8 Products That Drain Your Extra Cash

You get to the point in life where you want to not just spend money, but save. MensHealth shares 8 products that will drain your cash. Having unused gift cards sitting in your wallet is a waste of money that you could be using on useful things as well. By selling those gift cards for cash you can clear out your wallet and get a little extra money.spending money

1. Topping off Your Tank

Admit it: When you’re at the gas station, paying a nice, even $36 instead of $35.78 is more appealing. But continuing to fill your car after the gas nozzle clicks off is equivalent to throwing your change in the gutter. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, those few extra drops will either get sucked back into the storage tanks, or evaporate in your car’s vapor collection system, causing it to run inefficiently and burn even more fuel. When a gallon of gas costs as much as a latte, stop filling your tank to the brim. After all, you’re already spending over $2,000 each year at the pump, according to AAA.

2. Cutting Your Grass Too Much

“The shorter you mow your lawn, the more work it takes to keep it looking good,” says Frank Rossi, associate professor of Turfgrass Science at Cornell University. A backyard with grass that’s only 1 inch long needs mowing every 5 days. But let it grow to 3 inches and your lawn needs tending only twice a month. What’s more, mowing shorter grass can actually weaken its root system, which can lead to drought, pests, weeds, and more expenses. Before you get to work, check that your mower’s blades are sharp. Hitting the stems with a dull metal requires more energy to make the cut, spiking your fuel bill by 25 to 30 percent. To save even more, leave grass clippings in your yard. When they decompose, you’ve got free fertilizer, Rossi says.

3. Eating Meat Every Day

Americans spend more than 20 percent of their grocery bill on meats, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s almost $800 each year. Instead of forking over $5 to $7 per pound for beef every week, consider occasionally swapping red meat for lentils. They cost less than $3 per pound, and you’ll still get almost as much muscle-building protein as in a sirloin. “Most Americans treat meat as the main course,” says Thomas Ngo, R.D., senior staff coach at Rise, a nutrition coaching app. “But vegetables and legumes should take the center stage on you plate. They’re lower in calories and loaded with cancer-fighting antioxidants and heart-healthy fats that help lower cholesterol—not raise it.”

4. Ignoring Cracks

While you might want to blame this never-ending winter for your ridiculous energy bill, even mild weather can cause a spike in utilities if your house is filled with air leaks. Drafts can bump energy costs by 5 to 30 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Audit your home by checking doors, window frames, cable lines, and even electrical outlets for air flow, then caulk or weather-strip the offenders.

5. Paying for Apps and Songs

Almost a third of men spend impulsively on technology that includes gaming systems, apps, and songs, reports the National Endowment for Financial Education. Not surprisingly, Candy Crush Saga makes about $650,000 a day on premium features—and 40 percent of these contributions come from men, according to data from NewZoo, a market research firm in the games industry. Then there’s your music library, which probably contains at least a thousand songs, right? At $0.99 each—assuming you buy legally—your music collection is worth a luxe vacation.

“When you’re only spending a dollar here or there, it’s easy to justify the purchase,” says Meg Favreau, senior editor of financial website WiseBread.com. “It might not seem like much to buy extra moves for a game or the latest hit song, but if you spend a few bucks a week, you can end up spending over a $1,000 a year.” One solution: Sign up for a mobile streaming service like Spotify, which gives you unlimited access to over 20 million songs for just $10 a month.

6. Paying Bank Fees

Banks are bringing in $30 billion—that’s right,billion—in checking account fees. That means each time your minimum balance drops below $1,500, for example, your bank fills its pockets. You may be losing $12 to $25 each month for no good reason. “You can avoid the charge by setting up direct deposit,” says Greg McBride, chief financial analyst for BankRate, an online aggregator of financial rate information. Having your employer wire as little as $250 to your account might void checking account fees—but read your bank’s policies for details to make sure. Credit unions and small community banks are likely to offer a no-strings-attached account, adds McBride. Shop around.

7. Disposable Products

Convenience has its price. While a kitchen without paper towels may seem crazy—at first—it can save you at least $300 a year, assuming you buy one roll a week. Nix plastic wrap, Ziploc bags, and other disposable supplies and you might just end up with a grand to spare. Dish rags and storage containers are reusable, so you’ll get your money’s worth. And if you’re really thrifty, cut up old T-shirts and re-purpose plastic takeout containers.

