Tech the Halls with These 5 Holiday Money Saving Apps

by Erica Starr 9. December 2013

Smartphones

"Appy" Holidays everyone! 'Tis the the season to not only Deck the Halls, but you might as well try to “Tech the Halls” with these holiday money saving apps that will not only help you save some money this holiday season but also some good ol’ sanity (which we know has infinite value this time of year).

Slice

Holy life saver, Santa! Rated one of the Top 10 Productivity Apps You Shouldn’t Be Without by Business Insider, the Slice app is the ultimate online shopping companion and package tracker. By syncing with your email inbox, Slice tracks of all of your purchases and e-receipts, notifies you when your purchases have been shipped, are out for delivery, and have been delivered, and even alerts you if the price drops on a recent purchase you made. To sum it up, this app is your right hand man for the holiday season.

Slice Cost: FREE
Available for: iPhone, Android
https://www.slice.com/shopping_intro

RedLaser & ScanLife

Have you ever made a purchase and then walked into the store across the street and found the exact same product for less? Or even worse, gotten to your car, checked your email and saw an offer from Amazon (let’s be honest, once you’ve visited Amazon.com once, Amazon knows everything about you and your shopping habits) for half the price AND free shipping? Yeah, me too. Fear no more friends! With the RedLaser and ScanLife apps, you are able to scan any product’s barcode right from your smartphone and find out if another store (either a local retail store or online) is offering that same product at a cheaper price. Better yet, if you are at a store that ad matches (Walmart, Best Buy and Target to name a few), you can walk up to the register, show them the cheaper price on your phone and 9 times out of 10 they’ll match the price. Viola!

RedLaser Cost: FREE
Available for: iPhone, Android, Windows
http://redlaser.com/

ScanLife Cost: FREE
Available for: iPhone, Android, Windows, BlackBerry, Nokia
http://www.scanlife.com/

ReturnGuru

Never again will you miss the deadline to return and item. With the ReturnGuru app, all you have to do is take a picture of your gift receipts and ReturnGuru will notify you before it is too late to return your unwanted item. But wait, it doesn’t stop there. ReturnGuru will also keep copies of all of your receipts along with each store’s return policy so you don’t have to worry about keeping track of all of your paper receipts.

ReturnGuru Cost: FREE
Available for: iPhone, Windows
http://www.returnguru.com/

Drync & Hello Vino

Ah, every wine drinkers dream. During the holidays, there always comes a time when you either have to pick up a bottle of wine to bring to a party, or being the host, you have to supply the wine. The Drync app allows you to scan your favorite wine labels (like a bar code) using image recognition, search for your favorite wines, read reviews and notes about differnt wines and even purchase wine, all through the app (some limitations apply).

Drync Cost: FREE
Available for: iPhone
http://www.drync.com/

Hello Vino is another wine app that helps you pick that perfect bottle of wine. You can search through its extensive library and pick out a nice bottle of vino based on price, region, year or even the type of food you are planning to pair with the wine.

Hello Vino Cost: FREE
Available for: iPhone, Android
http://www.hellovino.com/

Key Ring

Let’s play a game. How many rewards key tags do you have on your key ring right now? If it’s over three, you need this app. The Key Ring app allows you to scan and store images of all of your rewards key tags, enroll in new loyalty programs, and access exclusive coupons and discounts. Now you don’t have to lug around your 10 pound key ring and you can still reap the benefits of all of your rewards programs.

Key Ring Cost: FREE
Available for: iPhone, Android
http://www.keyringapp.com/

So now you are fully equipped to take on the holiday season. With these 5 apps, you’ve taken the power back from the retailers and gotten the best possible price on the best possible gift. And if all else fails, at least now you have a good bottle of wine (or five) to enjoy with family and friends.

For more money savings tips check out:

4 Free Money Saving Apps

4 Ways to Control Excessive Spending This Holiday Season

The Best Things to Buy in the Winter

1st Mariner Bank’s Top Songs about Money

by Erica Starr 3. December 2013

Cash, dinero, Benjamins, green, dough, moolah, George Washington’s…we all have our own preference when talking about the all mighty dollar. After all, it’s what makes the world go round, right? That may not be entirely true, but the topic of money has certainly helped deepen the pockets of several popular music artists over the years and not to mention, given the world something to tap their feet to (or dance around the room like a fool…to each his own, right?) I think it is safe to say that music and money have had a long, interesting, yet sometimes complicated, rollercoaster ride of a relationship. And lucky for us, it’s quite entertaining.

That being said, we thought it would be fun to go around and ask some members of the 1st Mariner family to name their favorite song about money. Actually, we thought it would be REALLY fun to ask them to let us video them singing their favorite song about money but somehow that didn’t go over so well. Baby steps people, baby steps. Foreshadowing for Songs about Money Part II? I think so…

For now, here's what they had to say:

"Mo Money Mo Problems" - The Notorious B.I.G. ft. Mase & Puff Daddy (1997)
Erica Starr, Vice President, Director of Digital Marketing

 

"Money" - Pink Floyd (1973)
Dale Henderson, Business & Executive Banker

 

"Gold Digger" - Kanye West (2005)
Sara Seeger, Online Marketing Manager

 

"Money (That's What I Want)" - The Beatles (1959)
Dennis Finnegan, Executive Vice President of Retail Banking

 

"She Works Hard for the Money" - Donna Summer (1983)
Jason Dieter, Vice President of Business Banking

