Will It Be a Happy New Year or Wallet War 2019?

If you are anything like me, you are probably wondering if you might be paying more for things in 2019. Experts predict that the answer is yes you will and one of the biggest reasons, although not the only one, is because increases in tariffs can cause it. With our recent trade controversies and disputes with foreign governments like China and Mexico, there has been a claim that price increases will go unnoticed, but that is starting to prove untrue as some economists and government officials had predicted. More and more now say they expect the impact on consumers to be pretty significant.

Will 2019 be a joyful new year, or will price increases cause a "wallet war" that may leave you broke? Here are 12 areas where price increases are likely.

“Things are going to become more expensive because of these added taxes,” best-selling author and personal finance expert Chris Hogan told CNBC. “This has the potential to impact a lot of areas that people need day to day to survive or to run their business.”Continue reading“Will It Be a Happy New Year or Wallet War 2019?”

Missed Black Friday Deals…Is It Too Late for Great Bargains?

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Congratulations, you just survived another Thanksgiving holiday with all of the trimmings. It probably included not only a wonderful family get-together with turkey and pies, but also enough sports to cause a major overload even for a diehard football fan. It seems every year gets even more and more like that for us, and if you were among the many this past weekend you probably also included some form of traditional shopping frenzy too! Black Friday deals, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday…holy cow does it ever let up for even a second?

So you've missed the Black Friday deals and you're worried the great bargains are gone. There's still time to get great prices on your holiday gifts!

Can You Say “Shop ‘til you drop?”

Smartphones, online shopping, and “sneak peek” discounting have changed Black Friday deals from the door-busting shopping brawl of just a day or weekend into an even more bombastic event. They’ve reshaped how retailers appeal to consumers on these “special” days which serve as the annual kick-off for the holiday shopping season. But wait, there’s more to it than that!Continue reading“Missed Black Friday Deals…Is It Too Late for Great Bargains?”

Emergency Planning – Are You Insured and Storm Ready?

We are not yet through November and some of us have already experienced a fall snowstorm. Storms of all kinds can hit with little notice no matter where you live and even if it’s not weather related, many scary problems strike and can be very dangerous, costly, and life threatening. We have seen that just in the last two weeks with the worst California wildfires ever (and now potential mudslides) that have taken dozens of lives and destroyed so much property. For these reasons and more, it pays to have an emergency plan.

Emergencies happen, but are you prepared? You need an emergency plan in case of a storm, fire, or other disaster. Here's what you need to plan in advance.

What Can You Do About Any of This?

If storms, fires, or other disasters strike, the very least you can do is be prepared with a plan and adequate emergency supplies. Even if you need to eventually evacuate, and I hope you never have to consider it, you need a plan of action.Continue reading“Emergency Planning – Are You Insured and Storm Ready?”

Retail Tricks That Make You Spend More Money, Part 2

Last time, I began reminding you of the common yet tricky retailer strategies that you will be facing now that the holiday season is actually here. Trick or treat doesn’t just apply to Halloween now that it’s in the rearview mirror for a while. The retailers like to extend that into the entire November-December shopping time frame and that translates into what is the only and/or most profitable time of the year for 99% of them. The war they wage and win is no accident. Don’t be fooled into thinking it starts on Black Friday and ends on Christmas day. Thinking that November doesn’t really matter when it comes to wheeling and dealing is wrong. November has many promotions waiting to tempt you from Veterans Day promos to “pre-Thanksgiving” and even more yet to be named.

It may be difficult to go out shopping and not spend a lot of money, but these retail tricks are making it even harder. Here's what to look out for.

We covered five ways they fight to get your money on Tuesday. Here are five more that you will be up against so you should be ready to deal with them before you shop the 2018 holiday season! Continued…
Continue reading“Retail Tricks That Make You Spend More Money, Part 2”

Retail Tricks That Make You Spend More Money, Part I

Happy Halloween! My wife and I just returned from our annual candy shopping to prepare for the trick-or-treaters who’ll be knocking on our door tomorrow. Yes of course we have waited until the last possible moment, couponed, loyalty clubbed and sale’d our way into the event as per usual! Ok, we’re a little bit obsessed with savings and that’s because we normally don’t stock up on Milky Ways and Snickers bars. Not that we don’t love our candy bars and treats. It’s just that between the two of us we’ve probably reached our quota allowed of them, and shamefully I reached my lifetime allowance of them in 1997. Thank goodness that the number of kids are growing in our neighborhood and we will be generous so hopefully no leftovers to tempt us. Suzanne won’t even let me open the bags until at least noon on October 31st!

