How to Save

Black Friday Sales – 2016

Posted on Monday, November 14th, 2016 at 7:00 am
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The Black Friday Sales ads are starting to be released.  Here is a quick look at what to expect from some retailers.Are you ready for the Black Friday sales? Some retailers have revealed what their biggest deals will be. Others have already started with smaller sales that lead up to Black Friday. Whether you plan on starting your shopping on Thanksgiving Day or beginning it the day after, it helps to know what your favorite stores will be offering.

Amazon.com
Amazon.com has started its Countdown to Black Friday Deals. They are offering Deals of the Day, Top Lightning Deals, and Amazon Device Deals right now. The Deals of the Day have a countdown clock on each of them to let you know when that sale will end. Scroll down on Amazon.com to see additional items that are being sold at a discount. Amazon will be releasing special offers every day up until November 25, 2016.

Walmart
Walmart’s Black Friday ad is available now on its website. Type in your zip code to find the sales that are specific to the Walmart stores in your area. Walmart has Early Online Black Friday Deals accessible on its website now. There is a wide variety of items on sale. Each one is marked to let you know if it the item is offered with free shipping or if it available for free store pickup.

In addition, Walmart is offering Online Specials that are described as “prep for the holidays with huge savings”. As with the Early Online Black Friday Deals, each item is marked to show if it includes free shipping or free store pickup.

Target
Target has released its Black Friday ad on its website. You will be shown the Black Friday preview ad that corresponds to where you live. There are a lot of TVs that will be on sale and plenty of electronics (among other items).

Target is going to start its Black Friday sales on Thanksgiving Day at 6:00 p.m. It will remain open until 11:00 p.m. on Black Friday. The Target Preview ad shows the items that they are offering as Doorbusters. These items are offered while quantities last.

Best Buy
Best Buy has its Black Friday ad available on its website. The store will open its doors on Thanksgiving Day, November 25, 2016, at 5:00 p.m. As you might expect, their Black Friday sale includes lots of TVs and electronics. In addition, Best Buy is having a Black Friday Appliance Sale that offers up to 40% off of major appliances. This is helpful for those who need a new stove, refrigerator, or washing machine and dryer.

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4 Healthy Ways to Reduce Stress

Posted on Thursday, November 10th, 2016 at 12:54 am
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When times are tough, it is natural to want to find ways to feel better. Here are a few healthy ways to reduce stress.Everyone has experienced times when their life was very stressful. The source of that stress can vary. It can be difficult to know how to cope. Fortunately, there are some healthy ways to reduce stress. The best part about the healthy ways to reduce stress is that you can do them without feeling guilty about causing yourself any harm.

Healthy Ways to Reduce Stress

Yoga
Yoga is a mind-body practice that combines physical poses, controlled breathing, and meditation or relaxation. The Mayo Clinic says that studies have shown that yoga may reduce stress and anxiety. Yoga can also enhance your overall mood and sense of well-being.

Check to see if there are yoga classes being offered where you live. People take yoga classes at their gyms. There might be a place that is dedicated to teaching yoga. If all else fails, you can try following along with a YouTube video about yoga.

Take a Bath
Parents might remember when their baby was small and a nice, warm, bath helped him or her calm down and become relaxed. Baths can have that affect on adults, too. Hot baths can soothe muscle aches, which can be very helpful for people who have been physically tense for a long time due to stress.

Baths are the ultimate “me time”. Soaking in warm water makes most people feel good. Some people like to add scented bath products in order to enhance their feeling of relaxation and self-care.

Acupuncture
According to Psychology Today, acupuncture works to reduce stress and depression. In short, an acupuncturist inserts fine needles into certain acupuncture points in order to remove the roadblocks that stop energy, or “qi”, from flowing through the body.

People who receive acupuncture lie on a comfortable table. After the needles are in place, the lights are lowered and calm music is played. Some people use aromatherapy along with acupuncture. The person is left to relax for a certain period of time. Many feel “blissed out” and very relaxed after receiving acupuncture.

