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Posted on July 19th, 2015 by Discount Debbie

Zulily – Kids & Womens Apparel, Accessories, and Toys


Saving Money on Prescriptions

Posted on May 18th, 2015 by Uncategorized

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Most of us will end up taking a prescription medication at one point or another during our lives. For many, many reasons, none of which we will get into here, medication prices can be through the roof. It’s enough to make it difficult for some people to afford medications they need to treat a constant condition. Regardless of whether you need to take a medication long term or just for a couple of weeks for a short illness, there are a few ways you can avoid paying the absolute top dollar for your medication.

  • Ask for samples. Doctors often get samples from medical companies to specifically give out to patients. If your doctor prescribes a new medication, ask if they happen to have a week or two’s worth of samples you can try.
  • Shop around pharmacies. It may be convenient to get your prescriptions at your clinic’s pharmacy immediately after your appointment is over, but it may not be the cheapest option. Even if your insurance covers, say, 80% of prescription medications, one pharmacy may sell that medicine for $100 and another down the street will sell it for $90. The savings might seem small in the short term, but especially if this is a medication you need to take for months or years, the savings will absolutely add up over time.
  • Use generics. My doctors generally have the habit of adding “generic substitution OK” to any prescriptions they write for me (assuming one is available), and my pharmacy has no problems doing this. However, this is not the case at every clinic. If your doctor says he or she is putting you on a new medication, immediately ask if there is a generic available that is okay to use. The active ingredients in generics are exactly the same as name-brand meds, just at a lower cost.
  • Get more at a time. You know how 10lbs of onions at Costco are like $3, but at the grocery store they’re $0.69 a pound, making them more expensive? Medicine often works the same way. I was surprised to find that, after paying $10 a month for a 30 day supply of a medication for a few months, my doctor increased the prescription to a 90 day supply—which was only $15 total, for all 3 months. If you need to be on a medication for a long time, see if a multiple-month supply will cost less.

Stretching Those Vegetables!

Posted on May 7th, 2015 by Discount Debbie

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Vegetables are good. Even if you’re the type who shudders at the thought of salad or hide a grimace when you’re served green beans at a dinner party, there’s got to be at least one or two vegetables you absolutely love!

Vegetables can seem pricey, even frozen ones. One of the most common complaints from people who are watching their budgets are that veggies cost a lot per pound. In my local grocery stores, a SALE price for a single bell pepper is $1! Often they’re $1.50, even for a green pepper, which are usually cheaper than red or yellow peppers! If you do catch a decent sale on some vegetables, you will want to use every last bit of them. If spinach is on sale, don’t buy it JUST because it’s $0.50 per head, but will sit in the back of your refrigerator until it goes bad because you don’t know how to cook it. Instead:

Buy vegetables you like. Maybe the produce you buy isn’t as varied as you’d like to it be, but if you are used to and are comfortable cooking onions, for example, you’re more likely to use them in recipes you will eat before they go bad.

Make soup. Soup is amazing in that you can basically make up a recipe and it will generally taste good, and since you cook it for a while, veggies that are not-so-great can get thrown in there. Celery starting to go soft and your kids hate it when it’s not crisp? Chop it up and throw it in a soup! The soft texture is right at home in a soup!

Use every last bit. After making dinner, you might have a pile of carrot tops and onion ends sitting on your counter. Don’t throw them out—they’re still useful! Do you have a garden outside? Compost them! Do you make soup a lot? Freeze your veggie ends and pieces until you have enough to boil for a broth, and make homemade broth! There are plenty of things to do with vegetables that don’t necessarily involve eating them. How else do you use up everything you buy?


Save Money Buying Meat

Posted on May 4th, 2015 by Discount Debbie

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Of course, the easiest way to save money on buying meat is… to not buy any meat at all. Beans and rice are cheap and tasty, a dietary staple in many cultures around the world. But if you consider yourself and your family to basically be “obligate carnivores” as my family does, you may struggle to keep meat in your diet while keeping money in your bank account as well. Here are a few tips on how to buy meat on a budget.

