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Comparison Shopping: The Ultimate Resource To Save Time and Money (Pre-Holiday Tip!)

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Comparison Shopping: The Ultimate Resource To Save Time and Money (Pre-Holiday Tip!)

Saving money is often the foremost thing on most of our minds (especially when it comes to holiday shopping!) When we get down to the business of indulging in a new toy, household item or other product, saving ourselves time ranks a not-so-distant second.

Besides, with huge range of products available today, finding the balance between the best price versus the best quality may take you hours of research and driving from mall to mall.

But, with the nearly endless responsibilities that life puts on our plates each day, who has time to spare?

If you answered that question with a resounding “not me,” then check out these four fantastic comparison shopping tools that allow you to save both time and money:

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1. ShipGooder

ShipGooder

    Sometimes the biggest expense with an online purchase is shipping, a terrible problem that many market analysts see as the last big hurdle to getting people to switch en masse to online shopping over more traditional brick and mortar stores. Whether you shop via a third-party connection marketplace like Amazon or direct from the official website of your favorite retailer, the deals offered often seem very nice, until you reach the shipping page and find that what little money you hoped to save would be negated when you add in the cost of delivery.

    When you’re dealing with prohibitive shipping costs, the new ShipGooder server is an excellent tool that helps you to flesh out your options. Simply enter two zip codes and the package weight and ShipGooder will instantly return the available options for you to scan, saving you both time and money when it comes to shipping and receiving online purchases.

    2. Nextag

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    Nextag

      General price comparison websites are a dime a dozen, but Nextag stands out for its sheer size as well as its ease-of-use. The website’s simplistic design makes searching for a particular product a breeze, and their wide range of merchant partnerships means that millions of products are available through their service.

      With more than 10 years of experience and 30 million users per month taking advantage of it, there is no doubt that Nextag is a leader where price comparison is concerned, and you’ll definitely find it useful, assuming they partner with the merchants you need to find the product you’re looking for.

      3. PriceGrabber

      PriceGrabber

        One of the most popular price comparison websites in the world, PriceGrabber is well-known for its thorough product listings. The website provides both a search function and handy highlights on popular products, helping you to find the best deal on the hottest items with only a click or two, saving you time even while it promises to save you money.

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        Unlike Nextag, PriceGrabber provides comparisons in price and reviews from retailers across the internet, not requiring them to sign into any type of partnership. This means that you’re getting a full overview of what the web has to offer in the way of products, prices, delivery times and costs, and more.

        4. RedLaser

        RedLaser

          With mobile access now representing the way that many of us use the web, having a price comparison tool that can travel in your pocket is a valuable thing. This is one of a few ways that the RedLaser smartphone app sets itself apart from the competition. This app installs on your Apple iPhone or Google Android smartphone, making itself available to you when you’re shopping in order to give you the scoop on what other retailers, both online and offline, are charging for the same products.

          Products can be searched by UPC code or even via QR data if your phone’s camera is of a high enough quality to take a clear shot of a product’s barcode. This instantly presents you with a wealth of data, including comparative prices, GPS-enabled directions to competitors, and access to prices at online giants like eBay and Amazon, all coming together to ensure that you don’t spend a single dollar more than necessary to get the product that you want.

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          5. Collaborative Saving

          Happier

            This is a bit different in concept from the above tools but one that has some incredible potential: It offers you the ability to let your friends suggest deals to you. It makes perfect sense, people who you trust and who you probably share common interests with can suggest to you most relevant and reliable deals (as well as where to buy things).

            Happier (currently in beta) is so far the best example of this concept being implemented.

            Free Tool Most Useful Feature
            ShipGooder Compare shipping prices
            Nextag Powerful “Compare user reviews” feature
            PriceGrabber Local results (to quickly find best products nearby)
            RedLaser Powerful mobile support
            Happier Collaborative shopping and saving

            Luckily, we have online shopping tools to help us save time and money. Are there any other comparison shopping tips you use? Please share them in the comments!

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            Your thoughts: Do you have any comparison shopping resource in your mind?

            Featured photo credit:  A couple selecting paint samples via Shutterstock

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            Last Updated on July 20, 2021

            Financial Freedom is Not a Fantasy: 9 Secrets to Get You There

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            Financial Freedom is Not a Fantasy: 9 Secrets to Get You There

            Have you ever considered your life now, and how it would be if you had more time to spend with your family and less worries about money?

            Nowadays, financial stress is one of the most troublesome weights in life. If you’ve ever encountered financial stress, you know the difficulty of not having enough income to pay your obligations or bills.

            Many people say that money is not the ultimate goal of life. While that’s true, money certainly plays a very significant role. The meaning of financial freedom changes with the different phases of our life, but ultimately, it is something that many people strive for.

            In this article, we’ll explain how to capture that financial freedom you’ve been looking for. Read on to learn the secrets to financial freedom.

            Break Free of Your Finances

            Financial freedom is about having a constant flow of cash from your assets to cover all your regular needs.

            When you are not worried about your income, or living paycheck to paycheck, you gain a great sense of freedom. It’s the freedom to be obtain and do what you truly need to make your way through everyday life.

            Gaining financial freedom, though, is a process of growth, making small improvements and gaining emotional strength.

            Though it seems hard to believe, it is really very simple to get financial freedom.

            To do so, you simply need to make sure that your assets exceed your liabilities. In other words, you’ll need to find the sweet-spot where your residuals meet or surpass your expenses. This is something that you can achieve with the proper plan.

            While not every person will accomplish financial freedom, the potential for anyone to do so is certainly there. Anyone can achieve this success, regardless of their income level.

