How to Save - Part 7
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How to Save

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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How to Make the Most Out of Black Friday Sales

Posted on Tuesday, November 20th, 2018 at 7:00 am
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What once was a somewhat limited, three-day sale that began the day after Thanksgiving has grown! Today, there are Thanksgiving Day sales, Black Friday weekend sales, Cyber Monday sales, and a bunch of other sales spread out over that week. Here is how to make the most of the Black Friday Sales.

Do Your Research
Start by figuring out what you need to purchase. Make a list of the things you want to buy family members as holiday gifts.

Do you need to replace appliances, upgrade computers, or do home repairs? Add that to your list as well.

Next, visit the websites of the stores you think will have what you want to buy. Compare prices. Make notes on your existing list that clearly states which store to get what item from. Doing so will help streamline your shopping during the busiest sales of the year.

Start Early
There will very likely be people who decide to camp outside the stores the night before the sales begin. They do this because the first people to enter the store have the best chance of getting to the things they want to buy.

Not everyone feels the need to be that extreme about Black Friday shopping, though. Instead, people will arrive at the stores as early in the day as possible. The doorbuster items will sell quickly. Those who start shopping in the afternoon risk missing out.

Bring a Friend
It simply isn’t possible for you to cover the entire store all by yourself. The best way to handle this is to bring a friend with you. Take the time to divide up the shopping list before you go. That way, one of you can hit the toy aisles, while another heads to electronics.

This same strategy can be used for online Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. A team can visit more store’s websites, in a shorter amount of time, than one person can.

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Black Friday 2018 Deals at Barnes & Noble

Posted on Saturday, November 17th, 2018 at 7:00 am
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Barnes & Noble is struggling. Earlier this year, the company cut staff at many stores, including lead cashiers and other experienced workers. 2018 could end up being the last time Barnes & Noble holds a Black Friday sale.

Valpack posted a Black Friday weekend preview that shows what Barnes & Noble has to offer. These deals will be valid online from November 22, 2018 – November 25, 2018 and in-store from November 23, 2018 – November 25, 2018.

Buy One, Get One 50% off on select toys, games and puzzles: This deal includes toys, arts & crafts, science & tech, games & puzzles, and plush

Get an exclusive Lego Harry Potter Minifigure 4-Pack with Purchase: When you spend $75 or more on LEGO. Choose from hundreds of LEGO sets to get your free gift. The exclusive Minifigure 4-pack is available while supplies last.

50% off Teen / Young Adult Bestsellers: Save on the year’s best Young Adult books about first love, social awareness, and more.

Funko Pop! Buy One Get One 50% Off: Hundreds of Funko Pops are included in this sale. This offer is online – only.

Get the new Nook 10.1” 32GB for $119.99: (The regular price is $129.99.) It is the newest NOOK, and also the biggest, with a 10.1” IPS display and 32GB of storage. Reading your favorite eBooks just got easier with the updated NOOK OS. New features, accessories, and the Google Play Store make NOOK 10.1” their most versatile tablet to date.

Hallmark Greeting Cards: Buy 3 Hallmark Greeting Cards and get 1 free. This offer is only available in Barnes & Noble stores (not online).

Starbucks Drink: Buy one Starbucks drink at Barnes & Noble Cafe, and get one for free. This offer is only available in-stores (not online). The offer will last from when the store opens until 10:00 a.m.

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Stores that will be Closed on Thanksgiving Day 2018

Posted on Wednesday, November 14th, 2018 at 10:10 pm
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Black Friday sales used to start on the Friday after Thanksgiving. In recent years, some stores choose to be open on Thanksgiving Day. This makes some shoppers happy – and gives other shoppers a negative feeling about the stores that open.

Here is a list of the stores that will be closed on Thanksgiving Day 2018.

  • A.C. Moore
  • Abt Electronics
  • Academy Sports + Outdoors
  • Ace Hardware
  • Acme Tools
  • Allen Edmonds
  • American Girl
  • At Home
  • AT&T (Company-Owned Stores)
  • Barnes & Noble
  • Big 5 Sporting Goods
  • BJ’s Wholesale Club
  • Blain’s Farm & Fleet
  • Bob’s Discount Furniture
  • Burlington
  • Christopher & Banks
  • Cost Plus World Market
  • Costco
  • Craft Warehouse
  • Crate and Barrel
  • Dillard’s
  • dressbarn (majority of stores)
  • El Dorado Furniture
  • Fleet Farm
  • Gander Outdoors
  • Gardner-White Furniture
  • Guitar Center
  • H&M
  • Half Price Books
  • Harbor Freight Tools
  • Hobby Lobby
  • Home Depot
  • HomeGoods
  • Homesense
  • IKEA
  • JOANN Stores
  • Lamps Plus
  • Lowe’s
  • Mall of America
  • Marshalls
  • Mattress Firm
  • Menards
  • Micro Center
  • Music & Arts
  • Navy Exchange
  • Nebraska Furniture Mart
  • Nordstrom
  • Nordstrom Rack
  • Northern Tool
  • Office Depot & OfficeMax
  • Outdoor Research
  • P.C. Richard & Son
  • Patagonia
  • Pep Boys
  • Petco
  • PetSmart
  • Pier 1 Imports
  • Publix
  • Raymour & Flanigan Furniture | Mattresses
  • REI
  • Sam’s Club
  • Sierra Trading Post
  • Sportsman’s Warehouse
  • Sprint (Retail Stores Closed Unless Mall Dictates Otherwise; Mall Kiosks May Open)
  • Staples
  • Stein Mart
  • Sur La Table
  • The Container Store
  • The Original Mattress Factory
  • The Paper Store
  • TJ Maxx
  • Tractor Supply Co.
  • Trader Joe’s
  • Trollbeads
  • Von Maur
  • West Marine

