Author Archives: Brent

Walmart ShippingPass Goes 2-Day To Test Amazon Prime Head On

This just in via WSJ Facebook Messenger Chatbot…

Walmart-shippingpass-2dayWalmart just announced it will test the “free” 2-day shipping subscription model of Amazon Prime with a  $49 yearly fee to its ShippingPass (invite-only). The big-box giant said it will utilize regional shippers to keep costs in line. Walmart ShippingPass going to 2-day delivery is a direct move to compete with Amazon’s rapidly growing ecommerce network. A move some say may cost the big-box retailer.

The report mentions that Amazon has been sending roughly 7x the number of packages Walmart does in North America. Walmart ecommerce currently relies on 150+ distribution centers that serve the 8 e-commerce fulfillment centers and approx. 4,600 U.S. stores with 80+ stores set up as delivery hubs. The high delivery rate from Amazon helps them keep shipping costs down lower than competitors. See full story on Wall Street Journal.

Related stories: FedEx and eBay partner to create new Seller Drop-off Program. Sellers bring items worth at least $25 at one of more than 1,600 FedEx Office stores in the U.S. FedEx employees pack and ship the items to an eBay Valet processing center. eBay handles the listing, selling and shipping of any sold items. There is no upfront costs to sellers, but FedEx and eBay will share steep commissions on sales (20% to 40%). See full story at Consumerist.

 

Note: Online shoppers can view the hottest Walmart deals , eBay deals and Amazon deals with one-click. Hundreds of daily deals are aggregated by FatWallet staff and community, who also add valuable insights that help shoppers make smarter purchases.

 

Get Smart Away From Home: Summer Travel Tech and Gadgets

Smart Home-Travel-May-blogSummer seems a ways off, but booking summer vacations is becoming a pressing matter. 81% regularly go on vacations, 58% go yearly, 25% multiple times a year (recent FatWallet survey). Summer vacation bookings are ramping up in May, and opportunities to utilize current travel deals and grab prime hotels, fly times, plane seats are thinning as these things get booked up this month. Even more pressing is preparation for leaving your home safe and manageable, or finding time to shop for the latest summer travel tech and gadgets to make that trip more connected to your daily routine.

Running out of time? Don’t fret, there are hidden savings for summer travelers, and non-travelers alike, on items such as home security, smart home tech and other personal travel tech. It’s estimated that smart home devices are now owned by 15% of U.S. households (IOT Daily) and help travelers monitor the home while away. But these items need to be purchased and installed ahead of time. There are a number of smart home solutions for nearly all home owners and renters. May offers timely savings on WiFi routers and smart hubs that control essential accessories like cameras and alarms, thermostats, lighting, locks and appliances. Here’s a list of current smart home deals:

Top 10 Smart Home Deals

  1. Smarthome: 20% off Home or Business Security Camera (w/code)
  2. eBay: ecobee3 Smarter Wi-Fi Thermostat w/Remote Sensor – $189.99 (was $209.49) +Free Shipping
  3. Amazon: NETGEAR AC1750 Smart WiFi Router & DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem Bundle – $109.98 (was $269.98) +Free Shipping
  4. Amazon: APC BGE70 3-Outlet UPS Backup Connect Home Network – $19.99 (was $59.99) Free Shipping on $35+
  5. Newegg: ASUS RT-N66W Dual-Band Wireless-N900 Gigabit Router – $49.99 (was $153.99) +Free Shipping
  6. eBay: GoPro HERO3+ Silver Edition Camera $149.00 (was $239.99) +Free Shipping (refurbished)
  7. Everbuying.net: Up to 48% off Network IP Cameras
  8. Panasonic: DIY Home Surveillance Camera Kit (KX-HN6002W) – $79.99 (was $299.95) +Free Shipping
  9. Amazon: Amazon Echo – $179.99
  10. Amazon: Amazon Echo Dot – $89.99

Top 5 Travel Gadgets:

  1. Amazon: Car Dashboard Camera Bundle – ZeroEdge 2.4″ 135°, 1080P, G-Sensor  w/16GB TF Card – $52.99 (was $99.99) with Free Shipping
  2. Buydig.com: Garmin Approach S2 GPS Golf Watch (Refurb) – $89.99
  3. eBay: JBL Flip 3 Splashproof Portable Bluetooth Speaker $79.00 (was $89.00) +Free Shipping
  4. Groupon: Beats Urbeats 2.0 Earbuds from $69.99 +Free Shipping
  5. GearXS: Electronic Luggage Scale With Digital Display – $5.99 (was:= $12.99) +Free Shipping

May the Fourth Brings Star Wars Deals From Another Galaxy

Greetings from planet FatWallet
 
Most folks know it’s “May the Fourth” … if your shopping today, how could you not as retailers are sale pricing everything under the solar system. For fans, and Star Wars moms alike, this could be the “motherland” for timely gifts, and collectables, as some of these price drops are from another galaxy, far, far beyond the Black Friday.
 
