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Neiman Marcus Filed for Bankruptcy

Posted on Monday, May 11th, 2020 at 5:07 pm
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Neiman Marcus, a luxury department store chain, has filed for bankruptcy. CNBC reported that the problems that Neiman Marcus was facing included debt and the coronavirus pandemic. The company filed for bankruptcy, a deal that includes handing its business over to creditors.

It is not unusual for stores that have been saddled with a lot of debt – for whatever reason – to have to make tough decisions about filing for bankruptcy. The new twist here is that the coronavirus pandemic has closed retail stores that would otherwise be open, greatly limiting foot traffic and the ability for stores to sell directly to customers.

For those who love the Neiman Marcus brand and style, there are some ways you can save on those products right now. The Neiman Marcus website currently has an “Up to 50% off” sale. It includes a wide variety of things including shoes, hair accessories, bags/purses, pajamas, dresses, pants, shirts, and even some extremely unique looking home décor. Several of these items have been recently marked down from the original sale price.

There is also a clearance sale on the Neiman Marcus website. As always with clearance sales, it is hard to know for certain how long these items will be available.

There is also a limited time offer where customers can “earn a $50 – $2,400 gift card” by using a code on the Neiman Marcus website. In general, these types of offers require customers to spend a certain amount of money before they can earn a gift card. There may not be time for that with a store that has filed for bankruptcy.

Another thing to keep in mind is that Neiman Marcus is expensive. These sales have lowered the price on some items, but they are still going to be far outside of the budget of most consumers.

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J. Crew is Preparing for Bankruptcy

Posted on Monday, May 4th, 2020 at 4:54 pm
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Clothing company J. Crew is preparing for a bankruptcy filing. This was reported by CNBC and several other news sites. In the past few years, J. Crew has struggled to retain loyal customers. Recently, it has faced challenges due to the coronovirus pandemic that caused many people to be under “stay at home” orders.

As always, when a clothing store appears to be facing bankruptcy, there will be ways for people to save money while shopping the store. For best results, visit the J.Crew website. Right now, customers who sign up for J. Crew Rewards get an extra 15% off their purchase.

There is also a 60% off sale on swim and shorts. You can purchase one-piece women’s swimsuits, or individual parts of two-piece women’s swimsuits. This enables customers to mix and match different shapes of swimwear in order to end up with something they are comfortable wearing.

There is also a 40% off sale on Summer-Ready styles. This offer is only valid on the J. Crew website. Use the code SETSALE when you make your purchase. The Summer-Ready styles include a variety of dresses, t-shirts & tank tops, other shirts and tops, pants (some of which have draw-strings) jeans, sweaters, and skirts. There is also a selection of summer suits for those who want them.

You should assume that the items you purchase from a store that is filing for bankruptcy will not be accepted as returns. In general, stores that file for bankruptcy tend to have bigger and bigger sales as they try to liquidate stock.

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Hoarding Toilet Paper Won’t Save You Money

Posted on Wednesday, April 15th, 2020 at 1:51 pm
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Shortly after people became aware of the dangers of COVID-19, they started hoarding toilet paper. They also hoarded cans of beans, huge bags of rice, milk, and eggs. Maybe you were one of the people who hoarded necessary items. Keep in mind that hoarding toilet paper isn’t going to save you money.

Why are people hoarding toilet paper and other items? It is because they are afraid. COVID-19 is a scary, contagious, virus. People who are afraid may do irrational things in an effort to comfort themselves. In this case, people bought pallets of toilet paper because doing so made them feel as though they had control over what happened.

Hoarding toilet paper, and food, will end up costing you more money than you save. Stores are no longer accepting returns on those items, in part because doing so could spread coronavirus. You may be stuck with more food than you can safely eat before it goes bad. That’s a waste of money!

Spending more than you should have a huge grocery haul could make it harder for you to pay bills. Overspending on groceries could mean you can’t pay your credit card bill. It could mean you don’t have extra money to spend on an emergency. Hoarding could result in not quite having enough money to pay your rent next month.

Some people see empty shelves at the grocery store and panic because they think it means there is a shortage. So, they overspend on things they really don’t need in that quantity. Doing so could actually cause a shortage where their wasn’t one before.

Shortages can lead to rationing. Grocery stores may impose a limit of one package of toilet paper per customer, or two cans of beans per household. The best way to prevent rationing is to only buy what you need for the next week.

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Telemedicine Might Save You Some Money

Posted on Wednesday, April 8th, 2020 at 1:03 am
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It can be unpleasant to have to go to the doctor’s office while sick. In the time of coronavirus, a waiting room could be dangerous, especially for people who do not have strong immune systems. Telemedicine is a safer solution – and might save you some money.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced it has expanded access to telehealth services during the COVID-19 outbreak. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) expanded Medicare coverage for telehealth visits. HHS Office of Civil Rights announced it will waive potential HIPPA penalties for good faith use of telemedicine during the pandemic. HHS Office of Inspector General provided flexibility for healthcare providers to reduce or waive beneficiary cost-sharing for telehealth visits paid for by federal healthcare programs.

