9 Things You Need to Stop Paying For!

Category : DEALS

We live in a consumer nation, where it has long been the case that many of us are encouraged to spend and to pay it off with money we don’t have, which then racks up our debt. This mentality has shifted little during the recession; people are gradually spending less and saving more. However, there are still a lot of things we’re paying for that we don’t need. Here are nine things you should be getting for free:


Books: Don’t buy books. Instead, borrow them from the library or from a friend, and explore sites that will let you swap books with other people such as BookMoochPaperBackSwap and GoodReads has a section dedicated to swapping.

Cable: A record number of Americans are canceling their cable services, reports the AP. Paying for cable almost seems pointless when you look at all the free options out there such as Hulu and network websites that offer free streaming of their hit shows online.

Credit report and score: Get your free credit report from AnnualCreditReport.com, which allots you a free report per year. If you’re looking to get a free credit score (you can’t get it through AnnualCreditReport.com), head on down to Credit Karma, a free service that tracks your score for you.


Shipping: Hunt around the web for free shipping when you’re shopping online. Go to freeshipping.org and find promo codes for free shipping on the website; you can even subscribe to get free shipping alerts from the site. Be sure to also check out retailmenot.com for free shipping codes.


Read on for more items we shouldn’t pay for.

Museum tickets: Don’t pay for admission to the museums. Most museums offer free entry at least once a month. To find out which museums offer this freebie, you can search around the web by typing in the name of the city or museum and the keywords “free admission.” Or you can check out SavvyCities, select the city you live in, then click the “attractions” tab and the “museum free days” option a listing of museums that offer free admission.


Water: Don’t buy bottled water and opt for tap water instead. If you don’t like the taste of it, perhaps invest your money in an affordable water filter. Check out this Brita water filter pitcher ($10).



Cell phones: If you sign up for a phone plan, cell providers will provide you with a free phone (usually the case for two-year phone plans) or a big discount.


WSJ and Times online subscription: You probably notice that you’re only allowed to read up to 20 free articles on the New York Times website and you’re blocked from viewing certain articles on the Wall Street Journal if you’re not a subscriber. There are many ways to get around that. First, if you visit the Times story through Twitter and Facebook links, you can read them for free. If you search for the title of the WSJ story on Google and click on the link that shows up in the results, you’ll get to view it for free without paying for a subscription.


International phone calls: Don’t pay for international phone calls when you can call your overseas pals for free. You can call them over a Skype app that can be installed on your computer, iPhone, or Android. However, the other person has to have Skype installed as well for you to talk to them without getting charged.

Can you think of any more items that we shouldn’t be paying for?  Send me your comments and share the wealth with our loyal followers.



Spending Control Tips From A Pro

Category : FINANCE

May 14, 2011

Not working full-time, I am very careful about my spending habits which can be very challenging especially since I live in the heart of New York City.  Since I can work remotely (any Star Bucks or cafe with free wireless) I often find myself checking out the most put-to-together women who appear to be dashing off to their next “very important meeting”.  Are those Chanel ballet flats? Is that  a Lanvin bag? How do they pay for that? They look so young. Depending on my state of mind for that day…I find myself thinking “yes, that IS what I need! a pair of Chanel shoes…I go online, check out prices, colors, styles…trying to figure out what I can eliminate from my already modest budget to justify spending $500 (at least) on a pair of shoes. After a while, I am tired, bored and reminded that I have a deadline to meet at my part-time job. More importantly, (and to great relief) I am reminded that another pair of designer shoes or a bag is really not what I am in the market for at this point in my life, not to mention that I really can’t afford it.  I really don’t think anything is wrong with enjoying luxury items as long as one can keep it in perspective (or purchase them without sweating bullets).  Not being able to spend carelessly I often observe how others spend and am repeatedly surprised.  Is over-spending the new national pastime?

Conspicuous consumption can be defined as “the act of buying a lot of things, especially expensive things that are not necessary, in a way that people notice” (Longman American Dictionary, 2000, p. 296). Additionally, a clearer meaning suggests that conspicuous consumption is behaviour whereby an individual can display wealth through extensive leisure activities and luxury expenditure on consumption and services.

Whatever it is, it’s continually afflicting Americans but the good news is that it is easily treatable. When I first read the title of this post, my initial thought was – read about this subject a zillion times but, then again, how many times have I bought something that I haven’t needed? My point being that it can’t hurt to be reminded about a (sometimes) sensitive and delicate issue like spending habits.  To read more about our out-of-control spending habits,  click on the $1.2 trillion link in first paragraph.


By Lisa Zaslow | Friday May 13, 2011

Americans spend a mind-blowing $1.2 trillion every year on stuff they don’t need. As a professional organizer, I deal with the fallout from shopping gone wrong all the time.
Some lessons from closets I’ve seen:

DOUBLE TROUBLE: It’s a classic money-waster: People (mysteriously) buy things they already own. 

While organizing one woman’s closet, we discovered she had 12 pairs of nearly identical tan trousers!

Smart Shopping Tip: Before you shop, double-check what you own: check the back of the fridge, in the far reaches of closets, on the high and low shelves of the linen closet.

Then, create a “Do Not Buy List” of items you’ve stockpiled. Keep the list in your smart phone or planner, so it’s handy when you see the next little black cardigan you don’t need.

COSTCO CRAZY: Shopping in bulk can save time and money. But do you really need 500 manila envelopes, or would 10 suffice? Can you save money by buying only one glue stick, instead of the 20-pack? 

Smart Shopping Tip: Calculate how long it will take you to use up the stash you’re considering (and whether items might deteriorate). If the bargain is too good to pass up, split the cost of a bulk buy with a friend. Or skip it.

FANTASY SHOPPING: Shopping based on a dream, rather than reality, is a big source of money misspent. 

One client, a busy working mom, was wedded to the fantasy that one day she would have time to cook elaborate meals, using the specialized gizmos and appliances that sat idle in her kitchen.

Smart Shopping Tip: Give purchases a reality check. If you need a rake, your shopping cart should not also include a pan that makes a cake shaped like a giant donut. Even if it’s on sale. Even if it’s really cute.

You’re human. You’ve made some shopping mistakes. Hopefully you’ve learned from them. Here are some ways to recoup your losses:

Return items that still have the tags on them, if possible.
Sell new or nearly-new items at consignment shops, on online classifieds sites like ebayclassifieds.com, or hold a tag sale.
Donate items to a not-for-profit thrift shop or organization and get a tax deduction.
Swap unwanted items with friends. It’s like shopping for free.
Re-gift new items—carefully!