5 Sites for Affordable Fashion

Finding affordable and stylish fashions can be easy when you know the right places to look.

There’s a revolution quietly taking place in the fashion industry. In case you haven’t been paying close attention, it’s now easier than ever to look like a well-heeled fashionista without spending like a Kardashian.

We can thank the internet, the booming sharing economy and a growing group of savvy entrepreneurs, for this development. These sites, which range from high-end fashion resellers to rental companies, have dramatically changed the way consumers shop and the way they think about fashion.

“I think both rental and resale sites are speaking to a trend in which people value the experience of wearing something over the experience of owning it,” said Tracy Dinunzio, CEO of Tradesy, one of the largest peer-to-peer marketplaces for women’s fashion. “We no longer have just one option when shopping — going to the mall to buy things. I think it’s liberating.”

The key theme among all the sites is the substantial savings they deliver, sometimes as high as 90% off original prices. Here are five sites that allow you to maintain your style game without dropping serious cash.

1. Tradesy

With about five million users, and investors as well known as Richard Branson, Tradesy is a booming site that any self-respecting fashion maven should know about.

Tradesy showcases new and preowned fashion sold by users — everything from Marc Jacobs shoes to Dior bags and David Yurman jewelry. Items from well-known brands are listed for up to 90 percent off and Tradesy offers an authenticity guarantee.

“One of the reasons I started Tradesy was I wanted better quality fashion but didn’t have the budget,” said Dinunzio, who would frequent consignment stores in pursuit of scoring deals. Tradesy is the one-stop solution for those who don’t have time to hunt through brick and mortar consignment stores. It’s Dinunzio’s attempt to bring all of those consignment shopping possibilities and the unused fashions sitting in women’s closets, to one place.

2. ThredUp.com

ThredUp.com offers another spin on the reused fashions theme. This massive online consignment and thrift store offers items for up to 90% off.

The site has also conveniently broken down offerings into categories such as “Top Designer Labels from $6,” “Summer Must-Haves Under $10” and “Dresses for under $15.” Just in case you’re skeptical of such affordable price-tags, the dresses in the under $15 category include makers such as Bebe, Calvin Klein, BCBG Max Azaria and more.

“ThredUp is my favorite way to get brand name clothes for less,” said personal finance expert and blogger Kayla Sloan. “I’ve gotten work clothes, dress clothes, active wear, and handbags on ThredUp — brands like Kate Spade, Coach, Michael Kors, Lululemon, Under Armour, Jessica Simpson, and some non-designer items.”

In addition, if you’d like to make extra cash (to do more shopping), ThreadUp will send you a “Clean Out Bag,” which you can fill up with your like-new women’s and kids’ clothing and send back to be sold on the site. Sellers earn cash or credit to shop on ThredUp. For even more extra cash, use a solid cash back credit card while shopping. There are a lot of great ones out there — be sure to check your credit score before applying to see if you qualify. You can check two credit scores for free with Credit.com.

3. Bag Borrow or Steal

If investing a chunk of money in a pricey handbag is something you’re loath to do, but you still have serious designer bag envy, then Bag Borrow or Steal may be the solution.

The site allows users to rent some of the most luxurious bags on the planet — Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Gucci, Tory Burch and more. Bags can be borrowed in 30-day increments. If you love the bag, you can continue renting it.

At the time of publishing, rental prices range from as little as $45 per month for a large Michael Kors satchel to $600 for a Chanel Boy Bag.

4. Eleven James

Many people opt to admire expensive watches from afar due to not having the budget to dabble themselves. Thanks to Eleven James, a tight budget won’t hold you back from this accessory.

Luxury watch rental membership program Eleven James allows members to wear designer watches worth thousands of dollars, brands such as Bell & Ross, Cartier, Breitling, Rolex, Tudor, and more.

Those who sign up receive a new watch aligning with their style preferences every few months. Each watch can be worn for three months and then returned.

Membership costs vary based on the category of watches you’d like to have access to, but start between $149 to $169 per month. For that entry-level price, you’re able to sample two to four watches over the course of six to 12 months.

5. 260SampleSale

Ms. Fabulous.com creator Mariana Leung is a big fan of sample sales — events hosted by designers where you can purchase clothes for a significant discount. Long reserved for fashion insiders, these shopping extravaganzas are now being offered to the masses by such sites as 260samplesale.com and clothingline.com, said Leung.

For instance, 260SampleSale specializes in running sample sales for some of the biggest brands in fashion, including Diane Von Furstenberg, J Brand and Fivestory. The key is to sign up to be on the alert lists for these sites in order to score access to the sales.

In terms of the discount, “It’s at least 60 to 65% off.” said Leung. “I’m not even walking in if it isn’t that much. And on the last day of the sale, the prices drop even more.”

Image: Petar Chernaev

The post 5 Sites for Affordable Fashion appeared first on Credit.com.

19 Ways to Save at buybuy Baby

There are plenty of ways to save at buybuy Baby without cutting your registry and wishlist short.

