How To Find The Best Subway Coupons

Are you a fan of Subway? Do you love eating their delicious sandwiches? If so, then you’re probably always on the lookout for ways to save money on your favorite food.

One great way to do this is to use Subway coupons. These can be found in a variety of places, both online and offline.

Here are some tips on how to find the best coupons for Subway:

1. Check the Subway website

The first place you should look for coupons is on the official Subway website. They often have a variety of coupons and deals that you can take advantage of.

2. Search online

If you don’t find anything on the Subway website, then your next best bet is to search for coupons online. There are a number of websites that offer coupons for a variety of different restaurants, including Subway.

3. Check your local newspaper

Another great place to look for coupons is in your local newspaper. Many times, grocery stores and restaurants will place coupons in the Sunday paper.

4. Ask family and friends

If you know anyone who works at Subway, or who is a frequent customer, they may be able to hook you up with some coupons. It never hurts to ask!

5. Check coupon websites

There are a number of websites that specialize in coupons for restaurants. These are definitely worth checking out if you’re looking for Subway coupons.

By following these tips, you should be able to find some great coupons for Subway. Just remember to use them before they expire!

Are you a fan of Subway? Do you love their sandwiches, but not the price? If you’re looking for ways to save money on your Subway purchases, you’re in luck. There are a few different ways to get Subway coupons, and we’re going to tell you all about them.

First, the obvious way to get coupons is to look for them in your local newspaper or online. You can also check websites like RetailMeNot and for Subway coupons.

Another great way to get coupons is to sign up for the Subway e-mail list. By doing this, you’ll receive exclusive coupons and offers that you can’t find anywhere else.

If you’re a member of a loyalty program like MySubwayCard, you can also get coupons and discounts. All you have to do is sign up and register your card, and you’ll start receiving coupons in your inbox.

So, there you have it! These are just a few of the ways you can get your hands on some Subway coupons. With a little effort, you’ll be able to save money on your favorite sandwiches in no time.

The Best Thanksgiving Dinner Recipes That Will Please Everyone

Thanksgiving is a time to come together and give thanks for all the good things in life. What better way to show your appreciation than by serving up a delicious Thanksgiving feast?

There are so many different recipes out there for Thanksgiving dinner, it can be hard to decide what to make. Do you go traditional with turkey and stuffing, or mix things up with a new twist on an old favorite?

If you’re looking for some inspiration, we’ve rounded up the best Thanksgiving dinner recipes that are sure to please everyone at the table. From classic dishes like roasted turkey and mashed potatoes to new favorites like sweet potato casserole, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

So, whether you’re looking for a show-stopping main course or a simple side dish, we’ve got you covered. So, what are you waiting for? Get cooking!

From traditional turkey and stuffing to new takes on old favorites, these recipes will have something for everyone. So get your feast planning started and be sure to try some of these fabulous Thanksgiving dinner recipes.

One of the best things about Thanksgiving dinner is that there are so many different recipes to choose from. Whether you’re looking for something traditional or something new, there’s bound to be a recipe that will please everyone at your table. And with so many different recipes to choose from, you’re sure to find one that you’ll absolutely love.

If you’re looking for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner recipe, you can’t go wrong with turkey and stuffing. This classic dish is always a hit, and it’s easy to see why. Turkey is a delicious and hearty main course, and stuffing is the perfect side dish. If you’re looking for something a little different, you can also try making a turkey pot pie. This dish is filled with all of the flavors of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, but it’s in a convenient pot pie form.

If you’re looking for something a little more unique, you can also try making a Thanksgiving dinner casserole. This dish is usually made with turkey, but you can also use chicken or even beef. Whatever meat you choose, the casserole will be packed with flavor. And since it’s a casserole, it’s also easy to make ahead of time and then just reheat when you’re ready to eat.

No matter what you’re looking for in a Thanksgiving dinner recipe, you’re sure to find something that you’ll love. So get your feast planning started and be sure to try some of these fabulous Thanksgiving dinner recipes.

How to get discounts on wheels

If you’re in the market for a new set of wheels, you’re probably looking for ways to save money. Here are a few tips on how to get discounts on wheels.

1. Shop around. Don’t just buy the first set of wheels you see. Compare prices at different stores and online.

2. Look for sales. Many stores have sales on wheels periodically. If you can wait to purchase your wheels until a sale is happening, you’ll likely save money.

3. Use coupons. When you’re shopping online, look for coupon codes that can save you money on your purchase. You can find online or in store coupon codes for wheels on CouponCabin, Dealnews, or Dealvario

4. Join a loyalty program. If a store has a loyalty program, sign up for it. You may be able to get discounts or other perks.

5. Ask for a discount. If you’re purchasing in-person, don’t be afraid to ask the salesperson for a discount. They may be able to give you one.

Following these tips can help you save money on your next set of wheels.

We all love a good deal, and when it comes to our cars, we want to get the best value for money. That’s why we’ve put together this handy guide on how to get discounts on wheels.

1. Do your research

The first step to getting a discount is to do your research. You need to know what you want and what you’re willing to pay. There are plenty of resources online and in your local library to help you with this.

2. Shop around

Once you know what you want, it’s time to start shopping around. Compare prices from different dealers and manufacturers. Don’t be afraid to negotiate – the worst they can say is no!

3. Take advantage of promotions

Many dealers and manufacturers offer promotions and discounts throughout the year. Keep an eye out for these, and you could save yourself a lot of money.

4. Use your bargaining power

If you’re buying a car from a dealer, they will usually have a margin to play with. This means that you should be able to get a discount if you’re willing to negotiate.

5. Don’t be afraid to walk away

If you can’t get the discount you want, don’t be afraid to walk away. There are plenty of other dealers and manufacturers out there, and you’ll eventually find one that’s willing to give you a good deal.

How to Be Financially Literate While You’re in College

You might be physically fit while you’re young and in college, but staying in good financial shape is another matter. Being solvent is easily one of the hardest of accomplishments because there are a lot of other things to focus on: the effort to get good grades, your social life, your love life, and your health. Most students eschew financial considerations in hopes that they’ll make good money with a decent job after college.

Statistically speaking, counting on your postgraduate job does make some sense. In terms of college degree earnings, college grads make $549 per week more than high school grads on average. And, nearly 15 percent more college grads are employed. Yet, student loan debt provides a stark contrast to these numbers. The average class of 2016 grad owes $37,172, and the grand total of nationwide debt is $1.31 trillion (yeah that’s 1.31 with ten zeros after it).

No one would blame you for wanting to keep from apart of that stat. To avoid looming student loan debt, consider the following:

Take Online Courses

Why online courses? To avoid student loan debt, you should work while in college, and online classes allow you more flexibility so you can tailor your schedule accordingly.

