Costco Hack: How to REALLY Buy in Bulk and Save Money

April 16, 2019 by Kyle
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We all know about the bulk buying aspects of shopping at Costco. But did you know that many Costco locations let you buy meats, bakery items, and even some fruits and veggies “by the case” or in “cryovac bags” at highly reduced prices? If you have the freezer space, this Costco hack can really save you and your family some money. Here’s how the whole dealio works.

Costco Hack: How to REALLY Buy in Bulk and Save Money

Many Items Can Be Bought “By the Case”

I recently had a Costco employee tell me that many items come into the warehouse frozen and are thawed and repackaged for sale.

She went on to say that many of these items can be bought by the case before they are repackaged for BIG savings.

What types of stuff you’re probably asking…well let’s break it down.

Think Bakery and Deli Items

Did you know that most Costco locations actually post the price for buying the original box items arrive in?

The employee showed me the “Bakery by the Case” board posted in the bakery which breaks down the price for buying items this way.

I was immediately intrigued as the savings on most items was in the 20-40% range on various breads and bakery items.

Look for this posted information the next time you’re in your Costco, and IF you have the freezer space at home, it just might be a great way to save money.

Or better yet, go in with a family or 2 and buy the entire base box and split it among yourselves.

She also told me that Costco does a similar thing on some meat and deli items. Ask about it!

Give Me Some Specifics…

After some further research, I discovered a Reddit thread where Costco employees talked about this tip too.

One Costco employee, Reddit user 84awkm, used the cookie example. He said you can buy a box of 24 for $7.99 ($0.33/cookie) or a case of 180 frozen cookies for $34.99 ($0.19/cookie). The frozen cookies come raw and you just bake them at home when you want them.

He said similar examples for savings exist with bagels, baguettes, and bread too.

See Also: 7 Ways to Essentially Get a $60 Costco Membership for Free

Costco Deals on Bulk Meat Too

Many Costco locations (NOT ALL) sell meat in bulk as well.

Costco sells very high quality meat and many locations let warehouse members buy the entire “Cryovac” bag.

The cryovac bag is what many meats are delivered to Costco in and you can buy the ENTIRE bag for a reduced price.

Cryovac is a vacuum sealed bag that allows meat to be frozen for a longer period of time and keeps it freshness when thawed.

If they are not in the cryovac bag, they are in a “case” which is usually also available for sale.

Could be a case of rib eyes, case of new york, case of crab legs, etc.

BUT…according to one employee, you’ll get “3 or so times the meat for the same price.”

Great deal for sure if you have the freezer space.

Keep in mind that the meat will be untrimmed and you’ll have to do that yourself. 

Bottom line: Ask if your local Costco sells in bulk like this and save BIG money in the process.


By Kyle James

Target Employee Discount: Here’s How It Works So You Don’t Get Busted

April 5, 2019 by Kyle
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The Target employee discount is one of the best perks they give their workforce. As a matter of fact, you probably found this article because you’re considering applying for a job at Target, or maybe you’re a new hire seeking more info.

But like any discount that retailer’s hand-out, there are certain caveats and hacks that you should know to maximize your savings. With that in mind, let’s break down the employee discount at Target and answer all your burning questions.

Target Employee Discount

What is the Target Employee Discount?

Target hands out a 10% employee discount.

This discount is good for both in-store purchases as well as stuff you buy at Target.com.

Also, according to this Target employee, workers get an extra 10% off fresh (and frozen) fruits and veggies bringing your discount to a whopping 20%.

What Form of Payment Can You Use?

In order to get the employee discount you must use either cash, a Target gift card, or a Target REDCard.

I highly recommend using the REDcard (either debit or credit card) as you’ll score an additional 5% discount, bringing your total discount to a solid 15%.

Are Any Items Not Included in My Discount?

Yes, there are quite a few items that aren’t eligible. Here are the big ones…

– Alcohol – Don’t go buying booze with your employee discount.

– Gift Wrapping – Gotta wrap your own gifts at home.

– Hunting/Fishing License – Have to pay full price to hunt or fish in your neck of the woods.

– Target+ Items – Not sure what these are but you can’t get 10% off when you buy them.

– Gift Cards – This one makes sense as it would be easy to make money off gift cards.

– Stuff you Sell or Exchange for Profit – This one seems a little open-ended and left for the manager’s discretion.

See Also: 7 Target Clearance Tips That’ll Save You BIG

How Do I Get My Discount?

When shopping in-store, just go to any open checkout lane and present your Target team member card which has all the pertinent info on it.

To get your online discount, you’ll have to create a Target.com account and enter your Team Member number in the About Me section of your account.

Can Family Members Use the 10% Discount?

Only the employee and their spouse are eligible for the employee discount.

Don’t go shopping with your mom or boyfriend, use your discount, AND let them pay.

This is a bug no-no and can get you reprimanded or fired.

Of course you can always buy something for someone with your discount and simply have them reimburse you.

Is There a Maximum “Dollar Amount” Discount?