TOP 10 May the Fourth deals right now. (NOTE: fun lightsaber cursor:)
Hope you can use them!
  1. GameFly: Star Wars Battlefront Used (PS4/XOne) $18.99 (was $49.99) Free Shipping
  2. ThinkGeek: Free BB-8 Pin with $30+ Star Wars order.
  3. Toys R Us: $20 off Air Hogs Star Wars Millennium Falcon Quad $79.99 (was $99.99)
  4. Target: Disney Infinity 3.0 Edition Star Wars Starter Pack (PS4) $26.99 (was $64.99) Free Shipping
  5. Walmart: Lego Star Wars The Phantom Building Toy $18.99 (was $24.97)
  6. eBay: HP Star Wars Special Edition 15.6″ Notebook -Intel Core i5-6200U-6GB RAM-1TB HDD $449.99 (was $599.99) Free Shipping
  7. Kohl’s: Star Wars Men’s Sneakers + Boxer Set (Kohl’s Cardholders) $15.86 (was $73.99) Free Shipping
  8. Cross: Buy 1 Get 1 50% off Cross, Star Wars Click and Jotzon Collections.
  9. Build-A-Bear Workshop: Buy 1 Get 1 for $10 Star Wars Be a $10.00
  10. Best Buy: Up to 44% Off Star Wars Movies (10 titles on DVD/Blu-ray) Free Shipping on Orders over $35
For an in-depth review of some of the hottest May the Fourth deals, check out the FatWallet blog, and for a SUPER FAN BONUS: FatWallet’s May the Fourth Be With You Contest where thousands of deal hunters are sharing their favorite Star Wars quote (again, notice the fun lightsaber cursor:) 

Best of What to Buy in May

May’s hidden savings…

May can become a month of big spending for a number of reasons, so finding smart ways to save money on those bigger-ticket purchases is essential for both budgets, and sanity. This is due in part to booking summer vacations, a lot of potential seasonal gift buying and a variety of home improvement and upgrades, not to mention acquiring stuff we want for enjoying the warmer months ahead.

From Mothers Day to memorial Day, there are huge traditional sales events that kick-off and wrap up the month of May, so opportunity to shop is on high. As well, retailers fill the middle of May with big weekend one-off sales featuring discounting on just about everything under the sun. And with all these sales comes a plethora of savings, if you know what to buy in May:

Techie Mother’s Day Gifts

fitbit-blaze-deals

It’s estimated that 20% of US households own fitness trackers and 15% plan to buy on this year (IOT Daily). The active mom demographic owns majority of fitness trackers sold in the US, making newer wrist-wearables prime gift savings during Mother’s Day deals leading up to the May 9 holiday. Many of the top 10 selling fitness tracker/smartwatches are currently seeing holiday-like pricing, especially 2015 wearables which can be gifted at discounts up to 75% off. The best of these this week include:

  • Best Buy : Apple Watch Sport 38mm Stainless Steel Case $349.00 (was $549) free shipping. (4.7 of 5 stars – 575 customer reviews)
  • Macy’s: Fitbit Alta Exercise and Fitness Activity Tracker – $129.99 Free Shipping
  • Walmart: Fitbit Blaze Exercise and Fitness Activity Tracker $197.97 Free Shipping
  • Target: Mio Fuse Heart Rate Training and Activity Band S/M – $99.99 (was $149.99) Free Shipping
  • Rakuten: Xiaomi Mi Band 1S – $25.95 Free Shipping
  • Groupon: Jawbone UP3 Activity Tracker – $89.99 (was $129.99) Free Shipping

Summer Travel Deals:

 

Amazon Echo deals

May travel deals can offer hidden savings for non-travelers, or both, on items such as home security and smart home tech. Smart home devices are now owned by 15% of households (IOT Daily). They can help travelers monitor the home, but need to be purchased and installed ahead of time. Shopping for these deals in May offer timely savings on WiFi routers and smart hubs that control accessories like cameras and alarms, thermostats, lighting, locks and appliances. Here’s a list of current smart home deals:

Tag Springfield III dealsLast year, 62% of vacationers said they book summer travel online and 30% through online travel agents (Priceline, Orbits, Expedia, etc.). May 1st signals “50 days to summer”, the mark that officially kicks off vacation booking season and perfect timing for deals and savings on summer vacation packages, hotels, vacation rentals, car rental discounts, and even finding local deals and coupons for regional activities and events. A few current travel deals include:

Weddings and Graduation Gifts:

shutterfly deals and couponsMany of the traditional May sales and discounts can cross-over in to clever savings on graduation/wedding  gifts and needs. Whether shopping during summer clothing sales, summer travel deals, or when scouring Mothers Day deals for tech like smartwatches and smartphones. TIP: Many retailers offer great discounts when you register your wedding with them.

