The Penny Hoarder

5

The Penny HoarderThese Are the Best Cheap Moisturizers to Relieve Your Dry SkinYour Car Insurance Company is Probably Planning to Rip You Off — Unless You Do ThisH&R Block Online Review: Easy Tax Filing for All Types of FilersThis is the Best App to Play Solitaire for Real Money20 Cheap Home Decor Stores to Adorn Your Place for LessHow to Make a Side Income Running a Vending Machine BusinessThese 50 Brands Will Fix or Replace Products You Buy From ThemHow to Buy a Used Car, Step By Step6 Cheap Super Bowl Snacks to Serve With the Big Game5 Steps to Take When Budgeting for a Career BreakFebruary Class-Action Settlements Involve Godiva, Walmart and MoreStore Brand vs. Name Brand: How to Save Money on Everyday Stuff

https://www.thepennyhoarder.com/feed/ The Penny Hoarder is one of the largest personal finance websites in America, receiving millions of visitors each month looking to make and save extra money. Fri, 05 Feb 2021 17:00:24 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://www.thepennyhoarder.com/save-money/best-cheap-moisturizer/?aff_id=178&aff_sub3=MainFeed__save-money/best-cheap-moisturizer/ https://www.thepennyhoarder.com/save-money/best-cheap-moisturizer/#respond Fri, 05 Feb 2021 17:00:24 +0000

Best Cheap Moisturizers for Dry Skin, Plus Tips to Get Relief


This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

]]>

If you’re like us, you have a drawer filled with lotions and creams that are doing nothing for your dry hands and feet. It’s one of life’s mysteries.

But as much as we want some relief, we’re not interested in spending a ton on products that may or may not be worth the money.

We spoke to dermatologists to better understand what heals dry, cracked skin and identify the best cheap moisturizers. (Spoiler: You can find many of them in drugstores.)

Moisturizer, Lotion, Cream: Know the Difference

These actually aren’t interchangeable terms, regardless of how people use them. A moisturizer is a mixture of water and oil-soluble components that tackle the outermost layer of your skin. Typically, petroleum jelly, mineral oil and waxes are used in moisturizers. Lotions are more watery and have many ingredients. The higher the water content, the easier it is for bacteria to get in, thus the greater the need for preservatives such as parabens, salicylic acid and benzyl alcohol. For that reason, lotion should be used on parts of the body that aren’t very sensitive. (Never use it on your face.) Cream is simply a thick moisturizer designed for very flaky areas, such as elbows and heels.

Tips and Habits to Live By

Follow these good practices for keeping your skin moisturized.

Apply at the Correct Time

The lotion, cream or moisturizer you choose isn’t going to do any good if it’s applied onto dry feet, says James Beckman, a board-certified plastic surgeon and founder of Therapon Skin Health. Beckman suggests applying after showering but before drying to allow an even spread while your skin is still damp.

Also make sure to apply moisturizer at least 20 minutes before going outside to allow maximum penetration, he says.

Avoid Vegetable Oils

Steer clear of moisturizers that contain mineral or vegetable oils, Beckman says.

“These only coat the skin surface, and easily disappear as soon as the skin is washed,” he says.

Expensive Doesn’t Mean Better

“I always say to my patients that the difference between an inexpensive and expensive moisturizer/ lotion/cream is not necessarily the ingredients included, but the branding and the marketing behind the product,” says Vikram Rajkomar, a dermatologist with Pall Mall Medical.

The key is to buy a formulation which agrees with your skin, as everyone reacts differently to each cream.

Look for These Ingredients

Susan Bard, a New York-based board-certified dermatologist, suggests looking for humectant-based moisturizers containing ingredients that pull water into the skin, such as hyaluronic acid or glycerin, without leaving behind a greasy residue.

“Thick, emollient moisturizers tend to contain occlusive ingredients such as dimethicone, beeswax, lanolin, ect. That helps prevent moisture loss from the skin,” Bard says. “They can feel sticky and also clog pores leading to folliculitis and miliaria on certain parts of the body.”

But humectants aren’t all you need, says Fayne Frey, a dermatologist and founder of FryFace. Moisturizers that are formulated with humectants and occlusives are preferable, Frey says. Effective occlusives include petrolatum, mineral oil and silicone-based derivatives like simethicone. Effective humectants include glycerin, hyaluronic acid and propylene glycol, she says.

 O’Keeffe’s Working Hands is photographed in a studio against a pink background.

Best Cheap Moisturizers: Our Experts’ Favorites

You can find many of these at drugstores.

Beckman’s must-have moisturizers for winter use are Theraderm Extreme Dry Skin Therapy ($16.95 at Theraderm.net) and Theraderm Body Restoration Creme ($16.95 at Theraderm.net). “They’re designed to restore function as well as feel, replenishing deficient skin oils with natural lanolin, a true skin oil, from Sheep’s wool,” Beckman says.

Bard has similar favorites. For dry hands, she likes Neutrogena Norwegian formula hand cream ($3.99 at Target), O’Keeffe’s Working Hands ($6.99 at Bed Bath & Beyond) and Aveeno Eczema Therapy Itch Relief Balm ($16.56 at VitaCost). 

Petroleum jelly — aka Vaseline — is the gold standard occlusive, preventing 98 percent of water loss from the skin into the environment, Frey says. Many users find it to be too greasy. “But it works,” she says.

Relieve Dry Skin with These Habits

According to a report from Harvard Medical School that was updated in 2019, there are some free ways to deal with dry, winter skin. First, turn down your thermostat, as hot air tends to be drier than cool. Then, pop on your humidifier.

And while you may think that you’re helping your skin by taking the hottest shower possible, you should actually be taking a warm shower. Hot water removes the fatty substances in your skin that retain water. When you’re in the shower or bath, close the door, as this will get the humidity factor really going, but limit the time in the shower to 5 or 10 minutes. Blot your skin with a towel instead of rubbing it dry, and apply moisturizer immediately following the shower.

Wear loose clothing — binding clothing may rub and dry out your skin — and bundle up to protect from the cold, windy air outside. While we hate this advice, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, you really should stay away from the fireplace, as this can dry your skin.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

]]>
https://www.thepennyhoarder.com/save-money/best-cheap-moisturizer/feed/ 0 https://www.thepennyhoarder.com/insurance/car-insurance-ripoff/?aff_id=178&aff_sub3=MainFeed__insurance/car-insurance-ripoff/ https://www.thepennyhoarder.com/insurance/car-insurance-ripoff/#respond Fri, 05 Feb 2021 15:04:03 +0000

Floridians, Your Car Insurance Plans to Rip You Off Unless You Do This


This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.]]>

Some of the links in this post are from our sponsors. We provide you with accurate, reliable information. Learn more about how we make money and select our advertising partners.

Watch out for your wallet! Do you live in one of the five U.S. states where car insurance rates are going up this year?

According to industry reports, rates are going up this year in Florida, Indiana, Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island. For example, New York rates are expected to rise by 1.2%, and Indiana’s by 1.1%. Annoying, isn’t it? Here you are, probably driving less than ever, and they want to raise your car insurance premiums.

They’re ripping you off. The good news? There’s something you can easily do about it.

A website called Insure.com makes it super easy to compare car insurance prices and make sure you’re not getting ripped off. All you have to do is enter your ZIP code and your age, and it’ll show you your options.

Are you driving less than 50 miles a day? Do you have zero DUIs on your record? You could qualify for discounts.

Using Insure.com, people save an average of $540 a year.

Yup. That could be $500 back in your pocket just for taking a few minutes to look at your options.

Mike Brassfield ([email protected]) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. He lives in one of these five states, and he’s mad about this.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

]]>
https://www.thepennyhoarder.com/insurance/car-insurance-ripoff/feed/ 0 https://www.thepennyhoarder.com/taxes/hr-block-online-review/?aff_id=178&aff_sub3=MainFeed__taxes/hr-block-online-review/ https://www.thepennyhoarder.com/taxes/hr-block-online-review/#respond Fri, 05 Feb 2021 15:00:09 +0000

H&R Block Online: How It Stacks Up With Other Filing Services


This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.]]>

Tax season: It’s upon us. And just as the old idiom says, it’s about as pleasant to think about as death.

Which is why there’s a whole industry built around helping you file your tax return. Once you decide you don’t want to visit a tax office, and you narrow down your search to DIY online filing platforms, you’ve still got a lot of tax software options to choose from.

Here, we’ll walk you through what you need to know about H&R Block Tax Pro Go and the company’s free filing options.

H&R Block Review: How Does H&R Block Online Tax Filing Work?

H&R Block is a full-service tax prep company, one of the best and most well-known long before taxes went digital. Along with its all-digital options, it’s also got brick-and-mortar branches where you can walk in and consult with a live person.

If your tax situation is fairly straightforward, you can probably file without leaving the comfort of your home.

H&R Block offers four tiers of products to file your tax returns: a low-cost option that’s totally DIY, pricier online filing with on-demand help from a tax professional, plus a self-employment option.

Here are the tiers for H&R Block’s online tax filing products. Prices are current as of January 2021 and subject to change.

Weighing your options for filing taxes? We’ve got you covered with an overview of all the best tax software

Free Online

H&R Block’s most basic online version covers earners whose wages come entirely from W-2 income, and also includes deductions and credits for kids and student loan costs.

Cost: It’s free to file both your state and federal tax returns if you’re eligible. You can purchase the basic software for $19.95 to store your taxes on your own computer.

Deluxe Online

The Deluxe online service includes everything you get in the free version, as well as capability to account for additional deductions for things like home ownership expenses, charitable donations and Health Savings Accounts (HSAs).

Cost: H&R Block Deluxe Online is $29.99, and you’ll pay an additional $36.99 for state returns. You can purchase the Deluxe+State software for $44.95.

Premium Online

Premium Online includes everything from the first two tiers, as well as tools to help you if you’re a freelancer, independent contractor and have income from investments or real estate (anyone who files a Schedule C form). If your sole or primary source of income is self-employment, the next tier might be better suited to your needs.

Cost: H&R Block Premium Online costs $49.99, plus $36.99 per state return. You can download the Premium software for $64.95.

Self-Employed Online

If you’re a small business owner or a full-time freelancer with self-employment income, H&R Block’s Self-Employed Online edition has the widest range of features to meet your needs. For instance, an interview-style process walks you through industry-specific expenses and deductions you might miss on your own, and you’ll have access to tools covering asset depreciation.