I asked a couple of my Target contacts and none of them were aware of a max “dollar amount” discount.

So you should be able to buy that thousand-dollar 70″ 4K Curved TV and get $100 off instantly.

Can I Get the 10% Employee Discount on Black Friday?

Yes.

Black Friday. Cyber Monday. Arbor Day. It doesn’t matter, you still get your 10% off.

See Also: 5 Target Shopping Hacks Guaranteed to Save You Money

Hack Alert: Double Your Discount!

Open a Target REDcard credit card and they’ll mail you a 10% discount on your REDcard anniversary every year which you can STACK with your employee discount.

For those non-math majors like me…that’s a 20% DISCOUNT. Not too shabby.

Ask the Reader: Do you work at Target? If so, how often do you take advantage of the employee discount and what’s the most money you’ve saved?


By Kyle James

11 Best Places to Get Money Orders Near Me (With Prices Too)

March 28, 2019 by Kyle
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Dating back to the Civil War, money orders are a fast and secure way to pay an individual or business. They’re a piece of paper similar to a check, but unlike a personal check, they’re considered guaranteed money.

Maybe you don’t have a checking account, or perhaps you’re buying a used vehicle from a private party, whatever the case, you stand a great chance of needing to buy a money order from time to time.

It’s with this in mind that I researched the 11 best places to buy a money order near you, as well as the costs associated with each. I also breakdown what to do if you lose a money order and how to spot a fake one from a mile away.  

11 Best Places to Get Money Orders Near Me (With Prices Too)

Why Would You Need a Money Order?

A money order is a great way to pay someone or have someone pay you.

Here are the BIGGEST benefits.

– Guaranteed Funds – A money order is issued with NO bank information on it and is backed by a 3rd party issuer like Western Union or MoneyGram.

To get a money order issued, you have to use cash or have the money taken directly out of your bank account making the funds “guaranteed”.

This makes for a great way to collect payment on a used vehicle for example. The buyer doesn’t have to withdraw a large amount of cash, and the seller can avoid collecting payment via a personal check.

– Very Convenient – Anyone can get a money order; no bank account required. Plus, the number of establishments that will issue a money order has also grown substantially, more on that later.

– Money Orders are Traceable – When you buy a money order you’re given a receipt with all the pertinent information on it to trace it (if needed). If a money order is lost or stolen, it can be easily cancelled and replaced (unlike cash).

What Does a Money Order Cost?

It completely depends on the store or business you buy the money order from. Fees currently range from $0.70 all the way up to $1.60.

Important note: The largest money order you can purchase is $1,000. If you need more than that you’ll have to buy multiple money orders or use a cashier’s check.

The 11 Best Places to Buy a Money Order

1. Walmart

Walmart money orders are pretty cheap and convenient since you’ll probably be shopping their anyways.

Cost: $0.88 (up from $0.70)
Company Used: MoneyGram
Maximum Amount Allowed per Money Order: $1,000
Payment Allowed: Cash, debit card, Walmart money card.

The $0.88 fee is the max fee and pricing varies by Walmart location. Only money orders that were created at Walmart can be cashed at Walmart.

2. Publix

When it comes to grocery stores, Publix is one of the cheaper places to get a money order. Here are the details.

Cost: $0.89
Company Used: Western Union
Maximum Amount Allowed per Money Order: $500
Payment Allowed: Cash, debit card.

It should also be noted that while Publix sells money orders, they do not cash them.

3. CVS Drugstore

CVS recently joined the ranks of drugstores offering money orders.

Cost: $0.99
Company Used: Money Gram
Maximum Amount Allowed per Money Order: $500
Payment Allowed: Cash, debit card.

Just walk up to any open checkout register at CVS and you can buy a money order. Be sure to bring a photo I.D. to make it happen.

4. 7-Eleven

Did you know you can grab a Slurpee and a money order on the same visit to 7-Eleven? Here’s the scoop.

Cost: $0.75
Company Used: Money Gram
Maximum Amount Allowed per Money Order: $500
Payment Allowed: Cash, debit card.

Since 7-Eleven locations are open 24 hours a day, they make for a great place to score that 2 a.m. money order you might need someday.

5. Kroger

Here’s what you need to know about getting a money order at Kroger.

Cost: $0.70
Company Used: Western Union
Maximum Amount Allowed per Money Order: $1,000
Payment Allowed: Cash, debit card.

Similar to Publix, Kroger is a great place to buy your groceries and money order all in the same trip.

6. K-Mart

As long as Kmart stays in business they’ll offer money orders.

Cost: $0.70
Company Used: Western Union
Maximum Amount Allowed per Money Order: $500
Payment Allowed: Cash only.

At $0.70 each, Kmart money orders are some of the cheapest around. But keep in mind that you CAN’T use your debit card to score one – cash only.

7. Meijer

Meijer has one of the cheaper money order services around.

Cost: $0.65
Company Used: Western Union
Maximum Amount Allowed per Money Order: $500 and $3,000 per customer, per day.
Payment Allowed: Cash, debit card.

