Category Archives: Financial Tips and Tools

Know a College Student? Share These 8 Important Tips to Fight Campus Identity Theft

College students have plenty to juggle when it comes to school, studying, work, and their social life. Fighting identity theft also needs to make the list of priorities: here’s how!

Students Targeted for Identity Theft

According to a 2010 ID fraud survey report, more than 11 million people
became victims of identity theft in 2009. 11 million!! Young adults aged
18-24 took the longest to detect identity theft
and their average loss,
over $1,000, was roughly 5 times more than amounts lost by other age groups.

“Identity thieves don’t care if you’re a struggling student and don’t have a penny
to your name; sometimes all they want is to exploit your clean credit record,”
said David Polino, Better Business Bureau President. “Young adults that
establish good habits for monitoring and detecting fraud are laying a path
that will help create a healthy financial road for the rest of their lives.”

8 Easy Steps to Protect Students’ Identity

If you know a college-bound student, now’s the time to share with them
these eight easy steps to fight identity theft on campus:

1. Skip the School mailbox. These mail drops are not always secure and
can often be easily accessed in a dorm or apartment. To combat sticky fingers
in the mailroom, have sensitive mail sent to a permanent address such as a
parents’ home or a PO Box.

2. Use a lock and key. Important documents should be securely stored—
such as in a filing cabinet with a key. This includes social security card,
passport, bank and credit card statements.

3. Shred personal documents. Proper document destruction can go a
long way to protect yourself from this silent crime and because ID theft is
often committed by people we know, it’s important to guard your sensitive
information. A golden rule is to shred any paper documents that have
personal financial information rather than just toss them out for trash bin
diggers. Credit card offers that come in the mail should also hit the shredder
and not the trash.

4. Say No to Loans. Never loan your credit or debit card to anyone, even
if they are a friend. Also just say no if your friend (no matter how good a
friend) wants you to cosign for a loan or financing for items like a TV.

5. Keep Your Computer & Anti-virus Software Current. Make
sure your computer has up-to-date antivirus and spyware software. Also,
always install any updates and patches to your computer’s operating system,
internet browser, and virus software which help keep your computer safe
from any new ID theft advances.

6. Check Your Card Statements Carefully. Check your credit or
debit card statements closely each month for any suspicious activity. The
sooner you find potential fraud, the less you’ll suffer in the long run.
Don’t wait for “next month” to become three months from now, as a lot of
damage can be done in a short amount of time.

7. Shop Safely & With Trusted Vendors Online. When shopping on
unfamiliar web sites, check the company out first with BBB online (this goes
for Cell Phone web surfing as well). Also, look for the BBB Accredited Business
seal along with other trust seals and click on the seals to confirm that they
are legitimate.

8. Check Your Credit Report Annually (even if you don’t use your
card regularly).
There are 3 credit reporting bureaus and all should be
checked each year (this can be done for FREE!). Set a date, like your birthday
or as the New Year begins and plan to check your credit report for any
suspicious activity or inaccuracies. You can visit www.annualcreditreport.com
to do this for FREE.

The content of this post is adapted from the U.S. Better Business Bureau press
release.
Read the original PR release, here. For more advice on fighting fraud
visit BBB online at www.bbb.org/us/consumer-tips-finance.

We’d love to hear from you on this topic! How are you protecting your family’s ID? Do you have an identity theft story you can share?  How did you go about getting it resolved? Please let us know in the comments section of this post.

 

Enjoy and Share! :)


FREE Resources for Gardening and Selecting
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Clothes, Shoes & Accessories!

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LAST DAY REMINDER: Dave Ramsey $10 Online Summer Sale! Up to 60% Off Books, CDS, and DVDs.

 

Pop over to financial budgeting guru Dave Ramsey’s online store and save
up to 60% OFF all his best-selling personal finance titles. Dave Ramsey’s
teachings are easy to follow and his financial tips and tools are a great
way to get your financial house in order!  Sale Ends Today! 

Some of the titles on sale include:  

  • The Total Money Makeover (Book or CD)
  • Financial Peace Jr. for Kids (Ages 3-12)
  • The Money Answer Book
  • Dumping Debt from Financial Peace University
  • Cash Flow Planning from Financial Peace  

Enjoy and Share! :)  

  

 

Summer Reading Program for Kids = FREE Books from
Barnes and Noble, Borders and Half Price Books
  

  Try These Test Kitchen Favorites! 