Anyone who’s ever attended a baby shower or had a baby is sure to know about buybuy Baby, the baby goods superstore alternative to Babies ‘R Us. If you aren’t quite convinced that buybuy Baby is the store for you, check out all these ways to save when shopping there — they just might change your mind.

1. Join the Mailing List

Submit your email to receive buybuy Baby newsletters with the most recent deals and offers. Plus, first-time subscribers immediately receive 20% off one single item in-store.

2. Explore Their Savings Center

The buybuy Baby savings center offers some pretty sweet deals — all you have to do is look. It’s definitely worth keeping an eye on this section from time to time to stock up on baby goods you might need now or in future.

3. Peruse the Clearance Options

Separate from the savings center, buybuy Baby also has a pretty extensive clearance section that’s worth checking out.

4. Get Organized

Never forget another coupon again when you use buybuy Baby’s “My Offers” organization system. Using your email address, My Offers organizes your print, email and text offers directly in the cloud so you have immediate access to them and can redeem them wherever and whenever.

5. Check for Rebates

From time to time, rebates might be offered on goods you purchase from buybuy Baby. The store makes it easy to redeem those offers by using their handy rebate center.

6. Ask for a Price Match

Be a smart shopper by doing a little research at buybuy Baby’s competitors. You can ask for a price match on identical items that meet their price match conditions. Price matches can be made in store, by phone or via email.

7. Ask for a Post-Purchase Price Match

Just because you already bought that high chair at buybuy Baby doesn’t mean you can’t get a discount on it if you find it somewhere else for a lower price. Buybuy Baby also allows you to request a price match after you make a purchase so keep that in mind when shopping.

8. Load up on Manufacturer’s Coupons

Buybuy Baby accepts manufacturer coupons at any time, even in conjunction with a price match. Remember, any coupon issued from a retailer or brand that also has retail stores is considered a competitor’s coupon, not a manufacturer’s coupon. In that case, buybuy Baby will only accept the coupon and the price match if the competitor would, as well.

9. Stock up on buybuy Baby Coupons

Check sites like Coupon Cabin, Retail Me Not and Groupon for buybuy Baby coupons.

10. Bring in Your Bed Bath & Beyond Coupons

Buybuy Baby will accept these as long as they aren’t expired.

11. Do More to Score Bed Bath & Beyond Coupons

Since they’re sister stores and buybuy Baby will accept Bed Bed & Beyond coupons, it’s wise to stock up on coupons from both stores. Check out this piece for ideas on how to score more Bed Bath & Beyond Coupons.

12. Don’t Pay for Shipping

Shipping is free on orders of $49 or more from the site, but if you don’t have that much to buy, you can always reserve your items online and then pick them up in the store. Your order will be ready within two business hours and held for two days. (A $1 authorization fee will appear on your card, but it will drop within 24 to 48 hours.)

13. Apply for the buybuy Baby Mastercard

Sign up for the buybuy Baby Mastercard and receive a special introductory offer of $25 off $100, plus earn 5% back in rewards for every $1 you spend at buybuy Baby, 2% back in rewards for every $1 you spend on gas and groceries and 1% back for every $1 you spend anywhere else Mastercard is accepted. You’ll also get a $10 reward certificate for every $10 you earn and pay no interest if your card is paid in full in six months on purchases between $250 and $500 or 12 months on purchases over $500. Your annual percentage rate for this card will be 24.49%, 18.49% or 14.49% based on your creditworthiness, so pay your card in full every time. (Not sure where your credit stands? You can check two of your scores free on Credit.com. Plus, check out these other credit cards perfect for preparing for a new baby.)

14. Use Your buybuy Baby Mastercard at Affiliate Stores

You’ll earn 5% back in rewards for every $1 you spend at affiliate stores including Bed Bath & Beyond, Christmas Tree Shops and That!, Cost Plus World Market and Harmon Face Values.

15. Shop More & Save More

If you’ve applied for the buybuy Baby Mastercard, it pays to use it for purchases outside of the store and its affiliates as much as possible. Besides the 1% back for every $1 you spend anywhere else Mastercard is accepted, you’ll earn a $25 gift certificate when you spend $1,000 in the first six months or a $75 gift certificate when you spend $6,000 in the first six months.

16. Follow the Store on Social Media

Catch all the latest sales and coupon offers on buybuy Baby’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

17. Score Used Gift Cards

Check out sites like Gift Card Granny and load up on gift cards for less than face value.

18. Create a Registry

There are a lot of freebies and goodies that come with registering at buybuy Baby. For starters, you’ll receive a goody bag filled with samples and coupons for registering. Plus, completion coupons are available on items that don’t get purchased from your registry. Register in the store and you’ll even receive complimentary announcement cards to let friends and family know you’ve registered there. Additionally, the free shipping rewards program lets you earn unlimited free shipping for your baby’s first year based on the value of the gifts purchased from your registry.

