Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Secret Codes for Shopping at Target

Those string of numbers on a price tag carry hidden messages. For every retailer it indicates more than the item and price. Usually the last number at the end of the item number will indicate if that item is slated for price reduction.

Some savvy shoppers have deciphered the code on Target's clearance red stickers. In the bottom-left corner of the tag is the item's original price. In the bottom-right corner is the current sale price. And in the top-right corner is the percentage off. Regular prices at Target always end in a "9,"  but clearance items can be priced at 15 percent, 30 percent, 70 percent, 75 percent, or even 90 percent off. 

So we created this cheat sheet for you:

Ends in "4" That's the lowest the price the item will be marked down. Grab it!
Ends in "8" The item will be marked down again.
Ends in "9" Regular priced item

Target has a team of employees who focus on marking down merchandise, and certain departments get marked down on certain days, several frugal bloggers have noted. The general Target markdown schedule is:

Monday: Children's clothing, baby items, electronics, and office supplies/gift wrap/stationary.
Tuesday: Women's clothing, home decor and domestic items

Wednesday: Men's clothing, toys, food, health and beauty, garden items
Thursday: Housewares, lingerie, shoes, sporting goods, luggage

Friday: Cosmetics, jewelry, hardware, automotive, and home improvement

Ask your local Target store associate for their markdown schedule as it varies by location. If you find a reduced item, and it ends in "8", return to the store in about two weeks. However, keep in mind it may not be available. That's the risk.

Other ways to save money at Target:

Watch for the Daily Deal. Bargain shopping sites like Want Not can help you keep track of Target's Daily Deal offerings -- up to five items at a bargain price plus free shipping. 

 Clip (or print) coupons. Target offers plenty of store coupons on their website and through their mobile coupon program, and you can use them in conjunction with the manufacturer's coupons you find online or clip from your local newspaper; maximize your savings by using them on trial-size items when you can. Also, the store sometimes prints high-value coupons at the bottom of your receipt, so check them before you toss them.

Keep your receipt.
Target will match prices in a competitor's printed ad as long as the product has the same brand name and model number and the ad is from within seven days of your purchase. They won't match prices from Target.com or other online retailers, but if they put the same item on sale less than a week after you buy it, they'll give you back the difference.

Happy Shopping!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Tips to Slash your Cell Phone Bill

Here is a video with some tips on slashing your cell phone bill. Some tips may not be as useful for heavy text users who use their phone for business needs. Of greater value were comments from other viewers that highly recommend Straight Talk. Do you use Straight Talk? One reader said he pays $30 a month for 1,000 minutes and texts a month. Another user said she pays $45 a month for unlimited talk, text and web using an Android. Can Straight Talk be used for Blackberry?

Highlights of the video:

1. For free texting, Androids and iPhones can download an app "Textfree" but you may have to watch an ad or two. Not sure if that means you have to watch the ad before you text? We have Blackberry so we couldn't test it.

2. If you're a light user, then prepaid plans are becoming increasingly popular. For example, Virgin Mobile, which now includes iPhone plans, starts at $30 a month for unlimited text and data, as well as 300 minutes. To determine whether prepaid is right for you, review six months worth of bills and tally up how many minutes you're actually using. You can also use a free website like BillShrink.com to help with the math.

3. Avoid termination fees. If you lost your job or there is sudden change in the terms of your contract, you can argue your way out of termination fees. It's worth a try. Otherwise, check out third-party web sites like CellSwapper and CellTradeUSA that play matchmaker between unhappy cell phone customers and those seeking less-expensive cell plans.

4. Free 411. If you have a simple phone like our mothers and grandmothers and do not use browsers or Internet, then instead of dialing 411, dial 1-800- FREE-411. That's 1-800-3733-411. Otherwise those 411 charges eat up your bill!

Do you have any tips you'd like to share? Are you happy with your carrier and monthly plan? Share by clicking on "comment".