   Please Share with Teachers You Know:
15% OFF Discount At Container Store
~ Discount is Good ALL Year!
 

  

 

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Dave Ramsey $10 Online Summer Sale is On! Up to 60% Off Books, CDS, & DVDs.

  

Pop over to financial budgeting guru Dave Ramsey’s online store and save
up to 60% OFF all his best-selling personal finance titles. Dave Ramsey’s
teachings are easy to follow and his financial tips and tools are a great
way to get your financial house in order!   

Some of the titles on sale include:   

  • The Total Money Makeover  (Book or CD)
  • Financial Peace Jr. for Kids (Ages 3-12)
  • The Money Answer Book
  • Dumping Debt from Financial Peace University
  • Cash Flow Planning from Financial Peace  
  •   

Enjoy and Share! :) 

 

   

 

Summer Reading Program for Kids = FREE Books from
Barnes and Noble, Borders and Half Price Books
  

  Try These Test Kitchen Favorites! 

   Please Share with Teachers You Know:
15% OFF Discount At Container Store
~ Discount is Good ALL Year!
 

  

 

 Want to keep up with fresh ways to save money
and button down the family finances?
 

Subscribe to Frugal in Fort Worth now. It’s FREE!  

Did you find these savings tips helpful? Please let us know in the
comments section or forward this site to others!

  

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Get FREE Copies of Your Tax Returns at Staples

 

Staples Copy & Print Center is making this week less taxing by providing FREE copies of your tax returns! 

Details, details
What: Get FREE copies of your tax forms at Staples! Valid for 30 black and white copies, printed double-sided on 8.5″ x 11″ paper. Get more details here (then, click on “see all offers” button).
When: Now through April 15th.
Where:   Available at Staples stores only.  Find a location near you, here. 

Enjoy & Share! :)  

   

 

 Yankee Candle Coupons: $10 OFF OR
Buy 2 Candles Get 1 FREE
 

• Great Sale! 75% OFF Tools & Home
Improvement at Amazon
!
 

  

 

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Buyer Beware! Fort Worth Better Business Bureau Lists Top 10 Scams and Rip-Offs of 2009

                     

The Better Business Bureau released a list of the top 10 scams and rip-offs of 2009. Free trial offers and scams that take advantage of tough economic times dominate the list. 

Not surprisingly, many scams sought to take advantage of people who were suffering under tough economic circumstances—such as the unemployed. Additionally, the use of free-trial offers to lock consumers into recurring credit and debit card charges was widespread online. 

Following, in no particular order, is BBB’s list of top scams and rip-offs that took advantage of consumers and small business owners across the U.S. in 2009: 

