admin / July 6, 2018

Ways to Save with Amazon

Before I begin, a full disclosure, I recently signed up to be an Amazon associate which means I can earn affiliate fees if anyone clicks on or makes a purchase through one of the links I’m providing in this post… and actually that’s my first tip for saving and making money on Amazon is to become one of their associates.

Coupons

I never thought I’d find coupons on Amazon but yes, they have them and here’s a link (no, this isn’t one of the affiliate links). You can use them for lots of stuff and another way to shave off some money from your order.

https://www.amazon.com/Coupons

 

 

Prime Member and Prime Day

For years, I put off signing up for a Prime membership at Amazon thinking I’d never use any of the perks but I was wrong. I get free books, a way to watch shows and movies and avoid cable fees, 2 day shipping with no minimum order. I know in the long run I save money and they also have their Prime Day coming up with exclusive offers for Prime members. If you’re not already a member and want to give it a 30 day free trial here’s the link-

<a target=”_blank” href=”https://www.amazon.com/b?node=13887280011&ref_=assoc_tag_ph_1524210592968&_encoding=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=pf4&tag=susiep-20&linkId=9788a57d92ac3c4d88c21f9668407248″>Prime Day – Prime Membership $3 bounty</a><img src=”//ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/ir?t=susiep-20&l=pf4&o=1″ width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”” style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” />

 

Prime Pantry

Another perk of membership is access to their Prime Pantry where you can get lower prices on food and household items. I have found some great deals on many items. Use this link and get $10 off orders of $40+ with trial

<a target=”_blank” href=”https://www.amazon.com/gp/pantry/info?ref_=assoc_tag_ph_1524210592962&_encoding=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=pf4&tag=susiep-20&linkId=b0b54c6ba01f700707336eb45c62489a”>Prime Day – Prime Pantry $3 bounty</a><img src=”//ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/ir?t=susiep-20&l=pf4&o=1″ width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”” style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” />

 

Deep Discounts

I guess this says it all, use this link to a section that has items that are discounted-

<a target=”_blank” href=”https://www.amazon.com/b/?node=517808&ref_=assoc_tag_ph_1384415829728&_encoding=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=pf4&tag=susiep-20&linkId=e9b74e19c8a0a384882e47d89e86af83″>Shop Amazon Outlet – Clearance, Markdowns and Overstock Deals</a><img src=”//ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/ir?t=susiep-20&l=pf4&o=1″ width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”” style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” />

 

Kindle Countdown Deals

If like me, you’re an avid reader, you know the cost of books can quickly eat into your budget. Check out the Kindle Countdown Deals where authors and publishers discount their books. I should also add that with Prime membership you get access to lots of books and magazines you can borrow and even a free first read each month. Here’s the link for the countdown deals-

<iframe src=”//rcm-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/cm?o=1&p=14&l=ur1&category=kcdhol13&banner=01FGZ1BAFT2A4A7SSER2&f=ifr&linkID=48d0a1e31319fefe500b2e806e7662a6&t=susiep-20&tracking_id=susiep-20″ width=”160″ height=”600″ scrolling=”no” border=”0″ marginwidth=”0″ style=”border:none;” frameborder=”0″></iframe>

 

Amazon Fresh

And while I have tried this yet, I’m about to because it’s now available where I live. Groceries delivered to your door. Perfect for when you forget something and don’t want to head to a store to be tempted to buy more than you’d planned. Use this link to get $30 off your first order

<a target=”_blank” href=”https://www.amazon.com/fmc/offer?ref_=assoc_tag_ph_1524210592959&_encoding=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=pf4&tag=susiep-20&linkId=70b5fca5bdb3707d3a3403f90d31f9dd”>Prime Day – Amazon Fresh $5 bounty</a><img src=”//ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/ir?t=susiep-20&l=pf4&o=1″ width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”” style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” />

admin / June 21, 2018

Budget Smart Girl Tries Brandless

 

I recently heard about a company that sells food online. Not just any food but good for you stuff that’s organic and non-GMO. Added plus…I was told everything was $3 and shipping is free when you spend $39 or more.

Last week I decided to give it a try.

 

The company is called Brandless. The packaging is plan and simple which reminds me of the generic products you used to see at supermarkets but I have to say the taste is a whole lot better.

I haven’t sampled everything I ordered but so far, so good. The sweet potato tortilla chips…well, I’ll give them a ten. Same goes for the hummus chips and ginger sesame dressing.

