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

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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.

Walmart, Target and TJX Reel From Delayed Tax Refund Checks… But Not For Long…

This post Walmart, Target and TJX Reel From Delayed Tax Refund Checks… But Not For Long… appeared first on Daily Reckoning.

Have you received your tax refund yet?

Chances are good that if you were owed a refund, your return has been delayed. The government shutdown caused the IRS to furlough workers during some of the most important weeks for processing tax returns. And it’s taking the agency time to catch up.

So even if you were responsible and filed your tax return well ahead of the crowd, you may still be waiting on your refund check.

That’s the bad news.

But today, I want to show you why this delay could actually lead to a much bigger check for you.

In fact, whether you’re expecting a tax refund or you’ve got to write that dreaded check to Uncle Sam, this tax refund delay can help you capture some unexpected wealth.

Let’s take a look!

The New Tax Rates Delay Refunds

There’s been a lot of talk about tax refunds recently thanks to the new tax bill that went into law last year.

The new tax bill lowered the tax rate for most Americans, but also made major changes to what deductions families and individuals can make.

We’ve talked about many of these changes here at The Daily Edge, including the lower withholding rates that have allowed Americans to keep a larger portion of every paycheck throughout the year.

Now that it is time to turn in your tax return for 2018, many of those changes are under scrutiny.

I’ve become keenly aware of these issues in part because my brother is an accountant and is currently up to his neck in personal and small business tax returns. I got a chance to see him over the weekend and he was exhausted. It’s been a stressful year as he has had to work extra hard to make sure that all of the changes are being taken into account for the tax returns he prepares.

“Zach, it’s not just that the IRS was essentially closed for a couple of months. It has also taken extra time for many of the software platforms that we use to update all of the new changes.”

So these are two big issues that are causing a delay in the tax refunds Americans would typically be receiving this time of year.

First, the IRS was closed, causing a pileup in the number of returns waiting to be processed.

And second, individuals and business are taking more time to actually file their return because it is taking some time to handle the changes from the new tax bill.

This has had a pronounced effect on retail spending in the United States, which in turn is setting up an interesting opportunity for investors.

Delayed Spending Boosts Spring Profits

Wall Street has been a bit frustrated with how the delay in tax refunds has affected spending in the United States.

You may have heard that recent reports on total retail sales have come in a bit weak. And those “weak” readings have naturally sent some retail stocks lower. After all, Wall Street is worried that lower tax returns could lead to disappointing profits for retailers.

But here’s the thing…

Those tax refunds aren’t “gone.” They’re just taking a little longer to work their way through the system.

Which means American consumers will still be spending the cash that they get back from Uncle Sam.

The spending may have just been deferred from February and March to heavier spending in April and May.

So what does that mean for us here at The Daily Edge?

Well I’m expecting those refund checks to drive surprisingly strong retail sales in this new second quarter of 2019. And I expect those strong sales to catch Wall Street investors off-guard.

Over the past couple of months, a few key retail stocks have been stuck in a holding pattern waiting for good news to hit.

Shares of Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) for example are trading at the same level from late January. And shares of popular retailers like Target Corp. (TGT) and TJX Companies (TJX) have just barely made back losses from late in 2018.

The stock prices for these retailers are being held back in part because many taxpayers haven’t yet received their refunds. And so they’re not in a rush to head out and spend that cash.

But this month, as accountants wrap up their customers’ tax returns and the IRS catches up on its inflated workload, we should see tax refunds making their way to retailers around the country.

And as these retailers start reporting strong spring sales, stock prices will be poised to jump higher.

If you’re one of the forward thinking investors who owns shares of these retailers, you’ll be in prime position to profit from a jump in sales.

So as we head toward the April 15th tax filing deadline, make sure you are positioned to profit from all of those shoppers who will be taking their checks to spruce up their spring wardrobes!

Here’s to growing and protecting your wealth!

Zach Scheidt

Zach Scheidt
Editor, The Daily Edge
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Buy Alert: 3 “Amazon Survivors” to Grow Your Wealth

This post Buy Alert: 3 “Amazon Survivors” to Grow Your Wealth appeared first on Daily Reckoning.

“Dad, I got a raise!”

I’ll never forget the look in my son’s eyes when he came home from Dunkin Donuts that evening. He was proud of himself, confident, and looking forward to having a bit more spending money in his pocket.

