Tag Archives: saving

Sometimes Holiday Clearance Becomes Useful Not In A Year, But Immediately!

If you have read this blog a while you may know that me and my girlfriend like to take advantage of Holiday Clearance. We like to shop the day and week after all major holidays including Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s Day & Easter. I have no problem with buying up clearance, storing it a year, and when that particular holiday rolls around again already being (mostly) prepared.

I love to decorate for pretty much every holiday and season, so of course Spring is no exception. During my trip this past week to Target I was able to take advantage of the clearance, and in addition to getting a few Easter decorations and supplies for next year, I was able to score some Spring decorations which are perfect to put up now! In fact, I have already decorated with them.

Target first goes to 50%-off decor and 30%-off candy the first day after each holiday. Then within a few days they go to 70%-off decor and 50%-off candy. After a few more days they finally go to 90%-off all decor. During this trip all decor was only 70%-off, but still worthwhile for the few things I was able to find.

It made it even MORE valuable to us that we were able to find the Spring decorations mixed in with the Easter clearance. If you are ever unsure of if something is included in the clearance at Target use their red price scanners which are throughout most stores. I have been surprised by many things over the years. Sometimes things are even actually a higher percentage discount than you expect, as the signage doesn’t get updated right away.

I hope you enjoy this quick little haul / blog, and don’t forget to check your local stores for clearance after any holiday or season. I wrote a blog a while back with some other information on clearances which you can find here. All stores vary by location, so it’s best to frequent different stores and learn how they usually mark things down. I have a few more hauls planned soon, including a few stores I like to visit every now and then to save money including Ollie’s Outlet, Aldi, and Five Below. If you have any other suggestions on shopping hauls or other content, any questions, or any other comments, PLEASE leave them below. Enjoy the rest of your day!

Brent Ott

Sam’s Club Haul: Worth The Membership for Business or Personal? YES!

Over the years I have really come to enjoy shopping at Sam’s Club for both business and personal reasons. I remember going a few times when I was younger with family or friends, as well as taking a few of their “free preview” tours maybe 5 to 10 years ago. Every so often you can find these passes in a local mailing, the local newspaper, or on the Internet.

I finally purchased a “Sam’s Business” card for just $45 annually a few years back, and it was one of the best decisions I have made. They offer three different types of memberships: the “Sam’s Business” as I got, the regular “Sam’s Savings” membership which is also only $45 annually, and finally the “Sam’s Plus” membership which is $100 annually. The “Sam’s Plus” offers a variety of different perks, including the main perk which is Cash Rewards based off of purchases you make. Each level of membership has it’s own perks, which you can find here. For me, the “Sam’s Business” is the perfect fit.

I get quite a lot of things for my business at Sam’s Club, at deals that are hard to compare to. Some of the things I get include bubble wrap, printer ink, t-shirt bags (grocery carryout bags), and Electronics Duster. I also get MANY things for my household at Sam’s Club which include paper plates, garbage bags, vitamins, air freshener, bottled water, cheese sticks, peanut butter crackers, and the list goes on. The key to shopping at Sam’s Club and doing so smart, is to do price comparisons of the things you may be interested in buying. Check the amount of the item that is in the packaging, and the cost per ounce, etc… Make sure that you are actually getting the best deal compared to where you usually purchase that particular item. On most things you spend a little more money up front at Sam’s Club, but the cost savings over the course of you using that item makes it a smart investment and actually saves you money in the long run.

Pictured here is the recent haul that I wanted to share with you guys. To write this blog I actually went to Sam’s Club twice to shop, in addition to get photography, etc.. This cart was my entire first haul, and cost $64.22. That breaks down to the following: $7.98 for the pack of cheese, $8.91 for the Glade three-pack (which was on clearance, more on that to come!), $13.74 a piece for the two pairs of Calvin Klein shorts, $8.48 for the pack of cups, $5.98 for the soil, and $3.98 for the bottled water. Of course, here in Pennsylvania, there was also $1.41 in sales tax. I have done the math on these purchases (I’m a little O.C.D., I admit!) and these were the best deals around. The shorts were actually a different type of investment for me, as one pair goes to my girlfriend, and I’ll be selling the other on eBay. Being a reseller, Sam’s Club really comes in handy as you can often find a lot of great deals at regular price, but even BETTER when they do their clearances.

When you are walking around Sam’s Club look for all the items with the price tag which ends in “1.” At Sam’s, this means the item is on clearance. Sometimes you will even find something that was marked down once, and then is put on an even bigger clearance. They really blow stuff out often to make room for new merchandise.  Sam’s Club isn’t like a typical grocery store or department store in the fact that they don’t have a ton of variety. They also often switch up what they do carry, although many things in their inventory do stay the same. Every trip is like a new adventure!