8. Neglecting Home Maintenance

Draining the hot water heater or sealing your deck isn’t the most exciting way to spend a weekend. But blowing off up-keep chores will blast your budget. “A typical hot water heater might last 10 years, but one that is not flushed at least once every 6 months can break after 4 or 5 years,” says John Bodrozic, co-founder of HomeZada, a home management site that offers a home maintenance schedule that syncs to your calendar.

6 Items To Purchase In April

With a little help from Dailyfinance, here are a few items to purchase in April that will help save you money in the future.
Hello April

Small Kitchen Appliances

Need a new coffee grinder? What about a blender? Or maybe you’ve been eyeing one of those fancy-schmancy Kitchen-Aid mixers? April is the best time to buy small kitchen appliances, including all of the above. “Graduation and wedding season is right around the corner, so retailers begin putting small kitchen appliances on sale during April,” explained Konrad. Additional items to look out for include toasters, coffee makers, hand mixers, toaster ovensslow cookers,food processors and more.

Discounted Gift Cards

Every month is a good month to purchase discounted gift cards online, but with vacations drawing near, April is a great time to save money. Companies such as GiftCardRescue.com, allow you to buy your everyday products at a discount. With gift cards up to 35% off of face value, pairing a gift card with a coupon and/or sale can save you hundreds.

Earth-Friendly, Green Goods

What better month to purchase eco-friendly goods than April? Earth Day happens on April 22, but retailers use the entire month to promote green goodies. Throughout April, keep your eyes out for specials on organic foodsnatural beauty and skincare items and other products that are particularly kind to our home planet. You’ll probably notice many retailers offer discounts, launch products and provide coupons.

Summer Air Travel

“Airlines start to offer great deals for summer vacations in April,” noted Konrad. “By booking several months ahead, you’ll have access to awesome prices if you hit up sites like Expedia.” She says you can save even more moolah if you use coupon codes during checkout. Sign up for newsletters from travel websites such as Expedia, TravelZoo,Southwest and Priceline. You can also find travel package deals on websites such as Groupon and LivingSocial, which may have discount codes. “It’s always better to book during the week rather than on weekends when prices go up,” she said. “Most say Tuesday afternoons are the best bet.”

Winter Gear

“Since colder weather is on its way out, many retailers mark down their winter gear, such as snowboardsski boots, and outerwear,” said Konrad. “Sites like Backcountry.com and Dogfunk.com offer amazing winter clearance sales with items marked down as much as 50 percent off.” While you won’t need these items in April — nature willing — assess your supplies and determine what you may need for when the snow hits next year.

Vacuums and Cleaning Supplies

“Since spring cleaning is on many people’s to-do list, vacuums are often sold for lower prices,” said Konrad. “New models usually hit stores in June, so retailers are eager to get rid of the older models in April. That means you can find a great deal at places.” Additionally, cleaning supplies in general remain a great buy in April. Look for specials and coupons in your newspaper and online.

7 Healthy Alternatives For Unhealthy Foods

Summer is right around the corner and eating healthy is a great way to feel good about your next beach vacation.  EliteDaily, informs us of 7 healthy alternatives for unhealthy food that will secure that bikini bod you are wishing for. To save on your healthy pantry restock check out discounted whole foods gift cards.

healthy food

Coconut oil

If you haven’t heard about the many uses and benefits of coconut oil, you’ve been living under a rock. Its claim to fame is that it’s a super food that will offer you healthier hair, softer cuticles and help with weight loss.

In the kitchen, coconut oil is a great alternative for cooking oils, like for roasting and sautéing your vegetables or as a replacement for butter on your (whole grain) toast.

Quinoa

Quinoa (KEEN-WA) is an interesting food. It’s technically not a grain or a wheat, it contains no gluten and offers a bunch of protein. With the texture of couscous, it’s a great replacement for rice or oats! Swap your breakfast oats for organic plain quinoa and top with your normal dosage of fruit, cinnamon and nuts. Or, replace your brown rice with quinoa, seasoned to your liking.

Kale

Kale. Health nuts love kale. It’s the attention-loving cousin of spinach, taking its place in smoothies and side dishes everywhere. But, kale is actually better than spinach when it comes to mock potato chips. Kale crisps beautifully in an oven (when doused with some olive oil and roasted for 8 minutes on 400 degrees) whereas spinach would turn into a watery pile, kale chips crunch just like Lays and satisfy that salty craving without killing your diet.

