We got a comment on the site the other day about Groupon/LivingSocial resale sites. They do exist! You may have heard of PlasticJungle which is a gift card resale site (and awesome if you’re looking for specific gift cards). Similar to PlasticJungle is LifeSta, a daily deal (Groupon, LivingSocial) resale site.
All you do it upload your groupon, post your price and get paid when it sells. You will have to pay a small fee to LifeSta to post your groupon ($0.99) You also pay LifeSta a percentage of the sale of the groupon.
But if you’re feeling badly about the clown classes you purchased, check out these sites. Get your money back and get back to saving.
I’ve purchased a few coupons over the last year from Groupon and Living Social. While I LOVE supporting my local businesses (Happy Cakes, I’m looking at you), I’ve felt major Groupon guilt too.
Do I really need a carpet cleaning for $60 at this exact moment? It’s such a deal I say. Saving $70! Yeah, yeah, it feels great once I schedule the appointment, clean the carpets, smell the fresh-y, fresh air at home. But…I spent $60! When I could have instead rented a steam cleaner for $20 from my local grocery store and done it myself. Which is better?
I read this article today about the 10 things group coupon sites won’t tell you. Eye-opening to say the least and it made me rethink how I will purchase from now on.
My new online deal buying code:
* I will only buy a coupon that supports a local business that I love.
* I will only buy a coupon for an experience or restaurant on my list of things to do or places to eat.
* I will NOT buy coupons for friends.
* If I buy said coupon, I must use it within ONE month.
Do you still buy from online deal sites? Do you have a personal policy for buying?
The Women’s Saving Club is a group of 10 women, diverse in lifestyle, profession, relationship status and perspective. That diversity is what makes the group so valuable and interesting. We each relate to different topics, savings ideas and provide support to each other in different ways.
And since I just noticed that our little blog here didn’t have much information for moms, I’m going to try to remedy the situation.
Obviously there are a million sites out there specifically for moms, Coupon Moms, Denver Daily Deals for Moms, Mile High Mamas...I did a quick Google Search for Money Saving for Moms. Of course, millions of options but check them out for some new ideas.
In the meantime, I thought I’d share a cool resource I came across – great for all women, moms saving for college and women wanting to pay off student loans. Upromise – is a online retail site where a percentage of your purchase is directly deposited into an account to be used for college or to pay off student loans.
Kind of cool, right? Particularly because you’re going to buy gifts online sometime in the future, or you’re going to take your husband to dinner for Valentine’s Day. You might as well use this site and get the benefit of saving for college by doing what you already do.
So…as you spend, a percentage goes into an account for college OR that money can be used to pay off student loans, thus applicable to millions more families.
(The idea is to) Create a college savings service that harnesses the purchasing power of parents, extended family, family, and students to make it easier to pay for college. Members (and their friends and family) direct their spending to Upromise partners—including more than 800 online stores, 8,000+ restaurants, thousands of grocery and drugstore items—and earn money for college.
Everyone can earn money for college—parents with young children; family and friends that want to contribute; students and graduates with eligible student loans to pay. Many members have earned hundreds even thousands of dollars for college with their everyday spending, and have been able to use those earnings to contribute toward college tuition, expenses, or loans–quicker and easier.
Then, according to the information on Upromise.com , you can choose to invest your earnings in a high-yield savings account or a tax-deferred 529 plan. And when you want to cash out, you can request a check for student loans or tuition payments.
Plus, if you ask family and friends to use the site in your name or your child’s name, your savings will grow at a quicker rate. Social savings for college. I like it.
Our Women’s Saving Club was started so we, with our girlfriends, could educate ourselves about financial issues – budgeting, saving, investing, refinancing. What we love most is that our friends are there, physically and virtually, every month to support us in reaching our goals and beating our challenges.
So how does this relate to the Women’s Bean Project? We know that our challenges aren’t as tough as those others are dealing with on a regular basis, which means we should give back when we can, give credit where it’s due and support the organizations that make a difference in the lives of those who need it most.
Tara and I are long-time supporters of the Bean. The group calls their supporters, friends and family “Bean Power.” We call it an amazing response to a gap in community need. There are thousands of women in our cities, states, countries and world struggling DAILY with poverty and unemployment.
Since 1989, the Women’s Bean Project has been working WITH women to help break the cycle of poverty and unemployment, teaching job readiness and life skills by offering REAL jobs to women in gourmet food production and handmade jewelry manufacturing.
The Women’s Bean Project is its own club. It offers support, it educates and it connects women with resources in the community. Plus, they have incredible food and jewelry!
Since starting our club, we’ve learned that:
· Women make 85 percent of the purchase decisions in the home
· Women still only earn 77 cents compared to one dollar for men
· Women give more generously to charity than men
So, why do we love the Women’s Bean Project? Because educating women about job readiness, life skills, saving and investing is about self-sufficiency – for us and our families. Ultimately, it’s about nourishing or community and watching our beans grow.
To donate or purchase amazing jewelry or gourmet food from the Women’s Bean Project, click here.
- Create an honest holiday budget, and make sure it includes all the extras — postage, Christmas cards, home decorations and holiday party favors and outfits.
- Host a re-gift exchange with your girlfriends — exchange past gifts you won’t use that they perhaps will. Also exchange wrapping paper and ribbon.
- Instead of material gifts, consider the gift of an “experience.” A family membership to the Art Museum or Zoo can be cheaper than purchasing a gift for each family member. Or instead of all your girlfriends exchanging gifts, go to brunch or tea. The memories are more meaningful and last a lifetime.
