Changing Careers Taught Me These 3 Life-Changing Money Lessons

7 Amazing Sam’s Club Buys Under $10

By: Brittney Myers |
June 4, 2023- First published on June 4, 2023
We all love the shock and awe of huge discounts, such as when you can save hundreds on living room furniture or get a half-priced gazebo. But it’s not those outsized deals that make warehouse stores like Sam’s Club such a great personal finance choice for so many families.No, that comes down to the solid savings on all our everyday necessities. Because, in the long run, shaving a few bucks off dinner each night will add up to way more money in your bank account than the occasional big score on furniture.With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the best deals you can find under $10 at your local Sam’s Club.1. Member’s Mark spices: $3.68 to $9.98There are a lot of low-cost ways to improve your home cooking, not the least of which is making sure it’s spiced and seasoned properly. Sam’s Club offers a great range of popular spices, all of which have great reviews online. Prices depend on the particular spice, but they start at just $3.68. While the containers are fairly large, most spices have a shelf life of one to two years so you should have plenty of time to use them up.2. Member’s Mark over-the-counter medicines: $4.48 to $9.87Keeping the medicine cabinet stocked can get pricey, especially if you have family members who regularly go through items like allergy or heartburn medications. You can find Member’s Mark versions of many popular over-the-counter drugs, all for much less than you’d typically spend at the grocery store or drugstore. Prices vary, but start at just $4.48.3. Member’s Mark agave nectar: $7.98 Made from the agave plant, this sweet syrup has become a popular alternative to sugar and honey, especially in the vegan community as it is entirely plant-based. But while its growing popularity has helped it become more affordable, few places offer as good a price as Sam’s Club. Member’s Mark Organic Agave Nectar costs just $7.78 for a two-pack of 29-ounce bottles. While this may seem like a lot, agave nectar can last for years when stored properly.4. Member’s Mark walnuts: $7.98Not only are walnuts considered to have a wide range of health benefits, but they’re darn tasty, too. Of course, getting them out of their tough shells can be a serious workout. You can skip the hassle while also saving money by picking up Member’s Mark Natural Shelled Walnuts. A giant 3-pound bag will run you less than $8 at Sam’s Club.5. Member’s Mark broth: $8.48Alright, so the absolute best broth is always going to be one you make yourself. But who really has time to simmer chicken bones for hours? Sam’s Club offers two different Member’s Mark broths — chicken broth and beef broth — that are well-reviewed for taste and value. Get a 6-pack of 32-ounce cartons of either flavor for just $8.48.6. Member’s Mark loungewear: $8.98 to $9.98Thanks in large part to the work-from-home movement, a lot of folks have switched from business casual to business comfy (and I, for one, am happy for the change). If your new work uniform could use a few new pieces, scope out the deals at Sam’s Club. You can find a ton of different options — from knit pants to slouchy tees — for less than $10, making it easy to refresh your work-from-home wardrobe.7. Member’s Mark canned tomatoes: $9.48Canned tomato products are some of the most versatile items you can have in your pantry. You can use them for everything from a homemade pasta sauce to a hearty chili. And Sam’s Club makes it easy to keep them in stock. For just $9.48, you can get a 12-pack of 14.5-ounce cans of Member’s Mark Diced Tomatoes in Tomato Juice or a 12-pack of 15-ounce cans of Member’s Mark Tomato Sauce.Stack the savings with the right cardOn top of all of the other ways Sam’s Club can help you save, don’t forget to use a good rewards credit card when you shop. Purchase rewards from credit cards stack on top of any other type of deal or discount.

