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January 14, 2013

Quality textbooks from Half.com

  • Quality textbooks from Half.com

Textbooks are more than just fancy paperweights or a convenient pillow if/when you end up falling asleep during a history class lecture.  They’re also at most times, a necessary evil.


College can get expensive.  That shouldn’t be a secret.  After tuition, paying the rent, gas money for those who commute to school (much like I used to), food and everything else that goes along with it, you’re looking at a pretty thin wallet for the semester before you even get started.

Then there are textbooks, which may be the worst of them all.  A seemingly 50-pound organized collection of words, paper and cardboard that will make you wonder if you’ll end up with a physique like Hulk Hogan did in the 80s when all is said and done.  An old professor of mine once called the college textbook industry as the biggest scam on campus, and quite frankly, it was hard not to argue with him.  After all, you end up paying several hundred for books you’ll use for a few months with the option of selling them back at about a fraction of what you originally paid for it.

Fortunately, for every scam, there is a loophole.  A way to beat the system, and finding one is as easy getting out your laptop and getting on Facebook in class during a lecture (don’t lie, we all do it).

For those looking for a way to save, check out Half.com, a subsidiary of eBay that focuses on selling books, music, movies, video games and more importantly, textbooks.

How does it work?  It’s pretty simple: rather than being auction-based, books are sold at a fixed price based on a “bidding war” amongst the sellers.  Buyers then choose which price they want to pay based on how many sellers there are.  From there, it’s just a matter of paying for it and there you have it, a high-quality textbook for a potential fraction of what you would pay for it at the average college bookstore.  Best of all?  When you’re done, you can always sell it on Half.com.  That is, unless you really enjoy it, think it might be useful in the future or you need an extra weight for your dorm room workouts.

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January 7, 2013

Money Saving Tips Debunked

  • Money Saving Tips Debunked

Everyone wants to save money, but there may be some money saving tips that actually do more harm than good. There are some basic, predetermined ideas about the best ways to save, which aren’t actually true. I wanted to share my list of the top four money saving myths that are either completely false or generally cause you to spend more money. Check out the list below and let me know about more great ways you’ve saved money and debunked common money saving tips.

Clipping Coupons – Great Money Saving Tips

money saving tips coupons








Coupons seem like a nice money saving tip, but they can also end up making you spend more than you originally planned. A lot of times when clipping coupons, people only look at the amount they’re saving and pay little to no attention to what they’re actually spending. Half price cookies? Great…but were you really planning on buying them?

I generally buy the same staple products at the grocery store and try to stick to a simple list. I don’t like to buy a lot of junk or snack foods, because they’re generally more costly and unhealthy. But, if I see a coupon for half price snacks, I’m going to be much more tempted to buy them.  Coupons force you to consider buying items that you might not usually spend money on. So, on top of paying for your usual groceries, you’re also spending additional money, and letting the idea of savings make you feel better about it. I’m not saying you shouldn’t look for coupons, just make sure they’re applicable and practical.

Change Your Oil Every 3,000 Miles

saving money tips oil change









Don’t fall for the 3,000 mile rule when it comes to getting your oil changed. I have several mechanics in my family and never once have I heard any of them insist that my oil needed to be changed this frequently. The truth is, most of us drive a lot of highway miles, which means, we’re not constantly stopping and going. For someone constantly driving on the highway, you would really need to change your oil every 7,000 – 7,500 miles. I generally drive on a combination of highways and back roads, so I make sure my oil is changed every 5,000 – 6,000 miles. Some people may stick to the 3,000 mile rule, but it’s becoming more common for drivers to wait longer periods of time between oil changes. Don’t let an auto shop try to convince you this is an ultimate money saving tip in the long run. It’s definitely not a needed precaution. Check out this great article from the New York Times about why an oil change every 3,000 miles is unnecessary.

Hand Wash Dishes vs Dishwashers

 money saving tips dishes








When considering the most efficient way to wash dishes, it seems like hand washing is the cheaper, better way to go. This money saving tip has always been one I skipped, because it’s one of the chores I dread the most. So, I was extremely pleased when I found out that generally, it costs less to run a dishwasher than to hand wash dishes (check out the details here). It makes sense though…just consider the amount of water you waste hand washing dishes. I don’t know about you, but I don’t speed through the process, so it generally takes a while, and most people leave their water on the entire time. To be fair though, in order to actually save money this way, you should stop using features like heated drying and be sure to only run your dishwasher when it’s full.

