • Stock up on name brand chocolates right after Halloween when grocery and discount stores are slashing prices to clear out their excess trick or treat chocolates. Put as much as you can fit into your freezer as chocolate will easily last between 6 and 8 months.

Electricity Costs

~ I have personally felt the increase in electricity costs this summer and the fact of the matter is rates will never go down. But here are a few solid tips to control your electricity costs and keep them as low as possible.

  • Look into solar. With the federal tax credit and increasingly lower costs to install solar panels at your home this is finally becoming a feasible solution for many Americans.
  • Use a programmable thermostat. This is a very frugal way to control your heating and cooling bill. By installing a programmable thermostat you can set it to only heat or cool your house when you are actually there.
  • My favorite tip is to plant a small tree in front of windows that directly get afternoon sunlight. I did this at my home and it is amazing how much cooler the rooms affected stay. Be sure to plant deciduous trees that lose their leaves in autumn so the sunlight makes its way through the window and warms the room during winter.

Starbucks Coffee

~ Starbucks raised the cost of their whole beans by 8% this fall. In actuality, look for all coffee to go up in price. This price increase is due to a big drought in Brazil which has really hurt the Arabica coffee bean industry. Lucky for you I wrote an article recently documenting 8 ways to save money at Starbucks. Here are a few of the key ways to save money and not let the increase in the price of a cup of java affect you.

  • Always use a Starbucks rewards card. If you buy coffee from Starbucks at least three time a year, you should get yourself a free Starbucks rewards card or download their mobile app. By doing so you’ll earn cool rewards like free drinks, free flavor shots, and free tasty treats. Totally worth the effort. Also, you’ll always get a free drink on your birthday.
  • Get a free or cheap refill at Starbucks. The next time you’re sitting in your local Starbucks enjoying a cup of regular coffee, hit them up for a 50 cent refill before you walk out the door.
  • Ask for less ice. The next time you’re buying an iced coffee, tea, or specialty drink, order it with only half or very little ice. You will basically get the next sized drink for the price of a smaller size.
  • Brew at home. Avoid the $4 cup of coffee altogether and brew at home for pennies per cup. Again, I am a huge fan of the Kirkland Signature 100% Colombian coffee. You can buy a 3 lb. can for around $15 at your local Costco.

Airfare

~ Ridiculous fees by both airlines and the TSA are the culprit for rising airfare costs. Booking for Thanksgiving? Do it NOW as cost will only go up. Here are a few ways to save on airfare this Fall.

  • When to book? Studies have shown that the best time to book your airfare is 3 to 7 weeks before domestic travel.
  • Best months to travel? If you can hold off your travel plans until January or February you’re going to save some serious cash on airfare. Specifically, 18% lower than normal in January and 15% lower in the month of February.
  • Cheapest day of the week to travel? For domestic travel, the cheapest day to depart is Friday and the cheapest day to arrive home is on a Monday.

School Supplies and Technology

~ According to the National Retail Federation, every back-to-school category will see an increase this year. Gulp, wow, really? That is totally astounding to my wife and I as we always score amazing deals and typically spend less than the year before. I document how we do this in my recent article 8 Genius (Yet Easy) Ways to Save on Back-To-School Shopping. Here are a few key takeaways from the article.

  • Shop Your Closet & Kid’s Backpack First. You’d be amazed how many supplies your child still has from the previous year. Always start by going through what you already got before you head to Target or Walmart.
  • NEVER Buy Everything From 1 Store. If you go into a single store and buy everything on your child’s list you’re bound to pay full price on stuff that is likely on sale right next door at a competing store.
  • Price Match Items. If you don’t want to drive around town looking for deals just price match items at Walmart or Target. They’ll happily price match screaming deals from Office Depot, Staples, Office Max, Best Buy and others.

Chicken

~ The simple chicken. So cute. So delicious. And apparently…so expensive. According to Reuters there is a breed of rooster here in the U.S. that is having fertility issues and leading to a decrease in eggs getting fertilized. You learn something new every day, huh? Here are some tips to fight back against rising poultry costs.

  • Chicken can be stored in your freezer for 6-9 months. Much longer than beef which tends to get freezer burnt. Buy chicken in bulk when you find it on sale. Many grocery stores and butcher shops will place boneless chicken breasts on sale for $2.99/pound or lower. So just be sure to shop the circulars and jump on deals when you find them.
  • Costco is another solid option for buying chicken, especially if you have the freezer space to store it.

