Saving Money

The Windfalls Plan Really Works!

One of the first MoneySmartFamily.com articles I read was about Windfalls.  I found it interesting and told my husband about it that same night. We both wrote down 5 things we each wished for. Some things on our lists were the same, some were not. We combined these and added debt payoff (50%) and charities (giving -10%). I typed the list up with a prayer at the bottom. Within 3.5 months my husband received 2 raises at work and we received 2 windfalls totaling $10,700.00, all completely unexpected!!!!!! We completely paid off credit card debt and achieved a couple of our windfall goals. Our other goals now have nice starting points too. It was so wonderful to know exactly where the money would go before it came in. No stress. No arguments or debates. It was all written down. My husband also received 3 gift cards to local dinner spots and one to a movie theater. We were able to treat the whole family to an afternoon at the movies, something we almost never do. We have been so amazed with the blessings and prosperity that has come our way recently. I absolutely love your newsletter. We have always been pretty good at keeping our debt down but we’ve been very “reactive” to our monthly paychecks. Not proactive at all. Your two most recent newsletters helped me so much. I am so motivated to get these accounts going. I have dedicated this year to making our finances proactive and to work for us. Thank you, thank you so much!

Listen to an interview where we describe our Windfall plan   Kelly – Glendale, AZ


Speak Up For Cash

I like to pay with cash instead of using other methods. However, there have been several times when I’ve run into difficulties at a store or restaurant when paying the cashier. After I’ve handed them a twenty-dollar bill, they’ll forget what I’ve given them and start making change for a ten! They swear that I only gave them a ten! This is really frustrating. Since it’s my word against theirs, the business always seemed to win. So, I came up with an alternative strategy when paying. Now when I pay the bill with a twenty, I say OUT LOUD, “And here Sir (or Ma’am) is my Twenty-Dollar-Bill that I’m paying with.” I say this loud enough for my wife and usually several others to hear. No more mishaps and everyone stays honest. In all fairness, there are many “quick change” artists that do pay with a ten and insist that it was a twenty, so I can understand the retailers’ caution.   Curtis G. – Spokane, WA


Sale Tracker

I keep a 12 month calendar in a 3 ring binder.  Regularly I make notes of sales with dates and other finds I come across. After the first year of doing this, I started my second calendar. Now, each month I look back at the previous year in anticipation of what sales should be coming up each month. This gives me a good idea of when to shop for certain items or at certain stores.   Jennifer G. – Norfolk, VA


Barter, It’s Smarter!

I am surprised I haven’t seen a tip on your web site about bartering.  I’ve found it to be a terrific way to save money. I make quilts (crib size to king size) and am always looking for ways to use my quilting as a bartering tool. Recently I placed an ad on a local free web site offering to barter a quilt for someone laying flooring in our RV. I received replies from several interested people. I have bartered quilts for massages and other things our family might need. It works great. You could even barter kids school uniforms-someone willing to trade size 6 uniform pants (4 pair) in great shape for several size 8 shirts, etc. Bartering is a terrific tool.   Jean Kester – Tolleson, AZ


Salute the Discount

I was in the military for several years and one thing that military people should always ask is “Do you offer a military discount?”  Many companies and stores offer these types of discounts, but you have to ask. Also we always took advantage of shopping at the military commissary and the exchange retail store.   Laura L. – Houston, TX


Low-Ball on Craigslist

In a past issue one of your readers commented on the benefit of Craigslist. We agree wholeheartedly! We purchased a very nice treadmill and a like-new baby crib for hundreds of dollars less than their original owners paid. One trick we’ve employed is bargaining just before the listing expires. Craigslist ads in our area are limited to one week before they have to be re-posted. Most sellers don’t want to field emails for another week or bother with re-posting their item, so we found that making a “low-ball” offer on items we want a day or two before they are about to expire, is a great way to get some awesome deals.   Susan and Stephen – Falls Church, VA


Negotiating Better

One great way to save money is to negotiate the price you’re willing to pay. We’ve negotiated at the grocery store, thrift store, universities, with people selling selling their own appliances, cars and with our own family members — especially for halloween candy.

These quotes express how we view negotiating.

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In business, you don’t get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate.
Chester L. Karrass
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My father said: “You must never try to make all the money that’s in a deal. Let the other fellow make some money too, because if you have a reputation for always making all the money, you won’t have many deals.
J. Paul Getty
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Necessity never made a good bargain. 
Benjamin Franklin
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Quite often, your indifference can be the greatest negotiating weapon you have.
Max Markson
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You must be fully prepared to lose a great deal in order to make a great deal.
Anonymous
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Collected by Steve Economides – Scottsdale, AZ

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