David is a hard working young man. At his first job, he was willing to get up at the crack of dawn to help open the store, even on Saturday when most of his high school friends were sleeping in. He often filled in for other workers too who simply failed to show up.

And in a short amount of time, the managers noticed this dependability and rewarded David with a raise.

“Way to go, David!”

As the U.S. economy continues to expand, more and more workers are getting similar raises. And with more money to spend, a handful of key retail stocks are poised to shoot higher.

Today, I’ve got three favorite plays for you to put in your portfolio right away!

Have Cash, Will Spend

Like any good teenager, David loved to spend the money he earned.

I remember a few weeks after his raise, the doorbell rang. It was a delivery guy with three boxes of new shoes. I had to laugh as I can’t remember the last time I bought three new pairs of shoes at once!

Today, consumers across the country have more money to spend thanks to rising wage growth. In fact, wages are growing at the fastest pace since the financial crisis 10 years ago!

As companies continue to spend more to hire and keep workers, we should see more cash finding its way to consumers. Of course, this is great news for retail companies who rely on discretionary spending to boost profits.

So let’s take a look at how retailers are faring, and where you can find the best opportunities.

Amazon Hasn’t Killed Everyone Yet

There’s been a lot of discussion about how Amazon’s online platform has been a brutal competitor for many large retailers in the U.S.

Heck, Sears and JC Penney are mere shadows of the companies they used to be. And many malls have actually had to close their doors because people just aren’t shopping at these retail hubs anymore. Instead, they’re buying clothes and other merchandise on Amazon.

On top of the Amazon competition, retail investors have also been concerned with the December retail sales numbers which came in well below expectations.

Is this a sign that the consumer has stopped spending? Or that the economy is headed for recession?

Not so fast…

The uncertainty during December (including the government shutdown, the trade war, and a sharp selloff in the stock market) may have caused some shoppers to stay home. But even still, the Commerce Department’s numbers look suspicious. After all, other private statistics like the Johnson Redbook same store sales report showed a much stronger picture.

All told, shoppers may have spent a bit less than expected for the December holiday period, but the overall “wealth effect” isn’t dead yet. And as wages pick up, consumers are certainly going to increase their spending habits.

The key for us as investors is to figure out where that money will be spent, and to invest in companies that will not be harmed by Amazon’s expansion into the retail market.

Today, I’ve got three stocks that fit the bill, allowing you to cash in on rising wages and strong retail spending this year.

Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) Maybe I’m biased because I have so many teens in the house. But Abercrombie’s brand is resonating with today’s younger demographic. And after pulling back for the better part of this decade, ANF is making a comeback.

The retailer recently reported earnings that beat investor expectations and plans to remodel stores this year to make its locations more attractive for shoppers. Malls might not have the same draw they did ten years ago, but teens are still hanging out and shopping together. And ANF is now in a prime position to benefit.

Shake Shack Inc. (SHAK) One of the things that Amazon can’t replace is the experience of spending time with friends and family. One of my favorite things to do with my kids after school or on the weekends is to go out together and get ice cream or a meal.

Shake Shack is cashing in on this trend with a chain of restaurants that caters to customers who can appreciate a good burger and a great milkshake — at a slightly higher than normal price. By offering premium quality food and beverages, SHAK is able to boost profit margins while still attracting a loyal following.

SeaWorld Entertainment (SEAS) If you’re a parent, you know that taking your kids on a memorable trip can be both exhausting and very rewarding. This year, SeaWorld should see traffic pick up as more families have budgets that can include a theme park experience.

In addition to its water-themed parks, SeaWorld also owns the Busch Gardens brand. This gives the company some diversification when it comes to which experiences parents will pick for their children (or themselves). Look for SEAS to grow profits this year as higher wages lead to family excursions.

And there you have it. Three ways to play the strongest season of wage growth since the financial crisis!

Here’s to growing and protecting your wealth!

Zach Scheidt

Zach Scheidt
Editor, The Daily Edge
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Credit Card “DECLINED” Notice — And 3 Stocks So It Never Happens Again

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“Sorry, your card was declined.”

What the….!?!?

I was at the hospital cafeteria picking up some food for my little man who broke his arm this weekend. And for some reason my card wouldn’t go through. Was I really out of money?