Cost: H&R Block’s Online Self-Employed program costs $84.99, plus $36.99 per state filed. You can download the Premium & Business software for $79.95.

Online Assist

H&R Block offers upgraded versions of its online programs where you gain access to on-demand help from a CPA or other tax expert. These options start at $39.99 to upgrade the free version, up to $144.99 for the self-employed version.

File with a Tax Pro

H&R Block is unique among popular online filing services in that you can also have the company do your taxes for you, with prices starting at $69 and scaling with the complexity of your tax situation. Your options are:

  • Upload your documents online.
  • Drop off your documents at a tax office.
  • Meet one-on-one with a tax pro in the office.

Features

No matter which online product you choose, you gain access to several standard services H&R Block offers filers. Higher tiers include premium features.

Easy Tax Document Import

H&R Block technology lets you populate your tax information simply by snapping a picture of your documents. It also works to make importing your information as easy as possible whenever possible — for example, Uber drivers can add their 1099 information directly from their Uber account.

Audit Support

If you’re audited after filing your taxes with H&R Block, you’ll be covered by its Peace of Mind Extended Service Plan.

That means you’ll be able to bring in any IRS notification to get clarity on what it means. If it’s bad news, you’ll have representation by an H&R Block enrolled agent, a value of up to approximately $1,000. (This is not, however, a replacement for hiring legal advice.)

Plus, if there’s an error in your tax return, H&R Block will reimburse you for up to $6,000 in additional taxes owed due to its mistake.

Transparency

You’ll know exactly how much you owe in taxes before you start filing, and you’ll get real-time insight into your expected refund or tax liability as you go through each tax form.

Free Mid-Year Tax Check-In

H&R Block customers get a free mid-year tax check-in, which will remind you to review (and potentially adjust) your W-4 withholdings, as well as an optional consultation with an expert just to make sure everything’s ship shape.

Mobile Apps for Apple and Android

If you want to file from the palm of your hand, H&R Block has you covered with the highly rated My Block app for and .

Refund Advance

H&R Block offers an line of credit to put up to $1,000 of your tax refund in your pocket well before you file.

If you’re eligible, the funds will be loaded onto a prepaid Emerald Card, which works like a Mastercard debit card — but with a $45 annual fee and 36% interest rate. You have to pay the balance down by Feb. 15 each year to keep your account in good standing.

Refund Transfer

You can use your tax refund to pay for H&R Block tax filing services, so you never see an out-of-pocket cost for your tax preparation. You’ll pay a $39 additional fee for this option.

Business Returns

If you’re self-employed or own a small business, you can work with an H&R Block adviser in person or online for small business tax prep and filing services. You’ll be paired with an expert who knows the details of your state and local taxes, and receive year-round support to create a tax plan based on your business finances.

Fees

To prepare and file your tax returns through H&R Block, you’ll pay a fee for the filing program, plus additional fees for add-on services. In total, H&R Block fees include:

  • Product fee: Free to $84.99, depending on tier.
  • State filing fees: $0 extra for free filing, $36.99 per state for paid services.
  • Online Assist: Additional $39.99 to $144.99, depending on tier.
  • Have a pro file for you: Instead of above fees, starting at $69.

If you owe taxes, you can pay through H&R Block’s payment provider via credit card or debit card for a 2.49% transaction fee. (You always have the option to pay directly to the IRS via bank transfer or by check or money order for no additional fee.)

H&R Block: Pros and Cons

Every tax filing service has its drawbacks and benefits. Here’s what stands out about H&R Block.

Pros

  • Easy to use: Through step-by-step guidance and a series of questions, the tax prep program helps you find the right service, filing status and forms for your tax situation.
  • Transparency: H&R Block’s commitment to transparency means you get straightforward pricing information ahead of time. With other products, you often don’t get the full picture of what you’ll be paying until you’re most of the way through the filing process.
  • Good value: H&R Block strikes a good balance of affordability and versatility, offering a wider variety of filing options than TaxAct while still feeling less overwhelming than TurboTax.
  • Expert assistance: If you really need to talk to someone in person, H&R Block is one of few online tax services that also has offices around the country.

Cons

  • No free advance: H&R Block offers a tax refund advance that can help you access your money early, but it comes with an annual fee and a steep interest rate.

Who Is H&R Block Best For?

H&R Block is an easy online option that offers tons of support and versatility for a variety of tax situations without forcing you to sift through overwhelming options on your own. It’s an attractive option for filers who want to maximize their tax refunds (or minimize tax liabilities) but don’t have a tax situation complicated enough to justify pricy personalized CPA service.

It might be especially attractive to Uber drivers, because you can auto-import your information from your Uber account at the Self-Employed tier.

Remember, you can always file your taxes for free: If you earned $72,000 or less for 2020, you’re eligible to file federal tax returns for free through the IRS Free File portal. The IRS also offers forms for free for all filers, regardless of filing status or income level.

Still comparison shopping? Check out our reviews of TurboTax and TaxAct before you make a decision.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

]]>
https://www.thepennyhoarder.com/taxes/hr-block-online-review/feed/ 0 https://www.thepennyhoarder.com/make-money/quick-money/solitaire-cube-real-money/?aff_id=178&aff_sub3=MainFeed__make-money/quick-money/solitaire-cube-real-money/ https://www.thepennyhoarder.com/make-money/quick-money/solitaire-cube-real-money/#respond Thu, 04 Feb 2021 19:44:28 +0000

This Free App Pays up to $755/Win for Playing Solitaire on Your Phone


This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.]]>

Some of the links in this post are from our sponsors. We provide you with accurate, reliable information. Learn more about how we make money and select our advertising partners.

Chances are, you’ve played your fair share of Solitaire. And why wouldn’t you? It’s a great time-killer, it’s fun and it’s a nice little mental challenge. The only thing that could make it better? Winning money for it.

The Solitaire Cube app lets you do just that. This free app lets you play the classic card game you already know and love, plus it matches you with players in your skill level, so you can go head-to-head in tournaments where you can win real money. Plus, the games are quick — just two to five minutes each, and you can play them anywhere.

How to Win Real Money Just for Playing Solitaire on Your Phone

You might be thinking this sounds too good to be true. But here’s the thing: It’s really not. One Solitaire Cube player, Amanda, even won about $6,000 and was able to use her winnings to recarpet her house.

“When I actually started winning money and earning prizes, I was blown away,” she says.

Interested? Here’s how it works: Download the free Solitaire Cube app and create an account. Then you can play some free practice matches to get the hang of things. If you don’t already know how to play, it’s easy to learn. Then, when you’re ready, Solitaire Cube will match you with players at your same skill level. Beginners play beginners; experts play other experts. Yep, you won’t get outplayed by some Solitaire grandmaster — you’ll both have the same deck, so winning is all about skill.

The app itself is free to download, but if you want to play for money, you’ll need to deposit some money first. You can deposit as little as $2 to start, using PayPal, credit card or Apple Pay. It’s super easy. Then you can play head-to-head, in large pools and live tournaments — some of these tournaments have paid out prizes as big as $350,000. When it’s time to cash out, there’s no waiting period, like with some other apps. You can get your money almost instantly.

Solitaire Cube has an App Store rating of 4.6 out of 5 from more than 70,000 users’ rankings.

As for Skillz, the platform that hosts the game, it operates hundreds of games and has paid out more than $2 billion in prizes so far. The company has invested years into its player-matching technology, ensuring you only compete with players of the same skill level.

Win or lose, you always receive “ticketz” that you can redeem in Skillz’ Ticketz store for cash or prizes, like Amazon gift cards, a 65-inch TV — even a BMW or a Porsche. The higher stakes you play for, the more ticketz you receive.

For Solitaire players, here’s the most important part: The game is well designed, a classic Solitaire experience. To get started, just download the free app and start playing your first game immediately.

Mike Brassfield ([email protected]) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. He loves him some Solitaire.

Unfortunately, you can’t play for money in the following states: Arkansas, Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Montana, South Carolina, South Dakota or Tennessee. However, in those states, you can still play for fun with the game’s virtual currency.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

]]>
https://www.thepennyhoarder.com/make-money/quick-money/solitaire-cube-real-money/feed/ 0 https://www.thepennyhoarder.com/save-money/cheap-home-decor-stores/?aff_id=178&aff_sub3=MainFeed__save-money/cheap-home-decor-stores/ https://www.thepennyhoarder.com/save-money/cheap-home-decor-stores/#respond Thu, 04 Feb 2021 17:00:53 +0000

https://www.thepennyhoarder.com/?p=127706
This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.]]>

Some moving costs — like truck rentals, security deposits or down payments — are obvious.

The expense of decorating your new place can come as an afterthought.

If you’ve already drained your bank account just to get the keys to your new address, don’t go into debt adorning your home to make it feel less empty or bland.

Sure, you’ve probably already thought of big-box retailers like Walmart, Target and Bed Bath & Beyond, as well as the online behemoth Amazon. But there are lots more options for finding deals on home decor.

Here are 20 cheap home decor stores and websites to help you save money as you outfit your new spot.

Top 20 Cheap Home Decor Stores

1. At Home

At Home is a Texas-based chain that operates more than 200 stores in 40 states. According to its website, the large, warehouse-like stores “take unnecessary frills out [to] pass all of those savings on to [the customer].” Sign up for At Home Insider Perks for special discounts and information on new products and markdowns.

Pro Tip

Check with each store about any changes due to the coronavirus, such as curbside pickup, contactless delivery or slower shipping.

2. Big Lots

Big Lots is a chain that sells a variety of merchandise, including furniture and home decor. The company operates over 1,400 stores in 47 states. Budget-conscious shoppers can enjoy the store’s everyday low prices and free shipping for online orders of $59 or more. The BIG Rewards membership program offers exclusive coupons and savings.

3. CB2

CB2 is Crate and Barrel’s less expensive offshoot brand. Shop the “sales and offers” section of the website for discounted prices and get free shipping on over 1,000 items. CB2 also has 20 locations in major cities including Chicago, New York, Los Angeles and Miami — where you can attend DIY classes and see product demos.

4. Cost Plus World Market

Cost Plus World Market sells merchandise from around the globe at affordable prices. The company operates nearly 250 stores nationwide or you can shop online. Sign up for the World Market Rewards program to earn additional discounts.

5. Dormify

Dormify has all you need to outfit your college dorm or first apartment. Get free shipping on orders over $100. Students can join the retailer’s ambassador program and earn rewards for referring friends.

