Are You Reading Money Beagle Via RSS?

Brief interruption on normal stuff.  If you are reading Money Beagle through an RSS feed (I’m not the only person that does that, right?), first, thank you for reasding!  Second, please update your feed settings.  The correct feed should be http://www.moneybeagle.com/feed

Currently, that will redirect to my FeedBurner feed, but I’m going to remove in the next couple of days as it’s been giving me problems since my host provider migrated servers a couple of months ago.  Since Google stopped updating FeedBurner about 5 years ago, it’s probably a long overdue move.

Now back to your regular scheduled blogging.

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.

3 Back To School Items We Aren’t Buying

I’m sure that stores lick their chops when it’s back to school season.  After all, every parent gets the same list with the same items to buy.  It definitely has to give a boost for the summer season, which have traditionally lower sales.

But, what items are really needed?  I’ve wrote in the past about how some parents barely bother with the list.  That I don’t agree with.  Even so, are there some items that you can skip or delay and save some money?  Absolutely.

Here are three items we aren’t buying (right now).

Clothes and Shoes

I’ll start off by saying that we have bought some clothes.  But, we don’t buy an entirely new set of clothes.  If the clothes from last year fit and don’t have holes, they get worn.  So, if you figure that your child needs four pairs of jeans, buy only what you need.

Besides, we’ve found that many stores will mark down kids clothes once school starts.  So, even if your child went through a massive growth spurt and you need all new stuff, you can save some big bucks by getting by with what you have for the first couple of weeks, and then scouring the stores for deals.

Backpack

Image from Morguefile courtesy of Alvimann

We have always purchased more expensive backpacks, which stand up to our kids abuse.  This means that they can use them for multiple years.  We’ve found that their change in style or taste drives the need for new backpacks.

We just washed the kids backpacks from last year, and they look almost as good as new.

Lunch Box

We apply the same principle to lunch boxes as with backpacks.  The lunchboxes definitely take on more dirt and smells, but they can be used.  One trick is to really work on cleaning them throughout the year.

So, in short, skipping some back to school items doesn’t mean that the kids go without.  They simply use what they had.  Doesn’t that make sense?

Parents, how did back to school shopping go?  Have you found any items along the way that you skip or delay?  Let me know your tricks and tips in the comments below.  Thanks 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.

Using BookBub To Get Ready For Summer Reading

I love to read.  I’ve always been a sort of bookworm, as far back as I can remember.  My childhood summers growing up included a lot of time reading.  I love fiction.  When I was a kid I loved the Ramona books and Great Brain books.  When I got older, I started reading Stephen King and Dean Koontz.  Now, I have a list of preferred authors and genres.  I also have a new way to find stuff to read.  It’s called BookBub.

If you’ve never heard of BookBub, don’t worry, until just a few months ago, neither had I.

My New Kindle

For Christmas, I got a Kindle reader.  Prior to that I did all of my reading the old fashioned way: reading books.  Most books, I obtained from the local library.

But, I’d started thinking that I wanted a Kindle more and more.  The biggest reason I wanted one is because of our camping trips.  We go camping a lot during the summer, usually over 20 nights per year.  These trips often provide the perfect opportunity to get in some reading time, so I would bring along a few books.

Now, if you’ve ever camped, you know that space is at a premium.  Even though we have a 23′ trailer, it still gets packed full, especially during weeklong trips.  For most trips, I would bring around four books.  I could usually read, on average, two books, but I would always have extra, for a couple of reasons.  One would be if I was already partway through a book.  Another is that since I often get books on a whim, I’d bring some extra just in case I came across a dud.

Still, four books takes up quite a bit of room comparatively, so I thought that an eReader would help.  I wanted a Kindle because of the ease of it all.  After all, Amazon  makes anything easy.

BookBub Finds Deals On eBooks

So where does BookBub come in?  Easy.  It finds deals on books and sends you a list every day.  Each day I get an e-mail with a list of four or five books that I might like.  It determines this because, when I signed up, I spent a few minutes checking my favorite authors and favorite categories.  It also uses information on what book deals I click on to further provide better information.

So, each day I get a list of deals.  Because I have a Kindle, I exclusively get deals for items in the Kindle Store.  A book that might retail for $9.99 will be on sale, and I’ll get notified.  Clicking on the deal takes me right to Amazon’s page where I can read the synopsis, check out reviews, and if I like the deal, I can purchase it on the spot.

