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Following predictable sales cycles can save you 50% or more on groceries.

By Teresa Mears Jan 13, 2010 4:15PM

I don’t clip a lot of grocery coupons, because I don’t find many for items I want. Clipping coupons doesn’t pass my cost/benefits test. Neither does buying in bulk. I save more by living in a small space. But the grocery strategy that I do find worth the time is paying attention to sales cycles.

 

Have you ever noticed that items you buy routinely seem to go on sale the week after you buy them? Pay attention. Most items go on sale at predictable intervals. If you keep track, you can get those items for 50% off nearly every time you need them.

 

If you would spend $200 on a purse, what does that indicate about you?

By Karen Datko Jan 13, 2010 4:11PM

J. Money at Budgets are Sexy directed us to a fun blogging game: How much would you spend on (fill in the blank)? A winter coat? A purse? Fashion boots?

 

Like all good games -- Monopoly comes to mind -- it can reveal traits you might otherwise leave unexamined. “These exercises are awesome because they get you to stop and evaluate your true spending habits -- something we tend to glaze over every now and then,” J. Money wrote.

Here’s a sample from his post, comparing what he’d spend with figures provided by Krystal of Give Me Back My Five Bucks and “Fabulously Broke” at Fabulously Broke in the City, who invented this little exercise. (Krystal and FB are using Canadian dollars, so Krystal’s $200 purse is $193.33 USD.)

 

There's no such thing as a bad market if you know what it takes to sell a house.

By Stacy Johnson Jan 13, 2010 1:30PM

In the 30 years I’ve been investing in real estate, I’ve never seen anything like this housing market. Granted, all real estate is local and I live in Florida, which shares the title of worst market with California, Nevada and Arizona. Home prices here have declined up to 50%, and many houses have been on the market for years. 

But as the saying goes, what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. If you can successfully sell your home in a horrible market, you’ll find selling in better times a walk in the park.

 

How to cut winter bills without making major home improvements.

By Karen Datko Jan 13, 2010 12:58PM

This Deal of the Day comes from Sarah Morgan at partner site SmartMoney.

 

As consumers grow more energy conscious, and environmental advocates push for greater awareness, there is no shortage of suggestions for new ways to cut energy bills and help the planet in the process. The cost-savers can be great for homeowners -- but what about renters?

 

It turns out that many leases prevent tenants from making changes that could lead to substantial energy savings.

 

Spending money strategically now can save you lots over the long haul.

By Karen Datko Jan 13, 2010 11:04AM

This post comes from Philip Brewer at partner blog Wise Bread.

 

Frugality sites are full of advice for cutting your expenses right away. Everybody's got a list of unnecessary expenses, an exhortation not to buy stuff you don't need, and some ideas for how you can get the things you do need more cheaply. Living cheaply for the long term is different. Call it "strategic frugality."

 

Most people don't really have a goal to live cheaply. Rather, within the constraints of their income and their important long-term goals (like college for the kids and retirement), they want to live as well as they can. The problem is, boosting your living standard at each opportunity makes it impossible to take the strategic actions that let you live better for less. (And once you've got that down, funding your long-term goals gets a lot easier.)

 

Converting to a Roth IRA doesn't eliminate uncertainty about future tax rates.

By Karen Datko Jan 12, 2010 6:18PM

This guest post comes from Frank Curmudgeon at Bad Money Advice.

 

As most of you know, 2010 is a special year for taxes. It is the last year covered by the Bush tax cuts which, as you may remember, were engineered as a package of temporary adjustments and deals rather than permanent changes. Most of it goes poof on Dec. 31 of this year.

In the meantime, 2010 is a special year for converting traditional IRAs into Roths. When the Bush cuts were being constructed there was a need to find more government revenue, particularly at the end of the period covered by the law, i.e., 2010. IRA conversions fit the bill because, in the short run, they generate additional income tax revenue. (In the long run they do not, since conversions reduce income taxes paid in the future.)

 

So as of a few days ago, the income limitation on conversion to a Roth is gone. And just to get things started with a bang, for 2010 only, you have the option to defer the income tax bill on the conversion to 2011 and 2012. (That is, it is split between those two tax years.)

 

Predictably, the arrival of 2010 has brought a flurry of interest in IRA conversions in the mainstream and not-so-mainstream media.

 

Blogger is offering a savings tip every day for the entire year.

By Karen Datko Jan 12, 2010 4:56PM

In 2010, “Mrs. Modern Tightwad” is dispensing savings tips like vitamins -- one a day -- for the entire year.

 

Following her new “365 days of saving money” series could have benefits. She wrote:

If you did one thing each day that could save as little as $5 over the course of a year, you could have an extra $1,800 in your pocket at the end of the year.

We’re game. Among her tips so far:

 

The silver lining of the downturn is that more people are learning to live within their means, he says.

By Teresa Mears Jan 12, 2010 3:23PM

What should people do to improve their finances during a recession?

 

The same things they should have been doing before, financial author Dave Ramsey tells Success magazine: “Live on less than you make; get out of debt; have some money set aside for a rainy day, because it’s going to rain; invest for the future; learn to give.”

 

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