Author Archives: Steve Economides

How Can You Afford to Pay Cash for a New Cell Phone?

These days a cell phone is an absolute necessity. But the price of some phones is enough to make you crazy.

And having monthly lease payments on a cell phone is simply something we’re not willing to consider.

We only pay cash for quality used cell phones. If you want to live debt-free, you might want to consider doing the same thing.

People who know us, know that we simply don’t pay retail for much of anything. So we’re asked regularly, where are the best places to buy used cell phones online or in-person.

Table of Contents

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Reduce College Costs: Things to do in High School to Prepare for College

6 Things High School students can do that will crush the cost of college.

There are six things a teen can do in high school that will help to reduce the cost of a college education. We’ve done many of these with our 5 kids and they graduated college without any student loans!

How can a high schooler start to reduce college costs?

College is a monumental expense for parents and students alike. Who among us is prepared for paying out tens of thousands of dollars over a 4 or 5 year period? However, with any large expense, the more you and your child prepare, the more manageable the expense can be.

We have helped five of our … Read more »

Tips to Freeze Milk and How to Thaw it Safely

Tips to freeze and thaw milk

How can you save money on milk purchases? For years we’ve frozen milk that we bought on sale in our deep freezer, and then defrosted it when we were ready to use it. Freezing milk is not that hard to do if you follow our tips. Learn how we freeze and thaw milk safely and quickly.

1. The Smart Way to Freeze A Gallon of Milk

To freeze milk, pour a little off the top to allow room for expansion. Stand the carton upright in your freezer and then wait about 12 hours. To thaw milk, set it in a microwave for … Read more »

How Long Should I Keep My Car? (2019)

How long Should I Keep My Car? - Should I Keep My Car or Sell It?

“How long should I keep my car?” is a question we are often asked. When things start breaking on a car many people think the only solution is to replace it with a new car. 

But is there a point in time when keeping your current vehicle becomes more expensive than selling it.

Making the decision to keep a car and repair it or sell it and buy another one is always tough. But if you follow our 3 step evaluation system, you’ll know the answer to whether it’s time to sell or keep your wheels.

How Long Should I Keep My Car … Read more »

A Grocery Budget Makeover?

A Budget Makeover with Groceries is the fastest way to find cash!

If you’re looking for a Budget Makeover – start by changing how you shop for groceries.

Because most of us go to the grocery store several times each week, making a few changes in how you shop is one of the fastest ways to rehab your finances.

How can I lower my grocery bill so I can get ahead on my budget?

Question from an Email Subscriber:

I want to start rehabilitating my finances that will include a budget makeover with groceries. So following your advice, I’m revamping my grocery shopping. I homeschool our 4 young children and they tend to drink a … Read more »

Used Car Buying Checklist: 7 Things to Do When Buying from a Private Seller

Use Car Buying Checklist

We created this used car buying checklist to help our young adult kids evaluate their next car purchase.

We’ve always bought used cars from private sellers in Arizona. Our state doesn’t charge sales tax on cars purchased from individuals and this saves us 8.6 percent on the purchase price.

But we’re always careful when dealing with private party sales and follow the tips in this article. We also use the checklist at the bottom to make sure we don’t buy a lemon

MoneySmart Family Used Car Checklist: This easy to use, Used Car Checklist shows you the things you should check when you … Read more »

Buying Used Stuff: 7 Reasons We Love Buying To Save & Make Money

Buy Used Things - 7 Ways to Find the Best Deals!

If you buy used stuff, it’s a great way to keep money in your pocket. It also increases your buying power further than you imagined. And it can also be a great way to make money.

Buying used things is a great benefit to you, your budget and the environment.

We’ll share why we love buying used things, and where we find the best deals.

We’ll also share how we sell used things we no longer need … and the sites we use to do that.

You’re going to save a ton of money reading this article.

If we’ve missed a resource that you love, … Read more »

Pay Off Your Mortgage Early – Mortgage Free in 9 years Calculator

Pay Off Your Mortgage Early and See How We Paid Off Our Home in 9 Years!

