Coupons are Still Good

Want a glimpse of one of the most successful business marketing models around today? Easy. This Sunday, turn your 10-lb. Sunday paper upside down, open it, and let the entrails fall to the floor.

No joke. Those Sunday newspaper inserts–tagged prematurely by magazines like Business 2.0 as easy prey for an Internet-driven boom in “one-to-one” marketing–still comprise a significant chunk of the newspaper ad business in 2016. And now the quasi-recession has gone, they are enjoying quite a little boom of their own, and they also saw an increase in ads for online GED prep courses as many individuals now saw they needed to get a degree that made them qualified for most jobs.

Behind most of those kitschy, serrated-edged inserts is the 30-year-old marketing services company Valassis, which has not only survived but thrived, since the commercial Internet took off in 1995. As the biggest coupon and insert producer in the country, with fat clients including General Mills and Sara Lee, Valassis has seen its revenue grow from $656 million in 1996 to $1835 million in 2015, and the company expects net income to rise another 15 percent this year. All during the supposed takeover of Internet-based marketing.

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Save $2.44 a Day For a (Comfortable) Week Abroad

When I was growing up, my family went through financial lows and highs, and I never felt rich or poor. I grew up in a large house nestled on a few acres of woods in Georgia that my parents bought when property and building a house was extremely reasonable.

Even in financial pinches, my Dad was always a sharp investor and paid for most things in cash. Money was often unpredictable, and I learned not to depend on it always being there. And I also learned I didn’t need money to have the kind of lifestyle I wanted.

Money was just a tool to me, and if that tool wasn’t available, I just found another one to use.

Travel was also free and plentiful, no matter our financial standing. The two were not mutually exclusive or even related. My Dad (and one of my brothers) are pilots and we always flew standby in any extra seats for free. From an early age, we learned that a vacation started with a 4:00 a.m. wake-up call to hop the first flight out, and the game of “Lifeboat”, or “Who’s Going on This Flight if There Aren’t Enough Seats?”

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Best Kept Secret for Budget Friendly Vacations

Most of us love traveling, but it can get expensive FAST! So we’re always looking for coupon codes or hotel promotions because we never like to pay full price for anything, especially vacations! Between gas or airfare, hotel accommodations and always dining out, there’s almost no money left for attractions! When I heard about timeshare rentals and how we could save some serious bucks, I was intrigued. I was glad to have the opportunity to review this service because this is exactly the kind of thing our family could benefit from!

We all know that timeshares exist but I think most of us have this negative idea about them. Having to sit through hours of seemingly endless, uncomfortable, high-pressure pitches, paying big bucks for vacations at the same exact place every year without much variation, high fees, etc., just doesn’t sound like a good deal. Timeshare rentals don’t deal with any of that!

RedWeek offers budget friendly vacations at a fraction of the regular price by allowing timeshare owners to rent out timeshares that they are unable to use! Imagine paying a bunch of money for a timeshare and for whatever reason, finding you can’t go on vacation every year? Those timeshare owners turn to RedWeek for help. They get to recoup some of the costs of owning a timeshare and we get to save money on luxury vacations! Total win-win.

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Teaching Comprehension for Understanding and Engagement

One of my favorite books for teaching reading comprehension is Strategies That Work: Teaching Comprehension for Understanding and Engagement by Stephanie Harvey and Anne Goudvis. It was first published in 2000, and it is still one of the most popular books used by educators. I’m recommending it for parents because they are strategies that are very easy to utilize at home to help children develop deeper comprehension skills.


Strategies That Work relies on 6 main areas.

1. Making Connections: By helping children make different kinds of connections (text-to-self, text-to-text, text-to-world) children learn to utilize their personal and their discussion group/partners to enhance their understanding of a text. Connections begin close to home (self) and then gradually build outward to the world helping students develop a larger sense of context.

2. Questioning: Questions are a normal part of human curiosity. So while reading, questions arise for children and adults alike. Questions that children ask about a text can help us know whether or not they are comprehending the text.

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Couponing Overload: Confessions of a Coupon Addict

First, let me start off saying that couponing has helped my family save thousands over the past 3 years. Without couponing, I would not know what to do.

