Author Archives: Brent

Top 10 Tax Day Freebies, Deals and More

Jack Black Tax Day Freebies

Jack Black Tax Day FreebiesIf you’re like me, you’ve already done your taxes and allocated whatever tax refund there is to something positive (like home improvement).


But if you’re out running around next Tuesday in a rush to get your taxes filed, you most likely owe. So to make that ouch moment seem less stressful (and to get you to spend more money…:), there are dozens of retailers and restaurants offering a tax day freebies or tax day deals that will, at the very least, make your lunch a little lighter on your wallet next week.

Here’s a rundown of where you can find the goods:

  1. Arby’s: FREE Value Sized Curly Fries or Potato Cakes on April 15th (only)
  2. Boston Market: 2 chicken dinners for $10.40
  3. Bruegger’s Bagels: “1040 special” includes 13 bagels & 2 tubs of cream cheese for $10.40 (w/coupon)
  4. California Tortilla: code word “Taxes Schmaxes” gets you free chips and queso on April 15 (only)
  5. Great American Cookies: FREE Cookie on Tax Day
  6. Hard Rock Cafe: Simply sing for a free meal
  7. Office Depot: FREE shredding (up to 5 lbs.)
  8. Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt: You get about 50% off cup of froyo and topping ($4.15)
  9. Schlotzsky’s: FREE small Original Sandwich When You Purchase a 32 oz drink & chips April 15th Only
  10. Sonnie’s BBQ: 50% off plate of Sweet & Smokey or House Dry-Rubbed Ribs

Note: YMMV (your mileage may vary) as some establishments celebrate these offers leading up to, beyond and “on” Tax Day (which is April 15 this year), and the deal may require a coupon or secret code in order to cash in on this windfall…so be sure to check for details.


Others from 2013 that may offer similar tax day incentives:
: FREE Medium Slurpee via text “Slurp7″ to “711711”
AMC Theatres: FREE Popcorn on April 13 – 15
Auntie Anne’s: $1 Pretzel
Baskin-Robbins: BOGO cones for 99-Cents w/coupon
Beef O’ Brady’s: 15% Off on April 15
Blimpie: BOGO 6 Inch Sub w/ 22 oz Drink thru April 30
Bob Evans: FREE Dinner with purchase of Entree of equal or greater value April 15th
Bravo’s: Tax Free Meals on 
April 15
Bruster’s Real Ice Cream: 99¢ Kids Dino or Dirt Sundae and 75¢ Off Waffle Cones
Bonefish Grill: Bang Bang Shrimp for $5 4pm to close on April 15
Bucca di Beppo: 15% Off Any Purchase With a Coupon Expires April 15th
California Pizza Kitchen: FREE S”Original” Sandwich with Drink/Chips Purchase Expires May 1st
Carvel Ice Cream: 18-pack of Oreo Lil Rounders for $10.40 With Coupon
Cheek’d: 50% Off Cheek’d Orders w/code TAXDAYLOVE
Chilis: FREE Appetizer or Dessert w/ Adult Entree
Cinnabon: 2 FREE Cinnabon Bites on April 15 6-8pm
Prestwood’s Corner Bakery Cafe: FREE Baker’s Blend or Other Coffee
Daily Grill (19 Locations): $10.50 Lunch Special til 4pm on April 15
Einstein Bros Bagels: 25% Off Entire Purchase April 15
Firehouse Subs: FREE Double Meat
Maggie Moo’s: BOGO Cones for $0.30
Marble Slab Creamery: BOGO Cones for $0.30
McCormick & Schmick’s: Extended Happy Hour April 15 ’til 11:30
Outback Steakhouse: FREE Bloomin Onions on April 15th
Panda Express: FREE Single Serving of Samurai Surf and Turf April 15
Papa John’s Pizza: Get 2 Large Pizzas and a 2-Liter for $10.40 April 15th
Papa Murphys’s Pizza: $5 for a Large Pepperoni Pizza April 15th Only
Quik Trip: FREE Hot Dog April 15th Only with Coupon
Seattle’s Best: FREE Coffee In-Store April 15
Shutterfly: 25% Off Any Order Sale April 15 w/Code: TAXDAY
Sonic: Half Priced Drinks and Slushies All Day April 15
Subway: BOGO 6 Inch Sub before 9am (all thru April)
Tijuana Flats: $2 tacos and $2 Coronas April 15
White Castle: 15% Off Purchases April 15

What to Buy in APRIL: Shopping Trends 2014


The fourth month of the year offers consumers a wide variety of seasonal shopping events that cover just about every category. Shoppers are in the mood and mode to refresh, rejuvenate, organize and spend for ourselves, the kids and Mom! The spring thaw gets us motivated to fix things and clean what winter has dirtied up.

Boomers, who make up half the total CPG sales are real power shoppers each spring. They have capital and traditionally spend to maintain and upgrade things in their homes. They’ll thrive on seasonal discounts on tools and building materials from Home Depot, Lowe’s and Menards.

