Feb 292012

Zenni Optical Eyeglasses

Personal finance decisions vary wildly and consist of both ways to budget your money, invest, acquire and pay off loans and debt and save money.

The daily decisions you make obviously have an impact on saving money and a great way to make good decision is to find the best deals on items you need…things you will have to buy through necessity…like eyeglasses.

Zenni Optical is currently running a promotion on their quality eyeglasses: Buy 2 pairs and get 1 pair for free.  Now, considering their prices are already low everyday, this is a nice way to enhance your savings.

In addition to getting a good price multiple pairs of eyeglasses, you’re also going to get good quality since all of Zenni’s glasses feature specs like anti-scratch coating, full UV protection, a protective case and microfiber cleaning cloth.  Their shipping is very reasonable and their website has some nice features like the “Frame Fit” guide that makes shopping for a particular pair of glasses online much easier.

This current buy 2 get the 3rd pair free is Zenni’s biggest promotion yet and will only run for a limited time.  So, if you’re in the market for some new glasses and you want to save money, head on over and check out their site.

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Jan 062012

Everywhere you look, there are good ways to save money conveniently and effectively. One of the keys to being a proficient saver is knowing not only where to look, but being able to differentiate between a good bargain and a bad deal. If you’re looking to save money on a product but the quality is lacking then you may cost yourself in the end. The ideal situation, of course, is to save money while also finding a quality product that will last better than higher priced items.

A good example of this sort of searching for a good deal comes when you try to find cheap eyeglasses. This is definitely not an area you want to skimp on quality, but that doesn’t mean you have to overpay to get a nice set of glasses that will both last and look good.

An online retailer like ZenniOptical.com eliminates the middle man and cuts down on advertising yet still produces a quality set of glasses with the kind of features you expect from higher priced options. You get glasses with anti-scratch coating, full UV protection, a protective case, a cleaning cloth and more all included with every set of glasses. Add to this the fact you can get free shipping on order over $50 (and low shipping costs for smaller orders) and you have the makings for a great way to both save some money and get a nice set of glasses.

Another nice feature at ZenniOptical.com is the ability to upload a picture of yourself and then “try on” different types of glasses to find the right style for your face shape.  If you don’t have a picture handy, you can use a stock photo from their website to find a shape that most resembles your own.

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Dec 212011

Saving money around the holidays can be a challenge, yet quite satisfying once you pull it off and are able to check off everything from your holiday wish list. The beauty of the internet and sites like Savings.com coupons is that you have a battery of choices to help you gain an edge to save quite a bit of money around the holidays or year-round.

I know getting ready for the year end festivities, starting somewhere around Thanksgiving and tapering of somewhere just after the first of the year, can be quite overwhelming.  You may have budgeted your money throughout the year, setting aside a bit each month so that the hit will not be so hard. This is a pretty sound strategy and much preferable than relying on credit cards and spending beyond your means.

Once you do reach the holidays, you can maximize your savings by using the knowledge of crowds and utilizing websites like Savings.com to help you navigate the web for the best deals and savings.  They have sections with coupons for tons of big retailers, but also the ability to scan for local deals to save quite a bit of money on assorted good and services. One of the best features on this site is the community section where others share their best finds with assorted coupons and deals that you can then use to save money on your own holiday wish list.


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Oct 302011

Saving money comes in different flavors and can be achieved in any number of ways.  I usually recommend finding ways to save in as many different areas of your life as possible as collectively these savings can really start to add up. Take, for example, the next time you shop for eyeglasses.  You definitely have some choices here, but if you’re not careful you can either end up paying too much or you can get a product that isn’t up to your standards.

Shopping around and then choosing an optical solution like Zenni makes good sense since they are an online retailer that knows what you need and doesn’t mess around with superfluous marketing gimmicks. They have no middlemen or retailers to mark up the price and they manufacture their own brand of ZENNI glasses.  In fact, they have prescription glasses starting from $6.95 on the site and a low flat rate shipping price.

Don’t be concerned about the inexpensive price, though, because their glasses all come with scratch resistant coating, UV protection, a protective case, cleaning cloth and an overall high quality product you would likely pay much more for in a more traditional optical store.

Again, you can save money in lots of ways and you can usually do so without sacrificing a quality product or experience.  You just need to do a little homework and spend the time hunting around for good prices and good quality. Not always an easy combination to find, but very rewarding when you get it right.

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Aug 172011

We’ve covered the importance of putting something aside in a savings account more than a few times and for more than a few reasons.  We’ll go over them one at a time here and hopefully you’ll be inspirted to get started and open an account today to begin building a nice, solid savings account. There are always little tips and tricks you can use to not only start saving today, but also keeping track of your savings and making sure you find the best ways to save and build your various portfolios and accounts.