Convenient Money Saving Tips – Shop End Caps

money saving tips end caps









I can’t even begin to tell you the number of times I’ve looked at an end cap display and naturally assumed the product was the cheapest of its companions. This seems to be one of the basic money saving tips that’s super convenient. But, next time you’re in a store, take a better look. I can guarantee you that you’ll find a comparable or even better bottle of laundry detergent for lesser or equal value. Don’t let end caps and items stores are pushing fool you into spending more.

Next time you think you’re saving money, try to determine if you’re actually doing more harm than good. Good money saving tips won’t force you to spend more to rack up savings.

January 3, 2013

Cut Cell Phone Costs – 5 Simple Tips

  • Cut Cell Phone Costs – 5 Simple Tips

You’re unlikely to find anyone in today’s world without a smartphone. These handy devices practically run our lives. But, they can be pretty costly. There are still ways to save money on your cell phone costs without giving up the perks that you love. It’s unrealistic to think of downgrading to a simpler phone or tossing out data plans. Instead, check out these tips on how to save money on cell phone costs.

Don’t Buy Insurance

cell phone costs insurance

I’m notorious for losing everything and have several phones I’ve simply never found. If you’re prone to losing, breaking, or ruining items, insurance may seem like a great deal. The problem is, while it may be a few dollars to ten dollars extra month, by the time you’re ready to upgrade you’ve practically paid for a new phone. If you do lose your phone, it’s very difficult to have it replaced. Cut cell phone costs by opting out of insurance. Check out this great article on why cell phone insurance is little more than a scam for your money.

Switch Providers and Cut Cell Phone Costs

cut cell phone costs switch providers

If you spend all of your time talking to one person, or a select group, maybe it’s time to switch your plan. If you have Verizon and you’re spending 300 minutes monthly talking to your sister who has AT&T, switch to her provider. Most cell phone providers offer unlimited calls to people on their service. You’ll be able to reduce the minutes on your plan this way.

Analyze Your Bill

cell phone costs plans

I thought I needed unlimited data, but when I analyzed my bill, I realized how little I truly use. If you constantly notice that you’re not using what you’re paying for, cut back and downgrade your plan. Don’t pay for 600 minutes a month if there is a cheaper plan and you consistently use under 200. Save on cell phone costs by understanding what you really need to pay for.

Find Free Apps

cell phone costs free apps

Don’t pay for apps you can get for free. I’ve never spent a penny on a cell phone app, and I don’t feel left out of anything. My phone now allows me to create ringtones for free, but before that, I used Myxer. You can find pretty much any paid cell phone extra for free if you take the time to search.

Buy Phones Online

cell phone costs online

If you do need a temporary phone or just want a new one, don’t do to your phone provider. Search ebay or amazon for tons of unlocked phones and great deals. I severely damaged my phone a few months into my new contract, but I found an even better option on Ebay for $40. Also, buy accessories on Amazon instead of in store.

How do you cut cell phone costs each month? Share your own stories below and let us know what you think of these tips.

December 27, 2012

Tips to Save Money and Get Out of Debt

  • Tips to Save Money and Get Out of Debt

If you’re in debt or just trying to budget better, there are easy tips to save money you can follow. Living paycheck to paycheck can be frustrating. Don’t make your financial issues worse by ringing up credit card balances or spending more than you can afford. Check out these five tips to save money below.

Make a Budget

tips to save money budget

One of the simplest tips to save money is setting a weekly or monthly monetary budget. Determine how much you want to spend and try to stick to it. Look at past grocery receipts and determine if you spent too much on items you didn’t want or need. Include a set amount to spend on clothes and other items you may need to replenish sporadically.

Shop with Cash

tips to save money cash

Making a budget may be easier than following it. However, there are easy ways to make sure you stick to your budget. One of the best tips to save money is going into a store with a set amount of cash you’re allowed to spend. Don’t bring credit or debit cards with you. I’ve rationalized myself into buying much more than I needed to, and regretted it later.

Stop Using Credit

tips to save money credit cards

If you’re in credit card debt or merely in a situation where you’re extremely strapped for cash, one of the easiest tips to save money is to stop using credit cards. Building credit is great, but if you can’t really afford to pay back what you owe, you could end up ruining your credit score. Don’t close credit cards if you can help it. Keep them open and use them to buy small things every now and then (maybe pay for gas once a month) to keep your credit active.

