January Best Buys

Best Buys

Now that the Holidays are over, you might need a break from shopping. But, just in case you still have a touch of the shopping bug or you have to visit a store or two to return things any way, this month happens to be a strong month to save while you shop. Retailers bring in a lot of merchandise in anticipation of the holiday rush, and they will be anxious to clear space for spring merchandise if they have excess stock. While there will be sales on and off all month, the experts at deal site Slickdeals.net, found the majority of the deals peaking around mid-January during Martin Luther King weekend. Here’s what we know right now.

Men’s apparel

We expect the most robust sale category to be men’s apparel. Last year, more than 30% of the top deals at Slickdeals were in this category, from retailers like Nike, J. Crew Factory, Macy’s and Walmart.

Deals:

Macy’s: 20% off holiday sale with code TWODAY. Valid 1/14-1/15

REI – holiday clearance up to 50% off  

Target – Extra 20% off Clearance Apparel

Jos A Bank: Clearance sale – suits $79, dress shirts for $15 – valid through 1/11

Men’s WearhouseSave $30 off orders over $100. Through 1/11

Bonobos Men’sSave up to 50% off final sale items. Through 1/14

Land’s End – Save up to 50% off during the Great Winter Sale. Through 1/31

Tax Software

If you’re ready to start thinking about tax time this early in the year, it could be to your advantage. There are typically an abundance of tax prep and tax software deals from retailers like Staples, Amazon and Costco.

Deals:

TurboTax: Get TurboTax Deluxe for $39.99 (coupon is for $20 off TurboTax Deluxe – expires 1/31

Liberty Tax: Take an Extra 20% Off Every Liberty Tax Online Tax Filing Solution. Use Code: LTOCJ20

eSmartTax.com: 20% off Tax Solutions with code ESTCJ20.

H&R Block and United Way: United Way and H&R Block offer 2017 Federal and State Tax Return Filing for those with Adjusted Gross Income of $66,000 or less for Free

White Sales

Since the late 1800s, January has been the month of “white sales”, when all manner of linens go on sale. Many retailers participate, which means you can find bed and bath items slashed up to 60% off from stores like Kohl’s, Target, and Macy’s.

Deals

Macy’s: 25% off winter weekend sale with code STYLE 1/18-1/21

Bloomingdales: Save up to 50% off select home items in the January home sale. Ends 1/15

The Company Store: End of Season sale – save 20% with code X17SAVE through 1/9

Bed, Bath & Beyond: Get up to a $50 gift card with select Aerobed purchases. Through 1/12

Burlington: Save 50% off any order with code AJER587W. Through 1/10

West Elm: Save up to 20% off bedding collections. Through 1/11

Pottery Barn: Annual White Sale – 20% off bedding and towels

New Year, New You

It sounds cliché, but this is the time of year that we think about taking better care of ourselves. Last years’ resolutions may have fallen by the wayside throughout the year, and the snacks, drinks and sweets at all those holiday parties compounded the issue. It’s the perfect time to get back up on that horse!

Deals

My Protein: New Customers, 30% off. No expiration

Vitamin Shoppe: $8 off 5lb Optimum Gold Standard Whey

Sweaty Betty: Save 20% off your purchase. Expires 1/17

Yoga Download: Save 40% off your order. Expires 1/23

Gold’s Gym: Save 50% off select apparel. Through 2/24

Athleta: Save 20% off your next order with code L1B9B9BHBXTW. Through 1/11

What not to buy

Toys

Toys were hot during the holidays, but you probably won’t see many worthwhile toy deals this month. The good news is your little ones are probably set for a while with all of their holiday gifts.

Mattresses

Great deals on mattresses occur in February, when Presidents Day sales bring discounts. For instance, in 2017, Mattress Firm offered up to $500 off storewide. This year, Presidents Day is Feb. 19, so wait another month if you’re in the market for a new mattress.

If February is too soon for your budget, mattress deals will return in May, over Memorial Day weekend, and in September, over Labor Day weekend.

