Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Saving Money By Focusing On Unit Pricing

I love beer! I love it even better when I'm getting a great value on beer. When I'm in the beer isle at my local grocery store, I have the hardest time picking the beer I want for the best price possible because I never want to feel like I'm paying too much. Sometimes I'm lured in by the occasional sale but it's ultimately how much beer I can get versus the amount I pay that ultimately determines the best value. You might see a 12 pack of your favorite beer for $13.99 but then you see a 6 pack of your second favorite beer for $5.99. So which one is the better deal? Typically, the more you buy the less expensive it is.

Some stores already do this for you by displaying the unit price next to the price tag but for the sake of this example, lets say there isn't one. I know a lot of you might know how to figure this out already but for those of you that don't, here is a simple way to figure out which one is the best deal between the two examples above.

The Problem

What is the better deal between these two?
Deal #1: 12-PK/12 oz. - BEER for $13.99
Deal #2: 6-PK/12.oz. - BEER for $5.99

The Math

First, we must figure out how many total ounces they are selling for each deal. The first deal is 12 beer at 12 ounces each so in order to figure out the total ounces we must multiply BEER x OUNCES per beer. The Math should look like so: 12(beers)x12(ounces)=144(ounces of beer). So now that we have the total ounces, we need to take that amount and divide it by the cost to figure out how much we are paying per unit. This math should look like this: $13.99/144(ounces)=0.0972 (price per unit).

If you want to know how much you're paying per beer bottle, you can divide $13.99 by 12 beers which equals $1.16/each beer.

Not bad! Now lets look at deal #2 with the same math.

You take 6(beers)x12(ounces)=72(ounces of beer)
Then you take $5.99/72(ounces of beer)=0.083 (per price unit)
So if you calculate $5.99/6 beers, you re paying $0.99/each beer.

So you figured it out the best deal! Congrats! Now grab two of those 6 packs of your second favorite beer and enjoy! You wallet will thank you.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

How to Save Money On Christmas Presents

Tis' the season to spend money but when it comes to shelling out money to for presents, food, decorations, wrapping paper, tape, we tend to feel a little less jolly about the whole thing. There are ways to savings during Christmas time though and I would like to give you some tips as a present today so here I go.

Making a list, checking it twice

Certain people have not been nice during the year but let's leave the corporate heads of big bank companies out of this. I'm talking about the people you're thinking about getting presents. I usually spend the Christmas season with my immediate family - Mom, Step dad, Grandma, Grandpa, Brothers, & Sisters so anyone outside my circle wont necessarily receive a present from me but I will cut my list short to the people I celebrate it with. So with that being said, I have about 11 people to shop for. My point here is that it is okay to shop for people outside your circle like Co-workers and distant cousins, but try sticking to the people who have always been there for you.

Shop Ahead, Stay Ahead

Time frames are extremely important when it comes to shopping for presents for the ones you love. Retail and grocery stores recognize the sense of urgency during the holiday season and take advantage by rising their prices because they know very well that you will be more willing to shell out a few pennies here and a few extra dollars there. So, when it comes to shopping, try getting through this task during the year but months before the season whenever possible. The best time to shop for holiday decorations and wrapping paper is on the first week after Christmas as these items are discounted in price to make room for their non-season items in the store.


We all get together and eat Turkey, Ham, or whatever food your family wishes during Christmas time. We could stay creative by making a pot luck with the family. It makes for great conversations, recipe swapping, time-saving and for the sake of this topic, saving money!


So I went to my local retail store with the big red bulls eye as a logo and I found that their gift bags cost anywhere between $0.49 - $4.99 depending on what size gift bag you get. I never really factored in the cost of wrapping into the equation of holiday shopping but I was amazed that it would cost me $5 to wrap my little brothers gift. Since I was there to pick up some other items, I skipped the gift bags and went to my local dollar store and was amazed again to find a range of gift bags - from small to large - for $1 each!! They had very nice looking ones for Christmas and I paid $5 to conceal 5 whole gifts instead of one gift for the same price.

