How to Save - Part 4
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How to Save

Save Money by Cutting Down on Food Waste

Posted on Wednesday, December 9th, 2020 at 7:00 am
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Many things have changed since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Some restaurants have closed. Others are no longer allowed to have indoor dining. You might be in an area where grocery delivery is unavailable or too expensive. One way to save money is to cut down on food waste.

A great way to cut down on food waste is to consider portion size. Does your favorite restaurant allow people to order take-away? The portion you receive is likely to be larger than an adult should eat in one meal. Take the food home and split it into two portions. Refrigerate one portion, and eat the other immediately. Ordering delivery? You can do the same thing.

Turning one over-sized portion of food into two smaller portions means you get two meals for the price of one. Make sure to eat the second portion before it goes bad. Not sure you will remember to eat your leftovers? Pair up with a member of your household and order a meal that you can share. Two people get fed for the price of one.

Saving money on grocery shopping is more difficult if you want to have your groceries delivered to you. The person who shops for your groceries won’t have access to your coupons or your grocery store loyalty card.

One way to save money on grocery delivery is to find out what different services charge. Pick the one that is the least expensive. Before you shop online, take the time to plan out your meals for the week. Make a list of all the ingredients you need, and make sure you compare prices.

Of course, in order to really save money you will need to put in the effort to eat the groceries before they go bad. Frozen foods and canned goods last longer than fresh foods do.

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Starbucks is Closing More Stores in U.S. and Canada

Posted on Wednesday, November 11th, 2020 at 7:00 am
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Starbucks will close more 100 additional stores in the United States and an additional 200 stores in Canada. The closings will take place over the next 18 months. Starbucks said the closures will be focused in cities, or its “metro business” with lower-performing stores.

Why is this happening? It appears that Starbucks made that decision after assessing how its was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This makes sense, considering that people’s lifestyles and work habits changed as a result of COVID-19.

Before the pandemic, and the heath and safety measures that stores had to take in order to prevent the virus from spreading, people went to Starbucks for coffee before going to work. Others may have spent their lunch break at Starbucks. There was a time when people who worked from home would bring their laptop to Starbucks, find a table, and work there. Today, stores that serve food and drinks have had to remove indoor seating.

If the Starbucks nearest you closes, you may feel disappointed. On the other hand, this gives you the opportunity to save some money. Order some Starbucks coffee from the grocery store, and brew it at home. Doing so will be less expensive than if you bought it at a Starbucks shop. Or, if you are feeling adventurous, you could seek out a different brand of coffee.

Starbucks also intends to open new small-format stores, in places where the rent is lower. The focus is on drive-thru locations, particularly in the suburbs. In cities, Starbucks is starting to open Starbucks Pickup stores, where customers can place an order that will be ready for them when they arrive. It appears the Pickup stores only offer to-go service.

Another option is to seek out a local small business coffee shop. The cost of their drinks and pastries maybe lower than similar items at Starbucks.

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Stores that will be Closed on Thanksgiving Day 2020

Posted on Thursday, November 5th, 2020 at 7:00 am
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Thanksgiving day is a holiday in which many people spend time with their families. Some stores will be open on Thanksgiving day, while others will be closed. Here is a look at some of the stores that have announced that they will be closed on Thanksgiving day.

Target announced in July of 2020 that they will close their stores on Thanksgiving Day. “This season, you can count on getting extra-big savings without the extra-long lines, with plenty of opportunities to score the best deals on the hottest items both before and after November 26.” Target recommends you sign up for Target Circle – a free loyalty program that makes it easier to save – for the latest updates on deals throughout the season.

Dick’s Sporting Goods also announced in July of 2020 that it will close all its stores on Thanksgiving Day. It will also close all distribution centers. This closure includes specialty stores Golf Galaxy and Field & Stream.

Best Buy announced in July of 2020 that it will close its stores on Thanksgiving day. They are making some changes beforehand, such as more convenient pickup options at their stores, and making sure orders arrive at the right time. Customers will be able to shop on onThanksgiving day.

