Tag Archives: shopping

Warm Up to Responsible Spending

With warm, sunny days upon us, it’s time to plan for more than just your tan: summer spending. Vacations, airline tickets, dining out, and entertainment—it adds up. If you haven’t budgeted for these expenses in advance, a quick swipe of your credit card takes care of it. But if responsible credit card use isn’t your strength (or you just need a refresher), these tips could help curb the temptation to overspend this summer.

Be selective. There are several factors to look at when picking a credit card. First, you’ll want to see what your limit is. If you don’t think you can handle the freedom of a credit card, start with one that has a lower limit, like $1,000. Additionally, look at the credit card’s annual percentage rate or APR. That interest will add up if you’re not planning on paying off the total each month, so shop around for a low APR. Finally, look out for cards that charge annual fees just for keeping them open.

Monitor your balance. You should keep credit card payments to 10 percent of your monthly take-home income. For example, if your monthly income is $2,000, your monthly credit card payment should not be more than $200. This doesn’t mean your balance should not exceed $200, but make sure your minimum payment is no more than that. Keep in mind, however, that paying off the entire balance each month is in your best interest financially.

Know the benefits. By making purchases with your credit card and paying the balance off each month, you’re proving to lenders that you’re a responsible, creditworthy consumer. It boosts your credit score and will help you in the future if you ever want to get a loan—or another credit card.

Stick to a budget. It’s important to set parameters for yourself when using a credit card. One simple way to do this is to use the credit card for one specific purpose, like gas or groceries, so it’s easier to keep your spending in check. Another way is to get a card with a low limit. This forces you to keep your spending under a certain amount.

Smart credit card use doesn’t have to be a mystery or limit your fun this summer. Follow these simple tips and your poolside lounge session (while possibly chasing the kids) will be that much more relaxing.

Presented by Member One Federal Credit Union

Back to College Essentials

The end of August calls for many exciting things: the symbolic end of summer, last minute vacations and of course the infamous start of a new school year. For some, this is the start of a new college semester. College living isn’t always the most comfortable years of your life. It usually consists of small dorms/apartments and super-size boxes of Ramen noodles (they have helped me thrive in college). However, finding ways to make your college space useful and livable is the key to a great experience. Downsizing is difficult to do after living in a large space for a while. Finding products that help you minimize while still maximizing your living space is essential to campus living. Here are some products that can help you utilize your new lifestyle:

 

1450957343998GreekGirl Beauty Protein Powder (As featured in our August issue!)
It’s important to stay healthy at all stages of life, including college. However, its tough to maintain a good diet with pizza everyday around campus and dining halls with unhealthy choices. Protein powder can be the perfect solution because it offers all the nutrients you need in a meal. It also never goes bad and takes up very little space!

Storage Ottomans
Finding multiple uses for an item can make things much simpler. Storage is the number one concern when it comes to downsizing and it can be tricky trying to fit your life in a small space. A storage ottoman is a good resolution because it’s seating for a guest and a place to put books or shoes. Utilizing the purposes of things in different ways in your new home can make the place more practical.

Lap desk
It’s vital that you take full advantage of the space you have so putting useless furniture, like a desk, in the room isn’t a way to maximize the space. Instead of a desk that you will most likely rarely use, try a lap desk. You can sit on the floor or your bed and do work and store it out of sight when you’re done!

32305708_000_aDry shampoo from Farmaesthetics (As featured in our August issue!)
Dry shampoo is a go-to when it comes to busy college schedules. It absorbs the oils in your hair to make it as fresh as it was days ago. It also doesn’t strip your hair out like shampooing does if you wash your hair every day. Throw a can in your purse for a hair boost wherever you go!

Phone charging purse
Once again, finding products that have more than one purpose is a way to maximize your lifestyle. One product that I have found useful is a purse that can charge your phone. Never go a night out again and worry about your phone dying! These are also perfect for people that are on the go every day.

