How to Save

Five Ways to Make Christmas Less Expensive

Posted on Monday, December 11th, 2017 at 7:00 am
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Christmas treeAre you still paying off bills from last Christmas? Is your budget tighter this year than it was last year? Those situations can make it difficult to make it through the holidays. Here are five ways to make Christmas less expensive.

Get an Artificial Tree
A real Christmas tree will last for one Christmas season – if you put in effort to take care of it. Buy one too early, or forget to give it water, and you could find yourself having to throw it away and buy another one before Christmas Eve. Next year, you have to spend more money on a real tree.

An artificial tree is inexpensive, especially if you buy one a few days before Christmas or the week after. You pay once for the artificial tree, and it will last for years. Store it away carefully, and you will never need to buy a tree ever again!

Set a Budget
You can make Christmas less expensive by setting a limit on the total amount you will spend overall. Stretch that budget by shopping during sales, using coupons, and taking advantage of discounts offered to members or to those who have the store’s credit card. Use codes that lower the cost of shipping.

Limit the Number or Cost of Gifts
Another way to set a limit is to get together with your family members and make an agreement. Promise to buy only one gift for each person this year. Or, set a dollar amount that they can spend on each person. This enables them to buy someone a slightly more pricey gift, or several inexpensive ones. Everyone can save money without feeling like a “cheapskate”.

Use What You Already Have
Before you buy new Christmas decorations, take the time to find out what you already have. Ornaments, stockings, tree skirts, and other decorations can be used for several years in a row. Take an inventory and put a list of things you already have onto your smartphone. Refer to it before you buy more.

Shop the Dollar Stores
Do you need to replace a broken set of Christmas lights? Does your decorated tree look a little bit bare? Shop at your local dollar store and see what they have. What you need will cost less at the dollar stores than if you bought the same items from a department store.

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Ways to Save on Shipping Costs

Posted on Monday, December 4th, 2017 at 7:00 am
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Gift MoneyPeople tend to spend a lot of money during the holiday season. Shopping online could come with expensive shipping costs. It can also be costly to purchase items from local stores and then try and ship them yourself. Here are a few ways to save on the shipping.

Use a Discount Code
The first thing you should do when shopping online is look for a discount code. Many companies will post codes that lower the cost of shipping on their website. Make sure to check if that discount shipping code is for all items or if it only for specific items.

Do you have the store’s credit card? It’s possible that card holders might get a discount on shipping. You might have to look around their frequently asked questions section to find out.

Have it Shipped to Store
Not every store will do this, but there are some that offer this convenience to customers. First, call the store and make sure that they allow customers to make a purchase from their website and have it shipped to the store. If so, then ask them how they let customers know that their item arrived at the store.

Visit the store’s website, put the items you want to buy in the cart, and make sure to let the website know which store you want it shipped to. The store will pick up the cost of shipping. All you need to do is remember to go to the store and get your items.

Bring the Gift With You
Will you be hanging out with friends and family members in person this holiday season? Wrap up their present and bring the gift with you. This is a good way to avoid shipping costs on items that you bought locally. Your friend or family member can choose to open the gift immediately, or to bring it home and open it there.

Have the Store Ship the Gift
Some stores will offer a special service during the holidays. If you buy items from their website, they will wrap it for you. Tell the store to ship the item to your loved one directly. This works well for people who absolutely hate wrapping gifts. It also solves the problem of buying something online, and paying for shipping costs, and then paying for shipping costs a second time after you wrap the gift and have to mail out.

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How to Make an Auto Accident Less Expensive

Posted on Monday, November 27th, 2017 at 7:00 am
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downloadMost people try and be careful while they are driving. They pay attention to traffic lights and stop signs, slow down at school crosswalks, and give their full attention to the road ahead of and beside them. Unfortunately, auto accidents can still happen. Here’s a few ways to make an auto accident less expensive.

Put Away Your Phone
Before you start your vehicle, put your phone into your purse, bag, or the glove compartment. Make it impossible for you to access your phone while you are driving. This is a good way to avoid distractions while you are driving. The best way to make an auto accident less expensive is to entirely avoid the accident!

Get Car Insurance Coverage
In many states, all drivers are required to purchase car insurance coverage coverage. You may already have coverage. It is a good idea to take the time to contact your car insurance company and make sure the policy you purchased still fits your needs.

Car insurance makes it easier for you to deal with an auto accident. Your car insurance company will use their expertise to handle the claims process, to work with the other driver, and to help you find a car repair shop.

In some cases, car insurance can supplement your health insurance. It might be able to cover some of the things that your health insurance will not cover after an accident happens. This could include dental work, care for accident-related injuries, or extended nursing care during your rehabilitation.