19. Refer a Friend

Refer a friend to either buybuy Baby or Bed Bath & Beyond and you’ll receive $25 off any in-store purchase of $100 or more when they create a registry.

Want more brand hacks? Check out our roundup of 17 Ways to Save at Amazon.

Image: Juanmonino

Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.

The post 19 Ways to Save at buybuy Baby appeared first on Credit.com.

14 Ways to Save at Anthropologie

It's possible to purchase the items you love from Anthropologie without breaking the bank.

If bohemian aesthetics, artistic patterns and funky designs are your thing, Anthropologie is bound to have what you’re looking for. From clothing, shoes and accessories to home goods and beauty items, Anthropologie has it all. If you’re worried about how much you spend here — prices tend to be on the higher side — you can stock up and still save when you use these tips.

1. Sign up for the Newsletter

The newsletter gives you access to all things Anthropologie — including special sales and discounts.

2. Shop the Sales

Anthropologie is known to have some pretty killer sale items, so be sure to check what’s available both online and in the store.

3. Join Their Loyalty Program

Sign up for Anthropologie’s loyalty program, Anthroperks, to get early access to new arrivals, special discount days, a birthday treat and more. The birthday treat alone is a major perk of this free program. If you sign up at least 30 days before your birthday you’ll receive a 15% off coupon to use, so sign up today! (Here are more places that give you free treats on your birthday.)

4. Score Coupon Codes

Check places like RetailMeNot and Coupon Cabin to stay up to date on any recent coupon codes you might be able to use.

5. Buy Discounted Gift Cards

Check sites like Raise.com, Gift Card Granny and CardCash for Anthropologie gift cards that you can purchase for less than face value.

6. Use the Wishlist Option to Your Advantage

Anthropologie has sales pretty regularly and can alert you of when items on your wishlist are on sale. So, if you can stand waiting, it’s worth putting the items you’d like on your wishlist (available once you sign up for an Anthropologie account) and waiting for the email alert to arrive.

7. Wait for Items to Return

Since Anthropologie has such a lenient return policy — all merchandise, except furniture and other oversized items, can be returned at any time — you’ll sometimes find items on your wishlist that were unavailable may suddenly become available again, and often for a discount. So wait before deleting items from your wishlist, and you just might be pleasantly surprised one day.

8. Get a Price Adjustment

Keep your Anthropologie receipts for 14 days. If the item you purchased goes on sale in that time the store will issue you a refund for the difference between what you paid and the sale price. This applies to online purchases, as well.

9. Ask About a Teacher Discount

Teachers and teacher’s assistants get discounts at Anthropologie, typically July through September. The dates vary but it’s always worth bringing your teacher ID along with you and giving it a try.

10. Follow Anthropologie on Social Media

Add Anthropologie on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest to catch any special deals they shout out to their followers.

11. Order Online & Pick up In-Store

Rather than paying a shipping fee, when you find what you like on Anthropologie.com, enter a location to check availability at nearby stores, then click “Buy Online & Pick Up in a Store” and add it to your basket. Once you check out, pickup details will appear next to applicable items in your cart and on the order review page. Orders are held for three days.

12. Read Blogs

Another way to stay in the loop on Anthropologie discounts and sales is to read fan blogs like Effortless Anthropologie and Breakfast at Anthropologie.

13. Follow Sales Cycles

If you’re diligent, you will likely find a pattern in the sales at Anthropologie. For example, on the website, items tend to go on sale around midnight on Sundays, so checking back early Monday morning is generally a good way of scoring deals.

14. Use a Cash Back Credit Card

While Anthropologie doesn’t offer its own credit card, you can still pay less for your items by using credit cards with solid rewards. There are plenty of credit cards perfect for shoppers. Most of them require a decent credit score so it’s smart to see where you stand before applying — you can check two credit scores for free with Credit.com.

Want more brand hacks? Check out 19 Ways to Save at Nordstrom.

Image: monkeybusinessimages

Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.

The post 14 Ways to Save at Anthropologie appeared first on Credit.com.

5 No-Heat Meals That Will Save You Money This Summer

It’s hard to justify using heat to cook when it only makes you lose money, and time, so read on for some great no-heat meals to make now.

This summer, try preparing no-heat meals to save money on air conditioning and expensive foods that require heat. Using your stove and oven in the summer can release extra heat into your home — the last thing you want during the warmest months. This extra heat means turning up your air conditioning, resulting in extra expenses. Even when grilling, the cost of coals or fuel can quickly add up.

If you want to avoid using heat to cook because it cuts into your comfort or your budget, read on for some great no-heat meals to make now.

1. Barbecue Chicken Sandwich

If you can’t stay away from meat, opt for a previously cooked option like rotisserie chicken because it’s easy to pick up from your local store. You can slice, pull or shred it to add protein to any no-heat dish. Additionally, a rotisserie chicken can serve four to five people for only $5. You can make a barbecue chicken sandwich using rotisserie chicken, store-bought barbecue sauce and pickled vegetables, like cucumbers, to create a hearty meal perfect for a quick dinner or lunch in the summer. Even if barbecue isn’t your thing, food website Delish has plenty of sandwich recipes that use rotisserie chicken. Bonus: All the components can be prepared ahead of time, making them perfect for picnics or travel.