If you’re concerned about your credit, you can check your three credit reports for free once a year. To track your credit more regularly, Credit.com’s free Credit Report Card is an easy-to-understand breakdown of your credit report information that uses letter grades—plus you get two free credit scores updated each month.

You can also carry on the conversation on our social media platforms. Like and follow us on Facebook and leave us a tweet on Twitter.

 

Image: iStock

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7 Tips to Save on Electronics

shopping for TV electronics in the store

Everyone wants the latest and greatest when it comes to electronics, but keeping up with frequent technological updates on products could have you broke in a year’s time if you’re not careful.

Instead of shelling out your life’s savings to keep up with the changes, consider following some of these suggestions to stay up on tech trends and keep your budget in the green.

1. Sell your old devices to help fund the new ones

Especially if your old iPhone, television or PlayStation is in good condition, you should be able to sell your device (sometimes directly back to the provider, depending on what the device is, although selling it yourself privately could get you more of a profit) and use the money to put towards investing in the newer model. Here’s a guide from Consumer Reports with three good options for selling back your old phones and gadgets, and of course the old standbys of Craigslist and eBay will probably work, too.

2. Negotiate for a better price

As with most consumer products, electronics are usually negotiable, especially during times of year when suppliers are desperate to move items to make room for new things (like at the end of the holiday season, for example, or at the beginning of spring). When it comes to haggling, keep in mind that while it never hurts to try asking for a discount no matter where you’re making your purchase, you might be more likely to get what you ask for when you shoot for an independent or regional store, rather than a big chain.

3. Go for the ugly packaging

If a package looks like it’s been opened or the label has been ripped off — but everything inside seems totally fine and the product actually still works — ask the manager for a discount for taking the battered and bruised packaging off his hands. You should be able to get at least 10 or 15% off right away.

4. Buy it online

Heading to the store to pick out your very own new tech goody might seem like more fun, but by ordering it online you can search around for added coupons that could save you a ton. Check out places like Slickdeals.net, Bargain Jack, techbargains.com and RetailMeNot.com to get your search started.

5. Do your research

One of the easiest ways to avoid overspending on tech goodies is to do your research on when new versions of products are coming out so that you don’t end up buying something that you’ll only want to turn around and replace with the newer option a couple months down the road. Most big-name products tend to have releases around the same time every year anyway (like new iPhone models in September, for example), so get to know those schedules and you’ll never be left with the older version right before something newfangled becomes available.

6. Only buy the more expensive options when it’s really necessary

While it’s true that upgrades are likely to have more bells and whistles that you’ll want when it comes to big products, for other, smaller tech products, sometimes the cheaper options can be just as useful. Take cables, for example. You could dish out hundreds for expensive, long-range cables that promise all kinds of things, but in most cases a generic, high-speed cable that you’ll find for a couple bucks at the store will work just fine. Be sure to check online for reviews of the product before buying it, and stay away from dollar store or flimsy looking options and you should be fine.

7. Avoid the warranty

Whether or not you decide to purchase the additional warranty on an item will be up to you (and might just be determined by how careful you are with your tech toys), but in most cases it simply doesn’t pay. Check out this piece for more on why.

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5 Tricks to Get Discounts on Everything You Buy

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There is no reason to ever pay full retail price for anything you buy in a store. With the rise of online shopping — which allows for instant price comparison — brick-and-mortar establishments must go the extra mile to earn your business.

To score bargains, you simply need the tools to pay less for what you want. Read on to fill your tool kit.

1. Learn to Negotiate

Most people are uncomfortable haggling. Instead, we’re used to opening our wallets and saying “here.”

But it is probably worth trying to bargain. A Consumer Reports survey shows 89% of hagglers were successful at least once.

And the savings can be substantial. People who questioned health care charges or furniture prices saved an average of $300, and those who challenged their cellphone plans saved about $80, according to Consumer Reports.

In “The Simplest Way to Save on Everything,” Money Talks News offers 10 tips for haggling, including:

  • Do your homework to know what the price should be.
  • Make sure you are asking the right person for the discount.
  • Pay with cash instead of plastic.
  • Don’t be afraid to walk away.

