Shopping

Save & Protect – Not Lose – Your Money When Shopping Online

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Financial Tip of the Day:

I love shopping online.  I love it SO much that that I’d venture to say that I do it just about every week. And I’ve learned one important thing when doing it: ALWAYS use my credit card.

In fact, there are two situations especially, where I ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS use a credit card while shopping online (and urge my clients to do the same):

  1.   When buying from a company for the first time
  2.  When buying something that costs more than $100

Using my credit card when shopping online has saved me tons of money. Not in the “traditional” sense of saving money. But in the way of helping me GET BACK my money when there’s an order error, or when I’m dealing with a vendor or company lacking in integrity.

For example, this past week I purchased an item from a company that I’ve never bought from before.  As is my policy, I used my credit card. When I got my order, the wrong item was shipped to me.  This particular company has a very STRICT no refund and returns policy. Except when it comes to shipping errors on their part. Which this is.

So far, when I’ve reached out to the company, they have been slow to respond. And when they did, their response was terse.  The bottom line is, if the company refuses to send me the correct order or return my money, I will be out more than $100. Honestly, I’m not big on losing money – ANY amount – but definitely not $100+. And I’m sure you’re not either. Right?

Needless to say, I don’t plan on ever buying from them again (based on the level of customer service they’ve exhibited so far).

But most of all, I am SO glad that I used my credit card to make the purchase.

Why, you ask?  

Because I know that if the company refuses to resolve the issue fairly, I can rest easy with the assurance that other resolution options are available to me through my credit card company. Such as, disputing the charge.

With a debit card, the money would have been immediately taken out of my account. And the likelihood of getting my money back or undoing the transaction DRAMATICALLY decreases (even if I disputed it with the bank).

Long story short: Save money by not losing hundreds (or more) when an order or service delivery goes sideways. Use your credit card when shopping online to protect your money – and get it back – when you rightfully should.

What about you? How do you usually pay for your online purchases? Have you had online shopping experiences where you lost money?

Redesign Your Celebration: Save Time, Energy & Moolah on Mother’s Day

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Yesterday as I shopped for a Mother's Day card for my mom, I thought about how special this day is each year for my mom and family. Honoring my mom is something that I am always eager to do because she has been - and still is - such an amazing mother, influencer, shaper and loving supporter my entire life. And I know many of us feel the same way about our moms.

So as I was browsing for a card, I recalled a Mother’s Day celebration a few years ago. One Mother’s Day we all got dressed up to take my mom out to dinner at her top choice restaurant (as we had done every other year). We arrived at the restaurant looking forward to a delicious meal, only to be told that they were booked full. And that the waiting list was for several hours.

Disappointed, we decided to try her next favorite restaurant. Calling ahead, we were told the same thing by that one too, as well as some other restaurants. The crazy thing is that this happened in Manhattan - of all places!!!

This experience made us re-evaluate how and when we celebrated the holiday. My mom is not a friend of crowds - nor am I - however, we had chosen to celebrate her on the traditional days for years up until that point. Even despite the crowds and inflated prices. But now the inability to even get into a restaurant for dinner inspired us to finally try a new approach.

We agreed to try celebrating Mother’s Day on an “off” day, rather than on the actual day itself. And you know what? Celebrating it on a different day has turned out to be a wonderful tradition that we now really enjoy every year.

Actually, we enjoy it just as much - if not more - than before. What matters most to my mom and us is that we celebrate her, regardless of what day we do it on. We select a day when we can all be there. And now we don’t have to fight with crowds or pay jacked-up prices on the “official” day.

If you’ve found the crowds, wait and prices to be a happiness buster, this may be an excellent solution. If your mom is flexible and open to this idea, celebrating Mother's Day on a mutually agreed upon alternative day can be a wonderful way to have a more relaxed, cozier, quieter and cost-saving celebration.

By the way, you can do this on other holidays too! My family and I have experimented with celebrating other holidays on different days and have found them to be equally enjoyable. You can save a great deal of time, energy and money on travel, gifts, food and waiting in line when you celebrate on “off-peak” days.

And you still get to lovingly celebrate one another. Isn’t that what it’s ALL really about anyway?

