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

Retail News: Back to School iPhone Deals JUMP a Grade

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

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

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

Sales Tax Holiday Brings Back to School Savings

August brings Tax Free Weekends in 16 states.

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

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

2015 Sales Tax Holiday Schedule

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

(updated July 16, 2015)

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

What to Buy in July – Summer’s hidden savings

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

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

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

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


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

4th of July Deals

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

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

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

Summer Deals and Cash Back Sale

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

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

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

Early Back to School Deals

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

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

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

4 Tips for Booking Better Hotel Deals

Vacationers seek tools to help find travel savings from online hotel deals and summer vacation packages in May.

hotel-deals[via Newswire] Mid-May, just outside of the “30 days to summer” mark, is when travel retailers and agents ramp up vacation bookings with a variety of packages, specifically discounted to fill up seasonal inventory. Consumers can spend hours sorting out options, looking for the best savings that also fulfills their travel needs. This year, 42% will spend more than $1500 on their next vacation and 72% book vacations 1-6 months out, with 12% who do not book ahead and just go and take what’s available. ( Vacation Spending Survey)

The majority of vacationers will book online, especially hotel rooms where 2 out of 3 bookings are made via the internet, and almost 7 in 10 are same day hotel reservations made via mobile device. In fact, hotel reservations are the #1 online travel sales revenue resource. As mobile searches for hotels and reservations are on the increase, surprisingly more than 67% of mobile searches occur at home or work, with only 17% on the go.

While 81% of travelers find hotel reviews important and 49% say they won’t book without reading reviews, travelers say site usability is even more important to them. Time is money, and finding resources that cut the average 20+ sites travelers visit before they book is a big advantage. These four smart tactics can ease the pain of sorting through hundreds of booking possibilities to find hidden travel savings.

SPECIAL SAVINGS BONUS: FatWallet is offering the highest cash back from hotel booking sites with 8% from both Priceline and Expedia through Memorial Day – Priceline is increasing that to a whopping 16% cash back on Thursday, May 14.

TIP: Use OTA (Online Travel Agents) or Metasearch sites to compare value – save time.

One advantage of using an online travel agent is that they do the research (or search) for the best available hotel rates for you. These sites include well known OTAs like Expedia, Priceline and Orbitz. They have access to the majority of hotel inventory (available rooms) and often negotiate exclusive hotel deals that you can’t find anywhere else. Metasearch sites are similar (TripAdvisor, Kayak, Trivago), but they aggregate hotel deals from both hotels and OTAs, giving travelers a quick overview of “all” the booking possibilities available to them. Using one of these sites can help travelers trim down the time it takes to research and find the lowest rates, or the best value. Sometimes location and/or amenities are more important than the final price, and these sites help travelers vet out the best booking scenario for each specific trip.

Tip: Book rooms with free cancellation, then monitor pricing.

This is a great savings tactic if you can be flexible with your hotel choice and have the time to monitor prices. Do the normal research and book the best hotel deal you can find with “cancelable rates” (best to double check that the room you want to book offers free cancellations, especially at check-out). Then, watch pricing of all hotels in the area you’re willing to swap out. Chances are quite good you’ll find a better deal, so now you can cancel the original booking. Even you don’t find a better deal, you’re ready to travel.

TIP: Last minute booking offers deep discounts for flexible travelers.

Booking spur-of-the-moment short trips, weekend getaways or friends and family visits last minute can lead to big savings, if you’re willing to take what’s available. You can find much cheaper rates by utilizing the “tonight” listings feature when visiting online travel agents (, Expedia, Travelocity), as most hotels will make it worthwhile to book you same day in order to fill their rooms. Mobile apps like HotelTonight and Jetsetter are built to help last minute travelers find deep discounts on unsold rooms, and offer ease of use on the go. Waiting for last minute booking discounts for longer, expensive trips and family vacation can be risky and not advised for the best hotel experience.

TIP: Before booking, click through cash back and coupon sites to add more savings.

Adding rewards and coupons is a smart thing to do every time you book a hotel room online, or for that matter, anytime you make an online purchase. These sites provide access to coupon codes from hundreds of travel booking sites that can save you instant money on purchases (including hotels, airlines, car rentals, cruise lines and vacation packages), let alone at thousands of retailers for travel needs and everyday items. Unlike most coupons sites, Cash Back shopping sites also share their profits with you in the form of rewards like cash back, or points. Rewards simply offer travel bookers extra money off their purchase, although it’s not always instant savings. Some sites, like and offer both coupons and cash back.

Note: Cash Back can be a big advantage if you’re earning cash back year round as the money you’ve been saving with all your purchases can be used as vacation spending money!! Or booking money. A free browser tool (FatWallet Express) will remind online shoppers when cash back is available so they don’t miss out on any added savings.



