Me'Shae's Blog of Money Saved - Author, How To Save Money & Organize Your Finances
www.JustTheBasicsFinancialLiteracy.com
Me'Shae's Blog of Money Saved

Repetitive Savings

Welcome back to Me'Shae's Blog of Money Saved.  This will be the last posting on this blog site, which will henceforth primarily be used for teaching purposes. Technology changes so rapidly and these days, I am concentrating my efforts on where my audience is--Facebook and Twitter.  Therefore, I invite you to “Like” my Facebook page at Just The Basics Financial Literacy.

First, enjoy this press/news release highlighting my involvement in nationwide financial literacy forums this past year.

Savings accumulated in 2011 and 2012 simply replicate previous postings over the course of the decade.  So what this means is that I have saved not hundreds, but thousands of dollars over the years.

And now (drum roll, please), here are ways I have been and continue to keep my hard-earned money out of the pockets of other entities and rope it back into our household to re-purpose for other uses, including debt elimination or to save:

Using my frequent rewards cards: airlines, car rental, car repair, hotels, Staples, Office Max, supermarket grocery stores, bookstores, CVS and Rite Aid, etc.; and subsequently making sure the points are properly posted.

Using my AAA card at numerous merchants such as hotels, and in my case, particularly at my local UPS store.  My vehicle also got stranded due to engine troubles this year, and so the membership itself came in handy.

Purchasing quality, all-occasion cards from the 99 cents store and even BJs Wholesale.  No need to pay 7-8 bucks for a card.  I also support a local woman-owned minority entrepreneur in her business of this nature. My third back-up is sending eCards.

Purchasing select items in bulk—sometimes the time saved from not having to constantly run out and buy the same things is worth more than the money.

Comparing online prices at hotels and car rentals with calling-in for a quotation.  A customer sales rep may be willing to apply a discount code just for you. There are no hard-and-fast rules to this, so you will have to conduct your research and simply ask.

Keeping a coupon file in my car (My faves are Macy*s, Kohl’s Cash, Bed, Bath and Beyond, and local restaurants); as well as accessing coupons online (Google the brand along with the name “coupons”).

Although I haven't personally gotten this far yet, you can utilize mobile apps to receive specials offered to loyal customers.

Presenting validated parking ticket at a hotel or convention center after having attended an on-site event.

Asking stores to "price match" their competitors.  I saved $80 off of a brand new piece of equipment I gifted our company with this Christmas: a combination copier-scanner-fax-printer machine regularly priced at $300, but on pre-Christmas sale for $230 at both Staples and Office Max. Using my $10 Office Max coupon, the purchase price depressed to $220!

Asking credit card companies for a lower interest rate and requesting the payoff balance—including amortized interest.

Regularly checking statements--whether received online or in the mail—and politely asking creditors/companies to reverse mistakes.

Maintaining a sense of organization, financial and otherwise such as spatial; for instance, creating an electronic file folder to store/file electronic confirmations into (i.e., airline confirmation receipts).

Scheduling regular standing appointments with our B.A.I.L. Team.  Does anyone know what this stands for? Banker, Accountant/C.P.A., Insurance Agent, Lawyer/Attorney, and I’m going to add Financial Advisor.

2011 entries worth repeating:
1) I noticed a number of receipts are also used as marketing and survey tools.  What happened to the day when receipts simply wished me a “good day” and invited me to come again soon?

2) I was changed an extra nickel on a beverage purchased at CVS.  This also applies to bottled water I purchase anywhere.  Do I need to think about converting from recycling to re-depositing?  But how much is my time worth it inserting these bottles and cans into a machine in order to obtain my refund versus setting them out on the curb for recycling?

Biggest pet peeve of 2012:  Not being rendered my receipts after making a purchase.  Merchants make assumptions about consumers that are simply not applicable to me: a) I’m going to memorize my transaction; b) I don’t care to pay attention to how much money I’m spending; and c) I am electronically wired up to my eyeballs. Meanwhile, they have “bean counters” to ferociously monitor their sales revenues.

In addition to searching this Blog for the circumstances under which I received the largest refund in a single transaction ($432), there are literally 40 additional ways to save money as outlined in my book, “How To Save Money & Organize Your Finances,” which is available for $20 +S&H) from my website
by calling (315) 908-BOOK (2665), or by contacting me via Facebook.

We at Rolling Enterprises, Inc. d/b/a/ Just The Basics Financial Literacy wish you and yours a joyous and healthy New Year—financially and otherwise.

