How to Throw Your Money Away: Convenience Mixes

10 Ways You're Throwing Money Away (And How to Stop)

 

So you like those little packets of flavor you drop onto plain ol’ whatever and make a tasty little side dish, huh? Or what about that taco and chili seasoning that makes quick dinners? Mmmm. So tasty and so quick.

Yeah, well, look hun, those little packets are going to end up giving you more than a nice meal, they’re going to contribute to a stroke or more. Did you know that just about all of those prepackaged mixes are full of sodium? Sodium=salt. Water retention, heart disease, live issues, and stroke. Yeah, give me a packet of THAT, please.

Not to mention that all of the little bags are just that, little. Most families need to use more than one just for one meal. So why not learn to make your own convience mixes and get exactly the flavor you want AND the amount you want?

A little research on Google will send you to plenty of sites that can give you ideas. I’ll link to one site that has a ton of them, Budget 101. Instead of me telling you how to make the mixes, I’ll let you in one some secrets of storing them.

If you have them, use zipper bags. Label them with white paper tape. Store them in the freezer. If you have sandwhich baggies, follow the same method, only double bag. Heck, you can use plastic wrap or make foil packets if you need.

You also can use a food dehydrator to expand your mix possibilities. Try a thrift store, the dehydrators can run only a few dollars there. In the fall and winter, foods can be dried in a 200 degree oven. just keep checking on it until it’s totally dry, but not burnt.

Some people dry herbs in their car while it’s parked in the sun, though that’s one I haven’t tried.

One prepackaged mix I hate is the Ranch and Bacon pasta salad deal. What the heck? My 5 year old can eat the whole thing! Don’t waste your cash. Follow this SIMPLE recipe that cuts out the big hunk of mayo.

1 box pasta, cooked-[shells or whatever is on sale]
1 bottle ranch dressing-[regular or fat free]
bacon bits to taste
1-4 chicken breasts [cooked and cubed]

Mix everything in a large bowl. Eat. [easy, huh?]

The variations are amazing. Just substitute different salad dressings, add cheeses, omit meats, add veggies. And these are great hot or cold.…

The Three Best Money-Saving Thrift Stores in Northwest Louisiana

130+ Triangle thrift stores, consignment shops, antique & vintage shops,  used bookstores - Triangle on the Cheap

 

 

I am so glad I discovered thrift stores many years ago when learning to live on a new teacher’s salary. Even though I could now afford an occasional trip to the “nicer” stores to purchase new clothes, I still love the thrill of entering a bargain clothing store and finding treasures for much less than I would spend elsewhere.

There are three shops in the Shreveport/Bossier City, Louisiana area that I frequent. Not only are these stores happy places for spendthrifts. They also provide shoppers with nice displays, friendly workers and interesting clothing choices.

Goodwill Industries (hhttp://www.goodwillnla.org/stores.html) has locations in Shreveport and Bossier City. The newest store is on Airline Drive in Bossier and is housed in a huge new construction. Grand opening day last year rivaled any upscale store in town. There is ample parking in front and back. The racks are comfortably spaced so that you can easily maneuver your shopping buggy around. In the front of the store are racks of NWT (new with tags) clothes, many with recognizable brand names. I can even entice my college-aged daughter to bring her friends along when I make a trip to this Goodwill; in fact, they seem to be able to find the trendiest clothes hiding out in all those racks. Prices start at about $6.99 for a simple woven short-sleeved shirt and go up from there according to the brand and purpose of the garment. (Formal dresses naturally cost more than t-shirts.) Most of the floor space is taken up with clothing, but there are also shelves filled with shoes, books and household items. This particular Goodwill store location always has some nice furniture pieces such as bed headboards and desks.

