14 Target Shopping Tips & Tricks to Save Money (Online & In-Store)

Target is one of the top 50 companies by revenue in the United States, and the retail giant has been following its “Expect More, Pay Less” slogan since 1994. If you’re a member of the 75% of U.S. households that live within 10 miles of a Target, you probably do a fair amount of shopping at Target as well.

Shopping at Target is a convenient way to enjoy a massive selection at great prices. And if you want to take your frugality one step further to really save money on groceries and household essentials, a number of Target hacks can help cut down on your spending.

Ways to Save Money at Target

Be sure to use at least one of the following Target money-saving tips on your next shopping trip to help keep more money in your wallet.

1. Sign Up for a Target REDcard

The most powerful option shoppers have to save money at Target is signing up for the Target REDcard Debit Card or Target REDcard Credit Card.

Target wants shoppers to visit its stores. So it offers two generous rewards cards that make shopping in-store and online even more affordable.

The Target REDcard Debit and Credit cards are fairly similar and provide the following perks:

  • No Annual Fees. Neither version of the Target REDcard has an annual membership cost or hidden fees, making them the perfect tools for frequent or occasional shoppers to save money at Target.
  • Great Discount Rate. Both cards grant 5% off most in-store and online Target purchases. This discount also extends to clearance items, Target sales, and in-store Starbucks cafes. Pharmacy charges, optical purchases, and nonspecialty gift cards aren’t discounted. However, a 5% discount is better than many cash-back credit cards, and almost every Target purchase is eligible.
  • Unlimited Discounts. Big spenders don’t have to worry about discount limits with a Target REDcard.
  • Free Two-Day Shipping. REDcard holders get free two-day shipping from Target.com. This is perfect if you enjoy shopping online at Target and don’t subscribe to other free-shipping options like Amazon Prime.
  • Extended Return Period. Target REDcard members have an additional 30-day return period for items they purchase. That’s especially useful for big-ticket items such as appliances or furniture. Optical purchases and nonreturnable items aren’t included.
  • REDcard Exclusives. Cardholders receive a 10% discount at Hotels.com, which beats the discounts offered by many hotel rewards cards. Members also receive a one-time 10% discount anniversary bonus one year after opening their account.

The main drawback of both cards is they don’t work outside of Target. However, the unlimited discount potential makes signing up for a REDcard the most lucrative Target hack there is.

The Target REDcard Credit Card requires a credit check when signing up. If you want to build and improve your credit, this card is worth considering. If you’re only interested in discounts and special offers and don’t want another credit card, Target’s REDcard Debit Card is a better pick.

2. Take Advantage of Target Circle

Target Circle is the new version of Target’s previous membership saving program, Cartwheel. Target Circle is free to use. If you already have a Target.com account, previous Cartwheel account, or REDcard, you’ll use the same membership details. Otherwise, you’ll create a Target.com account or share your phone number the next time you check out at Target to join Target Circle.

The main perks of this program include:

  • Cash Back. Target Circle members earn 1% cash back when making in-store and online purchases at Target. This cash back applies to future purchases and doesn’t stack on the 5% discount from a Target REDcard. However, REDcard members still gain the other perks included in this loyalty program, and Target Circle is perfect for shoppers who don’t want another debit or credit card.
  • Target Circle Offers. Circle members receive personalized offers and discounts based on their purchase history. There are hundreds of products on sale at a given time, with many discounts ranging from 10% to 50% off.
  • Birthday Discount. Circle members enjoy 5% off in-store or online purchases on their birthday.
  • Manufacturer Coupons. Circle Members can easily find manufacturer coupons for products at Target by using the mobile app.

There’s no reason not to use this free loyalty program. Combining Target Circle coupons plus cash back from a REDcard is the ultimate Target hack to save money, and this program doesn’t require much additional effort.

3. Use the Target App

Target Circle is one main money-saving feature of the Target app. However, Target’s app also provides other ways to save money and time.

The Target app makes it easy to browse Circle offers, a Weekly Ad section of current promotions, and exclusive REDcard deals all in one place. Plus, the app lets you check specific product availability at nearby Target stores, streamlining the shopping process from planning to checkout.

The app also has a Drive Up feature, which lets you save time by ordering ahead and having your order brought out to your vehicle. You can also use the Order Pickup feature to ensure your order is waiting for you once you arrive in-store.

4. Shop for Clearance Items

Everyone loves a good deal or discount, and that’s why buying items on clearance is so satisfying. In-store shoppers can find Target deals by carefully browsing aisles for products on clearance. However, the fastest way to find clearance deals at Target is to look online.

Target’s online clearance section is very easy to use. Shopping filters allow you to sort by department or to find products with a 50% discount or more. Plus, REDcard members still have free two-day shipping. Alternatively, free in-store pickup is available.

5. Shop on Specific Days for Markdowns

One of the sneakiest Target hacks to cut down on costs is to only shop on specific days to take advantage of weekly markdowns on specific product categories.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that Target stores follow this markdown schedule each week:

  • Monday: Electronics, kids’ clothing, books, baby supplies, and accessories
  • Tuesday: Pet supplies, food, and women’s clothing
  • Wednesday: Health and beauty products, men’s clothing, furniture, and lawn and garden items
  • Thursday: Shoes, toys, home decor, sporting goods, luggage, and housewares
  • Friday: Cosmetics, jewelry, auto products, and hardware

This markdown schedule is not 100% accurate for every Target location. However, it’s worth paying attention to your local store to see when product categories go on clearance and plan future shopping trips accordingly.

6. Get Creative With Coupons

Saving money with coupons doesn’t have to require hours of weekly planning. If you use a variety of coupon apps and take time to understand a store’s coupon policy, you can easily cut down on your monthly spending.

Couponing at Target is no exception. In fact, Target encourages saving money through its generous coupon policy:

  • Stackable Coupons. Combine one manufacturer coupon, one Target coupon, and one Circle offer per item.
  • Coupon Limits. Use a maximum of four identical coupons per household per day.
  • Internet Coupons. Target accepts valid Internet coupons with scannable barcodes. However, coupons must have a purchase requirement.
  • Storewide and Category Coupons. Target allows one category or storewide coupon per guest per transaction.
  • Buy-One-Get-One (BOGO) Coupons. Shoppers can’t combine BOGO coupons to get both products for free.

The only weakness of Target’s coupon policy is that it doesn’t grant cash overages. However, the ability to stack discounts from manufacturers, Target coupons, and Circle offers is an amazing way to score heavily discounted items.

7. Shop At Target.com & Earn Free Gift Cards

Shopping on Target.com is a savvy way to enjoy free shipping and find clearance items. You can also earn free gift cards by shopping online under the GiftCard with Purchase category.

Many items in this category award between $5 to $20 in free gift cards. Gift card rewards vary depending on your order quantity and offer terms, such as “Buy three, get $5.” Target’s Current Promotions page outlines ongoing GiftCard with Purchase rewards.

You generally have to spend around $75 to $100 on a specific category to unlock a $20 gift card reward. However, stocking up on household essentials should make this threshold easy to accomplish.

Current promotions are subject to change. Visiting the GiftCard with Purchase section on Target.com is the easiest way to quickly find deals, but you must read the current promotions page to understand eligibility requirements.

8. Install a Shopping Browser Extension

There are different types of shopping browser extensions. Some award cash back for shopping at retail partners, while others offer automatic coupons or price comparison features at checkout.

Using one or more of the following browser extensions is another great way to save money when shopping on Target.com. Plus, these discounts or cash-back rewards are stackable with your Target REDcard or other credit card rewards:

  • Capital One Shopping. You can add the Capital One Shopping browser extension and it will automatically apply available coupon codes to your purchase before you check out.
  • Rakuten. Create a free Rakuten account and visit Rakuten before shopping at Target to earn 1% cash back. Rakuten pays quarterly through PayPal, provided you’ve accrued more than $5 in your account.
  • TopCashback. TopCashback is similar to Rakuten. Target shoppers earn 2.25% cash back from TopCashback.
  • Honey. Honey is a free browser extension that automatically applies any eligible coupons at checkout to find savings. Honey awards cash back in the form of Honey Gold points. Honey Gold is redeemable for free gift cards to a variety of merchants, including Target.com.

A bit of cash back and free coupons might not seem significant. However, there’s no harm in installing these shopping extensions to test out how much money you save per year.

Capital One Shopping compensates us when you get the browser extension using the links provided.

9. Always Look for Price-Matching Opportunities

Target is one of several massive U.S. retailers that offer price matching. However, price matching is only useful if you understand the terms and actually ask for price matching at checkout.

Target has a fairly simple price-matching policy:

  • Broad Price Match Eligibility. Target matches in-store prices for identical items from Target.com or local print ads. Additionally, Target also matches select competitors’ prices online. Amazon and Walmart.com are two of these competitors, so you should be able to find price match opportunities with some searching.
  • Time Frame. Price match requests are eligible for 14 days after the original purchase.
  • Excluded Items. Clearance; liquidation; damaged, used, or refurbished items; and items advertised as percent or dollar off aren’t eligible for price matching. Pricing errors or member-only prices are also exempt. Finally, special Target offers, such as Circle offers, gift card offers, or Target coupons, aren’t eligible.

