Shopping 
9
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Are “All You Can Ship” Deals Worth It?

Williams Sonoma Gift WrapI was poking around on Williams-Sonoma the other day when I saw that they have a new program called Williams-Sonoma Reserve. For $30 a year, you get free standard shipping on most items and no minimum purchase. It’s a riff off Amazon Prime, which gives you free two-day shipping on most orders with no minimum purchase. The difference here is that Williams-Sonoma usually charges you shipping, whereas Amazon waives it on orders over $25.

As more and more stores move towards this model, is it worth it?

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 Credit 
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Spend American Express Membership Rewards at Amazon

I recently learned that you can now spend your American Express Membership Rewards at Amazon.com as part of their Shop with Points program. When you couple it with free Amazon Prime for students (my wife is a graduate student), you have yourself a nice little two-day shipping fueled by points I was having difficulty spending.

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 Personal Finance 
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How to Save Money on Amazon.com

Amazon.com BoxesAmazon is already a great place to shop that can save you a ton of money, but there are even more ways to save. Like any store, Amazon often runs promotions, sales, and specials that can provide even bigger savings, but you have to know how to find them. Some offers are predictable while others are more or less random, but if you know where and when to look you can save big. Here’s how to save even more when shopping on Amazon.

The Friday Sale

Every Friday Amazon has a sale offering a number of items at discounts of up to 50% off. To score one of these deals you can check the Friday Sale page every Friday or click on the “Today’s Deal” link at the top of any Amazon page. If it’s Friday, they will list the sale there. You never know what’s going to show up so it’s worth checking every week.
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 Shopping 
29
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Free Amazon Prime for Students

Amazon StudentA few years ago, when Amazon first debuted their Amazon Prime program, I thought it was never going to take off. While I don’t know how many people have signed up, I’ve only tried it a few times and I still don’t get why someone would pay $79 for two day shipping when it’s free for 3-9 day shipping. There are very few things I absolutely must have within two days and, if there are, I can go to the local store to get them. However, having tried Amazon Prime on trial on several occasions, I agree that it’s a nice perk to have. I just can’t see myself paying $79 a year for it.

Fortunately, if you’re a student with a .edu email address, you can join Amazon Student. Amazon Student is a free program that gives you Amazon Prime for free for a year.

To sign up, you need to be enrolled in a college or university and have a valid .edu email address. In the signup process you have to give them your .edu address, your school, major, and class information to confirm your eligibility but otherwise you can use your normal Amazon.com account.
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 Credit 
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Review Purchase Categories for Credit Card Rewards

One of the reasons why we put 99.9% of our spending on credit cards are for the rewards. A few percent back in cash or reward points isn’t going to make anyone rich, but it’s a little better than getting nothing back if you are responsible. At the moment we only use two credit cards so keeping the bonus rewards categories in order is fairly simple, but there was a time when I used as many as four cards.

One important lesson I learned early on was that not all purchases are categorized as you would intuitively expect. It’s important to check your statement to find out whether it’s being coded how you expect and change which card you use accordingly. Let me explain with a few examples.
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 Shopping 
14
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Why Does Amazon.com Hide Some Prices?

Onkyo TX-SR608 7.2-Channel A/V Home Theater ReceiverWhy does Amazon.com hide some of the prices on their product pages? I saw it a lot when I was putting together my home theater a few years ago. It’s remarkably easy to buy electronics online because it’s everything is a commodity. As I sought out receivers, like this Onkyo TX-SR608 Receiver, I saw that nearly every one of them hid their prices.

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 Frugal Living 
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Where to Sell Old Unwanted Stuff

Stuff for Sale HereAccording to Wikipedia (and they don’t cite a source), there were 50,000 self storage facilities and 2.35 billion square feet of self storage at the end of 2009. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates there are 307 million people in the United States. That’s over seven and a half square feet of self storage for every man, woman and child in the United States.

It’s clear, we have too much crap and not enough money. So the only solution is to get off your butt and sell some of that unwanted stuff. If you rent a storage space, clean it out and save yourself even more money.

If you aren’t sure how to sell your stuff, here are a few suggestions:

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 The Home 
14
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8 Great Frugal Tool Options for Home Improvement Projects

You probably already know that tackling home improvement projects on your own (or with some friends) is one of the best ways to build equity in your home. Skilled construction and remodeling labor commands a premium price in the U.S. By doing it yourself, you save the cost of that labor; plus you get the added satisfaction of showing off your improvements to your friends.

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