New to You Boutique(http://www.insiderpages.com/b/3715258126/new-to-you-boutique-inc-shreveport), located on King’s Highway in Shreveport, is the place to go for more upscale used clothing. Prices are higher than Goodwill, but the owners are more discriminating as to what they accept in the store. Items are sold on consignment, and anything considered dated or less than pristine is refused. Besides clothes, New to You also sells handbags, shoes and jewelry. There is a large selection of formal wear including bridal gowns and bridesmaid dresses. One section of the store is reserved for career wear. You can get on their email list to receive notices about discounts.

One of the smallest thrift shops in the Shreveport/Bossier City area is The Encore Shop ( http://www.superpages.com/bp/ShreveportLA/EncoreShopL0114853954.htm#BPreviewContainer). It is located across the street from Centenary College and is housed in a modest former private residence. Selection is limited, but I always find a good bargain in this consignment store. Clothing is arranged according to size, which makes shopping easy. There always seems to be an abundance of shoes-casual and dressy. A few purses and jewelry selections can be found also, along with a couple of shelves of books and a small side room full of household items. The vintage rack holds fun surprises, and the formal area usually has a small but nice selection. There are only two dressing rooms, and they are tiny, so you have to step out into the store to get your shopping buddy’s opinion about your outfit. An added bonus of frequenting this little shop is that the profits earned in The Encore Shop help support the Shreveport Symphony Youth Orchestra and other orchestra projects.

Locals and out-of-towners can enjoy a day of thrift shopping at any or all of these three stores In northwest Louisiana. Dress in easy to remove separates and comfortable shoes, and be prepared to find some great bargains to add to your closet for not much cash.…

Five Tips for Earning More Money After Graduation

10 Best Jobs for College Grads | TopResume

 

 

You might have held some part-time jobs while you were still in college, but most people don’t get their first “real” jobs until after graduation. You’ve bought some work clothes, polished your resume and you have dreams of a six-figure salary. The reality, however, is that even though you’ve completed college, you are still considered an entry-level professional. With all of those student loans to pay off, though, here are five tips for earning more money after graduation.

Don’t Be Afraid to Negotiate Salary & Benefits

Employers these days are focusing most of their energy on retention. It costs much more to train new employees every six months than to offer more money to employees who plan to stay a while, so if you think you’ve found your dream job, don’t be afraid to negotiate salary and benefits. As a degreed professional, you already have an opportunity to make more money after graduation, but you can increase those chances through negotiation. Let prospective employers know that you’re looking for a long-term career that can meet your goals.

Avoid Accepting the First Offer on the Table

The early bird might get the worm, but if you accept an employment offer too readily, you might be cheating yourself out of a higher salary. Employers are looking for graduates with confidence and expertise. If you accept a job that’s offering you $5,000 less than what you’re actually worth, you can kiss advancement goodbye, which means that you won’t be earning more money after graduation. It’s much better to thank the employer for his or her offer and to request forty-eight hours before making your decision.

Consider More Than Just Salary

Contrary to popular belief, how much you make is not limited to salary. How much paid vacation time are you offered? When do your benefits kick in? Are you eligible for company perks like cars, airfare, an expense account or advancement? Things like that can lead to a fulfilling career valued at more than just a yearly salary. When you’re considering your job prospects after vacation, make sure that the benefits are clearly spelled out before you accept the job.

Start By Setting Performance Goals

According to BankRate.com, employers are moving toward pay-for-performance in 2007, which is something you need to consider. Our society demands productive employees, which should be a goal if you want to earn more after graduation. Focus on performance goals that will put you ahead of your colleagues, which will in turn put you in the running for better money. While your annual salary might increase by only 3% every year, other incentives such as bonuses will continue to increase, making your job all the more valuable.

Always Work Hard to Communicate

An ambitious employee will always make more money after graduation than one who is comfortable in an entry-level position. Keep the lines of communication open and constantly inquire about ways to improve your position. Ask exactly what performance is required to get a raise each quarter, and strive to meet those levels of achievement. Continue to go above and beyond the call of duty, and you’ll make far more money.