2012 Log of Money Saved

January 3, 2012
Made $0.05 bottle deposit at CVS--need to convert from recycling to redepositing, but how much is my time worth it inserting these bottles and cans into a machine in order to obtain my refund versus setting them out on the curb for recycling?

January 26, 2012
Dined during a conference.  15% discount. $13 meal cost 11.05 (saved 95 cents). Remember, savings adds up over the long haul.

Renegotiated interest rate on Discover card while redeeming a $50 cashback reward.  Cash is king.

January 27, 2012
Disagreed with AT&T about $15 overage mistake on their part--why should I pay now and wait 1-2 billing cycles for them to correct the error?

January 29, 2012
Registered early for WISE [conference?]. Regular price: $75; discounted price: $60. Saved $15

February 3, 2012
Already saving at my local UPS Store w/AAA discount card. Saved $0.45 off of $2.55 scan.  Remember, savings adds up over the long haul.

February 4, 2012
Invited to present at the Institute for Financial Literacy Annual Education Conference in April.  Needed to book hotel asap before it sold out.  Caribe Royale Conference Rate $159.  Since this is Orlando, did a little research for nearby properties where I have a rewards card.  Found Marriott Fairfield Inn 3-10 minutes away for $107 w/AAA rate.  Per night savings: $52. Aggregate savings @ 4 nights: $208.  The fact that I will have to take a taxi round trip each date may be offset by the complimentary wi-fi and beverages/breakfast every morning, even though meals are included in my reduced presenter conference fee;in essence, the only meals I’ll have to pay for is at the airport.

February 5, 2012
Just logged onto my MaxPerks rewards site (Office Max) to see that I have $53.99 in coupon redemptions waiting for me: $9 will expire at the end of Feb., and $45 will expire at the end of March.  I printed the coupon since I have to purchase new legal-sized bucket folders for tax year 2012.

February 10, 2012
Redeemed $9 coupon (above) for 8 legal-sized bucket folders.  Regular price: $10.79; after discount price: $1.79. Saved $9.

February 12, 2012
Renewed GoDaddy products.  Should have cost $169.26, I searched on Google for GoDaddy coupon codes; found one for 30 percent off.  Order cost $121.56.  Saved $47.70 plus $179.88 and saved $44.97, thereby costing $134.91 (combined orders).

February 15, 2012
Bought my one and only favorite White Chocolate Mocha Starbuck’s coffee.  Saved $4.59 using a gift card.

July 22, 2012
Renewed GoDaddy domain names; saved 50% by Googling online discount codes.

I was in a great deal of business travel this Fall/Winter, accounting for absentee entries.  Some of the travel was financial literacy-related, having been invited to present or moderate at national forums.  See Press/News Release.

Thanksgiving Day 2012
I absolutely refuse to acquiesce to retailers’ carrot luring consumers to shop on the newly-coined “Brown Thursday,” aka “Gray Thursday.”  Brown because it’s Turkey Day.  Gray because it’s still a gray area.  I understand the concept of boosting the economy, but some things should still be held sacred.  And once the door is opened, it’s not shutting back.  Retailers say this is what consumers want.  I don’t buy into this.  Finish your dinner.  Enjoy your family and friends. Watch Charlie Brown and other Thanksgiving specials on TV.  There will always be Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday.

December 23, 2012
Asked Office Max if they'd be willing to "price match" Staples' HP 8600 Pro Copier/Scanner/Fax/Printer for the $230 sale price off of the regularly-priced $300.  Coupled with an additional $10 Office Max coupon, my business received a nice Christmas gift: a top-of-the-line piece of equipment for $230. Saved $80.  What a nice way to end the year.

2011 Log of Money Saved

January 5 - Purging info from Do Not Call and Do Not Solicit
Reduced the amount of junk mail that ends in in our mailbox by selecting the “Opt Out” feature when people--usually small business entrepreneurs--automatically add me to their ListServs without permission.  Up until now, I have been calling the toll-free numbers on the magazines.

Visit FTC.gov and FCC.gov.  Both re-direct to their National Do Not Call Registry DoNotCall.gov; or you can call 1(888) 382-1222 TTY call 1-866-290-4236 from the number(s) you wish to block.

You can also register by mail and send $1 for each address to be blocked to DMA.  Direct Marketing Association (DMA) https://www.dmachoice.org/dma/member/regist.action.

January 6, 2011
Presented validated ticket to the parking attendant upon exiting the doctor’s office parking lot.  Peeked at the normal rates.  For one hour, it would have been $3.50.

