12 Walgreens Shopping Tips & Tricks to Save Money (Online & In-Store)

If you live in the United States, chances are you do some of your health and wellness shopping at Walgreens.

The pharmacy chain is an iconic American brand. According to Walgreens, 78% of the U.S. population lives within 5 miles of a Walgreens, and there are more than 9,000 Walgreens stores across the country.

Walgreens makes shopping for pharmacy services, health care products, and beauty supplies easy. The convenient shopping experience Walgreens provides can quickly drain your wallet if you’re not careful, however.

Ways to Save Money at Walgreens

Thankfully, there are numerous ways to save money at Walgreens. Use these money-saving tricks the next time you shop.

1. Sign Up for myWalgreens

Often the most effective way to save money at a major retailer is to sign up for its rewards platform and credit card. For example, Walmart has its Walmart Rewards Card and Target offers the Target REDcard;. Similarly the easiest way to save money at Walgreens is to sign up for the myWalgreens reward program.

Formerly known as Walgreens Balance Rewards, myWalgreens is the company’s new loyalty program that pays you for your loyalty. It doesn’t matter whether you shop in-store, online, or from the Walgreens App. However you shop, myWalgreens cuts down on costs.

Features of the myWalgreens program include:

  • Everyday Points. Earn 10 points for every $1 you spend (1% cash back) on almost all non-Walgreens-branded purchases at Walgreens.
  • Bonus Points. Earn 50 points for every $1 you spend (5% cash back) on Walgreens branded products.
  • Save Online. Shop online or through the Walgreens app and still earn points for eligible purchases.
  • Save Time. Order online or through the Walgreens app and pick up your order in-store or at curbside from a local Walgreens within 30 minutes.

1,000 myWalgreens points equals $1. You can redeem your points when you reach $1 minimum. Points are redeemable in-store or online up to a maximum of $50 per transaction.

You can also compete in myWalgreens health goals to earn bonus points each month. These four-week challenges include a series of weekly physical and lifestyle challenges, such as reaching a certain step count. You track your weekly activity with a Walgreens-supported fitness app or device.

Once you complete a week of challenges, you earn $0.25 in myWalgreens points. If you complete an entire month of challenges, you earn $1 and a bonus entry for a chance to win an additional $2 in points. While this won’t pay for a Walgreens shopping spree, every bit counts, and it’s also fun to get paid to stay active.

Your myWalgreens points expire after one year. If you’re a former Walgreens Balance Rewards member, sign up for myWalgreens before April 1, 2021, to ensure your points transfer to the new program.

Ultimately, the ability to earn 5% cash back on Walgreens brand products is a substantial upgrade for this loyalty program.

2. Install the Walgreens App

The Walgreens app makes it easy to refill prescriptions, consult a pharmacist, and use the Walgreens photo center. The app also lets shoppers save more money by providing easy access to coupons and deals.

With the Walgreens app, it’s easy to browse through the Weekly Ad section and to clip paperless coupons. At checkout, you can use the app to redeem coupons, earn myWalgreens points, or pay through Google Pay, Samsung Pay, or Apple Pay.

The mobile app also allows you to browse stores to check product availability and to compare prices between in-store and online products. If you’re shopping for expensive beauty or health care products, this feature is excellent for finding more affordable alternatives.

The Walgreens app is available for Android and iOS devices. It’s a must-download because it makes money-saving features such as Weekly Ads and coupons more accessible.

3. Shop With a Cash-Back Credit Card

Shopping with a cash-back credit card is an effective way to save money at Walgreens.

Walgreens accepts a wide range of payment methods in-store and online, including Mastercard, Discover Network, and American Express. Although Walgreens, unfortunately, lacks its own rewards credit card, you can earn cash back with other cards while also earning myWalgreens points.

Several cash-back credit cards to consider include:

  • Chase Freedom Unlimited®. Earn 1.5% cash back on most purchases and 5% on rotating quarterly categories, which can include pharmacies. This card has no annual fee, and you earn a $150 bonus when you spend at least $500 on eligible purchases in the first three months.
  • Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card. This zero-fee card provides 3% cash back for a category of your choice, 2% at grocery stores, and 1% everywhere else. You can choose pharmacies as your 3% category. You also earn a $200 bonus for spending $1,000 within the first 90 days of opening your account.
  • Amazon Prime Rewards Card by Chase. This card pays 5% cash back on Amazon.com if you’re a Prime Member. You also earn 2% cash back at restaurants, gas stations, and pharmacies, as well as 1% everywhere else. Redeem cash back on Amazon purchases or through cash, gift cards, and travel rewards.

Ultimately, which credit card you choose is up to you. What’s important is taking advantage of any cash-back reward options you have when shopping at Walgreens.

4. Make Use of Walgreens Coupons and Register Rewards

There are multiple ways to make use of coupons at Walgreens.

The easiest way is through Register Rewards (RR). At Walgreens, certain products award you an RR coupon upon purchase. These are manufacturer coupons you can use on future purchases to save money at Walgreens.

For example, if you purchase toothpaste and receive a $1 RR coupon for the same brand of toothpaste, you can use the RR coupon on your next shopping trip. It’s basically a rebate program, except your savings take place on your next purchase.

The easiest way to find RR coupons is to look in the Weekly Ads section or browse in-store products. Stacking Registry Rewards plus coupons from Weekly Ads is the most effective way to save. Just be sure to review the limitations for the Registry Rewards program and Walgreens’ coupon policies:

  • Multiple Coupons. The total number of coupons, including manufacturer coupons, can’t exceed the number of items in the transaction. Otherwise, you can stack manufacturer coupons and Walgreens store coupons unless specific terms prohibit doing so.
  • Total Coupon Value. The total value of all coupons can’t exceed the value of the transaction.
  • Register Rewards Limit. There’s a limit of one RR coupon per offer per transaction. You can’t use an RR coupon to unlock another RR coupon for immediate use.
  • Coupon Expiration. RR coupons expire in 15 days.
  • BOGO Deals. You must purchase at least one product as part of a buy one, get one (BOGO) offer.

Note that coupons can prevent you from earning myWalgreens points if you aren’t careful. For example, if there’s an offer to earn 10,000 myWalgreens points for spending $50 or more but your coupons drop your transaction total below that requirement, you don’t earn the points. Keep this in mind when calculating how much coupons will actually save you.

5. Find Exclusive Online Deals

Walgreens already makes it easy to shop online by offering free shipping on most products regardless of your order total. Walgreens.com also offers exclusive online deals. The Walgreens Online Deals section of the site has a range of rotating offers.

Examples of online-only deals include:

  • Price Cuts. Many products are on sale at discounts of 25% to 50% off.
  • Bonus Balance Reward Points. Earn thousands of Balance Reward Points for buying specially marked items.
  • Buy One, Get X. There are plenty of BOGO offers and “Buy one, get X percent off” deals available online.
  • Rebates. Earn cash rebates for buying specific products.

Balance Rewards members also earn points for shopping online. In addition, the Promotion Terms page often lists online coupon codes new customers can use to earn even more discounts at checkout, so be sure to check this page to save money on your first Walgreens purchase.

6. Shop Online With Cash-Back Sites and Apps

Since shopping online is already an excellent Walgreens saving strategy, using cash-back sites and apps like Rakuten or Honey only sweetens the deal.

Using Rakuten and Honey together is an incredibly effective money-saving combination. Here’s how each platform works:

  • Rakuten: Earn cash back for shopping through Rakuten’s web portal at thousands of retailers.
  • Honey: This browser extension automatically applies coupon codes at checkout to find the best deals possible.

Rakuten offers up to 3% cash back at Walgreens. To earn this cash back, just create a free account at Rakuten and visit Rakuten’s Walgreens page before shopping at Walgreens.com. Your cash back appears in your Rakuten wallet. Rakuten pays through PayPal every quarter as long as you hold more than $5 in your account.

Like other shopping browser extensions, all you have to do to save with Honey is install the Honey browser extension. When you shop, Honey alerts you if there are coupon codes available and applies them at checkout.

Honey also offers a cash-back side of their platform known as Honey Gold. This feature lets you earn even more cash back at select retailers, including Walgreens., Honey Gold provides 1% to 5% cash back at Walgreens.