Making more money after graduation may not be a priority in your life, but if you’re struggling to pay off student loans and will need to provide for yourself immediately, follow the above tips. And one last piece of advice: Don’t take the first job you’re offered. Interview for several positions and carefully consider every dimension of each. That’s the only real way to improve your income potential straight out of college.…

Live Auctions – Money-Saving and Making Tips for Live Auction Newbies

How to Host a Virtual Auction: 10 Steps for Nonprofits

 

When I was a youngster, my parents would take us to an auction held every Saturday night. While the adults were inside and the auctioneer was doing his thing, the kids were all playing outside and having a good time. Unfortunately, times have changed parents can’t let their children out of their sight any longer, but auctions are still a terrific way to save money on what might otherwise be an expensive purchase. The key to getting the most out of an auction is to know what you want, what you need, and what you’re looking at.

I love auctions, but these sales aren’t quite what they used to be. A lot of times, there is nothing but a lot of junk up for sale and by junk, I don’t mean “someone else’s treasures.” I mean broken toys, mildewed linens, and cracked glassware – really, truly JUNK. There are some tips that can really help you to find the great hidden bargains, though, without wasting a lot of time and money.

  • 1. Check Out the Auction Company – As with any industry, there are some companies that shine while others can’t even work up a low glow. If you’ve never been to an auction, then your first one can either swear you off of them forever or give you the auction bug like I have. The internet is truly a wonderful tool and you can look for local auction company reviews. Most people are more than willing to share their feelings about which auction companies should be avoided and which ones will have you marking your calendar with sale dates.
  • 2. Plan to Spend the Day and Arrive Early – Most estate auctions will take the entire day and auctioneers are notorious for saving the best until the end. When you arrive early, you can take your time looking through what is offered and even do a bit of research to see what your maximum bid will be. I usually arrive an hour before the sale starts. My husband will take off for the outdoor items, while I concentrate on looking through the housewares and furniture. Some of the auctions we attend are held indoors and have seating available; others are held outside and bidding is done while standing in a massive group of people. Getting a seat towards the front or asking where the auctioneer will begin will help keep you from trying peer over and around everyone. I’m short, so this is important to me! You will need to register for an auction number. Normally, this will simply include your name, address, and phone number. You will receive a card with a number and that is how the auction company will track the bids you win.
  • 3. Make a List of Lot Numbers You Are Interested In – There is nothing more frustrating than to realize you’ve missed out on the bidding for something you really wanted. Each auction will have a number or some other form of designation on the items to be sold, so make a note of the ones you want to bid on.
  • 4. Determine How Much You Want to Spend before the Bidding Begins – If you decide that the beautiful quilt rack is worth $40, then don’t bid more anymore than that. Here’s a word of caution – it’s easy to get caught up in the bidding. It’s competitive and no one likes to lose. However, if you don’t have the will power to stick with your preset maximum bid, you could walk out with a lot less cash in your wallet than you planned. It’s only a good deal if it’s within your budget and sometimes that’s not always the case.
  • 5. What to Look for – So what do I find at auctions? Just about anything you might imagine. I have a gorgeous Broyhill floral sleeper sofa that I won for only $30. It sold cheap because it was missing one of the legs. A replacement leg for this sofa was only $4.75 and I found it online on EBay with free shipping. Many of the picture frames that grace the walls of my home have come from auctions. Some I didn’t even bid on, but they were thrown in a box of items that had another piece I wanted. That’s one of the beauties of auctions. There are many times when you’ll end up with several items simply because the auctioneer doesn’t want to take the time to sell each thing separately. When this happens and I don’t have any use for the other items, I list them on EBay or take them to my local consignment shop. I won a pair of gorgeous, real pearl earrings for only $7 and walked away with several gold chains. One of them turned out to be 24K gold and I sold it for $22.50 on Craigslist. That was a quick $15.50 in profit.
  • 6. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions – I try to attend as many estate auctions in my area as I can. It’s often sad to think that people work all their lives to fill their homes with their most prized possessions only to have the family sell them off at auction. However, estate auctions will usually yield some great finds. Many items are heirlooms or items gathered during life’s travels. I found a fantastic two foot tall Chinese vase at one auction that I eventually sold for over $100 on EBay. My price? $12.50. The more unusual the items are, the more likely they will have a great resale value. There sellers are usually present for the sale. Ask one of the auction employees if the sellers are available to answer questions about a particular item. The worst that can happen is they say no.
  • 7. Do Some Research – With number 6 said, I feel that it’s important to know what you’re looking at. I carry two books with me to all the auctions I attend. The first is a guide to antiques and the second is guide for glassware. You can books that will help you determine the value of almost anything – from cars to books to art. Many can be checked out of your local library. I’ve made copies of the pages of items that I see frequently so it’s easier for me to know what something is worth.
  • 8. Be Ready to Pay for Your Winning Bids – When you win an item, you’re obligated to pay for it. There is no going back and changing your mind. Most of the auction companies accept debit and credit cards now. Some will still take a check; however, it’s best to find out before the bidding starts.

