Author Archives: Brent

T-Mobile solves iPhone 6 upgrade dilemma w/new #BacktoSchool Deal

Retail News: Back to School iPhone Deals JUMP a Grade

T-Mobile-Aback-to-school-dealThanks to an email from our T-Mobile contact, this morning, T-Mobile kicked off its Back to School season with a new iPhone 6 upgrade deal offering $0 down and $15 a month with trade-in. The kicker… T-Mobile guarantees that this offer can “lock-in the price of your next iPhone(before the end of the year).

Translation: Each summer, Apple smartphone users are waiting to hear rumors for what’s coming next with the, now, annual iPhone release in October (because Black Friday doesn’t come soon enough). For Apple geeks, this can be a dilemma…should we buy a new iPhone during back to school discounting, or wait? For T-Mobile customers, problem solved! This new special iPhone offer, (timely for Back to School shoppers looking to arm their student with a smartphone) offers T-Mobile customers who gets a new iPhone 6 now (with JUMP! On Demand) to swap it for the next iPhone release before the end of the year for, well, free. You’re “lock-in” at $15/month and get  to upgrade to the new iPhone 6 (or 6S, 7, whatever) for no additional charges.

If that’s not good enough for deal hunters, FatWallet’s Back to School Tech Deals promotion has increased cash back in the T-Mobile coupons page (now up to $50 additional savings – was $37). NOTE: Annual Shopping Survey from Fatwallet.com reports that 15% of parents plan to buy their kids a smartphone during Back to School sales events this year, while 2 in 3 parents agree that it’s appropriate for teens to have their own smartphone…7% said students should wait and buy their own smartphones (down from 16% in 2014).

Survey: Back to School Laptop Deals Better Than Black Friday

Spending will increase for Back to School needs in 2015: The annual Back to School Shopping Survey from FatWallet asked American parents what’s #1 on their shopping lists, their kids shopping lists, how much they’ll be spending this year and where they plan to shop during Back to school sales. Parents also shared opinions on when they thought students should have their own laptopstablets and smartphones and when to find the best deals.

Back to School Laptop Deals Get A+

In a complete change from last year’s survey, parents rank back to school sales as the best time to find deals on laptops and tablets, over Black Friday deals and Cyber Monday deals.
BTS Survey grahic-pdfThe experts here at FatWallet would tend to agree with them–while holiday offers some tantalizing price drops on select older tech products with some laptops sinking to the $200, July and August tend to bring sales on higher quality laptops and desktops offering as much as $500 off. Parents overwhelmingly agree that laptops are the best suited computer device to help students learn and succeed.

Full Survey Results (*TNS Global):

9 in 10 parents will spend the same or more this year on back to school.

Q: How much do you plan to spend on school related supplies and products this year?

  • 27% – More than last year
  • 62% – Same as last year
  • 11% – Less than last year

8 in 10 parents will buy new apparel for their children this year for school.

Q: Which back to school shopping items are you planning to purchase this year?

  • 20% – Laptop, tablet or computer
  • 77% – School Supplies
  • 80% – Clothes and shoes
  • 15% – Smartphone/Cell Phone
  • 41% – Textbooks

Note: Last year, supplies slightly outranked clothing and shoes, while this year the need for laptops has risen 33%.

Mobile shopping on the rise for back to school, up 700% from 2014.

Q: How do you plan to shop for school related supplies and products this year?

  • 37% – Online Retailer Sites
  • 16% – Online Coupons/Cash Back Sites
  • 7% – Mobile Shopping App (only 1% in 2014)
  • 91% – In Store

Swag still rules the the school for students of these parents.

Q: Which of the following items do you think kids “want” most for starting school this year?

  • 13% – Laptop
  • 9% – Tablet
  • 16% – Smartphone
  • 13% – School Supplies
  • 41% – Clothes and Shoes

Note: According to parents, more kids want laptops than last year, up nearly 100% (7% in 2014).

Nike is front-runner for brands parents say kids ask for the most for school.

Q: Which brands do kids ask for the most for school?

  • 41% – Nike
  • 31% – Apple
  • 22% – Under Armour
  • 19% – American Eagle
  • 18% – Levi’s
  • 17% – Converse
  • 16% – Forever 21
  • 15% – Samsung
  • 12% – Adidas
  • 6% – Pacsun

Note: Parents think kids want Apple brands twice as much as they want Samsung.

7 in 10 parents say students need their own laptops and tablets for school..

Q: As a parent, what age group does it become more helpful for students to have their own laptop or tablet?

  • 5% Grade School (K-5)
  • 27% Middle School (6-8)
  • 47% High School (9-12)
  • 20% College
  • 1% Wait to buy their own

2/3 of parents say laptops are best suited to help students learn.

Q: Which product is better suited to help most students with their school work?

  • 65% – Laptop
  • 14% – Tablet
  • 12% – Desktop Computer
  • 2% – Smartphone

Back to School sales grade higher than Black Friday for laptop and tablet deals.