April also trends for early spring fashion, earthy goodness and techie deals for Mother’s Day gifts. A new survey reveals that 48% of American adults are likely to buy a new smartphone this year and 25% a new tablet. With new iPhone 6 and Galaxy S5 due soon, and Walmart, Best Buy, Amazon, Target and other major brands offering significant trade-in programs on a variety of tech products, April may be the best time to upgrade and save. And come May 11, moms will be texting, facebooking and smiling more often.

Here’s an overview of all the main products that trend as top savings in April.

Spring Sales Blossom For Your Closet, Home and Garden:

Early April is when consumers look to buy and save on fashionable spring apparel and shoes (looking for clearance? …wait until May). It’s the best time to find the new styles in the color and size preferred, at a good price before the demand/urgency is higher, especially during Easter weekend. Home & Garden deals will be dug up at hundreds of stores featuring big weekend sales for spring plants, fertilizer, spring cleaning tools (vacuum cleaners) and cleaning supplies will be elevated as consumers get the fever to get out and be active/productive again.

Kitchenware, or cookware, can also be found at good prices as shoppers restock and prepare for seasonal wedding gift ideas. Also, clearance on winter tools (shovels, snowblowers, plow equipment, etc.) will also be a great buy, promoted heavily to make room for patio furniture, lawn mowers, garden tools and grills.

Tax Day Deals and Freebies:

Right up to the April 15 deadline, the majority of software, whether at home or online, can be found for 50% off, and sometimes for free (with filing charges). For a wealth of insider tax tips, visit the FatWallet Tax Season Tips Roundup or our heady Finance forum where smart people share tactics on deductions, software and review options for personal and small business filing situations. BONUS: Tax time = no better time to buy Office Supplies–stock up on school supply basics while you’re shopping, too! DOUBLE BONUS: Tax Day= Freebies on food and beverages April 15!

Easter Sales Collide With Going Green:

This Year With Easter on April 20 followed by Earth Day on April 22, that chocolate bunny just might have a better chance of being organic! Kidding aside, both events will be embraced by retailers and present opportunities for shoppers to save money. Look for 20-30% discounts on Easter supplies and spring fashion the whole week before Easter celebrations. Earth Day will bring timely deals on a variety of all natural and organic items and is a great time to save on green home cleaning products and all natural spring health & beauty products.


Summer Travel Deals Heat Up After Easter:

With Spring Break now behind us, families start to think about booking summer travel, and travel sites start to bring early-bird discounts and special to fill their planes, trains and automobiles’ vacancies (add hotels, vacation rentals and amusement). The best way to save may be planning ahead and taking advantage of early packages saving both money and time with one booking event. If you’re not quite ready to book summer vacation, it’s still a good idea to start watching pricing now, especially for Luggage deals found at 30-50% off with clearance add-on savings, and Cash Back.

Mother’s Day Deal Creep Can Be “Pretty” To Your Pocketbook:

A flood of sales centered around a wide variety of items for women kick in later this month. Everything from jewelry to kitchenware to arts, crafts and fabrics to fashion accessories will flirt with deep discounts from most every store. So savings are plentiful and hard to navigate, but finding the lowest price is not rocket science…

”samsungThe best and most consistent way to save money on a gift for any mother is by shopping through Fatwallet’s annual Mother’s Day Cash Back Sale where dozens of stores offering discounts on the aforementioned products will increase cash back, making these deals the best you’ll find anywhere. With smartphones and tablet prices continuing to drop, we suspect there will be a stronger focus on tech sales, too, as moms desire the conveniences of being more connected, more mobile and saving time for themselves and the kids.

You can find and tweeting about suds and other substance @brentsheltonnow.

[INFOGRAPHIC] Smartphones Rule! – Electronics Buyer Survey 2014

3 in every 4 Americans will buy electronics

Electronics Buyers Survey 2014The demand for mobile devices has never been bigger than it is right now. A new Electronics Buyer Survey from FatWallet reveals that 3 in every 4 Americans say they plan to buy electronics in 2014. Not surprising, but as FatWallet’s TV Buyers Survey found that 30% of Americans would buy a new TV in 2014 (see Infographic), the Electronics survey found that 5 in 10 will likely buy a new smartphone this year…that’s half of us. Those surveyed also chose Android (41%) over iPhone (39%) and a respectable vote for Windows phones (9%). Whether they’re tempted to take advantage of low prices during March madness sales and trade-in offers from Walmart, Best Buy or Target, or wait for the new iPhone 6 or Galaxy S5 to be released, smartphones will rule as the #1 electronics products purchased in 2014.

1 in 4 will buy a new tablet or laptop

But smartphones and HDTVs aren’t the only electronics consumers say they will shop for this year. The survey results report 1 in every 4 will look to buy a new tablet or a new laptop. They want iPads over Android and Kindle tablets, Verizon tops AT&T as their carrier of choice, and HP and Dell are neck-in-neck easy favorites for laptop brands they will buy. Other surprising results report consumers would elect to buy wireless printers slightly over streaming media devices, wireless headphones/speakers or smart wearables, further revealing that many electronics buyers are not quite ready to cut the cable cord just yet. See full survey results. To place this infographic your site, copy the embed code below.

