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How to Save

America Saves Offers Tips to Help You Save Money

Posted on Wednesday, January 12th, 2022 at 7:00 am
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America Saves is a campaign managed by the nonprofit Consumer Federation of America. It motivates, encourages, and supports low- to moderate-income households to save money, reduce debt, and build wealth.

Here are some tips from America Saves that could help you save money:

Save your coins. Putting aside just 50 cents a day over a year will get you almost halfway to an emergency fund. Check with your bank or credit union, and research apps that offer programs that round your purchases up to the nearest dollar and put the difference into a separate savings account.

Avoid purchasing expensive or unnecessary items with a self-imposed 24-hour rule. For any non-essential item, wait 24 hours before purchasing. It is perfect for online shopping where your items can simply be added to your cart to purchase later.

Unsubscribe from marketing emails and texts from the stores where you spend the most money. By law, each marketing email is required to have an unsubscribe link, usually at the bottom of the email or you can reply to any text with STOP, and that should opt you out of their list.

Pay off credit cards in full each month. The miles and cash-back are only valuable if you are not falling into debt or paying interest.

Only use the ATMs of your bank or credit union. Using the ATM of another financial institution once a week could cost you $3 for each withdrawal. That’s more than $150 over the course of a year.

Pay your bills on auto-pay. This ensures they are paid on time, in full to avoid late charges.

Use the library! Libraries offer several entertainment options including classes, e-books, and audio-books. Some libraries even allow you to borrow things like tools and sewing machines.

Brown bag your lunch. The reason you hear this tip so often is that it works! If buying lunch at work costs $5, but making lunch at home only costs $2.50, then in a year you could afford to create a $500 emergency fund and still have money left over.

For more information, visit the America Saves website.

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LED Bulbs Might Lower Your Electric Bill

Posted on Wednesday, December 15th, 2021 at 7:00 am
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Do you enjoy decorating your Christmas tree – and the outside of your home – with colorful Christmas lights? If so, then you should consider using LED lights instead of the regular lights. It turns out that LED lights use less electricity. Switching to LED lights could lower your energy bill.

According to Reviewed, the financial and energy savings that could be gained from switching from traditional incandescent Christmas lights to more energy-efficient LED Christmas lights is a good idea. Doing so could save you money on your electric bill.

The Christmas Guys, a company that provides commercial and residential lighting services for Christmas decoration, prefer LED lights to incandescent lights.

“In past years, it wasn’t worth paying the extra for LED Christmas lights, thankfully now that the technology continues to get better the pricing has made it a no brainer to use LED lights over incandescent lights for holiday decorating. The Christmas Guys now exclusively use LED lights and are unable to provide incandescent lights to new clients.”

The U.S. Department of Energy says that lighting accounts for around 15% of an average home’s electricity use, and the average household saves about $225 in energy costs per year by using LED lighting. If you are still using incandescent light bulbs, the Department of Energy recommends you switch to energy-efficient lighting to cut your energy bills.

According to the Department of Energy, the cost of LED bulbs has decreased dramatically since they entered the market and prices are expected to come down further as more products become available. While LEDs are more expensive than traditional incandescent bulbs, they still save money because they last a long time and have very low energy use.

If you haven’t begun decorating the outside of your home with lights yet, now is the time to switch to LED bulbs. You can also find LED bulbs for your Christmas tree. You can have a merry Christmas and save money at the same time.

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Have a Frugal Christmas this Year

Posted on Wednesday, December 8th, 2021 at 7:00 am
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Christmas can be an especially expensive time of the year. But, it doesn’t have to be! This year, consider having a frugal Christmas. You can get great gifts for your loved ones without going into debt. This year, there is an ongoing shipping problem, and you can avoid that hassle with these money-saving tips.

Visit the Thrift Stores

Thrift stores can be a really good place to shop for gifts. The prices will always be reasonable, and that’s great for people who don’t have a lot of money to spend.

Thrift stores are good places to look for comfy sweaters for relatives who get cold very easily. You can also find interesting books for readers, old records for music lovers, and bolts of fabric for the crafters in your life.

