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Woman Hand Pushing Button Smartphone

Apps That Help You Save While You Shop

Woman Hand Pushing Button Smartphone

Is the age-old tradition of coupon clipping still part of our weekly routine? Put down the scissors and walk away from the weekly store ads cause there is a better way to save. Stop the tedious searching for coupons and promo codes and download apps that find the deals for you. Not only will you save time but you will also find deals you might not have even realize existed. Here are some of the best apps to start using while shopping.

1. Jet

With the goal to build a better shopping experience for their customers, you can save tons by using the Jet app. With their real-time savings engine, the prices drop as you shop. You can get everything from toilet paper to bed sheets on Jet and the more items you add to your cart that have a tag symbol beside them, the lower the price will drop for each item. So buying in bulk for items like toilet paper, toothpaste and granola bars will save you more. The price per item also drops when you opt out for free returns, and pay with a debit card instead of a credit card.

2. Retail Me Not

Score deals at your favorite stores and restaurants with the award-winning app that makes it easy to save with thousands of deals from over 50,000 retailers. The app syncs with your map to notify you of the best deals near you. Whether you’re on vacation in a new city or just driving through your neighborhood, the app will alert you when a deal is near.

3. Shop Advisor

The Shop Advisor app does just what its name suggests, it advises you when the price is just right to purchase. You simply create a list of items you are interested in purchasing and the system watches that item and alerts you when the price drops the lowest online.

4. PriceGrabber

This app scans the prices on all sites that carry a specific item you’re shopping for and gives a full comparison report. The app gives you the bottom-line price, taking into consideration the shipping cost for an item. You can also simply scan a bar code of a product to get a quick, real-time view of where to purchase an item at the cheapest price.

5. Wallaby

If you take advantage of reward programs on credit cards, then you can double your rewards with the Wallaby app. When shopping for items online, the Wallaby system will scan your shopping cart and compare them with your credit card reward programs and tell you which card to use for what items, getting you the highest reward points possible. You can also set up notifications for when you’re getting close to your credit limit or when it’s time to pay a bill.

Meal Plan

Workweek Meal Plan That’s Cheap, Easy, and Healthy

The actual decision to start eating healthy is effortless. You just decide one day, “hey, I’m going to start eating healthier.” The phrase “easier said than done” fits perfectly with the idea of eating healthy. You can say you’ll do it, but when it comes down to actually choosing healthier options for meals it can be rather difficult. Below we have created an easy planning guide to making cheap, easy, and most importantly healthy meals that will get you through the entire workweek. A lot of these recipes utilize leftovers from previous meals, which will aid in cutting grocery costs. Links to full recipes for lunches and dinners are included.

monday

Breakfast

Banana and peanut butter on wheat toast

Lunch

Turkey sandwich – Recipe

Carrots with light ranch, and an apple

Snack

Low-fat yogurt

Dinner

Chicken tortilla soup – Recipe

(Note: Make extra chicken and set aside for Tuesday’s lunch.)

tuesday

Breakfast

Yogurt and all bran cereal

Lunch

Grilled chicken caesar salad wrap – Recipe

Celery with peanut butter

(Note: Use leftover chicken from Monday’s dinner.)

Snack

Mixed Nuts

 Dinner

Bacon and Broccoli Rice Bowl – Recipe

(Note: Make extra boiled eggs for Wednesday’s breakfast and extra bacon for Wednesday’s lunch.)

wednesday

Breakfast

Boiled eggs and wheat toast

(Note: use extra boiled eggs from Tuesday’s dinner.)

Lunch

BLT with avocado – Recipe

Chips and salsa

(Note: Use extra bacon from Tuesday’s dinner.)

Snack

Cottage cheese and saltine crackers

Dinner

Chicken, pepper and corn stir-fry – Recipe

(Note: Make extra and before seasoning set aside. Use peppers for Thursday’s breakfast and chicken and corn for Thursday’s lunch.)

thursday

Breakfast

Scrambled eggs with peppers

(Note: Use extra peppers from Wednesday’s dinner.)

Lunch

Southwest salad with chicken –Recipe

(Note: Use extra chicken and corn from Wednesday’s dinner.)