Take a Nap
There are a lot of people who are sleep deprived. The person might work too many hours or work far away and have to get up early for a long commute. Parents of young children are often sleep deprived. Some people lose sleep due to stress and anxiety.

Take a 20 minute nap in the afternoon. That nap might provide you with more rest than an extra 20 minutes of sleep in the morning. People naturally feel more tired in the afternoon, which makes it the perfect time for napping. Sleep lets your body, and your mind, recharge.

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Stores that Will Start Black Friday on Thanksgiving

Posted on Monday, November 7th, 2016 at 5:51 pm
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Some of the Black Friday sales start on Thanksgiving Day.  Here is a quick look at some stores that will be open on Thanksgiving.There was a time when the Black Friday sales started on the Friday after Thanksgiving. Today, many stores are open for extended hours on Thanksgiving Day. Those who are intending to shop the Thanksgiving Day Black Friday sales need to know what stores will be open.

J.C. Penney
J.C. Penney will open its doors at 3:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day for Black Friday shopping. The Black Friday sale prices will be available on its website starting at midnight on November 23, 2016.

J.C. Penney will give early shoppers an envelope containing a coupon for either $10 off $10, $100 off $100, or $500 off $500 or more purchase in-store or on the company’s website. The $10 coupon will be valid only on Thanksgiving and Black Friday. The other coupons will be usable between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve.

J.C. Penney will offer another round of coupons to shoppers at 6:00 a.m. on Black Friday. The store will remain open for the Black Friday sale until 10:00 p.m. Friday night.

Toys R Us
Toys R Us will open its doors at 5:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day and remain open through 11:00 p.m. on Friday, November 25, 2016, for 30 hours of continuous shopping.

Toys R Us will have a dedicated “Express Checkout Lane” for gift-givers purchasing four items or less between Thursday, November 24, 2016, and Christmas Eve. Toys R Us is also offering free store pickup when you make a purchase online from home or on the go.

Kohl’s
Kohl’s will open at 6:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. All doorbuster sales are valid from Thanksgiving night until 1:00 p.m. on Friday.

Kohl’s is offering $15 Kohl’s Cash for every $50 dollars spent. That offer will be available between November 21, 2016, and November 26, 2016. The coupon will be redeemable from November 27, 2016, through December 5, 2016.

Macy’s
Macy’s will open its doors for Black Friday sales at 5:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. That’s one hour earlier than they opened on Thanksgiving Day in previous years. Macy’s has not yet released information about exactly what their Black Friday sales will offer. It is likely that the Macy’s website will, eventually, have that information.

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The FDA Considers How to Define “Healthy”

Posted on Wednesday, October 12th, 2016 at 8:30 pm
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That package of food has the word "healthy" on it.  But, what does that really mean?  The FDA wants you to help them figure that out.There is a growing number of people who seek out food that is healthy. But, what does the word “healthy” actually mean when it appears on a food label? The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is considering how to define “healthy”.

The FDA recently published the final rules about what must appear on a Nutrition Facts Label The packages of food you pick up at the grocery store might already have the newly revised food label format. It makes the calories and serving sizes of products easier to see. It also gives additional nutritional information about added sugars, vitamin D, and potassium.

The FDA is aware that consumers use the Nutrition Facts label to help them make decisions about which product to buy. The updated Nutrition Facts label will be helpful, but there are other improvements that need to be made.

We often see things like “low in fat”, or “good source of” or “healthy” on a food label. The FDA is now taking a closer look at the word “healthy”. Consumers have seen that word on so many food labels that it may have lost its meaning all together.

The FDA is asking for public input on what people think the criteria should be, or what the terms should be, for an updated definition of “healthy” (when it is placed on a package of food). Those who want to share their thoughts about this can do. Start by visiting the FDA’s website that is called “Healthy” on Food Labeling. This request for guidance started on September 28, 2016.