In other words, you can’t price match against products that already have discounts from programs like Circle or many in-store deals. While this limits price matching potential, price matching is still a great way to save money at Target on nondiscounted purchases.

10. Use Target’s Registry Program

Target’s gift registry program lets you easily create a registry for any occasion. Weddings, kids’ wish lists, housewarming events, and baby registries are popular options, but you can also create custom registries to suit your needs.

Most registries don’t come with any perks outside of making it easier for friends and family to purchase gifts together and  track what other gift-givers have already bought. However, Target’s wedding, baby, and college registries let registry owners save up to 15% on unpurchased registry items.

  • Wedding Registry: Receive a coupon for 15% off everything left on your registry the week of your event date.
  • Baby Registry: Receive a 15% off coupon eight weeks before your expected arrival date. Your registry must contain items and be active for 14 days before the expected arrival date to receive this coupon.
  • College Registry: This 15%-off coupon is valid for one online purchase sent to a single address. You must use this coupon before the registry expiration date or your college move-in day.

Registry coupons don’t apply to certain categories, such as gift cards, alcohol, cameras, gaming systems, and certain brands of televisions. However, if you fit into any of the registry categories that grant a 15% coupon, there is massive saving potential for a larger Target bill.

11. Trade In Old Electronics & Gift Cards

There are numerous ways to donate unused electronics or sell old phones and devices for cash. But if you want to save money at Target, the Target Trade-in Program is your best bet.

The process works in four steps:

  1. Find Your Device. Browse Target’s accepted trade-in product list to see if your product qualifies.
  2. Get a Quote. Answer questions about your device’s condition and any accessories to get an instant quote.
  3. Ship for Free. Use a prepaid shipping label to send your device to Target for free.
  4. Earn Target GiftCards. You receive a Target GiftCard within two weeks of Target receiving your device.

Eligible categories for trade-in include smartphones, tablets, consoles, wearable technology, and voice speakers.

The Target Trade-In Program also lets you exchange unwanted gift cards. You can trade in gift cards from dozens of participating brands in exchange for Target GiftCards or PayPal cash. Gift cards must have a balance, and this program is only available at select Target locations. Target GiftCards are redeemable online or in-store, making this an excellent option to turn your unused electronics or unwanted gift cards into another opportunity to save money at Target.

12. Buy Discounted Gift Cards

People receive unwanted gift cards all the time. And there’s an entire industry that focuses on buying and selling them.

If you have a large shopping trip coming up, purchase discounted Target gift cards to save money. Some popular Target gift card exchange websites include:

  • Card Cash. Save up to 9% on Target gift cards.
  • Raise. Save up to 4.05% on Target gift cards.
  • Cardpool. Save up to 8% on Target gift cards.

Target gift cards aren’t always in stock, and discount rates change based on supply and the value of specific cards. Typically, the larger the gift card amount, the larger the discount.

These websites are useful if you want to purchase a big-ticket item at Target, such as an appliance, or if you have an expensive shopping trip coming up.

Discounted Target GiftCards are only redeemable on Target.com, so keep this in mind.

13. Earn Free Gift Cards With Fetch Rewards

There are plenty of mobile coupon apps like Ibotta and Checkout 51 that let shoppers save money on groceries by shopping at certain stores. However, Fetch Rewards, a relatively recent entrant to the world of cash-back apps, makes the process of saving money even easier.

Fetch Rewards lets users earn cash back by shopping for dozens of brands in the United States. Shopping at specific stores doesn’t matter with Fetch Rewards; as long as partner brands appear on your receipt, you earn cash back. All you have to do is scan your receipt with the Fetch Rewards Android or iOS app within 14 days of purchase to earn cash back.

Fetch Reward points are redeemable for a wide variety of gift cards, including gift cards to Target.com. Fetch Rewards has a $3 minimum cash-out threshold, unlike apps like Ibotta that have a $20 minimum. This makes Fetch Rewards a fast and low-effort way to cut down on your grocery bill and save on future Target purchases.

14. Shop Off-Season

Target offers plenty of ways to save money with its annual Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. However, if you’d rather avoid the crowds, buying presents for the holidays throughout the year is another way to snag some great deals. Similarly, shopping off-season or at the end of a season is a great way to save money on clothing.

Final Word

Target already offers affordable prices and wide selection. However, if you want to maximize your savings rate, every little bit counts.

The next time you shop at Target, remember to try out one (or more) of these useful saving hacks. Even something as simple as signing up for a Target REDCard or using the mobile app to look for coupons will help you cut down on your next shopping trip.

It might seem trivial at first, but over the course of a year, you might be surprised at how much money you end up saving.

Source: moneycrashers.com

36 Best Amazon Prime Benefits to Use in 2021

Back in the day, a big reason to hook up with the bargain-shopping online retailer Amazon.com was the free two-day shipping, the very roots of Amazon Prime.

That was then. Now, since my Amazon shopping addiction has waned (and my annual membership is due), I thought I’d explore what other perks being an Amazon Prime membership gets me, along with the other 100 million or so Prime subscribers worldwide paying $119 a year for membership (or you could pay $12.99 a month, but that comes out to $155.88 a year). You may be surprised by some of today’s best Amazon Prime benefits — besides free two-day shipping (and quickly becoming one-day, same day and in some locations, one-hour shipping).

Take a look at 36 of these perks that surround the free shipping of Amazon Prime.

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Free Same-Day Delivery

Amazon package handed to a customerAmazon package handed to a customer

Free two-day shipping is so 2005, the year Amazon launched Prime. Today’s Amazon Prime is all about getting more stuff to members at an ever-faster pace as Amazon builds more distribution centers (above its recent efforts to speed up free two-day delivery to free one-day delivery; I’ve recently started getting several Amazon-shipped items in one day, free; the order defaults to one-day at checkout).

Now this: Free same-day delivery. It doesn’t apply everywhere, mind you, but more than 10,000 eligible cities and towns — mostly major metropolitan areas — and counting is a fairly wide swath. If your ZIP code, which you can check out right here, offers same-day service, when you order before noon and choose the same-day shipping option at checkout, Amazon says the package will be delivered by 9 p.m. (Sundays included, and don’t be surprised to see the U.S. Postal Service delivering, even on Sundays, though I’m seeing more and more Amazon-branded delivery vans; keep an eye out for Amazon-owned electric delivery vehicles). If you order past noon, an option is next-day delivery. Two caveats: The same-day order must total $35 or more, and not every product Amazon stocks is eligible (but more than 3 million are marked with the “Prime FREE Same-Day Delivery” logo, so there). If your same-day-delivery swag is under $35, Amazon will dock you a surcharge of three bucks, so you might want to slow your roll. Oh, and if you don’t have a Prime membership and want that certain something-something delivered the same day, you can do so, but you’ll be clipped $12.99 per item.

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Free Two-Hour Delivery

Amazon delivery vans going down a highwayAmazon delivery vans going down a highway

Talk about impulse shopping. Amazon’s Prime Now service delivers the grocery goods to Prime members for free within two hours, currently in more than 100 (and growing) select markets, including Atlanta, Boston, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, San Diego, Virginia Beach and central New Jersey (Hi Mom and Dad!). Free two-hour delivery includes grocery orders from Whole Foods, which is owned by Amazon, or the online Amazon Fresh. Can’t wait two hours? You can pick up your goodies at your Whole Foods market in one hour. Prime Now specializes in delivering items ranging from prepared foods and produce to canned goods, fresh meat and seafood, household essentials and more.

Oh, and FYI, if you were an Amazon Pantry customer you aren’t any longer. Amazon recently discontinued that service as it consolidated its grocery-delivery services. Don’t worry; all the grocery products are still there.

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Get Paid for No-Rush Delivery

A turtle walks along a kitchen floor with a package tie on top of its shellA turtle walks along a kitchen floor with a package tie on top of its shell

Hey, if you can have patience with some of your orders, it just may pay off. Choose free no-rush shipping at checkout, and you can earn either a discount or a promotional award that can be used for future Amazon purchases. Your no-rush order will arrive within six business days, rather than the standard two days for Prime members (and I’ve found that “six days” was really three days a couple of times I’ve used no-rush). Awards are applied after your no-rush order ships. Typical givebacks include digital swag including instant video downloads, digital music, eBooks, and Amazon app store apps. You don’t choose the rewards. Amazon does.

