Happy Financial Literacy Month! With inflation at record levels and employee wages not keeping pace, many of us are attempting to make our dollars stretch as far as possible. Throughout the years, I am sure you have heard the phrase, “you get what you pay for”, however, oftentimes this is not true as many lower cost items provide better quality at a lower price.
To see how different products and services compare check out Consumer Reports, which is an unbiased resource that never accepts any advertiser money. You can research different items for free from your public library or get a Consumer Reports online subscription.
People also check reviews from Consumer Guide, Google Reviews, Yelp while others ask family and friends they trust for advice or visit retail shops where they can compare products for themselves.
Here are a few money saving ideas
Free and/or reduced-price technology items: https://www.freegeek.org/
Credit Unions/Regional Banks:
Credit unions generally provide customers with slightly lower interest rates when lending money and offer slightly higher interest rates when saving. Also, they do not charge for checking and saving accounts while many banks do.
- Budget movie, Regal Theatres in the Portland Area has many movies for $5.00 or $10.00
- Visit your local library website, you can have access to free movies, online books and even free access to local museums/parks.
- Check “Admission Access” programs in your local museums
Remember to plan your meals before shopping and have a list. Also, don’t shop when hungry as you’ll buy more this way. You can find quality and value on hundreds of items at WinCo, Costco, Grocery Outlet, and Trader Joes. Also, don’t hesitate to seek food assistance by calling 211, they will have an updated list on organizations in your area.
Top rated value Insurance companies: Amica, NJM, Pemco, USAA, West Bend, (in alphabetically order)
If you have cable, see if it’s providing what you want, as many clients now only use Internet services instead of paying for both cable and internet. It would make sense for all of us to do a review of our in-home entertainment expenses as many of us have added streaming services. Comcast Internet Essentials Basic plan costs $9.95 monthly plus taxes, or if you need more data, go into your Comcast online account where you can find their value promotions. You can sign up from your mobile device at apply.internetessentials.com.
Also, check the Affordable Connectivity Program:
From the Xfinity website; (ACP) is a longer-term replacement for the federal Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB). It was designed to help lower-income households connect to the Internet and stay connected. The Program provides eligible customers of participating broadband providers up to a $30/month ($75/month for Tribal lands) credit toward Internet and mobile services for the duration of the program. It will last for as long as the Federal Government funds the Program, which is expected to be several years. The amount of the credit depends on the rate for the services selected.
To obtain low-cost investment service providers, you can see which of these firms are best for you: Charles Schwab, Fidelity, or Vanguard. For those like Robinhood, just make sure to do your research before investing.
Top rated value cell phone services: Rated the highest for value and customer support: TING, Consumer Cellular, Mint Mobile, Visible, Spectrum Mobile, Google Fi, Republic Wireless and Tracphone. Cost-Effective Cell Phone Plans: PureTalk ($18-58 per month), Mint Mobile ($15-30 per month), Visible ($25-40 per month), T-Mobile Connect ($15-25 per month), Tello ($5-39 per month
Check your local beauty schools. Their students provide services at a very affordable price (haircut, skincare, nails etc)
Free help filing taxes at: Cash Oregon. Other Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Sites: https://irs.treasury.gov/freetaxprep/, and free online filing: https://apps.irs.gov/app/freeFile/browse-all-offers/
Facebook Buy Nothing, Get Free Items
Here is a tip that could save money all year round:
Some of you may have heard of Buy Nothing through family and friends, please note that you must join Facebook to take part. This group posts free items to be picked-up by the interested party instead of having a garage sale, donating, or discarding the items.
What have we seen people give away? Sometimes free cars, computers, printers, furniture, or other household goods. Anything of perceived value can be posted; some people have given lint, pickle juice, even old fish tank water. Many clients have gotten new and nearly new items from this group, including older cars. Many clients have obtained free sweaters, jackets, pots, and pans.
How does it work? Someone within your community will list an item, then if interested, the interested party informs the person who posted. The listings are time sensitive so reply as quickly as possible, afterward, the person offering the item will determine who receives the item based on desire, interest, and other factors – the decision is not based on the being the first to reply.
Clients have said they feel more connected to the community and have gotten some great items for free.