Financial Friday: Online Coupons and more

>> Friday, November 27, 2009

You don't need to always get the Sunday newspaper to get the best deals at the store. Many times you can subscribe to the stores online emails and receive the coupons right in your own email inbox.

With the holidays here and people making "homemade" gifts, joining the many hobby & craft store email lists is great. You can use them at the various stores. If you have a A.C. Moore coupon for 50% for one item, you can take that to Michael's Craft store and use. Just call the store to ask if they accept competitor's coupons.

Hobby Lobby
A.C. Moore sign up for the email to receive the coupon
Michaels Arts & Crafts
Jo Anne Fabrics 40% off coupon for online item expires 1/2/10

For blogs that give you great coupon deals for various stores visit:
Deal Seeking Mom
Stretching a Buck
Hustler Money Blog- One month FREE of Amazon Prime on this link

To find various coupon codes for all types of places visit:
Retail Me Not anything from Domino's Pizza, Kohl's, Snapfish to Amazon.
Cheep Tweet this blog scours Twitter to find the best deals available.


Financial Friday: How to make the most of Black Friday

>> Friday, November 20, 2009

I love getting a great deal when shopping. As a nanny I shop for the family, and I am always looking at the sale items and so forth. They don't ask me too, I just do it because I enjoy finding a good deal.

Here is what you can do now:
1. Make a list of your family that you need to purchase gifts for
2. Make a list of your friends that you would like to purchase gifts for
3. Make a list of anyone's birthdays that are coming up in December, January or February.

With these lists start assigning gift ideas to them. Remember that 2009 has been a hard year for everyone in just about every economic bracket. You are allowed to not purchase gifts for people this holiday season. You can give gift certificates to be used at a future date. For example, last year I was signed up for 3 different holiday card exchanges, but life got in the way and I didn't get them out. I was going to make Inauguration cards for the people, but it was too close to the madness of the holidays. I ended up making Valentine Cards for them. I had several people email me and let me know it was such a nice surprise to get a card in February and not in the middle of the other cards of the holiday. Look for next week's Financial Friday on alternative gift ideas on The Financial Nanny.

This brings me to what is going to happen next Friday, November 27, the day after Thanksgiving-Black Friday! This is when people have little sleep and go shopping before the coffee is brewing and the kids are awake for the best deals of the season.

The ads have been leaked on the Internet. I will be honest with you and tell you that last year was the first year I believe I looked at Black Friday Ads online. I want you to save money this holiday season so I have gathered numerous websites that have the ads available to us.

1. Slickdeals Black Friday Forum This site has many sub forums of the various stores, discussions broken up into categories like LCD TVS, digital cameras, laptops etc

2. Black Friday at Gotta A Deal on the left side of the site, is a listing of all the stores they have ads for. In the middle are discussions about how to attack Black Friday, if you can purchase items online for Black Friday and other helpful things

3. Black Friday Info more ads from the stores

4. Black Friday 2009 They have a shopping list, if you sign up for the site and sign in. On the left side, they have a pricing guide, store hours

5. Black Friday Online Specials This is a listing of the retailers that have online specials on Black Friday if you don't feel like going out in the craziness of the shopping frenzies.
6. Cyber Monday is the Monday after Black Friday, November 30. You can complete your list with any items, you missed on Black Friday.


Financial Friday: How to find a great airfare & more

>> Friday, November 13, 2009

How to Find Great Airfare & More
by Alice Shaffer

As professional nannies, we are most likely working in a location far from our hometowns. This can make going home complicated with the holidays and expensive. I am lucky enough to be a five hour car ride away from my hometown where I work. I have the luxury of having three major airports within 45 minutes of my job, and about an hour and 15 min plane ride home.

The holidays are coming up. The INA conference is coming up in May 2010. Spring breaks are coming up. You will want to start checking airfares now for the best rate. You can also find deals on car rentals and hotels too.

There are several websites that can you use to find the best deal for your travels.

1. Bing Travel With Bing's software, they are searching 100s of sites for the best deals for you. They also have a "Price Predictor". This tool will let you know if you should buy now or wait. It has about a 75% rate of accuracy. You can also compare flight prices/times with other fares they found in their search. They allow you to buy directly to the supplier of the airfares. The former Farecast has been acquired by Microsoft and is now on Bing Travel.

2. Kayak I have been using Kayak for a while to search for flights. I love how they search the various airlines for deals. They will also compare airfares with other sites too. (, , , , )

3. Yapta This site also lets you track the prices of airfares up to three months in advance.
Just sign up for the alerts. You may also be eligible for a voucher rebate if the airfare you
purchased drops below the purchase price.

4. ITA: This is the site that travel agents use. It is not very fancy but you can find prices and
so forth. Click on Searching Airfares using QPX You will need to know the airport codes to
search on this site. Log in as a guest. You will also have to buy the ticket from the airline

5. Mobissimo Travel is another site that searches several other sites too. Clark Howard
discusses this site frequently on his talk show.