6. H&M Home

H&M is not just a retailer for jeans and T-shirts. You can find H&M Home in over 350 select H&M locations — plus there are 16 standalone stores. H&M Home sells a variety of affordable products for your bedroom, living room, bathroom and more. The company’s membership program offers savings and perks for those who sign up.

7. Habitat for Humanity ReStore

A woman refurbishes an old chair.

Habitat for Humanity ReStore is a secondhand store that sells home improvement materials, furniture and appliances. The stock at each of the 900-plus retail locations changes regularly as stores rely on donations from the community. In addition to scoring cheap deals at Habitat ReStore, you’ll also be supporting the nonprofit’s efforts of building homes for those in need. Check other local thrift stores if you don’t have a Habitat ReStore near you.

8. Hayneedle

Hayneedle is an online retailer specializing in home decor and furniture — with a large selection of products to spruce up your outdoor area. Enjoy free shipping on all orders.

9. The Home Depot

Power tools or gardening supplies might come to mind when you think of The Home Depot, but this home improvement giant also has a nice selection of home decor options. Shop for furniture, wall decor, lighting, rugs and more. The Home Depot has over 2,200 locations and offers price matching, special sales and in-store DIY workshops.

10. HomeGoods

HomeGoods, a sister store to TJ Maxx and Marshalls, stocks its stores with products like bedding, housewares, rugs, furniture and decor — all for low prices. This retail chain doesn’t sell merchandise online but there are more than 800 stores nationwide.

11. Ikea

The Scandinavian chain Ikea is well-known for its ready-to-assemble furniture, modern housewares and Swedish meatballs — all at affordable prices. There are over 375 Ikea warehouse stores across the world. Join the Ikea Family membership club for discounts and rewards.

12. Kmart

Kmart may be closing stores across the country but if you have a location near you, it’s a good option for low-priced merchandise. Find wall decor, lighting, window treatments and more.

13. Kohl’s

Kohl’s is a department store that sells various home decor products from brands like Food Network, Sonoma and Scott Living. Shop everyday deals, enroll in the company’s rewards program and earn Kohl’s Cash to help you save on future purchases. If you’re not shopping in person at one of the 1,000-plus stores, you can get free shipping on online purchases of $75 or more.

14. Lowe’s

Lowe’s is another home improvement store that sells a selection of home decor products. You can find furniture, wallpaper, window treatments, home accents and more, online or in store. Use these tips to save money at Lowe’s.

15. Michaels

You may think of Michaels as just an arts and crafts store, but you can also buy home decor items that don’t require any DIY skills. Michaels has a great selection of seasonal decor, frames, wall art, floral arrangements and more at its 1,250 locations and online. Become a Michaels Rewards member to get deals and information about upcoming sales promotions.

16. Nordstrom Rack

At Nordstrom Rack, you can find discounts from 30% to 70% off original prices. Although the store is mostly known for its clothing and accessories, it also sells a variety of affordable home decor. There are about 350 locations in the United States and Canada.

17. Overstock

A man shops online.

Overstock is a popular online retailer for discounted home decor and furniture. Its loyalty program, Club O, costs $19.95 a year and comes with free returns, 5% off every purchase, price match guarantee and more.

18. Tuesday Morning

Tuesday Morning is a discount retailer that operates in more than 450 locations across the country. The no-frills stores buy name-brand closeouts to pass along the savings to customers. Tuesday Morning Perks members get special offers.

19. Uncommon Goods

Uncommon Goods sells unique, hand-crafted products from around the world. Prices vary, but shop sale items or join the Uncommon Perks program for $19.90 a year to enjoy benefits like free shipping.

20. Wayfair

Wayfair’s claim to fame is that it’s got just what you need when it comes to decking out your home. The online retailer regularly promotes sales and offers free two-day shipping on thousands of items over $35.

Nicole Dow is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

]]>
https://www.thepennyhoarder.com/save-money/cheap-home-decor-stores/feed/ 0 https://www.thepennyhoarder.com/make-money/side-gigs/vending-machine-business/?aff_id=178&aff_sub3=MainFeed__make-money/side-gigs/vending-machine-business/ https://www.thepennyhoarder.com/make-money/side-gigs/vending-machine-business/#respond Thu, 04 Feb 2021 15:00:58 +0000

Gumballs or Sodas, Earn Money on the Side With a Vending Machine Business


This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.]]>

As we continue to make our way through COVID-19, many people are still looking for ways to get items they need without physical contact with another person.

Vending machines serve that purpose — and make money for the machine’s owner.

Owning and operating vending machines is big business, providing passive income without any specialized skills. It’s also called automatic merchandising.

Basically, all you need to get started is some startup money to buy a machine, a good location and the right products.

The Vending Machine Business During COVID-19

Revenue for the vending machine industry was $24.2 billion in 2019, up 3% from the year before.

That data came from the Automatic Merchandiser’s Annual State of the Industry Survey — before the full impact of COVID-19 hit.

There were 2,175,756 vending machines in service in 2019 in a variety of locations including:

  • Manufacturing areas
  • Offices
  • Retail spaces
  • Hotels/motels
  • Schools
  • Hospitals and nursing homes
  • Universities/colleges
  • Correctional facilities
  • Military bases
  • Restaurants, bars and clubs

Cold beverages were the top-selling product category. A majority of vending machines involve food and beverage products including sodas, coffee, snacks and candy.

There are also machines for bulk vending like gumballs, stickers, toys, novelties and more. During COVID-19, machines popped up selling masks and hand sanitizer.

At places like airports, vending machines often sell tech accessories and travel essentials like neck pillows, blankets and eye masks. Laundry rooms in residential buildings often have machines with detergent and fabric softener.

With many offices, businesses and other public spaces closed or restricted due to the coronavirus pandemic, the vending industry is certainly taking a hit.

“We’re in a tough, tough industry right now with COVID-19. A lot of stores don’t want the machines there, they don’t want the kids congregating, they don’t want people touching them,” said Scott Ausmus, director of manufacturing for National Entertainment Network, Inc. and president of the National Bulk Vendors Association.

He grew up in the vending business. The machines he sells and operates are the novelty kind, offering things like stuffed animals, toys and gumballs. Many are in restaurants and entertainment venues like bowling centers.

Many factors make owning a vending machine an attractive business venture.

The startup costs are relatively low, sometimes around $2,000. The work is flexible and often doesn’t require much day-to-day involvement. The risk is comparatively low and there is growth potential.

“There’s a higher profit in the gumball then there is anything else,” Ausmus said. “The cost of goods is low on the gumballs and everybody likes gum, so everybody still purchases a gumball and so that is a winner for a lot of people.”

Starting a Vending Machine Business

While the startup costs are low and the income is often passive, owning vending machines is not without risk. You must be able to understand your own financial situation and how much you can afford to invest.

There is the cost of the machine, the cost of inventory, personnel to keep it stocked, maintenance and more.

The more perishable the product and the busier the area, the more of your time the machine will take.

“If (your machine location has) a big break room and a lot of employees, you would have to be there once a day to fill your machines up because that’s how busy they are,” Ausmus said. Other machines like toys and candy don’t require as much restocking.

One of the first steps in starting a vending machine business is finding your niche and deciding what to sell. That takes a bit of research and knowing who your customer is.

“You gotta buy the right product. If you buy the wrong product, it won’t move and you won’t make any money and you certainly don’t want to throw [product] away,” Ausmus said. “You’ve got to have the variety for people and find out which ones they want and that’s what you restock with, what sells.”

Vending machine businesses are scalable, meaning it’s possible to start small and expand. You don’t have to wait for payments because customers pay when they purchase an item.

Location, Location, Location

To put yourself in the best position to be profitable means finding the right location.

Places with lots of foot traffic are good. Before COVID-19, that meant schools and universities, malls, office parks, etc.

Think about where people need to wait. While waiting, they may get hungry or thirsty. Ausmus’ novelty machines need kids around.

“One of the hardest things to do is to locate a location,” he said.

Location can be about trial and error.

“It’s really not a bad risk to put it in a location and find out that it’s not making enough money. … You can remove it and move it to the next one until you find that right location,” Ausmus said.

When looking for locations, be prepared to approach the owner or landlord with a business plan for the machine.

Also be prepared to:

  • Pay a percentage of sales or other fee for having your machine in their location.
  • Pay for the electricity the machine uses.
  • Ensure the security of the machine. There is money inside a machine as well as inventory. Theft and vandalism are always possible.
  • Research state and local laws and regulations.
  • Pay sales tax on the revenue the machine generates.

Key Purchase: Your Vending Machine

Then you will need an actual vending machine. There are several types, and prices vary depending on what is in the machine, whether it needs refrigeration or heating, and the interactivity.

Buying directly from a manufacturer or supplier is one option, as is purchasing on a secondary market. Some companies also rent machines. Ausmus cautioned to make sure there are spare parts and support available for what you buy.

Machines range from about $1,500 for a used or refurbished machine to several thousands for a new, high-end machine with many technical features.

Some machines have:

  • Remote monitoring software: This helps keep track of how the machine is working and notifies the operator if something is wrong.
  • Low stock alerts: Notify the operator when items needs replacing.
  • Vending management systems (VMS): Tracks sales and other data to help owners make better business decisions.

Running a Vending Machine Business

While owning vending machines does not require any special skills, it is a business.

You will need inventory and someone to keep the machine stocked and maintained. This may require a van or truck.

Perishables need to be stocked more often than other items. Learning some basic maintenance skills could keep you from having to hire someone if there is a problem with the machine.

Different types of machines have different capabilities. Some take only cash while others will process credit or debit cards. Some models have touch screens or voice capabilities.

“Make sure that you have your phone number on the machine, and that the store location knows your phone number,” said Ausmus. “If somebody didn’t get what they wanted, make sure the store can give them a refund and you pay the refund back to that store. Then get out there as soon as you can to fix the machine so that you can continue to make money.”

Automatic merchandising isn’t for everyone, but owning and operating a vending machine can be a good business. Being able to retrieve the money you make and restock your machines easily is the key.

“Then you only work probably three days a month, basically on the whole gig,” said Ausmus. “Three four days a month can make somebody a good little extra income.”

