Anthropologie Sale: Take an Extra 25% Off Fashion, Home Goods and More – KVUE.com

Presidents Day weekend sales may be nearing their end (don’t worry, there are still plenty of options to shop in fashion and beauty, home goods, and yes, mattresses), but that doesn’t mean the deals stop there. Case in point: the Anthropologie sale.

Whether you’re looking to get a head start on building your spring ensembles, round out your transitional weather wardrobe or update your space with new home decor, the Anthropologie sale has everything you could be looking for — and it’s available with an added 25% discount. With the exception of furniture, Anthopologie’s sale items are up for grabs at a fraction of the original price. In other words, if there’s any time to stock up on pretty things for your closet, kitchen or other areas of your home, this is the time to do it.

Of course, with a sale this big, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the number of options the retailer has for the taking, especially when you can get these pieces on steep discounts. Luckily, ET Style combed through the epic sale to find the best items worthy of a spot in your cart.

Take this opportunity to shop for a lightweight sweater or cardigan to layer over your outfits until the weather warms up for spring. Or get yourself some comfy house dresses that’ll take you from day to night, even with a WFH lifestyle. And while you’re embracing all of that time at home, you might as well spruce it up with some new pieces like plates, towels, diffusers and duvet covers.

Scroll down to shop ET Style’s favorite picks from the Anthropologie sale below.

Mare Mare Anne Tiered Tunic Dress

Mare Mare Anne Tiered Tunic Dress

Anthropologie

Mare Mare Anne Tiered Tunic Dress

Can’t get enough of the house dress trend? This pretty tiered style is one option that you’ll never want to take off.

$75 AT ANTHROPOLOGIE (REGULARLY $148)

Floral Bouquet Diffuser Set

Floral Bouquet Diffuser Set

Anthropologie

Floral Bouquet Diffuser Set

These sweet and simple floral diffuser sets will add an undeniably pretty touch to your home.

$22 AT ANTHROPOLOGIE (REGULARLY $38)

Pilcro and the Letterpress Sigourney Corduroy Buttondown

Pilcro and the Letterpress Sigourney Corduroy Buttondown

Anthropologie

Pilcro and the Letterpress Sigourney Corduroy Buttondown

Tangerine orange is the quintessential color to have in your wardrobe for spring. But thanks to this shirt’s classic silhouette, you can wear it layered with your favorite winter staples now.

$22 AT ANTHROPOLOGIE (REGULARLY $98)

Market Dishcloths, Set of 4

Market Dishcloths, Set of 4

Anthropologie

Market Dishcloths, Set of 4

Brighten up your kitchen with these colorful dishcloths.

$10 AT ANTHROPOLOGIE (REGULARLY $18)

Mare Mare Aya Denim Utility Jumpsuit

Mare Mare Aya Denim Utility Jumpsuit

Anthropologie

Mare Mare Aya Denim Utility Jumpsuit

A utilitarian jumpsuit like this will be a cool option for your weekend activities — especially when you pair it with ankle boots or sneakers.

$67 AT ANTHROPOLOGIE (REGULARLY $148)

Silent D Auston Boots

Silent D Auston Boots

Anthropologie

Silent D Auston Boots

When in doubt, you can never go wrong with a pair of black ankle boots. This fitted style from Silent D will be a favorite in your closet for years.

$37 AT ANTHROPOLOGIE (REGULARLY $138)

Pilcro and the Letterpress Jemma Cable-Knit Cardigan

Pilcro and the Letterpress Jemma Cable-Knit Cardigan

Anthropologie

Pilcro and the Letterpress Jemma Cable-Knit Cardigan

Real talk: Can you really ever have too many sweaters? The answer is probably no, and this versatile cardigan is perfect for layering up during the colder months as well as the early mornings of spring and summer.

$75 AT ANTHROPOLOGIE (REGULARLY $148)

Reversible Airy Gauze Duvet Cover

Reversible Airy Gauze Duvet Cover

Anthropologie

Reversible Airy Gauze Duvet Cover

Add a new level of texture to your bedroom with this dreamy, gauzy duvet cover.

$90 AT ANTHROPOLOGIE (REGULARLY $198)

Gather by Anthropologie Ilana Matte Dinner Plates, Set of 4

Gather by Anthropologie Ilana Matte Dinner Plates, Set of 4

Anthropologie

Gather by Anthropologie Ilana Matte Dinner Plates, Set of 4

Give your kitchen a bright and sunny update with these vibrant yellow plates.

$26 AT ANTHROPOLOGIE (REGULARLY $56)

Keegan AirPods Case

Keegan AirPods Case

Anthropologie

Keegan AirPods Case

Carry your AirPods in style with this colorful case, which will easily clip on to your keys, your purse or anything else.

$11 AT ANTHROPOLOGIE (REGULARLY $25)

Monterey Bowls, Set of 4

Monterey Bowls, Set of 4

Anthropologie

Monterey Bowls, Set of 4

These bowls are so pretty, we wouldn’t blame you if you used them to hold your jewelry and other small trinkets.

$37 AT ANTHROPOLOGIE (REGULARLY $80)

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Presidents’ Day Fashion and Beauty Sales You Can Still Shop Today

Amazon’s Big Winter Sale: Best Deals on Home Decor

Source: kvue.com

How Much Rent Can I Afford to Pay Based on Income & Monthly Budget?

Before you can start looking for an apartment for rent, you first need to figure out how much rent you can afford per month.

Property managers and landlords compare your income to the rent before approving you, and each sets their own limit. But just because you meet their minimum income criteria doesn’t mean you can truly afford the rent.

As you start looking for the next place to hang your hat, start by putting your current income and budget under the microscope.

How Housing Fits Into Your Larger Budget

The moment in between the decision to move and starting your apartment search is the perfect time to overhaul your budget from scratch.

Before going any further, start by setting a target savings rate. Decide on what percentage of your income you want to put toward building wealth each month. Because the greater the gap between what you earn and what you spend, the faster you can build an emergency fund, pay off unsecured debts such as student loans, build wealth, and start generating passive income.

Set a savings rate, and subtract that immediately from your take-home pay. The remaining income serves as your operating budget — use it as the foundation for your new budget. Try this free template to create your budget in Google Sheets, and leave some wiggle room for discretionary spending.

Housing as a Percentage of Your Income

When creating a budget, most people set a limit on the percentage of their operating income that they’re willing to spend on housing. (I actually recommend an alternative approach; more on that shortly.)

For example, you might decide you’re willing to pay 25% of your operating budget toward rent. That falls in line with the average American household spending on housing, which the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports as 24.96% of gross income.

As a rule of thumb, many landlords set a maximum percentage of 33% of take-home pay. They disqualify any applicants who bring home less than three times the rent.