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Stores that Will be Open on Thanksgiving Day 2018

Posted on Thursday, November 8th, 2018 at 3:09 pm
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Thanksgiving Day will be held on Thursday, November 22, in 2018. In recent years, some stores have decided to extend their Black Friday sales by having a special sale on Thanksgiving Day. Here is a list of the stores that will be open on Thanksgiving Day this year.

According to CBS News, these stores will be open on Thanksgiving Day:

Bass Pro Shops: Open 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. Reopen at 5 a.m. Friday, November 23.

Belk: Open 4 p.m – 6 a.m. Reopen 6 a.m Black Friday

Best Buy: Open 5 p.m. – 1 a.m. Reopen 8 a.m. Black Friday

Big Lots: Open 7 a.m. – midnight. Reopen 6 a.m. Black Friday

Cabela’s: Open 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. Reopen 5 a.m. Black Friday

Dick’s Sporting Goods: Open 6 p.m. – 2 a.m. Reopen at 5 a.m. Black Friday

J.C. Penney: Open 2 p.m Thanksgiving and will remain open through 10 p.m. Black Friday

Kmart: Open 6 a.m. – midnight. Reopen 6 a.m. Black Friday

Kohl’s: Open 5 p.m. Thanksgiving and will remain open until 1 p.m. Black Friday

Macy’s: Open 5 p.m to 2 p.m. Reopen at 6 a.m. Black Friday

Old Navy: Open 3 p.m. Thanksgiving and will remain open until 10 p.m. Black Friday

Sears: Open 6 p.m. – midnight. Reopen at 5 a.m. Black Friday

Target: Open 5 p.m. – 1 a.m. Reopen at 7 a.m. Black Friday

Walmart: Open 4 p.m. – 6 p.m. Thanksgiving day for a pre-sale party. Black Friday sales begin at 6 p.m.

Will you be shopping the sales on Thanksgiving Day? It is a good idea to plan ahead. Let your family members know that you will be leaving Thanksgiving dinner early. They may or may not approve, but things tend to go better when people have some warning beforehand.

Take the time to visit the store’s websites, and to read their sales paper, before you shop. This will help you plan out which stores to visit first and to narrow down what products to focus on.

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How to Save Money on Thanksgiving Dinner

Posted on Tuesday, November 6th, 2018 at 3:15 pm
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Thanksgiving dinner is an important part of how families celebrate Thanksgiving. The larger your family, the more expensive that dinner becomes. Fortunately, there are many ways to save money on Thanksgiving Dinner.

Use Coupons and Loyalty Cards
Go through your printed manufacturer coupons and look for the ones that match the brands you like. This will help you save money on the foods you need for Thanksgiving dinner. Don’t forget to check for digital coupons in the app for your grocery store’s loyalty card. You might be able to combine those deals.

Take a minute to do a price check on the items you need and find out what they cost at the groceries stores near you. There’s a possibility that one store will have better prices than the rest.

Split the Cost
Are you hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year? Let your family members know that you will be cooking the turkey. Ask them to contribute by bringing a dish. This tends to work best if you set up a system that will let everyone know who is bringing what.

For example, Aunt Ida might volunteer to bring mashed potatoes. Cousin Fred might bring his famous cranberry recipe. Uncle Joe might be happy to bring cases of soda and beer. Your family can split the cost of Thanksgiving dinner together.

Make your own Stuffing
The main ingredient in stuffing is bread. Instead of buying a box of stuffing mix, you can easily make your own. Use up some slightly stale bread that you already have. Cut it into cubes. Find a stuffing recipe online that you like. You might have all (or most of) the ingredients at home.

Don’t Dine Out
Dining out always costs more than eating at home. If no one wants to cook, consider ordering Thanksgiving dinner from places like Boston Market. Or, purchase pre-made items from the grocery store.