You definitely want to have some emergency funds put aside to handle those unforeseen problems that always seem to pop up now and again, that’s a given.  It’s also important to make sure your extra money isn’t just sitting around in a checking account when it could be earning some interest. An online savings account is also a good place you can automatically have a portion, say 10-15%, of your paycheck deducted each and every month. Don’t wait to see what’s left over after your bills are paid and the fun-money is gone; instead, get it right into your savings account before you even begin to work on your budget. There are some good resources about saving money at America Saves.

Consider your first priority in building a savings account to be having enough funds to cover yourself in case of an emergency. Initially, you want to have money set aside to handle any large repairs that come along such as some work to get your car running again or fixing or replacing a major appliance in your home. After you have this amount covered, you can begin building your balance to cover more long-term problems that you might incur. A good rule-of-thumb is to have the equivalent of three to six months salary set aside in case you lose your job or become injured and can’t work.  Ideally, especially considering the uncertain times we face today, you should probably have about eight months or even a years worth of living expenses set aside to handle an extended problem.

This brings up the point about whether you should pay off your debt first or start putting money aside right away.  The answer is difficult to say since it depends on your particular situation. More than likely, you should always work on getting rid of your high-interest debt first.  However, it’s not a bad idea to start a savings account anyway and get into a habit of automatically putting money in every month.

After you’ve worked down the balances of your debt, you can bump up the amount you save every month. Eventually, you’ll simply make saving a part of your monthly routine and before you know it, you’ll have a nice little account to give you the piece of mind to know you can cover yourself and your family when the money is needed.


Apr 132011

Recasting Home LoanRecasting your mortgage might be a great way to save money every month on your monthly mortgage payment. It’s a little know strategy, but if you can recast your home loan you can lower the amount you pay each month, sometimes by a substantial amount.

What is recasting?

Basically, recasting your mortgage (or re-amortization) is paying of a large, lump sum amount and then having the monthly payments refigured based on the existing interest rate and and time schedule.  Typically, if you pay off a large sum of your principal, the length of the loan will be shortened–the more you pay the shorter time you will have to pay and the less you pay in the end.  This is certainly a good long-term strategy and has benefits as well.  However, if you’re looking to lower your monthly payments, you can request you mortgage lender to recast your loan.  This will keep the time frame left on the loan intact (as well as the interest rate) but the monthly amount you pay will be lowered to reflect the new balance.

Assuming your lender provides this service (not all do unfortunately), they will typically charge some sort of recast fee, typically $150-$500, and may request a minimum amount applied to the principal, something like $5,000 or so in most cases.  There are often other restrictions and these can vary depending on your lenders own rules.  Obviously, you need to contact your mortgage lender to determine the rules and fees that apply to your case.

Before you decide that recasting your mortgage is right for you, spend some time with a mortgage calculator and figure out exactly how much this will save you every month, as well as how much it will cost you in the long run.  Also, if you’re paying a high interest rate, it might be better to refinance at this point to get into a more affordable loan for the long-run.

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Mar 272010

You just might be able to find a way to save money today if you just stop and take the time to get your financial house in order. Over time, we tend to let some of the little things build up that could be saving us some money in our budget. Little things like the wrong cable or internet package or credit card, or not shopping around for the cheapest insurance. Sometimes it’s easier to let these things slide and stick with what we know. But, it would pay off to take a little time a few times a year and review your expenses and budget.

Here’s a few quick tips to save money on your personal finances:

  • Take a look at how much you contribute to your retirement savings like your IRA or 401(k) plan. See exactly how much your employer will match of your contribution and, if you’re not there yet, increase your own retirement contribution. One of the ‘easiest’ ways to save money is to put it away before you even realize you have it.
  • Cut you cable bill…or ditch cable altogether. If you don’t do so already, you might be amazed how many shows and movies you can watch online. And this doesn’t mean necessarily ditching the TV. You can connect you laptop to your TV with a simple connection. Do a little research on this and you’ll be amazed what’s not possible. And, you can also get quite a few channels, in digital, with a simple antennae watching over-the-air free broadcasts in your area.
  • Shop around for the best bank.  It might be a hassle getting all your automatic deposits and bill payments changed over, but you can possibly save a bit of money doing so.  In addition to not paying fees, it’s quite possible to be earning interest on your balance.  There are a lot of choices out there now and it would be in your best interest to shop around for the best deal.
  • If you use your credit cards, by all means pay them off every month.  Do not give away money to credit card companies through exorbitant fees and interest rates.
  • Better yet, find a card you can use for cash rewards.  It will definitely take some work, but it is quite possible to find a card that will give you a decent cash reward…nothing better than cashing a check from your credit card company.
  • Compare auto insurance rates every time your policy comes up for renewal.  Don’t get complacent with your policy when you might find a better deal elsewhere.  Many companies will give a discount if you have an auto and home policy with them, so make sure to consider that option as well.
  • Make sure you aren’t over-insured on you auto insurance policy.  While you busy checking for new rates, revisit exactly what coverage you have and what you might need.  It doesn’t always make financial sense to keep full coverage on your ten-year-old car if the replacement value has dropped too much.

