$200 Bonus When You Open a Capital One 360 Savings and Checking Account

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As your shopping list grows, Capital One is ready to help put a little extra cash in your pockets for the holidays! How does an extra $200 sound? Open a new 360 Checking Account and a 360 Savings Account and you’ll get a bonus that will help you stuff those stocking just a little bit fuller this year.

This year you can dodge the crowds and the checking account fees with a Capital One 360 Checking Account and get a $100 bonus. Sound too good to be true?

How it works:
• Open a fee-free 360 Checking Account between Nov. 28th and Dec. 1st

• Make an initial deposit of at least $250

• Complete 5 Debit Card purchases, deposit checks from anywhere with CheckMate or any combo of both within 45 days

• Snag your $100 bonus on day 50

Go HERE for more information and to open a 360 Checking Account

The nitty gritty:
• This has to be your (or your joint account holder’s) first 360 Checking Account (including Electric Orange Checking Accounts)

• This account must be funded from a source outside of Capital One 360. In other words, your initial deposit can not be transferred from an existing Capital One 360 account.


Or maybe you’re looking for Peace on Earth and Peace of Mind this holiday season? Open a Capital One 360 Savings Account and get a $100 bonus.

How it works:
• Open a no-fee 360 Savings Account between Nov. 28th and Dec. 1st with an initial deposit of $1000 or more

• Snag a bonus of $100

• Enjoy the gift of saving

The nitty gritty:
• This has to be your (or your joint account holder’s) first 360 Savings Account (including Orange savings Accounts)

• The bonus starts earning interest on day 1, but you can’t take it our for at least 30 days

• This account must be funded from a source outside of Capital One 360, In other words, your initial deposit can not be transferred from an existing Capital One 360 account.

Go HERE for more information and to open a 360 Savings Account

So what are you waiting for? There’s a $200 bonus with your name on it just waiting to make your holidays a little more merry!

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.



Safety Tips for Using Your Credit Card Online

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Safety Tips for Using Your Credit Card Online

You probably already know that I am a HUGE fan of online shopping.  I like that I don’t have to battle the crowds, the parking lots, the lines.  Best of all, I don’t drive all the way to the store only to find that they don’t have the size, color, or even item I am looking for.  No thank you.  So, with the holidays fast approaching, I thought I would share a couple of tips for keeping your identity safe and still enjoying all of the perks of online shopping.

  1. Don’t use debit, only credit cards.  Credit cards usually have better consumer protection plans, and even if your debit card does have one, remember, if someone gets into your account, your money isn’t returned right away.  There has to be an investigation by the company–which could mean you have ZERO cash while you are waiting for it to all get sorted out.  If you don’t prescribe to the notion of credit cards, buy yourself a visa gift card to use for online purchases.
  2. When possible, use Paypal.  Paypal is designed to protect you from fraudulent charges and you can pay using your debit card if you want.  Plus, if something does happen, you get your money back almost immediately.
  3. Don’t make online purchases on public computers or public WiFi.  Period.  Do it from the comfort of your home {preferably in fuzzy pajamas and with bed head}.  Public computers are a breeding ground for identity theft.
  4. Make sure you have anti-virus software installed and up-to-date.  It will save you a lot of hassle.
  5. Shop only at reputable sites.  This is a big one.  I try to stick to websites of stores and online retailers like Amazon, otherwise, you just can’t be sure that the product will be guaranteed and that your personal information is safe-guarded.
  6. You can tell if a site is secure via your mobile device if the website has https in the address.
  7. Create a folder for all receipts on your email account and save EVERYTHING there.  You can also print it, but I don’t like the paper clutter.  That way, you will have a spending trail to show your financial institution should someone get a hold of  your information.
  8. Be smart about passwords and make a different one for every site.  It’s also smart to change them up a couple times of year.
  9. Log onto your credit card account DAILY during the shopping season.  That way, you will know RIGHT AWAY if something is awry.  {As an added bonus, it will help you track your personal spending.}
  10. Check with your credit card company, a lot of times, they will allow you to create a disposable one-time credit card number that is linked to your account.  You can use that number to make a single purchase.  Should anyone get a hold of your information from that transaction, it won’t do them any good.

How do YOU keep yourself safe when shopping online?

