Tag: saving

Guide to Shopping Smart for Prom

Graduation and prom season can be an exciting time in a teenager’s life. This time in a young person’s life marks a rite of passage and a pivotal time bridging childhood and adulthood while giving students the opportunity to let loose and celebrate their academic successes. Prom also serves as a way to make memories with a group of friends who may go in different directions after graduation.

Many students are eager to begin planning their prom experiences as early as possible. Promgoers may want to begin browsing stores and shopping for prom apparel in the months leading up to the big night, but it’s important to follow a few bits of advice before making any prom purchases.

· Pay attention to the rules implemented by the school or venue. It’s time to follow one last directive before graduation, and that means heeding the requirements for prom attire and any other rules they may have. Some schools implement dress codes, so learn if your school has one so you do not spend money on clothing that will be inappropriate. School personnel have the right to refuse entry to the prom if dress guidelines are not met. Choose a private occasion, such as a graduation party, if you want to wear something less traditional.

· Shop early and shop sales. Waiting until the last minute to purchase prom dresses or tuxes is not ideal, as the pickings might be slim. Begin your search early so you have more options and more time to find attire that fits your budget.

· Shop further away from home, if necessary. Broaden your horizons to shops and retailers outside of your town, if necessary. This may guarantee that your attire isn’t a carbon copy of what everyone else is wearing – or a complete duplicate of another student’s outfit. Look for independent retailers, such as mom-and-pop boutiques, which may carry more unique and diverse offerings than big retailers. Such stores may offer more personalized service as well, such as alterations and tailoring.

· Fit clothing to your current size. Some students hope to lose a little weight prior to prom. But it’s best to avoid purchasing a gown or suit in a size you hope to be, as it’s easier to alter clothing to smaller sizes than make sizes bigger.

· Browse magazines for inspiration. Professional stylists are often behind the amazing looks of magazine spreads. Take inspiration from their ideas, but also make the looks your own with some modifications. It may be a different accessory or a different color pairing. Don’t be afraid to take a magazine to a store and ask if they have similar pieces.

· Be open to new ideas. Sometimes the clothing you see on the pages of magazines may seem to be the ideal style for you, but keep yourself open to other cuts, colors and designs. An outfit you never imagined wearing may end up being the perfect fit.

· Know store return and exchange policies. Formalwear is frequently governed by different rules from casual clothing. All sales may be final, or there may be a small window of time for exchanges. Keep your receipts in a safe place and be aware of return policies, in case prom plans change.

· Consider renting or borrowing. Niche businesses have sprung up that enable customers to rent gowns or suits for a day or two. The costs may be less than purchasing new outfits. Otherwise, see if an older sibling or a friend may have promwear you can borrow.

Prom season involves shopping trips to find the perfect promwear. Start early and design a plan of action to guarantee you have the time to find affordable attire you will really love. TF164982

Budget-Friendly Family Vacation Trips

Family vacations provide wonderful opportunities for families to bond and make lasting memories. But such opportunities do not come without a price, and that price is oftentimes very steep.

According to the 2015 TripBarometer study from popular travel website TripAdvisor, travelers across the globe are open to spending more on travel in 2016 than they have in the past. The study, conducted on behalf of TripAdvisor by the independent research firm Ipsos, analyzed more than 44,000 responses from travelers and hoteliers across the globe. Thirty-three percent of respondents plan to spend more on travel in 2016 than they did in 2015, while 31 percent admitted that they plan to spend more on travel because it’s important for their health and well-being.

Those figures are good news for the travel industry, but travelers, especially parents who plan to vacation with their children, should expect to encounter rising room rates when planning their trips. That’s because nearly half of all hoteliers surveyed indicated their intentions to increase room rates in 2016. While that might scare off some budget-conscious travelers, parents should know there are ways to cut the costs of family vacations.

· Consider alternative accommodations. Families accustomed to staying in hotels while on vacation may be able to save by exploring some budget-friendly alternatives to hotels. Vacation rental properties, which may include private homes or condominiums, may charge less per day than four- or five-star hotels in the same city. Before booking accommodations, parents should explore all lodging options, including online bed and breakfast websites that may showcase private homes that boast lower nightly rates than large hotel chains.

· Book through a travel agency. Many travelers now book their own vacations through popular do-it-yourself travel websites such as Orbitz, but going it alone may not be the most cost-effective approach for families. Many travel agency representatives are accustomed to working with travelers who are on a budget and building vacations that include all the sights their clients want to see for the amount they’re willing to spend. Travel agency representatives typically have considerable connections in the countries they specialize in, and those connections can produce memorable experiences at lower costs than travelers would likely pay booking the trips on their own. In addition, many travel agencies include the cost of admissions to various sights in their packages, making it easier for travelers to budget for their trips.

