3 Summer Money Saving Hacks

What summer money saving hacks are perfect for Atlanta?

money saving hacksSummer money saving hacks are the kinds of cool tricks you can use to save big this year. These tips won’t shave $1 off the price of your daily coffee. They’ll help you save thousands by the time school is back in session. That’s enough to pay for new school clothes and supplies or even pay for a semester at a community college. Get started now for a summer of fun that helps pad your emergency fund.

#1: Choose cheap entertainment.

Savings guru Dave Ramsey is a big fan of taking the family to the park for the day, but in truth, the summer is filled with all kinds of free opportunities to have fun in the sun on the cheap. Atlanta delivers big time. Hike to the top of Stone Mountain or grab an inflatable chair and ‘Shoot the Hooch’. Beach parties, block parties, neighborhood festivals and free family days abound throughout the Greater Atlanta Metro area. Stores offer plenty of indoor opportunities too, perfect for when you’re shying away from sun or escaping bad weather. Just make sure to pack a lunch, drinks and desserts to keep from blowing a bundle on food stand selections.

What if things get too crowded on free family day at the museum? Check out our next tip!

#2: Take full advantage of your library membership.

Going to the library can seem like a hassle until it’s part of your weekly routine. Not only is it cool and calming to stroll aisles of books looking for just the perfect thing; trip to the library provides you with more than chances to read. Consider the museum and site passes available from the Dekalb County Library:

  • Center for Puppetry Arts
  • Chattahoochee Nature Center
  • Georgia Department of Natural Resources
  • Go Fish Education Center
  • Michael C. Carlos Museum
  • Southeastern Railway Museum
  • William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum
  • Zoo Atlanta

You’ll also get access to free Wi-Fi hotspots throughout Dekalb County and have access to special equipment, like engravers and home electricity use monitoring devices. All it takes is a membership.

Not in Dekalb County? Get a non-resident library card for $45 per year or a 6-month temporary resident card by putting down a $15 deposit. You can also ask at your own local library about passes and other offerings. For instance, Fulton County Library offers fitness classes, check out movies and albums, and take part in events, like painting classes and author visits.

#3: Save a fortune by cooking at home.

Eating out costs the average person over $200 a month, and yet, how often do we think of a quick bite as a major investment. Over the course of the summer, you’ll spend over $600 to avoid what exactly? You can pre-make your meals a few days at a time and take filling, delicious and affordable food with you to lunch or school every day. Here are a few of our favorite packed lunches for adults:

  • Burrito Bowls
  • Chicken Avocado Wraps
  • Soba Noodles with Honey-Ginger Sauce
  • Beef and Broccoli Stir-Fry
  • Turkey Chili

You can maximize your savings even further by keeping the oven off during hot weather. Not only does it use more energy than most of the appliances in your home, but it also raises the temperature of your house. This means your air conditioner has to use extra energy to cool things back down. That doesn’t mean you’re limited to grilling outdoors – though grilling has its advantages – but use the microwave, the crockpot, the rice cooker or toaster oven, or serve more meals that don’t need to be warmed up at all.

With so many ways to save during the summer months, you’ll wind up safe and secure on the financial front as soon as fall comes around.

Even if you’re just starting to develop your own money saving hacks, you may need a title pawn to help you in the meantime. Come on into Title Tree, and we can help you get the cash you need.

How to Find the Biggest Savings at Home Depot for Your Summer Projects

Curious about how to cash in on savings at Home Depot? Then keep reading!

savings at home depotThere are big savings at Home Depot for discerning shoppers who know how to find them. They don’t all consist of off-season projects either. You can save a pretty penny while making summer upgrades to your property. All it takes is a few simple tricks from Title Tree to make the most of your renovation plans.

Rent Instead of Buy

In our articles, we often talk about saving big money versus small money. Hundreds vs. pennies. If you really want to save, you have to target significant expenses, and this is where Home Depot really shines.

Many DIYers are content to complete projects themselves but wind up hiring them out because of one thing: professional equipment. Who wants to drop hundreds of dollars on something they’ll use once? It’s financially sound to hire some jobs out based on the cost of special tools.