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Get Your Prime Wardrobe on

A man gets dressed near his wardrobe closetA man gets dressed near his wardrobe closet

With dressing rooms closed in most clothing bricks-and-mortar retailers during the pandemic, we’re unable to try on clothes before we buy them. Now, Amazon has you covered — in clothes. Prime Wardrobe is Prime’s answer to the dressing room. Pick out women’s, men’s, kids’, and baby clothing, shoes, and accessories online at Amazon Wardrobe. Select up to 8  items (making sure they have the Prime Wardrobe logo) and they’ll be shipped for free and at no charge to you. You have seven days to try them on and check out what you want to buy. It’s free to return anything you don’t want to purchase. Your Prime Wardrobe order comes in a resealable box or bag with a prepaid return label. You just have to haul it over to a UPS outlet or other retailers taking Amazon returns (see below). They’ll take care of the rest.

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Give to Your Favorite Charity

Closeup of a person holding a symbolic heart in their handsCloseup of a person holding a symbolic heart in their hands

Did you know you could shop, buy and give to your favorite registered charitable organization through Amazon Prime? Neither did I, until a year or so ago. This charity-driven alt form of Amazon shopping is called AmazonSmile. Simply pick a charity you wish to receive donations from Amazon and do all of your Amazon.com shopping on your personal AmazonSmile page. It has the exact same products and prices as your regular Amazon.com page, and you can switch between your regular Prime account and AmazonSmile. Amazon will gently nudge you to AmazonSmile if you forget, but here’s a hint: Just as you’ve bookmarked your regular Amazon.com account, you can bookmark your AmazonSmile account and toggle if you wish. There are more than a million eligible 501(c)(3) public charitable organizations to choose from, and the one you pick will receive 0.5% of the value of your eligible purchases (there are tens of millions of eligible products). I’m helping support Friends of Frying Pan Park Farm, a county park in Virginia that is a working farm interpreting farm life of the 1920s to the 1950s.

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Membership Sharing

Closeup of the hands of three people texting on smartphonesCloseup of the hands of three people texting on smartphones

You can share your Amazon Prime membership with your household via Amazon Household. Here’s the deal: Your Prime benefits can be shared with one other adult in a household — as long as you both agree to share your payment methods (you link your accounts viaAmazon Household). That’s fine for, say, a spouse or significant other, but giving your roommate access to your credit or debit card might be a deal-breaker. Your partner in Prime has to have a separate Amazon account to be able to be added to your Prime membership. You’ll then be able to share certain Prime perks including free two-day shipping, digital content and more. Teens and younger children can also be added (up to four) but they have parental-restricted access, praise be (younger children cannot buy anything on Amazon; with parental controls, they can access certain digital content).

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Access to Exclusive Brands

Vitamin pills spilling out of a bottle on an isolated on a white background Vitamin pills spilling out of a bottle on an isolated on a white background

Amazon is expanding its private-label offerings — an area that holds huge business potential, as we pointed out in our story about Costco’s Kirkland Signature brands. Amazon Elements (vitamins, nutritional supplements, baby wipes, etc.) products, for example, are already available only to Prime members, and the company is rolling out other exclusive private-label brands. Also unique about Elements: Scan a special code on the product — using your Amazon Shopping app — and you will see where every ingredient in the product was sourced, down to the water in the baby wipes. 

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Unlimited Photo Storage (Videos, Too)

A grandfather takes an image of his grandchild on an enclosed porchA grandfather takes an image of his grandchild on an enclosed porch

Amazon Prime members get unlimited, full resolution photo storage. Yes, unlimited. Plus, you can add up to five others, as in family and friends, connected in the, er, Family Vault. Photos are accessible from any device anywhere you can tap into your Amazon Prime account. If you’re like me, doubling down by having an Amazon Prime account and paying Apple every month for cloud storage for those precious pix, it may be time to trim some costs.

You also get 5 GB of storage for videos, documents, and other files just for you, not the crew from the Vault. Want more storage? You can buy it.

Oh, and no worries about tagging photos. Amazon’s scary servers will automatically sort your photos. Want to free up storage on your phone? Use the Amazon app, upload them to Prime Photos and delete them from your phone. What could possibly go wrong?

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Prime for Students

A student studies on her laptop lying on the floor of her dorm room at collegeA student studies on her laptop lying on the floor of her dorm room at college

Should normal return and your kids are physically back at college, here comes Amazon Prime Student, just right for sitting around the dorm room and streaming the highly anticipated next installment of Stranger Things or Coming 2 America and other just-released films, during study breaks. It’s free for the first six months with a legit “.edu” school email address (along with proof you’re actually taking at least one class; maybe not going to class, but taking it). The one-time-only free trial includes free two-day Prime shipping (ramen noodles and Doritos don’t buy themselves), free same-day pickup, unlimited movie streaming, access to Amazon Music Unlimited for the bargain price of 99 cents per month, and more. After six months it costs $6.49 a month or the less-expensive $59 a year for Prime Student. Oh, and you can buy textbooks on the cheap, if textbooks are your jam. Plus many, many more essentials for students.

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Free Music

A young woman listens to music on her headsetA young woman listens to music on her headset

Why pay for ad-free Pandora, Spotify or Apple Music when you’re already making beautiful music with your Amazon Prime account? Included in Amazon Prime Music is free access to more than 2 million “hand-crafted” songs and more than a thousand playlists and stations programmed by Amazon’s music experts at no additional cost. The drawback? Music fans argue that Amazon’s free playlists and stations aren’t as deep as those of competing streaming services — and it’s true. (I couldn’t access OneRepublic songs on the Prime freebie.) Per Amazon: “The selection of songs and albums available with Prime Music is always changing. New titles are added to the Prime Music catalog, and occasionally titles are removed.” But before you fork over an extra $9.99 a month for Apple Music or Spotify, download Amazon’s music app and take it for a test run. It might be all you need. If not, an upgrade to Amazon Music Unlimited, which features more than 70 million songs including new releases (there you are, OneRepublic), runs $7.99 a month for Prime members, and Amazon runs deals giving you 30 days gratis, so you can try before you buy.

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Free Books, Magazines, Audiobooks

A computer tablet with an Amazon screen.A computer tablet with an Amazon screen.

You don’t need a public library to get a free loaner when you have Amazon Prime. That’s because the cost of an Amazon Prime membership includes access to a fairly wide collection of 1,000 books, magazines and audiobooks nestled in Prime Reading. Prime Reading allows you or your household to borrow up to 10 titles at a time and from a selection of Kindle books, magazines, short works, books with Audible narration, comics, and more. The available content is updated periodically, says Amazon, and titles are added and removed. Prime Reading can be viewed on Amazon’s proprietary Fire tablet and Kindle e-reader, or via the Kindle reading apps for iOS and Android.

As a bonus, Prime members also get free access to certain podcasts and other audiobooks and series through Audible Channels, a limited version of Audible. You need to download the Audible app and log in with your Prime account to start listening. Otherwise, a subscription to the full version of Audible, owned by Amazon, costs $14.95 a month (there’s a 30-day free trial).

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Binge on Your Favorite Shows

A computer screen showing video streaming appsA computer screen showing video streaming apps

Look at you, Amazon Prime member: Binge-watching at no charge the new Amazon series Tell Me Your Secrets or the exceptional One Night in Miami, another Amazon original. Yes, I am increasingly taking advantage of watching free movies and TV series via Amazon’s streaming service, Prime Video. If you have a newer TV, the Prime Video app comes built in, so click on it and boom! You’re in the movies. Oh, and don’t you worry. While you’re watching Prime Video, Amazon is watching you. The “personal recommendations based on your viewing history” can be both creepy and convenient.

You can even download movies and TV shows to mobile devices for later viewing (and what you buy, you keep in Your Video Library at Amazon). Cable TV and satellite cord-cutters may be pleased to know they can binge on HBO, Showtime, Starz and many more streaming services via the Amazon Prime app. Additional fees for those channels run from $4.99 to $14.99 a month for Prime members.

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Early Access to Lightning Deals

Closeup of a stopwatchCloseup of a stopwatch

You like your deals fast and hot. And you want to be at the front of the pack getting them. Amazon Prime members enjoy access to those one-off, deeply discounted Lightning Deals 30 minutes before the great unwashed as part of Prime Early Access. Lightning Deals are only good for a few hours (or as long as supplies last) so if you really want what’s on sale early access is an advantage. But even then, Amazon warns some deals could sell out during the early access period, before opening up to the general public. Recent Prime Early Access Lightning Deals included 28% off an APOSEN smart Wi-Fi robot floor vacuum to 32% off a 50-pack of disposable face masks.

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Something for New Moms and Dads

A mother holds her smiling infant in the airA mother holds her smiling infant in the air

The former Amazon Mom benefit has morphed into Amazon Family, a Prime perk that includes up to 20% off diapers, baby food and more, free shipping and free returns, which we don’t want to think about when we’re talking diapers. Oh, and Amazon Family has lots of other nice perks, meaning discounts on kid-friendly items.

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Say Hello to Alexa

Amazon Echo Dot on a wooden desktop.Amazon Echo Dot on a wooden desktop.

If you own an Amazon Echo or Echo Dot device or anything else built with the ears and voice of Alexa, your Prime membership allows you to place orders through Alexa, the voice-activated digital assistant. For example, if you just ran out of fresh batteries for your flashlight, say “Alexa, order AA batteries” and a 20-pack of AmazonBasics AA batteries will arrive on your doorstep two days later. Shipping is free for Prime members, natch, and Alexa is already aware of your Prime status.