Memorial Day Sales:

sears kenmoore grills dealsBesides Black Friday, there may not be a better time to buy big-ticket items for the home. All the Big Box retailers advertise some of the best discounts of the year on major appliances (30-40% off), mattresses and sets (up to 60% off), and home furnishings, window air conditioners, ceiling fans, grills and patio furniture discounted at 25-50% off. Memorial Day deals last a full 10 days starting the weekend before the actual holiday, which is nice for those that want to enjoy the seasonal savings, and also enjoy the first 3-day weekend of the summer. Current sales for some of the items listed above include:

10 Best Fitness Trackers for Active Moms in 2016

Wearables Sales on Track to Stay Fit–Coveted Mothers Day Gifts

wearables-global-sales-chartIn 2014, 14M fitness trackers were sold worldwide vs. only 4M smartwatches. Then came the Apple Watch (and other improved smartwatches) creating 26 million smartwatches sold in 2015 vs. 25M fitness trackers. Forecasts* for 2016 predict a combined 84 million to be sold in 2016 (38M fitness trackers + 46M smartwatches).

Until this recent introduction of smartwatches, Fitbit has dominating global sales of the small activity tracking wearables market. Now, feature packed smartwatches help their owners track more health related measurement, as well as providing clear instant notifications of these measurements and personal communication alerts. They can coach, train and motivate, as well as keeping us connected to our immediate world. As a result, Fitbit and most other basic fitness tracker brands have developed new “smart” trackers to remain relevant and competitive.

FatWallet’s newest Wearable Technology Deals category, and a Smart Home Deals category, are fast becoming one of the most popular features, leading expectations that these developing products will be one of the most highly coveted Mother’s Day gift this year. Why, wearables help moms be healthier, more efficient with their time and ultimately, keep them connected to the most important people in the lives…their families and friends.

10 Best Fitness Trackers for Active Moms:

fitbit-blaze-dealsFitbit Blaze

The experts are calling it a “smart” fitness watch, which is an upgrade to other fitbit fitness trackers if you want a little more connection than other Fitbit fitness trackers. Basically it tracks daily activity, workouts and heart rate very accurately, and you can monitor all your call, text, and calendar notifications (you just can’t respond). One big plus of a bigger “watch vs. tracker” is the ability to follow FitStar on-screen workouts, and, at first glance, it resembles an Apple Watch and comes in 3 colors and 2 sizes at Walmart for $197.97 +Free Shipping.

 

fitbit-alta-dealsFitbit Alt

A super slim, stylish version of the Fitbit Charge HR with swappable bands, basic phone notifications and excellent battery life that does basic workout and sleep tracking (minus heart rate and waterproofing, which should be coming in the Alta HR version for holiday shoppers). Basically, it’s the most stylish slim banded Fitbit to date,so if style is your thing, the Alta is readily available as a Mother’s Day gift in 5 colors and 3 sizes at Macy’s for $129 +Free Shipping.

 

apple-watch-sport-dealsApple Watch Sport

Unlike most fitness trackers, the Apple Watch is a truesmartwatch that is sleek and light and while providing comfort and extreme durability. It’s also stylish and comes with 22 band options which are easily interchangeable. Like all fitness wearables, it requires a wireless connection (iPhone) to display notifications or GPS, but unlike others, you can respond and answer calls. Siri is onboard to make life easier with a plethora of onboard fitness tracking features and third party apps for additional tracking features. Available in 7 colors starting at Best Buy for $299.00 +Free Shipping.

 

xiaomi-mi-bandXiaomi Mi Band

An incredibly cheap, simple, water-resistant fitness tracker that measures your steps and sleep patterns. That said, it’s only compatible with Android devices. There is no display, just 3 programmable target lights that signal from gestures. If you can find one, it’s an inexpensive way to see if a fitness tracker is something you’ll utilize. Available at Rakuten for $25.95 +Free Shipping.

 

garmin-vivosmart-dealsGarmin Vivosmart HR

A 24/7 heart rate, sleep and fitness tracker that also has a touch-screen display showing all your smartphone notifications, including emails, calls, social media, music controls and weather alerts. Vivosmart HR tracks steps, distance, calories burned, floors climbed and active minutes and has a programmable, silent buzzing alarm. It’s also water-proof and comes in black, purple or blue at Crutchfield for $129.99 + Free Shipping.

