How to Save - Part 4

How to Save

Gap is Closing Many of its Stores

Posted on Tuesday, December 25th, 2018 at 7:00 am
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Gap has revealed that it will be closing many of its stores. The reasons is because Gap stores are not as profitable for the company as they had been in the past. Gap’s online business, however, continues to be profitable.

Gap did not specifically say how many stores would close, where those stores are located, or what their timeline is. One way to find out if the Gap near you is closing is to check your local newspaper. A more efficient way is to go online type “Gap closing” and the name of where you live.

If your local Gap has closed, there is another way to continue buying Gap products. Visit the Gap’s website. It appears that the website is making enough money for the company to keep it going. In addition to Gap, the company is also closing Banana Republic stores.

In 2017, approximately 200 Gap and Banana Republic stores were shut down. This year, the company opened up 109 new stores, most of which were Old Navy and Athleta.

CEO Art Peck said “There are hundreds of other stores that likely don’t fit our vision for the future of Gap brand speciality store, whether in terms of profitability, customer experience, traffic trends. The range from the very best to the very worst stores is extremely broad.”

Is the Gap store near you still open? Now is a good time to use up your Gap coupons. This could be the last holiday season that your local Gap store is open, so make sure to pick up some things for family and friends who love Gap products. There is a chance that a closing store will have very good sales.

You might want to hold off on purchasing Gap gift cards this holiday season. Gift cards can sometimes be difficult to use online. The brick-and-mortar Gap store near you could potentially close before that gift card gets used up.

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Instacart Ends Partnership with Whole Foods Markets

Posted on Thursday, December 20th, 2018 at 7:00 am
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Instacart announced that it is winding down its relationship with Whole Foods Market. This means that people who used Instacart at Whole Foods Markets are going to lose that service soon.

The first phase of Instacart’s transition away from Whole Foods Market has already begun. Instacart is scaling back their in-store shopper operations within Whole Foods locations.

Before this change, Instacart had 1,415 in-store shoppers across 76 Whole Foods locations. Out if this group, 243 Whole Foods locations will lose their Instacart in-store shoppers beginning on February 10, 2019. In the months that follow, Instacart will ramp down all remaining Whole Foods in-store shoppers.

Instacart can save you some time. The first thing you need to do is see if Instacart delivers in your area. Next, see if Instacart is partnered with your favorite grocery store. Those who currently use Instacart at Whole Foods Markets should see if they can find a different store that will continue to partner with Instacart.

Use the Instacart app to make your grocery list and schedule a delivery (or to schedule when you will pick up your groceries at the store). An Instacart personal shopper will do the shopping for you.

ALDI began teaming up with Instacart in November of 2018. There could be an ALDI near you! More than 90 percent of the brands ALDI carries are their own produces and exclusive brands.

ALDI tends to be less expensive than other grocery stores. They charge for grocery bags, so there is a chance that your Instacart order at ALDI will include a charge for the bags your groceries required.

Instacart has also partnered with Publix, Wegmans, HyVee, and ShopRite. Check the Instacart website to find out if there are any partner stores near you. Visit the Instacart Twitter account to see updates about additional grocery stores they have partnered with.

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Plan Ahead for Next Year’s Holiday Budget

Posted on Tuesday, December 18th, 2018 at 7:00 am
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Are you struggling to stay within your holiday budget this year? That’s understandable. Many people end up spending more money during the holidays than they planned to. This problem can be prevented if you plan ahead for next year’s holiday budget.

According to State Farm, consumers spend $1,2226 on their end-of-the-year shopping. In addition, American consumers spend about $289 over the Thanksgiving weekend (which includes Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday).

Begin planning out your holiday budget for next year right now. Figure out how much you spent on gifts, food, and travel. Start putting away money now so you won’t have to go into debt next holiday season. Don’t forget to save a little extra for things like cards and wrapping paper.

Another strategy that can help cut costs next year is to use a prepaid debit card instead of credit cards. State Farm says that 23% of consumers take four to six months to pay of their credit cards after holiday spending.

You can control your spending by limiting yourself to the amount that you put on a prepaid debit card. Doing so forces you to make conscious choices about not only what you buy but also how much you are willing to spend on each item. You are going to have to comparison shop to see who has the best price.

That may sound frustrating, but it is worth it. Plan ahead, and you may be able to avoid using your credit cards. Your new year doesn’t have to start with a massive amount of credit card debt!

State Farm says you should wait 2 days between when you see something online that you want to buy and when you actually buy it. Doing so prevents impulse shopping – which can really get expensive over time. It also gives you time to see if the item is selling for less somewhere else and to really think about the potential purchase.

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Don’t Eat Raw Dough

Posted on Thursday, December 13th, 2018 at 7:00 am
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) want to remind you not to eat raw dough. This is especially important advice at this time of year, when people do a lot of baking. Avoiding raw dough can save you and your loved ones a trip to the emergency room.

Raw dough can contain bacteria that can cause disease. The CDC points out that flour is a raw agricultural product. It has not been treated to kill germs like E.coli. The bacteria that is in flour are killed when food that is made with flour is cooked.