Also, say “Alexa, what are your deals?” to learn about special Alexa-only discounts, although I find her voiced descriptions a bit difficult to follow. She does, however, tell some pretty corny jokes, and will sing “Happy Birthday” upon request.

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Whole Foods Discounts and Delivery

A sign in the produce section of a Whole Foods storeA sign in the produce section of a Whole Foods store

Amazon purchased the Whole Foods supermarket chain in the summer of 2017. Since then, shoppers have been able to order on Amazon.com the upscale grocer’s private-label products, including those from 365 Everyday Value, Whole Paws and Whole Catch, and other items. Amazon also rolls with free two-hour delivery of groceries from Whole Foods to Prime members in select cities. Or you can opt for free one-hour pickup and still let store workers do the shopping and bagging for you.

Amazon gives Prime members an extra 10% off on sale items at Whole Foods stores (look for the yellow signs) plus other seasonal deals. To receive the discount, in-store shoppers must download the Whole Foods Market app to their phone, log in with their Prime account and have the code scanned on their phones at checkout. The Whole Foods Market app will also alert Amazon Prime shoppers to exclusive in-store deals; virtual coupons, don’t you know?

More, you can also have any of your online Amazon.com orders shipped to Whole Foods stores that have Amazon Lockers (see below). You can also do Amazon.com returns at Whole Foods for free, no box or label needed. That Amazon-to-Whole-Foods connection is perfect if porch pirates are prevalent in your neighborhood.

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Fun With the Treasure Truck

A woman reacts in surprise while working on her laptopA woman reacts in surprise while working on her laptop

Amazon has wheels: A fleet of bubble-blowing, music-spewing panel trucks roaming the streets in more than two dozen U.S. cities, hauling hot deals on cool items. You buy them online with your Prime membership and hoof it over to the Amazon Treasure Truck to pick up your treasures.

Well, you used to. And maybe in the future you will again. The actual physical trucks are offline doing community service during the pandemic. But when they return, here’s the deal:

First rolled out in 2016 in Seattle, Amazon’s hometown, Treasure Trucks are now popping up in 29 major U.S. cities and metro areas, including Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Nashville, New York, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland, Sacramento, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle, Tampa, and Washington, D.C., getting all hip selling tech trends, outdoor essentials, fresh foods including giant porterhouse steaks, the latest Nintendo releases and more. You use the Amazon app (or sign up for text notifications) to see what the day’s deals are on your local Treasure Truck (or in the city you’re visiting), and make your purchase with the app by clicking “I want this.” You’ll get a confirmation email that will also tell you where the Treasure Truck is parked (think Whole Foods). It’s your job to go claim your purchase. Warning: You may see dancers, costumed characters, costumed dogs, games and more at the tricked-out TT, but expect that at a later time, what with social distancing at the moment.

So for now, Amazon is still texting you the Treasure Truck deal of the day, and if you buy it, it will be shipped to your favorite place for receiving Amazon packages.

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Free Release-Date Delivery

Two people are seen gaming on a living room couchTwo people are seen gaming on a living room couch

Are you waiting for that hot new video game, book (yes, we still love print) or movie, or the latest jam from your favorite band? Get it by 7 p.m. the day it’s released, courtesy of Amazon Prime.

Maybe you’re looking forward to Metroid Prime 4 for Nintendo Switch releasing Dec. 31, 2022 (yes, 2022). Choose “release date delivery” when you make your purchase and, hello, Primer, you’re among the first to be checking out something hot and fresh.

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Amazon Prime Day Deals

A stack of Amazon packages delivered to a front porchA stack of Amazon packages delivered to a front porch

Amazon.com launched its Black-Friday-in-July Prime Day back in 2015, ostensibly to celebrate its 20th anniversary. In reality, Prime Day (or really, day-or-two) is a way for Amazon to juice sales in mid-summer, when consumers tend to spend more time on vacation and less time in stores and online. Amazon tries to grab the attention (and dollars) of its 100 million Prime members worldwide by offering them exclusive deals on Prime Day itself, as well as in the days leading up to the big event.

Prime Day 2020 was a bit different as the coronavirus pandemic rattled the world. Instead of mid-July, Prime Day was in October, and not only triggered record Prime Day sales for Amazon, it launched the 2020 end-of-the-year holiday shopping season a month early.

We don’t yet know when Prime Day 2021 will be this year — will Amazon move it back to summer, or keep it in October for a shot at repeat success? Whichever, iIf Prime Day stays true to form, Prime members can expect red-hot deals on a smorgasbord of gadgets and geegaws, especially on Amazon’s proprietary products including Alexa-activated devices. You have to be a Prime member to buy, but news flash: You can sign up for a 30-day free trial. Some shoppers cancel after Prime Day and before the 30 days are up to dodge the $119-a-year Prime membership fee. Just sayin’.

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Easy Re-Ordering

Two delivered Amazon packages on a front porch Two delivered Amazon packages on a front porch

Sometimes, you just forget. You forget where you purchased the water filter for your fridge, and when it’s time to get it replaced. Or you forget where (and when) you bought those fading off-brand, discount (but excellent) replacement ink cartridges for your printer. Or you just want to do price comparisons on those items between Amazon and the manufacturer’s online store. Prime has you covered.

Click on the Orders button at the top of your Amazon.com page (near the cart). It will take you to the Your Orders page and will default to show you your purchases from the last six months. You can also go back to the very first order you made. My first order was on Oct. 24, 2007, and it was a schizophrenic cart containing an electric toothbrush, a 24-pack of canned salsa, a book (In the Shadow of No Towers) and a pack of replacement heads for the new toothbrush. This is a no-judgment zone, people.

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Free Delivery to Your Car

An Amazon delivery van is seen on a suburban streetAn Amazon delivery van is seen on a suburban street

Amazon has this delivery option paused due to the coronavirus crisis, but when it restarts, if you own a certain make and model car, Amazon will deliver your Prime packages to your car instead of your front porch, the better to deter porch thieves. Starting off in 37 cities, the service is only available for 2015 or later Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet and GMC vehicles that have active OnStar accounts or Volvos with active Volvo on Call accounts. Select Ford, Lincoln, Honda and Acura vehicles are now part of the pack.

If you have an eligible vehicle, you’ll need to download the Key by Amazon app, which will give the delivery driver access to your ride. Amazon said the car must be parked in an “open, street-level, and publicly accessible area.” Depending on the type of vehicle it is and how much space is available, the package will be stowed in the trunk or the cabin.

The rest is done by voodoo. You’ll get a four-hour window notification of delivery, you’ll be notified when the driver arrives, the driver will notify Amazon, your car will be unlocked, package inserted, car locked and you’re notified again.

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In-Home Delivery When You’re Not Home

A hand is seen punching a code into a digital lock on a homeA hand is seen punching a code into a digital lock on a home

This one is also on pause during the coronavirus pandemic, but in-home deliveries by Amazon when you’re not home will likely restart at some point. Here’s how it works: You outfit your home with an Amazon-enabled smart lock and camera (Ring, owned by Amazon, works, too). If your residence is in one of the 50 metropolitan areas where Key by Amazon delivers in this manner, you’ll be able to allow delivery drivers to drop your package inside your home using the Key by Amazon app. You just have to fork over a couple of hundred bucks to outfit your home with a special Amazon kit that includes a smart lock and an in-home camera to eyeball the delivery. Again with Key by Amazon, you’ll be notified when the delivery is about to be made, and remotely unlock your door. The package is placed just inside your door and you notice this because you’re watching, remotely, through that camera via your mobile device. You’ll spend around $220 (plus installation fees if you’re not comfortable installing the smart lock) for this one-time setup.

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In-Garage Delivery When You’re Not Home

woman entering pin in smart phone while unlocking garagewoman entering pin in smart phone while unlocking garage

Also driven by the Key by Amazon app, Key by Amazon In-Garage Delivery is not on hold during the pandemic, and is touted by Amazon as a perfect contactless delivery method to keep your purchases safe from porch pirates. It’s free for Prime members and available in more than 4,000 cities. You can even have your Whole Foods Market and Amazon Fresh (see below) groceries left in your garage.

Here’s how it works: Drivers get temporary access to open your garage door when the Amazon delivery app confirms the driver’s identity and delivery route. The vetted drivers are instructed to go no more than 5 feet inside your garage to drop off the package. You can also follow their moves via an optional in-garage camera. 

See if your garage door opener will play nice with Amazon Key for Garage. If it is not and you still want the service, you can install a myQ smart garage hub to make your garage compatible with Key by Amazon.

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In-Gate Delivery When You’re Not Home

Black wooden gate across a hedge-lined drivewayBlack wooden gate across a hedge-lined driveway

This is a new one from Amazon: In-Gate Delivery from Key by Amazon. Designed for single-family homes with gated driveways or fences with electronic locks, as well as small apartment complexes. You’ll need the Ring Access Controller Pro and the Key by Amazon app to allow Amazon drivers access to your locked gate so they can safely secure your package behind the locked gate.