 

jawbone-up-3-dealsJawbone UP3

Stylish, super-slim and comfortable with no screen, Up3 fitness tracker has limited heart rate and sleep tracking. However, the Jawbone App is a great user-friendly feature for tracking most fitness measurement and offers great coaching and lifestyle tracking. The Up3 is not water-proof, but users do like it because it is so small. Now available in 8 colors, find it at Groupon for $129.99 + Free Shipping.

 

mio-fuse-dealsMio Fuse

Real sporty look, this fitness tracker houses an accurate optical heart rate in a super comfortable design with great battery life. It will record time, calories, steps, distance (estimated) and goal. If you’re looking for a bit pricey, no-non-sense tracker (Android and iOS) that has at the feel that it was designed for the sports world, it available at Target for $129.99.

 

adidas-fit-smart-dealAdidas MiCoach Fit Smart

This rubberised band-style wearable is contoured and comfortable, designed specifically for runners. It’s not a daily tracker, but rather a run trainer as it’s main features are focused on a built-in accelerometer (vs. GPS), a Mio Alpha-powered heart rate sensor and extensive training modes that track running time, speeds zones, distance and calories. If your in to running and training, this may be the budget tracker of you. Available at Best Buy for $141.99.

 

samsung-gear-2-dealsSamsung Gear 2

A 24/7 smartwatch that keeps track of your activities throughout the day and is dust and water resistant design. Gear Fit features a built-in heart rate monitor and basic fitness tracking, plus most smartphone notifications allowing touch-screen functionality that include Samsung Pay. The design is streamlined for the active person and connects to third party apps for more intense training and fitness tracking capabilities. Priced at Sears for $299.94.

 

basis-peak-dealsBasis Peak

A workhorse activity tracker with a sleek watch style design. It’s main feature is a “real-time” heart rate and sleep tracker with a big touch-screen display. If you can wait for the oncoming upgrade to allow smartphone notifications, this soon to be smart fitness tracker is priced nice at Amazon for $199.

Amazon Prime Monthly Offers Video Only Less Than Netflix

Amazon Prime now offers 3 options

Amazon.com is now offering Amazon Prime Service as either a monthly Prime Video or Prime Shipping option, or one annual cost for both. Timing is everything as Netflix is now priced at $9.99/mo.

NOTE: Newbies can get a 30-Day Prime Free Trial, so one month free!

Amazon Prime Video $8.99/mo.

Unlimited movies and TV Shows (Including HD, Ultra HD & HDR (when available)

Amazon Prime (Monthly) $10.99/mon. and Amazon Prime (Annual) $99/yr. (25% discount)

  • Two-day shipping
  • Prime Video (unlimited movies and TV shows, including HD, ultra HD and HDR when available)
  • Unlimited music streaming
  • More than 1 million e-books
  • Early access to Lightning Deals
  • Same-day delivery in eligible areas

 

OASIS – Lightest, Thinnest, Brightest Amazon Kindle Ever

Amazon Releases New Kindle Oasis for Pre-Order – $289.99

Kindle-Oasis-amazonYesterday, amazon started taking pre-orders (LINK) on the latest Kindle creation called Oasis, and will ship starting on April 27. This introduction boasts that the Oasis is 30% thinner (3.4mm) and 20% lighter than any previous Kindle. Specifically designed for holding in one hand, Oasis weighs in at a very light 4.6 oz. (total weight -w/o cover) … for reference, the newer KindlePaperwhite weighs in at 7.2 oz.

Oasis has a built-in front light with 60% more LEDs and will taught the longest battery life of any Kindle, thanks to the additional extended battery that comes with the included leather case that together (there’s a battery in the Oasis) can allow reading for up to 8 weeks without an external charge. We would expect at least one charging session to be able to read a good majority of the 4.4 million books now available in the Kindle store.

The new Kindle Oasis is priced at $289.99, which is somewhat expensive compared the entry-level Kindle ($79.99), the Kindle Paperwhite ($119.99), Voyage ($199.99) and the newest economical Amazon Fire (start at $49). NOTE: FatWallet members get cash back on select department purchases from Amazon.