If your income fluctuates each month, budget based on your lowest typical monthly income, not your highest. Your income may vary but your rent doesn’t, and you need to afford it even in your worst month.

Still, everyone’s budget needs are unique, and you may be able to afford more or less than the typical household depending on your other expenses.

Zero-Sum Game: A Holistic Look at Budgeting

Budgeting is a zero-sum game: if you spend more in one area, it leaves you with less to spend elsewhere. Think of it as a pie that you can carve any way you like, but it remains a finite circle.

Which means that you can spend more on housing if you forego expenses in other areas. For instance, you might despair when you first research New York City rents, but as a New Yorker you probably don’t need a car. So you sell your car, eliminating not only your car payment but all car-related expenses including gas, maintenance, and your car insurance policy. That’s money you can then put toward rent if you so choose.

In budgeting as in life, you can have anything you want, but you can’t have everything you want. Spend more on rent in a city with high cost of living, and it leaves you with less for other expenses.

Reframe the Question to Spend Less on Housing

Why do people overspend on housing? Because they ask the wrong question.

When looking for a new home, people ask themselves “What’s the most I can afford to spend?” Then they go out and look at homes that cost that amount — the maximum they could possibly afford.

To spend less on housing and put more money toward building wealth, ask a better question. Ask yourself “What are my minimum housing needs to still be happy?” That pushes you to look at more affordable housing options, and to get more creative in how you pay for housing.

Creativity often pays off. I haven’t paid a cent for housing in nearly six years, and before that I still paid far less than my neighbors. I do it through house hacking: finding ways to have other people pay for my housing. You can bring in roommates, rent out part of your home on Airbnb, rent out storage space through services like SpareFoot, or even bring in a foreign exchange student — a tactic that covers 90% of my friend’s mortgage.

My wife and I house hack through her employer, who provides us with free furnished housing. For fun, check out these jobs that provide free housing, and approach your housing search with more creativity.


Beyond Rent: Other Housing Related Expenses

Your housing expenses don’t end at the rent.

As you plan out your budget, don’t forget the following expenses and how they impact how much rent you can afford.

Utilities

When you look at any prospective home, find out which utilities are included with the rent, if any.

Because utility costs add up quickly. You can easily spend hundreds of dollars each month when you total your bills for:

  • Electric
  • Gas
  • Water and sewer
  • Internet
  • Home phone
  • Cable TV

Those last two make easy expenses to cut to save thousands each year. Just a thought.

Bear in mind that utility bills vary dramatically between homes. One home can easily cost you double or triple the gas, electricity, and water bills from another seemingly similar home due to energy efficiency differences or different energy pricing between municipalities.

Before moving into a home where you pay your own utility bills, ask for copies of past utility bills from each season to get a sense for the costs.

Municipal Fees

Some cities charge separate fees for trash pickup, recycling, and other basic public services on top of the taxes they already collect.

Double check if a municipality double charges fees on top of taxes before choosing a place to live.

Parking

Parking can be scarce in urban areas. Some landlords and buildings include parking; others don’t.

If you own a car and need parking, confirm the parking conditions at each rental unit you tour. You may find that it makes sense to pay slightly higher rent to secure an included parking spot, rather than paying separately for parking or spending 15 minutes looking for parking every evening.

Of course, street parking isn’t necessarily a dealbreaker. Some urban neighborhoods offer plentiful street parking, while others are a perpetual nightmare. Ask around among people who actually live there to get a sense for the local parking conditions.

Amenity Access

Parking isn’t the only amenity that can add value despite higher rents. Some apartment complexes include valuable amenities like a community gym, pool, hot tub, and other conveniences.

These are amenities that you might pay separately for if not included in your rent. Before moving abroad, I paid around $100 a month to access a combined gym and pool. A friend of mine lived in a building that provided both, although he paid higher rent than I did.

Again, budgeting is a zero-sum game. Just be careful not to use amenities that you wouldn’t actually pay extra for as a justification for overspending on an apartment.

Renters Insurance

Although not expensive, renters insurance still stacks more housing-related expenses onto your budget.

Renters insurance covers all of your personal belongings, and many also cover other costs such as liability if your dog attacks a neighbor or moving expenses if you’re forced out of your home early due to fire or disaster. Look up renters insurance policy costs, and add it to your budget.

Pro tip: If you’re looking for renter’s insurance, check out Lemonade. It takes only 90 seconds to apply and policies start at just $5 per month. Learn more about Lemonade.

Furniture and Decor

If you move into a larger home, or move out of your parents’ house for the first time, prepare to spend some money on furniture, decorations, and other home goods.

Of course, you can buy furniture inexpensively and decorate your home without spending much either. Or you can spend an arm and a leg on brand new, upscale furniture and trendy decor.

I furnished my first townhouse entirely with used furniture I bought from people on Craigslist. If it didn’t look like a catalogue home, that’s because I knew nothing about interior design, not because you can’t find like-new furniture at a fraction of its original cost.

Whether you spend $300 or $3,000 furnishing an apartment depends entirely on you. But if you move into a larger home than you had before, expect to spend something.

Security Deposit

Although it’s another nonrecurring expense, you still need to come up with a security deposit before you can move into a new rental home. Landlords typically charge between one and one-and-a-half month’s rent for the security deposit, although some charge more for applicants with a lower credit score.

Moving Costs

You can’t pick up a full-size couch by yourself. And unless you drive a pickup truck, you probably can’t transport it yourself either. Even so, it would take dozens of trips in a pickup truck to move all the furniture that fits in an average house.

Whether you pay a moving company or simply rent a moving truck, you need to budget for moving costs. Even if you recruit friends and family to help you move, you should provide them with food and drinks as a gesture of gratitude. Which all costs money.


Ideas to Afford a “Reach” Home

Sometimes you just can’t help falling in love with a home that stretches your budget.

Although I don’t recommend spending an uncomfortably high portion of your income on housing, consider these ideas if you find yourself obsessed with a “reach” home.

1. Bring in a Housemate

Housemates pay their share of the rent of course, which could come to more than half if you offer them the most attractive bedroom or some other valuable commodity.

But beyond rent, housemates also slash some of your other housing costs. They split utility bills with you, potentially saving you hundreds each month. They might provide furniture, artwork, or home goods like cookware and silverware, relieving you of those costs. And they can split moving costs with you as well.

Housemates also teach you how to live harmoniously with others — a skill that comes in handy once you get married. It’s far easier to go from living with a housemate to living with a spouse than to suddenly have to start compromising and accommodating someone else’s habits.

2. Earn More Money

Yes, you can grow your savings rate by spending less. But you can also boost it by earning more.

You could do that any number of ways, such as negotiating a raise at work, or padding your resume with new certifications and getting a new job that pays better. Or you could build new income streams entirely by starting a side hustle.