Just remember, the first price isn’t always the final price, and there is no harm in asking for a better deal.

2. Use Online Tools to Get Brick-&-Mortar Discounts

Look for sites that offer coupons or coupon codes. For deals on eating out and entertainment, check out daily deal sites.

Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson suggests following companies you like on Twitter and liking them on Facebook. Many offer special discounts and advance notice on upcoming deals at their stores through social media. Another way to get coupons and discount codes is by signing up to be on company email lists.

You can also install an extension like Coupons at Checkout on your browser and get automatic coupon codes for a wide range of retailers. Although these coupon codes provide extra discounts mainly to online purchases, some are also applicable in stores.

Johnson also recommends tapping the power of the internet when negotiating: “I’ll pull out my smartphone and show a store manager how much something costs online,” he says. “Now, they don’t always match that price, but they will often give me a discount.”

You can also let an online price-tracker do your legwork. These tools allow you to enter products that you may want to purchase, and they alert you — by email or other means — when the price drops at any of the stores they track. Johnson used price-tracking software to get his Wi-Fi speaker, and saved $50 in the process.

3. Use a Discounted Gift Card You Bought Online

Discounted gift cards come from people who have a gift card for a specific retailer, but will sell it for less than face value in order to get cash. So, for example, you may be able to buy their $50 gift card for $40.

If you go this route, beware of scams. Only buy from reputable sites.

4. To Save on Groceries, Shop on Sunday, Monday & Tuesday

On Wednesdays, many grocers begin store sales that last for a week, according to the digital news website Mashable. On Sundays, big supermarkets often release coupon pamphlets.

So the grocery shopper’s “sweet spot” is Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, when shoppers can take advantage of both discounts.

5. Buy in Bulk When an Item Is on Sale

Whether it’s toothbrushes or nonperishable food items, you should consider buying in bulk. Keep a price list of groceries and sundries that your family buys on a regular basis to help you decide when something is a great deal.

You also need to make sure that you have enough space to store your purchases and that the items are not perishable.

One reminder: Be sure you want what you are buying — and will use it. Otherwise it will be a waste of money that is just taking up space.

More From Money Talks News:

Image: pixdeluxe

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6 Ways to Save More on Clothes

storecard - lg

As the weather gets nicer and the sun starts to make more of an appearance, many people are probably starting to switch out their winter wardrobe for their spring and summer ones, which could mean some frivolous spending in the very near future.

Of course picking up a few new items doesn’t always have to mean shopping for new stuff, or even if it does, it doesn’t have to mean spending a fortune. We tapped consumer and money-saving expert Andrea Woroch for some of her best advice on how to save on new clothes so you still have cash left for some fun in the sun.

1.Buy Used

If you haven’t bought used in the past because you were afraid of whatever stigma might be attached to it, keep in mind that no one other than you will actually know where you purchased your clothes from, says Woroch, so why waste money on brand new items when you can find like-new goods for a fraction of the cost? “Many times I find clothes that have never been worn with the tags still on them,” she said. “Enjoy deals at your local consignment shops and get to know the discount cycle. The store will lower prices after a few weeks and continue the reduction before donating it, giving you an opportunity to save even more.” Online consignment stores make it easier than ever to shop used, as well — try thredup or RecycleYourFashions.com, which also provide you with free shipping labels. “You can even find coupon codes for an additional 40% at thredup from sites like CouponSherpa.com,” said Woroch.

2. Negotiate and Price Match


Believe it or not most retail stores are willing to negotiate, says Woroch, even at high-end fashion retailers like Nordstrom and Bloomingdales. “Ask for price matching online, too, via live chat, or call customer service — this is especially savvy when comparing prices between two sites where one offers free shipping and free returns but features the higher price, as you may be able to score the item for the cheapest price.” You should also always ask for free shipping when it isn’t available, says Woroch. “I’ve scored free shipping at Anthropologie and LOFT by calling customer service and simply asking for it.”