~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

10 Money Saving Tips for Hosting a Thanksgiving Day Feast

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10 Money Saving Tips for Hosting a Thanksgiving Day Feast

Have you ever offered to host something, because you thought the whole tradition of it would be awesome, and then, after you had committed, realized that it was going to require you to take an advance on your retirement in order to afford it?  Thanksgiving can totally be one of those times.  Over the years, though, I have learned quite a few ways to put on a generous spread and still keep the budget in mind.

If you are hosting this year, here are a couple of ideas to keep money in your pocket and food on the table:

  1. Right off the bat, the easiest way to have a nice spread is to go potluck, or at the very least, take people up on it when they offer to bring something.  It totally eases your load in the kitchen too.
  2. It’s never too early to stock up on non-perishables.  If you notice that chicken broth is on sale {and be still your beating heart, there is a coupon too!} in September, swipe it up and store it for the big day.
  3. Make up for upfront costs with creative uses of left-overs.  Make turkey pot pies with leftovers that you can freeze for later, when you aren’t sick to death of the sight of turkey.  Supplementing later meals will help to balance out your budget.
  4. Know common ingredient substitutions.  No need to buy buttermilk if you can make it with the ingredients you already have at home.  It could save you a lot of time and money to just use what you already have.
  5. Keep the meal simple.  Yes, it would be awesome to make every single recipe you pinned on your appetizer board on Pinterest, but that gets time consuming and costly.  Be realistic about how much food you actually need.
  6. Use what you already have for your centerpiece.  Cut some boughs off of your tree, sprinkle in a couple of candles, put fall leaves in mason jars, etc. and you have an instant centerpiece that cost nothing.
  7. If you serve alcohol, keep it simple.  Provide beer and wine.  Anything more gets super expensive.
  8. If you only use sage and thyme {or whatever the spice may be} once a year, consider buying it in the bulk section of your store.  I know the word “bulk” implies that you have to buy a ton, but that’s the beauty, you can literally just get the tablespoon worth you need.  It will save you big bucks–and valuable kitchen storage space.
  9. Hit Farmer’s Markets.  You can usually find a much better deal on produce around this time of year if you have access to a farmer’s market.
  10. Cut out the convenience foods altogether.  For example, a jar of gravy costs waaay more than homemade gravy, which literally cost pennies and extra time.

Do you have any money saving tips for hosting the Big Feast?

~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

How to Find Free {or Cheap} Firewood

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How to Find Free {or Cheap} Firewood

With winter right around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about stock piling wood for all of those long cold days ahead.  While I love the sound of a crackling fire on a cold night, I am not a huge fan of paying for a cord of wood.  I know lots of people head to the mountains, permit in hand, to cut their yearly firewood, but if that’s not for you, there are a couple of ways to score free {or cheap} wood.

First, craigslist is the Mecca for firewood.  You have to be right on top of it, though, and willing to scavenge all year long.  It’s usually someone looking to get rid of a tree that a storm took out, or something like that.  Look under “free” in the listings.  You’ll probably have to do some chopping, but even “free” comes at a price.  On that same token, sites like freecycle also have wood from time to time.  Again, the key is to check it daily.

firewoodCall around to your local tree services.  A lot of times, they have a wood chipper and just send the wood through anyway.  You may be able to negotiate a deal where you pick up the wood and haul it off.

Keep an eye out for new construction sites.  A lot of times, the crew will come in and clear the lot, including trees, before building.  With a little smile and a plate of cupcakes, you might be able to talk them into letting  you haul off the wood.

If you are brave enough, dumpster diving {with permission} at construction sites can yield quite a bit of burnable wood.  Just make sure to watch out for nails and other scraps of metal that could be a potential diving hazard.  Also, don’t burn treated wood–unless your interested in gassing yourself in the months to come.

Contact local sawmills, cabinet makers, etc.  You might be able to arrange to come pick up their end cuts–especially if you are saving them disposal fees.

Word of mouth is pretty powerful too.  Make sure to let friends and family know you are willing to come do a little manual labor to haul off unwanted wood.  People will call when they see or hear of fallen trees.

How do you get your firewood?

~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

How to Save BIG on Your Grocery Bill

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How to Save BIG on Your Grocery BillI know many of you have been reading this site for some time, but we have new readers all the time. I thought, especially now that the kids are back and school and with the holidays around the corner, now would be the perfect time to recap all of the ways I preach to save. So here they all in one easy place, so you can get back into the swing of things and start saving today!