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Take Your Amazon Returns to Kohl’s

An exterior sign of a Kohl's department store An exterior sign of a Kohl's department store

Amazon.com has partnered with Kohl’s department stores to provide Amazon shoppers with another place to return their Amazon products — and stir up some foot traffic for Kohl’s.

The team-up makes it a win-win for both retailers. Amazon shoppers have another place to drop off returns besides UPS, Whole Foods stores and Amazon Hub locales (see below), and Kohl’s will gain some potential shoppers, who must drop off their Amazon returns at customer service. Why is it a win for Kohl’s? In my experience, the customer service desks at Kohl’s are deep inside the store (in one local Kohl’s, it’s in the back of the second level of the store). That’s a whole lot of merchandise to pass by as you drop off the Amazon package and leave the store.

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Amazon Hub Locker

A woman picks up a package at an Amazon Hub lockerA woman picks up a package at an Amazon Hub locker

Whether receiving or returning, Amazon Hub Locker is a nice perk for Prime shoppers who live in porch-delivered, package-theft-prone areas. Amazon-owned Whole Foods stores and other retailers have the self-serve locker kiosks installed. They’re free to use for picking up items or returning them.

Here’s the drill: Sign into your Amazon account and find the closest Amazon Locker to you. Put that address in your address book and choose it as the default delivery site for your goods when you check out and pay for your order. When the package is delivered, you’ll receive a code to unlock the locker. Follow the instructions on the screen.

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Pick Up or Return Your Amazon Purchase at an Amazon Hub

Opened Amazon box sits on a tableOpened Amazon box sits on a table

It’s not just Kohl’s getting into the return-your-Amazon-buys-at-my-store business. Small retailers are getting in the game now for many of the same reasons, including ginning foot traffic so Amazon shoppers might buy something from their store.

Here’s how it works: A retailer (or apartment complex) reaches out to Amazon to become an Amazon Hub store. As a hub, shoppers can return as well as pick up orders at that Hub. That way the Amazon shopper doesn’t have to worry about porch pirates. Their Amazon order is safely tucked into the Hub store. Don’t like your Amazon order? Just like at Kohl’s, you can take your order to the Hub location and they’ll pack it up and return it to Amazon, all at no charge to you (as a Prime member, returns on most products are free).

That Hub station owner just hopes you might have a look-see at the items they’re selling and maybe buy an item or two — and tell your friends about the service.

Hub partners also have the option of just playing host to an Amazon Locker, such as the ones many Whole Foods, malls and other retailers have.

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Fast-Gift Others

A smiling woman opens a package in her kitchenA smiling woman opens a package in her kitchen

If you’re not at all concerned about gift-wrapping gifts during the holidays or on birthdays and anniversaries, you can fast-gift family and friends via Amazon Prime (and, of course, with free two-day shipping). Add their address to your Amazon address book, shop, and when you’re paying for your cart, choose their address as the default shipping destination. Just remember to change the default address back to your home when shopping for yourself.

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Shop Women-Owned Businesses

A business owner smiles in her shopA business owner smiles in her shop

Here’s a discovery: You can shop at women-owned businesses parked in the Amazon world to give budding female entrepreneurs a boost. The service is available on Amazon Storefronts, and offerings include everything from clothing and spa goods to books and party supplies.

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Make Any Day Your Amazon Day

A laptop computer with a calendar on its screenA laptop computer with a calendar on its screen

Now you can tell Amazon what day (or two) of the week you prefer to get your Prime deliveries. This one is especially good if you subscribe to items on Amazon.com for regular delivery, or if you want to be home when your packages arrive, or if you want to cut down on packaging, or if you just want to say hey to the delivery driver. Tell Amazon which day of the week you designate as “Amazon Day” and they’ll lock it in. You can choose up to two Amazon Days.

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Discounts at Amazon Stores

The exterior of an Amazon 4-star storeThe exterior of an Amazon 4-star store

And you thought Amazon was just an online shopping site. Say hello to Amazon 4-star, Amazon Books, Amazon Go, Amazon Go Grocery and Amazon Fresh, five brick-and-mortar store concepts from the retail giant.

Amazon 4-star stores sell a range of products that get 4-star reviews by Amazon customers, plus a smattering of new products that might not have that top rating, but are popular and/or new and trending. This includes Amazon-proprietary products such as Echo, Kindle and Fire TV devices. Anyone can shop in Amazon 4-star stores, but only Prime members get the same Prime prices they see online. There are 31 Amazon 4-star stores open or in “coming soon” phases, and they’re scattered throughout the country. Note that some of the stores are operating under limited hours during the pandemic.

Amazon Books is exactly what you’d expect in the name: Amazon Books is a bookstore chain, a fitting tribute to Amazon, which cut its teeth as an online-only  bookstore 26 years ago. In its 24 locations, Amazon Books sells a curated selection of bestsellers, new releases, or books rated four stars and above by Amazon customers (as with its other stores, anyone can shop at Amazon Books, but only Prime members get Prime prices). You’ll also find Amazon’s Kindle reading devices and more, but people: This is Amazon Books, not Amazon 4-star or Amazon Go, so don’t expect a sammich or a lot of gadgets.

Amazon Go stores sell already assembled, ready-to-eat meals and snacks for breakfast, lunch and snack time. The stores are true grab-and-go. There are no registers. Shoppers use the free Amazon Go app and scan it at the entrance to get in the gate, then scan the QR code of items they want, bag them and leave the store. Your Amazon account will be automatically charged. There are currently 26 Amazon Go stores, in Chicago, New York City, San Francisco and Seattle. Two Amazon Go stores are temporarily closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Amazon Go Grocery takes the Amazon Go concept and adds in fresh seasonal produce and local baked goods. There are currently only two Amazon Go stores, both in the Seattle area.

Amazon Fresh stores are small fresh food markets offering produce, meats and seafood, as well as prepared foods made fresh in the store. There currently only a handful of Amazon Fresh stores, all located in Southern California.

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Game for Free and Score Loot

Father and sons using controllers to play on a video game consoleFather and sons using controllers to play on a video game console

Prime Gaming is the place to be if you’re a gamer and you have Amazon Prime. You can play online games for free, and you can even up your game with free loot. How about upgrading your Madden Ultimate team or get the Kosatka Submarine Station in Grand Theft Auto online? Other offers include playing “Hole.io” ad-free for 21 days and power-up bundles for free on several games. You also get a free monthly channel subscription on Twitch.TV, the live streaming platform for gamers. It’s owned by Amazon.

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Make Amazon Your Prime Prescription Drugstore

Daily pill dispenser with prescription medicationsDaily pill dispenser with prescription medications

Here’s a fresh one in the Amazon Prime lineup: Amazon Pharmacy. Amazon will take over delivering your prescriptions within two days, for free. Amazon promises more savings, too, but you’ll want to check to see if your scripts are less expensive at Amazon Pharmacy compare to your current pharmacy or online service.

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Shop Used in the Amazon Warehouse

Exterior of Amazon Fulfillment Center located in Silicon ValleyExterior of Amazon Fulfillment Center located in Silicon Valley

Amazon Warehouse: Where all the things you returned to Amazon go to be resold. Here you’ll find millions of used and open-box items sold at bargain prices. Those items range from used home and kitchen goods, used computers, Amazon devices, digital cameras, used TVs and unlocked cell phones.

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Head Over to The Shop by ShopBop for Designer Deals

A clothing rack holding designer apparel for womenA clothing rack holding designer apparel for women

You can get fashioned up, even find designer work-from-home gear, in the The Shop by Shopbop on Amazon. Amazon bought the Wisconsin-based fashion retailer in 2006, and The Shop by Shopbop offers stylish clothing, shoes, designer goods, accessories and bags. 

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Hoof It to Zappos and Get Premium Shipping

Two Amazon shipping boxes sit on a Zappos shipping boxTwo Amazon shipping boxes sit on a Zappos shipping box

Betcha didn’t know Amazon also owns online shoe giant Zappos, now did you? It does. And if you link your Amazon Prime account with your Zappos account, you’ll earn 2 Zappos shopping points for every $1 you spend. That’s twice what run-of-the-mill Zappos VIPs earn.

Source: kiplinger.com

How to Find an Accessible Apartment

Finding an affordable, livable apartment can take some effort. And it can seem even more difficult when you’re searching for handicap-accessible apartments. But there’s good news.

If you know a few things going in — which features you’re looking for, where and how to look, which questions to ask and what to expect from the application process, plus what rights you have and restrictions you might encounter — the process of finding handicap-accessible apartments gets easier.