Tiffani Sherman is a Florida-based freelance reporter with more than 25 years of experience writing about finance, health, travel and other topics.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

]]>
https://www.thepennyhoarder.com/make-money/side-gigs/vending-machine-business/feed/ 0 https://www.thepennyhoarder.com/save-money/companies-with-lifetime-warranties/?aff_id=178&aff_sub3=MainFeed__save-money/companies-with-lifetime-warranties/ https://www.thepennyhoarder.com/save-money/companies-with-lifetime-warranties/#respond Wed, 03 Feb 2021 17:00:37 +0000

These 50 Brands Will Fix or Replace Products You Buy From Them


This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.]]>

We’re always looking for ways to save money, and one surefire way to do that is to buy products that last.

You can also buy products from companies that will repair or replace them if they break.

You may spend a bit more up front, but quality items — and ones with awesome lifetime warranties — can end up saving you money in the long run.

From backpacks to knives, here’s a list of 18 brands that offer lifetime warranties with no strings attached — plus 31 that cover manufacturer’s defects forever.

18 Companies With Lifetime Warranties

Yes, even for normal wear and tear.

1. Cutco

Knife-maker Cutco was founded in Olean, New York, in 1949. It offers a “forever guarantee” that extends to knives given as gifts or hand-me-downs.

“Cutco knives have been handed down from mothers to daughters, grandfathers to grandsons and between friends,” according to the company’s website.

“If at any time you are not satisfied with the performance of your Cutco product, we’ll make it right.”

A photograph shows a backpack and some notebooks.

2. Jansport

Parents sending their kids off to school have long recognized backpack-maker Jansport for its top-notch warranty. This company, founded in 1967, guarantees nearly all of its backpacks, messenger bags, fanny packs and hiking bags.

“If your pack ever breaks down, simply return it to our warranty center,” Jansport says on its website. “We’ll fix it or if we can’t, we’ll replace it.”

The warranty covers defects such as ripped seams, defective zippers or broken buckles. Damage due to normal wear and tear, such as fading or scuffing, is not covered.

3. Manduka

This California-based company guarantees many of its yoga mats for life, even if the product wears out from regular use.

A Manduka PRO yoga mat will cost you $120 to $146, but the price tag may well be worth it if you practice regularly and your mat wears out.

4. Feetures

Feetures is a family owned sock-maker in North Carolina. This company makes high-performance socks for runners and other athletes, and it’ll offer you a replacement pair or refund at any time.

5. Eddie Bauer

This outdoor gear and clothing maker stands behind its products so much that it offers an unconditional lifetime guarantee.

“Our products are built to last. If Your Eddie Bauer product fails to perform as designed, bring it back, and we will replace it,” the company states on its website.

A photograph shows wrenches that have a lifetime warranty

6. Craftsman

Talk to someone who uses tools on a regular basis and you’ve probably heard about Craftsman’s warranty.

Many of the company’s tools, including wrenches, hand tools, gardening and pruning tools, are eligible for replacement, free of charge, over the lifetime of the product.

Just return the product that has failed to perform “for any reason” to a retail partner, no proof of purchase required, according to the company’s website. Other products must be under warranty to be repaired or replaced. This page provides a full breakdown of how Craftsman handles repairs and replacements.

7. Osprey

Osprey’s “All Mighty Guarantee” ensures that if you buy one of the company’s bags or backpacks, it’s guaranteed for life.

The brand’s motto: Any reason, any product, any era.

“Osprey will repair any damage or defect for any reason free of charge — whether it was purchased in 1974 or yesterday,” Osprey’s website says.

“If we are unable to perform a functional repair on your pack, we will happily replace it.”

8. Vermont Teddy Bear

If you buy a stuffed bear from Vermont Teddy Bear, it’s backed by the company’s lifetime guarantee.

VTB has some fun with it too, and encourages you to send your bear to its “Bear Hospital.”

“Every once in a while, a tragedy will strike — a dog attack, a chance meeting with a lawn mower,” the company says. “We are talkin’ FREE, full coverage health care for your Bear’s entire lifetime.”

9. Duluth Trading Company

Duluth Trading Company, which makes clothing, outerwear, footwear and other items, offers a “No Bull Guarantee” on its products.

The company has a one-year return policy, and after one year, it will “consider returns for items that are defective or don’t perform as designed.”

A red umbrella sits on the ground as it rains.

10. Davek

Invest in a sturdy Davek umbrella (prices range from $49 to $350) and it’s backed by the company’s unconditional lifetime guarantee.

“We want this to be the last umbrella you will ever need,” the company’s website states.

Owners must register their umbrellas to be eligible for the lifetime warranty.

11. Zippo

Zippo makes lighters, hand warmers and knives. Its warranty motto on its windproof lighter: “It works or we fix it free.”

“We don’t make that promise lightly,” Zippo says.

“We know that behind every Zippo Windproof Lighter sent for repair is an owner depending on our promise to get it back in working order. Whether a windproof lighter is five years, 25 years or 50 years old, it will serve as a dependable source of flame for years to come. We guarantee it.”

12. Leupold

Leupold is based in Beaverton, Oregon, and makes binoculars, scopes and rangefinders used by golfers, hunters, security personnel and police.

The company will replace its riflescopes, binoculars and spotting scopes — whether you’re the original owner or not — forever.

“You don’t need proof of ownership or a warranty card, and there’s no time limit,” the company says.

“We do this because we believe in superior quality and craftsmanship, and we’re confident your Leupold won’t let you down.”

13. Red Oxx

Red Oxx travel bags are covered by the company’s “No Bull” lifetime warranty, which means it will repair or replace its products, no questions asked.

This unconditional lifetime warranty is completely transferrable and applies to any product made by Red Oxx at any time in history. The warranty also extends to bags you buy used.

14. Darn Tough Socks

Vermont sock-maker Darn Tough Socks offers a 100%, unconditional lifetime guarantee on its socks, which are, apparently, pretty darn tough.

“If our socks are not the most comfortable, durable and best fitting socks you have ever owned, return them for another pair,” the company’s website states.

It also says its warranty has no strings and no conditions.

15. L.L. Bean

If you’ve purchased something from L.L. Bean in the last century, you’ve probably heard of its legendary lifetime warranty. The Maine-based company makes clothing, shoes, outdoor gear, backpacks and other items.

You can send back an item purchased from L.L. Bean for any reason for up to one year from the time of purchase. After a year, the company will “consider any items for return that are defective due to materials or craftsmanship,” its website states.

A person uses a lighter.

16. XIKAR

XIKAR, which makes cigar accessories, offers a lifetime warranty on all products. Simply drop your lighter or cigar cutter in the mail, and the company will repair or replace it for free.

Note that the company might send you a “refurbished equivalent, depending on the age and condition of the return.”

17. Orvis

This outdoor gear and apparel company offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee, which means it’ll return your money or replace an item for any reason, at any time.

18. Away

Away, a company that makes suitcases with high-capacity batteries for charging cell phones and other devices, offers a lifetime limited warranty for the non-electronic components of its luggage. If your bag’s shell, wheels, handles or zippers stop working, the company will fix them or replace the bag for free.

You must be the bag’s original owner and have used it for travel by “air, car, train, boat and foot” for damage to be covered. To qualify, the problem must “impair the functionality of the product.”

The company won’t hang you out to dry if the battery dies, either. Away guarantees the electronic components inside its suitcases for two years.

32 Brands With Warranties for Manufacturer’s Defects

They might not cover regular wear and tear, but these companies will fix or replace unsatisfactory items.

19. Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC)

Vancouver-based MEC has sold gear for snowsports, climbing, hiking, running, camping and other outdoor activities since 1971.

The company offers a “Rocksolid Guarantee” on all of its products and the advice its employees give you.

“If the quality of an item hasn’t met your expectations, you can bring it back,” according to the company’s website.

“We also guarantee the product selection advice we give. If something you purchased based on this advice turns out to be unsuitable, you can bring it back for an exchange, refund or credit.”

The company says it charges a “reasonable fee” to repair products damaged by normal wear and tear.

20. Columbia

On outerwear and equipment — think coats and backpacks — outdoor gear-maker Columbia offers a limited lifetime warranty.

Though the company won’t replace an item for normal wear and tear, Columbia will replace items with manufacturer defects.

If the zipper breaks, for example, you can send your jacket in to have it inspected. If the folks in the warranty department determine the defect is covered by the warranty, they’ll fix it and send it back, or send you a credit for the value of the item so you can buy a new one.

The company offers a one-year warranty on shoes and sportswear.

A person zips up a Patagonia jacket.

21. Patagonia

Outdoor gear-maker Patagonia calls its lifetime warranty an “Ironclad Guarantee.” If you buy Patagonia apparel and gear for climbing, skiing, snowboarding, surfing, fly fishing or trail running, and it doesn’t perform as expected, the company will replace it.

“We guarantee everything we make,” according to the company’s website. “If you are not satisfied with one of our products at the time you receive it, or if one of our products does not perform to your satisfaction, return it to the store you bought it from or to Patagonia for a repair, replacement or refund.”

Patagonia says it will repair damage due to normal wear and tear “at a reasonable charge.”

22. REI

Though REI got rid of its famous no-questions-asked lifetime return policy in 2013, the company will still let you return items that have manufacturing defects at any time as part of its limited lifetime warranty.

“If your item has a manufacturing defect in its materials or workmanship, you can return it at any time,” according to the REI website.

REI will also let you return an item for any reason for up to one year after you bought it.

23. Nordstrom

The department store Nordstrom has a famously generous return policy. Technically, it doesn’t actually have a return policy — but what the company means is that it’ll take back or exchange nearly any item, for any reason, at any time.

“We stand behind our goods and services and want customers to be satisfied with them,” explains the company’s website.

“We’ll always do our best to take care of customers — our philosophy is to deal with them fairly and reasonably; we hope they will be fair and reasonable with us as well.” There’s no time limit for returns or exchanges, so use your best judgment.

24. Vortex Optics

Vortex Optics makes an array of products, including binoculars, gun scopes, tripods and other gear.

The company has a “VIP warranty,” which says that it will repair or replace any Vortex product if it becomes damaged or defective. The warranty doesn’t cover theft, loss, deliberate damage or cosmetic damage.

The warranty is fully transferable and you don’t need to hang on to your receipt.

“You see, it doesn’t matter how it happened, whose fault it was, or where you purchased it. You can count on the VIP Warranty for all Vortex Optics riflescopes, prism scopes, red dots, rangefinders, binoculars, spotting scopes, tripods and monoculars,” according to the company’s website.