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            Outlined below are 9 secrets that will help you in your goals of achieving financial freedom.

            1. Stop Unnecessary Spending

            We often spend money inwardly, instead of objectively.

            For example, you may spend when you’re anxious, depressed, restless, exhausted, from fear of missing out, or to please others. This is a very unhealthy way to handle your finances.

            To stop this habitual spending, log down all your spending over the course of a month.

            Just as some people keep a food diary, keep an expense diary. Remember not to just write down how much and what you spent the money on, also include the circumstances of why you spent the money. Was it an impulse buy at the checkout line or was it something you planned to purchase?

            This increased self-awareness could enable you to avoid triggering situations in the future when you are considering an impulse buy.

            2. Plan a Monthly Budget

            This is a great opportunity to get serious.

            Take a seat with your spouse or partner and make a monthly budget based on your income, not your expenses. You are never again going to spend more cash then you have on hand.

            Overspending is the thing that led you to more financial obligations. Make sure you decide every month what is coming in and what will be going out and stick to that budget… no matter what.

            3. Cut-up Credit Cards

            Perhaps you are the type of person who always pays your credit card balance in full before the end of your billing cycle, and enjoys the reward points you gain. If this is the case, then you’re already way ahead of the game.

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            If not, you may want to consider ridding your life of the burden that credit cards bring.

            Many cards have strategies set up so that if you make a certain number of late payments, they will raise your interest rate much higher. This can really add up in the long run and you won’t be doing your financial situation any favors. If you’re prone to late payments or have a large balance due on your cards, cut them up!

            Without proper self control on credit card spending and payments, you are basically throwing your money away. To ensure that you have better control over your spending, use only cash or debit for all future purchases (and don’t forget to pay at least your minimum payment on your cut-up cards each month!).

            4. Increase Savings

            There is no doubt that for a comfortable retirement you must accumulate satisfactory savings throughout your working life.

            It’s good practice to save up to 15% of your income.

            Start with your workplace 401(k), if you have one. If not, a Roth IRA (if you are eligible) or a traditional IRA (if you are not eligible for the Roth) are the next logical steps.

            Increase in longevity means you might be able to look forward to 25 to 30 years in retirement, or possibly even significantly more. Investing now in good retirement plans will ensure that you have a guaranteed a stable monthly income when the time comes to stop working. [1]

            5. Invest Wisely

            Consider investing in funds.

            Specifically, you will gain higher returns if you invest in different types of mutual funds such as Debt funds, Equity funds and Hybrid funds with a proper balance, although it absolutely relies on your personal preferences and sense of risk taking.

            To get the most of these benefits, make sure you are investing in a variety of assets. Another resource of investing in mutual funds is SIP (Systematic Investment Plan) where you invest some money every month in funds. SIP works by averaging the per unit price of the stock.

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            Mutual fund investors are aware of the benefits of an SIP (Systematic Investment Plan). For one, it is the most secure way to invest in equity mutual plans so that wealth is created over a long period of time. This plan also helps you to gain a better sense of financial discipline, which will come in handy in all your financial endeavors.

            6. Invest in Gold

            There isn’t really a better way to invest in gold than to have the physical gold itself in your possession.

            You can purchase gold coins and bars from mints as well as from coin dealers and other private sellers.

            Another way to invest in gold is through ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds).

            These are is similar to mutual funds but they are exclusively investments of gold. ETFs are great because they offer more liquidity; the ETF owns the actual physical gold, stores it, and retains the value of the shares. These shares can then be bought and sold in the stock market, and one big benefit is that the transaction costs of gold ETFs are much lower than the that of physical gold.

            With its consistently-increasing demand, investment in gold can be very wise long-term investment to make.

            7. Stash Emergency Funds

            Whether it’s a cash gift or a work bonus, always try to save any extra money that comes your way rather than making unneeded purchases.

            If you get paid every other week, you’ll get an “extra” paycheck (three rather than the usual two) twice a year. Either save those paychecks towards your emergency funds or utilize the money to pay down other obligations, such as loans, credit cards or other debts.

            Make it hard to get your cash.

            Put your savings in an alternate bank, maybe an online bank that forces you to delay for several business days before transferred money hits your regular bank account.

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            8. Find Fabulous Mentors

            Find a mentor, such as a friend or family member, who has exceptional control over their finances and pay attention to everything they do.

            If you do not have any friends or family that are enjoying financial freedom, then find a mentor online! There are numerous blogs and guru websites featuring the advice of many people who have reached financial freedom, and they exist primarily to let you in on how to achieve it for yourself.

            There are also plentiful forums available that share tips and tricks on how to best achieve financial freedom. Read as much as you can and start changing your habits for the better.

            9. Be Extra Patient

            Patience is the key of financial success.

            Being patient can be quite tough, especially when you’re struggling with your finances, but having faith is worth it. You’ll continuously be on the right track if you are taking the proper steps above.

            So don’t be discouraged, even if you are only saving a few dollars a month; it all adds up. Within just a few years you’ll look back proudly at your accomplishments and be glad that you had the patience to get there.

            Financial Freedom for All

            Anyone can achieve financial freedom, regardless of their financial circumstance.

            Use the tips provided above to get yourself on the track to financial freedom and toss your monetary concerns out the window. If you wish to achieve a life with financial freedom for yourself and your family then you must adopt a disciplined approach towards your finances.

            Following the simple secrets above is a great start to making your money work for you, so you can work less and live more!

            Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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            Reference

            [1] Hartford Gold Group: IRA Retirement Accounts

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