Side hustles don’t have to be tedious either. You could start a business on the side of your job or turn your hobby into a paying gig. Some part-time jobs pay health benefits or other valuable perks, and many are downright fun.

Too many people just sit around and complain that they don’t earn enough. If you want to earn more, there’s nothing stopping you! You can also earn passive income that you don’t have to work for by investing money for passive income streams.

3. Negotiate Lower Rent

In every long-term rental I’ve ever lived in, I managed to negotiate a lower rent payment with the landlord.

No, you don’t need an advanced degree in negotiation. You just need to put yourself in the landlord’s shoes. Start by finding something the landlord wants more than money.

Remember that landlords aren’t the greedy Scrooges that the press makes them out to be. They’re people like you and me who saved up their pennies and invested them in rental properties rather than in the stock market or bonds.

Landlords want reliable tenants who will pay the rent on time, treat their property well and prevent damage, and get along well with the neighbors. Wiser and more experienced landlords also know the value of long-term tenants who stick around and don’t require them to go through another turnover any time soon.

Make a friendly, persuasive case why you’ll embody everything they want in a perfect tenant. I once worked out a deal with a landlord that I would pay the rent early, every single month, and that if I ever failed to pay the rent early, the rent would revert back up to its full price. But that’s merely one of many ways to negotiate lower rent with a landlord.


Final Word

It’s all too easy to overspend on housing.

Know your housing cost limits — including all expenses, not just rent — before you go house hunting. Better yet, get creative in looking for ways to score either free or reduced housing, or at least reframe your housing budget to focus on your lower limit rather than your upper limit.

If you find yourself struggling, don’t resort to paying your rent by credit card. Instead, look for other ways to trim your monthly expenses, such as saving money on groceries or cutting your cable television. But you’d be wise to avoid putting yourself in such a pinch in the first place.

Source: moneycrashers.com

The 6 Best Things to Buy in February — and 3 to Avoid

Valentine's couple kissing

February might not seem like a good month to shop, but it does bring at least a few opportunities to save. We routinely see February sales branded around the Super Bowl, Valentine’s Day, and Presidents’ Day, and some retailers offer sales that have nothing to do with those holidays, as well.

But not everything will be on sale in February, and not every deal will be a good one. Check out our February buying guide below to learn what items should see excellent discounts this month, and what products you should hold off on for now.

What to Buy in February

TVs for the Big Game

If you’re wondering, “When is the best time to buy a TV?”, it’s always going to be Black Friday. But if you missed out in November and can’t wait another nine months, keep an eye out during February. Of course, there’s a chance that a random excellent TV deal could drop at any time during the year. But February often has a decent number of TV offers overall, and some of the best ones appear during the first week of the month.

Some of the best February deals on TVs appear during the first few days of the month.

For instance, during the first few days of February 2020, we saw plenty of Staff Pick-worthy deals, meaning we considered them as some of our “best of the best” offers. These included a refurbished Vizio 55″ set for only $272 in-cart on eBay, and a refurbished Samsung 55″ for $500 at Walmart.

But it’s not only refurbs you’ll find — there will be plenty of new units among the great deals, too. Last year, Dell Home offered a new Vizio 65″ Quantum X TV for $1,270. That’s a definite investment, but the good news is it was also bundled with a $300 Dell gift card, which made it the best deal we’d seen on the set.

You’ll find new units for sale at stores like Walmart, as well. The retailer offered a Samsung 65″ set for $478 last February, which was the lowest price we could find at the time.

Don’t forget about the general TV sales in February either. Keep an eye out for Dell Home and eBay to take up to 50% off TVs, and for stores like Target to knock up to 30% off select sets.

Valentine’s Day Sales

The first Valentine’s Day sales we saw last year appeared in early to mid-January, around one month before the holiday itself. Retailer 1-800-Flowers, for example, knocked up to 40% off Valentine’s Day gifts and flowers during that time. But if you’ve missed out on the early Valentine’s sales, don’t fret! There will be plenty of February sales to take advantage of in the days leading up to the holiday.

SEE ALSO: What to Expect From Valentine’s Day Sales

Watch for retailers to take anywhere from 20% to 30% off jewelry, though some may cut even more. And while February 1 tends to brings a jump in flower prices, you can still save by opting for “less romantic” arrangements — namely, avoid roses if you can. If you’re not opposed to fake flowers, keep an eye out for retailers like Wayfair to knock up to 70% off gorgeous displays that’ll last long beyond Valentine’s Day.

Don’t miss out on the Valentine’s Day candy either. Expect retailers like Amazon and Target to offer discounts of up to 25% on all kinds of chocolatey treats, from Valentine’s-themed M&M’s to huge packages of Dove Hearts and Reese’s Hearts. But if you want something more sophisticated, Godiva will likely offer up at least 20% off.

Presidents’ Day Sales

Presidents’ Day sales are excellent opportunities to save on electronics, clothing, mattresses, home goods and furniture, and large appliances.

You can expect to save up to 70% on laptops and desktops during these February sales at stores like Dell Home, Lenovo, and HP. But retailers like Best Buy and Walmart will probably offer Presidents’ Day sales that are even bigger. Shop those stores if you’re hoping for Presidents’ Day savings on other electronics, including tablets and smartphones.

Expect to get up to 75% off clothing, up to 70% off computers, and up to 60% off mattresses during Presidents’ Day sales.

Historically, we’ve seen more than a third of all Presidents’ Day sales feature clothing in some capacity. If you’re hoping it’ll be a good time to stock up on discounted spring apparel before the weather warms up, though, you’re out of luck. We expect most items in these sales to be winter clothing, as retailers try to clear out stock to make room for those new spring items. Watch for stores to knock between 20% and 50% off clothing, though some could cut up to 75% off. Last year, Macy’s, PUMA, and J.Crew Factory all boasted discounts in this range.

If you’re in need of a new mattress, be sure to check out sales advertising furniture. Even though you might not think of mattresses in the same way you’d think of a sofa, they’re often included in the same sales. Expect to save as much as 60% at stores like Macy’s, while Home Depot could knock up to 40% off. Online mattress retailers will likely have their own sales in February, but odds are the discounts will be smaller.

Looking for large appliances? Historically, we’ve seen stores take up to 40% off refrigerators, washing machines, and more for the holiday weekend. Be ready to shop at retailers like Best Buy, Home Depot, and Lowe’s if you’re in the market for these deals.

Winter Clothing

Spring may be so close we can almost smell it, but this month is an excellent time to shop for cozy clothing. Last February we listed more than 1,500 clothing deals, and 27% of those received our Staff Pick designation. For instance, we saw waffle thermal underwear bottoms for as little as $3, and long-sleeved henley shirts and thermal socks for $4. We also saw sweatshirts for as little as $5, beanies for $6, and gloves for $7.

