Consolidated Credit
Posts Tagged ‘savings’

Many retailers are celebrating Christmas in July this month with savings on various goods, but one retailer in particular is taking this sales strategy a step further. Amazon recently announced the first annual “Prime Day” to be held on Wednesday, July 15, promising deals bigger than Black Friday.

The hype leading up to the shopping event is causing lots of speculation: will Amazon Prime Day really beat Black Friday? Though there are sure to be lots of super-deep discounts on doorbusters, there will likewise be average sales you can find elsewhere for less. Shop smart by following this guide for avoiding Prime Day pitfalls and learn how to distinguish the real deals from the duds.

1. Sign up for free.
First thing’s first – if you’re not a member of Amazon Prime, you can’t access the deals available on Prime Day. According to an Amazon customer service representative I chatted with recently, “you can enroll for a 30 days Free Trial for Prime” and “yes, trial members are eligible for Prime Day deals.” So, you can sign up for a free trial and take advantage of Prime Day without committing to an annual fee of $99. You need to cancel your trial 30 days from the date of registration, however, to avoid being charged.

2. Make a list.
With Amazon touting better deals than Black Friday, your impulse control might be lacking come July 15. Prep yourself before you wreck your finances and make a list of items you’ve been wanting to purchase. Have you been meaning to replace your aging universal remote control? Bargain shopping for a back-to-school backpack? Regardless of what you’re shopping for, you should keep your searches limited to those items on your list so you don’t go over budget.

3. Research now.
With your list of desired items put together, now is a great time to research prices to ensure that great deal from Amazon is, in fact, a good deal. Set up trackers on the items using, which will not only notify you about price drops, but also let you access price history of particular products. This will give you a good indication of when the item was best priced, and if Amazon’s Prime Day offer is as good as it seems. You can also consult PriceBlink, a browser add-on that notifies you when something you’re shopping for is better priced elsewhere.

4. Prepare your cart.
Popular items will sell out quickly so it’s smart to prepare ahead by loading up your cart with the items you’re eyeing. While you can’t predict which goods will be on sale beforehand, loading up your cart in advance of the sale will ensure a quick and easy check-out process so you don’t miss out on the doorbusters. You should also save your shipping, billing and payment information to make ordering a snap.

5. Consult coupon sites.
When shopping online, it’s always best to consult coupon sites for extra savings. While Prime Day prices will be available without coupons, you’ll want to check competitor sites and coupons to see if you can’t get a better deal elsewhere. has hundreds of coupon codes available at your fingertips, while the browser add-on Honey will offer you a list of available promo codes at checkout. Use these tools to compare prices both before Prime Day and during the event and select the best deal.

6. Check reviews.
Some of the sales you’ll find may be offered on brands or models you’re unfamiliar with. Though the deal may be offering 60 to 75% off, it’s important to verify the quality of the good. If you can’t find a review on Amazon, it’s wise to search other sites for customer opinions. Check for reviews on gadgets and fitness trackers, Consumer Reports’ for reviews on small kitchen appliances, toys and other household goods, or consult the consumer-review site Buzzillions for trusted comments on a wide variety of products.

7. Secure your personal data.
July 15 is on a Wednesday, falling in the middle of the workweek for most of us. Shopping while working is not advised, nor is shopping from an unsecured network from a nearby coffee shop during your lunch break. What’s a bargain-hungry worker bee to do in this situation? Hop on your company’s secured WiFi network during your break and shop from your smartphone or tablet. If there’s something you’re jonesing for that comes available during working hours, have a trusted family member watch the deals for you and log into your Amazon account to purchase on your behalf.

Andrea Woroch is a consumer and money-saving expert for Kinoli Inc. From smart spending tips to personal finance advice, Andrea transforms everyday consumers into savvy shoppers. As a sought-after media source, she has been featured among such top news outlets as Good Morning America, Today, CNN, Dr. OZ, New York Times, MONEY Magazine, Huffington Post, Forbes and many more. For more information, visit or follow her on Twitter for daily savings advice and tips.

For all media inquiries, please contact Andrea Woroch at 970-672-6085 or email


By Meg Favreau

Anybody who has ditched plans to eat a salad to scarf down a plate of nachos instead (like I did, um, yesterday) can tell you that even though we humans usually know what’s best for us, it’s sometimes difficult to actually do the right thing.
This is especially true when it comes to saving money — for emergencies, for retirement, or for almost anything else. But there is some good news. Studies show that once we do set money aside, we’re likely to leave it there. So how do we get ourselves to save in the first place? By automating! Here are six easy ways to do just that.

1. Sign Up for Your Company’s Retirement Plan

If your company offers a 401(k) or 403(b), this is one of the best options for automatic savings. Not only do these retirement plans automatically put money you earn into a retirement account before you have the opportunity to spend it, but most employers offer a contribution match. That means that for every dollar you contribute (up to a certain amount), or employer will deposit an equal amount into your account. That’s essentially free money, and it’s one of the biggest benefits you can get at a job. Take advantage of it.