Written by Stacy Shrader

Free Shipping Day: No Minimums Allowed

free-shipping-dayIn an interesting juxtaposition of headlines last week, Target announced free shipping on all holiday orders through Dec. 20. A day later, The Wall Street Journal came out with “Free Shipping Is Going to Cost You More,” highlighting the misnomer that is the “free shipping with minimum order” promotion. The article found the average order to qualify for free shipping is $82, up from $76 a year ago.
“The Wall Street Journal story is a much-needed response to those who believe free shipping is everywhere these days,” says Luke Knowles, CEO of FreeShipping.org. “Retailers may have a free shipping offer, but it typically doesn’t mean you’ll dodge delivery fees on any order.”
As a pioneer in the free shipping space, Knowles started FreeShipping.org in 2007 to help online shoppers avoid the delivery fees he disliked so much. A year later he founded Free Shipping Day, the one-day online event when shoppers can get free shipping and delivery by Christmas Eve.
“Back then, free shipping was pretty rare and retailers were just discovering how powerful a promotion it could be,” continues Knowles. “It was, and continues to be, the number-one deal online shoppers respond to.”
Indeed, 69 percent of respondents to Accenture’s annual holiday spending survey said free shipping was their primary incentive for shopping online. Comscore’s 2014 UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper found close to a third (30 percent) of respondents will hold off on buying online until free shipping is offered, while 50 percent will ditch their digital shopping carts if their orders don’t quality for free shipping.
The emphasis on “real” free shipping is what drove Knowles and his team to require merchants participating in Free Shipping Day to waive minimum order thresholds for the 2013 event. “We realized if we wanted retailers to offer true free shipping, trying to convince them a few days before our event wasn’t enough. We decided not to give them an option to offer anything less than real free shipping, and will continue that standard this year.”
Last year, close to 1,000 retailers participated in Free Shipping Day, pulling in an estimated $868 million in online sales. Knowles and his team are already working on this year’s December 18th event, ramping up for what will likely be another record-breaking online shopping season. In fact, the National Retail Federation estimates consumers will complete over half (56 percent) of their holiday shopping online this year, a record-high in the organization’s 13-year history of surveying shoppers.
Free Shipping Day is scheduled this year for Thursday, Dec. 18. Visit www.freeshippingday.com for more information.

 

Article contributed by Kendal Perez (kendal@freeshippingday.com) of Free Shipping Day.

Urban Market Bags

Are you tired of carrying around those heavy, thick reusable shopping bags to the grocery store? Do you wish you could carry something stylish and functional each trip and skip the wasteful plastic bags?

Try a few Urban Market Bags on your next trip. Available for purchase in sets of three or six, these bags come in a drawstring sack that conveniently holds them when they are not in use. Storing them in the drawstring sack will allow you to fit all of them in the cupholder of your car or your handbag. This way you will never get caught without your bags again and you do not have to worry about them cluttering your vehicle.

folded%20bagsThese stylish and sturdy bags will take you from the local grocery store to the hardware store, from the soccer game to the gym, from the farmers markets to the mall! This is a great stocking stuffer for the upcoming holiday season– but be sure to grab a few for yourself since they will also come in handy for your holiday shopping!

Visit www.urbanmarketbags.com for more information.

Fashion Fun– Jelly Sandals

Some of my favorite childhood memories were made wearing jelly sandals. I used to get a new pair in my Easter basket every year. Always pink, always sparkly, they were my most coveted accessory.

It always fascinated me that I never got blisters from these plastic sandals, but I didn’t dwell on it much, I was too busy being my awesome ten-year-old self. Recently, I have noticed the sandals making a come back. When I saw them back in stock at the Gap near me, I let out an audible gasp. I didn’t have to get very close to smell the recognizable rubbery scent and be immediately sent down memory lane. Since first seeing a near carbon copy of my original jelly sandals at Gap last summer, the trend has continued to ramp up, becoming both more popular and more fashion forward.

Now they are carried in nearly every store at the mall, and major fashion houses like Dianne Von Furstenberg, Givenchy, and Chanel have even adopted the style. Because of their unique material and typically bright color, jelly sandals can seem intimidating to style. They are certainly a statement piece, but they actually play surprisingly well with most summer staples.

They are adorable with a pair of boyfriend style jeans and a graphic t-shirt. They can also add a whimsical feel to a simple summer dress. My favorite way to wear them is with an all white outfit; white pants, a white v-neck t-shirt, and a light neutral bag. 

This trend is for all ages—so buy a pair for you and your daughter! Share photos of your favorite jelly sandals on our Facebook page. We can’t wait to see them!

 

Written by Eleanor Haeg