The Food and Drug Administration came up with some questions that people may want to answer. What current dietary recommendations do you think should be reflected in the definition of “healthy”? What are the public benefits of defining the term “healthy”? What do consumers expect of foods that carry a “healthy” claim? What factors and criteria should be used for the new definition of “healthy”?

In addition to asking for public input about what “healthy” should mean, the FDA is also going to work with the food industry to encourage companies to change their products to have better nutrition profiles. Eventually, this should result in healthier food options for consumers. It will also give the word “healthy” a specific meaning.

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Kmart is Closing Stores

Posted on Monday, October 10th, 2016 at 11:23 pm
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Kmart is closing many of its stores.  Is your local Kmart on the list of stores that will be closed in December?The Kmart near you might be gone before Christmas. Kmart announced in September that they would begin closing many of their stores. You might be able to get some last minute deals at the Kmart stores that are about to be closed forever.

The closing of multiple Kmart stores follows a series of Sears stores that have closed. The reason appears to be that Sears and Kmart do not have enough money, or access to money, to stay in business. As such, your local Kmart store may be on the list of Kmart stores that will close in December of 2016.

List of Stores that Will Close:
Kmart #3044: Lawton, OK
Kmart #3180: Merrillville, IN
Kmart #3241: Springfield, IL
Kmart #3320: Houma, LA
Kmart #3328: New Lenox, IL
Kmart #3355: Panama City, FL
Kmart #3359: Gardendale, AL
Kmart #3521: Binghamton, NY
Kmart #3556: Elkhart, IN
Kmart #3594: Chicago, IL
Kmart #3644: Nashville, TN
Kmart #3695: Sierra Vista, AZ
Kmart #3706: Wytheville, VA
Kmart #3754: Martinsville, VA
Kmart #3814: Kearney, NE
Kmart #4066: Jackson, MI
Kmart #4095: Joliet, IL
Kmart #4135: Augusta, GA
Kmart #4162: Salt Lake City, UT
Kmart #4175: Canton, OH
Kmart #4176: Cheektowaga, NY
Kmart #4439: Yakima, WA
Kmart #4700: Fenton, MI
Kmart #4717: Oak Ridge, TN
Kmart #4739: Clarksville, TN
Kmart #4772: Burnham, PA
Kmart #4781: Macomb, IL
Kmart #4837: Riverton, WY
Kmart #4845: Manistee, MI
Kmart #4851: Byron Center, MI
Kmart #4910: Mentor, OH
Kmart #4917: Thornton, CO
Kmart #4961: Burlington, NC
Kmart #4970: Memphis, TN
Kmart #4972: Lubbock, TX
Kmart #4984: Tinley Park, IL
Kmart #7024: Scottsbluff, NE
Kmart #7061: New Iberia, LA
Kmart #7077: Harlingen, TX
Kmart #7174: Pikeville, KY
Kmart #7205: Grand Rapids, MI
Kmart #7216: Moorhead, MN
Kmart #7306: Sioux Falls, SD
Kmart #7356: Jonesboro, AR
Kmart #7412: West Valley City, UT
Kmart #7478: Waipahu, HI
Kmart #7551: Indio, CA
Kmart #7560: Craig, CO
Kmart #7587: Fontana, CA
Kmart #7625: Los Angeles, CA
Kmart #7642: Natchez, MS
Kmart #7718: Hixson, TN
Kmart #7733: Alpena, MI
Kmart #7755: Deming, NM
Kmart #7775: Lafayette, IN
Kmart #7795: Abilene, TX
Kmart #9129: Mount Airy, NC
Kmart #9146: Great Barrington, MA
Kmart #9397: West Saint Paul, MN
Kmart #9571: Cullman, AL
Kmart #9586: Sault Saint Marie, MI
Kmart #9623: Springdale, AR
Kmart #9728: Smyrna, TN
Kmart #9751: Cody, WY

If the Kmart near you is on this list, but has not yet closed, you might be able to find some good deals. The store might be trying to sell off as much of its existing stock as possible before its closure date. Look for signs that say Clearance or that have a percentage off the previous price. It would also be a good idea to pay off your layaway items before the store closes.

