Tag Archives: thrifty tips

Five Money Saving Android Apps

October 14, 2011

Money Saving Android Apps

Before we showcase some exciting money saving Android apps, we want to announce that the official Cash4Books Android app will be released on October 19! The app will have a built-in barcode scanner, allowing you to quickly and accurately receive instant price quotes. And since the app is 100% free, you can actually make money using your Android.

Want money saving Android apps? Try this money making app too!

Now available! The official Cash4Books.net free Android app.

Now, without further ado here are some of our favorite money saving Android apps!

#1 – Google Shopper

Have you ever had that feeling while you were out shopping that you could get the same product for a little less somewhere else? Wonder no more, thanks to Google Shopper. This money saving app recognizes products by voice, text, barcode scanning, and even by picture! It lets you search online for a better price and read product reviews. Next time you buy a product, you’ll know you’re saving money.

#2 – ShopSavvy

With ShopSavvy you’re always going to get the best price on products you buy. While saving 50 cents on one item may not make a huge difference, think about how the savings add up for 10 products. Now think about the savings for 50 products? I’ll leave the math to the experts, but you can see how eventually these small savings add up over time into big savings.

#3 – CardStar

How many times have you stood in line at the grocery store only to realize that you forgot your rewards card? Suddenly that 36-pack of toilet paper that was on sale doesn’t seem like such a great deal. With CardStar you can enter membership and reward card information for Blockbuster, CVS, Best Buy and many other large retail stores. Once you enter your cards into the app, the store can scan your membership information directly from your phone. You’ll no longer have to carry around all those cards and you’ll never end up with overpriced toilet paper again!

#4 – Mileage

We all know too well about the recent spike in gas prices. Mileage is a great money saving Android app that tracks your gas usage and miles driven. The more aware you are of how much you gas you use, the more likely you will try to cut back on unnecessary car trips. As a bonus, you’ll also lessen your impact on the environment.

#5 – Skype

If you ever made an international phone call, you know how expensive it can be. Fortunately with Skype, calling is free when you call Skype-to-Skype. Furthermore, fees are much lower than those of your standard provider if you call an international landline or cell phone.

Now that we posted some of our favorite money saving Android apps, we want to know about a few that we may not have discovered yet. Do you have any particular apps that you use to save money?


The Cash4Books mobile apps are powered by Vision Smarts barcode readersThe Cash4Books mobile apps are powered by Vision Smarts barcode readers! Visit www.visionsmarts.com for more information and tell them Cash4Books sent you.

7 Easy Ways to Save Money on Groceries

September 9, 2011

Groceries: few people like shopping for them and even fewer enjoy paying for them. While there isn’t a way to get your groceries for free (short of dumpster diving), you do have options. Check out these tips on how to save money on groceries.

Save Money on Groceries

Save money on groceries with these easy tips. Image credit: cooksaid.com

Tip #1 – Plan your meals in advance

One recent study showed that 20% of grocery store purchases are unplanned, impulse buys. You can avoid this trap by planning your meals in advance and sticking to your list. Not only will you save money on groceries, but you’ll waste far less food.

Tip #2 – There is nothing wrong with generic 

Most people don’t end up buying generic brands because of perceptions of lower quality. However, you might be surprised to learn that blind taste tests have shown that some customers actually prefer the taste of generic brands. Make a point of giving generic or store brands an honest chance. If you don’t like them, it’s not like you spent an arm and a leg and you might be pleasantly surprised.

Tip #3 – Prepared foods cost extra

If you’re in a hurry, prepared foods are admittedly a great way to save time. However, as prepared foods are generally more costly, a better alternative if you’re short on time is to cook meals in advance and freeze them. While preparing a meal, it’s easy to double a recipe and freeze the leftovers for a later date. As an added bonus, homemade meals are generally healthier than prepared foods. If you need some freezer friendly recipe ideas, a great place to start is Life’s A Mom or Martha Stewart’s Freezer Friendly Foods.

 

Hungry Man!

Don't go shopping while hungry. Otherwise you might try something like this. Image credit: funnypicture.in.

Tip #4 – Avoid shopping hungry

This is an oldie but goodie. If you’re hungry while you shop, you will buy more. Everything looks appetizing when you’re ravenous. Make sure you eat a meal (or at least a snack) before shopping and you will find that a lot less ends up in your cart.

Tip #5 – Bend down or tippy toe

Grocery stores and supermarkets usually place the items with the highest markups around chest level. This makes these higher cost items easier to see and more accessible to shoppers. Resist the temptation to reach for what is nearest to you and kneel down or reach up for to find cheaper alternatives.

Tip #6 – Put a little effort into it

Did you know that there are plenty of supermarket chains that offer coupons if you visit their website? Not just that, but if you clip coupons and pay attention to the weekly deals that supermarkets have, you can’t help but save money. A smart shopper saves money on groceries simply by going where the deals are. There are also entire websites dedicated to the art of couponing. Check out Money Saving Mom or Frugal Living NW for daily sale and coupon updates.