These are some of the best tips for finding great deals and even moneymakers at a live auction. It’s one of my favorite ways to shop and the selection is always changing! You can find listings for auctions in your area in your local newspaper, on Craigslist, or on various local event calendars. You can also sign up for email reminders of upcoming auctions at your favorite auction companies’ websites. Get ready to find some terrific deals when you hear “Going once, going twice…SOLD!”

 …

How Playing MMO’s Made My Time and Money Disappear

Top 10 Best MMOs | TechSpotIt all started innocently enough with a good friend of mine asking a very simple question.
“Have you ever heard of Everquest?” I had not and he proceeded to tell me what Everquest was, a massive multiplayer online game set in a fantasy world. My first question naturally was “Can you be a necromancer?” and his reply was “Yes”. As soon as I heard this, I went to the store and bought Everquest, the Kunark expansion, and the Shadows of Luclin expansion; installed them and promptly made my first online character: An Erudite Necromancer.

I continued playing Everquest but I felt I needed more then just one character, so I bought a second account with all the expansions available, costing around $100 and played 2 characters at one time (a technique called 2-boxing). At this point Everquest came out with another expansion called Lost Dungeons Of Norrath, which had 3 person instanced dungeons with a specific goal and reward for finishing the goal. Since I wanted to play this myself, I bought a 3rd account with all the expansions, luckily in an “Everquest Complete” package only costing $60. Now, one thing about MMO’s is they had subscription fees in order to play on thier servers, this fee was $15 per month, so I was also paying $45 ($15*3 accounts) per month this entire time.

At this point, I was 3-boxing and grinding dungeons but was growing bored, the excitement was not there anymore so I started looking elsewhere and found World of Warcraft. WoW was a solid game, with a dungeon finder feature which matches you up with random people based on what role you wanted to play. This allowed me to grind dungeons over and over and eventually I would try and become perfect at my role. I would play for 8 to 10 hours on a day I had off, and 4-5 hours on work nights. I got into a guild and did raids, which required promptly showing up at an appointed time and staying for the entire raid time.

Since there is a finite amount of time in a day, in order to make more time for playing MMO’s I had to let other things go. I stopped going out with friends completely, I no longer cooked any meals but instead got the quickest takeout. Exercise was non-existant, as playing these games requires sitting in a chair for many hours at a time. In an MMO you can not simply pause the game and take a break, the game is always on and always in motion, if you leave the keyboard you are wasting someone else’s time because they have to wait for you, or you are missing out on vital fights and experience and possibly loot. In order to progress to non-casual levels in the game, you need to devote heart body and soul to the cause. There is a certain amount of human interaction within the game but it is masked, there is no body language that can be read, no physical interactions, no reading of funny facial expressions and if you didn’t use vent or teamspeak, there was no voices either, just typed chat.