SEE ALSO: What to Buy Every Month of the Year in 2021

Watch for clothing sales, too. Men’s Wearhouse knocked an extra 50% off cold weather accessories last year, while Original Penguin took an extra 50% off, plus an extra 20% off via a coupon code in what was the best discount we’d seen all year from them. Old Navy cut an extra 40% off its clearance items, and Hanes took up to 70% off. Additionally, look for boot sales in February from retailers like Converse, which knocked 50% off last year. Ecco, meanwhile, cut an extra 50% off.

Gardening Items

It might be too early to plant anything in much of the country, but you can still stock up on garden tools and other items for less. In February 2020, we listed 88 garden deals. While that might not sound like much, nearly a quarter of those earned our Staff Pick designation.

We saw fertilizer spikes for as little as $2 for a 50-pack, an AeroGarden 6-pod kit for only $9, and a 3-pound bag of Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Sun & Shade Mix for $9. But you can find more than garden items like these. We also saw deals on grilling accessories last February, like a thermometer for $11 and a 20-pound steel propane tank cylinder for $26.

Look for top-notch deals on fertilizer spikes, grass seed, and garden tools in February.

Count on garden tools also being among the best offers we see. For instance, last year a Worx blower/mulcher/vacuum combo was $40, which was the lowest price we could find by $21.

Winter might be wrapping up, but we also expect to see items like patio heaters at notable lows. In 2020, Sam’s Club had a Westinghouse patio heater for $80 for members; the retailer also featured a Masterbuilt 24″ pellet grill and smoker for $149 for members. Even if it’s too cold to spend much time in your backyard right now, you can certainly get ready for the warmer temperatures ahead!

Seasonal Fruits and Veggies

If you’re still holding strong on your New Year’s resolution to eat healthier, buying seasonal produce is a budget-friendly way to do so. In February, that means you can shop things like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, leeks, parsnips, rutabagas, and turnips. Looking for fruit? Grapefruit, lemons, oranges, and tangelos will all be in season, and their bright flavors could help lighten up the lingering grey days of winter.

If you’re interested in seeing what’s in season and local, be sure to check the Seasonal Food Guide website. Choose your state and time frame, and you’ll see what kinds of fresh produce you should keep an eye out for.

Don’t Buy These Things in February

You’ll find better deals and a greater selection if you wait until later in the year to shop these items.

Item Don’t Buy Buy Why?
Cruises In February In March (at the earliest) The travel industry is still experiencing issues related to the coronavirus pandemic, so there’s no guarantee we’ll even see any cruise deals in March. If we do, we recommend booking them only if you can book far in advance.
Luggage In February In March March usually brings decent luggage deals, and we’re expecting the same this year. Watch for prices to be as low as $6.
Android Phones In February From July to November Mobile World Congress is running in Barcelona from June 28 to July 1 this year, which is later than normal. That’s typically when Android companies announce their latest flagships, so we don’t expect notable discounts before then.

Readers, what do you think are the best things to buy in February? Let us know in the comments below!


Related DealNews Blog Posts:

DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).

Source: dealnews.com

Tipping Etiquette in the Time of Coronavirus: How Much Is Enough?

Delivery workers at restaurants, grocery stores, and other essential businesses provide a lifeline to homebound shoppers while the highly infectious and deadly coronavirus circulates, so you might be wondering: When do I need to leave a tip? And how much gratuity is enough?

From curbside pickup to alcohol delivery, there are many services that could warrant a tip, but the etiquette on tipping during a pandemic isn’t obvious.

“This is the time when we should be generous if we can, but there is no hard and fast rule for how much extra to give,” says Diane Gottsman, author of “Modern Etiquette for a Better Life” and founder of the Protocol School of Texas.

So, what does “generous” mean in dollars and cents? Follow these pointers to avoid an etiquette error the next time you go to leave a tip.

1. Always tip for delivery and takeout/curbside pickup

Whether you’re getting Mexican food delivered for Taco Tuesday or placing an order for delivery from your local cannabis dispensary, right now you should tip at least 15% to 20%, Gottsman says. The same goes for grocery or alcohol delivery.

If you’re picking up from a restaurant that started offering curbside pickup in the wake of the pandemic, leave a tip.

“The people that are outside are probably employees they’re trying to save from losing their job,” Gottsman says. “They’re probably working for gratuity but not a large hourly rate.”

But just how much should you tip for curbside or in-store pickup? That depends. While some etiquette experts suggest tipping the same 15% to 20% that you would tip for delivery, others say it’s OK to go lower.

“There is a difference between curbside pickup and actual delivery, and for delivery there’s more involved,” says Elaine Swann, a lifestyle and etiquette expert. “Anyone coming to your front door should get a little more money.”

Still, Swann suggests tipping at least 10% on pickup orders during a pandemic.

When it comes to grocery pickup, the etiquette is a bit more complicated.

“Grocers normally don’t allow their people to take tips; although in this scenario, they might have altered their policy,” Gottsman says. If you want to tip the curbside pickup person at your grocery store, ask first if a gratuity can be accepted.

Most of us aren’t in the habit of tipping drive-up window workers at fast-food restaurants, and that’s still OK, Gottsman says—those workers earn an hourly rate, and staffing the drive-up window is part of their regular job duties.

2. Tip just as generously regardless of who delivers

Whether you order your lunch directly from a restaurant or through a third-party delivery service like Grubhub or DoorDash, you should tip the delivery driver the same amount.

Gottsman suggests at least 15% to 20% here, too—although you might have noticed some delivery apps have a default tip set to 25%. If you’re able to swing it, it’s a nice way to thank the person facing the health risk to deliver essentials to you.

“Whether you’re ordering through a third-party service or the restaurant itself, the tip is intended for the person delivering it to you, so I think they should be treated equally,” Swann says.

Even if you have to pay extra for delivery through a third-party service, service fees shouldn’t cut into your tip. On that note …

3. A service or delivery fee is not a tip

When you see a delivery fee or service charge on your order total, that money doesn’t go to your driver—so don’t use it as an excuse to pinch pennies with the tip.

“A delivery fee covers other costs for the restaurant,” Gottsman says. “It’s really important not to confuse a delivery fee with a gratuity. They are two different things.”

4. Some workers can’t accept tips, but you can still offer a kind gesture

Right now, you might be feeling extra grateful for postal workers delivering mail and packages every day. But mail carriers aren’t allowed to accept cash tips or gifts worth more than $20 in value.

“What you could do for somebody you appreciate is leave a nice candy in the mailbox or a gift card for a cup of coffee,” Gottsman says.

What about your local boutique that’s started delivering home goods, or the pet supply store that’s delivering dog food? Many small retail businesses don’t expect tips, Swann says, but now is a great time to show gratitude by posting a glowing review online.