Technical Details (per Amazon feature page):

  • Display – Amazon’s 6″ Paperwhite display technology with E Ink Carta™ and built-in light, 300 ppi, optimized font technology, 16-level gray scale
  • Weight – 4.6 oz (131 g); : 4.7 oz (133 g); Cover: 3.8 oz (107 g)
  • System Requirements – None
  • On-Device Storage – 4 GB (holds thousands of books)
  • Cloud Storage – Free cloud storage for all Amazon content
  • Battery Life – A single charge with cover lasts up to eight weeks, based on a half hour of reading per day with wireless off and the light setting at 10.
  • Charge Time – Fully charges in less than 3 hours from a computer via USB cable
  • Connectivity – Wi-Fi + 3G; Supports public and private Wi-Fi networks or hotspots that use the 802.11b, 802.11g, or 802.11n standard with support for WEP, WPA and WPA2 security using password authentication or Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS)
  • Content Formats Supported – Kindle Format 8 (AZW3), Kindle (AZW), TXT, PDF, unprotected MOBI, PRC natively; HTML, DOC, DOCX, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP through conversion

compare-kindle-e-readers-chart

Big Home Improvement Stores Shine in Spring

What to buy, or not, and why from Sears, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Menard’s and Ace:

home-improvement-storesIn general, the big stores that specialize in home improvement are great resources to save a lot of money on big-ticket items for the home, especially major appliances, lawn and garden equipment and home repair/remodeling products. They’re knowledge and selection are superior to big box stores like Walmart and Target, with wider brand selection and very competitive seasonal pricing. For everyday home items and decor, big box and other niche stores tend to offer better selection, and over-all savings.

Home improvement stores (especially Sears and Menard’s) also compete with Amazon, Ebay and Overstock on the big-ticket item prices and on savings for many smaller seasonal items, including cordless power tools/kits. To assure over-all savings, spring shoppers can capitalize on general seasonal discounts,  like Home Depot’s bi-annual $5 off $50 deal, Menards 11% off everything rebate, Lowes 5% off everything credit offer, Sears Bonus Days 15% off +5% cash back and Ace Hardware $10 off $100. Many big home improvement stores (see Sears above) also participate in cash back sales on FatWallet (and at sister site Ebates) during special spring Home and Garden promotions that align with current sales, offering smart consumers an edge on getting even more savings by simply clicking through these rewards portals.

Local Tip:

It’s true, the bigger national stores can offer some excellent discounts based on carrying huge inventory, but there can be benefits supporting your smaller local/private hardware stores. For example, on select items, some local hardware stores will match prices if you ask. Also, many local stores carry a generic discount brand of everyday hardware items that compete with the big store prices. Plus, most local hardware stores hire experienced craftsman that can help you problem solve DIY projects. They also keep a big list of contacts and recommendations for finding a good local handyman, maintenance services and private contractors.

What TO Buy:

Hardware and Building Materials: Nuts, bolts, screws, nails, hinges, knobs, etc. can be purchased in bulk at home improvement stores with some of the lowest prices available, anywhere. This includes a vast list of building materials. Home improvement stores also offer considerable customer service knowledge to help you configure and purchase all the right hardware and materials for most DIY projects, whether your in-store, or purchasing online for delivery.

Coatings: House paint, primers and deck coatings are priced very competitively at home improvement stores and the brands they carry usually include mail-in-rebates that can save shoppers an additional $5-30 on multiple style, colors and quality levels. Plus, home improvement stores have color matching systems that are very efficient, and free.

Major Appliances: Refrigerators, ranges, dishwashers and washer-dryer and sets get offered at 10-40% off during seasonal sales throughout the year, usually with free delivery and haul-away from most home improvement stores.

Power Tools, Kits and Tool Storage: Power tools and multi-tool kits see some of the best prices anywhere at home improvement stores, especially during peak holiday sales and Father’s Day sales. This includes tool storage products such as garage cabinets, roller tool boxes and sheds. Tool kits often include exclusive bonus items that aren’t offered with kits from other stores and additional savings via limited-time rebates from top name-brand purchases. And the big home improvement stores return/exchange policies and processes are made to be very convenient.

Home Lighting: Exterior lighting prices are some of the best available at home improvement stores, and interior lighting pricing is excellent for permanent fixtures, including ceiling fans. Although, other home decor lighting like free-standing lamps and decorative home lighting options can be quite limited at home improvement stores for both options and style. Prices and selection on bulbs are very competitive with big box and Amazon, and often cheaper purchased in bulk.

Patio/Outdoor Living: The sales and selection on grills, patio furniture and accessories rival most big box stores, although premium quality patio items should be purchased at a specialty outdoor store. Most home improvement stores include free local delivery, assembly and haulaway, with assembly being a key selling point (especially if you’ve ever tackled putting a grill or patio furniture set together, all by yourself).

Lawn and Garden: For the DIY lawn person, items like mulch, pavers, fertilizers, seed, and annual plants are sold with exceptional seasonal discounts at home improvement stores. As well, so are garden tools, hoses and watering tools where many prices even compete with Amazon. Heavy equipment pricing on mowers, snowblowers, cultivators and wireless yard tools are some of the best available, especially at Sears.