Carry Your Important Information
You should always carry your driver’s license with you when you get behind the wheel. Put a copy of your car insurance card and registration in your vehicle. Ask your car insurance company if they have a way for you to download an accessible copy of your car insurance onto your smartphone (via an app).

Those items will make it easier for you to access important information after an auto accident happens. In addition, you should contact your car insurance company as soon as possible. The sooner you call, the more likely it is that they can start working on your claim.

Use your smartphone to take photos of any damage that occurred as a result of the accident. Those photos can act as proof of what happened. Those photos will be useful as your car insurance claim is processed, and also if a lawsuit happens after the accident.

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Kohl’s Announces Amazon Returns at Select Kohl’s Stores

Posted on Monday, November 20th, 2017 at 7:00 am
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Kohl's LogoKohl’s announced that 82 stores across Los Angeles and Chicago will be offering free, convenient returns for Amazon customers. They started offering this service in October of 2017.

Kohl’s stores will pack and ship eligible Amazon return items for free, providing an additional service and convenience to Amazon customers. Again, this is happening in select Kohl’s stores – only.

The Kohl’s website states the following:

“Amazon Returns at Kohl’s creates a convenient location for Amazon customers to return eligible merchandise to select local Kohl’s stores. Items can be returned free of charge regardless of return reason and regardless of whether the items are packaged for shipping. Kohl’s will package and transport all returned items to Amazon return centers.”

As an additional convenience, customers who visit Kohl’s for Amazon Returns at Kohl’s services will be able to use designated parking spots that are located near the store entrance. This will enable consumers to bring their Amazon merchandise to Kohl’s, park in a spot located near the store, and quickly make a return. It sounds easier to do than to try and ship merchandise back to Amazon all by yourself.

The Kohl’s announcement about Amazon Returns follows another Amazon/Kohl’s announcement. A total of 10 select Kohl’s stores will have a new Amazon Smart Home Experience located inside them. The select Kohl’s stores are located in Los Angeles and Chicago.

The Amazon Smart Home Experience at Kohl’s is a dedicated space inside 10 Kohl’s stores. The 1,000-square-foot zone will provide a hands-on, interactive and engaging array of smart home products with a variety of Amazon devices, including Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, Amazon Fire TV, Fire tablets, and more.

It is a hands-on area that will allow customers to touch, feel, and interact with Amazon devices before they buy. The area will be staffed with Amazon sales associates with deep knowledge of Amazon devices and smart home products. Customers can schedule an Amazon expert to come to their home, evaluate their needs, and install smart home products.

In addition, it will be possible for a customer to go to Kohl’s, enter the Amazon Smart Home Experience area, and take advantage of Amazon Home Services. In short, you can schedule an Amazon Home Service professional to come to your home and help you with everything from cleaning to plumbing.

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The Best Deals in November

Posted on Monday, November 13th, 2017 at 7:00 am
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online-shoppingNovember marks the beginning of the most expensive time of the year. It is when people start spending money on gifts for loved ones and holiday travel expenses. Fortunately, November is also a month that includes some of the best deals of the year. You can save some money if you shop smart.

Old models of iPhone
Every time Apple launches a brand new version of the iPhone, there will be people who are willing to line up in order to buy it on the day it comes out.

If you need a new smartphone, but don’t feel the need to get the newest, hottest, version – there is an opportunity to save money. Buy an older model of the iPhone that is newer than the one you already have. This allows you to upgrade a very old iPhone model for one that is newer without paying full price for it.

Video Games and Consoles
Many types of electronics drop in price during November. Stores like GameStop, Walmart, Target, and Best Buy are likely to have older models of video game consoles on sale. The consoles are often sold in “bundles” that include some of the video games that fit in the console. In addition, video games that are not part of the bundle may be on sale as well.

Brand new models for refrigerators, stoves, dishwashers, and other appliances come out in September and October. Stores need to get rid of the older models in order to make space for the new ones. Do some price comparisons, and you might be able to replace an old, malfunctioning, appliance with a brand new one at a nicely discounted price.

Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday Sales
The way to get the best deals on the largest sales of the entire year is to plan ahead. Find out which stores will be open on Thanksgiving. Identify what products are the most important for you to purchase this year, and choose a store that is likely to sell it. Create a list of things you want to buy during those sales. The list is useful to keep you focused in the chaos of these frantic sales.

Does someone in your family need a new bicycle? Is your child old enough for their very first bicycle? Purchase a bicycle in November. It will be at the lowest price of the year. This is especially true for states that experience winter weather. You can’t ride a bicycle through the snow. Demand for bicycles goes down – and so does the price.

