Archive for the ‘Money Stretchers’ Category

How Groupon Works

August 23, 2011

Groupon is a deal-of-the-day website that is localized to major markets in the United States and Canada.  The website was launched in November 2008.  It was first used in Chicago, later expanding to Boston, New York City, and Toronto.  Soon it was used by many parts of the United States.  Groupon serves more than 150 markets in North America.  Now, for those who are not Internet savvy, here are steps on how to use the website:

  1. Groupon offers discounts for things such as food and services, as long as enough people buy into the deal.Sign up at
  2. The site will send you e-mail updates on the daily deals in your city.
  3. Purchase the deal at the discounted price.  Most of the time, these deals will be at least 30% off the original price.  If you are very lucky, you may find a deal as much as 90% off!
  4. Once enough people purchase the deal, it is activated (tipped) and you will receive your discount.  If the minimum number of deals is not purchased, however, the deal is cancelled and no one gets it.  Fortunately, almost all deals on Groupon are claimed due to a large membership base and a low minimum number of users required to purchase the deal and trigger a tip.
  5. Once you receive your deal you can claim it at the store you got it for, usually within a period of time before it expires.  The website will also give you all the details about the Groupon you have purchased.

Saving money is a great thing to do nowadays, especially with the current state of the economy.  Websites such as Groupon will help you to save time and money.  Instead of shuffling through newspapers to cut out coupons, you can just print them at your convenience.

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Taylor P.

Five Best Ways to Save Your Money While on Vacation

June 21, 2011

Saving your hard-earned cash can be tough on vacation because of expenses such as buying fast food on the road, going to nice restaurants, doing fun activities, and paying for gas and souvenirs.  You don’t have to skip having fun on vacation since, after working or going to school for half the year, you deserve to have a good summer vacation!  Here are a few tips on stretching your money while on vacation:

  1. Overspending while you are on vacation can create worry that your trip away from home was supposed to get rid of. Here are some tips on how to spend less while on vacation.Watch what you spend your money on; don’t just throw cash away.
  2. The best souvenir is a picture, so bring a camera (they’re built into most mobile phones nowadays) and take lots of them instead of buying silly knick-knacks you can pick up in the hotel lobby.  You can also collect “free souvenirs” like match boxes from hotels and restaurants, room key cards, or ticket stubs.
  3. Instead of paying loads of money at an amusement park, go sit pool side at the hotel or go to the beach.  Quality time there is not just free, it is fun!
  4. Have budgets for hotel rooms, activities, and food.  Don’t overspend!
  5. Make sure your trip is planned out well in advance to ensure that you know what you and your wallet are getting into.

Vacations are a great way to recharge your batteries, but spending money can be difficult to do this summer.  Plan out your vacation right and budget your trip so that you can avoid spending traps.  Remember to have a fun, stress-free time!  You do not have to spend as much money to have fun as you think.

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Taylor P.

Do You Suffer from ‘Groupon Remorse’? (via It’s Your Money)

May 16, 2011

After I watched the video clip, “Groupon, LivingSocial ‘deal of the day’ pros and cons“, which concerned the most recent version of buyer’s remorse on CBS’ “The Early Show” this morning, I searched for articles and blogs about “Groupon Remorse”.  Apparently, has found consumers “who completely went overboard and are swimming in coupons they’ll never use”.

Paying good money for a coupon you don’t need, never use, and later sell for less than the purchase price hardly seems like a deal. The success of online group-buying giant Groupon has inspired the rise of countless copycats and competitors, including BuyWithMe, LivingSocial, and beyond. Now, reports the Boston Globe, daily deal sales are so popular—they’re projected to pull in $5 billion in sales this year—we’re seeing the rise of a related indu … Read More

via It’s Your Money

Hybrid Cars: Easy on the Wallet at the Pump

May 3, 2011

Hybrid vehicles are vehicles that have two or more power sources in the drivetrain.  The three types of drivetrains are parallel hybrid, series hybrid, and power-split or series-parallel hybrid.  Parallel hybrid systems have an internal combustion engine and an electric motor connected to the mechanical transmission.  The Honda Insight is a parallel hybrid; its engine is more mechanically complex than a series hybrid engine.  Modern series hybrids have electric traction only, combustion engine, a generator, a battery bank, and a regenerative braking.  The Chevrolet Volt is an example of a plug-in series hybrid.  The power-split or series-parallel hybrid has power-split devices, allowing for power paths from the engine to the wheel that can be either mechanical or technical.  The popular Toyota Prius is an example of a power-split or series parallel hybrid.