However, I think we have gone overboard in recent months. Here is how I know we have gone astray:

Calculate the Monthly Budget/Spending
I usually calculate the budget spending for the month and we have gone over the allotment for the last 5 months. At first, I thought it was just the increase in grocery prices, but as I looked closely at the receipts it was much more.
Overspending on Non-essentials
Looks like we got into the habit of spending on things we didn’t necessarily need. For example, the local Save a Lot was closing and they were having a store sale. Instead of my dad getting a few items he got $90 worth of things we didn’t need. (more…)

How to get out of debt

Car loan payments, credit card bills, mortgage payments, bank loans, rent payments…Sometimes it feels that almost all your money is going toward paying off your debts. But, even though it may seem that being in debt is just another part of adult living, this definitely doesn’t need to be this way.

If you manage your money well, living within your means, and even saving for purchases instead of getting them on credit, is absolutely possible. By managing your money well, you can not only pay off some of your debt, you also will learn not to rely so heavily on borrowing.

Bear in mind, though, that there are forms of debt, for example a home loan, that are pretty much acceptable. Most houses will be increasing in value as time goes by, but what’s more important, the interest you pay on a mortgage is tax deductible, which will save you money on taxes.

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Living on a budget – Live within your means

Most probably You have heard this phrase: ‘live within your means.’ But what exactly does this phrase mean?

Very simply put, when you live within your means, you are able to pay for all the things you need in your life without taking on more debt than you are able to handle. Yet many Americans are believing that there’s only one way to get nice things, and that is to get into debt and get them.

Now that could be true for larger purchases like a home or a car, but it certainly does not to apply to many other things that we are needing in life. When you purchase a house, for example, you take a mortgage loan which will put you in debt for maybe as long as 20 or 30 years.

Sure, that is a long period of time, but this sort of debt has also many benefits. Interest paid on the mortgage can be deducted from your annual taxable income, and the money that’s yours in the house (the equity) can be applied for other loans. If you make regular mortgage payments, you will also build up a strong credit score.

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How to save money and live within your means

This is part 2 of our tips on how to live within your means and save money

Clothing

You can learn that flea markets and garage sales can be great sources to get quality clothing at modest prices. You can also establish a sort of clothing exchange with your neighbors or friends to trade, for example, your children’s or adult clothes. What may seem old to you or your friends may seem like new and exciting to other people.

You can also go to thrift stores on a regular basis where usually the inventory changes frequently, and start checking out clothing sales organized by service groups or local churches.

You may also check out so-called ‘consignment stores’. These stores are accepting and selling used clothes and they can give you money for items that you bring in. You may find clothing for both adults and kids in these stores.

Another advice is to stick with classics when and wherever you can. Classics are usually staying in style longer than trendy outfits and are generally made of longer-lasting materials.

Though it could be difficult to find good used children’s shoes, you may be successful if you look for sales, but don’t make the mistake that your child needs $75 running shoes, even is that is the sale price tag. You should instead help them to learn to distinguish between needs and wants. (more…)

How Much Debt Is Okay?

Debt has all too often become a normal element of life. Sometimes we are not realizing that we really have too much of it. Until it begins to eat us alive and rob us of the way we are used to live.  Keep in mind that being in debt for the bigger things in life, for example a home or an education, may have some considerable payoffs.

The problem is in consumer debt! The problem lies in the department store and credit cards, and things alike. On this we really should cut down. Generally speaking, you should use no more than 15 to 20 percent of your after-tax income for consumer debt payments. Take a look at how you can determine how much you can be affording to use for paying consumer debt each month.

Lets look at your annual income, after deductions and taxes. (more…)

How to find a job

Looking for a good job can be quite challenging. You should regularly check all the available resources, but also inform your family and friends that you’re looking for a job. You never can tell when or if anybody may hear about a job opening which could be your perfect fit.

You may also be attracted to a company you would like to work for. If you happen to know somebody who works there, you can ask him who would be the right person to contact and see if you can use him as a reference.

Then you can get in touch with that person and express the interest you have in working for his company while stressing that your acquaintance recommended the contact.

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