About Yolanda Ransom

Yolanda Ransom is a financial educator, speaker, coach and workshop trainer who teaches people how to confidently master their money so that they can achieve all of their financial dreams. She is the CEO of Yolanda Ransom Consulting and speaks on topics of personal finance, personal development and Black issues. Find out more about Yolanda and her work at yolandaransom.com

 

Minimize Grocery Trips to Save Hundreds

Grocery Shopping

Financial Tip of the Day

I finished my grocery shopping earlier today. Twice a month, my husband and I do a large grocery run to replenish everything we need until our next trip. Shopping twice per month saves us LOTS of money.

The more trips you make to the grocery store, the more you end up spending monthly. This is because you often end up buying smaller sizes of items with the idea of needing them to last a shorter period of time.

Take milk, for example. When you buy four quarts of milk instead of buying one gallon in a month, you end up spending quite a bit more. Multiply this by all the other items you do this with, and you can easily overspend by hundreds.

With clients, I’ve noticed that those who make larger shopping trips, less frequently, spend considerably less than those who shop every week. I even had one client who shopped EVERY day. Needless to say, they had a HUGE grocery bill.

By making fewer, but larger, grocery trips every month, you’ll save so much on your shopping bill. Plus, your savings automatically increase because you end up spending less on gas/transportation to get to the store. The net result: having more money to spend or save on the people and things that you love even more than groceries 😊.

Here's to Stress Free Spending

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Financial Tip of the Day
As we gear up for more holidays, you can take positive steps to end December on a financially empowered note. Instead of racing through the month spending on gifts and holiday festivities, you can spend in a clear, organized manner with NO stress about where your money is going. If you haven’t taken time to create your monthly budget yet, this is as good a time as any, isn’t it? One extremely useful tool I always recommend is the FTC’s Budget Worksheet. With certain software, it also totals everything up as you fill it out. So cool! If you like seeing your cash flow on paper (my preference) you’ll really like this worksheet. Click here to get it: FTC Budget Worksheet. Be sure to spread the love and share this worksheet with a friend!

More Shared Tips to Reduce Thanksgiving Stress & Costs

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Financial Tip of the Day

As the day arrives (along with the hustle and bustle) here are some more helpful tips if you happen to be hosting Thanksgiving at your house. Plus, there’s a downloadable list to print out and use to plan your dinner: Hosting Thanksgiving? Here are Some Ways to Reduce Your Stress & Cost

Shared Tips to Reduce Thanksgiving Stress & Cost

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Financial Tip of the Day

For all those cooking and planning Thanksgiving dinner, here are some tips to make it less stressful. In this article there are tips to save money on food and on organizing your Thanksgiving dinner: Five ways to save money & reduce your stress buying and cooking your Thanksgiving dinner

Thanksgiving Shopping Tip

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Financial Tip of the Day (Repost)

Thanksgiving is one of the holidays that we arguably spend the most on groceries for. If you’re heading out this weekend to buy holiday food, here’s a tip that I previously shared during July 4th. This tip will help you save BOTH time and money spent on grocery trips: Make A List Before Grocery Shopping This Holiday

Finishing Up Your 4th Quarter Strong (Just Like the Big Businesses Do)

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So…we’ve entered the final quarter of the year. Starting next month, it will be filled with plenty of holidays and celebrations (however, if you count Halloween, this is where it kicks off). Rather than letting holiday expenses control you, decide to control them - in ADVANCE.

Years ago, I failed to do this and bought a bunch of expensive Christmas gifts for my friends and family - on credit. Needless to say, it took a while to pay it all off. I learned a A LOT from that experience.

Sit down and figure out your “spending” budget. Decide how much you want/need to reasonably spend in light of your current finances.

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Then, consider setting aside money each pay period to cover your planned expenses, rather than incurring credit card debt because you don’t have all the money available upfront. Xmas club savings accounts and layaway plans (Walmart started theirs already) are also great ways to manage gift buying in advance or over time so that you don’t overspend during the holidays.

P.S – The last few months of the year leads to reflection for many of us (including me). Looking at where we are and where we planned to be can reveal important areas where we feel (or know) we could’ve done much better.

Is this true for you? If you haven’t achieved the financial progress you desire (or need), contact me for a FREE Discovery session to see how I can help you get there. Get off to a positive financial start for the upcoming year! Schedule your FREE chat here by clicking on "Schedule FREE Discovery Session."