· Scour discount websites for deals. E-commerce marketplaces such as Groupon aren’t just for date nights at home. Such websites and services also provide domestic and international travel deals. Families can book entire trips through such websites, many times at considerable discounts, or scour the sites for deals on sightseeing opportunities in the cities where they will be vacationing.

· Plan to cook. Meals can quickly consume travelers’ budgets. The Consumer Expenditure Survey released in 2015 by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated that food and alcohol can take up about 16 percent of the budget for international travelers, and 27 percent for domestic travelers. Such estimates seem low and might reflect the difficulty surveyors had distinguishing between travelers who visited friends and family, and subsequently spent little on food, and travelers who had to purchase all of their vacation meals. Families can cut meal costs by planning to do some of their own cooking. Rental properties and extended stay hotels are typically equipped with full kitchens, which can help parents save money without sacrificing the quality of their vacations.

Families looking forward to their next vacations can implement several strategies to make those trips affordable. FP165052

Top Ways You Might Be Wasting Your Money

Many consumers waste money every day without even noticing it. Yet, rethinking our habits could provide savings that add up quickly over time. Here is a list of the top ways we waste money. Are there any areas where you could improve?

Paying credit card interest – Always aim to pay off credit card debt as soon as possible. Consider moving balances from high interest credit cards to one with a lower interest rate. This will allow you to pay off debt faster.

Buying bottled water – Did you know that most bottled water isn’t any better for you than tap water? In fact, some bottled waters come from municipal sources and are repackaged for consumer consumption. Switch to tap water and a reusable bottle to save money and the

environment.

Wasting food – The average household throws out about $600 worth of food each year. Meal planning and budgeting for food can reduce waste significantly. Learning how long food keeps and the truth about expiry dates can also help, as can cooking in bulk and freezing meals.

Wasting energy – Every month, many homeowners throw money out their doors and windows through energy loss attributed to poorly insulated or maintained homes. Combat the problem easily for instant savings. Top up attic insulation with an easy-to-install batt product, like Roxul Comfortbatt, which can also be used to insulate crawl spaces, basement headers and walls for greater energy efficiency. Caulk cracks and crevices around doors and windows and invest in a programmable thermostat.

Choosing the wrong plan, option or service

provider -Many of us overspend on our phone, cable and even our mortgage. Have you stayed with the status quo for convenience? It might be time to rethink your options. Right-size your phone plan – perhaps an unlimited plan is unnecessary – to reflect actual usage and shrink monthly bills. Consider alternate sources for television and movie viewing. Always shop around for mortgage or car insurance and consider using a broker who has access to dozens of potential lenders/insurers.

Splurging on coffee – Cafe^a-quality coffee is an indulgence, and a cup of Joe-to-go can cost between $2 and $7. Consider investing in a quality coffee maker or espresso machine for your home or office, and put your daily savings to better use.

Buying lottery tickets – Quite simply, the odds of winning the lottery are not in your favor. Most of us have a better chance of getting struck by lightning. Spending just $10 a week over 20 years adds up to more than $10,000. Put that into a savings account, and you’ve already won.

Impulse buying – A little self-control can go a long way to lining your wallet. Become a smart shopper by researching prices and options before making significant purchases. Plan ahead to save additional money by packing lunches or snacks instead of eating out.

It’s doesn’t take big sacrifices. Resolve to make some small changes more often to save. TF163978

Managing Money after 50

Investors know that money management can be difficult. The ebb and flow of the economy can be similar to a roller coaster, with soaring highs followed by steep drops, and those changes all affect investors’ bottom lines. It’s no wonder then that many investors over 50 envision the day when they can get off that roller coaster and simply enjoy their money without having to worry about the everyday ups and downs of the market. But managingmoney after 50 is about more than just reducing risk.

Reducing risk as retirement draws near is a sound financial strategy that can safeguard men and women over 50 from the fluctuations of the market That’s true whether investors put theirmoney in stocks, real estate or other areas that were not immune to the ups and downs of the economy. But there are additional steps men and women can take after they turn 50 to ensure their golden years are as enjoyable and financially sound as possible.