January 7, 2011
Used $1 CVS coupon against the purchase of a couple of items.  Spent $8.28, as opposed to $9.28.

January 8, 2011
Attended Brides out of Poverty all-day training, an anti-poverty organization. $75 value for free.

January 10, 2011
Sent a fax from my local UPS Store.  It should have cost me $30 ($3 per page for 10 pages), but since I am a regular customer, it cost me one-third of that price.  Saved $20.

January 11, 2011
Received my AAA card in the mail, promising discounts.  Plus, they sent me a $10 Wegmans gift card for signing up for membership.  This made my day. . .I love saving money!

Bought a personal item at CVS; received another item for FREE, with a retail value of $3.69.

January 14, 2011
Replenished our SU meal cards.  Asked administrative clerk her name, since I’m always there re-filling the cards.  She smiled and went the extra mile to provide our card balances.  Reminded me to be kind to persons in administrative positions.  They can either go the extra mile to help us or purposely not go the extra mile to deter us (without us even knowing it!).

January 17, 2011
Saved .44, at The UPS Store by using the AAA card for the first time.  I’ll let you know when the card has paid for itself (cost $54 for both James and me).

January 17, 2011
Didn’t waste any time using the Wegmans gift card sent to me by AAA.  Grocery items should have cost $20.53, but cost $10.53.  Savings already calculated on January 11th entry.

January 23, 2011
Stopped by Staples for a specific item, yet left with a small/medium bagful of office supplies priced from $1 to $5 on clearance.  That’s always the rule of thumb: check the clearance aisle first.  My receipt doesn’t really itemize the savings, but I know I saved money anyway; again, some of these items were marked down to a mere dollar, so bought a few household items as well (hand sanitizer, sandwich baggies, etc.).

January 23, 2011
Could have paid $25 to attend the Martin Luther King, Jr., dinner at the Carrier Dome and would have been perfectly willing to do so, but a colleague of mine received one of the four “Unsung Heroes” Awards, so our department picked up the dinner tab for a whole table. Saved $25.

January 24, 2011
Bought stamps as birthday gifts for family members’ use in 2011.  Paid $0.44 instead of $0.45 for “Freedom” stamps with neat designs.

January 25, 2011
Received a coupon in the amount of $28 in my online account from Office Max as a result of handing in ink cartridges for recycling and presenting my frequency rewards card--in this case called MaxPerks--every time I make a purchase.  Savings: $28.

I am such an office supply buff!


January 25, 2011
Saved $25 on WISE conference.  Regular fee was $75; I paid $50.

January 26, 2011
Pleasantly surprised that “the system” at the doctor’s office had a credit of $20 sitting in the computer.  Therefore, my co-pay was only $5 versus $25.  No savings to record, just nice to encounter a credit, because it’s usually the other way around.

January 28, 2011
Got new eyewear.  Between frames and lenses, should have paid $605, but using health insurance, paid $254.  Saved $351.  Furthermore, saved another $30 or so simply by calling around and comparing the cost of contact lenses.  When the vendor heard I was price-shopping, only then did they offer to match the lowest price I found.

January 31, 2011
Submitted my registration for the WISE Conference for April 12th.  WISE is the acronym for Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship.  WISE regularly attracts 1,000 women at The OnCenter every April. . .
  • in 2008 I was an attendee
  • in 2009 I was a presenter
  • in 2010 I was an exhibitor
  • this year, I will return to being an attendee
Registration: $75, but paid $50 early-bird, so saved $25 (as chronicled on 1/25)

February 3, 2011
Ate at Sheraton’s on-site Restaurant, Rachel’s, which was running a special of 50 percent off the normal price of the buffet.  The normal price is $13.90 ($17 when you factor in taxes and tip); $8.64 all inclusive at the discount rate.  Still, I saved approximately $8.  Might go again next week since they’re extending the special.

February 11, 2011
Saved $12 off of a comforter bed set at Family Dollar Store.  Original price was $48.  With the discount I paid $36.

February 20, 2011
Purchased a gorgeous 20-piece bed-in-a-bag from Ollie’s Discount Outlet for $69.99.  Had a coupon for an additional 15 percent off ($10.50).  Paid $59.49 after discounts.

February 20, 2011
Bargained with GoDaddy.com: if I sync all of the accounts I have with them such so that they’re all due one year from now, February 20, 2012, they can give me a bundled discount.  Everything should have cost $182.83, but I paid 1$58.55, representing a discount of approximately 13 percent and a savings of $24.28.