2. Tomato Gazpacho

Summer is tomato harvesting season, so take advantage of the cheaper produce offerings with a refreshing tomato gazpacho. This cold soup is perfect because it’s vegetarian, low-calorie and has 10 or fewer ingredients. RealSimple.com has a version of gazpacho that features corn and cucumbers, two more staple summer vegetables. If you like, you can serve the gazpacho with garlic-rubbed crostini to add an element with contrasting texture.

3. Vegetable Salad With Peanut Butter Dressing

Salads are a great healthy option and the slightly decadent peanut butter dressing adds just the right amount of sweetness and richness to the dish. The Kitchn has a recipe for tofu and broccoli salad that also uses peanut butter dressing. The salad is so fun and colorful it might help persuade your kids to eat their vegetables. Some recipes call for baked tofu, but for a no-heat version of this dish you can use raw tofu. Opting for vegetarian meals will also help you cut costs, as tofu is cheaper than meat and just as versatile.

4. Unicorn Summer Rolls

One of the hottest trends right now is rainbow, or unicorn, food. From bagels to sushi to cake, people are making all their favorite foods colorful. No-heat unicorn summer rolls are perfect to make to keep up with trends while maintaining a budget. Today.com has a great version of this easy recipe. Fresh, seasonal produce can be inexpensive, and it’s easy to chop and shred everything on your own. Plus, a key ingredient, rice paper wrappers, are only 10 cents each. With their color and veggies, these rolls are fun for everyone and filling enough for an affordable summer lunch.

5. Picnic in a Glass

One of the greatest summer pastimes is having a picnic. Nothing beats heading to the beach or park with friends to enjoy fresh air and a flavorful meal. A “Picnic in a Glass” is an ideal no-heat dish to bring to a real picnic, or enjoy from the comfort of your own home. Made in a mason jar, this dish is convenient and pre-portioned, which makes serving and cleanup a breeze. If you’re looking for a recipe, MyRecipes.com has an easy one. A tangy yogurt dressing adds dimension to leftover or store-bought shredded chicken. Load the jar up with vegetables to complete your no-heat meal.

While shopping for ingredients for these no-bake summer meals, consider using rewards cards for extra value. There are plenty of great grocery store rewards cards but they often require decent credit. Before applying, see where you stand. You can check two credit scores for free at Credit.com.

Image: Geber86

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14 Ways to Save at World Market

It's easy to overspend at World Market but with these ways to save, you can breathe a sigh of relief when checking your receipt.

[DISCLOSURE: Cards from our partners are mentioned below.]

Brightly colored throw pillows, exquisite area rugs, rugged outdoor furniture, international foods and eclectic jewelry are just a few of the options awaiting shoppers at World Market. While a trip here could rack up debt due to the sheer volume of goods you’re likely to come away with, save yourself some sticker shock by using these cost-cutting tricks.

1. Sign up for Emails

Visit the site and sign up for Cost Plus World Market emails to receive 10% off your next purchase. This deal only works for new customers.

2. Shop the Sales

Check the sales section for discounts on everything from furniture and décor to wine and beer.

3. View Your Local Ad

Insert your zip code on the website for access to discounts at the store closest to you through the local ad.

4. Join the World Market Explorer Rewards Program

Sign up for the World Market Explorer Rewards Program and get 15% off your next purchase just for completing your profile. After that, you’ll get a $10 reward for every $200 you spend, plus exclusive access to coupons and deals, special member pricing on wine, beer and other products and a special surprise on your birthday.

5. Have Rewards Sent to Your Phone

Never be without access to your member discounts when you get them sent to your phone. Check the website for registration details.

6. Apply for the World Market MasterCard

Customers who use the World Market MasterCard receive perks like no interest if paid in full within 6 months or 12 months, 5% back in rewards for every $1 spent at select partner stores, 2% back in rewards for every $1 spent on gas and groceries and 1% back for every $1 spent anywhere else MasterCard is accepted.

Plus, you’ll receive a $10 reward certificate for every $10 in rewards you earn automatically. Rewards you earn with the Cost Plus World Market MasterCard are separate from the World Market Explorer Rewards Program. (APR will be variable 24.74%, 18.74% or 14.74% based on your credit, so pay your card off in full each time you use it.)

Remember, opening a new credit card can impact your credit. Check your credit score to see where you stand before applying. You can check two credit scores for free on Credit.com.

7. Use Your Cost Plus World Market MasterCard at Affiliate Stores

Besides earning 5% back in rewards for every $1 you spend at Cost Plus World Market, you’ll earn those same rewards when you use it at Bed Bath & Beyond, buybuy BABY, Christmas Tree Shops, andThat! and Harmon Face Values.