What NOT to Buy:

Landscaping Plants: Although seasonal sales at home improvement stores can be really good for some plant pricing, the quality can be hit or miss, especially trees and bushes. These items, which can last a lifetime, are often a smarter purchase from a qualified nursery or landscaping specialists. Annuals, on the other hand, if fresh, are usually a better buy for your budget from home improvement stores, but buying early is key for best results, and selection.

Home Decor: Rugs, furniture, picture frames, wall art, etc. are limited and often “cheap” in quality but not cheap in price unless on clearance at home improvement stores, and the selection tends to be basic and limited for style, as well.

Cleaning Products: Although selection of cleaning supplies and tools may often be better at home improvement stores, average prices for home cleaning products are usually a little better at big box stores, unless you can apply a store member discount.

Small Kitchen Appliances: Inventory and brand selection is usually limited at home improvement stores, as is often the quality and prices. Best bet is to shop big box during big holiday discounting for these items when prices can be tremendously low, especially Black Friday deals.

Consumer Electronics: Let’s just say for most items, this isn’t where you want to go to buy consumer electronics for a number of reasons, including quality, selection and especially price. Unless you’re looking for something to get you by because you’re capitalizing on the fact that you’re in-store, or have a rewards card and are getting a seasonal discount. The one exception would be Sears, which carries many major consumer electronics brands, including Apple, Samsung and others.

Automotive Tools: Most big home improvement stores do not carry high-quality brand or specialty automotive tools (Sears, again is the exception with their coveted Craftsman Tool line). These stores will carry some automotive tools and general automotive products, if you’re in a pinch, but usually over-priced for the value.

Store Benefits:

Sears: Although Sears generally doesn’t sell a vast selection of hardware and building materials, they compete in pricing for most items home improvement stores sell and are the most competitive for tools and automotive products. Sears also has an expanded family of products and services like Sears Home Services (discounts on home repair, maintenance and cleaning), Sears Outlet (20-75% off big-ticket home items on clearance) and PartsDirect (discounts and repair guides for over 8 million parts for name brand home products, filters and appliances).

Ace Hardware: Ace Rewards allows members to build up points for modest savings over time, but also offers access to member discounts on select products.

Lowe’s: Offers credit card that allows user 2 options for the majority of purchases, 1- 5% off or 2-6 mo. 0% financing. Great tactic for buying big-ticket items during seasonal sales ahead of tax returns or bonuses. Lowe’s also includes in-store gift card incentives on big-ticket purchases in the form of marlin-rebates.

Menard’s: Offers a bi-annual 11% rebate (mail-in) on everything you buy (for limited time) each spring and fall.

HomeDepot: has a bi-annual coupon of $5 off $50 or $10 off $100 that, combined with cash back, is one of the hottest deals in the fat wallet forums. Plus, HomeDepot gives out a 10% “movers” discount through local post office which can combine with veterans and seniors discounts.

Rebates:

Home Depot and Lowes also have a handy Rebate Center online offering one time rebates on remodeling/building materials and appliances up to $800. Sears has both appliance rebates and automotive parts and tires rebates and Menard’s and Ace Hardware offer rebates, too. This is a good place to start before making big purchases on building materials and major appliances as you can save $100s on purchases that have an eligible rebate. All have similar features on their sites asking shoppers to choose your product category and enter your zip code, or enter model/SKU # and then search. The majority of these rebates are tied to federal tax-credits, especially if they are Energy-Star approved products.

How to Dig Deeper for Spring Savings – What to Buy in April

Contemplating What to Buy in April?

what-to-nuy-in-april-2016It may be best to approach this month’s spending as a “need” vs. “want”. Unlike most time’s of year (sans holiday), our shopping lists tend to be bigger coming out of winter, and retailers have huge spring sales events that cover price changes on nearly every consumer category. So spending in April with a little discipline to buy the things you truly need (first) can help you to keep from over-spending.

Homeowners will be the target for most April spring sale events, especially Baby-Boomers, who make up for more than half total CPG sales this month. And for that reason alone, it is a good month to find great prices on a number of items you’ll be using soon, if not immediately, including; spring cleaning supplies and tools; home, closet and garage organizers and storage bins; lawn tools and prep products; interior and exterior maintenance and replacement products; and spring clothing and shoes. There are also excellent discounts and close-outs on things we may not necessarily need, but an upgrade is timely based on what we can save.

Here’s the short list of what to buy in April:

Spring Cleaning Deals:

logo-1219991-2f2c11e04d6c17446b607a350641b4d2Once April showers push through and things start to bloom, it’s time to wipe off the winter. Retailers have big weekend home sales offering a chance to save on cleaning supplies and tools, vaccums, shopvacs and storage organizers fit into this spring sale category as home improvement and big box retailers offer price reductions on storage bins, closet and garage organizers and automotive products. Smart shoppers will want to keep eyes peeled for B1G1 deals on cleaning supplies and tools that offer a great time to stock up for the whole summer at a big discount.

