7 Ways To Save Money At The Drugstore

My wife and I were talking about drugstores the other day.  We tried to remember if they were always expensive places to shop.  I thought that they used to be a little more reasonable on everyday prices.  But, she wasn’t so sure.  Regardless of who was right, there is one fact that’s clear.  Shopping at the drugstore can be very expensive.  But it doesn’t have to be a place to avoid.  You can save money at the drugstore.  Here are some tips.

Sign Up For Rewards Programs

Rewards programs will often give you money back after a certain level of spending.  You can even get bonus rewards on certain items.  Just keep an eye on their weekly flyers.

Figure Out How The Rewards Program Works Best

Many rewards programs are pretty easy to figure out.  But there are some that take some time to learn.  If you take some time to research the rewards program, you can gather tips and tricks.  These can help you know how to really use them to your advantage.

Check Out The Flyers

Speaking of the flyers, make sure to look them over. While I’ve found that everyday prices on most items are higher than other stores, you can score some deals.  Many times they’ll have B1G1 offers that can help you save.

Go Online

Many times you can clip coupons to your reward account by going online or using an app.  This can double up savings on top of sales.

Use Regular Coupons

Some stores don’t accept manufacturers coupons.  Drugstores do.  Take them along.  In fact, you can often stack a coupon on top of a store coupon on top of a sale.  These triple savings can yield you some items practically for free!

Use Rain Checks

Drugstores, like every other store, will often run out of items that are on sale.  Sometimes I think they hol

image from Morguefile courtesy of lightfoot

d back on stocking sale items on purpose.  But, fear not, as many drugstores will issue you a rain check for out of stock items.

Look For Pharmacy Deals

Drugstores really want you to use their pharmacy.  If you do so to either fill a new prescription or transfer a prescription, this can mean big time rewards.

Readers, do you shop regularly at the drugstore?  Do you ever find deals?  What are your tips and tricks to keep money in your wallet at the drugstore?

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

Why We’re Spending $2,540 On Gift Cards In A Single Week

Over the past week, we have spent $2,540 on gift cards.  You might think I’m crazy.  I’m not.  Maybe we’re going nuts for Christmas this year?  Nope.  We’re actually cutting back.

So then why are we spending all this money on gift cards?  Because….we’re going back to Disney World!

What does one have to do with another?  Well, read on.  I’ll first go over the trip, then make clear why we dropped some serious bank on gift cards.

Recapturing The Magic

Long time readers might remember that we went to Disney World in 2015.  We had a great time.  During that trip, we stayed for eight nights.  We stayed at a deluxe resort.  We dined with a Disney meal plan.  It was a fantastic time with all of our family.

My wife is our trip planner, and from the moment we got back, she was planning our next trip in her head.  She wanted us to go while both of our kids were nine or under.  Why?  Because tickets get much more expensive after they turn ten.

We went on a fantastic spring break trip to Tampa last year during the kids week off of school.  We loved it so much that we booked the same rental for the same week in 2018.

It was early fall when my wife brought up the idea of modifying the trip so that we could go back to Disney World.  We looked through the numbers and made it work.

We’re still going to our rental place, but for five nights instead of a week.  Then, we’re going to Disney World!

Trip Variations

It’ll be different than last time in a few ways:

  • Length – We’re staying at Disney World for five nights.  It’s still a longer total trip, but less time at Disney made it more affordable.
  • Resort – Last time we stayed at a deluxe resort to get the best experience.  This time, we are staying at a moderate resort.
  • Dining – Instead of using the Disney meal plan, we’re paying our way.  We’ll still be eating at restaurants around the parks, but we think we’ll save money.  We found that with the meal plan (which was free as part of a promo last time), we were eating all the time.  We ate meals when we weren’t hungry because we felt we had to.  This time, we’ll eat less frequently.  Plus the kids can split meals and such.
  • Driving – We flew down to Disney World on our last trip.  Since we’re going to Florida near Easter, flight prices were not affordable for us, so we are driving.