Honey Gold is redeemable for a variety of gift cards to merchants like Amazon, Walmart, Target, and Macy’s.

7. Shop On Senior Discount Days and Use AARP Benefits

If you’re over age 55, Walgreens offers you even more ways to save money in-store and online.

Every Tuesday is Senior Savings Day at Walgreens. Seniors typically save between 20% to 30% by shopping online during this day, and Walgreens rotates what products are eligible for a discount.

Note that these discounts only apply to regularly priced items. Furthermore, only one product per account is eligible for a senior discount.

However, if you’re an AARP member, you can save even more by joining the myWalgreens reward program to link your two accounts together.

There are several ways to save as an AARP member at Walgreens, including:

  • Vaccinations. Get free flu shots as an AARP member.
  • Health and Wellness Bonuses. Earn 10% cash back in myWalgreens points for Walgreens branded health and wellness products.
  • Beauty and Personal Care Bonuses. Earn 3% cash back in myWalgreens points on eligible beauty and personal care products.

AARP membership benefits apply in-store and online, and you’re automatically eligible for discounts once you sign up for myWalgreens.

8. Join The Prescriptions Savings Club

The Prescriptions Savings Club grants discounts on the price of brand-name and generic medications at Walgreens. It’s an easy way to save on medical expenses and offers robust discounts:

  • Prescription Discounts. Save on more than 8,000 prescriptions. You can save even more on generic medications; see Walgreens’ value-price medication list for current prices.
  • Immunization Savings. Receive 5% to 20% off most immunizations.
  • Additional Savings. Enjoy discounts on various pet medications, all compound medications, nebulizers, and diabetic supplies with a prescription.
  • Health Care Clinic Services Discount. Save 10% on clinic services.

The Prescriptions Saving Club costs $20 for individuals and $35 for families per year. Individuals benefiting from Medicare, Medicaid, or Tricare programs are ineligible.

Although this program is not an insurance plan, if you don’t have insurance or you have prescriptions your insurance doesn’t cover, this program is an effective way to reduce your medication costs. The Prescription Savings Club also applies to refilling prescriptions online, making it even easier to save.

9. Auto-Reorder and Save

If you find yourself regularly buying the same products from Walgreens each month, you can save up to 20% by using the auto-reorder feature.

The auto-reorder feature is similar to Amazon’s Subscribe and Save. This service provides 10% off plus free shipping starting on your second delivery, and Walgreens products are eligible for up to 20% in discounts.

Popular categories for auto-reordering include wellness products, vitamins and supplements, household goods, beauty supplies, and baby products.

Auto-Reorder and Save works in three steps:

  • Select Products. Choose from thousands of everyday products at Walgreens.com.
  • Choose a Delivery Schedule. Select how often you want your deliveries. You can skip or cancel your order any time without incurring fees.
  • Get Regular Shipments. Enjoy your favorite products at a discount.

There is no minimum order requirement to get free shipping. If a product on your order goes on sale, you receive the greater of the two possible discounts.

10. Shop With A Flexible Spending Account (FSA)

A flexible spending account (FSA) is an account you can use to pay for out-of-pocket health care expenses. You need to work for an employer who offers an FSA to make use of this account, so this option won’t work for self-employed individuals. Using an FSA helps you save money because you don’t pay income taxes on the money in the account.

Walgreens has a wide variety of FSA-eligible products, including:

  • Contact lenses
  • Home medical equipment
  • First aid supplies
  • Pain relief products
  • Family planning products
  • Baby supplies
  • Vitamins and supplements

Walgreens also has an FSA Sale section, making it even easier to save on health care supplies.

You can use your FSA card in-store and online. Be sure to read the Walgreens FSA terms or consult your health care provider to learn more about your personal FSA account.

11. Subscribe to the Walgreens Newsletter

If you prefer getting coupons and deals via email, sign up for the Walgreens newsletter to ensure you don’t miss out on savings.

You can tailor your email subscription to include only the information you want from the following Walgreens categories:

  • Health Care Clinic. Learn more about special offers and services at Walgreens clinics.
  • Health and Wellness Resources. Receive seasonal health advisories and pharmacy service information.
  • Custom myWalgreens Offers. Get personalized deals and product recommendations based on your shopping habits.
  • Extra Deals. Get weekly updates on in-store deals and online-exclusives.
  • Weekly Ads. Catch up on Walgreens Weekly Ads via email.

This newsletter is free, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

12. Shop for the Right Tags

Like many other major retailers, Walgreens uses a tag system in its stores to distinguish products that are on clearance or at a discount.

Orange tags mean products are on clearance, so it’s a good idea to buy these items quickly before they’re gone for good.

Red tags mean a product has a lower price than normal. If you need the product in question within the next few weeks, it’s probably a good idea to buy it at this lower price point.


Final Word

If you’re shopping for health and wellness products or refilling a prescription, you can probably find what you need at Walgreens. Walgreens makes it easy to find affordable prices and satisfy all of your wellness needs in one place. However, if you aren’t careful, health-related expenses can still get out of hand.

Use a multitude of strategies to cut down on your Walgreens spending. Even incorporating a few of the above money-saving tips can put a significant dent in your annual health care expenses. And when you consider how easy most of these tips are — such as using the Walgreens App to find coupons or joining programs like the Prescriptions Saving Club — there’s no excuse for not saving.

After all, every dollar counts. Put in the effort to save, and you’ll be surprised at how much of a positive impact it has on your finances.

Source: moneycrashers.com

Coronavirus in Your Apartment Community: How To Stay Safe

Learn how Apartment Guide is responding to coronavirus and taking steps to help renters and property managers during this challenging time.


There has been a flood of information online about how to keep yourself safe from being exposed to or contracting novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as it spreads across the world and the nation.

Preventing coronavirus in your apartment

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has offered a number of reference articles and official statements on how to best protect yourself and your family.

But for apartment dwellers, those with common spaces, mailbox clusters, lobbies, trash chutes and a plethora of door handles, keeping safe and practicing prevention habits is a bit more difficult. From your own personal hygiene to how to manage your apartment to what to expect from your landlord, here are all the tips, suggestions and instructions straight from the CDC just for renters and apartment tenants.

1. Wash your hands often

Wash your hands after you touch another person or a common surface. Wash your hands before and after you touch or prepare food. Wash your hands after using the restroom. Wash your hands after you cough, sneeze or blow your nose. Wash your hands when you get home from being out.

Wash by covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry. When you wash, rub with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Experts have recommended singing “Happy Birthday” twice. If you’re tired of that, try other songs with 20-second choruses like:

  • “Take on Me” by A-ha
  • “Jolene” by Dolly Parton
  • “Raspberry Beret” by Prince
  • “Truth Hurts” by Lizzo
  • “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees (like that CPR scene from “The Office”)

If soap and water are not available, disinfect your hands by utilizing a 60 to 95 percent alcohol hand sanitizer and following the listed instructions.

washing handswashing hands

2. Avoid close contact with people who are sick

This seems obvious. But since you never know who is sick, minimize contact in general, as well. Spread out on the bus or subway or in line. Touch elbows instead of shaking hands or fist-bumping, or politely decline to touch at all. Try to avoid touching common surfaces others touch in public places and in your apartment building or common areas as best you can. Don’t share food or drinks.

3. Avoid touching your face

No matter how hard you try, you’re going to touch unsanitary surfaces or people. To prevent infecting yourself, do your best to refrain from touching your eyes, nose or mouth, as these are the main entry points for disease.

4. Cover your mouth

If you must cough or sneeze, cover your mouth with a tissue, then throw the tissue into a trash can that has a closed cover. The same goes for blowing your nose. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve like you’re doing “The Dab,” not into your hands.

5. Wear a face mask

The CDC is now encouraging people to wear face masks when they go into public areas. Since everyone is home right now, you should treat all common spaces in your apartment complex as a public place. If you can’t find a face mask, consider DIYing a no-sew face mask with items you might already have in your apartment.

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6. Clean and disinfect

Keep your apartment neat, clean and organized to maintain a healthy environment. Clean regularly and sanitize often using items like Lysol spray and Clorox wipes on “high touch” surfaces including countertops, tabletops, doorknobs, nightstands, bathroom fixtures, toilets, refrigerator handles, kitchen faucets, light switches, TV remotes, cell phones, computer keyboards and tablets.

