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Quicken has recently released their 2010 line of products and right now you can Get Quicken WillMaker Free with purchase of Deluxe, Premier, Home & Business and Rental Property Manager.

If you are interested in the Quicken software you should compare the Quicken products to see which one is best for you.

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One of the biggest budget busters in our house has to be the grocery budget. With one more child on the way our expenses are certain to increase, here are five free surefire ways to save money at the grocery store:

Create a Menu Plan

At the end of each week create a menu for the following week, or two. List out the meals you plan to make that week for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Having a defined menu plan ensures you are not guessing when you make your List. You can also use the plan to maximize your use of ingredients, like Beer Butt Chicken one day, then chicken casserole with leftover chicken the next.

Bring a List

Don’t go to the store without a plan of attack. Based on the menu plan you created you should be able to build a list of all of the ingredients you need for each meal, add to that the various staples you always seem to need and you have your list. Stick to the list when you are in the store don’t venture off into the electronics department either, if it isn’t on the list don’t get it.

Shop Alone

It sounds like a strange way to save but trust me it works. I spend at least 50% more on groceries when my wife goes shopping with me. She will even tell you that if she is going with me we are not going to stay under budget. Having other people, adult or adolescent, around while shopping adds another level of potential distraction and temptation. Go it alone and you will notice a difference.

Buy Generic

There really is not that big of a difference between most store brand and name brand foods. Try various generic products where you would normally buy name brand. You will find some are not going to work but most of them will. Try discount stores like Aldi as well, they specialize in generic and I have found their quality is actually a little better than Walmarts Great Value Brand.

Price Match

I don’t like to drive all over town so I do most of my shopping at Walmart. The problem is they don’t usually have the best prices on meats because they don’t run sales like Kroger or Food City.  Walmart, however, has the low price guarantee and will match any competitors advertised price for the same product.  All I do is bring the ad that shows Tyson chicken for $1.99 lb and when I check out I tell the cashier I want to price match. After a confused look and a manager later I end up paying the sale price at Walmart. Saving on Gas and time.

Do you have any tips you think people should know about? Leave a comment and let us know then subscribe to feed for free updates so you don’t miss any other great tips.

Bonus Tip

I don’t know why I didn’t make this a 6 tip post, I left off using a Price Book to track grocery store price trends. If you haven’t read my post on using a Price Book yet then check it out as the Bonus Tip.

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tuxandgnuWith the quality and quantity of Open Source and/or free products out there there is very little reason to pay for software that you can otherwise get for free. Another reason to to go Open Source is portability, If you have Mac OSX, Linux, and Window running in your home you are going to have to buy the same software three times if you want it on every machine, well actually only twice since most Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) software wasn’t designed for the Linux environment.  You can find a free and/or Open Source version of almost all COTS software.  In some cases you may be making a small sacrifice in some cases the software is better or as good as what you would pay for.

Desktop Publishing:

OpenOffice.org or OOo – This suite, formerly star office and owned by Sun Microsystems is the largest competitor to Microsoft Office. OpenOffice includes a full Word Processor (Writer), a Spreadsheet (Calc), a Presentation Software (Impress), a Paint Program (Draw), and a Database Program (Base).  You can save these files out in both the native Open Office Format as well as the Microsoft document formats. Available for Windows, Mac OSX, and Linux

GoogleDocs, GoogleDocs is Google’s online document creation and management system. The Docs suite includes a word processor, a spreadsheet app, and a presentation applicaiton. The suite is platform independent as it resides on the web. I use it for documents I want to share as you can grant edit capabilities to other users and it maintains versioning and change information.

Image Editing and Management

The GIMP, GNU Image Manipulation Program, is by far the most powerful image editing software you can get for free, this is not Photoshop with all of the bells and whistles but it is great. It is all I use anymore considering I don’t do proffesional photography or graphics design and this isn’t to say you couldn’t use it for that. It is extermely powerful and I have barely touched the surface. Gimp is available for Windows, Linux, and Mac OSX

Picasa, Google’s photo management software is a great way to manage and upload/label your photo’s.  The program also allows you to easily upload your photo’s to Picasa Web albums and provides easy image editing for common Photo related issues. Available for Windows and Linux, I think it is still beta for Mac.

DigiKam, Digikam is my preferred photo management suite. Digikam provides a lot of the same features you get with Picasa but I like the tagging features in DigiKam better and it actually stores the tags in the Exif information of the photo. That makes the tags portable, they go with the photo.  Picasa stores the photos in its own database so if you choose to move your photos to another system you have to retag the photos. Available for Linux only with potential for a Windows Port in the future.

Finance Management

GNUCash, if you haven’t heard me talk about it before, you haven’ been following long enough. Stick around I will talk about it some more. GNUCash is a powerful tool for managing not only your personal finances but can also be utilized to manage your small business finances. It uses double entry book keeping to track your income and expenses as well as your investments. If you want to know more about it check out my series on Using GNUCash to Manage Your Personal Finances. Available for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Mint.com, Mint is an online tool for tracking your finances, it can also be used for budgeting and more recently tracking investments. I don’t personally use it, I hear it is quite a useful tool. It is web based and therefore platform independent.

Along the same lines as Mint you can also checkout Yodlee Money Center.

Productivity

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How to get your annual Free Credit Report

February 7, 2009

A recent post at Bargaineering made me think about pulling my annual FREE Credit Report. Getting your free credit report has nothing to do with that goofy guy in the ads for FreeCreditReport.com, their stuff isn’t free. Getting your free annual credit report is easier than you think. Here is a brief history as well […]

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