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How to Save Money on Groceries
Stephanie Nelson, the Coupon Mom
Stephanie Nelson, founder of CouponMom.com, says it's possible to fight the rising cost of groceries without sacrificing your favorite foods. Try her simple coupon saving strategies the next time you go to the grocery store:

Plan your meals and shopping lists around featured sale items.
  • Use your store's weekly sales ad flier to plan your menus for the week. Then, write your shopping list around the items and brands that are on sale.
  • Taking a few minutes to make a detailed plan will save you the time of making unplanned trips to the store during the week—which can ruin your budget.
  • Planning ahead also helps you avoid impulse shopping during your trip. 

Questions to ask your grocery store manager to save money
PAGE 1 of 5
FROM: The Thriftiest Family in America
Published on October 08, 2008

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    Take a Vacation for Less
    Save money on vacation.
    We all seem to have our sights set on one thing this summer, and that's saving a buck whenever possible. Fare hikes make vacations involving plane travel out of the question for many, and high gas prices mean long car trips are nearly as unreasonable.
     
    So what do you do when you want to get away?

    Get a Deal
    That old concept of supply and demand that you learned about in college economics is likely going to work in your favor this summer, says Anne Banas, executive editor of SmarterTravel.com. People are traveling less, hotels and resorts are feeling it, and that often translates into savings for the rest of us. I did a quick search on the Internet and found a few chains offering free gas cards for $25 with a night or weekend stay. Granted, it's not a ton of savings in the grand scheme of a vacation tab, but it does help cushion the blow a bit. And if this is a family trip, now's the time to take advantage of offers that involve free meals for kids, which can easily save you $100 or more over the course of a week.

    If the hotel you're headed for doesn't seem to be offering up deals, it never hurts to try and negotiate, says Tim Leffel, author of Make Your Travel Dollars Worth a Fortune. "It especially works well if it's a day or two before your stay and the place is likely to be empty, or if you just walk in and it's a case of them either getting your business or you heading elsewhere."

    Book Online
    Websites like Orbitz.com and Expedia.com regularly post package deals, so you can book the whole trip in one place and save a bit in the process. If you're flexible, you can sign up for the alert service at AirfareWatchdog.com, which will send you a weekly e-mail with sale prices out of your local airport. And other sites, like Travelocity.com and Kayak.com, let you put in the maximum amount you're willing to pay for a plane ticket, then e-mail you when the price drops below that threshold.

    Enjoy a "Staycation"
    This is a relatively new term, but far from a new concept. A recent study by Better Homes and Gardens found that 52 percent of respondents are going to be spending more vacation time at home this year. Your kids might take a little convincing, but it's not nearly as bad as it sounds. Chances are, there's a ton of things to do in your local area that you've yet to discover—things like amusement parks, hiking trails and state parks. Head to your area's convention and visitors bureau and grab a few pamphlets, or ask friends and co-workers for their favorite spots.

    Cut Back Elsewhere
    If a traditional vacation with all the bells and whistles is really important to you, then you're going to have to take a look at your budget and see how—and if—you can squeeze it in. It's a little late in the game, but you can round up some money quickly if you really commit. Say you either go out to eat or pick up a pizza twice a week. For a family of four, that can easily add up to $100. Make all your meals at home this month, and you'll have $400 extra right there to put toward a trip in August. Walk past your favorite store for the next four weeks, instead of inside of it, and urge the rest of your family to do the same, and you've got another $100 to add to your savings. Streamline your grocery shopping so you only go once a week instead of two or three times (extra trips equal extra impulse buys), and you can add another $50 to the pot. Then, follow our tips for saving on your energy bill, and all told, that's over $550 toward a family vacation—not too shabby!

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      Oprah Talks to Sarah Jessica Parker
      The force behind Sex and the City (Carrie to you and me) opens up about new motherhood, a complex marriage, money worries, turning 40—and her dreams of someday running a grocery store(!).
      Sarah Jessica Parker
      Mention one of two topics to Sarah Jessica Parker—her husband of seven years, Tony-winning Broadway star Matthew Broderick, or their 1-year-old son, James—and her voice, already lively, rises to effervescence. A minute after she and I meet up, with a hug, at the Peninsula hotel in Beverly Hills, we're looking at baby photos. "Are his eyes cobalt blue?" I ask. "They're the color of blueberries," she says. "When we were in Greece, I saw they were the color of the Aegean Sea." "Are you one of those parents who has 6,000 pictures of your child?" I ask. "Yeah," she says, grinning. "My husband says he's already too documented."

      The proud mother is herself one of eight children. Parker's father, Stephen, left the family when she was a year old (she had three older siblings); two years later, her mother, Barbara, married Paul Forste—a theater student who later, among other jobs, worked as a stage manager and a teacher—and had four more children. Though money was scarce, Parker's mother encouraged her kids' acting ambitions and moved the family to New York when Sarah was 11.