  1. Acai Supplements and Other “Free” Trial Offers – Ads offering trial offers for teeth whiteners, acai anti-aging pills and other miracle supplements blanket the Internet, including trusted Web sites of national news organizations. The marketing campaigns often falsely claimed an endorsement by Oprah, Rachel Ray and Doctor Oz. Thousands of consumers complained to BBB that the free trial actually cost them as much as hundreds of dollars, month after month.
  2. Stimulus/Government Grant Scams – Even before President Obama announced the stimulus plan in February, scammers had already set up schemes for misleading consumers and small business owners into thinking they could get a piece of the pie. Offers for worthless assistance and advice on how to get government grants bombarded consumers online, over the phone and via mail and e-mail.
  3. Robocalls – Owning a cell phone or having their phone number on the do-not-call list did not help thousands of people across the US put a stop to harassing automated telemarketing calls in 2009. The robocalls often claimed that their auto warranty was about to expire—which wasn’t true—or offered help in reducing their interest rate on their credit card. The prevalence of robocalls violating federal telemarketing laws prompted the FTC to increase restrictions on the practice in 2009.
  4. Lottery/Sweepstakes Scam – The victim receives a letter in the mail pretending to be from Reader’s Digest, Publisher’s Clearing House or a phony foreign lottery claiming that he or she has won millions. The letter comes with a check that represents only a portion of the total winnings. In order to get the rest, the victim has to deposit the check and then wire hundreds of dollars back to the scammers supposedly to cover taxes or some other bogus fee. The victim wires the money, but the prize never arrives.
  5. Job Hunter ScamsScams targeting job hunters vary and include attempts to gain access to personal information such as bank account or social security numbers and requirements to pay a fee in order to even be considered for the job. Another common scam was reported to BBB by job hunters who were told by a prospective employer that they had to check their credit report before being considered for a job. The job offer is actually a marketing ploy for online credit monitoring that costs the victim every month until they cancel.
  6. Google Work from Home Scam – Countless Web sites cropped up in 2009 that claimed you could learn how to make money from home using Google or Twitter and offered a free trial of learning materials. The Web sites often included the Google or Twitter moniker and logo. As a result, many people who complained to BBB thought they were getting a job with Google or Twitter when in, fact, they were being lured into another misleading free-trial offer and were billed every month for the materials and other mystery charges that added up to hundreds of dollars.
  7. Mortgage Foreclosure Rescue/Debt Assistance – Many families are struggling in the current economy and hucksters are offering to help them save their house from foreclosure or help them get out of credit card debt. Unfortunately, victims are paying hundreds of dollars up front for the assistance they desperately need but ultimately never receive.
  8. Mystery Shopping – Consumers across the country thought that they could make some extra money by becoming a secret shopper and evaluating the customer service of various stores. The victim is asked to evaluate their shopping experience at a few stores as well as a money wiring service such as Western Union or MoneyGram by wiring money back to the scammers. A seemingly real looking check is supposed to cover the costs, but ends up being a fake. The victim is out hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars.
  9. Over-Payment Scams – Over-payment scams typically target small business owners, landlords or individuals with rooms to rent and sellers on classifieds or sites like Craigslist. Typically the scammer pretends to be a customer, possible renter or interested buyer, respectively. The victim receives a check for more than the amount requested. The scammers then ask the victim to deposit the check and wire the extra amount elsewhere, such as to a shipping company. Ultimately though, the check is fake and the victim is really wiring money back to the scammers.
  10. Phishing e-mails/H1N1 spam – A perennial problem, phishing e-mails pop up in inboxes and can take various forms such as appearing to be from a business, a government agency or official or even a friend. Whatever the setup, the goal of any phishing e-mail is the same: to trick victims into divulging sensitive financial information or to infect the victim’s computer with viruses and malware. In addition to phishing e-mails, spam e-mail selling wares to prevent the spread of the H1N1 virus were particularly rampant in 2009.

 Consumers or small business owners victimized by a scam can contact their local BBB or file a complaint at www.fwbbb.org. Always research a business with BBB before you sign any contracts or hand over any money. 

Thanks to the Better Business Bureau of Fort Worth for this Press Release! 

  

 

  FREE Chips & Drink Coupon At Schlotzsky’s   

  FREE Betty Crocker Cookbook 

Please Share with Teachers You Know:
15% OFF Discount At Container Store
~ Discount is Good ALL Year!
 

75% OFF Tools & Home Improvement at Amazon 

  

 

Want to keep up with fresh ways to save money
and button down the family finances?
 

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comments section or forward this site to others!
 

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Pre-Black Friday Price Wars: Wii Bundle at Amazon ~ GREAT Deal Plus Get a $50 Gift Certificate (Beats Walmart’s Black Friday Price by $60!)

     

                                                       

It sounded like a good deal at Walmart, UNTIL we did our homework and looked at Amazon.

 The big news in the Pre-Black Friday retail wars this week is the Wii Bundle at Walmart (Wii Bundle + Wii Fit Plus + Balance Board = $299, plus you get a $25 Gift Certificate). 

Walmart Total Price? 
The Math: $324.41 (includes 8.25% tax) – $25 Gift Certificate = $299.41 total cost 

In case this was on your shopping list, you’ll want to check out Amazon’s deal which beats Walmart by almost $60 savings.

For the exact same bundle (Wii Bundle + Wii Fit Plus + Balance Board = $289.98), Amazon is offering a $50 Gift Certificate, free shipping, and there is no tax!

Amazon Total Price?  Almost $60 LESS than Walmart!
The Math:  $289.98 (tax & shipping are free) – $50 Gift Certificate = $239.98 total cost 

Learn more about Amazon’s offer here.  Then, follow the shopping cart directions you’ll find here.