It may be difficult to go out shopping and not spend a lot of money, but these retail tricks are making it even harder. Here's what to look out for.

But, truth be told, Halloween shopping is just the first of the many battles you will face over the next 60 days! The real shopping war is on right now and retailers are preparing to get every penny they can from you and here’s how!Continue reading“Retail Tricks That Make You Spend More Money, Part I”

5 Dangerous Terms That Make You Spend Your Hard-Earned Money!

I sometimes have said that you can blame Ralph Nader for all the mistrust people have in big business today. Those seeds were sewn a long time ago when Mr. Nader was a major factor in protecting consumer rights (you can check it out here if you’re too young to remember!). But whether you recall his consumer activism days or not, there were and still are some very good reasons to have mistrust even today. Advertisers often use misleading ads to separate you from your hard-earned cash.

Retailers use dangerous terms and misleading ads to separate you from your hard-earned money. Learn their tricks to keep your guard up and your money safe.

 

We’ve all heard and seen those retail ads on TV and radio, in newspapers and magazines, or in our e-mail inboxes that make unbelievable claims and promises. Think phrases such as “it’s totally risk-free” or “thousands already saved on this amazing offer”. You know what I am talking about here. That too-good-to-be-true ad copy that frequently grabs your attention and makes claims that fundamentally and even deliberately mislead you!Continue reading“5 Dangerous Terms That Make You Spend Your Hard-Earned Money!”

Supermarket Savings with Shop at Home Services

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A few years back, I wrote about a growing phenomenon sweeping the nation when shopping from home for food and groceries was starting to boom. It has done nothing but continue to grow and there are no signs of it going away anytime soon. In fact, you would be hard pressed now to find a major grocer who isn’t building their shop at home business. Until store pick-up and home delivery is replaced by the ability to “teleport” groceries from stores right to your kitchen table, it’s going to continue to be a popular option for all of us!

Have you tried to shop at home (SAH) for your groceries? Most retailers offer this option for home delivery or store pick-up and it can even save you money.

The Process of Shop at Home (SAH)

The ability to “shop at home” (SAH), to order your groceries online or through mobile apps, has been an incredible time saver and in many cases a cost saver, too! It’s generally the same prices you pay in the store, including all of the weekly sales and special pricing (although some stores do have different pricing). It may even be more advantageous on the SAH listings depending on which items you buy. You still use your savings/loyalty card to obtain the best deals, and you can use all applicable manufacturer’s or store coupons to maximize your savings.Continue reading“Supermarket Savings with Shop at Home Services”

Upcoming Improvements to Medicare Benefits for 2019

It’s hard to believe, but it’s that happy time again for those who have Medicare benefits and use Medicare Advantage plans when the open enrollment period begins on October 15th and ends on December 7th 2018 for 2019. You’ll get the hint I am certain when you begin seeing the massive advertising, mail, and phone calls about it starting any second, but this time around there is something to actually celebrate.

Usually the news about Medicare coverage has to do with increasing costs, but surprise, there are some improvements coming to Medicare benefits in 2019!

The good news just ahead for Medicare recipients are some potentially big savings. The over 60 million people who currently participate in the program (which has been around for over 50 years now) benefit from lower administration costs than private insurers have and that is despite the losses from fraud which it suffers from. But for 2019, things are about to get even better.

It’s rare that I can report to you that there’s such good news, but with very little fanfare and parades, this is the case thanks to the passing of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, signed into law last February. The bill covers a lot of important and even controversial spending changes as it always does, but when it comes to changes that are lowering the cost to our healthcare and affect Medicare then bravo and thank you are in order!Continue reading“Upcoming Improvements to Medicare Benefits for 2019”