8. Walgreens

Did you know that your local Walgreens offers money orders too? Here’s the skinny…

Cost: $0.65 – $1.00
Company Used: Western Union
Maximum Amount Allowed per Money Order: $500
Payment Allowed: Cash, debit card.

Update: Unfortunately Walgreens doesn’t offer money orders anymore. They now offer Western Union Money Transfers instead.

A WU money transfer allows you to use your debit card ($15 fee), credit card ($15 fee), or bank account ($0.99 fee) to send money to anyone at any time.

9. Rite-Aid

You can also get a money order at your local Rite-Aid drugstore.

Cost: $0.99
Company Used: Western Union
Maximum Amount Allowed per Money Order: $500
Payment Allowed: Cash, debit card.

It’s worth noting that Rite-Aid will NOT cash money orders at this time.

10. Local Banks

You can also go to your bank and ask for a money order.

While the fees may be higher, it will be much easier to have the money taken directly out of your bank account and turned into a money order.

Bank of America: $5 fee, $1,000 limit.
Wells Fargo: $5 fee, $1,000 limit.
US Bank: $5 fee, $1,000 limit.
Chase: $5 fee, $1,000 limit.
Regions Bank: $1 fee, $1,000 limit.

11. Post Office (USPS)

The United States Post Office is a tried-and-true way to get a money order created.

Cost: $1.25 for money orders $500 or under, $1.70 for $500.01 to $1,000.
Company Used: USPS
Maximum Amount Allowed per Money Order: $1,000
Payment Allowed: Cash, debit card, or traveler’s check.

USPS also lets you create international money orders with a $700 limit on each.

You can also cash in your next money order at the post office, which was something I was not aware of.

How Do I Spot a Fake Money Order?

Keep in mind that a thief can buy a money order for $1, then try to tamper with it to make the amount larger.

Or they can create a completely fake money order and try to pass if off as real.

When it comes to spotting a fake money order, there are 2 important things to be aware of.

1. Check the Dollar Amount – Does the dollar amount on the money order appear to be fuzzy or discolored? If it does, then there’s a good chance someone tried to erase the number and replace it with a larger number.

Also, if the amount is over $1,000 it’s probably a fake. This is because domestic money orders have a maximum value of $1,000 and international money orders have a maximum value of $700.

2. Examine the Paper – Hold the money order to a light (or at an angle) and check for a watermark.

If you don’t see a watermark you know it’s a fake.

USPS money orders have a watermark of Ben Franklin on the left side.

MoneyGram has a “logo” watermark on it as well as a heat-sensitive stop-sign that changes color when you put your finger over it.

Western Union also uses a watermark along with ink that will run when the money order is altered.

If you suspect a fake, you should call the company that issued it before trying to cash it.

– Western Union: 1-800-325-6000

– Money Gram: 1-800-666-3947

– USPS Verification System: 1-866-459-7822

What Should I Do If I Lost a Money Order?

There are 2 scenarios at play here…you either lost the money order before giving it to the recipient, or you lost it after it was given to you as a form of payment.

Let’s break down both scenarios…

1. You Lost a Money Order Before Giving it to Recipient

If the money order has yet to be cashed, you’re going to want to cancel it ASAP.

First call the issuer and explain the situation to them. This is where the importance of KEEPING YOUR RECEIPT comes into play.

Your receipt will have all the pertinent info needed to cancel the money order or to see if it’s been cashed.

You’ll typically be asked to fill out a cancellation request form, be sure to attached a copy of your receipt to it.

The issuer will give you instructions on how to return the form and you’ll be hit with a cancellation fee. Cancellation fees vary from $6 all the way up to $18 or more.

You’ll be given the option of getting a refund for the amount or having another money order issued.

Be warned that it can take 1-2 months for your cancellation request to be processed.

If you don’t have your receipt, it could cost you upwards of $30 to try and get your money order cancelled.

If the issuer comes back and tells you that the money order was cashed, you’ll have to take the evidence to the local authorities so they can investigate further.

2. You Lost a Money Order Given To You as Payment

Contact the person who gave you the money order and get a copy of the receipt if you can.

Next, call the issuer and they’ll help you through the process of regaining your cash.

The takeaway here is to cash or deposit your money order as soon as possible.

Where Should I Cash My Money Order?

When cashing a money order you’ll have to show a valid I.D., endorse it with your signature, and possibly pay a small fee before you get your cash.

When it comes to cashing or depositing it, here are the best places to make it happen.

  1. Bank or Credit Union – Take the money order to a bank or credit union that you already have an account with. You can either take the cash or deposit the money immediately into your account.
  2. Post Office – If you have a USPS money order you can take it to your local post office and have it cashed.
  3. Grocery Stores – Some grocery stores can it. Call ahead or visit the customer service desk to find out.
  4. Retail Stores – Many retail stores will cash a money order, but only if it was created at their store. For example, Walmart will only cash money orders that originated from a Walmart location.
  5. Check Cashing Business – Most will be able to cash your money order for you.