Q: Which sales event is most likely to have the best deals on a new Laptop or Tablet for a student?

  • 37% – Back to School Sales
  • 31% – Black Friday Sales
  • 10% – Cyber Monday Sales
  • 4% – December Holiday Sales
  • 6% – After Holiday (or New Years) Sales

Note: 13% offered that other sales have better deals than the bigger holiday sales events.

2/3 OF PARENTS SAY IT’S PRACTICAL FOR TEENS TO HAVE A SMARTPHONE

Q: As a parent, what age group does it become practical for students to have a Smartphone?

  • 3% – Elementary (9 or younger)
  • 16% – Pre Teen (10 -12)
  • 38% – Early Teen (13-15)
  • 34% – Late Teen (16-18)

Note: Only 7% said students should wait and buy their own smartphones, down form 16% in 2014.

 

Note: *The national survey conducted online by TNS on behalf of FatWallet.com in June 2015 was fielded among 1,000 adults ages 18 or older, 50/50 male/female.

Sales Tax Holiday Brings Back to School Savings

August brings Tax Free Weekends in 16 states.

16 states will participate in a sales tax holiday, offering the opportunity to purchase certain school supplies, computers, books and clothing free of state sales or use tax.  Local sales and use tax may apply. Retailers are required to participate and may not charge tax on items that are legally tax-exempt during the Sales Tax Holiday, both in store and online (see links to details for each state in the schedule list below).

Tax-Free-Holiday-blogThe really good news for folks in these states looking to get their kids a new laptop is that parents now rank back to school sales ahead of Black Friday, or any other sales event, as the best time to find laptop deals. (see FatWallet’s annual Back to School Shopping survey). Since the majority of retailers in states offering the sales tax holidays will honor tax free purchases online, FatWallet shoppers have the advantage of to quickly compare hundreds of back to school deals, and add cash back from more than 1600 stores to sweeten the savings!

2015 Sales Tax Holiday Schedule

Alabama clothing – $100
computers – $750
school supplies – $50
books – $30
August 7-9
Arkansas clothing – $100
school supplies
August 1-2
Connecticut clothing and footwear – $100 August 16-22
Florida school suppies
clothing – $100
supplies – $15
computers – $750
August 7-16
Georgia school supplies
clothing – $100
supplies – $20
computers – $1,000
July 31 – August 1
Iowa clothing – $100 August 7-8
Maryland clothing & footwear-$100 August 9-15
Mississippi clothing & footwear – $100 July 31-Aug. 1
Missouri clothing – $100
computers – $3,500
school supplies – $50
August 7-9
New Mexico clothing – $100
computers – $1,000
computer equip. – $500
school supplies – $30
August 7-9
Ohio clothing – $75
school supplies – $20
instructional material – $20
August 7-9
Oklahoma clothing – $100 August 7-9
S. Carolina clothing
school supplies
computers
other
August 7-9
Tennessee clothing – $100
school supplies – $100
computers – $1,500
August 7-9
Texas clothing, backpacks and school supplies- $100 August 7-9
Virginia clothing – $100
school supplies – $20
August 7-9

(updated July 16, 2015)

States not participating in Sales Tax Holidays include: Arizona, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Sales Tax Holiday Brings Back to School Savings

Tax Free Holiday blog

August brings Tax Free Weekends in 16 states.

16 states will participate in a sales tax holiday, offering the opportunity to purchase certain school supplies, computers, books and clothing free of state sales or use tax.  Local sales and use tax may apply. Retailers are required to participate and may not charge tax on items that are legally tax-exempt during the Sales Tax Holiday, both in store and online (see links to details for each state in the schedule list below).

The really good news for folks in these states looking to get their kids a new laptop is that parents now rank back to school sales ahead of Black Friday, or any other sales event, as the best time to find laptop deals. (see FatWallet’s annual Back to School Shopping survey). Since the majority of retailers in states offering the sales tax holidays will honor tax free purchases online, FatWallet shoppers have the advantage of to quickly compare hundreds of back to school deals, and add cash back from more than 1600 stores to sweeten the savings!

2015 Sales Tax Holiday Schedule

Alabama clothing – $100
computers – $750
school supplies – $50
books – $30
August 7-9
Arkansas clothing – $100
school supplies
August 1-2
Connecticut clothing and footwear – $100 August 16-22
Florida school suppies
clothing – $100
supplies – $15
computers – $750
August 7-16
Georgia school supplies
clothing – $100
supplies – $20
computers – $1,000
July 31 – August 1
Iowa clothing – $100 August 7-8
Maryland clothing & footwear-$100 August 9-15
Mississippi clothing & footwear – $100 July 31-Aug. 1
Missouri clothing – $100
computers – $3,500
school supplies – $50
August 7-9
New Mexico clothing – $100
computers – $1,000
computer equip. – $500
school supplies – $30
August 7-9
Ohio clothing – $75
school supplies – $20
instructional material – $20
August 7-9
Oklahoma clothing – $100 August 7-9
S. Carolina clothing
school supplies
computers
other
August 7-9
Tennessee clothing – $100
school supplies – $100
computers – $1,500
August 7-9
Texas clothing, backpacks and school supplies- $100 August 7-9
Virginia clothing – $100
school supplies – $20
August 7-9

