Memorial Day Weekend/ Your Shopping Dos and Don’ts

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Memorial Day is one of the biggest three-day-sale weekends of the year, and retailers will be slashing prices on almost everything, from mattresses to appliances, outdoor gear and more.

But while Memorial Day sales cover almost all product categories, there are some deals that are better than others.

To make sure you get the best deals and skip the worst, I’ve compiled a list of what to buy and what not to buy this Memorial Day weekend.

What to Buy

Mattresses

Historically, Memorial Day is one of the best times of year to buy a new mattress, even eclipsing major shopping holidays like President’s Day and Fourth of July.

This year, Layla Sleep is offering $125 off their signature Layla mattress, plus you get two free pillows with purchase. Serta is offering up to $600 in savings on its iComfort mattress set and you can snag $50 off twin and twin XL mattresses and $100 off all full, queen, king, and California king at Purple mattresses.

Appliances

Memorial Day sales rarely disappoint when it comes to deals on appliances — especially refrigerators.

Big players in this category include Best Buy and Lowes, which have offered in the past fridges and other major appliances up to 40% off.

This year, online retailer Made In is offering 15% off all individual items from May 24 to May 27.

Home Goods

Home goods deals are everywhere during Memorial Day weekend. Kohl’s and Macy’s have in the past hosted giant sitewide sales, while Overstock.com has taken 20% off area rugs, home decor, bedding and bath.

This year Birchlane is offering discounts up to 70% off in categories including outdoor furniture, rugs, sofas and sectionals, beds and headboards, dining tables, chairs, and lighting. Jet.com and Wayfair.com are also offering major deals starting May 20 through May 28.

Tools

Some of the best Memorial Day sales you’ll find are at home improvement stores, it’s a good time to stock up on tools right before summer and Father’s Day.

In the past, Home Depot has offered Memorial Day specials, including up to 50% off tools and hardware. This year Lowe’s has sales ranging anywhere from 10-25% off most tools.

Spring Apparel

With summer around the bend, stores are wanting to get rid of spring merchandise and make way for summer styles. Last year, high-end clothing retailer Lord & Taylor offered an extra 25%-60% off clearance styles.

Express.com has sales of up to 40% off, and department stores like Macy’s, JCPenney and Dillard’s all join in on Memorial Day weekend with deep discounts of their own.

Some stores will even throw in a free gift with purchase to entice shoppers.

Travel

If you have big summer travel plans, Memorial Day weekend is one of the best times to book travel deals.

You’ll find better-than-average prices on flights, hotels, and more from sites like Travelocity, Expedia, and CheapOAir. As the summer nears, travel deals will become sparse so consider booking your travel this Memorial Day weekend if you haven’t already.

What Not to Buy

Summer Apparel

Watch out for enticing displays with bathing suits, sandals, and beach towels this Memorial Day weekend. Several stores will run promotions on summer styles, but even bigger savings can be had at the end of the season.

If you can wait until August and September, you’ll see discounts up to 90% in some stores. That said, if you need to buy summer clothes, look for basic tees, tank tops, and flip flops.

Retailers like to offer big discounts on these staple items to hook shoppers into stores and online.

Grills, Patio Furniture and Outdoor Gear

You’ll see lots of patio furniture and barbecue grills on sale during Memorial Day weekend. You might be able to snag 20% on some of these items but if you wait until the end of the season, after Labor Day, you’ll save 50-80% off.

TVs and Electronics

Steer clear of most electronics deals during Memorial Day sales. You’ll have better luck during Amazon’s Prime Day and Black Friday in July sales.

In the past, retailers have run Black Friday in July sales with deals on laptops up to $200 off and TVs $700 off. On Prime Day, Amazon shoppers were offered a 75-inch Samsung 4K Ultra HD Smart TV for $2,000 ($800 off what was then the current price). If you can wait until Thanksgiving weekend to buy your tech, do it.

You’ll find the best deals over Cyber Monday.

Apple Products

Every June, Apple hosts its Worldwide Developer Conference where they unveil the latest new Apple products.

If you’re in need of a new Macbook or iPad, wait until after the conference ends because retailers will begin discounting older models. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are also good times to buy Apple products.

Memorial Day sales are always something to look forward to.

Make sure you don’t spend what you don’t have to, and enjoy the time off with friends and family.

To a richer life,

Nilus Mattive

— Nilus Mattive
Editor, The Rich Life Roadmap

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8 Ways to Save on This Summer’s Road Trip

This post 8 Ways to Save on This Summer’s Road Trip appeared first on Daily Reckoning.