“Not only should we be patronizing our businesses, but we should be putting forth an effort to highlight our positive experiences,” she says. “If they can get that virtual high-five during this time, that would be very helpful.”

5. Be cautious with cash

For online or phone orders, you’ll likely add the tip when you provide your credit card information. But what about cash tips at a time when we’re all trying to eliminate unnecessary physical contact?

“If you do have to tip in cash, to put [workers] at ease, put the cash in an envelope in advance,” Swann says. “One of the core values of etiquette is to make sure we’re doing everything we can to put others at ease.”

And of course, if cash changes hands, sanitize or wash your hands before and after the interaction and follow Centers for Disease Control guidelines for maintaining safe social distance.

6. Tip on the total, not the subtotal

It’s the perennial debate: Should you tip on the subtotal before tax, or the total after tax?

“Just tip on the whole thing,” Gottsman says. As essential workers gear up in masks and gloves and take extra precautions to deliver food and necessities so the rest of us can stay home, now isn’t the time to be stingy.

“Do those few pennies matter? I think they matter to that person [you’re tipping],” she says.

7. Consider tipping contractors, fitness instructors, and others who go above and beyond

You probably wouldn’t normally tip a plumber or electrician who comes into your home, but if you can afford it, it’s not a bad idea, Gottsman says.

“If they come out in the middle of the night or they come out all masked and covered up, you might offer to give them some extra gratuity,” she says. “More than likely they will take it. … They aren’t having the businesses they normally have.”

If your favorite trainer or fitness instructor offers free workout plans or streaming classes while gyms are closed, you may also want to send them a tip on Venmo or PayPal.

“If they’re not charging you but just doing it to keep you going, then why not go ahead and send them a little something?” Swann asks.

8. When in doubt, just do what you can

This is a tough financial time for many people. If tipping above and beyond your normal amount feels out of reach, don’t beat yourself up—just do what’s in your budget.

“The bottom line is, we give what we can afford at this time,” Gottsman says. “Some people are not impacted at all financially, and some people don’t have jobs. To say across the board that everyone should tip more would be unfair.”

For more smart financial news and advice, head over to MarketWatch.

Source: realtor.com

The 4 Best Things to Buy in January — and 4 to Avoid

people celebrating

January brings a new start for many people, thanks to New Year’s resolutions and a renewed motivation to accomplish their goals. For some, this new start might include revamping their spending habits after a long season of buying gifts for themselves and others.

Black Friday and the winter holidays are already an extended shopping period, but in 2020, Amazon Prime Day also fell much later in the year than usual. A good number of people may be burned out on shopping by now; if you’re not, you’re in luck.

Plenty of January sales are worth watching for in 2021. And what goes on sale in January, exactly? Keep an eye out for home fitness equipment to finally see deals, as well as winter clothing and bedding. However, it’s not all great buys — be sure to check out what to avoid in January, too. And once you’re done reading, head to our guide on what to buy every month of the year, so you’ll know the items to shop for later in 2021.

The 4 Best Things to Buy in January

Fitness Equipment

New Year’s resolutions about getting fit are prevalent, to say the least, so we typically expect home fitness equipment to go on sale in January. While it might be more expensive or harder to find this year, that doesn’t mean we won’t see any deals. Over December 2019 and January 2020, we saw a similar number of exercise equipment deals that were Staff Picks, meaning we designated them as “best of the best” offers. However, we saw almost 50% more equipment deals overall in January, compared to the month before it.

Expect January sales on exercise equipment to bring discounts of up to 60% off or more.

On the low end, you should be able to find sales taking up to 20% off select products at stores like Amazon and Target. But other retailers will have deeper discounts — up to 60% off or more. Either way, watch for these sales in January to focus on specific items or categories. For instance, in January 2020 Dick’s Sporting Goods knocked up to 63% off strength equipment, which included weight benches and dumbbells, among other items.

Bedding

You can find bedding deals any time of year, but outside of Black Friday, January might just be when we see the most. This is due in large part to retailers offering what are known as white sales. These events can feature discounts of up to 70% or 80% off on sheets, blankets, pillows, towels, and other soft home goods. Whether you need to upgrade your own sheets, outfit your guest bedroom, or just stock up on extras, this month is a prime time to snag all the soft home goods you need.

SEE ALSO: What to Buy Every Month of the Year in 2021

Look to stores of all types to offer great deals during these events, including JCPenney, Target, Kohl’s, Macy’s, and even designer outlets like Nordstrom Rack. And prices will be unbeatably low — think bath towels for as little as $3. Also keep an eye out for these sales to go by other names, like “bedding and bath sales,” for instance.

Winter Clothing and Styles

If you’ve held off on stocking your closet with sweaters, scarves, and gloves so far this winter, you’ll be glad to know January is a good time to buy cozy items at lower prices. The month might not have as many clothing deals as December, but that doesn’t mean it’s lacking. As retailers start to make room for spring apparel, winter selections will be hitting clearance shelves.

Watch for common discounts to be around 60% to 75% at stores like Superdry, 32 Degrees, Kohl’s, and Macy’s. Stores like Dick’s Sporting Goods and Belk, meanwhile, will likely knock up to 75% off, and Jos. A. Bank could have discounts as high as 85% off.

Watch for clothing discounts between 60% and 75% off at stores such as Kohl’s and Macy’s.

You might think winter clothing on clearance is mostly coats, but it’s not. You’ll also probably find gloves for as little as $4, thermal socks for $5, cashmere socks for $8, scarves for $10, and beanies for $13. And yes, you can count on finding jackets for around $10 and coats for as little as $15.

January apparel deals aren’t all for winter clothing, though. You can also expect to see items like sunglasses for $6, polos for $2, and T-shirts for $3. So even if you aren’t in the market for winter styles, it’s a good idea to check out the January sales anyway.

Holiday Decor

Scoring deals on seasonal decor thanks to deep discounts is one of the most exciting things about the holidays being over. The best time to begin looking for these items is during After Christmas sales, but some of those sales will carry on into January. Start planning now, and you can expect to save up to 75% on everything from trees and lights to ornaments and seasonal candies.

SEE ALSO: Every Major Store’s Holiday Returns Policy for 2020

Watch for stores like Kohl’s, Walmart, Hayneedle, and eBay to offer the best deals in January on different kinds of holiday decor. However, there’s also a good chance Home Depot and Lowe’s will have their own post-holiday sales to celebrate. So be sure to check them for items like lights and outdoor decor such as inflatables.

4 Things NOT to Buy in January

Not everything you’ll see in January will be worth shopping. Check out the table below for the items you should avoid this month, and when you should buy them instead.

