How to Save - Part 7
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How to Save

Amazon Go Stores Will Start Accepting Cash

Posted on Tuesday, April 23rd, 2019 at 7:00 am
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Amazon Go was launched as a store with no checkout required. Those who wished to shop there needed to put the Amazon Go app on their smartphone. Pick up the items you want to buy, and pay for it with your phone. 

What if you don’t have a smartphone, or don’t want to put any more apps on your phone? You wouldn’t be able to shop for groceries and quick-to-eat items at Amazon Go stores. This limitation is about to change.

CNBC reported that Amazon Go stores will start accepting cash. In addition, there is a pilot program that will allow Amazon Go stores to accept government subsidized SNAP benefits. Another program, called Amazon Cash, will let users add cash to their digital accounts by bringing money to a local store like 7-Eleven or CVS.

Why did Amazon change their payment policy at Amazon Go stores? The reason appears to have something to do with cities and states that felt the limitation on what kind of payment the stores would accept was discriminatory. Cashless stores exclude people from the lowest income brackets.

Philadelphia and New Jersey have banned cashless stores. Cities like New York, San Francisco, and Chicago are considering similar laws. Massachusetts had a law in place for decades that requires stores to accept cash.

Not all of the details about this change have been revealed. It appears that Amazon Go stores will be accepting a variety of payment options soon. That’s great for people who do not have a bank account, and those who need to use the SNAP program in order to afford groceries.

There are a total of 10 Amazon Go stores that have opened. Amazon is considering opening up to 3,000 cashierless Amazon Go stores by 2021. There could be an Amazon Go store opening up near where you live!

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How to Read Books for Free – Without Breaking Laws

Posted on Thursday, April 18th, 2019 at 7:00 am
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Are you an avid reader? Do you go through books faster than your budget can keep up with? Now is a good time to find ways that you can legally read books for free.

Your Local Library

Public libraries will allow people who live locally to get a library card for free. You might have to show the librarian some identification (such as a driver’s license). Once you obtain a library card, you can check-out as many books as you like. Make sure to return all the books on time if you want to avoid late fees.

Some public libraries have apps that are available for Android or iOS devices. If your public library has an app like that, you will be able to check-out ebooks and audiobooks and read them from your smartphone or tablet.

Project Gutenberg

Project Gutenberg offers 58,000 free eBooks. Chose from epub and Kindle eBooks, downloading a free eBook, or reading it online. The focus of Project Gutenberg is on older books for which the U.S. copyright has expired. 

You do not need to register in order to use Project Gutenberg. There is no fee. No special apps are required for you to access Project Gutenberg. It is an excellent resource for people who like to read “classics” and books that were published long ago.

Your School’s Library

New textbooks can be very expensive. Older versions of the same textbook might not have the same information as the new one. One way to read the textbook you need for your classes for free is to make use your your school’s library.

School libraries typically have at least a few copies of textbooks that are required for classes. They may be held in reserves, so don’t hesitate to ask the librarian if you can borrow a copy of the textbook you need. If not, ask if you can check out an ebook version of the textbook.

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McDonald’s is Changing its Late Nite Menu

Posted on Tuesday, April 16th, 2019 at 7:00 am
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Did you know that McDonald’s has a Late Nite menu? Maybe you have made purchases during the hours the Late Nite menu is available. Be aware that McDonald’s is changing it’s Late Nite menu. The change will take place on April 30, 2019.

McDonald’s has a Late Nite menu that is available from midnight to 5 a.m. It’s great for people who work overnights and need to grab something quick to eat after work. The Late Menu is also convenient for people who must start work in the wee hours of the morning.

Starting April 30, 2019, McDonald’s will be “simplifying” what’s served after midnight. The company claims the reason for the changes is so customers can get the most popular favorites as fast as possible.

Here is what McDonald’s New Late Night menu will include:

  • Big Mac
  • 100% fresh beef Quarter Pounder burgers
  • Chicken McNuggets
  • All Day Breakfast
  • World Famous Fries and all other sides
  • Sweets & Treats
  • Happy Meal
  • McCafe and beverages

Don’t see your favorite Late Night menu option in that list? McDonald’s says not to worry – the missing item will still be available to be ordered before midnight. Obviously, that doesn’t help much if it was the only menu item you like, or the one you regularly get from the Late Nite menu.