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Sears and Kmart are Closing Stores

Posted on Monday, November 6th, 2017 at 7:00 am
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Sears LogoSeveral Sears and Kmart stores will be closing by the end of January, 2018. You might be able to get some great deals at these stores as they attempt to sell off whatever products are still in the stores.

Sears is no longer carrying Whirlpool brands, including Maytag, KitchenAid, and Jenn-Air. It appears that this is the result of Whirlpool’s decision to raise its prices to cover higher costs for raw materials.

Oddly enough, Sears has decided to produce its holiday Wish Book this year.  Previous versions were the size of a phone book, and around 400 pages.  This year’s version is much slimmer, at around 110 pages.  The Wish Book is intended to lure shoppers to Sears’s remaining stores and to convince them to shop online at the Sears website.

The 2017 Wish Book (online) will help customers find the best deals at Sears, and it indicates when a deal will “end soon.”  It clearly identifies products that are Member Top Picks.  Click on any product you see in the online version of the 2017 Wish Book, and it automatically takes you to where you can make a purchase.

Here are the Kmart and Sears stores that are closing in late January 2018:

  • Kmart 7200 Us Highway 431 Albertville AL
  • Kmart 1214 E Florence Blvd Casa Grande AZ
  • Kmart 26996 Us Hwy 19 N Clearwater FL
  • Kmart 6050 Highway 90 Milton FL
  • Kmart 901 Us 27 North Sebring FL
  • Kmart 156 Tom Hill Senior Blvd Macon GA
  • Kmart 144 Virginia Ave South Tifton GA
  • Kmart 1203 Cleveland Road Dalton GA
  • Kmart 3101 East 17Th Street Ammon ID
  • Kmart 1006 N Keller Drive Effingham IL
  • Kmart 2606 Zion Road Henderson KY
  • Kmart 230 L Roger Wells Blvd Glasgow KY
  • Kmart 501 Marsailles Road Versailles KY
  • Kmart 1300 Us Hwy 127 S Frankfort KY
  • Kmart 41601 Garfield Road Clinton Twp MI
  • Kmart 200 Capital Ave Sw Battle Creek MI
  • Kmart 2125 S Mission Street Mt Pleasant MI
  • Kmart 1547 Highway 59 South Thief River Falls MN
  • Kmart 2233 N Westwood Blvd Poplar Bluff MO
  • Kmart 16200 East Us Hwy 24 Independence MO
  • Kmart 1400 S Limit Avenue Sedalia MO
  • Kmart 3901 Lemay Ferry Road St Louis MO
  • Kmart 1130 Henderson Drive Jacksonville NC
  • Kmart 1292 Indiana Avenue St. Marys OH
  • Kmart 14901 Lorain Avenue Cleveland OH
  • Kmart 2830 Navarre Road Oregon OH
  • Kmart 4475 Mahoning Ave Austintown OH
  • Kmart 1249 North High Street Hillsboro OH
  • Kmart 3382 Birney Plaza Moosic PA
  • Kmart 2830 Gracy Center Way Moon Township / Coraopolis PA
  • Kmart 3319 North Susquehanna Trail Shamokin Dam PA
  • Kmart 22631 Route 68 Clarion PA
  • Kmart 1815 6 Ave Se Aberdeen SD
  • Kmart 530 Donelson Pike Nashville TN
  • Kmart 560 South Jefferson Avenue Cookeville TN
  • Kmart 1806 N Jackson Street Tullahoma TN
  • Kmart 4520 W 7 Street Texarkana TX
  • Kmart 4715 Nine Mile Road Richmond VA
  • Kmart 300 Towne Centre Drive Abingdon VA
  • Kmart 3311 Riverside Drive Danville VA
  • Kmart 2315 Wards Road Lynchburg VA
  • Kmart 111 Division St North Stevens Point WI
  • Kmart 800 Grand Central Avenue Vienna WV
  • Kmart 1287 Winchester Avenue Martinsburg WV
  • Kmart 301 Beckley Plaza Beckley WV
  • Sears* 1701 Mcfarland Blvd E Tuscaloosa AL
  • Sears* 5111 Rogers Avenue Fort Smith AR
  • Sears* 4201 N Shiloh Drive Fayetteville AR
  • Sears* Fiesta Mall Mesa AZ
  • Sears* Greeley Mall Greeley CO
  • Sears* 8020 Mall Pkwy Lithonia GA
  • Sears* 1709 Baytree Road Valdosta GA
  • Sears* Berkshire Mall Lanesboro (Pittsfield) MA
  • Sears* 7885 Eastern Blvd Baltimore MD
  • Sears* 1200 Us Rt 22 Phillipsburg NJ
  • Sears 2999 E College Avenue State College PA
  • Sears* 300 Lycoming Mall Circle Pennsdale/Muncy PA
  • Sears* 2334 Oakland Ave Indiana PA
  • Sears 4000 Sunset Mall San Angelo TX
  • Sears* 4600 S Medford Dr Lufkin TX
  • Sears* 754 S State Street Salt Lake Cty UT
  • Sears* 114 Southpark Circle Colonial Hts VA
  • Sears 1400 Del Range Blvd Cheyenne WY