Although hybrid vehicle technology dates back to the late 1800s, some varieties of hybrid technology we see in today's vehicles date back only as early as the mid-9170s.Whether the vehicle is a full hybrid, mild hybrid, or a plug-in hybrid, they are all fuel efficient cars that better our planet.  The most popular type is the full hybrid, such as the Prius, because you don’t have to worry about finding a recharging station to plug in your car.  Gas prices are on the rise in California and with all the commuting that is done, hybrid cars are a great economic and environmental choice.

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Taylor P.


How to be More Fuel Efficient

April 1, 2011

With gas prices on the rise, you may want to know how to be more fuel efficient.  Being fuel efficient will help your wallet and our planet.  There are plenty of things you can do to save money on gas and contribute to a greener planet.  Driving a hybrid or electric car is a great way to save money at the pump and the environment, but not everyone can afford one.  Nevertheless, here are a few things that may work for you:

  • With rising fuel costs, becoming more fuel efficient will help you save money and the environment at the same time.Walking, riding a bike, or skateboarding to school, a grocery store, a friend’s house, or just about anywhere within your town not only saves you gas money, but it helps the environment and is great exercise.
  • Taking the bus or train to commute to work is much cheaper than gas, especially if you buy a bus or train pass.
  • Carpooling is a great way to help other people save money on gas and helps the environment.
  • For those who can’t carpool or take the train or bus to work, driving a smaller car with good gas mileage will work, too.

All of these tips work for many people.  Working close to home is great for me because I can take the bus, skateboard, or walk.  Being fuel efficient is a very important thing to do these days.  Not only is gas becoming expensive, but its emissions continue to ruin our environment.  Do your part and reduce your fuel consumption.  It is very simple and you can even get good exercise from it!

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Taylor P.

Before you buy anything that costs more than $20…

March 26, 2010

Ask yourself these four questions:

  • Do I really need it?
  • If yes, can I afford to pay for it with cash?
  • If so, do I already own an equivalent item?
  • If I don’t own any such item, have I shopped around for the lowest priced item?

Before you buy anything that costs more than $20, ask yourself the questions in the blog.If you have a satisfactory answer for all questions, give yourself another 24 hours before making the purchase.  You may end up not making the purchase at all and, thus, save yourself some money.  Try asking yourself these questions on your next shopping trip.  The more you can prevent instances of impulse shopping, the more money you will find in your wallet over time.

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Francis M. Unson

The Top Ten Shopping Mistakes

March 18, 2010

Have you seen the recent public service announcement about not being afraid to ask your doctor questions?  A few varieties of them have been circulating around in the form of television commercials, and each of them highlighted a social and/or inquisitive consumer that asked question after question about the product or service they were looking to buy.  The scene suddenly cuts to the end of the person’s doctor apparent doctor visit, where the doctor asks, “Any questions?”  Seemingly caught off guard, the aforementioned consumer says no or shakes their head.  The doctor even asks, “Are you sure?”

Top 10 Shopping MistakesThe scope of this blog is not about your next doctor visit, but if I piqued your interest about that, you can go here for some questions you can ask.  In any event, if you step back and ask a volley of questions before your next major purchase, you will have a much more positive shopping experience that can potentially save you lots of money in the short and long-run as long as you avoid the following shopping mistakes.

1. Failing to ask questions
You don’t have to be completely well-informed before arriving at the store.  If fact, you may get a crash course in all brands of the item you are looking for from a knowledgeable salesperson, but you must ask questions!  Don’t be afraid to walk away from the salesperson if they are too pushy, rude, or have questionable hygiene.

2. Asking discussion-killing yes-no questions
Don’t ask questions along the lines of “Does this look cute on me?” or “Is this something my mom would use?” questions.  Instead, ask questions such as, “How does this product compare with its competitors?” or “Which brands have people had problems with in the past and what were those issues?”

3. Asking too few questions
If you stopped asking questions after your main concern was addressed, you stopped too soon.  Keep asking questions.  Make them up if you have to.  You are digging for information.

4. Not asking yourself questions
You don’t have to be introverted to make a decision about a major purchase, but you should clarify your purpose and prioritize your needs.  Purchasing unnecessary features or accessories is a waste of money.  Familiarize yourself with the features or accessories that go with the major purchase, then ask yourself, “What do I need this item to do?  What is my budget?  Which features are necessities? What are wish-list features worth to me?”

5. Not doing any research
A non-informed shopper is an impulsive shopper, and vulnerable to a salesperson whose only concern is making the sale.