 

"If I Had a Million Dollars" - The Barenaked Ladies (1992)
Paul Susie, Chief Financial Officer

 

"Ride Wit Me" - Nelly (2001)
Andrew Schreiber, Market Analyst

 

"Money, Money, Money" - ABBA (1976)
Elizabeth Sherman, Cash Management Sales Manager

 

"If I Were a Rich Man" - Tevye (Fiddler on the Roof) (1964)
Renee' Anderson, Vice President, Director of Advertising & Communications

 

"9 to 5" - Dolly Parton (1980)
Janis Smith, Vice President, Director of Training & Employee Development

 

"Opportunities" - Pet Shop Boys (1985)
Lynda Sachs, Business & Executive Banker

 

"Billionaire" - Travie McCoy ft. Bruno Mars (2010)
Stacy Tharp, Content Manager

 

"For the Love of Money" - The O'Jays (1973)
Steve Nowowiejski, Technical Services

 

"The Gambler" - Kenny Rogers (1978)
Linda Edwards, Sr. Vice President, Branch Administration

 

"Take the Money and Run" - Steve Miller Bank (1976)
Randy James, Treasurer

 

Did we miss any? Of course we did…there are hundreds of songs out there! What is your favorite song about money?

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Videos

The Finances of Eating and Living Healthy

by Erica Starr 5. June 2013

Healthy Produce

When it comes to considering the cost of food, most people generally go for what’s the most affordable and convenient at the time. It’s understandable, right? We all know that fast food isn’t the ideal healthy meal, but between dropping the kids off at school, getting to work, taking the dog to the vet and getting the kids to their soccer games, the McDonalds Dollar Menu starts to become a more attractive option with every passing day. Going to the gym? Forget about it…didn’t you just see what my typical day looks like? Let’s not forget to mention tight household budgets and the perception that you have to take out a small loan to eat healthy, and BOOM… many of us are forced to let healthy living habits fall by the wayside. Or are we?

So let’s do some math:

Equation Today:
Crazy family/work/social schedules + Dwindling household funds + Higher priced “healthy” foods - Daily exercise = Fast, convenient and unhealthy meals

But wait...what everyone tends to overlook is the future value of that equation. Let’s fast forward a few years and take a look at that equation again:

Equation Tomorrow:
Crazy family/work/social schedules + Dwindling household funds + Higher priced “healthy” foods - Daily exercise = Fast, convenient and unhealthy meals + Higher healthcare costs + A preventable chronic disease diagnosis

According to Dean Ornish, founder of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute, “About 75 percent of the $2.8 trillion in annual health care costs in the United States is from chronic diseases that can often be reversed or prevented altogether by a healthy lifestyle.” In plain English, investing in your health is very similar to investing your finances. What you invest today (eating well/getting daily exercise), can and will save you A LOT of money in the future – and not to mention tack on a few extra years to your life.

Here are a few tips on how you can start investing in your health today.

Yes, organic is better – but not EVERYTHING has to be organic.

Meat, dairy and any vegetable or fruit with soft skin (apples, berries, carrots etc.) are the most important foods to buy organic as they are more highly exposed to pesticides. If you have to, you can probably get away with eating non-organic bananas and other produce with thick and protective skin. Check out sites like ewg.org to help you decide which foods to go organic with and which ones you can go the cheaper route with.

Buying in bulk and freezers are your friends.

Wholesale clubs like Sam's Club and BJ's Wholesale Club are in business for a reason - it's usually cheaper to buy in bulk. If you can, start buying some of your favorite foods in bulk and freezing what you don’t immediately use. That being said, you still need to be strategic and smart about which bulk items you purchase. Buying a 132-ounce jar of pickles for 2 people is getting a little out of hand. Also, don’t forget the bulk-buying rule of thumb: only buy in quantities you’ll use within 3 months. The most expensive food is the food you buy and never eat.

Summer is upon us – HELLO Baltimore farmers’ markets.

With the summer months quickly approaching, Baltimoreans are lucky enough to be in the middle of what seems to be a sea of local Baltimore farmers’ markets. Contrary to popular belief, farmers’ markets are often much more affordable compared to supermarkets, especially if you are opting to go organic. According to The Atlantic, studies show that organic items are almost 40% cheaper when purchased at a local farmers’ market. How can you go wrong with 100%, just came from the ground fresh fruits and veggies?

Grow your own.

That's right; grow 'em if you got ‘em. The benefits of having your own garden go far beyond cost savings nowadays. Having your fruits and vegetables come from your very own backyard can pretty much eliminate the risk of pesticides and/or other chemicals coming into play. While it might be a lot of work up front, a garden can really be a great way to save some extra cash and be healthy at the same time.

Get out and move!

It's not rocket science. You know the deal…it’s calories in vs. calories out. The more you move, the more you lose. The sayings go on and on but the bottom line is this: regular daily exercise can help prevent you from getting heart disease, high blood pressure, noninsulin-dependent diabetes, obesity, stress etc. and can even help increase your mood. We’re not saying you have to go out and join a gym (although you can), just get outside, start moving and enjoy the nice weather. We can take it from there…

If you found this article useful, be sure to check out these related articles:

Is Growing a Garden "Worth It"?

Tricks to Throwing a Budget-Friendly Barbeque

Money in Your 30s: Manage It, Don't Be Managed by It

 



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