Electronics Buyers Survey

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Smartphones Top Electronics Choice for Shoppers in 2014 [SURVEY]

“Half of Americans say they are likely to buy a new smartphone this year”

March Madness DealsFatWallet announces 2014 Electronics Buying Survey (see INFOGRAPHIC):

The March survey (*TNS Global) reveals some interesting consumer buying trends for electronics, especially related to the upcoming March electronics sale madness as 48% of American adults say they’ll likely purchase a new smartphone this year (6 in 10 for those under the age of 30). With the anticipation of the new Apple iPhone 6 and Samsung Galaxy S5 on the horizon, Walmart, Best Buy and Target are all offering ongoing trade-in discounts on older smartphone models in an attempt to clear inventory for these new smartphone models (comScore MobiLens January 2014 reports Apple and Samsung owning +68% of mobile subscribers–PC Mag). Other retailers will ramp up traditional March electronics sales this week, adding even more madness as FatWallet members reap increased savings in the annual March Mania Cash Back Sale.

With almost 2/3 of those surveyed saying they plan to purchase electronics this year, other results highlight 1 in 4 saying they’ll buy tablets (1 in 3 want iPads) and even more are planning to buy laptops (with more than half saying they want either HP or Dell). More than half (53%) say they buy their electronics from online retailers and almost 10% buy they’re electronics via mobile device. As far as how many will buy new HDTVs, see full results from FatWallet’s TV Buyer Survey (JAN 2014 pre-Super Bowl).

Full survey results:

Almost half of Americans (48%) are likely to buy a “new” smartphone this year

(6 in 10 for those under age 30)
Q: How likely are you to buy a new cell phone/smartphone in 2014?

  • 47.6% (Net) Likely

  • 14.3% Extremely likely
  • 11.2% Very likely
  • 22.1% Somewhat likely
  • 52.4% Not likely

Q: Of the following items, which cell phone/smartphone are you likely to purchase this year?

  • 38.8% iPhone

  • 40.7% Android Phone
  • 9.1% Windows Phone
  • 11.3% Basic Cell Phone (no data plan)

Q: Of the following options, which Cell Phone Carrier are you likely sign up with?

  • 32.8% Verizon

  • 25.8% AT&T
  • 10.0% T-Mobile
  • 17.3% Sprint
  • 3.0% Virgin Mobile
  • 28.2% Other
  • 12.9% No Contract

Of Note: Android more popular than iPhone for those under age 40, 14% of Boomers want Windows phones, 20% of seniors still want basic cell phones (not smartphones), 1 in 3 want Verizon as their carrier, while 1 in 4 want AT&T, 13% will elect for No Contract (+18% for 40 and older)

1 in every 4 adults are likely to buy a new tablet in 2014

(1 in 3 people age 30-39 will buy a new tablet)
Q: How likely are you to buy a new tablet in 2014?

  • 24.9% (Net) Likely

  • 4.1% Extremely likely
  • 5.3% Very likely
  • 15.5%Somewhat likely
  • 75.1% Not likely

Q: Of the following options, which new tablet are you likely to buy?

  • 34.0% iPad

  • 30.8% Android tablet
  • 20.0% Kindle tablet
  • 15.1% Windows tablet

Of Note: 34% want iPads (43% of females), 31% want Android tablets, 20% want Kindle tablets, 15% want Windows tablets

More will buy new laptops than will buy new tablets in 2014

(27% are likely to buy a new laptop/computer this year)
Q: How likely are you to buy a new laptop/computer in 2014?

  • 26.5% Likely (Net)

  • 3.6% Extremely likely
  • 7.2% Very likely
  • 15.7% Somewhat likely
73.5% Not likely

Q: Of the following options, which laptop brand are you likely to purchase?

  • 14.4% Apple

  • 26.5% HP
5.2% Lenovo
24.1% Dell
5.5% ASUS
  • 8.5% Samsung
  • 15.8% Other

Of Note: 27% want HP, 24% Dell, 14% Apple, 9% Samsung
 Apple and Dell most popular brands in the West

More than 1 in 4 plan to purchase wireless products in 2014

Q: Which TV brand do you plan to purchase?

  • 26.6% (Net) Any

  • 8.3% Streaming Media Devices (Roku, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, or other brand)
  • 11.5% Wireless Printer
7.1% Bluetooth Headphones or Speakers
  • 5.9% Wireless Home Automation Devices (remote control of entry, security, HVAC, lighting, audio)
  • 6.2% Wearable Gadgets (Smart Watches, Fitness Bands, or other)
  • 73.4% None of the above

Of Note: Wireless printers are most coveted at 12%, followed by streaming media devices at 8%, 6% said they will buy wearable gadgets (smart watches, fitness bands, etc), 6% said they will buy wireless automation products for their home

Nearly 3 out of 4 Americans will buy electronics this year

(Almost one third of us will spend $500 or more on electronics this year)
Q: How much will you spend on electronics products this year?