Consider the Dollar Stores

Dollar Tree offers a wide variety of Christmas ornaments for a dollar a case. It also has some ornaments that cost $1.00 on their own. They also have a selection of Santa hats, Christmas headbands, and Christmas stockings. You can buy necklaces that have LED bulbs on them that look like the lights one would put on the outside of their house.

Having guests over for a holiday dinner? Some Dollar Stores sell holiday tableware that is decorative and festive. One case of 12 plates costs $1.00. A case of mugs also costs $1.00. No one needs to know where you got them from.

Regifting is an Option

The kitchen appliance that you received as a gift – but never used – could be just the thing that a friend or relative would love to have! Dig it out of your closet or garage, dust if off, and wrap it up. The purpose of gift giving is to bring some joy to someone you care about. The price of the item doesn’t really matter.

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Shop for Christmas Gifts Early in 2021

Posted on Wednesday, November 10th, 2021 at 10:00 am
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Is there a special toy that your child desperately wants to see under the Christmas tree? Do you have family members across the United States that you want to send gifts to? Don’t wait until the Black Friday sales to start shopping. Those items may be sold out long before then.

According to CBS News, there are supply chain problems that are delaying the shipping of products to stores. The reason is because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Products that used to swiftly move from one country to another, and into stores, may now be held up at ports – indefinitely.

Shop local. Start shopping the stores that local to where you live. You can cut down on shipping fees, and the time it takes for a product to ship to your home.

Ship soon. The businesses and organizations that you used to ship gifts to your loved ones have created a new deadline for those who want the gift to arrive before Christmas.
United States Postal Service (USPS) recommend that following for most of the United States:

USPS Retail Ground Service – December 15
First-Class Mail Service – December 17
Priority Mail Service – December 18
Priority Mail Express Service – December 23

Check the USPS website for details regarding Alaska and Hawaii

FedEX 2021 shipping deadlines for holiday packages (within the United States):

FedEx Same Day – December 24
Extra Hours – December 23
2Day & 2Day AM – December 22
FedEx Express Saver – December 23
FedEx 1Day Freight – December 23
FedEx 2Day Freight December 22
FedEx 3Day Freight – December 21

December 15 is the deadline for FedEx Ground (US including Alaska and Hawaii) and FedEx Home Delivery. FedEx Ground Economy deadline is December 9.

UPS 2021 shipping deadlines:

Normal pickup and delivery service – December 20
Last day to ship UPS 3 Day Select Packages – December 21
Last day to ship UPS 2nd Day Air packages – December 22
Last day to ship UPS Next Day Air packages – December 23 (for delivery December 24)

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Chase Freedom Unlimited Card Offers Cash Back

Posted on Wednesday, August 11th, 2021 at 7:00 am
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Chase Bank offers the Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card. This card has many cash back rewards and benefits.

Right now, there is a new cardmember offer. Earn a $200 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in the first three months from account opening, and earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target or Walmart purchases) and up to $12,000 spent in the first year.

The Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card award 1.5% cash back for every $1 spent on all purchases. You also earn 5% cash back on travel purchases made with Chase Ultimate Rewards and 3% cash back on dining purchases at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services. Through March of 2022, cardmembers can also earn 5% cash back on all Lyft rides. Cash back points can be redeemed through Ultimate Rewards with no minimum.

Chase Freedom Unlimited can earn 5% cash back on all travel purchases Chase Ultimate Rewards. They can also earn 3% cash back on drugstore purchases. In addition, Chase Freedom Unlimited cardmembers will continue to earn 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.

Card members get a 0% intro APR for 15 months from opening their account on purchases and balance transfers. After the intro period ends, a variable APR of 14.99%-23.74% takes effect. Chase Freedom Unlimited card holders will have no annual fee.

Unlike with some other credit cards, the Chase Freedom Unlimited cash back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open. There is no minimum to redeem for cash back.