February 24, 2011
Bought a soda at CVS for $1.84 plus tax.  Realized that I’m being charged an extra nickel on bottles of juice and soda because the companies assume consumers are going to deposit, yet I always leaving my plastics in the recycling bin for pickup.  I need to come up with a plan on this.

February 24, 2011
Purchased a candle votive at Michael’s Arts & Crafts; should have cost $4.49, but with 40 percent coupon, it cost $2.69.  Saved $1.80.

Feb. 28-Mar. 4, 2011
Needed a ride to and from the airport.  Aunt JoAnn picked me up and dropped me off. . .a $24 value, but I treated her to breakfast at Cracker Barrel’s.

March 10, 2011
Purchased cashmere scarf at the tail-end of winter for 50 percent off.  A  $24.50 scarf cost me $12.  Saved $12.50.  Lesson learned:  purchase clothing and merchandise during off-seasons and immediately after the holidays when merchants need to move seasonal inventory.

March 13, 2011
Faculty member gave James her two tickets to a play.  Regular cost: $36 each.  Additionally, if we present our used ticket stub to the restaurant across the street from the theatre, then we’ll get a complimentary dessert with our meal.  Presuming dessert is a minimum of $5, the total savings is $82.

March 16, 2011
Ordered business checks.  Sherry at Alliance Bank saved me a discount because I ordered ones that were not very fancy.  Regular cost: $29; discounted cost: $22.  Sherry also gave me three cashier’s checks so I can pay vendors immediately, thereby saving me the cost of three money orders at the post office.  Thanks, Sherry!  When the wrong checks showed up (same color but less distinctive than my personal checks), she took the initiative to re-order yellow checks for me at no additional charge.  Thanks, again, Sherry!

March 25, 2011
Saved $89 delivery fee by picking up a piece of furniture that fit into our vehicle.

April 7, 2011
Saved $4 with coupon at Burger King: free sandwich for my hubby with my order from a coupon booklet.

April 14, 2011
Used two coupons at CVS: $1.69 + $0.50 off of $1.69 + $0.75 purchase.  Paid $0.26 ($0.25 + $0.01 tax)!

April 17, 2011
Got a Target receipt for $5 off.

April 25, 2011
Saved $5.31 on Mother’s Day cards at Sacred Melody Bookstore.

May 4, 2011
Saved $0.40 using CVS coupon.

May 20, 2011
Saved $0.79 by using CVS card on juice beverage that originally cost $1.79.

May 21, 2011
Received letter from Intuit encouraging me to upgrade from QuickBooks for Mac 2007 to the 2011 version.  Received two different opinions from two different CPAs: the 2011 version is more user-friendly and features more updates (updated versions almost always have more features).  The other C.P.A.: “Save your money, Me’Shae.  You already have what you need.”

Decided that since I’ve already had two tutorials with v. 2007 and still rely on Quicken, I would go ahead and upgrade, but this will be the last version I purchase.

Intuit: Regular price is $229.95 ($230), but call by May 31st and the price will be $183.95 including S&H.

Called Office Depot, and it’s on sale for $179.99 ($180), but I have a coupon for $10 that expires today.  Went out and purchased it for $170.  Taxes brought it back up to $183.59, same as it would have been had Intuit mailed it to me, but at least in this case, Intuit won’t capture all of my business info just to ship me the CD-ROM.  Savings: $10 plus peace of mind since my info was not captured for Intuit’s solicitation e-mails.

June 4, 2011
Notified that the UPS Store has completed the Christian Entrepreneurs Club Logo.  Cost $70 based on the amount of time the graphic designer spent on it.  Used coupon for 15 percent off, bringing the total to $60.  Saved $10.

June 7, 2011
Treated an E.D. of a non-profit to dinner, but bought take-out for James.  Went online prior to the dinner engagement, Googled restaurant name and “coupon,” and viola!  $10 off of the dinner check.

June 19, 2011
Planning a weekend getaway in Baltimore, MD, before 4th of July weekend.  We simply didn’t want the “hoopla” of air travel.  I’m staying home for the better part of the vacation (hence, the grocery shopping above).  Called Marriott/Renaissance; Starwood/Sheraton; Hilton/Hampton; and Holiday Inn Downtown & at the Inner Harbor area.  Inquired about the following, in order of importance to me:

  • Room rate after AAA discount
  • Internet fees (Just returned from Seattle on a business trip and was shocked to learn that the hotel wanted to charge $40/night for Internet access, but access in the lobby was free.  However, the bartender hits up lobby guests for drinks.  I passed.)
  • Parking rate
  • Complimentary continental breakfast
  • Complimentary hot beverages in the lobby

Holiday Inn won, with $140/night, Internet, lowest parking rate of $12 per diem, complimentary breakfast and beverages.  And of course, I gave them my rewards number.