8. Use Your Cost Plus World Market MasterCard for Big Purchases at Other Stores

You’ll earn 1% back for every $1 spent anywhere MasterCard is accepted at all times, but spend $1,000 in the first six months on your card outside of the affiliate stores and you’ll earn a $25 gift certificate, or $75 when you spend $6,000 in the first six months.

9. Get a Designer Discount

Professional designers receive a 10% discount at World Market Stores. Just show your proof of occupation (business card or state business license and photo ID) to a store manager to start using your World Market Designer Discount Card today.

10. Check out World Market Coupon Offers on the Website

The website offers World Market coupons, offers & promotions page, filled with deals to help save you money.

11. Search Sites for Additional Coupon Offers

Check out places like Offers.com for other potential coupon or promo codes.

12. Follow Them on Social Media

Add World Market as connections on both Facebook and Twitter to never miss another sale opportunity.

13. Don’t Forget Free Shipping

Ordering furniture online at World Market pays off, since orders of $150 and over receive free shipping. Just don’t forget to put in the code.

14. Buy Discounted Gift Cards

Check out the World Market section on sites like Gift Card Granny to purchase gift cards at discounted prices.

Want more helpful brand hacks? Check out these 15 Ways to Save at Crate & Barrel.

Image: Eva-Katalin

Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.

The post 14 Ways to Save at World Market appeared first on Credit.com.

16 States Offering Sales Tax Holidays in 2017

The back-to-school season can be an exciting but expensive time.

Buying school supplies adds up, even before new clothes, backpacks, and shoes join the list. Needs such as a new laptop, textbooks, or graphing calculator can cause costs to escalate.

The good news is that for the last 20 years, some states have offered holidays on which they don’t collect state sales taxes on many items on your back-to-school shopping list.

Craig Shearman, vice president for government affairs public relations for the National Retail Federation, a retail trade federation, says consumers can save about 5% to 10% during sales-tax holidays. Actual savings for consumers depend on the state sales tax rate in their state.

Sales Tax Holidays 2017

This year, 16 of the 45 states that collect sales taxes are offering tax holidays, according to the Federation of Tax Administrators, an organization that provides research, training, and other resources to state-tax administrators. Most of these holidays revolve around school-related purchases, though some states also have other tax holidays throughout the year for things like disaster preparedness items, firearms, hunting supplies, or energy- and water-saving appliances.

Here’s a schedule of upcoming tax holidays by state:

How does a tax holiday work?

Sales-tax weekends are a set period of time in which the state doesn’t collect typical sales tax on certain items up to a certain dollar amount. Each state defines what will be exempt during the holiday, but common items for July and August holidays include clothing, shoes, school supplies, and personal computers.

Eight states holding tax holidays this year are doing so during the first weekend of August to help families buy back-to-school items. For example, Florida isn’t collecting sales tax on school supplies that are less than $15, clothing, footwear, and certain accessories that are less than $60, and personal computers and computer-related accessories less than $750.

Things to watch out for: Timing and spending caps

Just because a state offered a tax holiday in the past doesn’t mean its residents can expect to get one in the future. Georgia is not having tax holidays this year, after having two in 2016 that covered back-to-school supplies and Energy Star and WaterSense appliances. It’s the first time since 2012 Georgia will not have a tax holiday.

Previous sales-tax holidays in Georgia have helped mom Cheri Melone, 45, save on school supplies, lunchboxes, and backpacks for her sons, ages 11 and 3. Melone, who lives in Watkinsville, Ga., estimates she saved about $10 to $20 per child each year.

“It’s disappointing,” Melone says. “I know a lot of my friends that have big families, they wait for that weekend to go shopping.”

Massachusetts lawmakers are still determining whether the state will have a tax holiday this year. The state canceled its 2016 holiday after a Department of Revenue report found that the 2015 holiday caused it to miss out on $25.51 million in revenue.

In addition to double-checking if and when a state’s holiday is happening, shoppers will want to familiarize themselves with the holiday’s limits: The holidays only apply to certain items and often impose tax-free spending limits. And even though a state isn’t collecting sales tax during this period doesn’t mean that shoppers won’t see taxes added to their bill at checkout. Some states allow counties, cities, and districts to choose if they want to stop collecting their specific sales taxes during the holiday. In 2017, 49 of Missouri’s 114 counties will collect county sales taxes during the state’s back-to-school sales-tax holiday.

Beyond that, not all retailers may participate. Retailers in Alabama, Arkansas, Iowa, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia are required to participate in the tax holidays. New Mexico does not require retailers to participate. Missouri lets retailers opt out if less than 2% of their merchandise would qualify for the tax exemption. Florida lets retailers opt out if less than 5% of their 2016 sales were from items that would be exempt during the 2017 back-to-school tax holiday.

Guides to the sales tax holiday in Connecticut, Louisiana, Maryland, and Mississippi don’t specify if retailers are required to participate.

What are the pros and cons of tax holidays?

Shearman says the events benefit retailers by bringing customers into the store and help consumers by saving them money.