It is worth knowing that you can have the Chase Freedom Flex and the Chase Freedom Unlimited credit cards at the same time. The same cash back rewards are offered on each credit card.

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Apple Card Offers Unlimited Daily Cash Back

Posted on Wednesday, August 4th, 2021 at 7:00 am
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Looking for a credit card that gives you cash back? Apple Card does this by giving users Daily Cash back every day. Use your Apple Card to make a purchase, and you can immediately see how much cash back you have received.

When you buy something using Apple Card, you get a percentage of your purchase back in Daily Cash. It’s real cash, so unlike rewards, it never expires or loses its value. Your cash is deposited right into your Apple Cash card in the Wallet app – not a month from now, but every day.

And there’s no limit to how much you can get. Use it to buy things in stores, on websites, and in apps. Make a payment on your Apple Card. Payback a friend in Messages. Or send it straight to your bank account and watch it add up.

There are no fees on Apple Card – not even hidden ones. Apple eliminated fees and built tools to help you pay less interest, You can apply in minutes to see if you are approved with no impact to your credit score. Advanced technologies like Face ID, Touch ID, and Apple Pay give you a new level of privacy and security.

As you may have expected, you need to have an iPhone in order to get an Apple Card. The only way to apply for the Apple Card is to apply for it through your iPhone.

The best way to use Apple Card is with Apple Pay – the secure technology built into iPhone, Apple Watch, iPad and Mac, and accepted at 85 percent of merchants in the United States. Apple Pay is a safer way to pay that helps you avoid touching buttons or exchanging cash.

Every purchase you make using your Apple Card with Apple Pay gets you 2% Daily Cash back. No points to calculate. No limits or deadlines. Just real cash that’s ready to spend whenever, wherever, and however you want.

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Amazon Fresh Grocery Store has Just Walk Out Technology

Posted on Wednesday, July 14th, 2021 at 7:00 am
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Amazon has added something new to its Amazon Fresh Grocery Stores. It is called “Just Walk Out” technology, and it connects to a customer’s Amazon account or credit card. This feature is currently available in the Amazon Fresh Grocery Store located in The Marketplace at Factoria in Bellevue, Washington.

Veggies, fruit, meat, seafood, prepared foods, and pastries – all the amazing selection customers love and expect, with the option to skip the checkout line. This is the very first time Amazon has built the option to show using Just Walk Out or traditional shopping all in one full-size grocery store.

In this store, customers can come in, shop for the groceries they want, and skip the checkout line using Just Walk Out technology, Alternatively, customers can opt to shop using the traditional checkout lanes, staffed by employees, who are also available throughout the store for assistance.

Just Walk Out technology is made possible by a combination of computer vision, sensor fusion, and deep learning, and adds convenience to customers’ grocery shopping experience by giving them the option to come in, pick up what they want, and skip the checkout when they’re done. Anyone shopping at the new Amazon Fresh store can take advantage of the technology, which connects to the customers’ Amazon account or credit card. Customers are prompted at the store’s entry gates to choose if they want to use Just Walk Out shopping or the traditional checkout lanes.

Right now, the only place the Just Walk Out technology is available is in the Amazon Fresh Grocery Store in Washington. Those who are interested in shopping there should do a price comparison before they go. Does the Amazon grocery store have better prices than your regular grocery store? The new technology may be convenient, but it won’t matter if the prices are too high for your budget.

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Grocery Stores Pull Perishable Food During Heat Wave

Posted on Wednesday, July 7th, 2021 at 7:00 am
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Summer temperatures are causing some grocery stores to shut down their perishable food aisles. According to Insider, a heat wave is making it hard for the grocery store’s air conditioning and refrigerators to maintain proper temperatures. In some stores, perishable food has been removed from shelves.

What can you do if this is happening in the grocery stores where you live? There are some options you can try to get your family through the heat wave.

Stay hydrated. If the water that comes out of the tap in your home is drinkable, you should be able to use it to avoid becoming dehydrated. Put some water in your freezer and make ice for your drinks.