  • 72.2% (Net) Plan to buy electronics

  • 41.5% Less than $500
17.8% $500-999
9.1% $1000-$1999
  • 3.8% $2,000 or more
  • 27.8% I do not plan to buy any electronics this year

Of Note: 40% of high income earners (>75k/yr) will spend $500 or more
 41% said they will spend less than $500 on electronics this year
 28% do not currently plan to buy any electronics this year

Better than half of Americans (52%) use online retailers to buy their electronics

Q: Of the following options, which are you likely to use when purchasing electronics products?

  • 52.1% Online Retailer

  • 18.8% Online Coupon/Deal Site
9.2% Mobile Device (smartphone/tablet)
77.7% In-Store
  • 5.2% Private Seller (classifieds or used)

Of Note: 10% use mobile devices to buy their electronics, 19% use coupon/deal sites

*The national survey conducted online by TNS on behalf of in July 2013 was fielded among 1,000 adults ages 18 or older.

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11 St. Patrick’s Day Beers That Go Down Like a Guinness World Record

St. Patrick's Day

Stouts make for the perfect St. Paddy’s Day beer!

It would be hard to rationalize calling yourself a real beer drinker if you’ve never had a Guinness, or at the very least, a dry Irish stout. In fact, many would say it’s not March Madness until you’ve had a good stout to kick-off St. Patty’s Day. Even breweries on this list would probably tell you they drink a pint of Guinness quite often, if not out of respect, just to see how their own stout creations match up with the original.

History implies, in part, that the birth of stouts were a result of economics when Irish brewers, like Authur Guinness, started using unmalted roasted barley in favor of heavily taxed malts used in English porters. The new style resulted in a much drier, darker and stronger competitor to the mainstay porters, featuring a very distinct, smokey-sweet flavor referred to as “Guinness Extra Porter Stout”. This quickly became the beer of Ireland and still is, hence a staple for St. Patrick’s Day celebrations and the go-to for dark beer drinkers around the world, year round.

Guinness has inspired more than eight major style varieties of medium to full-bodied stouts with a wide range of tastes, feel and alcohol levels (great read from Bringing various chocolate, coffee, oatmeal, milk, dark fruit and big oak barrel-aged characteristics, stouts represent everything a real beer drinker could ever wish for…distinguished, velvety-smooth choices of brew to enjoy on St. Patrick’s Day and compare for a lifetime.

With help from Zak Rotello, beer aficionado and tap curator at The Olympic Tavern in Rockford, IL, here’s a list of awesome stouts that go to eleven, expanding your palate beyond the original this St. Patrick’s Day. We hope you get a chance to enjoy this limited and luscious list of beers sure to have us gobsmacked and singing Pot O’ Gold ‘til the wee hours of the night. #Slainte