So many of these ideas are super simple and can be implemented in minutes, but all of them will ultimately save you big time.

Chicken-Casserole-with-Mashed-Potato-Topping

  1. Cook from scratch. I know this one sounds amazing, but is often hard to implement with busy schedules. I get it, I’ve been there. But honestly, you pay for convenience in price and with your health. Processed foods contribute to heart disease, diabetes, obesity, etc. So, even if you can coupon yourself into rock bottom food prices, you will pay for it in the rear with doctor visits, etc.apples
  2. Eat seasonally. If you take nothing else away from this article, this should be it. It’s really a simple tip, but it will lead to HUGE savings. Foods that are in season are at their lowest prices. Be wary though, because often a sale on a fruit or veggie does not mean it’s in season. If a store is touting strawberries on sale in January, know that their price might be a bit cheaper than all the stores around them, but at $2.99/lb, you won’t see prices anywhere near what they were in June.So buy in bulk when produce is in season, and can, freeze or preserve your bounty {or when it’s growing like crazy in your garden}.
  3. Weekly Meal Plan - Menu Plan IdeasMake a plan. What’s that saying, “those who fail to plan should plan to fail?” That’s so true. A simple plan will save some big bucks.This includes a list AND a meal plan. You already know that I am not great about meal planning, but I always have a list when I go to the store–and when I don’t, I pay for it! Also, meal plan with the ads in hand. Plan all of your weekly consumption around what is on sale {assuming the sale is actually a good price–see #2}.costco butter
  4. Keep 10% of your monthly budget available for “stock-up items.” If you plan on spending $300 a month, keep $30 available for stock up purchases that you can make when you see rock bottom prices. For example, if you see butter on sale for $2.00/lb, it’s probably time to buy several pounds and freeze them. Having money set aside in your budget to make those kind of unplanned purchases really saves money later on.
  5. Use coupons wisely. Coupons for cheese, yogurt, etc. are great when you can pair them up with store sales. This is just basic couponing 101. Don’t use coupons just because you have them–use them when they make the price competitive and worthwhile. The couponing game is a tempting one, but if you learn to play it wisely, it won’t play you.
  6. Minimize waste by USING WHAT YOU HAVE. One of the easiest tips on this list. Although I’m occasionally guilty of wanting to try out a new recipe even though I have food in the pantry/freezer that I could use, shopping at home from your pantry and freezer is the fastest way to save money. Plain and simple.freezer meals
  7. Make freezer meals. You know those nights you are tempted to just throw your hands up and order a pizza because you have absolutely no desire to cook? Well, freezer meals to the rescue! You make them when you’re actually motivated and cook them when you’re not. You don’t have to sacrifice your health by getting a pre-packaged meal, or totally blow your budget by going out.How to Save Money at the Grocery Store  Buy Spices from Bulk Bins
  8. Buy in bulk. I’m not saying do all your shopping at Costco, because that’s a slippery slope between savings and overspending! But bulk buying can really save you money if you know what to look for.I love to buy spices in bulk from Winco. You seriously pay pennies on the dollar. I also buy my meat in bulk from Zaycon. It is great quality offered at wholesale prices. The catch is that I have to process and freeze most of it myself–but that actually works out okay, because I can make freezer meals as I go. It saves TONS of money over the year.
  9. Shop alone. If I shop with anyone in my family {kids or the HH}, I always end up spending more and deviating from my list. But when I shop alone, I’m a woman on a mission. I know this is sometimes impossible, but shopping without the family really limits distractions {which leads to missed items and last minutes runs to the grocery store} and potentially throwing unplanned items into the cart.
  10. Keep a designated “use first” area in your fridge. Keep all of the items that won’t last much longer in one area. Plan your weekly menu around these items first. This will cut down on food waste and help keep your budget low.

If that list is a bit overwhelming or totally different from how you currently shop, choose one or two tips and implement them today. Or go big or go home and try them all at once. Regardless of which method you choose, I promise you’ll see a reduction in your grocery bill almost immediately.

