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Cash For Trash

Posted by The Frugal Diva on 29th January 2014

The Frugal Diva always wondered what you did with unwanted gift cards – Pep Boys and you don’t own a car, Wet Seal when you are over fifty, and Five Guys for vegetarians.  Here are some options from BeFrugal.com. founder and money saving expert Jon Lal. He shares the following frugal advice on cleaning out the clutter while cashing in on unneeded items.

Unused gift cards: To get rid of unwanted gift cards without losing out, simply use a legitimate website that buys and sells gift cards such as Cardpool. Before selling through Cardpool.com, first head over to coupons & cash back site BeFrugal.com and get money back on top of what you are selling the cards for. Rates can change today, but today you will get 4% Cash Back on sale of a Gift Card to Cardpool. Note that Cash Back is only available for the first $1000 in transactions from your Cardpool account (this includes all history in your Cardpool account).

Extra clothing: Why not clean out the clutter and cash in on last year’s fashion? Gently worn garments can be sold in consignment shops or online using eBay. Any item that does not sell in a consignment store or on eBay can be donated and you can save money with a tax write-off.

Old electronics: Sell unwanted electronic items to a site like Gazelle.com, BuyMyTronics.com, NextWorth.com or BuyBackWorld.com. These sites will pay you for gadgets you no longer use.

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Back To School Savings Start Now

Posted by The Frugal Diva on 16th July 2013

Sure we just celebrated the 4th of July however Frugal Divas know that shopping early means saving big time.

Below are back to school tips from BeFrugal.com founder Jon Lal for parents, teachers & college students.

Back to school money saving advice for parents and college students

  1. Get organized to avoid overspending. Make a shopping list and set a budget. Look through items you already own before shopping.
  2. Start early: Don’t wait until the last minute to buy the more specific back to school items on your list. The selection can get picked over as the school year approaches. Prices will drop at the last minute, so you can get a deal on more basic supplies if you aren’t picky about the type of binder or pencils you buy.
  3. For clothing, consider shopping at outlet malls, discount stores like TJ Maxx and consignment shops. Some consignment stores (like Plato’s Closet) specialize in clothing for younger people. Clothing swaps are another frugal option.
  4. Buy back to school items online. It offers the ability to use a promo code for immediate savings off your bill plus earning cash back, a percentage of your transaction deposited into your free account. For this reason, you can save more money (and time) by doing the following:
    • Make your purchases online whenever possible: Shopping online means one can earn cash back in addition to coupon code savings. Plus, you can shop from home and often you can get free shipping.
    • Always use an online coupon: Go online to find free coupons for purchases. It’s quick and the savings really add up. On BeFrugal the average coupon saves the shopper $27. If you have the BeFrugal free Couponomatic browser add-on, you will not even need to look for a promo code. This tool magically presents you with a drop down list of promo codes when you are at the checkout stage: http://www.befrugal.com/addon/
    • Pay with a rewards credit card: You can earn points, miles, or more cash back through your credit card in addition to using a coupon and earning online shopping cash back through a site such as BeFrugal.com. You can put the rewards toward a family vacation. Just be sure to pay off your balance and use a card that offers rewards you can use.

5.       Use your computer as a resource, even if you are going to the store to shop:

    • Online weekly ads tell you what’s on sale near you. Stores like Target, Walmart, Macy’s and more have a variety of school supplies on sale and department stores often have sales announced in their weekly ads.
    • Print coupons for free from coupon websites like BeFrugal.com. Look at printable retail coupons to save on back to school clothes, dorm furniture, computers, etc.

6.       Save on snacks & school lunches:

    • Make your own snack size packs. Buy a big quantity of snack items like crackers or nuts then portion out your own snack size amounts for lunches. There’s more value in purchasing a larger size container instead of snack size portions.
    • Reuse packaging. Instead of throwing away your money with tons of Ziploc and paper bags, buy one reusable lunch bag and some small Tupperware.
    • Sandwiches don’t have to be on bread. Sometimes other items like English muffins go on a mega-sale like buy 1 get 2 free, making them hard to pass up as a smart buy. Purchase them on sale and use them instead of bread for lunch sandwiches.

Back to school money saving advice for teachers

1.       Take advantage of teacher discounts. You can save on everything from professional clothing to supplies needed in the classroom.

2.       Consider purchasing larger volumes to lower the per unit cost of school supplies. Warehouse stores like Cosco and BJ’s can offer savings.