  • Wake Up Dead Imperial Stout (Left hand) 10.2% ABV
    Left Hand is famous for their Milk Stout (and Nitro version), but this imperial stout goes to 11 (literally…see ABV). Yet, the big numbers lead to a surprising drinkable, smooth medium body brew that hides the alcohol quite well. It’s very creamy, providing a distinct balance of raisin and roasty chocolate with mild herbal hop notes. Winner of best beer label in this list, 22 oz. bottles start at just $5.99.
  • Obsidian Stout (Nitro) (DeSchutes) 6.4% ABV
    “Smooth & roasty American stout,” says Zak. “Intense aromas of coffee and chocolate, but very little sweetness on the palate.  Like most brews from Deschutes, there’s no lack of hops to even out the finish. It’s great on conventional draft, but a very special pint if you can find it on nitro.” This popular stout is readily found in bottles starting at $8.99 a six.
  • Storm King Stout (Victory) 9.1% ABV
    Aptly named “king”, this American Imperial Stout is one of the bigger, hoppier stouts you’ll ever drink. Best served closer to room temp. to help ease the aggressiveness of the hops, the smokey, roasted sweet chocolate taste is balanced quite nicely with the piney hop bitterness. Best on tap, but also found in 4-paks of 12 oz. bottles.
  • Double Stout Black Ale (Green Flash) 8.8% ABV
    A long-time favorite of some of the boys at Forest City Brewers, this high powered stout features “golden naked oats mashed with dark crystal and robust roasted malts create a luscious black brew with satin smooth finish. An old-world style, done the Green Flash way. Big, bold, flavorful and complex.” Can’t say that any better.
  • Imperial Stout (Lagunitas) 9.9% ABV
    With immediate notes of cereal, oats, semi-sweet chocolate, and oatmeal, this deep dark brown stout hides the big alcohol with it’s complexity and smooth finish. Roasty, nutty and not too sweet, Lagunitas doesn’t disappoint as this beer will give you a little sumpin’ sumpin’, and then some more.
  • Boston Irish Stout (Harpoon) 4.3% ABV
    This traditional dry Irish stout is a full-bodied, creamy easy drinker for those lucky enough to be out in a pub in the Northeast. Harpoon says it combines the roasted and chocolate character of six malts with delicate Willamette hops, making it an old-world treat in modern times. My good friends in Boston swear it’s old school to the max.
  • Narwhal Imperial Stout (Sierra Nevada) 10.2% ABV
    Zak raves, “A jet black, high viscosity octane boost of stout. Burnt coffee aromas lead into a midpalate with well balanced sweetness and bitterness. Brightly hopped & slightly boozy finish, but not enough to scare you away from a second glass. Would love to get my hands on the barrel aged version of this.” So would I!
  • Milk Stout (Snow Plow pre-2008) (Widmer) 7.6% ABV
    It wouldn’t be a stout list without a Milk Stout. Widmer Brothers and the Oregon Brew Crew created this stout as the first Collaborator project. For shear sweetness and silky mouthfeel, even straight from the bottle (but better in a pint glass in a Northwest pub, if you’re lucky enough to find it on tap), this beer is smoky smooth. The use of cascade hops adds a sneaky smart aromatic touch and brings nice balance to the rich chocolate malt character.
  • The Poet Oatmeal Stout (New Holland) 5.2% ABV
    I had the privilege of being in New Holland last St. Patrick’s Day which featured a colorful parade and lots of “all-day” drinking buddies…bucket list checked! The pinnacle was a tasting of both Dragon’s Milk and The Poet in one sitting. The latter was a delightful surprise, posing as a creamy, deep, full-bodied rich and rib-tickling nectar. Dark fruits, coffee and molasses lead the way to a spicy finish. Exclusive to Western Michigan for most, if you can score a bottle of The Poet, treasure each verse.
  • Satin Solitude Imperial Stout (Central Waters) 7.5% ABV
    This Midwest brewer is a rising star and this stout is one of my new favorites. Deep, dark and yummy, it tingles your lips and goes down incredibly smooth. You know you’re drinking a special beer with each delicious malty mouthful. Satin Solitude is properly named and poised to be remembered. Limited distribution in the Midwest–call a buddy in Wisconsin and have them send you a sample before while it’s on the shelf.
  • Java Stout (Bell’s) 7.5% ABV
    Even with Bell’s wildly popular Hopslam running amuck, this gem of a brewery has a special stout to close out this great list of stouts. Says Zak, “Creamy tan foam atop inky black beer. The first whiff of this yearly favorite is straight cappuccino and hops. Right at the ABV border of imperial (7.5%) this coffee spiked beer is a great pair for dessert, especially vanilla ice cream or Irish cream spiked cheesecake.”

SERVING TIP (via Always drink a stout in a glass, preferably a simple pint glass, or snifter can be used for double and imperial stouts. Give stouts a firm pour to create a foamy head and release all that rich aroma, and watch the bubbles as they seem to float downwards.

RESOURCES: This short list is a great stout starter–find more details web sites and apps like (,, Pintley, Find Craft Beer) to help you navigate the endless beer choices that make St. Patty’s celebrations so unique.

You can find and tweeting about suds and other substance @brentsheltonnow, like the popular post: Top 10 St. Patrick’s Day Beers That Aren’t Guinness or Green with Envy.

What to Buy in MARCH: Shopping Trends 2014



Most consumers won’t associate March with big savings, but that’s actually what makes it a good time to buy a variety of products. We won’t see the amount of deals Black Friday and Cyber Monday spew, but prices will rival the holiday season…clearance is clearance. Some standout discounts from March 2013 included up to 80% off clearance at Kohl’s, $10 off $50 purchases at Lowe’s and $10 off $25+ sale/clearance purchases at Macy’s. Last March, retail dollar volume growth was up 3.9% year-over-year (First Data) and retailers are rooting for similar growth in 2014, especially with a recurring polar vortex that has 2/3 of the country immobilized. Cabin fever has a knack for flushing out consumer spending.

As retailers compete for a piece of our tax returns, smart shoppers will seek out hidden savings to add on, such as FatWallet’s Spring Fashion Deals “kick-off” and the annual (and quite popular) March Mania Cash Back Sale, which features more than 100 retailers increasing cash back from March 18 through the 31st. Add cash back to these deal categories to make the most out of March:

Electronics Deals: Price drops on electronics continues all through March as new products slowly start to hit tech retailer inventories. Last March, Amazon, Newegg and Best Buy ranked as the 3 most popular stores on FatWallet, featuring good laptops in the $300-500 range and steep discounts on smaller gadgets/electronics. This year we expect the trend to sway a bit towards tablet deals (last year’s models), bluetooth products (speakers, headphones and accessories), and wireless TV accessories like Roku 3/2HD, HD-TV antennas, soundbars and even smart TVs as more people look to cut the cable cord this year. This will be an excellent month to invest in free HD equipment (or DIY).

”iphoneLater in the month, expect HDTV deals to light up the court making for an excellent time to upgrade for the Final Four and Opening Day. UPDATE 3/4: Apparently the new Apple TV and event rumors for near future are just that, rumors…according to Jay Yarow from BusinessInsider, Apple insider Jim Dalrymple shot it down, but confirmed Apple Store is indeed offering a sale of $25 gift card with Apple TV (which in itself is a deal that would be apt to spur on a rumor…at least we weren’t the only ones duped :).