Item Don’t Buy Buy Why?
Gym Memberships In January In June January is usually a great time to buy gym memberships, but many gyms are still dealing with closings and occupant limits. Hold off until June, when gyms could have their operations closer to normal.
Video Game Consoles In January In November The latest Xbox and PlayStation consoles are too new to expect discounts right now, but by the end of the year, we should see bundles at notable price lows.
Smartphones In January From September to November The biggest models are typically released in the fall, so hold off on buying a new iPhone, Pixel, or Samsung smartphone until then.
Laptops In January In November Don’t expect January to carry any big sales on laptops. If you need a new machine, you’re better off waiting for the discounts that come with Back to School sales in late summer or Black Friday events in November.

Readers, what January deals are you hoping to see? Let us know in the comments below!


Related DealNews Blog Posts:

DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).

Source: dealnews.com

9 Hidden Ways to Get More Out of Amazon

Woman shopping online
Jelena Zelen / Shutterstock.com

While a Prime membership is the single best way to get the most out of Amazon, the retailer’s website offers plenty of features for everyone.

They can be overlooked easily, but these hidden features can save you money, streamline shopping and even help eliminate clutter.

Keep reading for lesser-known tactics for getting more out of Amazon.

1. Use a price tracker

Stock market
violetkaipa / Shutterstock.com

Honey, a browser extension, and CamelCamelCamel, a website and extension, are free tools that offer Amazon price tracking.

That means you can use one of these tools to find out how the price of a particular product on Amazon has changed over time, and to keep tabs on its price going forward. This helps you get a better deal.

Learn more: We explain more in “7 Free Tools for Saving More Money at Amazon,” or you can head straight to Honey’s website or CamelCamelCamel.com.

2. Get stuff for free

A woman smiles while enjoying reading an e-book on an e-reader and lying on the grass outside
baranq / Shutterstock.com

Who doesn’t love free stuff? You can get plenty of it on Amazon, regardless of whether you have a Prime membership.

Freebies range from e-books to valuable home goods that you could receive by registering for wedding gifts from companies such as All-Clad, Mikasa and Kenmore.

Learn more: See our article “10 Things That Really Are Free on Amazon” for details on these and other freebies offered through the site.

3. Shop the secret departments

PixieMe / Shutterstock.com

Amazon is already known for its bargain prices on many goods, but there are additional savings to be found if you know where to look.

Visit the “Bargain Finds” page for low-priced goodies of all kinds. Or hit the Outlet to find discounted overstock items. You can also visit the Renewed section for refurbished electronics.

Learn more: More on these and other secret departments can be found in our story “7 Secret Departments of Amazon You Should Know About.”

4. Trade your clutter for gift cards

Amazon gift card
Nicole S Glass / Shutterstock.com

Minimalists might bemoan Amazon as a way to quickly fill up your house with unnecessary purchases, but the retail giant also can help you cut your clutter.

The Amazon Trade-In program lets customers send in unwanted electronics, books and more. In return, they receive an Amazon gift card.

Learn more: Visit the Amazon Trade-In program page, where you can also see how much credit you could get for a particular piece of clutter that’s sitting around your home. Click on a product category to get started.

And for more tips like this, check out “5 Ways You Can Score Free Amazon Gift Cards.”

5. Check for coupons

carballo / Shutterstock.com

Yes, Amazon has coupons — lots of them. No scissors necessary: You can “clip” these digital coupons with the tap of a button, either on a product’s webpage or Amazon’s coupons page.

Learn more: Visit the “Amazon Coupons” webpage to view all coupons that are currently available.

6. Buy exclusive generic brands

Ken Wolter / Shutterstock.com

It’s well-known that generics can cost significantly less than their brand-name counterparts, but did you know that Amazon has its own generic brands as well?

They go by names like AmazonBasics and Amazon Elements, and some products from these brands are among the site’s bestsellers.

Learn more: Visit Amazon’s “Explore Our Brands” page to get a quick sense of the array of brands and products.

7. Subscribe and save

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

Put your shopping on auto-pilot using Amazon’s Subscribe & Save feature. A wide variety of products are eligible for Subscribe & Save orders — from toothpaste and diapers to dog food.

You select the items and the frequency of the shipments. Amazon will not only send the items to you automatically at the frequency of your choice, but it also will ship them for free.

What’s more, you’ll see extra savings of 5% or, if you subscribe to five or more items, up to 15%.

Learn more: Visit Amazon’s “Subscribe & Save” page.

8. Return purchases to a Kohl’s or UPS Store

Eric Glenn / Shutterstock.com

Amazon has made returns easy for Prime and non-Prime members alike. You no longer have to hunt down a box and packing tape or print a shipping label.

Instead, you can simply take the item to your local Kohl’s or UPS Store for a free return. You can do this at certain Whole Foods Market locations as well.

You will receive a QR code from Amazon. Then, at the store, an associate will scan the code, take the item you are returning, and package it up and ship it back to Amazon for you.

Learn more: To find out whether this return option is available for a particular item that you wish to return, log in to your Amazon account and go to Your Orders, Amazon says.

9. Use old boxes to donate to charity

Amazon packages
Hadrian / Shutterstock.com

Wondering what to do with the empty Amazon boxes collecting in your garage? You could recycle them — or you could use them to send your unwanted goods to charity instead.

Amazon partners with Give Back Box to encourage people to declutter their homes and donate to charity.

It works like this: After you’ve unpacked your Amazon order, look around your home for items that are in good condition but that you no longer need or want. Then, put them in the Amazon box, go to the Give Back Box website for a free shipping label and send your excess off to a good cause.

Learn more: Visit the Give Back Box website. To print a free shipping label, click on Amazon’s logo.

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

Source: moneytalksnews.com

Wrangler Launches Home Decor with Pottery Barn Teen – Sourcing Journal

Wrangler is making good on its plans to expand into new product categories. The Kontoor Brands-owned heritage jean brand entered the home goods fray this week with a limited-edition collection with Pottery Barn Teen.

The collection includes curtains, tapestries, lounge sectionals and loveseats, bean bag chairs, quilts and shams, duvet covers, storage bins, sheets and rug. The collection retails for $28-$1,499 and is available now on the Pottery Barn Teen website.

“When you look at Wrangler as an almost 75-year-old heritage American brand, you think of comfort and durability,” said Steve Armus, Kontoor Brands vice president of global partnership and licensing. “For me furniture and home goods were always on that list; it was top of mind.”

Wrangler has dabbled in home before, but Armus said it felt like right time to get back into this business with a collaborator that has deep knowledge of the product and audience. “Having the right partner in this kind of exercise is really the most important thing,” he said. “We like doing business with partners and brands that are first rate the way we are.”

Pottery Barn Teen, he said, proved itself throughout this collaboration to be first class with its understanding of the market, the consumer, the quality of the product it makes, its design and the care it is willing to take to design products that showcase the brands in the best light.