Almond milk

Or any non-dairy milk for that matter. Milk just isn’t the same as the natural, farm-fresh thing we used to get. Cows are different, milk is different and our bodies are different. So many people are dairy-sensitive and don’t even know it. Cutting out dairy is great for skin, nails and digestion. If you’re allergic to nuts, you can opt for soy or coconut milk in your cereal, smoothies and maybe even your coffee.

Applesauce

If you have a major sweet tooth, “dieting” means finding healthy ways around dessert. Face it, we love sugar and we can’t resist a hearty serving of cake. So when baking your treats at home, opt for applesauce in place of butter or oil. Unsweetened, natural applesauce is a great alternative for baking, giving you the proper consistency without the fats and calories in oils and butter.

Avocado

Who doesn’t love avocado? While it’s a great addition to sandwiches, tacos and omelets, avocado can also be used as a replacement for mayo. Yep. Mayonnaise, the diet killer. Swap your mayo for avocado in things like chicken or tuna salad. Disclaimer: your chicken and tuna salad will be a rather funky color, but seasoned well, it tastes just the same without the added saturated fat!

Spaghetti Squash

It’s squash but it looks like spaghetti (meaning, it satisfies the carb craving without the carbs). Crack the squash open, spoon out the insides and it really does look like spaghetti. Top with your usual pasta toppings (pesto, marinara or veggies) and dig in without feeling a morsel of guilt. Buon appetito.

10 Life Lessons You Can Learn From Your Children

When did we decide that growing up meant becoming a different person, once who doesn’t take not of the little things, or has a burning curiosity for how the world works? Maybe we can take these life lessons you can learn from your children, from HuffingtonPost, and bring the wonder back into life.

lessons you can learn from your children

1. Every day is a fresh start.

“Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?” – L.M. Montgomery.

Wasn’t it always amazing how the end of a school day always felt so final, so finished? The break between June and September seemed like a lifetime. Because when you are young, every day feels like an eternity and a new day means new opportunities to make new friends, explore new adventures, learn new things. Children don’t carry baggage from one day to the next. They start fresh, always.

2. Creative pursuits are fun and good for you.

“Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

How often do you see children losing themselves in a creative project for hours at a time? Drawing, playing with clay, building a sandcastle with meticulous attention to detail. For some reason, as we get older, we stop seeing creative activities as worthwhile. How many adults, aside from artists, draw on a regular basis? How many play with clay or finger paint just for the fun of it?

3. Be courageous.

“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” – Anais Nin.

Sing out loud. Dance when you feel like it. A child’s life feels limitless because they are not confined by fears of failure or humiliation. They march forward with hope and determination because they don’t know any better. They haven’t been beaten down, they haven’t experienced failure. They embrace life and all it has to offer with open arms.

4. Laugh every day.

“A day without laughter is a day wasted.” – Charlie Chaplin

Children have the beautiful ability to find joy all around them. Just watch the humor a child can find in a shopping mall or at the park. They see silliness everywhere.

5. Be active.

Play energizes and enlivens us. It eases our burdens. It renews our natural sense of optimism and opens us up to new possibilities.” – Stuart Brown

When you were young, playing outside was the highlight of your day. You would run and chase your friends until you were out of breath and your cheeks were rosy. You would jump and do cartwheels at the drop of a hat and you never thought of it as “exercise” or “daily fitness.” It was just playing. And it was fun. “It is a happy talent to know how to play.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

6. Nurture friendship.

“In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing pleasures. For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.” – Khalil Gibran

Children find true joy while playing with friends and they love making new ones. They join soccer teams, go to a birthday parties, start new schools. These are all ways that kids make new friends. Children adhere to the motto, “the more the merrier,” and adults should, as well.

7. Be the hero.

“Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.” – Nora Ephron

When a child tells you a story about school or the soccer field, they are usually the hero of their story. The world revolves around them. As we age, we don’t want to be conceited or egotistic, so we downplay our accomplishments and achievements. We don’t want to brag. But in doing so, we often slip to the side of self-deprecation. We put ourselves down to make others feel better or to be more relateable. Modesty becomes an admirable quality and we start to convince ourselves of our own mediocrity.