What also ends up happening is a continual looking for something that feels different, which means trying and buying new MMO’s, things like Matrix Online, Age of Conan, City of Heroes; each one a different style, each one a hefty initial cost and a monthly subscription. I would subscribe to 3 or 4 at once and play each of them back to back; sleep was of little importance and for work I did enough to get by.

The cycle is difficult to break and now with the popularity of Free to Play MMO’s, it is much easier to get wrapped into multiple timesinks and think it is O.K. because there is monetary cost up front. What ends up happening is you get tied down to an MMO, invested into it and suddenly it is no longer a game, it is a lifestyle and at that point you can not even see that you are addicted. Breaking this kind of mental addiction is tricky, the harm seems very low; you are in a safe environment usually, you are not doing anything physically risky, it is playing a game and thereby “fun” but the risks are very real.…

Consigning: A Way to Add a Little Extra Money to Your Wallet

How to Make Extra Money in 2021: 150+ Ways to Earn Cash FastNow is a good time to go through your closets and possibly make some decent money at your local consignment store. Unlike a traditional thrift store, consignment shops are usually more upscale in price because they carry a lot of brand name clothing.

If you have items that fit in this category that you are no longer using and are in great shop, it might be worth investing a little time in sorting through your wardrobe. It’s for certain you won’t get extra money with them just hanging there nicely displayed. Here are some things to consider if consigning is something you might try doing.

What items do they take? Some shops will not take clothing from certain stores even though it may be in excellent condition. Contact them to see what brands are included and excluded. See if they have a website that you might get more information from. Be sure to take pictures of your clothes before you take them in.

How are items priced? – Ask the shop how they derive at their pricing. While they want to price it at a cost that would be advantageous to them and potential customers, you want to get something out of the deal too. You’re not under any obligation to give them your clothes just because you take some there. If you’re not comfortable with their pricing policy take them to another consignment shop.

Getting Paid – If one or all of your items sells then what percentage do you make as the consignor? Have this put in writing for clarification purposes and no misunderstanding.

What if items don’t sell? – Inquire as to the length of time that your items can stay at the shop. If there is a limitation (which there usually is) find out what it is. You may suggest that the price be reduced to increase the chance of it selling. Of course you would need to ask what you would receive in that situation.

Donate to thrift store or charity – If all options have been unsuccessful then inquire as to whether they will donate it or will you have to come and retrieve the items yourself.

To increase the chances of your clothing being sold be sure they are freshly cleaned with no stains or missing buttons, zippers or closures. And while you’re at the shop look at items on the racks and see how they are priced. That might give you a better understanding of what you might receive. It could end up be a winning proposition for all parties involved.

SOURCE:

Personal suggestions…

Making Money Without Traditional Employment

How to Earn Money Without a Traditional Job: 150 Apps and Sites for Gig  Culture | TitleMaxCurrent economic conditions have made it difficult to secure summer jobs or any other form of employment. Not being able to secure employment can be very stressful on any person. For those who are willing to do a little extra work, there are a few things you can do that will generate income for you while looking for a summer job or more permanent employment.

Freelance opportunities

There are different ways to generate money online. Many skills like programming, web design and writing just to name a few, are sought by employers, especially during tough economic times. Many companies try to minimize costs during tough times, and would rather hire freelancers instead of those seeking permanent employment.

Another benefit of freelance employment opportunities is the fact many can be performed from the comfort of your home. Most traditional summer jobs require some travelling, and with rising gas prices the savings are well appreciated.

When I was looking for a summer job last year, I started doing research on the different employment opportunities that were available online. Being a writer, I naturally gravitated towards writing jobs. After playing around with freelance writing for a few months, realized I could actually make more money working as a freelancer compared to many summer jobs.

Selling online

Web sites like eBay have made it easy to sell almost anything online. Unable to secure a summer job, I started making extra money selling items online on eBay. Local classifieds, flea markets and pawn shops are good places to look for cheap items.

I once bought a laptop from a pawn shop for $150. The laptop was priced at a low price because the owner had the device protected with a password. Being familiar with the laptop model, I knew it was valued at a much higher price. I jumped at the opportunity and took the laptop to a friend who is excellent with computers.

