Spend Big on These 5 Items to Save Money

Most financial experts are concerned with teaching you to conserve your dollars any way you can. However, sometimes, there are actually reasons that you should spend a little more to ultimately save more.

When you’re paying out your hard earned money for appliances, furniture, or other things you use every day, you want them to hold up and last over the long haul.

Consider this information when you go shopping for these items:

1. Coffeemakers. If you’re a coffee aficionado, you know how important it is to make a good cup of coffee. On the other hand, if you prefer only the occasional single cup, you should still make the most financially smart choice when buying a coffeemaker.

* Do you drink several cups daily? Choose a sturdy, energy-efficient coffeemaker model. The least expensive model will likely not fulfill the task of keeping up with your coffee habit.

* Do you love your coffee but limit yourself to one cup daily? Consider one of the single-serving models. Yes, they’re expensive, but they’ll last for many years. Plus, if you don’t want to buy the single serving pre-measured coffee pods, you can still purchase the smaller filter cup to fill it with bulk-purchased coffee.

2. Cooking knives. Good knives will last longer than you will.

* If those cutting tools last you for 60+ years and you never buy another one, you’ll be money ahead even if you buy expensive knives. Be willing to pay more for quality, guaranteed-for-life knives.

3. Lawn mowers. Those who mow their own lawns know how incredibly frustrating it can be to go out to the garage, pull the lawn mower out, check the oil, fill it with gas, and then the mower won’t start. You only have two hours to get the grass cut. How annoying!

* A good lawn mower is constructed with quality parts and will pay off many times over. Pay a few bucks more to get the best (not necessarily the biggest) lawn mower.

4. Bed mattresses. Buying your mattress at a discount or general department store often means you aren’t getting the quality of construction you’d get if you went directly to the mattress maker’s retail store. Why?

* Mattress makers produce lesser-quality mattresses to sell for less (with their brand names on them) in those discount and department stores. Chances are good that if you pay a bit more, you’ll receive a higher quality product that will hold up over the long run.

5. Sofas. Think of the abuse a sofa goes through-kids jumping on it, you propping your feet on it, and your spouse taking a nap on it. It needs solid construction and well-designed cushions to last over the years.

* If you’ve ever owned a cheaply-made sofa, you know this is true: splurge when it’s time to buy a new sofa–$1,800+ is wise. If you can get a high-end sofa on sale, go for it.

Of course, when shopping for any of these items, do your homework in advance to find out as much as possible about the particular brand and model you’re planning to purchase. Look for sales on well-designed, quality-constructed items.

The bottom line is that when you pay more for these items, they’ll pay you back by lasting more years with no or fewer break-downs.

Be ready to spend more when you know that, in the long run, it will pay off in spades!

8 Ways to Save Money on Gasoline

The general consensus is that gasoline is never going to be much less expensive than it is right now. Some experts even believe that $5/gallon gasoline is likely in the future. Making an effort to save money on gasoline is a wise decision in light of the evidence.

As the average person, you might not be able to do much about the price, but you can use several methods to use less of it. Below are several strategies to help defer some of the cost at the pump. It’s nice when your gas tank and wallet are both full at the same time.

1. Find the lowest gas prices. There are numerous websites and phone apps available that will provide you with the gas prices in your area. The most popular site and app is www.gasbuddy.com. The website and app are both free and very easy to use. It’s not unusual to save $0.20/gallon or more with just a quick glance.

* If you register with Gasbuddy, you can even win free gas!

2. Avoid heavy traffic. Always easier said than done, but if you’re not using all the tools that are available, you’re sitting in traffic more than necessary. Between the radio, GPS systems, and phone apps, there’s plenty of information out there to help. If possible, drive during times of the day likely to have less traffic.

* You car is much more fuel-efficient when it can travel at a constant speed.

3. Ensure that your tires are properly inflated and balanced. Tires with the proper air pressure and a decent alignment give your car as much as 3.5% better gas mileage. Look around for a gas station with free air. There are also inexpensive air pumps that plug into your car and can inflate a tire in a couple of minutes. Check your tires once a week.

4. Slow down! Most cars provide the best fuel efficiency around 55 mph. For sleek, sporty cars, the number is a little higher. For big trucks and SUVs, the number is lower. In general, driving 80 mph will use quite a bit more fuel per mile than one cruising down the road at 65 mph. Slow down and save money.

5. Check your oil, transmission, and differential fluids. Keeping your lubricants at the proper level not only minimizes wear and tear, it also allows your car to operate with less friction. Less friction means more miles per gallon.

6. Get your gas away from the city. Large cities frequently have additional taxes on gasoline. When you happen to find yourself away from the bright lights, fill up your tank.

7. Avoid buying premium gasoline. A few cars are designed to run on higher-octane gasoline; their higher compression engines require it. However, 99% of the cars on the road don’t need it and will not run any better or more efficiently because of it. Save your money and by the regular stuff.

8. Simply don’t drive. Drive as little as you can. Use your bike, hitch a ride with a friend, or look into public transportation. Consider purchasing a more fuel-efficient vehicle. Anytime you can get someone else to drive you can also get some work done. Try to leave the car at home.

Do everything you can within reason to save money at the pump. It’s a necessary expense for many of us, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take steps to minimize that expense. With a little attention, you can save a significant amount of money.