The 7 Best Member’s Mark Products to Buy at Sam’s Club

By: Brittney Myers |
June 16, 2023- First published on June 16, 2023
Sure, a lot of what makes warehouse stores, like Sam’s Club, good personal finance choices for many families is the quantity discounts. Everything you buy is huge, so your price-per-unit goes down.But bulk buys aren’t the only way families save — nor are they the only thing behind the dedicated fan bases warehouse stores maintain. No, a good chunk of both of those can also be attributed to a popular, high-quality store brand. For Sam’s Club, that house brand is Member’s Mark. And it offers a huge range of everyday goods and groceries under that brand. In addition to generally being very well-priced, Member’s Mark items tend to be highly rated. Here are some of my favorite picks.1. Member’s Mark spices: $3.68 to $9.98Properly seasoning your foods is a cheap way to make everything you cook taste better. You can find a wide range of common spices under the Member’s Mark label, from salt to cumin to granulated garlic. They’re pretty much all reviewed at 4.5 stars or higher, with lots of remarks on the quality. The containers are modestly sized by Sam’s Club standards, but they’re much larger than those little jars on the spice racks, so stick with seasonings you use the most often to avoid waste.2. Member’s Mark nuts: $4.48 to $25.98 Nuts are nature’s perfect snack, not only packed with vitamins and healthy fats, but also providing that satisfying crunch. The Member’s Mark brand offers a ton of different options, including dry-roasted peanuts, shelled pistachios, and even organic pine nuts (ideal for pesto). Prices obviously vary a ton depending on the kind of nut, and you’ll be buying them in bulk, but there’s potential for good per-nut value.3. Member’s Mark broth: $8.48Broth is one of those pantry staples that I always keep on hand — and in large quantities (because you never need a tablespoon of it, it always seems to be measured in cups). Sam’s Club’s Member’s Mark chicken and beef broths both get 4.8 stars from thousands of reviewers, which speaks well of its quality. It’s also less than $9 for a six-pack of 32-ounce containers, which is a solid value.4. Member’s Mark canned tomatoes: $9.48Tomatoes are one of the most universal ingredients, showing up in all manner of cuisines from around the globe. They also happen to keep very well in cans and make a great bulk-buy choice. The Member’s Mark brand offers both diced tomatoes and tomato sauce, and you can get a 12-pack of cans of either for less than $10.5. Member’s Mark garbage bags: $10.58 to $24.98You interact with your garbage bags all the time, and a bad-quality bag makes all those interactions significantly less pleasant. Member’s Mark makes a variety of trash bags with nearly five-star ratings, from kitchen bags to yard bags to contractor-quality clean-up bags. Prices vary, but the value is good, and one Sam’s Club-sized box of bags will likely last you the better part of a year.6. Member’s Mark coffee: $11.98 to $27.98When coffee lovers get bad coffee, they’ll tell you about it. So when every Member’s Mark-made coffee has at least 4.6 stars — even the instant stuff gets 4.7 stars — then you have to reason it’s a decent brew. You can find a huge array of coffee options, from Kureg-friendly cups to, yes, instant, though arguably the most popular is the Organic Fair Trade Whole Bean coffee, which has well over 1,000 five-star reviews.7. Member’s Mark toilet paper: $22.98 to $25.97For something we buy just to literally flush down the toilet, the quality of your toilet paper is surprisingly important. Member’s Mark’s toilet paper gets a very high rating — 4.8 stars — from more than 10,000 satisfied users. There are large rolls and mega rolls (if you like the convenience of a mega roll, I suggest a roll extender!) in huge packages for just $0.02 per square foot.Stacking deals with rewardsYou can outfit most of your pantry (and fridge, and freezer) with nothing but Member’s Mark products, and you’ll likely be happy with the lot of them if the reviews are to be believed. Even better, the potential value is easy to see. But you can make it even better by making sure you take along your handy-dandy rewards credit card. Choose one with bonus rewards for warehouse stores to really get your savings on.