Ask the Reader: Where do you usually buy money orders? Do you prefer a specific business because of the location or because they have small fees?


By Kyle James

Photo credit to Marcin Wichary.

Best Buy’s Employee Discount: Here’s What You Must Know

March 25, 2019 by Kyle
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Thinking of applying for a job at Best Buy? One thing that might sway your decision one way or another is the Best Buy employee discount. Here’s everything you need to know about their discount, including items that are excluded and some insider tips that will maximize your savings.

Best Buy's Employee Discount: Here's What You Must Know

What is the Best Buy Employee Discount?

The standard employee discount at Best Buy is Cost + 10%.

So if an item’s retail price is $100, and the retail price is $60, you’ll get it for $66.

It should also be noted that you won’t qualify for their employee discount until you’ve worked at Best Buy for at least 3 months.

Do Some Products Not Qualify?

Unfortunately, yes.

You WON’T be able to get a discount on Geek Squad services, Apple products, most computers and tablets, movies, and smartphones.

See Also: 7 Mind-Blowing Ways to Save Money at Best Buy

What Items are a “Must-Buy” for Employees?

Because the discount is cost + 10%, the secret for scoring a great deal is knowing which items at Best Buy have the largest profit margin, which means they have a “low cost” to Best Buy.

Buy those and you can REALLY save some money, easily up to 50% off the retail price.

These items are not laptops and name-brand HDTV’s, but rather things like headphones, cables, cases, and other accessories.

Especially look for deals on Best Buy’s branded items as they have big margins. These include Insignia and Dynex HDTVs, Rocketfish cables, Geek Squad flash drives, and InIt cases.

Do Geek Squad Employees Score the Same Discount?

Yes, they’ll score the same discount as regular BB employees.

Is There a Maximum Discount Percentage?

Best Buy recently topped their employee discount at 50%.

Anything Else You Should Know?

Why yes, there are several things worth knowing…

– Brands Can Limit Discounts – Brands that sell at Best Buy have the authority to limit the discount employees receive.

– Questionable Best Buy “Cost” – I’ve been told that you have to take the word for what Best Buy says is their “cost” on an item. Some employees have questioned their “cost” as inflated.

– Some Products Have a Smaller Discount – Be aware that some stuff has an employee discount, but it might be lower than cost + 10%. It will often be cost + 5% or 8%.

Look for Free Stuff – Perhaps the coolest thing about working at Best Buy is the free stuff stores hand out to workers from time to time. Could be stuff that doesn’t sell, or new items that the brand is trying to promote.

Ask the Reader: Do you work at Best Buy or have you in the past? If so, what’s the largest Best Buy employee discount you’ve received?


By Kyle James

Photo credit to Mike Mozart.

Walmart Is Closing the Savings Catcher Program Forever (NO, I Say!)

March 22, 2019 by Kyle
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As I’ve talked about before, the Savings Catcher program at Walmart has been making a bunch of changes in recent months. Well, I have some major news on this front…the program is going away FOREVER. Here’s what you need to know.

Walmart Closing the Savings Catcher Program

Why is Savings Catcher Closing?

According to Walmart, their “efforts to lower prices upfront on thousands of items across our stores is working.”

So they feel the program is no longer needed.

As a shopper who’s earned close to $100 via the Savings Catcher program in the past 2 years I find this hard to believe.

I know for a fact that Walmart does NOT have lower prices on some items when compared to Costco, Target, and even local grocery stores.

When’s the Last Day?

The program’s official last day is May 14, 2019.

After that date you will no longer be able to submit receipts to Savings Catcher.

But you WILL be able to keep your Savings Catcher balance until you spend it and it will NEVER expire.

You’ll also still be able to scan your receipts into the Walmart App as I way to keep track of your purchases.

See Also: The 19 Stores That Will Price Match Walmart’s Low Prices

How Are Customers Reacting to the News?

As you might have guessed, not well.

Many loyal Walmart shoppers have taken to Twitter to voice their outrage…


While some shoppers are trying to plan a boycott for May 15th, others are done with Walmart altogether…

Moving Forward, Will Walmart Price Match at All?

So out of curiosity, I called my contact at Walmart and asked if they would be going back to a standard price match policy like they had in-place before Savings Catcher.

Regrettably, I was told they would NOT have a Walmart price-match policy moving forward.

Maybe this will change in the future, but for now the price you pay at Walmart should be considered the final price.

Ask the Reader: Are you going to miss the Savings Catcher program as much as I will?

By Kyle James

Photo credit to Mike Mozart.

J.Crew Return Policy: All You Need to Know to Make Returns a Breeze

February 26, 2019 by Kyle
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Let’s be honest, the J.Crew return policy is not very lenient. In fact, many shoppers might call it down-right stingy. But fortunately I’ve come up with a few clever hacks to make returns at J.Crew a little easier. Here’s everything you need to know about their policy to make returns a breeze.