7. Stock up but don’t hoard

While unlikely, it’s possible you may wind up quarantined in your apartment, or even just sick and self-quarantining. For that scenario, which shouldn’t last longer than two weeks, you should stock up (but not hoard) a few basic items:

  • Non-perishable items like canned meat, fish, beans, soups, broths and stews, fruits and vegetables, and canned or powdered milk
  • Ready to serve items like peanut butter, jelly, crackers, nuts, trail mix, dried fruits and granola bars
  • Baby food and pet food
  • Bottled water, fruit juices and fluids like Pedialyte or Gatorade
  • Toothpaste, toilet paper, tissues, feminine supplies, diapers, laundry detergent and disinfectant
  • Hand sanitizer that’s minimum 60 percent alcohol, over-the-counter cold and flu medicines and any refills of prescriptions

flu maskflu mask

Coronavirus protection in your apartment building or community

When you live in a public space like an apartment building or complex, protections from coronavirus become more communal. Precautions are no different than the CDC encourages you to take in your own home, but the difference is you don’t have control of everything that happens.

If you’re concerned about your management’s preparation for coronavirus prevention, sit down with your landlord or property manager and find out if they’re following CDC guidelines. Here are some suggestions for protections they can take based on CDC recommendations.

1. Make hand sanitizer available everywhere

You don’t have sinks to wash in all over your lobby or common areas, so your building should provide hand sanitizer everywhere — at the front desk, at the gym, by the mailboxes — and encourage residents, staff and visitors to use it often.

2. Clean a lot

Just like in your apartment, high-traffic surfaces in common areas should be cleaned and sanitized, and it should be repeated multiple times a day. The staff should be instructed to disinfect commonly-touched surfaces in places like the front desk, lobby restroom, mailroom, game rooms, elevators, door handles and delivery areas. All deliveries should be left in the lobby for pickup and not taken to apartments.

3. Close the garbage

All trash cans, both outdoor plastic garbage cans and lobby wastebaskets, ought to have working lids which should be kept closed. No one wants to, or should be forced to, pick up used tissues that have fallen on the ground.

4. Don’t come in if you’re sick

Apartment management should implement flexible sick leave policies and make sure all workers and staff know that their jobs are safe and they won’t be docked pay for staying home if they’re sick. Sick employees will only spread infections to residents. Ask management to ensure all contractors are following the same policies.

5. Be transparent and communicative

All employees, residents and visitors should be encouraged to alert property management if they believe they might have contracted coronavirus, especially if they have used common areas. That way, other residents and staff can be notified and take appropriate precautions.

sick personsick person

If you’re sick or feel like you’re getting sick

Even with all of the precautions, there is still a chance you’ll contract the disease. Follow these steps the moment you begin to feel sick, even if it just feels like a cold.

1. Stay home

Unless it’s to see your doctor or go to the hospital, stay in your apartment and don’t go out. Don’t go to work, school or to public areas. Try to avoid public transportation, taxicabs or rideshares. Not only will you not infect others, the more you stay at home and rest, the faster you’ll recover. Utilize food and personal item delivery if necessary.

2. Separate yourself from others at home

As best you can, stay in a designated sick room and keep away from other people. Eat separately from others. If your apartment has more than one, designate a bathroom just for you. Avoid touching pets, as well. If you must feed or clean up after a pet, wash your hands before and after as detailed above.

3. Don’t share household or personal items

Set aside drinking glasses, plates, silverware, sheets and blankets, towels and toiletries for your use and your use only. Clean them thoroughly with soap and water after every single use.

4. Wear a face mask

While it’s only a recommendation for everyone to wear a mask, people who are already sick (or people caring for those that are) need to wear one around other people (or pets) or if they go to the doctor.

5. Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, wash your hands

See above for details.

6. Clean and disinfect even more

Sanitize your apartment as explained above, but do it every day.

7. Call before going to the doctor

Keep an eye on your symptoms and seek medical attention if needed. Give them a heads up before you go to allow them to take precautions to keep others visiting their office from being infected or exposed. If you suspect you only have a cold or flu, consider a virtual doctor’s visit. If you must call 9-1-1, inform them of your symptoms before they arrive, as well.

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Source: apartmentguide.com

Mercury Insurance Review

  • Car Insurance

Founded in 1961, Mercury is an insurance provider that has received a wealth of prestigious accolades over the years and is ranked as one of the cheapest providers across the 11 states in which it operates. 

Find your best rate on Car Insurance!

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Tip: Act now to see if you qualify for lower rates!

Compare free personalized quotes from the nation’s top providers.

In this Mercury Insurance Review, we will compare this insurance company’s products, services, and prices to other insurance carriers and see how it stacks up.

Mercury Auto Insurance Coverage: Main Options

Mercury provides varying degrees of coverage. You can opt for the bare minimum requirement in your state or choose an extended coverage plan that will cover you for most eventualities.

To buy insurance from Mercury, you need to go through an agent. You can find details of Mercury insurance agents through the Mercury website or work directly with a local agent you already know.

The insurance coverage options include:

  • Liability Coverage: Bodily injury coverage and property damage coverage are both provided to help you meet the state minimum requirements. They can also be increased if you need a little more cover. Liability insurance is a requirement in most states.
  • Collision Coverage: Liability insurance covers the other driver during an at-fault accident. It does not cover you if you hit a tree or a wall. For that, you need collision coverage, which is provided by Mercury for an additional cost.
  • Comprehensive Coverage: An extensive policy option that will cover you for damage not related to car accidents, such as vandalism and weather/environmental damage. Comprehensive insurance also covers you in the event of a collision with an animal, which, surprisingly is not covered by collision insurance.
  • Personal Injury Protection (PIP): This insurance option covers you for personal damages, as well as lost wages, childcare costs, and other expenses that result from injuries sustained during a car accident. It will also cover you for these injuries if you are a passenger.
  • Medical Payments Coverage: Medical payments coverage is designed to cover your medical bills following an accident. It is required in a couple of states and often provides cover up to a few thousand dollars.
  • Rental Car Coverage: If your car is being repaired or was stolen, rental car coverage will ensure you can stay on the roads by providing you with a replacement vehicle for a fixed period of time.
  • Underinsured/Uninsured Motorist Coverage: A type of insurance that covers you when you are hit by an uninsured driver or an underinsured driver, essentially filling in the gaps that would otherwise have been paid by their insurer. 

Mercury Auto Insurance Coverage: Extra Insurance Options

In addition to the insurance options outlined above, Mercury Insurance also offers policyholders the chance to add the following:

  • Rideshare Insurance: The need for this insurance type has grown exponentially in the last few years, with more Uber and Lyft cars on the roads than ever. With rideshare insurance, you’ll be covered when you have passengers in your vehicle. It’s an important consideration if you drive for these services.
  • Roadside Assistance: If you’re stranded by the side of the road, roadside assistance will help with towing costs, tire changes, fuel deliveries, and other essentials. It’s worth noting, however, that this service is provided elsewhere and if you have a premium credit card or are part of an auto vehicle organization, you may already be covered.
  • Mechanical Breakdown Protection: Will cover the costs associated with a car breakdown and is important if your warranty has expired. A complete breakdown can be costly if you don’t have the necessary warranties, but this coverage option will step in to help.

Mercury Car Insurance Discounts

Mercury offers all the following discounts, allowing policyholders to save big on their insurance premiums:

  • RealDrive: The RealDrive program will track how many miles you drive and could offer you discounts if you’re a low mileage driver. Policyholders can save 5% just by signing up, with further discounts to come once the low mileage begins to register.
  • Good Student Discount: Save up to 10% if you can achieve and maintain a good grade point average as a student driver.
  • Good Credit Discount: Mercury rewards drivers with a good credit score and a clean credit history. In fact, the savings offered here can be as high as 75%, which is more than you find with the majority of other major insurance providers.
  • Good Driver Discount: Maintain a good driving record for a discount of between 15% and 20%.
  • Student Away Discount: Students who live on campus can save up to 10% on their premiums.
  • Anti-Theft Devices: If you have these devices in your car, the risk of theft will be reduced, and Mercury will offer you savings of up to 5%.
  • Multi-Car Discount: By adding a second car to your policy you could save as much as 25%.

