It used to be that Black Friday was the best day of the year to get stellar deals on holiday gifts.
I’m here to tell you: This is no longer true. Black Friday worthy deals are showing up earlier and earlier each year, and prices are staying lower longer, to allow retailers to remain competitive.
Black Friday Traditions
This is not to say that Black Friday shopping doesn’t have its place in terms of unorthodox holiday traditions that some Americans hold dear.
If you’re into camping out in front of Best Buy in sub-zero temps and getting cozy with 500 of your new best friends who in a few short hours will become your new worst enemies as you all run for the two ridiculously low promo-priced 60” HDTVs, why should I take that kind of joy from you?
But for folks like me who prefer to shop in their pajamas on Black Friday, or those who prefer to forgo shopping during the Thanksgiving holiday and enjoy food and football with the family, great deals can still be found.
I like to check out Black Friday shopping deal sites like BFads and FatWallet in the weeks prior to Black Friday to see what the promotional prices will be on my favorite items. This allows me to gain knowledge about price dips I can expect, and look for those prices to appear before Black Friday or Cyber Monday are here.
I also make sure to use Ebates to get cash back on my online purchases throughout the year. I get quarterly checks from them, and during the holidays they have Double Cash Back days (including Black Friday and Cyber Monday) where I can really rack up the online savings.
Remain focused, have fun and have a plan when you do get to your holiday shopping, and you’ll be well on your way to saving money and getting some wonderful gifts too.
4 Tips to Savvy Savings
Make a Budget: This is tough one, but it will keep you on track and encourage you to look for the best deal for you.
Have a Gift List: Do this well in advance of your shopping, so subconsciously you’re already looking for ‘just the right gift’ before and after Black Friday. TIP: I use Google to make an online form that populates a spreadsheet for me. I enter my gift purchases and then can see them at a glance on my Google Drive app on my smartphone, tablet and PC.
Do Your Research: If there’s a gift you know you’ll be buying, research its retail price and then decide what a good price for you on that item would be when you are Black Friday shopping. If you don’t find that price before or after Black Friday, be prepared to adjust your expectations or have a ‘Plan B’ if the price just doesn’t come into line with what you want to pay.
Remember It’s Just Another Day: Black Friday is an attempt by retailers to get you to spend your holiday cash. It can be a fun day for snagging great deals, or an exhausting, overwhelming event. Pace yourself to save money AND your sanity!
Since cutting the cord with cable TV, I’m saving $100 a month and I have not missed out on any of the programming I previously enjoyed using cable. I don’t feel deprived at all , and I get the perk of having extra cash in my pocket for the holidays.
So what’s the first step to cutting the cord?
If you want to save money using over air TV, finding the proper equipment is essential. Knowing your location to get an antenna with the proper range is the first step.
Check out AntennaWeb.org to check where the TV broadcast towers are in your area, in relationship to your location. Once you have that info, you can begin to decide which HDTV antenna is right for you.
A great resource for over air TV HDTV antennas is Mohu. They’ve got quality products that are simply designed, and easy to setup and use. Their blog and forum are awesome resources for new cord cutters!
Because of where I live I need an indoor antenna with a 50 mile range. I’ve tried different kinds but I find that Mohu HDTV antennas work the best for me at my location.
I use the Mohu Leaf 50 and the Curve 50 to pull in all the available over air TV stations in my area, most of them in 1080i high definition! FOX, ABC, NBC, CBS, CW and PBS all look fantastic using my Mohu antennas, which were super easy to setup and look great in my home.
The book was written in response to questions about how to setup and use an over air TV antenna. I also discuss streaming media and how it’s used to supplement over air TV programming. It’s a Kindle book, but the free Kindle reading apps; see the right side of the book’s product page for links, allow you to view Kindle books on PCs, Macs, iOS and Android devices as well as Kindles.
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Recently my mother fell and broke her hip. Seeking to find helpful home health aid items for her to use in her recovery, I discovered a few useful gems on Amazon.
One big issue for my Mom was how to wash her hair while she was still in bed.
I found two solutions.
First, waterless , No-Rinse Shampoo. It takes the oils out of your hair and gives it a fresh scent. While it can leave your scalp itchy as you dampen your hair, suds it in and then towel dry, it does what it promises to do. This product would work well for those who are on backpacking trips too.
Second, an inflatable basin. You blow it up and use regular water and shampoo to wash the bedridden person’s hair while they lie flat in bed. You do need access to water, shampoo and a bucket to catch the drain off, but it works well.
Another issue was how to keep sheets from staying on an adjustable bed. I bought a Twin Extra-Long adjustable bed off Craigslist, and was using regular sheets on it. I found BedBands which solved the sheet shifting issue with ease! Purchasing two sets of four, I used them on the corners and sides of the bed. Great gadgets to have on hand for multiple uses.
You or your loved one’s life can change in a heartbeat, but there are a lot of ingenious items out there to help you make the transition into a ‘new normal’ much easier.
Check out all the helpful Health & Personal Care deals on Amazon and don’t forget to compare prices with the Amazon Marketplace sellers, and consider buying ‘like new’ or ‘used’ from the Amazon Warehouse to save even more.
The BuddyTV app is a great way to have a dynamic, channel guide for your over-the-air TV as well as streaming media info from Netflix, HuluPlus and more! (NOTE: Works for those who have satellite and cable TV too.)