You can also go a step further by using those white boxes they give away at retail stores or ask if they have any boxes they are throwing away. If you are using gift bags, ask for these to be returned back to you so you can use them for next year or other occasions. The worst investment I think I could make is buying wrapping paper - it takes so much time, tape and you can't really re-use the torn paper for next year.

Ask For Presents That Save You Money

I have a prepaid cellphone and I thought that I would ask everyone in my family to get me a prepaid card to load onto my account. If they do, I would save $50 for the next 2 months! Someone in my family asked for hair clippers and I thought I would get them that gift since it was affordable to buy but the savings would be greater throughout the years.

So there you go, a couple of tips on how to save a little dough during Christmas! I wish you and your family a happy holiday!

Monday, April 18, 2011

What's In Your Wallet?

I just cleaned out my wallet. Let me tell you, it's much lighter now. I still think my wallet has less stuff in it than my friends and family and I usually know what I have in my wallet exactly. Today, I decided to get rid of some of that fat, if you will, by taking out unnecessary items. These items were once necessary to have in my wallet at times but I'll go through some of the things I got rid of and why.

What I took out of my wallet

(2) Credit Cards - I took out two of my credit cards because I found out my spending habits started to go wild; or so I think they did. I guess it's just a different feeling to pay a lump sum at the end of the month because you put it on credit rather than paying throughout the month with cash. I haven't done the math yet, but I'm almost one-hundred percent positive I've spent more using my credit cards for a month than I just used cash. One things for sure, I earned a lot of rewards points but these boys had to go.

My Social Security Card - I bet most of you are asking yourself: "Why would you carry your social security Card in your wallet"? It's a dangerous thing to do, I know. If I happen to lose my social security card, it can be used for fraudulent purposes. It can be used to steal my identity and I'll have to live in fear for the rest of my life. Okay, maybe not the rest of my life but you get the picture. So I think my social security card is better left at home than in my back pocket.

Receipts - Yes, receipts. Tons! I had so much paper where my money used to be. It's not a good sign when your money turns into receipt paper. Some of these receipts I kept were in case I had to return or exchange an item I had purchased but most of them were for things that couldn't be. These receipts also taught me what my spending was like for a good month or so and I realized I had spent a lot on coffee.

Used Gift Cards/Prepaid - I still had a prepaid card I received as a gift for a local coffee shop that I completely used up and it was just taking up space in my wallet. I kept the card in hopes of refilling it because the card gave my discounts if I used it but I figured I would spend more on coffee if I had currency just for that purpose. My wallet started to feel lighter already.

It doesn't seem like much but I noticed that most of these items, if not, all items I took out were to prevent a financial disaster. If I were to lose my social security card, there's a good chance my credit score could be impacted. If I carried a balance on that coffee shop gift card, I might have more receipts to replace my money. If I carry both credit cards with me, I might be carrying around large balances as well. I now only carry my drivers license, library card, cash and an ATM only card in case I need more cash. I might even have to downgrade my wallet into a simple card holder instead.

So what are some of the things you carry around in your wallet? What's one item that got you into trouble just because you had it at your convenience?

Saturday, January 29, 2011

5 Phrases You Shouldn't Say About Money

1. "Money Comes And Goes" - While it does make sense that the money you get is eventually spent, this phrase can have a negative impact on the way you think about money as a whole. I usually hear people use this phrase to justify a significant loss in the stock market or when they found out that paid too much for a product or service.

2. "I Want To Be Rich" - Yeah, who wouldn't want to be rich right? People tend to look for the fast route to getting rich but like they say: "If it were that easy, everyone would be rich". You should always try to improve your financial situation but start with things you can control such as paying off your credit card bills instead of focusing on things you can't like winning the lottery.

3. "I Don't Need To Invest Right Now" - You will find that the younger you are, the less likely you are to invest in your future financially. There are plenty of ways to start investing no matter what age. You should start off by educating yourself and seeking professional advice on investing.