Guilt-Free Splurging

Financial Tip of the Day: 

The other day I saw this lipstick online at Fashion Fair and fell in love with it! I really love “unusual” lip colors. So I bought it. For $18. That’s the most I’ve ever paid for a lipstick. Anyone who knows me can tell you that I’m not a “spontaneous” shopper. My tastes are pretty simple so I rarely splurge on cosmetics. I usually shop around for the best price first (which I admit I did here too before catching a sale at Macy’s for $18. That’s my “thing”). But no matter what, I decided that even if I could only buy it at full price – $20 (plus tax and shipping) – I would still get it.

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I bought it on a whim because I really wanted it. I also had some birthday gift money left over. But most importantly, I’d already taken care of my most important bills. Whim purchases are only a problem when there actually is no money in the budget for them (often adding to an ever-increasing credit card bill) and they go over what we’re truly bringing in. So, in this case, an occasional unplanned splurge is a well-deserved treat.

I can’t wait to get it in the mail! I’ll take a pic and post it so you can see how it looks on me. What’s the most you’ve ever spent for a lipstick?

I know that so many people need help with their spending, which is why I created “10 Fast Ways to OWN Your Money – Now!” If you’re splurging a bit more than you should or would like to, get my FREE tips by clicking here and I’ll email them to you.

“Spender” or “Saver”?

Financial Tip of the Day: 

A big part of owning your finances is understanding your personal approach to money. For me, I definitely spend money on things that increase my happiness – like good food (which I’m doing here at KFC), music, movies, concerts, electronics, etc. However, I tend to be more frugal, with a “Saver” personality. Seeing money pile up in my accounts while earning interest gives me the biggest buzz. Other people get greater enjoyment from spending their money on things they like and seeing the nice items/experiences they’ve bought pile up. Neither approach is wrong – unless it’s taken to extremes. That’s when problems arise.  In both cases, finding a balance is key.

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I found this great quiz: Are You a Spender or Saver? Take the EveryDollar Quiz!  to help figure out whether you’re a “spender” or “saver.” It also reached the same conclusion that I did – finding a balance is most important.

As I expected, I’m a “Saver.” What were your results? Leave me a comment and let me know.

P.S. -  To get help finding your balance, email me at yrconsulting@optimum.net to arrange a FREE mini coaching session.

Check Those Grocery Receipts!

Financial Tip of the Day:

Check those grocery receipts! Take 5 minutes to scan it before rushing out of the store.  I got double charged for an item the other day. It may not seem like much money, but if it happens repeatedly, it can add up. And if you’re not in the habit of checking your receipts, it may be happening more often than you realize. This can equal a lot of “lost” money over time.

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One thing I HATE is getting home and realizing that I was overcharged. Next comes the internal debate about: Should I go back to the store today and make the extra trip to fix it asap? Or should I wait 2 weeks (which is how often I shop) to fix it? But by then all my groceries are home and that looks kind of suspect, doesn’t it? Showing up 2 weeks later with no groceries to explain that “I was charged twice for a box of Splenda, but I only got one.” How would they know I was telling the truth at all, standing there with an empty cart? Get my drift? So, to make a long story short: check your receipt before leaving the store. If there’s a mistake, go to the appropriate register right away to get it corrected. It will take a few extra minutes of time to do this (we native New Yorkers are ALWAYS in a rush, aren’t we?) - but your pocketbook (or wallet) will thank you for it.

Make A List Before Grocery Shopping This Holiday

Financial Tip of the Day

The upcoming holiday is one that’s typically full of barbecuing and enjoying lots of delicious food with our loved ones. But before you head out to shop, take just a few minutes to make a grocery list. Check your cabinets and refrigerator to see what you already have and what you really need.

Making a list before grocery shopping saves both time AND money:  5 Reasons to Shop with a Grocery List [+ my weekly list]. A list helps you to stay on track with what you’re buying and spending. And you’ll get everything you need at once at a better price.

This will also save you from having to run out to the (much more expensive) corner store in the middle of festivities to pick up that one important item that you forgot. Plus, you’ll also save money on gas/transportation if your neighborhood ‘corner’ store turns out to be a bit more than a few corners away.