(updated July 16, 2015)

States not participating in Sales Tax Holidays include: Arizona, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Daring to Compare Prime Day with Black Friday Deals

Word is out in mass of Amazon’s Prime Day tomorrow, celebrating 20 years of online retailing (starting Wed. July 15 at 12:oo am PT). Today Amazon leaked a teaser list of deals as claims of this event being bigger than Black Friday reverberate, but will the Black Friday deals (in July) be better than Black Friday? Walmart is firing back on the “prime” recruitment day with a Dare to Compare campaign of Rollbacks and a lower shipping threshold of $35, while other retailers are expected to jump on the opportunity to steal some of the attention (…let Free Shipping Day in July begin!).

amazon-prime-day-fatwalletActually, the slew of current summer clearance and July sales feature pricing that beats Black Friday and discounting that rivals last years Cyber Monday deals. Perhaps one smart way to approach Prime Day would be with one eye on Back to School needs, getting some shopping out of the way while taking advantage of prime savings on things like student laptops, tablets and clothing. If you do test Prime Day, don’t forget to add Amazon cash back from FatWallet when available for extra savings, or dare to compare other cash back from more than 1,600 stores – every little bit adds up.

Comparing Amazon Prime Day (leaks) with 2014 Black Friday deals:

• Fire TV Stick $15 off (currently $39) – Meijer offered the Fire TV last Black Friday for $74.

• Kindle, $30 off, Amazon offered the Kindle (6″ w/4GB) for $49.99 last Black Friday.

• Fire HD 7, $60 off – Shopko offered the Kindle Fire HD 7 w/8GB for $109.99 last Black Friday.

• Fire HD 7 Kids Edition, $60 off – Toys R Us has this product for $189 today and Meijer offered the Kindle Fire HD 6 Kids Edition for $149.99 +$30 coupon last Black Friday.

• 32-inch LED TV for $75 – last Black Friday there were 8 retailers offering a 32″ TV under $100, with Walmart coming in lowest at $98 (one of the most popular doorbusters of the season).

• 40-inch 1080p LED TV $115 – Target gets kudos for the lowest priced 40″ HDTV on Black Friday with their doorbuster at $119 last holiday season.

• Brand-name 32-inch Smart HDTV under $200, if Seiki is indeed a brand name then TigerDirect steals the lowest price on a 32″ Smart HDTV on Black Friday at a ridiculous $140.

• 50-inch 4K TV bundle, under $1000 – the vague details here make this difficult to compare, but there were a few 50″ 4K TVs under $1000 last Black Friday including a Seiki 50″ 4K for $400 from Tiger Direct and Best Buy has a 55″ Samsung 4K for $900.

• Bose headphones at the lowest price ever on Amazon – for reference, Abt Electronics offered Bose SoundTrue headphones for $150 last Black Friday.

• Chromebook laptop, only $199 – Best Buy offered an Acer 11.6″ Chromebook for $150 last Black Friday.

• Over 50% off two Nikon COOLPIX cameras – Best Buy offered the Coolpix L830 deal with 16MP +free memory card and bag for $169.99 last Black Friday

 

Other Prime Day deals from Amazon’s announcement today include:
Highly rated binoculars, under $120
Two security camera-kits, $279.99
K’NEX 2-in-1 Ferris Wheel Building Set (Amazon Exclusive), $35.99
K’NEX Crossfire Chaos Roller Coaster Building Set (Amazon Exclusive), $23.99
Playskool Heroes Transformers Rescue Bots Optimus Prime Figure (Amazon Exclusive), $9.99
iRobot Roomba Pet Vacuum Cleaning Robot, under $300
Husqvarna mower, under $300
40 lightning deals on DVDs up to 75% off
Up to 50% off any of the Harry Potter books
Save more than 70% on the Divergent Series Complete Box Set of books
Save up to 70% on select kitchen products from top brands like Cuisinart, KitchenAid, Foodsaver and Thermos
Save up to 50% on select tools for the DIY auto enthusiast
Connected Car and Scan Tool products starting at 60% off
Road-trip-ready automotive products starting at 50% off
Save more than 50% on Drinkwell Platinum Pet Fountain
30% off select clothing, shoes, jewelry, watches & more
60% off Amazon Elements Baby Wipes with code ELEMENTS60
Free luxury beauty sample box with $50 purchase of luxury beauty products, with promo code LUXSAMPLES
Buy an Amazon.com Gift Card multipack, get $10 in Amazon.com promotional credit
Get 25% bonus Amazon Coins when you buy 5,000 or 10,000 Amazon Coins
Prime Now will also offer deals in the six cities where the service is offered

MEDIA CONTACT: Email us for additional Black Friday insights, interviews (we SKYPE) and in-depth shopping data, tips and trends.