Monday, April 16, 2012

Tax Day Retailer Deals

When tax day comes April 17, you can get a little relief from the stress of filing your return by taking advantage of freebies and special deals that companies will be offering on or around that day.

Here's a rundown of who is offering what. Check back because we'll be updating this list as more companies announce their tax-day deals.

Arby's will have a coupon for free value curly fries on April 17. Visit the Arby's Facebook page to get a coupon and enter its sweepstakes to win $5,000 in tax relief.

Chevy's will have a certificate on its Facebook page April 9 through 13 for a free order of chicken taquitos that can be redeemed April 13. From April 13 through 17, you can get two premium Herradura margaritas for $10.40. And Chevy's will pick up the tax on all guest meals April 17. (Special offers available in select locations.) 

Chili's has a coupon for a free appetizer or dessert with the purchase of an adult entree April 16 through April 18. You can print the coupon or show it to your server via smart phone.

Cinnabon will offer two free Classic Cinnabon Bites on April 17 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at participating locations as part of its Tax Day Bites promotion.

Hooters locations across the country are offering guests tax day relief, with a $9.99 special for 20 boneless wings.  All day Tuesday, guests who dine in at Hooters can take advantage of this value, a savings of up to $5 depending on location.
HydroMassage locations nationwide will provide free massages between April 16 and April 20 to help eliminate the stress of tax filing. Get a coupon for a free message at www.hydromassage.com/taxday.htm and call ahead to schedule a session.

McDonalds. Participating golden arches will be offering big Macs and quarter pounder with cheese for 17 cents.  No that's a deal!

Office Depot is letting customers make 25 single-sided black and white copies and offering up to 5 pounds of shredding for free through April 16. No coupon is necessary, and the offer is valid in stores nationwide.

Panda Express will give a free single serving of its new Shanghai Angus Steak at participating locations April 17. To get this free offer, you'll need to download a coupon by "liking" Panda Express on Facebook starting April 11.

P.F. Chang's is offering a 15% discount at restaurants nationwide on dine-in and carry-out orders April 17 (alcohol and happy hour items excluded).

Seattle's Best Coffee will mail a free sample of its Levels coffee to you if you visit the company's Facebook page and click on "Great American Coffee Refund."

Monday, March 19, 2012

Best Credit Cards for Rewards, Savings

How to save or cut down costs? Will we ever stop asking this question? Even during an economic boom? Hopefully not. It's wise to always be conscious of spending habits and learn about tools where savings add up. Use those savings for building an emergency fund if nothing else.

One of our favorite is credit cards. We have blogged about this subject but CAUTION. This is only for those who are financially disciplined and pay off their credit cards every month.  Selecting the right card based on your usage and consumption of groceries, gasoline, travel and other expenditures can add up significantly in savings.

We came across a website Car Hub that does all the comparison of credit cards based on various levels of credit rating (Excellent, Good, Fair, Bad). Then a further breakdown and offering of cards depending on what suits your needs.

Let's say you're committed to not falling off the wagon and paying off your debt. Then balancing the best transfer fees and credit card rates is a top priority.

For Alicia, a soccer mom, active community volunteer, and juggler extraordinaire means she spends most of her life in a vehicle and feeding children, family, children's events. So groceries and gasoline are high expenditures. A credit card with rewards for both ticket items is Alicia's goal. According to Card Hub, there's one card that offers 2% cash back at gasoline stations and 3% cash back at supermarkets.

For Blog Sister Christine, her driving radius is less than a mile daily. She fills up her gas tank every two weeks. Her goals are quite different than her Blog Sister Alicia. Christine aims to travel for free. From free airfare to hotel rooms, Christine is searching for a credit card that offers airline points for any airline, with no blackout dates and more points per $1 spent. Interest rates may be higher, but Christine pays off her credit card every month. The penalty for late fees and interest rates are not a concern.  She found it!

The site appears to be updated regularly so all the homework is done! Thanks to the Internet and Card Hub, life just got easier and a little brighter.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Getting Paid for Recycling

We know it's important to recycle. But how about getting paid for items you no longer use. Before throwing it into the trash, trade it in for a a gift card.