8. Scars are badges of honor.

“Every day you either see a scar or courage. Where you dwell will define your struggle.” – Dodinsky

When a child breaks a bone, everyone they know will sign the cast. They become the superstar of the class, the survivor. If they fall down and cut themselves, everyone wants to see the scar, they wear it proudly. As we get older, we hide our scars, our wounds become our secrets. We don’t want to be seen as weak or pitied, so we tell no one where it hurts. But what children recognize is that scars aren’t signs of weakness, a scar is a sign of strength and survival. A story to tell. An accomplishment.

9. Try new things.

“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” – Andre Gide

Children are not afraid to play a sport they have never tried before. They will jump on a trampoline, dive into a pool or ski down a mountain even if it is foreign to them. As adults, we fear the unknown. We stay safely ensconced in our comfort zone and rarely venture out. Adventure exhilarates us and awakens the spirit.

10. Notice the little things.

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” – Robert Brault

My niece loves watching the sandpipers run back and forth at the water’s edge. She notices their little legs and how fast they move along the sand. Something simple that we take for granted brings her immense joy and profound inspiration. When did we stop noticing the tiny miracles that surround us daily? How much more beautiful would life be if we could see these miracles again?

9 Objects That Are Dirtier Than Your Toilet Seat

The average toilet seat has 1,600 germs per 100 cm2 and you more than likely have the perception that it is pretty dirty. Believe it or not, these are objects that are dirtier than your toilet seat. Awareness and action are critical to have a clean environment. Save on all of your cleaning need by purchasing discounted gift cards to your favorite stores.

Kitchen Sponge

 

Kitchen sponge- Kitchen sponges are a great way to spread bacteria onto your dishes and kitchen counter. With 14 times as much bacteria as a toilet seat, finding a new way to wash your dishes would be beneficial to your health.

iphone

 

Mobile Phone- It is surprising if your mobile phone isn’t glued to your being; most of the time you even take it into the bathroom with you. The fact that your phone has ten times more germs than your toilet seat shouldn’t come as a shock. Because most people don’t take the time to clean their mobile devices and it is constantly being handled by your hands lead to bacteria hanging around.

chopping board

Chopping Board- Chopping boards have 200 times the germs of your toilet seat! You would be better off using your toilet seat when making your next salad.

pillows

Pillow- Unless your pillow is brand new, there is more than likely 100,000 dust mites crawling on your pillows.

ice

Ice- 70% of ice served at restaurants have more bacteria that the water in your toilet. There are multiple reasons for this including contaminated ice machines and employees touching the ice.

 

Game Controller

 

Game Controllers- The average game controller has around 7,800 germs per 100cm2, that is almost 7 times more germs than the average toilet seat. Next time you go to working on demolishing the latest Zombie game, think about wiping down your hand device.

money

Money- The single most transferred object, each bill has an average of 200,000 bacteria on it’s surface. Switching to plastic sounds a lot more appealing after reading this statistic.

key board

 

Computer Key Board- Computer keyboards have 5 times more germs than the average toilet seat. Computers are used everyday however, they are one of the least cleaned devices. With multiple users, keyboards are a prime location to pick up a virus that is hanging around.

Finding a way to clean these items on a daily basis will, not only ease your mind knowing that you have kicked the bacteria on these objects to the curb, your family will also benefit in other ways. You will all be healthier and not passing around sickness as much. You will save money by cutting doctor bills and medication costs.

Photo Source: Weheartit

6 Ways To Save More Outlet Shopping

If you are looking to quench your shopping addiction without spending an arm and a leg, outlet shopping is a great option. Not only are prices less than in the retail store, there are additional ways to save more outlet shopping. DailyFinance brings some great tips on ways you can save more.
Outlet shopping

Purchase discounted gift cards. By using discounted gift card sites you can save up to 35% on the additional savings that you find at the outlet stores. Websites such as GiftCardRescue.com offer gift cards to over 450 popular merchants, so finding the discounted gift cards you are looking for is easy.

Figure out the outlet ‘brand.’ There are a couple of management companies that own quite a few outlet malls in the United States, including Premium Outlets and Tanger Factory Outlet Centers. Before heading out, be sure to check the website for the entire outlet mall for any possible deals or coupons. Premium and Tanger Outlets also have Facebook pages where they will occasionally post coupons that you can print from home.

Look for an outlet discount card or VIP program. Many outlet malls have VIP savings programs that can save you big bucks throughout the year and also give you special access to new promotions and sales.