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Tennessee Vacation

Posted by The Frugal Diva on 14th May 2013

The Frugal Dude loves to tour a state or neighboring states and soak up the local culture. My initial reaction was if one isn’t going to a major metropolitan area why bother? It took awhile to convince me to even set foot in certain areas.  Now The Frugal Diva likes nothing better then to explore what were once just names on a map.

Loveless Cafe Nashville

From the first breakfast at the famous Loveless Cafe to Country Music Hall of Fame, Nashville was a lovely city that had restored many of its original venues including the train station and the original Grand Old Opry. Every generation thinks they invented music so it was amazing to see how rock and roll had the underpinnings of bluegrass and country garnered from Hank Williams, Jimmy Rodgers, and Johnny Cash.  Museums like this give an interactive history along with the costumes, cars, and artifacts, making it a multimedia experience. Our first BBQ experience turned out to be one of the best at Jim’N Nicks. It may be part of a chain but the meats were fantastic and for the Frugal Diva there was lean and delicious smoked turkey.

Gus's Fried Chicken

Gus's Fried Chicken

Tennessee feels more like three states and we were only covering the center and western portions. The next day’s driving took us to Memphis and it’s most famous resident.  Elvis was a bit before my time and I wanted to learn more about this force that pushed the boundaries of the Ed Sullivan show.  The facts are amazing, he brought his first demo record to Sun studios when he was 18 and purchased Graceland four years later. In America alone, Elvis has had over 150 different albums and singles that have been certified gold, platinum or multi-platinum.  Contemplating all this worked up an appetite and we headed to Gus’s World Famous Hot & Spicy Chicken in downtown. This time will power was out the window and I succumbed to the juicy and spicy fried chicken that requires walking at least a few miles to burn off the calories. It was worth it.

Chattanooga Pedestrian Bridge

Our journey looped over to Chattanooga, a beautiful city with the river bend on one side and Lookout Mountain on the other. My favorite attraction was the Aquarium with two buildings covering river and ocean inhabitants. River Journey fascinates visitors with river otters, turtles, alligators, giant catfish and thousands of freshwater wonders.  Ocean Journey delights guests with penguins, sharks, butterflies and often scuba divers who interact with guests. Plan at least two hours for your visit.  No city in Tennessee is complete without more BBQ. Sugar’s Ribs is a great choice since they deviate from the fried foods rule that prevails in the south. With grilled veggies and vegetarian options, they satisfy a diet that had gone a little overboard. Of course, the ribs were also great. Chattanooga has a lively downtown with a pedestrian bridge for crossing the river.

Though usually a Marriott fan, this time around the Holiday Inn Express was a frugal favorite keeping the tab to an average of under $100 per night. Many of the reservations were made at the last minute and though it was Memorial Day weekend plenty of bargains were available.

If you have time, the eastern portion includes the Smokey Mountains and that Appalachian Trail a certain governor was supposed to be hiking.

But is it cheaper to fly or drive?

There is a free online web tool called the Fly or Drive Calculator from BeFrugal.com that is used to determine the best transit method. It factors in time, money and carbon emissions to quickly help someone figure out how to travel from point A to point B.

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Discounts For Recycling

Posted by The Frugal Diva on 10th April 2013

Celebrate Earth Day with these great offers from companies committed to the environment.

BeFrugal has noticed a growing trend right now for some stores to offer a discount to shoppers who donate or recycle items. Here are 4 examples:

a. Donate clothing (from any brand) at H&M and get a discount voucher for a future H&M purchase. You’ll get a 15% off coupon for the item of your choice for each bag of clothes you donate (with a limit two bags per day)

b. Instead of throwing it away, bring in your old hair styling tools. At Sally Beauty Supply bring in a used styling tool to save $5 off a new one $24.99+ (code 444568) or $10 on a new one $59.99+(code 444569).

c. The Blues Jean Bar is offering 10% off new jeans when you bring in a pair of jeans to donate to charity, 15% off when you bring in two or 20% off when you bring in three pairs of jeans in April.

d. Cosmetic company MAC offers a free M·A·C lipstick of your choice when you return their 6 of their primary packaging containers to a MAC counter or MAC Cosmetics online.

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Frugal Tips For Celebrating Easter

Posted by The Frugal Diva on 25th March 2013

Below is Easter advice from Jon Lal of BeFrugal.com. Filling up a holiday basket doesn’t need to empty out people’s wallets.