Macy’s announced in September of 2020 that its stores will be closed on Thanksgiving day. They encourage customers to shop on and through the Macy’s mobile app, where they will find all of Macy’s Black Friday deals. Macy’s stores will be open on November 27, 2020.

Trader Joe’s announced on October 12, 2020, the following: “Trader Joe’s Stores will be CLOSED on Thursday, November 26, 2020 for the Thanksgiving holiday. Be sure to pick up your bird and all the fixings before the holiday! We are thankful for you.”

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How to Save Money on Christmas 2020

Posted on Tuesday, October 13th, 2020 at 7:00 am
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October is often the month when people start trying to figure what their budget looks like for Christmas. This can be difficult for those who were unable to put away money this year due to unexpected difficulties related to COVID-19. Fortunately, there are things you can do to save money on Christmas 2020.

Avoid traveling. Christmas is a time when people want to be with their family – including those who live far away. It simply isn’t safe to do that in 2020 because of COVID-19, especially if you have family who are at high risk of catching the virus. Instead of traveling, consider “visiting” your relatives through Skype or Zoom. Doing so won’t cost as much as booking a flight and a hotel room!

Shop locally. The post office and all the companies that do shipping will be overloaded in the weeks before Christmas. Families who are used to ordering gifts online, and having them arrive before Christmas, cannot rely on it this year. For best results, shop locally. Choose small businesses that could really use some help. You may be required to wear a mask when inside the store.

Make use of the plastic Christmas tree that is in your garage or shed. You have already paid for it, so it won’t cost you anything to re-use it. Most of the ornaments and decorations will probably still be in good shape. Take the time to check on strings of lights to make sure they still work. Do some price checking before choosing the store that you will buy new Christmas lights from.

Use up last year’s wrapping paper before buying more. It is very easy to forget that you stored away some rolls of Christmas wrap when you were taking down the tree after the holiday was over. Another option is to cut apart brown paper bags and use them as gift wrap. You can decorate the bags with paint or marker first, and let them dry, if you want a holiday design.

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How to Save on Halloween Candy During COVID-19

Posted on Tuesday, October 6th, 2020 at 9:50 pm
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In previous years, people made sure to buy plenty of Halloween candy to hand out to trick-or-treaters. This year, celebrating Halloween in the regular way could be risky. Changes must be made to avoid spreading COVID-19. The unexpected result is that you can save money on Halloween candy this season.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) trick-or-treating is considered an unsafe activity this Halloween. This means you won’t need to buy as much Halloween candy as you may have purchased in previous years. It is fine to buy a little Halloween candy for your family to enjoy, and save money on it at the same time.

Avoid impulse buying. Things have been rough this year, and many people reach for sweets when they feel stressed. In many places, Halloween displays have already been put up in stores. This could influence you to buy Halloween candy that reminds you of better times. Again, a little bit is fine. Just be careful to stay within your budget.

People with large families can save money by purchasing a family-size bag of Halloween candy. You can get more candy for less money than if you bought several smaller bags of Halloween candy. This plan works best for families that all happen to enjoy the same kind of candy.

Take your time. Some candy companies started shipping Halloween candy to stores earlier this year than in past years. It appears they want to stretch out this candy-buying season. This means you can enjoy Halloween candy for longer this year, and make it fit within your budget.

Are your kids disappointed because they cannot go trick-or-treating this year? Parents can buy some Halloween candy for them to enjoy at home. It won’t cost much money to pick up a bag or two of candy.

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Pizza Hut will Close 300 Locations

Posted on Wednesday, September 9th, 2020 at 7:00 am
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Pizza Hut will close up to 300 restaurants, most of which are dine-in locations that are not well suited for carryout and delivery. It is easy to see why those locations aren’t doing well, at a time when people are sheltering at home and ordering delivery, and when restaurants in many states are not allowed to have people eat inside the building.

NPC International owns 1,225 Pizza Huts and Wendy’s restaurants in 27 states. On August 17, 2020, ABC News reported that there were 7,000 Pizza Hut restaurants in the United States.

In July of 2020, NPC International filed for bankruptcy protection. More recently, NPC International said, in documents filed in bankruptcy court, that it came to an agreement with Pizza Hut to close hundreds of locations. In the filing, NPC International said that closing stores that were not designed for pick-up or delivery will allow it to invest in smaller stores that can better handle online orders.

