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The 2nd Annual Goodwill Smackdown Challenge

2014 September 4
by Aaron

goodwill-14Hey thrifty friends! We are excited to announce our 2nd Annual Goodwill Smackdown Challenge! What’s all the fuss about you ask?

Last year, our man Charlie had the brilliant idea of holding a thrift store challenge where each participate (three thrifty guys and a thrifty gal), would purchase a “valuable” item at their local Goodwill store which they believed might turn a profit. The person with the highest profit would end up winning the Challenge (last year, it was our resident thrifty gal).

For the 2nd installment of the Goodwill Smackdown, we are going to do things a little bit different.

Here’s how this year’s contest will go down: read more…

Ask the Credit Expert: What’s the Ideal Credit Score?

2014 August 29
by Guest

credit expert“Kay” is Kayleigh GaddorCommunity Manager at Credit Karma.

Dear Kay:

Should I leave a credit card open if I’m never going to use it again?

-Steve

Unless that card has an annual fee, the answer will usually be “yes.” Closing a credit card reduces the overall amount of credit available to you, which affects your credit card utilization rate, a significant factor of your credit score. Having more credit available to you is generally a good indicator of overall creditworthiness, which lenders like to see.  Just keep in mind that you may need to occasionally use the card throughout year to keep the account active (and of course, make sure you pay your bills to keep it current). read more…

Ooma Safety Phone Review

2014 August 27
by Charlie

charlie_image

Over the last two and a half years many of you had heard my enthusiasm about the Ooma Telo home phone system, which has been saving my family money hand over fist. Thus far, the Ooma Telo has saved us over $750 over my previous phone service.

However, I’m not here to repeat my glowing reviews about the Ooma home phone service. No…I am proud to announce a new service that Ooma is offering! It is called the Ooma Safety Phone, and it is just as easy to setup as the basic Ooma Telo phone system. This little device can be used for elderly friends or relatives if you are concerned that they might fall or young kids that are left home alone and might need to contact a parent quickly.  read more…

Does Cub Foods Really Have Lower Prices?

2014 August 25
by Laurie

The following post has been brought to you by Cub Foods

laurieWhen we lived in the city, Cub Foods was our “go to” grocery store. The local store there was clean and inviting, the staff was great and the produce was always excellent in quality. After we moved to the country nearly two years ago, however, we had a “budget epiphany” and have since done the majority of our shopping at another store with notably lower prices.

Although most other things about this particular store are good, I’ve never been very happy with the produce selection, and have missed the great produce I always found at Cub Foods.  However, with the money savings of a good 15-20% that I get at the big box store grocer, I just couldn’t bring myself to start shopping at the local Cub Foods here.  For a big family on a budget, cash just has to be the deciding factor in where we choose to grocery shop. Cub always has terrific weekly deals, so we’d often stop in there to scoop up their great weekly specials, but the majority of our shopping was done at the big box store with the low, low prices.  read more…

How to Get Rid of Junk Mail (for Good)

2014 August 20
by Aaron

no more junk mailA few weeks ago I came home to spot a large full plastic bag sitting on the front steps of our house. I thought it may have been a package my wife ordered or some nice baked goods from the neighbor. After getting closer, I discovered what it was:

The Yellow Pages phone book.  read more…

NEW: Grab Your Free Credit Report

2014 August 18
Comments Off

aaron_image1I remember one of the first times my credit report was pulled for an auto loan (yes, that one that I should have never gotten into). After it came back clean, I remember feeling a sense of pride that I was “staying on the straight and narrow”. I remember the loan officer talking about how it was costing the dealership money to pull it but it was something they needed to do to check my “credit-worthiness”. Do you recall the first time your report got pulled?

FREE credit reports?

Which leads me to tell you about another new offering that our friends at Credit Karma just came up for their users: FREE credit reports. Right now, Credit Karma offers free credit scores to those who sign-up on their website.  So, the credit report is an added bonus to users.  read more…

3 Worthwhile Benefits to Paying Off Debt

2014 August 15
by Aaron

debt sucks gasThis past week I wrote out the final check that would pay off our vehicle in full. I breathed a sigh of relief and felt as though another weight had been lifted.

I tried to savor the moment. And although the amount was sizable, it was actually fun writing that check that would buy our family even more freedom.

Now, I’ve been debt-free before. In 2008, I paid the last of my school loan and entered into a moment of debt-freedom that I hadn’t experienced since high school – some 16 years earlier. Although, I eventually caved into purchasing a home with a mortgage, the feeling of being free of debt for a season was a liberating one.  read more…

Lower Prices and More Savings at Cub Foods

2014 August 13
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The following post is sponsored by Cub Foods

aaron_image1With all the grocery store price wars going on (namely between the Giant (Walmart) vs. David (your local grocer), there is a concentrated effort to help customers save more at the checkout.

Plus, we’ve all seen the rise in food prices the past few years and many of us are having to tighten our budgets more and more as a result.

To help customers save more at the grocery store, Cub Foods (who are located in Minnesota and Illinois) introduced a handy new feature called the “Load to Card” program where customers can save coupons they find at CubFoods.com to their MyCub Rewards card. (Here’s a helpful video that will further explain how to use your Rewards card and the Load to Card feature).  read more…

3 Ways to Save on Textbooks This School Year

2014 August 8
by Matthew

textbooksShopping around for a good deal is textbook money management. But when it comes to actual textbooks, too many students (especially freshmen!!) pay for overpriced books at university bookstores. As I finished college and my wife and I both began purusing graduate degrees, saving money each semester on textbooks became extremely helpful with offsetting the cost of tuition and other fees.  read more…

Is Your House Leaking Money? (Like Ours Is)

2014 August 6
by Aaron

A few years ago I wrote about how our home experienced some water damage related to an ice dam that had built up along our roof which caused water to leak inside the walls of our house. It was our first experience with ice dams and resulted in my learning more than I ever wanted to about their formation.

ice dam claim(For those who don’t know, ice dams build-up when the roof deck is not the same temperature as the outside – so the snow melts, freezes and melts – causing a build-up of ice which eventually creeps its way up past your ice/water barrier – and when that happens all sorts of fun happens. Essentially, your home has an energy leak(s) somewhere which is causing the attic to be warmer than it should be – resulting in a warmer roof.)

We thought we had everything figured out after the clean-up and reconstruction efforts.  read more…