 

I actually order some products as a way to restock the pantry. The soups are $1.50 each and while I do make my own soups most of the time, I don’t know if I could beat that price if I factor in these are organic, plus there’s my time to make the soup. Same goes for the fruit spread that is a huge jar and definitely worth $3 because I pay a lot more for a smaller jar and oftentimes it’s not organic.

They also sell household products, skincare items and stuff for your office. I especially like the body wash and mint foot cream.

So far I’m impressed with the food and service and thought I’d share my experience with you.

Here’s a link to their site-

https://brandless.com/

Here’s a link to their blog which has some great recipes too-

https://life.brandless.com/

And finally, if you do decide to shop at Brandless here’s a link that will earn me $6 off my next order.

You’ll also be able to sign up and earn referrals too-

https://refer.brandless.com/s/efh3w

 

Anyone already tried Brandless products? If so, what do you think?

admin / June 7, 2018

Track Your Spending

 

Welcome to week one of the summer money makeover

Have you decided what you’re going to tackle between now and September 1st?

One of my major goals is to track my spending.

It used to be much easier when I wrote checks to pay bills and buy groceries because I’d write down what I spent and who I paid, along with how much was in my account.

Those days are long gone and with them my organized system of seeing where the money was going.

Recently I’ve been reading lots of financial books (reviews of them coming soon), and one piece of money advice they all have in common is, you need to know what you’re buying so you can look for patterns in your spending habits.

Of course, certain payments are necessary but what about the odd $20 here and there?

It doesn’t sound like a lot but spend an extra $20 five times every month, and well, you get the picture.

I’m planning to look at not only how much I’m spending but what I’m spending it on. Is it a need versus a want item? Could it be an ongoing charge for something I no longer need (see my previous post about that topic). Could it even be for something that I can negotiate at a lower cost or switch to a competitor?

By the time September rolls around, I hope to have a clearer picture of my spending habits and if there’s anything I’m overspending on or if I’ve been prone to impulse buys…yes, we all have those even the budget minded.

I think I might use simple pen and paper to keep track but if you want to go the more sophisticated route I know there are lots of sites and apps for tracking spending. Some of them are free while others have a monthly fee.

I’ve found a couple of articles that cover some of the more popular sites and here are the links-

 

https://www.npr.org/2011/05/18/136394339/sites-that-help-track-your-spending-and-saving

 

http://www.wisebread.com/10-sites-and-apps-to-help-you-track-your-spending-and-stick-to-your-budget

 

Anyone else have suggestions about keeping track of your spending? What method do you use? Anyone else have the same goal for this summer make-over?

Have a money saving week.

Be sure to hit the subscribe button above so you don’t miss a post.

 

admin / May 31, 2018

Summer Money Makeover

 

It’s not yet ‘officially’ summer but Memorial Day’s been and gone so I thought we’d kick off a summer financial makeover.

What gave me the idea?

Over at my writing site, I’m setting up a summer writer’s retreat where we’ll get books started or half-finished ones will get completed. It’s running from June 1st through September 1st. Three months to get something done that maybe you’ve been talking about or even just dreaming about doing. So I thought how about something similar here at BSG.

What would your financial makeover look like?

Maybe you want to finally set up a budget?

Perhaps you want to get started on saving for that emergency fund you’ve always hoped for?

Maybe you want to save ready for holiday purchases or next year’s vacation.

It could be you want to organize your pantry or stop throwing away so much food?

Maybe you want to educate yourself on money matters?

My goal for this three month makeover is to track my spending and get an in depth view of where my money’s going.

How about you, and are you up to the challenge of doing something for your financial good? Can we count you in? If so, leave a comment.

Throughout the next three months I’ll be posting tips and hints to keep us motivated. Which reminds me…what would you most like to see here at BSG? I’m planning content and I’d love your input.

Would you like to see book and product reviews, interviews with experts and everyday people who have saved and worked toward financial independence? Recipes and food centric posts? How about details about side gigs you can do to make more money?

Let me know because this is your community and if you haven’t already done so, check the subscribe area above and don’t miss a post.