5 Traps to Avoid When Shopping at Sam’s Club

By: Dana George |
June 18, 2023- First published on June 18, 2023
If you’re a Sam’s Club member, you probably employ a few tricks to make your shopping more productive. Maybe you hit one specific part of the warehouse club before heading to others. Maybe you shop alone. Or, you may just be figuring out what works best for you. As you adopt new shopping strategies, here are five things you’ll want to avoid.1. Shopping while hungryA study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that hungry shoppers spend more than 60% more than those who shop on a full stomach. Based on five research studies conducted by professors from the University of Southern California, Chinese University of Hong Kong, and the University of Minnesota, the researchers found something rather strange.According to Norbert Schwarz of the University of Southern California, the trio found that the desire to get food generally plants the idea of “getting stuff” in a hungry person’s mind, increasing the likelihood that they’ll be attracted to products that don’t satisfy physical hunger. The internal message “I want food,” simply becomes “I want.”2. Feeling obligated to buyThere’s a good reason Sam’s Club employs people to hand out samples. According to Inspira Marketing, 65% of consumers who try a sample purchase it during the same shopping trip. What’s more, 24% of those people say they replaced an item they planned to buy with the sampled product.Don’t get caught up in the belief that you must purchase an item just because someone was kind enough to offer you a sample. Naturally, if it’s something you really like and believe your household will consume it, go for it. But if you’re doing it to be polite, there’s no need. It truly is a marketing strategy.3. Being seduced by low pricesIt’s fair to say that most of us would rather tuck a little extra money into savings each month than overpay for the items we regularly purchase. Sam’s Club can make it easier to accomplish this goal — but only for savvy shoppers. Here are two reasons why:A product is only a “bargain” if you plan to use it in its entirety. At Sam’s, you can buy a 25-pound bag of enriched long grain rice for $13.28. At Target, you can buy the same amount of rice for $21.95. It seems like an easy choice. However, it’s not truly a bargain if you don’t end up using the entire 25-pound bag by the time it expires.There’s something about finding an item at a discounted price that makes us think twice about leaving it on the shelf. We walk away wondering if we just squandered the opportunity to snag a great deal. If you didn’t walk into Sam’s Club needing that 48-pack of AA batteries, you won’t miss them when you get home.4. Leaving the house without a listShopping from a list is one of the best ways to resist temptation. You know specifically what you need and don’t have to wander around the club trying to remind yourself. If you can get in the habit of sticking to your list, you’re sure to leave more in your checking account.A survey by retail solutions company Field Agent found that 44% of shoppers believe they spend less when they head out prepared with a shopping list, evidence that shopping lists can work.Fun fact: One of the few remaining papers from the Renaissance Man, Michelangelo, is a shopping list. Written either in the late 15th or early 16th century, it included staples like fish, soup, bread, and wine.5. Shopping on SaturdaysUnless you’re one of those rare souls who adore crowds, you may want to avoid shopping at Sam’s Club on Saturdays. The more physically uncomfortable you are, the more likely you’ll be to make hurried decisions, like buying an item you’re not sure you need. It’s tough to think clearly when you’re surrounded by noise.Instead, look for a day (or time) that tends to be less crowded. According to Sam’s Club members on Quora, you should encounter less hustle and bustle midweek. If you can’t make it midweek, the crowds are manageable early on Sundays before the church crowd floods in.As we wait for inflation to cool, perhaps the best we can do is save where we can. That may mean using money-saving apps, conducting a price comparison before we leave the house, and sticking to a shopping list.

How to Claim Your Google Class Action Settlement Cash by July 31

By: Natasha Etzel |
June 24, 2023- First published on June 24, 2023
Many of us use search engines like Google multiple times daily, and the same was true for many people 10 or more years ago. You may be owed money if you used Google between 2006 and 2013. The technology company has agreed to a $23 million settlement to resolve a user privacy class-action lawsuit. Eligible individuals can submit a claim to collect payment through July 31, 2023. Here’s what you need to know about this news.Google agrees to a $23 million settlementA class action lawsuit alleges that Google violated users’ privacy by sharing search queries with third-party websites between Oct. 26, 2006, and Sept. 30, 2013. You can file a claim if you performed a Google search and clicked on a search result during this time. Google denies any liability or wrongdoing, but has agreed to make payments to claimants who file.You may wonder how much money you can expect to receive. Since millions of users are expected to be eligible for compensation, payments will likely be small. Current estimates suggest that each claimant could be owed approximately $7.70. However, the payment amount could change as more users submit claims.While this amount of cash won’t significantly impact your checking account balance, filing a claim is worthwhile. No matter how minimal, extra cash can be a win for your personal finances. Whether you’re working to pay down credit card debt or build an emergency fund, a few extra dollars could help you reach your financial goals sooner.How to file a claim to receive a paymentThe deadline to submit a claim or exclude yourself from this class action settlement is July 31, 2023. You can file a claim if you used Google during the dates mentioned above. Below are the steps you need to take to collect the cash you’re owed:Visit the claim website and review the details of the settlement.Register to receive a class member ID.Use the class member ID sent to you to start a claim.Provide the required contact information and choose your preferred payment method (bank account, Venmo, PayPal, Venmo, Zelle, or a prepaid Mastercard)Complete and submit the claim form by July 31, 2023.Currently, there’s no set date for when to expect payment. The final approval hearing is scheduled for Oct. 12, 2023. You can visit the claim website for updates. If you wish to receive compensation, submit a claim before the deadline passes. If you do nothing, you give up your right to compensation and won’t receive a payment.This isn’t the first class action settlement of its kindGoogle isn’t the first technology company to be accused of violating users’ privacy. Facebook allegedly allowed third parties to access private user data from 2007 to 2022. The company admits no wrongdoing, but has agreed to a $725 million settlement. Claims are still being accepted for the Facebook privacy settlement through Aug. 25, 2023.If you were a Facebook user in the United States between May 24, 2007, and Dec. 22, 2022, you’re eligible to receive payment. Staying alert to class action settlements like this is worthwhile, as it could help you boost your savings account balance.