June 20, 2011
Called insurance agent today; read in Money mag on the plane that if you have high credit scores, you can request a lower automobile insurance premium, so I did, and found out that State Farm already discounted us slightly for this, driving records, and payment history. Savings for both vehicles:  $19.42.  Using Quicken, I compared last year’s premium to this year’s.

June 20, 2011
Bought $230 worth of groceries today, but saved a total of $19.29 using coupons.  The clerk asked me if I had seen “Extreme Couponing” on TLC.  I haven’t, but I’ll look for it.

June 21, 2011
Bought patio lounge chair cushions at Ollie’s Bargain Direct Outlet.  Regular price: $35 - $40.  Sale price: $29.99 ($30).  Comparison shopped at Target and found that Target’s brand and Ollie’s are the same quality.

June 22, 2011
Purchased office supplies @ Office Max before coupon for $10 off $50 purchase expires.  There were items that I truly needed; otherwise, I’d give the coupon away: file caddy w/wheels, 3-ring binders, notebook, etc.  Saved $17.29: $10 coupon plus the binders were buy 1, get 1 free.  Having a couple of summer gatherings; therefore, bought 24 bottles of spring water for only $3.99 less $1 due to coupon @ Office Max. Saved $1. Total savings: $18.29.

Purchased an iPod docking station/stereo from Bed, Bath & Beyond.  The $79.99 price tag was the same as WalMart; however, I had a coupon for $5 off.  I did not have the 20 percent off one, which would have yielded $16 off!  I had already engaged in delayed gratification for this, so rather than wait for new coupons to arrive in the mail, I went ahead and purchased it knowing that I’d start using it while on vacation. Saved $5.

June 24, 2011
Bought a wooden tea chest with red velvet lining from Amazon.  The  browser assumed I was James and reminded me that because I am a Prime Customer, S&H is free!  So rather than order through my account, I asked James to order it for me.  Not sure what the savings is, but I know I saved.  When the receipt arrives with the order, I will have to mark it accordingly because James orders so many academic books that we itemize on our tax returns.  I will have to make sure this doesn’t end up as such since it is a personal Amazon order.

June 30, 2011
Bought an 8” x 10” frame at Michaels.  Regular price was $20. Paid $5.99 ($6) on sale.  Saved $14.

July 1, 2011
Saved $5 on hospital parking.

Purchased a red folding chair with a cup holder at Village Ace Hardware.  Regular price: approximately $10; sale price: $6.99 each.  Saved $3.

July 3, 2011
Saved 15 percent, or $4.50 off of $30 total purchase from Ollie’s Bargain Outlet.  After-discount cost: $25.50.

July 7, 2011
Saved $44.05 on portable patio tables and chaise lounge chairs at Target.  We’re a bit late.  In Syracuse, you have to get summer furniture early; because we endure such long, gray winters, everyone scrambles to clear out inventory at the first sign of spring.  After discount cost: $232.09.

July 21, 2011
Bought three Welch’s juices, regular price $1.79 apiece ($5.37 for three).  Saved $0.13 apiece (paid $4.98), for a total savings of $0.39.

July 23, 2011
Had to renew domain names with GoDaddy.com. Should have cost close to $59.95 ($60) for 1 year. Cost $54.50 ($55) with a 10 percent off coupon code.  I re-Googled afterwards and discovered that another site would have given me 25 percent, or close to $15 off!  Oh, well.  I’ll search more carefully next time. Saved $5.45.

July 28, 2011
Used $5 online coupon at Spaghetti Warehouse.  Paid $24.29.

August 12, 2011
Saved $0.72 at the UPS store using AAA card; made copies.

August 23, 2011
Bought 2 NYS Fair tickets for $6 per at Wegman’s.  Regular admission price: $10.  Saved $8.

August 30, 2011
Ordered Amazon book through James’s free shipping account.  Saved at least $4 on $21 purchase.

Fall 2011
Verizon/ DirecTV took $5/month off of the service fee for 12 months because of billing mistakes that I repeatedly called in and was assured would be corrected but never were.  Total savings: $120!