* The Sears Auto Center at almost all of the Sears stores in this list will close in early December 2017. The Sears stores themselves will close in late January 2018.

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What to Buy at the After Halloween Sales

Posted on Monday, October 23rd, 2017 at 7:00 am
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halloween-candy-in-bowl-590The after Halloween sales might begin as early as the day before Halloween, and may continue until the Halloween items run out. It is possible to save some money by making smart purchases during the Halloween sales. Here are some suggestions on what to buy – and what to avoid.

Halloween Candy
Most stores will put all of their leftover Halloween candy on sale right away. It’s hard to say exactly what kinds of candy will be included in the sale. You may find something you like. Go ahead and buy a bag or two of the individually wrapped candies that people were giving out to trick-or-treaters.

Don’t go overboard and buy bulk quantities of it. The best approach is to only buy what you honestly believe you, and your family, will eat in a reasonable amount of time.

Costumes and Accessories
The pop-up Halloween store near you is probably going to start its Halloween sales early. This trend is especially true for Halloween stores that temporarily rented space in a vacant store. They need to get rid of their stock before their lease runs out.

If the sale starts before Halloween, you might be able to pick up a costume at a discount of the original price. Now is a good time to buy a costume for next Halloween. Accessories such as masks, capes, tiaras, hats, and jewelry are also good purchases.

Don’t buy Halloween makeup unless you plan on using it right away. If next year’s costume requires a lot of makeup – wait until next year to buy it. Cosmetics that sit around tend to separate, or crumble, or otherwise become unusable.

Fall Decorations
Some of the decorations that are on the shelves for Halloween can easily be used as decorations for Thanksgiving. Plastic pumpkins (that look realistic) can be used as decoration for both holidays. The same can be said for plastic leaves, candles that are in fall colors or scents, or paper plates and napkins with fall artwork on them.

Buy those items during the Halloween sale and use them for Thanksgiving decorations. Store the items away and use them again next year for both holidays.

Avoid buying glow lights or glow bracelets unless you plan to use them up right away. The glowing items that are on sale are likely to work as expected. It is not very likely that they will be just as good after being stored away for a year.

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Ways to Save Money This Fall

Posted on Monday, October 16th, 2017 at 7:00 am
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Pumpkins from PixabayFall is a good time to make an effort at saving money. There are some extremely simple things you can do that will each save you at least a few dollars. Every little bit of savings adds up!

Reuse Last Year’s Decorations
It can be tempting to spend a lot of money on brand new holiday decorations. Before you do that, go through the decorations that you already have. Most, if not all, of last year’s decorations can be reused this year.

Start by digging out the boxes of decorations. Next, go through them and get rid of the ones that are broken. Begin decorating with what you already have. You may find that you don’t actually need any new decorations after all. Save money by not purchasing more holiday decorations.

Make Your Own Pumpkin Spice Latte
Fall is the season of pumpkin spice everything. Those that like the pumpkin spice flavor are likely to be tempted to buy a pumpkin spice latte (perhaps daily). One seasonal flavored latte from Starbucks, or other coffee shops, might not break your budget. That being said, multiple purchases can add up to something more expensive than you may realize.

Instead, make your own pumpkin spice latte. There are plenty of recipes for it online. Or, you could by a ready-made pumpkin spice coffee mix.

Buy Seasonal Produce
The best time to buy fresh produce is when it is in season. That’s when you can find fresh fruits and vegetables at the lowest price of the year. Woman’s Day has a long list of produce that is in season in October. Here are a few to shop for:

Fruit: apples, blackberries, cranberries, grapes, peaches, pears, plums, tangerines

Vegetables: pumpkins, cabbage, cauliflower, corn, potatoes, sweet potatoes, winter squash

Start Planning for Thanksgiving and Christmas
One way to fit expenses into your budget is to plan for them. If you are serving Thanksgiving dinner this year, start adding some of the food into your weekly grocery purchase. Spreading out the expense can make it easier than having to purchase all the ingredients for Thanksgiving dinner at the same time.

