Big Box Stores Like Costco
Start with The Costco Website
First of all, big box stores like Costco entice you to sign into their website with your Costco card number, although they say that is not a requirement. Most of the prices on the website have discounts. So, that would place most of them on sale or to appear on sale.
There are “member only” items that entice you to click through and check out the price. Non-members online may be assessed a surcharge, and executive members may receive a credit for a 2% rebate.
Costco mails out a coupon booklet to card carrying members monthly.On coupon day many shoppers are seen around the store with coupon booklets in hand, after a mailing. The coupon booklet is not needed to get an in-store discount, but it makes it easier to identify the months Costco bargains. This draws shoppers to the store and to buy. The coupons are a powerful draw for the coupon addicted.
Discounted Items That Have a Purchase Limit
Many of Costco’s discounted items have a limited number of items you can purchase. The limit gives you the psychological mindset that there must be a lot of value in this item, so it makes your mind think you must buy to the limit, so you can get your share.
Because of this process, you end up buying more than you normally would in a regular grocer to make sure your mind knows it’s not missing out on a huge deal.
Pre-Packaged Big Food at Costco
Food is packaged in 2’s, 3’s or 4’s. Most people don’t buy 3 or 4 of each item they need when they go to the regular grocery store, but in Costco they force multi-packaged items on you since the items are taped together in multiple numbers.
Because items are pre-packaged in multiples, we don’t even think to comparison shop the price, we just assume it is less than if you purchased it alone.
Costco Loves Sample Tasting
Sometimes on busy days there are tasting stations. Most of the tasting is for pre-made food items, sauces or frozen goods. After tasting items, many people automatically walk over and buy that item. I have tasted items, purchased them, and didn’t even use them after I got home due to allergies.
Product Placement as You Walk Costco Ailes
Upon entering the store the first merchandise that grabs the eye is some must-have seasonal products on the left, then the cameras, television’s, and computers on the right, and the expensive jewelry practically hits you in the face. Then before you get to the groceries, it continues to force you to look at clothes on the left, and other must-have but not-needed items.
Then you pass the attractive wine racks and beautifully appointed bakery goods. Finally, you get to the quadruple packaged meats, tripled packaged deli products, and then cheeses and fruit. It goes on and on, smartly placed to make your mind tell you to buy, buy, buy.
Containers and Packaging
In addition to the multi-packs of items in many of the big box stores like Costco, you will see a lot of large containers of items. This forces you to buy more that an average person would, and for most shoppers they will also settle on stocking more than normal, because they have more. This is great for large families, but it alse keeps busy people from making frequent shopping trips, so in that sense it great for everyone. Calculate the price per unit on each item to comparison shop at other stores, so the actual value reflected in the packaging is reflected in the price.
The Dress of the Employees
Lastly, most of the employees wear jeans and t-shirts. This gives you the feeling that you are in a super-discounted place, because even the employees dress down. No uniforms and no company logos on t-shirts.
The No-Frills Warehouse Design
The no-frills warehouse design gives you a feeling of plain, simple and inexpensive overhead that will be passed on to you the customer. When you get to the counter the no-frills feeling is continued with the recycling of boxes the Costco merchandise comes in, these boxes are reused to hold your groceries and other items.
With items 1-9 above, you now know what the process is to saving money at big box stores like Costco. Go to the website first and establish what you need, then make a list, write down the price of each item and stick to your list with your new-found Costco shopping awareness.
Note how long each of the items will last you so you know when you need to shop again and how much you will spend in a one-month or two-month period. Costco warehouse can be a great way to save money, if you have what I call “Costco Awareness”.
Lois Center-Shabazz | Course Delta Agency
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Student Loans Scary
The Cost of a College Education Can Be Outrageously High if You Are Not Careful
During the past 20 years, the cost of a college education has skyrocketed way past the rate of inflation. Educational costs are far above the reasonable loan repayment with an entry-level job.
The average entry-level job of most college graduates is not sufficient to repay student loans and cover living expenses. Because of this sad saga, you must be diligent in understanding college costs and the process of college financial aid, especially college loans.
The Different Types of Student Loans
There are different types of student loans, with a wide variety of repayment options. Some of the loans are very reasonable, while some can become very expensive if you do not understand the repayment terms.
Some loans do not charge interest during school attendance (government-subsidized loans), deferment, or the grace period. While others charge interest while in school.