      Two years later, Sarah won a role in the Broadway musical Annie , and in 1979 she took over the lead. In 1982 she got a national audience as a brainy nerd on the sitcom Square Pegs . More than 20 movies followed, including Footloose , L.A. Story , and Honeymoon in Vegas . She dated Robert Downey Jr. for seven years, and in the early 1990s she briefly dated John F. Kennedy Jr. before meeting Broderick; they married in 1997.

      Then came Sex and the City , her HBO hit that exploded onto the scene in 1998. Sarah's character, Carrie Bradshaw, along with friends Miranda (Cynthia Nixon), Charlotte (Kristin Davis), and Samantha (Kim Cattrall), redefined singleness by showing us smart, witty, romantic, lusty women.

      Spend 20 seconds with Sarah, and you understand why she has dazzled audiences for six seasons and picked up a few prizes along the way (three consecutive Golden Globes, four Emmy nominations, and a Screen Actors Guild Award). Her ebullience overflows to everyone around her. With the show's ending very much on her mind, Sarah talked to me about acting, producing (she's an executive producer of Sex and plans to tackle movies), married life, motherhood—and finding challenges that terrify and thrill her.

      Start reading Oprah's interview with Sarah Jessica Parker


      Note: This interview appeared in the March 2004 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine.


      PAGE 1 of 6

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        Money-Saving Travel Tips
        Jean Chatzky
        Going out of town on vacation may sound expensive to people who are trying to watch their budgets in a weak economy, but traveling may not be as out of reach as you think, says Mark Orwoll, managing editor of Travel + Leisure magazine. Jean talks with Marc about how the travel industry is lowering rates and offering good deals to attract budget travelers.

        4 ways to save on vacation travel
        The information provided here is general advice and you should always consult your own financial adviser before making major financial decisions, including investments or changes to your portfolio. The opinions expressed by the hosts, guests and callers to Oprah Radio are strictly their own.

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          Saving Money with Coupons
          Jean Chatzky
          At a time when everyone is trying to spend less and save more, more families are turning to clipping coupons. Jean talks with Stephanie Nelson, founder of CouponMom.com*, about her website devoted to helping consumers save money on everything from groceries to gifts. Stephanie talks about her best money-saving strategies and about how coupons can help buy groceries for the those in need through the Cut Out Hunger program.
          The information provided here is general advice and you should always consult your own financial adviser before making major financial decisions, including investments or changes to your portfolio. The opinions expressed by the hosts, guests and callers to Oprah Radio are strictly their own.

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            Eight Ways to Start Saving Now
            Woman and her piggy bank
            For women, mastering money is a challenge for a number of reasons. First, some of us have trouble actually doing it. Second, we have trouble acknowledging the fact that we're doing it. Why? In part because it feels as though we're wresting control from the men in our lives. But also because, when we were growing up, many of us were taught how to put together an outfit in the morning, set the table for dinner, write a book report, or parallel park, but nobody taught us how to save or spend or invest. Nobody sat us down and said: "Honey, if you save some of that money you made babysitting, it will grow to be a lot more ten years from now." And even in cases where somebody (usually a parent) tried to teach us those lessons, the teacher didn't do a particularly good job. Instead of telling us "Tough luck" when we ran out of babysitting money right before we wanted to go to the movies with friends, our parents bailed us out. They gave us $5 or $10 and told us to be more careful the next time. But we'd already learned that oh-so-powerful financial lesson: There's plenty of money where that came from. If you need more, ask Mom and Dad.

            Here are eight quick-and-easy fixes you can make in your own financial lives today. None of them will take more than a few minutes. But I don't want you only to do these things. I want you to understand why you're doing them.

            Which excuses are holding you back? Take this quiz to find out!

            Lesson 1: Sign Up for Automatic Savings
            Sign up for an automatic savings plan at your bank or brokerage firm. Have $100 a month diverted into a separate money market account that you promise yourself you won't touch. (Don't get an ATM card for this account to be sure.) As soon as you find you don't miss $100 a month, up your contribution to $200. Eventually, you'll invest that money so it can grow even faster.

            Map to a Million
            Saving $100 every month for 30 years: $150,129
            Saving $200 every month for 30 years: $300,259
            Saving $300 every month for 30 years: $450,388
            * Assumes savings are tax-deferred and invested at an 8 percent return

            Do it, say this, and sound smart: "I put away a little money every month so that if I have an emergency, I won't have to float my life on my credit card."
            PAGE 1 of 8
            Please note: This is general information and is not intended to be legal advice. You should consult with your own financial advisor before making any major financial decisions, including investments or changes to your portfolio, and a qualified legal professional before executing any legal documents or taking any legal action. Harpo Productions, Inc., OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, Discovery Communications LLC and their affiliated companies and entities are not responsible for any losses, damages or claims that may result from your financial or legal decisions.

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