1. Prepare your list of “must-have” accessibility features

Before you start looking, make a checklist of accessibility features that are essential to you, plus others that would be simply “nice to have.” These features usually fall into a few categories:

  • External accommodations: Accessible parking spaces, ramps, handrails, enhanced lighting, etc.
  • Common area access: Widened entryways and hallways, automatic doors, ADA-compliant elevators, etc.
  • Floorplan accommodations: Wider doorjambs and hallways, flat or low-rise thresholds, roll-in sinks and showers, etc.
  • Control adjustments: Location of electrical switches and outlets to be within reach, lever-style door handles, Braille or tactile panels near controls, etc.
  • Amenities: Pools, fitness centers, lounge areas, etc.

From low counters and hardwood floors to automatic doors and multiple elevators, not every place will offer every accessible feature. You might be able to make some small modifications yourself — like swapping out doorknobs for lever-style handles or adding grab bars in the bathroom. However, other items might be dealbreakers.

So start with a list of what matters most to you. There are elements that most accessible apartments share. We’ll walk you through the details and more features to look for in the search steps below.

2. Search online for handicap-accessible apartments

Whether you want a one-bedroom in an apartment building or a townhome with an elevator, online is the easiest place to start searching.

Nonprofits and government agencies offer help in finding, applying for and paying for ADA-compliant housing. However, they might not have the most updated information on apartments, as real estate markets change quickly and constantly. To see listings for helpful nonprofit and government agencies, go to the More Resources section at the end.

Apartment search sites often yield more options and provide greater specificity about available features. Specialized searches can save time by letting you filter through the features you want. A typical search results screen might look like the one below.

Screenshot of a basic search results screen from a Rent.com apartment search, with annotations

Most searches begin with inputting your desired city, type of property, number of bedrooms and rent prices. But that could give you hundreds of results. To narrow the list, look for additional filtering options.

3. Narrow search results with filters

Filtering screens look different, depending on the site you’re on. But once you’ve got the basics in place, look for ways to filter your results. You can start with terms like “disability access,” then get more specific.

Use more filtering options to find your preferred amenities. Each filter will reduce the number of results and offer you a clearer picture of what’s available for your criteria. Below, several elements of a filter results page are highlighted.

Screenshot of a filtered results screen from a Rent.com handicap-accessible apartment search, with annotations

Filtering options can include features such as hardwood floors, front-loading washer and dryer in the apartment, etc. If you have a service animal, it should be allowed in any public or commercial building — but life may be easier for you and your companion animal in a building that already allows pets and has amenities like dog waste stations and fenced runs.

If public transit is important or you’d like to be in a certain neighborhood, you might use a location tool to narrow the range to a more specific location.

4. Use listing page options to focus your search

In addition to search filters, real estate listing sites offer many other ways to access information about properties, such as highlights, amenities listings, descriptions, photos, floorplans and virtual tours. Each of these can be useful to learn about different amenities and accessibility features that might be available.

Read the property’s description

The property description is meant to give you a feel for what you could expect while living there, both in terms of amenities on-site and in the surrounding area. These are highlighted in the example below.

Screenshot of a mockup property description screen from a Rent.com apartment search, with highlights

Read the description thoroughly, watching for mentions of designated parking spaces, access to public transportation and proximity to local businesses. You can also find information on alarm systems in apartments for contacting emergency services and other disability-friendly features.

Look at photos, videos and virtual tours

You can learn a lot from photos of an apartment, and even more from videos or virtual tours that are available for many properties. Spend some time looking through these options to see if you can spot accessibility features like:

  • Ramps and accessible walkways with handrails
  • Adequate lighting for both indoor and outdoor spaces
  • Low-rise flooring with low thresholds to minimize obstacles or tripping hazards
  • Grab bars in bathrooms
  • Doors and hallways wide enough to allow easy access for a wheelchair

Not every apartment community offers a virtual tour or video tour as depicted below. But nearly every facility provides photos to give you an idea of what an apartment looks like.

Screenshot of a virtual tours and video tours screen from a Rent.com apartment search

As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. Many aspects of the living space that aren’t listed in the description or amenities can become apparent in the photos, videos and virtual tour options.

Examine the floorplan

Not every property offers information on individual apartment floorplans via an apartment search site, but if a floorplan is available online, you can scrutinize it to find:

  • Entryways and hallways wide enough to accommodate wheelchair access
  • Kitchen modifications like a roll-in sink and countertops with space underneath, lowered cabinets, appliances with front controls
  • Bathroom modifications like grab bars, roll-in shower and sink, shower bench, single-control faucets

Screenshot of a highlights and floors plans screen from a Rent.com apartment search

Floorplans can provide a view of a property that you can’t get from any other source. If you have access to one, take advantage of the extra safety and mobility information it can provide.

Expect more accessibility options from newer buildings

Since federal regulations governing accessibility features in housing were established fairly recently, newer apartment communities are more likely to offer accessible accommodations than older buildings. The Fair Housing Act offers detailed wording about these accessibility requirements. (See more about the Fair Housing Act in the Know your rights section below.)

Apartment buildings constructed before 1991 were not required to build accessibility features into their design. It’s a good idea to know the age of any apartment communities you consider. So when you meet with a leasing agent or property manager, ask the building’s age.

5. Arrange a visit in person or via video — and ask questions

Once you’ve identified the most promising options from your online apartment search, you’ll want to see the spaces for yourself. But if you don’t feel comfortable going in person, most places now are offering live video tours. Once you’re there (whether in person or on screen), ask the host all the questions you can.

Ask the leasing agent about accessibility and/or modifications

Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the apartment community; that’s what the leasing agent or property manager is there for. Ask about the facility’s spaces, daily operations, safety practices, plans for the future and anything else that might affect your experience there. Here are some suggestions:

  • What types of accessible apartments are available?
  • Are there renovations planned that would make the building more or less accessible?
  • What year was this apartment community built?
  • Are animals allowed? (This is applicable if you have a service animal.)
  • Who handles maintenance, and how quickly can you expect it to be done?
  • Will maintenance personnel place a priority on modifications or repairs designed to assist with my disability?
  • Do you know about my right to make reasonable modifications to my space?
  • If I need to make modifications, do you require an additional deposit to cover the cost of returning my unit to its original condition when I move out?
  • What is the best way to communicate with you?

Check the apartment community’s amenities and common areas

White man with artificial lower left leg walking on an elliptical machine at handicap-accessible apartment

Be sure to notice the public spaces, both indoor and outdoor, when you arrive for the tour. If a fitness center is important to you for physical therapy, check the hours, equipment and visitor policies. Take note of features or ask your tour guide these questions as you move through the different areas:

  • Do you enter the building through automated doors?
  • Are there any wheelchair ramps, and if so, where are they located?
  • Does the building have at least one accessible elevator wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair?
  • Is there an accessible laundry room — or an option to have laundry appliances inside the apartment?
  • How wide are entryways and hallways in public areas?
  • What is the lighting like in both the indoor and outdoor common spaces?
  • Are there specially designated handicapped parking spaces?

When asking about parking, be specific. Are spaces wide enough to allow easy entry and exit from your vehicle? Are they close enough to the building for quick access? And are there sidewalk ramps leading from the parking lot?

It’s also important to be sure you can have constant access to these spaces. General handicap parking spaces may not be available at a given time if anyone — tenants or guests — can use them. Find out if you can get a dedicated handicap space. If so, make sure it’s suitable for your needs.

View the apartment with an eye for disability-friendly features

When you’re able to tour the apartment you’d had in mind (or one very much like it), bring a tape measure and your checklist of essential accessibility features. Go down the list as you move through the living space and see how many of your preferred features the place offers.

It’s important to keep in mind that apartments tend to be more compact than homes, so there may be issues in navigating the floorplan. Corridors should be wide enough, both in the “straightaway” sections and around corners, for you to turn or pass without difficulty if you are using a wheelchair or handrails.

You may not have to deal with a kitchen island, but if you do, make sure you can maneuver around it easily and also reach its entire counter surface.

You may want to note the answers to these questions as you go along:

  • Do you open the apartment doors with lever handles or round knobs?
  • Is flooring level, smooth and easy enough to walk or roll across?
  • Are the apartment doors at least 32 inches wide? (This is where the tape measure comes in handy.)
  • Are there rocker-style light switches, digital thermostats, electrical outlets or other household controls placed within reach of wheelchair height?
  • What height are the kitchen and bathroom counters in the apartment?
  • Can you easily reach sinks and faucets?
  • Are the faucet controls easy to manipulate?
  • Are the bathtub and shower big enough to be accessible to anyone?
  • Do the tub, shower and toilets have grab bars? (If not, discuss installation options.)
  • If the apartment is furnished, are the furnishings suitable for your needs?
  • Is lighting sufficient to see clearly in all interior locations?
  • Are smoke detectors accessible?