September 1, 2011
Saved $0.10 per gallon on gas at Shoprite/ Sunoco using the Advantage Card.  Paid $3.5999/gal. instead of $3.6999/gal.

September 5, 2011
Using Syracuse University discount, I saved 10 percent at a mall store carrying SU hoodies and tees.  Total savings was $12.20.

September 6, 2011
I was asked to leave my large bag/purse at the check-out counter at The Dollar Store.  I called the store manager--as well as the corporate office--and made some noise.  I understand merchants’ need to protect inventory, but there are metal detectors and surveillance cameras present.  Requesting that I surrender my purse containing my wallet--or even suggesting that I take my wallet out of my purse so they can hang onto it--is just downright insulting.  The Dollar Store can keep their discounts].  They have lost my business.

September 9, 2011
Bought ink cartridges for the laser printer.  Had a bad experience.  First, the checkout scanner at Office Max wanted to log $147.99, when in fact the advertised price was $144.99.  Next, I made sure the cashier had both my rewards cards and  the best coupons I could offer; they made me do two separate transactions.  Aye-i Yi Yi.  Final tally: $440.97 minus $25 worth of coupons equals $415.97.  Plus Tax.

Stores are now notorious for not only asking you if you wish to open up a new credit card for a mere 10 percent off of your purchase, but also casually asking you for your e-mail address.  I am so sick and tired of the overtime these folks put into marketing.  I decline everything; go online for my coupons; and am now also opting out/unsubscribing/blacklisting small business vendors who manage to grab my e-mail address from a networking function without even trying to establish and cultivate a RELATIONSHIP.  I’ll browse, at my leisure, the sites of the ones who I wish to support.

September 16, 2011
Supported small business (minority) entrepreneurs at the YCF Conference: cards-soap-bibs.

September 17, 2011
Went to shoe store at the mall to return a purchase (shoes for my visiting niece that did not fit).  No sooner than I walked into the store with my bag, I was asked if I wanted to look around for an exchange item, to which I declined.  Thoughts going through my head:  I want my money back.  No more consumerism.  Received my $25 refund and got out of there to enjoy the rest of my day in the peace, quiet, and comfort of my home, being content with what I already have.

September 18, 2011
My husband received an estimate/quotation for repairing our second vehicle (again).  We let Romano know up front that I would be comparing their price with a local competitor -- Pep Boys -- and that we are in the market for a new vehicle (no kidding--he can tell just by reviewing the vehicle maintenance and repair history).  It worked.  Customer Service Director approved $125.90, or 10 percent off of repair price.

Coupons arrived in the mail later that same day for 18 percent off if repair bill totals up to $500. Romano even honored a coupon for $29.92 on oil and filter change.  Total saved on vehicle repairs: $152.26.  When James and I picked-up the vehicle, Eric, or CSR commented that he actually respects that fact that I negotiated instead of green-lighting repair of the vehicle without asking questions.

September 20, 2011
Received $0.50 bottle deposit refund.  I was actually surprised--I thought it was a nickel.  Yep, I can use this for tolls change.

September 21, 2011
Saved $0.53, or 30 percent off of FedEx Office order using business discount card.  This is a standard discount since I have a card.  I also receive a 30 percent discount at the UPS Store when I present my AAA card.

September 23, 2011
Received Alumni Brunch tickets valued at $50, or $25 each.  Couldn’t afford dinner gala @ $150, but did comp speaking engagement on “What Every Young Professional of Color Should Know About Money & Finances Before Graduating From College.”  Since James couldn’t join me, found a hungry student in the lounge to give the extra ticket to.

Saved $0.13 x 3 on 3 Welch’s juices, regularly priced at $1.79 each.  Before discount: $5.37. After discount: $4.98. Saved .39 cents.

Bought a 16GB flash drive from Office Max.  Regular price: $80.  Sale price: $50.  Saved $55.12 on total purchase by selecting items from the clearance rack.

Bought item at Ollie’s direct outlet .  Regular price: 25 for $16.99 ($17).  Saved $8.

September 27, 2011
Purchased 9 photo albums at $4.97 per on sale, regularly $5.99 ($6) each.  I used a coupon in a separate purchase, eight at 40 percent, or $3.20 off of my order, totaling $46.20.