Home Depot solves this problem by allowing consumers to rent tools for whatever jobs they have around the house! If they don’t already have the item you need for rent, talk to the staff about your project. They can often reach out to other stores to see if anyone has a rental or enter new stock into their rental program.

Search for Online Coupons

Home Depot is one of those stores people usually shop at in-person, so you might not think there’s much to find online for coupons. You’d be surprised. Not only do regular coupon sites have bargains to offer. Social coupon sites like Groupon and LivingSocial sometimes offer up to 70 percent off specific items. You can also find online coupons for gift cards, which can shave another 10 percent or more off your purchase. Finally, cashback sites like ibotta and ebates sometimes offer rebates on Home Depot purchases. Stacked together, you can save a bundle before you even consider in-store specials.

Special deals available through the Home Depot website. The Special Buy of the Day offers one item at a special discount for as long as supplies last. The rebate center lets you get the most of every purchase, literally. Some brands run promotions which reward you with gift cards or extra items when you purchase hot sellers.

You can sign up for emails and text messages to receive special coupons throughout the month. And of course, the store offers a 10 percent discount to active, disabled and retired military families with proof of military ID. Other veterans get 10 percent off on the following holidays with proof of service:

  • 4th of July
  • Memorial Day
  • Veterans Day

It pays to pay attention to sale items in the store too. Located throughout the store on shelving end-caps or mobile carts, clearance items have yellow tickets ending in $0.06 or $0.03. Items ending in 6 spend six weeks on clearance before the price is lowered again. Those ending in 3 are listed at the final price and have three weeks to go before they’re no longer for sale. If you’re willing to gamble on whether an item will still be available or not, you can save quite a lot!

Negotiate a Better Price

Home Depot is one of the few stores where negotiating happens on a regular basis. Each of the following methods come with their own set of terms, however, so do your homework so you can be sure your negotiations will work. For instance, floor staff can only offer you a $50 discount, the head cashier $100, and so on. If you’re looking for a big break, you might want to start with the department head or store manager.

First? Home Depot has its famous price-match deal. Come in with an ad from a competitor, and they should match the price plus shave off an additional 10 percent. These discounts don’t apply to certain expenses, such as sales tax, labor, delivery and custom orders.

Second? Damaged items and those you can tell aren’t flying off the shelves are often good candidates for better pricing. The only exception is clearance items ending in a 3. These items have been discounted as low as the store is willing to go.

Third? Anytime you purchase related items – a sander and a saw, for instance – there’s room to request a bundle discount.

It can take time and practice to learn how to uncover savings at Home Depot. If you need a bit of wiggle room, a title pawn can help. Call or visit your nearest Title Tree store to find out whether you qualify.

Can You Save Money by Gardening this Summer?

Learn to save money by gardening and enjoy fresh, affordable fare all season!

save money by gardeningDo you save money by gardening in the summer? If you’ve never tried it before, now is the perfect time to start. It doesn’t have to be intimidating — or expensive. Following our tips, you’ll be able to harvest your own fruits and vegetables, cutting your grocery bill and boosting your health.

Maximize Your Savings

There are different ways to make a garden successful, just like different homeowners have their own ideas of success. Someone interested in growing rare varieties of plants might not be as concerned with savings as someone who is gardening for financial benefits. So, how do you save as much as you can while growing tasty, nutritious food?

  • Start small. Gardening is tough work. Weeding is a royal pain. So is managing bugs and other pests. A huge garden will overwhelm you with the effort required to keep it in tip-top shape, so start small. Select two or three plants if you’re just starting out. This will cut down on maintenance and expense.
  • Start smart. If you hate bell peppers, growing them won’t change your taste buds. Look at fruits and vegetables you really eat, and compare them with the effort and expense needed to grow them by yourself. High-yield, low-expense veggies include leafy greens, like romaine lettuce and spinach, herbs, hot peppers, tomatoes, green beans, cucumbers, and certain types of berries, like those highlighted by An Oregon Cottage.
  • Put flowers to work. The bugs we talked about earlier? Some of them are actually good for your garden. You benefit by attracting more of them to your home. Savvy gardeners plant them in groups near their vegetables in order to encourage propagation. The resulting blooms also make beautiful additions to the garden and home.