2. Split Your Direct Deposit

If you have direct deposit, most employers will allow you to split your check between multiple accounts — so, instead of depositing all of your money into your checking account, you can set some to automatically go into savings.

3. Set Up a Regular Deposit to Savings

Even if you don’t have direct deposit, many banks will allow you to set up regular automatic deductions. For example, I have a checking account with a traditional bank, and I have a savings account with an online bank. I can set my savings account to automatically deduct from my checking account on every payday. The effect is the same as splitting a direct deposit — the money is in my savings account before I even know it’s gone.

4. Pledge to Save Certain Cash

You’re probably most familiar with this concept in the form of a piggy bank– at the end of the day, many people automatically put the change in their pockets into a jar, often to save for a specific goal, like a vacation. But there’s no rule saying that you have to stick to coins. Instead, pledge to set aside every $5 bill that comes your way — or even every $10. This is a great way to reach medium-term savings goals, like buying new furniture.

5. Use a Cash-Back Credit Card

You should only follow this suggestion if you’re able to pay your credit card off in full every month and you won’t let credit card rewards and 0% balance transfer offers become an excuse for spending more than you normally would. If you fit this criteria, start making your purchases on a cash-back credit card. Then, at the end of every month, deposit that cash back directly into your savings.

6. Automate Your Bills

Most utilities, businesses, and even lenders now allow you to set up automatic payments. There are two ways that this helps automate savings. First of all, automatic payments ensure that you pay your bills on time, saving you from late fees and possible dings to your credit. Secondly, sometimes you can get a discount for paying automatically — for example, some cell phone providers will knock $5 off of your monthly bill if you sign up for the automated system. If you do begin paying automatically, just make sure to check your billing statements regularly to ensure there aren’t any mistakes and you’re not being charged for services you aren’t using.

7. Sign Up for Your Financial Institution’s Round Up Program

What if you could make yourself save a little bit every time you make a purchase? Several banks and credit unions offer “round up” programs that do just that. Every time you use a credit or debit card registered with the program, your financial institution will automatically deposit the remainder of your change into a savings account. To get started, ask your bank or credit union if they offer this benefit.

How do you automate your savings? Share your favorite money-saving tips for America Saves Week – an annual celebration of good savings behavior and financial responsibility.

Meg Favreau is the Senior Editor of money-saving blog Wise Bread — an award-winning website dedicated to help you live large on a small budget.


By April Lewis-Parks

Are you a millennial?

Did you know that 78 percent of twenty-five to thirty-four year olds look to their friends’ financial habits when determining their own? Instead of doing their own research and finding out what financial habits best work for them, they try to emulate their friends’ lifestyle. They wear what their friend wear. They eat where their friends eat. They have houses or condos in areas that are identical to their friends. They even purchase their electronics to match those of their friends.

What’s worse is in the past year almost half of the people within this age group relied on a credit card to pay for their lifestyle necessities including food, utilities, and mortgage/rent. And more than half still depend on their family for financial support and stability.

According to Ernie Almonte, CPA the chair of the AICPA’s National Financial Literary Commission, “Many young adults are building financial foundations with the wrong blueprints. They need to make sure they’re modeling the best behavior for their long-term financial stability.”

Because of this information, there are a new series of televised public service announcements that are targets at Millennials designed to remind them that they need to create their own path to financial security. For example, in one ad a college graduate celebrates paying off her entire student debt balance while her friend, who can be seen lounging in formal wear and feeding a pet horse, complains that she can never save enough money to get financially ahead.

Earlier this summer, this “When it comes to financial stability, don’t get left behind” campaign released print, outdoor, radio, and digital PSA’s to this demographic.

With the strong influence that these Millennials are receiving from their peers, this campaign was created to influence young adults to start saving and securing their financial future, while helping to understand just how important financial stability is at a young age by directing them to Feed the Pig is a financial literacy site that features money management tips and tools, personal finance calculators, and short-, mid- and long-term action plans for achieving financial goals for life’s next chapter, like buying a house, a new car, or making payments towards a debt.

This initial Feed the Pig campaign was launched in 2006 and has received over $277 million in donated media support. This new PSA campaign however will be distributed to over 33,000 networks nationwide and will continue to run on airtime space that is donated by the media.

April Lewis-Parks has more than 15 years of experience in the financial sector, she is a certified financial counselor, and a consumer affairs advocate. As the director of education and public relations for Consolidated Credit she is dedicated to generating awareness about personal finance issues and acts as their consumer affairs advocate. As host the of, she promotes financial education and offers timely and informative personal finance articles to educate the public. April’s promotional efforts can be seen in past issues of the New York Times, Washington Post, Newsday, Consumer Reports, the Business Journals, Money Magazine, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Family Circle, among others. Connect with April on Google+.


By Jessica Williams

Don’t have the time or money to take a spa day. That’s fine. We are bringing the spa to you with these easy to follow at-home beauty treatments.

