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Check Into Cash Blog

From tax tips to money-saving tricks, the Check Into Cash blog is your one stop for money talk. Here you’ll find ideas that you can use to save money, time, and energy. Check back for new content every week. If you like a post, be sure to share it with a friend! After all, everyone could use a little extra cash in their pocket.

Save Money On School Supplies

School supplies are expensive, and the prices seem to go up every year. Don’t invest your dollars into the back-to-school black hole. Instead, invest your time and energy into these money-saving tips.

How to Save on Back to School Supplies

1. Do a Closet and Supply Sweep

Believe it or not, you might already have plenty of school supplies lying around your house. Closets, desk drawers, and basement bins might hold hidden treasures that can save you money.

Start by rounding up all of the office and school supplies you already own. Put them in a central location, like a plastic bin or on the dining room table, so you can make a list of what you have. Keep this list in your purse, or in the car, so you don’t forget it when you shop for school supplies.

What do your children need for the school year?

  • Pens, pencils, markers, and highlighting pens
  • Erasers
  • Rulers
  • Notebooks and loose-leaf paper
  • Scratch paper
  • Binders
  • Calculators
  • Crayons
  • Art supplies
  • Post-it notes

In addition, go through your kids’ closets and start sorting. Clothing that the kids have outgrown, and worn clothing, should be donated or tossed. Once you complete this “supply sweep,” you’ll have a clearer picture of what youactually need to buy. Ideally, the sweep will prevent you from buying something you already have on-hand.

2. Shop at Garage Sales and Thrift Stores

Garage sales can be a treasure trove of deals for back to school supplies. Backpacks, gently used shoes, clothing, and even school supplies can be picked up for a song.

Start hitting up garage sales for everything you need. It takes time, but you can score some incredible bargains this way. You can also ask friends and family members to keep an eye out for you, while they shop at garage sales.

You can also find awesome bargains at thrift stores. Clothing is dirt cheap, and many stores run sales specifically for parents shopping for back to school items. Start early, though. The selection will be picked over by the first day of school.

3. Set Limits

As your kids grow older, they will insist on having the “latest and greatest.” They may request Justin Bieber binders and backpacks, and name-brand clothing from the mall. Although your kids crave these items, these “character-focused” products will quickly destroy your back to school budget. In addition, these items often aren’t made to last; many trendy clothing items are very cheaply made.

So, set limits with your kids, and speak with them about money-based values. Let your children know that companies should be paying them for advertising their products by wearing name-brand clothing. Show them the difference between a cheaply made trendy item of clothing, and a well-made item without a logo, and explain the difference in quality.

If you start teaching your kids about money management at a young age, they will grow up to understand and espouse these values. Let kids have two “specialty” items, like a Justin Bieber lunchbox and binder. Once they’ve chosen their two items, the rest of their supplies must be purchased at bargain prices.

Tip: Don’t forget to scour sites like eBay and Craigslist for high-end and specialty items.

4. Save on College Supplies

If you have a child heading to college, then you will experience some serious sticker shock. From picking up supplies for their dorm room, to investing in college textbooks, sending a kid to college isn’t for the faint of heart. There are many ways to save money on back to school shopping for your college student.

First, learn how to save money on college textbooks. Buy used textbooks on sites like Amazon, eBay, and Half.com. You can also compare prices on new books on CheapestTextbooks.com, or buy books on bargain sites like Textbookx.com. Additionally, you can save 50% or more on textbooks if you buy a digital copy and download it to your Kindle, or other e-reader. View textbooks available for digital download at CourseSmart.com or Cafescribe.com. And at the end of the semester, find websites where you can sell used textbooks for cash.

Shop for dorm room essentials like rugs, sheets, and light cooking equipment at garage sales and thrift stores. You can save a lot of money by buying used items. You can also ask friends and family members if they have any items they do not use; your social and family networks will be glad to help! You can get gently used items for free, while givers declutter their homes. Everyone wins!

10 more money saving tips can be found on the original article by CLICKING HEREOpens in a new window

11 Ways To Exercise and Be Healthy While Saving Money

Staying fit can actually save you money. Keep the medical bills at bay by staying healthy with these 11 tipsOpens in a new window.

Exercising and eating healthy is a multi-billion dollar business. Think of all the weight loss formulas, food programs, membership gyms, and workout equipment, and workout apparel that we buy every day to stay healthy and look our best. Here are 11 ways to exercise and stay healthy without spending a lot of money.

  1. Workout at home. With a couple sets of dumbbells, you can do shoulder press, curls, tricep extensions, push-ups, crunches, and lunges.
  2. Buy a workout program. I have heard good things about the P90X workout program. It’s a legitimate program, with 15 different workouts. There are no gimmicks with this workout program. It’s the real deal.
  3. Avoid weight-loss food programs. You don’t need Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers to eat healthy.
  4. Eat out less. Most restaurant food has portions that are too big, and more they make more flavor by inserting fatty ingredients like cheeses, cream based sauces, and butter.
  5. Negotiate a gym membership. They are VERY negotiable.
  6. Get a dog. You’ll spend money taking care of a pet, but the long-term companionship and responsibility of walking them on a regular basis will get you out of the house more and make you go jogging or walking.
  7. Don’t spend money on supplements. Supplements might help you lose weight quick or bulk up quick, but once you get off them, it’s easy to quickly gain the weight back or become softer.
  8. Get 7 to 8 hours of sleep.
  9. Eat a breakfast full of fiber and protein. Oatmeal and eggs have a lot of fiber and protein, plus they are cheap to make. They will also keep you full until lunch.
  10. Shop at discount retailers for workout apparel and shoes. For shoes, I always check shoe stores like Rack Room, Famous Footwear, and Marshalls.
  11. Buy a bike on Craigslist. Why spend $800 on a new road bike, when you can get a used on for half the price? I found a guy in my neighborhood that rebuilds bikes, and he sold me one for $60! 