According to Business Insider, McDonald’s will instruct its Late Night service crew to be prepared to respond to customer questions about why an item is no longer available during late night. Customers who ask for a Filet-O-Fish, which is not on the new Late Nite menu, will be prompted to order a Big Mac or Quarter Pounder instead.

Business Insider says that the change to the Late Nite menu is a way for McDonald’s to cut costs through simplification, decrease food waste, and speed up service.  It is not yet known if the new Late Nite menu will have prices that are less expensive than before.

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Tax Day Freebies and Deals – 2019

Posted on Thursday, April 11th, 2019 at 7:00 am
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April 15th is Tax Day. Nobody enjoys filling out forms and paying taxes. There is something to look forward to, however. Many restaurants and businesses will be offering Tax Day freebies and deals. USA Today has put together a list of several offers.

Boston Market: Offers a $10.40 Tax Day meal special. It includes a half chicken individual meal with two sides, cornbread, and a regular fountain beverage drink. This offer is “while supplies last”. No coupon is needed. The offer runs from April 10 through April 15 at restaurants and online.

Breugger’s Bagels: Get 13 bagels and two tubs of cream cheeses for $10.40, a $3.50 price reduction. This offer runs from April 10 through April 15 at participating bakeries.

BurgerFi: Get a BurgerFi Cheeseburger on Tax Day for $4.15 through the BurgerFi app.

California Tortilla: With any Tax Day purchase, get free chips and queso when you say “1040”.

Corner Bakery Cafe: Get two entrees for $10.40. This offer runs from April 15-17, in cafe only.

Great American Cookies: Get one free Original Chocolate Chip Cookie at participating locations for stopping by.

Hardee’s: Get a free sausage biscuit from 7 am to 10 am on Tax Day. To get this freebie, you need to say “Made from scratch”. One per customer, while supplies last.

Noodles & Company: Members of NoodlesREWARDS will get $4 off online and mobile orders of $10 or more for Tax Day. The offer is valid from April 10 through April 15. To get the offer, you need to be signed up for the program by April 9.

Schlotzkey’s: Get a free small original sandwich with purchase of chips and a medium drink on Tax Day. This deal is available at all Schlotzkey’s locations and no coupon is required.

White Castle: On Tax Day, White Castle will offer 15 percent off any order in-Castle with a coupon that will be posted on social media pages and sent to email subscribers.

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Amazon and Whole Foods Announced More Price Cuts

Posted on Thursday, April 4th, 2019 at 7:00 am
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Amazon and Whole Foods announced a third round of price cuts that began on Wednesday, April 3, 2019. Whole Foods will be offering new lower prices on fresh produce for all customers and expanded Prime benefits with more exclusive weekly deals on popular products across departments.

Starting Wednesday, customers will find new lower prices on hundreds of items throughout the store with an emphasis on high quality, peak-of-season produce, including greens, tomatoes, tropical fruits and more.

Examples of these new lower prices include large yellow mangoes ($1/each), mixed-medley cherry tomatoes ($3.49/12 oz.), and organic bunched rainbow chard ($1.99/each). Prices will be reduced by an average of 20 percent on select items throughout the store.

In addition to new lower prices for all shoppers, Amazon Prime members will now save more than ever before at Whole Foods Market with double the number of exclusive weekly Prime Member deals and deeper discounts. Over the next few months, customers can expect more than 300 Prime member deals on some of the season’s most popular items.