Snack

Carrots with light ranch 

Dinner

Antipasti Penne –Recipe

friday

Breakfast

Oatmeal and bananas

 Lunch

Tuna salad sandwich – Recipe

Low sodium chips

Snack

Peanut butter and crackers

 Dinner

Turkey Chili – Recipe

Chocolate Chip Cookie

Facts You Never Knew about the Chocolate Chip Cookie

It’s one the most famous desserts enjoyed all around the world. The chocolate chip cookie has been around for decades and has been implemented into many different desserts. To pay homage to the famous chocolate chip cookie, we have created a list of some interesting facts you might not have known about this delicious treat.

first-cookie

Way back in 1937, a woman by the name of Ruth Graves was making Butter Drop Do cookies and didn’t have Bakers chocolate to mix in with the dough. To improvise, she reached for a bar of Nestle chocolate and chopped up chunks to mix in with the dough. Ruth expected the chocolate chunks to melt and mix in with the dough, but instead the chunks kept their shape and, VIOLA! The chocolate chip cookie was made.

largest

In 2003 the world’s largest chocolate chip cookie was made by the Immaculate Baking Company. The cookie weighed a whopping 40,000 pounds with a 101 feet diameter. To create a cookie of this size, it took the team over 8 months and they used a total of 30,000 eggs.

numberone

With an average of 7 billion eaten in a year, the chocolate chip cookie is proven to be a favorite of all. In a study about cookie preference, 50% of Americans chose chocolate chip cookies over oatmeal, peanut butter, and any other type of cookie. In another study, 13.5% of Americans admitted to haven eaten 20 or more chocolate chip cookies in one sitting. The famous cookie is one of the 4 foods that the pickiest of eaters accepts.

cip

If you wanted to buy a bag of chocolate chips before 1937 then you were out of luck. Chances are you probably would not have been looking for them though, cause they didn’t even exist. Nestle created chocolate chips specifically to be used for making chocolate chip cookies. The average cookie contains 6 to 8 chocolate chips, yet one tablespoon of cookie dough can contain a maximum of 50 chocolate chips.

butter

One of the most important ingredients, other than the chocolate chip of course, is butter. Butter contributes the most to the actual taste of the cookie and depending on how you use it in your receipt can change the outcome of the texture and taste. Using melted butter when mixing the dough will create a denser cookie while using a creamy butter makes the cookie have a more soft, cake texture.

Local Farmers Market

How to Save Money at the Farmers Market

Local Farmers Market

So there is a myth about shopping at farmers markets that we would like to bust. Produce at your local farmers market has gained the title of “expensive “when compared to produce at a chain grocery store, and we definitely do not think this is always the case. Along with being good for the local economy, organic, fresher, and better tasting, local produce can also beat out the price of grocery store produce. You just have to know how to shop. To guide you on your next adventure to the local farmers market, here are some tips to follow to save some money.

Go for less than perfect

Let’s get real. Do your apples really need to be the exact shade of red and shaped to perfection? Well for a lot of people, yes they do, but you’re a savvy shopper and your spending habits aren’t affected by fruit vanity. Because the not so pretty items don’t sell as well, a lot of times they are actually discounted in price. And even if the seller isn’t advertising the items are discounted, just ask. Give a concerned look at that deformed peach and simple say, “Is this one full price?”

Don’t make a list

Yes, in most cases making a list when grocery shopping is a must if you’re trying to save, and especially if you’re on a tight budget until the next payday. If you make a list when going to the farmers market, however, then you might not be as cognizant of the lesser expensive items. Instead of going in with a list of specific items, try showing up open minded without any ideas of what fruits and vegetables you need. Plan out meals based on cheaper produce once you are there and can see your options.

Timing is everything

So it’s pouring the rain outside. Pull up your rain boots, grab an umbrella, and head out to the market to score some deals. Supply and demand drive prices in the sense that if there are less people in attendance, then there is less likely of a chance that farmers will be able to sell all items easily. Going to a market when the crowds are low will give you more options with more say so on prices. Going 30 minutes before the market closes is also a good time to get leftovers that vendors will be trying to get rid of by selling cheaper.