All-Inclusive Vacations Can Save You Money

Most of us carefully plan our vacations to fit our paychecks. Somehow, though, in spite of all of our best intentions, vacations always seem to cost more than we expect. We go each time with a plan in hand, and each time, we come back wondering where all the money went.

Budgeting for the big things like travel and lodging is pretty straight forward. Smaller expenses are usually the cause of unplanned spending. Entertainment, food, and drinks are more difficult to plan well for, since these items can be rather spontaneous in nature.

But you can avoid the overspending and still feel like you’re treating yourself well. One possible solution is an all-inclusive vacation. Let’s have a look at this type of package, and make this the year when you come back with both happy memories and a few bucks in your wallet.

What’s Included

All-inclusive vacations can really help you stay within your budget. You pay a fixed rate for all the essentials. As long as you don’t spend money outside the resort, you’re all set. If you prefer not to worry about money while vacationing, these types of packages can be ideal.

All-inclusive resorts are really the equivalent of an insurance policy. You pay a set amount in exchange for having access to everything you need, when you need it.

What’s Not Included

However, you won’t have the same level of freedom. Unless you want to pull out your wallet again, you’ll have to confine your food, beverages, and entertainment to the resort. Also, if you decide you don’t like the resort you’ve chosen, you’re stuck with what you’ve got.

Vacationing the more traditional way, you can always check out and head down the street to another hotel if you’re not pleased. Only you know how much that flexibility is worth to you.

Also, you’ve already paid for the package, even if you don’t use it. Be sure you’re going to get your money’s worth. For example, if your idea of vacation is sitting on the beach all day and eating one meal a day, you’re going to be paying for a lot more than you’re using with an all-inclusive package. In this case, you might be better off with a traditional vacation.

Consider these ideas to minimize your potential risk when booking an all-inclusive resort:

1. Look for amenities that suit you. Consider what you want to eat. Do hotdogs and potato chips sound good to you? Maybe you want a vacation that includes gourmet food in a nice restaurant setting.

* Some less-expensive places will only provide water, soda, and a few more beverages. Do you want to have access to mixed drinks and fine wine? Many resorts will not include alcoholic beverages unless you pay extra.

* Do you enjoy the types of entertainment they offer?

* How is the customer service?

2. Consider the quality of the accommodations. Some resorts are bare bones, while others are extremely plush. Be sure you’re getting the best combination of what you can afford and what you want.

3. Do your homework. Researching the quality of the resort is the most important task you can undertake before you book your vacation. In the Internet age, reviews and suggestions are easy to find. Low-quality establishments have a harder time hiding than ever before.

All in all, an all-inclusive package can be a great way to put a cap on your vacation spending. There are no surprises, and you can eat and drink without worrying about budget or about how much money you have left.

Vacations commonly result in overspending, but with an all-inclusive package, you can stay in charge of your finances even as you play. Start doing your research now; an all-inclusive vacation might be just the ticket this year.

Save money on house wares by shopping smartly at thrift stores

How Much Can You Save? $10 to $50 on individual housewares and appliances

Making It Work:

Have you ever considered becoming a regular at your local thrift store? There are some great advantages of dropping into your local thrift store every couple of weeks or so.

When you do, you’ll develop a relationship with the clerks. You can share with them what you’re looking for and they can keep an eye out so that the next time you drop in, they can direct you to items of interest.

When you arrive in the thrift store, look around in all the nooks and crannies of the store. Get really familiar with the housewares section. This section can be a real gold mine, depending on where you live.

Particularly in up-and-coming areas, thrift stores often have some of the latest house ware items at better than bargain-basement pricing.

Don’t be surprised if some of the items are in their original packaging and look like new.

Consider these product comparisons for shopping at your local thrift store versus an online or local discount store:

Slow Cooker—The local thrift store has a Rival Crockpot for $9.99. A similar Rival Crockpot at Target was found at a price of $19.99. If you purchase the item at the thrift store, you’ll have an extra $10.00 in your pocket.

Vertical Fan—At the local thrift store, a Honeywell Quiet Set Vertical Fan appeared in excellent condition and was priced at $19.99. The exact same product was discovered at Target for a clearance price of $34.98 (regular price was $49.99). Savings on this item when purchased at the thrift store total about $15.00, when compared to Target’s clearance price.

Food Steamer—Way up on the high shelf at the thrift store sat a Rival Auto-Time Food Steamer in the original box with the booklet inside, all priced at $19.99. Amazon had a similar Rival Food Steamer for $51.80. You’ll save nearly $32.00 on the thrift store steamer.

Breadmaker—Also at the local thrift store, a Toastmaster Breadmaker was priced at $12.99. Checking at Amazon, a similar Toastmaster Breadmaker was priced at $59.00. That’s a savings of about $46.00. You’ll be baking delicious, money-saving bread before you know it.

Special tip: Before you buy anything electrical at the thrift store, test the item by plugging it in at the store to ensure it works. The clerks are usually very helpful if you want to check an item to see if it’s in working order. Also, verify your thrift store’s return policy before buying any housewares.

Check out the house wares for sale at your local thrift shop. You’ll be pleased by the selections as well as the pricing. Save big bucks by shopping for housewares at your neighborhood thrift store!

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