Other Types of Insurance Policies Offered by Mercury

​Mercury offers homeowners insurance, renters insurance, condo insurance, business insurance, umbrella insurance, and commercial auto insurance, although many of these are restricted to just a handful of states and may not be available where you live.

If you purchase car insurance with any of the home insurance options outlined above, you can get a multi-policy discount, also known as bundling. The amount that you can save differs from state to state but averages out at around 10%.

Is Mercury Insurance Available Everywhere?

Mercury is offered in all of the following states: 

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Oklahoma
  • Florida
  • Illinois
  • Georgia
  • Nevada
  • New York
  • New Jersey
  • Virginia
  • Texas

It also offers specific services and coverage options that are limited to a handful of states, such as rideshare insurance, which is offered only in California, Nevada, and Arizona, and commercial insurance, which is offered everywhere except for New Jersey and New York.

Mercury Insurance Claims

To make a claim with Mercury, simply phone the claims hotline (1 (800) 503-3724) any time of the day or night. A support rep will take all information from you, so describe the accident and the damage in as much detail as you can. The claim will be recorded, so you won’t need to repeat yourself in the future.

The rep will walk you through the details of your policy and can also arrange for your car to go to a body shop or to be towed. You can also find a body shop yourself by going through the Mercury website.

Customer Satisfaction

The Mercury Insurance Group has a high financial strength rating from AM Best and good ratings from JD Power. It’s a reputable, established, and award-winning company that has been going strong for over 50 years and has insured millions of drivers in that time.

But as promising as all of this is, there is one thing that lets Mercury down, and that’s its customer support. Mercury scores fairly poorly in this department and while the majority of customers are happy with the service provided, there is a disproportionate number of dissatisfied and even angry consumers.

Bottom Line

Mercury may offer the cheapest insurance rates in your state. It may offer the best coverage options and the most dedicated service. At the same time, you could find a better service and much better prices elsewhere.

Many policyholders switch to Mercury from GEICO and Progressive. In fact, these are the two main providers that Mercury customers switch from. But that does not mean Mercury is better than GEICO and Progressive. And even if it did provide better rates and options for one person, that doesn’t mean it will do the same for you.

That’s why it is important to get auto insurance quotes from multiple providers.

Source: pocketyourdollars.com

How To Get A Credit If Your Amazon Prime Delivery Is Late

Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates.

Amazon Prime was first launched back in 2005, and shortly thereafter our family signed up to take advantage of the reduced rates on shipping.

The service first launched at a $79/year price point, and over the years it has gone up to $119/year while adding a number of benefits besides the free 2-day shipping.

Amazon Prime now also includes Amazon Prime Video, Prime Music, free Kindle e-books, unlimited photo storage, exclusive access to great deals on Amazon products and more.

Amazon Prime Late Delivery Can Mean A Credit

Amazon Prime Late Delivery Can Mean A Credit

We buy a lot of things via Amazon, and watch a lot of the Prime Video, and as such we definitely get our money’s worth. We’ve been extremely happy with the service.

Over the years Amazon seems to always be adding new features to Prime, often these perks were available and I didn’t even realize it.

This week I discovered something new. If you order an item, and it has a guaranteed delivery date on your checkout page, if it doesn’t arrive on the promised date, you could receive a refund of your shipping fees.  But it’s not just going to happen automatically, you have to request compensation.

Let’s take a look at what I did in order to get a credit applied to my account.

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Prime members free 2-day shipping on millions of products on their store, but what happens if your package is delivered late?  Sometimes it happens, and it can cause an inconvenience if an item doesn’t arrive when you were expecting it.

After we had a package miss it’s promised delivery this past week I learned that Amazon may actually compensate you if an item doesn’t make it’s guaranteed delivery date.

Here’s how Amazon describes the guarantee, and it’s caveats, on their FAQ page:

If we provide a guaranteed delivery date on the checkout page, your shipping fees may be refunded if we miss our promised delivery date. The following requirements must be met to qualify for a delivery guarantee refund:

  • Shipping method selected is shipping option advertised on a product detail page.
  • Order is shipping to eligible address.
  • Order is placed before “order within” countdown listed on the checkout page. The “order within” countdown timer provides the window of time in which you must place your order to receive your delivery by the date shown. That delivery date may become unavailable within that window of time due to changes in inventory or delivery capacity before you place your order. Your confirmed delivery date is included in your order confirmation E-mail. Contact us with any concerns.
  • If you order contains items that aren’t eligible for guaranteed delivery, shipping preference “Ship my items as they become available” is selected.
  • Your credit or debit card must be successfully charged before the deadline displayed on the checkout page.
  • The guarantee does not apply if we miss our promised delivery date because of an unforeseen circumstance outside of our control, such as a strike, natural disaster, or severe winter storm. Also, delivery scans might be inaccurate.
    • An attempted delivery on or before the guaranteed delivery date meets our delivery guarantee.
    • An offer by the carrier of a delivery appointment on or before the guaranteed delivery date meets our delivery guarantee

So if you find that your order meets all of the requirements above, you may be eligible to receive compensation in some form.

What Compensation Can You Expect For A Late Amazon Delivery?

So what compensation can someone expect to receive from Amazon for a delivery that has missed it’s guaranteed delivery date?

The answer seems to be that it depends.

In checking with others who have successfully asked for compensation, it can range anywhere from receiving a credit on their account, to a free month of Amazon Prime, to a full refund on the item and and shipping cost. So it can vary widely.

Here are a few examples of what other customers received when I did a search online:

  • Full refund of item and shipping cost.
  • $40 Amazon credit after repeated late deliveries.
  • $10 Amazon credit.
  • $5 Amazon credit.
  • Free month of Amazon Prime + 30% refund of the order.
  • 4 late deliveries lead to free month of Amazon Prime, $30 credit, one $15 item for free.
  • Free month of Amazon Prime.

The most common compensation that I’ve seen is a free month of Amazon Prime, but it does appear pretty common for people to receive Amazon credit as well. I think the amount received tends to vary depending on the cost of the product, the number of late deliveries, and possibly other factors.

How To Get Compensation For Your Late Amazon Delivery

Once you’ve determined that you’re probably eligible to receive compensation for your late Amazon delivery, how do you go about receiving that compensation?

You need to contact Amazon. To contact Amazon it’s best to go through their “Contact Us” page.

When you get to the contact page you’ll see a list of items currently being shipped to your delivery address, and you can see tracking details, order numbers and expected arrival time and more of those items.

To request compensation, at the top of the screen just choose that you need help with “An order I placed“.

Amazon Prime Late Delivery - contact amazon

Amazon Prime Late Delivery - contact amazon

After choosing which order you’re inquiring about, under #2 just select “Where’s my stuff?” from the first drop down box.  Next, choose “Shipment is late” on the second drop down.

Amazon Prime Late Delivery - contact amazon

Amazon Prime Late Delivery - contact amazon

Finally, under #3 you can contact Amazon either by live chat or by phone.  Personally I prefer to do things on the chat because I don’t want to be sitting on a phone call listening to hold music. The chat is usually pretty quick and you can leave the window open while they investigate your issue.

Amazon Prime Late Delivery - contact amazon

Amazon Prime Late Delivery - contact amazon

Once your chat agent arrives, it’s just a matter of inquiring about your late package delivery, and asking politely for some sort of compensation.

Here’s the full transcript of my chat with the Amazon agent:

Amazon Prime Late Delivery

Amazon Prime Late Delivery

So essentially I was polite, inquired about receiving compensation, and then gave them the order number of the order in question so that they could look it up and see if I was eligible for a credit.

In this case they were happy to give me a $15 Amazon credit on my account, which comes out to about 40% of the order total.  Not too bad for 5 minutes of work.

Here’s the text in case you care to edit it for your own use:

I am inquiring about a late package delivery.  I read that Amazon may compensate customers in cases where packages don’t arrive by the guaranteed delivery date, and it causes an inconvenience.  Is there anything you can do since the package was supposed to arrive on X day, and it still hasn’t arrived X days later?

Remember to be polite and engaging when you contact them, you’ll likely have more luck with the agent if you’re nice. You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar, as the old saying goes.

Use Paribus To Track Your Late Deliveries And Request Credit Automatically

Paribus Delivery Monitoring

Paribus Delivery Monitoring If you’re interested in taking advantage of the guaranteed delivery promise, but you don’t really want to track your deliveries and whether they’re on time, there is another option.

