Category Archives: Saving Money

6 Free Shipping Hacks to Keep Gift Costs Down

FatWallet Free Shipping WeekIf you’re still planning on doing the majority of your last minute gift shopping online and are starting to panic about getting good value on shipping costs, then you’re thinking right. Remember last year when many millions of packages didn’t make it to holiday celebrations on or before Dec. 25 … even though stores said they would. Well, keep in mind, online shopping set massive records this season already, and postal workers are actually delivering packages on Sunday this year.

If you really want to avoid the last minute store rush late next week, standing in long lines, driving around for far away parking and dealing with over-worked cashiers, get that shopping done by this Friday, which just happens to be Free Shipping Day. 

Did you know that 76% of online holiday shoppers buyers say free shipping most influences their gift purchases (FatWallet survey). These six free shipping hacks will help you take advantage of online discounting and secure on-time delivery.

Six Free Shipping Hacks

1. Shop Free Shipping Day on Friday, Dec. 18

This may seem like the most obvious way to secure free shipping on gifts, but, although thousands of stores will offer huge discounts during this event, few will drop their existing spending thresholds to free. However, many may drop the threshold to a more reasonable spending requirement. For stores that do offer free shipping for this event, make sure you read any restrictions that may apply. Keep in mind that there are dozens of stores that offer free shipping all the time and others that offer a flat fee year round. In fact, you may be able to find free shipping right now.

2. Haggle

If you can’t find free shipping offers for a particular store and don’t want to buy extra items to meet their minimum spending threshold, contact customer service and ask how to get free shipping. Your chances are pretty good this time of year the customer service representative will share a coupon code with you that can be used in checkout to allow for a shopping discount. Even if your haggling just gives you expedited shipping at a lower cost, it can be worth a couple of extra minutes to secure it.

3. Buck up

If you’re shopping on a retail website that requires you to spend a specific amount of money to get free shipping (like Walmart, which offers free shipping with $50 spent and 3% cash back), do some quick math and decide whether paying the shipping cost is a better value than buying more stuff to meet the minimum spending threshold.

4. Site to Store

One way to avoid online shipping costs is to choose in-store pickup (if available at checkout). Yes, it may seem like a stretch to save money avoiding shipping by having to go to the store, especially this time of year. But, if you’ve procrastinated and expedited shipping is the only way to get your item, this could save you time, money and your tooshie! It’s also a good way to take advantage of online only coupons and deals and for avoiding shipping costs for items that can only be bought online. 

5. Subscribe

Some shopping subscriptions including free or expedited shipping with membership. Amazon Prime is $99 a year and offers free two-day shipping on most items. Members also enjoy other exclusive benefits, and Fatwallet shoppers can get up to 10% Amazon cash back. Shoprunner which charges $79 a year for free two-day shipping and returns from hundreds of top stores, like Hugo Boss. You can do a 30-day free trial, or you may be eligible for a complimentary subscription if you use an AMEX card.

6. Compare Store Offers

One store might offer an item with free shipping but sell it for a higher price than another store that doesn’t offer free shipping. That’s easy math unless you can find coupons and rewards that make one clearly better than the other. If you can stack coupons with cash back by shopping through sites like, which offers cash back from more than 1,700 stores and often features increased cash back during holiday seasons, you choice can be a no-brainer, especially if the credit card you use offers cash back, too.

Do you have any free shipping hacks? Let us know in the comments!

December Buying Guide – Holiday Gifts and More

December Buying GuideOnline shoppers spend more money in December than any other month, even when Cyber Monday falls on Nov. 30, like this year. There are more sales each day and weekend than any other month, and more items shipped than any other month. At its heart, December is big consumer spending, especially on holiday gifts for kids. In fact, 9 in 10 parents will spend the same or more than they did a year ago, and 70% will buy each of their children 3 or more gifts. Add to that 61% of adults will buy their significant other at least one gift, that’s a lot of money moving around this season. (See the FatWallet Holiday Gift Buying survey and INFOGRAPHIC for more data.)