Yum Brands, which owns Pizza Hut and many other fast-food brands, said that the Pizza Hut stores that are being closed had underperformed others owned by NPC International, and that closing them would strengthen NPC’s remaining portfolio.

Does your family love Pizza Hut? You might still be able to get delivery if the Pizza Hut near you has been offering it. However, if the nearest Pizza Hut was dine-in only, and was not accepting pick-up orders, you may have a problem. That store may be closed.

Before you plan a pizza night, it would be a good idea to call the Pizza Hut that your family usually visits. If someone answers the phone, it probably means the restaurant is still in business. If it has already closed, you may need to find a Pizza Hut that offers delivery or pick-up orders.

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How to Shop Going Out of Business Sales

Posted on Wednesday, August 19th, 2020 at 7:00 am
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The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many stores to go out of business. Some of them are well-known brands that have been around a very long time. There is opportunity for smart shoppers to get the best deals from going out of business sales.

It may be tempting to buy things that you don’t actually need. Before making a purchase, take a minute to think about whether or not you actually have a use for the item. For example, replacing your old coffee maker with a new one – at a discount price – is a good idea. Buying clothing you won’t wear is a waste of money.

Do you have gift cards for the store that is closing? Now is the time to use them up! Before you visit the store in-person, check the store’s website to see if it is still accepting gift cards. Do you have coupons? The store may or may not take them, so keep that in mind as you shop.

The best deals aren’t likely to happen immediately. Going out of business sales are similar to clearance sales. The products included in the sale start of at a discount. As time goes by, the discounts increase. The longer you are able to wait, the better a deal you will get. However, there is a chance that the item you want will sell out if you wait too long.

Are you planning on buying an appliance from a going out of business sale? Doing so can be a bit of a gamble. Before you make the purchase, find out if the warranty is with the store that is going out of business, or if it is with the manufacture of the appliance.

The manufacturer of the appliance will likely continue to be in business after the store you bought it from closes. That kind of warranty is less risky than one from the store that won’t exist much longer.

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How to Get Tested for COVID-19 for Free

Posted on Tuesday, July 7th, 2020 at 10:39 pm
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People who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 might hesitate to get tested for it. What does it cost? Will your insurance cover the test? Here are some ways to get tested for COVID-19 for free.

CVS Health will offer self-swab COVID-19 tests to individuals meeting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) criteria. Patients will need to schedule tests online, and they will get tested in CVS parking lots or drive-thru windows. CVS will not do testing inside the stores. It appears this means that CVS will only test people who are sitting in the CVS parking lot inside a vehicle.

Walgreens is offering free drive-thru nasal swap testing for COVID-19. People will need to schedule test online and must be inside a vehicle in order to get tested. Walgreens does not to COVID-19 testing inside their stores.

In May, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced that Los Angeles would be the first big city in America to offer wide-scale, free COVID-19 testing to all residents, whether they are experiencing symptoms of the virus or not. To get tested for free in LA, a person must use an online portal to schedule a test.

New Jersey is offering free COVID-19 testing to anyone who wants a test. You don’t need to have health insurance in order to get tested. There are 250+ sites that will do free testing.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act requires all Medicaid, Medicare, and other government health insurance plans to cover COVID-19 testing for free. Some private health insurance plans will as well. People with no health insurance coverage should also be able to get tested for free.

Be aware that there are some “loopholes” to worry about. You could end up getting charged a lot of money for the test if you went to a doctor or hospital that your insurance company does not consider to be part of their network.

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Save Money on a “Staycation”

Posted on Thursday, July 2nd, 2020 at 7:47 am
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The school year has ended and summer is here! This is usually the time when people decide to spend a lot of money on a vacation that involves travel. In 2020, with COVID-19 still around, it makes more sense to take a “staycation” instead. Be healthy and save money at the same time!

Make a Vacation Playlist

Put together a playlist of the songs that make you think of summer vacation. Make use of your Spotify account, and create a collection of songs that remind you of road trips and beaches. If you prefer videos, consider making your summer playlist on YouTube instead. You now have something fun to listen to during your “staycation”.

