How to Save - Part 5
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How to Save

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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Tuesday Morning Filed for Bankruptcy

Posted on Tuesday, June 2nd, 2020 at 2:27 pm
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Tuesday Morning was founded in 1974 by Lloyd Ross. He worked with big brands that had leftover inventory and nothing to do with it. He purchased their excess merchandise and sold it, garage-sale style, in a warehouse. It later developed into the Tuesday Morning stores, where people find amazing deals.

Unfortunately, Tuesday Morning has filed for bankruptcy. It began closing stores on June 1, 2020. Those stores include ones in 30 states. A total of 17 Tuesday Morning stores will close in California, and Florida will lose 16 Tuesday Morning stores. An additional 100 stores will close in a second round of closings after Tuesday Morning tries to renegotiate leases.

In a press release, Tuesday Morning said it would pursue financial and operational reorganization designed to all the company to reduce its outstanding liabilities and strengthen its overall position. These actions are due to the immense strain of the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you have recently purchased something from Tuesday Morning, you might be able to return it. Tuesday Morning’s website states: “You may return unused merchandise with the original receipt within 30 days of purchase. Merchandise must be in sellable condition with original packaging”. It should be noted that they are extending their current return policy by 45 days, after individual stores reopen due to COVID-19.

The Tuesday Morning website has sales on a variety of items, from crafting essentials, pool accessories, outdoor cushions and pillows, bath and body essentials, gourmet food, and more. All of them are 20% to 60% off the department store prices.

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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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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.