The Fashion Outlets of Chicago opened last year and offer a Green Savings Card that costs $5 for a yearly membership. Those with a Green Savings Card receive extra discounts at a huge number of stores and restaurants in the mall, which is on top of the already low prices.

‘Like’ the outlet store on Facebook.If there is an outlet store that you frequent, go ahead and like its Facebook page so that you will be one of the first to know about sales and promotions. The Kate Spade Outlet will frequently post promotions to Facebook before emailing subscribers. The J. Crew Factory Store has offered special promotions that are valid only to their Facebook fans.

Register for store emails. Not all outlet stores have their own web page, but if they do, be sure to register for emails. The Gap Outlet is one of my favorite stores because the prices are usually low and they frequently email out coupons for additional savings. Late last year I received a coupon for an extra 50 percent off my entire Gap Outlet purchase. The Banana Republic Factory Store and Coach Factory Store also frequently send out high value coupons over email.

Use in-store coupons. Sometimes one of the easiest ways to save is to look for in-store coupons right when you walk into a store. Almost every time I walk into a Last Call by Neiman Marcus outlet store I am handed a coupon that will save me an extra 10 to 20 percent off my entire purchase. These coupons aren’t always available, but it is great when they are, especially when they can be combined with other in-store promotions.

7 Healthy Gas Station Foods

Eating healthy while traveling is a pain. Here are a few healthy gas station foods that will make eating on the go less problematic.

nuts

Seeds- If you can find raw seeds, these have the most nutritional value. Pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds can be found at most gas stations and provide a good source of many essential nutrients. Sunflower seeds are a great source of vitamin E and 100 grams of pumpkin seeds provide 54% of the daily requirements of protein.

 Nuts- Almonds and Walnuts are the best nuts to incorporate into your diet because comparatively speaking they have the least number of calories. If you are trying to find a cheaper alternative, peanuts are high in folate, an essential brain development nutrient.

Cereal - Available at many gas stations, cereal is a good healthy alternative to chips or other snacking products. Find a cereal low in sugar as one of your best options. It is great for having a continuous snack.

Fresh Fruit- If the fruit looks edible, fruit is a great healthy option.

Trail Mix- If you are having a little chocolate craving. Trail mix usually has a combination of nuts and dried fruit, sometimes chocolate pieces are mixed in to add a little sweet treat. You just have to make sure you stick to your portions.

Hard-Boiled Eggs-For only 70 calories, eggs are very rich in nutrients. Packed with protein, phosphorus, vitamin B12, vitamin A and more, hard boiled eggs are a perfect healthy gas station food.

Dried Fruit- Some dried fruit can be more nutritious than the natural version. The most nutritious way to eat apricot is dried. A good source of fiber, they also contain vitamin A, C and Iron. Dried cranberries have higher levels of antioxidants than a lot of other fruits. Mango, fig, and raisin are other fruits you can find dried at the gas station.

To save on your gas and snack check out GiftCardRescue.com’s discounted gas cards before you go on your next trip.

35 Things I Hope My Daughter Never Has To Experience

My daughter

To all the mothers out there who have experienced the world at it’s best and it’s worst will understand that there are things that you hope your daughter never has to experience. EliteDaily brings a great article for all those mothers out there that hope for a better world for their daughters to grow up.

To say that I’m scared for the future generations of the world is a passing statement. To say that I’m scared to bring a daughter into this world is a fear I hold tightly.

It’s a fear that consumes my subconscious and conscious states and sits deep down in the pit of my stomach. It’s a fear that keeps me up at night and comes out in my darkest moments of despair and loneliness. It’s an innate instinct that strengthens as I grow older and another year hardens me.

You see, I’m scared to bring another woman into this world because I know what it is to be a woman. I know what it’s like to wear the deep scars of inadequacy and to carry the heavy burden of fading youth.

I know how it feels to be ostracized, immortalized and degraded at the same time. I know what it feels like to have your heart broken into a million pieces by a man who wasn’t worth a hello. I know what it feels like to be constantly compared to idealized women with perfect bone structure and airbrushed hips.

I know what it feels like to be reduced to just a pair of tits and ass. I know what it’s like to be judged by a glance and overlooked for a woman with better hair and bigger tits. I know what it feels like to be put down because of gender-induced stereotypes. I know what it feels like to never want to get out of bed because you don’t feel pretty enough to face the world.

I know what it feels like to be afraid of rejection and to be desensitized to belittlement. I know what it feels like to be discarded and replaced. I know what it feels like to be betrayed and judged by impossible standards, and I never want my daughter to feel this way.