One of the pinnacles of financial stability and security is to Pay off your mortgage early. Owning your home free and clear may seem like a fantasy. But if you follow the 5 steps we took, it can be your reality too.

Some people pay their home off in 30 years, others 15. But there are a group of people who simply hate having a mortgage pay it off quicker.

We paid our home off in 9 years.

Our efforts to pay down our mortgage debt started with just one dollar extra each month . . . but quickly grew to much more. … Read more »

Entitled Kids: 7 Things You Can Do to Stop Spoiling and Start Raising Self-Sufficient Kids

Are You Entitling Your Kids? We Share 7 Ways to Stop Entitlement and Raise Self Sufficient Adults!

Is it possible that our good intentions and generosity could end up entitling our kids? No parent intentionally sets out to create dependent children who expect to be given everything they desire.

If you want to raise kids who aren’t entitled but are empowered – keep reading. We have 7 ways we helped our kids to become Financially strong, fit and independent.

Kids are kind of funny. If we offer to pay for something, they’ll gladly let us do it . . . forever and ever. If we don’t pay, they’ll carry on about how “mean” and out of touch with reality … Read more »

5 Secrets to Surviving a Financial Crisis or Economic Downturn

5 Ways to Survive a Financial Crisis.

Are you going through a financial crisis or cut in pay?

If your income were to dramatically drop tomorrow, would you survive?

Would you spiral into a financial crisis or would you be able to keep your head above water?

Many financial experts say that Americans who live paycheck to paycheck could be 3 months from homelessness.

We’re going to give you 5 Secrets that we’ve used to survive job layoffs, cuts in pay and a nationwide financial downturn. 

 

How are you doing Financially?

If you were to ask ten different people in your town, “How are you doing financially compared to last … Read more »

Buying a Home with a Low Credit Score: Repeat & First Time Home Buyers

Buying a home with bad credit or a low credit score is possible.

Buying a home with bad credit can really be a challenge. And if you have a poor credit score it can be even tougher. If you’ve always dreamed of owning a home, but you’re struggling with saving a down payment or raising your credit score, we’ve got hope.

There are several steps you can take to repair credit, find a lender, and realize that goal of homeownership. This guide will help you find all the resources you need.

Step One: Work on Your Credit

Bad credit and a low credit score are major obstacles when purchasing a home. Lenders use your credit score to … Read more »

Paying for College With No Money or a Trust Fund

How to Pay for College with no Money - College graduate

A Reader asks How to Pay for College With No Money and without a Trust Fund.

Question: My daughter is a senior in high school and is preparing to head off to college. We have no money saved for her college expenses and feel like loans are the only option we have. What should we do?

MoneySmartFamily: You have more options than you realize.

 

1. Get Government Grants

Fill out a FAFSA application – it’s the Free Application for Federal Student Aid – StudentAid.ed.gov

Do this even if you don’t think you’ll qualify for any student aid. FAFSA … Read more »

Student Loan Forgiveness Programs: Get Loans Discharged Legally

Student Loan Forgiveness - Get Rid of College Debt Forever!

Do you have college loans? Are you looking for a list of loan forgiveness programs? Are you wondering if you can get student loan forgiveness?

Student loan forgiveness isn’t available to everyone, but it is a great way to pay off student loans that have already been accrued!

We’ve scoured the loan forgiveness landscape and found 9 different programs that might benefit you.

College Prices Have Skyrocketed:

Over the past 40 years, gas prices have increased by about 300% and Gold has risen more than 1200%. However, the cost of college has outpaced them both, skyrocketing more than 1600% higher than it was in … Read more »

37 Garage Sale Tips and Tricks: A Guide To Hosting Great Yard or Garage Sale

Wooden yard sale sign posted on a wire fence. Guide to Hosting Great Garage Sales.

If you’re looking for Garage Sale Tips and Tricks, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve hosted and participated in dozens of very successful garage sales.

