th8 150x150 Giveaway: A book for those going out on their own.Is there a young ‘un in your family who’s about to fly the coop? Or do you know of a recent grad who’s jonesing to live solo? This week’s giveaway could be a nice pre-housewarming gift. That is, it can help them learn some of the things they need to know about leaving the nest.

I’m Free, I’m Free, I’m Free! Now What?” was written by a woman I know who wants to give “easygoing, mildly cynical guidance” to those about to set up housekeeping.

But couldn’t you give a new young lessee much or all of the knowledge s/he needs? Probably. Will they listen? Not necessarily.

Hence the subtitle of Janet McCart’s book: “A Semi-Serious Guide to Early Housekeeping or Things You Wouldn’t Let Your Family Tell You.” Some young people are skilled at tuning out what their parents say but would believe it if they read it in a book.


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th1 A simple price comparison can save you thousands.When it comes to saving money, pick the lowest-hanging fruit first. A new survey from Insurance.com compared the per-minute value of tactics such as changing cellphone carriers, carefully pricing new vehicles and seeking a better car insurance rate.

Shopping for insurance won quite handily, with a value of $54 per minute.

A cynic would call that pretty convenient, since Insurance.com has an auto-insurance rate comparison tool. But the fact is that consumers often benefit by using a tool like this.

In part that’s because a change in circumstances – reaching the age of 25, getting married, moving, taking a job with a shorter commute, even improving your credit score – can mean better rates. But it’s also because even reasonably intelligent people wind up overpaying from the get-go and fail to do anything about it.

I know this because I overpaid for car insurance myself. Way overpaid. For way too long.


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th 8 pointed questions to ask before you buy.A comment on a Get Rich Slowly article got my attention today. In “Four ways to make money with your old junk,” a woman posting as Winterlady noted one of the tactics she uses to prevent overbuying:

“I hold the item and think ‘How quickly will I want to garage-sale this?’”

Having seen more than a few like-new or still-in-the-shrink-wrap items at yard sales, I expect her comment is not particularly flippant.

I also liked another thing she said: “It is easier to control the purchases than figure out how to dispose of them.”

This.

I’m a big fan of informed consumerism, i.e., of asking the right questions before you decide to buy something. In a post on Wise Bread, I described the queries along the lines of, “Do I really need it? Do I already have something like it? Is there a way to get it for free? If not, what’s the most affordable way to get it?”

Yet even after applying this frugal filter, you sometimes just waaaaant something – right now. That’s when you ask yourself a question like the one cited by Winterlady.

I’ve got a few more to add. They’re not all questions as such, but they should encourage a little self-interrogation.


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th5 Should you subscribe to a toilet paper service?Is arranging for regular delivery of items you use often – pet supplies, diapers, medical supplies and, yes, TP – a frugal hack?

Usually. Merchants like Amazon, Wag.com, Target and Drugstore.com will cut you a break on the prices and let you set the terms/quantities.

Although a super-couponer can often beat the subscription prices, not everyone’s willing to do that consistently (even with help from a site like CouponMom.com or a grocery app like Favado).

So it’s better to get a pretty good price all the time then a swell deal every so often.

For more on this, see my latest post on Money Talks News. “Does it pay to have diapers, toilet paper, dog food delivered to the door?” explains the ins and outs (and a few other advantages) of subscription services.

Although I’d taken a bit of a break from Money Talks News recently to work on a personal project, I’m now back in the saddle. Here’s what else has run lately:


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14546594 130417061717 138x1381 Free health screenings. Also: Gift cards and an iPotty.When possible, I try to post free stuff and the chance to win gift cards because these are good ways to stretch the budget. Here are four such opps, all of which could turn out to be great frugal hacks – that is, if you live near a Sam’s Club and/or are lucky enough to win.

(About that “iPotty”: I am not making that up. I couldn’t make that up. More on it below.)

On Saturday, June 14 you can get free men’s health screenings at all Sam’s Club locations that have pharmacies. You don’t have to be a member to take advantage of:

  • PSA (prostate-specific antigen), for men 40 and older
  • Total cholesterol and HDL cholesterol
  • Glucose
  • Body mass index
  • Blood pressure
  • Vision
  • Risk ratio

The screenings are offered between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. In honor of Father’s Day, maybe the dad(s) in your life will give you a gift: the opportunity to be in your life longer by being proactive about health.


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