Clever Posts Of The Week – August 29th

Posted by Brock | August 29, 2014.

We’ve arrived at Labor Day weekend, the last hurrah of Summer.   I was walking through my local Walmart last night and saw displays of grills, swimsuits, and lawn care products setup all along the main isle way with everything being heavily discounted.  I could see employees working in the seasonal section, likely gearing up for holiday season displays of Christmas lights and wrapping paper.   I’m not ready to say goodbye to summer yet, so I found the scene very depressing.  Are you ready for Summer to end?

Maybe reading some great personal finance articles will help cheer all of us up.  Here’s my top five of the week!

  1. Why Switching Jobs a Lot Might be a Good Idea from Money Rebound
  2. How Checking Our Grocery Bill Saved Us $14 from Money Beagle
  3. Venus and Mars and Shopping from DINKS Finance
  4. 3 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me About Money Before College from Money Propeller
  5. Why I Will Never Buy a New Vehicle Again from Suburban Finance

Brought to you courtesy of Brock

Financial Head Scratchers: Always Buy More Beer

Posted by Brock | August 27, 2014.


I was in the liquor store over the weekend picking up some adult beverages when I came across the picture above in the display cooler. On the left is a six pack of 12 ounce cans, and on the right a six pack of 16 ounce cans.

The fact that they were the same price had me scratching my head.

The six pack on the right represents 1/3 more beer than the package on the left (96 ounces vs 72 ounces).   Without hesitation, I selected the 16 ounce cans and headed to the checkout counter. But on the way home I couldn’t help but wonder why these two products would be the exact same price.

Here’s what I came up with:

  • Cost of Production: Maybe the cost of manufacturing represents a much higher percentage of the cost than the actual product inside the can, resulting in a similar cost.
  • Popularity of Product: Working with computer servers, I know that the more you can mass produce something, the less it costs per unit. As sort of a spin on the first point, maybe the larger cans are much more popular, bringing down the price per unit allowing the manufacturer to price them equally.
  • Temporary Price: Maybe the manufacturer is gently guiding consumers to the larger product, getting them used to the idea of buying the larger cans. They take a slim profit margin now, and then later they discontinue the smaller cans and jack up the price of the remaining product. I know that’s a cynical perspective, but manufacturers do some questionable stuff to increase profits.

Secrets Of Enjoying A Fun-filled Vacation Without Spending A Lot

Posted by Clever Dude | August 27, 2014.

tropical island vacation

If you’re looking for an all-inclusive holiday, booking a couple of weeks before you go away can allow you to take advantage of some great deals. As the departure date approaches, hotels and travel agents are desperate to get rid of unsold places, and last minute holidays are perfect for those who want to enjoy a one of a kind vacation that has everything you need to have a fun-filled getaway.

My family managed to get a last minute deal on a family room at a popular all-inclusive resort. As well as bed and breakfast and access to the hotel pool, this included indoor and outdoor passes to an adjacent water park for the duration of our stay, tickets to a nearby theme park, £50 credit for the hotel restaurant, a 50% off coupon for the hotel spa, a ‘kids eat free’ ticket for the hotel restaurant and coupons for local attractions.

This was a great deal for us, and we could have left it at that and still made a saving, but we kept an eye on the hotel website to see if any new deals cropped up before we started packing. This turned out to be a great idea, as we checked again a few days later and noticed they had a very similar package, but without the spa credit, restaurant voucher or £50 restaurant credit, for £200 less. We happily downgraded, as we had planned to try out local restaurants rather than eating in a busy hotel dining room, and we hadn’t planned to use the spa voucher in any case. If we hadn’t kept looking, we would have paid an extra £200 for services we weren’t even going to use.

Lack Of Organization Can Cost You Money

Posted by Brock | August 25, 2014.


Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

I’m usually a very organized person, but every once in a while my skills fail me. This was the case recently, and it just about cost me some money.

We recently purchased some things we needed for some home improvement projects at a local hardware store. We were delighted to find out from the person at the checkout that they were running an 11% rebate promotion. All we had to do was fill out the form printed out with the receipt, mail it in, and we would get receive a check for 11%.

Sounded like a great deal to us. The completed form was in the mail the next day.

A couple of weeks later, the rebate check for $11.15 showed up in the mail. I put it, along with another check, under my wallet on my dresser to remind me to deposit both of them the next day. When I went to the bank the next day, however, the bank teller looked at it funny for a few seconds, then informed me that it wasn’t a cashable check.

It was actually a merchandise credit.

I shrugged my shoulders, and took the check back. It wasn’t a big deal, I’m sure I just forgot that was what we were actually getting. Besides, we shop at the hardware store often, so it wasn’t like we were in danger of not using it.

Clever Posts Of The Week – August 22nd

Posted by Brock | August 22, 2014.

I have to admit, I’m not ready for summer to be over.  I’m just not ready.  There are, however, two things that help my transition into Fall:  1.) The NFL football season starting and 2.) my bank account is definitely ready.  After several summertime trips with the family and back to school shopping my debit card is ready for a break.

How about you, clever friends, has summer left your finances ready to take a break?

Check out my favorite posts from the week, and have a great weekend!

Brought to you courtesy of Brock


Cost Comparison: Is Laundry Soap Really Cheaper at a Club Store?

Posted by Brock | August 20, 2014.

cost comparison

Back in April when I renewed my executive Costco membership, I vowed that I would start buying as many household items there as I could in order to take advantage of the 2% cashback perk. However, it would be foolish to just buy items at Costco for that reason only. If the cost was 10% higher, I really wouldn’t be gaining anything. One thing that I can easily buy at Costco vs where I grocery shop now (Walmart) is laundry detergent.

Is laundry detergent cheaper at Costco vs. Walmart?

The Champion:

We currently use Gain Island Aloha liquid detergent. I usually purchase a small 50oz bottle for $5.10. The typical way to price compare things like laundry soap is to figure out the price per ounce:

  • $5.10 / 50oz = 10.2 cents per ounce.

However, comparing cost per ounce is a mistake.

Different detergents use different amounts of product per load. What we really want to do is compare the cost per load. For my 50oz bottle of Gain, the package advertises 24 loads:

  • $5.10 / 24 loads = 21.3 cents per load

The Challenger:

At the time of this challenge, I could not purchase our usual Gain detergent at Costco. In its place, I purchased a 170 ounce container of liquid Tide. The container advertises 170 ounces of product, but the ability to do 110 loads. Doing the price comparison breakdown:

  • 11.8 cents per ounce
  • 18.2 cents per load