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Money Management

Mobile Coupons Save You the Hassle at the Register (And a Lot of Money)

Your smartphone could be one of the most powerful weapons in your money-saving arsenal. Mobile coupons help shoppers save instantly — while they’re in the store — without the paper-wasting hassle of printing or clipping. Say goodbye to extreme couponing: There are a whole host of mobile apps designed to deliver relevant, free coupons directly to your smartphone.

Pushpins

Allows you to scan an item while you’re in the grocery store and automatically redeem pushpin coupons.[1] Your savings are instantly applied to your store savings card and are redeemed when you swipe your card at the register. You’ll also be able to check an item’s nutritional information, and share your saving savvy over social media. If you allow push notifications, they’ll let you know when your coupons are expiring, so you don’t miss out on a killer deal. Pushpins works in over 2,000 grocery stores and is adding new locations across the country every day.[1] Check Pushpin for your local grocery store and write to them if you don’t see it. They’re working to incorporate local and chain stores close to their customers.

Coupon Sherpa

This app provides you with coupons directly through your smartphone. You’ll be able to access hundreds of in-store coupons and search either by product category or store name.[2] If you’re having trouble finding a store location, Coupon Sherpa can help you find the store nearest to you. With this app, not only will you receive exclusive coupons, you’ll also be able to skip scouring the internet for discounts. The Coupon Sherpa staff will hunt down those deals for you and add new coupons daily.[2] You can share your coupons with friends via email and invite them to participate in the savings too.

WOWPONS

Combine green shopping and bargain hunting with WOWPONS’ mobile coupon app. They accumulate grocery coupons for everyday brands and provide them to their app users daily.[3] A big part of saving is staying organized, and WOWPONS’ grocery list feature allows you to do just that. You can create, share, and save multiple shopping lists and access them from your phone as soon as you step into the grocery store. Additionally, WOWPONS will remind you when your coupons are close to expiring and alert you to new discounted products that you might appreciate.[3]

Yowza!!

This app has taken going local to heart: they provide app users with free coupons and deals from nearby businesses. When you’ve entered your geographic location, Yowza!! will hunt for offers as close as a mile away, and as far as 50 miles away. Customer satisfaction is one of their top priorities, so they won’t spam your phone. You can access deals on your own time instead of being bombarded with messages.[4]To cashin your coupon, all you have to do is let the cashier scan the product’s barcode on your smartphone. Since the deals come straight from merchants, there’s a much lower chance of your coupon being rejected; Yowza!! is working to add new merchants across the country every day.[4]

Cellfire

With Cellfire, you can find deals on the Cellfire website and save them to your smartphone to use at your convenience. Just show the coupon to the cashier to receive your discount. When you hut for grocery coupons, your selected savings will be saved directly to your store savings card, so that they are automatically deducted when you swipe your card.[5] Cellfire emphasizes relevance, so they take care to send you offers that you’ll actually be interested in and remind you if any of your saved coupons are due to expire soon.

Download any one of these apps to join the mobile coupon revolution. They could save you a ton at stores that you visit every day. Get access to coupons for groceries, clothes, electronics, and more, that are all easy to use and conveniently located on your smartphone.

Rachel writes articles for Allied Cash about, responsible borrowing, investment, and budgeting.

References 

1. “Pushpins:About.” Pushpins. n.d. n. page. Web. 4 Jun. 2012. <http://www.pushpinsapp.com/about>.

2. Coupon Sherpa LLC. “Coupon Sherpa Mobile Coupons.” iTunes Preview. n.d. n. page. Web. 4 Jun. 2012. <http://itunes.apple.com/app/coupon-sherpa-mobile-coupons/id309938343?mt=8>.

3. “Mobile Coupons.” WOWPons. n.d. n. page. Web. 4 Jun. 2012. <http://www.wowponsmobilegrocerycoupons.com/mobile-coupons.html>.

4. “Yowza!! Is Savings in Your Pocket.” Yowza!!. n.d. n. page. Web. 4 Jun. 2012. <https://getyowza.com/learn>.

5. “What is Cellfire?” Cellfire. n.d. n. page. Web. 4 Jun. 2012. <http://www.cellfire.com/whatiscf.php>. 

Money Management

The Path To Financial Freedom: Boundaries

Border-USA-Mexico

So far you have Your Mind In The Game and you are Counting your spending.

Now it’s time to do something with your spending info. You should have them all categorized and ready to create a budget. Yes I said the dreaded “B” word. Don’t worry I’m going to make this easy and painless for you I promise.

Do I really need a budget?

Yes…you do. You’re just starting out and not having a budget hasn’t helped you so far so you need to try something new and use a budget. Later on when you have a better grasp of your spending you can wean yourself off a budget. But not until later so don’t get ahead of yourself. What you need to do now is focus on not spending a lot of money so you need some boundaries.

What should my boundaries be?

Well I would suggest not choking yourself by setting your budget too low. You need to slowly get yourself to an acceptable level to have the best chance of staying on a budget.

You know what you spend now so unless you are in dire straits you should cut back at around 10-15% for each category. So each month cut it back another 10-15% until you feel like it’s IMPOSSIBLE to go any lower. I emphasize impossible because you already probably think it’s impossible to cut back any of your spending. It’s not, and you should know that if your mind is in the game. Sacrifice will create extra room to cut back.

What kind of budget should I use?

One that you like. It’s as simple as that. You want one that is easy for you and will keep you wanting to continue. There are a lot of different types of budgets out there. My personal favorite is the Zero Based Budget because it accounts for every dollar.

There are also lots of computer/online based options, that have different types of budgets, like:

If you like Excel or Google Docs there are a lot of free templates you can use.

I personally prefer Google docs mainly for the fact that you can access it anywhere and because I’m a big fan of Google.