Perfecting Garden Basics

The first year you plant vegetables and fruits will be the hardest, because it comes with the biggest learning curve. Don’t get down on yourself when you run into problems. Even Master Gardeners struggle with certain things. Follow these gardening basics, and you should get a fairly good yield your first time growing:

  • Select a space in the sun. Most vegetables require 8 hours or more of direct sunlight a day to grow properly. You aren’t limited if you have a small – or non-existent – yard. If your yard doesn’t have one space that will work, use containers you move around or bring indoors.
  • Test and treat your soil. Take a soil sample to your local extension office and have the quality tested. You’ll receive a description of factors, like acidity, which you can modify with the help of lime, compost and other products. A nursery can help you find the appropriate additives for your soil.
  • Water and weed as needed. Weeding is important to keep your plants from being crowded out. Weeds will soak up the water and nutrients in the soil too, so your vegetables go without what they need to grow. How much water your plants require depend on the soil composition and plant variety, but generally, they should be good on an inch or so of water per week.

Over time, you’ll learn the nuances of the plants you bring into your garden. Some grow better with buddy plant combinations, like mint and cabbage. Others grow better with more or less water. Still other plants thrive with periodic doses of liquid fertilizer or after you harvest them the first time. Learning the basics allows you to get comfortable gardening for food and maximizing every dollar you spend on it in the future.

If you’re working on learning how to save money by gardening, an auto pawn could help. Call your nearest Title Tree location for help now.

Why Start Saving Money for College Now

Ready to start saving money for college? Learn the basics to get started today!

Start Saving Money for CollegeIf you have kids, it’s already time to start saving money for college. The sooner you begin, the better chance your kids have at attending their programs of choice. But saving is tough when you’re worried about making ends meet. You might also be confused about how much or where to save money, especially since, when done the wrong way, college savings can interfere with federal funding.

When College Savings Work Against Financial Aid

When filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), students and their families report their assets and income to determine how much federal aid a student is eligible for, including scholarships and grants you won’t have to repay. Parent assets affect aid eligibility much less than student assets, so it makes sense to keep any college savings in the parents’ names.

Some assets – like homes, cars and retirement plans – aren’t listed on the FAFSA, which caused some parents to think using a 401(k) or IRA for their kids’ college expenses would give them an eligibility boost. The problem with this thinking is that once funds are withdrawn to pay for college expenses, those payouts are listed as student income on the next year’s FAFSA application. It can reduce their aid eligibility by up to 20% of the funds withdrawn. Those funds might also impact parent and child federal, state and local income taxes.

Thankfully, there are better ways to save. Follow these tips to save the most for college in a way that won’t put your other resources at risk:

Invest in US Savings Bonds for College Savings

Parent-owned US Savings Bonds are a tax- and federal-aid-friendly method used to save for college. Proceeds from US Savings Bonds can be spent on anything, but their proceeds are tax-deferred or tax-free in certain situations. Up to $10,000 in EE Series and I Series bonds can be used for eligible education expenses tax-free each year. Bonds are also fully backed by the federal government.

You can start saving with US Savings Bonds today for as little as $25. All bonds are now purchased through the Treasury Direct website, so you won’t receive a paper copy but a digital e-bond stored in your online account.

Open a Section 529 Plan

Section 529 Plans offer parents, students, extended family and family friends an easy way to save for college. The Georgia 529 plan is called Path2College. Run by the Georgia Office of the State Treasurer, the Path2College 529 Plan offers families the following benefits:

  • Tax-deferred growth, so you won’t pay taxes on interest as your account ages
  • Tax-free disbursements for qualified college education expenses
  • State income tax deductions on up to $4,000 in contributions per year
  • Multiple investment options
  • Enroll for just $25

Section 529 plans owned by parents must be claimed as parental assets on the FAFSA. They can discount your student’s eligibility by 5.64% of the value of the fund. However, disbursements spent on qualified education expenses are not counted as student income as long as the student or parents own the account. Grandparents and others will want to look at strategies used to protect against reducing aid eligibility..