The same is true for Christmas gifts. Make a plan about what you want to buy for each family member. Spread out the cost by making a few purchases now, and a few later. Will you be traveling in December? The earlier you can buy flight tickets and book hotel rooms, the better. Prices tend to increase the closer we got to a holiday.

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Many Stores Won’t Open on Thanksgiving Day

Posted on Monday, October 9th, 2017 at 7:00 am
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Thanksgiving DinnerDo you prefer to shop on Thanksgiving Day, or stay home with family and friends? In the past few years, the trend was for stores to start their Black Friday sales on Thanksgiving Day.

This year, things are changing, and many stores will not open on Thanksgiving Day. It is too early to predict what effect that will have on this year’s Black Friday sales.

The Denver Post reported that fewer Americans plan to shop on Black Friday this year than in previous years. Only thirty-five percent of consumers who plan to shop during Thanksgiving week say they will do so on Black Friday, down fifty-one percent from last year, and fifty-nine percent from the year before.

Fewer people are shopping the Black Friday sales. Last year, 154 million Americans shopped during Thanksgiving weekend, marking a thirty-two percent decline from 2011. Those number comes from the National Retail Federation.

Best Black Friday, a website that provides updated information about Black Friday Sales, reported the results of a survey they conducted from September 26-27 of 2017. A total of 523 American adults over the age of 18 were asked a question. “How do you feel about stores being open on Thanksgiving Day?”

The results showed that 57.53 percent of respondents do not like the idea of stores opening on Thankgiving. That number combines the 20.66% of respondents who said they dislike stores opening on Thanksgiving, and the 36.87% of respondents who said they “strongly dislike it”.

The Sacramento Bee is one of several news sources that have a list of at least 50 stores that will not open their doors on Thanksgiving Day. Here are some of the big name stores that have said they will not be open on Thanksgiving Day. This information could help you when you start planning out Black Friday/Thanksgiving Day shopping.

  • Blane’s Farm and Fleet
  • Burlington
  • Cost Plus World Market
  • Costco
  • Crate and Barrel
  • DSW – Designer Shoe Warehouse
  • Ethan Allen
  • Guitar Center
  • Half Price Books
  • Hobby Lobby
  • Home Depot
  • IKEA
  • JOANN Fabric and Craft Stores
  • Lowe’s
  • Marshall’s
  • Neiman Marcus
  • Office Depot and OfficeMax
  • Petco
  • PetSmart
  • Pier 1 Imports
  • Sam’s Club
  • Sportsman’s Warehouse
  • Staples
  • The Container Store
  • TJ Maxx
  • Tractor Supply

Keep in mind that things could change as we get closer to the Thanksgiving and Black Friday sales. It is possible that additional stores will join the list of those that will not open on Thanksgiving Day. We are also likely to see a list of stores that confirm that they will be open and starting their Black Friday sales on Thanksgiving Thursday.

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How to Save Money on Toys

Posted on Monday, October 2nd, 2017 at 5:18 pm
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Toys R Us 100x100As you may have heard, Toys R Us, the biggest “brick-and-mortar” store that sells toys, has filed for bankruptcy. Those of you who have children probably shopped at Toys R Us for holiday gifts. Here are some ideas on how to save money on toys.

Use your Toys R Us Coupons
Sometimes, when stores declare bankruptcy, they stop issuing coupons. You should use up your Toys R Us coupons as soon as possible. The store may eventually run out of stock, depending on what happens as a result of the bankruptcy. There’s a chance you will get some good deals if Toys R Us decides to liquidate the toys that are already in the stores.

Consider Amazon
You can find almost anything on Amazon – and that includes toys. Make sure to do some price checking between the cost of a toy on Amazon and the price of that same toy on other retailer’s websites. Don’t forget to take into account the cost of shipping. One of them is going to have a lower overall price than the others do.

Try Target
Target stores have a pretty good sized toy section. They also sometimes have sales on certain types of toys. Before you visit your local Target store, take a minute to check their website. Target offers printable coupons on items from all over their store. It is possible they will have a coupon for a toy that your child would love to play with.

Shop Early
Many families find that they need to set a limit on the amount of money they spend on holiday gifts for loved ones this year. One way to save money is to start shopping early. Make a few purchases at a time instead of all at once. This helps spread out the cost.

Buy Second Hand
Many thrift stores have a toy section. Stores that sell gently used children’s clothing might also have a selection of used toys. The price on toys from these sources is going to be much lower than if you bought a similar item at a retail store.

It is a good idea to check board games or puzzles to ensure they have all the pieces. Stuffed animals will probably need to be washed before you hand them to your child. You can pick up a lot of children’s book, for a very low price, at thrift stores.

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