Within a few hours, the laptop was ready to go. I ended up listing the laptop online a few days later and sold it in a week for $500. About the same amount of money that many typical summer jobs pay weekly. Other items might only make you a few bucks here and there; the point is you should always be on the lookout for money making opportunities, especially when you don’t have a summer job or some other form of employment.

While selling online will not earn you as much money as traditional employment would, you can still make a few hundred bucks selling items online. As long as you’re willing to put in the work, there are many ways you can make money, even if you’re not able to secure traditional summer employment.…

April 16th Is National Find Your Missing Money Day

Start the conversation on April 16, National Advance Care Planning Day –  Trail Daily TimesYou know how good it feels to reach into a pocket and find a $5 bill? You wonder when you left it there and how could you have forgotten about it.

The same thing can happen with savings accounts, rebates/refunds, credit balances, utility deposits, final paychecks, stocks, life insurance payouts, or safe deposit box contents. When the owner has had no contact with these accounts for 3 to 5 years or if the holder is unable to locate the owner, the money gets turned over to the state for safe keeping until the rightful owner claims it.

Did you know that all 50 states and several foreign countries have unclaimed property offices, and they might be holding money, stocks or valuable items for you or your relatives? You won’t find it unless you look for it exactly the way it’s listed.

The National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators says the state unclaimed property offices are holding $33 billion dollars. The chances are good that you can find money, stocks, or safe deposit box contents that belong to you, a family member, friends, your church, a favorite charity, or your business. Don’t forget to look up deceased relatives too.

That amount doesn’t include $16 billion in savings bonds through the Treasury Department that have stopped earning interest, $197 million in forgotten pensions, $153 million in tax refunds that were returned to the IRS because of a bad address, $200 million for creditors in bankruptcy court and more.

In celebration of National Find Your Missing Money Day on April 16, here are seven things you may not know about unclaimed property:

  • Only a few states pay interest. Most keep the interest they earn off of your money.
  • There is no time limit on claiming unclaimed property (except for Indiana, which keeps unclaimed money after 25 years, and Idaho, which keeps it after only 10 years.)
  • In every state, you can conduct a free online search for missing money, stocks or property the state may be holding for you. It’s free to claim except for Texas, that charges a 1.5 percent handling fee on any single claim over $100.
  • When listings of unclaimed property owners are published in the newspaper, they usually just include the new names that were added since the last publication date. Just because your name isn’t there doesn’t mean you shouldn’t check the state’s unclaimed property website.
  • There are many other places where unclaimed property may be hiding. It could be held by your city, county, state, or the federal government.
  • Money may be held for you in a state you never lived in. How could that happen? The law about turning money over to the state, known as “escheat priority rules,” dictates that the money goes to the state of the owner’s last known address.

However, if the holder of the property does not have your name or address, it gets turned over to the state where the company is incorporated. (Search tip: You can enter “Unknown” under the Last Name on state unclaimed property websites, and it will bring up listings with an address, city and state.)

  • Eventually, states will auction off anything of value from forgotten safe deposit boxes. This means that personal items, such as the lock of a baby’s hair, love letters and photographs, are trashed. The money that is made from the sale will be held for the owner of the box.

Celebrate Find Your Missing Money Day by doing an online search for your own missing money by going here and clicking on any state you’ve ever lived in. Maybe you’ll discover that a relative left you a legacy, or you’ll find other money you didn’t know you had. You’ll never know, unless you look.

There are dozens more tips and places to search can be found in Mary Pitman’s award-winning book, The Little Book of Missing Money: A Quick and Easy Guide to Finding Money that is Rightfully Yours, in paperback and in all e-reader formats.…

KFC’s Boneless Variety Bucket Not Worth the Money

10 KFC MoneySaving tips & tricks

I had just finished working outside and my wife had been at work all day so nobody had a chance to make dinner Saturday. Since it was nearby, we decided to have Kentucky Fried Chicken and give their boneless variety bucket a try.