I am sure this is one of many people’s favorite parts of Sam’s Club, but don’t forget the free samples and the free sample machine! Every day throughout the day they set up stands in which employees sample a variety of products which they offer. Over the years I have sampled too much to recall everything! Everything from breakfast sandwiches, to cheese, to burgers, to orange juice, to fruit, candy, breads, spreads, desserts, and everything in between. In addition, Sam’s Club has “Freeosks” in each store which are updated often. At these sample machines you simply scan your membership card, and out comes a free sample! These freebies alone can make the membership worthwhile. You can get more information on the Freeosks (which are also available at certain other stores) here.

One more thing to mention is that you can place an order with Sam’s Club on their website, and have it prepared to pickup in-store or get delivered. If you use this perk, you can also use eBates to get some cash back on top of what you would have already spent anyway. I wrote a blog post on eBates a while back which you can find here. I suggest EVERYONE check that out, it’s honestly FREE MONEY!

In addition to everything I have mentioned, joining Sam’s Club comes with even more membership perks. One thing I love is the Snack Bar. Here you can get some INCREDIBLE deals including a $2.50 slice of pizza (it’s actually two large slices) and drink combo. Clubs also have a tire department, a pharmacy, car-buying perks, health insurance perks, and the list really does go on. I don’t take advantage of NEAR as many perks as I probably should. Bottom line, is a Sam’s Club membership worth it? Whether you are interested in a membership for business or personal reasons, the answer in my opinion is a strong YES.

Do you shop at Sam’s Club? What are some of your favorite things to buy there? Any of the perks I didn’t mention or briefly mentioned that you take advantage of? Leave any questions or comments below and I will respond. Enjoy the rest of your day!

Brent Ott

 

Dollar Tree Haul – AWESOME Place To Shop For Household Goods, Supplies & Fun!

One of the things I wanted to do with this blog is to share some of the ways I utilize certain stores to maximize my savings and household budget. I have many stores I frequent, but the first of many I’d like to share is Dollar Tree. They are a chain of 13,000+ stores across the United States, which unlike certain other “dollar stores,” offers everything for only $1!

In addition to random household items and other things which we will get in to, many of the locations have a grocery section. Some even have a frozen section. I don’t often buy many things from the grocery section, but here and there I do get a small pickup. Some of the main things I buy from Dollar Tree are household cleaning products, Holiday decorations, greeting cards, and health and beauty items.

As you see in the included haul photograph from a shopping trip I made just yesterday, I got many of the things I mentioned already. First off I bought some decorations for the upcoming Easter holiday in addition to St. Patrick’s Day greeting cards I plan on sending out this week. You have to look carefully through the greeting cards at Dollar Tree. Obviously most are only $1, but some are actually only $0.50! On this trip I also bought some health and beauty products for me and my girlfriend, some seeds to plant this Spring, some disinfecting wipes, and yes, a cheese grater. We made a recipe last week with fresh Parmesan cheese and realized while making it that we didn’t have one (or lost it!). Luckily we didn’t actually need the grater for the recipe, but now we have one to use up the rest!

I didn’t buy much of it on this particular haul, but one of my other favorite things to purchase at Dollar Tree are holiday gift wrapping and packaging materials. Paper, bows, tags, bags, boxes, you name it, Dollar Tree has it. Being only $1 really helps you stretch your cash so when it is time to buy a gift you can spend more money on the actual gift and less money on the stuff to place that gift inside. Of course sometimes I do still buy certain things for gift wrapping at other stores, especially if it is on clearance, or sometimes just certain things that are unique. As I say often, you gotta live! Most Dollar Tree locations also have a section where you can buy inflated helium balloons, which can come in handy for many purposes.

Walking through Dollar Tree, to me, is always like an adventure. You never quite know what you may find that you need, or sometimes, just want. When everything is only $1, you can easily squeeze more “wants” into your shopping trips and not only “needs.” I always take my shopping list with me and am often able to cross off many things that I need.

I am always an investor first at heart, so I also just briefly wanted to mention that I do also own a small position in Dollar Tree ($DLTR) stock. It’s been a solid long-term growth stock, although it has recently pulled back from highs around $97 per share in August of 2016 to the level it is currently trading at of around $75 per share. As I usually do when you can get a discount and it is a solid stock, I say buy more!