Read a Book

Find a comfortable place and start reading! Start with books that you have at home that you haven’t gotten around to reading yet. These could be physical paper books or the digital versions. Those who have a backyard can lounge outside on a chair with a cool drink while reading. Others might prefer to stay inside and read on a soft bed, with the option to take an afternoon nap.

Have a Film Festival

There are many streaming services that include a wide variety of movies. Which one are you subscribed to? Pick out some movies that remind you of summer. Catch up on summer “blockbusters” that you missed when they hit the theaters last summer. Find a romantic movie that takes place on a beach or other beautiful location. Make some popcorn and enjoy the movie.

Make Your Own Spa

Relax with the “staycation” version of a spa. Those who have a hot tub can make use of it. Others may prefer to fill their bathtub with warm water, toss in a bath bomb, and dim the lights. If you enjoy aromatherapy, consider using a candle or essential oil that is designed to induce relaxation.

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A List of Stores Offering “Senior Hours”

Posted on Wednesday, June 10th, 2020 at 4:29 am
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While some stores are re-opening, it is important to know that the COVID-19 virus is still present. Stores are helping to protect seniors from COVID-19 by creating hours where only seniors and vulnerable shoppers can shop.

Good Houskeeping put together a list of stores that have senior hours. Here are a few:

Albertsons: 7 to 9 am on Tuesdays and Thursdays
ALDI: 8:30 to 9:30 am on Tuesdays and Thursdays
Costco: Any member 60 and older can shop from 8 to 9am Tuesday through Thursday. No more than two people can enter the store with each membership card at one time.
Dollar General: The first hour of operation is reserved for seniors
Food Lion: Every Monday and Wednesday seniors and at-risk customers can shop from 8 to 9 am
Food Town: Anyone 65 and older can shop from 7 to 8 am
Kroger: All stores open at least one hour earlier for seniors and at-risk customers. Call your local store for exact times.
Publix: Anyone 65 and older can shop on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 7 to 8 am
Rite Aid: Seniors and at-risk customers can shop from 9 to 10 am on weekdays
Safeway: Stores are open from 7 to 9 am on Tuesdays and Thursdays for seniors and at-risk customers
Sam’s Club: Seniors and at-risk customers can show every Tuesday and Thursday from 7 to 9 am
Target: Stores are reserving an hour on Tuesdays and Wednesdays for “vulnerable shoppers”. Call your local store to find out exact hours.
Trader Joes: Stores will dedicate their first hour to seniors and at-risk customers. Call your local store to find out exact hours.
Vons: Stores open from 7 to 9 am on Tuesdays and Thursdays for seniors and at-risk shoppers
Walgreens: Tuesdays are considered “Seniors Day” with all-day discounts and seniors-only shopping from 8 to 9 am
Walmart: Through April 28, 2020, stores open one hour early on Tuesday for 60 and older to shop

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Good Tip: Saving money is important – especially if you have a lot of expenses like bills to pay, loans to pay off, and all the other things that drain your bank account. Figuring out a way to save money can feel tedious to some, and like a punishment to others. U.S. News suggests that you try one of these money saving challenges. The “No Eating Out for a Month” Challenge This one is self-explanatory. The goal is to avoid eating out for an entire month. This might be super easy for people who enjoy making meals at home. People who really enjoy dining out, or ordering food to be sent to their home, may struggle with this one. It’s worth a try because spending money on take-out is more expensive than buying groceries. The Pantry Challenge This one is a variation of the “No Eating Out for a Month” challenge. The goal is to use up all of your groceries before you buy more. It forces you to try and remember why you bought a food or beverage that you don’t know what to do with, and gives you the opportunity to find a way to use it. The one exemption to this challenge is the foods that have expired. Don’t eat them! Throw them in the trash. The “No Spend” Challenge Make a goal to avoid spending money during an entire weekend. The only exemption in this challenge is that you are allowed to pay bills. This challenge is interesting because it requires creativity. You must be creative and find workarounds for problems that you would typically solve by spending money. You may have a different outlook on spending after finishing this challenge.