3. Set Up a Swap

If the reason you’re shopping for new threads is because a lot of what you have in your closet doesn’t fit or you just aren’t interested in it anymore, a swap with friends could be fun and might save you a ton of cash. “Take the opportunity to share those pieces with friends and family, or even coworkers, by setting up a swap,” says Woroch. “You might require that anyone who participates brings to the event a certain number of garments to swap and is limited to the number they can take, but it’s a fun way to exchange clothing and get new looks without spending any money.” You can swap at places online like Swapdom.com, too, which enable you to pay for items you want with items you already own and no longer use. “If you’re looking for a new leather handbag, for example, browse the site’s many options for one that fits your style,” said Woroch. “Then offer up items you no longer want, and Swapdom takes care of the complicated process of making an equitable trade of your goods for the handbag.”

4. Shop on Thursdays

According to Woroch, retailers begin marking down certain items they want to push during the busy weekend crowds on Thursday evening, so you have a larger selection of discounted goods to chose from at this time.

5. Invest in Classics, Save on Trends

One way to save on clothing and accessories is to best know where to save and where to splurge. “Go ahead and splurge on a comfortable pair of black boots or a blazer, because these timeless and classic pieces will get lots of use and will transition through many seasons,” says Woroch. “Save on trendy clothes that will go out of style come next season.” You can also save on things like basic t-shirts, plain button downs and pajamas by shopping at stores like Target and Old Navy. “You can even find great deals on men’s shirts from Costco’s Kirkland brand,” said Woroch.

6. Recycle Old Clothes for More Savings

H&M, for example, offers a 15% discount to shoppers who recycle unwanted clothes, while athleisure retailer Lorna Jane provides $5 for every used item exercise garment you recycle. “Ask other retailers about their policies,” says Woroch, “ and remember that consignment shops will always accept gently used threads in exchange for cash and store credit.”

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5 Ways to Buy Furniture on the Cheap

piggybank

Whether it’s an upgrade here and there or a full-on brand new apartment or house you’re looking to furnish, buying new furniture can be a daunting (and expensive) task. With so many shopping options available these days, it can be easy to get sucked into a spending hole — but you don’t have to. Check out some of these suggestions for smart and easy ways to save some cash and still furnish your new abode exactly as you envision.

1. Buy used

We all know Craigslist and eBay as old standbys for finding used goods, but those aren’t your only options. AptDeco, for example, handles pick up and delivery of buying and selling used furniture, and Krrb helps locals find gently used items near them, while Chairish offers pieces that design-lovers will go crazy for. (Note that the hard-to-find goods at Chairish are a bit more expensive than what you’d find on some of the other places mentioned, but they’re definitely cheaper than you’d find in an actual antique store.) Also consider yard and estate sales for pieces.

2. Shop at the right time

If you have enough stuff to hold you over for a short time, consider holding off on buying new furniture until you can time it with spectacular sales. The holidays obviously offer savings opportunities (think of outside-the-box holidays, as well, like Memorial and Independence Day), but since new furniture designs tend to debut in the spring, experts recommend February as a good time to go furniture shopping, as store owners try to clear out their showrooms to make room for the new products.

3. Be smart about using cards

While we’d never advocate for frivolous spending on credit cards (in fact, check out this piece about why store credit cards tend to be the worst), if you’re smart about it, opening a store card to purchase all of your furniture at once and receiving a big ole’ discount is actually a great idea, as long as you can pay off your card immediately and not use it again. (Bonus points if you can combine using a store credit card discount with a big sale.)

4. Think simple

If you can stand it, consider going for smaller, more neutral large items (like chairs and couches), since these tend to cost less, and use additional accessories (like artwork, throw pillows and lamps) to spice up the overall look with accent colors.

5. Never purchase without haggling

Even if asking for a discount isn’t your favorite thing, consider the fact that brushing up on your haggling skills could save you tons of cash, depending on how much furniture you’ll be buying. If you’re buying multiple items, ask if there’s a discount for that. Ask if there’s wiggle room with the delivery fee or if the price that’s listed is the absolute lowest they can go. Even if you love the piece and will buy it no matter what, at least you’ll have done your due diligence in trying to get the piece for less.

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