Buy in season

A bowl of cherries in the dead of winter may be exactly what you want, but when it comes to budget friendly eating, it’s probably not the best idea. The beauty of a farmers market is that cherries will not even be an option in the middle of January.   Shopping locally will in-fact force you to buy what is in season, and those fruits and vegetables dramatically decrease in price.

Negotiate

It’s a market, not a grocery store. Don’t hesitate to do a little haggling. Remember that produce has an expiration date and these farmers want to get rid of their crops. Try to build a relationship with the regular farmers and show you’re a loyal customer. Chances are they just might cut you a deal on items if you get in good enough.

Tax Saving Tips- Save On Ac

How to Reduce Home Cooling Cost

Tax Saving Tips- Save On Air Conditioner

The Summer heat is in full force which means so is your AC system. If it feels like your vents are literally sucking money out of your pockets, then it’s time to make a few changes to save on your energy bill. Below you will find five easy ways to reduce your cooling expense so you can stay cool the rest of the Summer and not spend an arm and leg.

1. Use It Where It Counts

If you have a guest room or bonus room that is never used, don’t waste energy cooling it. Most thermostats are in the living room and the AC is regulated based on the temperature in that room. If you close the vents in unused rooms more cold air will blow into rooms with vents opened, causing the temperature to regulate faster and use less energy.

2. Use It When It Counts

If no one is home, then don’t waste energy keeping the temperature at a comfortable degree. It is recommended you set your AC  5 degrees higher when you leave and immediately set it back to the desired degree once you are home. So, if you like your home set at 72 degrees, set it at 77 degrees when you leave each day.

3. Shut Your Doors

Just like closing vents in unused rooms, make sure to always keep all interior doors closed. This will cut down the amount of square footage the AC is heating and cause your house to cool down quicker. Your system will turn on less, which will have a positive effect on your energy bill.

4. Change Out Your Filter

A dirty air-return filter can significantly increase the cost to keep your home cool this summer. Dirt and grime in the filter restricts airflow causing your AC unit to work extra hard to cool your space, which drives up your electric bill. Make sure to check all air filters and replace them regularly to ensure your system is working as efficiently as possible.

5. Run Ceiling Fans Forward

If you didn’t already know, you can set your ceiling fans to either spin clockwise or counter clockwise. When set clockwise, or reverse, the fan pulls air up and redistributes it, which is recommended for winter, since heat rises. When your fan is set to run counter clockwise, or forward, it pushes air down creating a cooling effect. This is recommended for summer. It’s a good idea to always adjust the direction of your fan based on the season to use it the most efficiently.

Happy Memorial Day

Least Crowded Vacation Spots to Go this Memorial Day Weekend

Happy Memorial Day

Since 1971, the last Monday in May has been recognized as Memorial Day, a federal holiday to remember those who died while serving in the country’s armed forces. Most people end up getting a 3-day weekend because of the holiday, which in turn means a lot of traveling. According to AAA Travel, last year 37.2 million Americans took a trip 50 miles or more for Memorial Day weekend. 37.2 million travelers means a lot of traffic and crowds to fight, and that stress is not something you want to be part of your 3-day vacation.

To help you in your quest for a crowd-free Memorial weekend we have compiled a list of the best places to go to lessen the stress of planning a trip. And if price is another stressor, we can help there as well. Advance Financial can get you the money you need fast with our FLEX Loan. Even if you’re planning your trip last minute, we are open 24/7 so you can come in or go online anytime.

Colonial Beach, Virginia

If it’s the beach you want, you’re going to have to accept a couple extra people to be crowding around you on the sand. Colonial Beach will still have an influx of vacationers grabbing a spot on the sandy shoreline, but it won’t be nearly as bad as some of the more popular destinations like Myrtle Beach or Destin.

 Buffalo National River, Arkansas

So you’ve decided that the beach is just too much of a gamble, but you still need to be close to a body of water. The Buffalo River is your ticket to low crowd relaxing while floating on an inner tube. The River flows freely for 135 miles and is a combination of fast-flowing rapids and quiet pool.