25. Adidas

Sportswear company Adidas will replace or repair any returned item that has a manufacturer defect or a “deviation from factory specifications.”

The company’s warranty does not cover normal wear and tear, however.

26. Jostens

Ring-maker Jostens offers a limited lifetime warranty on many of its rings, including high school class rings, college class rings and youth sports rings.

The company will resize, refinish, polish, clean and replace some types of stones for the life of the ring, as long as you’re the original owner.

27. Le Creuset

This maker of multicolored cookware products offers a limited lifetime warranty on cast iron, tri-ply stainless steel, metal bakeware and toughened nonstick items.

The Le Creuset warranty does not cover normal wear and tear, only defects in material and workmanship for products used in a normal household setting. To be eligible, you need to make sure you take care of your skillets and pans according to the company’s instructions.

The company offers five-year warranties on kettles and stockpots. It offers a limited 10-year warranty on stoneware.

A tervis cup sits by the water.

28. Tervis

Tervis makes water bottles, cups and mugs with nifty decorations (hello, Harry Potter cup!). It stands behind its products with guarantees.

The classic insulated products come with a lifetime guarantee. If its staff determine, after an inspection, that an item has a material defect or a problem due to workmanship, the company will replace it for free.

Stainless steel items come with a limited 5-year guarantee.

However, the warranties do not cover normal wear and tear, improper care or abuse. They also do not cover accessories.

29. Wüsthof

Wüsthof has been making knives and other kitchen tools since 1814, and it offers a lifetime warranty for defects in workmanship and materials.

30. Rainbow Sandals

Jay “Sparky” Longley began making sandals in his Laguna Beach garage in 1972. Now, if you buy a pair of his flip-flops, they’re guaranteed “for the lifetime of the sole,” according to the company’s website.

“The sandals will be eligible for warranty until you have worn through anywhere on the top or bottom layer of the sole.”

The warranty covers manufacturing defects only. If the strap pulls out from the base of the sandal or if the sandal’s sole layers become unglued, the shoes are likely covered by the warranty and the company will repair or replace them at no charge.

31. Filson

This Seattle-based company has made luggage, watches, outdoor gear and other items since 1897.

Filson offers a lifetime guarantee that covers failure of workmanship and materials for the life of its products. Normal wear and tear is not covered by the warranty.

32. The North Face

Most North Face products are guaranteed for the lifetime of the item against defects in materials and workmanship, with the exception of shoes, which only have a one-year guarantee.

“Your The North Face sleeping bag may not survive to the ripe old age of 70. (But we have heard from folks whose well-loved and cared for 1973 Superlight sleeping bags are still going strong!),” according to the company’s website.

A pair of Skullcandy handy headphones sit on a table with an iPad.

33. Skullcandy

Skullcandy makes colorful earbuds and headphones that range in price from $10 to $320.

The company offers a two-year limited warranty on most products for manufacturing defects. Power banks have a one-year limited warranty.

34. Hydro Flask

Founded in 2009 in Bend, Oregon, Hydro Flask makes insulated bottles and food storage containers. The company offers a limited lifetime warranty that covers manufacturer defects, but not normal wear and tear.

The company will replace your flask or bottle if it has a broken or leaking cap, if it has lost its insulating properties or if it has rough welding along the rim. It will also replace your bottle or flask if it rattles.

35. Dakine

Dakine makes gear for playing in the snow, surfing, cycling and windsurfing. The company was founded in Hawaii in 1979 and is now located in Hood River, Oregon.

Dakine’s 10-year limited lifetime warranty protects its backpacks and bags against manufacturing defects, but does not cover normal wear and tear. It also offers a two-year limited warranty on gloves, accessories, windsurf and kite gear, outerwear and apparel.

According to the company’s website, manufacturer defects include things like a straight-edge tear along a seam, a stitching defect that makes it difficult to use the product and zipper malfunctions.

36. Chacos

Sandal-maker Chacos promises that its shoes will be free from defects in materials and workmanship. The company offers a limited lifetime warranty on its sandals, which have received high praise from devoted outdoorsmen and women.

The warranty does not cover normal wear and tear, problems with fit or sandals that have been worn past the point of repair.

37. Timbuk2

Timbuk2 makes messenger bags, backpacks, laptop bags and duffel bags. The company offers a lifetime warranty on all of its bags (but not its shirts and hoodies) that covers defects in materials or workmanship.

“Your Timbuk2 bag is sewn by hand and might contain some slight imperfections. Like Daniel Craig or Marilyn Monroe, the slight imperfections are what add character to an already awesome product,” according to the company’s website.

A person drinks water out of a Camelbak book bag.

38. Camelbak

The “Got Your Bak” guarantee covers defects in workmanship and materials for all Camelbak reservoirs, backpacks, bottles and accessories.

“Our Got Your Bak warranty program covers CamelBak products that legitimately fail due to a manufacture defect,” the company’s website states.

39. Polar Bottle

If you buy one of its water bottles and it breaks or is somehow faulty due to “defects in materials and workmanship,” Polar Bottle will replace it for you.

The warranty does not cover regular wear and tear on the item. It also does not cover “accident, combat damage, improper care or cleaning, non-standard usage or negligence.”

40. Gibson

Founded in 1894 In Nashville, Tennessee, Gibson has been a favorite of guitar players for centuries. Gibson guarantees its instruments to be free from defaults due to workmanship or materials, promising to repair or replace any instrument that doesn’t meet this standard.

The warranty doesn’t cover instruments that have been modified, or damages that occur from “misuse, negligence, accident or improper operation,” according to its website.

41. Big Green Egg

A Big Green Egg ceramic cooker is an investment that costs between $400 and $2,000, depending on size. But every cooker comes with a limited lifetime warranty, which softens the blow slightly.

The warranty covers “materials and workmanship on all ceramic components (including dome, base, damper top, fire box and fire ring),” according to the manufacturer.

The warranty is valid for the original owner, so if you buy one second-hand it won’t be eligible. You also need to make sure you register your product in order to make a claim on the warranty.

Leftovers sit in Tupperware.

42. Tupperware

Tupperware is best known for its plasticware that’s perfect for storing leftovers, but the company also makes a wide range of other kitchen products.

Tupperware’s website states that its products are “warranted by Tupperware against chipping, cracking, breaking or peeling under normal non-commercial use for the lifetime of the product.”

Depending on the product, certain components may be excluded. For example, the Limited Lifetime Warranty does not cover the silicone parts from the Microwave Pressure Cooker.

43. Calphalon

Calphalon makes kitchenware designed to withstand the test of time. Many of Calphalon’s items come with a lifetime warranty.

“Calphalon will replace any item found defective in material or workmanship when put to normal household use and cared for according to the instructions,” according to the company’s website.

Some older Calphalon items do not fall under the lifetime warranty and instead have a 10-year warranty.

44. Cross

Since 1846, Cross has made writing instruments and accessories like padfolios, wallets and journals. The company stands by its products by offering a lifetime guarantee for its writing instruments, and shorter guarantees for leather products and timepieces.

According to Cross’s website, “All Cross writing instruments and desk set penholder mechanisms are unquestionably guaranteed against mechanical failure, regardless of age.”

45. Lupine Pet

Quality pet products can be hard to find. Lupine Pet makes that a little easier thanks to its GUARANTEED (Even if Chewed) program.

“GUARANTEED (Even if Chewed) means we will replace any Lupine Pet brand dog collars, leashes or pet gear that has been accidentally damaged during normal pet-related activities, even chewing accidents!” Lupine Pet says on its website.

Lupine Pet will not replace an item that has been lost or outgrown, or one that has faded or has normal wear and tear.

46. Kryptonite Lock

Kryptonite makes secure locks for bicycles, motorcycles, scooters, all-terrain vehicles and snowmobiles. The company guarantees its products and will replace any lock that has a defect in material or workmanship.

All Kryptonite Lock products carry a lifetime limited warranty. Kryptonite also makes bike lights; those carry a two-year warranty.

A woman uses a flash drive while working on her laptop.

47. Kingston Technology

As technology has progressed, so has Kingston. The company got its start in 1987 making surface mount memory chips; today it makes several varieties of memory cards, SSDs, USB flash drives and more.

Kingston offers a lifetime warranty for many of its products. Other products carry warranties that range from 90 days to five years, depending on the item. You can find a full list of what is covered on Kingston’s website.

48. Stanley Tools

Top-quality tools can serve you for many years. Stanley makes a wide variety of tools, and many of them are covered by a lifetime warranty.

Tools covered by this warranty include wrenches, sockets, ratchets, drive accessories, tape measures, hand tools and landscaping and garden tools. Other items may offer a shorter warranty.

49. Tilley

Tilley hats offers a lifetime guarantee on many of its hats.

“Most Tilley hats are guaranteed for life against normal wear and tear, poor workmanship or faulty material,” the company’s website states. “If something is not right, we’ll repair or replace your hat.”

50. Fiskars

Fiskars makes a wide range of products, from kitchen knives and craft blades to gardening shears and saws. The company stands by its products with its lifetime warranty.

According to the Fiskars website, “Fiskars products are warranted to the consumer purchaser to be free of defects in material and workmanship for as long as the consumer owns the product.”

This warranty doesn’t cover sharpening, wear and tear due to normal use or accidental damage.

Sarah Kuta and Catherine Hiles are contributors to The Penny Hoarder. 

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

]]>
https://www.thepennyhoarder.com/save-money/companies-with-lifetime-warranties/feed/ 0 https://www.thepennyhoarder.com/save-money/how-to-buy-a-used-car/?aff_id=178&aff_sub3=MainFeed__save-money/how-to-buy-a-used-car/ https://www.thepennyhoarder.com/save-money/how-to-buy-a-used-car/#respond Wed, 03 Feb 2021 15:00:50 +0000

How to Avoid Getting Ripped Off When Buying a Used Car


This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.]]>

New cars are sleek, shiny, full of impressive tech and smell amazing — mmm, new car smell. But they also come with price tags that can take your breath away — and not in a good way.

According to Kelley Blue Book, the average price of a new car in November 2020 was more than $39,000. Yowser.

If you’re in the market for a set of wheels that’s more affordable, steer your sights over to the used car lot to save a little money. Or even a lot of money.

Why Buying a Used Car Is a Smart Money Move

If you’ve ever heard someone refer to a car as a depreciating asset, it’s true. The longer you have a car, the less it’s worth. The first year of owning a new vehicle is when depreciation really packs a punch.