* Prioritize saving for retirement. Men and women over 50 know that retirement is right around the corner. Despite that, many people over 50 still have not prioritized saving for retirement. It’s understandable that other obligations, be it paying kids’ college tuition or offering financial assistance to aging parents, may seem more immediate, but men and women over 50 should recognize that their time to save for retirement is rapidly dwindling. Just because you are retired does not mean your bills will magically disappear. In fact, some of those bills, such as the cost of medical care, are likely to increase. So now is the time to make retirement a priority if you have not already done so. It might be nice to finance a child’s college education, but that should not be done at the expense of your retirement nest egg. Kids have a lifetime ahead of them to repay college loans, while adults over 50 do not have that much time to save for retirement.

* Start making decisions. People retire at different times in their lives. Some people want to keep working as long as they are physically and mentally capable of doing so, while others want to reap what their lifetime of hard work has sewn and retire early. Finances will likely play a strong role in when you can comfortably retire, so start making decisions about your long-term future. Do you intend to stay in your current home or downsize to a smaller home? Will you stay in your current area or move elsewhere? These decisions require a careful examination of your finances, and many will hinge on how well you have managed your money in the past and how well you manage it in the years ahead. Managing moneyafter 50 requires more than just allocating resources. Soundmoney management after 50 also means making decisions about your future and taking the necessary steps to ensure those decisions come to fruition.

* Pay down debt. Men and women over 50 are not often associated with debt, but that’s a misconception. Thanks in part to the recession that began in 2008 and led to high unemployment, many people in the baby boomer generation, which includes people born between the years 1946 and 1964, went back to school to make themselves more attractive to prospective employers. While that might have been a sound decision, it left many deeply in debt. According to a 2013 report from the Chronicle of Higher Education, student loan debt is growing fastest among people over 60, and that debt is not inconsequential. In fact, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York reported in 2013 that the average student loan debt of those over the age of 60 who still owe moneyis more than $19,000, a considerable increase from 2005, when the average debt was $11,000. Men and women over 50 who are still carrying debt should eliminate consumer debt first, as such debt tends to be accompanied by higher interestrates than mortgages and student loan debt. Paying down debt can help reduce stress, improve your quality of life and free up money for living and recreational expenses once you retire.

* Examine your insurance policies. Your approach to insurance should change as you get closer to retirement. For example, you want to maximize your liability insurance on homeowners and auto insurance policies. This ensures the money you have set aside for retirement won’t be going to a third party should you be at-fault in an auto accident or if someone suffers an injury at your home. Experts recommend liability insurance be substantial for men and women over 50, with some suggesting it be as high as twice your net worth.

If it wasn’t already, securing long-term disability insurance should be a priority once you have turned 50. A sudden accident or illness at 55 that prevents you from working could prove devastating to your financial future if you do not have disability insurance. Some employers offer long-term disability, though many people are left to secure policies on their own. Regardless of how you get your disability insurance, make sure you have it and that it provides adequate coverage should you succumb to an illness or injury and be unable to work.


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Gold iPad Giveaway! Ends 12/18

Do you like GOLD? Who doesn’t? The Franklin Shopper is hosting a Free Giveaway that will make you feel like King (or Queen!) Midas!

Winner receives a Gold Apple Ipad Mini!!

Enter Daily by typing in the Secret Word of the week!

(Giveaway ends 12/18)

ENTER HERE

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Local Highlight: Back to School

This week’s featured businesses are all ready to help get you on track for a great start to the new school year! The fall season can be busy with back to school errands but these local businesses will help make it easy!

• Martin’s Farm Market
-> Stock up on fresh produce, as well as deli meats for lunches and classic dinner cuts as well!

• Ur Sweet Repeats
-> Franklin County’s largest consignment event!

• Small Acre Haymaker
-> Prep for basketball season with one-on-one training!

• Maggie’s Barbershop
-> Get groomed for a fresh start to the new school year! Men/boys haircuts starting at $9!

For more local business listings, Shop Local & browse our directory online. Featured local Coupons are also posted regularly!

Back to School Savings Tips

Back to school shopping can take a big bite out of your wallet! In the whirlwind of prep heading back to class, penny-pinching while you shop can only add stress.

No matter what your budget may be, there are a few simple tips that can help stretch your spending as well as ease some of the stress from the hectic fall season.

*Take inventory of what you have: Get rid of what you don’t need by donating or reselling in the local classifieds

*Set a budget & stick to it: Consider your necessities vs. wants

*Buy in bulk: Save time and $ by purchasing frequently used items in bulk – lunch item & snacks to paper & pens

*Pay attention to what’s on sale: Local businesses often offer special discounts and savings during back-to-school shopping. Look for coupons and comparison shop around town to $ave