A while back I wrote about a service called Paribus that would track your online purchases from Amazon, Target, Wal-Mart and other stores, and if the price went down it would request an automatic price match refund either from your credit card price match policy, or the service itself. I used the Paribus service and received several decent sized refunds from my credit card provider.

Paribus (which is owned by Capital One) also recently added a new service called “Delivery Monitoring” where they “automatically identify and track the shipment of purchases made at select online retailers, including Amazon and Walmart. If an online order is delivered to you later than the retailer promised, Paribus will contact the merchant to request compensation“.

So just sign up for Paribus, turn on “Delivery Monitoring” feature in your settings, and then any purchases you make in your linked Amazon or Wal-Mart accounts will be tracked for on time delivery, and compensation requested automatically when they’re late.

Take Advantage Of All The Perks You’re Paying For With Amazon Prime

For me the process of requesting compensation for a late delivery with Amazon was easy and was completed within 5 minutes.  For my time I got a $15 credit, almost 40% of the cost of the items I had purchased.  That’s not too shabby!

Since you can track your shipments and request credit automatically for free via Paribus, there’s no excuse not to get compensated when your package arrives late.

Also, if you shop at Amazon regularly, don’t forget to take advantage of offers to win or earn free Amazon gift cards!

Have you received a credit or free month of Prime after your package was delivered late? Tell us your experience in the comments!

Source: biblemoneymatters.com

What is a Concierge?

You’ve seen them at hotels … but what about your apartment?

A concierge is a hired professional of a multi-unit property, usually, a luxury building, tasked with acting as a “lent hand” to the residents of that building.

Concierges are primarily associated with hotel stays but can be found in any setting where there are multiple residents in one building.

What does a concierge do?

Tasks of a concierge vary widely as they’re generally assigned to help residents in almost any way that they can. That being said, there are some common tasks that apartment concierges likely handle frequently, such as making restaurant reservations, ordering car service, accepting deliveries, receiving visitors and making sure the building is secure.

Pros and cons of an apartment concierge

That all seems great, right? But as you probably imagine, there are some downsides to the luxury of an apartment concierge. Here are some pros and cons of having an apartment concierge.

Pros of an apartment concierge

  • A helping hand for some overwhelming day-to-day tasks
  • Added security for your building
  • Package and mail reception

Cons of an apartment concierge

  • Diminished privacy
  • Added costs

How common are apartment concierges?

apartment conciergeapartment concierge

Apartment concierges are not extremely common, but they do exist. You’re more likely to find an apartment with a concierge in a large city where apartment life is the norm and luxury amenities are in high demand.

Beyond that, many of the primary functions of a concierge — like calling car services and making restaurant reservations — are only possible in larger cities. If an apartment concierge is high on your priority list, however, you shouldn’t have a problem finding one — for the right price.

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What is a Credit Limit, How is It Determined, and What Credit Cards Offer the Highest Limits?

[UPDATE: Some offers mentioned below have expired and/or are no longer available on our site. You can view the current offers from our partners in our credit card marketplace. DISCLOSURE: Cards from our partners are mentioned below.]

What is a credit limit and how is it determined? A credit limit is the maximum amount of credit you’re allowed, and it is determined by a financial institution (bank, credit union, retailer, etc.).

Essentially, when you apply for a credit card and you get approved, the issuer decides how high (or low) your limit will be. The average credit card limit is $16,737, but this varies depending on your credit score and where you live.

We know how it goes: first you cross your fingers hoping you’ll get approved for the credit card you want. Then you cross them again hoping the credit limit will be generous enough to get you what you want. Maybe you need it to pay for some expensive dental work or perhaps you are applying for a 0% balance-transfer offer so you can transfer debt from another, higher-interest card. Either way, the credit limit is often a few hundred or a few thousand dollars short of what you need — and you have no idea why. How did they even come up with that number?

Credit card issuers will tell you what factors they consider when they assign a credit limit, but exactly how they calculate it remains proprietary. Not a single card issuer we reached out to for this story could (or would) give us specific information about how they determine credit limits.

In every case, your credit score and income level will have a great deal to do with whether you are approved, and for how much. If you’ve had credit before and handled it well, a card issuer is more likely to approve your application. But that is not the whole story.

Your income comes into play, and so do your current financial obligations, such as rent, a car loan, and the amount of credit available to you through other cards. Part of the equation is behavioral: What do they think you are likely to do if you have more credit extended? In this guide, our Credit.com experts present the top cards with high credit limits that match your financial health and history, and help you understand all that goes into determining your credit limit.

Credit Cards With High or Unlimited Credit Lines

Did you know there are credit cards with unlimited credit lines? Well, there are—and you’ve probably heard of them. Although credit limits are determined by various factors, as we discussed (such as income and credit score), it is possible to find cards with high limits. Here are some of our favorites, from our trusted partners*:

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases.
  • 2X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash’s subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 2x total points on up to $1,000 in grocery store purchases per month from November 1, 2020 to April 30, 2021. Includes eligible pick-up and delivery services.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

  • Earn a $300 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for one year, then $95.
  • 6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%).
  • 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions.
  • 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations and on transit (including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more).
  • 1% Cash Back on other purchases.
  • Plan It® gives the option to select purchases of $100 or more to split up into monthly payments with a fixed fee.
  • Cash Back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.
  • Terms Apply.

Credit Cards for Building Credit

You’ve checked your credit score, and it’s not as high as you’d like — in fact, it’s quite low. Don’t worry, you can rebuild your credit score. It will take time, so be patient (and diligent about paying your monthly bills on time) and eventually, you could be qualified for an unlimited credit limit. Until then, consider these credit cards, which will help you continue to build your credit:*

OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card

  • No credit check necessary to apply. OpenSky believes in giving an opportunity to everyone.
  • The refundable* deposit you provide becomes your credit line limit on your Visa card. Choose it yourself, from as low as $200.
  • Build credit quickly. OpenSky reports to all 3 major credit bureaus.
  • 99% of our customers who started without a credit score earned a credit score record with the credit bureaus in as little as 6 months.
  • We have a Facebook community of people just like you; there is a forum for shared experiences, and insights from others on our Facebook Fan page. (Search “OpenSky Card” in Facebook.)
  • OpenSky provides credit tips and a dedicated credit education page on our website to support you along the way.
  • *View our Cardholder Agreement located at the bottom of the application page for details of the card

First Progress Platinum Elite Mastercard® Secured Credit Card

  • Receive Your Card More Quickly with New Expedited Processing Option
  • No Credit History or Minimum Credit Score Required for Approval
  • Full-Feature Platinum Mastercard® Secured Credit Card
  • Good for Car Rental, Hotels; Anywhere Credit Cards Are Accepted!
  • Monthly Reporting to all 3 Major Credit Bureaus to Establish Credit History
  • Credit Line Secured by Your Fully-Refundable Deposit of $200 — $2,000 Submitted with Application
  • Just Pay Off Your Balance and Receive Your Deposit Back at Any Time
  • Apply in just a few moments with no negative impact to your credit score; no credit inquiry will be recorded in your credit bureau file
  • Nationwide Program though not yet available in NY, IA, AR, or WI * See Card Terms.

Why Your Credit Limit Matters So Much

While it feels great to get approved for a new account, pay attention to the credit limit. If you’re given a limit of $2,000 and you regularly spend $1,500 per month, then you’ll be using 75% of your credit, which can really hurt your credit score. Balances higher than 20% to 25% of your available credit can hurt your credit scores.

In the case of a balance transfer, you’ll have to weigh that against the interest you’ll save by getting out from under a high interest rate. And in the case of essential bills, like dental or medical, you may have to accept a temporary hit to your credit in order to pay the bill and avoid having an account turned over to collections.

So getting a high credit limit is ideal. There is no credit limit calculator that determines exactly what limit you’ll get, unfortunately, but we’ll help you figure out what factors may go into the decision.

What Should Your Credit Limit Be?

Having a high credit limit comes with many perks, and if a company offers you a high credit limit when you apply, it means they consider you a reliable customer. This is a good thing. But if you look at the flip side, what if you’re an overspender? It can be tempting to want to spend as much credit as you’re given, but doing so can really hurt your credit score.