We’ve written this Garage Sale Guide to help you turn your unwanted treasures into cash. There are 37 ideas presented on this page to help you run an efficient and profitable yard sale at your home. Or to host a rummage sale for a charitable organization where you volunteer.

Hosting A Garage Sale – Where to Start

Have you ever wondered how to host a great and profitable garage sale? We’ve hosted dozens of yard or garage … Read more »

How We Rehydrate Rubbery, Limp Carrots

A Terrific Limp Carrot Fix!

Have you ever purchased carrots that are rubbery, limp and droopy? Have carrots that you store in your refrigerator lost their crispness and crunchiness?

Don’t despair, your produce is not ready for the trash can or compost pile. You can rehydrate limp carrots and return them to their crisp and crunchy original condition.

 

Watch the video at the bottom of this page as Steve demonstrates how easy it is to fix limp carrots.

 

Why Do Carrots Get Rubbery and Limp?

Carrots are a root vegetable and consist of 88 percent water. By comparison, cucumbers are 96 percent water. Carrots get limp when their water … Read more »

3 Ways to Save Money on Utilities

Programmable Lux thermostat with a finger pointing to it to adjust it.

SAVING ON UTILITIES 

We’re in the dog days of summer (in the U.S.) and depending on where you live, you’re either enjoying the nice weather, sweltering in the humidity or broiling in the dry heat. For many people, summer is a time for relief from the high utility costs of the winter. But for us in Arizona, this is our most expensive season.

1) Planning Ahead for Utility Savings

The time to prepare for your most expensive utility usage season is NOT usually in the middle of that season.

If your winter utility costs eat you alive, prepare in the summer with:

Additional attic insulation … Read more »

Head of Lettuce – What is the Best Price, Weight & Nutrition

Buying Leaf or Iceberg Lettuce? Which Lettuce is best to buy?/ #BestLettuceDeal/ #BuyingLettuce/ #BuyingProduceCheap/ #BuyingProduceOnABudget

Leaf or Iceberg Lettuce . . . do you know which type of lettuce costs more?

Have you ever tried to calculate the best price for lettuce? Do you know which type of lettuce is the most nutritious? We answer all of these questions in this blog.

There are several ways to save money when buying lettuce. We outline a couple of our tricks on this page.

Finding the Best Deal on Lettuce is More Complex Than You Might Think!

Calculating the best price on lettuce is more than simply looking at the sale flyer. To determine the best deal we consider the price per … Read more »

College Home Study Program: Degree for $3100 – Dual Credit at Home

A College Degree for $3100? What About College Home Study? What About an Online College Degree? #CollegeDegree$3100 #OnlineCollegeDegree #CollegeHomeStudy

This College Home Study Program is amazing, clever, very different from other programs and inexpensive too.

If you have kids who want a fast track to a college degree or, if you’re an adult looking for an inexpensive and fast way to finally finish that degree, you’ve GOT TO READ what Becky and her kids have done. It’s absolute GENIUS.

We met Becky Muldrow in San Antonio, Texas at a conference where we were speaking. Becky is a mom and a smart one at that.

With 10 kids she has to be.

But what stood out most to us was her absolutely ingenious way … Read more »

What Are Health Share Plans? Is Medical Cost Sharing for You?

Mom holding a baby's hand - medical cost sharing.

Many people have asked what the difference is between Health Share Plans and traditional Health Insurance.  We’ll answer many questions about the medical cost sharing industry in this article.

Things like:

What’s the Difference Between Medical Cost Sharing and Traditional Insurance?
How Long Has Medical Cost Sharing been around?
What types of things do cost-sharing programs cover and not cover?
How much can you save with Medical Cost Sharing programs?
Who are the biggest players in Medical Cost Sharing?
See an example of what a large medical expense would cost you with a cost sharing account.