Where Gift Cards Come In

It’s the holidays.  For some reasons, holidays find great deal on gift cards.  They mark them down so that you shop at the store.  So deals are bountiful and we took advantage.

Meijer

We do most of our grocery shopping at Meijer.  Now, Meijer has a whole display of gift cards.  You can buy gift cards for just about anywhere.  Amazon, Home Depot, Applebee’s.  And also Disney.

Meijer is running a special where, for every $100 you spend on gift cards, you get a $10 credit on your next bill.  Each person registered in their in-store rewards program can spend up to $1,000 to get this reward.

So, we each spent $1,000 on Disney gift cards and each got $100 towards future shopping trips.  By spending $2,000, we are getting $200 in groceries for nothing!

Target

This was another great find.  One day per year around the holidays, Target offers 10% off their own gift cards.  Each person can buy up to $300 in gift cards at 10% off.  You can then use those gift cards to buy other gift cards, including Disney cards.  So, we each bought $300 of Target gift cards for $270.  We then each ‘spent’ those on $300 of Disney gift cards.

Grand Total

So, when it’s all said and done, we spent $2,540 and ended up with:

  • $2,600 in Disney gift cards that we can apply toward our trip costs
  • $200 in Meijer gift cards that will pay for 2+ weeks of groceries.

By spending $2,540, which was money we were going to spend regardless, we ended up with $2,800 in spending power.  It doesn’t get much better than that!

The Offset

The only downside is that we lost a little bit of money on cash back rewards.  Had we spent the equivlant $2,540 directly with our travel agent, we would have gotten 3% cash back on our credit card.  That would have given us $76.20.

Our card gives us 2% cash back at Meijer, and 1% at Target, so we’ll end up with $45.40 in rewards.  So, while we’re gaining $260 in freebies, it does, in a sense, cost us around $30.  But we still come out ahead.  Plus, I always look at the cash back as extra, in that we never count on it.  So, either way we’re still coming out ahead.

All in all, we are pretty pleased with how things turned out.  I love when we can find ways to save on spending that would happen no matter what.

Readers, have you ever used gift card promotions as a way to keep money in your pocket?  Let me know what works for you in the comments below.  Thanks so much for reading!

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

Make Investing a High Priority in Your Financial Life

Some people are afraid to invest their money because they are afraid of losing it. Others are completely unsure of what investing their money entails and what it can do for them. Investing is a building block for a healthy financial standing if done properly and with some education. Don’t worry, you won’t have to go back to school! Today we are going to talk about ways to invest, why you should invest, and who to talk to get the assistance and understanding you need.

Leave Your Legacy Behind

We don’t think all too often about what happens when we pass on. Who gets your belongings? Who’s in charge of your funeral? Who is paying for everything? What will happen to your kids?

If you think we are about to talk about estate planning, you are right. More specifically, estate and succession planning. Investing money into our homes means that we can pass that on to our loved ones when we pass on. Retirement accounts will also require beneficiaries so that not only can they pay for your funeral, but they can have some left over to take care of themselves. No one wants to leave their children with mountains of debts and headaches so an estate planner and tax specialist is who you should employ to guarantee easier transition of an estate.

Build Your Savings

If you check around at interest rates for savings accounts, you will see that they are pretty dismal. When we are actively attempting to save our money for a vacation, much-needed home repairs, college fund for our children, or saving for an emergency fund, there are some low-risk options that can help you put aside some cash that will grow faster than your standard savings account.

Money market accounts are a popular option that offers a higher interest rate to grow your money. Most banks require a specific amount of money that has to be maintained in the account at all times. The great thing, and also the worse thing, is that your money is still accessible should you face an emergency and need it.

Certificates of Deposit are your next go-to for investing. You can purchase a certificate for as little as $25 at a credit union or $100 at a traditional bank. This money is not available to you during the maturation period. That will range anywhere from 90 days to five years, the longer the better because the high rate of interest is compounded annually (in some cases daily) and you can earn larger sums of money over time. If you are brand new to investing, this is a great way to get started. Who can help you with money market accounts and certificate of deposits? The financial manager at your bank will be the one who can educate you and guide you to the right option for your needs.