Jim Sharifi, formerly a content editor at Carfax, said research shows a new vehicle can lose as much as 10% of its value within the first month.

“In the first year of ownership, depreciation can continue, and that same car could be worth up to 20% less than its original sale price,” he said.

When you buy a used car, the original owner has already taken that initial hit on depreciation and the price you pay accounts for that, so you don’t have to shell out as much cash.

Just because you’re buying a car at a lower price point doesn’t mean you’ll be stuck with a clunker that was manufactured decades ago. Cars that are just two or three years old often hit dealership lots when their previous owners reach the end of their lease.

Those vehicles often have low mileage and are in great condition, having had only one previous owner. Sometimes they even still retain a hint of that new car smell.

So that covers the why. Now let’s get into how to buy a used car.

The Best Time to Buy a Used Car

RobertCorse/Getty Images

Unlike new car releases, used cars come on the market throughout the year. It all depends on when their previous owners end their leases, put them up for sale or decide to trade in their vehicles.

However, there are certain times when you’re more likely to score a better deal.

Matt DeLorenzo, senior managing editor for Kelley Blue Book, said when dealerships host big sales events for new models that can also benefit used car shoppers.

“[Dealerships] will have more used vehicle inventory as a result of those types of promotions,” he said.

Think of the big sales that fall around holidays like Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day.

The end of a model year — around September or October — is another good time to shop, DeLorenzo noted, as salespeople are looking to make deals to clear out their used vehicle stock to make room for new inventory.

It’s best to avoid shopping for a car on the weekend when there’s an influx of customers and sales staff is spread thin, Sharifi said. You’ll get more attention from the sales team by visiting on off hours, specifically on weekdays.

“The end of the month (or the end of a quarter) can also be a good time to strike a deal, since dealerships may need to hit monthly or quarterly sales goals,” he said.

Of course, when you need a car might not align with a particular sale or time of month. Shopping for a vehicle before you’re in critical need of one will allow you time to search for the best deal rather than having to settle for something quick.

Where to Shop for a Used Car — and Where to Avoid

Where you shop for a used car matters so you can avoid purchasing a lemon.

DeLorenzo recommends shopping at franchised car dealerships that have certified pre-owned cars — used vehicles that have been thoroughly inspected and typically come with some type of warranty coverage. Non-certified cars aren’t bad — and they’ll typically cost less — but they’re more likely to have higher mileage and more maintenance needs.

Be wary of independent car lots that boast they can make you a deal regardless of your credit or circumstance.

“Typically they’ll try to get you in with a low price, but you may not be getting the best quality car,” he said. “The other thing is that if you get your financing through those types of dealers, they typically charge you a much higher interest rate.”

Pro Tip

DeLorenzo recommends pre-qualifying for a loan at a bank or credit union before visiting a dealership. You can compare the offer with the dealer’s financing terms for better negotiating leverage.

For any dealer you visit, do some due diligence and check customer reviews online. If you know others who’ve recently purchased a car, ask for recommendations.

Outside of dealerships, look for cars online at trusted sites like Autotrader, Kelley Blue Book, Carfax or Edmunds — or buy from a private seller.

When you’re buying from a private party, you may be able to get more accurate information about how they’ve driven and maintained the vehicle and what particular issues it might have, said Ron Montoya, senior consumer advice editor at Edmunds.

However, you also need to be OK with buying the vehicle as-is and securing your own financing. And be sure the owner has clear title to the car — in other words, don’t let anyone sell you a car they don’t legitimately own.

If cost is your primary concern, a private seller is likely to offer a lower price. A dealer folds overhead, repairs and marketing into its price.

What to Look for When Buying a Used Car

GreenPimp/Getty Images

Knowing when and where to buy a used car is just half the battle. Figuring out how to vet a used car can be tough, especially if you have little to no car knowledge.

These tips will give you some guidance to make a good choice.

1. Find a Vehicle That Fits Your Needs

It’s easy to focus on the numbers — age of the car, mileage and cost — but you also want to make sure you’re buying a car that’ll fit your needs for however long you expect to have it. If you have a growing family, you might want to rethink that two-door coupe or compact vehicle.

“You want to make sure there’s enough room for you,” Montoya said. “Take a look at the cargo area. Take a look at how easy it is to see out of the vehicle. Test out the entertainment system.”

2. Determine How ‘Used’ You’re Willing to Go

The older a car is, the cheaper it’ll be — but the more it’s likely to have issues requiring repair. Everyone has a different comfort level when it comes to what they’re willing to handle. A general rule of thumb is that a car is driven about 12,000 miles per year. A higher average could mean the car has more wear and tear.

Montoya said used car buyers must strike a balance between the age of the car, the amount of miles and what price they’re willing to pay.

Buying an extended warranty or service plan can give you peace of mind that certain repairs or maintenance jobs will be covered.

Pro Tip

Montoya said plans sold by auto manufacturers or reputable dealerships are better options than those sold by third-party companies. Make sure you understand exactly what your plan covers.

3. Make Sure The Price is Right

Before you accept a sales price, research the value of the car to make sure you’re not overpaying. Carfax, Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds all have price appraisal tools online.

You can also compare similar vehicles on the market to get an estimate of a car’s value, but keep in mind, no two used vehicles will be the same due to how they were driven and maintained. Use all this information when you sit down to negotiate — and don’t be afraid to walk away if you don’t think you’re getting a fair price.

When you’re budgeting for a car purchase, make sure you’re factoring in all the associated costs, like sales tax, insurance and getting the car registered.

4. Check the History of the Car

Sometimes just looking at a car will give you some idea of its history. Rust, worn out pedals and a side panel painted in a different color are red flags.

But don’t just assume a car’s history. Getting the car’s history report, such as through Carfax, is a crucial step when buying a used car.

You’ll have to purchase the report if you’re buying from a private seller, so wait until you’re seriously interested in a particular vehicle. If you’re buying from a dealership, the salesperson should provide a copy of the vehicle history report for free.

Sharifi said to watch out for discrepancies with the odometer reading and if there’s a branded title, which indicates that the car has been significantly compromised in some way.

“Severe accidents and instances where a car has been declared a total loss should signal the buyer to use caution,” he said. “That said, a small fender bender shouldn’t always mean that a buyer should walk away from a great deal.”

5. Go for a Test Drive

Always, always, always take a car for a spin before buying it. If you can bring a mechanic with you, even better.

“Some general things you can do on your own without being super knowledgeable about cars is [to] turn off the radio [and] listen for any strange noises,” Montoya said. “See if the steering wheel stays straight when you drive down the road. Does it pull to one side? Look at the tires to see how old they are.”

Pro Tip

Don’t just look at the tires’ tread. Each tire should include a four-digit number marking the month and year it was manufactured. Tires older than six years can be dried out and need replacing.

For any used car purchase, but especially if you’re buying from a private seller, have your mechanic inspect the vehicle before committing to buy.

Knowing the ins and outs of how to buy a used car will make the whole process less stressful and, most importantly, save you money.

Nicole Dow is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. Former staff writer Carson Kohler contributed to this post.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

]]>
https://www.thepennyhoarder.com/save-money/how-to-buy-a-used-car/feed/ 0 https://www.thepennyhoarder.com/save-money/cheap-super-bowl-snacks/?aff_id=178&aff_sub3=MainFeed__save-money/cheap-super-bowl-snacks/ https://www.thepennyhoarder.com/save-money/cheap-super-bowl-snacks/#respond Tue, 02 Feb 2021 17:00:23 +0000

Enjoy These 6 Cheap Super Bowl Snacks With the Big Game


This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.]]>

Everyone knows that Super Bowl time is snack time.

But this year, given the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, you may be staying home to watch the game rather than heading to a big bash or going to a bar or restaurant and plunking down big bucks.

However you decide to watch the game, you can still enjoy some classic Super Bowl snacks.

6 Cheap Super Bowl Snacks to Enjoy With the Big Game

1. Chex Party Mix

Everyone loves this crunchy, salty snack. While there are thousands of different ways to make it, this time-tested recipe from The Spruce Eats is super easy and will appeal to the garlic lovers in your crowd.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 60 minutes

You’ll need:

  • ½ cup butter
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • 3 cups corn Chex cereal
  • 2 cups wheat Chex cereal
  • 1 ½ cups mixed nuts
  • 1 cup small pretzels
  • 1 cup garlic-flavored bagel chips
  • 1 cup mini pretzel rods

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Melt the butter in a large pan and stir in Worcestershire sauce, seasoned salt, garlic salt and onion powder. Add everything else and toss thoroughly until well-coated. Bake for one hour, stirring the batch every 15 minutes. Let cool and store in an airtight container.

2. Honey Garlic Crockpot Meatballs

For a hearty main course, this incredibly easy meatball recipe from Family Fresh Meals will keep your crew happy. Serve them over noodles or rice for a main dish, or just let people enjoy them as an appetizer.

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 4 hours

You’ll need:

  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 (28 oz) bag fully cooked, frozen meatballs

Mix together the brown sugar, honey, ketchup, soy sauce and garlic. Next, place the meatballs in a three- or four-quart crockpot and cover in sauce, tossing to coat. Turn the crockpot on low for four hours and stir occasionally.

3. Baked Mozzarella Sticks

Enjoy the diner classic at home with The Spruce Eats recipe for baked mozzarella sticks.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 5 minutes

You’ll need:

  • ½ cup brown rice flour
  • ¼ cup tapioca flour
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 large eggs
  • 6 sticks of low-moisture, part skim milk mozzarella string cheese (cut in half crosswise and frozen for 3-4 hours)
  • Grapeseed oil for frying
  • Marinara or other sauce for dipping

Add grapeseed oil to a skillet, and then mix the flours, parmesan, garlic powder, salt and black pepper in a shallow dish. Beat the eggs and add them to a separate dish. Coat the cheese, alternating between the dry mixture and the egg. Make sure to cover the entirety of the cheese pieces, including the ends.

Next, heat the oil in the pan to 360 degrees and then drop the frozen cheese into it. Turn them every 20 to 30 seconds until they are a golden brown color. Place the cheese on paper towels to absorb the excess oil, and then transfer them to a platter for serving.

4. Pigs in a Blanket

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes

Go with the classic childhood favorite: buttery dough enveloping tasty mini-sausages. Pillsbury has a great recipe for pigs in a blanket. 