What to Buy in May 2015 – Shopping Tips

MAY Shopping Trends (via


May brings a surplus of opportunities to save money, especially on big ticket purchases and summer vacation bookings, if you know where and when to make purchases. Recently, there’s been 50% increase in Mother’s Day spending (upwards of $21.7 billion in 2013–NRF) and Memorial Day sales feature a week long of deep discounting on items like mattress sets, large appliances, furniture and high-priced outdoor living products like grills and patio sets. Add in primetime for vacation booking, and May has established itself as one of the higher spending months in the first half of the year.

May signals the “50 days to summer mark” that officially kicks off vacation booking season, when online travel retailers and online travel agents start pushing deals and savings on summer vacation packages, hotels, vacation rentals, car rental discounts and local deals and coupons for 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. This should spark additional savings for online and mobile shoppers as consumers move their booking behaviors to the wireless world. Smart shoppers will take advantage of rewards, especially cash back, where FatWallet members can add savings from more than 100 travel sites and take advantage of exclusive cash back increases of up to 8% from Priceline, Expedia and many more.

Here’s when to shop, and what 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.

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.

Survey: Vacation Spending Flat for Americans in 2015

Half of all Americans share their vacations on Facebook

US vacation travel studyBasically flat from last year’s results, an April summer travel study reports that 8 in 10 Americans take vacations and more than 60% will go on at least one this year. The annual vacation spending survey from also reports 42% will spend +$1,500 on vacations this year (down slightly from 46% in 2014), and 10% will spend +$3,000 (13% in 2014). Meanwhile, 74% of vacationers say they save money via online for travel deals, and/or use miles, points, cash back rewards and timely credit card offers to make their family trips more affordable. (see official release)

INFOGRAPHIC: Travel Study Shows Vacations Are Trendy for a great visual to share with others.


Q: How often do you go on vacation?

  • 25% said More than once a year  (32% in 2014)
  • 33% said Once a year (27% in 2014)
  • 6% said Every other year (6 in 2014)
  • 17% said Every few years (18% in 2014)
  • 19% said Never (17% in 2014)

Note:  While, 6 in 10 take at least one vacation every year, 1 in 4 go more than once a year (more than 1 in 3 for those with annual income above $75k) and 1 in 5 said they never go on vacation (nearly 2 in 5 for those with annual income below $30k).

Q: How far in advance will you book your next vacation?

  • 2% said Last Minute (2% in 2014)
  • 12% said Less than 1 Month Ahead (15% in 2014)
  • 60% said 1- 6 Months Ahead (48% in 2014)
  • 14% said More 6 Months Ahead (11% in 2014)
  • 12% said I do not book ahead, I go and take what’s available

Note:  60% book vacations at 1-6 months ahead (up 25% from 2014) and 14% book vacations at least 6 months in advance (up 30% from 2014).

Q: Which resource has the most influence for finding vacation and travel information , opportunities or advice?

  • 2% said Tourist Boards (5% in 2014)
  • 5% said Travel Forums (28% in 2014)
  • 4% said Travel Magazines (7% in 2014)
  • 50% said Family and Friends (46% in 2014)
  • 3% said Vacation Rental (FRBO, AirBnB, etc.)
  • 8% said Travel Rewards/Points (8% in 2014)
  • 28% said Other

Note:  Half of those surveyed said friends and family have the most most influence on their vacations (up 8% from 2014) and 58% for those under age 40.

Q: How much do you plan to spend on your next vacation? (Select one)

  • 58% said Less than $1500 (54% in 2014)
  • 32% said $1501-$3000 (33% in 2014)
  • 10% said More than $3000 (13% in 2014)

Note:  42% will spend more than $1500 on their next vacation, 10% will spend more than $3k.

Q: Of the following hotel amenities, which are important to you?

  • 64% said Free Breakfast Buffet (67% in 2014)
  • 69% said Free WiFi (72% in 2014)
  • 65% said Free Parking (66% in 2014)
  • 46% said Pool/Spa (49% in 2014)
  • 13% said Pet Friendly (11% in 2014)
  • 19% said Fitness Center (19% in 2014)
  • 21% said Airport Shuttle (23% in 2014)

Note:  Free WiFi #1 hotel amenity for the second straight year for 7 in 10 (8 in 10 for those under age 30), while free parking was #2, swapping spots with Free Breakfast Buffet from 2014.

Q: How will you book your next vacation?

  • 22% said Travel Website (American, United, Ramada, Holiday Inn, etc.) (44% in 2014)
  • 31% said Online Travel Agent (Priceline, Orbitz, Expedia, etc.)
  • 6% said Local Travel Agent (7% in 2014)
  • 7% said Coupon/Deal Website (14% in 2014)
  • 2% said Cash Back Shopping Website (2% in 2014)
  • 32% said Other

Note:  New question revealed almost 1/3 book vacations via online travel aggregators, and the use of coupons sites like FatWallet and Ebates that offer deals with cash back has doubled from 2014.

Q: What are you most likely to use to help save on booking your next?

