Sunday, November 30

Fun & Free Activites

Hey if it’s not your thing, it’s not your thing but why not give it a try?

1) No matter what your current living situation why not visit Open Houses for homes or apartments on Sundays? Even if you are not ready to buy, it’s fun to get a feel for different neighborhoods and to track homes you could potentially see yourself in. A great place to see where there are Open Houses in your price range is Washington Post Online.
2) Spring Cleaning! No matter the month, go through your clothing and other things to see what can be donated to Good Will or the Salvation Army. Before you drop off your items, make a list of what they are currently valued at so you can deduct them from your taxes next April. While at Good Will, remember to get a receipt AND to stop inside to see if there are any discounted items you could use!
3) Find Garage Sales in your neighborhood to see if you can snatch any deals. My husband and I just picked up a flat screen computer monitor for $25 at a yard sale! A great place to see where there are garage sales locally is Don’t forget to check out the FREE section of craigslist while you are there!

Saturday, November 29

Getting Married? Read this First!

First, congratulations on your recent engagement! I got married in July 2007 and want to share my wedding registry tips with you all. The BEST place to create your wedding registry is Bed Bath and Beyond. There are so many reasons why this is the superior registry for you and your guests, including:
  • Your guests can save 20% on your gift allowing them to get you more gift for the same amount of money they wanted to spend. (Bed Bath and Beyond sends out 20% off coupons constantly but these can also be found in magazines and mass quantities can be collected in the mail room recycling bin at any apartment building the day these big blue coupons are mailed out).
  • Say you decide you registered for something you no longer want? Bed Bath and Beyond will give you CASH back for any return of an item on your wedding registry.
  • Bed Bath and Beyond will allow you to cash in Bed Bath and Beyond gift cards you receive. They will hand you the cash right there or else will right you a check

Beware of registries at places like Crate and Barrel that have rotating inventory. This means you may get 3 chairs as engagement gifts but the chairs will no longer be sold there by the time of your wedding, forcing you to purchase the remaining chairs yourself! Non-furniture items also go out of stock very quickly, forcing you to re-register multiple times before the big day!

Target and Macys have very strict return policies. If you get gifts there without receipts, prepare to get nothing back or else the lowest price the item has ever sold for at any store location across the country.

Bloomingdales is a great store but Bed Bath and Beyond carries many of the same items for MUCH CHEAPER! Plus, remember your guests can save 20% at BBB.

Friday, November 28

What to do with your old electronics

Best buy has a website that let's you estimate the value they will pay you (in gift cards) of old electronics you have around your house. Click here to see what your goods are worth.

I just learned about this site and though I'd share, even though the devices I've entered in seem to be worth a lota nada.

Thursday, November 27

Negotiate a Higher Salary

Women- I am mostly talking to you.
Women make less than men and part of why is that women are less likely to ask for a raise or to negotiate a salary when taking a new job. Even in the current economy if you are making very little your company can probably afford to pay you more, especially if you are a huge asset.

Here are some tips:
  • Before your annual review, make a list of all your major accomplishments this year to show what an asset you are.
  • Print out salary comparison charts to show where you fall along the range (if you are in the 30% or less range you have a stronger argument). Also see if your college has salary ranges for recent graduates (Georgetown MBA Career Service Offers this Online for Gtown Grads) (Go Hoyas!).
  • Don’t wait until December to ask!! Most companies start the budget process as early as August or September so that is when you need to mention the idea of a raise to your boss.

Good luck!!

Wednesday, November 26

Wrapping Paper? Save Money & Recycle Instead

It is incredible to me that wrapping paper costs so much for so little. Save on the wrapping paper this year by wrapping your gifts in old magazines instead. I get several free magazines mailed to my residence every month so you just need to rip out the more lively papers and tape them around your gifts!

Thanks Dad for the tip!

Tuesday, November 25

Cable and Internet Monopolies

How much are you paying for cable?
A decent price for cable from Comcast (the monopoly owner for much of DC/Arlington) is $25-$30/month. I’m guessing many of you are paying $65 or more a month for the same channels.

Here is what to do:
  1. Call Comcast and tell them you are canceling.
  2. Don’t worry- they won’t cut off your cable.
  3. They will, however, transfer you to their retention department.
  4. Tell the retention department you’ve had it with their prices and that there are alternative cable providers coming near you. They will most likely allow you to get the same channels but pay what new members pay - often $30 a month.
  5. While they will transfer you to the lower priced plan, the plan will be temporary- 6 months to a year, at which time you need to call back and talk to the retention people again.
  6. Do this with your internet bill as well. Switch to Comcast’s economy internet service which is under $30 a month.

Monday, November 24

Shoppers Doubles and Triples Coupons

Fellow yuppies,

I too love Whole Foods. For samples and a nice walk.

When you are actually purchasing groceries, please try Shoppers! Too many people have never taken the time to visit one and they really do have the lowest prices of all grocery stores in Washington/Arlington.

Most days Shoppers will not even double your coupons (tragic, yes). However, they have special weeks where they decide to tripple any coupon (.50 or less) and to double coupons (.55-1.00).

Visit Shopper’s Webpage to see when they are having such deals. When they are, get your coupons and get in the car!

CVS paid me $1.13 to take $30 worth of products

It can be a bit complicated and almost unbelievable at first but once you get the hang of it you will fall in love with CVS Bonus Bucks. Every month and every week CVS puts out advertisements with their "free items." This differs from Walgreen's rebate system where you get the money mailed back to you in a check. Right when you buy the free CVS item you get the exact amount it cost back in Bonus Bucks- which are a paper certificate that expires in one month. While you need to make an initial investment to get your first set of bonus bucks, after the first time you can always use bonus bucks to buy the next week's free items. Thus you will get free items every week just by cashing in your current bonus bucks for more bonus bucks.

Another amazing element is that you can use coupons for the free product and you will still get the full value back in bonus bucks.

This week, for example, contact lens solution and foundation are the free CVS items. These cost $17.98 and you will get $17.98 back in bonus bucks. However, there is a $2 contact lens solution coupon online and there was a $3 off coupon for the foundation a month ago so I only paid $12.98 and in exchange received $17.98 back in bonus bucks. I had $15.99 to use, however, in bonus bucks so I purchased additional items (duracell batteries usually $5.50 on sale for $3.00 plus I had a $1.50 coupon) and two boxes of tissue on sale for $99 instead of $1.99. After my bonus bucks ($15.99)and coupons the cost was .$86 and again, I received $17.98 back in bonus bucks.

Thus I made money off of this purchase.

Please note that if I only was spending $15.00, I would not be able to use my $15.99 in bonus bucks because you aren't allowed to "lose" money.

With my new $17.89 in bonus bucks (divided into two 8.99 certificates) I will wait for more free items next week.

Sunday, November 23

Earn Free $$ for Education

Many of us in our 20s may never have heard of UPromise. It’s a free program that allows you to register your credit cards and grocery store cards online so that any purchase you make at certain restaurants and stores will give a percentage back in an education fund for yourself or your current/future child.

I do not have children (and won’t for a few more years) but all my cards are signed up to give money to “Future Kid” on my UPromise account.

While you are setting up your account, call your parents to register their grocery store cards and other cards so a percentage of their spendings also goes into your college fund.

This is completely free and worth taking a few minutes to start an account.

Saturday, November 1

CNN Article on Rebate Checks- Where I'm Quoted

Hi everyone,

I thought you'd find this article amusing:

"Stephanie Grosser says her husband thinks he will buy a plasma TV with the rebate check they may soon collect from the federal government. "He is wrong," Grosser reveals. Instead, that money will go toward paying off student loans."

Read the full article.