I started using it on my iPad, and like it for a quick and easy reference while watching OTA TV. I also like that I can use the integrated remote control with my Roku 3. (I’ve gotten mixed results with the remote part of the app with other devices.)
Definitely worth checking out if you are looking for a TV guide that you can customize.
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YouTube has a lot of great cat videos, but did you know you can use it to sleuth out online savings?
There are thousands of helpful YouTubers offering free how-to and educational videos which can help you to save money both online and off.
Some of the videos remind us to use common sense.
Others are uploaded from reputable news sources and showcase frugality, ingenuity and budgeting.
To find videos related to saving money, you can go right to what’s popular and scroll until you find one, or use the easier method and use the Search box.
TIP #1: If you are going to do a search you’ll use keywords or phrases, just like you would with any search engine.
As you type what you are searching for, words or phrases which start to populate the drop down menu on YouTube are a good place to start clicking. These are the most often searched for terms and are likely to have videos related to them that you may be interested in.
TIP #2: If looking to learn how to save money, think both generally and specifically.
Be sure to use words and phrases like savings, how-to, how to find, coupons, deals, bargains or similar for general info, or more specific phrases like how to find free books online to narrow your search.
TIP #3: If you have a money saving bit of advice you’d like to share, consider doing a screencast to show others.
I did this video to show my mother and her friends how to find, clip and use coupons on Amazon.
The book offers non-techy type folks a step by step guide to deciding whether cord cutting is for them, in addition to how to setup and use an over-the-air flat antenna. The book also offers multiple ways to supplement over air TV with streaming media such as Netflix, Amazon Instant Video and others.
Cord cutting is something that almost anyone can do to save big money, and still have their favorite programming via over air TV and streaming media sources..
Finding happiness in that ‘tech-o-system’ can be daunting, but with a little bit of effort it’s within your reach.
Tip #1: Location is key to successful over-the-air TV reception.
Before you decide to take the plunge it’s a good idea to check out if there is indeed over-the-air TV signals in your area.
You can check this using several sources, but an easy one I like to use can be found at AntennaWeb.org . You put in your address and are shown a map which indicates the TV broadcast towers in your area.
You can use this information as a guide to guesstimate as to what channels you might be able to pick up over air at your location, and what kind of an over air antenna might work for you.
Tip #2: Get the right equipment.
There are a lot of options, but I find that if you have a lot of TV towers within 50 miles of your location, a digital flat antenna is your best bet.
Antennas have specific ranges in miles, so be sure to select the antenna that will encompass a range that includes the broadcast towers in your area.
Flat, indoor antennas are easy to setup and adjust if needed, and they offer crystal clear reception when properly placed in your home, apartment, office or dorm room.
I also recommend upgrading the coaxial cable between the antenna and the TV if possible. Signal loss occurs with some thin cables and the picture can become choppy. Triple or quad shielded coaxial often fixes this problem.
Tip #3: Be patient.
Most of us are addicted to the fast food way of doing things. Whatever it is, we want it fast! Sometimes though, you have to work at it to get things your way. Patience when it comes to placing and using any over air antenna is the key to successfully getting free TV the way you want it.
Try several locations in your home. Then do a channel scan. If you don’t get all the channels you expected to receive, place it in another location and try the process again. It took me over half a dozen tries to dial in the sweet spot for my antenna, but once I found it I’ve been thrilled with my reception using a Mohu Leaf 50 antenna.
The bottom line is, you don’t have to be techie at all to find happiness with free TV. You just have to be willing to give it a try!
It’s no secret that I love Amazon for its products and services, but parents and students are surprised to learn of enhanced Prime membership benefits, free trials and extended services and deals, just for students.
Most recently Amazon Prime membership has gotten the added perk of Prime Music. Any digital music – song, album or playlist – marked as ‘Prime’, can be nabbed for FREE if you are an Amazon Prime member!
My favorites are the Prime Music playlist. You add the playlist to your Amazon Music library and then get the Amazon Music app for PC, Mac, Android (Amazon Appstore) or iOS (Apple devices need the app which can be found in the iTunes Appstore). All of the apps are FREE and allow you to listen to the FREE Prime Music, and download the music to your devices to listen even when you don’t have internet access.
The Prime Music benefit is ideal for students who constantly crave music! My daughter is 15 and can’t get enough music. Prime Music has virtually eliminated the need to purchase any, and when we are in the car she streams her downloaded playlists to the Bluetooth car stereo for everyone to enjoy!
You can watch on a PC or on a streaming device like Roku, Blu-ray player or Smart TV with the Amazon Instant Video app installed.
Did you know you get 5GB of FREE Amazon Cloud storage? You don’t have to be a Prime member for this benefit – it’s for any Amazon customer to use to store their media. You can purchase more storage, and it’s about half the cost of Apple’s iCloud storage.
You can also test drive apps for FREE! Here’s a link to the page with the latest Android apps.
Prime Pantry is a very new program for Amazon. When it came out my first thought was how great it would be to setup college care packages!
Prime Pantry allows you to select from grocery items and ship them for one low price. The cool part is that as you fill your box, you get a running total of the weight so that you can adjust as needed to stuff your box.