FatWallet Launches Cash Back App for iOS

June 29, 2015 (PRNewswire) — FatWallet.com, where millions of deal hunters go to stack coupons with cash back, launches their most comprehensive shopping app to date for iOS devices. Just like online, mobile shoppers can now combine savings from online coupons, free shipping and other timely discounts with cash back from more than 1,600 retailers—anywhere they use their iPhones and iPads. A recent study from FatWallet reports that purchases using mobile devices will increase by 22% overall, and 35% for Millennials. Shoppers using the FatWallet mobile platforms have earned in excess of $500,000 in additional cash back savings during the last calendar year.

The new FatWallet app is free and available for DOWNLOAD from the App Store. Key features include:

blog-launch-image-650

• Cash Back Shopping – Get up to 25% cash back with most things you buy at over 1,600 stores, including Amazon, Kohl’s, Home Depot, Newegg, Groupon, and Walmart

• Hot Deals – View the most current daily coupons and add savings to your purchases

• Cash Back Sales – Quick access to a list of current stores that have increased cash back

• Customization – Save a list of your favorite stores for custom shopping

• In-store Coupons – Access in-store coupons and apply at store checkout

• Tell-A-Friend – Get $20, or more, when you invite at least two friends that shop through FatWallet.com

• My FatWallet – Access your cash pending, cash back history, and tracking tickets to see what’s coming in your Big Fat Check!

• Notifications – Never miss a deal! Get notified when your favorite stores increase cash back or offer hot coupons and deals.

• Share the Savings – Easily share deals, coupons and cash back savings opportunities with friends and family via Facebook, Twitter, text and email

 

Visit our FatWallet app page for a detailed tutorial or visit the iTunes App Store to download for free and start saving money anywhere, anytime!

 

 

What to Buy in July – Summer’s hidden savings

July … best time to buy Laptops, Summer Clothing and some Big-Ticket Home items.

JUL-trends-2015-blogJust ahead of early Back-to-School sales, July offers one of the best times to find deals on laptops and desktop computers (just behind to Black Friday/Cyber Monday), while popular tech items like smartphones and tablets may see better pricing as school shopping season hits full stride in August. Either way, the earlier you shop for a computing device, the better chance you have at getting the model and features you want. Last year, 63% of parents ranked laptops as the most important tool for students and purchase them at a rate of 5 to 1 over tablets as the students main learning resource.

The big 4th of July sales events lead the kick-off for summer clothing clearance as retailers aggressively price warm weather apparel and what’s remain of previous styles of clothing and shoes to make room for back to school sales launching later in July. July 4th shoppers can expect notable price drops on outdoor toys and games, as well as pool, patio and party supplies.

cash-back-app-blogOther July savings that launch over the 4th offer deep savings on home and patio furniture, mattresses and some large appliances up to 40% off,  plus Father’s Day leftovers for the DIYers on tools/tool boxes, and health and fitness products. and before it gets too hot and sells out (fast), keep an eye on price drops for air conditioners and fans (box, floor-standing and ceiling fans). July shoppers can stack these savings with increased Cash Back from more than 100 top retailers throughout July and utilize the new FatWallet cash back shopping app to assure the same savings opportunities anywhere, anytime.

 

Here’s the details on What to Buy in July:

4th of July Deals

Starting in late June, the weekend before holiday celebrations, retailers blast out week long deep discounts during Independence Day Sales, allowing consumers to buy what they need in advance to having fun with family and friends.

  • Patio/Party: (furniture, decorations, flags, dishware, lighting/candles)
  • Outdoors: (camping, fishing, grilling accessories, patio furniture & accessories)
  • Air Conditioners: (window AC units and installation discounts, fans, shades, etc)
  • Summer Outdoor Toys: (pool and water toys, swings, yard games, etc)

Tip: Shopping the weekend before is smart for all the right reasons…selection, savings and having items in-hand to enjoy during your holiday.

Summer Deals and Cash Back Sale

July heats up with a variety of savings that tops out with double cash back from 100s of top stores.

  • Sports/Outdoors: (golf, cycling, running, baseball, camping, fishing, swimwear)
  • Workout Equipment: (treadmills, weights, yoga accessories, workout apparel/gear)
  • Audio Tech: (ipods, mp3 players, boom boxes and accessories, earbuds, speakers)
  • Big Appliances: (microwaves, refrigerators, stoves, laundry, AC)
  • Furniture: (couches, chairs, dining room sets, bedroom sets, outdoor furniture)
  • MISC: (tools, paint, summer clothing, suits, jewelry, some grills and patio furniture)

Tip: Start looking for summer product pricing to start hitting clearance in mid-July as retailers start to restock for back to school and early fall sales events.