Tip #7 – Price match

If you read about a particularly good deal in a store that’s far away, see if one of their local competitors will match the price. This not only saves you money on groceries, but also reduces gas consumption.

These are just seven of the best ways to save money on groceries that we have found, but of course we want to learn about what ways you have found that worked for you. Whether you saved ONE dollar, or twenty bucks, we want to know!

Big Money Saving Tips For Winter

January 20, 2011

As we trudge through the murky, watery depths of winter here in the Pacific Northwest, we are made all too painfully aware of the increased living costs associated with the season.  Here are a few ways to save a buck or two, some of which you may have heard but bear repeating:

Clothing

  • Wear sweaters and warm socks indoors so  you can lower the thermostat temperature.
  • Buy for next year – hit up the end of season sales to save upwards of 50% off winter clothes for next year.
  • Did your child just have a growth spurt and grow out of their winter clothes? Take them into a consignment shop and get store credit for trading up. You get some money back on the old pair and obtain a new pair at already frugal prices.

Health- Eat healthy and be healthy!

  • Getting sick costs you money in increased healthcare costs and possible lost wages.  Load up on that vitamin C, and here in the Northwest where we get so little precious sunlight, Vitamin D.  And don’t forget the greens!
  • Use a humidifier – heated indoor air is constantly drying out leading to dried out sinuses, which can lead to illness.
  • Keep your air filters cleaned or replace regularly.
how to ski for cheap

She's smiling because she got her lift ticket for a 40% discount.

Activities

  • Are you a frequent skier/snowboarder? Save dough by taking advantage of reduced prices on season passes, frequent skier programs, locals-only pricing, late season ticket deals, student pricing, active military discounts, or join a ski/snowboard club
  • Check online:  liftopia.com, skicoupons.com, and thesnowjunkies.com specialize in deals on lift tickets. Also, check out craigslist.com for people reselling tickets they can’t use. You can always just search for: [your ski resort] + “coupon”.
  • Look local: check out coupon books like the Entertainment Book.  There are usually promos going on through local businesses. For example, a local car dealership was giving away a free lift ticket if you test drove this year’s model. A local Shell gas station was also offering a free lift ticket when purchasing 10+ gallons of gasoline.  Local ski shops often have some sort of deals to offer as well. Keep your eyeballs peeled for other local businesses with lift ticket offers. There are deals to be had!
  • Want winter sporting goods but not that serious? The used gear at second-hand sporting goods stores will do the job. Craigslist is also a great resource.
  • Tip: go during non-peak times, you’ll get better deals.

Home Energy Bill- Pretend that your indoor air is a hazmat zone and you can’t let the air escape.

There are entire websites (and businesses) dedicated to making your home more energy efficient and thus way more information than can be repeated in a single blog post. Don’t be afraid to investigate more.

  • Close up those heating vents and doors to any infrequently used rooms in your home. Likely candidates are studies, dens, basements, laundry rooms, and guest bedrooms.
  • Make sure your home is energy-proofed. Here’s a good place to start: http://www.energysavers.gov/tips/
  • Turn down your water heater by 10-20 degrees, you probably won’t notice the difference, but you will notice your bill drop.
  • Keep lots of warm throws handy for when you’re lounging about the house.
  • Take it to the next level. Hang sheer curtains over an open doorway to the hall keeps heat in the living room where you want it in the evening. Pressure rods are inexpensive and easy to remove and store until next winter.
  • Put plastic film over your windows and use curtains to trap in the heat. Windows are huge heat sinks. Keep the curtains open during the day to allow solar heating of your house.
  • Turn off vent fans – over your stove or in the bathroom – these just spew your heat outdoors.
  • Have a fireplace or woodstove? Close the vent! But take advantage of it as a heating source during the winter. It may be more cost effective depending on the cost of wood, pellets, etc. in  your area.
  • Want a DIY project? Make your own solar heater!
  • Patch the holes – make sure your attic and/or basement/crawl space is properly insulated, cracks are sealed, and holes are patched.
  • Make sure your heating units are operating at peak efficiency – get them checked, maintained, and cleaned. You can replace the air filter yourself (every 2-3 months).
  • Keep the thermostat as low as you can possibly stand. Gradually lower it over the course of a few weeks as your body gradually adjusts to the colder weather.
  • Leave the thermostat alone! Changing it up and down could cost you as much as 4% of your bill for every degree change. Try not to vary more than 5 degrees. Or better yet get a programmable thermostat to reduce your fiddling and maximize efficiency.
  • Bake …a lot – it serves as a psychological trick to make you feel warmer from the inside out and it also actually heats up your house (a little.)
  • Check and make sure all the heating ductwork and pipes in the basement are properly insulated to prevent heat loss. Leaky ductwork often accounts for 10-30% of your total heating and cooling costs.
  • Always fill up your oil and gas tanks before the cold weather hits as the costs of oil and gas are typically higher during winter due to a surge in demand.
  • Check the caulk and weather stripping around your doors, door sweeps, and windows. Install new caulk if they are not caulked or the caulk is old. Examine the door weather stripping and replace it if it is old or light can be seen seeping in-between the door and door jambs.