You’ll need:

  • 2 cans (8 ounces each) refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
  • 48 cocktail-sized smoked linked sausages

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Unroll all the dough and pull into 16 triangles. Cut each triangle into three narrow triangles. Roll a sausage link up in each triangle of dough. Place them on unlined baking sheets. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until golden brown, rotating halfway through. Serve warm.

5. Crockpot Beer Cheese Dip

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 40 minutes

This snack from The Spruce Eats just may be the most indulgent one on this list. Have it with pretzels or tortilla chips — or even try something fancier like apples and vegetables.

  • 1/2 cup beer
  • 1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
  • 1 pound processed cheese spread loaf, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • You’ll also need food to dip into it; The Spruce Eats suggests not only tortilla chips and hard and soft pretzels but also apples, crackers, bread cubes and assorted vegetables.

Combine the beer, Tabasco sauce and processed cheese spread in a slow cooker. Add more Tabasco sauce if you prefer a spicier treat. Cover and cook on high for 40 minutes. Once the cheese has melted, stir it to make it smooth. Keep it in the slow cooker on low and serve with the dippers.

6. Restaurant-Style Buffalo Chicken Wings

It really is possible to enjoy restaurant-style buffalo chicken wings at home. This recipe from AllRecipes takes more time than others on the list, but that’s only because you need to chill the chicken before cooking it.

Prep time: 60-90 minutes (includes time to chill ingredients before cooking)

Cook time: 15 minutes

  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 10 chicken wings
  • oil for deep frying
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¼ cup hot sauce
  • 1 dash ground black pepper
  • 1 dash garlic powder

Mix flour, paprika, cayenne pepper and salt in a small bowl. Put the chicken wings in a nonporous glass dish or bowl and then sprinkle the flour mixture on top, evenly coating the wings. Cover the dish and refrigerate it for 60-90 minutes.

Heat the oil in a deep fryer to 375 degrees. Mix butter, hot sauce, pepper and garlic butter in a small saucepan and then put it over low heat. Stir until the butter melts and blend the mixture thoroughly. Then remove it from the heat.

Remove the wings from the refrigerator and fry them in the hot oil for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove them from the heat, put them in a serving bowl, add the hot sauce mixture and stir before serving.

Kristen Pope is a contributor to The Penny Hoarder. Editor Sushil Cheema contributed to this post.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

]]>
https://www.thepennyhoarder.com/save-money/cheap-super-bowl-snacks/feed/ 0 https://www.thepennyhoarder.com/budgeting/budgeting-for-a-career-break/?aff_id=178&aff_sub3=MainFeed__budgeting/budgeting-for-a-career-break/ https://www.thepennyhoarder.com/budgeting/budgeting-for-a-career-break/#respond Tue, 02 Feb 2021 15:00:21 +0000

Here Are 5 Steps You Should Take When Budgeting for a Career Break


This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.]]>

Not everyone’s career path is a 40+ year marathon working full time until you can finally come up for air in your golden years.

Sometimes you need a little break along the way.

Taking time away from the workforce — whether it’s to travel, take care of loved ones, learn a new skill or whatever — can be a beneficial thing. But money — or the lack thereof — is what stops many people from even considering it.

With some significant planning and budgeting, however, it’s possible to make your career break dreams a reality. Here are five steps you should take when budgeting for a career break.

5 Steps for Career Break Budgeting

1. Think About What Your Career Break Will Look Like

People take career breaks for a number of reasons. Take some time to reflect on why you are planning time away from the workforce and what you intend to do.

When thinking about what your new day-to-day will look like, try to get as detailed as possible. Hone in on aspects that will affect you financially.

How long will your break last? When would you like it to start? Will you be staying at home or traveling the world? What adventures would you like to experience?

While it’s nice to dream about your best life ever, you’ve got to be practical too. Ranking what you want to do with your newfound free time will be helpful if you have to cut your list down to fit what you can afford.

2. Explore What Your Costs Will Be During Your Break

After you’ve fantasized what your work break will look like, it’s time to focus on the numbers. You’ve got to know what your expenses will be in order to determine whether your plans are realistic.

If you don’t already budget your income and track your expenses, now’s the time to start. Your budget will give you a good idea of how much you spend on essentials and where you can cut costs as you save up for leave.

Research all the additional costs you expect to incur during your break. If you’re taking extended parental leave after the birth of a child, you’ll be dealing with a ton of new baby-related expenses. If you’re taking time off to travel, you’ve got to pay for transportation and lodging.

The length of your break will also be a big factor here. Obviously, the longer you’re away from the workforce, the more money you’ll need saved up.

3. Set Up a Sinking Fund to Cover Expenses on Your Break

If you haven’t heard the term “sinking fund,” that’s just personal-finance speak for a stash of savings that you regularly contribute to over time to break up a big expense.

Once you’ve estimated the overall expenses for your leave, divide that by how many months you have left to come up with your target monthly savings goal.

If you already have existing savings you want to use to fund your career break, that will cut down on how much you’ll need to put aside each month — just make sure you don’t touch your emergency fund!

Your emergency savings should only be used on an actual emergency — like if you get into a car accident or Fido needs to be rushed to the pet hospital. Being away from work won’t make you immune to emergencies, so do not plan to use your emergency fund to tide you through your break.

In fact, before you focus on building up your sinking fund, you ought to have adequate savings in an emergency fund first.

A woman helps her mother up from a chair outside in their garden.

4. Explore Opportunities to Make Money On Your Break

If you’re able to make money while you’re away from work, you’ll be less financially burdened. You won’t have to save up as much or worry about burning through your entire savings.

The first income stream you should explore is your current job. Taking a career break doesn’t necessarily mean calling it quits where you work now.

Depending on what type of leave you’re taking, your job may be protected and you might be able to continue collecting your salary — or a percentage of your current pay.

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides eligible workers with up to 12 weeks of leave after the birth or adoption of a child, to deal with a serious health condition or to care for an ill or injured family member. While this type of leave is unpaid, you’ll continue to be covered under their workplace health insurance plan and there may be the possibility of coupling this leave with short-term disability pay.

Pro Tip

President Joe Biden’s proposed coronavirus stimulus package includes extending the expired paid time off policies for sick workers and those needing to care for family members due to COVID-19.

Find out if your employer offers any other paid leave programs — whether that’s parental leave, unlimited PTO or sabbaticals. According to the Society for Human Resource Management’s 2019 Employee Benefits Survey, 27% of employers offered paid parental leave, 6% offered unlimited paid leave and 5% offered a paid sabbatical program.

Another 11% of employers surveyed offered an unpaid sabbatical program. While unpaid leave isn’t as ideal as paid leave, it gives you peace of mind that you’ll have a job to come back to after your break.

Other options to make money during your leave include picking up a side gig, bringing in passive income, renting out rooms (or your entire place) on Airbnb or selling your belongings.

If you need to pick up a little work while you’re on a career break, just make sure it doesn’t conflict with the reason you needed to take leave in the first place.

5. Develop a Re-Entry Plan

You need to plan for all aspects of your career break — including your transition back to the workforce.

Your budget needs to not only cover your expenses while you’re backpacking through Europe or nursing your elderly mother back to health. You’ve got to add a cushion for that period at the end where you’re actively seeking your next gig.

While data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the average length of unemployment is about 23 weeks, how long it’ll take you to find new work will vary depending on your industry and the position you’re seeking.

Plan to keep up with contacts in your field and engage in relevant volunteer work or continued education while you’re away to improve your chances of quickly finding a new job.

If your savings run low toward the end of your leave, don’t brush off finding a bridge job — a temporary role to help you pay the bills while you search for better opportunities.

A career break should provide you with freedom to pursue something outside of your typical work life. You don’t want that freedom to drag you deeper into debt or put you in a worse financial position if you can avoid it.

Do your best to budget for more time than you’ll need so you can enjoy your career break stress free.

Nicole Dow is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

]]>
https://www.thepennyhoarder.com/budgeting/budgeting-for-a-career-break/feed/ 0 https://www.thepennyhoarder.com/make-money/february-2021-class-action-settlements/?aff_id=178&aff_sub3=MainFeed__make-money/february-2021-class-action-settlements/ https://www.thepennyhoarder.com/make-money/february-2021-class-action-settlements/#respond Mon, 01 Feb 2021 17:00:48 +0000

February Class-Action Settlements Involve Godiva, Walmart and More


This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.]]>

Sometimes, you notice right away if you have been overcharged for an item. If you pick up a box of cereal marked $2.99 and see it listed at $3.22 on your receipt, that error is pretty easy to spot.

In other cases, price discrepancies aren’t so obvious, as seen in a new pre-filled propane tank class-action settlement offer.

Check out this month’s highlighted class-action settlement offers, some of which have taken years of litigation, to see if you can benefit.

AmeriGas Propane Tanks

If you bought an AmeriGas or Blue Rhino pre-filled propane tank between Dec. 1, 2009 and Nov. 30, 2020, you could be eligible for a portion of a $6.5 million settlement.

AmeriGas and Blue Rhino allegedly agreed with each other to reduce the amount of propane in the pre-filled tanks they sold from 17 pounds to 15 pounds without reducing the price, according to court documents. The lawsuit accused the companies of colluding to reduce the amount of product in the propane tanks while keeping the cost the same in order to increase their profit margin by more than 13% per pound.

AmeriGas admitted no wrongdoing but agreed to the settlement to end litigation. Even though consumers who bought either AmeriGas or Blue Rhino propane tanks may be affected by this settlement, it only resolves claims made regarding AmeriGas because the Blue Rhino case is ongoing.

There are two settlement classes:

  • The Indirect Purchaser Settlement Class is made up of those who purchased AmeriGas or Blue Rhino propane tanks, other than a wholesale purchase directly from AmeriGas or Blue Rhino for resale, in Arizona, California, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah or West Virginia between Dec. 1, 2009 and Nov. 30, 2020.
  • The Direct Purchaser Settlement Class is made up of consumers nationwide who purchased one of the propane tanks directly from AmeriGas or Blue Rhino through a vending machine at retailers or other locations, or paid one of the companies directly through a vending machine to exchange a previously purchased propane tank, other than a wholesale purchase intended for resale.

Consumers can claim a cash payment of $5 for each tank when they provide proof of purchase along with a completed claim form. If no proof of purchase is submitted, the payment is $2.50 each for a maximum of 50 propane tanks.

Submit your valid claim by March 8, 2021.