Buying a Home

~ With rising interest rates and less housing inventory in many cities, homes continues to rise in value across the country making it more expensive for prospective buyers. Here are some handy tips for buyers:

  • Do your research. By knowing the local housing market like the back of your hand you’ll be able to decipher a good deal from an over-priced home. Talk to local realtors, talk to sellers, and talk to brokers and pick their brains. Once you know the market keep an eye out on new listings in your area and be ready to act on deals. Get pre-qualified from a lender as well so you move quickly with an offer.
  • Be patient. If you’re trying to buy a home and your offer is not accepted, have the mindset that it flat out wasn’t meant to be. Don’t get emotionally attached and move on quickly to the next opportunity. This is especially true if you’re looking for an investment property. Your patience will eventually payoff.

Ask the Reader: Do you have any more tips to save money on these products? Please leave a comment below and share your tip with the class, after all it is back to school time.

By Kyle James

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11 Brick & Mortar Stores That ACTUALLY Accept PayPal

August 18, 2014 by Kyle No comments   •   Filed Under

I started researching this article by reading stuff that talked about over 20 brick & mortar retailers that accepted PayPal on in-store purchases. I was like “Wow, that is cool! I had no idea so many stores did that.” Then I started digging a bit further. Made a bunch of phone calls and talked to a bunch of store reps. Turns out very few brick & mortar stores currently accept PayPal. So it’s actually kind of cool that I’m setting the record straight on this one and giving you a legitimate way to pay in-store without ever having to take your wallet out of your pants or purse.

Personally, I love the option to use my PayPal balance to make purchases at these stores. As a dude who is constantly selling stuff on eBay, it is a fantastic way for me to use my PayPal balance on stuff I need. To make this dealio work the first thing you need to do is download the free PayPal app for your iPhone or Android. Once you have your account synced to your phone all you have to so is display it while checking out. If the store doesn’t have the ability to scan your phone you can just enter your PayPal account information on the payment keypad.

Amazon.com

Abercrombie & Fitch

~ When shopping in-store at Abercrombie & Fitch, they’ll happily accept PayPal. Specifically, when checking out at at your local A&F, you’ll be given the option of using PayPal to pay by credit card, bank transfer, or current PayPal account balance. Cool stuff.

Advanced Auto Parts

~ The next time you’re shopping for auto parts and accessories at Advance Auto Parts you can leave your wallet in your pocket and simply use your PayPal account to pay. You can either use your current PayPal balance, bank transfer. or credit card on file to pay. Very handy, especially if you carry a PayPal balance from items you recently sold on eBay. Hint, hint.

Aeropostale

~ Aero is happy to accept PayPal as a form of payment when shopping at your local retail location. Just select PayPal as your form of payment and the employee will either scan a QR code created within the PayPal mobile app or you’ll have to punch in a 4 digit code into the PIN pad. Also keep an eye out for exclusive Aeropostale coupons via the PayPal app to sweeten the deal even further.

Dollar General

~ I called up my local Dollar General store and asked if they accepted PayPal as a form of payment. I was told that they absolutely do, but the lady I talked to had never actually had anyone try it. She wanted me to come in to her store and test it out so she knew exactly how it worked. Funny.

Famous Footwear

~ Next on my list was to call my local Famous Footwear and YES they do accept PayPal as a form of payment. The lady I talked to had to go and ask to make sure, but rest assured they do. Must not be very popular yet. It is so darn easy to pay with a credit card that PayPal is having a hard time getting consumers to change their payment habits.

Home Depot

~ I was shopping at my local Home Depot just last weekend, buying some fencing supplies to keep my pygmy goats from escaping, when I noticed on the keypad at checkout that they accept PayPal. I asked the cashier if many people used it and he said “more recently they have been” which I thought was an encouraging sign.

Jamba Juice

~ Last year Jamba Juice started testing a relationship with PayPal that would allow you to pre-order your smoothie via the PayPal iPhone app and pay for it as well.  While your local Jamba Juice location may not be a part of the test group to pre-order, you can still use the PayPal app to pay for your favorite smoothie. If you are a huge JJ fan like me, be sure to also check out my article 6 Cool Ways to Save Money at Jamba Juice.

Mapco Express

~ Convenience store and gas station Mapco now accepts PayPal for in-store purchases.  ”In-store purchases” is a bit redundant I suppose as it’s tricky to buy gasoline online these days…or any days for that matter.

Office Depot

~ I called my local Office Depot and sure enough they also accept PayPal when checking out in-store. Just have to enter your account information into the keypad and you’ll be good to go. Nice to know, especially after calling about 10 different retailers who received press attention in the past year for accepting PayPal in-store who don’t actually do it. On a side-note, Office Max does NOT accept PayPal on in-store purchases.