Note that both Walmart and Amazon offers expire November 22.

Enjoy! :)

::   

OTHER POPULAR POSTS: 

   •  $5 Magazine Subscriptions ~ Southern Living,
Good Housekeeping, Disney Family Fun, & Many More  

•  FREE Thanksgiving Cookbooks from Martha Stewart,
Paula Deen, Taste of Home and More!
   

 •  Savings Guide: Get a Head Start on Black Friday Deals! 

 

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Savings Guide: Get a Head Start on Black Friday Deals!

     

Black Friday, the official kickoff to the holiday shopping season, is a week from tomorrow.  Apparently no one has informed the nation’s top retailers that THIS is the day that Christmas shopping begins <grin>, as they have been in full swing with their pre-Christmas sales for a while.  Stores eager for a bit of our wallets are offering big sales and sneak peeks at their ad deals long before the doors open on Friday. 

After perusing many of the sneak-peek sale ads, I have a few tips to help you get the best deals on your shopping list:

#1  Know what you are going to buy and make your list before you go shopping.  It’s easy to get pulled into the excitement of shopping’s “superbowl” day, but if you have a list, it will help you stay on budget and not overspend.

#2 Study the sale ads before you go.  After looking at several Black Friday sites, I recommend using the following sites for sale ad research:

  • Black-friday.net ~ This site has a LONG list of sneak peek ads for Black Friday which are very organized and easy to navigate (point. click. & voila! You can see next Friday’s ads for lots of stores).  They also have an easy search feature, where you can type in a specific item and compare ad prices.  I typed in “ipod” in the search field and every retailer that featured an Apple IPod in their sale ads popped up in a tidy list, making it easy to compare retailers’ offers.  I like their “Shopping List” feature too.  It allows you to make a handy-dandy list of the items you are interested in, by retailer.
  • TheBlackFriday.blogspot.com ~  If you just want to peruse the ads each day that the “sneak peeks” are released, this is a good spot.  It has some of the best quality ad scans and the simplicity of this site makes it easy to see the latest ads at a quick glance. 

 #3 Compare the sale ad prices to online sites before you go.   It is a good idea to compare the total cost product + tax (8.25% in Fort Worth) of purchasing at your local store vs. buying the same item from an online retailer (product + shipping).  At an almost 10% increase to the bottom line, tax can add up quick.  Many online stores (like Amazon.com or Buy.com) offer free shipping on some purchases AND are tax-free (plus most of their prices are nicely discounted every day).  

Take a look at our recent example of Amazon vs. Walmart on a Wii system ~ the savings can be significant!

 #4 Use an online price comparison tool.  Ditto #3 above, regarding comparing total cost of purchase (add local tax or online shipping).  Some of the most useful sites for comparing online prices include:

  • Beatmyprice.com ~ This is one of my favorite  sites for finding the best comparisons across many retailers.  Rather than using computers to scan the internet to search the best deal, this site is a “people powered” price comparison tool.
  • Epinions.com ~ Epinions is a great site for getting online reviews on products you might be considering.  It also has a handy price comparison section as well.
  • Google.com/products ~  This is a new section of Google that is in beta testing.  Out of the gates, I find it is a really good price evaluation tool.  Their slogan is “Search for Stuff to Buy.”  Need more be said?

 #5 Have fun and enjoy yourself.   Spread good cheer! Remember that you are blessed to be able to walk through the aisles with enough money to buy something for the people you love most.  If they are out of Zhu-Zhu toys, it is not the end of the world.   

::   

OTHER POPULAR POSTS: 

   •  $5 Magazine Subscriptions ~ Southern Living,
Good Housekeeping, Disney Family Fun, & Many More  

•  FREE Thanksgiving Cookbooks from Martha Stewart,
Paula Deen, Taste of Home and More!
   

 •  Cheapest Days for Thanksgiving Travel  

 

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Frugal Link: 5 Rules for Safe Bargain Hunting Online

piggybank600

Online Safety expert, iLookBothWays, recently posted a really helpful list of 5 Tips for Safe Online Bargain Shopping. These safety tips ring true for all internet exploration, so even if you don’t shop/buy over the internet, be sure and ask yourself if you are actively doing these things in your other internet dealings (and resolve to change your internet habits if you are falling short!) 