Oh and before I go, if anyone’s an aspiring writer and wants to join in on the summer writing challenge, here’s the link to my writing site www.thiswriterslife.com

admin / May 24, 2018

The Added Cost of Fear and Uncertainty

 

 

What if it breaks, what if the car breaks down, or I lose my cell phone…

We all have one of those days, sometimes one of those weeks. Put it down to bad luck or the universe not being on our side. We’re human so that makes us worry and companies know that. Sometimes it’s the fear and uncertainty of everyday living that costs us more money than it should.

What got me thinking about this? I’ve been reading a couple of financial books (I’ll be reviewing them here on BSG at a later date), and both of them mentioned that oftentimes we pay more because a company has played into our fear.

For example, the extended warranty on the TV you just purchased. The security system in your house because you’d never forgive yourself if someone broke in and took all your stuff.

Now don’t get me wrong, some of these things are a great idea but some of them can be a waste of your money. So how do you separate the real fear from the fear factor companies would like you to feel as you make a decision about handing your money over to them?

Do Your Research

I remember my late father would check and check on prices, deals; you name it, before he purchased something. Back in those days, they Internet wasn’t around so he had to either physically go to a store or make lots of phone calls. It’s a lot easier now because you can surf the web. Things I look for are-What’s the general feedback about the product? Are people reporting the same issue? Has the same part broken for just about everyone? This not only helps you decide if you want to buy something in the first place but buy its extended warranty too?

Get a Second Opinion

You wouldn’t take one doctor’s word about an illness, treatment or surgery and the same goes for buying things or fixing things. Get a second opinion before you buy an extended warranty or have work done to fix an issue in your home or car.

How Valuable Is This To Me?

Another thing both these books have in common is they talk about the relationship between money and value. How much do you value something? Are you willing to pay more for it? I always think if I use something for my work and I’d lose money if it broke and I had to replace it then I’m more inclined to take an extended warranty or buy a better brand or model.

Bottom line is don’t get talked into something before you’ve done your homework, don’t let a salesperson play on your fears, but judge each situation on a case by case basis. It’s what I’ve learned to do, what the authors of these books have learned to do, and in the long run it can save you money.

 

What’s your criteria for buying extended warranties or added services? Share it with the BSG community and if you’re not already a subscriber, think about joining us so you don’t miss one single post.

 

admin / May 16, 2018

For Subscribers in The European Union

 

I’m not sure if this applies to BSG (or not sure if I fully understand the whole thing), but next week the European Union has a new law coming into effect about subscribers to lists etc. I’ve been told even those of us who live in the US have to address this issue. So if you’re a subscriber based in one of the European Union countries and you don’t wish to be on the subscriber list any longer you need to unsubscribe before May 25th.

Thank you-BSG.

admin / May 10, 2018

Compound Interest-Friend or Foe?

Compound interest…

Two words that make me think about my maternal grandmother.

I know what you’re probably thinking why would something connected to money make her think about grandma?

Let me explain…

My grandmother was widowed when she was just 51 years old. She was a very independent lady, didn’t rely on her family, didn’t want to burden my parents so she’d adopted a mindset that made sure she was financially secure to the day she died (at 87). She had two ways of looking at money and debt.

First one was, make money work for you and save up for something you want and then buy it. Never buy it and pay for it later.

I hope you’re seeing where the compound interest factor plays into this.

When I was seven, my grandmother opened my very first savings account for me. She added, if I can remember correctly, ten pounds and taught me my first money lesson of life. That money left in the account would continue to grow and grow due to compound interest. Ten would become eleven, twelve etc. without me having to add any more of my own money. That was money working for me and not me working for money.

 

One other thing she always did when she knew she needed something like a new winter coat was think ahead. Throughout the summer she’d put part of her pay check aside ready to buy the coat when the temperature dipped. She knew that if she had to pay for a coat on credit, she’d not only pay its actual cost but she pay more because of the added interest just for the privilege of borrowing money (yes, compound interest again!) That’s money working against you and not for you.

 

There have been lots of articles lately on how much credit card debt people are carrying and just as many written about the possibility of interest rate increases. It’s actually what got me thinking about compound interest and my grandmother.

Compound interest can be your friend as in the case of having a savings account, adding to it and not touching the money. Or it can be your foe when you have credit card balance and the compound interest causes you to get deeper and deeper into debt until one day you realize you’ll be paying it off until even after you retire.

So think about if you want compound interest to be your friend or foe. Is now a good time to start paying more toward your credit card debt and once that’s done be like my grandma and make money finally work for you and not against you.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this post and my trip down compound interest memory lane, if so consider subscribing to Budget Smart Girl so you don’t miss more money and budget related goodies.

