There are varying mindsets on if you should use cash or credit. I have seen a couple of recent blog posts and articles on this subject. I feel it is important to find what works for you. A large part of your financial life is discipline and living within your means.

Here is a blog post about the cash and credit debate. Also a recent article that you may spend more money on junk food if you use cash.

There have been other studies that some people spend more when using credit than cash. Using cash is more emotional, you feel handing over the money.

Nancy Kvamme

I have written in a previous post about shopping at drugstores.

Lately I have noticed the CVS store I visit has been busier than usual. Yesterday, I spent $6.31 and got $5 back in Extra Care Bucks to use on a future purchase. The regular price of the items would have been about $25. I got 3 jars of Ragu spaghetti sauce, 2 boxes of Lipton tea bags and 2 bottles of Crest rinse. There were coupons in the coupon inserts yesterday for all of these products and more. I also had a $10 gift card from a previous transaction.

One time at one of the drugstores, when a number of rewards were printing out, the clerk said it was almost better odds than the casino.

One of the deals I did was if you purchase $10 of Hellmans, Ragu or Lipton items you receive $3 in ECB. There are other promotions such as this.

With the current economic conditions it is getting more necessary to look for other ways to save money.

Nancy Kvamme

Amazon is offering the Ebook The Rules of Money How to Make it and How to Hold on to it for free for a limited time.

The prices of books can change at any time so make sure it still shows $0.00 before ordering.

Even if you don’t have a Kindle, you can still read books on your computer or some mobile phones. You can download software to read the e-books on your computer or mobile phone.

AWARE is a coalition of the vehicle financing industry to help consumers understand how vehicle financing works. The main reason it was started was to teach teenagers about vehicle financing.

There is information on the website for both teachers and parents to teach children about purchasing a car. A vehicle is something that most of us need but there are various factors that should be considered when shopping for a car.

One of the tools on the site is an auto finance calculator. If you fill in the purchase price, amount of down payment, interest rate and term of the loan you can see how much the monthly payment will be.

Along with the monthly payment you also need to consider taxes, license fees, gas, maintenance and repair costs.

Posted in Budgeting, Saving
Nancy Kvamme

Grocery expenses are the largest expenses in most budgets and with prices continuing to increase it is taking more of your budget.

I have put together an E-Book with ideas of ways to save money on grocery expenses. For a limited time, you can download a free copy here.

The Coupon article in today’s newspaper had a question about how to find coupons for fresh food items such as meat, milk and eggs.

Along with her suggestions, another one I thought of was look for coupons that may print out with your receipt. Last week I had a coupon print out for $5 off a $50 purchase. It may not seem like a lot but you are saving 10%. You can use that coupon to save on items that are not usually on sale or have coupons for.

Also, check your store for markdowns on items that are getting close to the sell by date. Our area stores have a spot where they have marked down meat items. I have also found deals on yogurt and other dairy items that are a week or so from the sell by date. Even if you don’t think you will be able to use by that date, some items can be frozen and used later.

Nancy Kvamme

February 19 – 26, 2012 is recognized as America Saves Week. It is a time to encourage all Americans to assess their savings progress and Set a goal, make a plan and save automatically.

On the website there are ideas of steps to take each day of the month of February to get your financial life in order.

I will be recapping some of these in the coming month.

It was announced this week that JC Penney stores were revamping their pricing strategy and store layouts. This article was in the Chicago Tribune.

One of the changes is to have fewer sales. There will be a monthly booklet highlighting each month’s specials, instead of weekly sales that now have. Every first and third Friday of the month it will clear out some merchandise by putting blue tags on certain items. It seems like lately they have been having two ads coming out most weeks.

Starting in August, there are plans to have sections of the stores featuring specific brands or product categories.

Nancy Kvamme

One of most families largest expenses is for food. You can save a lot of money by knowing how to cook.

Even though I don’t have kids, I feel it is important to teach kids to cook so they know how when they get out on their own. Jessica at Life as Mom had a recent post on teaching her kids how to cook.

Even if you start when they are young and just with prep work and stirring. They may eat different items if they have a part in making the meal.

Posted in Budgeting, Saving
Nancy Kvamme

Teens for Jeans is a program where jeans are collected for homeless teens. From January 16 thru February 12 you can drop off gently worn jeans at any Aeropostale or P.S. from Aeropostale stores.

There is also a program that can be run through schools. The school that collects the most jeans will win $5,000, new Aeropostale jeans for every student and a party for their entire school.

1 in 3 homeless people in the U.S. is under the age of 18. In 4 years they have collected and donated over 1.5 million jeans

Nancy Kvamme