“Because [consumers are] excited about the prospect of what amounts to a sale going on, they’ll be in that frame of mind, and they will buy other things that are there that are not tax exempt,” Sherman says. “So the boost in sales per items that are still being taxed very often offsets the tax revenue lost from the tax-free items.”

However, economists like Ron Alt from the Federation of Tax Administrators says he thinks it is a bad tax policy because states lose the revenue. Also, retailers may mark up prices for the holiday to make money off the hype of a tax-free weekend, says Alt, senior manager of economic and tax research.

A March 2017 study from economists at the Board of Governors at the Federal Reserve System found that tax holidays boosted retail sales throughout the whole month.

Shearman says that while 5% to 10% saved is “relatively small,” it can help families that are financially stretched.

Georgeanne Gonzalez, 32, an Athens, Ga., mom who buys school supplies for her two children and her niece, says the state’s tax-free weekends helped her out a lot in the past as the school supply lists grew.

“It made it a lot easier when having three children to buy school supplies for,” she says.

The post 16 States Offering Sales Tax Holidays in 2017 appeared first on MagnifyMoney.

13 Ways to Save at Michael Kors

Try these tactics the next time you simply must have the latest Michael Kors offering.

Sophisticated and chic shoppers delight in the fancy yet practical options that abound at Michael Kors. Unless you’re loaded, though, it helps to have a couple of ways to save on hand when shopping here. Try these tactics the next time you simply must have the latest Michael Kors offering.

1. Shop Sale Items

Check out the sales section of the Michael Kors site to score up to 50% off everything from handbags and wallets to watches, clothes and shoes.

2. Sign up for the Newsletter

Catch all the Michael Kors promotions, sales and in-store events when you sign up for the newsletter. Scroll to the bottom of the homepage and look left for a sign-up option.

3. Score Coupons Online

Check sites like Groupon, RetailMeNot and Coupons.com for promo codes you can use toward Michael Kors purchases.

4. Shop for Michael Kors Items at Discount Sites

Places like Overstock.com and Nordstrom Rack often have Michael Kors items for a fraction of what they might cost at an actual Michael Kors store or online.

5. Score Coupons for Discount Sites to Use Toward Michael Kors Purchases

Save even more on your Michael Kors purchase from a discount site by signing up for newsletters from those other sites that might send out special promo codes or coupon offers you can use as well.

6. Wait for a Major Sale

Like most retailers, Michael Kors tends to have sales in conjunction with the change of season — like a spring sale, for example — so if you can stand waiting, you might be able to score major deals on those items you covet. Be sure to check the site frequently for information on upcoming sales.

7. Follow Michael Kors on Social Media

Become a follower of the brand on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with sales and promotions as well.

8. Shop at a Michael Kors Outlet

It is possible to score great deals on luxury items at a Michael Kors outlet if you’re patient and know what to look for. Generally speaking, boutique items available at an outlet store will be in the same section (usually in clearance), and a sales rep should be able to help you find what you’re looking for.

9. Sign up for a Credit Card at a Department Store That Sells Michael Kors

You can usually find Michael Kors items at department stores like Macy’s and Bloomingdales, so save even more by signing up for a credit card from your department store of choice (just be sure they offer Michael Kors products, first) and using the points you earn to make your Michael Kors purchases. Do your research first to make sure points can be used on Michael Kors products, of course, and read the fine print before signing on the dotted line for any credit card. (Check your credit score to make sure you’ll qualify as well. You can see two of your scores for free on Credit.com.)

10. Use a Rewards Credit Card

This will let you earn points, miles or cash back on your purchases. So, whether you use the card to purchase Michael Kors and then benefit from the savings later, or use it to make your daily purchases and buy your next Michael Kors bag with the cash back you’ve earned, this can help you save in all kinds of ways. Just make sure to pay your balance in full each month so interest doesn’t eclipse your rewards. Here’s some help if you’re having trouble choosing a rewards card.

11. Buy Gift Cards at a Discount

Check out sites like Gift Card Granny and Cardpool.com for Michael Kors gift cards you can buy at less than face value.

12. Get a Price Adjustment

Michael Kors will offer a one-time price adjustment on any full-price item within seven days of the date of purchase, so keep your eyes peeled for things that go on sale after you purchase them.

13. Check out eBay

Michael Kors items abound on eBay. With a little patience you might be able to score a precious product for less than you would pay for it in the store.

Want more luxury brand hacks? Check out 14 ways to save at Ralph Lauren or these 11 ways to save at Louis Vuitton.

Image: labsas

The post 13 Ways to Save at Michael Kors appeared first on Credit.com.

7 Common Couples Fights That Can Be Solved by Shopping

Whether you’re bickering about mattress firmness or the fact you’re not saving enough, fight no more.

No matter how harmonious your relationship, the occasional fight with your significant other is unavoidable. Whether you’re bickering about mattress firmness or the fact you’re not saving enough, fight no more. These common couples’ issues can be solved by something as simple as going shopping.