Keeping your limit low could prevent you from spending more than you have (but to avoid this, you should consider using financial apps to better manage your spending habits and/or debt). Ideally, a high limit is both preferable and recommended, if you want to improve your credit. To improve your credit, you can apply for credit cards with high limits. If you maintain a high limit and a very low or no monthly balance, the better for your credit score.

Should I Ask For a Higher Credit Limit?

If you believe the credit limit you were assigned is too low, you can call the credit card issuer and ask for a higher one. It helps if you can justify your request with some information the issuer did not have when you applied (“I just mailed in my last car payment” or “My spouse has returned to work, and now our household income is higher than the number on the application”). It’s smart to consider that your credit limit can also be lowered if you give your lender reason to believe you may not be able to handle your current limit.

Sometimes, however, you can get them to change their mind simply by sweetening the pot and letting them know you’ll bring over a balance from another card or charge a significant purchase to the new card. Issuers want cardholders who pay interest on balances. After all, that’s how they make money.

When Should You Ask For a Credit Increase?

If you already have a credit card and feel you deserve a credit limit increase, you should ask yourself the following questions:

  • Am I paying off my balance each month?
  • Has my income changed significantly to justify the credit increase?
  • What should my credit limit be?
  • Do I have good credit?

You should wait for at least one year after opening your credit card to ask for an increase. When you do ask, be prepared. The credit card company may make a hard inquiry on your credit reports — and this, of course, can impact your score (minimally, though).

If you feel you have built up good credit, are financially responsible and capable of taking on a higher credit limit, then you should consider asking.

What If My Limit is Raised Without Asking?

Sometimes your credit card issuer may raise your limit without your requesting it, too. That can happen after a period of paying on time and keeping balances low. Some people worry that perhaps there is a downside to this, and wonder if they should ask that the lower limit be reinstated. Generally the answer is no.

Assuming your credit card usage stays the same, you’ll be using a smaller percentage of your available credit, and that can only help your score. Remember, it’s a good idea to keep your credit utilization to less than 20–25% of your credit limit; less than 10% is ideal. Credit utilization refers to the ratio of your credit card balance(s) to your credit limit. The lower, the better for improving your credit, earning rewards, and saving money.

So, sadly, it’s generally not possible to know exactly what your credit limit will be ahead of time. In the meantime, you can control some factors that may affect the issuer’s decision. It’s important to maintain (or work toward) good credit.

You can check your progress with a free credit report summary, updated every 14 days, on Credit.com, or you may find free scores on your monthly credit card statement. You should be sure you are comparing the same score from month to month, because many scoring models are used, and you want to be sure you look at the same one so that changes are meaningful.

The other thing you can do is to check your free annual credit reports to make sure the information there is accurate (and to dispute any that is not). Because your scores are calculated from information in your credit reports, you want to make sure it’s correct and that your information has not been mixed in with anyone else’s.

What Factors Go Into Selecting Your Credit Limit?

When credit card issuers determine your application status and your credit limit, they use a variety of factors, all of which may weigh differently to the issuer. Here’s what could impact their decision:

  • Your monthly income—If your income changes drastically from year to year, this could change the issuers decision. Again, if you salary changes (or if your marital status changes and impacts your income), the issuer should be notified.
  • Your credit history and worthiness—Have you had low or high credits before? Have you kept zero or low balances on previous credit cards? This could impact the application status.
  • You relationship to the issuer—If you’ve been banking with them for years or have another card from them, this could help get you approved and issued a high credit line (but only if you’ve proven to be a reliable customer).
  • Your employment status—This may or may not make a difference, but the issuer would like to know if you are part-time, full-time, self-employed, or unemployed, as this could affect your ability to pay off your future balances.
  • Your residential status—If you own a home and pay a monthly mortgage, you will likely be able to pay monthly credit card bills, too.
  • What type of card you’re applying for—Are you applying for the card with the highest rewards, but you have low credit? Make sure you’re being realistic when you apply for a credit card, but don’t sell yourself short either.

Managing Your Credit and Personal Finances

We’re all aiming for financial stability, and whether that means owning a home, paying off your mortgage, paying for your kids’ colleges, or retiring early, the ultimate goal is to lower your debt-to-income ratio and become debt-free. To determine your credit, limit calculators are available online.

Use Credit.com’s debt-to-income calculator to evaluate how much combined debt you currently have (ex. student loan debt plus car loan payments plus credit card payments, etc.) and how long it will take to pay off based on your current income and your monthly rent.

If you’re struggling to pay off the balances on the credit cards you currently have, check out Credit.com’s credit card payoff calculator to determine how much you still owe and when you’ll likely be debt-free. Just remember, credit repair takes time (and credit repair services are available to those who need them), but when your credit score improves, likely so will your credit limit.

Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.

*Note: At publishing time, the Capital One, Chase, Credit One Bank, and Discover credit cards are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply and ultimately sign up for this card. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment. This content is not provided by the card issuer(s). Any opinions expressed are those of Credit.com alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer(s).

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Image: iStock

Source: credit.com

Credit.Com’s Picks for Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards

Editorial disclosure: Reviews are as determined solely by Credit.com staff. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the reviewers and aren’t reviewed or approved by any advertiser. Information presented is accurate as of the date of the review, including information on card rates, rewards and fees. Check the issuer’s website for the most current information on each card listed.

Advertiser disclosure: The credit card offers that appear on this website are from credit card companies that Credit.com receives compensation from. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). The site does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers.

Figuring out which is the best travel rewards credit card can be a challenge. There are a lot of cards to choose from. Adding to the number of options is that most travel credit cards offer decent rewards. Fierce completion between banks in the credit card industry is to thank for that.

With so many travel rewards credit card options and so many good programs, there isn’t one “best” card for everyone. You simply want to choose the card that’s “best” for your travel needs and spending habits. Some cards work great for frequent travelers. Other cards work better for those who don’t travel as often. All cards have their perks and quirks. To make it a bit easier, here are a few of the favorite travel rewards credit cards of the Credit.com team to help you figure out which one is the right card for you.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases.
  • 2X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash’s subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 2x total points on up to $1,000 in grocery store purchases per month from November 1, 2020 to April 30, 2021. Includes eligible pick-up and delivery services.

First on the Credit.com staff list of best travel rewards credit cards is the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. What makes the Sapphire Preferred card our top choice is that it has one of the highest bonuses available for any card. If you spend $4,000 within the first three months of opening your account, you earn 50,000 bonus points. That’s the equivalent of $625 that you can put towards travel when you redeem your points through Chase Ultimate rewards.

It didn’t hurt for us that Kiplinger’s Personal Finance named this card its “Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption” in June 2018, either.

Earning points with the Chase Sapphire Preferred is good too. You earn double points (2X) on travel expenses and at restaurants worldwide. And you earn one point on every dollar you spend on every other purchase.

This card let you use your points for airfare, accommodations, renting a car or taking a cruise. And when you redeem your points on Chase Ultimate Rewards, you get 25% more value for your points and have no blackout dates or other travel restrictions. You can even transfer your points to many other airline and hotel loyalty programs.

With no annual fee for the first year, you keep all your earnings for yourself. After the first year, your fee will be $95, which is one of the downsides of the card, but if you use your card a lot, you’ll quickly recoup that fee.

Our take: If you use your card a lot and you want rewards to use for travel, you can’t go wrong with this card in your wallet.

This card competes virtually equally with the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. It offers 50,000 miles with $3,000 in purchases made in three months of opening the account. While the dollar value of those miles is less than with the Chase Sapphire Preferred card—$500 rather than $625—you get that bonus with a $1,000 less expense.

This card was named “The Best Travel Card” by CNBC in 2018. Unlike the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, it pays double miles (2X) on all purchases, not just those for travel and eating out. It also pays 10X miles for accommodations at thousands of hotels. And for global travelers, the Capital One Venture Rewards card can save cardholders up to $100 on Global Entry and TSA Pre✓® application fees.

You can use your points to fly on any airline and stay at any hotel with no restrictions or blackout dates. And you can transfer your miles to more than 12 leading travel loyalty programs. Miles are also good as long as you have your card account.

The Capital One Venture Rewards card has no annual fee the first year and a $95 annual fee after that.