It’s pretty much the easiest thing I’ve ever done!

BookBub Deals

So you might be wondering, what are the actual deals?  Great question.

Most of the deals I see are between the price of $0.00 (yep, free) and $1.99.

That’s right, many of the books are absolutely free.  Plus, I’ve paid for a couple that looked really good.  Right now, I have about 15 unread books on my Kindle that I’ve probably paid a grand total of less than $10 for.  You can’t really beat that.

We went to the beach last month, and I decided to pilot test my process.  At that time, I had about 10 books, and I read three during our trip.  It could not have been easier.

My Full Process For Finding Books Using BookBub (and other sites)

When a book appears on my list, I’ll look at the Amazon page if it interests me.  But, I’ll also look at Goodreads.  This

Image courtesy of morguefile via beanworks

is a site that has more comprehensive views as well as a star rating that I think is more accurate for people that love to read.

So, when I get my daily e-mail I will:

  • See if the 2-3 line summary plus the price piques my interest
  • Go over to Goodreads and look at a few reviews
  • If I’m still interested, I’ll go back to the e-mail and click the link.  This takes me to the Amazon store.
  • I’ll purchase the deal.
  • The book shows up on my Kindle next time I’m on Wi-Fi.

It’s pretty sweet.

Note: This is not a sponsored post nor was I compensated in any way.  I just think BookBub is awesome so I decided to write this all on my own!

Readers, do you use BookBub or any other type of similar source to find book deals?  What about other hobbies outside reading? Do you have a BookBub type service that helps with your favorite hobbies?  Please let me know in the comments below.  Thanks 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.

8 Wise Ways To Spend Your Tax Refund

Are you one of the millions getting a tax refund this year?  Maybe you’ve already got it but haven’t spent it yet.  Your tax refund can be a great way to reach some financial goals.  Here are eight ways that you can spend your tax refund that are sure to make your life easier.

Repair Or Fix Up Something

If you’ve got something that’s broken or on it’s last legs, now’s the time to consider fixing it.  Whether it’s a leaky water heater, a dented bumper, or a room that needs re-painting, your tax refund can help.  In many cases, fixing or replacing something before it fails altogether will save over an emergency repair.

Set Up An Emergency Fund

Speaking of emergencies, now is a great time to put money aside in case one comes up.  An emergency fund is always a great idea.  Every household should have at least $1,000 set aside for this purpose.  If you don’t, why not use some of your tax refund money to get this going?

Pay Down Debt

Why not knock off a chunk of debt?  Paying down debt is always going to increase your net worth, so definitely give it some consideration.  Maybe you have one or two bills that could be wiped out with your tax refund.  Getting rid of a payment or two is a big weight off your shoulders.

‘Pay’ A Bill That Isn’t Due Yet

If you’ve got a bill coming sometime over the next year that you might otherwise struggle, use your tax refund to help.  You don’t have to pay the bill in advance, but put the money aside so that it’s there when you need to pay it.  Good examples of this are spending on Christmas gifts or extra money to cover the air conditioning bills for the upcoming summer.

Save For Something You Want

Are you ready to plan that great vacation you’ve been thinking about?  Do you really need a better set of wheels sometime in the next couple of years?  Your tax refund can help with these or similar things.  You may not get it fully funded, but setting a chunk of money toward a big goal can go a long way to making it happen.

Stash It Away For Retirement

Most people don’t have enough saved up for retirement.  If you fall into this category, consider sticking your tax refund in a Roth IRA or other retirement account.  A little now could go a long way later to living comfortably in your golden years.

Treat Yourself

Sometimes we all need to let loose and spend.  If you’ve got a good chunk of money, now’s the time to let loose and buy something you normally wouldn’t.  Here’s the kicker though, don’t use any more than 10% of your tax refund on this.

Split It Up

If you have more than one idea that strikes your fancy, whether it’s from this list or your own ideas, split the money between them.  There’s nothing wrong with tackling a few different goals at once.  Personally, our refund covers a variety of things like money toward vacations, car payments, car repairs, kids activities, and stuff around the house.   Do what works for you!

Readers, did you get a refund this year?  If so, how did you allocate it?  Please share with me and other readers in the comments below.  Thanks 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.