  • Look for free community events such as Easter egg hunts for kids.
  • Instead of buying tons of pastel decorations, pull out anything light colored, spring-like or bunny-related that you already own. A little creativity can save a lot of cash! Perhaps some pastel holiday ornaments can make a centerpiece by filling a pretty bowl, or a bunch of carrots can be arranged in a vase for an appropriate flower alternative. If you host an Easter gathering annually, head to the party store the day after the holiday this year and score décor on clearance to use next year.
  • Always save your Easter baskets to use again next year. You can add a bow to a basket from a bath and body store gift or food gift basket instead of purchasing a new basket.
  • Don’t waste your cash buying fancy clothing you’ll only wear once on Easter Sunday. Look at your closet instead to see what “Sunday best” items you already own.
  • If you plan to celebrate by enjoying wine with Easter dinner, check for rebates on alcohol. In addition to sales, mail in rebates can really lower the cost, sometimes you can even get paid to buy the product!
  • When hosting a family gathering to celebrate, tell guests it’s BYOB. This will significantly reduce your costs. If you live in a state with a deposit on cans, you may even profit from hosting a family gathering.
  • Check the sales flyers to see what grocery items are on sale for Easter dinner. Also check for sales on Easter candy. Drugstores and big box stores like Walmart or Costco can also provide savings. Don’t forget to look for a grocery coupon! You can often “matchup” coupons and sale items for extreme savings.

Don’t forget the 99 Cent Only stores  in California and dollar stores across the country for last minute accessories!

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Spring Break Travel Savings

Posted by The Frugal Diva on 20th March 2013

The Frugal Diva always wondered how to decide between driving and flying if the distance was not too great.   Jon Lal at befrugal.com has a way to help you decide and some tips for saving on your travel plans.

When planning a trip, start with a free online tool to decide whether flying or driving makes more sense. The Fly or Drive Calculator (http://www.befrugal.com/tools/fly-or-drive-calculator/) factors in time taken, cost and carbon emissions.

Complete your reservation to get the most for your money:

1) book online

2) use a coupons and cash back website like BeFrugal.com for travel purchases (hotels, flights, rental cars, etc.)

3) use a rewards credit card to pay

In most cases, you can “stack” all 3 of the savings listed below:

1) average of $27 saved with a coupon from BeFrugal

2) average of 7% cash back on online purchases through BeFrugal

3) additional cash back or points from your rewards credit card

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Celebrate Frozen Food Month

Posted by The Frugal Diva on 1st March 2013

While The Frugal Diva loves fresh food sometimes having a backup plan means saving money.  I always have frozen turkey meatballs for a quick pasta dinner, frozen wholegrain waffles for a quick breakfast, and frozen fruit to add to smoothies or a healthy dessert.

March is National Frozen Food Month and even if you’re not an extreme couponer, you can still strategize your grocery shopping to save money. Time is another important thing to save.

Coupon site BeFrugal.com founder Jon Lal offers this advice:

1. Make a list. This basic strategy saves a ton of time and money. One simple way is to use the notes feature of your smartphone and add items to your list as you realize you need them. Since we usually have our phones with us 24/7, the list is easy to manage. When you shop stick to the list to save lots of time and money.

2. Check your grocery store’s weekly ad in advance. Sunday flyers are available online, so you do not need to buy a paper or wait until Sunday. Look at it online whenever you want and review the sale items while comparing that to your list.

3. While you are looking at the sales online, now is a perfect time to find coupons for items that are already on sale. Get grocery coupons online; quickly search for the items you have on your list or see as being on sale in the grocery store’s flyer then print them out and you are ready to shop. This eliminates clipping coupons and keeping coupons you may never need in a bulky binder.

4. Stock up (if you can). Some grocery stores will be having big sales on frozen foods in honor of Frozen Food Month. As discussed in the tip above, you can also get grocery coupons for these items to get additional savings. If your freezer is already full or you do not need these items, skip them – even if they are on sale. It’s not a bargain if you cannot use it!

5. Consider buying groceries online. In addition to some grocery stores offering online orders and delivery, you can often get great deals buying items online (and getting free shipping on them, of course) when you use promo codes and earn cash back – this is a portion of your total that gets deposited into a free account for you – especially when buying items which grocery coupons are rarely offered on and nonperishable foods. Don’t rule out getting grocery store delivery, either. While there may be a fee of $6-10 for delivery, it may be worth it to you, depending on how much time it can save you.

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