It happens over and over again. People crying at appointments as they … Read more »

54 Fun, Inexpensive & Interesting Hobbies

Fun, Inexpensive & Interesting Hobbies #InterestingHobbies #InexpensiveHobbies #FunHobbies #INeedaHobby #AffordableHobbies #MakeMoneyHobbies

Have you ever said to yourself, “I need a hobby.” Are you looking for some fun, inexpensive, or interesting hobbies to try?

Hobbies are a great way to challenge you, learn a new skill or provide some extra income. And they’re especially fun if they don’t cost a lot of money to get started.

If you’re looking for something new, check out these 53 choices.

Fun & Interesting Hobbies that Became Successful Businesses

Check out this list of people whose hobbies turned into huge earning potential. They each created a successful business from an at home hobby

Mrs. Fields Cookies. In 1977 Debbie Fields … Read more »

41 Fun Family Game Night Ideas and Board Games

Best Family Game Night Games. Games for Kids. Board Games for Kids. Games for Groups.

Have you ever thought of hosting a family game night? Have you ever wonder about what are some of the best family game night games for different age groups? 

We’ve got answers and videos.

Nothing brings families together like some friendly competition. And it’s even more fun when you pick some fun games to play together as on a family game night.

And the games we recommend don’t cost a lot of money. As a matter of fact, some are completely free.

We’ve included an overview of each game, some instructions, and a video when we found one available.

There are hundreds of games … Read more »

23 Free Online Movie Websites Like Crackle, YouTube and Hulu

17 Free Online Movie Websites Like Crackle, YouTube and Hulu! #FreeOnlineMovieWebsites #FreeDigitalMovieWebsites

This list of 22 free movie websites like Crackle, YouTube & Hulu can help you save money by dumping cable. Check out these sites and other Blu-Ray/smart tv apps.

One of the biggest budget busters is overspending on recreation. We recently did a “dinner and a movie” date night. If we hadn’t had movie gift cards and a restaurant coupon we would have spent $60. There has to be a better way to spend time together without spending a fortune.

We love cocooning at home after a long day of work. After selecting a good movie, we sit on the couch … Read more »

Fathers Day: Serving & Teaching Your Kids to Work

Steve and Joe Economides standing in front of a cubbie hole shelf unit they built.

The typical Father’s Day celebration is to wait on Dad, hand, and foot, hand him the remote control and let him do whatever he wants for the entire day.

Try a Different Kind of Father’s Day

This Father’s day we’d like to encourage Dad’s everywhere to make it a day when they serve their families—giving time and love to their families, and receiving much more in return. 

There is no better Father’s Day present to receive than to have little hands squeeze your face after you fix a broken toy or finish swinging your child at the park. 

 

How about Work-Play 

We had several of … Read more »

Great Vacations With Limited Funds – Having Fun on a Shoestring Budget

Great Vacations with Limited Funds are Entirely Possible!

Have you ever thought about great vacations with limited funds? And what about this summer? If you’re thinking you can’t take a vacation, think again. We’ve got lots of frugal and cheap tips to make your vacation memorable on a shoestring budget.

If your only option is a Vacation with Limited Funds, can you still create a fun and enjoyable memory? Here’s how we and several other frugal friends have enjoyed great vacations on the cheap.

 

Great Vacations on a Shoestring Budget

Yes, money is tight, unemployment is still high and the economic climate is uncertain. But if you’re thinking there is no … Read more »

Sonic Drink Specials During Happy Hour Deals (Save 50%)

Sonic Happy Hour & Sonic Drive In = Happy Hour Deals Galore!

Have you ever gotten a Sonic Drink Special during their daily Happy Hour? Sonic is America’s Drive-In fast food restaurant.

They serve up Happy Hour deals every day (Monday – Sunday) between 2 and 4 pm. We confirmed this information and updated in December of 2017.

We drive by a Sonic location several times each week. But it wasn’t until a few months ago that we discovered these half priced Happy Hour Deals (an online friend gave us a tip).
You’ll want to see these amazing deals!

If you’re looking for some awesome drink deals and some tasty snacks check … Read more »