”kohlsWinter Clothing Clearance: Top Brand outerwear can be found 50-80% off for quality thermals, pullovers, coats, boots and high performance gloves. Last year, big retailers offered add-on discounts to already marked down winter apparel (Kohl’s offered Extra 30% off & Free Shipping for Kohl’s Card Holders + $10 Kohl’s Cash for Every $50 Spent). Expect the same kind of stackable discounts and look for cash back (many double cash back) from stores like REI, Patagonia, North Face and Moosejaw to help sweeten the savings. Shop early, as this batch of clothing clearance has been picked through once already.

”MarchWinter Sports Equipment: Annual ski/snowboard equipment and accessories clearance heats up as the snow melts. Bicycles and accessories will be on clearance (2013 models) as cyclists start to ponder upgrading to newer models for spring and summer activities. Stores like the Sports Authority and Dick’s Sports will feature NFL gear during pre-draft sales, MLB merchandise hits special pricing for opening day celebrations and, “oh the madness”, as collegiate sportswear brings a mix of timely offers on hoodies, hats and jerseys. Get those brackets ready!

Travel Deals: All major travel sites will push last minute Spring Break packages and travel deals, hotel discounts and car rental specials. Proactive summer vacation bookers will take advantage of March travel deals which bring better options for location, seat selection and lucrative early-bird specials (book now for free WiFi). Plus, Luggage deals are aplenty this month and many are stackable with the clearance add-on savings, and cash back sales.

For those of you who haven’t taken advantage of the money you’re owed, you’ll find Tax Software Deals right up to the April 15 deadline. The majority of software, whether at home or online, can be found for 50% off, and sometimes for free (with filing charges). For a wealth of insider tax tips, visit the FatWallet Tax Season Tips Roundup or our heady Finance forum where smart people share tactics on deductions, software and review options for personal and small business filing situations. BONUS: Tax time = no better time to buy Office Supplies–stock up on school supply basics while you’re shopping, too!

”springSpring Fashion: Throughout March, retailers replace shrinking winter apparel inventory with spring styles, flaunting sales to get your attention. These early sales may not always bring clearance-like prices, but they assure shoppers the styles, colors and sizes that get worn more than once. Some of the better deals this month will come from Running Shoe deals from stores like FinishLine, New Balance Outlet and Nike, that featured deep clearance discounts of 50% or more and free shipping offers with qualified purchases last year. They’ll run with it again!

You can find and tweeting about suds and other substance @brentsheltonnow.

What to Buy in February: Shopping Trends 2014



The biggest February savings will come from clearance sales on a lot of items we actually need, including winter clothing, which we definitely need with this “never-ending” arctic freeze. Valentine’s Day and President’s Day sales events offer another opportunity to save money by comparing discounts from most retailers as they all participate with some kind of offer. And, following January’s annual CES 2014 hangover, we start to see attractive price reductions on 2013 electronics models in February, including deals on TVs, cameras and home theater.


HDTV Deals are approaching the two-minute warning as Super Bowl sales ramp up right up to kick-off (I bought my first 1080p HDTV, a Sony Bravia, on Super Bowl Sunday to watch the Bears get thrashed by Peyton Manning’s Colts). One third of TV shoppers from FatWallet’s 2014 TV Buyer Survey said they’ll buying a TV now and we’ve seen some decent deal, especially for the high-end 1080p HDTV’s and new 4K models 30% or more off retail. Beware of the oversell of accessories if you go last minute as you can pick up HDMI and A/V cables for 50-80% off store price from stores like PartsExpress and MonoPrice.

”SuperWaiting until after the big game will also be lucrative for those looking to upgrade their whole A/V system as Home theater deals are always ramping up through February when retailers look to clear shelves for new models and push March Madness deals on 2013 overstock.

TIP: Home Theater deals are always ramping up through February and on to the March Madness deals as retailers look to thin out 2012’s overstock and make room for 2013 models.

Valentines Day Deals:

Flowers, jewelry, candy and fragrance deals will be plentiful the first two weeks of February. Make sure you do your research to compare offers like free shipping offers vs. exclusive discounts – often, one voids the other, especially if you procrastinate and wait until the very last minute. Make those savings on Valentine’s gifts better than anywhere else at FatWallet with dozens of retailers increasing cash back from 3-20%.

”valentinesOf note: FTD is offering an exclusive a whopping 20% off and 20% cash back on flowers and candy on FatWallet starting Feb. 5…that’s 40% off and quite possibly the BEST Vday deal on the planet. Valentine’s shoppers looking for more techie deals will find scattered, timely savings this month as mobile carriers will run sweetheart promotions on smartphones and bigbox stores will surely include gift cards again with tablet and iPad purchases (like they did during Black Friday and New Year’s sales). Contrary to rumors, tech is very romantic!

TIP: Those with fast fingers after Valentine’s can score 50% and more off candy, flowers and some jewelry that will make for cheap gifts later in the year.