If you have an unsubsidized loan and they have no deferment you will be charged interest in college. This process is not clear to most students.
Direct Loans are low-interest loans for students and parents to help pay for the cost of a student’s education after high school. The lender is the U.S. Department of Education (the Department). But, the entity you deal with, your loan servicer, can be a private business.
With Direct Loans, you:
You borrow directly from the federal government and have a single contact- your loan servicer. The servicer may be a private institution for everything related to repayment, even if you receive Direct Loans at different schools.
You can choose from several repayment plans that are designed to meet the needs of almost any borrower. And you can switch repayment plans if your needs change.
The Direct Loan Program offers the following types of student loans:
Subsidized Student Loans: for students with demonstrated financial need, as determined by federal regulations. No interest is charged while a student is in school at least half-time, during the grace period, and during deferment periods.
This is by far the best type of student loan if you can qualify. The deferral of interest payments makes this an affordable loan if paid in a timely manner after graduation. The current interest rate for this loan is 3.4% (this varies over time).
Unsubsidized Student Loans: not based on financial need; interest is charged during all periods. Even during the time, a student is in school, during grace and deferment periods, interest is charged.
The interest could almost double your balance at graduation unless you make interest payments during college.
Student Loans Can Be Scary, Do Your Homework
Because interest is charged during all periods, it is possible that this loan could spiral out of control. If small payments are not made during the entire loan period, including while enrolled in school.
The current interest rate for the unsubsidized loan is 6.8% (this may be different by the time you read this article).
PLUS: Unsubsidized Student Loans for the parents of dependent students and for graduate/professional students. PLUS loans help pay for education expenses up to the cost of attendance minus all other financial assistance.
Interest is charged during all periods. This loan requires a credit check.
If you cannot survive a credit check:
You can get a co-signer (this person is responsible for repaying the loan in the event that:
a) you do not get a job,
b) you lose your job,
c) you cannot pay, due to disability or long-term illness.
d) you do not make enough money to repay your loan.
For the co-signer, this is an EXTREMELY, high-risk loan.
You can plead your case and write a letter of explanation of bad credit, this may give you an exemption.
Student Loan Interest Rates and Problems
The current interest rate for plus loans is 7.9% (This changes over time). This alone makes it imperative for graduate and professional students to make an interest payment during the school attendance, grace, and deferral period.
A young girl was profiled on dateline who finished medical school, did a residency, and saw her total school loan balance balloon from $250,000 to over $500,000 during residency.
She stated that she did not understand the interest charges during her residency deferral period.
She could have kept this balance at $250,000 had she understood that. By making an interest payment during her residency that would have solved this issue.
Save Yourself Student Loan Pain And Heartache, With Research Before Signing. No Scary Student Loans Allowed
How to Get Student Loans for College
College loans are awarded after a student submits a FAFSA (Free Application For Federal Student Aide). This application can be started and finished online directly at the FAFSA government website, by creating a PIN.
This procedure is more efficient than applying to one individual college of your choice. Since you can verify that all of the requested information is completed in a timely manner and then sent to your chosen college.
Every single college you think you are interested in should be placed on the online application, and the completed application will be forwarded to the school of your choice when you decide where to attend.
Denial: Students have the right to deny any portion of the student aide as loans or ask to decrease the number of loans that may not be needed. The fewer loans a student has the better off they will be later, due to low debt.
How to Make Paying for Student Loans With Consolidation
Consolidation: Eligible federal student loans can be combined into one Direct Consolidation Loan. The government gives you a deadline for the consolidation of school loan debt.
This may ease your payment burden if your loan payments are too high or come from too many sources. The cost of college should not be this high.
You also have a choice of private school loans. Private school loans are more expensive than government loans. Private loans have more fines and fees if not paid due to illness or disability, and they have less forbearance.
Know the cost of your college first and go for subsidized only
With private student loans, you have no safety net. Private loans are easy to get but have no deferment or forbearance on the loans. Private loans make the cost of college very high when you take into account the interest rates.
They have no sympathy for those who get into trouble. Because of this, it is important to get the maximum from government loans before you think about private loans.
Most students have no business at all with a private loan, considering the risk involved. You can understand more of the nuances of student loans by going here.
Don’t make your cost of college prohibitive by getting unsubsidized loans you cannot pay back with a routine entry-level “out of college job”. Make sure you understand what an unsubsidized loan is before you check that box.
Related Link: Student Loans eBook