Summer is approaching. That means vacations for many families. AAA estimates that 100 million Americans are planning a getaway, more than half opting for a road trip.

But with gasoline prices inching higher, traveling could cost more than you may have expected. And for anyone on a tight budget, that could mean cutbacks on other parts of your trip.

As of mid-May, the national average price for a gallon of gasoline was $2.86… 3 cents higher than the same time last month.

Here in California we’ve been hit the hardest… passing a whopping $4. That’s up about 30 cents from a year ago.

For an estimate on how much gas will cost on your road trip, AAA has a handy calculator that’s based on where you’re traveling and the car you’re driving.

Now if you’re like me, you hate paying too much at the pump. So here are eight things you can do to make any upcoming road trip, and even your everyday commutes, a bit more affordable…

#1—Tap Your Smartphone

Use apps such as AAA’s Triptik or GasBuddy to find the lowest prices when you’re traveling. You can search by city, state, or brand. 

#2—Find a Fuel Rewards Program

Most gas stations offer a rewards program that can save you money…

For instance, BP’s Driver Rewards will knock off 10 cents per gallon (up to 20 gal.) for every $100 you spend on their fuel.

Shell has one, too. You can save 30 cents per gallon on your first five fill ups and 10 cents thereafter.

Exxon Mobil Rewards+ program gives you 3 points per gallon. For every 100 points accumulated, you get $1 off your fuel purchase. So 500 points = $5 in savings.

The obvious downside to these programs is that you have to buy at participating stations, which can be a nuisance when on a road trip.

If that’s a concern, you might consider Pay with GasBuddy. It works as a debit card at most every station nationwide taking the purchase amount right out of your checking account.

The service has three membership levels. One is free; the other two have monthly fees. You’ll save 5 cents to 20 cents per gallon depending on which membership you join.

#3—Cash Is King

Some gas stations will charge you as much as 10 cents or so a gallon when you pay with a credit card. That’s to offset the processing fees that credit card companies charge them.

So if you’re willing to pay with cash, look for stations that’ll give you a discount. Paying with a debit card often earns similar savings. 

#4—Discounted Gas Cards

GiftCardGranny.com and CardCash.com sell discounted gas gift cards that give you another way to save…

A recent listing was for a Sunoco card. Face value: $200. Your cost: $195.

Another was for a Shell card. Face value: $100. Your cost: $98.

#5—Timing Matters

Findings vary on which is exactly the best day to fill up. Yet there is agreement that prices are lower early in the week, which makes total sense to me.

After all, come Thursday folks are anticipating a weekend of travel. So unless it’s an emergency or you’re already on the road, don’t buy gas on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.

#6—Do You Really Need Premium?

Years ago, drivers would occasionally buy a tank of premium to clean their car’s engine. But experts say that’s no longer necessary because today’s gasoline has additives to protect engines and cut pollution.

So it’s like throwing money in the trash when filling up at the premium pump can cost you 20 to 40+ cents per gallon more than regular grade.

However, some auto manufacturers specify premium fuel for certain models. If you’re not sure what can be used in your car, Edmunds has two lists for you: Premium Required and Premium Recommended.

#7—Before You Hit the Road…

Get your car ready with a tune-up. Replace the air filter, too.

You may realize a 7% increase in fuel mileage, saving as much as 12 cents a gallon, according to the Department of Energy. 

While you’re at it, check the tires. Properly inflating them could improve gas mileage by up to 3.3%, saving about 2 cents a gallon.

Having the oil changed and using the right grade of oil is good for another 3 to 6 cents in gasoline savings. 

#8—Practice Good Driving Habits

Avoid jackrabbit starts and sudden stops. Testing showed that accelerating slowly from a green light and gradually stopping for a red light cut fuel consumption by 27-35%.

And when on the open highway, switch on the cruise control. Cars monitored got 4.5-14% better fuel mileage using cruise control set a 70 mph compared to driving at 65-75 mph.

To Sum It Up

A final note that will make your road trip more comfortable…

Some people believe that their car’s a/c increases fuel usage. Not so according to test data from Edmunds.com.

The online resource information company found that using the a/c at highway speeds had no appreciable effect on fuel economy compared to rolling down the windows. 

So before you hit the road this summer, keep the above in mind as some easy ways to reduce expenses.

To a richer life,

Nilus Mattive

— Nilus Mattive
Editor, The Rich Life Roadmap

The post 8 Ways to Save on This Summer’s Road Trip appeared first on Daily Reckoning.