Some of the hottest gifts that kids want are toys and video games. They also want clothing, shoes, tablets, smartphones and laptops (who wouldn’t) and retailers know this, so expect to find post-Black Friday tech deals in abundance. Adults’ big gift desires this year are for clothing, shoes, jewelry and vacations. A smaller percentage would also be happy with mobile devices, TVs and new computing devices. Both kids and adults rank gift cards as one of the most wanted holiday gifts. Shoppers for the majority of these items will be pleased to know that these are high on the list of what to buy in December.

December Buying GuideCyber Week Deals:  We’ve all heard of Black Friday creep, yes? Well Cyber creep goes the other way as the days after Cyber Monday are now referred to as Cyber Week. Big retailers will feature huge store and category discounts from 10-50% off. This is the perfect time to stack these discounts with shipping offers and cash back. Often you can get the majority of your gifts purchased at one store and cash in on all the savings opportunities. Here’s a short list of 20 retailers offering FatWallet members cash back on gifts during Cyber Week.


December Buying GuideGreen Monday Deals:  The second Monday in December is quaintly called Green Monday. It offers a second round of store-wide discounts this month that focus on items for the home and kitchen, like cookware, bakeware, dinnerware, cutlery and glassware. Although the enormity of clothing discounts won’t match what we saw on Cyber Monday, look for one-day store exclusives and buy-one-get-one specials on Green Monday. This may be your last chance to get the hot selling models and styles, if they aren’t out of stock already.

December Buying GuideFree Shipping Day (or week): Really, this event is an alert that you are running out of time to get items shipped for Christmas. Some stores have already decreased, or eliminated, their spending threshold for free shipping, and many other stores that get listed as participants aren’t decreasing their shipping offer at all on this day, but there are dozens of stores that offer free shipping or flat rates year round (see full list). With that said, the reason to pay attention to this event is that it represents the last round of online sales and discounts; many will rival BlackFriday and Cyber Monday as retailers make one last push to clear inventory. It’s a good time to find cheap electronics and computer accessories, batteries, holiday decorations and clothing.

December Buying GuideGift Cards: Late December and right before Christmas break is the best time to buy gift cards, or e-gift cards. Not only will dozens of stores offer gift card discounts (e.g. $100 GC for $80), especially for restaurants, movies and local entertainment, but you can also get cash back on many gift card deals. Anyone looking for gift card discounts should read the fine print, especially when trying to apply cash back to the initial purchase or during redemption.

December Buying GuideDecember Clearance: This event starts promptly the day after Christmas and includes huge 50-90% discounts on holiday decorations, wrapping paper/bows/tags, dinnerware, food and candy. Clearance (or End of Season) shoppers should also look for decreased pricing on off-brand, fall and winter clothing and shoes, toys, small electronics and small appliances. Tap into FatWallet’s Hot Deals forum no later than Dec. 26 for insider savings on these items as the deal hunters love this time of year and share tips willingly.

October Buying Guide: What to Buy Pre-Holiday

OCT-trends-2015-blogTricks to finding savings that “treat” pre-holiday spenders. 

Last year we compared October shopping to smashing pumpkins (the act of, not the band). You can get a cheap thrill, but it’s not necessarily for everyone. But thanks to Apple, Amazon and an ever-earlier smattering of holiday retail news, that is likely to change. Some retailers make Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals happen every Friday and Monday leading up to the real shopping events; in fact, that’s already happening. Will we see yet another Prime Day before year’s end? UPS promised shipping surge pricing this holiday, making shipping costs rise the longer we all procrastinate. So is October now the best time to buy holiday gifts?

Let’s just say that with a growing number of better early sales presenting competitive savings and the opportunity to get it shipped cheaper, October has a lot more to offer than fall clearance items if you know what to buy. Here’s our October Buying Guide:


Apple iPadPrices will be really good during October for tablet and iPad deals. With Apple’s pre-mature announcement and impending October launch of a new high-end iPad Pro, Amazon’s new Kindle Paperwhite and a new “stocking stuffer” $50 FIRE tablet, and Samsung’s new Galaxy Tab S2, the tablet market is prime for gigantic discounting, especially on older tablet/iPad models (we’re expecting a “Fire HD” sale soon). Typically we see pre-holiday promotions of up to 20% off tablets, but with this newer technology en route, even Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3 and higher-end 2-in-1 laptops should see discounting well ahead of Black Friday this year.