Why You Should Focus on Passive Income, Not a Side Hustle

As the gig economy continues to flourish, more and more people are looking for ways to supplement their income outside of their day jobs. Two popular terms that have emerged are “side hustle” and “passive income.” While they may seem interchangeable at first glance, there are some key differences that define each term. While both options can help you earn extra money, here is why you want to focus on passive income.What’s the difference?A side hustle generally refers to a job or project you work on outside your 9-to-5 job. It typically involves actively earning money by performing a service or selling a product. Common examples include delivering food, online tutoring, or freelance writing.Conversely, passive income requires an initial investment of time and/or money, but then can generate money with little or no ongoing effort from you. For example, rental property or investing in stocks can generate passive income.Passive income offers more securityThe problem with a side hustle is that it depends on your time and physical presence. You only have so many hours in a day and can only trade your time for money for so long. If you get sick, or if you need to take a break for any reason, your income source dries up.Passive income, on the other hand, offers more security. Whether it’s through rental properties, stock dividends, or a business that runs itself, passive income streams can continue to earn money for you even when you’re not actively working.Passive income offers more flexibilitySide hustles often require you to work during inconvenient hours or to accept work that doesn’t align with your passions or long-term goals. On the other hand, passive income streams offer more flexibility.Once you’ve set up your income source and established a system for maintaining it, you can enjoy more free time and more control over how you spend your energy. Passive income also gives you the freedom to pursue other ventures or projects that may not generate immediate income but could lead to greater wealth and satisfaction in the longer term.Passive income can provide long-term wealthWhile side hustles may offer immediate relief from financial stress, they often don’t provide a sustainable path to long-term wealth. With passive income, however, you have the potential to build a portfolio of income streams that can continue to grow and provide steady wealth over time.Whether it’s through compound interest or by buying a rental property that appreciates in value, passive income can help you achieve your financial goals without continually trading your time for money. Best of all, you can add multiple passive income streams and create assets that you can potentially sell later.Building your passive income portfolioSo, how do you go about building your own portfolio of passive income streams? The first step is to identify your strengths and interests. What do you enjoy working on or learning about? What skills or assets do you have that could be leveraged for passive income? Once you’ve identified your niches, it’s time to start exploring the various strategies for earning passive income, such as:Investing in dividend-producing stocksBuying real estate to rent outStarting a business that can be automatedCreating and selling digital products or coursesReceiving royalties on properties such as books, music, or artworkBuilding a blog or website that generates revenue through ads or affiliate marketingHigh-yield savings accounts and CDs (While the returns may be relatively low, these financial instruments offer a secure way to earn passive income with minimal risk)As you begin building your portfolio, it’s important to remember that passive income takes time and effort to establish. You may not see immediate results, and it’s important to stay patient and committed to the process.Consider diversifying your revenue streams by establishing multiple sources of passive income. Even generating $25 from each source on a monthly basis can add up in the long run.While side hustles may offer some short-term benefits, prioritizing passive income can provide greater financial security, flexibility, and long-term wealth. By identifying your niches and exploring the various strategies for building passive income streams, you can begin building a portfolio that allows you to enjoy more autonomy and financial freedom. Make no mistake — it’s still going to take discipline and hard work upfront. But the benefits of investing in a passive income stream could potentially outlast your active earning years and set you up for a more comfortable retirement.

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