What happens if the student opts out of college? Unlike some savings programs, the money saved in a 529 Plan doesn’t expire. You can save it for many years in case your student changes their mind. You can also place a new beneficiary on the account.

Saving for college is a serious responsibility. Thankfully you don’t have to do it all at once. Start soon, start small, and save smart to protect your child’s federal aid eligibility while providing them with the cash to get the best start in life.

Visit your nearest Title Tree store for more tips on saving money for college – or if you need a little help making ends meet right about now.

How to Save for a Trip This Summer Without Breaking the Bank

Before you get your getaway, you’ll have to save for a trip this summer with these simple tips.

Save for a Trip This SummerLearning how to save for a trip this summer doesn’t come second nature. In fact, if you’ve been living paycheck-to-paycheck for quite some time, breaking the chains of those bad habits could be the hardest part of getting away on vacation. Train your brain to make it easier to give yourself the break you deserve.

Accepting the Cold Hard Truth

A few months back, a Washington Post columnist made major waves by saying people in debt don’t deserve to take a vacation. Oh, she wanted them to take full advantage of their days off, but she didn’t think they should go away and actually enjoy themselves. Her argument? They’d already (mis)spent their opportunities to have fun, which is nonsense! This writer had no idea why her readers might be in debt, so how was she one to say they’d already had their fun?

Critics said the writer’s take was a reflection of vacation shame. Most Americans do not take all the vacation allotted to them, according to a new survey by Alamo Rent a Car. When they finally do get away, 63 percent say they’re still connected to work. Over half feel responsible for working while they’re away — if only to avoid being buried in work once they get back. And, of course, plenty of working people say they simply can’t afford to go on a trip and pay their bills.

We are a vacation-starved nation, and it shouldn’t be that way. We all have the right to travel, explore and learn more about others and of ourselves regardless of whether we’re “well off.” Accept that and be determined to take your trip, or you’ll always find a reason to raid your savings.

Comparing Cost vs. Value

Setting a budget for a vacation is frustrating, but if you have a financial goal in mind, it makes it easier to save. Sit down and take a look at the numbers.

Financial experts suggest staying within 4 percent of your take-home pay. If you’re paid twice a month, that works out to basically one average check. If that doesn’t seem like enough to pay for a decent getaway, consider saving up to go on vacation every two or three years.

It’s just as important to resist going crunch crazy. Start pricing different parts of your trip. If $50 or $100 will mean the difference between a two-star hotel and a four-star resort, it’s worth spending the extra money to have a significantly better experience.

If you find a rock-bottom budget fare, be sure to check out the fine print. Cabo is cheaper than Cancun, on average, but why? A major reason is that you can’t swim at many beaches in Cabo. Will your trip be worth as much if you can’t take an ocean dip?

Most Reliable Ways to Put Money Away

Once you have a set financial goal, it’s time to start saving! The longer you give yourself to prepare, the less you need to sock away every month. Four percent of your check might be less than $50, but if you consistently put money away for your vacation, you’ll have more than enough to go away next year or in a few years’ time.

What if you want to go away this summer? Consider alternative ways to save beyond reserving money from your paycheck. What bills do you pay every month? Which expenses can you do without? Those little savings really add up.

For instance:

  • Cable $150
  • Netflix $15
  • Internet $120
  • Cell phone $50
  • Landline $30

You can tell right away that some of these services overlap. They also provide opportunities for savings. Your local phone company might be able to bundle phone, internet, and cable. Depending on how much you use the services and how you access them, it might be better to suspend cable and internet and use your cell phone for Netflix and browsing the internet.

What if you’re tied into a contract? Most providers will allow you to put your services on hold for a few months. They simply adjust the end date to reflect the months you took off.

Even if you’re working to save for a trip, you may need a title pawn to help you in the meantime. Come on into Title Tree, and we can help you get the cash you need.

3 Ways You Can Save Money Cooking on the Grill

Is it possible to save money cooking on the grill? It absolutely is! Let us show you how.