People who are working from home should check their employer sponsored health insurance to see if telemedicine is covered. U.S. News reported that almost al large employers now offer telehealth services as part of their employee coverage. And more health plans are expanding telehealth into behavioral health, which helps provide therapists and psychologists in areas that suffer from a shortage of providers.

U.S. News says that the national median cost for a video-based telemedicine visit is $50, compared to $85 for a low-severity treatment at a doctor’s office, $130 for an urgent care facility visit, and $740 for an emergency room visit (according to UnitedHealthcare).

Telemedicine can save you money because it costs less than if you went to see a doctor in-person. If there is a co-pay, it is typically much lower than the co-pay at the doctor’s office would be.

You might have to miss work to go see a doctor in person. Telemedicine means you can still work from home while waiting for the doctor to contact you.

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Best Things to Buy in April

Posted on Friday, March 20th, 2020 at 5:39 pm
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Every month, there are certain things that go on sale. April has a lot to offer, including some interesting freebies. It helps if you know where to look and when to shop. Here are some of the things to buy (or to get for free) in April.

This year, Tax Day is on April 15, 2020. That is the due date for filing your 2019 federal income tax return. Most people do not enjoy working on their taxes, and some worry about how much money they will have to pay. To make the day a little brighter, fast food places, restaurants, coffee shops, and more may offer a tax day freebie. Check your favorite store’s website to find out what the freebie will be.

The best time to buy holiday items is right after the holiday is over. Easter Sunday will be on April 12, 2020. You may start seeing baskets, plastic eggs, Easter grass, chocolate bunnies, and Easter decorations at a lower price shortly before Easter Day. The prices will drop more after Easter. Stock up on nonperishable Easter decorations for next year – and save money doing it.

Visit a National Park for free! National Park Week 2020 starts on April 18 and ends on April 26. All entry fees are waived on April 18. There will also be special days during the week to highlight the different ways everyone can enjoy national parks.

April is a good month to buy clothing. The least expensive way to do it is to visit thrift stores. You may find some really nice clothing there that someone else decided to get rid of while Spring Cleaning. Retail stores often start their Spring clothing sales in April. Before you shop, check their sales paper for coupons. Visit their website to find coupon codes for online shopping.

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Save Time with Spring Cleaning

Posted on Sunday, March 15th, 2020 at 3:26 am
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It’s that time of year again! While there are some people who enjoy Spring cleaning, others do not look forward to it at all. Fortunately, there are some ways to save time with Spring cleaning.

Freshen up your refrigerator with a box of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda. It has sodium bicarbonate in it that absorbs odors and stops flavor transfer. This helps keep your foods tasting fresher for a longer period of time. For best results, start by giving the inside of your refrigerator a good cleaning.

Door mats collect dirt, salt, sand, and other things that you don’t want tracked through your home. You can quickly and easily clean outside door mats by spraying them with your garden hose. Leave them in the sun to dry. Use a vacuum to clean the door mats that are inside the house.

It is time to clean the winter dirt off the windows! The quickest way to do this is to raise the blinds or remove the curtains. Use a glass cleaner and a microfiber cloth to clean your windows – streak free. Some people have windows that can be opened into the home for cleaning. Don’t forget to give the outside of the window a good cleaning.

Take advantage of having so many open windows and clean your oven. Start by wiping out the inside of the oven with a damp sponge or cloth. Remove the oven racks and wash them individually with warm, sudsy, water. Rinse them off, and return them to the oven when they are dry. You should do this every four months.

Reusable grocery bags are great for the environment. They do require some maintenance, however. Turn them inside out. Run them through the washing machine regularly to remove food and bacteria. This will work well with canvas or cloth bags.

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Ways to Save Money While Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day

Posted on Tuesday, March 10th, 2020 at 12:19 am
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You can celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with friends without spending too much money. The easiest way to save money while celebrating St. Patrick’s Day is to plan ahead. You can have fun while being frugal!

Assign a Designated Driver

Will you and your friends be drinking alcohol? If so, then you need to assign a designated driver ahead of time. Ask a friend who enjoys being social but doesn’t drink alcohol. Another good option is public transportation. Some places will offer free bus or train rides the night of St. Patrick’s Day. You save money by not having to pay a rideshare service’s raised rates on St. Patrick’s night.

St. Patrick’s Day Discounts

Restaurants and fast food places often offer freebies, or discounts, on St. Patrick’s Day. Obtaining the freebie may require you to wear something green. Check the websites of your favorite places to eat and look for a St. Patrick’s Day deal. Bars are very likely to hold a Happy Hour in the afternoon or early evening. Some coffee shops have their own version of Happy Hour. Show up at the right time, and you can save money on both food and drinks.