You should never eat raw dough. Eating or tasting unbaked products that contain flour can make you sick. Dough can also contain raw eggs, that can contain a germ called Salmonella. People can become sick from that germ if they eat raw or lightly cooked eggs.

There has been more than one flour-containing product that has been recalled by the CDC. Do not bake, use, or eat those products. This is the one time when it is best to just throw it away before anyone gets sick from it. Another option is to return those products to the store for a refund.

Some types of Duncan Hines cake mixes have been recalled because they contained Salmonella. Many General Mills products, including bread mixes, brownie and cake mixes, flours, muffin mixes, pancake and biscuit mixes, and meat and poultry products have been recalled because they contained E. coli.

Don’t allow children to play with raw dough. The uncooked flour in it can make them sick, especially if they eat some of it or put their fingers in their mouths after playing with the dough.

Need to replace the cake mixes and flour that is in your home? You can make it less expensive by using paper coupons and combining that with the digital coupons on your favorite grocery store’s app.

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How to Save Money at Starbucks

Posted on Tuesday, December 11th, 2018 at 7:00 am
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December typically involves a lot of shopping, plenty of driving, and more get-togethers and parties than you would expect to experience at other times of the year. Cold weather can make you want a hot cup of coffee. Wherever you are, there is probably a Starbucks nearby. Here are some tips on how to save money at Starbucks.

Wait for Happy Hour
Starbucks has a weekly happy hour. It usually appears on Thursdays at around 3:00 in the afternoon. You can get email from Starbucks that will inform you about upcoming happy hours. (This may involve signing up for the emails online).

Starbucks offers special happy hour deals. It could be a buy one, get one free deal. Or, it might be a big discount on a specific type of beverage.

Starbucks Rewards
Starbucks Rewards is a rewards program from Starbucks. All you need to get started is a Starbucks gift card. The purchases you make at Starbucks add up to free food and drinks. Starbucks Rewards members also get a birthday reward, free in-store refills, and more.

It doesn’t cost anything at all to join Starbucks Rewards. It is a good deal for people who frequently go to Starbucks, several times a week, and buy drinks and food. Keep doing what you already do, and earn rewards at the same time.

Bring Your Own Cup
Starbucks allows customers to bring in their own reusable cup. The baristas will fill it with whatever drink you order. It doesn’t matter what kind of cup it is – so long as it is reusable. Customers who bring in a reusable cup get 10 cents off their beverage order.

Hold the Ice
Starbucks tends to put a lot of ice in their cold drinks. If that bothers you, ask the barista to hold the ice. That way, your cup will have more room for the drink that you purchased. If the weather is cold – then you probably don’t actually need the ice.

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Clicking Fake Coupons Could Harm Your Computer

Posted on Friday, December 7th, 2018 at 7:00 am
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There are many reasons to be wary of coupons that you find online. This is especially true for the coupons that seem too good to be true. You could end up with an unusable, fake, coupon. In addition, clicking on questionable coupons could cause harm to your computer!

ABC 13 On Your Side reported about a Little Caesar’s coupon that was obviously too good to be true. It offered people 3 free large pizzas. The coupon claimed that the offer was to celebrate Little Caesar’s anniversary.

It was a fake coupon. According to ABC 13 On Your Side, clicking on the fake coupon would direct you to click on a list of links. Those links would give the website (which was not the Little Caesar’s website) permission to share your information with “site sponsors”. Those who clicked those links would end up with unwanted phone calls, text messages, and emails.

Whoever created that coupon was engaging in coupon fraud. That person may, or may not, have placed malware on the website where people tried to get the fake coupon from. Be careful what you click. Some websites can put malware on your computer.

Here are a few easy ways to avoid fake online coupons:

Don’t click on coupon links that you see on social media. It might look as though the coupon is from the real company, but that’s not always true. Scammers put in effort to trick people into thinking they are legitimate. You never know where those links will take you!

If you see a coupon going around that looks too good to be true, assume it is fake. Don’t click on the coupon. Instead, visit the real website of the company the coupon appears to have come from. Sometimes, the company will have a message that warns people about the fake coupon.

Visit the Coupon Information Corporation website. It has a frequently updated list of coupons that are fraudulent. This makes it easy for you to throw out the fake paper coupons you got stuck with. It can also help you avoid fake coupons online.

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Burger King Introduces the Whopper Detour

Posted on Wednesday, December 5th, 2018 at 7:00 am
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Burger King has created a confusing, yet fascinating, way for you to get a Burger King Whopper for one cent. It is called the Whopper Detour.

The Whopper Detour deal will only last for a limited time. (It is valid through December 12, 2018). The first thing you need to do in order to participate in the Whopper Detour is to download Burger King’s relaunched BK app. The relaunched app gives customers the ability to place their Burger King orders in advance (for participating locations).

Next, you need to go to a McDonald’s. No, that’s not a typo. Burger King wants you go into a McDonald’s – for a short period of time. Customers who have the BK app on their device, and who go into a McDonald’s, will unlock the Whopper sandwich for a penny promotion.