Happy Saving,

Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

10 Tips for Maintaining Your Front Load Washing Machine

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10 Tips for Maintaining Your Front Load Washing Machine

Front loaders are becoming pretty standard these days.  In fact, if you are in the market for a new washer, chances are, you will end up with a front loader.  Top loaders are harder and harder to come by, the choices are few, and the general trend is to steer everyone toward front loaders for their lowered water usage and efficiency ratings.  If you are new to the front-loader game, maintaining them is a bit different than a top-loader {which required almost no maintenance}.  Here are a few tips to get you started:

  1. Leave the door open when not in use.  Smelly machines is the biggest complaint when it comes to front load washers.  The key is to allow the drum and the door to dry out completely between washes.  Giving the rubber door seal a quick wipe down aids the process significantly.  Don’t give mold the slightest chance to grow.
  2. Use High Efficiency detergent.  Seriously, these are not just guidelines–regular detergent will have too many suds and confuse the heck out of your machine.  Remember that your front loader is basically a computer–if it senses something is amiss, it goes haywire.  The HE soap is more expensive, no doubt, but it goes a long way. {If you want to save to moolah, consider making your own detergent.}
  3. Rinse the detergent/fabric softener dispenser regularly, and then leave it out to dry.  Mold can build up in your dispenser and then end up swirling around with your clothes.  Rinsing out residue and trapped liquids pretty much stops it from growing altogether.
  4. Inspect the rubber seal on the door regularly.  Socks like to hide in them.  Wet socks left long enough can cause, drumroll please…mold!
  5. If you use bleach, remember to cut waaaaay down on the amount.  Front load washers use so much less water that you can potentially ruin your clothes with too much bleach.
  6. Clean your front loader at least once a month.
  7. Use a hot water wash every so often.  Most detergents can now do the job with cold water–which is awesome, it save money and energy, but residue builds up in your front loader and it can benefit from a regular hot water rinse.
  8. Plan for extra time.  There is no such thing as a “quick load of laundry” when it comes to your front load washer.  They flat out take significantly longer–one of the downsides of them using less water.  For some, this fact requires a shift in how they manage their laundry.  On the plus side, though, drying time will be significantly less.
  9. Make sure the machine is perfectly level.  Again, your machine has a computer on board, so it functions best when it is level.  Take the time during set-up to make sure it is level, and check it regularly to make sure it stays level.  If it gets off, it can throw off the cycle, because the washer will try to recalibrate.
  10. Clean out the drain pump filter regularly.  Your machine {in a different location in every machine, check your manual} can get clogged by bits of lint, hair, etc.  Make sure to clear it so that your machine can drain properly.

Front load washers are definitely a little more work than top-loaders, but the maintenance {once you wrap your mind around the fact that they have to be maintained} is really pretty quick and painless.

~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

How to Clean a Front Load Washing Machine

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How to Clean a Front Load Washing Machine

It seems like everyone has a front loader these days.  I’ve heard total horror stores of them stinking and then ruining your clothes. While front loaders are more efficient, they definitely are a little higher maintenance than their top loading parents.  They need regular maintenance to avoid the dreaded smell–and by regular, I mean at least once a month, if not every two weeks.

heinz vinegarYou’ll need:

  • Vinegar
  • Bleach
  • Rags/Cloths

How to Clean a Front Load Washing MachineDirections:

Start by running an empty load on the hottest setting with vinegar instead of detergent.  After the load is complete, repeat the process using bleach.  Then, open the doors {it’s really best to always keep the doors open when the machine isn’t in use anyway} and using the rag or cloth, wipe the rubber door seal down with vinegar and warm water. Dry completely.  Pull out the detergent drawer and rinse it under hot water.  Allow it to soak in vinegar for a bit if it still has detergent build-up.

Overall, the whole process is pretty quick and painless.

How do you clean your front loader?

~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

20 Tips For Selling Your House Fast

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20 Tips For Selling Your House FastIs it just me or does it seem like the economy is finally starting to turn around a bit?  I am seeing more and more for sale signs in the yards of houses–which to be honest, I haven’t seen in awhile.  It’s like people are recovering and starting to move on.  {Or, at least, I hope that’s what it means.}

If you are hoping to sell your house this year, and want to get it done fast, here are a couple of tips:

  1. Clean out closets.  Buyers want to see LOTS of storage space.  Clear our the clutter and keep your closets half-empty.  Buyers are going to open up the closets anyway, might as well let them know that they will have ample space to store their own belongings.dog food dish
  2. Keep the critters hidden.  You might love your dog, cat, and hamster, but buyers want to believe that the space is clean–and whether or not you are or not, animals don’t scream:  CLEAN.  It’s better to hide the dog bowls, litter box and cages.  That way, all they will see is a clean house.
  3. De-personalize.  You love your Aunt Gladys, buyers don’t.  Take her picture down, and everything else that is exclusive to who you are as a family.  Then, buyers will be able to imagine their own stuff and their own lives it the house.
  4. Keep it clean.  Be ready for impromptu showings.  The more restrictions you put on showings, the less traffic you will have.  The less you traffic you have, the fewer potential buyers.  If you are diligent about keeping the house clean, impromptu showings will be a non-issue.  {If you have little ones, all I can say is to remember:  the sooner you have a buyer the sooner you can get on with real life.}magnum glass greenhouse
  5. If you really want out fast, consider leaving behind higher ticket items.  Leave appliances, a pool table, a greenhouse or a flat screen t.v.  Those higher ticket items really entice buyers.
  6. Upgrade, but not too much.  If carpet needs replaced, replace it {or offer an allowance in the terms of the sale}, but don’t get the top of the line.  It just won’t pay out dollar for dollar.
  7. Remember to tell your own friends the house is for sale.  Word of mouth is a powerful selling tool.  Use Facebook to get the word out–you never know, a friend of a friend of a friend might find out about the house and be in the market.mavis butterfield
  8. Don’t forget the exterior.  First impressions are key.  Plant flowers, keep the front porch swept, and lay out a welcome mat.
  9. Be honest with yourself about the worth of your house.  You may have put a ton of money into it, or may “need” a certain amount out of it in order to move to the next house, but none of that matters, really.  The only thing that matters to potential buyers is that it is priced fairly for the square footage, neighborhood, and finishes.
  10. Know your competition.  If the house down the street is for sale, know its list price, square footages, etc.  It can help you to draw in some of their potential buyer traffic by staying competitive with price and finishes.crap
  11. De-clutter.  De-cluttering isn’t just for closets.  Consider putting knickknacks in boxes an storing them.  Clear off kitchen counters–even if it is full of kitchen-y things, like a toaster, blender, etc.  Remember, you want buyers to see how much space they will have.  They can figure out their own acceptable amount of clutter when they have purchased your house.
  12. Find an agent you TRUST and  then LISTEN to their suggestions.  It might be hard to hear that your house isn’t worth what you thought or that your bathroom is in need of an update before it is sellable, but it is their job to sell your house, they won’t steer you astray {in most cases}.painting
  13.  Try to make sure colors are as neutral as possible.  If that means a fresh coat of paint or a cheap-o bedspread, consider it a worthy investment.  Colors can be very off-putting to potential buyers.How to Organize Your Bathroom
  14. Hide personal items in the bathroom.  Yes, everyone wears deodorant {or I hope so}, but not everyone wants to see it.  Put all toiletries away neatly in drawers and under the sink each day.  It’s a giant pain in the behind, but hopefully it won’t last long.
  15. Make the most of awkward spaces with staging.  If you have a weird little room under the stairs or a nook that really does nothing, consider staging it to give the illusion of more space.  Turn it into a little office space with a simple desk and chair, a reading nook,  or storage closet with organized shelving.  The investment will be minimal either way.lucy the puggle dog
  16. Make a habit of opening up all of the blinds every day.  The better the lighting, the better people feel about the space.  In dark rooms, don’t be afraid to leave the lights on.
  17. Keep on top of your agents marketing activities.  You are paying your agent big bucks to sell the house.  If you don’t feel like they are doing everything they can to sell the house, make sure to have concrete reasons why and tell them.potting bench pictures ornamental cabbage
  18. Season permitting, stage outdoor spaces.  If you have a beautiful deck or patio, help bring focus to it by setting the patio table to look Sunday brunch-like.  I know it feels ridiculous, but buyers will feel like they will have a backyard retreat that they may not have imagined otherwise.
  19. Make sure the kitchen is up-to-snuff.  Kitchens are the heart of the home, consider painting old cabinets, installing a new, updated back splash, etc.  Buyers usually offer considerably less than asking price when the kitchen is dated, even if the rest of the house is awesome.
  20. If you are brave enough, find out what your house is worth, and then consider shaving 10-15% off the price of the house right up front.  Odds are, you will be priced low enough that people will flock to your house and a bidding war will ensue.  Some realtors swear you typically get more than you would have with a standard asking price.  {I have to admit, I don’t know if I would be brave enough to take the gamble on this one.}

How about you, have you learned any tips from selling houses in the past?