1. The Bed  

The Conflict: One person likes it firm, and one likes it soft.

The Solution: Next time you’re in the market for a mattress, consider a customizable one from companies like ReST Bed and Reverie, which allow you to adjust the firmness on each side of the bed. Some even offer sleep data and the ability to change the temperature.

2. No Closet Space

The Conflict: You can’t see your slacks for the suits. Or shoes. Or sweaters.

The Solution: Exchange your plastic hangers for extra-slim velour ones like those from Closet Complete or inventor Joy Mangano.

3. Too Much Stuff on the Floor 

The Conflict: All those piles are turning into a sore spot, and your tiny home looks like a bomb site.

The Solution: Designated hooks for each item would help, but who has the time to install them? Instead of classic hooks, look for ones that can be installed tool-free like High & Mighty or Command.

4. Moving

The Conflict: You’ve found a new home and are ready to leave, but moving feels like a chore.

The Solution: A full-service moving company, like Moving.com or Mayflower, can manage every part of your move. You’ll pay a bit more, but having the peace of mind — and peace in your relationship — is worth it.

5. Storage

The Conflict: You love your old beat-up rug and massive collection of record albums. Your partner doesn’t.

The Solution: Rather than insist these items take up precious real estate, get some storage. Self-storage can feel like moving, but full-service firms like Sparefoot and Closetbox come to you, take an inventory of your stuff and cart it off to a secure facility.

6. The Lawn

The Conflict: No one wants to mow it.

The Solution: You’ve heard of the Roomba robot. Imagine the harmony an automated lawn mower could bring. Today, mowers from brands like Worx and Robomow can get the job done hands-free. They also do amazing things like return to their charging station for more juice.

7. Saving Money 

The Conflict: You’re spending too much and saving too little.

The Solution: Cutting back on spending is a good first step, but if your budget has minimal wiggle room for socking money away, try using a service that rounds up your purchases like Acorns, Digit or Bank of America. They’re all a bit different, but once you set up the service, your debit card purchases will be rounded up to the nearest dollar and saved or invested on your behalf. (Be sure to track your finances by viewing two of your credit scores for free on Credit.com.)

Image: PeopleImages

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6 Things You Need to Know About Amazon Prime Day

Online shoppers are gearing up for Amazon’s third annual Prime Day — a period of deep discounts on many Amazon items in mid-July. Since the company began Prime Day three years ago, it’s become the summertime answer to Black Friday.

But what’s all the fuss really about? In years past, there have been complaints that the site’s sale items aren’t all that exciting, with the hottest items selling out too quickly for many to take advantage of the deals.

Amazon hasn’t said much about what 2017’s Prime Day will look like, but to help you prepare, here are some things you need to know.

Q: When is Amazon Prime Day?

A: July 10-11

Prime Day kicks off at 9 p.m. EST on July 10, when the best deals will be posted online, and run for the next 30 hours.

New deals will be offered every five minutes, according to Amazon.

Q: Where can I find the best deals on Amazon Prime Day?

Electronics

Benjamin Glaser, features editor at DealNews, says that last year, Amazon Prime shoppers saved about 30% to 40% on electronics. Globally, people bought over 90,000 TVs, and in the U.S., people bought over 200,000 headphones during the 2016 Prime Day, according to an Amazon press release. However, Glaser cautions that TV deals tend to sell out fast.

It’s a safe bet that the best deals will be on Amazon-branded electronics, such as the Echo, Kindle, Fire tablets, and Fire TV products.

Glaser is anticipating seeing $15 off of the Fire TV Stick, which is currently at $39.99. The Echo, priced at $179.99, dropped to $129.99 on Monday June 26 for the day — the best deal on it this year.

It’s also likely that there will be deals on electronics that tie into the Amazon Alexa ecosystem, such as Philips Hue smart lights products — the starter kit is priced at $173.99 — and smart thermostats such as Nest, which is currently $246.85 (at the time of this writing).

Toys and more

Also, considering that 2 million toys and 1 million pairs of shoes were bought globally last Prime Day, it’s also likely there will be deals in those departments.

For example, among the best deals last year was $699 for the Segway miniPRO Smart Self Balancing Personal Transporter, which at the time was the lowest price for it on Amazon by $300, according to DealNews. The game Exploding Kittens: A Card Game was also on sale for $15, the lowest price on Amazon by $9 at the time.

Expect some products to have record low prices for Amazon.

“We have confirmed over the last two years that a lot of the prices rival the best prices we see on the site all year,” Glaser says.

Q: How long will deals last on Amazon Prime Day?

A: Amazon promises new deals every 5 minutes starting at 9 p.m. EST on July 10.

Some deals will expire in mere minutes, while others will last several hours, and some will last for the duration of the sale event. Each deal will have a timer that shows how long it is available.

Q: How do I know when an item goes on sale?

A: The Amazon App specifically includes a feature called “Watch a Deal” that will let you know when a deal you’re interested in is about to go live.