Happy saving.

 

 

admin / April 26, 2018

The Added Cost of Being on Auto-Pilot

 

We all know being disorganized can cost us money. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve rushed out to buy something I know I already own but can’t remember where I put it. I’m getting better at being organized but one thing that can also eat away at your budget is payments that are on auto-pilot.

I’ve signed up for services, memberships to sites etc. without thinking about how payments are made during the second year. A couple of times I’ve been sent e-mails saying thank you for staying on as a customer for another year.

But what, you say, I didn’t make a payment to you. In fact, I wanted to cancel.

I’ve lost count how many times it’s happened to be in the last year or so. When I’ve checked if they are indeed right and were able to automatically renew my membership or service for a year, I’ve discovered that yes, they can and it’s my own fault for not being diligent.

These days it seems like it’s a default setting for most companies to put your account on auto-renewal and by the time you realize it, you’re paying for another year. That’s fine if you really want it but if you don’t, well, it’s wasted money.

I’ve been slowly checking all my services and memberships and going through the process of unchecking the auto-renew box on anything I no longer want to keep.  Some of them don’t let you do that and instead you have to simply cancel. In those cases, and so I don’t lose the remaining part of the membership I’ve already ready paid for, I’ve made a note on my calendar that a few days before the subscription or whatever ends, I’ll cancel it.

It’s also a great opportunity to look at all the things you’re still paying for that you may no longer use or have an interest in. I have three this year that fit that category and I’ve worked out I’ll be saving close to $300. That’s $300 that would have wasted had I not been watching for the auto-renew feature on these sites. If it’s a service or something you do use, it’s a good time to also check if they’re giving you the best price. I switched my domain registrations off of auto-renew and changed to a service offering much lower prices.

So bottom line is look at payments that are on ‘auto-pilot’. Are they still things you need and if they are, is someone else offering you a better deal?

 

admin / April 19, 2018

Going Green Means Saving Green

Earth Day is this Saturday and here are five easy ways I’ve found to go green and save money at the same time-

 

 

Showers

You can buy low water flow shower heads or even buy adapters to go on your current one. Neither are that expensive and if you’re think the water will just dribble out of the showerhead, you’d be surprised how the new versions are so good that you hardly notice the difference.

 

 

 

Dirty Laundry

Where I live, putting laundry outside to dry isn’t something I can do year round but when the temperature heats up a great way to save money on electricity (and your clothes too), is to hang everything outside to air dry. It also prevents heating up your home in the summer.

 

 

Fan Favorites

If  you live in a humid climate, fans won’t always work but on the days when it’s just hot but humidity’s low, how about turning off the air conditioning and turning on a fan or two.

 

 

Dirt Cheap Gardening

Here’s something I’ve going to do this year instead of buying compost at the store…make your own. Buy a compost bin or even put your DIY skills to use and make your own. Another way you can save money in the garden is to install a rain barrel and catch all the free rainwater.

 

 

 

Walk or Bike

This one also gives you some free exercise too. Leave the car at home and either bike or walk to your destination.

 

Do you have a favorite eco friendly idea that saves money? Leave a comment and share your tip for us.

 

Also, be sure to subscribe to Budget Smart Girl so you don’t miss a post. You’ll find the sign up form at the top of the site.

 

admin / April 11, 2018

Three Ingredients and a Slow Cooker Dessert

Most of you know I like to keep a full pantry. A couple of times a year I sort through it and begin using the older supplies. Last week (a surprisingly chilly one for this time of year), I wanted something gooey and sweet for dessert. I had a box of Devil’s Food cake mix that needed using and soon. A quick search of the rest of the pantry yielded candied ginger and a can of sliced pears. The combination sounded too good to pass on and with the help of the slow cooker, this dessert was ready in a couple of hours. I topped it with Greek yogurt but I’m guessing ice cream would be good too. Serving size is around 6-8.

 

Ingredients

1 box Devil’s Food Cake Mix (don’t follow the ingredient measurements…I went with ¼ oil and just 1 egg)

2 tablespoons finally chopped candied ginger (more if you like the heat)

1 15 ounce can of sliced pears (drained)

 

 

Spray the slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray.

Place the pears and ginger at the bottom.

Make the cake mix and pour on top of the pears and ginger.

Turn on low and cook for about two hours.

Serve warm.

 

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