Use up the meat and dairy that you already have at home. Carefully thaw frozen burger patties. Put cheese slices on them after those are cooked. Make a salad from the veggies that are in your refrigerator. It is possible that simple meals like this will get your family through the heat wave. Stores should go back to normal when the temperature drops.

Need produce but can’t find anything fresh? Buy canned vegetables instead. The nutrition in canned vegetables may or may not be the same as the fresh ones. But, it should be close enough. Unopened canned vegetables won’t go bad during a heat wave.

Has your grocery store run out of electrolyte drinks (such as Gatorade)? It is possible that a nearby pharmacy, that sells some groceries, might have it. Pharmacies that sell food will have fewer refrigerators than a grocery store would need. As such, the pharmacies might be unaffected by a heat wave.

If all else fails, you can try to stay cool by turning on your air conditioner and staying inside. Those who live in states that have reopened may find some comfort in going to a movie theater. They should have cold drinks and snacks.

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Free Fun in Summer of 2021

Posted on Wednesday, June 2nd, 2021 at 7:00 am
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Summer fun doesn’t have to be expensive. There are plenty of things that families, couples, or individuals can do for free. Many of them can be done at home, while other activities can take place outside (assuming where you live is able to lessen COVID-19 restrictions).

Read a Book

Summer is a good time to relax with a good book. Choose an old favorite that you haven’t read in a while. Start working on your “to-read” list. Visit your local library and browse the shelves for something unexpected – yet interesting.

Families with children can start reading books out loud to each other. Parents can pick a childhood favorite, or read a book that was selected by their kids. Another option is to sign your children up for a free Summer Reading program.

Visit a Park

When is the last time you took your kids to a local park to play? It may have been sometime before the COVID-19 restrictions were put in place. Playgrounds are a good place for children to get some exercise while having fun,

Families, couples, or individuals can visit a park that is filled with plants and trees. It can be nice to be out in nature again after having to stay at home for so long. Some state or national parks offer trails where people can take a walk or a hike.

Positive Chalk Messages
Use up some sidewalk chalk that you have at home. Parents can encourage their kids to write or draw happy messages on your driveway. People passing by can enjoy the positive, colorful, art. Simple things like this can lift people’s moods – especially those who are struggling with the return to “normal”.

Organize

Things are starting to open up again, and that means now is a great time to do some de-cluttering. Keep the stuff that you frequently use. Donate things that you haven’t found a use for or lost interest in. Throw the junk away. There is something about de-cluttering that can make people feel really good when they are done.

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Frugal Living Might Change Your Life

Posted on Wednesday, May 12th, 2021 at 7:00 am
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One way to save money is to live a frugal lifestyle. The definition of frugal is: “economical in use or expenditure; prudently saving or sparing; not wasteful.” Some people find that living frugally makes them happy and less stressed. Frugal living makes you be more intentional about what you purchase.

Declutter

You probably have things sitting in your home, or garage, or shed that you haven’t used in years – or maybe at all! One way to live frugally is to declutter your living space. The result is a cleaner, less cluttered, place to live.

Pass some hand-me-downs to a sibling who is close to your size. Donate books to the local library. Follow Marie Kondo’s advice, and ask yourself if an item “sparks joy” If not, then it is time to recycle it or bring it to a thrift store.

Set a Budget

Setting up a budget gives you a very clear idea about how much money you earn – compared to what you spend. You might decide to stop spending money on things like subscriptions you don’t use, food delivery from restaurants, or “impulse shopping”. The next step is learn how to stick to your budget. Making your budget work for you will save you money.

Get a Reusable Water Bottle

Plastic water bottles are not good for the environment. They are an unnecessary expense for people who can safely drink the tap water that comes from their faucets. One frugal solution is to get a reusable water bottle, fill it with water, and bring it with you. Quality water bottles can be easily washed and reused, over and over again. You only have to pay for it once!

Eat Less Meat

Meat is one of the most expensive things you can buy at the grocery store. “Meatless Monday” is a frugal way to get the nutrition you need without meat. People who do this find that plant-based meals can lower the cost of their grocery bill.

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