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Deals That Are Nifty by Sister Thrifty: January 2006

Deals That Are Nifty by Sister Thrifty

Great Steals and Deals around town and online to save you the big bucks and help you keep more of your hard-earned money!

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Saving Secrets

Are you planning on establishing a "New Year's Resolution" to start saving more money in 2006? Like any resolution, unless some ACTION is taken on your part, nothing will ever change.
For example, if your New Year's resolution is to lose weight, you WILL have to change a few eating habits and/or exercise regularly. If your goal is to quit smoking, then you WILL need to make an honest effort to stop smoking.
Key To Your Success
The key to making your resolution become a reality is to set a goal. In other words, what do you want the 'extra' money for? Are you saving for a new car stereo system? What about a family trip to Las Vegas?
Point is, when you have something to strive for, saving money becomes ten times easier. This goal is something you really want, so you will do what is necessary to be successful.
Once you have a tangible goal to work toward, establish an amount you will need to reach. Or, how much is your 'goal' going to cost?
For example . . .
A new car stereo system - $200-$700, depending on quality.
A trip to Vegas - $350-$1800, depending on distance/hotel/gambling habits.
Start off just a week at a time. Decide how much you need to save per week in order to reach your goal. Use these tips to help save money each and every week:
Avoid Eating Out
This may be your number one money saver depending on how often you dine out. Trips to restaurants and fast food 'joints' can quickly add up to be an expensive bill. Try and limit your outings to once a week, or better yet, once a month. On other days, pack a lunch or cook at home. Not only will you find yourself saving money, but you'll be eating healthier at the same time.
Adopt The "Do I REALLY Need This" Approach Before you purchase ANYTHING, ask yourself if you REALLY truly need to have it. Whenever you are tempted to buy something, ask yourself "Do I REALLY NEED this new item, or do I just WANT it?" You may be surprised to learn that some of the purchases you make, you simply WANT to have and can probably get by without it (at least for now).
Put A Limit On Entertainment Costs
Who's to say that you need to spend $150 every time you have a night on the town? There are a number of activities that don't cost much like miniature golf, bowling, movies, picnics, camping, museums, scenic spots, local college sporting events, city parks, beaches/rivers/lakes, and the list goes on and on. Point is, be creative and have fun without spending all your hard earned money.
Don't Let The Kids Have Free Money
How often do you find your children saying 'Mom/Dad, let me have a few bucks!' Many of us don't mind, or sometimes we are too busy at the time to put up an argument. Regardless, this will cut into your savings potential, and delay you from achieving your GOAL. Instead of just giving your children money, make them earn it. Teach them the value of money and they will soon learn not to spend their money haphazardly since it does not "grow on trees".
Stash Your Savings In A Special Place
Don't forget to do this! You wouldn't want to spend the money that you've worked so hard to save. Designate a special container for your savings where all the extra money can be put. As they say, 'Out of sight, out of mind'.
Maybe even a specially designated bank account to take the risk of spending out of the picture.
*NOTE*: Take extra special care in where you keep your container, and who you tell about it. This is your personal goal, so there is no reason the whole world has to know, right?
These are only a few money saving tips you can implement into your day-to-day routine. Keep in mind though, these aren't your only opportunities to put some extra money in your pocket, but they are some of the easiest to start implementing.
Take time to reflect on your current situation. Analyze your expenses to see where you might be able to cut-back to save more money. Remember, you and only you control the amount of money you save in 2006.
You'll find that when you set a goal that is important to you, saving money is really not that hard. If it is important to you, then you will make the small sacrifices to accomplish that goal.
If you are interested in getting your hands on a more detailed, step-by-step money saving guide, take a look at some of the Ebooks that we offer. You can even download a FREE electronic book titled "Eight Steps To Tackle The Money Saving Process" at the following location:
Best of luck in attaining your New Year's Money Saving Goal! Remember, the more dedicated and persistent you are, the more money you'll save. That is the overall purpose of your New Year's Resolution...right?
Copyright 2006 -- Get immediate access to effective money-saving articles and even a FREE monthly newsletter and downloadable ebook directly at their website!

Monday, January 23, 2006

Library fines could come back to haunt you!

Hi everyone!
If you never paid that parking ticket or library fine years ago, it just may come back to haunt you....The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is now involved, and can capture information about your unpaid parking tickets and even library fines. It all started because repeat DUI offenders were going to different states to get new licenses when theirs had been revoked. The registry was established to find those people. But there were no restrictions put on the database. Anyone who failed to pay a parking or speeding ticket or even a library fine is free game. So, what can you do? Unfortunately, you must now keep proof that you paid a ticket or fine for the rest of your life. And, if you get a ticket or fine, pay it. If you don’t, your credit may suffer and you lose the chance to get a preferential rate on a home loan. You could also lose your license if you fail to pay. So, don’t risk it!