“I found out a long time ago when you do business with category leaders, you listen to them a lot, and you play towards their strengths,” Armus said. “Pottery Barn Teen is best-in-class in those ways, and that really attracted them to us.”

The partnership was initiated before the pandemic, allowing Pottery Barn Teen’s senior product and merchant design teams to visit Wrangler’s Greensboro, N.C., offices. There, the members of the Wrangler team spent the entire day walking them through their lines, what’s important to the brand, its key looks and what people tend to gravitate towards.

From a product side, however, Armus said Pottery Barn Teen took the lead, understanding what works best for the consumer.

“It was a good holistic listening on both sides to come up with, ultimately, what we think is a collection that really brings out the best of both of us,” he said. “It’s been my history that that’s how those things get done. If we were to dictate what works, it wouldn’t be the best it could be. We share each other’s values and came up with what was really nice collection for both parties.”

The Wrangler x Pottery Barn Teen collection arrives in the market during a time when more consumers are spending time in their homes for school and work, and nesting to make their environment more comfortable. “We expected [the collection] would do well because of what it is, who we are and who Pottery Barn Teen is,” Armus said. “Given the times that we’re in, we hope it’ll do better because it is trend-right.”

Increasingly, fashion brands are stepping into the category. This week, fast-fashion retailer Mango announced it would introduce homewares via its e-commerce platform during the second quarter in 20 European markets. Mango will initially launch a capsule collection inspired by Mediterranean living, focusing solely on textiles. The Spanish company expects to gradually add tableware and products for the living room. Last year, sustainable fashion brand Eileen Fisher bowed a limited line of felted denim home products in partnership with West Elm.

“The home goods sector, if you’re in the right product categories, is doing well,” Armus said.

Products in the collection also reinforce Wrangler’s commitment to sustainability. The tapestries are printed on a canvas made from 100 percent Repreve polyester from recycled plastic water bottles. Storage bins are made with upcycled scraps of denim and raffia, meaning no two are alike. Organic cotton and BCI cotton are used throughout, and curtains are made in a Fair-Trade Certified facility.

Home will be a long-term business for Wrangler, Armus said. “Wrangler is an all-American, authentic brand, and for us, there’s a lot of ways to translate how that brand is going to show up at retail beyond apparel,” he said. “We’ve proven ourselves as durable, competent, great apparel makers for many, many years. We feel there’s many more category extensions for the brand.”

Source: sourcingjournal.com

The Best Time to Buy a TV, Mattress and More: Here’s Your Guide

Some purchases are tough to plan: car repairs, patches for a leaky roof, a working furnace right before the big snowstorm hits.

But more often than not, you can plan ahead for life’s necessities — and some non-necessities, too.

Before you let an impulse buy drain your bank account, consult our handy calendar of the best time to buy absolutely everything. You might be surprised at the deals each new season brings!

Our Guide to the Best Time to Buy Everything

Be a smart shopper and plan your purchases according to this calendar, which plots the best deals, month by month.

What to Buy in January

Kick off the new year with big savings.

TVs

Retailers know that the newest TVs and other electronics are revealed at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in January. This makes January the best time to buy a TV, thanks to major discounts — as long as you don’t covet the new, fancy models too much.

Calendars

No need to rush to the bookstore in December to get a new wall or desk calendar. Buy one in January to get a discount.

Gym Memberships and Home Fitness Equipment

The pandemic may have kept you out of the gym, and you might still be hesitant to return. But gyms are known to offer big incentives to sign up and get fit in the New Year. Home gym equipment also goes on sale in January, as do scales, according to Consumer Reports. Here’s some guidance on what equipment you need for a good, affordable home gym.

Linens

The yearly tradition of hosting a white sale dates back to the 1870s, when linens were only available in white. But modern white sales include linens and home goods in every color of the rainbow.

Don’t be swayed by sheets with super-high thread counts — you probably don’t know what different thread counts feel like.

Christmas Gear

I know, you have an entire 11 months until you get invited to your next ugly sweater party. But my Goodwill intel reports that January is the best time to find a truly hideous sweater for way cheap. Other Christmas supplies are also on sale in January, including holiday cards and decorations.

What to Buy in February

Fall in love with these deals during February.

Mattresses

Presidents Day is a good time to buy a mattress because it gives you a long weekend to shop with your partner for an item you should both agree on before buying.

That’s why retailers use the holiday to post sales on pricy items many people have put off buying or replacing for a while. Take advantage.

Jewelry

One of the best times to buy jewelry is in February — but only after Valentine’s Day.

Look for deep discounts after retailers remove their rose-colored glasses. It’s not worth paying the “love tax” to celebrate with your sweetheart, anyway.

Also look for discounts on other Valentine’s Day goods, such as cards and chocolate after the holiday itself.

Winter Coats

Winter coats take up a ton of room in your closet and just as much room in stores. Help retailers clear ’em out this month, and you’ll get a big discount.

What to Buy in March

Spring forward by making these smart purchases in March.

A woman carries her luggage down an alleyway in Europe.
Getty Images

Luggage

Don’t wait until a week before your big family vacation to get a new suitcase. March is the best time to buy luggage, as it’s on sale to entice shoppers who are desperate to be done with their snowy, dreary winters and who crave a little spring break.

Just don’t forget where you put it when it’s time to pack.

What to Buy in April

The smart shopper always plans ahead.

Tools

You don’t have to wait until Father’s Day to find excellent prices on tools and home improvement gear.

If you’re eager to start your home DIY projects in the spring, go ahead and shop now.

Sneakers

Everyone’s finally going outside again. Let sporting goods stores make it easier for you to keep up with your New Year’s resolution (remember that?) by discounting those new kicks.

What to Buy in May

Is your refrigerator running? If not, May is a great time to get a new one.

Baby Gear

I understand you’re not going to time your baby’s birth to get the best deal on all their accoutrements.

But if your kiddo needs a new stroller or high chair, May is a good time to shop, according to Consumer Reports — especially if you can grab the Memorial Day deals.

Refrigerators

New refrigerator models debut in the summer. Shop in May to get last year’s model at a better price.

You can’t tell the difference between last year’s refrigerator models and this year’s, right? Didn’t think so.

Also look for deals on other necessities like freezers, oven ranges and air conditioners, according to Consumer Reports.

What to Buy in June

Here come the… deals?

A young girl watches a movie on her iPhone on a plane.
Getty Images

Vacation Tickets

Hopefully 2021 proves to be a better year for travel. Planning a summer vacation? Travel early or late in the summer instead of during peak times. And you’ll pay less for airfare if you can travel midweek.

Outdoor Gear

Now that summer is in full swing, outdoor gear — like tents, backpacks, lanterns and even fitness gear — is marked down.

Cookware and China

June is typically peak wedding season, and stores hope you’ve planned ahead to buy wedding registry gifts.