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Best Things to Buy in November

Posted on Thursday, October 25th, 2018 at 7:00 am
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Every month, there are things that have an annual sale. There are plenty of sales in November. If you know what to look for, you can save some money.

Veterans Day Sales
The Veterans Day sales are usually on Veterans Day itself and the weekend closest to that day. You can expect to find special deals for people who are veterans or current members of the military. Restaurants typically offer veterans a nice discount on a meal that weekend.

In addition, stores will have sales on a wide variety of products. Those sales are open to everyone and tend to last through the weekend. Some might last all week long.

Your favorite grocery store might be doing a “freebie” deal on turkey. Call ahead and ask the store for details before you shop. In general, grocery stores who participate in these “freebies” require shoppers to spend a certain amount of money in order to get a free turkey. The deal might require you to spend a dollar amount on specific types of items (such as food from their meat counter).

Seasonal Produce
The best way to save money on produce is to buy it when it is in season. In November, that means apples, pears, cranberries, plums, and clementines. Pumpkins will be on sale. Seasonal vegetables include: broccoli, leeks, cabbage, squash, cauliflower, parsnips, celery chestnuts, shallots, turnips, yams and potatoes.

For even more savings, use your favorite grocery store’s loyalty card and app and pair coupons and other discounts with the seasonal produce. Some of these foods, like cranberries, pumpkin, and potatoes will help you save money on Thanksgiving dinner.

Food Storage Containers
Thanksgiving dinner produces plenty of leftovers! You are going to need to find a way to store them (or to send them home with loved ones). Fortunately, November is a month when food storage containers go on sale. Shop around and do some price checking before you make a purchase.

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Reasons Why You Should Save Money

Posted on Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018 at 7:00 am
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There are plenty of ways that people can start saving money. You’ve probably heard quite a bit of advice about how to do it. What you may not have heard are the reasons why you should save money. Here are a few reasons to consider.

To Make an Emergency Fund
An emergency fund is an important thing to have. It is money that you intentionally set aside to use in case of emergency. Use the emergency fund money to pay for an unexpected car repair, a medical bill your health insurance won’t cover, or to pay bills after losing your job.

How big should your emergency fund be? The minimum should be either two weeks pay or $1,000 (whichever is greater). There is an online Emergency Fund Calculator that can help you figure out how much you need to save.

To Buy a Car
Are you going to buy a new car? You will need to have a down payment in order to get a reasonable interest rate. Save up as much as large of a down payment as you can afford. It might be better for you to buy an affordable used car (that doesn’t need a lot of repairs) than to buy a brand new car.

To Pay for Travel
Thanks to the internet, we are able to stay in touch with friends and family who live far away from us. Travel can be very expensive. Plan ahead and start saving money to pay for airline tickets, hotel rooms, and unexpected expenses.

Many people meet up with friends who live far away at conferences. Doing so will require money for travel expenses, food, drinks, and to buy some of the interesting stuff that is sold at the conference. In other words, you are saving money to ensure you have a great time with your friends.

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Don’t Be Fooled by Fake Coupons!

Posted on Thursday, October 18th, 2018 at 7:00 am
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Everyone likes to save money, and that is why so many people use coupons. Unfortunately, there are coupon scammers out there that create fraudulent coupons. Don’t be fooled by fake coupons!

The Coupon Information Corporation has some good advice about how you can avoid getting counterfeit coupons.

* Never pay money for a coupon.
* Do not download coupons from internet forums
* If a friend e-mails you coupons, especially high value or free product coupons, the coupons are most likely counterfeit.
* Always get your coupons from your newspaper, from the manufacturer’s website, or from an authorized coupon distributor (such as
* Not sure if a coupon is legitimate? Check the Coupon Information Corporation list of counterfeit coupons.

Here are some examples of fake coupons:

There was a fake Publix coupon on Facebook that was being shared around. The coupon said: “Publix is giving everyone FREE $75 OFF Gift Coupon to celebrate 100 years of success!” The link led to a website that was not Publix. Publix has clearly stated that this Facebook coupon is fake.

A fake Nike coupon was circulated online. The coupon had a photo of Colin Kaepernick (who Nike recently featured in their new ad campaign.)

The wording in the fake coupon said: “Nike Offers 75% Off All Shoes For People of Color Until 2019”. The coupon did not come from Nike. It came from 4Chan, a website known for creating and spreading misinformation.

What to do if you find a fake coupon:

Call the store or contact the company. Tell them about the coupon you found and ask if it is a real coupon. They may not be aware that a fake coupon, that looks like it is for their store, is circulating.

Use critical thinking. Stores and product manufacturers don’t offer coupons for 75% off. They don’t create coupons that will give a consumer $75 or $100 off their purchase. If it looks too good to be true – that means it is a fake coupon.

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