  • 13% said Cash Back Rewards (13% in 2014)
  • 16% said Miles or Points (18% in 2014)
  • 39% said Special Online Offers and Deals (42% in 2014)
  • 7% said Credit Card Offers (7% in 2014)

Note:  Nearly 3 in 10 use rewards to save on booking (cash back, points or miles). 4 in 10 plan to use online deals to save on their next vacation.

Q: Which of these devices will you use to book your next vacation ?

  • 74% said Computer/Laptop (83% in 2014)
  • 7% said Tablet (4% in 2014)
  • 7% said Smartphone (5% in 2014)
  • 12% said Other

Note:  14% will use a mobile device to book their next vacation (up 56% from 2014), 21% of those under age 30 use a mobile device to book vacations, and 74% book using a laptop or computer (down 12% from 2014).

Q: Which are you most likely to purchase for use on your next vacation?

  • 12% said Luggage (12% in 2014)
  • 26% said Swimwear (28% in 2014)
  • 4% said Sports Equipment (5% in 2014)
  • 55% said Clothing, shoes and accessories (58% in 2014)
  • 28% said Health and Beauty items (30% in 2014)
  • 10% said Electronics (smartphone, earbuds, camera, etc.) (8% in 2014)

Note:  Clothing, shoes, health and beauty products and swimwear top shopping list for vacation prep.

Q: Which are you most likely to shop for on a vacation?

  • 55% said Souvenirs (65% in 2014)
  • 34% said Clothes (39% in 2014)
  • 13% said Jewelry (16% in 2014)
  • 8% said Home Furnishings or Art (10% in 2014)
  • 20% said Coupons for Local Activities (24% in 2014)
  • 8% said Duty Free (12% in 2014)

Note:  Versus 2014, vacationers buying less stuff to bring home during vacations.

Q: Which way are you most likely to share your vacation with friends and family?

  • 50% share on Facebook (70% for those under age 30)
  • 42% share vacation photos via email
  • 14% said they use Instagram to share vacations (42% for those under age 30)
  • 6% use Twitter (14% for those under age 30)
  • 5% use the Cloud
  • 5% use Youtube

*The national survey conducted online by TNS on behalf of in April 2015 was fielded among 1,000 adults ages 18 or older.

February Shoppers Fight For Winter Clearance

consumers fighting over winter clearance dealsWhat to buy in late FEB?  Winter Clothing and Outerwear

Prez Day deals melt into a two-week winter blast of clearance. These BIG winter sales can rival some of the storewide discounts seen during Cyber difference being that February store sales focus on personal investments in winter clothing and outerwear. It’s not often we see big mark downs from high end stores like PatagoniaREI or North Face. This year, we’ve sourced more than 2 dozens top stores offering 50% off or more on stuff like boots, coats, hats, gloves, thermal wear and outdoor sports gear. (PRN Release) Read more

Tech Alert: FatWallet Express cash back extension is “easy button” for savings


Just in time for prime December holiday sales, FatWallet launches new smart browser tool for Chrome, Safari and Firefox users called FatWallet Express. The browser extension (plug-in, addon) alerts online shoppers when cash back savings are available whether they’re searching or on a store’s web site (more than 1,000 retailers). Users can activate cash back without having to go back and click through the FatWallet site. (some stores require a click to activate cash back, FatWallet Express displays a notification alert with an “Activate Cash Back” button).

Top features include:

  • Save Time: Shop directly at your favorite stores and get automatic Cash Back notifications.
  • Save Money: Cash Back is now displayed in your search results, so you’ll always get the best deal.
  • Save More: Drop down menu provide additional coupons, deals and sales available from favorite stores and access to account information (history, balance and cash back status on recent purchases).




Black Friday Deals: Stacking Benjamins interviews FatWallet

logoStacking Benjamins Show, the super smart personal finance podcast officianados, features FatWallet’s Brent Shelton to talk Black Friday Deals, the good, the better and the quirky!

LINK to Listen and share!

We cover what the good savings are and how to make them better. You can find these deals on FatWallet’s Black Friday site and get holiday increased cash back too.

About Stacking Benjamins: Joe Saul-Sehy and Shannon McLay share thoughts on recent financial news reported in the media 4 days a week and tell stories about successful money management from people who have stacked a few of their own. Check out the show!

TOY Deals: Black Friday Predictions and Recap

Ready for the HOT Black Friday Toy Deals?

BF-Predictions-aboutus-TOYS(Newswire) Toy deals are always one of the top Black Friday purchases, and last year proved to be big. There were more than 5,300 advertised Black Friday toy deals (up from 4,500 in 2013) with 2,700 deals less than $20 (866 in 2013). This was due in part to an increasing number of styles, sets and kits from some of the bigger branded toys like Skylanders, LEGO, Mega Bloks, Leapfrog, Monster High, Hot Wheels and Nerf. The wide selection provided holiday shoppers with ample choices and some of the best toy discounting ever, especially on older toys and board games. Black Friday PREDICTIONS for the best deals on this year’s crop of new toys include a mega line of selections from blockbuster kids movies and video games like LEGO, Disney’s Frozen, Transformers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Skylanders. Read more

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