Below is a quick summary of the 5 tips:

  1. Secure your computer purchase transactions & data with a virus prevention software program (there are several good ones on the market, like Trend Micro Internet Security, McAfee AntiVirus Protection,or Norton Security).  If you haven’t updated your Antivirus software recently, you are at risk for a malicious attack (so be sure to get up-to-date…even if you don’t shop online regularly)!
  2. Make sure you have a secure computer connection and that your computer firewall is turned on and up-to-date. 
  3. Use “strong” Passwords when a password is created for sites.  A strong password is made up of a combination of letters, numbers and symbols (at least 8 characters, more is better).
  4. When searching for sites, make sure that the shopping site is legitimate. Do your research BEFORE giving anyone your credit card or other personal information!
  5. If the merchant is new to you, double check it against review sites like Epinions, BizRate, Better Business Bureau, and The National Fraud Information Center. I would also add a note of caution on auction sites like Ebay, Overstock, etc:  While these can be great places to get bargains, always double check the feedback of the seller to ensure that their feedback is overwhelmingly positive (with a long seller history) before purchasing. 

 If you actively search the internet for the “best” bargains and/or shop online (even if on occasion), please take a moment to read the full post here.

~:~

 

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ALERT: Your Credit Card’s terms and agreement will probably change with new laws this month…

piggybank600If you haven’t yet put you credit cards through the shredder, there is an article you will want to read from the Savvy Consumer Column (Teresa McUsic) of the Fort Worth Star Telegram.  Following is an excerpt:

“Some of the credit card changes recently made into law take effect next week.

But consumer advocates and credit card analysts are warning cardholders to be on their toes right now. Your agreement is likely to change, if it hasn’t already. That applies whether you pay off your balance every month, pay faithfully on a balance or are delinquent.

Interest rates on purchases, cash advances and, in some cases, credit defaults are rising, along with various fees in anticipation of the credit card overhaul law, according to a survey released Thursday by San Francisco-based Consumer Action…

Read everything you get from your credit card company, including billing statements and any other notices. Look for changes in your contract…

Between March and June, cards issued by Bank of America and Citigroup led the pack in boosting interest rates on purchases and cash advances. Chase, US Bank and Capitol One cards now carry penalty rates approaching 30 percent. Late fees are up 9 percent, to an average of $28.19, topping out at $39…

You will have time to opt out of the agreement and not accept the new terms.”

On the upside, these new laws require that consumers under age 21 must obtain a co-signer or proof that the applicant can make payments.

To read the full article, click here.

~:~

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Heard it on the Radio (wo-oh-oh-oh…on the radio)…Managing the Money Maze, Show Review

I was listening to Nancy Leigh DeMoss’ radio show, Revive our Hearts, on KVTT a couple of weeks ago.  <<If you are not a regular listener, you are missing out on a treat…you can find the radio schedule here.>>

During a 3-day series, Nancy re-aired a 2006 program about practical steps you and your family can take to make it through these stormy financial times.  This show is an excellent starting point for anyone who is trying to figure out where to begin to get their personal finances in order (not a lot of heavy financial talk…just good practical financial sense). Hard to believe it was recorded  3 years ago, as it is completely relevant for today (good teaching never gets stale, does it?)!

I  have wanted to share this show with others, and am so happy to discover that the transcripts and the actual radio show are available on-line in the show’s FREE archives (links below).

Following is an excerpt from the program as well as links to the transcripts/audio files…

Program Summary: Before the financial crisis settled in last fall, Nancy interviewed Jan Thompson, author of Managing the Money Maze. In this interview, Jan had the foresight to realize a financial storm was headed our way (and many in our country would  face challenging times).  Through this program, Jan provides, timeless, practical advice that everyone can apply to their lives…no matter the financial situation.

Program Excerpts (from Day 1): “Nancy: In recent years I’ve had so many friends that I’ve watched walk through major financial stress that just seems to suck the life out of their lives…I’ve seen people struggling with depression, with anxiety, with conflict in marriage. These are good friends, and I’ve watched them going through this. I began to seek the Lord about how we could address this subject in a way that would be helpful, in a way that could help people get not just the surface fruit problems, the symptoms, but the real heart issues. And the Lord brought to mind someone that I’ve known for many years but had never had a chance to have on Revive Our Hearts. Her name is Jan Thompson. Jan is a certified financial planner….She’s developed a lot of insights into God’s Word as it relates to good stewardship of God’s resources…

Jan: My mission is threefold. It is to educate, equip, and empower people to be the best trustee possible of the resources God’s going to give them to manage throughout their lifetime…

Nancy: You talk about the resources that God will entrust to people through the course of their lifetimes. Some of us are sitting here thinking, “Well, I’m not going to have any resources through my lifetime.” But you realize that’s not quite the case.