Here’s how it works

You have some great options in terms of paying for college:

  • Find an employer who offers tuition assistance: For example, Starbucks will pay for your tuition at Arizona State University, and there are other companies that will help you pay for college as well
  • Apply for federal grants: A grant is basically sponsorship money for your education
  • Apply for scholarships: There are a great many scholarships available from private and public organizations
  • Join the military: A tough pill to swallow for some, but the G.I. Bill can help pay your way through college

Noticing a common trend with all of the above? They require extra legwork, but don’t fret; if you work hard to pay your way through college with all the available options, your time after school will be much more enjoyable.

Student Loan Debt Is Like a Steel Trap

Here’s how it works

You’re not required to begin paying on loans till after you graduate, and even then there’s a grace period. But once the payment terms kick in, they’re a very serious loan, and your history with payments reflects on you for a long time. Never default on student loans—it hurts your FICO credit score. Within the first year, skipping a payment on a fixed-rate 15-year loan will hurt you for the next 22 years. If you default on the loan—which means you don’t make payments for more than 270 days—it will seriously damage your credit score for seven years. You won’t be able to buy a house, it’ll be tough to buy a good car—just don’t do it.

Build Good Credit

If you’re working, you have the opportunity to start building your credit score, meaning when you graduate you’ll be in good financial standing, ready to succeed on your own.

Here’s how it works

Even if you have to take out loans, student debt and credit score are not necessarily poor bedfellows. Save up money while you’re working and then make regular payments on your loan. Don’t make partial payments, pay the entire amount due each time your bill comes around. Credit agencies will take note and your score will climb steadily.

Even during college you can begin building good credit. Get a student credit card and get smart with it. Only make credit purchases you can afford pay off immediately. In other words, make strategic purchases on the card. Check how much you have in the bank, then buy a few things (the fun part), then pay what you owe at the end of the month.

The interest rate on your college card will skyrocket after the initial terms expire, I guarantee it. That’s one reason why you must pay off card debts in full when payment is due. Once you have the chance to get a new card with better terms (such as a cash rewards card), take it. Then, make sure your original card is free of all debts, dispute any incorrect records, and leave the card open with zero debts. This shows creditors you’re responsible.

You Can’t Lose

If you maintain a job during college, look into grants and scholarships, and pay your way, you’ll graduate debt-free and in good financial standing. Maintain that college credit card in good standing along the way. Or, take out loans, get a job, save money, and pay your loans off reliably after you graduate.

You can’t lose with these strategies because you’ll be free of the steel trap that is student loan debt, and your credit score will be stacked to make important purchases. What’s more, you’ll have that degree, which pretty much guarantees you’ll make more money than high school grads. It also guarantees you learned something, and that’s the most valuable thing of all.

Completing a W-4 & How Federal Taxes Are Withheld from Your Paycheck

How to calculate exemptions and an overview of how federal taxes are withheld from your paycheck.

To calculate how much is taken from your paycheck for taxes your employer uses a formula. Each state is different, but federal taxes use the same type of formula. When you first get hired you fill out a bunch of paperwork. One of the forms you sign is called your W-4. This form determines how many exemptions you take. When you first start out, you should probably be claiming zero exemptions. If your parents are still claiming you as a deduction (which they may do if you just graduated this year) you definitely want to claim zero exemptions in order to avoid owing any more tax than necessary next April.

For each exemption you take, the government basically “exempts” a certain portion of your paycheck from being taxed, so the more exemptions you take, the less that comes out of each paycheck. However, at the end of the year (actually when you file your taxes by April 15th) your entire tax liability is computed based on your income for the year, so if you took too many exemptions and did not have enough taxes taken out of each paycheck, you will owe the difference at the end of the year.

In other words, the number of exemptions you claim on your W-4 does not affect the total amount of taxes you will pay by the time you file in April; it only affects how much you pay each week. Below is a sample of how the formula works (the numbers change each year because tax brackets adjust slightly to account for inflation).

To make this a little clearer, let’s look at an example. If you earn $26,000 per year and you are paid every two weeks (bi-weekly), your gross earnings on each paycheck will be $1,000. After deducting for your 401(k), health insurance and FSA, and taking zero exemptions, your taxable income is $835.00. According to Figure 5-2, your withholdings will be $28.70 plus 15% of the amount over $389. Since $835 is $446 over $389 ($835 minus $389 = $446) you will pay $28.70 plus 15% of $456, which is $28.70 plus $66.90 (.15 x $446 = $66.90). Your federal tax withholding will total $95.60 ($28.70 plus $66.90 = $95.60). Of course you will also pay state, social security and Medicare taxes.

Keep in mind how you are taxed throughout the year doesn’t really affect the total amount of taxes you owe for the year. Simply stated, you either pay too much as you go along, and get money back when you file the following year, or you pay too little from each paycheck and you owe money when you file the following year. Occasionally you may pay exactly what you owe, but usually you’ll be off by at least a few dollars in either direction.

Stretching Your Paycheck

I know what you are thinking. I can’t believe I went through four years of academic torture just to come out on the other side and have to watch where and how I spend my money!

Your parents have more money than you. In many cases your parents make more money than you, especially when you first start out. Don’t feel too bad, because you can’t forget that your parents have been working for more than 20 years.

Even if they don’t make more than you, they probably still have more money than you. Here is why. For one, there’s inflation. My parents had a house payment of around $300 because they bought their home years ago. When I tried to find an apartment, I was paying more than twice that amount. My townhouse cost about four times what my parents paid for their home! You see, I would have to make a lot more than them just to break even after rent (or mortgage).

Another reason your parents have more money than you is because of the years they have had to save. That’s right, they have since paid off their college loans (if they had any), and hopefully their other debts as well. They may have even paid off their mortgage.
A third reason your parents have more money than you… and I hate to admit it… is because they are smarter than you. Remember I am still only talking about money here. Just remember who it was that always left the television on and the lights on and the door open. Was it your dad? No, he was going around closing doors and turning off lights (all the while grumbling, I’m sure).

Your parents have learned through the years how to make their dollars go further (they had to when they had you). Usually, they don’t even have to think about it any more, it just comes naturally. After all, you weren’t “raised in a barn.” I do have two pieces of good news. First, you don’t have to admit your parents are smarter than you. Second, after you finish this book, you’ll be smarter than them! That’s right; you’re going to be twenty years ahead of your time in terms of financial knowledge.

Next week we will look at ways to stretch your paycheck so you can get much more for your money.

Debt Free in 60 Seconds

Imagine it, you being debt-free. No more annoying calls from the credit card companies, “reminding” you that your bill is past due (as if you’d forgotten) and no more giving your entire paycheck over to debt that you accumulated last semester.

Does it seem like a dream? It doesn’t have to be. You can make it your reality! Here’s how to do it – in just about a minute.