Amazon's Trade-In store will give you credit for sending in eligible items--from Blu-ray discs to videogames, books and electronics. You simply search their database for the item you're thinking of getting rid or, and they'll tell you exactly how much cold, hard gift card you can get for turning it in.

It's good for the environment and great for your pocketbook.


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Financial Assistance for Expensive Prescriptions

A dear friend of ours was diagnosed with breast cancer at the young age of 38. This is not a typo. 38. With the rising cost of healthcare, and employer's forcing employees to pay higher premiums, we learned that this friend had to pay out-of-pocket share of $8,000. Her employer however started a collection fund amond her coworkers to help her offset the cost. But then the prescriptions were the next challenge-- burning through her savings like a wildfire. Weak and lethargic from the radiation, chemo...She didn't have the time or energy to research other sources, ie. Canadian distributors. There's a plethora online but which ones were reputable? Not scams? Not sugar pills?

Who has time? Well there ARE other solutions.
Thanks to The Assistance Fund, a nonprofit organization.

"We're an organization that helps people who've been prescribed some very expensive drugs and have insurance, but can't afford their co-pay or deductible," says Jeffrey Spafford, the nonprofit's chief executive officer.

The organization's Co-pay Funds are focused on 10 serious diseases that require highly specialized medications: breast cancer, Crohn's disease, multiple sclerosis, non-small cell lung cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, colorectal cancer, multiple myeloma, myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), psoriasis, and wet age-related macular degeneration.

"Whatever the health plan doesn't cover, we'll pick up on behalf of the patient," Spafford explains.

He says the funds help patients get the treatment they need without giving up the basic essentials of life.

"They're having to make the decision: Do I pay rent this month or do I pay my co-pay for these medicines I need? Or do I buy groceries?" he says.

Drug companies are actively offering their own drug co-pay cards, which can dramatically reduce the patients' share of the cost when buying brand names. Pfizer, for example, offers a discount card that brings the cost of its cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor to $4 a month, a savings of up to $50.

There are now 300 different drug company co-pay programs. Consumers fill more than 100 million prescriptions using the cards, according to recent data. There is, however, a caveat: federal law prohibits the use of drug company-issued co-pay cards to patients on Medicare and Medicaid.

People who cannot use drug company-issued co-pay cards do have other options. Retail programs, such as Walgreens' Prescription Savings Club, offer help for patients with or without insurance. Membership in the Walgreens program costs $20 per year for an individual, $35 for a family. Benefits include significant discounts on brand name medications and access to thousands of generic drugs. The generic drugs price out under $12 for a three-month supply. For example, the full cash price for a three-month supply of cholesterol-lowering drug lovastatin is $62.07; members pay $12, and save $50.70.

You can learn more about the Assistance Fund at http://theassistancefund.org/ or call 877.245.4412.

You must meet income eligibility requirements to qualify.

Drug company co-pay cards are usually available through a physician or directly on the manufacturer's website.

Applications for the Walgreens Prescription Savings Club are available at retail locations or online at http://www.walgreens.com/.

As always, read all the fine print carefully and call to ask all your questions. Try to communicate via email so you have it in writing unless the drug company offers information online.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Task Rabbit- A Creative Solution for the Unemployed

For the 9% unemployed in this country and a higher percentage underemployed, a creative solution emerges, and does not rely on government or taxpayers' hard-earned income.  Task Rabbit (http://www.taskrabbit.com/) is like an eBay of jobs where the highest bidder is awarded the job. From grocery shopping for that busy professional, hanging picture frames for a disabled person or delivering cupcakes for a loved one's birthday, there is no job too small or demanding.  And the bidders come from all professional backgrounds--construction workers, advertising professionals, even lawyers inbetween jobs.
Some unemployed are making this a full-time job earning as much as $5,000 a month.
Need a job? Supplemental income? Become a rabbit!

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For a complete news report by ABC News, click here.