JCrew Return Policy: Hacks to Make Returns a Breeze

How Many Return Days at J.Crew?

60 days.

You have exactly 60 days from the date of your purchase to return an item to J.Crew.

After 60 days you’re out of luck.

Can I Return Worn Items?

According to the J.Crew website, items must NOT be worn or washed if you want to return them.

I hit up their live chat to see if there was wiggle room in this policy and sadly there seems to be NONE.

You can try-on items at home, but if you take off the tags and wear them to work, it will be hard to return them UNLESS there is something wrong with them.

This leads us to hack number one…

HACK #1 – If there is indeed something wrong with them, most shoppers don’t know that you can send it back for “inspection”. If they’re deemed defective, J.Crew will issue you a gift card for the selling price. Visit your local store to start this process.

What If I Lost My J.Crew Receipt?

While your return will go much smoother with your receipt in hand, you’re NOT completely out-of-luck if you lose it.

Which leads us to hack number two…

HACK #2 – If you have the store location, date of purchase, and the last 4 numbers of the credit card used, they can look-up your order.

Unfortunately, for whatever reason, they CAN’T do this in-store, but they can via JCrew live chat or you can call them at (800) 562-0258 and they’ll get you your receipt.

Takeaway: Make your life easier and hold on to those J.Crew receipts like they are solid gold.

Are There Any Items I Can’t Return?

Yes, quite a few actually. Here they are…

Monogrammed Items: Applies mainly to shirts, socks and linens. If you get your initials put on something, you’re stuck with it.

Personalized Products: If you get something personalized you can’t return it.

Lingerie: Better make sure you buy the right size the first time.

Vintage Stuff: Not sure what “vintage” items J.Crew actually sells.

Final Sale Items: While final sale items are usually a great deal be aware that you CANNOT return them. 

HACK #3 – Sell your Final Sale items on eBay and you’ll undoubtedly make a nice little profit on them.

Fine Jewelry: You can’t return jewelry to a brick and mortar J.Crew location. You gotta call (800) 261-7422 to make arrangements for a return.

Does JCrew Track My Return History?

If you return an item that was paid for with cash or check, they’ll ask you for a government issued ID.

This leads me to believe that they’re tracking your purchases to make sure you don’t abuse their policy.

Can I Return Items Bought at a J Crew Factory Store?

Yes, you can return them.

But…you can only return “Factory Store” items to an actual J.Crew Factory Store.

Also, they’ve cut the number of return days in half to 30 days.

What About Returning Online Purchases?

You have a couple options when returning online orders.

You can either take the item(s) back to your local J.Crew store for a return or exchange OR you can mail them back using their Prepaid service.

Be aware that you’ll be hit with a $7.50 return shipping fee if you opt for the 2nd option. The good news is that you only pay this flat fee once, no matter how many items you might be returning.

The $7.50 fee will be deducted from your total return.

Ask the Reader: What’s been your experience with the JCrew return policy? It seems pretty strict but maybe you have some other hacks that make it less so. Let us all know in the comments below, thanks.


By Kyle James

Photo credit to Mike Mozart.

This Simple Amazon “Workaround Hack” Will Make Shopping Even Easier

February 11, 2019 by Kyle
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Do you get frustrated when shopping on Amazon from your laptop or desktop? Especially when shopping for anything that has different sizes or colors, like clothing and shoes? If you do, you already know you have to manually pick your size and color to see the corresponding price. Very tedious and REALLY time consuming. Wouldn’t it be nice if Amazon displayed the price for all sizes and colors on one screen? If you know what I’m talking about, I have a solution and this Amazon workaround hack is for you. Let’s break it down.

This Simple Amazon Hack Will Make Shopping Even Easier

First, the Problem….

Puma Shoes on Amazon Desktop

Just the other day I was shopping on my laptop for a new pair of Puma shoes on Amazon.

I didn’t really care what color, I just wanted the lowest price in my size.

I found it REALLY tedious to have pick every color available to see what the price was. Check out the screenshot above to see what I’m talking about. They list the color but not the corresponding price.

Since Amazon is notorious for having vastly different prices for shoes and clothing, depending on size and color, I knew there HAD to be a better way to shop their website.

By the way, this goes for more than just apparel and footwear on Amazon, pretty much any product that comes in different colors or sizes will have different pricing. Think of things like water bottles, hats, Bluetooth speakers, backpacks, headphones, etc…

See Also: The One Amazon Hack That’ll Find You the Lowest Price…Every Time

Next, the Simple Solution….

Puma Shoes on Amazon Mobile

I vaguely remembered that when shopping from my iPhone, Amazon listed pricing along with the different colors.

So on a whim I pulled out my smartphone, went to Amazon.com via the Safari browser, and low-and-behold THEY DO list the prices below each color. (See screenshot above)

OK, that’s great, but what if you’re like me and find it really hard to shop from the tiny screen on your smartphone?

Or maybe you still have a flip phone? I know many of you do!

Well, the solution is to shop on the Amazon MOBILE site from your laptop or desktop computer.