4. "I'm Living Paycheck To Paycheck" - Unless, you truly have no other form of income and everything you're paying is absolutely needed, there is no reason why you should be living paycheck to paycheck. Can you pick up a second job? A hobby that pays? Consolidate your debt into a lower payment? Pick up extra hours? Cut back on your HD Sports Channels? Stop telling yourself this, it's negativity that will eventually be accepted by you.

5. "You Only Live Once" - I hear this phrase so much for so many other categories it's amazing. These categories seem to have some correlation with one another - they're bad for you! Have you ever declined a cigarette when offered and they told you this phase? Have you ever been asked to go out on a weekday night before a big final? Okay, you get what I'm saying. So with that said, spending money frivolously isn't something to throw this phrase at. Spend less than you earn and keep a budget.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

6 Things You Can Still Get For Free At A Bank

It was great while it lasted but simple free checking accounts are becoming extinct since new rules and regulations took place just in the last year in order to protect consumers. This change in the financial industry also opened up a new bag of worms - fees! Banks still offer free checking only if you meet certain, albeit rigorous criteria. Fortunately, there are still some things you can get for free from a bank if you can't get that free checking.

1. Coin Wrappers - These come in handy when you have accumulated lots and lots of change in your jar at home and banks are really generous when it comes to handing these out. They usually give you as much as you need but just say you have a lot of coins and they will give you plenty.

2. Faxes - I love it when my own bank can fax something for me at no cost. I once went to a grocery store where they offered faxing services at a ridiculous cost per page. I ended up paying $5 bucks for a couple or papers. This service shouldn't be abused since they do have other business to take care of.

3. Copies - Just like faxes, your bank will copy any documents you might need. For example, you might want a copy of a check you deposited for your records.

4. Coffee/Snacks - It's very rare for an office not to have a coffee machine these days but they sometimes offer a complimentary coffee to their customers and often people who are with they customers. If you ever stop by a bank to make a deposit for yourself or for someone else, ask for a complimentary coffee. I know this one bank in my town that also offers a small tray of popcorn!

5. Mail Out - Every bank should have an outgoing mail bag that gets picked up from a courier service and the mail gets sent out to the address without a stamp. They provide their own stamps for these items so the next time you need to send anything out, ask your bank if they can. Certain banks have FedEx or UPS pick up items on a daily basis so your bank can also pose as a drop off/pick up area.

6. Check Registers - This comes free still if you need it but we are rapidly moving towards a digital world and there's no telling how long check or check registers will be around.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Where You Can Use Your Job Status To Get Discounts

On top of making your paycheck, you can use your job status to gain some healthy returns on your money from entertainment to food & drink. You just have to do the leg work and see if your job will accommodate any such discounts. They are out there, it's you chance to get them.

1. Restaurants - If you are ever in your local Chili's, tell them you work in town and would like to get the local discount that is available. I do this every time I go there but be aware that you might have to show proof like an employee card or business card to receive the discount. Also, be understanding that this will vary based on location so it makes sense to ask before hand.

2. The Gym - Local gyms will love to have your business as membership specialist have a quota to meet. Talk to someone who at your work who already has a gym membership and ask what kind of discounts they're getting. Better yet, ask your boss or manager if there are any special discounts you get at the gym just for working there. Most likely there will be so I suggest you check it out if your interested in pumping some iron while you beef up your wallet.

3. Financial Products & Services - Almost all banks and credit unions will offer low cost or free checking to those who work for a company that is affiliated with that institution. For example, Citibank has something "bank at work" where they offer a free account if you work at a company that Citibank manages accounts for. Also, if you're having trouble making your money readily available after you deposit your check into a bank, it's best to choose the bank your company uses so they can verify funds right away and your money will be ready as soon as your deposit your check.