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FDA Bans 19 Chemicals in Antibacterial Soaps

Posted on Wednesday, October 5th, 2016 at 7:00 am
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The Food and Drug Administration has banned chemicals in antibacterial soaps that were not proven to be more effective than regular soap and water. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has banned 19 of the 22 chemicals that are used in antibacterial soaps. It is strange to think about, but it appears that the some of the ingredients in antibacterial soaps, that we thought were helping us to stay healthy, could actually harm our health.

On September 2, 2016, the FDA issued a final rule on safety and effectiveness of antibacterial soaps. The final rule stated that over-the-counter consumer antiseptic wash products that contained certain active ingredients, can no longer be marketed.

The FDA says the manufacturers did not demonstrate that the ingredients were safe for long-term daily use, and they did not demonstrate that soaps with those ingredients were more effective than plain soap and water in preventing illness and the spread of diseases. In other words, antibacterial washes are not really more effective than soap and water at preventing the spread of germs.

The chemicals that the FDA banned include:
* Cloflucarban
* Fluorosalan
* Hexachlorophene
* Hexylresorcinol
* Iodine complex (ammonium ether sulfate and polyoxyethylene sorbitan monolaurate)
* Iodine complex (phosphate ester of alkylaryloxy polyethylene glycol)
* Nonylphenoxypoly (ethyleneoxy) ethanoliodine
* Poloxamer-iodine complex
* Povidone-iodine 5 to 10 percent
* Undecoylium chloride iodine complex
* Methylbenzethonium chloride
* Phenol (greater than 1.5 percent)
* Phenol (less than 1.5 percent) 16
* Secondary amyltricresols
* Sodium oxychlorosene
* Tribromsalan
* Triclocarban
* Triclosan
* Triple dye

The FDA started considering the chemicals in antibacterial soaps in 2013. Since then, data suggested that long-term exposure to certain active ingredients (for example, triclosan and triclocarban) used in antibacterial products could pose health risks such as bacterial resistance or hormonal effects.

Triclosan has been found in human milk and dolphins’ blood, and most freshwater streams are contaminated with it. The chemical kills “bad” bacteria that can cause harm to humans, but, unfortunately, it can also kill “good” bacteria that humans need. It is possible that triclosan is encouraging germs to become resistant to other antibiotics.

Many manufacturers have started phasing out their use of certain active ingredients in antibacterial washes in 2013. Not all of them have done so. Manufacturers will have until September 6, 2017, to remove those 19 ingredients from their products.

In addition the FDA is considering the safety and efficacy of three more three more ingredients: benzalkonium chloride, benzethonium chloride, and chloroxylenol. The new FDA rule does not affect hand sanitizers or antibacterial wipes. It only effects antibacterial soaps.

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What to Buy in October

Posted on Monday, October 3rd, 2016 at 7:00 am
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There are things that you can buy in October for less money than at any other time of the year.October comes after the back to school shopping is over and before the biggest Black Friday sales appear. Don’t forget that there are some things that are easier to buy in October than at any other time of the year. Here are some tips about what to buy in October.

5 Things to Buy in October

Pumpkin Flavored Everything
October is the month where coffee shops sell pumpkin spiced coffee, pumpkin spiced tea, and pastries that contain pumpkin (or pumpkin seeds). This year, you can buy Pumpkin Spice Cheerios, Pumpkin Spice Frosted Mini-Wheats, and Pumpkin Spice Quaker Instant Oatmeal. Now is the time to learn how to prepare and roast a pumpkin.

These special treats are seasonal. If you love them, now is the time to indulge. You probably won’t be able to get them as easily in November as you can now.