Examples of exclusive Prime member deals in April that will rotate on a weekly basis include:

  • Organic asparagus $2.99/lb (save $2.00)
  • Organic strawberries $2.99/lb (save $2.00)
  • Sumo Citrus: $2.49/lb (save $1.50)
  • Air-chilled, no antibiotics-ever, whole chicken: $1.79/lb (save at least 40%)
  • Spiral sliced ham: $ (save at least 33%)
  • Animal welfare-rated bone in pork loin chops: $4.99/lb (save at least $2.00)
  • Fresh, sustainable wild-caught halibut filet: $16.99/lb (save at least 35%)
  • 35% off all Justins brand products
  • $20 off Vega One Organic Shakes (24.3-26.9 ounce sizes only)
  • 40% off all Kite Hill plant-based proteins
  • 35% off all Epic brand products
  • Prepared sandwiches and wraps: 20% off
  • Prime members can also receive an additional 10 percent off hundreds of sale items throughout the store.

These price reductions will build on the hundreds of lower prices that have been introduced to customers since the Amazon and Whole Foods Market merger, ranging from Whole Trade organic bananas and Chobani yogurt to 365 Everyday Value Cage-Free Large Eggs.

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Ways to Pay Off Student Loan Debt

Posted on Tuesday, April 2nd, 2019 at 7:00 pm
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Student loan debt can be a big burden. There are many ideas about how to pay off student loans. Not every idea will work for everyone. It all depends on your individual financial situation. Here are some options to consider. 

Automate Your Payments

State Farm suggests that you automate your student loan payments. Start making payments right away, so you can whittle down the student loan debt as quickly as possible. 

The biggest benefit from doing this is that you cannot accidentally forget to make an automated payment. The risk is that your current financial situation might not enable you to have enough money in your bank account for that automated payment.

Use “Found” Money

Nerd Wallet recommends you use “found money” on your student loan debt. When you get a raise, or a bonus, put that “found” money into your student loan debt. The advantage of doing this is that you can chip away your student loan debt without taking the money out of your budget.

The disadvantage of this idea is that you probably won’t get a raise or bonus as often as you would need to in order to rely on it to pay your student loan debt. In that case, Nerd Wallet recommends you put away any $5 or $10 bills you receive toward your student loan debt.

Consolidate Your Student Loans

Forbes points out that it may be possible to consolidate your student loans. Some people are able to consolidate their existing federal student loans into a single Direct Consolidation Loan.

The benefit of doing this is that it takes multiple monthly student loan payments and turns it into a single monthly payment. The down side is that one monthly payment might be higher than the average amount of your multiple student loan payments.

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Spring Cleaning – The Frugal Way!

Posted on Thursday, March 28th, 2019 at 7:00 am
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Spring cleaning is the perfect time to do all the household cleaning work that you couldn’t easily do while the weather was cold. Not everyone enjoys cleaning and decluttering. The good news is that you can do Spring cleaning the frugal way.


Cleaning the dirt out of your doormats is a good way to prevent dirt and debris from tracking through your home. Refresh the doormats by hosing them off outside, on a warm day. Find a good place to set them so they can air dry.


Instead of buying glass cleaner, you can make your own! A blog called My Mommy World has a recipe for homemade glass cleaner that includes white vinegar and dish detergent. You might have both of those things at home right now. 

Use a soft cloth, or an old t-shirt to clean the windows. The t-shirt can be washed and used again. Paper towels can leave bits of paper on your window, can only be used once, and cost money to buy.

Bathtub or Shower

The Frugal Family Home blog has a recipe for homemade shower cleaner. It includes vinegar and Dawn Liquid Dish Soap. Again, you probably have those things at home already. You may want to open the windows to allow the vinegar smell to dissipate after you are done cleaning.


Netflix has a show that features Marie Kondo, a Japanese organizing consultant. In each episode, she teaches people the skills they need to learn in order to find out what items spark joy. In short, you should keep the things that spark joy and donate or throw out the ones that do not.

The items that do not spark joy for you can be donated to charities. Or, you could have a garage sale.

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The Best Things to Buy in April

Posted on Tuesday, March 26th, 2019 at 7:00 am
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There are certain times of the year when you can get the very best deals. It helps to be well informed about what sales tend to happen in a specific month. Here are the best things to buy in April.

Clearance Easter Candy and Gifts

Easter often takes place in April. Long before that day, stores will sell Easter candy, baskets, decorations, cards, and plastic Easter Eggs. Parents will need to buy some of that before the holiday.