And of course you can always just use a pen and paper to budget your money. That’s what I prefer to use because it’s so easy to pull out my pad of paper and go to town.

Once again use what you like. There is no one size fits all so use a budget that works for you. Mix and match if you want, whatever it takes, just as long as you keep it up.

I prefer pen and paper and the zero based budget, What kind of budget do you use?

P.S. Some of the links in this post I earn a little bit of money from so I can pay my bills. But I promise to never to intentionally lead you to a bad company and to never let the money affect my opinion.

photo credit: `David

Money Management

How to Handle Unexpected Expenses without Breaking the Bank

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No matter how carefully you manage your expense and try to plan ahead, unexpected expenses happen. Maybe you suddenly need money for a new HVAC system for your home or a major car repair; or you may have need unexpected medical procedure, or to travel out of town due to a family emergency. Things in life don’t always go as planned and the fallout can be costly! Her are a few tips to help you prepare for and bounce back from unavoidable, unexpected expenses.

Plan Ahead with a Rainy Day Savings Fund

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Ever heard of the old saying, “pay yourself first?” Well, there’s quite a bit of wisdom in that. Make a habit of setting aside a small portion of your earnings whenever you get paid toward a separate “rainy day” fund that’s just for emergencies. Commit to setting aside any amount you can afford – whether it’s 20-percent or five dollars of your weekly pay. As long as you’re consistent it will all add up more quickly than you might expect.

The term, “rainy day” fund may be somewhat old fashion, but the concept is as relevant today as ever. Preparing ahead and having the money you need for financial emergencies puts you in a much better position to handle a crisis with minimal disruption.

Borrow Money from Friends or Family

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If you find yourself facing an unexpected expense with now emergency fund stashed away, you may be able to call upon family and friends for help. It’s important to keep in mind that most folks don’t like being put in the position of loaning money to loved ones. Money issues can obliterate relationships.

If you need to borrow money from a loved one, it’s best to approach them with a plan in place for when and how you plan to pay them back. This lets the person know that you value the relationship enough to plan out possible repayment terms. Be completely honest about how and when you will repay the money you borrow. If someone lends you money, they likely believe you are sincere when you commit to paying it back. Depending on the amount you borrow, you might even consider drafting a contract agreement detailing the terms of the loan for the protection of both parties.

Borrowing money from friends and family is a highly-sensitive situation for all parties involved. Some people have strict rules against loaning money to loved ones in an effort to avoid fracturing relationships. If you ask someone to borrow money and they say no, respect their decision without question. Thank them for their consideration, and consider another option.

Keep a Credit Card for Emergencies

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You may consider getting and keeping a credit card for emergencies only. When you’re short on cash, and an unexpected expense pops up, you can use your credit card to defray the costs. A credit card for emergencies means you don’t have to spend every bit of your cash on your expense. Pay with the credit card and pay the balance as quickly as you’re able. Another plus: making timely payments toward the balance of your purchase helps boost your credit score!

Apply for a Loan

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When all else fails, the only option left to you may be to apply for a loan. Applying for a personal loan though your bank or some other financial institution has become more complicated than in the past.  Among the list of prerequisites borrowers must meet include a target credit score and income, and stable employment (employment for a specified amount of time). Approvals can be few and far between and can take days or weeks to finalize, depending on the institution.

A less complicated and faster alternative is to apply for a title loan. You can qualify for a loan of up to $10,000 if you own your car free and clear. You don’t even need perfect credit to qualify. You can have the money you need in as little as 30 minutes and you get to keep driving your car. There are lots of title loans out there, but the safest option is to go through a reputable company, like TitleMax.

Kelley Luther is a freelance writer who loves writing about money tips and budget advice for millennials. She lives with fellow freelance writer and husband, Mark, and their two Border terrier “children”, Ted and Tim.

Money Management

5 Ways To Cultivate Your Retirement Savings – Infograph

Entitlements such as retirement are a hot-button issue! How are you planning for your future? The key to a comfortable retirement lies in just five simple steps. Start early, take advantage of tax breaks, maximize your employer’s retirement savings plan, manage your risk, and keep tabs on your portfolio throughout the years. Though none of these moves is difficult, the trick is to leverage each to your advantage. The sooner you get started, the bigger the payoff down the line.

 

Saving for retirementImage via: Online Stock Trading Academy

Money Management

2010 Goal Check Up

Bully

You are just over the mid-point of the year! How do your goals look?

Because you are trying to be a financially responsible person with realistic-but-potentially unmet 2010 New Year’s Resolutions about getting your finances in order, it is now a good time to assess your progress to see if your goals have been met, how far along you are with your program, or if you need to re-commit to financial health at this time, which is approximately the mid-point of the year 2010, when you should be making progress on your 2010 financial plans!

Here are some fresh steps you can take when evaluating the progress you have made during the past 7 months. Look at your goals with an eye to deciding what was an effective change in your financial life, and where you would like to see additional change and growth in the remaining 5 months of this year.

Evaluate Your Record Keeping

You have learned that effective records are the main tool that you can use to chart your financial progress. Are you keeping accurate track of the money flowing in and out of your life? Are you pleased with what you see? Decide if any changes need to be made in the methods you are using to keep your finances on track.

How Is Your Budget Coming?

Are you able to stick to it? How are you coming with curbing impulse purchases that do not show up in the line items but which blow the budget out of the water when allowed to continue unchecked?

How Are Your Savings Goals?

Are you sticking to the savings percentage that you decided on in January? If not, why? Was it reasonable in the first place, or too optimistic? What can you do to get yourself on track?

If you could say anything to yourself about your current financial life, what would it be?

What ongoing steps do you see as possible when planning your changes?

What sort of “Buy-In” to these changes will you need from the important people in your life?

photo credit: trix0r