I love contact lenses. They are extremely comfortable nowadays, so much so that I’ve ditched the idea of getting Lasik surgery. What’s more, if you buy your lenses on the Internet at top contact lens vendors like Lens.com, you can get quite a deal and potentially save hundreds of dollars a month. This is especially true if you use Lens.com coupons.
That said, you’ll likely still pay a lot more for contact lenses than you would if you wore glasses. The reason? Almost everything associated with contacts costs more, from eye exams to the accessories you need, such as contact lens solutions, drops, and cases.
To minimize the hassle of contact lens maintenance, many people switch to using daily disposable contact lenses. Some popular brands of daily disposable contacts include Acuvue Moist, Focus Dailies, and Softlens Dailies. But one thing you should be aware of is that if you make this switch, your contact lens costs will roughly double.
Unless your optometrist recommends daily disposables to you for a specific reason, I would therefore not recommend making the switch. The only thing daily disposables will do is save you from the hassle of storing your lenses. But the maintenance required is minimal. All you really need to do is take out the lenses, rub them for 15 seconds each, and store them in solution. The whole process can take a minute or less.
To me, it’s not worth paying hundreds of dollar more per year to save a minute every day. But if you still want to give them a try, you can get them cheaply at my favorite contact lens store, Lenscom. This store has the lowest prices I’ve been able to find anywhere. And as mentioned earlier, if you use a coupon code for Lens.com (which you can get from http://lensstreet.com/lens-com.php), you can increase your savings even further.
Since this blog is all about saving money, I thought I’d spend some time in this post talking about how to get graphic design done inexpensively.
Printing business materials can be costly. I mitigate this cost to some extent by using discounted online printing companies like Printplace. The other major cost associated with printing is design. As you may have learned the hard way, hiring designers can be rather costly. In this article, I will go over some cheap ways to design your printed materials.
Do it yourself
This clearly is the cheapest option, but unless you have some inherent design talent, it’s going to be hard to produce products that are visually attractive. You can purchase books or take online classes at sites like Lynda.com to learn some basic design and how to use tools like Photoshop. But be aware that becoming a competent designer will usually require hundreds of hours of work.
If you are okay with semi-professional design, then Fiverr is a good place to find some competent designers. You can get logos for as little as five dollars, but you shouldn’t expect spectacular quality work. That said, I have used a number of Fiverr designers who are fairly good at what they do. It may be a gamble, but the good news is that Fiverr is cheap, so you won’t be risking much money.
Hire a student designer
Students love having the opportunity to do real work, and you may be able to find a talented student who is willing to do work quite inexpensively.
One you have your product designed, the next step is to order printing. As mentioned previously, I prefer to use Printplace. As of this writing, there are quite a few Printplace coupon codes that you can obtain from Hotprintingdeals. These coupons will allow you to save money on postcards, posters, brochures, business cards, and many other items.
We’ve all heard that we need 5 or more servings of fruits or vegetables a day. I used to think fruit juice was a great way to sneak in a serving or two of fruits, but it turns out they are very high in sugar and not a good option.
A much better choice, it turns out, is V8. However, the downside of V8 is its high sodium content. This is easily solved however, if you purchase the low-sodium version of V8. 8 ounces of low-sodium V8 provides you with two servings of vegetables, so if you have a glass every morning, you’re already 40% of your way to meeting your daily requirement of fruits and veggies.
The other quick and easy way I like to get some veggies is by eating mashed potatoes. I like to buy the instant kind offered by Whole Foods (the brand is called 365) because it contains no preservatives. I did find, however, that if you follow the directions, the potatoes end up being too mushy. For this reason, you’ll have to experiment a bit to find the right consistency for the potatoes.
If you have other ideas of meeting the daily requirement of vegetable servings, do let me know! For more information on healthy eating, check out my post about vegetarianism.
Many people contemplate becoming a vegetarian for one of two reasons. The first is because they are against cruelty to animals. The second reason is because they believe it is a better diet for their health.
Is a vegetarian diet indeed healthier? It seems for the most part, the answer is yes. On the whole, people on vegetarian diets have lower blood pressure and cholesterol. They also tend to be thinner, which is a big plus because today’s society suffers a serious obesity epidemic.
The standard vegetarian diet means you do not eat any meats. But you are allowed, under some plans, to eat animal-derived products like cheese, milk, or eggs. Such foods, in fact, may become your primary sources of protein.