Now is when those items are discounted, and it’s the perfect time to replace or upgrade what’s in your own cabinets.

What to Buy in July

Don’t sweat these savings.

Furniture

New styles hit stores in February and August, so retailers spend much of July clearing out old stock, especially over Fourth of July weekend — making this the best time to buy furniture.

Dehumidifiers

July means humidity. Pick up an older version of a much-needed dehumidifier in July or August, according to Consumer Reports.

What to Buy in August

The dog days of summer offer some amazing bargains.

Computers (Except Apple Products)

Computer manufacturers typically release their new models in the summer, so back-to-school sales are a great time to buy last season’s model. The specs probably won’t be different enough for you to notice, unless you’re a hardcore gamer or designer.

Apple products, however, typically get announced in the fall, so hold off to get that new MacBook.

Grills

Grilling season doesn’t stop at the stroke of Labor Day. Buy at the tail end of summer to enjoy your grill until almost Thanksgiving (OK, depending on where you live).

What to Buy in September

Back to school? More like back to the checkout lane.

Thanksgiving Flights

Generally, September is the best month to buy Thanksgiving flights.

Swimsuits

Even though your local pool might be closed for the season, you should think about stocking up on swimsuits for next year.

A House

This might not be a frequent purchase, but if you’re in the market for a new home, it can help to hold off past the busy spring and summer buying seasons.

Your costs typically drop a few percentage points at the end of September (after the kids have gone back to school), making this the best time to buy a house.

What to Buy in October

There’s a joke about spooky deals in here, but I won’t make it.

Denim

Jeans typically get discounted in October, after back-to-school sales have ended and families are stocked up on fall attire.

Patio Furniture

Goodbye summer, hello savings.

It’s worth checking out the patio furniture if you don’t mind storing it over the winter. When that first warm spring day hits, you’ll be ready to bask in the sunshine.

Leaf Blowers

October means fall leaves — and they are likely covering your yard. Pick up a leaf blower, and while you’re at it, get ready for the snowy days ahead with a snow blower, according to Consumer Reports.

What to Buy in November

The days get shorter, but the deals get bigger.

Small Appliances

This time of year is ripe with rock-bottom prices on giftable small appliances.

If you’re looking for a blender, food processor, coffee maker or anything else that’ll proudly take up space on your kitchen counter, it’s worth waiting until Black Friday sales begin in stores and online.

A woman gets her wedding gown fastened in the back.
Getty Images

Wedding Gowns

Bridal shops are slow before the proposal rush during the holiday season, so the few weeks before Thanksgiving is a good time to start trying on gowns.

Ask about sample sales and last year’s styles that may be priced to move.

What to Buy in December

Celebrate the season… by shopping smart, obviously.

Swimming Pools

If your family’s been begging for a backyard pool, December is the best time to have one installed. It might be chilly, but pool pros would rather avoid working on 90-degree days!

Plus, when their workload slows in the winter, many contractors are willing to lower their prices.

Toys

Toy deals stick around after those Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales in November.

Even if you’re done with holiday shopping for your little ones, consider picking up their favorite character and activity toys while they’re still discounted to stash away for birthdays.

Lisa Rowan is a former staff writer and producer at The Penny Hoarder.

Source: thepennyhoarder.com

How Much Should You Spend on Rent?

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One of the most exciting parts of becoming an adult is moving out of your old place and starting your own life. However, as is the case with most major life events, moving out comes with a lot of added responsibility. Part of this duty is knowing and understanding your budget when shopping for the perfect apartment, condo, duplex, or rental house. So how much should you really spend on rent?

The 30 Percent Threshold

The first step in deciding how much you should spend on rent is calculating how much rent you can afford. This is done by finding your fixed income-to-rent ratio. Simply put, this is the percentage of your income that is budgeted towards rent.

As a general rule of thumb, allocating 30 percent of your net income towards rent is a good place to start. Government studies consider people who spend more than 30 percent on living expenses to be “cost-burdened,” and those who spend 50 percent or more to be “severely cost-burdened.”

When calculating your income-to-rent ratio, keep in mind that you should be using your total household income. If you live with a roommate or partner, be sure to factor in their income as well to ensure you’re finding a rent range that’s appropriate for your income level.

If you’re still unsure as to how much rent you can afford, consider an affordability calculator. Remember to consult a financial advisor before entering into a lease if you’re unsure if you’ll be able to make rent.

Consider the 50/30/20 Rule

Consider the 50:30:20 Rule

After you’ve set a fixed income-to-rent ratio, consider the 50/20/30 rule to round out your budget. This rule suggests that 50 percent of your income goes to essentials, 20 percent goes to savings, and the remaining 30 percent goes to non-essential, personal expenses. In this case, rent falls under “essentials.” Also included in this category are any expenses that are absolutely necessary, such as utilities, food, and transportation.

Let’s consider a hypothetical situation in which you make $4,000 per month. Under the 50/20/30 rule with a fixed income-to-rent ratio of 30 percent, you have $2,000 (50 percent) per month to spend on essential living expenses. $1,200 (30 percent) goes to rent, leaving you with $800 per month for other necessary expenses such as utilities and food.

Remember to Budget for Additional Expenses

Now that you’ve budgeted for rent and essential utilities, it’s time to make a plan for how you’re going to furnish your apartment. One of the biggest shocks of moving out on your own is how expensive filling a home can be. From kitchen utensils to lightbulbs and everything in between, it can be pricey to make your space perfect.

For the most part, furniture falls under the 30 percent of personal, non-essential expenses. Consider planning ahead before a move and saving for home goods so that you don’t go into major debt when it comes time to move out.

Be on the Lookout for Savings

If your budget is slightly out of reach for your dream apartment, try to nix unnecessary costs to see if you can make it work. Look for ways to cut down on utilities, insurance, groceries, and rent.

Utilities: Water, heat, and electricity are all necessities, but your TV service isn’t. Cut the cord on TV and mobile services that may not serve you and your budget anymore. Consider swapping out your light bulbs for eco-friendly and energy-efficient light bulbs to cut down your electric bill.

Insurance: Instead of paying monthly renters insurance rates, save a fraction of the cost by paying your yearly cost in full. If you have a roommate, ask to share a policy together at a premium rate.

Groceries: Swap your nights out for a homemade meal. You can save up to $832 a year with this simple habit change. When grocery shopping, add up costs as you shop to ensure your budget stays on track.

Rent: One of the best ways to save on rent is to split the bill. Consider getting roommates to save 50 percent or more on your monthly rent.

A lease is not something to be entered into lightly. Biting off more rent than you can chew can lead to unpaid rent, which can damage your credit score and make it harder to find an apartment or buy a home in the future. By implementing these best practices, you’ll hopefully find a balance between finding a place you love and still having room in your budget for a little bit of fun.

Sources: US Census Bureau

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