To join a free movie screening pass program, simply e-mail and include your name and address. It's sponsored by Entertainment magazine. They'll even give you a three month free trial of their magazine if you ask them!

After last week's credit card fraud comments on my e-mail I had so many people e-mail me about their own experiences. It's obviously on a lot of people's minds...and wallets! Companies are jumping on the identity theft scare and are convincing people that they need their credit monitored 24 hours a day. You should really only consider one of these services if you’ve already been a victim of ID theft. After all, we can get our credit reports for free these days, so you can "monitor" it yourself. Just remember to mark your calendar to order a report from each of the services every four months.
Also, be aware of the sites out there that offer free credit reports. Many of them really just want you to sign up for their costly services in the process. There is only one site that offers free credit reports with no strings attached - In addition, you may have heard about the security breach at Choicepoint. The company sold Toinformation to criminals, who then took over the customers’ identity. Well, Choicepoint is now trying to charge customers $25 to see what the criminals saw!

Here's a yummy tip my sister told me about...February 28th is evidentally Nationally Pancake Day. who knew? IHOP is giving free pancakes that day, but only in some areas. Check your local area.

Delta Vacations' Companion Flies Free promotion is valid on bookings of six or more nights through Jan. 31 for travel through June 30, except for the April 8 to 18 blackout period. The free roundtrip companion ticket applies to the air portion only of the package, which is offered at 35 resorts in Antigua, Aruba, the Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, St. Martin, St. Thomas and the Turks and Caicos. For details, visit or call (800) 221-6666.
That'll do it for today! Go out there are make CENTS! ark
Sister Thrifty

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Credit Card scams

Hey gang!
For the first time in 3 1/2 years, it will cost more to send mail via the U.S. Postal Service. Starting this past Sunday, the price of a first-class stamp rose to 39 cents from 37 cents, where it had settled since June 30, 2002. Also increased by 1 cent are rates for each additional half-ounce of first-class mail and mailing of regular-size postcards. Other rates - parcel post, priority mail, money orders and other services - increased by an average of 5.4 percent.
Ever wonder why thy raise the price? According to the Postal Service, this postage increase was needed to fund a $3.1 billion escrow account. In 2002, Congress agreed to let the Postal Service scale back by billions of dollars its payments into an overfunded pension system, helping the agency finish fiscal 2003 in the black after years of losses.
Congress was expected to release that amount, but a legislative package that would have helped reorganize the Postal Service has been stalled in a Senate dispute over how postage rates should be set - and the fate of the $3.1 billion in escrow money is stranded along with it. The Postal Service ended
2005 $1.3 billion in the black, marking the third consecutive year that it was able to make money.
Officials also announced last month that the Postal Service - once $11 billion in the red - was without debt for the first time since the agency's last major reorganization, in the 1970s. Another rate hike is expected as soon as next year to cover rising costs, the Postal Service predicts.
Computer-savvy people - or even those with just a telephone - don't need to stand in line to buy the new stamps. By visiting or calling
1-800-STAMP-24 (1-800-782-6724), customers can buy stamps online or over the phone to be delivered to their home. 2 cent stamps have been around for years, so chances are good that your local post office will be able to hook you up. :)
Here's a great coupon website that's run by a really great guy:
More credit card scams out's too bad those rotten scoundrels who come up with these clever scams don't use their creativity for a better cause. Be careful of your identity and your plastic:
A friend went to the local gym and placed his belongings in the locker.
After the workout and a shower, he came out, saw the locker open, and thought to himself, "Funny, I thought I locked the locker. Hmmmmm."
He dressed and just flipped the wallet to make sure all was in order.
Everything looked okay - all cards were in place. A few weeks later his credit card bill came - a whooping bill of $14,000! He called the credit card company and started yelling at them, saying that he did not make the transactions. Customer care personnel verified that there was no mistake in the system and asked if his card had been stolen.
"No," he said, but then took out his wallet, pulled out the credit card, and yep - you guessed it - a switch had been made. An expired similar credit card from the same bank was in the wallet. The thief broke into his locker at the gym and switched cards.
Verdict: The credit card issuer said since he did not report the card missing earlier, he would have to pay the amount owed to them. How much did he have to pay for items he did not buy? $9,000! Why were there no calls made to verify the amount swiped? Small amounts rarely trigger a "warning bell" with some credit card companies. It just so happens that all the small amounts added up to big one!
A man at a local restaurant paid for his meal with his credit card.
The bill for the meal came, he signed it, and the waitress folded the receipt and passed the credit card along. Usually, he would just take it and place it in his wallet or pocket. Funny enough, though, he actually took a look at the card and, lo and behold, it was the expired card of another person.
He called the waitress and she looked perplexed. She took it back, apologized, and hurried back to the counter under the watchful eye of the man. All the waitress did while walking to the counter was wave the wrong expired card to the counter cashier, and the counter cashier immediately looked down and took out the real card. No exchange of words --- nothing!
She took it and came back to the man with an apology.
Verdict: Make sure the credit cards in your wallet at yours. Check the name on the card every time you sign for something and/or the card is taken away for even a short period of time. Many people just take back the credit card without even looking at it, thinking that it has to be theirs.
Yesterday I went into a pizza restaurant to pick up an order that I had called in. I paid by using my Visa Check Card which, of course, is linked directly to my checking account. The young man behind the counter took my card, swiped it, then laid it flat on the counter as he waited for the approval, which is pretty standard procedure.
While he waited, he picked up his cell phone and started dialing. I noticed the phone because it is the same model I have, but nothing seemed out of the ordinary. Then I heard a click that sounded like my phone sounds when I take a picture. He then gave me back my card but kept the phone in his hand as if he was still pressing buttons.
Meanwhile, I'm thinking: I wonder what he is taking a picture of, oblivious to what was really going on. It then dawned on me: the only thing there was my credit card, so now I'm paying close attention to what he is doing.
He set his phone on the counter, leaving it open. About five seconds later, I heard the chime that tells you that the picture has been saved. Now I'm standing there struggling with the fact that this boy just took a picture of my credit card. Yes, he played it off well, because had we not had the same kind of phone, I probably would never have known what happened.
Needless to say, I immediately canceled that card as I was walking out of the pizza parlor. All I am saying is, be aware of your surroundings at all times. Whenever you are using your credit cards, take caution and don't be careless. Notice who is standing near you and what they are doing when you use your card. Be aware of phones because many have a camera phone these days.
When you are in a restaurant and the waiter/waitress brings your card and
receipt for you to sign, make sure you scratch the number off. Some
restaurants are using only the last four digits, but a lot of them are still putting the whole thing on there. I have already been a victim of credit card fraud and, believe me, it is not fun. The truth is that they can get you even when you are careful, but don't make it easy for them.
Whew! I didn't intend this e-mail to be so long!
Sister Thrifty