Retire With Ease

Retiring without any financial planning is an incredibly scary endeavor and one that all of us should avoid. No matter how close you are to retire, make sure you are investing your money into some kind of retirement account so that you have it later.

If you are working at a company that offers 401K, by all means, take that option. With just a small percentage taken out of your paycheck, you can build money for later. Consult with a financial advisor at the investing company they are paired with to learn more about the risks involved. Since 401K’s are stock and bond investing, you will need to learn low-risk, medium-risk, and high-risk options and how they can work for you.

Also, ask if your company does a matching program! If you are self-employed, check out Roth or SIMPLE IRA’s to invest your money in an easier manner. They both come with different tax options so you must talk with a financial planner or your CPA to ensure you are choosing wisely.

Investing often leads to strange money myths, like it’s too late to start saving, that inhibit us from making the most of our money. If you desire more money, you can do it with investing!

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

Tips for Securing a Car Loan

Owning a car is something that many people dream of. However, many simply do not have the money needed to buy one. There is a way for this dream to become a reality. Getting a car loan has allowed millions of people the ability to buy a car and slowly pay for it in monthly installments. There is obviously interest that will also need to be paid.

You might be seriously thinking about buying a car at some point in the near future. If this is the case, you need to explore all of your options where car loans are concerned. You would be wise to educate yourself. This will help to ensure that you get the best car loan at the lowest possible interest rate. Here are some tips that will be very useful when it comes to buying a car with a loan.

Get a copy of your credit report.

You need to take a look at your credit report before you start applying for car loans. You are legally entitled to one free credit report each year from the major credit bureaus.

It is important to keep tabs on what your credit report says. This is because mistakes could be listed on your credit report that could have a negative impact on your credit score. This is something that is more common than most people believe it to be. You need to report any mistakes you find immediately to the credit bureau that issued the report. Make sure they remove the erroneous information and provide you with an updated report and credit score.

You need to be sure that you have the highest credit score possible so that you give yourself the best chance of your car loan being approved.

Talk to people you know and find out where they received their car loans.

Your next step should be to consult with all of your friends and family members. Talking to these people might give you some good ideas about where you should apply for auto loans. Find out how much interest all of these people are paying on their loans.  What made them choose that particular lender?

You should get the opinions of as many people as possible. You can learn from the mistakes of these people. Acquiring knowledge from these people will make your own quest to secure a car loan go much more smoothly.

Make the term of your loan as short as possible.

There are many people who like the idea of stretching out the term of their car loan. This gives them a very long time to pay off the loan. Their monthly payments are also smaller by doing this. However, the major drawback to doing this is the fact that you will end up paying considerably more interest over the course of the loan. This is why you need to shorten the term of your loan as much as you can while still being able to afford the monthly payments.

This will save you quite a bit of money in the long run.

Go to different lenders and compare the interest rates they offer you.

It is very important for you to understand that you will not get the same interest rate from every lender. In fact, you will be amazed to discover how different their interest rates can be.

You have absolutely nothing to lose by taking some time and contacting as many lenders as you can possibly find in your area. This will give you the best chance of finding a suitable rate that you can afford. It is especially important for people with low credit scores to do this. Lenders will typically give a higher interest rate to people with a low credit score.

Find out what interest rates online lenders will offer you.

Some people who are not Internet savvy may only go to their local credit unions and banks when they are searching for the ideal car loan. However, there are a wide variety of online lenders that you can also try. You can simply fill out their application. They will tell you the interest rate they will give to you in the event you decide to take out a loan from them. You can then use this interest rate to negotiate a better rate with your local credit unions and banks.

You need to use every advantage available to you when you are trying to get the lowest possible interest rate. You need to always look out for your own best interests.

Try to make at least a 20 percent down payment.

Your goal when taking out a loan should always be to pay as little interest as possible. Therefore, you should save up enough money before you apply for a car loan so you will be able to pay at least 20 percent of it right away. Pay more than this amount if you can afford it. You don’t want to get into a situation where the interest makes your loan cost more money than the value of the car.

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.