To make it happen, you simply type in Amazon.com/mobile into your browser and the mobile site will automatically load.

BOOM, you’ll now gain access to the price of all sizes and colors without having to click on each one individually.

What Will the Mobile Site Look Like?

Amazon Mobile

As you can tell from the screenshot above, Amazon mobile displayed on your desktop or laptop computer will look a little funny at first.

It will have a lot more “white space” on it and will look way less cluttered and busy.

Heck, because of the simplicity of the “mobile view”, you might end up liking it even better and never switch back.

How To Go Back to “Full” Site?

When you’re done shopping on the Amazon mobile site, you may want to go back to the full Amazon “Non-Mobile” site for whatever reason.

To make it happen, you simply type amazon.com/fullsite into the browser and you’ll be magically transported back.

If the Amazon site seems to be “stuck” in mobile-mode, try clearing your browser’s cache and cookies and then reload the site.

Happy shopping and I hope you find this Amazon hack as handy as I did.

Ask the Reader: Have you tried this Amazon “workaround hack” before? Let me know if you were as stoked as I was with the result.


By Kyle James

JCPenney Return Policy: 8 Questions Answered So You Can Shop Smart

February 4, 2019 by Kyle
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At first glance the JCPenney return policy looks pretty awesome, but when you start to look a little closer you notice that there are MANY exceptions that shoppers need to be aware of. Not only will I break down these exceptions, but I’ll answer all your burning return policy questions and even give you an insider hack for those who lost their JCPenney receipt. I hope this information helps.

JCPenney Return Policy: Questions Answered So You Can Shop With Ease

How Many Return Days Does JCPenney Offer?

For most items, there is NO time limit on returns.

The most popular items that come with NO time limit on returns at JCPenney include shoes, clothing, linens, bedding, housewares, kitchen gadgets, and home decor.

What If I Don’t Have My Receipt?

If you lost your JCPenney receipt, you’re NOT out of luck.

You can still return items but will have to settle for the lowest advertised price in the past 45 days.

You can’t get a cash refund and will instead receive store credit to be used on a future JCP purchase.

Be prepared to show a valid I.D. as they’ll track your return history to avoid any misuse of their fairly generous return policy.

Are There Any Exceptions to This?

Yes, there are quite a few items that have a time limit on returns.Here are the most notable.

Fine Jewelry 60 days with a receipt. Also worth noting that watches must be unworn.

Smart Watches/Fitness Trackers – 10 days with a receipt and they must be unworn and you must have a receipt.

Body Jewelry – All sales are final.

Special Occasion Dresses – No time limit but dresses must be unworn with green return tag still on them.

Furniture/Mattresses – Must be returned within 48 hours of delivery. Call them at 1-800-442-7902 to start your return. Also note that you’ll be hit with a 15% restocking fee and $85 pick-up fee.

Electronics – The same as furniture, 48 hours from time of delivery. You’ll also be hit with the same restocking and pick-up fee.

Fitness Equipment – Same as electronics above. 

Major Appliances – 48 hours from time of delivery and you MUST have your receipt. You’ll also be hit with a 15% restocking fee.

Custom Blinds & Drapes – Order must be cancelled within 24 hours of initial purchase. There is NO refund available after that since the items are custom made. 

In-Home Window Treatments – You must request a refund within 3 days of original contract date. 

Home Services – Includes things like flooring and counter-tops. You have 3 business days from your order date to request a refund. 

Salon Items – 60 days and you must have a valid receipt. 

Sephora Products60 Days with a receipt, if beyond 60 days you’ll get store credit. If you don’t have your receipt they may be able to “look up” your purchase if you have a Beauty Insider account.

Optical – Custom made eyewear comes with a 24 hour return policy. You can also exchange eyewear within 60 days, if not satisfied, for glasses of equal or lesser value.

Portrait – 60 days with a valid receipt. 

Can Items Be Used or Worn?

The short answer is DEPENDS and often falls on the discretion of the store manager.

If items are gently worn, you stand a good chance of returning the items.

If you buy a blouse, spill wine on it, then try to return it you might have a hard time returning it unless there is something wrong with the blouse that is not your fault.

The same can be said for items missing their original tags and packaging…your mileage will vary.

Are There Any Items That CAN’T Be Returned?

Yes, there is indeed some stuff you CAN’T return to JCPenney and here they are.

  • Gift Cards
  • Monogrammed Items
  • Personalized Items
  • Altered Items
  • Body Jewelry
  • Perishable Foods

Everything else JCP sells is returnable.

What About Returning a Gift?

You can return items with a gift receipt BUT you can’t get cash for them.

You will have to settle for store credit or an even exchange.

Also, you’ll get the price of the item that’s listed on the actual gift receipt.

If you don’t have the gift receipt you’ll get the lowest listed price within the past 45 days.

Can I Return Online Purchases In-Store?

Yes, absolutely.

When you buy anything from the JCPenney website, you can definitely return it to your local brick and mortar location.