I want my daughter to feel strong and invincible. I want her to wear her flaws and imperfections as badges of strength and beauty. I want her to look past the stares and the judgments and find a path of self-acceptance, which so many women fail to ever unearth. I want her to never feel the deep pain of heartbreak or the shallow judgments of her peers. I want her to see beyond stereotypes and to walk above the grain. After reading an article that spoke of all the things a woman wanted her daughters to see, I started thinking about the things I never wanted my future daughter to go through.

I want her to be her own woman, and I hope she doesn’t ever have to experience these dirty, evil and superficial bits and pieces of life:

1. Heartbreak from a man who did her wrong.

2. Betrayal from a friend who was nothing but an enemy.

3. Hopelessness from a world that doesn’t seem to get any better.

4. Despair from being told she “can’t” too many times.

5. Jealousy of people who are nothing more than airbrushed images.

6. Belittlement from a society that only judges on outward appearances.

7. Insecurity from the women around her.

8. Inadequacy from images glamorized by the media.

9. Rejection from men who don’t understand depth and real beauty.

10. Loss of faith in a world that continues to disappoint.

11. Fear of the unknown.

12. Envy of women who aren’t worth envying.

13. Embarrassment of her flaws.

14. Disappointment from those who are supposed to protect her.

15. Shame of her body.

16. Discouragement from those who are supposed to believe in her.

17. Discomfort from the cat calls of perverse men.

18. Bullying from kids who were raised with no moral centers.

19. Gender inequality in her new found job.

20. Lost moments from worrying about the future.

21. Uselessness by people who don’t see her worth.

22. Guilt for things she cannot change.

23. Dishonor in her roots and her past.

24. Contempt for things unworthy of anger.

25. Self doubt in her limitless abilities.

26. Anxiety over the daily stresses of life.

27. Disbelief in the evil doings of fellow man.

28. Grief for things that aren’t worth tears.

29. Desolation in the future of the world.

30. Torment over the suffering of others.

31. Obsession with the materialistic and the mundane.

32. Preoccupation with people who don’t care.

33. Finding her validation in another person.

34. Regret from never putting herself out there.

35. Feeling like she isn’t worthy of all she truly deserves in life.

Photo Credit to ∞ Fashion ∞

5 Best Ways To Get A Discount

If you think you are paying too much for certain products, you could try to get a discount next time you are at the store. By simply asking for a product at, what you think is a reasonable cost, could win you that price for your purchase. DailyFinance shares ways to approach getting a discount on products you are buying. Using websites such as GiftCardRescue.com
can get you a discount anytime you are shopping. With discounted gift cards for up to 35% OFF actual value, saving money is guaranteed.

Get a store discount

Be friendly, polite and nice. When you ask for a discount at the register, you’re asking the cashier to do you a favor. You don’t know if a discount is available and you need his help. Being friendly, polite and nice to the cashier can go a long way. Smile, say hello and ask her about her day as she rings up your purchases. When it comes time to pay, that’s when you ask if there are discounts for which you qualify.

Accept you’ll fail most of the time. Some stores simply don’t offer discounts of any kind. They don’t run promotions, they don’t have coupons and there’s no way for a cashier to ring up a discount. Other stores run promotions all the time. If you’ve heard of Bed Bath & Beyond (BBY),

you’ve probably seen one of their ubiquitous 20 percent off coupons. They come in nearly every mailer, apply toward almost everything except a few name brands, and never actually expire, despite having an expiration date. If you forget a coupon, the cashier has a book of bar codes he or she can scan to give you the right discounts to help you save. Depending on how nice the cashier is, sometimes she will even scan bar codes reserved for competitons’ coupons to give you even more savings. It pays to be nice in life!
Get lots of practice. There is only one way to get comfortable with failure: experience it. Once you’ve felt the sting of failure, it doesn’t hurt as much the next time. And when you do fail, it’s really not a big deal. Most cashiers will say “sorry, we don’t have that,” or something similar. If you think you’ll struggle with this, pretend you’re acting or playing a persona. Pretend you’re testing out different strategies, like the result when you’re friendly versus simply being polite. Let it become a game, and failure stops being as big of a deal.
Try obtaining discounts at smaller shops. In the case of a large store, cashiers don’t usually have the freedom to give you a discount unless it’s already part of the company culture, as is the case with Bed Bath & Beyond. With smaller stores or at farmers markets or smaller venues, you may be speaking with the proprietor, and he has the flexibility to do anything he wants. The store may not advertise a three-for-two discount but it might go for it if you ask. If it’s near the end of the day, the owner might prefer to sell the item at a lower profit margin than not at all.
Take advantage of an affinity group. Are you retired or active military? Are you of a certain age? Military, veterans, student and senior discounts are everywhere, but some stores don’t advertise them. To find out if the store has one, just ask. Are you a member of the National Military Family Association or AARP? Membership organizations often negotiate special discounts for members, and they may have done it at the store you’re in, and those discounts may not be advertised.If you find yourself having trouble trying these strategies, just remember that a few seconds, even if they’re uncomfortable seconds at first, could save you a lot of money in the long run. It’s worth the effort.