Home and Garden Clearance:
October grill and patio accessories saleFor most of the country, there is still agreeable weather to enjoy weekends entertaining at home with tailgating parties and backyard fires. Big fall sales offer October shoppers one last chance at final clearance (what remains) with discounts as much as 75% off grilling accessories, patio furniture, propane-heaters and other outdoor accessories that will be at their lowest of the year. Homeowners will also be outside “winterizing,” and retailers typically respond with great savings, from clearance on lawn seed, fall fertilizers, rakes, deck and house paint and storage organizers to store your garden tools and products for the winter. It’s also a chance to save money and stock up for next year on sale items like lawn spreaders, cultivators, hoses and pots. And expect some early pre-sales on snow removal equipment as those items move into inventory.

Holiday Home Prep:

Columbus Day sales and other Oktoberfest-like weekend sales promotions will be worth your attention, especially if you’re in the market to make use of deals on higher end appliances, furniture, cookware and home theater products to prep for Thanksgiving events. Interior projects like flooring, rugs and window treatments get a savings boost during these sales as well.

Travel Deals:

FatWallet October Travel DealsIf they haven’t started booking just yet, holiday travelers will want to keep on eye out for promoted holiday discounts on airfare, hotels and car rentals before the better selections of seats, rooms and auto choices get booked up. Fall vacations and cruises can be found readily available and very cheap if you’re schedule is nimble. It’s off-season, but still warm and dry enough in many destinations to get choice accommodations at a cut rate. Travel bookers should always take advantage of cash back from more than 100 travel sites by shopping through FatWallet and seek insider travel tips and tactics for finding the best rates, credit card hacks and other savvy ways to stack travel offers via FatWallet’s Travel Discussion.


Deals on Halloween costumesEarly shoppers can find comparable Halloween deals and better selections through last-minute and after-Halloween clearance sales. For example, Newegg (an unlikely source because its known primarily for tech deals and coupons) offers costumes and costume accessories up to 70% all month, free shipping coupons and up to 2% Newegg cash back through FatWallet. Sites like are already offering up to 90% off plus 7.5% cash back, and big-box stores like Target, Kohl’s, Home Depot and eBay all have early discounts of up to 50% off with additional cash back on Halloween deals.

Clothing and Denim:

2015 Fall FashionOctober is a good time to save on clothing, especially denim jeans and men’s shoes, as fall fashion hits full stride early this month and clearance sales crop up towards the end of the month. Women’s fall fashion sales are prominent and expand beyond celebrity-backed clothing and jeans, with savings on boots, handbags, jewelry and other apparel and accessories all month. Stack your savings with additional cash back from 500 apparel stores. Expect Cyber Monday-like discounts of up to 40% from online brands like Levi’s, AERO, 7 for All Mankind and Lucky. Stores like Macy’s, Old Navy and Kohl’s will offer similar savings for men, women and kids. Also, top sports and outdoor stores like Cabela’s, REI and Bass Pro Shops will feature sales on outdoor sports apparel and gear for hunting, hiking and other fall activities.


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,,, 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 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



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



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 Things to Buy in May



May brings an abundance of  savings opportunities, especially on big ticket items like laptop and tablets for mom (or yourself), summer vacation packages and hotel bookings, appliances, mattress sets and more. Mother’s Day spending has grown to be one of the top 5 sales events of the year (for more than just moms) and Memorial Day sales feature a week long of deep discounting on items like mattressess, large appliances, furniture and high-priced outdoor living products like grills and patio sets. Add in primetime for vacation booking, and May presents itself as a power shoppers paradise when you know the inside scoop.

Although many book ahead, May officially kicks off vacation booking season. Direct travel retailers and online travel agents ramp up discounts on summer vacation packages, hotels, vacation rentals, car rental discounts and even local deals and coupons for regional savings on family activities and events. FatWallet’s annual vacation spending survey reports that 8 in 10 Americans will go on vacation, with almost 60% taking vacations this summer – See full results and INFOGRAPHIC (*TNS Global).

The study also reported that vacation bookings made with mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) will increase by more than 50% this year. Smart shoppers take advantage of rewards, especially cash back, where FatWallet members can add savings from more than 100 travel sites and take advantage of a limited exclusive cash back increase to 8% from Priceline and Expedia, the highest online cash back available for these OTAs.