Jan: That’s not the case. In fact, one of the favorite groups that I enjoy speaking with (is college kids) . . . I actually got into this industry through teaching a college course called “Personal Financial Planning.”

I thought, “If I can get a hold of young people who are graduating from college equipped with a degree, hopefully prepared to go out and earn a living . . . no one has taught them how to manage the three and a half million dollars that the average wage earner is going to experience in their lifetime.”

Nancy: Three and a half million dollars?

Jan: That’s just at an average wage with three and a half inflation factor built into that through age 65.

Nancy: That we will have to manage.

Jan: That’s as a single person. If you get married you actually are doubling that. So you’re now at about seven million dollars that is going to go through your hands. As a business owner, would I hire someone to come in and manage my company if I knew I was going to be handling about seven million dollars—for someone who had had no training whatsoever, just had a passion and zeal to go out and do something?

So that gave me that passion to get involved on the college campus and start teaching this personal financial planning course, which I did for a number of years…”

You need to listen to the whole interview…good stuff.  Here are the links:

I hope you take the time to read or listen.  It will be time will spent…I promise.  :)

P.S.  If you are ready to do some more “unpacking” on personal finances, click on the Crown Financial or Dave Ramsey links in the column to the right under “blogroll”.

Enjoy! :)

~:~

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Get FREE Gift Cards by Trading in Unwanted Cell Phones, MP3 Players, Computers, and Other Old Technology

Turn everything from unwanted PCs to mobile phones, digital cameras and MP3 players into Dell Gift Cards with the Dell Exchange Program.   

 You can clear some much-needed desk space AND keep your old items out of the landfill (or the depths of the junk drawer). 

Learn more about the Dell Exchange Program by clicking here.

~:~

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Smart Spending: Strategies for Saving on Back-To-School and Office Supplies

The back-to-school bargain shopping season is in full swing!

Following is a compiled list of some of the best back-to-school bargains out there (Most are good through Aug. 1):.

  • Staples: 25 cents for Elmer’s Glue, slider pencil cases, five-pack of Bic mechanical pencils, pencil sharpeners or a 12-pack of erasers. Scissors and glue sticks are among the items that will be two for $3. You can print out a coupon for $5 off $30 or use the coupon from the Sunday newspaper insert.
  • Office Depot: 5 cents for a compass, 20 cents for a four-pack of glue sticks and 75 cents for one-inch binders. Composition books and paper for 99 cents.Buy $10 worth of supplies and get a slider pencil box free. The store also has a number of free items if you buy something, such as a free Expo starter set of markers if you buy a dry-erase board.
  • OfficeMax: 1 cent for a 24-pack of Schoolio von Hoolio crayons; 25 cents for junior scissors, a box of erasers or Schoolio von Hoolio poly folders; buy two, get one for 1 cent on Bic pens, pencils, highlighters, Expo dry eraser markers, Jumbo Book Sox and Crayola crayons, markers, pencils or paints.
  • Walgreens: Buy one, get two free on spiral notebooks, pocket folders, composition books and filler paper.
  • CVS: Buy one, get one free on backpacks, Bic pencils, scissors, 16-packs of crayons, notebooks and more. If you do the Extra Bucks shopping, you can get a 15-pack of erasers, pencil case, sticky notes, stapler, two-pack of Easy Touch pens and a few others items essentially free by paying 99 cents for the items and then getting 99 cents in Extra Care bucks. The Extra Buck deals are good only through Tuesday.
  • Target: 50 cents each for pencil box, pencil pouch, 12-pack of Paper Mate Eagle pens.  Coming this week, Target will have many other items between 50 cents and $1
  • Wal-Mart: 25 cents for two-pack of glue sticks, Elmer’s glue, 24-pack of Crayola crayons; 15 cents for 70-page notebooks or two pocket folders; $1 for Crayola markers or colored pencils; $9 for backpacks
  • And for my teacher friends…most of these stores offer a Teacher’s Appreciation Day, providing additional discounts on supplies…be sure to inquire with each store for details (i.e. Office Max is providing a 15% discount to teachers on August 9, click here).

