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Money Coach

November 2011 - Posts

  • Plan ahead to make Black Friday successful, enjoyable

    Thanksgiving is this Thursday – but for bargain hunters everywhere, the holiday means one thing, and one thing only: Black Friday comes next. Here are some tips to help you plan a successful Black Friday shopping trip.


    Plan ahead. A lot of stores open at the same time, and you may have numerous stops to make. Sit down with your ads and determine which is the most important to you – you may have a shot at only one or two doorbuster items, which don't last long due to stores having limited quantities of that item in stock. Figure out which one you want the most and which is the best deal, and figure out where the best place is to get it. And don't forget to have a backup plan in case you miss out on that item or the line is too long.


    Make a list. Before you ever leave home, make a list of the items you are seeking. Lots of stores are releasing their doorbuster lists early, so you can plan ahead. Know what you're looking for and you won't have to spend time looking through circulars while you're in the store. But you should carry the circulars with you, in case there's a price dispute. And remember: stick to your list to stay on budget.


    Shop in teams. If you have a group of friends or family members that can shop together, you can make the most of your time and numbers by standing in line outside of different stores. You can text to stay in touch, and even have someone act as a runner or stand-in when you need a break. 


    Carry supplies. Make sure you have snacks and bottles of water with you, in case you wind up in line much longer than you'd planned, and can't take a break to go and get something to eat. You may even want to consider taking a chair.


    Last of all, remember to be patient. The stores are going to be crowded and you will have longer wait times. Parking lots will be packed, and good spaces will be hard to find. Don't be obnoxious, cut in line or rude to store clerks. Remain calm, be courteous, and enjoy yourself. 

    Posted Nov 22 2011, 10:58 AM by moneycoach with no comments
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  • 25 ways to use leftover Thanksgiving turkey

    We've all been there. We've eaten way too much turkey and all the trappings, yet we still have enough turkey left over to feed a small army. What can you do with all that turkey? It's just poor economics to waste it, right?


    Here's 25 ways to use up your leftover turkey and be economical, all at the same time. Recipes can be found in abundance on the Internet, so pick something, Google a recipe, and use up that leftover bird!


    • Burgers

    • Pitas

    • Tostadas

    • Lasagna

    • Enchiladas

    • Shepherd's pie

    • Pot pie

    • Noodle casserole

    • Soups

    • Salads

    • Sandwiches and wraps

    • Pizza toppings

    • Fajitas

    • Burritos

    • Skillet meals

    • Pasta dishes

    • Stir fry

    • Paninis

    • BBQ

    • Gyros

    • Kabobs

    • Chili

    • Omelets

    • Nachos

    • Tetrazzini

    Posted Nov 17 2011, 01:43 PM by moneycoach with no comments
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  • Make your Thanksgiving a frugal, less stressful holiday

    Thanksgiving is just a couple of weeks away, and many homemakers and party planners are beginning to plan menus, decorations and budgets for this annual celebration. And while the economists may be saying the recession is over, most people are still feeling the sting. So saving some money on the Thanksgiving feast is still pretty important to most people. Here are some tips to help you spend less and enjoy your holiday more.


    First of all, shop early. In the days leading up to Thanksgiving, you'll see sales and coupons for lots of traditional Thanksgiving meal items. Begin purchasing these items now, using those coupons or get them on sale, and save big.


    While it is convenient to buy prepackaged food items, these items can cost you more than if you were to simply make these foods from scratch. Consider doing it "old school" this year, and save the difference.


    There is a common tendency on these occasions to purchase way more than we actually need. Don't buy any more food than you really need – make a list and stick to it. If you do make too much food – and who doesn't on Thanksgiving – be sure to use the leftovers for future meals. You can use leftover veggies in soups, and freeze the leftover turkey.


    If you are having lots of people over for the Thanksgiving meal, consider going potluck, instead of trying to cook the whole meal yourself. Assign each guest a dish, and you do the turkey. It will save you – and your guests – money and time. 


    Thanksgiving isn't about how much food you have and how much you have to spend in order to have it – it's about spending time with your loved ones and reflecting on the things and people you are most thankful for. 


    Posted Nov 10 2011, 11:34 AM by moneycoach with no comments
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  • Shop smarter this holiday season

    There's no doubt that since the holiday season is now upon us, people will be looking for deals. Searches for coupon-related terms were up online last week 199 percent from the same time last year. 


    On any given day, there are more than 10,000 deals placed online by retailers. Some are only mediocre, while others are true deals. With all the coupon sites and deal touters out there, how do you know for sure you've found the best deal there is? Here's how to make sure you get the best price.


    Check price comparison sites like PriceGrabber and Shopzilla. This will give you a more manageable list of products and prices than you'll get if you use a less deal-specific search engine. But bear in mind that the site you use is only offering deals from stores they have deals with, so you may want to use more than one site. 


    When you find a good deal with one retailer, ask for a price match at another. Several stores offer this, but remember to keep your printed copy of the offered deal with you, whether it is from an online source or your local newspaper. 


    Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) is right around the corner, and you can be there will be deep discounts at all sorts of retailers – but electronics stores seem to be the most common. You'll find items in the stores that aren't listed in circulars, so don't just rely on the circulars. But beware that you could get sucked into a good deal on an inferior product. Know what brand you prefer or feel is better quality before you shop, and don't stray from that.


    Your best bet is to comparison shop before you leave home. The Internet is wonderful for this – and it will save you vast amounts of time. You'll know what the regular price is, and can then determine how much you're willing to pay, and if the offered price is truly a good deal.


    Be aware that retailers seem to be making it more difficult to use coupons or special deals because consumers are doing more shopping online – whether at home or in stores on their cell phones. So pay attention to fine print and expiration dates.

    Posted Nov 03 2011, 01:44 PM by moneycoach with no comments
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