The stricter form of vegetarian diet, called the vegan diet, avoids all animal products completely. Under this plan, you are not allowed to eat dairy or eggs, and as you can probably guess, this diet is a lot harder to follow.
Of the two, I recommend people start out with the standard vegetarian diet because it is easier to follow. Even if your ultimate goal is to become a vegan, it’s smart to take small steps toward your goal instead of making a drastic change to your diet overnight.
A good way to progress into a vegan diet is:
Eliminate red meats. You can still eat white meats like turkey and chicken. You should find this step fairly easy to take.
Eliminate all meats except fish. If you don’t like fish, this step might be a bit difficult. You can also just eat meats every other day to help you transition into vegetarian diet.
Become a vegetarian. As stated above, you may still eat eggs and dairy products.
Become a vegan.
One thing you must be mindful of if you become a vegetarian is that you’ll need to supplement your diet with vitamins to make sure you get enough B12. Typically, vegetarians are deficient in this vitamin, and it is therefore important for you to ensure you’re getting enough. The easiest way is to purchase a supplement from a reputable online vitamin store such as Pureformulas.
I like Pureformulas because they offer free shipping on all orders. Therefore, you can buy a single bottle of B12 and not have to pay for shipping, which would not be the case with most other online vitamin stores. Remember to use a Pureformulas coupon when you make your purchase to get the best discount deal you can.
There are many reasons today to own a gaming platform. These days, a console like PS4 or Xbox can do a lot more than simply allow you to play games. Once hooked up to the TV, many game consoles actually allow you to view Internet content. This includes services such as Amazon, Hulu, and Netflix.
But the main reason to own a game console is still to play video games. Consoles themselves aren’t cheap, starting around $360 for the newest platforms. It doesn’t end there, however. Typically, you’d have to spend $50 or $60 to purchase each game, presuming you like to buy new releases.
This is why I prefer to have a Gamefly membership instead. Using Gamefly, I pay a low monthly fee and can borrow as many games as I want. This allows me to try out a greater number of games while paying much less money over the long run. The best part is that I don’t have to go anywhere to get my games, since they are delivered to my door. So make sure you learn about how you can try Gamefly for free.
I’ve found that online dating is very much a numbers game. To be successful, you need to put yourself out there on the most popular dating sites, and have a lot of patience. Some people get results fairly quickly but others must work hard to find the person that’s right for them.
I find that joining one dating site is usually a bit limiting. If you like being in the driver’s seat, the best strategy is to join one free dating site like Plentyoffish or Okcupid, as well as a popular paid dating site like Match.com. The results from free dating sites are not as good as the potential matches you’ll get on Match.com. However, I recommend joining them simply because once you have a profile, it’s easy enough to replicate them on free dating sites. This gives you more exposure and increases the chances of meeting that special someone.
If you find yourself ready for a serious commitment, then the two sites you should be joining are Eharmony and Chemistry.com. Along with those two, you should also join a couple free dating sites. The reason I recommend Eharmony and Chemistry.com for people who want a serious relationship is that these two sites are specifically geared to meet the needs of people who are ready to settle down. You’ll definitely notice a difference between the people on sites like Match.com vs. the people on Eharmony. Note that Eharmony and Chemistry.com only match you with a limited number of people; this means such sites will require you to be a bit more patient than other sites. If you’re interested in getting an Eharmony free trial, be sure to visit onlinedatingtrials.com.
Regardless of which site you join, you want to spend a lot of time working on your profile. Don’t be afraid to get feedback from others on your profile, and be sure that you reread the profile once a month and make revisions or improvements. Also, make sure you post multiple photos. The best photos will be ones that can be conversation starters. A photo of you playing a sport, being with animals, etc. are great for the purpose of starting a conversation with prospective matches. The main profile photo, however, should be a head shot. If you can afford it, it pays to get a professional photo taken. Many studies have shown that professional photos tend to draw more interest.
When it comes to electronic cigarettes, there are two ways you can go. You could purchase unbranded, generic products and save money as a result. Unbranded products are typically sold based on battery size and features. For example, for small batteries, you’d want to pay attention to weather the battery has KR808 or 501 wiring. Besides that, you’d just look at the price and buy a product that seems to be a good deal.
Needless to say, purchasing generic ecigarettes can be a bit like rolling the dice. I’ve gotten products that were quite good, as well as others that ended up being quite inferior.
The second approach to buying electronic cigarettes is to stick to well-known, trusted brands. If you follow this particular shopping strategy, you would want to read reviews of electronic cigarettes online. Some famous brands you should do research on are Blu Cigs, Halo Cigs, V2 Cigs, and other similar brands.
