Sunday, June 24, 2012

Bountiful Baskets.......Good Deal or Not??

We first started participating in the Bountiful Basket foodco-op about a month ago.  What isBountiful Basket? Essentially it is an organization that provides fresh produceeach Saturday to its participants.  Thecatch is that you don’t get to choose what produce will be in your basket comeSaturday.  Generally it’s all good stuff.  Every once in a while you will get a randompiece of exotic fruit or some giant potato looking thing, but most of the timeit’s just the same stuff you would end up buying at the grocery store.  It is kind of nice that they don’t tell youwhat you’re getting, it gives you a variety of produce throughout the month andkeeps your meals interesting, although we do have A TON of celery in our fridgeright now from the past two weeks.

We pay $15 a week to participate.  At first I was skeptical, but after the firstweek and seeing how full our basket was, I became a little more excited aboutthe money we might be saving.  Each weekwe got our basket and I was consistently impressed, but I was still curious toknow the dollar value of our savings.
So this week I decided to compare what we got in our basketwith the prices of the same produce found at Walmart.

Here are my findings based on what we received this week.....

Not too bad! I think the savings of 36% definitely overshadows the downside of having uncertainty in what your basket will contain. 

Visit to begin participating.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Crap.......diapers are expensive!

I can't believe it's been nearly a month since this precious little girl entered our lives!

It's been an amazing month and she has brought so much joy into our lives.  Also, she has brought a lot of dirty diapers.  I had always heard that diapers were expensive, but wow...I was not prepared.  Neither for the price of the diapers or the shear quantity that would be needed.

Being the tight wad that I am, I set out to determine which brand was best.  My first study was on strictly price and these are the average, per diapers costs that I found.

per diaper cost
Based on this graph, I was convinced that we needed to just purchase the generic Walmart or Target brands. Based on her using 7 diapers a day (seems like a lot, but we found it pretty normal so far), we would save $18.90 that month by going with the cheap brands in comparison to a Huggies.

So we bought a pack of the cheap kind and consequently realized there was definitely another criteria to be considered when purchasing diapers: quality.

You get what you pay for and when dealing with poop, it's just not worth going cheap!

We decided to go with Pampers and have found them to be very reliable and we are definitely willing to give up the extra money.  If you're willing to do a little extra legwork, you can generally find bulk pampers online for a pretty good deal, around .18 cents a diaper.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Life Insurance.....Term or Whole Life??

I'm a few weeks behind in my plans to have life insurance by the time our baby was born, but it's a lengthy process and I wanted to do enough research to help me make a sound decision.  My debate was whether to purchase a term life policy or a whole life policy.

Here's some definitions:

Term Life: A policy that covers the insured for a specific dollar amount in the event the insured dies during the "term".  The term is generally 10, 15, 20 or 30 years.

Whole or Permanent Life: A policy that covers the entire lifespan of the insured.  This policy also combines the death benefit amount with a savings/investment vehicle that builds value over the life of the policy that the insured can potentially withdraw from.

Working for an insurance salesman gave me great insights into this industry and helped me in my decision.  Originally I was convinced that I wanted a whole life policy.  My reasoning being that I didn't want to feel like my dollars spent on life insurance were just being thrown away if I didn't die in the "term".  With a whole life policy, I felt that my premiums were going towards a cash value that I could use in the future.  What I didn't realize until I got some policy quotes, was that whole life is generally 8 to 10 times more expensive on a yearly basis.

Insure to Insure & Invest to Invest

I had heard this before, but it was now starting to make more sense.  My purpose for buying life insurance is to mitigate the risk of leaving my family with nothing if I happen to pass away, not have a high cost investment vehicle.  I am willing to give up some of my money now, to not have that huge expense given to my family.  Even though a whole life policy would grow it's cash value, studies have found that if you take the difference between what you would spend on a whole life policy and a term life, and invest that amount into a common investment vehicle, your returns will be much higher in the long run.

So I'm buying a 30 year term policy and I feel much more confident in this decision now, so just cross your fingers that I don't croak between now and when the policy is in force.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Is Your Savings Account Doing Anything For You?