Part of the purpose of this deal is for Burger King to encourage people to start using their relaunched app. The promotion works by geofencing McDonald’s locations across the country. In short, geofencing is what enables software to trigger a response when a mobile device enters or leaves a certain area.

It is not necessary to make a purchase at McDonald’s in order to participate in the Whopper Detour deal. Wait until the BK app on your device unlocks the penny Whopper deal. The app will navigate you to the nearest Burger King where you can pick up your Whopper.

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Save on Seasonal Produce in December

Posted on Thursday, November 29th, 2018 at 7:00 am
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Keep your family healthy and strong in December by feeding them fresh, in season, produce. The best time to buy fresh, rather than frozen, produce is when it is in season. The reason is you can buy seasonal produce at a lower price than if you buy it out of season.

Everybody loves potatoes! There are so many different varieties to choose from. Potatoes, with the skin on them, have Vitamin C, potassium, and Vitamin B6.

Some options for using potatoes include: baked potatoes, homemade french fries, potato pancakes, and homemade hash browns.

Chopped celery is one ingredient in potato salad. It is also good in soups, and for adding some crunch to a salad. Children might enjoy eating small pieces of fresh celery stalk filled with peanut butter.

You can swap out rice for riced cauliflower in many meals. It is easy to hide small pieces of cauliflower in a macaroni and cheese dish (especially if you buy the orange colored cauliflower). Some people bake a seasoned Cauliflower in the oven and enjoy the crisp, savory, treat.

Winter Squash
There are many types of winter squash, including: acorn squash, butternut squash, and spaghetti squash. All of them are in season during December.

You can turn spaghetti squash into long strips and swap out the spaghetti noodles in a meal. Small squashes can be cut into chunks and added into a casserole or served as a side dish.

What’s your favorite kind of apple? December is a good month to purchase them as snacks. While some varieties of apples are great for snacking, others are better for cooking or baking. Cold, winter, weather makes people want hot foods like apple cider or baked apples.

Citrus Fruits
Citrus fruits like grapefruit, oranges, tangerines and mandarins are in season in December. Each is a good source of Vitamin C. Grapefruits are a go-to breakfast food. Oranges can be juiced and added to a smoothie.

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The Best Things to Buy in December

Posted on Tuesday, November 27th, 2018 at 7:00 am
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There are several holidays in December that involve getting together with family and spending money on gifts. Many people find this time of year to be overwhelming, especially for those who are trying to get the most for their money. Here are the best things to buy in December.

Gift Cards
You may notice that retail stores emphasize gift cards in December. That makes the gift cards really easy to find. The best thing about gift cards is that it allows the recipient to choose a gift for themselves. You won’t have to worry about if something is the right size or color.

Toys and Games
If your kids aren’t picky, you can get a better price on toys if you wait to purchase them in mid-December. Stores that stocked up on a ton of toys and games will want to get rid of them before Christmas. You could see a 45% to 50% discount on something your kid will want to play with.

The middle of December is also a good time to buy toys and games to use as birthday presents in the coming year. Pick up some toys your kids, nieces, and nephews will enjoy. Get a few extra ones to have on hand if your kids get unexpectedly invited to a friend’s birthday party.

Christmas Decorations
This year, some stores began having sales on Christmas trees, Christmas decorations, and other holiday items almost immediately after they hit the shelves. Take the time to comparison shop before you make a purchase. Which store has the best sale?

Have you been planning on getting a backyard pool? The best time to buy one is in December, while the weather is cold. Very few people will think to do this, and that puts consumers at an advantage. You are in a good position to negotiate a price with the company who will build your pool.

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How to Safely Save Thanksgiving Leftovers

Posted on Wednesday, November 21st, 2018 at 7:00 am
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Thanksgiving dinner is a feast that families share together. Often, the amount of food that is served is more than can be eaten by the time dinner is done. It would be a waste of money to throw away the leftovers. Fortunately, there are ways to safely save Thanksgiving leftovers.

Tips for Leftover Turkey
Many families carve the turkey at the start of Thanksgiving dinner. For best results, continue cutting the turkey into small pieces even after everyone has been served. Some of those slices will get eaten when people go after a second helping.

The rest must be refrigerated within 2 hours of the turkey coming out of the oven. Set a timer so you will remember to put away the turkey. Store it in meal-sized portions that are easy to send home with guests.

Separate the Stuffing
Do not store stuffing inside of a leftover turkey. Proper food safety requires people to store the stuffing and the meat separately.

One way to ensure you don’t leave the stuffing inside the turkey is to scoop it all into a bowl shortly after the turkey is out of the oven. If you cut all of the turkey into small pieces – you cannot possibly leave the stuffing inside it.

Avoid Bacteria Growth
All leftovers – no matter whether they are turkey, vegetables, or other foods – must be refrigerated within two hours to prevent bacteria from growing on the food. Enlist the help of some of your relatives to ensure that the leftovers make it to the refrigerator in a timely manner.

You should throw away food that has been left out too long. Doing so could prevent a loved one from getting food poisoning. Throw out any refrigerated leftovers that have been in the refrigerator for longer than three or four days.

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