 

Got Fleas?

No one likes itchy fleas crawling all over the place. Protect your home and your pet while saving money on flea treatments with these all-natural flea repellents.

cat scratching its chinIt’s that itchy, scratchy season for pets when fleas rear their ugly, annoying microscopic heads. Of course there are lots of chemical treatments and collars that can wipe out the annoying pests. But if those chemicals aren’t safe for you or your children to touch, do you really want them on your furry friends?

Click Here for some more natural flea remediesOpens in a new window

 

Last Minute Vacation Ideas Before School Starts

Trying to fit in one more vacation before school starts? Try these travel sites to find last-minute deals that could save you hundreds.

woman beach ocean hat summer travel relaxSometimes you just have to get away. If your wanderlust gets the better of you and the traveler inside is itching to hit the road, there are several Web sites equipped to help — fast. Whether it be a weekend getaway or a full-blown vacation, the following sites are a few of a growing number that are wholly or in part dedicated to helping you plan a last-minute trip.

For best results, keep an open mind and stay flexible — the cardinal rules of traveling last-minute on the cheap. Check out these four sites when the travel bug bites.

Top 4 Last Minute Travel Sites:  click hereOpens in a new window

10 Back-To-School Shopping Tips that Save Money

The new school season is right around the corner. Before you spend your entire budget, read these tips on how to save money on school supplies.

mom and daughter out for shopping to go back to schoolTo your kids, shopping for new clothes, gear, and school supplies may be the only good thing about going back to school, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune every year. Here are 10 great ideas for how to get everything they need and save a few bucks doing it.

Hold off buying trendier gear

Kids may love a certain lunch box or pencil case they find in July, but once they start school and see that their friends are all using another kind, they’ll beg you to upgrade them, and that only results in wasted cash.

Shop end-of-summer sales

You know as well as we do that kids wear short sleeve polo shirts all year long, so hit the big summer sales and snap up discounted duds that can be worn well into fall.

Stick to the list

The teacher’s supply list at the start of a new school year is daunting enough so don’t waste time and money on unlisted items. Extra supplies, while they may be cute, will probably never get used and just leave your pockets empty.

Head to the supermarket for basic supplies

Check weekly circulars for great deals on pens and loose-leaf paper, and get your weekly grocery shopping done at the same time. Bonus: buying everything in one place will save time and gas money!

Let the kids raid your cabinets

The kids can select home-office supplies and then personalize them in unique ways. For example, decorate inexpensive plain, white binders with digital photos by creating a collage and inserting the page into the plastic outer cover.

Host a back-to-school swap

Round up a couple of other moms with kids the same gender as yours but different ages, and host an annual clothes swap. Trade toys and books, too! You’ll save a bundle.

Plan lunch

When you’re in charge of what your child eats, you’ll save yourself money. Check the weekly circulars at your local supermarkets for sales. If turkey isn’t on sale one week and ham is, go for the ham!

Buy bright

Lost school supplies may be a given, but gear that’s hard to miss can stave off the inevitable. Pack all their pencils, erasers, and other goodies into a bright backpack or pencil pouch to keep them from disappearing.

Shop the big three

Old Navy, Gap Kids, and The Children’s Place rotate merchandise often. Ask when they do their markdowns so you can grab the deals. Also, if you see an item you bought in the past 14 days on sale later, you can get the difference refunded, you don’t need the clothing, just the receipt.

Browse craigslist.org

Yes, you can find top-quality stuff on the cheap, but you can be a seller, too. Why not get some cash for that barely worn, now outgrown brand-name outfit? Just enter your location and click on “Baby and Kids.”

Dad’s Are Awesome!

To all the dads out there, we just want to say thank you for being you! 

Show your dad how much you appreciate him this Father’s Day.


 

A win-win with Check Into Cash: Cash for you and Cash For Kids

Check Into Cash’s June giveaway gives $500 to the winner and $500 to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

This month, don’t miss Check Into Cash’s Cash For Kids Facebook giveaway benefiting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Check Into Cash will match June’s $500 giveaway prize with a $500 donation to St. Jude. St. Jude works to advance cures and prevention for pediatric catastrophic diseases, such as cancer, through research and treatment.

“It means a lot to Check Into Cash that we find ways to show community appreciation while helping those who need it most,” said Check Into Cash President Steve Scoggins. “June’s cash prize will put a smile on our winner’s face, and the donation to St. Jude will help sick children.”

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital does not deny children treatment based on the family’s ability to pay. The families of ill children never receive a bill from St. Jude, and unlike other hospitals, most of St. Jude’s funding comes from individual contributions.

“The plight of a family with a severely ill child is tough to imagine,” explained Scoggins. “The last thing they need to be worried about is hospital bills and money.”

For anyone who wants to enter for a chance to win $500, visit Facebook.com/CheckIntoCash before midnight on June 30, 2016, and select the Cash For Kids Giveaway tab. To learn more about Check Into Cash stores and services, check out CheckIntoCash.com.

Learn more or get involved with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital at StJude.org.

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