Have you taken the time to look at your latest statement from your local bank where your preciously saved dollars are held?  A couple months ago, I received this statement in the mail and noticed that the APY on my savings account was being decreased at US Bank.  Take a look.....

This made me question whether I was getting the most out of my money, so I set out to compare rates at other banks.

I found this cool tool provided by my trusty companion Google.  It's called Google Advisor.  Its purpose is to compare rates on multiple different financial products including mortgages, CD's and normal savings accounts.

What did I find out? I was being totally taken by US BANK! I could get almost 1% on my savings by just switching to another bank.  What difference would this make over the course of a year? Well.....had I left all my savings in that account for another year I would have earned just $3 in interest, compared to what I'm on track to earn now.......$42!  I opened a new account with an online bank and got into a rate of .85%.

It was definitely worth the 20 minutes of my day.  Who wouldn't want $40 extra bucks this easily?

Here's the bank I use now and I highly recommend them, I've had a great experience and earned some extra cash!

Banking, Checking, Savings, ING, orange savings
Click the icon to learn more!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

What's Your Credit Score?

For the past 2 years or so that stupid jingle has been stuck in my head!

Well.....not really, but it was catchy and served it's purpose as a marketing and advertising tool.

It brought me to visit the website a couple times to check it out, but they never won me over as a customer because for some reason I would always get sketched out by it and had the feeling that there was always a catch and that, in the end, it wasn't worth it.

So, what is the solution to actively being able to monitor your credit?

I ran into this website a couple months ago. It too seemed too good to be true, but I did my due diligence and learned that it really was going to deliver what I needed when it came to watching my credit. was founded in 2008 and it's goal is to provide free credit scores to consumers.

I really liked what I found when I got set up with my account. Multiple features helped me to better understand my credit situation and why my score is what it is.  It also has the ability to simulate different scenarios to help you understand what you can do to raise your credit score.

With the credit crunch that has taken place over the past 3 years, it is more important than ever to be on top of our credit scores and I feel this site has come up with the solution. and why is it free? It's simple. The targeted cross-selling of financial products. Okay, that doesn't sound simple, but it's as easy as bringing in revenue from advertising different financial products that are in any way related to your credit. Through this revenue they are able to generate enough to cover all associated costs, thus giving it to the consumer, us, for free!

Check it out....I hope you are as pleased as I have been.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

What is

Do you shop online? Do you want to save for your child's education? Well, as unlikely as it seems.....these two are acting hand in hand with

Over the past few months I have made a concerted effort to make sure that each time I go to buy something online, I check to see if is an affiliate of the retailer that I am purchasing from.

Here's how it worked.  I wanted to buy some of the Friends seasons on DVD for my wife.......she loves that show.  I'll admit, I too think it can be quite funny, but that's besides the point.  I found that was selling them for $8.99, which was a steal! But to make this better, I went to the website to see if they were affiliated with  Turns out they were and they were offering me 2% back on my purchase!

So by simply going to, finding the retailer and being directed to directly from this website, it knew I was a Upromise member and they rewarded me with 2% of my purchase credited to my account.

Once you have built up a balance for yourself, you can apply this money to a high yield savings account or to a 529 account set up to help pay for your child's educational expenses.

It's a pretty cool website and if your willing to just take the extra minute to just go through Upromise to do your online shopping, you'll be watching your balance build up before you know it!

How about this deal? I just went to the Upromise website and on the front page it was offering this!

Who wouldn't want to earn 5% back on the stuff you buy at Walmart?

Check out Upromise and start saving today!

Friday, February 3, 2012

It's NEVER too early to start that retirement account!

It literally took me 3 minutes. No paperwork, nothing to sign, no phone call.....just enter some basic info and check the boxes and you're set up with a Traditional or Roth IRA. - a small brokerage firm whose goal is to make investing easy, even for those who can only afford to start small.

No account minimums, no trading fees that kill your returns. Just one easy fee and it's less than 1% a year.

It has also succeeded in making investing easy for those who are unfamiliar or afraid of the financial markets.  All you choose is the percentage you want invested in stocks and the percentage in bonds, they do the rest.  They will even help you figure out what percentages are best based on your goals and the time you have to reach them.