Saint Louis, Missouri

Memorial Weekend for Saint Louis means the local residents are fleeing to the southern shores, making it the perfect time to visit. The city is filled with tons of entertainment where you won’t have to wait in lines. From theme parks to live music shows, the city has lots of options to choose from to ensure your Memorial Weekend will be memorable.

New York, New York

Memorial weekend is one of the calmest times of the year for New York. Locals are rushing to get out to the beaches, which leaves the city a lot less crowded. New York also has a lower rate of tourist during this time due to the weather and people wanting to kick off their summer close to the beach.

Staycation

Yep that’s right, stay home. If you live anywhere that a beach is not present then the crowds are likely to be low. Even just going an hour away to a closer city with more to offer can be an option. There are loads of things to do in your own neck of the woods, you just got to get out and explore. An essential tool for a staycation is an app like Living Social to help make all your activity possibilities a little more visible.

Photo Credit:Liz Lawley

Fun St. Patrick's Day Crafts For Kids

Paper Plate St. Patty’s Day Crafts

It’s almost St. Patricks day and one of the best ways to celebrate with the kids are some fun and easy crafts. Here are some where all you’ll  need are paper plates, construction paper, scissors, glue, and some paint to do any of these super easy St. Patricks Day crafts. So gather up the kids and start crafting together!

leprechaunText

Lepruchan

clover-hat-textClover_Hat

rainbow-text Rainbow

Pot-of-goldTExt

We offer products similar to a Payday loans, loans, flex loans, title loans, and installment loans, at  Advance Financial. If you need cash fast we got you covered. We offer flexibility with our Pot-of-goldFlex Loan. 

Eating Healthy On A Budget

Eating Healthy on a Budget

Eating Healthy On A Budget

We know the struggle is real. You have great intentions of eating healthy, but the convenience and price of fast food reels you in every time. And let’s face it; a greasy hamburger is a lot more satisfying than a kale salad. Positives aside, eating that McDonalds burger and fries isn’t getting you any closer to a healthier you. Price can be a big contributing factor to losing the battle against fast food, as many healthier food options are actually more expensive. To help guide you toward budget friendly, healthier eating, we have compiled a list of money saving tips.

Meal plan

So this is the part where convenience goes out the window (sorry). Eating healthy needs to be looked at as part of your lifestyle, which means you have to be dedicated to preparing your meals instead of racing through a drive-thru window. Planning your meals ahead of time makes budgeting a lot easier as you have more control over what you’re spending per meal. Plan to make foods like stews, casseroles, or stir-fries, which stretch more expensive items like meat into more portions.

Buy in season

Not only are the prices for fruits and vegetables cheaper when bought in season, but also fresher, adding to a better taste. An issue of concern with buying fruits and vegetables for a lot of shoppers is that the items will ruin. If you think that you won’t be using certain fruits or vegetables right away, buy ones that aren’t fully ripened yet. You can also freeze any leftover fruits and use them later for a smoothie.

Cut out the snacks

We don’t mean all snacks, just those unhealthy vending machine snacks that catch your eye between lunch and dinner. Sodas and sugar filled treats not only are extremely unhealthy for you, they also add up in cost. Instead, try making your own healthy snacks. Items like nuts and yogurt are great to hold you over till the next meal and are super cheap when buying in bulk.

Bulk buy

It’s going to hit your bank account hard at first, but in the long run you will spend less on groceries leading to savings. Items like chicken, steak or fish, as well as large bags of potatoes and frozen vegetables will almost always be cheaper to buy in bulk. Even if you don’t think you’ll use them all in a week’s time, you can always freeze these items and use for the next week.

Start a garden

It’s a lot easier than you might think to grow your own food, and the savings are big for this one. If you’re going to eat healthy, fruits and vegetables are a must for your diet, so you can expect to spend money on these items. So let’s break it down. The average cost for a pound of organic tomatoes is $4.00. The cost to buy a potted tomato plant at Home Depot that will produce 8 pounds of tomatoes costs $4.98. Yep, that’s a lot of savings. And don’t think you need a back yard to have a garden. You can find multiple tutorials online on how to create window vegetable gardens for those living in an apartment or condo.