4. Entertainment - At my job, there is a website that is provided to all the employees where you can get discounts on all sorts of stuff. For example, I can get movie tickets for the nearest AMC Theater for a discount if I buy in bulk of 8 tickets that will last until they are used. The cost comes out to $6.50 each ticket. With the current prices at the movie theaters, I would say that is one hell of a deal.

5. Department Stores - I once worked at an outlet mall and I was able to get different kinds of discounts for shopping at other stores just because I worked at the mall. Some of you might already recognized this but sometimes people don't even think about doing it. Make your move for your next Christmas presents!

6. Cell Phone Plan - Sprint, At&T and Verizon are just some of the names that offer employee discounts to qualified companies. Check and see if your company is one of them by either calling the wireless company themselves or talking to your manager.

Please let me know what you guys think. What are some discounts that your job has to offer?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Ways To Be Financially Responsible

I have long been a believer that money is a tool and that it should be used properly when needed. Money shouldn't exist just because you want something you truly do not need. Money is a tool we should use to make a difference in our lives for the better and possibly better others who need it the most. We have responsibilities in our lives and sometimes money is intertwined with those responsibilities. I have compiled a list of ways to be financially responsible.

Donate To Charity

You can donate items or currency to a reputable charity for those who are less fortunate than you are. You can also donate your blood, plasma and even hair to individuals who need it most.

Make Sure Funds Are Available

Most people will accept a personal check from a friend or family member and expect for that check to clear which is understandable. What happens when the check bounces when you try to deposit it in your bank account? We'll not only will they get a fee from their bank but you might incur such fees as well. This doesn't make sense on the surface but when you dig deeper, you are the one responsible for what goes in and out of your account. So if the bank is made from ABC bank and yours is XYZ, go directly to ABC bank and ask to verify funds then go to your bank and deposit it.

Balancing Your Checkbook

We all heard this one and I don't do it myself because I use cash or debit now. I do, however, keep track of my bank account online and an excel sheet. Your method might be different but it should all be for the same purpose.

Keeping A Budget

Another dirty word in the world of personal finance. Depending on who you are, this can be extremely fun to do and could be very informative in your life. It's not for everyone but it sure is responsible of you to take hold of your finances and cutting costs where you see fit so you can have money for other endeavors.


Tipping your server, waiter, bus-boy or delivery man is not only the generous thing to do but it's responsible of you to do. You might get the occasional bad service but do you need to cut out the tip completely or are you just being irresponsibly cheap?


So you have donated to the less fortunate, you keep a healthy budget and your tip really well. Have you ever thought about spending some of your valuable time in teaching kids how to read or write? You just may make a difference in this world, even if it's just for one day. I personally think this is one of the most responsible things you can do in anyone's life.

Return To Lost & Found

So you see a wallet full of money sticking out under a table. By the looks of it, someone must have dropped it. What do you do? If you said "take the money" you are wrong and irresponsibly but for those responsible, you would take it to the lost and found or it's rightful owner. I once received $20 for returning a man's wallet.

Do Not Walk Away From Your Home

So many homes are left unpaid and the numbers are increasingly scary. I have read about the calculations people make with their mortgages and why they selfishly decide to voluntarily stop paying a home they gave their word on. How are these people perceived by their more responsible counterparts or their children? What is this doing to the economy? What will this do to your credit?

Life Insurance

Need I say more? From my experience, term life insurance seems the way to go but I would highly recommend sitting with an agent to find out what is best for you in your situation. Life insurance polices can take away the headache that relatives face when they have to pay for a loved ones funeral. The last thing I would want is my family to be slapped with a bill while they are in mourning.

Report Fraud, Scams Or Theft

If you ever been scammed by a foundation, a company or a friend who is surely now a foe, then I hope you have reported this to the authorities or the better business bureau (BBB) to help prevent those unaware from falling into the same scam you encountered. Just think, if you were scammed by a foundation that could have been prevented in the first place, you would have wanted it to be reported before it got to you.

I would love to hear what other financially responsible ways you guys might be doing. Please comment below to share.