Here’s when to shop for the best things to buy in May:

Mother’s Day Sales – not just for moms:

In the past few years, the trend has been that moms want a day off, stress-free time and to be able to spend time with family, hopefully outdoors. That’s where local deals from sites like Groupon, Living Social, Amazon Local, etc. can really make for the perfect storm of a thoughtful Mother’s Day gift that offers deep savings. Whether that be a spa day, dinner and a movie, or more adventurous activities, local deals are a smart go to.

  • Flowers & Gifts: flowers, candy, books, crafts & supplies, jewelry
  • Home & Garden: cookware/kitchenware, pots, plants, tools, feeders, outdoor decor
  • Gift Cards: restaurants, retail, craft/fabric stores, electronics
  • Local Deals: dinner and drinks, spas, events, activities and getaways
  • Tech: tablets, smartphones, laptops, cameras

Tip: Not sure what to get mom…Gift cards let moms go shopping for “free”. FatWallet features dozens of stores offering Mother’s Day discounts on e-gift cards–many with additional cash back savings, including Starbucks cards, iTunes gift cards and American Express.

Vacation Packages and Hotel Deals

Early May offers the magic 50-day mark for best prices and selection on summer travel bookings. Find coupons and special offers that stack with cash back from more than 100 online travel retailers (OTAs, metasearch and direct bookings).

  • Travel Deals with spring discounts on flights, cruises, hotels and car rentals
  • Local Deals offer savings of 50% or more on restaurants, amusement parks, museums, concerts, spas, golf courses and other vacation activities going on at your destination.
  • Luggage deals can be found 30-50% off clearance (stackable with cash back specials)

Tip: Use an OTA, like Expedia or Priceline, to help you cut down your research time and take advantage of limited time 8% cash back on hotel deals, the highest cash back for hotels on the internet!

Sports and Outdoors Deals – will run amuck:

  • Sports: golf, cycling, baseball, athletic apparel/shoes
  • Outdoors: fishing, cycling, running, camping, swimming, hiking

Tip: Many sports equipment items have trade-in value, especially golf clubs, bicycles and even some fishing gear which can save you up to 20% when upgrading (if you’ve taken care of your stuff).

Memorial Day Sales – shop them early to nab better stock:

This holiday has become the official kick-off of summer sales (or spring clearance – take your pick). That said, it is a premium time to grab discounts on big ticket items for the home, especially these listed below:

  • Home Furnishings: mattresses, furniture, bedroom sets, patio sets
  • Appliances: complete kitchen sets, refrigerators, freezers, washers & dryers, stoves/ranges
  • Clothing: kick-off of Summer Clothing Deals collides with Spring Fashion Clearance
  • Travel: Summer vacation bookings and hotel specials for a holiday weekend getaway

Tip: Like Black Friday, Memorial Day sales now start early with some a full week ahead–this provides those with holiday plans a chance to cash in on this big savings event.

Sales for Graduation and Wedding Gifts

Grads and newlyweds are celebrating new beginnings and need stuff. Retail sales events leading up to Memorial Day often feature savings on these items and many top stores will increase cash back to help you save more when purchasing gifts.

  • Apparel and Accessories: clothing, shoes, suits, dresses, jewelry and watches
  • Electronics: laptops, tablets, smartphones, HDTVs, wireless gadgets
  • Home and Kitchen: small and large appliances, decor, bath and bedding

Tip: Look for huge Memorial Day discounts from retailers that stock these items.

Travel Study Shows Vacations Are Trendy – Infographic

Survey Says: Most Americans take vacations and book well in advance

The new annual Vacation survey (*TNS Global) reveals 81% of Americans go on vacations (91% for those who +$75k/year). That means 19% (supposedly) say they NEVER go on vacations and that number jumps to 22% for males and a whopping 39% for those that earn less than $30k/year. Almost 6 out of 1o say they go on vacations yearly 1 in 4 go on more than one vacation every year. The travel study also revealed that 14% will book vacations using a mobile device (smartphone or tablet), which is up more than 50% over 2014 (9% said they booked vacations via mobile last year). Most telling may be that 3 in 4 book vacations way ahead, at least 1-6 months out, with 14% booking more than 6 months out. Of note: 12% just “wing it”.