0:60 It’s simple – spend less than you make
OK, I know it’s simple, even if it’s not always so easy to do. But following this rule could have a serious impact on your financial health and peace of mind. The truth is if you can’t pay for it today then you probably won’t be able to afford it tomorrow either. So don’t put any unnecessary pressure on yourself to come up with money in the future that you can’t guarantee you’ll have today.

0:50 Bad Debt vs. “Good” Debt – know the difference
Good debt generally has an interest rate of 10% or less and will appreciate in value. Home mortgages and student loans are examples of money borrowed that will be well worth the investment in the future. Car loans are somewhat on the fence, true, they meet the low-rate rule, but cars almost never go up in value. Bad Debt (also known as consumer debt) is everything else – yup, that even includes your platinum-all-star-VIP-rewards card that you’re paying 29% interest on.

0:40 Pick a card & stick with it
I know that “settling” down is probably far from your mind with all the dating choices that you have, but when it comes to credit you’re better off going “steady” with just one major credit card. Choose one with the lowest annual interest rate possible (check out your options at Cancel and cut up any other cards, including all department store cards – you can even use the little pieces of plastic to make some cool wall art. Now that you’re exclusive to just one card, treat it with respect and you’ll have a great and long-term relationship.

0:30 It’s time to face the music
This won’t be fun at first, but it’s necessary to get you closer to not being afraid that “someone is after you” every time the phone rings.   You’ve gotta pay to play, so pull out all of your credit card bills and line ‘em up on the floor. Find the minimum monthly payment for each one and then total them all up to get an overall monthly minimum payment amount. Make a commitment  to pay the total minimum due PLUS $100 more to the highest outstanding balance every month (or at least enough to make a dent in it) If you can’t pull this off right away, then come up with a plan that will make it possible within the next three months. It might not be fun, but it’ll be worth it.

0:20 Ready. Set. Attack.
Get angry, I mean fighting mad. Your future is on the line and it’ll be a bright one as long as you’re not strapped with debt. So the next step is to identify which of your credit cards has the highest annual interest rate and apply the $100 more (above the minimum amount due) to the highest interest rate account(s) first. Repeat this process monthly until the last Bad Debt account is paid in full.

0:10 Pretty pleeze?!
Grab a bill from any creditor that’s charging you more than 15% interest. Call them up and with all the Academy Award winning acting skills you can muster ask that your rate lowered to 11%. Tell them that you’d really like to keep your account open with them, but that you’ve gotten “offers” for much-much-lower-rate cards (at this point let your voice trail off for dramatic effect).They’re gonna try to break you, but don’t let ‘em see you sweat, because to them, you’re not just a customer you’re a cash register (they hear cha-ching every time you charge something and don’t pay your balance in full). What do you have to loose? Just try it. It’ll be fun and you stand to save a bunch of money.

0:01 Go ahead…Get your dance on
When the Bad Debt is 100% exorcised go ahead celebrate – heck, when you’re halfway there start doing the “happy dance” – life is meant to be enjoyed and you’ll feel more carefree today when you’ve paid off your bar tab from spring break two years ago. Now that’s something to cheer about!

Young Entrepreneur’s Guide to Credit Cards, Part 2

In part 1, I discussed setting up your business to do e-commerce and accepting credit card payments. In this installment, I’ll discuss personal and business credit cards for the young entrepreneur.

For some, “credit card” is like a bad word. For the young entrepreneur, it’s a necessity. Without a credit card, you have to siphon personal spending money directly from your business the minute you make a profit. Yet, at the outset, profit can be hard to come by. I’m not advocating for you to go into debt. I’m saying that using credit cards the smart way can help keep your head above water as you navigate the beginnings of a business.

Personal Credit Card Versus Business Credit Card

Some solid advice from Entrepreneur Magazine: “If you think you won’t be able to pay off purchases in a single billing period, it might be better to charge them on the personal plastic, rather than a business card.”

Business cards come with incredibly high interest rates, and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation found that every $1,000 of credit card debt your business accrues will make you 2 percent more likely to fail.

In other words, take on $10,000 in debt, and your chances of failure are 20 percent higher than they would have been otherwise. And that’s just due to credit card debt alone. There are countless other issues that can throw a wrench in the works, such as staffing issues, ineffective marketing, and inventory problems.

For the most part, keep business expenses and personal expenses separate when you’re paying with credit cards. But think hard about whether you should burden your business credit with expenses over a certain amount.

Establish a set baseline figure you can afford to put on the business card—it should not exceed revenue. Fill out a cash flow statement. Look at projected expenses, revenue and profits, and charge basic expenses on the business card. Then, charge additional expenses onto your personal card. If you can’t pay it off right away, your creditor can’t raise the interest rate like they can with a business card.

Consider tried-and-true methods of stacking savings—for you, the number one piece of advice here is to use a cashback credit card.

You won’t be able to get a cashback credit card unless your credit is good enough as is. Once you’re able to get one, use business profits, your own savings, as well as investor funds to pay off the card immediately. Try to pay your entire balance each month. You’ll make extra money that can go right back into the business. And you’ll build your own credit.

Building Business Credit

Your own credit score is extremely pertinent to your business credit. Before you even begin looking for a business credit card, check your FICO score and dispute any claims you think may be in error. Next, review your options for your business credit card.

Noobpreneur points out that the best option may not come from a major company. Rather, talk to the bank you’re using for your merchant account. They may be able to offer you a card more tailored to your specific business needs, and since they want to be competitive, they could give you a better interest rate.

Think about the nature of your business. If a lot of travel is involved, look for a card that earns you frequent flyer miles. If you’re confident you can pay off the card at the end of the month, find a rewards card, even if it has a higher interest rate. This is a gamble, but those rewards can really pay off. Ignoring them is one of the big mistakes small businesses make with credit cards.

Another mistake is paying interest. Again, if you can’t pay in full or miss payments, your credit issuer can immediately raise interest rates. But your credit issuer may initially give you a deal in which you pay no interest on purchases and balance transfers. For the new entrepreneur, it’s a wise idea to take advantage of those offers.

Make sure to protect your business against fraud by keeping your financial docs in a safe place, and only allow your most trusted employees access to the card for business expenses. Monitor the account and make sure no large, unfamiliar charges pop up, and be careful when you’re exchanging any sort of financial info with clients.

Watch your cash flow carefully and only charge what you can afford to the business card. Regular payment will build your business credit.

At the outset, do your best not to rack up credit card debt. Use any other means you can to finance your business. Small business loans are more forgiving than credit card debt, and your friends, family, investors, and personal savings are better sources of funding than credit cards. Once your business is on stable footing and you have good data to plug into your cash flow doc, you’ll be able to reasonably predict expenses, revenue, and profits. Then, make smart charges to your business credit card as you continue building credit.