A lot of these suggestions and tips to save money might take some time to implement.  Of course it’s probably easier to just continue paying on those accounts you’ve had for years, but you could be leaving a lot of money on the table.  Revisit these payments and accounts regularly, set aside a few hours each month for some research and start putting more of your money towards investments and assets.

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Jan 302009

We’re usually pretty pro-save around here, regarding it as a key aspect to an overall sound personal finance plan. However, there is the larger issue of how your saving affects the overall economy. Some folks believe that when the economy is sagging that throwing money in the bank is further aggravating the problem. Conversely, others feel that putting money in the bank allows the bank to lend more money out–thus helping to stimulate the economy.

For the most part in the US, what we see in a recession, much like we’re seeing now, is that savings rates tend to climb. That is, more people start socking their money away in order to, presumably, weather the storm.

In the US in fact, there is currently a campaign called Feed the Pig designed to encourage folks to save. The site has some great advice on saving money and many tips for putting a little extra aside.

In Finland, however, the government is encouraging people to spend money in order to boost the economy. They’ve begun an ad campaign with an evil piggy bank–implying that in these tough times the thing to do for the good of the economy and the country is to keep on spending in order to spread the money around.

NPR has a nice little feature comparing the different approaches from the US and Finland.

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Dec 102007

Interesting article in Forbes.com regarding the best city to live in for saving money. I guess it makes sense that there are some places that are better than others. I would think some it would have to do with the demographics of the community, obviously.  You also have to consider the kind of incentives that employers are offering their workers. To stay competitive they may be offering better pension funds, etc., and other employers are matching these types of plans.

I also think that saving money can have a very contagious affect on others.  If your peers are out spending money all of the time, you might get caught up in that spending, and vice versa.  You work around a bunch of spendthrifts and you might just become one yourself.

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Nov 032007

Here at PFJournal.com, I’m a big advocate of trying to find the best deal. I think that spending some time hunting around for bargains and good deals can really be worth the effort and save you quite a bit of money in the long run. Buying technology products online is no exception and some of the best deals can be found on TechBargains.com. They not only feature some great exclusive deals and an extensive product database featuring reviews and comparison, they also have a convenient coupon and rebate section where you can find, among other things, current Dell coupons.

If you’re actively looking for some great deals on technology products you can easily navigate through their system and search for what you’re looking for. You can also sign up to receive email newsletters that feature the best deals of the week or you can get their deal alert to receive newly listed items that fit your search criteria. The content is updated constantly, 24 hours a day 7 days a week, so you’ll definitely not miss out on anything.

I found their section of online coupons to be a great resource for hunting down a coupon at stores like Amazon.com and Buy.com. They provide you with the coupon code, the specifics of the deal and when it is set to expire. If you’re ever about to make a purchase online you can swing by TechBargains and check for a current coupon. They say their goal is to target the best deals in tech, and in this case they definitely succeed.

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Oct 012007

(This is the beginning of a series of posts I’m going to be making regarding my “thriftiness”. I’m not sure how many parts it will eventually have, but it should go on for a bit. These won’t be really suggestions for living frugally, but rather examples of some of the silly things I’ve done personally in my life to save money.)

Throughout my life I’ve been a bit of a cheapskate. Call it frugal or thrifty or whatever, I’ve had a hard time parting with money for quite a while. I’m not really a crazy miser or anything. I don’t bury jars of cash in the backyard or eat moldy bread, but to most of the people in my circle of friends and family, I’m a little obsessive about where and when I’ll spend money. I know from reading elsewhere that this kind of behavior can be really irksome to some folks. They think it’s a waste of time focusing on all of these little things…time better spend enjoying life or whatever.

To these critics, however, I say it’s not really much time at all and it’s certainly not a waste. I don’t spend a lot of time going out of my way to save money: it’s simply a way of life for me. Most of the decisions I make are based on some sort of financial aspect. I see the price tag first in most any situation, and I usually act accordingly.

Ultimately, I’m always trying to avoid the nickel and dime stuff so many of us spend our money on. I’m not averse to spending money so much, it’s just all the wasteful little things that, over time, really add up. By eliminating the insignificant small stuff, I’ve been able to save up for the bigger things in my life that give me more pleasure and joy.

To wit…when I was in high school oh so many moons ago I decided I was going to save up for a car. In order to accomplish this I needed a job, of course. That I go washing dishes at a local Chinese restaurant…a perk of which was free dinners and lunches whenever I worked. (to be continued)

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