September 28, 2011
Traveled for SU today.  Drove 3.5 hours SE of Syracuse.  Although I usually book hotel room in advance, I decided to Google my preferred hotels--Hampton Inn, Holiday Inn, Marriott, and Sheraton-- before hitting the road.  Found a Hampton near the training site.  Upon checking in, I received a discount simply because the cashier at the front desk felt like giving one.  I Provided SU’s tax exempt certificate as well as AAA and received complimentary breakfast, dinner, wi-fi, and 24-hour hot beverages..  What occurred to me is that I’ve stayed at fancier hotels that made me pay for wi-fi and didn’t even have the aforementioned amenities.  Going forward, I will make more of a concerted effort to research hotels close to the conference venue, even it may mean giving up the luxury of attending the conference in-house.

Ate at a diner in Hudson Valley.  There were blatant mistakes on my check, charging me for food items that I didn’t even order.  Watch your bills, people, watch your bills!

October 10, 2011
Saved $4.06 using CVS coupon to create digital photo albums.

October 18, 2011
Bought ink toner.  Regular price: $149.99 ($150).  Used $10 Office Max coupon.  

October 20, 2011
Got ten Zumba classes for $40--one free.

October 26, 2011
Using CVS coupon, saved $3 off of--incidentally--a coupon book valued at $35, so cost me $32.

October 28, 2011
Renewed UPS mailbox and got 3 months free.  I paid $132 until February 2012. Saved $33 ($11 x 3 months).

Saved over 90% on 166 MB USB flash drive @ Office Max: $80 + on sale for $30.  Paid only $4.39 combining discounts and coupons.  Wow, this is just like Macy*s.  Saved $75.

October 29, 2011
Bought 5000-sheet case of copy paper at an office supply store.  Regular price was $46 and change ($47); purchased at $39.99 ($40).  Saved $7.  I am finding that it is more cost-effective for me to purchase this particular commodity--just like certain consumables in our household--in bulk.

November 4, 2011
Stayed at Omni Hotel on Capitol Hill.  The hotel waived the $11.99 per diem Wi-Fi rate as compensation for a separate inconvenience.  Saved $24.

November 10, 2011
Alliance Bank waived $23 fee for reordering my checks.

November 19, 2011
Used my precious commodity of time to call one of the SU shops on Marshall Street about getting an itemized receipt for my three nieces’ tee shirts.  My credit card receipt shows that I spent $88.37, but did they apply the discount, or did they take advantage of the fact that I was caught up in treating my nieces?  Maybe next time, I’ll go to the competitor’s two doors down next time where I will receive my itemized receipt without asking for it.  Lesson learned: Pay attention even if you’re having fun!  That’s the best time to take advantage of consumers.

November 22, 2011
Used a coupon good for $1.59 off of an order.

November 25, 2011
Stores open late tonight, no sooner than the turkey is digested.  Even though this gesture is meant to help boost the economy, I am concerned that Pandora’s box is opened and it won’t be shut back.  I didn’t really have the money to spend in PA, and working as hard as I/we do, have no time to spend in CNY.  Since I have both some time and some money, I will venture out to see if Black Friday lives up to its namesake and hoopla, although I admittedly need to get only a few needed items for home and others.  I’ll engage in real shopping later.  Here’re the results:

Bought six (6) 18-gallon totes on sale at Target.  Regular price: $9 - $10 each.  Sale price: $5.99 each. Saved $24 (the difference between $60 and $36).

November 25, 2011
Purchased an 8 GB flash drive for only 7.99! (plus tax, bringing it to 8.63)  Why? I had a coupon, of course.  This flash drive normally costs $29.99 ($30).  Saved $22.

Bought two bluetooth devices for our cell phones.  Regular price: $59.99 ($60) each.  After-coupon price: $100 for both.  Saved $20.

November 29, 2011
Saved $4.64 on copies w/AAA card at The UPS Store for a final total of $28.43.

November 30, 2011
Saved $4.04, or 30 percent off of total order using staff holiday discount at the SU Bookstore.  After-discount price: $10.18.

December 4, 2011
Happened upon an estate sale while walking in my neighborhood.  Bought a tripod with pad for teaching for $10 and a coffee pot for $5.  The nearer it gets to closing time, the prices will dip even further.

December 13, 2011
Purchased a Logo as a gift for a family member; saved 15 percent  or $9.75 off of a $65 order using AAA card.  After-discount price:  $55.25.

December 29, 2011
Using FedExOffice’s discount card, saved $0.40 off of $2.67 scanning order.  After discount price:  $2.27 plus tax.

General 2011 observations:
Noticed a number of receipts are also used as marketing tools.  What happened to the day when receipts simply wished me a “good day” and invited me to come again soon?