Save Money Cooking on the GrillMost consumers know they’ll save money cooking at home, but do you know how a grill helps you maximize those savings during the summer months? Every meal you eat doesn’t have to include a ribeye steak. Stick to affordable cuts of meat and nutrient-rich fruits and veggies, and you’ll find grilling out becomes your go-to budget option.

Don’t believe us? Here are three ways grilling helps you save:

#1: Grilling Lowers Energy Use

Your oven is one of the biggest energy suckers inside your home, second only to the central air conditioning. This is one reason running the oven in summer is so expensive. Not only are you using the energy needed to cook your meal, but you’re raising the heat of your home, forcing your air conditioner to work even harder to cool things down.

What it costs to run your oven for an hour depends largely on the model and how much your electric or gas company charges. How much does that impact your energy bill? How cool do you need to keep your home to stay comfortable?

Most homeowners will save a small amount by grilling instead of using the oven. There are many dishes you can make with the toaster oven, microwave and crockpot which provide similar benefits.

#2: Grilling Avoids the Expense of Fast Food

According to The Simple Dollar, the average American spends $232 a month eating fast food. Per person, not family. While that seems really high, there are a chunk of single people who stop at fast food restaurants or order in lunch at work every day. How much is your family spending on bland fast food when you could be cooking up rich and flavorful grilled dishes at home in the great outdoors?

Anytime you can improve your experience while paying less, it’s a good idea to try it out. With just a bit of advance planning, you’ll find grilling is quick, easy, more affordable and infinitely more enjoyable than pulling into a fast food place on your way home for work. You can even cook more than you need at night and pack it away to enjoy a healthier, tastier, cheaper option for lunch that will leave your coworkers drooling.

Grilling isn’t difficult and doesn’t restrict you to hot dogs and burned burgers either. Challenge yourself to learn a few simple recipes, and you’ll find a host of affordable, healthy, filling food options waiting just outside your back door.

Here are just a handful of fast, easy meals perfect for the making on the patio:

  • Chipotle Chicken Legs
  • Rosemary Kabobs
  • Juicy Pork Tenderloins
  • Tilapia Tacos
  • Greek Snapper
  • Pork Chops
  • Pizzas
  • Street Corn
  • Catfish
  • Mushrooms
  • Brats and more!

#3: Grilling Puts More of Your Groceries to Good Use

Did you know nearly half of the food you buy at the grocery store winds up going to waste? Before you throw away those odds and ends, consider saving them for the grill instead. Remnants of salad dressings and sauces make excellent veggie rubs. The last handful of wilted lettuce? Toast it up over charcoal for a ridiculously tasty twist on an everyday salad.

Cut aging fruits and vegetables into chunks and stick them on a skewer. Use the last bits of meats, poultry, and fish to create a variety of foil packet dinners. Grill up an apple and add some caramel or cinnamon for a quick ice cream topper, or toast up your stale bread for a quick leftover-friendly supper assortment.  

It can take time and practice to learn how to save money cooking. If you need a bit of wiggle room, a title pawn can help. Call or visit your nearest Title Tree store to find out whether you qualify.

How to Save Money This Summer on Swimwear and Beach Gear

Learn how to save money this summer without going bare.

Save Money This SummerDiscover how to save money this summer while having everything you need to have fun. Rash guards. Sunscreen. Bug spray. Swimming goggles. Water shoes. With everything you feel the need to buy, it might sound a lot easier just to stay home. Avoid letting expenses rob you of living your best life. There are plenty of ways to save on supplies. Keep reading to find out the key to making the most of the summertime.

Make a List of Needs and Wants

Summer in Georgia presents certain risks every consumer should protect themselves against including:

  • Mosquitos
  • Sunburn
  • Overheating
  • Dehydration

Then there are the safety hazards associated with your activities:

  • Phone damage
  • Drowning
  • Head injuries
  • Food contamination

Make a list of the activities you want to take part in this summer, and take care of safety features first.

Have the basics covered? Start adding the things you need to take part. Then add in the luxuries you won’t enjoy yourself without.