Spring Fashion Deals:

logo-1105814-aa61b24cdd1987e937a2523da024d1b2New seasonal spring apparel gets a second go around with a little better discounts than what we experienced in late March, with many mixed sales for both clothing and shoes. We see some of the best discounting of activewear this month, with a range of 20-40% off top name-brand workout tops, shorts, sweats and running shoes from stores like Nike, Under Armour, Adidas, Puma and Converse. As well, outdoor sports stores such as REI, Patagonia, Backcountry and Cabela’s all have multiple spring events featuring discount pricing on the newest hiking, climbing, fishing and camping apparel, as well as sports and outdoors gear, all month long.

Lawn, Garden and Patio:

logo-1235366-2b57768b1edb6e22e5a13e49988705dfSavings on spring essentials rain down–along with cleaning, organizing and upgrading stuff inside the home, as the weather warms beyond frost levels, we also get a move on spring chores outdoors. Whether that be lawn and garden clean-up / prep, early landscaping/mulching or opening the patio, there are items we need, and big box and home improvement stores got you covered. Expect 10-30% off lawn seed and fertilizers, perennial bulbs and plants, shrubs and trees and tools to do the work. Bigger-ticket items like patio furniture, grills and lawn equipment will see some discounting and if in need, April savings will surely beat May and June prices on these items. Other “need-friendly” sales include sales for deck and exterior siding cleaners, washers, brooms, hoses and sprayers.

Mother’s Day Deals:

logo-1226808-4330ec2ab7ba1ea6b9b46b59e480e1f8Early-bird shoppers get treated to some hidden savings for moms as late April (vs. May) will present better savings on jewelry and luxury apparel accessories like handbags during spring fashion sales. Other spring sales offer deep discounts on some kitchen and cookware, especially small kitchen appliances which see some of the lowest prices ever on last year’s health juicers, and coffee makers. Local deals offer another great option for finding something moms love, including coupons for restaurants, spas, massages and fitness classes, auto-detailing and spring house cleanings. Look to sites like Groupon and Living Social to provide discounts of 50% or more on these types of gifts.

logo-1242960-3431849d7a27be3354d4420305649f91Speaking of moms…many will want tech! And buying smartphones and electronics deals is very timely. New flagship smartphones were announced, including the new Samsung Galaxy S7 and new iPhone SE, which means price drops on previous cell phone deals. If you haven’t upgraded in a while, you’ll be able to grab a nice, well-equipped cell phone on the cheap, and depending on plan, maybe one for mom for Mother’s Day. Or perhaps mom wants a wearable device like a smartwatch or fitness tracker? With new technology flooding inventories, older consumer electronics deals, like Fitbits, Samsung Gear and even the Apple Watch have seen significant price reductions, as has blue-tooth speakers and last year’s smart home products–all stuff that make life easier for moms, and dads everywhere.

2016 Tax Holiday Schedule for Back to School Shoppers

2016 Tax Holiday Calendar and Eligible Items Lists

Last year, more than 16 states offered a tax-free weekend to help families save on school supplies, computers and clothing. Families in some states can even leverage tax-free purchases on many other items for personal/home use, including Energy Star and WaterSense approved products (lighting/bulbs, large appliances, air conditioners, dehumidifiers, generators, etc.), chainsaws, firearms, and items for hurricane preparedness.

According to the Sales Tax Institute, the average range of tax-free maximum purchases for computers and electronics is $1,500-$4,000. Combining tax-exempt savings with purchases that qualify for either a Student Discount or a Teacher Discount and/or online discounts from current electronics and laptop deals can add up quickly to help families with budget constraints.

Below is a list of states and their tax-holiday details for 2016 (some states haven’t announced details and dates yet so please check back as information gets updated):

_300Alabama
August 5-7, 2016

  • Clothing – $100 or less per article
    (excluding accessories and protective or recreational equipment)
  • Single purchases ($750 or less) of computers, computer software,
    and school computer supplies
    (excluding purchases for recreational or non-educational use)
  • Noncommercial school supplies – $50 or less per item
  • Noncommercial purchases of books – $30 or less per item

Note: Local sales tax might still apply. Check this chart to verify if your municipality is participating.