Early Back to School Deals

The savviest online, and FatWallet, shoppers flock to the web for some of the lowest pricing of the year on laptops and computers, as well as early retail sales featuring Back-to-School needs, ahead of the August in-store rush.

  • Tech: (laptops, tablets and iPadscell phones and iPhones, PC’s)
  • Supplies: (writing supplies, backpacks, lunch bags, art supplies)
  • Apparel: (uniforms, shirts, blouses, jeans, shoes, jackets, hoodies, shorts)
  • Dorm Furnishings: (luggage, furniture, lighting, rugs, small appliances, storage)

Tip: Check our Ultimate Laptop Buying Guide and/or Student Laptop Buying Guide for smart money-saving buying tips and a comprehensive overview of the most important components and features before you make such a big investment.

Best Things to Buy in June

Beat the Heat! June offers big savings on tools and materials for those DIY home projects.

JUN-trends-2015-blogJune sales kick off summer savings with deep discounting for homeowners looking to get new projects wrapped up before it gets too hot to work on them. Retailers respond with price drops on a number of key items like tools, paint, building materials and hardware. Once more, those recurring Father’s Day sales offer hidden savings for these items. In fact, FatWallet’s Tools Shopping Survey (results) ranked Father’s Day sales as the best time of year to find deals on tools, ahead of Black Friday deals, Spring sales and Cyber Monday deals.

It’s really a perfect storm for homeowners as discounting on yard and garden and patio products also fit the bill for potential Father’s Day gifts and will be on sale the majority of the month. Add savings on sports and outdoor gear and activewear apparel for summer fun, like fishing, hunting, camping, hiking, golfing, biking and swimming with competitive pricing on top brands throughout the month. As well, local deals from Groupon, Amazon Local and others offer huge savings on “staycation” activities like museums, amusements and festivals. Great way to save up to half off on family summer fun.

Savings tips for the “Best Things to Buy in June”:

Father’s Day Deals are more than just for dads:

For many of us, Father’s Day is about spending time with dad, then taking advantage of the sales for ourselves. Here’s what to expect big savings on leading up to June 21.

  • Tools & Auto: (power drills, cordless combo tool kits, yard & garden tools, automotive tools and parts, tool storage)
  • Sports & Outdoors: (golfing, fishing, hunting, camping, hiking, biking, swimming)
  • Electronics: (laptops, tablets, smartphones, cameras, streaming media, wireless devices)
  • Local Deals: (auto services, restaurants, golfing, movies and health/fitness services)

Tip: Taking advantage of online local deals via Groupon, Amazon Local and Living Social are a good way to save 50% or more on a fun day with dad and the family.

Home Improvement Deals heat up this month:

The rush to beat the heat on those DIY home projects create a perfect storm for homeowners looking for materials on a budget. Here are the items that can be found at the hardware store (and online) with some of the best discounts of the year.

  • Paint & Coatings: (interior and exterior for walls, ceilings, floors, fencing, decks, garage and house)
  • Materials: (hardware, faucets, light fixtures, wall board, shingles, fencing, wood, etc.)
  • Tools: (saws, power drills, combo kits, storage, ladders, mowers, trimmers and gardening tools)

Tip: Look for bigger savings of both money and time by shopping online and utilizing free in-store pickup, or better yet when available, free home delivery (and haul away of your old items as needed).

Saving money on Graduation/Wedding Gifts:

Spring clearance and special June sales (Father’s Day, Home Improvement sales, Summer Travel deals) have hidden savings when it comes to buying gifts. Often you can stretch an in-store discount to combine a few gifts with home needs in one purchase, if you shop smart.

  • Home: (dishware, cookware, bedding, small appliances)
  • Flowers, Gifts: (flowers, gift baskets, frames, photo albums, jewelry)
  • Clothing: (jackets, hoodies, pants, long sleeve shirts, rain coats, spring colors)
  • Travel: (caribbean vacation packages, hotel and car rental deals, summer event tickets

Tip: Look for items that qualify as gifts during other seasonal sales (this is actually a great money saving strategy for buying early holiday gifts, as well).

How to find last minute SUMMER VACATION deals:

If you’re flexible, finding last minute summer vacation deals is about being flexible with dates and destinations. Plus, FatWallet features added savings of cash back from +100 travel sites including Priceline, Expedia, Travelocity, Booking.com, hotels.com, and Orbitz.

  • Airfare: Bundling airfares with hotels as a package should get you there and back at a bargain if you’re willing to come and go at off hours.
  • Hotels: Get cash back along with the best vacation packages staying in hotels like Hilton, Marriot, Westin, Ramada and more.
  • Car Rental: Look for free rental car upgrades, one-way discount codes and rental car packages.
  • Local Deals: Find 50% or more off local events, activities and getaways + cash back!