6. Paying for improved or new technology
I was not in line at the Apple Store on the day of iPad’s launch, when 120,000 units were pre-sold.  The day it becomes available, a barrage of “Unboxing the iPad” and “I got my iPad” videos will pop up on YouTube.  You may have earned bragging rights for being the first of your friends to have an iPad, but was it worth it?

7. Neglecting to read or understand warranties
Read the coverage that comes with the vendor’s or manufacturer’s warranty so that you can avoid purchasing unnecessary service contracts or extended warranties.

8. Sticking to one brand
Is it worth buying the brand that was the cheapest when you were a child but has, in your adult years, become the most expensive?  Don’t be blinded by brand loyalty.

9. Not considering the value of service
If you come across hi-definition television that is the same price at two different stores but only one offers free delivery, which store would you choose?

10. Relaxing your judgment while traveling
Places with high tourist traffic sell overpriced merchandise.  You will most likely spend a lot less if you can wait until you come back home to make the purchase.

Remember, as a consumer, you have the right to do your research, ask questions, refuse unnecessary warranties, and try new brands.  If you keep the items in mind, you will avoid the most common shopping mistakes the less informed or less inquisitive consumer makes.  Shop with confidence!

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Francis M. Unson

How to organize a successful yard sale

February 1, 2010

Why would you have a yard sale? Two reasons come to mind: to get rid of your excess clutter and, of course, to make money.  After all, “a person’s junk is another person’s treasure.”  In order to have a successful yard sale, follow these tips:

  • Follow these steps if you want to organize a successful yard sale.Gather your inventory.  If you haven’t used it, worn it, or it has sat in an obscure corner of your living room or closet for over a year, it becomes inventory.  Don’t give the item a second look; you didn’t give it a second look in a long time, anyway.
  • Do your homework.  No price gouging!  Visit a yard sale or two (or more) and do price comparisons.  Furthermore, depending on where you live, you may need a permit.  Know the rules!
  • Set the date.  Don’t overlook this detail.  Setting a date for the yard sale forces you to manage your time more effectively; you will not decide halfheartedly to do a yard sale “sometime in the spring”.
  • Advertise! Post BIG signs at the entrances of your neighborhood.  Set up a Facebook Fan Page.  Tweet about the yard sale.  Just get the word out!  The more foot traffic you can direct (or divert) to your yard sale, the more successful it will be.
  • Prep and price.  In order to save yourself a lot of time and energy during the yard sale, price every item you intend to sell.  Use masking tape or adhesive stickers.  Bundling will give shoppers added value.  Selling a dozen candlesticks for $10 will go faster than selling each candlestick for $1.
  • Setup shop.  Use your front yard, driveway, or garage.  Make sure that would-be shoppers can see the yard sale from the road.  Set up your wares on foldout tables, plywood, or old rubs.  Use a money-box or even a muffin tray if you are going to make change.  Keep a watchful eye over your inventory.
  • Sell, sell, sell! Just don’t sit there waiting for the customers to come to you.  Walk around, interact with the customers, and talk to them.  Share lots of information about the items.  The more information you give them, the less questions they will ask.  Offer free coffee and sell donuts.  If they’re eating, they’re staying–and if they’re staying, they’re buying, right?
  • Following the sale.  Box the unsold inventory and donate them to charity.  Go around the neighborhood and remove all the signs you put up.  Send a thank-you Tweet on Twitter for peoples’ participation.  And finally, take out the family to well-earned dinner.

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Francis M. Unson

Gift Ideas for Under $10!

January 28, 2010

Have you ever sat down and tried to compile a list of gift ideas for under $10 for any occasion of the year, whether it’s Christmas, Mother’s Day, or Valentine’s Day? author, Michelle Jones, has compiled a money-saving list that will help you save money during this down economy.

  1. Whether you need to buy a present for a birthday, graduation, or Christmas, here is a list of gift ideas under $10 for any occasion!

    Gourmet coffees with a personal coffee cup

  2. Pound of pistachios
  3. Child’s artwork, framed
  4. Journal with special inscription inside
  5. Teacup with box of herbal tea
  6. Deck of cards and book of card game rules
  7. Homemade cocoa mix in a pretty jar
  8. Collage of special photos
  9. Gel pens and pretty stationary
  10. Bottle of sparkling cider
  11. Home baked bread, include recipe
  12. Disposable camera or rolls of film
  13. Basket filled with deli cheese and fruit
  14. Craft supplies
  15. Holiday serving bowl or platter

Read all 63 of her money-saving gift ideas here.

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Francis M. Unson