If you would like more information on Dollar Tree you can check out their website here. You can also shop many of the items right on the site, although I currently don’t take advantage of that feature. I do know some friends who do. If you enjoy these haul blogs, let me know. I plan on doing hauls for other stores, and if you guys enjoy them, more Dollar Tree hauls as well. What did you enjoy? What would you have liked to see me do more of or talk more about? Other thoughts or suggestions? Leave them below, and I will respond!

Thank you for reading and enjoy your day!

Brent Ott

New Free Money Alert: Earn Extra Cash on Stuff You Would Already Buy Anyway with eBay Bucks!

I’m always looking for new ways to maximize my purchases. In addition, eBay is somewhere that I often shop for both business and personal reasons. If you put these two together, using eBay’s program “eBay Bucks” makes perfect sense. It sorts of reminds me of eBates, which I absolutely love and have used for several years. You make purchases during a quarter of the year, and following that quarter you get paid, simply for doing what you already would have done anyway.

There are, however, a few differences. First off, with eBay Bucks you receive your payment in the form of credit on eBay, as opposed to eBates where you get either a PayPal payment or a paper check. Second, unlike eBates who offers various percentages for different stores on the platform, eBay Bucks has just one base percentage which you can earn, which is currently just 1%, but can and has changed in the past. Nonetheless 1% is 1% and I’ll take it!

eBay Bucks has been around a while, and I’ve heard of it in the past, but just this past week I finally got around to signing up (which is free) and made my first few purchases. It already shows my balance of earned eBay Bucks, which is awesome, and like any program gets you excited to continue earning.

After each quarter of the year ends (January through March, April through June, etc..) you are supposed to receive your payment within 3-15 days of the end of that quarter. One more difference between eBay Bucks and eBates which I have noticed is that you need to use your earned eBay Bucks within 30 days of receiving it. If you are like me and make a lot of business  (or any) purchases anyway, this won’t be much of a problem. If you don’t shop very often on eBay, it may be. Just something that you need to keep in mind.

I havn’t used eBay Bucks for very long as I stated, but they also apparently do special promotions every so often where you can earn extra eBay Bucks. I look forward to using these promotions when I see them pop up. You can earn up to $100 on any single eBay purchase, and up to $500 every quarter. So, if you spend more than $10,000 on an eBay order or more than $50,000 in a quarter, you’re out of luck. But why are you spending that much on eBay anyway? I want to know! 😉

If you would like more information on eBay Bucks you can find it here and if you would like to sign up you can do so here.  Since using it is new to me as well, if I learn anything interesting, have things I really start to like, things I don’t like, etc.., I’ll either update this blog or post a new one. Thanks so much for reading and if you have any questions or comments PLEASE leave them below, and I will respond!

Thanks again!

Brent Ott

 

3 More Ways I Earn Extra FREE Money Every Month: PayPal Business Debit MasterCard, Target REDcard & Wal-Mart Savings Catcher

If you know anything about me by now, it may be that I like to earn a little extra cash any way that I can. Today I wanted to share three more ways that I do just that every month.

First off I wanted to talk about something that I have done for MANY years….

***PayPal Business Debit MasterCard

The PayPal Business Debit MasterCard is one of the cards that has been in my wallet the longest. I have long been an eBay seller, and nearly 100% of the payments I receive from eBay go directly to my PayPal account. Having their Business Debit MasterCard when you sell on eBay is a must in my book. First off, you have direct access to your funds from sales. Second, and possibly above all else, when you use the card ANYWHERE as a credit card (not enter your pin) you earn 1% cash back on EVERY purchase! It’s really that simple.

Within the first week or two of every month you then receive your cash back for the previous month. There is no annual fee or any fees other than the original PayPal fees for your eBay sales, etc.. I use mine a lot for business purchases and a variety of other purchases throughout the month. It’s awesome getting the cash back every month for making purchases you already would have anyway.

If you would like more information on the PayPal Business Debit MasterCard you can find everything you need here.

Next up is yet another Debit Card I have used over a year now and highly recommend…

***Target REDcard

The Target REDcard is offered as a Credit OR Debit Card. Since I limit the amount of credit cards I open and don’t use any store credit cards usually, I recommend the Target REDcard Debit Card. The first selling point is that on EVERY purchase you make at Target or Target.com, you INSTANTLY save 5% off! In addition, you get free shipping on Target.com when using your REDcard. When you sign up for it you link it to your existing bank account, and every time you make a purchase after a few days the amount you spent comes out of your bank account. No fees, lots of perks, and 5% savings on EVERYTHING! You can’t go wrong.