Avoid Expensive Parking

St. Patrick’s Day parades are fun to watch. The cost of parking your vehicle, however, can be horribly high. Avoid parking in makeshift lots that are run by a random person. They might charge more than the parking garage! Public transportation will be inexpensive, but might be crowded. If you are lucky, you might be able to walk to the area where the parade will be taking place.

If none of that sounds appealing, you can always stay home and watch a livestream of the parade on your computer. Your local news channel might broadcast the parade on TV. This is a great option if the weather is cold and rainy.

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How to Prevent Food Waste and Save on Groceries

Posted on Monday, March 2nd, 2020 at 1:43 am
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One often overlooked way to save money on groceries is to do what you can to prevent food waste. This strategy forces people to look at food differently than they may have before. It is a bit of a learning curve, but the savings are worth it!

Buy Frozen Food

Frozen produce is just as nutritious as fresh produce. It is also less expensive, and lasts much longer. This is great for families who aren’t always good at eating fresh fruits and veggies before they go bad. Put frozen fruit into a smoothie. Pair frozen mixed vegetables with a protein for dinner.

Use Up Wilted Produce

It is entirely possible to rescue wilted produce and turn it into part of a tasty meal. Cut wilted carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips, and other root vegetables into bite-sized pieces. Toss them in olive oil, salt, pepper, and whatever spices you enjoy. Put them in the oven for a nice snack or a side dish for a meal.

Salvage the Good Stuff

Is your broccoli past its prime? Cut away the bad parts – and save the core. It can be cut into small pieces that will be just as flavorful as the florets would be. The same is true of celery, carrots, zucchini, and root vegetables. Turn the small pieces into a vegetable soup. Have your tomatoes seen better days? Make them into pasta sauce, and add some chopped zucchini bits.

Do a Food Waste Audit

How much food is your family throwing away? Find out with a food waste audit. Write down all the food that ended up in the trash for two weeks. Keep your grocery receipt and find out how much money you wasted. This simple process could open your eyes to how much food waste is happening – and motivate you to reduce waste.

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March is Frozen Food Month

Posted on Monday, February 24th, 2020 at 2:06 pm
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March is Frozen Food Month. It is a great time to stock up on the frozen foods that your family enjoys eating. You may want to check your freezer and find out how much room you have before March begins.

The easiest way to get the best savings from Frozen Food Month is to look for coupons for frozen foods around the end of February. More coupons can appear as the month goes on. Some of these coupons could be from manufacturers of frozen foods. Check the website of your favorite frozen foods brands. They could be offering printable or downloadable coupons in March.

Plan meals. Frozen foods last longer than fresh ones. To make the best use of the frozen foods you buy in March, it is a good idea to start with a meal plan. Doing so helps you figure out what kinds of frozen foods you should buy, and how many you will need. For example, frozen hamburger patties could be served with frozen french fries. Supplement it with a fresh vegetable, or a salad, and dinner is served!

Not sure how to make a meal that includes frozen food? A website called Easy Home Meals can help. You will find plenty of recipes there. Search for recipes by brand, ingredient, occasion, meal, or the time it takes to prepare the meal. Most, if not all of the recipes, centers around a frozen food item.

Don’t forget to take a look at the social media of your favorite brands that make frozen foods. There could be useful advice posted there about how to find more coupons, new frozen foods that have recently been released, and potentially some contests, sweepstakes, or giveaways. You may also find a new ideas on how to use frozen foods in ways that are new to you.

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Unexpected Ways to Save Money on Food

Posted on Monday, February 17th, 2020 at 2:08 am
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Frugal shoppers know that using coupons, getting the grocery store’s loyalty card, and checking the sales papers are all good ways to save money on food. The next step is to use some unexpected ways to save money on groceries. Shop smarter! Here are some tips to try.

Don’t grocery shop while you are hungry. Many people make the mistake of doing their grocery shopping while they are feeling tired or hungry. This causes people to buy more items than they typically would. Grocery stores that sell hot foods, or have a buffet set-up, can be very tempting if you skipped lunch or haven’t had dinner yet. For best results – eat first, and shop after that.

Shop alone. This is especially good advice for parents. Children tend to want to add things to their parent’s shopping cart that aren’t on the grocery list. One or two extra items, each trip, can really add up. If possible, do your grocery shopping while the kids are at school. Another option is for one parent get the groceries, while the other watches the children.

Check the bottom shelf. There is a trick that grocery stores play on customers. The more expensive items are placed at eye level. If you want to save money, take a look at the products on the bottom shelf first. Chances are, there is a version of what you need that costs less than the ones the store wants you to buy.

Meat is a good source of protein, but it can also be expensive. If your budget is tight this week, consider substituting meat for black beans, lentils, chickpeas, or edamame. Peanut butter also contains protein, and you can find brands that do not add a ton of sugar to it. A carton of eggs often costs less than a pound of meat.

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