7 Ways To Manage Money In Your 30s

It happens to us all at one point or another, you look at your tax refund and think: Where did all that money go? Saving money is the end result of a multitude of other actions that can be classified as money managing. The way you manage money in your 30s will be a good indicator of how you will handle your life long finances. Don’t wait to start managing your money more intelligently. Dailyfinance explains the best way to manage money in your 30s.

Manage money in your 30s

  1. Save when you can. ”If you’ve gotten your salary up to the point where student loan debt is not wreaking havoc in your life anymore, but before you have a lot of responsibilities, that’s a great opportunity to super-charge your savings,” says Jean Chatzky, financial editor of the Today Show and author of “Money Rules: The Simple Path to Lifelong Security.” When parenting responsibilities and mortgage costs take off, for example, it can be hard to save more. “You want to take advantage of the opportunities you have to sock away some money so when the leaner years come around, you don’t beat yourself up,” she adds.
  2. Create solid habits. It’s also time to establish financial habits that will serve you well for the rest of your life. Kerry Hannon, personal finance expert and author of “Great Jobs for Everyone 50+,” says in her 30s, she maxed out her retirement savings accounts and even set aside a portion of her extra freelance income for retirement. “Those funds have served me well over the years as mad money to help pay for vacations and more. I still save outside of retirement accounts religiously in my 50s, too. It’s a habit I started back in my 30s,” she says.
  3. Plan out your goals and priorities. ”Hopefully you’re starting to become established in your career and can begin to contribute, if you’re not already, to an employer-sponsored retirement plan, and begin to think about other savings goals, too, like a home purchase or college savings,” says Suzanna de Baca, vice president of wealth strategies at Ameriprise Financial.
  4. Talk about money with your partner. If you have a spouse or partner, then getting on track together and working out any disputes can prevent conflicts later. “People often comingle finances with their partner, and open communication is key. Make sure you talk about your finances and life goals with your partner, and align on how you will get there together,” de Baca urges.
  5. Get comfortable with negotiation. Nancy L. Anderson, 52, a certified financial planner in Park City, Utah, says while she did a lot of things right in her 30s, including investing 20 percent of her income, buying a home, investing in rental property and saving for her child’s college education, she also wished she had negotiated her salary more assertively. “If I’d negotiated a higher salary each time I changed companies in my career, I’d be wealthier today,” she says. Since most people change jobs about 11 times in their careers, negotiating those transitions can end up making you more than $600,000 richer over your career, she adds.
  6. Be a good role model. For those 30-somethings who are already parents, Beth Kobliner, author of “Get a Financial Life” and member of the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability for Young Americans, says it’s important to model smart financial choices for the little eyes watching you. ”You lose all credibility lecturing your little kids about not needing every new toy or tech gadget if you, behind closed doors, have loud arguments with your spouse about not being able to keep up with your credit card bills,” she says. You don’t have to be a money genius, she adds, but it’s important to talk about money – making financial discussions as commonplace as soccer practice or Sunday dinner.
  7. Shore up your cash reserves. While many experts emphasize long-term investing and retirement savings, Tim Maurer, director of personal finance for the BAM Alliance of independent advisers, says he wishes he had kept more money in pure cash savings to give himself a better buffer for unexpected needs and expenses. “Much, maybe too much, financial planning is focused exclusively on the long, long-term,” he says, “and while it’s true that real estate can be a great way to build wealth and one should start saving as early as possible for retirement, it’s the unexpected changes in life that often derail 30-something households. Our financial plans should address the short-term, too.”