The biggest benefit to this is considering whether your plans fit your budget. It also helps you prioritize what you want to spend your time and money doing this summer. Once you have your list together, it’s time to go hunting for gear!

Borrow Big Items Whenever Possible

Is this your first time golfing? What about playing tennis? Part of the fun of trying new activities is figuring out whether you like them or not, but if you don’t, you could wind up wasting money. Try to borrow equipment from friends and family when you can, or speak with your local parks. You can also talk with park departments on borrowing or renting equipment. You can even borrow passes for area museums, zoos and activities from the Dekalb County Public Library.

Shop Second Hand

No one wants to buy used bikini bottoms, but what about a wide-brimmed hat? You can even sterilize footwear in many cases. There are plenty of places to shop for second-hand items, starting with garage sales. Go early for the best selection. Love an item but hate the price? Instead of trying to haggle with someone at the start of the day, stop back again around closing time. The homeowners will be eager to get rid of existing stock and more likely to consider offers.   

If you don’t have the time, or perhaps the temperament, to hit yard sales, try local buy-sell groups on Facebook. Experienced group shoppers generally meet in parking lots of popular stores or take a friend when going to someone’s home.

There are also a number of places to get high-quality used merchandise online. Remember, third-party sellers have used items on Amazon, but the online retailer also has a Warehouse storefront for selling returns in good condition.

Track Online Prices

The lowest prices you’ll ever find on summer equipment happen in fall. You can save a considerable amount buying early. By May, these deals are usually long gone, but the internet can still help you shave some money off your total.

Browser extensions from companies like Ebates, Swagbucks, and Honey will let you know about coupons and rebates available when you attempt to make a purchase. Honey also helps you track an item’s pricing trends, so you’ll know when and where it will be most affordable.

You could go an extra step as well and use discounted gift cards to make your purchases. Find them online at Granny Giftcards or use your REDcard at Target to save an instant 5 percent.  

If you’re working on learning how to save money this summer, an auto pawn could help. Call your nearest Title Tree location for help now.

3 Tips to Save on Air Conditioning without Losing Your Cool

How can you save on air conditioning during the summer months? We’ve got the scoop!

save on air conditioningIt’s easy to save on air conditioning by adjusting a few simple habits. Cut your bill and stay comfortable too. We’ve got the skinny on how to stay cool when Mother Nature’s lost her chill.

#1: Block Out the Heat

The easiest way to cool your house down is preventing it from getting too hot in the first place. You might think that’s impossible when the sun is beating down on your Georgia home, but the light coming in through your windows has a big impact on heat transfer.

Here are just a few ways to block the sun:

  • Taping aluminum foil over the windows
  • Using thick curtains or insulated shades
  • Coating windows in UV-blocking tint
  • Installing special windows with built-in shades
  • Using a metal or fabric awning
  • Using caulk to block gaps around window casings
  • Investing in shutters

Start with the largest windows on the south and west sides of the house to get the most return for your efforts.

#2: Take Care of Your Air Conditioner

Sometimes it takes a dollar to save a dollar—or two. That’s especially true when it comes to caring for your air conditioner. Without proper maintenance, your system stops working correctly. It collects dirt, dust and grime, which means it has to work harder and burn more energy to cool your house down. The same is true when you allow the filter to get dirty. Left too long, that excess wear-and-tear leads to early failure of components and can ruin your entire HVAC system.

Save big by maintaining your air conditioner and furnace by scheduling system check-ups twice a year and making sure you change your filters on a regular schedule. You can save money on preventive visits and service calls by joining an HVAC maintenance plan. These packages offer discounts on parts and labor and sometimes offer additional perks, like free filters or priority service.

#3: Save with a Cooling Schedule

Most of the thermostats for sale today come with programmable features. Unfortunately, most homeowners never learn how to use them. This is changing with the invention of smart home devices, like the Nest, which make setting schedules easier. Learning how to program the thermostat is step #1. An HVAC professional can show you how if you need help. What’s more important? Knowing what schedule and temperatures to use.