All I can say is what a waste of money.

The boneless variety bucket comes with three of KFC’s popular entrees, popcorn chicken, chicken strips and honey barbecue wings. We ordered the meal, which comes with two sides. At $15.99, you would think you would get plenty to eat. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case.

The bucket only has four chicken strips. We have a family of three and that is the most popular item. Needless to say, those were gone within a matter of minutes. The popcorn chicken came in a large size. However, what KFC considers large, the rest of the known world would consider small. So, again, it didn’t last us that long.

The only thing they gave us any real quantity of would have been the barbecue wings (there were 8 in all). Ironically, those are the one thing we didn’t eat any of. My wife started to eat them but thought they tasted disgusting and, since those would normally be her favorite, I didn’t dare try them. They are still sitting in our fridge and will likely go in the garbage.

To be honest, none of the food tasted all that great. I know KFC has made some formula changes over the past few months because of people complaining about how healthy their products are and I think those changes seriously affected the flavor. The only reason I even went there was solely out of convenience and had hoped to get something worthwhile for my money. Unfortunately, that just didn’t happen.

What is really pathetic is the meal comes in their traditional KFC buckets. If the restaurant chain is going to use them, it just seems like it would make more sense to fill the bucket to the rim instead of putting in a small quantity of each item. You have no idea just how disappointed I was when I opened the lid and saw all the wasted space. If it weren’t for the disgusting honey barbecue wings, we would have had no leftovers. And, at that price, I would expect to have something leftover. In fact, we were still hungry after the rest of the food was gone.

I’m so disappointed by the inadequacy; I’m seriously considering never going to KFC again.…

How to Throw Away Your Money, Part 1: Rental Companies

Is Renting a Waste of Money? Maybe Not.Often people go to rental companies to get furniture or appliances for their home. At the time, it seems like a good idea. Low weekly or monthly rates can be attractive for those on a limited income. In the end, you can lose more than you think.

Rental Companies are entities that cater to and in some cases, prey on the lower middle class and working class. High credit card debt or just not having enough money can make it hard for people in these brackets to afford to buy merchandise directly. By introducing new and desirable items, these companies can draw on a market of consumers who otherwise could not afford to own nicer items.

The companies charge what seem to be reasonable rates, until you add it up over the life of your contract. Most times you will pay double and sometimes triple the actual cost of an item. You may also be required to pay for their insurance. The insurance you pay for in case of theft or job loss can cost three to four extra dollars a week, but if you default due to either of these reason you will still have to turn over the item. In that case, why pay for the insurance that never comes into play?

Though if whatever you are renting needs repair, rental companies are very good about offering a replacement until your merchandise is repaired. Factoring this in can help you determine part of the higher cost. If you directly purchase an item, in some cases you may have to pay for repairs out of pocket. Still, if you directly buy something, you never have to worry about being a day or two late with a payment and facing the embarrassment of a rental company van coming to your home to pick up your things. That, plus the staff of the company calling any references you may have supplied at the signing of your contract in an attempt to ‘track you down’.

That being said, occasionally you may find good deals on something you really need. Some rental stores have cash and carry items you can purchase at a reasonable price. I personally found a lovely leather couch and loveseat for $300. I knew it had been previously rented. Having small children made a used item attractive, not wanting my kids to possibly ruin a brand new set.

There are other options to renting. If you already rent, you can return the item and save the payment you would have made each week until you have enough to buy what you want. Chances are, it will take you much less time to save the actual cost of a new item. If you really need the item you’re renting, then try to pay ahead. Pay several payments at once so if you need, you can let a few slide while you save.

One last bit of information I would like to pass on before concluding is this:

In some areas rental companies will tack on a ‘balloon payment’ at the end of your contract. In some states this is illegal and you do not have to pay it to own your merchandise. If this happens to you, refuse to pay and have proof that your state does not allow those types of extra payments.…