Buy large portions. Large pieces of meat generally cost less per pound than smaller cuts—after all, there’s less work involved in wrapping up a whole roast, compared to chopping it up and packaging several steaks in multiple containers. You may end up spending more money up front, but if you can freeze what you don’t mean to eat right away, you will spend less in the long run.

Buy discounted meat. Use some caution here, but this is generally a good tactic in chain supermarket stores. When unsold meat gets about a day away from its “sell by” date, supermarkets often mark down these packages to sell them quickly. If the meat is still unsold on its “sell by” date, those packages are marked down even more, 50 or even 75% off. The supermarket would rather sell the meat cheaply and still make a little money instead of having to dispose of it! If you buy meat on its “sell by” date, be sure to use it immediately, so it doesn’t spoil.

Buy ends and pieces. Not making a centerpiece meal for your company’s CEO any time soon? Often, markets and delis sell “ends and pieces” at a discount. These might be irregularly shaped bits of bacon, or the round ends of deli meats that won’t be on a magazine cover any time soon, but are still perfectly good to eat.  And if you are just stuffing them in a sandwich or chopping them up to put in a stew anyway, no one will even notice!


Why Are You Thrifty?

Posted on April 28th, 2015 by Discount Debbie

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When asked, most people would probably say it’s good to be thrifty. Sure, their frugal great-grandmother might have done slightly weird things like cut paper towels into smaller squares or wrapped school day sandwiches in repurposed empty plastic cereal bags, but, you know, being thrifty is good, right?

Well…why?

I know, you are probably thinking, “Well, being thrifty saves money, and I like saving money,” but that’s a really vague reason. Perhaps you’ve decided to cut out your morning latte to save $4 a day. Assuming you used to buy 5 lattes a week, now that you have an extra $20 per week… what will you do with it?

For some families, the answer is immediately obvious: they need the grocery money or have bills to pay. For other families, the answer is less certain. Put it in savings? Put it in a kid’s college fund? Why ARE you thrifty? It’s easy to slide back into old, money-spending habits if you don’t have a clear idea on why saving that $20 a week is a good idea. Perhaps after a month you’ve added $80 into your savings account, but then you see a crazy expensive $80 bottle of wine at the store you’ve been dying to try and your birthday is in a few days. It is easy to justify buying yourself that bottle of wine now that you have an “extra” $80 stashed away, and if your savings goal is “to be able to buy nice wine on my birthday,” that’s fine. But if your personal savings goal is more specific, such as “to eventually have $1000 in emergency savings,” or “to save up enough for a down payment on a car by this time next year,” you’ll be far more hesitant to drop $80 on wine. Having a specific savings goal in mind can inspire thriftier behaviors and keep you on track.


Advantages of Pre-Purchasing Gifts

Posted on April 27th, 2015 by Discount Debbie

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How do you beat the holiday rush when it comes to gifts? Buy as much as you can ahead of time! It might sound kind of stupid—I mean, isn’t the holiday season when all the sales are? But it can be worth it to plan for birthdays and holidays way ahead of time, if possible. If you have a 3 year old who is super into Dora the Explorer and after Christmas, a bunch of Dora stuff is 70% off, you may NOT want to go nuts buying stuff because in a year who knows what he or she will like? But gender neutral, basic things are almost always appreciated.

Naturally, after Christmas is when the biggest clearance sales, toy-wise, are. Many things hit 30-50% off the day after, but if you wait until after January 1st, many things hit 75% or more off. Of course, it’s kind of a gamble what you will find, but if anything looks even vaguely like someone on your gift list might like, buy it!

I found a huge art set on clearance at Target for $5. I picked up it and stashed it in my closet, knowing that my nephew’s 4th birthday was in a few months. About a week before his birthday I saw the exact same art set at a different store for the full price of $18! I was pretty happy with my find, and my nephew was happy with his gift (and naturally I’d peeled off the clearance sticker before wrapping it so his parents had no idea I’d bought it so cheaply).