According to Energy Star’s Guide to Energy-Efficient Heating and Cooling, there are three basic schedules:

  • 7-day
  • 5+2 day
  • 5-1-1 day

The 7-day schedule gives you the most flexibility. If you have a unique set schedule several days of the week, this is your best option. Just know if your plans change on any given day, you can always change the temperature manually.

The 5+2 day schedule is perfect for the family with the same schedule Monday-Friday and a different schedule for the weekend. Have different needs from Saturday to Sunday? The 5-1-1 sounds like the best match.

Keep It Cool – But Not Too Cool

It’s recommended to keep your air conditioner at 78 degrees Fahrenheit or above, but many homeowners prefer cooler temperatures. Whatever your starting point, adjust the temperature for while you’re away from home to be 7 degrees higher. Your system will turn your air conditioning down while you’re away and kick on in time to have your home cool again once you arrive home.

While the guide encourages you to turn the heat up 4 degrees at night, many HVAC experts suggest turning the temperature down at night to capitalize on the cooler nighttime temperatures. Your home gets cooler without as much work as during the day. Because the walls and flooring retain those cooler temperatures, you don’t have to run the AC for as much during the day.

Don’t have a working AC? We feel for you! Make sure you call a repair shop right away to identify the problem. In the meantime, put some fans to work, but don’t worry about a schedule. Just be sure to shut them off when you leave the room.

Visit your nearest Title Tree store for more tips on how to save on air conditioning – or if you need a little help making ends meet right about now.

How to Save Money on Your Electric Bills without Breaking a Sweat

Learn how to stay comfortable and save money on your electric bills just in time for spring!

Save Money on Your Electric BillsIs it possible to save money on your electric bill without being miserable? You bet! Savvy individuals know the latest hacks for staying cool and controlling their budgets. However, they’re easy enough for you to start immediately and enjoy the benefits.

Take Care of Your HVAC Equipment

Heating – Ventilation – Air Conditioning. HVAC equipment controls the comfort levels in your home. It also impacts your health more than you might realize. There’s a reason experts associate Sick Building Syndrome with system maintenance. By taking care of your air conditioner, you can keep your operational costs low and lessen the amount you spend on doctors’ visits, prescriptions, and medical suppliers.

Thankfully, HVAC maintenance is cheap and easy. Change your furnace and central air filter regularly. Use a filter with a MERV rating of 8 or higher to make sure you’re protecting it from particles big enough to cause a problem. Hire an HVAC technician to check and clean your system before you use it. If your unit needs repairs, you can schedule them before they have a chance to waste any energy. Better yet? By getting the repairs done early, you won’t wind up with bigger, more expensive problems when those worn parts fail.

Ask About Upgrades

Sometimes, it takes money to make money — or in this case, to save it.

One of the best upgrades for a central air conditioner is humidity control. It’s essential to keep you and your home healthy. The dry air of winter? It dries out your nose and lungs, opening pores and making it easier for viruses to find a way into your body. The high humidity found in summer can be the perfect invitation for pests and mold.

Humidity control also improves your comfort instantly. How? The drier the air, the more sweat can evaporate from your body. It always feels hotter outside when the weather is humid, right? The same is true indoors. Lowering your indoor moisture levels will help you feel cooler while keeping your thermostat at a higher temperature.

Swap Out Window Plastic for Tin Foil and More

While covering your windows with plastic will prevent cold from getting in during the winter, it’s not as helpful during the summer months. Your home doesn’t heat up because of air leaks. It heats up because there’s a mega-generator (called the Sun) aiming its rays at the roof and windows of your home.

The next time you have to replace your roof, ask about cool roof technologies. Shingle manufacturers are constantly on a mission to develop new ways to keep temperatures low. From light-colored shingles and reflective paints to materials which block different types of light, the advancements help prevent your home from absorbing excess heat.