Saved $$ making sure Wegmans swipes my frequent rewards card, because they don’t always ask. Price Chopper and Tops ask. Grocery savings in 2011 by doing so whether I am asked or not is significant.

Saved $$ using AAA card, particularly at The USP Store and hotels, so the annual fee is worth the investment--will renew in 2012.

Get organized and just ask

Get Organized
I work in academia, and so winter and summer breaks are ideal times for me to maximize downtime by becoming organized and catching up on projects that I normally can't get around to doing.  I am also learning how to outsource projects; I finally came to realize that it is worth it to exchange an independent contractor's time, expertise and focus in order to free up my valuable time to engage in personal and entrepreneurial tasks that only I can accomplish.

One personal organizing project that I completed was organizing my jewelry bin.  I discovered that I was wasting precious time in the mornings rumbling around for jewelry to match my day's outfit. I also purchased an additional 4-compartment laundry bin to add to the 3-compartment bin that we already have.  Why?  We have 7 categories to sort!  (i.e., white hot, dark warm, dark cold; towels and tees, etc.)  Not 4--and I was taking more time to sort the clothes for laundry.

Just Ask
I needed to purchase a bin for newspapers and magazines.  Saw "the one" in the back of the store, cast away in an over-sized bin at TJ Maxx.  The colors were suitable for my living room decor.  The reason for being outcast?  One of the leather handles was broken--not important to me.  Regular price: $13.  Asked the store manager for a discount, citing the fact that they may not sell it at all due to the broken handle.  Purchased it at $10. Saved $3.

Took car in for annual inspection.  Before the dealer could inspect my older model Ford, he told me about a couple of "problems."  I consented for the repairs, while asking for a discount since this was an unanticipated expense beyond the inexpensive inspection itself.  The dealer gave me 10% off of the total bill.  Every little bit helps.

Just The Basics Financial Literacy a Finalist in the Chase Business Plan Competition

Just The Basics Financial Literacy has been selected as a finalist in the Chase Business Plan Competition on Friday, May 18, 2012.  JTB is one of six emerging businesses competing.  We will have five minutes to present our business before a panel of judges, followed by Q&A.  Last year's prizes were $1,500 (1st place), $1,000 (2nd place) and iPad (3rd place).  Win or lose, I am excited to move from conception to implementation/execution and to have the opportunity to compete.  After tinkering with the BP for a little over three years now with assistance from the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Onondaga Community College (OCC), I am finally ready to implement the vision that's been swirling around in my head and slowly but steadily constructing itself.  A Business Plan is never really "finished," per se.  I am excited to have the opportunity to compete, and wish the other finalists well.  If you haven't done so already, please "Like" JustTheBasicsFinancialLiteracy on Facebook.

Institute for Financial Literacy's Financial Education Conference

Invited to make a presentation at the Institute for Financial Literacy's (IFL) Annual Financial Education Conference (AFEC) in Orlando, FL this week on "Serving Those Who Serve: Uncovering Asset Development and Accumulation Resources for Veterans and Military Families": http://www.acfeonline.org.  I have met representatives representing Experian, Consumer Financial Protection Board, Federal Reserve Bank and FDIC, in addition to financial literacy educators nationwide, and am excited to bring a plethora of resources back to the Central New York area.

Check back soon for Me'Shae's 2011 aggregate savings!


Continue to enjoy the postings, and be sure to visit JTBFinancialLiteracy.com. This blog site, however, no longer accepts comments due to Spam. Thank you for visiting.


12 Tips for Emerging Entrepreneurs (Part I of II)

Entrepreneurs are visionaries. They have a passion for providing a product or service in the marketplace while making money.  Other than that, entrepreneurs don’t fit into a neat category. They are full- or part-time employees who moonlight, mid-career changers, downsized professionals, people with disabilities, youth, seniors and stay-at-home Moms, or “Mompreneurs.”  They “hire themselves,” and they create the small businesses that grow an economy.

This is the link to Part I of a two-part series on entrepreneurship published in the June 6, 2011 issue of the MoneyWise section of The Post-Standard:

Emerging entrepreneurs will find guidance and support at these 16 places in CNY (Part II of II)

Central New York and Syracuse offer many resources to help the small business entrepreneur get on her feet. Many of the programs listed below are either free, or in the case of associations, there may be an annual membership fee and meeting dues. You may attend a function as a guest and pay only the non-member fee to get a feel for the extent to which the organization will meet your needs before you commit.

Here are 16 places where you can find help and support in this two-part series published in the June 13, 2011 issue of the MoneyWise section of The Post-Standard:

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