Radio Shack

~ For those of you who have been following the slow tanking of Radio Shack this one might not surprise you. So I call up my local “Shack” and ask if they accept PayPal for in-store purchases. (I figured they must as I read a bunch of articles talking about their agreement with PayPal) The manager tells me “they absolutely do, but their payment keypads don’t have letters on them, only numbers, so PayPal won’t work.” Wow, so let me get this straight, you enter into an agreement with PayPal but don’t have the foresight to make sure you have the technology in place to make it work. Adios to the Shack, nice knowing you. If I ever need parts for my Tandy I’ll be sure to look you up.

Rooms To Go

~ Rooms To Go is a popular furniture store based in Florida with stores all through the southeast. I called one of their location and yes indeed they accept PayPal when making a purchase in one of their furniture showrooms. Good to know, especially if you have a large PayPal balance and need some new furniture.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Stores that were rumored to accept PayPal in-store but DO NOT include Babies R Us, Toys R Us, American Eagle, Barnes & Noble, JCPenney, Jos A Bank, Tiger Direct, and Nine West.

Ask the Reader: Have you ever used PayPal to make an in-store purchase? If you did, how did it go, was it an easy process?

By Kyle James

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4 Killer Ways to Consistently Beat (or Tie) Amazon.com Pricing

August 13, 2014 by Kyle 1 comment   •   Filed Under ,

Now don’t get me wrong, I love Amazon.com and am a fairly loyal shopper. They have an amazing selection of products and their pricing is very competitive. But I am here to tell you that paying for Amazon Prime and doing all your shopping with them is not always going to net you the best deal. As a matter of fact, today I have four ways you can actually beat (or tie) Amazon pricing [...] Continue Reading…

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Chow Time: 55+ Restaurants Where Kids Eat For Free

August 6, 2014 by Kyle No comments   •   Filed Under ,

With three kids who seem to eat as if their stomach has a hole in the bottom of it, I am a big fan of restaurants and eateries who’ll feed them for free on specific days of the week. I mean, heck, if you’re going to go out for a family dinner, why not go somewhere where the kids can get their grub on at no charge. It is with this in mind that [...] Continue Reading…

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Get Social on Twitter and Save Money with These 10 Companies

August 4, 2014 by Kyle 6 comments   •   Filed Under

It’s kinda funny how social media works sometimes. Not only is it a great way to network and connect with people, but the ability to use it as a money-saving tool seems to be growing daily.

The reason for this post all started about a week ago when I was asked by Cameron Huddleston from Kiplinger.com if I knew of any solid ways to use Twitter as a tool to save money. Thanks to a killer [...] Continue Reading…

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I opened my latest AT&T bill and darn near fell out of my chair when I saw the total due. The reason it was so high was because we just added a second phone line for my home office and my introductory DSL promotion just expired. I knew it was time to get to work and get my bill lowered. Time to get ‘er done. Below is exactly what I did. You should do [...] Continue Reading…

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(Updated 8/11/14)

Have you ever been shopping online at your favorite store, add items to your cart, then decide to not make the purchase for one reason or another. Maybe it was just to expensive. Maybe the shipping costs were a deal breaker. Whatever your reasoning for abandoning your online shopping cart, some popular online stores are now sending a follow-up email to try and entice you back with a coupon or discount to complete [...] Continue Reading…

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So my 2 year contract with Verizon just ended and I was sick and tired of my wife and I paying over $130 a month for our 2 ancient and slow iPhone 4′s. The camera is total crap and I can walk to the closest Starbucks before I could pull up the actual location of the nearest one. Paying that much every month was killing me. Over $1,500 a year for 2 mediocre phones. [...] Continue Reading…

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What Name Brands Can I Find at Ross, TJ Maxx, and Marshalls

July 15, 2014 by Kyle 2 comments   •   Filed Under

When I shop for clothing, while not often as I’m a dude, it is ALWAYS at a discount store. Typically Ross or TJ Maxx as we don’t have a Marshalls in my town. I mean seriously, why would you pay full price for name brand clothing and shoes when you can the same stuff at a huge discount. 95% of the stuff is first run quality and the brands are pretty darn amazing.

In the [...] Continue Reading…

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8 Genius (Yet Easy) Ways to Save on Back-To-School Shopping

July 11, 2014 by Kyle 2 comments   •   Filed Under ,

Pencils, crayons, glue sticks, notebooks, binders, maybe even a new laptop. It may seem early to start thinking about the things on your kid’s back-to-school shopping list but if you start early and keep an eye out for certain things, you can save a ton of money. Here are seven tips that will not only save you money but will help keep you sane as you try to figure out the best back-to-school shopping [...] Continue Reading…

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