President’s Day Deals:

”valentinesTraditionally, this huge event offers some of the lowest prices of the year on housewares, furniture, tools (we kid you not) and the kick-off of winter clothing clearance that runs right through into March. The first Monday holiday brings deep discounts from every big department stores with up to 50% off quality apparel, coats, boots and outdoor winter accessories. If you know you’re getting a tax return and plan to buy big-ticket items for the home, President’s Day sales present deep discounts, 30-50% off a variety of furniture pieces, plus full living room, dining room and bedroom sets.

Look for savings and cash back increases from stores like Home Depot, Lowes, Sears and others that also sell large appliances. Most of the larger stores will offer 0% financing and extended layaway that you can take advantage of to get the new items now and payoff with your tax return.

TIP: If you’re shopping in-store, look for deals with free shipping online, then see if the in-store manager will match it.

You can find and tweeting about suds and other substance @brentsheltonnow.

INFOGRAPHIC 30% of Americans will buy a new TV in 2014

Remember when the surge of tablet and smartphone sales combined with streaming media signaled the downward spiral of TV? Not so fast my friend. If we learned anything from CES 2014, TV is in a rebirth with 4K, Roku TV, a new Apple TV w/app store, PS4/Xbox One and a solid T-commerce platform emerging. In fact, with TV purchases on the rise in January (1.2 million in 2005 to 7.5 million in 2013), it’s no wonder FatWallet’s new survey reports that Super Bowl sales are the #1 time of year people say they will buy a TV. Some may even buy a new TV from their old TV, and at the very least, from their mobile devices.

Of those surveyed, 3 in 10 plan to buy a new TV this year and of those, 32% during Super Bowl sales while 25% during Black Friday. For Boomers, almost half will buy a TV during Super Bowl Sales (46%), and the other half of Boomers (47%) during Black Friday. Price will lead their purchasing decisions and over half said they plan to spend less than $500. While 41% will spend between $300 – 500, that number increases to 52% for those with an annual income under $30k. 1 in 4 will plan to spend more than $700, 40% with an annual income over $75k, and 9% with an annual income under $30k. – See full survey results. Also, see FatWallet’s 2014 Electronics Buying Survey and INFOGRAPHIC:

To place this on your site, grab the embed code below the infographic.

Super Bowl TV Buyers Survey  

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When to buy a TV: January vs. Black Friday Deals

TV Deals-sales in January

January vs. BLACK FRIDAY
…It’s the great debate. The last couple of years, TV sales have blossomed during these prime buying seasons as prices have dropped dramatically, and demand has never been bigger for 1080p and big screens 55″ or larger, In FatWallet’s 2014 TV Buyer Survey, a3 in every 10 people surveyed said they are buying TV in 2014, and 32% of those said they will buy them during Super Bowl Sales (25% Black Friday Sales). No other sales event was even close.

Last November brought the lowest prices we’ve ever seen on big screen TV’s with more than 225 TV deals on Black Friday, including a 50″ 1080p HDTV for $229 and a 70″ 1080p HDTV for under $1,000 (see below). In January 2013, consumers bought 7.5 million TV’s, up from the record 5.2 million TV’s sold in January 2012 (NRF), and current TV deals on FatWallet are rampant since CES 2014.

So when is the best time to buy a TV? Actually, both January and Black Friday are the prime-time opportunities for TV buyers to save money and find the biggest selection of stores and models on sale. As you’ll see below, it’s kind of a win-win…if you miss out on Black Friday prices, especially those doorbusters, then January presents another round of solid TV discounts, and just in time to watch the Super Bowl…#OMAHA

2014 JANUARY TV Deals:

Walmart: Sceptre 32″ 720p LED HDTV – $179.00 (was $299.99) Free Shipping + 1.0% Cash Back

Best Buy: RCA 40″ LED Backlight 1080p 60Hz LCD HDTV – – $249.99 (was $329.99) Free Shipping +1.5% Cash Back

Newegg: Westinghouse 40″ 1080p LED HDTV – $297.00 (was $499.99) Free Shipping +1.0% Cash Back

Newegg: Changhong 50″ 1080p LED HDTV – $399.99 (was $499.99) Free Shipping + 1.0% Cash Back

Walmart: Sceptre 50″ LED 1080p HDTV – $399.00 (was $599.99) +1.0% Cash Back

Amazon: Seiki Digital SE50UY04 50-Inch 4K UHD 120Hz LED HDTV – $607.30

Groupon: LG (55LN5200) 55″ 1080p 60Hz LED HDTV – $599.99 (was $899.99) Free Shipping + 6.0% Cash Back (was 3.0% )

Sears: Seiki 55” Class 4K 120Hz LED Ultra HDTV – $799.99 (was $1,499.99) 3.0% Cash Back

Sears: Sharp 60″ Aquos 1080p 120Hz LED HDTV – $899.99 (was $1,299.99) Free Delivery or In-store Pickup + 3% Cash Back

Best Buy: Samsung 65″ 1080p LED 120Hz HDTV – $999.99 in cart (was $1,499.99) Free Shipping + 1.5% Cash Back