1. Honey Hair Conditioner

• 1 ripe persimmon
• 1 sprig of rosemary
• ¼ cup of almond or olive oil
• 4 drops of peppermint oil or fresh mint leaves

1. Cut persimmon in pieces and place in food processor or blender.
2. Add remaining ingredients and blend until mix is creamy.
3. Apply to clean damp hair and scalp.
4. Leave in for 20 minutes. (To maximize conditioning effects, you can wear a shower cap during these 20 minutes).
5. Rinse, dry, and style.

2. Face Mask

• 1 tablespoon of Greek yogurt
• 1 teaspoon of honey

1. Mix ingredients.
2. Apply to face.
3. Let sit on your face for 15 minutes.
4. Gently rinse and pat dry.

3. Exfoliating Body Wash

• A small container
• Sugar or salt
• Olive oil or grape seed oil

1. Pour sugar (or salt) into container until it is filled ½ way.
2. Pour olive (grape seed) oil until it just covers the sugar (salt).
3. Mix.
4. Take in shower and spread over your body, gently rub, and rinse.

4. Cucumber Eye Pads

• 1 cucumber
• Cotton pads
• Fruit juice extractor
• Ziplock bags

1. Using the fruit juice extractor, extract the juice from the cucumber.
2. Pour the cucumber juice in a bowl.
3. Soak cotton pads in the cucumber juice and gently squeeze out the excess liquid.
4. Repeat until you have used all of the cucumber juice.
5. Place cucumber pads without overlapping inside of the ziplock bags.
6. Store bags in the freezer.
7. When you are ready to use them, take them out of the freezer and let them thaw for 10 minutes before applying to you eye area.
8. Place over eyes for 15 – 20 minutes.


By Luna Jaffe

While women are earning bigger paychecks and many consider themselves their family’s Chief Financial Officer, nearly half fear they’ll end up broke and homeless and 54 percent feel alienated by a financial industry they say is male oriented.

The Great Recession prompted more women to get involved in financial matters, but more than 40 percent of them say they don’t feel any smarter about managing their money, according to the 2013 Allianz Women, Money & Power Survey by Larson Research + Strategy.

“The number of financially savvy women who feel confident about their spending, saving and investing strategies is also growing, which is wonderful news, but they still represent only 20 percent of all women,” says Certified Financial Planner™ Luna Jaffe , citing the survey.

Jaffe, the author of “Wild Money: A Creative Journey to Financial Wisdom” and its companion workbook, “Wild Money: A Financial Field Guide and Journal,” takes a different approach to managing finances.

“While we are focused on family, career and business, often the last place we pay attention is to our own financial future,” she says. “There are many reasons for that. One is that, as the women in the survey recognized, financial advising tends to be male oriented; it’s geared toward how men think. Another is that we don’t think about our relationship with money as just that – a relationship.”
Jaffe offers five tips for women who want to feel more confident about managing their finances.

• Start small. Mastering the little things can boost your confidence and give you the ability to tackle bigger issues. If you’re daunted by debt, for example, start by simply writing down where you are right now. Write down each company or person to whom you owe money and the interest rate. Numbers can be soothing (even if the story they tell is not) because they’re concrete and tangible. Once you know exactly where you stand, you can begin planning your next steps.

• Do something every day to tend to your finances. Money, like a garden, needs attention. Get into the habit of doing something daily, even if it’s just five minutes. You might check on your accounts, organize your paperwork, or find out what interest rate you are paying on your credit card debt. Give your relationship just a few minutes each day and you’ll watch it come alive. An excellent resource is

• Ask questions – even (especially) if you think they’re “dumb.” When you’re at the bank, with your advisor or talking to your CPA, ask all the questions that lurk in the back of your head. You’ll discover that 1) They’re not dumb, 2) You’ll get different answers to the same question, and 3) People will respect you for wanting to learn and having the courage to ask.

• Listen to your body when you’re consulting with financial professionals. We are so skilled at masking the intelligence of our bodies, it can be hard to recognize when they’re trying to tell us something. If your stomach knots up every time you meet with your accountant, financial advisor or attorney, you should bring it up and talk it out. Are you uncomfortable with the relationship? The topic? Something else altogether? Remember – you do not need a reason to change or end a financial relationship.

• When in doubt, talk it out – with your money. You have the wisdom within yourself to make great decisions. The question is: Will you listen? The next time you feel uncertain about whose advice to follow, or you find yourself returning to old habits that leave you feeling less than happy, sit down with a pen and paper and have a heart-to-heart talk with your money. Dialogue. Ask a question, then write the answer and trust that these answers come from the deepest place within you. You’ll be surprised by what you learn.

Your relationship with money is one you have from birth until death, Jaffe points out. It’s important to make sure it’s a good one.
“You can’t prevent bad things from happening, but you can prepare for them,” she says. “Being able to respond to a crisis with resilience has to do with having the resources to make decisions you feel good about.”

Luna Jaffe is a Certified Financial Planner™ and CEO of Lunaria Financial, Ltd. in Portland, OR. She holds a master’s degree in Depth Psychology and a bachelor’s in Bilingual Education. Jaffe is a popular speaker whose creative compassionate approach to financial guidance differs sharply from male-oriented approaches. Securities and advisory services offered through KMS Financial Services, Inc.