- ‘Tis the season of special-offer gift baskets/package sets. Buy a couple, break them up and re-wrap them for many sets of smaller gifts.
- Start planning ahead for 2011. Set up a goalmine.com or smartypig.com account to start saving little by little, and throughout the year track your recipient’s interests so that come November and December, Christmas shopping becomes easy and fun.
- Buy in bulk. If you have a full line-up of BYOB holiday parties to attend, plan what you’re bringing ahead of time and buy your wine and food in bulk.
- Before you buy online or visit a store, do a quick Google search to see if you can find a coupon or online promotional code. Some offer free shipping or a percentage off.
- Only go to the mall when you know what you’re going to buy. If you go just to “look,” you’ll end up spending more than you plan on, and you’ll also probably pick up a few things for yourself – which is more naughty than nice.
- If you do find something for yourself, take a picture or write it down. Hope you get it as a gift yourself or come back after Christmas when it’s on sale.
- For the person who has everything, consider a gift that gives back – a donation to Heifer International, a gift certificate to Kiva.org or a savings bond.
- A fun and frugal way to entertain family is to take a drive around town to see outdoor Christmas lights. It’s a family tradition of one of our members’ during Christmas week. Also, when relatives are in town, it’s much less expensive than taking everyone to the movies.
- Some families or circles of friends do a “draw” instead of everyone buying gifts for one another. This works great as a money saver. To turn it up a notch, agree on “Christmas in July, er, vice versa” and make your gifts have a summer theme. You can get great summer stuff, from bikinis and clothes, to shoes, camping gear, etc. at maximum sale levels.
- Grab some girlfriends and start your own Women’s Saving Club, get your New Year’s Resolution started and begin saving for the 2011 holiday season!
Have more ideas? Post them below!
Check out our guest blog article on The Simple Things about giving meaningful memories this holiday season.
Some of you have asked for some sample holiday budget spreadsheets. Here are a few that we’ve found and liked. If you know of any others, share in the comment section.
They recently shared a great budget spreadsheet, the Lifehacker Holiday Planner. I like it because it tracks purchased gifts, whether or not you’ve received them if you’ve ordered them shipped to you, if you’ve wrapped them and if you’ve delivered them.
Here’s their budget spreadsheet. I like it because it tracks shipping, wrapping paper and holiday cards and stamps — costs not to be underestimated. The stamps for the holiday cards I’m sending out cost more than $70 alone! And yes, I thought about scaling back my holiday-card mailing list, but that just seems so sad.
(*Savings side note: I designed our holiday photo “card” in PhotoShop, using an image, adding a seasonal greeting on top and a border around the edges. I saved it as a jpeg file and uploaded it to Walgreen’s, then used a coupon so the 150 4×6 “cards” I ordered were 30 cents each. Admittedly, not as fancy as original photo cards, but made with love nonetheless.)
Our Own Invention
The past couple years, Holiday Gifts Budget Tracking Spreadsheet. I like it because it factors in gift ideas and then what I actually bought. Also, I added a section for December and January birthday gifts — they can get lost in the shuffle of the holidays, but especially with the additional spending of the holidays, it’s still important to budget for these. I also have separate tabs for past and future years — so I can look back and have a historical account of what I gave and not repeat similar gifts to the same person.
Are there any other gift spreadsheet ideas I’m missing or other things I should think of to track?
Find Local Gifts. Give Global Support.
Come pick up your holiday gifts and stocking stuffers at this open house at Ten Thousand Villages. You’ll receive double karma: 15% of the night’s proceeds will be generously donated to ThinkImpact, an international non-profit supporting social business in rural Africa.
For more info, contact club member Cara.
Giving gifts to your loved ones should be fun. We shouldn’t have to worry about what to get people or all the money we’re spending.
It may be a little late this year, but the key to holiday gift shopping is to spread it out through the year.
- Whenever you notice a friend likes something or is interested in something, jot down that gift idea. (See Evernote article to help you keep track.)
- Set up a holiday savings account and do automatic payroll deposits into the account for the whole year.
- Calculate how many pay checks you have left before the holidays (in my case two) and figure out how much you’ll have to save from those checks to cover the costs of saving.
- Find a credit card with a good rewards program. Naturally, the key is paying off your credit card bill each month otherwise this isn’t worth it. Use your credit card to accumulate points each month. Sometimes, like Discovercard, you can even shop through their online portal and accumulate addition percentage in cash back. Then you can use to redeem for giftcards for your friends and family. Discovercard has a multitude of shops, travel, food, entertainment and electronics that you can redeem in rewards.
- Make your list of people you’d like to get gifts for and decide on what to get them. Shop around online and watch for special deals via e-mail. This time of year offers plenty of “package deal” specials. Shops like Origins sell a basket of their products. Perhaps you can buy two or three baskets, shift the contents around and create a gift for four or five people.
- Never go into a mall during the holiday season without a clear idea of what you’re getting and for whom. If you go “just to look around” you will inevitably spend too much or buy a bunch of stuff for one person (I call it gift gravitation).
- I know, it’s kind of nerdy, but I plan on getting all my holiday shopping done before Thanksgiving, for a couple reasons: I can wrap all the presents over the Thanksgiving holiday. That way, I can enjoy the rest of the holiday season relaxing with friends and family. It’s busy enough as it is without having to worry about shopping for gifts in the crowded stores. Plus, it spreads the holiday costs over a few months rather just than December. And, your tree looks more decorated for longer, right?
What holiday savings tips do you have?