The Pros, Cons, and In-betweens of Starting Your Own Business

A black and white world doesn’t exist. If I were to tell you, “There’s absolutely no downside to starting your own business”, I would be be wrong. Rather, starting your own enterprise involves entering a world of complexity you’ve only glimpsed from the outskirts.

The good news: about one-third of new businesses survive 10 years or longer, while about half survive five years or longer. If you’re really in this for the long-term and are ready to go all out, you stand a good chance of sticking around. If you’re not, you stand a good chance of being among the two-thirds who fail.


  • There’s a lot of assistance available: Simply Google “How to start a business” and there’s a wealth of information. The Small Business Association offers a ton of resources, and you can attend conferences, or other meetups; for an example of the type of info available, check out my article about saving money on internet marketing.
  • There are a ton of options: For one, the possibility of e-commerce opens up a world in which all you need is a product and a website. If you don’t have your own product, there are organizations like Amway that supply products for you to sell. The Amway model is called “Direct Selling”, it typically provides a supplemental option for aspiring entrepreneurs. Three million people worldwide are Amway “Independent Business Owners”, and the direct selling model—in general, not just Amway’s—brought in $36.12 billion in 2015.
  • You can do what you want: What you do with your business is only limited by your own ambition. If you want to keep it small, keep it small. If you want to go big, do your best to appeal to a wider and wider audience.
  • You can offer true personalization: You are the shop-next-door, the equivalent of today’s mom-and-pop operation, the underdog, the face of what has made America great from the get-go. You can get to know your customers face-to-face, learn their names, what they like, what their friends like, and, ultimately, what your target audience wants and needs.
  • You can end your job search: Young adults ages 20-28 change careers an average of seven times before arriving where they want to be; start a business doing something you really want to do, and stop the vicious cycle of looking for a new job and being dissatisfied with what you find.


  • There’s a lot of responsibility: Some people thrive on responsibility and love it, while for others the level of responsibility involved in starting a business is just too much. Before starting a business, evaluate what type of person you are and ask yourself if you’re willing to invest your entire life in it.
  • There’s a ton of competition: On one hand, the many advanced, ravenous competitors make it tough to gain an advantage; on the other, competition is good for business because your competitors will push you to be better.
  • You can’t just sit there and focus on product: If your offering is all you’re passionate about, this can be a difficult truth to recognize: a great deal of your success will depend on marketing and branding, networking with other business owners, maintaining inventory and keeping air-tight books. This is why it’s important to raise funds for hiring consultants and specialists, but nothing beats learning how to do everything yourself.


  • People try to take advantage of you: The more your business grows, the more you’ll be on the radar of other businesses and individuals who will try to take advantage of you in one way or another—and there’s simply no escaping the fact that there are bad actors in the world. Beware, do your homework, and don’t go into business with anyone unless they’re squeaky clean. Make sure their proposition is legitimate in terms of how you’ll come out on the other end.
  • You can end up being out-of-touch, overconfident, or overly-stressed: Of course, this won’t necessarily happen, but single-mindedness can be the result of overzealous pursuit. Out of Forbes’ reasons why businesses fail, a big one is leadership failure. The other reasons, such as failure to properly communicate a value proposition, stem from the owner being disconnected from the people upon which the business depends.
  • It’s about nothing but money: In the beginning, making good money was going to be a byproduct, not the end-all-be-all, because you were passionate about people and ideas, not just money; don’t let dollar signs become your only reason for doing business. Those bad actors I talked about earlier? They’re motivated by moolah.
  • It becomes ho-hum: You’re not doing anything different, you’re set in your ways, and so are the people who keep you afloat; continue on this way, and you’ll soon find yourself gasping for air.

The great thing about starting a business is the cons depend on you. Decide to steer clear of the bad actors, not to be one yourself, and to stay attuned to the evolving business world. Evolve with it, even ahead of it, and you’ll see more pros than cons.

Get Paid to Open a Bank Account

This may sound too good to be true but there are banks out there that want to pay you just to open an account.

How does the process work?

The process is relatively simple. Your local bank or credit union will offer a cash bonus when you open up a savings, checking, or even a CD (certificate of deposit). Most of them will have restrictions and most of the restrictions are the same—things such as a required minimum deposit, and you will most likely have to make a few purchases that tie into that account.

For example, my local Chase Bank offered to pay me $125 in bonuses when I opened a checking account. I had to be a first time applicant, deposit $100, and make five purchases with my debit card, and keep the account in good standing for at least 90 days. It’s not a bad bonus just for opening up a checking account.

How can I find these accounts?

The best place to search is online. I like a few sites such as and On websites such as this, you can find up-to-date bank deals that from all over the United States. I have mainly found that the Internet banks will generally offer the best deals. There are threads on the message board that show some people making $1,000 – $3,000 a year. That’s not bad for bank bonuses!

Other places that you can check are your newspaper, or the free circulars that come in your mailbox. Major bank’s such as Chase, Bank of America, and others, love to advertise their bonuses. It’s important to make sure that the bonus is worth it and to make sure you don’t have to jump through a bunch of hoops in order to get it.

What do you recommend in a bonus?

Every bonus is going to have some terms and conditions. You can’t just open up an account, collect your $150 and leave. In my opinion, a good bonus is one that has very few restrictions. You will most likely have to put in a minimum amount, set up direct deposit, or make a few purchases. If the restrictions require you to do more than this then I would consider another bonus.

There are plenty of bonuses out there. If you’re in the process of trying to find a new checking and/or savings account, this is the way to go. You’re already opening up an account, so why not get paid to do so?

The 3 Things I Learned About Credit Unions as the Spokester

My two years as the Young & Free Maine Spokester have been unforgettable! I’ve met many wonderful people in the credit union world, and have learned countless valuable lessons about credit unions. But three things stick out to me the most: 

1. Credit unions exist to serve their members.

I’ve seen over and over again how much credit unions do for their communities and for their members. From fundraisers to help end Maine hunger, financial fitness fairs to give Maine students a head start, to raising money for local causes, credit unions are truly making a difference where they live. I must say, I’m excited to continue my journey working in the credit union movement!

2. Being financial cooperatives translates to tremendous benefits for members and communities.

You’ve probably heard the term “Co-Op.” Credit unions are the “Co-Op” of the financial world. And if you’re not familiar with the term, it means they operate on the principle of sharing, collaboration, and working together to benefit their members. Credit unions and other cooperatives work together through local, state, regional, national, and international structures to strengthen the cooperative movement.

The collaborative nature of credit unions means that members reap the benefits:  less fees, higher interest on savings accounts, lower rates on loans, and of course, the opportunity to have your voice be heard!