Vacation bookings using mobile devices up more than 50% in 2015

According to the US Travel Association, U.S. firms have at least $224 billion of unused vacation time on their books, accounting for an average liability per employee of $1,898. FatWallet’s vacation survey reveals that 42% will spend more than $1,500 on their next vacation (down from 46% in 2014), while 10% will spend more than $3,000 (down from 13% in 2014). To save money, 74% of vacationers said they look online for travel deals, or use miles, points, cash back rewards and credit card offers. Clothing and souvenirs are by far the most popular items they will purchase while traveling and prepping for vacation. Smart shoppers will take advantage of cash back through FatWallet, which features up to 10% cash back from more than 100 travel sites offering travelers additional savings on hotel deals, car rental deals and all the gear and apparel you need to fill up that suitcase, including cash back on luggage. Hit the road in style!

See the full travel survey results here. To place this infographic on your site, copy the embed code below.

travel infographic

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Going Mobile: Smartphones and Wearables Lead Charge [INFOGRAPHIC]

The Madness of March brings Electronics Deals

A new study from reports that consumers plan to buy more electronics this year, as well as spend more money. In fact, 3 in 4 will buy some sort of new electronics product this year with smartphones and wearables leading the charge as buying electronics from a mobile device will increase by 22% (35% for Millennials). Half of American adults surveyed said they will buy a new smartphone and they’ll buy 50% more wearables than they did in 2014, as Apple Watch pre-orders look to influence market growth. Joining the buying frenzy, consumer say they’ll buy 42% more wireless/Bluetooth headphones and speakers, and tablets (27% will buy new) and laptops (34% will buy new) remain relevant, for now.

To save more money on that new electronics purchase, make sure you take advantage of the annual March Mania Cash Back sale and dozens of current cell phone deals and electronics coupons on FatWallet this month and next.

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Electronics Deals Survey

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What to Buy in September: 2014 Shopping Trends

Best time of year to shop clearance and shop early!

2014 shopping trends

When is shopping early, smart? Waiting for “after clearance” clearance can produce the absolute lowest price, but settling for what’s left will sacrifice selection, and most likely quality. This is where jumping on Labor Day sales and summer clearance deals on the bigger ticket items for the home, patio furniture, grills, lawn mowers can save you big bucks on great stuff…ditto for back to school clearance items. Apply the same tactic for incoming fall fashion, with new selection of styles (prime color and sizes) fully stocked at Labor Day discounts. Here the savviest online shoppers will snatch up these bargains quickly, taking full advantage of first choice and then stack on additional cash back (there’s always a sale), creating some of the best deals of the year.

September also kicks off the countdown to Black Friday (2 months until early Black Friday deals begin…Yikes!). But that’s a ways off and on the heels of your fantasy draft comes real football, making a deal now on a new HDTV more urgent. With late summer prices on big screen TVs (40”-60”) hovering around the same pricing we saw before the Super Bowl, why wait until the season is half over. The savings will be comparable, as will laptops and smartphones (yo RedZone fanatics). Microsoft Store and Newegg offered spectacular September laptop deals last year, and FatWallet’s Tech Week raises the savings game this year with increased cash back from HP, Dell, T-Mobile, Newegg and other top tech retailers from 9/2-9/8.

Labor Day Deals, Summer Clearance and Final Back to School Deals

Expect multiple weekend sales in excess of 50% off Home & Garden items this time of year with summer “closeout pricing”.

  • Outdoor Furniture: (limited choices on patio furniture clearance and back yard accessories at 50% off or better)gas grill deals
  • Clothing: (summer clothing and shoes at 50-80% off)
  • Sports & Outdoors: (deep discounts on baseball, golf, camping and fishing gear and apparel)
  • Grills/Grilling: (Up to 50% off w/2-burner grills under $100)

Last chance for back to school clearance savings:

  • Dorm Furniture: (futons, small appliances, bed/bath linens will all be on sale at bigbox stores)
  • Tech: (laptops, desktop computers, tablets, smartphones, software)

Tip: Early bird gets the deal, and the pick of the litter, but these Home & Garden deals sell out fast.