You also can join a waitlist (by selecting that button on the page) for deals that are 100% claimed.

Q: Do I need to be an Amazon Prime member?

A: You must be an Amazon Prime member to access the Prime Day deals. A Prime membership costs $99 a year or $10.99 per month and includes a number of other perks. Recently, Amazon announced a reduced price for Prime membership for low-income households.

“So, if that [$10.99] is less than what you think you’ll save on the stuff you want to buy [on Prime Day], then it’s a worthwhile investment,” Glaser says.

Amazon also offers a 30-day free trial, so if you haven’t had Prime before, you can use that to participate in Prime Day.

“This might be a good month to give Prime a test drive and see if you get good value out of it,” Glaser says.

Q: How will I know when they announce deals?

A: Glaser says Amazon will likely soon start releasing ads for some of the deals, so keep an eye out for them. Look particularly at Amazon products, electronics, small kitchen appliances, and shoes. Plan what you want to buy and set a shopping budget.

Since some deals will only be available for a certain time, you might want to set alerts for items. If you don’t already have an app that you use to track prices on Amazon, Glaser recommends the free apps CamelCamelCamel or If This Then That.

With all of the deals, it will be easy to buy things you weren’t planning on and don’t need. Glaser cautions against getting swept up in these deals and recommends sticking to your budget on Prime Day.

“If you see something that’s 95% off, you might spring to buy it and not really think about how much money you’re still spending, and whether it’s something you actually want,” Glaser says.

The post 6 Things You Need to Know About Amazon Prime Day appeared first on MagnifyMoney.

6 Brand Loyalty Programs That Are Actually Worth Joining

These brand loyalty programs are worth the extra emails.

There are probably a lot of things that draw you to your favorite stores. The products, obviously, the sales and the friendly salespeople all might be part of it, but a seriously rocking loyalty or rewards program is probably not far behind. Whether a loyalty program is free or has a small fee, if the benefits are plenty, it can be worth all the extra mail and email you’ll likely receive — or even a small yearly charge. (If you tend to pay balances off in full and want to maximize your earning potential, you may want to consider a rewards credit card as well.)

Here are some of the best loyalty programs we’ve seen around.

1. CVS

If not all pharmacies are created equal, then not all pharmacy rewards programs are created equal either. CVS’ ExtraCare Rewards stands out, for starters, because it’s free. Customers earn 2% back in ExtraBuck Rewards every single time they use their ExtraCare card, and additional savings are easy to find through ExtraCare emails, the CVS Pharmacy app and the weekly ad or throughout the store. You can save paper by using the “send to card” option to send selected offers from online directly to your ExtraCare card rather than printing them off to bring to the store.

2. Barnes & Noble

Becoming a B&N member isn’t free — it’ll cost you $25 a year — but if you’re an avid reader, the fee will likely be worth it. For starters, new members receive $50 in bonus coupons for joining. (Use ‘em all and you’ve already made up your initiation fee!) Members also receive member-exclusive savings options, free express shipping online with no minimum purchase, plus 40% off the list prices of current hardcover bestsellers and 10% off the price of other eligible items.

3. PetSmart

Animal owners can join the PetSmart PetPerks rewards program to start saving more on their pet purchases. Membership is free, and members receive discounts on in-store purchases, as well as special coupons sent directly to them in the mail. For more ways to save on your furbabies, sign up for the brand’s auto-ship plan, which provides 20% off and free shipping on the first auto ship order, plus 5% off and free shipping every time after. (Some exclusions apply.)

4. Sephora

For product lovers, the Sephora Beauty Insider Program is a dream come true. Sign up for free on the Sephora site and every dollar you spend earns a point that can be put towards free beauty products. (The points you need to purchase certain products can be found online.) Members also get a birthday gift, access to free beauty classes, and for an extra $10/year members get access to flash two-day shipping on all online orders.

5. Bed Bath & Beyond

Home goods superstore BB&B doesn’t have a specific rewards program, per se, but creating a free account online and providing your home address at the store will supply you with endless coupon offers. The best part? The store usually accepts coupons even after they’ve expired — though you probably won’t need to bother since you’ll likely have a new one waiting for you in your mailbox or inbox by your next purchase, anyway.

6. Starbucks

Pricey as their drinks may be, Starbucks does have a smashing (and free) rewards program. Starbucks Rewards members earn two “stars” for every $1 spent with your registered card to put towards future drinks. There are four ways to enroll in the program (online, through the mobile app, directly from a retailer or through a business affiliate), and you can earn also stars by entering star codes found inside specially marked packaged of Starbucks products as well. Starbucks fans can find more ways to save on their daily cup of coffee (or two) here.

Remember, you don’t want the lure of rewards to lead you to overspend. High levels of debt can affect your bank account and credit score. You can see where your credit currently stands by viewing two of your scores for free on Credit.com.

Note: It’s important to remember that prices for products and services frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms cited in this article may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with the company directly.

Image: oneinchpunch

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