Don’t want to shop from store-to-store-to-store to get the best deal?

After reading many reviews comparing the shopping experiences of the above back-to-school retailers, the overwhelming one-stop-shop choice by reviewers is Target…voted as the best overall combination of price, selection and convenience.   OR get the best of both savings & convenience…catch a few of the sales above and then fill in the gaps of your list at Target.

Have a back-to-school tip you’d like to share with others?

Please share your back-to-school shopping tips with others, by leaving a comment.

Happy shopping!  :)


Thank you moneycentral.msn.com for compiling many of the deals listed above!


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Financial Tips To Share With Recent Grads (PLUS A Link to FREE Financial Skills Curriculum)

The time has come: your child is no longer a child but a fledgling young adult ready to move out and begin a whole new life. For some, this happens in their early 20s, after college. For others, it’s earlier—or later. In any case, the transition is important, and can be exciting and bittersweet for the whole family.

Learning to be independent is one of the most important skills you can help your children develop. Below is a short checklist to give your child, to make leaving home a little easier for everyone:

  • Make a budget. This is crucial to smart financial management and starting out on one’s own. A budget should cover essentials like rent, loans, groceries, utilities, insurance, car costs, clothing, entertainment and travel. And of course, don’t forget savings! Click here for a simple budgeting tool that makes this easy to do.
  • Set up an emergency fund. You never know what might happen, so emphasize the importance of saving and setting aside enough cash to cover three to six months’ rent and basic living expenses. It’s an important cushion to have—just in case.
  • Pay off debt (or better yet, don’t get into debt to begin with!).Pay student loans and credit card balances on time. Being prompt with loan payments not only helps one’s credit rating, but also imposes financial discipline. When it comes to a credit card, paying the balance in full every month will actually save money that would otherwise be spent on finance charges or late fees.
  • Open key financial accounts. If your child doesn’t already have them, now’s the time to establish checking and savings accounts, and possibly even an IRA or other first investment account, if eligible.  If available, taking advantage of their employer’s 401(k) match is a great place to start.
  • Continue, or begin, to save money. Remember, time is your child’s biggest asset. Even saving just $25–$50 each month adds up and helps develop a discipline that can pay big rewards in the long term.
  • Don’t forget about insurance. Shop around for affordable health, auto and renter’s insurance policies. Health and auto insurance are must-haves.

Think twice before helping your child with their expenses after they leave the nest. Paying for their consumer debt or other household expenses can create unhealthy dependency and will not foster a sense of financial responsibility. If you choose to help support your child, don’t jeopardize your own financial future…decide how much is appropriate, and stop there.

Thank you Schwab Money Wise for these helpful tips!  For more ideas and tools for helping your children and other young people in your life develop a life-time of practical money skills, go to schwabmoneywise.com.

P.S.  FREE Curriculum for helping teach financial literacy to young people has been made available to teachers, home school educators, and parents (click here for the link).

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Two FREE Deals That Make Me Smile! :)

FREEBIE #1: 
Get a FREE Donut, June 5th at Krispy Kreme!

June 5th is National Donut Day and Krispy Kreme is giving away a FREE donut of preference to every customer!  [Question/Note to self…is this another Hallmark day and should I send a card :) ???]  In honor of this great day, go get a Free Donut Day at Krispy Kreme! 

Check the store locator to find a participating location near you.

Fun fact: While posting this blog, I discovered that there are Krispy Kreme locations in Japan, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Turkey.  Who knew?

 

 

FREEBIE #2: 
Get the Money Matters book by Larry Burkett for FREE! 

Fantastic book, packed full of timeless wisdom from the late Larry Burkett.  It retails for $20.  Offer Expires May 31Go to this link and follow the instructions at the end of the page.  

Book Summary:  Drawing from over thirty years of Bible and finance study, Burkett provides principles for managing your money in a number of categories, including: housing and automobiles, retirement, budgeting, taxes, business issues and insurance, debt and credit, giving, investments, family and money issues.