Monday, January 09, 2006

New Year Scams

Happy New Year!
I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year's celebration! My family flew to Utah for some after-Christmas skiing and to visit relatives....we could have driven, but we've learned over the years that it almost doesn't pay to drive when you can fly during the busiest time of the year and make money off it....airlines ALWAYS oversell tickets during the holidays, so we schedule our flights in the morning (which is the busiest time of travel during the day) and we make sure we're the first people at the gate in order to volunteer our seats. It worked! Not only did we get some free ticket vouchers worth $800 for future flights, but the airline payed for our hotel and food! Of course, you have to be willing to be flexible in order to do this, but for me it just felt like an extension of our little vacation. Woohoo!
A true Sister Thrifty shopper knows that whenever any holiday passes you should hit all the clearance item sales to stock up. I hit Wal-Mart yesterday, which is at 75%. Amidst all the Christmas leftovers was regular ole tape! Be sure to check for items that can be used year round such as wrapping paper that isn't Christmassy, red items for future Valentine's Day gifts, etc.
Here's a "Heads up" for you....those scumbags are at it again. If you get an e-mail from Ebay or PayPal saying you need to click on a particular link to check your account DON'T!!! The e-mails come from crooks, NOT E-bay or PayPal, especially when the letter says "To our customer." E-bay and PayPal are aware of this scam and have promised that if they need your information they will address the e-mail specifically to your name. When in doubt, just go to their web site directly and log in rather than use the questionable link.
The Dallas Morning News has a story about the "Unlucky Seven" worst scams out there, and lotteries are – without a doubt – No. 1. Spain, Germany and Holland are just three of the countries that supposedly have lotteries. An 86-year-old woman featured in the story ended up giving more than $88,000 to these crooks. She was told upfront she needed to cover "administrative costs." Then, each time, it was something more. She never recovered her money, and the crooks were never caught. When you get these e-mails, you want to believe they are real. They certainly look it. But if they ask for money – even a little – to get you your money, it’s a scam. Throw the paperwork in the trash. The second biggest scam is home repairs. These people get upfront money and then do shoddy work or no work at all in some cases. Work-at-home scams are in position No. 3, and phony charities are No.
4. These scams often affect seniors more than others, but everyone is at risk. Fraudulent "living trusts" come in at No. 5. You need a living trust in only a few circumstances, so most of the people are just trying to sell you insurance products. No. 6 is e-mail phishing scams. And, No. 7 is probably the ugliest of the "Unlucky Seven." It’s when you’ve already been scammed and a service offers to help you recover your money. The very same people who took your money the first time are the ones behind this, and you
give them more trying to get it back. All these scammers should be shot!
If you live in the San Diego area and would love a cute FREE bunny, call Julia Girley at 760-603-1257.
The bunny is a sweet female who is all white and looks like she is wearing glasses because she has brown circles around her eyes. Cute!
Hopefully one of your New Year's resolutions is to save more money and share your great consumer tips with Sister Thrifty! Thank you for your great support and kind letters. 2006 is going to be a great year!
Sister Thrifty

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