6. Sidestep is another site that searches other sites as well. It was acquired by Kayak and
uses a very similar website layout

I personally love checking out:
Southwest Airlines and signing up for their Ding! Alerts
Jetblue Airlines
United Airlines
Delta Airlines

There are two airports close to San Francisco: San Francisco (SFO) and Oakland (OAK)
so make sure you check out both airports for the best airfare to the INA Conference

Let us know what deals you have found! Good luck and Safe Travels!


Financial Friday: SmartyPig helps you save for Conferences and more!

>> Friday, November 6, 2009

Several months ago I found out about SmartyPig. I instantly fell in love with the little guy as a professional nanny who wanted to save for goals ! Isn't he adorable? SmartyPig is an online "piggy bank" for all of your goals you want to save for. SmartyPig is FDIC insured as well and run through the West Bank of Iowa. Whether it be the INA Conference, a Nanny retreat, plane ticket home for the holidays, a new couch, or a new car...SmartyPig is here for you!

Today I am going to share with you how I have been using SmartyPig to save for my INA conference fees goal that can be sent in starting on March 1, 2010. I have been saving since June 2009. I will also be adding two more goals (Hotel payment goal & airfare goal).

First you will need to have a rough estimate of what it will cost you to attend the 25th Anniversary of the INA Conference, May 20-23, 2010 in San Francisco. There are many factors in this "price tag." They include membership fee, conference fee, hotel costs and airfare. Two of these are fixed expenses: Membership Fee ($95 for nannies) and the Conference Fee ($295 has been the past fee for members, you have been able to get a 10% discount for going with a group, or first time attendee). There has also been an optional outing normally that is about $30 in the past. I get the reduced conference fee of 10% off due to being a member of ADCAN and having 5 or more members present at the conference. I save $300 for the conference fee/optional outing.

No matter what the "price tag" of a conference is for you to attend, you are investing in your education and future. Sometimes it seems like the "price tag" is more expensive than others or out of reach, but you must remember to invest in yourself. Determine what your "opportunity cost" is for education in the nanny field for yourself. Hopefully SmartyPig will give you the opportunity to attend the INA conference or the other Nanny events in 2010.

The hotel is at the lovely Hyatt at Fishersman's Wharf at $115 a night with 15.5% tax and .13 city tax (max 4 people to a room) This brings one night to $132.96 ($115 + $17.83 tax +.13 city tax) This rate is good for three days before the conference and three days after.

Here is the tally of the expenses I have:
$95 Membership Fee (paid earlybird October 25 & saved $10-pay by November 30 & save $10)
$ 300 for Conference Fee (10% discount) & optional outing if one -payments accepted 3/1/10
$265.92 for the Hotel stay (Wed-Sunday- with ONE roommate-$531.84 total) due 5/1/10
$400 for the airfare ($349 for 1 stop/$465 non stop- DC to SFO found on Kayak) due 3/1/10
Total needed is: $965.92 not including Membership fee.

In June I set up my first goal with SmartyPig. $300 for the Conference Fee/optional outing. I had to make the initial $25 deposit. My goal is set to be met on March 1, 2010. Every month on the 12th, my bank account auto drafts $30 to my SmartyPig goal account. I receive currently 2.01% interest. I have reached 48% of my goal so far. The cool thing is that you can add to your goals at anytime, any extra money you have. You can also have relatives contribute to your goals as well. (click on photo to enlarge)

When my goal is met I can either have the money redeposited back into my checking account or receive a Mastercard issued from SmartyPig.

Let's set up your first goal: The Hotel expenses that are needed by May 1, 2010 (This allows time for money transfer etc)

You will set up all your information regarding your checking account and so forth in the beginning. Then you will create your goal. The SmartyPig set up is very straight forward and easy. You must do an initial deposit of $25.00 to start any goal.

Starting on November 12, 2010 -SmartyPig will take out $40 a month till May 2010 to reach my goal of $266 for the 4 nights at the hotel with one roommate. (click on image to enlarge)

You can adjust the amount taken out monthly by increasing your initial deposit or making your goal date much longer. At this time, you can not say that you want $10 out monthly then switch it to $50 in 3 months. To get an affordable withdrawl amount for the say the first two months, you can play around with the end goal date. You can change your goal end date/amount at anytime. You can stop your goal at anytime as well without penalty.

For more details on how SmartyPig works, visit How Does this Work? Make sure you check out the page on their Best in Class Retailers, where they will give up 6% interest to various retailers in the form of a gift card to them. You can set up up goals for other parts of your life besides the INA Conference and get some great interest rates on your savings goals! The best thing is that the Hyatt is on their list of Best in Class Retailers!!!!!!

Any questions, let me know. See you in May 2010 at the Hyatt on Fishermans Wharf!



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