Fall Fashion and Autumn Seasonal Sales

Autumn’s new fall fashion trends sales hit their full stride mid-month. Expect deep discounts on jeans and pants, long sleeve tops and coats, shoes and fall sports apparel.ankle boot deals

  • Clothing: (long sleeve shirts, pants, jeans, sweat shirts)
  • Outdoorwear: (jackets, hoodies, work boots, sweats)
  • Footwear: (ankle boots, fall casual shoes, clearance running shoes, socks)
  • Sportswear: (golf, football, cycling, hunting, fishing)

Tip: Try shopping for fall fashion early during Labor Day sales to nab the biggest selection of styles during store-wide discounts from Levi’s and American Eagle.

Early Holiday Travel Deals and Packages

This is the best time to book in advance for the best choice and lowest package deal savings on your Thanksgiving and Holiday family travel deals

  • Airfare: (start looking eight weeks out to get a good price and seat)
  • Hotels: (stay at business hotels during the holidays for cheap rate rooms and non crowded pools)
  • Car Rentals: (look for discounts when bundled with hotel bookings)
  • Local Deals: (check Daily Deal sites for travel activity deals)

Tip: Start monitoring prices now – sign up for low price alerts for your holiday destinations and keep tabs on FatWallet’s Deal Discussion forum for some of the hottest travel tips and insider tactics for finding the mega savings.

Student Laptop Buying Guide 2014

lToday, students of every age have one need in common: access to a computer. The computer is essential for child development, but laptops have become the ultimate learning tool for students offering the most convenience, power, connectivity and versatility in one portable package.

With a little planning and research, confident purchases are nearly as easy as buying school supplies. If a new laptop is on your back to school shopping list this year, the online shopping experts at offer these tips to help you meet your budget when looking to buy the right student student laptop and help you save even more during their annual cash back sale.

Laptops vs. Tablets

  • While tablets are extremely portable and have their uses, they can’t match the efficiency and versatility that laptops offer for everyday school work. If your budget allows for both, students can use a tablet in tandem with a laptop (or desktop computer) but today’s laptops are designed to meet all the demands of researching, writing, printing and communicating while offering much more streamlined designs for portability-most often leaving the tablet for fun and games. Plus, many schools do not allow tablets and it can be difficult to find tablet versions of textbooks.

Size Matters

  • Choosing the right size and weight for your student laptop is important. It be light and easy to carry in a backpack, but large enough to house acceptable power and plug in options. Models that are 15.6 inches or 17.3 inches provide big enough screens for work and study, while still weighing in the very portable 5- to 7-pound range.

Good Memory

  • A 250GB hard drive with 4GB DDR Ram is standard on today’s models and adequate for the majority of school use. Adding a hard drive with 7,200 RPM to increase performance cost effectively. If your student finds out that he or she needs more memory, adding it yourself is an easy and cost-effective DIY upgrade.

High Resolution

  • Today’s student use laptops for a variety of graphic-intensive applications, like HD video streaming and light 2D gaming. Most newer laptops have plenty of power for both and unless gaming is the ultimate goal (let’s hope not), you can save between $100 to $200 by opting out of the dedicated graphics card.

Power Up

  • Most dual and quad-core laptops provide plenty of battery power for a normal students’ daily activities without the need to lug a power cord along. And now, since students use iPods or smartphones for email, music and other simple applcations like social media, they’ll use less laptop battery power. Four to six-cell lithium-ion batteries are vwry efficient and standard.

Avoid This

  • You can save money on the initial purchase by opting out of bundled anti-virus protection, extended warranties or even the Microsoft Office Suite. There are several free, high-quality anti-virus and office productivity software available online. As far as warranty, it will most likely be a longer one when you buy directly from the brand versus a box store. An extended warranty isn’t that necessary since most defects generally show up before the original warranty expires.

Stack Savings

  • Deal hunters reap the biggest savings. Student discounts (will need a student’s school ID) provide extra savings from many of the major computer makers and software brands, like Apple, HP, Dell, Lenovo, Microsoft, Adobe and Sony. Plus, stack those savings with timely bargains, cash- back rewards and exclusive online coupons from tech deal sites like The website works with most major sellers like HP, Dell, Best Buy and Newegg to help increase back-to-school savings.

Credit is King

  • Using a credit card for laptop purchases provides all the consumer protections associated with credit card use, some card companies include additional cash back savings, and using a Visa or American Express card will extend your warranty an extra year.

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

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