7 Unexpected Perks of Downsizing as a Retiree

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7 Unexpected Perks of Downsizing as a Retiree
When you were young, chances are you dreamed of owning a large home with all the bells and whistles. But as life marches on, it’s not unusual to have more modest goals, including visions of a smaller home that better suits your needs. You may decide to downsize before retirement. Or, maybe you are just looking for a simpler lifestyle. Parents often find there’s less need to maintain... [...]
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5 Moves to Make If Your Kids’ Extracurriculars Are Busting the Budget

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5 Moves to Make If Your Kids’ Extracurriculars Are Busting the Budget
Extracurricular activities are great for children. They help kids learn new things and perfect their skills. They provide opportunities to bond with peers and a constructive use of time. They look great on college and scholarship applications. But all that enrichment comes at a cost. And these nonessential additions to the household budget can be expensive to keep up with — especially when you have multiple children with multiple interests. Huntington Bank and Communities in Schools’ 2019 Backpack Index estimates extracurricular fees average about $150 for elementary students, $250 for middle school students and $350 for high school students. Of course, there are parents who spend much more. A 2017 Capital One poll found that over a third of those surveyed planned to spend more than $1,000 per kid on extracurricular activities for the school year. If the cost of after-school activities concerns you, consider these ways to make them more affordable. 1. Turn to Government or Nonprofit Programs Before signing your kids up for private music lessons or a traveling sports league, check to see if there are similar offerings located at or sponsored by your local: School Church Library system YMCA Boys and Girls Club Police Athletic League Girl Scouts/Boy Scouts United Way Salvation Army City or county parks and recreation department Community college 2. Ask About Discounts Be thrifty and save where you can by asking the activity provider about discounts. Is there a trial period where you kid can take a class or two for free before signing up for the season? Can you get a discounted rate for being a returning participant, enrolling more than one child or recommending another family to sign up? Some programs offer a reduced rate if you register before a certain date, if you sign up for a package of sessions or if you volunteer to coach. Others offer scholarships or set their prices on a sliding scale based on income. You might want to ask if the organization will allow you to set up a payment plan rather than requiring all the money upfront. Pro Tip Check discount sites like Groupon or Living Social for current deals on activities. 3. Reduce the Associated Costs of After-School Activities The cost to enroll your child in an activity is rarely the only expense you’ll encounter. Equipment, supplies, uniforms, fundraisers, travel and performance tickets can greatly increase your investment. Find ways to lower these additional costs whenever possible. Arrange a carpool with team members. Buy secondhand equipment and attire. Limit the family members who attend smaller performances throughout the year, and save up so everyone can attend the major show at the end of the season. 4. DIY Your Extracurriculars Your kid can get the benefits of participating in an activity without it being a formal program that you pay for. Consider your children’s interests and figure out how to pursue them on an individual scale. If your kid is into music, hit up YouTube for free tutorials. There are tons of cooking blogs with detailed recipes for those who want to master baking. Your library may provide free access to software to learn a foreign language. Tap into your network of family, friends and neighbors to expose your child to different pursuits. Commit to teaching their kids about a skill you’ve mastered in exchange. It might be a bigger investment in time, but you can save a lot of money by creating your own means of developing your child’s interests. FROM THE SAVE MONEY FORUM Travel Tips, anyone have any to share? 8/13/19 @ 10:27 AM For those Who do not drive, what is the cheapest way to get around? 8/15/19 @ 9:55 PM M How to save when grocery shopping 8/15/19 @ 10:43 AM Acorns 8/14/19 @ 2:00 PM See more in Save Money or ask a money question 5. Talk to Your Kids About Making Sacrifices There may be times where you simply have to say no to your kid’s request to enroll in another extracurricular activity. If you don’t have the funds and you’d have to charge expenses on a credit card, you should reevaluate things. Parents never want to put financial stress on their kids, but it’s okay to be up-front about the limitations of your budget. This might mean having your kids choose one sport to commit to rather than two, or asking if they prefer dance lessons over vacationing at the beach next summer. If you have teenagers, get them to contribute to their extracurricular expenses with money from babysitting, mowing lawns or a part-time job. Depending on the activity, you can challenge your child to turn their hobby into an entrepreneurial pursuit — like selling handmade bracelets at local festivals or giving piano lessons to younger kids. Nicole Dow is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. She’s a parent who’s always looking for ways to save money. This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017. [...]
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Great Deal on Consumer Reports Magazine!

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Great Deal on Consumer Reports Magazine!
Here is a magazine deal that we don’t see very often! You can get a hot deal on a subscription to Consumer Reports Magazine. CONSUMER REPORTS SUBSCRIPTION DISCOUNT Now through 7/30/19 (11:59 pm EST), order a subscription to Consumer Reports magazine for as little as $17.49 a year.  That is a savings of 79% off the ... Read More about Great Deal on Consumer Reports Magazine! The post Great Deal on Consumer Reports Magazine! appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom. [...]
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Beyond eBay and Etsy: 5 Online Flea Markets You’ve Never Heard of