After Easter is over, make sure to check out the Easter clearance sales. You can pick up some brand new Easter decorations and cards for a much lower price than before. Store those items away for next Easter – and save money. The Easter candy will also be on sale.

Gym Membership

Many people buy a gym membership at the start of a new year. By the time April comes, many of them have given up and stopped going to the gym. This means gyms need to seek out new members. Buy a gym membership in April, and it will cost less than it would in January.

Spring Clothing Clearances

Stores that sell clothing need to move seasonally appropriate clothing before the next season starts. Summer clothes can arrive as early as the end of April.

To make room for those items, stores will put the Spring clothing on clearance. Wait to buy new Spring clothing until the last few weeks of April for the best deals.

Thrift Store Items

Did you know that April is a really good month to shop at thrift stores? The reason is because people do their Spring Cleaning and find a bunch of things that they no longer want or need. They donate those items to thrift stores. You can save a lot of money on clothing, appliances, and furniture if you shop the thrift stores in April.

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Amazon is Closing Amazon 4-Star Stores

Posted on Thursday, March 21st, 2019 at 7:00 am
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Is there an Amazon 4-Star store near you? It might not be there for very much longer! Amazon announced that it will close all of its 87 pop-up locations in the U.S. in April of 2019.

The Amazon 4-Star stores were located inside Whole Foods stores, Kohl’s stores, and malls around the United States. These stores featured Amazon products such as Fire Tablets, Kindle e-readers, and Echo smart speakers. Other products in the stores were limited to only those that got at least 4 stars on Amazon.

What can you do if your local Amazon 4-Star store closes? The easiest replacement is Amazon’s website. Obviously, it won’t allow you to try out a Fire Tablet before you buy it. The website will have some deals that were not available at the Amazon 4-Star stores, and a wider selection of products.

The Amazon Go stores, which are cashierless grocery stores, are not closing. These stores sell grab-and-go food items like prepared sandwiches, salads, yogurt, and granola bars. In order to shop at Amazon Go, you must have an Amazon account, the Amazon Go app, and a recent-generation iPhone or Android phone.

Amazon has considered opening as many as 3,000 Amazon Go locations by 2021. Amazon has also said it will open more Amazon 4-Star locations and additional Amazon Books stores this year.

In addition, Amazon is exploring a strategy of strengthening its new supermarket brand by purchasing regional grocery chains that operate at least a dozen stores. Amazon may open grocery shopping centers in San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, Washington D.C., and Philadelphia.

This could mean that your local grocery store chain could be bought by Amazon. The Amazon grocery stores will compete with Walmart. Do some price comparison before you grocery shop. One will have better prices than the other.

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The Best Time to Buy Appliances

Posted on Tuesday, March 19th, 2019 at 7:00 am
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When is the best time to buy a new appliance? There are many good answers to that question. Consider your motivations, your current financial state, and whatever sales are happening before you shop.

When you have the money

Do some price comparison and figure out what an average price is for the appliance you want to buy. Start saving up that money, as best you can. Ideally, you will be able to slowly save up for a new appliance before the current one breaks.

What if your refrigerator has already “died”? You might have to buy a new one with your credit card. This is especially true if your fridge is full of food from a fresh trip to the grocery store. Wait too long, and the food will rot.

When there is a holiday

Stores that sell large appliances often have sales during holidays. If the holiday comes with a three-day weekend, or a random day off of work – there will be an appliance sale happening. Some of the best times to buy appliances include: President’s Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, and the Fourth of July.

When the month is about to end

Have you ever worked in retail? If so, then you are aware that the end of the month is a stressful time when stores rush to fulfill their quotas. Managers will push workers to make more sales before the month ends.

Visit a store that sells appliances a few days before the end of the month. You are in the best position to try and negotiate for a lower price on the appliance you want to buy.

When the store is closing

When Sears closed its stores, shoppers came to get great deals on appliances. J.C. Penney recently made the decision to stop selling appliances – and is in the process of some stores. Customers can expect big discounts on appliances when stores are closing.

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