ABB Optical Group LLC Contact Lenses

You may be eligible to share in a $30.2 million settlement reached with contact lens distributor ABB Optical Group LLC over allegations of a conspiracy to increase the cost of contact lenses.

If you purchased disposable contacts made by Alcon, Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, CVI or Bausch & Lomb between June 1, 2013 and Dec. 4 ,2018, you may be eligible for compensation. However, Bausch & Lomb contact lenses bought through 1-800-Contacts after July 1, 2015 are not included in this settlement.

The suit alleged contact lens manufacturers, independent optometrists and ABB agreed to “unilateral pricing policies” that prevented competition from online and discount contact lens retailers. This agreement purportedly began in June 2013.

The settlement money provided by ABB will be added to the claims made under previous settlements with contact lens manufacturers. The estimated amount that will be provided to each consumer is not available at this time.

See if you qualify and submit your valid claim by March 10, 2021.

Synchrony Bank

If you received a call from Synchrony Bank between June 1, 2016 and Oct. 19, 2020, you could receive a portion of a $2.9 million class-action settlement.

Synchrony Bank allegedly violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) by calling individuals who did not have an account with the bank. These unsolicited calls were made by an automatic dialing system or artificial/pre-recorded voice, which is in violation of the TCPA unless the caller has prior written consent from the recipient.

Payment amounts will vary, but are estimated between $25 and $50.

Submit your valid claim by March 1, 2021.

Stonefire Naan Bread

You may be eligible for a portion of a $1.9 million settlement from the maker of Stonefire Naan products, FGF Brands, if you bought their naan bread that was marketed as baked in a tandoor oven between Nov. 16, 2013 and Oct. 23, 2020.

If you bought any of these products within that time period, you may claim $2.50 for each item purchased:

  • Stonefire Original Naan
  • Stonefire Roasted Garlic Naan
  • Stonefire Whole Grain Naan
  • Stonefire Organic Original Naan
  • Stonefire Original Mini Naan
  • Stonefire Ancient Grain Mini Naan
  • Stonefire Naan Dippers

Consumers alleged FGF Brands bakes its naan in a conveyor-style, gas-heated oven even though the company claims the breads are baked in a tandoor oven, which is a clay oven that uses charcoal heat that produces smoky flavors.

The lawsuit alleges FGF Brands used fraudulent and deceptive advertising to market its use of a tandoor oven. FGF Brands denies that it has violated any laws.

Consumers may receive $2.50 for each product purchased, but only five may be claimed without a receipt. With proof of purchase, consumers can claim an unlimited number of products.

Submit your valid claim by Feb. 18, 2021.

21st Century Oncology

If you are one of the 2.2 million patients whose personal information was accessed through a 2015 data breach of 21stCentury Oncology, you could be eligible for compensation from a $12.5 million class-action settlement.

In October 2015, hackers accessed names, Social Security numbers, doctors’ names, medical diagnoses, treatment plans and insurance information. Patients whose data was breached should have received a notice from the cancer treatment center in March 2016.

Several affected consumers filed lawsuits alleging 21st Century Oncology failed to take reasonable cybersecurity steps to protect personal data. 21st Century Oncology admitted to no wrongdoing, but agreed to the settlement to resolve the litigation.

Several forms of relief are available, including:

  • Two years of credit monitoring through Identity Guard.
  • Cash payments up to $40 for lost time without any documentation (two hours valued at $20 per hour.)
  • Cash payments of up to $260 for lost time with documentation (13 hours valued at $20 per hour.)
  • Cash payments of up to $10,000 for any fraud and out-of-pocket expenses incurred because of the data breach.

Submit your valid claim by the May 10, 2021 deadline.

Walmart, Sam’s Club Sales Tax Refund

Customers who returned an item bought at Walmart or Sam’s Club between July 17, 2015 and Nov. 25, 2020 may be eligible for part of a $5 million settlement.

Walmart and Sam’s Club were accused providing some customers with incomplete refunds by not including the sales tax paid on the original purchase.

The exact cash payment per customer is not available and will depend upon the number of claims filed and the net settlement fund after attorney’s fees, costs and other expenses are deducted.

Complete and submit your valid online claim form by April 1, 2021.

Godiva Chocolatier

If you made a purchase at a Godiva Chocolatier retail store between April 6, 2013 and Nov. 20, 2015, you may be eligible to share in a $6.3 million class-action settlement.

The settlement benefits customers who made a debit or credit card purchase and received a point-of-sale receipt that displayed more than the last five digits of the card number.

The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) prohibits any more than the last five digits from appearing on such a receipt in order to protect consumers.

The complaint alleged Godiva receipts contained 10 digits, including the first six and the last four of the card numbers on its point-of-sale receipts.

Eligible class members might have received a notice regarding a Godiva settlement in 2016 as the case was pending in U.S. District Court in Florida. The case was later refiled in Cook County, Illinois, so if you submitted a valid claim response to the 2016 notice, you do not need to file a new claim in order to receive a payment.

Potential awards are expected to be between $55 and $60.

If you did not submit a valid claim response to the 2016 notice, but you do qualify for this settlement, submit your claim by March 22, 2021.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

]]>
https://www.thepennyhoarder.com/make-money/february-2021-class-action-settlements/feed/ 0 https://www.thepennyhoarder.com/save-money/store-brand-vs-name-brand/?aff_id=178&aff_sub3=MainFeed__save-money/store-brand-vs-name-brand/ https://www.thepennyhoarder.com/save-money/store-brand-vs-name-brand/#respond Mon, 01 Feb 2021 15:00:24 +0000

Spending Too Much on Regular Stuff? Give Store Brands Another Look


This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.]]>

Editor’s note:  This post was originally published in February 2020.

What’s in a name? A lot actually.

We often default to certain brands when shopping simply because of the name on the package — and the reputation that comes along with it, thanks to clever advertising.

We buy Bounty paper towels because they’re the “quicker picker-upper” and Frosted Flakes because “they’re gr-r-reat.”

But on the shelves next to those items you can often find a comparable store-brand version that costs less — sometimes significantly less. We often refer to these as generic products. Sometimes these rival versions are even made in the same manufacturing facilities and have little to no noticeable differences.

Ultimately, the decision to buy a store-brand product or your favorite name brand is a subjective one. There’s trial and error involved, and in some cases you might land right back on the premium paper towels because you find that they really do pick more up, and quicker.

But before your next shopping trip, it’s worth considering how much money you could save if you take a few name brand items off your list.

Comparing the Cost of Store Brand Vs. Name Brand

I visited two stores — Publix (a southeastern grocery store chain) and Walmart — to do a little price comparison.

(Note: Prices were sourced on Feb. 19, 2020 at stores located in St. Petersburg, Florida. Sales tax was not factored into this example.)

Product Store Brand at Publix Name Brand at Publix Store Brand at Walmart Name Brand at Walmart
Oreos $2.59 $3.89 $1.63 $2.72
Jif peanut butter $2.39 $2.72 $1.58 $2.22
Cheerios $1.93 $4.19 $1.23 $2.82
Kraft cheddar cheese $3.85 $4.19 $2.08 $2.38
Diet Coke, 2-liter $0.75 $2.19 $0.68 $1.74
Dove body wash $3.99 $6.81 $3.47 $5.58
Adult extra-strength Tylenol $6.99 $10.29 $1.98 $9.47
Children’s Motrin $4.99 $7.49 $3.94 $5.97
Total $27.48 $41.77 $16.59 $32.90

A shopper at Publix would save $12.72 or about 35% by buying the store-brand version of these eight items over their name-brand alternatives. A shopper at Walmart would save $13.10 or nearly 45%.

Consider that I only used eight items in this example. When’s the last time you went to the grocery store and walked away with just eight things?

The greater the grocery haul, the greater the savings by choosing the cheaper alternative. And since you likely go shopping more than once a month, you could see a significant difference in your monthly budget by swapping out name-brand items.

Store Brand Vs. Name Brand: How to Decide

Since store-brand merchandise costs less money than name-brand counterparts, a common perception is that they’re of lesser quality.

But that’s not always true.

One reason name-brand items are more expensive is because it costs money to market those products to the public. Consumers pay the price for those commercial jingles that stick in their heads.

Most store-brand products are made to closely compare to their name-brand products. If you check the ingredients, sometimes you’ll find they’re made of the exact same stuff — though the recipes may differ slightly. What the decision really comes down to is preference.

We asked The Penny Hoarder community members about buying store-brand items over name brand. Respondents said they often choose store-brand products to save money but still have name-brand preferences when it comes to certain items, despite any cost savings.

“I will use generic for anything but my hair products,” said community member KellyFromKeene.”Otherwise, [with] food, clothes [and] household supplies, I will get the generic if the ingredients are the same.”

Community member Jobelle Collie said she’s partial to Dove bar soap, Olay moisturizer and Palmolive green dishwashing liquid but buys generic trash bags, office supplies and kitchen staples like salt, pepper and sugar.

Sometimes going with the store brand is a matter of trial and error.

“I definitely try to choose store brand, at least initially. Sometimes, I can tell the difference,” said community member Sthom. “For example, I tried my store’s brand of filters for my Brita: I could tell the difference immediately, so I switched back. That happens sometimes.

“Recently, I tried my store’s brand of peanut butter,” Sthom continued. “I’m partial to smooth [Jif] but the store’s organic smooth brand was less than $2.00 — around $1.18, unbelievably — and was just as good if not better.”

Tips for Weighing Store Brand vs. Name Brand Products

When deciding between store brand and name brand, keep these things in mind:

  1. Try swapping out the name-brand version of single-ingredient items — like flour, rice, milk and eggs — for the store-brand version. You may find there’s less variation in taste or quality than multi-ingredient items like cookies or soup.
  2. Use spices or other ingredients you have at home to dress up a store-brand product — for example, adding basil and garlic to a jar of pasta sauce.
  3. All store brands aren’t created equal. You may dislike the taste of store-brand cereal or the quality of store-brand toilet paper at one grocer, but another store’s products could be more on par with the name brands.
  4. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration requires generic medications (over-the-counter and prescription) to have the same active ingredient, strength and dosage form as the name-brand equivalent. Both products should be medically equal.
  5. Store sales and coupons can cause name-brand products to cost less than the store version. Store brands aren’t always the cheapest option. This is a great time to indulge in your preferred brand and save money.

Nicole Dow is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

]]>
https://www.thepennyhoarder.com/save-money/store-brand-vs-name-brand/feed/ 0

View original post