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Beyond eBay and Etsy: 5 Online Flea Markets You’ve Never Heard of
Where can you find antique Pez dispensers, hot vintage heels and (finally!) the perfect lamp to match your weirdly patterned bedspread — all on sale for just a few bucks? I’ll give you a hint: It’s not Walmart. At least, not my Walmart. (And if yours fits the bill… would you let me know where you live?) No, it’s your favorite online flea market. A New Way to Browse: Online Flea Markets Not only are regular flea markets wacky and wonderful, but their goods are usually pre-owned, pre-loved and dirt cheap. In short, they’re a Penny Hoarder’s dream. But it’s 2019. You turn to your laptop (or, let’s be real, your smartphone) for everything from takeout to taxi rides to a date for Friday night.  So it’s no surprise there’s a whole world of online flea market shopping out there. And it’s just as quirky and addictive as the real thing — especially since you can see it all with just a few clicks.  Of course, a few of these flea market sites are industry giants you almost certainly already know about.  There’s eBay, which is nearly 25 years old. (I know!) Although it bills itself primarily as an online auction site, many of its listings are available for immediate sale — and it seems you can find just about anything you might desire. And there’s Etsy, which is sort of like eBay’s quiet, artsy little sister who wears a lot of black eyeliner while weaving flower crowns. You probably already know that Etsy specializes in homemade, handmade goodies, but it’s also a treasure trove for lovers of all things vintage.  In fact, Etsy has a whole category devoted to vintage items from games and toys to clothing — and it’s well-organized enough that you can specifically browse bolo ties, fedoras or marbles. Sites like Amazon and Craigslist also play a part in the game, connecting buyers to individual sellers in their area or abroad. But if you really want to get your hands dirty and score some killer (read: very weird) online flea market finds, you’ll have to look beyond the big guys. 5 Online Flea Markets You Might Not Have Heard of Yet We checked out a variety of smaller online flea markets and compared inventory, prices and user experience to help you find the best deals at the digital folding table.  Here’s what we found out. 1. Fleabay A bit like a cross between Craigslist and eBay, Fleabay (a .net domain!) lists items from all over the world — and includes categories as diverse as rental properties and ride shares. There’s even a free stuff section.  The list of prohibited items includes wine, credit cards and “human parts and remains.” Used airbags are merely “questionable,” though. Fleabay’s listings feature little more than an item description, location, the seller’s information and an expiration date. Shipping or local pickup is arranged on a per-listing basis, and you reach out to the poster directly.  The most frustrating thing? A number of the categories were empty of listings — but there’s no way to tell that without clicking through. There’s also no baked-in way to make an offer on an item; if you’re interested, you’ll have to fill in an online contact form. 2. vFlea  Compared to other online flea markets, vFlea feels the closest to actually thumbing through junk until you find a treasure — before leaning across the table to make a bid. The interface is also a touch more polished. Each listing’s thumbnail specifies whether items are shippable or for local pickup only and also includes an asking price. The platform has built-in “buy now” and “haggle” options, and even an opportunity to “barter” with goods of your own.  Items are organized by tags as well as categories, creating better searchability and organization. The site populates the number of listings currently available in each category in parentheses, so no mysteries there. Finally, vFlea still has some weird stuff available, although it draws the line at community events. For instance, you could make an offer on this hilltop timeshare in Indiana, which apparently can be shipped or picked up locally. The asking price is $21,000.   3. Bonanza Although Bonanza has a very similar interface to eBay, it doesn’t offer bidding or bartering options.  It does, however, list categories for everything from home goods to collectibles, including coins and paper money.  And there’s also a wonderful category called “Everything Else,” with subsections like “Metaphysical” (which features a $330 haunted bracelet) and “Weird Stuff” (hey, this is perfect for Halloween!)  There’s even a “Vintage” section under fashion so you can easily shop for those precious duds from another era. 4. Srchie Love the hunt for bargains but not so much the web surfing? Srchie does the work for you, scanning — or searching, get it? — online flea markets across the web, including eBay, Amazon and Goodwill.  Narrow your search by categories like Vintage, Furniture and Books — including first editions — and the site will display externally linked images to the sellers’ sites. You can identify who’s selling by the logo in the top left corner and find the price and the posting date at the bottom of the image before clicking through to the seller’s site.  It’s a convenient way to browse the marketplace and compare prices without opening 4,287 tabs. FROM THE SAVE MONEY FORUM What to buy (and not buy) from Fourth of July Sales 2019 6/27/19 @ 1:00 PM M Do drive-in movie theaters save you money? 7/1/19 @ 7:38 PM Airfare 6/24/19 @ 5:19 PM SAVING MONEY ON A FIXED INCOME 6/7/19 @ 1:31 PM See more in Save Money or ask a money question 5. Poshmark  Although it’s not exactly an online flea market, per se, Poshmark allows you to make the seller a custom offer — just like at a flea market table! It offers a wide variety of fashion and home accessories, as well as themed parties for buying and selling your stuff. Like most online consignment shops, Poshmark require you to log in to browse their goods, but they’re free to browse and generally feature low shipping costs.  Digital secondhand shops like ThredUp have a lot to offer if you’re looking for fashionable items on the cheap. You can buy (and sell!) gently used, high-quality, brand-name clothes and accessories for a fraction of the price you’d find in stores or online. Jamie Cattanach (@jamiecattanach) is a freelance writer. Staff writer/editor Tiffany Wendeln Connors contributed to this post. This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017. [...]
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