~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Back to School Shopping Tips and Tricks

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Back to School Shopping Tips and Tricks

I swear, I somehow blinked and missed this whole summer.  How in the heck is it back to school time already?  I am starting to see ads for school supplies and lunch boxes are making their way up to the front of the stores, so I guess it’s time to start thinking about it whether we are ready or not.

Here are a couple of tips to keep you sane as you navigate the back to school frenzy:

  1. Make a list.  Know exactly what your kiddo needs for back to school.  Add school supplies, clothing and shoes to the list.
  2. Shop at home.  Since you have a list, now go through and start shopping at home.  Kids don’t need a new backpack if they already have one.  They don’t need new tennis shoes just because it’s the first day of school if theirs aren’t worn out.  Pencils that still have life in them, go into the school supply box.
  3. Watch the ads and look for coupons.  With a little pre-planning, you can get pencils, erasers, etc. for a penny.  The stores hope you will stay and do all of your shopping at once, but if you are willing to buy it slowly over a couple of weeks, you come out waaaay ahead.
  4. Go through what the kids have grown out of or don’t wear and take the usable stuff to a consignment store.  Either get the cold hard cash or take a credit and do some school shopping right there.
  5. Arrange a swap with friends and neighbors.  This is a great way to get clothes and fall sporting equipment.  If you can get enough families in the swap, everyone wins.
  6. If you don’t have time to run all over town to hit the sales, focus on your biggest ticket item.  Find the best price for that item and do your shopping there.
  7. Some states have “tax free” shopping dates.  You get a couple of days to shop for back to school without paying sales tax.  To see if your state participates, click HERE.
  8. Sign up for emails from your favorite back to school stores.  Place like Old Navy will compete for you business this time of year by offering some pretty deeply discounted email exclusives.
  9. Don’t get too hung up on name brands for things like socks, underwear, and undershirts.  They pretty much all wear the same–save a little money by buying these items at discount stores.
  10. Go in with other families and shop in bulk.  School supplies in bulk are usually at significant savings, if you have someone to split the costs–otherwise, you just pay $10 for 18,000 pencils and then you have to find a place to store them for the next 5-7 years.

What creative way have you found to save money on back-to-school?

~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Does Shopping at an Outlet Store Really Save You Money?

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Does Shopping at an Outlet Store Really Save You Money

Do you think shopping at outlet stores really save you money?  Back in the day, outlet stores were a chance to snag slightly defective items at a pretty hefty discount.  Now, though, they have new items {made at a lower quality than the store’s originals} and a lot of times, they are still expensive.

Sure you can get the occasional off-season item or defective item at a discount, but wading through the racks to find them is sometimes just kind of exhausting.  Since school shopping is right around the corner, I was kind of curious what you peeps thought–outlet shopping or no?

I still prefer online shopping, but if I do decide to try my luck at the Outlet Malls, here are couple of things I’ve learned:

  1. Not everything is a deal.  In fact, very little of it is actually a deal.  Sometimes, I will throw the item in a search on my smartphone and see what they are selling for at the actual store.  A lot of times, the price is the same, but the quality is different.  If it isn’t a great deal, pass on it.
  2. A lot of retailers have started making brand new products specifically for their outlet stores–so you might think you are scoring 50% off a pair of boots, but really, they are just a lower quality designed specifically for the outlet.  So, check for quality–what is the item made of {i.e. synthetics vs. leather}, does the stitching seem good?  It may turn out that the “knock-off” is totally worth it, just make sure to inspect it.
  3. Don’t fall for the price-tag trick.  Outlet stores love, love, love to pretend that the clothes have their “original” price-tags and then they slash through them and write a new price on them.  That is a marketing ploy–yes, a shirt might be 80% off retail, but if it still is $50, it might not be a good deal.
  4. Join email lists.  A lot of times, outlet stores offer coupons through their email lists.  The coupons, combined with lowered prices can actually result in a pretty decent deal.
  5. Don’t feel obligated to buy.  Outlet malls are usually located right on the edge of the earth, so you feel like you have to pack a lunch just to get to them.  With that commute, comes the feeling that you have to make your trip worth it by buying.  Not true.  Resist the urge to buy unless you find a fantastic deal–which may mean you leave empty handed.

So back to my original question:  will you be hitting the outlet malls for back to school?

~Mavis

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