I feel that I need to point out that I only make purchases at Target which I already would have anyway. I don’t buy things JUST to get the 5%-off. Doing that is where a lot of people can get into trouble. It’s important to comparison shop and make sure that you are still getting the best overall deal, and staying within your monthly budget.

If you would like more information on the Target REDcard everything you need is available here.

Finally I want to share a tool that I have used several years to once again earn FREE month every month…

***Wal-Mart Savings Catcher

The Wal-Mart Savings Catcher is very unique. Every time you shop at Wal-Mart you simply, first off, save your receipt. Using either the website or the available app, you enter your receipts, and it automatically after that compares your purchases to other local grocery stores, other national chains, and other convenience stores.

After a few days of processing you get back what, if any, savings that you could have otherwise earned shopping elsewhere. Doing just this I have earned enough Wal-Mart Bucks (money that can be spent at Wal-Mart or Wal-Mart.com) to get a free toaster oven, a free doormat, free food purchases, all sorts of things.

If you would like more information on the Wal-Mart Savings Catcher simply click here.

Final Thoughts:

These three tools, if you ask me, are all no-brainers. They are all free money simply for shopping like you already would have. The PayPal Business Debit MasterCard gets you 1% cash back ANYWHERE you shop and use the credit option. Target REDcard gets you 5% off of ANY Target purchase. Finally, the Wal-Mart Savings Catcher can save you HUGE depending on what you buy which may be on sale somewhere else, that you may have otherwise missed.

 

I recommend just sticking with your regular budget (and if you don’t have one get started, it’s easy!) and not making purchases just to feel like you are saving money, so why not? Keeping this in mind while you shop and use these tools will keep you out of trouble. Who doesn’t like earning free money? I know I do!

Thank you for reading and if you have any questions or comments please leave them below, and I will respond!

Thanks again!

Brent Ott

 

Chevrolet / GM fan? Here’s A Credit Card I Recommend….

If you’ve read my blog a little you may know that I don’t recommend applying for more than one or two credit cards per year, sometimes not even a single one, but if you are in the market for a card right now I’ve got a recommendation for you. If you’re a fan of Chevy / General Motors cars, it’s even a more valuable suggestion.

Now first off I am well aware of the variety of regular, good old cash back credit cards that there are. There are actually a few I already recommend, and a few I am looking into this year. This blog post, however, is a different story. If you’re looking for a simple way to set aside extra cash to purchase a new car that you can earn simply from purchasing what you already would have anyway, then the Capital One BuyPower Card may be just what you are looking for.

I originally found the BuyPower Card through a mailing I received, at a time when I was ready to open a new account. I am a big fan of Chevy cars; over the years I have owned a Corsica, a Cavalier, a Cobalt, and the car I currently own which I bought brand new, a Cruze. Therefore I can pretty much guarantee you that my next car will also be a Chevy (likely another Cruze).

With the BuyPower Card you earn money off of every purchase that gets set aside for you when you are ready to get a new car at your local dealer. For the first $5,000 in purchases every year, you can earn 5% cash back towards a vehicle purchase, for a total of $250 a year you can possibly earn. After the first $5,000 in purchases, you can earn an unlimited 2% on everything else. Since I got my BuyPower card I have made sure to at least max out the first $5,000 in purchases every year. One of my favorite things to use it for is when I get service done at my local dealership. After spending the first $5,000 each year I will use the next card I have available, usually with the highest cash back, but not always depending on that month’s budget and goals. Never forget, the secret is ALWAYS paying off your credit card balance every month. Pay MOST of it BEFORE the cycle even ends to keep your utilization low!

Cards where you can earn a certain reward certainly aren’t new, as there is a Disney card out there and a bunch of others. This one, being that I am a big Chevy fan, to me was something that I just had to have in my wallet. Two more big selling points for me were that there is no annual fee, and the earnings you receive don’t expire. So for example you could cash in $200, if that is what you earned, next year. Or you could save for the next 15 years and cash in $6,000, if that is how much you are able to earn. I am planning on doing something similar to the second example, as it being just extra money I earn I’d love to use it for a “mostly free” car down the road (or at a big discount, nonetheless).

Capital One makes it easy to track your earnings, and the balance gets updated every month. If you are interested in checking out this card, head on over to https://www.buypowercard.com/.

Soon I’ll share some of the other cash back/reward cards I recommend. Some of which aren’t actually “credit cards.” I’ll share at least one of those soon. If you have any questions or comments PLEASE feel free to leave them below and I will respond!

THANKS again!

Brent Ott