On average, purchasing from trusted brands means you’ll typically have to pay about 20% more for the products you buy. A small e-cig battery, for example, may cost you $12 or $13 as opposed to $10 for a generic brand. The upside is that you’ll usually be getting a better quality product. Also, if you use online coupons, such as this Halo Cigs coupon that you can get if you head over to E-cigbargains.com, you can get a bit of a discount on your purchase as well.
My favorite brand at the moment is Halo Cigs, and I particularly like their G6 batteries and cartomizers. After having tried a number of other brands, I find the G6 to be a longer lasting battery that requires less of a pull to activate (for the automatic batteries) compared to other brands I’ve tried.
One final point: In our last blog post, we talked about ways to save money. It turns out E-cigs are way cheaper than regular “analog” cigarettes. So if you happen to be a regular smoker, making the switch over to E-cigs is a smart move both for your physical and financial health. Depending on how many cigarettes you smoke a day, you could easily save $1000 or more every year by using e-cigs instead of normal cigarettes.
Let me start by giving you some advice on personal finance that I have learned over the years. The simple fact is that there are no shortcuts to saving money and doing well financially. Wealth must be built up over a long time. But on the other hand, you must have a plan to become successful. Even a simple plan will do. In fact, when it comes to personal finances and saving money, a simple plan is sometimes the best, since they are easy to remember and easy to follow.
Let’s start by talking about income. We all make a different amount of money, but unless you are living under the poverty level, you should still have some money left over to save. A good number to start with is 10 or 15% of your income. I always advocate putting away this money automatically into a retirement account, so you can’t touch it at all. If you don’t have an emergency fund, you’ll also want to create one, and have about 6 months of living expenses saved in your fund. This way, should you lose a job or encounter some sort of life difficulty, you won’t have to go into debt. Discipline is key to making any kind of savings plan work.
Next, you should work to get rid of all debt, except for mortgage debt. Most credit cards charge a very high APR, and this literally eats away at your money. Cutting down on debt takes years, and requires a good amount of planning. I recommend using calculators such as the one at CNN money to help you calculate how you can get yourself out of debt. If you don’t know much about debt, it’s also a good idea to talk to a knowledgeable friend or a debt counselor so you will better understand why it’s so important to reduce your debt levels.
But learning to save money is only half the equation. In order to get to a point where you have money to save, you also need to learn ways to cut down on your spending. Most of us spend way more than we need to, and this is not that difficult to change if you put your mind to it. Let’s go over some basic things you can do.
First, always looks for deals online when you are shopping. I’ve found over the years that whatever I wish to buy, I can almost always find a better price online. Good places to look for deals are large e-commerce sites like Ebay and Walmart.com. Look for free shipping deals if you can, and also make sure you search for online coupons, which can instantly slash the amount you pay for a given product. Familiarize yourself with deal websites and coupon websites, and bookmark your favorite ones. A couple good sites to help you get started include retailmenot, coupon.com, and my favorite, http://couponleaf.com/.
Get into the habit of comparing prices before making a purchase. This can be a bit of a hassle if you like shopping at physical stores. But shopping apps are giving consumers more and more power. If you shop online, it’s a great idea to bookmark some price comparison sites. They should be the first place you go to when you’re thinking about making a purchase.
Next, you should cut down on unnecessary spending. Do you really need 200+ cable channels? How many channels do you actually watch? Many Americans are getting rid of cable altogether. This doesn’t mean you have to forgo watching TV altogether, since many programs are now available online on sites like Netflix and Hulu. There is also a new site called Sling that allows you to watch dozens of popular cable channels for just $20 per month. If you are interested in this option, consider reading this Time Magazine Article on cutting the cord.
Make sure you also watch this CNET video if you’re thinking about doing without cable:
Another thing you can do to cut down on your expenses is begin buying used goods. Some people balk at this, not wanting used items. But think about all the waste that is created by people not taking advantage of used items. Places like Goodwill and Craigslist are great resources for finding used items. You can often get terrific deals on things like furniture, bicycles, and electronic items by using such resources.
Last but not least, try eating out less. This includes visits to places like Starbucks, where you end up paying a rather astronomical amount for coffee. A meal prepared at home may only cost a few dollars, but if you go out, it can easily end up costing $30 or more. This doesn’t mean you have to stop eating out altogether. It’s always a good idea to treat yourself once or twice a week. But many of us eat out almost daily, and this can be a serious hit to your financial well-being.