This is obviously the quickest and easiest way to make a return.

If you don’t have a JCP in your area you can simply use the “Return & Exchange” form that came with your package to process your return.

The one problem with this is that you’ll be on the hook for the return delivery charges.

Hack Alert: Did You Lose Your JCP Receipt?

Ask an Associate to Look Up Your Purchase.

JCP

Apparently, according to the JCP Facebook page, you can ask an associate to use your credit card to look up your previous purchases.

I’m guessing your mileage may vary as some associates might not know how to do this…but it’s worth a shot.

If the associate looks at you kinda funny, ask if a manager can do it for you.

Ask the Reader: Have you made a return recently at JCPenney? Was it an easy process or a total pain in the butt? Let me know!


By Kyle James

Photo credit to Mike Mozart.

What is an “Amazon Go” Store and Why You Should Care

January 28, 2019 by Kyle
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How would you like to be able walk into a grocery store, fill your basket with goods and walk out without standing in line and checking out? That’s exactly what you do when you walk into an Amazon Go store and it’s pretty incredible technology. Here’s how Amazon Go stores work and why you should give a darn.

What is an

OK, So What Exactly are “Amazon Go” Stores?

Amazon Go is a “brick and mortar” grocery store concept that lets you walk in, grab the items you want, then walk out without having to checkout in the traditional way.

No cashiers asking you “So whatcha up to today?” and more importantly, NO lines.

You simply download the Amazon Go app for free, scan the app when you walk in, and they’ll track exactly what you buy and bill your Amazon account when you exit.

Once you scan the app, and enter the store, you can put your phone away as you won’t need it again.

Where Are Amazon Go Stores Currently?

The Amazon Go roll-out started back in 2016 in Seattle and has grown to 9 stores as of this writing.

Besides Seattle (4), they have stores in Chicago (3) and San Francisco (2). Two more in the works.

Most are currently located in busy financial districts where workers want to grab a quick lunch or snack. This is evident by many Amazon Go locations being closed on weekends.

What Products Do They Carry?

Think of Amazon Go stores as a “corner market” type of store.

They carry staple items like dairy, bread, candy, drinks, snacks, coffee, and personal hygiene products.

But their most popular section is the prepackaged foods for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Most are from local restaurants and suppliers that shoppers recognize and know are tasty.

And yes, they carry alcohol. Be prepared to show your ID to an employee before entering the booze section of the store.

Also, when shopping at a specific Amazon Go location, be sure to tap the Discover tab within the app and it’ll tell you exactly what the store carries.

What About Amazon Go Prices?

The prices aren’t outrageous and are actually reasonable.

For example, you can get a tasty wrap for $6.49, a bag of chips for $1.29, and a bottle of water for $.99. That’s well under $10 for a quick lunch. Not bad.

Are the prices going to be less than a big-box grocery store? Not typically, but the concept of “time being money” makes the Amazon Go proposition a winner for many on the move.

As Amazon opens more “Go” stores, look for prices to drop as they fine tune the technology and figure out how to pass more savings along to you.

Do You Need to be a Prime Member?

Nope.

Amazon Go is open to ALL shoppers, even those without a Prime membership.

You just need an Amazon account along with a smartphone so you can download the app.

How Accurate is the Technology?

Amazingly, it is REALLY accurate.

So accurate in fact that Amazon has said that if you manage to exit an Amazon Go location with something you weren’t charged for, it’s on them and you can KEEP it.

I was intrigued by this YouTube video from Linus Tech Tips as they did a great job explaining the tech being used in the store.

Not only are there cameras everywhere tracking your movements, but they track what items you pick up and take along with those that you pick up, stare at, then put back.

The prepackaged food items have specific Amazon Go bar-codes on them but the other items don’t, which is kinda incredible.

Amazon has been tight lipped when talking about exactly how the stores work, but in any case, they’re clearly using computer vision and deep learning to track what you grab.

Why Should You Care About This?

Put simply, because it’s the future.

Remember when Amazon acquired Whole Foods back in 2017?

It was no accident that this was shortly after the first Amazon Go store popped up in Seattle.

Look for Amazon to bring this technology to Whole Foods in the very near future.

It might not be in the entire store to start, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it was in the next few years.

This line-less technology is the future of “brick & mortar” shopping and Amazon is at forefront.

Data Concerns?

When you walk into an Amazon Go location you better believe the data collection starts in earnest.

They’re tracking what you buy, what you look at (and for how long), and how you navigate the store.

Data that’s used to improve their stores and technology to better serve you.

This data collection might seem a bit “big brotherish” but it’s the price you pay to enter Amazon Go….your choice.

Ask the Reader: Have you ever shopped at an Amazon Go location? Would you go back? How was the experience and the value proposition?


By Kyle James

Photo credit to Amazon.com.

