Thursday, March 29, 2012

Quit Smoking

You want to save money but you smoke cigarettes.  One article shows some staggering life insurance premiums.  Depending on age and gender, smokers can pay as much as four times as much in Life Insurance premiums.

Let's say that through your company, a non-smoker pays $200 per month for health insurance.  Nonsmokers typically pay a 20% penalty.  That's $480 per year.

Let's say that you smoke a pack of cigarettes per day, and that cigarettes cost $7 per pack of 20.  You're spending $2555 per year.

If we disregard the life insurance element, the risk of cancer, emphysema, heart disease, longer recovery time from illness and life insurance cost and focus strictly on cigs and health insurance, by quitting smoking, you save over $3000 per year.  HERE is a cool calculator.  There are a number of good books and resources HERE.  Always read reviews before buying something.  If it seems gimmicky, it probably is.


The Frugal Maestro

Thursday, March 22, 2012

A Cool Free Money-Saving Phone App Called Shop Savvy

There's this awesome Smartphone App called ShopSavvy.  It's available for Iphone, Windows, or Android.  And it's free!

Here's how it works.  1) Using your cell phone camera, you scan the barcode on something that you want to buy.  If you don't have the product to scan, you can type in. 

This app then tells you how much it costs both online, and at several nearby locations, based on the location of your phone.  Since prices fluctuate from store to store, you're able to locate the best deal.

You can do this two ways.  First, you can scan your items at home and make a list by lowest price for each store, or, if you're already at the store and contemplating a purchase, you can scan it to see if you're getting the best deal.  Then, you have an equation on your hands: I save X dollars if I drive Y miles, and it will take Z time.  Maybe for one product, it wouldn't make sense, but if you have half of a grocery list that's cheaper at the other store, then it might make sense.

This app also contains consumer reviews of the products you're scanning, so you can see if they're even worth the hassle.

I've used this app for everything from DVD's to car wax to coffee to frozen vegetables.  I believe that one could pay for the extra cost of having a Smartphone with this one app.

If you're interested in this app, but don't have a smart phone, THIS is a good place to compare prices.


Frugal Maestro


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Buy a Zoo Membership

Families with young kids who live near a zoo should look into getting a membership.  In my case, the closest zoo is the Toledo Zoo in Toledo, Ohio.  For a family of four (two adults and two kids), the price tag for a single day admission is (2 adults x $10 + 2 kids x $7) = $34, plus $6 parking.  That's $40. 

For a typical family that goes to the zoo say, four times a year, that's $160 per year.

Conversely, the family membership would cost $71 per year.  That's a savings of $89 per year, plus, certain zoos in other cities offer a 50 percent discount to their zoo if I show them my Toledo Zoo Membership.  With free parking.  In addition, the Zoo Membership is partly or fully tax deductible.

You just saved $89 by making a decision ahead of time.  If you use it twice, you more than pay for it.

The Frugal Maestro


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Kids Eat Free!

I have a great website for folks with kids who dine out at restaurants.  Kids meals are a big expense--especially at some retaurants who don't seem to get it, and charge $7 for some chicken tenders and fries.

The website is called .  Let's say a family of four, due to their schedules, eats dinner at restaurants seven days a week.  Let's be fair and assume $10 per meal for two kids.

Monday: Quiznos - Kids eat free*
Tuesday: Chammps - Kids eat free*
Wednesday: Damon's - Kids eat free*
Thursday: Captain D's - Kids eat free*
Friday: Quizno's - Kids eat free*
Saturday: Perkin's - Kids eat free*
Sunday: Steak 'n Shake - Kids eat free*

*Subject to change - check with the restaurant ahead of time.

That's a savings of up to $70 a week or $3640 a year.


Frugal Maestro