3. Credit unions are everywhere!

We have a big state, but there is no shortage of credit unions anywhere that you go! I’ve spent the last two years traveling up, down, and around our state, and I can’t remember an area that isn’t conveniently equipped with a credit union. The best part is…if it’s not your home credit union, it’s okay! You can have access to credit unions when you’re out of town, or even out of state, by using shared branching (yet another great feature of credit unions’ cooperative character).

My last few weeks in this position have been action-packed, and filled with events and getting to know Jake, your new Spokester! As a final video, I’ll share my last adventures as the Young & Free Maine Spokester, but not before taking this opportunity to say thank you to the wonderful team at the Maine Credit Union League, Currency Marketing, and of course, a big thank you to all of Maine’s Credit Unions for all that you do for your members.

Now, it’s my time to move on, and Jake’s turn to take over. Make sure you follow his awesome video and photography skills, and see all of the great things he will do as your Young & Free Maine Spokester!

Take care!

2009 $55B Store Brands Record high

According to the PLMA, Private Label Manufacturers Association, store-brand sales of food for 2009 reached a record high of $55.5 billion, marking a 6.7% increase in store brands, and 1.7% decrease in name brands.

One might assume the increase in store brand popularity is solely due to the economy, and to the consumers’ new mindset for value.  In part, that must be part of the reason for this dramatic record breaking shift. But it’s been a long haul for store brands to gain the reputation they deserve as a plausible alternative to higher priced name brand products. In short, they’ve worked hard for it, especially over the last three years, building their brands in terms of quality and value. Of the recent shift, Brian Sharoff, president of PLMA states,  “The statistics document the amazing increases in store-brand popularity… But as most market researchers know, the growth of store brands is by no means a recessionary phenomenon. Its success began years before the current downturn and is rooted in increasing assortment, quality ingredients, innovative product concepts and retailer commitment.”

I shop Vons, which is a Safeway store. And As CEO of, I’m well acquainted with store brands nationwide in over 200 markets that we serve. I’ve been pleased with most everything I’ve had the opportunity to try in all the banners nationwide, including Giant Eagle, Publix, Kroger, Supervalu owned supermarkets and more. As for Safeway store brands, I’ve personally been very happy with their various brands. Safeway Select is absolutely fantastic. The frozen party size entrees like lasagna, enchiladas, and cannelloni can’t be beat. Lately, at $6.99 on sale with Safeway coupon for a “10 serving” tray, I can hardly justify making it myself! I stocked up, and they’re great for nights when I don’t want to cook (like tonight after a long busy weekend). Their “Primo Taglio” artisan deli products recently pleased even the most discerning European palates at my Father’s Day BBQ. Of course, I didn’t tell them I got a great deal on on my lovely salami and cheese appetizers! I can’t say enough about how much we love Rancher’s Reserve meats. And the Lucerne dairy products on sale are the bomb! Until tomorrow, June 29, Safeway has the one pound butter on sale with Safeway store coupon for 1.99 each. I invested in the limit of 3, because it’s good quality butter. And Greg and I are sort of snobs about butter! (BTW, you can freeze butter).

If you got duped in the early “generic” days, and have since had an aversion to store brands, you may want to give them another try. But if you’re still reticent about that, don’t despair. Grocery Game databases show a marked savings of 50-60% over store brands, when buying name brands on sale with a coupon. Just a few examples… Kroger store brand frozen vegetables go on sale for about 7 cents per ounce. But when Green Giant goes on sale at Kroger, and you use a coupon with that sale, it goes for about 3 cents per ounce. That’s a 57% savings over buying the store brand. Kroger Granola bars, $1.88, against Nature Valley on sale with coupon for a final price of 60 cents (74% less than store brand). Safeway plates vs. Hefty (14 cents each vs. 6 cents each), and so on in supermarkets nationwide.

So why am I so thrilled with my Safeway store brands? They’re great quality for things that I need, when name brands aren’t on sale with coupons. Nuf said!

Saying No to College Kids

I need to make a financial resolution not to give my kids money every time they ask for it. My husband and I are trying to help pay their college expenses as much as possible, but we spend a ton of money on our kids. Whenever they ask, I feel guilty if I don’t give them money. It has put a huge gap in our budget. If anyone has any advice as to how I can deal with these guilt feelings, I would really appreciate some advice.