All that said, this card is so close to the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, it wasn’t easy to dub it “runner-up.” In fact, we had to do some arm wrestling between a few staffers to make our final decision. For you, this card could easily be your best card depending on what matters most to you. With either card, you can’t really go wrong.

The Final Verdict Is Yours

The Credit.com staff choices listed here offer solid value and cover a range of travel needs. If you’re looking for your absolute best travel or flight rewards card, check them out on Credit.com. You’ll also find other options listed there as well as each card’s APR.

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Source: credit.com

Dumpling Shopper: Launch Your Own Grocery Delivery Business

Grocery delivery startup Dumpling is taking on Instacart and Shipt — and the whole gig economy — by offering grocery delivery drivers an entirely new moneymaking model.

Thanks to a surge in demand as a result of the pandemic, grocery delivery apps are more popular than ever. Since last March, Instacart and Shipt have hired more than half a million gig workers to shop and deliver food to customers who’d rather stay at home and order online.

Those hordes of gig workers, who are independent contractors, rely on grocery delivery to supplement their earnings or make up their income entirely. While this arrangement is a welcome and fast form of cash for some folks, others are finding that the income from Instacart and Shipt is unsustainable.

That’s where Dumpling comes in: capitalizing on the growing trend of grocery delivery as well as the rising concerns of delivery workers who want more control over their income by allowing them to choose who to work with and how much to charge.

Here’s a look at one of the newest grocery delivery apps on the block, and how you could use it to launch your own grocery delivery business.

Dumpling founders pose for a photograph against a red brick wall.
Tom Schoelhammer, left, Joel Shapiro and Nate D’Anna are the founders of Dumpling. Photo courtesy of Dumpling

What Is Dumpling?

Dumpling is a grocery delivery service founded in 2017 by Tom Schoelhammer, Nate D’Anna and Joel Shapiro, who all left corporate tech jobs to try their hands as entrepreneurs.

On the customer side, Dumpling operates much like other grocery shopping apps: You download the app, select a nearby grocery store, choose what items you want to buy, place your order and voila, a nearby personal shopper will deliver the items to your doorstep.

Where Dumpling differentiates itself is in how it’s used by delivery workers. It is essentially a suite of software and coaching services for those looking to launch their own small grocery-delivery business.

Pro Tip

As a shopper for Dumpling, you’re considered a small business owner, not a gig worker.

According to the company, more than 2,000 small business owners from all 50 states use Dumpling to deliver groceries locally.

Dumpling markets itself aggressively as a “personal, ethical and local” alternative to Instacart and Shipt, which rely on an army of gig workers to do the shopping.

Since its launch and especially during the pandemic, Dumpling and its co-founders have become increasingly outspoken about the downsides of the gig economy.

“What can we do to help more people gain greater control, autonomy, and flexibility over the way they work?” Dumpling’s website states. “When we set out to find an answer, we didn’t know we’d eventually be taking on the gig economy.”

But does the company provide a meaningful alternative?

How It Works for Dumpling Shoppers (aka Business Owners)

As a grocery shopper for Dumpling, you’ll have more autonomy than with typical gig apps.

In a training video for new Dumpling shoppers, Bree Crawford, director of coaching at Dumpling, contrasts the company with other shopping gigs.

“As a prior Instacart shopper, I have a pretty good idea of some of the questions you’re going to run into,” she said. “With Instacart, we’re used to just sitting around waiting for batches, and it’s just stupid.”

With Dumpling, you can choose who you want to deliver to, set how much you want to charge per delivery, select the stores where you want to shop, schedule deliveries in advance and more.

But that autonomy comes at a cost.

Dumpling Shopper Fees

To start your shopping business, you need to pay a one-time fee, currently $19.99, for an activation kit. The activation kit includes:

  • A Dumpling business credit card that you’ll use for your orders.
  • Access to a personal shopper website hosted by Dumpling.
  • 100 business cards.
  • Access to the “Boss” version of the Dumpling app, which you’ll need to connect with clients.

“The Dumpling credit card works as a micro loan to business owners. When the client places an order, the credit card is funded for the business owner to shop and pay for the order,” Shapiro told The Penny Hoarder. “This system allows Dumpling business owners to shop all orders without fronting any funds themselves.”

The company also offers Pro and Tycoon monthly membership plans for business owners, which give you access to better credit-card and business-profile perks. Pro costs $49 per month, and Tycoon costs $99 per month. A standard plan is free.

You can expect the activation process to take about a week.

In addition to the activation fees, you pay two fees per grocery order: a credit card processing fee and a “platform” fee. The credit card fees are tiered based on your membership category.

Under the standard plan, you pay 3.9% of the order total, including gratuity, plus 30 cents. If you’re Pro, you pay 3.2% plus 30 cents. Tycoons pay 2.8% plus 30 cents. The platform fee is a flat 5% of the cost of groceries sans delivery and gratuity for all membership levels.

For example, if you have a $100 grocery order, plus your delivery charge of $10 (which you can customize) and a $20 tip, here’s how your earnings would break down under the free standard plan.

  • Gross order earnings: $30 ($10 order charge plus $20 tip).
  • Credit card processing fee: $5.26 (3.9% of $135 plus 30 cents).
  • Platform fee: $5.00 (5% of $100 worth of groceries).
  • Net order earnings: $19.74.

According to Shapiro, the average earnings per order are $40, “which is significantly higher than traditional gig work platforms for grocery delivery.”

Previously, you could set a fixed minimum gratuity percentage up front for every order, but Dumpling recently removed that feature, according to app store reviews.

To prevent tip baiting, a practice where some Instacart customers lure shoppers in with big tips up front only to zero them out after the order, Dumpling does not allow your customers to reduce their tips after the delivery. They can only increase it.

The trick is to find the right delivery charge. Too high, and you risk driving your customers to Instacart, Shipt or another Dumpling deliverer. Too low, and those fees eat away at your tip.

Free Coaching

Once you set up your Dumpling account and receive your activation kit, you’re eligible for free coaching. The initial coaching session is a basic onboarding call in which a Dumpling coach will show you the ropes.

After that, you can receive additional coaching free of charge. The program includes three calls with one of Dumpling’s staff coaches, “all of whom have backgrounds in grocery delivery gig work and run successful businesses on Dumpling themselves,” Shapiro said.

The coaching program can start at any time so long as your account is active, with each session spaced out “a few weeks apart.”

Coaches can help you with a range of things like utilizing your business website, app functionality and marketing tips. Between sessions, coaches can help with smaller questions, too.

After the three coaching sessions, you may be able to get more assistance if needed.

“Dumpling business owners never have to pay money to access this program,” Shapiro said. “However the coaches do ask for their undivided attention and that they continue putting in the effort on their own business to remain in the program.”

Finding Your Own Customers

Perhaps the most notable difference between Dumpling and other grocery shopping gig apps is that, as a business owner, you’re responsible for finding your own customers.

There are several ways to connect with them, and Dumpling does assist you with this, but the process is not automatic.

For example, with Shipt or Instacart, you log on and wait for an order to pop up on your app. Then you can choose to accept or decline, knowing little to nothing about the customer. Or it’s possible that an order will be claimed by competing shoppers in your area before you have a chance to act.

At Dumpling, you’ll need to interact much more with customers — with the ultimate goal of scheduling them on a recurring basis. And the initial order could take some leg work.

Since Dumpling is a relatively new company with fewer customers than competitor grocery delivery apps, you may find yourself giving a sales pitch: first to explain what Dumpling is, and second, to convince the customer to schedule you for grocery orders through the app.

Customers may also find you through a ZIP code search function on the Dumpling website and app or directly from your personal Dumpling business site. But that’s assuming that one of your neighbors is already familiar with the company.

Dumpling is not for every gig worker. It takes a certain amount of risk tolerance. Given the activation and processing fees, there is a chance you could go in the red on some orders, and there’s no guarantee that you’ll get any orders in the first place.

What Dumpling does offer you is more autonomy and control over your grocery-delivery enterprise — something many gig workers, whose earnings are based on ever-changing algorithms, are craving.

Adam Hardy is a former staff writer at The Penny Hoarder.



Source: thepennyhoarder.com

19 Things You Should Never Buy at a Grocery Store

Surprised man shopping for groceries
Bodnar Taras / Shutterstock.com

Do you love your neighborhood grocery store and buy everything you need there?