Tour the neighborhood to look for local amenities

Three smiling people outdoors with beers: one man in a wheelchair, one man with artificial lower right leg; one woman standing and raising a glass at handicap-accessible apartment

When you’re visiting a potential property, take a look at the neighborhood and decide if it offers the amenities you need, such as:

  • A location that offers easy walking or other access to amenities in the area
  • Sidewalks that are wide, well-lit and clean enough to navigate safely
  • Ramped curbs, adequate lights and crossing signals at intersections
  • Bus stops or other public transportation access for commuting to work and recreation
  • A grocery store, pharmacy, restaurants and/or food delivery options nearby

You can gain another perspective by touring the community and talking to people who live there. If you can find tenants with disabilities living in the apartment community, arrange to speak with them. Don’t be intrusive, but don’t be afraid to ask. Many people are willing to share their experiences, both positive and negative.

Check out the crime reports for the neighborhood using online crime maps. They also provide information on what type of criminal activity is involved, and how close it is to your prospective residence.

6. Prepare to apply for a handicap-accessible apartment

Once you’ve decided on a place you think you’d like to rent, you’ll need to know what to expect from the application process. This can be intricate and costly in the best of circumstances, so it’s a good idea to go in knowledgeable and prepared.

Assemble your important documents and proof of income

  • Contact info, driver’s license or ID, Social Security number
  • Vehicle documentation
  • Current and previous employment records
  • Current and previous rental info
  • Personal references and emergency contact information

Cost is a prominent aspect of finding a livable apartment. Leasing agents and renters alike consider finances to be one of the most important elements of the application process. Make sure you can provide:

  • Pay stubs
  • Tax returns
  • Records of any housing or disability benefits
  • Any other documentation of your income

If you need help paying for an accessible apartment, see the More Resources section at the bottom of this page for nonprofit and government agencies that can offer aid.

7. Know your rights before signing a contract

Federal regulations are designed to help potential renters in housing facilities avoid encountering discrimination and also access and navigate all areas safely. Before you sign a contract, know your rights as a tenant, especially as one who requires handicap-accessible accommodations.

On the basis of your ability status, a leasing agent or property manager cannot do any of the following:

  • Refuse to negotiate with you
  • Refuse to rent to you an apartment
  • Tell you an available unit is not available
  • Set very different terms for you than for other tenants
  • Charge you more for an accessible apartment than a non-accessible one

If you encounter problems in renting an apartment, try to solve them via good-faith discussion. If that’s impossible, you may wish to contact an attorney who’s experienced with housing law and renters’ rights. They should be well-versed in the federal laws that specifically protect the rights of renters with disabilities, like the federal acts described below.

Nondiscrimination in housing

The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing policy and practice. The FHA also stipulates design and construction recommendations for newly built handicap-accessible apartments.

Under the accessibility requirements of the FHA, apartment facilities with more than four units built after 1991 must offer accessible routes into and around housing units. They also must provide accessible parking spots and public areas, as well as kitchen and bathroom designs that are usable by people with disabilities.

Accessible spaces

The Americans with Disabilities Act requires handicap accessibility accommodations in public places to allow people with disabilities to navigate safely. However, ADA rules do not apply to private residences.

Apartment communities must make public spaces accessible — such as the leasing office, lobby, clubhouse, picnic area, pool, other common areas. But they are not required to do so for individual apartment homes. (However, tenants have the right to request modifications to these spaces, as described below.)

Reasonable accommodations

If your chosen property doesn’t offer the accessibility modifications you need, then you have the right to negotiate with the property manager to make the necessary changes. You can legally request accessibility modifications for your apartment and also common areas like the parking lot, clubhouse or laundry room.

The Reasonable Accommodations section of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 504 says that in federally assisted accessible housing, accessibility modifications are made and paid for by the landlord (unless they cause undue financial hardship).

In other housing besides that which is federally funded, tenants have the right to request accessibility modifications — but usually pay the costs themselves.

8. Choose your new place and move in

By the time you’ve gone through all these steps, you’ll probably see that, like many things, searching for an apartment can be more involved for people who need accessibility accommodations.

But safe, comfortable, and accessible apartments do exist — more are being built each year, in fact. There are resources available that can help you move into an apartment with the modifications you need and want.

More resources for finding handicap-accessible apartments

Many nonprofit agencies and government programs are designed to help people find housing that meets their accessibility needs. Some of these organizations not only help you locate and apply for a handicap-accessible apartment but also access funds to finance your move-in, as well.

Nonprofit organizations for accessible housing

Federal benefits programs for accessible housing

The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal or financial advice. Readers are encouraged to seek professional legal or financial advice as they may deem it necessary.

Source: rent.com

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

How to Prepare Your Apartment if You Are Staying During a Hurricane

The summer is fast approaching, and for those who live in areas where big storms are an issue, it’s time to get ready.

In fact, recent scientific data from multiple sources, including the NOAA/Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, notes that the strongest hurricanes occurring in regions that include the North Atlantic have increased in intensity over the past few decades. That doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll make landfall, but that could be worrisome for renters living along the coast.

hurricane landfall charthurricane landfall chart

Source: Statista

Apartment hurricane preps are essential for those of us living in multifamily communities, in particular, if you don’t live in a mandatory evacuation zone and plan on hunkering down when the big winds blow through. Hurricane season is no joke and the Boy Scout rule to be prepared most definitely applies.

Read on for a list of things to get done now, because June 1 will be here before you know it!

Download the apartment hurricane preparation checklist

Sound structure

Take a look at your windows, doors and breezeways. Is everything in good shape?

  • Report to management anything that’s amiss, from loose siding to leaky windows. If panels or shutters are available for windows or glass sliders, get them installed.
  • Don’t forget to bring in anything you might have on your patio or balcony, from furniture to plants to wind chimes. Secure them inside your outdoor storage closet if you have one or bring it all inside.
  • Do you live on the top floor? Consider hunkering down with a neighbor downstairs, if possible.

Stock up

After massive storms like Maria or Harvey, some residents in the storm’s path went without power and supplies for extended periods. According to the Washington Post, nearly 4,000 Houston-area homes were without power some three weeks after Hurricane Harvey ripped through in 2017 and there were more than 75 boil-water notices in effect.

Depending on the size of your apartment, it could be challenging, but the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends storing 10 days’ worth of supplies to ensure you’ll have enough if help doesn’t arrive immediately.

  • Buy nonperishable items (canned soup, canned meat or fish, peanut butter, jelly, etc.) that will keep well. Following a serious storm, you may be without power. If you have limited kitchen space, store items under beds, in closets or wherever necessary.
  • Buy lots of drinking water in gallon jugs or plastic bottles.
  • Fill your bathtubs with tap water. This is used for flushing toilets and washing if your water supply is damaged or cut off by the storm.

Essential non-food items to have on hand

Ensure you have these necessities available and sealed in a watertight container or bag.

  • Prescription medication
  • Disposable eating utensils, plates, cups, etc., as well as trash bags
  • Glasses or contact lens supplies
  • Infant needs, such as formula, diapers, wipes and other supplies
  • Pet food
  • Feminine hygiene supplies
  • Non-electronic games (cards, board games, coloring books, Play-Doh, crayons, etc.) for children
  • Cash (ATMs may not be working or you may not be able to reach one)
  • Important documents such as passports, driver’s licenses, birth certificates and other forms of identification, as well as your insurance paperwork

First aid kit

If roads are flooded or impassable after the storm, you might not be able to reach a pharmacy if you need first aid. Prepare yourself for minor injuries with a fully-stocked first aid kit, including:

  • Bandages
  • Latex gloves
  • Non-prescription medications, such as ibuprofen (kids’ versions, as well, if applicable)
  • Scissors
  • Bandages in various sizes
  • Antibiotic ointments and disinfectants, such as hydrogen peroxide

Emergency supplies

If the power is out, you won’t be able to use many of the items around your apartment that you’ve gotten used to having a part of your everyday life. Make sure you have these essential supplies ready to go.

  • Portable phone chargers (make sure they’re charged themselves!)
  • Batteries in all sizes
  • Flashlights
  • Candles
  • Matches or lanterns
  • Manual can opener
  • Battery-powered radio
  • Whistle (to call for help if necessary)
  • Tool box

“Insure” safety

Before the storm hits, make sure your renters insurance is up to date and covers things like wind and rain damage. You may need extra flood insurance to ensure coverage.

Park smart

If you don’t have a garage or secure space in a parking structure, have a plan in place to get your vehicles to a safe area, where flooding or damage from flying debris are less likely.

Be social

Neighbors help one another in emergencies. If you don’t know yours, now is the time to reach out.

  • Exchange contact information so you can reach out in the storm’s wake to see if anyone needs assistance, or to ask for help yourself
  • Assign “captains” who can be responsible for a particular area, floor or building, who will check on residents, in particular, any who have special needs
  • Make a communication plan in the event of power and cell-coverage outages



Source: apartmentguide.com

11 Ways to Save Even More Money at Costco

Costco Wholesale
ARTYOORAN / Shutterstock.com

Costco is filled with ways to save, but it is easy to overlook some of the less-obvious perks.

So, if you are thinking about joining Costco — or if you are a member who simply isn’t versed in the lesser-known bargains to be found when warehouse club shopping — the following tips will help you wring more savings from your membership.