Tip: Rule of thumb for booking last minute is when you see an acceptable rate (factored in all taxes and fees), book it!

Cheap SUMMER FAMILY FUN via local deals:

FatWallet Local Deals provide daily deal shoppers a one-stop resource with all the available offers from Groupon, Living Social, Gilt City and other sites in more than 150 cities, including savings on hundreds of timely national deals. Perfect for summer events and cheap meals on the road.

  • Activities & Events: (concerts, sports, theme parks, museums, arcades, movies, bowling, etc.)
  • Beauty & Spa: (half off hair cuts and color, manicures, hair removal and spa packages)
  • Food & Drink: (coupons for pizza, burgers, drinks and a variety of full course meals)
  • Health & Fitness: (gym memberships, pilates, yoga, golfing, chiropractic, acupuncture, etc.)
  • Shopping: (50% and more off select products and services year round)
  • Travel: (complete vacation packages, hotels stays)

Tip: If your traveling, look at these deals a week or two ahead to save a ton of money on vacation, or just visiting family and friends.

You can find  and tweeting about retail trends @brentsheltonnow.

Unplugged: Best Power Tool Combo Kit

Lithium Ion Batteries Are Awesome… Shun those Evil Cords!

There’s little argument lithium ion batteries are the leading reason cordless power tools are so in demand. Versus years of Ni-Cad batteries with limited performance, lithium offers ample power, long run times and fast charging in a much smaller, lighter footprint–the real workhorses in newer cordless combo tool kits, which are one of the top selling tools for DIY home improvement projects.

Most DIYers would choose quality over cost, and Father’s Day sales offer the perfect storm to find the best tool deals of the year (according to an annual Tools Shopping Survey by FatWallet.com). In fact, 60% said quality was “the” most important feature in the power tools they buy. The report also said that of the 80% of Americans that buy tools yearly, 10% will buy tools as a Father’s Day gift.

Almost 50% of those surveyed said they buy tools at Home Depot, while 40% said Lowe’s and 30% Sears, with Craftsman, again, the #1 tool brand for personal purchases. June is when Father’s Day Deals surface, bringing deep discounts on power tools and combo kits, plus increased cash back from most major stores that carry home improvement tools and materials to make those sale purchases even better for homeowners on a budget.

 Here’s a list of the Best Cordless Power Tool Combo Kits on the market for DIY types:

DIY Small Project Man

Craftsman C3 19.2-Volt 4-Pc Lithium Combo Kit:
Craftsman-C3-19.2-Volt-4-Pc-Lithium-Combo-KitA well-built weekend warrior kit with good power and a Craftsman warranty. It won’t be the end all to build that addition or extra garage, but it’s adequate enough for most home maintenance and small projects. Note that the circular saw is only 5 1/2”, so cutting 2×4 at an angle may require something bigger. All said, it’s a nice kit for the money and two batteries makes it versatile for all day jobs.

  • Drill is 1/2-inch with two speed gear box
  • Circular saw has side-mounted battery, to help distribute weight evenly and increase control
  • 5 1/2″ trim saw blade, metal and wood reciprocating saw blades
  • 19.2-volt battery w/fade-free performance, 60 min. charging time
    Owner’s manual included
  • Comes with the Craftsman guarantee
  • includes:1/2″ drill, reciprocating saw, 5 1/2″ trim saw, work light, two compact lithium batteries, charger and carrying bag

Sears: $179.00 w/Free Shipping + 3.0% Cash Back

 

DIY Weekender

PORTER-CABLE 20-Volt Max (Li-ion) 4-Tool Cordless Combo Kit with Soft Case
PORTER CABLE 20 Volt Max (Li-ion) 4 Tool Cordless Combo KitLowe’s shoppers give this kit 5-stars.This 20V kit is well constructed with plenty of power for most DIY folks. PORTER-CABLE has an impressive line of add-ons that make this kit perfect to start a cordless collection that works well together. There are 2 batteries, one standard Li-Ion and one Max Li-Ion that charge within 40 minutes, making you a dual tool threat to build your face off, at an affordable price.

  • 20 volts w/Max Power of 350UWO
  • 1/2-in drill/driver features 283 UWO, 2-speed gear box (0-350/0-1,500), compact design (8.25-in long/3.5-lbs), 1/2-in chuck, and built-in LED light
  • Circular saw features high-performance motor (3,700 RPM), 6-1/2-in carbide tooth blade ( 2-1/8-ft cutting capacity), and beveling shoe (50°)
  • Reciprocating saw features high-performance drive train (1-in stroke length and 3,000 SPM), tool-free blade release, variable-speed trigger
  • Flashlight features 4 LED bulbs (120 lumens), pivoting head, and contoured overmolded handle
  • 3 year limited warranty on tools and batteries
  • Includes: 1/2-in drill/driver, circular saw, reciprocating saw, flashlight, standard battery, max pack battery, standard charger, large kit bag, double-ended screw driving bit, 6-1/2-in 18-tooth carbide blade, and 6-in wood cutting reciprocating blade