However, you don’t have to reroof your home in order to experience some relief. Just as you cover your windows with plastic in winter, you can use a variety of materials to keep your home from heating up. Here are just a few ideas:

  • Cover your windows with tin foil to help block out radiant heat. Hang sheets of tin foil over your windows from the inside of your home, and secure them with tape. Then hope your neighbors don’t complain.
  • Use blackout rollers, drapes or insulated cellular shades. Blocking the sun from coming in your windows will make a big impact on your energy bills. Insulated cellular shades fitted to your window frames will do the most good, but they’re also the most expensive option. Thermal drapes or shades will do double duty come winter.
  • Install window awnings on the south and west sides of your house. While awnings can be an expensive upgrade, the payoff might be worth the price. The Department of Energy says awnings can reduce solar heat gain by up to 77 percent!

With just a few tweaks to your interior design, you can save big when it comes to cooling your home.

It can take time and practice to learn how to save money on your electric bill. If you need a bit of wiggle room, a title pawn can help. Call or visit your nearest Title Tree store to find out whether you qualify.

3 Tips and Tricks to Save Money Shopping at Target

Have you started to save money shopping at Target yet? Keep reading!

Save Money Shopping at TargetLooking for ways to save money shopping at Target? There’s a reason the big box store is one of the preferred places to shop for those on a budget. The stores carry high-quality merchandise at reasonable prices. They also provide customers with many different ways to save. While some methods are effortless, others require a bit of planning to score the best deals.

Save the most at Target with these three simple strategies:

#1: Time Your Purchases Carefully

Target releases new weekly ads every Sunday, and add new clearance items in each department one day a week. Which day depends on your store. You don’t have to stalk your store every day to figure the schedule out. Just ask the people who work there. Being nice to the people who stock the shelves is an excellent way to get the inside scoop.

Seasonal specials range from 50 percent off the day after a holiday to 90 percent off a week later. Then, of course, are Target clearance waves. The first round of pricing on clearance Items ends in “8,” the second round in “6,” and the third and final round in “4.”

It’s a bit of a crapshoot. On one hand, if you wait until prices are their absolute lowest, you could miss out. On the other hand, low prices might also be the sign of a problem. Before buying something at bottom dollar, you might want to check out reviews.

That leads us to our next tip…

#2: Avoid Buying on Impulse

Part of getting the most bang for your buck is only buying items you’ll put to use. We know swapping out your smoke alarms for smoke-and-carbon-dioxide alarms would be a benefit to your family, but does the benefit justify the cost? Is there a more affordable way to check for carbon monoxide leaks? If you’re not sure, that’s a good sign to slow down on the spending.

Find more tips on making smart purchases during special promotions at MoneyCrashers.

#3: Stack Coupons, Discount Codes, and Gift Card Specials

Target has a few unique discounts, and thankfully customers can combine them with other deals. Please note, coupons and deals stack in a specific way that impacts an item’s final price. For instance, Target usually reduces the full price by a coupon before applying a percentage off deal.

Target Cartwheel: Unlike the Target app, Cartwheel is available via smartphone or computer. It presents you with select offers by buyer profile, department, collection or item search. When using the app in-store, you can also scan the barcodes of the products you’re buying.

Add the offers you like to your Cartwheel account, and print them off or present them to the cashier for scanning over your phone.

Target App: The Target store app lists all of their current deals, offers, clearance, and in-store coupons. This is where you find out about promotions like saving $20 off furniture purchases of $100 or more or 50 percent off all NERF purchases. You can also search particular stores for what’s in stock.

Target REDCard: Applying for a Target REDCard doesn’t require good credit. There is a credit card available, but there is also a debit card option. Using your REDCard saves 5 percent off your purchases, and you can combine the discount with other deals.

Target Gift Card Deals: Target drives the sale of specific items with gift card giveaways. Examples at the time of writing include receiving a $250 gift card with the purchase of an iPhone XS 64GB Rose Gold, a $5 gift card with the purchase of two laundry products, or a $40 gift card with the purchase of $250 in nursery furniture, among others.  

You can link your Target REDCard, Cartwheel and Target.com accounts for maximum benefits and ease of use. You can also combine these deals with manufacturer coupons and rebate site rewards.

If you’re working on learning how to save money shopping at Target, an auto pawn could help. Call your nearest Title Tree location for help now.

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