1. Know the return policy

Costco membership desk
dennizn / Shutterstock.com

Costco has one of the most generous return policies around. So, if you’re ever unhappy with a purchase for any reason, at any point, you generally can and should ask for a refund or replacement.

There are a handful of exceptions to the policy. Check them out at the Costco website.

2. Fill your prescriptions

Diego Cervo / Shutterstock.com

You don’t have to be a member to use Costco pharmacies, as we detail in “7 Ways to Shop at Costco Without a Membership.”

So, check out the Drug Directory on the Costco website to see whether Costco pharmacies stock the medications you or other members of your household take. If they carry a medication, call your nearest Costco pharmacy for prices.

You may find lower prices than what your local pharmacy chain store charges for the same medications. For certain generics, you might find that Costco’s prices are even cheaper than your insurance copay.

3. Buy booze

seniors dining
Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock.com

Buying liquor at Costco or most any other warehouse club is generally a great way to save money. In fact, savings on alcohol are among the best reasons to purchase memberships at one — although you don’t necessarily need a membership for that.

As we note in “10 Best Buys at Warehouse Clubs“:

“The best thing about buying alcohol at a warehouse club is that, in some states, you don’t even need a membership. Depending on your state laws, you may be able to walk in and buy discounted libations without paying an annual fee.”

4. Use Ibotta

grocery shopping
Stokkete / Shutterstock.com

While Costco does not accept coupons, the free mobile app Ibotta offers cash back on purchases from Costco.

If you don’t already have the app, download it and select Costco from the list of retailers to see what cash-back offers Ibotta is offering for Costco purchases currently.

5. Scope out the ‘warehouse savings’

Costco deals
Tooykrub / Shutterstock.com

Costco offers periodic discounts — on top of its already low prices. The retailer refers to them as “warehouse savings,” but they are essentially sales.

Costco offers a new batch of warehouse savings roughly once a month. So, always check out the retailer’s Warehouse Savings webpage before driving to your local club or buying anything online.

You will also find warehouse savings marked on shelves in your local club, as pictured above, although you will have to hunt for the deals if you don’t look them up online.

6. Buy discounted tickets and gift cards

Discounted gift cards on display at a Costco
melissamn / Shutterstock.com

Check out Costco’s gift cards and tickets webpage. You will find a swarm of savings on everything from restaurant meals to video gaming.

7. Purchase new tires

Minerva Studio / Shutterstock.com

My family buys all of our tires at Costco, and we love that they throw in free balancing and rotation. Plus, instead of drinking stale coffee while waiting in a stuffy room for our cars to be serviced, we can grab a cheap bite to eat and cross several items off our shopping list.

8. Feed your family dinner on the cheap

Costco food court
Helen89 / Shutterstock.com

The Costco food court is a great place to grab an inexpensive bite to eat. Where else can you get a hot dog and refillable soda for a mere $1.50? My family of four likes to head there on Friday nights to enjoy a large pizza — it’s only $10.

9. Book a vacation

relaxed retirees
goodluz / Shutterstock.com

Members can rack up savings when they book their getaways through Costco Travel. It offers discounts on:

  • Vacation packages
  • Cruises
  • Hotels
  • Rental cars

Executive Members at Costco can save even more, earning an annual 2% reward on Costco Travel purchases.

10. Get free health care screenings

blood pressure
Minerva Studio / Shutterstock.com

Usually, Costco offers free health care screenings to make sure your family remains in tip-top condition. Available screenings include those for:

  • Osteoporosis
  • Heart health
  • Diabetes

However, screenings have been suspended due to COVID-19. So, you’ll need to be patient to cash in on this perk. When screenings return, you will be able to find a schedule of upcoming screenings on Costco’s website.

11. Buy gas

Stuart Monk / Shutterstock.com

Being a Costco member also pays at the pump. Many locations have gas stations that offer competitive prices. Some people buy a Costco membership for the gas savings alone.

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

Source: moneytalksnews.com

11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco

Couple shopping at Costco
Pictures_n_Photos / Shutterstock.com

The weekly runs to Costco bring to mind crowded parking lots and parents and kids loading up their carts in aisles full of bulk-sized items and standing in long lines.

But the big-box retailer is also a great place for anyone looking for great deals, including retirees. That group isn’t necessarily looking to fill up a pantry or closet with food, but they’re still looking for discounts as they manage budgets during the post-working years.

Take a tour through the aisles with us as we look at some of the many items retirees should be getting at lower prices at Costco — if they don’t mind the long lines.

1. Prescriptions

Costco pharmacy
Cassiohabib / Shutterstock.com

You don’t have to join Costco to take advantage of its generally low drug prices, as we detail in “7 Ways to Shop at Costco Without a Membership.” But joining brings additional perks for retirees looking to save on prescription drugs.

For example, Costco members who don’t have health insurance, or who have insurance that doesn’t cover certain drugs, can take advantage of the Costco Member Prescription Program. The retailer describes it as “a prescription drug discount card program that provides eligible Costco members and their eligible dependents with the ability to obtain lower prices on all medications.”

Retirees with Medicare as health insurance also can browse Costco-preferred pharmacy plans right on Costco’s website.

2. Eyeglasses

Older woman in eyeglasses
Diego Cervo / Shutterstock.com

Whatever your optical style — eyeglasses, contact lenses or sunglasses — you can find it for less at Costco. The retailer has an optical department, where you also can get an exam and help choosing what’s best for you.

Costco says it also accepts most insurance vision plans, and you don’t even have to be a Costco member to see an optometrist there.

3. Vitamins and supplements

Costco deals
Tooykrub / Shutterstock.com

Always talk to your doctor before trying any new vitamin or supplement. But after that, look to Costco.

The wholesale club offers an extensive selection of vitamins, multivitamins, dietary supplements and herbal supplements. Whatever you might need, Costco is bound to have it at a decent price, if not the best price — especially if you take advantage of sales.

Costco regularly offers additional discounts that it calls “Member-Only Savings” or “Warehouse Savings” but that are essentially sales, as we detail in “11 Ways to Save Even More Money at Costco.”

Money Talks News managing editor Karla Bowsher, who never shops at Costco without first checking the sales, says these discounts always include numerous price cuts on supplements. For example, Costco’s current sales, which are available through Feb. 28, include price cuts on more than a dozen vitamins and supplements.

4. Hearing aid batteries

Otolaryngologist putting hearing aid in woman's ear
Pixel-Shot / Shutterstock.com

The cost of hearing aid batteries can quickly add up, but you can get a 48-pack of hearing aid batteries from Costco’s house brand, Kirkland Signature, at warehouse locations that have hearing aid centers.

These locations also offer free hearing aid cleanings and check-ups, among other services, as we note in “How to Save Hundreds of Dollars on Hearing Aids.”

5. Mobility aids

Son pushing his father in a wheelchair
Halfpoint / Shutterstock.com

For seniors who need help staying on the move, Costco offers good deals on wheelchairs and walkers.

The retailer even sells medical alert systems. For more on these devices, check out Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson’s advice in “What’s the Best Medical Alert System?”

6. Gift cards

Discounted gift cards on display at a Costco
melissamn / Shutterstock.com

Heading out to eat? Need gift cards for the grandkids? Be sure to check Costco first. It’s one of few places where you can buy gift cards for less than their face value — often 25% off, or more.

Restaurant gift cards are most common at Costco, but you can also find digital gift cards for gaming, for example.

7. Golf balls

Golf course
Isogood_patrick / Shutterstock.com

Playing two rounds of golf per week — 36 holes in total — and briskly walking the course rather than riding in a golf cart counts toward the American Heart Association’s recommendations for weekly exercise to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Before you hit the green, grab yourself a few dozen golf balls at Costco for a reasonable price.

8. Mattresses

Couple jumping on bed, holding hands
4 PM production / Shutterstock.com

Finding the right mattress is critical to battling insomnia and soothing aching bodies, and Costco lets you choose from a wide variety of brands, types and sizes — as well as bedding.

If you’re confused about which way to go, Costco has a handy buying guide.

9. Car rentals

kurhan / Shutterstock.com

While you may not plan to travel anytime soon due to the coronavirus pandemic, keep this in mind for your next trip: It’s not well-known that you can utilize Costco for renting cars, but doing so could save you.

Costco Travel offers a Low Price Finder search tool that lets you compare the rates of big companies, from Enterprise to Budget, to find your best price — one-stop shopping.

10. Cruises

Senior couple taking a selfie on deck of a ship.
View Apart / Shutterstock.com

Again, while the pandemic has left many cruise ships docked and vacant for now, it pays to know that you can buy your next cruise vacation through Costco, whenever that might be.

You can book cruises to a variety of places and with a variety of cruise lines. The Costco Travel website lets you explore options, by destination, cruise line and duration.

11. Caskets and urns

Syda Productions / Shutterstock.com

They aren’t exactly enjoyable items to shop for, but a variety of caskets go for less than $1,000 at Costco. If you’re looking for urns, there are a few of those available as well — all for $120 or less.

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

Source: moneytalksnews.com