If so, your local grocery store probably loves you, too. It loves that you’re willing to spend so much on items you could get for a whole lot less money elsewhere.

You can continue supporting your local grocery store, but skip buying these goods there because cheaper options are available.

1. Greeting cards

Woman with greeting card
Pressmaster / Shutterstock.com

Anyone who’s bought a grocery store greeting card has felt the sticker shock — $4.95 for a piece of cardstock with a pretty design? You can do better.

Go to the dollar store and pick up some equally nice options for a buck. Greeting cards are one of the “21 Things You Should Always Buy at a Dollar Store.”

If you don’t want to make a trip to another store, check out the options on Amazon. Or if you’re the crafty type, make your own.

2. Batteries

Couple in living room using remote control
Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock.com

Batteries are an essential part of life, whether you’re a parent on Christmas morning or someone who relies on the TV remote. However, there’s no reason to overpay.

Head to the warehouse club of your choice, where you can stock up on bulk packages that bring your per-battery cost down. Amazon also sells bulk packages of batteries, including its own AmazonBasics brand.

3. Magazines

Kinga / Shutterstock.com

A single issue of a magazine at the grocery store can set you back $3 or $4. Or more.

For many publications, you can subscribe to have them delivered to your home for the entire year for less than $20.

There are also plenty of ways to get discounted access to your favorite titles, as we detail in “4 Ways to Read Magazines for Free or Cheap.”

4. Diapers

Baby drinking a bottle of milk
Flashon Media / Shutterstock.com

Who knew it cost so much to cover your little one’s bottom? Well, experienced parents know, but it’s often a surprise to new moms and dads.

Using cloth diapers that you wash and reuse is always cheaper and more environmentally friendly. But for many people, disposables are the only way to go.

Buying them from a grocery store is easy, but you’ll pay a lot less per diaper using Amazon’s Subscribe & Save service. It gives Amazon Prime members up to 20% off diaper subscriptions (basically just recurring deliveries), depending on how many subscription deliveries you buy.

If you’re willing to watch and wait for sales to stock up, another option is drugstore-brand diapers. See “7 Things You Can Buy for Next to Nothing at the Drugstore.”

5. Alcoholic beverages

oneinchpunch / Shutterstock.com

Beer and wine are money makers for grocery stores. You can minimize the markup by shopping at a warehouse club instead.

You may not even need a membership, as we explain in “18 Best Buys at Warehouse Stores”:

“In some states, nonmembers can buy booze at a warehouse club due to state laws that regulate alcohol sales. So call your closest club and ask about its policy for selling alcohol to nonmembers.”

6. Toothbrushes

Mom and daughter brushing teeth together,
Creativa Image / Shutterstock.com

Are you really buying toothbrushes at the grocery store? Don’t you go to the dentist? If you do, you’ll find they have drawers full of them for the asking.

Yes, most people go to the dentist once every six months, and you should change your toothbrush more often than that. However, we’ll bet that, if you ask really nicely, your dentist will give you one or two extra to last until your next visit.

7. Special occasion cakes

Kzenon / Shutterstock.com

Getting a birthday cake at the grocery store is convenient, but it isn’t all that cheap, especially if you need to feed a crowd.

Instead, we’re going to send you back to your warehouse club, where you can get a giant decorated sheet cake for the same price many grocery stores charge for their small ones.

8. Pet food

woman kissing cat
garetsworkshop / Shutterstock.com

The grocery store isn’t the worst place to buy pet food, but you can do better.

These retailers are among those offering discounts when you set up automated shipments:

Some pet store chains also offer coupons and loyalty programs that can lower costs, as we detail in “8 Ways to Cut Your Pet Food Costs.”

9. Bottled water

Patramansky Oleg / Shutterstock.com

Unless you happen to live in a city where the water is unfit to drink, there is no reason to buy bottled water.

The water from your tap will hydrate you just fine. Invest in a couple of reusable water bottles, and fill them for cheap at home.

Does the local tap water taste iffy? Buy a water filter or a filtering pitcher, and keep it in the fridge for when you want a cold drink or need to refill those reusable bottles.

If you must have bottled water from a store, buy it at a lower price at your warehouse club.

10. Frozen pancakes

farbled / Shutterstock.com

It is a mystery why anyone buys frozen pancakes. Making pancakes at home is super easy. A basic recipe takes a few minutes to whip up, and slightly longer to cook. We know you can do it.

Cook up a big batch on the weekend and freeze the extras to eat throughout the week. Your cost will be pennies per pancake.

11. Basic baking mixes

antoniodiaz / Shutterstock.com

Let’s take it one step further and say you should banish buying all basic baking mixes from the grocery store. If you’re baking with Bisquick, you really aren’t saving any time if you think about how long it takes to mix together flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. All you’re doing is paying more.

The same can be said for basic cookie, cake and brownie mixes. These things aren’t hard to make from scratch. By skipping the mixes, you’ll save money and possibly be a little healthier, too, because of those mysterious added ingredients in processed foods that you don’t put in at home.

Need a recipe? See “10 Food Staples That Are Easy and Cheap to Make Yourself.”

12. Kitchenware

lenetstan / Shutterstock.com

Speaking of baking, the grocery store knows you might need some equipment to cook up all the delicious food you’re buying. That’s why many have a selection of pots, pans and even small kitchen appliances for purchase.

Resist the urge. You can probably find better prices and quality at big retailers stores like Walmart and Costco, or at Amazon.

13. Spices

Prostock-studio / Shutterstock.com

Herbs and spices can be another item leading to sticker shock in the grocery store. That tiny little bottle costs how much?!

If you have a bulk food store that sells spices, you can save a bundle. Not only could the per-ounce cost be less than at the grocery store, but you can also buy only as much as you need. No reason to get a whole jar when you only want a teaspoon for a recipe.

You can also find cheap spices at the dollar store, but the quality and freshness may be questionable.

14. Party supplies

Family Together Christmas Celebration diverse multi ethnic family
By Rawpixel.com / Shutterstock.com

Like greeting cards, party supplies are sold at the grocery store for a premium. Don’t make the mistake of getting your candles, tablecloths and colorful napkins there.

Swing by the dollar store and buy them on the cheap instead.

15. Coffee

TORWAISTUDIO / Shutterstock.com

It’s the elixir of life for many people, which is probably why it costs so much at the grocery store. To get cheaper coffee, you have a couple of options.

Your warehouse store — noticing a theme here? — is a good place to stock up on bulk packages of whole-bean, ground and K-cup coffee.

If you have a Keurig machine, you can also register it at Keuirg.com, where they send out the occasional good deal.

Perhaps most surprisingly, you can find low sale prices on coffee at office supply stores, like Staples, for instance. These shops also have online coupons and loyalty programs to help you save even more.

16. Toilet paper

Toilet paper
Gavran333 / Shutterstock.com

There may be no more essential product to family harmony than toilet paper. And it’s shocking how much tissue paper rolled around a tube can cost in the grocery store.

Head to your warehouse club or office supply store for discounted bulk purchases. Amazon’s Subscribe & Save service is also your friend here.

17. Light bulbs

Rido / Shutterstock.com

It can cost a lot of money to light up your house. Walk past that display in the grocery store if you want to save some cash.

You could go to a warehouse club for lower prices, but you may find the best selection at Amazon.

18. Individually wrapped snacks

Woman eating cookies with milk
Ivan Cheremisin / Shutterstock.com

You know you should buy the jumbo box of goldfish crackers and put them in baggies for school lunches, but that’s way too much work. OK, fine. Just don’t buy those individually wrapped snacks at the grocery store.

You can get a big box of them at a much cheaper price per serving if you go to a warehouse club. Or, see what your local dollar store has in stock.

19. Gift cards

Andrey_Popov / Shutterstock.com

Forgot to buy a gift? No problem. Grocery stores have set up convenient displays of all sorts of gift cards by the checkout lanes.

Now, for many of these, you might only pay face value. So, you’re probably wondering why we’re saying that you’re overpaying. That’s because you can go to a warehouse club and get, for example, $100 worth of gift cards to many restaurants for only $80. Different chains offer different options, as you can see by looking at:

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Source: moneytalksnews.com

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