Check Into Work-Study
Your children should check out the work-study program at their college(s). Every U.S. college receiving federal funding has a work-study program. Students work at various jobs on campus, from library assistants to tutoring and then some. They are paid minimum wage for their state, cannot work more than a set number of hours each week so their studies don’t suffer, and acquire a sense of pride from earning their own money while helping their school. It also takes some of the burden off of mom and dad as they will not be asking for money as often! I participated in work-study programs as an undergraduate and as a graduate student and found myself with more money and a greater sense of accomplishment.
The Baroness In Oregon
Learn to Set Boundaries
I would guess these guilt feelings are coming from the idea that you should be giving this money, but you really don’t want to or can’t afford to. If you want to resolve these feelings, then you’ve got to get everything into perspective one way or the other. So here are my suggestions:
1. Sit down with your budget and figure out exactly how much you can afford to give.
2. Compare this amount to what you’re actually giving. You may find out that you’re killing yourself financially because of a feeling of obligation or you may find out that it’s not as bad as you thought.
3. If you find you’re spending more than you can afford, make a list of the expenses and prioritize. Help with tuition or books is far more important than concert tickets or pizza money.
4. Understand that you’re not an ATM! Don’t be afraid to set healthy boundaries between your children and your checkbook. It will benefit them and you in the short term and the long run.
5. Parents paying for college isn’t a “given.” It’s great when you can, but if you can’t, there are other options to explore.
To be honest, this isn’t a money issue. This is a boundary issue. Feelings of guilt or resentment coming from giving is a signal that either we shouldn’t be doing the giving or don’t want to be. Once you dig around and find the root of those feelings and work all that out, you’re either going to find the strength to say no or be able to give without the negative feelings.
Sometimes Difficult Lessons Must Be Taught
Just like little kids, college kids will try to get what they think they can! We love our kids and want to see them happy, but money doesn’t bring happiness and just handing it out is a long-term disservice to them. Our “bad parent” guilt feelings have to be balanced by the fact that some difficult lessons must be taught. We’d not make our kids learn how to live on constant cookies and sweets, so let’s apply the balanced diet approach to finances, too.
First step: Make it clear to them that any money given to them is generosity, not a guarantee. There is no entitlement here.
Second step: Clearly define what amount, if any, they can expect from you and stick to it!
Third step: Help them look at their budget and figure out how they can make ends meet on their own. If you’re willing, show them your budget and explain how you handle life’s unexpected bumps.
Fourth step: If they ask for more, empathize with them and work on solutions, but don’t surrender. Explain that your advice is always free, but the financial solutions are their own.
Fifth step: Step back and know you’re a good parent for passing on some life-long skills!
Set the Budget
These parents should first open prepaid Visa or MasterCard accounts for each child. Then they need to sit down and figure how much they can give their kids each month to help them out. Each month on a set date, they should deposit whatever that figure is. Since they have two kids, they might choose something like the 1st for the son and the 15th for the daughter, or the day that corresponds with their birthdays. This teaches the kids to budget their money, and when it’s gone, they have to be creative instead of calling on the parents. There is no need for the parents to feel guilty or be pressured into debt because their kids are always needing money at the drop of a hat. As a footnote, I would discourage them from opening bank accounts. These kids seem fairly irresponsible to me, and I wouldn’t risk bank overdraft fees.
Teresa, mom of 2 in Missouri
College Expenses vs. Retirement Savings
The best advice I’ve ever heard about college expenses is that there are loans, grants, scholarships and future earnings to pay for college expenses. No such thing exists for retirement. When making the decision about whether to give to your kids for something they can pay themselves or do without, or paying yourself to prepare for retirement, pick yourself. Explain to your kids that you don’t want to be a burden on them, and as such, you’re setting aside for retirement now so you don’t have to rely on them in the future. Work with them on how they can meet their own needs; they’re grown-ups after all.
The Guilt Is Misplaced
You should really be feeling guilty that you do give them money! What are you trying to accomplish in raising children? Are you raising them to be dependent on handouts or to be independent self-starters? Are you raising them to be spendthrifts or to be thrifty? It is no favor to give spending money to college kids. It’s crippling their ability to learn good money habits. You are doing them a huge favor by financing their college tuition. That is a huge boost in life that many of us cannot afford. You might point out to them the huge debt loads that many students have to assume to go to college. Debt loads that they will spend decades repaying. Paying for their tuition is a noble thing to do for your children, but giving them spending money just perpetuates their adolescence. You want your kids to grow up! If you make it too easy and fun to be a college student, who would want to ever graduate?
College students can and should learn to function within their own means. If they can take on a part-time job or start a web business while being in school, that’s a great thing for their future. They are learning to provide for themselves and starting on a resume! And that’s where their spending money should come from. If they are in college programs that truly do take their every moment, and they therefore cannot work at a job, then they should be grateful you’re supporting their basic needs and put off the “wants” until they are earning their own money.
A Solution All Can Live With
As the parents of six children, my husband and I know the difficulty of balancing the desire to help your children financially with the ability to afford it. Instead of “giving” them money when they ask, we have established a “loan” fund for each of our children. We set a dollar amount that we could afford and told the children how much was there. The rules are simple. They can borrow up to the limit and pay it back interest free at their convenience. If they never pay it back, that is okay. However, they cannot ask to borrow more money if they have reached their limit. This method gives us a way to help them when they get in a jam, but also defines a limit for our budget. Some of our children have been very good about repaying the debt to us right away. Others have not been as good, but they also don’t call and ask us for more. Instead, they find a way to make it work and we don’t feel guilty because we have to say “no.”
A Lesson Learned Now Saves Financial Problems Later
College kids who don’t have a job or aren’t on a sports team have a lot of extra time on their hands. Talk to them about getting a job. A summer job is a must. If they absolutely have no time for a job, give them an allowance and tell them it must last. Do not give in. Kids can be very frugal and creative when they want to be. Help them itemize what their extra needs are and give accordingly. It is also important for them to understand the dangers of credit cards. This is necessary for your budget as well, and you want to set an example.
My two children are twenty something college graduates. They, like many graduates, didn’t understand that they were going to have a tough time after college getting a decent paying job that would pay rent, education loans and other bills. If you don’t become a bit tough now, they will have a harder time when they graduate, unless, of course, you want to be the “parent” bank for the rest of their lives. All people have a hard time, financially, sometime in their life. That is where the “budget” especially comes in. Once they learn to handle money, they will manage their lives on their own. Without financial boundaries, no job will satisfy bottomless greed.
Please understand that even the strictest of parents want to save their children from sure disaster. A couple of weeks ago, my son put a $100 in a pocket with a hole in it. He got to the grocery store with no money. He had no money coming until payday. I gave him a few food items from our cupboard, and he was happy. He is doing better with his money than in the past, but he has had to sell a few items to keep his bank account on the plus side. My daughter? She is a banker and keeps a strict budget. Don’t wait until after graduation to decide you can’t live with needy adult children. Start cutting some of the purse strings now. They will have struggles to be sure, but it could save them from huge financial problems later on.
Mary in WA
Parenting Is Not a Popularity Contest
I believe that one of the most important things we can offer our children is the opportunity to work for things themselves. If we give them everything they desire, they will have less to work for. Plus, you should look at the real value of what you are already giving them. You are offering your children a college education. What a wonderful gift! What could you possibly feel guilty about? I also frequently remind myself and my son that parenting is not a popularity contest. My job is to teach and guide, not satisfy every whim. When I am tempted to shower gifts on my child, I pause and ask myself what I will be teaching him with the gift. If I find an item I just can’t pass up (like a two dollar shirt at a thrift store by a favorite designer), I will hold onto it for the next holiday or to commemorate a personal success (like a great report card).

When Being ‘On Your Own’ Has an Entirely Different Meaning: Personal Finance Lessons Learned from My Foster Care Days

Turning 18 is hard enough as it is. Figuring out who you’ll be or what you’ll do after high school, and how you’ll pay for everything that comes along with whatever those dreams may be – the first car that will get you back and forth to work, the college or technical school that will help you land that first job, even the first apartment that you’ll eventually call home – is a huge challenge. No doubt about it, there’s a lot to navigate when you turn 18.

Like all young people, I faced these challenges. But my story is much different. At 18, I became one of 28,000+ young adults in America who aged out of foster care on their 18th birthday. The idea of being on my own wasn’t something I was necessarily ready for, but it was my reality. And yet, a lot of good has come out of my experience in the foster care system, especially in how I value money.

Throughout my childhood, money was a constant, negative issue. My father, who was my primary caregiver before I went into foster care, lived week-to-week, borrowing money regularly to cover our expenses. While I have no memories associated with saving money growing up, I have a vivid recollection of the tension caused when my father was unable to pay back his debts in a timely manner.

When I entered the foster care system, the issue of personal finance, and specifically saving, wasn’t a priority for me. Although my foster mom saved a portion of my weekly income from my after school job in her sock drawer each week, I never had a conversation with her or any other adult about how to manage my money.

At age 18, life really got real for me. My time in foster care came to an abrupt end — as it does for most young people when they turn 18 — and I had to learn how to fend for myself financially, which was challenging given my limited understanding of personal finance.