Jeans and Clearance Clothing
October is a great month to buy jeans. Clothing stores stock up on jeans right before the back to school sales start. By October, they are ready to get rid of whatever jeans are leftover. (They need that space for the Christmas stock that is already piling up in their stock rooms). You might find jeans at a lower price now than what they were selling for in August.

In addition, there will be clearance sales on clothing happening in October. Stores want to get rid of their fall clothing line now (to make room for the winter clothing line). Some stores might have summer clothing leftover. Be sure the check the clearance racks. You may find some great deals!

Toys
Do you need to buy holiday gifts for the children in your family? October is a good month to start shopping for toys. There might be sales on the toys that are related to the summer blockbuster movies. The store you want to shop at may offer coupons for those toys. Or, they might offer a discount through the store’s app. It can’t hurt to take a look at what deals they are offering on toys.

Gardening Supplies
In many parts of the United States, the weather is getting to cold for gardening. Plants don’t grow very well in the winter weather that is just around the corner. You can buy some nice gardening supplies in October for less money than they were selling for in April. Plan ahead for next year by purchasing replacements for gardening tools that wore out in the springtime.

Halloween Costumes
The closer we get to Halloween, the more the Halloween costumes drop in price. Plan ahead for next year and purchase a new Halloween costume now. You can save money by waiting until the last minute to buy the makeup and accessories that go with this year’s Halloween costume. For the best deals, try the pop-up Halloween stores that need to move out by the end of October.

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Healthy Food Swaps to Try

Posted on Wednesday, September 14th, 2016 at 7:00 am
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Want to eat healthier without completely missing out on some favorite foods? Try these healthy food swaps!How healthy are the meals you have been eating lately? What about the snacks? We all need to eat, and many of us seek out things that are convenient and that we are accustomed to. It is possible to swap out a comfort food with a healthier option.

Healthy Food Swaps

You can swap out a regular potato for a sweet potato in a multitude of recipes that call for potatoes. A medium sweet potato is only about 100 calories when baked in the skin. They also have complex carbohydrates, which are released at a steady pace for a constant source of vitality.

Make a batch of sweet potato fries. Eat a loaded sweet potato instead of a loaded regular potato. Thanksgiving dinner is the perfect time to serve a sweet potato casserole (instead of mashed potatoes).

Love pasta but don’t like the amount of carbs in it? Swap out your spaghetti noodles for some spaghetti squash. One cup of spaghetti pasta has around 200 calories. A cup of spaghetti squash has only around 30 calories.

Spaghetti squash is unique because it can be shredded into long, thin, strands that look a lot like regular spaghetti noodles. Cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Roast it at 400 degrees. Cook for about 30 to 45 minutes or until tender. Shred the warm spaghetti squash into noodles, and serve with your favorite pasta sauce.

Many of us start our days with a cup of coffee. You can get your daily dose of caffeine, for less calories, if you drink black coffee. It is super easy to make for yourself at home. A simple black coffee is usually the least expensive drink on the menu at a typical coffee shop.

You can do a lot with a cauliflower. Put the cauliflower florets into a food processor and turn them into a nice substitute for rice. The texture is similar, but the cauliflower offers a lighter taste and less calories than real rice would.

Got a picky eater at home that hates vegetables? Buy an orange cauliflower, break the florets into small pieces, and steam them. You can mix those veggies into a bowl of macaroni and cheese without making it obvious that there are vegetables in the dish. Doing so also lets you swap out some of pasta with vegetables.

Need a quick snack? Those that seek out crunchy snacks can swap out their potato chips or pretzels with cut vegetables. Carrots and cucumber are crunchy. They are fresh, healthy, and lower in calories than potato chips.