Lowe’s: $239.00 Free Shipping + 2.0% Cash Back

 

DIY Expert

DeWalt 20V Max Lithium Ion 5-Tool Kit (DCK590L2):

DeWalt-20V-Max-Lithium-Ion-5-Tool-KitA DeWalt showstopper-this super powerful kit hits the mark for the active DIYer, always working on home improvement projects. It offers flexibility to add-on with tools that can share the same battery source. The five tools includes a top-of-the-class Hammer Drill up for any job on your list, a versatile Impact Driver (bonus add over other combo kits), an easy-to-use and capable Circular Saw, a powerful Reciprocating Saw and a well built 110 lumens utility light that can be positioned almost anywhere needed.

  • Hammerdrill with patented 3-speed all-metal transmission and 1/2 in. self-tightening chuck delivers 535 units watts out of maximum performance, faster application speed, and superior bit retention
  • Reciprocating saw with keyless blade clamp allows for quick blade change without touching blade or reciprocating shaft
  • 1/4 in. impact driver features 3 LED lights with 20 second delay to provide visibility without shadows
  • Circular saw with 6-1/2 in. carbide blade can cut 2×4’s at a 45 degree angle in a single pass
  • 20V Max LED work light delivers 110 lumens of light output
  • This kit includes a 3 year warranty, 2-20V Max batteries, a smart charger and a heavy-duty canvas carry bag

Home Depot: $549.00 Free Shipping + 1.0% Cash Back

 

DIY Pro

Bosch 18V Lithium Ion 4-Tool Combo Kit (CLPK401-181):

Bosch-18V-Lithium-Ion-4-Tool-Combo-KitA bit pricey for some, this kit features true contractor grade tools for the advanced DIYer and a makes good starter for budding professional builders. With the 4.0Ah battery pack option, there’s enough power to handle big jobs and most hardwood with ease. Plus, Bosch offers a growing selection of 18V power tools to add-on as needed, maybe even a more powerful light (only downfall here). Bottomline, it will git r done, and then some.

  • High capacity lithium-ion batteries – works up to 50% longer with an integrated battery fuel gauge
  • 1/2 in. hammer drill driver – 4-pole high performance motor
  • Reciprocating saw features exclusive LockJaw blade holder for fast one-handed changes
  • Circular saw features exclusive anti-snag lower guard and 50 degree bevel for a wide range of applications
  • Flashlight features a 7-detent, 360° rotating handle for fast and easy positioning
  • Includes hammer drill driver, reciprocating saw, circular saw, flashlight, charger, fat pack HC batteries, carrying bag

Walmart: $499.00 + 1.5% cash back

 

DIY Pro

Milwaukee M18 Cordless Lithium-Ion 4-Tool Combo Kit (2694-24):

Milwaukee-M18-Cordless-Lithium-IonThis kit is for the Pro DIY Professional and like the Bosch kit, good enough for the day job and is backed by a five-year warranty and a gigantic line-up of add-on tools for almost any niche application you can think of. The M18 Fuel lithium-ion power pack brings impressive power and long run times from tool to tool, including the Sawzall which is the best-in-class and the circular saw is on the same level of performance and construction. Add a powerful, compact drill/driver and super versatile bright light and you’re ready for any all day rip-it-down and build-it-back up marathons that come your way.

  • Sawzall/reciprocating saw with patented gear-protecting clutch and counter balance mechanism
  • 6-1/2 in. circular saw delivers 3,500 RPM with magnesium upper and lower guards for maximum durability
  • Work light provides a fold-away hook for hands free use and a 135 degree rotating head to direct light at the work area
  • 1/2 in. hammer drill/driver, 4 pole frameless motor, 550 in-lbs. of peak torque, 0-450/0-1,700 RPM, and 29,000 BPM
  • With the purchase of a 2694-24 Receive a Free 48-11-1840 M18 4.0 Ah Extended Capacity Battery (a $129 Value)

Home Depot: $529.00 Free Shipping + 1.0% Cash Back

Smart TIP: Bones, hearts, and tools can break, so it’s smart to register any tools and kits with the manufacturer to assure validity of any warranties and return policies. You can also save more money by passing on those extended warranties at checkout and using third party warranty services like SquareTrade for less than half the cost.


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Best time to buy tools? Father’s Day Sales [survey]

8 in 10 BUY NEW TOOLS YEARLY, 1 in 10 BUY TOOLS for FATHER’S DAY GIFTS and HALF BUY TOOLS at HOME DEPOT

Tools-survey-blogFor the second year in a row, Father’s Day ranks tops with shoppers for the best time to buy tool deals in FatWallet’s annual Tools Buyer Survey*, just nudging out Black Friday which replaced Spring home sales as the second best time of year to buy tools. In fact, tools rank as third most popular Father’s Day gift of 10% surveyed , with 20% electing to get dad a card and 14% will take dad to dinner or other event. Not necessarily a huge surprise as June is known to be the best time of year to buy both power tools, and home improvement materials (see What to buy in June).