Thankfully, I was given the opportunity when I turned 18, through my foster care experience in Iowa, to enroll in Opportunity Passport™, a matched-savings program provided by the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative to educate young people about how to manage their finances and to help them save for approved assets, like education expenses, housing costs, and medical care. Through my participation in Iowa’s Opportunity Passport™ program, I received the financial training that I so needed (and wanted), and was able to save enough money – through my own contributions and matched funds from the program – to buy a car and a laptop for school, and to pay for my Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) class, my Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) license, and the fees at the medical college I attend. Not only did Opportunity Passport™ help me acquire the resources needed to achieve my educational goals, but, most importantly, I now feel equipped to manage my finances responsibly throughout the rest of my adult life.

Below are three key lessons every young person, regardless of their background or future goals, must learn as they start on the path toward adulthood.

Keep a Budget and Track Spending
Effective management of your finances must first start with understanding. It’s important to know how much money you make, when and how often you get paid, and what fixed expenses you have each month. An easy way to start a budget is to track all your income and spending for a month, organizing expenses by categories such as food, rent, transportation, etc. Not only will this help you understand how much income you need to keep living by the same standards, it will also shine a light on where you can – and should – cut unnecessary expenses.

My budget typically remains the same from one month to the next, and I work very hard to make sure that at the beginning of each month, I have enough money set aside to cover all my expenses for the upcoming month. That way, if anything comes up, at least I have a cushion to fall back on.

Plan Ahead – Even for the Unexpected
It’s inevitable. As soon as you settle into a routine of saving and spending, something will happen that throws your whole plan off course – often times, something big. Your car may need repairs. Your computer may crash. You may become ill and have medical expenses to cover. Whatever the circumstances may be, you never want to be caught off guard when an emergency comes up.

When you’re putting together a budget, it’s important to account not only for your expected expenses – things like rent, utilities, groceries, and the like – but also for things you may not anticipate ever actually having to pay for. A rule of thumb that I live by is to set aside all the money I know I need each month to pay my bills, and then set aside an extra percentage of my income to cover things that may not happen, but that I need to be able to pay for if the situation arises. Then I’ll use whatever is left to save for less immediate needs, such as a new apartment by myself, and to have a little fun.

If You Need to Borrow, Always Repay Your Debts on Time
Because of my father’s borrowing practices, I learned that, if you have to borrow money to cover unexpected expenses, you must absolutely repay your debts, and do so on time. A few years ago, I found myself unprepared for an expense and I wound up in a situation where I had to ask for money. Luckily, I was able to go to someone I trusted to ask for help and, because of the significant lesson I learned watching my father borrow and not repay, I was committed paying that person back in full and as quickly as possible. It was a big lesson for me to learn that sometimes, even with the best planning, you can’t be prepared for everything. What’s important is how you handle the situation when you do find yourself in a bind.

Always Do Your Research, and Never Be Afraid to Ask Questions
One thing it’s hard to remember when learning about money is that it’s okay to not know all the answers at first. As I can whole-heartedly attest, it’s not always easy to reach out for help. When I first began learning about saving money, and later when I started paying for school, I often felt intimidated when communicating about my financial situation because I didn’t know the right questions to ask. Over time, I learned that, no matter the question, there is always someone who knows more than me and who wants to help me work toward my financial goals. Instead of trying to figure everything out on my own, I learned that it’s okay to ask for help. Even if the first person to answer the phone can’t help me, communicating what my needs and questions are always leads me to someone who can help – someone who wants to help.

Get Fired and Still Qualify for Unemployment

There is nothing worse then feeling stuck in a sucky job that drives you crazy; except of course, quitting the horrible job and ending up with nothing for your pain and efforts. What can you do to make sure that you don’t get the short end of the sucky job stick? Don’t quit, get fired. Or, better yet, get laid off.

Of course there will be people, like your mother, who will insist that it is better to a) stick it out even if it is slowly crushing your soul like an ant beneath a boot heel or b) quit, so you don’t have a black mark on your record.

However, if you quit, you won’t be eligible for unemployment, especially not now with so many people who actually need help. In fact, in an economy like this one, you should be extremely unhappy and unable to take your current job for one more second before you even think about quitting or getting fired.  Quitting any job right now will no doubt have family and friends calling you a selfish idiot, and they might not be wrong.

If you can get laid off then you can definitely receive unemployment benefits. If you get fired for misconduct or disciplinary measures then your unemployment might be denied. However, no matter what you get fired for, you should still try filing for unemployment.

Read more stories about unemployment:

Getting fired without cause

This means that there was no reason for you to be fired. That there is no company written rule for the reason you were fired and that you didn’t receive adequate written warnings. However, this often doesn’t apply for at-will employees.
At-will employees
An at-will employee can be fired at any time, for any reason (except discrimination or a hostile work environment). If the employer decides to let you go, that’s it. Every state, except Montana, employers may adopt an at-will employment policy.

Things you can get fired for and definitely receive unemployment

1. You were fired for being unable to perform the job. If you were not a good fit for the job, and your previous employer is willing to state that, then you can get unemployment insurance.
2. You can prove that it was a hostile work environment. You cannot be fired for complaining about being harassed or discriminated against. You can’t be fired for reporting or complaining about illegal activity or about health and safety violations. You cannot be fired for taking family and medical leave, taking leave to serve in the military, or to taking time off work to vote or serve on a jury. If you are fired for one of these reasons you should contact a lawyer.
3. You can prove you were discriminated against. You can’t be fired because of your race, religion or gender. If you feel that you were discriminated against, call a lawyer.

Ways to subtly be “let go”

The idea here is to make your workplace more uncomfortable when you’re there without alerting your employer that you are doing it on purpose.

  • You can be subtly and sarcastically mean or cranky.
  • Pretend that you don’t know how to do something. This works especially well if you are asked to do something new.
  • Do just enough to scrape by.
  • Work very, very slowly.
  • Spend time forwarding “funny” emails.
  • Treat work as your personal social club.
  • Be constantly upset, angry, or depressed; anything but happy
  • Have a lot of ongoing personal problems.

Things to watch out for

  • Talk about religion, disabilities or anything else that would make someone afraid to fire you because of the possibility of a law suit.
  • Consistently show up late and leave early.
  • Search porn at work, or other potentially “blocked” websites.

Again, it’s a good idea to keep your job, no matter how much you dislike it, during times of high unemployment.

Negotiate A Block of Hotel Rooms May Yield Perks

If you’ve ever been to a wedding you’ll likely have seen, along with the invitation, information that indicated that the happy couple has negotiated a special rate with the hotel on a block of rooms. Well, now it’s your turn to negotiate this block of rooms and it’s your job to make sure two things happen:

  • The deal is actually a deal and,
  • You get something out of it.