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3 Ways to Save Money by Downsizing

Posted on Monday, September 12th, 2016 at 10:10 pm
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Downsizing involves getting rid of the things that you no longer need.  Doing this can help you save money.One way to save some money is by getting rid of things that you do not need or that no longer fit your lifestyle. Downsizing can be a relief for people who have accumulated too many things and do not know what to do with them. Going through stuff that hasn’t been touched in years is a good way to prevent yourself from buying things you already have.

Ways to Downsize

Sell Your Car
The car that has been sitting in your garage for years is costing you money. It adds to the cost of your car insurance. It requires at least a minimal amount of maintenance, even if you have stopped driving it. Downsize by selling that vehicle. Doing so might lower the cost of your car insurance.

If your lifestyle or work situation has changed, its possible that you won’t need a car at all anymore. Those who work from home and who live in a place that has good public transportation might not actually need their car anymore. Sell it, and you save the money you would have spent on car insurance and maintenance.

Cancel Subscriptions
Get rid of the subscriptions that you are paying for but do not use. Stop spending money on the gym subscription that you bought in January and have only used once or twice since then.

Canceling magazine and newspaper subscriptions provides two benefits at the same time. You won’t be spending money on things you aren’t reading, and you can get rid of some clutter. Have you subscribed to more than one music streaming service or video streaming service? Downsize by picking one and canceling the rest.

Go Through Your Closet
Most of us have clothing that we wear all the time…. and a bunch of clothing we don’t wear at all. Downsize by going through your closet and removing all the clothes that you don’t wear.

There are reasons why you aren’t wearing those clothes. Maybe the clothing no longer fits. You might be hanging on to clothing for sentimental reasons – like a bridesmaid dress or a college sweatshirt. Or, maybe your tastes changed and the clothes in your closet are unappealing.

Downsize your clothing by getting rid of the stuff you don’t wear. Donate it to a charity. Have a yard sale. Give it to your younger relatives who might get use out if it. This frees up your closet by giving you space to put new clothing.

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PepsiCo Introduces Organic Gatorade

Posted on Wednesday, September 7th, 2016 at 7:00 am
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PepsiCo is rolling out G Organic - an organic version of their Gatorade product.  Will this attract consumers who prefer to buy organic products?PepsiCo is doing something completely new with Gatorade. They have introduced organic Gatorade. It appears that the motivation for this change is based on what people are asking for, as well as a means for PepsiCo to attract healthy-minded customers.

The new organic Gatorade (which is also being called G Organic) is available in three flavors: Lemon, Strawberry, and Mixed Berry. The bottles look slightly different from the regular type of Gatorade, but still have the big G logo on them.

AdAge reports that you can find organic Gatorade in Kroger supermarkets. Later, PepsiCo will rollout the organic Gatorade to select grocery, natural, and convenience stores. If you don’t find it at your local grocery store, wait a bit. It might show up there later. The rollout might include single-serve bottles of the new drink.

The reason why PepsiCo is making this change is because they have heard that there is an interest and desire among athletes to go organic. This makes a certain amount of sense, considering that many athletes work with nutritionists.

Another reason for the change is to attract consumers who have already been seeking out organic products. It will be interesting to see if PepsiCo can manage to maintain a balance between the two groups. Will those who love the original Gatorade be turned off by the company’s choice to make a G Organic variety?

Will the people who like to buy organic products want to try G Organic? Or will they stick to things like coconut water?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has rules that determine whether or not a product can be labeled as organic. Regulations prohibit organically processed foods from containing artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors and require that their ingredients are organic (with some minor exceptions).

AdAge reports that PepsiCo’s organic Gatorade has been certified organic by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. But, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the product is as healthy as a fruit or vegetable that has been labeled organic.

NPR reported that organic Gatorade does contain sugar. They believe that organic Gatorade contains organic cane sugar (instead of the sucralose that the regular Gatorade contains).

One thing consumers can learn from this is that a product that has been labeled organic is not always going to be the healthiest choice. A organic product is allowed to contain organic cane sugar. Check the amount of sugar in an organic product before you purchase it.

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