2013 Black Friday TV Deals

Walmart: Funai 32″ 720p 60Hz LED HDTV – $98.00 (was $198.00)

hhgregg: Samsung 40″ 1080p 120Hz LED Smart HDTV (UN40EH5300) $399.99 (was $499.99)

Tiger Direct: Westinghouse 46″ 1080p 120Hz LED HDTV (UW46TA2W) $299.99 (was $499.99)

Target: Element 50″ 1080p 60Hz LED HDTV $229.00 (was $599.99)

Best Buy: Sharp 50″ 1080p 120Hz LED HDTV (LC-50LB150U) $399.99 (was $699.99)

Sams Club: VIZIO 55″ 1080p 120Hz LED Smart HDTV (E55OI-B1E) $548.00

Best Buy: LG 55″ 1080p 120Hz LED HDTV (55LN5100) $499.99 (was $999.99)

hhgregg: LG 60″ 1080p 600Hz Plasma HDTV (60PN6500) $599.99 (was $849.99)

Tiger Direct: Seiki 65″ 1080p 240Hz LED HDTV (SE65JY25) $799.99 (was $1199.99)

Walmart: Vizio 70″ 1080p 120Hz LED HDTV $998.00 (was $1698.00)

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SURVEY: Super Bowl Drives Most TV Sales


“1 in every 10 Americans will buy a TV during Super Bowl Sales**”

FatWallet announces 2014 TV Buying Survey:

The new survey (*TNS Global) reveals some interesting consumer buying trends for TVs, especially related to the upcoming Super Bowl. With TV purchases increasing each January (1M in 2005 to >7M in 2013), the survey verifies the growth claiming it’s now the #1 time of year people say they will buy a TV.

Of those surveyed online, 30% said they will purchase a new TV this year (35% males, 25% females and 38% under age 30). Almost one third of those will buy a TV during Super Bowl sales. The survey also reveals that their purchasing decisions are influenced most by price and the majority will spend less than $500. See Infographic.

Below are the full survey results for those that said they will purchase a new TV this year:

Super Bowl Drives Big TV Sales!

Q: During which sales event are you most likely to make a new TV purchase?

  • 32% said Super Bowl Sales
  • 25% said Black Friday Sales
  • 8% said December/Holiday Sales
  • 6% said Cyber Monday
  • 28% said a variety of Other Seasonal Sales

Of Note: Almost half of Boomers will buy a TV during Super Bowl Sales (46%), the other half (47%) during Black Friday. While only 6% will buy a TV on Cyber Monday, that number more than doubles to 14% for those under age 30.

The Price Is Right.

Q: Which category is most important when purchasing a new TV?

  • 45% said Price
  • 35% said Features
  • 20% said Brand

Of Note: Seniors (age 60+) say Brand (38%) beats Price (29%). More than half of those with children (54%) say price is the big factor.

Let’s Make a Deal.

Q: How much do you plan to spend on a new TV?

  • 14% said Less than $300
  • 41% said $300-$499
  • 21% said $500-$699
  • 24% said $700 or more

Of Note: While 41% will spend between $300 – 500, that number increases to 52% for those with an annual income under $30k. 1 in 4 will plan to spend more than $700, 40% with an annual income over $75k, and 9% with an annual income under $30k.

9 in 10 want major brand names.

Q: Which TV brand do you plan to purchase?

  • 33% said Samsung
  • 18% said Sony
  • 16% said LG
  • 14% said Vizio
  • 6% said Panasonic
  • 3% said Sharp
  • 4% said Budget Brands
  • 6% said Other

Of Note: LG was most popular with Midwest TV Buyers (34%) and Sony most popular brand for lower income shoppers (25%).

Size does matter!

Q: What size new TV will you purchase?

  • 24% said 39” or less
  • 45% said 40” – 54”
  • 25% said 55” – 69”
  • 6% said 70” or bigger

Of Note: Nearly 1 in 3 (31%) will buy a new TV 55” or bigger. While only 6% will purchase a new TV 70” or bigger, 15% for those on West Coast want a giant screen.

86% want some clarity.

Q: Which feature is most important when purchasing a new TV?

  • 14% said 720p HDTV
  • 46% said 1080p HDTV
  • 34% said 1080p HDTV (Smart/3D)
  • 6% said 4K

Of Note: More than one third (35%) want a smart TV, 45% under age 50 or on the West Coast. Only 6% want a the pricey new 4K HD technology, but surprisingly 10% of those with an annual income under $30k want 4k.

Mobile Commerce gets in the game.

Q: Which way are you most likely to make a new TV purchase?

  • 76% said In-store
  • 15% said Laptops
  • 4% said Smartphones
  • 3% said Tablets
  • 2% said Other

Of Note: 7% said they will buy a TV via their mobile device-expect that number to grow by the end of the year.

*The national survey conducted online by TNS on behalf of in July 2013 was fielded among 1,000 adults ages 18 or older. **Based on 10% of all surveyed who said they will purchase a new TV in 2014 during Super Bowl Sales.

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