Easter Basket Rip Off

I find it fascinating to see the prices charged for pre-made Easter Baskets.   If you take a moment to investigate the contents and do some quick math, it is easy to see that the mark up is substantial.

The basket below is listed at 49.99.  It took me ten minutes of shopping around on the internet   to find these prices for the items listed in the basket:

1. Basket:     Michaels craft store $1.99

2. 12 oz jelly beans:     Local drug store and dollar store price $1.99

3. 8 oz. of bunny corn:     Local drug store and dollar store 99 cents

4. 10 oz. milk chocolate crisps:     Drug store $1.99

5. 8 oz spring marshmallow mix:     Grocery store $2.99

6  1 16 oz package of peeps:     Drug store 2 packs for $3.00 ( $1.50 )

7. 1 10 inch stuffed bunny:     Five Below  $3 to $5



Total Merchandise in Basket $16.50

That leaves you paying $33.49 for someone to place these items into a basket for you  I estimate that would be  $33.49 for approximately 10 minutes of work.

I would much rather save $33.49 and put my own Easter Basket together.   If you have 3 kids to make baskets for, you could save $100.00.

Craft stores, Target and Walgreens make it very easy to make your own basket these days.  They sell the basket, a pre-made plastic sleeve to wrap the basket in and colored grass for the lining.


Saving money on your vacation

Today the cost of a hotel in a foreign country or another city can be extremely expensive. For a family, these costs can be further magnified. Very often the facility is not centrally located thereby adding additional expenses to get around. The rooms maybe small or the food plan does not accommodate children. Let’s say you are a family of four and want three rooms. The price of this in a conventional hotel can be exorbitant, even if you get a suite.

You can go to various Internet sites like www.hotels.com , www.tripadvisor.com or www.kayak.com and look for their best deals. This may get you a better price, but may not fulfill all your needs.

What are the other choices?

There are a number of house sharing and apartment sharing sites that may better serve you needs. Of course you need to be willing to share your home with a stranger but they are sharing their home with you. If you live in a desirable travel destination like New York City or San Francisco you have a real advantage. I have heard of people in New York City who had a great experience trading their three bedroom Manhattan apartment for a similar apartment in Paris. You can find these deals on sites like www.lovehomeswap.com and www.homeexchange.com .

You may just want to rent an apartment or a room in a place where you are going on vacation. A web site like www.airbnb.com will show you private rental deals that can save you a lot of money. The site allows you to pick neighborhoods, price ranges and the type of room you are looking for. Additionally, this site provides you with reviews from people who have stayed there in the past. The host determines how much they want for their rent and Airbnb then adds on their fee. This total fee is what appears on the web site as the fee for the guest. The time of the stay is determined by the host and is agreed to by the guest.

When you are on #vacation this is also a way to earn additional money by allowing someone else to use your home while you are away and offset some of the costs of your vacation.

#consumersangel #consumer

The Shopping List

We have all experienced coming out of a store or a supermarket having spent much more than we planned. We may have even shot the family’s monthly #budget on a single trip. How does this happen and what can we do to protect us from ourselves and our own impulses? Why do we act this way?

We are surrounded by pictures of buying our way to happiness. We see ads in newspapers, magazines and on TV showing beautiful happy people and families. They are happy because they are consuming some food or own some product. The message is clear if you buy this product, you will look just like this and you will be happy too.

In the store aisles there are ads to reinforce what you have seen or read. It is all designed to draw you into the belief that a product will satisfy some inner need and make everything in your life better. This has all been very scientifically studied and planned out by the companies that are trying to sell you their products and a host of psychologists they employ.

How do you get past this? The solution is very simple but not easy to implement. Make a #shopping #list. While you are quietly sitting at home make a list of what you need and what you are planning to buy. If you are familiar with store you are going to make the list in the order of the way you traverse the store. Bring the list with you and check off each item when you buy it. Do NOT buy anything that is not on the list because that will open up the flood gates. Almost any item you “forgot” can be purchased the next trip.

Following this strategy will amaze you. Not only will you save money, but this simple strategy will help you break the habit of allowing yourself to be controlled by the advertisements. You will shop according to your needs not your wants.

#consumers #angel

GroupOn, The New Trend in Consumer Savings

GroupOn is a deal of the day website. It serves major markets in the United States and Canada. Everyday GroupOn recommends services or a deal of the day to its customers. You sign up by e-mail for this site (see below for specific). You will then receive an electronic coupon daily, listing local services, stores or restaurants, which boast a 40 to 60% discount on items or services if purchased through GroupOn.

GroupOn is the middle man that promotes these services in your city. Groupon does receive a commission once you have made a purchase, however the service is free to the consumer.

Common GroupOn discounts include hotels at discounted rates, spa days, clothing, jewelry discounts and restaurant deals. Generally, the consumer can save up to 50% off the usual price. This huge savings has made GroupOn quite popular these days among consumers. In today’s economy, who doesn’t love getting a deal!

One reason GroupON has spread so quickly among consumers is because of social media. Once the deals are shown, friends can tweet each other about a spa day or a restaurant deal and make plans to purchase at the same time. GroupOn also offers a $10 incentive to refer friends which makes referring friends via social networking even more enticing.

Once the deal of the day is announced, it remains online for 24 to 72 hours to purchase. After that, the deals are no longer available. Once purchased however, the coupons generally need to be used within 6 to 12 months of purchase. This gives plenty of time to the consumer to use their coupon and enjoy their deal.

GroupOn is catching on fast. GroupOn can be found in every major city in the US as well as Canada.

You can find GroupOn at http://www.Groupon.com.

Even if you don’t buy any of the advertised coupons, it is fun to sign up and watch the daily deals listed. It is a great education about the prices of various restaurants and services that are available for both adults and kids in your area.