This strategy works if you’re more of the do-it-yourself gifter, as well. Scrapbooking and other craft supplies often hit low sale prices after the holidays and after the beginning of the school year as well. Scoop ‘em up on sale, spend a couple of weeks making your gifts in your spare time, and voila! You’re done for the year! Isn’t that awesome?


Ditching Cable TV

Posted on April 23rd, 2015 by Freebie Felicia

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Not too long ago, I was discussing TV shows with an acquaintance. At some point in the conversation, she mentioned her cable bill seemed kind of “high.”

“What, like a hundred bucks a month?” I inquired.

She thought for a moment and then dug around her desk. She handed over the current month’s bill and my jaw quite literally dropped when I saw it. Two hundred and five dollars.

“But what exactly are you paying for? Do you even watch all these channels?”

“Oh, no,” she said. “Mostly just whatever’s on ABC or Fox and stuff. But, I mean, it’s cable. How do you watch TV without cable?”

A couple of decades ago, that was a good question. Modern technology has raced ahead, however, and there are plenty of options for watching TV shows that don’t involve shelling out money to a cable company! Certainly, if you are okay with paying $200 or more a month for TV, I suppose you can keep on trucking, but for those of us who are looking to save on TV, there are options.

The most common option is using on-demand streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu. These companies contract with the license holders of TV shows, past and current, and upload them to their websites.  You pay $7-10 a month for access to those websites, and you can watch whatever they have uploaded, at your leisure, an unlimited amount of times. They may not have every single show you’d like to watch, and many currently airing shows only upload the past 5-10 episodes, so you might not be able to binge watch an entire series. However, paying $120 per year is far cheaper than paying that same amount—or more!—per month.

Before all broadcasting went digital, many people used “bunny ear” antennas to get basic cable channels on their TV for free. Those old bunny ears won’t work anymore, but the good news is that digital antennas are absolutely a thing. You can pick one up for about $40, plug it into your TV, and bam, you have all your local stations and the big broadcast stations like ABC, CBS, PBS, etc. $40 can be a bit much for some people as an upfront cost, but then again, you have no recurring monthly costs after that, and you can watch most current shows as they air.

How else do you save money on cable?


Taking Advantage of Your Local Library!

Posted on April 10th, 2015 by Freebie Felicia

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Local libraries can be amazing resources for saving money! And I don’t just mean checking out books about saving money, either. With the advent of the internet and mobile phones, people visit their libraries less and less—including me. But they offer quite a few ways to save money! How so?

Checking Out Entertainment—Everyone knows libraries lend books. Most libraries lend DVDs, Blu-Rays, and CDs as well. If you’re willing to wait until that movie you want to see comes out on DVD, rather than seeing it in the theater, you can save quite a bit of money! Just remember to return them in time to avoid fines. Don’t like using paper books anymore? Many libraries now lend e-books as well. Check with your local branch to see if yours does!

Entertain the Kids—Libraries often offer storytimes for children. Instead of taking your child to a play gym or class you need to pay for, if money is tight take them to library storytime! Good libraries will often have art or other activities such as puppet shows for free as well.

Museums on the Cheap—I live in a large city, so I’m not sure how many other city libraries do this. But our city library lends out limited museum passes to anyone with a library card! There is often a waitlist, but if you are flexible with the times and days you want to attend, you can score free passes to the aquarium, zoo, or other local museums—savings here can easily head into the hundreds of dollars depending on how many passes you normally would have had to buy!

Do Your Taxes At The Library—and not from a self-help book! During the first half of the year many libraries, along with other local government institutions, offer free tax help and filing services. Contact your local branch to see if you need to make an appointment and what forms and items you will need to bring with you.

What other low-cost or free services have you received from your local library?


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