7 Easy Ways to Save WITHOUT Coupons

This post 7 Easy Ways to Save WITHOUT Coupons appeared first on Daily Reckoning.

Next to housing and transportation, food is one of the biggest household expenses in the U.S. 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2016 Consumer Expenditure Survey, the average household spends $7,203 annually on food. The survey breaks this number down even further to include food at home, $4,049, and food away from home, $3,154. 

Notice the numbers are relatively close, despite the fact most people tend to eat at home most of the time. If you want an easy way to save money every month, eat out less! This means buying more groceries. 

The good news is there are some simple ways you can save on groceries that don’t require extreme couponing. Here are 7 ways to save on your next grocery trip without clipping any coupons: 

Choose the Right Store

Unless you live somewhere with very limited options, you likely can choose where you buy your groceries. Figure out which stores offer up the best bang for your buck. 

This might take some trial and error but you should quickly be able to tell which store or stores offer the best deals on certain items. Set aside time once to do this price comparison, and your efforts will pay off at the checkout over and over again. 

Know the Sales Cycles

Once you choose your store or stores, learn the sales cycles. Most supermarkets place items on sale every 12 weeks or so. When you’re shopping and see a really good deal, try to stock up for at least 3 months worth of supply. 

This way you will be finishing your supply come the next sale cycle. Some stores also offer deals on certain days. Mark those days in your calendar or set reminders on your phone so you know when it’s a good time to shop. 

Circle Expensive Items on Your Receipts

The next time you go to the supermarket, hang on to your receipt and circle the most expensive items. Then, consider lower-cost alternatives for those items on future shopping trips.

Take red meat, for instance.

 The average price per pound for sirloin steak is $8.52, according to recent figures from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Spend less than half of that amount on your protein purchase by going with boneless chicken breasts instead ($3.21 per pound).

Another expensive category is organics. If you prefer buying organic produce, opt for cheaper alternative brands versus brand names. 

Whole Foods’ 365 brand or Walmart’s Great Value brand are significantly less than premium organic brands. Also learn what the dirty dozen and clean fifteen are by searching them online.

Skip Meat Altogether (Sometimes)

I’m not saying you have to become vegetarian. But going meatless once or twice a week has its benefits. First, you’ll save money in the long run. 

Second, you’re not just subtracting from your diet, you’re adding whole grains, lentils, beans, and more vegetables, which all provide health benefits. You’d be surprised how good meatless meals can be if you learn some tasty recipes.

Check Unit Prices

What’s the better buy, the smaller package or the larger one? An easy way to check is to compare the unit prices displayed by most grocery stores, either on a shelf sticker or on the product packaging. 

Unit prices break down the cost by a specific measurement. Meats and seafood are typically by the pound. Liquids are measured in ounces, quarts or gallons. And for non-food items, like say a package of diapers, the unit price is per diaper. 

But, unit prices aren’t uniform — and they’re only mandatory in a few states — so pay close attention to the actual “unit” being measured in the price. As a general rule of thumb, the larger the quantity, the less you pay per unit. But always double check.

Buy Seasonal, Including Frozen 

Fruits and vegetables taste better when they’re in season. So buy fresh seasonal produce when you can. But when produce isn’t in season, it can get expensive. That’s when you look at frozen fruits and vegetables instead.

The good thing about frozen produce is it’s usually harvested at peak ripeness, so you’re getting maximum nutrients. It can also be way cheaper than fresh produce, up to 75% sometimes . So if you have a large family, you can feed them on frozen fruits and veggies for a fraction of the cost. 

Have A Menu Plan

Never go to the grocery store without a plan. You should know what items you’re buying and in what quantities before you walk through the doors. 

Reducing food waste is one of the best ways to save money on food each month. To ensure you don’t waste, write out a menu plan for the week. Do this on Sunday or any day before you go to the supermarket. 

It doesn’t have to be more complicated than this:

Monday – Mexican food (tacos, burrito bowls, enchiladas)

Tuesday – Meatless meal (spaghetti, lentil sloppy joes, etc)

Wednesday – Crockpot meal

Thursday – Leftovers

Friday – Pizza night

Saturday – Surf or turf (steak, salmon, veggies, potatoes, etc)

Sunday – Leftovers

Themes are an easy way to keep things organized but allow room for creativity in your menu. Write out your own menu plan for the week and shop based on the themes.

To a richer life,

Nilus Mattive

— Nilus Mattive
Editor, The Rich Life Roadmap

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