Arkansas
August 6-7, 2016

  • Clothing and footwear – less than $100 per item
  • Clothing accessories and equipment – less than $50 per item
  • School supplies, school art supplies, school instructional materials

Connecticut
August 21-27, 2016

  • Clothing and footwear – Less than $100 per item
    (excluding clothing accessories and protective or athletic clothing)

Florida
August 5-7, 2016

  • Clothing, footwear and certain accessories – Less than $60 per item
    (excluding sports clothing and accessories)
  • Certain school supplies – $15 or less per item

Georgia
July 30-31, 2016

  • Clothing and footwear – $100 or less per item
    (exclusing clothing accessories such as jewelry, handbags, umbrellas, eyewear, watches and watchbands)
  • Computers, computer components, and prewritten computer
    software purchased for noncommercial home or personal use – $1,000 or less per item
  • School supplies purchased for noncommercial
    use – $20 or less per item

September 30-October 2, 2016

  • Energy Star products – $1,500 or less per item
  • WaterSense products – $1,500 less per item

Note: Items purchased for trade or business are not eligible.

Iowa
August 5-6, 2016

  • Clothing and footwear – less than $100 per item
    (excluding clothing accessories)

Louisiana
August 5-6, 2016

  • Purchases of most tangible personal property for non-business use
    – $2,500 or less per item

Note: This is a 2 percent state sales tax exemption, which means you’ll still pay the 3 percent sales tax. The holiday only applies to the state sales tax, so sales taxes levied by parishes, municipalities, school boards, and other political subdivisions of the state still apply.

Maryland
February 13-15, 2016

  • Sales of Energy Star products
    (includes air conditioners, washers and dryers, furnaces,
    heat pumps, standard-size refrigerators, compact fluorescent
    light bulbs (CFL), light-emitting diode (LED) light bulbs,
    dehumidifiers, programmable thermostats and solar water heaters)

August 9-15, 2016

  • Clothing and footwear – $100 or less per item
    (excludes accessory items)

Mississippi
July 29-30, 2016

  • Clothing and footwear – less than $100 per item
    (excludes accessories such as jewelry, handbags, luggage, and backpacks)

Missouri
August 5-7, 2016

  • Clothing – $100 or less per item (excluding clothing accessories)
  • School supplies – $50 or less per item
  • Computer Software – $350 or less per item
  • Computersand computer peripheral devices – $1,500 or less
  • Graphing calculators – $150 or less per item

April 19-25, 2016

  • All retail sales of Energy Star certified new appliances
    (includes Clothes washers, Clothes dryers, Water heaters,
    Dishwashers, Air conditioners, Furnaces, Refrigerators,
    Freezers, and Heat pumps) of up to $1,500 per appliance

New Mexico
August 5-7, 2016

  • Clothing, footwear and accessories – less than $100 per item
    (excluding accessories, athletic or protective clothing or footwear)
  • School supplies – less than $30 per item
  • Computers, e-readers and tablets – up to $1,000 per item
  • Certain computer-related items – up to $500 per item

Ohio
August 5-7, 2016

  • Clothing – $75 or less per item
  • School supplies – $20 or less per item
  • School instructional materials – $20 or less per item

Note: Items used for trade or business are not eligible.

Oklahoma
August 5-7, 2016

  • Clothing and footwear – less than $100 per item
    (excluding accessories, special clothing or footwear primarily
    designed for athletic activity or protective use that is not normally
    worn except when used for athletic activity or protective use,
    or to the rental of clothing or footwear)

South Carolina
August 5-7, 2016

  • Clothing and footwear (excluding rentals)
  • School supplies, such as notebooks, pens, pencils, and bookbags
  • Computers (excludes items used for commercial purposes)
  • Certain bed and bath items

Tennessee
July 29-31, 2016

  • Clothing – $100 or less per item
    (excludes clothing accessories or equipment)
  • School and art supplies -$100 or less per item
  • Computers – $1,500 or less per item
    (excludes computer software, computer parts, video games, storage media, items for use in a trade or business)

Texas
May 28-30, 2016

  • Energy Star-qualified air conditioners priced at $6,000 or less
    refrigerators priced at $2,000 or less
    ceiling fans, incandescent and fluorescent light bulbs, dishwashers,
    dehumidifiers, and clothes washers

August 5-7, 2016

  • Clothing and footwear – less than $100 per item
    (Excluding accessories, athletic or protective clothing,
    and rentals of clothing or footwear)
  • Backpacks – $100 or less per item sold for use by elementary and secondary students
  • Most school supplies – less than $100 per item

Virginia
August 5-7, 2016

  • Energy Star & WaterSense qualified products – $2,500 or less per item
    (purchased for noncommercial home or personal use)
  • Clothing and footwear – $100 or less per item
  • School Supplies – $20 or less per item
  • Portable generators – $1,000 or less per item
  • Gas-powered chainsaws – $350 or less per item
  • Chainsaw accessories – $60 or less per item
  • Other hurricane preparedness items – $60 or less per item
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