When you negotiate, be sure to have a general idea of how many rooms you will need and for how many days. Hotels hate having empty rooms and hotels that occur on weekends where that hotel won’t be jam packed (concert or convention weekends would thus be a bad weekend to pick) are great opportunities to negotiate a better deal for your guests. After you get a deal, check to see that you can’t beat (or even match) that deal through travel websites – it’s not a deal if anyone can get it.

Second, make sure you get something out of it like a free room for yourself or some other perk. It’s not uncommon for a hotel to throw in a free room if you hold the reception there or get a whole block of rooms actually reserved and used.

Cherry Picking! I’m back!

After almost ten years of shopping mostly one store a week, looks like I’ve converted back to “cherry picking”!

I used to do it. But after a number of years, I quit advocating what I called “grocery hopping”, what some call “cherry picking”. Mostly because of the gas to go from place to place. And all the time to plan it, and figure out what is and isn’t really worth it. 

Based on reports from members who are really getting some good cherry picking with the new site, I started thinking maybe I should try it too! Maybe now with the new comparison shopping, cherry picking would be easier and more profitable… Oh wow! Is it ever!

This is what converted me back…

There are ten lists in my zip code, with varying shopping days. To see where I should make my attack, I first check off all of the lists. Then I hover over the highlighted days on the calendar. I find that today, I could potentially cherry pick six stores! I’m willing to cherry pick up to three stores, not six! So here’s how the site helps me narrow it down to the three stores with MY best savings deals, quickly… 

At the top right of the list, I click “change sorting”, and choose “Savings %”. Now those six stores’ deals are all sorted by savings %! Wow! There’s about six free items to start with. After the 6 free items, it goes down the line to 93% off items, 90% off, and so on. I’m checking off the deals I like most, and finding that since it’s Saturday, my best deals are drugstores. So today, I’ll be cherry picking otherwise pricey health and beauty items, cleaning products, and I’ll also grab some 80% off grocery deals, like coffee and cereal.

Now, I’ll uncheck all the other stores and leave only CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid, and fine tune my attack! As I’m checking deals, my running subtotal tells me I’m going to get $222 worth for $36.99! An 83% savings on stuff we regularly use! Sounds like good cherry picking to me! 

I Click “Gather Coupons”, and now only the items requiring coupons are listed in order by type of coupon and date, which tells me where to find each coupon. Easy! 

I hit “Print and Shop”, then choose to sort by “Category”.

When my lists printed, they came out separated by store and in order by category within each store.

Have my coupons in hand, and I’m ready to jump in the car and cherry pick!

I can’t wait to cherry pick grocery stores on Monday! Fun!

Note: Shopping days differ for each store. Hover over the dates to find out what day you should shop for each store.

Have you seen “Big Foot” on aisle 4?

Have you seen “Big Foot” on aisle 4? That mysterious and illusive “Categorical Sales Trend”? You can’t understand it. You can’t tie it down or even track it. And you sure can’t take a picture of it. But if you don’t know about it, you’re blowing a ton of money every week. 

If you’ve read Grocery Game press, and heard the term, “Categorical Sales Trends”, you’ve probably asked yourself…

How do I track that?

The most concise answer to your question is… You can’t!

But I can tell you what it looks like… It’s not a cycle that you can track universally, as it varies geographically. At, we have databases for 240 marketing divisions nationwide. And those categories are sometimes the same in some areas, but often different from one end of the country to the other.

Although there are sightings every week of this mysterious beast, like Big Foot, nobody really has a picture of it, except for what exists in the ever more mysterious “area 54” of the Grocery Game databases. Here’s what we do know… there are about 15 major categories in a supermarket, for example: Frozen Foods, Dairy products, Deli products, Pasta and Sauce, Soups, Condiments, Paper Goods, etc. And subcategories of those as well. In any given week, you’ll notice a theme of about 2-3 categories on sale, each category lasting about 1-3 weeks. So if you shop each week only for what you need for that week (meal planning), you will pay full price for about 80% of what you buy. But you shouldn’t have to pay full price for any of it…

Over the course of 12 weeks, just about everything you will buy at a supermarket goes on sale. Some more frequently seasonally, like condiments, which includes salad dressings and BBQ sauce go on sale nearly every week of the summer, and soup is on sale nearly every week of winter, for example. But in Florida, soup is not on sale as much as the northeast, for example. This is why “Big Foot” can’t be tracked.

So, all you need to know is this…  When you see something on sale that you typically use, you should think about how much you use over the course of 12 weeks and stock up! Buy it before you need it, instead of waiting until you’re out of it, and have to pay full price! Get it? Investing in “Categorical Sales Trends” is the single most foundational savings secret of playing The Grocery Game to cut your grocery costs in half or more without coupons! (about 67% savings with coupons) Members of The Grocery Game also have access to UN-advertised Big Foots!

So if you’re now more confused than ever, don’t worry about “Big Foot”. If you see him, get him! 

5 tips that will keep your debit card safe

Debit cards allow you to use the money that you already have in your bank account. They are similar to credit cards in the sense that they allow you to travel cash free but are different in the form that you are not taking any credit from the credit card company and thus are safe from overstepping your budget. If you don’t use your debit card fearing misuse, follow these 5 tips and keep it safe to enjoy hassle free shopping:

1. Keep a track of your account information: Almost all banks allow their customers to access their account information online. Make a habit of logging into your account every few days and notice all transactions. Don’t forget to check the amount in your account before you go out shopping as overdrawing may cost you a certain fees. If you have given your debit card to your teenage child, you can ask your banker to fix a certain limit on the card usage as he might be prone to overspending.

2. Keep your PIN on your tips: Memorizing the pin is the best way to avoid misuse of a debit card. Avoid jotting it somewhere which is accessible to any and every one. The PIN should be unique and should be known only to you. Unless the hacker has the access to your PIN, the card is unusable to him and this gives you enough time to realize its theft and thus report to the bank. Writing the PIN on the debit card itself is a nightmare that can cause you great losses.

3. Report lost or stolen cards: If ever you happen to misplace of lose your debit card, make a point to give the first call to your bank and get it locked or canceled. It is very difficult to trace the fraudulent transactions taking place through a debit card as money is directly deducted from the account and you can’t claim it from any third party. To be on a safer side, you can use credit card for making online purchases or transactions of higher value and then pay off the bill by using your debit card.

4. Get rid of old cards: There can be nothing as bad as storing old debit cards even when you have got new ones. These are still usable and can be misused if any unauthorized element gets hold of them. Destroying them is the best way to keep them safe.

5. Store your card at a safe place: You must realize that your debit card needs the same protection as your hard cash. Keep it safely tucked in your wallet while you are out and when you are at home, it is locked inside a drawer or a safe. Keep it outside the sight of any domestic maids or other outsiders.

These safety tips might at first seem to be the usual instructions, but we tend to miss on them. It is really important to keep the debit cards safe to avoid unnecessary mental and financial harassments.