Are Costco Tires Cheaper? Here’s How Costco Prices Stack Up

January 23, 2019 by Kyle
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Is the tread depth on your tires looking a little skimpy these days? Costco just might be the place to go to save some money on your next set of tires. In this article, I dive into the pricing at Costco along with some handy tire shop “hacks”, along with the warranty they give you. But more importantly, I look at the price of Costco tires and how it stacks up to Walmart, Big O Tires, and America’s Tire Company. (Hint: The savings secret is in the coupon.)

Are Costco Tires Cheaper? Here's How Costco Prices Stack Up

In order to compare “apples to apples”, I’m gonna use my 2004 Chevy Silverado as an example.

I’ll see what 4 new tires would cost me at Costco, then I’ll use the same tire and compare my other options.

I choose a tire from Michelin, specifically the Defender LTX M/S, as it’s a popular worldwide brand that pretty much everybody sells.

What Is The Cost of 4 New Tires at Costco?

4 New Tires at Costco

So my Chevy truck needs 4 new tires. My first stop is Costco.com to see what it’ll cost me.

After entering my vehicle’s specs, four new Michelin Defender LTX tires will run me $186.49 each.

Add an install fee of $15 per tire, and a $2.99 service fee per tire, and I’m out the door for $817.92. (before tax)

Note: Check out the screenshot above, the $70 coupon for 4 Michelin tires was VERY helpful. Costco almost ALWAYS has a coupon like this. Might not be for Michelin, could be for Goodyear, Pirelli, or BF Goodrich. (More on this later)

Of course you’ll need to be a Costco member to be eligible for their tire deals.

See Also: 7 Ways to Essentially Get a $60 Costco Membership for Free

How Does Costco Compare to the Competition?

With the $817.92 number in-hand, I went out and compared the Costco price to the following local competitors…

Walmart:

Walmart Tires

The same exact tire at Walmart, the Michelin Defender LTX M/S, sells for $203.99 per tire.

Throw in their basic tire installation of $15 per tire and the total (minus tax) would be $875.96.

For those of you who don’t want to do the math, Costco is over $58 cheaper than Walmart.

Big O Tires:

4 New Tires at Big O

The same Michelin tire at my local Big O Tires is even more expensive than Walmart and WAY more than Costco.

As you can tell from the screenshot above, I’d be out the door at Big O for $965.

That’s $147 more than my local Costco.

America’s Tire:

America's Tire

The folks at America’s Tire are also more expensive than Costco.

Four new Michelin tires would run me $816 + $80 install fee + $10 disposal fee = $906.

A little cheaper than Big O Ties, plus they offer a lifetime tire service which gets you free rotations and free flat repair for the life of the tire.

My Conclusion:

Costco tire prices beat the competition quite easily in my scenario.

But surprisingly the only way to consistency get a lower price at Costco is to use one of their current coupons which will get you a discount on a set of 4 new tires.

Costco Tire Coupon

The key here is to NOT be a “brand specific” tire shopper.

Maximize your savings by taking advantage of whatever coupon they’re currently offering.

With that said, Costco often (if not always) has great tire coupons available for brands like Michelin, Goodyear, BF Goodrich, and Bridgestone.

Take advantage and you’ll save enough money to cover the cost of your annual Costco membership.

By the way, I thought I might find a similar Michelin tire coupon at some of the other retailers that I price-checked, but surprisingly there were NONE to be found.

Any Cool Costco Tire “Extras” to Be Aware Of?

Yes, glad you asked.

Every tire you buy from Costco comes with their 5-Year Road Hazard Warranty which you should factor into your buying decision.

This warranty will get you the following:

– Flat Repair: If one of your tires has a flat, Costco will fix it for free.

– Free Tire Rotations – Bring your car in every 5,000 miles for a free tire rotation. This will make your tire tread last much longer.

– Free Pressure & Inflation Checks – If your low tire pressure light comes on you can bring your car back to Costco and they’ll take care of you.

Conversely, the Costco Road Hazard Warranty DOES NOT cover the following:

– Tire Damaged from Certain Situations: These situations include an accident, vandalism, racing, commercial use, off-road use, snow chains, and worn mechanical components.

– Tire Transferred from Another Vehicle – Only the car which the tire was originally installed on is eligible.

The Costco warranty just might sway you when all other things are equal, namely price per tire.

BONUS: 4 Costco Tire Center “Hacks”

1. Always Make an Appointment – Showing up at Costco to get new tires, especially on a weekend, it gonna lead you to a 2-3 hour wait (at least).

Be smart and call ahead to schedule an appointment or do it online.

2. Keep an Eye Out for Penny Installation Deals – A few times per year Costco will roll out their “1 Cent Install Deal” which will save you an easy $60.

Costco 1 Cent Install Deal

3. Costco Offers FREE Tire Rotations and Flat Repairs – When comparing the Costco price to your local competitors be sure to take this into account.

4. Costco Fills Your Tires with Nitrogen – Apparently this helps keep your tire pressure more stable and gives it less temperature swings in extreme weather.

Ask the Reader: Do you buy your tires at Costco? If so, was it an easy process and how much money did you save?


By Kyle James