Take Advantage of Labor Day Sales

Well, this summer is almost in the books. Labor Day, the unofficial end of summer, is around the corner. (But don’t worry if you want summer to hang on a bit longer; the official end is the autumnal equinox on September 22.) Either way, this is the last three-day weekend of the summer and that always means big sales. Here’s a guide to finding some of the biggest markdowns.

tim-stief-63912This is one of the best times of the year to buy a new car. Dealers are anticipating the arrival of the next model-year cars and need to make space on their lots. Dealers want that car gone as much as you want it in your driveway. That means great incentives, including aggressively discounted pricing, low interest rates and reduced lease prices to clear out 2017 models. Also in your favor, there are high inventory levels on many models, which means you can probably find a good closeout bargain before choices get lean. Here’s just one list of some great offers. You can also check manufacturer sites, Edmunds.com and local dealer sites for offers.


Most retailers will be running sales, but some of the biggest deals will be on summernvsbl-media-262854.jpg items – all the grills, lawn gear, patio furniture and clothing like shorts and swimwear that need to make way for colder-weather gear. Summer always comes back, so plan ahead for next year and take advantage of the killer buys. And don’t forget Labor Day weekend is also huge when it comes to home appliance deals at places like Home Depot, Sears and Best Buy.

simson-petrol-110900Back to School

Sometimes it pays to procrastinate. With kids back in school you probably have your school supplies purchased, but now’s the time to restock or get whatever was left of the list. Retailers want to unload those leftover notebooks, backpacks and everything else taking up valuable shelf space, so they’re offering deep discounts. You’ll find deals at all the major players like Staples, Office Depot, Walmart and Target.

One of the best times of the year to shop for a new mattress is – you guessed it! – Labor Day weekend, when many local companies run big sales. Great deals are out there, including up to 60 percent off some mattresses.

So go on. Get out there and save this Labor Day weekend. Finding what you need at a discount is actually responsible spending – as long as you avoid that urge, of course, to buy what you don’t need.

Is it time to kill your gym membership?

They’re out there. You might even be one of them.

Do you pay for a gym membership every month and get the full value out of it? Meaning you visit frequently and take advantage of the amenities, classes and training and everything else you signed up for. Most importantly, do you keep yourself fit and healthy as a byproduct of your membership? If the answer is yes, congratulations.

Unfortunately for many of us, the answer is no. An expensive “no” where money drains from our checking accounts as we drive past the gym thinking tomorrow will be the day. If this describes you, it might be time to drop the gym membership and put that money toward a more important household expense.

The good news: There are tons of workout options that won’t drain your bank account.

Use your body

keit-trysh-167890You don’t need specialized equipment to work out. Pushups, situps, dips and lunges are just a few of the ways you can work out using only your body weight (and perhaps a mat). You’ll find tons of other ways online to get a total body workout. Best of all, you can do it at home, or outside, any time you want.

Get outside

Running. Bicycling. Pickup basketball. Frisbee in the park. Running after your dog or kids anywhere. When the weather cooperates, it’s almost always more fun to get your exercise outside. You won’t miss the gym at all.

Columbia, MO is home to the MKT Trail, and Greenway Trail is a great option for anyonekyle-kranz-25026 in Jefferson City. Additionally, both COMO and Jeff City have access to the Katy Trail.

Help is out there

Many people join gyms for the available instruction but you can actually find much of it for free or very cheap. YouTube alone has thousands of video tutorials for everything from yoga to boxing, and Instagram is brimming with creative workout ideas. Many libraries have workout videos you can check out for free, and you can generally find heavily marked-down videos at discount stores and online. Likewise, Pinterest is a great resource and there are plenty of workout apps for Android and iOS.

Build your own gym

Putting together your own home gym doesn’t have to be super expensive. A pricey treadmill or elliptical isn’t necessary when you can get a great workout with much cheaper alternatives. It’s easy to get a fantastic cardio workout with just a jump rope, an aerobic step platform, or even a hula hoop. And for strength training, you can easily train the major muscle groups with some resistance bands, a simple dumbbell set or kettlebells.

kettlebellsSpending your hard-earned money on a gym you don’t use is beyond wasteful. Save yourself and your budget by remembering that a cheap workout is just as good as an expensive one if you’re putting in the work.

Not ready cut the cord?

If you’re willing to try new workout options but still want to have a good old fashioned gym to rely on for your standard workout, then you should take another look into your monthly bill. There are some great ways to cut down the price of your membership:

  • If you’re a student, check with your school. Most colleges and universities include a gym membership, or have discount partnerships with nearby facilities.
  • If you’ve graduated from school, check with your alumni association. Many offer discounted memberships with alumni businesses.
  • Many employers offer health and fitness programs that include free or discounted gym memberships.
  • Some health insurance providers even offer compensated or discounted gym memberships. It never hurt anyone to check.

Avoiding Vacation Envy

We’ve all dealt with it. You’re innocently perusing your social media feed and get hit with photos from someone’s amazing vacation. And with the unrelenting updates from family, friends, former friends and friends of friends, somebody always seems to be on vacation. The water’s so blue, that drink’s so tropical and OMG they went zip lining! They look like they’re having the best time, the kind of time you wish you were enjoying right now. And you begin to think, perhaps it’s time to pull the trigger on that dream trip. The one you can’t afford.

It’s called vacation envy. And we’re here to help you deal with it.

First, don’t fall into the trap of trying to “keep up” with anyone. The worst thing you can do is to feel like you should judge yourself against friends’ vacations, clothes, jobs, etc. You can’t win. Whatever short-term gratification you get disappears quickly. Just like your money will if you act on your envy. Next you may find yourself in a financial hole. To feel better? Do it all over again, right? Wrong.

Spending money you don’t have won’t quiet the envy. Attacking the monster is about actively changing your thoughts and resolving to stop the cycle.

Pretty pictures aren’t everything


Great photos don’t mean happiness. Of course you already know this, but it’s helpful to keep in mind because most people don’t share boring or unhappy moments. In fact, big trips are notorious for causing as much tension for couples and families as relaxation. You may not be missing out on a perfect vacation, after all.

Plan for that vacation

Travel’s a luxury, and of course, luxuries have to go when you’re saving money. But if isolated-vacation-jar_auqvgztravel is something you really value, try to set aside some money each month. Build it into your budget to save for a vacation fund. But remember, once you’ve saved enough, stick to the budget. It’s too easy to say yes to upgrades and extras. Which can eventually tip the scales beyond your budget. Here are a couple of tools to help keep the scales in balance:

If you absolutely must grab your bug-out bag and skip town, at least go about it in a frugal way. Booking trips through the right channels can ultimately save you big bucks. Here are a few of our favorite travel booking sites:

The best vacation is one you can afford

The point is to get away from responsibilities and the everyday humdrum. So what if you can’t afford a trip to Paris or the Bahamas? There are amazing vacation spots everywhere, including close by. Taking a trip you know you can afford is far more relaxing than taking a bigger one you can’t.

  • Wander is a great way to find travel destinations based on your budget.
  • For tips and tools to help you budget for your next road trip, check out Outdoor Blueprint.

So, save up for that dream vacation and post fun pictures, but don’t forget to let everyone know how you planned ahead and made it happen within your budget. Your friends may just envy you for your financial wisdom.