Build Savings

tips to save money savings

Even if you can only afford to put away $50 every paycheck, you should try to put money away. Try to stick to one savings amount and move it into your savings account on each payday. Every little amount will help and eventually add up.

Tips to Save Money – Internet Deals

tips to save money internet

If you do need to make a large purchase or buy something out of your budget, be sure to look online to find the best deals. Definitive Deals and CouponChad are two great sites that offer excellent discounts on top stores, brands, and items.

Do you have any great tips to save money and keep yourself out of debt? Share them below

December 19, 2012

Money Saving Tips For Your Car This Winter

  • Money Saving Tips For Your Car This Winter

The temperatures are beginning to plummet, but don’t let the frost force you to spend more money this winter. Winterizing your car is one of the best money saving tips for the colder months. These tips can also help you stay safe when driving in cold weather. Check them out below!

Check Your Oil

You don’t want to mess around with your car’s oil in the winter. Be sure to check your oil and change it, if needed. You can do this yourself, or take it to somewhere like Sears Auto to be sure you get a low, fair price. What is one of the greatest money saving tips of season? Sears has oil changes for as low as $26.50!

Take a Look at Your Battery

If your battery is more than a few years old, have it tested at a place like Sears Auto or Advance Auto. They’ll provide this service for free. Also scrape off any corrosion and check cable connections, to make sure your battery is ready to go. You don’t want to be caught broken down in the middle of the snowstorm this year!

Is Your Antifreeze Mixture is Correct?

Your radiator should contain a proportionate 50-50 mix of antifreeze and water. This prevents the mixture from freezing when the temperature drops. Replacing your radiator or radiator pump due to antifreeze issues can be costly, so take advantage of one of the easiest money saving tips for you car. You can find an antifreeze pressure tester at any auto stores like Sears ($6.31) and Advance ($2.98).

Check Tire Pressure

The last thing you want is to have to change a tire this winter, simply because you never checked your tire pressure! The pressure is also important to check to ensure tires are filled properly to provide better traction on the road. Icy and wet roads demand better traction, so stay safe this winter with full tires. If your tires are pretty well worn, you may want to think about replacing them.

Money Saving Tips for Your Car – Can You See?

Make sure your windshield stays clear this holiday season. Check your wiper fluid and refill if it looks low. Also, make sure your windshield wipers are working well. If they’re a couple years old, you may want to swap them out for newer wipers to be sure you’re safe in snow/ice storms. You can find new wipers and fluid from Sears Auto or Advance Auto.

We hope these winter money saving tips help keep your car running well this winter! Be sure to stay safe as the roads get icy and wet!

December 17, 2012

Reduce Utility Bills: Money Saving Winter Projects

  • Reduce Utility Bills: Money Saving Winter Projects

Winter is the time of holiday festivities, but there’s nothing festive about high electric and water bills! There are, however, several ways to reduce utility bills during this cold season. By performing simple winter projects and replacing a few household items, you’ll find that as the temperature lowers, so will your bill payments.

Insulate Water Pipes – Adding insulation to your pipes is a simple way to help you reduce utility bills. Insulation will help ensure there is no heat loss in pipes carrying hot water, decreasing your water bill. You can cover pipes with old newspapers and adhere with duct tape. You can also purchase pipe insulation covers starting at $1.99 at Lowe’s or Home Depot.

Dye Test Toilets – Did you know your toilet could be leaking and raising your water bill? Water could be getting through the tank and into the bowl. Find out if you could reduce utility bills with a dye test. Simply add about 5 drops of food coloring to your tank. Wait 10-15 minutes and see if the color comes into the bowl. If so, you probably have a defective flapper. You can find universal flappers at Lowe’s for under $4 and stop using excess water.

Replace Fireplace Doors – Is your fireplace door airtight? If not you may be letting cold air into your house, costing you more on your heating bill. Reduce utility bills by replacing with airtight doors for newer fireplaces. If you have an old fireplace that needs the air in the room for combustion, make sure you have a door with vents. Only open these vents when using the fireplace. Order online and save with these coupons.

Reduce Utility Bills with Curtains - Heavy material curtains, such as quilted curtains can help keep cool air from drafty windows from creeping into your house. Buying these will help you reduce bill costs when heating your house. You can find quilted curtain panels for as low as $18.99 at Sears.

We hope these winter projects help keep your rooms warm and pockets full! If you have any additional tips on how to reduce utility bills, be sure to share them below!