The holidays can be stressful trying to make sure you cross everyone off on your shopping list. And then if you throw in some unexpected expenses like a trip to the emergency room, the stress can affect your finances!

Thankfully in my case, I just used the wrong pin for my debit card. But the experience made me think about how many families are spending money on holiday shopping this season.

More importantly, I started thinking about how you as an investor can protect your wealth and start cashing in on this year’s holiday spending.

Today, I want to show you three reasons why holiday shopping should be stronger than ever this year. And then we’ll take a look at three different ways to play this profitable trend.

So let’s get started!

Consumers Have More Reasons to Spend

Over the past year, we’ve talked a lot about the American “wealth effect.” Thanks to a strong job market, people have more money to spend, driving retail sales higher.

But in addition to that ongoing force, there are three additional reasons why shopping should be especially strong this year.

The first is tied to another trend we’ve been watching: the decline in oil prices.

Extra supplies of oil have been hitting the market driving oil prices lower. This means gasoline prices have also been dropping. And with less money being spent at the pump, consumers have more money left from every single paycheck. That money will come in handy when it’s time to buy those last minute holiday gifts!

A second reason shopping should pick up is low credit card debt.

Heading into the holiday season, consumers have been carrying lower credit card balances. That’s a smart financial move to keep from paying those awful credit card interest rates.

But knowing human nature, many shoppers will opt to spend more during this season, even if it means taking advantage of those credit limits. With more room to spend money on credit, we can expect to see higher holiday sales this year.

One final reason shopping should pick up this year is thanks to less inflation.

Inflation levels have been low over the past several years. And for us as shoppers, that means our money will go farther. I don’t know about you, but if I can still buy great gifts without paying unreasonable prices, I’ll definitely be in more of a buying mood.

Add these three drivers together, and it’s clear that this is going to be a season with plenty of spending here in the U.S.

But how do we take advantage of all of this spending?

I’m glad you asked!

Three Areas for Investors to Cash in on Spending

An obvious answer to how we profit from higher spending is by owning retail stocks.

But in today’s volatile market, you have to be very discerning with what you buy. After all, while retailers have reported strong revenues, some retail stocks have been moving lower alongside the broad market.

That gives us a chance to buy at a discount. But you’ll want to make sure you’re buying shares of companies poised to do very well this year.

Here are some great areas to start shopping for investment opportunities.

Maybe I’m biased because I have three teenage daughters. But I’ve been watching athletic apparel companies very closely this year. Stocks like Under Armour (UAA), Lululemon Athletica (LULU) and Columbia Sportswear (COLM) should be in great shape to move higher as sales beat expectations and investors jump in.

In some cases (like with LULU), the market pullback has given you a great opportunity to buy stocks that are growing, while paying a discount price. (Who doesn’t like a discount during the holidays!)

A second retail area to keep tabs on is the restaurant industry. Some of my favorite memories with my family have taken place going out to eat together. And with the culture in America getting busier — coupled with extra money to spend — it’s natural for more families to go out to eat.

A few attractive stocks in this area include Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG), Cracker Barrel (CBRL) and Brinker International (EAT). When you hear Chipotle, you might think about the E. coli issues that they’ve had in the past. But the company has made headway in preventing issues like this from coming up again. And Chipotle’s commitment to fresh organic food should attract more socially conscious diners over time.

A final retail area to keep tabs on is the discount retail category. I’m talking about big stores that offer great deals like Walmart Stores (WMT), BJ’s Wholesale Club (BJ) and Costco (COST).

Even though consumers have more money to spend, there are still many shoppers (myself included) who want to make every dollar stretch. Stores that are famous for offering good products at discount prices will continue to grow revenue this holiday season.

And heck, you can probably make a profit from Costco based solely on the fact that I shop for our family of 9 there every week!

So there you have it… Three ways to profit from higher holiday spending in 2018.

I hope you’re enjoying this holiday season and remembering that while building our wealth is important, cash is only a tool to help us have more of an ability to focus on the things that really matter — like friends, family, and helping those that are less fortunate than ourselves.

Happy Holidays!

Here’s to growing and protecting your wealth!

Zach Scheidt

Zach Scheidt
Editor, The Daily Edge
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