Similar to last year’s survey, 80% of American adults said that they buy new tools at least once every year, with 37% buying more than once and 17% 3-4 times a year. Of these, 23% will spend between $100 – $249 and 10% spend $250 or more on new tools annually. Almost half of those surveyed said they will buy tools from Home Depot, 40% Lowe’s and 19% from Sears, although 37%  still ranks Craftsman as the most popular tools brand well ahead of Black & Decker (25%) and DeWalt (23%).

1 in 4 said lawn and garden tools and are most popular but that’s down considerably from 2014 (38%), followed by 17% to buy Combination Power Tool Kit (cordless), 15% Hand Tools, 14% Power Drills, 14% Tool Box (storage). Savvy tool shoppers will be sure to add increased cash back from upcoming summer sales and Father’s Day offers to bolster their savings and improve their DIY projects.

[STATISTICS]:  Overall home improvement spending is expected to grow 5.8% during the summer months of 2015, with an average of marathon 4 projects per homeowner who noted they were working on projects (Home Improvement Research Institute).

Q: How often do you buy tools (for using at home) or home improvement related items?

  • 43% Once a year or less often
  • 15% 2 times a year
  • 17% 3-4 times a year
  • 5% Monthly or more often
  • 20% said “I have never purchased tools” (only 13% for males)

Note: Nearly 30% of those under age 30 have never purchased tools before.

Q: Which of these items are you most likely to purchase this year as a Father’s Day gift?

  • 20% said “just a card”
  • 14% said Dinner or an Event (shows, games, concerts, etc)
  • 10% said Tools
  • 9% said Apparel (clothing, shoes, jewelry, etc.)
  • 6% Electronics or Computers
  • 5% Sporting Goods
  • 5% Media (books, magazines, movies, music)

Note: 1 in 10 will buy new tools for dad.

Q: Of these options, when is the best time to find deals on tools?

  • 30% Father’s Day
  • 28% Black Friday Sale
  • 21% Spring Sales
  • 15% December Holiday Sales
  • 6% Cyber Monday

Note: Those age 50-59 were the only group that ranked Black Friday the best time to buy tools.

Q: Approximately how much do you plan to spend on tools this year?

  • 67% Less than $100
  • 23% $100 to $249
  • 7% $250 to $499
  • 3 $500 or more

Note: Those under the age of 40 will spend 30% more on tools.

Q: When you buy tools, where do you buy most of your tools?

  • 48% Home Depot
  • 40% Lowe’s
  • 28% Sears
  • 13% Ace Hardware
  • 8% Menard’s
  • 16% Department Store (Walmart, Target, Kohl’s, etc)
  • 10% Online Store (Amazon, Ebay, Overstock, etc.)

Note: The majority of those buying tools from Menards are located in the Midwest (32%).

Q: Of these options, what is your most desired brand of tools?

  • 37% Craftsman
  • 25% Black & Decker
  • 23% DeWalt
  • 5% Milwaukee
  • 4% Makita
  • 4% Bosch
  • 2% Porter Cable

Note: Craftsman is “the” most visible tool brands during Black Friday sales, and a life-time guarantee and affordability make for a smart tool purchase.

Q: Which tools do shoppers want most this year?

  • 24% Lawn & Garden Tools
  • 17% Combination Power Tool Kit (cordless)
  • 15% Hand Tools (hammers, screwdrivers, pliers, etc)
  • 14% Power Drills
  • 14% Tool Box (storage)
  • 10% Automotive Tools
  • 8% Circular Saws or Miter Saws

Note: Demand for yard & garden tools have decreased by 50% in popularity from last year’s tool survey (36% in 2014) as demand for cordless power tools increases.

Q: Of these options, which is the most important feature for power tools?

  • 60% Quality/Durability
  • 15% Battery Life
  • 11% Power/Torque
  • 9% Weight/Size
  • 5% Length of Warranty

Note: Battery life, power and size all increased in importance supporting the rise in popularity of cordless lithium ion tools which produce more torque and last longer without a charge, all in a much smaller footprint.

Q: What would stop you from buying new tools this year?

  • 33% said “I have way too many tools at home”
  • 26% said “I have tools I’ve never use”
  • 20% said “Only if I run out of money”
  • 17% said Too busy to do home projects
  • 15% said “Hammer, screwdriver and duct tape is all I need”
  • 11% said “Spouse says it’s not in the budget”

Note: 30% of those under age 30 are just too busy to take on home projects.

 

*The national survey conducted online by TNS on behalf of FatWallet.com in March 2013 was fielded among 1,000 adults ages 18 or older, 50/50 male/female.

 

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